Eight people have been arrested in northern Mexico have over the killing of two 10-year-old boys and a woman in what appears to be ritual sacrifices. Prosecutors in Sonora, in the north-west of the country have accused the suspects of belonging to the La Santa Muerte (Holy Death) cult. The victims' blood has been poured round an altar to the idol, which is portrayed as a skeleton holding a scythe and clothed in flowing robes. The cult, which celebrates death, has been growing rapidly in Mexico in the last 20 years, and now has up to two million followers. Jose Larrinaga, spokesman for Sonora state prosecutors, said the most recent killing was earlier this month, while the other two were committed in 2009 and 2010. Their bodies were found at the altar site in the small mining community of Nacozari, 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona. Investigations were launched after the family of 10-year-old Jesus Octavio Martinez Yanez reported him missing early this month.
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Saturday, 31 March 2012
Eight people from 'Holy Death' cult arrested in Mexico over ritual sacrifices of woman and two 10-year-old boys
Dispute among gang members at a North Miami-area funeral home sparked a mass shooting that injured 12 people and killed two men, according to Miami-Dade police and law enforcement. The gunmen, who fired a barrage of bullets at a crowd of mourners Friday night, remained on the loose. Investigators have not released information about the shooters, only that a white car may have been involved. One of the victims, a 43-year-old man, died outside the Funeraria Latina Emanuel funeral home, authorities said. The other, a 27-year-old man, died at the hospital. Witnesses at the funeral home had said one of the two people killed was shot in the chest. Among the wounded was a 5-year-old girl who was shot in the leg. She is hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital and is listed in stable condition. The funeral was for Morvin Andre, 21, of North Miami, who was buried Saturday morning at Southern Memorial Park next to the funeral home. Andre was killed March 16 after he tried to jump 22-and-a-half feet from the fourth floor of the Aventura Mall parking garage to escape pursuit from Bloomingdale’s loss prevention employees. Andre landed on his feet, but then fell back and hit his head, according Aventura Police Major Skip Washa, a spokesman. Washa said Saturday the county medical examiner’s office has ruled Andre’s death a suicide because the Bloomingdale’s employees were one floor below Andre when they told him to stop. Instead, he jumped. Originally, it was reported that Andre, a nursing student at Broward Community College, had been killed in a shooting, according to mourners at the funeral home. A law enforcement official told the Miami Herald that the shooting involved members of several South Florida gangs who were in attendance at his wake Friday night to pay their respects. Andre was not part of a gang himself, the official said. Certain gang members took offense when someone touched Andre’s body in the casket, setting off an argument that spilled out into the street. Members of one gang retrieved an assault rifle and a handgun from a car and opened fire at other gang members in front of the funeral home, a police commander told Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4. Shooting erupted as more than 100 people were gathered outside the funeral home, in the 14900 block of West Dixie Highway, outside the city limits of North Miami. “I was on my way out of the chapel when I heard the shots,“ said A.D. Lenoir, the pastor who officiated at the service. “I told people to look for cover. It was chaos.” Lenoir, 29, said people were screaming, crying and yelling. Several victims were taken to Jackson, and others to local hospitals. The West Dixie Highway corridor has been the scene of several shootings in recent years. In 2007, the owner of a martial arts studio was fatally gunned down in a drive-by.
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
An American teenager has been found guilty of the first degree murder of two British tourists in Florida. James Cooper, 25, from Warwickshire, and James Kouzaris, 24, from Northampton, were shot dead on a public housing estate in Newtown, Sarasota. The pair, who met at Sheffield University, were killed after drunkenly wandering into the estate in the early hours of 16 April 2011. The court heard Shawn Tyson, 17, killed them after trying to rob them. Tyson, who was tried as an adult despite being 16 at the time of the shooting, faces life in prison with no chance of parole. 'Shattered soul' The families of Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris were not in court but said in a statement they were satisfied with the verdict. They added: "It is a fact that we were given a life sentence when our sons were so brutally and needlessly taken from us. "Ours is a life sentence, with no chance of parole from a broken heart, and a shattered soul." Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper had been out drinking in downtown Sarasota before they were shot The families also criticised the Sarasota court system that freed Tyson after a judge warned he was a danger to the public. Hours before he shot the two Britons, Tyson was arrested for a separate shooting incident in which no-one was hurt. In the statement the families said: "The evil of the killer is one thing, but the fact is, he would not have been on the streets had instructions to keep him incarcerated been passed from one judge to another." Killer's boast When the mistake came to light the Mayor of Sarasota, Kelly Kirschener, vowed the city's prosecutors would never let anything similar happen again. During the trial jurors heard how Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper had been out drinking in downtown Sarasota before getting lost and wandering into the Newtown area in the early hours. The prosecution said they were confronted by Tyson who tried to rob them and then shot them when he realised they had very little money. The court heard Tyson had boasted to his friend Latrece Washington, who testified against him, that one of the men had begged for his life but he shot him anyway.
Two French judges sought an international arrest warrant for the son of Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on money laundering charges, a judicial source said on Tuesday. The two judges, Roger Le Loire and Rene Grouman, consider there are grounds to suspect that Teodorin Obiang, who is agriculture minister in the small, oil-rich central African country, acquired real estate in France by fraudulent means. The warrant will not be released until a prosecutor has reviewed the request and decides whether to proceed. Teodorin is frequently seen enjoying an extravagant lifestyle abroad with multi-million dollar mansions, jets and yachts. Billboards in the capital Malabo seek to show him at work and in touch with the people, but diplomats and analysts cite his playboy lifestyle as a cause for concern. The French judges, who have been handling the case since 2010 on the basis of "concealment of embezzled public funds," suspect that the properties were purchased with public money from Equatorial Guinea. The judges had previously sought permission from the government of Equatorial Guinea to question Teodorin, but that request was rejected, Olivier Pardo, lawyer for the oil producing nation, told Reuters in Paris. "Unless one wishes to violate the sovereignty of the State of Equatorial Guinea and harm relations between France and Equatorial Guinea, it is absurd to want to launch an arrest warrant," he said. As part of the investigation, French police raided a building belonging to Equatorial Guinea in a wealthy area of Paris in February. After three days they removed art works and fine wines worth several million euros. The building was valued at about 150 million euros and investigators say it housed a nightclub and hairdressers, which suggested it was not being used as a diplomatic residence. Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International had filed the original legal complaint against Teodorin Obiang. On March 1, Teodorin filed for defamation against Daniel Lebegue, the president of the French arm of Transparency, denying he had embezzled funds. President Teodoro Obiang has ruled the former Spanish colony for more than three decades, making him the longest-serving African leader following the demise of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, with rights groups labelling his regime one of the world's most corrupt. The country produces about 240,000 barrels of oil per day. In January, Teodorin asked a U.S. court to dismiss attempts by the Obama administration to seize some $71 million worth of his assets, denying charges that they were obtained with allegedly corrupt funds taken from his country. He argued he had not violated U.S. or Equatorial Guinea law and called the corruption allegations "character assassination" against him and his country. Equatorial Guinea in October said it wanted to appoint Teodorin as its deputy permanent delegate at U.N. cultural agency UNESCO in Paris, a position that would give him diplomatic status in France. Until now the agency has not received any official documentation to proceed further with that request.
The captain of a JetBlue plane screamed "They're going to take us down!" and rambled about al-Qaida as passengers pinned him to the floor while another pilot took charge to make an emergency landing. An off-duty airline captain who was a passenger on the flight entered the cockpit, locked the door and landed in Amarillo, Texas, the airline said in a statement. JetBlue Airways said the original pilot on flight 191 from New York's John F Kennedy international airport had been taken to hospital after suffering a "medical situation" on board. The captain had earlier stormed through his plane rambling about a bomb and threats from Iraq until passengers on the Las Vegas-bound flight tackled him just outside the cockpit, passengers said. He had seemed disoriented, jittery and constantly sipped water when he first marched through the cabin, then began to rant about threats linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan after crew members tried to calm him down. "They're going to take us down! They're taking us down! Say the Lord's prayer!" the captain screamed, according to passenger Tony Antolino. Josh Redick, who was sitting near the middle of the plane, said the captain seemed "irate" and was "spouting off about Afghanistan and souls and al-Qaida". Gabriel Schonzeit, who was sitting in the third row, told the Amarillo Globe-News: "He started screaming about al-Qaida and possibly a bomb on the plane and Iraq and Iran and about how we were all going down." "A group of us just jumped up instinctually and grabbed him and put him to the ground," Antolino said after arriving in Las Vegas later Tuesday. "Clearly he had an emotional or mental type of breakdown." Antolino, a security executive, said he and three others pinned down the captain as he ran for the cockpit door and sat on him for about 20 minutes until the plane landed at Rick Husband Amarillo international airport at 10am. Shane Helton, 39, who was seeing off his son at Amarillo airport, said: "They pulled one guy out on a stretcher and put him in an ambulance." The flight had left New York around 7am and was in the air for three and a half hours before landing in Texas. The passengers completed their journey to Las Vegas several hours later on another flight. The FBI was co-ordinating an investigation with the police, the FAA and the Transportation Safety Administration, said FBI spokeswoman Lydia Maese in Dallas. She declined to comment on arrests. Earlier this month an American Airlines flight attendant took over the public address system on a flight bound for Chicago and spoke for 15 minutes about 9/11 and the safety of their plane, saying: "I'm not responsible for this plane crashing," passengers said. She was wrestled into a seat while the plane was grounded at Dallas-Fort Worth international airport. The attendant was taken to hospital. In 2008 an Air Canada co-pilot was forcibly removed from a Toronto to London flight, restrained and sedated after having a mental breakdown. A flight attendant with flying experience helped the pilot make an emergency landing in Ireland. None of the 146 passengers and nine crew members on board were injured. In August 2010 JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater pulled the emergency chute on a flight from Pittsburgh after it landed at John F Kennedy international airport. He went on the public address system, swore at a passenger, grabbed a beer and slid down the tarmac. He was sentenced to probation, counselling and substance abuse treatment for attempted criminal mischief. An aviation expert remembered only two or three cases in 40 years where a pilot had become mentally incapacitated during a flight. John Cox, an aviation safety consultant and former airline pilot, said incidents in which pilots become mentally incapacitated during a flight were "pretty rare". He said he could only recall two or three other examples in the more than 40 years he has been following commercial aviation. Airlines and the FAA strongly encouraged pilots to assert themselves if they thought safety was being jeopardised, even if it meant contradicting a captain's orders, Cox said. Aviation safety experts had studied several cases where first officers deferred to more experienced captains with tragic results. In Tuesday's case the FAA is likely to review the unidentified captain's medical certificate, which must be renewed every six months to a year.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
CANNABOOST plant food is one of the best selling products at the Hydroexpress hydroponics store in Stirchley, a working-class part of Birmingham. The small shop, its windows filled with graffiti-style posters, also sells fertilisers with names like “Nirvana” and “Bud Candy”, alongside strong lights and giant rolls of tin foil to line greenhouses. In one corner, a couple of juicy-looking tomato plants grow in a demonstration set-up. But the youth behind the counter guesses that his customers are “not all growing tomatoes”. Birmingham now has 58 hydroponics shops, up from 42 just a year ago. Whether aided by the latest plant-growing technology or not, cannabis production is soaring. According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, the number of cannabis factories detected each year increased from around 800 in 2004 to 7,000 in 2010. Birmingham is one of the most fertile areas; West Midlands Police, which set up a Cannabis Disposal Unit in 2010 to tackle the problem, dismantled more than 500 factories last year. Your correspondent visited one recently closed by police; the gardener was a cocaine-addicted woman growing a few plants in a spare room in the hope of earning a cut. Other set-ups have been found in tents in the bedrooms of high-rise council flats and in the lofts of terraced family houses. Many growers are simply feeding their own habits. As one officer on the West Midlands Police drugs team says, “It’s becoming the most popular cottage industry in the country.” In this section A big splash with little cash Falling flat Earning a hearing The worst job in the world Constituency of the world Mother tongue Money for old metal »Legal high A rock and a hard place The Notting Hill budget Reprints Related topics United Kingdom Birmingham, England Small growers are squeezing out both importers and the well-connected, often Vietnamese, gangs that once dominated domestic production. The big cannabis factories set up by the latter, with their telltale heat hazes, are fairly easy to spot. Smaller operations are often uncovered only when the electric lights start fires, or when local teenagers mount a burglary. The police and the courts can neither keep up with the surge in small-scale production, nor are they desperately keen to do so. Last month the government published new sentencing guidelines that advised judges to treat small cultivators less strictly. Attitudes to smokers are softening, too. The reclassification of cannabis in 2009, from class C to the more stringent class B, was oddly accompanied by a more liberal approach to policing consumption. Users caught on the street are rarely arrested; rather, they are issued “cannabis cautions” (a reprimand which doesn’t appear on a criminal record) or fined. In Brixton, a south London neighbourhood, an open-air cannabis market exists within ten minutes’ walk of the underground station. The dealers are frequently moved on but they soon regroup elsewhere. As one dealer admits, his competitors are a bigger hassle than the police. “They get to fightin’, over money and things,” he says in a deep Caribbean drawl. Violence is far more likely to get a dealer into legal trouble than business. Strangely, this lackadaisical approach is not encouraging people to take up the reefer habit. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the proportion of people who admit to having used cannabis in Britain has fallen more quickly than in any other European country over the past few years. Just 6.8% of adults told another survey that they used cannabis in 2010, down from 10.9% eight years earlier. The herb is now ubiquitous and effectively tolerated—and, perhaps as a result, not all that alluring.
Cat-sized rats are causing trouble in the Florida keys. A pack of Gambian giant pouched rats have been breeding in the keys despite officials’ efforts to eradicate them. NBC Miami reports that Officials are worried about the vermin making it over to the mainland, saying that the hungry species could wipe out crops and upset the delicate ecological balance in Florida. Scort Hardin, the exotic species coordinator for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said: “We thought we had them whipped as of 2009…. In the early part of 2011, a resident e-mailed me and said he saw one of the rats. We were skeptical but went back and talked to people and [saw] there were rats that we missed.” Hardin believes that there are less than two dozen giant rats roaming Grassy Key where they were trapped during multiple efforts last year. The Wildlife Conservation Commission will set out once again this July in an attempt to trap the Gambian giant pouched rats. Hardin told Keys Net: “I would not imagine there’s more than another couple of dozen at most. We’ve caught them all within a half-mile of each other… We think they have not moved far but they clearly reproduced.” MSNBC reports that the cat-sized rats were introduced to the island by a local rat breeder more than a decade ago. The rats have moved into the wild where they are now breeding and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.
high-ranking member of the New Black Panther Party was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Hashim Nzinga, 49, was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. More Atlanta area news » Immigration-related complaint may become ‘moot' 'Chicken Man' house explodes Trayvon Martin rally at Capitol draws many Gang member guilty of 2011 killing Hashim Nzinga, 49, recently announced on CNN that his group was offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. CNN identified Nzinga as the chief of staff of the New Black Panther Party. According to a DeKalb arrest warrant, Nzinga was in possession of an FN Herstal 5.7 x 28 handgun, which investigators said he pawned at a shop on Rockbridge Road. That alleged transaction would be illegal due to Nzinga’s convictions last month for felony deposit account fraud in Gwinnett County, the DeKalb Sheriff's Office said. Nzinga was arrested by members of the fugitive squad at a probation office in Lawrenceville and transported to DeKalb County Jail. The New Black Panther Party is offering a $10,000 bounty for the capture of Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed Martin, an unarmed teenager, last month. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," Black Panther leader Mikhail Muhammad said Saturday at a rally in Sanford, where Martin was killed Feb. 26, according to Fox News. Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, but the New Black Panthers are calling for mobilization of 10,000 black men to capture Zimmerman, who has gone into hiding, the Orlando Sentinel reported. "He should be fearful for his life," Muhammad said. "You can't keep killing black children." According to the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the New Black Panthers "is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers." The group was founded in Dallas in 1989 and believes black Americans should have their own nation, according to the SPLC. Zimmerman shot Martin as he returned to his father's house from a store where he had bought candy. Zimmerman told a 911 dispatcher that Martin was acting suspicious and told police that he was attacked by Martin. Sanford police say they were advised by prosecutors that they did not have enough evidence to charge Zimmerman.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
The banker was left for dead by a lone gunman as he returned to his home in Canary Wharf on Tuesday evening. Scotland Yard detectives are investigating the attempted assassination, which Mr Gorbuntsov’s lawyer believes was a retaliation attack after the banker gave evidence in a 2009 attempted murder case. Mr Gorbuntsov, who fled to London because of his fear of reprisals, had recently submitted new evidence to Russian police about the attempted murder of Alexander Antonov, another Russian banker. The case was closed three years ago when three Chechen men were jailed for attempted murder. But police have never discovered who organised the attempted hit. Officers re-opened the case on March 2 this year after Mr Gorbuntsov submitted his new testimony.
Friday, 23 March 2012
A former Russian banker is in a critical condition in hospital after he was shot several times in east London. German Gorbuntsov was shot by a man armed with a sub-machine gun as he entered a block of flats in Byng Street, Isle of Dogs, on Tuesday. Aleksander Nekrassov, a former Kremlin advisor, told the BBC that Mr Gorbuntsov was a "key witness" in the case of a murder attempt on another Russian banker, Alexander Antonov, in Moscow in 2009. He said: "It looks like a contract hit to be honest because a sub-machine gun is not really a weapon that would be used by some amateur"
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Two police officers were injured in a shoot-out in Toulouse on Wednesday with a gunman claiming links to al Qaeda
Two police officers were injured in a shoot-out in Toulouse on Wednesday with a gunman claiming links to al Qaeda and who is believed to responsible for the killing of four people at a Jewish school and three soldiers in southwest France. Interior Minister Claude Gueant said that the 24-year-old man had made several visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan and had said that he was acting out of revenge for France’s military involvement overseas. “He claims to be a mujahideen and to belong to al Qaeda,” Gueant told journalists at the scene of the siege. “He wanted revenge for the Palestinian children and he also wanted to take revenge on the French army because of its foreign interventions,” Gueant said. Heavily armed police in bullet-proof vests and helmets cordoned off the residential area where the raid was taking place, in a suburb a few kilometres from the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school where Monday’s shootings took place. Reuters witnesses at the scene heard several shots at about 04:40 a.m. British time. Gueant said that police were also talking to the brother of the gunman, who is a French citizen from Toulouse. Police sources told Reuters that a man had been arrested earlier on Wednesday at a separate location in connection with the killings. The gunman’s mother had also been brought to the scene of the siege in a northern suburb of Toulouse to help with negotiations, Gueant said. “Negotiations with the suspect are ongoing, gunfire has been exchanged,” the minister said. He said that France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy had been informed of the situation at 03:00 a.m. (02:00 a.m. British time), when the raid began. Authorities believe that the gunman in Monday’s school shooting is the same person responsible for killing three soldiers of North African origin in two shootings last week in Toulouse and the nearby town of Montauban. The same Colt 45 handgun was used in all three attacks and in each case the gunman arrived on a Yamaha scooter with his face hidden by a motorcycle helmet. The killings come just five weeks before the first round of France’s presidential elections in which immigration and Islam have been major themes as Sarkozy seeks to win over voters from far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
French police are engaged in a siege with a man they are reportedly "confident" was responsible for the killings of seven people in the south west of the country. Two elite officers reportedly suffered minor injuries during a shoot-out with suspects in the ongoing pre-dawn raid in the Croix-Daurade district of the city of Toulouse. AFP news agency - which said up to six shots were heard in the raid - is reporting that police believe the gunman responsible for three attacks that killed three children, a rabbi and three soldiers is inside the target building. Four people were killed during the shootings at Ozar Hatorah school A source linked to the probe also told the news agency that a man claiming to be linked to al Qaeda was holed up in the building. The agency said the suspect being sought was 24 and had previously travelled to the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has been known to house al Qaeda safehouses. French news channel BFM TV said the suspects were linked to an Islamist group which it identified as Forsane Alizza. Sky News' Robert Nisbet, in Toulouse, said: "We know that someone is inside the building. It could one person, it could be more than one person. "I understand this is a relatively poor suburb of Toulouse. Obviously, there is an intense pressure on French police to solve this crime." The killings atOzar Hatorah Jewish school on Monday followed the shootings of four soldiers - three of them fatal - in two attacks over the previous eight days. All three of the soldiers killed were of North African descent. All of the attacks were apparently carried out by an assailant using the same gun and scooter. The victim's backgrounds had led to fears the killer was specifically targeting members of minority communities. Chief prosecutor in Paris, Francois Molins, who is monitoring the investigation in Toulouse, had warned there could well be more killings. "At this stage, everything is being done to identify, find and stop the perpetrator, of these three killings as fast as possible," he said. "In these exceptional circumstances, I think it is obvious that we are up against an extremely determined individual, who knows he's being hunted, who could strike again."
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
A GANG of “guns for hire” who spread lawless violence in a spate of gun and grenade attacks across Merseyside were today starting life behind bars.
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Calls made to police show that a black teenager was terrified as he tried to get away from the white neighborhood watch volunteer who shot him, and that the volunteer was not defending himself as he has claimed, the teen's family told The Associated Press on Saturday. Sanford police released eight 911 calls late Friday. The neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, tells a dispatcher in the first call that he is following 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. He says Martin is running, but the dispatcher tells him not to follow the teen. "How can you claim self-defense and you are the aggressor?" Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father, told the AP on Saturday. Advertise | AdChoices Zimmerman had called police to report a suspicious person walking through the gated community. He has said he shot the teen in self-defense. Zimmerman's father said in a letter to the Orlando Sentinel that his son, who is Hispanic, has been cruelly and unfairly portrayed in the media as a racist. The teen had gone to a convenience store to buy candy and was walking back to his family's home in the neighborhood. "This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something," Zimmerman told the dispatcher from his SUV. He added that the black teen had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes. "These a-------. They always get away," Zimmerman said on a 911 call. He has said he acted in self-defense, but Martin's family said they are now more convinced than ever that Zimmerman should be charged in the shooting. Several of the 911 calls made by neighbors describe some sort of scuffle or fight outside, someone yelling for help and a gunshot. "(Zimmerman) was chasing him, he was following him, and my son was afraid," Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, told the AP. "He didn't know who this stranger was." Tracy Martin said the calls paint a stark picture of what were his son's final moments. "He was yelling for help, and no one could help him. He saw his life being taken away from him," Tracy Martin said. That assertion was bolstered by two other neighbors who came forward on Friday, according to a report from NBC Miami. The two women, roommates, came forward to say they heard the teen calling for help. "I feel it was not self-defense, because I heard the crying, and if it was Zimmerman that was crying, Zimmerman would have continued crying after the shot went off," said Mary Kutcher, speaking to television reporters. The case has been turned over to the State Attorney's Office, which can decide whether to file charges or present evidence to a grand jury. Trayvon Martin's family said they will continue pushing for charges to be filed against Zimmerman. "We're hoping this doesn't happen again to another family, and that America opens their eyes ... even though this won't bring Trayvon back, we don't want there to be another Trayvon," Tracy Martin said. Moments after Zimmerman's first call, dispatchers were bombarded by seven 911 calls from frantic neighbors describing a fight between two men, screaming and then a gunshot. "There is somebody screaming outside," one female caller said, as an unknown male voice can be heard crying in the background. Then a shot is heard. A male caller described a physical altercation between Martin and the shooter. "I just heard a shot right behind my house," The caller said. Advertise | AdChoices "They're wrestling right behind my porch. The guy is yelling `Help.' I'm not going outside." Earlier Friday, Martin's parents called on the FBI to take over the investigation, saying they no longer trusted the Sanford police department. Sanford police Sgt. David Morgenstern said the department stands by its investigation but welcomes help from any outside agency. FBI agent David Couvertier said the agency has been in contact with Sanford police and is monitoring the case. "We are committed to having somebody review this to see if we made a mistake," said Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett. "If we made missteps and there is something there, we will act accordingly." Several Sanford residents who spoke to The Associated Press Friday said they think there would have been an arrest already if the shooter had been black and the deceased had been white. They said blacks and whites in this city of 53,000 residents were pretty much in agreement that an injustice had been done with no one arrested, and that there was no racial divide in how the case is being perceived. The city is 57 percent white and 30 percent black. It has a median household income of almost $42,000. "It's just about ... to be able to take somebody's life in 2012 and not even go to jail for it, that is just sad. No matter, for any color. Not just black or white. Any color," Ladonna Williams, 38, who is black, said as she shopped at the Seminole Towne Center shopping mall, more than a mile from where the shooting took place. In the letter to the Sentinel, Zimmerman's father says his son has received death threats and moved out of his home. George Zimmerman is Hispanic and grew up in a multiracial family, the statement says. "He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever ...," the letter says. "The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth."
One man was killed and 15 others wounded by gunfire across the city Friday night and Saturday morning, according to authorities. A 42-year-old man died after getting shot in the head on the 5200 block of South Troy Street in Gage Park about 12:15 a.m. Saturday. He was a passenger in a car and after he was shot, the driver drove to 59th and Sacramento Avenue and called 911, police said. He was taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County and pronounced dead at 1:02 a.m., a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's office said. Other circumstances surrounding that shooting weren't immediately available. Another shooting a couple hours later and a few blocks away prompted a car to flee police from near 51st Street and Maplewood Avenue in Gage Park, police said. A 21-year-old man standing with a friend was shot there about 2:15 a.m., police said. Someone fired at the two from inside a passing black car and police noticed a car nearby that matched that description. The car fled when police started following, police said. The car wrecked near 44th Street and Wasthenaw Avenue, prompting the Chicago Fire Department to summon six ambulances to the scene. Four people inside were taken to area hospitals in serious-to-critical condition, according to a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department, but police said a woman and two men were taken from the scene. The man shot was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he's in stable condition, police said. The shooting appears gang-related, police said. Nobody has been been charged. About 6:15 a.m. a man was shot in the back on the 4100 block of South Rockwell Avenue in Brighton Park, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said, citing early reports from responding officers. No other details were available. A 35-year-old man was shot in the Chatham neighborhood about 5 a.m., police said. He was walking on the 7800 block of South Langley Avenue when someone in a light-colored car pulled alongside and opened fire, police said. He's in critical condition at Stroger Hospital, police said. The shooters fled the scene. Two women, 30 and 33, were shot in the legs on the 5700 block of South Lowe Avenue in the Englewood neighborhood about 2:45 a.m., according to police. They were taken to Stroger Hospital and are expected to be released after getting treated for their wounds, police said. Someone fired at them from down the street and fled on foot, police said. A 20-year-old man was shot in the pelvis on the 6400 block of South Normal Boulevard in Englewood about 1:50 a.m., police said.A friend drove him to St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center – about three blocks east – where he is in stable condition, police said. Two men in their 20s were standing on the 7400 block of South Blackstone Avenue in the Grand Crossing neighborhood when someone emerged from an alley and opened fire, according to police. One, 22, was shot in the chest. The other, 21, was shot in the right leg, police said. They arrived at Jackson Park Hospital about 1:30 a.m. and police think the shooting happened about 1:20 a.m. They "self-transported" to Jackson Park Hospital from the scene of the shooting, police said. The 21-year-old was transferred to Stroger Hospital, police said. Police said the two both initially refused to give their names to responding officers and described the pair as "uncooperative." A 36-year-old man was shot on the 2100 block of West Fletcher Street in the Lakeview neighborhood about 11:20 p.m., police said. The man was shot in the face by someone inside a passing white pickup truck, according to police. The victim was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in stable condition, police said. A 19-year-old man was shot about 9:45 p.m. on the 6300 block of North Oakley Avenue in the West Rogers Park neighborhood, Greer said. Someone called the man over to his vehicle and opened fire as the victim approached, hitting him in the head, according to police. He's in critical condition at St. Francis Hospital. A 40-year-old woman was shot in the buttocks on the 1400 block of South Pulaski Road in the Lawndale neighborhood about 10:10 p.m., police said. She was driving south when a bullet came through the door of her vehicle, police said. About 40 minutes before that, a 22-year-old man was shot in the chest on the 11800 block of South Sangamon Street in the West Pullman neighborhood. He was sitting on his porch with a friend when they heard gunfire, police said. The man's relative drove him to Roseland Hospital, and he was transferred to Stroger Hospital, police said, where his condition is "stable." Two people were shot about 5:30 p.m. Friday on the 7700 block of South Essex Avenue in the South Shore neighborhood. A 17-year-old girl was shot in the hand and a 20-year-old woman suffered a graze wound to her nose. The circumstances surrounding the shooting weren't available from police but one person is in custody. Both victims treated at South Shore Hospital, police said. About 5 p.m., a 34-year-old man was standing in front of a store on the 5200 block of South Damen Avenue in the Back of the Yards neighborhood when someone shot him in the ankle. He went to Holy Cross Hospital without help from the Chicago Fire Department, police said.
Gun used to kill Godley woman linked to four other crimes, expert testifies in Soliz capital murder trial
The 9mm semi-automatic handgun used to kill a Godley woman was used in four other crimes in the days leading up to the shooting, a ballistics expert testified Wednesday in the capital murder trial of Mark Anthony Soliz. Expert Lannie Emanuel of Integrated Forensic Laboratories in Euless told jurors that the tests showed that the same gun was used in cases that involved a drive-by shooting, an armed robbery and other crimes. Soliz has been identified as the gunman in the shooting of Nancy Weatherly, 61, of Godley. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
A police officer who opened fire early Tuesday on a man who first shot at him with a BB gun believed the suspect’s gun was a pistol, Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender said. A wild police chase ended about 4 a.m. Tuesday, soon after a police officer fired four shots with his rifle from his patrol car at a minivan full of suspects, including one who fired at officers from a passenger window with the BB gun, Allender said. Nobody was hit, and no serious injuries occurred. “It looked like a pistol. It made a noise that was audible to the officers,” Allender said. “They remarked on the radio that they believed this was a .22-caliber pistol or small pistol.” Police arrested Cassidy Grosz, 22, Matt Wright, 21, Hebrew Audiss, 21, Schauvon “Joseph” Tobacco, 19, and Adam Poor Bear, 18, all of Rapid City. Formal charges are expected to be filed today, when the suspects are due in court. Wright was the shooter, Allender said. “The belief in the officers’ minds at that moment was that they were being fired upon by the suspects,” Allender said. “The belief was so strong that one of the officers decided to fire back.” It is the third time in seven months that a suspect has shot at Rapid City police. James L. Baker, 41, is charged with shooting at three officers in early January. Daniel Tiger, 22, shot three officers in August, killing two of them. Police returned fire and killed Tiger in that incident. “Certainly, those three incidents get our attention, and they keep our focus quite a bit. I don’t know if we are seeing a trend or a few bizarre incidents. I don’t know,” Allender said. According to a police report, at about 1 a.m. police responded to a beer theft at the Corner Pantry, 2130 N. La Crosse St. Store manager Georgeann Estman, who was not working at the time, said the suspects stole four 24-packs of Budweiser. The beer never made it into the car, she said, because the handles broke. “It ended up in the parking lot,” Estman said. About an hour later, two men reportedly showed a gun and demanded cigarettes from a clerk at the Corner Pantry, 302 E. North St. The store manager declined comment about that incident. At 3:10 a.m. police responded to a residential burglary on Pevans Parkway on the city’s south side. Police spotted the vehicle about 15 minutes later on Catron Boulevard. Grosz, the driver of the 1998 Chrysler Town & Country minivan, refused to pull over for police, according to the report. A high-speed pursuit ensued, reaching speeds of 60 mph on residential streets until the minivan hit spikes placed by police at Fifth and Omaha streets. As the vehicle turned east on College Avenue, police said Wright fired at police. An officer returned four rounds with his patrol rifle. Police later identified the suspect’s gun as a CO2 powered BB gun. Allender said he did not know how far the officers were from the alleged shooter. The minivan entered an alley between College and Custer streets about 3:45 a.m. Four suspects fled the vehicle on foot. One remained in the vehicle. Within 10 minutes, all suspects had been apprehended. Police spokeswoman Tarah Heupel said the department could not release BB gun photos or the model due to an ongoing investigation. Allender said he did not yet have information on the suspects’ possible criminal histories. “The fact that a weapon was drawn that was easily perceived as a firearm of some caliber is an extremely serious event here in our community,” Pennington County State’s Attorney Glenn Brenner said. “We are going to make sure we formulate charges that are able to hold these people accountable for their actions.”
Scotland Yard authorised the deployment of rubber bullets ready for use on the streets of London 22 times in the past two years, The Independent can reveal. The figure suggests the Metropolitan Police had considered ordering its officers to open fire during public disorder incidents far more frequently than previously thought. The Yard yesterday refused to say on what dates and during which situations it ordered some of the nearly 3,000 baton rounds it possesses to be distributed to firearms teams. It said the release of such information could endanger future policing operations. The revelation that the Met authorised the distribution of the non-lethal rounds on average almost once a month in 2010 and 2011 follows the disclosure earlier this week that senior officers wanted to fire rubber bullets at rioters in south London last summer – but firearms specialists could not reach the trouble spots in time. The Met has now promised to make "more agile use" of the weapons. Although they have been used in Northern Ireland for many years, baton rounds have never been fired on the British mainland. Even in the extreme circumstances of last August's riots their use would have been seen as a significant escalation in police tactics and a move away from Britain's consensual policing model. The figures, obtained by the Liberal Democrat peer Dee Doocey, are an indication of an increasingly muscular response to what police believe is the increased threat to officers and the public from gangs or individuals bent on violent disorder. But campaigners argue that the use of non-lethal firearms in crowd control has no place in policing on the British mainland. The Yard was criticised last year when it released a statement saying that baton rounds – referred to by police as attenuating energy projectiles (AEPs) – might be deployed if extreme disorder occurred during a protest in London against tuition fees. In a written answer to a question last month from Baroness Doocey, the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, confirmed on behalf of the Met Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, that the force had "authorised the movement" of rubber bullets 22 times in 2010 and 2011. But he said details of the incidents would only be given under conditions of secrecy because, if made public, they could compromise future operations. Lady Doocey, a member of the Greater London Authority and the Metropolitan Police Authority until it was replaced with a new body in January, said the disclosure of the precise dates was in the public interest. She told The Independent: "I have long believed rubber bullets have no role in policing demonstrations in London. This secrecy over their potential use merely confirms that view. It is simply wrong for the Met to be silent when on so many occasions the use of rubber bullets was being considered." Rubber bullets are designed to offer a non-lethal alternative to conventional firearms and police argue modern AEPs pose less threat of serious injury. Between 2006 and October 2011, the Met Police bought 2,700 AEP rounds. It said it could not produce figures for baton round deployments in previous years, adding that it followed strict guidelines designed to protect life and prevent serious injury. Opinion about rubber bullets remains divided within police ranks. A Met Police review of last summer's riots revealed officers dealing with violence in Enfield and Brixton decided against deploying the weapons because they believed it would escalate the confrontation. During the rioting, Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said he did not consider the deployment of rubber bullets in London to be sensible in "any way, shape or form".
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Police allege a Sydney-based syndicate had imported up to 220 illegal pistols since late last year. NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told a press conference today that "gun crime is in our sights" but he conceded many other such syndicates could be operating in Sydney. Police confirmed that a Glock pistol seized in January was the only one they had found of the Glock 220 pistols they believe were imported into Sydney in the previous three months. "This isn't just a border security issue, this is a national security issue," Mr Scipione told reporters in Sydney. "It is something that we need to understand is a major concern, not only to law enforcement; it should be to every person that lives in this nation because guns coming into our community are nothing short of weapons that are used to kill and maim." Three people have been charged after Australian and German detectives smashed an international gun smuggling syndicate alleged to have been run, at least in part, from a suburban Sydney post office. More below
A murder trial that exposed limits to the "don't snitch" mentality that permeates Yakima street gangs ended abruptly with a surprise plea deal. Tomas Villegas, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the March 2010 shooting of David Duarte, the 40-year-old uncle of a gang member. Authorities believe the gang member was the actual target. As part of the deal, lawyers on both sides agreed to a recommended sentence near the top of the range of 26 1/2 years in prison. Sentencing was set for April 13. He was facing a charge of aggravated first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. The plea came late Monday afternoon while the trial was in recess and the jury had been sent home for the day. The deal, which the judge must still approve, concluded a series of actions that began when another suspect in the case, Sergio Villalobos Losoya, 24, reached a plea bargain of his own with prosecutors in exchange for testifying against Villegas. That testimony was critical, as it undercut Villegas' claims that he was not involved in the shooting and that he had alibi witnesses to prove it. Deputy prosecutor Troy Clements expressed relief at the case's sudden resolution, saying gang crimes in general and this case in particular pose many challenges. With Villalobos suddenly willing to cut a deal, there were rumors of threats against his family. A juror was excused over fears of gang intimidation. At least three gang members were jailed as material witnesses to ensure their testimony. "Retaliation was a fear for a lot of people in this," Clements said. "The anti-snitch mentality is very powerful -- for both sides. There's a powerful code of silence out there." Duarte, 40, died from a massive gunshot wound to the head as he was riding in his 15-year-old nephew's car on 16th Avenue near Mead Avenue. Prosecutors said the shooting was the culmination of bad blood between two Norteo gangs -- North Side Villains (NSV) and La Raza -- stemming from the murder of La Raza member Leonardo A. Perez in 2009. Villegas, despite belonging to a Sureo gang called the Pot Head Society, prosecutors said he was friends with Perez and intent on retaliating against NSV enemies if given the chance. That chance occurred just before midnight on March 5, 2010, when Duarte and his nephew, NSV member Cristino Tejada, stopped to buy snacks at the am/pm gas station on the corner of South 16th and Washington avenues. Tejada told police he encountered rival gang members in a white Cadillac at the gas station and that someone in the Cadillac opened fire on his car as they raced down 16th Avenue, fatally wounding his uncle. Clements acknowledged Tuesday that his mostly circumstantial case against Villegas got a huge boost when Villalobos, the alleged driver of the Cadillac, and another person who was allegedly in the suspect car agreed to turn state's evidence. "We went from the fear (Villegas) was going to walk, to holding somebody responsible, so heck yeah you feel good about that," he said. Villegas' attorney, public defender Jeff Swan, said he'd been confident he could win the case until the sudden witness tilt in the prosecution's favor. He said the prosecution's deal with Villalobos was 20 months for a plea to drive-by shooting. Villalobos had been charged with first-degree murder.
A man was relaxing in his living room early this morning when AK-47 bullets riddled the walls and windows of his Chesterfield Square area home. Apparently, the man's house, located at 5740 Cimarron Street, was mistaken for a gang member's home, resulting in a very unexpected drive-by assault weapon shooting at 3:43am. "The victim was in his living room when shots were fired into his house from an AK-47," Officer Roger Aguirre of the LAPD's 77th Street Station told City News Service. "He was not a gang member; they just mistook the house." Officers recovered 12 bullet casings from the home, but the man was unharmed.
An alleged gang member was ordered to stand trial on two counts of murder for allegedly shooting a 22-month-old boy and the toddler's uncle while riding a pink beach cruiser in May 2011. According to CBS Los Angeles, 19-year-old Davion McClelland opened fire on two men, one of whom is a documented member of a rival gang in South Los Angeles. Authorities say the shots fired missed their intended targets, and fatally hit Joshua Montes and his uncle, Josefat Canchola, outside their home. During testimony in a preliminary hearing for McClelland, one of his alleged targets testified that he and his friend were walking down the street when two young black men riding bikes and wearing hooded sweatshirts passed them. "One of (the bikes) was like a beach cruiser," Michael Smith said. According to Smith, one of the bicyclists made a gang "call," and as he and his friend continued walking, "I turned around. The next thing I know, I'm being shot at." Two other witnesses testified that they saw two suspects riding away from the scene of the shootings, one of them on a pink beach cruiser. Both of them had previously identified McClelland from a photo lineup as one of the suspects. Video surveillance recovered from a nearby business also showed the beach cruiser. Police traced the bicycle to the nearby Pueblo del Rio housing project in the territory of the gang to which McClelland allegedly belongs. LAPD Officer Brandon Barron, a gang expert, testified that the two gangs involved in the shooting have been feuding since the 1980s. He said McClelland has three tattoos identifying him as a gang member. Judge Mary Lou Villar found sufficient evidence at the preliminary hearing to send McClelland to trial. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty.
Santa Ana police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man that is believed to be gang-related. Mario Carlos Hernandez of Santa Ana was gunned down Monday evening at approximately 6:30 p.m., according to police. Officers responded to the apartment complex, located at 215 E. 15th St., on a call saying shots had been fired and a man had been wounded. They found a 20-year-old man who had gunshot wounds in the upper body. Santa Ana Fire Department paramedics took the man to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Detectives said Tuesday that the incident is believed to be gang-related and that the department's gang detail unit is investigating.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
36-year-old man was arrested Thursday for allegedly firing a shotgun several times at two other men he was fighting with. Oscar Samuel Galindo was fighting around 8:30 a.m. with the men on the 2200 block of Nelson Street in northeast Bakersfield, Kern County deputies said. He went home and allegedly grabbed his gun, returned to the scene of the fight, and shot at the men. No on was hit by the shotgun blasts. Galindo was later located and arrested on suspicion of assault, gang participation and a variety of other offenses.
Taliban militants opened fire on an Afghan government delegation visiting one of the two villages in southern Afghanistan where a US soldier is suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians. The delegation was talking with families of the victims in Balandi village on Tuesday when they heard shooting, said Qayum Karzai, a brother of the Afghan president who was part of the group. He said he did not believe anyone was killed in the attack, but he had heard reports of one person wounded in the foot. "We were giving them our condolences, then we heard two very, very light shots," said Karzai. "Then we assumed that it was the national army that started to fire in the air." He said that the members of the delegation were safe and were heading back to Kandahar city. An Associated Press reporter accompanying the delegation said the gunfire came from two different directions. The US is holding an army staff sergeant in custody who is suspected of carrying out the killings before dawn on Sunday in two villages close to his base in Kandahar province's Panjwai district, considered the birthplace of the Taliban. Villagers have described him stalking from house to house in the middle of the night, opening fire on sleeping families and then burning some of the bodies. Nine of the 16 killed were children, and three were women, according to Karzai. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid vowed to take revenge for the attack in a statement sent to reporters on Tuesday. He said the soldier should be tried as a war criminal and executed by the victims' relatives. Also on Tuesday, hundreds of students in eastern Afghanistan shouted angry slogans against the US and the American soldier accused of carrying out the killings, the first significant protest in response to the tragedy. The killings have caused outrage in Afghanistan but have not sparked the kind of violent protests seen last month after American soldiers burned Muslim holy books and other Islamic texts. Afghans have become used to dealing with civilian casualties in over a decade of war. Some have said the deaths in Panjwai were more in keeping with Afghans' experience of deadly night raids and air strikes by US-led forces than the Qur'an burnings were. But the students protesting at a university in Jalalabad city, 80 miles east of the capital Kabul, were incensed. "Death to America!" and "Death to the soldier who killed our civilians!" shouted the crowd. Some carried a banner that called for a public trial of the soldier, whom US officials have identified as a married, 38-year-old father of two who was trained as a sniper and recently suffered a head injury in Iraq. Other protesters burned an effigy of Barack Obama. "The reason we are protesting is because of the killing of innocent children and other civilians by this tyrant US soldier," said Sardar Wali, a university student. "We want the United Nations and the Afghan government to publicly try this guy." Obama has expressed his shock and sadness and extended his condolences to the families of the victims. But he has also said the horrific episode would not speed up plans to pull out foreign forces, despite increasing opposition at home to the war in Afghanistan.
Sunday, 11 March 2012
A US soldier has killed 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, after entering their homes in Kandahar. Sky sources said the Afghan victims also included women and elderly men. Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs Asadullah Khalid, who is investigating the incident, said the soldier entered three homes, killing 11 people in the first one. The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) coalition confirmed the incident but did not release the number of killed or injured. Sky defence reporter Mark Stone said: "Details are still sketchy and various death tolls have emerged. "It appears to be an isolated incident and the soldier is believed to have been a staff sergeant." Isaf Deputy Commander Lt Gen Adrian Bradshaw said: "I wish to convey my profound regrets and dismay at the actions apparently taken by one coalition member in Kandahar province. "I cannot explain the motivation behind such callous acts, but they were in no way part of authorised ISAF military activity." According to the Panjwai district governor office, seven people died and up to 17 injured were injured in the rampage. The injured have been treated for their wounds at Nato medical facilities. Protests were held over the Koran-burning incident The US embassy in Kabul attempted to quell expected Afghan unrest by also issuing an apology. It said: "We deplore any attack by a member of the US armed forces against innocent civilians, and denounce all violence against civilians. "We assure the people of Afghanistan that the individual or individuals responsible for this act will be identified and brought to justice." The diplomatic response comes after weeks of tense relations between US forces and their Afghan hosts following the burning of Korans and other religious materials at an American base. Although US officials apologised and said the burning was an accident, the incident sparked violent protests and attacks. Britain also pulled out civilian advisers from buildings in Kabul as protests spread. Six American soldiers have been killed in attacks by their Afghan colleagues since the Koran burnings came to light.
United States service member walked out of a military base in a rural district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday and opened fire on three nearby houses, killing at least 15 civilians
United States service member walked out of a military base in a rural district of southern Afghanistan on Sunday and opened fire on three nearby houses, killing at least 15 civilians, local villagers and provincial officials said. Related Security Fears Lead Groups to Rethink Work in Afghanistan (March 11, 2012) U.S. and Afghanistan Agree on Prisoner Transfer as Part of Long-Term Agreement (March 10, 2012) Afghan Officer Sought in Killing of 9 Colleagues (March 9, 2012) Connect With Us on Twitter Follow @nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines. Twitter List: Reporters and Editors Readers’ Comments Share your thoughts. Post a Comment » Read All Comments (1) » The shooting risks further inciting anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan and troubling a relationship that had already been brought to a new low by the burning of Korans at an American military base last month. The American embassy in Afghanistan quickly issued a statement on Sunday urging calm. The NATO-led coalition said in a statement on Sunday that a United States service member had been detained after an incident in Kandahar Province, in the south of the country, and that a number of civilians had been killed. Villagers in Belandi in the Panjway district of Kandahar, where the shooting took place, said the service member had attacked three houses, killing 11 people in one house and four in a second home. Five other villagers were wounded, they said. Panjway, a rural suburb of Kandahar, was traditionally a Taliban stronghold. It was a focus of the United States surge in 2010 and was the scene of heavy fighting. The governor of Kandahar Province, Tooryalai Wesa, condemned the shooting, although he could not immediately confirm the number of people killed. A coalition spokesman in Kabul, Capt. Justin Brockhoff, said that it was not clear what had led to the incident. He said the civilians wounded in the shooting were taken to a coalition hospital where they were being treated. One of the houses attacked in the village belonged to a tribal elder, according to a person from the village. “We don’t know why he killed people,” said the villager, Aminullah, who like many Afghans goes by a single name. Aminullah said the soldier was alone. “There was no fighting or attacks.” In the statement, the United States military raced to head off Afghan outrage. “This is a deeply regrettable incident and we extend our thoughts and concerns to the families involved,” the statement said. It went on to say that American forces, in cooperation with the Afghan authorities, would investigate the incident. In its comments, the American Embassy also sought to ease tensions, offering “its deepest condolences to the families of the victims of today’s tragic shooting.” “We are saddened by this violent act against our Afghan friends,” the statement said. In a separate incident, four Afghans were killed and three wounded on Friday when coalition helicopters apparently hunting Taliban insurgents fired instead on villagers in Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan, according to Abdul Hakim Akhondzada, governor of Tagab district in Kapisa. Last month, the burning of the Korans touched off nationwide rioting and increased the targeting of American troops, resulting in at least 29 Afghans dead and 6 American soldiers killed. The results of the official military inquiry into the Koran burnings are still awaited, including any decision on what kind of disciplinary action may be faced by the American service members identified as being directly linked to the incident. The upheaval provoked by the Koran burnings put a temporary halt to cooperation between the Afghans and Americans, and disrupted planning for the military withdrawal. But relations seemed somewhat back on track after the two governments on Friday broke an impasse on a long-term strategic partnership deal by agreeing for the Afghans to assume control of the main coalition prison in six months. In another incident in January, American officials had to contend with the fallout from a video that showed four United States Marines urinating on the corpses of what appeared to be the corpses of three Taliban members. In 2010, a rogue group of American soldiers, whose members patrolled roads and small villages, also near Kandahar, killed three Afghan civilians for sport in a series of crimes. The soldier accused of being the ringleader of the group was convicted of three counts of murder by an American military panel in November.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
A man who was fired from a private school on Tuesday returned to campus with a gun hidden in a guitar case and shot the headmistress to death before committing suicide, authorities said. No students were injured. Officers responded to the Episcopal School of Jacksonville at 1:23 p.m. Tuesday after receiving reports of a person with a gun, and the school was placed on lockdown. When officers arrived, Dale Regan, head of the school, and the gunman were found dead, Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said. The gunman has not been identified. Episcopal has about 900 students in grades 6-12. Its campus sits along the south bank of the St. Johns River in central Jacksonville. Regan began working as a teacher at the school in 1978, according to a profile published in The Florida Times Union in 2010. She later went on to become the first female to hold the school's top position. In 2011, Regan was honored for her accomplishments with the newspaper's EVE Award for Education. She was recognized for her work in opening two new classrooms at the school that utilize new technology and are designed to foster innovation in teaching.
Saturday, 3 March 2012
An altercation outside a night club in suburban Phoenix erupted in shooting, leaving 13 people wounding including two in serious condition, police said Saturday. Two young men were suspected in the gunfire that occurred shortly before midnight Friday in the parking of The Clubhouse, located about 7 miles east of downtown Phoenix. Tempe Sgt. Steve Carbajal said at least two of the injured were hospitalized in serious condition, while the others were treated for wounds that appeared less severe. But he said some of the injured drove themselves to the various hospitals in the area so police aren't sure if there were other victims besides the 13. Police are hunting the suspects, described as black men wearing dark clothing, who fled from the club on East Broadway Road on foot. Carbajal described the shooting as the result of "some sort of altercation" at the club, where a rap music concert was going on. He didn't have immediate details on the altercation, a motive, if both suspects fired weapons or on the type of guns used. The website for the club says it's been in operation for six years hosting music shows for all age groups nightly. Calls to the club went unanswered early Saturday. Print Email Share Comments