Archive for May, 2018


 

 

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Eight members of the Milwaukee Police Department have been disciplined in connection with the arrest of the NBA player Sterling Brown, who in January was subdued with a stun gun over a parking violation.  The Milwaukee Police Department has apologized to Brown, after a newly released police body cam video showed Brown’s violent arrest on January 26. Brown, a 22-year-old rookie player on the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, was assaulted and arrested shortly after exiting a Walgreens store for parking in a disabled space.  The charges against him were later dropped

Footage of the arrest, was captured using a body camera worn by one of the officers, confirms that Brown was not “combative”—as police initially claimed.  However, it does show Brown being confronted by an officer for the parking violation.  The officer tells him to step back and keep his hands out of his pockets just before a group of officers tackled him to the ground and electrocuted him with a Taser.   Brown did not struggle with officers when tackled, tased or handcuffed.  In the video, Brown is shown surprisingly calm and never even raising his voice while standing with his hands cuffed behind his back as an officer says to him “Sorry I don’t follow the Bucks, I didn’t recognize you.  I didn’t recognize your famous name.”   Brown responds, “It isn’t famous, it’s legit.”  The officer then replies “I wanted to talk to you about it” and Brown responds “ You could’ve talked, you didn’t have to touch.”

Brown has since said he plans to file a lawsuit, writing in a statement, “What should have been a simple parking ticket turned into an attempt at police intimidation, followed by unlawful use of physical force, including being handcuffed and tazed and then unlawfully booked.  This experience with the Milwaukee Police Department has forced me to stand up and tell my story so that I can help prevent these injustices from happening in the future.”

He told “Good Morning America” that he aimed to hold “the officers accountable, hold future officers accountable.”  Brown said that his hands were behind his back at the time the stun gun was used and described becoming mad every time he watched the footage.  “I was defenseless, pretty much,” he said.  “This happens from coast to coast, you know, it’s something that’s being shown more now that technology has advanced,” he said. “It’s something that’s been happening for years, and people’s stories have not been told, and people’s stories have not been heard. And I feel like, you know, me doing this, it helps a lot.”

Speaking shortly after the release of the body cam footage, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said he was sorry the incident “escalated to this level”, declaring certain officers had “acted inappropriately” and had been disciplined. Three officers recieved unpaid suspensions, including a 15-day suspension for a police sergeant who has served for more than 11 years. Another sergeant, with 12 years of service, received a 10-day suspension. An officer with two and a half years on the force received a two-day suspension. Those officers and five others will receive policy review instruction and remedial training in professional communications.

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On May 18th, 2018, a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas ended with ten people dead and thirteen injured.   Eight students and two teachers were killed.  The suspected shooter was taken into custody and later identified by police as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at the school.  He is charged with capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault against public servant.  He is being held without bail and if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life.

The incident occurred in the school’s art complex which consists of four rooms connected to one another with interior hallways, and other rooms.  Witnesses said the two targeted classrooms are connected by a ceramics room the shooter accessed by damaging a door window.  The shooting began around 7:30 a.m., when Pagourtzis entered the school armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver, both guns legally belonged to his father.  Witnesses say the shooter entered the art classroom first where he fatally shot students.  One wounded victim told reporters the shooter walked into the classroom and pointed at another person, saying “I’m going to kill you”.

According to a witness, students barricaded themselves in the art classroom storage closet and the shooter shot through the door with a shotgun. He left the art room briefly, causing students to leave the closet and attempt to barricade the art room door but he pushed the door open. Upon spotting a student he knew, he said “Surprise!” and shot the student in the chest.

Law enforcement received the first calls at 7:32 a.m., according to an affidavit filed in Galveston County court and officers engaged him within four minutes and allowed for the safe evacuation of other students and faculty.  The first one to confront Pagourtzis was the school’s police officer John Barnes, who tried entering the art complex looking for the shooter.  Pagourtzis appeared to be ready for Barnes and fired at him, hitting him in the upper arm.  Barnes was listed in stable but critical condition at University of Texas Medical Branch.  Other law enforcement officers arriving at the scene exchanged a volley of gunfire with the suspect.

Authorities say at around 8:02 a.m. — 30 minutes after the shooting started — Pagourtzis exited one of the art classrooms and surrendered after being injured during the shoot-out with police.  It’s unclear how long Pagourtzis was actively shooting students and teachers inside the school.  Authorities recovered several homemade explosive devices at the school, inside Pagourtzis’ vehicle and in his home.

Investigators offered no immediate motive for the shooting but said the shooter stated he intended to kill everyone he shot and wanted to spare the students he liked, so he could “have his story told.”  He also stated to police that he had planned to kill himself but he did not have the courage to take his own life.  Eight students and two teachers were killed in the shooting.  The victims were identified as Jared Black, 17; Shana Fisher, 16; Christian Riley Garcia, 15; Aaron Kyle McLeod, 15; Angelique Ramirez, 15; Christopher Stone, 17; Kimberly Vaughan, 14; Sabika Sheikh, 17; Cynthia Tisdale, 63 and Glenda Anne Perkins, 64.

The mother of 16 year old victim Shana Fisher said her daughter had repeatedly turned down the shooter’s advances in the last four months, including a public confrontation that occurred one week before the shooting.  The high school junior allegedly told her parents Pagourtzis told her he was going to kill her after the confrontation.

 

 

 

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U.S. officials have identified a former CIA software engineer as the primary suspect in a massive leak of the spy agency’s documents last year. Joshua Adam Schulte, who designed computer code to spy on foreign adversaries for the CIA, is believed to have leaked thousands of documents last year revealing CIA programs and tools that are capable of hacking into both Apple and Android cellphones. WikiLeaks published over 8,000 pages of documents in March 2017 under the name “Vault 7,” calling it the largest leak of secret CIA documents in history.

The loss of hacking tools to WikiLeaks was one of the most damaging breaches in modern history, experts have said, and includes hacking tools that can be used against private companies.  WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange crowed that the CIA had “lost control” of its entire arsenal of cyber weapons, and experts said the leak has done major damage to U.S. intelligence gathering.

The suspect, Joshua Adam Schulte, a 29-year-old New York resident, is currently in a Manhattan federal jail on child pornography charges, which he denies. Prosecutors have not brought charges against Schulte for the leak despite months of investigation.   Schulte was originally charged in August 2017 with the receipt, possession, and transportation of child pornography.  According to the charging document, Schulte had a 54GB encrypted section of a hard drive that depicted children — possibly as young as two years old — involved in sex acts. His lawyer Jacob Kaplan has argued that others had access to the drive.

Schulte fell under suspicion a week after WikiLeaks published the documents and authorities seized his passport and later searched his Manhattan apartment. The search “failed to provide the evidence that prosecutors needed to indict Schulte with illegally giving the information to WikiLeaks.” Instead, the Justice Department charged him with possession of child pornography, allegedly discovered on a server he built in 2009 while attending University of Texas.  His attorneys described him as a computer scientist and analyst who interned at the National Security Agency and the CIA.  He was later employed there for more than five years, focusing on combating “domestic and international terrorism.”

Schulte’s brother Jason said that “what the government is doing to him is wrong. They are screwing him over.”  Jason Schulte said he and his brother had planned to go to Cancun together on vacation, but then the FBI raided Joshua’s apartment.  The FBI searched Schulte’s apartment in New York last year and seized personal computer equipment, notebooks, and hand-written notes, court records say.  Jason said that the porn images on the computer were not his brother’s and were put there by someone else. He said others had access to the server.

Authorities also found images on Schulte’s phone of an unnamed woman being sexually assaulted while “passed out on the floor” of his bathroom. The photos were reportedly taken in April 2015 in Loudoun County, Virginia, and the woman was identified as a former roommate of Schulte’s.

Kaplan argued that the information the government used to obtain the warrant was inaccurate.  “What I think is important for the Court is, in April or May 2017, the government had full access to his computers and his phone, and they found the child pornography in this case, but what they didn’t find was any connection to the WikiLeaks investigation,” he said.  A federal prosecutor told the court that Top Secret material was found on Schulte’s computer.

 

 

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A New York City lawyer has found himself in hot water after his racist tirade went viral.  The footage shows a man now identified as Aaron Schlossberg – dressed in a white dress shirt and gray slacks, berating an employee at the Fresh Kitchen eatery in midtown Manhattan because the staff was speaking Spanish.  In the video, Aaron Schlossberg, a lawyer in Midtown Manhattan makes racist remarks to Spanish-speaking patrons and threatens to call immigration enforcement after overhearing customers and staff speaking Spanish.

“Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he says. “Every person I listen to: He spoke it, he spoke it, she’s speaking it.”  “My guess is they’re not documented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country,” he said. “If they have the balls to come here and live off my money — I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here. The least they can do — the least they can do — is speak English.”

Since the video went viral, Schlossberg has lost his office space and is now at risk of being disbarred.   Corporate Suites, who rented an office space to Schlossberg, released a statement saying it had terminated an agreement to provide meeting space, mail handling and telephone services to Schlossberg.  “Corporate Suites has a diverse and global community of business professionals working in a rich environment with mutual respect,” spokesman Hayim Alan Grant said in a statement. “We found Mr. Schlossberg’s statements offensive and contrary to our community norms.”

New York Congress member Adriano Espaillat has said he’s filed a grievance against Aaron Schlossberg and several other videos have now surfaced showing Schlossberg in a handful of other politically charged videos.  In one video, at a protest against a Muslim activist last year, rallier’s held signs and icons connected to a alt-right, the far-right movement associated with racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.  A man that appears to be Schlossberg, is heard cursing at the person taking the video and chanting, “Milo,” for right-wing media personality Milo Yiannopoulos.

Another video allegedly shows Schlossberg yelling at protesters outside of Trump Tower in a “Make American great again,” hat.  YouTube vlogger Willie Morris drew even more attention when he posted a video of what he said was a random encounter with Schlossberg in New York in 2016.  Morris said the Fresh Kitchen video jolted his memory about the incident.  “I let it go and pretty much forgot about it until I was scrolling through Twitter yesterday and randomly saw a thumbnail and thought, ‘No freaking way!'” Morris said.

According to Morris, he was walking down the street when a man coming from the opposite direction made eye contact, walked faster toward him and shoved him with his briefcase.  Morris included his own commentary to the video he posted.  In it he said, “He immediately … starts yelling mostly racist and xenophobic stuff.  I was so shocked, I’ve lived in NYC for five years and have never had anything like this happen. I was waiting for someone to jump out and scream, ‘Gotcha!’ ”  In the video, a man can be seen asking Morris, “What country are you from?” and then saying: “I’m going to call the police. You don’t run into me. I’m a citizen here, you’re not. You’re an ugly f***ing foreigner. F*** you.” Morris, who was born in Massachusetts, holds up his passport at the end of his commentary.

 

 

 

 

kim jong un.jpgNorth Korea has abruptly cancelled high-level talks with South Korea and threatened to pull out of a planned summit with Donald Trump in protest of joint U.S.-South Korea military drills currently being staged on the peninsula.  The scheduled talks with South Korea were a follow-up to a rare summit that was held on April 27th.  Representatives had planned to discuss further details of the agreements they had made at the historic summit including ridding the peninsula of nuclear weapons and turning the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 into a peace treaty.

The North Korean state news agency called the U.S.-South Korea air force drills “deliberate military provocation.”  North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also directly criticized Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for saying North Korea could follow the so-called Libyan model for nuclear abandonment.  In a statement issued through the state news agency, Kim called Bolton’s idea an “awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers.”

A North Korean official said the country had no interest in a summit with US if it was based on “one-sided” demands to give up nuclear weapons, according to state media.  Citing first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea’s central news agency said the fate of the US summit as well as bilateral relations “would be clear” if Washington speaks of a Libya-style denuclearization for the North.

The statement added Trump would remain as a “failed president” if he followed in the steps of his predecessors.  “We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-US summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations,” Kim said. “But we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-US summit meeting.”

The joint U.S.-South Korea two-week military drills, known as Max Thunder, involve fighter jets and aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. North Korea has long claimed the drills are rehearsals for a military invasion.  In the past, they have threatened an “all-out offensive” in response to the exercises and condemned them as pouring “gasoline on fire”.  The “Max Thunder” drills involve 100 warplanes, including an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets.  The US and South Korea have insisted that that all drills are purely for defense purposes, and based out of a mutual defense agreement they signed in 1953.  They also say the exercises are necessary to strengthen their readiness in case of an external attack.

 

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A 58-year-old convicted murderer has been charged in the road rage stabbing death of a Missouri Air National Guard member that occurred around 7:30pm on May 5th in Lee’s Summit, Mo.  Nicholas M. Webb is charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Cody Harter, 23, of St. Joseph, Mo.   The killing appeared to stem from a dispute over a lane merge as Webb and Harter both drove along northbound Missouri 291 at the merger of Interstate 470 in Lee’s Summit according to Webb’s statement to police in court documents.

At the scene, multiple drivers called police to the area after seeing Harter stumbling into traffic. By the time EMT’s arrived, Harter had collapsed in the median and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Lee’s Summit Police Department.  Witnesses told police they had seen a vehicle stopped in front of Harter’s truck and that he was arguing with another person with his hands in the air when the person swung at Harter.  Police believe that that the swing was when Harter was actually stabbed once in the chest before he stumbled back into the lanes of traffic and later died.

Police asked for the public’s help in finding the killer who fled north on I-470 or anyone that may have seen the confrontation.   “Literally hundreds of cars would have passed by and possibly saw the actual incident along 470.  What we’re asking people to do is come forward and help this family get closure and help us bring them justice in this case,” Sergeant Depue told reporters.  Harter’s family also made a tearful plea to the public in finding the suspect.   Police identified Webb as the suspect after viewing nearby security footage of the vehicles stopped along the highway from over 40 businesses in the area and through statements of 51 witnesses who came forward with information.

Webb was taken into custody around 6 p.m. Wednesday at his home in Pleasant Hill.  Webb was previously sentenced to 35 years in prison in 1981 for the strangling death of a 15 year old girl in Belton, MO in 1980. He served 15 years for that murder and was released in 1996.  In 1997, he was sent back to prison for violating parole and was released again in 2003.  In 2005, Webb was taken back into custody and remained in prison until his most recent parole in July 2017.  Police say Webb had several convictions including some for assault.  He was arrested in Liberty for drug possession and DUI on the same day of the deadly confrontation with Harter.  Information from that arrest said Webb had a knife in his pocket at the time of his arrest.

After the arrest, Cody Harter’s family and his girlfriend Shelby Berkemeier said they were thankful to the people who rushed to his aid, held his hand and prayed with him as he passed.  Harter’s mother Kerrie said her son was a loadmaster with the Missouri Air National Guard’s 180th Airlift Squadron who served a tour in Iraq and was in Quatar.  He also helped with hurricane relief in Houston and Puerto Rico. He was one semester away from completing his degree in technical engineering from Missouri Western State University.  During a press conference, his loved ones shared several stories about the kindness Cody showed people every day.  His sister Kylee spoke of a time he was driving with his girlfriend when he stopped to shovel the driveway after seeing an older woman outside in the snow.  Another time he was at the dirt bike track and took time away from his own riding to fix a little boy’s bicycle chain after it broke.  “He had the biggest heart and would do anything to help anyone at the drop of a hat,” said Kylee Harter.  “It was senseless. He’s been to war and back and to die because someone was angry, for someone to just take everything from him… They didn’t know him. He didn’t deserve this and we don’t deserve the pain that came with it.”

 

 

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Hawaii’s governor has readied plans for a mass evacuation of the state’s Big Island-warning residents to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, as an eruption at Kilauea volcano strengthened.  Officials say levels of toxic sulfur dioxide are rising, as is the threat of an explosion that could send lava, rocks and even large boulders into residential areas.  Hundreds of residents continue to evacuate the area and more than two dozen homes have been destroyed so far. Geologists say the volcanic eruptions are expected to continue.

Concerns have been mounting since the Kilauea erupted May 3, sending 2,200-degree lava bursting through cracks into backyards in the Leilani Estates neighborhood, destroying 36 structures, including 26 homes. As the magma shifted underground, a magnitude-6.9 earthquake also rocked the Big Island.    A new fissure spewing lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano formed in the southeast corner of the Big Island, raising anxieties as the state braces for potentially violent eruptions.

The new fissure, a crack in the ground allowing lava to pour out, appeared to be several hundred yards long and was producing spatter rising “many tens of feet into the air,” the U.S. Geological Survey said.  It was spotted west of state Highway 132 and led state officials to call for some residents along Halekamahina Loop Road to leave their homes.  Steam and lava spatter could be seen from the new fissure, officials said.

Residents have been warned about the possibility of an explosive eruption at the volcano’s Halema’uma’u Crater because of the withdrawal of lava from the Kilauea summit lake.  “This could generate dangerous debris very near the crater and ashfalls up to tens of miles downwind,” the warning said. The danger comes from the lava level that is dropping inside the volcano. If it falls below the water table, water will pour onto the lava, generating steam that will likely explode from the summit in a shower of rocks, ash and sulfur dioxide gases.  Boulders as big as refrigerators could be tossed a half-mile and ash plumes could soar as high as 20,000 feet spread over a 12-mile area, according to the Hawaii Civil Defense.

President Trump declared the Big Island a disaster area. The move will allow federal financial assistance for state and local governments as they repair roads, parks, schools and water pipes damaged by the eruption.  The Big Island, also known as the island of Hawaii, has a population of about 190,000 people.  The Hawaii National Guard has prepared to use ground convoys and even helicopters to pluck hundreds of residents out of danger if necessary.  The Hawaii National Guard is prepared, with only 90 minutes’ notice, to rescue 2,000 people in troop-carrying vehicles and Blackhawk or Chinook helicopters

“We can move 226 people in one convoy. So we could move 226 at once with about an hour and a half notice, and we would drop them off somewhere. The vehicles could come back, and we would just do that round-robin,” Lt. Col. Shawn Tsuha said.

 

 

 

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During a historic meeting between Kim Jong-un and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in at the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries, Kim Jong-un told Moon Jae-in that North Korea would be willing to denuclearize in return for a commitment that the U.S. will not invade the country. During the meeting, which was broadcast live on the Korean Peninsula and around the world, the two leaders held hands and pledged to work for peace and replace the 1953 armistice with a formal peace treaty. The two countries have been involved a tense standoff on the Korean Peninsula that’s been in place since fighting in the Korean War ended 65 years ago.
The meeting was aimed at paving the way for Kim’s upcoming summit with President Trump. During the meeting, Kim signed a joint declaration affirming a “complete denuclearization” and “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.” According to the South Korean government, the North Korean leader said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the U.S. to witness the closing of the country’s only known underground nuclear test site. Kim announced an end to nuclear and long-range missile testing last week.
The Trump administration has been firm that complete denuclearization is required for the lifting of economic sanctions that have been placed on the country for years. U.S. officials spoke cautiously about the chances of reaching a deal and laid out a plan for the dismantling of the North’s nuclear program over a two-year period. National security adviser John R. Bolton said That would be accompanied by a “full, complete, total disclosure of everything related to their nuclear program with a full international verification.”
The two countries have recently taken other steps toward peace since the meeting with the South Korean military beginning to dismantle loudspeakers that have been blaring propaganda into the North since 2016. North Korea has announced it will shift its clocks forward 30 minutes to align with South Korea’s time zone. South Korean leader Moon Jae-in has also convinced North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to hold an upcoming summit with President Trump at the Demilitarized Zone, known as the DMZ.
Skeptics warn that North Korea previously made similar pledges of denuclearization on numerous occasions, with little or no intention of abiding by them. Kim’s could turn out to be nothing more than empty promises aimed at lifting sanctions on his isolated country. They say the closing of the nuclear site could be symbolic since the site may already be too unstable for further testing. They also question the honesty of Kim’s intentions siting the practicality of monitoring and inspections of supposedly closed sites.
The Denuclearization announcement came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke for the first time about a “good conversation” he had with Mr. Kim during his secret visit to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, over Easter weekend. “We had an extensive conversation on the hardest issues that face our two countries. I had a clear mission statement from President Trump. When I left, Kim Jong-un understood the mission exactly as I described it today” Mr. Pompeo said. Pompeo added that the administration’s objective was “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” with North Korea, and that Mr. Kim was prepared to “lay out a map that would help us achieve” denuclearization.

 

 

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Starbucks has settled with Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, a pair of black men who were arrested at a Starbucks store on April 12th, after an employee called police claiming they were trespassing. Robinson and Nelson agreed to a settlement with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum and an offer of free college tuition to complete bachelor’s degrees through an online program with Arizona State University that was created four years ago for Starbucks employees. In a separate deal, they each will receive a symbolic $1 each from the City of Philadelphia as well as a promise from officials to establish a $200,000 public high school program for young entrepreneurs.
Business partners Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, both 23, were arrested on April 12 as they sat at the Starbucks waiting for a third man about a real estate opportunity at a Starbuck’s in Philadelphia’s well-to-do Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. The manager of the store called police saying the two refused to leave after not ordering anything. When police arrived, two Starbucks employees told them two men had asked to use the restroom but were told they couldn’t because they hadn’t purchased anything. The men allegedly refused to leave after being asked by Starbucks employees.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross also said the two men refused to leave after being asked three times by police officers. The video of their arrest by Philadelphia police went viral, sparking national debate over racial profiling and set off a wave of civil disobedience protests in Philadelphia. In the wake of the incident, Starbucks says it is closing 8,000 of its stores on May 29 for racial-bias training.

In a statement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson thanked Robinson and Nelson “for their willingness to reconcile.” “Starbucks will continue to take actions that stem from this incident to repair and reaffirm our values and vision for the kind of company we want to be,” Johnson said.
City spokesman Mike Dunn said the settlement with Philadelphia released the city and its employees from “any and all claims.” Mayor Jim Kenney also lauded the settlement. “Rather than spending time, money, and resources to engage in a potentially adversarial process, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson approached the city and invited us to partner with them in an attempt to make something positive come of this,” Kenney said in a statement. “This agreement is the result of those conversations, and I look forward to seeing the fruits of this effort in the coming months and years.”
Robinson and Nelson, who grew up in an economically depressed section of the city, said the settlements are a good start, aimed at transforming their community and creating the types of opportunities that did not exist when they were younger. Robinson said “We thought long and hard about it, and we feel like this is the best way to see that change that we want to see.”

 

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Officials have identified nine Puerto Rico Air National Guard airmen killed when their plane crashed shortly after taking off in Savanna, Georgia. The plane, a C-130-type cargo plane from Puerto Rico’s 156th Airlift Wing, had been in Savannah for several days for routine maintenance. It took off about 11:30 a.m on Wednesday morning heading to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Arizona, where it was set to be decommissioned since it was one of the oldest such aircraft still flying—at more than 60 years old.
The plane made it about a mile from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport before it nose-dived toward a state highway intersection and exploded into a ball of fire and black smoke. Witnesses say the aircraft, with four turboprop engines on its overhead wing, banked left as it rapidly descended. The plane then plummeted behind trees. Seconds later, a fireball and thick black smoke erupted from the tree line. The wreck left a debris field of 360,000 square feet — about the area of six football fields. Chatham County officials said that Georgia Highway 21 will remain closed indefinitely as investigators examine the crash site and debris field.
Those killed in the crash have been identified as the pilot, Maj. Jose R. Roman Rosado from Manati, who left behind a wife and two sons; co-pilot, 1st Lt. David Albandoz from Madison, Alabama who left behind a wife and daughter; navigator, Maj. Carlos Perez Serra from Canovanas, who left behind a wife, two sons and a daughter; Senior Master Sgt. Jan Paravisini from Canovanas who left behing two daughters and son; Master Sgt. Jean Audriffred from Carolina who left behind a wife and two sons; Master Sgt. Mario Brana from Bayamon who left behind a daughter; Master Sgt. Eric Circuns from Rio Grande who left behind a wife, two stepdaughters and son; Master Sgt. Victor Colon of Santa Isabel, who left behind a wife and two daughters and Senior Airman Roberto Espada, from Salinas, who is survived by his grandmother.
An investigation into the cause of the crash is being carried out by the National Guard Bureau and the Air Force including whether it could be related to maintenance performed on the plane shortly before it took off or the craft’s age. A team from Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina is conducting the investigation, while a team from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware was sent to recover the airmen’s remains.
The destroyed C-130 and all nine crew members killed had helped with the hurricane recovery effort. The plane had been used to rescue Americans stranded in the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma hit the Caribbean late last year. Days later, Hurricane Maria slammed into the 156th Airlift Wing’s home base in Puerto Rico, and the plane subsequently transported supplies from the U.S. mainland to the ruined island. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Roselló declared nine days of mourning for the crew, during which flags in the territory will fly at half-staff, according to a statement from his office.