Tag Archive: Alexander Shuster


 

 

 

brady.jpg

 

Enfield, CT Police have made a second arrest in connection with the death of 16-year-old Justin Brady, who was fatally stabbed during a fight with another teen outside an Enfield home late Sunday evening.  Police have charged 20-year-old Michael Joseph Cerrato, who lives at the home where Brady was killed, with hindering prosecution in connection with the murder.  On September 11th, an 18-year-old Hartford teen identified as Shyheim “Trey” Adams was charged with manslaughter in the first degree and is being held on $1 million bail.  The most profound question is why no one called 911 sooner.

Shortly after midnight on September 10th, Enfield Police responded to calls of several teens standing around someone laying on the ground.  In one call, a neighbor tells the dispatcher that some of the teens kept going in and out of the house next door.  Officers found Brady bleeding from multiple stab wounds, clinging to life in a front yard near 15 Hoover Lane.  Brady, who was a junior at Enfield High School, where he played football and basketball, was rushed to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Michael Cerrato’s father, the Enfield Assistant Town Attorney, Mark Cerrato, who lives at 15 Hoover Lane where the killing took place, was placed on indefinite paid leave pending the investigation.  Mark Cerrato told police he went to bed around 11pm just after telling his son, his son’s girlfriend and a friend he knows as “Trey” to keep the noise down as they were playing video games.  In his first interview, Cerrato told police he was awakened shortly after by a knock at the door and a “tall kid was at the door holding 2 phones in his hand saying that his friend needed a doctor and asked Mark if he could bring him.”   Cerrato told police he tried to use one of the phones but couldn’t dial because it was locked.  In his second interview he told police that he was awakened when he heard the garage door open and saw his son taking his Toyota Rav4.  Police searched the home and removed blood stained clothing found in the basement and a knife that was hidden under a mattress in a bedroom.

Police said Brady and Adams had been arguing on social media throughout the day and eventually met outside the Hoover Lane residence to fight.  In initial interviews, Michael Cerrato claimed he didn’t see anything and left the house around 11pm.  He later admitted that Trey and Brady had been arguing over the phone and thru Snapchat.  Trey left the room to take a call and returned saying Brady was on his way over to fight.  Cerrato stated that he didn’t believe Trey because he lies a lot and that Justin Brady had previously called him out on it.  Cerrato said Brady arrived 15 minutes later and they went outside.  Brady and Trey were in the street yelling at each other when Brady hit Trey in the chest.  They were wrestling and ended up on the ground.  Cerrato says that he heard Brady yell “he’s cutting me” and witnessed his friend stabbing Brady fast from about 10 feet away.  Trey took a step back and Justin looked down and was covered in blood, yelling to call 911.  Trey ran inside the house and Cerrato followed and saw him washing his hands.  Cerrato, who never called 911, says the knife came from inside his home but he did not know Trey had it until the stabbing occurred.  Cerrato and his girlfriend left in his father’s SUV and dropped Trey off in Hartford.

Another witness says that after the fight he went into the house through the garage and witnessed Trey and Mike in a room, Trey was changing his pants and Mike kept saying “we gotta get out of here”.  The witness went back outside to check on Justin and that Tre, Mike and his girlfriend came out saying to get Justin out of there.  After they left the witness started banging on the front door of the home for help after he saw Mike’s father close the garage door.  He says Mike’s father came to the door and when he asked for help, Cerrato’s father told him “I don’t know what to tell you.”  He says Cerrato’s father started to call 911 but stopped halfway thru.  Thirty minutes had elapsed between the time the trio left the scene and officers arrived and found Brady.

What are your thoughts on this tragic story?  Let us know in the comments.

Advertisements

 

 

shooter.jpg

 

In Cincinnati, a gunman opened fire at a downtown bank, killing three people and injuring two others before he was shot and killed by police. Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said the gunman, who they believe acted alone, fired more than a dozen shots from a legally purchased 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol.  Authorities have identified the gunman as Omar Perez, though a motive for the shooting is still under investigation.  The gun used in the shooting was recovered at the scene along with multiple magazines and around 200 rounds of ammunition.

Police say Perez, 29, of Northbend, Ohio, has no known connection to the bank and it is unclear how he got to Fountain Square but that he entered multiple businesses before going to the bank. He opened fire in the building’s loading dock before continuing into the lobby area and firing more shots.  Officers responded to a 911 call around 9:10 a.m. local time about an “active shooter” at the bank.  Multiple officers then “engaged” the suspect, who was fatally shot multiple times.

Five people were shot, some multiple times, including three who died from their injuries.  One person died at the scene and two victims died at the hospital.  Those killed in the shooting were a grandfather, a father and a son.  Richard Newcomer, 64, a father of 3 and grandfather of 8, who was supervising a construction project on the building’s third floor was shot as he entered the building.  Luis Calderón, 48, a father to a 13 year old and 16 year old, was also killed as he arrived to work.  He had moved to Cincinnati last year to work for the bank and provide a better life for his children.  The third victim was identified as Prudhvi Raj Kandepi, 25, a programmer and consultant for Fifth Third who was described by family as someone who would give everything he could to friends and family.

Police have released security footage of the gunman “firing shots at anyone he sees” while inside the lobby of the building.  The security footage shows Omar Enrique Santa Perez walking in the lobby with his gun held up and carrying a briefcase containing hundreds of rounds of ammunition over his shoulder. A security officer was seen helping people get to a safe location as the gunman was randomly firing shots at anyone he sees. Perez then turns toward the windows and fires shots at approaching officers.   The body camera footage shows officers approaching the gunman and shooting through the glass of the lobby.  The officers on the scene engaged the shooter within three and a half minutes of the first 911 call and fired 11 shots, taking out the gunman.  Police later found that Perez’s gun had jammed during the four-minute rampage.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley praised the officers for ending the shooting quickly.  “You could see in the video … the guy is shooting at the cops, you can see them not being afraid and engaging and ending it.”  “If he had gotten on the elevator, gone up to a floor, if he had been there earlier or a little bit longer, many more people would have been killed.”

Fifth Third Bank is headquartered in Cincinnati but has locations across 10 states.  The company released a statement via Twitter.  “Earlier today, an active shooter entered our headquarters building in downtown Cincinnati. The situation is contained and the shooter is no longer a threat. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone caught up in this terrible event. We continue to work with law enforcement as we ensure the safety of our employees and customers. We are grateful for the support and concerns from our neighbors throughout Cincinnati and the country.”

 

 

tibbetts murder.jpg

 

The father of murdered Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts is demanding politicians and white supremacists stop using his daughter’s death to promote hate against immigrants.  In an article for The Des Moines Register, Rob Tibbetts wrote, “Do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist. The act grievously extends the crime that stole Mollie from our family.  The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people.  To suggest otherwise is a lie.  Sadly, others have ignored our request, they have instead chosen to callously distort and corrupt Mollie’s tragic death to advance a cause she vehemently opposed.”

Tibbetts doesn’t want to see his daughter used as a “pawn in others’ debate,” he said.  “She may not be able to speak for herself, but I can and will. Please leave us out of your debate. Allow us to grieve in privacy and with dignity. At long last, show some decency. On behalf of my family and Mollie’s memory, I’m imploring you to stop.”

Rob Tibbetts also addressed animosity towards immigrants at his daughter’s funeral when he said “the Hispanic community are Iowans, they have the same values as Iowans. As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food.”  “To the Hispanic community, my family stands with you and offers its heartfelt apology.  That you’ve been beset by the circumstances of Mollie’s death is wrong. We treasure the contribution you bring to the American tapestry in all its color and melody.”

Before she went missing, Tibbetts’ brother dropped her off at her boyfriend’s house so she could dog-sit.  Her family reported her missing the next day after she did not show up for work.  The last time anyone saw Tibbetts, 20, was around 7:30 p.m. on July 18th as she was jogging in Brooklyn, a community of 1,500 people in eastern Iowa.  According to her boyfriend, Dalton Jack, Tibbetts had sent him a message saying she was heading out for some exercise as part of her typical routine.  A massive ground search involving more than 200 people broken up into 37 teams was conducted on July 20 encompassing the farmlands and fields within a five-mile radius of Brooklyn, with helicopters hovering above, according to authorities.  Investigators had received more than 1,500 tips and conducted more than 500 interviews in the case.

The investigation led to 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera of rural Poweshiek County, an undocumented farmworker from Mexico who has been charged with first-degree murder for her death.  Investigators say their search led to Rivera after they acquired surveillance camera footage that showed Mollie running, as well as the travel patterns of a vehicle believed to belong to Rivera. After reviewing the video, they determined that Rivera was one of the last people to see her running.

During the police interview, Rivera said that he had seen Tibbitts before and when he saw her running on July 18th, he began following her.  He parked his car and began running alongside and behind her.  At some point, Mollie took out her phone and told him “You need to leave me alone. I’m going to call the police” and then she took off running.   Rivera told police that he got angry and chased her down but that he blacked out and woke up at an intersection in rural Poweshiek County.  He told investigators he realized he had put the woman in the trunk of his car and when he took her out, he saw blood on the side of her head.  He then drove to a rural cornfield and left the body in the field, covering it with corn leaves.   Investigators said that after the interview, Rivera led investigators to her body.

Jacksonville Landing Shooting

 

 

 

jacksonville landing.jpg

In Jacksonville, Florida, authorities say a man opened fire at a restaurant hosting a Madden 19 video game tournament, killing two people and wounding 10 before killing himself.  One person was also injured while trying to escape.  The shooter has been identified as David Katz, a 24-year-old gamer from Baltimore, Maryland.  Katz’s motive in the shooting remains under investigation, police said.

Katz, like many other gamers, was in town for the tournament at GLHF Game Bar at the Jacksonville Landing, a downtown shopping and dining complex.   Witnesses said he had been eliminated from the tournament the day before when two other players beat him.  Dennis Alston, one of the gamers who beat Katz, said that he tried to shake the shooter’s hand after the game but that Katz refused his hand and stared at him blankly.  Alston said that he noticed Katz had returned to the tournament the following day wearing the same clothes.

Katz went by the gaming naming “Bread” and previously won Madden tournaments in 2017.  Authorities say Katz walked past patrons in other parts of the restaurant and then opened fire on his fellow competitive gamers before killing himself.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as Eli Clayton, 22, and Taylor Robertson, 28. Both were competitive Madden players, and Robertson had won the Madden Classic.  Authorities said Katz had legally purchased two weapons in Baltimore over the past month and one of the weapons had a laser sight that attached to the gun.

Gunshots and piercing screams echoed through the Twitch live stream of the tournament in real time, leaving millions of helpless online viewers shocked before the live stream was cutoff.   Shortly after 1:30 p.m., 911 calls started pouring in about a shooting and officers were on the scene within two minutes.  About a dozen firefighters with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department were training in the structure just north of the Landing when the gunfire rang out.

They treated the “walking wounded” outside the restaurant, then made their way inside to find flipped tables and broken dishes scattered across the floor.   They made their way through the restaurant and found the three deceased in the gaming room: Taylor Robertson, 27, of Ballard, West Virginia; Eli Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, California; and the shooter, later identified as David Katz, 24, of Baltimore.

Both Elizabeth and Richard Katz are cooperating with investigators and have told authorities that their son had mental health issues.  Katz underwent treatment for psychological and emotional issues during his parents’ divorce and highly contentious custody battle in 2006.  He was once placed on an antipsychotic medicine used to treat schizophrenia. The alleged gunman was also placed on two antidepressants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bridge collapse.jpg

In Genoa, Italy, 43 people were killed when a bridge collapsed, sending dozens of vehicles tumbling 150 feet. A 656 foot section of the Morandi Bridge suddenly fell, along with dozens of vehicles in busy traffic.  The cause of the collapse is not yet known, but many residents are calling on the head of the company that operated the bridge to resign.

The Morandi Bridge is a main road in and out of Genoa, linking it to the A10 motorway and the road to France.  Shortly before noon on August 14th, the section collapsed amid extremely heavy rainfall.  The bridge was having work done to shore up its foundations at the time.  Video of the moment the stretch of a bridge collapsed has been released by officials.  It shows large chunks of debris crashing down onto traffic, falling about 150 feet below to the ground. A person is seen scrambling from the rubble seconds after the

The Morandi Bridge was the fifth bridge to collapse in Italy in five years.  The government has set up a commission to examine the causes of the disaster.  The company that operated the bridge has set up a fund for victims’ families.  Giovanni Castelluci, the boss of operating company Autostrade per l’Italia, said millions of euros for victims’ families would be available.  He also said the firm would provide funding to help relocate hundreds of people who had to be moved out of their homes after the bridge collapsed.  He added that reports carried out ahead of the disaster had described the bridge as being in good condition, but a full inquiry was “the first priority”.

Controversy is swirling over the deadly incident, with reports that there had been warnings about the bridge’s structure.  The engineer who designed the bridge warned four decades ago that it would require constant maintenance to remove rust.  Italian news outlets have reported that engineering experts warned in February that corrosion of the metal cables supporting the Genoa highway bridge had reduced the bridge’s strength by 20 per cent.  Italian news outlet, Espresso wrote that “neither the ministry, nor the highway company, ever considered it necessary to limit traffic, divert heavy trucks, reduce the roadway from two to one lane or reduce the speed” of vehicles on the key artery for the northern port city.

The bridge, named for its designer, Riccardo Morandi, is a cable-stayed type, in which sections of roadway are cantilevered from towers like diving boards and supported by stays. This type of design, more common now than it was 50 years ago, is often used when the gap to be spanned is too long for the structure to be supported at both ends, but not so long that a suspension bridge would be a better solution.  The stays are critical elements of this kind of design because without them, the cantilevered sections would have to be so massive as to make the bridge too costly or otherwise impractical.  The stays are constructed of concrete with steel rods, called tendons, inside them, which enables the concrete to handle the pull of the roadway. More modern cable-stayed bridges use steel cables instead.

A fact investigators are sure to analyze is that the Morandi Bridge only had two stays — one on each side — for each cantilevered roadway section.  Most modern bridges are built with far more stays.  The new replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River north of New York City, for example, has 24 cables for each section, 12 on each side.

 

 

 

 

 

pa officer.jpg

In Pennsylvania, South Whitehall Township Police Officer Jonathan Roselle has been charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting 44-year-old Joseph Santos.  The shooting happened July 28 along a busy highway near Dorney Park in South Whitehall Township.  Officer Roselle was investigating reports of a Latino man interfering with traffic when he encountered Santos.

Officer Roselle was initially monitoring traffic when a woman came to him about a man who had approached and tried to enter her vehicle.  At least one other driver told the officer that a Latino man was jumping on cars and interfering with traffic.  When Roselle encountered Santos, the officer found him bleeding.  Roselle notified dispatchers of a man with possible mental issues and requested more units at the scene.

According to several videos captured by bystanders, Santos went on to hit and jump on the officer’s car.  Santos is seen walking away from Roselle and his vehicle. At some point, Santos struck the driver side of the officer’s SUV and jumped on the hood of the vehicle. Once off the hood, Santos continued to hit the side of the vehicle, eventually leaning on the SUV.  Roselle ordered Santos during this time to back away from the SUV.  Some of the bystander videos of the encounter captured this.

They also show Santos walking away from the Roselle’s vehicle and then turning back around to walk toward the officer. Roselle is heard yelling for Santos to “get on the ground,” but Santos does not comply. Shortly after, Roselle shot Santos five times and Santos is seen falling to the ground.

While announcing the charges at a press conference, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin told reporters that “in this case, there is no evidence that Mr. Santos was armed with any weapon and no evidence that he had committed or attempted a forcible felony.”  Officer Roselle, 33, who was on patrol by himself for fewer than five months, “killed under an unreasonable, mistaken belief that he was justified” in fatally shooting Santos, Martin added.

Officials said Roselle remains on administrative leave, while the investigation into the shooting continues.  The rookie cop previously served in the U.S. Army and did a tour in Afghanistan.  Roselle graduated from the Allentown Police Academy last year and completed about 13 weeks of field training before being allowed to patrol by himself, the district attorney said.  Martin acknowledged Santos’ bizarre behavior but added that when Santos walked toward the officer again, “he was not running or rushing toward the officer. He did not have anything visible in his hands. He was not clenching his fists. He did not present a threatening posture. He was plainly not armed with any type of weapon.”  Martin also said Santos was heard saying “Don’t do it” before Roselle shot him.

Though Santos failed to comply with the officer’s “legitimate” demands to get on the ground, Martin said, there is nothing objective that shows Roselle “was in danger of imminent serious, bodily injury or death.”  Martin added that Roselle told the first responding officer immediately after the shooting that he thought he “f****d up,” and that he didn’t know what to do because Santos kept advancing toward him. He repeated his “f****d up” comment to his shift supervisor at the scene.

After Santos’ death, family members and community leaders asked why the officer didn’t first use non-lethal force to subdue him. Martin confirmed that Roselle was equipped with a baton, pepper spray and a Taser.  All items were examined and found to be functional.

 

shiloh.jpg

 

 

Federal Judge Dolly Gee has ordered the transfer of all children out of the Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel, Texas, due to allegations of widespread abuse in the immigrant detention center. Judge Gee condemned the detention center for injecting children with psychotropic drugs without their parents’ consent, imprisoning some children in overly restrictive confinement and prohibiting the children from making private phone calls. She also explicitly ordered that the detention center must obtain permission from a legal guardian before giving any psychotropic drugs to detained children.

A pending class-action lawsuit alleges immigrant children housed at the Shiloh Treatment Center were held down and forcibly injected with drugs, rendering them unable to walk, afraid of people and wanting to sleep constantly.  Court documents allege troubling practices in which children claim they were tackled and injected and forced to take pills identified as vitamins that made them dizzy and drowsy.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee found conditions at the nonprofit Shiloh Treatment Center, in violation of a 1997 settlement, called Flores vs. Reno, requiring immigration officials to place detained minors “in the least restrictive setting appropriate to (each Class Member’s) age and special needs.” Gee ordered that all children involved in the suit be removed from the Shiloh facility “unless a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist” determines that a particular child “poses a risk of harm to self or others.”  She also ordered the government to seek consent before giving psychotropic drugs to any detained migrant child. Without consent, the facility may administer such a drug only in an emergency or under a court order, she said.

The Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel, Texas, was founded in 1995 by Clay Dean Hill.   In 2013, the resettlement agency began funding the shelter, sending it more than $26 million in grants over five years to house migrant children.  The company that operates the facility south of Houston has a history of problems, including deaths of children in its custody and allegations children were systematically drugged with psychotropic medications.  The children were allegedly drugged with pills and injections at the residential treatment center.

The center, a mobile home complex-turned-child care center, is licensed to serve kids ages 3 to 17, is run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the office is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The center has been cited eight times for by Texas inspectors in the last three years.  Some of the infractions include overdue background check renewals for staff, children being able to get into medication and go to the restroom with it, and children who were inadequately supervised due to staff members being distracted on their cellphones.

Children have continued to be placed there despite the center being plagued with serious accusations for years.  In 2001, Stephanie Duffield, 16, died after being restrained by staff. Following her death, Shiloh was found to be “in compliance” with state requirements, according to the refugee resettlement office. Children have died at two other programs affiliated with Clay Hill, Behavior Training Research Inc. and the now-closed Daystar Residential Inc. Between 1993 and 2010, three children died after being restrained at those facilities. In 2002, Latasha Bush, 15, died from asphyxia. Eight years later, Michael Keith Owens, 16, died after being restrained inside a closet. Both deaths were ruled homicides.  In most cases, the children were hogtied. Beyond these deaths, there were reports of sexual abuse and staff making developmentally disabled girls fight for snacks.

 

northkoreadismantling.jpg

 

Satellite images show North Korea has taken the first steps toward its commitment to nuclear disarmament.  Images show they have begun dismantling a missile-engine test site, fulfilling one of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s promises during the historic summit in Singapore in June.  The site is believed to play a role in North Korea’s development of liquid-fuel engines, although it’s unclear how much the site’s facilities were still being used.

Images published by a leading think-tank on North Korea show activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, located among dense forest and hills close the northern border with China.  Workers are believed to be dismantling a building used to assemble space-launch vehicles and a nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles, the 38 North think-tank said.

The work started at some point in the past two weeks, after the last visit to North Korea by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.  White House officials have stated that the trip made by Pompeo to Pyongyang went “as bad as it could have”.  Jenny Town, the managing editor of 38 North, which is based at the Stimson Center in Washington DC, said the work at Sohae could be an important move to keep negotiations going.  “Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence-building measure on the part of North Korea,” 38 North said in a report.

South Korean officials have also said they detected dismantlement activities at the site, though didn’t specify the exact nature of the activities.  The South Korean foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, at a briefing in London, said its reports suggested North Korea was preparing for disarmament in return for a lifting of economic sanctions.  The satellite image analysis leaves it unclear whether North Korea planned to demolish the entire Sohae site, which has been vital to its space program. Other important facilities such as fuel bunkers, a main assembly building and the gantry tower appear untouched.

Senior US officials called on Mr Kim to act on his promise to give up his nuclear weapons and said the world, including China and Russia, must continue to enforce sanctions until he does so.  The US State Department issued an advisory together with the departments of Treasury and Homeland Security alerting businesses to North Korea’s sanctions-evasion tactics.  It said they should “implement effective due diligence policies, procedures, and internal controls to ensure compliance with applicable legal requirements across their entire supply chains.”

While the images are encouraging, experts urge caution until the North completely abandons the area.  “If North Korea goes further and dismantle the entire Sohae site, that would meaningfully reduce the country’s long-range missile capability by eliminating a facility where it could fire multiple ICBMs in succession,” said Lee Choon Geun, a missile expert at South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute.  He added, however, that while the first steps in dismantling the site are important, in reality, Pyongyang is giving up little as it appears the country is content with the current long-range weapons in its possession.

 

bart stabbing.jpg

 

 

 

In California, a 27-year-old man has been arrested for attacking two women on a BART train, killing 18-year-old Nia Wilson and wounding her sister.  The Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Department identified the stabbing suspect as John Lee Cowell, 27, a parolee who was released from prison about four months ago.  Cowell, a transient with a history of violence allegedly pulled out a knife at the MacArthur BART station Sunday evening and slashed Nia Wilson across the neck before stabbing her sister, Latifa Wilson, and fleeing the scene.  Police have yet to establish a motive for the attack.

Around 6:30 p.m., one day after the attack, the police took him into custody at the Pleasant Hill BART station, about 15 miles northeast of where the stabbing took place, said Chief Carlos Rojas of the BART Police Department. He said riders had identified Mr. Cowell, whose picture had been widely distributed. The suspect was unarmed and arrested without incident.  Rojas said “It basically happened at the snap of the fingers, at the drop of the pin,” adding that the attack was “the most vicious” he had seen in his nearly 30-year police career.  “It was a very random attack that occurred at MacArthur,” Rojas said. “We had officers at the station. In order for that to have been prevented, it would have been very difficult. You would have had to be standing right next to the individual. You can’t have an officer on every square inch of a station.”  BART authorities say the entire attack occurred in 20 seconds.

The police said that Nia Wilson and her two sisters boarded the train at Concord Station.  Cowell also boarded there and all three got off at MacArthur Station where the attack occurred.  CCTV footage shows that the women did not interact with Cowell as they rode the train together to the city’s MacArthur Station.  The attack happened as the women stopped to help a woman struggling with a stroller exit a train. It was at that moment that a man — identified as John Lee Cowell, a transient with a history of violence — pulled out a knife, slashed Nia across the neck and stabbed her sister, Latifa, before fleeing. Nia’s wound proved to be fatal while her sister was treated at a local hospital.

Station video cameras captured Cowell fleeing the station and discarding his clothes in the parking garage.  He allegedly discarded the large knife at a construction site outside the station where police found it.  Cowell – who police described as having a “violent past” – has previously been convicted of second-degree robbery, battery, being under the influence of a controlled substance, vandalism and petty theft.

Speaking outside a relative’s home, Letifah Wilson, 26, said that she and her sister were returning home from a family event when they were “blindsided by a maniac”.  “He didn’t know us, we didn’t know him,” said Ms Wilson, who was injured in the attack. “For what? I don’t know why.”  “And I looked back, and he was wiping off his knife and stood at the stairs and just looked – and from there on, I was just caring for my sister.  I was in shock… I didn’t know I was cut because I was paying more attention to my sister. But he just stood there, like it was nothing.”

 

 

 

 

cannabis drug.jpg

 

 

For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a cannabis-based drug.  The drug, Epidiolex, has been approved to treat two types of epileptic syndromes. The drug’s approval comes as an increasing number of states have approved medicinal and recreational marijuana use.  Epidiolex was recommended for approval by an advisory committee in April, and the agency had until this week to make a decision.

The twice-daily oral solution is approved for use in patients 2 and older to treat two types of epileptic syndromes: Dravet syndrome, a rare genetic dysfunction of the brain that begins in the first year of life, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a form of epilepsy with multiple types of seizures that begin in early childhood, usually between 3 and 5.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement “This is an important medical advance because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery.”

The drug is the “first pharmaceutical formulation of highly-purified, plant-based cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid lacking the high associated with marijuana, and the first in a new category of anti-epileptic drugs,” according to a statement from GW Pharmaceuticals, the UK-based biopharmaceutical company that makes Epidiolex.  Justin Gover, chief executive officer of GW Pharmaceuticals, described the approval in the statement as “a historic milestone.”

He added that the drug offers families “the first and only FDA-approved cannabidiol medicine to treat two severe, childhood-onset epilepsies.”  “These patients deserve and will soon have access to a cannabinoid medicine that has been thoroughly studied in clinical trials, manufactured to assure quality and consistency, and available by prescription under a physician’s care,” Gover said.  He said Epidiolex will become available in the fall would not give any information on cost, saying only that it will be discussed with insurance companies and announced later.

Cannabidiol is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid chemicals, yet unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, it does not produce a high.  The FDA has approved synthetic versions of some cannabinoid chemicals found in the marijuana plant for other purposes, including cancer pain relief.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, up to one-third of Americans who have epilepsy have found no therapies that will control their seizures.  With this approval, Epidiolex could be a new option for those patients who have not responded to other treatments to control seizures.