Tag Archive: Mark J Shuster Olmsted County


 

 

 

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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.

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Many are outraged after a Dallas police officer has only been charged with manslaughter after shooting and killing 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean in his own apartment.  Police Officer Amber Guyger, who was off-duty at the time of the shooting, says she thought she was in her own apartment and fired after thinking she was confronting an intruder in the dark apartment.  She turned herself in and was released on $300,000 bond.  Investigators have taken a blood sample from the officer to test for drugs and alcohol but the results have not been released.

As more details of what happened that night are released, the incident seems more and more confusing, adding to the mystery of the case.  According to Guyger’s account, she arrived home around 10pm after working a 15-hour shift to the South Side Flats apartments on September 6th.  She didn’t realize she had parked her car on the wrong level of the parking garage and entered the wrong floor of her building.  Guyger lives on the fourth floor while Jean lived on the third floor.  Once she entered what she thought was her own apartment, she says she saw a “large silhouette” in the dark apartment and she thought she had walked in on a burglary.  She fired, hitting Jean in the chest, ultimately killing him and only realized that the apartment was not hers when she turned on the lights in the apartment.  She then called 911 and checked the apartment number outside the door as she explained what occurred to the dispatcher.

Details of a September 9 arrest affidavit filed after Guyger turned herself in only add to the confusion.  The affidavit, which was written after an interview with Guyger, states that Jean was actually shot farther into his apartment.  In that account, after Guyger returned home and entered the wrong floor of the building, she attempted to use an electronic key to open the apartment front door. However, the door was slightly ajar and the force of using her key pushed the door open, despite the fact that her key did not open the lock.  Guyger then entered the apartment and after seeing a “large silhouette” issued verbal commands and then fired twice.

Attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing the family, said they are skeptical that Jean would have left the door to his apartment ajar, saying the PricewaterhouseCoopers worker was a “meticulous” person who would have made sure his door was locked for his own safety.  Merritt also said that two sisters who live in the building had come forward giving details that contradict the affidavit.  The sisters claim that before the shooting, they heard knocking followed by a woman’s voice saying, “Let me in. Let me in.” Then they heard gunshots, followed by a man’s voice saying, “Oh my God, why did you do that?”  One of the women also took a video after the shooting, which shows what appears to be Guyger pacing outside the apartment as emergency responders arrive.

The case is still under investigation by the Texas Rangers and separately by the district attorney’s office– and will be presented to a grand jury.  A grand jury will decide whether to indict Guyger on a different charge than manslaughter or not to indict her at all.  Jean’s family and community members have raised a number of concerns about the pace of the investigation and how it is being handled.  They argue that Guyger is receiving deferential treatment that a civilian suspect would not receive, noting that she was charged with manslaughter rather than murder and that the charge did not come until three days after the shooting.

We want to hear from you!  Do you think this officer received special treatment in the handling of this case? Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

 

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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.”

 

 

 

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Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello raised the island’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975, making the September 2017 storm one of the deadliest in U.S. history.  The announcement came following the release of an independent study ordered by the Rossello administration that found the number of people who succumbed in the months after the storm had been severely undercounted.

The new estimate of nearly 3,000 dead in the six months after Maria devastated the island and knocked out the entire electrical grid was made by researchers with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.  While Puerto Rico is now putting the death toll at 2,975, other studies show the actual death toll from Hurricane Maria may be considerably higher. In May, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found the death toll to be at least 4,645—and perhaps as high as 5,740.

The George Washington researchers said the official count from the Sept. 20 hurricane was low in part because doctors were not trained in how to classify deaths after a disaster.  Researchers reported that physicians and others told them that Puerto Rico’s government did not notify them about federal guidelines on how to document deaths related to a major disaster.

The number of deaths from September 2017 to February 2018 was 22 percent higher than the same period in previous years.  Researchers said they counted deaths over the span of six months — a much longer period than usual — because so many people were without power during that time.  Their reasoning is that the loss of power for such an extended period of time and severe devastation forced people to exert themselves physically or were exposed to intense heat without fans or air conditioning.

There is no national standard for how to count disaster-related deaths. While the National Hurricane Center reports only direct deaths, such as those caused by flying debris or drowning, some local governments may include indirect deaths from such things as heart attacks and house fires.

Puerto Rico’s government released data in June showing increases in several illnesses in 2017 that could have been linked to the storm: Cases of sepsis, a serious bloodstream infection usually caused by bacteria, rose from 708 in 2016 to 835 last year. Deaths from diabetes went from 3,151 to 3,250, and deaths from heart illnesses increased from 5,417 to 5,586.

The study also found that government emergency plans in place when Maria hit were not designed for hurricanes greater than a Category 1. Maria was a Category 4 with 154 mph winds and the damage was estimated at more than $100 billion.  Researchers made several recommendations, including more emergency planning and government training for doctors on filling out death certificates.  They also said the public health system needs to be strengthened.  It remains to be seen whether Puerto Rico can adopt any of the recommendations since the island is trying to restructure a portion of its more than $70 billion public debt amid a 12-year recession.

 

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Michigan’s state health director Nick Lyons is facing trial for involuntary manslaughter over the deaths of two men amid an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint after the city switched its water supply to the Flint River in an attempt to save money.  The Flint region’s 2014-2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed 12 people and sickened another 79 people.  Michigan has admitted 12 people died in the outbreak, but a recent report by PBS “Frontline” has found the death toll from the water crisis in Flint may be higher than Michigan officials have acknowledged.

Judge David Goggins issued a ruling sending Nick Lyon’s criminal case to a full trial, meaning the judge believes there is enough valid evidence for a jury to consider.  The ruling came at the end of a 10-month preliminary hearing that started in September and wrapped up in early July after more than 25 days of testimony.  Lyons is the highest-ranking state official to face charges so far over Flint’s water-poisoning crisis.  He’s also being charged with willful neglect of duty and misconduct in office for the deaths of John Snyder and Robert Skidmore.  The involuntary manslaughter charge is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Lyon’s felony misconduct in office charge is for allegedly obstructing academic researchers from studying the outbreak, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Both men allegedly died from Legionnaires’ disease caused by Flint switching its drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014.  They did not ensure that the water was properly treated to prevent corrosion in old plumbing. This caused lead and other metals to leach into the water, exposing residents and risking permanent neurological damage to local children.  The improper water treatment also interfered with disinfectants and caused the release of iron and other bacterial nutrients into the water, which can spur the spread and growth of Legionella bacteria. When those germs are aerosolized and inhaled from sources such as hot showers, humidifiers, and water coolers, they can cause a deadly form of pneumonia called Legionnaire’s disease.

Flint experienced a surge in Legionnaire’s disease after the water switch, with cases totaling around 100 and leading to at least 12 deaths, including Skidmore and Snyder’s. Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention genetically linked the bacteria infecting patients to those found in the city’s water.  Prosecutors argued Lyon, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director, waited too long to alert the public to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint during the water crisis. He allegedly knew about the outbreak in early 2015 but waited nearly a full year before alerting the public.  Both men were said to be healthy and active prior to their hospitalizations.   Lyon’s defense attorneys argued he was not negligent in the men’s deaths and that prosecuting a public official who did his best amid a wide-ranging crisis would have a chilling effect on other public employees doing their duties.  They pointed out Skidmore and Snyder “would have received the same medical treatment” even if Lyon had made an announcement sooner.

In a statement issued after the ruling, Governor Rick Snyder praised Lyon’s work during the Flint water crisis and said Lyon would remain on the job as Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director during the trial.  An additional 14 current or former state and local officials have been criminally charged in connection with the water issues.

State officials now say that the city’s water meets federal standards for lead and other contaminants but the water can still pick up toxic ingredients from contaminated pipes. For now, residents need to continue drinking bottled or filtered water until the city’s plumbing is replaced, which the city is working to do by 2020.

 

 

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A Ku Klux Klan leader from Maryland, Richard Preston Jr. was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded no contest to a charge of firing a pistol into a crowd of anti-racist protesters during last August’s “Unite the Right” rally.  Charlottesville, Virginia Circuit Court records show Richard Preston was sentenced to eight years, with four of those years suspended.  He also will serve three years of supervised probation. His charge of discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, carried a penalty of between two and 10 years in prison.

Preston, 53 has said he was at the white nationalist rally as a member of a militia — but he is also Imperial Wizard of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Maryland.   Video of the incident shows Preston, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, yelling the n-word before he walked up to an African-American man at close range and fired a shot at the ground right in front of him. Preston then turned around and walked past a line of state troopers, who witnessed the shooting but did not move.  He argued that he acted in self-defense.

Prosecutors said Preston fired a handgun once toward the ground while standing on a sidewalk crowded with rally-goers and counter-protesters after initially pointing the gun at a black man with an improvised flamethrower during the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in the Charlottesville’s downtown.  No one was struck.  Preston maintained that he only the shot the gun because he was trying to protect people coming down some stairs where the protestor was wielding a blowtorch.

The protestor, Corey Long, who was 23 at the time of the rally, was convicted in June of disorderly conduct for brandishing a home-made flamethrower.  Long claims he used a light and a can of aerosol hairspray that was thrown at him by another protestor, to protect others since the police were not doing anything.  He was sentenced to nearly one year in jail, but with all but 20 days suspended. Long was also given 100 hours of community service and two years of good-behavior probation.  He is appealing the conviction.

Before Preston’s sentencing, an R&B musician named Daryl Davis stood up for him in court, paid his bail, and made an offer to the judge: he wanted to take Preston to the National African American History Museum in an effort to re-educate him.  Davis has a long history of befriending members of the KKK who, as a result of their contact, go on to leave the organization.

The judge agreed and the two men visited the museum together.  Daryl Davis testified about what happened between the two men in the museum and afterward to the judge before Preston’s sentencing.  “The judge took everything into account. He commended me for my work and Richard for going to the museum but said Richard broke the law and had to be punished,” “But what we did end up mitigating Richard’s sentence.”  Davis told CNN.  During sentencing, Judge Richard Moore said Preston acted out of anger not fear when he fired the gun. Preston was taken into custody immediately after the sentencing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Pennsylvania a grand jury report revealed how more than 300 Catholic priests sexually abused over 1,000 children and possibly thousands more over seven decades and that the church leadership covered up the abuse. The report chronicles how the church used an array of tactics to conceal the abuse, including lying to the community about why a priest was removed from the parish, transferring pedophile priests rather than firing them, and locking abuse complaints away in a “secret archive.”

The report also details how priests raped young girls and boys, including one priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out. Another priest impregnated a young girl and then arranged for her to have an abortion. One priest who had been repeatedly accused of child abuse asked for—and received—a letter of recommendation to work at Disneyland.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said “Today, the most comprehensive report on child sexual abuse within the church ever produced in our country was released,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians can finally learn the extent of sexual abuse in these dioceses. For the first time, we can all begin to understand the systematic cover up by church leaders that followed. The abuse scarred every diocese. The cover up was sophisticated. The church protected the institution at all costs.”  “The term ‘secret archives’ is not my term. It is how the church officials themselves refer to the troves of documents sitting in filing cabinets, just feet from the bishops’ desks. In each diocese, the bishops had the key to the secret archives, which contained both allegations and admissions of the abuse and the cover-up.”

The 884-page document, two years in the making, exposed the predators and the efforts of their bishops to protect them.  Several clergy abuse victims who had testified before the grand jury attended Shapiro’s news conference and at least one of them could be seen breaking down in tears.

In a statement issued Thursday—two days after the grand jury delivered its report—Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke described the abuses as criminal and morally reprehensible.  “There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow. The Holy See treats very seriously the work of the grand jury and the report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors. The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. The acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and, in many cases, also their faith. The church must learn hard lessons from the past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.”

The Vatican told victims Pope Francis “is on their side” and promised action to “root out this tragic horror.” The statement came just months after the pope said he mishandled a Vatican investigation into widespread sexual abuses by clergy in Chile, and less than two months after a Vatican court sentenced the church’s former ambassador to Washington, D.C., to five years in prison on a child pornography charge.

 

 

 

 

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The airline industry is re-examining security protocols after an airport worker at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport stole a plane on Friday night, took off without permission, then flew it for about an hour before crashing the plane into an island on Puget Sound.  Richard Russell, a ground service agent, was the only person on board when he crashed the 76-seat Horizon Air plane.

Russell took off around 7:30 p.m. on August 10th, according to the authorities. He chatted with air traffic controllers who tried to guide him to a safe landing, as jets from the Air National Guards of Washington and Oregon flew alongside him, ready to take action. In recordings of Mr. Russell’s conversation with air traffic controllers, he speaks admiringly of the Olympic Mountains at sunset, complains of lightheadedness and muses about potential prison time if he were to land the plane safely.

At one point, an air traffic controller asked if Mr. Russell felt comfortable flying.  “It’s blast, man,” Mr. Russell replied. “I played video games before so, you know, I know what I’m doing a little bit.”  At times, Mr. Russell was contrite.  “Man, I’m sorry about this. I hope this doesn’t ruin your day,” he said to the controller, adding that he was grateful to be kept away from other aircraft. “I’m glad you’re not, you know, screwing up everyone else’s day on account of me.”  He said he hoped to have a “moment of serenity” in the air but lamented that the sights “went by so fast.”

“I got a lot of people that care about me, and it’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this,” Mr. Russell could be heard saying. “I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it until now.”  Videos taken by onlookers during Mr. Russell’s flight showed the plane doing deep dives, broad loops and at least one upside-down roll.  The plane came down in a fiery crash on Ketron Island, about 30 miles from the airport and Russell was killed in the crash.

Russell had worked for Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, for three and a half years and was responsible for handling luggage and cargo and for towing aircraft.  At a news conference the following day, the chief executive of Horizon Air Industries, Gary Beck, said Mr. Russell had cleared all the necessary background checks and was meant to be “on the secure side” of the airport, where the plane was.  Beck said that Richard Russell did not have a pilot’s license “Commercial aircrafts are complex machines,” Mr. Beck added. “I don’t know how he achieved the experience he did.”

The plane was not scheduled for a flight when Mr. Russell commandeered it.  Alaska Airlines officials said it was not clear how Russell had managed to take off in the plane. Debra Eckrote, the chief of the northwest regional office of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that it was conceivable that a ground service agent would be able to start an airplane.   “They don’t necessarily use a key, so there’s switches that they use to start the aircraft,” she said. “So if the person has basic understanding — from what I understand he was support personnel, ground personnel — they probably do have at least a basic understanding on how to start the aircraft.”

At a news conference, Mike Mathews, a family friend, read a statement on behalf of Mr. Russell’s family. “We are stunned and heartbroken,” according to the statement, which described Mr. Russell as a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend.  “He was right in saying that there are so many people who have loved him.”  Tim Orr, who also works at the Seattle-Tacoma airport said he had known Mr. Russell since they were both 12.  He described Russell as the funniest and nicest person in the room.  Mr. Orr added that Russell and his wife were active church members “so he doesn’t really fit the bill of someone who would steal an airplane.”

 

 

 

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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.