Tag Archive: mark shuster UGA


 

 

 

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A 24-year-old woman is facing 3 counts of reckless homicide and one misdemeanor count of disregarding a stop sign and causing injury after the pickup truck she was driving struck and killed three siblings who were crossing the road to get to their school bus in rural Rochester, Indiana.  Six-year-old twin brothers Xzavier Ingle and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl, died at the scene Tuesday morning.  The children’s classmate and neighbor, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, was also hit.  He was airlifted to the hospital and remains hospitalized in critical condition.  The children were crossing State Route 25 to get to their school bus when they were hit at about 7:15 a.m. in front of the Meiser mobile home park where they lived.

The Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. bus had stopped on the two lane road, lowered its stop-arm and had the emergency lighting activated just before the northbound Toyota Tacoma pickup truck slammed into the children as they crossed the southbound lane.  Alyssa L. Shepherd, of Rochester, was arrested at her workplace, was charged and released on a $15,000 bond.  Shepard told an Indiana State Police detective that she saw flashing emergency lights on the rural highway but didn’t realize it was a school bus picking up the children until it was too late.  By the time she realized a bus was stopped, the children were already in front of her vehicle.  Their father rushed out of their home and identified them after police arrived to investigate, officials said.  State Police Detective Michelle Jumper testified at a probable cause hearing into charges against Alyssa Shepherd, the bus driver told investigators he saw the oncoming truck’s headlights. The bus driver stated that because the truck was far back and had plenty of time to slow, the driver waved to the children, telling them to cross.  The bus driver honked the horn when it was clear the truck wasn’t stopping.  Jumper testified that Shepherd told her she typically did not drive on the route where the crash occurred and that she had three children in the back seat of her truck when she allegedly struck and killed the three siblings.

A witness driving behind Shepherd said she and Shepherd were traveling 45 mph. The witness said the truck’s headlights illuminated the children as they were crossing the road and she said she started to freak out as she realized ‘I’m slowing down, but that truck in front of me is not slowing.”  Shepherd remained at the scene after the crash, cooperating with investigators. She was given a blood test as is standard in all fatal crashes, but police said they do not think alcohol or drugs were a factor.  Shepard who works as children’s director at Faith Outreach, a Foursquare Gospel Church in Rochester then went to work to pray.

Parents who live in the mobile home park had previously asked the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation to change the bus route so the children didn’t have to cross State Route 25 to catch the bus. Parents complained that it was dangerous for children to cross a highway where vehicles routinely travel at 50 to 60 mph.  Elgin Ingle, the uncle of the children who died said “There’s plenty of room for the school bus to pull into the mobile home park and pick up these kids.  This school has been warned that this is an issue.  My brother is torn apart, he didn’t lose one kid, he lost all his kids,” Ingle said. “How do you tell your little brother it’ll get better? You can’t. My brother, the most loving man in the world and the best father I’ve ever known, now is a father to no one.”  Blaine Conley, superintendent of the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, released a statement that stating that the bus stop will be relocated from State Road 25 into the mobile home park where the children lived.

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Federal authorities have made an arrest in the pipe bomb mailings four days after the investigation began.  Cesar Sayoc, a 56 year old DJ and former stripper, is accused of sending 13 pipe bombs through the mail to a range of Democrats and critics of the president.  Authorities say Sayoc left a trail of forensic and digital evidence behind that authorities used to track him down and arrest him.  Prosecutors charged Sayoc with five federal crimes and he faces more than 50 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Sayoc, who has a long criminal history, was arrested in Florida after investigators linking DNA found on two bomb packages to a sample that was previously collected by the state of Florida.  They also matched his fingerprints to one from a separate pipe bomb mailing he sent.  Authorities say  he had previously filed for bankruptcy and appeared to be living in his van, showering on the beach or at a local fitness center.

Authorities launched an investigation after packages containing homemade pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats.  The packages were sent to Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, George Soros, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congress member Maxine Waters and former CIA Director John Brennan.  Investigators say the devices may have originated in southern Florida and were sent through the U.S. Postal Service. The 10 packages being examined had a return address for Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and on some of the packages, her last name was misspelled.

CNN had to evacuate its New York office in Manhattan after it received what police described as a “live explosive device.”  The package was delivered by courier to CNN’s offices at the Time Warner Center in New York and was addressed to the former CIA director John Brennan.  The package also contained an envelope containing white powder.   Police are also investigating a suspicious package found early this morning that was mailed to actor Robert De Niro’s restaurant in New York. De Niro has frequently publicly criticized the president.  Two additional packages were intercepted Thursday, headed for former Vice President Joe Biden in Delaware.  Authorities discovered the two packages at post offices in Delaware addressed to the former vice president.  At least one of them had been misaddressed and returned to sender.  No one was hurt in any of the cases.

Authorities say the devices sent to Soros, Brennan and the Democratic officials appeared to be pipe bombs that were rudimentary but functional.  All the explosive devices had similar construction, had timer devices and at least one contained projectiles, including shards of glass.  Sources say the bombs were unstable and could have been set off by handling.  The FBI said all the packages were in manila envelopes with bubble-wrap interior and had six American flag Forever stamps on the envelopes.

Investigators are analyzing the crude devices to reveal whether they were intended to detonate or simply cause fear before the Midterm Election.  Law enforcement officials said that the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged to explode upon opening. They are uncertain whether the devices were just poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.

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Thousands of Central American undocumented migrants are heading toward the United States as they flee rampant violence and economic deprivation.  The caravan of about 4,000 Honduran migrants has reportedly grown to around 7,000 as their journey continues toward the U.S. border.  The US President has threatened to cut foreign aid to Central American countries, nullify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal if Mexico doesn’t stop the migrants, and even deploy troops to “close” the border.

The Mexican government had ordered the migrants to submit to processing by the immigration authorities at a legal border crossing but many said they feared being deported and the group kept moving north.  The Mexican authorities warned as the migrants approached that only travelers with valid documents and visas, or with claims for asylum or other forms of protection, would be allowed into Mexico. They threatened deportation for those who tried to enter illegally and said they would process the migrants one by one.

Mexican officials said they received more than 1,000 asylum requests from caravan members at the border. Some migrants were taken to a local fairground that had been converted into a temporary government shelter. Many others remained on a bridge spanning the Suchiate River, waiting to be processed by Mexican officials.  The vast majority of the caravan’s members have refused to apply for refuge in Mexico, worried that the process could lead to their detention or deportation.

Mexican officials have said migrants seeking asylum are under no legal obligation to apply in Mexico.  Under a proposed bilateral agreement, United States border officials would be able to legally turn back asylum seekers who first pass through Mexico, forcing them to seek protection south of the border.  Mexican officials encouraged the migrants to apply for asylum but made little effort to halt the massive group that stretched along this city’s main highway for more than a half-mile.  Federal police officers were present on the road, monitoring the procession, and a police helicopter circled overhead, but the authorities allowed the procession to carry on unimpeded.

The caravan is part of a tradition of mass migrations, often organized by advocacy groups, meant to provide safety in numbers to migrants, who face many threats to their safety along the perilous migrant trail.  These caravans usually number in the hundreds, passing through unnoticed, but the current caravan, which continues to grow, is by far the largest on record.

Many of the migrants have previously lived in the United States, for years or even decades, before being deported.  Many say they joined the caravan to reunite with their children, or to resume old jobs and seem undeterred by the American authorities who had apprehended them and promised to keep them out.  Some say they returned to their home countries voluntarily when their visas expired but have longed for a better life.  Some members of the caravan plan to apply for political asylum, citing the threats they’ve received from gangs in Honduras or, in Nicaragua, the government’s assaults on the political opposition.

 

 

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Over 13 years after Hurricane Katrina, a man who shot three black men as they were evacuating Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans has pleaded guilty to a hate crime.  Roland Bourgeois Jr., 55, abandoned his previous not-guilty plea as part of a deal with prosecutors, rather than face a trial that was set for Nov. 26.  The case is one of several high-profile, racism-fueled crimes that took place in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane.

Roland Bourgeois admitted he shot the men because of their race and reportedly told his neighbor, “Anything coming up this street darker than a brown paper bag is getting shot.”  He was indicted five years after Katrina on allegations that he fired a shotgun at three black men in Algiers Point during the immediate aftermath of the storm.  His case has dragged on for years, being delayed over a dozen times amid questions about his physical and mental health.

Federal prosecutors allege that in the days after the storm ravaged the city, Bourgeois and his friends banded together to protect the Algiers Point neighborhood of New Orleans from “outsiders” after the storm.  Within days, a band of 15 to 30 locals had taken up weapons, barricaded the streets with debri and regularly patrolled the neighborhood.  Residents say they were trying to keep their homes from being overrun by thieves and outlaws.  Bourgeois was quoted as saying he wanted to stop people “from tearing up the city” and using a racial slur. Bourgeois reportedly said he would shoot anyone who was “darker than a brown paper bag” and came close to his home on Vallette Street.

When three black men who were headed to the Algiers Point ferry landing, where authorities had set up an evacuation point, walked by his home, Bourgeois fired his shotgun at them.  He struck all three at least once and then bragged that he “got” one of the men following the shooting and displayed the bloodied baseball cap that fell from the wounded man’s head, according to prosecutors.  All three men survived the unprovoked attack including the one most seriously wounded, Donnell Herrington.

Herrington says he was walking to the terminal with his 17 year old cousin, Marcel Alexander, and a friend, Chris Collins when a white man pointed a shotgun at them and fired without saying a word.  The first shotgun blast ripped into his throat, torso and arms.  Somehow, Herrington got to his feet and began running.  He remembers two more armed men joining the first gunman and then he was shot in the back as he tried to escape.  Herrington staggered to the home of an African-American couple who drove him to West Jefferson Medical Center.  Doctors discovered buckshot in his arms, chest, abdomen and back.  A cluster of pellets had torn open the internal jugular vein along the right side of his throat and he underwent emergency surgery to repair the shredded vein.  Both Alexander and Collins witnessed the shooting and also suffered minor gunshot wounds.

Bourgeois pleaded guilty under terms of a deal struck between Bourgeois and federal prosecutors.  The plea agreement states that Bourgeois pleads guilty to two charges and the government will dismiss the original indictments involving hate crimes and firearms charges.  The first charge alleges that he willfully injured, intimidated and interfered with the three men including the use of a dangerous weapon. The second says he knowingly possessed, carried and used the shotgun during the acts listed in count one.

The deal proposes that Bourgeois’ sentence must be more than 5 years, but less than 10 years.  The government announced they will pursue the maximum sentence.  If the judge accepts the agreement, Bourgeois would forfeit his right to appeal his convictions and sentencing will move forward.  His sentencing is set for Jan. 17, 2019.  If the deal is rejected, Bourgeois has the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea and face trial.

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Russian officials say the gunmen who killed 21 people and wounded 53 more before killing himself at a vocational school in Crimea was an 18 year old student of the school.  The shooter, identified as Vladislav Roslyakov, described as a shy loner, also set off an explosive device.  He committed suicide in the library after the assault at Kerch Polytechnic College.  Officials are still investigating a motive in the attack which is the deadliest instance of school violence in the region since the 2004 Beslan terror attack, which killed 333 people, most of them children.

At first, officials reported a gas explosion at the school but later said an explosive device had ripped through the cafeteria during lunchtime in a suspected terrorist attack.  Eventually, the attack was classified as a mass murder attack at the school carried out by one person.  The Investigative Committee said the homemade explosive device rigged with shrapnel went off in the school lunchroom and a second explosive device was later found and destroyed.

Guns are tightly restricted in Russia. Civilians can own only hunting rifles and smooth-bore shotguns and must undergo significant background checks.  Local officials said Roslyakov had only recently received a permit to own a shotgun which he bought on September 8th.    Officials say Roslyakov bought 150 rounds of ammunition at a gun shop on October 13.  Just four days later on October 17th, he entered the school grounds at about 11:46 a.m. and began his attack.  Several witnesses described the gunman walking up and down the halls at Kerch Polytechnic College and firing randomly at classmates and teachers. He also fired at computer monitors, locked doors and fire extinguishers.  A survivor of the attack said the shooting lasted about 15 minutes.

Security footage at the school shows Roslyakov enter the technical college carrying a sports bag and bypassing security.  He then entered the school’s lunchroom with a rucksack and leaving without it.  The footage captures him going up to the school’s first floor empty-handed just before a fire ball and a massive explosion blows out windows and doors on the ground floor.  Roslyakov is then shown walking towards a female teacher in a corridor and gunning her down, before shooting an approaching student.  A security camera image carried by Russian media showed Roslyakov, calmly walking down the stairs of the school with the shotgun in his gloved hand while wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Hate.”

A video taken by an unknown survivor of the attack shows a terrified group of students and staff running through a hallway as gunshots and screaming can be heard nearby.  The group talk in whispers as they search for safety, not knowing where the gunmen is.  The video shows them briefly in a classroom and then another hallway.  They approach a stairwell and see a body on the stairs below before turning back down the hall and down another stairwell.  Terrified, they cautiously look down the stairs before making a run through a doorway and to an outside exit.

If you’re thinking some details in this story sound very familiar you are correct.  His outfit resembled that of Eric Harris, one of the perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.  The Columbine attackers also tried but ultimately failed to detonate an explosive device in the cafeteria.  Similar to Columbine, Roslyakov also retreated to the school library to commit suicide after the attack.  A friend of the shooter said he had an interest in the Columbine school shooting in the US.  Also leading to speculation that the massacre was a copycat crime is the fact that some Russian news outlets have reported that Roslyakov belonged to a fan club on social media for the columbine shooters.  Russian news outlets have dubbed the shooting the “Russian Columbine,” because of the similarities.

 

NY Limo Crash Leaves 20 Dead

 

 

 

 

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On October 6th, a deadly limo crash in upstate New York killed 20 people, making it the deadliest transportation accident in the U.S. since 2009.  The crash occurred just before 2pm on Saturday in the town of Schoharie, about 25 miles west of Albany.  All 18 people inside the limo, including the driver and 2 pedestrians were killed.

The limousine, a 2001 Ford Excursion, ran a stop sign and crossed the intersection of State Route 30 and State Route 30A, traveling at about 50 mph. The limo struck an unoccupied Toyota Highlander in a parking lot of a local country store, which then hit and killed the two pedestrians.  The limo then barreled through the parking lot before landing in a shallow ravine beyond the road.

The occupants, a group of 17 family and friends, had just set out to celebrate one of the victims, Amy Steenburg’s 30th birthday and were headed to a brewery in Cooperstown.  Among the dead were Amy Steenburg and her husband of four months Axel Steenburg, and her brother-in-law Rich Steenburg who is survived by a 10-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson.  Amy’s three sisters and two of their husbands were also killed in the limo crash.  Mary Dyson, 33, one of Amy’s sisters, along with her husband, Rob Dyson, 34.  Amy’s sister Abigail Jackson, 34, and her husband Adam Jackson, 34, left behind two daughters, Archer and Elle, ages 4 and 1.  Amy’s other sister Allison King, 31, was also killed.

Also in the group were newlyweds Erin McGowan, 34 and Shane McGowan, 30; Amanda Halse, 26, and her boyfriend Patrick Cushing, Amanda Rivenburg, Rachael Cavosie, Michael Ukaj, a marine who served in Iraq and Matthew Coons and girlfriend Savannah Bursese.  The limo driver, Scott Lisinicchia, 53 and two pedestrians; 46-year-old assistant professor Brian Hough and his 71 year old father-in-law James Schnurr were also killed.  Hough and Schnurr were standing in the store parking lot talking when they were killed.

The limo involved in the crash, which was owned by Prestige Limousine, had failed a Sept. 4 safety inspection in part due to an Anti-lock braking system (ABS) malfunction indicators for the hydraulic brake system.  The driver, Scott Lisincchia also did not have the appropriate driver’s license required to drive a vehicle that can hold more than 15 people.  Joseph Morrissey, spokesman for the New York State Department of Transportation, said in a statement. “The assertion that the limousine was cleared to be on the road following the September inspection is categorically false.  The vehicle was subject to inspections and the owner was warned not to operate the vehicle; the vehicle was placed out of service.”

Just days after the deadly crash, the operator of the limo company, Nauman Hussain, 28, was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide.  Hussain’s car was packed with luggage when he was stopped Wednesday on a highway near Albany.  Police say he was charged because he put a defective vehicle back on the road and hired a driver whom he knew was not properly licensed to drive the vehicle.  Hussain pled not guilty was released after posting $150,000 bond that same day.

Hussain’s lawyer, Lee Kindlon, said his client only handled marketing duties and phone calls, while his father, Shahed Hussain, is the owner of Prestige Limousine, and the person responsible for the day-to-day operation of the limo company.  Shahed Hussain is currently in Pakistan.  Police say Nauman Hussain is the one who put the vehicle back on the road despite it failing inspections and hired the driver who did not have proper licensing to operate the vehicle.

 

 

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Federal prosecutors in Virginia have charged four white supremacists from California with conspiracy and inciting rioting at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August of 2017.   Last year’s protest left activist Heather Heyer dead after white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters.

Benjamin Daley, Thomas Gillen, Michael Miselis and Cole White are all members of a militant white supremacist group from California known as the Rise Above Movement, which espouses anti-Semitic views and meets regularly in public parks to train in boxing and other fighting techniques, according to an affidavit written by an FBI agent.  According to The Anti-Defamation League, the Rise Above Movement members believe they are fighting against a “modern world” corrupted by the “destructive cultural influences” of liberals, Jews, Muslims and non-white immigrants. Members refer to themselves as the mixed martial arts club of the “alt-right” fringe movement, a loose mix of neo-Nazis, white nationalists and other far-right extremists.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said each defendant faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted on the two counts they each face: traveling to incite riots and conspiracy to riot.  The affidavit alleges the four men were “among the most violent individuals present in Charlottesville” in August of last year during a torch-lit march on the University of Virginia campus and a larger rally in downtown the following day. It says photos and video footage shows they attacked counter-protesters, “which in some cases resulted in serious injuries.”  The men have also taken part in “acts of violence” at political rallies in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California, and other places, the affidavit alleges.

Cullen said that the men also engaged in acts of violence in their home state of California at a series of political rallies, dubbing them “serial rioters.”  At a news briefing, Cullen said “This is a group that essentially subscribes to an anti-Semitic, racist ideology, and then organizes, trains, and deploys to various political rallies, not only to espouse this particular ideology but also to engage in acts of violence against folks who are taking a contrary point of view.”

A Los Angeles judge denied bail for Michael Miselis, finding that he posed a risk to the community.  Miselis’ attorney argued for his release, detailing how his client got his master’s at UCLA and worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman for five years before being dismissed after his connection to Charlottesville became public.  Prosecutor David Ryan argued against bail for Miselis, saying agents found smoke bombs, flares, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, mostly for assault weapons, in his home, where he had a wall hanging that said “88,” a common abbreviation for “Heil Hitler.”  Ryan also said said Miselis, Daley and other members of their group also traveled to Germany and the Ukraine earlier this year and met with members of well-known violent white supremacy groups.

Cullen said investigators sifted through “an incredible volume” of video and still photographs to review the movements of the four men and determine whether they could claim they were only defending themselves after being attacked by others at the rally. He said prosecutors believe there was “no provocation” for them to engage in violence that day.  The four men, he said, made their way to the rally with their hands taped, “ready to do street battle.”  Then they engaged in punching, kicking, head-butting and pushing, assaulting an African-American man, two women and a minister who was wearing a clerical collar, Cullen said.  Cullen also said a significant aspect of the case was that the four men had “extensive and robust” social media profiles and used social media to further their purposes.

 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

 

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A Texas Supervisory Border Patrol agent has been arrested for murder after authorities say he confessed to killing four women.  Agent Juan David Ortiz is being held on $2.5 million bond, accused in the killing of at least four women and of injuring a fifth who managed to escape. Ortiz, 35, has worked as a Border Patrol agent for 10 years and is a U.S. Navy veteran.

Investigators have called the case a two week string of violence with the Customs and Border Patrol intel supervisor continuing to go to work as usual throughout that time.  Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said Saturday that investigators “consider this to be a serial killer” whose victims were believed to be prostitutes.  Ortiz is being held in Laredo on four counts of murder along with charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint.

On Sept. 4th of the body of 29-year-old Melissa Ramirez, a mother of two, was found on a rural road.  Ramirez had been shot in the head.  Days later, 42-year-old Claudine Anne Luera, a mother of five, was found shot and left in the road.  Badly injured but still alive, Luera was rushed to the hospital but died later that day.

On September 14th, at around 9 p.m. Ortiz picked up a woman named Erika Pena. She told police she struggled with Ortiz inside his truck after he pointed a gun at her but that she was able to flee.  She ran to a gas station where she found a state trooper and asked for help.  Police were on the lookout for Ortiz when officers approached him after he stopped for gas around 1 a.m.  He left his gun in his truck and fled on foot. He was captured at 2:30 a.m., when police found him hiding in a hotel parking garage, where he unsuccessfully attempted to draw the gunfire of the arresting officers.

According to the affidavit, Ortiz told investigators that after Pena ran off, Ortiz returned home to load several firearms in anticipation of a confrontation with police.  He then picked up a woman in Laredo, drove her outside of town and shot her in a remote area of the county.  He returned to Laredo, picked up another victim and repeated the process.  The identities of his last two victims have not yet been released by authorities.

Police said the dead are believed to have been prostitutes and that one of them was a transgender woman. At least two were U.S. citizens; the nationalities of the others were not known.  Police say Ortiz has a a “dislike” of the sex-worker community and appears to have targeted his victims deliberately after gaining their trust.  He shot all four execution-style in the head after forcing them out of his truck in rural parts of Webb County, outside the city limits of Laredo.  Investigators believe Ortiz acted alone and are still working to determine a motive.

 

 

 

 

 

A Texas Supervisory Border Patrol agent has been arrested for murder after authorities say he confessed to killing four women.  Agent Juan David Ortiz is being held on $2.5 million bond, accused in the killing of at least four women and of injuring a fifth who managed to escape. Ortiz, 35, has worked as a Border Patrol agent for 10 years and is a U.S. Navy veteran.

Investigators have called the case a two week string of violence with the Customs and Border Patrol intel supervisor continuing to go to work as usual throughout that time.  Webb County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz said Saturday that investigators “consider this to be a serial killer” whose victims were believed to be prostitutes.  Ortiz is being held in Laredo on four counts of murder along with charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful restraint.

On Sept. 4th of the body of 29-year-old Melissa Ramirez, a mother of two, was found on a rural road.  Ramirez had been shot in the head.  Days later, 42-year-old Claudine Anne Luera, a mother of five, was found shot and left in the road.  Badly injured but still alive, Luera was rushed to the hospital but died later that day.

On September 14th, at around 9 p.m. Ortiz picked up a woman named Erika Pena. She told police she struggled with Ortiz inside his truck after he pointed a gun at her but that she was able to flee.  She ran to a gas station where she found a state trooper and asked for help.  Police were on the lookout for Ortiz when officers approached him after he stopped for gas around 1 a.m.  He left his gun in his truck and fled on foot. He was captured at 2:30 a.m., when police found him hiding in a hotel parking garage, where he unsuccessfully attempted to draw the gunfire of the arresting officers.

According to the affidavit, Ortiz told investigators that after Pena ran off, Ortiz returned home to load several firearms in anticipation of a confrontation with police.  He then picked up a woman in Laredo, drove her outside of town and shot her in a remote area of the county.  He returned to Laredo, picked up another victim and repeated the process.  The identities of his last two victims have not yet been released by authorities.

Police said the dead are believed to have been prostitutes and that one of them was a transgender woman. At least two were U.S. citizens; the nationalities of the others were not known.  Police say Ortiz has a a “dislike” of the sex-worker community and appears to have targeted his victims deliberately after gaining their trust.  He shot all four execution-style in the head after forcing them out of his truck in rural parts of Webb County, outside the city limits of Laredo.  Investigators believe Ortiz acted alone and are still working to determine a motive.

 

Let us know what you think of this story in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

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Jury selection is underway in the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who’s charged in the killing of 17-year-old in October 2014. The killing was captured on a police dash cam video released under court order, which contradicted police claims about the shooting. The video shows the teenager posing no threat and walking away from the officers before Van Dyke opened fire 16 times.

On October 20, 2014, just before 10pm, police responded to reports of someone breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard at 41st and Kildare Avenue.  Initial reports said McDonald had been behaving erratically while walking down the street while holding a folding knife with a three-inch blade. When officers confronted McDonald, he used a knife with a 3-inch blade to slice the tire on a patrol vehicle and damage its windshield.  McDonald walked away from police after numerous verbal instructions from officers to drop the knife, at which point responding officers requested Taser backup.

Video of the shooting shows that Officer Van Dyke was advancing on McDonald, while McDonald was walking away from him when the first shot was fired. The first shot hit McDonald, who spun and fell to the ground.  As McDonald lay on the ground, still holding the knife, Van Dyke fired more shots into him from about 10 feet away, expending the maximum capacity of his 9mm semi-automatic firearm. Van Dyke was on scene for less than 30 seconds before opening fire and the first shot he fired was 6 seconds after he exited his patrol car.  McDonald was shot 16 times in 14–15 seconds and 9 of those shots hit his back as he lay on the ground.  Toxicology reports later revealed that McDonald had PCP in his blood and urine.

The first responding officer said that he did not see the need to use force and none of the at least eight other officers on the scene fired their weapons.  Even though McDonald’s death was ruled a homicide due to multiple gunshot wounds, initial police statements of the incident prompted police supervisors to rule the case a justifiable homicide and within the bounds of the department’s use of force guidelines.  The reports did not say how many times McDonald was shot and said McDonald was acting “crazed” and lunged at officers after refusing to drop his knife.  After the shooting a police union representative told reporters that Van Dyke had acted in self-defense after McDonald lunged at him and his partner.

On November 24, 2015, shortly after dashcam video of the incident was released to the public, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder and he turned himself in to authorities.  He was initially held without bail at Cook County Jail for six days.  On November 30, he was granted bail, set at $1,500,000. He posted $150,000—ten percent of the bail—and was released from jail.  On December 16, Van Dyke was indicted by a grand jury on six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct.  On December 29, 2015, Van Dyke pled not guilty to the charges.  If convicted of first-degree murder, Van Dyke faces a prison sentence of 20 years to life.

On June 27, 2017, three Chicago police officers were indicted for charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct for allegedly attempting to cover up the events surrounding the shooting.

 

 

 

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Former Balch Springs, TX police officer Roy Oliver, 38, was found guilty of murder in the shooting of Jordan Edwards, an unarmed teen who was a passenger in a car that had left a party.  Oliver was fired by the Balch Springs Police Department just days after the shooting for violating several departmental policies.  A Texas jury sentenced Oliver to 15 years in prison and imposed a $10,000 fine for the murder of the 15-year-old honor student.  The jury found Oliver not guilty on two counts of aggravated assault.

During the trial Oliver claimed that he fired at the car after seeing it move toward his partner, Officer Tyler Gross, and thought Gross’s life was in danger.  Officer Gross testified that he did not fear for his life and didn’t feel the need to fire his own weapon.  Oliver faced up to life in prison on the murder conviction.  Prosecutors were pushing for at least 60 years in prison, while defense argued for 20 years or less.  Oliver’s mother and wife asked for a lenient prison sentence.  His wife, Ingrid Llerena, testified that she’s concerned about their 3-year-old son, who is autistic, and the boy’s future without his father at home.

In April 2017, the police were responding to a call about a house party when they encountered Jordan, his brothers and his friends in their car, attempting to leave. The officers first claimed that the boys were “backing down the street toward officers in an aggressive manner,” before later retracting that statement and acknowledging that the teens had been driving away.

Police body cam video shows Oliver fired his assault rifle into the car carrying the five teenagers as they drove away from the officer, hitting Jordan in the head.  One of the car’s passengers says the officer never even ordered the boys to stop driving before opening fire. Edwards, was shot in the head as he was sitting in the front passenger seat of the car, along with his two brothers and two friends.

Jordan’s father Odell, said that his son Vidal, continued driving away so that no one else would be shot.  He stopped the car two blocks from the party and called his father while his two friends in the back seat called their parents.  “All I could hear was screaming and crying and the boys saying that police had just shot and killed Jordan.   Jordan Edwards was a freshman at Mesquite High School and a straight A student with a 4.0 GPA who played quarterback and receiver on the football team.  He lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in Balch Springs with his parents, two older brothers and younger sister.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson described Oliver as a “killer in blue” who violated his oath to protect citizens. Johnson said she wished Oliver’s sentence was much longer, but she respected the jury’s decision and realizes a guilty verdict for an officer is rare in police shootings. Charmaine Edwards said she would have preferred a sentence of 25 to 30 years for the killer of the stepson she raised.  “That was my exact thought: They gave a year for his age,” Edwards, said outside a Dallas County courtroom after the sentence was handed down.  “He can actually see life again after 15 years, and that’s not enough because Jordan can’t see life again.”