Tag Archive: Mark Shuster


 

 

 

 

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Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, 40, was convicted of second degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of 17 year old Laquan McDonald.  Van Dyke is the first Chicago officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in about 50 years. Second-degree murder usually carries a sentence of less than 20 years, especially for someone with no criminal history but probation is also an option. Van Dyke was also convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each bullet.

The second-degree verdict reflected the jury’s finding that Van Dyke believed his life was in danger but that the belief was unreasonable. The jury also had the option of first degree-murder, which required finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable.  Legal experts say Van Dyke will likely be sentenced to no more than 6 years but that because he is an officer, it will likely be in isolation.

The verdict was the latest chapter in a story that shook Chicago residents soon after a judge ordered the release of the video in November 2015.  Protests erupted and continued, demanding accountability for the shooting.  The city’s police superintendent and the county’s top prosecutor both lost their jobs — one fired by the mayor and the other ousted by voters. It also led to a Justice Department investigation that found a “pervasive cover-up culture” and prompted plans for far-reaching police reforms.

The city had been preparing for possible demonstrations in a case that already sparked protests with many downtown businesses and City Hall closing early in anticipation of protests.  Groups of demonstrators took to the streets for several hours after the verdict, chanting, “The people united will never be defeated,” and “Sixteen shots and a cover up.”

Prosecutors in Van Dyke’s trial called on multiple officers who were there that night in an effort to penetrate the “blue wall of silence” long associated with the city’s police force and other law enforcement agencies across the country.  Three officers, including Van Dyke’s partner, have been charged with conspiring to cover up and lie about what happened to protect Van Dyke. They have all pleaded not guilty.

According to testimony, on the night of the shooting, officers were waiting for someone with a stun gun to use on the teenager when Van Dyke arrived.  Former Police Officer Joseph Walsh, Van Dyke’s partner the night of the shooting, testified that Van Dyke said to him “Oh my God, we’re going to have to shoot that guy,” before arriving at the scene.  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.

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.  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.  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.

Assistant special prosecutor Jody Gleason told the jury that Van Dyke contemplated shooting McDonald before he even encountered the young man, referring to testimony about what Van Dyke told his partner before arriving at the scene.  “It wasn’t the knife in Laquan’s hand that made the defendant kill him that night. It was his indifference to the value of Laquan’s life.”   Van Dyke was taken into custody moments after the verdict was read.  He is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on October 31.

 

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Turkish officials believe Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.  Khashoggi, a writer for The Washington Post who has written columns critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, entered the Saudi consulate around 1pm on Oct. 2nd and has not been seen since. Khashoggi was there to pick up paperwork he needed for his upcoming wedding to Hatice Cengiz that he had requested the week before.  Centgiz says she watched him enter the consulate but did not see him re-emerge.  Saudi officials have claimed he left the consulate shortly after visiting.

Khashoggi, one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent journalists and a leading critic of Saudi Arabia’s current leadership, wrote columns for The Washington Post and has been a thorn in the side of the crown prince, for some time.  He had been living in self-imposed exile in Virginia after leaving Saudi Arabia last year.  He told friends and reporters that the space for freedom of speech under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was shrinking and he feared for his safety.

A half an hour before Khashoggi arrived for his appointment, Turkish national staff working in the building were told to take the rest of the day off.  Since mobile phones are not allowed inside the diplomatic building, Khashoggi left his iPhone with his fiancée, who was to wait for him outside, and told her to raise the alarm if he did not emerge after more than four hours. He kept his Apple watch on him which was synced to his phone.  Cengiz waited outside until about 1am for Khashoggi to return before contacting Turkish authorities.

During the initial investigation into his disappearance, U.S. intelligence reportedly intercepted Saudi communications regarding a plot to detain Khashoggi and that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, was directly involved – ordering an operation to “lure” Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him there.  CNN later reported that they saw a cleaning crew enter the main consulate building a day before Turkish officials, including a forensics team, arrived to begin their investigation.

Attention has been focused on what officials believe was a hit squad, a 15 person team of Saudi special forces officers, intelligence officials, national guards and a forensics expert that flew in and out of Istanbul the day Khashoggi disappeared.  The details of the alleged hit squad were listed on flight manifests leaked to the press.  The Saudi team is said to have arrived at Atatürk airport on Tuesday last week on two planes, one of which landed in the pre-dawn hours and the second in the early afternoon. The officials checked in to two hotels near the Saudi consulate.

Turkish intelligence believe that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered inside the consulate on Oct. 2nd.  News sources say Turkish officials have an audio recording of the alleged killing from the Apple Watch he wore when he walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.  The audio recording is described as showing there had been an assault and a struggle inside the consulate as well as the moment that Khashoggi was killed.  Authorities recovered the audio from Khashoggi’s iPhone and his iCloud account.  News sources also alleged Saudi officials tried to delete the recordings by incorrectly guessing Khashoggi’s PIN on the watch.

 

 

 

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Bloomberg revealed a probe was started in 2015 regarding data center equipment run by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Apple may have been subject to surveillance from the Chinese government via a tiny microchip inserted during the equipment manufacturing process at factories run by subcontractors in China.  The chips were used for gathering intellectual property and trade secrets from American companies and may have been introduced by a Silicon Valley company called Super Micro.    Though Apple, AWS and Super Micro deny knowledge of the claims or investigation, a probe that started 3 years ago is still open.

In early 2015, Amazon was looking to expand their web streaming services and began working with Elemental Technologies, based in Oregan.  Elemental, which has government contracts, made software for compressing massive video files and formatting them for different devices. Its technology has been used to communicate with the International Space Station and funnel drone footage to the Central Intelligence Agency.

The chips were discovered after AWS hired a third-party security company to scrutinize Elemental’s products.  The company examined the servers that customers installed in their networks to handle the video compression.  Testers found tiny microchips, not much bigger than a grain of rice, nested on the servers’ motherboards that weren’t part of the boards’ original design.  Amazon reported the findings to the US authorities.  These servers were assembled for Elemental by Super Micro, who has their servers assembled by manufacturing subcontractors in China.

During the top-secret probe, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a doorway into any network that included the altered machines. This kind of tampering is especially hard to accomplish because it means developing a deep understanding of a product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location.

Investigators found that the tampered products eventually affected almost 30 companies, including a major bank, government contractors, and Apple Inc.  Apple had planned to order more than 30,000 of its servers in two years for a new global network of data centers.  Three senior insiders at Apple say that they also found malicious chips on Super Micro motherboards.  Apple severed ties with Super Micro in 2016 for what they officially described as unrelated reasons.

Amazon, Apple and Super Micro deny any knowledge of planted chips though six current and former senior national security officials have detailed the discovery of the chips and the government’s investigation.  One government official says China’s goal was long-term access to high-value corporate secrets and sensitive government networks. No consumer data is known to have been stolen.

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Bill Cosby Sentenced

 

 

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Comedian Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago.  Cosby, 81, will be eligible for parole in three years and could be released from prison and allowed to serve out the rest of his 10-year sentence under supervision in the community.

Judge Steven O’Neill said the evidence that Cosby planned the drugging and sexual assault of his victim was “overwhelming,” based on Cosby’s own words in a civil deposition.  In the deposition, provided the year after the alleged assault, as Constand pursued a civil suit against him, Cosby admitted that he procured Quaaludes for women he wanted to have sex.  Cosby also admitted that he asked a modeling agent to connect him with young women who were new in town and “financially not doing well.  Judge Steven O’Neill ruled that the 2005 testimony could be presented to the jury in his criminal trial.

Months after his depositions, Cosby settled the case with Constand and the accusations quickly faded. In October 2014, a Philadelphia magazine reporter at a Hannibal Buress show uploaded a clip of the comedian calling Bill Cosby a rapist and commenting on his Teflon image.  The clip went viral and soon after many accusers stepped forward.  More than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault or harassment, stretching back to the 1960’s but Constand’s case was the only one that led to criminal charges against the comedian.  During interviews, all of the women gave similar accounts of blacking out after having a drink supplied by Cosby and later waking up during or after a sexual assault.  Most said they stayed quiet because they never thought anyone would believe them since Cosby was wealthy and at the height of his career.

On April 26, he was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand. Each charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison but Judge Steven O’Neill said that the charges had been merged into one because they all stem from the same event.  Constand, a 31-year-old Temple women’s basketball official he was mentoring at the time of the assault.  She testified in detail at the trial about losing control of her limbs after taking pills given to her by Cosby, who served on Temple’s board of trustees and was the public face of the university. The pills, Constand said, left her unable to stop him from violating her at his suburban Philadelphia estate.

At the sentencing hearing, O’Neill aid, “No one is above the law, and no one should be treated differently or disproportionally.”  “This was a serious crime,” O’Neill added. “Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come.”  Cosby was also ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 plus the costs of prosecution — a total of $43,611 — as part of the sentence.  Cosby’s attorneys have repeatedly said they plan to file an appeal in the criminal case.

 

 

 

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Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger, who fatally shot 26-year-old Botham Jean in his Cedars apartment, was fired just days after Police Chief U. Renee Hall said doing so would compromise the criminal investigation.  A news release stated that Hall fired Guyger after an internal investigation found the officer had engaged in “adverse conduct” when she was charged with manslaughter three days after the shooting.

Guyger shot Jean, her upstairs neighbor, the night of Sept. 6. Jean, an accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, lived on the fourth floor in apartment 1478 of the South Side Flats. Guyger, an officer for four years, was his immediate downstairs neighbor.  After entering his apartment that she mistook for her own.  She entered the dark apartment after a long shift and believed Jean, who was unarmed, was a burglar.

After she shot him, Guyger called 911 in tears, “I thought it was my apartment,” she said repeatedly and apologized to Jean, “I’m so sorry.”  Police arrived within four minutes of her call, and paramedics rushed Jean to Baylor University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.  Guyger was charged with manslaughter three days after the shooting and has been on administrative leave since the shooting.  She’s currently free on a $300,000 bond while she awaits trial.

There was widespread calls for action and protests demanding that Guyger be terminated.  Chief Hall said that she couldn’t fire Guyger before an internal investigation was completed because of federal, state and local laws but she didn’t specify to which laws she was referring.   Hall released a statement saying she didn’t want to risk interfering with a criminal investigation by making a decision about Guyger’s employment.

The Dallas Police Department turned over the investigation to the Texas Rangers shortly after the shooting. The Dallas County District Attorney’s office is also conducting its own investigation.  Those investigations aren’t complete, but Hall said police were notified that a “critical portion” of the criminal investigation — the part that could have been compromised by an internal investigation — had been concluded over the weekend.

Guyger’s firing was supported by Mayor Mike Rawlings, who called it “the right decision in the interest of justice”.  A statement from the mayor read “I have heard the calls for this action from many, including the Jean family, and I agree that this is the right decision in the interest of justice for Botham Jean and the citizens of Dallas.  The swift termination of any officer who engages in misconduct that leads to the loss of innocent life is essential if the Dallas Police Department is to gain and maintain the public trust.”

Guyger’s attorney Robert Rogers said in a written statement that Hall “bowed to pressure from anti-police groups and took action before all of the facts had been gathered and due process was afforded.”  Rogers said his client is “completely devastated by what happened.” The shooting, he said, was “a tragic mistake and words can never express our sorrow for the pain being suffered by those who knew and loved Botham Jean.”

 

 

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Students at Portland State University in Oregon are calling on administrators to disarm campus police, three months after a pair of officers fatally shot 45-year-old Jason Washington.  The shooting was the first campus officer-involved shooting at PSU.  Washington was shot in June as he tried to break up a bar fight on campus. Portland State University’s Board of Trustees voted in 2015 to arm campus police officers and PSU students are once again demanding they reverse the policy.

The Portland State University Student Union held a rally and a march on campus to demand the disarming of campus police officers. Members followed the march by announcing an occupation for Jason Washington outside the PSU public safety offices.  In 2015, the student union led a year-long campaign that asked the school to reverse its 2015 decision to arm campus police officers.  After a grand jury decided not to charge the officers, the student union said they believe school officials are now open to the idea of disarming officers.  The PSU Board of Trustees released a statement after the ruling that reads, “The board wrestled with the decision to arm campus police in 2014, and we are prepared to wrestle with it again — with open minds — to determine whether the current policy should be continued or changed.”

Police body cam video of the killing shows campus police officers Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey opening fire on Washington, after a handgun Washington was wearing on his hip fell from its holster during a scuffle.  The gun belonged to Washington’s friend, Jeremy Wilkinson, who asked him to hold it just before the fight.  A grand jury declined to indict the officers over the killing after determining the fatal shooting was a lawful act of self-defense and/or the defense of a third person.

Washington, a Navy veteran and postal worker, had met two friends at the Cheerful Tortoise on the afternoon of Thursday, June 28.  Ryan Pratt, one of the friends out with Washington, told officers he met up with Wilkinson at his apartment at 2 p.m. that afternoon and the two of them took an Uber to the Cheerful Tortoise to meet Washington.  After a few drinks, the trio walked to Buffalo Wild Wings and each had 2 shots and a couple beers before heading to the pool hall and betting lounge Rialto at around 7:30pm where they had “one or two beers,” according to Pratt.

Derrial Peterson, the security guard at Rialto, told investigators that Washington appeared to be less intoxicated than Wilkinson and Washington told him that he needs to keep his wits about him because he never knows what is going to happen with Jeremy Wilkinson.  Peterson said he asked the men to leave and overheard Washington chastising his friend about always getting them in trouble and asking why he couldn’t just keep his mouth shut.  The trio returned to the Cheerful Tortoise where they began arguing with people which continued outside.  At this point, Washington took possession of Wilkinson’s gun, holstering it to his hip. Wilkinson said he then began to fight with men outside the bar.  Body camera footage shows the two officers arriving in the midst of the drunken brawl early on June 29.  Washington can be seen with his arms extended, attempting to stop several men from brawling.  As the fight escalates someone can be heard saying “He’s got a gun.” “Drop the gun!” an officer yells several times. “We’ll shoot you!”  One second after that warning, Officer McKenzie shoots.

After the shooting, Wilkinson can be seen in the video, lying next to Washington’s body saying “Holy sh** Michelle’s going to kill me,” referring to Washington’s wife.  Fewer than 30 seconds elapsed between the time Portland State University Police got out of their vehicle and the moment Jason Washington was shot and killed.  The police report shows Washington had sustained gunshot wounds in right knee, his back, left chest, the right side of his neck and left cheek.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Maryland father will not be charged for protecting his daughter from what he thought was a home invasion when he shot two police officers who mistakenly entered his District Heights apartment while serving a drug related search warrant.  Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said the department will do a review of all search warrants that are pending and issued a moratorium on search warrants for at least 24 to 48 hours to make sure a similar incident doesn’t happen again.

The officers and their nine-member special operations team went to the complex in the 2700 block of Lorring Drive to serve a warrant about 10:30 p.m. on September 19.  A confidential informant told police a drug dealer lived there, but the resident was actually a father who didn’t know officers were trying to get in his home.  Police believe he had fallen asleep while watching television.

The team knocked on the door of the top-level unit and announced they were there but there was no response.  Despite the silence, the team had a feeling someone might be inside the apartment, so they used a device to open the door.  Inside the apartment, they found the father armed with a shotgun. Police say the man fired a single shot as the door opened, striking two officers.  As soon as the door opened enough, he realized that the intruders were police officers. According to police, he immediately dropped his weapon and told police “You’ve got the wrong address. Don’t shoot my daughter,” whom he had told to go to the back of the apartment.

Another officer returned fire, but no one was hit.  The injured officers were flown to a shock trauma center in Baltimore.  One officer has been treated and released, the other required surgery on his arm.  Police say the man was shaken and highly concerned about the injured officers immediately after the shooting.  During a press conference Police Chief Stawinski said the father was taken into custody and questioned, along with his daughter.  “This man was devastated when he realized that he had fired upon police officers,” he told reporters. “He was as worried about their safety once he realized that had happened as he was worried about the safety of his own daughter.”

I am convinced that he did not intentionally fire that weapon at police officers because they were police officers,” the police chief said. “I believe he fired that weapon because he felt he was defending himself and his daughter.  The investigation corroborates his account that he did not know that there were police officers trying to enter his residence. I believe that and I know that to be true,” Stawinski said.  “I am not satisfied that we had done enough to corroborate the information we had in the obtaining of that search warrant,” he added.

As a result, the department will impose a moratorium on serving warrants until they’re certain each has been thoroughly vetted.  Stawinski wouldn’t rule out disciplinary action or structural changes in the department.  “I’m not going to put another father like myself in that position,” Stawinski said. “I refuse to.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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.”