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Entries in Shootings (41)

Sunday
Jun092013

Police: Santa Monica Shootings 'Premeditated,' Shooter 'Ready for Battle'

Hemera/Thinkstock(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- A man who allegedly killed five people in a shooting spree in Santa Monica, Calif., before being gunned down in a shootout with police in the Santa Monica College library planned out the attack, police said Saturday.

Police said the suspect, 23-year-old John Zawahri, was wearing a protective vest and carrying so much weaponry that he was, in the words of one official, "ready for battle."

"I would presume anytime someone puts on a vest of some sort and has a bag of loaded magazines as an extra receiver, has a handgun and has a semi automatic rifle, carjacks folks, goes to a college, kills more people and has to be neutralized at hands of police -- I would stay that's premeditated," Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said.

They also confirmed that the Zawahri would have turned 24 years old on Saturday and that he, along with another family member, had a connection to Santa Monica College.

Santa Monica Police Department spokesman Sgt. Richard Lewis described the suspect as being "heavily armed" and "ready for battle." Lewis said at least 70 rounds were fired in the Santa Monica Library alone.

Zawahri was carrying approximately 1,300 rounds of ammunition, in addition to a revolver and a rifle similar to an AR-15 semi-automatic in a duffel bag, Seabrooks said.

Police had responded to an earlier incident involving the Zawahri in 2006, Seabrooks said, but she could not release anything more about that incident because he was a minor at the time.

On Friday, authorities first responded to a report of shots fired at 11:52 a.m. PT and found a house on fire. Two dead bodies were found inside the home, fire officials said. Authorities said the dead bodies were related to the shooter, but they did not specify how.

Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire in the front room before finding the bodies, which were toward the rear of the house. Authorities told reporters they were still investigating what caused the fire.

A few minutes after noon, Santa Monica authorities started getting calls that a city bus was being hit with gunfire. Zawahri had reportedly carjacked a woman at gunpoint and forced her to drive him to Santa Monica College's campus, spraying bullets at nearby vehicles on the route.

Two people riding a city bus sustained minor injuries from the gunfire.

"When I saw the gun pointing at me, I ducked and heard the bullet whiz by," he said.

According to police, the Zawahri fired on two people in a Ford Explorer in the campus faculty parking lot. That vehicle later crashed into a block wall.

The driver was killed and the passenger was in critical condition, authorities said. The man killed was confirmed to be 68-year-old Carlos Navarro Franco, a Santa Monica College employee. His daughter, Marcela Franco was hospitalized and died of her injuries on Sunday.

The woman, who was forced to drive Zawahri to the Santa Monica College campus, was unharmed.

Once on campus, Zawahri, who was dressed in all black, opened fire at bystanders, fatally shooting one woman before he went inside a library on campus, police said. Authorities did not identify the woman who was killed by name, but said she was appeared to be white and in her 50's.

Once in the library, he initially tried to shoot students in a "safe room," according to Seabrooks. But the students were able to barricade the door.

"He continued to shoot at them," Seabrooks said. "The officers came in and directly engaged the suspect, and he was shot and killed on the scene."

Three officers engaged Zawahri according to authorities, two from the Santa Monica Police Department and one from Santa Monica College.

Authorities initially stated that the shootings left as many as six people dead, they later downgraded to five deaths, which included four victims and the shooter himself. The total was pushed back up to six when Marcela Franco passed away Sunday afternoon.

In addition to the dead, at least five people were injured, police said.

The college campus went on lockdown following the shootings as police attempted to secure the scene. Students would be allowed to return for their vehicles Saturday and other belongings Sunday. The campus was expected to reopen Monday morning at 7a.m.

In 911 calls, the shooter was described as armed with several weapons.

Elsewhere on the campus, a person of interest was taken into custody, then released when his claim not to be involved checked out. According to Lewis, the man found a duffle bag belonging to Zawahri that had magazines, a handgun and part of a rile in side. Police temporarily detained him soon after that.

Santa Monica College student Sam Luster was preparing for a presentation in the school's library when he heard gunfire.

"We didn't know what was happening until all the students at the entrance of the library started running down towards the bottom of the library," Luster told ABC News Los Angeles station KABC.

Luster took cover under a desk before moving towards an exit. He said he heard multiple gunshots near the exit.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun082013

Police Probe Crime Scenes, Seek Motive in Santa Monica Shootings

Hemera/Thinkstock(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- Authorities are investigating approximately nine crime scenes across Santa Monica, Calif. in hopes of finding answers as to why a man went on a shooting spree that left five people dead including the suspected gunman.

"(The) Incident is not a college or school shooting. It's rather a series of shootings that occurred in the city of Santa Monica and culminated with a shooting incident that occurred at Santa Monica College," Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said.

Five to seven of those crime scenes apparently involved gunshots fired, Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis told reporters late Friday.

Authorities first responded to a report of shots fired at 11:52 a.m. PT and found a house on fire. Two dead bodies were found inside the home, fire officials said.

The suspected gunman, whose name has not been released, reportedly then carjacked a woman at gunpoint and forced her to drive him to Santa Monica College's campus, spraying bullets at nearby vehicles on the route.

Joe Orcutt told ABC News he came face to face with the shooter.

"When I saw the gun pointing at me, I ducked and heard the bullet whiz by," he said.

According to police, the suspect fired on two people in a Ford Explorer in the campus faculty parking lot. That vehicle later crashed into a wall.

The driver was killed and the passenger was in critical condition, authorities said.

Once on campus, the suspected shooter, who was dressed in all black, opened fire at bystanders, fatally shooting at least one woman and before he went inside a library on campus, police said.

"He continued to shoot at them," Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said. "The officers came in and directly engaged the suspect, and he was shot and killed on the scene."

While authorities first stated the shootings left as many as six people dead, they later downgraded to five deaths, which included four victims and the shooter himself.

Lewis suggested the higher initial count may have been caused by overlapping witness reports of the same fatalities.

In addition to the dead, at least five people were injured, police said.

They included one critically injured person whose life was in jeopardy, a person hospitalized in serious but stable condition and three people sent to hospitals with less serious injuries, Lewis said.

The college campus went on lockdown following the shootings as police attempted to secure the scene. Students were not allowed to return to campus this morning.

In 911 calls, the shooter was described as armed with several weapons and possibly a long gun or shotgun.

Seabrooks said the suspect used an AR-15 assault rifle, though Santa Monica Police Sgt. Richard Lewis later qualified the description.

"It's an assault-type rifle," he said. "I don't want to go as far as to say it's an AR-15, but that is the style of rifle it is."

Elsewhere on the campus, a person of interest was taken into custody, then released when his claim not to be involved checked out, Lewis said.

"He is not a suspect in this case," Lewis said. "At this time, we believe it is a single gunman and that part of it has been resolved."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the suspect may have been acting out in anger after a family dispute, though the investigation is still in its early phases.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May302013

Former Police Officer Killed in Police Shooting Wanted 'Suicide by Cop'

WPVI/ABC News(UPPER DARBY, Pa.) -- Heavily-armed U.S. Marshals and Pennsylvania state police opened fire on a wanted ex-cop who on the run for attempted murder, breaking open a hotel room door and firing 52 shots as the man stood in the corner holding a handgun.

Four officers toting an AR-15 rifle, a sub machine gun, and handguns burst into the room Tuesday where Anthony Galla, 31, was waiting with a handgun pointed at them and hundreds of rounds of ammunition stored around him, according to Mike Chitwood, superintendent of police in Upper Darby, Pa., where the shooting occurred.

Galla had attempted to shoot and kill his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend earlier in the day in northern Pennsylvania, police said.

After Galla broke into his former girlfriend's house, he fired seven shots at the new boyfriend, striking him once in the foot, fracturing multiple bones. Galla then fled, and police issued a statewide alert notifying authorities that Galla, who was a former police officer and had military training, was armed and dangerous.

Authorities believed that Galla had an AR-15 rifle and .40 caliber Glock handgun.

"Galla had stated that to take him down it would have to be a suicide by cops or be taken down by shooting," said Chitwood. "That information was broadcast statewide and the U.S. Marshals state task force took up the hunt for Galla."

The hunt led swarms of officers to the Summitt Inn Hotel in Upper Darby, where police surveilled Galla with two other individuals. Eventually they entered the hotel, and a man coming down the stairs saw the police officers and took off running, yelling, "I'm not Anthony, I'm not Anthony," Chitwood said.

They later identified the man as Galla's brother, who told police he had been trying to get Galla to surrender.

Three U.S. Marshals and one Pennsylvania state trooper then entered the hotel room and opened fire on Galla for about 10 seconds, Chitwood said. Galla died at the scene. Chitwood said the officers fired 52 rounds at Galla, but did not know how many times he had been hit by bullets.

In the hotel room and Galla's rental car parked outside cops found hundreds of rounds of ammunition, including 120 rounds for an AR-15 rifle, as well as ammunition for a .40 caliber Glock handgun, a bullet proof vest, and a smoke grenade or tear gas grenade like the type used in tactical implementations, Chitwood said.

"It's more difficult to buy a cheesesteak than it is to buy a gun," Chitwood said. "This guy was ready for war. This was his last stand type of thing."

Chitwood said that the investigation, which is still ongoing, found that Galla had cleaned out his bank account before the attempted homicide. He was dressed in military-style camouflage when he was killed in the hotel room.

He had worked in several different police departments but not for long periods of time, Chitwood said. Galla lived in Lebanon County, Pa.

"I thought the shooting was a good shooting," Chitwood said."If Galla had access to this AR-15 and all that ammunition he could have cause significant damage. He wanted to die."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May052013

Chicago HS Student Paralyzed in Shooting Goes to Prom

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago high school senior who was paralyzed in a shooting last year didn't let his injuries stop him from enjoying one senior year highlight, his prom.

Miles Turner, a student at Leo High School in Chicago, was talking with his cousin when they became the targets of gunshots last October. Although police said Turner's cousin was the main target, Turner was hit five times. His cousin was killed.

Chicago's murder rate has risen over the last year even as it has decreased in other major American cities.

Turner survived his injuries after spending two months in the ICU and six weeks in a coma. The former 300-pound linebacker lost a third of his body weight while in recovery.

Although his spine was not hit in the shooting, it is unclear how much mobility he will have in the future. He was confined to a wheelchair after the shooting, he has very limited mobility in his legs. Turner was recently released from a rehab center.

Turner's mother, Angela Turner, said doctors weren't sure if he would be able to walk again due to his injuries, which have left his spine in "sleep mode."

"The way he's fighting, saying, 'I'm going to do it,' who knows?" she told ABC News station WLS-TV in Chicago.

On Friday, Turner prepped for his prom by cutting off his dreadlocks and dressing in a white tux with a blue vest. His family made him pose for a photo before he left for the dance.

Surrounded by family and friends eager to get a picture of him, he summed up how he felt about their support in three words: "Good. Honored. Surprised."

At the dance, Turner was joined by a group of friends wearing variations on his tuxedo. They crowded around him for a group photo.

"We played football for four years together. I was shocked to hear the news what happened that day," fellow student Jordan Smiley said. "I'm glad to see him now."

Turner is set to graduate in June and plans on attending college. Although he cannot currently walk, Turner plans on accomplishing another goal: playing college football.

"I want to go to college and play football," Turner told WLS-TV. "Football is my favorite sport. It's all I know."

While Turner has a long road ahead of him before he reaches a full recovery, he's determined.

"Just don't stop, don't quit, keep fighting," Turner said."Good things will happen."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr102013

Reward Offered in Drive-By Shooting of Circus Elephant

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TUPELO, Miss.) -- A total of over $20,000 is being offered as a reward in the drive-by shooting of a circus elephant.

Police Chief Tony Carleton said that a vehicle drove past Tupelo's Bancorp South Arena at about 2 a.m. and fired into the area. An elephant with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was hit in the shoulder while it was in an enclosure outside the arena. Police are currently investigating the incident.

According to USA Today, the reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible totals $21,250. That figure includes $10,000 from the circus, $5,000 each from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, $1,000 from Crime Stoppers of North Mississippi, and $250 from former 1st District U.S. Representative Travis Childers.

The elephant, named Carol, was one of several performing with the traveling circus. While a security guard at the arena was able to provide police with some information, the investigation has not yet garnered many leads, according to USA Today.

Because the elephant is an Asian elephant, an endangered species, the crime is considered a federal offense under the Endangered Species Act. USA Today reported that the circus flew in its own veterinarian to treat the the elephant, which will take several weeks. The elephant is expected to make a complete recovery. The circus will continue as scheduled.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar232013

Florida Teen Mistook Brother for Intruder, Shoots Him

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A teenager shot and killed his 12-year-old brother because he mistook him for an intruder in their Florida home, police said Saturday.

According to police, the 16-year-old was home alone on Friday when his younger brother came home.

"He heard some noises and he called out for his brother and he didn't answer and then his brother startled him," Orlando Police Department Detective Mike Moreschi told ABC News affiliate WFTV.

Scared that there was an intruder in the home, the older boy grabbed a gun and shot his brother, according to police. Once the teen realized what had happened, he immediately called 911.

The younger boy was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The teenager and his parents were taken to the police station for questioning and released hours later.

"He's devastated, obviously. His parents are devastated by what happened and it's just a really bad situation for the family," Moreschi said.

Police said the teenager would not be charged with any crime related to the shooting, although the state attorney's office will review the case for possible negligence.

Neighbors of the family were in disbelief over the shooting.

"All I can say is it's so scary," Julia Bracey told WFTV. "It's heartbreaking, I can't imagine what the parents are going through right now."

Francis Ikwueme, who also lives near the family in the Orange County subdivision, found the shooting devastating.

"It cuts deep and it breaks my heart," Ikwueme told WFTV. "There was the shooting up in Connecticut. Anytime young life or life in general has to be cut short senselessly, it's a very unfortunate thing."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar202013

Police Seek Possible Witness in Colorado Prison Director's Shooting

Colorado Department of Corrections(DENVER) -- A woman who was seen exercising in the neighborhood around the time that the head of Colorado's prison system was fatally shot in his home could be a key witness in the murder investigation, authorities said Wednesday.

Tom Clements, 58, was shot to death around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Initial reports said the director of the State Department of Corrections had been shot when he answered the door at his Monument, Colo., home, but authorities said Wednesday afternoon that they were unable to confirm the sequence of events or a motive for the shooting.

"Because of the fact Mr. Clements served in the position he did, we're sensitive to the fact there could be any number of people who have a motive," Lt. Jeff Kramer, a spokesman for the El Paso County Sheriff's office, said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

He also said authorities were keeping an open mind and had not yet ruled out whether Clements was the victim of a random shooting.

With few leads to go on, authorities are hoping that a woman who was seen speed-walking in the neighborhood Tuesday night will come forward. She was described by witnesses as being between the ages of 35 and 50 and was dressed in a hat, dark wind-breaker and white pants, Kramer said.

Police canvassed the neighborhood and found a witness who noticed a suspicious vehicle parked one street beyond Clements' home and put the time just before Clements' family called 911 to report the shooting, police said Wednesday.

"The vehicle was observed by this resident parked there, but it was running at the time," Lt. Kramer said. "Two to three minutes later that vehicle was gone. Then, two minutes after that -- we're up to 8:37 p.m. -- that same local resident saw the vehicle traveling westbound."

Kramer said authorities believe the woman who was exercising might have seen the vehicle and that authorities are "eager" to speak with her.

The vehicle, which had its green dashboard lights on while parked, was described as a two door, dark colored, 1990s model similar to a Lincoln.

Officers proceeded Wednesday with in-depth searches of the surrounding area, trying to capitalize on daylight hours, Kramer said.

Police continue going door to door trying to find out what neighbors heard and saw. Additionally, K-9 units were deployed to see whether they could locate anything that might be helpful in the investigation.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper struggled to hold back tears while speaking to reporters Wednesday morning and conceded that little is known about a suspect or motive.

"It's an active investigation. We don't know anything -- or enough -- at this point," he said.

Hickenlooper was scheduled to sign legislation Wednesday that placed new limits on ammunition magazines and expanded background checks for firearms. The new legislation is seen as a response to a string of mass shootings across the country, one of the worst of which was the Aurora, Colo., shooting in July 2012 that left 12 dead and injured 58.

Speaking Wednesday, Hickenlooper reflected on Clements' career and time working within Colorado government. Clements was appointed head of Colorado's Department of Corrections in 2011 by Hickenlooper, after serving 31 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

"We lured Tom away," Hickenlooper said. "He was far and away the best choice we could find in the country. He understood the idea of building a team and operating an enterprise. ... His unfailing good nature would come through in everything he did."

Clements is survived by his wife, Lisa Clements, and his two daughters.

His family released a statement Wednesday afternoon mourning the, "devoted husband and beloved father."

"There are no words at this time to describe our grief and loss," they said. "We thank our friends and those praying for us here and across the nation. Your well-wishes and prayers bring us strength. We appreciate your continued respect for our privacy during this terrible loss."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb282013

Vegas Police Find Person of Interest, Had Released Wrong Woman’s Photo

LVPD(LAS VEGAS) -- Las Vegas police have located and interviewed a woman they identified as a person of interest in the Las Vegas strip attack that killed rapper Kenny Clutch in his Maserati and two other people in a taxi.

Police were searching for Tineesha Lashun Howard, 22, in addition to prime suspect and fugitive Ammar Harris, 26, who is the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

"[Howard] is no longer a person of interest because she was located and interviewed by LVMPD detectives in another state last night at approximately 8:30 p.m. Pacific time," police said in a news release Thursday. "[She] has confirmed that she was in the vehicle at the time of the shooting."

The news came after an apparent police mix-up with the photos of Howard released by authorities. On Wednesday, police released four photos they said showed Howard. One was a mug shot and the other three were candid photos that showed a woman with Harris.

However, two of the candid photos turned out to be a Florida woman and reality TV star named Tasha Malek who said she knew Harris but was not at all involved in the shooting.

Malek, 25, said she had left Miami to go on vacation in the Bahamas and did not even know there had been a shooting in Las Vegas.

"It's just a really big mess and so now I have to clean it up," Malek said. "I'm a professional, I have a career and this is not me. I'm definitely not a prostitute and it's just a mess. I wasn't with him. I knew him from Miami and that was it."

Malek said she met Harris when they lived in the same apartment building in Miami and they became friends. "He seemed like a very nice guy, very normal," she said. "This came as a shock to me."

An argument between Harris and Clutch, 27, whose legal name was Kenneth Cherry Jr., originated in the valet area of a Las Vegas hotel, police said, and ended with Harris firing several rounds into Clutch’s Maserati, causing a crash that killed three.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Las Vegas Metro Police Department's homicide division at (702) 828-3521.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb272013

Police Search for Alleged Shooters in Las Vegas Strip Shooting

Thinkstock/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Authorities are searching for Tineesha Lashun Howard, 22, in addition to fugitive Ammar Harris, 26, who is the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

Harris has been named the primary suspect in the Feb. 21 shooting that killed three people. An arrest warrant for Harris has been issued. Police are calling him "absolutely armed and dangerous."

Police believe Howard was in the black Range Rover SUV with Harris when he allegedly opened fire on a Maserati, but have not given any more details on what her alleged involvement might be in relation to the shooting.

Police released three photos of Howard and Harris together. They appear to be in a car in at least two of the undated photos and are smiling and making faces for the camera.

Howard is a Cuban female with green eyes and dark hair who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds, according to cops. She is also known as Yenesis Alfonzo.

An argument between Harris and the rapper Clutch, 27, whose legal name was Kenneth Cherry Jr., originated in the valet area of a Las Vegas hotel, police said.

Police said Harris fired several rounds into the Maserati that was being driven by Cherry as both vehicles continued northbound on glitzy Las Vegas Boulevard. The resulting crash killed Cherry and two passengers.

"To anyone who is aware of his location, or is assisting Ammar Harris in any way, you will be arrested and prosecuted," Las Vegas Metropolitan Captain Chris Jones said at a news conference earlier this week. "You may think you're being a friend, but keep in mind Ammar Harris is wanted for the murder of three citizens."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Las Vegas Metro Police Department's homicide division at (702) 828-3521.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb262013

Four-Year-Old Shoots Self with Stolen Gun while Dad Naps

Houston Police Department(HOUSTON) -- A Houston dad who was allegedly napping on a couch when his 4-year-old son found a stolen handgun and fatally shot himself with it has been arrested and will face charges in the boy’s death.

Marquiez Deshon Pratt, 20, had his son Jaiden for the weekend when the boy shot himself on Sunday. The boy woke up and picked up his father’s gun, which was lying nearby, and accidentally fired it into his stomach, according to police.

When investigators arrived at the scene they found a distraught Pratt carrying his son outside of his apartment. Pratt handed the boy over, and he ran back inside, police said. Officers attempted to perform CPR on Jaiden, while other officers pursued Pratt into the apartment, according to police.

Inside the apartment on Houston’s north side, police said they found marijuana and crack cocaine, along with scales and other items used to sell drugs.

Pratt was arrested and charged with injury to a child by omission and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Police said that the weapon Jaiden shot himself with was a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol that was taken in a 2011 burglary.

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