Entries in Shootings (41)


Justice Department Investigates Miami Police Shootings

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department is opening an investigation into the Miami Police Department and its policies concerning the use of deadly force after eight young men have been killed by department officers since July 2010.

The investigation, known as a “pattern and practice” investigation, is being launched by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to examine the police shootings that, in two cases, involved unarmed individuals.

“In the past 16 months, we have seen nine police-involved shootings that are of concern and are the premise of our investigation,” said Tom Perez the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for civil rights.  “Since July 2010, MPD officers shot and killed eight young men and critically wounded a ninth man.  By comparison, the country’s largest police force, the New York City Police Department, had one fatal shooting for every 4,313 officers in 2010, while Miami had one fatal shooting for every 220 officers.”

The Justice Department had been reviewing the shootings in a preliminary investigation after the last shooting occurred in February of this year, but has decided to launch a full investigation to determine if federal laws have been violated.

The chief of the department, Miguel Exposito, was fired in September after a disagreement with city leaders over staffing issues.

“Of the shootings since July 2010 until the last shooting in February 2011, all but one occurred within the proximate neighborhoods of Little Haiti, Overtown and Liberty City, in northeast Miami,”  Perez said in prepared remarks.  “In two of the shootings, the subject was unarmed.  Six out of the eight fatal shootings were by MPD officers in specialized units like the gang unit, SWAT, tactical robbery unit and the canine unit.”

The investigation will involve Justice Department officials from Washington and investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami working with law enforcement experts to review the police department’s policies.  The investigators will review documents and conduct extensive interviews with officers and staff.

The Justice Department is expected to notify the Miami Police Department of any changes that should be made in real time as the review proceeds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Carson City IHOP Shooting 'Not Unlike 9/11,' Sheriff Says

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CARSON CITY, Nev.) -- The sheriff of the Nevada town where a gunman shot up an IHOP restaurant with an assault rifle said Wednesday that the murderous carnage "was not unlike 9/11."

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong spoke after a third member of the Nevada National Guard died of her injuries from Tuesday's attack, bringing the death toll to five. The dead include gunman Eduardo Sencion, who shot himself.

Furlong said Wenesday that his city would always remember the senseless shooting that took five lives, but that the community would heal and move on.

"Yesterday in Carson City was not unlike 9/11. Families, communities, and the entire nation have been affected by what happened here," Furlong said. "We're a resilient society. We rebuild, but we don't forget."

Furlong said the investigation had determined that Sencion had not singled out the guardsmen, who were sitting together at a table at the rear of the restaurant, because civilians were also shot in equal numbers. Sencion walked to the middle of the restaurant where he began shooting toward the back of the room, where the Guard members were sitting, Furlong said.

Nevertheless, the base commander said that after the shooting he had issued an order for soldiers to not wear their uniforms off base, and extra security was added to the base.

Furlong said Sencion, 32, had a history of mental illness. He said Sencion was carrying an AK-47 style assault rifle, but also had a pistol and an additional rifle in his van. Furlong said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is looking into how Sencion got the weapons.

Sencion, who was born in Mexico, was a U.S. citizen who had been here for a long period of time and had no criminal history, Furlong said. The only record police have of him is of three pawn transactions over the past year. Investigators don't believe he engaged with anyone else prior to the shooting, and have found no apparent ties between Sencion and the IHOP or neighboring businesses.

Witnesses reported that Sencion may have been shouting things while shooting, but Furlong noted that many of them were severely traumatized and those accounts have not been confirmed yet.

He said there were no security cameras that had footage of the rampage, which began just before 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Investigators are talking to Sencion's family members about potential mental illness. Furlong said the family is cooperating and is grieving.

Furlong released the names of and information about some of those killed, including National Guard members Major Heath Kelly, 35, Sgt. First Class Christian Riege, 39, Sgt. First Class Miranda McElheney, 38, and civilian Florence Donovan Gunderson, 67. The Guard members were at an offsite staff meeting, while Gunderson was eating at the restaurant with her husband, a former Marine Corps member, who was also injured.

Kelly, a decorated artillery officer, served in Iraq during 2004 and 2005 and lived in Reno with his wife and children.

McElheny, whom Furlong called a "fast riser," was a medical, dental, and human resources specialist who had served for 14 years.

Riege, of Carson City, served in Afghanistan from 2009-2010 and served in the Navy for two years. He was a father of three and an avid fitness buff.

Some of the survivors' injuries were "extremely life threatening," Furlong said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ambush-Style Killings of Cops on the Rise

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While violent crime keeps going down in the U.S., 50 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty this year.

The incidence of police slain by gunfire has jumped 32 percent from this same point in 2010, reports USA Today.  More disturbing is the fact that 40 percent of the fatalities were the result of ambush-style attacks, according to the newspaper's reviews of case summaries and discussions with cops.

Commenting on this trend, Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this month, "Too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them."

He has ordered a review of officer safety, in particular, to find way for officers to survive ambush-style attacks.

Ambush killings of police have risen steadily over the years when just 10 percent of these fatalities were reported in 1994.

Criminologists told USA Today that it appears gunmen are now aiming their weapons above bullet-proof vests in order to strike their targets in either the head or neck.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cops Search for Suspects in Shootings after NFL Game in San Fran

John Foxx/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- There were two shootings following an NFL preseason game in San Francisco Saturday night, one of which left a man in serious condition.

According to police, a man wearing a t-shirt with a derogatory comment about the San Francisco 49ers was shot in the stomach four times following the exhibition game between the 'Niners and Oakland Raiders.

Authorities don't know who fired the gun that wounded the 24-year-old man in the parking lot of Candlestick Park, home of the 49ers.  The victim managed to drive his truck to find security personnel before being rushed to the hospital.

In a separate incident, a man received facial injuries after being shot but is expected to survive.

Police believe the shootings were related and are searching for suspects and have interviewed witnesses who may have seen what happened.  Police won't speculate about what the motives for the shootings might have been.

Earlier this year, a fan of the San Francisco Giants was beaten outside Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, receiving severe brain injuries.  Bryan Stow has shown "significant improvement" since then, according to doctors, but remains hospitalized. Two men charged in the beating have pleaded not guilty.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Look For Connection in Series of Car Shootings

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(DURHAM, N.C.) -- Police in Raleigh and Durham, N.C., continue to investigate whether a recent string of car shootings may be connected, after a third driver was shot at in just one week.

A couple told police they were driving on Interstate 540 around 10 p.m. on Wednesday night when a silver Acura began flashing its lights and tailgating them. The victims also say a Dodge Charger appeared to be trying to help the Acura box them in. Suddenly, their car was struck by one or two bullets.

A 23-year-old man who was behind the wheel suffered a minor glass cut on his arm when the bullet pierced through the driver's window and went through the passenger's window. The 20-year-old woman in the passenger seat was not injured.

The couple continued to drive away from the scene before stopping in Terminal 1 at the Raleigh International Airport to talk to police.

The suspect was last seen going westbound on I-540 that evening. Raleigh police say they are now looking for an African-American man driving an early 2000s model silver Acura with tinted windows and chrome rims, who they say may be behind this latest shooting.

A preliminary investigation by Raleigh police shows Wednesday night's shooting may have been a case of road rage.

However, the shooting bears striking similarities to another incident earlier this week on the Durham Freeway.

On Monday night, a 32-year-old man said he was leaving a friend's house just after 10 p.m. when a dark blue Dodge Charger and a white or gray Acura followed him onto the southbound lanes of the Freeway. The victim says the people inside both vehicles shot at his car, causing him to lose control and crash through a median into the northbound lanes.

The victim managed to run approximately two miles away from the area through the woods, and he later called 911. He was not hurt.

But the shootings have already taken a fatal turn.

On Saturday afternoon, another driver was shot and killed on the Durham Highway, just a few blocks from downtown Durham. Police believe the victim, 30-year-old Michael Orlando Hunter, was shot around 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Hunter then drove his BMW 200 yards before running off the road and crashing into a tree at a nearby athletic park. Hunter was pronounced dead at the scene.

A preliminary investigation into the first two cases shows they were not random. However, detectives say they have not determined yet if all three shootings are connected at this time. Both Raleigh and Durham agencies are working together to investigate the cases.

Police urge anyone with information related to these shootings to contact the Raleigh CrimeStoppers at (919) 834-HELP or Durham CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Prisoners Planned Ft. Hood Style Assault, Feds Allege -- Two men who converted to Islam in prison have been arrested and charged by federal authorities with plotting a Ft. Hood-style assault on a Seattle military installation.

Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, born Joseph Anthony Davis, and Walli Mujahidh, born Frederick Domingue Jr., are accused of planning to attack the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle with grenades and machine guns. Abdul-Latif, 33, and Mujahidh, 32, allegedly purchased machine guns from undercover agents to use in the assault. Their alleged objective was to deter further American military action in Islamic countries.

The defendants allegedly planned to attack Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a sprawling Army and Air Force installation south of Seattle that houses almost 20,000 military personnel and family members, but then changed targets. The Military Entrance Processing Station on East Marginal Way in Seattle is where enlistees report.

According to officials, both men were monitored and their weapons rendered inoperable so that they posed no danger to the public.

"The complaint alleges these men intended to carry out a deadly attack against our military here at home. The Seattle building targeted is shared by civilians and a day care," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "This is a sobering reminder of our need to be vigilant and that our first line of defense is the people who live in our community. We were able to disrupt the plot because a citizen stepped forward and reported it to authorities. I commend the joint efforts of the FBI, the Seattle Police Department, the Joint Terrorism Task Force who quickly recognized the seriousness of the threat and ensured the safety of the community."

According to officials, Abdul-Latif, of Seattle, and Mujahidh, of Los Angeles, met while in prison for earlier offenses. Both converted to Islam while incarcerated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Yuma, Ariz. Gunman and Five Others Dead After String of Shootings

(YUMA, Ariz.) -- Five people were killed Thursday after a gunman opened fire in southern Arizona, according to the Yuma Police Department.  

Police immediately launched an investigation leading them to a 73-year-old man named CAREY HAL DYESS of Yuma, Arizona.  Yuma County police officials would not release the names of Dyess' victims but said a sixth victim, whose condition is unknown, was also injured and transported to a Phoenix hospital.

The shootings appeared "to be personal in nature" and there was "no indication of any relation to terrorism," the FBI told ABC News.

FBI agent ALLAN GRIMES said that one victim was the alleged shooter's estranged wife and another a divorce lawyer.  Officials suspect that the lawyer represented the wife in a case against Dyess, Grimes said.

At around 11:30 a.m. local time, police say they located Dyess near Blaisdell and Highway 95, dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot would.

A motive has not been determined, but the Yuma Police Department and the Yuma County Sheriff's Office will continue to investigate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jared Loughner Mentally Incompetent to Stand Trial

Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Jared Lee Loughner has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and 13 wounded, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

Before being declared mentally incompetent Wednesday by federal judge Larry Burns, Loughner yelled: "Thank you for the freak show," "She died in front of me" and "You're treasonous." He was removed from the courtroom.

Loughner, 22, is paranoid schizophrenic, suffering from delusions and hallucinations, according to mental health professionals. His mental health evaluation also found that Loughner had an "irrational" distrust of his lawyers.

Loughner will be treated for his illness and reevaluated by the court in four months, but there is no guarantee he will improve enough to stand trial. Russell Weston, for instance, walked into the U.S. Capitol in 1998 and allegedly killed two police officers. Twelve years later, he has yet to stand trial.

Charges against Loughner include attempting to assassinate a member of Congress and the killing of a federal judge. But Loughner's mental health has been a subject of speculation since the shootings. Even before January, Loughner's troubled mental state had been noticed by former friends and classmates, as well as by the police at Pima Community College, where he was a student.

Loughner has been in custody since being arrested at the scene of the shooting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Army to Punish Nine Officers for Fort Hood Shootings

File: Soldiers salute at a remembrance service for the 13 victims killed in the Ft. Hood attacks. Ben Sklar/Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- The Army has begun administrative punishments against nine officers for what it calls "administrative and leadership failures relating to the career of Maj. Nidal Hasan," the alleged shooter in the Fort Hood, Texas shootings that killed 13.

Army Secretary John McHugh has initiated "adverse administrative action" against the officers, according to an Army statement released Thursday on the results of an accountability review to determine if Hasan's superior officers were negligent.

"Although no single event directly led to the tragedy at Fort Hood, certain officers clearly failed to meet the high standards expected of their profession," the Army statement said.

The officers were not identified by name or rank, and it seemed there would not be a uniform punishment.

"The severity of each action varies depending on case-specific facts and circumstances," the statement said.

As part of its broader investigation into the circumstances that led to the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, the Army conducted an accountability review of the actions of the officers that supervised Hasan. Unlike the broader investigation's conclusions, which were made public this year, the results of the accountability review have not been made public -- until now.

In the days following the attacks, it came to light the FBI knew Hasan had contact with U.S.-Born Islamic radical Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, a known Al Qaeda operative and recruiter. A report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released last month concluded that there were warning signs about Hasan's radicalization and antagonism to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that raised concerns among his colleagues -- but some didn't report these for fear they would be accused of racial profiling.

Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He could face the death penalty if his case is recommended to a court martial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Gabrielle Giffords' Hero Intern Honored in Chicago

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Daniel Hernandez, the hero intern credited with helping to save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after last month's shootings in Tucson, Ariz., was honored this weekend in Chicago.

At the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute's annual conference, the modest Hernandez was applauded for his heroism when he rushed to action just after Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, was shot in the head on Jan. 8.

The 21-year-old University of Arizona junior used the occasion to condemn hateful speech in politics and call for an end to caustic discourse.

"For too long we've been focusing on destructive political discourse instead of constructive political discourse," he said Saturday.

Since his heroic snap to action in Tucson, Hernandez has been honored across the country. He was singled out when he was a guest of honor at President Obama's State of the Union address last month.

Hernandez also visited New York's city hall last month to support Mayor Michael Bloomberg's group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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