The Latest: Detroit priest beatified by Catholic church

Nov 18, 2017 6

The Latest on the beatification of the Rev. Solanus Casey, a late Detroit priest who could be made a saint by the Roman Catholic Church if a second miracle is attributed to him: (all times local):

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4:55 p.m.

A Detroit priest who focused his ministry on the poor and needy has been beatified by the Roman Catholic Church, a key step toward sainthood.

The Rev. Solanus Casey was known as Father Solanus, a member of the Capuchin (CAP’-uh-shin) Franciscan order of priests. He died in 1957.

Tens of thousands of people attended the beatification Mass Saturday at a Detroit stadium. Italian Cardinal Angelo Amato read a letter from Pope Francis, who described Father Solanus as a “humble, faithful disciple of Christ.” He was given the title of “blessed.”

Father Solanus is credited with interceding to cure a Panamanian woman of a skin disease while she prayed at his tomb in 2012. She attended the Mass.

He can be made a saint in the years ahead if a second miracle is attributed to him.

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12:40 a.m.

A priest who dedicated himself to helping others is on a path to sainthood decades after his death.

Solanus Casey, known as Father Solanus, will be beatified Saturday at a Mass attended by 65,000 people at a stadium in Detroit, the city where he spent much of his ministry.

Pope Francis said Father Solanus met the requirements to earn the title of “blessed,” especially after a woman from Panama was cured of a skin disease while she prayed at his tomb in 2012.

Father Solanus can be made a saint in the years ahead if a second miracle is attributed to him.

Barred from giving homilies because of academic struggles, he dedicated himself to helping the poor and counseling people with emotional and health problems. He died in 1957.

FBI’s black ‘extremists’ report ignites fears of return to illegal government watch

Nov 18, 2017 17

Political organizations and veteran members of the civil rights movement have expressed concern over an FBI report noting the rise of black “extremists,” and fear it could lead to a return to a time when the agency unjustly spied on organizations which hadn’t broken any laws.

The memo, released in August, said that violence against law enforcement has been on the rise from “black identity extremists” who “acted in retaliation from perceived past police brutality incidents” and noted its likely continuation.

It cited the deadly police shooting in Dallas in 2016, in which a sniper who was upset about police treatment of minorities killed five officers, and also a man in Baton Rouge, La., who killed three officers in 2016 after writing about the need to inflict violence on “bad cops.”

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The FBI said it doesn’t target groups without cause and the report only serves to acknowledge what they believe are emerging trends, noting that a memo on white supremacists was also filed. Nonetheless, they’ve drawn the ire of members of The Congressional Black Caucus, who said the report is mixing groups.

In a letter from the organization to FBI Director Christopher Wray, they said the report “conflates black political activists with dangerous domestic terrorist organizations” and would only further sever the ties between police and minority groups.

To further complicate the situation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions proved unable to answer questions about the report from Rep. Karen Bass, D-Ca., during a recent congressional hearing. Bass later said that the memo felt like “a flashback to the past.”

Sessions said he was aware of “groups that do have an extraordinary commitment to their racial identity, and some have transformed themselves even into violent activists.” He struggled to answer the same question about white extremists.

Bass also said she’d received complaints from members of Black Lives Matter, who claimed they were being monitored and harassed by police in her district. She said she worries the report will send a message to police that it’s okay to crack down on groups critical of law enforcement.

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Additionally, some veterans of the black and Latino civil rights movement said the FBI assessment reminded them of the bureau’s now-defunct COINTELPRO, a covert and often illegal operation under Director J. Edgar Hoover in the 1950s and 1960s. Agents were assigned to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalists,” Hoover said in a once-classified memo to field agents.

The issue of race has been an especially hot topic during President Trump’s term following accusations that his administration was insensitive to racial issues, including his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., in August.

In a statement to the Associated Press, the FBI said it cannot and will not open an investigation based solely on a person’s race or exercise of free speech rights.

“Our focus is not on membership in particular groups but on individuals who commit violence and other criminal acts,” the FBI said. “Furthermore, the FBI does not and will not police ideology. When an individual takes violent action based on belief or ideology and breaks the law, the FBI will enforce the rule of law.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

2 suspects on the run after shootout with Georgia officers

Nov 18, 2017 13

Police in north Georgia say they’re searching for a man and woman after a gun battle involving police officers.

Gainesville police Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said Saturday that two officers were hurt in the Friday night confrontation, but neither officer was shot.

Holbrook tells The Times of Gainesville that both officers were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and have been released.

A 911 caller said the man was dragging the female down the road, and the first officer to arrive began fighting with the man. Police said the woman struck the officer in the head with a gun before the shooting began.

Police said the man and woman, both 20, are suspected of aggravated assault on a peace officer.

Gainesville is 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of Atlanta.

The Latest: Search continues for person who fatally shot cop

Nov 18, 2017 12

The Latest on the fatal shooting of a police officer in New Kensington, Pennsylvania (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania state police say investigators say they know why a rookie officer initiated a traffic stop that ultimately led to his shooting death.

But they declined to provide those details or further information Saturday on the death of New Kensington officer Brian Shaw, citing the ongoing investigation.

Authorities say Shaw was shot in the chest Friday night during a foot pursuit that stemmed from the traffic stop in New Kensington, which is about 18 miles (29 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh

A brown, older model Jeep Grand Cherokee wanted in connection with the shooting was recovered later Friday. But the shooting suspect remained at large Saturday afternoon.

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7 a.m.

An intense search is underway in western Pennsylvania for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a police officer.

The shooting happened shortly after 8 p.m. Friday in New Kensington, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh. Authorities say Officer Brian Shaw was shot after a traffic stop led to him chasing someone on foot.

Police officers from neighboring towns were scouring the area for the suspect early Saturday. SWAT teams and police dogs assisted.

Police have recovered a brown, older model Jeep Grand Cherokee wanted in connection with the shooting.

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12:15 a.m.

Authorities in Pennsylvania say a police officer was shot and killed while making a traffic stop and a search is underway for the gunman.

The fatal shooting happened shortly after 8 p.m. Friday in New Kensington, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh. The officer has not been identified.

Police officers from neighboring towns, some carrying rifles, are scouring the area for the suspect. Police dogs also are being used in the search.

Police recovered a brown, older model Jeep Grand Cherokee wanted in connection with the shooting at about 11 p.m.

Man convicted of triple homicide in Washington state

Nov 18, 2017 14

A jury has convicted a 37-year-old man of three counts of aggravated murder in the 2016 shooting deaths of three people in a home in Washington state.

The Columbian reports a jury on Friday also convicted Brent Luyster of one count of attempted murder and two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon.

Luyster, a known white supremacist, shot and killed Joseph Mark Lamar, Zachary Thompson and Janell Renee Knight on July 15, 2016, in the small town of Woodland. A fourth person was shot and survived.

Officials say Thompson was Luyster’s best friend and LaMar a friend. Knight was LaMar’s partner.

Prosecutors say Luyster killed the three because he was upset about felony charges in a different case that might land him back in jail. Luyster’s defense team argued that was speculation and said there was little physical evidence against Luyster.

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Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com

Dallas police investigating mom of two's death plunge from parking garage after mystery meeting

Nov 18, 2017 10

The family of a 26-year-old Texas woman who fell to her death under suspicious circumstances is demanding answers to what happened.

Taylor Gruwell-Miller, a mother of two children, plummeted to her death from the top of a Dallas apartment building parking garage on Sept. 23. Police on Thursday released surveillance video from the night she died in an attempt to find witnesses.

“I just want the truth,” her dad Rich Gruewell told WFAA-TV. “My daughter didn’t take her own life.”

The New York Post reported that Gruwell-Miller was with a man she met at rehab before she died. She checked into the treatment facility in August for abusing prescription drugs.

In the surveillance video, Gruwell-Miller is seen getting in a black car with the man at the parking garage.

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Taylor Gruwell-Miller’s death in a mysterious fall is under investigation by Dallas police  (Facebook)

The pair then drove to the top floor of the garage, according to the paper.

Police said that within minutes, Gruwell-Miller fell to her death and the man returned to the third floor of the garage alone, the paper reported.

WFAA said the man played football in college and was on probation for a drug conviction without divulging his name.

He has refused to meet with detectives but submitted a written statement that police have questioned because it contradicts what is seen in the surveillance video, according to the station.

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Taylor Gruwell-Miller’s two children, 2 and 4, were the biggest joy in her life, according to her obituary.  (Facebook)

Police appealed to the public for help in identifying two men seen in the surveillance video who may be witnesses.

Gruwell-Miller was divorced. She had a boy, 2, and a girl, 4. Her obituary says her children were the biggest joy in her life.

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Dallas police have released surveillance video of the last time Taylor Gruwell-Miller was seen alive before mysteriously falling to her death from a parking garage.  (Dallas Police Department)

“I think there’s one person at least that knows what happened to my daughter, and I just wish that person would tell the truth, whatever that truth is,” her father told WFAA. “Just come forward and say what happened.”

grab

Police investigating Taylor Gruewell-Miller death in a mysterious fall released surveillance video seeking witnesses.  (Dallas Police Department)

Man admits tricking teenage girls into online sex acts

Nov 18, 2017 9

Authorities in New Jersey say a Florida man accused of blackmailing five teenage girls to pose nude and engage in sexual conduct on web cameras has pleaded guilty to manufacturing child pornography.

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino says Daniel Derringer III also pleaded guilty Friday to distributing child pornography and debauching the morals of a child.

The 28-year-old Lake Worth man faces up to 12 years in prison when he’s sentenced Feb. 9. He also will have to register as a sex offender.

Authorities say the former Union City, New Jersey, resident posed online as a young girl to trick teen girls into exposing themselves on their web cameras. Investigators say he threatened to post those images online if the girls did not engage in further sexual conduct.

Man linked to art heist seeks prison release in weapons case

Nov 18, 2017 11

A reputed Connecticut mobster who authorities say is the last surviving person of interest in the largest art heist in U.S. history wants to await sentencing in an unrelated weapons case at his home.

The motion filed Friday by Robert Gentile’s attorney in federal court called Gentile’s multiple transfers to prisons “cruel and unusual punishment.”

The 81-year-old Gentile was to be sentenced in September. But a judge postponed it after Gentile’s lawyer raised concerns about his client’s mental health, saying he couldn’t remember pleading guilty.

Prosecutors have said they believe Gentile has information about the still-unsolved 1990 heist at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Thieves stole an estimated $500 million worth of artwork.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut declined to comment Saturday on the motion.

Two Quinnipiac University students charged for setting fires in dorm

Nov 18, 2017 12

Two Quinnipiac University students were charged Friday with setting fires to several trash cans in their dormitory bathrooms.

Hamden Police said Bernhard Wright, of Oslo, Norway, and Carmelo Fazzolari, of Manalapan, NJ, were charged with arson, reckless endangerment, reckless burning and criminal mischief, FOX61 reported.

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The men allegedly set fires in The Commons dormitory at the Connecticut-based school, which houses nearly 500 students, police stated. Students who spotted the fires reported them to a “’Residential Life’ member,” FOX61 reported.

Authorities said a student burned their hand while trying to move a burning trash can.

Investigators determined the fires were intentionally set in two trash cans and several bathroom stalls.

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The university suspended the two students pending a “conduct meeting.”

Wright and Fazzolari posted the $1,000 bail. It was unclear whether either defendant has an attorney who can comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Latest: Church leaders who oppose Roy Moore hold rally

Nov 18, 2017 16

The Latest on U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama (all times local):

12:05 p.m.

A leading figure among religious liberals is speaking out against Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore.

The Rev. William J. Barber led a rally against Moore at a church in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday. More than 100 people gathered for the event.

Barber and other speakers criticized Moore over allegations he made improper sexual advances toward teenage girls decades ago.

Speakers also cited Moore’s opposition to gay rights and criticized him for opposing federally backed health care, assistance for the needy, public school funding and more.

The demonstration came two days after a group of conservative evangelical leaders held an event with Moore in support of his campaign against Democrat Doug Jones. Moore has long been a champion of Christian conservatives nationwide.

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GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore’s wife is standing by her embattled man, and she has gathered other Alabama women to his cause — but not everyone is sticking with him.

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct toward women in their teens when he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s. The accusations are dividing Republicans and women in particular.

On Friday, Kayla Moore surrounded herself with two dozen other women to defend him.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says she has no reason to disbelieve the accusers, and she’s bothered by the allegations. However, Ivey says she will vote for Moore anyway for the sake of GOP power in Congress.

But some other longtime GOP women voters say they can’t support him.