Central Florida gunman accused of killing girlfriend, wounding 5 others, including bystanders

Mar 27, 2017 6

A woman and her boyfriend were arguing over property before he shot and killed her — in addition to shooting five other people including two children, police in Florida said Monday.

The shooting appeared to start with a domestic incident early in the morning before the suspect burst out of a house and shot two bystanders at a second location, police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett told Fox 35.

She said police caught the suspect, but did not immediately name that person. The two children wounded are 7 and 8, Gillett added.

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The woman and the gunman were arguing at a gas station over property, and the woman approached a police officer about it, Gillett said.

The officer settled them down, but sometime later an officer was called to the home in Sanford, where the argument had flared up again. While there, the woman, who wasn’t immediately identified, gave the officer a bag of possessions, which included a firearm. The argument quieted down and the officer left, but the suspect killed the woman shortly afterwards, Gillett said.

The gunman also allegedly shot the woman’s two sons and their grandfather, then went to a nearby street and shot two innocent bystanders, including a high school student waiting for a bus.

An officer heard the shots at the second scene, caught the suspect and found a weapon, according to police.

Dominique Smith told The Orlando Sentinel she was waiting for a school bus with three classmates when the man shot bystanders. Smith said she first noticed the man dressed in all black and then realized he had a gun before he started running and everyone scattered.

“I seen all this,” Smith told the newspaper. “I don’t even feel safe right now.”

The boys and grandfather were in critical condition, and the bystanders were in stable condition, Gillett added.

Sanford is about 20 miles northeast of Orlando.

Click for more from Fox 35.

Racist sword killer says he'd mulled racial attack for years

Mar 27, 2017 5

A white racist accused of fatally stabbing a 66-year-old stranger on a Manhattan street because he was black says he’d intended it as “a practice run” in a mission to deter interracial relationships.

James Harris Jackson, 28, spoke with a reporter for the Daily News (http://nydn.us/2nXQFgo) at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex.

He said he envisioned a white woman thinking: “Well, if that guy feels so strongly about it, maybe I shouldn’t do it.'”

The victim, Timothy Caughman, remembered as a gentleman and a good neighbor, was alone and collecting bottles for recycling last week when he was attacked from behind with a sword. He staggered, bleeding, into a police station and later died at a hospital.

Jackson said in retrospect, he would rather have killed “a young thug” or “a successful older black man with blondes … people you see in Midtown. These younger guys that put white girls on the wrong path.”

He complained that on television, “it’s like every other commercial in the past few years has a mixed-race couple in it.”

“The white race is being eroded. … No one cares about you. The Chinese don’t care about you, the blacks don’t care about you,” he said.

Jackson, 28, who was raised in what was described as a churchgoing, liberal family in a Baltimore suburb, said his ideal society is “1950s America.”

Jackson was in the Army from 2009 to 2012 and worked as an intelligence analyst, the Army said. Deployed in Afghanistan in 2010-11, he earned several medals and attained the rank of specialist.

The military training, Jackson said, helped him plan the bloodshed.

“I had been thinking about it for a long time, for the past couple of years,” he said. “I figured I would end up getting shot by police, kill myself, or end up in jail.”

He is charged with murder as a hate crime.

His attorney, Sam Talkin, has said if the allegations are anywhere close to being true, “then we’re going to address the obvious psychological issues that are present in this case.”

Amtrak train derails in Chicago

Mar 27, 2017 8

Amtrak officials say three cars derailed when a train carrying about 200 passengers arriving in Chicago from the East Coast.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says he has no reports of any serious injuries from the Monday morning incident. He says the train was switching from track to track when three cars in the middle of the eleven-car train lost contact with the track.

Officials say train No. 49 was arriving in Chicago from New York and Boston.

Magliari says Amtrak is investigating the cause of the derailment. He says Chicago’s Union Station remains open and there are no severe delays due to the derailment.

For some, Passover Seder will address global refugee crisis

Mar 27, 2017 5

Abdul Jalal Hashimi grew up in Kabul and fled with his family to the United States after working more than six years against the Taliban alongside American military forces.

A 32-year-old Muslim, he has known few Jews personally, but come Passover he’ll be among more than a dozen refugees sharing special holiday food and swapping life stories with congregants at Temple Beth-El in his new hometown of Richmond, Virginia.

The experience, he said, is aimed at breaking down stereotypes and eliminating bigotry.

“What I hope is to know each other,” said Jalal, who prefers that name, in a blog post the synagogue posted on its website ahead of the Seder.

The Conservative synagogue’s senior rabbi, Michael Knopf, said in an interview that it’s the first time his congregation has marked the global refugee crisis through special readings and rituals at a Seder. Congregants and guests will be using a supplement to existing Haggadahs, the collection of recitations and stories that guide the evening, including the telling of the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt.

The supplement was written by HIAS, a Jewish resettlement organization first established in the 1880s that has helped millions of Jews fleeing pogroms, war and other tragedies. In recent years, the nonprofit has helped resettle refugees of all faiths and ethnicities and offers aid around the world to people ineligible for entry to the U.S.

Last year, Muslims comprised 51 percent of the 4,191 people from 47 countries assisted by HIAS and its network of more than 320 synagogues that have signed on to support refugees.

The HIAS Haggadah supplement last year was downloaded from the group’s website more than 3,000 times and distributed in hard copy at events and through other organizations, said Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer, HIAS director of education and community engagement.

“Throughout our history violence and persecution have driven us to wander to seek freedom,” she said. “Passover really feels like the time on the calendar that just makes the most sense to put people’s attention on the global refugee crisis. There is clearly so much resonance with Jewish history.”

Rituals suggested by the supplement include refugee guests and Seder leaders rising from the table to place a pair of shoes on the doorstep while reciting a phrase that translates to: “My father was a wandering Aramean,” or sometimes, “An Aramean sought to destroy my father.” (Aram was a region of the Middle East in ancient times.)

That phrase, according to the supplement, represents “the essence of the Jewish experience: a rootless people who have fled persecution time and time again.” The words, the group is instructed to read, “acknowledge that we have stood in the shoes of the refugees.”

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism suggested last year placing a banana among other traditional symbolic foods on the Seder plate. The banana honors 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy of Kurdish background whose lifeless body washed ashore on a Turkish beach in 2015 as he fled Syria with his family. His brother, mother and three other children also drowned when their dinghy capsized. Aylan’s father survived and described how his two young sons loved bananas, a luxury in war-torn Syria. He’d brought them a banana as a daily treat.

Rabbi Dan Moskovitz of Temple Shalom in Vancouver, Canada — where Aylan’s family had hoped to eventually settle with a relative — wrote the banana story for the Action Center Haggadah supplement. This year, his Reform congregation will use the banana on Seder plates while welcoming a Kurdish family from Syria that it sponsored. The family’s resident relatives attended a Seder there last year, “so all will be reunited,” he said.

The congregation also sponsored another Syrian family, raising more than $100,000 to help both. Moskovitz expects 200 congregants to join them for Passover. Among the questions for discussion: “Who are the pharaohs of today?” (According to the Passover story, Egypt’s pharaoh enslaved the Jews.)

The HIAS supplement estimates there are 65 million displaced people and refugees globally. That number is to be read aloud at the Seder start.

Knopf expects Afghanis, Iraqis and Syrians, including Jalal, to attend his synagogue’s Seder, along with more than 100 congregants. Because of “the cruelty with which our government is treating the refugee issue,” Knopf said, “we felt a moral obligation and a religious obligation to do our part to care for refugees and to support our friends in the Muslim community.”

Stories of individual refugees are woven into the HIAS supplement, including an accounting of the sparse belongings they brought, coupled with these words: “Just as the story of our own people’s wandering teaches us these lessons time and time again, so, too, do the stories of today’s refugees. The meager possessions they bring with them as they flee reflect the reality of rebuilding a life from so very little.”

Added Meyer: “It shouldn’t be about faith. It should be about helping people who are being persecuted and making sure that they don’t succumb to the same fate the Jewish people did.”

Keeler's body to lie in repose ahead of funeral Mass

Mar 27, 2017 6

The body of Cardinal William Keeler, who headed the Archdiocese of Baltimore for 18 years, will lie in repose in Baltimore’s basilica ahead of his funeral.

Keeler retired in 2007 as the head of the archdiocese, the oldest Roman Catholic diocese in the U.S. He died Thursday at age 86.

Keeler’s body will lie in repose at Baltimore’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Monday and Tuesday. A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday afternoon.

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore will celebrate the Mass and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, will give the homily.

Florida panthers: 2 kittens present outside known habitat

Mar 27, 2017 8

Wildlife officials say they have evidence of endangered Florida panthers breeding further north of their known habitat.

The panthers once roamed the Southeast, but their range is now limited to southwest Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates up to 230 panthers remain in the wild.

Wildlife officials said in a statement Monday that they’ve verified the presence of at least two kittens north of the Caloosahatchee River, which had previously appeared to block their expansion northward. The river empties into the Gulf Coast in southwest Florida.

The kittens are apparently the offspring of a female spotted by trail cameras since 2015 and seen nursing on images earlier this year.

Commission Chairman Brian Yablonski called the birth “a major milestone” for the panther’s recovery.

Maryland high school girl planned 'shooting event,' had bomb-making materials, police say

Mar 27, 2017 14

Investigators say an 18-year-old Catoctin High School student was gathering materials, compiling information on school emergency procedures and planning an act of violence.

Details of the investigation were announced on Monday.

According to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office the plot was uncovered after a concerned parent notified school officials on Thursday of a possible threat. Deputies identified the student as Nichole Cevario and immediately removed her from the classroom for transport to a hospital for an emergency evaluation.

Detectives say the student’s journal “clearly spelled out a detailed shooting event” she had planned for a day in April at the school.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Cevario was “actively” gathering items for the plot, including a shotgun with ammunition, bomb-making materials including pipes with end caps, shrapnel, fireworks, magnesium tape, and fuse material. At no time were any weapons or explosives brought onto school property, investigators noted, and the explosive materials had not been assembled into a functioning device.

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Investigators believe she was acting alone. 

“Ms. Cevario’s journal revealed that she had been planning this event for some time and had been compiling intelligence on behavior activities of the school, noting emergency procedures associated with drills conducted by school staff and obtaining intelligence on the School Resource Deputy assigned to the school,” the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a release. “The journal was very detailed including a timeline that revealed how she was going to execute the plot and her expectations at each stage of the event.”

Read more from FOX 45 Baltimore.

Family getting creepy letters from 'The Watcher' sues town to demolish house

Mar 27, 2017 5

A New Jersey family fed up with getting creepy notes about their “young blood” is seeking to demolish the spooky home coveted by a mysterious figure known as “The Watcher.”

The anonymous letter-writing weirdo has pestered Derek and Maria Broaddus with eerie messages since they purchased the six-bedroom house for nearly $1.4 million in 2014, according to the family.

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“Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested?” one letter read, according to a complaint viewed by The Washington Post. “Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them out to me.”

Another asked: “Have they found out what is in the walls yet? In time they will.”

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The Broaddus’ filed suit against the town of Westfield after its planning board rejected their plan to raze the house and subdivide the land so they could build two houses. They say they can’t live in the house because of the letters and their attorney says they’re caught in a situation they didn’t ask for.

A lawyer for the town told NJ.com she couldn’t comment on the lawsuit.

“The Watcher” hasn’t been identified, though the person claims to be just one member in a long line of so-called watchers.

“My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time,” a letter read. “I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming.”

Some of the letters have been particularly sinister.

“Who has the bedrooms facing the street?” one read. “I’ll know as soon as you move in. … It will help me to know who is in which bedroom then I can plan better.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Oklahoma police officer killed in traffic-stop shootout

Mar 27, 2017 7

A 22-year-old police officer in central Oklahoma died Monday after a shootout with a man trying to escape a traffic stop in central Oklahoma, police announced.

Officer Justin Terney died Monday morning after undergoing surgery overnight, Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney said.

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The suspect was also shot and was in intensive care Monday morning, Kidney added.

Terney pulled over a vehicle around 11:30 p.m. Sunday in Tecumseh, 35 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, police said. The suspect — apparently a passenger — bolted as Terney checked with dispatchers to see if he had any outstanding warrants, according to Kidney.

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Terney used a stun gun on the man but it was ineffective, Kidney said. The man then shot at Terney, who returned fire. Both men were wounded and paramedics rushed them to OU Medical Center.

Kidney said Terney, who graduated from police academy last summer, was shot in the “lower extremities.” He was hit three times, Fox 25 reported.

He said authorities are still working to confirm the identity of the suspect, who was also shot multiple times.

“If it is who we think this person is, there’s a possibility that he has some warrants,” Kidney said. “That could be the reason that he ran.”

The driver of the vehicle was in custody as well, police added.

Click for more from Fox 25.

The Latest: Police: 1 dead, 5 injured in Florida shooting

Mar 27, 2017 7

The Latest on the killing of a woman and the shooting of five others, including two boys, in Sanford, Florida (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Police in central Florida say a woman and her boyfriend were arguing over property before he fatally shot her and also shot five others, including her two grade-school age sons.

Sanford Police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett said that the woman and the gunman were arguing Monday morning at a gas station over property, and the woman approached a police officer about it.

The officer settled them down, but sometime later the officer was called to the home where the argument had flared up again.

The argument died down again and the officer left.

A short time later, the gunman fatally shot the woman and also shot her two sons and their grandfather.

The gunman then went to a nearby street and shot two bystanders, including a high school student waiting for a bus.

___

9 a.m.

Investigators say one person is dead and five others — including two young children — are being treated for injuries following a shooting in central Florida.

Sanford police spokeswoman Bianca Gillet tells local news outlets that four people were shot in a house following what appears to be a domestic violence incident early Monday. She says two innocent bystanders were also shot in another location in Sanford, which is northeast of Orlando.

She says the children are ages 7 and 8, and that all five shooting victims are in critical condition.

Gillet says a police officer heard the shots at the second location and was able to capture the suspect. A weapon was found.

The names of the shooting victims haven’t been released.

No further details were immediately available.