A house explodes and bursts into flames in Minnesota, killing at least 1 person, fire chief says

BY MARGERY A. BECK from the Associated Press

An explosion and subsequent fire leveled a home in a St. Paul, Minnesota, suburb early Thursday, killing at least one person, a fire official said.

The explosion happened just after 6:15 a.m. in South St. Paul, said South Metro Fire Department Chief Mark Juelfs. Firefighters arrived within minutes and quickly extinguished the flames, Juelfs said. An initial search of the demolished home turned up one person dead inside the garage.

Authorities haven’t yet identified the person and don’t yet know if there were other people in the house, Juelfs said. “We can’t confirm whether there are additional victims until we sort through a lot of the debris,” he said.

Fire officials are working with local police and public works officials to determine the cause of the blast, Juelfs said.

South St. Paul is a city of about 21,000 about 8 miles (13kilometers) south of St. Paul.

City Council in Portland, Oregon, approves $2.6M for police body cameras

From the Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The City Council in Portland, Oregon, approved $2.6 million for permanent police body cameras in a unanimous vote, a crucial step toward the city no longer being among the last major U.S. police agencies without the technology.

All of the city’s roughly 800 uniformed officers who interact with the public will have body-worn cameras by the summer, after training and further negotiations with the police union, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Wednesday.

But only around 300 patrol officers will be required to wear them routinely on their shifts, the news outlet reported.

Roughly 500 other sworn members, including detectives and sergeants, will put on their cameras when they interact with the public, said police spokesperson Mike Benne

FBI agent carjacked in Washington, latest in string of high-profile carjackings

BY LINDSAY WHITEHURST from the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — An FBI agent was carjacked Wednesday in Washington, D.C., a theft that comes amid a sharp increase in the number of carjackings in the nation’s capital.

FILE – The FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover headquarters building in Washington on Nov. 2, 2016. Police say two people carjacked an FBI agent in Washington, D.C., a theft that comes amid a sharp increase in the number of carjackings in the nation’s capital. Police say the theft was carried out mid-afternoon on Wednesday. The FBI says it’s under investigation by the bureau’s Washington field office and the Metropolitan Police Department. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Two people carried out the midafternoon armed carjacking, police said. The car was found about 30 minutes later about a mile away, Metropolitan Police said. The FBI’s Washington field office and the Metropolitan Police Department’s carjacking task force are investigating, the FBI said in a statement.

Carjackings in the nation’s capital have more than doubled this year, up 104%. Recent victims include a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas. He was carjacked near the Capitol in October by three armed assailants, who stole his car but didn’t physically harm him.

Earlier this month, Secret Service agents protecting President Joe Biden’s granddaughter opened fire after three people tried to break into an unmarked Secret Service vehicle. No one was struck.

Violent crime in Washington has also been on the rise this year, up more than 40% compared with last year.

Louisiana’s tough-on-crime governor-elect announces new leaders of state police, national guard

BY SARA CLINE from the Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Throughout his election campaign, Republican Gov.-elect Jeff Landry promised to prioritize fighting crime in Louisiana, a state that in recent years has had one of the highest homicide rates in the country.

FILE – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court, Jan. 7, 2022, in Washington. For the entirety of his campaign trail, Louisiana Gov.-elect Landry vowed to prioritize the issue of crime in Louisiana and on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, he took a step toward those plans, naming a new leadership tasked with the state’s safety and security including a new State Police chief. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

On Wednesday, he took steps that he said would help fulfill that promise, appointing a new state police chief and other statewide safety and security leadership positions. Landry said he also plans to call the legislature into a special session to address crime once he’s in the governor’s office.

Currently the state’s attorney general, Landry said an integral part of his plan as Louisiana’s chief executive is to improve safety in New Orleans, which has often been in the national spotlight for violent crime.

The governor-elect remarked during a news conference that he will bring “as much of a law enforcement presence” as necessary to keep New Orleans safe.

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But when pressed for specifics on tackling crime in the state’s tourist-friendly and most-populous city, he was not forthcoming.

“We just announced the new adjutant general (leader of the Louisiana National Guard) and he’d tell you that you would never lay your plans out to the enemy,” he said. “And in the battle to fight crime, I would not come here and give you all specifics.”

Landry held the news conference on the field of the Caesars Superdome, site of the 2025 Super Bowl.

“The past statistics that have plagued the city cannot be in place when kickoff time comes, and so everything is on the table,” Landry said.

As in numerous other parts of the country, violence surged in Louisiana following the onset of COVID-19. And while data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows that crime has steadily decreased in Louisiana over the past decade, New Orleans has continued to struggle with a surge of killings.

Landry, who was backed by former President Donald Trump in this year’s gubernatorial election, has employed a lot of tough-on-crime rhetoric, and has repeatedly slammed Louisiana’s 2017 criminal justice overhaul.

In a surprise collaboration on Wednesday, Landry was joined by Jason Williams, an Orleans Parish district attorney who is a progressive Democrat and has butted heads with the governor-elect. Standing side-by- side, Landry announced that GOP Attorney General-elect Liz Murrill will lead the prosecution of defendants arrested as a result of state police investigations in the parish.

“You look around the country, you don’t often see Republicans and Democrats sitting down to solve the toughest problems,” Williams said. “And that’s what we’ve been doing, focusing on crime in the city of New Orleans.”

Landry announced that Major Robert Hodges will be the head of Louisiana State Police. Hodges, a 28-year veteran of the agency, will oversee the beleaguered department, which has faced a slew of controversies — including the deadly arrest of Black motorist Ronald Greene in 2019 and a federal probe by the U.S. Justice Department.

Landry named Gen. Thomas Friloux to lead the Louisiana National Guard and former state Rep. Bryan Adams to lead the state fire marshal’s office.

The appointees will assume their new roles when Landry is inaugurated on Jan. 8.

Somali maritime police intensify patrols as fears grow of resurgence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden


BOSASO, Puntland (AP) — Somalia’s maritime police force on Thursday intensified patrols in the Gulf of Aden following a failed pirate hijacking of a ship earlier this week.

The commander of the maritime force in the semiautonomous region of Puntland, Abdullahi Mohamed Ahmed, told The Associated Press that patrols in the waters had doubled and were on a 24-hour rotation to deter pirates.

“Here now we have many challenges. We had initially dealt with the pirates and stopped their activities, but recently on top of al-Shabab and IS we have had to look out for them again,”

On Sunday, the U.S. military said it had captured five men who had attempted to hijack an Israeli-linked tanker off the coast of Yemen.

U.S. and British militaries said the armed attackers seized the Liberian-flagged Central Park, managed by Zodiac Maritime, in the Gulf of Aden. The pirates had attempted to escape using speedboats but surrendered after being pursued by American destroyer the USS Mason, a statement from the U.S. Military’s central command said.

Yemeni Houthi rebels have conducted recent attacks on commercial vessels on the Gulf of Eden, seen as part of a rise in violence in the region due to the Israel-Hamas war. But the Pentagon said this latest attempt was carried out by Somali nationals.

That is the first in many years and has led the Somali government to appeal for International support to deter a resurgence of piracy in the Horn of Africa.

“Puntland State is all alone in this security effort. No assistance from the African Union Mission in Somalia, the European Union or any international assistance. But we are doing our best,” Mohamed said.

Somalia had for years been blighted by piracy, with the peak being 2011, when the U.N. says more than 160 attacks were recorded off the Somali coast.

The incidents have declined drastically since then, however, largely due to the presence of American and allied navies in international waters.

Igunza reported from Nairobi, Kenya.

127 Malaysians, suspected to be victims of job scams, rescued from Myanmar fighting

BY EILEEN NG from the Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — More than 120 suspected victims of job scams have been rescued after being stranded by fighting in northern Myanmar between the military and armed ethnic groups, Malaysia’s government said.

FILE – Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir attends the Retreat Session at the 56th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. Malaysia’s government says more than 120 suspected victims of job scams have been rescued after being stranded by fighting in northern Myanmar between the military and armed ethnic groups. Foreign Minister Zambry said they are in a safe location and the government hoped to fly them home by Thursday, Nov. 30. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Pool Photo via AP, File)

The number of Malaysians rescued surged from an initial 26 to 127 in the past few days, Foreign Minister Zambry Abd Kadir told local media late Monday before flying to New York.

He said they are in a safe location and the government hoped to fly them home by Thursday. The foreign ministry earlier said the group were stranded in Laukkaing, a town known as a notorious hub for online scams, gambling and other major organized crimes.

Fighting has continued in northern Myanmar after an alliance of armed ethnic minority groups launched a surprise offensive last month. They have seized control of several border crossings to China, in a major disruption to trade.

Zambry said the ministry was asked to help evacuate an Indonesian and a Hong Kong citizen from the area. He said the duo will be flown out with the Malaysians. He thanked China and Myanmar authorities for their help in the operation but didn’t give further details.

A government official who declined to be named as he isn’t authorized to speak to the media said Tuesday that based on initial information, the 127 Malaysians were lured to the area by fraud job offers. He said details of the rescue operation and their evacuation couldn’t be released yet due to the sensitivity of the case and the various parties involved.

Earlier this month, 266 Thai victims of human traffickers, several Filipinos and a Singaporean were also rescued from Laukkaing and taken to China’s Kunming city, where they boarded chartered flights to Bangkok. Another group of 41 Thais were also reportedly repatriated across the land border.

Unrest in Myanmar’s border region has been a constant irritant to China, despite its support for the country’s military rulers who took power in a takeover in 2021.

Beijing earlier this week called for a cease-fire in Myanmar but said it will continue live-firing drills on its side of the frontier to prepare for any emergency. Chinese police have reportedly fired tear gas to drive away people who were sheltering close to the border fence.

China is highly wary of conflicts spilling over the border that is already rife with drug trafficking and people smuggling. Cybercrime targeting Chinese victims has become a major concern, and China has pushed hard to eliminate the groups based in Myanmar and other countries and to send the perpetrators back to China for prosecution.

US military Osprey aircraft with 8 aboard crashes into the sea off southern Japan

BY MARI YAMAGUCHI from the Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s coast guard has found a person and debris in the ocean where a U.S. military Osprey aircraft carrying eight people crashed Wednesday off southern Japan, officials said.

A U.S. military CV-22 Osprey takes off from Iwakuni base, Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan, on July 4, 2018. A U.S. military Osprey aircraft carrying eight people crashed Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 into the sea off southern Japan, and the Japanese coast guard is heading to the site for search and rescue operations, officials said. (Kyodo News via AP)

The cause of the crash and the status of the person and the others on the aircraft were not immediately known, coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa said.

The coast guard received an emergency call from a fishing boat near the crash site off Yakushima, an island south of Kagoshima on the southern main island of Kyushu, he said.

Coast guard aircraft and patrol boats found one person, whose condition was not immediately known, and gray-colored debris believed to be from the aircraft, Ogawa said. They were found at sea about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) off the eastern coast of Yakushima.

“The government will confirm information about the damage and place the highest priority on saving lives,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but during flight can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster like an airplane. Versions of the aircraft are flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.

Ogawa said the aircraft had departed from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture and crashed on its way to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. The Osprey apparently attempted to make an emergency landing at the Yakushima airport before crashing, he said.

Kyodo News agency, quoting Kagoshima prefectural officials, said witnesses reported seeing fire coming from the Osprey’s left engine.

U.S. and Japanese officials said the aircraft belonged to Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. U.S. Air Force officials at Yokota said they were still confirming information and had no immediate comment.

A U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft with 23 Marines aboard crashed on a north Australian island in August, killing at least three and critically injuring at least five during a multinational training exercise.

There have been at least five fatal crashes of Marine Ospreys since 2012, causing a total of at least 19 deaths.

With Santa’s elves on board to deliver gifts, Alaska’s National Guard dealt with a medical emergency

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — Santa Claus’ sleigh took on new responsibilities in rural Alaska this week when delivering gifts to an Alaska Native village.

Santa’s ride, an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, was shuttling Santa, Mrs. Claus, volunteer elves and gifts in shifts Wednesday to provide the children of Tuluksak some Christmas cheer. The flights originated about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest, from the hub community of Bethel, the guard said in a release.

However, after the first trip to Tuluksak, the helicopter crew got an urgent call seeking help for a medical evacuation in the nearby village of Napaskiak, located about 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Bethel on the other side of the Kuskokwim River.

The river in the winter serves as an ice road, but there was only enough ice at this time of the year to prevent boats from operating. The ice wasn’t thick enough to support vehicles, and bad weather prevented small planes from landing at the village air strip.

Helicopter pilots Colton Bell and David Berg, both chief warrant officers, shifted focus, adding two paramedics and medical equipment to the flight and the remaining gifts for children.

They flew the five minutes to Napaskiak and dropped off the paramedics, who said they would need about 40 minutes to stabilize the patient. That gave the pilots time to take the 15-minute flight to Tuluksak to drop off the gifts and volunteers.

They then returned to the other village to pick up the patient and paramedics and flew them to an awaiting ambulance in Bethel. The patient was in stable condition Thursday and awaiting transport to an Anchorage hospital.

“This mission specifically showcases our abilities to adapt to multiple, rapidly changing missions while operating in adverse weather while still completing them efficiently and safely,” Bell said in a statement.

The Alaska National Guard for decades has delivered gifts, supplies and sometimes Christmas itself to tiny rural communities dotting the nation’s largest and largely roadless state. The program began in 1956 when residents of St. Mary’s village had to choose between buying gifts for children or food to make it through winter after flooding, followed by drought, wiped out hunting and fishing opportunities that year.

The guard stepped up, taking donated gifts and supplies to the village. Now they attempt every year to visit two or three villages that have experienced hardships.

Long-distance and extreme rescues by guard personnel are common in Alaska because most communities don’t have the infrastructure that exists in the Lower 48.

New Jersey blaze leaves 8 firefighters injured and a dozen residents displaced on Thanksgiving

From the Associated Press

WEST NEW YORK, New Jersey (AP) — Eight firefighters were injured battling a Thanksgiving night fire that displaced more than a dozen residents in West New York, New Jersey, officials said.

WABC-TV reports that the fire was in an apartment above a pharmacy on Bergenline Avenue at 53rd Street. Video showed flames billowing from the building.

Neighbors had to evacuate their homes when the building two doors down on Bergenline Avenue collapsed.

An explosion caused the roof to cave with firefighters on top of it, sending eight of them to the hospital with injuries ranging from smoke inhalation to broken bones, North Hudson fire officials said.

“I got a call that we had three members missing, we had a mayday and your heart just drops,” West New York Fire Chief David Donnarumma said. It was not immediately clear if the three missing were accounted for.

Donnarumma said the explosion happened as firefighters were battling flames shooting out the windows of the three-story corner building. The blast turned the building next to it into rubble.

“It’s a sad day for the township of West New York. They with their residents, cause people are displaced, they lost their residences and lost their belongings,” he said. “It’s a difficult day for the firefighters, not because we had to work but because of the injuries. Now their families will be suffering as well.”

Firefighters were able to get everyone out, rescuing several residents. Others were able to escape on their own.

The fire was contained but 20 people were displaced. The Red Cross said they were assisting at least 10 families.

The cause of the fire and explosion is under investigation.

Michigan police chase 12-year-old boy operating stolen forklift

From the Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Police in Michigan have arrested a 12-year-old boy who they said led them on a chase in a stolen forklift.

Police were called to Forsyth Middle School at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday on a report of a stolen forklift, MLive.com reported. Officers found the forklift heading south through the city and gave chase at speeds between 15 and 20 mph (24 and 32 kph).

The driver, later identified as a 12-year-old Ann Arbor boy, finally stopped the forklift and was taken into custody at about 8 p.m.

Police later discovered the forklift had been left unlocked with a key hidden in the cab.

No one was hurt in the incident.

A crane operator has rescued a man from a burning high-rise in England

LONDON (AP) — A crane operator played down tributes paid to him on Thursday after he lifted a man to safety from a burning high-rise building in England.

The scene at the Station Hill development site in Reading where a fire broke out trapping a workman on the roof in Reading, England, Thursday Nov. 23, 2023. A crane operator played down tributes paid to him on Thursday after he lifted a man to safety from a burning high-rise building in England. (Lucy North/PA via AP)

Video from the scene in the town of Reading in southern England showed a man being rescued by a crane cage from the roof of a building under construction as thick plumes of dark smoke and flames billowed around him.

A crowd that had gathered near the building broke out in applause as the man was lifted in the air and then lowered to the ground.

Crane operator Glen Edwards, 65, described the situation as a “close call” because of windy conditions.

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“I was no more than 20 meters up in the air and I looked out my left-hand window and saw a guy standing on the corner of the building,” said Edwards, who had been working at the site before the blaze broke out.

“I’d only just seen him and someone said ‘can you get the cage on,’ so that was it, I got the cage on and got it over to him the best I could,” he added.

He said he tried to position the cage between the man and the flames but he was “hampered by the wind swirling around there.”

“But I got the cage down and I managed to get him in there,” he said.

More than 50 firefighters arrived at the scene to tackle the blaze, officials said, and another man was also lifted from the building by crane. Both men were taken to a hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation. The fire was extinguished later Thursday.

Incoming Philadelphia mayor taps the city’s chief of school safety as next police commissioner

From the Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker, who won her post by promising gun-violence-weary residents to get tough on crime, on Wednesday selected longtime police official Kevin J. Bethel to become the next police commissioner of the nation’s sixth most populous city.

FILE – Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel speaks during a news conference, Nov. 4, 2015, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker has selected Bethel to become the next police commissioner of the nation’s sixth most populous city. Parker announced the decision Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

The move is Parker’s first major personnel decision in a heavily Black city where her campaign tried to connect with voters who are increasingly worried about public safety as well as quality-of-life issues, from faulty streetlights to trash collection. On the stump, Parker argued that her mayoral administration can both invest in policing and address broader societal problems at the same time.

In an interview with ABC Philadelphia announcing the decision, Parker said Bethel is “a leader who is not afraid to make the tough decisions that we need to bring some order back to our city.”

Bethel, 60, is a former deputy police commissioner in Philadelphia who since 2019 has served as the chief of safety in the city’s school district, where Bethel earned a reputation as a reformer interested in breaking the school-to-prison pipeline in the majority Black district.

In 2008, Bethel became a deputy police commissioner in charge of patrol operations in the city and in 2016 went to work for the nonprofit Stoneleigh Foundation, where he worked on policies to create alternatives to sending juveniles into the criminal justice system.

During a press conference Wednesday, Bethel described himself as data-driven, saying that will guide where to put police officers and direct efforts.

“I’m proud to be a cop. But we’re not your enemy. We’re here to serve. We have our issues and we can address them,” he said. “Give us the opportunity to be what you want us to be.”

Parker, a former state legislator and City Council member, has said she wants to hire hundreds of additional police officers to walk their beats and get to know residents. The Democrat wants to devote resources to recruiting more police and says officers should be able to stop and search pedestrians if they have a legitimate reason to do so.

Parker said she started holding informal meetings with candidates in her backyard over the summer. She was impressed Bethel came well-versed with her neighborhood safety and community policing plan.

In addition to hiring 300 more officers, her public safety plan also called for fixing broken streetlights, removing graffiti and investing in programs for at-risk youth. She promised a well-trained police force that is engaged with the community along with mental health and behavioral support.

Parker also defended her support for “Terry stops,” or for officers to use “just and reasonable suspicion” to stop pedestrians. She and other candidates faced criticism including a protest at City Hall during the primary campaign from those opposed to “stop and frisk.”

The policy has riled the city in the past, with critics saying it was used disproportionately against people of color. The ACLU sued to stop the practice and monitors police use of stop and frisk under a settlement with the city.

Philadelphia has been buffeted by violent crime, tallying a record number of homicides in 2021, most of them gun-related. That number fell from 562 to 516 in 2022 but was still significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels, and advocates have said they are on track to decrease further this year.

“Let me be clear: The challenges that our city faces are significant, but they’re solvable,” Bethel said. “Experience has taught me that the right strategy, the right tactics and solid solutions will deliver a safe city and will make our police department the best police department in the nation.”

Bethel will lead a 6,000-member force that has been hit with morale problems, clashed with the city’s progressive prosecutor Larry Krasner and seen a parade of officers being prosecuted.

Officers also have been killed and wounded this year, including last month when officers Richard Mendez and Raul Ortiz confronted several people breaking into a vehicle at Philadelphia International Airport. Mendez was shot multiple times, dying shortly afterward, and Ortiz was shot once in his arm, police said.

Philadelphia drew headlines in September for what authorities called social media-fueled mayhem in which groups of thieves smashed their way into stores in several areas of the city, stuffing plastic bags with merchandise and fleeing.

In July, Philadelphia was the site of the nation’s worst violence around the July Fourth holiday when a gunman went on a shooting rampage that left five people dead and four others wounded, while a 2-year-old boy and a 13-year-old youth were also wounded by gunfire.

Bethel will succeed Danielle Outlaw, who stepped down in September to take a top position with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a New York-area transit system. Outlaw, the first Black woman to hold the position, was hired from Portland, Oregon.

Parker will take office in January. Outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney named First Deputy John M. Stanford Jr. as interim police commissioner.

Robbery suspect’s colorful underwear helped police arrest him, authorities say

From the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A pair of multicolored briefs peeking out above a robbery suspect’s low-slung trousers helped police arrest him more than a year later, federal authorities in New York said Wednesday.

The robbery happened at a tobacco shop in Queens on Sept. 14, 2022. Three masked men got out of a Mazda and entered the store, according to a complaint filed in federal court last week.

Two of the men pointed guns at employees and customers while the third emptied the cash register and grabbed merchandise and employees’ cellphones, the complaint said. The robbers fled in the Mazda

Surveillance videos that were disseminated through the media showed the third robber wearing brightly colored briefs with a large letter R in white and the year 1990 in yellow.

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An anonymous tipster passed along the Instagram handle of the suspect with the colorful underwear, the complaint said. The caller also told police that the robbers had tried to sell their stolen merchandise at another Queens location.

Detectives reviewed video footage from the sale location and spotted the man with the colorful underwear, now easily identifiable because he was no longer wearing a mask, the complaint said.

Police identified the suspect based on his Instagram account, the video from the merchandise sale spot and photos from prior arrests, according to the complaint.

The 30-year-old suspect was arrested Wednesday morning at his home in Queens by members of a New York Police Department-Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms joint task force. He was awaiting arraignment in federal court in Brooklyn, a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office said.

An email seeking comment was sent to the suspect’s attorney with the federal public defender’s office.

The other two robbery suspects are still at large, authorities said.

Heavily armed Haitian gang surrounds hospital in capital and traps people inside

By EVENS SANON from the Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A heavily armed gang surrounded a hospital in Haiti on Wednesday, trapping women, children and newborns inside until police rescued them, according to the director of the medical center, who pleaded for help via social media.

FILE – The entrance at the Fontaine Hospital Center in Cité Soleil area of the Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. A heavily armed gang burst into a hospital in Haiti on Wednesday, Nov. 15, and took hostage hundreds of women, children and newborns, according to the director of the medical center who pleaded for help via social media. Jose Ulysse, founder and director of the Fontaine Hospital Center confirmed the incident in a brief message exchange with The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File

The Fontaine Hospital Center in the capital of Port-au-Prince is considered an oasis and a lifeline in a community overrun by gangs that have unleashed increasingly violent attacks against each other and residents. People who live in the capital’s sprawling Cite Soleil slum are routinely raped, beaten and killed.

The hospital founder and director, Jose Ulysse, told The Associated Press that gangs were torching homes around the hospital and preventing people inside from leaving. He initially said that it appeared some gang members had entered the hospital but later said they did not go inside.

Ulysse said members of Haiti’s National Police force responded to his call for help and arrived with three armored trucks to evacuate 40 children and 70 patients to a private home in a safer part of the city. Among those delicately evacuated were children on oxygen, he said.

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“Gangs are in total control of the area,” he said.

A spokesman for the National Police did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Ulysse identified those responsible as members of the Brooklyn gang, led by Gabriel Jean-Pierre, best known as “Ti Gabriel.” Jean-Pierre also is the leader of a powerful gang alliance known as G-Pep, one of two rival coalitions in Haiti.

The Brooklyn gang has some 200 members and controls certain communities within Cite Soleil, including Brooklyn. They are involved in extortion, hijacking of goods and general violence, according to a recent United Nations report.

“The G-Pep coalition and its allies strongly reinforced cooperation and diversified their revenues, in particular by committing kidnapping for ransom, which has enabled them to strengthen their fighting capacity,” the report stated.

When the AP visited the Fontaine Hospital Center earlier this year, Ulysse said in an interview that gangs had targeted him personally twice.

Gangs across Haiti have continued to grow more powerful since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and the number of kidnappings and killings keeps rising.

Earlier this year, at least 20 armed gang members burst into a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders and snatched a patient from an operating room. The criminals gained access after faking a life-threatening emergency, the organization said.

Associated Press Writer Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.

24 people arrested in a drug trafficking investigation in Oregon

From the Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An investigation into what authorities described as a major drug trafficking group based in southern Oregon resulted in two dozen arrests and seizures of guns, fentanyl, methamphetamine and other drugs, law enforcement agencies said Wednesday.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Oregon State Police and the Grants Pass Police Department were among the agencies involved in the probe, which lasted more than a year. The agencies announced the investigation at a joint press conference in Grants Pass on Wednesday.

As part of the investigation, 24 people were arrested in Oregon on Tuesday, authorities said.

Officers seized 37 guns, 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms ) of meth, 1.4 pounds (636 grams) of fentanyl pills and 0.11 pounds (52 grams) of fentanyl, Oregon State Police said.

That amount of fentanyl had the potential to yield more than 144,000 lethal doses, said David Reames, special agent in charge of the DEA’s Seattle division. Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be deadly, according to the DEA.

Officers also seized 0.13 pounds (58 grams) of cocaine and 250 pounds (113 kilograms) of marijuana, state police said.

Before Tuesday, officers had already seized more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms) of fentanyl and 40 pounds (18 kiliograms) of meth over the course of the investigation, state police said.

Reames said the investigation is ongoing.

Nevada to pay $340,000 in settlement over prison firefighting conditions

From the Associated Press

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada must pay $340,000 total to the ACLU of Nevada and eight people on a prison firefighting crew in a settlement reached earlier this week, but clears the state of admitting to claims including negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and cruel and unusual punishment.

The settlement reached Tuesday by the Nevada Board of Examiners ends both state and federal lawsuits filed in March stemming from a 2021 fire cleanup on the southern tip of the state.

In a lawsuit filed in Clark County District Court, the ACLU of Nevada alleged that supervisors “mocked and abused” prison firefighters after what was described as a gruesome cleanup assignment that left several unable to walk, stand or shower without assistance for days. The lawsuit claimed none of the incarcerated firefighters received medical treatment that night.

In the lawsuit, the ACLU of Nevada alleged on behalf of the plaintiffs that when the sole of one plaintiff’s boot melted off from the heat, a Nevada Division of Forestry supervisor duct-taped it back on and told her to continue working. When another plaintiff started crying from pain, the supervisor allegedly said, “You can keep crying as long as you keep working.

The Nevada Division Forestry will also expand on training for its prison firefighting program, and implement or ensure a host of policies meant to protect incarcerated firefighters including avenues to submit anonymous concerns and better maintenance of protective equipment — including work boots.

The crew fighting the 2021 fire was from Jean Conservation Camp, the only prison firefighting facility designed for women. The Division of Forestry owns the camp and firefighting programs while the Department of Corrections staffs the camp.

The Nevada Department of Corrections and Division of Forestry both declined to comment. The settlement was first reported by The Nevada Independent.

The plaintiffs — comprised of current and formerly incarcerated people — will receive between about $24,000 and $48,000 each.

NYC raids net knockoff bags, apparel, said to be worth $1B if items had been real

From the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Raids on storage facilities in New York City turned up a huge haul of counterfeit handbags, shoes and other luxury merchandise that could have been worth more than $1 billion if the knockoffs had been real, federal authorities announced.

Roughly 219,000 items were seized from Manhattan storage facilities in recent enforcement actions by U.S. Homeland Security investigators and city police, authorities said Wednesday. Two people were charged with trafficking counterfeit goods.

Photographs released by prosecutors showed shelves stacked with wallets and bags in one location and handbags hanging from hooks from floor to ceiling in another.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams called the raids, “the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history.”

The two men charged could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Indictments accuse them of distributing counterfeit goods since at least January.

Counterfeit luxury goods have been a staple of the underground New York City shopping experience for generations, with some savvy shoppers actually seeking out inexpensive knockoffs that look identical to designer goods but can be bought for hundreds or even thousands of dollars less.

Law enforcement officials, often working in conjunction with investigators from luxury brands, have taken a more aggressive approach to cracking down on counterfeiting in recent decades, targeting both the retailers who sell them and the importers and distribution centers.

The actual street value of the items seized in the raids is likely well under $1 billion, federal authorities said. That price was based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the real versions of the seized fakes.

Police: Live cluster bomblet, ammunition found with donation at southeastern Wisconsin thrift store

From the Associated Press

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — A live cluster bomblet and ammunition have been found in a donation dropped off at a thrift shop in southeastern Wisconsin.

An employee at the Janesville Goodwill made the discovery while conducting inventory Friday morning, according to the Janesville Police Department.

The store and surrounding area were evacuated as a bomb squad was called in to remove the small bomb and ammunition.

“Employees quickly followed safety protocols by informing store and donation center management and safety teams who then evacuated the building out of precaution for shoppers, donors and employees,” Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin said in a statement to WKOW-TV.

The store and donation center resumed operations shortly after 1:30 p.m. Friday, the statement continued.

Bomblets are part of cluster bombs which contain multiple explosive submunitions. Used during battle, the bombs can be dropped from planes or fired from the ground. Janesville police were trying to determine who left the bomblet and ammunition at the Goodwill store.

Janesville is about 76 miles (122 kilometers) southwest of Milwaukee.

Chicago commuter train crashes into rail equipment, injures at least 19, 3 seriously, official says

From the Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago commuter train collided with rail equipment Thursday morning, injuring at least 19 people, three of them seriously, a fire official said.

The Chicago Fire Department said a Chicago Transit Authority train crashed into a piece of equipment that was on the rails just before 11 a.m. on the city’s North Side.

Three people suffered serious injuries while 16 others had non-life-threatening injuries, fire department spokesman Larry Langford, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“That’s probably going to go up,” Langford said of the injured.

At least 15 ambulances were dispatched to the scene of a train collision, located near the Howard CTA station.

Train service on CTA’s Red, Purple and Yellow lines had been temporarily suspended due to the crash, the commuter service said on its website.

After massive fire closes Los Angeles interstate, motorists urged to take public transport

From the Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles motorists should expect traffic snarls indefinitely as crews assess how much damage was caused by a raging fire that closed a major elevated interstate near downtown, officials said Sunday.

Hazardous materials teams were clearing burned material from underneath Interstate 10 to make way for engineers to make sure the columns and deck of the highway can support the 300,000 vehicles that typically travel that route daily, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a news conference.

“Remember, this is an investigation as to the cause of how this occurred, as well as a hazmat and structural engineering question,” Newsom said. “Can you open a few lanes? Can you retrofit the columns? Is the bridge deck intact to allow for a few lanes to remain open again?”

Newsom said answering those questions would be a “24-7 operation,” but officials couldn’t yet offer a timeline for when the highway might reopen.

Commuters were urged to work from home or take public transportation into downtown Los Angeles. The I-10 closure between Alameda Street and Santa Fe Avenue will have ripple effects on surface streets and other key freeways including State Route 60 and Interstate 5, the California Highway Patrol said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. Flames reported around 12:20 a.m. Saturday raged through two storage lots in an industrial area underneath the highway, burning piles of wooden pallets, parked cars and support poles for high-tension power lines, Fire Chief Kristin M. Crowley said. No injuries were reported.

More than 160 firefighters from 26 companies responded to the blaze, which spread across 8 acres (3 hectares) — the equivalent of about six football fields — and burned for more than three hours. The highway’s columns are charred and chipped, while guardrails along the deck are twisted and blackened.

Newsom declared a state of emergency Saturday afternoon and directed the state Department of Transportation to request assistance from the federal government.

The governor said Sunday that the state has been in litigation with the owner of the business leasing the storage property where the fire started. The lease is expired, Newsom said, and the business had been in arrears while subleasing the space. “This is a site we were aware of, this is a lessee we were aware of,” he said.

California Secretary of Transportation Toks Omishakin said storage yards under highways are common statewide and across the country. He said the practice would be reevaluated following the fire.

At least 16 homeless people living underneath the highway were evacuated and brought to shelters, Mayor Karen Bass said. Officials said there was no immediate indication that the blaze began at the encampment.

Bass said the fire’s long-term impact was reminiscent of damage from the Northridge earthquake that flattened freeways in 1994.

“Unfortunately there is no reason to think that this is going to be over in a couple of days,” she said.

Police and protesters clash at Atlanta training center site derided by opponents as ‘Cop City’

By RJ Rico and Jeff Amy from the Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Police used tear gas and flash-bang grenades Monday to halt a march against building an Atlanta-area police and firefighter training center that opponents call “Cop City.”

More than 400 people marched about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from a park to the site in suburban DeKalb County, chanting “stop Cop City” and “Viva, viva Tortuguita,” invoking the nickname of an activist who was fatally shot by state troopers while camping in the woods in protest earlier this year.

A wedge of marchers, including some in masks, goggles and chemical suits intended to protect against tear gas, pushed into a line of officers in riot gear on a road outside the training center site. Officers pushed back and deployed tear gas. One protester threw a canister back at officers.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum later said the protesters disobeyed orders to stop the march, noting they didn’t have a permit for it. He said marchers showing up with gas masks was one indication they sought to provoke police.

“This is not a group that has the best interests of Atlanta at heart. This is a group today that left Gresham Park prepared to reach the site, prepared to do harm, prepared to do destruction,” Schierbaum said.

Some protesters acknowledged they wanted to enter the construction site as an act of civil disobedience, but disputed any intention of violence.

“The police continue to show themselves to be a group that is weaponized against the larger public, particularly the larger public that has the nerve to protest against police violence and police actions,” said Kamau Franklin of Community Movement Builders.

Protests against the proposed training center have been going on for more than two years. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr obtained a sweeping indictment in August, using the state’s anti-racketeering law to charge 61 protesters, characterizing them as “militant anarchists.”

Protesters called Monday’s march “Block Cop City” and events were held across the country in recent weeks to support the movement. It was the latest effort to stop construction of a project that has galvanized environmentalists and anti-police protesters across the country.

Some marchers retreated from the clash while others tried to wash away the effects of tear gas. Dozens of protesters ran into the woods near the property where the training center is being built and exited with their hands up. The marchers eventually retreated as a group without any arrests being made. Vomiting and irritation from the tear gas were the only apparent injuries.

Police agencies including the DeKalb County Police Department and Georgia state troopers were guarding the site, including with armored vehicles.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and other supporters say the 85-acre, $90 million facility would replace inadequate training facilities and help the police department recruit and retain officers. Opponents say the facility could lead to greater police militarization and that its construction in the South River Forest will worsen environmental damage in a poor, majority-Black area.

Ahead of the march, Franklin told the crowd they had a duty to practice civil disobedience against the project. Prior to the march, protester Sam Beard said activists had been urged not to bring weapons, use incendiary devices or destroy construction equipment.

But at the afternoon news conference, Schierbaum displayed what appeared to be handmade tree-planting spades with long sticks and metal blades that he alleged were intended as weapons, not garden tools. He also displayed bolt-cutters and a gas masks and said umbrellas carried Monday could be used by “professional protesters and anarchists” to shield themselves from tear gas and push through police lines.

“We see a number of devices that would appear innocent on the forefront that are actually used in a very aggressive and violent manner,” Schierbaum said.

Franklin, however, said some protesters planted trees while they were retreating after the confrontation.

Some protesters in Monday’s march had hoped to reoccupy the wooded area that includes the construction site and adjoining park. Activists spent months camping in the woods there until police pushed them out in January. That sweep included the fatal shooting of 26-year-old protester Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, known as Tortuguita.

A prosecutor last month declined to pursue charges against the state troopers who shot Paez Terán, saying the activist shot a trooper and that law enforcement’s use of deadly force was “objectively reasonable.”

Paez Terán’s parents spoke before the march. Previously, they have said they do not believe authorities’ version of events and have called for an independent investigation. The family commissioned an autopsy that concluded Paez Terán’s hands were in the air when the activist was shot.

“I see, in each one of them, my son,” Belkis Terán told The Associated Press of the crowd. “Manuel always said, ‘To fight the police, you have to be happy.’ So happiness is what we have brought.”

Resistance to the project has at times sparked violence and vandalism. Prosecutors now characterize the protest movement as a conspiracy, saying it has led to underlying crimes including possessing fire accelerants and throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers.

Most of those indicted in August on the racketeering charges had already been charged with other crimes in connection with the movement.

Iceland evacuates town and raises aviation alert as concerns rise a volcano may erupt

From the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Residents of a fishing town in southwestern Iceland left their homes Saturday after increasing concern about a potential volcanic eruption caused civil defense authorities to declare a state of emergency in the region.

FILE- In this Feb. 21, 2006 file photo Tourists relax in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, Iceland on Feb. 21,2006. The geothermal spa Blue Lagoon has temporarily closed after a series of earthquakes have put Iceland’s southwestern corner on volcanic alert, reaching a state of panic on Thursday when a magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred just after midnight. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Police decided to evacuate Grindavik after recent seismic activity in the area moved south toward the town and monitoring indicated that a corridor of magma, or semi-molten rock, now extends under the community, Iceland’s Meteorological Office said. The town of 3,400 is on the Reykjanes Peninsula, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the capital, Reykjavik.

“At this stage, it is not possible to determine exactly whether and where magma might reach the surface,” the Meteorological Office said.

Authorities also raised their aviation alert to orange, indicating an increased risk of a volcanic eruption. Volcanic eruptions pose a serious hazard to aviation because they can spew highly abrasive ash high into the atmosphere, where it can cause jet engines to fail, damage flight control systems and reduce visibility.

A major eruption in Iceland in 2010 caused widespread disruption to air travel between Europe and North America, costing airlines an estimated $3 billion as they canceled more than 100,000 flights.

The evacuation comes after the region was shaken by hundreds of small earthquakes every day for more than two weeks as scientists monitor a buildup of magma some 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) underground.

Concern about a possible eruption increased in the early hours of Thursday when a magnitude 4.8 earthquake hit the area, forcing the internationally known Blue Lagoon geothermal resort to close temporarily.

The seismic activity started in an area north of Grindavik where there is a network of 2,000-year-old craters, geology professor Pall Einarrson, told Iceland’s RUV. The magma corridor is about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) long and spreading, he said.

“The biggest earthquakes originated there, under this old series of craters, but since then it (the magma corridor) has been getting longer, went under the urban area in Grindavík and is heading even further and towards the sea,” he said.

Condition of Virginia State University officer wounded in shooting improves to stable, officials say

From the Associated Press

PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) — A Virginia State University police officer was in stable condition Sunday after being critically wounded in a shooting near campus, university officials said.

The shooting happened at about 1:30 a.m. when an on-duty VSU police officer responded to a disturbance at the campus in Petersburg, Virginia, according to Chesterfield County police.

The suspect, who remains at large, ran off campus before shots were fired, injuring the officer.

The university was put on lockdown after the shooting. The lockdown was lifted at about noon, the university said.

Chesterfield police Chief Col. Jeffrey Katz said in a social media post that Virginia State Police and the FBI are assisting in the investigation.

“CCPD stands in unwavering solidarity with our partners at Virginia State University.” Katz said. “We will not rest until the individual who shot their officer is brought to justice.”

Rescuers dig to reach 40 workers trapped in collapsed road tunnel in north India

BY BISWAJEET BANERJEE from the Associated Press

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Rescuers were digging through dirt and parts of a collapsed road tunnel Monday to reach 40 workers trapped by a landslide at the construction project in northern India.

All of the construction workers are safe, police officer Prashant Kumar said, adding that they have been supplied with oxygen and water. He said the rescuers had established contact with the trapped individuals.

The collapse occurred Sunday in Uttarakhand, a mountainous state dotted with Hindu temples that attracts many pilgrims and tourists.

Massive construction of buildings and roadways have taken place in recent years in Uttarakhand. The trapped workers were building part of the Chardham all-weather road, a flagship federal government project connecting various Hindu pilgrimage sites.
The number of workers trapped was confirmed Monday by Rajesh Pawar, the project manager at the Navyug Construction Company, which is overseeing the construction of the tunnel.

Rescue efforts began Sunday, with authorities pumping oxygen through a pipe into the collapsed section of the tunnel to help workers breathe.

“The team has progressed 15 meters (yards) into the tunnel, with an additional 35 meters (yards) yet to cover,” Kumar said, adding that more than 150 rescuers had used drilling equipment and excavators to clear debris through the night.

The collapsed portion of the 4.5-kilometer (2.7-mile) tunnel is about 200 meters (500 feet) from the entrance, officials told the Press Trust of India news agency.

In January, Uttarakhandstate authorities moved hundreds of people to temporary shelters after a temple collapsed and cracks appeared in over 600 houses because of the sinking of land in and around Joshimath town in the region.

Northeast China sees first major blizzard this season and forecasters warn of record snowfall

From the Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — Heavy snow blanketed swaths of northeastern China on Monday, shutting schools and halting transportation in the country’s first substantial snowstorm of the season.

Major highways in the city of Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, were closed and flights canceled, China’s state broadcaster CCTV said. Grade school classes were canceled Monday in parts of Heilongjiang as well as neighboring Liaoning and Inner Mongolia provinces.

A gymnasium in Heilongjiang partially collapsed trapping three people inside, CCTV reported late Monday, though the cause was unclear.

The National Meteorological Center said that the snowfall is likely to “break through historical records” for the same period. Heavy snowstorms were expected to continue in parts of Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, with the depth reaching 20 centimeters (8 inches) in some places.

CCTV footage showed trucks stranded bumper to bumper, stretching 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) outside Harbin.

China’s weather authorities issued an orange alert through Tuesday, the second highest on a scale of four.

Late Monday evening, CCTV said that a section of a two-story gymnasium had collapsed in Jiamusi city in Heilongjiang. The broadcaster said three people were trapped and that rescue work was ongoing.

Video that circulated online showed firefighters and rescue workers at a site covered by snow and rubble. There were no official statements on the incident.

Off-duty Los Angeles police officer, passenger killed by suspected drunken driver, authorities say

From the Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An off-duty Los Angeles police officer and one of his passengers were killed in a collision early Saturday morning involving a man suspected of drunken driving, authorities said.

Officer Darrell Cunningham and another person riding with Cunningham were killed after a 20-year-old man, driving at more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) per hour, failed to stop at a red light and struck the car, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said at a press conference.

An off-duty San Bernardino County deputy sheriff, another passenger in the car with Cunningham, was injured in the crash.

Moore said details police know about the crash are “preliminary,” but he called the incident a “senseless tragedy.”

“Darrell had just under five years on the job. He worked as recently as two nights ago. He’s described as hard-working, honest, a person you can go to to get the job done with a great attitude,” Moore said. “As a department, we’re grieving today.”

The collision happened at about 1:15 a.m. Saturday in Los Angeles’ Northridge neighborhood, Moore said. Authorities did not identify the second person killed in the crash by midday Saturday, saying they were waiting to notify family members.

The driver who authorities said hit Cunningham’s vehicle was in critical condition Saturday at a nearby hospital, Moore said. Los Angeles police said he would be booked for gross vehicular manslaughter.

The hostage situation at Hamburg Airport ends with a man in custody and his 4-year-old daughter safe

BY KIRSTEN GRIESHABER from the Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — The hostage situation at Hamburg Airport ended Sunday afternoon, around 18 hours after a man drove his vehicle through the gates of the airport with his 4-year-old daughter as a passenger, authorities said. The man was arrested and the girl is safe.

Hamburg police said that man had left the car with his daughter, who didn’t appear to be harmed, and he was “arrested by the emergency services without resistance.” Authorities said the man’s ex-wife had previously contacted them about a child abduction.

The airport in the northern German city had been closed to passengers and flights were canceled since Saturday night when the man, who was armed, broke through an airport gate with his vehicle and fired twice into the air with a weapon, according to German news agency dpa. The man drove the vehicle just outside a terminal building and parked it under a plane.

Police said the 35-year-old man, a Turkish citizen, had his daughter inside the car after reportedly taking her by force from the mother in an ongoing custody battle.

A psychologist had been negotiating with the man for several hours. Nobody was injured during the standoff after all passengers had evacuated the airport, police said.

The mother of the girl also arrived at the airport earlier on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, police released details about the hostage taker’s identity saying he was a Turkish citizen who was already under investigation for allegedly kidnapping his daughter in March 2022, dpa reported.

At that time, he had traveled to Turkey with his daughter without authorization, but the mother was later able to bring the child back to Germany.

Police didn’t give the suspect’s name in line with German privacy rules.

Local media reported that the man, who parked his car next to a Turkish Airlines plane during the standoff, had demanded that he and his daughter could leave Germany and fly to Turkey.

More than 100 flights were canceled and several planes were rerouted during the hostage situation. Thousands of travelers had been affected by the standoff and hundreds were put up at hotels close by.

Flight operations at the airport resumed on Sunday night, almost 24 hours after the hostage situation began.

Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher expressed relief that nobody was injured.

“The hostage-taking at Hamburg Airport is over after long, dramatic hours,” Tschentscher said, thanking police for their efforts.

“I wish the mother, the child and her family a lot of strength to cope with these terrible experiences,” he added.

Tennessee governor, congressman discuss safety on visit to Jewish school that foiled armed intrusion

BY ADRIAN SAINZ From the Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and U.S. Rep. David Kustoff on Monday praised security measures at a Memphis Jewish school where a former student with a gun was stopped from entering the building in July, declaring strong safety procedures have become even more critical in light of the Israel-Hamas war.

Lee and Kustoff, both Republicans, spoke with students at Margolin Hebrew Academy-Feinstone Yeshiva of the South during a visit to the suburban school. Kustoff, who is Jewish and attended the school from kindergarten through 2nd grade, expressed support with Lee for Israel in the war that began when it was attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7.

Inside the one-story Memphis school, a sign saying “we stand with Israel” hangs on a hallway wall. Nearby, a bulletin board features names and photos of Israeli hostages as another sign of solidarity from the school’s students and staff.

Before Lee and Kustoff addressed about 140 students, faculty and staff, Rabbi Yonasan Gersten led students in a song of prayer for people in captivity. Afterward, both politicians spoke with students about the school and activities such as history class and basketball.

Lee told the students to “raise their voices” in support of Israel.

“As difficult as it may be to look at the events that occurred on Oct. 7, what’s more inappropriate is to turn away from looking at those events, is to not speak out,” Lee said.

Lee and Kustoff also mentioned the attempt by a former student to enter the school on July 31. Authorities say Joel Bowman, 33, was denied entry when he went to the school with a gun. Class was not in session but a limited number of staff and construction workers were there.

Police said Bowman walked around the exterior of the school and fired two shots at a contractor, who was not hit. Bowman then fired two more shots outside the school before driving away in a pickup truck, police said.

Officers tracked down Bowman a short drive from the school. He exited his truck and pointed the gun at an officer, who shot him in the chest, police said. Bowman was hospitalized in critical condition and has since recovered. He is now in custody at the Shelby County Jail.

A possible motive for the attempt to enter the school has not been disclosed. Bowman, who friends and lawyers say has mental health issues, has pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted second-degree murder.

Margolin School leaders said safety measures installed over recent years were a deterrent to the incident in July. The school has metal doors with electronic fob access, security cameras, and an emergency response system that allows police to be quickly notified of an active shooter.

After the shooting, security officials for the Jewish community said places of learning, synagogues and community centers in Memphis and around the U.S. have strengthened security in recent years following a spate of shootings at places where Jewish people gather in public.

More concerns emerged after the start of the Israel Hamas war. Kustoff pointed to statements about Jews posted on an internet discussion board has unnerved students at Cornell University and prompted officials to send police to guard a Jewish center and kosher dining hall at the Ithaca, New York, campus. President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday condemned what it says is an alarming increase in antisemitic incidents at U.S. schools and colleges.

“We can never take things for granted. We always have to be on our toes,” Kustoff said.

The school has received $200,000 from the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program and state Houses of Worship grant program to bolster its security, officials said.

Tennessee’s Houses of Worship grant program funds security personnel for religious institutions. The federal program this year is providing $305 million nationally for security enhancements for nonprofits that are at high risk of terrorist or other extremist attack.

“By you showing us, the governor and me, what you all were able to do to prevent what could have been an awful tragedy on July 31, that’s firsthand, personal stories that I can take back to my colleagues in Washington and say, ‘you know what, this works, and it’s money well spent,’” Kustoff said.

Colombian police comb through cloud forest searching for soccer star’s abducted father

From the Associated Press

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Police air and land patrols searched a cloud forest in northern Colombia on Monday for soccer star Luis Díaz’s father, who was kidnapped over the weekend along with the player’s mother.

The couple were at a gas station in the small town of Barrancas on Saturday when they were abducted by armed men on motorcycles. Diaz’s mother, Cilenis Marulanda, was rescued within hours by police that set up roadblocks around the town of 40,000 people, which is near Colombia’s border with Venezuela.

But his father, Luis Manuel Díaz, remained missing. On Monday, special forces searched a mountain range that straddles both countries and is covered by cloud forest. Police also offered a $48,0000 reward for information leading to Diaz’s father.

Officials said they did not rule out the possibility that the elder Díaz could have been smuggled into Venezuela, where he would be beyond the reach of Colombian police.

Díaz is one of the most talented players on Colombia’s national team and currently plays for Liverpool in the English Premier League, which he joined last year in a deal worth $67 million.

The 26-year-old striker was absent from Liverpool’s match against Nottingham Forest on Sunday. Díaz’s teammates expressed their solidarity with the Colombian by holding up one of his jerseys on the pitch after scoring the team’s first goal in their 3-0 victory.

The abduction of Díaz’s parents comes as kidnappings for ransom and extortion of businesses increase in Colombia despite efforts by the nation’s first left-wing government to broker ceasefires with rebel groups. Criminals and rebel groups in the country have long kidnapped civilians for ransom in order to finance their operations.

So far, none of the armed groups operating in Colombia has claimed responsibility for kidnapping Diaz’s parents.

Police: Man arrested after throwing pipe bombs at San Francisco police car during pursuit

From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man has been arrested for allegedly knocking a parishioner unconscious inside a San Francisco Catholic church and throwing pipe bombs at a patrol car during a car chase, authorities said Monday.

The 42-year-old Concord man was arrested Sunday by California Highway Patrol officers in Martinez, east of San Francisco, following a 30-minute pursuit, San Francisco Assistant Police Chief David Lazar said.

The suspect was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, unlawful possession of an explosive device and other crimes.

Police were called after the man punched a parishioner in the head during mass at the Saints Peter and Paul Church in the city’s North Beach neighborhood, temporarily knocking him out, Lazar said.

Peter Marlow, spokesperson for the San Francisco Archdiocese, told KTVU-TV, that the man assaulted the parishioner Sunday evening after being reprimanded for failing to eat the consecrated host at Communion.

The man pulled a knife as he left the church and led officers who had responded to 911 calls on a car chase through city streets, Lazar alleged.

A few blocks from the church, the fleeing driver threw a pipe bomb at officers who “saw the flames and could feel when the bomb detonated,” and he threw a second, larger bomb before crossing the Bay Bridge, Lazar alleged.

The officers weren’t injured.

CHP officers who took over the pursuit from San Francisco police arrested the man after he crashed his car, authorities said.

Georgia deputy injured in Douglas County shooting released from hospital

From the Associated Press

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia deputy shot in the chest, shoulder and back while responding to a shooting a day earlier has been released from a hospital and is recovering at home, authorities said Thursday.

“My deputy is doing fine. I want to thank God and the vest that saved his life, but he’s at home and doing well,” Douglas County Sheriff Tim Pounds told WSB-TV.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Walter Jackson Sr., 66, was killed and two others, including the alleged shooter, were injured at a home in Douglas County during the incident, which started about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Inside the home, deputies found a woman who was shot. She told them the shooter, identified by police as Jonathan Christian Roman, 27, of Douglasville, Georgia, was in another room. Deputies then found Roman and continued to give commands of “show me your hands,” the GBI said in a statement.

Roman shot the deputy and retreated briefly before emerging and shooting again at the deputy who was on the ground, according to the GBI. Deputies returned fire, hitting Roman.

Roman was listed as stable at an area hospital, the agency said.

“My brother, he is stable and he’s conscious, but he was shot multiple times,” Ashley Budahazy told WSB-TV.

“My nanna was hit in the crossfire on the way to her room while holding my daughter,” she added.

Budahazy said her daughter was not injured. The woman’s condition was not immediately available.

The shooting remains under investigation. The GBI said it will turn over its findings to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office for review.

In the Kentucky governor’s race, the gun policy debate is both personal and political

BY BRUCE SCHREINER from the Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Struck by tragedy when one of his closest friends died in a mass shooting, Kentucky’s Democratic governor supports a proposal meant to keep firearms away from people deemed as threats to themselves or others. His Republican challenger offers condolences for his rival’s loss but opposes the measure.

FILE - Louisville metro Police and emergency personnel block the streets outside of the Old National Bank building in Louisville, Ky., April 10, 2023. Struck by tragedy when one of his closest friends died in a mass shooting, Kentucky's Democratic governor supports a proposal meant to keep firearms away from people deemed as threats to themselves or others. His Republican challenger offers condolences for his rival's loss but opposes the measure. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, file)
FILE – Louisville metro Police and emergency personnel block the streets outside of the Old National Bank building in Louisville, Ky., April 10, 2023. Struck by tragedy when one of his closest friends died in a mass shooting, Kentucky’s Democratic governor supports a proposal meant to keep firearms away from people deemed as threats to themselves or others. His Republican challenger offers condolences for his rival’s loss but opposes the measure. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, file)Read More

In one of the most personal exchanges of their campaign for governor, Gov. Andy Beshear and GOP Attorney General Daniel Cameron staked out their stands on gun policy during a recent debate in Louisville. It’s a wrenching issue in Kentucky’s largest city, which has recorded at least 100 homicides in each of the last four years including 2023, with a high mark of 174 killings in 2021, and has struggled to come to terms with gun violence.

The hometown of boxing great and global humanitarian Muhammad Ali has coped with tragedy repeatedly in recent years, notably when Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in 2020 during a botched police raid at her home. During one of the ensuing protests that year, a Louisville restaurant owner, David McAtee, was shot to death during an exchange of gunfire on his own property as law enforcement officers moved aggressively to enforce a curfew.

The city’s current mayor had his own brush with gun violence, escaping unharmed when a gunman opened fire at his campaign office last year. Then in April of 2023, a man killed five coworkers at a Louisville bank before police fatally shot him. Bank executive Tommy Elliott, a mentor and longtime friend of Beshear, was among the victims.

Statewide politicians tread cautiously on gun issues in the Bluegrass State, where support for gun rights is seen as “almost the third rail of Kentucky politics,” said longtime political commentator Al Cross.

During the recent televised debate, Beshear and Cameron declared their support for the Second Amendment. But they disagreed about the need for legislation designed to prevent people who might hurt themselves or others from acquiring firearms — commonly known as “red flag” laws.

Beshear, who is seeking reelection to a second term in the Nov. 7 election, made his case for the law in personal terms, as he did in the days after Elliott’s death at Old National Bank in downtown Louisville.

“Everyone should be able to defend themselves and their family,” Beshear said during the debate. “But I’ve now understood, seen and felt what it’s like to lose someone you love and care about in this city to gun violence.”

Cameron said his “heart goes out” to the governor for losing a dear friend — offering a brief pause from his unrelenting criticism of the incumbent throughout what has been a testy campaign. But Cameron flatly rejected the need for such a law and said Beshear had put “qualifications” on his support for the Second Amendment.

“We don’t need ‘red flag’ laws here in Kentucky,” Cameron said. “We need to make sure that we look out and support the Second Amendment, and I will certainly ensure that.”

Red flag proposals have been floated in the past in Kentucky. In 2019, a bipartisan trio of state lawmakers proposed allowing courts to issue temporary orders barring someone from possessing guns based on some showing of imminent danger. The proposal made no headway in Kentucky’s Republican-dominated legislature, which instead has relaxed gun laws in recent years.

The exchange at the debate took place before a mass shooting in Maine on Wednesday night, though that tragedy could add to the intensity of the policy disagreement.

Nationally, 21 states have similar laws on the books — with many lawmakers enacting them after tragedies. Florida did so after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people. Law enforcement officials had received numerous complaints about the gunman’s threatening statements.

In Louisville, the man who opened fire at the bank last April had wrestled with mental health problems, but the situation appeared to be managed until days before the shooting, according to his mother. Police said the 25-year-old man bought the AR-15 assault-style rifle used in the attack at a local dealership, several days before the shooting. He killed his coworkers while livestreaming the attack before police fatally shot him. The wounded included a police officer who was shot in the head. He was discharged from the hospital in July after enduring multiple surgeries.

In promoting a red flag law for the Bluegrass State, Beshear said: “All that does is trust our law enforcement to step in when they know someone is about to commit an atrocity, is about to murder a bunch of people, and go to the court and get some help. We trust our courts with custody of our kids. Surely we can trust them to balance our Second Amendment and prevent murders.”

Cameron nudged the discussion toward his public safety plan, which includes awarding recruitment and retention bonuses to bolster police forces and installing a state police post in Louisville to augment the metro police. Beshear, a former attorney general, has proposed another round of pay raises for state troopers and support for more law enforcement training in his plan to bolster public safety.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg says the shooting at his campaign office — when a bullet grazed his sweater — has bolstered his resolve to tackle gun violence. He has urged state lawmakers to give the city more authority to set its own gun policies. That includes taking weapons used during crimes out of circulation. A Kentucky law sends guns confiscated by police to auction, with the proceeds used to buy law enforcement equipment. Greenberg has been critical of the law.

During the debate, Cameron sidestepped the broader issue of what to do with such guns. Beshear supported taking murder weapons out of circulation, calling it a matter of showing empathy for families that lost loved ones to gun violence.

“You can support the Second Amendment and have enough care for people to understand how much they may be hurting, to say let’s not auction that weapon off,” the governor said.


Associated Press Writer Dylan Lovan in Louisville contributed to this report.

Atlanta firefighter and truck shortages prompt the city to temporarily close 3 fire stations

From the Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — The city of Atlanta has temporarily closed three of its more than 30 fire stations because of truck breakdowns and a shortage of firefighters.

FILE – Firefighters work at the scene of a fast-moving fire, Feb. 10, 2021, in Atlanta. The city’s fire chief announced on Monday, Oct, 23, 2023, that Atlanta Fire Rescue has temporarily closed three of its more than 30 fire stations because of truck breakdowns and a shortage of firefighters. (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Roderick Smith told a City Council committee of the closures on Monday.

Smith told the committee that the department had 17 fire trucks out of service on Monday, including eight of 31 fire engines and nine of 15 ladder trucks. Many of the trucks are being repaired, but those repairs can take months.

Some other trucks, while still running, don’t have their full capabilities.

“Right now I think we’re down to two or three fully operational ladder trucks in the whole city,” said Dustin Hillis, chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee.

While Hillis described the fire truck fleet as being “in shambles”, Smith told council members the situation while serious, is “not in a dire space right now.” He said the city is working to replace its reserve fleet.

Firefighters have seen the number of emergency calls double compared to last year, Smith said. Most calls are for emergency medical service.

The chief said Atlanta has 11 fire vehicles that have been ordered but not delivered because of manufacturing backlogs. Some of those trucks could be delivered by the end of the month.

Council members are considering a proposal to spend $16.4 million to buy 12 more fire engines, two ladder trucks, a platform truck and three other vehicles. But Smith said new orders of specialized equipment may not be delivered for as long as three years.

“The goal is to aggressively order as much equipment as possible, but we have to figure out the funding,” he said.

Smith told WANF-TV that the department will continue to close different stations to offset the equipment shortage.

“I have nightmares about situations where a fire truck or fire engine isn’t coming to save people’s lives,” said Hillis, who said he believes the city needs to spend $12 million a year for each of the next three years on fire trucks.

Man trapped in jewelry vault overnight is freed when timer opens the chamber as scheduled

From the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A man was trapped inside a steel-reinforced concrete jewelry vault in New York City overnight after firefighters had to abandon an attempt to rescue him for safety reasons. Fortunately, the vault was on a timer and opened on its own Wednesday morning, officials said.

The fire department was called to the midtown Manhattan building on Tuesday evening after the man became trapped while trying to access his safe deposit box, Assistant Fire Chief John Sarrocco said. The building at 580 Fifth Avenue is known as the World Diamond Tower and houses several jewelry businesses. Sarrocco did not explain how the man became trapped.

Fire and police department personnel were in communication with the man inside the vault and could watch him on a security camera.

Sarrocco said the fire department’s rescue units have tools that would be able to break through the vault’s 30-inch (76-centimeter) steel-reinforced concrete walls.

“The process was started to breach the wall at the vault,” he said in a news conference at the scene.

After about 10 hours, Sarrocco said, the firefighters reached the steel plating and decided to hold off going any further, fearing their rescue attempts could harm the man trapped inside.

“The problem with the plating is we’d have to use our torches,” he said, “which would affect the environment for that person inside the vault.”

The doors opened as scheduled around 7 a.m. and the man was freed unharmed, Sarrocco said.

Security tensions running high in Belgium on eve of EU summit

From the Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — Security tensions were running high on Wednesday ahead of a European Union summit in Brussels, with police launching a search for a man they wanted to question over reports of unspecified threats.

Police patrol outside the King Baudouin Stadium, after a match between Belgium and Sweden was suspended, after a shooting in the center of Brussels, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. Belgian authorities raised the terror alert to its highest level in the capital late Monday after the fatal shooting of two Swedes in Brussels that Prime Minister Alexander De Croo linked to terrorism. The gunman remained at large. (AP Photo/Sylvain Plazy)

The Brussels prosecutor’s office later said authorities had detained a man in the case and were checking his identity.

The police operation came one week after an Islamic extremist shot dead two Swedes and wounded a third. Authorities said the Tunisian suspect died following a police operation trying to arrest him.

The search for the man wanted in connection with the unspecified threats came on the eve of the two-day European Union summit, which starts Thursday in Brussels, where the 27 EU leaders will discuss, among other things, the Israel-Hamas war.

Last week’s killings laid bare inefficiencies within the government and judicial apparatus, which had allowed the suspect to roam free in Brussels even though Tunisia had actively sought his extradition. The justice minister resigned over the incident last weekend.

Since the attack, the terror alert level in Belgium was raised to the second-highest level, meaning the threat is considered “serious.”

The federal prosecutor’s office also announced Wednesday that it detained a suspect with the semiautomatic rifle that was used to kill the two Swedes. He would be questioned later Wednesday before a decision on an arrest is made.

2 London police officers have been dismissed over the stop and search of a Black athlete couple

BY SYLVIA HUI from the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Two of London’s Metropolitan Police officers were dismissed from the force on Wednesday after a disciplinary panel concluded that they committed gross misconduct over the stop and search of two Black athletes.

Athletes Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos speak to the media outside Palestra House, central London, after the judgement was given for the gross misconduct hearing of five Metropolitan Police officers over their stop and search, in London, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. Two of London’s Metropolitan Police officers were dismissed from the force on Wednesday after a disciplinary panel concluded that they committed gross misconduct over the stop and search of two Black athletes. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)

Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos, both professional sprinters, told the police watchdog that they were racially profiled by a group of police officers on July 4, 2020.

The couple were driving home in London with their 3-month-old infant son in the back seat when police followed their car and pulled them over outside their home. The athletes were handcuffed and searched on suspicion of having drugs and weapons, but nothing was found.

The disciplinary panel heard the officers said they followed the athletes’ vehicle because of Dos Santos’ “appalling” and “suspicious” driving, and that they were doing their duty when they conducted the stop and search.

But the panel concluded that two of the officers, Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks, lied about smelling cannibis during the incident.

The panel’s chair, Chiew Yin Jones, said their conduct breached standards of professional behavior in respect of honesty and integrity, and the two were dismissed without notice. The panel found it not proven that Clapham and Franks breached equality and diversity standards in their behavior.

Three other officers were cleared.

Williams, a sprint relay gold medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 European Championships, filmed the incident and the video was shared widely online. She has said that she hoped the hearing would lead to the Metropolitan Police being “more honest” about its “culture of racism.”

Dos Santos said after Wednesday’s hearing that he believed he was accused of “bad driving, threatening violence and drugs” based on “racial stereotypes.” During the hearing, he accused the officers of detaining him for “DWB — driving while Black.”

“We’ve supported the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) case over the past three years and it’s highlighted what most Black people are far too aware of regardless of their background, education and employment,” he told reporters. “They are nine times more likely to be stopped by the Met and three times more likely to be handcuffed.”

The Metropolitan Police, the U.K.’s biggest police force, has been dogged by allegations of institutional racism and sexism in recent years. In March, an independent review said the force had lost the public’s confidence because of ingrained racism, misogyny and homophobia and must overhaul itself.

“Mr. Dos Santos and Ms. Williams deserved better and I apologize to them for the distress they have suffered,” said Matt Ward, the force’s deputy assistant commissioner.

The panel’s findings highlight that police “still have a long way to go to earn the trust of our communities, particularly our Black communities, when it comes to our use of stop and search,” he added.

Theft of 2 million dimes from truckload of coins from US Mint leaves four facing federal charges

From the Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal authorities have released more details and unsealed charges in the theft of more than 2 million dimes earlier this year from a tractor-trailer that had picked up the coins from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

The truck driver was bound for Miami when he pulled into a parking lot to sleep on April 13. During the night, thieves made off with a portion of its cargo of $750,000 in dimes, a shipment weighing about six tons, authorities had said earlier.

Thousands of coins were left scattered all over the lot in northeast Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that prosecutors contend that the theft — which they now say totaled $234,500 in stolen dimes — was part of a spree of robberies from tractor-trailers passing through the region that also netted the thieves frozen crab legs, shrimp, meat, beer and liquor.

Detectives said at the time that surveillance video showed six men, dressed in gray hoodies and armed with bolt cutters, approaching the truck in the middle of the night and breaking into it, then loading the coins into smaller bags and into a waiting truck.

The indictment unsealed Friday alleges that after the theft, thousands of dimes were converted into cash at coin machines in Maryland or through deposits to at least four different suburban Philadelphia banks, the newspaper reported.

Four Philadelphia men — 25-year-old Rakiem Savage, 31-year-old Ronald Byrd, 30-year-old Haneef Palmer and 32-year-old Malik Palmer — face conspiracy, robbery, theft of government money and other charges.

Messages seeking comment on the charges were sent Monday to attorneys for Savage and Malik Palmer; court documents don’t list attorneys for Byrd and Haneef Palmer, and a message could not be left at a number listed for the latter.

Spanish police say they have confiscated ancient gold jewelry worth millions taken from Ukraine

From the Associated Press

MADRID (AP) — Spanish police said Monday they have confiscated 11 pieces of ancient gold jewelry that were taken out of Ukraine illegally in 2016.

In this photo provided by the Spanish national police in Madrid, on Monday Oct. 23, 2023, pieces of ancient gold jewelery are displayed after being recovered. Spanish police say they have confiscated 11 pieces of ancient gold jewelry that were taken out of Ukraine illegally in 2016 and said five people that were attempting to sell the pieces in Spain have been arrested. The jewelry was said to be worth some 60 million euros ($64 million) and dated from between the eighth and fourth centuries B.C. National Police said the items were part of Ukraine’s national heritage. (Policia Nacional via AP)

A police statement said five people who were attempting to sell the pieces in Spain have been arrested in recent weeks. Those arrested included two Ukrainians, one of them an Orthodox Church priest, and three Spaniards.

The jewelry was said to be worth 60 million euros ($64 million) and dated from between the eighth and fourth centuries B.C.

Police said the items were part of Ukraine’s national heritage. They went missing after being put on display between 2009 and 2013 in a museum in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. The pieces included a belt, earrings and necklaces.

An ornate gold belt was seized in 2021 and the rest of the pieces were seized in recent weeks. Police said the investigation continued.

The pieces are being studied by Spain’s National Archeological Museum and the country’s Cultural Heritage Institute.

Interior ministry attachés in Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, North Macedonia and Ukraine helped with the investigation, police said.

Manhunt continues for Nashville police chief’s son suspected in shooting of 2 Tennessee officers

From the Associated Press

LA VERGNE, Tenn. (AP) — Police in Tennessee were searching Sunday for the estranged son of Nashville’s police chief as the suspect in the shooting of two police officers outside a Dollar General store.

Officers in La Vergne, a city about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Nashville, were investigating a stolen vehicle outside the store Saturday afternoon when they struggled with the suspect, who pulled a handgun and shot them, said La Vergne Police Chief Christopher Moews.

Police identified the suspect as John C. Drake, Jr., 38, who is the son of Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake.

Police said Sunday that Drake is considered armed and dangerous, and urged the public to remain vigilant and to call authorities immediately if they see someone matching his description.


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Anne Smith, a spokesperson for the city of La Vergne, identified the officers as Ashely Boleyjack and Gregory Kern. Boleyjack was released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville on Saturday, while Kern was kept overnight for observation and is in stable condition, the city said in a news release Sunday.

The police chief issued a statement Saturday confirming his son was the suspect in the shooting. Drake said they were estranged and over many years he has had only minimal contact with his son. The younger Drake is a convicted felon who “resorted to years of criminal activity,” he said.

“He now needs to be found and held accountable for his actions today. I hope that anyone who sees him or has information about him will contact law enforcement immediately,” Drake said in the statement.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a social media post that a statewide alert had been issued for Drake, who was wanted on two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Smith said about a dozen law enforcement agencies are involved in the search.

After the shooting, the La Vergne police issued a shelter-in-place order for residents in the city. The shelter order was later lifted while the search for Drake continued, the department said in a social media post.

Mayor Freddie O’Connell issued a statement in support of the police chief.

“My heart goes out to Chief Drake, his family, and the two wounded LaVergne police officers. I know that despite our best efforts — including in their early years — we can’t be responsible for the choices of family members,” O’Connell said. “I support Chief Drake and stand by him at this difficult time. ”

Magnitude 4.1 earthquake shakes part of Northern California, setting off quake alert system

From the Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A magnitude 4.1 earthquake shook part of Northern California between the state capital and the San Francisco Bay region on Wednesday, setting off automated quake alerts.

The 9:29 a.m. quake was centered in the agricultural Isleton area about 32 miles (52 kilometers) southwest of Sacramento, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The area is largely occupied by the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services spokesperson Kim Nava said there were no immediate reports of harm from the quake. In particular, Nava said there were no reports of damage to the area’s extensive levees that protect farmland.

The tremor triggered a warning from the West Coast’s ShakeAlert system, which detects the start of a quake and sends alerts to smartphones in areas expected to experience shaking.

In Sacramento, a ShakeAlert arrived before the shaking started. Blinds swayed in The Associated Press’ Sacramento office on the ninth floor of a high-rise building.

The quake initially was estimated at magnitude 5.7 but was downgraded.

The Isleton jolt occurred the day after the 34th anniversary of the destructive Oct. 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked the San Francisco Bay region, and one day before California’s annual statewide ShakeOut earthquake drill.

Corrupt ex-Baltimore police officer asks for compassionate prison release, citing cancer diagnosis

From the Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) — A former Baltimore police officer convicted in 2018 as part of the department’s Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal is asking a federal judge for compassionate release from prison, saying he’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Daniel Hersl, the oldest member of the deeply corrupt and now-disbanded Baltimore police unit, was sentenced to 18 years behind bars after a jury found him guilty of racketeering and robbery.

In a court filing Tuesday, the 53-year-old ex-detective said he was recently diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer that has spread to his lymph nodes, liver, lungs and more. He said a prison doctor concluded he has less than 18 months to live and asked for home detention.

A ruling has not yet been issued on his request.

Hersl was one of eight indicted members of the once-lauded Gun Trace Task Force, which was created to get illegal guns off the streets of a city plagued by violent crime. But instead, members robbed drug dealers, planted narcotics and firearms on innocent people and assaulted random civilians. More than a dozen officers have been convicted in the scandal since 2017. Hundreds of cases that hinged on their testimony were later dropped.

Prosecutors said Hersl “devalued” people he dealt with as an officer and “abused his power to prey on them.” They said he also ripped off taxpayers by committing rampant overtime fraud, including an entire month that he spent refurbishing his house while on the clock.

City leaders have since undertaken significant efforts to reform the Baltimore Police Department, which remains under a federal consent decree because Justice Department investigators found a pattern of unconstitutional and discriminatory policing practices, especially against Black residents.

New Mexico governor: state agencies must switch to all-electric vehicle fleet by the year 2035

From the Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order Monday directing state agencies to switch to an all-electric vehicle fleet within the next 12 years.

Lujan Grisham also said she intends to pursue tax credits for electric vehicles during the upcoming legislative session.

The Democratic governor made the announcement Monday during her Symposium on the Future of Transportation in New Mexico.

“The fact of the matter is that consumers and dealers want better access to electric vehicles, and the actions we’ve taken through Clean Car rules and now tax credits are leveling the playing field,” Lujan Grisham said. “I also took action today to make sure the state is ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to widely adopting low- and zero-emission vehicles by requiring the state fleet to be zero-emission by 2035.”

The proposed tax credits would apply to new and used electric vehicles to help meet climate goals.

Lujan Grisham’s order directs departments to purchase zero-emission vehicles for all new acquisitions where one or more options are available.

Exceptions to the order include law enforcement vehicles, firefighting trucks and some other heavy-duty vehicles.

Prosecutors say a reckless driving suspect bit an NYPD officer’s finger tip off

From the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer lost his left ring finger up to the first knuckle when a reckless driving suspect bit him, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Lenni Rodriguez Cruz, 28, could be sentenced to 25 years in prison for leading police on a wild car chase, crashing into several vehicles and biting a sergeant who was trying to put him in a holding cell, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.

The episode started shortly before midnight on Sept. 20. A police officer patrolling in the Jamaica section of Queens spotted Rodriguez Cruz driving a car with license plates that weren’t registered to the vehicle, Katz said in a news release.

The officer tried to pull Rodriguez Cruz over, but he sped off, mounted a sidewalk and drove through a park, scattering parkgoers as they ran to safety, Katz said.

Philadelphia officer leaves hospital after airport shooting that killed 2nd officer; no arrests yet

From the Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia police officer was released from the hospital on Saturday after being wounded in an airport shooting that killed another officer, and police were still searching for the shooting suspects.

A line of fellow officers saluted and applauded as Officer Raul Ortiz, 60, was wheeled out of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to a waiting SUV.

Ortiz, a 20-year veteran of the force, was shot in the arm when he and Officer Richard Mendez confronted several people breaking into a vehicle in a parking garage at Philadelphia International Airport at about 11 p.m. Thursday. Fifty-year-old Mendez, who had been on the force for more than two decades, was shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Authorities said the suspects fled in an SUV reported stolen a week ago that was later seen at a hospital dropping off 18-year-old Jesus Herman Madera Duran, who authorities say was believed to be involved in the confrontation with the officers. Duran had been shot in the chest, abdomen and left arm and was pronounced dead around 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

It wasn’t clear if any other suspects were wounded in the shooting, authorities said, or how many of them had fired weapons. Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford noted that the shooting came only a week after three officers were shot and wounded while responding to a call and called the new shooting “a numb, numb moment for us.”

The slain officer’s gun has not been located and it wasn’t immediately known whether anyone fired it, Stanford said. Police released video showing “at least one suspect” as well as the vehicle used to drop off Madera Duran at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

A reward totaling $148,500 was offered for information leading to an arrest as the $30,000 posted by two local police unions was supplemented by money from other police groups, businesses and Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents. That’s in addition to $20,000 offered by the city for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

President Joe Biden, who was in Philadelphia on Friday, offered his condolences the families of the officers, saying “They put their lives on the line to protect this community.”

Driver leads police on 55-mile Maine chase after almost hitting warden investigating moose complaint

From the Associated Press

LINCOLN, Maine (AP) — A driver led police on a 55-mile chase in Maine after nearly hitting a game warden who was investigating a moose complaint, police said.

Police said the chase began late Thursday morning after multiple agencies were informed that the vehicle almost hit the warden in Lincoln. The warden had witnessed the vehicle leaving the scene of a suspected trespassing and theft at a pulp and tissue mill and the high-speed pursuit began, police said.

The pursuit ended more than 90 minutes later in Haynesville after police deployed tire deflation mats and other techniques to slow the vehicle. Police said two passengers in the car were taken into custody and charged with crimes including theft and criminal trespassing.

Police said the driver fled the scene but was quickly located and charged with numerous offenses.

It was not immediately clear if the driver and passengers had hired attorneys. The driver was transported to Aroostook County Jail and the passengers posted bail.

South African authorities target coal-smuggling gang they say contributed to a power crisis

BY GERALD IMRAY From the Associated Press

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South African authorities said they conducted raids across five provinces Thursday to break up a coal-smuggling syndicate they blamed for stealing more than $26 million in coal, degrading state-owned power plants and contributing to an electricity crisis.

The criminal gang diverted trucks carrying high-grade coal to power stations, stealing the coal to sell, and replacing it with sub-standard product, the country’s tax and revenue agency said in a statement. The substandard coal has caused crippling damage to the country’s power plants, authorities said.

The South African Revenue Service worked with other law enforcement agencies to carry out the search and seizure operations in the Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Limpopo provinces. No arrests have been made yet, national police spokesperson Brig. Athlenda Mathe said.

Africa’s most advanced economy is in the midst of a power crisis that has resulted in scheduled rolling blackouts because its coal-fired stations are not generating enough electricity for the country’s 62 million people.

The state-owned power utility, Eskom, produces about 95% of South Africa’s electricity.

The blackouts have been largely blamed on years of corruption and mismanagement at Eskom, though authorities also have said that suspected organized crime syndicates have been operating for years around Eskom’s power station supply chains.

Suspects involved in the syndicate include former Eskom employees, the tax agency said.

The switching of coal destined for state-owned plants has worsened the country’s electricity crisis, the agency said.

“The low-grade coal damages the infrastructure at the Eskom power stations, which is a major factor in crippling the power utility’s ability to generate electricity for the South African grid,” it said.

South Africa experienced its worst blackouts ever at the start of the year, when homes and businesses went without electricity for more than eight hours a day. The electricity is usually cut off in two-hour blocks spread out over the day. The cuts have eased in recent weeks but energy analysts have said the blackouts will last until at least the end of 2024.

The electricity crisis has badly impacted South Africa’s economy, which is only expected to grow by less than 1% this year.

It has also been politically problematic for the ruling African National Congress party, which has been in government since the end of apartheid in 1994 and has been largely blamed for the problems at Eskom and other state-owned entitities.

South Africa has national elections next year, when the power crisis is expected to be a key issue for voters.

Five officers shot and wounded in Minnesota confrontation, authorities say; suspect arrested

From the Associated Press

PRINCETON, Minn. (AP) — Five drug task force officers were shot and wounded Thursday while serving a search warrant near the Minnesota city of Princeton, authorities said. The suspect was arrested after a standoff that lasted several hours.

A news release from Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck said the officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect when they were confronted by the man, who was injured in the incident and was taken away for treatment after his arrest. The cause and extent of his injuries were not immediately known, the sheriff said.

The officers’ injuries were not life-threatening, the sheriff said. Three of the officers were taken to North Memorial Hospital in the Minneapolis suburb of Robbinsdale while two were taken to a hospital in St. Cloud.

The confrontation started Thursday morning at a home in Glendorado Township, which is a few miles west of Princeton, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Minneapolis.

Kenyan plane diverted in London after potential issue. Police say no threat found

From the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — A Kenya Airways plane from Nairobi bound for London’s Heathrow Airport was intercepted by air force fighter jets and diverted to land at Stansted airport on Thursday over a potential security threat.

The Essex Police force said officers attended an “incident” at the airport, and established there was “nothing of concern” aboard the plane.

The airport remained open throughout the incident.

The Ministry of Defense said Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters were launched “as a precaution this afternoon to investigate a civilian aircraft which was approaching the U.K.”

It said the plane “remained in contact with air traffic controllers throughout, and was escorted to Stansted Airport where it landed safely.”

The airline said in a statement that its headquarters had received “an alert of a potential security threat” aboard the plane. It said the airline and Kenyan and U.K. authorities “carried out a thorough risk assessment of the threat.”

“The crew on board were briefed, and all safety and security precautions were taken to ensure the safety and security of our crew and passengers on board,” the airline said.

Stansted said the Boeing 787 jet landed safely on Thursday afternoon and was parked at a remote stand, away from the terminal.

Stansted is some 30 miles (40 kilometers) north of London, and is used for flights when there are security incidents because of its remote location.

Los Angeles deputies were taken to a hospital after fire broke out during training

BY STEFANIE DAZIO from the Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Multiple Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were taken to the hospital Tuesday morning after a fire during a “training incident” north of Los Angeles, authorities said.

The extent of the deputies’ injuries weren’t immediately known, said sheriff’s department spokesperson Nicole Nishida. It also was not known yet what caused the fire, which fire fighters were still battling in Castaic, a community roughly 35 miles (55 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

“We’re still trying to determine that. We know for sure there was a fire,” Nishida said.

The exact number of people injured was also unclear. Fire department officials said four deputies were taken to the hospital before firefighters were on the scene, while Nishida initially said at least two deputies were transported to the hospital. Her department later said in a statement that “several deputies” were injured.

The fire happened at about 9:30 a.m. at a training facility located on a sprawling campus that also houses the Pitchess Detention Center, the sheriff’s department said.

Firefighters were dispatched to the law enforcement training facility, near a county jail, at 9:41 a.m., said Fred Fielding, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. They arrived 11 minutes later to find a blaze but the deputies had already been taken to the hospital.

Fielding said there were “live rounds” at the training center, forcing firefighters to be cautious in battling the blaze.

A KTLA helicopter over the scene showed firefighters spraying water into the smoking rear of a parked semitrailer.

Indianapolis police capture a cheeky monkey that escaped and went on the lam

From the Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Momo the monkey’s taste of freedom is over.

The primate spurred an hourslong search on Indianapolis’ east side after he escaped Wednesday evening from his owner’s property. But the male patas monkey was finally captured safely Thursday morning, police said.

This photo provided by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows IMPD officer Lt. William Carter, left, with an unidentified person holding a monkey, which is named Momo, in Indianapolis, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. The monkey spurred an hours-long search on Indianapolis’ east side after he escaped Wednesday, Oct. 4, from his owner’s property. (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department via AP)

Momo was captured by the brother of the monkey’s owner after police tracked the primate to the bathroom of a house under construction, said Lt. William Carter of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

“That was more than enough monkey business for us,” the department said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, to announce Momo’s capture.

Carter said police were called to the city’s east side about 6 p.m. Wednesday on a report of “an aggressive animal” that turned out to be the monkey on the run.

After his capture, Momo was taken into the care of Indianapolis’ Animal Care Services, which turned him over to staff at the Indianapolis Zoo for now, said Katie Trennepohl, deputy director of Indianapolis Animal Care Services.

While a permit is not required in Marion County to own such an animal, she said Momo will remain held under the advice of the county’s prosecutor’s office, which will work with Animal Care Services to determine whether Momo will be returned to his owner.

Trennepohl said Animal Care Services had “dealt with Momo one other time” when he had escaped in July.

Last night, after Momo escaped again, she said his owner was issued a a citation because the monkey was “chasing and approaching in an unsafe fashion” while on the run in a residential area.

She said that anyone who had direct contact with Momo during his time on the lam should contact the local health department because of a concern about “diseases that can be transmitted to humans.”

A policeman in Egypt killed 2 Israelis and 1 Egyptian at a tourist site in Alexandria

From the Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian policeman opened fire Sunday on Israeli tourists in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, killing at least two Israelis and one Egyptian, Israeli and Egyptian authorities said.

This is a locator map for Egypt with its capital, Cairo. (AP Photo)

A statement from Egypt’s Interior Ministry said that another person was wounded in the attack at the Pompey’s Pillar site in Alexandria. It provided no further details.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry identified the wounded person as an Israeli who suffered moderate injuries. The ministry said in a statement that Israeli authorities were working with the Egyptian government to bring the Israelis home.

Extra News television channel, which has close ties to Egyptian security agencies, reported that the suspected assailant was detained. The dead Egyptian was a tour guide, according to media outlets.

Security forces quickly cordoned off the site of the attack. Graphic footage posted on social media showed two people lying motionless on the ground. Another was seen being helped by a group of men. One woman was heard shouting for an ambulance.

The attack triggered mixed reactions from social media users. Some lauded the attack in Alexandria while others condemned the killing of civilians visiting Egypt.

Writing on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, renowned Egyptian writer and TV host Ibrahim Issa called the attack a “terrorist crime,” adding that, “any attempt to justify it is a crime against humanity and the nation.”

Amr Magdi, researcher with Human Rights Watch, condemned the attack, saying on X: “No justification whatsoever for intentionally targeting Israeli civilians in #Egypt, Gaza or anywhere else.”

In a message to Americans in Egypt, the U.S. embassy in Cairo urged them to take precautions as the attack could be related to the clashes between Israel and Palestinian militants.

Egypt was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel in the 1970s and has long served as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But anti-Israeli sentiment runs high in the country, especially during bouts of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

Indian rescuers are flying into the region where a flood washed out bridges and killed at least 74


GANGTOK, India (AP) — Air force helicopters rescued scores of stranded tourists Monday in India’s Himalayan northeast after a 6-year-old hydroelectric dam cracked open last week in intense rain, flooding a valley with glacial lake water and killing at least 74 people.

A vehicle lies in the debris of damaged houses in the flood affected area along the Teesta river in Rongpo, east Sikkim, India, Sunday, Oct. 8. 2023. Rescuers continued to dig through slushy debris and ice-cold water in a hunt for survivors after a glacial lake burst through a dam in India’s Himalayan northeast, shortly after midnight Wednesday, washing away houses and bridges and forcing thousands to flee. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

Officials told the Press Trust of India news agency that they recovered 34 bodies in Sikkim state since the flooding began on Wednesday, while authorities in neighboring West Bengal state have retrieved 40 bodies from the Teesta River as the floodwaters carried them downstream.

Around 100 people are still missing, police said. As weather conditions improved in Sikkim state, helicopters arrived in the worst-hit Mangan district to help some 3,000 stranded tourists.

The design and placement of the Teesta 3 dam, the biggest hydroelectric dam in Sikkim, were controversial from the time it was built. A 2019 report identified Lhonak Lake as “highly vulnerable” to flooding that could breach dams and cause extensive damage.

43 Malaysians were caught in a phone scam operation in Peru and rescued from human traffickers

From the Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia said Monday that 43 citizens have been rescued by police in Peru after they fell victim to a human trafficking syndicate operating a telecommunication fraud.

They Malaysians were involved in the so-called “Macau scam” that reportedly originates from crime syndicates in Taiwan and China, in which scammers impersonate banks or a public official to trick a person into disclosing their personal banking details or transfer money into a third-party account.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Peruvian police found the 43 Malaysians after raiding a house in La Molina in the capital Lima on Oct. 7. It said the Malaysian Embassy in Lima had visited them and found them in good condition.

“All victims have also undergone an investigation process and will be repatriated to Malaysia” soon, it said. No further details were provided on how the Malaysians were ensnared by the syndicate or how they ended up in Peru.

Activists and government officials say hundreds of Malaysians have been lured by lucrative job offers in Southeast Asian nations such as Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, only to end up being made to defraud online users with internet romances and cryptocurrency schemes.

North Carolina splits insurance commissioner’s job from state fire marshal’s responsibilities

From the Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s elected insurance commissioner will no longer hold a second role as state fire marshal because of a new provision in the state budget that will take effect in January.

FILE – North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey talks to reporters, April 24, 2023, at the Albemarle Building in Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina’s elected insurance commissioner will soon no longer hold the dual role as state fire marshal because a provision in the final state budget separates the jobs starting in January. Causey will have to appoint someone else to a three-year term as fire marshal. House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023 the fire marshal’s post should be a fire professional position and not a political one. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum, file)

Commissioner Mike Causey said this week he is unhappy with the change, which he said was inserted into the budget by fellow Republicans without input from him, local fire marshals or firefighters, news outlets reported.

The budget will soon become law without Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s formal approval because he has said he wouldn’t sign it.

“I have yet to meet the first person outside of the General Assembly that favors an independent State Fire Marshal,” Causey said Monday, calling the lack of communication with lawmakers and absence of discussion “very disturbing.”

Under rules starting Jan. 1, Causey will have to appoint someone else to a three-year term as fire marshal and the choice will be subject to General Assembly confirmation. A fire marshal’s office within Causey’s department may act independently under the bill.

The state Senate sought the fire marshal change during budget negotiations, House Speaker Tim Moore said Tuesday.

“The state fire marshal should not be a political position,” Moore told reporters. “That should be a person who is a professional, who understands what’s involved in that process.”

Randy Brechbiel, a spokesperson for Senate leader Phil Berger, said late Tuesday in a written statement that the state was drastically different when the two positions were combined in the 1940s.

With the change, “the Insurance Commissioner can fully focus on insurance matters, and the Fire Marshal can dedicate their full attention to fire-related matters,” Brechbiel said.

Causey is in his second four-year term as insurance commissioner, a position that this fiscal year will pay $168,384. His salary will be unaffected by the change in responsibilities. The new fire marshal’s salary will be $135,000.

9-year-old who vanished from New York state park found safe and man linked to ransom note arrested

From the Associated Press

MOREAU, N.Y. (AP) — A 9-year-old girl who vanished during a family camping trip in upstate New York was “safe and in good health” Monday after a massive two-day search ended with her rescue and the arrest of a person suspected in her abduction, police said.

This photo provided by her family on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, shows Charlotte Sena, 9, who vanished during a camping trip in upstate New York. Authorities say that Sena has been found safe Monday, following a two day search. She went missing while riding her bicycle Saturday evening, Sept. 30, 2023, in Moreau Lake State Park, about 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of Albany, N.Y. (Family photo via AP)
This photo provided by her family on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, shows Charlotte Sena, 9, who vanished during a camping trip in upstate New York. Authorities say that Sena has been found safe Monday, following a two day search. She went missing while riding her bicycle Saturday evening, Sept. 30, 2023, in Moreau Lake State Park, about 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of Albany, N.Y. (Family photo via AP)

Charlotte Sena disappeared while riding her bike early Saturday evening at Moreau Lake State Park, a heavily wooded area some 35 miles (60 kilometers) north of Albany.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday night during a news conference that investigators were able to identify a fingerprint from a ransom note allegedly left by the suspect she identified as Craig Nelson Ross Jr., 47.

“What happened was extraordinary,” she said.

She said while the rest of Charlotte’s family remained at the campground where she had gone missing, police watching their home saw someone drop a note in their mailbox at 4:20 a.m. Monday. State police pulled fingerprints off the note and the second one matched Ross, who was in a database from a 1999 DWI case, Hochul said.

Law enforcement agents linked Ross to a property owned by his mother, made entry and found him in a camper at about 6:30 p.m., she said.

“After some resistance, the suspect was taken into custody and immediately the little girl was found in a cabinet,” Hochul said. “She knew she was being rescued. She knew that she was in safe hands.”

Charlotte was taken to a local hospital, as is customary, Hochul said, adding that she appeared physically unharmed and that she and her family have been reunited.

No charges have been brought against Ross, but they are expected, Hochul said. Ross was still being questioned on Monday night, Hochul said.

The governor named Ross as the suspect late Monday night and it wasn’t immediately known if he had a lawyer to comment on his behalf.

Authorities said it was still an active investigation.

The rescue marked the end of an intense search. About 400 people took part in the hunt for the girl Monday, including forest rangers, police officers and firefighters. The search had expanded over 46 linear miles (74 linear kilometers).

Charlotte, a fourth grader from nearby Greenfield, had been riding her bike around a campsite loop in the park with other children when she decided to ride around one more time by herself. Her parents became alarmed when she failed to return after 15 minutes, Hochul said at a briefing Sunday.

The girl’s mother called 911 after her bicycle was found at around 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

Officials issued an Amber Alert on Sunday morning after an exhaustive search because “it was quite possible that an abduction had taken place,” state police Lt. Colonel Richard Mazzone said. The alert described her as a white girl with blonde hair and green eyes who is about 4 feet 6 inches tall (1.37 meters).

The girl’s family pleaded with the public for help in finding Charlotte, including providing any tips to the state police.

“We just want her returned safely like any parent would,” the family said in a statement earlier Monday. “No tip is too small, please call if you know anything at all.”

Troopers had set up several checkpoints on the winding, rural roads around the park. They stopped drivers and asked if they knew the family, had seen the girl’s photo or had any other information that could help the search. They also had some drivers open their trunks.

The park remained closed because of the search, and officials asked members of the public who showed up hoping to help to stay away and leave the search to professionals. Federal authorities also issued a temporary flight restriction over the park for the safety of law enforcement air operations.

The Corinth Central School District said it had extra counselors at Charlotte’s elementary school for any students or staff who need support.

“Our hearts go out to the Sena family,” the district said in a statement.


AP writer Lisa Baumann contributed from Bellingham, Washington.

California motorcycle officer, survivor of Las Vegas mass shooting, killed in LA area highway crash

From the Associated Press

A procession honoring Manhattan Beach Officer Chad Swanson arrives at the Los Angeles County Coroner's office on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Swanson, who was a hero of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, died Wednesday when his motorcycle was hit by a car on a Los Angeles-area highway, authorities said. (Dean Musgrove/The Orange County Register via AP)
A procession honoring Manhattan Beach Officer Chad Swanson arrives at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Swanson, who was a hero of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, died Wednesday when his motorcycle was hit by a car on a Los Angeles-area highway, authorities said. (Dean Musgrove/The Orange County Register via AP)

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California police officer who was a hero of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting died Wednesday when his motorcycle was hit by a car on a Los Angeles-area highway, authorities said.

Manhattan Beach Police Officer Chad Swanson was likely heading to work when the collision happened shortly after 5 a.m. on Interstate 405 in Carson, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP Officer Steve Carapia told reporters that it appears the car that hit Swanson’s police motorcycle was initially struck by another vehicle that likely made “an unsafe lane change.” Investigators are trying to determine if a fourth vehicle may have also been involved.

The Southern California News Group reported that Swanson, 35, died at a hospital. A second person was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Manhattan Beach Police Lt. Kelly Benjamin said Swanson was married with three sons.

“We’re hurting, we’re grieving,” Benjamin said.

Swanson was in the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, when a gunman opened fire from a window of the Mandalay Bay hotel. Benjamin said Swanson helped get shooting victims and others out of the area.

Swanson was a 13 year veteran of the department and became a motorcycle officer in 2017, officials said.

A bus carrying children overturns in northwest England, killing the driver and a 14-year-old girl

From the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — A bus carrying dozens of schoolchildren overturned on a highway near the English city of Liverpool on Friday, killing the driver and a 14-year-old girl, police said.

Emergency services at the scene of a coach crash on the M53 motorway, between junction 5 at Ellesmere Port and junction 4 at Bebbington in Hooton, England, Friday Sept. 29, 2023. A bus carrying school children overturned on a highway near Liverpool on Friday. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

The bus was transporting students from Calday Grange Grammar School and West Kirby Grammar School on the Wirral Peninsula, across the River Mersey from Liverpool. Traffic on the M53 highway was blocked as police and other emergency services responded to the incident, which was reported shortly after 8 a.m.

Two other occupants of the bus were taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool with serious injuries, while a number of other patients were taken to surrounding hospitals for treatment to minor injuries, North West Ambulance Service said.

A total of 50 children were transported to a casualty clearing center. Thirty-nine of them were discharged while the others were taken to hospitals for further treatment.

Ex-Detroit police chief James Craig will join GOP primary for US Senate in Michigan, sources tell AP

BY JOEY CAPPELLETTI from the Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who was a leading GOP candidate for governor last year before fraudulent signatures on his paperwork derailed his campaign, is planning to enter the race for Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat, according to two people familiar with the matter.

FILE – James Craig, a former Detroit police chief, announces he is a Republican candidate for governor of Michigan, on Sept. 14, 2021, in Detroit. Craig is planning to announce a Republican bid for U.S. Senate in Michigan next week, according to two people familiar with the matter. Craig retired from his position as Detroit’s police chief in 2021 to pursue a run for governor. He was a leading candidate until a signature fraud controversy knocked him and four others off the ballot. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Craig will join a growing field of GOP candidates trying to flip a seat that’s remained in Democratic control for over two decades. Former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers announced a bid less than a month ago and several others, including former U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, are still considering campaigns.

The people familiar with the matter spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement scheduled for next week.

Craig is positioning himself to win the support of former President Donald Trump, who has often swung Republican primaries with his endorsement. He has supported Trump for president in 2024 and wrote in a column this month for the conservative Daily Caller that with Trump in the White House, “it was a proud time to be an American.”

Rogers has been critical of Trump in the past and Meijer, who launched an exploratory committee last month, voted to impeach Trump in 2021 after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Michigan Republicans are vying to replace the U.S. Senate’s third-highest-ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow, who announced in January that she would retire after her fourth term. Michigan has long been considered a swing state where Republicans have had success in the past, but the party has not won a Michigan U.S. Senate race since 1994.

The GOP nominees for governor, attorney general and secretary of state in last year’s midterms were all endorsed by Trump but lost by massive margins in the general election to Democratic incumbents.

Third-term U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin leads a field of Democrats vying to replace Stabenow.

Craig spent eight years as the police chief of Michigan’s largest city before retiring in 2021 to pursue a run for governor. He was considered a favorite to win the GOP nomination in last year’s gubernatorial election before he and four other candidates were kept off the ballot after fraudulent signatures were found on their nominating petitions.

Three people have been charged with forgery and other crimes related to the phony petition signatures but no candidate was personally accused of knowingly submitting fraudulent petitions.

While Craig has no prior experience in elected office, he would have among the highest name recognition of the Michigan Senate candidates.

Craig is a native of Detroit, which lost Black representation in Congress in the midterms for the first time since the 1950s. If he wins next year, Craig will become one of four Black members of the Senate, joining Democrats Sens. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Cory Booker of New Jersey as well as Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Sweden says the military will help the police with some duties as gang violence escalates

From the Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden’s prime minister said Friday that the military will soon assist the police with some duties to help deal with an unprecedented crime wave that has shocked the Scandinavian country with almost daily shootings and bombings.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, left, and Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer attend a press conference after a meeting with National Police Chief Anders Thornberg, and Commander-in-Chief Micael Bydén in Stockholm, Sweden, Friday Sept. 29, 2023. Sweden’s prime minister said Friday the Swedish military can carry out some duties to free up police so it can focus on the unprecedented crime wave that has shocked the Scandinavian country with almost daily shootings and bombings. (Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency via AP)

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said his center-right government will announce proposals next Thursday for how the armed forces would work with police. The country’s national police chief, Anders Thornberg, clarified earlier Friday that members of the armed forces won’t be given “direct” policing tasks.

Still, getting the military involved in crime-fighting in any capacity would be a highly unusual step for Sweden, underscoring the severity of the gang violence that has claimed a dozen lives across the country this month, including teenagers and innocent bystanders.

“The police cannot do all the work themselves,” Kristersson said after a meeting with the heads of the armed forces and the national police.

The prime minister noted that the country’s military already is preoccupied with ensuring readiness because of the war in Ukraine. But he said the armed forces could perhaps help the national police with knowledge of explosives, helicopter logistics and analyses, and that this could be done within the country’s existing laws.

Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years, but the surge in shootings and bombings in September has been exceptional. Three people were killed in recent days in separate attacks with suspected links to criminal gangs, which often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.

Kristersson said Sweden’s laws need to be tightened to counter the recruitment of young people into gangs, and that he believed there was a majority in the Swedish parliament to make appropriate changes.

More than 60 people died in shootings last year in Sweden, the highest figure on record. This year is on track to be the same or worse. Authorities have linked the latest surge in violence to a feud between rival factions of international criminal gangs.

London police call for backup as armed officers lay down guns after colleague charged with murder

BY DANICA KIRKA from the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — London police have been forced to call on neighboring departments and the military for backup after scores of specially trained firearms officers refused to carry guns after a murder charge was filed against one of their colleagues.

Police officers stand guard outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. The head of London's police force is calling for increased legal protections for officers who use force in the line of duty after more than 100 officers refused to carry guns to protest murder charges filed against one of their colleagues. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers stand guard outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. The head of London’s police force is calling for increased legal protections for officers who use force in the line of duty after more than 100 officers refused to carry guns to protest murder charges filed against one of their colleagues. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)Read More

LONDON (AP) — London police have been forced to call on neighboring departments and the military for backup after scores of specially trained firearms officers refused to carry guns after a murder charge was filed against one of their colleagues.

The action deepened the sense of crisis in Britain’s largest police force, which is struggling to restore public confidence after a series of scandals and an independent review that found it was riddled with institutional racism, sexism and homophobia.

Commissioner Mark Rowley, who heads the Metropolitan Police Service, called for greater clarity on the rules governing the use of lethal force and legal protections for officers when they make split-second decisions to fire their weapons. But that only fueled the concerns of some campaigners who said there is already a “lack of accountability” in the police force.

“Police cannot be judge, jury and executioner and must not be above the law,” said Deborah Coles, director of Inquest, a charity focused on state-related deaths. Rowley’s proposal “would make accountability for police use of force virtually impossible, effectively giving firearms officers a license to kill,” she added. “That cannot be in the public interest.”

The police department, known as the Met, has more than 34,000 officers, about 2,500 of whom are licensed to carry firearms.

Some firearms officers decided not to carry their guns after prosecutors last week filed murder charges against an officer who was involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black man in south London on Sept. 5, 2022. Chris Kaba, 24, died after he was struck by a single gunshot fired into the car he was driving.

The BBC reported that as many as 300 officers had laid down their firearms. The Met didn’t confirm that number, saying only that “a number of officers” had stepped back from armed duties in recent days as they reviewed the implications of the charging decision for themselves and their families. The department said it was having discussions with the officers and some have already returned to firearms duties.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Defense agreed to provide backup for counter-terrorism operations, but that was no longer needed by midday on Monday, the Met said. A “limited number” of armed officers from other departments are still providing assistance in other areas of policing.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, whose department oversees policing, on Sunday announced a review of the rules governing police use of force.

Rowley wrote to Braverman later in the day, calling for increased legal protections for officers. While Rowley acknowledged that police must be held to the highest standards, he said current rules are cumbersome and leave officers at risk of prosecution even when they follow their training.

“We rely on officers who are willing to put themselves at risk on a daily basis to protect the public from dangerous criminals including terrorists,’’ Rowley said. “Officers need sufficient legal protection to enable them to do their job and keep the public safe, and the confidence that it will be applied consistently and without fear or favor.”

Rowley stressed that officer-involved shootings are very rare in London.

London police respond to about 4,000 armed incidents every year, with officers firing their weapons less than twice a year on average, Rowley said in his letter to Braverman. That means that 0.05% of armed operations result in shots fired by police, he said.

The tensions over armed officers comes as Rowley tries to rebuild public confidence in his force following a series of scandals, including a serving officer who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering a young woman in 2021.

Rowley, who took the top job last year, has made it a priority to root out bad officers and improve training after an independent review found widespread racism, misogyny and homophobia in the department.

Restoring public trust is crucial for the Met because British law enforcement is based on the idea of “policing by consent,” which means most officers don’t carry guns and they rely on the public to respect their authority.

Rowley said police should be held to the “highest standards,” but the current system leaves good officers facing lengthy investigations and legal proceedings even when they follow their training.

“There is a concern on the part of firearms officers that even if they stick to the tactics and training they have been given, they will face years of protracted legal proceedings which impact on their personal wellbeing and that of their family,” Rowley said.

Peter Fahy, the former chief constable of the Greater Manchester Police in northern England, said that the action by firearms officers was symptomatic of a wider discontent among officers and a lack of confidence in the Home Office and the Independent Office of Police Conduct.

But he said that police understand that they are subject to criminal law in the same way as any other member of the public.

“The law is clear, the stated cases are clear, and I think those firearms officers absolutely fundamentally understand that because it’s part of their training,″ Fahy told the BBC. “As I say, this is really symptomatic of a wider discontent that officers feel that they’re misunderstood and unappreciated.”

Coast Guard searching for woman swept into ocean from popular Washington coast beach

From the Associated Press

RIALTO BEACH, Wash. (AP) — Teams are searching for a 26-year-old woman who was swept into the ocean Monday from a popular beach on the Washington coast, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said it received a call at 10:50 a.m. about a woman who was reportedly taken by ocean currents while she was on Rialto Beach near Olympic National Park. The beach is on the Olympic Peninsula northwest of Seattle.

The Coast Guard has two helicopters as well as a crew on land searching along with people from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, the La Push Tribal Police Department and the national park.

The National Weather Service in Seattle had issued a small craft advisory and a gale warning Monday along the coast for strong winds causing hazardous seas.

A powerful system was bringing heavy rain, gusty winds, below-average temperatures and a wintry mix at higher elevations to parts of the Northwest, including western Washington and western Oregon, on Monday, the weather service said.

A police officer who was critically wounded by gunfire has been released from the hospital

From the Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky police officer who was critically wounded by gunfire while conducting a traffic stop has been released from the hospital.

The family of Louisville Metro Police Officer Brandon Haley shared the news of his discharge in an update posted Monday to the police department’s Facebook page and said he would continue to receive outpatient services.

“The strength and determination he has shown continues to improve as he works through the next phases of recovery,” the post said. “Our family cannot express how much the love and support from the community means to them.”

Haley, who has been an officer since 2021, was struck in the torso by gunfire Sept. 7 when shots were fired from a home near where he was conducting a traffic stop, Louisville Metro Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel has said. Another officer on the scene fired his weapon and later dragged Haley to safety, but was not injured.

While five men at the scene were arrested on various counts, no one has been charged in the shooting, news outlets reported.

Chicago’s top officer says a White Sox game where 2 were shot should have been stopped or delayed

From the Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago White Sox game last month where two women were wounded by gunfire should have been stopped or delayed, the city’s interim police superintendent said Thursday.

The Aug. 25 game against the Oakland A’s was allowed to continue without interruption after the two women were shot near Section 161 of Guaranteed Rate Field because of “miscommunication” on the protocol for notifying Major League Baseball, interim Supt. Fred Waller told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We’ve taken some steps to make sure that … we have the right people in place to delay or stop completely a game like that, so it won’t happen again,” Waller said in an interview.

“We did not know exactly what we had on our hands. We didn’t think it was an active shooter. But we didn’t know,” Waller said.

Police still don’t know whether the bullets came from inside or outside Guaranteed Rate Field and likely will never be certain, Waller said.

Waller was overseeing street operations citywide when he learned of the shooting. He was told Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott had called for the game to be stopped and that police, team officials and the private security firm hired by the Sox had started looking at video.

“A mistake was made because the (game) was not stopped,” Waller said.

No suspects have been identified. The gunfire wounded a 42-year-old woman’s leg and grazed a 26-year-old woman.

“We’re still using technology to show us if it could have happened from outside the park. … We’re looking at cameras from inside the park to make sure that we’re not missing something,” Waller said.

White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has stated he doesn’t “see any way in the world that the shots could have come from inside the ballpark.”

A gunman opened fire in a crowded pub in Sweden, killing 2 men and wounding 2 people, police say

From the Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two people were killed and two wounded when a gunman opened fire in a crowded bar northwest of Stockholm, police said Friday, in the latest outburst of deadly violence in Sweden.

Police stand outside a pub where two people were killed and two wounded following a shooting, in Sandviken, some 162 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Stockholm, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. In a statement, police said that a man in his 20s and another in his 70s died Friday of injuries sustained in the shooting late Thursday at the pub in Sandviken. (Henrik Hansson/TT News Agency via AP)
Police stand outside a pub where two people were killed and two wounded following a shooting, in Sandviken, some 162 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Stockholm, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. In a statement, police said that a man in his 20s and another in his 70s died Friday of injuries sustained in the shooting late Thursday at the pub in Sandviken. (Henrik Hansson/TT News Agency via AP)Read More

Police said that a 20-year-old man and another in his 70s died Friday of injuries sustained in the shooting late Thursday at a pub in Sandviken some 162 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Stockholm.

Two people were injured — a woman in her 20s and a man in his 50s.

Senior investigator Karin Wessén said that the deceased 20-year-old was likely the shooter’s target while the other three are believed to be bystanders. The Expressen daily reported that the elderly victim was blind.

She said several shots were fired in the pub, which was packed at the time, before the gunman walked away. Police investigating the shooting appealed for witnesses.

The motive remained unclear. Wessén told a press conference that the shooting could “possibly be part of a local personal conflict” and that it was “uncertain whether it was connected to any of the national conflicts.”

Feuding criminal gangs have become a growing problem in Sweden, with an increasing number of drive-by shootings, bombings and grenade attacks. So far this year, there have been 261 shootings, 36 people have died and 73 were wounded.

“It’s bad enough that the gangs shoot each other to death, but when completely innocent people end up in the line of fire, it’s absolutely horrific,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Kristersson said, according to Swedish news agency TT.

Earlier this month, a 13-year-old boy was found shot in the head in woods, near his home near Stockholm. Prosecutor Lisa dos Santos said Thursday that his death was a chilling example of “gross and completely reckless gang violence.”

The violence reportedly is fueled by a feud over drugs and arms between two gangs, led by a dual Turkish-Swedish man who lives in Turkey and his former lieutenant.

Sweden’s center-right government has been tightening laws to tackle gang-related crime, while the head of Sweden’s police said earlier this month that warring gangs had brought an “unprecedented” wave of violence to the Scandinavian country.

Fulton County district attorney’s office investigator accidentally shoots self in leg at courthouse

From the Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — An investigator with the Fulton County district attorney’s office accidentally shot herself in the leg Friday inside the county courthouse in downtown Atlanta, police said.

The investigator is “alert, conscious and breathing,” police said in an email. The police department “has been requested and is assisting.”

A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.

London police arrest a man who allegedly climbed over a wall near Buckingham Palace stables

From the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — London police arrested a 25-year-old man early Saturday morning after he allegedly climbed over a wall and entered the royal stables at Buckingham Palace.

The man was detained at 1:25 a.m Saturday for trespassing on a protected site, London’s Metropolitan Police Service said in a statement. He was taken to a London police station, where he remained by late morning.

Officers found the man outside the royal stables following a search of the area. He didn’t enter enter the palace or its gardens at any time, police said.

Buckingham Palace, which is some 300 years old, is undergoing renovations, and King Charles III does not live there.

The monarch was in Scotland on Saturday.

Bears raid a Krispy Kreme doughnut van making deliveries on an Alaska military base

From the Associated Press

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — Two bears on an Alaska military base raided a Krispy Kreme doughnut van that was stopped outside a convenience store during its delivery route.

This Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023 photo provided by Shelly Deano shows two bears getting into a donut truck in Anchorage. Alaska. The bears on an Alaska military base raided the Krispy Kreme doughnut van that was stopped outside a convenience store during its delivery route. The driver usually left his doors open when he stopped at the store but this time a sow and one of her cubs that loiter nearby sauntered inside, where they stayed for probably 20 minutes Tuesday morning, said Shelly Deano, the store manager for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson JMM Express. (Shelly Deano via AP)

The driver usually left his doors open when he stopped at the store but this time a sow and one of her cubs that loiter nearby sauntered inside, where they stayed for probably 20 minutes Tuesday morning, said Shelly Deano, the store manager for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson JMM Express. The bears chomped on doughnut holes and other pastries, ignoring the banging on the side of the van that was aimed at shooing them away, Deano said.

“I was beating on the van and they’re not moving. I could hear them breaking open the packages and everything,” she said. “I was like, ‘They don’t even care.’”

When the bears couldn’t be roused, base security was called and sounded sirens meant to scare away the bears, she said.

The bears eventually came out and wandered in front of the convenience store and gas station a bit before heading into the woods.

It’s not unusual to see bears on base or around the store but nothing like this has happened before, Deano said, adding that the delivery driver now closes his doors when he stops at the shop.

“We’re cautious when we come in, when we leave. When we take out garbage, we do it in pairs, especially if it’s dark,” she said.

Capt. Lexi Smith, a spokesperson at the base, said authorities on base “are aware of this and other wildlife situations throughout the past several months.”

“We urge the public to use caution to ensure you are protecting our wildlife and yourselves. Wildlife may be our neighbor, but they should not be attracted to our human food sources,” she said by email.

London police force says it will take years to remove officers accused of corruption and misconduct

BY DANICA KIRKA from the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of London police officers are facing dismissal as the department steps up efforts “to root out those who are corrupt” after a series of scandals eroded public trust and a scathing report found it was institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynistic.

FILE – A view of a Metropolitan police officer on patrol, in London, on Oct. 1, 2021. London’s police force says that over 1,000 officers are currently suspended or on restricted duties as the department steps up efforts to root out bad cops following a scathing report that found it was institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynistic in a statement released on Tuesday Sept. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

The Metropolitan Police Service said Tuesday that more than 1,000 officers are currently suspended or on restricted duties. That means the public is likely to be bombarded with stories of police misconduct over the next few years as the department works through the backlog of cases and around 60 officers face disciplinary proceedings each month.

“This is going to take one, two or more years to root out those who are corrupt,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said as he updated reporters on efforts to reform the department.

London’s police force, known by many as Scotland Yard, is under immense pressure to fire officers accused of misconduct and change its male-dominated culture after a serving officer kidnapped and murdered a young woman two years ago and another was convicted of a series of sexual assaults. An independent review found that the department had failed to properly vet and train officers, and had allowed many to remain on the job even after they were accused of domestic abuse or racial harassment.

The scandals have undermined public confidence in Britain’s largest police force, which has more than 34,000 officers serving about 9 million people across the capital. Rebuilding that trust is crucial in a country where most officers don’t carry guns and the police rely on the support of the public to do their jobs, a model known as “policing by consent.”

The “eye-watering” figures released Tuesday are part of a painful but necessary process as the department tackles corruption in its ranks, said Zoe Billingham, who for 12 years led the Inspectorate of Constabulary in England and Wales.

“The whole of the British policing model is built on the concept of legitimacy, and if the police aren’t seen as legitimate in the eyes of the public, if they can’t police by consent, then the whole fabric of law and order begins to break down,” she told the BBC.

The figures were released a year after Commissioner Mark Rowley took over leadership of the Metropolitan Police, pledging to reform the department.

In March, Rowley apologized after an independent review concluded that the department had lost the confidence of the public because of deep-seated racism, misogyny and homophobia. Louise Casey, an expert on victims’ rights and social welfare who led the review, concluded that the force had to “change itself” or risk being broken up.

The department said Tuesday that it was making progress on Rowley’s commitment to change the culture of the department and speed up the dismissal of corrupt officers.

Around 100 officers have been dismissed for gross misconduct over the past 12 months, an increase of 66% over historic dismissal rates, the department said Tuesday.

The number of officers awaiting gross misconduct hearings more than doubled to 275, with 38 of those cases involving allegations of violence against women and 42 related to discrimination.

Overall, the number of misconduct allegations reported during the period jumped 90% to 1,668. A third of those incidents were reported by police officers or staff.

The department also said it had improved leadership training for police sergeants, started a program to increase the number of female officers trained to carry firearms, and boosted efforts to increase the number of women and minority officers in the prestigious Parliamentary and Diplomatic Command, which protects politicians, royals and diplomatic officers.

Both Wayne Couzens, the officer who was convicted of kidnap and murder, and David Carrick, the officer convicted for a series of rapes and sexual assaults, were members of the parliamentary protection unit.

“We hope that the progress set out today reassures Londoners that we are doing all we can to deliver an organization they deserve and our people are proud of,” Cundy said.

Australian authorities protect Outback town against huge wildfire

BY ROD MCGUIRK from the Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Emergency crews were working to protect the Outback Australian town of Tennant Creek with containment lines on Wednesday as a huge wildfire threatened the remote community of 3,000.

In this photo released by Bushfires NT, a large bushfire burns in the Outback of Australia near Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. Emergency crews were working to protect the Outback Australian town of Tennant Creek with containment lines on Wednesday as a huge wildfire threatened the remote community of 3,000. (Bushfires NT via AP)
In this photo released by Bushfires NT, a large bushfire burns in the Outback of Australia near Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. Emergency crews were working to protect the Outback Australian town of Tennant Creek with containment lines on Wednesday as a huge wildfire threatened the remote community of 3,000. (Bushfires NT via AP)

The fire has scorched 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles) of grass and scrubland in the Northern Territory east of Tennant Creek, a former gold mining town.

Police Acting Commander James Gray-Spence said authorities had worked through the night to burn protective containment lines east and south of the town.

“There is a high level of confidence that those containment lines are in place, planned and prepared,” Gray-Spence told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Wildfires are common across Australia’s northern tropical region during the current dry season that will end when the monsoons arrive during the Southern Hemisphere summer.

Because water is in short supply across the region, fire fighting largely involves excavating fire breaks with earthmoving equipment.

But teams were also using water bombers and strategic backburning against the fire near Tennant Creek which began last week.

Charles Darwin University wildfire researcher Rohan Fisher said the fire was unusual in its large size and that it was encroaching on a community. Fires rarely threaten communities in Australia’s sparsely populated north.

“It is one of the largest events that we’ve seen for a while,” Fisher said.

“Fires of around this scale are not that uncommon in really remote parts of Australia, although they’re usually not reported on,” Fisher added.

Unusually abundant rain in recent years meant there was more fuel in the landscape than usual, he said.

The Northern Territory government on Tuesday declared an emergency situation in Tennant Creek and the surrounding Barkly region, which gives police emergency powers to move people and assets.

Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said he was confident the town would not need to be evacuated and the emergency declaration was a precautionary measure for public safety.

Minneapolis budget plan includes millions for new employees as part of police reform effort

From the Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Complying with court orders to end racist and unconstitutional policing in Minneapolis will require hiring nearly three dozen new workers at a cost of millions of dollars each year for years to come, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Wednesday.

The Minneapolis City Council on Monday formally took up Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposed 2024 budget. It is the first spending plan directly connecting taxpayer costs to the specific jobs required by the court orders that followed the examination of the police department after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

The spending plan adds $7.6 million in costs for new jobs related to the compliance in 2024. That includes adding 34 full-time positions across four city departments for jobs such as lawyers, IT people, workers to examine body-worn camera footage, counselors and trainers for police officers, and overtime.

After 2024, the new positions will continue at an expected cost of nearly $6 million annually for years to come.

There are other costs, too, that are associated with the effort largely prescribed by a court-approved settlement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the expected court-approved consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

State human rights officials began investigating shortly after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes on May 25, 2020, disregarding the Black man’s fading pleas that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death sparked mass protests around the world, forced a national reckoning on racial injustice, and compelled a Minneapolis Police Department overhaul.

Another cost not yet detailed will include an estimated $1.5 million for the salary and possibly staff for the independent monitor who will assure compliance with the reform agreements.

“Change isn’t cheap,” Frey said in announcing his budget in August. “And change isn’t optional.”

Escaped Pennsylvania prisoner Danelo Cavalcante was located with help from plane’s thermal imaging


POTTSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A murderer who brazenly escaped from a Pennsylvania jail was captured Wednesday in the woods by a team of tactical officers, bringing an end to an intense search that terrified residents as the fugitive broke into homes for food, changed his appearance, and stole a van and rifle during two weeks on the run.

Law enforcement agents stand by an armored vehicle with Danelo Souza Cavalcante inside at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks at Avondale Pa., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. Cavalcante was captured Wednesday after eluding hundreds of searchers for two weeks, a conclusion that brought relief to anxious residents of southeastern Pennsylvania who had endured sleepless nights as he hid in the woods, broke into suburban homes for food, changed his appearance, and fled under gunfire with a rifle pilfered from a garage, authorities said.(WPI via AP)
Law enforcement agents stand by an armored vehicle with Danelo Souza Cavalcante inside at the Pennsylvania State Police barracks at Avondale Pa., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. Cavalcante was captured Wednesday after eluding hundreds of searchers for two weeks, a conclusion that brought relief to anxious residents of southeastern Pennsylvania who had endured sleepless nights as he hid in the woods, broke into suburban homes for food, changed his appearance, and fled under gunfire with a rifle pilfered from a garage, authorities said.(WPI via AP)

Law enforcement’s big break came overnight as a plane fitted with a thermal imaging camera picked up Danelo Souza Cavalcante’s heat signal, allowing tactical teams on the ground to secure the area, surround him and move in with search dogs.

“They were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a news conference. “Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that had occurred.”

Cavalcante — still armed with the rifle he stole from a homeowner’s garage — tried to escape by crawling through thick underbrush, but a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer released a search dog that subdued him, said Bivens, adding that Cavalcante continued to resist as he was taken into custody after 8 a.m.

Cavalcante, 34, was bitten on the scalp by a police dog and suffered a minor wound, Bivens said. Footage from a news helicopter showed an officer wiping Cavalcante’s bloody head and face with a towel.

No shots were fired.

“Our nightmare is finally over, and the good guys won,” said Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan.

State police had announced Cavalcante’s capture on social media earlier Wednesday, as the search entered its 14th day. The attorney general’s office said Cavalcante will be arraigned on a felony escape charge.

Cavalcante, handcuffed and wrapped in what appeared to be a thermal blanket, was driven to the Pennsylvania State Police barracks at Avondale. Bivens said investigators would try to interview him about his time on the run before taking him to a state prison.

“He was desperate, and it was just a matter of time,” said Gov. Josh Shapiro.

The end of the search for Cavalcante unfolded just beyond Philadelphia’s heavily populated suburbs, in an area of woods, rolling farmland and a county park. Police brought in hundreds of heavily armed law enforcement personnel with dogs, armored carriers, horses, and helicopters that circled over the rural stretch of southeastern Pennsylvania.

The search forced schools to close right at the start of the academic year, led to warnings for homeowners to lock their doors, and blocked roads over the busy Labor Day weekend. Overnight into Wednesday, heavily armed law enforcement officers searched for the fugitive through downpours and thunder.

A Drug Enforcement Administration plane picked up Cavalcante’s heat signature around 1 a.m. and began tracking his movements, but the storms forced the aircraft to leave the area for a time, delaying his capture by several hours, Bivens said.

Cavalcante escaped from the Chester County jail in southeastern Pennsylvania on Aug. 31 by crab-walking up between two walls that were topped with razor wire, then jumping from the roof and dashing away. He had been awaiting transfer to state prison after being sentenced days earlier for fatally stabbing his girlfriend, and is wanted in connection with another killing in Brazil.

Authorities said over the weekend that Cavalcante had slipped out of the initial search area, shaved and changed his clothing, stole a vehicle to travel miles to seek aid from former co-workers in the northern part of the county, and then abandoned the vehicle, at least in part because it was low on fuel.

Authorities have declined to say how they think Cavalcante slipped out of the first search area, and officials have pushed back against questions about whether they blew a chance to catch him.

Then, late Monday, a motorist alerted police to a man matching Cavalcante’s description crouching in the darkness along a line of trees near a road in northern Chester County. Police found footprints and tracked them to the prison shoes identical to those Cavalcante had been wearing. A pair of work boots was reported stolen from a porch nearby.

State police said they believe he was looking for a place to hide when he saw an open garage. There, he stole a .22-caliber rifle and ammunition, and fled when the homeowner who was in the garage drew a pistol and shot at him several times, state police said.

That led hundreds of law enforcement personnel to search an area of about 8 to 10 square miles near South Coventry Township, roughly 30 miles northwest (50 kilometers) of Philadelphia.

People tried to help Cavalcante during his time on the run, Bivens said Wednesday, but authorities thwarted those attempts. He did not elaborate or say anyone had been charged criminally.

Cavalcante’s escape was big news in Brazil, where prosecutors in Tocantins state say he is accused of “double qualified homicide” in the 2017 slaying of Válter Júnior Moreira dos Reis in the municipality of Figueiropolis, which authorities say was over a debt the victim owed him in connection with repair of a vehicle.

Pennsylvania authorities even broadcast a recording of Cavalcante’s mother speaking in Portuguese imploring him to surrender peacefully.

Cavalcante received a life sentence in Pennsylvania in August for killing his ex-girlfriend, Deborah Brandao, in front of her children in 2021. Prosecutors say he murdered her to stop her from telling police he was wanted in the Brazil killing. He had been arrested in Virginia after Brandao’s killing, and authorities say they believe he was trying to return to Brazil.

The prison tower guard on duty when Cavalcante escaped was fired. The escape went undetected for more than an hour until guards took a headcount.


Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pa., and Rubinkam from northeastern Pennsylvania.

Police comb the UK and put ports on alert for an escaped prison inmate awaiting terrorism trial

BY PAN PYLAS from the Associated Press

A general view of HMP Wandsworth in London where a British soldier awaiting trial on terror-related charges has escaped from a prison in southwest London Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023 and police have launched an urgent manhunt. Counterterror police say Daniel Abed Khalife went missing from Wandsworth Prison early Wednesday. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — A former British soldier awaiting trial on terror charges who appears to have escaped from a London prison by strapping himself to the underside of a food delivery truck remained at large Thursday as police stepped up security checks across the United Kingdom amid concerns he may try to flee the country.

Opposition parties linked the escape to years of financial austerity, while Britain’s Conservative government said an independent investigation will take place “in due course” into how Daniel Abed Khalife managed to slip out of the medium-security Wandsworth Prison, which opened in 1851 during the reign of Queen Victoria.

His escape has prompted extra security checks at major transport hubs, particularly in and around the Port of Dover, the main boat crossing from England to France.

Britain’s justice secretary told lawmakers that “no stone must be left unturned in getting to the bottom of what happened” as he confirmed an “independent investigation into this incident.” Alex Chalk also said “urgent” reviews into prison categorization would be carried out as questions remained over how Khalife wasn’t being held at a maximum-security facility such as Belmarsh Prison in east London.

Khalife, 21, is accused of planting fake bombs at a military base and of violating Britain’s Official Secrets Act by gathering information “that could be useful to an enemy.” He was discharged from the British army after his arrest earlier this year and had denied the allegations. His trial is set for November.

Chalk said Khalife, who had been working in a kitchen at the prison, escaped at around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, when a vehicle that had made a delivery left.

Shortly afterward, he said, contingency plans for an unaccounted prisoner were activated and police were informed. The vehicle, he added, was subsequently stopped and searched by police after the alert was raised.

“Strapping was found underneath the vehicle which appeared to indicate that Daniel Khalife may have held onto the underside of it in order to escape,” Chalk said.

More than 150 investigators and police staff are on the case, according to Metropolitan Police Commander Dominic Murphy, who is the lead investigator.

“We have issued a nationwide alert that has resulted in increased security at our ports and borders, however currently there have not been any confirmed sightings,” he said.

Opposition politicians have sought to pin the blame on the Conservative government, which has been in power since 2010. Many U.K. prisons, including Wandsworth, are over capacity and short of staff. The escape could hardly have come at a worse time for a government that is already scrambling to get all schools to reopen for the new academic year amid concerns over crumbling concrete.

“It simply beggars belief that a man being held on suspected terror charges was able to escape a prison by clinging to the bottom of a food delivery van,” said Shabana Mahmood, the justice spokesperson for the main opposition Labour Party. “How is such an escape even possible?”

Charlie Taylor, who scrutinizes detention facilities in England in his role as the chief inspector of prisons, said staff shortages are “the source of many problems” at Wandsworth.

Taylor said it “should be standard practice” for vehicles entering and leaving the prison to be checked and a prisoner has to earn a “certain level of trust” in order to be allowed to work in a kitchen.

“But the issue that we are particularly concerned about is there are too many prisoners in Wandsworth for the amount of staff who are there,” he said. “And that ultimately is the source of many of the problems in the jail.”

In an annual review, published in July, Wandsworth Prison was deemed to be a “serious concern.” The prison, which is in the middle of a residential area, holds around 1,600 defendants appearing at London courts and offenders due to be released in five wings.


Jill Lawless contributed to this report.

4 firefighters suffer heat exhaustion at fire at vacant southern Michigan factory

From the Associated Press

Thick black smoke billows from a blaze as firefighters from multiple departments battle a large fire in commercial buildings along North Street near Hamilton Street in Jackson, Mich., Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. (J. Scott Park/Jackson Citizen Patriot via AP)

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — Four firefighters suffered heat exhaustion Tuesday afternoon battling a fire in southern Michigan that destroyed a large vacant factory.

Jackson fire crews responded about noon to the fire near the Jackson County Fairgrounds and were met with heavy flames coming from the building, city spokesman Aaron Dimick said.

An all-call alarm was sent out countywide for additional assistance, resulting in crews from every fire station in Jackson County responding to the scene, Dimick told the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Three Jackson firefighters and one Napoleon Township firefighter suffered minor injuries from heat exhaustion while fighting the fire and were treated at the scene, Dimick said.

Police officer killed, another injured in Hartford after their cruiser is struck by a speeding car

BY DAVE COLLINS from the Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A police officer was killed and another was seriously injured Wednesday night when their cruiser was struck by a car speeding through a red light while fleeing a traffic stop in Connecticut’s capital city, authorities said. The driver of the car was arrested.

Officer Robert “Bobby” Garten, 34, an eight-year veteran of Hartford police whose father retired as a detective on the force, died from his injuries, police said. Officer Brian Kearney was seriously injured and was listed as stable at a local hospital. Other details of his condition were not disclosed.

“This is a devastating loss for our community, for our department, and our whole city is grieving this morning,” Mayor Luke Bronin said at a news conference Thursday. “Bobby loved this city. … He served this city with courage and compassion and tremendous skill and dedication.”

Police Chief Jason Thody said Garten was in the passenger’s seat and Kearney was driving the cruiser with its emergency lights and siren on as they responded to an unrelated call at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Another car that had fled a traffic stop by other officers smashed into the passenger’s side of the cruiser just west of downtown Hartford.

The driver of the car, Richard Barrington, 18, of Hartford, was treated at a hospital, discharged and arrested, police said. He was charged with failure to obey a traffic control signal, failure to renew registration, misuse of plates and interfering with police. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could respond to the allegations.

Other officers had pulled over Barrington after he disobeyed a traffic signal and they checked his license plate, which showed the car’s registration had been canceled, Thody said. While officers approached the car, Barrington sped away, drove through one red light and went through another red light before crashing into Garten and Kearney’s cruiser, he said.

The other officers did not chase after Barrington when he fled the traffic stop, the police chief said.

Early Thursday morning, a procession of police transported Garten’s body from the hospital to the chief medical examiner’s office in Farmington. Gov. Ned Lamont later directed all state and U.S. flags in Connecticut to be flown at half-staff in Garten’s memory.

Garten grew up in nearby Wethersfield and enjoyed going to the now-defunct Hartford Whalers NHL hockey games as a kid and Hartford Yard Goats minor league baseball games as an adult, Bronin and Thody said.

Garten worked patrol walking city streets before joining the department’s street crimes unit two years ago, Thody said. The unit focuses on gun violence and taking firearms off the street, Thody said.

“I think if you ask anybody in the police department about him, they’ll say he was the guy that was always smiling,” Thody said. “Really loved the work when he got on the job. Was one of those officers that really wanted to excel and do different things. … He was a great man.”

Thody said state police are investigating the crash.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

Chicago TV news crew robbed at gunpoint while reporting on a string of robberies

From the Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago television news crew reporting on a string of robberies ended up robbed themselves after they were accosted at gunpoint by three armed men wearing ski masks.

Spanish-language station Univision Chicago said a reporter and photographer were filming just before 5 a.m. Monday in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood when three masked men brandishing firearms robbed them, taking their television camera and other items.

“They were approached with guns and robbed. Mainly it was personal items, and they took a camera,” Luis Godinez, vice president of news at Univision Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune.

Godinez said the news crew was filming a story about robberies in the West Town community that was slated to run on the morning news. He said the footage they shot was in the stolen camera, and the story never made it on the air.

Chicago police identified the victims as a 28-year-old man and 42-year-old man. Police said the pair was outside when the three men drove up in a gray sedan and black SUV. After the armed robbers took items from the news crew they fled in their vehicles.

No injuries were reported and no one is in custody, police said.

Godinez said Univision Chicago, the local TV affiliate of international media company TelevisaUnivision, is not disclosing the names of the reporter and photographer to protect their privacy.

“They’re OK, and we’re working on it together as a team,” he said.

The episode was the second robbery this month involving a Chicago news crew, after a WLS-TV photographer was assaulted and robbed on Aug. 8 while preparing to cover a weekday afternoon news conference on Chicago’s West Side, the station reported.

The robberies prompted the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians Local 41, which represents TV photographers in Chicago, to warn about the growing safety threats to those who cover the news.

“Our news photographers and reporters provide a very important public service in keeping our community informed. We are committed to making sure that their safety comes first,” Raza Siddiqui, president of the union local, said in a statement.

Siddiqui told the Chicago Sun-Times that some of the news stations affiliated with the union planned to take additional safety steps, including assigning security to some TV crews.

He said the union is arranging a safety meeting for members to “voice some of their concerns that they may have from the streets” and to determine what the union can do to provide support for its members.

Critical fire weather arrives in Northern California’s interior; PG&E cuts power to 8,400 customers


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gusty winds and low humidity brought high risk of wildfires to the interior of Northern California on Wednesday and a utility proactively cut electricity to approximately 8,400 customers to prevent potential ignitions in the blustery conditions.

Red flag warnings for critical fire danger were to remain in effect until 8 p.m. in much of the Sacramento Valley and adjacent areas to the west, the National Weather Service said.

Pacific Gas & Electric said that shortly before 2 a.m., it began public safety power shutoffs in small portions of eight counties.

Customers in the “targeted high-fire-threat areas” were notified in advance Tuesday, the utility said in a statement.

The gusty northerly winds were generated in the wake of a trough of low pressure that moved through Northern California on Tuesday, the weather service said.

Public safety power shutoffs are intended to prevent fires from starting when power lines are downed by winds or struck by falling trees or windblown debris. Such fires have caused extensive destruction and deaths in California.

The issue of power shutoffs surfaced in Hawaii after the deadly fire that destroyed the Maui community of Lahaina. Maui County claims Hawaiian Electric Company negligently failed to cut power despite high winds and dry conditions. The utility acknowledges its lines started the fire but faults county firefighters for declaring the blaze contained and leaving the scene.

Wednesday’s power cuts were PG&E’s first since 2021. PG&E first implemented the shutoffs in 2019, leaving nearly 2 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California without power and drawing fierce criticism.

The utility has since been able to reduce the impact by adding more circuit switches to its grid, allowing it to more precisely determine which customers will lose power, said Paul Moreno, a PG&E spokesperson.

PG&E also added hundreds of weather stations in areas prone to wildfires and now it has nearly 1,500 units that provide information on when fire conditions are present and when those conditions have passed, he said.

California has so far avoided widespread wildfires this year following an extraordinarily wet winter and cool spring that melted the mountain snowpack slowly. Downpours from recent Tropical Storm Hilary further dampened much of the southern half of the state.

Major fires have been limited to the southeastern desert and the lightly populated far northwest corner of the state where lightning ignited many blazes this month.


Antczak reported from Los Angeles.

Hurricane Idalia hits Florida with 125 mph winds, flooding streets, snapping trees and cutting power

By Terry Spencer from the Associated Press

PERRY, Fla. (AP) — Hurricane Idalia tore into Florida at the speed of a fast-moving train Wednesday, splitting trees in half, ripping roofs off hotels and turning small cars into boats before sweeping into Georgia as a still-powerful storm that flooded roadways and sent residents running for higher ground.

“All hell broke loose,” said Belond Thomas of Perry, a mill town located just inland from the Big Bend region where Idalia came ashore.

Thomas fled with her family and some friends to a motel, thinking it would be safer than riding out the storm at home. But as Idalia’s eye passed over about 8:30 a.m., a loud whistling noise pierced the air and the high winds ripped the building’s roof off, sending debris down on her pregnant daughter, who was lying in bed. Fortunately, she was not injured.

“It was frightening,” Thomas said. “Things were just going so fast. … Everything was spinning.”

After coming ashore, Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach at 7:45 a.m. as a high-end Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph (205 kph). It had weakened to a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph (113 kph) by Wednesday afternoon.

As the eye moved inland, high winds shredded signs, blew off roofs, sent sheet metal flying and snapped tall trees. But as of midday Wednesday, there were no confirmed deaths in Florida, although fatal traffic accidents in two counties may end up being storm-related Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

Unlike last year’s Hurricane Ian, which hit the heavily populated Fort Myers area, leaving 149 dead in the state, Idalia blew into a very lightly populated area known as Florida’s “nature coast,” one of the state’s most rural regions that lies far from crowded metropolises or busy tourist areas and features millions of acres of undeveloped land.

That doesn’t mean that it didn’t do major damage. Rushing water covered streets near the coast, unmoored small boats and nearly a half-million customers in Florida and Georgia lost power. In Perry, the wind blew out store windows, tore siding off buildings and overturned a gas station canopy. Heavy rains partially flooded Interstate 275 in Tampa , and toppled power lines onto the northbound side of Interstate 75 just south of Valdosta, Georgia.

Storm surge could rise as high as 16 feet (4.9 meters) in some places. Some counties implemented curfews to keep residents off roads.

Less than 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of where Idalia made landfall, businesses, boat docks and homes in Steinhatchee, Florida, were swallowed up by water surging in from Deadman’s Bay. Police officers blocked traffic into the coastal community of more than 500 residents known for fishing and foresting industries.

State officials, 5,500 National Guardsman and rescue crews were in search-and-recovery mode, inspecting bridges, clearing toppled trees and looking for anyone in distress.

Because of the remoteness of the Big Bend area, search teams may need more time to complete their work compared with past hurricanes in more urban areas, said Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management.

“You may have two houses on a 5-mile (8-kilometer) road so it’s going to take some time,” Guthries said.

On the island of Cedar Key, downed trees and debris blocked roads, and propane tanks exploded.

RJ Wright stayed behind so he could check on elderly neighbors. He hunkered down with friends in a motel and when it was safe, walked outside into chest-high water. It could have been a lot worse for the island, which juts into the Gulf, since it didn’t take a direct hit, he said.

“It got pretty gnarly for a while, but it was nothing compared to some of the other storms,” Wright said.

The system remained a hurricane as it crossed into Georgia with top winds of 90 mph (150 mph), after drenching Florida mostly to the east of Tallahassee. Forecasters said it would punish the Carolinas overnight as a tropical storm.

Jonathon Wick said he didn’t take the approaching hurricane seriously until Wednesday morning when he awoke to howling winds outside his home in Valdosta, Georgia. After plucking his young nephews from a trampoline in their back yard where waters were at his knees, they started piling into his car when a tree toppled right in front of the vehicle.

“If that tree would have fell on the car, I would be dead,” said Wick, who ended up getting rescued by another family member.

Some models had predicted that Idalia could circle southward toward land again after that, but the National Hurricane Center predicted it would move deeper into the Atlantic this weekend.

In Tallahassee, Florida’s capital, the power went out well before the center of the storm arrived, but the city avoided a direct hit. A giant oak tree next to the governor’s mansion split in half, covering the yard with debris.

“If they do cut down the whole tree, that is more room for my kids to hit baseballs,” DeSantis said.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee called Idalia “an unprecedented event” since no major hurricanes on record have ever passed through the bay abutting the Big Bend. The state, still dealing with lingering damage from Ian, feared disastrous results.

Idalia grew into a Category 2 system on Tuesday and then a Category 3 storm on Wednesday before peaking as a Category 4 hurricane.

Hurricane Idalia strengthened to a dangerous Category 4 storm Wednesday morning as it steams toward Florida’s Big Bend region and threatens to unleash life-threatening storm surges and rainfall. (Aug. 30)(AP Video Production: Rod Jussim)

More than 30,000 utility workers in Florida were gathering to make repairs as quickly as possible in the hurricane’s wake. Airports in the region, including Tampa International Airport, planned to restart commercial operations either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. By midday Wednesday, more than 900 flights had been canceled in Florida and Georgia, according to tracking service FlightAware.

In Valdosta, Idalia’s fierce winds uprooted trees and sent rain flying sideways, toppling a large tree onto a house and mangling awning. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told reporters that there were no confirmed reports of injuries.

“The good thing is this is a narrow storm and it’s very fast moving, so it’s not sitting on us and dumping even more rain,” Kemp said.

As he finished tying down about 20 sailboats and motor yachts docked on Wilmington Island east of Savannah, Georgia, Brandon Long said his biggest worry was that the storm surge was forecast to coincide with a higher-than-normal tide.

“If these docks float off their pylons or come apart because of the violent current and the choppy waters, then that’s what destroys a marina,” said Long, owner of the Bull River Marina.

Officials in Bermuda warned that Idalia could hit the island early next week as a tropical storm. Bermuda on Wednesday was being lashed by the outer bands of Hurricane Franklin, a Category 2 storm that was on track to pass near the island in the north Atlantic Ocean.

President Joe Biden called the governors of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina on Wednesday and told them their states had his administration’s full support, the White House said.


A Trump supporter indicted in Georgia is also charged with assaulting an FBI agent in Maryland

BY RUSS BYNUM from the Associated Press

Donald Trump supporter who surrendered to Georgia authorities Thursday on charges he conspired with the former president and other allies to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss is also facing federal charges that he assaulted an FBI agent in Maryland.

An official stands guard in front of the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Thursday, 24 August.

Harrison William Prescott Floyd turned himself in to the Fulton County jail in Atlanta a week after being indicted in the Georgia case alongside Trump and 17 others.

Court records show Floyd, identified as a former U.S. Marine who’s active with the group Black Voices for Trump, was also arrested three months ago in Maryland on a federal warrant that accuses him of aggressively confronting two FBI agents sent to serve him with a grand jury subpoena.

An agent’s affidavit filed in U.S. District Court says Floyd screamed, cursed and jabbed a finger in one FBI agent’s face and twice chest-bumped the agent in a stairwell. It says Floyd backed down only when the second agent opened his suit coat to reveal his holstered gun.

The records don’t disclose the purpose of the grand jury seeking Floyd’s testimony. But he was served during the months that special counsel Jack Smith was calling witnesses before the federal grand jury that indicted Trump on Aug. 1 for trying to overturn his election loss.

On the heels of Floyd’s May arrest in Maryland on a charge of simple assault against a federal officer, Floyd got swept up in the sprawling Georgia case in which Trump and numerous allies are charged with trying to undo the former president’s 2020 election loss in the state.

Court records do not list an attorney for Floyd in the Georgia case. Jail records show he was being held with no bond, unlike other defendants in the case who had attorneys negotiate bonds with a judge before their surrender.

Floyd’s attorney in the federal case in Maryland, Carlos J.R. Salvado, did not immediately return phone and email messages from The Associated Press. Federal court records show Floyd had his first appearance May 15, in which the judge set conditions for his pretrial release. He later surrendered his passport.

The Aug. 14 indictment in Fulton County charges Floyd with violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, conspiring to commit false statements and illegally influencing a witness.

It says the charges stem from harassment of Ruby Freeman, a Fulton County election worker who had been falsely accused of election fraud by Trump. Floyd took part in a Jan. 4, 2020, conversation in which Freeman was told she “needed protection” and was pressured to make false statements about election fraud, the indictment says.

In the Maryland case, the agents first reached Floyd by phone as they stood outside his apartment building in Rockville, over 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Washington, according to court records. The agents told Floyd they had a subpoena to serve him, and Floyd told them he wasn’t home.

When Floyd returned home with his daughter, he brushed past the agents without taking the subpoena being held out to him, according to a May 3 affidavit by FBI agent Dennis McGrail. It says the agents followed Floyd inside the building and up several flights of stairs.

“Bro, I don’t even know who you are,” Floyd told the agents, according to McGrail’s affidavit, which says the agents made an audio recording of the encounter. “You’re two random guys who are following me up here, into my house, with my daughter. You’re not showing me a (expletive) badge, you haven’t shown me (expletive). Get the (expletive) away from me.”

As Floyd slammed his apartment door shut, one of the agents wedged the subpoena between the door and its frame, the affidavit says.

The agents were heading down the stairs when they saw Floyd rushing toward them, screaming expletives, the affidavit says.

Floyd ran into one of the agents in the stairwell, “striking him chest to chest” and knocking him backward, the affidavit says. Then he chest-bumped the same agent again, ignoring commands to back away. Instead, Floyd began jabbing a finger in the agent’s face as he kept screaming.

The affidavit says Floyd only backed down when the second agent showed Floyd his badge and holstered gun.

Floyd returned to his apartment and called 911 to report that two men had threatened him at his home, one of them armed with a gun.

“They were lucky I didn’t have a gun on me, because I would have shot his (expletive) ass,” Floyd told a dispatcher, according to the FBI agent’s affidavit.

Floyd told Rockville police officers dispatched to his apartment that he didn’t know who the men were. He told them his mother-in-law had called earlier in the day saying two men showed up at her home wanting to talk with him. The affidavit says he showed the officers a text message his mother-in-law had sent of the men’s business cards, which identified them as FBI agents.

Connecticut officer submitted fake reports on traffic stops that never happened, report finds

BY DAVE COLLINS from the Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Hartford police officer quit the force earlier this year while facing allegations that he reported a traffic stop that never happened to get an arrest warrant, according to an internal affairs report released Thursday.

Michael R. Fallon, whose late father was the chief of Connecticut State Capitol Police, also was accused of inflating his overall enforcement stats for last year, overreporting nearly 200 traffic stops that couldn’t be verified and claiming 31 more traffic citations than he actually issued, the report said.

A judge issued the arrest warrant in March 2022 for a man Fallon claims fled a traffic stop that never occurred. The man was never arrested, and the judge later invalidated the warrant after being notified by Hartford police of the false report, the investigation found. Why Fallon wanted the man arrested was not disclosed.

Fallon admitted to falsifying records, and the internal affairs probe substantiated misconduct allegations against him, Police Chief Jason Thody said. Fallon resigned in March before the investigation was completed, avoiding any discipline, records show. But Thody said the department notified the state agency that decertifies police officers about Fallon.

“The Hartford Police Department has no tolerance for conduct like this, and our process worked exactly as it should to identify discrepancies, initiate an investigation, and take swift and appropriate action when the misconduct was substantiated,” Thody said in a statement.

Fallon could not be reached for comment Thursday. A message was left at a phone listing for him. His father, Michael J. Fallon, who died in 2009, was the chief of the Connecticut State Capitol Police.

A Hartford police spokesperson said the department is working with state prosecutors to see if criminal charges are warranted against Fallon.

Fallon is the latest Connecticut officer accused of submitting false or inaccurate information on traffic stops.

Federal authorities and an independent investigator are probing state police after an audit said dozens of troopers likely submitted false or inaccurate information on thousands of traffic stops. The state police union has cautioned against coming to any conclusions about the troopers until the investigations are complete, saying more than 20 troopers already have been cleared of wrongdoing, and some of the problems may be due to data input errors and other mistakes.

A Norwalk officer was arrested year on allegations he submitted bogus data on traffic stops that never happened.

The investigation into Fallon was revealed Thursday during a meeting of the board of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, which analyzes traffic stop information of all police departments in the state. Hartford police, which had notified the board of the probe, released their investigation report later in the day in response to media requests, including one by The Associated Press.

Investigators said Fallon reported to superiors that he made 575 traffic stops last year. But the report said the department’s record management system showed he only made 380 stops.

Fallon reported that he issued 281 traffic infractions for the year, but the investigation found he only issued 250. Investigators also said Fallon submitted forms for 33 traffic stops that never happened, forms that were also sent to the state for traffic stop analysis. He also was accused of not activating his body camera when he should have several times and making mistakes on reports.

Fallon met with two superiors in January about discrepancies in his reports over the previous month.“

Officer Fallon admitted to the sergeants that he purposely lied on his activity reports to embellish his activities over the four-week period,” the report said. “He responded that his reason for doing so was that he did not want to disappoint his supervisors with a limited amount of activity.”

The president of the Hartford Police Union, Sgt. James Rutkauski, said Fallon’s actions were not defensible and the department’s internal controls for identifying wrongdoing worked.

Firefighters in Greece struggle to control wildfires, including the EU’s largest blaze

BY ELENA BECATOROS for the Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Firefighters struggled Thursday against strong winds and hot, dry conditions to tame multiple wildfires ravaging Greece, including one in the country’s northeast that officials say is the largest recorded in the European Union.

The wildfires have left 20 people dead over the last week. Eighteen of those, including two boys aged between 10 and 15, are believed to be migrants who crossed the nearby border with Turkey. Their bodies were found near a shack in a burnt forest area near Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece. Sixty firefighters have been injured, fire department spokesman Ioannis Artopios said.

The wildfire in the Alexandroupolis region, burning for a sixth day, combined with smaller fires to create a massive blaze that consumed homes and vast tracts of forest and triggered multiple evacuations of villages and of the city’s hospital.

With more than 730 square kilometers (282 square miles) burned, the Alexandroupolis blaze was the EU’s largest on record, European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

“We must continue strengthening national & collective prevention and preparedness efforts in view of more brutal fire seasons,” he tweeted.

Elsewhere in Europe, fires in Spain’s Canary Islands and northwestern Turkey were being brought under control, officials said.

Firefighters in Greece tackled 104 fires across the country in the 24 hours between Wednesday and Thursday evening, 69 of which were new wildfires, the fire department said.

One of the major blazes was on the outskirts of the Greek capital, where flames scorched homes on Wednesday and burned into the national park on Mount Parnitha, one of the last green areas near Athens. By Thursday night, the situation appeared somewhat improved, although firefighters were still dealing with flare-ups, the fire department said.

Greece’s Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Vassilis Kikilias said arson was to blame for some of the blazes near Athens.“Some … arsonists are setting fires, endangering forests, property and above all human lives,” Kikilias said in a televised statement. “What is happening is not just unacceptable but despicable and criminal.”

The minister said nine fires had been set in the space of four hours Thursday morning in the area of Avlona, in the northern foothills of Mount Parnitha.

“You are committing a crime against the country,” Kikilias said. “We will find you. You will be held accountable to justice.

”Police on Thursday arrested a 45-year-old man on suspicion of arson for allegedly setting at least three fires in the Avlona area. A search of his home revealed kindling, a fire torch gun and pine needles, police said.

With firefighting forces stretched to the limit, Greece has asked other European countries for assistance. Germany, Sweden, Croatia, Cyprus sent aircraft, while dozens of Romanian, French, Czech, Bulgarian, Albanian and Slovak firefighters have been helping on the ground.

Artopios, the Greek fire department spokesman, said 260 firefighters, including more than a dozen from France, battled the Parnitha fire supported by 10 planes and 11 helicopters. Bulgarian, Albanian, Romanian and Czech firefighters with vehicles were helping in the Alexandroupolis fire.

Greece suffers destructive wildfires every summer. The deadliest killed 104 people in 2018 in a seaside resort near Athens that residents had not been warned to evacuate. Authorities have since erred on the side of caution, ordering evacuations whenever inhabited areas are under threat.

In 2007, a series of devastating wildfires that affected mainly the southern Peloponnese region killed more than 70 people by the end of that summer and burnt around 2,700 square kilometers (1,040 square miles).Last month a large wildfire on the resort island of Rhodes forced the evacuation of some 20,000 tourists. Days later, two air force pilots were killed when their water-dropping plane crashed while tackling a blaze on the island of Evia.

With their hot, dry summers, southern European countries are particularly prone to wildfires. EU officials have blamed climate change for the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires in Europe, noting that 2022 was the second-worst year for wildfire damage on record after 2017.In Spain’s Tenerife, a fire that has scorched 150 square kilometers (58 square miles) was being brought under control.

Canary Island regional President Fernando Clavijo said Thursday the blaze had “not gained a single square meter” for the first time in over a week. Of the 12,000 people forced to evacuate their homes earlier in the week, only about 200 were still unable to return.

In Turkey, firefighters in the northwestern Canakkale province brought a wildfire under control Thursday, less than 48 hours after it erupted amid high temperatures and strong winds, Turkish Forestry Minister Ibrahim Yumakli said.

Yumakli said the fire, which had forced the evacuation of 11 villages, had affected 40 square kilometers (15 square miles) including 14 square kilometers (5.4 square miles) of agricultural land.

A firefighting volunteer who was injured and six other people who suffered from smoke inhalation were being kept under observation in hospitals, Yumakli said.

“We are extremely happy that there was no loss of life,” Yamukli said. “However, we are heartbroken for other creatures of the ecosystem that were affected.”

Shipping traffic through the Dardanelles Strait, a major maritime thoroughfare linking the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara, was being partially restored to one lane only, after being completely suspended as fire-dousing aircraft use the waterway to pick up water.


Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey and Raf Casert in Brussels, contributed.

Flooding fills tunnels leading to Detroit airport, forces water rescues in Ohio and Las Vegas


ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) — Heavy rain flooded an Ohio highway where people were rescued from their cars, covered the Las Vegas strip with water and closed a busy airport terminal outside Detroit.

Parts of the western United States have been deluged in recent weeks with rain from Tropical Storm Hilary and much of the central U.S. was beaten down by deadly sweltering heat. In Hawaii and Washington, emergency crews battled catastrophic wildfires.

Parts of southeast Michigan got over 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain by Thursday morning resulting in street flooding in the Detroit area, including tunnels leading to Detroit Metropolitan Airport in the suburb of Romulus, officials said. Officials started reopening the McNamara Terminal Wednesday.

Mitzi Hale and her three sons ate some snacks out of a vending machine as they awaited word on the status of the terminal.

The 42-year-old from Brighton and her sons — 10, 13 and 20 — were to board a mid-morning flight to Florida. They were scheduled to visit Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park on Friday before embarking on a Disney cruise through the Caribbean, beginning on Saturday.

Making matters worse: The quartet had the same vacation booked for November of last year, but missed out due to a tropical storm that struck the region.

“We’re just having flashbacks,” said Hale, who lives in Brighton, Michigan, located between Detroit and Lansing.

Hale and her boys stood on a pedestrian walkway inside the airport’s Evans terminal, which was open on Thursday morning. They looked through a window toward street level at a fleet of shuttle buses that typically take passengers to McNamara.

“I’m trying to be positive, but the boys are a little stressed out,” Hale said.While speaking to a reporter, she received a text from Delta Air Lines informing her that their flight had been pushed back another hour.Asked whether Hale believed she and her family would make it to Florida by the end of the day, she said: “Fingers crossed.”

Scientists say that without extensive study they cannot directly link a single weather event to climate change, but that climate change is responsible for more intense and more frequent extreme events such as storms, droughts, floods and wildfires. Climate change is largely caused by human activities that emit carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, according to the vast majority of peer-reviewed studies, science organizations and climate scientists.

The overnight storms caused power outages across Michigan, concentrated in the Detroit area. More than 58,000 homes and businesses were in the dark Wednesday morning, according to poweroutage.us.

“We were getting rainfall rates above an inch an hour, which is pretty significant,” said Brian Cromwell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Detroit.

Cromwell added that more severe thunderstorms with torrential rains were possible over the region Thursday evening.

Up to 8 inches of rain (20 centimeters) also hit some areas of north-central Ohio, according to Brian Mitchell with the National Weather Service in Cleveland. The northeast part of the state saw at least 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) from midday Wednesday into Thursday morning, with winds reaching up to 60 mph (37 kph) in some areas.

Lorain County, which received around 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) of rain, canceled its county fair Thursday due to “storms, flooding, closed roads and damage.”

In Lakewood, Ohio, 10 people were rescued from seven cars on a section of Interstate 90 on Wednesday night after their vehicles got stuck in the water that reached to the windows, Capt. Gary Stone said. The highway was shut down in both directions at one point. No one was hurt.

“It was a bad mess down there,” Stone said, noting that while Lakewood is often hit by bad storms coming off of Lake Erie, this kind of flooding was unheard of.

In Las Vegas, a fast-moving storm flooded parts of the city, including the strip. Police started getting calls shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday for help and rescued one person, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Miguel Ibarra told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But he said another person was believed to be missing.

Police attempted a rescue around 9:30 p.m., but were unsuccessful and were still searching, Ibarra said. He said there may be two other victims. A message seeking further comment was left with the department.

Accumulations were less than an inch, the National Weather Service said. More rain was in the forecast Thursday.

“We do have so much moisture” lingering from tropical storms Hilary and the remnants of Harold, meteorologist Jenn Varian said Thursday morning.


Associated Press reporters Samantha Hendrickson in Columbus, Ohio, and Rick Callahan in Indianapolis contributed to this story.

Police arrest two men in suspected torching of British pub cherished for its lopsided walls

By BRIAN MELLEY, the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Two men were arrested Thursday on suspicion of torching an historic British pub in central England that was famous for its lopsided walls and sagging foundation, police said.

FILE – The burnt remains of The Crooked House pub in Himley. England, Aug. 7, 2023. British police said Thursday Aug. 24, 2023, two men have been arrested on suspicion of burning down an historic English pub that was famous for its lopsided walls and sagging foundation. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

The suspects were being questioned by Staffordshire Police about the Aug. 5 blaze that gutted the 18th century Crooked House pub in the village of Himley, 110 miles (180 kilometers) northwest of London.

Locals mourning the loss of the tavern, which had recently been sold, were doubly devastated when it’s charred skeletal remains were bulldozed two days later before the cause of the fire had been determined and before local authorities had granted permission to demolish it.

Fans of the pub dubbed “Britain’s wonkiest” for its slumping foundation and sloping walls had hoped it would be restored and many are now pushing for it to be rebuilt brick by brick.

A 66-year-old man from Dudley, and 33-year-old from Milton Keynes were arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, police said.

The pub, built as a farmhouse in 1765, began sinking on one side because of extensive coal mining in the area. It became a pub known as The Siden House around 1830 — named for the word in the local dialect that meant crooked.

In the 1940s, after being renamed Glynne Arms, the pub was condemned as unsafe until new owners shored it up so it was structurally sound but retained its asymmetrical charms.

It was then called The Crooked House and became a tourist destination. One side of the building was about 4 feet (around 1.2 meters) lower than the other and it was known for its tilting grandfather clock and a bar where coins and marbles appeared to roll uphill.

Days before the fire, an online petition was launched to save the bar because the developers who bought it planned to use it for something else. The “Save The Crooked House” petition was up to more than 22,000 signatures Thursday.

When the blaze broke out, firefighters were unable to reach the pub because a large mound of dirt was piled in a rural road.

Protesters showed up Monday to try to prevent heavy machinery from taking part in a salvage operation.

The South Staffordshire Council said it reached an agreement with the new owners to keep the bricks and foundation pieces at the site and would monitor the work.

SWAT member fatally shoots man during standoff at southern Indiana apartment complex

From the Associated Press

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Police fatally shot a 65-year-old man during a standoff at an apartment complex in southern Indiana, authorities said Wednesday.

A SWAT team member shot Richard Glass around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday after Glass pointed a gun out his apartment window in Jeffersonville, north of Kentucky along the Ohio River, according to Indiana State Police, who are investigating the shooting.

Glass had earlier fired shots inside the apartment and toward officers from the window.

A resident called 911 about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and requested a welfare check after Glass reportedly made statements about going back to prison.

Glass called 911 himself a short time later, requesting officers and telling a dispatcher someone was trying to hack his phone. He said he had a firearm and “did not want to use it on the person hacking his phone,” police said.

Glass would not open his apartment door when police and paramedics arrived. He told a dispatcher “he did not think the people in the hallway were police and repeated statements about having a gun.”

Officers pulled back and later saw Glass from a window, confirming he had firearms. Officers reported that at about 11:30 p.m. Glass was shooting toward them from his window, state police said.

The SWAT team member later shot him.

Bolt was missing on police helicopter that crashed in South Carolina, report says

BY JEFFREY COLLINS for the Associated Press

A police helicopter that crashed at a South Carolina airport was missing a bolt that should have been removed and reinstalled during maintenance about six weeks earlier, federal officials said in a report.

A second bolt on the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office helicopter also was loose and the pilot, who survived, told investigators he felt like his foot controls to move the aircraft’s tail rotors weren’t working, according to the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

“It felt as if the pedals were not attached,” the pilot said.

The tail rotor is key to keeping the helicopter stable and steering it. About 35 minutes into the Aug. 1 flight from Sumter to Charleston, the pilot reported the helicopter wanted to keep pulling to the right, according to the report.

Bank of Ireland glitch allowed customers to withdraw money they didn’t have

BY WYATTE GRANTHAM-PHILIPS for the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Some Bank of Ireland customers were able to withdraw money they did not have Tuesday and early Wednesday after an hours-long technical glitch that also halted many of the bank’s online services.

The outage allowed some customers to transfer and withdraw funds “above their normal limits,” the Bank of Ireland said. Customers could withdraw up to €500 ($546) with their Bank of Ireland card, the bank confirmed to The Associated Press Wednesday. They could also transfer funds from their Bank of Ireland account to a different account and withdraw up to €1,000 ($1,091), the bank said.

As word spread on social media, images and video footage appeared to show people lining up at ATMs in hopes of receiving the “free money.” As more people appeared to arrive at ATMs in large numbers on Tuesday, images of police standing on guard close by began to appear on social media.

An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s national police, said it was “aware of an unusual volume of activity at some ATMs across the country” — and that “local decisions were made depending on the public safety and public order presented to members of An Garda Síochána” on a case-by-case basis.

The Bank of Ireland, however, warns that all withdrawals will still appear as a debit on customer accounts.

“These transfers and withdrawals will be applied to customers’ accounts today,” the bank said in a Wednesday statement. “We urge any customer who may find themselves in financial difficulty due to overdrawing on their account to contact us.”

Beyond the withdrawals, the technical issue also impacted many online and mobile app services. On social media, a number of frustrated customers reported not being able to access their accounts or see payments. Some stressed the difficulty of buying food and other essentials without being able to check their account balances — and others noted that this wasn’t the first times a technical issue at the bank has impacted them, pointing to a June glitch that similarly cut off access to online services.

The Bank of Ireland said that its online services were working again Wednesday, but that the bank’s app may be slow as the bank continues to catch up on processing payments. Overnight payments should appear throughout the day, the bank said.

“We sincerely apologise for the disruption this outage caused – we know we fell far below the standards our customers expect from us,” the bank said.

Ireland’s Minister for Finance Michael McGrath later announced he had asked the Central Bank of Ireland, which regulates the Bank of Ireland, “to establish a full account” of the outage and what can be done to avoid such issues in the future.

“Financial service providers have to do whatever is required to ensure continuity of service for their customers,” McGrath said in a statement. “Disruption to banking services can have a significant effect on people’s personal lives and on the running of businesses. Customers rightly have an expectation of a high quality of service and to be able to have uninterrupted access to services.

”In a Wednesday statement, the Central Bank confirmed it was monitoring the situation and had begun the process of establishing a full account of this week’s incident with the Bank of Ireland.

“Where issues occur which impact on customers we expect banks to rectify the issues urgently,” the regulator said. “We require banks to put things right where they have made errors or cause customer harm.”

NYC fire officials probe if e-bike battery is behind latest deadly fire

From the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A 93-year-old New York City woman died, and another was rescued, when fire and smoke filled a building. Firefighters said one focus of the investigation is on an e-bike battery that might have exploded into flames.If so, it would add to the mounting number of deaths city officials blame on malfunctioning e-bike batteries.

With some 65,000 e-bikes zipping through its streets, New York City is the epicenter of battery-related fires. There have been more than 100 such blazes so far this year, resulting in at least 14 deaths, already more than double the six fatalities last year.

Fire officials said the elderly victim, Kam Mei Koo, was found unconscious on the second floor. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Jack Koo, who identified himself to the New York Daily News as the woman’s son, said he had left the building earlier in the day, only to return to see the fire-gutted building and learn of his mother’s fate.

“I left to pick up my daughter and I came back to this,” Koo told the paper. “My mother is dead. What can I do? What can I do?”

The fire and smoke had spread quickly, according to Marie Rodriguez who made a harrowing escape.

“I was taking a nap and I heard something pop three times real loud,” Rodriguez told WABC. “Woke up, then I started choking. And when I looked to the door, I saw smoke coming in.”

She ran to the window as she gasped for air. She leaned outside the window as onlookers urged her to jump then tried to rescue her with a ladder.

But firefighters soon arrived and rescued her.

The Daily News reported that Koo, the dead woman’s son, told fire officials that the bike was his.

Heavy rains trigger floods and landslides in India’s Himalayan region, leaving at least 48 dead

From the Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AP) — Heavy monsoon rains triggered floods and landslides in India’s Himalayan region, leaving at least 48 people dead and many others trapped, officials told local media on Monday.

A portion of the Shimla-Kalka heritage railway track that got washed away following heavy rainfall on the outskirts of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh state, Monday, Aug.14, 2023. Heavy monsoon rains triggered floods and landslides in India’s Himalayan region, leaving more than a dozen people dead and many others trapped, officials said Monday. (AP Photo/ Pradeep Kumar)

Torrential downpours that began over the weekend in the mountainous Himachal Pradesh state have flooded roads and washed away homes as scores of rescuers work to help those trapped under piles of debris.

Among the worst hit was the Mandi district in Pradesh, where 19 bodies were recovered by rescuers, officials told the Press Trust of India news agency.

In the capital city of Shimla, 14 people died following two landslides and a cloudburst — a sudden, very heavy rain — in the state’s Solan district on Sunday night killed nine people in the area, they added.

The death toll rose through the day as heavy rains battered various parts of the state, sparking flash floods and more landslides, authorities said.

The state’s chief minister, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, said rescuers in Shimla were working to clear the debris and help those still trapped.

Cloudbursts are defined as when more than 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) of rainfall occurs within 10 square kilometers (3.8 square miles) within an hour. They are a common occurrence in Himalayan regions, where they have the potential to cause intense flooding and landslides affecting thousands of people.

Homes in Solan were washed away and roads flooded in the incessant rains, police told PTI. In Shimla, the landslides brought down a Hindu temple, which was crowded with devotees, raising fears that the death toll could rise as rescue work carries on.

All schools and colleges in the state have been shut and more than 700 inundated roads have been closed.

India’s weather department warned that moderate to heavy rainfall were hitting various parts of the state on Monday, and said rains could continue until the end of the week. It had issued a red alert over the weekend for intense downpours in neighboring Uttarakhand state, where 60 people have died in monsoon rains this season, PTI reported.

Last month, record monsoon showers killed more than 100 people over two weeks in parts of northern India, including in Himachal Pradesh, which was the worst hit.

Disasters caused by landslides and floods are common in India’s Himalayan north during the June-September monsoon season. Scientists say they are becoming more frequent as global warming contributes to the melting of glaciers there.

In February of 2021, flash floods killed nearly 200 people and washed away houses in Uttarakhand.

Chicago mayor to introduce the police department’s counterterrorism head as new superintendent

From the Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson on Monday will introduce Larry Snelling, the police department’s counterterrorism head, as his choice for police superintendent of the nation’s third-largest city.

The introduction comes after Johnson named Snelling on Sunday after a monthslong search led by the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. The selection of Snelling, 54, to head the department is subject to City Council approval.

Snelling will succeed David Brown, who in March announced that he would step down the day after Chicago’s mayoral primary election in which crime was a central issue. Then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost that primary, and Johnson went on to win the mayoral race in April.

“Today, a new chapter begins in our journey to create a better, stronger and safer Chicago,” Johnson said in a news release Sunday. “Chief Snelling is a proven leader who has the experience and the respect of his peers to help ensure the safety and well-being of city residents, and address the complex challenges we all face related to community safety.”

Snelling was raised on the city’s South Side and attended its public schools. He has a bachelor’s degree in adult education from DePaul University and joined the department in 1992 as a patrol officer.

“It is a tremendous honor to answer the call to serve my hometown and the people of Chicago as superintendent of the Chicago Police Department,” Snelling said in a statement. “It is also a tremendous responsibility, and one that I do not take lightly.”

“In order to continue to make progress as a department, we must embrace innovation, continue to strengthen morale, and go further in strengthening bonds of trust between police and community,” Snelling said.

He has been chief of the department’s bureau of counterterrorism, which coordinates with the Office of Emergency Management and Communication and other city agencies, since 2022.

While crime in Chicago often focuses on murders and shootings, the numbers so far in 2023 are down in both categories by 5% and 10%, respectively, according to the most recent department crime statistics. However, overall major crime rates are up 35% so far this year over 2022.

Snelling was one of three finalists nominated by the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. The other two finalists were Shon Barnes, the police chief in Madison, Wisconsin; and Angel Novalez, Chicago police chief of constitutional policing and reform.

Avid search for missing Texas rodeo goat bringing residents of a small rural county together

From the Associated Press

This photo provided by the Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair shows a rodeo goat named Willy, who went missing on July 15, 2023, in a rural South Texas county. The search for Willy has residents enthralled as they're using horses, ATVs and even contemplating using a helicopter to locate the missing animal. (Alma Barron/Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair via AP)
This photo provided by the Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair shows a rodeo goat named Willy, who went missing on July 15, 2023, in a rural South Texas county. The search for Willy has residents enthralled as they’re using horses, ATVs and even contemplating using a helicopter to locate the missing animal. (Alma Barron/Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair via AP)

RAYMONDVILLE, Texas (AP) — First there was Gone Girl. Now there is Gone Goat.

The search for a rodeo goat that has been missing for more than a week has the residents of a rural South Texas county enthralled as they are using horses, ATVs and even contemplating utilizing a helicopter to find the missing animal.

Local businesses have donated nearly 90 prizes and gifts worth more than $5,000, including brisket, frescoes and salon service, as a reward for the person who finds the goat.

“This has just gotten bigger than we ever dreamed. Our county is a really small county, about 20,000 population and a mostly agriculture, farming and ranching community. And we’re very much one big family … So, we’re excited that everybody wants to find our goat,” said Alison Savage, president of the Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair.

Residents, including families, have been scouring cotton and sugar cane fields since the goat escaped from a pen in the county’s rodeo arena near Raymondville on July 15 following a youth rodeo. On Sunday, possible goat tracks were spotted in a cotton field near Lyford, south of Raymondville.

When the goat first went missing, it didn’t have a name. But after a poll on the livestock show’s Facebook page, the goat was named Willy, short for Willacy County, Savage said. While the goat has a name, Savage said officials are not sure if Willy is a boy or a girl.

The livestock show has been posting regular updates on its Facebook page. The search has also been a boon for the livestock show, as residents and businesses have donated hundreds of dollars to make improvements to the nonprofit’s arena and other facilities.

“He’s hiding from us somewhere. But we’re getting closer. We’re going to find him” Savage said.

Kentucky’s Democratic governor releases public safety budget plan amid tough reelection campaign

By BRUCE SCHREINER for the Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday proposed another round of pay raises for Kentucky State Police troopers and more training for law officers as part of his latest budget proposals to increase public safety, coming amid a sharp focus on crime rates in his bid to win a second term.

The Democratic governor’s proposals would be part of the overall state budget plan he presents to the Republican-dominated legislature in January if he wins reelection this November. It comes about a month after his Republican challenger Attorney General Daniel Cameron unveiled his own plan, which includes awarding recruitment and retention bonuses to bolster police forces.

Beshear said his plan shifts all statewide law enforcement officers back to defined pension benefits, funding to upgrade body armor, and boosting training stipends for officers — including making part-time officers eligible for the stipend.

“With a historic budget surplus, there is no excuse not to provide the help that is needed, the best equipment to all law enforcement,” Beshear said at a news conference. “Because heroes like these deserve the best wages, the best benefits, the best training. And that is exactly what my budget proposal will do.”

The governor proposed an additional $2,500 pay raise for a group of officers that includes state police troopers and vehicle enforcement officers. It follows up on the large pay raise previously awarded to state troopers — a bipartisan policy supported by Beshear and lawmakers.

Other parts of Beshear’s plan would raise the current $4,300 training stipend to $4,800 and provide grant funding to upgrade body armor to better protect law officers.

Public safety issues have risen to the forefront of Kentucky’s closely watched gubernatorial campaign.

In his plan, Cameron also proposed requiring pursuit of the death penalty against anyone convicted of murdering a police officer. He pledged to work with lawmakers to pass a wiretapping law to support investigations of drug-cartel and gang-related crime. And he vowed to push for a standalone carjacking law to combat a crime that he said has become more prevalent in Kentucky’s largest cities.

A recent law enforcement report showed that overall serious crime rates fell across Kentucky in 2022, with double-digit declines in reports of homicides, robberies and drug offenses.

Cameron has blasted the governor’s decision to allow the early release of some nonviolent inmates during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people released committed new crimes, Cameron said. Beshear countered that more than 20 governors from both parties took the same action to release low-level, nonviolent inmates near the end of their sentences to help ease the spread of the virus in prisons.

People in Hawaii flee into ocean to escape wildfires that are burning a popular Maui tourist town

By  JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER for the Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — Wildfires in Hawaii fanned by strong winds burned multiple structures in areas including historic Lahaina town, forcing evacuations and closing schools in several communities Wednesday, and rescuers pulled a dozen people escaping smoke and flames from the ocean.The U.S. Coast Guard responded to areas where people went into the ocean to escape the fire and smoky conditions, the County of Maui said in a statement. The Coast Guard tweeted that a crew rescued 12 people from the water off Lahaina.

The county tweeted that multiple roads in Lahaina were closed with a warning: “Do NOT go to Lahaina town.”

Fire was widespread in Lahaina, including Front Street, an area of the town popular with tourists, County of Maui spokesperson Mahina Martin said in a phone interview early Wednesday. Traffic has been very heavy as people try to evacuate and officials asked people who weren’t in an evacuation area to shelter in place to avoid adding to the traffic, she said.

The National Weather Service said Hurricane Dora, which was passing to the south of the island chain at a safe distance of 500 miles (805 kilometers), was partly to blame for gusts above 60 mph (97 kph) that knocked out power as night fell, rattled homes and grounded firefighting helicopters. Dangerous fire conditions created by strong winds and low humidity were expected to last through Wednesday afternoon, the weather service said.

Acting Gov. Sylvia Luke issued an emergency proclamation on behalf of Gov. Josh Green, who is traveling, and activated the Hawaii National Guard.

Officials were not aware of any deaths and knew of only one injury, a firefighter who was in stable condition at a hospital after experiencing smoke inhalation, Martin said There’s no count available for the number of structures affected by the fires or the number of people affected by evacuations, but Martin said there are four shelters open, with more than 1,000 people at the largest.

“This is so unprecedented,” Martin said, noting that multiple districts were affected. An emergency in the night is terrifying, she said, and the darkness makes it hard to gauge the extent of the damage.

“Right now it is all-hands-on-deck and we are anxious for daybreak,” she said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a disaster declaration to provide assistance with a fire that threatened about 200 homes in and around Kohala Ranch, a rural community with a population of more than 500 on the Big Island, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. When the request was made, the fire had burned more than 600 acres (243 hectares) and was uncontained. Much of Hawaii was under a red flag warning that continued Wednesday, and two other uncontrolled fires were burning on the Big Island and Maui, officials said.

Fire crews on Maui were battling multiple blazes concentrated in two areas: the popular tourist destination of West Maui and an inland, mountainous region. In west Maui 911 service was not available and residents were directed to call the police department.

Because of the wind gusts, helicopters weren’t able to dump water on the fires from the sky — or gauge more precise fire sizes — and firefighters were encountering roads blocked by downed trees and power lines as they worked the inland fires, Martin said.

About 14,500 customers in Maui were without power early Wednesday, according to poweroutage.us.

“It’s definitely one of the more challenging days for our island given that it’s multiple fires, multiple evacuations in the different district areas,” Martin said.

Winds were recorded at 80 mph (129 kph) in inland Maui and one fire that was believed to be contained earlier Tuesday flared up hours later with the big winds, she added.

“The fire can be a mile or more from your house, but in a minute or two, it can be at your house,” Fire Assistant Chief Jeff Giesea said.

In the Kula area of Maui, at least two homes were destroyed in a fire that engulfed about 1.7 square miles (4.5 square kilometers), Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said. About 80 people were evacuated from 40 homes, he said.

“We’re trying to protect homes in the community,” Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth said of evacuating about 400 homes in four communities in the northern part of the island. As of Tuesday, the roof of one house caught on fire, he said.

Fires in Hawaii are unlike many of those burning in the U.S. West. They tend to break out in large grasslands on the dry sides of the islands and are generally much smaller than mainland fires.

Fires were rare in Hawaii and on other tropical islands before humans arrived, and native ecosystems evolved without them. This means great environmental damage can occur when fires erupt. For example, fires remove vegetation. When a fire is followed by heavy rainfall, the rain can carry loose soil into the ocean, where it can smother coral reefs.

major fire on the Big Island in 2021 burned homes and forced thousands to evacuate.

The island of Oahu, where Honolulu is located, also was dealing with power outages, downed power lines and traffic problems, said Adam Weintraub, communication director for Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.


Associated Press writer Audrey McAvoy contributed to this report.

Massachusetts State Police must reinstate 7 troopers who refused to be vaccinated, arbitrator says

From the Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts State Police must reinstate seven troopers who refused to be vaccinated for COVID-19, an independent arbitrator has ruled. The troopers have been on unpaid leave, but the arbitrator’s decision means they can return to work with retroactive pay if they choose.

The union representing state troopers, which plans to hold a news conference Monday outside the State House, filed a grievance after the law enforcement officers were suspended following former Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s 2021 order requiring executive department employees to be vaccinated. Current Democratic Gov. Maura Healey lifted the vaccine mandate in May.

Massachusetts State Police are in the process of determining the “scope as well as the administrative and legal steps” needed to implement the arbitrator’s ruling, David Procopio, an agency spokesperson, said Sunday in an email.

The arbitrator concluded State Police violated a collective bargaining agreement in the way they handled the cases of eight troopers who cited religious grounds for refusing to take the vaccine. The agency summarily dismissed the troopers instead of reviewing their accommodation requests, the arbitrator said Friday. One of the eight troopers later returned to work.

The State Police Association of Massachusetts criticized the former Baker administration for refusing to work with the troopers.

“These members, whose religious convictions were trampled, and who were left without pay or benefits, now can choose to return to work and will be made whole through retroactive pay and earned seniority,” said Patrick McNamara, the union president.

He said the union will continue to fight for another 13 troopers who weren’t deemed eligible for exemptions and were fired or dishonorably discharged for failing to get vaccinated.

Attacks at US medical centers show why health care is one of the nation’s most violent fields

From Rebecca Boone at the Associated Press

FILE - Law enforcement officers stand Northside Hospital Midtown medical office building, where a man opened fire in the medical center waiting room, killing one woman and wounding four, on May 3, 2023, in Atlanta. Data shows American health care workers now suffer more nonfatal injuries from workplace violence than workers in any other profession, including law enforcement. (Arvin Temkar/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
1 of 6 | FILE – Law enforcement officers stand Northside Hospital Midtown medical office building, where a man opened fire in the medical center waiting room, killing one woman and wounding four, on May 3, 2023, in Atlanta. Data shows American health care workers now suffer more nonfatal injuries from workplace violence than workers in any other profession, including law enforcement. (Arvin Temkar/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)Read More

Word spread through an Oregon hospital last month that a visitor was causing trouble in the maternity ward, and nurses were warned the man might try to abduct his partner’s newborn.

Hours later, the visitor opened fire, killing a security guard and sending patients, nurses and doctors scrambling for cover.

The shooting at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland was part of a wave of gun violence sweeping through U.S. hospitals and medical centers, which have struggled to adapt to the growing threats.

Such attacks have helped make health care one of the nation’s most violent fields. Data shows American health care workers now suffer more nonfatal injuries from workplace violence than workers in any other profession, including law enforcement.

“Health care workers don’t even think about that when they decide they want to be a nurse or a doctor. But as far as actual violence goes, statistically, health care is four or five times more dangerous than any other profession,” said Michael D’Angelo, a former police officer who focuses on health care and workplace violence as a security consultant in Florida.

Other industries outpace health care for overall danger, including deaths.

Similar shootings have played out in hospitals across the country.

Last year, a man killed two workers at a Dallas hospital while there to watch his child’s birth. In May, a man opened fire in a medical center waiting room in Atlanta, killing one woman and wounding four. Late last month, a man shot and wounded a doctor at a health center in Dallas. In June 2022, a gunman killed his surgeon and three other people at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, medical office because he blamed the doctor for his continuing pain after an operation.

It’s not just deadly shootings: Health care workers racked up 73% of all nonfatal workplace violence injuries in 2018, the most recent year for which figures are available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

One day before the July 22 shooting in Portland, employees throughout the hospital were warned during meetings to be prepared for a possible “code amber” announcement in case the visitor attempted to kidnap the child, according to a nurse with direct knowledge of the briefing who spoke to The Associated Press. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared retaliation at work.

Fifteen minutes before the shooting, someone at the hospital called 911 to report the visitor was threatening staffers, according to a timeline provided by Portland police.

“He kind of fell through the cracks,” the nurse said. “I don’t know how many chances he received. It kind of got to the point where staff did not know what to do, or what they could or couldn’t do with him.”

Police arrived at the maternity ward within minutes, but it was too late. Bobby Smallwood, a security guard who had been called in from another Legacy hospital to cover shifts for Good Samaritan’s understaffed security team, had been fatally shot. Another hospital employee was wounded by shrapnel. The suspect fled and was later killed by police in a nearby community.

The hospital declined to respond to the nurse’s comments because the case is still under investigation.

“Events like these are unpredictable, but our team exhibited professionalism and a great deal of courage in the face of extraordinarily challenging circumstances that day,” Legacy Health said in a statement to the AP.

Legacy Health in Portland plans to install additional metal detectors, require bag searches at every hospital and send patients and visitors to controlled entrances. More security officers will be provided with stun guns, the hospital said, and bullet-slowing film is being applied to some interior glass and at main entrances.

Around 40 states have passed laws creating or increasing penalties for violence against health care workers, according to the American Nurses Association. Hospitals have armed security officers with batons, stun guns or handguns, while some states, including Indiana, Ohio and Georgia, allow hospitals to create their own police forces.

Critics say private hospital police can exacerbate the health care and policing inequities already experienced by Black people. They also say private police forces often don’t have to disclose information such as how often they use force or whether they disproportionately detain members of minority groups.

Security teams cannot address all of the factors leading to violence because many of them are caused by a dysfunctional health care system, said Deborah Burger, a registered nurse and the president of National Nurses United.Patients and families are often bounced between emergency rooms and home, and are frustrated over high costs, limited treatment options or long wait times, Burger said.

“Hospitals don’t really have a complaints department, so the only real target they have is the nurse or staff that are standing right in front of them,” she said.

Understaffing forces nurses to care for more patients and affords them less time to assess each one for behavior problems. Efforts to de-escalate aggression aren’t as effective if nurses haven’t had time to bond with patients, Burger said.

Understaffing is an “absolutely catastrophic formula for workplace violence increasing,” D’Angelo said. “Now you don’t even have the good old buddy system of two co-workers keeping an eye out for each other.”

Some hospital administrators encourage staff to placate aggressive visitors and patients because they are worried about getting bad reviews, Burger said. That’s because the Affordable Care Act tied a portion of federal reimbursement rates to consumer satisfaction surveys and low satisfaction means a hit to the financial bottom line.

“The results of those surveys should never take priority over staff safety,” D’Angelo said.

Eric Sean Clay, the president-elect of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety and vice president of security at Memorial Hermann Health in Houston, said the workplace violence rates attributed to health care facilities are “grossly underreported.”

“I think that a lot of it comes down to caregivers are just very tolerant, and they come to look at it as just part of the job,” he said. “If they’re not injured, sometimes they don’t want to report it, and sometimes they don’t think there will be any change.”

Clay’s hospital uses armed and unarmed security officers, though he hopes to have them all armed eventually.

“We actually have our own firing range that we use,” Clay said. None of his security officers have drawn their weapons on the job in recent years, but he wants them to be ready because of the rise in gun violence.

Clay and Memorial Hermann Health declined to answer questions about whether an armed security force could negatively affect access to health care or existing inequities.

The nurse at the Portland hospital said the shooting left her colleagues terrified and unusually solemn. She is worried Legacy Health’s promises of increased safety will be temporary because of the cost of finding, training and retaining security officers.

Some of her co-workers have resigned because they don’t want to face another “code silver,” the alert issued when someone at the hospital has a weapon.

“You know, we always say these patients and their families are so vulnerable, because they’re having the worst day of their life here,” the nurse said, and that makes many staffers reluctant to demand better behavior.

“We have to stop that narrative,” she said. “Being vulnerable is bleeding out from a bullet wound in your chest. Being vulnerable is having to barricade yourself and your patients in a room because of a code silver.”

Kansas officer critically wounded in shootout that killed Tennessee man, police say

From the Associated Press

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — A car chase through two Kansas City suburbs that ended in a shootout at a convenience store this weekend has killed a Tennessee man and left an officer from Fairway critically wounded, authorities said.

Lenexa police released the additional details late Sunday, identifying the man as Shannon Wayne Marshall, 40, from the town of Ashland City near Nashville.

He was shot and killed Sunday morning at a QuikTrip store in Mission, Kansas, after leading police on a chase along Interstate 35 in what officers believed was a stolen car. When officers initially found the vehicle around 7:30 a.m., police said the driver struck a patrol car and fled.

The wounded Fairway police officer was in critical condition as of Sunday night. The officer wasn’t immediately identified. Police from multiple agencies had been trying to arrest the suspects when gunfire broke out.“

Upon hearing the call for assistance, our officer courageously and without hesitation responded to help,” Fairway Chief of Police J.P. Thurlo said in a statement Sunday evening. “These brave actions are reflective of the men and women in law enforcement in our community, and throughout this country, who put on the badge knowing the potential dangers they may face in the course of their duties.”

A 32-year-old female passenger in the vehicle from Goodlettsville, Tennessee, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. The Associated Press does not generally name suspects until they are charged.

A Johnson County law enforcement team that is charged with reviewing officer-involved shootings is investigating.

Pulled out to sea by current, swimmer is rescued after treading water for 5 hours

By Julie Walker and Karen Matthews for the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A swimmer who got swept out to sea by a powerful current was rescued off New York’s Long Island after treading water for five hours, police said.

This image provided by Suffolk County Police shows Dan Ho, left, being treated by medics after having been rescued after treading water for five hours in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island, Monday, July 31, 2023, in Babylon, N.Y. Suffolk County Police say that the 63-year-old went swimming at a beach in Babylon at around 5 a.m. Monday and was pulled out to open water by the current. (Courtesy of the Suffolk County Police via AP)

Dan Ho, 63, went swimming at a beach in Babylon at around 5 a.m. Monday and was pulled out by the current, Suffolk County police said in a news release.

After treading water with no flotation device for five hours, Ho found a broken fishing pole and tied his shirt to it to try to flag down a passing boat, police said.

Two men in a fishing boat spotted Ho about 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) south of where he had entered the water, police said.

The men, Jim Hohorst and Michael Ross, pulled Ho onto their boat and radioed police for help.

Hohorst said Tuesday that Ho appeared to be “almost done” when he was rescued.

“He wasn’t looking good, couldn’t move his legs,” said Hohorst, a former New York City firefighter. “Hypothermia had set in big time, probably some dehydration. He said he drank a lot of salt water.”

Officers from the Suffolk department’s marine bureau took Ho to their boat and gave first aid, police said. They took him ashore U.S. Coast Guard’s Fire Island station, where he received further treatment before going to a local hospital.

Police had no update on Ho’s condition Tuesday.

Ohio police chief says K-9 handler was deceptive during probe of dog attack on surrendering trucker

From the Associated Press by Patrick Orsagos

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio police agency shared records Tuesday that showed an officer who released his police dog on a surrendering truck driver was repeatedly told not to keep talking about the incident before he was fired last week.

FILE – This image taken from police body cam video shows a police dog attacking Jadarrius Rose, 23, of Memphis, Tenn., on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, in Circleville, Ohio. An Ohio police department has fired an officer who released his police dog on a surrendering truck driver even after state troopers told him to hold the dog back. A statement issued Wednesday, July 26, 2023, by Circleville police said Ryan Speakman “did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers” and that he has been “terminated from the department, effective immediately.” (Ohio State Highway Patrol via AP, File).

Records provided to The Associated Press by the Circleville Police Department indicated Officer Ryan Speakman met twice with Chief Shawn Baer to discuss reports of Speakman crying, talking to employees, families and K-9 trainers and exhibiting stress-related behavior after the July 4 incident.

The Circleville Police Department fired Officer Speakman last week, alleging that he “did not meet the standards and expectations we hold for our police officers.”

Late last month, Baer wrote that Speakman had “released confidential information” and was deceptive when Baer sought information from him.

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday for Speakman’s union, the Ohio Patrolman’s Benevolent Association. The organization filed a grievance last week on his behalf arguing he had been fired without just cause.

During a July 19 meeting, Baer wrote, he met with Speakman over reports that he had been crying and speaking to colleagues about being stressed over the incident. Baer said he told Speakman that his conduct was not beneficial to himself or the agency, according to the documents the department provided.

The two met again on July 20, following reports Speakman was still speaking with colleagues about the matter. Baer asked Speakman for a list of people he spoke to about the situation. After receiving the list, Speakman admitted to also sharing details of the incident with members of his family.

According to the report, Speakman reportedly implored Baer to not “take his best friend from him,” meaning the police dog involved in the attack. The agency records also state Speakman provided a two-page list to investigators of the people outside the police department with whom he spoke following the attack.

His firing came one day after the department said he had been placed on paid administrative leave, a standard practice during use-of-force investigations.

The town’s civilian police review board found Speakman did not violate department policy when he deployed the dog, police said last week, although the review board lacks authority to recommend discipline.

Speakman, who joined the Circleville department in February 2020, deployed his police dog following a lengthy pursuit involving the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Troopers tried to stop a truck that was missing a mudflap and failed to halt for an inspection, according to a highway patrol report. Circleville Police was asked to assist.

Jadarrius Rose initially refused to get out of the truck and later defied instructions to get on the ground, according to the incident report and the body cam video. Rose eventually got on his knees and raised his hands in the air.

The body camera video shows Speakman holding back the dog, and a trooper can be heard off-camera repeatedly yelling, “Do not release the dog with his hands up!” However, Speakman deployed the dog and it can be seen in the video attacking Rose, who said, “Get it off! Please! Please!”

Rose was treated at a hospital for dog bites.

He was charged with failure to comply, and hasn’t responded to an email sent last week seeking comment. Florida-based attorney Benjamin Crump announced last week that he would represent Rose. Crump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It’s not clear why Rose refused to stop for police. Rose is Black, and Speakman is white. Rose told The Columbus Dispatch that he couldn’t talk about why he didn’t stop. But when asked about the video, told the newspaper: “I’m just glad that it was recorded. What you saw is what, pretty much, happened.”

Audio recordings of 911 calls show Rose told emergency dispatchers that the officers pursuing him were “trying to kill” him and he didn’t feel safe pulling over. He also said he was confused about why the officers were trying to stop him and why they had their guns drawn after he briefly stopped the truck before driving away.

Seattle mayor proposes drug measure to align with state law, adding $27M for treatment

From the Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell is asking members of the City Council who voted against adopting the state’s controlled substance law to consider an amended plan.

Harrell is offering a proposal that would align the city’s code with new state law, making possession and public use of drugs such as fentanyl, a gross misdemeanor. But it would also emphasize diversion and health programs, and spend $27 million to pay for opioid treatment and related facilities. Seattle saw a 72% increase in overdose deaths from 2021 to 2022.

The “announcements represent important steps forward toward a safer, healthier Seattle, as we continue to act with urgency to build out a bold health-first approach, help those in need, curtail impacts of public drug consumption, and hold dealers and traffickers accountable,” Harrell said in a statement Monday.

The City Council declined to adopt the new state law in a 5-4 June vote. Opponents said the law could result in harsher enforcement, especially for low-income people and people of color, and could revitalize the war on drugs.

Harrell’s plan comes after he appointed a task force — including City Council members and public safety experts — to further work on the measure for a month. The $27 million would come from settlement money the city received from opioid lawsuits, Harrell said.

The measure also informs police that “diversion, treatment, and other alternatives to booking are the preferred approach,” and instructs them to consider “whether the individual, through their actions and conduct, presents a threat of harm” to themselves or others before arrests are made on either charge, The Seattle Times reported. “This package is a balanced approach to respond to the crisis fentanyl has brought to our streets,” Councilmember Andrew Lewis said Monday in a statement.

“This legislation, that I will co-sponsor, responds to the needs I laid out at the beginning of this process and gives our first responders the tools they need to divert to services where possible and make arrests when necessary.” Lewis was the swing vote that caused the June measure to fail, KUOW reported.

The Washington law signed by Gov. Jay Inslee in May struck a balance between public order and compassion for people struggling with substance abuse, lawmakers said at the time.

Legislators had been under pressure to pass a bill this year because a temporary law that made intentional drug possession illegal was due to expire July 1. Unless the Legislature passed a new law, drug possession would have been decriminalized under state law.

The state law makes it a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for the first two drug possession offenses and up to a year after that. But police and prosecutors would be encouraged to divert cases for treatment or other services. The state measure provides $44 million for investments that include methadone mobile units, crisis centers and short-term housing for people with substance use disorders.

The temporary measure was approved by state lawmakers after the Washington Supreme Court in 2021 struck down as unconstitutional the state law making drug possession a felony because it did not require prosecutors to prove someone knowingly had the drugs. Washington was the only state in the country without that requirement.

Many questions after police say gunman fired on officers in North Dakota, killing 1 and wounding 2

From the Associated Press

Many questions remained Sunday about what led a gunman in Fargo, North Dakota, to open fire on police officers as they were responding to a traffic crash. One officer was killed and two others were critically wounded before the gunman was killed by a fourth officer.

The shooting happened Friday afternoon along a busy street, and roughly nine hours passed before authorities told the public that officers were shot. On Saturday, Fargo’s police chief released the names of the officers and the name of the gunman, but he said the motive was unclear and that the 37-year-old man opened fire for “no known reason at all.”

Chief Dave Zibolski also said little about how the situation unfolded, noting the investigation was in the hands of state and federal investigators.

“We are not in the position to provide many details in terms of the actual incident itself,” Zibolski said. Authorities released no new information Sunday.

Here’s what we know, and what we don’t, about the shooting:


Police and fire officials were responding to a routine traffic accident on a busy street Friday afternoon when a gunman began firing multiple rounds at them — killing one and wounding two, Zibolski said. A fourth officer shot and killed the man, who authorities identified as Mohamad Barakat of Fargo.

Zibolski described the first few minutes as “very chaotic,” but he said that firefighters on scene and a nearby ambulance were essential in preventing additional fatalities. As soon as the firing stopped, “firefighters bounced out and they were applying first aid immediately to our officers,” Zibolski said, which “probably had a very significant impact on their survival.”

Authorities released few details about what happened in the moments before Barakat began firing, and his motive was not clear.

“The first thing we always want to know in a situation like this is, ‘Why?’ ” Zibolski said. “Why would somebody do this?”


Among the drivers who witnessed what happened was Chenoa Peterson. She told The Associated Press on Saturday that a man appeared to have ambushed the officers. The gunman was at the rear of a car in a bank parking lot near the traffic crash when he fired on an officer not more than 20 feet (6 meters) away, she said.“He was holding up the trunk of the car with his arm, and then I see the gun come up, and he set it on his shoulder and just pointed it directly at an officer in front of him,” Peterson said. “It was like 10 shots right away.”

Officers weren’t looking in the direction of the gunman when he began shooting, she said.Peterson’s 22-year-old daughter was with her and said the suspect exchanged simultaneous gunfire with police.

“I saw them firing at each other both at once,” Katriel Peterson said. “But soon as the shooter took a break, the cop came walking towards him letting off round after round. There was already an officer down. And a family hiding just on the other side of the vehicle next to the shooter.”


Officer Jake Wallin, 23, was killed. Zibolski said Saturday that his wounds were fatal, and “there was nothing that could be done.”

A military veteran, Wallin served in the Minnesota Army National Guard and was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq from November 2020 to July 2021, according to a spokesperson for the Minnesota National Guard.“His death is a loss to our military family,” said Army Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, the Minnesota National Guard’s adjutant general. “We are grateful for his commitment to others even in the face of danger.”Wallin was sworn in as a Fargo officer in April, Zibolski said.

“He served his country, came back here and wanted nothing more but to serve in a position with purpose and meaning – his exact words — and he did that,” Zibolski said.

Zibolski spoke to his sense of humor and his excellence throughout training, calling him a member of the department family.

In video played at a Saturday news conference showing Wallin training with fellow recruits, he spoke of his desire to pursue a career in law enforcement.“

Throughout my entire life, I’ve always wanted to work in some sort of position that had purpose behind my job, and police officer is always what kind of came to me,” said Wallin of St. Michael, Minnesota,. “I don’t want to be sitting in an office wondering why I’m here every day. I want to be out. I want to be doing something that I can tell myself at the end of the day I made a difference somehow.”

Funeral arrangements have not been made public. The governor has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff on the day of Wallin’s interment.


Two other officers, Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes, were in critical but stable condition as of Saturday, and Zibolski said they were in “good spirits” but had significant recovery ahead of them. No update on their conditions was provided Sunday.

Wallin and Hawes were both young recruits, sworn in less than three months earlier and still in training when they responded to the scene. Dotus was a six-year veteran who was responsible for training officers.

A fourth officer, Zach Robinson, shot and killed Barakat, Zibolski said. As is Fargo Police Department procedure, Robinson was placed on paid administrative while state authorities complete an investigation into his use of force, spokesperson Katie Ettish said.

A 25-year-old female bystander also was injured in the shooting, though authorities haven’t said who shot her. A hospital spokesman said Sunday that she was in fair condition.


Shortly after the shooting, authorities, including the FBI, converged on a residential area about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) away and evacuated residents of an apartment building to gather what they said was related evidence. Court documents that would indicate what authorities were looking for have not been made public. Authorities have said little about that search, other than to say it was happening at the time.

On Saturday, investigators were still at the apartment building, going back and forth from the third floor, where police tape hung across a hallway. Few residents were around, and an FBI truck was out front.


The city also has said little about Barakat or the gun he used. Zibolski said he believed police previously had some sort of contact with Barakat “but not anything significant.”

Zibolski said it does not appear that Barakat was involved in the car crash that brought officers to the scene. But he indicated investigators are determining whether this was a planned ambush of officers.

Zibolski said he was confident authorities would eventually understand Barakat’s motive and that the information would be made public at the appropriate time.

Guardian Flight ends emergency helicopter medical services to North Dakota city

From the Associated Press

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Guardian Flight has stopped its emergency helicopter services in Williston, and first responders in North Dakota’s sixth largest city say they’re noticing longer wait times for people with time-sensitive injuries who need quick care.

The company’s helicopter had been primarily used to pick up patients up at the scene of emergencies on locations ranging from farms to oil fields, the city fire department’s assistant chief, Corey Johnson, told The Bismarck Tribune.

It’s not a high volume that we do scene flights with them, but it is significant,” Johnson said. “Just a week before the closure, we had a scene flight with them where they were called out.”

An inability to fulfill flight requests due to weather and inflation was a contributing factor to the company’s decision to end the service, said Nicole Michel, spokesperson for Guardian Flight’s parent company, Global Medical Response. The company said there were other challenges, but it didn’t list them.

First responders must now pick up certain patients in an ambulance while they wait 40 minutes for a helicopter to fly more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Minot’s Trinity Health trauma center to Williston, Johnson said. After the parties meet at the Williston hospital, the helicopter will bring the patient to Trinity.“

Some of those injuries are time-sensitive, so the quicker we can get those patients to those locations, the better off they’re going to be in the long run,” Johnson said.

Guardian Flight specializes in the critical medical transport of patients in some of the most remote parts of the United States, linking rural communities to health care facilities, the company’s website said.

About 27,000 people live in Williston, which is in the state’s northwest near its borders with Montana and Canada.

Guardian Flight also shut down its base at Devils Lake in northeastern North Dakota, the Tribune reported. About 7,000 people live in Devils Lake.

Court strikes down limits on filming of police in Arizona

From the Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that an Arizona law limiting how close people can get to recording law enforcement is unconstitutional, citing infringement against a clearly established right to film police doing their jobs.

FILE – Phoenix Police stand in front of police headquarters on May 30, 2020, in Phoenix, waiting for protesters marching to protest the death of George Floyd. A federal judge has ruled that an Arizona law limiting how close people can get to recording law enforcement is unconstitutional, citing a clearly established right to film police doing their jobs. The ruling Friday, July 21, 2023 from U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi permanently blocks enforcement of the law that he suspended last year (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The ruling Friday from U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi permanently blocks enforcement of the law that he suspended last year.

The Republican-backed law was signed by former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in July 2022 but enthusiasm for the restrictions faded and legislators refused an opportunity to defend the law during an initial court suspension. Republican state Sen. John Kavanagh, who sponsored the measure, has said he was unable to find an outside group to defend the legislation.

The law would have made it illegal to knowingly film police officers 8 feet (2.5 meters) or closer if the officer tells the person to stop. And on private property, an officer who decides that someone is interfering or that the area is unsafe could have ordered the person to stop filming even if the recording was being made with the owner’s permission.“

The law prohibits or chills a substantial amount of First Amendment protected activity and is unnecessary to prevent interference with police officers given other Arizona laws in effect,” Tuchi ruled.

A coalition of media groups and the ACLU successfully sued to block the law. Prominent law enforcement officials refused to defend the law, including former Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich and both the prosecutor and sheriff’s office in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix.

Bystander cellphone videos are largely credited with revealing police misconduct — such as with the 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis officers — and reshaping the conversation around police transparency. But Republican Arizona lawmakers initially said the legislation was needed to limit people with cameras who deliberately impede officers.

The Associated Press filed a friend of the court brief urging Tuchi to block the law from being enforced. The AP’s attorneys said that photographers especially could be caught up while covering rallies, where it could limit their ability to capture the full interactions between police and protesters.

2 men killed in gun attack in Polish city of Poznan, police say

From the Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Two men have died in a shooting in a downtown restaurant in the Polish city of Poznan, local police said Sunday.A spokesman for Poznan police, Andrzej Borowiak, said the incident took place in the hotel restaurant garden on St. Martin street, in Poznan Old Town, an area popular with tourists.

Borowiak said one of the two men was killed on the spot while the other died in hospital. The men were Poznan residents, aged 30 and 31.

He said police are “sure” that one of the men was responsible for the incident and are trying to find out what was the connection between the two.

Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper reported witnesses saying the one man shot the other and then shot himself. The daily did not identify the witnesses.

Police and the prosecutors are investigating.

Freight train derails in southeast Pennsylvania, but no known injuries or hazards

From the Associated Press

WHITEMARSH TOWNSHIP, Pa. (AP) — A freight train derailment in southeast Pennsylvania early Monday spurred precautionary evacuations, but officials said no injuries were reported and there was no known hazard to the public.The 40-car CSX train, which was operating on tracks owned by Norfolk Southern, derailed around 4:50 a.m. in a wooded area Whitemarsh Township. CSX said at least 16 cars went off the tracks, but local officials later said 15 cars had derailed.

Barren Hill Fire Police block a local intersection after a train derailment on Monday morning, July 17, 2023. (Alexandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Twelve nearby homes were evacuated shortly after the derailment was reported “out of an abundance of caution,” Whitemarsh Township Police Chief Christopher Ward said. Those residents were allowed to return to their homes around 9:30 a.m.

Silicone pellets leaked from at least one train car, Whitemarsh police said, but they posed no risk to the public. Among the other derailed cars, five contained urea, a liquid fertilizer, and another had tetrachloroethylene, which is used as a dry cleaning agent and metal degreasing solvent. At least two other cars were empty.

The cause of the derailment was under investigation, but a CSX spokesperson said it may have been “weather related.”

Norfolk Southern — and the entire rail industry — has been under intense scrutiny since one of its trains derailed and caught fire in February in Ohio, creating towering black smoke, forcing evacuations and raising environmental worries.

Veteran police official Edward Caban becomes first Latino to head the NYPD

BY KAREN MATTHEWS from the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Edward Caban, who joined the New York Police Department as a young patrol officer in 1991 and rose through the ranks, was sworn in Monday as police commissioner, becoming the first Latino to lead the 178-year-old department.

Mayor Eric Adams administered the oath of office in front of the Bronx stationhouse where Caban started his career, and praised his new police commissioner as “representative of this blue-collar city.”

Caban, the son of a transit police officer who served with Adams when the now-mayor was on the transit force, said he joined the NYPD as “a young Puerto Rican kid” at a time when when “the top bosses of the police department didn’t really look like me.”

His beaming father, retired Detective Juan Caban, and other family members joined Caban as he was sworn in as the city’s top police official.

Caban thanked Adams for choosing him to head the 33,000-member police department.

“To be the first Hispanic police commissioner is an honor of the highest measure,” Caban said.

Caban, 55, has served as acting commissioner since the resignation of Keechant Sewell, who announced last month that she was stepping down after 18 months.

Sewell, the first woman to lead the department, did not provide a reason for her resignation, but there had been speculation that other officials including Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III, an Adams ally, were undermining her authority.

Adams and Caban both praised Sewell, who did not attend her successor’s swearing-in.

“Commissioner Sewell smashed a glass ceiling,” Caban said, “and she did so with grace, confidence and honor.” Adams said Caban, who served as first deputy commissioner under Sewell, had “worked side by side with Commissioner Sewell to deliver double digit decreases in shootings and murders.”

Caban worked in several precincts across the city as he climbed the ranks from patrol officer to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, executive officer, commanding officer, deputy inspector, inspector and first deputy commissioner.

The police department he will lead, the nation’s largest, is more diverse than the largely white and male police force he joined 32 years ago.

According to department figures, 31% of uniformed officers are Hispanic, a slightly higher number than the 29% of the city’s population identified as Hispanic by the Census Bureau.

About 11% of the department’s officers are Asian and about 16% are Black, compared with a city population that is about 14% Asian and 24% Black.

For some remote Canadian wildfires, best and fastest option is sending in the smokejumpers

BY NOAH BERGER AND DOUG GLASS from the Associated Press

FORT ST. JOHN, British Columbia (AP) — When James Bergen steps from a plane and plummets toward fire below, he’s not scared. Instead, he says, he gets a rush from not knowing exactly what he’ll face when he parachutes in as one of the smokejumpers confronting the wildfires that have scorched Canada this spring and summer.One call may mean a drop and a hike to a meadow to put out a single burning tree. “Next day you go to a fire and it’s a giant roaring beast threatening a community,” said Bergen, a solidly built 46-year-old with graying stubble. “That anticipation of what you’re going to get, an unknown every time you get on the plane — that to me is still the excitement.”

As more than 900 fires burn in a Canadian fire season that has periodically pushed dangerous smoke south into the U.S. and even far east to Europe, only one province — British Columbia — relies on smokejumpers to help fight the blazes. Its history dates back to 1998.

Canada’s provinces organize their own fire resources, and others may choose to use helicopters to get firefighters to remote areas, or aircraft to fly people and equipment to bases. British Columbia does that too. But Bergen, whose primary job is serving as wildfire officer for the Fort St. John Fire Zone, pointed to British Columbia’s size, large population and huge timber industry as reasons it maintains a smokejumper program that takes significant money and expertise — but can get to fires faster.“It’s not something you can quickly stand up,” Bergen said.Bergen said this wildfire year is the busiest he can remember since 2016.

Flames from the Donnie Creek wildfire burn along a ridge top north of Fort St. John, British Columbia, on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Flames from the Donnie Creek wildfire burn along a ridge top north of Fort St. John, British Columbia, on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Mike Dunn steps through a puddle while exiting a plane in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Wednesday, July 5, 2023. His crew is assisting Canadian firefighters battling fires throughout the region. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Mike Dunn steps through a puddle while exiting a plane in Fort St. John, British Columbia, July 5, 2023. His crew is assisting Canadian firefighters battling fires throughout the region. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)


When fires are remote or there’s a need to move resources from one location to another very quickly, that can be a time to send in smokejumpers, who bail out of planes at 1,500 feet (458 meters) to 3,000 feet (914 meters).“It’s just one of the fastest, quickest delivery methods … to take action on a fire that by other means may not be possible,” Bergen said. “The big value to smokejumping is speed, range and payload.”Though helicopters are sometimes used to get firefighters into tough-to-reach areas, they don’t parachute in like smokejumpers — the copters land and unload them quickly, or they jump to the ground as the craft hovers. And the copters can’t carry nearly as many people or get to a fire as fast as fixed-wing aircraft.The modified DC-3 that’s one of the planes used at Bergen’s Fort St. John base carries up to 13 smokejumpers plus two spotters.

Smokejumper Chris Thalmann packs a cargo parachute while fighting Canadian wildfires on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Smokejumper Chris Thalmann packs a cargo parachute while fighting Canadian wildfires on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) –
Canadian smokejumper David Pon rigs a parachute on Wednesday, June 5, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Canadian smokejumper David Pon rigs a parachute on Wednesday, June 5, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) –


Outfitting a single jumper can run about $12,000, Bergen said, with equipment that protects the firefighters from being speared by tree limbs, allows them to rappel down if they get hung up in a tree, and floats them if they wind up in a lake or river. Ballistic Kevlar suits protect against sharp objects as well as against intense fire heat; helmets have mesh face shields.Many smokejumpers wear additional armor — hockey pads or motocross gear — for further protection. The whole package, including the parachute, weighs 70 to 90 pounds.The plane also carries fire suppression equipment the firefighters will need: four chain saws, hand tools for everyone, four heavy pumps, 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) of hose and enough water for everyone for 48 hours, Bergen said. All that gets dropped separately.After arriving at a fire and evaluating what they see, the firefighters work out a plan to tackle it. Then it’s time to jump.“It could be three or four, one crew, or it could be the entire bus — all 13 jumpers on the fire,” Bergen said.

U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Kevin Schmitz rigs a parachute on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada. Schmitz is one of approximately a hundred American smokejumpers, firefighters who parachute into remote wildfires, working alongside their Canadian counterparts at the Fort St. John base, according to Wildfire Officer James Bergen. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Kevin Schmitz rigs a parachute on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)


The jumpers are experienced wildland firefighters — at least two years, and more typically six to seven years of experience before they become smokejumpers, Bergen said.But it takes more than experience. Not everyone wants to jump out of planes, Bergen said. “They’re generally people that are quite passionate about wildland firefighting,” he said. “It is a very specific person that wants to do that.”He said the ranks include people who are gung ho and supremely fit, but also more ordinary people. He said many wildland firefighters are people who started to make summer money while in college, but then fell in love with the work and eventually decided to be smokejumpers. The lure, he said, is being part of a team “focused on becoming the best you can, in smoke jumping as well as fire suppression.”

The province has 67 smokejumpers. About 120 jumpers are working in the region right now, with the balance made up of American firefighters sent over by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

A co-pilot secures a plane that carries smokejumpers battling Canadian wildfires on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada. According to Wildfire Officer James Bergen, approximately a hundred American smokejumpers, firefighters who parachute into remote wildfires, are working with their Canadian counterparts at the Fort St. John base. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A co-pilot secures a plane that carries smokejumpers battling Canadian wildfires on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia, Canada. According to Wildfire Officer James Bergen, approximately a hundred American smokejumpers, firefighters who parachute into remote wildfires, are working with their Canadian counterparts at the Fort St. John base. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Gear lines the inside of a plane that carries smokejumpers parachuting into Canadian wildfires on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Gear lines the inside of a plane that carries smokejumpers parachuting into Canadian wildfires on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Fort St. John, British Columbia. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)


Dan Frittenburg, one of the North Peace Smokejumpers at the Fort St. John base, started fighting fires in 2005 and became a jumper in 2008.Earlier this summer he set a Canadian record with his 100th jump, he and Bergen said.“I’ve kind of always been a thrill seeker,” said Frittenburg, 41. “But the reason why I do it (is) my love for the outdoors, working with the people that this program draws, and also just challenging myself. I find it’s definitely a job that keeps you young.”Frittenburg said it took him a while to learn the intricacies of jumping, and has become more comfortable doing it as years pass.“But that feeling (nerves) never kind of leaves the pit of your stomach,” he said. “I find that a good thing because it keeps you on your game. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll get shown very quickly that mistakes can be made.”

Smoke billows from the Donnie Creek wildfire burning north of Fort St. John, British Columbia, on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Smoke billows from the Donnie Creek wildfire burning north of Fort St. John, British Columbia, on Sunday, July 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)


Glass reported from Minneapolis.

Acropolis’ midday closure leaves many tourists in the lurch as a heat wave lashes southern Europe


NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Disgruntled tourists bemoaned the temporary closing of the Acropolis in Athens on Friday as Greek authorities proactively shut the world monument’s gates between midday and early evening amid a heat wave that continues to grip southern Europe.Red Cross staff handed out bottled water to tourists wilting in long lines hoping to beat the closure and scale the steps up to the gleaming Parthenon temple as temperatures were expected to peak above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the Greek capital.Some visitors were frustrated at being left in the lurch because they were unaware of Greek authorities’ last-minute announcement of the Acropolis’ closure at noon. One visitor said he was disappointed as his cruise ship would depart later in the day.

“I even bought a €50 ticket to skip the line to enter and I couldn’t enter the place,” Hector from Mexico told The Associated Press.

Others who beat the closing timewere elated despite the heat, like Sylvia from Colombia, who said she came prepared.“

We have water, we have some ventilators,” she told the AP. “And I think it’s always an amazing experience to be here.”

Red Cross coordinator Ioanna Fotopoulou said paramedics on hand administered first aid to a number of tourists exhibiting symptoms of dehydration and experiencing fainting spells.

A woman gives massage to a bather in the shade of a tree during a hot day at Alimos beach near Athens, Friday, July 14, 2023. Temperatures were starting to creep up in Greece, where a heatwave was forecast to reach up to 44 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country over the weekend. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A woman gives massage to a bather in the shade of a tree during a hot day at Alimos beach near Athens, Friday, July 14, 2023. Temperatures were starting to creep up in Greece, where a heatwave was forecast to reach up to 44 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country over the weekend. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)–

In Spain, people packed the beaches as the country enjoyed a short-lived respite from its second heat wave of the summer.Temperatures were still expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius in at least 12 of Spain’s 17 regions Friday, although that was down from a high of 45 degrees (113 Fahrenheit) that scorched the southeastern town of Albox on Wednesday.Aemet, the Spanish state weather agency, says another heat wave is expected to start Sunday with highest temperatures yet to come.In Italy, the country’s health ministry on Friday warned residents of 10 cities from Bologna to Rome to avoid being out in the midday heat due to extreme temperatures. The same warning has been issued to another five cities in Sicily, Sardinia and Puglia for this weekend.Temperatures in the country are expected to reach 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 Fahrenheit) above average in some areas this weekend.

On the island nation of Cyprus, in the southeastern Mediterranean, people clustered under air conditioning units and cooling fans set to full blast, as midday temperatures inland were forecast to hit a high of 43 C (110 Fahrenheit).Temperatures weren’t expected to go below 25 C (77 Fahrenheit) through the night, while humidity levels especially along the southern coastline were expected to reach an uncomfortable 65%.The temperatures were forecast to hover at the same levels Saturday, with a small dip expected the following day.

The Forestry Service issued a “red alert”, appealing to the public to take extra care and avoid using any machinery outdoors that could spark a fire.

Bathers take a shower during a hot day at Alimos beach near Athens, Friday, July 14, 2023. Temperatures were starting to creep up in Greece, where a heatwave was forecast to reach up to 44 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country over the weekend. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Bathers take a shower during a hot day at Alimos beach near Athens, Friday, July 14, 2023. Temperatures were starting to creep up in Greece, where a heatwave was forecast to reach up to 44 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country over the weekend. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)–

In the capital, Nicosia, more than two dozen elderly people sought refuge at a dedicated heat shelter the municipality reserves for summer heat waves.Councillor Elena Loucaidou told The Associated Press that many of the elderly who are on low incomes appreciate the opportunity to save on their electricity bill and enjoy the shelter’s air-conditioned environs.

Yiannoula Phinikaridou, 78, was among them.

“In this heat wave, it’s very helpful for us to come here, get refreshed with cold drinks that they offer us,” she told Cypriot media. “It’s very important for us low-income retirees to save on electricity.”

The heat is taking a toll on the country’s economic activity, particularly in the construction sector where laws oblige employers to offer workers frequent water breaks, shaded rest areas and even suspend work if temperatures hit specified high levels.

Cyprus Building Contractors Federation Director Yiannos Poumbouris said most contractors adhere to the law, but that often translates to diminished productivity because of delays and additional pay to employees if they are required to work either very early or later in the day to avoid peak temperature hours.For instance, cement pouring must be done either very early in the day or much later, meaning higher costs for contractors. Poumbouris said there are no figures on lost productivity as it is difficult to gauge, but that the contractors expect this during summer time.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg weighed in on the high temperatures in a post on Twitter, saying global heat records should serve as an urgent wake-up call.

“Last week we experienced the hottest days ever recorded, many days in a row. We are also experiencing record high sea level temperatures and record low ice levels. This is an emergency.”

In rural India, summer’s heat can be deadly. Ambulance crews see the toll up close


BANPUR, India (AP) — Siren blaring, Sunil Kumar Naik’s ambulance tore across a dry and rocky countryside blasted by dangerous midday heat, rushing to check on a vomiting and dizzy 30-year-old man with possible heat stroke. As soon as they reached the man’s village, Naik’s paramedic partner guided the stricken man into the ambulance, then checked his pulse and oxygen levels as Naik sped back to the public hospital.

Jitendra Kumar, a paramedic checks the oxygen level of his patient who is suffering from a heat stroke after carrying him in an ambulance from his home in village Mirchwara, 24 kilometers (14.91 miles) from Banpur in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, June 17, 2023. Ambulance drivers and other healthcare workers in rural India are the first line of care for those affected by extreme heat. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

With barely a moment to drink some water and splash their faces, the men were dispatched again, this time to pick up a pregnant woman who had gone into labor as the temperature soared to 43 degrees Celsius (109.4 Fahrenheit). And so went another furious 12-hour shift in India’s increasingly deadly summer, when Naik and paramedic Jitendra Kumar sometimes find themselves hurrying to as many as twice the usual number of calls.

Extreme heat is fast becoming a public health crisis in India, with more than 150 people dying during the latest brutal heat wave in June. Prolonged heat waves, sometimes classified as a slow-onset disaster, are one of the deadliest consequences of global warming that India faces. The government estimates nearly 11,000 people have died during heat waves this century, yet experts say such figures are likely a vast undercount.

Jitendra Kumar, a paramedic who travels in ambulance, washes his face with water to cool himself off after dropping a patient at Lalitpur district hospital, in Banpur, in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, June 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Jitendra Kumar, a paramedic who travels in ambulance, washes his face with water to cool himself off after dropping a patient at Lalitpur district hospital, in Banpur, in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, June 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) –
A doctor checks a boy suffering from heat related ailments at the Lalitpur district hospital, in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, June 17, 2023. Extreme heat is fast becoming a serious public health crisis in India. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
A doctor checks a boy suffering from heat related ailments at the Lalitpur district hospital, in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, June 17, 2023. Extreme heat is fast becoming a serious public health crisis in India. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) –
Jitendra Kumar, a paramedic, center, talks to a patient, left, who is suffering from a heat stroke before carrying him to his ambulance from his home in village Mirchwara, 24 kilometers (14.91 miles) from Banpur in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, June 17, 2023. Ambulance drivers and other healthcare workers in rural India are the first line of care for those affected by extreme heat. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Jitendra Kumar, a paramedic, center, talks to a patient, left, who is suffering from a heat stroke before carrying him to his ambulance from his home in village Mirchwara, 24 kilometers (14.91 miles) from Banpur in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Saturday, June 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Banpur, a village of about 13,000, lies in the mostly poor Bundelkhand region deep in India’s interior. It’s arid and stony, with little tree cover to protect people in one of the nation’s hottest regions. Naik and Kumar make up one of two ambulance crews that cover the village and surrounding area, carrying patients to the government-run public health center. The state and federal governments help fund the not-for-profit ambulance service, making it a free lifeline for patients.“

I consider every patient my family member. I don’t care if it is hot or if I am hungry, I go on a mission to get the patient out and transport them to the hospital,” said Naik, whose only protection from the heat and dry, hot winds is a white cotton towel wrapped around his head. “It is difficult for me driving the vehicle in extreme heat, but it is nothing compared to the hardships of a patient in a medical emergency.”

Health experts say the heat can kill slowly — and quickly. The quick way could be through simple heat stroke, while a slower death may result when people who already have serious health conditions suffer through extended heat, said Dileep Mavalankar, former head of the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar.

Mavalankar was instrumental in developing India’s first heat action plan, for the city of Ahmedabad in 2013, three years after more than 1,300 people died during a heat wave there. The plan set out guidelines that included issuing a heat alert when temperatures rose past 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit), educating people such as outdoor laborers, farmers and others exposed to heat about the risks they face, and providing resources to local health centers and hospitals to deal with heat-related illnesses.“

When a cyclone happens, everyone is on alert, and they act immediately but there is little awareness or action to deal with extreme heat,” Mavalankar said. “There needs to be a media blitzkrieg, local governments should warn people to stay indoors and make their hospitals ready to deal with heat-related cases,” he said.

Aditya Valiathan Pillai of the Centre for Policy Research, a New Delhi think tank, recently studied India’s readiness to respond to extremely hot weather. He said such plans — which include cooling centers and health care assistance —- are essential to saving lives.

Climate experts say that heat waves are here to stay, and India needs to prepare better to deal with their consequences. A study by World Weather Attribution, an academic group that examines the source of extreme heat, found that a searing heat wave in April that struck parts of South Asia was made at least 30 times more likely by climate change.

Yet poorer regions like Uttar Pradesh, where Banpur lies, may have a plan on paper but not the ability to carry it out.“

The afflicted population is vulnerable because it lacks resources and has insufficient infrastructure to handle severe temperatures,” said Anjal Prakash, a research director at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and author of several U.N. climate reports. “The construction of efficient early warning systems, public awareness campaigns about heat-related hazards, the provision of adequate healthcare facilities, and targeted assistance to vulnerable populations are only a few steps that need to be taken immediately.”

In Banpur, the paramedic Kumar shares lodging in guest quarters at the hospital with several others. With only an old fan for cooling, he’s frequently sweating before his work day begins. The ambulance has air conditioning, but it is “no match for the temperature outside,” Kumar said.

He and Naik skip lunches most days. When they find time, they eat under whatever shade they can find. They earn a little more than $150 a month, hardly enough to support their families given rising costs. Naik has three young children and Kumar sends most of his income to his wife and parents, who live 350 kilometers away.

Despite the hardships, they make the best of what they say is a difficult job.

“I feel proud of my work,” Kumar said. “The more critical the patient, the more challenging it becomes for us to save their life. I feel happy that I can save lives and help people.” ___

Police announce another arrest in Kansas nightclub shooting that injured more than 11

From the Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested another person in a Kansas nightclub shooting earlier this month that injured nearly a dozen people.

This July 2, 2023 file photo shows people talking in front of the City Nightz nightclub in Wichita, Kan. Police have arrested another person in the Kansas night club shooting earlier this month that injured nearly a dozen people. A 23-year-old Wichita man was arrested Tuesday, July 11, 2023 on suspicion of attempted murder, assault and battery, Wichita police said. He is one of three people now in custody for their suspected roles in the July 2 shooting in which nine people were shot and two others were trampled in the chaos. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle via AP, file)

A 23-year-old Wichita man was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of attempted murder, assault and battery, Wichita police said. He is one of three people in custody for their suspected roles in the July 2 shooting at City Nightz in downtown Wichita, in which nine people were shot and two others were trampled in the chaos. No one died.

Police said details of the investigation have been sent to Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett, who will determine any charges against the suspect. Bennett did not immediately respond Wednesday to messages seeking comment.

The Associated Press typically does not name people arrested for crimes unless they’ve been charged.

Two other Wichita men have been charged in the shooting. John Houze, 27, and Ameir King-Ingram, 19, are charged with several gun and aggravated assault counts. King-Ingram is also charged with aggravated battery. Both are being held on $500,000 bond.

A St. Louis-area man was arrested July 3, but prosecutors later determined he fired his gun to defend himself after shots were fired by others.

The gunshot victims — seven men and two women — ranged in age from 22 to 34, police said. The two people trampled were a 30-year-old woman and a 31-year-old male.

Wichita is a city of nearly 400,000 people, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of Kansas City, Missouri.

2 firefighters are seriously injured after being shot at a fire station in Alabama

From the Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Two firefighters in Alabama were shot on Wednesday while on duty at a fire station, authorities said.

Investigators believe the Birmingham firefighters were targeted, though they do not have an exact motive, Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond told news outlets. At least one of them was shot multiple times. They remain in serious condition at a hospital.“Our firefighters are there to protect and aid and rescue our citizens and to see them critically injured is troubling, disheartening,” Thurmond said.

The shooter entered the station through an open bay door, Thurmond said. At least one other firefighter was in the station during the attack and was not hurt.

The shooting happened just after the two firefighters who were wounded started their shifts.

Help arrives to battle wildfire in Washington state near Columbia River Gorge

From the Associated Press

UNDERWOOD, Wash. (AP) — Authorities have more than doubled the number of people battling a wildfire that has burned structures and forced the evacuation of homes in southwestern Washington near the Columbia River Gorge.

Smoke from a wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington State rises in the background in this view Hood River, Ore, Sunday, July 2, 2023. Authorities have more than doubled the number of people battling the wildfire that has burned some homes and forced the evacuation of hundreds of others in southwestern Washington near the Columbia River Gorge. (Joel Odom/The Oregonian via AP)

The blaze that began Sunday in the unincorporated area of Underwood across from Hood River, Oregon, had burned about 546 acres (221 hectares) and was 5% contained as of Wednesday, according to a post on an interagency Facebook page backed by the state Department of Natural Resources.

Nearly 375 people are fighting the fire, with more on the way including an elite firefighting crew to work in challenging terrain on the fire’s western edge, according to the post.

The National Weather Service’s red flag warning remained for the area through 11 p.m. Wednesday, with hot, dry and unstable conditions that could cause the fire to spread rapidly.

Fire activity increased Tuesday afternoon on the western edge of the fire, with helicopters and air tankers helping keep the blaze in check, officials said. Fire engine crews patrolled again overnight and tamed hot spots around the fire’s perimeter.

Evacuations remained in place Wednesday for an area affecting about 1,000 people, officials previously said. The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that several structures had been lost, but it didn’t release further details.

State Route 14 remained closed Wednesday between mile markers 56 to 65 because of fire activity. Smoke and firefighting aircraft are visible from Interstate 84 on the Oregon side of the river, officials said.

The fire’s cause remains under investigation.

A separate brush fire that started Tuesday afternoon was also threatening homes and prompting evacuations near the western Washington city of Shelton. More than 200 homes were under evacuation notices and a shelter was set up at a Shelton middle school. It was not immediately known what caused the fire.

State fire assistance has been mobilized to work to contain it. A strike team, air resources and State Fire Marshall’s Office personnel were responding

Storm Poly lashes the Netherlands and parts of Germany, causing 2 deaths and canceled flights

From the Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A powerful summer storm lashed the Netherlands and parts of Germany on Wednesday, killing at least two people, blowing trees onto houses and forcing one of Europe’s busiest airports to cancel or delay hundreds of flights.

Icelandic horses stand on a meadow of a stud farm in Wehrheim near Frankfurt, Germany, after a rain storm passed by on Wednesday, July 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute issued its highest-level alert in three provinces as Storm Poly hit the country with heavy rain and powerful winds. One gust, on the coast west of Amsterdam, was recorded at just over 145 kilometers per hour (90 mph), the institute said.

The alert level was scaled back early in the afternoon as the storm headed northeast and weakened.

Dutch media showed pictures of uprooted trees and wind-blown debris littering streets in Amsterdam, The Hague and the city of Haarlem as the storm barreled through during the normally busy morning rush hour.

A woman was killed in Haarlem when a tree fell on a car, police spokesperson Nina Moers said. In Amsterdam, a tree fell on a houseboat moored in one of the city’s historic canals.

Strong gusts of wind also hit some areas of northwestern Germany. Police said a pedestrian died in Rhede, a municipality near the Netherlands border, after a tree fell on her. Police initially identified the victim as a man.

Videos showed trees scattered across highways, toppled on a row of houses in Haarlem and uprooted onto a tram in The Hague. Amsterdam municipality closed parks as the storm hit the Dutch capital.

Emergency services in North Holland province, which includes the capital Amsterdam, sent a push alert to mobile phones urging people to stay indoors as the storm passed. Traffic authorities also advised motorists to avoid driving, if possible.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, one of Europe’s busiest aviation hubs, said on its website that it expected “very limited air traffic will be possible” into the afternoon, leading to cancellations and delays for incoming and departing flights.

With the wind easing by mid-afternoon, the airport said more planes could take off and land but disruptions would continue.

“Together with airlines, we are trying to get as many travelers as possible to their destinations today,” Schiphol said in a message to passengers.

The national railway company halted all trains in the northern Netherlands.

In Germany, some ferries to islands just off the North Sea coast were canceled, and trees fell on a railway line between the city of Emden and the town of Leer. A line that runs between Hamburg and Sylt, a popular vacation island, was also shut between the towns of Husum and Niebuell.


Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.

An explosion in a downtown Tokyo building has injured four people, according to media reports

From the Associated Press

Bystanders watch firefighters try to extinguish a fire at an explosion in a building Monday, July 3, 2023, in Tokyo. An explosion at a building in Tokyo’s commercial district of Shimbashi on Monday shattered windows and spewed smoke, according to media reports. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Bystanders watch firefighters try to extinguish a fire at an explosion in a building Monday, July 3, 2023, in Tokyo. An explosion at a building in Tokyo’s commercial district of Shimbashi on Monday shattered windows and spewed smoke, according to media reports. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — An explosion at a building in Tokyo’s Shimbashi commercial district on Monday shattered windows and spewed smoke, injuring four people, department officials said.

Tokyo Fire Department said the explosion occurred at an eatery on the second floor of an eight-story building, injuring two people inside and two pedestrians who were hit by shards of glass.

Fire department officials said the four injured were all conscious but further details were unknown. NHK national television said three of them were seriously injured.

An owner of the eatery who was among the injured told police that he noticed a smell of gas or sewage when he entered a smoking room, and the explosion occurred when he flicked his lighter, NHK said.

No other information was yet available.

Michigan man accused of striking an officer during the US Capitol attack is arrested in Florida

From the Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Michigan man accused of attacking a police officer with a flagpole during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 has been arrested in Florida, officials said.

Jeremy Rodgers, 28, of Midland, Michigan, faces several felony and misdemeanor charges, including assaulting a federal officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon, according to court records. He was arrested Friday in Orlando, Florida, and made his initial court appearance there. The case will be prosecuted in District of Columbia federal court.

According to court documents, Rodgers joined with others in objecting to Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over then-President Donald Trump. A mob stormed the Capitol to try to stop Congress from certifying election results for Biden over Trump, a Republican, authorities have said. Five people died in the violence.

According to the criminal complaint, surveillance video shows Rodgers carrying a blue flag attached to a wooden flagpole as he approaches a line of law enforcement officers guarding the entrance to the East Rotunda Door. Investigators said Rodgers used his flagpole to strike a U.S. Capitol police officer three times on the helmet and then swung the flagpole twice more in the direction of officers.

Rodgers also used the flagpole to prevent officers from closing the door so that he could enter the building, prosecutors said. Once inside, Rodgers removed railings so the others in the crowd could enter the building, officials said.

Rodgers was part of a crowd that pushed through a police line outside the entrance to the House Chamber, investigators said. After another scuffle with police, Rodgers paraded through the Rotunda waving his flag before finally leaving, officials said.

Online court records didn’t list an attorney for Rodgers who might speak on his behalf.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for alleged crimes related to the Capitol breach, according to officials. More than 350 people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

NY patient’s ambulance joyride ends when police spike tires

From the Associated Press

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — A patient stole the ambulance that had taken him to a New York City hospital and took it on a 25-mile (40-kilometer) joyride that ended when state police used a spike strip to stop him, authorities said.

The incident unfolded early Thursday after a 47-year-old man was taken to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital in Manhattan for observation, police said.

The ambulance he had ridden in was sitting outside the hospital unlocked, unoccupied and with the keys in the ignition when the man left the facility just before 5 a.m., a New York City police spokesperson said. The man got in and drove off, police said.

The ambulance was tracked by GPS heading north through Westchester County on Interstate 87, police said.

State troopers spotted the ambulance near Tarrytown and tried to stop it, the New York state police said in a news release. The driver failed to stop, and the troopers gave chase, police said.

The runaway ambulance was finally stopped when troopers put a tire-spiking device on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge that spans the Hudson River, police said. The ambulance’s tires deflated when the man tried to cross the bridge.

The man was arrested on charges including grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and driving while intoxicated, police said. Information on his attorney wasn’t immediately available.

A spokesperson for the Mount Sinai hospital system declined to comment on the joyride.

Oregon man died waiting for an ambulance, highlighting lack of emergency responders

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man died while waiting over a half-hour for an ambulance after being struck by a hit-and-run driver last month, according to emergency dispatch logs, an incident that Portland firefighters say highlights their frustration at a lack of available ambulances to respond to emergency calls.

An American Medical Response vehicle drives in San Francisco, Monday, May 22, 2023. Lawyers sued medical transport provider American Medical Response West, saying the ambulance company's lax oversight allowed a paramedic to sexually assault two women in their 80s on their way to a hospital. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
An American Medical Response vehicle drives in San Francisco, Monday, May 22, 2023. Lawyers sued medical transport provider American Medical Response West, saying the ambulance company’s lax oversight allowed a paramedic to sexually assault two women in their 80s on their way to a hospital. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Bureau of Emergency Communications 911 dispatch log was obtained by KGW-TV through a public records request. It revealed that American Medical Response, the private provider contracted by Multnomah County, was operating at level zero — a code meaning there are no ambulances available to respond to an emergency call.

“More and more, day after day, we’re seeing this level zero pop up, and as firefighters we’re getting frustrated,” Isaac McLennan, president of the Portland Fire Fighters’ Association, told KGW-TV. “This is a highly dangerous situation and it should be unacceptable not only just for firefighters, it should be unacceptable for everybody who lives in this community.”

Shortly after midnight on April 28, both firefighters and an ambulance crew were dispatched to the accident scene in northeast Portland. Police said it appeared the man, who has not been publicly identified, was attempting to cross the street in a wheelchair when he was hit.

The man was still alive when firefighters arrived, but 911 dispatchers repeatedly told them that American Medical Response was operating at level zero, according to dispatch logs. The firefighters worked to stabilize the man in the road while waiting for an ambulance.

The logs show the initial dispatch went out at 12:10 a.m. Firefighters arrived at 12:14, and an ambulance got there at 12:42. The ambulance left the scene five minutes later, as a hospital transport was no longer necessary because the man had died.

McLennan told KGW-TV there was no practical way firefighters could have taken the man to the hospital themselves as it was clear he needed an ambulance.

Global Medical Response, the parent company of American Medical Response, said in a statement to KGW-TV that the incident is still under review by the company as well as by county emergency officials.

“The safety of our patients is always our top priority. American Medical Response is committed to responding to all calls in a timely manner,” it said.

Official in Multnomah County, which is home to Portland, have said ambulances should arrive to 90% of emergency calls within eight minutes. However KGW-TV reported that during a five-month period ending in February, that mark was missed about a third of the time.

Assailants attack police station in Mexico as search continues for 16 abducted police employees

BY ÉDGAR H. CLEMENTE from the Associated Press

TAPACHULA, Mexico (AP) — Assailants tossed at least one explosive device at a police station in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas, police said Wednesday, as a massive search continued for 16 police employees abducted at gunpoint on a local highway.

The attacks highlight a new turf battle between cartels for influence over police in the state, which borders Guatemala, and control of its drug and immigrant trafficking.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador confirmed the kidnappings were part of a battle between two gangs, saying “nowadays that is the most common thing … that the groups clash.”

López Obrador said the men worked at a local prison, apparently as guards or administrative staff, though they are formally employed by the state police.

Police had originally said 14 men were abducted — and that 17 female employees were released — from a bus Tuesday. But on Wednesday police upped the number to 16.

The spread of cartel conflict to Chiapas would mark an escalation. The state has long experienced land, ethnic, political and religious conflicts, but had largely been spared from the drug cartel violence hitting other parts of the country.

The president has taken a sort of paternalistic, non-confrontational attitude toward the cartels, and on Wednesday said “they had better release them (the abducted police employees). If not, I’m going to tell on them to their fathers and grandfathers.”

Also Wednesday, police in the city of Tapachula, near the border, said two patrol vehicles were damaged in the explosion outside a police station late Tuesday. There was no immediate information on who tossed the explosive, which appeared to have been homemade.

More than 1,000 state and federal law enforcement officers conducted a land and air search for the missing police employees, who were forced from the bus by gunmen earlier Tuesday.

A video of the abducted police employees was posted on social media Wednesday. In it, one of the victims said the abductors were demanding the resignation of at least three state police officials, including the second-in-command of the force. One of the cartels operating in Chiapas has accused the police officials of favoring a rival gang.

The men in the video did not appear to be bound or show any obvious signs of mistreatment.

The police employees were traveling to the capital of Chiapas when they were intercepted by several trucks with gunmen.

The women in the vehicle were released, while the men were taken away.

The abduction occurred on the highway between Ocozocoautla and Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital. Two men found near the scene were detained by police for questionins.

Violence in the Mexican border region with Guatemala has escalated in recent months amid a territorial dispute between the Sinaloa Cartel, which has dominated the area, and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

On June 19, a confrontation between the military and presumed organized crime members left a National Guard officer and a civilian dead in Ocozocoautla, near where Tuesday’s kidnapping occurred.

Kansas City warehouse blaze hospitalizes 3 firefighters

From the Associated Press

This photo provided by the Kansas City Fire Department shows a wood-pallet warehouse burning in the Northeast Industrial District in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, June 15, 2023. (Jason Spreitzer/Kansas City Fire Department via AP)
This photo provided by the Kansas City Fire Department shows a wood-pallet warehouse burning in the Northeast Industrial District in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, June 15, 2023. (Jason Spreitzer/Kansas City Fire Department via AP)

Workers at a massive Kansas City wood-pallet warehouse fire escaped to safety Thursday, but three firefighters have been hospitalized, a spokesman said.

The firefighters were hospitalized for minor burns and heat exposure after battling flames at Pioneer Pallet’s warehouse, said Kansas City Fire Department spokesman Jason Spreitzer. Another seven firefighters were treated at the site of the fire.

Spreitzer said about 160 firefighters were helping to put out the flames in an effort that he expected to last at least through the night.

There are no threats of hazardous materials catching on fire at this point, Spreitzer said. He said firefighters protectively drenched a propane refilling station for forklifts in water.

It’s not yet known what caused the blaze. Investigators are waiting for the flames to die down before searching for more clues.

The area includes residential homes, a small baseball park and some industrial sites, including a commercial transportation business. The neighborhood is separated from downtown Kansas City by a rail line.

Spreitzer said nearby homes so far appear safe.

Police charge Maryland man in fatal shooting of Virginia police officer

From the Associated Press

A Maryland man has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a police officer who was killed during a struggle with an assault suspect in a Virginia mountain town.

Virginia State Police said Daniel Barmak, 23, of Towson, Maryland, is charged with capital murder, two felony counts of malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the killing of Officer Mark Christopher Wagner II Friday night in Nelson County’s Wintergreen community. Barmak is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

The shooting happened after an emergency call came into the Wintergreen Police Department about Barmak assaulting two other men at a home where they were all staying, state police said in a news release. After calling police, the two injured men, both 23, ran away.

Wagner, 31, was the first to arrive and encountered Barmak in the woods. During a struggle over Wagner’s department-issued handgun, Barmak shot and killed the officer, police said. Barmak was also shot during the encounter.

Wintergreen Police and the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office took Barmak into custody. He and the two men he allegedly assaulted were all taken to UVA Medical Center to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Wintergreen Police Chief Chief Dennis Russell said in a Facebook post that Wagner had been with the force since August 2020. He said Wagner enjoyed hiking and photographing nature in his spare time.

“Chris was dedicated to his job and whenever called for extra duty he was ready, willing and able. His love for the badge was evident and his commitment to the community was undeniable,” Russell said.

Wintergreen is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Richmond.

Prosecutor quits ‘Cop City’ cases over disagreements with Georgia attorney general

By R.J. RICO for the Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — A metro Atlanta prosecutor announced Friday that her office is withdrawing from criminal cases tied to protests over plans to build a police and firefighter training center, citing disagreements with the state’s Republican attorney general, including the decision to charge a legal observer with domestic terrorism.

FILE – DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston speaks during a news conference in front of the DeKalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Ga., Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Boston announced Friday, June 23, 2023, that her office is withdrawing from criminal cases tied to protests over plans to build a police and firefighter training center, citing disagreements with the state’s Republican attorney general, including the decision to charge a legal observer with domestic terrorism.(Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston’s decision means Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr will have sole oversight regarding more than 40 additional cases connected to the “Stop Cop City” movement. Previously, the two offices held joint jurisdiction over those cases, Boston, a Democrat, said in a news release.

“It is clear to both myself and to the attorney general that we have fundamentally different prosecution philosophies,” Boston told WABE-FM.

Over the past seven months, more than 40 people have been charged with domestic terrorism in connection with violent protests. Fireworks and rocks have been thrown at officers and police vehicles and construction equipment have been torched. The Georgia statute, which had been rarely employed prior to December, carries a sentence of between five and 35 years behind bars.

Protesters argue that the charges are overblown — none of those arrested have been accused of injuring anyone — and meant to scare off others from joining the movement against the $90 million training center.

In a statement, Carr said his office is “fully committed to moving forward with the prosecution of those who have engaged in or supported violent acts surrounding the Public Safety Training Center.”

City officials say the new 85-acre (34-hectare) campus would replace inadequate training facilities and would help address difficulties in hiring and retaining police officers that worsened after nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice three years ago.

But demonstrators argue that the site will exacerbate environmental damage and be a staging ground for militarized officers to be trained in quelling social movements.

In an on-air interview with WABE’s Rose Scott, Boston said she and the attorney general’s office “had some differences … about who should be charged and what they should be charged with.”

Boston said she had concerns with the prosecution of Thomas Jurgens, a Southern Poverty Law Center staff attorney. Jurgens was one of 23 people charged with domestic terrorism March 5 after more than 150 masked protesters stormed a construction site, torching equipment while throwing projectiles at fleeing officers. Protesters were arrested more than an hour later about three-quarters of a mile (1.2 kilometers) away after they retreated to a nearby music festival that was filled with other activists.

Jurgens was wearing a bright green hat — a well-known identifier for legal observers — and his arrest alarmed many human rights organizations. The law center called it an example of “heavy-handed law enforcement intervention against protesters.”

“That was one of the touch points of a number of touch points that ultimately led me to make (this) decision,” Boston said of Jurgens’ arrest. “I will only proceed on cases that I believe that I can make beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Defense attorneys of those others arrested at the music festival have questioned the evidence behind the charges, noting errors in the near-identical arrest warrants.

During bond hearings, prosecutors have admitted that they have struggled to specifically identify many of the suspects among the crowd of masked protesters, though they insist that wet, muddy clothes proved they had traipsed through the woods and crossed a nearby creek after attacking the construction site.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate officials’ “apparent targeting of individuals who oppose Cop City.”

“Today’s decision … deepens our serious concern about whether these arrests have been motivated by something other than an impartial and objective evaluation of the evidence or a just exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” the organization said in a news release.

Boston told WABE that she hopes Carr will proceed appropriately when it comes to prosecuting those who deserve to be charged.

“There’s absolutely been destruction and violence, but how you approach all of these cases needs to be approached individually — every case, individually,” she said.

Police have questioned person of interest in shooting that killed 3 in Kansas City

From the Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A person of interest has been questioned in a weekend shooting that killed three people and wounded several more in Kansas City, police said.

Evidence markers filled the street as police were investigating the scene after several people died and others were injured following a shooting early Sunday, June 25, 2023, near 57th Street and Prospect Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. (Tammy Ljungblad/The Kansas City Star via AP)

Responding officers found two men and a woman dead from gunshot wounds at around 4:30 a.m. Sunday in a parking lot where a crowd had gathered, near an auto shop known to host informal after-hours get-togethers, police said.

Police initially said at least five others where shot and taken to hospitals by private vehicles and ambulances. On Monday, police said they had identified a sixth person who was wounded and taken to a hospital.

The fatalities were identified Monday as Nikko Manning, 22; Jasity Strong, 28; and Camden Brown, 29.

Police said Sunday that another person was wounded in a separate shooting blocks away about 3 a.m. No additional information in that shooting has been released.

Homicide detectives identified a person of interest in the shooting near the auto shop and took a man into custody in Grandview, Missouri, just after 5 p.m. Sunday, according to Officer Jacob Becchina, a police spokesperson. The man’s name was not released, and no charges were reported.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves joined people at the scene in a prayer circle as officers collected evidence.

New rule would make all railroads alert first responders within 10 miles of derailed train cargo

By JOSH FUNK from the Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal regulators want first responders to a train derailment to know exactly what they are dealing with even before they reach the scene, because the dangerous chemicals trains carry might require a specialized response.

FILE – This photo taken with a drone shows portions of a Norfolk and Southern freight train that derailed the night before in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 4, 2023. The Federal Railroad Administration recently completed a review of Norfolk Southern’s safety culture done in the wake of the fiery Feb. 3 derailment in Ohio, and officials plan to follow up with similar investigations of all the major freight railroads over the next year. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

So the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration proposed a new rule Wednesday that would require all railroads to immediately send the details of everything aboard their trains to every emergency responder within 10 miles, as soon as the railroad becomes aware of an accident.

The new rule comes one day ahead of a National Transportation Safety Board hearing to scrutinize emergency responses to the fiery Feb. 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train outside East Palestine, Ohio. The NTSB is still working to determine exactly what caused that wreck, which prompted the evacuation of thousands of people and ignited nationwide concern about railroad safety and calls for reforms.

The largest freight railroads already have an app they developed, AskRail, which for nearly a decade has enabled firefighters to quickly look up the details of what each train carries. Some 35,000 first responders already have access to that app, and the rail industry is working to expand that. And crews have long carried printed copies of their cargo in the cabs of their locomotives.

And railroads should already know who to push that information to electronically — dispatchers and rail police are expected to maintain contacts for first responders all along their routes, to reach out to whenever there is a crossing accident, a trespasser or any other issue.

But this proposed rule would apply to every railroad that carries chemicals — not just the six biggest ones that created AskRail. Nearly 600 railroads would be covered. And the rule would force the railroads to proactively send out this information to all nearby emergency services, using electronic push alerts, anytime there is a derailment or hazardous chemical release, instead of expecting arriving firefighters to look up the details on an app.

“On-demand access to key information about hazmat shipments coupled with proactive information sharing with those closest to the problem will enable first responders to better prepare for the risks present at the scene of an incident before they arrive on scene,” said Tristan Brown, deputy administrator of the agency.

The old standby of expecting train crews to provide cargo information at the scene has its limitations. Precious minutes can elapse in the chaos of a major derailment before first responders find crewmembers. But that would still be the backup plan in case first responders don’t get the electronic information right away.

The Association of American Railroads trade group emphasizes that railroads remain the safest way to ship dangerous chemicals by land with more than 99 percent of those shipments arriving safety.

But even one derailment involving hazardous materials can prove disastrous, and last year there were more than 1,000 derailments — roughly three a day. More than three quarters happened at slow speeds in railyards, without causing major damage.

An AAR spokeswoman said railroads want to make sure “every first responder who arrives at the scene of a rail emergency has the right information to respond safely.” The industry plans to work with regulators to determine the best way to give first responders what they need while still protecting the security of sensitive information about the cargo railroads carry.

Since the East Palestine derailment, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other regulators have pressed for changes, urging railroads to do more to prevent similar disasters and issuing advisories about various aspects of railroad operations.

Regulators said this proposed rule may not have changed the outcome of the derailment in East Palestine, but that accident and others show how important it is to provide emergency responders with timely, complete and accurate information.

Volunteer firefighters were first on the scene of the East Palestine derailment, and Ohio officials said they handled it about as well as they could under the circumstances, but Gov. Mike DeWine has pushed the railroads to disclose more information ahead of time to states and communities about the chemicals they carry.

“We applaud the DOT for prioritizing fire fighter and public safety,” said Edward A. Kelly, who leads the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Hammond, LA Police Department selects Kologik’s suite of public safety solutions to replace existing systems

UNITED STATES, June 22, 2023/ EINPresswire.com / — Kologik, a leading provider of responsive, scalable, and user-friendly software for law enforcement organizations, proudly announced that the Hammond Police Department (HPD) in Louisiana has selected Kologik’s Public Safety Platform featuring CAD, a Computer-Aided Dispatch solution; RMS, a Records Management System; JMS, a Jail Management System, and COPsync, a network for officers and deputies, to replace their existing systems.

Hammond is the largest city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. The population was 21,359 in the 2020 census and is home to Southeastern Louisiana University. Hammond is the principal city of the Hammond Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Tangipahoa Parish. Through an extensive RFP process, HPD identified that Kologik’s suite of public safety software offered the most comprehensive solution for providing a system with efficient functionality and performance capabilities to support all the City’s needs. Kologik’s 24/7/365 care team, offering HPD with continuous access to a team of specialists capable of resolving issues swiftly and around the clock was also a major factor in the selection process.

“Kologik has been one of the most responsive vendors we have ever worked with,” commented Edwin Bergeron Jr, Hammond Chief of Police. “While no vendor is perfect, they have gone above and beyond to ensure our requirements are met and we have the tools necessary to support our parish effectively.”

Within Kologik’s Public Safety Suite, CAD, RMS, JMS and COPsync are fully integrated, aligning all aspects of dispatch, response, and reporting. From the initial 911 call to investigations, report writing and arrests, the HPD can enter information into their system just once and access it wherever it is needed, creating overall efficiencies.

“Kologik is excited to partner with HPD in providing end-to-end technology that will support the City in its quest to provide a safer community,” said Robert Wolf, CEO and President of Kologik. “Our top-notch 24/7/365 customer support makes it easy and fast for HPD to get the help they need, when they need it.”

About Kologik
Kologik is a technology company specializing in public safety solutions that connect small and medium-sized law enforcement agencies with the information they need to keep officers and communities safe. With years of experience working with local, county, and state agencies in the judicial and public safety sectors, Kologik is dedicated to offering quality products and fast, friendly 24/7 customer support. For more information about Kologik, visit www.kologik.com or call toll-free at 1-855-339-9417.


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Delaware House approves bill aimed at providing greater transparency in cases of police misconduct

By RANDALL CHASE from the Associated Press

DOVER, Del. (AP) — House lawmakers in Delaware voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a bill aimed at greater transparency and public accountability in cases alleging police misconduct.

The legislation, which targets current confidentiality provisions in Delaware’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, was approved on a 39-1 vote. It now goes to the Senate.

Critics have argued for years that the bill of rights has been used to shield information from the public regarding officers who have been disciplined for misconduct.

“This bill has been a long time coming,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, a Rehoboth Democrat. “It’s been a lot of hard work.”

Schwartzkopf, a retired state trooper, thanked members of the law enforcement community for helping draft legislation that could be accepted by both police officers and advocates for more accountability.

Representatives of the NAACP, ACLU and Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League have argued, however, that the bill does not go far enough and is too police-friendly. Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton, a progressive Democrat from Newark, was the only House member to vote against the bill.

Under the reform measure, a police agency would be required to inform the state Council on Police Training when an investigation finds that an officer engaged in sexual assault, sexual harassment, dishonest conduct or domestic violence. Instances involving an officer firing his weapon at a person or causing serious physical injury also would have to be reported. The council would be required to post the narratives on its website within 30 days.

The bill also requires that a complainant or victim of officer misconduct be informed of an investigation’s findings.

Prosecutors in criminal cases would be required to provide the defense, upon request, records including personnel files involving sustained findings of dishonest conduct, including false statements and witness tampering, by an officer involved in the case. A police agency also would be required to disclose to prosecutors unsubstantiated allegations of dishonest conduct by an officer involved in a criminal case if the allegations are the subject of an ongoing investigation. If that investigation cannot substantiate the allegation, the information could not be used in the case.

The legislation also requires police agencies to submit annual reports to the Criminal Justice Council regarding the number of misconduct complaints received each year, the number of formal investigations undertaken, the number of investigations substantiating misconduct, and the number of complaints resolved without a formal investigation.

Lawmakers are expected to vote next week on a separate bill that establishes a new Police Officer Standards and Training Commission, which would replace the Council on Police Training. The legislation shifts responsibility for administrative support and oversight of mandatory training and education programs for police officers from the Delaware State Police to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

It also requires that every police department, large or small, be accredited by July 2028. Currently, only 21 of Delaware’s 52 police departments meet that standard.

Paris police look at gas leak as possible cause of explosion and fire that injured 24

By ANGELA CHARLTON and ALEX TURNBULL from the Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — A strong explosion rocked a building in Paris’ Left Bank on Wednesday, injuring at least 24 people, igniting a fire that sent smoke soaring over the French capital’s monuments and prompting an evacuation of other properties, authorities said. Police were investigating suspicions that a gas leak caused the blast.

Firemen use a water canon as they fight a blaze Wednesday, June 21, 2023 in Paris. Firefighters fought a blaze on Paris’ Left Bank that is sent smoke soaring over the domed Pantheon monument and prompted evacuation of buildings in the neighborhood, police said. Local media cited witnesses describing a large explosion preceding the fire, and saying that part of a building collapsed. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The facade of the building in the 5th arrondissement collapsed, and officials said rescuers were searching for two people who might be trapped inside. The explosion happened near the historic Val de Grace military hospital, in one of the most upscale neighborhoods of the French capital.

Some 270 firefighters were involved in putting out the flames and 70 emergency vehicles were sent to the scene. The fire was contained but not yet extinguished Wednesday evening, as Paris bars and restaurants celebrated the summer solstice with a citywide annual music festival.

Sirens wailed as ambulances passed through the neighborhood and police initially cordoned off the street, rue Saint-Jacques. By evening, smoke had stopped pouring out of the building where the explosion occurred.

“It is possible that overnight we will find bodies or people alive,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said from the scene.

District Mayor Florence Berthout said on French TV channel BFM that firefighters were searching for two people believed to have been inside the building at the time of the blast. “The explosion was extremely violent,” she said, describing pieces of glass still falling from buildings.

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said the building housed a private school, the Paris American Academy. The school was founded in 1965 and offers teaching in fashion design, interior design, fine arts and creative writing.

A Paris police official told the Associated Press that 24 people were injured, including four in critical condition and 20 with less severe injuries. The injuries were sustained mainly when people were blown off their feet by the blast, the official said.

Jema Halbert, who owns a butcher’s shop close to the explosion site, said she went upstairs to fetch something, and “I heard a ‘boom’. … So then I went downstairs, where I found my husband in shock, dust by the till and I thought, wait, there’s a problem. So I stepped outside and I saw big flames and I said, it’s impossible. I called my daughter. She was crying. She was shocked.”

Edouard Civel, deputy mayor of the 5th arrondissement, attributed the explosion to a gas leak, but other officials were more cautious. A judicial official said a gas explosion was one of the possible causes under investigation.

Renowned Greek-French filmmaker Costa-Gavras was among the witnesses at the scene .

“A huge noise and the house was shaken like this,” the 90-year-old told the AP, visibly rattled. ”“We thought, what is going on? We thought it could be the sky (a storm). … It’s not something to laugh about.”

The Paris prosecutor said an investigation was opened into aggravated involuntary injury and the probe would examine whether the explosion stemmed from a suspected violation of safety rules. Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said investigators would seek to “determine whether or not there was failure to respect a rule or individual imprudence that led to the explosion.”

Firefighters prevented the fire from igniting two neighboring buildings that were “seriously destabilized” by the explosion and had to be evacuated, Nunez said. The explosion blew out several windows in the area, witnesses and the police chief said.

With more than 2 million people densely packed within the city limits and historic, sometimes ageing, infrastructure, Paris is not a stranger to gas explosions. A January 2019 blast in the 9th district killed four people and left dozens injured.

After Wednesday’s blast, a student at the private school said he was in a building about 100 meters (yards) away when the explosion hit.

“I was sitting on the windowsill, and we moved 2 meters away from the window, carried by a small blast (from the explosion) and huge fear,” Achille, whose last name was not given, told BFM television.

“We came down (from the building) and saw the flames,” he said. “The police gave us great support and we evacuated quickly.”


Sylvie Corbet in Paris, John Leicester in Le Pecq, France and Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed to this report.

The pilot and 4 passengers of the Titan submersible are dead, US Coast Guard says


The U.S. Coast Guard says a missing submersible imploded near the wreckage of the Titanic, killing all five people on board.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)

Coast Guard officials said during a news conference Thursday that they’ve notified the families of the crew of the Titan, which has been missing for several days. Debris found during the search for the vessel “is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” said Rear Adm. John Mauger of the First Coast Guard District.

“The outpouring of support in this highly complex search operation has been great appreciated. Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and loved ones of the crew,” Mauger said.

OceanGate Expeditions said in a statement that all five people on board, including company CEO Stockton Rush, are believed to be dead. Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet “have sadly been lost,” OceanGate said in a statement.

OceanGate did not provide details when the company announced the “loss of life” in a statement or how officials knew the crew members perished. The Titan’s 96-hour oxygen supply likely ended early Thursday.

OceanGate has been chronicling the Titanic’s decay and the underwater ecosystem around it via yearly voyages since 2021.

The Titan was estimated to have about a four-day supply of breathable air when it launched Sunday morning in the North Atlantic — but experts have emphasized that was an imprecise approximation to begin with and could be extended if passengers have taken measures to conserve breathable air. And it’s not known if they survived since the sub’s disappearance.

Rescuers have rushed ships, planes and other equipment to the site of the disappearance. On Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard said an undersea robot sent by a Canadian ship had reached the sea floor, while a French research institute said a deep-diving robot with cameras, lights and arms also joined the operation.

Authorities have been hoping underwater sounds might help narrow their search, whose coverage area has been expanded to thousands of miles — twice the size of Connecticut and in waters 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) deep. Coast Guard officials said underwater noises were detected in the search area Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jamie Pringle, an expert in Forensic Geosciences at Keele University, in England, said even if the noises came from the submersible, “The lack of oxygen is key now; even if they find it, they still need to get to the surface and unbolt it.”

The Titan was reported overdue Sunday afternoon about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, as it was on its way to where the iconic ocean liner sank more than a century ago. OceanGate Expeditions, which is leading the trip, has been chronicling the Titanic’s decay and the underwater ecosystem around it via yearly voyages since 2021.

By Thursday morning, hope was running out that anyone on board the vessel would be found alive.

Dr. Rob Larter, a marine geophysicist with the British Antarctic Survey, emphasized the difficulty of finding something the size of the submersible, which is about 22 feet (6.5 meters) long and 9 feet (nearly 3 meters) high.

FILE - OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush emerges from the hatch atop the OceanGate submarine Cyclops 1 in the San Juan Islands, Wash., on Sept. 12, 2018. Rescuers are racing against time to find the missing submersible carrying five people, who were reported overdue Sunday night, June 18, 2023. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times via AP, File)

“You’re talking about totally dark environments,” in which an object several dozen feet away can be missed, he said. “It’s just a needle in a haystack situation unless you’ve got a pretty precise location.”

Newly uncovered allegations suggest there had been significant warnings made about vessel safety during the submersible’s development.

Broadcasters around the world started newscasts at the critical hour Thursday with news of the submersible. The Saudi-owned satellite channel Al Arabiya showed a clock on air counting down to their estimate of when the air could potentially run out.

Captain Jamie Frederick of the First Coast Guard District said a day earlier that authorities were still holding out hope of saving the five passengers onboard.

“This is a search-and-rescue mission, 100%,” he said Wednesday.

Retired Navy Capt. Carl Hartsfield, now the director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Systems Laboratory, said the sounds detected have been described as “banging noises,” but he warned that search crews “have to put the whole picture together in context and they have to eliminate potential manmade sources other than the Titan.” Frederick acknowledged Wednesday that authorities didn’t what the sounds were.

The report of sounds was encouraging to some experts because submarine crews unable to communicate with the surface are taught to bang on their submersible’s hull to be detected by sonar.

The U.S. Navy said in a statement Wednesday that it was sending a specialized salvage system that’s capable of hoisting “large, bulky and heavy undersea objects such as aircraft or small vessels.”

The Titan weighs 20,000 pounds (9,000 kilograms). The U.S. Navy’s Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System is designed to lift up to 60,000 pounds (27,200 kilograms), the Navy said on its website.

Lost aboard the vessel is pilot Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate. His passengers are: British adventurer Hamish Harding; Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman; and French explorer and Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet.

In the first comments from Pakistan since the Titan vanished, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Thursday that officials have confidence in the search efforts.

“We would not like to speculate on the circumstances of this incident and we would also like to respect the wishes of the Dawood family that their privacy be respected,” she said.

At least 46 people successfully traveled on OceanGate’s submersible to the Titanic wreck site in 2021 and 2022, according to letters the company filed with a U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, that oversees matters involving the Titanic shipwreck.

One of the company’s first customers characterized a dive he made to the site two years ago as a “kamikaze operation.”

“Imagine a metal tube a few meters long with a sheet of metal for a floor. You can’t stand. You can’t kneel. Everyone is sitting close to or on top of each other,” said Arthur Loibl, a retired businessman and adventurer from Germany. “You can’t be claustrophobic.”

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick, right, faces reporters as Royal Navy Lt Cdr Rich Kantharia, left, looks on during a news conference, Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at Coast Guard Base Boston, in Boston. The U.S. Coast Guard says sounds and banging noises have been heard from the search area for Titanic submersible. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

During the 2 1/2-hour descent and ascent, the lights were turned off to conserve energy, he said, with the only illumination coming from a fluorescent glow stick.

The dive was repeatedly delayed to fix a problem with the battery and the balancing weights. In total, the voyage took 10 1/2 hours.

The submersible had seven backup systems to return to the surface, including sandbags and lead pipes that drop off and an inflatable balloon.

Nick Rotker, who leads underwater research for the nonprofit research and development company MITRE, said the difficulty in searching for the Titan has underscored the U.S.’s need for more underwater robots and remotely operated underwater vehicles.

“The issue is, we don’t have a lot of capability or systems that can go to the depth this vessel was going to,” Rotker said.

Nicolai Roterman, a deep-sea ecologist and lecturer in marine biology at the University of Portsmouth, England, said the disappearance of the Titan highlights the dangers and unknowns of deep-sea tourism.

“Even the most reliable technology can fail, and therefore accidents will happen. With the growth in deep-sea tourism, we must expect more incidents like this.”


Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia; Frank Jordans in Berlin; Danica Kirka in London; and John Leicester in Paris contributed to this report.

Drug syndicate hid meth in Canadian maple syrup, canola oil bound for Down Under, authorities say

By NICK PERRY from the Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A drug syndicate that tried to smuggle tons of methamphetamine from Canada to Australia and New Zealand by hiding it in shipments of maple syrup and canola oil has had its ruse busted, authorities said Thursday.

In this photo provided by the Australian Federal Police a man is taken into custody in Melbourne, Wednesday, June 14, 2023. A drug syndicate that tried to smuggle tons of methamphetamine from Canada to Australia and New Zealand by hiding it in shipments of maple syrup and canola oil has been busted, authorities said Thursday, June 15. (Australian Federal Police via AP)

Authorities from the three nations say they worked together for more than five months to unravel the elaborate scheme that was worth billions of dollars.

Authorities in New Zealand and Australia say they’ve made a dozen arrests and expect more to come, while Canadian authorities said they are still investigating the case and aren’t yet providing all the details.

Australian police said they intercepted four separate hauls of meth weighing more than six tons and filed charges against six men.

They said that in January, Canadian authorities alerted them that 2,900 liters (766 gallons) of liquid meth had been hidden in 180 bottles of canola oil bound for Australia.

They said Canadian authorities swapped out the meth for a harmless substance and allowed the shipment to continue.

Australian police said that two men then moved what they believed were the drugs to storage locations around the city of Melbourne. Two more shipments came in May and June, and the syndicate was also linked to a December shipment, Australian police said.

In New Zealand, police said the syndicate tried to hide more than three-quarters of a ton of meth in a shipment of maple syrup, the largest such shipment that had been intercepted at New Zealand’s border.

New Zealand police said they have arrested and charged five men at a rural property near the town of Helensville, north of Auckland, who had taken the bulk of the shipment. A sixth person that police say took the remainder of the shipment was also facing charges.

“The international drug trade and organized crime groups are creating havoc and harm in communities around the globe,” New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said.

“Our best opportunity to disrupt, intercept, and keep our communities safe is to work collaboratively with other agencies, and other nations,” Coster said.

In Australia, Victoria state police assistant commissioner Bob Hill said importing such drugs on an industrial scale ruins lives, families and communities.

“Unfortunately, the insatiable appetite for illicit drugs in Australia makes us a lucrative market for organized crime,” Hill said in a statement.

British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police Acting Commissioner Will Ng said the operation was a perfect example of what law enforcement agencies around the globe can achieve when working together.

Florida deputy and motorist survive being swept through storm drain amid huge rainstorm

From the Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida sheriff’s deputy and a motorist are lucky to be alive after they were sucked into a flooded storm drain during a torrential downpour, then dragged underwater for around 30 seconds before emerging — soaked but unharmed — on the other side of a highway.

This image provided by Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. shows police bodycam footage of a motorist being sucked into a flooded storm drain during a torrential downpour on Friday, June 16, 2023 in Escambia County, Fla. Deputy William Hollingsworth and a motorist were sucked into a flooded storm drain during a torrential downpour, then dragged under water for around 30 seconds before emerging — soaked but unharmed — on the other side of a highway. (Escambia County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Deputy William Hollingsworth was helping stranded drivers amid the rapidly rising water early Friday when he saw the motorist disappear beneath the surface. Hollingsworth “rushed to his aid without regard to his own safety,” Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons told reporters.

The pair traveled nearly 100 feet (30 meters) under four lanes of Highway 98, Simmons said. The episode was recorded by the deputy’s body camera — although the underwater portion of the video is completely dark, filled only with the muffled sounds of rushing water.

After emerging on the other side, Hollingsworth calls out to the driver while wading toward him, shouting “Buddy I got you! Oh Jesus!” Red and blue lights from his police cruiser reflect off the pitch-black water. The motorist, who wasn’t identified by name, yells, “I almost died.”

The two hold onto each other as they head back across the road, still in disbelief.

“I’ve never held my breath like that in my life,” the deputy says. “Me neither,” the motorist agrees.

Other law enforcement officers arrive and the pair recounts their experience.

“Thank you man, for like, being there when I came out,” the driver tells Hollingsworth. “When I came out, you were right behind me.”

Later, sitting in a law enforcement vehicle, the driver gives the deputy a firm handshake.

“Me and you, man!” he says, “That’s an experience for life and I appreciate you.”

The US Coast Guard is bringing in more ships, vessels to search for lost Titanic tourist submersible

By PATRICK WHITTLE and HOLLY RAMER for the Associated Press

A Canadian surveillance vessel has detected more underwater noises in the area where rescuers are searching for a submersible that went missing in the North Atlantic while bringing five people down to the wreck of the Titanic, authorities said Wednesday.

FILE – OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush emerges from the hatch atop the OceanGate submarine Cyclops 1 in the San Juan Islands, Wash., on Sept. 12, 2018. Rescuers are racing against time to find the missing submersible carrying five people, who were reported overdue Sunday night, June 18, 2023. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times via AP, File)

Coast Guard officials were bringing in more ships and other vessels to search the more narrowly defined area, though the exact location and source of the sounds has not yet been determined. The full scope of the search was twice the size of Connecticut in waters 2 1/2 miles deep, said Captain Jamie Frederick of the First Coast Guard District.

“This is a search and rescue mission, 100%,” Frederick said. “We are smack dab in the middle of search and rescue and we’ll continue to put every available asset that we have in an effort to find the Titan and the crew members.”

Frederick said the noises were heard for a second day Wednesday, but “we don’t know what they are, to be frank.”

Retired Navy Capt. Carl Hartsfield, now the director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Systems Laboratory, told a news conference Wednesday that the sounds have been described as “banging noises,” but warned that search crews “have to put the whole picture together in context and they have to eliminate potential manmade sources other than the Titan.”

Even those who expressed some optimism warned that many obstacles remain: from pinpointing the vessel’s location, to reaching it with rescue equipment, to bringing it to the surface — assuming it’s still intact — before the passengers’ oxygen supply runs out.

The area of the North Atlantic where the Titan submersible went missing on Sunday is prone to fog and stormy conditions, making it an extremely challenging environment to conduct a search-and-rescue mission, said Donald Murphy, an oceanographer who served as chief scientist of the Coast Guard’s International Ice Patrol.

After a Canadian military surveillance aircraft detected underwater noises in the search area, a robotic vessel was sent to scour the region but had so far “yielded negative results,” the Coast Guard wrote on Twitter.

The Coast Guard did not elaborate on what rescuers believed the noises could be. The vessel is estimated to have as little as a day’s worth of oxygen left if it is still functioning.

Three search vessels arrived on-scene Wednesday morning, including one that has side-scanning sonar capabilities. Authorities pushed to get salvage equipment to the scene in case the submersible is found.

The Coast Guard statement about detecting sounds underwater came after Rolling Stone reported that search teams heard “banging sounds in the area every 30 minutes.”

The report was encouraging to some experts because submarine crews unable to communicate with the surface are taught to bang on their submersible’s hull to be detected by sonar.

“It sends a message that you’re probably using military techniques to find me and this is how I’m saying it,” said Frank Owen, a submarine search and rescue expert. “So, that’s really encouraging if that’s the case.”

Richard Garriott de Cayeux, the president of The Explorers Club, wrote an open letter to his club’s adventurers, saying he had “much greater confidence” about the search after speaking to officials in Congress, the U.S. military and the White House.

However, no official has publicly suggested they know the source of the underwater noises.

Meanwhile, questions remain about how teams could reach the lost submersible, which could be as deep as about 12,500 feet (3,800 meters) below the surface near the watery tomb of the historic ocean liner. Newly uncovered allegations also suggest there had been significant warnings made about vessel safety during its development.

Lost aboard the vessel are pilot Stockton Rush, the CEO of the company leading the expedition. His passengers are a British adventurer, two members of a Pakistani business family and a Titanic expert.

Authorities reported the 22-foot carbon-fiber vessel overdue Sunday night, setting off the search in waters about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John’s.

The submersible had a four-day oxygen supply when it put to sea around 6 a.m. Sunday, according to David Concannon, an adviser to OceanGate Expeditions, which oversaw the mission.

Owen said the estimated 96-hour oxygen supply is a useful “target” for searchers, but is only based on a “nominal amount of consumption the average human might consume in doing certain things.” Owen said the diver on board the Titan would likely be advising passengers to “do anything to reduce your metabolic levels so that you can actually extend this 96 hours.”

Chris Brown, a British adventurer who paid a deposit to go on the Titan voyage but later withdrew because of what he called safety concerns, said word that the searchers have heard sounds is both good news and bad news.

“If the sounds are coming from below the water indicator then that indicates that they may be alive in the water, but now we’ve got time pressures in getting them up to the surface,” Brown told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Wednesday.

Brown has previously criticized the use of a simple commercially available video game controller to steer the Titan. But OceanGate has said that many of the vessel’s parts are off-the-shelf because they have proved to be dependable.

“It’s meant for a 16-year-old to throw it around,” and is “super durable,” Rush told the CBC in an interview last year while he demonstrated by throwing the controller around the Titan’s tiny cabin. He said a couple of spares are kept on board “just in case.”

The submersible had seven backup systems to return to the surface, including sandbags and lead pipes that drop off and an inflatable balloon.

Aaron Newman, who has been a passenger on the Titan, told NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday that if the submersible is below a couple hundred meters and without power, the passengers are in complete darkness and it’s cold.

“It was cold when we were at the bottom,” he said. “You had layered up. You had wool hats on and were doing everything to stay warm at the bottom.”

Jeff Karson, a professor emeritus of earth and environmental sciences at Syracuse University, said the temperature is just above freezing, and the vessel is too deep for human divers to get to it. The best chance to reach the submersible could be to use a remotely operated robot on a fiber optic cable, he said.

“I am sure it is horrible down there,” Karson said. “It is like being in a snow cave and hypothermia is a real danger.”

Meanwhile, documents show that OceanGate had been warned there might be catastrophic safety problems posed by the way the experimental vessel was developed.

David Lochridge, OceanGate’s director of marine operations, said in a 2018 lawsuit that the company’s testing and certification was insufficient and would “subject passengers to potential extreme danger in an experimental submersible.”

The company insisted that Lochridge was “not an engineer and was not hired or asked to perform engineering services on the Titan.” The firm also says the vessel under development was a prototype, not the now-missing Titan.

The Marine Technology Society, which describes itself as “a professional group of ocean engineers, technologists, policy-makers, and educators,” also expressed concern that year in a letter to Rush, OceanGate’s chief executive. The society said it was critical that the company submit its prototype to tests overseen by an expert third party before launching in order to safeguard passengers. The New York Times first reported on those documents.

The search for the missing vessel has drawn international attention. In Dubai, where the missing British adventurer Hamish Harding lives, Crown Prince Hamadan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum wrote: “Dubai and its people pray for their safety and hopeful return home.”

Others aboard include Pakistani nationals Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, whose eponymous firm invests across the country. In Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, employees at his firms said they prayed for the two’s safe return, as did government officials. French explorer and Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet also was on the vessel.

Retired Navy Vice Admiral Robert Murrett, who is now deputy director of the Institute for Security Policy and Law at Syracuse University, said the disappearance of the submersible underscores the dangers associated with operating in deep water and the recreational exploration of the sea and space, “two environments where in recent past we’ve seen people operate in hazardous, potentially lethal environments,” Murrett said.

“I think some people believe that because modern technology is so good, that you can do things like this and not have accidents, but that’s just not the case,” he said.


Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Oregon State Police Selects Tyler Technologies’ Enterprise Public Safety Solutions

PLANO, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jun 20, 2023–

Tyler Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: TYL) announced it has signed a ten-year agreement with Oregon State Police for Tyler’s Enterprise Public Safety suite, including Tyler’s Enterprise CAD and Mobile solutions. To ensure the highest level of reliability and security, the solution will be hosted in Amazon Web Services’ AWS GovCloud environment.

“Oregon State Police is a leader in delivering high-quality services that support and enhance public safety in the 21 st century,” said Andre Billingsley, project manager for Oregon State Police. “A key component of delivering those high-quality services includes equipping our troopers with the best technology solutions to respond to emergencies as quickly and safely as possible. We look forward to partnering with Tyler Technologies on the replacement of one of our core, mission critical systems.”

Tyler’s computer aided dispatch (CAD) solution effectively manages single or multi-jurisdictional dispatching activities for law enforcement, fire, and EMS agencies. Once implemented, Oregon State Police will be able to share real-time, critical data across state and local dispatch centers through CAD-to-CAD communication, which will help accelerate response times and improve situational awareness of first responders.

“We are honored to partner with Oregon State Police in its mission of delivering high-quality services that enhance public safety,” said Andrew Hittle, president of Tyler’s Public Safety Division. “Tyler’s solutions will enable Oregon State Police to more effectively and efficiently provide critical public safety services to all Oregonians.”

This agreement expands Tyler’s partnership with the state of Oregon, building upon previous deployments of the statewide court case management solution, jury management, pre-trial supervision, and digital solutions.

About Tyler Technologies, Inc.

Tyler Technologies (NYSE: TYL) provides integrated software and technology services to the public sector. Tyler’s end-to-end solutions empower local, state, and federal government entities to operate efficiently and transparently with residents and each other. By connecting data and processes across disparate systems, Tyler’s solutions transform how clients turn actionable insights into opportunities and solutions for their communities. Tyler has more than 40,000 successful installations across nearly 13,000 locations, with clients in all 50 states, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, and other international locations. Tyler has been recognized numerous times for growth and innovation, including Government Technology’s GovTech 100 list. More information about Tyler Technologies, an S&P 500 company headquartered in Plano, Texas, can be found at tylertech.com.


View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230620556063/en/

CONTACT: Jennifer Kepler

Tyler Technologies





SOURCE: Tyler Technologies

Copyright Business Wire 2023.

PUB: 06/20/2023 09:17 AM/DISC: 06/20/2023 09:15 AM

2 killed in separate gunbattles with police in South Carolina; officers survive

From the Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies in South Carolina killed armed men in two different shootouts over the weekend, authorities said.

The officers in both shootings — one in McCormick County and the other in Lee County — were wounded but survived, the State Law Enforcement Division said in statements.

In McCormick County, deputies were investigating a 911 call Sunday morning about a suspicious person when 20-year-old Obed Barba shot at them and at least one deputy also fired, state agents said.

Barba died from gunshot wounds. A deputy was taken to the hospital. Further details on the officer’s condition or other information like how many deputies fired or what led to the gunfire were not released by state agents.

In Lee County, deputies were called Sunday afternoon to someone reporting a domestic assault involving a gun, authorities said.

Marquis Griffin, 27. got in a gunfight with deputies when they arrived. Griffin was killed and one deputy was hit in the leg and survived, state agents said.

No additional details were released by state police, including how many deputies were at the home or whether anyone else was hurt in the initial domestic assault.

There have been 18 people shot by police officers in South Carolina in 2023, according to the State Law Enforcement Division. Last year, state agents investigated 32 police shootings.

California governor proposes rolling back access to police misconduct records

By TRÂN NGUYỄN from the Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has proposed an end to public disclosure of investigations of abusive and corrupt police officers, handing the responsibility instead to local agencies in an effort to help cover an estimated $31.5 billion budget deficit.

J Vasquez, a representative with the Communities United For Restorative Justice, speaks in front of the state Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., June 14, 2023. Vasquez is part of a coalition that is criticizing the California governor’s administration over a proposed change to a 2021 landmark law – a change that could make it harder to access police misconduct records. (AP Photo/Trân Nguyễn)

The proposal, part of the governor’s budget package that he is still negotiating with the Legislature, has prompted strong criticism from a coalition of criminal justice and press freedom groups, which spent years pushing for the disclosure rules that were part of a landmark law Newsom signed in 2021.

The law allows the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to investigate and decertify police officers for misconduct, such as use of excessive force, sexual assault and dishonesty. It requires the commission to make public the records of decertification cases.

The Newsom administration now wants to get rid of that transparency element. The commission says the public could still get the records from police departments. But advocates say local police departments often resist releasing that information.

A number of states with a police decertification process, including Republican-led ones such as Tennessee and Georgia, require state agencies to divulge records of police misconduct.

In Tennessee, records made available through the requirement provided a slew of new details on police officers’ actions when they brutally beat Tyre Nichols, a Black man, during a traffic stop earlier this year. Those details, released by the state police certification commission, were not previously made public by the local police department.

“It’s a slap in the face to the family members who have had their loved ones stolen from them that … a key provision of the decertification process is not being honored,” J Vasquez, of social justice group Communities United For Restorative Justice, said at a news conference last week.

Removing the transparency element from the 2021 law would continue eroding public trust, Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker said. The city, 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of San Francisco, was shaken after a federal investigation found more than half of the officers in the Antioch police force were in a group text where some officers freely used racial slurs and bragged about fabricating evidence and beating suspects.

“To say, ‘go to the very people who commit the crimes against your community and ask them to reveal themselves to you so that you can hold them accountable,’ I don’t think that’s a fair process,” Torres-Walker said.

The coalition of more than 20 groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, also accused the Democratic governor of abusing the budget process to push through his proposal introduced in April.

Carmen-Nicole Cox, director of government affairs for ACLU California Action, said Newsom’s proposal should have gone through the traditional legislative process, instead of being put into the budget.

Democratic Sen. Steven Bradford, who authored the 2021 landmark bill, declined to comment on the proposed change.

The governor’s office referred questions to the commission, whose spokesperson said the proposed change is a cost-saving measure that would still allow the public to access information on decertification cases from local police departments. California is facing a nearly $32 billion budget deficit this year after enjoying several years of record-breaking surpluses and the proposal is one of many of Newsom’s cost-cutting measures.

Neither the governor’s office nor the commission shared how much money the state could save under the proposal.

According to a May budget request, the commission estimated it will handle up to 3,500 decertification cases each year. That’s about 4% of all officers in California. The commission, which has suspended or decertified 44 police officers so far this year, requested an additional $6 million to handle the large number of complaints.

“Because of the substantial fiscal implications, as well as the need to urgently implement these cost-saving measures into law, the budget process is the most appropriate avenue for this,” commission spokesperson Meagan Poulos said in a statement.

For decades, police officers in California have enjoyed layers of legal protections helping shield most of law enforcement misconduct records from public scrutiny, First Amendment Coalition Legal Director David Loy said.

In 2018, things began to shift after the Legislature passed a bill requiring the disclosure of records pertaining to police misconduct including use of excessive force, sexual assault and dishonesty. That law was expanded in 2021 to include the release of investigations into police racist or biased behavior, unlawful searches or arrests and use of unreasonable force.

The 2021 decertification law was hailed as another mechanism to hold law enforcement accountable.

“California has always been a black hole for police transparency,” said Loy, whose group is part of the coalition opposing the change. “The last thing California should be doing is taking any step backward on police transparency.”

The state Legislature passed its own version of the state budget Thursday to meet its deadline without including Newsom’s proposed change to the decertification process. Legislative leaders and the governor’s office will continue negotiations to finalize the budget by the end of the month.

Large fire breaks out at Germany’s biggest theme park, police says blaze is “under control”

From the Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — A large fire broke out at Germany’s biggest theme park Monday, sending a dense plume of black smoke billowing into the sky visible from miles around.

Police said the firefighters were at the scene and that the blaze at the Europa-Park in the town of Rust, near the French border, was “under control.”

“All visitors are currently in the process of leaving the park in an orderly manner,” police in the southwestern town of Offenburg said. “There is currently no information about injured persons.”

Regional daily Badische Zeitung reported that the fire is centered around the Spanish-themed section of the park and an area known as the Magic World of Diamonds.

Europa-Park is a popular tourist destination, that drew more than six million visitors last year, mostly from Germany, France and Switzerland.

It has1 6 areas with themes based on different European countries, and three based on fantasy settings. The park also hosts conferences and is a popular venue for events and television productions.

A search is underway for missing submarine that takes people to see Titanic

From the Associated Press

A rescue operation was underway deep in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Monday in search of a submersible vessel that carries people to view the wreckage of the Titanic.

FILE – This 2004 photo provided by the Institute for Exploration, Center for Archaeological Oceanography/University of Rhode Island/NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, shows the remains of a coat and boots in the mud on the sea bed near the Titanic’s stern. A search is underway for a missing submersible that carries people to view the wreckage of the Titanic, according to media reports. The U.S. Coast Guard told BBC News that a search was underway Monday, June 19, 2023, off the coast of Newfoundland. (Institute for Exploration, Center for Archaeological Oceanography/University of Rhode Island/NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, File)

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia said the vessel was reported overdue around 9:13 p.m. Sunday, about 435 miles (700 kilometres) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Lt. Cmdr. Len Hickey said a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and military aircraft were assisting the search effort, which was being led by the U.S. Coast Guard in Boston.

OceanGate Expeditions confirmed the search for its five-person submersible and said its focus was on those aboard the vessel and their families.

“We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to reestablish contact with the submersible,” the company said in a statement. “We are working toward the safe return of the crewmembers.”

David Concannon, an adviser to the company, said Oceangate lost contact with the sub Sunday morning. It had a 96-hour oxygen supply, he said in an email to The Associated Press on Monday afternoon. “Now 32 hours since sub left surface,” said Concannon, who said he was supposed to be on the dive but could not go due to another client matter. He said officials are working to get a remotely operated vehicle that can reach a depth of 6,000 meters (about 20,000 feet) to the site as soon as possible.

Action Aviation confirmed that its company chairman, U.K. businessman Hamish Harding, was one of the tourists on board. The company’s managing director, Mark Butler, told the AP that the crew set out on Friday.

“Every attempt is being made for a rescue mission. There is still plenty of time to facilitate a rescue mission, there is equipment on board for survival in this event,” Butler said. “We’re all hoping and praying he comes back safe and sound.”

The expedition was OceanGate’s third annual voyage to chronicle the deterioration of the iconic ocean liner that struck an iceberg and sank in 1912, killing all but about 700 of the roughly 2,200 passengers and crew. Since the wreckage’s discovery in 1985, it has been slowly succumbing to metal-eating bacteria, and some have predicted the ship could vanish in a matter of decades as holes yawn in the hull and sections disintegrate.

The initial group of tourists was funding the expedition by spending anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 apiece.

The latest trip was scheduled to depart from St. John’s, Newfoundland, in early May and finish up at the end of June, according to a court documents filed by the company in April with a U.S. District Court in Virginia that presides over Titanic matters.

Unlike submarines that leave and return to port under their own power, submersibles require a ship to launch and recover them. OceanGate hired the Canadian vessel Polar Prince, a medium duty icebreaker that was formerly operated by the Canadian Coast Guard, to ferry dozens of people and the submersible craft to the North Atlantic wreck site.

The 5-person submersible, named Titan, is capable of diving 4,000 meters or 13,120 ft. “with a comfortable safety margin,” OceanGate said in its filing with the court.

It weighs 20,000 pounds (9,072 kilograms) in the air, but is ballasted to be neutrally buoyant once it reaches the seafloor, the company said.

The Titan is made of “titanium and filament wound carbon fiber” and has proven to “withstand the enormous pressures of the deep ocean,” OceanGate stated. OceanGate told the court that Titan’s viewport is “the largest of any deep diving submersible” and that its technology provides an “unrivaled view” of the deep ocean.

Chris Parry, a retired navy rear admiral from the U.K., told Sky News that the rescue taking place was “a very difficult operation.”

““The actual nature of the seabed is very undulating. Titanic herself lies in a trench. There’s lots of debris around. So trying to differentiate with sonar in particular and trying to target the area you want to search in with another submersible is going to be very difficult indeed.”

Officers round up hundreds of pigs from overwhelmed Florida animal sanctuary

From the Associated Press

CANTONMENT, Fla. (AP) — Animal control officers rounded up more than 600 pigs from an animal sanctuary in Florida after their overwhelmed owner called for help.

Numerous pigs roam the property of Mary Tharp in the Cottage Hill community, Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Pensacola, Fla. Animal control officers spent 3-and-a-half days rounding up 608 animals and shipping them off to farms or other locations in the region. (Tony Giberson/Pensacola News Journal via AP)

It took nearly four days for officers in Escambia County to capture so many pigs on the 8-acre (3.2-hectare) property used by In Loving Swineness Sanctuary, said John Robinson, the county’s animal control director.

Last year, the sanctuary had about 150 miniature pigs that its owners were using to remove invasive cogon grass around the Florida Panhandle community of Cantonment, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

The pigs proved to be prolific procreators. Their population had grown so large, Robinson said, that the sanctuary operator called his agency last week saying: “I can’t take this anymore.”

During the roundup, the pigs showed “zero interest” in cooperating with animal control officers, who left several of the larger hogs behind to ensure nobody got hurt, Robinson said.

“It’s so difficult when you’re dealing with that many animals,” Robinson said. “It shouldn’t be the county’s responsibility to clean up somebody’s mess like that. At this point, we’ve basically zapped our resources.”

The captured pigs were divided up and trucked off to farms and other new homes outside the county.

The landowner on Tuesday was cited for violating a local zoning ordinance and ordered to pay a $250 fine. Robinson said county officials are weighing other potential sanctions against the property owner and the sanctuary operators.

Crews fully contain forest fire in New Jersey Pinelands; 2nd blaze mostly contained

From the Associated Press

MARLTON, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say they have completely contained one of the two forest fires burning in the New Jersey Pinelands, while the other remains mostly contained.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service announced Monday that the fire in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Burlington County remains at 1.3 square miles (3.4 square kilometers) and warned that smoke may still be visible for an extended period of time while firefighters work to mop up remaining hotspots. Motorists were also urged to remain alert for blowing smoke.

No injuries were reported in the fire, and authorities said the cause remains under investigation. During the course of the fire two structures were considered at risk, but neither was damaged.

Meanwhile, the fire burning in Evesham Township in Burlington County remained Monday at just over a square mile (2.6 square kilometers) and 90% containment. Authorities have said no injuries were reported and the fire no longer poses a threat to the four structures that had been cited earlier.