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Suspect arrested in killings of 2 Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Authorities confirmed on Tuesday that a man suspected of killing at least two Muslim men in New Mexico has been arrested.  The suspect, 51-year-old Muhammad Syed, was taken into custody after a tipster contacted authorities.

Albuquerque Police Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock told reporters that Syed is accused of the July 26 and Aug. 1 murders of Aftab Hussein, 41, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, respectively. Syed is also a suspect in the Aug. 5 killing of Naeem Hussain, 25, and the Nov. 7 slaying of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, but authorities are still investigating those cases.  Albuquerque police declined to elaborate on a potential motive, however in a news release the department said the victims knew Syed “to some extent and an interpersonal conflict” may have led to the shootings.

The first murder happened on Nov. 7, when the body of Mohammad Ahmadi was found in a parking lot behind the halal meat business he ran with his brother. The two other homicides were the killing of Pakistani immigrant Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain near the University of New Mexico, authorities said.

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Hostage standoff at Narcotics Anonymous meeting in Florida leaves three dead in murder-suicide

A hostage situation at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in Florida ended with three people dead in an apparent murder-suicide.  Police responded to a report that a person was shot at Bridge the Gap, a non-profit organization, on Monday at approximately 7:00 p.m. in Edgewater, Florida. Bridge the Gap was hosting a Narcotics Anonymous meeting at the time.

According to the Edgewater Police Department, Quinton Hunter, the suspect, entered the building after the meeting started and shot Ian Greenfield at close proximity, “mortally wounding him.”  Police shared in a statement: “At this time we believe Quinton Hunter was angry over a relationship Greenfield had with Hunter’s former girlfriend, Erica Hoffman, the second victim in this case.”

20 people were in attendance at the NA meeting, and were able to flee the building safely.  Police said Hunter prevented Hoffman from leaving, turning the incident into a hostage situation. The Southeast Volusia Regional SWAT Team and Southeast Volusia Negotiations Team responded to the scene and attempted to contact Hunter to negotiate a resolution. Upon entering the building, SWAT discovered the bodies of Greenfield, Hoffman, and Hunter.

The Edgewater Police Department are continuing to investigate the incident along with the State Attorney Homicide Investigations Unit.

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Father and son sentenced to life in prison for federal hate crimes in killing of Ahmaud Arbery

The father and son convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were both given an additional sentence of life in prison Monday on federal hate crime charges, while their neighbor was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Travis McMichael, 36, was given the additional life sentence plus 10 years; his father, 64-year-old Gregory McMichael, was also given an additional life sentence, while their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 52, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Lisa Golbey Wood said during the elder McMichael’s sentencing: “A young man is dead. Ahmaud Arbery will forever be 25. And what happened, a jury found, happened because he’s Black.”  Prosecutors had sought life sentences for all three men but Golbey Wood said she believed it was necessary to distinguish Bryan from the McMichaels, because he did not bring a firearm to the scene, but said he was “still deserving of an awfully long sentence.” The McMichaels asked to be sent to a federal prison — citing concerns about rampant inmate violence in state-run prisons — however, the rejected the requests and ordered that all three men serve their sentences in state prison.
Travis McMichael was convicted of federal hate crimes in February along with his father and Bryan, all of whom are White. Each of the men were convicted in state court and sentenced to life in prison for killing Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan and the McMichaels were sentenced to life in prison in state court in January for shooting the 25-year-old Black man to death as he jogged through a neighborhood near Brunswick, Ga. The jury in the federal case found the defendants guilty of violating Arbery’s civil rights by targeting and attempting to kidnap him because he was Black. The younger McMichael, who fired the bullets that killed Arbery, was also found guilty of using a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

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Sources say FBI raid at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home allegedly tied to classified material

Former President Donald Trump said that the FBI “raided” his Florida home at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, claiming in a written statement that the search — unprecedented in American history — was politically motivated, without providing specifics.

Trump said in a lengthy email statement issued by his Save America political committee: “These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate. They even broke into my safe!”

Sources say that the search was tied to classified information Trump allegedly took with him from the White House to his Palm Beach resort in January 2021. In mid-January, the National Archives “arranged for the transport from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives of 15 boxes that contained Presidential records, following discussions with President Trump’s representatives in 2021,” the agency said in a statement. When the National Archives discovered the missing documents, it demanded them of the former president, who eventually turned over 15 boxes of the documents in February.  The National Archives and Records Administration asked the Justice Department to examine whether Trump’s handling of White House records violated federal law.

According to a Secret Service official, the FBI notified the Secret Service about the bureau’s plans to execute the warrant just hours before agents searched Trump’s residence on Monday. The Secret Service facilitated access to the property, the official said, but did not participate in any aspect of the search.

Trump is not at Mar-a-Lago, his winter residence. He often spends his summers at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.

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More human remains are discovered as waters recede due to drought at Lake Mead

The National Park Service said that more human remains were recovered from the receding waters of Lake Mead for the fifth time this year.

The National Park Service said in a statement that rangers received an emergency call reporting the discovery of human skeletal remains at Swim Beach in the Leake Mead National Recreation Area at about 11:15 a.m. Saturday: “Park rangers responded and set a perimeter to recover the remains with support from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s dive team.” The Clark County Medical Examiner was contacted to determine a cause of death and an investigation is ongoing.

At least four other sets of human remains have been found this year as Lake Mead experiences historically low water levels. The drop in water levels has been cited as a reason for the discovery of a 50-gallon barrel containing the body of a man police believe was the victim of a murder in the mid-1970s or early 1980s. Last August, the federal government declared a water shortage in the Colorado River Basin for the first time, stating that the water level in Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the United States by volume, had fallen to 1,067 feet above sea level and was at 35% capacity.

In July, a set of human remains was found in Swim Lake and the body 22-year-old Lily Kristine Hatcher was found near the Boulder Islands where she went missing on June 30.

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Police search for 2 suspects after 9 are injured in downtown Cincinnati mass shooting

Police are still searching for two suspects after nine people were injured in a mass shooting near downtown Cincinnati early Sunday morning. Eight men and one woman ranging in ages from 23-47 were hospitalized; all nine had been released from University of Cincinnati Medical Center as of 10:30 a.m.

Cincinnati Police Lt. Col. Mike John said that the shooting took place following an altercation between two groups of people shortly before 2 a.m. outside Mr. Pitiful’s bar in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine district, estimating that 15-20 shots were fired in the shooting.

According to Lt. Col. John, as the shooter was actively firing, Officer Joe Shook – who has been with the Cincinnati Police Department since 2016 –  fired a shot. It was unknown whether the bullet struck the shooter, adding that the shooter fled. At a second news conference on Sunday, John said that more shots were fired after the shooter fled, leading police to believe there were at least two shooters.

Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said the shooting was “unacceptable” while praising officers for their response:  “The gun violence we are seeing is not the gun violence of the past that was concentrated around the drug trad. We need community support, the citizens of Cincinnati to realize this is a devastating trend and to work with us to resolve the differences without gunfire.”

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1 dead, 11 sickened in Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Napa County, California

A Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in California’s Napa County has caused one death and nearly a dozen hospitalizations since mid-July.  Public health officials have found one possible source of the bacteria that causes the illness, with high levels of Legionella bacteria being found in a water sample taken from a cooling tower at Embassy Suites Napa Valley. However, none of those who were sickened had visited or stayed at the hotel.

According to a Napa County statement“The cooling tower has since been taken offline, which mitigates any ongoing risk to public health.”  Dr. Karen Relucio, the county’s health officer, said in the statement that county and state public health investigators have been working with hotel staff to “remediate the source of exposure, but we must continue to investigate other cooling towers and water sources in the outbreak area, as it is common to find more than one source.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia caused by a bacteria that grows in warm water. People can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in water vapor containing the bacteria. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Outbreaks are commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complex water systems, like hotels and resorts, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and cruise ships. The most likely sources of infection include water used for showering, hot tubs, decorative fountains, and cooling towers.” The disease isn’t contagious, and can be treated with antibiotics, but can be dangerous for some people, such as those with pre-existing conditions. Symptoms include muscle aches, fever and chills.

A dozen Napa County residents have been hospitalized with the disease since July 11. Three remain hospitalized and one person died; the county said that person was over the age of 50 and had “risk factors for severe disease.”

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WNBA star Brittney Griner found guilty in Russian drug trial; is sentenced to 9 years in prison

WNBA star Brittney Griner was found guilty by a Russian court on Thursday on drug smuggling and possession charges, and was sentenced her to nine years in a Russian penal colony.  The verdict came after closing arguments in Griner’s trial at a court near Moscow.

The two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist has been in a Russian jail for almost six months since her arrest at Moscow’s airport in February with two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her bags.  Cannabis is illegal in Russia, but Griner’s attorneys have argued that she has a valid medical prescription and that she didn’t intentionally pack the cartridges. However in its verdict, the court ruled that Griner had deliberately intended to smuggle cannabis.

The 31-year-old, who’d faced a total of 10 years in prison, pleaded guilty to the charges last month in a bid for leniency from the court. Last week, Griner testified in her own defense, saying she packed the vape cartridges by accident and that she had ‘no intention’ of breaking Russian law. Prosecutors argued for a 9 1/2-year jail sentence for Griner; however, the court rejected those arguments and sentenced Griner to nine years in jail, and a fine of 9 million rubles (equal to about $150,000). The 9-year sentence is considered by many an excessive punishment for Griner possessing less than 2 grams of the cannabis oil. Griner’s attorneys said the verdict was “absolutely unreasonable” and promised to exercise the basketball star’s right to an appeal.

President Joe Biden said he’s doing everything possible to secure Griner’s release: “Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and [imprisoned former U.S. Marine] Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

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Alex Jones admits in court that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was ‘100% real’

Infowars owner and host Alex Jones admitted on Wednesday that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut did occur.  Jones said Wednesday: “Especially since I’ve met the parents. It’s 100% real.”

Jones made the admission during the civil trial that will determine how much the conspiracy theorist owes in defamation damages to the parents of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting. Until Wednesday, Jones had steadfastly claimed that the event was a staged government conspiracy meant to take away Americans’ guns.

The parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, one of the 26 first- grade students and teachers killed in the shooting, are seeking $150 million in damages after Jones repeatedly described the shooting as a “giant hoax” involving government-employed “crisis actors.” During cross-examination, the attorney representing Jesse Lewis’ parents, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, told the courtroom that Jones’ lawyer sent him an “entire digital copy” of Jones’ cellphone “with every text message you’ve sent for the past two years” over a week ago. The phone also contained financial information pertaining to Jones’ media company that he didn’t turn over during deposition.

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Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski and three others die in Indiana car crash

Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski died Wednesday in a car crash in her home district, her office announced. She was 58.  The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said that Walorski was riding in an SUV with Emma Thomson, 28, a member of her staff, and Zach Potts, 27, chairman of the St. Joseph County Republican Party when another vehicle struck them head-on. Thomson, Potts and the driver of the other vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56, also died of their injuries.

Walorski’s office confirmed the news in a post on her Twitter account: “Dean Swihart, Jackie’s husband, was just informed by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s office that Jackie was killed in a car accident this afternoon. She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.”

President Joe Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Wednesday and Thursday. Biden said: “We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee on which she served. We send our deepest condolences to her husband, Dean, to the families of her staff members, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, who lost their lives in public service, and to the people of Indiana’s Second District who lost a representative who was one of their own.”

Walorski represented Indiana in Congress since 2013. Before being elected to U.S. Congress in 2012, she served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010. In the U.S. House, she was the ranking member of the House ethics committee and held positions on the ways and means, armed services, budget, Veterans Affairs, and coronavirus crisis committees. She belonged to the Veterinary Medicine, U.S.-Japan and Republican Study caucuses.

Walorski is survived by her husband, Dean Swihart.

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