Did The Oregon Shooter Warn Of His Plans On 4chan?

A comment on the web bulletin board 4chan eerily warned of a school shooting in the Northwest on Wednesday, prompting speculation that the gunman responsible for Thursday’s mass shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College may have indicated he was planning the deadly attack the day before.

“Some of you guys are alright,” an anonymous commenter wrote on 4chan’s /r9k/ board at around 5 p.m. EDT. “Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest. Happening thread will be posted tomorrow morning. So long space robots.”

Many 4chan users replied to the original poster — known as “OP” in 4chan lingo — with encouragement. “DO IT,” an anonymous commenter replied. Another commenter gave detailed advice: “I suggest you enter a classroom and tell people that you will take them as hostages. Make everyone get in one corner and then open fire.”

The “OP” responded with gratitude and announced that he would be live-messaging his actions again on Thursday morning. “Thanks fam,” he offered. In response to the detailed instructions, he said, “Thanks. Keep me in your prayers.”

It is not clear how seriously to take any of these comments. 4chan users are known to joke about violence and other dark topics. They often pride themselves on being social misfits, who can vent their frustration on the online platform.

But the coincidental timing and specific nature of the message make it, as well as the comment thread, worth sharing.

4chan removed the comment thread from its site. 4chan’s rules forbid discussions or images that violate U.S. law. The site’s content moderators can remove posts or block users that they believe have violated the rules, but 4chan also regularly “prunes” old threads from the site. 

4chan’s press office did not immediately respond to a request to confirm that it had removed the thread for violating the message board’s rules.

There is also no evidence of the new comment thread the user promised to post on Thursday morning.

It is nearly impossible to confirm the identity of a 4chan user, since they have anonymity by default. They can choose a username if they want, but it is typically not a real name.

In addition, only the site administrators know the user’s IP address. And even then, a skilled computer user could use a fake IP address. 

But it would not be unheard of for law enforcement to use 4chan content to identify or prosecute a murderer. Oregon police arrested David Kalac for murdering his girlfriend in November 2014, after Kalac posted photos of her on 4chan and implied that he would soon be shot and killed by police. 

Twitter users drew attention to the thread on Thursday as possible evidence of a warning from the shooter.

Looks like the Oregon college shooter warned of his attack on 4chan’s /r9k/ board the day before

— Robert Mariani (@robert_mariani) October 1, 2015

Oregon Community College shooter possibly left a warning yesterday.
https://t.co/twnJ0DJV6s pic.twitter.com/eVCmqDjcfZ

— DeanLogic ♎ (@DeanLogic) October 1, 2015

The news media soon followed up on the leads, asking notoriously insular and acerbic 4chan users for help identifying the murderer — but they were, predictably, having none of it.

4chan users seemed to make the connection between the comment thread, however, continuing to respond to the original comment on an archived version of the thread on Thursday. They expressed surprise that the foretold attack had occurred. And their comments, whether sincere or intended as jokes, were mostly positive.

“GOOD SHOW OP / MAY YOU RIP IN PEACE,” one anonymous commenter wrote. “THIS IS DAY A HISTORY REEEE,” a user named MC RIDE said.

Below is an image of the moment on Thursday when users began to connect the thread with the shooting:

Also on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Read More


Two Men Found Guilty Of Murder In ‘Fast And Furious’ Killing Of Border Agent

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Two men were convicted of murder Thursday in the killing of a Border Patrol agent whose death brought to light the bungled federal gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious.

The jury took only three and a half hours to find Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza and Ivan Soto-Barraza guilty of all counts in the killing of Brian Terry, 40. They face life in prison and will be sentenced in December.

The 2010 killing exposed the Fast and Furious operation in which agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed criminals to buy guns with the intention of tracking the weapons. But the agency lost most of the guns, including two that were found at scene of Terry’s death. The operation set off a political firestorm, led to congressional investigations and became a major distraction for President Barack Obama in his first term.

The judge in the murder case restricted any mention of Fast and Furious, but it still marked the first trial for any defendants in the case. Two suspects have already pleaded guilty, and two others remain fugitives.

The victim’s sister, Michelle Terry-Balogh, broke down in tears as she read a statement outside court thanking the jury for its decision. She and other relatives live in Michigan and traveled to Arizona to attend the weeklong trial.

“The verdict delivered by the jury today is testimony of the vicious and violent assault that took place upon Brian and his fellow Border Patrol agents,” Terry-Balogh said.

Terry was part of a four-man Border Patrol team from an elite tactical unit that had been in the Arizona desert for two days on a mission to arrest “rip-off” crew members who rob drug smugglers along the border with Mexico. The agents said during testimony that there had been several robberies of drug smugglers in the southern Arizona dessert and that the Border Patrol was targeting them through a weekslong operation.

As they came across Sanchez-Meza, Soto-Barraza and three members of a rip crew, an agent yelled “policia!” The bandits refused to stop. An agent then fired non-lethal bean bags toward the bandits, who responded by firing from AK-47-type assault rifles.

Terry never had a chance to fire. He died of a gunshot wound that entered through his back.

Prosecutors said DNA and fingerprint evidence belonging to Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza were found on backpacks, food and beverages left behind at the scene. Sanchez-Meza and Soto-Barraza also told an FBI agent that they were part of the rip crew.

The case was prosecuted by a team from San Diego to avoid a conflict of interest in Arizona.

Defense attorneys said the men were acting in self-defense in response to the bean-bag rounds fired by the agents. The lawyers said they had no comment after the verdict.

The killing led to intense political rhetoric as Republicans sought to hold the Obama administration accountable over the Fast and Furious operation. They conducted a series of inquiries into how the Justice Department allowed guns to end up in the hands of criminals.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt after he refused to divulge documents for a congressional investigation into the matter. Since then, the Justice Department has focused on arresting and trying all suspects involved.

In their statement after the verdict, Terry’s family members repeated their harsh criticism of government officials over Fast and Furious. Prosecutors declined to comment after the verdict.

“Ultimately, it was these officials that allowed weapons to flow to the drug cartels and ultimately into the hands of the man that killed Brian Terry. These government officials should also be held responsible in the court of law,” the family said.

Soto-Barraza and Sanchez-Meza, also known as Lionel Portillo-Meza, were convicted of charges including murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference of commerce by robbery, assault on a federal officer and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Congress Is Still Giving ‘Quiet Endorsement’ To Murders

A version of this article was originally published on Aug. 28, following the on-air shooting of a WDBJ news team in Roanoke, Virginia. It is being republished after the mass shooting at a community college in Oregon

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) hammered congressional inaction on gun violence in an interview with The Huffington Post.

“Congress’ silence in the face of this rash of mass shootings has become complicity,” Murphy said. “We are essentially sending a message of quiet endorsement of these murders.”

Listen to the full interview with Murphy on the “So, That Happened” podcast, embedded above. His comments begin at the 8:25 mark.

Murphy has been a lonely voice in the Senate on gun violence, repeatedly taking the floor to list the names of people killed by guns — even long after Congress voted down stronger gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, which occurred in Murphy’s home state. While Republicans have been the most hostile to a gun reform agenda, Murphy acknowledged in the interview that many of his Democratic colleagues aren’t helping.

“We have to remind Democrats … when you vote with the NRA, they don’t care,” Murphy said. “They don’t, right? Mark Begich voted with the NRA. He voted against the background checks bill. And they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat him in Alaska. So we also have to remind Democrats that it’s not like you’re gonna buy yourself any political favors by voting with the NRA. They want Republicans. Period. Stop.” 

Murphy reiterated the message Thursday on Twitter, following the Umpqua Community College shooting

This is on us. Silence from Congress has become quiet endorsement of those whose minds unhinge and veer toward mass violence.

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 1, 2015

My heart sinks everytime I hear the news. God help everyone affected by the #UCCShooting.

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 1, 2015


This podcast was produced and edited by Adriana Usero and engineered by Brad Shannon, with assistance from Christine Conetta. To listen to this podcast later, download the show on iTunes


— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Veterinary Board Seeks To Revoke License For Texas Vet Who Killed Cat With Arrow

The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has made a decision about what to do with Kristen Lindsey, the veterinarian who bragged on Facebook about killing a cat with a bow and arrow: It wants to revoke Lindsey’s license.

That decision has been a long time coming, and is of great relief to animal advocates, who have been clamoring for justice for the cat — believed to be a pet named Tiger, who enjoyed riding around on his caretaker’s tractor.

But it’s not quite the end of the road. Lindsey is appealing.

“The board’s decision was just and necessary to protect the welfare of animals,” three members of a group called Tiger’s Justice Team — Jean Salyer, Betsy Anderson and Gisele Milsaps-Flanigan — told The Huffington Post by email. “This is a great victory, but not the final victory. The process will take time.”

Lindsey put up the gruesome Facebook post in April. (You can see it here.) She was fired from the Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham, Texas, soon thereafter. But a grand jury found “insufficient proof” to charge her with a crime.

About a month ago, the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners found that Lindsey violated its rules, but did not reveal what, if any, punishment she would face.

Spokeswoman Loris Jones told The Huffington Post that the board sent a letter to Lindsey’s attorney, Brian Bishop,  in mid-September, informing him that the board was seeking to revoke his client’s license. 

Neither Jones nor Lindsey responded to the letter, Jones said, which constitutes a de facto rejection of the board’s decision. Bishop did not immediately answer HuffPost’s request for comment. 

The next step is a hearing before the the State Office of Administrative Hearings. On Wednesday, the board filed a request to docket the case. A hearing is likely to take place in February.  

“While Lindsey may still appeal the decision, this is a huge step forward in the fight for justice for Tiger and all the unnamed victims of animal cruelty,” said Liz Holtz, an attorney with Alley Cat Allies,  one of many organizations that has been calling for action against Lindsey.

Scott Heiser, director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund‘s criminal justice program, told HuffPost that while he’d prefer for Lindsey to accept the board’s decision, the upcoming hearing presents a welcome opportunity.

Because Lindsey was never charged with a crime, there are many factual matters that Heiser and others would like to confirm — including where and when the shooting took place, and who the cat was.

Depositions and other evidentiary procedures will be part of the hearing process, ensuring that “all the facts will be aired,” said Heiser.

“This is definitely a major step forward in the process,” he added. “It’s a big milestone to be sure, but we’re a long way from home.”

Tiger’s Justice Team told HuffPost they also hope to find out, at long last, what happened to the cat’s body.

“I along with Tiger’s Justice Team are pleased with the Board’s decision and anxiously await the upcoming hearing,”  said Zandra Anderson, a lawyer specializing in animal law who represents Tiger’s Justice Team. “We are hopeful but also cautiously optimistic.”

 Also on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Never Again In Oregon Happens Again

It has happened again. Mass shootings like the one today at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg happen too often and Oregon has not been immune. Today, we offer our prayers for those killed and injured. We also lift up the families of those impacted…


Why the U.S. has the most mass shootings

When a gunman opened fire Wednesday on two Virginia journalists and the woman they were interviewing on live TV, he was influenced by a long history of public mass killings throughout the country. Shooter Vester Lee Flanagan II said he admired mass sho…


There Have Been 45 Shootings At Schools So Far This Year

A gunman opened fire on the campus of a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, on Thursday, killing multiple people and injuring many more. Details about the scale of the carnage are still trickling out, but according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a group pushing for reforms to reduce gun violence, it was the 45th shooting at a school in 2015.

Everytown was formed in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 27 people were killed, including 20 young children, six faculty members and the shooter. There have been 142 shootings at schools since December 14, 2012, the date of that incident. 

The graphics above shows just how frequently gun violence affects students of all ages, whether directly or indirectly. The incidents include targeted shootings, self-inflicted gunshots and other discharges that didn’t strike individuals. The relative lull in June, July and August could be explained by the fact that K-12 schools, most commonly the site of these shootings, are generally on summer break during those months.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Watch Obama Address Homicidal Gun Violence Again, And Again, And Again, And Again, And…

A version of this article was originally published on June 18, following the shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. It is being republished after another mass shooting at a community college in Oregon.

Following the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June, which killed nine people, President Barack Obama found himself in a familiar, dark place: addressing the nation about a shooting that had taken multiple lives.

It was the 14th time during his administration that he had been forced to issue a statement in response to a mass killing, according to CBS’ Mark Knoller. And his frustration over having to repeatedly mark these morose occasions clearly weighed on him. The president spent a large part of his remarks bemoaning how the political system has completely failed to respond to gun violence.

A look back underscores the growing sense of hopelessness the president must feel. Once clinical and business-like when responding to tragedy, Obama now seems emotionally worn down and at times overtly angry when these incidents occur. Above is footage of the president in the wake of gun-related violence: from the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, to the killings in Aurora, Colorado; the near-assassination of Gabby Giffords to the slaughtering of children in Newtown, Connecticut; the murders at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee to the latest deaths at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Watch the video above.

Also on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


FBI Director Says He Can’t Force Police To Provide Shooting Data

WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that he doesn’t have the power to force law enforcement agencies across the country to report information on police shootings and that he could only “talk about it and talk about it and talk about it,” using his position as a bully pulpit.

“I don’t have the power to require people to supply us with data,” Comey said in response to The Huffington Post’s question at a roundtable with reporters at FBI headquarters. “So my plan is, I’m just talking about it constantly to state and local law enforcement, saying this is in everyone’s interest who cares about sound policing, sound public policy, and to use the bully pulpit of this office to say ‘You’ve got to give it to us, you’ve got to give it to us.’ Those are the tools I have.” 

The FBI plans to “collect more data about shootings (fatal and nonfatal) between law enforcement and civilians” and increase overall reporting, Comey said this week. Incomplete FBI data suggested there were only 444 justifiable police homicides in 2014, a number known to be inaccurate because a large number of law enforcement agencies fail to voluntarily turn over that information. 

Earlier this year, in a speech about race and policing, the FBI director said it was “ridiculous” that we didn’t know how many citizens were killed by the police each year. But he was hesitant to say whether he believed he should be able to force law enforcement agencies to provide that data.

“I don’t know how that would work,” Comey said on Thursday. It would be “possible” to tie federal funds to the reporting requirements, so that law enforcement agencies that failed to report their data wouldn’t have access to federal grants, he said.

“That wouldn’t be a Bureau thing; that might be a Congress enacts something that gives the attorney general that authority,” he added. “I don’t know; I know what I have the ability to do, and that is talk about it and talk about it and talk about it.” 

The fatal August 2014 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, drew public attention to the lack of accurate data on police killings. Both The Guardian and The Washington Post have tracked deadly encounters with police officers so far in 2015. As of Thursday, The Guardian had counted 875 people killed by the police, while The Washington Post had counted 741 individuals who had been shot and killed by an officer. 

Comey also said he was “very concerned” about increased murder and violent crime rates in many U.S. cities, but said he wasn’t sure if we could say what was causing them.

“I think all of us need to figure out what is going on here,” he said, adding that police chiefs across the country had told him they are seeing “huge spikes” in violent crime. “Something very, very worrisome is going on,” he added.

Yet Comey placed rising violent crime rates in important historical context. He said the U.S. is “in a place where I never imagined we would be as a country,” back when he was a federal prosecutor in the 1980s and early 1990s and believed that New York City would “never get below 2,000 murders” per year. (The city had over 2,000 murders per year in 1991. In 2014, the number had dropped to 328 — the lowest number of murders since the New York City Police Department began collecting statistics in 1963.)

Comey said he didn’t know whether protests against police violence have made it harder for police to do their jobs, a theory that has been dubbed the “Ferguson effect.” “I’m not discounting it, but I just don’t know,” he said, adding that he was “focused on it, trying to figure it out.”

“Some have said police officers aren’t getting out of their cars and talking to gang-bangers on street corners anymore, but I don’t know,” he said. “What I do know is that a whole lot of people are dying. They are, according to the chiefs, overwhelmingly people of color, and we’ve got to care about that.”

The spike in crime made him want to be “thoughtful” on criminal justice reform, Comey added. 

“My strong sense is that a significant portion of the change in our world since I was a prosecutor in New York in 1987 is due to law enforcement, but I’m sure there are lots of other things [going on],” he said.

“I just want to make sure that as we reform — first of all, we’re grateful that we actually have the space and time to think and talk about sentencing better, rehabilitating better, and [that] is a product of hard work over the past 25 years — but as we do it, are very, very thoughtful about where we used to be and how we got from that point to here,” Comey said.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.