The father of a high school student who killed four classmates and himself in October was arrested Tuesday on a federal charge that he was barred from possessing the gun his son used in the shooting.
MEDIA, Pa. (AP) — The girlfriend of an off-duty police officer has been charged with shooting him to death inside his Philadelphia-area home.
Authorities in Delaware County charged 27-year-old Tyaina Finch of Glenolden with first- and third-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Mark Hudson in Darby Township on Saturday. Officials say Hudson had worked part-time for the Darby Borough police department for four years.
Authorities allege in a criminal complaint that Finch at first said the shooting was accidental but later said she fired in self-defense after being attacked.
A day before being charged with murder, Finch was arrested Monday on threat and assault charges stemming from a dispute last summer during which authorities allege she threatened Hudson with a knife.
The county public defender’s office couldn’t be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Julie Patz said she did not recall the man whom defense lawyers for Pedro Hernandez cast as an alternate suspect in the boy’s death as having ever been in her apartment.
Two gunmen who took a prosecutor hostage in Istanbul on Tuesday were killed in a shootout with police after a standoff that lasted for hours.
Unless you live there, you have probably never heard of Lower Merion Township in Pennsylvania. It’s a Philadelphia suburb not unlike thousands of suburban areas in the country. Nice homes, friendly shopping, parks for families and especially children. It’s a great place to live with wonderful schools (just ask Kobe Bryant). It’s a place where you feel safe. Or are you? Would you feel safe knowing that there are people walking around the parks your kids play in carrying a gun? Well the NRA thinks that is a good idea but then again, they harken back still to the days of gunslingers and cowboys and seem to not recognize the need for change. But this is not your usual call for the NRA to hang up their holsters. No, this is about the little guy, a commissioner of the township, who has the trigger finger to put the finger on these gun-totin’ lunatics. A guy named Daniel Bernheim is standing up to the NRA and their threat of a lawsuit as he challenges a code, which would regulate gun activities in the parks. The current code states, “No person, except members of the Police Department, shall carry or discharge firearms of any kind in a park without a special permit, unless exempted.” The NRA believes it is “exempted.” The Firearms Consulting Group had an attorney send threatening letters warning of potential challenges to this ordinance stating it would make municipalities liable for all legal costs if a challenge is successful.” As a result, many potential lawsuits have been rescinded for fear of financial retaliation.
Let’s put this in plain English. Guns are coming to your neighborhood and are you just going to sit on your butt and let this happen? Haven’t we, as a country, gone through enough unauthorized gun use to allow the continued existence of firearms? I don’t care if you are some responsible NRA person. How did kids get guns to shoot up schools, or men to shoot up movie theaters or shopping centers? Have we lost our collective minds? Is the right to bear arms not pathetically outdated?
Are we going to be bullied by the NRA forever because a giant list of celebrities supports them? Do they carry weapons to protect and defend their mega-mansions?
What about we regular folk who just want to protect our children and choose not to have guns in our neighborhood parks? As Commissioner Bernheim said, “This is not about gun ownership, it is about the safety of our children.” Well Commissioner, I wish you had said it was about gun ownership also because I don’t want a bullet in my back because I hit a tennis ball out of the court and some NRA dude or dudette got angry and decided to exercise the 2nd amendment right.
But I do praise the Commissioner by not backing down. The NRA stated they would sue him. Not a good move for a guy who may be Commissioner but who kept his day job as an attorney – just the kind of attorney you do not want to mess with in court. As he stated to the NRA – “go on. Give it your best shot.”
Danny – you rock! I love having a little brother who will sock it to Goliath.
MEXICO CITY — The news went viral on social networks, while the main print and electronic media trumpeted it on front pages and in prime time as a brilliant coup for bolstering Mexico’s international image: James Bond, the super-macho, all-terrain star of the spy world, had descended on Mexico City for two weeks in the midst of staged Day of the Dead festivities.
The government hailed the filming of the opening sequence of “Spectre,” which is primed to be the 26th Bond blockbuster, on locations in and around the Zocalo, the historical center of Aztec Tenochtitlan, in colonial Mexico City and the present-day capital. The set is a quick skip from the Great Temple, where, in pre-Hispanic times, high priests gouged out the hearts of victims stretched over a sacrificial stone and displayed the severed heads of war captives on a massive wooden skull rack that resembled an abacus.
The government of Mexico desperately seeks good publicity these days. The lengths it is willing to go for that were revealed by the website Tax Analysts in early March: Mexican officials offered Sony and MGM millions of dollars in tax rebates and other incentives to portray the country in a favorable light.
Among “elements needed to preserve the Mexican deal” listed in the leaked memo was the inclusion of a recognizable Mexican actress. Stephanie Sigman, star of “Miss Bala,” a 2011 thriller about an aspiring beauty queen kidnapped by drug traffickers who is forced to work as a mule, was cast in a small part.
The irony of casting an actress whose image is so tied to the ongoing Mexican tragedy may be lost on international audiences, but not on Mexicans. According to a UN report, 63 percent of women in Mexico have suffered violence at the hands of men. Femicides are on the rise with six women murdered every day, according to the National Citizen Femicide Observatory. Among Latin American nations, Mexico leads in the number of disappeared women forced into sexual slavery.
The government’s requirement to film at least four minutes of the film in Mexico City was satisfied by the opening scene, with Bond “taking off into the Mexican skyline” in a helicopter. The portrayal of Mexican police was to be favorable, according to the hacked documents — the opposite of the reality exposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto himself when he called for disbanding police forces possibly infiltrated by organized crime in 1,800 municipalities throughout Mexico, beginning in Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán and Tamaulipas, states that lead the country in extreme violence.
Why should projecting a distorted and unrealistic image of Mexico in a Bond film matter so much to officials in a country where everyone knows the reality: that this is a country where 43 rural teacher’s college students disappeared half a year ago, into a vast archipelago of the dead, where myriad clandestine graves yield remains that are never identified?
Since taking office in December 2012, one of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s stated aims has been to reposition the image of Mexico abroad, which has been sullied by years of drug war violence that has left more than 100,000 dead and nearly 26,000 missing since 2006. He aims to boost international tourism, a goal that has become more urgent with the fall of oil prices by nearly half since last June, which cut revenue and jeopardized foreign investment in the country’s oil industry.
The incentive package for the Bond film is believed to be as high as $20 million. This was obviously considered a fair amount for product placement of “Brand Mexico” in a movie that may be seen by billions. “Spectre” will be released worldwide Nov. 6, days after genuine Day of the Dead ceremonies in Mexico.
While bogus Bond violence was being filmed, thousands marched in Mexico City on the six month anniversary of the students’ disappearance in Guerrero. Some of the families have been touring the United States to garner support for demands for justice and to emphasize their rejection of the government’s official story, which is largely based on an unverifiable match of one tiny bony fragment to one missing student’s DNA.
Filming the latest James Bond movie “Spectre” in downtown Mexico City on March 25, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Mexico is not a failed state, but several of the country’s 31 states are failed. Guerrero, with the highest homicide rate in the country, is the epicenter of institutional collapse where a dangerous mix of drug trafficking and poverty is larded with pervasive official corruption. In the village of Nuevo Balsas, in the rugged Guerrero mountains, marijuana and opium poppies used to be the main source of income. Since the Canadian company Torex opened the Media Luna gold mine a few years ago, there have been jobs but worse trouble. Kidnappings and extortion have increased, and security is in the hands of community police. As a lawyer in the town of 1,500 residents said, “There’s more money and we’re a blank check for the mafias. If you don’t pay up, they kill you.”
Since the media have begun to reflect the rising popular anger over corruption, violence and impunity, they too are at risk and freedom of the press is deteriorating. Among the latest irritants is the firing of Carmen Aristegui, Mexico’s most popular broadcast journalist, who last November broke the story of “The White House,” a sprawling mansion in the capital’s most exclusive neighborhood built for the president’s wife, former soap opera star Angelica Rivera, by a company that has received juicy contracts from the government. It is widely believed that she lost her job at the behest of the presidency.
While prestigious journalists are usually protected by their high visibility, the human rights organization Article 19 has documented 656 attacks against journalists since Peña Nieto took office, including more than half a dozen unsolved murders in 2014. On Reporters Without Borders’ 2014 World Press Freedom Index, Mexico is 152 out of 180 countries, between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iraq.
The latest blow to “Brand Mexico” is a scathing United Nations report accusing police and security forces of practicing widespread torture. “Police and soldiers have regularly turned to torture to punish or extract false confessions or information from detainees in its so-called War on Drugs,” the report says. “Frequently, victims are forced to sign declarations under torture and in many cases are convicted solely on the basis of those statements.”
Crew preparing the scenery for filming the latest James Bond movie “Spectre” at downtown streets of Mexico City on March 23, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/LatinContent/Getty Images)
Two recent presidential appointments are also troubling the public. Mexico’s new attorney general, Arely Gomez, is the sister of a top official at Televisa, Latin America’s largest media company and a key factor in Peña Nieto’s electoral triumph. Gomez replaces Jesus Murillo Karam, whose credibility plummeted after he declared “Enough, I’m tired,” abruptly ending the Nov. 7 news conference where he had just given the official version of what happened to the 43 missing students: how they had been handed over by police to members of a drug gang, who incinerated their bodies at a garbage dump, pulverized the remains, packed them in plastic bags and threw them in a nearby river. When on Jan. 27, Murillo Karam stated categorically that this is the “historical truth,” Gomez was quick to give her position on the affair of the missing students, calling it an “isolated case.”
In yet another bad sign, Eduardo Medina Mora, the former Mexican ambassador to the United States and previously to the United Kingdom, following his tenure as attorney general under President Felipe Calderon, has now taken office for 15 years as a supreme court justice, despite never having served as a judge. As attorney general he midwifed Calderon’s disastrous and tragic “War on Drugs.” He is widely suspected of having authorized Operation Fast and Furious, a failed program run by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that enabled Mexican drug cartels to get their hands on high-powered weapons, although he denies any involvement. As secretary of public safety under President Vicente Fox, his responsibility for human rights violations during operations by federal police in the repression of residents of Atenco, in the state of Mexico (governed at the time by Peña Nieto) — whose protest against a new Mexico City airport left two dead and a number of women accusing the police of sexual abuse — has repeatedly been called into question.
The hope these days is that Mexicans fed up with corruption and impunity will not accommodate political business as usual. Midterm elections will be held in Mexico on June 7 for nine governors, all 500 seats in the lower house of the national legislature and other influential positions. Throughout Mexico, but especially in Guerrero, there are calls for boycotting the elections.
So while James Bond is cavorting in downtown Mexico City among giant skeleton props, leaping over rooftops and jumping into helicopters in an fictional exercise the government hopes will bolster “Brand Mexico,” Mexicans all over the country are clamoring for a new deal and real justice.
In this context, my next suggestion may seem dangerously radical. But if we are thinking outside the box, then one potential engine for pushing forward North-South relations that has been overlooked is military to military exchanges. Although recent incidents have made such exchanges more difficult, they are in a sense all the more vital for that very reason.
Engagement with the Korean People’s Army (KPA) must be handled delicately, of course. We need to lure them to the table with economic incentives aimed directly at the military. The KPA has been trying to find sources of income for the last 20-odd years. They sold sand; they sold shrimp, they have even cut down trees in parks and looted graves for valuables. Actually, the North Korean military has been doing business with South Korea in one form or another for a long time. If we increase and formalize such business exchanges — not the grave-robbing, obviously – we can create new structures of win-win mutual gain. We can even propose military to military talks for the purpose of pursuing business opportunities — just as long as we keep the larger goal in mind.
We should not be naïve about our real options. The KPA is a power in the land in Pyongyang — perhaps less so now under Kim Jong-un, so they may be all the more open to our offers — and cannot be excluded from any engagement process, if that is to succeed. Here China offers a precedent. Deng Xiaoping was well aware of the danger of excluding the military from the process of reform, so he tried to include the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as a stakeholder from the very beginning. He gave the military all kinds of business opportunities, and those policies lasted into the 1990s. We need similarly to engage the KPA in business à la Deng Xiaoping. We cannot afford to have them left out, as this would send the dangerous message that there is no place for them in a post-unification peninsula.
We need to make an offer which is so compelling that even though they understand the implications and risks, they will want or feel compelled to go along with it anyway. Our former President Kim Dae-jung advocated such an approach in his Sunshine policy, and he had some success. Though the North was fully aware of South Korea’s intentions in the Sunshine policy, it nevertheless could not resist participating in it. North Koreans are not naive, but if the economic incentive is strong enough, they will act.
Military-to-military dialogue between North and South has previously been difficult because of divergent perspectives within the ROK-US alliance. The United States looks at the Korea problem from a global perspective and thus has made the denuclearization process the primary task. South Korea shares that goal, but for it the larger goal of peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula is an even greater priority.
But if we think about the question in a more innovative manner, there is no reason why the United States military could not be involved in some part of the military-to-military dialogue between North and South. In fact, there could even be a military dialogue involving military representatives from the United States, South Korea and North Korea (I mean on a new and forward-looking basis, rather than the same countries’ participation in Military Armistice Commission (MAC) meetings at Panmunjom which North Korea has effectively undermined.) Such a conversation between the stakeholders in the three countries could be a game changer, generating possibilities for innovative approaches that are unlikely to emerge from the rather cumbersome six party talks. Finally on this subject: If Washington can directly engage the KPA, as it has in the past in joint searches for the remains of US soldiers missing in action (MIA) from the Korean War, then why cannot Seoul do likewise?
The author is chairman and CEO of the JoongAng Media Network — one of South Korea’s leading media groups, including the prestigious JoongAng Ilbo daily — and a former South Korean ambassador to the United States.
Latisha Fisher, 35, was in custody Tuesday morning, a day after the police said she locked herself in a restroom with her son and refused help as he lost consciousness.
The cross-dressing men who accused of trying to crash through the gates at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland on Monday may have taken a wrong turn after stealing a companion’s car, according to police.
One man died and another was hospitalized Monday morning following a confrontation with NSA police at the security gate. The driver of the stolen Ford Escape ignored commands to stop and accelerated toward a police cruiser, prompting at least one officer to open fire, the NSA said in a statement. An NSA police officer was also injured.
Police now believe that the men in the SUV had robbed a third man following a tryst at a motel in Jessup on Sunday night, according to the Washington Post. The three men checked in together and stayed the night, and the owner of the car called police on Monday to report his vehicle stolen.
Investigators believe the suspects took the wrong exit — a restricted turnoff on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway — that took them to the entrance to an NSA security post.
The suspects may not have stopped because there were drugs inside the stolen car. Cops recovered at least one gun and an undisclosed amount of drugs from the stolen vehicle, NBC News reported.
Investigators are looking into whether the men were under the influence of drugs following a night of partying, a federal law enforcement official said.
The FBI is leading the investigation.
* Police say negotiations under way after demands made
* Prosecutor investigating death of teenager in protests
* Witnesses say shots were fired (Adds Istanbul police chief, witnesses)
By Osman Orsal and Humeyra Pamuk
ISTANBUL, March 31 (Reuters) – A far-left Turkish group took an Istanbul prosecutor hostage on Tuesday and threatened to kill him, prompting special forces to enter the courthouse and police to evacuate the building.
The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) published a picture of the prosecutor with a gun to his head and said it would kill him at 1236 GMT, three hours after gunmen stormed his office, unless its demands were met.
Istanbul police chief Selami Altinok said negotiators were talking to the two hostage-takers after the deadline passed. Turkish television stations meanwhile cut their live broadcasts, some citing a reporting ban.
“We are trying to bring the incident to an end without anyone getting hurt. Negotiators are talking to the assailants,” Altinok told reporters.
The prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, is leading an investigation into the death last March of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, who died after nine months in a coma from a head wound sustained in anti-government protests.
The DHKP-C said on its website it wanted the police officer it blames for Elvan’s death to confess on television, the officers involved to be tried in “people’s courts,” and charges against those who attended protests for Elvan to be dropped.
Witnesses said they heard gunshots as the hostage-takers entered the building.
“We were on the sixth floor. A black-haired man wearing a suit entered the prosecutor’s room and fired a gun three times,” Mehmet Hasan Kaplan, who works in the building, told Reuters, adding that the attackers also claimed to have explosives.
In a brief video message on a widely-followed Twitter account describing itself as that of Elvan’s family, the boy’s father appeared to call on the group not to harm the prosecutor.
“We want justice. We don’t want anyone to shed even a drop of blood. We don’t want other mothers to cry,” Sami Elvan said.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with current and former interior and justice ministers at the ruling AK Party headquarters in Ankara to discuss the hostage crisis, officials in his office said.
Television footage showed special forces officers entering the courthouse and officials being escorted out. Armed police officers, many wearing flak jackets, surrounded the building and fire engines were positioned outside.
The United States, European Union and Turkey list the DHKP-C as a terrorist organization. It was behind a suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in 2013. In 2001, two policemen and an Australian tourist died in a DHKP-C attack in central Istanbul. (Additional reporting by Can Sezer in Istanbul, Gulsen Solaker in Ankara; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)