Today's LACP news:
October 25, 2014
Now it's Seattle's turn
WE HAVE grown all too accustomed to these random school shootings across the country, and too sadly, to young people turning fully loaded guns on their classmates, and watching them die in a classroom or a hallway or a lunchroom.
That apparently is what happened Friday at a high school outside Seattle, where, witnesses say, a student who "was well liked" approached a table in the cafeteria where many of his fellow students were sitting and, without a word, opened fire.
The school, Marysville Pilchuk High School, was placed on lockdown. Police say the gunman, as well as at least one other student died in the attack, which left at least three other students in critical condition after suffering traumatic head wounds.
"He had a little gun in his hand," one student said of the shooter. "I saw the flash from the muzzle."
The Seattle Times reported that social media accounts depicted the gunman as a freshman who frequently enjoyed hunting, and using rifles. Whether the gun used in the attack was properly registered remains unclear.
The horror of our school grounds becoming killing grounds has been a national nightmare that has kept repeating itself since 1999, with the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that claimed 15 people in all, including the shooters. That shooting, too, was carried out by students bent on killing classmates.
The fact that such a shooting has happened again, after schools across New Jersey and across the country have undertaken lockdown procedures and so many other measures to prevent would-be mass shooters from entering campus as happened during the December 2012 school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. is particularly hard to stomach.
In Friday's attack, the gun used to carry out the ghastly deed was apparently not a semiautomatic, military-style weapon, but a handgun a handgun in the hands of a disturbed young man. While we don't know the provenance of the weapon in question, we do know that across this country, too many young people have too-ready access to weapons that can fire multiple shots in a matter of seconds.
That has been a recurring theme in this nation for far too long, whether the shooting happens at a suburban high school near Seattle, or whether it happens in the poverty-stricken streets of Paterson.
Even though the trend of violent crime has been going down in many parts of the country, the ready accessibility of guns in the hands of young people, often young people with emotional problems, continues to take its toll. We remain, for better or worse, a nation of guns and gun lovers.
One day we might realize that our laws keeping those guns from getting into the wrong hands are not working, and haven't been for a very long time.
Gunman arrested after allegedly killing two California deputies, injuring another and bystander
by Fox News
A gunman who allegedly killed two sheriff's deputies and wounded another officer and a bystander in the Sacramento County area has been arrested, a spokeswoman for the Placer County sheriff said Friday night.
Spokeswoman Dena Erwin said 34-year-old Marcelo Marquez, who also allegedly tried to carjack two vehicles, was taken alive Friday afternoon from a home in Auburn after an initial shooting hours earlier in a Sacramento commercial area. Auburn is about 30 miles north of Sacramento.
She also announced that a second deputy shot by the suspect had died. The third deputy was shot in the arm and "sitting up and talking."
"This guy was on a one-man crime spree today," Erwin said. "He has no idea of the damage he did."
The shooting victim of the first attempted carjacking was identified as Anthony Holmes, 38, by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office. He is in critical condition
The four shootings sparked a massive manhunt by multiple agencies backed by search dogs, helicopters and armoed vehicles. Residents nearby were told to stay indoors and schools were locked down during the search.
Fox 40 earlier reported that a female suspect with the gunman had been apprehended in Placer County. The Associated Press said authorities reported she had a handgun in her purse.
Sacramento County Sheriff John Scott earlier identified the first dead officer as Deputy Danny Oliver, 47, a 15-year veteran, who had been shot in the head. The second fatality was not immediately identified.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Bowman said the deputy was approaching a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot in the Arden Way area of Sacramento near a Motel 6 when he was shot before 11 a.m. Friday. The Associated Press said the shooter was carrying AR-15 type assault rifle.
"The person who was inside of the vehicle shot rounds at the officer," she said during a press conference on Friday. "At least one shot was fired at our deputy, striking him at least one time."
Scott said Oliver was survived by a wife and two daughters.
The shooter was described as an Hispanic male in his 30s with buzz cut hair, who had been accompanied by a woman. Scott said "his motive is known only to the suspect."
He also could not say how involved the woman had been in the shootings.
Scott said the gunman next tried to carjack Holmes' vehicle and shot the him in the head when he resisted.
The suspects then made a second carjacking attempt and sped off in another vehicle.
Erwin told The Associated Press that two of her department's deputies were then shot by the same assailant.
A park ranger reported he saw the suspects changing their clothing in the Carmichael area, a few miles northeast of the site of the initial shooting.
Authorities were seeking a red 2002 Ford F150 extended cab pickup truck with an ice chest in the back.
Sandy Hook Advisory Commission discusses public safety
by Brian Spyros
Newtown, Conn. (WTNH) The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission met at the State Capitol Friday morning to create recommendations for public safety, including more detailed profiles of students with potential mental health issues.
A new report shows that school officials did not have a complete mental health history on shooter Adam Lanza before he killed 20 children and 6 adults inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012. According to the Hartford Courant, the report suggests that more could have been done to meet Lanza's special education needs.
The report also found that school officials were not aware of an evaluation report done on Lanza before he went to high school. It is unclear if that was the fault of his mother Nancy Lanza, or the agency responsible for that evaluation. The report does not directly link the lapse in information to the shootings at the school.
No family members that lost children during the tragedy at Sandy Hook were present at the meeting. News 8 spoke with some parents and were told they did not receive an invite to today's meeting. The committee is now planning to hear from those families at another meeting in Newtown scheduled for later this year. The committee did say that they are sensitive about no wanting to hold their next meeting close to the December 14th anniversary of the shootings.
The report on Adam Lanza's mental state will be released early next month.
Recupero Wants Emergency Public Safety Meeting: Shootings to be Discussed
by Seth Daniel
City Councillors are preparing to have a meeting to discuss last weekend's shootings, but at this point there's not a total consensus on how that discussion should go.
Councillor Giovanni Recupero chair of the Public Safety Committee said this week that he wants and Emergency Meeting to be called to specifically discuss the two incidents and several other street crimes that were less publicized yet things that he believes built up to Saturday's events.
He said it's time to ask some tough questions. I want to call an Emergency Meeting with the Chief of Police and the City Manager in the Public Safety Committee to find out how they're going to deal with these situations, he said. I don't want to talk about this within a discussion on the 10-point crime plan. We don't need to talk about that with this. I want to talk only about this. People shouldn't have to live this way. It's time people are able to stick their head out their window and not worry about dying. It's not the first time stray bullets have gone into people's houses; it's just the first time someone died.
Council President Matt Frank said there would be discussion on the issue and said he's weighing the idea of a community meeting down the road for the public but said he didn't see a need for Recupero's Emergency Meeting. That's because he already has publicized plans to call a meeting on the 10-point crime plan a meeting that will address the overarching issues of crime.
The 10-point plan is our plan for crime, he said. That is the roadmap we laid out to help us get to a certain point. It is an overarching plan and encompasses what people have mentioned this week. Having another meeting might be redundant. The whole situation is scary and disturbing. The woman at the window, that's concerning because there were people out on the street and arguing and why did they feel the need to pull a gun? Why did they have a gun? That's a huge problem. However, as elected officials we need to understand the police can't be everywhere all the time. That's why we need to have an overarching plan
It's not as easy as putting a police officer on every corner. Nobody should feel unsafe in their home or on the street.
Councillor Leo Robinson said he is reserving any comments until the 10-point plan meeting, but he did say he hopes that maybe there will be an 11th point that being his public safety residency ordinance. He said he believes that instituting a residency clause as he has proposed which would require new hires to stay in the city at least five years could help secure neighborhoods and prevent such lawlessness.
City Manager Jay Ash said the City will collaborate with several partners in response to the violence, and he said they have to do a better job in preventing such things. We're analyzing each of the incidents, and asking ourselves how and when we could have interceded to have stopped them, if possible, he said. We're asking what other resources or collaborations we can marshal to bring violence down further, with those collaborations including what else we can do to support the organizations in our community that do such great work on building community here in Chelsea. Of course, many of us remain frustrated by the availability of guns here and throughout our own society, so that continues to be a point of emphasis in our discussions as well. We have to do better, no matter the societal challenges we face. I remain committed to this; grateful to those in our community, from community organizations to public safety officials, for all their work, and frustrated that we are losing lives to violence here and everywhere.
One long-time bone of contention that could help street violence at least according to Councillor Joe Perlatonda is creating walking beats and, perhaps, looking into going back to three shifts instead of having so many specialized units. I get more and more complaints about the three cruisers being parked in Bellingham Square all the time with the cops standing outside of them and shooting the breeze, he said. Ok, maybe have one there, but why three? People ask me that all the time. Right now, we'll have cops everywhere for awhile and then we won't see them again. They say crime is down 40 percent, but it seems to me to be up. We need more visibility, walking a beat or regular patrol cars. It's just not safe. People don't see the police. The criminals don't see the police.
New York axe attack 'terrorist act by Muslim convert'
Police in New York say an axe attack on two officers was a terrorist act carried out by a radicalised Muslim convert.
Zale Thompson, 32, was shot dead after wounding the two officers, one critically, in Queens on Thursday.
Commissioner William Bratton said Thompson was not on any watch lists but had browsed al-Qaeda web sites and watched beheadings.
A bystander shot in the incident is critical but stable in hospital.
Witnesses said the man deliberately targeted the foot-patrol officers, charging them and then swinging the axe two-handed,
One officer, Kenneth Healy, 25, was hit on the head and was listed as critical but stable in hospital. The other officer was hit on the arm.
The officers fired several rounds, killing the attacker and wounding a female bystander, police said.
Commissioner Bratton said the whole incident took just seven seconds and praised the "extraordinary bravery and skill" of the officers involved.
He said of the attacker: "We believe that he acted alone, that we would describe him as self-radicalised."
Mr Bratton said Thompson's father had said his son had "spent extensive amounts of time by himself in his bedroom and by all accounts, was a true proverbial loner".
Thompson had served in the US Navy.
In recent social media postings, he spoke of injustices in US society and abroad, but did not indicate any affiliation with a terrorist group.