Mo. man charged with plotting 'Twilight' mass shooting
by Michael Winter
A 20-year-old Missouri man was charged Friday with planning a mass shooting this weekend at either a screening of the latest Twilight movie or a local Walmart.
Blaec Lammers, of Bolivar, is accused of buying assault rifles and more than 400 rounds of ammunition in a plot mimicking the July mass shooting that killed 12 and wounded 57 at an Aurora, Colo., theater showing the premiere of the latest Batman movie, the Springfield News-Leader reports.
Lammers was charged with first-degree assault, making a terroristic threat and armed criminal action. He is being held on $500,000 bail.
His mother contacted police Thursday, saying Lammers had bought assault weapons and ammunition, and was concerned he "may have intentions of shooting people at the movie," The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2, according to court documents. He told police he had bought a ticket for a Sunday show.
He then stated he might instead target the Walmart Supercenter in Bolivar "because if he ran out of ammunition he would be able to break the glass where the ammunition is stored and get more, writes the News-Leader, published by Gannett, USA TODAY's parent.
Police Detective Dusty Ross, who interviewed Lammers, told the Bolivar Herald-Free Press, that Lammers said he planned to surrender after the shooting at the B&B Bolivar Cinema 5.
Daniel VanOrden, Circuit General Manager for B&B Theatres of Fulton, Mo., said in an e-mail to USA TODAY, "We appreciate the Bolivar Police Department for acting swiftly to avert any threat to the multiple potential targets, thus making this a non-incident." He did say whether any, or additional, security was planned for Twilight screenings.
Walmart has not released a statement.
According to the police affidavit, signed by Ross, Lammers said he had bought two assault rifles for hunting. When asked about "recent shootings in the news," he "stated that he had a lot in common with the people. .. [He] stated he was quiet, kind of a loner, had recently purchased firearms and didn't tell anybody about it, and had homicidal thoughts," according to a probable-cause statement.
Lammers said he bought the guns Monday and Tuesday -- police did not say where -- and went to nearby Aldrich on Tuesday to practice shooting. According to the police affidavit, he said he had never fired a gun before and "wanted to make sure he knew how they functioned." He also said he was currently not taking his medication, which was not specified.
Ross said he does not believe anyone else was involved in the alleged plot.
"I think it would have been something he would have done solely on his own," Ross told the Herald-Free Press . "You'll come across people who will make threats toward people and events but they don't actually take the substantial steps that he took in planning it out."
The affidavit also stated that in 2009, Lammers "claimed he wanted to fatally stab a Walmart employee and followed the employee around the store before he was contacted by officers." KCTV5 says he was "not convicted in state court" but does not say whether he was charged.
New York City
Man gets life in NYC subway plot
by Laura Batchelor
New York (CNN) -- A Bosnian immigrant who authorities said came within days of carrying out a plot to bomb New York City's subway system was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
Adis Medunjanin, 34, had been charged with conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda. After authorities foiled the plot, he then attempted to crash his car and kill himself and others.
Medunjanin chanted versus in Arabic from the Quran in front of Judge John Gleeson as a part of his statement to the court. He went on in English also criticized the U.S. for wars, hunger and torture.
Medunjanin's immediate family and extended wept as he spoke to the court.
Medunjanin maintained his innocence and denied being involved in the any subway bombing plot.
"Adis Medunjanin was today held accountable for his role in one of the most serious terrorist plots against the homeland since 9/11," said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Inside the plot to devastate New York
During the trial, prosecutors said Medunjanin traveled to Pakistan's tribal region with two high school friends, Pakistani-born Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, an immigrant from Afghanistan.
His friends pleaded guilty to planning the attack with Medunjanin and testified against him.
Robert Gottleib, Medunjanin's attorney, told reporters after the trial that they plan on appealing the verdict.
Prosecutors said Medunjanin sought to join the Taliban, but ended up being recruited by al Qaeda to perform a suicide mission back in the United States.
Upon their return, the three men hatched a plan to rig backpacks with explosives and blow them up.
Massive Red Cross response to Hurricane Sandy includes 33 local deployments
NORTH COAST, Calif. – The American Red Cross continues to provide food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to many people still struggling in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Given the extensive scope of the damage, this is likely to be the most massive Red Cross response in the U.S. in the past five years, Red Cross officials said.
More than 5,800 Red Cross workers from all 50 states are supporting shelters, providing food and water, and driving through neighborhoods to distribute meals and supplies.
About 90 percent of these workers are volunteers. Residents' needs are far from over, as discouraged and frustrated people clean out their homes and struggle with housing and emotional issues.
Locally, the Red Cross has deployed 33 volunteers so far, including Regional CEO Tim Miller. Some volunteers are extending their standard two-week volunteer period, because it is so important to them to ease the suffering of those affected by the storm.
In partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Red Cross has served 5.6 million meals and snacks from kitchens and feeding sites in New York and New Jersey. Last night, the Red Cross and other organizations housed about 1,800 people in 16 shelters.
The Red Cross has distributed water, food and relief supplies in more than 300 Red Cross feeding trucks as well as rental cars, trucks and other vehicles. This includes two emergency response vehicles from Sonoma and Lake counties.
The organization also has provided more than 57,000 health services and emotional support contacts, handed out more than 1.7 million relief items, helped people in 10 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and worked with more than 50 national partner organizations and more than 1,300 partner volunteers.
The Red Cross needs the public's help now. To donate, the public can:
- Visit www.redcross.org or (local site) www.arcsm.org
- Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767);
- Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation;
- Send or hand-deliver financial donation to American Red Cross, Sonoma, Mendocino, & Lake Counties, 5297 Aero Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403;
- Send to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
The Red Cross is unable to accept items such as diapers, blankets, or food. Goodwill or The Salvation Army may be able to accept such items.
If someone needs to find a shelter, they can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit the Red Cross Web site, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check local media outlets.
People can let their loved ones know how they are by using the “I'm Safe” button on the Red Cross Hurricane App which can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
People can also register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website to let loved ones know they are OK.
To register, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Holyoke Deploys Mobile Community Policing Truck to Neighborhood
HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — Consider the Mobile Community Policing truck a police substation on wheels.
“This is really a dynamic set of circumstances that I don't know is going on anywhere else in the country,” said Holyoke Police Chief James M. Neiswanger. “This is unique to Holyoke. Anybody will tell you, you can't put a street cop on every street corner or a community police officer on every street corner. The reality is because this is mobile, we can extend our range and our presence to those problem spots.”
In this case, the truck is parked across from 556 South Bridge Street.
Surveillance video shows a constant stream of people in and out who police say are buying and selling drugs. It's less than a block from Morgan Elementary School.
The mobile unit is meant as a show of strength to criminals, but the officers are also there to show their commitment to law abiding people.
They're talking to kids and their families in the area and are handing out information door to door,
“I feel very happy about them taking care of the community, the city taking care, better care than it was before,” said Hector Flores who lives nearby.
The Mobile Community Policing truck will be here for only for two days. It rotates to a new location each week. The location is determined with input from residents about where they would like to see extra police support.
So, is two days long enough to make a lasting effect?
The unit has been deployed to six other places in the city and in those cases, it was just for a day at a time. Police said that was enough time to make an impression not just for people in the neighborhood, but for the police officers on the detail, too.
“Those patrol officers that got involved, now sometimes they made a relationship or whatever and that continues on in their next day's patrol after this is over,” said Holyoke Police Captain David Pratt who helped create the idea of the mobile community policing unit.
Two permanent police substations will be opening within the next couple of months. They will be at 176 High Street and at 118 Hamilton Street. There's already one at the corner of Sargeant and Maple streets.
Concerned citizens keep watch in Superior
Mike Almond had four good reasons to join Superior's new Citizen Watch program: his daughters
by Maria Lockwood
Mike Almond had four good reasons to join Superior's new Citizen Watch program: his daughters.
“For me, first and foremost, it's my kids,” he said. “The more deterrent I have to keep drugs away from them, the better.”
He learned about the program when he approached Nora Fie, children's librarian at the Superior Public Library, about setting up a safety awareness class for children. As they worked on the class, tentatively scheduled for April, Community Policing Officer Bonnie Beste asked Almond to think about joining the Citizen Watch.
“I'll do my share,” said Almond, who lives on Oakes Avenue. “I'm just trying to do my part.”
When Kathleen “Kitty” Otto learned the new Citizen Watch program was starting, she was quick to join along with her sisters Dawn Priem and Tammy O'Brien. All three women are former members of the Superior Police Auxiliary.
“The Neighborhood Watch is a good thing,” said Otto, who lives on Weeks Avenue. “It does, it keeps the crime down.”
Currently her neighborhood group boasts nine members, the youngest of whom is 53, who keep an eye out as they walk their dogs, drive through the area or look out the window. Otto stepped up for the role of captain.
“We can get to know our neighbors,” Priem said. “Not only us watching out for them, but them watching out for us … people care.” And they all want their neighborhood to be nice, Otto said.
A table in the lobby of Elmwood Apartments has become a desk station for members of the watch, with printouts of laws, identification tips and more available.
Almond takes walks through the neighborhood with his cockapoo, Teddy. His next-door neighbor drives by area businesses late at night to check on them. Becoming part of the Citizen Watch has helped Almond put names to the faces of neighbors he used to just wave and say “Hi” to.
One challenge still lies ahead, and it will include coffee. Almond and Beste are planning a meet and greet with some of his neighbors, the residents of Golden Apartments.
“I'm African American. I'm a big guy,” Almond said, and he wanted to let the older ladies at the apartments know that they shouldn't call the cops if they see him wandering through their parking lot in the early morning hours.
“I'm here to help,” he said.
There are 33 active members of the Citizen Watch, according to Beste, covering all areas of Superior. And they are actively recruiting. As Almond and Otto put it: “The more, the merrier.”
The groups also are seeking monetary donations to purchase neighborhood watch street signs, window clings, magnetic bumper stickers and vests. Those outward signs can pay big dividends.
“We know the police can't be everywhere,” Priem said. But signs of an active Citizen Watch also can be a deterrent to crime, according to Beste. Their presence can protect both residents and businesses.
Citizen Watch members don't have to take regular patrol shifts or commit to dozens of hours.
“From what Bonnie was explaining, hey, a walk around the block helps,” Almond said. “Every little bit helps.”
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Citizen Watch or donating funds for the program should contact Beste at (715) 395-7401 or firstname.lastname@example.org .