Man who rescued officer in 1994 Northridge quake to be honored by LAPD 19 years later
by City News Service
LOS ANGELES - Nineteen years after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the Los Angeles Police Department today will honor a man who helped rescue a police officer trapped in his apartment after the temblor.
Michael Kubeisy, 53, will be honored at the Police Commission meeting for his bravery in the immediate aftermath of the quake, which struck at 4:31 a.m. Jan. 17, 1994, killing nearly 60 people, injuring thousands and causing around $20 billion in damage.
Kubeisy, now a still photographer for the CBS television show "NCIS," rushed to help neighbors in his approximately 150-unit, three-story Northridge apartment building, the first floor of which partially collapsed.
After bridging a nearly three-foot crevice that opened up in his own apartment, Kubeisy first assisted an elderly neighbor down a chain ladder, then moved to the door of LAPD officer Joseph Jordan and his wife, he said. The door was sealed shut, but Kubeisy could hear Jordan and his wife were OK.
He eventually pried the door open, and he blew out a candle the couple was burning -- a major hazard given a gas leak caused by the quake. Kubeisy and Jordan would go on to help other neighbors.
"And that was the last time I saw him" until they met up during an interview years later, Kubeisy said.
Jordan died of a heart attack in 1996, according to the LAPD. He was honored in the days after the quake by then-President Bill Clinton, but "the LAPD has never properly thanked Mike for rescuing Officer Jordan," according to the department.
Kubeisy shrugged off the honor.
"The only reason I'm agreeing to go through with this -- it's not for me -- I want my teenage boys to see firsthand that when you deny yourself for the betterment of someone else, even 19 years later, you get the 'Atta boy' sometimes," he said.
Fight Leads to Gunfire on Texas College Campus
by JUAN A. LOZANO and MICHAEL GRACZYK
Luis Resendiz hid quietly in a small room with dozens of classmates after gunshots erupted in a courtyard on his college campus north of Houston.
There his mind quickly drifted to last month's Connecticut elementary school massacre that left 20 children dead, wondering if another gunman was on a rampage on the other side of the door.
"I didn't think something like this could happen," said Resendiz, 22, who crouched in the room for about 20 minutes before being allowed to leave. "You don't think about it happening to you."
A volley of gunshots about noon Tuesday at Lone Star College prompted a lockdown and eventual evacuation of the campus in north Houston. In the end, three people were hospitalized, including a maintenance worker caught in the crossfire and two others who authorities believe were involved in the gunfire.
Late Tuesday, Harris County sheriff's officials said Carlton Berry, 22, had been charged with aggravated assault in the shooting. Berry remained hospitalized, the officials said. The conditions of the other person involved in the shooting and maintenance worker were not available.
Authorities offered no details on what led to the shooting near an academic building and the campus library. One of the people involved had a student ID, and both people were hospitalized, said Harris County sheriff's Maj. Armando Tello. A fourth person also was taken to a hospital for a medical condition, he said.
At least 10 patrol cars clustered on the campus' west side as emergency personnel tended to the wounded and loaded them on stretchers. Students led by officers ran from the buildings where they had been hiding as authorities evacuated the campus.
Keisha Cohn, 27, was in a building about 50 feet away and began running as soon as she heard the shots.
"To stay where I was wasn't an option," said Cohen, who fled from a building that houses computers and study areas. All the students were eventually evacuated, running out of buildings as police officers led them to safety.
Mark Zaragosa said he had just come out of an EMT class when he saw two people who were injured and stopped to help them. He described the wounds as minor: One with a gunshot to the knee and another to the buttocks.
"As a matter of fact, we were carrying (one man) over to an open area and they (authorities) told us to put him down — with all weapons drawn — and they cuffed him right there," Zaragosa told KHOU-TV.
The shooting last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., heightened security concerns at campuses across the country. In Texas, several school districts have either implemented or are considering a plan to allow faculty to carry guns on campus. While guns are not allowed on college campuses, the Texas Legislature this year might debate a bill that would allow them.
Richard Carpenter, chancellor of the Lone Star College System, said the campus is a gun-free zone that "has been safe for 40 years."
"We think it's still safe," he added.
The campus reopened late Tuesday afternoon, with classes expected to resume Wednesday.
Daniel Flores, 19, was in a second-floor tutoring lab with about 60 people when he heard a noise that sounded "like someone was kicking a door."
Once he and others realized the sound was gunfire, they fled to the nearby student services center, where authorities kept them for about 30 minutes before letting them go.
Cody Harris, 20, said he was in a classroom with six or seven other students waiting for a psychology class to start when he heard eight shots. He and other students looked at each other, said, "I guess we should get out of here," and fled.
"I was just worried about getting out," Harris said. "I called my grandmother and asked her to pick me up."
Ohio woman sues FBI, airline for racial profiling
Niraj Warikoo A half-Jewish, half-Arab woman was removed from a plane with two others on 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks.
DETROIT -- A 36-year-old Ohio woman, who is half-Jewish and half-Arab, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the FBI and other federal agencies, saying she was yanked off an airplane at Metro Airport in Detroit on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks
, strip-searched, and jailed more than four hours in a dirty cell because of her ethnic background.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Detroit on behalf of Shoshana Hebshi, of Sylvania, Ohio, who was on a Frontier Airlines flight that landed in Detroit on Sept. 11, 2011. She and two Indian-American men sitting in her row were targeted by federal agents who entered the plane, ordered them off the plane, handcuffed them, and pushed them down the stairs into vehicles, Hebshi said.
She was then placed in a cell, where she was ordered to strip naked, squat, and cough while an officer looked at her.
Hebshi said she was terrified. "I was frightened and humiliated," said Hebshi, a freelance journalist and mother of 7-year-old twins. "As an American citizen and a mom, I'm really concerned about my children growing up in a country where your skin color and your name can put your freedom and liberty at risk at any time."
At the time, Hebshi's case drew international attention, leading to reports from the Guardian to The Economist that raised questions about the profiling of minorities in the U.S. Hebshi said Tuesday that she hopes the lawsuit can lead to changes and "heightened awareness" of abusive law enforcement.
Hebshi and the two other men were detained after people on the plane complained about two of them going to the restroom. Flight attendants had alerted the pilot that the men going to the restroom were "possibly of Arab descent," the lawsuit said.
After landing, "men with very large guns, militaristic looking, ran on the plane," Hebshi recalled. They told everyone to put their hands down on the seat in front of them. The agents then told Hebshi and the two men to get up. They were handcuffed and then detained, the only three on the plane to be arrested. Hebshi said that no one told her why she was being targeted and what was happening.
"They wouldn't even tell me what was going on," she said Tuesday, her eyes welling up as she recalled the alleged incident. "No would answer me."
Michael Steinberg, an attorney with the ACLU Michigan
office in Detroit, said "she did nothing that was suspicious" to warrant such treatment.
There needs to be "accountability and changes so this type of thing doesn't happen again," Hebshi said. Hebshi said what happened to her is part of a broader problem of profiling of Arab-Americans, Muslims, South Asians, Latinos, and others over the past decade by federal law enforcement.
"This country has a ... history of profiling and oppressing people who look different," she said. They assume "someone who is brown is a criminal."
The suit was filed against Frontier Airlines
, the FBI, and other federal agencies involved in the allegations: Transportation Security Administration
, Immigration and Customs Enforcement
and Customs and Border Protection
"The FBI was clearly calling the shots" during Hebshi's detainment, said Bill Goodman of Detroit, one of the attorneys representing Hebshi. FBI Detroit spokesman Simon Shaykhet declined to comment.
After the Sept. 11, 2011, incident, Andy Arena, then-special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI office, told the Detroit Free Press about Hebshi: "We treated her well."
Khaalid Walls, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Tuesday: "While ICE does not comment on pending litigation, ICE is serious about responding to complaints or allegations of racial profiling and does not tolerate profiling by its personnel."
Spokesmen for the other agencies declined to comment. Kate O'Malley, a spokeswoman for Frontier Airlines, said it "has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation."
After the incident, Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuk said employees followed protocol by reporting suspicious activity after "concerns expressed by passengers on the aircraft and our flight attendants" about the two men seated next to Hebshi.
"As an airline, our duty and that of our flight crews is to ensure the safety of our passengers and we have the responsibility to report any suspicious behavior to law enforcement officials," O'Malley said. Steinberg said the ACLU was unable to reach the two Indian-American men who sat next to Hebshi.
Massacre Suspect Nehemiah Griego's Family: Teen Was 'Bright, Curious,' but 'Troubled'
by MICHAEL S. JAMES and COLLEEN CURRY
Relatives of a New Mexico teenager accused of killing his mother, father and younger siblings with an assault rifle, then telling police he hoped to shoot up a Walmart, are described as stunned by his actions and "heartbroken over this senseless tragedy."
Though surviving relatives conceded in an unsigned "family statement" that 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego is a "troubled young man," the statement also described him as an outgoing boy who loved music and hoped one day to serve in the military.
"We know him as a bright, curious and incredibly talented young man. He was a brother, nephew, grandson and cousin," said the statement, obtained by the ABC News affiliate KOAT in Albuquerque from former New Mexico state Sen. Eric Griego, the suspect's uncle.
"We are deeply concerned about the portrayal in some media of Nehemiah as some kind of a monster," said the statement. "It is clear to those of us who know and love him that something went terribly wrong. Whether it was a mental breakdown or some deeper undiagnosed psychological issue, we can't be sure yet. What we do know is that none of us, even in our wildest nightmare, could have imagined that he could do something like this."
Nehemiah Griego, the 15-year-old son of an Albuquerque pastor, had plans to kill his family, his 12-year-old girlfriend's family and local Walmart shoppers for weeks before he acted on the impulse on Sunday, according to police.
"Nehemiah said after killing five of his family members he reloaded the weapons so that he could drive to a populated area to murder more people," read a police report from the incident released Tuesday.
"Nehemiah stated he wanted to shoot people at random and eventually be killed while exchanging gunfire with law enforcement," the report said.
However, after allegedly killing his family members, Griego ended up spending most of his day with his girlfriend rather than going to the Walmart, Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston said Tuesday.
Griego later was arrested and is expected to face adult charges of murder and child abuse resulting in death. He waived his right to arraignment in adult court Tuesday and a judge ordered him held without bond.
The district attorney's office and Griego's public defender now are preparing to face a grand jury, KOAT reported.
"We never had a case like this, as far as I know, in the state of New Mexico," District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said, "so I can't compare this to any other case."
Police also are considering charging Griego's girlfriend, who they have not named publicly.
Griego has five older siblings who were not living at the home at the time of the shooting and were unharmed.
Eric Griego, the uncle who released the family statement, also released family photos late Tuesday, including one of his nephew in a tuxedo at a wedding and another of him playing a drum kit.
Eric Griego is the brother of Greg Griego, a former church pastor at Calvary Church in Albuquerque who also is the father Nehemiah Griego is accused of killing.
"From the time he was a young boy, his father Greg supported his love for music," the family statement said. "Thanks to his interest, practice and natural ability, Nehemiah has become a very accomplished musician. He plays guitar, drums and bass. For years he has played at youth and other church services at Calvary and elsewhere.
"The idea that he was a loner also has been manufactured by the media and those who simply did not know him," the statement said. "He had many friends at Calvary where he spent most of his free time playing basketball or music. Like his father, who was a champion wrestler and coach, Nehemiah also competed in wrestling tournaments throughout the state and country."
The statement noted that several family members were military veterans.
"Pictures of [Nehemiah Griego] being circulated in his dad's old fatigues were part of his interest in someday being a soldier," the family statement noted.
The shooting spree began shortly around 1 a.m. on Sunday, when Griego allegedly snuck into his parents' bedroom while his mother, Sara Griego, was asleep. There he raided the closet where the family kept their guns, and immediately used a .22 rifle to kill her, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.
Griego's 9-year-old brother was sleeping with his mother at the time and woke up. When Griego told the boy his mother was dead, the youngster didn't believe him, according to a police report.
"So Nehemiah picked up his mother's head to show his brother her bloody face," the report said. "Nehemiah stated his brother became so upset so he shot his brother in the head."
He then went into his sisters' bedroom, police said.
"Nehemiah stated when he entered he noticed that his sisters were crying and he shot them in the head," the police report said.
The girls were 5 and 2 years old.
The teenager waited for his father to come from his overnight shift working at a nearby rescue mission. When his father, Greg Griego, walked into the home around 5 a.m., unaware of what had taken place, Griego shot him multiple times with the AR-15 rifle, Houston said Tuesday.
Besides being a former pastor at Calvary Church, Greg Griego worked as a chaplain at a local jail where he counseled convicts. The family was very involved in the church, according to its website.
The complaint said Nehemiah Griego took a photo of his dead mother and "sent it to his girlfriend."
Griego then packed up the guns, including two shotguns, as well as ammunition for the rifles, and planned to drive to a Walmart to shoot additional people -- but ended up at his girlfriend's house instead, Houston said.
Around 8 p.m. on Sunday, the pair drove to Calvary Church. Griego told people his family had died in a car crash. Someone on the church's staff then called 911, Houston said.
"At this time, Nehemiah had been contemplating this for some time. The information that Nehemiah had contemplated going to the local Walmart and participating in a shooting in there is accurate," Houston said. "There is no information at all that he went to church to cause anyone bodily harm there. The suspect also contemplated killing his girlfriend's parents."
The girlfriend's name was not released, but police are investigating whether to press any charges against her, Houston said. Houston said she had some knowledge about the deaths during the day Sunday.
Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the Griego home around 9:15 p.m. on Sunday and arrived 10 minutes later, where they found the five bodies.
Nehemiah Griego told investigators he came home around 5 a.m. that morning and found his family dead. He said he then took the guns to protect himself.
But he admitted to the crime when pressed by police, telling investigators he was "frustrated" with his mother. Deputies said he was "unemotional" and "very stern" during the confession.
"The motive was purely that he was frustrated with his mother. He could not articulate to our investigators any farther," Houston said. "In the time our investigators spent with him, it was a very casual [statement], he was just frustrated with how things were, and would not even articulate any further details of that frustration."
"It's horrific," Houston added.
A police report from the incident shows that Griego admitted to having "homicidal and suicidal thoughts" in the time leading up to the incident.
Griego reportedly gushed to police about his love for violent video games during the interrogation, Houston said. He told police he loved to play Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto.
"The suspect was involved heavily in games, violent games, it's what he was into," Houston said. "He was quite excited as he discussed this with our investigators."
Houston said that Griego had occasionally lost touch with his family and then reconnected with them multiple times in his life. He told investigators that his father had taught him how to shoot the weapons and the pair had practiced shooting them together.
The family asked the media not to politicize Nehemiah Griego's death.
"Our family has differing views on gun rights and gun control," the family statement said. "What we do agree on is that those who wish to score political points should not use a confused, misguided, 15-year old boy to make their case.
"He is a troubled young man who made a terrible decision that will haunt him and his family forever," the family said.