July, 2016 - Week 1
5 Slain Dallas Officers Served Overseas and at Home
by Alan Blinder and Alan Feuer
DALLAS — On Thursday night, around the time the gunfire started, Kristy Villasenor, the wife of a Dallas police officer, posted a picture of herself and her toddler daughter on Facebook from a Texas Rangers baseball game at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Soon after, one of her friends commented anxiously on the photo: “Glad Pat is there and not in Dallas right now.” Ms. Villasenor replied: “He's not here.”
Pat — her husband, Officer Patrick Zamarripa — was in Dallas during the game, caught in the crosshairs of a sniper's rifle that would eventually claim his life and those of four other officers.
The news of the killings emerged almost in real time online. At 10:53 p.m., the Dallas Police Department posted a Twitter message announcing that 10 officers had been shot during a protest rally, three of them fatally. Twenty minutes later, a second message said that a fourth officer had been killed. Then, after midnight, there was a third: “It has been a devastating night. We are sad to report a fifth officer has died.”
By Friday afternoon, the full scope of the city's losses was clear: At least two of the slain officers had served overseas in the military, only to die back home in Texas. A third had made his way to Dallas after working at a jail outside Detroit. A fourth was a large man — about 6-foot-5 — who had the semblance of a grizzly bear, according to a friend. The fifth was a standout on Dallas's large, modern force: The local police association had named him the “Cops' Cop” for February 2009.
As condolences for the men poured in all day on Friday — from the governor to the secretary general of the United Nations — details of the officers' lives started to emerge. “We're hurting, our profession is hurting,” said David O. Brown, the Dallas police chief.
The first officer to be identified was Brent Thompson, 43, who worked for the police force of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which operates trains and buses in the region. Mr. Thompson, the first DART officer to die in the line of duty, joined the transit force in 2009 and patrolled the northwestern section of the transit system, according to his LinkedIn page.
Before Dallas, he worked for DynCorp International as a police liaison officer and helped train fellow officers in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had also been a police academy instructor in Corsicana, Tex., southeast of Dallas, where he attended high school.
He started in law enforcement in the Navarro County sheriff's office, where he was assigned to the county jail, said Leslie A. Cotten Sr., the former sheriff. But like most young officers, Mr. Cotten said, “he wanted to get out on patrol and ride around in a patrol car and do a different job.”
Family members, writing on Facebook, were the first to publicly identify Mr. Zamarripa, a seven-year veteran of the Dallas force who had spent time in the Navy and served tours in Iraq as a military policeman. His Navy records released on Friday showed that he enlisted in 2001 and had also been posted in Florida, Illinois, Texas, Virginia and Bahrain.
When he finished his military service, Mr. Zamarripa, a fan of the Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys, returned to the Dallas area and joined the Police Department, said his uncle, Hector Zamarripa. He lived in the Fort Worth area with Ms. Villasenor and their 2-year-old daughter, Lyncoln. He also had a stepson, his uncle said.
On Friday afternoon, the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization — Mr. Zamarripa was a member — held a somber lunch for grieving supporters.
“A good kid, man, a good young kid,” said Sgt. George Aranda, who runs the organization. “He loved his job. I talked to his mom last night, and even his mom said this was Patrick's dream. This is what he wanted to be, a police officer.”
The third slain officer was Michael Krol, 40. Before moving to Dallas, Mr. Krol had served in the Wayne County, Mich., jail system from 2003 to 2007, said the county sheriff, Benny N. Napoleon. Two of Mr. Krol's relatives declined to be interviewed on Friday.
A fourth officer, Lorne Ahrens, was married to a Dallas police detective and regarded as a lawman devoted to the profession that he pursued in Dallas for more than a dozen years.
“There are very few officers I've met who are more passionate about doing the job right than that man,” said Timothy S. Rodgers, a former prosecutor in Dallas County. “He was always calling me. He always had questions like, ‘What can I do better in this situation?' ”
Mr. Ahrens had worked in patrol and on property crimes. Mr. Rodgers recalled with a chuckle that his friend had a knack for finding criminals who would challenge him, despite his hefty size.
The fifth slain officer was Michael J. Smith, who joined the Police Department in September 1989 after growing up in the southeastern corner of the state. In a publication acknowledging his Cops' Cop award, the Police Association said that Mr. Smith held an array of posts: in personnel, on patrol and at the airport. The publication also said he had been injured on duty years ago when a gang member “lunged at his partner with an unknown object in his hand.”
At a news conference on Friday morning, Mayor Mike Rawlings stood beside Chief Brown and said: “To say that our police officers put their lives on the line every day is no hyperbole, ladies and gentlemen. It's a reality.”
A few hours earlier, the department had posted yet another Twitter message: “Thank you to the members of our community for your show of support during this difficult time.”
Scores Arrested in Protests Over Police Shootings in St. Paul, Baton Rouge
by Phil Helsel, Elisha Fieldstadt, Matthew Grimson and The Associated Press
Scores of protesters were arrested and five cops injured in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Saturday night as demonstrations continued nationwide over police violence against African-Americans.
Around 100 protesters were taken into custody in Saint Paul, police said, while more than 30 people were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Both cities continue reel after the deaths of two black men at the hands of police last week.
In Saint Paul, protesters blocked Interstate 94 and chanted the name of Philando Castile, 32, who was fatally shot by a St. Anthony police officer in Falcon Heights on Wednesday.
Police said on Twitter that people on an overpass were "throwing objects at officers, dumping liquid on officers" and others were throwing rocks and a construction material called rebar. Police also said a molotov cocktail was thrown at officers.
Police were heard telling the crowd, "leave the interstate now or you'll be subject to a use of force" shortly after 10:30 p.m. Police blamed "aggressors" for throwing objects at officers, and said police were using "marking rounds." Five officers were injured, and two were taken to the hospital. All are expected to be okay.
Authorities used smoke bombs when 200 protesters refused to leave the roadway just after midnight. By 12:45 a.m. Sunday, police said they were clearing debris from the road in order to reopen the highway.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hundreds of protesters gathered for another day of demonstrations over the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling. Some wore T-shirts that read, "I can't keep calm I have a black son" or "Black Lives Matter."
Prominent "Black Lives Matter" activist DeRay McKesson was among those arrested.
Baton Rouge resident Marie Flowers came to the protest with her three children.
Pointing to the crowds along a fence surrounding the police department she said: "To me, this is just a snapshot of north Baton Rouge and how frustrated they are. They are so frustrated with this bull crap."
At one point, she gestured to her 12-year-old son and said they were there to protect men like him. "Black boys are being killed and this is just the culmination of what has been going on for decades," Flowers said.
A reporter for public radio station WNWO was also arrested, the radio station said.
Several hundred protesters took to the streets of San Francisco, blocking several roads and ramps to get on and off the Bay Bridge.
The California Highway Patrol closed access to the bridge at least two times Saturday afternoon when protesters took over freeway ramps, causing traffic to back up.
The group began marching from the city's Hall of Justice to the downtown shopping area, causing a temporary shutdown of a popular mall as the crowd gathered there to chant slogans and make speeches.
In central California, several hundred protesters blocked several intersections as they marched against police brutality in central Fresno. Officers in riot gear blocked an on-ramp to keep the protesters from entering State Route 41.
In Chicago, hundreds of protesters held demonstrations downtown Saturday, and a group attempted to disrupt the a city-sponsored food and music festival.
"No Justice, NO REVENUE," said a Facebook invitation to the demonstration, set to be held at "Taste of Chicago."
The festival was not closed, NBC Chicago reported. Protesters continued on a march and staged sit-ins and blocked intersections, the station reported.
The deaths of Sterling and Castile renewed scrutiny of the use of deadly police force on African-Americans. As a protest was underway in Dallas Thursday, a gunman who said he was upset at white people opened fire on police officers, killing five officers and wounding seven others in what officials described as a targeted attack. The gunman was killed by police.
Hundreds of people also marched in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale Saturday as part of the Black Lives Matter movement in demonstrations that ended peacefully.
Protesters in Fort Lauderdale chanted "No justice, no peace" and "Hands up, don't shoot." At one point the protest stopped outside a Broward County jail and prisoners banged on windows in support, but the protest was largely calm.
"It's love out here. Everybody is happy and peaceful. It's not something that we are coming to tear another race down," a rally organizer told NBC Miami.
A protest march was also held in Philadelphia. "Clearly this is REVOLUTION time. We know this," an organizer wrote on Facebook.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, several hundred people broke off from Pittsburgh's 200th anniversary parade and marched to a courthouse to denounce the shootings of black men.
More than 150 people also gathered in downtown Newport, Rhode Island, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Seneca Pender of Middletown organized the rally. He told the crowd that the senseless killings of black people "have to stop."
Pender also thanked law enforcement officers who provided security at the rally in Newport and decried the deadly attack Thursday on police officers in Dallas.
Black Lives Matter leaders vow to continue the movement
by Krissah Thompson and Robert Samuels
DALLAS — Steps from where the shooting began, Dominique Alexander and Dominique Torres, leaders of the Next Generation Action Network, tried to make sense of how the Black Lives Matter protest they had planned had turned into a tragedy.
Twelve police officers had been shot, five fatally, at a protest they called for on their group's Facebook page. Strangers on social media were telling them it was their fault. The lieutenant governor of Texas had referred to protesters as hypocrites for looking to police for protection while protesting police brutality.
They were carrying an emotional weight that none had fully expected. And now they had to figure out how to keep going.
Alexander, 27, said he needed to mourn the deaths of the police officers, but he didn't want to obscure the larger issue of racial disparities in law enforcement.
“This is not going to stop our movement,” Alexander told reporters. “In fact, we want it to strengthen it. No one deserves to get shot unjustly — not police officers, not black men. A shooting in Dallas doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist anymore.”
Black Lives Matter is a diffuse movement that started with a hashtag on social media three years ago this week. It has increased awareness of police killings of black people and led to reforms in how police behavior is monitored, including through data collection and body cameras. Now it faces its greatest challenge.
Activists associated with Black Lives Matter refused to retreat from their slogan this weekend, staging large protests in cities around the country, including Atlanta, Phoenix and San Francisco. Leaders decried the loss of life in Dallas and strongly rejected any ties between the gunman and their activism.
“He wasn't a protester,” said Johnetta Elzie, a St. Louis native who emerged as a leader of the movement during protests following the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014. “People are conflating the message with being anti-police and its anti-police violence.”
Black Lives Matter was born as a cry of protest on July 13, 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black youth walking home in Florida. That night, activist Alicia Garza wrote: “We don't deserve to be killed with impunity. We need to love ourselves and fight for a world where black lives matter.” Her friend Patrisse Cullors attached a hashtag to the words, and with a third woman they later founded a #BlackLivesMatter organization, although they don't try to control who uses the phrase.
The movement has had a huge impact despite not having a central leader. What started as a social-media phenomenon gained much more attention during the months of protests following Brown's killing. Videos of police shootings now routinely circulate under the #BlackLivesMatter tag and go viral.
None has evoked more emotion than last week's live-streaming of the aftermath of a police officer shooting Philando Castile in Minnesota. Following his death, the outcry, which included a statement by President Obama, made clear that activists were succeeding in their mission of convincing the world that black people were being targeted by police because of their race.
Civil rights lawyer Judith A. Browne Dianis described last week as “the week from hell” for Black Lives Matter. First came “the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as the constant reminder of the work that we have to do,” said Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a liberal nonprofit organization that coordinates with groups in the movement. The shootings in Dallas followed and “make it harder for us to continue on in doing the work of police accountability because it makes the narrative more complicated. ... And in some ways it felt like the pain that we have felt [for the deaths of Sterling and Castile] was swept under the rug.”
She sounded weary, as did a half dozen other Black Lives Matter leaders. In interviews, nearly all described themselves as tired.
“What is happening is just so traumatizing, and my heart is just so heavy,” said Clifton Kinnie, who organized high school students during protests near his home town of St. Louis. “Being in the movement has caused me to get to a point where my heart is so heavy. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Sandra Bland. ... The past 72 hours my phone was on do not disturb. My spirit was not broken, but like many in the community I am tired.”
As the Black Lives Matter anniversary approaches, activists involved have been reassessing their strategies. They will have to do so while contending with sharpened criticism of their movement. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said during an interview on Fox News that he blames “people on social media with their hatred towards police” for the shooting, and called protesters in Dallas “hypocrites” for running when the sniper opened fire and “expecting men and women in blue to turn around and protect them.” The Drudge Report posted a headline saying, “Black Lives Kills Four Police Officers.”
In a statement late last week, the official Black Lives Matter organization that Garza and Cullors founded, which has 40 chapters and represents a portion of the movement, predicted that “there are some who would use these events to stifle a movement for change and quicken the demise of a vibrant discourse on the human rights of Black Americans.”
The leaders of Black Lives Matter fear the negative commentary will weaken the movement's influence on the national debate after a period in which activists had begun to feel more powerful. Since 2014, more than two dozen states have enacted laws addressing police violence, including the collection of data on police shootings, and more bills dealing with the issue are being considered. State leaders quickly remanded investigations of Sterling's and Castile's deaths to federal authorities, unlike Brown's case.
“There is an entirely new generation of black people on the front lines for justice and dignity and respect for black people. We have opened conversation in the political sphere, the art world, Hollywood,” Cullors said. “People have been really pushed to grapple with what it means to show up for black lives.”
The Dallas protest began when Alexander and others in the Next Generation Action Network were driving back to Dallas from a protest in Baton Rouge, where they had visited the family of Alton Sterling. Then the video showing Castile, taken by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, started popping up on their phones. It added extra layers of urgency, outrage and mourning.
They drafted a news release and a Facebook announcement. “We don't do a lot of planning,” Alexander said. “You just put something out there and wait for people to come.”
More than 1,200 people checked into the protest on Facebook. And everything was peaceful — police officers posed for pictures with protesters, and some even shared hugs — until it wasn't.
Alexander emphasized that their relationship with these police officers was not adversarial. Police contact them whenever they have planned a protest, and the same officers show up to clear the streets and protect them from violence.
“This is not about protesters versus the police,” added Simone Bridges, 25. “We want the police to be safe, and we want to be treated with dignity. We just want them to do their jobs.”
Alexander and Torres had been so busy talking all day that they did not even see the photos of the officers who were shot. A reporter showed him photos of the officers, each a new revelation. Patrick Zamarripa: “I seen him.” Lorne Ahrens: “He was the one leading in the front. I know him. Sad.” Michael Krol: “I've seen him, too.” Michael Smith: “He's out there all the time.” Brent Thompson: “Yeah. Him.”
Alexander went quiet, and his eyes started to glisten.
“I knew all five,” he said, quietly. “All five.”
“We're going to hope to be at the table to help the police get better,” Torres added. “But we know they need their space now, and they need time to mourn.”
So did they.
How the Dallas Police Department Reformed Itself
Under Chief David Brown, the force made substantial progress—although tensions persist.
by Chris Haugh
Dallas Police Chief, David O. Brown, once said that “trust is hard to earn and easy to lose.” Since taking the reins of the police force in 2010, Brown has taken that principle to heart, transforming Dallas into a national symbol of community policing even as the department grapples with the tragic killing of five of its officers earlier this week.
“All I know is that this must stop—this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” Brown said at a mournful press conference on Friday. “We don't feel much support most days. Let's not make today most days.”
If the Dallas Police Department has now become a poster child for police reform due to Brown's efforts to increase transparency and train officers to reduce the lethality of interactions between police and the community, that was not always the case. Dallas was once notorious for police violence. For years, the third largest city in Texas has had a higher per-capita rate of police-involved shootings than Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles.
This trend began to reverse around four years ago. On July 24, 2012, a Dallas police officer shot and killed James Harper, an unarmed black man. Residents took to the streets. A confrontation with police appeared imminent. But despite the potent and often combustible combination of angry citizens and riot police, a concerted effort by both sides kept the streets relatively peaceful.
In the wake of this near catastrophe, Dallas embraced a new model of community policing which Brown announced over Facebook. “The citizens of Dallas have shown great trust and confidence in the Dallas Police Department,” Brown wrote at the time. “My pledge is that we will continue to work as hard to maintain and improve citizens' trust as we did to earn it.”
The department committed itself to transparency. It developed a new foot pursuit policy that emphasized de-escalation. One proposal would make police officers in Dallas subject to lethal force training every two months instead of every two years. Brown released an enormous amount of police data, too, publishing statistics including 12 years worth of data on police shootings on an official online repository. The number of body cameras used by officers increased. Poor performing police officers were fired. And after Brown declared that traffic citations were not intended to “raise revenue,” his officers issued half as many tickets at least count as they did in 2006.
Although widely praised for these efforts, Brown and the department's top brass have also come in for criticism from city council members, police associations, and others who have called their tactics unsustainable. Officers have been voting with their feet as well: At least 143 individuals have left the department, while recruitment has stagnated. Academy classes are regularly canceled for lack of applicants.
But crime statistics seem to validate Brown's work. In 2014, Dallas had its lowest murder rate since 1930. Overall crime decreased by 4.5 percent last year while violent crime dropped at a similar clip. There have been ups and downs, including a dramatic uptick in murders this year, but the trend line appears to hold true: Dallas is a less violent city than it was five years ago.
Some point out that police reform may not be responsible for plummeting crime rates. But, at the very least, Dallas police appear to have cleaned up their act. Excessive force complaints against the department dropped by 64 percent over a five-year period. Arrests are decreasing by the thousands each year.
“So far this year, in 2016, we have had four excessive force complaints. We've averaged between 150 and 200 my whole 33-year career. So this is transformative,” Brown told a crowd of his fellow officers and policymakers at the White House in April. His department is a member of President Obama's Police Data Initiative. “And we've averaged between 18 and 25 police involved shootings my whole career. We've had two so far this year.”
With around eight months remaining in the year, however, Brown was painfully aware of how fickle such trends can be regardless of the department's best efforts. “Knock on wood, brother” he concluded after discussing these trends, rapping his knuckles on the wooden podium in front of him. “Knock on wood.”
As the city of Dallas grieves for the five police officers killed Thursday night, these statistics will offer little succor. But the legacy of these reform efforts, and the trust they engendered, does offer hope that the city may be prepared to begin to heal its wounds in the days and weeks ahead.
San Antonio: Shots fired at police headquarters
by Faith Karimi and Joe Sutton
Gunfire hit the San Antonio police headquarters, leaving bullet marks on the building and shell casings in a nearby alley, authorities said.
San Antonio police are investigating reports of a suspect seen fleeing from the alley, Police Chief William McManus said.
McManus said police got a call late Saturday night about shots fired. Officers canvassed the area, and found holes on the building and multiple shell casings.
No one was injured, but police officers inside heard gunshots strike the building, he said.
Authorities have a description of a suspect seen running from the alley, and are working to get more details.
Police vehicles have cordoned off the area as the investigation continues.
The shots come as police departments nationwide remain on edge following Thursday night's killing of five officers in Dallas by a gunman.
Authorities named Army veteran Micah Johnson, 25, as the lone gunman in the Dallas attack. He ambushed the officers during a march protesting the fatal police shootings of two African-American men the same week in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Police on alert
Since the shooting in Dallas on Thursday, police agencies nationwide have added security measures.
Major cities including Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Las Vegas, ordered its officers to pair up with partners to increase visibility.
New York's mayor, Bill De Blasio, placed all foot patrol officers in pairs and said two officers will be posted outside all police stations.
For its part, Dallas police tightened security throughout the city because of an anonymous threat, spokeswoman Monica Cordova said Saturday without elaborating.
Hours before the San Antonio incident, Dallas police officers searched the parking garage of their headquarters Saturday afternoon after a report of a suspicious person.
The search yielded no suspects or strange items, Dallas police said.
Dallas police killed Johnson early Friday, and are trying to determine whether he acted alone in the police ambush.
While authorities have said they believe he was the sole gunman, what's unclear is whether he conspired with others or how long he had planned an attack.
In active shooter situation, don't just stand there...
by Eliott C. McLaughlin
March 3, 2016
Johns Creek, Georgia (CNN)A crowd of about 350 listened quietly as the recording of a teacher's eerie 911 call from Columbine High School bellowed over the church auditorium's speakers.
"Heads down under the tables! ... Oh, God! Kids, just stay down!" a panicked Patty Nielson barked at students taking refuge in the school library, her directives intermittently interrupted by gunfire.
The screen on which the closed-captioned recording was projected later morphed to a dramatization of a Columbine-style attack, as two gun-wielding young men storm through a school throwing chairs aside and shooting students hiding under tables.
Johns Creek police Maj. John Clifton had warned the audience the images might be disturbing.
The group had gathered for a Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events training held at Perimeter Church in the Atlanta suburb, one of several such events increasingly being held around the country. Jackson, Mississippi; Durham, New Hampshire; Greenfield, Indiana; Pampa, Texas; and Orem, Utah, are among the dozens of cities that have staged training sessions of late, and more seem to be popping up every week.
Beverlee Athens, 45, and her husband, John, 59, drove from nearby Alpharetta to attend the Johns Creek event. Katie, 2, bounced on her mother's lap, oblivious that she was a primary reason her parents were at the church that night.
"I'm not going to sit back and be a victim," Beverlee Athens said.
John Athens, a retired firefighter and emergency medical services instructor who's in charge of security at his own church, said he and his wife have concealed-carry permits and "believe in protection," but the state of the world has him even more vigilant.
"I just know that we've got to be prepared. ... It's the day we live in now, unfortunately, and we've got her to think about," he said, nodding to his restless, smiling daughter.
'They do it for fame'
The idea behind CRASE is that the shooters at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, at Fort Hood, at Sandy Hook, in San Bernandino and in scores of other horrific events across the country since the late 1990s aren't like muggers. They don't want your wallet or purse.
They want a body count, blood and headlines.
"They're simply monsters. They do it for fame. They do it for notoriety," Clifton told the crowd.
Clifton went on to explain the directives of the CRASE training: avoid, deny, defend -- similar to the instructions given to employees January 26 when some kind of shooting event was reported at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. It later turned out to be a false alarm.
"Avoid" means more than run. It's about knowing where the exits are and visualizing how you'll get out of a violent situation before one unfolds. Don't live in fear, but be vigilant, Clifton explained.
"Deny" means taking away a shooter's chance to kill you, whether it's by barricading a door, turning out lights, silencing your phone or hiding, preferably behind something that will stop a bullet.
Then there's "defend," and that's where things get tricky, because essentially it means fight. And with a few exceptions, a mass shooter's targets aren't soldiers or others who might be trained to fight. They're regular people: students, coworkers, moviegoers and the like.
"Do not fight fairly. THIS IS ABOUT SURVIVAL," a handout given to Johns Creek attendees said.
Change in tactics
Pete Blair, executive director for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training at Texas State University , which teaches police how to respond to active shooters, says Columbine sounded a "wake-up call."
Around 2002, realizing the model used by law enforcement officers who responded to the shootings at Columbine was not effective, schools began requesting "avoid, deny, defend" training. CRASE didn't become formalized until 2013, hence the uptick in training sessions across the nation, he said.
More than 85,000 law enforcement officers have been trained in ALERRT operations, and about 5,100 have been trained to be CRASE instructors.
Blair is a self-professed "data-driven guy," and there are a couple of statistics regarding active shootings that struck him: The first is that in one out of five incidents, it's the potential victims who stop the shooters; the second is that more than half of active shooter events are over before police arrive, which, on average, takes three minutes.
"That's a long time for someone to shoot at people," he said. "It takes some time for the SWAT team to get there, and during that time, the shooter has free rein to keep murdering people."
Joel Myrick is familiar with fighting an active shooter. A career educator, he was the assistant principal in 1997 at Pearl High School in a Jackson, Mississippi, suburb when a shooting occurred at the school. The event is considered the first in the almost 20-year rash of mass shootings that continues today.
On October 1 of that year, a 16-year-old who had just stabbed and bludgeoned his mother to death drove to the school and killed ex-girlfriend Christina Menefee and classmate Lydia Dew before shooting seven other students, all in the span of a few minutes. Myrick remembers hearing the shots.
"Being an old Mississippi boy, I'd deer hunted and I knew immediately he had a deer rifle, a .30-(caliber) deer rifle," he said.
Myrick rushed to his car to retrieve a .45-caliber handgun. When the gunman got into a vehicle, Myrick cut him off at the pass, leveled his weapon and ordered him to stop. The teen swerved off the road and spun out, and the assistant principal was able to "apprehend him at that particular point till police came," he said.
'Fog of war'
Now a polymer science instructor at Hancock County Career and Technical Center in Mississippi, Myrick says he can't say for certain he'd do the same thing if a gunman attacked the kids in his charge today.
"I feel like I would, but I can't say with certainty," he said. "My DNA, I would try to do the same thing. That's my opinion, but I don't have any way of knowing."
The reason is because in the "fog of war," as the former National Guardsman of 21 years puts it, no one really knows what they'll do.
The CRASE training expands on this notion. Humans are strange, social creatures, Maj. Clifton explained. How one person reacts can dictate how others respond. Humans are also prone to habit, he said.
When the first plane hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, some people took the time to log off their computers and fetch their purses or briefcases before evacuating.
When a fire engulfed The Station nightclub in Rhode Island, where the band Great White was performing in 2003, 100 people died -- 58 of them in the main entryway or just outside it, despite there being three other exits in the club.
"If something happens, most of you would exit the door you came in," Clifton said, pointing to the entrances in the back of the church auditorium.
Another human tendency hampering response in emergency situations is denial, he said.
"The brain doesn't want to think something bad is happening," he said.
That delay can put you in greater danger, especially when you consider that as your stress level spikes, along with your heartbeat, your ability to act rationally can be diminished. Once your heart rate hits 150 beats per minute, tunnel vision and audio exclusion can follow, further exacerbating matters.
Reaction is key to survival. At a Marietta, Georgia, CRASE training late last year, police officers shared a diagram showing the classrooms of Norris Hall, where most of the deaths occurred during the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.
According to the graphic: The first classroom the shooter reached, Room 206, went into traditional lockdown. When it was all over, 10 of the 14 people inside that classroom were killed, while two were wounded. In Room 211, which also went into lockdown when the shots were heard, 12 of 18 were killed and six were wounded.
In the adjacent Rooms 204 and 207, students and faculty barricaded or tried to barricade the doors, while in Room 204, 10 students jumped out of the window. In Room 207, five of 13 were killed and six were wounded, while in 204, two of 19 were killed and three were wounded.
In Room 205, where a dozen students and faculty got on the ground and barricaded the door with their feet, preventing the shooter's entry, everyone survived.
"Doing nothing doesn't work. Doing something does, and these are the statistics to prove it," Sgt. Todd Hood, a SWAT commander, told the crowd in Johns Creek. "Hide and hope? That's like a wing and a prayer. ... That's very problematic. That's not what we teach."
While you're awaiting police, look for weapons and be prepared to improvise, he said. A fire extinguisher can be a fine weapon, and there's power in numbers if a group bumrushed a shooter.
"Pens can do damage," he said. "If you poke their eyes out, can they see? Probably not."
Myrick agrees with the approach, and concurs that planning is important.
"I don't think anybody knows that they will do when it comes to that particular point," he said. "If you're not trained to defend yourself, you won't defend yourself when the fog of war sets in."
The CRASE teachings, he pointed out, are more about planning than training. Why not take it a step further? Why not tack some balloons to the wall and let kids see how many they can pop with a math book? Why not let them have a go at swinging a chair, just for muscle-memory's sake?
Myrick worries that because there's usually no warning when a gunman kicks in a door, "you've got to have something right at your fingertips that you can do. There's no time to do anything."
He'd also like to see well-trained, armed security personnel in schools. The United States spent billions on nuclear submarines and never fired a shot, he said. It was a mere deterrent. Why wouldn't we take the same approach to schools, which house "our most prized possessions as parents"?
Chances low, but on rise
To be clear, your chances of being hurt or killed in a mass shooting remain slim. Statistics from 2000 to 2013 show that you have a slightly better chance of being struck by lightning than dying in a random mass shooting.
But the largely 50-and-over audience attending the CRASE training in Johns Creek is not being reactionary when they say the world feels like it's becoming more dangerous.
From 2000 to 2007, the United States saw an average of 7.4 active shooter events per year. The number is 16.4 for 2008 to 2013.
Robert Adair, 60, an architect from Peachtree Corners, just south of Johns Creek, said he wasn't much of a gun guy until someone he knew was shot and kidnapped. While he agrees with the "avoid, deny, defend" philosophy, his primary purpose for attending the CRASE training was to understand his responsibility as a gun owner in an active shooter situation.
"I have a carry permit, and basically I want to find out what I should do or should not do if I find myself at a scene before the police arrive," he said.
Hood addressed his query during the two-hour session: "Law enforcement officers seldom tell you to grab a gun, but do it here. If they're bringing violence to you, they don't matter."
But once police arrive, Hood said, holster the weapon, get your hands up and promptly let police know that you're armed.
Deadliest Mass Shootings in U.S. History Fast Facts
Here is a list of the deadliest single day mass shootings in U.S. history from 1949 to the present.
If the shooter was killed or committed suicide during the incident that death is not included in the total.
At least 49 killed - June 12, 2016 - Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando, Florida. At least 49 people are killed and more than 50 are injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages officials say he was holding at the club.
32 killed - April 16, 2007 - Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. A gunman, 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounds an undetermined number of others on campus. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho then commits suicide.
27 killed - December 14, 2012 - Sandy Hook Elementary School - Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam's mother, dead from a gunshot wound. The final count is 28 dead, including the shooter.
23 killed - October 16, 1991 - In Killeen, Texas, 35-year-old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a Lubys Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, Hennard shoots and kills 23 people. He then commits suicide.
21 killed - July 18, 1984 - In San Ysidro, California, 41-year-old James Huberty, armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun shoots and kills 21 adults and children at a local McDonalds. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.
18 killed - August 1, 1966 - In Austin, Texas, Charles Joseph Whitman, a former U.S. Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 while shooting from a University of Texas tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had also killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.
14 killed - December 2, 2015 - Married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik open fire on an employee gathering taking place at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, killing 14 people.
14 killed - August 20, 1986 - Edmond, Oklahoma, part-time mail carrier, Patrick Henry Sherrill, armed with three handguns kills 14 postal workers in 10 minutes and then takes his own life with a bullet to the head.
13 killed - November 5, 2009 - Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 32 at Fort Hood, Texas, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death.
13 killed - April 3, 2009 - In Binghamton, New York, Jiverly Wong kills 13 people and injures four during a shooting at an immigrant community center. He then kills himself.
13 killed - April 20, 1999 - Columbine High School - Littleton, Colorado. 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold kill 12 fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide in the school library.
13 killed - February 18, 1983 - Three men enter the Wah Mee gambling and social club in Seattle, rob the 14 occupants and then shoot each in the head, killing 13. Two of the men, Kwan Fai Mak and Benjamin Ng, are convicted of murder in August 1983. Both are serving life in prison. The third, Wai-Chiu "Tony" Ng, after years on the run in Canada, is eventually convicted of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. He is deported to Hong Kong in 2014.
13 killed - September 25, 1982 - In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 40-year-old George Banks, a prison guard, kills 13 people including five of his own children. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence stating that Banks is mentally incompetent.
13 killed - September 5, 1949 - In Camden, New Jersey, 28-year-old Howard Unruh, a veteran of World War II, shoots and kills 13 people as he walks down Camden's 32nd Street. His weapon of choice is a German-crafted Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88.
12 killed - September 16, 2013 - Shots are fired inside the Washington Navy Yard killing 12. The shooter, identified as Aaron Alexis, 34, is also killed.
12 killed - July 20, 2012 - Twelve people are killed and 58 are wounded in a shooting at an screening of the new Batman film. James E. Holmes, 24, is taken into custody outside of the movie theater. The gunman, dressed head-to-toe in protective tactical gear, set off two devices of some kind before spraying the theater with bullets from an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one of two .40-caliber handguns police recovered at the scene.
12 killed - July 29, 1999 - In Atlanta, 44-year-old Mark Barton kills his wife and two children at his home. He then opens fire in two different brokerage houses killing nine people and wounding 12. He later kills himself.
10 killed - March 10, 2009 - In Alabama, Michael McLendon of Kinston, kills 10 and himself. The dead include his mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle.
9 killed - October 1, 2015 - Gunman Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer shoots and kills nine people, injuring another nine, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The shooter dies after a gun battle with police at the college. Six weapons were recovered at the school; another seven were recovered at Harper-Mercer's home.
9 killed - June 17, 2015 - Dylann Roof, 21, shoots and kills nine people inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina. Eight die at the scene; a ninth dies at a hospital. Roof is arrested the following day; according to police, he confesses and tells investigators he wanted to start a race war.
9 killed - March 21, 2005 - Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. 16-year-old Jeff Weise kills his grandfather and another adult, five students, a teacher and a security officer. He then kills himself.
9 killed - August 10, 1991 - Six monks, a nun, a monk in training and a temple worker are found shot to death at Wat Promkunaram, a Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona. Johnathan Doody, 17, and Alessandro Garcia, 16, are later convicted of the crime and receive multiple life sentences.
9 killed - June 18, 1990 - In Jacksonville, Florida, 42-year-old James Pough, angry about his car being repossessed, opens fire at a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office, killing nine people. Pough takes his own life.
8 killed - October 12, 2011 - Eight people are killed during a shooting at the Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, California. The suspect, Scott Evans Dekraai, 41, of Huntington Beach, is arrested without incident as he is trying to leave the scene. The eight dead include Dekraai's ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, 48. He was armed with three guns -- a 9 mm Springfield, a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, and a Heckler & Koch .45 -- and was wearing body armor during the shooting rampage.
8 killed - August 3, 2010 - Manchester, Connecticut - Omar Thornton kills eight co-workers at Hartford Distributors before turning the gun on himself. Thornton had been asked to resign for stealing and selling alcoholic beverages.
8 killed - January 19, 2010 - Christopher Speight, 39, kills eight people at a house in Appomattox, Virginia. He surrenders to police at the scene the next morning. February 2013, he is sentenced to five life terms plus 18 years.
8 killed - March 29, 2009 - In Carthage, North Carolina, 45-year-old Robert Stewart kills a nurse and seven elderly patients at a nursing home. In May, the Moore County district attorney announces she will seek the death penalty. On September 3, 2011, a jury finds Stewart guilty of second-degree murder. Stewart is sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison.
8 killed - December 5, 2007 - In Omaha, Nebraska, 19-year-old Robert Hawkins goes to an area mall and kills eight shoppers before killing himself.
8 killed - July 1, 1993 - In San Francisco, 55-year-old Gian Luigi Ferri kills eight people in a law office and then kills himself.
8 killed - September 14, 1989 - In Louisville, Kentucky, 47-year-old Joseph Wesbecker armed with a AK-47 semiautomatic assault rifle, two MAC-11 semiautomatic pistols, a .38 caliber handgun, a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and a bayonet kills eight co-workers at Standard Gravure Corporation and then kills himself. He had been placed on disability leave from his job due to mental problems.
Houston cops fatally shoot man waving gun in middle of street
by David Boroff and Meg Wagner
Houston cops shot and killed an armed man early Saturday after he pointed his gun at them, police said.
The pair of officers were on patrol just before 1 a.m. when they saw a man standing in the street and waving a gun in the air, Click 2 Houston reported. When the cops asked the man to drop the weapon, he aimed the gun at the officers who then opened fire.
The man, identified as Alva Braziel by a woman who claimed to be his wife, died at the scene.
The cops were wearing body cameras, police said, although the footage hasn't been released.
Surveillance footage from a nearby gas station appears to show a muzzle flash from Braziel opening fire before police confronted him in the middle of the street. The fuzzy video shows Braziel aiming the handgun at the officers and then spinning around with his hands in the air before being shot dead.
Police have not confirmed Braziel's name and have not identified the officers involved in the shooting.
One of the cops is a 13-year force veteran while the other was been the Houston Police Department for 10 years, according to KHOU.
The shooting comes a day after five Dallas police officers were shot and killed while protecting an anti-police brutality rally. Another nine people — seven officers and two civilians — were wounded in the shooting.
The gunman, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, was killed by a police bomb robot after a tense, hours-long standoff in a downtown parking garage. During negotiations, Johnson said he wanted to “kill white people, especially white officers.”
The Dallas march was organized to protest the police shooting deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Alton Sterling was fatally shot Tuesday while selling music outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store. Philando Castile was killed during a traffic stop outside of St. Paul Wednesday night.
Obama urges Americans to be positive about race relations, saying 'We've got a foundation'
by Fox News
President Obama on Saturday urged Americans to remain optimistic about race relations in the immediate aftermath of two black males being fatally shot by police officers, then a gunman apparently retaliating by killing five Dallas law-enforcement officials, saying, “We cannot let the actions of a few define all of us.”
The president spoke two days after a black male killed the five officers, amid several days of protests across the country about a new wave of black males dying at the hands of police.
Still, Obama insisted that race relations in the United States have not reached a new low nor have regressed to the point of 1960's rioting, as some have argued.
“That's just not true,” said the president, speaking in Warsaw, Poland, at the end of his final NATO summit.
Obama also said that he has revived the task force formed after a white police officer fatally shot unarmed black teen Michael Brown two years ago in Ferguson, Mo., and that he'll soon bring members to the White House. (The shooting resulted in weeks of violent and destructive protests.)
The task force will include police officers, community and civil rights activists and others who will talk about next steps.
"So as tough, as hard, as depressing as the loss of life was this week, we've got a foundation to build on," said the president, who argued that violent crime in the U.S. has decreased over the “past five, 10, 15 years.”
In a wide-ranging press conference that included such topics as Brexit, ISIS and NATO, Obama also renewed his commitment to stopping gun violence.
“I am going to keep on talking about the fact that we cannot eliminate all racial tension overnight, but we can make it harder” for people to carry out their anger with weapons, he said.
Obama called the Dallas sniper, Micah Johnson, a black Army veteran, “a demented individual” just like Muslim Omar Mateen, who fatally shot 49 people and wounded 53 others last month inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
“They don't speak for all of us,” said the president, who mentioned neither by name. “That's not who we are.”
Officials have said that Johnson, before being killed in a police standoff, said he "wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
Obama declined to answer a reporter's question about whether the Dallas sniper attack was a hate crime, saying, “It's very hard to interpret the motives of this shooter, as we have seen in a host of mass shootings.”
The president spoke sympathetically of police officers in gun-filled communities who have "very little margin of error" when deciding how to engage with people on the street who may well be armed, whether they mean harm or not. "Police have a really difficult time in communities where they know guns are everywhere," he said.
"If you care about the safety of our police officers, then you can't set aside the gun issue and pretend it's irrelevant," he said.
Citing laws allowing the carrying of guns in Texas, he said that even some of the Dallas protesters who staged a peaceful rally before the sniper attack were armed. He also cited the presence of an apparently legally owned gun in the car where motorist Philando Castile was shot dead during a traffic stop in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.
Obama also tried to calm public anxiety about personal safety, saying violent crime is actually down in the U.S.
Reflecting on the prospect of serving two full terms leading a nation at war, Obama said it's important to recognize that U.S. military operations today are fundamentally different to when he came into office.
He said U.S. military forces are not involved in active combat, but train and assist forces in nations such as Iraq and Afghanistan. He said an exception to that rule is direct attacks against the Islamic State group.
Obama acknowledged that confronting what he describes as "non-state actors," such as the Islamic State group is something the United States will have to grapple with for years to come.
He said his goal has been to partner with countries so that they can eliminate terrorist threats, but as seen in Afghanistan, that takes time.
Obama said the United Kingdom and the European Union must make sure that Britain's exit from the 28-nation bloc is as sensible and orderly as possible.
He said he has to assume that Britain's decision "is going to stick," but how the process unfolds is up to both sides, and it's important that neither one harden its position in a way that damages economies at home or worldwide.
The U.S., he said, will continue to be close friends and commercial partners with both. He said: "In good times and in bad, Europe can count on the United States -- always."
Obama said he would not call himself a big booster of globalization, adding it carries a danger of increased inequality in which workers may have less leverage. But, he said, it's here to stay.
Boston Mourns Dallas Attack; City Police Halt 1-Officer Patrols
by WBUR News
Boston police are halting the use of one-officer patrols in the aftermath of the violence in Dallas.
Police said in a statement that two officers will ride together in every patrol car in the city as a precaution "in the best interests of officer safety."
The change was to remain in place at least through Friday.
On Thursday night, police officers were attacked while patrolling a protest in downtown Dallas. Five officers were fatally shot, and several others were wounded.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said his prayers are with those affected by the Dallas killings.
He said one of the biggest concerns is the threat of copycat attacks.
"Obviously our concern would be like in terrorist attacks — and this is a terrorist attack — and in terrorist attacks, you always worry about the copycat scenario, and that's what the Boston Police Department [has] to watch out for today and not only in Boston, all across the country," Walsh said.
Boston police said all flags on department facilities would be lowered to half-staff. Gov. Charlie Baker also ordered the U.S. and Massachusetts flags to be lowered to half-staff at all state buildings.
Baker said the flags will remain lowered for five days — "in honor of the five fallen officers in Dallas."
In a statement, Baker called the attack "a senseless and heinous crime against our brave first responders who put their lives at risk every day to keep our communities safe."
The Republican added in his statement that his "heart breaks for the families and loved ones of the innocent who lost their lives this week in Minnesota, Louisiana and Texas and I hope our nation can come together after a tumultuous and difficult period for so many across the country."
Local activists are holding events throughout the weekend to reflect and discuss this week's deadly shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas.
Members of the local Black Lives Matter movement are set to gather in the South End Friday night for what organizers call a "healing event." With music and poetry, it's meant to give members of Boston's black community a space to process the recent incidents.
"To come together to heal, to mourn, to celebrate the fact that we're still here, we're still resisting and to talk about what our next steps are," Daunasia Yancey, of Black Lives Matter Boston, told WBUR.
Earlier Friday, interfaith religious leaders gathered to pray at the Twelfth Baptist Church, in Roxbury. They included the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, the Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, and the Rev. Nancy Taylor, of Boston's Old South Church.
Community, Police Meet To Try To Tamp Down Tensions In South LA
As protesters marched on LAPD headquarters in downtown, a small group met quietly with officers in south LA.
The group came with questions, and high hopes.
Helecia Choyce, a mother of two kids, was one of those in attendance.
“I dont wan't to have to bury them [her kids],” she said.
Choyce and a small group of friends came to LAPD's Southwest Department on Saturday to start a conversation — they wanted to ask how to better protect both sides, so cops feel safer.
“When we see the police officers, they're supposed to be there to protect and serve, we shouldn't have to feel initially intimidated,” Choyce added.
Much of the conversation centered on putting the community back in community policing.
The questions weren't easy, as Choyce and others pressed Captain Sean Parker to say how he felt seeing Philando Castile dying in the Facebook Live video taken by Castile's girlfriend.
“These are the types of questions we want people to ask us, because those are the real questions that want to be asked,” said Captain Sean Parker.
New focus for officers: Community policing
by Dustin Walsh
Public furor over police shootings of black Americans, coupled with the sniper shootings that killed five officers in Dallas last week, may cause police departments nationwide to refocus on community policing principles.
Research suggests increasing the presence of officers in communities, on foot or bike, and not in a vehicle, greatly reduces the fear of crime and policing, said Harry Dolan, former chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department and now CEO of Raleigh, N.C.-based firm Dolan Consulting Group LLC.
But following the terror attacks of 9/11 and other terrorism-related incidents, police departments shifted training resources to shootings — at the expense of community-policing techniques and training.
In Detroit, Police Chief James Craig has touted community-policing since arriving from Cincinnati in 2013. He launched the Neighborhood Police Officers Program in 2014 to get to know businesses, residents, churches and neighborhood groups in their assigned precincts. The program has been credited with improving the trust of Detroit residents. Additional training for officers has focused on defusing volatile situations officers encounter.
The chief also initiated community advisory groups within each precinct to meet regularly with the captains in those districts, said Cathy Govan, executive director of the Detroit Public Safety Foundation, which raises money to support police programs not covered by city budgets.
Dolan, who served as the chief in Grand Rapids from 1998 to 2007, agrees that working with business in city neighborhoods can help boost community policing efforts.
"Businesses have established incredible mechanisms to reach people," Dolan said. "They can play a vital role in coordinating information sharing and support these initiatives beyond the resources available to local (police) departments."
Dolan and his consulting firm are hosting a training session, called "Community Policing: Winning Back Your Community," on Aug. 3 at the Velocity Center in Sterling Heights. Tickets are $195. For more information, go to dolanconsultinggroup.com.
Dallas Shootings: Community Policing is Key to Trust, Says PG County Chief
Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski says his department has long worked to forge ties and trust with the community it serves.
by Deb Belt
Landover, MD — When reports of a sniper attack that killed five law enforcement officers and wounded seven others in Dallas began to come out Thursday night, Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski put on his uniform and hit the streets.
Stawinski drove around and talked to his officers about the dangers they face in doing their job. But how the police force operates won't change, because his department has long practiced community policing and knows the people it serves and protects.
“They are cautious, but we are not changing how we deploy, we are not changing how we respond to needs of the community,” Stawinski told Patch Friday. “We're going to continue to provide aggressive and effective policing.”
The Dallas officers were monitoring a peaceful march through downtown in response to two fatal officer-involved shootings of black men. The march was nearing completion when it is believed that snipers from two different locations opened fire on police.
The events in Texas, Louisiana and Minnesota impact everyone, Stawinski said Friday afternoon.
"In this difficult time, it is more important than ever that our department serves as a model of progressive and effective policing. The vast majority of the community we proudly serve trusts us and relies on us to keep them safe," his statement said. "We value that trust and work every day to keep open the lines of communication. The entire Prince George's County Police family mourns the loss of the five officers in Dallas."
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said in a Friday news conference that one shooting suspect told a police negotiator that he was upset about the recent police shootings. “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers," Brown said.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urged Maryland residents to observe a moment of silence at 1 p.m. ET Friday when the city of Dallas holds a moment of silence.
"Let us mourn the deaths of those who put their lives on the line to keep Dallas safe; let us pray for the safety of the men and women in blue all across the country; and let us take time today and every day to thank our brave officers for their service and reassure them that they do not stand alone," Hogan said in a statement.
Obvious tensions between communities and law enforcement in Maryland and across the country are real and cannot be ignored or swept under the rug, the governor said.
"But there is so much more that unites us than divides us. Now is clearly a time for profound sorrow, but also for reflection, understanding and above all, compassion," Hogan said.
Woman live-streams aftermath of fatal officer-involved shooting
by Joshua Berlinger and Sheena Jones
(Video on site)
Authorities say that a man is dead after being shot by police Wednesday evening after being pulled over in a traffic stop.
The incident took place in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, near Minneapolis.
The victim's name is Philando Castile, his mother Valerie told CNN affiliate WCCO.
No one besides Castile was injured in the shooting -- which comes amid a national debate in the U.S. on when officers can use lethal force -- Sgt. Jon Mangseth, the interim chief of the St. Anthony Police Department, told reporters.
In the car with him were a young girl and an adult woman, who live-streamed the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.
'A busted tail light'
"Stay with me," are the first words heard in her video. "We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back."
The camera shows the woman speaking, then turns to a man in a white shirt, covered in blood. Out the window appears to be a police officer with his gun drawn.
The footage was streamed on a Facebook account under the name Lavish Reynolds. WCCO spoke to Castile's family who identified the woman as Diamond Reynolds.
In the video's first minute, Reynolds says that Castile is licensed to carry a firearm. She claims that before the shooting, her boyfriend was trying to get his ID from his wallet in his back pocket.
The video appears to be shot with the phone's front-facing camera, so the perspective is flipped, as letters would be in a mirror. Because of this, the steering wheel appears to be on the wrong side of the car.
Clarence Castile, Philando Castile's uncle, told CNN that the family is devastated.
"We all know my nephew was a good kid and we want justice as well as relief," he said.
Castile said that Philando worked as a kitchen supervisor for the St. Paul School District. The last time the two of them spoke was in May. They talked about setting up a nest egg for Philando's eventual retirement.
"My nephew has a (concealed carry) permit, and still got killed for carrying a gun ... this needs to stop. This happens so often."
An ongoing investigation
Mangseth said there were two officers present when the incident occurred -- a primary officer responded, who he believes has more than five years of experience, and there was also a backup officer. Having both is standard procedure.
The St. Anthony's Police Department doesn't have body cameras, according to the department's office manager, Kim Brazil.
One officer has been placed on standard paid administrative leave, Mangseth said at a short news conference early Thursday morning.
No police were injured.
Mangseth said he hasn't seen the video, but he knows about it and that it was live-streamed on Facebook.
The nearly 10-minute video garnered more than 1 million views before it was pulled from Facebook.
It was then re-released on the social media platform with a graphic warning.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Assistance, a state-wide criminal investigative agency, was called and is investigating the incident, Mangseth said.
"We will release the information as we learn it, and we will address concerns as we are faced with them," he said.
Mangseth told reporters that it's the first officer-involved shooting in the area in more than 30 years.
"It's shocking," he said. "It's not something that occurs in this area often."
The shooting comes just a day after an officer-involved shooting was filmed by bystanders in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
37-year-old Alton Sterling died, sparking mourning and outrage across the country.
By early Thursday, protesters had begun to gather outside Minnesota Governor's Residence.
'I'm right here'
Reynolds narrates the incident throughout much of the video -- alerting her followers and the viewing public to what was happening.
She's calm and composed at first; a striking juxtaposition to the officers yelling expletives outside the vehicle.
"Please don't tell me this lord, please, Jesus don't tell me that he's gone," Reynolds pleads with police in a hauntingly calm voice.
"Please don't tell me that he's gone. Please officer don't tell me that you just did this to him."
She's then asked to step outside with her hands up. While being ordered to walk backwards toward police, she points the camera at them.
The phone is then thrown on the ground nearby. The camera faces up, and it keeps recording.
Reynolds begins to cry and lose her composure. She's heard wailing and pleading with officers. Police can also be heard in the background.
And camera keeps pointing up at the sky, before it goes black while the voices continue.
Reynolds eventually gets a hold of the phone again, and says she begins filming from the back seat of a police car with the little girl.
She seems calm again, alerting viewers to her location and asking someone to come pick her up.
"I can't believe they just did this," she says.
Then she screams.
"It's OK," the little girl says. "I'm right here with you."
Alton Sterling shooting: Piecing together what happened before the videos
by Joshua Berlinger, Catherine E. Shoichet and Steve Almasy
Just 24 hours after his death, much of the United States had heard about the death of Alton Sterling.
Figuring out what led up to those fateful seconds -- and what the repercussions, if any, will be -- will take much longer.
Federal authorities have taken charge of the investigation into the Tuesday killing of Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who sold CDs and DVDs outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Sterling was shot outside the store after an encounter with two police officers. The officers could be seen in video on top of him before the shots were fired.
Protests began Tuesday afternoon in Baton Rouge and were largely peaceful. Vigils and memorials have spread across the country.
Local civic leaders and Sterling's loved ones have promised to continue their push to find the truth.
"I, for one, will not rest," Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of one of Sterling's children, said Wednesday, "and will not allow y'all to sweep him in the dirt."
As she spoke, McMillon and Sterling's 15-year-old son stood by her side, sobbing.
The U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is leading an investigation into what happened. The U.S. attorney's office in Baton Rouge, the FBI and state police also will be involved in the investigation, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
One of the crucial next steps will be to determine what happened before the confrontation ensued.
Authorities said that the officers were responding to a 911 report of a man with a gun. A source close to the investigation told CNN the witness who called 911 said Sterling was "brandishing a gun."
Abdullah Muflahi, the owner of the Triple S Food Mart, told CNN he wasn't aware of any incident Tuesday that would have spurred a 911 call.
But he's sure the shooting was caught on his store's surveillance cameras, though he hasn't seen it. Police took the video later Tuesday, he told CNN.
There also is police body camera footage of the shooting -- even though the cameras were dislodged -- Baton Rouge police Lt. Johnny Dunham told reporters. The cameras continued to record, he added.
Investigators said they'll review multiple videos of the shooting, and they're canvassing for witnesses.
Authorities haven't said what those police videos or other surveillance footage of the scene show, including the lead-up to what the public has already seen or the possible weapon-brandishing incident.
The source involved in the investigation told CNN that the other videos are not nearly as clear as the bystander videos.
There are two videos that have publicly surfaced showing Sterling's killing -- one that surfaced early Tuesday, catapulting the case into the national spotlight, and a second, shorter video that is of higher quality and was recorded nearer to the shooting.
The first video posted online Tuesday night quickly sparked local protests and drew national attention.
It begins with the camera facing a car dashboard as the three men stand near the vehicle. A single pop is heard. Then someone yells, "Get on the ground."
An officer pulls Sterling over the hood of a silver car and pins him to the ground. Once he's down, the officer begins to assist a second officer in restraining him.
Yelling ensues, though it's hard to make out what's being said. Then there are two bangs.
The witnesses inside the car shout and swear. Three more bangs go off. A woman in the car starts crying.
The second video shows Sterling already on the ground, on his back. One officer is kneeling to Sterling's left. The other officer appears to be straddling Sterling's legs. Sterling can be seen from the chest up and his lower legs are also visible. His left arm and hands are not visible; his right arm is by his side.
After gunshots are heard, the camera pans to the right then back to Sterling, who has a large blood stain on his chest. The officer who was on his legs now lies on the pavement above Sterling's head, his gun pointed.
The officer radios for an ambulance. As Sterling moves his left arm toward his face and then his chest, the other officer appears to remove something from one of Sterling's right pockets. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. said Sterling was armed at the time he was killed and one witness said the officer removed a gun from Sterling's pocket.
The officers involved in Tuesday's shooting -- Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II -- have been placed on administrative leave. A source close to the investigation told CNN the officers were interviewed Tuesday night.
Tensions are running high in the city of 238,000 people as officials vowed to be transparent about how they handle the controversial case that has sparked vigils in cities around the country.
"The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis. ... As this video has been shared across the world, you will see with your own eyes how he was handled unjustly and killed without regard for the lives that he helped raise," said McMillon, the mother of Sterling's child.
Edmond Jordan, an attorney representing Sterling's family, said the first video of the shooting raises troubling questions.
"I think that the city is going to have to give us some good answers," Jordan, who is a Louisiana state legislator, told CNN. "And I don't know if they'll be able to."
The 'CD man'
Sterling was known as the "CD man," a laid-back guy who would sell tunes and DVDs outside the convenience store where he was shot, according to local media.
"Alton was a respected man. He was beloved in the community. He did not deserve the treatment and this excessive force that was exerted on him by the police department," Jordan, the Sterling family attorney, told CNN.
Muflahi said he'd known Sterling for six years and never saw a confrontation between Sterling and anyone. Sterling never got into fights, he said.
"Just five minutes before (the shooting)," Muflahi said, "he walked into the store getting something to drink, joking around, (and we were) calling each other names."
Sterling has had encounters with law enforcement before.
In 2009, he was charged with carrying a weapon (a firearm) while in possession of a controlled substance (marijuana). He pleaded guilty two years later and was sentenced to five years in prison, with credit for time served and a recommendation of work release and drug treatment. Sterling had pleaded guilty to other charges in the past.
There's no evidence that officers who responded to the convenience store early Tuesday were aware of his criminal history.
20 veterans a day committed suicide in 2014, new data show
by Gregg Zoroya
An average of 20 veterans a day committed suicide in 2014, a trend that reflects record high rates among young men fresh out of the military and growing numbers of women taking their lives, the first actual count of suicides among former service members shows.
The Department of Veterans Affairs previously had only estimated suicides, saying in 2010 there was an average of 22 a day. The 2014 data released Thursday is based on a precise tabulation of the 7,403 deaths.
David Shulkin, VA undersecretary for health, noted the slight decline from the 2010 estimate, but added, "it's still far too high."
The 2014 count is the first slice of a massive examination of 55 million veteran death records dating back to 1979. Shulkin said that a final report due in several weeks will detail more suicide trends.
The VA found the worst suicide pattern among male veterans, ages 18-29. Their suicide rate was 86 per 100,000 people, nearly four times the rate among active-duty service members last year.
By contrast, the overall U.S. suicide rate is 13 per 100,000 people, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The new figures show the suicide rate among young female veterans, ages 18-29, was 33 per 100,000 — more than double the overall U.S. rate.
Shulkin said the suicide rate among all female veterans was more than double that of women who didn't serve in the military.
"It is difficult to understand why that is happening. It is one of the things that I think will become a central research question for us," he said.
Shulkin said more research is needed to determine whether women who served closer to combat or experienced sexual trauma in the military put them at greater risk of taking their own lives.
He said the VA has taken several "aggressive" steps to deal with the high suicide rates. They include adding staff to the crisis hotline for veterans (800-273-8255), identifying veterans at high risk, increasing mental health counselors and expanding mental health therapy via telephone.
In 2014, veterans accounted for 18% of all suicides in the United States, but made up only 8.5% of the population. In 2010, veterans accounted for 22% of U.S. suicides and 9.7% of the population.
Church hosts IMPD roll call to pray for police officers before shift
by Laura Kennedy
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new trend is beginning for IMPD officers starting their shifts.
Each day they hold a roll call before heading out into the community.
Recently, more community members are asking to be involved in those roll calls.
And with a new push into community policing, the police are welcoming requests by organizations and businesses to host the daily meetings.
Tuesday afternoon, IMPD Northwest District officers had a blessed start to their shift.
“It was very good, the pastor met us there, he gave some words of encouragement, and he prayed with the officers,” IMPD Sergeant Matthew Grimes said.
The middle shift held it's roving roll call at the Olivet Missionary Baptist Church on High School Road.
And the event came at the request of the lead pastor Wayne Moore.
“It was announced at a community meeting and the pastor was there and asked to have a roving roll call at his church,” Grimes said.
Grimes said these roll calls out in the community are becoming more common and are a welcome addition to the day of an officer.
“Most of the time when you call the police, you're not having a good day, you're having a bad day,” he said, “So it's nice to deal with people on a positive basis, in a social setting that we can introduce ourselves, hey you're the officer that patrols my neighborhood.”
He said the roving calls provide an opportunity that isn't available when meetings are held at headquarters like in the past.
“They can say a few words if they like, they get to meet the officers that patrol the area,” he said, “When we're on a run we might not have the opportunity to speak to citizens.”
And in an effort to reach even more people of Indianapolis, he shared photos on the district's Facebook page.
“We're getting very positive feedback from that, people like that, and it shows that the officers are human too,” he said.
Mainly, he said the officers enjoy starting their day on such a positive note.
“The officers are very grateful and it's nice for the officers to hear positive words of support, kindness, and the community really does support us,” he said.
Grimes said they always welcome offers to host roving roll calls in the Northwest District.
They happen three times a day, but 1:30 in the afternoon is the most popular.
Just contact your district office if you would like to schedule a roll call.
NYPD Expands Neighborhood Policing Program
by Samar Khurshid
The New York Police Department's program to reimagine policing with a focus on creating community relationships expanded to six additional precincts and one more housing Police Service Area (PSA) last week, bringing the total to 26 precincts and six PSAs now served by the new model. Gotham Gazette visited the 79th Precinct in Western Bedford-Stuyvesant on Monday, July 27, to see the rollout of the program and to speak with residents about their reaction to the new policing model.
Neighborhood policing, sometimes referred to as community policing, launched as a pilot in four precincts in May 2015. The program, part of the NYPD's evolving approach to preventative measures, is an integral component of Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton's new plan for the department, One City, Safe and Fair Everywhere, which was released in June of last year. The addition of 1,300 new officers to the force is part of implementing neighborhood policing, which calls for officers to spend more time walking beats free from responding to 911 calls.
Essentially, the NYPD's plan is aimed at fostering trust between police officers and residents, business owners, and others in neighborhoods they patrol. Through daily personal interactions and direct involvement in community affairs, officers are expected to build relationships. The basic tenet of the program is that familiarity breeds trust so the same officers patrol the same areas virtually every day to acquaint themselves with the people who live and work there, and vice versa. The program is expected to expand to 40 precincts, of the 77 in the city, by next year.
"It really stems from the central idea that we owe it to our communities to keep them safe and we owe it to our officers to keep them safe," said the mayor, when he announced the plan just over a year ago. "And the two ideas unite when police and community are working together. That is the best guarantor of the safety of our neighborhoods and our officers."
Some reformers are critical of the community policing model, which they say has a potential to lead to more policing of quality-of-life offenses and turning community problems into police problems. When the increase in NYPD officers was proposed last year to facilitate the program, Alex Vitale, associate professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, and Alyssa Aguilera, political director at VOCAL-NY, opposed it. They wrote in a March 2015 editorial for Gotham Gazette, "Too often, community policing means more intensive and invasive policing of minor disorderly behavior that serves to criminalize mostly people of color without dealing with the underlying causes of this behavior like poverty, homelessness, problematic drug use, mental health issues, and more."
Under the new model, in part made possible by the 1,300 new officers fought for by the City Council, but also somewhat the result of how safe the city already is, each precinct is divided into four or five sectors and a two-officer patrol car is dedicated to each sector. Officers are also given a third of the time in their shifts to engage with the community rather than respond to 911 calls. Other precinct-wide response teams compensate for those officers to ensure emergency response isn't affected. Each sector will also have two specially trained Neighborhood Coordinating Officers (NCOs) who identify community issues and crime trends to find solutions. "Citizens will get to know their cops," the plan reads. "The officers will take ownership of their sectors. The public will identify sector officers as their go-to-cops and not just another blue uniform."
At the NYPD Police Academy's graduation ceremony on Friday, July 1, Commissioner Bratton echoed the sentiment that underlies the community policing model, telling the 1,257 new graduates that they shouldn't wrap themselves in "a blue cocoon that isolates you from the community."
Last Monday, June 27, was the first scheduled day for neighborhood policing in the 79th precinct, which has relatively high crime rates, but has also been getting safer and is on the frontier of creeping gentrification in Brooklyn.
Requests to NYPD for information about the launch went unanswered in the week leading up to it and on the day, calls to the precinct's Community Affairs unit went unanswered till late in the afternoon. The precinct's commanding officer, Deputy Inspector John Chell, was also unavailable.
The launch of the program was without much fanfare it seems. Officers at the precinct did not seem to know the details of its implementation and suggested Gotham Gazette contact NYPD headquarters, to find those in charge of the program. The office of the Deputy Commissioner Public Information subsequently confirmed that the program had launched and provided details for the 79th precinct. The precinct has four sectors, with eight NCOs and a sergeant in charge of the program, supervised by the commanding officer.
For people in the neighborhood, the launch of the program came as a surprise. Some had heard rumors, while others were entirely unaware. But most agreed that it was a necessary and valuable initiative that would mitigate the distrust between the police and a community overwhelmingly home to people of color.
A few people were wary of more cops on the street, an extension of their feelings towards the controversial stop-and-frisk policies that the police department heavily relied on in the past. But they supported the principle behind the program if it means that police officers interact with them as law-abiding citizens rather than view them with suspicion.
Army veteran F. Herbert, 90, has lived in Western Bed-Stuy for more than 60 years and says he has seen it go from a "rough neighborhood" to one that started changing for the better ten years ago. He recalled the 1964 riots, which began in Harlem following the shooting of an African American teenager by an NYPD officer and later spread to Bed-Stuy. People were "trying to burn [the neighborhood] down," said Herbert, providing evidence of what happens when there is strife between the police and the people. "It's gravy around here compared to what it was," he said.
Crime in the precinct has fallen precipitously, from 7,277 major crimes in 1990 to 1,541 in 2015, a drop of 78.8 percent.
Having lived there so long, Herbert has seen cops come and go. He befriended many of the older ones, who have long since left, but doesn't recognize the new faces on the block. The new cops "don't stop and talk," he said. "They just keep moving. I think they should try to get to know the people in the neighborhood."
That's exactly what the neighborhood policing model aims to accomplish, and Herbert supports it. "I think it's a good thing, personally," he said, stressing that the city needs to start implementing it in full. "Action needs to be taken instead of talk," he added. "Talk is cheap."
The effort to get to know people in the neighborhood is to build bonds, in part to learn about community concerns so they can be addressed proactively, before things boil over, to learn about individuals, gangs, and others who may cause neighborhood upheaval. The notion that better relationships will lead to more tips, both before and after crime occurs, is of concern to some police reformers.
Keishon Warren, 35, is co-owner of Brooklyn Blend, a coffee shop on Tompkins Avenue, a few blocks down from the 79th precinct building. Officers frequent his business, even from the neighboring 81st Precinct. "I'm for any initiative that can assist the community in growing and being safe without interrupting people's livelihood," he said.
He praised the precinct's current community affairs unit, saying they do a “phenomenal” job. “They're doing a great job with just their presence in community programs,” he said. “They reach out to business owners and key figures in the community.” But he admits that despite falling crime levels, there's room for improvement and the neighborhood policing program is a necessity.
Warren's words ring true. Crime is still relatively higher in the 79th compared to other precincts even though it is falling. In 2015, there were 1,541 major crimes in the precinct -- 7 murders, 27 rapes, 281 robberies, 363 felony assaults, 312 burglaries, 456 cases of grand larceny and 95 car thefts. This year, as of June 26, there have been 665 major crimes -- 2 murders, 10 rapes, 121 robberies, 150 felony assaults, 139 burglaries, 200 cases of grand larceny and 43 car thefts.
Warren also said that the 79th precinct is one of the few where he has seen officers on foot patrols, although there were none visible that day. Across the precinct, pairs of officers patrolled in squad cars, criss crossing the neighborhood.
George Carty, 56, works as a consulting network administrator. He has confidence in neighborhood policing. "It's a good idea," he said, particularly for younger residents to develop congenial rather than adversarial relationships with police officers.
Carty doesn't think there's much division between residents and police in the neighborhood, compared to other communities, but thinks the program is valuable regardless and will promote cooperation. “People will know that the police are somebody they can go to if there's a problem,” he said. "It'll be a good system. It'll help a lot...And if [the police] have a problem, people will look to help them out."
On July 11, the precinct's Community Affairs unit will host a forum at 585 Dekalb Avenue, where the precinct community council meets once a month, at which top officers will discuss the program with residents and provide details of how it is being implemented.
Alton Sterling Shooting by Baton Rouge Police Sparks Outrage, Protests
by Cassandra Vinograd
Police fatally shot a black father-of-five outside a convenience store in Louisiana in a chilling incident apparently captured on cellphone video.
Graphic footage circulating online which was filmed by a witness appears to show Alton Sterling, 37, being shot as he is pinned to the ground. It has sparked outrage and protests.
The Baton Rouge Police Department said uniformed officers responded to a call shortly early Tuesday about a black male in a red shirt who was selling CDs and had reportedly threatened the caller with a gun.
Officers "made contact" with Sterling in the parking lot of the Trip S Food Mart and an altercation ensued, police said in a statement.
"Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene," the statement said.
Two officers have been placed on administration leave "per standard procedure," it added, saying the investigation was ongoing.
Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and back, according to East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. William Clark. He would not immediately confirm reports that Sterling was shot seven times.
The president of the NAACP, Cornell Brooks, called video of the incident hard to watch — but "far harder" to ignore.
"Get on the ground, get on the ground" is heard before two officers confront a man in a red T-shirt. One officer tackles the man, throwing him on the hood of the car and onto the ground. The second officer climbs on and helps hold him down.
One officer appears to shout a warning: "He's got a gun! Gun!"
While the man is on the ground one officer pulls out his gun. He holds it the back of the man's head or neck, shouting is heard, and then two pops — as the camera quickly cuts away. At least two more pops are heard.
Background voices are heard saying "oh my God" and "They shot him?" and "They killed this boy."
"Oh my God," a woman's voice shrieks.
State Rep. Ted James called the shooting a "murder," saying in a statement it "has made me question what it really means to be land of the free and home of the brave."
He demanded an independent investigation and scrutiny of the police department's body-camera policy. Local media reported that the officers' body cameras had fallen off.
Congressman Cedric Richmond cited "a number of unanswered questions" around the "tragedy" — including the level of force and response of officers after.
"The video footage released today of the shooting of Alton Sterling ... was deeply troubling and has understandably evoked strong emotion and anger in our community," Richmond said in a statement. "I share in this anger and join the community in the pursuit of justice.
He called on the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an investigation — and for protests to be conducted "with dignity."
Protesters gathered outside the convenience store overnight, chanting "black lives matter" and holding signs saying "Honk for justice" as car horns blared.
#AltonSterling was trending on Twitter amid the mounting outrage.
Martin Luther King's youngest daughter, Bernie King, was among those adding her voice.
"May his name and his brutal last breath shake up and transform systems," she wrote on Twitter.
San Diego police looking for person of interest in string of homeless murders
by Fox News
(Picture on site)
Authorities in San Diego on Tuesday sought to question a man in connection with the murders of two homeless men and the stabbing of a third over the Fourth of July weekend, which has sparked fears in the homeless community.
Police released convenience store surveillance video of the man – identified as a person of interest – wearing a baseball cap, jacket and a backpack. They describe him as 30 to 50 years old.
"When you look at all three cases, looking at the scene, talking to people, this person is definitely someone we want to talk to," said San Diego police Capt. Dave Nisleit, who declined to comment on possible motives for the attacks.
According to police, one of the victims suffered extensive trauma to his upper torso and died before his body was set on fire. He was identified as Angelo De Nardo, 53, who had family in Pennsylvania. His badly burned body was found Sunday morning between Interstate 5 and some train tracks.
Police said the person of interest was seen running from the fire.
On Monday, police responded to a 911 call of a second man who suffered life-threatening injuries to his upper torso. Nisleit said Tuesday that doctors expected him to survive.
A few hours later, police discovered the second dead body, that of a man who bled from the upper torso.
Nisleit said De Nardo was the only body set on fire. The two other men weren't identified.
“There's no doubt in my mind that these cases are being conducted by the same person,” Nisleit said.
Some homeless men told The San Diego Union-Tribune that the recent attacks have put them on edge.
“It's scary to think this could happen to me,” Chris Moton, 35, told the paper. Morton sleeps isolated from other homeless in the city.
The members of the transient community also told The Union-Tribune the recent strings of attacks forces them to keep at least one eye open while they sleep.
“We bound together for protection,” 49-year-old Anthony Jones said.
Bob McElroy of the Alpha Project, a group that serves the homeless, have offered the community some tips on how to stay safe.
“Our teams are making people aware, telling them to sleep in groups and keep an eye on each other,” McElroy said. “We've got a lot of free-rangers who sleep by themselves and that seems like a dangerous thing to do at this point.”
Since the attacks, police have been patrolling the transient areas and telling people about the attacks despite concerns that police wouldn't lift a finger to find the person who had been committing the murders.
Authorities have urged residents to contact them at 619-531-2293 with information about the attacks.
From the FBI
Forensic Anthropology -- Laboratory Artist Puts a Human Face on Unidentified Remains
Fifteen years ago, hikers in a suburban Minnesota park discovered the skeletal, unclothed remains of a woman, 35 to 45 years old, with brown or reddish hair and evidence of significant dental work. The woman was never identified, and the case remains open as a homicide investigation.
In a bid to develop fresh leads, police in New Brighton, Minnesota earlier this year circulated new images showing what the woman may have looked like when she was alive. The facial approximation—rendered in clay using a forensic analysis of the women's skull, along with a detailed anthropological workup and a deft artistic hand—was aimed at putting a distinctive face in front of as many people as possible, raising the odds that someone will recognize her. The process is a free service provided by the Trace Evidence Unit at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia to support the law enforcement community.
“This process has given me new hope that my unidentified person will be identified someday,” said Mike Lochen, a detective in the Police Division of the New Brighton Department of Public Safety.
Nationwide, about 4,400 unidentified remains are found each year—and more than 1,000 of those are still unidentified a year later, according to the National Institute of Justice, which maintains searchable databases of missing and unidentified persons (NamUs.gov). Medical examiners and local police departments most frequently become the stewards of unidentified remains. And each year, about 20 requests are made to the FBI Laboratory to develop facial approximations of unidentified individuals to help investigators ultimately put a name to a face.
In recent years, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia posted images of FBI facial approximations, hoping to generate leads. The ensuing media coverage led to three positive identifications. In Massachusetts, a woman was recently identified after her brother saw the approximation on the news.
“We need the right person to see this image pretty much at the right time,” said Lisa Bailey, a visual information specialist at the FBI Lab who produces the Bureau's facial approximations in a collaborative effort that includes forensic anthropologists and technicians who extract as much data as they can from human remains. “That's one of the biggest things with these approximations—to get them out there. All we need is that one person to see it.”
What the public ultimately sees is the result of many hours of examination, preparation, and artistry. It all starts when remains arrive at the FBI Lab and anthropologists assemble a report based on what the remains reveal—the subject's age, sex, stature, and ancestry, for example. If there is a skull, a technician in the Lab's Operational Projects Unit digitally scans it to create an exact replica on a 3-D printer. By the time a case gets to Bailey, she has an anthropologist's report to refer to and a model skull on which to build her approximation.
“First, I read the anthropologist's report and I sit and just evaluate the skull,” said Bailey, a graphic artist-turned forensic artist who joined the FBI 14 years ago. She studies the face shape and proportions and looks specifically at features like the brow ridge, cheek bones, the set of the eyes, the aperture of the nose, and the alignment of teeth.
“Every face is different because every skull is different,” Bailey said. “You can recognize somebody—even at a distance—because of the proportion of their face.”
For ears, lips, and eyelids—which can't be deduced from a skull—she refers to anthropological reference materials that include skull databases, catalogs of anonymous faces, and published research. The goal in an approximation is to draw attention to those prominent features revealed by the skull, and nothing else.
“That's the hardest part about being a forensic artist,” Bailey said. “You can't go too far and make it art. It can't be a portrait. You can't make it pretty. You have to pull back and only do what the skull is showing you.”
When Bailey is finished, she reveals the sculpture to the anthropologist who made the initial assessment. Together they might make some adjustments to draw out specific features.
“I want to make sure what I see on that face is what I think corresponds to the skull,” said Dr. Richard M. Thomas, one of two staff anthropologists at the FBI Lab. “I try and make sure all those things are being brought out in the sculpture. I haven't been working on it, so I'll know exactly what I'm drawn to when I see the face.”
Investigators in Minnesota are hoping that moment of serendipity is how someone will recognize the unidentified women found in 2000. Detective Lochen in New Brighton said the new approximation has developed a few leads, but no breakthroughs.
It just takes the right person looking at the right time to make a connection, Bailey said. Timing and luck. “Seeing that one image could be the thing that makes somebody take a second look.”
From the Department of Homeland Security
Statement by Secretary Johnson Regarding TSA
This past holiday weekend, as increased numbers of Americans traveled by domestic commercial air, the men and women of TSA worked hard to keep passengers moving through security checkpoints, and keep them safe. Particularly in the current global threat environment, we are not compromising or short-cutting aviation security, while meeting increased travel volume.
From Wednesday, June 30 through Monday, July 4, TSA screened 10.7 million travelers. June 30 and July 1 were the highest-volume travel days we have seen since 2007. During this period, however, the average wait time nationwide in standard security lines was less than ten minutes, while those in TSA Pre-check lines waited less than five minutes.
TSA's success this weekend is a testament to the hard work of the men and women of the agency – both its leadership and, more importantly, those on the front lines at the airports. For example, over 100 Transportation Security Officers and TSA volunteers transferred from around the country to fill in at screening operations at the seven busiest airports. I also salute TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger and his leadership team for ably navigating the agency during these very demanding times.
The progress is also the result of support we have received from Congress. With the reprogramming of funds approved by Congress, we have been able to expedite the hiring of 768 new TSOs, add more overtime pay for the exiting TSA workforce, and are converting 2,784 TSOs from part-time to full-time at the nation's busiest airports.
Airlines have assisted in addressing wait times as well, assigning personnel to assist in non-security duties at TSA checkpoints and working closely with TSA as problems arise. Longer term, we are working with airlines to invest in "innovation lanes" and other technology to expedite the screening of carry-on luggage.
In the meantime, TSA's new incident command center continues to monitor checkpoint trends in real time, which allows TSA to quickly respond to issues as or before they arise.
We are not declaring victory. We plan to do more. The summer travel season continues, followed by holiday travel in the fall and winter. We are accelerating the hiring of an additional 600 TSOs before the end of the fiscal year. And we will continue to work with Congress to ensure TSA has the resources it needs in the coming fiscal years.
2 Chicago officers hurt by firecracker thrown at squad car
The officers were taken to a hospital in good condition
by The Associated Press
CHICAGO — Chicago police say two officers were injured when someone threw a firecracker at their squad car.
Local media report the incident happened around 4:20 p.m. Sunday in the city's South Shore neighborhood.
Police say the officers were on patrol when another vehicle pulled alongside them, someone threw the firecracker toward their squad car and it exploded.
The officers were taken to a hospital in good condition with injuries that weren't life-threatening.
No one was in custody Sunday night.
Too dangerous to talk? Some cities explore 911 texting
As active-shooter and hostage situations become more common, PDs are exploring tech that would allow dispatchers to receive texts, photos and videos
by Michael Balsamo
NEW YORK — With gunshots ringing out just feet away, Eddie Justice hid in a bathroom in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and frantically texted his mother for help.
"Call police," he wrote. "I'm gonna die."
Moments later, he texted again: "Call them mommy. Now. He's coming."
Justice, who would later be confirmed among the 49 people killed in last month's attack, was among several victims who texted relatives to call 911, fearing they would draw too much attention by making voice calls.
None of them could text 911 directly because Orlando is among the vast majority of U.S. cities that don't have that capability. But as active-shooter and hostage situations become more common, police departments are exploring technology that would allow dispatchers to receive texts, photos and videos in real time.
Out of more than 6,000 dispatch centers nationwide, a little more than 650 can accept text messages, with more than 150 making the text-to-911 upgrade this year, the Federal Communications Commission said.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, of New York, has been pushing for text-to-911 in New York City, which has been studying it for nearly a year. Such a system, he said, can "save lives by informing 911 dispatchers of critical details that can guide first responders."
Emergency officials stress, however, that a voice 911 call is preferred when possible because a dispatcher can elicit details more quickly than texting back and forth. The major concern for many cities, including some of the nation's largest, is that overuse of texting when it's not absolutely necessary could slow response times and cost lives. In Los Angeles, which doesn't have 911 texting, a police dispatch official last year cautioned that response times for text 911 could be triple that for voice calls.
Nearly every municipality with text-to-911 service has sought to address that concern by promoting the slogan: "Call if you can, text if you can't."
Officials also warn that with text messages your approximate location isn't automatically sent to emergency responders, like it is with voice calls. Instead, they encourage people to give 911 call takers an accurate address or location as quickly as possible.
Supporters of such systems say their use would go beyond active-shooter and hostage situations to scenarios in which a battered spouse, for example, could surreptitiously message police without alerting the attacker.
"If someone could snap a photo or a quick video showing the perpetrator that'd be enormously helpful to law enforcement," said Joseph Giacalone, a criminal justice professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a retired police detective.
San Bernardino, California, rolled out its text-to-911 service in December about two weeks after an attack at a social services center where a man and his wife killed 14 people at a holiday gathering. In New Hampshire, where text-to-911 service is available statewide, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan said it was a "common-sense initiative that will help save lives."
Text-to-911 service also has been used by deaf and hard-of-hearing people to get in touch with police.
A deaf woman in Alpharetta, Georgia, texted police to report there were two children locked in a car in a shopping mall parking lot, and police rescued them.
Authorities say 911 texting, like its phone counterpart, has also been abused.
Last year, a teenage girl texted 911 to falsely report there was an active shooter at a high school in Marietta, Georgia, said police, who arrested her at her home an hour later.
What cops can learn from civilian active shooter response training
In a live-fire active shooter response training presented by Mike Wood, participants worked to be mentally, emotionally, and physically ready for the very worst
by Doug Wyllie
A few months ago, I participated in an excellent active shooter response training presented by PoliceOne Contributor Mike Wood. Wood — a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel (26 years of service) who used to drive KC-10A refueling tankers through the skies — is an NRA Law Enforcement Division-certified Firearms Instructor and the author of Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis. The training Wood presented was largely for civilians, but many of the lessons are equally applicable to police — particularly off-duty cops.
In some of the civilian-focused live-fire training currently out there, participants burn through 500-600 rounds of ammo. This “turning money into sound” training does not necessarily lead to an increase in skills or abilities — in fact, it can do more harm than good.
In Wood's course, we spent a significant portion of the day with our pistols holstered. In fact, for the first 90 minutes or so, we stood in a semicircle listening to important information Wood had gathered in his research into active killer events, as well as doing some mental calisthenics to prepare for a life-or-death fight against an active killer.
Knowledge and Mindset
Wood underscored the fact that there sometimes are other ways you can contribute to the successful resolution of an active killer event than hunting the attackers. Particularly for civilians and off-duty officers not wearing body armor or carrying a police radio, one could summon help, provide intel to arriving responders, help others to escape, provide first aid, and the like.
“I can't stress it enough that we can choose to freeze, fight, or flee in these events, and the hardest one for some of you is probably going to be the flee option, because it goes against your nature. However, this is probably the best option in many cases. Going up against a rifle- and grenade-armed team of attackers by yourself with your single stack 9mm pistol is not a great way to reach retirement. And if you have family with you, there should be no question what your primary responsibility is — get them to safety,” Wood said.
“If you choose — or are forced — to fight, then fight like a cool-headed predator. Be stealthy, use cover and concealment, plan your ambush carefully, and use every advantage you have. Hit them when they're weak — during reloads or malfunctions or when their back is turned to you,” Wood said.
Wood also reminded us that there are distinctions between the types of active threats we might face — the motivations of a tango are different than a criminal, and their skill levels may be dissimilar. Further, we may encounter a single attacker with limited weapons and very little pre-planning or a pair (or a group) of hardened attackers with enhanced weaponry who had conducted some degree of pre-planning. Our tactics — up to and including our decision to engage at all — may be affected by all those variables (assuming we have access to that information as the gunfire is happening).
Wood pointed out that a mentally ill or criminally motivated gunman will probably behave differently than a determined terrorist faced with armed resistance — whether that be from uniformed officers, off-duty officers, or concealed-carry citizens.
“Know your enemy,” Wood said. “The more you know about the people who do these kinds of attacks and the tactics they use, the more you'll be prepared to take them on. It's helpful to know that 40 percent of the rapid mass murderers in one study ate their own gun when resistance was encountered, or that intervention by a single citizen stopped eight out of ten rapid mass murders. Don't overestimate, nor underestimate your enemy. Take them as you find them — and take them out.”
Is the Line Ready?
With our minds filled with information and motivation, we topped off our magazines and made our way to the line. We had targets positioned at different distances — a staggered pair of lines with one about five yards behind the first. Some target stands also had a secondary target — a paper plate extended on a small piece of cardboard away from the leg of the stand — to simulate shooting at a gunman in a prone position.
Because of the use of highly unstable TATP explosives — especially within vests in places like the Middle East — head shots are preferred to avoid accidental detonations. This was starkly demonstrated during the ISIS terrorist attack on Ataturk Airport in Turkey. One of the attackers was shot in the leg by an officer, who approached him and then quickly ran away. The terrorist was left to detonate the explosive device. Had the officer delivered a shot to the cerebral cortex, that explosion probably would not have happened.
In addition to encountering a suicide vest — a common tactic used to ‘up the body count' is to blow yourself up with a suicide belt when capture is imminent — attackers here in the United States also have used body armor. Although the majority of rapid mass murderers don't actually use body armor or wear suicide vests, we worked headshots almost exclusively in our exercises. Prepare for the worst was one of the themes of the day.
Consequently, we were shown the best places on the skull for immediate deanimation. There is a ring around the skull that begins right between the eyes, goes around both sides to the top of the ears, and meets in back where the round part of the head meets the very top of the neck. In essence, imagine putting a headband on and pulling it over your eyes and down slightly in the back — that's the target area we worked with. However, Wood also explained that in a gunfight, you may not always have a great shot at that zone.
“Upper center mass is still a good primary target area if there are no contraindications — no armor, explosives, LBE, etcetera,” Wood said. “Take what you can get. An upper center mass shot is easier to pull off than a good head shot on a moving target. Remember, not all head shots are created equal.”
In the debrief, Wood added, “If you found it difficult to make a clean head shot on paper from ten paces with your pistol, just think how much more difficult it would be to make that shot in the chaos and confusion of a real incident — with the target moving, the smoke, the gunshots, the explosions, and a swirl of no-shoots moving through your line of sight. This is no easy task, and it's just as important for you to know the shots you can't make as the shots you can make.”
Rising to Real-World Challenges
In terms of the shooting, two specific drills were the highlights of the day because they forced you to solve a problem that most of the participants had probably not previously encountered.
1. First Aid: Especially if you are off duty, it's more likely you'll need your first aid skills than your gunfighting skills. This is as true in caring for others as well as self-care if you engage the gunman and are hit. Consequently one of the scenarios dictated that one of our arms had been badly hit. We had to apply a tourniquet to the wounded arm (support side) and then re-engage the target one handed.
“Don't forget, you'll be on your own in the ‘Hot Zone' for a long time before you get medical help — more than long enough to bleed out,” Wood said. “First aid — including self-aid — is critical.”
2. Battlefield Pick-Up: The favored rifle of choice for terrorist attackers is the AK-47 — and to a lesser extent, its variant, the AK-74. In one scenario, we assumed that we'd defeated a gunman with our pistol, but were still faced with additional attackers armed with AKs. We were asked, “Would you rather continue the fight with your pistol, or pick up this rifle to even the odds?” The answer, obviously, is a no-brainer.
For those who had never fired an AK, Wood briefed us on its operation and we took turns putting hits on a steel target roughly 30 yards downrange. This helped hammer home how important it is to know how various weapons work — particularly systems favored by the enemy.
Inspiration in Perspiration
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned that day was when I looked around during a break — it was a reinforcement of the idea that American warriors are everywhere. In addition to the feeling of brotherhood I felt with the men and women in attendance, I was inspired by the fact that these law-abiding, pro-Second Amendment folks had taken a day off — which they could have spent doing countless other things — to train to be prepared for the worst day imaginable.
The statistical probability that an active killer will strike in presence of this group of men and women is pretty remote — but we all are now better prepared to make the decision to flee or fight. If it is flee, we know what we can still do to help solve the problem. If it is fight, we are more ready to move to contact, find the killer, neutralize target, and render aid to the wounded.
Mentally, emotionally, and physically, we all had a good workout that day.
Week of terror underscores a 'desperate' Islamic Stat
by Jessica Durando and Jim Michaels
Three cities in separate countries hit by suspected Islamic State terrorists in the past week dealt a tumultuous blow to safety in those regions, heightening fears of the militants' capabilities and where they could strike next.
The reign of terror includes Sunday's massive suicide bombing in Baghdad that killed more than 140 people, the weekend hostage-taking at a restaurant in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka that left 22 dead and Tuesday's bombing at the Istanbul airport that killed 44.
The massacres demonstrate that the Islamic State has established cells around the world — and is still capable of heinous attacks despite its recent setbacks on the battlefield.
"The Islamic State is losing territory in Iraq and Syria, but it is still a formidable opponent and very dangerous," Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and an analyst with the Brookings Institution, said Sunday.
The militant group claimed responsibility for the assaults in Baghdad and Dhaka, and is strongly suspected of being responsible for the Istanbul bombing.
Since the Islamic State has suffered losses over the past two years in more conventional military operations, the extremist group is now focusing on guerilla warfare and terrorism, said Daniel Byman, a professor at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service.
"We've already seen the number of foreign fighters going to Iraq and Syria decline. From the Islamic State's point of view, these are desperate attacks. But they are successful in their own right and do indicate that we will see more attempts," said Byman, also a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
He added that the more desperate the Islamic State becomes, the more the group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, will rely on amateurs.
“ISIS has tens of thousands of individuals that are scattered not just in the Middle East but also to West Africa, to Southeast Asia, and beyond,” CIA Director John Brennan told the Council on Foreign Relations last week.
The Islamic State's presence in other parts of Asia has also been growing in recent years, though its presence in the Middle East is larger. The Islamic State commands about 6,000 fighters in Libya.
Sunday's attack in Baghdad — the deadliest in a year and one of the worst in more than a decade of war and insurgency — reflects a shift in strategy for the Islamic State. As the militant group has been pushed out of territory it controls in Iraq and Syria, it has resorted to more conventional terror attacks against civilian targets.
The truck bombing comes one week after U.S.-backed Iraqi forces recaptured Fallujah, a city about 35 miles west of the capital, which was a major defeat for the terrorist organization.
The Iraqi government had hoped that driving the militants out of Fallujah would help prevent the Islamic State from getting bombs into Baghdad, since Fallujah straddles major roads into the capital. The U.S. air campaign had also expanded airstrikes to target car bomb factories used by militants in an effort to stop high-profile terror attacks, which pose a risk to the stability of the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.
A 10-hour siege ended Saturday at a restaurant in the heart of the capital city's diplomatic quarter with 20 hostages and two policemen dead. Hostages unable to quote from the Quran were pulled aside and hacked or knifed to death. Police killed six of the terrorists.
"In the case of ISIS and its connection to international terrorism in Bangladesh, they have mentioned the country several times in Dabiq , their online journal," Sajjan Gohel, the international security director at the Asia Pacific Foundation, told CNN. "They talked about the fact that they were going to carry out more attacks, they were going to increase the tempo, and they were calling for volunteers from Bangladesh to join them."
The Islamic State has established a presence in Bangladesh, a predominately Muslim country, as it has in other parts of the world, said Patrick Johnston, a terrorism analyst at RAND Corp. The group has been able to build its presence in places like Bangladesh by exploiting local grievances and weak governments, Johnston said.
Three suspected Islamic State terrorists blew themselves up late Tuesday at Ataturk International Airport.
Residents said they were already bracing for something like this to happen again in Turkey, which has endured nearly 20 terrorist attacks that killed 300 people and injured more than 1,000 others in the past year.
"Almost every month since June 2015, there have been suicide bombings all over the country," said Ege Memis, 24, a student. "The only protection people have is their luck."
The growing terrorist threat heightens the risk of destabilizing Turkey, a NATO member and U.S. ally in the war against the Islamic State.
“Turkey has been very vulnerable to terrorism,” said Bulent Aliriza, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Turkey has been involved in balancing act for a year now. It is cooperating with the United States and trying to prevent ISIS from retaliating.”
Man accused of planning terrorism acts in Phoenix, Tucson
18-year-old Mahin Khan appeared before a Phoenix judge Saturday morning
by The Associated Press
PHOENIX — A Tucson man has been arrested by the FBI and the Arizona Attorney General's Office for threatening to commit acts of terrorism on Arizona government buildings.
The Attorney General's Office says 18-year-old Mahin Khan appeared before a Phoenix judge Saturday morning.
He was ordered held without bond in Maricopa County Jail.
Khan faces two counts of conspiracy to commit terrorism and terrorism.
Arizona Attorney General spokeswoman Mia Garcia says Khan is accused of conspiring to carry out terrorism acts on government buildings in Phoenix and Tucson.
Garcia declined to give further details, saying Khan's court records are currently sealed.
However, she says authorities are not aware of any threats Khan made that involved the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Garcia did not know if Khan had retained an attorney.
A message left at a phone number listed for Khan was not immediately returned.
How close is too close? Hard question for Orlando paramedics
Since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 in Colorado, paramedics have struggled with how close they should get to active shooter scenes
by Mike Schneider
ORLANDO, Fla. — When the first paramedics arrived on the scene of the Pulse nightclub shooting, they could still hear gunfire coming from inside the club.
In active-shooting cases, recent federal guidelines call for medics to put on body armor and go into potentially dangerous situations alongside police officers when possible. But paramedics Josh Granada and Carlos Tavarez didn't have bullet-proof vests and they never made it inside the nightclub. Instead, they treated the wounded across the street in the parking lot of a bagel shop.
In all, they made five trips to the emergency room, taking 13 victims to a hospital just a few blocks away. Could they have saved more lives if they had body armor and went inside the gay Orlando nightclub, where 49 people were killed and 53 wounded in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history? It's tough to know, they told The Associated Press.
Since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 in Colorado, paramedics have struggled with how close they should get to active shooter scenes when they know there are wounded victims who need help. The federal guidelines suggest that victims' chances of survival improve when paramedics go into "the warm zone."
Paramedics have traditionally waited for an "all-clear" that it's safe to go into an active-shooter situation. But studies of past mass shootings have shown "the value of having medical and rescue personnel who are properly trained and equipped to enter the warm zone to maximize victim survival," according to a 2014 policy statement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"FEMA therefore encourages first responder agencies to develop this capability," the policy statement said.
At Columbine, some survivors believed a wounded teacher who bled to death over almost four hours could have been saved if he'd been treated earlier. Instead, firefighter-paramedics, as well as many officers, waited to go inside the school. Thirteen people were killed and 24 others wounded.
In the Pulse shooting, paramedic-firefighters stayed out of the danger zone, in part because Omar Mateen indicated to police negotiators that he had explosives, a claim that ended up being false.
"This was a dynamic scene," said Bryan Davis, a district fire chief. "We went from it being a shooter to now we possibly had an explosive device in possession."
When Granada and Tavarez arrived at a fire station a block away from the club, many of the wounded already had fled Pulse. The paramedics said they could hear gunfire and saw people running. They started treating a man who had collapsed with two bullets in his stomach. They drove him to the hospital and headed back.
"We were still the first ambulance on the scene," Granada said. "All the ambulance units at this point were getting set up in the staging area because it was being communicated over our radio that the scene was not secure."
The pair treated club patrons at the fire station and across the street, behind an Einstein Bros. Bagels shop, where police officers had dragged the wounded.
Last summer, Orlando firefighters trained with police officers in active-shooter scenarios where paramedics went into a school and mall alongside the officers. But at Pulse, the priority was setting up treatment areas away from potential gunfire, fire department spokeswoman Ashley Papagni said in an email.
Orlando paramedic-firefighters and ambulance technicians also aren't equipped with body armor or vests, Papagni said.
Going in with a SWAT team member wasn't a good option because Mateen's line of sight "was pretty much everywhere" before he went into a bathroom, and by then, officers were pulling out victims, Granada said.
During Tavarez and Granada's second run, they helped a man whose lungs had collapsed from a gunshot and another who was disoriented and in shock.
"At this point, (the hospital) had nurses and doctors out in the bay with 20 or 30 hospital beds lined up just ready to take patients," Granada said. "I screeched in, parked right there in the bay, I jumped out and unloaded those two."
When they returned, dozens more people on the ground were on the ground at the bagel shop. None could move and "we had pretty much exhausted every single piece of medical equipment," Granada said.
Almost a dozen victims died at or en route to hospitals. Asked whether any could have been saved if paramedics had gotten to them sooner, district fire chief Davis said, "It's really hard to gauge what we could have or could not have done."
He also said the paramedics did their jobs well. "We were there to support law enforcement and as they were bringing us victims and patients, we were transporting them as quickly as we could," he said.