Review Category : National News

Las Vegas ‘Road Rage’ Shooting: Police Searching for Second Suspect

The Meyers Family(LAS VEGAS) — Authorities are still looking for a second suspect in a deadly “road rage” shooting in Las Vegas that left a mother of four dead.

Erich Nowsch Jr., 19, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder in the death of Tammy Meyers. The suspect, who lived one block away from the Meyers family, was arrested after a two-hour standoff.

He has yet to be formally charged, but his arrest raises new questions into the case.

While the shooting was initially described as a random road rage incident, Meyers knew Nowsch and, according to her husband, Bob Meyers, she even consoled him in the past.

“She was really good to him. She fed him, she gave him money,” Bob Meyers said after Thursday’s arrest.

Police said they only learned of the Meyers’ personal connection to Nowsch hours before the standoff, a connection that Bob Meyers discussed after Nowsch was arrested.

“We know this boy. I couldn’t tell you this before. He knew where I lived,” Bob Meyers told reporters outside his house Thursday. “We knew how bad he was, but we didn’t know he was this bad, that he’s gotten to this point.”

Nowsch’s arrest marks the latest twist in the case. Initially, police said Meyers, a nurse, was shot as a result of random road rage after giving her teenage daughter driving lessons. Later, authorities revealed, she went home after the encounter, rounding up her eldest son, Brandon, who grabbed a gun, and then searched for the driver. That’s when the suspect allegedly followed them home and shot Meyers in her driveway, police say.

She died Saturday at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.

Police said Nowsch was believed to be the only shooting suspect in the case, but police were still seeking another person involved.

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Texas Acts Swiftly After Lesbian Couple Weds

iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — Texas bucked a national trend Thursday by refusing to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married.

The decision by the state Supreme Court, which followed the marriage of two women in Austin, prevents the issuance of licenses to other homosexual couples seeking to wed.

Texas law already prevents same-sex marriages but State District Judge David Wahlberg told Travis County to issue a license to Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant for health reasons. Goodfriend has ovarian cancer and her future is described as “uncertain.”

The couple got married Thursday but Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton indicated Thursday he would attempt to void the union.

At present, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year about whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.

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Attorneys for Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Argue Before Court of Appeals for Change of Venue

FBI(BOSTON) — Attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev argued before a federal appeals court Thursday morning, hoping for a change of venue in hopes of finding a fair and impartial jury for their client.

Tsarnaev and his defense have appealed for a change of venue three times already, and been denied each time. On Thursday, they appeared before a three-judge panel from the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Attorneys for Tsarnaev believe that due to “the impacts of the events at issue in this case on potential jurors and the communities in which they live, coupled with ubiquitous daily and often emotional reminders of those events, it is not reasonable to expect jurors from this division to set aside those influences and to provide the fair and impartial jury the Constitution requires.”

Jury selection in the trial began in January, though opening arguments have not yet been scheduled.

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Santa Barbara Rampage Killer Acted Alone, Researched Knife Attacks and Nazis

Students mourn at a public memorial service on the Day of Mourning and Reflection for the victims of a killing spree at University of California, Santa Barbara on May 27, 2014 in Isla Vista, California. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office released its report on the Isla Vista shooting from May 2014 that left six students at the University of California, Santa Barbara dead.

The 64-page report concluded that the suspect, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, acted alone in planning and acting out his “premeditated, murderous rampage.” Rodger stabbed three people to death inside his Isla Vista apartment. He then killed three more people and injured another 14 in a series of drive-by shootings and by striking individuals intentionally with his car on May 23, 2014.

The three people stabbed at the apartment were all murdered separately, the report says, as they entered the apartment at different times on the day of the killings. It was hours later that Rodger uploaded a video titled “Retribution” online and emailed an autobiographical manifesto to family members and acquaintances. Minutes later, he began his rampage.

An investigation of Rodger’s cell phone turned up 24 digital movies, including a clip of blood dripping into a bathroom sink, a clip in which Rodger appears to complain about trash left in the kitchen of his apartment and his roommate being lazyand several other videos in which he expressed disdain for other people and his own life.

Rodger had also apparently searched the Internet on the day of the killings for topics including “quick silent kill with a knife.” In the months leading up to the rampage, he had searched for information related to a pair of knife attacks in China, as well as numerous searches related to Nazi leaders, in particular Adolf Hitler.

Sheriff Bill Brown said in the report that he believes the detectives, forensic teams and coroner’s personnel “handled the aftermath of this heinous crime with great ability and compassion,” and praised the first responders “whose swift, courageous, skillful and resolute actions…prevented many more deaths.”

While Brown praised California’s strict gun control laws, he acknowledged that “more can and must be done to ensure that those who died were not lost in vain.” He specifically mentioned efforts to remove guns from “armed and prohibited” individuals and legislation passed to give law enforcement officers and families the ability to temporarily impound guns in cases where public safety is believed to be at risk.

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Las Vegas ‘Road Rage’ Shooting: Family Knew Suspect

ABC News(LAS VEGAS) — Police took a suspect into custody Thursday in connection with an alleged road rage incident in Las Vegas that took the life of a city mother, and the victim’s husband told reporters the family knew the suspect and had tried to help him.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department surrounded a house only a block away from where the slain woman, Tammy Meyers, had lived with her family, then led a suspect away in handcuffs. Meyers’ visibly upset husband, Robert Meyers, was standing nearby when the arrest was made and was asked by police to back away from the area.

A spokesman for the police had said the suspect was allegedly involved in homicide of Meyers, but was not necessarily the shooter. The unidentified man was taken for booking.

Robert Meyers told reporters after the arrest that his family knew the suspect and his late wife had had spent “countless” hours trying to help him. “He knew where we lived,’ he said. “We knew how bad he was.” Meyers said more than one person was involved in his wife’s death and the police have done an “awesome” job on the case.

Police revealed this week that Tammy Meyers and her armed son, Brandon, got in a car to look for the driver with whom she had a dispute last Thursday. She had been teaching her 15-year-old daughter how to drive in the parking lot of a nearby school.

After the incident on the road Tammy Meyers drove home and asked her daughter to tell her 22-year old son, to come to the car. When the mother and son returned home, police said, the suspect’s car pulled up. Gunfire erupted and Meyers was fatally wounded.

She died Saturday at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.

The police said the shooter was described as a man in his 20s to 30-years old who’s about 6-feet tall with medium build.

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Rabbi Accused of Kidnapping, Torturing Husbands Into Granting Divorces Goes to Trial

Comstock/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) — The trial of Mendel Epstein, a New Jersey rabbi and alleged ringleader of a kidnapping scheme designed to force husbands into granting their wives religious divorces, entered its second day in court in Trenton Thursday.

Epstein, 69, was arrested in October 2013 for allegedly charging undercover FBI agents $60,000 to kidnap a man and coerce him into granting his wife a Judaic divorce decree.

Epstein and his son David, along with two other rabbis named in the federal complaint as Jay Goldstein and Binyamin Stimler, face federal charges of conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping. If found guilty, the men face a maximum penalty of 20 years to life in prison.

During Wednesday’s opening statement, prosecutors played a video allegedly showing Epstein discussing a staged kidnapping with two undercover FBI agents, wherein he can be heard openly discussing the use of stun guns on men’s genitalia.

“If it can get a bull that weighs five tons to move,” the man on the video identified by the FBI as Epstein is heard telling the undercover agents, “you put it in certain parts of his body and in one minute the guy will know.”

“Mendel Epstein talked about forcing compliance through the use of ‘tough guys’ who utilize electric cattle prods, karate, handcuffs and place plastic bags on the heads of husbands,” said FBI Special Agent Bruce Kamerman shortly after Epstein’s arrest.

Epstein’s defense claims he was a “champion of women’s rights” and employed those methods in order to get a husband’s “evil” recalcitrance to “leave his body.” According to the strictest interpretation of ancient Jewish law, a religious divorce, referred to as a “get,” can only be granted by a husband regardless of the circumstances that may have caused a marriage to break up. Without a “get,” a religious Jewish woman cannot remarry or get on with her life and she becomes an ostracized member of the community called an “agunah” or a chained person. Convincing reluctant husbands to grant their wives divorces is a specialty among ultra-Orthodox rabbis.

The defense is expected to tell the jury about the oldest interpretation of Jewish law that broadly outlines torture as a legitimate vehicle for convincing recalcitrant husbands to grant their wives religious divorces. Defense lawyer Robert Stahl said during his opening statements that “the process is a legitimate divorce. It’s not a criminal conspiracy.” He told the jury that ancient Jewish texts endorse the use of coercion and physical torture in an effort to convince men to grant their wives divorces.

U.S District Judge Freda Wolfson reminded Epstein’s lawyers on day one of the trial that this type of defense is dangerous because the lawyers are essentially asking the jury to overrule federal criminal law.

The trial, which is expected to last five weeks, stems from a lengthy investigation that started more than two years ago in an ultra-Orthodox enclave in Lakewood, N.J. After three alleged victims came forward, undercover FBI agents posing as a disgruntled wife and her brother lured Epstein into allegedly describing his methods in incredible detail on audio and video recordings. Also on the video, prosecutors say the rabbis are shown stretching as if they’re warming up for a fight.

Epstein, who is an internationally known expert in Jewish divorce and author of an authoritative book on the matter, boasts that he has participated in 2,500 divorces.

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Marriage License Issued to Same-Sex Couple in Texas

Scott Cramer/iStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — Travis County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir issued the state of Texas’ first same-sex marriage license on Thursday, in compliance with a court order.

According to a news release from the Travis County Clerk’s Office, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant received their marriage license Thursday. Earlier in the day, federal judge David Wahlberg signed a court order demanding that Debeauvoir “cease and desist relying on the unconstitutional Texas prohibitions against same-sex marriage as a basis for not issuing a marriage license” in the case of this particular couple. The couple was singled out because one of the women has “severe and immediate health concerns.”

The news release from the Travis County Clerk’s Office said because “this couple may not get the chance to hear the outcome” of the marriage equality debate, the marriage license was issued prior to a final decision from the court system. “It is important to note that this order applies only to the medically fragile couple who brought the court action,” the TCCO says.

Congratulations to Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant on their wedding. pic.twitter.com/R8muzrqw96

— Texas Democrats (@TXDemParty) February 19, 2015

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Las Vegas ‘Road Rage’ Shooting: Police Attempt to Take Suspect into Custody

ABC News(LAS VEGAS) — Police say they are in the process of apprehending a suspect in a Las Vegas neighborhood where a woman was gunned down in a suspected road rage incident.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department asked news crews to back away from an area for “public safety” not far from where Tammy Meyers was fatally shot last Thursday.

“The LVMPD is currently in the tactical phase of taking the suspect into custody in the Road Rage Homicide investigation,” police said in a statement. “We will be putting out updated information when it becomes available. No statements regarding this investigation will be given out at the scene.”

Her husband, Robert Meyers, was standing nearby and wa also asked by police to back away from the area.

Police revealed this week that Tammy Meyers and her armed son, Brandon, got into a car to look for the driver with whom she had a dispute last Thursday. She had been teaching her 15-year old daughter how to drive in the parking lot of a nearby school.

After the incident on the road, Tammy Meyers drove home and asked her daughter to tell her 22-year old son, to come to the car. When the mother and son returned home, police said, the suspect’s car pulled up. Gunfire erupted and Meyers was fatally wounded. She died Saturday at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.

The police said the suspect was described as a man in his 20s to 30s, who’s about 6-feet tall with medium build.

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Eddie Ray Routh Believed His Co-Workers Were Cannibals, Doctor Says

Kuzma/iStock/Thinkstock(STEPHENVILLE, Texas) — The defense called to the stand Thursday a psychiatrist who interviewed Eddie Ray Routh, the man accused of shooting and killing former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend, Chad Littlefield, at a Texas gun range in February 2013.

Dr. Mitchell Dunn, a board-certified psychiatrist at Terrell State Hospital in Texas, interviewed the defendant for six hours last spring — an abnormally long interview, he said.

One month before the shooting, Routh said he believed his co-workers at the cabinet company were cannibals and wanted to eat him, Dunn recalled from his interview.

“Mental illness is not the way it is portrayed in movies,” Dunn said.

Routh also said he believed his neighbor, a police detective, was a member of the Mexican Mafia, Dunn recalled.

Jodi Routh, the mother of the accused killer, was also back on the stand Thursday. When a prosecutor asked if she disclosed to Kyle that her son had been in the hospital just weeks before she arranged their meeting, she said, “it didn’t occur to me at the time.”

Kyle, who was helping war veterans after he retired as a Navy SEAL sniper, had agreed to help Eddie Ray Routh that day at the gun range in February 2013.

Earlier on Thursday, the defense called Charles Overstreet, who has a Ph.D. in clinical social work and assessed Routh in jail. Overstreet said he believes Routh suffers from symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that he thinks Routh misinterpreted Kyle and Littlefield’s behavior as “threatening.”

The prosecution objected to Overstreet’s testimony, leading to a sidebar. Then, the judge ruled that Overstreet could not testify for the jury.

Kyle, who was considered the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, served four tours in Iraq and helped found a veterans organization.

He also wrote a best-selling autobiography, which served as the basis for the film American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper. American Sniper is up for six Oscars at this weekend’s Academy Awards, and its popularity played a role in jury selection earlier this year.

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Chicago Doggy Day Care Theft: Dogs Found Safe

Tad Tomita(CHICAGO) — The dogs and minivan stolen by two armed men in Chicago have been found, Chicago Police confirmed on Thursday.

The van was found just before 11 a.m., police said, with all seven dogs safe inside. The dogs “appear to be fine right now,” according to police.

It remains an open investigation, police said. No arrests have been made.

Just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, two armed men stole a running minivan with only dogs inside, according to the Chicago Police Department. The dogs had been en route home from Urban Out Sitters’ doggy day care, said Tad Tomita, the owner of one of the stolen dogs — a miniature schnauzer named Mochi.

When a witness tried to intervene, one man drew a gun and pointed it at him, police said. The offenders then fled the scene.

The van’s driver was uninjured, according to Joseph Giannini, owner of Urban Out Sitters, a company that offers pet boarding, day care and dog walking services.

Tomita said his wife texted him saying their 3-year-old dog Mochi had been stolen.

“I didn’t understand what that meant,” Tomita told ABC News Thursday. “When I called her and she told me what happened, I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. It’s so surreal.”

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