Review Category : Top Stories

Philando Castile’s Family Releases Copy of His Gun Permit

Courtesy Castile family(NEW YORK) — The family of Philando Castile, the 32-year-old shot and killed by police in Falcon Heights, Minnesota last week, has released a copy of his gun permit.

The document is dated June 4, 2015, and the letterhead shows that it originated from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office investigative division in Minneapolis.

“Dear Mr. Castile,” the letter reads. “Enclosed please find your permit to carry.”

The letter states that as a permit holder, Castile was required to have his permit card in addition to a driver’s license, state identification card or other government-issued photo identification “in immediate possession at all times when carrying a pistol.” The document also states that Castile must display the permit card and identification “upon lawful demand of a peace officer.”

Castile was killed in a traffic stop on July 6 after he informed the police officer that he was carrying a gun. Cellphone video taken by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, showed Castile sitting in the driver’s seat of the car with a shirt that appears to be soaked in blood. The officer can be heard saying, “I told him not to reach for it. I told him not to get his hand out.”

Reynolds said she and Castile were pulled over for a broken taillight, but police dispatch audio indicates that the officers may have thought Castile was a robbery suspect. Castile was shot immediately after Reynolds informed the officer that her boyfriend was licensed to carry, she said. She also said he was reaching for his wallet.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News is was unable to comment on the nature of the gun permit because the record is private.

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Pulse Nightclub Released Back to Owner After Mass Shooting Investigation

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Pulse nightclub in Orlando has been released back to its owner, a little over a month after the June 12 mass shooting there that killed 49 people.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma said in a statement that Wednesday “is a bittersweet day.”

“None of us will ever understand why this unspeakable event happened at Pulse, which was always intended to be a safe place for the LGBT community,” Poma said.

“We continue to be grateful for the efforts of law enforcement as well as the love and support we have received from our Orlando community and the world. While we currently remain uncertain about our specific next steps, we can now begin to move forward and make plans for the future of Pulse,” Poma said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Orlando Police Department had control of the nightclub after the shooting. While Pulse is no longer in FDLE and Orlando police custody, the investigation by the FBI and the FDLE is ongoing.

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Slain Dallas Police Officers Mourned at Funerals

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Mourners gathered in Dallas Wednesday at funeral services for three of the five law enforcement officers gunned down in the line of duty last week, remembering the fallen as fathers, members of the military and pillars of selfless protectors of their communities.

Wednesday’s services memorialized the lives of Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, Sgt. Michael Smith and Officer Brent Thompson, who were gunned down by suspected shooter Micah Johnson during a protest against two recent, controversial police-involved shootings of black men.

Police said Johnson, a former member of the military, was intent on killing whites, especially police officers.

Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens

Dallas police Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, 48, was a father of two.

The night before Ahrens died, he bought dinner for a homeless man, President Obama said at Monday’s memorial service.

His wife, Katrina, is a Dallas police detective.

A funeral service was held Wednesday at noon ET at The Prestonwood Baptist Church.

Dallas Police officer Debbie Taylor spoke at the service, recalling Ahrens’ “6-foot-4 300 pound frame.” He “not only was he bigger in physical stature but his personality, his heart and his enthusiasm for police work… and his devotion to his family were all larger than life.”

Ahrens wanted to work at the “busiest and [most] dangerous substation and that was Southeast,” where he was assigned after the police academy, she said. She said he once “stomped down” a fence while running through a yard after a suspect. “His enthusiasm for the job drove him to excel.”

She started to get choked up and said Ahrens and his wife were “ultimate partners,” as they balanced two police careers and raised their children.

“Remember to honor his memory by honoring his life,” she said. “Lorne’s life mattered.”

Dallas Officer Eddie Coffey said he met and befriended Ahrens in 2002 at the Dallas Police Academy. He described Ahrens as “a Los Angeles, heavy metal-listening, tattooed city boy.”

“Our friendship grew over the years as he went to the Southeast station and I went to Southwest,” and at Southeast “he fell for the love of his life – that’s Katrina,” Coffey said.

“Katrina you were his co-worker,” he said as got choked up. “You were his best friend. And his dedicated wife.”

“Lorne was so proud of his kids he was a big kid himself,” Coffey said, recalling how Ahrens would wrestle and watch cartoons with his children, sometimes making them late for school.

As an officer, “Lorne was passionate about police-work” and “had the biggest heart and best intentions,” he said. “He loved the excitement” of the front line, and “was the guy you always wanted to show up [as] your back-up.”

“His size alone shocked most. Then later the situation was calmed down the big smile and the laughter would come out,” Coffey said.

Coffey concluded his remarks by saying: “He will be dearly missed and I love you little brother.”

Sgt. Michael Smith

Dallas police Sgt. Michael Smith, 55, was a father of two daughters and had previously served in the Army.

A funeral mass was held Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET at Mary Immaculate.

Smith’s younger sister, Yea-Mei Smith, spoke at the service, calling her brother her role model and mentor.

He had “love, faith, grace, compassion, dignity, respect, honesty, integrity, humility, gratitude, passion, loyalty, justice, patriotism, belief in service to his country, his community … [and] deep and complete devotion to his beautiful daughters and wife, his parents, his siblings, his family, his friends, his comrades in blue,” she said.

“He was a perfectionist,” she said. “As a father nothing was good enough for his daughters.”

“He worked tirelessly to provide more for them than he had,” she said. “He wanted them to be strong happy intelligent and well rounded young women. We had many discussions … about the necessity of raising our children to be better people.”

“Even those he arrested were treated with respect, dignity, humanity,” she said. “Years of volunteering his time to work with at risk youth hoping to make some difference.”

“My heart is broken,” she said. “He was taken so senselessly, violently, unjustly. And I rack my brain I pray trying to think of what he would do, say. He would tell me to pray.”

“My brother’s murder will not be in vain,” she said. “His selfless legacy will live on.”

Officer Brent Thompson

Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer Brent Thompson, 43, was a father of six and married his wife, Emily, a fellow DART officer, just weeks ago, on June 21.

The first DART officer killed in the line of duty, he previously served as a Marine and as a contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A funeral service was held Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET at The Potter’s House Church.

As his wife, Emily, spoke at the service, she stood with her partner, “just in case I need back up.”

She said she is “honored to be a part of” the Thompson family.

“Brent showed me that even though I would doubt myself from time to time, I’m strong and can do anything,” she said. Then on July 7 “that was all ripped form me in an act of senseless violence.” But she said “Brent is going to want me, his family, all civilians, all law enforcement to continue on.”

“This act of violence hurt law enforcement as a whole. However good will always prevail,” she said. “Though I am heartbroken … I’m going to put on my badge and uniform and return to the street.”

“To the coward that tried to break me … your hate made us stronger,” Emily said. To the community, “we will continue to protect you,” she said. “We will not, we cannot, we shall not let the act of a coward break us. On Brent’s behalf I’m asking you all continue on press on.”

Thompson’s six children then stood in front of the crowd, all with touches of blue on their black outfits.

One daughter said, “his only goal in life was to provide a better life for his children.” “He worked so hard to provide for us,” including “countless hours of overtime so we didn’t have to struggle,” she said. “We just want him to know that we love him” and “that he succeeded.”

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Bear Cub Rescued from Locked Car in Colorado

Courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office(DENVER) — Officers were forced to tackle a fuzzy situation on Tuesday when a bear managed to get itself locked inside a car.

Deputies in Jefferson County, Colorado responded to the call that the animal was stuck inside a 2004 Subaru belonging to 17-year-old Annie Bruecker. She just got the car a couple months ago and is using it to drive to her summer job, ABC affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver reports.

“My mom screamed from downstairs and I thought that I was in trouble,” said Bruecker. “She said Annie there’s a bear in your car.”

Bruecker admitted she forgot to lock her car the night before.

“I honestly could not tell you how he got in,” said Bruecker.

Footage captured the daring deputies setting the bear free by opening the back hatch of the car. They said the bear quickly rejoined the wilderness after the ordeal.

“It was kind of a little bit of a startling moment when he jumped out of the vehicle,” said Deputy Josh Tillman with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

The interior of the car was severely damaged as the bear had tried to free itself by clawing through the doors and roof, according to KMGH.

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Baton Rouge Police Hunt Fourth Suspect in Gun Burglary Tied to Plot to Kill Police

iStock/Thinkstock(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Baton Rouge police are hunting for the fourth suspect in a burglary at a pawn shop that’s believed to be part of a wider plot to kill law enforcement in the Louisiana capital.

Eight handguns and an airsoft BB gun were stolen from Cash America Pawn on Saturday before 2 a.m., police said. Of the four suspects who were involved in the robbery, three have been arrested and one remains at large. One suspect told police he was looking for bullets to attack officers in the Baton Rouge area, according to the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Police said they consider the threats credible.

Six of the missing firearms have been recovered since the burglary. Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie, Jr. said it appears the suspects were unsuccessful in their attempt to steal ammunition.

One of the suspects, a 17-year-old, was arrested on the scene in possession of a handgun and a BB gun. The teen told police during questioning that he and the three other suspects stole the guns and were going to get bullets to shoot police. He was booked into parish prison for simple burglary and theft of a firearm, police said.

A 13-year-old male suspect was apprehended Sunday and charged with simple burglary and theft of a firearm, police said.

Another suspect, identified as 20-year-old Malik Bridgewater, was also arrested Sunday at his home and charged with burglary and theft of a firearm, police said, noting that detectives recovered three of the stolen handguns from him.

Police have not identified the fourth suspect, who is still at large, but are asking that he turn himself in.

Detectives also recovered two of the stolen handguns from 23-year-old Trashone Coats, who allegedly purchased them illegally on the street. He was charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm.

Surveillance video shows the suspects using a ladder to climb to the roof of the building, where they broke into the pawn shop, police said. The shop owner told investigators it doesn’t appear that any bullets were stolen.

Several law enforcement agencies are investigating the threat, including Louisiana State Police, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The investigation is ongoing.

Police said they beefed up their presence in Baton Rouge due to the “very real and viable threats to law enforcement” in the area following the officer-involved shooting death of Alton Sterling last week, which has sparked dozens of anti-police brutality protests across the nation.

In and around Baton Rouge, heavily armed police clad in riot gear have been seen clearing the crowds of demonstrators. The aggressive police response was also due in part to the information obtained after the pawn shop burglary, according to East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gatreaux.

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Four Canines Given Top Military Honor for Their Service

American Humane Association(WASHINGTON) — Four canines were given the top-dog treatment Tuesday on Capitol Hill as they received the nation’s highest honor for their service and sacrifice to the U.S.

Matty, a Czech German Shepherd; Fieldy, a black Labrador retriever; Bond, a Belgian Malinois; and Isky, a German Shepherd, were awarded the inaugural American Humane Lois Pope LIFE K-9 Medal of Courage. The awards were created under the American Humane Association.

“Soldiers have been relying on these four-footed comrades-in-arms since the beginning of organized warfare and today military dogs are more important than ever in keeping our service men and women safe,” said Robin Ganzert, the American Humane Association’s president and CEO.

The group said that all four heroic hounds had been to Afghanistan.

Matty helped find hidden improvised explosive devices and is credited with saving the life of his handler and the lives of his unit more than once.

Fieldy saved lives by tracking down explosives and served four combat tours in Afghanistan.

Bond worked more than 50 combat missions and was deployed to Afghanistan three times.

And after years of guarding leaders as well as the military, Isky now works as a service dog after being struck and injured by IEDs.

His handler, Army Sgt. Wess Brown, was also injured in the field. Brown said Tuesday that Isky was helping him away from the battlefield.

“He saved me,” Brown said of Isky. “He brought a lot of people home and he brought me home. … He’s my dog for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) now and I feel I help him out a lot. … Even though we do get on each others’ nerves sometimes.”

Brown said that Isky was his buddy.

“I feel safe with him every time we go anywhere,” Brown said. “That’s why he’s around.”

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Three Men Allegedly Shot While Filming Facebook Live Video in Virginia

iStock/Thinkstock(NORFOLK, Va.) — Three men were shot and suffered life-threatening injuries while recording video on Facebook Live in Virginia Tuesday night, police said.

The men are seen in the video sitting in a car, smoking and rapping when shots ring out about 5 1/2 minutes into the cellphone recording.

The phone then falls to the floor, the video shows.

Several minutes later, a man, who refers to one of the apparent victims as his nephew, can be heard saying, “stay relaxed, don’t go to sleep. Give me your hand. Stay with me.”

Emergency responders arrive several minutes later, the clip shows.

The Norfolk Police Department said the video has been verified as footage of the shooting.

“During the shooting incident, one of the men inside the car was broadcasting a live video to Facebook. This video has been confirmed to be of the actual shooting incident,” police said in a news release today.

Police said all three victims — two of them age 27 and one 29 — were taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with significant injuries after the 6:10 p.m. shooting. Two of the men are doing better, but one is still in critical condition, according to the Norfolk Police Department.

Investigators have not released any information about the suspects or a motive. The investigation is ongoing.

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Alton Sterling’s Son Urges People to ‘Protest in Peace, Not Guns’

ABC News(BATON ROUGE, La.) — The 15-year-old son of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed by white police officers outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is urging protesters to “protest the right way.”

“Protest in peace, not guns,” Cameron Sterling said Wednesday outside the Triple S Food Mart where his father died last week.

This was the first time the teen has addressed the media. He wept uncontrollably last week while his mother, Quinyetta McMillon, spoke to reporters about the deadly confrontation, which took place July 5.

Baton Rouge police said the incident began when uniformed officers responded to a disturbance call from someone who said a black man who was selling CDs had threatened him with a gun.

Officers approached Sterling in the parking lot of the convenience store, and “an altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued,” police said. Sterling was shot during the altercation and died at the scene, police said.

Parts of the shooting were captured on cellphone videos.

In the wake of nationwide protests, Cameron Sterling on Wednesday asked people to “come together as one united family. There should be no more arguments, disagreements, violence, crimes.”

“I truly feel that my father was a good man and he will always be a good man,” he said.

The two Baton Rouge Police officers involved in Sterling’s death, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, were placed on paid administrative leave.

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III has recused himself from the investigation, he said Monday, citing a professional relationship with Salamoni’s parents, both high-ranking police officers.

Moore said last week that when Salamoni and Lake were interviewed by case detectives, the two officers “indicated that they feared for their life and that deadly force was necessary and justified.”

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Phoenix Cops Searching for Possible Serial Shooter in 7 Deaths

Phoenix Police Department(PHOENIX) — Police in Phoenix are searching for a gunman believed to be responsible for a string of eight shootings, including the deaths of seven people in recent months.

All five murders have taken place since March, and investigators believe each case is related to what they are describing as the same serial street shooter.

The Phoenix Police Department is searching for the person responsible for these incidents in the Maryvale area:

March 17: A 16-year-old was shot while walking near 1100 E. Moreland St. at 11:30 p.m. His injuries were not life-threatening.

March 18: A 21-year-old man was shot while standing in the street outside his car at 4300 N. 73rd Ave. around 11:30 p.m. His injuries were not life-threatening.

April 1: A 21-year-old man, Diego Verdugo-Sanchez, was killed in an apparent drive-by shooting in his car at 5500 W. Turney Ave. around 9 p.m.

April 19: A 55-year-old woman, Krystal Annette White, was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound at 500 N. 32nd St. around 4:30 a.m.

June 3: A 32-year-old man, Horacio De Jesus Peña, was found dead in front of a home at 6700 W. Flower St. around 9:50 p.m. He was on his way home from work, a family member told ABC Phoenix affiliate KNXV-TV.

June 10: A 19-year-old man, Manuel Castro-Garcia, was fatally shot in front of a friend’s home on the 6500 block of W. Coronado Road when a dark sedan stopped next to him, KNXV-TV reported. He was shot after he was heard arguing with someone in the car.

June 12: An unoccupied car was shot at 62000 W. Mariposa Drive around 2:35 a.m. The car was damaged, but no one was hurt.

June 12: Three people were shot and killed in front of a home at 6300 W. Berkeley Road. Stefanie Ellis, 33, was arriving home with her daughter Maleah Ellis, 12, and friend Angela Linner, 31, when they were shot, a family member told KNXV-TV.

Neighbors told KNXV-TV they heard at least nine rounds of gunfire, and Ellis’ brother said he heard the gunshots and found the women wounded. Witnesses saw a man leaving the area in a light-colored car moments after the shooting, according to KNXV-TV.

No known incidents have taken place since then, police said.

It is unclear whether the victims were targeted or selected at random and if there are any more possible cases linked to the same shooter.

Detectives were able to create a composite sketch of the suspect with the help of a witness, police said. The Phoenix Police Department is reaching out to the community for tips regarding the shootings and has offered a reward of $30,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest. The suspect has been described by police as a male in his early 20s, with a skinny or lanky build.

Extra officers have been added to the Maryvale area on nights and weekends, police said.

“Someone out there knows who did this. We need our community to call us or Silent Witness and help us solve these cases, bring justice to these families and victims and prevent more violence from occurring,” said Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner.

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Suspect Fires Machine Gun at Cops During Car Chase Prompting Capitol Complex Lockdown

Courtesy Umar Irfan/Twitter(WASHINGTON) — Police chased a car with a suspect armed with a machine gun through Washington, D.C., streets Tuesday afternoon, prompting a brief lockdown at the Capitol complex.

Three people were taken into custody, D.C. Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, and the weapon was recovered.

The incident began when officers, who were at 4th St. SW and P St. SW, about 2 miles south of the Capitol, saw someone they thought they had a lookout alert on, Lanier said. The car fled the area.

While officers chased the car, one suspect extended an arm out the window with a gun and fired a shot toward the police behind the car, Lanier said.

After the suspect fired, the shooter dropped the gun in a tunnel near the Capitol, Lanier said.

The chase ended near the Capitol building at 1st and D St.

The chase prompted a brief lockdown at the Capitol. An email to Capitol staff said police activity was reported on Capitol Hill. The email urged staff to lock and stay away from windows and external doors and to take shelter.

While police were restricting movement in and out of the complex, the brief lockdown did not restrict movement inside the Capitol.

The lockdown was ordered after reports of shots fired at Metropolitan Police Department officers. No civilians or law enforcement officers were injured in the incident.

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