wiki globe

Posts Tagged ‘gunman’

Arizona gunman in court as Obama leads mourning

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:10 am

The man accused of trying to assassinate a congresswoman in an Arizona shooting spree that left six dead appeared in court but said nothing to shed light on his motive.

President Barack Obama led the American nation in a somber minute of silence to honor the 20 people gunned down in Tucson — where he will attend a memorial service on Wednesday, the White House announced.

Flags were at half-staff at the Capitol in Washington, where hundreds of aides and lawmakers crammed the storied steps of Congress to pay silent tribute to the victims, including one of their own.

Democratic lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords, 40, was shot through the head at point-blank range before the gunman sprayed a crowd of constituents with bullets, a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge among six who died.

Jared Loughner, who faces the death penalty for the murder of the judge, appeared, his head shaven, amid tight security around the federal court in Arizona state capital Phoenix.

Dressed in a brown prison jumpsuit for the less than 15 minute hearing, 22-year-old Loughner appeared to follow proceedings closely, but said little beyond answering “Yes” to basic questions from Judge Michael Anderson.

The judge agreed to his request to have Judy Clarke, who represented the Unabomber — an anarchist serving life without parole for a 20-year mail bombing spree — and 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, as his attorney.

No plea of guilty or not guilty was entered during the hearing and a preliminary court appearance was scheduled for January 24. A mug shot released by police showed the gunman with a haunting smile.

In an update on Giffords’ condition Monday, doctors said she was still responding to basic commands such as squeezing medics’ fingers, fueling growing hope for her recovery, though she remains in a critical condition.

People wait in line to sign condolence books for the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting in Arizona in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill

Authorities said Loughner, a troubled young man booted out of a community college last year, fired a full clip of 31 shots.

He was reloading another clip into his 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol when bystanders, including a 74-year-old retired colonel whose head had just been grazed by a bullet, brought him to the ground.

Obama praised the “extraordinary courage” of those who tackled the gunman, including a young Giffords aide and a woman who helped disarm him.

At the Capitol, Democratic representative Emanuel Cleaver recited a prayer: “We ask blessings on the spirit of this nation… help us move from this dark place to a place of sunshine… we ask that you help keep our hearts pure.”

Outside the Tucson hospital where Giffords clung to life with part of her skull removed, tearful well-wishers gathered, praying and hoping.

A search of Loughner’s home on Saturday unearthed a trove of evidence in a safe, according to the criminal complaint.

A letter from Giffords thanked Loughner for attending one of her earlier public meetings, in August 2007.

Also in the safe they found an envelope with the hand-written notes, “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and “Giffords,” the affidavit said.

Officials declined to assess Loughner’s motives or mental state. He wrote a stream of barely coherent postings on the Internet that showed an interest in developing a new currency and criticism of “illiterate” fellow residents.

A US senator meanwhile said he plans to present legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition clips of the type used by the Tucson gunman.

“The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly. These high-capacity clips simply should not be on the market,” said Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg.

Giffords, who narrowly won re-election last year over a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, is a centrist Democrat who supports increased border security and, incidentally, loose restrictions on gun ownership.

Lawmakers of the rival Republican Party, which made huge gains in November midterm elections, denounced the attack and suspended proceedings of the House of Representatives whose new leadership had taken over just three days earlier.

Source: SGGP

911 calls reveal horror as US gunman ran down victims

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 at 7:20 am

The US man who shot dead eight people after being sacked from a beer depot ran after his victims as they hid in offices, closets and the parking lot, emergency police calls revealed.

A total of 20 calls were made to the 911 number from terrified workers at Hartford Distributors in the town of Manchester, Connecticut, as Omar Thornton, 34, went on the rampage Tuesday.

“I got shot,” the company’s executive, Steve Hollander, tells police from an office where he had been shot in the head.

Police guard the entrance to Hartford Distributors following a shooting in Manchester, Connecticut.

“I see him running now. There?s people running. He?s running away right now. He?s shooting at somebody else. He?s still shooting. He?s shooting at a girl! He?s still running after people,” said Hollander, who survived with minor wounds.

“He’s chasing people out in the parking lot.”

Armed with two .9 mm handguns, Thornton killed eight people before turning a gun on himself.

Police say Thornton, a warehouse driver, had gone to the depot to face his bosses and union officials over allegations he’d been stealing alcohol. He was sacked at the meeting.

However, the shooting was apparently premeditated and carefully prepared since even before the meeting Thornton had brought the two pistols into the facility hidden in a lunchbox.

A shotgun was also found in his car, but was not used, Manchester police told a news conference.

“At the conclusion of the meeting, he went back in the kitchen area and asked for a drink of water and we believe at that point he got the lunch box with the guns and took it out,” a Manchester police officer told a news conference.

Thornton’s first two victims were the employees who’d been assigned to escort him out of the building. “They were both killed by him,” the police officer said.

According to the chronology of the 911 calls, he then ran inside and outside of the building seeking prey.

The calls reflected occasional panic, but more helplessness and terror.

“Hurry up please,” one victim pleaded in a faint voice after being shot.

Another woman said she was calling from a paper closet where she had hidden. Asked by police if the door was locked, she said no.

“I’m hiding in the dark,” she says.

“Stay down where you are and hold on one second,” the police tell her.

“Oh my God,” she replies, whimpering. “Help me, please,” she repeats.

“Ma’am, we are on the way, please stay down, stay low all right?” the police reply.

“Yes,” she replies in a weak voice.

A man calls to say he is locked into an office with his son, but that he has been shot.

“Stay in there and stay down, OK? Have your son keep an eye on you, OK? If you start to become less awake or anything you have him call us right now, we’re trying to get you,” the 911 operators says.

The victim says: “I know for a fact two people are dead in here. Inside the building, not in my office but in the hallway, they were both shot right in the head.”

Hartford Distributors is the biggest Budweiser distributor in Connecticut, with some 400 employees.

Many US states have loose gun ownership laws and massacres in public places are a regular occurrence.

In June, a man involved in a domestic dispute opened fire in a Miami area restaurant, killing four women and wounding three others before taking his own life.

In early January an angry employee at a Missouri power plant shot dead three people and wounded five others, before killing himself. The bloodshed was believed to have been triggered by a dispute over his pension funds.

Source: SGGP

Indian court convicts gunman in Mumbai attacks

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm

(AFP File) – Mumbai Police-issued photo shows Pakistan national Mohammed Ajmal Kasab on a hospital bed in December.

MUMBAI (AFP) – The lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks was convicted by an Indian court on Monday of murder and waging war against India for his role in the 60-hour siege that left 166 people dead.

Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, 22, was found guilty on the most serious charges over the assault that saw 10 gunmen attack three luxury hotels, a restaurant, a Jewish centre and the main CST train station.

“You have been found guilty of waging war against India, and killing people at CST, killing government officials and abetting the other nine terrorists,” judge M.L. Tahaliyani said as he delivered his verdict.

Kasab was convicted on most of the 86 charges against him and faces the death penalty.

Dressed in a long white shirt from his native state of Punjab, Kasab stood impassively in the dock in the special prison court as the verdict was announced.

Two Indian nationals Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed accused of providing logistical support to the gunmen by supplying them with handwritten maps of the city were found not guilty.

The widely-expected judgement came after the prosecution said there was “overwhelming” evidence against Kasab, including DNA and fingerprints, security camera footage and photographs showing him with a powerful AK-47 assault rifle.

Kasab, a school drop-out, was captured in a photograph walking through Mumbai’s train station wearing a backpack and carrying an AK-47 in one of the defining images of the attacks.

The former labourer initially denied the charges, then pleaded guilty, before reverting to his original stance and claiming that he was set up by the police and had been in Mumbai only to watch films.

Observers expect the judge to hand down the maximum death sentence when a sentence is announced on Tuesday, but a lengthy, possibly open-ended, appeal through the Indian courts is likely.

The government officially supports capital punishment for what the Supreme Court in New Delhi has called the “rarest of rare” cases but no execution has been carried out since 2004 and only two since 1998.

Decisions are still pending on appeals for clemency to India’s president from the killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Mohammad Afzal, a Kashmiri separatist who attacked the country’s parliament in 2001.

In his first confession, Kasab admitted to being one of two gunmen who threw grenades and opened fire at unsuspecting rush-hour commuters at Mumbai’s main railway station.

The railway assault, which killed 52 and wounded more than 100, was the bloodiest episode in the siege, blamed by India on Pakistan-based Islamist extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and elements in the Pakistani military.

Kasab later retracted the confession, saying it was made under police pressure and that he was a victim of mistaken identity. He had earlier alleged torture while in police custody.

He and his accomplice also gunned down a number of senior police officers as they fled the station while a home-made bomb they placed in a taxi that took them to the station later exploded, killing the driver and his passenger.

In Kasab’s home village of Faridkot in Pakistan, many people denied any connection with him, while some sought to justify his attack on the implacable foe across the border.

Nuclear armed neighbours India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947.

“Look, don’t blame him. There is nothing wrong if he did it with good intentions against an infidel country like India,” said Amjad Ali, a 60-year-old farmer.

The trial, which began at a high-security prison court last April, was keenly-watched given the psychological impact of the attacks, which are often compared in India to the September 11, 2001 assault on New York and Washington.

The death and destruction in Mumbai came after a series of blasts in Indian cities in 2008 blamed on Islamist extremists.

The episode revealed glaring gaps in national security, prompted an expensive upgrade in home security and severely strained diplomatic ties with with Pakistan which are yet to recover.

Many Indians, including some lawyers, said the trial should never have taken place, with some calling for Kasab to be hanged without trial.

Source: SGGP