Florida high school shooting suspect flagged as threat before tragedy

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 10:28 PM

Who Is Nicolas De Jesus Cruz, Alleged Gunman In Florida School Shooting?

The suspected gunman in Wednesday’s horrific shooting at a Florida high school displayed a pattern of disturbing behavior and anger issues that got him flagged as a potential threat long before the tragedy that took 17 lives.

>> Related: Who is Nikolas Cruz, accused gunman in Florida high school attack?

Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had been expelled from the school and did not graduate after causing so much concern that school administrators banned him from campus, according to police. The suspect’s former classmates revealed he had a history of making dark, gun-related jokes and suffered from “a lot of anger management issues.”

“Finding out it was him makes a lot of sense now,” said 19-year-old Jillian Davis, who participated in the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps with Cruz.

According to her, Cruz often joked about shooting people and/or establishments and would frequently talk about having guns and using them. Math teacher Jim Gard said that Cruz had been aggressive toward other students in the past.

>> Related: 17 dead, more than a dozen injured in shooting rampage at Parkland, Florida high school

“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” he said. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

Joe Melita, former head of the Professional Standards & Special Investigative Unit at Broward County Public Schools, indicated that several district security officials knew of Cruz, saying, “They were familiar with who the young man was.”

>> Photos: Shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida

On Wednesday, Cruz put his disturbing obsessions and fantasies into action when he opened fire on the school with an AR-15 assault weapon and multiple magazines of ammunition, fatally shooting 17 people and injuring over a dozen more. According to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, of Florida, Cruz arrived at the school wearing a gas mask and carrying smoke grenades. In order to create chaos and panic, he allegedly pulled the fire alarm, prompting students to begin pouring out of their classrooms and into the hallways.

“There the carnage began,” Nelson said.

Police and emergency vehicles soon swarmed the scene, and Cruz was arrested and taken into custody.

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)(Joel Auerbach/AP)

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2018 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest: Contestants, how to vote and past winners

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:22 AM

The 2018 World's Ugliest Dog Contest is happening Saturday, June 21st at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.
Dale Godfrey
The 2018 World's Ugliest Dog Contest is happening Saturday, June 21st at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.(Dale Godfrey)

The World’s Ugliest Dog Competition is getting underway at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, and this year, fans around the world can vote for their favorite to win the People’s Choice Award.

>>PHOTOS: 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog contestants 

The World’s Ugliest Dog Competition takes place Saturday, June 23, after each contestant struts their stuff down the red carpet.

 

The California fair tradition dates back 30 years. Most of the World’s Ugliest Dog contestants are up for adoption and the event helps raise awareness of pet rescue and adoption.

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Past winners have been rescued from animal shelters and puppy mills.

Last year’s winner was Martha, a Neapolitan Mastiff who was being fostered by the Dogwood Animal Rescue Group.

Martha, a Neapolitan Mastiff, was crowned 2017's World's Ugliest Dog.(World’s Ugliest Dog Competition)

Martha has since been adopted.

The first place winner of the 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog Competition wins $1,500 and the grand trophy. The second place winner will receive $1,000 and third place will be granted $500. 

One dog will also be awarded the Spirit Award, which highlights one special dog and owner who have overcome obstacles or provided service in the community -- such as visiting nursing homes, reading at local libraries with children or spending time with patients in hospitals.

Cast your vote for People’s Choice Award in the 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog competition here

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2-year-old trapped under rock pile survived, thanks to cop with background as stone mason

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 11:57 PM



Pixabay
(Pixabay)

A two-year old trapped under a massive pile of rocks in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was released from the hospital Saturday, thanks to a police officer with a unique talent.

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It turned out the responding Portsmouth officer, T.J. Potter, had previous experience as a professional stone mason and specialized in historical foundation repair.

Potter's experience helped him accurately assess the danger the child was in and properly remove the slabs from on top of the child.

"[It was] a five man stone or a five man block which indicated that you would need four to five people to life it and set it on a wall, and we have done stones like that and built with stones like that, so I knew we could lift it by hand," Potter said.

"I think that was the main concern – can we lift it off the boy?"

Authorities responded to 325 Little Harbor Road after a distress call about a 2-year-old trapped under a pile of rocks. 

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When officers arrived, they found the boy pinned between large slabs of stone.

The boy had been playing on top one of the stone slabs with his grandfather when the slab he was standing on dislodged. The child fell forward and was trapped by the slab, which came to rest on his head.

The stone slabs are being used to build a foundation for a seawall and each slab is estimated to weigh several hundred pounds.

The situation was highly delicate, police said, because one of the stone slabs was resting on the child's head, and could have given way at any moment, putting the child at risk of sustaining the full weight of the stone on his head.

After a coordinated effort by police and firefighters, rescuers freed the boy in about nine minutes.

The child's parents were able to keep him calm as first responders worked their way around the stone slabs and rescued him.

>> Trending: 4 children killed in violent police standoff laid to rest in Florida

The child was first given emergency medical treatment at the scene then transported to the Portsmouth Regional Hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

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17-year-old twin sister shot, killed in road rage incident, police arrest suspect

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 11:04 PM

After a two-day search, police in metro Atlanta made an arrest in a possible road rage incident that left a 17-year-old girl dead.
Pixabay
After a two-day search, police in metro Atlanta made an arrest in a possible road rage incident that left a 17-year-old girl dead.(Pixabay)

Metro Atlanta police have made an arrest in the shooting death of a teenage girl in a possible road rage incident Wednesday at a busy intersection in Dacatur.

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Janae Owens, 17, was in a car with her mother at a red light Wednesday evening when police said a man in a black car opened fire, killing Owens and injuring her mother.

Decatur police arrested a man identified as Simmie Rishcard Reed late Friday night after an anonymous tip. Reed has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of aggravated assault with intent to murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

>> Related: Police: Road rage escalates to gunfire, kills 1 teen, injures another in Decatur

Owens’ family recently moved from Shreveport, Louisiana, to metro Atlanta for a better life, WSB-TV reported.

Investigators told the news station the gunfire was aimed at Owens’ mother, who was driving the car.

The woman’s injuries are not considered life-threatening. Owens’ twin sister was sitting in the back seat and was not injured in the shooting, according to WSB.

Police think road rage may have fueled the gunfire, but Sgt. John Bender told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the motive is still unknown.

Police said although Reed is behind bars, it is still an ongoing investigation.
>> Related: 17-year-old twin sister shot, killed in road rage incident, family distraught as police search for killer

Reed is scheduled to make a first court appearance Monday afternoon.

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4 children killed in violent police standoff laid to rest in Florida

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 8:31 PM

The children killed in an Orlando police standoff with their mother's boyfriend are from top left (clockwise) Lillia Pluth, Irayan Pluth, Dove Lindsey and Aidan Lindsey. The children were laid to rest Saturday in Orlando.
The children killed in an Orlando police standoff with their mother's boyfriend are from top left (clockwise) Lillia Pluth, Irayan Pluth, Dove Lindsey and Aidan Lindsey. The children were laid to rest Saturday in Orlando.

Funeral services for four Orlando children killed during a 21-hour police standoff  with their mother’s boyfriend were held Saturday. 

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The services, which were open to the public, took place at St. James Catholic Cathedral in Orlando, according to an attorney representing the family.

The funeral marked a difficult day for the family of Dove Lindsey, 1, Aiden Lindsey, 6, Lillia Pluth, 10, and Irayan Pluth, 12.

The day also proved too emotional for the children's mother, Ciara Lopez. 

"I remain stuck in that one night, that one night where everything changed, standing outside that apartment, waiting for different news," she said in a statement. 

Detectives believe Gary Lindsey, 35, shot the children either shortly before or after police officers came to the door of his apartment June 10 in response to a domestic battery call from Lopez. She had escaped the apartment.

Lindsey fired at the responding officers, seriously wounding Officer Kevin Valencia, who remains in a coma. Lindsey was then holed up in the apartment for almost a full day. Officers found him dead in a closet when they entered the apartment the following day.

>>Related: Wife of Orlando officer in coma: ‘My kids need a daddy. This community needs a real hero'

The children were found in their beds, police said. 

Some of the officers who worked during the standoff went to the service. 

"It's heartbreaking to see, obviously a small casket, with an infant inside," said Orlando Police Chief John Mina. 

Lindsey was Lopez’s boyfriend and the mother of all four children. Lindsey was the father of two of the children.

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