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Las Vegas shooter had plans to escape after massacre, may have had accomplice, sheriff says

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 12:13 PM

New Details Emerge On Las Vegas Shooter, Stephen Paddock

The shooter in the massacre at a Las Vegas music festival Sunday night planned to escape from the hotel room where he carried out the attack and may have had an accomplice, authorities said at a Wednesday night press conference covered by the major news and cable networks.

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Investigators said Stephen Paddock, 64, meticulously planned the worst attack in modern history, which left 59 people dead, including the gunman, and injured hundreds more at the Route 91 Festival. Investigators also said that those plans included his escape from the sniper nest he created in a suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

A security guard, who pinpointed Paddock’s room as the source of the attack, may have interrupted those plans, authorities said. 

“He was doing everything possible to see how he could escape at this point,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters Wednesday night, but Lombardo did not elaborate on what those plans might have been.

>> Read the latest on the Las Vegas shootings

Investigators also believe Paddock may have had an accomplice. He managed to get 10 large bags filled with what authorities believe was weapons and ammunition into the hotel and up to the room. 

“It’s troublesome that this individual was able to move this amount of gear into a hotel room unassisted. It’s troublesome for the amount of stuff he had at both residences, unassisted. There’s people that know this individual. There’s people that could help us understand this individual,” Lombardo said.

Police know very little about Paddock so far. Lombardo said even FBI profilers are stumped over him. Usually there’s a sign that a person would plan and execute a mass killing like what happened in Las Vegas Sunday, but investigators have not been able to find it. 

“What could be more beneficial than to find people that associated with him, either by friendship or an accomplice?” Lombardo said.

>>Related: Who is Stephen Paddock, the shooter killed in Las Vegas?

The FBI is confident authorities will learn more about both the attack and Paddock, too.

“We will get to the bottom of this, no matter how long it takes,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said.

Paddock may have planned for other attacks, too.

Paddock had rented rooms at the Ogden Hotel in downtown Las Vegas on Sept. 22 through Sept. 24. The reasons for doing so are unknown, Lombardo said, but it happened during the Life is Beautiful alternative music festival.

>> Related: Doctors who treated Pulse victims prepared Las Vegas hospital for mass shooting

“Was it presurveillance? We don’t know, yet,” Lombardo said

He also booked rooms in Chicago in a hotel facing the Lollapalooza music Festival in Grant Park in early August, according to USA Today.

Thousands of music fans attend the festival every year.

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Suspect accused in mentally disabled woman's assault was once police chief

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 6:16 PM

Robert Lanier New. (Photo: WSB-TV)
Robert Lanier New. (Photo: WSB-TV)

Roughly 20 years before Robert Lanier New became embroiled in assault allegations tied to a mentally disabled woman and her niece, he served as the police chief in Emerson. 

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City officials confirmed to WSB-TV that New had two stints with Emerson police. New first served with the department from September 1998 to February 1999, when he left to work for Acworth police, where he remained until November 2000, when he came back to Emerson police. 

He was promoted to police chief three weeks after his return. 

New resigned in 2004 to work as a government contractor, officials told WSB-TV. Shortly after, New joined the Cobb County Police Department in February 2005. 

But as quickly as New climbed up the ranks, his professional life started to fray. 

Cobb County Police Chief Mike Register hinted New’s future with the department could be decided early next week, according to WSB-TV. New has been on administrative leave without pay since allegations surfaced earlier this week that he assaulted a 44-year-old woman who has the mental capacity of a 10- to 14-year-old in his home. He was off duty at the time of the alleged abuse. 

According to an arrest warrant obtained Tuesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New choked the woman and slapped both sides of her face during sex to the point that she cried. The woman told officers that with New’s hands around her throat, she wasn’t able to tell him to stop, the warrant alleges.

The incident happened sometime between March 1 and March 31 at his home in Kennesaw, according to police. New was off duty at the time. 

During her interview, the woman was reportedly “shaking due to fear,” police said.

The victim’s allegations were corroborated through text messages on her phone, according to the warrant.

“The accused made the statements through text messages, ‘I am in charge, I am in control,’” police said. The threatening messages allegedly continued even after the victim attempted to distance herself from New, as recently as March 31, police said.

No decision has been made on whether the department will fire New. 

“The recommendation is in the county attorney’s office for their review,” Register said. “That will be disclosed when we’re in agreement with the county attorney’s office.”

New charges were filed against the 46-year-old Thursday alleging he attempted to solicit the woman and her 12-year-old niece for sex. Police believe New was using the woman to try to get to her niece, Cobb police Officer Sarah O’Hara told The AJC. New met the woman online, but police are still investigating which website the two used. 

New remains in the Cobb County jail without bond on charges of aggravated assault-strangulation, simple battery, criminal solicitation and computer pornography. 

New is also being investigated for an administrative complaint filed with the department. Register said that complaint was not criminal, but involves another woman.

“We are investigating if he adhered to departmental policies,” Register said.

The complaint was filed weeks before the first allegations emerged against New.

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Dwyane Wade says he wants to bring Sonics back to Seattle

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 5:48 PM

Rashard Lewis #7 of the Seattle SuperSonics looks to play the ball against Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat on January 9, 2005 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Rashard Lewis #7 of the Seattle SuperSonics looks to play the ball against Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat on January 9, 2005 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule/Getty Images)(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Future basketball hall of famer Dwyane Wade may still have a couple seasons left in his tank, but he’s also already thinking about what will come next for him when his playing career ends. 

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"Seattle. I want Seattle's team, the Sonics, to come back," Wade told Joel Weber, of Bloomberg, regarding his hope to one day be part of an ownership group in the NBA. "I think Seattle is a great basketball town. I would love to be a part of that."

"I definitely want to be a part of ownership in the NBA. I'm not going to try to buy a team. I don't have that kind of bread, but I definitely want to be a part of a great ownership group. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is all about players being involved in an ownership capacity. You've got players like Grant Hill involved in the Atlanta Hawks. Shaquille O'Neal is involved in the Sacramento Kings. It's definitely something that I've talked about, some of my friends have talked about. But, first of all, I’d have to be retired. When that time comes...”

The 36-year-old NBA star recently finished his 15th NBA season, in which he split time between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat. 

Originally the third overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft out of Marquette University, Wade has won three NBA titles and has been named to the All-star game 12 times. 

The Sonics officially left Seattle for Oklahoma City after the 2007-2008 NBA season ended and a $75 million settlement was announced between owner Clay Bennett and the city of Seattle.

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WATCH: 'Permit Patty' appears to call police on girl selling bottled water in viral video

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

File photo of bottled water. A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial San Francisco girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.
denvit / Pixabay.com
File photo of bottled water. A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial San Francisco girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.(denvit / Pixabay.com)

A white woman who appeared to call the police on a biracial girl selling bottled water to raise money for a Disneyland trip has gone viral, sparking the hashtag #PermitPatty.

>> Huge cookout held at Oakland park where cops called on black family's barbecue

According to USA Today, the girl's mother, Erin Austin, captured the alleged phone call on video, which has been viewed millions of times since it was posted Saturday. She said the incident occurred outside her apartment near AT&T Stadium in San Francisco.

"This woman don't want to let a little girl sell some water," Austin says in the 15-second clip, focusing the camera on a woman holding a phone. "She's calling the police on a 8-year-old little girl."

As the woman, identified by HuffPost as Alison Ettel, crouches behind a concrete wall, Austin adds: "You can hide all you want; the whole world's gonna see you, boo."

"And illegally selling water without a permit? Yeah," Ettel says, pointing to her phone.

"On my property," Austin interjects.

"It's not your property," Ettel replies.

>> Watch the video here

Austin and the girl's cousin, Raje Leeshared the footage with the hashtag #PermitPatty, USA Today reported.

"Make this [expletive] go viral like #bbqbecky," Austin captioned the video, referring to the hashtag used after a different woman was recorded calling the police on a black family for using a charcoal grill at an Oakland park. "She's #permitpatty."

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The posts sparked a debate about whether Ettel's actions were racist.

"For all of you saying it's not about race why didn't she stop to harass the white [men] that [were] selling tickets and teeshirts but thought calling the police on a child was okay?" Lee tweeted. "Don't answer. Just ask yourself that."

>> See the tweet here

"I didn't think in San Francisco my biracial child would have to go through something like this," Austin told KNTV.

Ettel told HuffPost that race had nothing to do with it, adding that she didn't really call the police. 

"They were screaming about what they were selling," Ettel said, claiming she had no problem with the girl, only Austin. "It was literally nonstop."

She added: "I completely regret that I handled that so poorly. It was completely stress-related, and I should have never confronted her."

The drama seemed to have a happy ending for Austin's daughter, who received four free tickets to Disneyland from a Twitter user who saw the video, Lee tweeted.

>> See the tweet here

Read more here or here.

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Common herpes viruses may be linked to development of Alzheimer’s disease, study finds

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 7:16 PM

A new study by scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, discovered a link between the most common herpes viruses and Alzheimer’s disease.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images/Getty Images
A new study by scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, discovered a link between the most common herpes viruses and Alzheimer’s disease.(Spencer Platt/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Two common herpes viruses may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and projected to affect 14 million people by 2050.

>> Read more trending news 

That’s according to new research published Thursday in the journal Neuron, for which a team of scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, used genetic data from three different brain banks to examine differences between healthy brain tissue and brain tissue from individuals who died with Alzheimer’s.

The medical community still doesn’t know what causes the disease, so the Mount Sinai scientists set out to try and identify new targets for drugs. Instead, they stumbled upon repetitive hints that the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients had higher levels of viruses.

>> Related: How to prevent Alzheimer’s: Sleep, drink wine and exercise, researchers suggest

“The title of the talk that I usually give is, 'I Went Looking for Drug Targets and All I Found Were These Lousy Viruses,’” study co-author and geneticist Joel Dudley said in a statement.

While studying brain tissue of 622 people who had signs of the disease and 322 who weren’t affected by it, Dudley and his team found significant evidence suggesting two specific strains of the human herpes virus (HHV-6A and HHV-7), both of which commonly cause skin rashes called roseola in young children, may have seeped into the Alzheimer’s patients’ brains and remained inactive for decades.

>> Related: Have trouble sleeping? Research says that may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s

“I don't think we can answer whether herpes viruses are a primary cause of Alzheimer's disease. But what's clear is that they're perturbing networks and participating in networks that directly accelerate the brain towards the Alzheimer's topology,” Dudley said.

The team found that the herpes virus genes were interacting with specific genes known to increase risk for Alzheimer’s, but the mere presence of the virus isn’t enough to lead to the disease. Instead, Dudley said, something needs to be activating the viruses to cause replication.

>> Related: Why are Alzheimer's disease deaths up significantly in Georgia?

But their findings do align with some other current research, specifically regarding beta-amyloid proteins, proteins known to increase plaque buildup in Alzheimer’s-affected brains. In the new study, the researchers noted that herpes viruses were involved in networks that regulate these amyloid precursor proteins.

The National Institute on Aging, which helped fund the new research, is working to back another study to test the effects of antiviral drugs on people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s with high levels of herpes virus in their brains.

>> Related: This common vegetable may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, study says

While the study findings open a door for new treatment options, co-senior author Sam Gandy said in a statement, the results don’t exactly change what scientists know about the risk and susceptibility of Alzheimer’s or their ability to treat it. That’s because both HHV-6A and HHV-7 are incredibly common. In North America alone, almost 90 percent of children have one of the viruses in their blood by the time they’re a few years old, according to Gandy.

According to 2017 report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate from Alzheimer’s disease has risen by 55 percent in recent decades.

>> Related: U.S. Alzheimer’s deaths up 55 percent, CDC says

Patients, caregivers and publicly funded long-term care facilities bear significant financial and societal costs due to the increasing rates of Alzheimer’s deaths.

Experts recommend more federal funding for caregiver support and education and for research to find a cure.

According to the CDC, it’s estimated the U.S. spent some $259 billion in 2017 on costs related to the care of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

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