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Guns In America

Coast Guard Officer Who Stockpiled Guns, Compiled Hit List, Won’t Be Charged With Terrorism

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GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — A Coast Guard officer accused of stockpiling guns and compiling a hit list of prominent Democrats and network TV journalists is seeking his release from federal custody since prosecutors haven’t charged him with any terrorism-related offenses.


Christopher Hasson has remained in custody since his Feb. 15 arrest and subsequent indictment in Maryland on firearms and drug charges. His attorney is Liz Oyer. Oyer wrote in a Monday letter that prosecutors recently informed the court they don’t expect to seek any additional charges.

In a court filing, prosecutors called Hasson a “domestic terrorist” and said he “intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.”

In February, a magistrate judge ordered Hasson detained but said he was willing to revisit his decision if prosecutors didn’t bring more serious charges.

Guns In America

1 Person Killed In Front Of Trump International Beach Resort Miami

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One person was killed Sunday afternoon in front of the Trump International Beach Resort Miami in Sunny Isles Beach, police say, after what appears to be a shooting incident.


Miami-Dade police and Sunny Isles Beach police say at least one person died in the violence, which occurred within shouting distance of the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s call list put the combination condominium-hotel’s address, 18001 Collins Ave., as the location of the incident and indicated there’s at least one trauma-alert patient. Crime scene tape surrounded the hotel and a strip mall across the street.

Collins Avenue traffic, both north and south, into Sunny Isles Beach was at a standstill Sunday after the early-afternoon shooting and investigation.
A witness tweeted he heard seven or eight shots.

A guest at the hotel shot video from above the scene.

The building carries the name of President Donald Trump under a licensing agreement with the owner. It’s part of the transformation of Sunny Isles Beach, in which new skyscrapers have shot up over the last 20 years where the low-slung hotels from the 1950s once stood.

The beachfront city north of Miami Beach was incorporated in 1997, and is still known for touristy shops. The area also is known as “Little Moscow” for the relatively high percentage of Russian-speaking residents.

(Reporting by The Miami Herald)

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Teen Who Charged Attackers Was Lone Death In STEM School Shooting

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (AP) — When a gunman burst into his high school classroom, Kendrick Castillo did not hesitate.


The 18-year-old immediately charged, pinning the attacker to the wall before he was fatally shot protecting classmates, witnesses said. As Castillo charged, so did two other students. One of them, Brendan Bialy, who has signed up to join the Marines, wrestled the gun from the shooter’s hand and the students subdued him.

A second shooter was captured by an armed security guard.

Authorities said these acts of bravery helped minimize the bloodshed from the attack, which also wounded eight people.

“We’re going to hear about very heroic things that have taken place at the school,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Wednesday.

The attackers were identified by law enforcement officials as 18-year-old Devon Erickson and a younger student who is a juvenile. They allegedly walked into the STEM School Highlands Ranch through an entrance without metal detectors and opened fire in two classrooms.

Because the attack happened only miles from Columbine High School and just weeks after the shooting’s 20th anniversary, questions quickly arose about whether it was inspired by the 1999 massacre. But investigators offered no immediate motive.

Castillo sprang into action against the shooter “and immediately was on top of him with complete disregard for his own safety,” said Bialy, a close friend.

A member of the school’s robotics club and a relentless tinkerer, Castillo had an infectious smile and gentle sense of humor, according to friends. He worked part-time at a local manufacturing company that had offered him a job after an internship because he was such a standout employee.

“To find he went down as a hero, I’m not surprised. That’s exactly who Kendrick was,” said Rachel Short, president of the company, Baccara.

Cecilia Bedard, 19, had known Castillo since elementary school and said he was always friendly, modest and excited to help people. He made a point of always joining his father at Knights of Columbus fundraisers and bingo nights.

“He was amazing,” Bedard said. “He was honestly the sweetest kid I ever met. Never said a mean joke.”

Bialy smiled as he recounted the struggle with the shooter to reporters, saying that he wanted to focus on the positive. “They completely and utterly failed in a matter of half a minute,” he said of the attackers. He added, “What I saw yesterday was the absolute best of people.”

Bialy would not identify the third student who helped subdue the gunman but the family of Jason Jones put out a statement saying he was shot twice while disarming one of the attackers.

The security guard who detained the second armed suspect was employed by Boss High Level Protection, a company started by a former SWAT team leader who responded to the Columbine shooting. The owner, Grant Whitus, told The Associated Press the security guard is a former Marine who ran to the area of the shootings and confronted one of the armed students in a hallway.

The guard drew his weapon and apprehended the person, Whitus said.

“He doesn’t even realize how many lives he saved by stopping a school shooting,” Whitus said.

Both suspects were students at the school, and they were not previously known to authorities, Spurlock said.

Erickson made his first court appearance Wednesday and kept his head down. His black hair, streaked with purple dye, covered his face. The juvenile second attacker was due to appear before the judge immediately afterward. Formal charges were expected to be filed by Friday.

A message left at a phone number listed for Erickson’s home was not immediately returned.

Josh Dutton, 18, said he was close friends with Erickson in middle school but had not seen him for four years while attending a different high school. On Sunday, he spotted Erickson at a local light rail station and said he was shocked at how much his friend had changed.

Erickson wore all black and was significantly thinner and did not seem interested in talking.

“He said he’d just turned 18 and he owned rifles,” Dutton said.

The shooting took place exactly a week after a gunman killed two students and wounded four at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. In that case as well, one of the fatalities was a student who charged the attacker.

The Colorado attack unfolded came nearly three weeks after neighboring Littleton marked the anniversary of the Columbine attack that killed 13 people. The two schools are separated by about 7 miles (11 kilometers) in adjacent communities south of Denver.

Douglas County District Attorney George Brauchler said the community remains resilient in the face of multiple shootings, including Columbine, the 2012 theater shooting in the Denver suburb of Aurora and the 2013 shooting at Arapahoe High School.

The attacks are “aberrant acts” although they might seem otherwise to the rest of the world, he said.

“Who we are is a kind, compassionate, caring people, and this does not define us. It won’t today and it won’t tomorrow,” he said.

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At Least Two Handguns Used In STEM School Shooting That Killed 1, Injured 8 Students

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (AP) — Two high school students used at least two handguns in the shooting at a charter school that killed one of their classmates and injured eight others in a Colorado community that just weeks ago marked the 20th anniversary of one of the nation’s worst school shootings, authorities said Wednesday.

That Tuesday afternoon’s attack at STEM School Highlands Ranch happened just miles from Columbine High School was sure to raise questions about whether it was inspired by the 1999 massacre, but the answer was not immediately clear.

Douglas County sheriff’s officials said Devon Erickson, 18, and a younger student who is a juvenile and was not identified walked into the STEM School Highlands Ranch through an entrance without metal detectors and opened fire on students in two classrooms.

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock told reporters that the suspects had a “number of weapons.” They included two handguns that Spurlock said the suspects were not old enough to buy or own.

He declined comment when asked by reporters if the juvenile suspect is transgender.

KMGH-TV reported late Tuesday that the juvenile suspect is a transgender male in the process of transitioning from female to male. The television station cited anonymous sources close to the investigation.

As gunfire echoed through the school, students hid or ran through the halls, some shouting.

“No one really knew what was going on so I didn’t know they were bullets,” said seventh-grader Sophia Marks. “I just kind of saw like flashes and we heard bangs.”

Student Nui Giasolli told NBC’s “Today” show she was in her British Literature class when Erickson came in late.

“He walked to the other side of the classroom where we also had another door and he opened the door. He walked back as if he was going to go back to his seat, then he walked back to the door and he closed it. The next thing I know he’s pulling a gun and he’s telling nobody to move,” she said.

Giasolli said another student lunged at the shooter, giving other students time to dive under desks and flee to safety.

At least one student encountered the suspects during the shooting, Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. He did not elaborate but said “we’re going to hear about very heroic things that have taken place at the school,” Spurlock said.

He declined to identify the student who was shot and killed at the school.

Within minutes, deputies at a nearby sheriff’s department substation entered the school and arrested the two suspects without exchanging gunfire. One of the suspects was detained by the school’s security guard, Spurlock said.

Both suspects were students at the school and they were not previously known to authorities, Spurlock said.

Josh Dutton, 18, told The Associated Press that he was close friends with Erickson in middle school but hadn’t seen him for four years as he went to a different high school. On Sunday, he spotted Erickson at a local light rail station and said he was shocked at how much his friend had changed.

Erickson wore all black, a hat and sunglasses, was significantly skinnier and didn’t seem interested in talking. “He said he’d just turned 18 and he owned rifles,” Dutton said.

A message left at a phone number listed for Erickson’s home was not immediately returned. He was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

It was not immediately clear when the younger suspect, who has not been identified, would appear in court.

The shooting took place exactly a week after a gunman killed two students and wounded four at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. It also comes nearly three weeks after neighboring Littleton marked the grim 20th anniversary of the Columbine school massacre that killed 13 people. The two schools are separated by about 7 miles (11 kilometers) in adjacent communities south of Denver.

“Tragically, this community and those surrounding it know all too well these hateful and horrible acts of violence,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement. President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting and was in touch with state and local officials, Deere said.

“The heart of all Colorado is with the victims and their families,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement.

STEM is a public charter school with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math. It has more than 1,850 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

As the gunfire rang out, students ran through the halls shouting “School shooter!” Some wondered at first if it was a joke or a drill.

Chris Elledge, 15, said his teacher told the class to hide behind weight equipment in the room, where they stayed until police arrived.

“They busted in the room, and they were asking if there was any suspects in the room, if we were OK, and they escorted us out to go out to the front of the building,” Elledge said.

Frantic parents used their cellphones to find their children as news of the shooting spread. Sophia Marks’ mother, Sara Marks, said she has two other children who also go to the school.

“When you have no idea what’s going on and the children are texting you that they’re hiding under a desk and bullets are hitting their window, or things are hitting their window, it’s a horrible feeling,” she said.

Three hospitals reported treating eight people in connection with the attack. Five had been released by Wednesday morning but three remained hospitalized in intensive care, Spurlock said.

Fernando Montoya told television station KMGH that his 17-year-old son was shot three times but was expected to make a full recovery.

“Thank God he is fine,” Montoya said. “Even though he got shot, he’s OK. He’s going to walk out on his feet, so I’m glad. We’re so lucky.”

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