Archives for July2019

Multiple angles being explored as investigators seek motive in Orlando shooting

ORLANDO, Fla. – Shot in the leg and lying in a mix of blood and water on a bathroom floor, Patience Carter heard gunman Omar Mateen dial 911 from just a few feet away. The American-born son of an Afghan immigrant, Mateen told the person on the other end he wanted America to stop bombing his country, she recalled.

“We knew what his motive was. He wasn’t going to stop killing people until he was killed,” she said Tuesday during a riveting hospital news conference.

ChangSha Night Net

Now, investigators are trying to figure out what led to Mateen’s murderous rampage in a gay dance club where patrons say they knew him as just another regular who danced and sometimes tried to pick up men.

A number of possible explanations and motives for the bloodbath have emerged, with the Muslim Mateen professing allegiance to the Islamic State group in a 911 call during the attack, his ex-wife saying he was mentally ill and his father suggesting he was driven by hatred of gays.

READ MORE: Orlando shooting: FBI looking at whether Omar Mateen led secret life as a gay man

The investigation into an attack that left Mateen and 49 victims dead includes a look at his current spouse. An official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation said authorities believe Mateen’s wife knew about the plot ahead of time, but they are reluctant to charge her on that basis alone.

VIDEO: Counsellors who assist LGBTQ community not surprised by Orlando attacker visiting gay clubs

On Tuesday, a U.S. official said the FBI was looking into a flurry of news reports quoting patrons of the Pulse as saying Mateen frequented the nightspot and reached out to men on gay dating apps. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some psychologists raised the possibility that Mateen was sexually conflicted and that those feelings might have contributed to his lashing out against gays.

“People who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual identity do at times react to that by doing the exact opposite, which could be to become more masculine or more vocal about their ideals of a traditional family,” said Michael Newcomb, a Northwestern University psychologist.

The attack early Sunday ended with Mateen being shot to death by a SWAT team. Of the 53 people wounded, six were listed in critical condition Tuesday and five others were in guarded condition.

At a news conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Carter described praying to die as she lay on a nightclub bathroom floor covered in water and blood.

READ MORE: Some on terrorist watch list can legally purchase guns in United States

“I really don’t think I’m going to get out of there,” Carter, 20, recalled. “I made peace with God. ‘Just please take me. I don’t want any more.’ I was just begging God to take the soul out my body.”

VIDEO: Victims of Orlando shooting share stories, speak out against violence

In Washington, President Barack Obama said investigators had no information to suggest a foreign terrorist group directed the attack. He said it was increasingly clear the killer “took in extremist information and propaganda over the internet. He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized.”

The president also blasted Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric as dangerous and contrary to American values, challenged Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban and lashed out at his Republican foes who have criticized him for not using the term “radical Islam.”

“If someone seriously thinks we don’t know who we’re fighting, if there’s anyone out there who thinks we’re confused about who our enemies are,” Obama said, “that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists we’ve taken off the battlefield.”

Although some men told stories of Mateen contacting them on social media platforms used by gay men, gay dating app Jack’d said it has been unable to confirm so far that Mateen had a profile on the service. Grindr officials said they “will continue to co-operate with the authorities and do not comment on ongoing investigations.” And Adam4Adam said the company is looking at conversations and profiles in the Orlando area for any activity by Mateen but hasn’t found anything yet.

READ MORE: ‘Blood was everywhere’: Orlando shooting survivors recall scenes of terror

Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, denied his son was gay and said that if he had been in the nightclub before, he may have been “scouting the place.” The elder Mateen, who lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida, said that apart from the time his son got angry a few months ago over seeing two men kissing, he never saw any anti-gay behaviour from him.

VIDEO: ‘I don’t forgive him’: Orlando shooter’s father talks son’s attack on Pulse nightclub

Mateen’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, said earlier in the week that he was mentally ill, controlling and abusive. Amid the latest reports about his club going, she told CNN: “Well, when we had gotten married, he confessed to me about his past that was recent at that time and that he very much enjoyed going to clubs and the nightlife and there was a lot of pictures of him.”

“I feel like it’s a side of him or a part of him that he lived but probably didn’t want everybody to know about,” she said.

The FBI has recovered Mateen’s phone and will use location data to verify whether he previously visited the club, said an official who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

READ MORE: Orlando shooter’s father says nightclub should have ‘had good security,’ police response was ‘late’

Investigators working to determine whether anyone had advance knowledge of the attack have spoken extensively with Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, and are working to establish whether she and Mateen were recently at or inside the club, the official said. The official said investigators have not ruled out charging others, including the wife.

—;

Tucker reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed and Tamara Lush in Orlando; Holbrook Mohr in Port St. Lucie, Florida; and Lindsey Tanner in Chicago, contributed to this report.

Steenkamp cousin testifies Pistorius did not give ‘true version’ of events in shooting

PRETORIA, South Africa – Convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius did not give the “true version” during trial testimony of how he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in South Africa in 2013, a cousin of Steenkamp said Wednesday at the sentencing hearing for the double-amputee Olympian.

The cousin, Kim Martin, also criticized Pistorius for not testifying at the sentencing hearing but agreeing to an ITV television interview that will be broadcast after the hearing ends this week.

ChangSha Night Net

“I think it’s very unfair to want to talk to the world about your version when you had the opportunity in court to do so,” Martin said under questioning from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Pistorius, who was in court Wednesday, is currently under house arrest after initially serving one year of a five-year prison sentence for manslaughter for shooting Steenkamp. That conviction was overturned last year by an appeals court, which convicted Pistorius of the more serious charge of murder.

READ MORE: Father of Reeva Steenkamp testifies in sentencing hearing for Oscar Pistorius

Pistorius removed his prostheses and hobbled on his stumps in a South African courtroom Wednesday as part of his defence team’s argument that the double-amputee athlete, convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is a vulnerable man who deserves leniency when he is sentenced.

Siphiwe Sibeko – Pool/Getty Images

Siphiwe Sibeko – Pool/Getty Images

Defence lawyer Barry Roux asked Pistorius to remove the prostheses and the former track star and Olympian, who had taken off his suit and put on a T-shirt and running shorts during a recess, then hobbled in front of Judge Thokozile Masipa. The demonstration drew gasps from some onlookers in the courtroom and Pistorius became tearful.

ALON SKUY/AFP/Getty Images

“I don’t want to overplay disability,” Roux said ahead of the demonstration, “but the time has come that we must just look (at Pistorius) with different eyes.”

WATCH: Pistorius removes prosthetic legs, walks around courtroom during sentencing

Judge Thokozile Masipa, who initially acquitted Pistorius of murder, will decide the new sentence. The hearing is scheduled to run through Friday this week. South Africa has a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for murder, although a judge can reduce that in some circumstances.

In her testimony, Martin said she and her family are struggling to cope with Steenkamp’s death and that every Valentine’s Day – the day when Steenkamp was fatally shot – is the “worst day for us.”

Martin said her family lights a candle for Steenkamp, a model, at Christmas and that they try to celebrate such special days despite the grief.

“We don’t want every occasion to become a funeral,” she said.

Martin also questioned Pistorius’ statement that he killed Steenkamp by mistake when he fired shots through the door of a toilet cubicle in his home, thinking an intruder was in the house.

READ MORE: South Africa’s highest court dismisses Oscar Pistorius appeal

“I don’t feel the true version came out,” Martin said.

In a statement earlier this month, Pistorius’ uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said the family had declined many requests for interviews with the former track star out of respect for the legal process. He said he agreed to ITV’s request in an effort to dispel what he described as the many inaccuracies and speculations that had arisen.

“I decided it was necessary to take up one media offer that would provide our family with a voice to address some of the misconceptions that have remained unchallenged,” Arnold Pistorius said.

Oscar Pistorius Timeline | PrettyFamous

Ontario premier says $85.8 million grant for Chrysler is not corporate welfare

WINDSOR, Ont. —; Premier Kathleen Wynne defended the Ontario government’s $85.8 million grant to Fiat Chrysler Wednesday as a smart investment in the future, and insisted it was not “corporate welfare.”

Wynne announced the grant at the Fiat Chrysler Automotive Research and Development Centre in Windsor, saying it would help in production of the new Pacifica minivan, which will be available in two plug-in electric hybrid versions.

ChangSha Night Net

Related

  • Chrysler seeking up to 500 electricians for Windsor plant

    Chrysler’s Windsor plant resumes production after stoppage at parts supplier

    “We took a position as a government that we were going to partner with the auto industry, that we weren’t going to fall prey to the notion that partnering with one of our most important sectors was somehow corporate welfare,” she said.

    READ MORE: General Motors to add 1,000 new jobs at engineering centre in Oshawa: report

    “There was never any question in my mind that the auto sector is critical to Ontario, and that we have an important role to play.”

    Fiat Chrysler withdrew a request in 2014 for $700 million from the Ontario and federal governments for the Windsor assembly plant after the province’s Progressive Conservatives called it a “ransom demand.”

    Last year the automaker said it would spend about $1 billion to retool the Windsor plant, and do it without government money.

    However, on Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler Canadian president and CEO, Reid Bigland, credited Wynne with helping the automaker decide to produce the Pacifica in Canada.

    READ MORE: Justin Trudeau to pitch Ontario’s economy in meetings with Japanese auto execs: source

    “From an environmental standpoint, it is the support of the Ontario government that is helping to make the world’s first plug-in hydroelectric minivan a reality right here in Windsor Ontario,” said Bigland.

    The investment for the Chrysler Pacifica will “safeguard” the Windsor assembly plant, where Chrysler added 1,200 new jobs on top of 4,000 existing positions to produce the minivan, said Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid.

    “About $16.8 million of that (grant) will go to the research and development and training,” he said. “And I believe that leaves 69 million that will go towards, to support the investments that Fiat Chrysler has made in the plant.”

    Ontario is supporting traditional automaking as well as the high-tech auto manufacturing of the future by helping finance the development of electric and self-driving vehicles, added Duguid.

    “The auto market of the future is in an absolute state of technological disruption,” he said. “Our choice is to either lead that disruption or be swallowed up by it, and our premier has clearly said we’re going to lead it.”

    READ MORE: GM to resume production at Oshawa, Ont. plant and 3 others after earthquakes in Japan

    Wynne crossed into Detroit Wednesday to meet officials from the Ford Motor Co., and with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who said he wants to work with Ontario to promote vehicles produced in the “heart” of North America’s automotive sector.

    “I think we can do more together to get the message out to the world that it’s not about the lowest labour cost,” said Snyder. “It’s about having the highest quality products built by great skilled workers, that do great engineering work.”

    The premier said the government must partner with global companies if it hopes to convince them to expand and innovate in Ontario.

    “How do we leverage this region’s capacity to be that big player in the globe, and it has to do with our willingness to innovate, our willingness to take risks, our willingness to partner with industry,” she said.

    “Our message to Ford is that we’re very eager to retain their footprint in Ontario.”

    Ontario’s Liberal government has a long history of providing money to automakers, and teamed up with the federal government in 2009 to contribute $10.6 billion to Chrysler Canada and GM Canada to keep them afloat during the recession.

    When Ontario sold its GM and Chrysler shares, it gained about $1.1 billion on its original $4.8-billion bailout package to the two automakers.

    Wynne said things are definitely looking up for Ontario’s automotive sector.

    Last week, General Motors that it was looking to hire up to 750 engineers in Ontario and would open a new software centre to help develop self-driving cars.

Toronto cop who ordered mass arrests at G20 given reprimand, avoids firing

TORONTO – The senior police officer who ordered indiscriminate mass detentions and arrests at the violence-marred G20 summit in Toronto six years ago will be reprimanded and forfeit 30 paid days, a tribunal ruled Wednesday.

In sentencing Supt. David (Mark) Fenton for exceeding his authority and discreditable conduct, retired justice John Hamilton said dismissal or even temporary demotion would be too harsh.

“His misconduct occurred under the noses of his superiors,” Hamilton said. “He should have been stopped by his superiors. That never happened.”

ChangSha Night Net

Related

  • U.S. spied during G20 summit in Toronto: report

    Woman who played active role in G20 vandalism in Toronto gets 11 months in jail

  • Activists call for G20 inquiry, resignation of Toronto police chief

    The 28-year officer was the incident commander when he ordered police to detain or arrest hundreds of people – most peaceful protesters and passersby – during the tumultuous weekend summit.

    Several hundred were kept for hours in cold, torrential rain, despite pleas to be allowed to leave. Others were kept in deplorable conditions in a makeshift detention centre.

    Fenton, 56, took over command under an order to “take back the streets” after vandals had run amok in the downtown core, causing several million dollars in damage. The police service, Hamilton said, was “wringing its hands” and had no plan to deal the violence.

    “He was motivated by fear,” Hamilton said of Fenton. “The fear did not justify the actions taken but it was relevant to Fenton’s motivation…the protection of property, the public and the G20 delegates.”

    READ MORE: Toronto cop who ordered mass arrests at G20 ‘not a lone wolf’: lawyer

    While other senior officers “failed miserably” in their duties that weekend, Hamilton said, Fenton either failed to grasp, or ignored, the importance of the fundamental freedoms of those on the streets. The illegal detentions and arrests he ordered as “top dog” tarnished the reputation of the police service, Hamilton said.

    Fenton, who remains in charge of a detachment, watched the proceedings in full dress uniform. He left without saying anything, as did the prosecutor, who had wanted a year-long, one-rank demotion.

    Complainants, who had called for his firing, expressed disappointment at his punishment.

    “What has he learned?” said Lucius Dechausay, one of the complainants.

    “He’s learned that this is OK, that he can forfeit a couple of weeks vacation and it’s totally fine to actually abuse the law in the way that it was abused.”

    READ MORE: Prosecution wants Toronto G20 officer who ordered mass arrests demoted for year

    Fenton’s lawyer, Peter Brauti, called it important the tribunal recognized that what was one of the largest breaches of civil liberties in Canada could not be pinned on the failings of one man.

    The systemic errors made at the summit took place in an unprecedented situation, Brauti said, adding his client has taken a significant hit for his role.

    “People can say, ‘Well, it’s just a penalty of days off and it’s not particularly a big deal,’ but we’re taking about a professional reputation,” the lawyer said.

    “The biggest thing is that he’s relieved that this process is now winding down to an end because he’s had to endure it for six years.”

    In finding the officer guilty, Hamilton said Fenton had no reasonable grounds to order the detentions, in one case just minutes after coming on shift. But in his sentencing remarks, the retired judge said Fenton’s long and exemplary career should not be judged for two mistakes made in a unique set of circumstances.

    Fenton, who had little experience an as incident commander, apologized for his conduct after his guilty finding, said Hamilton, who stressed the tribunal proceedings were administrative rather than criminal, and the punishment meted out had to fit within an employment context.

    Two class actions arising out of the illegal detentions and arrests have been given the green light to proceed, but the police services board is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to stop them in their tracks.

Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air takes on South Pole medical rescue mission

Two Twin Otter planes from Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air are on their way to the South Pole to carry out a medical evacuation.

One will stay at the British station Rothera for search and rescue purposes, while the other will travel on to the Amundsen-Scott Research station at the South Pole.

The planes left Calgary on Tuesday morning and aren’t expected to arrive at their destination until Sunday.

ChangSha Night Net

The National Science Foundation says a seasonal employee with Lockheed Martin at the Amundsen-Scott station requires hospitalization and must be evacuated.

No further personal or medical information is being released in order to preserve the patient’s privacy.

Foundation spokesman Peter West says they don’t normally schedule flights for this time of year because of darkness and the extreme cold, which hovers at around -60 C during the winter months.

He says they’re monitoring the situation closely to see when the weather will co-operate.

“Their equipment, their aircraft, are better suited for the cooler weather than some other options,” says West.

“We’re keeping a careful eye on the weather, I don’t know what the window is that far out.”

It is the third time in 15 years that Kenn Borek Air has carried out similar flights, with the other evacuations occurring in 2001 and 2003.

The company made improvements to its navigation charts for the Antarctic after three Canadians were killed when a Kenn Borek plane crashed into an Antarctic mountainside in January 2013.

The bodies of Bob Heath, 55, of Inuvik, N.W.T., Perry Andersen, 36, of Collingwood, Ont., and Mike Denton, 25, of Calgary remain on Mount Elizabeth, entombed in the wreckage of the plane in which they died.

Transportation Safety Board investigators were unable to pinpoint the cause of the crash.

– With files from CFFR