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California shooting: 4 dead; gunman tried to enter school

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A gunman killed four people and injured two children, in a shooting rampage in Tehama County on Tuesday morning before he was fatally shot by law enforcement.  Authorities described a chaotic scene in which a gunman in a stolen car appeared to pick targets at random in the rural Northern California county. They said the shootings appear to have begun as a “domestic violence incident,” but did not provide details.

The gunman was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies. His name has not been released. The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office said that it was dealing with seven crime scenes and that 10 victims were being treated for injuries.  Officials don’t have a motive for the attack but said the gunman seemed to fire at random and might have been in some type of dispute with neighbors.

The gunfire began minutes before 8 a.m. off Bobcat and Fawn lanes in Rancho Tehama, near Red Bluff, about 120 miles northwest of Sacramento. Authorities received a call of a “man down,” officials said. The gunfire awoke John and Ronda Root, who live nearby.  It was a sound they were accustomed to in the rural neighborhood of Rancho Tehama, where lots of people own guns. Neighbors are known to fire them off at night with some regularity, said Ronda Root. Another neighbor, Reta Sweeney, said she’s been hearing semi-daily gunfire in the evening and at night for more than a month.

FBI agents are seen behind yellow crime scene tape outside Rancho Tehama Elementary School after a shooting in the morning on November 14, 2017, in Rancho Tehama, California Four people were killed and nearly a dozen were wounded, including several children, when a gunman went on a rampage at multiple locations, including a school in rural northern California.  So when the gunfire started, John, known as “Big John” to his neighbors, was angry. He stomped onto his porch and started yelling.  “Hey! Don’t make me come down there and take that gun away! It’s 7:30 in the morning!”

It quickly became clear that the noise wasn’t coming from an early morning target practice. The shooting stopped, then started again, then stopped again, then started again. John Root said he heard at least three different kinds of firearms. “Gunfire like crazy. One bang after another,” he said.

By the time police arrived the shooting had stopped and the gunman was gone. The shooter stole an unoccupied white F-150 pickup truck “and went on a shooting rampage throughout the community,” said Tehama County’s assistant sheriff, Phil Johnston.

Authorities would not say exactly where the man opened fire in the area, but said it was spread across seven crime scenes that included the local elementary school about two miles from where the rampage began. At one point, officials said, the shooter returned to Bobcat Lane with the truck, but crashed it and then carjacked a sedan and continued his assault.

In between the two locations, authorities said the gunman drove down the street firing at random houses and cars and even shot at a mother taking her son to school who drove past him.

“She was transporting her children to school, driving down the road, passed by the [gunman’s] vehicle and he opened fire on them without provocation or warning,” Johnston said.

The boy, who was sitting in the back seat, was expected to survive. His mother, however, suffered “very life-threatening” injuries, Johnston said.  At the school, the gunman fired into buildings from outside, Johnston said. One boy in a classroom was wounded, but survived.

No children were among the dead, he said. There was also no apparent motive for the assault.  “We know of no real connection to any of the victims,” he said. “Most of the victims in this case appear to be random selections.”

“It was all over in about 45 minutes,” Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.

A semiautomatic rifle and two handguns were recovered after deputies shot and killed the gunman.

“I have to tell you I am personally grateful to the men who engaged this suspect,” Johnston said. “It’s a tragic event, but I am personally grateful for engaging such a terrible, a mass murderer really. That’s what he is.”

Tiffany Rodgers, 33, said the community of 1,200 is close knit, coming together even to hold a Christmas parade, decorations not required. She and her husband have lived here seven years, raising four children on a farmstead and running one of the few businesses in community, a small coffee and sandwich shop behind a thrift store.

Cellphone service is largely non-existent. Residents rely on a Facebook group page to share news, make requests to borrow ingredients when cooking, and post what they hear on the police scanner. While her husband was outside their coffee shop monitoring the path of gunfire beyond the trees across the road, she went to that site, and saw the active shooter warnings.

“We heard 20 more shots. We could hear kids screaming Get Down. I could hear kids screaming. I could hear commotion and shots,” she said. “At that point my husband and the road crew ran across the street, we could see a guy on the airstrip screaming help, about half way down. We heard a car squeal, some more shots, a dog yelp.”

She continued her account: “Silver car flew past us up the hill with a shot out window. About three minutes past that, sheriffs made it on here.  “We could hear everything, it is so quiet here. “Then we could hear the gun battle. Minimal 10 shots. After that main exchange I heard no more.” She paused.    “I just want to make sure this town doesn’t get a bad name. Such a beautiful, remote community and this happens everywhere,” she said. “And I’m really hoping they don’t go for the gun violence portion of this, either, because it’s not a gun. I own guns. I take my kids shooting. It’s the person. and sometimes bad things happen.

“It’s not the gun, it’s not mental illness. It’s not anything, it’s just life unfortunately.” Five of the shooting victims were taken to Enloe Medical Center and three have since been released, the hospital said. Dignity Health said its facilities received five victims and two have been transferred to other hospitals.

“We have assembled our resources, including staff and specialists, and are working closely with local facilities and agencies to help during this time,” Dignity Health said in a statement.  Nearby residents and business owners said they heard at least 100 gunshots.

“I thought this only happens to places like L.A. or New York,” Jose Garcia, owner of La Fortune Convenience, told the Los Angeles Times.

Coy Ferreira, a parent at the school, told KRCR-TV that he heard a series of gunshots through a classroom window and saw one young boy shot in the foot and chest and a second student shot in the arm. Both were alert and conscious, he said.

Gov. Jerry Brown released a statement expressing shock at the violence. “Anne and I are saddened to hear about today’s violence in Tehama County, which shockingly involved schoolchildren. We offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones and unite with all Californians in grief,” he wrote.   Sen. Kamala Harris said on Twitter: “Heartbroken by the news of a shooting at an elementary school in Rancho Tehama. Grateful to the officers and first responders on the scene. I am closely monitoring the situation.” Vice President Mike Pence also posted on Twitter. “Saddened to hear of the shooting in  N. California, the loss of life & injuries, including innocent children. We commend the effort of courageous law enforcement. We’ll continue to monitor the situation & provide federal support, as we pray for comfort & healing for all impacted.”

 

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CHADWICK BOSEMAN DEAD AT 43 FROM COLON CANCER

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Chadwick Boseman, the iconic “Black Panther” star, has died at age 43 after a 4-year battle with colon cancer.

His family released a statement, saying “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV.”

They continue that “it was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

“He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side”

Chadwick, who most famously brought the first black Marvel superhero to life in “Black Panther” along with a string of ‘Avengers’ movies was no stranger to giving life to iconic roles. He portrayed Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall.”

Recently, Chadwick had sparked concern amongst his fans, as he appeared very thin in videos on social media. This worry nearly overshadowed the impactful words he wanted to share with the world about Jackie Robinson and the pandemic.

Born in South Carolina, he always had an affinity for theater, and wrote his first play in high school. He attended the famous predominantly black college, Howard University, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine arts.

He started his career in writing and directing, but clearly, he was meant to be on the other side of the camera. He took the world by storm in 2013 in the role of Jackie Robinson in “42.” On playing that role, Chadwick said, “The story is relevant because we still stand on his shoulders. He started something – I would even say maybe he didn’t even start it, it started before him. But he carried the torch. And he carried it alone for a period of time before other people could help him.” Clearly, he forwarded the narrative of that, as he moved on to play one of the most influential roles of a generation in the portrayal of T’Challa, aka Black Panther.

The impact he had on Hollywood, while too short, was phenomenal. He hosted ‘SNL’ in a very memorable episode, and was slated to start in ‘Black Panther 2’ which was meant to be released in 2022

Chadwick was 43. RIP

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Jacob Blake Hospital Handcuffs Finally Removed

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Jacob is no longer handcuffed to his hospital bed, his felony warrants have been vacated and police stopped guarding him at the hospital … the family’s lawyer stated.

Jacob Blake’s father says his son is handcuffed to his hospital bed despite being paralyzed from the waist down after suffering 7 gunshot wounds from a cop.

Blake’s dad, also named Jacob, says when he visited his son in the hospital Wednesday he found him cuffed to his bed … and immediately questioned why it was necessary.

The elder Blake says he hated seeing his son like that and pointed out … “He can’t go anywhere. Why do you have him cuffed to the bed?”

Blake claims he also hasn’t gotten an answer as to what Jacob was arrested for that would warrant him being handcuffed in the first place.

Jacob’s parents got emotional Tuesday as they spoke outside the Kenosha County Courthouse about their son being shot and his condition, and the family’s lawyer revealed it would be a miracle if he ever walks again.

As we’ve reported … the 29-year-old father was shot 7 times at point-blank range by Kenosha, WI police officer Rusten Sheskey.

Cops say they were initially called to the scene for a domestic disturbance, and the shooting’s being investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation.

So far, no word from law enforcement about Jacob’s arrest or charges.

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Son of Sweetie Pie’s owner charged in murder-for-hire plot that killed owner’s grandson

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James Timothy Norman of Sweetie Pie‘s fame is facing federal charges alleging he conspired with an exotic dancer in the murder of his eighteen-year-old nephew Andre Montgomery.

The 41-year-old son of the legendary restaurant owner Robbie Montgomery was arrested this morning at his home in Jackson, Mississippi, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney.

Norman, who starred with his family in the show Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, had feuded with his mother over money in recent years after she sued him for opening restaurants under the Sweetie Pie’s brand without her permission, according to court records.

It was a messy, public spat, but federal authorities say Norman executed a far more sinister conspiracy to have his teenage nephew killed in 2016. According to the criminal complaint unsealed today, Norman had taken out $450,000 in life insurance policies on Andre Montgomery in 2014, and he was the sole beneficiary.

James Timothy Norman was charged in a murder-for-hire plot. - MADISON COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI DETENTION CENTER
James Timothy Norman was charged in a murder-for-hire plot. – MADISON COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI DETENTION CENTER

In 2016, Norman was living in Los Angeles. Phone records obtained by investigators showed that leading up to Andre Montgomery’s murder, Norman and a Memphis-based dancer named Teria Ellis headed to St. Louis and communicated over burner phones. Ellis also started contacting Montgomery, sending him her Instagram account handle, Alexusdagreat, and texting that she would be visiting St. Louis.

“I’m on my way in town,” she wrote him in an email on March 10, 2016, according to court records.

Three days later, Norman flew into St. Louis and booked a room at the Chase Park Plaza hotel. The next day, March 14, Ellis contacted Montgomery to figure out where he was, according to the complaint. Cell phone records showed that he texted her the address of a house: 3964 Natural Bridge Ave. in the city. Ellis then called Norman.

That night, at 8:02 p.m., Montgomery was shot to death at the house on Natural Bridge. And investigators believe Ellis was there. Location data from her burner phone put her at the scene, and in one of Montgomery’s final phone calls, he spoke to his girlfriend, who later told investigators she could hear a woman’s voice in the background.

One minute after the eighteen-year-old was shot, Ellis made another call — to Norman.

“Despite being at the scene of Montgomery’s murder at 8:02pm, ELLIS’s first phone call was not to the police, but rather to [NORMAN] at 8:03 p.m., at which time her phone location data showed she was driving in a direction consistent with her returning home in Memphis, Tennessee,” the criminal complaint says.

Phone records would then show the phone moving south along Interstate 55. Norman’s phone showed him flying back to Los Angeles, arriving early the morning after the killing. That same day, March 15, 2016, both the burner phones went dark, authorities say.

Back in Memphis, Ellis began depositing money — $3,020 in a checking account that previously had a negative balance and another $4,340 in a savings account opened the same day. On March 17, 2016, she deposited another $1,900.

On March 22, 2016, she and her mother and daughter flew to Los Angeles. There’s not much information in the court records about what they did there, but authorities say location data for her mom’s phone showed that on at least one occasion they were with Norman.

At the end of April 2016, Norman wired Ellis $700.

Norman waited a week to try to collect on his murdered nephew’s life insurance police, authorities say. On March 21, 2016, he called the bank, but he never provided all the documentation required and still hasn’t gotten the money, according to court records.

He’s now being held without bond at a jail in Madison County, Mississippi. He and Ellis have been charged with conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in commission of murder-for-hire, resulting in death.

The case is being investigated by St. Louis police and the FBI.

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