Authorities in Alabama are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the slaying of a 41-year-old woman, who was ambushed and shot in a residential parking lot in Hoover.
The Hoover Police Department continues to investigate the Valentine’s Day slaying of Shemethia Coteat Stanton, who was found dead by her teenage daughter outside their apartment complex moments after the gunfire erupted.
No arrests have been made, but police are seeking the public’s help with the investigation.
Kassidy Stanton, a senior at Hoover High School, spoke to AL.com about the tragic night her mother was murdered.
“I heard the last three shots because I think there were five,” Kassidy explained. “I was sitting there waiting on it to stop. I heard the tires go off and that’s it. I’m thinking, ‘OK, somebody just got shot and I’m nosy so I’m going to go look.’”
The teen peaked through the blinds, and noticed her mother’s car; she did not see her mom inside the vehicle.
“My first instinct was to go look again, double check, because maybe she’s in the breezeway and maybe she’s running from the gunshots,” Kassidy said. “I saw her car door open, but I didn’t see her still. At this point, I’m worried because why didn’t she come in the house?”
The 17-year-old went outside and noticed her mom unresponsive on the ground.
“I checked her pulse because I’m trained for CPR,” Kassidy said. “There was no pulse. By that time, the neighbors came out and I was screaming but it was so unreal to me that my mama was laying there. There was no reason for somebody to do something like this to somebody so loving, and so God-fearing. It just hurt me so bad. I can’t explain it.”
AL.com reports that Hoover Police Capt. Gregg Rector said detectives have identified a suspect, but need more information to build their case.
“We need that final, additional piece of evidence to make our case stronger,” Rector said. “We want to make an arrest and we want it to hold up in court. There is someone out there who has information that can tip the scales for us.”
Stanton — who is survived by four children, including a 9-year-old son — was retrieving items from her car’s backseat when she was killed. No motive is known at this time.
“This is a really tragic situation,” Rector said. “Our victim had a good job, was very family-oriented and worked hard to provide for them.”
Kassidy told AL.com her mother was “the type of person who everybody loved. She was just the energy of everything. If there was a party and my mom walked in, the party started. She was the type of person who would help anybody, just anybody. She was just that type of person anyone could call on whenever you needed her or whatever the situation is. Wrong or right, she was going to talk to you and tell you what’s wrong and what is right and what you could have done better to avoid the situation.”
Kassidy said she and her siblings are trying their best to stay strong in the wake of Stanton’s death.
“We just like to think about the good times we had with her and try not to let this get the best of us even though it’s real hard,” the teen confided.
Police urge anyone with information about Stanton’s murder come forward by calling Hoover Police Detective Brad Fountain at (205) 444-7562 or Crime Stoppers at (205) 254-7777.
Tips can also be submitted online here.
Joe Biden named Sen. Kamala D. Harris as his running mate
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has chosen Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate, elevating a former presidential candidate whose most electric campaign performance came when she criticized his record on school integration during a debate.
Harris will be the first Black woman and first Asian American to run for vice president, representing a historic choice at a moment when the country is grappling with its racial past and future. The announcement was made in a text and a tweet from Biden.
“Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau,” Biden tweeted, referring to his late son, then the attorney general of Delaware. “I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”
Harris, 55, is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. The first-term senator previously served as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general.
Her prosecutorial record has drawn attacks from party liberals, who have criticized her past stances as too harsh and contend that her record does not meet a moment when police misconduct has rocketed into the national conversation.
But Harris also has built a reputation in Washington as a sharp questioner in Senate hearings, particularly of Trump administration nominees. She has been a forceful advocate for Black families during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and she helped draft a bill ending qualified immunity for police.
Harris kicked off her presidential campaign little more than two years after joining the Senate, with an electrifying Oakland, Calif., rally that drew more than 22,000 supporters. But she struggled to define herself to voters, shifting from one message to the next. She failed to take off in the polls and dropped out in early December, citing financial problems.
Harris and Biden have known each other for several years, and Harris worked closely with Biden’s late son, Beau, when both served as attorneys general.
That made it all the more shocking to Biden and his team when, at the first Democratic primary debate, Harris went after Biden for his nostalgic talk about working with two segregationist senators.
“It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country,” Harris said during the debate. She also took Biden to task for his opposition to mandatory busing.
On the debate stage, she described a little girl who had benefited from her city’s busing program. “And that little girl was me,” she said. Within hours, her campaign was selling shirts emblazoned with the words and a childhood picture of Harris.
Biden’s wife, Jill, has described that moment as being “like a punch to the gut.” But since then, the two have publicly made up, with Harris acting as a surrogate for Biden and appearing with him and his wife in campaign events.
In a June appearance on the “Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Harris jokingly defended her performance, saying: “It was a debate! The whole reason — literally, it was a debate. It was called a debate.”
“I’d be honored, if asked, and I’m honored to be a part of the conversation,” Harris told Colbert. “Honestly, let me just tell you something: I will do everything in my power, wherever I am, to help Joe Biden win.”
In late July, Biden was photographed with notes he had written to himself about Harris on his personal stationery. Included were: “talented,” “great help to campaign” and “do not hold grudges.”
Biden said on July 28 that he would name his running mate by the end of the first week of August, after extending his initial pledge to name the pick around Aug. 1. Aides then said it had slipped further. For weeks, advisers have been vetting the candidates in interviews and via extended searches into their backgrounds, records and personal experiences.
He had promised months ago to pick a woman, reflecting the dominance of female voters in the party and his effort to make a historic choice. Were he to win, the nominee would become the first female vice president.
The nominee also will come under heightened security because of Biden’s age; he will be 78 at the time of the next inauguration. Either he or his November opponent, President Trump, will be the oldest American president.
The selection process has been a mix of transparency and secrecy. While Biden has held his thoughts closely, with many allies saying he has been deliberately vague about his preferences, the parade of prospective candidates has played out publicly.
Several have broken with past practice and acknowledged an interest in the job; others, such as Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), have taken themselves out of the mix in a similarly public way.
Biden has sought the same kind of “simpatico” relationship with his pick that he shared with former president Barack Obama, in which he served as the last adviser on big administration decisions. He also has put a high premium on loyalty, according to those familiar with the search.
But his choice was also affected by events coursing across the nation.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) once looked like a front-runner, but the killing of George Floyd and other unarmed Black people put a spotlight on her record as a prosecutor, which has drawn criticism from Black activists. Klobuchar eventually removed herself from the running, saying that Biden should pick a woman of color for the ticket.
Biden also faced pressure to delay the pick until closer to the Democratic convention, which begins Aug. 17, to build a sense of momentum for an event that will largely be virtual, lacking the balloon-and-bunting atmosphere of the traditional convention celebrations.
In normal times, the two running mates would barnstorm around the country after the announcement, trying to lift the enthusiasm level of their own partisans and potentially attract new supporters. But Biden has held no large events since March, and has none planned.
The Democratic vice presidential nominee will formally be named at the national party convention, which will be largely virtual. The newly named nominee will debate Vice President Pence on Oct. 7 in Utah. The presidential debates — three are currently scheduled — will begin in September, barring any adjustments to the schedule. Two of them have already changed locations after the original host colleges determined it was unsafe to sponsor the event.
U.S. Marines ID all 9 people killed in sea-tank sinking
The U.S. Marine Corps has identified all nine people killed when a Marine landing craft sank in hundreds of feet of water off the Southern California coast.
Only one of their bodies was found, despite an intense days-long search involving helicopters and boats ranging from inflatables to a Navy destroyer.
Found at the scene was Lance Cpl. Guillermo S. Perez, 20, of New Braunfels Texas. The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit announced on Sunday that the others, from California, Texas, Wisconsin and Oregon, are “presumed dead.”
They include: Pfc. Bryan J. Baltierra, 19, of Corona, California; Lance Cpl. Marco A. Barranco, 21, of Montebello, California; Pfc. Evan A. Bath, 19, of Oak Creek, Wisconsin; U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christopher Gnem, 22, of Stockton, California; Pfc. Jack Ryan Ostrovsky, 21, of Bend, Oregon; Cpl. Wesley A. Rodd, 23, of Harris, Texas; Lance Cpl. Chase D. Sweetwood, 19, of Portland, Oregon; and Cpl. Cesar A. Villanueva, 21, of Riverside, California.
“Literally every asset we have available” was mobilized in the search for seven Marines and a Navy corpsman, Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said Friday.
They were aboard an amphibious assault vehicle that was heading back to a Navy ship Thursday evening after a routine training exercise when it began taking on water about a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from Navy-owned San Clemente Island, off San Diego.
Other assault vehicles quickly responded but couldn’t stop the 26-ton, tank-like vehicle from quickly sinking, Osterman said.
“The assumption is that it went completely to the bottom” several hundred feet below, Osterman said. That was too deep for divers, and Navy and Coast Guard were discussing ways to reach the sunken vehicle to get a view inside it, Osterman said.
Seven other Marines were rescued from the water; two were in stable condition at a hospital, authorities said.
All the Marines were attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at nearby Camp Pendleton. They ranged in age from 19 to early 30s and all were wearing combat gear, including body armor, and flotation vests, Osterman said.
The vehicle, known as an AAV but nicknamed an “amtrac,” for “amphibious tractor” is used to take Marines and their gear from Navy ships to land.
The sunken craft, one of 13 involved in the exercise, was designed to be naturally buoyant and had three water-tight hatches and two large troop hatches, Osterman said.
The vehicles have been used since 1972, and continually refurbished. Marine Corps officials said Friday they did not know the age or other details of the one that sank.
The Marine Corps commandant, Gen. David Berger, suspended waterborne operations of more than 800 amphibious assault vehicles across the branch until the cause of the accident is determined.
This is the third time in recent years that Camp Pendleton Marines have been injured or died in amphibious assault vehicles during training exercises.
In 2017, 14 Marines and one Navy sailor were hospitalized after their vehicle hit a natural gas line, igniting a fire that engulfed the landing craft at Camp Pendleton.
In 2011, a Marine died when an amphibious assault vehicle in a training exercise sank offshore of the camp.
Son of Federal Judge killed After Gunman Opened Fire at Her New Jersey Home
The son of US District Court of New Jersey Judge Esther Salas has died after a gunman opened fire on her North Brunswick home Sunday.
Chief Judge Freda Wolfson said Sunday that Salas’ son Daniel Anderl, 20, was killed in the shooting and her husband, Mark Anderl, was injured. Salas was unharmed, Wolfson said.
Both the US Marshals and FBI are investigating the shooting. Initial reports from law enforcement said Daniel Anderl opened the door with his father right behind him. The door opened to a hail of gunfire and the gunman fled.
“We are looking for one subject,” the FBI said in a statement. “We are working closely with our state and local partners and will provide additional updates when available.”
A law enforcement official with direct knowledge said that the gunman appeared to be wearing a FedEx uniform.
It is not yet known whether the gunman was a FedEx employee or someone posing to be an employee.
“We are aware of the media reports and are fully cooperating with investigating authorities,” Jonathan Lyons, a spokesman for FedEx, said in an email statement.
Law enforcement has not been aware of any threats against the judge and right now investigators don’t know the motive.
“Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “This tragedy is our latest reminder that gun violence remains a crisis in our country and that our work to make every community safer isn’t done.”
Democratic U.S Senator Bob Menendez, who said he was proud to have recommended Judge Salas to former President Barack Obama, also issued a statement sending his prayers to the family.
“My prayers are with Judge Salas and her family, and that those responsible for this horrendous act are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice,” Menendez said.
North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack spoke Sunday night that Judge Salas’ husband Mark Anderl is “one of the most straight-up honest attorneys” he has dealt with.
“He’s a very very exuberant, vibrant, one hundred percent pleasant person,” Womack said. “He loves to talk about his wife, and he loves to brag about his son, and how his son would excel in baseball, and how great he was doing in college in Washington … I’m just very sorry to see him going through this.”
The FBI urged anyone with relevant information to call FBI Newark at 973-792-3001.
This is a developing story: We’ll give updates on the situation as we learn more.
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