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Pennsylvania police officer charged in shooting death of 17 year old Antwon Rose

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A Pennsylvania police officer was charged with one count of criminal homicide in the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy in East Pittsburgh who was fleeing a traffic stop, according to court records released Wednesday.

The charge against East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld is in connection to the June 19 shooting death of Antwon Rose Jr.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. where more details are expected to be released.

On Tuesday, police made an arrest in a drive-by shooting that started a chain of events that ended with Rose’s killing. The teenager under arrest was with Rose the night he was shot by police, authorities said.

Investigators say Rosfeld stopped a car carrying Rose and two other people because it matched the description of a car reported to be involved in a shooting about 15 minutes earlier in a nearby town.

As the officer took the driver into custody, video posted to Facebook by a bystander showed Rose and the other passenger running away.

The officer quickly fired three shots, all of which struck Rose, who later died at a hospital from his injuries. The medical examiner has not said where the teen was struck.

Rosfeld had been on duty in East Pittsburgh, Pa., for three weeks and was only sworn in fewer than two hours before the incident, although he has been an officer in the region for seven years, according to KDKA-TV.

Rosfeld had previously worked in Harmarville and for the University of Pittsburgh Police Department. He was placed on administrative leave as per protocol while county police conducted an independent investigation. Rosfeld’s attorney Pat Thomassey, told KDKA he turned himself in Wednesday morning and is out on $250,000 bond.

In the days since Rose, a Woodland Hills High School honors student, was fatally shot, marchers have demonstrated almost daily. They refrained from protest Monday, as Rose was laid to rest, out of respect for his family.

Investigators have not said whether they believe Rose had any involvement in the earlier violence that left one wounded. Authorities previously said two handguns were retrieved from the car, and an empty gun clip was found in Rose’s pocket, according to Zappala

In video of the fatal shooting taken from a nearby home, Rose, in a gray shirt, is the first to run from the vehicle.

The arrest of another suspect on Tuesday came as dozens of protesters returned to the streets of downtown Pittsburgh, blocking traffic with locked arms and raised fists, demanding justice in Rose’s death.

Chanting, “Who did this? The police did this!” and “Three shots to the back, how do you justify that?” marchers began walking several blocks shortly after 7:30 a.m., shutting down busy intersections for more than two hours, according to the Associated Press.

The family’s attorney, D. Lee Merritt, said in a statement last week that Rose was “a generous, hard-working and highly promising student.”

“Affirmations of his generosity of spirit and genuine good heartedness have begun pouring in from all corners of the East Pittsburgh community where he lives,” he said.

Merritt insisted that claims Rose was involved in the earlier shooting are unsubstantiated, noting that the officer had been on the force for just hours before the shooting.

“These facts, without more, simply leave very little room to justify the use of deadly force by this officer,” he said. “Additional information concerning the background of the offending officer and the facts available to him at the time of the shooting is needed as we determine the appropriate action in this matter.”

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Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly Sparks Criminal Investigation

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Prosecutors urged alleged R. Kelly victims to come forward in a press conference on Tuesday night following the airing of “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which several women accused the singer of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Cook County, Ill., state attorney Kim Foxx told reporters (via TMZ), “The recent allegations against entertainer R. Kelly in a recent Lifetime docuseries are deeply, deeply disturbing. It is our job at the Cook County state attorney’s office to investigate claims in the interest of justice and of public safety. I should stress that it takes courage to re-live and re-experience trauma by telling your story of sexual victimization, but we rely heavily on victim accounts and witness statements to prosecute cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence.”

“I’m here today to encourage victims of sexual assault or domestic violence related to these allegations to please get in touch with our office. The number to call is 773-674-6492. There are dedicated professionals in our witness unit who do this work on a daily basis and can work with you through this process,” Foxx continued. “Please come forward. There is nothing that can be done to investigate these allegations without the cooperation of both victims and witnesses. We cannot seek justice without you.”  Kelly has been accused of holding women and girls against their will in Chicago, where he has a recording studio, and Georgia, where he has property.

The docuseries also claimed that he preyed on and had sexual relations with underage girls who he kept in an alleged “sex cult.”

Kelly has maintained his innocence since allegations of abuse first emerged. The singer’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, told the Associated Press that the “Surviving R. Kelly” accusations were false, and simply “another round of stories [being used to] fill reality TV time.” He added that it was inappropriate for a D.A. to characterize allegations she’d seen on TV before actually filing charges or launching an investigation into the claims.

He was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 after he was accused of making a sex tape with a 14-year-old girl. Meanwhile, Timothy Savage, who appeared in “Surviving R. Kelly” with his wife, alleged that Kelly threatened him for being involved with the docuseries.

Andrea Kelly, Lisa VanAllen and Kitti Jones star in the lifetime documentary series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” 2019.

A Henry County, Ga., police report obtained by the Associated Press says Savage told an officer on Jan. 3 that Don Russell had texted him saying it would be best for him and his family if the documentary didn’t air. The report claims Russell called Savage while the officer was there and Savage put the phone on speaker. Russell accused Savage of lying to Lifetime and that if he continued to support the series, Russell and Kelly would be forced to release information that would show Savage was a liar.

According to TMZ, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has officially opened up an investigation focusing on R. Kelly due to the several allegations made against the singer in lifetime’s documentary. In the final 2 parts of the documentary it was alleged that Kelly has been holding several women against their will.

TMZ also reports that investigators have been reaching out to several survivors featured in the TV project. In fact, the outlet confirmed investigators reached out to Asante McGee, one of the women who allegedly escaped R. Kelly’s home. Meanwhile, the attorney for Joycelyn Savage’s family was contacted by Chief Investigator Cynthia Nwokocha and the family has been fully cooperating in the investigation. We’re told investigators have been asking for contact information from others who have lived in Kelly’s former Atlanta home or have direct knowledge of what happened in the home. We’re told investigators were flooded with calls once the docuseries aired.

The D.A. is not commenting.

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Indonesian plane with 189 aboard crashes into sea

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PAKISJAYA, Indonesia, Oct 29 (Reuters) – An Indonesian aircraft with 189 people on board crashed into the sea and sank on Monday soon after taking off from the capital, Jakarta, on a flight to a tin-mining region, officials said.

Indonesia’s search and rescue agency confirmed the crash of Lion Air flight, JT610, adding that it lost contact with ground officials 13 minutes after takeoff, and a tug boat leaving the capital’s port saw it fall.

“We don’t know yet whether there are any survivors,” agency head Muhmmad Syaugi told a news conference, adding that no distress signal had been received from the aircraft’s emergency transmitter.

“We hope, we pray, but we cannot confirm.”

Items such as handphones and life vests were found in waters about 30 meters to 35 meters (98 to 115 ft) deep near where the plane, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, lost contact, he said.

“We are there already, our vessels, our helicopter is hovering above the waters, to assist,” Syaugi said. “We are trying to dive down to find the wreck.”

Ambulances were lined up at Karawang, on the coast east of Jakarta and police were preparing rubber dinghies, a Reuters reporter said.

At least 23 government officials were on board the plane, which an air navigation spokesman said had sought to turn back just before losing contact.

“We don’t dare to say what the facts are, or are not, yet,” Edward Sirait, the chief executive of Lion Air Group, told Reuters. “We are also confused about the why, since it was a new plane.”

The privately owned airline said in a statement, the aircraft, which had only been in operation since August, was airworthy, with its pilot and co-pilot together having accumulated 11,000 hours of flying time.

BLACK BOXES

The head of Indonesia’s transport safety committee said he could not confirm the cause of the crash, which would have to wait until the recovery of the plane’s black boxes, as the cockpit voice recorder and data flight recorder are known.

“The plane is so modern, it transmits data from the plane, and that we will review too. But the most important is the blackbox,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono.

Safety experts say nearly all accidents are caused by a combination of factors and only rarely have a single identifiable cause.

The weather at the time of the crash was clear, Tjahjono said.

A Lion Air Boeing 737 passenger plane crashed into the sea, moments after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 29, 2018. It was carrying 188 people on board, including members from the nation’s finance ministry and trainee flight attendants.

Investigators will focus on the cockpit voice and data recorders and building up a picture of the brand-new plane’s technical status, the condition and training of the crew as well as weather and air traffic recordings.

The effort to find the wreckage and retrieve the black boxes represents a major challenge for investigators in Indonesia, where an AirAsia Airbus jet crashed in the Java Sea in December 2015.

Under international rules, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board will automatically assist with the inquiry into Monday’s crash, backed up by technical advisers from Boeing and U.S.-French engine maker CFM International, co-owned by General Electric and Safran.

Boeing was deeply saddened by the loss, it said in a statement.

“Boeing stands ready to provide technical assistance to the accident investigation,” it said, adding that in accordance with international protocol, all inquiries should be directed to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee.

FAST-GROWING MARKET

The flight took off from Jakarta around 6.20 a.m. and was due to have landed in Pangkal Pinang, capital of the Bangka-Belitung tin mining region, at 7.20 a.m., the Flightrsdar 24 website showed.

Data from FlightRadar24 shows the first sign of something amiss was around two minutes into the flight, when the plane had reached 2,000 feet (610 m).

Then it descended more than 500 feet (152 m) and veered to the left before climbing again to 5,000 feet (1,524 m), where it stayed during most of the rest of the flight.

It began gaining speed in the final moments and reached 345 knots (397 mph) before data was lost when it was at 3,650 feet (1,113 m).

Its last recorded position was about 15 km (9 miles) north of the Indonesian coast, according to a Google Maps reference of the last coordinates from Flightradar24.

The accident is the first to be reported involving the widely sold Boeing 737 MAX, an updated, more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer’s workhorse single-aisle jet.

Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, but its safety record is patchy.

“The industry has grown very quickly and keeping pace with that growth is challenging in keeping the safety culture intact,” said Greg Waldron, the Asia managing editor of industry publication FlightGlobal, which keeps an accident database.

If all on board prove to have died, the Lion Air crash would rank as Indonesia’s second-worst air disaster, after a Garuda Indonesia A300 crash in Medan that killed 214 people in 1997, he said.

Founded in 1999, Lion Air’s only fatal accident was in 2004, when an MD-82 crashed upon landing at Solo City, killing 25 of the 163 on board, the Flight Safety Foundation’s Aviation Safety Network says.

In April, the airline announced a firm order to buy 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 narrow body jets with a list price of $6.24 billion. It is one of the U.S. planemaker’s largest customers globally.

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Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue Leaves at least 4 dead

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Law enforcement sources tell CBS News and KDKA that the suspect in a fatal shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue is 48-year-old  Robert Bowers. His online activity shows he posted anti-Semitic threats and conspiracy theories in the weeks before Saturday’s shooting, which left at least eight dead.

Here’s what we know about Bowers so far:

  • Police said Bowers shouted “All Jews must die!” while firing indiscriminately in the Tree of Life synagogue during services. He exchanged gunfire with officers while confined on the third floor of the synagogue before being taken into custody.
  • Bowers was a regular user on Gab, a social network often associated with white supremacists and extremists. Shortly after the attack, Gab was alerted to a user profile of the alleged Tree of Life Synagogue shooter. The account was verified and matched the name of the alleged shooter’s name, which was mentioned on police scanners.
  • On Gab, Bowers posted dozens of anti-Semitic messages in the past month, including denials of the Holocaust and conspiracy theories about Jews destroying the planet and fueling mass migration. Many of the posts included a slur for Jews. A quote on the top of his page said, “jews are the children of satan.” He also posted about popular right-wing conspiracy theories such as QAnon.
  • Bowers posted several messages on Gab supporting President Trump. “Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist,” he wrote on Thursday. “There is no #MAGAas long as there is a k–e infestation.”
  • Bowers also appeared to post two cryptic warnings about the shooting hours before the attack. On Friday, he wrote about HIAS, a Jewish organization that aids refugees and recently listed congregations across America that held Shabbat services for refugees. “Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided,” Bowers wrote. On Saturday morning, about two hours before the attack, he wrote in another post, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

                                                          Photo of Mass Shooter Robert Bowers

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