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Police and court records show the main suspect in the slaying of four Muslim men in Albuquerque has committed regular acts of violence in the six years since he resettled in the United States. Police believe 51-year-old Afghan refugee Muhammad Syed tracked the movements of his victims before ambushing them late at night, motivated seemingly by interpersonal conflicts. He is charged in the deaths of two men and is the primary suspect in the slayings of two others. Syed has denied involvement in the killings. Members of Albuquerque's small, close-knit Muslim community are coming to terms with the idea that maybe they never really knew Syed.
The cancellation of a major music festival in Atlanta has ignited a new fight over Georgia gun laws. Live Nation has refused to say why it abruptly called off September’s Music Midtown festival last week. But news outlets ascribed the decision to state gun laws that could have prevented organizers from enforcing a ban on firearms. Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and other Democrats have blasted Republican Gov. Brian Kemp for the cancellation, though the gun law cited in news reports preceded his administration. Kemp has accused Democrats of pushing critical narratives of Georgia’s firearms landscape to distract from inflation.
FILE - Billie Eilish performs on stage during Day 2 of Music Midtown 2019 in Atlanta, Sept. 15, 2019. The cancellation of the major music festival has ignited a new fight over Georgia gun laws. Live Nation has refused to say why it abruptly called off September 2022’s Music Midtown festival. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Invision/AP, File)
FILE - Crowd at Music Midtown in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Sept. 16, 2018. The cancellation of the major music festival has ignited a new fight over Georgia gun laws. Live Nation has refused to say why it abruptly called off September 2022’s Music Midtown festival. (Photo by Paul R. Giunta/Invision/AP, File)
A former Boston high school dean already in prison for shooting a student he recruited to deal drugs has pleaded guilty to a federal gang-related charge. Shaun Harrison pleaded guilty in Boston federal court on Tuesday to a count of racketeering conspiracy more than two years after he was indicted alongside dozens of other Latin Kings members, leaders and associates. Harrison was convicted in state court in 2018 of assault and other charges, and sentenced to up to 26 years in prison for shooting a 17-year-old student in the back of the head after a dispute over slumping drug sales. The bullet broke the teen’s jawbone and just missed his carotid artery, and he survived.
The white father and son convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting after they chased the 25-year-old Black man through a Georgia neighborhood have been sentenced to life in prison for committing a federal hate crime. A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Travis McMichael and his father Greg McMichael on Monday in Brunswick. Both were previously sentenced to life without parole in a state court for Arbery’s murder. The McMichaels armed themselves with guns and used a pickup truck to chase Arbery after he ran past their home on Feb. 23, 2020. Neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, who recorded cellphone video of the slaying, was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
In Portland, Oregon, the police chief recently pulled detectives from cold case and assault units to backfill the homicide unit, which is overwhelmed by a spike in gun violence. In Philadelphia, the police disbanded its abandoned car unit and in Los Angeles, homeless outreach and animal cruelty teams have largely shut down. In major American cities, police departments are losing officers and can’t find enough recruits to replace them. Pandemic burnout, budget cuts and anti-police protests after George Floyd’s murder have combined to reduce police ranks and many departments are downsizing. The evolution has affected residents in ways large and small.
A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, adding to the $4.1 million he has to pay for the suffering he put them through by claiming for years that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis say they were tormented by the Infowars host’s false claims that the worst classroom shooting in U.S. history was orchestrated by the government to tighten gun laws. The total of nearly $50 million marks the first time Jones has been held financially liable for peddling lies about the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
Jurors in the trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have toured the still-bloodstained building where he murdered 17 people four years ago. The 12 jurors and their 10 alternates were bused to Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Thursday along with the judge, prosecutors and Cruz's attorneys. Cruz wasn't present. The area was closed off to keep protesters away and protect jurors’ safety. The three-story classroom building was sealed after the Valentine's Day 2018 shooting. The floors remain bloodstained and the walls bullet-pocked. Rotted holiday flowers and deflated balloons are in the rooms. The jury will decide if Cruz is sentenced to death or life without parole.
Debbi Hixon gives her victim impact statement during the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Hixon's husband, Christopher, was killed in the 2018 shootings. Cruz previously plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool)