‘Credible threat’ to Columbine High, 20 other schools in Colorado under investigation

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By Reis Thebault and Jessica Contrera | Washington Post

Authorities are investigating what they deemed a “credible threat” at Columbine High School and more than 20 other schools in Colorado’s Jefferson County, a scare that comes just days before the community planned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of one of the country’s deadliest school shootings.

Near the end of the school day Tuesday afternoon, county public school officials announced they had placed Columbine and nearby schools on “lockout,” which, they said, means classes would continue as usual inside while entries to and exits from the building would be restricted.

“We are currently investigating what appears to be a credible threat possibly involving the schools,” the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department said in a tweet. “Children are safe. Deputies are at the schools.”

The FBI is leading the investigation, said Mike Taplin, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment, but the state’s education department said in a tweet that the threat came from “an individual identified by the FBI.”

Two hours after announcing the lockouts, the school system reported that all its students and staff were safe, adding that students will be released from the schools and buses will run on their normal schedule, though some may be slightly delayed. Officials said extra security would be present on the affected campuses.

After-school activities and sports practices would also continue as scheduled — except at Columbine, where they’re canceled for the day, the school said.

Since April 20, 1999, when two gunmen stormed Columbine, killed 13 people and wounded 24 more, threats of violence have become a painful fact of everyday life for the high school and the highly trained security team tasked with keeping …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


She opened the door to a ‘deliveryman.’ Then he shot her with a crossbow.

By Alex Horton | The Washington Post

A man in white turned his truck onto the leafy, brick home-lined Bayberry Drive outside Toronto and gathered a large cardboard box in his arms, careful to keep the trigger end of the crossbow on his side.

With a gloved hand, he rang a doorbell around 8 p.m. and readied the weapon. A woman answered, and after a brief exchange, the man fired a bolt into her chest, nearly killing her. She slammed the door. The man ran off.

Authorities released new details Monday on the Nov. 7 attack in Mississauga, including edited footage of the attack from a porch security camera partially showing the man’s face, in a bid to find the attacker.

Investigators concluded that the attack was intentional, citing the brief conversation at the door, and indicated it may have been a hit orchestrated by another person.

“The attack was meant to end the victim’s life,” Peel Regional Police Superintendent Heather Ramore said at a news conference. “The victim suffered massive trauma that was both life-threatening and life-altering.”

The crossbow used in the attack resembles one that is “commonly used by hunters to kill large game, such as moose and deer,” Ramore said.

The victim did not know the attacker, Detective Sgt. Jim Kettles said.

Authorities declined to describe what was said in the conversation or reveal the victim’s name out of concern for her safety.

Investigators suspect the man held a cardboard box in a double ruse – to appear as a deliveryman and to conceal the crossbow he held inside. In the video, the man appears to have stuck his right arm through a hole in the back of the box, with the other end pointed toward the woman.

Detectives are pursuing all possibilities. The attacker escaped in a dark truck, but investigators do not know whether he …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Man who threw 5-year-old in Mall of America attack was ‘looking for someone to kill’

The Minneapolis man arrested for throwing a 5-year-old boy over a Mall of America balcony Friday told police he had gone to the mall on Thursday intending to kill an adult, but that it did not “work out,” court documents say.

He returned Friday and chose the boy instead.

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda

Emmanuel Aranda, 24, was charged Monday with attempted premeditated first-degree murder, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Aranda is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday. Prosecutors will be asking that bail be set at $2 million.

“This crime has shocked the community,” Freeman said. “That a child, with his mother, at a safe public area like a mall, could be violently attacked for no reason is chilling for everyone.”


The incident at the Bloomington mall has received national attention with many expressing their outrage on social media and offering prayers and support for the family. The boy’s name has not been officially released.

A Gofundme page set up by a family friend identifies the boy as “Landen.” The fund raised $579,947 in two days for the boy’s medical expenses.

A memorial has emerged at the scene. A Mall of America post on Twitter thanked people for the outpouring of concern.

“For those who have left gifts, flowers and messages of love at the Mall, we thank you,” the message read. “Please know we will keep these items safe and handle them according to the family’s wishes.”

The family, who has asked for privacy and declined to be interviewed released a statement Monday thanking the public for their support.

“The child is currently in critical condition and the family is beginning a long journey to recovery,” the statement read.


According to the criminal complaint, about 10:15 a.m. Friday, the boy and his …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Donations flow in as crews assess damage to Notre Dame Cathedral

By James McAuley, Michael Birnbaum, Griff Witte and Reis Thebault | The Washington Post

PARIS – France rose Tuesday to confront the smoldering remains of the Notre Dame Cathedral, as officials announced they had extinguished the inferno that partly destroyed the nation’s symbol. Donations began to pour in, and authorities started to take stock of the damage.

As the first rays of sun drew across the soaring cathedral – whose two rectangular towers stood tall above the nearly-totally destroyed roof and collapsed spire – firetrucks and cranes with flashing blue lights continued to fight remnants of the blaze. By mid-morning, a spokesman for the Paris fire department announced that the flames had been quelled entirely.

From certain angles, it was almost possible to look head-on at the front of church and see its centuries-old rose windows and carved statues and imagine all was intact. But to stray to any other angle made clear the devastation. The roof was burned away, and there was an aching absence where the spire had been. Char and smoke marks licked the walls out of rose-round window frames where once there was stained glass. Water gushed in arcs onto wooden roof beams that once seemed eternal and now looked like used matchsticks.

Engineers, architects and firefighters planned to assess the structural damage first thing Tuesday, officials said. They warned they still did not know the extent of the catastrophe. Mid-morning, Paris firefighter spokesman Gabriel Plus announced that the fire was “completely extinguished.” By then, there were workers visible atop the north bell tower of the cathedral, peering down through the cinders of the roof into the heart of the chapel, which now opens to the sky.

“What is necessary now is to examine the structure to determine whether the building is stable,” French junior Interior Minister Laurent Nuñez told …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


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