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Colorado gay club shooting suspect charged with hate crimes

Colorado gay club shooting suspect charged with hate crimes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The suspect accused of entering a Colorado gay nightclub clad in body armor and opening fire with an AR-15-style rifle, killing five people and wounding 17 others, was charged by prosecutors Tuesday with 305 criminal counts including hate crimes and murder.The counts against Anderson Lee Aldrich include 48 hate crime charges, one for each person known to have been in the club at the time of the shooting.Investigators say Aldrich, 22, entered Club Q, a sanctuary for the LGBTQ community in the mostly conservative city of Colorado Springs, just before midnight on Nov. 19 and began shooting during a drag queen’s birthday celebration. The killing stopped after patrons wrestled the suspect to the ground, beating Aldrich into submission, they said.Aldrich sat upright in a chair during the hearing Tuesday and appeared alert. In an earlier court appearance just a few days after the shooting, the defendant was slumped over — head and face covered with bruises — and had to be prompted by attorneys to respond to questions from a judge.The shooting came more than a year after Aldrich was arrested following a standoff with SWAT teams after authorities say Aldrich threatened to stockpile guns, ammo and body armor to become the “next mass killer.” But charges were dropped, the record is sealed and prosecutors say they can’t legally talk about what happened.Of the 48 hate crime charges, 27 counts involve injuries and 21 involve people fearing injury or property damage. In addition to those killed or wounded by gunfire at the club, police have said five people had non-gunshot injuries and other victims had “no visible injuries.”Aldrich had been held on hate crime charges following the attack but prosecutors had said previously they weren’t sure whether those counts would stick because they needed to assess if there was adequate evidence to show it was a bias motivated crime.District Attorney Michael Allen had noted that murder charges would carry the harshest penalty — likely life in prison — but also said it was important to show the community that bias motivated crimes are not tolerated if there was evidence to support the charge.At a news conference after the court hearing, Allen declined to discuss what evidence prosecutors found to back the hate crimes counts. However, he said a recent change in Colorado law allows offenders to be charged with hate crimes even if they are only partially motivated by bias.“If it was not for that change we would probably not be able to charge it in this case,” he said.Judge Michael McHenry ordered the arrest warrant affidavit in the case to be unsealed on Wednesday, over the objections defense attorney Joseph Archambault who said he was concerned about the defendant’s right to a fair trial due to publicity surrounding the case.Aldrich is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns according to defense court filings. They were arrested at the club by police and have not entered a plea or spoken about the events.Allen said the suspect being nonbinary was “part of the picture” in considering hate crime charges but he wouldn’t elaborate.“We are not going to tolerate actions against community members based on their sexual identity,” Allen said. “Members of that community have been harassed, intimidated and abused for too long.”Experts say someone who is nonbinary can be charged with a hate crime for targeting fellow members of the LGBTQ community because hate crime laws are focused on the victims, not the perpetrator. But bringing a hate crime case to conviction can be difficult, because prosecutors must prove what motivated the defendant, a higher standard than usually required in court.Colorado prosecutors will need concrete evidence such as statements Aldrich may have made about the shooting, said Frank Pezzella, an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.“It’s got to be more than (they) shot up Club Q,” he said.According to witnesses, Aldrich fired first at people gathered at the club’s bar before spraying bullets across the dance floor during the attack, which came on the eve of an annual day of remembrance for transgender people lost to violence.Authorities have yet to explain why they didn’t attempt to seize the defendant’s guns last year under Colorado’s “red flag” law after Aldrich was accused of threatening to kill their grandparents if they stood in the way of Aldrich’s plans to become a mass killer.Aldrich was booked into jail on suspicion of felony menacing and kidnapping but it’s unclear why the charges weren’t pursued.Ring doorbell video obtained by the AP shows Aldrich arriving at their mother’s front door with a big black bag, telling her the police were nearby and adding, “This is where I stand. Today I die.”

Iowa school district agrees to deal with racial harassment

Iowa school district agrees to deal with racial harassment

OTTUMWA, Iowa — A southeast Iowa school district failed to protect a Black student from pervasive racial harassment and now must take steps to help the student and ensure it responds appropriately to any future racist actions, according to the U.S. Department of Education.The department announced Monday it had resolved a complaint filed against the Ottumwa school district after investigating allegations of harassment in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school year against a middle school student. The investigation found the harassment amounted to a “racial hostile environment” that violated the student’s federal civil rights, the department said.The student endured repeated racial slurs, was targeted by students making monkey noises and was told racially derogatory jokes. District officials were told of the harassment but didn’t take effective actions and didn’t follow up to ensure the harassment had stopped, the department’s investigation found.“Federal civil rights law has for decades promised that no student should experience the racially hostile environment that the young person in this investigation endured,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said in a statement.In a statement posted on the district’s website, Superintendent Michael McGrory didn’t apologize for how officials responded to the harassment but said the district had worked collaboratively with the Office of Civil Rights and “finalized a joint agreement to move forward with systemic improvements to our policies and procedures to ensure equity for all of our students.”Under the agreement, the district promised actions including reimbursing the student’s parents for expenses related to past and future therapeutic services resulting from the harassment as well as publishing an anti-harassment statement. The district also must review its policies related to harassment based on race, color or national origin, provide training to staff and offer age-appropriate information to students.

Idaho murders: Police zeroing in on timeline of two victims who went to frat house

Idaho murders: Police zeroing in on timeline of two victims who went to frat house

Moscow, Idaho, police are trying to gather more information on students Xana Kernodle and boyfriend Ethan Chapin’s whereabouts before they were murdered at a rental home near campus, according to a report.The timeline of Chapin and Kernodle, both 20, “seems to be one of the larger areas that we don’t have a lot of information in,” Idaho State Police spokesman Aaron Snell told ABC News.”So, being able to locate what they did that night, and maybe who they contacted, maybe any routes that they took home, that would be important for the investigation.”The couple were at Chapin’s frat house, Sigma Chi, from 9 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., before returning to Kernodle’s home Nov. 13, police previously said.UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO MURDERS TIMELINE: WHAT WE KNOW
The victims of the Nov. 13 University of Idaho massacre.
(Instagram @xanakernodle/@maddiemogen/@kayleegoncalves)Chapin, Kernodle and her roommates, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed to death between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. that morning.Kaylee Goncalves’ injuries were “more brutal” than the other victims, NewsNation reported, citing a source.Snell told ABC News that police did not disclose this information to Goncalves’ family but were also not refuting it.Steve Goncalves told Fox News Digital that the “means of damage” for his daughter and her best friend, Mogen, were different, even though the best friends were sleeping in the same bed when they were attacked. He wouldn’t elaborate further.
Map shows a timeline prior to the Nov. 13, 2022, murders of University of Idaho students Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves.
(Moscow City Police Department/Instagram)The investigation has entered its fourth week, and police have said they don’t have a suspect and haven’t recovered the “fixed-blade knife” they believe was the murder weapon.Police also addressed questions about Goncalves’ dog, Murphy, who was found at the home after the killings.IDAHO MURDERS: GRIEVING FATHER OF SLAIN COLLEGE STUDENT CALLS LOSS ‘HARDEST THING IN THE WORLD’”We have not determined if the dog was inside the residence during the murders or not,” Snell told ABC News. “What we do know is that the dog was inside when officers arrived. The dog did not appear to have any evidence on it.”
The home where four University of Idaho students were murdered Nov. 13, 2022.
(Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)In a press release Monday, police said they’re looking for any information that will “add context to the picture investigators are creating” of what happened before and after the mass murder.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be one of the puzzle pieces that help solve these murders,” Snell told the news station.The Moscow Police Department is asking that the public call in tips at 208-883-7180, email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us or submit digital media here.

California woman missing in Mexico, possibly kidnapped while walking dog: reports

California woman missing in Mexico, possibly kidnapped while walking dog: reports

A California woman is reportedly missing after taking her dog for a walk in Mexico. KTVU reported that 29-year-old Monica De Leon, of San Mateo, California, was walking her puppy in Tepatitlan, near Guadalajara, on Nov. 29 around 5 p.m. when she was allegedly kidnapped by someone in a van. According to the Facebook group “Help Us Find Monica De Leon,” which has 630 members as of Tuesday, De Leon was on her way to a gym called FIT 4 LIFE in Tepatitlan, near Guadalajara.The group is urging members to call U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., on behalf of De Leon’s family, asking the members of Congress to work with the State Department to assist in the search for the woman. It’s unclear if De Leon was visiting or living in Mexico.FLORIDA COSMETIC SURGEON WHO DIED BY SUICIDE AMID CHARGES HE RAPED SEDATED PATIENTS HAD 11 VICTIMS: REPORT 
Monica De Leon, a U.S. citizen, disappeared while walking her puppy in Mexico, a Facebook group dedicated to the search says.
(Help Us Find Monica De Leon /FACEBOOK )The Facebook group says De Leon is a U.S. Citizen. According to KTVU, her disappearance was reported to the U.S. State Department website for citizens missing abroad. 
Monica De Leon, a U.S. citizen, is reportedly missing in Mexico. 
(Help Us Find Monica De Leon /FACEBOOK )”The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater responsibility than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital in response to a request for comment regarding De Leon’s disappearance. “The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.” 
Monica De Leon, a U.S. citizen, was reportedly kidnapped near Guadalajara, Mexico.
(Help Us Find Monica De Leon /FACEBOOK )The department did not elaborate further or provide specifics on De Leon’s case. Fox News Digital also reached out to Speier’s office on Tuesday but did not immediately hear back. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPWhen she was allegedly taken, De Leon was reportedly wearing a black t-shirt and black pants. She reportedly stands about 5-feet-5-inches tall and has short black hair with blonde highlights. Her dog was reportedly left abandoned in the street, according to the Facebook group. 

Philadelphia man dies after being shot 12 times: police

Philadelphia man dies after being shot 12 times: police

A 31-year-old man has died in Philadelphia after being struck a dozen times during a double shooting, police say. The Philadelphia Police Department told Fox News Digital in a statement that the victims were discovered around 9:23 p.m. Monday after responding to a call about a “person with a gun” in the northern part of the city. One of the victims, identified as Quintin Jones, was struck “12 times,” a police spokesman said. Jones was rushed to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries around 13 minutes after police arrived on-scene. PHILADELPHIA GAS STATION OWNER HIRES SECURITY ARMED WITH AR-15s TO PROTECT STORE: ‘TIRED OF THIS NONSENSE’ 
Police respond to the scene of the shooting on Monday, Dec. 5 on North 20th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(WTXF/Fox29)A second male in his mid-20s was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. As of Tuesday, no arrest has been made and no weapon has been recovered.  
The Philadelphia Police Department says the motive for the double shooting is unknown.
(iStock)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP The motive for the attack is unclear. The Philadelphia Police Department’s homicide unit is investigating.  

COVID’s lingering impact prompts Real ID deadline extension

COVID’s lingering impact prompts Real ID deadline extension

The deadline for obtaining the Real ID needed to board a domestic flight has been pushed back again, with the Department of Homeland Security citing the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for the slower-than-expected rolloutThe deadline for obtaining the Real ID needed to board a domestic flight has been pushed back again, with the Department of Homeland Security citing the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for the slower-than-expected rollout.The deadline to have a Real ID had been May 3, 2023, but DHS announced Monday that it was pushed back two years, to May 7, 2025.“This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a news release. “DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.”People are getting compliant IDs as they renew driver’s licenses, but DHS said the pandemic resulted in backlogs at state driver’s license offices. Because of the backlogs, many state agencies that issue driver’s licenses automatically extended expiration dates on licenses and ID cards, rather than issuing licenses and cards compliant with the Real ID requirement.After the May 2025 deadline, domestic travelers 18 and older on commercial flights must have a Real ID-compliant driver’s license or state photo ID identification card. Real ID also will be required to enter some federal facilities such as military bases.The Real ID law was passed by Congress in 2005 on a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission. The new form of ID incorporates anti-counterfeiting technology and uses documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who they claim to be.Enforcement has been delayed several times since the original 2008 deadline. Most recently, in April 2021, DHS extended the deadline to May 2023, also citing how COVID-19 made it harder for states to issue new licenses.A DHS spokeswoman said Tuesday that about 52% of state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards were considered Real ID-compliant. That’s up from 43% in April 2021.All 50 states, the District of Columbia and four of the five U.S. territories covered by the Real ID Act are issuing Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards. DHS said American Samoa is under review for Real ID enforcement.

Florida lawmakers set to meet on ailing insurance market

Florida lawmakers set to meet on ailing insurance market

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Legislature will meet next week for a special session on property insurance and property tax relief in the wake of damage caused by Hurricane Ian, officials announced Tuesday. The leaders of the Florida House and Senate issued the proclamation convening the Legislature from Dec. 12 to 16. Lawmakers will be tasked with reforming elements of the state’s troubled property insurance market, providing tax or other financial relief related to damage from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, and creating a toll credit program for frequent Florida commuters. The session comes as Florida’s property insurance market has dealt with billions of dollars in losses, rising prices for consumers and insurer insolvencies, even before the powerful Hurricane Ian slammed into the state in September and caused widespread damage. Next week’s special session will be the second time the Florida Legislature met this year to address issues in the property insurance market. Lawmakers in May passed legislation creating a $2 billion reinsurance program, offering grants to homeowners who retrofit properties to be less vulnerable to hurricane damage and limiting various attorney fees in some insurance-related lawsuits. The legislative package was seen by many in the statehouse as a meaningful first step in repairing the market, though some said it did not do enough to immediately lower rates for homeowners. The insurance industry blames overzealous litigation for problems in the market. Florida law allows attorneys to collect high fees in property insurance cases. State insurance regulators say the state accounts for almost 80% percent of the nation’s homeowners’ insurance lawsuits but just 9% of all homeowners insurance claims. Attorneys’ groups have argued insurers are also to blame for refusing to pay out claims, saying homeowners file suit as a last resort. The turmoil has caused the industry to see two straight years of net underwriting losses exceeding $1 billion each year. A string of property insurers have become insolvent, while others are leaving the state entirely. Homeowners unable to get coverage or priced out of plans have flocked to the state’s public insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance, which this summer topped 1 million policies for the first time in almost a decade. Citizens Property Insurance was created by the state in 2002 for Floridians unable to find coverage from private insurers.Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in October signed an executive order extending the deadline for property taxes for homes and businesses destroyed or left uninhabitable after Ian and said lawmakers would meet this year to address additional issues related to the storm. The governor’s office in a statement Tuesday said DeSantis “expects the legislature to rein in the costs of excessive litigation and ensure the property insurance market in Florida is both attractive to insurers and more competitive for consumers.”

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