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Suspect in Arizona's 'Serial Street Shooter' Case Is Arrested






A 23-year-old Phoenix man has been arrested in connection with a wave of shootings that terrorized the Arizona city in 2016 and left at least nine people dead, authorities said Monday.


Aaron Juan Saucedo, who was already in police custody on a murder charge, was rebooked Monday into the Maricopa County Jail on 26 additional felonies, including multiple counts of homicide, aggravated assault and drive-by shooting, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said during a press conference.


“This case plagued our community for more than a year ... and left behind a trail of victims that included mothers, sons, brothers, sisters and families still mourning the loss of their loved ones,” Williams said. 


Before mentioning Saucedo’s name, Williams described each of the attacks and read the names of the nine people he is accused of killing.


“Our hearts go out to the surviving families,” she said. “Today we are closer to providing them the justice they deserve.” 






Saucedo was arrested last month in an investigation of the 2015 murder of 61-year-old Raul Romero, according to 3TV/CBS 5. He pleaded not guilty Friday to that first-degree murder charge.


Investigators initially believed that a shooter or shooters were responsible for seven killings in the Phoenix area. But authorities said Monday they have linked Saucedo, who had recently been identified as a “person of interest” in the serial shootings, to 12 incidents and nine deaths, the first being the murder of Romero in August 2015.


The case against Saucedo remains open, officials said. No motive has been identified, police said. 


Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton called Monday “a good day in the city of Phoenix.”


“It is our residents and our law enforcement working together that has help put a community at ease and help provide closure to the victims of these terrible crimes,” Stanton said. 


In addition to Romero, Saucedo is suspected of killing Jesse Olivas, 22;  Diego Verdugo Sanchez, 21; Krystal Annette White, 55; Horacio De Jesus Peña, 32; Manuel Castro Garcia, 19; Maleah Ellis, 12; Stefanie Ellis, 33; and Angela Linner, 31. Saucedo is also suspected of wounding a 16-year-old boy and a 21-year-old man, authorities said.


Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said the case has been handed over to his office for prosecution. His office will review the evidence and file charges that “will meet a reasonable likelihood of conviction,” he said. 


“That’s the goal there — to make sure that we have a case that we can prosecute successfully that will hold responsible individuals accountable for the harm they cause to our community,” Montgomery said. “And make no mistake, for the pain that both surviving victims and surviving family members of victims have suffered, this may bring them justice but will not bring them perfect justice.”




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may 9 17, 01:29
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Arkansas Executes First Inmate In 12 Years






Arkansas carried out its first execution in 12 years on Thursday night following a flurry of court filings. 


Ledell Lee, 51, was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. CDT, just minutes before his death warrant expired. Lee had no last words, according to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. 


Lee is one of eight men the state originally wanted to execute over 11 days before the supply of one of the drugs in its three-part lethal injection protocol expires at month’s end. Four of the inmates have received individual stays of execution. 


Throughout his more than two decades on death row, Lee maintained his innocence. He was convicted of the 1993 beating death of 26-year-old Debra Reese in her Jacksonville home.


Lee’s execution came after a flurry of last-minute appeals for more time to test DNA evidence that his lawyers hoped could exonerate him. The Innocence Project and the American Civil Liberties Union represented Lee in his final court battles. 


“Ledell Lee proclaimed his innocence from the day of his arrest until the night of his execution twenty-four years later,” the Innocence Project said in a statement following Lee’s execution. “During that time, hundreds of innocent people have been freed from our nation’s prisons and death rows by DNA evidence. It is hard to understand how the same government that uses DNA to prosecute crimes every day could execute Mr. Lee without allowing him a simple DNA test.”


It added: “While reasonable people can disagree on whether death is an appropriate form of punishment, no one should be executed when there is a possibility that person is innocent.”


Lee’s attorneys had raced to court Thursday with a string of filings that raised various issues about Lee’s trials and his representation over the years. Among them, attorneys noted that Lee’s lawyers in his first trial provided inadequate counsel and that the presiding judge didn’t disclose an affair with the assistant prosecutor, whom the judge later married. Lee’s post-conviction counsel showed up in court appearing drunk and slurring his words.



Arkansas set out to execute eight people over the course of 11 days. Why these eight? Why now?"
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer


Lee’s current attorneys further argued that Lee had an intellectual disability, which made him ineligible for the death penalty under the Constitution.


Other legal petitions surrounded Arkansas’s use of midazolam, the controversial sedative that has been blamed for botched executions in states including Arizona and Oklahoma, and others questioned the state’s hasty execution schedule, which shortened the defendants’ time for measures such as clemency reviews.


The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals voted against granting Lee clemency Thursday.  


Notably, the U.S. Supreme Court’s newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, voted with the 5-4 majority that refused to reverse the 8th Circuit’s decision to allow the execution to take place. 


Justice Stephen Breyer, who was in favor of granting Lee a stay, lamented that Arkansas’s driving factor ― the expiration date of the drugs ― seemed arbitrary.


“Arkansas set out to execute eight people over the course of 11 days. Why these eight? Why now?” Breyer wrote. “The apparent reason has nothing to do with the heinousness of their crimes or with the presence (or absence) of mitigating behavior. It has nothing to do with their mental state. It has nothing to do with the need for speedy punishment.”







Lee’s execution was first effectively put on hold Wednesday due to a temporary restraining order put in place by a Pulaski County Circuit judge. The judge blocked the state from using its supply of pancuronium bromide, the second drug in the state’s three-drug cocktail. The drug supplier objected to the drug’s use in executions and said the state misleadingly obtained its product and refused to return it despite being refunded by the supplier.  


On Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court lifted the judge’s restraining order.


Just before 7 p.m., when Lee’s execution was scheduled to take place, the 8th Circuit issued a temporary stay ― followed later by a temporary stay from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ― to take additional time to consider his case.


Alito’s stay was set to expire at 9:30 p.m. or by a subsequent order, whichever was later. By 9:30 p.m., the 8th Circuit had denied all of Lee’s requests, but Alito’s stay remained in place pending the final order. The Arkansas Department of Corrections said the lethal injections were started at 11:44 p.m., and Lee was pronounced dead at 11:56 p.m. with no reported complications in the execution process. 


An ADC spokesman told The Associated Press that Lee requested Holy Communion as his last meal. 


Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) had aggressively sought Lee’s execution and called his death a “lawful sentence ... carried out.”


“The family of the late Debra Reese, who was brutally murdered with a tire thumper after being targeted because she was home alone, has waited more than 24 years to see justice done. I pray this lawful execution helps bring closure for the Reese family,” Rutledge said in a statement. 


Amnesty International USA, which opposes capital punishment, called Thursday’s execution a “shameful day for Arkansas.”

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apr 21 17, 07:33
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Bill O’Reilly On Chopping Block Amid Claim He Called Black Woman ‘Hot Chocolate’






What once seemed unimaginable now seems at least possible.


New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported Tuesday that the Murdoch family is “leaning” toward pulling Bill O’Reilly off of Fox News’ airwaves in the middle of growing pressure from advertisers and activist groups.


  and CNN’s Brian Stelter reported later Tuesday that an O’Reilly exit was being discussed. The board of 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, was to meet Thursday and was likely to discuss O’Reilly, according to CNN. 


The reports came as a new claim against O’Reilly was raised by attorney Lisa Bloom, who said the TV host used to call a black woman who worked as a clerical worker at Fox News “hot chocolate” during her time at the network in 2008. O’Reilly would reportedly make her feel uncomfortable in other ways as well. 



“He would never talk to her, not even hello, except to grunt at her like a wild boar,” Bloom told The Hollywood Reporter. “He would leer at her. He would always do this when no one else was around and she was scared.”


Bloom, who said she verified the woman’s story with three witnesses, claims the woman feared she would lose her job if she complained at the time. She added that the woman wants no money, but has registered a complaint with the Fox News hotline in light of recent news about the host ― a service that apparently many female employees at the network only recently came to learn about. 






Later on Tuesday in

, O’Reilly lawyer Marc Kasowitz argued that the claims were part of an “orchestrated campaign by activists” to bring O’Reilly down.


“It is outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened almost a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially where there is obviously an orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O’Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity driven donations,” Kasowitz said. 


In a second statement to Beyers, Kasowitz said his client “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America,” and “irrefutable” evidence of a smear campaign would be unveiled soon. 






O’Reilly, who remains cable news’ most dominant figure, went on vacation last week as advertisers dropped him by the dozens following a New York Times investigation that revealed the Fox News Network and the host had paid at least $13 million to settle five claims of sexual harassment.


More claims have continued to surface about the host’s actions ― some of them from the most unlikely of sources.






At least 70 advertisers have decided to no longer advertise on “The O’Reilly Factor,” which remains Fox News’ biggest show by far. But “O’Reilly Factor” viewers remain committed to their host. A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 65 percent of people who watch the show still hold a favorable view of him, and only 9 percent of his Republican viewers think the show should be canceled.


The show’s ratings also dropped 26 percent in the first three days he was gone, further proof of O’Reilly’s influence, both nationally and internally at Fox News. 


Sherman reports that James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch have been arguing to their father, Rupert, that the network must rid itself of O’Reilly, but Rupert remains unsure, not wanting to appear to be bowing to outside pressure from outlets like The New York Times. 


But on Tuesday, even Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report couldn’t help but think that O’Reilly’s days might be numbered. 






This article has been updated to include reports that Fox executives are discussing O’Reilly’s exit, and a 21st Century Fox board meeting on Thursday will consider his fate.


Chris D’Angelo contributed reporting.

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apr 19 17, 00:18
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Freaky February Heat Waves Trigger More Chills Over Climate Change






A bonkers February with stretches of extremely high temperatures mixed periodically with plunging mercury is the latest chilling warning about global warming.


Single-day record highs as well as multiple-day heat waves broke more than 248 month-to-date records for February in spots across the nation, according to the National Center for Environmental Information. 


Temperatures in Oklahoma, the home state of new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, a climate change skeptic, nearly reached triple digits earlier this month. The town of Magnum hit an all-time record Feb. 11 of 99 degrees, more than 40 degrees above the average February high.






The rest of the Southern Plains also broke records, and the Texas towns of Midland, Lubbock and Wichita Falls all racked up temperatures in the 90s the same week. A cold snap followed the heat wave in the region, with temperatures dropping as much as 50 degrees. 


Milwaukee’s 71 degrees this Wednesday was the highest temperature ever recorded in the state in the winter. (The typical high temperature for the day is 34.5 degrees). It was also the fourth time in February the city hit temperatures over 60 degrees, another all-time record for the state, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. 


Boston hit 68 degrees Thursday, busting its previous highest temperature of 65 degrees in 1990. All-time record highs for the month of February were broken Thursday in Burlington (63 degrees) and Montpelier, Vermont (63 degrees).


Denver broke its third record of the month last Thursday, topping out at 75 degrees, a full 5 degrees hotter than the date’s previous record, according to the National Weather Service. Snow was back a week later Friday.






Unseasonably warm days before cold snaps can have a devastating impact on the environment. Trees and flowers can blossom early in the warn weather, and the buds can then freeze and wither in following cold weather.


The freaky February is expected to continue with more of the same with dozens of new broken records. 


type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related Coverage + articlesList=58ad95aee4b0d818c4f0a3fa,58ac7e76e4b0c4d51057164f,58ade82ee4b005ea8e0649d3,58a71504e4b07602ad53f023

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feb 24 17, 10:29
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A Truck Driver Has Lost His Marbles — All 38,000 Pounds Of Them

Clean up on I-465. 


A truck carrying 38,000 pounds of marbles lost its trailer in Indianapolis on Saturday morning, causing the contents to spill onto the highway and shoulder near Pendleton Pike.


No injuries were reported, and the lost marbles brought a pop of color to an otherwise bleak winter’s day.


Indiana State Police public information officer Sgt. John Perrine tweeted a photo of the accident:






One lane of the highway remained closed for hours as crews cleaned up the mess. 






Drive safe out there.

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jan 23 17, 14:06
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Parents Apparently Overdose At Home, Baby Daughter Starves To Death Days Later

After two young parents died of apparent drug overdoses in their Pennsylvania home, their baby died of starvation in her bassinet some four days later, according to authorities.


Summer Chambers, five months old, and her parents Jason Chambers, 27, and Chelsea Cardaro, 19, were all found dead on Thursday in the family’s home in the Kernville section of Johnstown, a town about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh, the Tribune-Democrat reported.



#BREAKING Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees says a man and woman were found dead with their 5-month-old baby in Kernville (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Mo5PkkmwKz

— Daniel Hamburg (@DHamburgReports)



Investigators who found drugs on the scene believe the parents died of heroin overdoses within minutes of each other, though autopsy results are still pending, Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan said Friday.


A friend of the couple found their bodies about a week after their deaths. Summer, discovered in a second-floor bedroom, had also died by then. Autopsy results confirmed the baby had died of starvation and dehydration.


“It was hard going in there and being the one to see them like that,” the friend, James Grant, told local station WAJC-TV. “They cared for their daughter. For two flawed people, they did their best to hold it together.”



Chambers had overdosed before in November, but medical personnel revived him, according to Callihan. Authorities allowed the baby to stay in the home. 


A representative from Children and Youth Services met with the parents “with the child present at the residence,” said Callihan. “They checked out the house, and it was appropriate to a child living there. There was plenty of food and the child seemed well taken care of,” she added.


Since both parents died at approximately the same time, no one was left to alert authorities or care for the baby, according to Johnstown Police Captain Chad Miller. “Being from out of town, not having anybody in town, it was too long for anybody to notice that they were missing,” he said. 


Callihan said the tragedy “illustrates the ongoing issues that we’re having with overdoses” in the area. 


“If you are addicted, if you’re using heroin and you have children, you’re endangering their lives,” Callihan said. “You need to get help for your children.”


Heroin deaths in the U.S. are skyrocketing. Last year, for the first time in more than 15 years, heroin caused more deaths than gun homicides, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 


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dec 26 16, 19:24
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3 Women Shot Dead Outside Finnish Restaurant In 'Random' Attack, Police Say

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Three women including a local politician and two journalists were shot dead with a rifle in front of a restaurant in the small Finnish town of Imatra around midnight, police said on Sunday.



A 23-year-old local man with a criminal record was detained at the scene, the Southeastern Finland Police Department said. It said the motive for the killings remained unclear.




#BREAKING: Local mayor and two journalists have been shot dead last night by a sniper in #Imatra #Finland, suspect was arrested pic.twitter.com/bWRCa4ABUq

— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1)




“At the moment, it looks like the victims were chosen at random,” Detective Inspector Saku Tielinen told a news conference.


Victim Tiina Wilen-Jappinen was chairwoman of Imatra City Council while the other two women were journalists, the police said.




Police still believes victims of the Imatra shooting were randomly chosen. https://t.co/MvNYI8dlcz

— Veli-Pekka Kivimäki (@vpkivimaki)




(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; editing by Jason Neely)


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dec 4 16, 16:16
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Protests Flare Against Donald Trump's Election




NEW YORK — Thousands of protesters dissatisfied by Donald Trump’s stunning victory took to city streets on Wednesday, from New York to Seattle.


In Manhattan, thousands converged on Union Square in a light rain and prepared to march uptown to the president-elect’s home at Trump Tower. Protesters hoisted signs like “Bad Hombre” and “Not My President,” and anti-Trump chants echoed through the crowd. Police made several arrests.



Any number of colorful chants at Union Square tonight pic.twitter.com/WfeMCWaulE

— Andy Campbell (@AndyBCampbell)



Jackie Smith, 53, of Staten Island, said she was blindsided by the election outcome. 


“There’s a lot of blame to go around,  but I blame myself,” said Smith. “Instead of laughing at Trump, I should have been out protesting.”


Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who attended the rally, told The Huffington Post that protesters must not falter in their opposition to Trump. 


“We had all those big protests before the Iraq War and once the war started, everyone stopped protesting,” Moore said. “This time, we keep it up and we don’t stop till he’s out of there.”



Michael Moore happened upon the protest tonight, calling for resistance and agitation. pic.twitter.com/LFiGaO1wfy

— Andy Campbell (@AndyBCampbell)



Trump’s derogatory comments and allegations that he has sexually assaulted women loomed large for Emily Rems, managing editor of Bust magazine. She carried a sign that read “Don’t Grab My Pussy,” referencing vulgar comments Trump made in a 2005 video published by The Washington Post in October. 


“We’re pissed as hell that Donald Trump won this election,” Rems said. “Women should have equal rights in this society, and we don’t want Roe v Wade overturned.” 


Trump said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in March that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions. 



And now the arrests begin. pic.twitter.com/y2y4CKPC6M

— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc)



The prospect of Trump following through on promised anti-immigration policies worried Carmen Candelario, 23, who said she moved to the U.S. legally from the Dominican Republic. 


“I already knew I was fighting against a lot of hate just because of my background and skin color,” Candelario said. “The dream to move forward as a community is now gone.”



Daisy Skelton, 22, of Manhattan, tried to grapple with Trump’s victory. 


“This election is unacceptable,” said Skelton. “I’ve been crying, and my friend said to me, ‘Optimism is the only way.’”


Socialist Alternative, NYC, the group that organized the anti-Trump march, heaped criticism on the Democratic Party.


“The Democratic Party has proven they are incapable of stopping Trump,” Socialist Alternative, NYC, said in a Facebook message announcing the protest. “The Democratic Party has failed. This is the result of the Democratic Party leadership backing Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders. It is time to build a new party of the 99%.” 



Thousands of protestors now at Trump Tower pic.twitter.com/Ck9NmO9qMH

— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc)



Protests and prayer vigils were held at other locations around New York City. 



At the Columbus Circle protest. pic.twitter.com/246jMvrb59

— Tiara Chiaramonte (@tiarachiara42)



In Austin, Texas, students from the University of Texas demonstrated on campus, then marched downtown. About 400 people blocked traffic on city bridges, but remained peaceful, according to the Austin American-Statesman.



RT BuzzFeedNews: Watch live: Anti-Trump protesters are marching in Austin https://t.co/lAwN4AEQC9 pic.twitter.com/YMsGKNrVMw #Bluehand #NewB

— Antifa GB (@Antifa_GB1)



Similar protests erupted in Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., shortly after Hillary Clinton conceded defeat early Wednesday. 


In California, Berkeley and Oakland authorities reported some disruption as well. About 250 people took to the streets and caused “vandalism on multiple businesses,” according to Oakland police. Small fires were set in city streets as marchers reached downtown Oakland. 



It's a dumpster fire on Broadway from 20th to 14th in #Oakland. Anti-Trump protest pic.twitter.com/ngwSUQs1hp

— David DeBolt (@daviddebolt)



In Seattle, dozens of students at West Seattle High walked out of class, and hundreds of residents took to the streets in protest of the election results, the Seattle Times reported. 


Kshama Sawant, a socialist Seattle City council member, called on protesters to “

” Trump’s inauguration ceremony, KIRO 7 reported. 



#BREAKING: Hundreds of anti-Trump protesters are marching through downtown #Seattle. https://t.co/JdHc4hIiaP pic.twitter.com/nzAkSXNfTU

— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle)



And in Chicago, protesters gathered outside Trump Tower before taking to the streets, according to the Chicago Tribune.



.@realDonaldTrump #protest in #Chicago outside #TrumpTower. Thousands of #protesters. @cbschicago

pic.twitter.com/YqnaugFLWK

— Mai Martinez (@MaiReports)



The next four years are going to be hard for all of us, but this is an unprecedented chance for all of us to fight as one,” Jonathan Lovitz, a senior vice president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, told NBC News. “Think of the possibilities when all minorities stand together.”


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nov 10 16, 03:08
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NYPD Officers Attacked By Man With Meat Cleaver In Midtown




Two New York police officers were injured and hospitalized following an encounter with a man armed with a meat cleaver Thursday afternoon, according to Reuters and multiple other sources.


The incident occurred at 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue, near Madison Square Garden, just before 5:00 p.m.


”Apparently the suspect assaulted one of the officers with some sort of sharp object, likely a meat cleaver, and shots were fired,” NYPD spokeswoman Sophia Mason told Reuters.



#breaking: #exclusive video of shots fired in downtown manhattan; witness to GR: man attacked police with machete pic.twitter.com/fOc0PSMeQp

— Greek Reporter (@GreekReporter)



A source told ABC that officers instructed the man to drop the meat cleaver and fired when he refused. An unnamed source told the outlet that officers first attempted to use a taser on the suspect. 


NYPD Assistant Communications Commissioner J. Peter Donald confirmed that the officers fired “

” and 
by the knife. Both officers were taken to a local hospital and are expected to survive, Reuters reports. 


CBS reports the man with the cleaver has also been hospitalized and is in critical condition. 


“He was running down the street waving it,” an unnamed MTA worker told the New York Daily News. “The cops were chasing him.” The worker said the assailant struck the officer with the knife when he tried to disarm him.


Adam Pavley, who was nearby when the incident happened, described the chaotic scene to Gothamist. After the officers returned fire, he said, “panic ensued. Amtrak cops were swarming out of Penn like bees from their nest. People were running and knocking people over.”


A Fox News reporter tweeted video of the incident that captured police running and the sound of gunshots. 



Fox Exclusive video obtained of man with butcher knife being shot by nypd in front of Manhattan mall. @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/Tdh2RRZ12I

— Bryan Llenas (@BryanLlenas)



Other witnesses also posted photo and video on Twitter.



8-9 Shots fired and 3 people taken away in ambulances; 1 is allegedly a police officer West 32nd Street NYC pic.twitter.com/dOBw1WMwBw

— Christopher N. Okada (@ChrisOkada)




There are, by my count, six helicopters over midtown amid reports of police activity at Penn Station. pic.twitter.com/dViBqshoki

— Brian Ries (@moneyries)




NYPD officers attacked, injured by man with meat cleaver in downtown Manhattan https://t.co/o4LxPor9Fz pic.twitter.com/NmbMHIpFBC

— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12)



This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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sep 16 16, 00:43
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Southern California Bluecut Fire Forces Mass Evacuations




LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Authorities in southern California ordered the evacuation of 82,000 people on Tuesday, after a wildfire broke out in a mountain pass to rapidly engulf 15,000 acres (6,070 hectares) of terrain.


Officials said about 700 firefighters were battling to control the blaze in an area called the Cajon Pass, the latest in a series of wildfires that have blackened nearly 300,000 acres (121,400 hectares) of the drought-parched U.S. West.


“It is a very fast-moving fire, it has wind behind it,” said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lyn Sieliet.


Two firefighters were trapped by flames in the effort to evacuate residents and defend homes, but managed to escape with only minor injuries, fire officials said.



#BlueCutFire in Cajon Pass (San Bernardino Co) is 9000 acres, 0% contained, 82,000 residents under mandatory evac. pic.twitter.com/n44GyY2leC

— CAL FIRE PIO Berlant (@CALFIRE_PIO)




*UPDATE* #BlueCutFire is now 15000 acres with 0% containment. I-15 and Hwy 138 remain closed.

— CAL FIRE BDU (@CALFIREBDU)



 


The so-called Bluecut Fire erupted in heavy brush just west of Interstate 15, the main freeway between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area, forcing the closure of one stretch of the highway.


The inferno prompted orders for residents of the community of Wrightwood, about 75 miles (120 km) east of Los Angeles, to leave their homes, said Lynne Tolmachoff, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).


In all, about 82,000 people were ordered to flee, as flames destroyed an unknown number of houses, the Cal Fire spokeswoman said by telephone.


The fire remained unchecked, having exploded within hours to cover an area of 15,000 acres (6,070 hectares), Cal Fire said, up from an estimate of 9,000 acres (3,640 hectares) on Tuesday evening.


The Bluecut Fire, whose cause officials said they were still investigating, came as crews more than 600 miles (970 km) to the northwest began to make headway against a Northern California wildfire that has destroyed more than 175 homes and businesses.



The so-called Clayton Fire was 35 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. It has charred 4,000 acres (1,620 hectares) in and around the community of Lower Lake, forcing hundreds of people to flee.


Damin Pashilk, a 40-year-old arrested on suspicion of setting that blaze, and several others in the area over the past year, is set to appear in court on Wednesday.


 



#Firenado spotted during our sister station

's coverage of the #BlueCutFire in SoCal: https://t.co/IvCsqW28r6https://t.co/ox5xBHbx6g

— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea)




#BREAKING: Fire official says more than 82,000 people told to evacuate as Southern California wildfire spreads - @AP pic.twitter.com/2HLYr3VeoM

— Yasmeen Hassan (@YasmeenTV)



Fierce winds fanned the fire, which threatened about 1,500 structures at its peak, after it sparked on Saturday evening. As of Tuesday evening, only 380 buildings were in danger, according to Cal Fire. There were no reports of casualties.


California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County for the Bluecut Fire, which allows state agencies to come to the assistance of local officials. On Monday, Brown issued emergency declarations for the Clayton fire and another in Central California, the so-called Chimney fire.



Sultana High School is now an overnight shelter for evacuees of #BlueCutFire. Watch live: https://t.co/HnKxuj3ICy pic.twitter.com/C85FGmmFfX

— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA)



The Chimney Fire was 20 percent contained by Tuesday evening, after scorching 6,900 acres (2,792 hectares) since Saturday. It has destroyed about 40 structures.

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