Archives
  • Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new report states that right-wing extremists were responsible for the majority of extremist murders in the U.S. in 2017.Jewish group the Anti-Defamation League compiled the report, noting how the murders committed by white supremacists included some linked to the "alt-right" -- shorthand for the "alternative right" -- which it states “expanded its operations in 2017 from the internet into the physical world.”The report includes white supremacists and individuals who identify with the alt-right movement as part of its "right-wing" classification.“Energized by the 2016 election and the media attention given to the movement, alt-right adherents … increasingly involved themselves in the real world as well as the virtual realm,” the report states.Of the 34 murders in 2017 that the ADL examined in the report, 20 were committed by people who have ties to far-right extremism, including white supremacists.There were a number of other high-profile fatal incidents, but the parameters of the report mean that some of the most deadly incidents from 2017 were not included.For instance, the Las Vegas country music festival shooting and the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, were not included in the report because there was not confirmed evidence of a connection to any specific extremist group or ideology in either of those incidents. The report notes that extremist-related killings only make up “a small fraction” of the number of homicides in the U.S. in a given year.John Cohen, a former counterterrorism coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security and current ABC News consultant, said that the report is valuable but needs to be put in context."In one respect, the ADL report confirms what law enforcement leaders have known for months -- that when it comes to ideologically motivated violence, the primary threat comes not from immigrants but from individuals who reside legally or were born here in the United States," Cohen said. "On another respect, the report understates the threat facing the U.S. in that it doesn't include non-ideologically motivated mass casualty attacks such as those that occurred in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs."Among the high-profile homicides that were included are two vehicular-based attacks: the attack by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the “Unite the Right” protest that left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead, and the truck-ramming incident on a bike path in New York City that left eight people dead. Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek national who police said was inspired by ISIS, has been charged in the New York case. The bike path attack was the single deadliest extremist incident in 2017, the report states. The report also notes that 2017 was the second year in a row with deadly attacks by black nationalists.In spite of the deadliest death toll stemming from an incident involving an Islamic extremist, it still marks a significantly smaller portion of the extremist death count from the previous year, since 2016 included the Pulse nightclub attack, which killed 49 people and was carried out by a self-professed ISIS supporter.By contrast, the 20 far-right extremist homicides mark a dramatic uptick from the year prior, with 59 percent of this year’s total being attributed to that category as opposed to only 20 percent in 2016. This doesn’t surprise experts at the ADL, however.“Increased real-world activity by the alt-right could result in more alliances or crossover between the alt-right supporters and other elements of the white supremacist movement,” said Oren Segal, the director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism. “Violence is very widely accepted, ideologically and culturally, within the white supremacist movement and therefore any increase in real-world activity by the alt-right could also result in more real-world violence by its adheren
    Read more...
  • ABC/Randy Sager(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Chris Christie has only been the ex-governor of New Jersey for two days but he has already felt the loss of at least one perk of the job.Christie was rebuffed while attempting to pass through a gate access point at Newark Liberty International Airport he used as governor, according to a person with knowledge of the incident.It would have allowed Christie to enter the secure side of the airport without going through screening.A state trooper was escorting Christie at the time. While the New Jersey State Police declined to comment about this specific incident, the agency did say an outgoing governor is afforded a security escort for up to six months following completion of his term.Port Authority Police and a TSA officer eventually redirected Christie to the regular checkpoint, and the former governor went through the usual security screening.At all times Christie was cordial, the person familiar with the incident said, and did not object to going through regular screening just like the other passengers.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • aijohn784/iStock/Thinkstock(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- A member of the U.S. Marshals Service was shot and killed Thursday morning while serving an arrest warrant at a home in Pennsylvania's capital, officials said.Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher David Hill was part of a task force executing a warrant on a fugitive in a residential neighborhood of Harrisburg.The warrant was for the arrest of Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce, who was wanted by Harrisburg police for "terroristic threat offenses," according to a press release from the U.S. Marshals Service.After locating Pierce inside a residence while serving the warrant, the task force was fired upon by a "male subject" in the home with Pierce, according to the press release. Hill, an 11-year-veteran of the U.S. Marshals Service, and two local task force officers were shot.The officers returned fire, killing the unidentified suspect. Pierce was taken into custody.Hill, 45, was transported to a local hospital, where he died. He is survived by his wife and two children, according to the press release."We are all extremely saddened by the tragic death of our brother, Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill, this morning in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania," David J. Anderson, acting deputy director of the U.S. Marshals Service, said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "He was a devoted public servant who dedicated his life to making his community and this nation safer. We will never forget his commitment and courage. The nation lost a hero today."Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said earlier that a Harrisburg police officer was among those shot and wounded. That officer "bravely returned fire" and struck the suspect, Papenfuse said."Harrisburg mourns the loss this morning of a U.S. Marshal who died protecting our residents," the mayor said in a statement. "An investigation is underway, and Harrisburg police are cooperating with federal and county law enforcement officials."Neighbors told ABC affiliate WHTM they heard dozens of shots fired.Harrisburg Police Chief Thomas Carter would not release the names of the injured officers and said he was trying to notify their families.
    Read more...
  • Ruskpp/iStock/Thinkstock(LUMBERTON, N.C.) -- It's been seven months since the bodies of three women were found just weeks apart within a four-block radius in North Carolina, and investigators still don't have answers about what happened to them.The FBI on Wednesday announced a reward of up to $30,000 for information that helps investigators determine the circumstances that led to the deaths of Christina Bennett, Rhonda Jones and Megan Oxendine in Lumberton, a city located some 95 miles south of the state's capital.Bennett was found dead inside a house on Peachtree Street on April 18, 2017. Jones' body was found outside a house on East 5th Street on the same day.Oxendine was found dead outside a house on East 8th Street on June 3, 2017. That month, the Lumberton Police Department requested assistance from the FBI in the three separate death investigations.A cause of death has not yet been determined for any of the women, according to the FBI.Authorities on Wednesday urged anyone who came into contact with the women to come forward to help investigators create a timeline of when and where they were last seen alive.“Every part of our work as law enforcement benefits from help we receive from the public. We need the community’s assistance, the people’s eyes and ears, information from friends and neighbors," John Strong, special agent in charge of the FBI in North Carolina, said in a statement. "So we ask you to pick up the phone and call us. Tell us what you know, what you heard, and what you saw."Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill previously said it was unclear whether there is a connection between the three deaths, which have haunted the community.“As police chief and as a member of this community, I want to know what happened to Christina, Rhonda and Megan. I also understand there is a lot of uncertainty, concern and even fear right now," McNeill said in a statement Wednesday. "Let me reassure you that we are committed to finding out the answers. We hope the people of Lumberton will help us."Anyone with information regarding when and where the women were last seen is asked to call the FBI's Charlotte field office at 704-672-6100.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • Alex_Schmidt/iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- A homicide suspect in Arizona is accused of committing nine murders in just three weeks, Phoenix police said Thursday.Cleophus Cooksey Jr. has been in custody since the last of the nine alleged killings on Dec. 17 when police say he shot and killed his mother and stepfather.But after he was arrested, police kept "digging," Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said, and discovered seven other fatal shootings in the area they say are connected to Cooksey.The nine homicides spanned from Nov. 27 to Dec. 17 in Phoenix and nearby Avondale and Glendale, police said.Here is the timeline of crimes, according to police:Nov. 27: Two men -- Andrew Remillard and Parker Smith -- were found dead in a car in a parking lot. A motive has not been determined.Dec. 2: A man identified as Salim Richards was walking when he was shot dead. Witnesses have told police that Cooksey and Richards knew each other, but that has not been confirmed by investigators. Property was stolen from Richards including a handgun, police say.Dec. 11: A man named Jesus Real was shot dead in an Avondale apartment complex. Authorities have determined Real's sister had a relationship with Cooksey.Dec. 13: A man named Latorrie Beckford was shot dead at an apartment complex. Police said Cooksey was in the complex earlier and possibly had contact with the victim. The motive is not clear.Dec. 15: A man identified as Kristopher Cameron was shot and injured; he was hospitalized and later died. Authorities said Cameron had met Cooksey for a drug deal.Dec. 15: Police said a woman named Maria Villanueva was confronted by Cooksey when she got out of her car and then left in his car with him. Authorities said she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and killed.Dec. 17: Cooksey's mother and stepfather, Rene Cooksey and Edward Nunn, were shot dead at a home. Cooksey was arrested that night and has been jailed since.Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John said the cases came together thanks to a patrol officer who answered the call and was "doing the right things: Taking a person into custody, recognizing there were abnormalities to his behavior. He was trying to conceal what was going on. The officer very appropriately took the right actions. ... And that all occurred before the agencies really started to collaborate."He said he is "proud as heck" that the suspect is "off the streets."Authorities said they expect people in the community to have information to help piece together the relationships and possible motives. Anyone with information is asked to call authorities.
    Read more...