TIME Crime

Two Former CNN Reporters Got Into a Motel Gunfight With a Suspected Intruder

Albuquerque Motel Shootings
Adolphe Pierre-Louis—Albuquerque Journal/AP An Albuquerque Police Department officer collects evidence after a man was killed and another injured during what police say was an altercation between the two at a Motel 6 in Albuquerque, N.M. on June 30, 2015

One person was killed and another hospitalized with gunshot wounds

Chuck de Caro and his wife Lynne Russell got more than they bargained for when they stopped at an Albuquerque Motel 6 on June 30 during a cross-country road trip.

A man allegedly forced his way into the room that the former CNN special assignments correspondent and former Headline News anchor were sharing after Russell went to retrieve something from her car around midnight, CNN reports.

The man held Russell at gunpoint, she said, and was going through the couple’s valuables when de Caro opened fire using one of the couple’s two guns, which his wife had retrieved from a side table and passed him surreptitiously in her purse. A firefight ensued, and both de Caro and the intruder were hit.

The suspected intruder died at the hospital; de Caro, who sustained three bullet wounds to the leg and torso, is expected to make a full recovery. The couple maintain that both of the guns they used in self-defense were legal, and Albuquerque police spokesman Fred Duran told CNN he did not expect any charges to be filed.



Rev. Clementa Pinckney to Be Laid to Rest in Charleston

President Obama Funeral Clementa Pinckney
Win McNamee—Getty Images Members of the clergy wait to enter the funeral service where U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy for South Carolina State senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was killed along with eight others in a mass shooting June 26, 2015 in Charleston, S.C.

Thousands line up to pay their respects

Thousands gathered in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday for the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the state senator who was shot dead with eight other worshippers in the Emanuel A.M.E. Church last week.

So many people lined up outside the TD Arena at the College of Charleston to pay their respects to Rev. Pinckney that the Red Cross is handing out bottles of water to attendees who might be at risk for heat exhaustion. Mourners started lining up at 4 a.m., the Charleston Post-Courier reports. President Obama gave an emotional address, in which he sang a passionate rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’

Pinckney, who was both a prolific minister and a state senator, was considered one of the most respected figures in South Carolina before his death just weeks before his 42nd birthday. Called to the pulpit at 13, he became an ordained minister at 18.

He believed that political action goes hand-in-hand with worship, so at 23 he became the youngest elected black member of the South Carolina House of legislature, where he championed legislation for police body cameras, background checks for buyers of assault weapons, and insurance coverage for smoking cessation programs. He even considered supporting a casino in his district, because even though as a pastor he disapproved of gambling, he knew his constituents needed jobs.

“I always told him, ‘You’re going to be a national political figure,’” legislative aide Helen Pittman told the New York Times. “I’d like to scrub those words out of my mouth, because now he is.”

Many of Pinckney’s friends and family members spoke at the funeral. U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) also spoke, encouraging mourners not to let the tragedy of Pinckney’s death cast a shadow across all he worked to achieve. “We’ve seen too many victories to let defeat have the last word,” he said.

Pinckney is survived by his wife and two young daughters, Eliana and Malana. Both girls wrote notes to their late father which were included in the funeral program. “Although he may be gone, he’s here with me all day and night long,” wrote Eliana. “I know you were shot at the Church and you went to Heaven. I love you so much!” wrote Malana, who signed her note, “your baby girl and grasshopper.”

TIME faith

Why Some Pastors Bring Their Guns to the Pulpit

Charleston Shooting
Stephen B. Morton—AP Police tape surrounds the parking lot behind the AME Emanuel Church as FBI forensic experts work the crime scene where nine were killed in Charleston, S.C., on June 19, 2015.

Advocates push for firearms in church following shooting in Charleston

When associate pastor Brian Ulch is preaching at Trinity Lighthouse Church in Denison, Texas, he’s armed with a Glock. It sits on his right side just under his suit jacket or dress shirt. And when he’s not preaching, he’s training other churchgoers around the state to protect themselves and others.

“We feel like we owe it to our congregation to engage any type of threat,” Ulch says. “If people aren’t willing to combat a threat, then they’re making themselves vulnerable.”

Since the shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine people Wednesday, gun control is once again in the spotlight. But this time, some gun control advocates have focused on a lack of security at many places of worship around the country.

Concealed weapons are often banned at church, and some—most recently GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee—are calling for more security and more armed pastors and churchgoers. At least one business owner in Tulsa, Okla., has offered free gun training to local pastors.

Many pastors argue that arming congregants goes against religious teachings of non-violence and that guns have no place in a place of worship. Many states, including South Carolina, specifically prohibit guns in church. “The presence of a cross in our sanctuary reminds us that God’s response to violence is never greater violence,” Pastor Baron Mullis of Atlanta’s Morningside Presbyterian Church told WGCL-TV. “This is a place of peace. … This is not a place for guns.”

But increasingly, churchgoers are able to pack heat in the pews if they wish. A number of states have recently passed laws allowing concealed weapons in churches, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Illinois and North Dakota. Bryan Crosswhite, president of 2AO, an organization that advocates for Second Amendment rights, says that roughly 25 states allow concealed carry weapons in churches. But after the shooting in Charleston, his group is pushing for more states to open up their churches to firearms.

“Churches are often gun-free zones,” Crosswhite says. “That makes them a major target for those who go to worship. In most churches, the congregation has their back to the doors. People could walk right in and shoot so many people if you don’t have a plan in place.”

Several organizations specifically work with churches to arm congregants that volunteer to provide security. Chuck Chadwick, founder and president of the National Organization for Church Security and Safety, says that his organization has worked with thousands of churches since the group’s founding in 2005, including churchgoers who attend security seminars and pastors who go through gun training. “We train men and women to run toward the sound of gunfire,” Chadwick says.

NOCSSM has worked with churches around the country, but in Texas, where the organization is located, Chadwick says his group has trained hundreds of officers who are now deployed throughout the state. Since the Charleston shooting, Chadwick says he’s been getting flooded with calls from churches looking to boost their own security.

The shooting in Charleston has already reignited the push to allow guns in church, but it could potentially have a lasting effect on people of faith who no longer feel like their churches are sanctuaries from violence. Ulch, the associate pastor, doesn’t see it that way. “Personally, I would not attend a church if it didn’t have armed security,” he says. “There’s no other place where everyone is welcomed and people can come and go freely without question. I believe every ministry owes it to their people.”

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Calls for Action on Guns After Charleston Shooting

The Democratic candidate makes her first public comments since the attack

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton challenged the nation Thursday to take new actions to curb gun violence in her first reactions to the shooting inside a historically black Charleston, S.C., church that left nine dead.

“How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?” she asked, during a summit of elected and appointed Latino politicians meeting in Las Vegas.

She began by saying that her thoughts and prayers were with the victims and their families in the shooting, before turning to a broader discussion of police. “So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, and as we send this message of solidarity that we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence, this time we have to find answers together,” Clinton said.

Police said they had in custody suspect Dylann Storm Roof, a 21-year-old man who spent almost an hour inside the church Wednesday night before opening fire. Officials were not ascribing motives for Roof, who is white, and his killings inside one of Charleston’s most prominent black churches.

“Cut down at prayer. Murdered in a house of God. It just broke my heart. That of course is the last place we should see violence. But we shouldn’t see it anywhere,” Clinton said. “In the days ahead, we will again ask what led to this terrible tragedy and where we as a nation need to go. In order to make sense of it, we have to be honest. We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division.”

Clinton visited Charleston on Wednesday before the killings. “I left feeling not only great about Charleston but also great about America,” Clinton said of the South Carolina city. When she landed in Las Vegas hours later, she learned of the killings. “The shock and pain of this crime of hate strikes deep,” she said.


Guns Were Much More Strictly Regulated in the 1920s and 1930s than They Are Today

Birger Gang Arms
Chicago History Museum / Getty Images A dog sits atop a vehicle belonging to the Birger Gang of southern Illinois, ca.1920s

Those who look to America’s past to extol a time when nothing stood between an American and a gun need to look again

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

The first significant federal law aimed at curtailing gun violence, the National Firearms Act of 1934, enacted a series of measures aimed mostly at stemming the spread of ever-more destructive weapons into the hands of criminals at a time of spiraling gangland violence. Chief among the weapons and accessories it regulated were sawed-off shotguns (defined as those having a barrel shorter than 18 inches), machine guns, and silencers. As if to punctuate the connection between the law and criminal violence, the NFA was signed into law on June 26. Bookending the signing was the killing of the notorious criminal duo Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow on May 23, and of uber-gangster John Dillinger on July 22.

Yet the campaign to staunch the flow of such weapons into society began in the states the previous decade, when at least 27 states enacted measures to restrict or outlaw the sale and possession of fully automatic weapons prior to 1934 – most especially submachine guns like the Tommy gun (dubbed “the gun that made the Twenties roar”). The first state to so act was West Virginia in 1925. The pivotal role of the states, acting at a time when the national government was seen as having limited power over the regulation of crime, comes as little surprise.

But there is another part of this story that, to my knowledge, has never been unearthed. Not only did states move to restrict fully automatic weapons – those that fire a continuous stream of bullets when the trigger is depressed – but also semi-automatic weapons that fire without reloading and with each pull of the trigger. At least seven, and as many as ten states enacted legislation that in various ways sought to restrict such weapons. Sometimes, fully automatic and semi-automatic weapons were treated in the same way.

For example, Rhode Island defined prohibited “machine guns” to include “any weapon which shoots automatically and any weapon which shoots more than twelve shots semi-automatically without reloading.” A 1927 Massachusetts laws defined prohibited weapons as, “Any gun or small arm caliber designed for rapid fire and operated by a mechanism, or any gun which operates automatically after the first shot has been fire. . . shall be deemed a machine gun.” Michigan’s 1927 law prohibited machine guns or any other firearm if they fired more than sixteen times without reloading. Minnesota’s 1933 law outlawed “Any firearm capable of automatically reloading after each shot is fired, whether firing singly by separate trigger pressure or firing continuously by continuous trigger pressure.” It went on to penalize the modification of weapons that were altered to accommodate such extra firing capacity.

Ohio barred both fully automatic and semi-automatic weapons in a 1933 law, incorporating under the banned category any gun that “shoots automatically, or any firearm which shoots more than eighteen shots semi-automatically without reloading.” The law specifically defined semi-automatic weapons as those which fired one shot with each pull of the trigger. South Dakota’s 1933 law barred machine guns by defining them as weapons “from which more than five shots or bullets may be rapidly or automatically, or semi-automatically discharged from a magazine.” In 1933 Virginia outlawed weapons “of any description . . . from which more than seven shots or bullets may be rapidly, or automatically, or semi-automatically discharged from a magazine, by a single function of the firing device, and also applies to and includes weapons, loaded or unloaded, from which more than sixteen shots or bullets may be rapidly, automatically, semi-automatically, or otherwise discharged without reloading.”

As is true in much of life, changes in technology often drive changes in behavior. While the typical hunter of the 1930s might have used a bolt action rifle, today’s hunter is much more likely to rely on some kind of semi-automatic long barrel gun. Even if the hotly disputed category of “assault weapons” were banned nationwide today (as was true to a limited degree from 1994-2004), the vast majority of long guns owned and used for recreational purposes would still be legal. But what is notable, even astonishing about the state laws just quoted is that they demonstrated little patience for semi-automatic firing married to the ability to fire multiple rounds without reloading.

One may have a legitimate debate about whether some modern weapons or accessories, like silencers or large capacity bullet magazines, should be restricted or regulated. But for those who look to America’s past to extol a time when nothing stood between an American and a gun, they need to look again. In many respects, guns were much more strictly regulated decades or even centuries ago than they are today.

Robert J. Spitzer is Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department at SUNY Cortland. His most recent book is “Guns Across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights,” published by Oxford University Press.


Texas Lawmakers Pass Bill to Allow Concealed Carry at Public Colleges

Mike Schoefield
Eric Gay—AP Rep. Mike Schoefield packs up his desk after the House adjourned on the final day of the legislative session in the House Chamber at the Texas Capitol on June 1, 2015, in Austin, TX.

If governor signs bill, openly carrying guns on campus would remain prohibited

The Texas state legislature passed a bill Monday that would allow people to carry concealed guns in buildings on public college campuses, and Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign it.

The new law would remove a blanket ban on guns on campus at public Texas colleges, though school administrators could still ban guns from specific buildings, CNN reports. Backers of the bill claim it will provide increased individual protection to properly licensed gun-owners, but opponents argue campus shootings could increase and schools will have to pay up to boost security.

Texas is the first state to have a campus-carry bill reach the governor’s desk to be signed. Private universities won’t be affected by the new bill, and openly carrying a weapon on a public college campus would remain prohibited.


Read next: Vince Vaughn Says Banning Guns ‘Like Banning Forks’

TIME celebrity

Vince Vaughn: Banning Guns Is ‘Like Banning Forks’


The True Detective star shared his thoughts in British GQ

Vince Vaughn, who is starring in the upcoming second season of True Detective, talked about his stance on guns in an interview with British GQ, explaining that he “support[s] people having a gun in public full stop” and believes guns should be permitted in schools. Vaughn told the magazine: “We don’t have the right to bear arms because of burglars; we have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government.”

Vaughn added:

Take mass shootings. These people are sick in the head and are going to kill innocent people. They are looking to slaughter defenceless human beings. They do not want confrontation. In all of our schools it is illegal to have guns on campus, so again and again these guys go and shoot up these f***ing schools because they know there are no guns there. They are monsters killing six-year-olds.

Vaughn said, “of course” in regards to “whether guns should be allowed in schools” and used the analogy: “Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.”

Texas lawmakers voted on a bill Monday that would allow guns on the state’s public college campuses. The governor is expected to sign it into law.

In a February interview with Playboy Vaughn discussed his politics, which he described as “libertarian,” and his own gun ownership.


Air-Powered Guns Linked to Soaring Rates of Eye Injuries

Researchers attribute a 500% spike in eye injuries to the growing popularity of pressurized firearms, particularly among children

The number of children who sustained eye injuries from “airsoft” guns grew by over 500% in the two years to 2012, according to a Stanford University study.

Some 3,000 children suffered injuries to their eyes from pressurized airguns that year, more than five times as many as in 2010. “These results demonstrate that air guns can cause severe, yet preventable, eye injury among the pediatric population,” study co-author Douglas Frederick said in a statement posted to Stanford medicine’s official blog.

The guns, which use pressurized air to fire plastic pellets at speeds topping 120 meters per second, have grown in popularity as a less risky alternative to BB guns and live ammunition.

John Steele, an industry spokesperson, told the Wall Street Journal that airsoft gun makers stress the importance of parental supervision in warning labels and shooting events. “We work like crazy to try to get parents more involved in supervising their kids,” Steele said.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

TIME Religion

Islamic Community Center Standing Tall in the Face of Armed ‘Free Speech’ Protesters

Usama Shami, the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, speaks at the mosque on May 4, 2015, in Phoenix.
Ross D. Franklin—AP Usama Shami, the president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, speaks at the mosque on May 4, 2015, in Phoenix.

"We have the right to assemble, the right to worship, and he's not going to take that right away from us"

Leaders at an Islamic community center in Phoenix say they’re standing tall in the face of armed protesters who are planning a provocative “free speech rally” in front of the mosque Friday night.

Former Marine Jon Ritzheimer, who planned the rally, is urging attendees to “utilize their Second Amendment right”—the right to bear arms—as they protest during evening prayers at the mosque. He is also organizing a Muhammad Cartoon Contest as part of the protest, which is considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

“I know that he is hoping for confrontation,” Usama Shami, president of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said of Ritzheimer. “The whole point of bringing guns—these are not peace tools, these are meant to intimidate people.”

“The whole issue with cartoon drawing is to inflame emotions and hoping that someone will cross the line,” Shami added. “We’re not going to be falling into that trap, we understand what he’s trying to do.”

Ritzheimer said the rally is a “response” to the May 3 shooting outside a Texas “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest,” in which both gunmen were killed by police. ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting, but it’s unclear whether they actually helped plan the attack.

“Islam has an ugly track record,” Ritzheimer, who also organized a May 17 rally in front of the same Islamic center, told TIME in an email. “Our founding fathers gave us the second amendment to protect ourselves from tyranny. I would hate for an attack to happen at this event and people be ill prepared and un able to protect themselves.” Multiple photos on Ritzheimer’s Facebook page depict him wearing a T-shirt that says “F-ck Islam.”

Despite the rally, evening prayers at the Islamic Community Center are scheduled to go ahead as planned.

“We’re not changing anything,” Shami said. “If they want to express their opinion and draw cartoons, that’s up to them. I don’t like them, but they have the right to do that.”

Ritzheimer said he hopes to hold additional events across the country.

“I want Freedom of Speech Rallies to pop up in every state,” he said. “I want the truth about Islam exposed because people are ignorant to the religion if they haven’t read the Quran. I want to know that my children won’t have to be threatened with murder for drawing a cartoon.” Ritzheimer is not affiliated with Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, who organized the Texas event where the shooting occurred.

Shami said the mosque would have extra security Friday night, but he and his congregation are unbowed by the protest. “We’re not going to be intimidated, we’re citizens of this country like he is, we have rights like he does,” Shami added. “We have the right to assemble, the right to worship, and he’s not going to take that right away from us.”

TIME Crime

Colorado Gunman’s Notebook of Ramblings Becomes Evidence

Holmes Shooting Notebook
AP A portion of Aurora shooter James Holmes' notebook, after it was presented as evidence in the Holmes murder trial on May 26, 2015, in Centennial, Colo.

Copies of a journal kept by the man on trial for the Aurora theater shooting have been distributed to the jury that will help determine his fate

A notebook containing James Holmes’s ramblings, sketches and thoughts on topics ranging from the meaning of life to murder was presented on Tuesday at his trial for the 2012 mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 70 others.

It’s a key piece of evidence for prosecutors trying to prove the 27-year-old plotted the killings and for defense lawyers who argue he was experiencing a psychotic episode on July 20, when he opened fire on moviegoers at a premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.

Holmes’s notebook reveals references to violence and death and is stepped in nihilism. He writes about a “self diagnosis of broken mind” and several pages are covered with the question “Why?” over and over again. “When mankind can’t find truth,” he mentions at one point, “untruth is converted to truth via violence.”

The former doctoral student in neuroscience is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Holmes sent the notebook to his University of Colorado psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, eight days before the shooting, but the package was not discovered until several days after the massacre. Fenton had warned authorities that Holmes was a danger to the public.

Holmes describes in the journal a number of fantasies about different ways to kill, but quickly rules them out. He says a bomb is too regulated and suspicious, biological warfare requires extensive knowledge of chemicals and serial murder is “too personal, too much evidence, easily caught after few kills” before settling on a “mass murder spree.” He writes that he chose this method because it would provide “maximum casualties, easily performed with firearms, although primitive in nature. No fear of consequences, being caught 99% certain.”

At one point, he rules out certain venues, like airports, because he didn’t want his mass killing to be misinterpreted as a terrorist act. Airports have “too much of a terrorist history,” he writes. “Terrorism isn’t the message. The message is there is no message.” The journal also includes diagrams of different theaters within the movie complex, as well as pros and cons for each one.

“And finally, the last escape, mass murder at the movies,” he writes. “Obsession onset: > 10 years ago.”

Holmes describes his psychological struggles as “the real me is fighting the biological me,” and notes that work and romantic failures aren’t the reason for his action, although both are “expediting catalysts.” Instead, he claims, his “state of mind for the last 15 years” is to blame for his actions.

He notes a particular set of symptoms and behaviors that accompanied his self-diagnoses of a “broken mind,” including a “recurring return to mirror to look at appearance, particular attention focused on hair styling. 10+ times a day.” At the time of the shooting, Holmes’s hair was dyed a bright red-orange. He also describes at least one childhood accident that injured his genitals, which he alleges led to an “allergic reaction to sex.”

In one particularly chilling passage, Holmes alludes to the name of the movie he selected for the attack: “I was fear incarnate. Love gone, motivation directed to hate and obsessions, which didnt disapear for whatever reason with the drugs,” he writes. “No consequences, no fear, alone, isolated, no work for distractions, no reason to seek self -actualization. Embraced the hatred, a dark knight rises.”

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