TIME Crime

Colorado Triathlon Canceled in the Wake of Multiple Shootings and Sniper Fears

Bicyclist Fatally Shot
Jason Pohl — AP Windsor Police investigate the area where a cyclist was fatally shot in Windsor, Colo.

Federal agents join investigation into possible serial shooter

A popular triathlon in northern Colorado has been canceled following a rash of shootings near the small town of Windsor, which has left one person dead and another injured.

John Jacoby, 48, was shot dead earlier this week while cycling along a stretch of road just outside of Windsor, reports ABC News. The incident occurred in close proximity to an earlier shooting late last month, when a 20-year-old woman survived being shot in the neck while driving along Interstate 25 outside of nearby Fort Collins.

Local officials are working in tandem with federal investigators, who are scrambling to see if the two events are connected. In the wake of the shootings, organizers of Pelican Fest Sprint Triathlon have canceled the race slated for this weekend because of security concerns.

“My decision was based on the overall safety of all the athletes, volunteers, traffic control personnel, spectators and vendors,” wrote Dennis Vanderheiden, the race’s director, in a post published online. “The proximity of the shooting death and the bike course gave me real concerns.”

TIME Crime

Teen Shoots, Kills Friend Trying to Wake Him by Throwing Pebbles at Window

Billings police are on the scene of a shooting with one person dead, Sunday, May 17, 2015. A Montana boy startled at being awakened in the middle of the night fired a shot through his bedroom window and killed the 15-year-old friend who had been knocking and throwing pebbles at his window, police said Monday.
Larry Mayer—AP Billings police are on the scene of a shooting with one person dead, Sunday, May 17, 2015

No arrests have been made but investigators are deciding whether to press charges

A 15-year-old boy in Billings, Mont., died early Sunday morning after he tried to wake his friend by throwing rocks at his bedroom window but was shot in response.

Mackeon Schulte died from a bullet wound to the head at about 2:30 a.m. Another boy escaped without injury, according to the Billings Gazette.

Police have ruled the death an accident.

Schulte and his friend were apparently at a sleepover when they decided to visit the shooter’s house. In an attempt to wake the sleeping teen, the two boys knocked on his window and threw pebbles at his room. But he reportedly became frightened by the noise, grabbed a revolver and fired through the window.

No arrests have been made but investigators will be meeting with Schulte’s family and local officials to determine if charges will be filed.

“It’s a tragedy. We have to investigate at this point for what it is, but it’s a tragedy all around,” said police captain John Bedford.

[Billings Gazette]

TIME animals

Dog Survives After Swallowing 23 Live Bullets

Benno the dog with veterinarian Dr. Sarah Sexton (L) and owner Sonny Brassfield in Mountain Home, Ark. on April 27, 2015
Josh Dooley—AP Benno the dog with veterinarian Dr. Sarah Sexton (L) and owner Sonny Brassfield in Mountain Home, Ark. on April 27, 2015

Benno the dog had eaten a number of interesting objects before

(MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark.) — An Arkansas veterinarian has kept a dog from going out with a bang after the animal ate 23 live rifle rounds.

The Baxter Bulletin reports that 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, Benno, had surgery last week to remove the .308 caliber ammunition from his stomach.

Owner Larry Brassfield says Benno has eaten socks, magnets and marbles but he didn’t expect the animal would bother a bag of bullets by his bed. Brassfield and his wife realized Benno needed medical attention after the pet vomited up four rounds.

The vet removed 17 rounds from Benno’s stomach but left two in his esophagus, which the dog was allowed to discharge on his own.

Brassfield says he won’t leave ammo lying around anymore but isn’t optimistic that Benno will stick to dog food.

TIME Crime

Jurors See Video of Colorado Theater Shooter Asking If Kids Were Hurt

Officer Jason Oviatt, of the Aurora Police Department and first responder at the theater, heads into court to testify during day four in James Holmes' trial at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, April 30, 2015. The trial of Colorado theater gunman suspect, James Holmes, began nearly three years after the massacre
RJ Sangosti—2015 The Denver Post/MediaNews Group. Officer Jason Oviatt heads into court to testify during Day 4 in James Holmes' trial at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial, Colo., on April 30, 2015

Asked if he needs anything, Holmes says, "oxygen"

(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) — Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial got their first look at a video recording of gunman James Holmes asking detectives, “There weren’t any children hurt, were there?”

The video, played in court Monday, shows detectives interviewing a dazed-sounding Holmes at police headquarters about two hours after the attack.

Det. Chuck Mehl testified later that Holmes had seen a sign for the Crimes Against Children Unit in police headquarters while he was being taken to the interview room, which might have prompted the question.

The detectives don’t answer Holmes directly about children but say, “We’ll get to that.”

Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the July 2012 attack.

His attorneys acknowledge he was the gunman but say he was mentally ill. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Prosecutors say Holmes knew what he was doing and should be convicted. They’re seeking the death penalty.

A brief clip of Holmes in the interview room had been played for jurors during opening statements on April 27, but this was the first time his conversation with the detectives was shown in court.

Some of Holmes’s answers are odd. Asked if he needs anything, he says, “Oxygen.” The detectives ask if he is having trouble breathing or wants a fan, but he says no.

When asked how to spell “Holmes,” he answers, “Like Sherlock.”

Testimony resumes Tuesday.

The judge plans to rule Tuesday on whether jurors should see a transcript of another law-enforcement interview with Holmes. The transcript was prepared by prosecutors and reviewed by an FBI agent.

The agent testified during a pretrial hearing that he interviewed Holmes about booby traps at his apartment. Defense attorneys say jurors shouldn’t see the transcript because parts of it were inaccurate and parts of the audio recording of the interview were unintelligible.

TIME Crime

This ‘Toy Rifle’ Put a New Mexico Elementary School on Lockdown

A very real-looking toy sparked an emergency response.

An Albuquerque elementary school principal called police and ordered a lockdown after a woman was spotted outside with what appeared to be a high-powered rifle.

But when police arrived on the scene, they learned that it was a toy airsoft gun that shoots plastic pellets, local news station KRQE reports. The woman, Joanna Davidson, told police that she was trying to sell the toy and was at the time waiting on the street for her boyfriend.

The principal’s confusion can be better understood with a picture of the toy, shared by Albuquerque Police on Friday:

Davidson was charged with disorderly conduct, interference with the educational process and possession of drug paraphernalia (police say they found a glass pipe on her).

TIME Guns

A 3-Year-Old Boy Shot and Killed a 1-Year-Old in an Ohio Home

Authorities investigate the scene after a shooting involving two children Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Cleveland.
Patrick Cooley/Northeast Ohio Media Group/AP Authorities investigate the scene after a shooting involving two children Sunday, April 12, 2015, in Cleveland.

The firearm had been left unattended

A three-year-old boy in Cleveland, Ohio shot and killed a one-year-old boy after picking up a handgun that had been left unattended inside a home on Sunday.

The infant was rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound to the head but was later pronounced dead, reports the Associated Press.

Investigators were trying to determine where the gun came from, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters.

Though full details behind the shooting have not been released, Williams said there was at least one adult home when the incident happened.

“It’s a sad day for Cleveland,” said Williams. “This fascination that we have with handguns, not just in this city but in this country, has to stop. This is a senseless loss of life.”

[Associated Press]

TIME Crime

Nearly 1,000 Suspected Gang Members Have Been Arrested in a Federal Crackdown

Of those arrested, 913 were charged with criminal offenses

Federal agents arrested 976 suspected gang members across scores of American cities during a major operation that spanned from late February through the month of March, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced Wednesday.

Headed by the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, the six-week campaign, called Project Wildfire, targeted members of 239 different gangs in 282 cities, with the heaviest focus on Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas and El Paso, Texas. San Juan, Puerto Rico, was also highly targeted.

“Criminal gangs inflict violence and fear upon our communities, and without the attention of law enforcement, these groups can spread like a cancer,” said ICE director Sarah Saldaña in a statement.

The majority of the people arrested were U.S. citizens, however, the ICE said 199 were foreign nationals.

Of the 976 alleged gang members arrested 913 were charged with criminal offenses, including 19 suspected of murder and an additional 15 suspected of rape or sexual assault.

In addition to the arrests, officials confiscated 82 firearms, 5.2 kg of methamphetamine, 1.5 kg of heroin, 5.6 kg of cocaine and 7.8 kg of marijuana. They seized $379,399 in cash and an estimated $547,534 worth of counterfeit goods.

The operation was part of global initiative called Operation Community Shield that targets transnational street gangs.

[ICE]

TIME States

New Kansas Law Will Allow Concealed Carry Without Gun Permit or Training

“It is a constitutional right, and we’re removing a barrier to that right"

A bill signed Thursday by Gov. Sam Brownback will allow residents in Kansas to carry concealed firearms without a permit or training.

Kansans aged 21 or older will be permitted to carry concealed guns starting July 1 when the law takes effect, even if they’re not trained or don’t have a permit, the Kansas City Star reports. That will make the state one of six to allow “constitutional carry.”

Anyone who would like to carry a concealed gun in any of the three dozen states that accept Kansas permits must go through training, a requirement that Brownback emphasized. But even with regard to Kansans, who won’t be required to go through training, he acknowledged that his youngest son had “got a lot out of” a hunter safety course recently and urged others “to take advantage of that.”

“We’re saying that if you want to do that in this state, then you don’t have to get the permission slip from the government,” Brownback said. “It is a constitutional right, and we’re removing a barrier to that right.”

The Kansas State Rifle Association was supportive of the bill. A statement on its website reads: “the right to keep and bear arms is a natural, unalienable right protected by the Second Amendment and citizens should not have to go through burdensome and expensive hoops to exercise that right.”

[Kansas City Star]

TIME Crime

This Woman Didn’t Get Any Bacon In Her Burger So She Shot Up the Drive-Thru

Shaneka Monique Torres looks around the courtroom before being found guilty on all charges related to her shooting a gun into a McDonald's when she failed to get bacon on her burger, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich
Chris Clark—AP Shaneka Monique Torres looks around the courtroom before being found guilty on all charges related to her shooting a gun into a McDonald's when she failed to get bacon on her burger, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Grand Rapids, Mich

Thankfully nobody was injured

A Grand Rapids, Mich. woman faces up to seven years in prison after she was convicted of multiple charges Wednesday for firing a bullet into a McDonald’s drive-through when staff forgot to put bacon in her cheeseburger.

Shaneka Monique Torres, 30, ordered a bacon cheeseburger at the McDonald’s on Feb. 10, 2014 but it arrived without bacon. She complained to a manager and was offered a free burger, according to Grand Rapids local news outlet WZZM 13.

At about 3.am, Torres and her friend returned to order another bacon cheeseburger. This burger also came without bacon and Torres verbally lashed out at a worker before pulling out her handgun and firing a round into the restaurant. No one was injured.

Torres was arrested at her home about 30 minutes later.

Her defense attorney, John Beason, argued that Torres discharged the weapon by accident and there was no correlation with the bacon-less burgers.

The jury deliberated for one hour and found Torres guilty of carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm into a building and felony use of a firearm.

She will be sentenced on April 21.

Read next: California Woman Arrested for Trying to Steal Two Babies, Leading to One Death

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Law

Texas Moves Closer to Allowing Guns on College Campuses

UT Chancellor William McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, opposes the measure

The Texas Senate approved a bill on Thursday that would allow people to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.

Supporters say the measure, which has the backing of gun rights groups, will help licensed students over 21 better protect themselves. The Senate voted on the measure along party lines, and the Republican-controlled House is taking it up next week.

But the move to legalize licensed weapons on campuses has prompted opposition from law enforcement and university leaders, including University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven, a retired Navy admiral who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

“I continue to remain apprehensive about the effects of this legislation on UT System institutions and our students, staff, patients and visitors,” McRaven said in a statement to TIME. “I continue to hear from students, parents, staff and faculty about their uneasiness related to this legislation. In light of this, it is my responsibility to continue to express our concerns as the Senate bill goes to the House and the House bill goes through the process.”

While most states either ban concealed arms on campus or leave the decision to colleges and universities individually, seven states have provisions that allow for concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several Republican-held legislatures, including in Florida and Montana, are also considering easing their restrictions on weapons on campuses.

While the Texas legislature has failed to pass similar bills three times since 2009, this bill has strong backing in the House and Governor Greg Abbott has expressed his support.

Still, student groups and higher education leaders are voicing their opposition.

“There is great concern that the presence of handguns, even if limited to licensed individuals age 21 or older, will lead to an increase in both accidental shootings and self-inflicted wounds,” McRaven wrote in an open letter to state leaders in January.

— Charlotte Alter contributed reporting.

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