August 11, 2020

Across 20 major U.S. cities, The New York Times reports, the murder rate was on average 37 percent higher at the end of June than it was at the end of May. While an uptick in violent crime is generally associated with warmer months, the increase is usually more subtle. For instance, the murder rate increase in those cities a year ago was just 6 percent over that span, per the Times.

The Times notes the change is especially pronounced in Kansas City, which has already seen 122 people killed this year, compared to 90 through the same period last year. The city has also already matched the number of nonfatal shootings — 490 — that occurred in all of 2019.

Experts are mostly stumped as to what the main cause is. At first glance, coronavirus lockdowns would seem to be a catalyst, especially considering many of the incidents involved random violence, perhaps a sign of frustration or the "destabilization of community institutions." They very well may have played a role, but the Times notes the murder rate was on the rise in many cities before the pandemic, and overall crime is still down in most places, including all types of major crimes aside from murder, aggravated assault, and, occasionally, car theft. "I'm sure there will be academic studies for years to come as to what caused the spike of 2020," said Tim Garrison, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

July 20, 2020

The FBI on Monday said Roy Den Hollander, a self-proclaimed "anti-feminist" lawyer, is the primary suspect in Sunday evening's shooting in North Brunswick, New Jersey, which left a federal judge's son dead and husband seriously injured.

Den Hollander, 69, is believed to have approached the home of Judge Esther Salas wearing a FedEx uniform before shooting her son, Daniel Anderl, 20, in the heart. Salas' husband, Mark Anderl, was also shot several times, and is hospitalized in stable condition. The judge was in her basement during the attack, and was not hurt. Den Hollander's body was found on Monday near Liberty, New York, and authorities said it appears he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In 2018, Den Hollander argued a case before Salas, representing a mother and daughter who claimed the draft is unconstitutional because women are not allowed to register for it. Salas let the case proceed, but last year, Den Hollander asked another lawyer to take over for him because he had terminal cancer. In a self-published book, Den Hollander insulted Salas, calling her a "lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama."

Den Hollander filed lawsuits to try to stop nightclubs from holding "ladies' nights," arguing this violated the 14th Amendment, and end women's studies programs at colleges. He also referred to the Violence Against Women Act as the "Female Fraud Act." In 2008, Den Hollander told The New York Times his anger against feminists stemmed from a bad divorce.

One law enforcement official told the Times that investigators are looking into whether Den Hollander, because of his terminal cancer diagnosis, decided to "take out" his perceived enemies before dying. A spokesman for New York State's chief judge, Janet DiFiore, told the Times the FBI called her on Monday and said Den Hollander had her name and photo in his car, but it is not clear if he planned on targeting her as well. Catherine Garcia

June 9, 2020

Chad Daybell was taken into custody on Tuesday after human remains were found on his property in Salem, Idaho, Rexburg Police Assistant Chief Gary Hagen said.

The remains have not been identified, and Daybell has not been charged with anything. Rexburg police, FBI investigators, and members of the Fremont County Sheriff's Office searched the property as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Tylee Ryan, 17, and Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7. Their mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, is Chad Daybell's new wife. The children have not been seen since September, and the Daybells previously told investigators they were staying with friends.

The case has received national attention, due to its strange twists and turns. The Daybells, who married in October, slipped out of Idaho and were tracked down to Hawaii earlier this year. Lori Daybell has since been charged with child abandonment and obstructing the investigation; she has pleaded not guilty.

Chad Daybell is a podcaster who talks about the biblical end times, and has self-published fiction books about the apocalypse. Last summer, Lori Daybell's brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed her estranged husband, Charles Vallow, in Arizona, claiming it was in self-defense. Vallow had filed for divorce from Lori Daybell, saying she believed she was "a resurrected being of God" who could kill him with her "powers." Cox died in December of a pulmonary blood clot.

Chad Daybell is also under investigation in the death of his first wife, Tammy Daybell. She died in October, two weeks before Chad and Lori Daybell were married. Chad said she died in her sleep, but authorities became suspicious in December and exhumed her body; the autopsy results have not been made public. Catherine Garcia

February 2, 2020

Police in London shot and killed a man on Sunday afternoon after he stabbed two people, authorities said.

The man, wearing a fake bomb, stabbed the victims outside of a pharmacy in the south London neighborhood of Streatham; they are both expected to survive. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D'Orsi said police are "confident" the suspect is 20-year-old Sudesh Amman, who was "recently released from prison where he had been serving a sentence for Islamist-related terrorism offenses." Amman was found guilty of publishing graphic terrorist videos online. D'Orsi said Amman was being tailed by police officers as part of a "proactive counterterrorism operation."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday his government will introduce new measures to make a "fundamental" change to the way people convicted of terrorism offenses are dealt with in prison and upon their release, The Associated Press reports. London Mayor Sadiq Kahn vowed to fight back against terrorists who "seek to divide us and to destroy our way of life. Here in London we will never let them succeed." Catherine Garcia

December 29, 2019

Police said a man stabbed and wounded five people with a large knife at a Rabbi's home in Monsey, New York, on Saturday night.

People were gathered at the house to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah when the attacker burst in and created what has been described as a terrifying scene at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, which is about 35 miles north of New York City. "[The suspect] started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door," said Aron Kohn, who said he was in the home at the time of the attack. "We didn't have time to react at all."

The suspect then reportedly tried to enter a synagogue next door, but people inside reportedly heard screams from the neighboring house and locked the door.

The suspect was reportedly apprehended in Harlem by the New York Police Department. Police have not indicated whether they were investigating the violence as an anti-Semitic hate crime, but the New York area has recently seen a series of high profile attacks against its Jewish community, including a shooting rampage in Jersey City, New Jersey, earlier this month. Monsey is an area with a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jews, per The New York Times.

Several New York state leaders, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Attorney General Letitia James, condemned the violent act. Read more at The New York Times and The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

November 4, 2019

A man who said he was preparing for a "racial holy war" was arrested Friday in Colorado, with federal authorities accusing him of plotting to blow up Temple Emanuel, a synagogue in Pueblo that dates back to 1900.

Richard Holzer, 27, confessed to the plan, federal court documents released Monday state. In September, Holzer posted on Facebook that he was in favor of racially motivated violence. Undercover federal authorities reached out to him, and he was arrested after receiving pipe bombs and dynamite.

Holzer has been charged with attempted use of explosives and trying to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs. Court documents state that during his confession, Holzer used bigoted terms to describe Jews and Temple Emanuel. He also said that last year, he paid a man to poison the synagogue's water, and was gearing up for a "racial holy war." This rhetoric is linked to the former leader of a white supremacist religious organization, Matt Hale, who is now in prison, the court documents said.

The Anti-Defamation League has said that so far this year, there have been 780 known cases of vandalism, arson, and distribution of white supremacist materials at Jewish institutions, NBC News reports. Catherine Garcia

October 23, 2019

Following a customs check, four American Airlines flight attendants were arrested at Miami International Airport on Monday, charged with money laundering.

The flight attendants arrived in Miami on a flight from Chile. When a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent asked one of the flight attendants how much cash he had on him, he said $100, but after being questioned further, admitted to having $9,000. Agents soon discovered the man and three other flight attendants from his plane were carrying more than $22,000 in cash, without the proper license.

"We take this matter seriously and are cooperating with law enforcement throughout their investigation," American Airlines told USA Today on Wednesday. Catherine Garcia

August 18, 2019

Three potential mass shootings in different states were foiled over the last several days, authorities announced Sunday, thanks to tips from the public.

In Connecticut, Brandon Wagshol, 22, was arrested after police received a tip he wanted to buy large capacity rifle magazines from out of state. He wrote on Facebook that he was interested in committing a mass shooting, the Norwalk Police Department and FBI said, and he faces four charges of illegal possession of large-capacity magazines.

Tristan Scott Wix, 25, of Daytona Beach, Florida, was arrested Friday after he allegedly sent his ex-girlfriend text messages threatening to commit a mass shooting. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said Wix allegedly told the ex-girlfriend "a good 100 kills would be nice," and he wanted to die and "have fun while doing it." Wix will be charged with making threats to kill or do bodily injury, and is being held without bond.

James Patrick Reardon, 20, was arrested Saturday after allegedly threatening to carry out a shooting at a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Ohio. New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D'Egidio told CNN that Reardon's Instagram account featured a video showing a man firing a gun, with the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown tagged. This message was shown to a police officer, authorities said, which led to Reardon's arrest on one count of telecommunications harassment and one count of aggravated menacing. His Instagram account also included white nationalist and anti-Semitic comments, police said. Catherine Garcia

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