Unsolved mysteries
October 7, 2019

Dallas police confirmed Sunday that Joshua Brown, a key witness in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, was shot dead Friday night in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Brown, 28, lived across the hall from Botham Jean and testified that Guyger had not asked Jean to show or raise his hands before she shot him dead in his apartment, mistaking it for her own. Guyger was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison last week. Brown and Jean were black; Guyger, 31, is white.

Brown was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the hospital. Witnesses saw a silver sedan speed out of the parking lot after the gunshots. Dallas police say they are still searching for suspects and a motive. S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Jean's family who now represents Brown's family, said "we need answers."

Merritt told NBC Today that Brown feared "for his life" after testifying in the Guyger trial. He said he had no evidence to suggest Brown's death was retaliation for helping convict Guyger, but Brown was shot in the foot and a friend killed in a shooting at a birthday party in a Dallas club a few months ago, and Brown feared the shooter "might come back to try and finish the job." Peter Weber

July 23, 2019

Doctors have found "significant differences" in the brains of the diplomats who experienced mysterious purported "health attacks" in Cuba, NBC News reports.

According to the University of Pennsylvania study, workers examined had "less white matter in their brains and less connectivity in the areas that control vision and hearing than similar healthy people," per NBC.

It's been nearly two years since the State Department said that U.S. workers in Cuba had experienced "health attacks," with diplomats beginning to suffer from health issues, including hearing loss and headaches, after hearing strange noises. President Trump said he believed Cuba was to blame, although Cuba has denied responsibility. Even all this time later, NBC reports that the government "still has not determined who or what is responsible" for the alleged attacks and at this point has "exhausted its leads in the case."

Dr. Randel Swanson told CNN that if any of these patients were examined in a brain injury clinic without context, "you would think that they had a traumatic brain injury from being in a car accident or a blast in the military." Swanson in the study compared the effects to a "concussion without a concussion."

Still, even as this new medical information is released, doctors could not make a determination about whether the "significant differences" were caused by the apparent attacks or can help explain them. But even as the case remains elusive as ever, Dr. Ragini Verma, lead researcher, described the new findings in an interview with Reuters as "pretty jaw-dropping." Brendan Morrow

April 8, 2019

Could President Trump have finally gotten rid of that anonymous New York Times op-ed writer without even realizing it?

That's what one former FBI agent speculated following the resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday, per Mediaite. Josh Campbell, a CNN analyst and former FBI special agent, suggested on Twitter that Nielsen's resignation letter bears a striking resemblance to the Times op-ed written by an anonymous senior administration official who said they were part of a "resistance" working to undermine Trump's worst impulses from within.

While citing his FBI experience, Campbell observed that both Nielsen's resignation letter and the Times op-ed make heavy use of commas and em dashes, also pointing to a few other instances of similar choices.

Campbell noted that he is "just spitballing" here, but his theory would fit with reporting from CNN that Nielsen felt Trump had become "unhinged" on issues concerning the border, as well as reporting from The New York Times that she drafted a resignation letter last year but never submitted it.

The White House scrambled to find the writer of that anonymous op-ed when it was published in September 2018, but seven months later, its author has never been revealed, although former White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman in November cited rumors that the person had already been "quietly removed." For now, although a new theory has emerged, the mystery continues. Brendan Morrow

August 4, 2018

Las Vegas police on Friday closed their probe into October's mass shooting without shedding light on attacker Stephen Paddock's motives for killing 58 people and injuring 500 more.

"What we have been able to answer are the questions of who, what, when, where, and how," said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo. "What we have not been able to definitively answer is the 'why' Stephen Paddock committed this act."

The investigation report notes Paddock's brother has suggested he "conducted the attack because he had done everything in the world he wanted to do and was bored with everything. If so, Paddock would have planned the attack to kill a large amount of people because he would want to be known as having the largest casualty count. Paddock always wanted to be the best and known to everyone." Bonnie Kristian

November 28, 2017

On Monday, people in Baltimore paid their respects to slain homicide Detective Sean Suiter, shot in the head with his own gun on Nov. 15 by an unknown assailant in Baltimore's Harlem Park neighborhood. There are a lot of unusual things about the case.

Suiter was the first Baltimore Police officer killed on duty in a decade, for example, and the Baltimore PD has rarely failed to quickly identify and apprehend police killers, dating back to 1808, The Baltimore Sun reports. Even a $215,000 reward for information has not unearthed a suspect. The entire Harlem Park neighborhood was on lockdown for five days. And last Wednesday evening, right before Thanksgiving, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis confirmed rumors flying around the community that a day after he was killed, Suiter had been scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury investigating corruption in an elite squad of fellow Baltimore Police officers.

Davis said the FBI had assured him that Suiter, a 43-year-old married father of five, was not a target of the federal investigation into the Baltimore PD's Gun Trace Task Force, and said Baltimore Police have no reason to believe Suiter's killing was connected to his testimony. He said Suiter and his partner were in a "very dangerous area" and made a "spontaneous decision to investigate" a man behaving suspiciously, adding, "I understand the speculation that exists." Ari Melber dug into the story on MSNBC Monday evening.

Another wrinkle, notes Rachel M. Cohen at The Intercept, is that Suiter's normal partner was off duty on the day in question, and he was investigating a 2016 homicide streak with another detective, whom The Baltimore Sun identified as Detective David Bomenka. Baltimore activists are especially suspicious about the unclaimed reward money. "If it was a citizen who did this, it would have already been over by now with that high of a reward," community organizer Ralikh Hayes told The Intercept last week. Peter Weber

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