Former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg has announced his plans to spend $50 million on a new campaign aimed at challenging the National Rifle Association and their pro-gun stance.
“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’” said Bloomberg of the NRA. “‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”
How does Bloomberg plan to scare the NRA? By spending $50 million to target a specific audience in the hopes of spreading the truth about gun control.
"You've got to work at it piece by piece," said Bloomberg to the New York Times. "One mom and another mom. You've got to wear them down until they finally say, 'Enough.'"
The new campaign, called Everytown for Gun Safety, will specifically target women, and more specifically moms, in an effort to curb gun violence in America. According to reports, the new campaign will be an umbrella organization for two other groups that Bloomberg is involved in, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America.
“I put $50 million this year, last year into coal, $53 million into oceans,” said Bloomberg of past initiatives while expressing hope for his new venture. “Certainly a number like that, $50 million. Let’s see what happens.”
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America, says that she hopes the new initiative will have more women thinking about how gun violence affects their lives and will use that while they’re voting at the polls.
“Right now, women, when they go to the polls, they vote on abortion, they vote on jobs, they vote on health care,” said Watts. “We want one of those things to be gun violence prevention.”
Bloomberg says that an advisory board for the Everytown project will include prominent members of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
At least 36 Chicago residents were wounded from gunfire in a span of 36 hours this past weekend.
The weekend marked a spike in shootings after a quarter boasting the lowest murder rate in Chicago history since 1958. One of the victims was 17-year-old girl Gakirah Barnes, whose mother described her as the latest victim of “an ongoing war” of gun violence in the city.
“This is something that has become all too normal to everybody, and it needs to stop," she told the Chicago Tribune.
Barnes died two hours after being shot multiple times Friday afternoon in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
34-year-old Shannon Mack, 32-year-old Corey Brownlee, and 20-year-old Joshua Martinez were also fatally shot over the weekend, DNAinfo reports.
25-year-old mother-of-two Jasmine Martinez, who is in the hospital in critical condition after being shot in the head and chest while driving her car through Humboldt Park. Police suspect that shooting may have been gang related.
"You cannot even come out of your house without worrying if you are going to be alive," Angie Diaz, the victim's aunt, told NBC Chicago.
NBC reports a total of four dead and 33 wounded. Doctors said they expected a rise in violence as the weather got warmer, but police have not commented on the possible role of the weather.
"While Chicago continues to see reductions in crime and violence, there's obviously much more work to be done and we continue to be challenged by lax state and federal gun laws," Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a statement.
"From our officers to our police strategies to the city's strengthened investments in youth violence prevention to our close partnership with residents and community leaders, no one will rest until everyone in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety."
A 5-year-old boy accidentally fired a loaded gun he thought was a toy at a South Carolina birthday party Saturday night, killing a 7-year-old girl.
According to Lexington County Sheriff James Metts, the boy wanted to get a toy gun out of a trunk in his home, but instead he picked up a real firearm that belonged to his mother’s boyfriend. The mother told police she did not know that her boyfriend kept a gun in the trunk.
The gun went off and a bullet went through a car. Fragments struck 7-year-old Juliet Lynch, killing her.
Sheriff Metts also said that bullet fragments hit another 5-year-old boy in the arm.
Lynch's father, Corey Salley, described the terror of hearing the loud shot.
"I said, 'Oh goodness,' and I wasn't thinking that someone could be shooting at a kid's birthday party. So I ran around front and that's the first thing I see is my daughter on the ground," Salley told local news. "I picked her up and I ran."
His wife, Priscilla Salley, was also present for the terrible scene.
"I dropped everything, all I heard was 'Juliet! Juliet! Juliet!' And then I saw her blood," said Priscilla.
The couple rushed their daughter to the hospital, but it was too late. They had to tell Lynch’s twin sister that she was “in heaven” and wouldn’t be coming home.
While they recognize that the shooting was a tragic accident, the family still wants to see the adults involved held accountable.
"Why would there be a gun at a kid's birthday party? And if you do got a gun, why don't you have safety on it, out of reach of a kid," Corey Salley said.
"I just want justice done. I can't blame the little boy. He's a kid himself, but the adults that were there, whoever had what gun, they need to go to jail."
Sheriff Metts said charges could be filed.
While "militia" supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy celebrate their "victory" over the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Richard Mack, a supporter of Bundy, said today that the militia planned to use women as human shields had BLM government agents started firing over the weekend.
According to The Blaze, Mack bragged today on Fox News (video below), “We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”
Mack is a former Arizona Sheriff who founded the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an organization that opposes gun laws, the authority of the federal government and supports states’ rights.
MediaMatters.org also notes that militia members, who have promoted themselves as wholesome and brave folks, used crude language when they verbally confronted some federal agents over the weekend (video below).
Bundy supporters called the American agents, "terrorist,” “loser,” “chicken----,” and a “f------ p----.”
Mario Chavez allegedly fired 13 bullets at the Leather and Lace strip club in Gastonia, S.C., last Thursday night.
According to police, Chavez put his hand down a dancer's underwear, causing club bouncers to escort him out.
Chavez reportedly responded by firing bullets at the club, which frightened customers and strippers inside (video below).
“The music was on so we didn’t know what was going on,” the stripper, whom Chavez allegedly touched, told the Gaston Gazette. “It was just a pop, pop, pop. Everybody got down on the floor. You could see bullet holes in the wall.”
“The wood chips were coming out of the wall like something you see in a movie,” added a male customer, who asked his name not be used. “Everybody was diving to the floor and jumping behind something. The dancers were the ones who were really terrified.”
"It's just scream and running," another witness told WSOC-TV. "That's all. It's just screaming and running and ducking."
Fortunately, none of the bullets hit the 18 people inside.
Chavez was booked into the Gaston County Jail on $1 million bond last Friday morning.
He has been charged with 18 counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, shooting into an occupied building, and sexual battery.
11Suspect in Kansas Jewish Center Shootings was Known White Supremacist, Yelled 'Heil Hitler!' Out Squad Car
Frazier Glenn Cross, suspected of killing three people at two Jewish centers on Sunday, was heard spouting a white supremacist rant from the back of the police squad car as he was being taken into custody.
Cross is the suspected gunman in two shootings that occurred yesterday at a Kansas Jewish community center and Jewish retirement home. A 14-year-old Eagle scout and his grandfather were shot outside the Overland Park Jewish Community Center. The third victim, a woman, was slain outside the Village Shalom retirement community.
In a video of Cross in the back of a squad car being taken into custody in the parking lot of an elementary school near the shootings sites, the suspect can be heard yelling what sounds like “Heil Hitler!”
Cross, of Aurora, Mo., is a well-known white supremacist, according to the Associated Press. The 73-year-old was a former Ku Klux Klan leader or “Grand Dragon,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The man booked under the name Frazier Glenn Cross is also known as Frazier Glenn Miller, and has used both names publicly. He refers to himself as Glenn Miller on his personal website and ran for public office in 2006 and 2010 under the name Frazier Glenn Miller, both times under a white supremacist platform.
Miller has been a white supremacist for most of his life, founding the Carolina Knights of the KKK in the 1980s. He also founded the White Patriot Party, another supremacist group, according to the center.
Miller was the target of a national manhunt in 1987, eventually found by federal agents in a mobile home filled with grenades, guns, and ammo. Miller had violated the terms of his bond when he appealed a conviction for operating a paramilitary camp in North Carolina.
Cross was booked on a preliminary charge of first-degree murder. He is being held at Johnson County jail.
"We're investigating it as a hate crime. We're investigating it as a murder," Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass said at a news conference shortly after the shootings.
The shootings, which occurred just before the Jewish holiday of Passover, rocked an otherwise peaceful community.
"Today, on the eve of Pesach, we are left to contemplate how we must continue our work building a world in which all people are free to live their lives without the threat of terror," Michael Siegal, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, said in an emailed statement to the Associated Press.
A Florida family killed a home intruder trying to break into their house on Monday.
The Winter Haven family woke early in the morning to the sound of someone trying to get in. Luis Pena, the father, fired a warning shot.
"[A resident] fired a warning shot above the door," Police Chief Gary Hester told My Fox Tampa. "That warning shot did not deter the intruder. The intruder didn't retreat."
All three family members appeared armed and ready to meet the would-be robber, identified by police as Mitchell Large, in the kitchen.
"It appears at least two of the family members fired in defense of themselves and their property," said Hester.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Large charged at the elder Pena, who fired the deadly shot into his torso.
Large was dead when police arrived.
The family’s daughter was also at home but wasn’t a part of the incident.
Large was unarmed, officers say, but that doesn’t mean that Pena was in the wrong for firing. Police spokeswoman Jamie Brown said that charges will probably not be filed against Pena.
"Whether he was armed or not armed, when he failed to retreat they certainly had a right, if it turns out to be this way, would have a right ... to defend themselves," Hester told WTSP.
The 40-year-old intruder had a history of assault and domestic violence.
The Penas’ surprised neighbors described the area as peaceful.
"That's the way that I would react. I'd hate to do that; I'd hate to shoot anybody. But if it comes to me or them, I would," said Denver Kemp, one of the Penas' neighbors. "I hate that he died, but you got to take a stand against this people that's doing this stuff."
Federal Air Marshal Service director Robert Bray is stepping down after a probe revealed his involvement in an operation to acquire guns for officials’ personal use.
FoxNews reports that Bray is retiring and will leave his post in June. His home was raided in December in connection with the investigation, and at least one gun was apprehended.
Several other officials were also involved in the operation, a Department of Homeland Security investigation reveals.
Federal Air Marshal supervisor Danny Poulos is accused of using the agency’s federal firearms license, as well as his connection to gun manufacturer Sig Sauer, to get discounted and free firearms. He then gave them out to higher-ups in the agency.
Whistleblowers blew the scandal open, reports FoxNews, which obtained the documents containing the accusations and interviewed people involved.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also believed to be investigating.
A TSA spokesman commented, “We are aware of the allegations and we are looking into them." He said he was not aware of the DHS or ATF’s involvement.
North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson, chairman of the House Homeland Security transportation security subcommittee, expressed his “grave concern” about the claims in a letter to TSA head John Pistole, particularly since Congress was not made aware of the investigation.
"I am extremely concerned about recent allegations of unethical behavior involving firearms within the Federal Air Marshal Service, dating as far back as 2010," Hudson told FoxNews.com.
"The alleged behavior is unbecoming of any official entrusted with the duty to protect and serve the American public. I am outraged at the apparent attempt by TSA and the Federal Air Marshal Service to hide this from Congress. TSA needs to come forward and provide clear and complete answers so that we can conduct a thorough and open review of these alleged activities on behalf of the American people.”
A 2-year-old boy was shot and killed while playing in the front yard of his Indiana home. Police believe the tragedy may have been the unintended result of gang violence about a block from the family’s house.
John Swoeveland Jr. was playing with his 7-year-old sister outside the family’s South Bend home when he was struck by a bullet. Two rival groups had begun to fight around 6 p.m. Wednesday when the argument escalated to a gunfight, the Associated Press reports. One group was running west down the block away from the other and towards the toddler when the errant bullet struck, police believe.
Neighbor Donnie Price said his 26-year-old daughter Lola was playing with the children at the time. When he heard the 7-year-old yelling, he thought his daughter was having a seizure.
"The mom, when she saw the blood along the edge of the Pampers when she pulled his shirt up, that's when she saw the gunshot wound," Price said.
Lola Price thought the shooting was a drive-by.
"It was just a flash. It happened real quickly," said Lola Price. "It scared me."
Emergency workers soon arrived on the scene, but the child had already died. His death was ruled a homicide.
Neighborhood residents consider the area safe and routinely let their children play outside.
"We're just going to have to figure out something to do with the kids," said neighbor and mother-of-three Sheila King Martinez.
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the shooting, and no one has been taken into custody.
As they mourn their loss, the family is hoping that someone will come forward with information about the shooter.
"I just hope anyone and everyone out there who saw anything, please let the authorities know. Help us bring them to justice,” Jullianne Kinder, Swoeveland’s aunt, told WSBT.
"He was only two-years-old. He had his whole life ahead of him. He loved life,” she said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies accidentally shot and killed John Winkler, whom they mistook for a man holding other people hostage on Monday night.
In reality, Winkler was one three hostages being held in a West Hollywood, Calif. apartment, reports The Los Angeles Times.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released a statement that said, “The apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out. He was covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck."
"Simultaneously, Winkler ran out of the door, lunging at the back of the fleeing victim. Both ran directly at the deputies.”
Los Angeles County Deputies shot Winkler three times in the chest and wounded the second hostage in the leg. Winkler was taken to a hospital where he died, but the second hostage survived.
Interim Los Angeles County Sheriff John Scott claimed that Winkler’s black shirt matched the description of the suspect, Alexander McDonald.
After shooting Winkler and the second hostage, deputies entered the apartment and found McDonald allegedly trying to choke a third hostage. Deputies did not shoot McDonald, but took him into custody, noted KTLA.
Even though it was the Los Angeles County Deputies who killed Winkler, it is McDonald who has been charged with his death. McDonald is charged with murder, attempted murder and torture.