Investigators casting wide net in club shooting probe
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Shot in the leg and lying in a mix of blood and water on a bathroom floor, Patience Carter heard gunman Omar Mateen dial 911 from just a few feet away. The American-born son of an Afghan immigrant, Mateen told the person on the other end he wanted America to stop bombing his country, she recalled.
“We knew what his motive was. He wasn’t going to stop killing people until he was killed,” she said Tuesday during a riveting hospital news conference.
Now, investigators are trying to figure out what led to Mateen’s murderous rampage in a gay dance club where patrons say they knew him as just another regular who danced and sometimes tried to pick up men.
A number of possible explanations and motives for the bloodbath have emerged, with the Muslim Mateen professing allegiance to the Islamic State group in a 911 call during the attack, his ex-wife saying he was mentally ill and his father suggesting he was driven by hatred of gays.
The investigation into an attack that left Mateen and 49 victims dead includes a look at his current spouse. An official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation said authorities believe Mateen’s wife knew about the plot ahead of time, but they are reluctant to charge her on that basis alone.
Details emerge about nightclub shooter’s wife
RODEO, California (AP) — She was a sweet, pretty California girl with Palestinian roots who left an arranged marriage only to find love with a man who committed the worst mass shooting in modern U.S history.
Little by little, details have begun to emerge about 30-year-old Noor Zahi Salman, who grew up in the small suburb of Rodeo, California, tucked in the dry hills near the oil refineries 25 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Her romance with Omar Mateen — security guard, bodybuilder and devout Muslim — began online, according to a neighbor, and they were married on Sept. 29, 2011, near her hometown, according to public records. The couple has a 3-year-old son.
Early Sunday, the 29-year-old Mateen opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, leaving 49 people dead and 53 wounded.
Authorities believe Mateen’s wife knew about the plot ahead of time, said an official who was briefed on the progress of the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation. The official said investigators are reluctant to charge her only on the basis of possible advance knowledge of her husband’s plans.
In Afghan-American community, attack elicits horror, sorrow
FREMONT, Calif. (AP) — In this Northern California city where people can buy prayer flags at the dollar store, fresh-baked Afghan bread at corner markets and feast on beef kabobs in “little Kabul’s” many restaurants, Afghan-Americans are angry.
Fremont, about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco, is a bedroom city of 220,000 people with a thriving waterpark, leafy streets and a public lake. It is also home to the largest population of Afghan-Americans in the country.
With news that Omar Mateen killed 49 people at an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub and was born to Afghan immigrant parents, those in the community are expressing horror, sorrow and disbelief that one of their own could commit the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“Every single Afghan feels really horrible because so many innocent people were killed by a mad guy,” said Waheed Momand, president of the Afghan Coalition, the largest nonprofit advocating for Afghan people in the U.S.
It was a tragedy that brought Momand back 15 years, when the community realized the Sept. 11 terror attacks were orchestrated by al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
10 Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
1. INVESTIGATORS CAST WIDE NET IN CLUB SHOOTING PROBE
Authorities are trying to figure out what led to Omar Mateen’s murderous rampage in an Orlando gay dance club where patrons say they knew him as a regular who danced and sometimes tried to pick up men.
2. WHO WAS MATEEN’S WIFE
Noor Zahi Salman was a sweet, pretty California girl with Palestinian roots who left an arranged marriage only to find love with a man who committed the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Authorities search for boy dragged into water by gator
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Authorities were searching early Wednesday for a 2-year-old boy who was dragged into the water by an alligator near Disney’s upscale Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
The family of five from Nebraska was on vacation and wading in a lake Tuesday evening when the attack happened, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told a news conference. The father tried to rescue his son but was unsuccessful, Demings said.
More than 50 law enforcement personnel were searching the Seven Seas Lagoon along with an alligator tracker and two marine units and would continue searching through the night, Demings said.
“We’re going to hope for the best in these circumstances,” Demings said.
The attack happened in an area of the Seven Seas Lagoon where “no swimming” signs were posted, Demings said. The alligator was estimated to be 4 to 7 feet long, but its exact size was not known, Demings said.
Beat the press: Trump’s contempt for media is calculated
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s favorite nickname for the news media is the “dishonest press.” He swaps in “disgusting press” from time to time.
And sometimes, he puts it all together: “disgusting, dishonest human beings.”
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has a whole menu of takedowns for individual reporters and news organizations. In recent weeks, he’s used his microphone and his tweets to label them “third-rate,” ”not nice,” ”disgraceful,” ”phony,” ”low-life,” ”very unprofessional” and “bad people.” Or, for extra emphasis in a tweet, “BAD.”
He’s also been quick to yank or withhold credentials from news organizations whose coverage he doesn’t like — most recently, The Washington Post.
Trump seems to be perpetually mad at the press, but there’s a method to his mad-ness.
UN: Coffee no longer deemed possible carcinogen
LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization’s research arm has downgraded its classification of coffee as a possible carcinogen, declaring there isn’t enough proof to show a link to cancer.
But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, also announced in a report published on Wednesday that drinking “very hot” beverages of any kind could potentially raise the cancer risk, and it classified them as “probably carcinogenic” to humans.
In particular, it cited countries including China, Iran and those in South America, where teas such as the bitter herbal infusion mate are traditionally drunk at extremely high temperatures — above 65 or 70 degrees Celsius (150 or 160 Fahrenheit) — considerably hotter than drinks would normally be served in cafes across North America and Europe.
Experts convened by the Lyon-based IARC concluded that there was inadequate evidence to suggest coffee might cause cancer, according to a letter published in the Lancet Oncology.
“I’m not really sure why coffee was in a higher category in the first place,” said Owen Yang, an epidemiologist at Oxford University who has previously studied the possible link between coffee and cancer. He was not part of the IARC expert group. “The best evidence available suggests that coffee does not raise the cancer risk,” he said.
South China Sea: China willing to pay the price of defiance
BEIJING (AP) — Even before a ruling, China may have lost by refusing to cooperate with a U.N. arbitration tribunal over its South China Sea claims. Yet Beijing seems prepared to absorb the cost to its reputation, confident that in terms of territory and resources, it won’t lose a thing.
Despite pressure from Washington and elsewhere, China appears determined to avoid granting any hint of legitimacy to a process that might challenge its claim to ownership of virtually the entire South China Sea, including its islands, reefs, fish stocks and potentially rich reserves of oil and gas.
The collateral cost, analysts say: harm to global efforts to resolve similar territorial disputes through legal means. By its actions, China is demonstrating that countries can reject such measures whenever they conflict with their interests.
The case before The Hague tribunal, filed by the Philippines, centers on the applicability of China’s vaguely drawn “nine-dash line” South China Sea boundary under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS. A decision is expected sometime within the next several weeks, but since there is no enforcement mechanism, its potential impact is unclear.
Along with China and the Philippines, four other governments — Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam — also claim islands and reefs falling within the nine-dash line, while Indonesia has expressed concern about the Chinese boundary overlapping with its exclusive economic zone.
Origin of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ questioned at copyright trial
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The opening to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” one of rock ‘n’ roll’s best-known ballads, was played for jurors Tuesday in a case brought by the estate of a dead musician that claims it was stolen by the men credited with creating it.
A lawyer for the estate trustee of the late Randy Wolfe, also known as Randy California, claimed the British rockers lifted the passage from the instrumental tune “Taurus,” recorded by his band Spirit, and infringed on the songwriter’s copyright.
“This was a song that Randy California had written for the love of his life, Robin. That was her sign, Taurus,” said attorney Francis Malofiy. “Little did anyone know it would fall into the hands of Jimmy Page and become the intro to ‘Stairway to Heaven.'”
An attorney for guitarist Page and singer Robert Plant told the eight-person jury during opening statements in Los Angeles federal court that the chord progression in Wolfe’s song is common and found in songs dating to the 1600s and that other similarities also exist.
“Do re mi appears in both songs,” said attorney Peter Anderson, who also claims Wolfe’s estate doesn’t own the copyright to “Taurus.”
After 5 games of Finals, Love still seeking his rhythm
CLEVELAND (AP) — Numbers may not necessarily lie, though they can deceive.
On one hand, Cleveland’s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love combined for 84 points in Game 5 of the NBA Finals — the triumvirate’s highest such total this postseason.
Of course, Love scored two of them. Irving and James, they each had 41.
If Cleveland is to complete an NBA Finals comeback unlike any other — the Cavaliers pushed the series to Game 6 with a win at Golden State on Monday night — then getting something out of Love might be a huge help. For as great as James and Irving usually are, to expect more Game 5-type performances from them again is asking a ton.
So if Love lightens their load, as he often has in their two seasons together, Cleveland’s less-than-great odds in this series figure to markedly improve.