Police: Gunman who killed 3 was ‘seeking out’ officers
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A former Marine dressed in black and carrying extra ammunition set out to ambush police in Baton Rouge, authorities said Monday, a day after three law enforcement officers were killed in the attack.
The gunman’s “movements, his direction, his attention was on police officers,” state police Col. Mike Edmonson said. He would not elaborate but said the shooter was definitely “seeking out” police.
Three other officers were wounded Sunday, one critically. The gunman was identified as Gavin Long of Kansas City, Missouri, who was black. He turned 29 on the day of the ambush and was killed in a gunbattle with police.
In online posts, a man using an alias of Long’s said protests alone do not work, and that people must fight back after the deaths of black men at the hands of police.
Documents show that Long sought to change his name last year to Cosmo Setepenra. A website using that name links to online books about nutrition, self-awareness and empowerment. The man describes himself as a “freedom strategist, mental game coach, nutritionist, author and spiritual advisor.”
Bloodshed fills headlines, confronting public with anxiety
Orlando. Istanbul. Dallas. Nice. And now, again, Baton Rouge. Ever since a gunman opened fire on Florida nightclub goers five weeks ago, killing 49, we’ve been buffeted by images of bloodshed.
The scenes of the violence are often far away and disconnected from one another. But all too often, the victims — whether they’re patrolling the streets or out for an evening of fireworks — remind us of ourselves, our families, our neighbors. To many people, the barrage has started to feel inescapable. As non-stop news coverage and social media confront people with video of conflict and death, the images have begun to exact a collective toll of exhaustion and anxiety.
“The world is crazy right now. It is complete chaos,” Lauren Rose, sister-in-law of Montrell Jackson, one of the three police officers slain in Louisiana, said Monday. “And it all needs to stop, everything. We all need peace.”
Such feelings reach far beyond Baton Rouge, which has been rocked since the July 5 killing of Alton Sterling, the first of two recent, highly publicized shootings of black men by police officers. It doesn’t matter if there is no connection between those shootings and last week’s fatal truck rampage in France. Together, they contribute to a sense of turmoil that seems beyond easy resolution.
“It’s scary but yet I don’t know how, like in Nice and stuff, how that can be prevented,” Terri Smith, a legal secretary from Richfield, Minnesota, said Monday. “You get tired of it after a while, I mean, and you’re kind of helpless.”
Tumult at GOP convention over effort to stop Trump
CLEVELAND (AP) — Republicans cast Donald Trump as the right man for turbulent times as they opened their presidential convention Monday against a backdrop of unsettling summer violence and deep discontent within their own party.
Tumult broke out on the convention floor after party officials adopted rules by a shouted voice vote, a move aimed at blunting anti-Trump forces seeking to derail the presumptive nominee. Delegates erupted in competing chants in a televised dispute Republican leaders had hoped to avoid.
“I have no idea what’s going on right now. This is surreal,” said Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who had helped lead the efforts to force a state-by-state roll call vote on the rules.
Republican leaders hope the convention centers instead on the glue that does unite the party’s factions: disdain for Hillary Clinton. Convention speakers planned to relentlessly paint the presumptive Democratic nominee as entrenched in a system that fails to keep Americans safe.
While safety and security was the focus of Monday’s opening session, Trump was also trying to shore up Republican unity, in part by assuring party leaders and voters alike that there’s a kinder, gentler side to what many see as merely a brash businessman. Trump’s family is playing a starring role, beginning Monday with an evening speech by his wife, Melania Trump, who has kept a low profile throughout the campaign.
Clinton condemns shooting of Baton Rouge officers
CINCINNATI (AP) — Hillary Clinton on Monday called for an end to the “madness” after the death of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, condemning a series of recent shootings involving police and vowing to hold those who kill police officers legally accountable.
“They represent the rule of law itself, if you take aim at that and at them you take aim at all of us,” Clinton told civil rights activists at the annual convention of the NAACP. “There can be no justification, no looking the other way.”
The Democratic presidential candidate condemned the killing of three Louisiana law enforcement officers, the latest in a recent string of shootings involving black men in Louisiana and Minnesota and police officers in Dallas. She said anyone who kills a police officer or acts as an accomplice must be held accountable.
“We have difficult, painful, essential work ahead of us to repair the bonds between our police and our communities and between and among each other,” she said.
A former Marine ambushed police in Baton Rouge on Sunday, killing three law enforcement officers in the attack. Three other officers were wounded, one critically. The shooting, the fourth high-profile deadly encounter involving police over the past two weeks, added to the tensions across the country between the black community and police.
AP FACT CHECK: No proof of shooting motive as Trump claims
A key argument Donald Trump makes in his presidential run is that he will keep America safe, both by fighting terrorism overseas and restoring law and order back home in the wake of a series of shootings against police. On Monday, Trump tied the two issues together, suggesting that the shooter in the latest police killing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday was motivated by “radical Islam.”
But Trump’s comment Monday during an interview on “Fox & Friends,” got out far ahead of what law-enforcement and security authorities have said about what may have motivated the man who shot and killed two police officers and one sheriff’s deputy. Early indications are that he had no known ties to any radical Islamic group.
A look at what Trump said in the interview and what’s known about the shooting so far:
TRUMP: “I mean, you look at so many different fronts, it’s, you know, radical Islam, and by the way, he seems to be a member of that group also, seems to be something going on there, but it’s very sad what’s happening.”
THE FACTS: The motive of shooter black Marine veteran Gavin Long is not yet known, although comments and videos he’s posted online shed some light on his thinking.
AP Exclusive: Confidential text eases Iran nuke constraints
VIENNA (AP) — Key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program imposed under an internationally negotiated deal will start to ease years before the 15-year accord expires, advancing Tehran’s ability to build a bomb even before the end the pact, according to a document obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
The document is the only text linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public, although U.S. officials say members of Congress have been able to see it. It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.
The diplomat who shared the document with the AP described it as an add-on agreement to the nuclear deal. But while formally separate from that accord, he said that it was in effect an integral part of the deal and had been approved by the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the six powers that negotiated the deal with Tehran.
Details published earlier outline most restraints on Iran’s nuclear program meant to reduce the threat that Tehran will turn nuclear activities it says are peaceful to making weapons.
But while some of the constraints extend for 15 years, documents in the public domain are short on details of what happens with Iran’s most proliferation-prone nuclear activity — its uranium enrichment — beyond the first 10 years of the agreement.
Tensions with West rise as Turkey continues purge
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The purging of thousands of alleged plotters of a failed coup raised tensions Monday between Turkey and the West, with U.S. and European officials urging restraint, while Ankara insisted Washington extradite an exile accused of orchestrating the plot.
Authorities have fired nearly 9,000 police officers, bureaucrats and others, while detaining thousands more alleged to have been involved in Friday night’s attempted coup, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Former air force commander Akin Ozturk, alleged to be the ringleader of the uprising, was put under arrest following questioning by a magistrate along with 25 other suspects, the news agency said. Ozturk, who has denied involvement and insisted he had tried to suppress the rebellion, appeared in video from Turkish TV looking bruised with a bandage over his ear.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to rule out bringing back the death penalty, telling broadcaster CNN in an interview via a government translator, “There is a clear crime of treason.” He added that it would be up to parliament to decide.
Anadolu said 8,777 employees attached to the Interior Ministry were dismissed, including 30 governors, 52 civil service inspectors and 16 legal advisers. Other media reports said police, military police and members of the coast guard also were removed from duty.
Russia’s participation in Rio uncertain after doping report
A scathing report outlining a state-sanctioned doping system in Russia prompted immediate calls for the nation’s entire team to be sidelined from the Summer Games, raising the possibility that the Olympics could go on without a sports superpower for the first time since the 1980s.
The investigation released Monday confirmed a scheme run out of the anti-doping lab in Moscow that ensnared 28 summer and winter sports, from track to snowboarding to table tennis. It lasted at least four years and involved at least 312 positive tests that went unreported at the behest of higher-ups in the country’s sports ministry.
“A mind-blowing level of corruption within both Russian sport and government,” said Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
The World Anti-Doping Agency swiftly called for the International Olympic Committee to consider a full ban of the Russian team from the Summer Olympics, which start Aug. 5 in Rio de Janiero. IOC president Thomas Bach said the committee wouldn’t hesitate to apply the toughest sanctions available.
The IOC executive board will meet Tuesday to begin sorting through options.
French authorities paint complex picture of attacker
PARIS (AP) — Authorities investigating the truck driver who killed 84 people in a Bastille Day attack painted a complex picture Monday of a man who did not seem devout but had recently become interested in jihadi violence and researched past attacks in France and the United States, including one on a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, who oversees terrorism investigations, said by all accounts Mohamed Lahouaiyej Bouhlel drank, ate pork and had an “unbridled sex life.” But his computer and phone showed online searches relating to IS and other jihadi groups.
“A search of his computer illustrates a clear … and recent interest in radical jihadism,” Molins said, adding that Bouhlel had recently grown a beard and told people it was for religious reasons. While officials have said the attack was obviously premeditated, they have not found any evidence that Bouhlel had coordinated with an extremist network.
Internet searches on Bouhlel’s computer included Islamic propaganda chants, the terms “horrible deadly accidents,” and the recent attacks against the gay nightclub in Orlando, police officers in Dallas, and the killing of two police officials in Magnanville, outside of Paris.
One witness told authorities that Bouhlel seemed accustomed to looking at decapitation videos, Molins said.
Middle-class Venezuelans liquidate savings to stockpile food
SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (AP) — Tebie Gonzalez and Ramiro Ramirez still have their sleek apartment, a fridge covered with souvenir magnets from vacations aboard, and closets full of name brand clothes. But they feel hunger drawing close.
So when the Venezuelan government opened the long-closed border with Colombia this weekend, the couple decided to drain what remained of the savings they put away before the country spun into economic crisis and stocked up on food. They left their two young sons with relatives and joined more than 100,000 other Venezuelans trudging across what Colombian officials are calling a “humanitarian corridor” to buy as many basic goods as possible.
“This is money we had been saving for an emergency, and this is an emergency,” Ramirez said. “It’s scary to spend it, but we’re finding less food each day and we need to prepare for what’s coming.”
Gonzalez, 36, earns several times the minimum wage with her job as a sales manager for a chain of furniture stores in the western mountain town of San Cristobal. But lately, her salary is no match for Venezuela’s 700-percent inflation. Ramirez’s auto parts shop went bust after President Nicolas Maduro closed the border with Colombia a year ago, citing uncontrolled smuggling, and cut off the region’s best avenue for imported goods.
The couple stopped eating out this year, abandoned plans to buy a house and put a “for sale” sign on their second car. There is no more sugar for coffee, no more butter for bread and no more infant formula for their 1-year-old son.