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Fort Lauderdale shooting: FBI agent who interrogated Saddam leads probe

George Piro investigates airport shooting in which five people died, as suspect Esteban Santiago revealed to be Iraq veteran who was known to authorities

The FBI agent who interrogated Saddam Hussein is leading the investigation into the Florida airport shooting in which five people were killed on Friday. An Iraq war veteran has been charged over the incident.

George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBIs Miami field office, was sole interrogator of the former Iraqi leader, beginning in January 2004.

In previous interviews, Piro has said Saddam did not know his true identity calling him Mr George and that he posed as a high-level envoy who answered directly to President George W Bush.

Now Piro, a native of Beirut who is fluent in Arabic and Assyrian, is in charge of the FBI investigation into the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that left five people dead and six wounded.

Federal prosecutors have charged Esteban Santiago, 26, with airport violence and firearms offenses that could bring the death penalty if he is convicted.

Since Friday, Piro has been careful to say no evidence linking Santiago to terrorism has been found but such connections have also not been ruled out.

Its way too early in the investigation, he said on Saturday. Were looking over all of his social media, things like that. Its giving us a picture of the individual but its way too early for us to rule out anything.

Were pursuing all angles on what prompted him to carry out this horrific attack.

On Saturday, officials Florida and Alaska detailed Santiagos extensive contacts with law enforcement relating to mental health issues.

Santiagos brother, Bryan Santiago, told the Associated Press: The FBI failed there … were not talking about someone who emerged from anonymity to do something like this.

The federal government already knew about this for months, they had been evaluating him for a while, but they didnt do anything.

Announcing the charges on Saturday, Piro said his thoughts were with the victims and their families.

I want to ensure these families that law enforcement is working tirelessly in order to ensure justice is served, he said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/08/fort-lauderdale-airport-shooting-fbi-agent-saddam-hussein


Body found at home of South Carolina sex offender as kidnap details emerge

Kala Brown, 30, saw boyfriend Charles Carver shot and killed, and authorities are trying to make sure we dont have a serial killer on our hands

Authorities found a dead body late on Friday on the South Carolina property where a missing woman was discovered chained up like a dog, the coroner said, as horrific details emerged of the kidnapped womans ordeal.

Kala Brown, 30, had gone to the rural property of Todd Christopher Kohlhepp, a 45-year-old registered sex offender, for a cleaning job around 31 August, accompanied by her boyfriend, a family friend explained to the Associated Press on Friday.

They were going to do some work, help cleaning up the property. And he pulled out a gun and took them hostage, said her friend, Daniel Herren, after visiting Brown in hospital.

Brown saw her boyfriend, Charles Carver, 32, get shot and killed, prosecutor Barry Barnette said on Friday. Authorities did not identify the killed victim.

Authorities are trying to make sure that we dont have a serial killer on our hands, said the Spartanburg County sheriff, Chuck Wright.

Wright described how officers discovered Brown when they heard banging as they searched the 100-acre property near Woodruff. Cellphone and computer data from Brown and Carver pointed them to Kohlhepps property.

Family and friends reported the couple missing in early September, after Carvers mother grew concerned about her sons several days of silence. She asked the building manager to check the couples apartment, where searchers found Browns pet pomeranian, along with her glasses and medication, making her family believe she had not intended to leave.

Police found her on Thursday in a container chained up like a dog, Wright said. The cargo container was just 30ft by 15ft wide.

Its tragic that this person was being treated like that, said Wright.

For two months, Brown had been kept in a padlocked storage box, with a chain around her neck.

He never took the chain off of her, but he was taking her around, let her get, not so much exercise, but let her walk around some, Herren said on Friday. It didnt sound like it was every day. It was kind of sporadic.

Every evening she was fed around 6pm, he said.

Brown didnt tell us exactly what she was eating. But from what I gathered, it could have been fast food, Herren said. It wasnt like he was keeping her alive on bread and water. He was in a weird, sick kind of way, being, I guess, kind of humane, as far as feeding her.

Brown told police up to four dead bodies could be on the property. Authorities found a cache of guns and weapons on the property, which Kohlhepp has owned for two years.

Kohlhepp spent about 14 years in jail for a 1986 crime in which he kidnapped and raped a 14-year-old girl when he was 15. He has been listed on South Carolinas sexual offender list since at least 2012.

On Friday, he appeared in the Spartanburg County jail on a kidnapping charge. He was refused bail. Barnette described him as a very, very dangerous man and suggested a murder charge was likely, reported the Post and Courier. Members of Carvers family attended the court hearing.

In recent years, Kohlhepp has worked as a real estate agent, and the company website described his multiple degrees and love of flying planes and driving fast cars, according to the paper. The staff page of the realty website could not be accessed on Saturday.

In a bizarre twist, comments and posts about life updates continued to appear from Carvers Facebook account after his disappearance, including private messaging to friends that horrified those close to him.

His Facebook posts have been hacked. Its not him posting, his best friend, Lindsey Mayson, told the Daily Beast last month.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/05/body-found-south-carolina-sex-offender-todd-kohlhepp


Man rescued at sea as mother presumed dead was suspect in grandfather’s killing

Nathan Carman, saved after he said he spent a week adrift when boat sunk, said he had nothing to do with grandfathers death and did all he could to find mother

A 22-year-old man rescued from a life raft after a fishing trip that left his mother missing and presumed dead had been a suspect in the still unsolved 2013 killing of his rich grandfather, adding to the multitude of questions swirling around him and what happened at sea.

Nathan Carman was picked up by a freighter on Sunday, 100 miles off the Massachusetts coast, after what he said was a week adrift that began when his 31ft aluminum fishing boat inexplicably sank during a mother-and-son outing.

Coast Guard officials interviewed Carman, and police searched his home in Vermont as part of an investigation into the ill-fated trip. He has not been charged with anything.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday, he said he had absolutely nothing to do with his grandfathers killing and did everything he could to find his mother, 54-year-old Linda Carman, of Middletown, Connecticut, as their boat went down. He said he blew a whistle and called out frantically for her for hours.

I was yelling, Mom! Mom! Carman said. He added: I loved my mother and my mother loved me.

According to court documents, Carman came under suspicion in the killing three years ago of his maternal grandfather, 87-year-old John Chakalos, a wealthy real estate developer who was found shot to death in his Windsor, Connecticut, home.

A 2014 search warrant obtained by the AP said that Carman was the last person known to have seen Chakalos alive; that Carman had bought a rifle consistent with the one used in the crime; and that he discarded his hard drive and GPS unit used around the time of the shooting.

Carman was never charged. According to court papers, police submitted an arrest warrant to a prosecutor, but it was returned unsigned with a request for more information.

In his will, Chakalos left an estate worth more than $42m to his four adult daughters, including Carmans mother.

Windsor police Capt Thomas LePore said on Wednesday that the case is still open and that Carman remains a person of interest.

My grandfather was like a father to me, and I was like a son to him, Carman told the AP. He was the closest person in the world to me, and I loved him and he loved me, and I had absolutely nothing to do with his death.

In the course of investigating the killing, authorities said in court papers that they learned from family members that Carman had a history of violence as a child, including one incident in which he allegedly held another child hostage with a knife. The documents also said Carman had several alarming episodes while he was a high school student, although no details of those incidents were given.

Authorities would not discuss the investigation into the boating trip.

Mother and son set off from a marina in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, on 17 September, authorities said. Carman told the AP that their boat sank in a matter of minutes around noon the next day after he heard a funny noise in the engine compartment and saw water pouring in.

He said he saw his mother in the cockpit and then saw her pulling in the fishing lines. He said he grabbed three bags containing food, flares and life jackets. But when he looked back, his mother was no longer there, he said.

One minute I was standing on the deck, the next minute I was in the water, he said.

Carman said the life raft self-inflated, and he swam to it, about 15-20ft away, and began calling for his mother.

On Monday, authorities searched Carmans home in Vernon, Vermont, and seized a modem, a SIM card and a letter. Their search warrant indicated investigators think that Carman was handling some boat motor repairs himself and that the vessel might not have been seaworthy.

The investigation has also revealed that Nathan had intended to go fishing further off-shore in a different location than what were his mothers intentions and understanding, the warrant said.

Family members have said Carman has Aspergers syndrome, a form of autism that can be characterized by social awkwardness and repetitive behavior. Experts say people with Aspergers are no more likely than others to commit violent crimes.

His attorney, Hubert Santos, said that Carman cooperated fully with the Coast Guard and that his mothers death was a tragic accident.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/28/nathan-carman-rescued-sea-mother-missing-grandfather-killed


Trump tells controversial group Clinton immigration plan will ‘abolish borders’

Trump speaks to group dedicated to people killed by undocumented migrants at an event closed to press, as Vice says one of its reporters arrested

After reversing course a day earlier on false claims about Barack Obamas birth, Donald Trump produced a familiar stance on another favourite theme on Saturday, telling an audience in Texas he would save American lives by securing the border.

Our nation should not accept one lost American life because our country failed to enforce its laws, the Republican presidential candidate said. This has to end. It will end if I become president, I promise you.

The event at which Trump spoke, in Houston, was closed to press. Vice News reported that one of its journalists was arrested for alleged trespassing at the hotel while inquiring about press access.

Earlier, Trumps standing on national security and foreign policy was attacked by the former defense secretary Robert Gates, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

At the lunchtime event, though, the Republican nominee concentrated on domestic policy, denouncing so-called sanctuary cities places that do not cooperate with all federal immigration enforcement and describing Hillary Clintons plan for comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, as an amnesty that would mean a virtual end to immigration enforcement in the United States of America.

Trump claimed his Democratic rival was effectively proposing to abolish the borders around the country that she is supposed to be representing.

He was speaking at a luncheon in a Houston hotel held for the Remembrance Project, which bills itself as a voice for victims killed by illegal aliens. The group was founded by Maria Espinoza, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant father, in 2009. Its flagship initiative is The Stolen Lives Quilt, which depicts Americans killed by undocumented immigrants.

A subdued Trump spoke for about 15 minutes, then invited family members of victims, who wore T-shirts bearing names and images of their killed relatives, to tell their stories on stage.

The organisation has enjoyed a boost in attention and momentum during this election thanks to Trumps inflammatory comments about migrants and his contention that unauthorised immigration presents not only an economic but also a safety threat to America.

In his speech at the Republican national convention last July, the candidate named several people allegedly killed by undocumented immigrants, including Kate Steinle, whose shooting death on a San Francisco pier last year became a cause clbre for conservatives given that citys status as a sanctuary city.

Ive met many incredible people during this campaign but nothing has moved me more deeply than the time I have spent with the families of the Remembrance Project, Trump said on Saturday.

After initially inviting applications from members of the media to attend, the Project said on Friday that it was now a private event. It was livestreamed on YouTube.

Asked about a Vice report of one of its staff being arrested, a Houston police department spokesman confirmed that an adult male was arrested for trespassing at the event. According to police, hotel management asked them to arrest the 27-year-old for trespassing when he entered the hotel for a second time and refused to leave, shortly after complying with a prior request to exit.

According to the Vice report, Alex Thompson entered the lobby of the Omni to ask members of Trumps communications staff whether a final decision on access had been made.

Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said the campaign was not involved in this incident or aware of the details surrounding it.

The event organizers were responsible for todays media presence and requested the campaign limit attendance to the traveling pool. The campaign had no staff presence at check-in for guests or media and therefore has no further knowledge of what occurred.

A man who answered the phone at the hotel said no one was available this weekend to discuss the arrest. In March, police arrested a CBS News journalist who was covering a Trump rally in Chicago when scuffles broke out amid protests. He was accused of resisting arrest but all charges were dropped.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/17/donald-trump-immigration-hillary-clinton-remembrance-project


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