1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar


Mona Rodriguez holds her 12-year-old son, J Anthony Hernandez, during a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Texas church attack leaves 26 dead, small community reeling

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 6th, 2017

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — A gunman dressed in black tactical-style gear and armed with an assault rifle opened fire inside a small South Texas church, killing 26 people in an attack that claimed tight-knit neighbours and multiple family members ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old.

Once the shooting started Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, there was likely “no way” for congregants to escape, said Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. Officials said about 20 others were wounded.

“He just walked down the centre aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out,” said Tackitt, who said the gunman also carried a handgun but that he didn’t know if it was fired. Tackitt described the scene as “terrible.”

“It’s unbelievable to see children, men and women, laying there. Defenceless people,” he said.

Authorities didn’t identify the attacker during a news conference Sunday night. But two other officials — one a U.S. official and one in law enforcement — identified him as Devin Kelley. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.

The U.S. official said Kelley lived in a San Antonio suburb and didn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups. Investigators were looking at social media posts Kelley made in the days before the attack, including one that appeared to show an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon.

Kelley received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force for assaulting his spouse and child, and was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement after a 2012 court-martial. Kelley served in Logistics Readiness at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his 2014 discharge, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

At the news conference, the attacker was described only as a white man in his 20s who was wearing black tactical gear and a ballistic vest when he pulled into a gas station across from the church, about 30 miles (48.28 kilometres) southeast of San Antonio, around 11:20 a.m.

The gunman crossed the street and started firing the rifle at the church, said Freeman Martin, a regional director of the Texas Department of Safety, then continued firing after entering the white wood-frame building, where an 11 a.m. service was scheduled.

As he left, the shooter was confronted by an armed resident who “grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect,” Martin said. A short time later, the suspect was found dead in his vehicle at the county line.

Federal agents, including ATF investigators and the FBI’s evidence collection team, swarmed the small rural community of just hundreds of residents.

Several weapons were found inside the vehicle and Martin said it was unclear if the attacker died of a self-inflicted wound or if he was shot by the resident who confronted him. He said investigators weren’t ready to discuss a possible motive.

Martin said 23 of the dead were found in the church, two were found outside and one died after being taken to a hospital.

The man who confronted Kelley had help from another local resident, Johnnie Langendorff, who told KSAT TV that he was driving past the church as the shooting happened. He didn’t identify the armed resident but said the man exchanged gunfire with the gunman, then asked to get in Langendorff’s truck and the pair followed as the gunman drove away.

Langendorff said the gunman eventually lost control of his vehicle and crashed. He said the other man walked up to the vehicle with his gun drawn and the suspect did not move. He stayed there for at least five minutes, until police arrived.

“I was strictly just acting on what’s the right thing to do,” Langendorff said.

Among those killed was the church pastor’s 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle Pomeroy. Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, were both out of town when the attack occurred, Sherri Pomeroy wrote in a text message.

“We lost our 14-year-old daughter today and many friends,” she wrote. “Neither of us has made it back into town yet to personally see the devastation. I am at the charlotte airport trying to get home as soon as I can.”


Church member Nick Uhlig, 34, who wasn’t at Sunday’s service, told the AP that his cousin, who was 8 months pregnant, and her in-laws were among those killed. He later told the Houston Chronicle that three of his cousin’s children also were slain.

President Donald Trump, who was in Japan, called the shooting an “act of evil,” later calling the gunman “a very deranged individual.”

Sunday evening, two sheriff’s vans were parked outside the gate of a cattle fence surrounding the address listed for Kelley on the rural, western outskirts of New Braunfels, north of San Antonio.

Ryan Albers, 16, who lives across the road, said he heard intensifying gunfire coming from that direction in recent days.

“It was definitely not just a shotgun or someone hunting,” Albers said. “It was someone using automatic weapon fire.”

The church has posted videos of its Sunday services on a YouTube channel, raising the possibility that the shooting was captured on video.

In a video of its Oct. 8 service, a congregant who spoke and read Scripture pointed to the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting a week earlier as evidence of the “wicked nature” of man. That shooting left 58 dead and more than 500 injured.

Gov. Greg Abbott called Sunday’s attack the worst mass shooting in Texas history. It came on the eighth anniversary of a shooting at the Texas’ Fort Hood, where 13 people were killed and 31 others wounded by a former U.S. Army major.

The previous deadliest mass shooting in Texas had been a 1991 attack in Killeen, when a mentally disturbed man crashed his pickup truck through a restaurant window at lunchtime and started shooting people, killing 23 and injuring more than 20 others.

The University of Texas was the site of one of the most infamous mass shootings in modern American history, when U.S. Marine sniper Charles Whitman climbed the Austin campus’ clock tower in 1966 and began firing on stunned people below, killing 13 and wounding nearly three dozen others. He had killed his wife and mother before heading to the tower, one victim died a week later and medical examiners eventually attributed a 17th death to Whitman in 2001.

Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker in Washington, Nomaan Merchant in Houston, Will Weissert in Austin, Diana Heidgerd in Dallas, Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles and Paul J. Weber in New Braunfels, Texas, contributed to this report.

Time after time: Clocks fall back, charity gaming marathon this weekend

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

A worker manually adjusting the clocks. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Charlie Riedel

The weekend is here, which means you can finally relax after a long week. And you will have an extra hour to relax, as clocks fall back at 2 a.m. on Sunday.

There are lots of events taking place this weekend, if you are heading out. If you would rather snuggle up with a warm scarf and some hot cocoa at home, that sounds like a marvelous idea too.

On a sombre note, although Remembrance Day is next weekend, a ceremony will be held this weekend in the city’s east end.

As you make your weekend plans, keep in mind a portion of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) will be closed for TTC work.


Gaming marathon for SickKids
If you like video games and helping a worthwhile cause then the ExtraLife charity video gaming marathon is right up your alley. For 25 hours, from Saturday to Sunday, gamers across various cities in Canada and the U.S. will be raising money for children’s hospitals while playing their favourite video games. In Toronto, the marathon will be held at the Raiders E-Sports Centre at St. Clair Avenue East and Yonge Street, with a suggested $5 donation (or pay what you can) at the door. There will be Xbox Ones on site for free to play and gaming PCs equipped with popular games, hourly giveaways and raffle prizes. You can also take part in the marathon at home. Click here to register. If you are not into video games but would still like to donate, click here1102-extralifeforkids-1024x576

Remembrance Day ceremony
Next weekend, Canadians will be paying their respects to soldiers and military personnel who fought and died in wars and conflicts around the world. However, the Scarborough Civic Centre will be holding its ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Maeesha Biswas, a University of Toronto National Scholar, will read “In Flanders Fields,” while the Girl Guides of Canada will sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” The program is posted here.


Royal Winter Fair
The farm comes to the city for the annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. It’s the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and equestrian competition in the world. The Royal Horse show alone features more than 1,000 riders competing for almost $1 million in prize money. There are many new things at the show this year including a local food discovery zone, a daily demonstration about birds of prey and a country music showcase featuring emerging artists. There is truly something for everyone and you can check it out until Nov. 12.

Boots & Toques 5KM Walkathon
It’s a new fundraising walk that takes place along the Queensway Trail at night. All funds raised go to the Trillium Health Partners Foundation. The walk starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Huron Park Community Centre in Mississauga. Families are encouraged to take part. For more information and to make a donation, click here.

Canada Cooks, Toronto Eats
It’s all about the food this weekend in Toronto. Six Toronto museums will be hosting Canada Cooks, Toronto Eats on Saturday and Sunday between noon and 5 p.m. Participating sites include Fort York, Gibson House Museum, Mackenzie House, Montgomery’s Inn, Scarborough Museum, and the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site.  Each site will feature free live cooking demonstrations, food and drink samples and special guests.  Mayor Tory calls it a great way to learn about our city’s history through food. View the full schedule here.

TTC closures

Line 1 late opening
Subway service between Sheppard West and St George stations will start at noon on Saturday due to signal upgrades. Due to on-street construction, shuttle buses will only run between Sheppard West and Lawrence West stations. Wheel-Trans buses will be available between Sheppard West and St. George stations upon request.

Line 1 closure
Signal work will also force a subway subway closure between Sheppard West and Wilson stations this weekend. Shuttle buses will be running and Wheel-Trans service will be provided between Sheppard West and Lawrence West stations upon request.

Rogue employee responsible for deactivating Trump Twitter account

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

President Donald Trump THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Evan Vucci

Twitter says a rogue employee was responsible for deactivating President Donald Trump’s Twitter account on Thursday.

Shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday, social media reports surfaced that the president’s personal account, @RealDonaldTrump, was unavailable, providing the error message that the user “does not exist.” The account was restored by 7:03 p.m.

Originally, Twitter announced through its Twitter Government account that it was “human error” which led to the account being down. The company said it was taking steps to prevent this from happening again.

A short time later, the company said the account was deactivated by a customer support employee on his last day with the company.

A spokesperson for the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

With files from The Associated Press

TSB says pilots should be tested for alcohol and drug use

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

File photo of an Air Canada flight making its final approach as it lands at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRRESS

The airline industry and Transport Canada should develop a program requiring pilots to be tested for drugs and alcohol, the Transportation Safety Board said Thursday after releasing a report into a crash that killed two people.

Board chairwoman Kathy Fox called on both sides to work with employee representatives to implement a program that would protect public safety. She added that self-policing by the industry has not worked, so the issue of impairment will continue to go unrecognized and unreported.

“What’s needed is something more, especially for safety-sensitive positions where, to be plain, people’s lives could be at stake,” she told a news conference.

“Alcohol impairment almost certainly played a role,” Fox said of the cargo plane crash on April 13, 2015, in the mountains north of Vancouver.

Four other fatal crashes since 2009, three involving commercial operators, had drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor, said Fox, who added it was time to learn lessons from the latest disaster.

The BC Coroners Service had reported that pilot Robert Brandt had a blood-alcohol level of three times the legal limit for driving.

Brandt, 34, was captain of the twin-engine Swearingen cargo aircraft operated by Carson Air. First officer Kevin Wang, 32, also died, but did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system.

Other countries, including the United States and Australia, have found mandatory drug and alcohol testing are most effective along with education, employee assistance programs, rehabilitation, return-to-duty programs and peer support, Fox said.

The safety board said the crew did not declare an emergency before the aircraft dropped to 900 metres from 2,400 metres in less than 20 seconds.

The agency was unable to confirm why the aircraft entered a steep dive and broke apart mid-air, Fox said.

“This is not satisfying to the TSB, certainly not for the families involved and not to Canadians who have come to rely on one of the safest transportation systems in the world.”

Jason Kobi, the investigator in charge, said the aircraft disappeared from radar 80 seconds after the pilots’ final contact with air-traffic control.

There was no cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder on board, and the lack of hard data significantly undermined the investigation, Kobi said.

Investigators found the aircraft entered a steep dive and accelerated to a high speed that exceeded its structural limits and caused it to break apart before crashing, he said. Debris scattered over a wide area.

“But the question remained: Why? Unfortunately, we were never able to determine this with certainty.”

Kobi said the pilot’s high blood-alcohol content was one possibility, because it meant his physical and mental performance would have been impaired and he could have lost consciousness.

“Even if the captain, had been, for example, slumped forward toward the controls we found no indication that the first officer was incapacitated and he should still have been able to regain control of the aircraft.”

It’s also possible heaters that provide air speed information were off or malfunctioned or that the aircraft was intentionally placed into a steep dive, with several factors suggesting that could have been the case, Kobi said.

They include the duration of the dive, absence of any emergency communication and the lack of recovery efforts when the plane started to descend rapidly.

Other possible coincidental factors have been identified, including physical indications that the pilot had a history of heavy alcohol use and “the fact that there is a significant relationship between alcohol use and suicidal behaviour,” Kobi said.

“Those several coincidental factors were present (but) the investigation could not conclude anything about the captain’s predisposition to commit an intentional act.”

2 seriously injured in tractor-trailer rollover on Hwy. 427

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

A tractor-trailer rolled over on the southbound Highway 427 collectors off-ramp to Dundas Street on Oct. 3, 2017. CITYNEWS/Jason MacLellan

Two people have serious injuries after a tractor-trailer rollover on Highway 427 in Etobicoke.

Emergency crews were called to the scene just before 3 a.m. on Friday.

The rollover happened on the southbound collectors off-ramp to Dundas Street.

A man was rushed to rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. The woman’s injuries are serious but not life-threatening.

It doesn’t appear any other vehicles were involved in the crash.

The ramp is closed as police investigate.


Province steps up to keep pop-up injection site running through winter

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017


The Ontario government is stepping in to help winterize a pop-up safe injection site in Moss Park while they wait for approval to get the operation moved indoors.

The unsanctioned site has been allowed to operate without city or police interference since the summer. It’s run by volunteers who are trained to use Naloxone, an overdose antidote.

“We’ve stopped over 85 overdoses since August 12,” said harm-reduction advocate Nick Boyce of Toronto Overdose Prevention Society.

“We’ve witnessed close to 2,000 injections. We’re trying to move drug-use out of the alleyway to a safe environment. The drug supply is so toxic people are dropping. Those are 85 people that would be dead if we weren’t here.”

With temperatures falling, it was hoped the safe injection site could be moved to the basement of a nearby drop-in centre. Mayor John Tory and Ontario Health Minster Eric Hoskins have thrown their support behind the request but they need a federal exemption before that can happen. After determining they couldn’t wait any longer, the province offered up an ambulatory tent with heat and power.

But not everyone is welcoming the province’s move. In an open letter, city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti blasted the mayor for supporting unsafe injection sites.

“Rather than offer real help to those who are suffering from mental health issues and addictions, Mayor John Tory and the Board of Health are enabling very dangerous and disruptive behavior,” says Mammoliti.

“Drug abuse is not a victimless crime. …Who would want their children to be walking around or playing in the parks and streets next to injection sites?”

Mammoliti wants to see the provincial government make safe injection services and addiction treatment available in hospitals.

Toronto received approval for three permanent facilities in June. They are located at Toronto Public Health’s The Works, the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre, and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

Bail granted in prank gun call that led to massive emergency response

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 3rd, 2017

Gregory Frank Goodridge, 54, appears in a Toronto courtroom on Nov. 2, 2017, charged with public mischief. CITYNEWS/(Marianne Boucher

Toronto police have made an arrest in connection with an alleged prank gun call that saw a bustling part of the downtown core cordoned off for several hours.

Last Thursday afternoon around 1 p.m., police received a call about a man with a gun who had forced someone into a marijuana dispensary on King Street West, near Blue Jays Way.

The call prompted an immediate and massive response, with ambulances, artillery vehicles and heavily-armed Emergency Task Force officers swarming the area.

Streets were shut down and TTC vehicles were diverted, causing a massive traffic backlog.

“Quite a few resources were used,” Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook told CityNews last week. “And there were quite a few different services in attendance and it was a disruption to say the least in the area.”

Local businesses also complained they lost significant income as a result of police closing the area to all vehicle and foot traffic for most of the day.

In the end, police didn’t find anyone with a gun on the premises, and concluded the call was a time-consuming and costly prank.

Police later said they believed the fake tip was called in from a payphone near Spadina Avenue and Cecil Street, and released security images of a suspect.

On Wednesday, Gregory Frank Goodridge, 54, was arrested. He’s facing a single count of public mischief.

Goodridge made a court appearance on Thursday and was released on bail on a promise to appear in court on a future date. His bail conditions include not being within five meters of the marijuana dispensary targeted by the alleged prank call.

kingguncall1026-1024x768 kingguncall1026a-1024x768 kingguncall1026b-1024x768

Mom’s final wish dashed after Air Canada mix-up puts her remains on wrong flight

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 2nd, 2017


It was a promise to his dying mother but because of an apparent mix-up by Air Canada, a son’s final commitment was left unfulfilled.

Back in 2013, Jean Stone was moved out west, from Toronto, to Prince George British Columbia by her son, Glenn Stone. Stone promised his mother then, and again as her health began to fail, that he would accompany her body on the same plane back to Toronto, after which she would be buried beside her late husband in Dundas, Ontario.

“The hurt is once I found out (she was on a different flight) I couldn’t do a thing to correct the problem.”

Glenn Stone and the body of his mother, Jean, were to fly back to Toronto from Vancouver on Flight 34, on Saturday, October 21st at 9 a.m.

However, the flight was cancelled and they were moved to Flight 2134 on the same day at the same exact time. Stone claims the funeral home touched base with Air Canada Cargo to ensure they were both still on the same flight.

“I went to bed Friday night thinking this is the last request I can have for Mom. We are on the same flight in the morning. I went to the airport and inquired at the gate that Mom had been put on the same flight, a gate agent called to check and then told me Mom had been put on an earlier flight to Toronto an hour earlier.”

In the official contract for Jean Stone, the Air Canada transfer clearly says: “Do not load on earlier flight – family is travelling.” Though Stone’s remains were still put on an earlier flight to Toronto. Without her son’s knowledge.

“I’d done everything I could but I was devastated that promise couldn’t be honored to mom.”

In a statement to CityNews, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick wrote: “This unfortunate situation arose because the flight the customer was scheduled to travel on with his mother’s remains was cancelled due to a mechanical issue with the aircraft designated to operate that flight. We created a new flight with another aircraft, which the customer flew on. To ensure that the casket arrived in Toronto in a timely manner, it was put on an earlier flight as soon as our Cargo team became aware of the flight cancellation. Our intention was to avoid any delay.”

The problem is, both the cancelled flight and the new flight were scheduled to leave on October 21st at 9 a.m. Stone has since been issued a $200 dollar voucher, an offer he finds insulting.

“To think they could brush it under the carpet, and give me a $200 dollar voucher? Why would they think I would ever want to fly on Air Canada again? Why would my family want to?”

Air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs, calls Air Canada’s offer an “insult to the passenger.” Lukacs also calls the case a complicated matter.

“On the one hand, one can say it arrived there on time, it fulfilled the contract from a cargo perspective but at the same time we must understand when we talk about the body of a family member it is not simply a piece of cargo.”

Since CityNews reached out to Air Canada they have said they “understand the disappointment this has caused and our customer relations office has reached out and remains engaged with the customer.”

Late Wednesday afternoon Air Canada again reached out to Glenn Stone, and according to him, admitted there was a breakdown in communication.

He says they’ll be reviewing what happened but will not be offering anything more in the way of compensation.

Page 40 of 305« First...102030...3839404142...506070...Last »