Albuquerque Family Settles With City For $5 Million After Fatal 2014 Shooting


The city of Albuquerque has reached a $5 million settlement with the family of Mary Hawkes, a 19-year-old woman who was shot and killed by police during a foot chase in 2014.

The settlement resolves the lawsuit filed by her family against both the city and then-officer Jeremy Dear, and concludes a case that was controversial from the start.

Hawkes was killed just days after the Department of Justice announced the city’s police department had a pattern of using excessive – and deadly – force, and the Hawkes family alleged that the police department’s “structural and systemic deficiencies” led to her killing.

Shannon Kennedy, the family’s attorney, confirmed Wednesday that the case had settled, though documents have not yet been finalized or filed with the court.

Gilbert Gallegos, APD spokesman, said that the city “reached a preliminary settlement agreement of $5 million to settle all claims related to the Hawkes case.” Gallegos said the city was glad to see a resolution to the longstanding claim.

Dear’s attorney, David Roman, did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement, the Hawkes family said the shooting left them to wonder whether they could have done anything to save their daughter and sister.

“The family is very grateful that the city also recognizes that burden and is moving forward in the same spirit of accountability,” the statement said. “In the Hawkes family’s quest for answers about Dear’s killing of Mary on April 21, 2014, they have sought the truth and to ensure no family suffer a similar loss.”

They said they are confident that the new administration will work to improve APD’s culture in order to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

“To facilitate overdue change, the Hawkes are committed to donating a significant percentage of the settlement to organizations that prioritize crisis intervention training for law enforcement and that support the transition of foster children into adulthood,” the statement said. Organizations that they plan to donate to include El Ranchito de Los Ninos, Casa Hermosa, All Faiths Advocacy Center and the Crisis Intervention Team.

Dear has said he fired his gun after Hawkes pointed a gun at him while he was chasing her through Southeast Albuquerque, but his lapel camera was unplugged during the encounter and did not record. Dear fired five times, hitting Hawkes with three rounds.

The Hawkes family argued in their lawsuit that scientific evidence did not support Dear’s version of events. The bullet trajectories, they said, showed the “impossibility of his account” and Hawkes’ fingerprints and DNA were not present on the gun found at the scene.

City officials, the family alleged, “readily accepted former Officer Dear’s wholly implausible explanation of the killing, leaving only the bereft Hawkes family to search for the truth.”

The settlement comes months after 2nd Judicial District Judge Nan Nash granted the family’s request seeking sanctions against the city for failing to preserve vital evidence surrounding the shooting. Nash also said the jury would be instructed that the shooting was unreasonable as a matter of law.

Dear was fired from APD in December 2014 for failing to follow orders to video record all citizen interactions. APD says he was ordered to do so after the department received several citizen complaints about him. Last week, a judge ruled that Dear would not get his job with APD back, finding that termination was appropriate because Dear had been insubordinate.

Source: https://www.abqjournal.com/1120552/hawkes-family-settles-lawsuit-fatal-apd-shooting.html

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LA Sheriff’s Patrol Vehicle Involved in Fatal Crash That Killed 2 Boys Didn’t Have Its Siren on


Last November in Boyle Heights, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sport-utility vehicle was responding to a radio call of a shooting when it smashed into a car at a busy intersection and jumped the sidewalk, hitting pedestrians and killing two boys.

Since then, questions have lingered about how fast the sheriff’s vehicle was going and whether the emergency lights and siren were on at the time.

The investigation into the fatal crash of Nov. 16 is ongoing, but detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Multi-Discipline Collision Investigation Team have provided more details about the deadly accident.

In a recent phone interview, LAPD Det. Chris Rodriguez said the sheriff’s patrol vehicle was traveling less than 25 mph when it crossed the intersection of Indiana Street and Whittier Boulevard. The vehicle had its lights on but not its siren.

“No audible sounds were made by the emergency equipment of the police car,” Rodriguez said.

As it headed south on Indiana Street, the sheriff’s patrol vehicle crashed into a 1998 Honda Accord going east on Whittier Boulevard. The impact caused the Accord to hit a 2002 Honda Odyssey van that was carrying two women and five children. The van was stopped at a red light on the northbound lanes of Indiana Street.

Simultaneously, the sheriff’s SUV drove up a curb ramp, careened off the wall of a bank building and struck pedestrians on the sidewalk, including a woman and her two sons.

Video footage taken by a security camera at the Green Mill Liquor store showed what happened after the SUV struck the pedestrians. The short clip showed the front of the SUV — with its emergency lights on — hitting a trash can. A person rolled into the frame on the sidewalk.

Seven-year-old Jose Luis Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene. His older brother, 9-year-old Marcos Antonio Hernandez, was declared dead at L.A. County-USC Medical Center, according to Rodriguez.

The mother and relatives of the two boys could not be reached for comment for this story.

In a statement placed on the family’s page on the GoFund me website, Jessa Ramos said her brothers were eager learners. They loved reading and drawing.

“They were both great students and used to fight for who was getting dropped off first at school,” she wrote.

She said the accident had left her mother in critical condition with a broken pelvic bone, head injury, fractured neck, leg and a broken nose.

In all, 17 people were involved in the three-vehicle accident.

At least one woman, who was a month pregnant at the time, was hit by both the Honda Accord and the sheriff’s SUV as she was crossing the intersection. Her unborn child was not harmed from the accident, according to Rodriguez.

Attorneys for some of the victims declined to comment or could not be reached for comment. Family of the two boys who were killed also could not be reached for comment.

Rodriguez said at the time of the crash, the sheriff’s patrol vehicle was being driven by a 30-year-old female trainee deputy, and her 39-year-old field training officer was in the passenger seat.

“She was on the job for two or three years and was starting the patrol aspect of her career,” he said.

Rodriguez said it would be up to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to release the name of the deputies. The agency has not responded to the Los Angeles Times’ public records request seeking their names.

A day after the fatal crash, the Sheriff’s Department released a statement and expressed its condolences to the families of the crash victims.

For full story visit: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-sheriff-crash-boyle-heights-update-20180104-story.html

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WATCH: Police Release Body Camera Video From Fatal Shooting Linked to ‘Swatting’


Police in Wichita, Kansas shot and killed a man after being sent to a wrong address by a false report of a hostage situation known as “swatting.” The hoax call reportedly resulted from a feud between two video gamers.
The Wichita Police Department received a call Thursday of a domestic dispute in which the father had been shot and killed, and the shooter was holding his mother, sister and brother hostage.

“That was the information we were working off of,” Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston told the Wichita Eagle. When officers arrived to the 1000 block of McCormick Street, a man came to the front door.

“As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon,” Livingston said. Andrew Finch, 28, died at the local hospital. He was unarmed.

“What gives the cops the right to open fire? Why didn’t they give him the same warning they gave us? That cop murdered my son,” his mother, Lisa Finch, told The Eagle. She described how she and her granddaughter had to step over Finch’s lifeless body after the police ordered them out of the house, barefoot, and put them in handcuffs.

“They didn’t call the ambulance until after he was dead,” she added.

The already tragic story received a horrifying twist after it was established that police did not show up at the wrong address by mistake, but by design.

More than a dozen people on Twitter said the police intervention was a result of a feud between two players of “Call of Duty,” a popular online shooter game over a $1.50 wager, according to The Eagle. One of the players supposedly tried to call the police on the other. This is known as “swatting,” after SWAT, the acronym for Special Weapons And Tactics police teams.

The target of the “swatting” gave the other gamer a false address, which sent the police to Finch’s home rather than his own, The Eagle reported. The gamers involved were identified only by their Twitter handles, @baperizer and @7aLent, both of which have since been suspended.

Chief Livingston noted the call was “a little peculiar,” saying that it “went to a substation first, then it was relayed to dispatch, then dispatch gave it to us.”

The shooting is still being investigated. The officer who opened fire has not been identified. It is not known whether the two gamers involved in the “swatting” have been detained, either.

The Wichita incident appears to be the first time someone has actually been killed as a result of “swatting,” which was introduced to North America back in 2011. There were multiple high-profile incidents involving the deadly prank in 2014, with police officials warning the public of the potential for disaster.

“This is not a game. This is not an online game. We have real guns with real bullets, and there’s a potential there for some tragedy,” Chief Doug Stephens of Littleton, Colorado said in August 2014, after his officers crashed a gaming livestream following a false report.

Source: https://www.rt.com/usa/414596-kansas-swatting-police-killed/

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Black Ops Contractor Reveals CIA Blew Up OKC Building—Hours Later He’s in a Near Fatal Collision

oklahomaoklahoma

Oklahoma City, OK – In what can only be described as a bombshell revelation, a former independent black ops contractor, Cody Snodgres, recently blew the whistle on a plot in which he alleges that he was offered $1 million from a CIA contact to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City — prior to the deadly bombing of the federal building on April 19, 1995.

“For over 20 years, I was an Independent Contractor (IC), specializing in sensitive, covert assignments, as well as bodyguard work. In 1994 I was given the task to blow up the Alfred P. Murray building in Oklahoma City. This job came from an x-US military man, who told me he worked covertly for CIA. I refused on moral grounds. My strong opposition to attacking U.S. citizens on our own soil changed my status from a CIA asset into a liability, a private, Independent Contractor who ‘knew too much’”.

In radio interviews on December 4 and 5, Snodgres, who subsequently refused the offer to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, gave testimony that detailed the nefarious offer.

Ironically, Snogres was in a near-fatal car accident only hours after his whistle-blowing radio appearance, according to reports.

Snodgres left an audio message after the crash with further details.

While it may seem like the stuff of Hollywood spy movies to intimate that the two-car collision, in which both vehicles were reportedly totaled, was an assassination attempt, it is indeed a means to an end by the state. A little research into the case of reporter Serena Shim, who was the first journalist to report on links between ISIS and the Turkish government, and who was killed in what was reported to have been a car accident—but that most analysts suspect was an assassination by vehicle—reveals intelligence assassinations being carried out in this exact manner.

During the interview, Snodgres goes on to discuss both the Clintons and Bushes involvement in drug trafficking, Iran Contra, and numerous other dastardly misdeeds undertaken by the federal government.

Interestingly, Snodgres stated that he waited for Hillary Clinton to be gone from the U.S. political scene before coming forward with the allegations.

Please listen to the riveting interviews below:

As TFTP has previously reported, Snodgres had every reason to remain silent as another whistleblower, who was a cop, was silenced for his role in exposing the OKC bombing.

Instead of being treated as the hero he truly was, Sgt. Terrance Yeakey was silenced by his own government in an effort to keep him from exposing their complicity in one of the largest mass murders in American history – which senselessly ended the lives of 168 people, including 19 children.

According to his widow, instead of being showered with accolades by the US government for his heroism, Yeakey was killed, with his death being framed to look like a suicide (although a very poorly staged one) only days before receiving the police department’s Medal of Valor for his heroic rescue efforts on day of the Oklahoma City bombing.

On May 11, 1996, only days after his Yeakey’s death, the New York Times ran a story with the headline – ‘A Policeman Who Rescued 4 in Bombing Kills Himself’. But the bold assertion that hero cop Sgt. Terrance Yeakey killed himself couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sgt. Yeakey’s body was found in a field in El Reno, OK, over a mile away from his abandoned vehicle. There was an extremely large amount of blood found in his vehicle, he had been bound, had rope burn on his neck, ligature marks on his wrists, numerous deep cuts, likely tortured and killed execution-style with a single bullet that entered his right temple at a 45-degree angle. To top it off, no gun was found at the scene of his death — until an FBI agent showed up and suspiciously found a gun in an already thoroughly searched area within 5 minutes of being there.

 

The real story behind Yeakey’s death, as attested to by his ex-wife, Tonia Yeakey, is that he witnessed things during his response to the bombing which did not agree with the ‘official version’ of events being forwarded by law enforcement and national media at that time and began collecting evidence to support his contentions.

In an interview on AM1300 KAKC, in 1998, Tonia Yeakey clearly exposes the reality underpinning the death of Terrance Yeakey. The extremely important interview with Tonia Yeakey can be heard in the video below — and begins at the 8-minute mark (please watch):

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/black-ops-contractor-blows-whistle-oklahoma-bombing/

Justine Damond’s family question whether investigation into her fatal shooting by police was botched

justine damond family

    

The family of Justine Damond Ruszczyk say they’re “deeply concerned” that US officials may have botched an investigation into the Australian woman’s fatal shooting by a police officer in Minnesota.

John Ruszczyk has issued an emotional plea for prosecutors in the US to “continue to pursue a rigorous investigation and examination” of the events that led to his daughter’s death in July.

Speaking in Sydney on Thursday, Ruszyczyk said he was “deeply concerned about the possibility that the initial investigation was not done properly and with greatest integrity and sense of completeness”.

It comes after the Hennepin county attorney, Mike Freeman, was caught on tape telling a group of activists he didn’t have enough evidence yet to charge the Minneapolis police officer who killed Damond Ruszyzyk last July, saying investigators “haven’t done their job”.

In the video, released last week, Freeman said he did not have enough evidence yet to decide whether to charge the officer, Mohamed Noor, who has declined to speak with investigators.

“I’ve got to have the evidence,” Freeman was filmed saying. “And I don’t have it yet. And let me just say, it’s not my fault.

“So if it isn’t my fault, who didn’t do their jobs? Investigators. And they don’t work for me. And they haven’t done their job.”

Surrounded by family, Ruszczyk said that after his daughter’s death US officials from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension had “looked me in the eye” and said “they were committed to getting to the truth of the event”.

“They assured us that they would give the county attorney all the necessary information to make a reasoned decision on whether or not to charge Justine’s shooter with a crime,” he said.

He said that in the wake of Freeman’s comments, he and his family were “apprehensive that perhaps the BCA has not fulfilled its promise”.

Freeman later apologised for discussing the investigation in public, but Ruszczyk pointed out that the prosecutor had not said his comments were “unfounded, inaccurate or in any way untrue”.

He also said they had “cast doubt on the description of how Justine’s death occurred as it was initially put out by the BCA and the attorney for the police officer driving the squad car”.

Damond Ruszczyk was killed outside of her home in Minneapolis on 15 July after calling police to report what she suspected may have been a sexual assault occurring in a laneway behind her house.

When police arrived she approached them – unarmed and wearing pyjamas – and was fatally shot by Noor.

Her death sparked protests in the wealthy suburb where she lived and led to the resignation of the police chief Janee Harteau.

An emotional Ruszczyk called on US officials to continue investigating how his daughter was killed.

“We implore Mr Freeman and the prosecutor’s office to continue to pursue a rigorous investigation and examination of evidence of the events leading up to Justine’s death,” he said.

“We expect them to fill in any gaps in the BCA’s work honestly and fairly, but completely. We will wait patiently while this occurs, but insist that this investigation be done, and done right.”

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/372192-Justine-Damonds-family-question-whether-investigation-into-her-fatal-shooting-by-police-was-botched

Man bleeds out, reportedly too busy to notice fatal cut while playing Star Wars VR game

The body of the 44-year-old was discovered in his apartment, police said in a statement on Friday. The man was playing the game while wearing a VR headset and apparently tripped and fell on a glass coffee table, breaking it. The blood loss he suffered from the head wound was fatal, the preliminary investigation showed.

According to Lenta.ru news website, the man’s mother found the dead gamer on Thursday. A source in law enforcement told the website that the medical examiner believes the man’s life could have been saved if he hadn’t continued playing the game and instead sought medical attention.

The source said the game that proved to be good enough to die for was from the Star Wars franchise, but would not say which. There are several VR and AR titles from the space saga currently available, both licensed by Disney and inspired by Star Wars.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/414057-man-dies-vr-game/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Wrongfully Convicted Man in Fatal Brooklyn Shooting Settles With City For $9.5M


A wrongfully convicted man is settling his case against New York City for $9.5 million.

Ruddy Quezada — who lived through 24 years in lock up for a fatal Brooklyn shooting he said he had no part in — reached a deal on Thursday, according to Brooklyn Federal Court papers.

In April, Quezada settled a separate case against New York State for $4.5 million.

That brings Quezada’s total payout for the two decades he’s lost to $14 million.

“I’m very happy that this settlement will allow Ruddy to live the rest of his life in peace and comfort after the nightmare he endured,” said his attorney, David Shanies.

“Even $14 million can’t give him back 24 years, but this is a just resolution to a very troubling case.”

A Law Department spokesman said “resolving the case was in the city’s best interest.”

Quezada, 55, was convicted of murder in 1993 for allegedly ordering a deadly drive-by shooting of Jose Rosado two years prior.

He maintained his innocence when he was tried by Brooklyn prosecutors, under District Attorney Charles Hynes.

The case used testimony from a man named Sixto Salcedo — who went back on his word years later.

Salcedo said Quezada was in the car when the shooting took place.

Three other witnesses also told the feds that Quezada was not in there, as Salcedo claimed, but did order the hit on Rosado.

Salcedo recanted in 2001. He claims he felt coerced into what he said on the stand because he was held in a Queens hotel on a material witness warrant the night before he testified.

During the trial, prosecutors withheld the details Salcedo’s secret overnight stay.

Quezada was released in August 2015, when prosecutors for Hynes’ successor, the late Ken Thompson, vacated his case.

Thompson’s office uncovered a 2004 email that confirmed an appeals prosecutor knew about Salcedo being stashed away at a hotel.

The prosecutor previously said she didn’t know anything about the witness warrant.

That led Thompson to determined they couldn’t stand by the conviction any longer.

Quezada walked out of court a free man that day, while the appeals prosecutor was shown the door.

He is the latest person to resolve a Brooklyn wrongful conviction civil rights case, at a steep cost to the city.

Last month, city lawyers stipulated to a $2.5 million settlement with Joel Fowler, who served eight years for a murder rap that was cleared.

A month before that, Andre Hatchett settled his case for $12.25 million, after being incarcerated 25 years.

And even earlier this year, the city said it would pay out $26 million to two men cleared of triple homicide.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/wrongfully-convicted-man-settles-nyc-9-5m-article-1.3686699

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Charleston Police Officer Sentenced to One Year Probation in Fatal Crash

Charleston police officer Stephen Doss

Sitting on opposite sides of a Kanawha County courtroom, a Charleston police officer and the woman whose mother died in a car crash he caused only had sorrow in common Thursday afternoon.

“There is no good side to this,” Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom said as he sentenced 27-year-old Stephen Doss to one year of probation and 10 days of community service for his role in the car crash that claimed the life of 80-year-old Dora Clarke, mother of Traci Aulenbacher, on Jan. 4.

Last month, Doss pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor emergency-vehicle violation for his role in the crash as part of a plea deal reached at a 2½ hour hearing on Nov. 4.

Doss was barely audible as he addressed the court Thursday.

“I would just like to say how very sorry I am to Mrs. Aulenbacher,” Doss said.

Aulenbacher cried while saying she felt Doss had not accepted responsibility for her mother’s death and that she has not been able to forgive him.

Aulenbacher asked Bloom to show Doss there were consequences for his actions and “that he is not above the law.”

“Police officers are to serve and protect,” she said. “His actions have proven he is not fit to serve, because you don’t protect. In fact, he endangers. My mother would want me to forgive him, because that’s the kind of woman she was. I can’t go there.”

Doss was indicted in August on three misdemeanor charges: an emergency-vehicle violation, negligent homicide and speeding.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Fred Giggenbach said Doss was traveling about 74 mph on Washington Street West — a 30 mph zone — as he approached its intersection with Maryland Avenue on Jan. 4.

Clarke was pulling out to cross Washington Street West when Doss’ vehicle collided with hers. She died five days later from the injuries she suffered in the crash.

Doss was en route to a report of a home invasion in which the suspect, who reportedly had a knife, had entered the home of a pregnant woman who had called 911, Giggenbach said Thursday.

In handing down his sentence, Bloom specified that he wants Doss to serve his community service with the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, to experience some “issues that exist on the streets that he may or may not be familiar with.”

Doss remains an employee of the Charleston Police Department, but he has been on paid administrative leave as the case proceeded through the court system.

Doss will be subject to administrative hearings with the Police Department and with the Law Enforcement Professional Standards Subcommittee, with regard to the future of his employment with the department and his certification status as a law enforcement officer, Giggenbach said.

Bloom said Thursday he felt Doss had expressed remorse during his guilty plea and a pre-sentencing report, to which Aulenbacher wasn’t privy. Bloom said he understood Aulenbacher’s feelings and asked that she be provided a copy of a transcript of the hearing in hopes of finding some understanding between her and Doss.

“There is no magic formula for either of you,” Bloom said. “I just hope that, with time, you both can find comfort and some resolution in this matter.”

Source: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/cops_and_courts/charleston-police-officer-sentenced-in-fatal-crash/article_37eb3692-874c-551f-9926-bcfb105114fb.html

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Oklahoma City Officer Charged With Murder in Fatal Shooting of Suicidal Man


OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City officer has been charged with second degree murder in connection to the fatal shooting of a suicidal man in November.

Court records filed Dec. 5 show that Oklahoma City Police Department Sgt. Keith Sweeney faces a complaint of murder in the second degree or the alternative of manslaughter in the first degree.

The charge comes in connection to the Nov. 15 fatal shooting of 29-year-old Dustin Robert Pigeon.

According to police, officers responded to reports of a suicidal person around 2:40 a.m. in the courtyard of Parkview Village Homes, 1416 SW 20 Street. When officers arrived on-scene, they say Pigeon was holding a bottle of lighter fluid and threatening to light himself on fire. The officers attempted to get Pigeon to drop the lighter fluid and get on the ground, but he did not comply.

Court documents show that Officer Nitzky deployed a bean bag shotgun, striking Pigeon in the left hip. Sergeant Sweeney then discharged his weapon striking Pigeon multiple times.

Pigeon was provided medical attention but died on scene. The documents also state that Pigeon was not armed and “not a threat to the officers”.

Sweeney has been on paid administrative leave since the incident. District Attorney David Prater will host a press conference at 2:30 p.m. to discuss the incident. Body camera footage of the incident will also be released at this time.

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Colwyn Police Officer Stephen Rozniakowski Gets Life in Prison For Fatal Shooting

The ex-cop who snuffed out the life of Valerie Morrow will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Stephen “Roz” Rozniakowski, 35, of Norwood, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole Wednesday after pleading guilty to murder in the first degree for Morrow’s shooting death Dec. 15, 2014.

Rozniakowski, a former Colwyn police officer, also pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury for shooting Morrow’s 15-year-old daughter in the arm and one count of aggravated assault attempting serious bodily injury for firing on Morrow’s widower, Thomas Morrow Jr., for which he received a consecutive sentence of 10 to 20 years.

Thomas Morrow did not comment Wednesday, but said at a preliminary hearing in April 2015 that his late wife had an affair with Rozniakowski during a separation. The Morrows reconciled and the affair ended, but Rozniakowski continued to harass and stalk the victim.

District Attorney Jack Whelan said at a 2015 press conference that Rozniakowski had been served with a protection from abuse order obtained by Valerie Morrow just hours before the shooting.

Rozniakowski donned a bulletproof vest of unknown origin, then took a police-issued police radio and a non-police-issued handgun with him to the victim’s Glenfield Avenue home in Glenolden at about 9 p.m. that night.

Rozniakowski kicked in the front door and went upstairs, where he fatally shot Valerie Morrow and injured her daughter. Thomas Morrow, a part-time police officer with the Morton Police Department, was getting up for his overnight shift and heard the commotion in the hallway, according to Whelan. He retrieved a weapon from his nightstand and went into the hallway, where he fired at the assailant.

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