Category Archives: Psychological Operations

Santa Monica shooting: At least six killed, three injured, minutes after President Obama’s motorcade passed by

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A gunman may have set this house on fire on Friday before heading to Santa Monica College, where he continued his shooting rampage.

The shootings took place just before noon, approximately half an hour after President Obama’s motorcade passed through the area.

A second man described by police as a “person of interest” was taken in for questioning, but no further details were released.

The California college has been placed on lockdown, and the reportedly wounded suspect was found in the school’s library and is now in custody. The Secret Service said that the shooting did not impact the President’s travel schedule.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | Jun 7, 2013

By David Knowles

Nine people have been shot, at least six fatally, near Santa Monica College on Friday.

According to unconfirmed reports, the shootings began during a domestic dispute at a home at 2036 Yorkshire Ave. Neighbors described hearing multiple gunshots coming from the home and saw smoke pouring from windows.

A man dressed in all black and carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon left the home where neighbors said a Lebanese family lived, shot a woman in a black Infinity, and got into the passenger side of a purple Mazda and ordered the driver to head in the direction of the Santa Monica College campus.

Related

Santa Monica College shooting prompts Obama motorcade rerouting

The gunman, who witnesses said was dressed in “swat gear,” including a ballistic vest, and was carrying multiple rounds of ammunition, then got out of the car and began firing at passing vehicles, including a city bus and a police car.

The suspect then fled police and ran onto the Santa Monica College campus where he shot one woman, and fired at several students at the school’s library.

“Everyone threw themselves on the floor, screams,” student Marta Fagerstroem, who was on the bus, told NBC4. “The bus driver, she panicked. She couldn’t drive away. She was able to, after a while.”

The college was quickly put on lockdown, and the suspect was shot and killed by police at the library.

Students at the college were in the midst of taking their final exams when shots rang out at the library.

“We didn’t know what was happening until all the students at the entrance of the library started running down towards the bottom of the library,” Santa Monica College student Sam Luster told KABC-TV.

After police entered the building, students were told to crawl on their hands and knees out of the library and several people reported seeing the body of a man dressed in all black lying on the ground. Multiple sources reported that police shot and killed the gunman.

A second man described by police as a “person of interest” was taken in for questioning, but no further details were released.

UCLA Medical Center said that one shooting vicitim died Friday afternoon. One more person was listed in serious condition, and four others had been hospitalized. All of the victims admitted to the hospital were women.

A young mother who was riding on the bus was grazed in the temple by one of the gunman’s bullets, but was alert and responsive as she was taken to a nearby hospital in an ambulance.

Responding to a fire at the home where the incident began, fire officials said they discovered two dead bodies and that both victims had apparently been shot inside the burning house.

Neighbors said that the Lebanese family who lived at the address had recently gone through a bitter divorce and the mother had moved out and assumed custody of at least one of her two sons.

According to witnesses, the shootings took place just before noon, approximately half an hour after President Obama’s motorcade passed through the area. The Secret Service said the incident did not affect the President’s fundraising visit to Los Angeles, but his limousine was re-routed.

Several schools in the area were put on lockdown for several hours, and Santa Monica College cancelled final exams.

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7 dead in Santa Monica College shooting, gunman may have had help

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SWAT team: Sheriff’s deputies gather near Santa Monica College. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times /June 7, 2013)

latimes.com | Jun 7, 2013

By Rosanna Xia, Kate Mather and Andrew Blankstein

Seven people — including the gunman — are dead after a shooting rampage that ended at Santa Monica College, police said.

Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks described a violent shooting rampage that appears to have begun in the 2000 block of Yorkshire Avenue just before noon.

Two people were found dead on Yorkshire Avenue and a home was on fire, authorities said.

Santa Monica shooting: At least six killed, three injured, minutes after President Obama’s motorcade passed by

The gunman then moved west along Pico Boulevard, firing at cars, including a bus and a police vehicle.

One person died at Cloverfield and Pico boulevards; two died at 19th Street and Pico Boulevard. Another woman died at the hospital.

Seabrooks said the gunman may not have acted alone.  A second “person of interest” is in custody.

“We are not convinced 100% that the suspect who was killed operated in solo or a lone capacity,” Seabrooks said.

The suspect fled onto Santa Monica College, where he was pursued by police. He shot a woman on campus and ran into the library, where he continued to fire rounds from an assault rifle.

Authorities shot and killed the gunman on campus. He has not yet been identified, but police described him as being 25 to 30 years old.

They have detained a second man, who has not been identified. He is considered a person of interest.

Santa Monica College and all schools in the city were placed on lockdown.

The shooting rampage sent Santa Monica into chaos — just as President Obama was attending a fundraiser a few miles away.

Many college students were on campus studying — or taking finals.

Stephen Bell and his classmates were preparing for the final tap performance when two women ran into their Santa Monica College classroom, next to the campus library.

They just saw a woman get shot in the library, they said.

“When she said that word — shot! — we immediately shut the door, laid down on the floor and shut the lights,” Bell said.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh my god, Columbine High School,” he said. “First thing that crossed my mind.”

Joey Letteri, the tap instructor, was running a few minutes late and was walking to class from his office upstairs. When he got to class, the door was shut and the lights were off.

“I thought it was a surprise and that the class got a cake for me or something,” he said, shaking his head at the innocent thought that had crossed his mind at the time.

Letteri led the class through a meditation and told them to stay quiet. They tried to calm the two female students down. One couldn’t stop throwing up, Letteri said, and the other was crying and shaking.

Finally, a SWAT team arrived. Letteri told them to slide their badges under the door. Each person in the classroom had to come out individually with their hands up, he said, and they were searched before they were all escorted off campus. Officers took the two witnesses from the library aside.

FBI stages another fake bombing with mentally disabled stooge-asset to maintain fear levels and bolster the illusion they are keeping us safe

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Bank of America at 303 Hegenberger Road in Oakland, CA Photo: Google Maps

An undercover FBI agent posing as a go-between with the Taliban in Afghanistan had been meeting with Llaneza since Nov. 30 and accompanied him to the bank, according to an FBI declaration filed in federal court. The declaration said the FBI had built the purported bomb, which was inert and posed no threat to the public.

sfgate.com | Feb 8, 2013

by Jaxon Van Derbeken and Bob Egelko

A mentally disturbed man who said he believed in violent jihad and hoped to start a civil war in the United States was arrested early Friday after trying to detonate what he thought was a car bomb at a Bank of America branch in Oakland, prosecutors said.

Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, of San Jose was taken into custody near the bank at 303 Hegenberger Road at 12:30 a.m. after pressing a cell phone trigger device that was supposed to set off the explosives inside a sport utility vehicle and bring down the four-story building, said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag‘s office.

An undercover FBI agent posing as a go-between with the Taliban in Afghanistan had been meeting with Llaneza since Nov. 30 and accompanied him to the bank, according to an FBI declaration filed in federal court. The declaration said the FBI had built the purported bomb, which was inert and posed no threat to the public.
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Llaneza appeared before a federal magistrate in Oakland on Friday on a charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which is punishable by life in prison. He is due to return to court for a bail hearing Wednesday. Assistant Federal Public Defender Joseph Matthews, who was assigned to represent him, declined to comment.

Court records and lawyers in a 2011 criminal case against Llaneza in San Jose described him as delusional and suicidal. He told police in that case that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. His attorney in the San Jose case said a judge had verified in two court hearings that Llaneza was getting mental health treatment.

Echoes of N.Y. case

His arrest came a day after a New York man, Quazi Nafis, pleaded guilty to attempting to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan in October, in a case unrelated to Llaneza’s. The FBI said an undercover agent had provided Nafis with 20, 50-pound bags of fake explosives.

In Llaneza’s case, the FBI declaration said he told the supposed Taliban representative in their Nov. 30 meeting that he wanted the bank bombing to be blamed on anti-U.S. government militias. He said he supported the Taliban and believed in violent jihad, the agent said, and hoped the bombing would prompt a government crackdown, a right-wing response and, ultimately, civil war.

He chose the Bank of America branch because of its name and because Oakland has been a center of recent protests, the declaration said. It said Llaneza told the agent he would “dance with joy” when the bomb exploded.

Bank cooperation

Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, said the bank was “cooperating fully with law enforcement” and declined further comment.

Llaneza and the agent met several times in December and January, and the FBI, following Llaneza’s suggestion, rented a storage unit in Hayward, the declaration said.

On Thursday night, agents said, Llaneza drove an SUV from the storage unit, hauling a dozen 5-gallon buckets of chemicals, prepared by the FBI to look like explosives, to a parking lot in Union City, where he assembled the bomb in the agent’s presence.

He then drove to the bank, parked the SUV under an overhang near a support column of the building, retreated on foot to a safe distance, and pressed an FBI-constructed cell phone triggering device that was supposed to ignite the bomb, the FBI said. Agents them moved in and arrested him.

The FBI did not say how it first contacted Llaneza, but he had been subject to law enforcement monitoring since serving a jail sentence in the 2011 criminal case in San Jose involving assault weapons charges.

In April 2011, San Jose police were called to a trailer where Llaneza lived with his father, Steve, according to court records. Described as suicidal and combative, and shouting “Allahu akbar” – “God is great” – he was held for observation for 72 hours.

Two days later, his father told police he had found an AK-47 assault rifle and a 30-round extended ammunition clip in the trailer. Officers found two more 30-round clips and other items, including a military-style camouflage sniper suit.

Llaneza was not arrested immediately, but a judge ordered him into custody when he appeared in court in May 2011. He pleaded no contest five months later to transportation of an assault weapon and was sentenced to six years in jail, with all but one year suspended, after agreeing to seek mental treatment. With credit for good behavior, Llaneza was released on Nov. 30, 2011.

Santa Clara County prosecutors objected to the sentence, which they considered too light, said Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci. She said he got the jail term under California’s realignment law, which took effect in October 2011 and sends most low-level felons to county jail instead of state prison. Under the previous law, she said, prosecutors would have sought at least a four-year prison term.

“Obviously he was a threat to the community,” Kianerci said. “We couldn’t keep him in custody forever, so we are lucky law enforcement was monitoring him.”

She said Llaneza was hearing voices and was apparently suicidal when he was taken to a hospital.

Father’s concern

The prosecutor said Steve Llaneza told police that his son, a native of Arizona, had been living with his mother there, had been in the Marines before being kicked out, and was familiar with weapons. He had worked as a window washer in Arizona before losing his job in May 2010 and was taking medication for bipolar disorder.

The father told police he was concerned about his son, who had recently converted to Islam.

While the AK-47 and the clips were purchased legally in Arizona, bringing them into California is illegal. Matthew Llaneza told police he had bought the rifle to protect himself from people who were after him, and mentioned previous suicide attempts.

“Someday you are going to find me dead in the desert,” he told San Jose officers.

Treatment needs

Llaneza was a different, more stable person when he was in custody and on medication, said Cameron Bowman, his lawyer in the San Jose case. He said he verified that Llaneza had been in the Marines, but that his claims to have been an armorer and a sniper were “his own fantasies – he had a lot of fantasies.”

“When I met him, I thought he was a very troubled person, with clear mental problems,” Bowman said. “I think that the court was trying everything possible to get him into treatment, get him supervised by professionals. I saw him as somebody who is at least bipolar, probably schizophrenic, and not somebody who should be turned out to the streets.

“This new case shows he was not getting the mental health treatment he needed.”

Army drill scares residents on Houston’s south side

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abclocal.go.com | Jan 29, 2013

by Jessica Willey

HOUSTON (KTRK) — The sight of Army helicopters and the sound of gunfire created a lot of concern Monday afternoon in one Houston neighborhood.

We received a lot of phones calls, Tweets and Facebook posts from worried neighbors, wondering what was going on.

SkyEye 13 HD was over the south side where at first look, it appeared there was a massive SWAT scene happening.

With military helicopters flying above her southeast Houston neighborhood, Frances Jerrals didn’t know what to think.

“When you see this, you think the worst. When you hear this, you think the worst,” Jerrals said.

And so, she passed along her concern.

“She told me ‘don’t come home it sounds like we’re in a war zone. Guns, shooting, helicopters flying around the house,'” Isaac Robertson Jr. said.

The U.S. Army along with other agencies took over the old Carnegie Vanguard High School near Scott and Airport. There were armed men in fatigues, plenty of weapons and what many thought were real live rounds

“I felt like I was in a warzone.” Jerrals said. “It was nonstop. I was terrified.”

Turns out, it was a multi-agency training drill that Jerrals wished would have come with warning.

“They could have done a better job in notifying the neighborhood,” Jerrals said.

The Army did not give any details of what the training is for.

U.S. Army’s special forces set for urban warefare training in Galveston, Texas

The parking garage at the Galveston County courthouse is already blocked off, in preparation for military training exercises Wednesday, which could include helicopters landing on the roof.

chron.com | Jan 30, 2013

By Carol Christian

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The parking garage at the Galveston County courthouse is already blocked off, in preparation for military training exercises Wednesday, which could include helicopters landing on the roof.
Photo: Google Maps

The garage occupies four floors of a seven-story building at 715 19th St., which also houses an empty jail.

The training will involve about 80 soldiers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in coordination with local law enforcement, said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Noggle, an Army spokesman based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

No civilians will be involved, he said.

“We were invited by the city of Galveston to conduct joint training exercises to enhance the effectiveness of both services in order to better protect the residents of Galveston,” Noggle said by email.

“The purpose of the realistic urban training is to give our Special Operators an opportunity to hone their skills in a controlled, but unfamiliar, realistic urban environment that cannot be replicated with the bare-boned facades found on military installation ranges,” he wrote.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said he thought the exercise could involve landing helicopters on top of the seven-story garage and jail facility.

An old antenna, which would have impeded landing on the building’s roof, was removed last week, Henry said.

“It was scheduled for demolition anyway,” the judge said. “We just accelerated the time frame on that. It’s out of their way so they can land there if they want to.”

Although the former county jail is empty, it’s well maintained in case it might be needed for inmate overflow, Henry said.

Noggle declined to specify what the training includes, but he stated that helicopters would be used if weather permits.

Any firing of weapons will involve “simulated ammunition,” Noggle said.

If the training is anything like the maneuvers that happened Monday in southeast Houston near the former Carnegie Vanguard High School and last week in Miami, it will catch the public’s attention.

On Tuesday, the Houston Police Department issued a statement that included an apology for its lack of prior warning about the exercises.

“In terms of the training, HPD is assisting the U.S. Army and Department of Homeland Security at various locations in the city through Friday of this week in which some training involves discharging of weapons and helicopter patrols,” the HPD statement said.

In Miami, the Miami-Dade Police Department issued two statements, one on Jan. 21 to announce the “joint military training exercise in and around the greater city of Miami and Miami-Dade County.”

The Miami training included the use of military helicopters, the statement said.

A second statement issued Jan. 25 thanked residents for their cooperation. “This was routine training conducted by military personnel designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments and meet mandatory training certification requirements,” the statement said.

Newtown residents join gun control march in Washington

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People walk from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, during a march on Washington for gun control. Susan Walsh / AP

NBC News | Jan 26, 2013

By Becky Bratu

Residents of Newtown, Conn., the scene of a school massacre in which 20 children and six adults were killed last month, joined thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday for a march supporting gun control.

Similar organized demonstrations were planned in support of gun control in about a dozen other places across the United States, according to organizers.

In addition to the 100 people who traveled together from Newtown, organizers told The Associated Press participants from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia would join the demonstration.

Alongside Mayor Vincent Gray, a crowd that stretched for about two blocks marched down Constitution Avenue toward the Washington Monument, where speakers called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition. Some of the demonstrators held signs that read “We Are Sandy Hook.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan addressed the crowd, saying he and President Barack Obama would work to enact gun control policies, the AP reported.

“This is about trying to create a climate in which our children can grow up free of fear,” he said, according to the AP.

“We must act, we must act, we must act,” Duncan said.

According to the AP, demonstrators held signs that read “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” “Stop NRA” and “Gun Control Now.” Other signs carried the names of victims of gun violence.

The silent march is organized by Molly Smith, artistic director of Washington’s Arena Stage, and her partner.

“With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it’s as if I move on,” Smith told the AP. “And in this moment, I can’t move on. I can’t move on.

“I think it’s because it was children, babies,” she told the AP. “I was horrified by it.”

The event is co-sponsored by One Million Moms for Gun Control, an independent organization that is also responsible for similar demonstrations in cities such as San Francisco, Chicago and Austin, Texas.

The Newtown massacre has reignited the debate over firearms in the United States, and last week Obama laid out a series of measures intended to curb gun violence, most significantly proposals to limit the size of ammunition magazines, ban assault weapons and require universal background checks on firearm purchases. That plan won little praise from Republicans.

Earlier this month, New York lawmakers approved the toughest gun control law in the nation, expanding the state’s existing assault weapons ban and addressing gun ownership by those with mental illnesses.

Feinstein calls for banning more than 150 types of firearms during dramatic press conference

dailycaller.com | Jan 24, 2013

by Alex Pappas

Sen-Feinstein-America-Has-To-Bite-The-Bullet-On-Gun-ControlWASHINGTON — California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein staged a dramatic press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with 10 weapons at her side and unveiled legislation instituting a government ban on more than 150 types of firearms, including rifles, pistols and shotguns.

Flanked by other anti-gun liberal lawmakers, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Feinstein announced the introduction of the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.”

The legislation being pushed by Feinstein — who has long history of calling for gun bans — would prohibit the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of certain firearms.

Click to expand full list of guns Feinstein wants banned:

During the press event at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, the Democrats described these firearms as “dangerous military-style assault weapons.” The bill would also ban high-capacity ammunition feeding devices that can hold more than 10 rounds.

Feinstein said the country’s “weak” gun laws allow massacres like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occur.

“Getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that — but it’s a battle worth having,” Feinstein said in literature handed to reporters at the Thursday event.

Others who joined the Democrats for the press conference included Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Washington National Cathedral dean Gary R. Hall. (RELATED: Episcopal dean of National Cathedral teams up with Democrats on guns)

This sort of stunt from Feinstein — displaying weapons for dramatic effect while discussing new gun laws — is hardly new. Joe Morrissey, a Democratic delegate in Virginia, caught some colleagues by surprise last week by bringing an AK-47 onto the floor of the House of Delegates while calling for gun control.

And David Gregory, the moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” found himself in hot water for displaying a high-capacity gun magazine during an interview with a leader of the National Rifle Association in December. NBC studios are in Washington D.C., where having possession of such magazines is illegal. While DC police investigated the incident, no charges were filed.