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Crime

Police looking for help to identify three people of interest in shooting

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Police seek assistance identifying three people of interest in shooting

May 12, 2021 Edmonton, AB

Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying three people of interest in a recent shooting.

At approximately 2 p.m. on Monday, May 3, 2021, police responded to the report of a shooting in the area of 110 Street and 86 Avenue. It was reported that two males and one female were trespassing on a residential property, when a confrontation occurred with a 59-year-old man in the area. The 59-year-old was subsequently shot and the three individuals fled the scene.

The victim is recovering in hospital and his injuries are considered to be serious, but non-life-threatening.

Investigators are trying to confirm the identities of the three individuals in the photos below, who were in the area at the time of the shooting.

Anyone with any information regarding the identity of any of the three individuals is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

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Crime

Gunman kills 19 children in Texas school rampage

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By Acacia Coronado And Jim Vertuno in Uvalde

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 children as he went from classroom to classroom, officials said, in the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade and the latest gruesome moment for a country scarred by a string of massacres. The attacker was killed by law enforcement.

The death toll also included two adults, authorities said. Gov. Greg Abbott said one of the two was a teacher.

The assault at Robb Elementary School in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Hours after the attack, families were still awaiting word on their children.

Outside the town civic center, where families were told to await news about their loved ones, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing. “No! Please, no!” one man yelled as he embraced another man.

“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”

Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioning repairman, was still outside the school as the sun set, seeking word on his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Elijah Cruz Torres.

He drove to the scene after receiving a terrifying call from his daughter shortly after the first reports of the shooting. He said other relatives were at the hospital and the civic center.

Waiting, he said, was the heaviest moment of his life.

“I hope she is alive,” Cruz said.

The attack came just 10 days after a deadly, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that added to a yearslong series of mass killings at churches, schools and stores. And the prospects for any reform of the nation’s gun regulations seemed as dim, if not dimmer, than in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook deaths.

But President Joe Biden appeared ready for a fight, calling for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation hours after the attack.

“As a nation we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name are we going to do what has to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”

Many of the wounded were rushed to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, where staff members in scrubs and devastated victims’ relatives could be seen weeping as they walked out of the complex.

Officials did not immediately reveal a motive, but they identified the assailant as Salvador Ramos, a resident of the community about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio. Law enforcement officials said he acted alone.

The attack came as Robb Elementary was counting down to the last days of the school year with a series of themed days. Tuesday was to be “Footloose and Fancy,” with students wearing nice outfits and shoes.

The school has nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades. The vast majority of the students are Latino.

Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming, according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police. He noted that the gunman “suggested the kids should watch out.”

Before heading to the school, Ramos killed his grandmother with two military-style rifles he purchased on his birthday, Gutierrez said.

“That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” he said. Other officials said later that the grandmother had survived, and was being treated, through her condition was not known.

Investigators believe Ramos posted photos on Instagram of two guns he used in the shooting, and they were examining whether he made statements online alluding to the attack in the hours before the assault, a law enforcement official said.

Law enforcement officers were serving multiple search warrants Tuesday night and gathering telephone and other records, the official said. Investigators were also attempting to contact Ramos’ relatives and were tracing the firearms.

The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The attack began about 11:30 a.m., when the gunman crashed his car outside the school and ran into the building, according to Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. A resident who heard the crash called 911, and two local police officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter.

Both officers were shot, though it was not immediately clear where on the campus that confrontation occurred, or how much time elapsed before more authorities arrived on the scene.

Meanwhile, teams of Border Patrol agents raced to the school, including 10 to 15 members of a SWAT-like tactical and counter-terrorism unit, said Jason Owens, a top regional official with the Border Patrol.

One Border Patrol agent who was working nearby when the shooting began rushed into the school without waiting for backup and shot and killed the gunman, who was behind a barricade, according to a law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about it.

The agent was wounded but able to walk out of the school, the law enforcement source said.

Owens confirmed that an agent suffered minor injuries, but would not provide details of that confrontation.

He said some area agents have children at Robb Elementary.

“We have Border Patrol kids that go to this school. It hit home for everybody,” he said.

It was not immediately clear how many people were wounded, but Uvalde Police Chief Pete Arredondo said there were “several injuries.” Earlier, Uvalde Memorial Hospital said 13 children were taken there. Another hospital reported a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.

Uvalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the border with Mexico. Robb Elementary is in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.

The tragedy in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, and it added to a grim tally in the state, which has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. over the past five years.

In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year before that, a gunman at a Texas church killed more than two dozen people during a Sunday service in the small town of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, another gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack targeting Hispanics.

The shooting came days before the National Rifle Association annual convention was set to begin in Houston. Abbott and both of Texas’ U.S. senators were among elected Republican officials who were the scheduled speakers at a Friday leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.

In the years since Sandy Hook, the gun control debate in Congress has waxed and waned. Efforts by lawmakers to change U.S. gun policies in any significant way have consistently faced roadblocks from Republicans and the influence of outside groups such as the NRA.

A year after Sandy Hook, Sens. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Patrick J. Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, negotiated a bipartisan proposal to expand the nation’s background check system. But the measure failed in a Senate vote, without enough support to clear a 60-vote filibuster hurdle.

Then-President Barack Obama, who had made gun control central to his administration’s goals after the Newtown shooting, called Congress’ failure to act “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”

Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases. One bill would have closed a loophole for private and online sales. The other would have extended the background check review period. Both languished in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome objections from a filibuster.

___

Eugene Garcia and Dario Lopez-Mills in Uvalde, Jake Bleiberg in Dallas, Ben Fox, Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington, Paul J. Weber in Austin, Juan Lozano in Houston, Gene Johnson in Seattle and Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

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More on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/school-shootings

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Alberta

Defence says man had no choice but to shoot hunters in Alberta roadside confrontation

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EDMONTON — An Alberta man accused of killing two Métis hunters had no choice but to shoot the men to protect himself, his father and younger brother, his lawyer told a jury during his opening statement.
Anthony Bilodeau, 33, and his father, Roger Bilodeau, 58, face two counts each of second-degree murder. They have both pleaded not guilty.

The two were charged after Jacob Sansom, 39, and his uncle Maurice Cardinal, 57, were found dead at the side of a rural road near Glendon, Alta., about 215 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, on March 28, 2020.

Sansom was shot once in the chest and Cardinal was hit three times in his shoulder.

“There was probably an angel looking down on him,” Brian Beresh said Tuesday of his client, Anthony Bilodeau.

“And it takes the form of the CNRL video,” he added, referring to security video footage from a gas station that shows the confrontation between the two sides the night before the bodies were found.

Beresh said Anthony Bilodeau got a call from his father and younger brother, Joseph Bilodeau, saying they were following a pickup truck that had stopped at the driveway of their property before speeding off.

Joseph Bilodeau, who is now 18 and was not charged in the case, testified last week that he had also seen a truck on his parents’ farm earlier in the day and suspected the one they were following had something to do with it.

Beresh said Anthony Bilodeau, who lived nearby, was asked to bring a gun for protection and catch up with his father and brother. He was still on the phone with them a short time later when the truck with his father and brother and the other truck stopped on the side of road.

A man from the other truck punched in the passenger window of Roger Bilodeau’s Ford F-150 and then tried to pull him out, along with Joseph Bilodeau, Beresh said.

“Things changed very quickly when during the call, he heard the shattering of glass and then his brother Joseph scream, ‘Don’t kill my dad! Don’t hurt my dad!” Beresh told the jury.

“When he arrived at the scene, to his horror, he could see a man who appeared to be strangling or fighting with his father, who was still partially in the truck.”

Joseph Bilodeau has testified that he managed to get himself into the back seat of his father’s truck by the time his brother arrived.

Beresh said one of the first things Anthony Bilodeau did when he got there was to tell the men to stop fighting.

“Despite his attempt to de-escalate the situation, things got worse,” Beresh said.

The man who had pinned his father down in the truck then charged at Anthony Bilodeau while shouting to another man to grab a gun so they could kill him, Beresh said.

“In that short period of time, which the video confirms, Anthony had no choice,” his lawyer said. “He responded to protect himself and his father.”

Last week, Crown prosecutors argued that the killings were in no way justified, as the security footage also shows Anthony Bilodeau shot Sansom within 26 seconds of arriving at the scene, then shot Cardinal as the hunter was walking away.

Joseph Bilodeau also testified that he feared for his life during the confrontation with the two men, but he didn’t have any conversations with his brother and father about calling police.

Anthony Bilodeau is expected to take the witness stand Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.

Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

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