Thursday, August 19, 2004

Your government will protect you: "Federal air marshals protect less than 5 percent of daily U.S. flights, and the numbers are declining, despite assurances by the federal government that most planes would be protected, according to estimates provided by marshals, pilots and a retired airline executive. 'They are flying on a relatively limited number of flights due to availability,' said Capt. Stephen Luckey, chairman of the national-security committee of the Air Lines Pilots Association, which represents 64,000 pilots. The number of federal air marshals who protect planes from terrorist attacks is classified, and the Department of Homeland Security has refused to discuss it. The sources said they are confident that terrorists already know the numbers based on open-source documents that can be found on the Internet, ongoing surveillance in airports and aboard planes, and in news reports."

Ban all knives! "A schizophrenic allegedly beheaded his father with a knife, a court heard yesterday. Christian Simionescu, 25, briefly faced Burwood Local Court in Sydney yesterday charged with the murder of his father, Emil in June. According to facts tendered to court, Simionescu was arrested the day after the alleged murder in Roselands when police found he was allegedly "prone to violence and has a fascination with knives". A knife was found at the scene. The victim's body was discovered by his wife on the living-room floor. His head was found in a bag on the garage roof".

Robbery foiled: "An adult video store clerk shot a robber in the arm, and then himself in the hand, while fending off the assailant who came in demanding money Saturday afternoon, Suffolk [NY] police said. John McMurray was working at the store on Jericho Turnpike at about 4:30 p.m. when a man armed with a metal pipe arrived, police spokesman Officer Sonny Di Stefano said. McMurray, 67, of Bohemia, gave the man, Stanley Hagzan, 50, of 29 Johnson Ave. in Kings Park, some cash. Hagzan then tied up McMurray, Di Stefano said.The clerk was soon able to free himself and then reached for his licensed revolver and shot at Hagzan."

Burglar who was shot by homeowner gets seven years: Chicago Sun-Times "A Chicago [IL] man who was shot after he twice broke into a Wilmette home pleaded guilty to residential burglary Thursday and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Mario Billings, 32, a convicted thief, entered his plea before Judge Timothy Chambers in the Cook County courthouse in Skokie, a spokesman for the Cook County state's attorney's office said. Billings also pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen vehicle in the 2003 incident. The case drew widespread attention from gun-rights advocates after prosecutors determined the homeowner, Hale DeMar, shot Billings in self-defense but still charged DeMar with failing to renew a firearm card. The charges were later dropped."

Would-be victim shoots robber: "Police say two robbery suspects face capital murder charges for the death of another man who was working with them, even though neither actually shot him. Reginald Scroggins, the man whose bullet killed Cortelyous Johnson, has not been charged because it appears he was acting in self-defense. ... The men charged with killing 28-year-old Cortelyous Johnson are 22-year-old Jarrett Johnson and 23-year-old Gregory Williams, 23. They're also charged with two counts of committing a terroristic act and four counts of aggravated robbery."

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