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NYPD encounter that led to shooting of bipolar man lasted 'no more than 10 seconds': Sources

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WABC-TV(NEW YORK) — The fatal encounter between New York City police and a bipolar Brooklyn man waiving what looked like a gun lasted no more than 10 seconds, police sources told ABC News.

Saheed Vassell was warned to drop what turned out to be the top of a welding torch before four officers opened fire, the sources said. Vassell was struck at least seven times and maybe as many as nine times, according to the medical examiner.

None of the officers had been involved in previous on-duty shootings, police said, and they remain on active duty while the state attorney general investigates.

“You saw how quickly that transpired,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Friday. “Those officers didn’t have much time. Being presented with immediate threat is different from being able to step back and talk.”

The NYPD released additional video footage that showed Vassell walking quickly through Crown Heights, waiving a silver metal pipe at passersby. Additional transcripts of 911 calls were also released.

“There is a guy walking around,” one caller said. “He looks like he is crazy but he’s pointing something at people that looks like a gun and he’s like popping it like he’s pulling the trigger. He’s not pulling a trigger but he’s making a motion as if he is and there is something sticking out of his jacket.”

The caller continued: “I’m watching the guy, he’s crossing the street and putting it in people’s face like it’s a gun and pulling his hat, he’s doing some (unintelligible) and pulling it back, like he’s making a trigger sign and people is like ducking and like trying to avoid because they’re thinking it’s a gun. There is something hanging out of his jacket. I’m like oh my god.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the officers’ actions.

“You can see in those transcripts how fearful the people on the streets were for their own safety,” de Blasio said during his weekly appearance on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show.

Critics wondered whether the outcome would have been different had beat cops -– who patrol the neighborhood and may have known Vassell and his condition, and not officers from a specialized unit — responded to the scene.

“We do know this took place in such a fast time sequence that the normal concepts of reaching the officers who normally are on the beat, etc., may not have even been conceivable in this kind of – literally a few minutes time span,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said he would like to see more mental health help available for someone like Vassell, whose family said suffered from bipolar disorder.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


'They deserve to be set free': Aunt of Menendez brothers says of their emotional reunion

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ABC News(SAN DIEGO) — The aunt of the Menendez brothers reacted to the news of their emotional reunion after spending more than 20 years apart, saying that her nephews are not criminals and they should be set free.

Marta Cano — sister of Jose Menendez and godmother to Erik Menendez — testified for the defense for both brothers. In her first interview in more than 20 years, she described her nephews as “sweet” and “beautiful” boys who were deeply troubled by the abuse they endured by their parents.

Cano, 76, then described her brother as “sick guy” who had “tremendous traumas from his childhood.”

“He was not a bad person,” she told ABC News. “He was a sick person. He had his traumas.”

In 1996, the brothers were convicted of first-degree murder in their parents’ deaths and were sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole.

They came face to face on Wednesday, after Lyle was transferred to the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility, where Erik had been housed since July 2013. The two hadn’t seen each other since Sept. 10, 1996, said Robert Rand, a journalist who has covered the case since 1989 and a consultant for NBC’s 2017 TV series on the brothers.

They both “burst into tears immediately” after the guard opened the door, Rand said.

Cano said that although “it is a great joy to know they are together,” she still prays for them to be set free.

“They deserve to be free,” she said. “They’re not criminals. They were in so much shock and fear of their own lives that that’s what happened.”

Cano said that she believes when the brothers killed their parents, it was a “defense mechanism,” not a crime that was planned.

“It was not [an] in-cold-blood kind of thing,” she said. “It was fear — total fear.”

She added, “How would I feel if someone had abused me all my life, and all of a sudden he’s angry in front of me and he’s coming to me? It’s a defense mechanism we all have. You never knew what you would do.”

The killings and the subsequent trials “traumatized” the brothers’ extended family, Cano said, adding that she’s convinced that her son, Andy, died because he couldn’t cope with the incarceration of his cousins, with whom he was close.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Andy is dead because of them,” she said.

Cano said she has kept in touch with her nephews throughout the years, but “not as much” as she would like. She’s also met both of their wive several times, she said.

“They’ve always been in my heart,” she said.

Cano believes that through their “suffering” in prison, Lyle and Erik have matured and grown.

“The other good thing is they have been able to mature separately,” she said. “Sometimes we cling on to somebody else, and we never mature.”

Erik asked his aunt to send him some books after telling her that he had been teaching religion to a group of inmates, Cano said.

“So, he was really making sure that the prisoners knew that there is a God that loves us,” she said. “That was marvelous to me because he never got that at home.”

Cano said she will continue to lean on her faith.

“You have to leave some things in God’s hands, and God takes care of them,” she said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Why can't we live together? Kenny Chesney wants us to "Get Along"

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By Music News Group

Allister AnnKenny Chesney wants us all to just “Get Along.”

In his new single, the eight-time Entertainer of the Year urges us all to get past our differences, focus on love, and press on.

The sing-along chorus drives home the song’s message: “Get along on down the road/We’ve got a long, long way to go/Scared to live/Scared to die/We ain’t perfect but we try/Get along while we can/Always give love the upper hand.”

“Get Along” is Kenny’s first new single since leaving his longtime label home at Sony earlier this year. It’s likely the lead release from his forthcoming Warner Bros. Nashville debut.

You can stream or download “Get Along” now, or check it out via an audio-only clip on YouTube.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Country Music News


It's "Still the Same": Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush aren't on the cover of the new Sugarland album

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By Music News Group

BMLGThe cover of the new Sugarland album has been revealed, and it seems like Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are continuing with their tradition of not appearing on their album art.

Over the course of six records, the duo has appeared on the cover of only one: 2009’s concert album, Live on the Inside. For the new album, Bigger, Sugarland‘s logo is once again front-and-center, superimposed over large black letters that spell out the project’s title. A red-and-white striped background invokes a “big top” vibe.

Fans unlocked the new cover by playing the duo’s latest hit, “Still the Same,” on Spotify. Once streams reached a certain threshold, the art was unveiled. Bigger comes out June 8.

Sugarland isn’t the only country act to consciously avoid appearing on its covers. Most recently, Old Dominion doesn’t appear on the cover of either of their two albums.

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Source:: Country Music News


Cory Michael Smith has "a blast" being The Riddler on "Gotham"

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By Music News Group

TOMMY GARCIA / FOX(NEW YORK) — Actor Cory Michael Smith plays Edward Nygma, aka The Riddler, one of the many over-the-top villains on FOX’s Batman-universe spin-off, Gotham.

Smith’s certainly not the first actor to play the role: Frank Gorshin played it on the campy 1960s Batman TV series, and Jim Carrey took a spin in 1995’s Batman Forever. Smith said while he’s a Carrey fan, having grown up watching Carrey classics like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask, he intentionally avoided revisiting Carrey’s take on the character.

“For me it was also just self-preservation. Like, steer clear,” Smith says. “‘Cause if I saw him do it, it would just be, this kind of like reaction that I would be imitating him, and I didn’t wanna mess with that.”

You can tell Smith takes seriously the responsibility of tackling the role, and acknowledges the pressure that brings.

“If you take an iconic character like this and you do it terribly? Or in a way where most people think you are wrong, when people look at you and are like, ‘Meh, that’s just off the mark, man,’ he says, “I just feel like that, you know, that can be a devastating setback to a young career.

Nygma’s only one of the scenery-chewing villains Gotham is known for. Smith says if it looks like he’s having a blast playing part, it’s because he is.

“When he gets to be a bit of a showboat, I have a blast,” he says. “There’s something about this character, when he just gets to be so cocky and then the rug gets pulled out from under him? It’s a very satisfying thing.”

Gotham airs Thursday nights at 8:00 ET/7:00 CT on FOX.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Entertainment News


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