Day: April 9, 2017


Florida mall shooting: Second victim shot by fired fitness trainer dies of injuries

A second victim of Saturday’s shooting at a South Florida gym died of his injuries, authorities said Sunday. 

Marios Hortis, 42, was one of two people shot by 33-year-old Abeku Wilson, who had been let go as a trainer Saturday at the Equinox gym in Coral Gables “due to workplace violence and was escorted off the premises.”

Investigators say Wilson returned to the gym with a handgun and fired multiple shots at Hortis and 35-year-old Janine Ackerman, the facility’s general manager, before fatally shooting himself. Ackerman was pronounced dead Saturday.

Police did not elaborate on what the “workplace violence” by Wilson involved. 

Equinox issued an email statement Sunday that it was “deeply saddened” by the deaths of its two employees.

“Our love, prayers and condolences are with both families during this terrible time. The collective Equinox community will always keep Janine and Marios in our hearts,” the statement said.

Marc Sarnoff, who previously trained with Wilson for two years, saw him at the gym before Saturday’s shooting and noticed something was wrong.

Wilson typically was “very buttoned up, very proper, very appropriate,” Sarnoff said in a phone interview. But on Saturday, Wilson physically bumped into Sarnoff and his current trainer. The usually adept Wilson seemed noticeably off-kilter.

“He wasn’t clean-shaven … and he seemed to be slurring his words,” said Sarnoff. “He said, `I’m sorry, I’m just off balance this morning’.”

An Instagram account in his name is filled with shirtless, muscly photos talking about body building competitions that he was preparing for. In December, a posting said he had gotten a blue belt in martial arts.

The shooting happened about 1 p.m. Saturday at the upscale Shops at Merrick Park. Shoppers, diners at mall restaurants and people in workout gear ran to safety or took cover after reports of gunfire.

“Five gunshots,” Ovi Viera, who was in the men’s locker room, told The Miami Herald. “It was too loud for it to have been a weight dropping. Within two seconds, people just started running out.”

Wilson trained Eveliny Bastos-Klein shortly before Saturday’s shooting. She told The Miami Herald that he didn’t seem distracted and that she didn’t notice anything unusual during their session.

The mall is a few miles from the University of Miami campus. Ackerman studied on a field hockey scholarship at Florida International University.

University Vice Provost Steve Moll, who taught Ackerman while she was working on a master’s degree in hospitality, described her as “the whole package.”

“She was smart, she was athletic, she was charming, she was determined,” he said in a phone interview.

He said she was a hard worker who shined at everything she set her mind to. The New Jersey native was once chosen out of more than 1,000 students as the student leader for the prestigious South Beach Wine & Food Festival and later went to work at the Fontainebleau hotel, he added.

She’d been promoted to general manager of the upscale gym in August.

“My initial reaction was, `No, this can’t be. Why would anybody want to hurt such a lovely person’,” he said.

Friends and colleagues described Hortis as a beloved spinning instructor with a generous spirit and warm demeanor. A photo of Hortis clad in black workout clothes, sitting on a bike while leading a class circulated online.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Pics capture purple lightning

A photographer has managed to capture shots of purple lightning, shooting streams out of a cloud.

Known as ionospheric lightning, the naturally occuring phenomenon happens at higher altitudes than lightning produced by storm clouds.


Photographer Jeff Miles captured the picture in Western Australia on March 28.

“This was a mind blowing experience to see with my eyes, never mind research the photos to find out just how rare they are,” Miles said in comments captured by The Sun. “Gigantic jets have only been captured on camera a handful of times and this night I was lucky enough to see six jets.”


Last month a remarkable time-lapse video of the Aurora Australis was captured from the window of a plane. The video was taken on a flight from Dunedin in New Zealand to see the remarkable light display. Also known as the Southern Lights, the Aurora Australis is the southern hemisphere counterpart of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

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CALL TO ARMS Sen. Graham wants up to 6,000 more troops in Syria

Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday took perhaps the most aggressive Washington stance on the country’s simultaneous effort to defeat ISIS and solve the Syrian crisis — calling for more U.S. troops in the terror fight and suggesting President Trump already has broad authority to order missile strikes on Syria.

The South Carolina Republican and military hawk is calling for as many as 6,000 more U.S. troops to help defeat the Islamic State terror group in the Middle East.

“You need more American troops to accelerate (ISIS’) demise,” Graham told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “You train the opposition to go after [Syrian President Bashar] Assad. That’s how he’s taken out by his own people, with our efforts.”

Thousands of U.S. troops are already in Syria and Iraq to help regional forces in the fight to defeat ISIS.

Graham also argued Sunday that the United States is “relying too much” on the Kurds in that region to defeat ISIS and that additional U.S. troops would attract more regional fighters in that effort. 


Graham spoke several days after Trump unilaterally ordered a missile attack on a Syrian airbase in response to Assad’s deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians and as the Trump administration tried to explain its foreign policy.

National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster told “Fox News Sunday” that the president is taking “simultaneous action” in defeating ISIS and ending the 6-year-long civil war in Syria to oust the Assad regime, which has caused a humanitarian crisis.

Graham also suggested that Trump has the authority, without authorization from Congress, to send in additional troops and hit Assad again for using chemical weapons.

“He already has that authority,” said Graham, who acknowledged that his position doesn’t have widespread Washington consensus. “I think the president has authorization to use force. Assad signed the chemical weapons treaty ban. There’s an agreement with him not to use chemical weapons.”

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AMBER ALERT Police say 12-year-old met abduction suspect online

Police in Blue Springs, Mo., issued an Amber Alert Sunday for a 12-year-old girl they believe may have been abducted by a Maryland man she met online. 

Blue Springs Deputy Police Chief Bob Muenz told reports that they believe Apple Briscoe is with 22-year-old William Dela Cruz and his 24-year-old brother Jason.  

Muenz said Apple was last seen getting into a vehicle with Dela Cruz late Saturday night. 

“The family is in our thoughts and our prayers. We do have a missing 12-year-old girl that we believe is in the presence allegedly of two brothers, he said. “We are asking for the community support to be on the lookout for this vehicle that is in the Amber alert so we can bring Apple home to her family.”

The three are believed to be traveling in a silver 2015 Nissan Versa with Maryland license plate number 6CK5071. 

Apple Briscoe is described as standing five feet, three inches tall with brown hair and green eyes. 

William Dela Cruz is described as a 5’10” Filipino male who weighs approximately 220 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Blue Springs Police Department at 816-228-0100.

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Final round of Masters packed with 'wonderful storylines'

Justin Rose sounded more like a golf fan planning out his Sunday TV schedule than a co-leader at the Masters prepping for the final round.

There’s Jordan Spieth, who “obviously has a special relationship the Masters,” Rose said.

And Rickie Fowler, who will “be all up for it tomorrow.”

And his Ryder Cup teammate Sergio Garcia, who will “have a great opportunity.”

He summed up his rundown saying, “There’s wonderful storylines.”

One of the biggest might be Rose, who enters the fray at Augusta National with a championship pedigree and a closer’s ability to come through in the big moment. He did it to win the U.S. Open in 2013 and last summer when he captured an Olympic gold medal in Rio.

Rose reached the top with a run of five birdies over his last seven holes.

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“I’m a major champion, but I’m looking for more,” Rose said. “I’m certainly looking for my first Masters and my first green jacket.”

Garcia and Fowler will also be seeking their first major wins. Garcia has played in 71 straight majors and hopes to shed the title of the best-ever without a major win. He’ll be paired with Rose, a friend, for the final 18 holes.

“Should be a great match-up in the last group,” Garcia said.

Fowler had a memorable 2014 major season, finishing in the top five of all four events — although he did not win. He’s worked to improve his fitness, health, golf game and mental approach the past six months and believes he’s arrived at the perfect nexus to take the next step to major champion.

“We’ve been having a blast this week,” Fowler said.


Other things to watch in Sunday’s final round at the Masters:

FADING PHIL: Phil Mickelson looked ready for a patented Masters charge Saturday when he opened with birdies on the first and second holes. Mickelson’s rise ended there. He had a double bogey on the par-4 third hole and could never recover. Mickelson went on to three more bogeys for a front side 39 and could not get much going the rest of the way to finish with a 2-over 74. It’s his second straight day over par as he attempted, at 46, to become the oldest winner at Augusta National. Mickelson, at 2 over, is eight shots behind the co-leaders.

SPIETH’S SURGE: Perhaps the best comeback of this tournament belongs to Jordan Spieth. The 2015 Masters champion was all but gone after a frustrating, quadruple bogey nine on the 15th hole in Thursday’s opening round. Spieth, though, started clawing back with a birdie on No. 16 to reframe his focus and, although he was 10 shots down, he had confidence he could contend. His rally took off on Saturday with five birdies on a 10-hole stretch for a 68 to leave him just two back heading into the final round. Watch out.

MAYBE HOFFMAN? Say what you want about Charley Hoffman’s inexplicable water ball on No. 16, the 40-year-old has hung tough after one of the loneliest situations in sport — gaining a big lead early. Hoffman opened with a 65 and had the biggest Masters lead after a first round in 62 years. Predictably, he came back to the pack Friday but remained in a four-way tie for the top after 36 holes. Hoffman appeared to have handled the chase well Saturday until the par-3 16th. Hoffman, though, rallied back after a mistake that might’ve unraveled many with two steady, closing pars to remain two off the lead.

PAST CHAMPS HOVERING: Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth aren’t the only past Masters winners hanging close to the top. Adam Scott, the 2013 champ, worked his way up to 3 under and three strokes back with his second straight 69 on Saturday. Charl Schwartzel, who won here in 2011 with birdies on the final four holes, shot a 68 in the third round to move to 2 under and four shots behind.

BIG CHARGES: The most capable making a huge run? It might be world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, who is at even par and has yet to break 70 this week. But McIlroy, seeking the career grand slam, has a penchant for going low late at Augusta National, shooting in the 60s in three of his last four final rounds at the Masters.

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Ex-Dale Earnhardt stock car sells for $220,000

A Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet campaigned by the late Dale Earnhardt sold Saturday for $220,000, including 10 percent buyer’s premium, at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Collector-Car Auction.

The familiar black No. 3 Chevrolet Lumina was raced by Earnhardt in 1989 and ’90, according to the auction listing. It was driven by Earnhardt to one of his nine victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In 1990, Earnhardt won nine races and the fourth of his seven championships in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“This NASCAR Cup Car comes with supporting documentation from Crew Chief Kirk Shelmerdine, who personally inspected the car and found it to be 100% true as raced by Dale Earnhardt,” the auction listing stated.

The listing said that the car began life as a Chevrolet Monte Carlo Aerocoupe with Wrangler sponsorship, then was updated with a Lumina body for the 1990 season. The Monte Carlo Aerocoupes were produced only in 1986-87.

“The current owner purchased the car seven years ago. It has not been restored in any way since,” the auction listing stated. “The fluids, fuel, etc., have been replaced; receipts included. … The car has only been used in charity and promotional events, and one car show. It won the Lake Mirror Classic for best Historic Race Car.”

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Ship hijacked off Yemen coast is freed

A Lebanese registered ship hijacked off the cast of war-torn Somalia has been freed, says a shipping expert.

The pirates who boarded the ship Saturday abandoned it Sunday before naval forces rescued the ship, Mohamed Abdirahman, former director of Puntland’s marine forces, told The Associated Press.

The pirates were unable to take the crew hostage because they locked themselves in a safe room said Abdirahman. No pirates were arrested and international naval forces are now escorting the ship, he said.

The ship hijacked off the coast of war-torn Yemen is a cargo vessel owned by a Lebanon-registered company, a United Nations agency confirmed Sunday. The hijacking was the latest in a resurgence of piracy in the waters off Somalia and Yemen, one of the world’s crucial sea trade routes.

The OS 35, which can carry non-liquid cargoes like grain or iron ore, is registered by Oldstone Cargo Ltd, which lists its business address in Tripoli, Lebanon, said the International Maritime Organization. The OS 35 is Oldstone’s only ship registered with the U.N. Oldstone could not be immediately reached for comment.

The pirates managed to board the ship Saturday evening near Yemen’s Socotra Island despite resistance from the crew, said Somali pirate, Bile Hussein.

Somali pirates in recent weeks have hijacked at least two vessels with foreign crews in the waters off Somalia and Yemen, marking a return of the threat after five years.

In March, Somali pirates hijacked a Comoros-flagged oil tanker, marking the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel since 2012. They later released the vessel and its Sri Lankan crew without conditions.

Pirates later seized a fishing trawler, which Somali authorities warned could be used for further piracy.

Earlier this month, Somali pirates seized a small boat and its 11 Indian crew members as the vessel passed through the narrow channel between Socotra Island and Somalia’s coast.

Piracy off Somalia’s coast was once a serious threat to the global shipping industry. It has lessened in recent years after an international effort to patrol near the country, whose weak central government has been trying to assert itself after a quarter-century of conflict. In December, NATO ended its anti-piracy mission off Somalia’s waters.

But frustrations have been rising among Somali fishermen, including former pirates, at what they say are foreign fishermen illegally fishing in local waters.

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Tanks a bullion! Man finds gold bars buried in military vehicle

A tank fanatic got a new model in a £30,000 [$37,000] trade-in — and found more than £2million of gold bullion hidden in the fuel tank.

Nick Mead, 55, discovered the five gold bars in the Russian T54/69 while restoring it to add to his collection of 150 military vehicles.

He and mechanic Todd Chamberlain were filming themselves prising open the diesel tank in case they found munitions and needed to show it to bomb disposal crews.


Instead, they pulled out the bars, weighing up to 12 pounds — 5kg — apiece.

Todd, 50, said a quick calculation suggested they were worth in excess of £2million [$2.5 million].

He added: “We didn’t know what to do. You can’t exactly take five gold bullion bars down to Cash Converters without questions being asked, so we called the police.”

Nick runs Tanks-a-Lot, giving petrolheads the chance to drive any of his tanks on his farm in Helmdon, Northants.

Click to read the full story in The Sun.

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Man loses slot machine jackpot because of friend

Don’t let anyone push your buttons.

That’s the new mantra of gambler Jan Flato, who lost out on a $100,000 slot machine jackpot because he let a friend do the honors , 7News Boston reported.

Flato, 66, was feeding cash into the $50-a-spin Double Top Dollar machine at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 31.

At one point, he let his friend Marina Navarro push the button, for “luck,” the site reported.

And she was the charm.

The machine’s bells and whistles went off, and Flato assumed he was the one in the money.

Wrong, said casino officials who reviewed surveillance footage to confirm which one had the Midas touch — it was Navarro, 35.

Click here for more from The New York Post. 

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Journalist discovers husband was killed in car crash as she delivers news on live TV

A newsreader discovered her husband had been killed in a car crash as she delivered the breaking news on live TV.

Supreet Kaur, who reads the news for India’s IBC24 channel, somehow managed to retain her composure as a reporter gave details about the horror smash over the phone.

The reporter didn’t identify the victims by name but said three out of five people in the car were dead.

But there were enough details for the 28-year-old anchor to realise that her husband, Harsad Kawade, was one of those who had lost his life.

She realised that her husband had been travelling in the same model of car, a Renault Duster, on the same road at the time with a group of friends.

Following the report she carried on reading the headlines for another ten minutes.

But she then broke down in tears shortly after the broadcast yesterday morning, the Hindustan Times reports.

A senior editor said staff learned that her husband was dead while she was reading the news.

They said: “But we did not tell her. We did not have the courage.”

Read more from The Sun.

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