All Articles Tagged "homicide"
It’s a given that not everyone was happy President Obama was re-elected Tuesday night but one Virginia man took his paranoia about four more years under the Commander-in-Chief’s leadership to the extreme when he murdered his wife and kids, and then took his own life Tuesday afternoon.
According to a preliminary investigation from police, all of the victims died of gunshot wounds to the upper body. Albert Peterson, 57, a wealthy defense contractor reportedly shot his wife Kathleen, 52, who worked for Blackbird Technologies, a company that specializes in defense, law enforcement and intelligence work, and their sons Matthew, 16, and Christopher, 13, then shot himself as well.
As tragic as that news is itself, it’s even more peculiar that the motive for the killings appears to be the impending doom Peterson thought awaited his family and the entire country if Obama was re-elected. Despite Peterson’s success, a family friend who only wanted to be identified as “Maggie,” told the Daily Mail Online that the business man continued to be haunted by demons from his past.
“He’s had difficulty his whole life,” Maggie said. “He had a rough time with paranoia.”
At a young age, Maggie said, both his father and his uncle committed suicide.
“His dad suffered from alopecia and it was something he couldn’t live with,” Maggie said.
After Mr Peterson’s Uncle John killed himself, Maggie said that both Petersons were unnerved as they had frequently sent their children to his home to spend time with him.
“When Uncle John died, [Mr Peterson] kicked himself and said ‘God, what would have happened if our sons were there when it happened?’” Maggie recalled.
Thinking back on the eerie precursor, Maggie is still dumbfounded.
“It just never crossed our minds,” she said.
Mr Peterson’s life was punctuated by bouts of paranoia that became so severe, he wallowed in his depression, gained weight, and contemplated taking his own life.
In one dark episode, after his mother died five years ago, his wife had to pull him from the brink of suicide.
“Kathie was a strong person and she probably put her foot down, like she did five years ago,” Maggie said. ‘Kathie couldn’t believe the way he was acting and how he thought.’
“She wanted to be out doing something – biking, hiking, tubing and I know that frustrated Al. She just wanted to be living life and he took that from her,” she said.
Maggie said that this spring, Mr Peterson lost his Uncle Bill to an infection, whom he looked up to as the family patriarch. “He felt like there was no one left in his family,” Maggie said.
As if that weren’t enough, Peterson recently began sending paranoid emails to family and friends on a daily basis about Tuesday’s election.
“I got emails and the emails stopped all of a sudden last week,” Maggie said. “He felt that our God-given rights were being taken away. He didn’t like where the country was going.”
Mr Peterson, also mentioned pressures at work that troubled Maggie.
Explaining his increasingly erratic behavior, she said: ‘He said he wanted to expose something at work. He also got the impression at work, that if they didn’t vote for Obama and get him elected, they would lose their jobs,”
“We don’t know. Maybe she put her foot down Sunday night and told him “Al get it together,”‘ Maggie said, noting that both Kathleen and Albert had security clearances.
“When Al was here last time, he was pretty worked up,” Maggie said. “They were very well off people and they saved a lot of money. He couldn’t understand how the government could be so irresponsible and he thought it would be on the backs of his boys.”
Police noted that Peterson did seem to be unusually passionate about politics, but they are hesitant to say Obama’s re-election prompted these murders.
“We don’t know the motive in this tragic case,” Lucy Caldwell of the Fairfax Police Department said.
“We are aware that the father had strong political opinions but cannot speculate as to how those opinions related to this case. We will, most likely, never know exactly why this occurred.”
It’s so unfortunate when the threat of going from having it all to losing it all causes this type of reaction.
Chicago has already seen more than its share of press as the homicide rate in the murder capital continues to climb to rates that rival the deaths of US troops in Afghanistan and numbers the windy city hasn’t seen since the ’90s. It’s especially tragic when the murder victim is an innocent child, and unfortunately another mark was added to that tally when 7-year-old Heaven Sutton was shot and killed in front of her home last night.
According to MSNBC, Heaven was selling candy with her mother and playing with friends around 10:45 pm when someone opened fire down the street. Heaven’s mother, Ashake Banks, threw herself to the ground when she heard the gunfire, but the young girl apparently ran inside of her family’s home for cover and was found unconscious inside a hallway. The soon-to-be second-grader was rushed to an area hospital and pronounced dead there at 11:16 pm.
What’s ironic in this tragic incident is Ashake had just opened a candy stand on her block two weeks ago to keep kids close to their homes and away from gang crossfire to avoid this very fate.
“I opened up the candy store for the kids so they wouldn’t have to be pulled back and forth on the block because there’s been so much shooting,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “I figured they [gang members] know us, they wouldn’t come to the neighborhood and start shooting, but they really didn’t even care.”
That sentiment is even more evident by the fact that Heaven is the 20th person under the age of 17 to be killed by gunfire in Chicago this year. City police are reportedly searching for two men who were seen fleeing the scene of the shooting, but so far no arrests have been made.
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Although the racial gaps in many areas of life are closing slightly in the U.S., research says that there is still a significant gap in black life expectancy compared to that of our white counterparts. In a newly released Health Services Research study conducted by UCLA, blacks continue to live shorter lives than whites in every state in the U.S. on average, as white females live five years longer than black females and white men live seven years longer than black males.
As a part of the university’s study, the disparities are broken down by state and the average life expectancy years in between the two races. New Mexico, with the smallest disparity, has a gap of 3.76 years for men and 2.45 years for women as the average life span difference. The nation’s capital, Washington D.C., has the largest life expectancy gap, with white females living 8.55 years longer than black females and a shocking 13.77 years between the lives of the average black and white males living in the District.
The discouraging study concludes that eliminating disparities in states with the largest African-American population would impact these numbers drastically, a positive solution for the following 10 U.S. states where over 58 percent of the country’s blacks reside: New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Missouri and Louisiana. In contrast, states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Nevada, Oklahoma and Washington reported smaller year gaps in life expectancy, but coincidentally, these smaller numbers were not the result of blacks with longer life span, but due to whites with shorter life spans than the national average.
With the national average life expectancy being 74.79 years for white men and 67.66 years for black men and 79.84 years for white women in comparison to 74.64 years for black women, it is clear that the statistical odds of living longer than whites in many states seems bleak.
Various factors have led to these figures that work against our community as a whole, as well as the quality of life. Experts note that key factors impact the life span of the average American, which include accessibility to health care, HIV/AIDS, homicide, obesity, diabetes and other health and life risks that are statistically proven to be disproportionately more present in the black community.
According to the study, the accessibility to health care plays a major role, stating:
“Federal and state health policies that simply concentrate on the black–white difference in a geographic region may miss important opportunities to improve overall population health or significantly reduce disparity at the national level… Blacks make up a disproportionate percentage of the low-income, Medicaid-eligible population, and we found that Massachusetts and New York, two states where black populations have longer-than-expected life expectancy, are also the states that have expanded Medicaid coverage.”
Knowing that these factors play a key role in our life span more so than they do for others in America, we must be conscious of our health and well-being in order to live more healthy and longer. That includes everything from evaluating our eating habits and our lifestyle choices, being aware of our bodies inside and out, having access to healthcare, helping slow violent crimes in our communities and a lot more.
Are we doing enough as a community to live longer? How can we combat this issue with our lifestyles to close the gap?
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There are new leads in the old case of Phylicia Barnes. Federal authorities are now investigating whether the death of the 16-year-old honors student was linked to child pornography or sexual exploitation.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the FBI has filed search warrants in efforts to get access to Barnes’ email and Facebook accounts as well as the accounts of four men from Baltimore.
The North Carolina honors student went missing late December after visiting her half-sister in Baltimore. Months later the search came to a sad end with the discovery of her naked body found in the Susquehanna River in April, about 35 miles from where she was staying in Baltimore.
Officials have ruled Barnes death a homicide, but have not yet released any details.
Maryland State Police said in a statement in May that releasing “a cause of death at this time could jeopardize the investigation by revealing information known only to the person or persons responsible for her death.”
ABC News reports that the body of Darryl Harper, a 53-year-old from Virginia, was also found in the Susquehanna River several hours after Barnes’ body was found. But police have said there is no connection between the two.
North Carolina student Phylicia Barnes was found dead in April, her body recovered naked in the Susquehanna River. She had been visiting her family in Baltimore and later went missing for fours months. It was a nightmare for not only the straight A student’s kin, but all who had hoped and prayed that she would make a safe return home. The 16-year-old’s case was one of the few missing person’s cases for a young woman of color that actually garnered attention from national programs such as “Good Morning America” and more.
Now, according to the Charlotte Observer, the FBI’s child exploitation task force is investigating to see if Barnes was somehow a victim of sexual exploitation and child pornography. They are hoping to gain access to Barnes’ email and Facebook accounts, as well as seven other email accounts that belong to different Baltimore men FBI believe could be involved. According to the Charlotte Observer, Phylicia Barnes’ father Russell said he believed this new direction in the investigation has much to do with the fact that she was found nude, and that investigators told him they believe people interviewed who had seen her last had not been so honest and forthcoming with information. He said the following:
“Other people have been lying and they’re trying to figure it all out,” he said. “They’re doing everything they can to find out who killed Phylicia and that’s what we want them to do.”
The cause of Barnes’ death, other than being ruled a homicide, has not been offered up to the public in the hopes that it will help police track down her killer. We are extremely hopeful that any new modes of investigating will help bring justice to this brilliant child and her family. Keep them in your prayers and let’s not forget. Check out the Charlotte Observer for more information on this story.
(Democracy Now) — Chicago’s newly appointed superintendent of police is under fire for comments he made connecting U.S. gun laws to institutional racism. Garry McCarthy made the statements while speaking at an African-American church in South Chicago in a neighborhood that has struggled with gun violence for years.
(DC Centric) — D.C.’s homicide rate is dropping, but blacks are still disproportionately affected, according to Metropolitan Police Department statistics. Greater Greater Washington reports: D.C.’s black homicide figures are still much higher than comparable rates at the national level. In fact, on a per resident basis, blacks in the District face over double the homicide rate as blacks in the nation as a whole.
(Wall Street Journal) — A 31% spike in murders of African-Americans in 2010 accounted for all of last year’s nearly 14% citywide increase in homicides, according to an analysis by the New York Police Department. Black people, who comprise 25% of the city’s population, accounted for 67% of the 536 murders in 2010, according to the report released Tuesday. Black men 15 to 29 years old were most likely to be killed. They make up less than 3% of the city’s population but last year represented 33% of all homicide victims, according to the report.
(International Business Times) — A new study by The Violence Policy Center (VPC), a non-profit educational and research organization, sheds some chilling light on the epidemic of murder raging through the African-American community, especially among young males. From 2002 to 2007, the number of young black male homicide victims rose by 31 percent, VPC stated. The number of young black homicide victims killed by guns rose at even sharper 54 percent rate. The researchers conclude that black people in the United States are disproportionately affected by homicide.
(Washington Examiner) — A man was fatally shot Monday evening in Suitland, becoming the 15th homicide in Prince George’s County so far this year. Police were called to the 5700 block of Silver Hill Road around 5 p.m. for a report of gunfire, a police spokesman said. Upon arrival they found an adult male who had been shot to death. Authorities continued to investigate Monday night. The county’s rapidly rising death toll has slowed in the past two weeks after a dozen people were killed in the first 12 days of 2011. Federal agents have imbedded with county police to help investigate the cases. Authorities have said they believe many of the killings are the result of ongoing feuds over drugs between street gangs.