BACKING THE BLUE: Officer killed in California bar shooting described as hero

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Friends are remembering sheriff’s sergeant who was killed trying to stop a shooting rampage at a California bar as a “cop’s cop” who didn’t hesitate to run toward danger.

Ventura County sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus died of gunshot wounds he suffered trying to stop gunman Ian David Long, who authorities say opened fire in a packed country music bar, killing 12 before police believe he turned the gun on himself Wednesday night.

Colleagues of Helus describe him as a friend and an exceptional man and officer.

“The fact that he was the first in the door doesn’t surprise me at all,” sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Buschow said Thursday. “He’s just one of those guys that wouldn’t hesitate in a situation.”

Helus was married with a grown son and took up fly fishing a few years ago, Buschow said. He loved fishing in the Sierra Nevada mountains with his son.

“He was just a great guy, a gentle soul,” Buschow said. “Patient. Calm no matter what. When you call 911, he’s one of the guys you want showing up.”

He said Helus was on the SWAT team for much of his career and worked in narcotics and investigations.

“If you were a victim of a crime, you want him investigating the case,” Buschow said. “He would go to the ends of the Earth to find a suspect. Just an awesome investigator.”

He said he has no doubt Helus’ tactics at the scene “were sound when he went in.”

“But unfortunately, you go into the unknown, you know there’s shots being fired, obviously the suspect was in there and ready for him,” he said.

Sheriff Geoff Dean, who choked back tears while talking about Helus, said his friend had been talking to his wife when the shooting call came in.

″(He) said to her, ‘Hey I got to go handle a call. I love you. I’ll talk to you later,’” Dean said.

Dean said he has no doubt Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer who also was the first to respond “saved lives by going in there and engaging with the suspect.”

He called Helus a hero.

“He went in there to save people and paid the ultimate price,” he said.



CAUGHT: Tennessee’s Waffle House shooting suspect taken into custody

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — The suspect who police say killed four people at a Waffle House just outside Nashville on Sunday was arrested Monday afternoon not far from his apartment, the Associated Press reports.

Authorities had been searching for 29-year-old Travis Reinking since a gunman wearing only a jacket used an AR-15 to kill four victims and injure several others at a restaurant in Antioch, Tennessee.

Metropolitan Nashville Police announced Monday via Twitter that the suspect had been taken into custody without major incident. Photos posted by police show Reinking wearing tattered clothing and being placed into the back of a police car.

Abede DaSilva, brother of shooting victim Akilah DaSilva, said he was relieved that the suspected gunman was taken into custody.

“Its a sense of relief, but at the same time, I’m still getting it all processed in my head,” DaSilva told CNN. “It’s just unreal right now,” he added.

So far, police have not announced a motive for Sunday’s shooting.



HALLS OF HORROR: At least one dead as gunman opens fire at rural Kentucky school

BENTON, KY — One victim is confirmed dead and more than a dozen others wounded after police say a gunman opened fire inside a southwest Kentucky school.

The incident, which occurred at Marshall County High School just after 9 am Tuesday morning, rocked the sleepy community located about 100 miles northwest of Nashville.

“Everyone is just scared. Just terrified for their kids,” local small business owner Mitchell Garland told the Associated Press. “We’re a small town and we know a lot of the kids.”

It is not yet known what led to the shooting, but investigators have confirmed that the alleged assailant has been taken into custody.

No information on the injured or dead has yet been released.

Terrified parents were seen quarreling with police officials after being turned away from the school, unable to collect their children, due to the campus’s being placed on emergency lockdown.

“Parents are being asked not to try and pick up students from Marshall County High School,” reported The Marshall County Tribune-Courier. “We have been told there have been arguments between law enforcement and parents trying to get inside. The school remains on lockdown and no one is being allowed inside either entrance. Two Air Evac helicopters have landed in the past few minutes.”

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin asked that the public allow investigators to do their jobs.

“Tragic shooting at Marshall County HS…Shooter is in custody, one confirmed fatality, multiple others wounded…Much yet unknown…Please do not speculate or spread hearsay…Let’s let the first responders do their job and be grateful that they are there to do it for us…,” Bevin tweeted.

President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting, the White House has confirmed, and is receiving regular updates on the investigation.

The shooting comes just one day after another school shooting in rural Texas, where a female student was wounded after being shot by an assailant in the school’s cafeteria. The suspect in that matter was quickly taken into custody.


SHOOTER IDENTIFIED: Police name suspect accused of killing 1, injuring 8 inside Tennessee church

ANTIOCH, TN — Police have identified the gunman who they say opened fire inside a suburban Nashville church.

Officials say the gunman, Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, was taken into custody after he allegedly opened fire after a church service in Antioch. One person has been confirmed dead and at least 8 others are confirmed injured.

“This is a mass casualty situation,” the Nashville Fire Department announced on Twitter. “All of the wounded have been transported to area hospitals. The majority are older adults.”

The incident took place shortly after 11:00 am in the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ just after the morning service had concluded. Witnesses say the gunman was in the church’s parking lot as the service was letting out and shot a woman as she exited the building.

The suspect then entered the building and “began indiscriminately shooting,” say those present.

Among those injured during the rampage were the church’s minister Joey Spann, 60, and his wife, Peggy, 65, said Nashville Christian School in a statement on Facebook. Four others were injured by gunfire and still another was pistol whipped, say police.

An usher inside the church, later identified by police as 22-year-old Robert Engle, confronted the gunman in an effort to stop the carnage, said Don Aaron, a police spokesperson.

“It would appear he was not expecting a brave individual like the church usher to initiate the struggle and confrontation,” Aaron said. As Engle battled Samson for the gun, Samson accidentally shot himself, leading to non-life threating injuries. He has been taken to nearby Vanderbilt University Medical Center under police guard.

“It is our belief that the gunman’s condition is not life-threatening,” Aaron said.

The shooting has rocked the close knit community and those who live there say they are in shock.

“It’s just a little country church,” said Steven Whidby, who lives about six houses from the church. “It’s just a sad day when people do something like that at a church.”

“This is a terrible tragedy for our city,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry in a released statement ( “My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones. Their lives have been forever changed, as has the life of their faith community at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. My administration, especially the Metro Nashville Police Department, will continue to work with community members to stop crime before it starts, encourage peaceful conflict resolution, and promote non-violence.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R) Tenn., has weighed in on the shooting as well, offering his condolences to the victims via Twitter.

“We are closely monitoring reports of a church shooting in Antioch. As we await more details, please join me in praying for the victims.”

A motive has not yet been revealed and investigators say they are still interviewing witnesses.

All victims were sent to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and are reportedly listed in stable condition, with the exception of David Spann, who officials say remains in critical condition.



WASHINGTON, D.C. — A top Democratic official has been removed from his position after a tape surfaced on Thursday in which the official can be heard praising the Alexandria shooting.

Phil Montag, who served as the Nebraska Democratic Party’s co-chair of it’s technology committee, can be heard on the recording saying he wishes Steve Scalise, (R-La.,) who was shot last week by an anti-Republican activist during a charity baseball event practice, were “dead.”

“His whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to [expletive] kick people off [expletive] health care. I’m glad he got shot,” Montag said in the audio recording. “I wish he was [expletive] dead.”

The audio, which was posted to YouTube and quickly went viral (, has been verified by Nebraska Democratic Chairwoman Jane Kleeb as authentic (

“We obviously condemn any kind of violence whether it’s comments on Facebook or comments in a meeting,” Kleeb said in a statement after announcing her decision to let Montag go. “Our country is better than the political rhetoric that is out there from both the far right and the far left.”

Montag, in defense of his comments, claims the recording had been manipulated in an effort to take his words out of context.

“I did not call for the congressman’s death,” Montag told the World-Herald. “Like every decent American I am saddened and horrified by the shooting of Congressman Scalise,” he said. “I do not and did not wish for his death. I am hopeful that the entirety of the original, unedited recording will emerge so we can get to the truth of the matter.”

The audio was recorded during a private meeting with the Democrat party’s Black Caucus chairwoman, Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, who is also under fire for saying she found the “trauma” the victims went through during the shooting “funny”.

On a Facebook post written the day of the shooting, Gentry-Tipton wrote:
“Hard to be empathetic towards those that have no empathy for us. The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”

In a separate post, Gentry-Tipton added: ‘Watching the congressman crying on live tv abt the trauma they experienced. Y is this so funny tho?”

After intense backlash, Gentry-Tipton too said her comments were taken out of context and claimed no wrong doing. “I don’t condone or find the humor in what happened,” she said in her own defense.

In response to Montag’s comments, Kleeb said the audio is what it is and rebuffed claims that the audio had been altered.

“I’m not interested in the back and forth of Chelsey’s or Phil’s excuses for their comments,” said Montag. “We move forward, continuing to do the work at hand.”

Unlike Montag, Gentry-Tipton is refusing to apologize and says she will not resign over the controversy. Kleeb says her hands are tied in regard to Gentry-Tipton as Montag was appointed and Gentry-Tipton was elected.

“Wishing a Member of Congress or any individual dead is disgusting and has no place in our party,” Kleeb told the World-Herald (

Scalise, 51, has represented Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District since 2008. He is married with two children. He is currently still hospitalized as he recovers from the gunshot wounds sustained in the attack.



ORLANDO, FL — Five people were shot and killed at an Orlando business on Monday morning after police say a “disgruntled” former employee opened fire before turning the gun on himself.

Police officials say they responded to a call regarding an active shooter at Fiamma Inc., an awning manufacturing company, just after 8 a.m. Deputies arrived two minutes after the initial dispatch to find three men and a woman dead at the scene. A fifth victim was rushed to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The victims of the mass shooting have been identified as Robert Snyder, 69; Brenda Motanez-Crespo, 44; Kevin Clark, 53; Kevin Lawson, 46; and Jeffrey Roberts, 57.

The assailant, identified as 45-year-old John Robert Neumann, Jr., turned the gun on himself after the shooting, say police officials. The suspect had reportedly been fired from the company in April. Although it is not yet clear what led to his dismissal, police records show that officers had been called to the company back in June 2014 for a “workplace violence incident” in which the shooter allegedly assaulted a fellow employee.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Shelley Adams said her sister, Sheila McIntyre, called her from the building’s bathroom during the shooting, crying and very upset. She kept repeating “My boss is dead! My boss is dead,” Adams said.

Adams said her sister is OK but was taken to a nearby fire department to be checked out. “God had his hand on her,” she said.

“Sad day for us once again here in Orange County. … Hearts and prayers go out to family of the victims,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said in a press conference.

Jennifer Blevins said her father, Robert Snyder works at Fiamma.

“I saw the post on Facebook, and my heart sank,” Blevins told The Orlando Sentinel ( Blevins said she repeatedly tried calling her father, but he didn’t pick up the phone.

“I called my mom to let her know what was happening. We can’t get a hold of him,” she said.

Seven other people who were at the scene at the time of the shooting also survived and are currently being interviewed by law enforcement.