Stroller Mom Executed on Manhattan Street

A 20-year-old mother pushing her 3-month-old child in a stroller was executed at point-blank range by a gunman wearing all black on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Wednesday, and that suspect remained on the loose early Thursday, authorities say.

Cops responding to a 911 call about shots fired near Lexington Avenue and East 95th Street around 8:30 p.m. found the woman unconscious. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The NYPD identified her as Aszia Johnson.

(The woman’s mother also spoke about the case to News 4. See that interview here.)

The baby wasn’t hurt. Few details were immediately available on the Manhattan shooting. Top police officials said at a press conference late Wednesday they were looking into whether the gunman may have had a relationship with the victim or might be the child’s father, but there was no immediate confirmation of that early Thursday.

Two senior NYPD officials said later Thursday they were looking to speak with the child’s father about the case, but they have not identified him as a suspect at this point.

Multiple law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the case say investigators recovered surveillance video and other footage from in and around the crime scene — and they continue to canvass for evidence that may track the gunman’s movements.

The sources say already recovered video shows the gunman pacing in front of a residence right before the shooting. The shooting is not believed to be random.

The gunman approached the woman from behind and shot her once in the head before taking off on foot on East 95th Street, sources said.

Whoever shot the woman, according to the NYPD, fired a single shot at her head before running off. He was last seen running eastbound on East 95th Street, the NYPD said. One shell casing was recovered at the scene, police sources said.

An initial video canvas of the area turned up some clues, the senior NYPD officials added. Surveillance captures the mother with the stroller at one point — and the presumed shooter at another, the officials said. Cameras that would have faced the exact incident spot were not immediately accessible, the officials said.

Meanwhile, no arrests have been made in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Mayor Eric Adams, who had spent Wednesday discussing gun violence — announcing a ghost gun crackdown with New York State Attorney General Letitia James before meeting with Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York on gun trafficking — stood alongside NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell as she briefed the media.

“This entire day we have been addressing the problem of overproliferation of guns on our street, how readily accessible they are and how there is just no fear in using these guns on innocent New Yorkers,” Adams said Wednesday. “This is the result of that.”

“These are real lives, when a mother is pushing a baby carriage down the block and is shot at point-blank range it shows just how this national problem is impacting families,” the Democratic mayor added as he called for bail reform. Adams also demanded, as he has frequently in recent weeks, more government action to buckle a trend he says applies whether “you are on the Upper East Side or East New York, Brooklyn.”

“We’re going to continue to do our job,” he continued. “We’re going to find this person who is guilty of this horrific crime. We’re going to find him and bring him to justice. We need to make sure this innocent person receives the justice we’re asking for.”

Two senior NYPD officials say interviews conducted with the victim’s family revealed a history of violence between the dead woman and her baby’s father, but the alleged violence, which included at least one assault, happened before the child was born.

He did, however, allegedly threaten violence against the woman after the baby’s birth, the senior officials said. What was actually reported to police over the course of the alleged abuse remains a matter under investigation, the senior officials added.

Also, there have been threats of violence from the father to the deceased after the baby’s birth. The NYPD is also investigating a domestic violence report the victim apparently filed against a different man in January 2021, the senior officials said.

New York, like many other U.S. cities, has contended with rising concern about violent crime, though police statistics show shootings have declined about 12% and murders 13% so far this year, compared with the same period last year.

Murders, however, remain at their second-highest level since 2012.

Orca Pair Rip Open Great White Sharks for Dinner

A single pair of killer whales have been attacking and killing great white sharks off the coast of South Africa in order to remove and eat their livers and hearts.

According to research published in the African Journal of Marine Science, the sharks have been avoiding sites where they have aggregated for many years in order to not bump into the two deadly orcas.

Researchers found that since 2017, eight white shark carcasses washed up on beaches in the Western Cape, near Gansbaai. Seven of the eight had their livers removed, and some their hearts as well. The wounds on the bodies were distinctively orca-caused.

“There were killer whale tooth impressions on the pectoral fins of the sharks, [and] their livers were removed so neatly—it would take coordination of large and sophisticated animals to tear a white shark open and do this,” Alison Towner, lead author and senior white shark biologist, told Newsweek. “Also each time a dead shark washed out, there had been sightings of killer whales in the area, so all the evidence pointed to killer whale predation, and was also confirmed by killer whale biologists.”

Orcas regularly feed on shark livers, as they are large and fatty, a favorite food of killer whales: a 2006 study of Canadian orcas found that they selectively targeted the most lipid-rich species of salmon in their feeding grounds, despite there being higher numbers of other species present. In some cases, the orca also ate the shark hearts.

“The orcas are targeting subadult great white sharks, which can further impact an already vulnerable shark population owing to their slow growth and late-maturing life-history strategy,” said Towner in a statement.

Gansbaai, located around 60 miles east of Cape Town, was previously a great white hotspot, attracting tourists for boat tours and cage diving. In the aftermath of these discoveries, the researchers noticed tagging data indicating that the great white sharks were leaving this region, swimming away from Gansbaai.

Since the deaths of their fellow sharks, sightings of great whites in this usually regular site dropped hugely over the next few years.

“Change-point analysis on both datasets confirmed these departures coincided with killer whale presence and shark carcasses washing out,” said the authors in the paper.

It seems that the sharks, upon the deaths of the others and the arrival of the two responsible orcas, left the territory that they had usually gathered in.

“Initially, following an orca attack in Gansbaai, individual great white sharks did not appear for weeks or months,” Towner said. “What we seem to be witnessing though is a large-scale avoidance—rather than a fine-scale—strategy, mirroring what we see used by wild dogs in the Serengeti in Tanzania, in response to increased lion presence. The more the orcas frequent these sites, the longer the great white sharks stay away.”

The orcas are thought to have newly arrived in the Gansbaai region as a result of a decline in their own prey populations where they usually hunt. Killer whales, living up to their names, often target the livers of great white sharks using a special feeding strategy to access the fatty organ from the shark’s torso, breaking the pectoral girdle and removing the liver through a rupture in the abdominal wall.

In some other cases of orca predation, the sharks have also appeared to leave the area rapidly.

This predation and subsequent fleeing of the sharks from their usual territories is a blow on the already International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)-classified vulnerable species. Great white populations are declining across the globe, and in the Western Cape region specifically, they are under pressure from other factors including direct fishing, and the indirect effect of fishery-induced declines in prey species. According to Towner, these factors aren’t enough to explain the decline in sightings of the sharks, but may exacerbate the damage to the species and the surrounding ecosystem.

“Increased vigilance using citizen science (e.g. fishers’ reports, tourism vessels), as well as continued tracking studies, will aid in collecting more information on how these predations may impact the long-term ecological balance in these complex coastal seascapes,” she said.

In their absence, the hierarchy of the local ecosystem has changed, seeing the arrival of another predator called the bronze whaler shark.

“These bronze whalers are also being attacked by the orcas too, who are indicating a level of experience and skill in hunting large sharks,” said Towner. “However, balance is crucial in marine ecosystems, for example, with no great white sharks restricting cape fur seal behavior, the seals can predate on critically endangered African penguins, or compete for the small pelagic fish they eat.”

“To put it simply, although this is a hypothesis for now, there is only so much pressure an ecosystem can take, and the impacts of orcas removing sharks, are likely far wider-reaching.”

60 Passenger Brawl Breaks Out on Carnival Cruise

Whether you’re a cruise person or not, we can all agree that things got a bit out of hand on a recent Carnival Magic cruise ship returning to NYC from Dominica, Turks & Caicos, and the Bahamas.

According to MSN, up to 60 passengers were involved in a fight that broke out around 5:20 am in a nightclub aboard the ship.

The cause?

A secret threesome that came to light. Apparently, two people in committed relationships snuck away for a little rendezvous with a third person and got down with some funky business.

But as the saying goes, three can keep a secret if two are dead, and the meet up came to light. Safe to say, the significant others didn’t appreciate the infidelity and the brawl began.

Beer bottles were thrown, and one lady was cut in the face as the ruckus moved throughout the ship, starting on the 5th floor and ending on the first. Security intervened the best they could, but the ship did call for a Coast Guard escort back to port in case anything else happened.

Also, one of the security guards can be seen throwing soccer kicks at a downed person. I guess the heat of battle can make you do wild things, but man oh man that does not seem like the thing to do to bring back peace.

Now, is it okay for two people in committed relationships to cheat on a vacation? Of course not, especially while the other person is over playing shuffleboard or stuffing their face with a 4th trip to the buffet.

But getting in a 60-person brawl that makes the captain call in a military branch? I don’t know if that’s the move either…

Doesn’t seem like a healthy relationship anyway and they’d probably be better off calling it quits after this, but you never know…

They are Carnival Cruise people after all…

Original Story –

Driver Poses as Victim in Texas Migrant Truck Horror

The accused driver of the Texas migrant death truck tried to pass himself off as a victim when found, authorities said Wednesday — as a sick photo surfaced of him allegedly grinning at a checkpoint a few hours earlier.

Suspected rig-of-horrors operator Homero Zamorano, 45, was caught on camera smiling behind the wheel of the tractor-trailer when it passed through a US Border Patrol checkpoint in Encinal, Texas, just before 3 p.m. Monday, Mexican officials said.

The photo, posted online by the Mexican outlet Reforma, shows the seemingly happy-go-lucky Zamora as he leaned out of the driver’s window — about three hours before “stacks of bodies’’ were found in the sweltering truck abandoned on the outskirts of San Antonio, authorities said.

When Zamorano was nabbed in a nearby field, “he was very high on meth … and had to be taken to the hospital,” a law enforcement official told the San Antonio Express-News on Wednesday.

The death toll from the horrific human-smuggling incident rose to 53 on Wednesday.

Francisco Garduño, chief of Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, said at a news conference Wednesday that Zamorano was busted after trying to pretend he was one of the migrants.

“The driver was identified as Homero, who tried to pass himself off as one of the survivors, for which he was arrested with two other alleged perpetrators,” Garduño said, according to Mexico’s Vanguardia newspaper.

“The driver posed as a regular migrant to avoid arrest,’’ Garduño said.

Zamorano is a US citizen, according to the Mexican Consulate in San Antonio.

US Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told the Associated Press on Wednesday that US authorities suspect that the victims boarded the truck in or around Laredo, Texas, with the truck then going through a border checkpoint northeast of the town on Interstate 35.

San Antonio semi truck driver responsible for the 52 deaths of immigrants has been identified as Homero Zamorano..

Encinal is about a 40-minute drive north and slightly east of Laredo on Interstate 35.

San Antonio authorities said they were alerted to the tragedy around 6 p.m. Monday after a city worker heard a cry for help from the back of the parked truck, which had apparently been abandoned because of a mechanical issue.

Law enforcement arrived to find the rear door to the trailer open with dozens of bodies inside, while others were lying on the ground nearby.

Temperatures in San Antonio reached a high of 103 degrees on Monday, and Garduño said 67 migrants were believed to have been stuffed into the truck.

After the grim discovery, investigators were able to trace the vehicle’s registration to a San Antonio address that they then placed under surveillance, authorities said.

They later arrested two other men, Juan Claudio D’Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco D’Luna-Bilbao, when they each left the residence.

D’Luna-Bilbao and D’Luna-Mendez were both charged with possessing firearms while residing in the US illegally, according to the criminal complaints.

It wasn’t immediately clear what alleged involvement, if any, they had in the smuggling tragedy or if they will face additional charges.

The driver is expected to be charged but remained in the hospital as of Tuesday night, a Mexican official said.

The US Attorney’s Office in San Antonio, which is prosecuting D’Luna-Bilbao and D’Luna-Mendez, declined to comment.

D’Luna-Mendez’s defense lawyer declined to comment and D’Luna-Bilbao’s didn’t immediately return an email from The Post.

San Antonio semi truck driver responsible for the 52 deaths of immigrants has been identified as Homero Zamorano..

The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office said 37 victims had potentially been identified.

The 40 males and 13 females include two young sisters originally from Guatemala, Carla and Griselda Carac Tambriz.

The victims are believed to have come from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Original Article –

NBA Star Miles Bridges Arrested

Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges was arrested in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, a Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

The LAPD did not release details on the charges, and the Hornets have not responded to news of Bridges’ arrest.

TMZ reported that Bridges is facing felony domestic violence charges.

Bridges, the Hornets’ leading scorer last season, is set to become a restricted free agent and could command a max contract in the coming weeks. The news comes on the eve of NBA free agency, which begins Thursday night with teams able to speak with free agents.

Bridges, 24, averaged career highs with 20.2 points and seven rebounds last season in what amounted to a breakout season for the four-year NBA veteran while playing alongside All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball.

Bridges, who played at Michigan State, is also a rapper who goes by the name RTB MB.

The Hornets extended Bridges a qualifying offer Tuesday, which allows them to a chance to match any offer sheet made by another team.

“As an organization we love Miles,” Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said Tuesday. “We are going to bring him back. He has been great for the franchise and I believe, with his work ethic, he’s only going to get better.”

The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Bridges, who was the 12th pick in the 2018 NBA draft, said after the season he wanted to return to the Hornets, but he recently changed his Twitter bio from “forward for the Charlotte Hornets” to “It’s me.”

Original Article –

‘Today Show’ Tensions Brewing Between Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie?

Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie seem to be great friends on The Today Show, which makes it very surprising that some reports say they are fighting behind the scenes. A source close to the production allegedly told reporters from The Globe that Kotb and Guthrie are on the outs. However, a follow-up report by Suggest indicates that this might be overblown.

The anonymous insider said that Kotb and Guthrie are “at each other’s throats as soon as the cameras stop rolling,” in spite of how friendly they appear to be on air. They said that Jenna Bush Hager is a catalyst for the fighting, saying: “Jenna claims to be Savannah’s best friend, but then whenever Savannah’s not there she’ll turn around and buddy up to Hoda and the two of them will take shots at Savannah.” They said that Hager does the same when she is alone with Guthrie, saying “she’s happy to join in and gripe about Hoda.”

“She’s totally two-faced. It’s so catty,” they went on. For example, this insider pointed out the time when Guthrie was out of work recovering from COVID-19. On the air, Hager and Kotb joked that Guthrie was actually just playing hooky and going to a spa. Guthrie supposedly took this quite personally. As the insider explained: “It was total mean girl behavior and typical of how Jenna operates. Jenna seems to get a thrill out of stirring the pot between these two.”

Still, Suggest casts doubt on The Globe‘s claims due to the latter outlet’s track record of unconfirmed or even disproven stories. The outlet reported that Kotb was becoming friendly with former anchor Matt Lauer earlier this year, which is unlikely and has not been backed up by any other reports since then. It also reported that Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford had a behind-the-scenes feud, which, again, can’t be verified.

The most damning example was a 2021 report that Gifford would return to The Today Show and replace Hager, which obviously never came to pass. Based on that, Suggest advises readers to ignore The Globe and designates it a “tabloid.”0comments

The Today Show has certainly gone through some drastic changes in recent years, with many viewers getting invested in the hosts, their personal lives and their friendships both on and off the air. The show continues to air on weekdays from 7 a.m. ET to 10 a.m. ET on NBC.

‘Stranger Things’ Actor’s Rare Medical Condition

Dustin Henderson has always stood out among the various characters on the mega-popular show “Stranger Things.” Sure, Eleven and Hopper get all of the action sequences, but Dustin is arguably the heart of the show.

He’s brash and cocky and a total nerd played expertly by Gaten Matarazzo. Matarazzo does such a great job in the role that many viewers may not realize both Matarazzo and his character Dustin have a rare medical condition.

Sure, “Stranger Things” hasn’t shied away from making references on the show. Dustin, like Matarazzo in real life, has struggled with his teeth coming in. While his co-star started the show with fresh chompers, Dustin was toothless in the first season.

In the most recent season, he has also joked about his lack of collar bones as well. According to Matarazzo in an interview with “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” producers wrote his condition into the show. “They looked at me and asked me a bunch of questions about my life. They had no idea what it was,” he said. 

So what exactly does Matarazzo live with then? The “Stranger Things” star has an extremely rare disorder called Cleidocranial Dysplasia. According to John Hopkins Medicine, it affects around “one in a million people.” The disorder causes bones that “might be formed differently or might be more fragile than normal… Skull and collarbone abnormalities, along with dental abnormalities, are the main features of CCD.”

Gaten Matarazzo has had multiple surgeries throughout his life, especially on his teeth. On Instagram, the actor opened up about a surgery he had in 2020 to remove extra teeth, the star having first had surgery on his mouth when he was only 14. In the post, he wrote, “I’ve had several surgeries to extract these teeth from within my gums and help expose the teeth that should have already grown in considering my age.”

In total, Matarazzo had at least 14 teeth extracted. According to his interview with “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” Matarazzo said many of his teeth don’t grow in right or are in the wrong spots — surgery and extractions are necessary to remove extra teeth as a result. But Matarazzo doesn’t fear going to the dentist’s office. In fact, according to an interview with Esquire, it’s one of the places he felt like an equal growing up.

“There were days in which I would go to the orthodontist, it would hurt a lot. But I would look forward to it because it was one of the only environments in which I got to walk in and feel like an equal rather than feeling talked down to,” Matarazzo said. He’s thankful that his parents didn’t try to hide his disorder from him because as “Stranger Things” proved, kids are smarter than you think.

It may be hard to imagine now, but Gatan Matarazzo admittedly struggled to get his big break in Hollywood. Unfortunately due to his condition, casting agents wouldn’t take a chance on him. The actor struggled to land small-time gigs in commercials and advertisements before being cast on the hit show, “Stranger Things.” In an interview with Michael Rosenbaum, Matarazzo said agents showed their ignorance of his disease over his lack of teeth.

“They didn’t realize how seriously my disease would affect me until I was an adult,” he said. “‘Oh kid, we adore you, but sure, just get those teeth in,’ casting directors would urge me all the time. I’d always hear, ‘Get those teeth in,’ and then they’d say, ‘Well, you’re not going to have much luck in this field then,'” Matarazzo continued. In a separate interview on “The Doctors,” Matarazzo opened up more about the stigma. “It’s one of the biggest reasons why I [hadn’t] been getting roles, because of my lisp, and the teeth situation, and my height,” he confessed. 

But according to “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” Matarazzo is also happy to be an advocate for others who have the condition and is thankful for the exposure his platform lends. “That’s really exciting to know that your work is affecting other people besides yourself, that you are making an impact in the world,” he said.  

Original Article –

Grandma Takes Baby and Cocaine to Prison Visit

A touching prison visitation moment turned into an outlandish drug bust, after guards realized a Florida woman and her infant grandchild were smuggling cocaine and heroin, according to the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened Sunday, June 26, at the DeSoto Correctional Institution in Arcadia, and investigators say grandma had more drugs stashed in her car. The prison is about 90 miles southeast of Tampa.

The woman was arrested and the baby was taken by the Department of Children and Families for “care and safe placement,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Among the charges the woman faces are accusations of child abuse, officials said. Detectives say the 44-year-old suspect was carrying “100 grams of cocaine and heroin” during her prison visit. “Thankfully DCI officers conduct thorough searches of visitors and the contraband was located,” the sheriff’s office said.

“An additional 687.7 grams of heroin and cocaine were located in her vehicle … along with the baby’s car seat and essentials.” Investigators did not report who the suspect intended to visit or whether the baby was used to help hide the drugs.

The suspect was taken to the DeSoto County Jail “where she was charged with trafficking in heroin, trafficking in cocaine, introduction of contraband into a correctional facility, child abuse/neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia,” the sheriff’s office said. “She is currently held without bond,” officials said.

In total, the woman was in possession of “almost 800 grams (two pounds) of heroin and cocaine,” the sheriff’s office said.

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Married Couple Killed While Their 3 Kids were Home

Authorities in Cumberland, R.I., say the deaths of 42-year-old Courtney and 51-year-old Eric Huard from apparent gunshot wounds.

A couple was found shot to death in their Rhode Island home with their kids inside in what police allege “was not a random act of violence.”

According to authorities in Cumberland, R.I., 42-year-old Courtney Huard and her husband, 51-year-old Eric Huard, were found dead Wednesday morning from apparent gunshot wounds.

The couple was pronounced dead on the scene, while their three children were unharmed.

The incident appears to be isolated, the Cumberland Police Department said in a press release. Investigators have not named a suspect or released a possible motive.

“I would like to reiterate my deepest condolences and sympathies to the Huard family, including any friends and family and especially the three children left during this most difficult time,” Chief Matthew Benson said in the release.

According to Courtney’s Facebook page, the mom of three worked as a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a private practice.

Her obituary described her as a “loving and dedicated mother” to Grant, Blake and Sydney.

“Those in the community would always see her on the sidelines of her children’s events with a bright smile, cheering them on,” reads the notice.

Eric’s obituary described him as a doting father, “always there for his children and wife, whether coaching their games or baking with Sydney; he loved it all and enjoyed seeing his children smile.”

The investigation remains ongoing.

FBI Raids the Orlando Museum of Art 

The FBI raided the Orlando Museum of Art on Friday, seizing 25 paintings as part of an ongoing investigation into a controversial art collection, The New York Times reported.

The 25 paintings seized by the the FBI’s Art Crime Team are allegedly by Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was part of the neoexpressionism movement in the 1980s, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

The paintings have been on display at the museum since February of this year as part of an exhibit titled “Heroes & Monsters: Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Thaddeus Mumford, Jr. Venice Collection.” Related

However, last month The New York Times reported that the FBI was investigating the authenticity of the paintings. The FBI obtained a search warrant to access the exhibit, seizing the 25 paintings on June 24, according to The Associated Press. The exhibit was supposed to run through the end of June.

The paintings were reportedly found in a storage unit in Los Angeles in 2012, more than three decades after the artist died at age 27.

According to the museum’s director and the paintings’ owners, Basquiat painted them in 1982. He then sold the paintings for $5,000 to a TV screenwriter “who put them into a storage unit and forgot about them for 30 years,” according to The New York Times. If the collection is authentic, it would be worth an estimated $100 million.

The artworks were painted on cardboard, but the FedEx typeface found on one of the cardboard pieces “was not designed until 1994 — six years after the artist’s death,” a former FedEx designer says, putting the authenticity of the other 24 paintings into question.

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