Categories
Paris Suspect

Suspect in Paris stabbings targeted Charlie Hebdo, official says – CBS News

The chief suspect in a double stabbing in Paris told investigators he carried out the attack in anger over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad recently republished by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a judicial official said Saturday. Two people were wounded and seven people are in custody after Friday’s attack with a meat cleaver outside the newspaper’s former offices in eastern Paris, which counterterrorism authorities are investigating as an Islamic extremist attack.

Charlie Hebdo lost 12 employees in an al Qaeda attack in 2015 by French-born extremists who had criticized the prophet cartoons. The newspaper, which routinely mocks religious figures of all kinds, decided to republish the caricatures the day before the trial into the 2015 attacks opened earlier this month. The publication drew threats from militant groups as well as criticism from Muslims in multiple countries.

Questioned by investigators, the chief suspect acknowledged carrying out the attack and said he sought to target Charlie Hebdo because of the caricatures, according to an official close to the investigation who wasn’t authorized to be publicly named discussing an ongoing investigation.

The suspect had been arrested a month ago for carrying a screwdriver, but wasn’t on police radar for Islamic radicalization, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. He said the screwdriver was considered a weapon, but did not explain why.

France Knife Attack
Police officers gather in the area of a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Friday Sept. 25, 2020 in Paris. 

Thibault Camus / AP


The suspect arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor, apparently from Pakistan, but his identity was still being verified, the minister said.

Seven others were detained in the aftermath of Friday’s attack, but one has been released, the official said. Five of those in custody were detained in the Paris suburb of Pantin in a residence where the suspect is believed to have lived.

The two people wounded in Friday’s attack were a woman and a man working at the Premieres Lignes documentary production company who had stepped outside for a smoke break. Company co-founder Luc Hermann told broadcaster France-Info that they remain hospitalized Saturday, but their condition was “reassuring.”

Prime Minister Jean Castex, visiting Paris police headquarters Saturday, pledged to step up the fight against terrorism, saying “the enemies of the republic will not win.”

The interior minister conceded that security was lacking on the street where Charlie Hebdo was once headquartered, and ordered special protection for all “symbolic sites,” noting in particular Jewish sites around the Yom Kippur holiday this weekend. A Jewish grocery store was targeted days after the Charlie Hebdo newsroom massacre, in what authorities say were coordinated attacks.

Read More

Categories
custody Suspect

Suspect taken into custody for ‘sending a deadly poison RICIN package to Donald Trump’ – Daily Mail

Woman is taken into custody for ‘sending letter with the deadly poison RICIN to Donald Trump in a package addressed to the White House’

  • The unidentified woman was arrested by CBP agents trying to enter the US from Canada at a New York state border, a law enforcement official told CNN
  • The woman was allegedly armed with a gun when she was detained by officers
  • No further details about the suspect have been confirmed at this time 
  • Prosecutors in Washington DC are expected to bring charges against her  
  • The FBI said Saturday a poison package addressed to Trump was intercepted by screeners this week before it reached White House 
  • Packages were also sent to a sheriff’s office and detention facility in Texas  
  • Officials said Saturday they thought it had been mailed from Canada and were seeking a female Canadian suspect
  • Ricin is a deadly poison that can kill in the amount of a few grains of salt 

By Rachel Sharp For Dailymail.com and Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

A female suspect has been taken into custody for allegedly sending a letter containing the deadly poison ricin to Donald Trump in a package addressed to the White House. 

The unidentified woman was arrested by Customs and Border Protection agents trying to enter the US from Canada at a border crossing in New York state, a law enforcement official told CNN Sunday. 

She was allegedly armed with a gun when she was detained by officers. 

Prosecutors in Washington DC are expected to bring charges against her over the poison packages, the official said.

No further details about the suspect have been revealed at this time.  

A suspect has been taken into custody for allegedly sending a letter containing the deadly poison ricin to Donald Trump in a package addressed to the White House

The suspicious letter addressed to the president was intercepted by law enforcement earlier this week, the FBI revealed Saturday. 

All packages addressed to the White House are sorted and screened at a secure offsite facility prior to delivery. 

The envelope to the White House was caught at the final offsite processing facility where mail is screened before being sent to the White House mail room. 

Lab tests confirmed the presence of ricin – which is deadly if inhaled – in the letter and an FBI investigation was launched to locate the sender. 

‘The F.B.I. and our U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service partners are investigating a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility,’ the FBI said in a statement Saturday. 

‘At this time, there is no known threat to public safety.’ 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed it was working with the FBI on the investigation.   

All packages addressed to the White House are sorted and screened at a secure offsite facility prior to delivery

Law enforcement sources Saturday said they believed the package had been sent from Canada and that they were seeking a female Canadian suspect. 

The suspect also allegedly sent other poison packages to a detention facility and a sheriff’s office in Texas. 

Only one package was said to be aimed at a political figure.  

It is not clear when any of the packages were sent or who the recipients of the other packages were.  

There is no indication yet that the poison packages are linked to any international terrorist organizations. 

Ricin is a highly potent toxin derived from castor beans, and is extremely lethal if inhaled or injected, but less so if ingested. 

Inhaling a dose the size of a few grains of salt can be lethal to adults. 

Deadly ricin has previously been used to target American politicians through the mail.

Ricin is a highly potent toxin derived from castor beans, and is extremely lethal if inhaled or injected, but less so if ingested. Inhaling a dose the size of a few grains of salt can be lethal to adults

In 2014, actress Shannon Richardson, who appeared on The Walking Dead, was convicted of sending envelopes containing ricin addressed to then President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

She was sentenced to 18 years in prison. 

Ricin was also featured in a multi-season plot arc in the television series Breaking Bad, which inspired several real-life criminal schemes involving the poison.

In 2014, Georgetown University student Daniel Milzman pleaded guilty to a federal charge after a bag of ricin was found in his dorm room. 

Prosecutors say he had planned to use it on another student he had formerly been in a relationship with. He was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison. 

Read More

Categories
Manhunt Suspect

Manhunt for lone suspect in UK stabbings after 1 killed, 7 injured in Birmingham – Fox News

Police in England are searching for a lone suspect after a series of late-night stabbings in the city of Birmingham left one man dead and seven others injured, police said Sunday.

West Midlands Police said they launched a murder investigation after several stabbings in the city’s busy nightlife center appeared to be linked.

TORONTO-AREA SHOOTING LEAVES 5 DEAD, 1 WOUNDED: REPORTS

While detectives were still investigating a motive, Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said “there is absolutely no suggestion at all that this is terror-related.”

“The events during the early hours of this morning are tragic, shocking and understandably frightening,” Graham said in a news release.

Police officers stand at a cordon in Hurst Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre on Sunday. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

Police officers stand at a cordon in Hurst Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre on Sunday. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

Police responded shortly after midnight Sunday to reports of a stabbing in the Birmingham city center, an area full of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. In the following two-hour period, police received several reports of other stabbings in the area.

Police said two of the seven injured people — a man and a woman — were in critical condition in hospitals. Five others received “relatively minor” injuries.

UK SEX OFFENDER CONVICTED OF MURDERING 2 WOMEN, HIDING BODIES IN FREEZER

Police remained at the scene Sunday morning and cordoned off streets in the city center. Blue forensic tents were set up throughout the area.

The site of one attack is in the city’s Gay Village, but Graham said there was no suggestion the crime was “motivated by hate.”

A police forensics officer taking photographs in Irving Street, in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre on Sunday. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

A police forensics officer taking photographs in Irving Street, in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre on Sunday. (Jacob King/PA via AP)

Cara Curran, a club promoter, told the BBC she saw multiple people fighting in the street.

“It was one group of boys against another group of boys,” she said, adding that “racial slurs” were being used.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was “a very serious incident” and urged people in the city to remain “very vigilant.”

Police have asked people in the city to be on alert and asked anyone who witnessed the incidents or who have CCTV or cellphone footage to contact investigators.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Britain has seen several recent knife attacks, including a stabbing rampage in a city park in Reading, near London, in June that killed three people. A Libyan man has been charged in those attacks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read More

Categories
fatal Suspect

Suspect in fatal Portland shooting is killed by law enforcement during arrest attempt – NBC News

A suspect who earlier appeared to admit to the fatal shooting of a man who was part of a pro-Trump caravan in Portland, Oregon, last weekend was himself killed during an attempted arrest on Thursday, officials said.

Michael Forest Reinoehl was fatally shot around 7:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. ET) in Olympia, Washington, as a federal task force tried to detain him, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson said. The task force included local law enforcement agencies, according to a local sheriff’s department official.

Reinoehl was a suspect in the killing of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, on Saturday, the Marshals Service confirmed. The New York Times first reported that Reinoehl, 48, had been killed.

The shooting in Portland occurred after skirmishes there between protesters and the caravan supporting President Donald Trump.

The founder of a far-right group called Patriot Prayer has said Danielson was a supporter of the group and participated in the pro-Trump motorcade.

The Marshals Service said Reinoehl was wanted on a charge of murder out of the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon.

“The fugitive task force located Reinoehl in Olympia and attempted to peacefully arrest him. Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” the Marshals Service statement said.

“Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene,” the statement said.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

Michael Forest Reinoehl

The sheriff in Thurston County, where Olympia is located, said in a statement Friday morning that it had been confirmed that the suspect had a firearm.

“We can confirm at this time that the suspect was armed with a handgun,” said the sheriff’s statement, which did not elaborate on whether the suspect brandished the weapon or fired it.

The statement said the fugitive task force staked out an apartment building where the suspect was staying near the Olympia suburb of Lacey on Thursday night.

“The wanted subject came out of the apartment and got into a vehicle to leave,” the statement said. “During the attempt to apprehend him, shots were fired at the suspect in the vehicle and he fled from the vehicle on foot.”

“Additional shots were fired at the suspect and he was later pronounced deceased at the location,” according to the sheriff’s statement, which withheld the suspect’s name and identified him only as a white male in his 40s.

The sheriff’s office said none of its deputies were present during the shooting, but it will lead a probe by several area law enforcement agencies into the incident.

There have been weeks of protests in Portland following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck in an incident that sparked outrage and demonstrations around the country.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

Earlier Thursday, Vice News published part of an interview with a man who said he was Reinoehl allegedly saying he acted in self-defense.

Reinoehl said he believed he and a friend were about to be stabbed, but Vice News acknowledged it had not been able to independently verify details of the account. What was published by Vice News at that time does not clearly say Danielson was involved in any threat.

Footage from the scene of the shooting showed a man on a skateboard or scooter approaching Danielson before two shots are heard. It is not clear whether Reinoehl acted in self-defense.

In the interview published by Vice News, the man who identified himself as Reinoehl says, “I am 100 percent anti-fascist. I am not a member of antifa. I’m not a member of anything.” Antifa is a loosely organized network of groups that use direct action to confront far-right and fascist groups.

April Reinoehl, who describes her relationship with brother Michael as “estranged,” told NBC News by text message Friday that he had a combatant’s worldview.

“He believed that the country is going to war,” she said. “He believed the war was here, and look at where that got him; where it got us. Two men are dead. He is one of them. Two families have been thrown into the chaos, and everyone seems more up in arms than ever.”

She urged peace.

“We can still choose peace, and we can change the course of things through open communication,” she said. “Somewhere along the way, I guess Michael lost sight of that.”

Image: Phil helselPhil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

David K. Li and Jon Sanders

contributed.

Read More

Categories
fatal Suspect

Suspect in Fatal Portland Shooting Is Killed by Officers During Arrest – The New York Times

Law enforcement agents killed Michael Forest Reinoehl while trying to arrest him, four officials said. He was being investigated in the fatal shooting of a supporter of a far-right group.

Credit…Joshua Bessex for The New York Times

LACEY, Wash. — Law enforcement agents shot and killed an antifa supporter on Thursday as they moved to arrest him in the fatal shooting of a right-wing activist who was part of a pro-Trump caravan in Portland, Ore., officials said.

The suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, was shot by officers from a federally led fugitive task force during the encounter in Washington State, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

“Initial reports indicate the suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” the Marshals Service said in a statement. “Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect who was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Lt. Ray Brady of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said that the suspect being sought by the law enforcement team had exited an apartment and got into a vehicle.

“As they attempted to apprehend him, there was gunfire,” Lieutenant Brady said. He said four law enforcement officers fired their weapons.

Lieutenant Brady said that Mr. Reinoehl had a handgun with him, but added on Friday that “we are not able to confirm at this time if he fired shots.”

An arrest warrant for murder had been obtained by the Portland police through the Circuit Court in Multnomah County, Ore., earlier Thursday, on the same day that Vice News published an interview with Mr. Reinoehl in which he appeared to admit to the Aug. 29 shooting, saying, “I had no choice.”

The Portland police had been investigating Saturday’s shooting death of Aaron J. Danielson, one of the supporters of President Trump who came into downtown Portland and clashed with protesters demonstrating against racial injustice and police brutality.

Mr. Reinoehl, who lived in the Portland area, had been a persistent presence at the city’s demonstrations over recent weeks, helping the protesters with security and suggesting on social media that the struggle was becoming a war where “there will be casualties.”

“I am 100% ANTIFA all the way!” he posted on Instagram in June, referring to a loose collection of activists who have mobilized to oppose groups they see as fascist or racist. “I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! Even if some of them are too ignorant to realize what antifa truly stands for. We do not want violence but we will not run from it either!”

In the Vice interview, Mr. Reinoehl said he had acted in self-defense, believing that he and a friend were about to be stabbed. “I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color, but I wasn’t going to do that,” he said.

An hour before his fatal encounter with law enforcement, Mr. Reinoehl was on the telephone with Tiffanie Wickwire, who was helping him set up a GoFundMe page, Ms. Wickwire said in an interview.

“We were talking about his kids and what to do for them if anything happened to him,” she said, referring to his 17-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.

“Stay safe,” they told each other at the end of the call, she said.

The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force that attempted to arrest Mr. Reinoehl included members of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Lakewood Police Department, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Department of Corrections.

The officers closed in on Mr. Reinoehl on a residential street lined with townhomes and single-family houses in an unincorporated area adjacent to the city of Lacey, not far from the Washington State capital of Olympia and about two hours’ drive north of Portland.

Image

Credit…Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian

Chad Smith, 29, who lives next door to the apartment where the shooting occurred, said he was standing outside at about 6:45 p.m. when he saw two S.U.V.s race toward the complex. He heard about a minute and a half of gunshots, he said, then saw a man walking backward next to a white pickup truck, holding what appeared to be a gun, and officers firing in his direction.

Trevor Brown, 24, who lives in a townhouse nearby, said he heard several shots fired and saw as many as four police officers in the road, who fired three or four times. He said he then saw a man lying on the ground.

Jashon Spencer, who also lives not far away, also heard the gunshots. “I just heard a whole bunch of pops,” Mr. Spencer said. “I ducked. I thought they were shooting in my yard.”

He said that he went out and saw a bloodied man in the street, and a video he took showed a law enforcement officer attempting CPR.

After the shooting, several hundred protesters in Portland gathered in front of a police station in a residential neighborhood, chanting racial justice slogans as they have on most nights since May, although the mood shortly before midnight was relatively calm.

“There’s blood on your hands. You murdered Michael Reinoehl,” someone had posted in the street outside a law enforcement building. “Michael was murdered,” said another posting.

Later in the evening, police officers charged the crowd and took one person into custody.

As part of the protesters’ security team during the demonstrations, Mr. Reinoehl’s role included intercepting potential agitators and helping calm conflicts, fellow protesters said.

“Nightly, he would break up fights,” said Randal McCorkle, a regular at the demonstrations who said he became close friends with Mr. Reinoehl as they wore on.

“He wanted change so badly,” he said. His death, he said, would likely inspire others to continue the movement for police reform. “I was going to say radicalize, but galvanize is a better word,” he said. “Honestly, I’m going to try to step into his shoes.”

Reese Monson, a leader in the local protest movement who also helps organize security, said all the people who helped with security in Portland, including Mr. Reinoehl, were trained on de-escalation.

“He was excellent at that,” Mr. Monson said.

Mr. Monson said the security designees have been trained to approach potential agitators and politely ask them to leave. They have also been trained on how to conduct physical removals but are cautioned to try to avoid such measures because they can cause situations to escalate. Mr. Monson said Mr. Reinoehl would often come over to discuss how to handle potential agitators appropriately.

“He was literally a guardian angel,” said Teal Lindseth, one of the main organizers of the Portland protests. “He would protect you no matter what.”

Image

Credit…Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Early on Friday, Ms. Lindseth spray-painted a tribute to Mr. Reinoehl on the street in front of the police precinct where demonstrators were gathered. “Long Live Mike,” she wrote, “the best ally ever.”

He sometimes ran into trouble, though. On July 5 during the protests, Mr. Reinoehl was charged with resisting arrest and possession of a loaded firearm in a case that was later dropped. At the end of July, he showed a bloodied arm to a journalist with Bloomberg QuickTake News and said he had been shot while intervening in a fight.

The night when Mr. Danielson was shot began with a large crowd of supporters of Mr. Trump gathering in the suburbs. They planned to drive hundreds of vehicles carrying flags around the highways of Portland, but many of them eventually drove downtown, where protesters have been congregating regularly. Once there, some Trump supporters shot paintballs into the crowd, while people on the streets threw objects back at them. Fistfights broke out.

As evening turned into night, video appeared to show Mr. Danielson, who was wearing a hat with the insignia of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, and Mr. Reinoehl on a street along with a few other people. One person was shouting, “We’ve got a couple right here.”

The man who captured video of the shooting, Justin Dunlap, said it appeared that Mr. Danielson reached to his hip.

“He pulled from his side, just like he was pulling a gun,” Mr. Dunlap said.

But in other video taken during the encounter, someone can be heard flagging that Mr. Danielson was pulling out a can of mace. “He’s macing you, he’s pulling it out,” the person warned.

It appeared from the video that Mr. Danielson sprayed mace just as two gunshots could be heard, and Mr. Danielson went down.

Portland has seen escalating conflicts involving guns over the past few weeks. On Aug. 15, a person allied with right-wing demonstrators fired two shots from his vehicle, the authorities said. A week later, during open clashes on the streets, another right-wing demonstrator pulled out a gun.

Mr. Reinoehl said in his social media posts that he was once in the Army, and hated it, although an Army official said no record of service could be found under his name. In the Bloomberg interview, Mr. Reinoehl described himself as a professional snowboarder and a contractor.

His daughter was with him during the July interview, and he said she had also been present during the encounter that left his arm bloodied.

“The fact is that she is going to be contributing to running this new country that we’re fighting for,” Mr. Reinoehl said. “And she’s going to learn everything on the street, not by what people have said.”

Mr. Reinoehl’s sister, who asked to remain anonymous because the family has received numerous threatening phone calls in recent days, said police officers asked if screenshots from videos from the night of the shooting looked like her brother. She said they did, but she said she had not seen him since three years ago, when she said family members broke off contact with Mr. Reinoehl after escalating conflicts.

At the beginning of June, in the days after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis triggered nationwide protests, Mr. Reinoehl began posting about the need for change.

“Things are bad right now and they can only get worse,” he posted on June 3. “But that is how a radical change comes about.”

Hallie Golden reported from Lacey, Mike Baker from Seattle, and Adam Goldman from Washington. Katie Benner and Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting from Washington, Thomas Fuller from Portland and Alan Yuhas from New York.

Read More

Categories
arrested Suspect

Suspect arrested after man shot at Albuquerque protest – The Washington Post

In New Mexico, shots were fired after confrontations between those who wanted the monument removed and members of a militia group called the New Mexico Civil Guard, several of whom told The Washington Post they were worried tearing down the statue would beget widespread destruction of property.

The members of the group said they did not know the alleged shooter or the victim and cast themselves as attempting to prevent violence from erupting at a tense scene. But state officials denounced their presence, which they said was meant to intimidate protesters.

“The heavily armed individuals who flaunted themselves at the protest, calling themselves a ‘civil guard,’ were there for one reason: To menace protesters, to present an unsanctioned show of unregulated force,” New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said in a statement.

Violence has been an occasional feature of the demonstrations across the country since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month — though the majority of protests have been peaceful.

Federal authorities have charged dozens of people with looting, arson, the use of molotov cocktails and other protest-related crimes. According to a list of their cases reviewed by The Washington Post on Tuesday, the majority of those accused of being intent on committing mayhem seem to be individuals who aren’t affiliated with any particular group.

Attorney General William P. Barr has said there is a “witches brew” of extremists trying to infiltrate the demonstrations, though he, President Trump and others have also singled out the far-left antifa ideology, despite scant evidence of their involvement. The Anti-Defamation League has tracked dozens of instances of what it calls a “small but vocal array” of right-wing extremists appearing at protests.

Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow with the league’s Center on Extremism, said that even those on the right, though, have “viewed these protests very differently and shown up for different reasons.” And while they have been present, he said, they have mostly not caused problems, as they represent a “tiny minority” of those demonstrating.

“Most of the people taking part in these are — whatever side you want — not extremists,” Pitcavage said. “They’re just folks, whether they like or dislike the protests.”

There have, though, been some notable exceptions.

In Oakland, Calif., authorities on Tuesday announced charges against two men who allegedly killed a security officer outside a federal building there on May 29, when they knew most law enforcement would be busy responding to protests.

Authorities allege that Steven Carrillo, an adherent of the radical fringe Boogaloo movement, which openly anticipates a civil war, killed one security guard and injured another. Officials say he was aided by Robert Justus, who allegedly drove a van that authorities said Carrillo fired from. Carrillo was previously arrested in connection with the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in June.

FBI Special Agent in Charge John Bennett said the two men “came to Oakland to kill cops,” and thought the mass protests going on at the time would keep most law enforcement in the city busy, making it easier to conduct such an attack.

In Bethel, Ohio, over the weekend, 80 or so expected demonstrators for a Black Lives Matter protest ended up dwarfed Sunday afternoon by some 700 counterprotesters — motorcycle gangs, “back the blue” groups and proponents of the Second Amendment, village officials said. Some carried rifles, a local news station reported, while others brought baseball bats and clubs. Police said they are investigating about 10 “incidents” from the clashes that followed, including a demonstrator being punched in the head.

The Albuquerque Police Department said Tuesday that it had arrested Steven Ray Baca, 31, in connection with the shooting in Albuquerque, where protesters were trying to topple the monument to de Oñate, a 16th-century despot who massacred indigenous people.

Police charged Baca with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a felony, according to a criminal complaint. Baca’s longtime girlfriend, Jacqueline Valdez, confirmed Tuesday that Baca has an attorney, but she declined to give the lawyer’s name or offer other details.

Authorities said Scott Williams, 39, was the victim. Laura Schauer Ives, an attorney for his family, said Williams remains in the hospital.

“His family very much is certain that had Scott not taken the bullets from Mr. Baca that the community, somebody in the community he cared about would have been harmed,” she said, adding that Williams’s family “has very, very serious concerns about the Albuquerque Police Department’s failure to respond to what was obvious escalating violence at what was supposed to be a peaceful protest.”

City officials defended the police response, saying that officers responded to the shooting within minutes and that their job was complicated by the dozens of guns and other weapons they recovered from people on the scene.

Mayor Tim Keller (D) denounced “outside groups interfering with peaceful protests” who come with weapons and attempt to “prop up white supremacy.” But he said constitutional rights limit local officials’ ability to keep such groups away from demonstrations like that in Albuquerque.

In the hours leading up to the violence Monday, protesters faced off with members of an armed group of civilians that calls itself the New Mexico Civil Guard, and counterprotesters toting “All lives matter” signs.

John Burks, captain of what he described as the Civil Guard’s “Bernalillo Company,” said seven or eight of his roughly 20 members came to the demonstration not because they believed the statute should be preserved, but because they wanted to prevent it from being physically torn down by demonstrators. Another member said they were armed as a “visual deterrent” to prevent violence.

“My thing is, it’s public property, if you want to take it down, vote on it, do it the right way,” Burks said.

The police complaint cast Baca as seeking to “protect the statue,” then defending himself against protesters who were “pursuing” him “while he backed away from them, using pepper spray to douse the oncoming crowd.” Baca’s “retreat,” the complaint said, continued, even as “the group appeared to maliciously pursue” him, with several people striking him with their hands and legs. The protesters also hit him with a long board and tackled him, the complaint said.

Williams, described in the complaint as a man “dressed in a black hooded shirt with a pair of black pants,” is noted to have “struck Steven” with the long board.

According to the complaint, Williams can be seen on bystander video retrieving a board and swinging it toward Baca’s upper body and head. Then, the complaint says, Baca fired several shots. The crowd scattered.

In a second video that captured the moments after the shooting, the alleged gunman sat in the middle of a road as the New Mexico Civil Guard members formed a circle around him. One man carrying a semiautomatic rifle and wearing camouflage fatigues and a military-style helmet kicked a handgun away from the man and stood with his foot on the weapon.

Keller acknowledged concerns about the initial criminal complaint filed, saying that a supplemental filing will incorporate evidence suggesting Baca initiated the violence by “violently throwing a woman to the ground” before protesters pursued him. State police will be taking over the investigation, city officials said.

Burks said his group had earlier scuffled with demonstrators, but when they put a chain around the statue’s head, he decided his members should back off.

“I’m not going to fight with them if they want the statue that bad,” Burks said.

He said that as his group watched from the sidelines, derisively yelling at the protesters to “pull harder” as they tried to bring down the statue, there was a commotion and shots rang out. Burks said his group moved in, and he stood on top of the shooter’s gun with his foot as other members surrounded the shooter.

“We were trying to calm the situation that had just taken place because it was about to go up in an uproar,” Burks said.

Police responded to the scene with tear gas and rubber bullets to force the crowd back. Burks said all of the militia members were taken into custody. He said they spent about three hours at a police precinct — most of that time in squad cars — and were questioned by the FBI and local detectives. A police oversight board will also be reviewing officers’ tactics Monday night, after some accused officers of letting an armed group initially dominate the shooting response and criticized the police’s crowd-control measures.

Burks and other members of the group said that as far as they were aware, none of their members were charged with crimes. He said he and his members did not know Baca; officials said they could not speak to whether Baca was connected to the group.

The FBI’s Albuquerque Division confirmed in a statement that it was assisting the local investigation and that agents were “focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals who are inciting violence and engaging in criminal activity in New Mexico.”

Baca did not appear to be injured in the video but was taken to a hospital and declined to speak to law enforcement, according to the criminal complaint.

Baca is a political conservative and a registered Republican, according to voter records. He last year ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Albuquerque City Council, telling the Albuquerque Journal at the time that “he felt compelled to seek his first elected office out of fear the community is becoming a ‘Third World country.’ ”

On his campaign Facebook page, which no longer exists, Baca criticized local authorities as being “complete wimps when it comes to fighting crime,” the newspaper reported. He went on to receive less than 6 percent of the vote.

Baca told the Albuquerque Journal last year that he is the son of a former Bernalillo County sheriff. A spokesman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday confirmed that Baca’s father had worked for the department, but said he had not been employed there since 2001.

Keller said the Oñate statue would now be speedily removed as an “urgent matter of public safety” until authorities determine a next step. Early Tuesday afternoon, the statue lay flat on the ground over a blue tarp, freed from ground earlier that morning, but yet to be taken away.

Devlin Barrett, Katie Mettler and Julie Tate in Washington; Will Ford in Albuquerque; and Shayna Jacobs in New York City contributed to this report.

Read More