FBI finds Al Qaeda link to Pensacola naval base shooting suspect: US official

first_imgMohammed Alshamrani in a photo released by the FBI. – (FBI)By ALEXANDER MALLIN and LUKE BARR, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department on Monday is expected to announce that the suspect who carried out the December shooting at a Pensacola Naval Air Station had communicated directly with a suspected Al Qaeda operative, a U.S. official familiar with the probe confirmed to ABC News.The FBI found that the suspect, Mohammed Alshamrani, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, was found to have been in touch with at least one member of the terrorist organization before the attack, that official said.Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray are expected to make the announcement at a press conference later Monday morning.Alshamrani was killed by law enforcement during the attack.The shooting at that Pensacola, Florida, naval base in December killed four people and wounded eight.In a news conference in January, the attorney general said an investigation of the shooter has determined he was “motivated by jihadist ideology,” and called the attack an “act of terrorism.”The Justice Department has said that twelve of the 21 Saudi students identified were trainees at the Pensacola Naval Air Station while the other nine were receiving their training in military facilities across the U.S.A review of the trainees computers and personal devices found that several of the students had possessed “derogatory material.”“Seventeen had social media containing some jihadi or anti-American content,” Barr said. “However, there was no evidence of any affiliation or involvement with any terrorist activity or group. 15 individuals (including some of the 17 just mentioned) had had some kind of contact with child pornography.”The trainees were not prosecuted by the United States, but the Saudi armed forces had determined the cases “demonstrated conduct unbecoming an officer,” and the students were subsequently dis-enrolled from service, Barr said.On Sept. 11, the shooter posted a message on social media the “countdown has begun.” Investigators also learned that he visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City over Thanksgiving weekend, and posted anti-American messages as recently as two hours before carrying out the attack at the base.FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said at the time, the FBI interviewed “more than 500 people.” The shooting itself lasted 15 minutes, Bowdich said, he was engaged by law enforcement about eight minutes in. He was killed by responding law enforcement and found to have possessed 180 rounds of ammunition.The FBI also determined that the shooter had studied Al Qaeda’s U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whose propaganda campaign may have inspired more radicals than anyone outside of Osama Bin Laden before he was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.The shooting also exposed a rift between U.S. law enforcement and Apple.At the time, Barr and Bowdich criticized Apple for its lack of cooperation, saying that the company has “has not given us any substantive assistance.”Apple, in a statement, rebutted the characterization.“The characterization that Apple has not provided substantive assistance in the Pensacola investigation. Our responses to their many requests since the attack have been timely, thorough and are ongoing.”“Within hours of the FBI’s first request on December 6th, we produced a wide variety of information associated with the investigation. From December 7th through the 14th, we received six additional legal requests and in response provided information including iCloud backups, account information and transactional data for multiple accounts,” the company said.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Alvarez’s six RBIs power Pirates past Indians

first_imgCLEVELAND (AP)—Pedro Alvarez had one of his best games yet. Still, it was a win by the Pittsburgh Pirates that had him really excited. Alvarez drove in a career-high six runs with his second two-homer game in two days, powering Pittsburgh past the Cleveland Indians 9-5 Sunday. IMPRESSIVE POWER DISPLAY—Pedro Alvarez watches his ball after hitting a three-run home run off Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Esmil Rogers in the fifth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 1, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) “I’m just glad to help us win the series,” Alvarez said as music blared in the clubhouse following the Pirates’ second victory in three games, giving them a sixth series win in their last seven matchups.Alvarez seemed unfazed by his own accomplishment — hitting three-run homers in the fourth and fifth innings for his fourth career multihomer game. He also doubled, for his first game of three extra-base hits.His previous two multihomer games also came in consecutive games, July 20-21 against Milwaukee.“It’s just coincidence,” Alvarez said of homering twice in consecutive games once again.Manager Clint Hurdle said Alvarez has worked hard to lift his average to .207 with a team-high 12 homers and 34 RBIs, three behind team leader Andrew McCutchen. Alvarez has 10 RBIs in four games after going 10 games without any.“He’s worked hard to get to a better place,” Hurdle said. “He drove one ball to right, then took advantage of a mistake and hit another. He had a very good day at the plate.”Tony Watson (4-0), the second of five Pirates pitchers, worked 1 2-3 innings of relief for the win.Pittsburgh scored nine runs for the second straight game after totaling 13 runs during a four-game losing streak.Alvarez became the first Pirates player with six RBIs in a game since Andy LaRoche did it Sept. 28, 2009, against the Los Angeles Dodgers.Alvarez put the Pirates up 3-2 in the fourth. His line drive into the right field seats came after Cabrera fielded a two-out grounder by Casey McGehee, but threw it away.Alvarez hit a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right for his 12th homer and 9-4 lead.Pittsburgh won a series for only the second time in their last 21 road interleague matchups.last_img read more

Rumson Financial Advisor Facing Investor Lawsuit, Complaints

first_img“(Howley) and his immediate family are among more than 230 investors who were victims of a sophisticated Ponzi scheme perpetrated to defraud investors nationwide of nearly $400 million,” Hansen said in a prepared statement to The Two River Times. A financial advisor with ties to Rumson is facing accusations of wrongdoing. Howley’s home on Rumson Road is currently for sale, listed at $4.5 million. The complaint continues that “Howley used the GCR investment as a selling point for the Guardian Life Insurance policy that earned (Howley) a large stream of commissions.” “My relationship with (Howley) is restricted to running and charitable work,” local restaurateur, philanthropist and Rumson-Fair Haven High School running coach Tim McLoone said in an Aug. 12 inter view. “(Howley) has always been good to our athletes and a supporter of our charitable efforts. There was never any inkling of anything like (these allegations). He’s always been a very, very positive influence on our community.” In 2016, John “Jack” Howley, a founding board member of Rumson’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was selected to be its Grand Marshal. Photo by The Two River Times Though five customer disputes are being arbitrated out of court by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, known as FINRA, a Two River-area couple filed a civil complaint in Monmouth County Superior Court in March. Though Howley was never charged by the SEC, the damages requested from complaints filed against him total more than $4.9 million. Howley chose not to comment for this story. But Mary P. Hansen, a partner with the Philadelphia law firm Drinker Biddle, is representing Howley during this legal process and said the allegations contained in the lawsuit “are without merit.” “Like other investors and sophisticated institutions, Mr. Howley placed his trust in Kevin Merrill, who in May admitted under taking the fraudulent Global Credit Recovery scheme, pled guilty to multiple federal criminal charges and is facing a lengthy prison sentence. At no time did Mr. Howley have knowledge of Kevin Merrill’s criminal enterprise or intent to defraud,” Hansen added. In May, GCR’s Kevin B. Merrill, 53, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud. GCR operated from 2013 through September 2018. Co-defendants Cameron R. Jezierski, 28, and Jay B. Ledford, 55, pleaded guilty in September for their involvement in the scheme. A Sept. 9, 2018 lawsuit against GCR and Merrill was filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States District Court in Maryland. The District Court indicted Merrill and two others Sept. 11, 2018 for conspiracy, identity theft, money laundering and wire fraud. Merrill and GCR’s assets were frozen two days later. According to former Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl, Howley is a “pay-it-forward, giving-back type of guy,” who served on the borough’s recreation committee. Howley also coached recreation and travel basketball and softball and was active in the local track and cross country community. The lawsuit alleges that over the next 15 months Howley recommended the purchase a $6 million life insurance policy from Guardian, a life insurance agency with which Howley has been an advisor since 1983. Howley also suggested an investment in Global Credit Recovery. Guardian could not be reached for comment. Hansen noted that Howley is hopeful the court-appointed arbitrator will soon begin distributing Merrill and GCR’s asset proceeds to investors who were harmed. Rumson resident John “Jack” C. Howley, 58, was discharged from the New York-based Park Avenue Securities Oct. 30, 2018 after failing to disclose private securities transactions and referring clients to investments not offered by the firm. Since the firm severed its ties with Howley, six customer complaints have been levied against him that are still pending decisions. The complaints stem from Howley’s alleged dealings with Global Credit Recovery (GCR), an investment offering the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) labeled a Ponzi scheme in September 2018. Despo’s complaint said that by December 2017 his clients invested a total of $1 million with GCR, an investment that “would be sufficient to pay the premium for the Guardian Insurance.” In 2016, Howley was named the Grand Marshal of the Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade, an event he helped found and for which he was a board of trustees member. The lawsuit seeks a total of $1 million in damages from Park Avenue Securities and Howley Financial Group, a financial services firm headed by Howley for 25 years. Its official website is not currently functional. Prior to the pending customer disputes against Howley, which date back to November 2018, the Rumson resident was an active part of the borough community and was celebrated professionally in May 2018 when he was inducted into the Guardian Life Insurance Hall of Fame. “We think we’ve been harmed, and I think we’ll be successful in what we’re seeking,” Despo said when reached by The Two River Times Aug. 5. Howley also organized the first Rumson Opening Day baseball/softball parade, a tradition that continues today. According to the civil complaint, which was submitted on behalf of the Two River-area couple by Rumson attorney William A. Despo, his clients first met with Howley in early 2017 for professional assistance with their investments, life insurance and retirement planning.last_img read more

TRIPLE CROWN CHAMP VICTOR ESPINOZA TO ACCEPT 2016 SANTA ANITA GEORGE WOOLF MEMORIAL JOCKEY AWARD ON SUNDAY; MEXICO CITY NATIVE SELECTED BY A VOTE OF JOCKEYS NATIONWIDE

first_imgWOOLF AWARD TROPHY TO BE PRESENTED AFTER THE 6TH RACE SUNDAY AT SANTA ANITA ARCADIA, Calif. (March 10, 2016)–As America’s first Triple Crown Champion jockey in 37 years, Victor Espinoza helped Thoroughbred racing project a positive image far beyond the confines of the Thoroughbred industry throughout 2015, thus elevating the sport’s exposure and acceptance to a level perhaps not seen since the 1970s. Accordingly, Espinoza, a 43-year-old native of Mexico City, has been selected by a vote of jockeys nationwide as the winner of Santa Anita’s highly coveted 2016 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award and he will accept the award in a Winner’s Circle ceremony following Sunday’s sixth race.“It’s quite an honor for any rider to be selected by his peers as the winner of such a prestigious award,” said Terry Meyocks, National Manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “And I would like to congratulate Victor on this great achievement.”In addition to numerous national television appearances through the 2015 Triple Crown and last fall’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Espinoza also remained tireless in his efforts on behalf of cancer-stricken youth, donating 10 percent of his winnings to support pediatric cancer research at City of Hope, in nearby Duarte.With the Bob Baffert-trained American Pharoah providing the horsepower, Espinoza gleefully proclaimed himself “The luckiest Mexican on earth,” on national television following their win in the Belmont Stakes June 6.In addition to winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, Espinoza and Santa Anita-based American Pharoah won last year’s Grade II Rebel Stakes, Grade I Arkansas Derby, Grade I Haskell Invitational and, in a performance for the ages, the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by 6 ½ lengths on Oct. 31–all the while elevating the profile of jockeys nationwide and generating tremendous ratings on a consistent basis.Born on a dairy farm near Mexico City, Espinoza is the 11th of 12 children. A three-time ESPY Award winner, Espinoza has three career Kentucky Derby wins, three Preakness victories, three Breeders’ Cup wins and he’s taken 11 Southern California riding titles.First presented by Santa Anita in 1950, Espinoza is the 67th winner of the Woolf Award, which seeks to honor riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and Thoroughbred racing. The remaining four finalists for this year’s award, which can only be won once during a rider’s career, were Joe Bravo, Javier Castellano, Gerard Melancon and Joe Steiner.last_img read more