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March 29, 2015

Officials say co-pilot intentionally crashed Germanwings Airbus

Officials say co-pilot intentionally crashed Germanwings Airbus

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Aviation

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Germanwings D-AIPX, the aircraft involved in the incident, taking off

Image: Sebastien Mortier

Officials said on Thursday, after analyzing data from the Germanwings Flight 9525 cockpit voice recorder, that the airbus crashed into the French Alps because its co-pilot deliberately crashed it.

On the cockpit voice recorder, the captain can be heard trying to get back into the cockpit. Transponder data indicates the autopilot was told to descend form 38,000 feet to 100 feet. The last part of the recording contains screaming during the sudden decent.

Investigators are still searching for the plane’s flight data recorder.

The co-pilot started training in 2008, and was diagnosed in 2009 with serious depression according to BBC News. Later he completed his training and passed all his tests to pilot, according to Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr.

In light of this incident, several airlines announced a ban on leaving any one person alone in the cockpit.

The flight path and altitude chart can be seen in the images below.


4U9525 flight path

4U9525 flight path

Image: Andrew Heneen

4U9525 flight path

4U9525 flight path

Image: Kopiersperre

Altitude Chart for Flight 4U9525 register D-AIPX

Altitude Chart for Flight 4U9525 register D-AIPX

Image: Lämpel



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March 25, 2015

British singer Lil\’ Chris found dead aged 24

British singer Lil’ Chris found dead aged 24

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Music
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Lil’ Chris, an English singer and television personality, died on Monday, police reported that day. The 24-year-old Chris Hardman was found dead at an address in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Suffolk Police said they were not treating it as a suspicious death. Hardman came to fame as Lil’ Chris after appearing on the Channel 4 reality television show Rock School.

Rock School in 2006 featured a student rock band that KISS frontman Gene Simmons created. Hardman was chosen to be the bands lead singer by Simmons. Speaking to The Daily Mirror, Simmons paid tribute to Hardman. He said “Lil Chris was a kind, little soul. I will greatly miss his smile and his spirit. I knew there was something special about him as soon as I met him”.

More tributes came from other celebrities. McFly band member Dougie Poynter paid tribute to Hardman on Instagram; he posted alongside a photograph of him, “So sad to hear about Lil Chris. He was such a genuinely sweet and funny guy, we had some awesome times. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.” Boxer Anthony Ogogo praised him as a “super-talented kid”; Ogogo and Hardman both went to Kirkley High School.

Hardman’s most successful hit was Checkin’ It Out, his debut single in 2006, which made it to number three on the UK Singles Chart. He released his last album in 2008 but had recently announced plans of a musical comeback on Twitter.

Prior to his death Hardman had spoken about his battle with depression on Twitter. He once tweeted “Depression really sucks. Learning how to notice it can save lives and your own feelings at times. Take time to understand it, for everybody.” Since his death has been announced the suicide helpline charity The Samaritans have released a statement. They said “If anyone has been affected by this news, or is struggling to cope, we would like to let people know that Samaritans is here for them if they need to talk.”



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February 14, 2015

University of Utah study finds suicide may be linked to air pollution

University of Utah study finds suicide may be linked to air pollution

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

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A University of Utah study published on Tuesday in The American Journal of Epidemiology suggests air pollution may increase suicide rates.

A bottle of nitrogen dioxide, from file.
Image: “Greenhorn1”.

The team analysed suicide records for over 1,500 people from Salt Lake County, Utah from 2000 through 2010. Comparing to air pollution exposure in the three days prior to death the scientists noticed an increase of 20% for deaths amongst those exposed to high nitrogen dioxide.

High exposure to fine particulates in the three days prior to death led to a 5% increase. For men, the rates when exposed to nitrogen dioxide were 25% higher than average. Middle-aged men were particularly affected.

The scientists believe air pollution combines with other factors to increase suicides, rather than triggering them itself. Doctor Amanda Bakian, one of the researchers, said “As suicide risk was found to differ by age and gender, this suggests that vulnerability to suicide following air pollution exposure is not uniform across Salt Lake County residents and that some Salt Lake County residents are more vulnerable than others.”

Bakian said research to identify what made individuals susceptible to increased suicide risk after air pollution exposure is planned.



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January 24, 2014

Claire Tiltman murder: Prosecutors mull charges in notorious English crime

Claire Tiltman murder: Prosecutors mull charges in notorious English crime

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Friday, January 24, 2014

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Almost exactly 21 years after 16-year-old Claire “Tilt” Tiltman was stabbed to death near her Kent, England home, Kent Police have passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Cquote1.svg We hope to reach a decision as soon as is practicably possible Cquote2.svg

—CPS

The case has been the subject of speculation sadistic killer Robert Napper was responsible, but the file is reported to concern longtime suspect Colin Ash-Smith. Wikinews contacted Kent Police and the CPS but neither were willing to confirm how many suspects were covered by the evidence file.

“We have presented a file of evidence to the CPS for their consideration in relation to the murder of Claire Tiltman,” said Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson of the Kent Police cold case team in a statement provided to Wikinews. “Claire’s murder has been subject to an ongoing investigation by Kent Police who have never given up on justice for Claire.”

The CPS gave Wikinews a statement confirming they are “currently considering a file of evidence submitted by Kent Police in relation to the murder”. The statement added “We hope to reach a decision as soon as is practicably possible.”

Tiltman was stabbed in excess of 40 times in an alleyway in Greenhithe as she took a shortcut to visit a friend. The Dartford Grammar School pupil, who had celebrated her birthday four days before, aspired to be a firefighter and was a familiar face at her local fire station. Her death in 1993 sparked an investigation that amassed over 16,000 documents without success in spite of the fact she was killed between 6:00 and 6:30pm, as commuters returned from work.

Cquote1.svg Claire was 16 years old at the time of her murder with her whole future ahead of her. That evening someone took that future away Cquote2.svg

—Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson, Kent Police cold case detective

On Saturday the Justice for Claire campaign group marked the 21st anniversary of the murder. A band played in nearby Dartford and, including a raffle, the event raised over £3,000 for the group, which includes some of Tiltman’s friends. Wikinews attempted to contact Justice for Claire but their website is unavailable and previous contact details are no longer valid. Last year they organised a candlelit memorial walk to mark the 20th anniversary.

The victim’s parents have both since died. Her mother died of cancer after care at EllenorLions Hospice, one of two beneficiaries of the money raised by Justice for Claire last week. The other was the Fire Fighters Charity. Founding member and friend of Tiltman’s Lisa Gribben said “We want to hold onto the amazing memories we have but also create so many more so they can be remembered in a good way and not for what happened […] The evening is to remember Tilt and her parents for both the amazing friend she was and the wonderful, loving family they all were. […] Its saddens me that our memories are tarnished because of such evil. Hopefully now when someone reads about Tilt they can read about happier times too.”

Claire Tiltman’s hometown of Greenhithe as it appears today.
Image: Clem Rutter.

Vinson told local journalists at the time that officers were “absolutely committed” to catching the killer and “actively investigating this case”. “Claire was 16 years old at the time of her murder with her whole future ahead of her. That evening someone took that future away.”

Colin Ash-Smith is serving multiple life sentences for other attacks on women, including stabbing Charlotte Barnard, 22, in late 1995. The Barnard attack, for which he was convicted of attempted murder two years later, was yards from where Tiltman died. His other crimes include another attempted murder, kidnap, and attempted rape.

His former home in Dartfield, where his parents live, has been searched at least three times by police. The most recent was in September, when forensic officers spent several hours at the building. His father Aubrey received a twelve-month prison term for perverting the course of justice; shortly afterwards his mother was arrested after admitting on TV she asked for a knife to be destroyed during the initial investigation into her son.

Following the latest search of the property Kent Police said “Officers have obtained a large amount of items which will be examined in the coming weeks.” The former milkman’s father says he’s convinced his son did not murder Claire Tiltman.

Robert Napper, meanwhile, has been linked to the crime by criminologists and by former Metropolitan Police constable Vincent Wright. Wright went to an Inspector in 2000 to put forward his case that Napper killed Tiltman and also killed Rachel Nickell in London in 1992. In December 2008 Napper admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility for killing Nickell six months before Tiltman’s death. Like Tiltman, Nickell was stabbed more than 40 times.

Wright began investigating after Napper was convicted in the deaths of mother-and-daughter Samantha and Jazmine Bisset, who were killed ten months after Tiltman’s death. Samantha Bisset was stabbed 60 times. Wright discovered Napper was freshly released from an eight-week prison sentence for weapons offences when Tiltman died and was a known voyeur. In 1995 Napper admitted raping one teenager at knifepoint and attempting to rape another within eight days of each other in 1992. Wright produced a timeline for the inspector in 2000, and has been in touch with Kent Police as well. In 1998 Operation Enigma, a reexamination of cold murders, suggested the Tiltman and Nickell crimes could be down to the same offender.

A modern view of a path on Wimbledon Common. Rachel Nickell was fatally stabbed on the common by Robert Napper in 1992.
Image: Derek Harper.

“Napper could have been stopped,” Wright said after Napper was finally convicted in the Nickell case. “It was down to poor investigatory procedure that he wasn’t.” The Metropolitan Police lured innocent suspect Colin Stagg into a honeytrap and he was charged with murdering Nickell but later cleared when the case collapsed in court.

Professor David Wilson, a Birmingham City University criminologist, wrote in The Daily Star last March he believes Napper “was probably the murderer of 16-year-old Kent schoolgirl Claire Tiltman in January 1993, and of business executive Jean Bradley, 47, in west London two months later.” That month he repeated his theory in his Channel 5 documentary series Killers Behind Bars.

In addition to the “blitz” style of knife assault on Napper’s victims, Wilson hypothesised Tiltman was linked to Napper by Napper’s regular use of public transport. The Tiltman murder scene is twenty minutes by rail from Napper’s former home and her killer is believed to have headed towards a nearby train station.

Dr Laurence Allison, a professor of forensic psychology at Liverpool University, is co-author of a book titled Killer in the Shadows – The Monstrous Crimes of Robert Napper that looks at not just Napper’s convictions but also cold cases he may be connected to. In addition to Tiltman and Bradley, Allison identified Napper as a suspect in the death of Penny Bell, stabbed 50 times in west London. All three victims were to the west of Napper’s home area and all died within five minutes of train stations.

Allison told Wikinews, “we now know Napper was not sufficiently [investigated over] Rachel Nickell after it was established that he murdered Samantha Bissett”, noting “these sorts of murders are so rare that one needs to carefully consider an offender with track record as a plausible and worthy suspect”. However, Allison made clear this does not mean Napper is the only viable suspect: “Napper needs to be looked at [but] I wouldn’t be so bold as to favour one person over another either.”



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February 3, 2013

Reports of at least fourteen dead this week due to gun-related suicides in the United States

Reports of at least fourteen dead this week due to gun-related suicides in the United States

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Correction — February 6, 2013
 
This article does not conform to our neutrality policy, due to its manner of presentation of an out-of-context selection of facts. The lapse appears to have been unintentional by all parties involved. We apologize for the error.
 
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Sunday, February 3, 2013

A number of suicides as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds took place around the United States this week with reports of deaths in Arizona, California, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington.

Last Saturday in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alston Badger died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 51 years old.

On Monday in Clark County, Nevada, Jody Sherman, the Ecomom founder and CEO, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Another suicide occurred Monday in New Jersey. Chester and Rosaria Andraka died after Chester allegedly shot Rosaria before killing himself. Chester was a former police officer and there were few signs of trouble in the relationship prior to their deaths.

Another murder-suicide shooting took place on Monday. This one occurred in Elmont, New York, where 58-year-old Audley Dennis is believed to have shot his 46-year-old wife, Karen Rodgers-Dennis, before he shot himself. The couple allegedly had a history of fighting, with a family friend telling the New York Post, “They had their altercations. They would argue and yell, have outbursts.”

Greensburg, Indiana, where one of this week’s gun-related suicides took place
Image: Dopey9928.

In Greensburg, Indiana on Tuesday, local police Lieutenant Larry G. Dance committed suicide, dying from a self-inflicted gunshot. He had joined the police force on January 1, 1995. He left behind by a wife and two daughters.

On Tuesday in Waldorf, Maryland, local police reported an attempted murder-suicide with sixty-four year old Linda Lindsey believed to have shot her husband before fatally shooting herself. Her husband was reported to have survived and be in critical condition.

Devin Peterson, a twenty-two year old, allegedly committed suicide with a state trooper’s shotgun following his alleged theft of a police cruiser, another car and a police chase on Interstate 80 in Nevada on Wednesday.

A seventy-year-old man from Renton, Washington died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound on Wednesday shortly after he called 911 to tell the dispatcher he was planning to take his own life.

On Wednesday, three people died in a murder-suicide in Oxnard, California that involved at least one gun. The deceased included two women and the suspected male shooter.

On Thursday, Lee Vining Fire Chief Tom Strazdims reported an Oregon man likely commited suicide by shooting himself in the parking lot of the town’s visitor center.

Also on Thursday, the body of a suspected gunman accused of killing a call center CEO and injuring a lawyer was found dead of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound in Mesa, Arizona. Police had been searching for the man since Wednesday following the shooting at a mediation session over a lawsuit.

In another reported suicide on Thursday, this one in the Baltimore area, a man was found dead in the parking lot of the Timonium gun range of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

In Radcliff, Kentucky on Thursday, alleged burglar Michael Strand exchanged gunfire with police after they attempted to bring him in for questioning. Following a lull of approximately an hour, police entered the apartment and found the man dead from an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In Medina, Ohio on Thursday, United States Marine Andrew Baumgartner, who served in Afghanistan and had been discharged several months ago, got into an altercation with Sgt. Scott Schmoll after Schmoll felt a gun on Baumgartner’s person. Following this, Baumgartner hid in nearby woodlands, emerged to knock on the door of a local home to tell the resident he had been hit by a car, only to disappear into the woods again. He subsequently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police discovered his body alongside items they believed he had stolen.

The problem of suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound is recognized by some gun groups. The Royal Oak shooting range in Michigan stopped renting guns this week following after twelve people having attempted to kill themselves with guns rented from the range since 2001 (five of them were successful). Three of the incidents occurred in the past four months, with two of them fatal.

These suicides take place against a backdrop of gun control discussion in the United States Congress, where former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and an NRA spokesperson appeared before the body this week to discuss the possible need for stricter gun control laws.

According to the Maine Center of Disease Control and Prevention, guns are used in 85% of male suicides in the state. Debate has continued this week in the state about gun control as it relates to suicide. Iran’s PressTV published an opinion piece claiming that for every gun owner who uses their weapon in their home for self-defense, there are eleven suicide attempts involving a weapon. In the United States, veterans are more likely to use guns in acts of suicide than acts of homicide. The number of daily suicides by veterans is currently 22.

Guns are often used in suicide attempts, with PolitiFact reporting on Wednesday that there were 4,643 non-fatal gun involved suicide attempts in 2010. This number contradicts testimony by Wayne LaPierre of NRA to the United States Congress regarding unintentional deaths cause by firearms as LaPierre cited 600 deaths. Australia instituted tougher gun control regulations in 1996, including gun buy back programs. According to a study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University, these programs correlate to an 80% drop in suicides involving guns at a time when other methods of suicide remained consistent.

Similar research done in the United States has similar results. A 1991 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found stricter gun control in the District of Columbia was a likely cause of a reduction in the number of suicides by gun shot in D.C. compared to surrounding areas.



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October 1, 2012

California passes law banning gay-to-straight therapy

California passes law banning gay-to-straight therapy

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Monday, October 1, 2012

LGBT
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Governor Jerry Brown.
Image: State of California.

California Governor Jerry Brown Saturday signed into law a bill banning licensed mental health providers treating teenagers and children from attempting “to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex”.

In a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, Governor Brown described the bill: “This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery”.

LGBT rights campaigners have welcomed the announcement. Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, which petitioned Brown to pass the law, stated “LGBT youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being”. Griffin also called for other states to implement similar laws.

Kay Kendell from the National Center for Lesbian Rights stated: “Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families. This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.’ ”

The law is to take effect on January 1, 2013.



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June 6, 2012

Study suggests successful depression treatment lowers youths\’ risk of drug abuse

Study suggests successful depression treatment lowers youths’ risk of drug abuse

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A new study by Duke University in the US suggests depressed adolescents who respond to treatment within twelve weeks are at a reduced risk of drug abuse later in their lives.

The research followed about half of a pool of 439 adolescents who had received treatment for major depression and volunteered for Duke University research. At the five-year study’s conclusion the participants were aged 17–23. None of them had previously misused drink or drugs.

Alcoholism risk was unaffected by depression treatment, unlike drug abuse

Of those who had experienced a reduction in depressive symptoms within twelve weeks of treatment, ten percent went on to have drug abuse problems. Of the remainder, a quarter became drug abusers. Alcohol use problems, however, were equally prevalent regardless of treatment outcome.

The study was run by Dr. John Curry, a professor of neuroscience and psychology. Curry noted that the results for those treated successfully held true “whatever they responded to — cognitive-behavioral therapy, Prozac, both treatments, or a placebo”.

The study has called for major depression disorder treatments to take possible alcohol and drug use into account. Said Curry, “When the teenagers got over the depression, about half of them stayed well for the whole five-year period, but almost half of them had a second episode of depression… what we found out was that, for those who had both alcohol disorder and another depression, the alcohol disorder almost always came first”.

He also said the study had “a take-home message” in “that alcohol use disorders are very prevalent during that particular age period and there’s a need for a lot of prevention and education for college students to avoid getting into heavy drinking and then the beginnings of an alcohol disorder”.

Curry, alongside Dr. Susan Silva, a co-author, want more research using larger groups. They also say work towards a comparison with non-depressed individuals is needed.



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June 5, 2012

Study suggests successful depression treatment lowers youth\’s risk of drug abuse

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A new study by Duke University in the US suggests depressed adolescents who respond to treatment within twelve weeks are at a reduced risk of drug abuse later in their lives.

The research followed about half of a pool of 439 adolescents who had received treatment for major depression and volunteered for Duke University research. At the five-year study’s conclusion the participants were aged 17–23. None of them had previously misused drink or drugs.

Alcoholism risk was unaffected by depression treatment, unlike drug abuse

Of those who had experienced a reduction in depressive symptoms within twelve weeks of treatment, ten percent went on to have drug abuse problems. Of the remainder, a quarter became drug abusers. Alcohol use problems, however, were equally prevalent regardless of treatment outcome.

The study was run by Dr. John Curry, a professor of of neuroscience and psychology. Curry noted that the results for those treated successfully held true “whatever they responded to — cognitive-behavioral therapy, Prozac, both treatments, or a placebo”.

Curry has called for major depression disorder treatments to take possible alcohol and drug use into account. “When the teenagers got over the depression, about half of them stayed well for the whole five-year period, but almost half of them had a second episode of depression… what we found out was that, for those who had both alcohol disorder and another depression, the alcohol disorder almost always came first,” he said.

He also said the study had “a take-home message” in “that alcohol use disorders are very prevalent during that particular age period and there’s a need for a lot of prevention and education for college students to avoid getting into heavy drinking and then the beginnings of an alcohol disorder”.

Curry, alongside Dr. Susan Silva, his co-author, want more research using larger groups. They also say work towards a comparison needs with non-depressed individuals is required.



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May 27, 2012

Miami police shoot, kill naked man chewing face of male victim

Miami police shoot, kill naked man chewing face of male victim

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

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Police in Miami, Florida fatally shot a naked male who appeared to be chewing off the face of his male victim. The attack happened yesterday, approximately around 2:00 pm EDT (18:00 UTC) on the NE 13th Street off-ramp of Miami’s MacArthur Causeway, where the headquarters of The Miami Herald newspaper is located. The shooting was captured on the Herald building surveillance camera, which police have requested.

Around 2:00pm, Miami Police were notified of the incident and responded. An officer came upon the two men fighting and found the naked attacker chewing at the face of the male victim who was also naked. The officer called over the loudspeaker of his police cruiser for the man to cease his attack, which the man failed to heed. The officer then shot the attacker once, who continued attacking the victim despite being shot. The officer fired additional shots at the attacker in what was described by various witnesses and sources as “a half dozen shots”. The victim was then brought to Jackson Memorial Hospital Ryder Trauma Center with critical to severe facial injuries and is reported to be in intensive care.

The camera footage from the Miami Herald building shows a police cruiser pulling up at the off-ramp, which is partly obscured by the overhead tracks of the Miami Metromover. The video then shows the officer getting out of the cruiser and apparently commanding the man to stop attacking. The officer then pulls his service weapon and appears to fire his gun. Afterwards, the camera zooms in and shows the lower body of one man lying motionless on the ground, while another appears to be rolling around in pain. The Herald edited the video to obscure the victim.

Detective Willie Moreno, spokesperson for the Miami Police, said, “During this confrontation an officer did discharge his weapon striking one of the individuals.” Moreno added, “That individual has lost his life right now.”

Police have not identified the attacker, victim, or officer involved in the shooting. However, Javier Ortiz, the spokesperson for the Miami lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, said, “Based on the information provided, our Miami police officer is a hero and saved a life.”

A news release by the Miami Police stated, “As with all active investigations, there are many details that cannot be discussed until we have gathered all the facts. Detectives are still trying to gather details and urging any passersby who might have seen something to contact them.” According to the Herald, police believe the attacker may have been experiencing stimulant psychosis.



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May 14, 2012

Sydney\’s \’Angel of The Gap\’ dies after decades rescuing the suicidal

Sydney’s ‘Angel of The Gap’ dies after decades rescuing the suicidal

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Monday, May 14, 2012

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Australian man Don Ritchie, dubbed the “Angel of The Gap”, has died. He earned his nickname after spending decades talking people out of jumping from The Gap, a cliff famed as a suicide spot beside his house in Watsons Bay, Sydney.

The Gap, where Ritchie spent much of his life rescuing people from suicide.

Credited with at least 160 rescues, though his family suggest the true figure is 500, reports carry conflicting values of Ritchie’s age; he was in his mid eighties. He moved to a house beside The Gap in 1964 and lived there the rest of his life, quickly earning his first award after tackling a man who was about to jump. At first he held back would-be jumpers whilst his wife summoned help, but then took to approaching them with his palms out and saying simply “Is there something I could do to help you?”

Ritchie had no relevant formal training, but he said last year to “Never be afraid to speak to those who you feel are in need. Always remember the power of the simple smile, a helping hand, a listening ear and a kind word.” According to his daughter, Sue Ritchie Bereny, “that was all that was often needed to turn people around, and he would say not to underestimate the power of a kind word and a smile.” He would then “bring people back to our place for a cup of tea and breakfast.”

Cquote1.svg I was a salesman for most of my life, and I sold them life Cquote2.svg

—Don Ritchie

Rewarded last year with a Local Hero Award from the National Australia Day Council, Ritchie explained “You couldn’t just sit here and watch them. I mean, I couldn’t. So I would go out and try and help them.” He and his wife Monica were named Citizens of the Year by Woollahra Council in 2010.

Ritchie often clutched at those who jumped in an effort to hold them back. He recently described to The Sydney Morning Herald one nineteen-year-old who was friends with Ritchie’s grandchildren; “He said ‘no’ and stepped straight off the side. His hat blew up and I caught it in my hand.” Much of his time was spent watching the cliff for those in distress; Bereny noted his “sensitivity, he could read some people needed help.”

Cquote1.svg He said ‘no’ and stepped straight off the side. His hat blew up and I caught it in my hand. Cquote2.svg

—Don Ritchie

Ritchie’s “courage delivered small miracles,” said Cr Susan Wynne, Mayor of Woollahra. National Australia Day Council’s interim head Tam Johnston has issued a statement saying “Don’s story touched the hearts of all Australians and challenged each of us to rethink what it means to be a good neighbour… Don was a true gentleman with a smile that could light up the room.” Local politician Malcolm Turnbull, who united with Ritchie and mental health workers to demand suicide prevention measures at The Gap, said “His work lives on forever not just in the lives of those he saved but in his heroism and example of public service.”

Diane Gaddin, whose daughter killed herself at The Gap and who works to prevent suicide, called him “a beacon and inspiration to not only us in Australia but the world because it takes courage, bravery, tenacity… he was a gentle, persuasive man who offered them hope with warm, embracing words.” She describes the former life insurance salesman, who also served in the navy, as saying “I was a salesman for most of my life, and I sold them life.” She said he advised those faced with the suicidal to “Smile. Be friendly and say can I help you in some way.”

Ritchie died on Sunday local time at St Vincent’s Hospital, with his wife, three daughters, and four grandchildren by his side.



Sources

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