Remains of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson return to Miami

The body of Sgt. La David Johnson, the soldier from Miami Gardens who was working with an elite U.S. Army Special Forces unit when he died in northwestern Africa, returned to South Florida about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday. 

His wife, Myeshia Johnson, his 2-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter waited for the Delta Airlines flight at Miami International Airport. The U.S. flag draped his casket as a group of uniformed servicemen carried it out. His widow, who is expecting their third baby in January, leaned over the casket. Her pregnant belly was shaking as she sobbed uncontrollably. 

Their daughter stood next to her crying mom stoically. Their toddler sat on a relatives lap in tears. 

Johnson, 25, was fighting alongside Green Berets with the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The group, which included a Nigerien patrol, didn’t have U.S. overhead armed air cover when Islamic militants ambushed them Oct. 4 near the Niger border with Mali.  

Johnson was left behind when French forces’ helicopters scrambled to evacuate the soldiers, and it took nearly two days for Nigerien forces to find his body in the desert of the landlocked nation, according to the U.S. Africa Command

His “Bush Hog formation was made better because of Johnson’s faithful service, and we are focused on caring for the Johnson family during this difficult period,” Lt. Col. David Painter, commander of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, said in a statement.

The U.S. military held a return of remains ceremony when Johnson’s body arrived at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Oct. 7. 

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, was also there. She said she wanted to know why the chain of command failed to anticipate “even the possibility of an ambush” and equip Johnson to fight against militants affiliated with ISIS.

“It is unwise to underestimate under any circumstances their bloodthirst and deadly force … We need to know the truth and we need to know it now,” Wilson said in a statement. 

When enemy fighters attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns Oct. 4, Johnson and the others were in unarmored pickup trucks, according to a U.S. official who talked to CNN.  After he was left behind, Johnson was able to activate his military beacon, but the U.S. military couldn’t track him before the signal faded, according to a U.S. officials who talked to NBC News.  

According to officials with the Department of Defense the other three victims of the attack were Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia.

Johnson’s awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Parachutist Bade, the Driver and Mechanic Badge and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge. He also participated in operations with the Canadian Armed Forces and received Canadian Parachutist Wings.

Johnson, who was affectionately known as “Tee” at Miami Carol City Senior High School, was formerly known by thousands on social media as the “Wheelie King 305.” He graduated from ATI Career Training Center. He was also a member of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, a mentorship program Wilson founded. 

Johnson’s family planned a public viewing from 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, and a funeral from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, at the Christ The Rock Church, 11000 Stirling Rd., in Cooper City. The internment will be a the Hollywood Memorial Gardens, 3001 N. 72 St.

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Carjacking suspect fatally shot by police after jumping in Miami River

A carjacking suspect was fatally shot by police Friday morning after police cornered him in the Miami River.Sky 10 was above the scene Friday morning as the stolen vehicle was being pursued by police.Authorities said the pursuit sta…

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Carjacking suspect fatally shot by police after jumping in Miami River

A carjacking suspect was fatally shot by police Friday morning after police cornered him in the Miami River.Sky 10 was above the scene Friday morning as the stolen vehicle was being pursued by police.Authorities said the pursuit sta…

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58 killed in Las Vegas Strip massacre; gunman dead

At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were injured after a gunman opened fire at a country music festival from a Las Vegas hotel room.

Police said Monday morning that the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock was found dead in a hotel room with as many as 10 firearms.

Authorities say that 515 people were taken to hospitals and 50 of those are dead, including an off-duty Las Vegas police officer. His name was not immediately released.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo says Paddock first checked into the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel on Sept. 28 and was found dead inside a hotel room.

Two on-duty officers were also hurt. One of those has been upgraded from critical to stable condition.

The FBI says Paddock had no connection to any international terrorist group.

Updates on the story will be filed below as the latest information comes in

11:16 a.m.

President Donald Trump has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff to honor the victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas. At least 50 people were killed and hundreds injured in the shooting Sunday night at a country music concert.

Trump issued a proclamation Monday ordering flags be flown at half-staff until sunset Oct. 6.

The proclamation covers flags at the White House and all public buildings, military posts, naval stations and naval vessels throughout the United States and all territories. It also extends to embassies, military facilities and other sites overseas.

In the proclamation, Trump says the nation “is heartbroken.”

10:47 a.m.

Eric Paddock, brother of Las Vegas Strip gunman Stephen Paddock, said he was stunned to learn his brother was responsible for the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

“He was my brother, and it’s like an asteroid fell out of the sky,” Eric Paddock told CNN Monday outside his home in Orlando, Florida.

The last time he spoke to his brother was when Stephen texted him, asking how their mother was doing after losing power from Hurricane Irma.

Eric Paddock said he knew his brother owned a few handguns and maybe one long rifle, but said he did not know of any automatic weapons.

10:16 a.m. 

Thousands of country music fans ran for cover as a gunman fired on them from a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip — a mass shooting that is now the deadliest in modern US history.

More than 50 people were killed Sunday night when the shooter fired hundreds of bullets into the crowd, police said.

Over 400 others were rushed to hospitals after the mass shooting and ensuing stampede at the outdoor Jason Aldean concert.

The gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, unleashed a hailstorm of bullets from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said.

Inside his room, authorities found a cache of weapons, including 10 rifles, the sheriff said.

“We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry,” Lombardo said.

Festival turns into massacre

The massacre started around 10:08 p.m. Sunday (1:08 a.m. ET Monday) at the Route 91 Harvest festival, Lombardo said.

Taylor Benge was enjoying the concert with his sister when he heard a relentless onslaught of “200 to 300” bullets.

“My sister, being as noble as she is, threw herself on top of me and said, “I love you, Taylor,” the 21-year-old said.

“Even after an hour and 30 minutes, I didn’t know if I was safe.”

Police said they believe Paddock acted alone. “Right now, we believe it’s a sole actor, a lone-wolf-type actor,” the sheriff said.

But why the massacre happened remains a mystery.

The investigation

So far, the massacre has no known link to overseas terrorism or terror groups, a US official with knowledge of the case said.

And a woman described as a “person of interest” after the attack is not believed to be involved in the shooting, police said in a statement.

“Marilou Danley is no longer being sought out as a person of interest,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said. “LVMPD detectives have made contact with her and do not believe she is involved with the shooting on the strip.”

Blood donations needed

With hundreds of victims still hospitalized, officials feared the death toll will keep rising.

The sheriff implored the community to donate blood. And before dawn, throngs of donors had already lined up outside a blood bank.

Shanda Maloney tweeted a photo while she stood in line at 4:30 a.m.

“This. Is. Vegas. This is our community. These are our people. Thank you to everyone here donating,” she tweeted.

Maloney told CNN she also gave transportation to anyone who needed it after the attack.

“I just started picking people up and giving people rides,” she says.

Aldean speaks out

Aldean posted a statement on Instagram saying that he and his crew were safe.

“My Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night. #heartbroken#stopthehate,” he wrote.

Two Las Vegas police officers are being treated at a local hospital for injuries during the shooting, Lombardo said. One is in critical condition, and the other had minor injuries.

“Pray for Las Vegas,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman tweeted. “Thank you to all our first responders out there now.”

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said on Twitter that a “tragic & heinous act of violence has shaken the #Nevada family” and offered prayers to all those affected by “this act of cowardice.”

‘We just ran for our lives’

Rachel De Kerf filmed her escape from the venue using her cell phone, starting just after the first shots were fired.

She described ongoing gunfire, and played out the video she had recorded during which more than five minutes of gunfire were intermittently audible.

“The gunshots lasted for 10-15 minutes. It didn’t stop,” she said. “We just ran for our lives.”

De Kerf’s sister, Monique Dumas, said that everyone instantly crouched when they heard the shots.

“The band was rushed off the stage, the floodlights came on the crowd, and you see on the right hand of the stage the person who was injured, so they’re calling for medics, calling for security, then there was gunfire again,” Dumas said.

‘Go, go, go’

SiriusXM Country radio host Storme Warren was on the side of the stage as Aldean was performing when the shots rang out.

“I thought it was fireworks going off and maybe it mistriggered, and then it happened again. And when it happened the third time, we knew something was wrong,” Warren said.

“The shells were hitting the deck of the stage when I was on it,” he said, adding that he could still hear the shells as he went under the stage for protection.

“It seemed there was a pause in the gunfire and the people in the yellow shirts were telling the people to ‘go, go, go, go’ … the gunfire never ended, it seemed like it went on and on and on,” Dumas said.

A concertgoer told CNN affiliate KLAS that everybody was lying on top of each other trying to get out of the shooter’s way.

“My husband and I ran out toward our car, and there were people hiding underneath my car for cover,” she said.

“There was a gentleman who was shot and he said, ‘Can you help me?’ And so I put him in my car and I had like six people in my car, people without shoes, running, just to get away.”

‘Like shooting fish in a barrel’

Audio of the shooting suggested that the shooter had used a military-style weapon, CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano said.

“Automatic weapon(s) like that — had to be numbers of magazines or a very large drum, it sounded to me like a belt-fed weapon, a military-style weapon and then to be shooting down, to use the analogy, it was like shooting fish in a barrel in that space,” Gagliano said.

MGM Resorts, which owns the Mandalay Bay, tweeted its condolences.

“Law enforcement and emergency personnel responded quickly to the incident a secured the scene,” it said in a statement. “Law enforcement requested that we put hotels in the vicinity on lockdown to ensure guest safety. We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

Facebook has set up a crisis response page to help people determine whether their loved ones are safe.

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Keys officials meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, governor

Monroe County officials will be meeting with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Gov. Rick Scott on Monday to discuss recovery efforts in the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma.An open roundtable discussion with Scott began Monday mor…

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New Tropical Storm Maria to become a hurricane

The National Hurricane Center was monitoring Hurricane Jose, Tropical Storm Lee and Tropical Storm Maria in the Atlantic Ocean. The Sunday morning advisory warned Tropical Storm Maria was expected to strengthen into a hurricane and appro…

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