Black Friday shoppers resort to punches at mall in Alabama

Women pulling each other’s hair and throwing punches disrupted Black Friday shopping at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Alabama. 

About a dozen police officers rushed to stop a fight late Wednesday night at the mall’s common area. They later learned it was related to a personal conflict and not the shopping frenzy, but the incident terrified shoppers.

Two teenage girls suffered minor injuries and they arrested others on pending warrants, the Hoover Police Department reported on Twitter

According to the ABC News affiliate WBMA, officers at the same mall also investigated reports of shots fired outside of Macy’s, but didn’t find any evidence of a shooting.  

 

JUST IN: @HooverPD say they responded to several reports of fights at the Galleria Thursday night. Here’s video of one incident outside the Buckle store. More on @WBRCnews this morning. pic.twitter.com/UZEZQGykGE

— Clare Huddleston (@Fox6Clare) November 24, 2017

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After arrest of Ollie the pit bull’s accused killer, animal rights group urges vigilance

The horrific case of Ollie the pit bull in Hollywood concerned People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ activists worldwide.

 When the animal rights organization received news that the pit bull had been stabbed dozens of times and stuffed into a suitcase, PETA donated $5,000 to help catch the killer.

The organization’s president said a reward wasn’t needed to solve Ollie’s case.     Hollywood Police Department detectives solved the case with the help of DNA evidence found on the suitcase. They linked it to Brendan Evans, who was arrested Wednesday.

“PETA is grateful to the Hollywood Police Department for its diligence and use of forensic science in making an arrest in the case of this dog’s violent and terrifying death,” said Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s president.

 In sum, animal rights activists raised about $100,000 with Ollie in mind. The money was supposed to help the beloved pit bull recover, but when he died, they used some of the funds to offer a reward to help catch the attacker, and to continue their efforts to help other victims of animal cruelty in his memory.   

Evans, 31, faces an aggravated animal cruelty charge. He appeared in Broward County Court Thursday, and although his bail was set at $100,000, he remained in jail Friday. While investigating another case, police officers said he had claimed to be a Voodoo priest who believed it was his religious right to kill a duck if he wanted to.

“The FBI has identified cruelty to animals as a sign of psychopathy, a red flag indicating a high risk for committing future acts of violence that pose a danger to the entire community,” Newkirk said. citing evidence of the history of animal abuse linked to serial killers.

In Evans’ refrigerator, Hollywood detectives found rats with their scalps removed, cat paws and blood. There was an eight-pointed star on a kitchen wall and a shrine with candles for the “Duke of Hell.” He had a Crime Stoppers’ flyer showing a picture of Ollie ripped in two.

“We were all pulling for Ollie to survive, but unfortunately he didn’t make it,” acting Chief Chris O’Brien said in a statement. “However, due to our investigation, we are no able to provide justice for Ollie.”

Some animal activists recognized Evan Wednesday night. They had been searching for evidence of reports that he had been sacrificing kittens. They used social media to distribute his photo anonymously earlier this year. 

Miranda Grossman, a spokeswoman for the department, said detectives searched Evans’ apartment at 1935 Lee St., on Nov. 14.  It was about a month after a couple spotted a dog’s paw sticking out from the suitcase and called police. 

Officers rushed Ollie to the VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital, where veterinarians learned he had been stabbed more than 50 times.  Animal lovers from all over the world pulled together to help Grateful Paws Dog and Cat Rescue to raise funds to help Ollie survive the vicious attack.

When Ollie died at the VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital two days later, animal lovers were waiting for justice in the case. Linda Ream, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said Ollie remained friendly and sweet until his last day. 

“When he died, there were tears,” Ream said. 

In a statement released Friday morning, Newkirk asked the public to report cruelty to animals and look out for animals in need “by investigating or reporting any crying and wailing or other unusual sounds coming from buildings or rooms.” 

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Police officers set up perimeter in Miami’s Allapattah

Miami police officers surrounded a residential area in Miami’s Allapattah Friday morning. 

Officers with rifles and police dogs scanned the neighborhood southeast of Miami Jackson Senior High School. 

Officers focused on a home near Northwest 14th Avenue and Northwest 33rd Street, where there was a black BMW with external damage. 

This is a developing story. 

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Pistorius re-sentencing is justice for Reeva Steenkamp, her family says

Reeva Steenkamp “can now rest in peace,” her family said Friday, after a South African high court more than doubled Oscar Pistorius’ sentence for her killing. The nation’s Supreme Court of Appeal increased his sentence to 13 years and five months for t…

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Pistorius’ sentence more than doubled; slain girlfriend’s family calls it ‘justice’

Reeva Steenkamp “can now rest in peace,” her family said Friday, after a South African high court more than doubled Oscar Pistorius’ sentence for her killing.

The Supreme Court of Appeal increased his sentence to 13 years and five months for the murder of his girlfriend, Steenkamp. It issued the ruling after the prosecution appealed his previous sentence of six years as too lenient.

The former Olympic and Paralympic sprinter killed Steenkamp at his home in an upscale Pretoria neighborhood on Valentine’s Day 2013 — an act he says was an accident after he mistook her for an intruder. The prosecution called it a deliberate act after the two had an argument.

The court’s decision is “justice for Reeva,” her family’s spokeswoman said, adding that they hope “this is the end of the road and that everyone can move forward.”

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued that Pistorius’ sentence was “shockingly lenient,” while the defense sought to dismiss the appeal.

Supreme Court Justice Willie Seriti said Pistorius failed to explain in court hearings why he fired the fatal shots and “does not appreciate the gravity of his actions.”

“I find it difficult on the evidence to accept that the respondent is genuinely remorseful,” Seriti wrote in his decision.

Seriti said the facts of the case demanded a higher sentence.

“The sentence of six years’ imprisonment is shockingly lenient to a point where it has the effect of trivializing this serious offense,” he added.

Pistorius can appeal the new sentence, according to Kelly Phelps, an adviser to his defense team, but no decision has been made.

The legal fight

Pistorius originally was convicted of manslaughter in 2014 after months of hearings and sentenced to five years, but a higher court overturned the conviction and changed it to murder a year later.

During Pistorius’ sentencing for murder, the trial judge cited mitigating circumstances for a lesser punishment, saying Pistorius was genuinely remorseful and a good candidate for rehabilitation.

The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, but individual judges can lower the sentence if there are “substantial and compelling” reasons to do so.

The judge described Pistorius as a “fallen hero” who will never be at peace and sentenced him to six years in prison.

From hero to killer

The Paralympic gold medalist was known as the “Fastest Man on No Legs,” and his inspiring story captured fans’ imagination at the 2012 London Olympics.

Born with a congenital abnormality, Pistorius had both his legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday, but through sheer determination excelled in world-class athletics.

In 2012, he became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied runners at the London Olympics, adding to his fame as the “Blade Runner,” a reference to his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs.

He failed to win a medal, but Pistorius’ presence on the track was hailed as a triumph over adversity and a victory over critics who claimed his blades gave him an unfair advantage over others.

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Zimbabwe’s ‘Crocodile’ Emmerson Mnangagwa sworn in as leader

Newly inaugurated leader Emmerson Mnangagwa laid out his vision for Zimbabwe on Friday, paying tribute to Robert Mugabe as a “mentor” but vowing to eschew the former president’s policies. Mnangagwa was sworn in Friday as interim president, following Mu…

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