Although he was not the intended target, a 21-year-old man was shot during an altercation in Times Square.
What We Know:
- Sunday evening, a group of vendors got into an altercation near Broadway and one pulled out a gun and started to fire off shots. One of the alleged gunman’s bullets struck Samuel Poulin in the back, while he was standing near a Starbucks with family. NBC New York reported that a family member was able to remove the bullet from Poulin’s back and give it to law enforcement for evidence. Poulin was able to stand on his own and was then taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
- Poulin graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, this year as a 2nd Lieutenant. While attending the school he showcased leadership qualities, was a President List cadet, and graduated with a degree in Physics. Gen. Glenn M. Walters, president of The Citadel, posted on Twitter that Poulin is in stable condition.
We are sending our prayers and our love to 2nd Lieutenant Samuel Poulin, ’21, his new wife and his family. pic.twitter.com/VeO4lFl7vd
— The Citadel (@Citadel1842) June 28, 2021
- This shooting is the 2nd shooting in a month to happen in Times Square. On May 8th, a fight broke out amongst a group of guys and one of them pulled out a gun and began to shoot. A 4-year-old little girl, along with a 23-year-old woman, was shot in the leg. A 43-year-old woman was shot in the foot and all three victims were taken to Bellevue Hospital. The little girl underwent a successful surgery and the other two remained in stable condition. The gunman, Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, was arrested days later in Florida.
- According to the New York Times, as of June 20th, close to 800 people have been shot in New York City. There have been almost 700 shootings in the area and a 48% increase in victims. Mayor Bill de Blasio believes there is a pattern of shootings in Times Square and he plans on addressing it aggressively, stating, “it’s just an unacceptable state of affairs. This is a place that is so precious and so important to our city – it has to be safe.”
- The NYPD has released footage of Sunday’s alleged gunman walking around Times Square after the shooting.
UPDATE: New video of the suspect that discharged a firearm, striking a 21-year-old male bystander in Manhattan. If you have any info contact @NYPDTips at ☎️800-577-TIPS. https://t.co/FUznDRciFJ pic.twitter.com/EP44OCilOR
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 28, 2021
- Due to the increase in shootings in Times Square, the NYPD’s Chief of Department, Rodney Harrison and de Blasio revealed the Times Square Safety Action Plan. This plan will place over 50 new officers, as well as undercover ones, into the area to help curb gun violence. They believe one of the biggest issues in the area is the “soliciting and aggressive panhandling of CDs.” De Blasio plans on “flooding” the zone with officers, in order to make the popular tourist area safe.
No arrests have been made yet in connection to Sunday’s shooting, nor have NYPD been able to locate the gun that was used. Harrison and de Blasio’s new policing plan went into effect Monday.
Prosecutors Say R. Kelly Abused 17-Year-Old Boy
Prosecutors say that former R&B singer R.Kelly abused a 17-year-old boy in 2006 after meeting him at a Chicago McDonald’s.
What We Know:
- Lawyers claim that the singer, whose real name is Robert Kelly, initially offered to help the boy with his music career and invited him to his studio. After Kelly questioned the boy on what he would do to make it in the industry, Kelly propositioned and had sexual contact with the minor.
- The young boy also introduced his 16 or 17-year-old male friend to Kelly; the singer eventually began a relationship with this other boy. Prosecutors allege that Kelly filmed the two minors engaging in sexual acts with others, including some of Kelly’s girlfriends, including an under-aged female.
- In addition, when Kelly faced child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, the first boy told him he knew one of the jurors. Kelly proceeded to ask the boy to contact the juror and vouch that Kelly was a “good guy.” However, the prosecutors’ filings do not specify if the youth did so.
- Attorneys want judges to consider hearing this evidence during Kelly’s upcoming August trial. They believe this information will show that Kelly’s actions “were not isolated events and were part of a larger pattern.”
- The Grammy Award winner has faced scrutiny for his sexual behavior for a while. Currently, he faces charges for recruiting women and girls for sex and pornography and exercising control over them. These include child sexual exploitation, making indecent images of minors, racketeering, and obstruction of justice. According to lawyers, Kelly managed a “criminal enterprise” alongside managers, bodyguards, and other employees. These charges involve six different victims. In addition to the aforementioned sufferers, prosecutors want jurors to hear the stories of more than one dozen others who experienced sexual misconduct at the hands of Kelly.
Because of the accusations, Kelly has been in jail for two years while awaiting his day in court.
Gender Reveal Party Couple Face Jail Time over Deadly California Wildfire
A California couple whose gender reveal party allegedly started a deadly wildfire faces involuntary manslaughter charges and a lengthy stint in jail.
What We Know:
- Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr and Angela Renee Jimenez set off a smoke bomb during their gender reveal party back in September 2020 in Yucaipa, California. The “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” supposedly sparked the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County. Survallience footage showed the family light the smoke bomb at the edge of the El Dorado Ranch Park and was seen trying to put flames out. The wildfire burned over 22,000 acres, destroyed multiple homes and properties, and lasted more than two months.
- While trying to put out the fire, firefighter Charles Morton was killed, and many others were injured. Morton, 39, had worked as a firefighter for 18 years, 14 of them with the US Forest Service. US Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen stated that Morton was a “well-respected leader” and was always there for his crew.
- Refugio and Angela have been charged with 30 crimes: three felony counts of recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury, four felony counts of recklessly causing a fire to inhabited structures, 22 misdemeanor counts, and one felony count of involuntary manslaughter. On Tuesday, the couple pleaded not guilty.
- During a news conference, Jason Anderson, San Bernardino County District Attorney, said that a grand jury heard 34 witnesses and saw 434 exhibits. He mentioned that the fire affected the community tremendously and that at least six different agencies “were involved in containing, extinguishing, and investigating” the wildfire.
“You’re obviously dealing with lost lives, you’re dealing with injured lives, and you’re dealing with people’s residences that were burned and their land that was burned. That encompasses a lot of, not only emotion, but damage, both financially and psychologically,” said Anderson
- Gender reveal parties are where couples find out the gender of their baby. They could cut into a cake and see if the inside is blue for a boy or pink for a girl, pop a big balloon to see the color of the confetti, or even do a song that reveals the gender at the end. Over the years, gender reveals have gotten more elaborate and dangerous.
- In February, a father-to-be died after the gender reveal device he was building exploded on him, and in 2017 a gender reveal party sparked a wildfire in Arizona, burning close to 47,000 acres. The expected father in that incident pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, was sentenced to five years of probation, and had to pay nearly $8.2 million in fines.
Refugio and Angela were released on their own recognizance and are set to return to court on September 15th. If found guilty, they could face up to 20 years in jail.
First Felony Sentence for January Insurrection Handed to Florida Man
What We Know:
- Paul Hodgkins, 38, pleaded guilty to a single count of obstructing an official proceeding last month. The crane operator, along with others, breached the US Capitol at the alledged request of former President Donald Trump. The former Commander in Chief held a rally where he said dangerous rhetoric about the election being rigged. He told his supporters to go to the Capitol, where they were counting electoral votes, and urge senators to overturn the presidential election results.
- Hodgkins was seen walking onto the Senate floor holding a red “Trump 2020” flag and wearing a Trump shirt. He went to Washington initially for the rally that was held near the White House. He stated that he had no idea that day would end with him storming the capitol and that he was caught up in “the passion of the day.”
- The US Justice Department considered the events of Jan. 6th as “acts of domestic terrorism.” They encouraged the judge to treat Hodgkins on the same level as those who are deemed domestic terrorists. Since Hodgkins took a plea deal, the government agency asked District Judge Randolph Moss to sentence him to 1.5 years in prison. Prosecutor Mona Sedky claimed that giving Hodgkins harsh sentencing would stop future people who planned on recreating the events of that day.
- In court on Monday, Hodgkins spoke for about 10 minutes on how “remorseful” he was and that he “regretted” his actions on that day. He believes that the riots caused great harm to the “country that he loves,” and he takes full responsibility for his part in it.
- Although Moss considered Hodgkins’ actions “utterly unacceptable,” he didn’t believe him a threat and stated how he didn’t have any previous criminal history. Moss sentenced Hodgkins to eight months in prison, two years on probation, and ordered him to pay $2,000 in damage fees.
“Hodgkins did some very bad things that day and caused some real damage to this country, but I don’t consider him to be a threat or see him as an evil person. This is a very bad episode in his life and a very bad episode in this country … some sentences will be far higher, and some will be far lower. This is what I believe is a fair sentence,” said Moss.
- Over 530 people have been charged since Jan. 6th, with the help of social media and surveillance cameras. Of that number, “165 accused of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers,” and over 50 charged with “using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer.” According to CNN, 20 people have already pled guilty and are awaiting their sentencing, while two charged with misdemeanors have already been sentenced: one to six months and one to three years probation.
Many charged rioters are pushing the idea of going to trial as they believe they did nothing wrong. Hodgkins walked out of court happy with the results and will be allowed to self-surrender once he is informed of where he will carry out his 8-month sentence.
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