7 killed in Afghanistan as Dempsey arrives

Updated 07 April 2013
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7 killed in Afghanistan as Dempsey arrives

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan: Six foreigners and an Afghan were killed in two separate attacks in Afghanistan yesterday, local and international officials said.
Six people, including three NATO soldiers, died in a car bomb attack on a convoy of vehicles in Zabul province’s capital, Qalat. Provincial governor Mohammad Ashraf Nasery, traveling in the convoy, was unharmed but a local doctor was killed, as were three American soldiers and two foreign civilians, according to local and NATO officials.
The cars were en route to a school and were near to a hospital and a NATO base when the car bomb exploded.
Five Afghans, including a student and two reporters, were also wounded, a local official said.
In a separate attack in Afghanistan’s east, a US civilian working with the American government was killed during an insurgent attack, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.
Zabul shares borders with Pakistan to the southeast and the birthplace of the Taleban, Kandahar province, to the south.
The Taleban claimed responsibility for the Zabul attack via a text message from spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi. He said a car bomb killed seven foreigners and wounded five others, though he later revised the toll to 13 foreigners killed and nine wounded.
The Taleban routinely exaggerate casualty figures.
The killings come in the wake of a bloody Taleban assault in the country’s west several days ago that killed 44 people. The United Nations says civilians are being increasingly targeted in 2013.
Top US military officer General Martin Dempsey arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit yesterday to assess the level of training the US will need to provide Afghan forces after NATO withdraws in 2014, an official said.
An estimated 100,000 foreign troops have been fighting the Taleban for the past 11 years and are due to leave Afghanistan by Dec. 31, 2014 to be replaced by a smaller contingent to train and advise their local counterparts.
General Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will “assess the level of training that US/ISAF will provide to Afghan security forces,” a military official said.
Afghan security forces, numbering around 330,000, are widely seen as ill equipped, under-trained, and even corrupt. Lots of Afghans fear they will fail to contain the growing insurgency once the international troops leave.

The US army still has 68,000 troops on the ground in April 2013. Speculations on the size of its force post-2014 range from 6000 to 20,000 soldiers.
Last August, insurgents’ rockets hit General Dempsey’s plane as it was parked at the Bagram air field and wounded two maintenance crew, according to officials. Dempsey flew out of the country unharmed using another plane.


4 dead in Waffle House shooting in southern US state; suspect sought

Updated 23 April 2018
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4 dead in Waffle House shooting in southern US state; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, US: A nearly naked gunman wearing only a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville early Sunday, shooting four people to death before a customer rushed him and wrestled the weapon away.
Authorities were searching for the 29-year-old suspect, Travis Reinking, who they said drove to the busy restaurant and killed two people in the parking lot before entering and continuing to fire. When his AR-15 rifle either jammed or the clip was empty, the customer disarmed him in a scuffle.
Four people were also wounded before the gunman fled, throwing off his jacket.
Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said there was no clear motive, though Reinking may have “mental issues.” He may still be armed, Anderson told a mid-afternoon news conference, because he was known to have owned a handgun that authorities have not recovered.
US Secret Service agents arrested Reinking last July for being in a restricted area near the White House, officials said. Special Agent Todd Hudson said Reinking was detained after refusing to leave the restricted area, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump.
State police in Illinois, where Reinking lived until last fall, subsequently revoked his state firearms card at the request of the FBI and four guns were then taken from him, including the AR-15 used in Sunday’s shooting as well as a handgun, authorities said.
Sheriff Robert Huston in Tazewell County, Illinois, said deputies allowed Reinking’s father to take possession of the guns on the promise that he would “keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis.” Huston added that, based on past deputies’ encounters with Reinking, “there’s certainly evidence that there’s some sort of mental health issues involved.”
While Huston said it was unclear how Reinking reclaimed the guns, Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said that his father “has now acknowledged giving them back to his son.”
Phone calls to a number listed for the father, Jeffrey Reinking, went unanswered.
Meanwhile, authorities hailed the customer who intervened to stop a further bloodbath, 29-year-old James Shaw, Jr., as a hero — though the father of a 4-year-old girl demurred and said he was just trying to survive.
One hand bandaged, Shaw told reporters he first thought the gunshots fired around 3:25 a.m. were plates falling from a dishwashing station.
When he realized what was happening, he took cover behind a door as shots shattered windows. The gun either jammed or needed a new clip, and that’s when Shaw said he pounced after making up his mind that “he was going to have to work to kill me.”
Shaw said he was not a religious man, but “for a tenth of a second, something was with me to run through that door and get the gun from him.”
They cursed at each other as they scuffled, Shaw said, and he was able to grab the gun and toss it over a counter. The gunman then ran away into the dark of the working- and middle-class Antioch neighborhood of southeast Nashville.
Authorities said he shed his jacket nearby and police found two AR-15 magazines loaded with bullets in the pockets. He was seen walking, naked, on a road, officials said, but later was spotted wearing pants but no shirt after apparently returning to his apartment.
Another witness, Chuck Cordero, told The Tennessean newspaper he had stopped to get a cup of coffee and was outside the Waffle House when the chaos unfolded.
“He did not say anything,” Cordero said of the gunman, who he described as “all business.”
Cordero said Shaw saved lives. “There was plenty more people in that restaurant,” he said.
The dead were identified as 29-year-old restaurant worker Taurean C. Sanderlin, and restaurant patrons Joe R. Perez, 20, Akilah Dasilva, 23, and Deebony Groves, 21. A police statement said Sanderlin and Perez were killed outside the restaurant, Groves was fatally shot inside, and Dasilva was critically wounded inside and later died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Aaron, the police spokesman, said two of the wounded were being treated for gunshot wounds at the medical center, where spokeswoman Jennifer Wetzel said one was in critical condition and the other was in critical but stable condition.
TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center spokeswoman Katie Radel in Nashville said two people were treated for minor injuries and released.
Aaron said Reinking had been employed in construction and lived near the restaurant, and police used yellow crime scene tape to block public access to an apartment complex about a half-mile from the Waffle House. Reinking is originally from Morton, Illinois.
“This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family,” the company said in a statement on Twitter. “We ask for everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers.”
Nashville Mayor David Briley described the shooting as “a tragic day” for the city.
“My heart goes out to the families & friends of every person who was killed or wounded,” Briley said in an emailed statement. “I know all of their lives will be forever changed by this devastating crime.”
US Rep. Jim Cooper, whose district includes Nashville, said in an emailed statement that the shooting shows the need for tighter restrictions on “widespread civilian access to military-grade assault weapons.”
Nashville Chief Anderson said there was no Tennessee law that would have barred Reinking from having guns, though weapons could be taken away if the suspect had serious mental health issues. That would require taking him to court and having his rights taken away because of illness, a sometimes lengthy and difficult process, Anderson said.
Police reports filed in Illinois showed past run-ins with authorities there.
In May 2016, Tazewell County deputies were called to a CVS parking lot where Reinking told officers that Taylor Swift was stalking him and hacking his phone, and that his family was also involved, according to a report released Sunday. Reinking agreed to go to a local hospital for an evaluation after repeatedly resisting the request, the report said.
Another report from the sheriff’s office said Reinking barged into a community pool in Tremont, Illinois, last June and jumped into the water wearing a pink woman’s coat over his underwear. Investigators believed he had an AR-15 rifle in his car trunk, but it was never displayed. No charges were filed.