Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

Illustration photo by Shutterstock
Updated 22 April 2018
0

Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

  • The victim was dining with his family when the man stabbed him without warning
  • Police say suspect is a felon who had been convicted for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse since the 1990s

LOS ANGELES: A homeless man who randomly stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant to death as he was holding his daughter was reported just a few hours earlier for disruptive behavior, but police ultimately determined he was not a threat, authorities said Saturday.
Jamal Jackson, 49, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5 million bail. It was unclear if Jackson, who is also a convicted felon, had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Mele and his wife were eating dinner with their 5-year-old daughter Wednesday at Aloha Steakhouse in the seaside city of Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father’s lap when prosecutors say Jackson walked up and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said customers and a restaurant employee followed Jackson out of the restaurant, even though he still had the knife. They kept track of him until Ventura police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to a hospital and died Thursday after being taken off life support.
“It’s horrible,” Simon said. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything.”
Simon said the two men had not interacted before the attack.
“He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap,” Simon said. “You’re not supposed to die that way.”
Mele’s loved ones started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a funeral and to support his wife and daughter.
Mele’s Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and said he was a manager at an AT&T store.
Police confirmed that a bystander reported a man — who turned out to be Jackson — for disruptive behavior several hours before the stabbing.
According to the bystander, a man was yelling on the promenade not far from the beachside restaurant about three hours before the attack.
Patrol officers were out on other calls so command center staff monitored the man via a pier security camera system for more than 20 minutes before deciding he didn’t seem to be a threat, police said.
Police are asking anyone who spoke with Jackson during that time to contact investigators in the city 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest after a physical fight at a park, said Commander Tom Higgins.
He was also stopped on March 31 after a passer-by reported he was brandishing a knife. Police searched his bag and found a knife but there was no victim so no charge was filed, Higgins said.
Jackson has a lengthy rap sheet including charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse dating back to the 1990s.
The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff members to monitor security cameras, among other measures.
“We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 55 years in prison.


Floods force millions to flee homes in South Asia

A man looks out of the window of his partially submerged home in flood-hit Kahchin, Myanmar. (Reuters)
Updated 1 min 41 sec ago
0

Floods force millions to flee homes in South Asia

  • Death toll in Nepal and Bangladesh rises to 76 after days of heavy rains

KATMANDU: Floods have forced more than 3 million people from their homes across north and northeastern India, officials said on Monday, as the death toll in neighboring Nepal and low-lying Bangladesh rose to 76 after days of heavy monsoon rains.

Worst affected is the northern Indian state of Bihar, where some 1.9 million people have fled their homes due to rising waters, a state government release said.
Television channels showed roads and railway lines in Bihar submerged, with people wading through chest-high, brown, churning waters, carrying their belongings on their heads.
An impoverished agrarian province with rickety infrastructure and poor health care services, Bihar has a history of flooding in its northern areas that border Nepal.
Flood waters in the northeastern Indian state of Assam rose overnight with the Brahmaputra River, which flows down from the Himalayas into Bangladesh, and its tributaries still in spate. More than 1.7 million people in Assam have been displaced by the floods, authorities said, and most of the Kaziranga National Park, home to the rare one-horned rhino, was also under water.
“The flood situation has turned very critical with 31 of the 32 districts affected,” said Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said.
“We are working on a war footing to deal with the flood situation.”
Known for its tea industry, Assam is often inundated by seasonal flooding, and state and federal governments have spent millions of rupees on flood control.
India’s weather office on Monday forecast widespread rains across Assam and Bihar for the next two days.
In neighboring Nepal, 64 people were killed and 31 were missing, with around a third of all districts hit by heavy rains, authorities said. Many of the deaths were caused by landslides that swept away houses.

We are working on a war footing to deal with the flood situation.

                Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief minister of Assam

In southeast Nepal, water levels on the Kosi River, which flows into Bihar, had receded, an district official said. In 2008, the Kosi broke its banks and changed course, inundating huge tracts of land and killing 500 people.
“Our analysis is that the danger is over now that the water level has come down,” Chiranjibi Giri, assistant district administrator of Sunsari district, told Reuters.
The annual monsoon season, which brings the most rain across south Asia, also hit Bangladesh hard, forcing an estimated 190,000 people out of their homes, government officials said.
In Cox’s Bazar district, shelter to some 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled violence in neighboring Myanmar, more than 100,000 people have been displaced.
Since early July, flooding and landslides have damaged thousands of shelters at the refugee camps, killing two people, including a child, Human Rights Watch said in a release last week.