Texas police officer charged in killing of Black man

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – A white police officer in Texas has been charged with murder following the fatal shooting of a 31-year-old Black man, Jonathan Price, a state law enforcement agency said.

The police officer was responding to a disturbance call on Oct. 3 when he sought to detain Price, who “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away,” according to a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Shaun Lucas of the Wolfe City Police Department first deployed his Taser before shooting Price with his service weapon, the statement said. Price was transported to the hospital, where he later died.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectively reasonable,” the statement said, adding that the Texas Rangers have charged Lucas with murder.

The incident raised the possibility that Wolfe, a city of 1,500 people in North Texas, would become the latest flashpoint in a national uprising over racism and police brutality that was set off by the death of George Floyd on May 25.

“Everyone in this community will echo that this shouldn’t have happened to Jonathan, because of the character that he had,” civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing the Price family, told a news conference on Monday. “However, this shouldn’t happen to anybody and it happens far too often to unarmed Black men, particularly in North Texas.”

Lucas, who was arrested and jailed on $1 million bond, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Wolfe City Police Department and Hunt County district attorney’s office, which are both helping with the investigation into the shooting, did not respond to requests for comment.

Louisville anti-racism protests resume amid tensions over Breonna Taylor ruling

By Carlos Barria and Bryan Woolston

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) – A second night of anti-racism protests got off to a tense but mostly peaceful start in Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday, a day after a grand jury decided not to bring homicide charges against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

As a curfew went into effect after dark and police declared an unlawful assembly, a group of 200 to 300 protesters who had marched through the city for hours retreated to the grounds of the First Unitarian Church, set aside by organizers as a sanctuary near the Ohio River waterfront.

Some of the marchers had smashed windows of several local businesses, and even a hospital, along the way, according to a Reuters journalist. But the scene outside the church contrasted sharply with violence that flared the previous night in Kentucky’s largest city.

“At least 24 people were arrested throughout the evening for charges including unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and riot in the first degree,” the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) said in a statement.

Angry demonstrations and sporadic clashes between police and protesters in the hours following the grand jury announcement turned bloody late on Wednesday when two police officers on crowd-control duty were shot and wounded.

A suspect was arrested a short time later, and Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder said on Thursday that the two wounded officers were expected to recover.

Schroeder, his department reinforced by state police and Kentucky National Guard troops, said he expected protests to continue for days, and a nighttime curfew was extended through the weekend.

“For all of us it is a very tense and emotional time,” Schroeder told a news conference on Thursday. Police said 127 arrests were made in the first night of protests, most for curfew violations or disobeying orders to disperse.

The protests began on Wednesday after the grand jury decided that none of the three white officers who collectively fired 32 gunshots as they stormed Breonna Taylor’s apartment would be charged with causing her death.

One of the officers was indicted on charges of endangering Taylor’s neighbors with several stray bullets he fired into an adjacent apartment during the March 13 raid, carried out as part of a narcotics investigation. The other two officers were not charged at all.

Taylor, 26, a Black emergency medical technician and aspiring nurse, was struck by six bullets moments after she and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were roused from bed in the commotion of the raid. Walker exchanged gunfire with the police.

GRAND JURY RULING DECRIED

The grand jury decision, announced by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, was immediately denounced by civil rights advocates as the latest miscarriage of justice in a U.S. law enforcement system corrupted by racial inequity.

Cameron said there was “no conclusive” evidence that any of the 10 shots fired by former Detective Brett Hankison, the officer indicted on wanton endangerment charges, ever struck Taylor.

His two colleagues, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, used justified force under Kentucky law because they were returning fire – a combined total of 22 rounds – after Walker shot at them first, wounding Mattingly in the thigh, according to Cameron.

Walker has said he fired a warning shot because he feared a criminal intrusion and did not hear police identify themselves.

Wednesday’s protests turned violent around nightfall as police in riot gear ordered demonstrators to clear the streets after several fires were set in trash cans near a downtown park and outside the city’s Hall of Justice.

A Reuters journalist heard several gunshots ring out, and members of the crowd scurried for cover. An arrest report said the accused gunman, Larynzo Johnson, 26, was seen on video opening fire on police with a handgun.

Johnson was charged with two counts of assault in the first degree and 14 counts of wanton endangerment. His first court hearing was set for Friday.

Police said several businesses were vandalized or looted during the night, but the demonstrations were otherwise mostly peaceful.

Protests also flared on Wednesday in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, Oakland, Philadelphia, Denver and Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Buffalo, New York.

Taylor’s slaying initially drew little national attention. But it was thrust into prominence after George Floyd, a Black man arrested for a non-violent offense in Minneapolis, died under the knee of a white police officer on May 25, igniting a summer of protests against racial injustice and excessive police force.

Hankison was fired in June, while Mattingly and Cosgrove were reassigned to administrative duties.

Louisville has agreed to pay $12 million to Taylor’s family to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit.

In addition to largely orderly activists, the demonstrations have drawn a volatile mix of armed, right-wing militias and anarchists.

On Thursday evening in Louisville, a throng of protesters was seen by a Reuters journalist confronting a group of about 15 armed individuals dressed in military-style gear who identified themselves as members of the Oath Keepers, an organization associated with the militia movement.

The standoff was diffused when protest organizer persuaded demonstrators in their group to leave peacefully. Two of the Oath Keepers, one of them a Black man, told WAVE-TV they were in town as volunteers to protect local property.

(Reporting by Carlos Barria and Bryan Woolston in Louisville; Additional reporting by Peter Szekely, Nathan Layne, Maria Caspani and Daniel Trotta; Additional reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Writing by Daniel Trotta and Steve Gorman; ;Editing by Leslie Adler and Daniel Wallis)

Emotional Louisville braces for more unrest after Breonna Taylor ruling

By Bryan Woolston

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) – Louisville braced for a second night of protests on Thursday after two police officers were shot during demonstrations over a decision by a grand jury not to file homicide charges against police in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

Protests erupted in the Kentucky city on Wednesday after the state attorney general announced that a grand jury did not bring any charges for the six police bullets that struck Taylor, a Black woman, but instead lesser charges against one of the white policemen for stray shots that hit the neighboring apartment.

Civil rights activists decried the outcome as a miscarriage of justice and part of a nationwide pattern of unwarranted police violence against minorities.

The demonstration started peacefully and emotionally on Wednesday night, with many protesters in tears after they had mourned Taylor for months, demanding the arrest of the officers involved.

Louisville turned violent after dark when the two officers were shot and wounded. Police arrested 127 people in Louisville, including Larynzo Johnson, 26, who was charged with two counts of assault in the first degree and 14 counts of wanton endangerment in connection with the wounding of the two officers.

“We are extremely fortunate these two officers will recover,” interim Louisville Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Schroeder said.

“For all of us it is a very tense and emotional time,” he added.

The Louisville protest was the latest in a wave to grip the country following the killings of African Americans by police, including the May 25 death of George Floyd when a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck.

Demonstrators led by the Black Lives Matter movement have demanded an end to racial injustice and excessive police force.

With people already casting ballots in early voting for the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election, the demonstrations have drawn not only peaceful anti-racism protests but also a volatile mix of armed, right-wing militias and anarchists.

On Wednesday, protests also flared in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, Oakland, Philadelphia, Denver, Portland and Seattle, where police said 13 were arrested for property destruction, resisting arrest, failure to disperse and assault on an officer.

In Buffalo, New York, a pickup truck sped into a group of demonstrators, injuring one person, video on social media showed.

GIRDING FOR UNREST

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury announcement, ordering much of the center of town barricaded and setting a 9 p.m. curfew that remained in effect on Thursday.

National Guard units gathered in a central Louisville parking garage and a heavy vehicle known as a wrecker was seen driving into town, social media images showed.

“Tonight I expect more people to hit the streets. I expect the police to continue to antagonize and provoke. Hopefully and prayerfully, no one gets hurt tonight,” said Timothy Findley Jr., 41, a leader of the Justice & Freedom Coalition and a pastor with the Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center in Louisville.

Police said some protesters damaged businesses, jumped on a police vehicle, vandalized public works trucks serving as barricades, set garbage cans on fire and defied orders to disperse from what police determined were unlawful assemblies.

At least three stores were looted, police said.

Taylor’s death on March 13 drew little national attention at first but was thrust into prominence after Floyd’s death and with the help of celebrities such as Hollywood stars and basketball great LeBron James.

Demonstrations under the banner “Say her name!” have been held in Louisville for months.

Taylor, 26, an emergency medical technician and aspiring nurse, was killed in front of her armed boyfriend after the three officers forced their way into her home with a search warrant in a drug-trafficking investigation.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the panel declined to bring any charges against two of the three policemen who fired into Taylor’s apartment because their actions were found to have been justified under Kentucky law as they returned fire after Taylor’s boyfriend shot at them, wounding one.

Police fired a total of 32 shots after the one round from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who said he fired a warning shot because he feared a criminal intrusion and did not hear police identify themselves.

(Reporting by Bryan Woolston in Louisville; Additional reporting by Peter Szekely, Nathan Layne, Maria Caspani and Daniel Trotta; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman)

Suspect in Portland shooting killed by police during arrest

By Deborah Bloom

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) – Police shot and killed an anti-fascist activist on Thursday as they moved in to arrest him for the alleged fatal shooting of a right-wing activist in Portland, Oregon, last weekend, officials said.

Michael Reinoehl, 48, was wanted on a charge of murder when members of a fugitive task force shot him dead in Olympia, Washington after he left an apartment building and got in a car, according to police.

“The suspect produced a firearm, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers,” a U.S. Marshals Service spokesman said in a statement.

Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for investigating the incident.

“The information that we have at this time is that the suspect was armed,” said Lt. Ray Brady of the Sheriff’s Office.

“There were shots that were fired into the vehicle and the subject fled from the vehicle, at which time there were additional shots that were fired,” he said, adding that the exact circumstances had yet to be confirmed.

Portland Police earlier on Thursday issued a warrant for Reinoehl’s arrest and asked the U.S. Marshals to locate him.

“They lit his ass up,” bystander Jashon Spencer said in an online video. “It sounded like fireworks it was that many shots.”

Reinoehl, who had provided security for Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, was allegedly involved in the shooting of Aaron Danielson on Saturday night, the U.S. Marshal’s Service said.

Danielson, 39, was among a caravan of supporters of President Donald Trump who rode in pickup trucks into downtown Portland and clashed with protesters demonstrating against racial injustice and police brutality.

Portland has seen escalating clashes between right- and left-wing groups in recent weeks following nearly 100 days of protests since George Floyd, a Black man, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

Several people involved in overnight protests in Portland were arrested after they threw projectiles at officials, the police said in a statement on Friday.

Police said they did not use any crowd control munitions or tear gas to control the crowd.

‘NO CHOICE’

Reinoehl died only hours after Vice News broadcast a video in which he appeared to admit he shot Danielson and said he acted in self-defense.

“I had no choice. I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that,” he said in the video, adding he feared he would be stabbed.

Reinoehl was previously cited for carrying a loaded gun at a July 5 Portland protest, resisting

arrest and interfering with police, according to The Oregonian newspaper. The allegations were subsequently dropped, the newspaper reported.

In social media posts Reinoehl described himself as a professional snowboarder, a U.S. Army veteran and “100% ANTIFA.”

Antifa is a largely unstructured, far-left movement whose followers broadly aim to confront those they view as authoritarian or racist.

Reinoehl said he was prepared to fight to change the “course of humanity.”

“It will be a war and like all wars there will be casualties,” he said in a June 16 Instagram post.

In July, the Trump administration deployed federal forces to Portland to crack down on the protests.

Trump signed a memo on Wednesday that threatened to cut federal funding to “lawless” cities, including Portland.

On Thursday he had demanded that police arrest Reinoehl.

“Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer of Aaron “Jay” Danielson. Do your job, and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is. No wonder Portland is going to hell!,” he tweeted.

(Reporting by Deborah Bloom, additional reporting by Ann Maria Shibu and Andrew Hay; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Gerry Doyle and Mike Collett-White)

Portland mayor urges restraint, renunciation of violence after fatal shooting

By Steve Gorman and Maria Caspani

(Reuters) – Officials in Portland, Oregon, said on Sunday they were braced for an escalation of protest-related violence that has convulsed the city for three months, citing social media posts vowing revenge for a fatal shooting amid weekend street clashes between supporters of President Donald Trump and counter-demonstrators.

“For those of you saying on Twitter this morning that you plan to come to Portland to seek retribution, I’m calling on you to stay away,” Mayor Ted Wheeler told an afternoon news conference, urging individuals of all political persuasions to join in renouncing violence.

He also lashed out at Trump for political rhetoric that he said “encouraged division and stoked violence,” and brushed aside a flurry of weekend Twitter posts from the president criticizing Wheeler and urging the mayor to request help from the federal government to restore order.

“It’s an aggressive stance. It’s not collaborative,” Wheeler said of Trump’s tweets. “I’d appreciate it if the president would support us or stay the hell out of the way.”

Wheeler and Police Chief Chuck Lovell said investigators were still working to establish the sequence of events leading to the fatal shooting late Saturday in downtown Portland, and they provided few new details about the investigation.

Lovell said it remained to be determined whether the shooting was connected to skirmishes that night between a caravan of protesters driving through the city’s downtown district in pickup trucks waving pro-Trump flags and counter-protesters on the streets.

Video on social media showed individuals in the beds of the pickups firing paint-balls and spraying chemical irritants at opposing demonstrators as they rode by, while those on the street hurled objects at the trucks and tried to block them.

Authorities have not identified the shooting victim. But the New York Times reported the man gunned down was wearing a hat with the insignia of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer. On Sunday, the leader of the group, Joey Gibson, appeared to confirm that the victim was a Patriot Prayer member whom he knew.

“We love Jay, and he had such a huge heart. God bless him and the life he lived,” Gibson wrote on social media. “I’m going to wait to make any public statements until after the family can.”

Trump later re-tweeted a photo of a man identified as Jay Bishop and described in that post as “a good American that loved his country and Backed the Blue,” an apparent reference to police. “He was murdered in Portland by ANTIFA.”

Trump wrote, “Rest in Peace Jay!” in his retweet.

UNDER FIRE FROM TWO SIDES

The mayor also came under renewed fire from several left-wing Oregon-based civil rights and community organizations that have been at odds with Wheeler and called for his resignation in an open letter on Sunday.

“Amid 94 days and nights of protests against police brutality, Mayor Wheeler has fundamentally failed in his responsibilities to the residents of Portland,” the letter said.

Police warned against individuals taking to Twitter on the basis of misinformation.

“There are many who are sharing information on social media who are jumping to conclusions that are not based on facts,” Lovell said.

He said the shooting was preceded by a “political rally involving a vehicle caravan that traveled through Portland for several hours.” He said those vehicles had departed from a prescribed protest route that was supposed to funnel them along Interstate 5, outside Portland, to the site of the rally in neighboring Clackamas County.

He said that by the time the shooting took place, the caravan had already cleared that section of downtown, and that there were no police at the spot when it happened.

Protests, which have grown violent at times, have roiled downtown Portland every night for more than three months following the May 25 killing of George Floyd, the Black man who died under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

The demonstrators, demanding reforms of police practices they view as racist and abusive, have frequently clashed with law enforcement and on occasion with counter-protesters associated with right-wing militia groups.

The Trump administration in July deployed federal forces to Portland to crack down on the protests, drawing widespread criticism that the presence of federal agents in the city only heightened tensions.

On Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s “This Week” program, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said, “All options continue to be on the table” to resolve Portland’s unrest.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman and Maria Caspani; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Louisville police officer fired over fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor

By Bryan Woolston

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) – One of three officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman killed in a hail of gunfire when drug investigators burst into her home in Louisville, Kentucky, three months ago was dismissed from the police department on Tuesday.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed on March 13 after the officers entered her apartment bearing a “no-knock” arrest warrant.

In a termination notice issued after an administrative hearing, Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder wrote that detective Brett Hankison “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly fired” 10 rounds into Taylor’s home.

Schroeder said the gunshots were fired through a patio door and window covered with material obscuring Hankison’s line of sight, preventing him from knowing whether anyone was inside the apartment, let alone whether they posed a threat. Some of the rounds he fired flew into the unit next door, the chief wrote.

Two other officers involved in the raid remain on administrative reassignment. No criminal charges have been filed against any of the three.

The notice also said Hankison, who joined the department in 2003, was disciplined in 2019 for reckless conduct that injured an innocent person.

Taylor’s slaying, which returned to prominence following the May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, has become a rallying cry in nationwide protests against police brutality and racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system.

In the immediate aftermath of the Taylor killing, police said the officers had knocked on the door before forcing entry and were shot at by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. One officer was struck in the leg, and all three returned fire, hitting Taylor at least eight times, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Walker was charged with attempted murder and assault, but prosecutors later dropped the charges, the Courier-Journal reported.

(Reporting by Bryan Woolston in Louisville, Ky.; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Leslie Adler)

Teenager killed in Seattle protest zone shooting, one wounded

(Reuters) – Seattle police on Saturday said they were investigating the fatal shooting of one person and wounding of another in a part of the city occupied by activists protesting against police brutality and racial inequality across America.

The Seattle Police Department said it was investigating a shooting at 10th Avenue and East Pine inside the Capital Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) area, which has been occupied by activists without any known police presence since June 8, when Seattle police abandoned the East Precinct located there.

The police said they responded to a report of shots fired in Cal Anderson Park at about 2:30 a.m. PDT (0930 GMT) only to learn that two male victims had already been moved to Harborview Medical Center by CHOP medics.

Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg confirmed the hospital received two shooting victims from Capital Hill in the early hours and that one, a 19-year-old, died shortly after arrival while the other was in critical condition in intensive care.

The police said that the suspect or suspects, for which they had no description, had fled and were still at large.

The occupation of the district came as widespread protests against police abuse and injustice took place across the United States after George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died while he was in Minneapolis police custody. A bystander recorded video of the officer who was charged with murder holding a knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Video footage after the Seattle shooting from Omari Salisbury, a reporter for Converge Media, showed a small group of police entering part of the protest zone on foot, holding riot shields and firearms, as occupants raised their hands and shouted at officers to drop their guns.

The footage, seen by Reuters, also showed people surrounding multiple police cars, which then left the area.

In a statement, the police called the protesters a “violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims.”

(Reporting by Sinéad Carew; Editing by Tom Brown and Daniel Wallis)

‘I should have stopped them’ -Note left at slain Georgia man’s memorial

By Rich McKay

ATLANTA (Reuters) – The family of Ahmaud Arbery, the black jogger whose fatal shooting in Georgia triggered a national outcry, appealed on Thursday for any new witness to the killing to step forward after a note reading “I should have stopped them” was found on his memorial.

The single-page note was discovered earlier this week by a television news crew at the memorial, set up in the victim’s hometown of Brunswick, about 300 miles (480 km) southeast of Atlanta.

More two months after the Feb. 23 slaying, a white former law enforcement officer and his son, who were seen on the video chasing the 25-year-old jogger, were arrested last week and charged with aggravated assault and murder.

S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Arbery family, said in a statement that the family believes that the person who left the note is a witness to the Feb. 23 shooting.

“They feel great sympathy for the person who wrote that note and would like to speak with them to determine what they knew or what they saw,” the attorney said in a statement.

The shooting was reminiscent of a spate of killings of black men in recent years that involved white police officers or former officers. Outrage over the killings and the response to them by the U.S. criminal justice system led to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement and national protests.

“Ahmaud – I am so sorry. I should have stopped them. I am so sorry,” the note reads in full. It was posted on the internet by multiple media outlets.

The two suspects, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, were arrested and charged on May 7, after the local district attorney asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the case.

Their arrests came just days after the release of the video, which set off the national furor led by civil rights activists and celebrities.

The U.S. Department of Justice has also launched an inquiry on why charges were not brought sooner and whether to charge the suspects with federal hate crimes.

A caravan of protesters plans to drive more than 300 miles from Atlanta to Brunswick on Saturday to draw attention to the case.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Former Florida policeman guilty in killing of motorist

FILE PHOTO: Family and supporters attend the funeral for Corey Jones at the Payne Chapel AME of West Palm Beach, Florida October 31, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Stocker/Pool/File Photo

By Gina Cherelus

(Reuters) – A Florida jury on Thursday convicted a former police officer for manslaughter and attempted first-degree murder in the fatal 2015 shooting of a black motorist who was waiting for his car to be towed off the highway.

Nouman Raja, 41, was charged in 2016 after a grand jury found he had used unjustified force when he shot and killed 31-year-old Corey Jones while wearing plainclothes on a highway exit ramp in West Palm Beach. Prosecutors said he did not identify himself as a police officer.

Raja looked distraught as the jury read their verdict after five hours of deliberations, then he was placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the courtroom. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced on April 26.

Relatives of Jones left the West Palm Beach courtroom in tears, hugging each other and raising their hands in praise.

“It was truth that convicted him. It was truth that brought him to justice. It was the truth that sent him to jail,” the victim’s father, Clinton Jones, told reporters outside. “It was truth that gave us justice for Corey.”

Prosecutor Adrienne Ellis thanked the jury for their service.

“They’re a smart group and they were fair,” Ellis said. “When I say I’m speechless, it’s because I’m overwhelmed with just gratitude.”

Raja’s lawyer, Richard Lubin, had argued on Wednesday that the police officer feared for his life when Jones pulled out a gun during the roadside encounter, according to WPEC CBS12 News.

Lubin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Raja was driving an unmarked van when he approached Jones early on Oct. 18, 2015, and fired six shots at the victim within 13 seconds, according to prosecutors.

Jones, who was a drummer, had pulled out a .380-caliber handgun that he had legally purchased three days earlier. He was hit three times and died of a gunshot wound to his chest.

Audio from the incident was captured on a recording of a roadside assistance call that Jones had placed before Raja arrived. According to prosecutors, the recording showed that Raja did not identify himself as a police officer.

Protesters held a peaceful rally in Palm Beach Gardens four days after Jones was killed, and dozens of mourners attended his funeral more than a week later.

Reverend Al Sharpton was among those who spoke at the memorial service, where the pallbearers wore hats and jerseys of the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders, Jones’ favorite team.

Lawyers for Jones’ family, including civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, said in a statement that the verdict was “a vindication of the good man that was Corey Jones, and an utter repudiation of a criminal who tried to hide behind a badge.”

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

Toronto police seek motive after gunman kills two, injures 13

Police officers walk past Alexander the Great Parkette while investigating a mass shooting on Danforth Avenue in Toronto, Canada, July 23, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

By Anna Mehler Paperny and Danya Hajjaji

TORONTO (Reuters) – Toronto police on Monday sought a motive after two young women, ages 10 and 18, were killed and 13 other people were wounded by a gunman on a busy, restaurant-filled street. The suspect was later found dead, authorities said.

“We do not know why this happened,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters on Monday, adding that he would not speculate about the gunman’s motive. “It’s way too early to rule out anything.”

The suspect, armed with a handgun, opened fire at 10 p.m. on Sunday (0200 GMT Monday) on a stretch of Danforth Avenue filled with restaurants and family-friendly attractions in the city’s Greektown neighborhood, the Special Investigations Unit said. The gunman walked down the busy avenue firing.

Police did not identify the two young women. Local politician Nathaniel Erskine-Smith confirmed the 18-year-old was Reese Fallon, a recent high school graduate who planned to study nursing.

“The family is devastated,” Erskine-Smith said in a statement, adding that they ask for privacy while they mourn a young woman who was “smart, passionate and full of energy.”

The gunman, a 29-year-old Toronto man, exchanged fire with police, fled and was later found dead, according to the Special Investigations Unit, which investigates deaths and injuries involving police.

The suspect, who was not identified, had a gunshot wound but authorities would not elaborate on the circumstances or cause of his death. A postmortem will be conducted on Tuesday, Special Investigations Unit spokeswoman Monica Hudon said.

Hours after the fatal shooting, in an apparently unrelated incident, a man with a knife was arrested during a military ceremony on Parliament Hill in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. The defense ministry said no one was injured and gave no further details.

On Twitter on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote, “The people of Toronto are strong, resilient and brave – and we’ll be there to support you through this difficult time.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters the city has a gun problem, with weapons too readily available to too many people.

“Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?” he asked in an address to city councilors on Monday morning.

Canada’s newly appointed minister of border security and organized crime, Bill Blair, who has been given the job of tackling gun violence, was to meet with Tory on Monday afternoon.

To own a gun in Canada an individual must apply for a license, pass a background check and pass a firearm safety test. Guns must be kept locked and unloaded and can only be legally carried outside the home with a special permit. Handguns and other restricted firearms require passing an additional course.

Canada’s crime rate rose by 1 percent in 2017, the third consecutive annual increase, according to Statistics Canada. The murder rate jumped by 7 percent, due largely to killings in British Columbia and Quebec, while crime involving guns grew by 7 percent.

Toronto is grappling with a sharp rise in gun violence as gun deaths jump 53 percent to 26 so far this year from the same period last year. The number of shootings has gone up 13 percent.

Toronto has deployed about 200 police officers since July 20 in response to the recent spate in shootings, which city officials have blamed on gang violence.

Saunders said the police presence would be increased in the Danforth area following the shooting.

In April, a driver deliberately plowed his white Ryder rental van into a lunch-hour crowd in Toronto, police said, killing 10 people and injuring 15 along a roughly mile-long (1.6-km) stretch of sidewalk thronged with pedestrians.

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Danya Hajjaji in Toronto; additional reporting by Denny Thomas in Toronto and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; editing by Paul Tait, Jeffrey Benkoe and Jonathan Oatis)