January 25, 2022

Woman Arrested After Trying to Buy Infant at Walmart for $500K

In Texas, police arrested a woman after a bizarre encounter wherein she allegedly attempted to purchase another woman’s baby as they stood in a checkout line at a Walmart.

The Houston County Sheriff’s Office charged Rebecca Taylor, 49, with sale or purchase of a child, a third-degree felony. Taylor was released on a $50,000 bond.

The purported incident occurred in the self-checkout line at a Houston-area Walmart. The mother told police that Taylor “began commenting on her son’s blonde hair and blue eyes. She asked how much she could purchase him for.”

The mom “tried to laugh this comment off, thinking Taylor was joking. Taylor told her that she had $250,000 in the car and she would pay that much for him. [The mother] told her no amount of money would do.”

She claimed another woman was with Taylor at one point. The mom said she alerted the police, and waited for the two women to leave the store.

But, according to an affidavit, Taylor continued to push the issue and the mother told her to stay away from her son. In the parking lot, “Taylor began screaming at [the mom], saying if she wouldn’t take $250,000 for him, then she would give her $500,000 because she wanted him and she was going to take him.”

Taylor was allegedly standing behind a black SUV that was parked next to the mom’s vehicle. Even after the mom locked her kids in the car, Taylor persisted.

Police said they watched footage from the incident and it appeared to match the mother’s claims.

If convicted, Taylor faces a minimum of two years in jail and a maximum of 10 years, and could face a fine of up to $10,000.


Texas woman arrested after allegedly trying to buy another woman’s child for $500,000 at Walmart

January 21, 2022

Security Guard Tackles Gunman Armed with AR-15

A security guard tackled a gunman armed with an AR-15, thwarting a would-be robbery at a poker club in Houston, Texas.

“The reason why the bullets are in the wall and not in anybody is because I lunged towards him the moment he pointed the gun towards me,” said Trelynn Robinson, the 21-year-old security guard.

“The guy came directly and pointed straight towards me. I was the first person he pointed that gun to.”

Robinson said the suspect entered Legends Poker Room and started screaming, “give me the money,” and pointed his weapon at him.

At that point, “I leaped towards him, and we wrestled with the gun for about a good minute, and then it went off, and upon it going off, I threw him inside a trophy case with the glass breaking and disarmed him,” Robinson said.

Houston Police said about 50 people were inside the poker club at the time, and roughly 15 shots were fired. The suspect is now in custody.

“People call me a hero but I ain’t no hero, I did my job I signed up for it,” Robinson said.


Texas security guard tackles man armed with AR-15 during attempted robbery: ‘I ain’t no hero’

January 19, 2022

McCarthy Demands Answers from DOJ on Synagogue Attacker

House Minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) issued a statement demanding answers from the Justice Department, accusing them of “downplaying” a hostage situation at a Texas synagogue on Saturday.

Many are demanding answers for how a Malik Faisal Akram, a British national who took four hostages at gunpoint at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, could enter the U.S. on a tourist visa when he was known to U.K. intelligence agencies and had a criminal record.

“Our understanding, and obviously we’re still looking into this, is that he was checked against U.S. government databases multiple times prior to entering the country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday. 

Akram, 44, flew to New York City from the U.K. on December 29, and he was in Dallas by January 2. The BBC reported Tuesday that Britain’s counterintelligence and security agency, MI5, investigated Akram in 2020 and had him on a watch list as a “subject of interest” but concluded that he no longer posed a threat. 

Psaki said that the government did not have any “derogatory information” on Akram when he entered the country.

“We’re certainly looking back, as I referenced, at what occurred to learn every possible lesson we can to prevent attacks like this in the future,” Psaki said. 

On January 15, Akram knocked on the window of Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, and Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker welcomed him inside and offered him a cup of tea. Akram sat through part of the live-streamed Shabbat service and then displayed a weapon. He took four hostages: Cytron-Walker, congregant Jeffrey Cohen, and two others.

“Akram told his captives that he wanted to secure the release of Aafia Siddiqui — an American-educated Pakistani woman widely known as ‘Lady al-Qaeda’ who was convicted of terrorism charges in 2010,” the Washington Post reported.

According to authorities, as soon as the remaining hostages fled, after an 11-hour standoff, the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team rushed in, using a flash-bang device to try to disorient the suspect and then fatally shooting him.

McCarthy and other prominent Republicans, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have rebuked the Biden administration over its handling of the incident.

“Over the past 48 hours, President Biden’s Justice Department has gone from denying the clear and religious, anti-Semitic implications of this attack to now backtracking to what we all already knew to be true. Now as more information becomes available, it only raises more questions,” McCarthy said in a statement.

McCarthy accused Biden officials of “downplaying” the attack and demanded to know why the FBI “initially disregard[ed] the role anti-Semitism played in this hostage situation.”

“The terrorist was clearly driven by anti-semitic hate, which is why he targeted the synagogue, and it is appalling that the initial statement from the FBI as reported by corporate media initially obfuscated that fact,” said Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for DeSantis.

“While we do not have the details of how this U.K. national with a criminal record was able to go to Texas and attack the synagogue, this is exactly the kind of national security threat that the FBI ought to prevent. But instead, the Biden Administration is weaponizing the FBI against political dissidents, such as concerned parents making their voices heard at school board meetings.”

“How long did the FBI know a radical Islamist foreign national with a criminal record was in the country? Were they working with him or his associates? How did this person get a visa? Did he slip through the cracks because they were too busy surveilling your conservative grandma?” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted

At a news conference on Saturday, FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno initially said that “the Texas synagogue hostage taker’s demands were specifically focused on issues not connected to the Jewish community.”

DeSarno’s comments were widely criticized, and the FBI released a statement late Sunday, acknowledging that the attack was anti-semitic.

“This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted, and is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force,” the statement read.


Jen Psaki says British synagogue terrorist was checked against US government databases ‘multiple times’ before he entered the country as House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy demands answers

Texas synagogue attacker was fatally shot by FBI; authorities are piecing together his movements in the U.S.

January 18, 2022

Gunman Dead After Hostage Situation at Texas Synagogue

1943: Soviets announce they have broken the long Siege of Leningrad by Nazi Germany by opening a narrow land corridor, though the siege would not be fully lifted until a year later

Note: this is a developing story based on the information available at the time. You can view an update here.

An armed British national traveled to Texas and took four people hostage at a synagogue over the weekend in what President Joe Biden declared “an act of terror.”

Malik Faisal Akram, 44, was killed by authorities following a tense 11-hour standoff at the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. All four hostages were unharmed.

“During the negotiations with law enforcement, the hostage taker, Malik Faisal Akram, spoke repeatedly about a convicted terrorist who is serving an 86-year prison sentence in the United States on terrorism charges,” the FBI said. “This is a terrorism-related matter, in which the Jewish community was targeted, and is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”

Akram entered the synagogue during its Shabbat service, which was live-streamed on Facebook until the feed cut off at about 2 p.m. local time. Before the video feed ended, Akram could be heard demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who’s currently serving an 86-year sentence in a Texas federal prison for trying to kill U.S. military officers while in custody in Afghanistan.

British foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said the U.K. government condemned “this act of terrorism and antisemitism.”

Texas resident Victoria Francis told the AP she watched about an hour of the stream before it ended. She said she heard the man rant against America and claim he had a bomb.

“He was just all over the map. He was pretty irritated, and the more irritated he got, he’d make more threats, like ‘I’m the guy with the bomb. If you make a mistake, this is all on you.’ And he’d laugh at that,” Francis said. “He was clearly in extreme distress.”

As the situation unfolded, the FBI asked British police to contact Akram’s family to talk him into surrendering. His family spoke to him as he held hostages, but they couldn’t convince him.

In a statement to Sky News, Akram’s brother Gulbar asked how his brother had been able to get into the U.S., given his criminal history.

“He’s known to police. Got a criminal record. How was he allowed to get a visa and acquire a gun?” Gulbar said.

When reporters asked Biden how Akram procured weapons, he said: “the assertion was he got the weapons on the street. He purchased them when he landed.”

“I don’t think there is sufficient information to know about why he targeted that synagogue or why he insisted on the release of someone who’s been in prison for over 10 years” or “why he was using antisemitic and anti-Israeli comments,” Biden said on Sunday. “We just don’t have enough facts.”

During the live stream, Akram indicated he targeted a synagogue while trying to free Siddiqui because he believed the U.S. “only cares about Jewish lives.”

According to The Guardian: “Investigators in the U.K. believe that Akram had no connection to Texas and travelled there earlier this month.”

Meanwhile, police in the U.K. arrested two teenagers allegedly connected to the incident.

“Two teenagers were detained in South Manchester this evening,” the Greater Manchester Police said in a statement. “They remain in custody for questioning.”

According to The Guardian, the incident prompted statements of solidarity from the Jewish community.

“Today we have felt the all too familiar sinking in our hearts, the outrage and horror of witnessing yet another antisemitic attack on a synagogue on Shabbat,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, in a statement.

“We worry that in the days ahead there will be those who try to use our community’s pain and trauma to fuel division or incite violence against other communities – we will not let them. We will reject any attempt, rooted in anti-Muslim bigotry, to hold an entire community responsible for the actions of one individual.”

The incident renewed fears of antisemitic attacks and sentiments in the U.S. According to the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) most recent Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in the country, there were more than 2,100 acts of assault, vandalism, and harassment in 2021 — a 12% increase from the previous year.

“With threats against synagogues and other Jewish institutions arguably at an all-time high, it is imperative that the federal government provides appropriate levels of funding to mitigate the threat,” ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.


Texas officials say all hostages safe, out of Colleyville synagogue; hostage-taker dead

December 29, 2021

Teenager Charged in Deadly High School Shooting Arrested Again

In Texas, a teenager charged in a deadly high school shooting was arrested again while out on bond.

Timothy Simpkins, 18, allegedly opened fire in class during a fight and was released on a $75,000 bond with the stipulation that he wouldn’t use alcohol or drugs.

Simpkins, placed on house arrest with an ankle monitor, wasn’t allowed to contact anyone involved in the shooting and was prohibited from possessing any firearms.

The 18-year-old was arrested again after a court-ordered urinalysis returned a positive result for an “illicit substance.”

Simpkins was previously arrested in October on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. According to a police report, another student, Zaccaeus Selby, got into a physical altercation with Simpkins. While Selby, 15, was restrained, Simpkins pulled out a gun and fired it seven to eight times.

The shooting left Selby in critical condition and injured a teenage girl and a 25-year-old teacher, Calvin Pettit. A pregnant teacher was reportedly also injured in the ensuing chaos.


Warrant issued on bond violation for teen charged in Mansfield Timberview shooting

December 23, 2021

Texas Begins Construction of Border Wall

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) kicked off construction of the state’s border wall.

Abbott held a press conference for the debut, joined by various state officials who spoke about the state’s progress regarding the US-Mexico border.

“In June, I promised Texans that we would step up in the federal government’s absence and build our own border wall,” Abbott said.

“We have wasted no time in the six months since that promise was made, and I am proud to announce that construction of the Texas border wall is now underway. Today not only represents the first phase of the Texas border wall, but it also serves as a major milestone in our efforts to combat illegal immigration, stop the smuggling of drugs and people, and keep our communities safe.”

In September, Abbott signed a nearly $1.8 billion border security bill into law, earmarking $750 million for the border wall.

Private donations are also funding the project, with over $54 million in donations as of December 13.

“The Texas border wall is officially up. While Biden does nothing, we are stepping up to protect our communities,” Abbott wrote on Twitter.

“The Lone Star State is securing the border.”


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launches construction of border wall funded by state money and private donations after Biden paused federal projects

November 26, 2021

Doctor Resigns After ‘Spreading Dangerous Misinformation’ About COVID-19

A Texas doctor who was suspended for “spreading dangerous misinformation” about COVID-19 treatment has resigned.

Mary Bowden, an ear, nose, and throat doctor at Houston Methodist Hospital, announced her resignation on Twitter.

“I have broken free from Methodist and very much appreciate the flood of support I have received! Sincere thanks to all of you who have reached out with kind words,” she tweeted after posting her resignation letter.

In her letter, Bowden says she’s not “anti-vaccine” but rather opposes “vaccine mandates on principle.”

Bowden claimed Houston Methodist Hospital shared “false and defamatory” statements about her over the accusation that she’s spreading “dangerous misinformation.”

Her suspension came after promoting ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. Ivermectin currently has FDA approval to treat humans for parasitic worms, lice, and skin conditions, including rosacea.

“Dr. Bowden, who has never admitted a patient at Houston Methodist Hospital, is spreading dangerous misinformation which is not based in science,” the hospital said in a statement.


Suspended Texas doctor who promoted ivermectin as Covid treatment resigns from hospital

November 17, 2021

After two weeks, QAnon supporters linger in Dallas awaiting JFK Jr.’s return

Earlier this month, hundreds of supporters of the QAnon conspiracies arrived in Dallas, Texas, at the sight of President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. They gathered anticipating the return of the late John F. Kennedy Jr., who they believe faked his death with his wife and sister-in-law in a 1999 plane crash.

Two weeks later, hundreds of QAnon supporters are still milling about near the grassy knoll in Dallas, awaiting the arrival of a man who’s been dead for 22 years. The group believes that JFK Jr. faked his death to avoid being assassinated by an evil cabal of Satanic Democratic/Hollywood pedophiles.

According to Vice, supporters arrived at the Dealey Plaza on Nov. 1 at the behest of conspiracy theorist Michael Brian Protzman, better known as Negative48. Protzman has roughly 100,000 followers on the platform Telegram.

However, not everyone within the QAnon community agrees with Protzman’s predictions. One QAnon influencer, QAnon John, said that Protzman made their “entire movement look unbelievably dumb.”

Tom McKay of Gizmodo explained what happened when JFK Jr. failed to resurface on Nov. 1.

“When JFK Jr. failed to return from the grave for the Nov. 1 rally, Protzman led the crowd to a Rolling Stones concert in Dallas, where he claimed that various band members had been replaced by Michael Jackson, JFK Jr., and Prince in disguise, with one backup singer actually being the late R&B singer Aaliyah,” McKay wrote.

According to the outlet, some of Protzman’s Telegram followers are considering “founding a permanent compound in or near Dallas to await JFK Jr.’s return.”


Two Weeks Later, QAnon Supporters Are Still Awaiting JFK Jr.’s Return at the Grassy Knoll

November 17, 2021

Travis Scott went to afterparty at Dave & Buster’s the night of Astroworld tragedy

Following the deadly Astroworld Festival in Houston, Texas, Travis Scott attended an afterparty at Dave & Buster’s.

According to Yahoo, Scott was unaware that eight people had died in a crowd surge during his performance that night. Sources said he immediately left the party after becoming aware of the situation’s severity.

The timeline of the event seems to be as follows. Scott, who founded the festival in 2018, performed with Drake at roughly 9 p.m. on Nov. 5, when the crowd started to surge toward the stage. Some of the approximately 50,000 attendees were crushed and trampled, and by 9:38 p.m., authorities declared the situation a mass-casualty event. At 9:40 p.m., the first person received medical treatment. As ambulances with flashing lights and medical crews assisted people in the crowd, Scott continued performing until about 10:15 p.m.

Kylie Jenner, Scott’s girlfriend, attended the show with their 3-year-old daughter. Jenner said they “weren’t aware of any fatalities until the news came out after the show.”

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against ScoreMore Shows, Live Nation, Contemporary Services Corporation, Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, and Scott. Drake was also named as a defendant in at least one.

An event-planning document created by the concert organizers ScoreMore instructed Astroworld staff members to refer to any dead concertgoers using the term “smurf.” 

Eight people died that night, but two other concertgoers have succumbed to their injuries since then, bringing the death toll to 10.


Travis Scott attended afterparty amid Astroworld Festival disaster, was unaware of fatalities

November 16, 2021

Beto O’Rourke announces 2022 bid for Texas governor

Former presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke (D) announced that he is running for governor of Texas.

“It’s not going to be easy. But it is possible,” O’Rourke told the Associated Press. “I do believe, very strongly, from listening to people in this state that they’re very unhappy with the direction that Greg Abbott has taken Texas.”

Abbott, the Lone Star State’s Republican incumbent governor, is seeking a third term in 2022. The impending showdown between Abbott and O’Rourke could tempt Democrats to dump millions of dollars — again — into trying to flip the long-red state. Texas hasn’t elected a Democratic governor since 1990.

“What I’m going to be focused on is listening to and bringing people together to do the big work before us,” O’Rourke said. “And obviously that first big job is is winning this election. But the voters and the votes are there.”

O’Rourke announced his bid in a two-minute video, in which he directly speaks to the camera. He criticizes the Republican Party for ignoring things voters “actually agree on,” like expanding Medicare and legalizing marijuana.

“Those in positions of public trust have stopped listening to, serving, and paying attention to the people of Texas,” he said.

“The last thing Texans need is President Biden’s radical liberal agenda coming to Texas under the guise of Beto O’Rourke,” Abbott spokesman Mark Miner said. “The contrast for the direction of Texas couldn’t be clearer.”


Democrat Beto O’Rourke running for Texas governor in 2022

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