By Dana Malcolm
#USA, July 6, 2022 – On the Highland Park City website is an advertisement listed under “Major Special Events.” inviting residents to “Celebrate our Nation’s 246th birthday in Highland Park!”
Hundreds answered the call to celebrate the land of the free and the brave’s birthday, some meeting at 9:30 for a Children’s Bike & Pet Parade and most setting up along the Fourth of July Parade route from Central Avenue to Sunset Park. Armed police in body armor were along the route to keep people safe.
That should have lasted only an hour and been followed by a ‘Fourth Fest’ with food and carnival rides. Instead 15-minutes after the parade began as students from a local high school band were playing calls of “gunshots!” began to ring out in the crowd. The shooter, a 22-year-old white man who police say has now been caught, had climbed onto a rooftop and began firing into the crowd of students, families, toddlers and the elderly. Six of those people would die and a further 25 would be rushed to hospital.
Videos of the event show a band director facing the band players who all have their backs turned to the pandemonium, noticing the stampede the Director closes their fists immediately in an indication to ‘stop playing’ and encourages their bandmates to run. Those students would later alert families on the route telling them: “Run into sunset” (a local supermarket) according to one witness who spoke to the Chicago Sun Times.
One of videos from the event show a father running away from the shots at breakneck speed pushing his infant in a stroller, adults with babies clutched in their arms, young persons pulling elderly family members, owners tugging their dogs all running as fast as possible as multiple rounds pop off repeatedly in the background.
The video serves as an irrefutable truth, these people were harmless and innocent.
While this incident is gaining most of the coverage there were 7 mass shootings in the country on America’s Birthday, in Chicago Illinois, Queens New York, Kansas City Missouri, Sacramento California, Boston Massachusetts and Illinois Highland Park.
One of the victims was a 76 year old disabled grandfather whose family spoke to the New York Times. Nicolas Toledo hadn’t wanted to go to the parade but he needed to be with a caretaker at all times. He was shot three times in the chest.
We were all in shock,” Xochil Toledo, his granddaughter, said. “We thought it was part of the parade. We realized our grandfather was hit. We saw blood and everything splattered onto us.” Xochil’s boyfriend and uncle were also shot but survived.
Jackie Sunheim a congregant and worker at her synagogue, North Shore Congregation Israel is the only other identified victim.
One father told ABC news about the horror of the parade. He had initially thought the shots were from the navy saluting the flag.
“When the shots stopped we decided we had to run, he started shouting again and we ran behind a building. I put my son in a dumpster— I left him there with someone so I could go back to find my phone and the rest of my family. I went back, there was a few people shot on the ground. There was a little boy that was in one of the police officers arms, that was the worst experience ever all I thought about was my son.”
One brave soul, medical doctor David Baum, ran towards the carnage to treat survivors, what he found he told CNN made him sick.
“The scene of some of the bodies is unspeakable for the average person. As a physician I’ve seen things— but some of the bodies [had] evisceration injuries from the power of the bullets and the gun. What I saw was families lives forever changed because they were walking down the street with their kids in their scooters and somebody who shouldn’t have had access to a high powered rifle got up on a rooftop.”
The gun used in this massacre was legally purchased, police say.
The most sweeping gun law legislation in America in decades still allows 18 year olds to purchase high powered weapons. This was the 314th mass shooting in America since the start of the year. In the hours since Highland Park happened there has been one more pushing the total to 315.
First Parker, now Shavez Musgrove FREED after Court of Appeal QUASHES CONVICTIONS and 25 year sentences
Freelance Court Correspondent
#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 29, 2024 – February 29th at around 9:30 a.m., the court of appeal of the Turks and Caicos Islands convened via video link and delivered its judgement as it relates to multiple convictions of rapes, kidnappings, firearms offences and other charges in the case of ANDREW PARKER and SHAVEZ MUSGROVE.
The appeals were actually heard since October 19th, 2023, with ANDREW PARKER being released that same day because after the crown, then senior public prosecutor Ms. Mickia Mills heard the arguments of ANDREW Parker’s senior defense counsel Mrs Lara Maroof Misick she conceded to the appeal being allowed against PARKER, and acquittals entered on all counts.
PARKER immediately walked free from October last year, leaving his co-appellant in prison, awaiting a decision, from the three appellate judges, in his matter before the Court.
Musgrove’s appeal was also heard on October 19th last year, but the Court needed time to consider the multiple interests of justice arguments put forward by human rights attorney Ms Sheena Mair on behalf of her client, Shavez MUSGROVE.
The then senior public prosecutor, Ms Mickia Mills, who is now the Turks and Caicos Islands, first Coroner, did put up a fight against MUSGROVE’S appeal but it was obvious she knew the human rights attorney – Sheena Mair – would present arguments as to the fairness of the trial which could have resulted in the conviction being overturned.
It is what happened today, the conviction of Musgrove was overturned today, Thursday February 29th, 2024.
Magnetic Media was in court at the hearing of both appeals last year and it was clearly through the submissions of both senior attorneys on behalf of their clients, that the learned local trial Judge at the time, Mr. Carlos Simons, KC made countless serious errors that affected the fairness of the trial and rendered the convictions and 25 year sentences against both appellants, unsafe and unsatisfactory.
The Court of Appeal said, they have QUASHED the SHAVEZ MUSGROVE convictions and sentences on multiple grounds of unfairness submitted by Mrs. Sheena Mair and because of the passage of time this case has being running some seven years with some of the evidence exhibits being destroyed in a fire of the exhibit room at the police station, in the interest of justice, no retrial has been ordered.
MUSGROVE is hereby ordered released from prison.
Police and Residents Speak at Anti-Crime Event
#TurksandCaicos#Crime, February 27th, 2024 -With the increase in population in Grand Turk more officers are needed according to residents speaking at a recent anti crime town hall meeting.
“At the ongoing capacity carrying study it’s been noted that the population in Grand Turk is around 7200 – 7300” a resident said, “we expect as citizens to have more than three officers on duty.”
Other residents pointed out growing issues of poverty, mental health and substance abuse as causes for crime as well maintaining that a holistic approach is necessary
“We can fix this, we can do something about this, but it’s going to take a village,” one maintained.
Both residents were speaking to a panel of the top brass of the police force on February 20th.
Residents Concerned About Catch and Release Tactics by Police
#TurksandCaicos, February 27th, 2024 – Residents of the Turks and Caicos islands are now expressing concern after several arrests that were made regarding recent murders resulted in no charges being laid. At least six persons have been arrested since February 8th 2024 on allegations of murder or conspiracy to murder. Word has now come that all six have been released with no charges relating to the killings though some picked up drug charges, pending further investigation. Currently a 72 hour limit is laid on police for holding suspects without charges with the possibility of a 72 hour extension. One of those arrested was a 55 year old woman who had lost her own son to violence weeks earlier. Some residents have expressed anger at the blight such arrests can place on reputations, seemingly, without sufficient evidence to back them up. However, this is one of the fallouts of having such small, close-knit communities as questioning suspects is part of the investigation process and, Police did not reveal the identities of those persons of interest.
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