WASHINGTON, DC — Two Army National Guard members have been removed from the inauguration security mission after vetting found they had ties to far-right fringe groups, a U.S. official told ABC News Tuesday.
“We don’t allow extremism of any type in our organization,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Tuesday morning.
The two Guard members are among the 25,000 National Guard troops who have been sent to Washington to augment security at the inauguration in the wake of the violent Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
The two Guardsmen were removed from the mission after vetting conducted by the FBI determined they had ties to far-right extremist groups, the official said.
No details were immediately available about which State Guard units the two belonged to or about the nature of of the alleged ties“
Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration,” said a National Guard statement that referred additional questions to the U.S. Secret Service.
This story was originally published by PublicSource, a news partner of NEXTpittsburgh. PublicSource is a nonprofit media organization delivering local journalism at publicsource.org. You can sign up for their newsletters at publicsource.org/newsletters.
The country is on edge after a mob incited by the president overtook the U.S. Capitol last week, resulting in the death of five people and a sense that the security of American democracy is at risk.
The Washington Post reported that right-wing groups are planning additional armed marches leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration, according to Alethea Group, which analyzes and combats disinformation online. The report by Alethea Group’ showed plans for activity in all 50 state capitals as well as some other cities, including Pittsburgh.
In a Jan. 12 statement, the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office said the agency is aware of reports of possible “protests in our area,” and that FBI agents interviewed a “Pittsburgh-based individual” cited in the report. “At this time, we are not aware of any related threats in our region which includes Western Pennsylvania and the State of West Virginia,” the FBI said in the statement.
The national FBI director, according to the New York Times, told a number of police chiefs from around the country in a call Wednesday to be on high alert, even without verified threats, and warned of attacks on government buildings and businesses.
The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol caught authorities off guard despite being planned on the open internet. Could a fresh round of dangerous conflicts take authorities by surprise?
A new challenge for local authorities
Jillian Snider, an adjunct lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York Police Department officer, said last week’s riot in Washington will cause law enforcement across the country to take more precautions than normal.
“I don’t think anyone would have predicted something as vile as what had occurred last week,” Snider said. “I think agencies are definitely going to step it up in terms of making sure they have more than sufficient personnel on scene to try and counteract anything that might be planned.”
The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety did not answer questions about preparation, and FBI Pittsburgh did not answer questions related to threats beyond its Jan. 12 statement.
In a vote of confidence for the city’s ability to handle any situations that may arise, he referenced the G20 summit held in the city in 2009 and “a number of peaceful protests and walks this summer with very little incidents.”
The G20 and summer 2020 protests, though, were not without controversy, including allegations of inappropriate force used against demonstrators.
John Sicilia, the president of the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association, said he is not aware of any credible threats in the region. He said federal, state and city law enforcement have been “very transparent” with sharing any intelligence that has come up.
“However, we’re always preparing for that worst-case scenario,” said Sicilia, who is also the chief of police of the Northern Regional Police Department, which serves several municipalities north of Pittsburgh. “Our reaction is always based on the action and how much people escalate a situation. If it’s peaceful protest, we certainly allow that to happen as long as it’s done legally. But once property is being destroyed or people are harmed, we obviously have to escalate our tactics and prevent people from being injured.”
The violent riot that took place in Washington last week was unlike any protest seen in Western Pennsylvania in 2020, or any time in memory. Sicilia said cooperation between agencies will be crucial if similar situations arise in the region.
“I don’t think agencies independently could ever be prepared for something like that,” Sicilia said. “But we have a very unique dynamic in the region here in Western Pennsylvania where law enforcement partners from across the region work together … I think collectively as a group we would have a very good handle on a situation like that.
“But for any one agency, a situation like we saw in Washington, D.C., would be overwhelming. But like I said, as a group, I feel that we would be able to keep the residents of this region safe and the property of this region from being destroyed.”
An 85-year-old woman is missing, and Pittsburgh police are asking for the public’s help to find her.
Police said Elaine Coles was last seen at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the city’s Windgap neighborhood, heading to Ingram. She may be driving an older-model black Ford Escape.Anyone who has information on the woman’s whereabouts is asked to call 412-323-7141 or 911.
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police are investigating after a woman was found deceased outside of an apartment building on Saturday morning.
Officers from Zone 1 responded to a call of an unresponsive female in the 400 block of W. Commons Street in the Allegheny West section of the city just before 8:00 a.m.
When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered a female outside an apartment building.
Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.
GREENSBURG, Pa. — A woman who fled police at speeds exceeding 130 mph on Route 119 faces multiple charges and will appear before a judge next month.
According to our partners at TribLive.com, 44-year-old Roxanna Varriano of Jeannette was charged with illegally operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, illegal possession of marijuana, failing to use a seat belt and other charges after the incident in East Huntingdon.
State police said a trooper was patrolling the area around 12:30 p.m. Dec. 7 when Varriano flew past his patrol vehicle. The trooper said in court documents that Varriano’s 2020 Camaro was going more than 130 mph before she pulled off the road. The posted speed limit in the area is 65 mph.
Three people were killed and three injured in a Saturday night shooting at a bowling alley in Rockford, Illinois, local media reported, citing police.
A person of interest was reported to be in custody, said NBC Chicago.
Rockford police tweeted bit.ly/3rFLyiS, “Active shooter investigation near Don Carter Lanes on E.State Street. Avoid the area.”
Rockford police Chief Dan O’Shea told reporters that the shooting occurred inside and outside of the building. The area was no longer considered an active shooter situation, WREX reported.
O’Shea added that teenagers were among the victims but declined to give further details, WTVO reported.
The conditions of the three people injured have not been confirmed, WREX reported. Police did not say if the victims were patrons or workers of the business, the television station reported.
The perp was on his way to his girlfriend’s house when he said he had a gun and was going to shoot up the place, sources said.
The girlfriend’s mother called the police, and the gunman fled, according to sources.
The cop was taken to Kings County Hospital. The officer’s condition is unknown.
The investigation is ongoing.
Columbus police officer Adam Coy was dispatched around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday to a non-emergency call about a man who had been idling a car, repeatedly turning it on and off in the Cranbrook neighborhood.
Shortly after the officers arrived, a black man later identified as Andre Maurice Hill, 47, who had been inside a garage, approached them on foot while holding a phone in his left hand and his other hand not visible.
Footage from Coy’s body camera then showed him opening fire on Hill, just six seconds after Hill entered the frame.
No audio is available since Coy did not activate his body camera until after the shooting, which only captured video due to an automatic “look back” feature.
Without audio, it’s unclear whether Coy yelled any commands at Hill.
Hill’s right hand isn’t visible in the footage, but authorities said no weapon was recovered from the scene.
After being shot, Hill lay on the ground for several minutes without any officer on the scene providing aid. He died less than an hour later at a nearby hospital.
In a statement, Police Chief Thomas Quinlan called it “a tragedy on many levels. Most importantly, a life has been lost.
”Quinlan said he has suspended Coy, a 17-year veteran, requiring him to turn in his gun and shield pending an internal review and an investigation by state authorities.
“There was not a single violent tendency in that man, you can tell by looking at his record. And his entire criminal record is because of alcoholism and substance-use disorder, homelessness and poverty.”
For days, members of the Allegheny County Jail Oversight Board did not know who had really died within the walls of the jail on November 26. That is because they were emailed an old notice, a death copy-and-pasted from before, from another death that took place inside the ACJ earlier this year.
Jail administrators didn’t realize their error for nearly a week, according to Allegheny County Councilor at Large Bethany Hallam, who is also a member of the jail oversight board. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing: administrators had mistaken the jail’s most recent death for another, a suicide that occurred in June. To Hallam, it felt careless.
(The Allegheny County jail has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. There were nine suicides at the facility between 2016 and June of this year.)
By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police say they are applying for a warrant to arrest a woman who allegedly fought with officers and medics after refusing to wear a face mask.
According to police, police and EMS had been responding to the woman because she had been attacked by a dog at a residence on the 3300 block of Motor Street.
Police say while they were preparing to transport the woman to the hospital that she would not wear a face mask and “became physically aggressive” with officers and got blood on one of the officers.
The woman still received treatment at a local hospital, according to police, but they will be pursuing a warrant for her arrest.
Pittsburgh City Police are investigating a suspicious package which was found near a playground on Sunday.
WPXI Crews on scene said the incident is on Spring Garden Avenue in the Spring Garden neighborhood, and the road is shut down while the city’s Explosive Ordinance Devices team investigates.
More information will be released when available.
The Johnstown Police Department is investigating a shooting within the city Wednesday.
7th Ward Ambulance and officers were called to the Dollar General Store, at 641 Main St., around 5 p.m. for an individual with a single gunshot wound to his hand.
It was unclear how the person received the injury or where it had occurred, police said.
The Dollar General was only the reporting location.
Authorities are attempting to verify the validity of the victim’s story.
Allegheny County police are investigating a shooting Thursday in Avalon that injured two men, one of them critically.
On Thursday, Avalon police responded to a report of a shooting at about 12:05 p.m. at the 500 block of Girard Avenue, according to a news release. Officers found a 23-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Police said he was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
County police Lt. Venerando Costa said another person, who Lt. Costa said was responsible for the shooting, was also shot and was taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Police said he is 17 years old and had an apparent grazing wound to his head; he was treated and released, police said.
Lt. Costa said a SWAT team was called to search a house in the nearby 600 block of California Avenue for a possible third person. The SWAT situation concluded at about 3:30 p.m., and Lt. Costa said early Thursday evening that there is not a third person involved in the incident.
Allegheny County homicide detectives were called to assist Avalon officers and learned both individuals were in a dispute over a handgun when the shooting occurred. Police said they have recovered the gun and that the investigation is ongoing.
Police said the county District Attorney’s Office will be consulted to determine if criminal charges will be filed against either the 23-year-old man or the 17-year-old.
Anyone with more information is asked to call the Allegheny County Police Tip line at 833-ALL-TIPS (833-255-8477). Callers can remain anonymous.
The Oregon National Guard was activated in Portland, Ore., on Wednesday night in response to widespread violence in the city, authorities said.Portland Police declared a riot amid a wave of destruction in the city that saw people smash storefront windows of local businesses in the downtown area. At least 11 rioters were arrested.
Videos shared to social media of demonstrations in New York City showed police and activists in heated confrontations. The NYPD announced about 50 arrests related to the protests. Police confiscated several weapons, including knives, a stun gun, and explosives.
Meanwhile, supporters of President Trump gathered at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, located outside of Phoenix, where some of the demonstrators were heard shouting: “Count those votes!”
Sheriff’s deputies were guarding both the outside of the building and the counting inside, reports said. A few of the protesters carried assault-style rifles.
In Minneapolis, police closed traffic on Interstate 94 after protesters marched onto the highway.
Follow below for more updates on the election-related protests throughout the U.S. Mobile users click here.
A report of a man with a gun led to a school delay in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County.
Hempfield Township school superintendent Dr. Tammy Wolicki said police were in the area of McCabe Drive.The man involved was taken into custody around 8:45 a.m.
A middle school bus was diverted and the start of classes at Maxwell Elementary School was delayed until 10 a.m., with children asked not to arrive until 9:30 a.m. at the earliest.
Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto said he is meeting with public safety and other officials to ensure nothing gets out of hand after the election.
“Public safety has been working across all of our boroughs’ police, fire and EMS to ensure that we have enough personnel in case of any type of necessity,” he said.
Police officers will be working 12-hour shifts beginning Election Day. Right now, city officials are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
U.S. marshals in Ohio rescued 45 missing children and 109 additional human trafficking survivors during “Operation Autumn Hope,” the state’s attorney general announced.Ohio Attorney General David Yost said it was the largest anti-human trafficking effort in state history.
“Our Human Trafficking task forces – local law enforcement teaming up with the state – conducted a massive statewide sting last week,” Yost wrote in a statement on Twitter. “Operation Autumn Hope is the largest single HT operation in state history. Our goal: an Ohio where no human is bought or sold.”
Yost said 76 missing and exploited children cases were cleared, including 45 “by physical recovery by the U.S. Marshals Service.” Marshals from Southern Ohio and Southern West Virginia were involved with the operation, according to a statement from the Marshals’ offices.
Greensburg Police shared video from the incident in the area of Grove Street and Spring Avenue.
The shots were fired around 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to police.
Police said the suspect took off toward Spring Avenue and Mertz Way.
Anyone who lives in the area and has surveillance video of the incident is asked to call police.