crime News police

Breaking: Houston police officer dead after east Houston shooting

A Houston police sergeant died Saturday night after he was shot in the chest with a semi-automatic pistol during a domestic disturbance near Magnolia Park in east Houston.

Mayor Sylvester Turner praised the service of Christopher Brewster, 32, who had been with the department since 2010.

“This is a tough moment for our city,” Turner said. “Today and in days to come, years to come, we will honor him as a hero in the city of Houston for the work he performed on behalf of everyone in the city.”

Officers were called at about 5:50 p.m. to the 7400 block of Avenue I after a woman told 911 dispatchers that her boyfriend was assaulting her and that he had two firearms, Police Chief Art Acevedo said during a press conference.

Source: Breaking: Houston police officer dead after east Houston shooting

Airplanes Crash Disasters

San Antonio plane crash: 3 dead after emergency landing goes wrong – CNN

(CNN)An emergency landing went horribly wrong Sunday night as a plane crashed in San Antonio, leaving three dead, according to fire officials.

The small, single-engine plane was leaving Sugar Land and headed to Boerne, Texas, when it developed engine trouble, San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told CNN affiliate KSAT-TV.
The pilot wanted to make an emergency landing at San Antonio International Airport, Hood said, but ended up crashing into the street.

Fire Chief Charles Hood said the twin-engine plane crashed in a commercial and industrial area killing all three people on board. Hood says the plane had taken off in Sugar Land and was on its way to Boerne when they developed engine problems. The pilot notified the San Antonio International Airport that they were going to divert to the airport to make an emergency landing, but they weren’t able to make it to the airport before crashing.

When firefighters arrived on the scene they found the wreckage beside a street. No one on the ground was hurt. Firefighters have blocked off a wide area around the 600 block of Rhapsody recovering any debris that might have fallen off the plane during the approach and crash. Hood says “as tragic as it is, it could have been much worse” had the plane come down on busy Highway 281 nearby or into a business or apartment complex.

Source: San Antonio plane crash: 3 dead after emergency landing goes wrong – CNN


Second Explosion at TPC plant in Texas


Texas chemical plant explosion injures three, prompts evacuations – YouTube

County Judge Jeff Branick says there are no reports of any fatalities and only three people with injuries He calls that a miracle. One worker suffered burns and was taken by medical helicopter to a Houston hospital. Another sustained a fractured wrist and a third sustained a fractured leg. One of those victims was treated and released. He says all workers are accounted for.

There is damage reported to homes and even a school in the area.

Callers tell us it broke windows and could be felt miles away at about 1 a.m.

The plant produces butadiene and raffinate.

Butadiene is a colorless has used to make synthetic rubber and plastics, and to make other chemicals.

Raffinate is the residual product left after a reforming process. It’s also a colorless gas.

As a precautionary action Orange County Judge John Gothia is calling for a shelter in place south of I-10 until 6 am due to the explosion at the TCP plant in Port Neches and the East Northeast wind direction carrying a chemical plume. Shelter in Place means to stay inside, close windows, turn fans and air conditioning units off.

In a press conference with TDC officials, Troy Monk asked everyone to not-touch any debris you feel is contaminated. Call the hotline to have it evaluated and cleaned up.

TDC has established a hotline to report damage 866-601-5880.

A shelter is open at First Baptist Church in Nederland.


At approximately 1:00 a.m. today, Wednesday, November 27 an explosion was reported at the TPC Group Port Neches Operations site located at 2102 TX-136 Spur, Port Neches, TX 77561 involving a processing unit.

TPC Group has activated its Emergency Response Plan and requested assistance from Port Neches Fire Department and Huntsman. The event is ongoing but will be brought under control as quickly and safely as possible.

crime Opinion Politics

Texas gun laws: Governor Greg Abbott issues 8 executive orders after El Paso and Odessa-Midland shootings – CBS News

The orders aim to stop potential mass shooters through strengthening reporting techniques

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued eight executive orders Thursday that aim to stop potential mass shooters by strengthening reporting techniques, although he conceded in a release that “legislative action” is still needed. Abbott’s orders come as the Lone Star State reels from two mass shootings in August that left 29 people dead.

Source: Texas gun laws: Governor Greg Abbott issues 8 executive orders after El Paso and Odessa-Midland shootings – CBS News

Opinion Politics

Texas Rep. Flores says he won’t seek reelection – POLITICO

His solidly Republican district includes Waco and the northern Austin suburbs and is home to two major universities.

“When I originally announced that I was running for Congress in 2009, I was firm in my commitment that I would run for six or fewer terms,” Flores, 65, announced in a statement on Wednesday. “After much prayer over the past few days and following conversations with my wife, Gina, during that time, I have decided that my current term will be my last.”

Source: Texas Rep. Flores says he won’t seek reelection – POLITICO

crime Disasters News Obituary

Victims killed, injured in West Texas mass shooting identified

The identities of those who were killed and injured in West Texas mass shooting Saturday have been identified.

A list of names of those killed and injured were released Monday:


  • Leilah Hernandez, 15, of Odessa
  • Joe Griffith, 40, of Odessa
  • Mary Granados, 29, of Odessa
  • Edwin Peregrino, 25, of Odessa
  • Rodolfo Julio Arco, 57, of Odessa
  • Kameron Karltness Brown, 30, of Brownwood
  • Raul Garcia, 35, El Paso


  • Quadri Fatai, 41, of Houston
  • Nathan Hernandez, 18, of Odessa
  • Marc Gonzalez, 38, of Odessa
  • Zachary Owens, an officer at Midland Police Department
  • Timmoth Beard, 55, of San Antonio
  • James Santana, an officer at Odessa Police Department
  • Glenda Dempsy, 62, of Odessa
  • Marco Corral, 62, of San Diego, CA.
  • Coy Edge, 53, of Odessa
  • Joseph Glide, 60, of Odessa
  • Anderson Davis, 17-months-old, of Odessa
  • Daniel Munoz, 28, of Yuma, AZ.
  • Robert Cavasoz, 38, of Alice, TX.
  • Maria Boado, 27, of Hialeah, FL.
  • Efe Obayagbona, 45, of Rockport, TX.
  • Chuck Pryor, a trooper at the Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Timmothy, Hardaway, 54, of Brownwood
  • Jesus Alvirez, 21, of Gardendale
  • Lilia Diaz, 46, of Odessa
  • Krystal Lee, 36, of Odessa
  • Larry Shores, 34, of Odessa
  • Juvenile male, 9, of Odessa


Source: Victims killed, injured in West Texas mass shooting identified

crime News police

At least 21 shot, 6 killed in West Texas rampage, official says; suspect dead | Fox News

At least 21 people were shot and six people were killed Saturday in a series of shootings in the area of Midland and Odessa, Texas, an Odessa city official told Fox News.

Source: At least 21 shot, 5 killed in West Texas rampage, official says; suspect dead | Fox News

Celebrities Education Entertainment News Opinion

Actor Matthew McConaughey joins University of Texas as faculty professor

Before starring in Dazed and Confused, Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective, among dozens of other notable roles, he earned a film degree from the University of Texas in 1993.

Right now, University of Texas students are running to the registrar’s office or firing up their computers to sign up for an upcoming Matthew McConaughey class.

UT’s Moody College of Communication announced Wednesday that the Academy Award-winning actor has been appointed as a professor of practice to the Department of Radio-Television-Film faculty.

Source: Actor Matthew McConaughey joins University of Texas as faculty professor

crime News Opinion

Shootings at Two Texas ICE Facilities Were ‘Targeted’ Attacks, Says FBI


Officials from the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) say that Tuesday’s shootings at two federal facilities were each a “targeted attack.” A shooter fired multiple rounds at two ICE facilities in San Antonio, Texas, early on Tuesday morning.

FBI and ICE officials said a shooter directly targeted two separate ICE facilities in northeast San Antonio at about 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. Officials report shots being fired into a 14th floor ICE office and another building operated by an ICE contractor, the KTSA radio reported.

Source: Shootings at Two Texas ICE Facilities Were ‘Targeted’ Attacks, Says FBI


Maniac shoots two people on Houston highway, sparking manhunt

A maniac is on the loose after he gunned down two people with an AR-15 in the middle of Houston rush-hour traffic — and then bolted in his car, with a trash bag full of weed inside, according to a new report.

The chaos unfolded just before 6 p.m. Thursday on eastbound Interstate 10, when the shooter and another person in his sedan struck another vehicle, causing it to spin out, local outlet ABC 13 reported.

Both suspects got out of the car — and one of them opened fire, according to the report.

Source: Maniac shoots two people on Houston highway, sparking manhunt

crime Disasters News Opinion Terrorism US

Walmart facing calls to halt gun sales after El Paso shooting – News – Ellwood City Ledger – Ellwood City, PA

People are calling on Walmart, often cited as the largest gun retailer in the world, to stop selling firearms after a mass shooting took place in one of its stores on Saturday.

Walmart has been the scene of two shootings in the past week, one in Southaven, Mississipi where two were killed by a former employee on July 30 and Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas that left 22 dead.

Source: Walmart facing calls to halt gun sales after El Paso shooting – News – Ellwood City Ledger – Ellwood City, PA

crime Disasters News Violence

UPDATE : Alleged shooter cased El Paso Walmart before rampage that killed 22: Officials

A gunman opened fire Saturday morning at a Walmart in El Paso.

The suspect in the killing rampage at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, allegedly cased the store, looking for Mexicans to kill before he came back and unleashed a barrage of gunfire that left 22 people dead and more than two dozens injured, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

The latest twist in the investigation of the mass shooting came just hours after doctors in El Paso confirmed that two more victims had died from bullet wounds suffered in the Saturday morning massacre — increasing the death toll to 22.

Source: Alleged shooter cased El Paso Walmart before rampage that killed 22: Officials

crime Violence

Between 15 and 20 people shot at El Paso Walmart, suspected gunman in custody, Texas Lt. Gov. says | Fox News

Between 15 and 20 people were shot at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas Saturday morning, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told Fox News.

Patrick added that a 21-year-old man had been taken into custody. Police had previously said they had received numerous reports of “multiple shooters.”

The lieutenant governor did not say how many of the injuries were fatal.

Police responded to reports of an active shooting at the Cielo Vista Mall area shortly before 11 a.m. and asked people to stay clear of the active scene. An El Paso police spokesman told reporters shortly before 1 p.m. that there was no longer an “imminent threat” to the area.

A spokesperson at Del Sol Medical Center told Fox News that the hospital had received six victims in an unknown condition. They did not say if any more victims would be coming to the facility.

Source: Between 15 and 20 people shot at El Paso Walmart, suspected gunman in custody, Texas Lt. Gov. says | Fox News

Disasters Fires News Oil And Gas

Explosion, fire injure 37 at Houston-area ExxonMobil refinery | Fox News

An explosion and fire at an ExxonMobil oil refinery outside of Houston Wednesday left 37 people injured with minor burns, plant officials said.

Exxon Mobil Baytown Area said a unit processing propane and propylene burst into flames late Wednesday morning at the Olefins plant, forcing the city to issue a shelter-in-place order, according to Fox 26. Black smoke from the fire could be seen for miles. The explosion happened shortly after 11 a.m. and was contained by the afternoon.

Source: Explosion, fire injure 37 at Houston-area ExxonMobil refinery | Fox News

Airplanes Crash Disasters

Ten dead in private plane crash north of Dallas – CNN

Ten people died Sunday when a private plane crashed into a hangar at an airport in Addison, Texas, according to a town spokesman.

Source: Ten dead in private plane crash north of Dallas – CNN

The medical examiner has confirmed that 10 people were killed when a plane crashed into a hangar and started a fire at the Addison Municipal Airport Sunday morning.

Source: 10 killed in plane crash at Addison Airport – Story | KTTV

crime News police

Dallas shooting: Police fatally shot a gunman at a federal courthouse – CNN

The gunman, identified as 22-year-old Brian Isaack Clyde, was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead, according to FBI special agent in charge Matthew J. DeSarno.
Police also said a bomb squad was preparing to do a controlled explosion of the suspect’s vehicle. DeSarno said there was no indication that there are other shooters or threats.
One witness told CNN affiliate KTVT that he was walking into the courthouse when a group of people ran out and he heard about 10 to 15 gunshots in rapid succession. Don Miles, said he turned and ran across the street to safety.

Source: Dallas shooting: Police fatally shot a gunman at a federal courthouse – CNN

Disasters News Oil And Gas

Cleanup continuing in Houston Ship Channel after vessels collide and spill gas product – CNN

Ship and barge traffic is resuming in the Houston Ship Channel as cleanup efforts continue in the aftermath of a spill that sent thousands of barrels of gasoline blending product into the channel, officials said Sunday

Source: Cleanup continuing in Houston Ship Channel after vessels collide and spill gas product – CNN

Disasters News Oil And Gas

Tanker collision leaves thousands of gallons of gas product leaking into Houston shipping channel – ABC News

A collision between a massive tanker and two oil barges has resulted in as much as tens of thousands of gallons of a gasoline product leaking into a shipping channel near Houston.

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the accident, which took place about 3:30 p.m. local time, in the Houston Ship Channel, near Bayport, Texas. A 755-foot tanker collided with a tug pushing two barges filled with 25,000 gallons of reformate each.

Source: Tanker collision leaves thousands of gallons of gas product leaking into Houston shipping channel – ABC News

News Technology

( – Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock… and Ourselves.


I have something in common with Ahmed Mohamed: as a youngster, I was also an electronics enthusiast. At his age and even earlier, I frequently took apart electronic devices – anything from my own toys, to broken things around the house, and even that dirty garbage-picked black and white TV my parents dragged home that they knew I’d have a blast playing with (I did.) I’d try and troubleshoot, repair, or sometimes just disassemble things and salvage components for future projects. I’d try and imagine how all those bits and pieces, lengths of wires, mazes of conductive circuit board traces all came together to produce an image, or a sound, or some other useful function. I wanted to know how it all worked.

Without dating myself – fast forward a bunch of years, and I’m the same way. I’ve even picked up an engineering degree over the course of those years. I don’t have to only imagine how things work anymore, I have a pretty good understanding now. When shopping for electronic devices, my first instinct is to see if there’s a way to build one myself (and, I frequently do!) When something of mine breaks, I don’t send it back, I take it as a personal challenge to get it working again. If I fail, I still salvage useful parts – they might come in handy to fix something else later. This aspect of myself – being both methodical, and curious – hasn’t changed a bit over the years.

High resolution police photo of Ahmed's clock. Click to enlarge.

So, this story about a 14 year old boy in Texas that was arrested on suspicion of creating a bomb hoax (who, apparently just wanted to show off his latest electronics project to his teachers) that has blown up (no pun intended) all over the news and social media, caught my attention immediately. Not because of his race, or his religion, the seeming absurdity of the situation, the emotionally charged photo of a young boy in a NASA t-shirt being led off in hand cuffs, the hash tags, the presidential response… no, none of that. I’m an electronics geek. I was interested in the clock! I wanted to figure out what he had come up with.

I found the highest resolution photograph of the clock I could. Instantly, I was disappointed. Somewhere in all of this – there has indeed been a hoax. Ahmed Mohamed didn’t invent his own alarm clock. He didn’t even build a clock. Now, before I go on and get accused of attacking a 14 year old kid who’s already been through enough, let me explain my purpose. I don’t want to just dissect the clock. I want to dissect our reaction as a society to the situation. Part of that is the knee-jerk responses we’re all so quick to make without facts. So, before you scroll down and leave me angry comments, please continue to the end (or not – prove my point, and miss the point, entirely!)

For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you’ve seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider’s web. You’ll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That’s because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed’s clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That’s because it probably was. Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance – in fact they’ll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them. You can even simulate or lay out a board with free apps on your phone or tablet. A modern hobbyist usually wouldn’t be bothered with the outdated design techniques. There’s also silk screening on the board. An “M” logo, “C-94” (probably, a part number – C might even stand for “clock”), and what looks like an American flag. More about that in a minute. Point for now being, a hobbyist wouldn’t silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation. It’s pretty safe to say already we’re looking at ’70s tech, mass produced in a factory.

So I turned to eBay, searching for vintage alarm clocks. It only took a minute to locate Ahmed’s clock. See this eBay listing, up at the time of this writing. Amhed’s clock was invented, and built, by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary. Catalog number 63 765.

Image property of eBay seller curiosities_curios

The shape and design is a dead give away. The large screen. The buttons on the front laid out horizontally would have been on a separate board – a large snooze button, four control buttons, and two switches to turn the alarm on and off, and choose two brightness levels. A second board inside would have contained the actual “brains” of the unit. The clock features a 9v battery back-up, and a switch on the rear allows the owner to choose between 12 and 24 hour time. (Features like a battery back-up, and a 24 hour time selection seems awful superfluous for a hobby project, don’t you think?) Oh, and about that “M” logo on the circuit board mentioned above? Micronta.


clock6For one last bit of confirmation, I located the pencil box Ahmed used for his project. During this video interview he again claims it was his “invention” and that he “made” the device – but the important thing at the moment, at 1:13, we see him showing the pencil box on his computer screen. Here it is on Amazon, where it’s clearly labeled as being 8.25 inches wide. Our eBay seller also conveniently took a photo of the clock next to a ruler to show it’s scale – about 8 inches wide. The dimensions all line up perfectly.

So there you have it folks, Ahmed Mohamed did not invent, nor build a clock. He took apart an existing clock, and transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. It all seems really fishy to me.

If we accept the story about “inventing” an alarm clock is made up, as I think I’ve made a pretty good case for, it’s fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated.

I refer back again to this YouTube video interview with Ahmed. He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn’t want it to look suspicious. I’m curious, why would “looking suspicious” have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It’s awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it’s awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!)

So again, I’m pointing all this out – about the specifics of the clock – not to pick on the poor kid. I’m picking on us, our culture, and our media. I don’t even care about the clock itself at this point.

If we stop and think – was it really such a ridiculous reaction from the teacher and the police in the first place? How many school shootings and incidents of violence have we had, where we hear afterwards “this could have been prevented, if only we paid more attention to the signs!” Teachers are taught to be suspicious and vigilant. Ahmed wasn’t accused of making a bomb – he was accused of making a look-alike, a hoax. And be honest with yourself, a big red digital display with a bunch of loose wires in a brief-case looking box is awful like a Hollywood-style representation of a bomb. Everyone jumped to play the race and religion cards and try and paint the teachers and police as idiots and bigots, but in my mind, they were probably acting responsibly and erring on the side of caution to protect the rest of their students, just in case. “This wouldn’t have happened if Ahmed were white,” they say. We’re supposed to be sensitive to school violence, but apparently religious and racial sensitivity trumps that. At least we have another clue about how the sensitivity and moral outrage pecking order lies.

Because, is it possible, that maybe, just maybe, this was actually a hoax bomb? A silly prank that was taken the wrong way? That the media then ran with, and everyone else got carried away? Maybe there wasn’t even any racial or religious bias on the parts of the teachers and police.

I don’t know any of these things. But I’m intellectually mature enough to admit I don’t know, and to also be OK with that. I don’t feel a need to take the first exit to conclusionville. But I do like to find facts where I can, and prefer to let them lead me to conclusions, rather than a knee jerk judgement based on a headline or sound bite.

I think the whole event – and our collective response, with everybody up to the President chiming in, says a whole lot about us. We don’t care that none of us were there and knows what happened, we jump to conclusions and assume we’re experts. We care about the story, but we don’t care about the actual facts. Headlines and click-bait are far more interesting than thinking for ourselves. We like to point out other any bit of perceived injustice or discrimination we can find – it’s practically a new national past-time. We like playing victim, and we like talking about victims – so much so we sometimes find victims where none really existed. We also like to find somebody to blame, even when there’s nobody at fault. We like to play social justice warrior on our Facebooks and Twitters, posting memes and headlines without digging in behind the sensationalism, winning bonus sensitivity points in the forms of likes and re-tweets. Once group-think kicks in, we rally around hash tags and start shouting moral outrage in a deafeningly loud national chorus. The media plays us like a fiddle, and we don’t even notice we’ve all been had.

As for me, I’m glad to apply the lessons I’ve learned as an electronics enthusiast to other aspects of life. There’s no emotion in troubleshooting a circuit, electricity doesn’t have morals. There’s just physics, and logic, and methodology. I think we could all benefit from applying a little more of that sort of thinking to these situations.

* Correction: A reader and commenter, Joe Donaldson, tracked down the clock in a Radio Shack catalog dated 1986. It’s likely that my guess of mid-to-late 70s was off by a bit, and it’s now obvious it was a model that was for sale in the mid 80s. Though it doesn’t really change the point, I want to post this correction here for accuracy sake and thank Joe for the heads up. (See the comment here, with link to the catalog page.)