Deputy shoots, kills 13-year-old SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California community is anguished over the fatal shooting by a deputy of a popular 13-year-old boy who had been carrying a pellet gun that looked like an assault rifle. A Sonoma County sheriff ’s deputy twice asked the boy, Andy Lopez, to drop the weapon, but instead he raised it in their direction, police said at a news conference Wednesday. “The deputy’s mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot,” said Santa Rosa Police Lt. Paul Henry, whose agency is investigating the Tuesday afternoon shooting in Santa Rosa. Only after the shooting did deputies realize the gun was a plastic replica that looked strikingly similar to a real AK-47 assault rifle, authorities said. Residents of Santa Rosa, a suburban town of approximately 170,000 people 50 miles northwest of San Francisco in California’s wine country, were shaken by the boy’s death. Hundreds marched Wednesday night to remember the teen and protest the shooting, chanting “We need justice,” as they questioned how the deputy mistook a pellet gun for an assault rifle. “We don’t know the reason why they killed him,” Katia Ontiveros, 18, told the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa. She said her brother was Andy’s friend. “They should know if a gun is real.” The marchers went to the site at the edge of a field where the boy was shot. Community members had left candles, teddy bears and flowers there. Andy, an eighth-grade student who played trumpet in his school band, was described as a bright and popular student, liked by many in his community, including Lawrence Cook Middle School assistant principal Linsey Gannon. “Andy was a very loved student, a very popular, very handsome young man, very smart and capable,” she said.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel steps out of her armored car as she arrives at the European People’s Party summit Thursday in Meise near Brussels, Belgium.
Merkel: U.S. spying shatters trust
BRUSSELS (AP) — European leaders united in anger Thursday as they attended a summit overshadowed by reports of widespread U.S. spying on its allies — allegations German Chancellor Angela Merkel said had shattered trust in the Obama administration and undermined the crucial trans-Atlantic relationship. The latest revelations the U.S. National Security Agency swept up more than 70 million phone records in France and might have tapped Merkel’s own cellphone brought denunciations from the French and German governments. Merkel’s unusually stern remarks as she arrived at the European Union gathering indicated she wasn’t placated by a phone conversation she had Wednesday with President Barack Obama, or his personal assurances the U.S. is not listening in on her calls now. “We need trust among allies and partners,” Merkel told reporters in Brussels. “Such trust now has to be built anew.
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This is what we have to think about. “The United States of America and Europe face common challenges. We are allies,” the German leader said. “But such an alliance can only be built on trust. That’s why I repeat again: spying among friends, that cannot be.” Other leaders arriving for the 28-nation meeting echoed Merkel’s displeasure. Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called it “completely unacceptable” for a country to eavesdrop on an allied leader. If reports Merkel’s cellphone had been tapped are true, “it is exceptionally serious,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told national broadcaster NOS. “We want the truth,” Italian Premier Enrico Letta told reporters. “It is not in the least bit conceivable that activity of this type could be acceptable.” Echoing Merkel, Austria’s foreign minister, Micheal Spindelegger, said, “We need to re-establish with the U.S. a relationship of trust, which has certainly suffered from this.” France, which also vocally objected to allies spying on each other, asked the issue of reinforcing Europeans’
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privacy in the digital age be added to the agenda of the two-day summit. Before official proceedings got underway, Merkel had a brief one-on-one with French President Francois Hollande, and discussed the spying controversy. The Europeans’ statements and actions indicated they hadn’t been satisfied with assurances from Washington. On Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama personally assured Merkel her phone is not being listened to now and won’t be in the future. “I think we are all outraged, across party lines,” Wolfgang Bosbach, a prominent German lawmaker from Merkel’s party, told Deutschlandfunk radio. “And that also goes for the response that the chancellor’s cellphone is not being monitored — because this sentence says nothing about whether the chancellor was monitored in the past. “This cannot be justified from any point of view by the fight against international terrorism or by averting danger,” Bosbach said. In the past, much of the official outrage in Europe about revelations of U.S. communications intercepts leaked by
former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden seemed designed for internal political consumption in countries that readily acknowledge conducting major spying operations themselves. But there has been a new discernible vein of anger in Europe as the scale of the NSA’s reported operations became known, as well as the possible targeting of a prominent leader such as Merkel, presumably for inside political or economic information. “Nobody in Germany will be able to say any longer that NSA surveillance — which is apparently happening worldwide and millions of times — is serving solely intelligencegathering or defense against Islamic terror or weapons proliferation,” said HansChristian Strobele, a member of the German parliamentary oversight committee. “Because, if you tap the cellphone or the phone connection of the presidents of France or Brazil, or the cellphone of the chancellor, then this is no longer about collecting intelligence about international terrorism, but then that is about competition, about getting advantages in this competition and winning. That’s why today is a watershed moment.”
Syrian court orders release of blogger BEIRUT (AP) — A lawyer for a prominent Syrian blogger convicted of spying for a foreign country said a court has ordered her release. Lawyer Anwar al-Bunni said the Supreme State Security Court issued the order Thursday for Tal al-Mallohi’s release. Al-Bunni said al-Mallohi hasn’t been freed yet, but he expects it to happen within the coming weeks. Al-Mallohi was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison shortly before Syria’s uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011. She was 19 at the time. Her blog focused primarily on the suffering of Palestinians. It wasn’t clear if al-Mallohi’s arrest was connected to the blog. It also wasn’t clear if her release was tied to a hostage exchange deal that freed dozens of other Syrian women from prison this week.
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DANVERS, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts town official said the killing of a popular high school math teacher, allegedly by one of her 14-year-old students, has “torn the fabric of the community.” Gardner Trask III, chairman of the Danvers Board of Selectmen, said the killing of 24-year-old Ritzer Colleen Ritzer is a “devastating blow” to the close-knit town. Ritzer’s body was found in the woods behind Danvers High School early Wednesday morning. Philip Chism, a freshman who was a student of Ritzer’s, is charged with murder in her death. Chism recently had moved to Massachusetts from Tennessee. Grief counselors met Thursday with students mourning the death of Ritzer. Classes were expected to resume today at the high school.