us – Michmutters

A year on from the fall of Kabul, Afghans reflect on their new lives in Australia

Before being forced to flee Kabul as the Taliban returned to power, Maryam Nabavi was a print and radio journalist.

Her courageous reporting focused on democracy and women’s rights—particularly education for girls—in what was still a firmly patriarchal society.

Now a year on since the fall of the Afghan capital, Ms Nabavi is gradually getting used to a new, freer and more secure way of living with her son and husband in their adopted country: Australia.

However, the restrictions on the rights and freedoms imposed on women and girls in her native land continue to haunt her from thousands of kilometers away.

At the moment, she’s busy caring for her young son and learning English but she’s keen to restart her career.

She said she missed the purposefulness and excitement of her life as a reporter in Afghanistan.

“Since I came to Australia, I am not the same person anymore,” she said.

“The first days when I came here were very difficult for me. I spent days and nights crying and a deep sense of emptiness took over my whole being.”

Ms Nabavi is one of thousands of Afghans who have embarked on new lives in Australia, while grappling with the emotions of fleeing their country on the heels of the abrupt US withdrawal and the Taliban’s return to power on August 15 last year.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, 5,929 permanent humanitarian visas were granted to Afghan nationals between August 15, 2021, and the end of July this year.

However, almost 50,000 applications on behalf of more than 200,000 people have been lodged in that time and only another 31,500 places are available over the next four years.



Rushdie in hospital as outrage grows over stabbing

Salman Rushdie remained hospitalized in serious condition Saturday after being stabbed at a literary event in New York state in a shocking assault that triggered widespread international outrage, but drew applause from hardliners in Iran and Pakistan.

The British author, who spent years under police protection after Iranian leaders ordered his killing, underwent emergency surgery and was placed on a ventilator in a Pennsylvania hospital following Friday’s assault. His agent said he will likely lose an eye.

“Salman Rushdie — with his insight into humanity, with his unmatched sense for story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced — stands for essential, universal ideals. Truth. Courage. Resilience,” Biden said in a statement.

On Friday, a 24-year-old man from New Jersey, Hadi Matar, rushed the stage where Rushdie was about to deliver a lecture and stabbed him in the neck and abdomen.

Beyond Rushdie’s eye injury, the nerves in one of his arms were severed and his liver was damaged, according to his agent Andrew Wylie.

The fatwa followed publication of the novel “The Satanic Verses,” which sparked fury among some Muslims who believed it was blasphemous.

“For whatever it was, eight or nine years, it was quite serious,” he told a Stern correspondent in New York.

– Assailant raised in US –

Security was not particularly tight at Friday’s event at the Chautauqua Institution, which hosts arts programs in a tranquil lakeside community near Buffalo.

Matar’s family apparently came from a border village called Yaroun in southern Lebanon.

Matar was “born and raised in the US,” the head of the local municipality, Ali Qassem Tahfa, told AFP.

“I was very happy to hear the news,” said Mehrab Bigdeli, a man in his 50s studying to become a Muslim cleric.

In Pakistan, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan –- a party that has staged violent protests against what it deems to be anti-Muslim blasphemy — said Rushdie “deserved to be killed.”

British leader Boris Johnson said he was “appalled,” while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack “reprehensible” and “cowardly.”

– Write memoir in hiding –

But his 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” transformed his life. The resulting fatwa forced him into nearly a decade in hiding, moving houses repeatedly and being unable to tell even his children of him where he lived.

Since moving to New York, Rushdie has been an outspoken advocate of freedom of speech and has continued writing — including a memoir, “Joseph Anton,” named after his alias while in hiding.



Men wanted in Mall of America shooting arrested in Chicago area

The man who allegedly fired shots inside the Mall of America last week and the person police say directed him to do it were arrested Thursday after a week on the run.

FOX 9 is told Shamar Lark and Rashad May were taken into custody during a traffic stop Thursday in the Chicago area, seven days after shots rang out inside the mall on August 4.

This week, police said they believed Lark was the man who fired shots inside the mall after an altercation at the Nike store. Officers say it appears May “prompted” Lark who then fired multiple shots. Thankfully, no one was struck by the gunfire, but the act sparked a panic that had people running and looking for safety while officers swept the mall.

In the days after the shooting, three other people were arrested on charges of aiding Lark and May: 21-year-old Denesh Raghubir of Minneapolis, 23–year-old Delyanie Kwen-Shawn Arnold of Burnsville, and 23-year-old Selena Raghubir of Bloomington.

There was talk that Lark and May were prepared to surrender to police earlier this week but that never came about.

Shooting and charges

On August 4, police working at Mall of America responded to multiple gunshots at the Nike store, where they found three shell casings on the floor inside the entrance. Officers checked surveillance video, which showed a fight breaking out involving six people near the checkout of the store, causing customers to run away.

Then two people involved in the altercation left the store briefly before the suspect returned and fired a handgun several times at the males involved in the fight. The suspected shooter, identified Monday as 21-year-old Shamar Lark, and another man, identified as 23-year-old Rashad May, then ran out the north doors of the mall, into the IKEA parking lot, charges said.

It was later learned the two men may have been picked up by a Best Western hotel shuttle at IKEA and were taken to the hotel, just south of Mall of America.

Police believe May called Arnold a few minutes after the shooting, and he received five calls from Arnold between 4:20-4:23 pm, the complaint said. Arnold then contacted his girlfriend, Selena Raghubir, who is an assistant manager at the Best Western, as well as Selena Raghubir’s cousin, Denesh Raghubir, who picked up Lark and May at IKEA in the Best Western shuttle.

Denesh Raghubir told police he knew the two men were friends of Selena Raghubir, and when he dropped them off at Best Western, Selena Raghubir immediately left the front desk and he didn’t see her for about 45 minutes, charges said. He said Selena Raghubir later called him and asked him what time police left.

On Aug. 5, officers searched Arnold and Selena Raghubir’s home and vehicle, where they found the shirts the men were wearing at the time of the shooting, charges said.

Shamar Lark (left) and Rashad May (right) are wanted after Thursday’s shooting at the Mall of America. (Supplied)

subsequent search

During a Monday afternoon news conference, Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges released photos showing Lark and May. Hodges says May “prompted” Lark to shoot up the store – which Lark followed through on.

Police issued a nationwide warrant for Lark and May and had information that the duo could be in the Chicago area.

“You cannot, in a free society, continue to enjoy all the freedoms that we have and when you show a complete lack of respect for humanity by firing in a crowded mall store,” said Chief Hodges. “We cannot tolerate that as a society.”



Ricky Shiffer, who authorities say tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati office with a gun is dead after chase and standoff

Lt. Nathan Dennis said that after negotiations failed, law enforcement officers tried to take suspect into custody, but the suspect raised a gun at authorities and was fatally shot.

The man was identified as Ricky Shiffer, according to three federal law enforcement sources.

The FBI is investigating Shiffer’s social media presence and whether he had ties to right-wing extremism, one of the sources said.

A separate federal law enforcement source tells CNN that authorities are looking into whether the suspect had ties to any group that participated in the January 6th attack on the US Capitol or if he participated himself.

A Truth Social account bearing Shiffer’s name referenced his attempt to storm an FBI office, and also encouraged others online to prepare for a revolutionary-type war, CNN has learned.

“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” the user posted on Donald Trump’s social media site at 9:29 am Authorities say the attack took place at 9:15. “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the FBI, and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the FBI got me, or they felt the regular cops while.”

It’s unclear whether the user was attempting to write more, as the post stops after the word “while.” Authorities said the suspect fled in a car after attempting to get in the FBI office.

Authorities have not yet confirmed that the account belongs to the suspect. However, a law enforcement source told CNN a photo on the account matched a government ID photo of the suspect.

The FBI declined to comment on the account and its postings, citing their ongoing investigation.

The area near a standoff between the suspect, who was fatally shot, and authorities.

State troopers chased suspect, took fire

The hourslong standoff followed a vehicle chase with the suspect.

Earlier, Dennis said an armed man tried to enter the FBI office in Cincinnati Thursday morning. The suspect was unsuccessful, however, and fled the area.

An Ohio state trooper spotted the suspect’s vehicle at a northbound rest stop along Interstate 71 about 20 minutes after the attempted breach, Dennis said, and tried to initiate a traffic stop before the suspect fled.

“The suspect vehicle did fire shots during that pursuit,” Dennis said in the earlier news conference. The suspect then exited onto State Route 73 and traveled east to Smith Road, where he headed north before eventually coming to a stop.

“Gunfire was exchanged between officers on scene and the suspect,” Dennis said.

At the time of the news conference, no officers had been injured, Dennis said.

The FBI said “an armed subject attempt to breach” the facility’s Visitor Screening Facility.

“Upon the activation of an alarm and a response by armed FBI special agents, the subject fled northbound onto Interstate 71,” the statement said. “The FBI, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and local law enforcement partners are on scene near Wilmington, OH trying to resolve this critical incident.”

A federal law enforcement source told CNN the suspect was believed to be armed with a nail gun and AR-15. Another federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the incident told CNN FBI facilities around the country are reviewing their security posture in the wake of the incident.

FBI director condemns violence and threats

The incident follows violent rhetoric posted online after the FBI went to former President Donald Trump’s Florida home to serve a search warrant.

In a message reviewed by CNN on Thursday, FBI Director Chris Wray told the bureau’s employees their “safety and security” was his “primary concern right now.”

“There has been a lot of commentary about the FBI this week questioning our work and motives,” Wray said. “Much of it is from critics and pundits on the outside who don’t know what we know and don’t see what we see. What I know — and what I see — is an organization made up of men and women who are committed to doing their jobs professionally and by the book every day; this week is no exception.”

He released a public statement Thursday evening after the incident in Cincinnati.

“Unfounded attacks on the integrity of the FBI erode respect for the rule of law and are a serious disservice to the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect others,” he said. “Violence and threats against law enforcement, including the FBI, are dangerous and should be deeply concerning to all Americans.

In remarks Thursday announcing the US Justice Department has filed a motion to unseal the search warrant served to Trump’s Florida home, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he could not “stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants.”



Piastri’s stance has knock-on effects for other teams

LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Oscar Piastri’s rift with Alpine has also forced a change of plan at Williams and could have a knock-on effect around the Formula One paddock.

While the main focus has been on Renault-owned Alpine and McLaren, who both want the 21-year-old Australian to drive for them next season, tail-enders Williams have had to reassess their next step.

Alpine’s original plan was to loan their reserve, and last year’s Formula Two champion, to Williams for at least a year and possibly more until he returned as Fernando Alonso’s replacement.

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The principle was the same as when Mercedes placed George Russell for three seasons at Williams to learn the ropes before bringing him back as team mate to seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Talks were so far advanced that the Australian had a seat fitting at Williams and a contract for 2023 was drawn up between the two teams, with Alpine having already agreed on Piastri’s salary.

Then Alonso decided to race for Aston Martin next year and Piastri, offered the Alpine seat, said no — with a McLaren deal apparently more tempting. read more

Piastri would have replaced Canadian Nicholas Latifi at Williams, the only driver on the starting grid who has yet to score a point in 13 races this season, alongside British-born Thai Alexander Albon.

Latifi brings sponsorship and could potentially retain the seat, with many of the potential replacements lacking such financial clout.

With Alpine currently fourth in the championship and Williams last, the seat spurned by Piastri is the most attractive.

If Alpine do not take McLaren’s soon-to-be-discarded Australian Daniel Ricciardo, then they may be in the same market as Williams.

One possibility who stands out is current Formula E champion and 2019 Formula Two title-holder Nyck de Vries, a Mercedes F1 reserve who has already taken part in Friday first practice with Williams.

De Vries, 27, is also looking for a seat for 2023, with Mercedes pulling out of Formula E after selling their championship-leading team to McLaren.

Williams have 21-year-old American Logan Sargeant on their books, with team boss Jost Capito saying last month that he saw the F2 driver as a prospect for the future, but it may be too early for him. read more

The future of Mick Schumacher, currently with Ferrari-powered Haas, has yet to be determined while China’s former Alpine academy driver Guanyu Zhou is having a solid first season at Alfa Romeo.

Alfa, run by Swiss-based Sauber with former Renault team boss Fred Vasseur at the helm, have 18-year-old French F2 prospect Theo Pourchaire on their books as a talent for the future.

Beyond that there are racers looking for a way back into Formula One and others, such as India’s Jehan Daruvala, hoping for a door to open from the junior series.

“I’ve had all sorts of people (calling),” Alpine principal Otmar Szafnauer told Reuters this week. “Some of the guys in the junior formulas, some of the Formula E guys. Maybe eight or 10.”

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Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



Albuquerque killings: Muhammad Syed, described by police as a ‘primary suspect’ in the slaying of Muslim men, makes his first court appearance

Muhammad Syed, 51, of Albuquerque, is the “primary suspect” in the killings of four Muslim men that took place in the city between November and August, according to police.

He is being charged with two of the homicides, the August 1 killing of 27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and the July 26 killing of 41-year-old Aftab Hussein.

Syed was arrested Tuesday following tips from the public, authorities said. He was stopped by police while driving near Santa Rosa, New Mexico, more than 100 miles east of Albuquerque.

Authorities found firearms during a search of his home, as well as information showing Syed may have known the victims “to some extent” and that interpersonal conflict may have led to the killings, police said Tuesday

One of the recovered firearms has been linked to bullet casings found at the scenes of two of the killings, while casings for a handgun found in his car when he was stopped were linked to one of the scenes, according to the arrest affidavit.

Syed told police “he was driving to Texas to find a new place for his family to live because the situation in Albuquerque was bad,” referring to the killing of Muslim men, the affidavit said.

On Wednesday, he appeared in court via video from a detention center.

Muhammad Syed made his first appearance in court on Wednesday via video from a detention center.

Through a Pashto interpreter, he asked to address the court during his hearing. His attorney Megan Mitsunaga followed up asking the court not to take statements from her client.

Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court Judge Renée Torres also advised Syed that remaining silent would be the best thing for him to do. “Sounds good,” Syed said in response.

4 Muslim men were killed in Albuquerque.  Here's what we know about them

Syed’s case will be transferred to a district court. He is being held without bond in the meantime.

In announcing Syed’s arrest Tuesday, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said the department is working with the district attorney’s office on potential charges in the deaths of the two other men, 62-year-old Mohammad Zaher Ahmadi, killed November 7, 2021, and 25 -year-old Naeem Hussain, killed August 5 after attending a funeral for the two other victims.

There is evidence “strong enough that” authorities are continuing to view Syed as the “most likely person of interest or suspect” in those killings as well, deputy commander of the Albuquerque Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division Kyle Hartsock said.

Syed denied any involvement in the killings during an interview with police on Tuesday, according to the arrest affidavit.

The killings and how the investigation unfolded

The killings that Syed is being charged with — of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain — happened just days apart and police quickly connected them after determining that casings found at both crime scenes were likely fired from the same firearm, Hartsock said.

“We quickly started looking at other cases that could be similar and identify that there might be a really active public threat,” Hartsock added.

That’s when police turned their attention to a different unsolved homicide in the city: the November 7 killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, an Afghan man who was found with a gunshot wound in the parking lot behind the business he ran with his brother.

All three of the killings involved Muslim men who were “ambushed with no warning, fired on and killed,” Hartsock said.

Hundreds of tips helped police identify and charge 'primary suspect'  in killings of Muslim men, police say.  Now they're searching for reason

Aftab Hussein was found July 26 with multiple gunshot wounds, lying next to a car, according to police. Detectives learned the gunman had waited behind a bush near the driveway where the victim usually parked his vehicle and fired multiple times through the bush, according to the complaint.

Muhammud Afzaal Hussain was found on August 1 with multiple gunshot wounds by officers who responded to reports of a drive-by shooting, the complaint states.

While police were still trying to piece together whether the three killings were connected, a fourth Muslim man, Naeem Hussain, was shot and killed before midnight on August 5.

The shootings caused panic within Albuquerque’s Muslim community, while also triggering hundreds of tips to law enforcement, authorities said Tuesday.

Who is Muhammad Syed?

Syed is a father of six whose family has been in the US for about six years since moving from Afghanistan, his daughter told CNN.

Hours before police announced Syed was a suspect, CNN was inside his home and spoke to his daughter, who offered insight on her father and what happened when they last saw each other, which was before his arrest and before authorities executed a search warrant on their family’s home. CNN has chosen not to name her daughter out of concern for her safety.

“My father is not a person who can kill somebody. My father has always talked about peace. That’s why we are here in the United States. We came from Afghanistan, from fighting, from shooting,” she told CNN.

The daughter told CNN she married a man in February 2018, and her father was not happy with the marriage at the time but had come to accept it more recently. She said her husband de ella was friends with two victims, Aftab Hussein and Naeem Hussain.

Syed previously had “a few minor misdemeanor arrests (from the Albuquerque Police Department) from domestic violence” and some other incidents, Hartsock said. All three previous domestic violence charges Syed faced were dismissed, Hartsock said.

CNN’s Ashley Killough, Ed Lavandera, Jason Hanna and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.



Kiely Rodni surveillance photo shows Truckee teen hours before disappearance

anew photo of Kiely Rodni shows the missing 16-year-old hours before she vanished on August 6 in Truckee.

The missing teen was last seen at a party at a campground, but the security camera image shows her earlier in the night at a Truckee business.

The picture shows Kiely in a black bodysuit, green pants and black Vans shoes as she stood among racks of apparel and other merchandise. That photo was taken hours before she attended a party with hundreds of other young people at the Prosser Family Campground, according to the Placer County sheriff’s office.

Kiely Rodni, 16, is seen on surveillance video hours before she vanished after attending a party at a Truckee campground on Aug. 6, 2022. Photo: Placer County Sheriff (KTVU FOX 2)

The search for Kiely has widened in recent days with 265 officers from local, state, and federal agencies combing the campground and other nearby areas. Dive teams have started searching the Prosser Reservoir for signs of her de ella or her Honda CRV de ella, which has also not been found.

Kiely texted her mother to say she was going home from the party. Her cellphone pinged shortly after that, but she has been inactive for days, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office has reportedly said they were looking to see if Kiely had been abducted, although officials said Tuesday that this was still a missing person case.

Her mother had made a heartfelt plea for her return in a video released earlier this week.

“We just want her home. We’re so scared. We miss her so much and we love her,” her mother Lindsey Rodni-Nieman said as she choked back tears in a video shared by the sheriff’s office. “Kiely, we love you, and if you see this, please just come home. I want nothing more than to hug you.”



Shock, shame among some Muslims as Afghan accused of New Mexico murders

Participants in an interfaith memorial ceremony enter the New Mexico Islamic Center mosque to commemorate four murdered Muslim men, hours after police said they had arrested a prime suspect in the killings, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, US August 9, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Hay

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ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Muslims in New Mexico interviewed on Wednesday said they felt shock and shame at the arrest of a Muslim immigrant from Afghanistan in connection with the murders of four Muslim men.

Police on Tuesday said they detained 51-year-old Muhammad Syed. A motive for the killings remains unclear, but police said he may have acted on personal grudges, possibly with intra-Muslim sectarian overtones.

Syed denied being involved with any of the four killings when questioned by police, according to the New York Times.

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“We’re in complete total disbelief. Speechless. You know, kind of embarrassed to say he was one of our own,” said Mula Akbar, an Afghan-American businessman who said he had helped Syed settle in the city.

“His hatred of Shi’ites might have had something to do with it,” Akbar said.

Syed was from the Sunni branch of Islam and prayed together at Albuquerque’s Islamic Center of New Mexico (ICNM) mosque with most of the victims, three of whom were from the Shi’ite branch of Islam. All four victims were of Afghan or Pakistani descent. One was killed in November, the other three in the last two weeks.

Syed, who made his first appearance in court Wednesday, was formally charged with killing Aftab Hussein, 41, on July 26 and Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, 27, on Aug. 1.

Police said on Tuesday they were working with prosecutors on potential charges for the murders of Naeem Hussain, 25, a truck driver killed on Friday, and Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, shot dead on Nov. 7, 2021, outside the grocery store he ran with his brother in southeast Albuquerque.

It was not immediately clear if Syed had retained a lawyer.

Police declined to comment on rumors Syed was angry one of his daughters had eloped and married a Shi’ite man.

The daughter told CNN that her husband was friends with two of the men who were killed, Aftab Hussein and Naeem Hussain. The woman, who CNN did not name out of concern for her safety, said her father was not happy when she married in 2018 but had become accepting more recently.

“My father is not a person who can kill somebody. My father has always talked about peace. That’s why we are here in the United States. We came from Afghanistan, from fighting, from shooting,” she told CNN.

Palestinian-American Samia Assed said the Muslim community of around 4,000 in Albuquerque had worked to do to prevent violence they left behind in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“This took me back to 9/11 when I just wanted to hide under a rock,” said the human rights activist after she hosted an interfaith memorial at the ICNM, Albuquerque’s oldest and largest mosque.

“For this to happen it’s like setting us back 100 years,” she said.

The mosque is nonsectarian, serves mainly Sunnis from over 30 countries and has never before experienced violence of this kind, according to congregants interviewed by Reuters.

Syed is a truck driver, has six children, is from Pashtun ethnicity and arrived in the United States as a refugee about six years ago from Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province, said Akbar, a former US diplomat who worked on Afghan issues and helped found the Afghan Society of New Mexico.

Syed developed a record of criminal misdemeanors over the last three or four years, including a case of domestic violence, police said.

Video from February 2020 showed him slashing the tires of a vehicle at the ICNM believed to be owned by the family of the first known victim, Ahmadi, according to the mosque’s president, attorney Ahmad Assed.

“We’re in a surreal time trying to make sense of these senseless killings we’ve suffered,” he said.

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Reporting by Andrew Hay in Albuquerque; Editing by Donna Bryson, Howard Goller and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



2 arrested in fatal shooting of off-duty officer in Downey

Two people – including a 17-year-old – have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of an off-duty Monterey Park police officer who was gunned down outside an LA Fitness in Downey on Monday.

Gardiel Solorio, 26, was shot multiple times while sitting in his car outside the gym in a busy shopping center located in the 12000 block of Lakewood Boulevard Monday around 3:45 pm.

Officials said the suspect, Carlos Delcid, 20, approached Solorio as he was sitting inside his car and tried to rob him. Security footage shows Solorio’s car backing up and slamming into a parked van as he tried to get away. That’s when Delcid allegedly shot Solorio five times at close range, authorities said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Off-duty Monterey Park police officer shot, killed in Downey identified

Delcid fled the scene in a car driven by a 17-year-old, LA County DA George Gascón announced Wednesday. He said his office will also be filing charges against the getaway driver.

Delcid was arrested and charged with one count each of murder, attempted robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon with the special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed during a robbery.

Gascón said they will be seeking life without the possibility of parole for Delcid.

At this time authorities do not believe Solorio was targeted because he is a police officer.

“Senseless gun violence has once again taken someone who pledged to protect and serve others,” Gascón said.

Los Angeles County jail records show Delcid has been booked a half-dozen times in the past year — the most recent coming Tuesday, a day after Downey police arrested him. He is being held on $2 million bail.

RELATED: California cop killing suspect has violent rap sheet, domestic violence conviction in March

Solorio had joined the department as a recruit in January, but only graduated from the sheriff’s training academy on July 22, and began his field training on July 25.

“We all knew from the moment we met him that he had the heart of service and was going to be a great officer,” MPPD Chief Kelly Gordon said. “And I could tell that from the moment he walked in and did our first introductions in my office. The family and department are grieving right now, and this is an especially difficult tragedy. It’s a senseless act of violence. He was only 26 years old. I don’t know about all of you, but I have children that age. So to me this is particularly difficult.”

Friends of Solorio said he dreamed of being a policeman since he was a child.

“He was living his dream. Why would someone kill him outside the gym?” a friend said.

A procession was held Monday night as Solorio’s body was transported from the crime scene to the LA County coroner’s office.

Solorio is survived by his parents, brothers, sisters and fiancée. His family of him has started a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses



Sesame Place announces diversity initiatives after accusations of racial bias

Last month, a Black family accused Sesame Place Philadelphia character performers of racial discrimination and filed a lawsuit against parent company SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in federal court in Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Quinton Burns and his child, says that during their visit to Sesame Place in June, employees dressed as “Sesame Street” characters only interacted with White visitors during a meet and greet event.

By the end of September, all employees will undergo training and education programs led by national experts, Sesame Place said in a statement Tuesday. The programs are designed to address bias, promote inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure guests and employees feel welcome, it added.

“Initiatives include a comprehensive racial equity assessment, the development and implementation of an anti-bias training and education program, and enhancements to ensure a best-in-class diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) program,” it said.

“The racial equity assessment will include a review of policies, processes, and practices that impact guests, employees, suppliers and the community to identify opportunities for improvement.”

The training will become a regular part of workforce development, and will extend to all new employees.

“We have already begun engaging with employees, guests, civil rights groups as well as community leaders, and instituted some interim measures at the park while the review proceeds. The actions we are taking will help us deliver on our promise to provide an equitable and inclusive experience for all our guests every day,” said Cathy Valeriano, president of Sesame Place Philadelphia. “We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included and enriched by their visits to our park.”

The lawsuit alleges that employees dressed as “Sesame Street” characters Elmo, Ernie, Telly Monster and Abby Cadabby refused to engage with the Burns family and ignored other Black guests in attendance.

The lawsuit did not specify the race of the employees or describe the interaction in detail. It came on the heels of a public apology from amusement park officials to another Black family after a video went viral on social media showing two Black children seemingly snubbed by the Rosita character.

In addition to monetary demands, the lawsuit asked the court to compel the defendants to issue a formal apology to Black Americans.

It also asked the company to conduct psychological screenings to avoid hiring racially mustachioed people, provide existing employees with mandatory cultural sensitivity training and hire a national expert to educate them on the history of discrimination against Black people in America.

CNN’s Lauren del Valle contributed to this report.