Violent crime in Detroit shadows the landscape like its rows of abandoned buildings, but now the city faces a new precedent, even as gun-related killings decline nationwide: More people were killed here last year than at any time in the past 20 years.
"America has a problem with guns, but the epicenter seems to be here in Detroit," Interim Detroit Police Chief Chester Logan said at a news conference Thursday, as city officials reported 386 criminal homicides in 2012, the highest since 1992.
"As the chief of police in the city of Detroit, I take a certain amount of blame for the spiraling gunplay in the city," he said, "but one of the things you should realize, and everybody here in this room should realize, is that gunplay is a national problem.”
Logan is correct: The United States is in the throes of another cultural self-examination about guns after the horrific deaths of 20 children and six adults at the hands of a 20-year-old gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
GATESVILLE, Texas (AP) — Jerry Hartfield was still a young man when an uncle visited him in prison to tell him that his murder conviction had been overturned and he would get a new trial.
Not long afterward, he was moved off of death row.
"A sergeant told me to pack my stuff and I wouldn't return. I've been waiting ever since for that new trial," Hartfield, now 56, said during a recent interview at the prison near Gatesville where he's serving life for the 1976 robbery and killing of a Bay City bus station worker. He says he's innocent.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Hartfield's murder conviction in 1980 because it found a potential juror improperly was dismissed for expressing reservations about the death penalty. The state tried twice but failed to get the court to re-examine that ruling, and on March 15, 1983 — 11 days after the court's second rejection — then-Gov. Mark White commuted Hartfield's sentence to life in prison.
(AP) A man with domestic problems fatally shot eight people, including a pregnant woman and two children, after taking alcohol and drugs in a rampage Friday near the Philippine capital that ended when he was shot dead by police, officials said.
At least eight other people were wounded in Kawit township, about 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Manila, Cavite provincial Gov. Jonvic Remulla said.
The violence happened days after the death of a 7-year-old girl who was hit in the head by a stray bullet during New Year's Eve revelry in Manila sparked public criticism over lax gun control in the Philippines. Friday's rampage fueled pressure for more assertive action by authorities to deal with unlicensed firearms.
Ronald Bae, who was killed in the shootout with responding police, had been on a "drug and alcohol binge" with his friends since Monday, drinking and taking methamphetamine, Remulla said.
If a stranger attacks you inside your own home, the law has always permitted you to defend yourself. On the other hand, if an altercation breaks out in public, the law requires you to try to retreat. At least, that's what it used to do.
In 2005, Florida became the first of nearly two-dozen states to pass a "stand your ground" law that removed the requirement to retreat. If you felt at risk of harm in a park or on the street, you could use lethal force to defend yourself. The shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., drew national attention to these laws.
Now, researchers who've studied the effect of the laws have found that states with a stand your ground law have more homicides than states without such laws.
"These laws lower the cost of using lethal force," says Mark Hoekstra, an economist with Texas A&M University who examined stand your ground laws. "Our study finds that, as a result, you get more of it."
Four armed robbers are today being hunted by Paris police after £1million of goods was taken in the first ever organised raid on an Apple Store in France.
One worker was injured in the News Year's Eve attack on the shop in the Opera district of the French capital.
It took place at around 9pm on Monday, three hours after the close of business on the flagship store, which had reported outstanding business over Christmas and New Year.
Police believe it was coordinated to take place as police dealt with large crowds building up for the New Year Eve’s celebrations on the Champs Elysee and by the Eiffel Tower.
The robbers, who were masked and carrying handguns, are believed to have attacked a security guard before helping themselves to smartphones and tablets.
NEW DELHI (AP) — A bone test is being conducted to confirm the age of a young suspect in custody in the fatal assault and gang rape of a woman on a bus in India's capital, while prosecutors will seek the death penalty for five other men arrested with him, police said.
The six will be formally charged in court on Thursday on accusations that they kidnapped, gang raped and murdered the 23-year-old woman in New Delhi on Dec. 16, police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said Tuesday.
Media reports say some 30 witnesses have been gathered, and the charges have been detailed in a document running more than 1,000 pages.
Outraged Indians have been demanding the death penalty for the six men, holding demonstrations almost every day since the rape. Murder is punishable by death and rape by life imprisonment. But juveniles — those below 18 years of age — cannot be prosecuted for murder.
Another police officer said a bone test is being conducted to determine if the youngest suspect is indeed a juvenile. If the test determines he is 18 years or older he will be treated as an adult, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose sensitive information.
Doctors can confirm a person's age by evaluating X-rays and determining the maturity of the person's bones.
The brutality of the case has made Indians confront the reality that sexual violence is deeply entrenched in the society. Women face daily harassment, from catcalls on streets and groping in buses to rapes. Often police refuse to accept complaints by female victims and even accuse them of inviting unwanted male attention by dressing provocatively. Families also dissuade victims from coming forward in the belief that it will ruin their reputations.
Activists hope the savage assault on the woman, a physiotherapy student, will shake off the taboo and make authorities take such cases more seriously.
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