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Football player charged with manslaughter in Alabama high school shooting

An Alabama high school junior has been charged with manslaughter in a shooting on campus Wednesday afternoon that left a female classmate dead.

Michael Jerome Barber, 17, of Birmingham, is also charged with one count of certain persons forbidden to possess a pistol, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. 

The second charge stems from allegations that Barber brought the pistol that killed Courtlin La’shawn Arrington, also 17, onto the campus of Huffman High School, the DA’s office reported in a news release

Arrington, a senior and aspiring nurse, was pronounced dead at UAB Hospital about 30 minutes after the shooting, which took place around 3:45 p.m. during student dismissal. District Attorney Mike Anderton’s office reported for the first time Friday that the shooting took place in a classroom. 

“The District Attorney’s Office has examined the investigation of the Birmingham Police Department and the evidence collected by BPD,” Anderton said in a statement. “They have talked with many of the students in the school, in the classroom where the shooting took place and collected evidence from the scene.”

Based on that evidence, warrants were issued for Barber’s arrest, Anderton said. 

“Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Arrington, all of her friends and those whose lives would have been changed through her nursing dreams had this event not occurred,” Anderton said. “This is a parent’s worst nightmare. We expect the charges will be heard through the court system and justice meted out to the person responsible.”

No motive for the shooting has been released. Anderton said on Friday, however, that his office “stands strong with the Huffman High School Vikings, the Birmingham school board and the Birmingham Police Department in denouncing the continued use of firearms by anyone to settle disputes.”

“This is especially true for the students of our county, where they should be and feel safe in the learning environment of a school,” Anderton said

It was unclear if there was a dispute between Barber, a junior and wide receiver for the Huffman High Vikings, and Arrington. 

>> Read more trending news reported that Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring acknowledged Thursday that Huffman High has two working metal detectors, but that the devices were not in use the day of the shooting. Herring said she has already requested additional metal detectors for the school district. 

The school also had three school resource officers on campus Wednesday, but their whereabouts when the shots were fired have not been made public, said

Police investigators initially believed the shooting to possibly have been accidental since Barber was also injured, but they began to question that idea after viewing video recorded of the incident. The source of that video has not been made public. 

As the investigation progressed, detectives took Barber, who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg, into custody as a person of interest. Barber, who had been held in the Birmingham City Jail since being released from the hospital, was moved Friday to the Jefferson County Jail, where his bail had been set at $75,300. 

He was apparently bailed out of the county jail Friday afternoon. A woman named Makiya Barber, who identified herself as Michael Barber’s sister, posted a photo on Facebook that showed him in street clothes, sitting in the backseat of a car.

A photo filter put flower crowns on the siblings’ heads as they mugged for the camera. 

“Out the big ole gate!” Makiya Barber wrote. “Y’all can stop the fake friend request(s) now. God still gotta plan for the kid!”

[The social media post was made private after the publication of this article.]

In previous posts, Makiya Barber argued that the shooting that killed Arrington was an accident. 

“And what y'all NOT about to do is make my brother out to be this horrible unparented child,” she wrote in one post. “All the he say, she say ... we have the facts! 

“Rest in peace, baby girl, and my brother is gonna come out stronger and wiser.”

Another post pointed out the fact that detectives have footage of the shooting. 

“The police have footage and facts, so the countdown to see my brother is on! Mike Mike, I know you hungry!”

The post included several hashtags, including one offering prayers for the Arrington family and one that stated, “Everything for a reason.”

Arrington, who was due to graduate in two months, had already been accepted into college, where she planned to study nursing. Her Facebook page, which has since been turned into a memorial page, includes an introduction that reads, “SEN18R. Dream come true, gotta chase it. Future RN.”

Her last photo that she posted of herself appeared to be taken in the hallway of the school. It was posted the day before she was killed. 

Her photos also include images of her wearing scrubs. 

During a news conference held inside the school Wednesday night, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin spoke of the grief of losing a girl with a bright future. 

“I know that there’s an active investigation going on, but I just want to remind all of us we lost a person today, and not just a person, a student,” Woodfin said. “But I’m quickly reminded this is not just a student, this is someone’s daughter. Someone’s niece. Someone’s best friend. Someone’s granddaughter we lost. 

“This is a 17-year-old who, 30 days from now, would be 18. A graduating senior who had been accepted into college already, who had aspirations and dreams to be a nurse. So, we’re not just talking about some person. We’re talking about losing a part of our future. And our hearts are heavy.”

Herring kept Huffman High closed on Thursday, but the school’s doors reopened to students, faculty and staff Friday. The night of the shooting, she described Arrington as “one of (the district’s) brightest and best scholars.”

She told that Birmingham students will honor Arrington during the National School Walkout next Wednesday. They will stand outside for 18 minutes instead of 17, adding Arrington to the 17 students killed on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  

Man accused of killing 92-year-old roommate over her snoring

A New York City man was arrested early Thursday morning, accused of smothering his elderly roommate because he thought she snored too loudly, police said.

Enrique Leyva, 47, also served as a caretaker for Veronica Ivins, 92, for the past three years, neighbors in the pair’s SoHo neighborhood told the New York Post. Ivins lived in her rent-controlled apartment for at least 50 years, the neighbors said. 

The Post reported that it was Leyva who dialed 911, telling dispatchers he’d killed his roommate. NYPD officers who responded to the call said they found Ivins semi-conscious in her bed.

She was later pronounced dead at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Post reported. Citing police sources, the newspaper reported that Leyva admitted he held a pillow over Ivins’ face, then manually strangled her. 

>> Read more trending news

Video shot by reporters at the scene showed Leyva being removed from the Sullivan Street apartment building in handcuffs. 

Neighbor Brooklyn Lastra told WPIX that Leyva moved in with Ivins when the elderly woman’s daughter was dying of cancer. 

“It seemed he kind of weaseled his way into the apartment because she had no one else and didn’t want to be alone,” Lastra told the news station. “When the daughter passed, unfortunately, he stayed permanently.”

The Post reported that neighbors said they noticed Ivins’ normally neat, clean apartment begin to deteriorate to the point that the gas was cut off and mice and roaches began to infest the home. They also told the newspaper they heard Ivins and Leyva arguing loudly and often. 

Multiple neighbors said they called the authorities, including Adult Protective Services, to report possible abuse and neglect.

“I called 311, I called APS, and not once, but twice,” Megan Loveland told NBC New York. “Not only did I call, but other people called.”

Lastra described Ivins as an active woman who liked to travel, play bingo and see to her daily activities before Leyva moved in. 

“She went from wearing nice clothes and fur coats to wearing oversized T-shirts with holes in them that were covered in stains,” Lastra told the Post

The distraught neighbor lamented what she saw as a lack of action by authorities.

“You had multiple people in this building who were calling multiple agencies,” Lastra said. “This did not have to happen. She deserved better.” 

Baby found abandoned in cold hours after being born, police say

Police said they're trying to figure out what led a teenage mother to leave the baby she had just delivered on the doorstep of a home where she was staying early Friday as temperatures plunged below freezing.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities were dispatched just before 3:30 a.m. to the 3700 block of Leisure Lane near College Park, Fulton police Cpl. Partrena Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“A resident at that same location found the baby on the porch and notified police,” Smith told the newspaper.

The baby’s umbilical cord was still attached. Officials rushed the child to Grady Memorial Hospital for an evaluation. The baby’s condition was not immediately released.

Officers said a 17-year-old woman admitted that she had given birth to the child. She was taken to the hospital as well.

Police said Friday they're still trying to determine exactly what happened.

‘Hit him again’: Judge repeatedly orders man shocked in court, forces new trial

A Texas appeals court has overturned the guilty verdict of a man who a judge ordered shocked repeatedly with a stun belt during his trial. 

Terry Lee Morris, who was serving 60 years in prison for soliciting the sexual performance of a child, has been granted a new trial in the case, according to Texas Lawyer. Morris’ original trial was before 396th State District Judge George Gallagher.

Gallagher declined to comment when contacted by The Washington Post

Gallagher’s actions against Morris, 54, are laid out in the transcripts from his 2016 criminal trial in Fort Worth, according to the opinion issued Feb. 28 by Texas’ 8th District Court of Appeals.

“The trial transcript clearly shows that the trial judge, during a heated exchange with the defendant outside the presence of the jury, ordered his bailiff to electrocute the defendant three times with a stun belt -- not for legitimate security purposes, but solely as a show of the court’s power as the defendant asked the court to stop ‘torturing’ him,” the opinion written by Justice Yvonne T. Rodriguez stated

A stun belt is a device that is placed around a defendant’s leg or ankle during transport to and from court, as well as during a trial. If the defendant becomes violent or otherwise out of control, a shock can be delivered to subdue the person. 

Each shock delivered in the incident with Morris sent 50,000 volts through his body, Rodriguez wrote

Morris was then removed from the courtroom. He was offered the opportunity to return several times during his one-day trial, but told his trial lawyer he was afraid to do so. 

Because of Gallagher’s actions, which the court found violated Morris’s constitutional rights, Morris’ guilty verdict was overturned and his case remanded for a new trial. 

“While the trial court’s frustration with an obstreperous defendant is understandable, the judge’s disproportionate response is not. We do not believe that trial judges can use stun belts to enforce decorum,” Rodriguez wrote. “A stun belt is a device meant to ensure physical safety; it is not an operant conditioning collar meant to punish a defendant until he obeys a judge’s whim.”

The issue began even before testimony in Morris’ trial began, when Gallagher asked Morris for his plea in the case. Morris was accused of soliciting nude photos from the 15-year-old daughter of an ex-girlfriend. 

Morris refused to answer, instead pointing out that he had a pending federal lawsuit against both Gallagher and his own attorney, Fort Worth defense lawyer Bill Ray. The judge ordered the jury out of the courtroom and warned Morris about further outbursts.

Gallagher told Morris that any additional disruptions would lead either to him being removed from the courtroom or to use of the shock belt on him.

“All right, sir,” Morris said.

“Now, are you going to follow the rules?” Gallagher asked.

“Sir, I’ve asked you to recuse yourself,” Morris replied.

“Are you going to follow the rules?” Gallagher asked again.

“I have a lawsuit pending against you,” Morris said.

“Hit him,” Gallagher told the bailiff, who complied. 

After the first shock, Gallagher again asked if Morris would behave. The defendant responded by telling Gallagher he has a history of mental illness and was a client of MHMR (My Health My Resources), a community mental health center. 

“Hit him again,” Gallagher told the bailiff, according to the appeals court

Read the entire appeals court ruling below.

After the second shock, Gallagher continued asking Morris the same questions, while Morris accused the judge of torturing him. Morris said he was firing his attorney, at which point Gallagher began asking him about invoking his right to represent himself.

Morris continued to talk about his lawsuits and his mental health history, telling Gallagher he was “wrong for doing this” and that he was “torturing an MHMR client,” the transcripts showed.

“I take 17 pills a day for my disability, my MHMR disability,” Morris said. “You have no right to do this.”

“Are you going to behave?” Gallagher asked. 

“I have the right …,” Morris said.

“You have no right to disrespect the Court,” Gallagher said. 

The dispute continued as Morris again said he was firing his lawyer and the judge stating that they can discuss that decision. When he asked Morris how far he went in school, Morris said that was “beside the point.”

“There’s serious allegations that I have in the United States District Court against this man. No one wants to be represented by someone they have a lawsuit against,” Morris said. “No one wants a judge to preside over their case who the lawsuit is against. No one wants to be tortured because they’re an MHMR defendant, prevented from saying anything in the Court in front of the jury pertaining to any such cases such as the grand jury ….”

“Mr. Morris, are you going to answer my question?” Gallagher asked. 

“I’ve asked you, I’ve filed a motion asking …,” Morris began.

“Would you hit him again?” Gallagher asked the bailiff. 

“… to recuse yourself from the bench off my case,” Morris finished.

When Morris continued to talk after the third shock, Gallagher had him physically removed from the courtroom, the appeals court opinion stated. The judge found that Morris’ demeanor was “sufficient enough to have the defendant removed from trial and he will not be present in the courtroom until he continues, until he exhibits appropriate behavior or demeanor or wishes to come back into the courtroom,” the transcripts said. 

Neither the prosecutors nor the defense attorney objected to Gallagher’s actions, and the trial proceeded without Morris. 

The appeals court pointed out that Gallagher later read into the record his reasons for using the shock belt, which included what he called Morris’ increasing agitation. 

“Let the record reflect that within about five feet from where the defendant was standing there is an 87-inch electronic Smart Board that weighs over 200 pounds that is readily within reach of the defendant, that had he grabbed that board, could have brought it over to the counsel table to affect the safety of the lawyers, Mr. Ray and the two prosecutors that would be sitting within anywhere from three to five feet if he went the other way,” Gallagher said. “It was based on the totality of his continuing escalation and his movements that the Court ordered that the shock belt be initiated. It was done for the safety of the lawyers and all of the participants.”

Morris returned to court only briefly during the penalty phase after the jury found him guilty. 

>> Read more trending news

In ordering the reversal of Morris’ conviction, the appeals court determined that, despite the statement Gallagher read into the trial record, the judge had used the stun belt to enforce his standard of decorum for his courtroom, not for security purposes.

“Never before have we seen behavior like this, nor do we hope to ever see such behavior again,” Rodriguez wrote in the court’s opinion. “As the circumstances of this case perfectly illustrate, the potential for abuse in the absence of an explicit prohibition on non-security use of stun belts exists and must be deterred.”

“We must speak out against it, lest we allow practices like these to affront the very dignity of the proceedings we seek to protect and lead our courts to drift from justice into barbarism.”

Texas Lawyer reported that a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Morris, declined to comment on the reversal. 

Ray said he did not object to Gallagher’s use of the stun belt on Morris because his client was like a “loaded cannon ready to go off” that day, the magazine said. 

“That guy is out of control,” Ray said. “I was standing right next to him and I was scared of him. And I’ve stood next to some pretty nasty people.”

Lisa Mullen, the attorney who represented Morris on appeal, said she thought it was a “beautifully written” opinion. 

“I was so impressed and proud of our appellate system for standing up for what’s right,” Mullen told Texas Lawyer

She did say, however, that she has known Gallagher for decades and that he has always been fair in her dealings with him.

“I think this was just an aberration and a horrific one,” Mullen said


Miami Beach nightclub shut down after woman rode horse on dance floor

Police are investigating a South Florida nightclub after social media videos surfaced of a woman riding a horse inside the establishment. 

>> Read more trending news 

The videos were taken Thursday night at the Mokai Lounge in South Beach, Miami, according to NBC6.

>> Woman tests hotel’s pet policy by bringing in a horse

The multiple videos, which aren’t embedded due to the nature of the content, show a woman in lingerie riding the animal until she was flung off it when the horse bucked, the Palm Beach Post reported. There is also a large group of people surrounding the animal, which “became startled,” WSVN reported. 

“We are very concerned over the allegations. As such, we have launched a joint investigation with the City of Miami Beach Code Enforcement,” the Miami Beach Police Department wrote on Twitter Friday morning. 

Miami City Manager Jimmy Morales ordered the club's business license to be revoked Friday while the investigation continues.

Read more at NBC6 and WSVN

14-year-old girl rescued, 2 arrested after prostitution sting

Teen girls as young as 14 years old were rescued this week following a prostitution sting in Georgia, police in Cobb County said.

>> Read more trending news

Brandon Myers and Jasmine Avery, both of Smyrna, were arrested on pimping charges Wednesday at a Marietta Days Inn on Northwest Parkway, according to jail records.

They are accused in arrest warrants of pimping out three suspected prostitutes. The teens were allegedly forced to create ads on and use a texting app to talk to clients.

“I think that’s absolutely disgusting,” Logan Life, who works near the motel, told WSBTV. “The men who enjoy that, the men who allow that, that's wrong.”

Police said they recovered a gun from the motel room, the news station reported.

This is the second prostitution sting at the Marietta Days Inn since October.

Two metro Atlanta men were arrested that month after trying to meet up with what they thought was a 14-year-old girl for sex. The girl was actually an undercover Marietta cop.

In the recent sting, Myers and Avery are being held at the Cobb County Jail.

Avery faces misdemeanor charges of pimping and keeping a place of prostitution, according to jail records.

Myers faces charges of misdemeanor pimping, felony pimping a child and possession of a firearm by a felon.

He also faces a misdemeanor charge of giving a false name, address or birthdate to a law enforcement officer, according to jail records.

Convicted felon kills landlord over $30 rent increase, police say

A Wisconsin man is accused of shooting his landlord in the back of the head over a $30 rent increase, rolling the elderly man’s body in a blanket and stashing it in a garage before visiting his probation officer and going out for drinks, police said.

Jason Christopher Tilley, 37, of Cudahy, was arrested Sunday on charges of first-degree intentional homicide and possession of a firearm by a felon. His bail was set at $750,000, but he is also being held in the Milwaukee County Jail on a probation hold, jail records show

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the 70-year-old victim’s wife called Greenfield police on March 1 when he failed to return home from a meeting with a tenant at his rental property in Cudahy. Fox 6 News reported that the woman identified the tenant as a man named Jason.

When an officer went to Tilley’s apartment to talk to him, he was not home, the news station reported. The officer noticed what appeared to be blood on the door and door frame of the unit, according to a criminal complaint.  

Two officers returned to the building the next day, at which point they looked in the garage and “observed what appeared to be a pool of blood that led to a large blanket rolled up against the wall,” Fox 6 reported

The victim’s body was found rolled up in the blanket, officials said.

His autopsy showed the victim died of a single gunshot wound to the head, the Journal Sentinel reported

Police officials said the landlord’s daughter reported finding her father’s car abandoned in a parking lot about seven miles from the apartment building. The criminal complaint stated that surveillance footage from the area showed a man parking the car, getting out and catching a bus nearby.

The Journal Sentinel reported that a police officer identified the man in the footage as Tilley.

When questioned by detectives, Tilley said he paid his landlord $560 in cash for his rent, but became upset when he was told the rent was being increased to $590. Though he initially denied any confrontation, he ultimately admitted to the shooting, police said. 

He told investigators he had a handgun in the pocket of his hoodie when they went into the garage while discussing the rent. Tilley told investigators “while they were talking, the victim turned away from him and that when he did, Tilley took out the gun and shot the victim,” Fox 6 reported

Tilley said he took cash from the landlord’s pocket, along with his car keys, the Journal Sentinel reported. He then hid the man’s body before taking the car and abandoning it where the victim’s daughter later spotted it. 

>> Read more trending news

Before heading to his probation officer’s office, Tilley went to Walmart and bought new clothes, leaving his old ones behind, the complaint stated. After leaving his probation appointment -- where he had to give a urine sample -- he went to a bar.

Tilley said he “had some beers and shots, went home and then got up and went to work the next day,” Fox 6 reported

Tilley was arrested at his job at the Patrick Cudahy meat packing plant.

WISN in Milwaukee reported that Tilley faces life in prison if convicted of murder and 10 years if convicted of the weapons charge. Wisconsin court records show an extensive criminal history for Tilley, who has previously faced charges including robbery, battery, burglary, cocaine possession and driving with a revoked license.

All those cases, stemming from 1998 to 2011, are listed as closed. Most of them ended with felony convictions. 

A 2018 case filed on Valentine’s Day involves harassment and a restraining order, the court records show. That case, originating in nearby Kenosha County, lists the Cudahy crime scene as Tilley’s address. 

Tilley was issued an injunction in the case, though details of the injunction were not available. 

The landlord’s slaying marks the first homicide investigation in Cudahy since 2016, WTMJ-TV reported.

Residents of the building where the homicide took place expressed shock over their landlord’s death.

“He was such a nice guy, he really was,” resident Leo Trudeau told the news station. “He was a decent human being.”

Sharon Cebula said she saw the victim outside the building shortly before he was killed. 

“I seen him, the landlord, that afternoon and then later I went to go pick up my son, and the landlord’s car was there and the garage door was open,” Cebula said. “When I came home an hour later, that car was gone and the garage door was closed.” 

Cebula said that Tilley, who lived in the apartment above hers, was behind on his rent, and another tenant -- who declined to be named -- said Tilley had an eviction notice posted on his door. 

Still, those who lived around him did not anticipate their neighbor being capable of killing someone.

“If he did do it, I think he deserves the full max of punishment,” Cebula said

Police: Woman with positive drug test claims 'medical meth' prescription

A woman in New Mexico who violated her probation by testing positive for methamphetamine offered an unusual defense, authorities said.

Ginger Sharpe, 34, told her parole officer in Albuquerque Monday that she had a prescription for "medical meth," KOB reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Authorities said Sharpe told them that a doctor in Farmington had written the prescription, and she even had a prescription bottle with a label that said "meth tablets," KOB reported.

Sharpe was arrested on forgery charges and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center

Student held in Alabama school shooting that killed 17-year-old girl

A 17-year-old student has been taken into custody in connection with a Wednesday afternoon shooting at an Alabama high school that left one girl dead. 

Birmingham police officials have not named the student, but they issued a statement Thursday morning that gave scant information on the investigation into the shooting at Huffman High School that left Courtlin La’shawn Arrington, also 17, dead. 

“Detectives of the Birmingham Police Department have been working through the night reviewing evidence, video and statements on the tragic incident that took place at Huffman High School yesterday,” read the statement, obtained by “Due to their diligent work, a person of interest has been taken into custody.”

The shooting took place around 3:45 p.m., during afternoon dismissal. Arrington, who reported received CPR at the scene, was taken to UAB Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later. 

Charges are pending a review by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the statement read. Because no charges have been filed, the department will not release information on the person in custody. reported that, although police officials initially reported that the shooting appeared to be accidental, that classification came into question when it was discovered that the shooting was caught on video.

The video led investigators to pursue charges against the student, a boy who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg in the incident, said. He was treated and released from an emergency room before being taken in for questioning. 

Arrington, who was due to graduate in two months, planned to study nursing. Her Facebook page includes an introduction that reads, “SEN18R. Dream come true, gotta chase it. Future RN.”

Her last photo that she posted of herself appeared to be taken in the hallway of the school. It was posted the day before she was killed. 

Her photos also include images of her wearing scrubs. 

During a news conference held inside the school Wednesday night, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin spoke of the grief of losing a girl with a bright future. 

“I know that there’s an active investigation going on, but I just want to remind all of us we lost a person today, and not just a person, a student,” Woodfin said. “But I’m quickly reminded this is not just a student, this is someone’s daughter. Someone’s niece. Someone’s best friend. Someone’s granddaughter we lost. 

“This is a 17-year-old who, 30 days from now, would be 18. A graduating senior who had been accepted into college already, who had aspirations and dreams to be a nurse. So, we’re not just talking about some person. We’re talking about losing a part of our future. And our hearts are heavy.”

Birmingham police Chief Orlando Wilson offered condolences to the families of both teens, who at the time of the news conference were both classified as victims. 

“We have an ongoing investigation. With that investigation, we are going to sort out the information as it comes,” Wilson said. “Wherever (that information) takes us, then we’ll act accordingly. Right now, we have a lot of unanswered questions.”

Wilson choked up when asked about the task of telling a parent that their child was killed at school, where students are supposed to be safe. 

“The best I can say is that’s a hard one, and we had to do it,” Wilson said after pausing to collect his thoughts. “It has been done. That parent now knows what happened to their child.”

He paused again before shaking his head.

“I don’t know how you tell a parent,” Wilson said. 

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring spoke about losing two of the city’s students, Arrington to her wounds and the other teen to the consequences of the shooting. 

“Our goal is to reassure our parents that, as much as we can, we’ll work to keep our schools safe,” Herring said. “But our hearts and our minds are on the families tonight.”

Herring questioned how school district officials can reassure parents, faculty and students that a school is safe following a shooting inside its walls, but said she and her staff would work to do so every day, including heightening security at Huffman and the city’s other 40-plus public schools. 

She also praised the response of Huffman’s administrators, faculty and staff. 

“Our principal and the staff here at Huffman High School, for as much as they have been able to tackle a very difficult day, have done an exceptional job of trying to provide care and concern for those who were in the building and those who exited out,” Herring said.  

>> Read more trending news

Though Herring initially said that the school would be open Thursday, and that a crisis team would be on hand to help students and staff through the day, district officials announced just before midnight that the school would be closed instead. 

“The magnitude of this event causes us to pause. I have decided to close Huffman High School tomorrow for students and staff,” Herring said in a statement. “This delay will provide us an opportunity to provide a thorough safety sweep of the school. This will also allow us to coordinate with organizations in the community to provide counseling support to both students and staff. 

“During this time, we will continue to collaborate with the chief of police and the Birmingham Police Department to implement additional safety precautions and provide additional police presence at the school when students return. We want to assure our parents, students, staff and community that safety and security are a top priority for Birmingham City Schools.”

Woodfin also ordered the flags at city facilities be flown at half-staff in mourning. 

The mayor said during Wednesday night’s news conference that it is important the public mourn with Arrington’s family and wrap its collective arms around the Huffman High School community. 

“The Birmingham City Schools system and our entire Birmingham community is in mourning and grief right now,” Woodfin said. 

Canadian police release graphic image of potential Bruce McArthur victim as death toll reaches 7 

Toronto police investigators on Monday released a gruesome image of a dead man they believe was a victim of accused serial killer Bruce McArthur, calling the release a last-resort effort to identify the man.

They also revealed that they have discovered dismembered remains of a seventh victim in the case. The body parts, like those of six other men, were found hidden in large potted plants confiscated from a home where McArthur, 66, stored his landscaping equipment. 

Detective Sgt. Hank Idsinga, the lead investigator on the McArthur case, said during a news conference Monday that he did not want to release the image, which he acknowledged that some viewers would find disturbing. 

“The release of evidence by the Toronto Police Service has to strike a balance between the public interest and the fair court process due to Mr. McArthur,” Idsinga said. “We solve many crimes through the release of evidence to the media.” 

Idsinga said that thus far, the police agency’s investigative techniques have been unsuccessful in identifying the dead man. He urged those who saw or shared the image to be considerate toward those who might know the victim.

“I would ask the media to be mindful that by broadcasting this picture, a family member or friend, not realizing that their loved one is deceased, may come to that realization from the moment they come to view the picture,” Idsinga said

The photo, unveiled to silence from reporters, shows a bearded, dark-skinned man in a gray T-shirt, his eyes and mouth partially open. He appears to fit the physical profile of several of McArthur’s suspected victims. 

Watch the entire news conference here. Warning: The photo shown during the media event may not be suitable for all readers. 

Idsinga refused to say how investigators came to possess the photo, which was digitally cleaned up to make it presentable to the public. The Toronto Star reported, however, that sources said detectives uncovered “reams of evidence” in the case, including images linked to McArthur.

Mark Valois, a former Toronto homicide detective, told the Star that the photo, if obtained from McArthur, could potentially be a “trophy” kept by the suspected serial killer to relive the crime.

“It wouldn’t surprise me,” Valois told the newspaper. “There very well could be photographs of some victims.”

The Star also reported that photos like the one released Monday could help explain how investigators have been able to name six alleged McArthur victims, even though not all the remains found in the case have been positively identified. 

Of the six men McArthur, who was arrested Jan. 18, is charged with killing, only remains of Andrew Kinsman, 49, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, have been positively identified. Kinsman, a former boyfriend of McArthur’s, was identified through fingerprints.

Mahmudi and Navaratnam, who also reportedly dated McArthur before his 2010 disappearance, were identified through dental records.

McArthur is also charged with killing Majeed Kayhan, 58, Selim Esen, 44, and Dean Lisowick, 47, though it is not yet known if they are among the victims discovered dismembered and buried in planters. 

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Police confiscated planters from more than 30 properties where McArthur had done landscaping work, though remains have only been found in the planters kept at the Mallory Crescent home where he stored his equipment. The homeowners allowed McArthur to keep his equipment on their property in exchange for the upkeep of their own lawn.  

Idsinga told CTV News last month that McArthur’s Thorncliffe Park apartment is also considered a crime scene. Investigators believe some of the victims were killed there.

A man was found alive and tied to McArthur’s bed in that apartment at the time of his Jan. 18 arrest, police said. Officers who had McArthur under surveillance in the disappearances of multiple men saw the man go into his apartment with McArthur and, believing him to be in danger, forced their way inside. 

The man was not harmed.

Navaratnam and Kayhan were two of three men who went missing from Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village area, a predominantly gay downtown neighborhood that is also known as Gay Village. A third man, Abdulbasir Faizi, has not been named a victim of the suspected serial killer, though his abandoned car was found a short distance from McArthur’s home.  

Idsinga reiterated during the news conference that the charges involving specific victims do not necessarily correspond to the remains found. He declined to give details of the evidence that led to each murder charge. 

The seventh set of remains has not been connected to the man in the photo, Idsinga said. He pointed out that the remains found thus far were in varying states of decomposition. 

“Doctors from Ontario Forensic Pathology Services have been doing some very difficult and time-consuming work in attempting to reconstruct these remains and identify them,” Idsinga said. “(The doctors) have been working tirelessly for weeks to put this very crucial part of the case together.” 

Tests are ongoing in attempts to identify the rest of the remains, he said. 

Reporters asked how unusual it was for detectives to release a photo of a victim’s body during an investigation. 

“I’ve never done this, and I do it with great hesitation,” Idsinga said. “It’s obviously a key piece of evidence that we have, that we’re releasing, but we do feel that by releasing it, hopefully we can identify him and close off that area of investigation.”

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