Gunman kills five people in California, then himself

In this file photo taken on November 17, 2017 A Bakersfield police vehicle makes patrols in Bakersfield, Kern County, California.(File/AFP)
Updated 13 September 2018

Gunman kills five people in California, then himself

LOS ANGELES: A man went on a shooting rampage in California on Wednesday, killing five people including his wife, before taking his own life, a police spokesman told AFP.
The shooting in Bakersfield in central California was possibly “a domestic violence incident,” said Lt. Mark King of the Kern County sheriff’s office.
Police received their first call at 5:19 p.m. before responding to the first location, a trucking company, where the rampage began.
Three people were killed there and the shooter, armed with a large caliber handgun.
Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters that the suspect first shot a man at the trucking company and then killed his wife. He chased a person who had witnessed the shooting and killed that person, too.
He reportedly then fled and shot two people at a house.
Police then received a call from a woman who said she had been carjacked. Officers gave chase and the suspect pulled into a business, got out of the car and shot himself, King said.
The fatalities were three men and two women. No names were released.
“This is the new normal,” said Youngblood. He said the officer who confronted the suspect wore a body camera, but the footage has not been released.
It was the latest chapter of America’s epidemic of gun violence.
Americans make up only four percent of the global population but they own 40 percent of the world’s firearms, according to a recent study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States — more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey.
According to Gun Violence Archive, the mass shooting in Bakersfield is the third deadliest in the United States this year after a shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead and one at a school in Santa Fe, Texas, in May that left 10 people dead.


Jailed Wikileaks founder Assange no longer in solitary, health improving

Updated 59 min 39 sec ago

Jailed Wikileaks founder Assange no longer in solitary, health improving

  • Assange was moved from solitary confinement in the medical wing to a different part of the prison with 40 other inmates
  • WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson: He has improved thanks to the pressure from his legal team, the general public, and amazingly, actually from other inmates

LONDON: Jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is no longer being kept in solitary confinement and his health is improving, his spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told reporters on Tuesday.
Assange, 48, is in Belmarsh high-security prison in London, fighting an extradition request from the United States where he faces 18 counts including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades in prison if convicted.
His supporters had expressed concern about the state of his health after he appeared confused during a court hearing in October, struggling to recall his age and name and saying he was unable to think properly.
Assange was moved from solitary confinement in the medical wing to a different part of the prison with 40 other inmates after his legal team and prisoners complained that his treatment was unfair, Hrafnsson said.
“I saw him about 10 days ago — he has improved thanks to the pressure from his legal team, the general public, and amazingly, actually from other inmates in Belmarsh Prison to get him out of isolation,” Hrafnsson said ahead of an extradition hearing that starts next week.
Australian-born Assange made global headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified US military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
WikiLeaks later angered the United States by publishing caches of leaked military documents and diplomatic cables.
Assange has consistently presented himself as a champion of free speech being persecuted for exposing abuses of power. But his critics paint him as a dangerous figure complicit in Russian efforts to undermine the West.
He fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning about allegations of sex crimes which have since been dropped. He spent seven years holed up in the embassy until Ecuador decided to stop giving him refuge and he was dragged out last May.
Earlier, a group of doctors representing 117 physicians and psychologists from 18 nations called in a letter for an end to what they described as “the psychological torture and medical neglect of Julian Assange.”
His father, John Shipton, said Assange’s long confinement indoors had damaged his health and feared that sending his son to the US would be akin to a “death sentence.”
“His situation is dire, he has had nine years of ceaseless psychological torture where false accusations are constantly being made,” he told reporters.