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Tag: Texas

Veteran ATF Agent Dies During Training Exercise in Texas

Paul “Scott” Ragsdale of Rockwall

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF Agent Paul “Scott” Ragsdale of Rockwall, 41,  died Thursday from an apparent heart attack during training in Coppell, Tex., NBC 5 News reports. He was a senior operation officer in the Dallas Division and joined ATF 16 years ago

Rockwall was learning arrest techniques when he suffered an apparent cardiac arrest, ATF said.

He was rushed by ambulance to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Grapevine where he was pronounced dead. , the ATF said in a statement.

“If you knew Scott, you knew laughter, you knew how much he loved his family, you knew a great guy,”  Jeffrey Boshek, ATF’s agent in charge in Dallas, said, according to the station. “Scott wasn’t just a colleague, he was a friend.”

Border Patrol Agent Fatally Shoots Woman Illegally Crossing the Border

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent shot and killed a woman crossing the border illegally near Laredo, Tex., on Wednesday after the officer came under attack, federal authorities said, according to a report in the New York Times:

The officer was searching for “illegal activity” in a culvert on a residential street in Rio Bravo, a border town about seven miles south of Laredo, when a group of undocumented immigrants started to hit him with “blunt objects,” United States Customs and Border Protection said. The officer, whose name was not released, fired at least one shot with his handgun, fatally striking the woman in the head.

A woman who lives next door to the site of the shooting disputed the federal agency’s account of the events, saying that the property does not have a culvert and that she did not see any weapons that the group could have used.

“They were on the very corner on that lot where there was a tree,” the woman, Marta V. Martinez, said in an interview Thursday morning. “There was no weapon. They were hiding.”

FBI Tracked Record 30 Mass Shootings in 2017

Gun seized in Las Vegas as part of operation/dea photo

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI reported 30 active shootings in 2017, more than any year on record, according to a recently released report by the bureau. 

The 30 reported active shootings are an increase over the 20 reported in 2016.

Between 2016 and 2017, 221 people were killed and 722 people injured.

Most active shootings took place in Florida, California and Texas.

Those years also saw the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. The Las Vegas music festival shooting left 58 people dead and 489 injured in 2017.

In 2016, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orland, Fla., killed 49 people and wounded another 53.

The combined 50 shootings in 2016 and 2017 came at the hands of men acting by themselves.

Building a Border Wall in Rio Grande Valley Is Fraught with Challenges, Potential Lawsuits

The Rio Grande in Big Bend.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Building a wall along the busiest stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border – the Rio Grande Valley – has proven to be much trickier than Donald Trump suggested during his presidential campaign. 

That’s because land along the Rio Grande River in this area is essentially a floodplain where construction is prohibited under water treaties with Mexico. Much of the land also is owned by resident and businesses.

The Los Angeles Times examined communities along the river and found that erecting a wall presents a monumental challenge fraught with potential lawsuits from landowners, environmental groups and even Mexico. 

Congress approved $1.6 billion in March to build a border wall and fencing along 100 miles of land in Texas, California and New Mexico. About 33 miles of that is in the Rio Grand Valley, where Border Patrol most needs the help.

But which border towns along the Rio Grand Valley get a wall is still unclear.

Israel Cantu Amador, who lives along the Rio Grande, said he’d rather see more Border Patrol agents than a wall.

“It’s nonsense,” the 65-year-old said. “Iron gates, wooden gates — they’re going to come through.”

Austin Serial Bomber Described Self as ‘Psychopath’ with No Remorse

Serial bomber Mark Conditt was captured on surveillance mailing two bomb-laden packages.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Austin serial bomber who terrorized the Texas capital in a spate of explosions that killed two people and wounded five others described himself in a cell phone recording as a “psychopath” who felt no remorse.

“I was I were sorry but I am not,” Mark Conditt said in a recording found on his cell phone after he blew himself up with a bomb early Wednesday morning, the Austin Statesman reports, citing sources familiar with the so-called “confession.”

The 23-year-old, who said he’s been disturbed since childhood, pledged to blow himself up if authorities closed in on him.

The 28-minute recording, which police have declined to release because they’re using it as evidence, offered no clues about Conditt’s motives or how he chose his victims.

Authorities suspect there were more recordings stored on his laptop, which was destroyed in the explosion.

In the recording, Conditt said he regretted going into a FedEx store in suburban Austin to mail two homemade bombs because he and his red pickup truck were captured on surveillance videos, which helped authorities identify him.

Police believe the recording was made at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, about five hours before police tracked him down behind a motel in suburban Austin.

Police: Serial Bombing Suspect Was Troubled But Not Motivated by Hate

Serial bombing suspect Mark Conditt.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The unemployed 23-year-old who blew himself up after authorities said he was behind a spate of violent explosions that terrorized the Texas capital for three weeks was not motivated by hate, according to interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley.

Rather, the serial bombing suspect, Mark Conditt, who was home-schooled and dropped out of community college, was acting out because he was struggling to adjust to adulthood, Manley said after investigators watched a 25-minute cell phone video “confession.”

“He does not at all mention anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate,” Manley told the Austin Statesman.“But instead it is the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life.”

Police have not yet released the video or disclosed in detail what Conditt said in the confession.

Conditt’s alleged reign of terror, which included four package bombs that detonated in Austin and killed two people and injured several others, ended early Wednesday morning with a brief police chase that resulted in Conditt detonating a homemade bomb in his red pickup truck, killing himself and injuring a police officer.

Suspected Serial Bomber Blows Self Up Following Police Chase

Interim Police Chief Brian Manley speaks to the media just hours after the suspected serial bomber was killed.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The suspected serial bomber who has terrorized Austin, Texas, in a deadly string of explosions this month blew himself up in his car after a brief police pursuit early Wednesday morning, local and federal law enforcement officials told reporters at 6 a.m.

An Austin police officer suffered minor injuries in the explosion.

Acting on numerous tips, authorities tracked down the 24-year-old white man in a car in the rear of a hotel along Interstate 35 in the Austin suburb of Round Rock.

While police waited for ballistic vehicles to arrive, the suspect drove off, prompting a brief chase that ended when the suspect stopped in a ditch on the side of the road. As the SWAT team approached, the suspect detonated a bomb, injuring one officer and prompting another to fire his weapon.

The suspect, who was gravely injured, was struck with a bullet and died said Austin Interim Police Chief Brian Manley. 

Authorities warned residents that more bombs may be planted in the city or en route to homes from mail facilities.

Police also said it’s not yet clear whether the suspect had an accomplice.

The suspect is accused of planting four bombs in packages in Austin, killing two people and injuring four others.

Manley said the suspect also is responsible for a package bomb that exploded at a FedEx near San Antonio, and officials said it was intended to be delivered to Austin.

Earlier this week, police suggested the serial bombings were racially motivated and targeted people of color. But police have backed off that theory.

“We do not understand what motivated him to do what he did,” Manley said.

Another Explosion in Austin Tuesday Night After 2 More Package Bombs Found in Central Texas

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Yet another explosion rattled Austin Tuesday night as hundreds of local and federal investigators continue their frantic search for a suspected serial bomber responsible for at least four attacks that have killed two people and injured four others since March 2.

The latest explosion comes on the same day that authorities were investigating the discovery of two package bombs at FedEx facilities in Austin and nearby Schertz.

At 8:10 p.m. Tuesday, Austin fire officials said the were “on scene at a reported package explosion” at a Goodwill store where a man in his 30s was seriously injured.

But about an hour later, the Austin Police Department said the explosion didn’t appear to be connected to the other bombings that have terrified the Texas capital.

“Items inside package was not a bomb, rather an incendiary device,” police tweeted. “At this time, we have no reason to believe this incident is related to previous package bombs.”

Investigators believe two package bombs found earlier in the day at two separate FedEx facilities were connected to the suspected serial bomber. The first package exploded early in the morning in Schertz, about an hour from Austin, and a second was found with an undetonated bomb later in the day in Austin.   

Update 10:40 p.m.: Police held a news conference to address the Goodwill explosion.

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