Greek Orthodox Priest Wounded in Lyon, France, Shooting


PARIS — A Greek Orthodox priest was shot and wounded Saturday in the central French city of Lyon, but the motive was unclear, local authorities said.

The shooting comes at a time of heightened tensions in France, which is still on edge after a pair of recent attacks by Islamist extremists, the killing of three churchgoers in the southern city of Nice on Thursday and the beheading near Paris two weeks ago of a schoolteacher who had shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a civics class.

In Lyon, around 4 p.m. on Saturday, local residents and a police patrol heard two gunshots near a Greek Orthodox church in the 7th arrondissement of the city, the Lyon prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Police officers saw a man fleeing the scene and found a priest with gunshot wounds near the church’s back door, the statement said. French media reported that the attacker used a sawed-off shotgun.

The police apprehended a person matching witness descriptions of the attacker later on Saturday, the prosecutor’s office said. A statement from the prosecutor’s office said that the person was not carrying a weapon and did not say that the person was a suspect in the shooting.

Grégory Doucet, the mayor of Lyon, said that the priest had been hospitalized with serious wounds.

“At this stage, no hypothesis is ruled out nor favored,” the prosecutor’s office said, adding that it had opened an investigation for attempted murder and that it was in touch with the national antiterrorism prosecutor’s office.

But the fact that the national antiterrorism prosecutor was not directly overseeing the case was a sign that authorities did not have evidence of a terrorist motive.

The Lyon prosecutor’s office did not provide more details about the assailant or the identity of the priest.

The police cordoned off the area, a residential neighborhood in Lyon, and local authorities asked residents to avoid it.

French authorities had placed the country on its highest terrorism alert level after the attack in Nice and had increased security patrols around key sites, including places of worship.

Jean Castex, the prime minister, told reporters on Saturday that “serious events” had occurred in Lyon but that he did not have any information on the circumstances.

Mr. Castex happened to be speaking from St-Étienne-du-Rouvray — a small town in Normandy where an 85-year-old priest was killed in 2016 in a terrorist attack that the Islamic State said it had carried out.

Mr. Castex, who was visiting the town to review heightened security at the church, said the French government was determined to ensure that all worshipers could practice their religion “in complete safety and with complete freedom.”





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Priest wounded in shooting in Lyon: Reports – POLITICO



An Orthodox priest was shot and injured at a church in Lyon on Saturday afternoon, police told French media.

The priest was closing his church when an assailant shot him twice before fleeing, Le Monde reported. According to Reuters, he was being treated for life-threatening injuries on site.

The shooting comes just days after three people were killed in a knife attack that took place at a church in the southern French city of Nice, and two weeks after the murder of a teacher who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad as part of a class on freedom of speech.

Reacting to the attack, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on French television that the government would do its utmost to ensure all worshippers can practice their faith freely and safely: “Our determination will not weaken.” Following the Nice attack, President Emmanuel Macron had deployed thousands of soldiers to protect places of worship and schools.

European Council President Charles Michel condemned the attack on the priest on Twitter, adding: “All our thoughts [are] with the priest who is between life and death. In Europe, freedom of religion is guaranteed for all and must be respected, violence is intolerable and reprehensible.”

Earlier on Saturday, Al Jazeera released an interview with Macron, in which he said that while he understood Muslims’ dismay over cartoons of the prophet, free speech must be protected.

“I understand the sentiments being expressed and I respect them. But you must understand my role right now, it’s to do two things: to promote calm and also to protect these rights,” Macron said.

He also said it was important to distinguish between dangerous extremists and ordinary observant Muslims.

“Today in the world there are people who distort Islam and in the name of this religion that they claim to defend, they kill, they slaughter,” he said, adding: “Of course this is a problem for Islam because Muslims are the first victims … More than 80 percent of the victims of terrorism are Muslims, and this is a problem for all of us.”

The interview came amid heightening tensions across the Muslim world over Macron’s defense of the cartoons — which many pious Muslims consider blasphemous — with demonstrations against France taking place from Pakistan to Indonesia.





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Gunman on the run after shooting priest in Lyon, France


A gunman who shot a Greek Orthodox priest outside his church in the French city of Lyon remains on the run.

The priest, who was shot at around 16h CET on Saturday, is in a serious condition, police sources told AFP news agency.

It comes three days after an Islamic extremist killed three people in a church in Nice.

But there is no indication at this stage that the incident in Lyon is of the same type as that in the southern French city.

“Serious events just occurred in Lyon. I do not yet have precise elements about the circumstances about this act. The interior minister will activate the crisis centre. And I will immediately go to Paris to learn more about the situation,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said at a press conference.



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NAMED: Man accused of shooting at car held in custody



A MAN accused of shooting at a car in Bowen while another man was inside the vehicle has been held in custody until his next court appearance.

Wayne Charles Zammit, 46, faced Bowen Magistrates Court yesterday after being charged with multiple offences including discharging a weapon in a public place, wilful damage and possessing a knife in a public place.

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Police will allege the Bowen man shot at a car tyre, causing it to deflate, while another man was inside the vehicle at Betzels Lane on Thursday.

Police say they also found multiple firearms and ammunition during a subsequent search.

During yesterday’s court appearance, Mr Zammit was remanded in custody and the matter was adjourned to November 24.





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Coroner refers fatal shooting of Dwayne Johnstone for prosecution


“After having regard to all the evidence before me at this stage I have formed the opinion that the threshold … has been reached. I am going to refer it to the DPP.”

The coroner will provide the DPP with a signed statement specifying the name of the officer who shot Mr Johnstone. It will then be up to the DPP to decide whether to lay any charges.

“I acknowledge that this will be a difficult time for everyone including the officer involved as we wait for the outcome of the DPP,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

On Tuesday, the inquest heard Mr Johnstone, who had a history of escaping custody, had been taken to hospital while on remand after suffering an epileptic seizure in the cells of Lismore Court House, where he had been denied bail on assault charges.

As he was escorted back to the van by two corrections officers – one of whom was armed with a revolver – he “elbowed” the unarmed officer who had a grip of his pants, throwing him off balance, and started running. The officers cannot be named for legal reasons.

The inquest heard the armed officer fired three shots, and the third shot hit Mr Johnstone in the mid-back, going through his aorta, liver and diaphragm.

Ms Dwyer told the inquest that armed corrections officers carry guns but, unlike police, are not equipped with non-lethal weapons, such as Tasers, extendable batons, or capsicum spray.

She said corrections officers might legally discharge firearms in a number of circumstances, including “to prevent the escape of an inmate” – with a number of provisos, including that a warning must be given and there cannot be reasonable grounds to believe the shot could hit another person.

However, she said the use of force must be the “option of last resort” and officers “may use no more force than is reasonably necessary in the circumstances”.

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Police ban rival Sydney crime families from entering certain suburbs after shooting murder of Mejid Hamzy


NSW Police have banned two rival Sydney crime families, and some of their associates, from moving between certain suburbs after the shooting murder of Mejid Hamzy last week.

The younger brother of Brothers 4 Life leader Bassam Hamzy — who is serving time in jail for murder — was killed near his car at Condell Park last week.

The father, 44, stumbled for about 200 metres before he collapsed and died in a pool of blood near the front door of his Simmat Avenue home.

Two men have been on the run for more than a week after setting fire to their getaway car only streets away from the crime scene.

Investigators have issued Public Safety Orders, banning 22 people — mainly friends or members of the Alameddine and Hamzy families — from moving across parts of Sydney.

The Alameddine family and some of their associates are prevented from going to Condell Park and other nearby suburbs, including Bankstown and Silverwater, as well as Bronte and Clovelly in the city’s east, as well as Sans Souci and Dolls Point in the city’s south.

The Hamzy family and some of their associates are banned from going to parts of Western Sydney, including Mount Druitt, Doonside, Rooty Hill, Parramatta, Westmead and Merrylands.

The orders were enforced at the weekend amid police fears of revenge attacks.

“I am sure the community are sick of these crime groups using our streets and our homes as shooting ranges,” Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow said.

“We have people dying in the street, we are sick of it.”

Mejid Hamzy was shot dead near his car in Condell Park last week.

Public Service Orders last only 72 hours so investigators are taking their fight to court to apply for Serious Crime Prevention Orders (SCPO) which last up to five years.

“It will prevent them from associating with other criminals, it will prevent them from utilising weapons of crime, it will prevent them from having encrypted communications,” Detective Superintendent Critchlow said.

“We can control what telephones they use, we can control who they bank with, we can stop their movements overseas.”

SCPOs are rare, but Strike Force Raptor detectives did use them amid escalating tensions between the Finks and Rebels bikie gangs in Newcastle several years ago.

Aerial view of a burnt out car
A burnt-out car was found in nearby streets after Hamzy was shot dead.(ABC News)

Investigators are trying to work out whether a brawl between the Hamzy and Alameddine families may have led to the murder of Mejid Hamzy.

They are also looking at a brawl in which his cousin, Mohammed Hamzy, was stabbed with a metal shiv by another inmate at John Morony Correctional Centre near Windsor.

Police are hoping the new orders will put pressure on associates of the rival families to provide them with information that could crack the case.

“We will not stop in our pursuit of these reckless and careless individuals who continue to put the community at risk and if you are involved, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, it is best to assume we are watching your every move,” Mr Critchlow said.

Individuals who break either of the orders could face five years in jail or a fine of more than $165,000.



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NT police officer Zachary Rolfe to stand trial for shooting death of Kumanjayi Walker


The Northern Territory police officer charged over the shooting death of teenager Kumanjayi Walker last year has been committed to stand trial in the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

Constable Zachary Rolfe was charged with murder after the teen was fatally shot during an arrest attempt in the remote community of Yuendumu in November 2019.

Alice Springs Local Court Judge John Birch handed down his decision on Monday after a three-day committal hearing last month.

He also issued a suppression order preventing publication of his reasons for committing the case to trial.

During the three-day committal hearing, the court heard Mr Walker was shot three times on the night he died.

The fatal shooting followed an earlier attempt to arrest Mr Walker, the court heard.

Officers from the Immediate Response Team (IRT), which included Constable Rolfe, were later sent to Yuendumu to arrest the 19-year-old.

According to evidence heard during the committal, Mr Walker stabbed Constable Rolfe with a pair of scissors during the November 9 arrest attempt.

A criminologist gave evidence that two of the three shots Constable Rolfe then fired at Mr Walker were “excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary”.

The court was told the 19-year-old was shot three times on the night of the incident.(Supplied: Facebook)

In a final attempt to have the case thrown out last month, lawyers for Mr Rolfe argued the police officer was acting in self-defence when he fired the three shots.

“There is not a single piece of evidence the prosecution have produced in this case that suggests that Zachary Rolfe did anything other than comply wholeheartedly with the very training the NT police gave him,” defence barrister David Edwardson QC told the hearing.

But prosecutors argued the IRT had “disregarded” an arrest plan by Sergeant Julie Frost from the Yuendumu police station.

“There was a careful plan put in place by Julie Frost which involved the deceased being arrested whilst he was asleep at five in the morning,” prosecutor Philip Strickland SC told the hearing.

“All those things were planned to control the environment better.

“[But] he has put himself in the position where his tactical options were limited, because of a failure to follow that plan.”

A small crowd made up of Mr Walker’s family and Yuendumu community members gathered outside the Alice Springs Local Court ahead of Monday’s ruling.

Community members gave speeches, with one person telling the crowd: “This is what we needed.”

Cheers and cries of “justice for Walker” could be heard as the decision was handed down.

Supporters of Kumanjayi Walker gather outside the Alice Springs Local Court as a decision to send the case to trial comes down.
Kumanjayi Walker’s supporters gathered outside the court as the decision was handed down.(ABC News: Mitchell Abram)

Constable Rolfe appeared in court via video link from Canberra, where he is on bail.

He has been suspended from the police force with pay.

His bail has been extended until his next court appearance on November 25, when he will face the Supreme Court for the first time.

It is expected he will appear from Canberra on that date.



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Texas boy, 3, dies after accidentally shooting himself in the chest at birthday party


A Texas child is dead after accidentally shooting himself in the chest during his birthday party, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were dispatched to a home in Porter, Texas — about 25 miles north of Houston — on Saturday for a wellness check, according to a press release.

When the officers arrived, they were told the child, 3, who has not been identified, had been shot in the chest. Family and friends had gathered at the home for the birthday party.

While playing cards they heard the gunshot go off.

The child found the gun, a pistol, after it fell out of a family member’s pocket, according to the press release.

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The boy was taken to a nearby fire station where he later died from his wounds.

It was unclear if an investigation was ongoing into the death, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said its “thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this tragic accident.”



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Dog shooting accused awaits ruling in court hearing



A DECISION is set to be handed down today in the hearing of a man charged with the bow and arrow shooting of a dog on a leafy Byron Shire street.

South Golden Beach man Robert Bruce Stewart, 60, has been facing a hearing on a charge of recklessly torturing and seriously injuring an animal.
He has pleaded not guilty.

He is also facing, and defending, a backup charge of committing an act of aggravated cruelty.

The court has heard Mr Stewart found his neighbour’s Irish wolfhound x malamute, named Bucket, outside his chicken coop about 7.30am on December 6 last year.

Mr Stewart, a former member of two Northern Rivers archery clubs, told Byron Bay Local Court on Wednesday he shot arrows toward the coop with the intention of striking a piece of metal and causing a noise to scare Bucket away.

He said the first arrow hit the dirt and a second struck the metal.

A third, he claimed, ricocheted off a tree then struck Bucket, severing his spine.

The dog was euthanased after a vet surgeon found there was no other option.

Police prosecutor Alix Thom told the court “severe pain was inflicted” by Mr Stewart’s actions and even if he had no intent to hurt the dog, there was “recklessness” as to the potential consequence of his choice to fire the arrows.

Mr Stewart told the court he did not feel safe to confront the dog which he says was “snapping at” his chicken coop, in light of previous incidents in which he claims other neighbourhood dogs “rushed” him and his family.

Some witness accounts conflicted with this and suggested Mr Stewart acted belligerently toward dogs and their owners without provocation.

During cross examination, Mr Stewart said it hadn’t occurred to him there was a risk, in firing arrows, that he might harm Bucket.

“In my submission the animal was clearly tortured by the metal arrow that severed his spine,” Ms Thom said.

“This is a person who’s had conflict with six different people on his street that all own dogs.

“The actions of the defendant are excessive and disproportionate to the threat as he perceived it.”

Defence lawyer John Weller said the outcome of the incident was “regrettable” and “sad”, but maintained his client had no intention to harm the dog.

In his client’s mind, Bucket was in “a frenzy” and there was a risk of “an imminent attack on his chickens”, Mr Weller said.

The court heard Mr Stewart told a neighbour words to the effect of: “he’s gonna die, I’ve shot him” and Mr Weller accepted his client “doesn’t have the best bedside manner”.

Bur he argued the accused took responsibility for the matter and said there was “not a skerrick of inconsistency” in his evidence.

Magistrate Karen Stafford is expected to hand down her decision today.





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Witnesses report Nigerian soldiers shooting protesters at anti-police brutality rallies – National


Soldiers opened fire on Nigerians protesting against police brutality in the Lekki district of the commercial capital Lagos on Tuesday, and at least two people were shot, four witnesses told Reuters.

Thousands of Nigerians have demonstrated nationwide every day for nearly two weeks against a police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), that rights groups had for years accused of extortion, harassment, torture and murders. The unit was disbanded on Oct. 11 but the protests have persisted with demonstrators calling for a raft of law enforcement reforms.

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“They started firing ammunition toward the crowd. They were firing into the crowd,” said Alfred Ononugbo, 55, a security officer after the soldiers opened fire. “I saw the bullet hit one or two persons,” he said.

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The condition of those two people was not immediately known. Amnesty International has said at least 15 people had been killed since the protests began.

In a Twitter post, the Nigerian Army said no soldiers were at the scene of the shooting on Tuesday night in Lekki, an upmarket district where the toll gate has been the site of daily protests in Lagos, Africa’s biggest city.

Lagos State Goveror Babajide Sanwo-Olu tweeted pictures of him visiting people in hospital who were victims of what he referred to as the “unfortunate shooting incident at Lekki.”

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He said 25 people were being treated for mild to moderate injuries, two were receiving intensive care and three had been discharged.

“As the Governor of our state, I recognize the buck stops at my table and I will work with the FG (federal government) to get to the root of this unfortunate incident and stabilize all security operations to protect the lives of our residents,” said Sanwo-Olu, adding that he would give a state broadcast on Wednesday morning.

The Lagos state government earlier said it would open an investigation into the shooting, which witnesses said began at about 7 p.m. (1800 GMT).

A Nigerian army spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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Monumental tasks lie ahead for Nigeria’s next president

Inyene Akpan, 26, a photographer, said more than 20 soldiers arrived at the toll gate in Lekki and opened fire. He said he saw two people being shot.

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Akinbosola Ogunsanya, a third witness, said he saw around 10 people being shot. Ogunsanya, who said lights went out shortly before the soldiers arrived, also said he saw soldiers remove bodies.

Another witness, Chika Dibia, said soldiers hemmed in people as they shot at them.

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Video verified by Reuters showed men walking slowly in formation toward demonstrators, followed by trucks with flashing lights, and the sound of gunfire popping. Another video showed the toll gate itself, with a protester waving a Nigerian flag, as people ran amid the sounds of gunfire.

A Reuters witness heard sirens and gunfire.

Defence meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held scheduled talks with the defense minister and the chief of defense staff around 6:15 p.m. (1715 GMT) to discuss national security, two presidency officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for the president did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Nigerian army was due to begin a two-month national exercise on Tuesday. When the move was announced on Saturday, it denied the move was part of a security response to the demonstrations. Days earlier, the military said it was prepared to help maintain law and order.

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The weeks-long protests were sparked by a video that began circulating in early October purportedly showing SARS officers shooting a man in southern Delta state. Police denied the shooting.

Authorities on Tuesday imposed a round-the-clock curfew on Lagos as the state governor said protests had turned violent.

It is one of five of Nigeria’s 36 states to have announced such measures in the last two days. The national police chief also ordered the immediate deployment of anti-riot forces nationwide following increased attacks on police facilities, a police spokesman said.

(Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram and Libby George in Lagos, and Paul Carsten; Additional reporting by Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh in Abuja, Nneka Chile in Lagos and Tife Owolabi in Yenagoa; Editing by Grant McCool and Raju Gopalakrishnan)








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