Police interviews with Vegas shooting survivors are released
LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas police released more than 1,200 pages of witness interviews and officer reports Wednesday that detail the harrowing moments after a mass shooting that killed 58 in October.
The documents were the second wave of items released by police after the Nevada Supreme Court ordered the department to provide the materials after media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, sued for them.
Two weeks ago, the department released several hours of body camera footage – including video of the first officers to breach the room where Stephen Paddock had been firing down from the 58th floor of a hotel into a crowd of 22,000 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival Oct. 1.
In a hospital interview with a pair of Las Vegas police detectives two days after the shooting, one victim, whose name was redacted in a police report, described a chaotic, disorienting scene trying to escape the bullets.
A detective – identified as Detective D. Jappe in the transcripts – asks the victim to describe what happened after hearing the gunfire, described as a sounding like fireworks.
"And then I would say, a couple of seconds later, um, I fell to the ground and I couldn't feel my arm," the victim said. "So I just kept yelling, 'I can't feel my arm. I can't feel my arm. I can't feel my arm.' Um, and then my aunt was with me and she was just like – You're fine. Get up. Jason's performing (country western artist Jason Aldean). What are you doing on the ground? Like and then she saw blood coming from my arm."
The victim said after a second round of bullets, everyone hit the ground.
"There was like a bunch of people on top of us – on top of me specifically – um and then when it stopped we knew we had to get up to get going," the victim said. "And I remember not being able to get up. I just remember telling (name redacted) like 'Get off me. Get off me. Get off me.'"
Hundreds were wounded during Paddock's rampage from his perch at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. With his arsenal of ammunition and cache of weapons – including at least one AR-15 rifle equipped with a bump stock to simulate automatic fire, Paddock killed 58 people in about 15 minutes before shooting himself in the head. The gunman was dead when police breached his hotel room door.
–Los Angeles Times
Tillerson re-emerges for veiled swipe at Trump
WASHINGTON – In an apparent swipe at President Donald Trump, his fired secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, warned Wednesday that "going wobbly" on truth endangers American democracy.
Tillerson, a former Texas oil executive who Trump dismissed in March via Twitter, delivered the commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute.
"If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society among our leaders in both public and private sector, and regrettably at times in the nonprofit sector," Tillerson told the graduates, "then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years."
He added that "if our leaders seek to conceal the truth" or if Americans accept "alternative realities" not "grounded in truth," then the citizenry is on the road to "relinquishing our freedom."
The former secretary of state, who served slightly more than a year, never mentioned Trump by name. But the president is known to frequently play loose with facts.
Tillerson also chastised those who would abandon allies and international treaties, actions that Trump often favored over Tillerson's objections.
"We must never take these long-held allies for granted," Tillerson said.
After he was fired, Tillerson returned to his ranch in Texas. This was the first publicized speech he has made since then.
–Tribune Washington Bureau
Records show Melania Trump received up to $1 million in photo royalties last year
Melania Trump's modeling days apparently aren't completely behind her.
The first lady has raked as much as $1 million in royalties from photos of herself since her husband took office, according to federal records.
The 48-year-old former model revealed in her husband's mandatory financial disclosure forms made public Wednesday that she received between $100,001 and $1 million in royalty payments from Getty Images last year.
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, declined to comment on which photos the royalties pertained to, only telling the New York Daily News that they relate to images taken before Donald Trump became president.
Getty has an extensive pre-White House photo catalog of the first lady that includes shots of her and her son, Barron, as well as steamier images from her modeling days.
Getty did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump was still at a hospital outside Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, recovering from a kidney operation she had earlier this week.
The first lady said she was "feeling great" Wednesday afternoon.
"Look forward to getting back home soon," she tweeted.
–New York Daily News
Former Mexican lawmaker and first lady ends her presidential bid
MEXICO CITY – Margarita Zavala, an independent Mexican presidential candidate and former first lady, said Wednesday that she was dropping out of the country's July 1 presidential race.
A former congresswoman with the center-right National Action Party, Zavala broke with that party last October after a public spat with its chairman, Ricardo Anaya, who went on to claim the party's nomination.
As an independent candidate, Zavala struggled to attract widespread support, in part because of the unpopular national security policies of her husband, Felipe Calderon, who served as president from 2006 to 2012. Calderon's decision to send tens of thousands of soldiers into the streets to fight powerful drug cartels has been blamed for fueling Mexico's ongoing violence, which last year claimed a record-breaking 29,159 homicide victims.
In a May 2 poll conducted by the Reforma newspaper, just 3 percent of respondents supported Zavala, dramatically fewer than the 48 percent who said they would vote for front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the leftist National Regeneration Movement.
Anaya was in second place in the poll with 30 percent, Jose Antonio Meade, of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, was third with 17 percent, and independent candidate Jaime "El Bronco" Rodriguez was fifth with 2 percent.
In a television interview announcing her withdrawal, Zavala said she wanted to free her supporters to "make the decision they need to make in this difficult race."
–Los Angeles Times
Home of Malaysian ex-Prime Minister Najib raided by police
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian police raided the home of former Prime Minister Najib Razak late Wednesday, days after he was barred from leaving the country.
Around 16 police vehicles and a truck were seen entering his residence in Kuala Lumpur, according to state-run news wire Bernama.
Najib, who unexpectedly lost last week's election, has been accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from the 1MDB state development fund. He denies the corruption allegations and was cleared in a government investigation.
But his successor and former mentor, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, has instructed police to reinvestigate the case and put Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali on leave, over allegations he helped cover up the corruption scandal.
In an early Thursday morning news conference outside Najib's residence, the former premier's lawyer said no documents had been seized during the raids, just personal belongings.
Harpal Singh Grewal said Najib and his family "were cooperative" and that he believed the search had been carried out "under the money laundering act."
He also confirmed that police had simultaneously raided an apartment belonging to Najib.
Late Wednesday, Mahathir, who gained a reputation as an authoritarian ruler during a previous stint in power between 1981 and 2003, told reporters arrests would only be made when there was clear evidence of wrongdoing.
Mahathir and Najib had a bitter falling-out two years ago over Najib's alleged involvement in the $4.5 billion 1MDB scandal, and Mahathir made the allegations against his former protege a focus of his election campaign.
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