FOX 32 NEWS – The man accused of punching a security guard in front of a River North building nine days ago was back in court Tuesday.
Matthew DeLeon told the court new information. He says he’ll be in trouble with the Army if he doesn’t return to an Army base in Hawaii. DeLeon declined to talk to reporters as he left the courthouse at Belmont and Western. The 23-year-old is facing three counts of aggravated battery for allegedly punching a female security guard a week ago Sunday outside an apartment building in the River North neighborhood. The guard had found him drunk on the ground and asked him to leave. He threw a punch which broke bones in her face, requiring her to have plastic surgery. After security video of the incident surfaced, DeLeon turned himself in. He showed up Tuesday for a preliminary hearing. In court, prosecutors indicated there was no need for a preliminary hearing because they plan to seek an indictment in the case.
DeLeon remains free on $250,000 bond. His attorney asked that he be allowed to return to Hawaii where he’s stationed at the Schofield Barracks Army base, 17 miles from Honolulu. DeLeon, he said, is a decorated Army specialist who spent nine months in Afghanistan with the 25th infantry. He’s now been declared AWOL, which could lead to six months in the stockade and loss of pay. Prosecutors, though, dismissed DeLeon’s military record, saying, “It appeared the defendant was in combat that particular evening. He’s here to aid people. He left her on the ground like a piece of garbage.”
Judge Marvin Luckman denied the request to travel to Hawaii, saying, “How do I know that you will come back here to face the possibility of a long jail term? Deleon has a flight booked for June 4th. The judge will give him another chance to make his case three days before then.
DeLeon is now checking to see if he can avoid being declared AWOL by reporting to an Army base in Illinois.
MANCHESTER, England British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night raised the nation’s threat level and deployed the military to guard concerts, sports matches and other public events, saying another attack “may be imminent” following a bombing Monday night that left 22 people dead. The announcement, which takes Britain’s alert level from “severe” to its highest rating, “critical,” clears the way for thousands of British troops to take to the streets and replace police officers in guarding key sites. May announced the move after chairing an emergency meeting of her security cabinet and concluding that the attacker who carried out Monday’s bombing may have been part of a wider network that is poised to strike again. The decision, she said, was “a proportionate and sensible response to the threat that our security experts judge we face.”
The worst terrorist attack on British soil in over a decade was carried out by a 22-year-old British citizen who lived a short drive from the concert hall that he transformed from a scene of youthful merriment into a tableau of horror.
But whether Salman Abedi acted alone or with accomplices remained a question that British investigators were urgently trying to answer Tuesday night as they reckoned with an attack more sophisticated and worrisome than any seen here in years. The prospect of a wider plot, May said, was “a possibility we cannot ignore.”
The killing of 22 people many of them teens following a concert in this northern English city by American pop star Ariana Grande was claimed Tuesday by the Islamic State, which said one of its “soldiers” was responsible.
An armed police officer gestures to his colleague as they stand at Manchester Piccadilly railway station in Manchester, U.K., on May 23, 2017. MUST (Bloomberg photo by Matthew Lloyd)
Even as officials and experts cast doubt on the terrorist group’s assertion, however, authorities were scrambling to execute searches, arrest potential accomplices and reinforce security systems at a spectrum of public events that look newly vulnerable to attacks like Monday’s. After years of successfully fending off more-sophisticated strikes even as countries across continental Europe have fallen victim to bombings, Monday night’s carnage underscored that Britain is not immune amid a rising tide of extremist violence.
The highest priority for police, said Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, was to “establish whether [Abedi] was acting alone or as part of a network.”
Earlier he had said that Abedi executed the bombing alone and that he “was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity.”
But unlike in previous high-profile attacks including one in March in which an assailant driving a speeding car ran down pedestrians on a London bridge, then stabbed to death a British police officer experts said it was unlikely that Monday’s attack had been carried out without help.
A youngster wearing a T-shirt showing U.S. singer Ariana Grande talks to the media near the Manchester Arena, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
“Getting a car or a knife is easy,” said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the London-based Royal United Services Institute. “Making a bomb that works and goes off when you want it to go off takes preparation and practice. And it usually involves other people.”
Pantucci said British authorities “are going to try to figure out who [Abedi] knows, who he’s linked to. Did he build the bomb itself, or did someone build it and give it to him?”
If police have an answer, they did not say so publicly Tuesday. But there was ample evidence of a widening security operation, with the arrest of a 23-year-old from south Manchester in connection with the bombing. Police also carried out searches at two homes, including the house in the leafy suburban neighborhood where Abedi’s was registered as having lived. A senior European intelligence official said the attacker was a British citizen of Libyan descent. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record and thus spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect’s brother has been taken into custody. A family friend said Abedi traveled frequently between Libya and Britain. “We have an ISIS problem in Libya. We wonder whether he met people there who trained him,” said the friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ISIS is another name for the Islamic State.
A police cordon outside Manchester Arena, where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Even before May’s announcement of a “critical” threat level for just the third time ever the first two came in 2006 and 2007 authorities from London to Scotland said that they would be reviewing security plans for upcoming public events. Even smaller gatherings that would not have been policed in the past may now get protection, they said.
“Over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events, you will see more officers, including armed officers,” said Commander Jane Connors of London’s Metropolitan Police Department. May’s decision to deploy the military means the public may now see soldiers rather than police. May said the military would operate under police command. The escalation came as the nation grieved for the young victims, with thousands of people converging on Manchester’s graceful Albert Square for a vigil that was part solemn remembrance and part rally against extremism.
To roaring applause, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vowed that the city which has seen hardship, having been bombed relentlessly during World War II would not succumb to division or anger. A poet named Tony Walsh delivered an ode to the city titled “This Is the Place.” And in what has become a dark mainstay of life in Western Europe, passersby left candles, flowers and cards for the dead. The casualties included children as young as elementary school students. Police said that among the 59 people injured, a dozen were younger than 16. Among the dead was Saffie Rose Roussos, who was just 8 years old. The first victim to be publicly identified was Georgina Callander, an 18-year-old student.
Forensics investigators work at the entrance of the Manchester Arena, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Other names were expected to be released Wednesday, with authorities bracing the public for deaths among the teens and tweens who form the core of Grande’s enthusiastic fan base. The Islamic State did not give any details about the attacker or how the blast was carried out, raising doubts about the truth of its claim. Its statement was posted on the online messaging service Telegram and later noted by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant websites. The Islamic State often quickly proclaims links to attacks, but some previous boasts have not been proved.
In Washington, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Tuesday that despite the group’s statement, “we have not verified yet the connection.” He noted in a Senate hearing that “they claim responsibility for virtually every attack.”
In a speech outside 10 Downing Street, where flags were lowered to half-staff, May called the Manchester killings a “callous terrorist attack.”
“This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” she said. May later visited Manchester, meeting with local authorities and signing a condolence book honoring the victims. Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, led guests of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in a moment of silence and issued a statement expressing her “deepest sympathies.”
“The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert,” she said.
Across the world, other leaders expressed revulsion and scorn toward the bomber. During a visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, President Donald Trump pledged “absolute solidarity” with Britain and called those responsible for the attack “evil losers in life.”
A woman lays flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Organizers of the Cannes Film Festival denounced the bombing as an “attack on culture, youth and joyfulness” and observed a minute of silence Tuesday. Cannes is 15 miles from Nice, where an attacker driving a truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in July, killing 86 people. The Monday night attack was the worst terrorist strike on British soil since 2005, when Islamist extremists bombed the London subway and a bus, killing 54 people.
And as with that attack, Monday’s bombing prompted desperate searches for missing loved ones that continued through the night and into Tuesday. Charlotte Campbell told the BBC that she was “phoning everybody,” including hospitals, trying to locate her 15-year-old daughter, Olivia. She last spoke to her daughter Monday night while she was at the concert.
“She’d just seen the support act and said she was having an amazing time, and thanking me for letting her go,” Campbell said in an emotional interview. The attack occurred near one of the exits of the arena, in a public space connected to a bustling train station.
Jake Taylor, a former security guard at the arena, said its layout makes absolute safety impossible.
“You can’t stop people from getting through the train station,” Taylor said. Mark Harrison, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter to the concert from Cumbria in northern England, said there were no metal detectors or body checks at the arena’s entrance, although bags were inspected and items such as water bottles had to be discarded.
“There was definitely a security presence, but anyone can come through the train station,” said Harrison, 44. In France, the scene of several terrorist attacks in recent years, Prime Minister douard Philippe called on people to be vigilant in the face of “a threat which is more present than ever before.”
Britain’s threat level had been classified as “severe” since the summer of 2014, meaning the chance of an attack at any given time was highly likely.
Pantucci, the security expert, said that authorities had disrupted several plots in recent months but that Monday’s attack somehow slipped through. Understanding why, he said, will be crucial.
“They’ve been dealing with a very high threat tempo,” he said. “But this is one they weren’t able to stop.”
Adam reported from London. Isaac Stanley-Becker, James McAuley and Rick Noack in Manchester; Paul Schemm in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Devlin Barrett, Brian Murphy and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.
Fighter jets were scrambled to escort an American Airlines flight to Honolulu after a disruptive passenger’s laptop caused fear among flight attendants that it may contain explosives. Here’s a timeline of events involving Anil Uskanli’s travel to Hawaii.
12:03 a.m., Friday, May 19: Anil Uskanli uses a credit card to purchase a ticket to Honolulu at Los Angeles International Airport. He later goes through a security checkpoint.
Around 2:45 a.m. PDT: He opens a door to an airfield ramp and walks up to a contractor asking where he can get food, according to airport police. The contractor calls airport police, and officers arrive. Officers notice that he smells of alcohol, but there are no visible signs he’s drunk. Police issue a citation for misdemeanor trespassing, confiscate his boarding pass and walk him out to a public area of the airport. He then goes back, gets another boarding pass for the flight and goes through security screening again.
8:43 a.m. PDT: American Airlines Flight No. 31 pushes off from the gate. Uskanli is the first passenger to board, carrying only a laptop, phone and some items in his pockets, according to a criminal complaint.
9:10 a.m. PDT: The Airbus A321 is airborne, carrying 181 passengers and six crew members. Passengers seated near Uskanli notice his strange behavior, including talking to himself and talking about being a famous actor. At one point, he goes to use the bathroom, but he doesn’t lock the door. He gets upset when a passenger walks in and starts yelling and pounding on walls, according to the complaint.
During six-hour flight: Uskanli moves out of his assigned seat, 35B, and walks toward the front of the plane while carrying his laptop and with a blanket wrapped around his head. A flight attendant pushes a drink cart down the aisle to block him, the complaint said. Several passengers, including an off-duty law enforcement agent, stand up to help. Uskanli puts his laptop on the drink cart. Flight attendants are frightened of the laptop because of warnings that laptops may contain explosives that are undetected by airport screening. The off-duty officer sits with him for the remainder of the flight.
About 9:50 a.m. HST, Friday May 19: An airline corporate security representative notifies FBI that the flight has enacted safety precautions because of a disruptive passenger.
About 10:30 a.m. HST: Hawaii National Guard receives a request to check out an aircraft heading to Honolulu, according to spokesman Lt. Col Charles Anthony. They scramble two F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to meet the plane and escort it to Honolulu International Airport.
11:35 a.m. HST: The plane lands. Local law enforcement officers, FBI agents and bomb technicians secure the plane and seize the laptop, according to the complaint. Dogs sweep the aircraft. All passengers and carry-on bags are re-screened. Checked bags are inspected by an explosive detection canine team. No explosives are found. Passengers are bused to the terminal. Uskanli is taken into custody, signs a waiver of his rights and consents to an interview with FBI agents. He consents to a urine test and a series of field sobriety tests. The urinalysis is presumptively positive for benzodiazepine, and the field tests show possible use of stimulants or cannabis.
May 20: U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren signs the FBI affidavit, finding that there is probable cause for a charge of interference with flight crew members and attendants.
May 22: The criminal complaint is filed in federal court in Honolulu. Uskanli remains held at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.
1:45 p.m. HST, May 22: Uskanli appears in federal court in Honolulu for a brief initial appearance. He speaks briefly with a Turkish interpreter. Federal Public Defender Peter Wolff requests a competency evaluation. Kurren orders the evaluation.
AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas and AP Writer Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this report.