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Police increase patrols for Atlanta sports, cultural events
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Police increase patrols for Atlanta sports, cultural events

Police increase patrols for Atlanta sports, cultural events
Channel 2's Tony Thomas said their was a noticeable increase in security at Tuesday night's Braves game.

Police increase patrols for Atlanta sports, cultural events

Atlanta city leaders say they've increased police patrols at major venues around the city for at least the next several days.

In a statement, Police Chief George Turner said, "Atlanta police officers will be visible, vigilant and prepared."

“The heads of the Atlanta Police Department, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have all been in close contact with each other and with their partner federal law enforcement agencies,” a city news release said. “At this time, they have been informed that there is no intelligence to suggest the city of Atlanta is a target."

The increased patrols were evident at Turner Field and Phillips Arena Tuesday night. The Braves and Hawks played at home, one day after the bombings in Boston.

As fans entered Turner Field, stadium security checked pockets and bags even more than normal. Some fans admit they almost did not go to the game.

"Yeah, it's in the back of our mind, right?" said season ticket holder Linda Hayes. "Tonight, that this could happen with a large group of people having a good time -- it could happen. There's a lot of weirdos out there."

But she did come, partly because of the increased security. Throughout the stadium Atlanta police were visible everywhere. There was a concerted effort by the city to increase patrols at large gatherings, although officials said there's been no verified threat.

There was a scare, however. The bomb squad blew up a suspicious device in a trash can outside Turner Field a few hours before game time. Police said it proved to be harmless.

Police also closely watched Phillips Arena on Tuesday night as the Hawks held a moment of silence for the Boston victims.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to families affected by this tragedy," said the public address announcer after asking the fans to pause for the moment of silence.

At both venues, fans were determined to take their own small stand.

"I think it should be business as usual, enjoying the family, that's why I brought my kids out to the game," said Hawks fan Bryant Burns.

The city noted the increased patrols will continue with other sports and cultural events being held throughout the week and into the weekend, including a Taylor Swift concert at Philips Arena on Friday night, the Georgia Tech spring football game and fireworks on Friday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park and the Sweetwater 420 Fest in Candler Park.

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  • A 22-year-old police officer died in Oklahoma on Monday morning after he and a man exchanged gunfire when the man ran during a traffic stop Sunday night, Tecumseh police said. >> Read more trending news The officer, identified as 22-year-old Justin Terney, died of his injuries. The suspected gunman remained hospitalized Monday morning. Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney said Terney was shot multiple times after stopping a vehicle around 11:30 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of Benson Park Road and Gordon Cooper Drive. Kidney said Terney was working with dispatchers to verify information given by one of the vehicle’s passengers, a man, after becoming suspicious that he might have been giving Terney false information. As dispatchers were telling Terney that it appeared the man had an active warrant for his arrest, the man ran from the stopped vehicle and toward nearby woods, Kidney said. Terney fired a stun gun at the man. “The (stun gun) doesn’t have any effect on (the suspect) and he continues running through a wooded area, over a fence,” Kidney said. “About 25 yards inside that fence area, the officer and the suspect both exchanged gunfire.” Authorities took both the suspect, whose identity was not immediately known, and Terney to a hospital, where Terney underwent surgery for hours overnight. Kidney confirmed that Terney, who had been shot about three times, died Monday morning. The suspected gunman remained in intensive care with four gunshot wounds, according to KFOR. Terney joined Tecumseh’s police force about a year ago. “My department’s not doing good,” Kidney said Monday morning, adding that in the 22 years he has been with the department and the 38 years the chief has been with the department, this is the first officer-involved shooting for Tecumseh police. “We haven’t had to live through this yet,” he said. “We need everybody to rally around and support us.”
  • A woman fought off a knife-wielding man who broke into her southeast Atlanta home Saturday night. Adrien Gass said she was terrified when the man burst into her home on Memorial Drive and chased her with a knife. 'I said, 'I have money.' He said, 'I don't want no money. I want the car and I want your life.' And I said, 'Not today,'' Gass said. The mother of three told Channel 2's Matt Johnson that she threw a piece of furniture at the intruder, who chased her down the hall. 'I know he's bleeding because I attacked him,' she said. Gass said she locked herself in a bedroom. The attacker kept kicking the door and it hit her in the mouth while she held on to it. 'All my might, yes. I would not let that door go,' she said. Gass said she escaped by jumping out a window and the intruder left with nothing. 'I lifted up the window and pushed out and ran as fast as I could to the neighbor's house,' she said. Atlanta police said just three minutes earlier, a quarter of a mile away on Allendale Drive, someone carjacked a husband and wife at gunpoint. 'He was in the car, got the keys and gone,' Tris Siciginanosaid. Siciginano said the thief stole her husband's car and she believes the two crimes are related. 'It was too much in one night and the descriptions are so close,' she said. Police have not said if the crimes are related, but neighbors said they are staying vigilant. No arrests have been made.
  • Police have found no evidence that the man who killed four people in London last week was associated with the Islamic State group or al-Qaida, a senior British counterterrorism officer said Monday. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police said Westminster attacker Khalid Masood clearly had 'an interest in jihad,' but police have no indication he discussed his attack plans with others. Basu, who also serves as Britain's senior national coordinator for counterterrorism policing, said Wednesday's attack — in which Masood ran down pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a policeman guarding Parliament — 'appears to be based on low-sophistication, low-tech, low-cost techniques copied from other attacks.' Masood was shot dead by police after his deadly rampage, which police have revealed lasted just 82 seconds. Police believe Masood — a 52-year-old Briton with convictions for violence who had spent several years in Saudi Arabia — acted alone, but are trying to determine whether others helped inspire or direct his actions. Detectives on Monday continued to question a 30-year-old man arrested Sunday and a 58-year-old man arrested shortly after Wednesday's attack. Both were detained in the central England city of Birmingham, where Masood had recently lived. Prime Minister Theresa May said last week that Masood was 'a peripheral figure' in an investigation into violent extremism some years ago. But Basu said he was not a 'subject of interest' for counterterrorism police or the intelligence services before last week's attack. Masood was born Adrian Elms, but changed his name in 2005, suggesting a conversion to Islam. His mother, Janet Ajao, said Monday she was 'deeply shocked, saddened and numbed' by his murderous actions. In a statement released through the police, Ajao said that 'since discovering that it was my son that was responsible I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident.' Basu said there was no sign Masood was radicalized during one of his stints in prison, the last of which was in 2003. 'I know when, where and how Masood committed his atrocities, but now I need to know why,' Basu said. 'Most importantly, so do the victims and families.' As Basu appealed for anyone who spoke to Masood on the day of the attack to come forward, the British government repeated calls for tech companies to give police and intelligence services access to encrypted messages exchanged by terrorism suspects. Masood used the messaging service WhatsApp just before he began his attack. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Sunday that such services must not 'provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.' Tech companies have strongly resisted previous calls to create back-doors into encrypted messaging, arguing that to do so would compromise the secure communications underpinning everything from shopping to tax returns to online banking. Rudd is due to hold a previously scheduled meeting with internet companies on Thursday. Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman, James Slack, said tech firms 'should be helping us more' to prevent terrorism. 'The ball is now in their court,' he said. Slack said that if agreement was not reached with the companies, the government 'rules nothing out,' including legislation. Meanwhile, the families of the dead and injured set about the difficult task of going on with their lives. The family of an American victim expressed gratitude Monday for the kindness of strangers as they insisted some good would come from the tragedy. A dozen members of Kurt W. Cochran's family gathered to face the media, sharing their shock and sense of loss. Cochran, from Utah, was on the last day of a European trip celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary when he was killed on Westminster Bridge. Cochran's wife, Melissa, suffered a broken leg and rib and a cut head, but is steadily improving. The family offered profuse thanks to first responders, British and American authorities and people who had sent notes, prayer and donations. 'Last night we were speaking as a family about all this, and it was unanimous that none of us harbor any ill will or harsh feelings towards this,' said Sarah McFarland, Melissa Cochran's sister. 'So we love our brother. We love what he brought to the world, and we feel like that this situation is going to bring many good things to the world.' ___ Jonathan Shenfield contributed to this story.