He blew her a kiss before dying.
Sgt. First Class Danny Ferguson, who sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers during the Fort Hood rampage, sent a silent smooch to his fiancée when the smitten couple last said goodbye, relatives said.
“They were so in love, so in love,” said Susan Tirrell, whose niece Kristen Haley received a diamond ring from Ferguson on Christmas Day — as her whole family anxiously watched.
“He was a wonderful, caring guy,” Tirrell said in her Massachusetts home. “He was really good to Kristen . . . My heart is so heavy for her.”
The decorated Ferguson, a 21-year Army veteran with tours in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, died as heroically as any U.S. soldier on a far-flung battlefield.
The 39-year-old wedged himself against an unlocked door inside a base building to block deranged shooter Ivan Lopez from gunning down a roomful of his colleagues, said Ferguson’s fiancée.
“If he wasn’t the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else,” Haley told WTSP-TV in Florida.
WALTHAM, Mass. —A Waltham High School student was shot to death around 10:00 p.m. Thursday night at the Gardencrest Apartment complex at 31 Middlesex Circle, the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office said.
Tyler Zanco, 17, of Waltham, was taken to Newton Wellesley Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The School Department confirmed that Zanco is a high school student, but could not give his grade. Zanco was a member of the high school wrestling team.
Andy Merritt, former editor for our news partners at the Waltham News Tribune and Zanco’s mentor through the Mazie Mentoring Program, remembered Zanco as “a fierce and loyal friend, a smart and strong kid who had great things ahead of him.”
“I remember walking in there and thinking, ‘How am I going to relate to a teenager?’ But he was so personable and so outgoing and so friendly that immediately we were friends 30 seconds after we met,” Merritt said.
Zanco had a number of different ideas for his future, including joining the military.
“Our country would have been served well and honorably by such a brave and hardy soul. But no matter what Tyler ended up doing after high school, I knew he’d be a success, because nothing would stand in his way,” said Merritt.
No arrests have been made, but the district attorney’s office said that “authorities do not believe this was a random attack.”
“This is very tragic for the family and the city,” Waltham Mayor Jeanette McCarthy said. “The school department took the appropriate steps for the students and district. My thoughts and prayers are with Tyler’s family.”
Classes at Purdue University were interrupted by the sounds of gunfire, fire alarms and screams when a student entered a basement classroom and fatally shot a fellow senior engineering student whom a former teacher described as “phenomenal”.
Police said they haven’t determined why Cody Cousins, 23, shot Andrew Boldt, a 21-year-old teaching assistant from West Bend, Wisconsin, inside the school’s electrical engineering building around noon on Tuesday.
Purdue police chief John Cox said witnesses believed the shooting was “an intentional act” but said there was no immediate indication that Cousins and Boldt had had disagreements in the past.
No one else was injured. Cousins is being held at the Tippecanoe county jail on a preliminary charge of murder.
The shooting at the school about 60 miles north-west of Indianapolis prompted the Purdue president, Mitch Daniels, to cut short a week-long university trip to Colombia and cancel classes on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Violent crime, whenever and wherever it occurs, shocks our conscience and incites our rage. When it happens in our home, to a family member – and as a Boilermaker Andrew Boldt was family to us – those emotions are more powerful still,” Daniels said in a statement read on Tuesday night at a campus vigil, which was attended by hundreds of people.
University officials praised the police response, but the shooting left many students jittery.
“I heard a couple [shots] and then I heard a man scream,” said sophomore Nick Wieland, who told the Journal & Courier that he was in a classroom adjacent to the room where the shooting occurred. “Then the last few kind of trailed off as I got under my desk. [I was] just very scared. That’s what I felt the entire time.”
Cousins surrendered to a police officer outside the building after firing four or five shots, Cox said.
Former teachers described Boldt, an Eagle Scout, as someone who loved robotics and computers and was always willing to help others with technology issues. He spent two summers interning for John Deere in Silvis, Illinois, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Jean Morrell, Boldt’s calculus teacher at Milwaukee’s Marquette University high school, recalled how he frequently stayed after class to talk to her about math concepts, robotics and his dreams of attending Purdue, Morrell’s alma mater.
“Andrew Boldt was a young man who had the potential to make the world a better place. He was a phenomenal young man,” Morrell said, her voice cracking. “He had a great mind but he also had a great heart. I’m just sad he won’t get an opportunity to realize his dreams, to make his contribution to the world.”
The Rev Warren Sazama, the president of Boldt’s high school, said Boldt’s family was in shock. “The mother said, ‘You don’t expect to get up in the morning and expect your son to be one in a million for a tragedy like this to happen,'” he said.
Little is known about Cousins, who Cox said has addresses in Warsaw, Indiana, and Centerville, Ohio. Efforts to reach relatives were not immediately successful.
A 5-year-old Omaha girl was gunned down as she ate breakfast inside her home Wednesday – felled by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting.
Cops responded to reports of a hail of gunfire near 45th and Emmett Sts. around 9:45 a.m. to find little Payton Benson critically wounded, police said in a statement.
The girl later died at a hospital.
She was an innocent little girl, sitting at home eating breakfast, when she was killed by a stray bullet from a north Omaha gunbattle.
The randomness of that act Wednesday stunned and outraged community leaders.
“In our city, every life matters and every violent death is unacceptable,” Mayor Jean Stothert said. “When a child becomes a victim of such an unthinkable act we must all stand together to support the family and then we must be part of the solution.”
Five-year-old Payton Benson was hit by a bullet fired one block from her home near 45th and Emmet Streets, said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer.
Payton was eating breakfast with her mother and little brother about 9:45 a.m. when a bullet ripped through the walls of the house at 3328 N. 45th St., Schmaderer said.
Payton was Omaha’s first homicide victim of the new year.
“Bullets know no boundaries, they know no target, they are going to land where they land,” Schmaderer said during a press conference Wednesday evening.
“Enough of the gang violence, and enough with the random shootings.”
Schmaderer and Stothert promised to find the person who killed an innocent girl. Both leaders expressed their sympathy for Payton’s family members.
“I promise this family and I promise this community that my homicide investigators, my gang investigators, will work around the clock, leaving no stone unturned to solve this homicide,” Schmaderer said.
Shell casings indicated that gunfire broke out at the intersection of 44th Avenue and Emmet Street, a block from Payton’s house. Multiple people exchanged gunfire, Schmaderer said.
Police were looking for three black men who fled in a black Jeep Commander. Initial 911 reports described one as having a handgun, one armed with a high-powered rifle and the third wearing a bandanna.
The mother, Tabatha Manning, ran out screaming, a relative said.
‘Bright, shining star,’ 10, killed in Washington, Pa., home shooting
March 31, 2014 11:13 PM
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Taniyah Thomas was a bright, hardworking fourth-grader at Washington Park Elementary who liked to ride around on her electric scooter. She was a cheerleader, a big sister, a smiling brown-eyed girl. Just 10 years old.
Frightened by gunfire coming from outside the apartment door early Monday morning, she was heading toward her mother’s bedroom when she was shot in the head, Washington, Pa., authorities said. She died about 30 minutes later in the emergency room at Washington Hospital.
“If she had stayed in her bed, she’d have been safe,” city police Lt. Detective Daniel Stanek said.
Washington city police believe the apartment in the building at 450 W. Chestnut St. had been the target of an attempted home invasion. Investigators spent Monday conducting interviews and trying to develop leads. No arrests had been made Monday evening.
Family, friends and neighbors hugged each other in the yard next to the apartment building hours after the shooting and struggled to comprehend the loss.
“She was a nice, lovely girl. She was friendly with everybody,” said Sherman Brown, who took his granddaughter to cheerleading Wednesdays and walked her to the top of the hill to catch the school bus.
Shortly before 4 a.m. Monday, at least one person forced his way into the building, went upstairs and opened fire multiple times through the closed apartment door where Taniyah stayed with her mother, Shantye Brown, her boyfriend Robert Lester and their baby, Lt. Stanek said.
Everyone was asleep at the time, he said. The intruder or intruders did not get inside.
“We believe they were going to a specific apartment … and either couldn’t get in or just decided to start firing rounds through the door,” the detective said.
Investigators believe Taniyah, hearing the commotion, woke up and was going to her mother’s room when at least one bullet struck her.
No one else was hurt. Ms. Brown’s other son, 5, was next door at his grandparents’ home, Mr. Brown said.
Police questioned both adults. Lt. Stanek said Washington police knew the couple but had no reports of recent incidents at that apartment.
Superintendent Roberta DiLorenzo called Taniyah a “bright, shining star” who liked school and always participated in class.
“She was just a lovely little girl who unfortunately we lost way too soon,” she said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s just very difficult to look at that empty seat in the classroom.”
The Washington School District provided grief counseling for students Monday and brought in two retired substitutes for teachers who might also need to speak with a counselor, according to a statement on its website.
Both Washington Park Elementary School principals met with their teachers and with students in fourth through sixth grades Monday morning. Counselors also will be available today.
“Our heartfelt prayers and sympathy are extended to this child’s family. All of us are grieving the loss of this beautiful child,” the district said in a statement on its website. “She is a member of our Prexie family and her loss will be felt for years to come. Losing a child is the greatest tragedy, but to lose a child to a senseless act of violence is incomprehensible.”
The state Department of Education allowed the district to delay today’s scheduled PSSA testing for a few days.
The northeast corporate office for Young Champions, which oversees the group Taniyah cheered with, is raising money to help her family pay for a memorial service, a representative there said.
Police ask anyone with information to call them at 724-223-1386.
Molly Born: email@example.com or 412-263-1944. First Published March 31, 2014 8:54 AM
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 4, 2014)—Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department returned to the west side of Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon to continue their search in finding answers in the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man.
Mayor Greg Ballard joined officers as they held a second roll call at 1:30 p.m. in the area of West 16th Street, where Nathan Trapuzzano was murdered early Tuesday morning while taking his usual morning walk.
Wednesday, the officers were told to “turn up the heat” as they continue their search for answers or information that would lead to the arrest of suspects. Police will canvass the area and knock on doors in a 5-block radius from the crime scene, asking people in the community if they know anything at all about the incident.
Police found Trapuzzano suffering from a gunshot wound to the stomach around 5:50 a.m. Tuesday. Police said one suspect forced the Trapuzzano between two businesses while the other suspect acted as a lookout. Trapuzzano was shot during a struggle with the the suspect, said police. He was pronounced dead around 7:40 a.m. at Eskenazi Hospital.
Authorities believe Trapuzzano was killed during an apparent mugging.
Trapuzzano is survived by his wife, Jennifer, who is eight months pregnant with a baby girl. Family members say the couple just got married last May.
Trapuzzano’s family released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
Nathan Trapuzzano was the most kind-hearted person you would ever know. He never had an unkind thought in his head. He was so in love wife his wife Jennifer, and unborn baby daughter, Cecelia. He was so excited about being a new Daddy.
The loss of this very, very special young man has been such a shock to our entire family.
As with many tragedies, this seems so senseless and yet the outpouring of love and support reminds us that there is so much good in this world. Nate would not want us to become angry, but rather focus on the good and what is yet to come.
Nate had an unbelievable, strong faith in God, and we are finding some comfort knowing he is now in the Lord’s loving embrace.
IMPD released surveillance footage of the incident, but the suspects are not easily recognizable due to the quality of the video. However, police did say one suspect was wearing camouflage pants, a dark sweatshirt and white shoes.
Police ask anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477.
Trapuzzano’s funeral is scheduled for this Saturday at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church.