ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
78°
Sct Thunderstorms
H 92° L 76°
  • clear-night
    78°
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 92° L 76°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    89°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 92° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    85°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 92° L 76°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

World
Alleged Christchurch gunman sends letter from prison cell
Close

Alleged Christchurch gunman sends letter from prison cell

Alleged Christchurch gunman sends letter from prison cell
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Stephanie McEwin, File
FILE - In this June 14, 2019, file courtroom drawing, Brenton Tarrant, the man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques on March 15, 2019 appears via video link at the Christchurch District Court, from the maximum security prison in Auckland where he's being held, Christchurch, New Zealand. New Zealand officials admitted Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019 that they made a mistake by allowing Tarrant to send a hand-written letter from his prison cell. (AP Photo/Stephanie McEwin, File)

Alleged Christchurch gunman sends letter from prison cell

New Zealand officials admitted Wednesday that they made a mistake by allowing the man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch mosques to send a hand-written letter from his prison cell.

The six-page letter from Brenton Tarrant was posted this week on the website 4chan, which has become notorious as a place for white supremacists to post their views. And it comes at a sensitive time, with other alleged killers from El Paso to Norway citing Tarrant as an inspiration.

The letter appears to be written in pencil on a small notepad and is addressed to "Alan" in Russia. Much of it appears to be relatively innocuous, discussing a one-month trip Tarrant says he took to Russia in 2015. But the letter also warns that a "great conflict" is coming and uses language that could be construed as a call to arms.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said in statement that he didn't believe the prison system should have allowed Tarrant to send the letter.

"I have made myself clear that this cannot happen again," Davis said.

But Davis also said that all New Zealand prisoners have rights that include the ability to send and receive mail. He said the prison system can withhold correspondence and withheld some other letters Tarrant had attempted to send or receive.

"We have never had to manage a prisoner like this before — and I have asked questions around whether our laws are now fit for purpose and asked for advice on what changes we may now need to make," Davis said.

In the letter, dated July 4, Tarrant thanks "Alan" for postage stamps he apparently sent, saying they're the only two pieces of color in an otherwise gray cell and adds that he'll have to hide them from the guards.

Tarrant cites Plato and other philosophers and writers as inspiration for his views, and says he "cannot go into any great detail about regrets or feelings as the guards will confiscate my letter if I do" and use it as evidence.

Opposition spokesman David Bennett said Davis needed to demand immediate answers as to how an inflammatory letter could be sent from inside a maximum security prison.

"This man is accused of carrying out one of the most heinous crimes in New Zealand history," Bennett said in a statement. "New Zealanders will be horrified that Corrections allowed him to send a letter which includes a call to action and has subsequently been posted online."

The Corrections Department, which oversees prisons, said the law only allows a prison director to withhold a prisoner's mail in a "very limited" range of circumstances.

"On review, we acknowledge that this letter should have been withheld," the department said in a statement. "We have made changes to the management of this prisoner's mail to ensure that our robust processes are as effective as we need them to be."

Before the March 15 shootings, Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist, posted a 74-page manifesto on the website 8chan in which he outlined his racist views and his beliefs that immigrants were invaders who would replace the white race.

8chan, seen as a more radical offshoot of 4chan, was effectively knocked offline this month after two companies cut off vital technical services in response to claims that the gunman who killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, posted a racist anti-Latino screed on the site just before the Aug. 3 killings.

Like the Texas gunman, a Norwegian man suspected of killing his stepsister and then storming an Oslo mosque with guns this month is also believed to have found inspiration in Tarrant's actions.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed never to utter Tarrant's name in order to deny him the publicity she says he craves, making Tarrant's letter even more of an embarrassment for the government.

"I think every New Zealander would have an expectation that this individual should not be able to share his hateful message from behind bars," she told media on the island nation of Tuvalu, where she is traveling to attend a meeting of Pacific leaders.

It's not the first misstep by New Zealand authorities in the case. Police initially filed a single representative murder charge against Tarrant but mistakenly named somebody who was still alive before later amending the charge.

Tarrant has pleaded not guilty to terrorism, murder and attempted murder charges following the mosque attacks. He remains in jail ahead of his trial, which has been scheduled for next May.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking for your help as they face an unknown condition threatening our big cats. The disorder has, so far, seemed to affect Florida panthers and bobcats. The abnormality causes the cats to stumble, seemingly unable to coordinate their back legs. The FWC writes: As of August 2019, the FWC has confirmed neurological damage in one panther and one bobcat. Additionally, trail camera footage has captured eight panthers (mostly kittens) and one adult bobcat displaying varying degrees of this condition. Videos of affected cats were collected from multiple locations in Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties, and at least one panther photographed in Charlotte County could also have been affected.” They are testing for toxins, including rat pesticide, as well as infectious diseases and nutritional deficiencies. The organization is also asking the public for video, if they have it, of stumbling big cats and to submit those videos to the FWC. Mobile users see video here. The more footage they have, the better their investigation, which quickly needs solved. Florida panthers are an endangered species in the state. Biologists estimate there are about 200 left in the wild. Mobile users see Instagram post here.
  • Mark your calendars and grab your sunglasses, the Florida Strawberry Festival has announced its new theme for the 85th annual event in 2020 — 'Our Perfect Vision! A new theme is created for the festival each year, and this year the marketing geniuses played up the year 2020 and the Festivals “Perfect Vision” for fun. Mr. Berry is sporting a FSF fedora and sunglasses with 2020 on the lenses. The iconic mascot is also carrying a plate of strawberry shortcake. Each year, more than 500,000 people enjoy the 11-day community event which celebrates the strawberry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County. The festival features headline entertainment, youth livestock shows, exhibits of commerce and, of course, its strawberry shortcake. The 2020 Florida Strawberry Festival is set for February 27 - March 8 in Plant City. For more information, visit www.flstrawberryfestival.com. 
  • The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office shared what they call a “sensitive” arrest on their Facebook page writing, “You could even say it’s kinda nuts.” Deputies responded to a 911 hang-up call at a Sebring home Sunday, to discover Gary Van Ryswyk had just performed a castration on another man he met on the dark web at a sight for people with a castration fetish. Deputies found the victim on the bed with a towel over his groin, which was bleeding heavily. Nearby, there was a pink container which held two body parts that deputies say,  “had recently been much closer to the victim.” The Sheriff said in the Facebook post that “Van Ryswyk had dropped the ball on this one.” The victim was taken to the hospital and was later flown to a regional medical center where  he is listed in stable condition. Van Ryswyk admitted to investigators that he told the victim he had experience performing the procedure on animals and had even removed one of his own testicles in 2012. Deputies say Van Ryswyk had planned to operate on the victim a week earlier, but had to delay it after trying to sanitize the area. He also said he had done a similar procedure on a man in a local motel a few years ago, which also did not turn out well. Van Ryswky could not remember the name of that victim, who he said also went to the hospital, but law enforcement was not notified. The 74-year-old was arrested Monday and charged with practicing medicine without a license resulting in bodily injury, a second-degree felony. His bond was set at $250,000. Anyone who has information about Van Ryswyk is asked to call Det. Roger St. Laurent at 863-402-7250 or email detectives@highlandssheriff.com. Tips can also be left anonymously on the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office app or through Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.
  • When Stephanie Oyen donned a blue blazer and glasses, she knew she looked like Massachusetts senator and 2020 Democrat Elizabeth Warren. She hoped to draw a few smiles with the outfit but never expected the attention that would end up drowning her. “I thought it would get some giggles,” Oyen told the Star Tribune. “Then people started yelling, ‘Senator Warren!’ People were clapping and running up to me to take photos. I kept saying ‘I’m not her!’ but I looked up and hundreds of people were staring at me.” The attention got to be so much, she ended up taking off the spectacles and sweater, just so she could have a break. “It got weird very fast,' she explained. 'I talk with my hands and shake my head, which only made me look more like Elizabeth Warren. I was saying ‘I’m not her!’ but I could have been saying ‘Medicare for all!’ ” “I’m not a prankster,” she continued, “I really thought people would know, but then they started running up and saying ‘You’re my hero!’ and taking photos. I felt so bad.” But it all peaked when Oyen came face to face with Senator Warren. Warren reportedly told her “We need to talk!” as she pointed to Oyen's outfit. Mobile users see tweet here. “I couldn’t tell if she recognized I was dressed like her or if she thought, ‘Here’s a weird lady dressed like a stereotypical politician,’ ” Oyen laughed. The Massachusetss candidate later tweeted a photo of the two together, writing, it 'would've been even better if she'd brought her own Bailey,' aka Warren's golden retriever and campaign companion.
  • An argument over a plastic cart that was in a trash heap on the side of the road turned serious when one man unsheathed a sword and started swinging. The man only stopped when he noticed a camera was recording the ordeal. Now, The Broward County Sheriffs Office has released the video, taken in Oakland Park on  July 15, 2019, in their search for the  sword wielding suspect. The argument began after a jogger claimed the plastic cart and wheeled it home. Deputies say the cart has also caught the eye of a man in a white, older-model pickup who was already looking through the discarded items. He became upset when the jogger took the cart and followed him home after the two exchanged words. The video shows the second man approach the jogger with what appears to be a red stick, but as he gets closer he removes a sword from a red sheath and begins swinging as he tries to take the cart away. The two struggle in a tug-of-war over the cart for several seconds, all while the man continues to swing the sword. He only stopped when the jogger pointed out the security camera, but he still threatened to return. Minutes later, the video shows a disgruntled woman taking the cart away from the joggers yard while hurling insults. Detectives said they believe the woman and the jogger know each other. App users click here to see the video.  Anyone with information about the man with the sword is asked to call the  Broward County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit Detective Tiberio Barbosa at 954-321-4278. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at browardcrimestoppers.org,

Washington Insider

  • With the Prime Minister of Denmark making it clear that she was not interested in selling Greenland to the United States, labeling the idea 'absurd,' President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he would cancel his scheduled visit to the NATO ally in early September. 'Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting,' the President tweeted on Tuesday evening. In interviews this week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had made clear that Greenland was not for sale, even as she welcomed the idea of closer relations between Denmark and the United States. But that wasn't enough for President Trump. On Sunday, President Trump had downplayed the issue as he returned to the White House. 'It’s not number one on the burner, I can tell you that,' the President told reporters when asked about the idea of buying Greenland. The decision obviously came as a surprise to U.S. diplomats in Denmark, as the U.S. Ambassador had put out a tweet a few hours earlier about the President's scheduled state visit. The President and First Lady had been invited by the Queen of Denmark earlier this summer for a two day state visit. Democrats mocked the President for canceling his stop in Denmark. “Embarrassing,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). 'What a shame when Greenland could be covered with sand traps, water holes and lots of beautiful putting greens,' said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), referring to the President's golfing.