By Allen Payton
According to an ABC News report on Sunday, June 19, 2016 and an L.A. Times article posted today, Noor Zahi Salman, the widow of Orlando terrorist Omar Saddiqui Mateen, was born in San Pablo, grew up in Rodeo, graduated from high school in Crocket and married Mateen in Hercules in Western Contra Costa County, California.
The ABC News report states:
The wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter had learning difficulties when she was in middle school and was enrolled in special education classes, according to her now retired teacher in California.
Susan was Noor Zahi Salman’s teacher at her middle school in Crockett, California. ABC News is not using Susan’s full name or showing her face at her request.
“Noor had difficulty with retention. She had difficulty with conceptualizing, understanding — all challenges to her,” Susan said. “She tried hard. She was very sweet.”
Her family confirmed that Susan was Salman’s special education teacher and that she was enrolled in special education classes.
Susan said Salman was considered a “special day class student” – meaning she had to take all her classes with special education teachers.
The L.A. Times article provided more information about Salman’s background and local ties.
The child of Palestinian immigrants, Salman was born in San Pablo, in the Bay Area, and grew up in Northern California in a hilly neighborhood of tract homes in Rodeo, about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco. She graduated from John Swett High School in 2004.
They were married in Hercules, in Contra Costa County, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2011.
Although Salman accompanied Mateen on at least one trip to the Pulse nightclub before the attack for what is being considered reconnaissance, she has not been charged with any crimes, yet, nor is she currently listed as a suspect.
“With respect to the wife, I can tell you that that is only one of many interviews we have done and will continue to do,” said Ronald Harper, FBI assistant special agent in charge in Orlando, said during a news conference on Wednesday, June 15.
“I am not going to speculate today if any charges have or will be brought in this case,” added Lee Bentley, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida.
In spite of her special education classes in middle school, Salman graduated from both high school and college, according to other news reports.
The FBI investigation continues.Read More
On Thursday, Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark A. Peterson and the West Contra Costa County Police Chiefs Association met to discuss strategies to prevent, investigate, and prosecute freeway shootings in the West County area, and also to review the current efforts to address the shootings.
The West Contra Costa County Police Chiefs and their respective City Managers and City Council members believe that approaching this issue in a collaborative manner is essential. Prior to yesterday’s meeting, West County Chiefs met regarding the freeway shootings; all six chiefs agreed that with collaboration comes a better understanding of diverse perspectives and that the coordinated efforts of many can accomplish more than the efforts of one or a few separately.
Attending the meeting were chiefs from the El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules, and Kensington police departments, as well as members of the county’s Probation Department, and the Offices of the Sheriff and District Attorney.
Since November 2nd, 2015, there have been 13 shootings on Interstate 80, and one on Interstate 580, for a total of 14 shootings in the western portion of Contra Costa County. Of the 14 shootings, two resulted in the deaths of the occupants of the vehicles. On several other occasions, no one was injured as the shots struck only the vehicles, or missed the intended vehicle occupants and their cars entirely.
To date, the great majority of these freeway shootings are gang related. Many of the victimsand witnesses in these cases have been uncooperative with investigators. The lack of cooperation coupled with the random nature of the shootings makes solving such crimes extremely problematic. Additionally, since the crimes occur at very high speeds, there are very few, if any, percipient witnesses.
Chief Paul Fontana, commander of the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) Golden Gate Division, has convened several recent meetings of law enforcement executives from throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties regarding the shootings. In the county, an ad-hoc task force of teams of investigators from the CHP and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Contra Costa Safe Streets Task Force respond to all freeway shootings in the county.
The Task Force includes members of the California Highway Patrol, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Richmond Police Department, Pittsburg Police Department, Antioch Police Department, Concord Police Department, El Cerrito Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department, District Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms,and Explosives.
In addition, Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove who has over a decade of experience prosecuting murder cases has been assigned to assist on all freeway shooting investigations; he routinely responds to the shooting sites to provide legal advice and investigative guidance.
In addition to the investigative efforts, law enforcement is working with representatives of the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Transportation, and local mayors and other elected officials to explore the use of other technologies to assist in the effort to stop the shootings. These include the installation of high resolution cameras, gunshot detection technology, and other technologies, on the freeways and the entry/exit ramps.
Preventing freeway shootings, and prosecuting those responsible for them, is one of the top priorities for government at all levels in the county.Nearly a quarter million people travel daily on Interstate 80 in Contra Costa County, and we will do everything possible to ensure their safety.
We are seeking the public’s help on this critical public safety matter. Anyone with information concerning the shootings is encouraged to contactthe California Highway Patrol Investigative Services Unit at (510) 622-4609 or 1-800-TELL-CHP, or your local law enforcement agency.
West County Police Chiefs Association
Hercules Chief of Police Bill Goswick (Chairperson, West County Police Chiefs)
El Cerrito Interim Chief of Police Paul Keith
Kensington Chief of Police Kevin Hart
Pinole Chief of Police Neil Gang
San Pablo Chief of Police Lisa Rosales
Richmond Chief of Police Allwyn Brown
Office of the Sheriff Captain Dan Hoffman, Patrol Division CommanderRead More
WHAT: The first East County Men’s Health & Wellness Fair will offer free screenings, health education, promote re-entry work and link men from the area and their families to medical services. Attendees will be able to get shingles and pneumonia immunizations, Tdap booster shots, glucose testing, blood pressure checks, rapid onsite testing for HIV and hepatitis C, health education on substance abuse and addiction, prostate awareness, benefits of cardiovascular exercises, CPR education and even haircuts. The men’s health fair is being held in conjunction with the 7th annual Juneteenth Celebration in Pittsburg.
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 18
WHERE: Pittsburg City Park, 17th & Railroad Avenue
WHO: The health fair is being sponsored by Contra Costa Health Services in partnership with Souljahs, the American Heart Association, Walgreens and 1st Nor Cal Credit Union. Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation, Los Medanos Community Healthcare District and Supervisor Federal Glover provided funding support for the event.Read More
Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) Chancellor Helen Benjamin announced the appointment of Ted Wieden, Diablo Valley College (DVC) interim executive dean, to serve a one-year term as the interim president effective Friday, July 1, 2016. Formal approval of the appointment will take place at the Governing Board’s June 22, 2016, meeting. The opportunity became available following current DVC president Peter Garcia’s June 30, 2016, retirement announcement.
“We are fortunate to have Ted Wieden accept this one-year assignment”, said Governing Board President Vicki Gordon. “Ted knows the college very well, is a respected faculty member and manager, and will ensure there is leadership stability at DVC while we search for a permanent president.”
“Ted has been with our District for over 24 years, taking on a number of leadership roles both at the college and the District Office”, said Chancellor Benjamin. “DVC will be in good hands.”
Wieden is a first generation college student and graduated from Reedley College. After receiving his B.A. and M.A. from California State University at Fresno, he began teaching as an adjunct faculty and later joined DVC as a full-time instructor of Geography/Meteorology. At DVC, he served in many leadership roles including chair of the Physical Science and Engineering Division, interim Senior Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, and interim Executive Dean of Effectiveness/Accreditation Liaison Officer. Wieden also served in management positions at the District Office as interim Special Assistant to the Chancellor, and interim Senior Dean.
DVC has distinguished itself as one of the nation’s most successful community colleges by offering incomparable transfer opportunities and exceptional career-technical programs and degrees to a diverse student body, while responding to an evolving need for robust adult basic skills and English as a Second Language programs. At both the Pleasant Hill and San Ramon locations, local and international students engage with high-quality instruction and support services designed for student learning and success. Faculty from DVC’s various career-technical programs are in continuous dialog with the surrounding community to keep pace with emerging technologies and skill requirements students need to be successful in any job market. The college’s unparalleled transfer programs prepare students in large numbers to be successful in four-year colleges and universities all over the state and the country. DVC continuously ranks among the top transfer pathways to UC Berkeley.
The Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The CCCCD serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon. The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.Read More
Suspect in nine sexual assaults in Contra Costa County
Although four decades have passed since a prolific serial rapist and murderer terrorized California communities from Sacramento to Contra Costa County to Orange County, the FBI and local law enforcement announced a national publicity campaign on Wednesday – and a significant reward – in the hopes of locating the suspect and finally bringing him to justice.
Between 1976 and 1986, the violent and elusive individual known as the East Area Rapist, and later as the Original Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer, committed 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and more than 120 residential burglaries in multiple California communities. His victims ranged in age from 13 to 41 and included women home alone, women at home with their children, and husbands and wives.
At a press conference in Sacramento, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, and Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department held a press conference to announce the launch of a reward and national campaign to help identify the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer, a violent serial burglar, rapist, and murderer who terrorized multiple communities in California throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
The digital media campaign includes the launch of a webpage, www.fbi.gov/EastAreaRapist digital billboards throughout the country; social media outreach on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube; and audio broadcasts via podcasts and radio PSAs. The public can play an active role in helping law enforcement find the subject by sharing links to the website and official social media content.
Law enforcement asks the public to consider the following information when reviewing information about the case:
- Did they live in one of the areas of criminal activity and remember someone in the area who matches the physical description of the subject or may have been known to spend a considerable amount of time in the areas?
- Have they discovered a hidden collection of items among the belongings of a friend or family member—notably coins and jewelry—as described on the FBI webpage about the crimes?
The subject, who may be 60-75 years old now, was described as a White male standing approximately five feet, ten inches tall, with blond or light brown hair and an athletic build. He may have had an interest or training in military or law enforcement techniques as he was familiar and proficient with firearms.
People who know the subject may not believe him capable of such crimes. He may not have exhibited violent tendencies or have a criminal history.
Detectives have DNA evidence from some of the crime scenes which can either positively link or exclude a suspect. This enables investigators to quickly exclude innocent parties and the public should not hesitate to provide information—even if it is the name or address of an individual who resided in the areas of the crimes—as many parties will be quickly excluded by a simple, non-invasive test.
Between 1976 and 1986, this single subject committed 12 homicides, approximately 45 rapes, and multiple residential burglaries in the state of California. All of the crimes have been linked by DNA and/or details of the crimes. His victims ranged in age from 13 to 41 and included women home alone, woman at home with their children, and couples.
The subject was active in the greater Sacramento area from June 1976 to February 1978.
Burglaries and rapes began occurring in the Sacramento area during the summer of 1976. During these crimes, the subject would ransack the homes of his victims and take small items such as coins, jewelry, and identification. These cases include the homes of families, couples, and single women; burglaries in a neighborhood tended to precede clusters of sexual assaults. On February 2, 1978, Rancho Cordova couple Sergeant Brian Maggiore and his wife, Katie, were on an evening walk with their dog, chased by the subject who overcame the couple, and shot at close range.
His activity continued primarily in the East Bay Area of Northern California in 1979 and, by October 1979, his activity escalated into rapes and homicides/attempted homicides along the California Coast with homicides in Goleta (October 10, 1979, December 3, 1979, and July 27, 1981), Ventura (March 16, 1980), Laguna Niguel (August 19, 1980), and Irvine (February 6, 1981 and May 5, 1986). During the commission of the homicides, the subject tied up both victims, raped the female victim, and then murdered the couple.
After July of 1981, no associated incidents are known to have been reported for five years. In 1986, an 18-year-old woman was raped and murdered in Irvine. No additional crimes have been connected to the subject after this incident.
A graphic illustrating the general location of these crimes is available on the FBI’s webpage.
The following is a listing of local law enforcement agencies who have investigated a crime believed to have been committed by the subject and the number of crimes in their jurisdictions:
|Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department||24||2|
|Sacramento Police Department||4||1 assault w/ deadly weapon|
|Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department||5||0|
|Concord Police Department||2||0|
|Davis Police Department||3||0|
|Fremont Police Department||1||0|
|Modesto Police Department||2||0|
|San Jose Police Department||2||0|
|Stockton Police Department||2||0|
|Walnut Creek Police Department||2||0|
|Irvine Police Department||0||2|
|Orange County Sheriff’s Department||0||2|
|Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department||0||4 +2 attempted|
|Ventura Police Department||0||2|
“Regardless of the amount of time that has passed,” said Sgt. Paul Belli, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department detective assigned to the case, “the sheriff’s department never gave up on the investigation. This person ruined a great number of lives, and he should be held accountable.”
Law enforcement is seeking any information that may help identify the subject, dubbed the “East Area Rapist” in Sacramento. He has also been called the “Original Night Stalker,” “Diamond Knot Killer,” and, more recently, the “Golden State Killer.” Individuals with information about the subject may call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). Additionally, information may be submitted to the FBI’s online tip line, tips.fbi.gov.
For more information visit www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2016/june/help-us-catch-the-east-area-rapist/help-us-catch-the-east-area-rapistRead More
By Allen Payton
In a rematch of the 2014 election for Congress in District 9, Democrat Representative Jerry McNerney will face retired U.S. Marshall Tony Amador in the November election.
After entering the race on the last day possible, Amador edged out fellow Republican candidate, Stockton Police Sergeant Kathryn Nance, who had been campaigning for over a year, by 2.9% of the vote.
“I want to thank those who supported me,” Amador said. “We’re going to need the help of independent and Democrat voters, and Kathryn’s supporters, as well.”
“I want to congratulate her for fighting the fight,” he added.
The latest vote count, as of Friday, June 10th at 6:47 p.m., McNerney had 50,144 votes or 55.7%, Amador had 19,644 votes or 21.8%, Nance had 16,975 votes or 18.9% and Libertarian Alex Appleby had 3,218 votes or 3.6% of the vote.
District 9 includes most of Eastern Contra Costa County, as well as most of San Joaquin County, plus Galt in Sacramento County.
Amador is leading Nance by only 435 votes in San Joaquin County where they both live, but in the Contra Costa portion of the district he’s leading her by 1,907 votes and by 327 votes in Galt.
To see the the election results as they’re updated, visit the California Secretary of State’s website at: http://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/us-rep/district/9/
FULL FREEWAY CLOSURES:
There are no full freeway closures of State Route 4 planned for this week.
HIGHWAY LANE CLOSURES:
There will be highway lane closures in the westbound direction of State Route 4 between Hillcrest Avenue and Bailey Road on Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
There will be highway lane closures in the eastbound direction of State Route 4 between Bailey Road and Hillcrest Avenue on Monday through Friday from 4:30 am to 12:00 pm.
There are no ramp closures of State Route 4 planned for this week.
LOCAL STREET CLOSURES:
There will be lane closures in the eastbound and westbound directions of Larkspur Drive between Hillcrest Avenue and Wildflower Drive on Saturday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 6:00 am.
There will be lane closures in the eastbound and westbound directions of Sunset Drive between Hillcrest Avenue and Devpar Court on Saturday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 6:00 am.
There will be lane closures in the northbound and southbound directions of Hillcrest Avenue between Larkspur Drive and Sunset Drive on Saturday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 6:00 am.
There will be lane closures in the northbound and southbound directions of A Street / Lone Tree Way between Rossi Avenue and E. Tregallas Road on Saturday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 6:00 am.
For questions or comments please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
Following an investigation, the CASE (Contra Costa County Anti-Violence Support Effort) team last month served a search warrant on a home in Crockett.
Inside the residence, CASE team members located numerous weapons, including an assault rifle and a .30 caliber machine gun. The investigation is ongoing.
The CASE Team is a joint effort by the Office of the Sheriff, California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Pittsburg Police Department and Walnut Creek Police Department. CASE was created in November 2011 as a collaborative effort to reduce violent crimes in Contra Costa, especially those related to illegal firearms.
Upcoming construction activity for the Express Lanes on I-680 between Walnut Creek and San Ramon requires temporary, nighttime ramp closures. The construction activity will include the excavation and paving of maintenance vehicle pullouts on the ramp shoulders. Once complete, the vehicle pullouts will create a safer environment for highway maintenance crews.
Due to the dynamic nature of this work, the ramp closures are scheduled to occur intermittently Monday, June 13 through Friday, July 1 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. The ramp closures will be intermittent and will alternate as work is completed.
The following ramp closures are scheduled:
- The southbound Rudgear Road on-ramp
- The northbound Stone Valley Road off-ramp
- The northbound El Cerro Boulevard on-ramp
- The southbound Bollinger Canyon Road on-ramp
What to Expect
- In addition to the ramp closures, intermittent and alternating nightly closures will occur in the northbound and southbound directions in the lanes closest to the median, and in the lane closest to the shoulder from Martinez to Dublin. Approved construction work hours are: Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. – 5 a.m., Friday from 8 p.m. – 7 a.m., Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m.
- Construction crews will be present on some city streets during the day near I-680 from Martinez to Dublin with temporary and minor pedestrian detours to maintain public safety.
- Construction lighting will be present and directed away from residential areas.
- When traveling near construction activity
- Always use caution
- Be prepared to reduce speeds
- Follow posted signs
Ramp Closure Detour Routes
- Southbound Rudgear Road on-ramp: Enter northbound I-680 from Rudgear Rd, continue on northbound I-680, exit at Olympic Blvd., head west on Olympic Blvd., and enter southbound I-680.
- Northbound Stone Valley Road off-ramp: Continue on northbound I-680, exit at the Livorna Rd. off-ramp, head west on Livorna Rd., enter southbound I-680, and exit at the Stone Valley Rd. off-ramp.
- Northbound El Cerro Boulevard on-ramp: Enter southbound I-680, continue on southbound I-680, exit at Diablo Rd., head east on Diablo Rd, and enter northbound I-680.
- Southbound Bollinger Canyon Road on-ramp: Enter northbound I-680, continue on northbound I-680, exit at Crow Canyon Rd., head west on Crow Canyon Rd., and enter southbound I-680.
Construction is a dynamic process and information is subject to change without notice. Please use caution while traveling through the construction zone.
By Allen Payton
While the County Elections Office continues to count ballots and provide updates, it’s clear that both Supervisor Federal Glover and Martinez Councilwoman Anamarie Avila Farias have taken the top two spots in the race for District 5 Supervisor, and will be in the November run-off.
County Elections Office staff stated they had 56,000 ballots in the county left to count as of Wednesday, not including 19,000 provisional ballots nor those ballots that were postmarked by Tuesday and received by today.
As of the Thursday afternoon vote count update, Glover holds the top spot with 10,443 votes which is 35.26% of the votes and Avila Farias is in second with 9,197 votes which is 31.05%. Trailing in a distant third is former Martinez Mayor Mike Menesini with 4,339 votes or 14.65%, Hercules Mayor Dan Romero with 3,930 votes or 13.27% and then Conrad Dandridge with 1,604 votes or 5.42%.
Avila Farias received a large boost of support from both the firefighters and the deputy sheriffs in the county, with over $68,000 spent on her behalf.
The Elections Office has 28 days to certify the election and is expected to provide another update, later today and more next week, as the remaining ballots are counted.
Following are the results from the County Elections website as of Thursday, June 9, 4:04 p.m.:
|ANAMARIE AVILA FARIAS||9,197||31.05%|
|FEDERAL GLOVER (I)||10,443||35.26%|