Toronto, Jul 23 (AP/UNB) — A gunman is dead after shooting nine people, including a young girl, in the Toronto neighborhood known as Greektown, police said late Sunday.
The condition of the victims was not known yet, police spokesman Mark Pugash says. He says it's too early to say whether the shooting is terrorism.
John Tulloch says he and his brother had just gotten out of their car on Danforth when he heard about 20 to 30 gunshots.
"We just ran. We saw people starting to run so we just ran," he said.
An army of police, paramedics and other first responders soon descended on the scene, while area residents, some in their pajamas, emerged from their homes to see what was happening.
Los Angeles, Jul 22 (AP/UNB) — A woman was shot and killed when a gunman ran into a busy Los Angeles supermarket where he held dozens of people hostage for about three hours Saturday before handcuffing himself and surrendering to police. No hostages were seriously hurt.
About two hours before taking the hostages, police say the man shot his grandmother seven times and wounded another woman, who he forced into a car. Police chased the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with the man, who crashed into a pole outside the Trader Joe's in the city's Silver Lake section and ran inside.
Frightened customers and workers dove for cover as police bullets fired at the suspect shattered the store's glass doors. Some inside the supermarket climbed out windows and others barricaded themselves in rooms as scores of police and firefighters and 18 ambulances converged on the scene and prepared for mass casualties.
Heavily armed officers in riot gear stood along the side of the store and used mirrors to look inside as hostage negotiators tried to coax the man into freeing his 40 to 50 hostages and surrendering.
At about 6:30 p.m., the man agreed to handcuff himself and walked out the front door, surrounded by four of the hostages. The unidentified man, who police said is about 28, was immediately taken into custody. Police said he had a wound to his arm.
Mayor Eric Garcetti congratulated police and firefighters for their work and mourned the loss of life at the Trader Joe's where he and his wife regularly shopped when they lived in the neighborhood.
"The heroism that was shown today was second to none and the teams that were able to respond, secure the perimeter and engage in conversation with the suspect no doubt saved lives today," he said, adding "our hearts go out to everyone who has been traumatized."
Among those who survived the harrowing afternoon was 91-year-old Don Kohles. He lives in the neighborhood and was walking into the supermarket when he saw "two police cars coming like a bat out of hell" and the suspect crashed into the pole.
The driver got out and police started firing at him as he ran toward the Trader Joe's. Kohles hurried inside and he and others took cover as the suspect ran in.
"Those bullets went right over the back of me as he was running right down the main aisle," Kohles said. He was terrorized as he lay on the floor and others around him sobbed.
Christian Dunlop, a real estate agent and actor who lives nearby and frequents the Trader Joe's, was on a corner near the store when he saw four people run out. One person, an employee, was dragging an injured woman by the hands.
"She appeared lifeless," Dunlop said.
He then saw about five employees hang out a second-floor window and drop to the ground, and about 15 other people run to safety from the back of the store. Among them was a police officer carrying a small child, he said.
"I know all the employees. I see them all the time. My heart was just racing and thinking about all the endless possibilities," Dunlop said.
Makela Wilson, 26, an office manager, had finished shopping and was driving out of the parking lot when the suspect crashed his vehicle and police opened fire. She heard three or four gunshots and then officers in SWAT gear arrived and ordered her and other people in their cars to hunch down in their seats.
"Duck down! Duck down!" an officer shouted at her. She estimates she was in the car for a half-hour until officers escorted her to safety. At about the same time, other officers went into the store and rushed out Kolhes and others near him.
Police Chief Michel Moore said the suspect made a "series of demands" during the standoff but crisis negotiators believed they could convince him to surrender peacefully.
"Our hostage negotiators believed they had established a good rapport with him," the chief said.
Police aren't sure what led to the initial violence that produced the car chase and standoff. Moore said at about 1:30 p.m. the suspect shot his grandmother and another woman in a South Los Angeles home and then forced the other woman into his grandmother's car. The grandmother was in critical condition while the other woman suffered a grazing wound.
Officers were able to track the car using LoJack — a stolen vehicle tracking system — and officers tried to stop the suspect in Hollywood, but the man refused to pull over, Moore said. During the chase, the suspect fired at officers, shooting out the back window of his car.
Outside the store, the man exchanged gunfire with police again and the woman was shot and killed, Moore said. It was not clear if she died from police gunfire or was killed by the gunman. Moore said police and firefighters responded quickly but could not save her.
Fire officials said six people, ranging in age from 12 to 81, were taken to the hospital. None had been shot and all were in fair condition.
New York, July 20 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer secretly recorded Trump discussing payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with him, The New York Times reported Friday.
The president's current personal lawyer confirmed the conversation and said it showed Trump did nothing wrong, according to the Times.
Citing lawyers and others familiar with the recording, The Times said attorney Michael Cohen made the recording two months before Trump's 2016 election. The newspaper said the FBI seized the recording during an April raid on Cohen's office amid an investigation into his business dealings.
People familiar with the investigation have told The Associated Press that the raid sought, among other things, any information on payments made in 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who says she had an affair with Trump in 2006. He denies it.
The Wall Street Journal revealed, days before the election, that the National Enquirer — run by Trump supporter David Pecker — had paid $150,000 to silence McDougal. At the time, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, "We have no knowledge of any of this."
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times the Republican president did discuss the payments to McDougal with Cohen on the less than two-minute-long recording, but that the payment was never made.
Giuliani says Trump told Cohen that if he did make a payment, to do it by check so it could be documented.
"Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance," Giuliani told the newspaper. "In the big scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence."
Giuliani and Cohen haven't immediately responded to messages from The Associated Press. Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis declined to comment to the Times.
McDougal's lawyer, Peter Stris, did not immediately respond to a message.
Cohen, a self-described fixer for Trump for more than a decade, said last year that he "would take a bullet" for Trump. But Cohen told an interviewer earlier this month that he now puts "family and country first" and won't let anyone paint him as "a villain of this story."
New York, July 21 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer secretly recorded Trump discussing a potential payment for a former Playboy model's account of having an affair with him, people familiar with an investigation into the attorney said on Friday.
The recording by attorney Michael Cohen adds to questions about whether Trump tried to quash damaging stories in the run-up to his 2016 election. Trump's campaign had said it knew nothing about any payment to ex-centerfold Karen McDougal. It could also further entangle the president in a criminal investigation that for months has targeted Cohen, his onetime lawyer and close ally.
Current Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the payment was never made and the brief recording shows Trump did nothing wrong.
"The transaction that Michael is talking about on the tape never took place, but what's important is: If it did take place, the president said it has to be done correctly and it has to be done by check" to keep a proper record of it, Giuliani said.
One of Cohen's lawyers, Lanny Davis, said "any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the tape."
"When the recording is heard, it will not hurt Mr. Cohen," Davis said in a statement.
Cohen surreptitiously made the recording two months before the election, according to a person familiar with a federal investigation into Cohen. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing inquiry.
The conversation between Trump and Cohen came weeks after the National Enquirer's parent company reached a $150,000 deal to pay McDougal for her story of a 2006 affair, which it never published, a tabloid practice known as catch and kill. Trump denies the affair ever happened.
The company, American Media Inc., is run by Trump friend and supporter David Pecker.
The company's payment effectively silenced McDougal through the election, though days beforehand news of the deal emerged in The Wall Street Journal. At the time, a Trump spokeswoman said his campaign had "no knowledge of any of this."
But in the recorded conversation, Trump and Cohen appear to be discussing buying the rights to McDougal's story from the Enquirer's parent company, according to the person familiar with the investigation.
McDougal's lawyer and an American Media spokesman didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Friday.
The recording, first reported by The New York Times, likely will revive questions about what other recordings of Trump's conversations might exist. As a businessman, Trump occasionally recorded his phone calls, a former Trump Organization executive told the AP last year, although Trump once denied doing so.
The FBI raided Cohen's office, home and hotel room in April, searching in part for information about payments to McDougal and porn actress Stormy Daniels, who received a $130,000 payment from Cohen before the election to keep quiet about a sexual relationship she says she had with Trump. Meanwhile, a government watchdog group has asked the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether American Media's payment to the former centerfold amounted to an unreported and illegal corporate campaign contribution.
The Cohen investigation, by federal prosecutors in New York, is separate from an ongoing inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Cohen hasn't been charged with any crime.
A self-described fixer for Trump for more than a decade, he said last year he would "take a bullet" for Trump. But he told an interviewer this month that he now puts "family and country first" and won't let anyone paint him as "a villain of this story." On Twitter, he scrubbed mentions and photos of Trump from a profile that previously identified him as "Personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump."
Cohen wouldn't say in the recent interview whether he would cooperate with prosecutors. If he decided to do so, it could be risky for the Republican president, given the pair's close relationship over the years.
McDougal's former attorney, Keith Davidson, has been cooperating with investigators in the Cohen probe, Davidson spokesman Dave Wedge has said. He declined to comment on Friday.
The Enquirer's payment to McDougal gave the tabloid the exclusive rights to any story she might ever wish to tell about having an affair with a married man.
She later publicly alleged that the Enquirer had tricked her into accepting the deal and had threatened to ruin her if she broke it. After she sued the tabloid seeking to invalidate the contract in March, the Enquirer agreed to allow her to tell her story.
Hours before the Times revealed the recorded conversation, Cohen met in New York with the Rev. Al Sharpton, a frequent critic of Trump.
Cohen and Sharpton said in tweets they have known each other for 20 years. Cohen contacted the civil rights activist in recent weeks, longtime Sharpton spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said.
She said the two revisited conversations they'd had over the years when Cohen was Sharpton's conduit to Trump during clashes over race issues and over Trump's questioning of the authenticity of former President Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Cohen tweeted there's "no one better to talk to!" than Sharpton, who used his own Twitter account to advise readers, "Stay tuned."
United Nations, July 21 (AP/UNB) — The United States on Friday welcomed the U.N. Security Council's united support for the fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and pressed China and Russia to strictly enforce U.N. sanctions to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused North Korea of violating an array of tough sanctions imposed by the council. He warned that "when sanctions are not enforced, the prospects for the successful denuclearization of North Korea are diminished."
Nonetheless, Pompeo told reporters after meeting behind closed doors with the 15 council members that President Donald Trump "remains upbeat about the prospects for denuclearization" following his historic summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "So do I, as progress is happening," he added without elaborating.
The Trump administration hopes that one day North Korea will be at the United Nations "not as a pariah but as a friend," Pompeo said. But "it will take full enforcement of sanctions for us to get there" as well as Kim following through "on his personal commitments" to Trump.
At the summit, Trump and Kim agreed to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, without describing when and how it would occur.
Follow-up talks this month between Pompeo and North Korean senior officials in Pyongyang had a rocky start, with North Korea accusing the United States of making "unilateral and gangster-like" demands.
Pompeo stressed Friday that the 15 Security Council nations "are united on the need for final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea."
Pyongyang for decades has been pushing a concept of "denuclearization" that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its 28,500 troops from South Korea and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan.
China, which is North Korea's closest ally and responsible for more than 90 percent of the isolated country's trade, backs North Korea's call for a "phased and synchronous" approach to denuclearization.
Last month, Beijing suggested the Security Council consider suspending or lifting sanctions on North Korea if it is in compliance with U.N. resolutions and making progress in negotiations. Russia said Friday it also backs this approach.
Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, said that Pompeo confirmed the U.S. "will seek the full denuclearization" of North Korea.
"It is necessary that the denuclearization go step by step with parallel actions by the international community," Polyansky said. "We are talking about easing sanctions pressure through the U.N. Security Council, as well as the removal of unilateral U.S. sanctions."
Some exemptions have already taken place.
This week, South Korea received exemptions from the Security Council committee monitoring North Korea sanctions for communications lines between the North and South and for some goods for the North including furniture, transport vehicles and a bus.
The U.S. has pushed for rapid moves toward ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons and says sanctions will remain until Pyongyang follows through on Kim's pledge. But Trump has recently been playing down expectations of quick results, saying this week there was "no time limit" on getting North Korea to denuclearize.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, standing beside Pompeo, made clear that Kim Jong Un must take action first.
"We continue to reiterate we can't do one thing until we see North Korea respond to their promise to denuclearize," Haley said. "We have to see some sort of action. And so until that action happens, the Security Council is going to hold tight."
As for the broader international community, she said, "we ask you to hold tight as we go forward."
Pompeo said "the scope and scale" of denuclearization "is agreed to" and "the North Koreans understand what that means," though he didn't elaborate and sidestepped a question on what the first step should be.
"We need to see chairman Kim do what he promised the world he would do," Pompeo said.
Chinese Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu said that "China is committed to denuclearization" and "to peace and stability on the Peninsula." He added that China will "fully implement" U.N. sanctions resolutions, adding that "everyone" else should as well.
But, Pompeo said, North Korea is "illegally smuggling" in refined petroleum products beyond the quota of 500,000 barrels per year allowed under U.N. sanctions, mainly by ship-to-ship transfers.
U.S. documents sent to the committee and obtained by The Associated Press cite 89 instances between Jan. 1 and May 30 in which North Korean tankers likely delivered refined products "illicitly procured" via such transfers.
The U.S. says Russia and China both informed the sanctions committee that they were supplying refined products to North Korea.
Pompeo said North Korea is also evading sanctions by smuggling coal by sea and across borders, through cyber thefts and other criminal activities, and by keeping workers in some countries that he didn't name.
These actions are all "generating significant revenues for the regime and they must be stopped," he said.
Haley criticized "some friends who want to go around the rules," and especially Russia and China for blocking the sanctions committee from demanding that all countries halt shipments of petroleum products to North Korea immediately.
Moscow and Beijing said they need additional time to investigate the U.S. allegations and put a six-month "hold" on the U.S. request.
"Are they telling us that they want to continue supplying this oil?" Haley asked. "They claim they need more information. We don't need any more information. The sanctions committee has what it needs. We all know it's going forward."
Dutch Ambassador Karel Van Oosterom said the Security Council made clear to Pompeo that it wants to see "concrete actions and deeds" from North Korea to denuclearize.
Van Oosterom, who chairs the North Korea sanctions committee, told reporters: "I think for all of us it's clear that the progress is in the talks so far, that the engagement is there and the discussions are taking place."
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said North Korea made "a clear commitment on complete denuclearization repeatedly and, of course, very forcefully at the Singapore summit with President Trump, and we will hold them up to that commitment."