Mother, daughter killed by Polk attackers after armed robbery, shootings … – Orlando Sentinel

A mother and daughter were killed Thursday evening in their home in Polk County and the search continues for one of the suspects after a four-man crime spree that left officers dodging bullets, deputies say.

Two suspects were taken in custody Thursday and a third suspect, Jovan Lamb, 29, was apprehended this morning and is being interviewed, officials said.

A manhunt is on for the fourth suspect — Terrell Williams, 29, of Haines City, said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Judd said he wants a peaceful apprehension of Williams but if it comes to a violent standoff, “we’ll give them a gunfight — one they’ll never forget.”

The victims were identified as Deborah Royal, 51, and her mother Patricia Moran, 72, both of Haines City.

“These are our neighbors who were doing nothing more than having a normal evening after work,” Judd said at a news conference this morning. “These two victims were viciously murdered — much too graphic to describe.”

The incident began when the four men met at 3 p.m. Thursday and then changed into different clothing.

At 5:45 p.m., the four men robbed a Cash America Pawn on Havedale Boulevard in Auburndale, officials said.

“We know this was a well thought-out, well-organized armed robbery and it was designed to create the maximum terrorism of the people in the store,” Judd said. “It was created to obtain not only their cooperation but take away any chance that they might fight back.”

His agency released pictures of the assailants pointing rifles at people in the shop.

The other suspects are Devon McCune, 22, of Haines City and Michael Gordon, 34, of Lakeland.

The foursome fled from the pawnshop in a burgundy SUV heading toward Haines City.

An officer soon spotted the vehicle and the suspects fired shots in his direction from the car’s back window, Judd said.

Minutes later, another officer pursued the vehicle and shots were also fired in his direction, Judd said.

Neither officer was injured.

One of the bullets nearly struck the second officer’s police dog.

The vehicle eventually crashed in the Chanler Ridge community.

“This vehicle becomes lost. They don’t know where they are. They’re trying to get away from the police officers,” Judd said.

Officers soon received a 911 call from a neighbor who had gone to check on the victims after hearing sirens.

The neighbor told officers she heard the women screaming “no” repeatedly from inside, Judd said.

Shortly after officials peered through a window and noticed the deceased, a blue car busted through the home’s garage, straight in the direction of the officers, Judd said.

Multiple shots were fired with four hitting Gordon.

He was also bitten by a police dog.

Gordon sustained non-life-threatening injuries, Judd said.

Residents in the Chanler Ridge community are asked to stay indoors while the search for Williams continues, Judd said.

Anyone anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.

A $5,000 reward is being offered.

mdostis@tribpub.com

Copyright © 2015, Orlando Sentinel

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Mother, Daughter Dead Amid Urgent Manhunt for Armed Robbery Suspect in … – ABC News

PHOTO: Authorities in Polk County, Florida are searching for two men suspected in a deadly robbery spree, Jan. 16, 2015.

Authorities in Polk County, Florida are searching for two men suspected in a deadly robbery spree, Jan. 16, 2015.

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Hundreds of officers, including SWAT teams, are scouring a Central Florida neighborhood for a man considered armed and dangerous after a suspected robbery, high-speed chase and double homicide overnight.

Three suspects are in custody, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said this morning. Police are still searching for 29-year-old Terrell Williams, of Haines City, Florida.

The two people killed in the house invaded by one suspect were a mother and daughter, who, Judd said, were “viciously murdered” in a manner “much too graphic to describe.”

Police had warned residents this morning to lock their doors as they went door-to-door clearing homes and escorting people who wanted to go to work to their cars.

The violence began at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday, when four suspects conducted what Sheriff Judd describes as a “well organized” robbery of a pawn shop in Auburndale, Florida.

Police recognized the getaway vehicle and chased it – the suspected robbers shooting out of the windows at them, police say. Finally, the driver crashed the car at the Chandler Ridge neighborhood in Haines City, where schools have been closed.

While authorities apprehended one suspect, the other three scattered.

A tip from a neighbor helped police apprehend a second suspect at a home. After surrounding the home, police say a car burst out of the garage charging them. Officers fired shots and the car crashed. They unleashed K-9’s that attacked a suspect who was also wounded by a bullet.

When they entered the home they made a grim discovery: the bodies of two adults, with both deaths deemed homicides.

Friday morning officials announced the capture of a third suspect.

Sheriff Judd suggested that those on the run should turn themselves in, saying, “If they choose the latter, we will give them a gun fight, one they will never forget.”

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Gunman holds 2 hostage in post office outside Paris: Police – Hindustan Times

An armed man was holed up in a post office outside Paris on Friday with two hostages, police said, adding there did not appear to be any link to extremist attacks.

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Police sources said several post office clients had managed to escape and that the gunman himself had called them. The sources said he was “speaking incoherently” and was heavily armed with grenades and Kalashnikovs.

The area around the post office in Colombes, a city northwest of Paris, had been cordoned off, with a helicopter flying overhead and elite security forces on the ground.

Earlier today, French and German authorities arrested more than a dozen people on Friday with suspected links to the Islamic State group and a Paris train station was evacuated, with Europe on alert for new potential terrorist attacks.
 
The arrests came a day after Belgian police killed two gunmen recently returned from Syria during one of several raids across the country in a vast sweep against an Islamist network suspected of planning imminent strikes.
 
Visiting a scarred Paris on Friday, US secretary of state John Kerry met French President Francois Hollande and went to the sites of the city’s worst terrorist bloodshed in decades.
 
Twenty people, including the three gunmen, were killed last week in attacks on a kosher supermarket and the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo as well as police.
 
Hollande thanked Kerry for offering France support, saying, “You’ve been victims yourself of an exceptional terrorist attack on Sept 11. You know what it means for a country. … We must find together appropriate responses.”
 
Underscoring heightened fears, police evacuated the Gare de l’Est train station after a bomb threat as Kerry’s motorcade sped from site to site.
 
The Paris prosecutor’s office, meanwhile, said at least 10 people were arrested in anti-terrorism raids in the region, targeting people linked to one of the French gunmen, Amedy Coulibaly, who claimed ties to the Islamic State group.
 
Across Europe, anxiety has grown as the hunt continues for potential accomplices of the three Paris terrorists, and as authorities try to prevent attacks by the thousands of European extremists who have joined Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
 
“The fight against terrorism must be international,” French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said. “Everybody must act: France, Europe and every country.”
 
Ripples were visible in faraway Pakistan where about 200 protesters clashed with police outside the French consulate in Karachi after a demonstration against Charlie Hebdo turned violent with at least three people suffering injuries.
 
After the clashes, the protesters, mainly students from a local university, retreated to a nearby area but refused to leave, as police blocked access to the consulate.
 
The rallies came a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif led parliament in condemning the cartoons, regarded by many Muslims as offensive.

 

(With AFP inputs)

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Europe Cracks Down in Antiterror Sweeps – Wall Street Journal

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

… the crackdown against extremists and continues across Europe … fears shoot out between Belgium security forces and suspects with possible links to Syria to place in the the ay to write … two suspects were killed … photo thirteen were arrested in operations across the country … the suspected of planning to kill police in the streets … and … the station’s … Kalashnikov rifles explosives … and police uniforms were discovered in the right … several of the people involved in the poll … is gone … and since returning from Syria … elsewhere two Turkish men have been arrested in London … on suspicion of recruiting fight is … an procuring equipment and funding for Islamic State in Syria … it’s up on Friday morning following a series of GRATs … eleven residences with such by some two hundred and fifty police officers … footage released by Jemma newsagency DNF … whose office is spending helped me return huge cultural Center … in Berlin’s know it’s it’s correct …

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Belgium PM: Belgium will 'shoulder terror risk' – BBC News

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Belgium PM: Belgium will ‘shoulder terror risk’

16 January 2015 Last updated at 12:51 GMT

A suspected jihadist group targeted in a major anti-terror raid on Thursday had been planning to kill policemen in the street and at police stations, Belgian prosecutors say.

The planned attacks were imminent, they said, adding that two suspects shot dead in Verviers during the raids were still being identified.

Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel said “vigilance and prudence” was in place, and that the threat from terrorism was a risk that the authorities would shoulder.

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Terror Crackdown in Europe: Raids in Belgium, France and Germany – ABC News

PHOTO: A French police officer stands at a road block near the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Jan. 10, 2015.

A French police officer stands at a road block near the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Jan. 10, 2015.

David Azia/AP Photo

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Twelve suspects were detained for questioning in connection to last week’s attacks in Paris, a spokeswoman with France’s public prosecutor confirmed to ABC News.

Unrelated anti-terrorism raids also occurred in Germany and Belgium, as European authorities rushed to thwart more attacks by people with links to Islamic extremists in the Mideast.

Today’s raid in France involved people believed to be linked to Amedy Coulibaly, who’s suspected in the fatal shooting of a police officer, as well as an attack on a kosher market in which four civilians died, the spokeswoman said.

French and German authorities arrested at least 14 other people today suspected of links to the Islamic State group. Thirteen more were detained in Belgium with two related arrests in France in an anti-terror sweep following a firefight Thursday in the eastern Belgian city of Verviers.

Belgium Federal Prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt called the raid an “important blow for terrorism in Belgium.”

News of the anti-terrorism developments came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited France, meeting with top officials to express America’s solidarity with the French people amid recent violence. The three-day crime wave left 20 people, including the suspected gunmen, dead.

PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius lay flowers, Jan. 16, 2015, at the site of a kosher market where four hostages were killed in a terrorist attack last week in Paris, France.

Thibault Camus/AP Photo
PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius lay flowers, Jan. 16, 2015, at the site of a kosher market where four hostages were killed in a terrorist attack last week in Paris, France.

“I think you know that you have the full and heartfelt condolences of the American people and I know you know that we share the pain and the horror of everything that you went through,” Kerry said as he greeted French President Francois Hollande. “Our hearts are with you.”

Kerry shared a hug with Hollande. The politicians later laid a wreath at the market, one of two sites of last week’s near-simultaneous standoffs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Get real-time updates as this story unfolds. To start, just “star” this story in ABC News’ phone app. Download ABC News for iPhone here or ABC News for Android here. To be notified about our live weekend digital reports, tap here.

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Oklahoma carries out first execution since botch after Supreme Court denies stay – Washington Post

Oklahoma executed a death row inmate Thursday in its first lethal injection since a botched one last spring. Charles Frederick Warner was put to death for killing an 11-month-old girl in 1997. (AP)

More than eight months after a chaotic, botched execution in Oklahoma that drew intense criticism, triggered an investigation and prompted a revamped lethal injection procedure, the state resumed executions on Thursday.

The first inmate executed under the new policy was Charles Warner, who was put to death at the state penitentiary in McAlester after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his request for a stay. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) confirmed the execution Thursday night.

Warner did not show obvious signs of distress, but he said “My body is on fire” after the first drug was administered, according to the Associated Press.

He was originally supposed to be executed the same night as the high-profile execution of Clayton Lockett last year. But it was postponed — first for two weeks, then for much longer — after Lockett kicked, bucked his body and grimaced during his execution.

That execution was one of three that went awry last year, bringing increased attention to problems facing the dwindling number of states that execute inmates. A drug shortage stemming from European companies and officials objecting to the death penalty has caused states across the country to turn to new, largely untested combinations to execute inmates rather than using the three-drug combination that was typical until 2010. Lethal injection remains the primary method of execution in the country, but as the shortage has persisted, some states have discussed returning to older methods like firing squads.

Lockett, who had been convicted of murder and other charges, ultimately died 43 minutes after the procedure began. As accounts of his writhing and grimacing spread, disapproval poured in from death penalty opponents as well as President Obama and the United Nations. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) ordered a review, and Robert Patton, head of the state’s Department of Corrections, asked that executions be postponed until the state could figure out its new execution protocol. The execution of Charles Warner, who was convicted of raping and murdering an 11-month-old, was put on hold.

state investigation later determined that the execution team failed to properly place the intravenous needle to deliver the lethal injection drugs to Lockett. The review also found that there were problems with this team’s training and the way they handled the execution as well as the confusion that reigned after it became clear the execution was going awry. This investigation also found that the cramped scheduling — two executions set just two hours apart — created additional stress and urgency for some of the people involved.

Attorneys for Charles Warner asked the Supreme Court to delay his execution and three others scheduled to occur by early March. The Supreme Court on Thursday night denied the stay, with four of the justices dissenting from the decision. Justice Sonioa Sotomayor authored a dissent saying that while she agrees that the four inmates asking for stays should be punished for their crimes, “the Eighth Amendment guarantees that no one should be subjected to an execution that causes searing, unnecessary pain before death.”

In the filings, Warner’s attorneys argued against executing inmates with the drug midazolam, a sedative used to sedate surgery patients before anesthesia. They had similarly asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to delay his execution, but the appeals court denied the request earlier this week.


The execution gurney in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

Midazolam cropped up in three problematic executions last year. It was used during Lockett’s lethal injection and in an Arizona execution that lasted for nearly two hours as the inmate gasped and snorted before dying. Ohio said last week that it would no longer use midazolam, a decision it announced almost a year after the state used the drug in an execution that lasted for nearly 25 minutes as the inmate appeared to gasp and choke.

Oklahoma was using midazolam as part of a three-drug combination for the first time during Lockett’s execution last year. The state’s new lethal injection policy, which went into effect in September, includes a much higher dose of midazolam. When Lockett was executed, 100 milligrams of the sedative were supposed to be injected; the state now says it will use 500 milligrams of midazolam, the same amount used by Florida in its executions.

Sotomayor, writing in her dissent, said she questioned a lower court’s determination that midazolam would “work as intended difficult to accept given recent experience with the use of this drug.” Since a paralytic is also injected as part of the lethal injection, that “may mask the ineffectiveness of midazolam as an anesthetic,” because an inmate could be conscious but unable to move, she wrote.

“The questions before us are especially important now, given states’ increasing reliance on new and scientifically untested methods of execution,” Sotomayor said.

Florida, which has used midazolam in executions since 2013, also carried out n execution Thursday. The state executed Johnny Kormondy, who was convicted of killing a banker and raping his wife in 1993. He was pronounced dead at 8:16 p.m., the Associated Press reported.

His attorneys had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay his execution, but the full court denied the request on Wednesday. The court also denied a second request made Thursday that asked them to delay it until they had made a decision about Warner’s request.

“Prison officials used midazolam on Charles Warner, a drug that had failed during Lockett’s execution and that doctors say has no place in lethal injection,” Cassandra Stubbs, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Capital Punishment Project, said in a statement Thursday night.”Due to the paralyzing effects of other drugs Warner received tonight, we will never know whether he experienced excruciating pain throughout the execution.”

Use of the death penalty continued to decline last year, as the 35 executions carried out was the lowest number in two decades, and fewer people were sentenced to death, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Fewer states were executing inmates, with just three states — Florida, Texas and Missouri — carrying out four out of five executions in 2014. While public support for the death penalty has declined since the mid-1990s, a majority of Americans still support the death penalty, something that did not change much after the high-profile issues last year.

If botched executions continue to occur, it could have an impact on how the public feels about the death penalty, according to Deborah W. Denno, a law professor at Fordham University. “It’s not going to be one execution or one incident,” she said after the Arizona botch. “It’s going to be the conglomeration of incidences that’s going to make an impact.”

In Oklahoma, the new lethal injection policy also states that five journalists would be able to view executions going forward, down from the 12 media witnesses that had been allowed previously. News organizations had filed a lawsuit in the summer arguing for greater media access to Oklahoma’s executions, arguing that key parts of Lockett’s execution and his death were not visible to those in attendance.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the death penalty in the United States.

[This post has been updated. First published: 3:58 p.m.]

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.

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Belgium Verviers plot 'aimed to kill police' – BBC News

A policeman guards the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's office in Brussels, 16 January 2015Belgian police are on high alert following Thursday’s raids

A suspected jihadist group targeted in a major anti-terror raid on Thursday had been planning to kill policemen in the street and at police stations, Belgian prosecutors say.

The planned attacks were imminent, they said, adding that two suspects shot dead in Verviers during the raids were still being identified.

Thirteen suspects have been arrested, while two more were arrested in France.

Belgium’s government has announced tough new measures to tackle terrorism.

‘Intent to kill’

Guns, munitions and explosives, as well as police uniforms and a large amount of money, were seized during the overnight raids, prosecution spokesman Thierry Werts told reporters.

Eric Van Der Sypt, another spokesman, added: “The investigation… has shown that these people had the intention to kill several policemen in the street and at police commissariats [police stations].



Thierry Werts, spokesman for the Federal prosecutor

Belgian Federal Prosecutor Thierry Werts: “A number of weapons were discovered”

“The operation was meant to dismantle a terrorist cell… but also the logistics network behind it,” he said.

However, he added that he could not confirm that everyone in the jihadist group had been arrested.

Protective measures would be put in place at police buildings, he said.

No link had been established with last week’s attacks in Paris, Mr Van Der Sypt said, adding that Belgium would seek the extradition of the two suspects in France.

“I can confirm that we started this investigation before the attacks in Paris,” he said.

Last week, gunmen in Paris attacked the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a kosher supermarket and police officers, killing 17 people in the French capital.

Schools closed


Prime Minister Charles Michel

Prime Minister Charles Michel urged the public not to panic

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel thanked the French authorities for detaining the suspects in France.

He told the public there was no need to panic, and that his government would “take measures” to ensure the safety of civilians.

The government said it would strengthen its anti-terror legislation and policies. New measures would include:

  • Making travelling abroad for terrorist activists punishable by law
  • Expanding the cases where Belgian citizenship can be revoked (for dual nationals) for those thought to pose a terror risk
  • Calling in the army to boost security when necessary
  • Freezing the assets of those financing terrorism
  • Measures to tackle radicalisation in prisons

Gilles de Kerchove, a counter-terrorism co-ordinator for the EU, told the BBC he was “not surprised” there were plans for attacks in Belgium, because the country had “suffered in a way from the high number of people going to Syria and Iraq” to fight.

Map

Belgian officials say more than 300 people have left Belgium to fight with Islamic militant groups in Syria and Iraq.

The country is thought to have the highest number of foreign fighters per capita in Europe who have taken part in fighting in Syria.

The suspects shot dead on Thursday had returned from the country, police said. They had shot at police “for several minutes” before being killed, prosecutors added.

The terror threat level in Belgium has been raised to three – the second highest.

Some Jewish schools in Antwerp and Brussels were closed on Friday, after they were informed that they could be potential targets, Belgian newspaper Joods Actueel reported.

In other developments in Europe:

  • French police said 12 suspects were being held over “possible logistical support” given to the gunmen behind the Paris attacks
  • The Gare de l’Est train station in Paris was evacuated for an hour on Friday morning following a bomb threat
  • German police arrested two men following raids on a group suspected of planning an attack in Syria
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Police in Belgium, France, and Germany make arrests in latest anti-terror raids – Fox News

Dozens of terror suspects were arrested in Belgium, France, and Germany early Friday, a day after Belgian authorities said that they halted a plot to attack police officers by mere hours. 

Eric Van der Sypt, a Belgian federal magistrate, told a news conference Friday in Brussels that 13 people had been detained in Belgium in connection with the plot, with another two arrested in neighboring France. He added that a dozen searches had led to the discovery of four military-style weapons including Kalashnikov assault rifles.

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On Thursday, Belgian police had moved against a suspected terrorist hideout in the eastern town of Verviers. In the ensuing firefight, two terror suspects were killed, while a third was wounded and arrested. 

At the time, officials said the militant group targeted in the raid included some who had returned from Syria. Authorities have previously said 300 Belgian residents have gone to fight with extremist Islamic formations in Syria; it is unclear how many have returned.

Authorities in Belgium signaled they were ready for more trouble by raising the national terror alert level from 2 to 3, the second-highest level. Prime Minister Charles Michel said the increase in the threat level was “a choice for prudence.”

“There is no concrete or specific knowledge of new elements of threat,” he said.

Meanwhile, French police arrested at least 12 people in anti-terrorism raids in three towns around Paris, the city prosecutor’s office said early Friday. 

The prosecutor’s office said that the raids were targeting people with links to Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who attacked a kosher supermarket Jan. 9 and claimed ties to the Islamic State terror group. Police officials earlier told The Associated Press that they were seeking up to eight to 10 potential accomplices

Coulibaly was one of three gunmen who carried out a series of terror attacks that resulted in the deaths of 17 people. Authorities in France and several other countries are looking for possible accomplices. One suspect, Coulibaly’s common-law wife Hayat Boumeddiane, is believed to have fled to Syria earlier this month. 

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Friday morning that the Gare l’Est train station in Paris had been closed and evacuated due to a bomb threat. A police official, who was not authorized to be publicly named, told the AP that the station was closed “as a precaution,” but would not give further details. The Gare l’Est is one of the major stations in Paris, serving cities in Eastern France and countries to the east. 

Also Friday, Berlin police said that they had taken two men into custody on suspicion that they were recruiting fighters and procuring equipment and funding for the Islamic State group, better known as ISIS, in Syria. 

The two were picked up in a series of raids involving the search of 11 residences by 250 police officers. Authorities said the raids were part of a months-long investigation into a small group of extremists based in Berlin. However, they also said there was no evidence the group was planning attacks inside Germany. 

The group’s leader, identified only as 41-year-old Ismet D. in accordance with privacy laws, is accused organizing the group of largely Turkish and Russian nationals to fight against “infidels” in Syria. Emin F., 43, is accused of being in charge of finances.

Those recruited include Murat S., a 40-year-old Turkish man who was arrested in September after returning from Syria where had allegedly gone to fight.

In an unrelated raid, German police arrested 26-year-old German-Tunisian dual national into custody Thursday on suspicion he had gone to fight with the terrorist group in Syria. Police made the arrest in Wolfsburg, 120 miles outside Berlin.

Earlier Thursday, Belgian authorities said they were looking into possible links between a man they arrested in the southern city of Charleroi for illegal trade in weapons and Coulibaly.

The man arrested in Belgium “claims that he wanted to buy a car from the wife of Coulibaly,” Van der Sypt said. “At this moment this is the only link between what happened in Paris.”

Van der Sypt said that “of course, naturally” we are continuing the investigation.

At first, the man came to police himself claiming there had been contact with Coulibaly’s common-law wife regarding the car, but he was arrested following a search of his premises when indications of illegal weapons trading were found.

A Belgian connection figured in a 2010 French criminal investigation into a foiled terrorist plot in which Coulibaly was one of the convicted co-conspirators. The plotters included a Brussels-area contact who was supposed to furnish both weapons and ammunition, according to French judicial documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Spain’s National Court said in a statement it was investigating what Coulibaly did in the country’s capital, Madrid, with Boumeddiene and a third person who wasn’t identified but is suspected of helping Boumeddiene get from Turkey to Syria.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Paris attacks: Hostage recalls thinking 'we're all going to die' – CBC.ca

A survivor from the Paris hostage standoff is too afraid to take the Paris Métro and can’t go anywhere near a store. Worse, she dreams daily of the man she saw killed right in front of her during last week’s hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket.

“Every day I see this man on the ground in a pool of blood,” said Nhung, who is only being identified by her first name out of concerns for her safety. The woman, who is in her 70s, gave CBC News an exclusive interview at her home in Saint Mandé, just a few hundred metres away from the supermarket where she and others were held hostage Friday.

She was one of some 20 people who spent more than four hours holed up in the market with Amedy Coulibaly, a French citizen believed to have been radicalized in prison and connected to the Charlie Hebdo attackers, both in intentions and ideology.

It’s also believed he was linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after a video surfaced of him pledging allegiance to the extremist group.

Nhung told CBC News that Coulibaly demanded to know the religion of his hostages and where they were born. He killed four Jewish men, one of them immediately after he revealed his last name, in view of the rest of the group.

Nhung, who had never before seen a rifle up close, told the gunman she was born in Vietnam — half-Catholic and half-Buddhist.

She was certain she would be killed.

“I thought, we’re all going to die,” she said. “I thought I’ll never see the people I love again. And for what reason?”

Paris hostage standoff ends

An officer with the French police special forces had to carry Nhung, who is in her 70s, over his shoulder after police ordered hostages to run to safety. (Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)

She said Coulibaly, who was eventually shot dead by police during a day of mayhem in two parts of Paris, complained that the world seemed to care far more about a dozen Parisians killed than the many more Muslims killed elsewhere. He threatened to kill more hostages if the Charlie Hebdo gunmen — the Kouachi brothers — holed up north of Paris with one hostage were harmed.

“If I saw him in the street, I would never think he’s a terrorist,” Nhung said of Coulibaly.

Despite the circumstances, Coulibaly took a few minutes to pray. That was when Nhung got the courage to call her husband, Francis, to explain why she was late.

He had heard about the hostage-taking and concluded his wife must be inside the market. He was beside himself.

‘There were bullets everywhere. We thought we were done for.’Paris hostage 

“I was very anxious about everything,” he said. “I dressed up and went to down the avenue here to see what’s happening outside. I could not see anything. Police were everywhere.”

As night fell, police moved in with enough bodies and bullets to overwhelm any gunman.

“There were bullets everywhere. We thought we were done for,” Nhung said. 

Among the hostages was a small boy.

Hostage-taker a ‘deviance’ of Muslim faith

Police ordered them all to run. But Nhung, weak with trembling legs, simply could not. A policeman lifted her up and threw her over his shoulder and ran off.

“I saw this assault [on] TV and said, ‘Ah, she’s there.’ And I recognized her!” her husband said. 

“I recognized her because of her coat and her face. Ah yes. She’s alive.”

Nhung said that for Coulibaly, “Everything was about being Muslim.” But he doesn’t represent the faith, she said.

“I have Muslim friends and I appreciate them. That’s deviance. Crazies. They have chosen Islam to create something crazy.

“The lesson is really that extremist religion is fatal. It’s almost like we can’t believe anymore in religion if it has to be practised like that.”

Nhung said she, like Paris, has irrevocably changed.

“But in my head I tell myself, I will go back to this store. Maybe not now, but sometime.”

Her husband finished her thought. “Because if we don’t return, he wins.”

Watch Nahlah Ayed’s full report Wednesday on The National at 10 p.m. ET on CBC-TV, or at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on CBC News Network.

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