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Memorial in San Bernardino marks four years since terrorist attack



The more than 1,400 days since Yvette Velasco died at the hands of two terrorists in the San Bernardino attack hasn’t buffered the grief for the family she left behind. They said it’s actually worse.

Every time there’s another mass tragedy, Velasco’s mother and sister say they live through the pain again. When Velasco’s mother, Marie, watched news coverage of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., and the shooting at a Walmart in El Paso in August, she heard of other mothers searching for their children, only to learn they were killed. That mentally transports her back to where she was four years ago, she said.

“When you hear parents on TV saying, ‘I can’t find my kid,’ I know what that felt like,” she said. “We know that nightmare because we’ve lived it. It’s indescribable.”

There are ways to cope with the pain even though it is permanent, the family said. On Monday, the four-year anniversary of when Velasco and 13 others were killed, Cal State San Bernardino held a memorial for the victims. Speaking before the crowd, Velasco’s sister, Erica Porteous, said these moments help her family though hard times.

“For our family, not a day goes by that we don’t feel the loss,” Porteous said. “But this brings us comfort.”

On Dec. 2, 2015, a San Bernardino County employee and his wife marched into an office holiday party at the Inland Regional Center; they were clad in black and armed with assault rifles and pistols. They killed 14 people and injured 22 others. Authorities killed them in a shootout.

Velasco, who worked as an environmental health specialist, was 27.

Five of the victims — Robert Adams, Juan Espinoza, Shannon Johnson, Michael Wetzel and Velasco — were Cal State alumni. Three years ago, the university created a “Peace Garden” to honor the victims. It was built just steps away from the College of Natural Sciences, where the five alumni graduated.

At the beginning and end of Monday’s service, a faculty member rang a bell in the center of the stone-accented garden 14 times, once for each of the fallen. It remains silent for the rest of the year.

Sastry Pantula, dean of the college of natural sciences, joined the university in 2018. Though he didn’t know the victims, he said they are always on his mind.

The garden, he said, has become important to the campus. His faculty and students sometimes hold meetings there. Occasionally, he will eat lunch there and meditate. Pantula said it’s imperative to remember the lives lost, not just on the anniversary.

“When you Google San Bernardino, the first thing you read about is the shooting,” Pantula said. “But you can’t live in fear, and it is good that we are promoting peace.

“The biggest worry for me is seeing people reading the news and becoming immune, saying ‘That’s just another shooting.’ People are getting thick skin and aren’t paying attention to the violence around us.”

Dressed in dark clothes with sunglasses covering her eyes, Porteous held a picture of her sister with her black graduation tassel dangling from the frame. After the ceremony, which included brief remarks from Pantula, Porteous and William Vandyke, who works in the college, family members of Velasco and other victims laid white roses at the base of the bell. Porteous said she wants the public to know that her sister was a loving person, and she is thankful that her memory is being kept alive.

“I think that this garden and the fact that the Cal State community continue to remember the alumni, and that their deaths were not in vain, can hopefully bring a sense of awareness,” Porteous said.





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London Bridge terrorist named as 28-year-old man previously convicted for terrorism offenc | UK | News


He was arrested with eight other men after plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange and build a terrorist training camp.

He was ordered to serve at least eight years in prison.

It was reported that Khan had planned to travel to Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and set up a terrorist group on a piece of land owned by his family.

Of the nine men arrested, Khan and two others were described by Judge Mr Justice Wilkie as “the more serious jihadists”.

The judge added that Khan shouldn’t be released until he and the others were considered to no longer be a threat to the public.

However, in 2013, Khan and three other men argued that they shouldn’t have received indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs) – special sentences intended to keep prisoners beyond their original minimum term.

The Court of Appeal eventually ruled that the indeterminate sentences originally given to Khan and the others should be replaced with fixed terms and extended licences.

The halfway point of the fixed terms, at which point the men were eligible to be released on license, matched the minimum they originally served before they could seek to leave prison.

JUST IN:London Bridge terrorist named as 28-year-old man previously convicted

Khan was 22-years-old at the time of his arrest in 2010 and had been living in Stoke.

He was ordered to serve at least eight years of his 16-year sentence.

He was told he would be subject to extended licenses of five years beyond his sentence, which are intended to allow the authorities to recall someone to prison.



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Cressida Dick applauds police for swift response to London Bridge terrorist


The Met’s commissioner says police confronted the suspect within five minutes (Picture: Getty/BBC)

The speed at which officers dealt with the London Bridge terror attacker has been praised by the Metropolitan Police’s top cop.

Cressida Dick made the remarks as she confirmed two victims lost their lives to the knifeman and that three others are being treated in hospital.

She condemned the ‘the empty ideology of terror’ and also thanked members of the public for showing ‘extraordinary courage’ by stepping in to help disarm the assailant.

At a press conference outside Scotland Yard this evening Ms Dick refused to comment on the identities of the fatalities or the condition of the injured parties.

Praising how officers handled the situation at Fishmonger’s Hall, she said: ‘My understanding is that police were called at 1358, two minute to 2 and city of London Police officers had bravely and professionally confronted the suspect at 1403, just five minutes later.’

She urged members of the public with video of the incident to come forward (Picture: Sky News)

She called on anyone with video footage of the incident to get in touch with authorities to help them with their investigation.

The commissioner added: ”I also want to thank the members of the public who have helped, either by showing extraordinary courage by stepping in to tackle this attacker or by following the instructions they have subsequently been given by officers at the scene and in the area.’

‘The empty ideology of terror offers nothing but hatred and today I urge everyone to reject that.

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‘Ours is a great city because we embrace each other’s differences. We must emerge stronger still from this tragedy. In doing that we will ensure that the few who seek to divide us will never, ever succeed.’

‘We will be working as fast as we can to understand who this man is, where he comes from and whether there is anyone else who we need to find quickly who might be in touch with him.’

Earlier Ms Dick gave a briefing to Home Secretary Priti Patel and Boris Johnson, who is due to hold an emergency COBRA meeting this evening.

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