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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 15, 2021

French anti-terrorism police on Tuesday detained seven people suspected of having communicated via social media with the killer of a schoolteacher whose beheading last year reopened debate about France's cherished rights of expression, a judicial official said.

The teacher, Samuel Paty, was killed Oct. 16 outside his Paris-region school after showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a class debate on free expression.

His killer, identified by authorities as Abdoullakh Anzorov, was later shot dead by police. Anzorov, an 18-year-old refugee of Chechen origin who had become radicalized, according to authorities, claimed responsibility for the slaying in a text found on his phone that was accompanied by a photograph of the teacher.

Read more: ABC News

Two off-duty Rocky Mount, Virginia police officers were charged yesterday in federal court in the District of Columbia in connection with the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson were charged by complaint with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Both defendants were arrested on January 13, 2021, in Virginia.  It is alleged that during the events at the U.S. Capitol, Fracker and Robertson were photographed in the Capitol building making an obscene gesture in front of the John Stark statue.

On social media, Robertson is quoted as saying, “CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business ... The right IN ONE DAY took the f***** U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” He also stated that he was “proud” of the photo on an Instagram post that was shared to Facebook, because he was “willing to put skin in the game.” On Facebook, Fracker posted a comment that read, “Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around... Sorry I hate freedom? …Not like I did anything illegal…y’all do what you feel you need to.” The post has since been deleted.

Read more: Department of Justice

A prosecutor says a retired Air Force officer who was part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol carried plastic zip-tie handcuffs because he meant “to take hostages.”

Retired Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. appeared at a detention hearing in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday.

The 53-year-old is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

A judge said he would release Brock to home confinement.

Read more: AL.com

President-elect Joe Biden will no longer take an Amtrak train to Washington ahead of Inauguration Day next week, according to a person familiar with the plans. It is not yet clear how Mr. Biden will travel to the inauguration. 

As of Tuesday, the Biden team was still planning the train arrival event, CBS News was told. But the sudden change in plans came as the president-elect was briefed on Wednesday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service about security concerns surrounding Inauguration Day, following the attack on the Capitol on January 6.

A spokesperson for Biden's inaugural committee declined to comment on the change of plans.  

Read more: CBS News

A Los Angeles man pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count after his drone crashed into a police helicopter, prompting an emergency landing, federal prosecutors said.

It's believed to be the first criminal conviction for unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft in the nation, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California said in a statement.

Andrew Rene Hernandez, 22, of Hollywood, pleaded guilty to the single count in a plea agreement, according to court records.

He flew the drone just after midnight on Sept. 18 because he was curious after hearing a police helicopter and sirens, according to court documents.

Read more: NBC News