tv News Nation MSNBC July 17, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT
abdulazeez living with his parents. we learned he took a mideast trip last year. postings by abdulazeez this week are also raising concerns. according to a group that tracks terrorist activities, he said life is short and bitter. muslims should not miss the opportunity to submit to allah. meanwhile, two of the former marines that were killed were identified. one is thomas sullivan 40 years old, from massachusetts. he earned a purple heart and had two deployments in iraq. we're listening to witnesses where the shooting started. this man never left his vehicle
as the gunman fired 22 shots. >> it sounded like a jackhammer. bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. it was really fast. >> i saw him take one shot and consistent shots after that. >> he then went to a marine reserve center. three marines there were killed. sergeant first class robert dodge was one of the survivors. >> as we were sitting there just doing day-to-day operations, we heard a single pop which kind of alerted us and a second or two after that is when the first fire started. at that time we went into a call of action shooter drill. we got down on the ground and moved to a secure location in the back of the office and barricaded ourselves in and waited for the all clear. >> nbc's sarah dallof is joining us at the recruitment center in chattanooga, tennessee where the gunman started his rampage. what's happening there today? >> reporter: good morning, alex.
investigators were here all night and will be here throughout the day. they're focusing on the motive of the suspected shooter, what drove him to do this. right now all his electronic devices have been sent to a crime lab in virginia. not much of a social footprint although they are looking at those blog entries supposedly written by him. they've uncovered no evidence so far that the shootings were isis inspired or isis directed. they are looking very closely at some foreign travel he made to the northeast in april and november of last year. we know at some point he went to jordan where his father is from but authorities are closely focused on whether he went to yemen. so a lot of unanswered questions by investigators working around the clock to get those answers. meanwhile, the community is united in shock and grief. the local newspaper's headline reads "the biggest nightmare for our city."
there are vigils planned for tonight. there's also been a spike in blood donation. they put out a call saying due to the trauma the victims suffered they are in need of blood and there's been an outpouring of that. people really coming together to try to support this community, but as of now, a lot of shock and grief in chattanooga. >> according to eyewitnesses have they described -- you can see it's a strip mall. did the gunman stay in that car and shoot, or did he park the car, maybe stake it out for a while? has that been made clear yet? >> reporter: a lot of people we talked to were going about their daily life and they didn't notice the car until the shooting began. one man said it sounded like a jackhammer, one heard the explosions from their office and weren't quite sure what it was. we haven't heard that he pulled
up or tried to stake out the area, people just noticed it immediately when they heard the gunshots, although initially people didn't know exactly what it was. >>. we're learning more about the gunman that being 24-year-old mohammad youssuf abdulazeez. he became a u.s. citizen. kate snow is outside the home he lived in with his family for years. >> reporter: this is where 24-year-old abdulazeez was living with his parents and his siblings. you see the blue van over there. they're trying to comb through things, trying to figure out what would have motivated him to go on a shooting spree. >> an outgoing student skilled in the martial arts.
authorities now believe it might have been a lone wolf terror attack on u.s. soil. u.s. officials tell nbc news abdulazeez was not someone federal authorities had on their radar prior to this but his father was once briefly on a terror watch list. authorities are poring over e-mails and other data. he made a blog three days before the shooting life is short and bitter and muslims should not let the opportunity to submit to allah pass you by. following the shootings, authorities began searching the family home where the suspect lived with his parents and siblings. one said he saw the suspect handcuffed. they said that was common practice for their safety. >> i believe they were muslim. his sisters wore the brkhas.
they were always thoughtful and kind. >> his relative spoke to the victims. >> we're sorry. we grieve for them as with the rest of the nation. >> reporter: abdulazeez was a naturalized citizen originally from kuwait. a high school yearbook quote caught attention. my name causes national security alerts. what does yours do? after high school abdulazeez was trained in mixed martial arts. trainer jeremiah gurley knew him during the six-month period. >> average 18-year-old just out having a good time with his friends. he learned something new, enjoying the moment. >> reporter: recently abdulazeez had run-ins with the law, charged with speeding in 2013 and a dui arrest in april. officers said they're aware that far blog posting we mentioned and trying to confirm if it was, indeed, written by abdulazeez.
joining me now, tennessee state senator bill watson whose district includes chattanooga. senator, thank you so much for joining me. i know you've been in contact with other officials. do you have any other information on the gunman or his motive. >> no, i think that the fbi is progressing with their investigation nicely. they've been throughout our community, and we fully expect them to report some more news at 3:00 p.m. when they have another press conference. >> do you know on what they are focusing most? is it with this seven-month period that abdulazeez was over the mideast? is there anything about his dui in april? what's the focus? >> reporter: i think at this point the fbi is taking a very broadview. they will uncover and turn over every stone in this situation, as they should. the response by federal officials, the response by state and local officials has been incredible. for a community that would never
anticipate something like this happening -- and this is my hometown. i was born and raised here. for a community to think nothing like this could happen our response has been precise and skillful. i applaud law enforcement, it's been amazing. >> describe the makeup in chattanooga. >> it's a town of about 50,000 people. we made the switch from being an industrial manufacturing city over the past 30 years to a high-tech city where we have an internet gig and all those kinds of amenities. we've increased the educational standing of our community, we stressed education to our citizens and we've had great economic success. we are the north american manufacturer for volkswagen we have an amazon plant here so
tennessee is really a mid-sized city that's on the move economically. >> it's certainly a city that will be reflected with strip malls like any other city in this country. if you look at that sir, it seems woefflully unprepared to sustain an attack like this. what do you think about recruitment centers just like the one behind you, whether they need increased security? >> reporter: i think that will be a robust discussion once all the details of this circumstance has been finalized. while i agree that on the surface these things look very unprotected, and they are. they're not allowed to arm themselves according to what we know from federal policy. i think once this is all concluded, we will see robust discussion about that policy whether that policy is the best policy for the protection of our men and women in the military. >> given your description of chattanooga, sir, i imagine this has shaken residents to the
core. what's the reaction been like? >> well obviously we've been shocked by it. but tennessee is one of the original frontier states and tennesseens are still very front tearlike. they're independent, self-reliant. some asked me earlier, did it cause fear in your community, and our answer is no. our people will rally as they've been doing. we're a very faith-based community. there are a lot of vigils and there will continue to be those, a lot of prayer. you will see what the community does. it's incredibly powerful when your community unites as they have in chattanooga and around tennessee. >> we're very sorry for your loss. thank you for your time sir. now we'll talk to this analyst. he is the author of "find fix
finish." welcome to you. let's talk about the fbi in charge who said the working assumption is this is an act of domestic terrorism. they've got a lot of investigating to do yet. what are the steps they're likely taking right now? >> right now the most promising step they're probably taking is looking into his travel in the mideast. he went to jordan as your reporter said for several months where his father is from. you better believe that the fbi and the cia are working with their jordanian counterparts to see if they have any sort of knowledge about what is he up to, who did he talk to and does he actually transit to another county. jordan is an ally and their security is top notch. that's probably going to be the most fruitful place for them to look. here in the united states they'll be looking at the social media contact to see whether we can actually uncover any information about why this killer did what he did. >> do you see hallmarks of an
isis-inspired attack? these two points you're making the trip to the mideast, looking at his social postings. this happened on the last day of ramadan. >> it certainly points in a certain direction. but unless we actually find a direct al qaeda or isis connection, it would be smart to not actually make that direct connection yet. because once we do that, then we actually feed into the isis narrative that they're actually everywhere and they've got killers everywhere in the united states, which is truly not the case. >> isis inspired isis is pretty darn good at working social media. they did it a lot better than al qaeda did, and it would seem there are the lone wolf types that read this, and whether or not you want to use the word inspiration, they must take something from it.
>> and there are people using the isis propaganda in the mideast. if you're isis inspired you may or may not do something. you might actually go to syria and iraq there are a lot of nut jobs out there who are willing to do terrible terrible things whether they're inspired by isis al qaeda or other groups or not. unless the fbi and the u.s. government actually confirms that there is an isis connection or they were directly inspired by some terrorist organization i would be hesitant. the mysterious death of a 28-year-old chicago woman. officials say she committed suicide while she was in jail
but her family says that is not possible. her sister joins me live with her story is. trump turned the race into a, quote, comedian's roast. and a tornado touches down in illinois. this is not good. >> that is not good. the twister left damage but so far no injuries. join the krgsconversation on line. you can find the team on twitter at "news nation."
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activist was found dead inside her cell this week. the texas rangers and the fbi are investigating the death of 28-year-old sandra bland. the sheriff's office says bland was found in her cell monday morning dead from an apparent suicide. an autopsy classified her death as suicide by hanging. however, her family and friends are disputing it. bland was taken into custody last friday. video posted on line not verified by nbc news shows the arrest of a woman by her family as sarah, but it doesn't show her arrest. she was pulled over for a lame change. discussing it brought about skepticism in the circumstances surrounding her death. >> she seemed to have everything going her way and i'm surprised
she would take her own life. that's why i hope a thorough investigation is done and we get a good picture of what bland was going through the last four or five days of her life. >> jermaine with a welcome to you, her family says she was just about to start a new job? >> that's right, alex. i'm sure the family would say this is so inexplicable that sandra bland would have any notion of killing herself as she was sent back to this community. she was going to come back here and was excited about taking a. this is what folks are so confused about. why would i youngshe take her life in this jail behind me.
>> they are investigating. how long do they think it's going to take and hacht this jail -- hasn't this jail been under scrutiny before? >> there's not only cause for for the justice department to take a look at this funny. this jail has been the center of controversy in the past. in 2012 after an inmate hanged himself with a bed sheet. the jail was cited by the texas commission of jail standards on not checking on the inmate every hour like they're supposed to. again, in 2013 an inmate escaped, and they were again cited for not locking the doors of the facility. even more so than just the facility i shared with glen smith who himself is under scrutiny. he was fired for allegations of racism and that was before he became the waller county
sheriff. so again, this police chief, this jail has been the center of a maelstrom of sandra bland. >> i'm joined now. i appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. you heard this the cause of your sister's death appeared to hanging. your sister was back in texas, ready to start a new job. you said she was happy and unfathomable. >> erik. >> i have to be. what an excellent question. i have voiceflail her or friday
july 10. he said, hey, i'm sorry i didn't get to formally say goodbye. i'm so excited, i got the job i came down here for. so call me bye. >> what a happy thought for her. she spent time here. had she ever talked before about mistreatments, stereotypes, things like that or anything leading up to her arrest? >> no, ma'am, not to my knowledge. >> so the prospect 10th and then this monday the 13th when she was found dead any message along those lines that i'm being mistreated, i'm being hurt things like that. >> i did not have that conversation with her. my sister talkede conveyed she felt like she was mishandled liking.ndd if
she had boz man. were you working at making bail for her? >> we're absolutely looking at making her bail. yes. >> i have never dealt with a suicide that didn't have at least one family member or one close friend that always had a conspiracy and was never satisfied with what happened. >> what is your reaction to that? >> this isn't just one family member, this is a whole community that has concerns. the concerns that we have are real and we are looking to understand what took place. it does not make sense that a person who has her entire life ahead of her, a person who was excited about her new job, a person who was happy could take her life.
i understand that there are motivations that may be in place for him to make that statement, but i hope that they understand that we aredo. >> something that was brought county district attorney referencing a video that sandra posted on facebook. this happened back in march. i know you know what's coming. your family has verified this sharon and she talked about being depressed and suffering from ptsd. do you know if she had worked through her depression? >> first, i want to make sure that we're clear. she may have used the term depression, but that statement in march has very little to do with what her mindset was after receiving this job as happy as she was about receiving this job, and the fact she had her life she was looking to leave. they have motiv couch things in certain ways. we have to be careful about that. >> it maybe a little worried about this
potential being used against her? >> i'm not worried at all, because candidly speaking i don't know that it was anything going on in her day-to-day tlif this happened to her. >> sharon i would say you obviously have a quick attorney who jumps right in on your behalf. are you at all concerned about the investigation being fair? >> absolutely. absolutely. i think the understanding you all have to have is we live in the chicago area. we're not here not as well versed in federal law as we would like to be from a personal perspective. we're just seeking understanding about, you know all of the events that led up july 13th. so just seeking to understand. >> cam lambert and sharon
cooper, thank you for talking with us. sorry about your loss. still ahead, witnesses react to the verdict in the movie theater shooting case. >> i felt so much relief. i felt so much uplifted. >> james holmes' jury will begin the deliberation of the penalty phase in just a few minutes. she kicks an officer right there and she sues him. we'll look into that investigation. all to grow our economy and create jobs. see how new york can give your business the opportunity to grow at ny.gov/business
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michael, good morning to you. what's expected to happen during the penalty phase? how does that go? >> it's another testimonial phase of the trial. it will be the same jurors and there will be testimony from victims, next of kin, and there will be testimony on the other side where they'll have doctors talking about his mental health there will be people in his life like his family former teachers and there's even talk of one of his former roommates testifying remotely from outside the country where he's working. >> this could be powerful testimony, right? this really gets to the nitty-gritty. >> certainly, alex. unlike the guilt phase where you're limited in what you can say, this is about victim impact, family impact and there are no limits of what comes in. >> and it has to be unanimous
for him to be sentenced to death? >> actually, in colorado the death penalty which was reinstated in the '70s requires unanimity. they've only had one execution in colorado in the last four years, so it's a rare thing. there are currently only four people on death row in colorado. >> could james holmes testify? >> he could. he could. if they really want to put him up there and show his diminished capacity, because diminished capacity is one of the mitigating factors, his mental reforce he may have,re remorse he may have, all of that can be taken into account. >> i noticed the jury foreman is a survivor of the columbine massacre in 1999. are you surprised they allowed him to be on the jury? >> very much so. in a situation like that i personally wouldn't allow that person on one of my juries.
that would have been if not a call strike a preamble strike. >> is he allowed to be in the sentencing phase, or do they choose a new >> he can. there is no limit who could be the foreperson and it could be the same person if they have that kind of comfort. >> thank you michael. still ahead, president obama speaks candidly to a historic federal prison. >> these are young people who made mistakes that aren't that different than mistakes i make. >> the president visits a prison during his tour. and jeb bush is going to give a major speech on monday. is it enough to cut through donald trump? more, coming up. put your hand over your heart. is it beating?
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in the presidential nomination. >> and senator john mccain pushes back. first a look back in the week on politics starting with the historic new deal with iran. >> a comprehensive long-term deal with iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. >> this is a bad mistake. >> this is the most dangerous, irresponsible step i've ever seen in the history of watching the mideast. >> the iranians are going to cheat. >> none of them have presented to me or the american people a better alternative. >> can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the strength of this nation unaccounted for in
relation to these four americans? >> major, that's nonsense. you should know better. >> joining me live now, senior political editor mark murray. a new poll shows trump leading all the gop candidates. 18% for trump, 15% from march. it's this week that lands trump in first place. here's what trump had to say about bush yesterday in new hampshire. >> i'm going to win this vote. bush isn't going to win even though he'll say five words in spanish. he's not going to win. because he's not going to put anybody to work. he's not going to negotiate with china. do you see him -- who would you rather have negotiating against china, trump or bush? >> well you say trump surge could actually help the bush campaign in the long run.
why is that? >> well he's pretty much sucking all the oxygen out of the republican field, and if you assume that jeb bush is the front runner in the republican race and there are some question marks around that sucking the oxygen around the scott walker campaigns, and alex, remember that scott walker launched his presidential bid on monday, but we're talking about donald trump on friday the marco rubios, any other competitors, that could be beneficial to jeb. but may i remind you that donald trump poses a danger to jeb bush as well because the more the conversation is on immigration, the more the conversation is on mexico, that is the place where it exposes some of the fault lines and certainly some of the vulnerabilities that jeb bush has. >> jeb bush is not the only one in the crosshairs. senator john mccain earlier this week said trump, quote, fired all the crazies in his home state of arizona, so yesterday trump tweeted this. john mccain should be defeated
in the primaries, graduated last in his class. dummy. he said he should be taking an iq test before entering the debates. and you argue that the gop race is turning it into a comedians' roast. trump will come out on top more times than not. so where does that leave the other candidates? >> this is the big danger for the republican field. you don't know what's coming next. some could be horrified by some of those comments. they could say they're below the belt, john mccain, a war hero who was a presidential hopeful in 2008. we're talking about his academic record in annapolis and the naval academy, but trump is going to do this. as my colleague pointed out, donald trump is almost a combination between ross perot who had so much money in his bids in 1992 and 1996 in combination with howard stern. you add up both and you get donald trump in this 2016
presidential contest. >> interesting perspective there. jeb bush the speech on monday. how much do you think is policy? do you think he comes out at all swinging and try to take a swipe at his opponents? >> alex the speech we get on monday will be trying to reform it. the challenge for jeb bush is making that pitch so he can change washington when his brother was once the head of washington, president for eight years, and his father president for four years. it's going to be tough for him to portray himself as a washington outsider just by virtue of his last name. >> all right, mark murray thank you. good to see you. >> you, too. search teams on the ground this morning after a massive tornado rips right through a southern town in illinois. plus a science breakthrough that could help millions of patients who are disabled. is it possible to communicate on just the power of font?
first there's a lot going on this morning. here's some things we thought you should know. we're getting a look at president obama's position to do so. it is part of a bipartisan push to reform the prison system. there are six locked up for drug oe fences offenses and the president talked about the need for second chances. george bush will not have surgery on a broken bone he sustained in may. recovery will take about four to six months. those are things we thought you should know. building aircraft, the likes of which the world has never seen.
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or stop to find a bathroom? cialis for daily use, is approved to treat both erectile dysfunction and the urinary symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently, day or night. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision or any symptoms of an allergic reaction stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a free 30-tablet trial. we are back with a look at the top stories in news nation right now. authorities are trying to determine if the gunman who killed four marines during a
shooting rampage at a military facility in chattanooga was a self-inspired isis move. >> this person was a horrific brutal assailant who wanted to harm people simply because of the uniforms they wore and the service they chose. and i know that officers in this police department and people from around the community made sure that he harmed as few people as possible. >> that's coming up from the past hour. protesters to gather soon outside the jail where a civil rights activist was found dead in her cell this week. officers say 28-year-old sandra bland took her own life. however, family and friends are disputing those findings. she was arrested after a routine traffic stop where authorities say she became combative and assaulted an officer.
texas authorities are now investigating her death. also this morning, a new breakthrough in science. researchers have found a new way to tap into the power and creativity of our minds. they're using a brain-controlled computer to help artists paint by the power of their thoughts. here is this cutting edge technology. >> reporter: these paintings are being snapped up. a quadriplegic woman in austria lost all hope of communicating until she learned to paint. through a computer the software spitting out words, colors and shapes simply by concentrating on words and symbols, creating a brain to computer interface. in the austria lab, you can paint with no hands.
>> the question is can i reproduce this just with my mind? >> i like the way you reassured me i won't lose my hair after you start to put the gel in. >> if i told you first, then you wouldn't participate. >> i would get nervous. >> reporter: then some quick training. >> your task is to concentrate on these symbols. >> reporter: the responses are recorded by algorithms that control the brain. >> a computer is able to get into your mind. >> we use these to control the computer but the other part would be to control the brain, control the human body. >> reporter: a scary thought, but perhaps not as scary as my painting efforts. how do i get around the red thing right there? all of that concentration has released my inner picasso. you get the picture.
do you like it. yeah. here's the hills. >> what was amazing was everything i concentrated on came up. >> we could use it to control any external device. you can control a wheelchair, you can control a car, robot, whatever. >> reporter: it will take some practice, but it could mean new freedom for patients who have to rely on mind over matter. keir simmons, msnbc in austria. >> it's pretty cool. still ahead, a true story of survival. >> suddenly it was all trees and then it was fire. >> a 16 is -- 16-year-old girl talks about surviving a plane crash with her grandparents. then her two-day ordeal looking for rescue, next. it's a rear end event. year end, rear end check it out. talk about turbocharging
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that tops our look at stories around "newsnation." storm chasers captured the twister as it tore through the city of monmouth last night. cameron was hit hardest. there are no reports of deaths or serious injuries. a woman is suing colorado springs police for $500,000 an an officer threw her to the ground. look at that. after police say she kicked the officer. 18-year-old alexis appears to be handcuffed in the surveillance video. she suffered injuries to her face and head. it happened in 2013. the video was obtained by the colorado springs independent last week as part of actor's lawsuit. we're hearing from 16-year-old autumn beach who survived plane crash that killed her grandparents. their plane went down during bad weather last saturday in washington state. beach spent two nights alone in the woods walking through steep terrain to find help. >> i was crying and kind of blaming myself because, you know going, okay they're amazing people and they didn't deserve to go that way.
nobody deserves that. i was just blaming myself because the flight was to take me home and there wasn't anything i could do. >> veatch says the crash seemed like a dream at first pd it took a long time to realize her parents would be -- grandparents would be happy she survived. it's times for the "newsnation" gut check. back to top story. shooting deaths of four u.s. marines in tennessee. gunman carry ud out his rampage at two military facilities in chattanooga. while authorities are investigating whether he was inspired by isis it sparked a new scrutiny of security new calls for better security at recruiting centers. by definition these centers are located in civilian areas. their officers are in uniform but prohibited from carrying weapons. so what does your gut tell you? should officers at military recruiting centers be armed? go to newsnation.msnbc.com to vote. this sunday night all new episode of deadline crime with tamron hall airs on
investigation discovery. a 32-year-old mother of five who is a devout muslim found savagely beaten in her kitchen in el acajon, california. they uncover secrets, lie, and betrayals that point to a more personal motive. >> reporter: wednesday march 21st, 2012 just after 10:30 a.m. shama logs on to her computer in the kitchen area of her california home hoping to communicate with relatives and friends in her native iraq. upstairs 17-year-old fatima the oldest of shama's five children rest in bed after telling her parents she doesn't feel well. >> she didn't go to school. she's texting friends and she makes a couple of phone calls. she also hears at one point a squeal. she didn't think much of it. and then she heard glass breaking. she thought, well, that sounded
like maybe mom dropped a plate. it wasn't strapg to her. and only when it got very quiet president five or ten minutes later she went downstairs not expecting to find anything bad. and that's when she found her mother. >> the daughter finding her mother in that condition is definitely horrific. i mean there's no other way to explain it. she's going to end up living with that for the rest of her life. >> yikes. be sure to check out the new episode of "deadline, crime" with tamron hall on investigation discovery. that does it for this edition of "newsnation." i'm alex witt in for tamron hall. i'll be back tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. and noon eastern time. you next, "andrea mitchell reports."t green sheets. welcome to castle bravestorm. it's full of cool stuff, like my second in command... and my trusty bow. and free of stuff i don't like. and in my castle we only eat chex cereal. chex cereal. it's full of delicious crunchability.
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surviving for her life. the survivors speak about the ordeal. >> we have heard it before. we're soldiers we shoot all the time. we know what gunfire sounds like. it was only a matter of one or two seconds and we knew exactly what we needed to do. >> we'll hear more from sergeant first class robert dodge in a moment. this morning in chattanooga the community came together to remember the victims and pray for the survivors. >> this is your community. this is where we live. and something happened here that should never happen. that's why we join the military for this never to happen. >> is chattanooga safe after this ordeal? we'll ask the mayor andrew berke. and as we learn more about the man behind the attacks, exclusiver is er isr is er isr is er isr is interview with a high school classmate of the gunman. good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. fbi investigation is in high gear trying to figure out what led a 24-year-old kuwaiti born
american mohammad youssuf abdulazeez to allegedly attack two military facilities in chattanooga, tennessee, leaving five dead four marines and the shooter himself. was it an act of terrorism? nbc's justice correspondence and sarah where the community is still realingeling from the attack. >> it's been just over