Trending News for May 28

14-Year Old Boy Accused of Stabbing Cheerleader 114 Times; SolarWinds Hacking Campaign Targets 150 U.S. Organizations; Kim Kardashian and Kids Contracted COVID; Bucktown Carjacking Spree Strikes Fear; ‘Operation Tragic Blow’ Drug Trafficking Investigation Charged 17 People


14-Year Old Boy Accused of Stabbing 13-Year Old Cheerleader 114 Times, Charged as Adult

The 14-year-old boy, a Florida native, charged in the brutal death of a 13-year old cheerleader by stabbing her 114 times, will be tried as an adult, the authorities announced on Thursday. The suspect, Aiden Fucci, was charged with second-degree murder on May 10 but was upgraded to premeditated first-degree murder after strong evidence of showing intent to kill was ascertained. 

In a statement to reporters, State Attorney R.J. Larizza of Florida’s 7th Judicial District said that the Fucci had told “several” friends that he “intended to kill someone” before Bailey’s murder. Bailey was found dead with 114 stab wounds, and with a tip of the folding buck knife used by the suspect had broken off and was found embedded in her scalp. The crime scene has multiple signs of the brutal and violent nature of the attack.

“Horrific is an understatement,” Larizza told reporters at a news conference.

“He didn’t say who that was, but he indicated to witnesses that he was going to kill someone by taking them in the woods and stabbing them,” Larizza said. “The statements that the defendant made to his friends made it clear that he was considering a homicide. And I got to tell you this, it’s disturbing and concerning that those statements were not … taken seriously by the folks that heard them.” 

“It was a difficult decision to determine whether to charge the suspect as an adult. But the “level of violence” used in the attack and the way the juvenile system is designed proved “the adult system is where this case belongs,” Larizza told the reporters.

The victim, Tristyn Bailey, was found on May 9 in a wooded area in Durbin Crossing, about 20 miles south of Jacksonville, just hours after her family reported her missing. Fucci was arrested after surveillance video and DNA evidence were collected, according to prosecutors. 

Bailey and the suspect attended the same school, Patriot Oaks Academy, where Bailey was a cheerleader. Both also grew up in the same neighborhood. The motive in the case is unclear. 


SolarWinds Hacking Campaign Targets 150 U.S. Organizations

The Russian state-sponsored cyberspies working behind the SolarWinds hacking campaign launched this week a spear-phishing assault targeting the U.S., think tanks, and foreign government agencies using the U.S. Agency for International Development email marketing account, Microsoft said.

The hacking campaign targeted about 3,000 email accounts across 150 different organizations. Some of the organizations are involved in humanitarian, human rights work, and international development, said Microsoft Vice President Tom Burt in a blog post late Thursday.

“The campaign appeared to be a continuation of multiple efforts by the Russian hackers to target government agencies involved in foreign policy as part of intelligence gathering efforts.” Burt said. The targets spanned at least 24 countries.

The cybersecurity firm Volexity also tracked the hacking campaign but has less visibility into email systems than Microsoft. They said that due to the relatively low detection rates of the phishing emails, the attackers were “likely having some success in breaching targets.”

“The hackers gained access to USAID’s account at Constant Contact, an email marketing service. The authentic-looking phishing emails dated May 25 purport to contain new information on 2020 election fraud claims and include a link to malware that allows the hackers to achieve persistent access to compromised machines,” Microsoft said. 

The campaign is still active and has evolved out of several waves of spear-phishing campaigns first detected in January and escalated to the mass-mailings this week, according to Microsoft.

The SolarWinds campaign is what cybersecurity researchers call noisy. Although it was supremely stealthy and went on for most of 2020, infiltrating dozens of private sector companies and at least nine U.S. government agencies, it was detected by the cybersecurity firm FireEye in December. 

According to Microsoft, the two mass distribution methods of the SolarWinds campaign exploited the supply chain of a technology provider’s software updates, and the hackers piggybacked on a mass email provider. The hackers aim to undermine trust in the technology ecosystem.


Kim Kardashian and Children Contracted COVID-19

In a teaser for the show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” it was revealed that Saint, Kim Kardashian’s son, had tested positive for the virus. On Thursday night’s episode, it was shown that the health crisis went far beyond Kim’s oldest son and affected her whole family, from Kanye to the youngest child.

Kim had a severe case of COVID-19 symptoms along with her kids, which prompted the production of her show to shut down for two weeks.

It was still unclear exactly when the family had contracted COVID-19 since the show was filmed months ago. It was previously reported that Khloe Kardashian contracted the virus sometime in 2020. She revealed on ‘KUWTK’ that her symptoms were so bad that the family’s matriarch, Kris Jenner, called every doctor she could think of for help. Kim also previously stated that Kanye West had contracted COVID-19 in the very early days of the pandemic.

Kim said Saint tested positive after an apparent outbreak at his school. Saint was crying and coughing heavily. With three other kids in the house, she was also concerned about the virus spreading, and indeed it had spread to the rest of the children.

Soon after, North started feeling sick, and after getting tested, both she and Kim turned positive for the virus. The producers decided to shut down all ‘KUWTK’ shoots for 14 days while the family quarantined at that point. Kim had experienced severe symptoms, such as 104-degree fever and coughing. Fortunately, everyone in the family made a full recovery.

After the episode aired, Kim denied reports the family contracted the virus after going on their controversial island holiday in October.

“Nobody caught Covid from the trip,” she tweeted. “Saint was the first to have it in our family, and he caught it from school from another student who tested positive first. I then developed symptoms and got it a few days after he coughed on me while caring for him.”


Carjacking Spree In Bucktown Strikes Fear in the Neighborhood

The carjacking spree this week in Bucktown amid an ongoing carjacking crisis in Chicago has stricken fear in the neighborhood that one family has decided to move out.

Carjacking in Chicago continues to spike. According to Chicago Police data, 542 people have been carjacked so far this year, compared to 265 in the same period in 2020. Last year ended with a record 135% jump.

Jermont Terry of CBS 2’s reported Thursday that people say they feel like sitting targets in their cars. Terry has himself stood on Damen Avenue before reporting on a carjacking spree when a new crew attacked.

One of the residents in the neighborhood, Prescilla Malayter witnessed a carjacking while waiting to pick up her son from daycare in Bucktown on Wednesday.

“They were knocking on her windshield, and then I heard her screams – and then when I look over, he saw a gun pointing at her,” Malayter said. “He was wearing a mask and yelling at her to get out of the car.”

“The terror in her, you know, in her face – it’s just something that you don’t want to see,” said Malayter.

Just 15 yards away, another woman in a Mercedes Benz gtt carjacked at Moffat Street and Damen Avenue.

“You can imagine how terrified we were, just thinking about how that could have been one of us,” she said.

The carjacking crew drove the stolen Mercedes Benz, and in less than two hours, the Chicago Police linked them to two more carjackings.

After the crew’s third carjacking on Hamlin Avenue in West Garfield Park, the officers arrested the suspects. Police took two teens into custody on the West Side, but others are still on the run. Police arrested two other boys in East Garfield Park on Wednesday night after they were found driving an SUV stolen.

Malayter has been in Bucktown for two years, and the carjacking spree – like one in December where a father was shot trying to save his wife and daughter, also in Bucktown – has pushed her family’s decision to leave town.


‘Operation Tragic Blow’ Drug Trafficking Investigation Charged 17 People

The anti-drug investigation, called ‘Operation Tragic Blow’ has been ongoing for several years and focused on drug trafficking activities in the Belmont Cragin and Buena Park neighborhoods, said the Northern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney’s Office in an announcement on Thursday.

Charges against 17 people were filed as part of a joint federal and state investigation into cocaine and heroin trafficking in the Chicago area.

Several kilograms of heroin and cocaine were seized, including 14 kilos of cocaine from Belmont Cragin and two kilos of heroin from Buena Park high-rise building, said the prosecutors.

The U.S. Homeland Security officials led the investigation, and the Chicago police relied on undercover surveillance as part of the high-level drug operations, officials said on Thursday.

The federal drug charges were filed against these persons:

Yarnell Allen, 41, of Dolton;
Ulises Avina, 32, of Chicago;
Oscar Balderama, 42, of Chicago;
Celestino Barahona-Serrano, 38, of Chicago;
Diego Galeana-Gonzaga, 35, of Mexico;
Margarito Galeana-Gomez, 36, of Mexico;
Jose Gonzaga, 58, of Chicago;
Rafael Medellin, Jr., 32, of Chicago;
Richard C. Rincon, 39, of Oak Lawn;
Juan Rosas-Cabrera, 31, of Mexico;
Sergio Sanchez-Chavez, 36, of Mexico;
Francisco Sanchez-Yanez, 32, of Chicago;
Antonio Segura, 39, of Oak Lawn;
Jorge A. Valdez, 40, of Chicago;
Virginia Vazquez-Perez, 37, of Cicero;
Delvin Williams, 42, of Chicago; and
Rafael Zarco-Picazo, 33, of Chicago.

Zarco-Picazo is accused of selling distribution levels of cocaine to Valdez, who then allegedly sold smaller quantities to customers in Chicago, prosecutors said. 

On January 30, law enforcement seized 14 kilos of cocaine from Zarco-Picazo’s car. 

Galeana-Gomez and Gonzaga allegedly conspired to distribute two kilograms of heroin to an undercover law enforcement officer.

On September 17, 2020, an attempt to sell heroin was made by Gonzaga in an underground parking garage of North Marine Drive, prosecutors said. 

Galeana-Gonzaga is accused of distributing a kilogram of heroin in two separate deliveries in a vehicle to Williams and Vazquez-Perez.

Segura and Allen are charged with dealing two kilos of cocaine on April 30, 2020, in Chicago Lawn.