The Telegraph 2024-02-15 06:00:30


Kansas City shooting: Mother killed and many injured at Super Bowl victory parade

A mother-of-two was killed and more than 20 others were injured during a shooting at a victory parade to celebrate the Super Bowl win of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Images taken at the scene of the event in Kansas City, Missouri, showed people fleeing in horror and others ducking as they sought cover as shots rang out during the incident on Wednesday. At least 11 children were among the injured.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said one person had been killed. Kansas City radio station KKFI identified the victim as one of its DJs, Lisa Lopez, who was also a beloved mother-of-two.

“It is with sincere sadness and an extremely heavy and broken heart that we let our community know that KKFI DJ Lisa Lopez, host of Taste of Tejano lost her life today in the shooting at the KC Chiefs’ rally,” the radio station shared on Facebook. 

“Our hearts and prayers are with her family.”

Three men were taken into custody and television footage showed one man being handcuffed by police officers.

One video posted on social media, shows members of the public apparently pursuing and catching one of the assailants and pinning him to the ground. 

People can be seen trying to alert the police to what is happening, and two or three officers run to the scene and detain the person.

CNN said as many as 29 people had been injured and 15 people had injuries believed to be life threatening.

None of the staff or players of the Chiefs, who won their second successive Super Bowl victory on Sunday evening, were among the injured, even though they were the main attraction at Wednesday’s parade.

“I am angry at what happened today,” the police chief told a press conference. 

“The people who came to this celebration should expect a safe environment.”

Ms Graves said the shooting – which took place despite the presence of up to 800 police officers – happened on the west side of Union Station

When officers got there, they took two people into custody and immediately started helping people who were hurt. Firearms were also recovered at the scene. 

NFL ‘deeply saddened’

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes wrote on social media he was “praying for Kansas City” in a post followed by three praying hands emojis.

Another member of the team, linebacker Drue Tranquill, also wrote on X: “Pray that doctors and first responders would have steady hands and that all would experience full healing.”

A statement from the NFL said: “We are deeply saddened by the senseless shooting that occurred in Kansas City today following the Chiefs’s celebration. Our thoughts are with the victims and everyone affected.”

The shooting happened towards the conclusion of the victory rally, that was attended by the governors of both Kanas and Missouri.

“At the conclusion of the rally there were shots fired west of Union Station near the garage and several people were struck,” said Captain Jake Becchina, a spokesperson for the Kansas City Police Department.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he was as “heartbroken as anybody” as well as “incredibly upset [and] disappointed”. 

“I don’t want us to have to in our country — for every big event — think about a concern of being shot,” said Mr Lucas, adding he had attended the celebration with his wife and mother.

Chaos as fans flee

Video footage showed a chaotic scene outside the train station as police officers stormed into the building while people who had been attending the celebration ran for cover.

A livestream of the celebrations showed hundreds of fans in red fleeing from the parade after gunshots rang out.

Armed police could be seen leaping over metal barriers and running towards the station entrance.

John O’Connor, a fan at the event told the Kansas City Star: “There were a ton of gun shots going off and a lot of people scattered in confusion.”

He added: “It sounded like they [police] were securing Union Station because there was maybe some return fire from someone else.”

In a statement, the White House said: “The President has been briefed on the shooting in Kansas City and will continue to receive updates. White House officials have been in touch with state and local leaders, and federal law enforcement is on the scene supporting local law enforcement.”

Sunday’s Super Bowl was the most watched live event, attracting an estimated 123.7 million viewers around the world.

Some of that was due to the fact that pop star Taylor Swift, the girlfriend of Chief’s player Travis Kelce, had watched the game from the stands. 

Swift was not present at the victory parade on Wednesday, as she was en route to her tour in Melbourne, Australia.

Kelce in a post on X said he was “heartbroken” over the shooting. “I am heartbroken over the tragedy that took place today. My heart is with all who came out to celebrate with us and have been affected. KC, you mean the world to me.”

Pictured: Harry and Meghan hit the slopes in Vancouver

The Duke of Sussex tried his hand at adaptive sit-skiing on the mountains in Canada as he celebrated the one-year countdown to the next Invictus Games.

He took part in the alpine activity while the Duchess cheered him on from the sidelines as the couple joined the winter training camp on Whistler Mountain on Valentine’s Day.

Speaking after he had successfully completed a short run, Prince Harry described the sensation of being in the chair on skis as “bizarre”. He motioned that it was a challenge to balance, but said that the experience was “great”.

The Duchess, who was wrapped up for the below freezing temperatures, told her husband he was “doing a great job” as he got strapped into the sit-ski for the first time, which he described as “cosy”.

“Let’s do it, what could possibly go wrong,” the Duke had quipped before being led down the run by an adaptive snow school instructor. 

He had encouraged the other competitors to join him on the small run down, and they followed his lead to great fanfare from gathered onlookers, including Meghan.

The royal couple spent just over half an hour at the outdoor participating nations camp on the mountain on Wednesday afternoon as part of their mini tour in Canada to attend Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year to Go celebrations.

They met various competitors from 19 different nations and watched them demonstrate different winter sport disciplines ahead of next year’s Games, which will be the first to feature adaptive winter sports such as Nordic skiing and skeleton.

In the below freezing temperature of -4 degrees, Prince Harry and Meghan clasped hands as they partook in the activities together and chatted with the veterans before they went indoors to hold private conversations with the competitors and organisers.

Wednesday’s activities are not the first time that Harry has tried his hand at the sporting events himself, as at the inaugural games in London he took part in a wheelchair rugby match alongside his cousin Zara Tindall and her husband, Mike Tindall. He has also previously played seated volleyball.

The Duke, 39, is expected to continue trialling the new winter sports on offer at another event in Whistler on Thursday.

Harry and Meghan will spend a total of three days in Canada spotlighting the next Games, which will take place from February 8 to 16, 2025.

They were reported to have arrived by private jet in Vancouver after a two-hour flight from Santa Barbara, California, which is the closest airport to their Montecito home.

By participating in the One Year to Go events, the couple aim to draw attention to the event for wounded service personnel, which Prince Harry founded a decade ago.

It remains one of the sole remaining legacies from his time as a working royal and a hugely successful initiative of which he is incredibly proud.

Their visit comes after the couple launched a rebrand of their official website on Monday, using the royal coat of arms that the Duchess was issued when she married into the family.

Newly written biographies of the Sussexes highlight their philanthropy and personal causes, describing Harry as a “humanitarian, military veteran, mental health advocate and environmental campaigner” and Meghan as a “feminist champion of human rights and gender equality”.

The descriptions also highlight Harry’s dedication for the Games, with his new biography stating: “The Duke founded the Invictus Games Foundation, a platform for wounded, injured and sick service personnel to engage in sport to aid their rehabilitation.

“The international event is a globally celebrated display of resilience, community and athleticism that has won acclaim for its impact in celebrating those that serve.”

The 2025 event follows previous Games held in London, Orlando, Toronto, Sydney, The Hague and, most recently, Düsseldorf.

Harry is expected to reflect on how special Canada has become to him and his wife in a speech on Friday at the final countdown event in Vancouver.

The last time the couple travelled to the city was last November, when the Duke followed in the footsteps of his grandmother by participating in a ceremonial puck drop at a Vancouver Canucks hockey game against the San Jose Sharks.

Canada means a great deal to the couple, and when they made the decision to leave official royal duties behind, it was to a private sanctuary on Vancouver Island that they initially fled before relocating to the US as Covid hit.

They also made their first public appearance together as a couple at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto.

Their mini tour in the country this week comes after it emerged that veteran television executive Scott Moore had been named CEO of the Vancouver Whistler 2025 event.

Speaking to The Telegraph in Whistler on Wednesday, Mr Moore said: “Our plan is to stage the best ever Invictus Games. They’re the first winter Invictus Games but we want them to be remembered as the best ever…we just want people to come here and realise that sport can be a major part of their wellness journey.”

He also discussed the 2025 games featuring winter sports for the first time, explaining: “I think Prince Harry was pitched on it by the Invictus Games Foundation, they started having discussions about this nine years ago.

“We hope that the legacy will be a few things, number one is that we want to leave a legacy for our veterans for adaptive sports but we also want to see another winter Invictus Games maybe four years from now.”

Mr Moore’s track record in securing lucrative broadcasting deals prompted speculation that the Duke might be looking to attract a TV deal for the Games in an effort to raise its profile.

On Wednesday, TV broadcasting crews hired specifically to capture the Games and its surrounding events followed the couple as they toured the winter training camp on Whistler Mountain.

“One of my top priorities is to make sure we get the broadest possible audience all around the world, there will be more on that in the coming weeks,” Mr Moore added.

The Duke, who served two tours in Afghanistan with the British Army, has previously produced and presented a Netflix documentary about the Invictus Games. 

Republican tells Lord Cameron to ‘kiss my a–’ after Hitler remarks

Lord Cameron has warned the US Congress not to repeat the mistakes of the 1930s by blocking a multi-billion pound aid package for Ukraine…

Anti-Semitism hits all-time high in ‘explosion of hatred’ against British Jews

Anti-Semitism hit an all-time high last year in an “explosion of hatred” against the Jewish community following the Hamas terror attacks on Israel, official figures show.

The Community Security Trust (CST) said the surge in anti-Jewish attacks, threats and abuse amounted to a “celebration” of Hamas’s October 7 massacre by anti-Semites whose own hatred was fuelled by the brutality of the attacks.

Its annual report said that there were 4,103 anti-Semitic incidents in the UK last year, nearly double the previous record in 2021, covering all types of “hate” against Jewish people.

Mark Gardner, the CST chief executive, said: “British Jews are strong and resilient, but the explosion in hatred against our community is an absolute disgrace.”

James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, branded the rise in anti-Semitism “utterly deplorable” and said he would “do everything in my power” to ensure the Jewish community was safe.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the rise was “appalling and intolerable” and a “stain on our society”.

“There must be zero-tolerance for anti-Semitism in Britain and those who proliferate that poison on the streets and online must face the full force of the law,” she said.

Her comments come as the Labour Party faces criticism over its handling of anti-Semitism allegations after Sir Keir Starmer was forced to suspend two parliamentary candidates over remarks they made about Israel.

The Labour leader was criticised for failing to withdraw support for Azhar Ali for two days despite it emerging that the prospective Rochdale candidate had suggested that Israel had known the Hamas attacks were coming, and later suspended Graham Jones within an hour of his “f—ing Israel” comments, from the same meeting, emerging.

On Wednesday, shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “Restoring, retaining the trust of the Jewish community and any community is a constant process. And Keir Starmer is deeply, deeply aware of that.”

The CST recorded 48 anti-Semitic incidents connected to political parties or their supporters, of which 35 were Labour-related. These included anti-Semitic incidents targeted at Labour figures, which meant they “should not be treated as a measure of incident perpetrated by Labour party members,” said the report.

Mr Gardner condemned the rise of incidents in schools, universities, workplaces, on the streets and social media.

“We condemn the stony silence from those sections of society that eagerly call out racism in every other case, except when it comes to Jew hate,” he said.

Two-thirds of the anti-Semitism reports received by the CST – a charity which protects Jews against racism – were on or after October 7, when Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,200 people after storming across Gaza’s border into Israel.

Attacks increased by 147 per cent compared to the 1,662 recorded in 2022 and were 81 per cent higher than the previous annual record of 2,261 in 2021.

Damage and desecration of Jewish property

The CST said the speed at which anti-Semites mobilised after the attack, and the huge increase in anti-Jewish hate, “was, if anything, a celebration of Hamas’ massacre by people whose own hatred was emboldened and, in their minds, legitimised by the brutality enacted on civilians in southern Israel”.

The first incident inspired by Hamas’ attack was reported to CST at 12:55pm on the same day when a vehicle drove past a synagogue in Hertfordshire with a Palestinian flag attached, windows wound down and an occupant shaking their fist in the air towards the synagogue.

By the morning of October 9, “Free Palestine” graffiti was sprayed on a bridge in Golders Green, the heart of one of London’s largest Jewish communities. A total of 31 anti-Semitic incidents were reported to CST within 24 hours of the terror attack, while it peaked at 416 the following week.

Incidents were at a record high across all types of “hate” last year. CST recorded 266 assaults, double the 136 in 2022 and the most ever recorded in a year. Cases of damage and desecration of Jewish property rose by 146 per cent from 74 in 2022 to 182 last year, the highest-ever annual figure in the category.

Threats to people, institutions or property – as opposed to more general abuse – rose by 196 per cent from 103 incidents in 2022 to 305 last year, another record.

Abusive behaviour also hit a record high with 3,328 incidents, more than in any other year and an increase of 149 per cent from the 1,339 instances reported in 2022.

The charity noted a “worrying proportion of children perpetrating anti-Semitism”, with under-18s thought to be behind a fifth of the 2,086 incidents recorded where the offender or offenders’ approximate age was provided.

The CST said it had received a further 2,185 reports of potential incidents that were not deemed to be anti-Semitic but instead involved anti-Israel activity rather than anti-Jewish language, motivation or targeting and so were not included in the 2023 total.

Steve Wright was found dead at London home by paramedics after ‘incident’

Police and paramedics were called to Steve Wright’s home on Monday morning after reports of “an incident” at his central London flat.

Emergency services rushed to the home of the radio presenter in Marylebone, west London. Wright was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Wednesday, police said the “unexpected” death of the 69-year-old was not being treated as suspicious and a report was being prepared for the coroner.

The details emerged after Wright’s family announced his death on Tuesday, delivering the bad news to “the millions of devoted radio listeners who had the good fortune and great pleasure of allowing Steve into their daily lives as one of the UK’s most enduring and popular radio personalities”.

In a career that spanned more than four decades, Wright amassed millions of loyal listeners with programmes which aired on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2.

The broadcaster had pre-recorded a “pre-Valentine’s Day Special” of his Sunday Love Songs, which aired just a day before his death.

Wright signed off the weekend mid-morning show on Radio 2, by telling listeners he was “back for more love songs next Sunday”.

BBC director-general Tim Davie led tributes to the DJ following the news, saying that Wright was “a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades”.

The DJ lived in a block of luxury flats, where a two-bed apartment can sell for as much as £1.5million.

His apartment was located less than a 10-minute walk away from BBC’s Broadcasting House.

On Wednesday a neighbour described Wright as “a lovely guy”.

“He was a really great guy, he was just normal. He’d say ‘Hi’ and open the door for you,” he said.

The neighbour, who did not wish to be named added: “I’ve been here eight years and he was here before that, so he’s been here for quite a few years.

“He was very well known locally, he’d just wander round the streets. He didn’t have far to go to work, but no, he was a really decent guy.”

A Met Police spokesperson said: “We were called at 10:19hrs on Monday, 12 February after the body of a man was found at a flat in the Marylebone area.

“Officers responded along with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service. A man in his 60s was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed.

“The death was unexpected but is not being treated as suspicious. A report will be prepared for the coroner.”

A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said:  “We were called at 10.07am on Monday, February 12, to reports of an incident.

“We sent a number of resources to the scene. Very sadly, a person was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Elderly couple told they had to sell home to house asylum seekers

Councils are compulsorily purchasing empty properties to meet a surge in the number of asylum seekers being granted leave to remain in the UK.

Council chiefs have complained they are not being given enough time to find alternative accommodation for successful asylum seekers because of the Home Office’s faster decision-making to clear huge backlogs of cases.

The policy has been highlighted by the plight of an elderly couple who were told they had to give up their home to asylum seekers because of a shortage of suitable accommodation.

Jose and Ted Saunders said they were “shocked” to be told by North Northamptonshire Council that their mid-terraced house in Rushden, near Wellingborough, was deemed to be empty or derelict, enabling the authority to force them to sell it.

The letter said the council was seeing a “considerable increase” in positive immigration decisions being made in favour of asylum seekers, mainly single men, and the authority was “struggling” to source suitable accommodation for them.

It added: “The ideal long-term solution would be to provide accommodation by using empty properties which would benefit owners and the project.” It said the council could make a compulsory purchase order on the property.

Council chiefs said they had to adopt such tactics because of the faster processing of asylum claims by the Home Office. “In terms of trying to acquire more social housing, councils will adopt a variety of measures, one of them being identifying empty properties that they can bring back into use,” said a senior council source.

‘Utterly shocking’

Three days after receiving the letter, the Saunders got an apology, saying council staff had mistakenly earmarked the house for possible compulsory purchase.

However, the Saunders were still baffled by the policy itself. “What on earth is the council doing forcing people to sell their houses – and even an empty house is owned by someone – so that asylum seekers can live in them?” said Jose. “The answer to this is to stop them coming in the first place, not to force people out of their homes.”

The incident was seized upon by the Reform UK Party, whose candidate in Thursday’s Wellingborough by-election, Ben Habib, heard about the case.

Mr Habib, who is also the party’s co-deputy leader, said: “I was horrified to hear the plight of Mr and Mrs Saunders.

‘It is utterly shocking that the council would fire off a letter like that to two elderly people. And do so with the aim of buying a £200,000 house for asylum seekers. This from a council that is as good as bust and has never filed consolidated accounts since it was established in 2021.”

It comes after The Telegraph revealed on Tuesday that the Home Office has quietly built up a stock of 16,000 properties for asylum seekers despite acute shortages of homes for young workers and families.

Contractors working for the Home Office are offering landlords five-year guaranteed full rent deals to take over the management of properties as they race to transfer asylum seekers out of hotels.

The properties drawn from the private rental and social housing markets are being used to house more than 58,000 asylum seekers across England, Wales and Scotland. That is double the 29,000 asylum seekers in the so-called “dispersed accommodation” a decade ago.

‘A mechanism of last resort’

Jason Smithers, Leader of North Northamptonshire Council, told the Daily Mail in a statement: “North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) is working with owners of long-term empty properties to bring their property back into use. 

“Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) are not utilised to ‘oust’ current owners from their properties, they are a tool used as a very last resort to bring empty properties, which are a valuable and much need housing resource, back into use.

“The ‘empty property initiative letters’ were sent out in a bid to assist empty property owners bring their property back into use, and on the whole, the support from NNC was gratefully received. 

“Since NNC formed in 2021, no properties have been purchased by CPO. This is a mechanism of last resort to bring problematic, long-term empty properties back into use.

“Unfortunately, in this case, records held by NNC were outdated, and the letter was incorrectly sent to a property which was occupied. For this, I am very sorry for causing any undue distress and worry.”

Watch: Cyclist refuses to make way for 60ft lorry on country lane

A cyclist refused to reverse to make way for a 60ft lorry after the two came face-to-face on a country lane in Hampshire.

The driver, who wished to remain anonymous, filmed the footage. It shows the female lorry driver asking the cyclist to reverse and “go back to the wide bit”, as it would be easier than reversing a 60ft-long lorry.

The cyclist refuses and insists that lorries should not be using country lanes.

The lorry driver can be heard saying: “You think it’s easier for me to reverse? I’m 60ft long and the same width as this road. As you can see by the fact that I’m in the hedge both sides.”

The cyclist responds by asking why she should be the one to go back, before adding that the driver “shouldn’t be down here anyway”.

The woman on the pushbike eventually went back to allow the lorry to drive through.

Since being posted on TikTok, the video has provoked debate with some people saying the lorry is in the wrong.

One comment said: “The cyclist has right of way; Sorry I am a class one driver too”

Another read: “You shouldn’t be driving down a narrow country road in a 60ft lorry, simple.”

However, others believed the cyclist should have simply reversed.

One person wrote: “I’m shocked people are saying the lorry shouldn’t be there.”

Another said: “People forget, the driver doesn’t pick the destination and therefore has no choice in access route.”