‘Central Park Karen’ Amy Cooper’s victim accepts her apology for threatening to call cops on him – The Sun

THE “Central Park Karen” victim has accepted Amy Cooper’s apology for threatening to call the cops on him.

Christian Cooper, the black man who recorded a confrontation with a white woman in New York’s Central Park, said he accepted her apology but added the incident was part of a deeper racism problem in the US.


Cooper was out on Memorial Day bird watching in an area of the Manhattan park called the Ramble, which is home to “delicate” plants and wildlife, when he spotted Amy Cooper walking her dog off-leash.

He asked her to leash her dog after he offered it treats in an attempt to lure it out of a plant bed.

He told The View on Thursday: “It’s posted all over the Ramble – dogs are supposed to be on a leash at all times – but unfortunately, we’ve had a problem with this for many, many years.

“A lot of us have been recording these incidents,” he said, noting that the recordings could be used as evidence for why the rule must be enforced.

The footage, which has since gone viral, show the confrontation heating up quickly as Amy Cooper threatens to call the police on Mr Cooper and adds she is going to tell them: "There's an African American man threatening my life."

Mr Cooper, a Harvard graduated and biomedical editor for Health Science Communications, added: “At that point I was faced with a decision.

"Do I capitulate to that attempt to use race to leverage what she wanted, or do I sort of stick [to] my guns and keep recording? I really kinda decided consciously, I'm not going to participate in my own dehumanization.”

His sister Melody Cooper then posted the video onto social media which sparked outrage across the country.

I really kinda decided consciously, I'm not going to participate in my own dehumanization

Melody told The View: “When I saw my brother’s video, it was personal.

“I just imagined what happened to Mike Brown or George Floyd happening to him, and I wanted to make sure no other black person would have to go through that kind of weaponization of racism from her.”

“If the cops showed up, they wouldn’t have seen his resume or known his job,” Melody Cooper said. “This kind of racism can kill people. It could’ve killed my brother.”

Ms Cooper, who has since lost her job with investment firm Franklin Templeton, has issued an apology which said in part: “I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of 40 years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology.”

It’s not really about her and her poor judgement in a snap second. It’s about the underlying current of racism and racial perceptions that’s been going on for centuries

“I do accept her apology,” Mr Cooper said. “I think it’s a first step. I think she’s gotta do some reflection on what happened because up until the moment when she made that statement … it was just a conflict between a birder and a dog walker, and then she took it to a very dark place. I think she’s gotta sort of examine why and how that happened.”

But he added the incident was not really the issue but more about the “underlying current of racism”.

“It’s not really about her and her poor judgement in a snap second,” he said. “It’s about the underlying current of racism and racial perceptions that’s been going on for centuries and that permeates this city and this country that she tapped into.”

“That’s what we really have to address; not the specifics of her, but why are we still plagued with that and how do we fix it,” he added.

Mr Cooper also echoed previous calls to end what Amy Cooper has described as death threats against her.

“If you think that what she did was wrong, that she was trying to bring death by cop down on my head, then there is absolutely no way you can justify then turning around and putting a death threat on her head,” he said.

Cooper added that he’s “uncomfortable” with defining her by “a couple seconds … of very poor judgement.”

“[There’s] no excusing that it was a racist act because it was a racist act," he said. "But [does] that define her entire life? Only she can tell us if that defines her entire life by what she does going forward."






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Cheeky drongo bird touches down on the back of a flying eagle owl

The eagle has been landed on! Cheeky black drongo bird appears to touch down on the back of a flying eagle owl

  • Photographer Mayur Shinde, 41, captured the series of shots when she was visiting Jaisalmer in India 
  • The birdwatcher photographed an Indian eagle owl as it was gliding through the clear blue sky 
  • A black drongo appeared and stretched out its claws as it appeared to land perfectly on the owl’s back 

This is the moment a black drongo appears to touch down on the back of an Indian eagle owl.

The two birds can be seen flying mere inches away from each other before the drongo stretches out its claws and prepares for landing.

A perfectly timed shot shows the drongo touching down as it balances on the owl’s back – but the gesture might not be as friendly as it seems. 

Drongos are known to fight off other birds, and despite being just 28cm in length, will often attack larger species that enter their nesting territory. 

Photographer Mayur Shinde, 41, captured the photos when visiting Jaisalmer, India, for a spot of bird watching. 

The Indian eagle owl – a large species native to hilly forests – glides through the sky in Jaisalmer, unaware its journey is about to be interrupted

The black drongo appears out of nowhere and takes offence at the owl – which is around three times larger – stretching out its claws as it prepares to land



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A perfectly timed shot shows the drongo balancing perfectly on the owl’s back – but the gesture might not be as friendly as it seems. Drongos are known to fight off other birds, and despite being just 28cm in length, will often attack larger species that enter their nesting territory

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Driver films woman struggle to reverse

‘No, no keep STRAIGHT!’ Exasperated driver films woman making a complete mess of reversing down a narrow lane as waiting cars stack up behind him

  • Dashboard footage shows a woman driver struggle to reverse down a single lane 
  • The driver cannot keep the car straight and drives into bushes in Hertfordshire
  • Cars stack up behind the filmer while he waits for the woman to finish reversing

This is the embarrassing moment a driver struggles to reverse along a narrow country lane as a waiting motorist films her and gives a commentary on her erratic progress. 

The woman in the white hatchback took a painful three minutes to back down the country road in Redbourn, Hertfordshire, while the traffic jam of cars in front of her grew longer. 

Dashcam footage from the car in front captures her steering too far left, and right, rolling forward and veering into the bushes. 

As the woman keeps turning her steering wheel the agitated filmer exclaims: ‘No, no, no keep straight.’ 

A driver took three minutes to reverse down a single country lane in Redbourn, Hertfordshire unable to keep her car straight and driving into bushes

After the hapless driver eventually gets past one of the cars parked on the side of the road the filmer is able to move forward. 

The woman struggles past a second car, picks up a little speed and drives her car slightly into the bush again. 

Finally she manages to keep her car straight as she reverses slowly down the road.  

The driver had to reverse after a diversion had sent a queue of car down the country lane towards her. 

The filmer tells another motorist, who has managed to pull over on to the verge, that there are 15 to 20 cars stuck behind him.

After the driver struggled past two cars parked on the side of the road she was more able to keep her car straight and reversed down the road 

He said had been an accident on the main road in Rodbourn which diverted traffic down the lane. 

He added: ‘Little did they (or us) know, but the lady in the white car – she was ever so sweet, and a lot embarrassed – had missed the reversing lesson whilst doing her driving test!’

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World's oldest man Bob Weighton dies aged 112

World’s oldest man Bob Weighton from Hampshire dies of cancer aged 112 – three months after inheriting title from Japan’s Chitetsu Watanabe

  • Bob Weighton from Hampshire became the world’s oldest man in February 
  • The previous record holder Chitetsu Watanabe died in Japan aged 112
  • Turned down birthday card from the Queen calling it a ‘waste of taxpayer money’
  • When asked what moment of his life he would recreate he said meeting his wife Agnes  

The world’s oldest man, Bob Weighton, has died from cancer aged 112. 

Mr Weighton, from Alton, Hampshire, became the world’s oldest man after the previous record holder Chitetsu Watanabe, from Japan, died in February, aged 112. 

The great-grandfather to 25, lived through both world wars, the 1918 flu pandemic, the rise and fall of the USSR and the creation of the Internet.

He died of a pancoast tumour despite having never smoked, according to a heartwarming statement released by his family.

The world’s oldest man is now 111-year-old Romanian Dumitru Comănescu, who will turn 112 on November 8, according to Guinness World Records.

Bob Weighton, from Alton, Hampshire, became the world’s oldest man after the previous record holder Chitetsu Watanabe, from Japan , died in February, aged 112

The world’s oldest man is now 111-year-old Romanian Dumitru Comănescu, who will turn 112 on November 8, according to Guinness World Records 

Mr Weighton died of a pancoast tumour despite having never smoked, according to a heartwarming statement released by his family 

In a statement, his grandson Magnus described ‘our beloved Bob’ as a ‘witty, kind, knowledgeable, conversationalist father, grandfather and great grandfather’.

The Weighton family statement said: ‘With great sadness, the Weighton family announces the death of our beloved Bob Weighton. 

‘He died peacefully in his sleep, from cancer, on the morning of Thursday May 28, 2020, at his flat in Alton, Hampshire, where he lived independently.

‘We are so thankful for the time we have had with him – extended time. He’s always been a true gentleman, a very lovely, down to earth chap with no airs or graces.

‘He died from a pancoast tumour, yet he never smoked – not a chance! 

‘Aged 112, Bob was the oldest man in the world.

‘Bob was an extraordinary man, and to the family that was not really because of the amazing age he reached. A role model to us all, he lived his life interested in and engaged with all kinds of people from across the world.

‘He viewed everyone as his brother or sister and believed in loving and accepting and caring for one another. He had many, many friendships and read and talked politics, theology, ecology and more right up until his death.

‘He also cared greatly for the environment. The second bedroom in his flat was a workshop, filled with furniture, windmills and puzzles he made and sold in aid of charity, often from bits of wood pulled from skips.’

Mr Weighton, pictured here in 1934, was a teacher before his retirement 

Mr Weighton, pictured, lived independently until his death according to his family 

The statement added: ‘We are so grateful that until the very end Bob remained our witty, kind, knowledgeable, conversationalist father, grandfather and great grandfather, and we will miss him greatly.’

When Mr Weighton, a former teacher and engineer, became the world’s oldest man, he said at the time that he was ‘taken aback’. 

Speaking to Good Morning Britain in March, the super-centenarian – someone aged 110 plus – said he was happy celebrating the anniversary in lockdown.

Despite making it 12 birthdays past 100, Mr Weighton only had one card of the Queen – who sends one every year – on display on his bookshelf.

When asked where the other were, Mr Weighton said he asked Her Majesty to stop sending them.

He told the Mail: ‘Because it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money and she’s got enough on her plate with Harry and . . . what’s she called? And also I don’t need a load of cards cluttering the place up.’      

Mr Weighton, pictured as a boy, said he had never intended becoming this old and said he has no secret to his longevity

When asked which moment he would recreate if he could, Mr Weighton said: ‘Meeting my wife, I don’t know what kind of life I would have lived without her.

The pair met at university, while preparing to travel abroad to volunteer in foreign countries, and insisted it was ‘true love’ that ‘stood the test of time’.

Mr Weighton said: ‘She was destined for Ghana in Africa. I volunteered to go to Taiwan so we were miles apart and months of not having communication, letters took six or eight weeks. 

‘It was true love and it stood the test of time. After four years of separation and not seeing one another, we still got married and look back with great pleasure and rejoice.’ 

Mr Weighton, who died in his flat today, was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire on March 29, 1908. 

He was one of seven children and is survived by his two children, 10 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. 

When he was 10, Mr Weighton lived through the ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic of 1918, which claimed the lives of between 50 million and 100 million people.

He said: ‘I only read about it in history books when I got older. 

Actually I wasn’t aware there was a Spanish flu around, because none of my brothers and sisters or people I knew were affected.

‘I am sure they were, but a child’s world is not an adult’s world, a child doesn’t read the newspapers and there was no radio in those days. So you didn’t get news in the sense you get it thrown at you in all directions nowadays.’

Mr Weighton, pictured left, married his wife Agnes, right, in Hong Kong in 1937

He remembers the outbreak of World War I and as a teenager he trained in marine engineering. By the time he qualified in 1925 the shipping industry was in decline, so he headed to Taiwan to work as an English teacher.

Out there, he met his future wife Agnes.  

In the early part of World War II, Mr Weighton and his family lived in Denver, US. 

He was recruited by the British Political Warfare Mission for his knowledge of Japanese after the attack on Pearl Harbour.   

Mr Weighton deciphered enemy messages and also worked to disrupt the morale of the Japanese to try and help the Americans win their fight.

After the war, he was finally able to return to England with his wife and three children and spent the rest of his working life as a lecturer in marine engineering at City University in London, until his retirement, aged 65, in 1973.

He and his wife, who passed away in 1997, spent much of their retirement volunteering as marriage counsellors and helping at youth groups in Alton.

Mr Weighton, circled, is photographed here in 1911 along with his siblings and grandmother

Mr Weighton lived through the reign of five monarchs and seen 26 Prime Ministers come and go from 10 Downing Street.

Remarkably, he had shared the title of Britain’s oldest man with Alf Smith, of Perthshire, as the pair were born on the same day, but Mr Smith died last year. 

He said that the ‘world is in a bit of a mess’ with coronavirus and explained that the challenge posed by the pandemic is significant.  

Mr Weighton said: ‘In the Second World War you knew what you had to do.

‘You might fail but the objectives were clear as Churchill rallied the country behind him, “We will fight on the beaches”, etc etc.

‘We knew exactly what we had to do. That was an objective that you could possibly reach, but nobody knows how we are going to defeat the virus.’  

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Staten Island tanning salon reopens — and gets shut down immediately

A Staten Island tanning salon owner fed up with New York’s coronavirus shutdown defiantly reopened Thursday as demonstrators cheered — but was quickly shutdown by police, he told The Post.

Bobby Catone, who runs three Sunbelievable salons in the borough, was hit with a $1,000 ticket for opening a non-essential business, prompting him to close his doors a few minutes after opening at 11 a.m.

“They threatened to arrest me. I was willing to step up and go to jail to make a statement. But then they threatened to take my health license — and I’d be closed even longer without that,” Catone said.

Frustrated, he ripped up the summons  in front of a crowd of roughly 200 people, who flocked to the tanning salon to demand the city reopen small businesses at partial capacity citywide.

“Somebody had to take a stand. It’s insulting that after all this time they don’t trust us to use social distancing,” Catone said. “Who’s to determine whose business is essential?”

Outside the tanning salon, demonstrators cheered, while others waved American flags and chanted “Lock up de Blasio!”

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Minneapolis mayor begs protesters to keep peace in ‘honor’ of George Floyd

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for peace Thursday as violent protests over the death of George Floyd shook the city — saying it’s what the late 46-year-old father would have wanted.

“He was all about love, and all about peace. He did not receive that love and peace from our officers on the night of May 25. But we can still honor him by practicing those values during a time of great strife,” Frey said at a press conference.

Floyd, who was black, is seen on a viral video being pinned down by a white Minneapolis police officer, and yelling, “I can’t breathe” before he died Monday.

Protests have erupted across the city over the incident, with demonstrators looting a Target and lighting fires across the city that damaged several buildings. During one protest, a man was fatally shot outside a pawn shop, according to police.

On Thursday, Frey — who has called for the officer who killed Floyd, Derek Chauvin, to be charged — urged residents to find “an awakened peace” in their hearts over the tragedy.

“At this time when one crisis is sandwiched against another … this could be a point in time when can look back and [and say] we rose to right the wrongs of the past, not just with words but with action,” he said.

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Trump goes after ‘hater’ Twitter fact-checking boss who ‘called his team “NAZIS” and donated to Hillary Clinton’ – The Sun

PRESIDENT Donald Trump has gone after the "hater" Twitter fact-checking boss who "called his team 'NAZIS' and donated to Hillary Clinton."

Trump slammed Twitter on Thursday after the social media platform's head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, called the President's team "actual nazis" in a resurfaced tweet.



Trump wrote to Twitter: "So ridiculous to see Twitter trying to make the case that Mail-In Ballots are not subject to FRAUD.

"How stupid, there are examples, & cases, all over the place.

"Our election process will become badly tainted & a laughingstock all over the World. Tell that to your hater @yoyoel."

Yoel Roth's tweets resurfaced on Wednesday after Twitter for the first time prompted readers to check facts in tweets sent by Trump, warning his claims about mail-in ballots were false and had been debunked by fact-checkers.

On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted: "Twitter has now shown that everything we have been saying about them (and their other compatriots) is correct. Big action to follow."

Roth's controversial resurfaced tweets from January 22, 2017, read: "The 'you are not the right kind of feminist' backlash to yesterday’s marches has begun. Did we learn nothing from this election?"

That same day, Roth also wrote to Twitter: "Yes, that person in the pink hat is clearly a bigger threat to your brand of feminism than ACTUAL NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE."

Roth also once referred to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as "bag of farts" and donated to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016.

In September 2016, Roth admitted he donated $100 "to Hillary for America" – adding in his tweet: "We can't f*** around anymore."

He also once wrote: "I'm just saying, we fly over those states that voted for a racist tangerine for a reason."

Roth's anti-Trump posts prompted many to question the Twitter employee's personal integrity.

Earlier this week, Trump slammed Twitter for labeling his tweets with "fact-checks" for the first time after he posted about "rigged" mail-in votes.

He said Twitter was "interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election" and insisted he would not tolerate it.

Twitter on Tuesday used a blue exclamation mark notification prompting readers to “get the facts about mail-in ballots" after Trump tweeted.

People were then directed to a page with news articles and information about the claims aggregated by Twitter staffers.

Trump later tweeted: "Twitter is completely stifling free speech, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Meanwhile, Trump's "leaked executive order" has targeted Facebook and Twitter for "censoring" and called on the Federal Communications Omission to change the law.

The order, which was seen in draft form by Reuters, will reportedly be signed by Trump on Thursday.

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John Malkovich blames 'social media idiocy' for the 'death of comedy'

John Malkovich blames ‘social media idiocy’ for the ‘death of comedy’ with the actor, 66, insisting what’s considered funny one day can end a career the next

  • The 66-year-old made the admonishment ahead of the release of his new Netflix comedy show, Space Force, due to launch this Friday
  • Towing the line between truth and reality, the show tries to portray what a space branch of the military would look like inside the imagination of the US president 
  • When asked about the show, Malkovich said he was more focused on mourning what he perceives to be the death of humor
  • He described outrage culture as toxic, and said what’s funny one day can end a career the next, in this age of ‘social media idiocy’ 
  • Malkovich opined that social media has irrevocably changed the medium of comedy forever, now the ire of a generation is a few clicks away from sparking
  • The actor’s comments bear resemblance to sentiments uttered by Hangover-come-Joker director Todd Phillips who said ‘woke culture’ has killed comedy 

Actor John Malkovich has lamented cancel culture for ruining comedy, insisting what may have been considered funny yesterday could well end an entertainer’s career the next in this age of ‘social media idiocy’.

The 66-year-old made the admonishment ahead of the release of his new Netflix comedy show, Space Force, due to launch this Friday in which he stars with Steve Carell.

Towing the line finely between truth and reality, the show is centered on Carell’s character, Gen. Mark Naird, who has been tasked with running Space Force that has been hastily formed by an unnamed president in the midst of a tweetstorm. Malkovich, meanwhile, plays the eccentric Dr. Adrian Mallory, chief scientist of the new military division.

But when quizzed about how he thought the show’s jokes about President Donald Trump and his incessant tweeting habits would hold up, Malkovich told the New York Daily News’ Kate Feldman he was more focused on mourning what he perceives to be the death of humor generally.

‘What’s funny yesterday becomes illegal today and the person uttering it must be canceled,’ Malkovich told the outlet. ‘Outrage culture is as strong as it is toxic.’

Actor John Malkovich has lamented cancel culture for ruining comedy, insisting what may be considered funny one day could well end an entertainer’s career the next in this age of ‘social media idiocy’

The 66-year-old made the admonishment ahead of the release of his new Netflix comedy show, Space Force, due to launch this Friday in which he stars alongside Steve Carell

Malkovich opined that the emergence of social media has irrevocably changed the medium of comedy forever, now that the ire of a generation is the matter of a few characters, clicks and retweets away from being sparked.

‘Part of what makes [comedy] difficult is also the tidal wave of idiocy that can be created on social media in a day … the outrage mob,’ he said.

The actor’s comments bear resemblance to sentiments uttered by The Hangover-come-Joker director Todd Phillips who said last year that he had chosen to step away from making broad comedy movies, opting instead for darker pursuits.

‘Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,’ Phillips told Vanity Fair. ‘There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the funny guys are like, ‘F*** this s***, because I don’t want to offend you.’

Initial critic reaction to Space Force has been less than favourable, with some claiming the series feels more like an elaborate Twitter joke, rather than the blockbuster series it was intended to be, backed by a star-studded cast.

Arriving less than two weeks after Trump unveiled the flag for the ‘real’ Space Force, the 10-episode first season tries to envisage what a space branch of the military would look like inside the imagination of the current US president, though he’s never mentioned by name.

In addition to flawed and eccentric characters played by Malkovich and Carell, the surrounding cast bring to life figures of similar disaster, which includes the likes of Lisa Kudrow and the late Fred Willard.

But the dysfunctional bunch are led by Carell, playing a character often reminiscent of his most famous role, The Office boss Michael Scott, who believes he can guide his crew of misfits to the moon.

Malkovich’s sassy character spearheads the science behind Naird’s ambition, harbouring a deep disdain for him and the military in general.

‘Naird is not a science person,’ Malkovich told the Daily News. ‘He doesn’t trust scientists because sometimes they say carbs are good for you and sometimes they say they’re bad. I’d say about 70 percent of the world agrees with him. Science suffers from a lot of blah blah and speculation.’

During production, Malkovich said the cast paid little attention to Trump’s real-life Space Force or his Twitter feed, but credits the show’s writer, Greg Daniels, for ‘pulling certain elements … very cleverly, very amusingly from real life.’

For the most part, Malkovich says the outlandish show is about the ‘possibilities of an unlikely directive to achieve a goal.’

‘On a certain level, it’s about teamwork, a concept quite lost in this United States of America at present,’ he said.

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Hero soldier, 34, ‘saved countless lives by stopping an active shooter who got out of car and fired at other drivers’ – The Sun

A SOLDIER has been hailed a "hero" after he rammed an active shooter who was firing randomly at vehicles on a busy Kansas City bridge with his own car.

The 34-year-old soldier, who has not been identified, stopped the gunman by "striking the shooter with his vehicle", Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said.

“What was a very, very dangerous situation fortunately was ended quite quickly,” Kitchens told reporters. “Again, very likely countless lives were saved by the person who intervened.”

The incident started on Wednesday on the Kansas side of the Centennial Bridge over the Missouri River.

The suspect, who has also not been named, was was armed with at least a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle and was firing seemingly at random at cars on the bridge after getting out of his car, said officials.

Kitchens said the shooter, who is from Platte County, did not appear to have a target, adding: "The person was simply randomly firing at vehicles as they passed by."


Two vehicles were struck by bullets and a 30-year-old man, who also is a soldier assigned to Fort Leavenworth, was injured and remains in a "serious condition".

When officers arrived to the scene at around 11am, the suspect was trapped underneath a vehicle, USA Today reports.

“I heard like nine or 10 shots up there, by then it was rapid-fire,” witness Charlie Jordan told KSHB. “It was just, ‘bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.’ Just like fireworks.”

Kitchens said police had not yet determined the suspect's motive, and said: "We are evaluating the person’s history within the community."



 

Another witness, Austin Menzel, filmed first responders arriving on the scene.

“I’m just glad he [the shooter] was able to get taken down, you know," Menzel told the local news station KSHB. "I’m glad that somebody did something about it, nonetheless an active duty soldier. So congrats to that hero… he did good.”

Centennial Bridge was closed following the shooting and remained closed for several hours later.

 

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Police hunt 'Rambo' survival specialist in Spanish mountains

Police hunt ‘Rambo’ survival specialist in Spanish mountains who has been raiding holiday homes for food and held a woman hostage before making off with some asparagus

  • Mystery survival specialist has been dubbed Requena Rambo by Spanish press
  • Violent armed robber has been making forays into villages from the mountains 
  • Three-month push to catch him intensified after he robbed 4×4 at gunpoint 
  • He’s been named after the fictional former soldier played by Sylvester Stallone 

Elite police armed with drones and infrared cameras are hunting a violent armed robber dubbed Rambo who makes forays into Spanish villages from his mountain hideouts.

The specialist GAR Rapid Action Group unit, created to fight ETA terrorism, has been called up to help in the operation to trap the fugitive.

The mystery survival specialist has been dubbed the Requena Rambo by Spanish press, after the fictional former solder played by Sylvester Stallone and the municipality of Valencia in the east of the country which is one of the areas where he has struck.

The three-month push to catch him has intensified after he robbed a 4×4 at gunpoint in Ahillas a 45-mile hike from Requena.

A violent armed robber dubbed Rambo has been making forays into Spanish villages from his mountain hideouts to the north and south of Ahillas, Valencia

The specialist GAR Rapid Action Group unit, created to fight ETA terrorism, has been called up to help in the operation to trap the fugitive

Officers on foot who are being assisted by a police helicopter have been combing mountains south and north of Ahillas.

Their target, who has a beard and is said to wear military fatigues, has managed to evade a police cordon several times to steal food from empty houses and sleep in the beds of holiday homes owned by foreigners and Spaniards from other parts of the country.

The police hunt began on February 28 when the suspect stole three cars before suffering two separate accidents.

He also held a victim hostage for three hours before making off with some asparagus. In another incident he ended up escaping to the safety of the mountains after threatening a police officer and a couple with a gun during a burglary at a villa in a hamlet in Requena.

The mystery survival specialist has been dubbed the Requena Rambo by Spanish press, after the fictional former solder played by Sylvester Stallone (pictured in First Blood) and the municipality of Valencia in the east of the country where he has struck

Officers on foot who are being assisted by a police helicopter have been combing mountains south and north of Ahillas

His latest victim was shot at twice from close range, but survived because the sawn-off shotgun the armed robber used had blank cartridges.

Vineyard owner Juan Jose Martin told local paper Las Provincias: ‘I thought I was going to die because the flash hit me in the face. I felt a burning sensation in my car and fell to the ground.’

His attacker fled the scene in the victim’s Land Rover before it was found crashed a few miles away.

The local Civil Guard have appealed for the public’s help.

In a statement released today, confirming a helicopter and members of the elite GAR unit were involved in the operation, a spokesman for the force in Valencia said: ‘The Civil Guard in Valencia, with more than 30 officers from different units, continues in its tireless search for a man aged 35 to 40 approximately, who is slim, around 5ft 5ins to 5ft 9 ins, and a fine and pronounced nose.

Their target, who has a beard and is said to wear military fatigues, has managed to evade a police cordon several times to steal food from empty houses and sleep in the beds of holiday homes owned by foreigners and Spaniards from other parts of the country

‘He’s dark skinned and has dark hair and speaks Spanish with no particular accent.’

The spokesman added: ‘He’s wanted for the crimes of robbery with violence and intimidation.

‘The public’s help in detecting this man’s whereabouts is very important.

‘His modus operand consists of entering empty properties, taking food and stealing vehicles using violence and intimidation before abandoning them or crashing them.

‘We would like to emphasise that if this individual is spotted, people should avoid any confrontation with him because he could be carrying a rifle. Instead you should immediately alert the Civil Guard.’

John James Rambo was a fictional character in the Rambo franchise. He first appeared in he 1972 novel First Blood by David Morrell but later became more famous as the protagonist of the film series where he was played by Sylvester Stallone.

A drone is powered up ready to assist police officers in the hunt for the violent armed robber who is believed to be hiding out in nearby mountains

Rambo, a Vietnam War veteran, is an expert in guerrilla tactics, weapons, and hand-to-hand combat.

In the last film he saddles up his horse and rides off into the sunset after ripping out the heart of a Mexican drugs cartel leader, leaving open the possibility of a sixth release in the series.

Jesus Gayoso Rey, 48, the head of the GAR Civil Guard unit involved in the search for the Requena Rambo – Rambo de Requena in Spanish – died in March after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Members of the special forces unit, which has also undertaken international missions in places like Kosovo and Haiti and become heavily involved in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, arrested British fugitive Daniel Dobbs in January at his hideaway in Malaga.

The armed robber fled the scene in the victim’s Land Rover (pictured) before it was found crashed a few miles away

The 32-year-old had gone missing from a South Yorkshire prison in November 2018 after being sentenced to 13-and-a-half years in jail in January 2014 for trafficking heroin and amphetamines.

He was held during a dawn raid linked to an operation against an illegal subterranean Costa del Sol cigarette factory he was suspected of running with another Brit.

Mr Gayoso, who had no known underlying health issues, had joined the unit he headed nearly 25 years ago.

The married dad-of-two started to feel unwell on March 8 and thought he had common flu. He is said to have been sent home after going to hospital four days later before being admitted to San Pedro Hospital in Logrono on March 17 in a serious condition.

He lost his fight for life on March 27.

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