CRIME
12/27/2017 10:09 am ET

Crimes That Dominated Headlines In 2017

There were a number of high-profile tragedies this year.
Handouts/Reuters

There were plenty of high-profile criminal cases in 2017. We saw the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, the deadliest shooting in Texas history and the capture of a man suspected to be the serial killer who was terrorizing a Florida neighborhood.

Read on to learn about those and other infamous crimes HuffPost covered this year:

  • Las Vegas Shooting
    Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, brought an arsenal of weapons into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas
    Denise Truscello via Getty Images
    Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, brought an arsenal of weapons into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas before opening fire on a crowd at a country music festival on Oct. 1.

    According to Las Vegas police, Paddock began shooting at about 10 p.m., as an estimated 22,000 people attended the festival, which was headlined by country music star Jason Aldean. Mandalay Bay Resort is adjacent to the concert venue.

    Paddock was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound when police breached his room on the 32nd floor. His motives remain unclear.

    The 58 deaths and nearly 600 injuries make the attack the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
  • New York City Truck Attack
    Authorities in New York City identified 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov as the man responsible for a deadly truck attack that <a
    Handout / Reuters
    Authorities in New York City identified 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov as the man responsible for a deadly truck attack that left eight people dead and nearly a dozen injured.

    According to police, on Oct. 31, Saipov drove a rented pickup truck onto the Hudson River Park's bike path in lower Manhattan and intentionally steered the vehicle into cyclists and runners.

    After traveling about a mile, the truck crashed into a school bus. Police say Saipov was shot in the abdomen when he exited the vehicle wielding what were later determined to be a paintball gun and a pellet gun. Authorities allegedly found evidence in the truck indicating his allegiance to terrorist groups.

    Saipov, who immigrated to the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010, pleaded not guilty in November to numerous criminal charges, including eight counts of murder. He is awaiting trial.
  • Charlottesville Vehicle Attack
    On Aug. 12, James Fields Jr. plowed his car into a crowd of pedestrians in <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/char
    Stringer . / Reuters
    On Aug. 12, James Fields Jr. plowed his car into a crowd of pedestrians in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring multiple people, police said.

    At the time of her death, Heyer was among a large group of anti-racist demonstrators who were gathered to protest a white supremacist rally in the city.

    "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention," reads Heyer's last public post on Facebook.

    Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, told HuffPost that her daughter attended the rally because she "was about bringing an end to injustice." Heyer "was not about hate," she said. "Heather was about stopping hatred."

    Fields, 20, was reportedly known to hold racist and anti-Semitic views.

    The suspect has been charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial.
  • Texas Church Shooting
    On Nov. 5, Devin Patrick Kelley <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/shooting-texas-at-church_us_59ff60cae4b0c965300
    Handout / Reuters
    On Nov. 5, Devin Patrick Kelley committed the deadliest shooting in Texas history when he attacked a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs with a semi-automatic rifle, killing 26 people and wounding 20 others.

    A pregnant woman and several children ― including the 14-year-old daughter of church pastor Frank Pomeroy ― were among the dead. The ages of the wounded and dead ranged from 18 months to 77 years.

    An armed citizen halted the attack when he shot Kelley in the leg and torso, causing the 26-year-old gunman to flee in his car.

    The suspect was later found dead in nearby Guadalupe County. Authorities said that in addition to the injuries Kelley sustained when he was shot at the church, he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

    "We have the freedom to choose, and rather than choose darkness like the young man did that day, we choose the light," Pomeroy said during a Sunday service held one week after the tragedy.
  • Daniel Shaver Police Shooting
    In December, an Arizona jury chose not to convict former Mesa police Officer Philip Brailsford in the fatal shooting of Danie
    Mesa Police
    In December, an Arizona jury chose not to convict former Mesa police Officer Philip Brailsford in the fatal shooting of Daniel Shaver. 

    On Jan. 18, 2016, Brailsford and several other officers had responded to the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Mesa to investigate a report that someone had pointed a gun out a fifth-floor window. They suspected Shaver was involved. 

    Shaver, a 26-year-old father of two, can be heard crying and appears confused in video recorded by Brailsford's body camera. In the footage, he says "Please do not shoot me" as he obeys a command to crawl toward the officers. 

    As he inched forward, Shaver reached toward his waistband, according to Brailsford, who then fired five rounds from his AR-15 rifle. Court documents obtained by HuffPost indicate the weapon was inscribed with the words "You're fucked." Shaver died at the scene. 

    No weapon was found on or near Shaver's body. A detective assigned to investigate the case said it appeared Shaver was attempting to pull his pants up when he was shot. Brailsford was fired from the police department and accused of second-degree murder and reckless manslaughter. 

    The Maricopa County jury that sat through the six-week trial found Brailsford not guilty on Dec. 7. 

    "I just don't understand how anybody could... say, 'not guilty,' that this is justified, that Daniel deserved this, and that Philip Brailsford doesn't deserve to be held accountable for his actions," Shaver's wife, Laney Sweet, told CBS News.
  • 'Seminole Heights Slayer'
    Howell Emmanuel Donaldson III has been identified by Florida police as the so-called "<a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com
    Handout / Reuters
    Howell Emmanuel Donaldson III has been identified by Florida police as the so-called "Seminole Heights Slayer” who terrorized a central Tampa neighborhood for six weeks.

    The accused serial killer, police said, killed four people -- Ronald Felton, 60; Anthony Naiboa, 20; Monica Hoffa, 32; and Benjamin Mitchell, 22 – between Oct. 9 and Nov. 14. The victims were all fatally shot within one mile of each other.

    Donaldson, 24, was arrested on Nov. 28, after the manager of the Tampa McDonald's he worked at contacted police and said Donaldson had brought a handgun to work. The caliber of the weapon matched cartridge casings found at the crime scenes, and a hoodie found in Donaldson's car had blood on it, police said.

    The suspect has pleaded not guilty to four counts of premeditated murder. He is scheduled to return to court in January so the state can determine whether to seek the death penalty.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has made his views clear on the penalty Donaldson should face if he's convicted.

    "If he is found guilty, he should die," Buckhorn told The Washington Post. "It's that simple."
  • Serial Killer Todd Kohlhepp
    In May, 46-year-old <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/todd-kohlhepp" target="_blank">Todd Kohlhepp</a>, a registe
    Handout / Reuters
    In May, 46-year-old Todd Kohlhepp, a registered sex offender from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of criminal sexual assault.

    Kohlhepp, authorities said, confessed to murdering seven people between 2003 and 2016. He was arrested after police found a missing woman chained inside a storage container on his property.

    Authorities suspect Kohlhepp, who is serving seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole, is responsible for other unsolved crimes – something the serial killer alluded to in a recent letter sent to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal in South Carolina.

    "Yes, there is more than seven," Kohlhepp wrote, according to the newspaper. "I tried to tell investigators and I did tell FBI, but it was blown off."

    He added: "At this point, I really don't see any reason to give numbers or locations."

    The investigation into the confessed killer is ongoing.
  • Teacher Kidnapping Case
    For 38 days in 2017, former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins, 50, managed to evade capture as he crisscrossed the country with a
    Handout / Reuters
    For 38 days in 2017, former Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins, 50, managed to evade capture as he crisscrossed the country with a 15-year-old girl he kidnapped, according to police.

    Authorities issued an Amber Alert for the teen after her parents reported her missing on March 13. At that time, authorities said they suspected Cummins, a former Culleoka Unit School health science teacher, had abducted her. A witness allegedly saw him kiss the teen prior to her disappearance.

    On April 20, the teenager and Cummins were found on the other side of the country, in a remote area of Siskiyou County, California, more than 2,000 miles from where the search began.

    Cummins faces charges of taking a minor across state lines for sex, and obstruction of justice. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A trial date has not yet been set.

While we reflect, let’s all hope for less violence in 2018.

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