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Ex-principal held without bond after fatal rampage

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Former Tampa Bay area middle-school principal Anthony Giancola, 45, is being held without bond after a violent rampage that left two dead and a trail of destruction in its wake, according to the Associated Press. Giancola is charged in the fatal stabbings, as well as with ramming a building with his car and assaulting a married couple with a hammer.

Giancola, who was fired from his job as principal of Van Buren Middle School in Tampa in 2007 when he bought $20 of crack cocaine from an undercover police officer, was taken into custody Friday night, bloody and incoherent. Officers believe that he was intoxicated.

“You’ll be very proud of me, I just killed 10 drug dealers,” he told his mother after his arrest.

The violent spree began Friday morning, shortly before 10:45 a.m., when Giancola barged into a home for the hearing impaired in tiny Lealman, Florida, about 20 miles west of Tampa, and began stabbing people at random. 27-year-old Justin Lee Vand died at the scene and Mary Anne Allis, 59, died from her wounds at a nearby hospital. Also injured were Danielle Whitney Gilbert, 25, and Janice Denise Rhoden, 44.

“It appears at this moment, this is all random,” Pinellas County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cecelia Barreda told reporters. Law enforcement officials are still trying to piece together a complete time line, but it appears that Giancola left the scene of the stabbings and attacked Kanu and Indiranden Patel, both 57, at the hotel they own, the Kenvins Motel in Pinellas Park, Florida. Mr. and Mrs. Patel suffered serious injuries from what appeared to be blows from a hammer. Kanu Patel is reported to be in critical condition.

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Around 11:30 a.m., Giancola reportedly pulled up in front of a house where residents where sitting on their front porch. Giancola asked where he could find women and the residents asked him to leave, which he did, only to return moments later, ramming his vehicle into the porch at a high rate of speed, injuring three women and one man.

A witness scribbled down the plate number of Giancola’s Ford sedan as it sped away.

13-year-old Kole Price, who was bicycling home from a fishing trip, reported that he was struck by Giancola’s car in Pinellas Park as it sped by. As he struggled on the ground, the car backed up and hit him again. He escaped by hiding behind a telephone pole and, according to the Associated Press, “a Buddhist shrine that had been erected on the roadside.” His injuries, thankfully, were minor.

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Police say that there was no apparent motive to the crimes. Capt. Sanfield Forseth of the Pinellas Police Department refuted Giancola’s claim that the people were criminals.

“These people were not drug dealers,” he said, as far as authorities could ascertain.

Giancola appeared before a judge this morning and was charged with with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. His surviving eleven victims are being treated in area hospitals with a wide range of injuries.

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Watch video of Giancola’s arraignment, embedded via the Pinellas County Department of Corrections, below:

(image of Anthony Giancola in court Saturday morning via YouTube screen capture)


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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA's Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

A NASA TV commentator hailed a "textbook launch" minutes after blastoff in "sweltering" weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

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Conservative suggests Trump’s racist rhetoric will incite worse than ‘send her back’ chants: ‘One shudders to wonder’

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In a column for the Washington Post, conservative Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Kathleen Parker said the refusal by Republican lawmakers and the evangelical community to condemn Donald Trump's racist rhetoric is paving the way for something far worse than mere "send her back" chants.

Under a headline that bluntly states, "Those who don’t condemn Trump’s racism are complicit in his bigotry," Parker gets right to her opinion of the president, writing, "Going out on a limb here: President Trump is a racist. And a sexist. And a xenophobic nationalist. Among other things. Not to name call or anything."

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