Lone survivor says Ramos killed his dad, brothers

The lone survivor of a 2008 street shooting in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood tearfully insisted Wednesday that murder defendant Edwin Ramos was the gunman who killed his father and two brothers, although he conceded he had gotten only a glimpse of the shooter before ducking to avoid being slain himself.

“When you see something like that, you don’t forget,” Andrew Bologna, 21, testified as he recounted the afternoon attack June 22, 2008, that claimed the lives of his father, 48-year-old Tony Bologna, and brothers Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16.

“I know Ramos was the driver and the shooter,” Andrew Bologna said. “I remember seeing his face … his gun … his white T-shirt.”

He broke into tears repeatedly, as did relatives in the packed courtroom, as he told how the killer had shot up the family’s Honda Civic as the Bolognas returned home from a family barbecue in Fairfield.

Bologna said he had been in the backseat directly behind his father, who was driving, when a charcoal-color Chrysler 300 blocked the Honda from crossing Congdon Street at Maynard Street.

“He blocked us completely,” Bologna said. “I didn’t even know why he was blocking us.”

His father slowly reversed to allow the Chrysler to turn onto Congdon, and the gunman pulled up alongside, coming within a foot or so of the family car, Bologna said.

He said his father appeared to be bewildered at what was going on. Then the younger Bologna looked at the gunman, who fired.

“I saw him,” Bologna said. “He was staring at my dad, mugging him, giving him a mean look. That’s when he pulled out a gun.”

Bologna said he had ducked and avoided being shot as the family car rolled backward down a hill and crashed into a parked car. He got out and saw the Chrysler drive off, apparently toward Highway 101.

His father and brothers, one in the front passenger seat and the other sitting next to him in the back, were mortally wounded.

“I didn’t know what was going on – it was like a movie,” Bologna said. “They shot my family like that, it doesn’t make sense.”

Prosecutors say Ramos, an alleged member of the MS-13 gang, mistook at least one of the Bologna sons for a rival gang member. Ramos was bent on avenging an earlier shooting of an MS-13 member, prosecutors argue.

Marla Zamora, Ramos’ lead defense attorney, has told the jury that another man in the passenger seat of Ramos’ car was the triggerman. Ramos, 25, was just a “fall guy” for MS-13 and the government, she said.

In cross-examination Wednesday, she pointed out that Bologna had given a different account of the shootings during Ramos’ preliminary hearing. Then, Bologna testified, “I ducked when I (saw) the gun,” not after the shooting began, Zamora noted.

Bologna also testified Wednesday that he had seen his father being shot before ducking.

“I did see Ramos pull out his gun and shoot my dad,” he said.

He insisted that even after getting just a brief glimpse of the gunman, he was sure Ramos was the killer.

Prosecutor Harry Dorfman noted that Bologna had told police after the shooting, “I got a good picture of him.”

As he left the stand, Bologna’s mother, Danielle, embraced family members.

“I raised a good kid,” she told them.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/25/BAL41MUBIL.DTL#ixzz1kXlTvMic

Clinton urges Somali militants to allow food aid, condemns Syria

h/t JanH  commentor HillaryIs44

Three years ago today…


Wambach lifts US to final in 3-1 win over France


The U.S. kept its fans breathless again. And just like last time, Abby Wambach — who else — came up big.

Wambach broke a tense tie with a thunderous header in the 79th minute, and the U.S. earned its first trip to the World Cup final since winning it in 1999 with a 3-1 victory over France on Wednesday.

“We’ve achieved part of our goal. We’re in the final,” Wambach said. “We want to complete it. We want to be world champs.”

Lauren Cheney and Alex Morgan also scored for the Americans, who will play Japan — 3-1 winners over Sweden — on Sunday in Frankfurt. If the U.S. wins, it would be the first team to claim three World Cup titles.

When the final whistle sounded, the Americans rushed onto the field. Wambach found U.S. coach Pia Sundhage and gave her a bearhug as the pro-American crowd of 25,676 serenaded the team with chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” and the party quickly spread across the Atlantic. A thrilling win over Brazil in the quarterfinals captivated fans back home, and a little thing called the workday wasn’t enough to deter them.

Dozens of fans crowded around TVs in the Phoenix airport to watch the game, and less than an hour after it ended, “World Cup Finals” was trending on Twitter. “My heroes. Wambach. Boxx. Rapinoe. Solo. That TEAM! Our team!” actor Tom Hanks tweeted. Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers said, “Awesome job US Women, finish it off Sunday now.”

Wambach and company were glad to share the moment.

“These wins, we can’t do it alone. We know a whole nation is cheering us on,” Wambach said. “We believe in ourselves and we’re in the final. I couldn’t be happier.”

The Americans had only two days’ rest following the Brazil game, their quickest turnaround of the tournament, and there had been concern that fatigue or emotions might get the best of them. But Wambach, who has been playing with an Achilles’ tendon so sore it often keeps her out of practice, dismissed that idea.

And she sure didn’t look hobbled.

Lauren Cheney, who’d staked the Americans to an early lead with her goal in the ninth minute, took a corner kick in the 79th and immediately looked for the star forward. Wambach is one of the world’s best in the air, and France was guarding her tightly. But Cheney delivered the ball perfectly to the far post, and the 5-foot-11 Wambach soared over the scrum, pushing the ball past French goalkeeper Berangere Sapowicz.

“I knew Abby was going to beat her,” Cheney said.

Asked how, Cheney said, “Because she’s Abby Wambach.”

Wambach let out a scream and did a sliding sprint into the corner, where she was mobbed by her teammates. It was her third goal of the tournament and 12th of her career, tying fellow American Michelle Akers for third on the all-time World Cup scoring list.

Alex Morgan added an insurance goal in the 82nd, the first for the World Cup rookie. Fed by second-half sparkplug Megan Rapinoe, Morgan outraced four defenders up the left side before stutter-stepping to throw Sapowicz off before taking her shot.

“The priority is not to accept another goal,” France coach Bruno Bini said through a translator. “When that happens, you’ve had it. We conceded another goal and that was it for us.”

Despite the loss, the World Cup was a resounding success for the French, who made their first appearance in the semifinals and qualified for next summer’s London Olympics.

The U.S. was staked to an early lead by Cheney’s goal in the ninth minute. But with the silky smooth Louisa Necib calling the shots, France dominated for most of the game, finishing with a whopping 25-11 advantage in shots. The French missed two great chances in the first half, with goalkeeper Hope Solo having to tip a Gaetane Thiney shot away in the 30th and Sonia Bompastor rattling the crossbar two minutes later.

Finally, in the 55th, France got its equalizer. Bompastor floated in a cross from about 30 yards and, with the dangerous Gaetane Thiney right in front of her, Solo had little opportunity to move. The ball flew right past her.

But just as they did Sunday against Brazil, the Americans got stronger and stronger as the game went on before Wambach — who scored a critical goal in the waning moments against the Brazilians — came through.

“In the end, we’re in the finals,” Wambach said, “and that’s all that matters.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/07/13/sports/s105525D11.DTL#ixzz1S28AcbgD

Women’s World Cup Bracket: USA vs Brazil, Abby Wambach Wills US to Epic Victory

Abby Wambach, Hope Solo Help United States Defeat Brazil in Match for the Ages

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team beat chief rival, Brazil, in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Women’s World Cup today. They did so in the most amazing fashion possible.

The U.S. Women struck early, with a cross from Shannon Boxx that struck off a Brazilian defender for an own goal. The U.S. held the 1-0 lead into the half, but soon faced grim circumstances. The undisputed best player in the world, Brazil’s Marta, took the ball into the box with a gorgeous self-pass and questionably drew a foul which led to a penalty kick and red card for Rachel Buehler.

Hope Solo blocked Marta’s initial penalty kick, but the referee ordered a retake, due to an extremely debatable movement penalty before the shot. She scored on the second try and the United States played the rest of the match down a woman.

Marta struck again with two minutes gone in extra time. A player who was almost certainly offside assisted her but it wasn’t called. The United States seemed certain to lose at this point, which only 28 minutes left to play and momentum against them.

With 121 minutes total played, the United States had one last try in stoppage time to score an equalizer. Rapinoe took it down the side and crossed it into the box. She found the head of Abby Wambach who netted it for the latest goal in World Cup history.

The United States rode their momentum into penalty kicks and things were even until Brazil lined up for their third kick. Hope solo made a brilliant save, sprawling out to block Daiane’s shot. The US sunk their next two kicks and won the most improbable victory in perhaps World Cup history.

Karma may just have had her way with Brazil. With less than 10 minutes remaining in overtime and holding a one-goal lead, with an extra player on the field, Brazil continuously stalled and took time for phantom injuries. At one point a player came off on a stretcher yet unstrapped herself and ran back onto the field not two minutes later. The United States exemplified class throughout the match and continued to fight against the odds.

This perseverance was ultimately rewarded with perhaps the most memorable and important goal in World Cup history. Wambach’s 122nd minute strike. In an interview after the match, Wambach was quoted as saying “That is a perfect example of what this (United States) country is all about.”

The United States National Women’s team fought hard and against the odds and pulled out the most exciting and memorable victory in this countries history. They should have quit, they should have sulked, but they kept their heads up and fought for a win that will go down in history.

Keep it locked onto Bleacher Report’s World Football Page for all the latest news and analysis

Historic Marine base gets 1st-ever female general


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — For the first time in its 96-year history, a female general is taking charge at the famed Marine Corps training depot at South Carolina’s Parris Island.

Brig. Gen. Loretta Reynolds, who is also known as the first female Marine to ever hold a command position in a battle zone, takes charge Friday at the installation south of Beaufort.

Parris Island graduates about 20,000 Marines annually and is the only site where female enlisted Marines are trained to enter the service.

Reynolds is a native of Baltimore and a 1986 graduate of the Naval Academy. She has worn the Marine Corps uniform for 25 years.

She is taking over from Brig. Gen. Frederick Padilla, who is taking charge of the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan.

In her new position, Reynolds also will be in charge of the Marines’ Eastern Recruiting Region, which covers the 23 states east of the Mississippi River.

As a one-star general, Reynolds becomes only the third female general officer in the more than 200,000-member Marine Corps. The service has two two-star female generals, one in the active duty ranks and another in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Overall, there are 12,339 enlisted females in the Marines, 108 warrant officers and 1,224 officers, according to Marine Corps figures. On its Parris Island website, the service said training for men and women is identical, and that roughly 2,400 female recruits go through it every year.

Reynolds trained as a communications officer and commanded Marines from platoon to battalion levels in her more than 20 years in uniform.

She has been posted in Okinawa, Japan; Quantico, Va., Iraq and Afghanistan, and was in command of the Marine Recruiting Station in Harrisburg, Pa.

She also worked with at the headquarters of the Marine Corps in its communications and computer division in Washington, D.C.

Reynolds’ last posting was in charge of the Headquarters Group for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

While serving a yearlong tour of duty in Afghanistan, she oversaw five Marine battalions and military company from Bahrain. While there, she took a base that had “fed, housed and equipped more than 10,000 Marines and expanded the base to handle an additional 10,000 Marines and sailors,” the website for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force said. The site added that the command slot position meant she was “recognized as the first female Marine to command battle space.”

Before her time at Camp Pendleton, Reynolds was a division chief with the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

Reynolds also has attended the Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va., the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., and the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.