Chicago doctor among 3 Americans killed in Afghanistan

A pediatrician who worked at a health clinic on the West Side was among three Americans killed Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity, in the latest of a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan.

Dr. Jerry Umanos was killed along with a father and son visiting the Cure Hospital, which specializes in children’s and maternal health, according to Health Minister Suriya Dalil and the clinic where Umanos worked.

“As they were walking out of the hospital, the security guard opened fire on them, killing three and wounding another one,” an Interior Ministry official said.

Umanos had worked as a pediatrician at Lawndale Christian Health Center for more than 16 years when he and his wife moved to Afghanistan. Umanos worked at a community health center and at a children’s hospital in Kabul, helping train Afghan doctors.

Umanos returned to practice at the Lawndale clinic, then went back to Afghanistan, according to a biography of Umanos on the clinic’s website.

An online biography said Umanos coordinated Afghanistan’s only residency training programs and directed clinical care for under-served residents of Kabul.

“Jerry learned through his work at Lawndale to ‘roll with the punches’ when things don’t go as planned,” the clinic said on the website. “This has been integral to his work in Afghanistan, where each day is so unpredictable.”

The Lawndale Christian Health Center provides affordable health services. Founded in 1984 by a local church on the site of a former Cadillac dealership, the health center has expanded to offer a fitness center, and has satellite clinics in Homan Square, Farragut Career Academy and Archer Heights.

More than 30 staff members from the Lawndale clinic have traveled to Kabul “to assist in teaching physician residents, midwives and community health workers,” the clinic says on its website. “Additionally, many LCHC providers and staff have traveled to countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Indonesia and Liberia.”

Attacks on security forces, Afghan civilians and Westerners have been on the rise since the beginning of the year, as Western forces prepare to leave the country and Afghans choose a new president.

The shooting occurred in the grounds of the Cure Hospital, considered one of the country’s leading hospitals, as well as being a training institution.

“They were not the people carrying guns, they did not have military uniforms, they came here under immense pressure and were here only to serve the people of Afghanistan,” Dalil said.

“This was an inhumane and brutal action, and unfortunately will impact our health services.”

The Cure organization began operating the hospital in 2005 at the invitation of the Afghan government. According to Cure’s website, 27 doctors and 64 nurses work there.

The attack came nearly three weeks after Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, 48, was killed and reporter Kathy Gannon, 60, wounded while they were sitting in the back of a car in the east of the country.

The assault on the journalists came shortly after an Afghan journalist with the Agence France-Presse news agency was killed alongside eight other people when Taliban gunmen opened fire inside a luxury hotel in the center of Kabul.

Also in March, a gunman shot dead Swedish journalist Nils Horner, 51, outside a restaurant in Kabul.

Eight Afghans and 13 foreigners were killed in January when a Taliban suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a restaurant in Kabul’s diplomatic district.

  April 24, 2014  

Jury starts considering whether Jorge Torrez should die

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A government lawyer argued today that Jorge Torrez deserves the death penalty, calling him a remorseless serial killer who brutally murdered two young girls in Zion, Ill.

A jury now is considering whether Torrez, 25, a Zion native, should be put to death or be sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole.

Making a closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Trump condemned Torrez as a man who didn’t care about six female victims – three of whom were slain – but who regarded them as “prizes” or “trophies.”

The Zion victims were Krystal Tobias, 9, and Laura Hobbs, 8.

Trump said that “this little man – this coward – can’t admit he brutally murdered two little girls” for sexual gratification.

Both Hobbs and Tobias were stabbed repeatedly in Beulah Park on Mother’s Day in 2005. Testimony in the case indicated that semen had been recovered from Hobbs’ body and clothing, tying Torrez to her fatal stabbing.

“This is no room for doubt,” Trump said,  “Jorge Torrez deserves to die.”

Torrez instructed his three defense lawyers to say nothing on his behalf during the penalty phase of the case, which arises from the strangulation murder of a sailor near the Pentagon in July 2009. Torrez was a Marine then. He was convicted of her murder April 8, but has not yet been tried for the Illinois crimes.

Already he is serving five life sentences plus 168 years for the northern Virginia attacks on the three surviving victims.

The jurors were excused from court to begin deliberations at 9:15 a.m. Chicago time today. The trial is taking place in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Torrez initially avoided suspicion after the Zion killings. Instead, Hobbs’ father, Jerry Hobbs, confessed to the crime following questioning that stretched across 24 hours, an admission he later said police coerced. Jerry Hobbs was freed after about five years when DNA was linked to Torrez.

Twitter: @KatherineSkiba

  April 24, 2014  

Two Arrested In Vernon Drug Bust

Two Arrested In Vernon Drug Bust
VERNON — A suspected drug dealer and his girlfriend were arrested Thursday after selling crack cocaine during a “buy/bust” operation in the parking lot of a bar, police said. The suspect was identified as Mark Alicea, 27, of Manchester. He was charged

  April 24, 2014  

Local News Station Seems More Interested In Camel Toe Than Crime

When local news station, KPRC, interviewed an eyewitness about a recent crime in a Houston neighborhood, let’s just say the camera caught her at a very unfortunate angle.

Now the woman’s crotch is famous for tipping off police when six teenagers tried to break into a home, using a basketball.

I respect that she wanted to remain anonymous, but there must have been a more flattering, less distracting way to highlight her heroism instead of her camel toe. Facepalm.


  April 24, 2014