Actor Chad Allen, best known for his role in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, was at the scene of today's horrific shooting at Santa Monica College. Allen said he was studying the library when he heard gunshots, OTRC reports:
"I was studying for my biology final and as I looked out the window, I could see kids looking backwards and running," he said. "So I knew something was going on. I got up and started heading towards the front of the library and that's when we heard a long 'bang' that sounded like a shotgun or a small bomb and then a few repetitive gunshots after that."
"I headed back towards the rear exits and helped funnel people out as best as possible and stay calm," he added. "And I was just on campus right now and as I came out, helped what seemed like a SWAT team figure out how to get to the other side of the field, the football field."
"It got pretty scary," he said. "As soon as people realized there was gunshots and it was real, there was immediately like, a lot of panic. One of the doors wouldn't open, so a lot of kids were panicking against a locked door and funneled around to the other side. Just kept saying, 'Everybody stay calm, we're OK,' headed to the exit."
Watch Allen describe the chaotic scene, AFTER THE JUMP...
Six people were killed in the shooting, including two men believed to be the gunman's brother and father. The gunman, who was 25 to 30 years old, was killed at Santa Monica College, the L.A. Times reports:
Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks described a violent shooting rampage that appears to have begun in the 2000 block of Yorkshire Avenue just before noon. The gunman then moved west along Pico Boulevard, firing at cars and other targets. One person died at Cloverfield and Pico boulevards; two died at 19th Street and Pico Boulevard. Another woman died at a hospital. Seabrooks said the gunman may not have acted alone. A second "person of interest" is in custody.
"We are not convinced 100% that the suspect who was killed operated in solo or a lone capacity," Seabrooks said. The suspect fled into Santa Monica College, where he was pursued by police. He shot a woman on campus and ran into the library, where he continued to fire rounds from an assault rifle.
Watch ABC7's report, AFTER THE JUMP...
Our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic incident.
PHOTO OF THE DAY: Jason Collins throws out the first pitch at Pride Night at Fenway Park.
BY SAM GREISMAN
A look back at today's top stories
What with the shocking revelation that the NSA has been surveilling a shocking amount of the actions of everyday Americans, our Ari Waldman takes a look at what this spying can mean for the gay community as well as what old wounds it reveals. Kristin Beck, the former Navy SEAL who came out as transgender this week, sat down with Anderson Cooper last night and gave a stirring interview about the struggles she has faced.
Earlier this week on the campus of Cal Poly a crazy preacher lady was spouting her hate when she was totally shut down by an impromptu gay boy make-out session. A cake shop in Colorado won't make cakes for gay weddings but will totally bake up some stuff for a dog wedding and, say it isn't so; Michele Bachmann may attempt another run at the highest office in the land.
Joan Rivers and Bristol Palin are apparently set to swap places on an upcoming episode of Celebrity Wife Swap. I can hear the awkwardness from here. Also in an interview earlier this week, british actor Stephen Fry opened up about a recent suicide attempt.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY
A PSA from the australian version of PFLG shows that any child can be born gay. It's not a choice. Speaking of announcements of the public service variety, this ad in the U.K. is intended to stop drunk driving but you might just die of fright.
As an avid tennis fan I can tell you that this YouTubers impressions of some of the world's best are simply flawless. And Jon Stewart takes down New Yorkers who are outraged by the city's new bike share program.
An historic first today for Canada's military as a rainbow flag was raised at an Alberta military base in official recognition of LGBT Pride, CBC reports:
Master Warrant Officer John McDougall, 47, made the request for the flag-raising a few weeks ago through the military chain of command at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton.
A gay-pride flag is raised as Master Warrant Officer John McDougall and GLBT activist Murray Billet look on. (CBC)
McDougall, who is a company sergeant-major in a field medical unit, said he was surprised when his request was quickly granted.
The flag will remain up for a week while Edmonton has its Pride Festival:
"It was history in the making, it was monumental,” said McDougall, speaking about the ceremony. “That being said ... it’s a big deal but it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal. We’re such an inclusive society — Canada as a whole, not just the military — it shouldn’t be a big deal to be gay.
“But it is a big deal that the flag is being raised for the first time at a military base. I think that’s part of the sign of the times and it’s a further reflection of the military’s inclusiveness and their diversity.”
Watch the flag get raised, AFTER THE JUMP...
Secretary of State John Kerry released a video today marking LGBT Pride Month.
Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...
And here's a transcript of Kerry's remarks:
This month is about the assertion of equality and dignity. It is about the affirmation of fundamental freedoms and human rights. It is about people taking pride in who they are, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. Protecting universal human rights is at the very heart of our diplomacy, and we remain committed to advancing human rights for all, including LGBT individuals. We are committed to advancing these rights not just in the month of June, but year-round.
As Secretary, I join with my colleagues at our embassies, consulates, and USAID missions around the world in saying, no matter where you are, and no matter who you love, we stand with you.
Across the globe – in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas – our diplomats are assisting local LGBT organizations and supporting local human rights advocates working to promote equality, create dialogue, and ensure protections for LGBT individuals.
Through the Global Equality Fund, the State Department has already provided critical emergency and long-term assistance to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons in over twenty-five countries. And our support will continue to grow, in cooperation with other equality-minded governments, foundations and corporations.
Forty-four years after Stonewall, we see incredible progress in the fight to advance the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT people, both here in the United States and globally. Unfortunately, our work is not done. Recent events underscore that despite progress, we still have a long way to go. There are LGBT people of all ages, all races, and all faiths – citizens of every country on Earth. And in too many places, LGBT people and their supporters are being attacked and harassed for simply being who they are and for standing up for their rights.
The United States condemns all such violence, harassment, and discrimination. As President Obama said, “the struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.” LGBT persons must be free to exercise their human rights – including freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly and association – without fear of reprisal.
It is my honor to reaffirm the State Department’s commitment to promoting the human rights of LGBT persons, and indeed all human beings, worldwide.
To those celebrating Pride in the United States and around the world, I wish you all a Happy Pride month.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
President Obama held a press conference today to talk about the NSA surveillance programs that have been making headlines for the past 24 hours after journalist Glenn Greenwald broke open a story about the NSA and Verizon, and the WaPo published a similar story about PRISM, a program said to engage top internet companies and the metadata they have about users.
Said Obama: "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls."
Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...
If you missed it earlier, you might also want to check out our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's post on the NSA, data privacy, and gay rights.
NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined Thomas Roberts on MSNBC today to talk about the recent spate of anti-gay hate crimes in NYC and what the city is doing about it, her record as speaker, and the negative ads that special interest groups are running against her in the mayoral race.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...