Veteran pleads guilty to taking guns to VA clinic in Florida

PENSACOLA — A U.S. Navy veteran has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bringing a rifle and a handgun to a Florida veterans clinic.

Howell E. Camp, 58, pleaded guilty in Pensacola federal court Thursday to carrying a concealed firearm and possession of firearms on federal property, according to court records. He faces up to six years in prison at his Oct. 29 sentencing.

Camp went to the Pensacola Veterans Affairs Clinic on May 6 to pick up a prescription, prosecutors said. Under social distancing procedures implemented by the VA during the coronavirus pandemic, Camp was asked to wait for the medication in his vehicle.

Camp eventually became frustrated with the wait and went to speak to a VA staff member, according to a criminal complaint. A VA police officer reported seeing Camp become agitated and asked him to return to his vehicle.

Camp left the area but returned several hours later, prosecutors said. He approached the building armed with an AR-15 rifle and a 9 mm handgun, officials said. Two VA police officers stopped Camp and took him into custody before he could enter the clinic, the complaint said.

Teen arrested for Twitter hack

MIAMI — A Florida teen was identified Friday as the mastermind of a scheme earlier this month that commandeered Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, celebrities and technology moguls and scammed people around the globe out of more than $100,000 in Bitcoin. Two other men were also charged in the case.

Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was arrested Friday in Tampa, where the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office will prosecute him as an adult. He faces 30 felony charges, according to a news release.

Two men accused of benefiting from the hack — Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, U.K., and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando — were charged separately in California federal court.

In one of the most high-profile security breaches in recent years, bogus tweets were sent out on July 15 from the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Celebrities Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were also hacked.

The tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address. The hack alarmed security experts because of the grave potential of such an intrusion for creating geopolitical mayhem with disinformation.

Court papers in the California cases say Fazeli and Sheppard brokered the sale of Twitter accounts stolen by a hacker who identified himself as “Kirk” and said he could “reset, swap and control any Twitter account at will” in exchange for cybercurrency payments, claiming to be a Twitter employee.

The documents do not specify Kirk’s real identity but say he is a teen being prosecuted in the Tampa area.

Twitter has said the hacker gained access to a company dashboard that manages accounts by using social engineering and spear-phishing smartphones to obtain credentials from “a small number” of Twitter employees “to gain access to our internal systems.” Spear-phishing uses email or other messaging to deceive people into sharing access credentials.

“There is a false belief within the criminal hacker community that attacks like the Twitter hack can be perpetrated anonymously and without consequence,” U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California said in a news release.

The evidence suggests, however, that those responsible did a poor job indeed of covering their tracks. The court documents released Friday show how federal agents tracked down the hackers through Bitcoin transactions and by obtaining records of their online chats.

Officer injured, 2 others wounded in Florida shooting spree

TAMPA — A Florida man is in police custody after he went on a 40-minute shooting spree on a Tampa highway and city streets where he fired on at least 11 people, wounding two adults, and injuring a police officer when he shot into his squad vehicle.

None of the injuries were life threatening, Tampa police officials said.

The Tampa Police Department started getting reports of someone shooting from a moving car on Interstate 275 on Thursday evening. A Tampa police officer responding to the shootings spotted the 31-year-old suspect’s car and attempted to pull him over, the Tampa Police Department said in a news release.

Antonio Cruz Ortiz got out of his car and fired on the officer’s squad car. The unnamed 24-year-old officer ducked as bullets shattered the back windshield and penetrated the front window, according to authorities.

Cruz Ortiz ran into a nearby apartment building where other officers tracked him down and arrested him, police said.

The officer had a non-life threatening injury to his arm from the gunshots and shattered glass and was taken to a hospital. He had been working for the police department for 11 months and was in “good spirits,” Tampa police said.

Cruz Ortiz was being held at the Hillsborough County Jail without bond Friday. Jail records show he is facing charges of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and shooting into a vehicle. Jail records showed no attorney listed for him.