Bronx carjacker steals two vehicles at gunpoint, shoots postal worker to continue crime spree

BY Rocco Parascandola Andy Mai John Annese
Updated: Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 11:23 PM
A trigger-happy Bronx carjacker in a bulletproof vest shot a postal worker and took two vehicles at gunpoint Tuesday afternoon, police sources said.

The wild scene unfolded at about 4:50 p.m., on E. 232nd St. and Carpenter Ave. in Wakefield, when the 27-year-old suspect forced an off-duty mailman out of his car at gunpoint, police sources said.

A second, on-duty postal worker tried to block his escape with his vehicle, and the robber pulled out his gun and opened fire, grazing the 30-year-old man’s right arm, sources said.

The thief kept going, crashed into another vehicle and ran off, authorities said.

SEE IT: Bungling robber can’t pump shotgun, manages to steal coat

That’s when he carjacked a woman in a Nissan Pathfinder, police sources said.

1 | 2 The gunman opened fire on this mail truck in a wild scene in the Bronx on Tuesday. (Sam Costanza/for New York Daily News)
“She’s sitting in her vehicle, she sees the suspect approaching. She starts to get unnerved, she feels something’s wrong,” said NYPD Dep. Chief Jason Wilcox. “He opens the door, he gets in the car with her, points the gun into her body, we believe into her rib area, demands that she drive the car. She refuses.”

After that, he slammed the Nissan into another car near E. 213st St., sources said.

When he couldn’t open the door, he shot out a window to escape, sources said.

Woman compels son to turn himself in for stealing stroller in NYC

He was arrested near the scene.

The second vehicle that was carjacked is seen here (white SUV in center) where it crashed into the vehicle in front of it on Carpenter Ave. at E. 229 St.
(Sam Costanza/for New York Daily News)
Police recovered a gun from the suspect, whose name has not yet been released, sources said.

Wilcox said he was on parole for robbery, and may be linked to the Bloods.

Medics took the shot postal worker to Montefiore North Hospital, officials said.

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Revived GOP health care talks could hurt those with pre-existing conditions

by Tami Luhby   @Luhby April 4, 2017: 2:40 PM ET
Ryan: Health care talks in conceptual stages
The renewed GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare could be bad news for those with pre-existing conditions.
The proposal under discussion among conservative House Freedom Caucus members and the White House would allow states to opt out of two key Affordable Care Act provisions: essential health benefits, which require insurers to cover certain services, and community rating, which bars carriers from charging consumers based on their medical history or gender.

Eliminating these federal requirements could greatly erode the safeguards Obamacare put in place for those with pre-existing conditions, violating President Trump and Republicans’ repeated promises to protect these folks. It would leave many enrollees — particularly sicker ones — on the financial hook for much more of their care.

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Also, it would allow insurers to effectively cherry-pick the people they want to cover.

Related: Health care talks intensify, but no proof of any changed minds

Here’s what would likely happen:

The essential health benefits provision requires all insurers to cover 10 services, including maternity care, substance abuse treatment and prescription drugs, in all plans sold on the individual market.

Without the measure, insurers could offer cheaper plans that don’t cover as much. They would not have to pay for costly benefits, such as mental health services or even hospitalization. They could also opt not to cover the treatments needed by patients with costly illnesses, such as cancer, diabetes and hepatitis C.

That would work out well for young and healthy people who don’t go to the doctor much. They could buy skimpy plans with low premiums.

But it wouldn’t be so good for those who need care. They would have to shell out for all the services that their insurance policy doesn’t cover. And they wouldn’t be shielded by Obamacare’s financial protections — such as the annual limit on deductibles and co-pays — since those would only apply to covered benefits.

Getting rid of the community rating provision would once again let carriers base their premiums on an enrollee’s health or gender. Again, healthy people would benefit from lower rates.

But sick people could be charged sky-high premiums commensurate with how much their treatments cost, leaving some unable to afford coverage. And young women might have to pay more since they typically use more health care services and could become pregnant.

Related: Before Obamacare, some liked their health care plans better

In the final hours before the GOP bill collapsed last month, the Freedom Caucus convinced Republican leaders to weaken Obamacare’s essential health benefits’ measure, leaving it to the states to determine what services should be covered. But this move spooked moderate Republicans, who were concerned it would leave their constituents with less care and bigger bills, and led to the bill being shelved. The current discussions underway haven’t healed any of those divisions.

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Trump’s War on Journalism

By The Times Editorial Board

April 5, 2017
In Donald Trump’s America, the mere act of reporting news unflattering to the president is held up as evidence of bias. Journalists are slandered as “enemies of the people.”

Facts that contradict Trump’s version of reality are dismissed as “fake news.” Reporters and their news organizations are “pathetic,” “very dishonest,” “failing,” and even, in one memorable turn of phrase, “a pile of garbage.”

Trump is, of course, not the first American president to whine about the news media or try to influence coverage. President George W. Bush saw the press as elitist and “slick.” President Obama’s press operation tried to exclude Fox News reporters from interviews, blocked many officials from talking to journalists and, most troubling, prosecuted more national security whistle-blowers and leakers than all previous presidents combined.

But Trump being Trump, he has escalated the traditionally adversarial relationship in demagogic and potentially dangerous ways.

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Most presidents, irritated as they may have been, have continued to acknowledge — at least publicly — that an independent press plays an essential role in American democracy. They’ve recognized that while no news organization is perfect, honest reporting holds leaders and institutions accountable; that’s why a free press was singled out for protection in the 1st Amendment and why outspoken, unfettered journalism is considered a hallmark of a free country.

Trump doesn’t seem to buy it. On his very first day in office, he called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.”

Since then he has regularly condemned legitimate reporting as “fake news.” His administration has blocked mainstream news organizations, including The Times, from briefings and his secretary of State chose to travel to Asia without taking the press corps, breaking a longtime tradition.

“ He apparently hopes to discredit, disrupt or bully into silence anyone who challenges his version of reality. ” Share this quote
This may seem like bizarre behavior from a man who consumes the news in print and on television so voraciously and who is in many ways a product of the media. He comes from reality TV, from talk radio with Howard Stern, from the gossip pages of the New York City tabloids, for whose columnists he was both a regular subject and a regular source.

But Trump’s strategy is pretty clear: By branding reporters as liars, he apparently hopes to discredit, disrupt or bully into silence anyone who challenges his version of reality. By undermining trust in news organizations and delegitimizing journalism and muddling the facts so that Americans no longer know who to believe, he can deny and distract and help push his administration’s far-fetched storyline.

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It’s a cynical strategy, with some creepy overtones. For instance, when he calls journalists “enemies of the people,” Trump (whether he knows it or not) echoes Josef Stalin and other despots.

But it’s an effective strategy. Such attacks are politically expedient at a moment when trust in the news media is as low as it’s ever been, according to Gallup. And they’re especially resonant with Trump’s supporters, many of whom see journalists as part of the swamp that needs to be drained.

Of course, we’re not perfect. Some readers find news organizations too cynical; others say we’re too elitist. Some say we downplay important stories, or miss them altogether. Conservatives often perceive an unshakable liberal bias in the media (while critics on the left see big, corporate-owned media institutions like The Times as hopelessly centrist).

“ The news media remain an essential component in the democratic process and should not be undermined by the president. ” Share this quote
To do the best possible job, and to hold the confidence of the public in turbulent times, requires constant self-examination and evolution. Soul-searching moments — such as those that occurred after the New York Times was criticized for its coverage of the Bush administration and the Iraq war or, more recently, when the media failed to take Trump’s candidacy seriously enough in the early days of his campaign — can help us do a better job for readers. Even if we are not faultless, the news media remain an essential component in the democratic process and should not be undermined by the president.

Some critics have argued that if Trump is going to treat the news media like the “opposition party” (a phrase his senior aide Steve Bannon has used), then journalists should start acting like opponents too. But that would be a mistake. The role of an institution like the Los Angeles Times (or the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal or CNN) is to be independent and aggressive in pursuit of the truth — not to take sides. The editorial pages are the exception: Here we can and should express our opinions about Trump. But the news pages, which operate separately, should report intensively without prejudice, partiality or partisanship.

Given the very real dangers posed by this administration, we should be indefatigable in covering Trump, but shouldn’t let his bullying attitude persuade us to be anything other than objective, fair, open-minded and dogged.

The fundamentals of journalism are more important than ever. With the president of the United States launching a direct assault on the integrity of the mainstream media, news organizations, including The Times, must be courageous in our reporting and resolute in our pursuit of the truth.

This is the fourth in a series.

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