David Schmader is on vacation this week.
MONDAY, MARCH 17 This week of heroic strippers, horrific crashes, and sweet giraffe send-offs begins in Pioneer Square with a pair of unlikely alleged villains: Seattle firefighters. According to police reports released today, two off-duty firefighters and one allegedly cunty girlfriend were walking home from a Sounders game on Saturday, March 15, when the trio noticed a homeless man sleeping on the Fallen Firefighter's Memorial in Occidental Park. Take it away, Seattle Times: "Witnesses told police that [37-year-old Mia Jarvinen] kicked at the man, yelled at him, and threw his food on him after she saw him sleeping on the memorial." Veteran firefighter Robert Howell, 46, would later tell police he was the victim of an unprovoked attack perpetrated by a "black male in his 30s wearing a black hooded sweatshirt" (aka America's bogeyman). However, multiple witnesses told police that the two firefighters—Howell and Jarvinen's boyfriend, 45-year-old Scott Bullene—soon joined Jarvinen in the beating. "Howell then started yelling about how the victim was disrespecting his 'brothers' and began punching and 'stomping' the man," reports the Seattle Times. Another homeless man in the park said Bullene "took his walking staff away from him and began beating him with his own staff," the police report states, noting that this homeless man "had wounds consistent with a victim trying to block an attack." The fight ended with Bullene stabbed non-life-threateningly in the gut, allegedly by the man he was allegedly beating, and Jarvinen and Howell booked into King County Jail for assault. The breakout star in this otherwise horrifying story? Fire Chief Gregory Dean, who promptly issued a public apology for the firefighters' alleged actions. "On behalf of the men and women of the Seattle Fire Department, I apologize for the violence that occurred in Pioneer Square this weekend," Dean said today during a news conference. "The action these two firefighters are accused of is not representative of the conduct we expect of Seattle firefighters."
TUESDAY, MARCH 18 In worse news, today a KOMO TV helicopter carrying pilot Gary Pfitzner and photographer Bill Strothman pitched forward during takeoff from the Seattle news station's rooftop helipad, rotated 360 degrees, and then crashed in a ball of flames yards away from the base of the Space Needle, killing both occupants and seriously burning a morning commuter, 38-year-old Richard Newman. "Witnesses told reporters they heard unusual noises coming from the aircraft as it lifted off from the helipad atop KOMO's six-story headquarters after refueling," KOMO News reports. "The initial [National Transportation Safety Board] report did not discuss any noises." Wreckage debris was found in a 340-foot radius, but experts have yet to pinpoint the cause of the crash. Newman remains in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center. Condolences to everyone connected to the tragedy, especially the KOMO staffers who had to witness their colleagues' horrific deaths and then immediately report on it.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19 In happier news, a Buddhist student won a settlement against his Louisiana school district after his sixth-grade teacher allegedly called his religion "stupid" and taught students that the Bible is "100 percent true," according to court documents. As ThinkProgress reports today: "Parents Scott and Sharon Lane alleged in their lawsuit that their attempts to report religious harassment were dismissed with comments that 'this is the Bible Belt,' and that their son, referred to as 'C.C.,' could either change his faith or transfer to another school where 'there were more Asians.'" As per the settlement, the school has agreed to permanently halt school-endorsed prayer during school events, promotion of religion, and "denigration of religion," ThinkProgress reports.
•• Speaking of denigrating religion, renowned hatemonger and Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, the man who made a name for himself and his poisonous church by picketing high-profile public events like military funerals and those of gun-downed children with signs that read "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," died today. Everyone—fags, military veterans, pacifists, parents, the sane half of Kansas, and, above all, decent Christians—rejoiced.
THURSDAY, MARCH 20 In other fantasies realized, the all-male Australian strip revue Thunder from Down Under earned their fake cop badges by tackling a suspected armed robber who was allegedly attempting to make off with a suitcase full of costumes before their show at the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas. "Several people told investigators they noticed the man walking around the showroom before Tuesday's performance wearing a SWAT hat, fireman's shirt, and police-style boots," reports the Associated Press today. "They told investigators that no one approached him because they thought he was a new dancer." Several dancers noticed costumes and makeup missing as they dressed for their performance. "One of the dancers, Ryan Paki, then discovered a suitcase filled with props and dance costumes outside the dressing room," according to ABC News and a police report. As Paki and the show's producer inspected the suitcase, the suspected thief, 24-year-old Joey Kadmiri, returned with claims that he'd bought the items for his girlfriend. When the dancers confronted Kadmiri, he allegedly brandished a .44 Magnum handgun and held it to the head of one dancer. "Someone allegedly pushed the gun away seconds before a shot was fired and hit the wall," while others tackled Kadmiri, reports ABC News. The Thunder held the man, whom authorities later said appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine, until Las Vegas Police arrived. "The suspect definitely got the worst of it," Las Vegas police officer Laura Meltzer told the Associated Press. A black-eyed, bruised Kadmiri was charged with six counts of attempted murder, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon, and burglary with a deadly weapon. Kadmiri would later tell the Las Vegas Sun in a jailhouse interview that he had feared for his life while high on methamphetamine and that he self-medicates to treat an undiagnosed mental illness.
FRIDAY, MARCH 21 In considerably less sexy news, real cops are lobbying for the right to continue screwing prostitutes after Hawaiian state legislators wrote a bill closing a decades-old loophole that allows undercover cops to get busy with paid ladies in order to "catch criminals in the act," the BBC reports. Police protested the change, arguing that if they aren't allowed to pay for sex, prostitutes and their johns will know exactly how to sniff out an undercover cop. "The legislation was then amended to restore the protection, and the revised proposal passed the house and is now before the senate," the Associated Press reports. But the revised bill appears to have few fans on the other side of the aisle: "To condone police officers' sexual penetration in making arrests is simply nonsensical to me," said Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee chair Clayton Hee today. Stay tuned!
SATURDAY, MARCH 22 Nothing happened today, unless you count the terminally ill zoo worker in Rotterdam, Netherlands, who was granted his dying wish: to say good-bye to the giraffes he'd worked with for a quarter of a century. Mario Eijs, 54, was wheeled inside the animals' enclosure at the Diergaarde Blijdorp Zoo, where they crowded around him and gave him giraffe kisses, reports USA Today. Sniff.
SUNDAY, MARCH 23 Nothing happened today, including any substantive leads on the whereabouts of the still-missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
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