MONDAY, APRIL 20 This week of local heroics, possible pandemics, and Metro-centric gunplay kicks off in Tacoma, Washington, where tonight a mother and son ventured into an apartment complex near the Tacoma Mall to meet the seller of a used car they'd found on the internet message board Craigslist. As KOMO reports: "When they arrived, there was no car. There was only a man with a hammer, waiting to rob them." Further specifics come from Tacoma police, who told KOMO that the victims arrived at the apartment complex with cash in hand, ready for pay $3,600 for a used Honda Accord. But moments after the pair shook hands with the alleged car owner, the man pulled out the aforementioned hammer, attacking the son before fleeing the scene. "Investigators don't believe the attacker lives at the complex; they believe he simply used the location to lure his victims," KOMO reports. "Police found his hammer at the scene."
••Speaking of Craigslist: Today also brought the arrest of the alleged "Craigslist killer"—23-year-old Philip Markoff, a second-year Boston University medical student accused of the armed robbery and kidnapping of one woman, and the brutal murder of another, both of whom allegedly met Markoff through their Craigslist classified ads. Tomorrow, Markoff will be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court and held without bail on a charge of murder.
TUESDAY, APRIL 21 Nothing happened today, clearing the way for a commemoration of something that happened over half a century ago. Holocaust Remembrance Day is devoted to remembering the humanity-damning nightmare that brought the extermination of six million Jews and several million others (Gypsies, tramps, and queers) at the hands of the Nazis, who wiped out a third of the world's Jewish population and indulged an evil so great that its aftershocks continue to ruin lives as you read this. (See Israel vs. Palestine.)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22 Attentive readers will recall the Metro bus saga of May 2008, when a man inflamed by mental illness and/or religious fervor boarded a bus and began beating a fellow passenger, who happened to be a blind woman. Reporting from the scene: Hot Tipper Oscar, aka Oscar Grey, who rushed to the woman's aid and, with the help of his fellow passengers, restrained the crazy clobberer until cops arrived. Today brings a most gratifying coda to this story, courtesy once again of Hot Tipper Oscar, who this afternoon was escorted by a King County Sheriff's deputy to the regional training center in Burien, where he—along with five of his fellow passengers—was given a meritorious service award for his help in stopping the assault. Congratulations to Oscar, who describes his award as "parchment in a green leather folder embossed with the King County insignia in gold." The wonderfully specific text: "To commend your actions when you intervened in an assault on a visually impaired woman on a Metro coach. The assault suspect was distracted and restrained by you and other passengers until King County deputies arrived on the scene. Your efforts kept the victim from suffering more serious injury." Hurrah for all.
THURSDAY, APRIL 23 The week continues with some world-class ickiness from Blaine, Washington, where today a former deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol pleaded guilty to three counts of child rape, stemming from his ongoing sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl he'd taken into his home as a foster child. Details come from KING 5, which identifies the former officer as Joseph W. Giuliano, whom police say admitted to having sex with his would-be foster child at least 24 times after the girl moved into Giuliano's home in early 2008. Giuliano faces sentencing on June 25.
FRIDAY, APRIL 24 Nothing happened today, unless you count official recognition of a new strain of flu with an initial tally of 60 people killed in Mexico and at least eight people infected in the United States. "The World Health Organization said tests showed the virus from 12 of the Mexican patients was the same genetically as a new strain of swine flu, designated H1N1, seen in eight people in California and Texas," Reuters reports. (By Tuesday, the number of U.S. cases will rise to more than 70.) "Close analysis showed the disease is a mixture of swine, human, and avian viruses." Especially troubling: The majority of the Mexican dead were between 25 and 45 years of age: "A worrying sign, as seasonal flu can be more deadly among the very young and the very old, but a hallmark of pandemics is that they affect healthy young adults," reports Reuters. Stay tuned.
SATURDAY, APRIL 25 Nothing happened today, unless you count whatever the hell went down this afternoon in downtown Seattle, where an argument between a pair of passengers on a Metro bus led to one being shot in the chest. According to initial Seattle Times reports, the alleged altercation involved a man who boarded the bus and was behaving strangely—"acting a little crazy, mumbling," as passengers told police—and the female passenger who commented on his behavior. According to police reports, an argument ensued, the woman left the bus, and the man followed, rushing toward the woman until she allegedly pulled out a pistol and shot him. The altercation ended with the woman and her fully registered firearm being taken to King County Jail, while the shot man was rushed to Harborview, where he remains with life-threatening injuries. Follow-up Times reports will identify the alleged shooter as a 30-year-old community-college student living in Yesler Terrace with her partner and four kids, and the shot man as 25-year-old Emmanuel Salters, whom witnesses told police made a rude comment and spat at the woman just prior to the shooting. Salters remains at Harborview, and the shooting suspect will be released from jail on Monday while prosecutors continue to mull charges.
SUNDAY, APRIL 26 The week ends with an official upgrading of concern about swine flu, with the United States classifying the emerging virus as a public health emergency—"much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes," the Associated Press reports. Continuing with the comparison, Last Days can surmise that like a hurricane, the new swine flu has the potential to easily kill hundreds of people and ruin the lives of thousands more. Stay tuned, wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, knock on wood, condolences to all, and all the other platitudes we hurl at readers when we have nothing more comforting to offer.
We're not kidding about hand washing—with soap and water as hot as you can bear it, for as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday." (Oprah said so.) Send your well-Purelled Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.