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Cal State Fullerton News Posts

Search for Maribel Ramos, missing CSUF student, to expand this weekend

Maribel Ramos (CSUF)

Update May 16, 2013 at 10 a.m.: A post on the “Find Maribel Ramos” Facebook page announced an Awareness Walk scheduled for Saturday, May 18, in Peters Canyon Trail in Tustin.

The post said they are not authorized for a search rescue but will pass out fliers.

As the search for a Cal State Fullerton student who is a former Army sergeant continues into a second week, her family and friends will expand the search effort this weekend.

Maribel Ramos, 36, a criminal justice major, has been missing since May 2.

A beefed up search and rescue effort with military personnel has been scheduled for Saturday, said Lucy Gonzalez, the missing woman’s sister.

“Right now we don’t know where she is, we don’t have any new clues,” said Gonzalez, who has become the spokeswoman for Ramos’ family in the search, on Wednesday afternoon.

A karaoke fundraiser is being planned to support the search effort, Gonzalez said.

“We need to find Maribel. We’re doing everything that we need to do to find her and raise money for a reward,” Gonzalez said.

On campus, a “Maribel Ramos Resource Center” has been set up near University Outreach on the fifth floor of Langsdorf Hall. Fliers and maps of Orange are available to assist the search effort.

Ramos served in the Army in Afghanistan, Iraq and South Korea, and a CSUF News statement said she was recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Orange Police Department, which has called the disappearance suspicious, has asked that any information about Ramos can be reported at (714) 744-7313.

Tim Worden / The Daily Titan – May 16, 2013, at 8 a.m.

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Police release CSUF lockdown tapes

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Reposted from my article at the Daily Titan.

Suspect may have left Mihaylo area 30 minutes before SWAT was called

An armed robbery suspect who prompted an eight-hour campus-wide lockdown in December may have walked through the Steven G. Mihaylo Hall lobby half an hour before police called SWAT onto campus, believing he was still in the building, according to police and new documents released to the Daily Titan.

The man, considered to be the fifth at large suspect in a Moreno Valley pawn shop armed robbery and high-speed pursuit that landed on Cal State Fullerton’s doorstep Dec. 12, may have only been inside the main Mihaylo Hall building for less than 20 seconds.

He made his way from the south entrance overlooking Nutwood Avenue to the north entrance into the plaza next to the Mihaylo statue, according to police and footage from two security cameras in the first-floor Mihaylo Hall lobby.

The security footage, made available to the Daily Titan through a Public Records Act request, show who police deem as two “likely” candidates for the outstanding suspect who evaded police detection as officers from seven different agencies, including three SWAT teams, swarmed the campus.

Both candidates for the outstanding suspect walk through Mihaylo Hall’s south entrance that overlooks Nutwood Avenue at around 3:46 p.m. on the camera tapes and head to the north entrance leading to the Mihaylo plaza area.

It is unknown if the suspect—if one of the people shown on the tapes is the suspect—stayed in the Mihaylo Hall area or, if he fled, when he left the area and what direction he headed, said University Police Capt. John Brockie.

They were last seen exiting the north Mihaylo Hall entrance eight and a half minutes before University Police initiated the Mihaylo Hall evacuation and 34 minutes before authorities called SWAT, according to Brockie, who served as the incident commander for the day’s events.

He led a coalition of Orange County law enforcement that included an arsenal of snipers, armored transports, helicopters, a medical staging area and two mobile command units.

It was the first time SWAT has been called to campus, Brockie said.

Police are unable to positively identify either man, both of whom appear to be wearing dark clothing, as the outstanding suspect since the cameras are far away and an accurate facial description is not possible, said Brockie.

However, it is likely that one of them is the suspect, Brockie said.

“It’s likely that they could have been, that they were one of the suspects,” Brockie said.

Both people are not seen on the security footage again, he added.

Police search the crash site in front of Mihaylo Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 12, soon after the suspects fled onto campus (Tim Worden)
Police search the crash site in front of Mihaylo Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 12, soon after the suspects fled onto campus (Tim Worden)

Police believe that when the robbery suspects crashed in front of the Marriott, three fled south down Folino Drive.

Of the three that went south, one was apprehended outside College Park, one allegedly carjacked a vehicle and was apprehended in Watts after a subsequent police pursuit, and the third fled on foot into Fullerton and was caught two weeks later.

Police believe two fled northwest onto campus into the south entrance of Mihaylo Hall.

There are two security cameras in the Mihaylo lobby area. One is located in the southwest end of the Grand Foyer that overlooks the south entrance and the Starbucks.

The second, in the west wing of the lobby, looks to the main north entrance that opens toward the Mihaylo statue and plaza.

At 3:46:05 p.m., a male with a stocky build wearing a white shirt and baggy jeans is seen casually walking through the south entrance of Mihaylo Hall.

Based on his clothing and build, he is “more than likely” to be Jerome Allen, the suspect who a California Highway Patrol officer apprehended minutes later in the area between Mihaylo Hall and the Carl’s Jr. on campus, according to Brockie.

Allen, as police identified him, heads north through the lobby. With a slight glance behind him, he exits the north entrance of the building toward Mihaylo plaza at 3:46:21 p.m. He was in the building for 16 seconds.

After Allen, two other people enter the building via the south entrance, followed soon after by a California Highway Patrol officer.

The second person, the first of the two possibilities for the outstanding suspect shown on the tapes, according to Brockie, enters the south end of the building at 3:46:15 p.m., 10 seconds after Allen.

He appears to be of a medium to tall build and is dressed in dark clothing, carrying something in his hand.

He glances behind him as he opens the north door and exits the building at 3:46:31. He too was in the building for 16 seconds.

The third person, the second of the two suspect candidates, enters from the south doors at 3:46:19 p.m. He appears to be a male wearing dark clothing—a hat obscures his face.

The man is wearing a backpack. He exits the building at 3:46:38 p.m. He was in the building for 19 seconds.

The CHP officer wearing a beige uniform enters the south doors at 3:46:31 p.m.

A man in line at the Starbucks and a man at the north end of the lobby at the couches both point to where the three previous men had gone at the north exit.

He exits the building at 3:46:44 p.m. He was in the building for 13 seconds.

Brockie said the second and third persons are considered a possibility for being the outstanding suspect since they are in close proximity to Allen and enter the same entrance that the CHP officer said he saw the remaining suspect enter in.

“I’m agreeing that the other one (the second person; the one carrying something) is more likely (to be the suspect),” Brockie said.

“Because it’s (the camera) so far away, we weren’t going to hang our hat on any particular person,” he added.

The CHP officer quickly apprehended Allen in the area between Mihaylo Hall and the Carl’s Jr.

“He (the officer) ordered him down to the ground at gunpoint,” Brockie said.

The suspect complied and the officer called University Police’s dispatcher from a blue phone located just southwest of the Carl’s Jr.

Since the officer’s focus was on apprehending Allen, he did not see the second suspect again, according to Brockie.

Mihaylo Hall branches off into three pathways at the north entrance of the main building.

Heading out the doors, left heads west to Langsdorf Hall, center heads northwest to the Carl’s Jr., and right heads north to the Eastside Parking Structure.

Since the CHP officer was apprehending Allen in the center pathway, there is a “very good possibility” that the outstanding suspect headed left or right, according to Brockie.

“That is possible to conclude, yes, just like it’s possible to conclude that he went back into the building (via a side entrance or stairs to a second-story entrance) or went back into (the island buildings north of the main Mihaylo building),” Brockie said.

Brockie said the CHP officer who apprehended Allen told him that the outstanding suspect went into the main south doors of Mihaylo just as Allen did. The description given of the remaining suspect was that he was a male with a thin build, black and wearing dark clothing.

The CHP officer also told Brockie the suspect was still in the building after police set up a perimeter.

Brockie, who normally serves as University Police’s public information officer, arrived to the crash scene at 4:08 p.m. and quickly took an incident commander role, meaning he led all aspects of the day’s emergency response.

“When I got here and took charge, the information I had was that there was a perimeter set up around this building, that it’s likely that he’s still inside the building, and that he was last seen entering that building,” Brockie said.

In addition, the officer told Brockie the man was “an armed murder suspect,” Brockie said.

Police later discovered that the group of five were robbery suspects who shot a pawn shop clerk—who was in stable but critical condition—and that it was unknown if any of the suspects still carried the weapon from that shooting.

University Police set the fire alarm off at Mihaylo Hall at 3:55 p.m. and soon after sent an audio message inside the building saying to stay away from the south side of campus, according to Brockie.

As incident commander, Brockie said his first two focuses were sending out a campus-wide shelter-in-place message and calling in SWAT. The first message was sent at 4:17 p.m. and Brockie initiated the SWAT call at 4:20 p.m., according to his police log.

“I believed that he was most likely inside that building because our response was quick, we had a perimeter set up and the eyewitness information that we had from the CHP officer, so that’s what I based my decision on to put out the shelter-in-place message and call SWAT,” Brockie said.

The security tapes made available to the Daily Titan cut off at 4:40 p.m. since that is about the time when SWAT arrived to campus, and SWAT tactics on how Mihaylo Hall would be cleared is confidential, Brockie said.

Later on, Brockie said the reason why the Education Classroom underwent a full SWAT scouring beginning around 8:55 p.m. is that a person reported a single gunshot fired inside the building.

Anaheim SWAT secured the building, interviewed hundreds of students and searched for expended shell casings, and found the report unfounded, Brockie said.

University Police does not have any open investigations on the incident because there were no crimes committed on state property, Brockie said.

Moreno Valley Police Department now heads the investigation since the crime of origin was in its jurisdiction.

Detective Ed Rose, who is leading the investigation, declined to comment on the tapes. He said he would not release or discuss any information related to the case since it is an ongoing investigation.

While one of the two people who enter Mihaylo Hall’s south entrance sandwiched between Allen and the CHP officer may be a suspect, Brockie said there are too many unknowns for the footage to be useful.

He said the information gleaned from the tapes was not an integral part of his investigation as incident commander.

“We looked at all the information that we had and it didn’t seem to give us a good enough description of a person,” Brockie said.

It is unknown when either candidate for the outstanding suspect left the Mihaylo area or what direction they went, he said.

“You’ve heard the expression ‘hindsight is 20/20’ right? … OK, in this case it’s not,” Brockie said. “We didn’t find him in the building, I’ll make that statement. We didn’t find him in the building.”

“There are a lot of possibilities,” he added.

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Photo Challenge: Mine (the Newsroom)

This is my newsroom, where I work as a copy editor for The Daily Titan, my college newspaper. I took these tonight during production to show a few of the editors as well as my computer and workspace. The guy in the white with a pen in his mouth in the first and last picture is David, a news editor. The guy with glasses in the third picture is Peter, a fellow copy editor.

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Why I love Oskar Schell in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

The book is great and the movie is great. Saw the movie this weekend and currently writing a review of it for my school newspaper.

 

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9/11: Ten Years Later

Laura and George Bush and Michelle and Barack Obama tour the 9/11 Memorial at the site of the World Trade Centers for the tenth anniversery. Photo by AP.

I was 11 on September 11, 2011. Now I am 21 and have lived half of my life under the shadow of that day. I can hardly remember the days before 9/11.

Since May, the country has rejuvenated itself to degrees I have never seen. The young and old swaying to the tune of “U-S-A, U-S-A!” near the White House past midnight on the day President Obama announced Osama bin-Laden’s death. The triumph and joy was exhilarating. It was impossible not to get caught up in the celebration.

September 11th was a hard day for our country. I did not know at the time, but I think I do now. Thousands of firefighters and servicemen who are no longer with us, only from a shared impulse: to give themselves up to save the many.

Today, all I can do is thank those who protected us, who stood evil in the face and conquered all. Who continue to face evil daily.

I would like to conclude by quoting President Bush, from his address to the nation the night of the attacks. It would have taken great faith to praise our country the day thousands were killed and future attacks seemed possible- nay, imminent:

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

-President George W. Bush, 9/11/2011

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The Hobbit Film: First Thoughts

Studying for a test, I decided to put on some Lord of the Ringssoundtrack. It has been a while since I have listened to it, and I am surprised at how I am still in love with it.

“Samwise the Brave” and “The Breaking of the Fellowship” are two of my favorites. The depth of emotion conveyed by them -I should thank Howard Shore- is amazing. It has been around nine years or so since I first saw any of the LOTR movies (The Two Towers was the first I saw in theaters, but I saw the Fellowship on DVD a few months prior) and they have a special place for me as I am sure they do for countless others, especially for people my age who grew up with them.
The Hobbit is scheduled to come out December 2012, and I could not wait more for it. I am glad that Peter Jackson took over control in directing it and that it finally got on track. I am hoping for a movie that does justice to not only the book, but of the Rings trilogy films. I enjoy the books, but I think movies in this age have as much impact as the original book did when J.R.R. Tolkien wrote it.
That is to say, I think the Hobbit films will have immense influence, if they are done right. I believe they will because Peter Jackson has spent time working on this. But I also think that for the movies to be most successful, they need a great score. If Shore signs on and can recreate his masterpiece, I think the Hobbit can be amazing. Because, ten years after someone sees the movie, they will reflect on the beautiful, deep songs. Fans of the LOTR movies can quote lines after lines, recite speeches and hum the distinct songs. The soundtrack, more than any other aspect of the films aside from perhaps the acting, made LOTR such a powerful, lasting trilogy.
This is all my opinion, but I think the music is great and gave it an emotional depth that made most people who watched and understood the movies enjoy it.
To conclude, The Lord of the Rings had a great depth that captivated many people, for it created a world that had war, romance, despair, hope, heroes and life-lessons. The soundtrack enhanced all of these, as a good soundtrack does. For many people, the trilogy is the best movie series that they can think of, and that is because Peter Jackson and Howard Shore poured their heart into a beautiful story that a man by the name of J.R.R. Tolkien wrote by pouring out his heart.
And I believe and hope The Hobbit films will follow suit.
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Classic Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities

>I got my classic book review on Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities published for my school newspaper, The Daily Titan.

You can check it out here: Classic Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities

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Pictures

>Sunset

Sunset at Cal State Fullerton

McCarthy Hall

McCarthy Hall

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Christianity Posts

What it Means to be Catholic (Christianity Essay)

My essay about the Catholic Church for my Introduction to Christianity class. The books I used are “Roman Catholic Church” by Richard P. McBrien, An Introduction to Christianity by Alister E. McGrath, and Roman Catholicism: The Basics by Michael Walsh.

There are over one billion people who identify themselves as being part of the Catholic Church throughout the world, about 17% of the world’s population (Walsh 24). It has the most adherents than any other denomination in Christianity, and is about half of its people. Catholicism is a religion that traces itself to beginnings almost 2,000 years ago and has a strong presence throughout the world that it has been able to maintain over that time and distance. To be Catholic means to believe in two things, the scriptures and tradition, as well as the giver of both, Jesus Christ.

Catholics believe that their authority has had apostolic succession back to Jesus’ disciple Peter (Walsh 51). The Vatican, where the Pope lives and works, is said to have been constructed on the burial site for St. Peter. Rome was the only Patriarchate in the West during the time of the early church, as the other four were in the East, in the Byzantine Empire headed by Constantinople. Over time, the East and West split with the Schism of 1054, causing the church in the East, the Orthodox Church, and the West, the Catholic Church, to lose communion (Walsh 167). The East only accepted the first seven ecumenical councils, councils where the whole church solved problems requiring attention, leaving the Catholics to go on without the Orthodox churches. Over time the Pope gained more authority in Rome to where he is the spiritual and authoritative leader for the church.

The two most important aspects for any Roman Catholic believer are the scriptures and tradition. The scriptures, or the Bible, are important for Catholics because it presents the life of Jesus as well as other divinely inspired writings and letters. Walsh points out, however, that although the scriptures are the focal point for Christianity, it causes the most conflicts, even within Christianity (Walsh 34). This is because every different sect within Christianity interprets the Bible differently, which was a reason why the Protestants split from the Catholic Church. Catholics use tradition to help study the scriptures and to understand God, something they are able to do due to their long line of existence. It is “an active process of reflection by which theological or spiritual insights are valued, assessed, and transmitted from one generation to another” (McGrath 184). In other words, tradition helps place the beliefs and actions of worship to God in the proper place of going back to Jesus. The Church is seen as the vehicle in which tradition is manifested. Cardinal Avery Dulles identified the different models of the Church as an institution having authority, a community with members being united, and sacramental as a worshipping community (Walsh 33). The structure of the Catholic Church is Priests watching over a parish, Bishops over a larger area, and so forth, with the Bishop of Rome or of other larger areas having more prominence. Catholics look up to the Bible, the words of God, and tradition, the way those words can and have been applied.

Liturgy, which is the public worship by the members of the Church, is important to Catholics as it is to all other denominations of Christianity. The goal for Catholics is to worship God, in which the Bible and tradition as mentioned above help achieve. Catholicism places a strong emphasis on formal rituals for its liturgy, of which outsiders think of when identifying the religion. Religious celebrations are observed, including Easter, Lent, Christmas, and those remembering different saints. The calendar celebrations are important because they give days to specific events, as Christians believe these events historically happened, and give believers a chance for feasts and fellowship (Walsh 101). Catholics emphasize the Virgin Mary, who is seen as eternally a virgin and free from sin as the bearer of Jesus Christ, and often pray for her intercession (McGrath 401). But apart from the special celebrations, Catholics are urged to go to mass weekly or as often as possible, which has liturgy for the people.

There are seven sacraments recognized by the Catholic Church: Baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, holy orders, anointing of the sick, and matrimony (McBrien 278). The first three, baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist, are rites of initiation into the church which new members must partake of. Baptism is done on infants for regeneration and receiving the Holy Spirit, and is also done on adults wishing to enter the church. Confirmation is done by the bishop, and the Eucharist is partaken of at every mass and starts on children aged seven. “For Roman Catholics, the supreme act of worship is the Eucharist, or mass.” (McBrien 278) The Eucharist is where members of the Church take the body and blood of Jesus in thanksgiving. Holy orders leads to the priests being ordained and the Church hierarchy leading up to the Pope, and anointing of the sick helps heal people physically and spiritually (Walsh 114).

Catholics today number over a billion people and due to their religious faith often have political or lifestyle differences than those around them. There are many current issues affecting the Church, such as anointing women clergy and contraception, just as there has always been. The Church has tried to stay truthful to the times of Jesus and his apostles, as well as modernizing and recognizing different laws and perspectives, as evident by changing the language of liturgy from Latin to the vernacular in the 20th century. The Catholic Church is very traditional, but is also keen on solving problems it faces, like those pertaining to Jesus Christ and his life, message, and relevance.

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Christianity Posts

What it Means to be Orthodox (Christianity Essay)

This is an essay I wrote for my Intro to Christianity class, about the Orthodox Church. Primary sources used are The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware and An Introduction to Christianity by Alister McGrath.

“In the dark days in their history – under the Mongols, the Turks, or the communists – it is to the Holy Liturgy that the Orthodox people have always turned for inspiration and new hope; nor have they turned in vain,” (Ware, 272). Today, one thing that stands out about the Eastern Orthodox Church to a person in the West is their elaborate rituals, from infant baptism to venerating icons of the saints and kissing the cross. Their services, too, are traditional and almost archaic, which is the point because that is how the early church fathers held their services. These traditions, sacraments, and a faith in Jesus Christ define the Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Church first split from the western church after the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and traces its routes back to the Roman empire and to the earliest apostolic churches. It has a strong influence and continuity with the early church and Greek fathers, and stresses tradition (McGrath 402). Orthodoxy is most popular in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia and Greece, although it has spread to North America and Australia, and is often associated with ethnic culture. Among the Eastern churches there is the Assyrian Church in the East, the Oriental Orthodox churches including the Armenian, Coptic, and Ethiopian denominations, and the Orthodox Church including autocephalous, autonomous, and canonical churches influenced by ethnicity.

The two sources of revelation in the Orthodox Church are scripture and tradition. To understand tradition, said Ware, one must see it from within, for “it is a life, a personal encounter with Christ in the Holy Spirit” (Ware, 206). Tradition is expressed in a variety of forms, including the Bible, the Seven Ecumenical Councils, the fathers, the liturgy, and icons.
There are seven sacraments for the Orthodox Church representing the divine mysteries of God. They are outward and visible signs that translate and illuminate an unseen hidden grace. The seven sacraments are baptism, chrismation, the eucharist, repentance or confession, holy orders, marriage, and the anointing of the sick (Ware 281-282).

The first three sacraments are known as the Christian initiation, as a new believer is baptized, confirmed, and given communion. Infants are given all three of these privileges from the start, unlike the Western churches, which allows them to always be part of the ceremonies and feel more welcome. Full immersion is essential in Orthodoxy, as it is an outward act symbolizing the inward rebirth of the soul, and for this reason sprinkling of water over the head is looked down upon and extremely limited (Ware, 284). A priest uses a special ointment to then anoint the new believer’s body, confirming him as a layman into the church. At every liturgy, there is the Eucharist, where believers take bread and wine. The Orthodox Church believes that the wine and the bread “becomes in the very truth the Body and Blood of Christ: they are not mere symbols, but the reality” (Ware, 290). It can be seen that Orthodoxy stresses the importance of remembering Christ and becoming one for blessing.

The fourth sacrament, repentance, is given to children from about six or seven years of age. Sins committed are reconciled to the Church, and confession is now held in any convenient place in the church, usually with the believer and priest both standing (Ware, 295). Holy Orders are the positions held in the church, including a Bishop, Priest, and Deacon, and what powers they each hold. Marriage, the sixth sacrament, is seen as a special vocation and needs the gift from the Holy Spirit to function in unity with God (Ware, 301). Lastly, there is the anointing of the sick. It is practiced in two dimensions: healing the body physically and forgiving sins spiritually, and is given to anyone who is sick (Ware, 302). The purpose of these seven sacraments is to attain the beautiful union of man with God.

One thing common in the Orthodox Church not common in other churches are icons. Icons, wood covered with images of Jesus, Mary, or the saints, are “one of the ways whereby God is revealed to man” (Ware, 214). They are not worshipped, but venerated, as a way to look directly into the image of God, and adherents have collections at their homes or at church.

Today, Christianity has many different denominations and beliefs, but the Eastern Orthodox Church still has roots to the earliest churches, that of the first ever planted. “They believe that in a divided and bewildered Christendom it is their duty to bear witness to this primitive and unchanging Tradition,” (Ware, 333). Therefore, the church stands firm in its beliefs which have not varied greatly over time because Christ is changeless. To be Orthodox means having a faith in Jesus and stressing tradition as well as the Bible as God’s source of revelation to man.