Long Beach: Planes, Pot, Obama and ICE Firefight
A lot of action in Long Beach today. At 2:30 p.m., a small plane crossed into President Obama's airspace in Riverside, CA while he was in the Marine One Helicopter en route to the airport. Fighter jets intercepted the plane and followed it until it landed at Long Beach at 2:30 pm. The plane was searched when it landed, and officials found 40 pounds of marijuana in it. The pilot was questioned by Homeland Security, turned over to local police and booked into the Long Beach jail. The plane is registered to David W. Major and is based in Grover Beach, Calif., near San Luis Obispo.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the department's Homeland Security Investigations unit questioned the pilot, who has been turned over to Long Beach police and remains in custody. He will face local prosecution, Kice said.
Also today, just before 6 pm, three ICE agents were involved in a shootout -- with each other -- on the 7th floor of the federal building in Long Beach. Two died, one is in the hospital. Here's Norad's statement on the incident. The shooter was one of those killed.(Update: ICE says only two agents were involved, one of whom died.)
I wonder if the incidents are related. The Long Beach Courthouse (state) is across the street from the federal building. Were any of the ICE agents in the shootout involved in the earlier search of the plane or questioning of the pilot? Or with Obama's visit? Updates below:
The shooter is believed to have opened fire on his supervisor over an unspecified dispute, law enforcement authorities told The Times. As the supervisor lay wounded, another agent jumped in and tried to subdue the gunman. Another round of gunfire broke out, authorties said.
It's unclear if the shooter shot himself or was shot by the intervening agent.
Update: ICE has released a statement saying only two ICE agents were involved -- one is dead, the other survived. More here on the changing story.
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