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Riders held up phones as woman was raped on SEPTA train in Philadelphia, police say; not one person reported incident to 911

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Photo: ABC Philadelphia

As a woman was raped on a public transit train in Philadelphia last week, riders held up their cellphones and pointed them in the direction of the sexual assault instead of calling 911, authorities said.

Officials are investigating whether some bystanders recorded the attack, which happened Wednesday night on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, Market-Frankford line toward the town of Upper Darby.

“I can tell you that people were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III said at a news conference Monday.

A suspect, Fiston Ngoy, 35, was arrested on rape and assault charges. Ngoy, who listed his last address as a homeless shelter, remains in custody on $180,000 bail. It’s not clear whether he has an attorney or a public defender.

Nestel said that other riders were on the train at the time but that “there were very few notifications to the police.”

No calls were made to 911 in Philadelphia, he said. Police are still waiting to see whether 911 calls were made to Delaware County, which covers the train’s last two stops.

The attack wasn’t reported until a SEPTA employee saw what was happening. Officials said at the news conference that officers responded within three minutes of the employee’s report.

“What we want everyone to be is angry, disgusted and join us in being resolute to continue to make the system safe. We need help from the public to notify us when they see incidents that are occurring that are unusual,” Nestel said.

“We want people to be our partners and to watch out for other riders,” he said.

Ngoy and the victim got on the train at the same stop in North Philadelphia, police said. An arrest affidavit says Ngoy sat next to the woman about a minute after he boarded, shortly after 9:15 p.m., and harassed her for about 40 minutes as she repeatedly pushed him away.

Security video shows the man ripping the woman’s pants down just before 10 p.m., the affidavit says.

After the transit employee reported the attack, an officer waiting at the next station boarded the train, “saw what he believed was a criminal act occurring, ripped that man off of her and pulled him out onto the platform,” Nestel said.

SEPTA said that the incident was a “horrendous criminal act” and that riders should contact police by calling 911 or pressing the emergency button on trains.

“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,” it said.

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Autopsy of Brian Laundrie: No cause, manner of death able to be determined

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Photos: Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla.  The attorney for Brian Laundrie’s parents says an autopsy on their son’s remains, which were described as “bones” by North Port police, did not reveal a cause or manner of his death. 

Laundrie’s autopsy was completed Friday and his remains was sent to an anthropologist for further examination, according to reporting from FOX 5’s Jodi Goldberg.

The Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, said they were hoping for more answers from law enforcement regarding the cause of death for Brian, who was a person of interest in the death of fiancée Gabby Petito while the couple was on a cross-country road trip.

Read more from Fox Tampa Bay.

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‘Basically the case is closed out’: Former FBI agent discusses what finding of Brian Laundrie’s remains means moving forward

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Photo: New York Post

With Brian Laundrie’s remains found, a former FBI agent told ABC West Palm Beach (WPBF 25) that in cases where a person of interest is found dead, there will be limited information people will see moving forward.

But in this case, they still have the responsibility to name who killed Gabby Petito.

“Basically the case is closed out, there are still some housekeeping issues to be addressed, it’s important for them to identify the cause of death and even more importantly the time of death,” said Stuart Kaplan, former FBI special agent turned attorney.

Read more from ABC West Palm Beach (WPBF 25).

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1 killed, 1 injured after Alec Baldwin discharges prop gun in freak misfire incident on movie set: Sheriff’s Office

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Photo: New York Post

A female cinematographer working on the set of an upcoming western, ‘Rust’, died after lead actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun. The film’s director was also harmed in the shooting and is in intensive care.

The incident took place around 1:50pm local time on Thursday. Halyna Hutchins, 42, and ‘Rust’ director Joel Souza, 48, were rushed to the hospital from the set on the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a film location in northern New Mexico.

Hutchins, who was director of photography, has since succumbed to her wounds, while Souza “is undergoing treatment for his injuries,” the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department said.

An investigation has been launched over the “projectile” with which the female victim was shot. “It appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged,” the department said in a statement.

In an update on Thursday, it said that “the investigation remains open and active,” noting that “no charges have been filed in regard to this incident” as the witnesses are being questioned.

Baldwin was seen looking visibly distraught at the scene in the aftermath of the shooting.

The actor has reportedly been interviewed by investigators. 

Deadline reported earlier that the incident occurred during a rehearsal, and that “a principal cast member… cocked a gun… unaware there were live rounds in it.”

A production spokesman confirmed to Deadline that the incident involved “the misfire of a prop gun with blanks,” insisting that “the safety” of the cast was a “top priority.” The movie town was put on lockdown in wake of the incident.

‘Rust’ is directed by Souza and produced by Baldwin, who also stars as one of the film’s main characters, Harland Rust. Rust is an outlaw and estranged grandfather of a 13-year-old boy, Lucas, played by Brady Noon, who faces hanging after accidentally killing a local rancher. After Harland frees Lucas from custody, the two flee while being chased by a marshal and a bounty hunter.

The on-set mishap is not the first of its kind. While filming for ‘The Crow’ in 1993, Brandon Lee – the son of Bruce Lee – was shot and killed by an improperly loaded prop gun.

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