A man beheaded a woman in her Long Island, N.Y., apartment late Tuesday and then dragged the body and head out onto a street, where onlookers initially thought they were witnessing a macabre Halloween prank, police and witnesses said.
The suspected killer, who was not identified, jumped in front of a commuter train near the Farmingdale, N.Y., home moments later, killing himself, Nassau County police said. Police said the woman appeared to be in her 60s, while the killer appeared to be around 30. It was not clear what prompted the murder suicide or what the relationship between the two was.
Witnesses told the New York Post they saw the man drag the woman’s body out of the building and onto the street, where he kicked her head some 20 feet before going to a nearby railroad track and jumping in front of an eastbound Long Island Railroad train approximately 25 minutes later. Police said his body was found about a mile from the apartment.
On the street in front of the apartment, witnesses described a gruesome scene first thought to be part of a prank.
“There was blood all over the floor,” neighbor Nick Gordon told the Post. “You can see smears going down the stairs … as if somebody were pulling a body.”
Witnesses told the Post that some of the woman’s neighbors initially thought the headless body in the street was a Halloween prank, only to discover the body was real after attempting to lift it.
Police did not initially cite any connection to terrorism, although the incident recalled last month’s horrific attack in Moore, Okla., in which an ex-con and recent convert to Islam beheaded a former co-worker at a food processing plant. Also last month, a 25-year-old British man beheaded an 82-year-old woman who was gardening in her yard when she was attacked.
Every military in the world worth its epaulets is investing in drones. Now sensing that drones could be a threat to U.S. troops, the Marines are working on a laser to zap them out of the sky.
Above: Standard military predator drone.
It’s called GBAD — for ground-based, anti-air directed energy weapon. The Pentagon’s Office of Naval Research announced in June it had awarded a series of contracts for the laser, which the Marines hope will augment a looming future shortage of anti-air Stinger missiles.
ONR has tested some components for the weapon already, and wants to carry out field experiments with a 10-kilowatt laser later this year. In two years time, it wants to triple the laser’s power to 30 kilowatts.
Eventually, the Marines want the entire weapon to weigh less than 2,000 pounds and fit inside a Humvee and its replacement, the still-in-development Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
Here’s how this weapon would conceivably work on the battlefield. At any given time, several thousand Marines are floating around the world’s oceans aboard amphibious assault ships. In the event of a crisis, the Marines are — along with the Navy’s aircraft carriers — one of the two deadliest kinds of tools the president can order off a nation’s coastline.
This means the Marines are an expeditionary force. But Marine reconnaissance units landing on a beach or entering hostile territory for the first time could be easily spotted by drones — which are increasingly being deployed by more and more nations. The GBAD is supposed to destroy these kinds of drones.
The branch is looking to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to handle detecting and tracking incoming drones, and then beaming that data down to GBAD units. The office has also selected the drone-tracking RPS-42 radar to help out on the ground.
Right now, the leathernecks in Low-Altitude Air Defense battalions train to shoot down drones with shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. But in the coming years, the Stinger stockpiles will begin running low. According to a 2013 report from the service, Marine stockpiles in 2019 will drop below the 1,081 Stingers mandated by the Pentagon’s War Reserve Munitions Requirement.
This has led the branch to extend the service life of these launchers by upgrading their day/night sights, as well as relying on .50-caliber and 7.62-millimeter machine gun rounds to destroy drones at ranges of less than 500 meters. And, of course, developing lasers to do the job.
The Navy is working on lasers for ships, as well. The sailing service plans to deploy one aboard the transport ship USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf this year.
But ground-based lasers are trickier. Energy weapons require a lot of power, and you’re relying on small vehicles instead of a huge warships to lug the weapon and power supply around. High altitudes also lower combustion pressures, which makes generators work less efficiently.
This has been an issue with another drone-tracking radar known as G/ATOR. The Marines developed the radar in part to track small drones, but its 60-kilowatt power supply began weakening at altitudes greater than 4,000 feet.
If the Marines want to zap drones in the mountains, it’ll have to make some trade offs. You don’t want a glorified flashlight, but a laser that is too powerful to work up high isn’t much better.
Below: GBAD prototype.
SEMPER FIDELIS. ALWAYS FAITHFUL.
Latin for “always faithful,” Semper Fidelis became the Marine Corps motto in 1883. It guides Marines to remain faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what.
This is one of my personal favorite USMC cadence songs of all.
Who do you think won? The United States Marines or The South Korean Army?