THURSDAY NEWS HIT - The 35-year-old Dearborn man already charged with ethnic intimidation is now facing federal weapons charges for being a felon in possession of a firearm and lying on a federal firearms form.
Hassan Chokr had tried purchasing a shotgun, a rifle, and a semi-automatic pistol on Dec. 2 - the same day he visited the Temple Beth El synagogue in Bloomfield Hills and harassed both pre-schoolers and parents.
He allegedly shouted racist and anti-Semitic threats at those walking into the pre-school. Chokr's interactions with the justice system continued to spiral after he mooned a judge during a separate case days after his arrest.
The U.S. District Attorney has since indicted Chokr on felony gun charges after his visit to Dearborn gun shop, allegedly saying the weapons he was attempting to purchase were for "God's wrath," a witness said.
The guns he was trying to purchase included a 12-gauge shotgun, a 5.6mm rifle, and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Chokr made three false statements on his federal firearms form - any of which would have prohibited him from possession a firearm.
- First, he falsely stated that he had not been previously convicted of a felony
- Second, he falsely stated there were no felony charges currently pending against him
- Third, he falsely stated he had never been committed to a mental institution
"In truth, Chokr was convicted in 2017 of Felony Financial Transaction Device – Stealing/Retaining Without Consent. He also has a charge of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Felonious Assault) currently pending against him in state court," a release from the attorney's office said.
In 2021, Chokr was also petitioned to a mental health treatment facility.
Chokr's request for firearms was denied following a background check at the gun shop - an easy decision for any responsible gun seller, one business owner said.
"Given the situation, it's a plain and simple example of not putting firearms in the wrong hands," said James Robinson of J.R. Firearm Exchange.
He faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 penalty if convicted.
More coverage of Hassan Chokr
- Dearborn man harassed families at Bloomfield Township daycare, police say
- Man charged with ethnic intimidation for threatening families and staff at a Bloomfield Hills synagogue
- Man charged with synagogue threats held on $1M bond - flips off judge
Chokr's interactions with parents in early December is another example of the increase in anti-Semitic threats made against the Jewish community. Sam Dubin of the Jewish Community Relations Council said the man's actions aren't new.
"In some ways an act such as this one at Temple Beth El was shocking, yet unsurprising," said Sam Dubin of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
Chokr will be back in court later this month.
Deputy being investigated in case of dead Pontiac mom and sons
Monica Cannady refused help multiple times from Oakland County Sheriff deputies before she and her two sons froze to death in a park in Pontiac over the weekend. A timeline released by the sheriff's office revealed multiple efforts by deputies to get the 35-year-old woman help.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said there were more sightings of the family on Saturday, with neighbors confirming they were not dressed for the cold. One deputy responded to check out the area where the family was, but did not do a thorough check and did not make contact with the family.
The deputies actions are now being probed by the Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Unit.
"She didn’t appear to be mentally or physically in danger, neither did the kids," Bouchard said. "She was very clear, 'No I’m good, I don’t need anything. Why are you asking me so many questions?'"
Macomb County bank robber posting taunts on Snapchat
A Macomb County bank robbery suspect is "randomly driving around" according to posts he made on Snapchat after the crime. New Baltimore police named 18-year-old Jacob Robert Edwards as a person of interest in a robbery at a Huntington Bank on Washington Street in New Baltimore on Tuesday.
Later that day, a Macomb Township woman captured videos of who appeared to be Edwards on her Ring camera. Edwards lives in Macomb Township and has ties to the neighborhood near 21 Mile Road and Hydenreich where he was possibly spotted.
"Within seconds, people were like 'I think that's a bank robber, I think that's the guy that was wanted.' I was like, wait a minute, what?" Michelle Noyes said. "We kind of ran into the bathroom, a door that had a lock, and we called 911, and they said they'd come check everything out."
The man caught on her camera looked like Edwards and was wearing red shoes like the bank robber. It appears he crashed a truck nearby, a truck he had posted photos of on Snapchat. Police believe Edwards is now in a Volkswagen. He is considered armed and dangerous. If you see him, call 911.
Wedding ring disappears from 92-year-old woman's hand at Monroe nursing home
For 50 years, Sandy Desautels' mother has worn her wedding ring. "My dad’s been dead 10 years in May. My mom was never the same after dad died. She held on to those rings because it held on to my dad," she said.
Desautels said she has never seen her 92-year-old mother without her ring. "Whenever you try to maneuver them, even look at them, if you try to spin them around, she clinches up and she says no. You don’t touch her rings," she said.
However, something happened to the ring and others she wears a week after her mother, who has Alzheimer's dementia, moved into a Monroe nursing home. "I moved the blankets and pulled her hand out, and I froze. The rings were gone" Desautels said. "We realize there were some light scratches on the knuckle there where the ring sat."
Desautels spoke to the nursing home management, but she believes someone stole the ring between her last visit Saturday afternoon and Monday. FOX 2 reached out to the nursing home, which said an investigation is being conducted. However, the nursing home could not confirm or deny if the woman had the rings on when she checked in.
A new Covid variant comes to Michigan
The XBB 1.5 Covid variant is becoming the dominant strand in the United States. Though we didn't see an uptick in Covid cases or hospitalizations after the holidays, doctors believe the variant will lead to an increase.
"So, right now we’re doing great in Southeast Michigan. As a system, we have about 70 Covid patients across our five hospitals," said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, the System Medical Director for Infection Control and Prevention at Henry Ford Health. "I do think that number will increase over the next month as we see more of XBB 1.5."
The symptoms are very similar to the flu or a cold – cough, congestion, and headaches, so Cunningham said people experiencing these symptoms should get tested for Covid. "It’s important to know because you can get medicine that can prevent you from getting worse and keep you out of the hospital," he said.
Doctors believe XBB 1.5 originated in China and for now, has been prevalent on the East Coast, where doctors are paying close attention. "There was a slight uptick in mortality on the East Coast with this variant," Cunningham said. "The good news is that the bivalent booster still seems to be giving protection."
Live on FOX 2
One more day of unseasonably warm weather is here. Thursday will land us in the high 40s with on and off rain throughout the day. But after that, it'll be back to winter for at least the rest of January. Even some snow is likely this weekend.
What else we're watching
- TikTok could be banned from government employee's phones under a new bill introduced in the Michigan legislature. State Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) introduced the bill this week, shortly after Congress introduced a similar measure at the federal level.
- A motion hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. to help figure out if a Van Gogh painting at the Detroit Institute of Art was stolen or not. A Brazilian art collector sued the museum to recover the painting.
- Pączki Day Vodka goes on sale Feb. 3. Bottles are $35 each and expect to sell out fast. Check out the special vodka's release ahead of time during a 4 p.m. media demo in Eastern Market.
- And speaking of booze, Detroit's Atwater Brewery is releasing a new beer that was created by artificial intelligence. Seriously. We'll have more on the future of beer later Thursday.
- The Salvation Army says its nonprofit is about $800,000 short of its annual fundraising goal, announcing it's in dire need of donations to help the community.
Hip hop artist Flo Rida awarded $82.6M in lawsuit against Celsius energy drinks
Hip hop artist Flo Rida, whose real name is Tramar Dillard, was awarded $82.6 million by a south Florida jury on Wednesday after he won a lawsuit against Celsius energy drinks.
Dillard and his production company, Strong Arm Productions, sued Boca Raton-based Celsius Holdings Inc. in Broward County court in May 2021 after claiming the company breached a contract with him and then tried to hide money.
The rapper and singer said the company did not follow through with the conditions stated in an endorsement deal.
"Basically, I helped birth this company, and all we was looking for was some trustworthy people who acted as if they were family," Dillard told The Associated Press. "And then when it comes down to the success of today, they just forgot about me."