Things That Matter

A Houston Car Salesman had to Fight for His Life after a Test Drive Gone Terribly Wrong

A car salesman in Houston, Texas had to fight for his life when a “customer” on a test drive physically attacked him in an attempt to steal the car. But the car salesman, Jose Martinez, wasn’t going down without a fight.

Jose Martinez, 22, is a car salesman at Gillman Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Houston, Texas.

Around 6 p.m. on Monday night, a “customer” came to the dealership and asked Martinez if he could test drive a Dodge Challenger.

During the test drive, the “customer” drove down a dark, small road. Martinez became suspicious of the “customer” and asked for the keys to the car. Moments later, two other people showed up and attacked Martinez.

Martinez was tied up with tape and his own belt before being thrown in the trunk, which he was able to get out of almost instantly.

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Credit: Fresh Prince of BelAir / NBC Productions / NiQstheMan / Reddit

“I asked them why they were doing it while I was in the trunk. They told me to stop asking questions,” Martinez told KHOU. “They were taping me up and I said do you want money? What do you need? Let me go you can have the car. They said ‘No, you’re coming with us.'”

Luckily, Martinez had the awareness to call his general manger to let him know what was happening.

At some point, the kidnappers stopped the car because they heard Martinez escaping.

Martinez popped the trunk from the inside and was chased by the three men. That’s when one attacker dropped a gun. Martinez picked it up and fired at his attackers.

Here’s a “reenactment” of Martinez’s epic escape.

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Credit: Mike Tyson Mysteries / Adult Swim / miketysonmysteries / Giphy

The three suspects ran from Martinez and stole the car which was later found abandoned. Authorities are still looking for the three men, but Martinez says he never got a good look at their faces.

Check out the news report below:


Credit: skynewsofficial56 / YouTube

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A Hiker Found The Decapitated Body Of a Man In Los Angeles’ Griffith Park

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A Hiker Found The Decapitated Body Of a Man In Los Angeles’ Griffith Park

@juan4prez / Twitter

A hiker in Los Angeles was horrified to find a decapitated and dismembered body in Griffith Park, near the intersection of Griffith Park Drive and Camp Road, on Monday morning. Around 9 a.m., the hiker encountered the body of a white or Hispanic man who seemed to be in his forties or fifties, immediately reporting it to local police. A homicide investigation was launched according to protocol, though Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Ryan Rabbet did tell the media that investigators do not believe a crime was committed. As of now, detectives are investigating the possibility that the victim had been living near the park in a homeless encampment.

Although the police don’t believe that foul play was involved, they cannot yet say for sure what the cause of death was.

Credit: visitcalifornia.com

Because the body was found in Griffith Park, authorities have suggested that the body may have been mutilated by wildlife—though, based on the wildlife that inhabit the park—this outcome is somewhat unlikely.

According to LAPARKS.org, Griffith Park is home to a variety of mammalian species, including mule deer, raccoon, coyote, gray fox, opossum, skunk, bobcat, and mountain lion. While raccoons can be aggressive, deaths that result from a raccoon encounter are usually due to the contraction of rabies following a bite. In the case of coyotes, the only known fatal coyote attack on an adult occurred in 2009, when Canadian country folk singer Taylor Mitchell was mauled by several coyotes on Cape Breton Highlands National Park‘s Skyline Trail in Nova Scotia. The only remaining animals that could have decapitated and dismembered the body found on Monday are bobcats or mountain lions—and even that is dubious.

Although bobcats and mountain lions have been known to attack humans, it happens very rarely. Both feline species are largely solitary. They normally hunt at night and hide out during the day, generally avoiding humans unless infected with rabies, which can make them unusually aggressive (in this case, they have been known to occasionally attack unprovoked). Three has never been a fatal mountain lion attack in Los Angeles County, and fewer than thirty in all of North America, according to the Mountain Lion Foundation.

Plus, there is only one known mountain lion currently living in Griffith Park—a male known as P-22, whose past diet and behavior patterns do not suggest he would have attacked a human.

Credit: Steve Winter/National Geographic

While it could still be possible that a wild animal caused this man’s death, officials have speculated that a homeless person may have died of other causes in or near the park, only to be later dismembered by an animal—not only was the body’s head missing, but various body parts were also found scattered throughout the surrounding area. The man is estimated to have died two to three days before the body’s discovery.

“The evidence suggests that the person had passed away and animals may have gotten to it, possibly a homeless individual staying up in the area,” said LAPD Lt. Ryan Rabbet.

 Still, detectives are proceeding with a murder investigation.

Griffith Park is located in city Council District 4, which has seen a 53% increase of homeless populations just this year—the highest jump in all of Los Angeles.

Credit: Los Angeles Times

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority, Council District 4 has seen a 111% increase of Hispanic/Latinx homeless populations between 2018 and 2019—the highest of any ethnic group. As a way of addressing the current boost in homeless numbers, City Councilman David Ryu proposed the construction of a new housing shelter on the southern end of Griffith Park. The shelter, as it’s been proposed, would be able to provide 100 people with shelter, and while the project could cost up to $4.6 billion, officials say that it would be fully funded through the city’s “A Bridge Home” program, which receives funding through California’s state budget surplus. According to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s website, Los Angeles alone received $85 million in 2018 and $124 million from the state in 2019 to bring our unhoused neighbors indoors. 

The “A Bridge Home” program was first introduced by Garcetti in April of 2018 as an initiative to implement temporary emergency shelters throughout the city. Each shelter is scheduled to remain for a period of three years. The first shelter was erected in September of last year, and five additional shelters have emerged since then.

When speaking about the forthcoming shelter in Griffith Park, David Ryu said, “In times of crisis, parks have always helped meet our highest challenges and serve our greatest needs. By opening up this lot to Bridge Housing, we will not only meet the crisis of our time, but we will also help build community around this shared purpose of ending homelessness.”   

Seven Men Sentenced To Up To 50 Years For The Murder Of Honduran Environmental Activist Berta Caceres

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Seven Men Sentenced To Up To 50 Years For The Murder Of Honduran Environmental Activist Berta Caceres

Berta Caceres Flores / Facebook

Seven men were sentenced to up to 50 years in prison in a Honduras court on Monday for the 2016 murder of the environmental activist Berta Caceres. Four of the men, Elvin Rápalo, Henry Hernández, Edilson Duarte, and Oscar Torres Velásquez, who were identified as the hitmen hired to shoot Caceres dead in her own home, were sentenced to 34 years in prison each.

An additional 16 years and four months were handed down to them for the attempted murder of Mexican environmentalist Gustavo Castro, who was also with Caceres during the shooting. Three more prison terms of 30 years were handed down to other individuals that played a part in the murder including an officer, an ex-soldier, and a manager of the dam project that Caceres opposed. The three men reportedly paid the four gunmen $4,000 to kill Caceres because of her activism work. 

The slaying of Berta Caceres, then-45, brought international outrage and protests as she became a well-known women’s rights defender and indigenous lands rights activist. 

Caceras, a member of the Lenca indigenous community, may not have been a household name but her impact in the world of environmental rights was certainly felt. She was one of the co-founders of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, a grassroots organization that advocates for the rights of indigenous people. Caceras gained notoriety by protesting the company Desarrollos Energeticos (DESA), which had planned to create the $50 million Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam across from the Gualcarque River. Various indigenous communities depend on the river staying clean and healthy and free-flowing to sustain their communities.

“The river is like blood running through your veins. It’s unjust. Not only is it unjust, it’s a crime to attack a river that has life, that has spirits,” Caceres told Aljazeera in 2016. 

The building of the dam would have had major impact on water, food and medicine for her Lenca people and even caused flooding. One of her successful protests included placing a roadblock that halted construction workers from reaching the dam building site. After almost 10 years of opposition, the Chinese state-owned company Sinohydro, who was jointly developing the dam project with DESA, pulled out of the project citing community resistance. 

Her activism and work in stopping the building of the dam gave Caceres notoriety and international attention. Caceres was awarded the Goldman environmental prize in 2015 for her role in preventing the building of the dam. The project was suspended shortly following her untimely death.

Authorities have connected her death directly to her activism work against the failed dam project.

The individuals behind the death of Caceres were connected to executives that were connected to DESA and the failed dam project. The reasoning behind the plotted murder was due to multiple delays and financial losses that were linked to protests that Caceres was behind. Back in November 2018, a Honduran court convicted the seven men for the attack. 

“From the outset, the path to justice has been painful, as our rights as victims have not been respected. These sentences are a start in breaking the impunity, but we’re going to make every effort to ensure that all those responsible – the company executives and state officials identified in the trial – are prosecuted,” Bertita Zúñiga, Cáceres’ second-eldest daughter, said after the men were charged on Monday. 

While Caceres’ family is happy to see some justice be delivered, Zúñiga still believes the real culprits behind her the murder still on the loose. She has previously blamed the Atala-Zablah family, a well-known Honduran business group and DESA shareholders, as the ones behind her mother’s murder. 

“This is a day of pain because the intellectual authors of my mother’s murder are still enjoying impunity,” Zuniga said to reporters. “We are not going to believe that there’s true justice until these people are in jail.”

Despite this tragedy, Zuniga is not letting her mother’s legacy go to waste.

The message that Caceres spread of protecting indigenous communities still lives on according to her daughter, who continues to do similar work. She is committed to keeping her mother’s legacy alive and remembers her for the amazing impact she had on marginalized communities around the globe. 

“I remember her as a hardworking person. But I also remember her with a big smile on her face, because I believe that this struggle cannot be just to martyrize ourselves. We fight with joy and hope because if we do not, more than half of the struggle is lost,” Zúñiga told EarthJustice. “We always say that the image of my mother multiplied because we found her present in the struggle of so many women from so many communities who continue to fight very hard.

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