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PHENIX, Ala. – An order of protection wasn’t able to prevent the fatal shooting of a Fort Benning soldier who survived two combat tours in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Brandyn Paonessa, 26, was killed Thursday in Phenix, Ala., and his wife was charged with the murder. Brittnay Ryals Paonessa, 27, was jailed on $150,000 bond.

The Afghanistan veteran obtained an order of protection just three days prior to the shooting. His petition called her “very mentally ill” and “very unstable” and said she had refused treatment help from a rehabilitation center, WTVM reported.

Moreover, Paonessa accused his wife of stalking him, his family and friends, threatening his Army employment and running a “truck into the house,” narrowly missing their children, an infant, a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old and an 8-year-old, the station reported.

Brittnay Ryals Paonessa and Brandyn Lloyd Paonessa (Lee County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

A statement from Fort Benning expressed condolences to the sergeant’s family and friends, according to the news agency.

“Paonessa was assigned to Task Force 1-28, 3rd Infantry Division,” the statement said. He joined the Army in 2013 the same year he and Brittnay married.

Paonessa was reportedly shot in the stomach with a shotgun blast. The murder weapon was recovered at the scene. Deputies found him in the yard in front of his home.

Brandon Lloyd Paonessa and his wife Brittnay Ryals in happier times. (Facebook)

The Birmingham News reported that court records show the couple had a history of marital discord.

He was arrested last year on a domestic violence charge after she accused him of punching her in the stomach, the paper reported. She said he assaulted her because she had looked through his cellphone but then declined to press charges, leading to the case getting dismissed.

The post Wife booked for murder of husband who survived two combat tours in Afghanistan appeared first on Law Officer.

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DALLAS – Officials in Dallas have identified the person who they say opened fire at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in downtown Dallas.

The FBI says Brian Isaack Clyde was killed after a gunfight with federal officials outside the building, reported CBS DFW.

Dozens of Dallas Police Department cruisers and emergency vehicles from Dallas Fire Rescue were on the scene after the active shooter situation at the building, which is in the 1100 block of Commerce Street.

FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno explained at a press conference, “Shortly after the incident began this morning officers from the Federal Protective Service engaged the shooter who was later identified as Brian Isaack Clyde. He was taken to Baylor hospital and pronounced deceased on scene.”

Active Shooter Incident Downtown Dallas: There has been an exchange of gunfire between a suspect and federal officers. The suspect was shot and transported to an area hospital. No officers or other citizens injured.

— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) June 17, 2019

U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox wanted to calm the fears of those in the area. “The federal building was shot on by an active shooter,” she said. “Law enforcement responded immediately and I want to assure the community, especially our downtown community, that the community is safe.”

Video captured on cell phone by Dallas resident Tim Brown shows a masked person outside, armed with some type of long-rifle, firing near an entrance to the building. The sounds of gunshots can be heard and smoke can be seen coming from several feet away, as the gunman runs across the street into a parking lot and collapses.

Witnesses say authorities performed CPR on active shooter after he was shot by officers outside Downtown Dallas federal courthouse and taken to a hospital pic.twitter.com/bnvZ7Pgje6

— J.D. Miles (@jdmiles11) June 17, 2019

“I just saw a burst of people running out and a round of shots,” witness Don Myles told CBS 11. “It was just shots, maybe 10 to 15 shots all rapid shooting, and I just ran across the street into the traffic.”

All of the streets surrounding the federal building were closed as police activity unfolded.

Officials say no officers or citizens were injured during the incident.

Members of the FBI just briefed media on the situation downtown Dallas. pic.twitter.com/g54upNr0xo

— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) June 17, 2019

Because the shooting happened on government property, the investigation has been handed off to the FBI. The ATF, Federal Protective Service, U.S. Marshals and the Dallas Police Department will assist them.

The post Gunman Killed at Federal Building in Dallas appeared first on Law Officer.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thousands of court cases heard by a former southern Ohio judge are being considered for review after the judge’s family accused him of repeatedly coming to work drunk.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the state public defender’s office was overseeing the review of all 2,707 cases before Scioto County Common Pleas Court Judge William T. Marshall, 62, which involved prison time or other court supervision. At least 1,200 of those cases reportedly were heard since Marshall was first hospitalized for alcoholism in 2013, according to USA Today.

As the Enquirer reported, Marshall’s family filed guardianship papers in February that sought control of his personal and financial affairs. They argued that Marshall “reportedly has had many occasions where he either failed to appear for work as a common pleas judge or showed up to work while under the influence” and claimed that without a guardian, the judge would “want to return to drinking and continue his self-inflicted death sentence.”

(Flickr-Karen Neoh)

Court documents indicated that Marshall has been hospitalized at least three times since 2013 and was ordered to rehab as part of his sentence for driving under the influence following a car crash.

“That’s [2013] when we have concrete evidence that his drinking was severe enough to be severely interfering with his life and potentially with his ability to make fair choices from the bench,” Ohio Public Defender Tim Young told the Enquirer.

Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman expressed skepticism about the review, telling the Enquirer, “I don’t think there are going to be that many if any cases that have problems. Everything is written down, recorded on video and on audio … obviously [Marshall] had an issue but that it won’t turn out to be as big an issue as they are making it.”

Former Scioto County Common Pleas Court Judge William Marshall (Facebook)

Messages from Fox News seeking comment from Marshall or his attorney were not returned.

In March, the Enquirer published an investigation indicating Marshall was involved in a sex-trafficking ring based in the southern Ohio city of Portsmouth. The report cited a federal wiretap affidavit against a prominent local defense attorney, Michael Mearan, which alleged Mearan promised his female clients that he would arrange lenient sentences and probation requirements for them from friendly judges and parole officers so long as the women would agree to be pimped out.

The affidavit mentioned a judge, whom some women identified to the Enquirer as Marshall, who acted “in collusion” with Mearan and received women from him. Three different women said they had been approached to either have sex with Marshall or work as a prostitute for Mearan.

The judge denied any involvement, telling the Enquirer: “Are you serious? I would never do anything like that.”

Marshall spent 16 years on the state bench before his retirement last year. Weeks later, the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct suspended Marshall from practicing law for six months after the judge “improperly confronted” Ohio State Highway Patrol officers who had written his daughter a speeding ticket.

“I didn’t like the trooper,” Marshall told a county prosecutor when asked about his behavior, according to The Enquirer. “He didn’t listen to me. There used to be a code in this county  – I’m a judge and he shouldn’t have written my daughter [the ticket.]”

The post Thousands of court cases under review after judge reportedly came to work drunk appeared first on Law Officer.

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PALM BAY, Fla. – Let’s play, “Name the Crime.” Try to guess what crime the guy in the feature image was arrested for. Based upon his bizarre appearance, you are probably not far off.

A Florida man arrested in the theft of stolen pool floats. Yet here is the punch line. He told police he used the inflatables for sex instead of raping women, court papers show.

Christopher Monnin, 35, was charged Thursday with entering backyards of homes with pools in Palm Bay and stealing only flotation devices, according to the arrest affidavit, Sebastian Daily reported.

(Pexels)

“Defendant stated that he sexually gratifies himself with the pool floats instead of raping women,” the affidavit said.

Monnin was on a bike when cops stopped him at 1:25 a.m. Thursday as a suspicious person. They found him in possession of a garbage bag full of deflated pool floats, the affidavit said.

Palm Bay has been plagued with the theft of pool floats in more than a dozen reported burglaries in the past seven months, according to the affidavit. In some cases the thief cut a screen door to gain access to the pool area.

Christopher Monnin, 35, told police he used the inflatables for sex instead of raping women. (Brevard County Sheriff’s Office)

The affidavit stated that police found approximately 75 pool floats in a vacant house where Monnin admitted to stashing them.

He was arrested on charges of burglary, criminal mischief and petit theft and booked into the Brevard County Jail on a $15,000 bond.

The Sebastian Daily reported that in one of the burglaries Monnin was accused of stealing a bacon-shaped pool float. Try not to let your imaginations run wild!

The post Can you guess what crime this guy was arrested for? appeared first on Law Officer.

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LEBANON, Ind. – Two grandparents went into defensive mode when a man entered their home and tried to kidnap their 6-year-old granddaughter.

Police say the man broke into an apartment in Indiana and claimed their granddaughter was actually his daughter.

Benjamin Dillon, 37, was arrested by officers, but not before the girl’s grandparents could get their hands on him, reported ABC 7 Chicago.

Police said the girl and her grandmother were sleeping in the back bedroom when Dillion broke into their apartment.

“I was sound asleep in my bedroom,” said the grandmother. “This guy comes kicking in and says, ‘You got my daughter,’ I was nervous, very nervous. I was shaking so bad.”

The woman who lives at the home called police as her husband tried to get the man out of the apartment.

Once responding officers arrived, they say Dillion threatened police and tried to fight them.

A booking photo of Dillon shows he sustained multiple injuries to his face as a consequence.

The would-be kidnapper, Benjamin Dillon, 37, was arrested by officers, but not before the girl’s grandparents could get their hands on him. (Lebanon Police Department, Indiana)

Lebanon police say Dillion faces multiple charges, including counts of burglary, intimidation and resisting law enforcement.

The post Grandparents defend granddaughter from would-be kidnapper appeared first on Law Officer.

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LEBANON, Ind. – Two grandparents went into defensive mode when a man entered their home and tried to kidnap their 6-year-old granddaughter.

Police say the man broke into an apartment in Indiana and claimed their granddaughter was actually his daughter.

Benjamin Dillon, 37, was arrested by officers, but not before the girl’s grandparents could get their hands on him, reported ABC 7 Chicago.

Police said the girl and her grandmother were sleeping in the back bedroom when Dillion broke into their apartment.

The woman who lives at the home called police as her husband tried to get the man out of the apartment.

Once responding officers arrived, they say Dillion threatened police and tried to fight them.

A booking photo of Dillon shows he sustained multiple injuries to his face as a consequence.

(Lebanon Police Department, Indiana)

Lebanon police say Dillion faces multiple charges, including counts of burglary, intimidation and resisting law enforcement.

The post Grandparents defend granddaughter from would-be kidnapper appeared first on Law Officer.

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I have three adult children, two of whom are boys that refer to me as Pops. Their term of endearment makes me beam with delight.

My children sustained decades of highs and lows as a law enforcement family.

So with parenting primarily in the rearview mirror and, Lord willing, many years ahead in my role as “Papa” to at least three grandkids thus far, I offer a prayer on Father’s Day.

Pops’ Father’s Day Prayer

Father in heaven, I humbly bow before Your thrown of grace on this day;

To acknowledge …
  • You are God Almighty, I am not;
  • I cannot be an earthly father without heavenly help;
  • My inadequacy is evident, yet I’m fully sufficient through you.
To give thanks …
  • For the opportunity to be called Dad-Pops-Papa;
  • For the warmth and love shown by those who refer to me in these affectionate terms;
  • For decades of giggles, laughs, hugs, and yes, even tears over the years;
  • For memories that I hold dear from our lives together;
  • For the spirit of thanksgiving that comes from a grateful heart;
  • For a lifelong relationship with the mother of my children and “Mimi” to our grandkids;
  • For grace that has been extended to every member of our family in one form or another.
To ask …
  • For a shroud of protection surrounding those I love so much;
  • Mercy for each one as we stumble;
  • Wisdom to avoid the same obstacles that caused a fall;
  • For character development as a priority over our physical comfort;
  • An insatiable thirst for godly values;
  • Our daily bread along with the ability to recognize when it arrives;
  • An eternal perspective during the aging process;
  • A spiritual connection that makes each one embrace a relationship with your Son;
  • Illumination that shines truth on our lives;
  • Eternal hope that is tangible, even though it’s untouchable.
Amen

“Children are a gift from the Lord.” 

– King Solomon

May God bless you as you as celebrate today with the Father(s) in your life.

– Jim McNeff

(Feature image: U.S. Air Force Public Affairs)

The post Pops’ Father’s Day Prayer appeared first on Law Officer.

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My Dad is a cop. He was nearly killed when I was 9-years-old. My story begins the night we received the phone call.

Mom left earlier in the day for an out of town work conference. Dad was assigned to day watch at the time, which meant he’d typically be home about 6:00 p.m. if all went well.

I have two older siblings, a brother who was 11-years-old, and sister who was 13 at the time. Since Mom left earlier in the day, and Dad wouldn’t arrive home until after “1800” as they call it, we had a teenage friend hanging out with us.

This is me playing the drums when I was 9-years-old. (Photo courtesy McNeff family)

Father in Uniform

There is something cool about having a father who is a cop. The badges, uniform, police car, guns; it’s all pretty sweet. I loved visiting him at work. He let us play with his handcuffs and SWAT gear. On occasion he’d put us in the back of his police car, or a jail cell when taking friends on a tour of the police department. It was a little creepy, but I never worried when my dad was around.

These were the badges worn by my dad during his career. (Photo courtesy McNeff family)

The Phone Call

And then the phone call came about 7:00 p.m.

I’m unsure what my dad said to our babysitter, but we had to turn off the TV and wait. He told her that he would be home really late … way after we should be in bed, and that Mom was on her way home.

He wanted us to know he was all right, but wouldn’t be able to see us until the next day.

The sequence of events wasn’t at all unusual … at least the part about coming home late. But I knew if my mom was driving home from her event about three hours away, something was up.

Fatigue

When we awoke the next morning, Dad was there. His sleepless eyes, and fatigued body told me he had probably been up all night, something we saw on occasion. But when he saw us rumble downstairs, he managed a week smile and hugged each one of us.

Did You Catch the Bad Guys?

My mom was now home, so we asked if he “caught all the bad guys.”

“You bet I did,” were his words as he gave each of us a high-five. “One of them tried to hurt me real bad yesterday, but God chose me for victory, and I won.”

Hmmm, curious words … although we are a family of faith in God and attend church regularly, his explanation caught me off guard.

Of course God chose you to win, I thought. You always win. You’re invincible!

When we pressed for more of the story, he simply said, “God chose me to win and the bad guy died. That is all you need to know for now.”

Okay … sweet … just as I thought, my dad is a superhero.  

Conversations Not Meant for 9-Year-Old Ears

Yet over the course of the next few days, I overheard conversations that were not meant for me. Everyone wanted to talk to my “pops.” And whether he was on the phone, or in another room, the words from his loud voice floated through the air so I began to piece things together.

“Large double-headed lumberjack style axe” … 

“Nearly split me in half” … 

“Broken ribs … detached labrum” … 

“It’s a miracle the axe didn’t dislodge my weapon” … 

“Easily could have been my last day” … 

“The round that saved my life” … 

“One shot in the head” … 

“Severed the brain stem and he dropped like an accordion” … 

And then words that would paralyze me for several months:

“My kids nearly lost their dad. This would probably have been the day of my funeral.”

Yikes! I’m not sure what’s going on, but I don’t like any of this. Since I wasn’t supposed to hear these conversations, my 9-year-old mind didn’t know what to do with the information.

So I stuffed it … I buried it deep … so far down that I couldn’t tell people where it was or how to get there.

All I knew was my mom and dad were never going to leave my sight. … NEVER AGAIN.

Separation Anxiety

Without explanation, whenever they tried to drop me off at school or church, I went into a panic attack. My body trembled and tears began to flow. I grabbed their arms and legs and was not about to let go. This was separation anxiety in its’ truest form.

In patient frustration, they tried to figure out what was going on. After all, from their perspective, I was unaware of the violent details that nearly claimed my dad’s life, so that wasn’t the problem. Right?

But what was?

They asked every conceivable question trying to figure out what was wrong. Was it Mom returning to work? … a bully? … the shooting? … No, no, no I told them. Yet I really didn’t have the answers.

My Dad went into full-on-detective-mode. He thought someone must’ve molested me, so we went through the list of potential suspects and conversations about keeping secrets. “No, that isn’t it” I exclaimed in exasperation.

But like most children who are unable to voice their anxiety, I finally put it in the form of art.

Art Project

I had a fourth-grade art project that asked how I would help Native Americans had I been one of the original Pilgrims. Easy! I’d help them plant corn, water their crops, hunt for food, erect teepees, … SHOOT THEM IN THE HEAD!

Yep, that is what I included several pages into my report. After all, my dad helps people and he had to shoot someone in the head. So while I cannot psychologically explain my thought process that is how it played out.

Open House

When my parents visited open house at school a few weeks later, my dad was scrolling through the report when he came upon this page.

He showed it to my mom, and the riddle was finally solved. It wasn’t the shooting that left me catatonic, but the thought of losing my dad.

My Dad Was Nearly Killed

They had a chat with my teacher who already knew something mysterious was going on. But she was unaware of the fatal shooting that saved my dad’s life. Yet now the cause of my turmoil had been discovered and we were able to treat it.

My parents have a friend who is a therapist. She came to our house and worked with me over the course of several weeks. Moreover, my parents prayed that God would simply erase my memory.

My parents at the Medal of Valor ceremony in 2002. (Photo courtesy McNeff family)

Root Cause of Anxiety

Once we worked through the root cause of my anxiety, I quickly returned to the normal kid I had been prior to overhearing the devastating news.

About a year later, my dad began preparing for a promotional exam. As a result, he studied during times we normally spent together, and I felt left out. Although I always referred to him as “Dad,” and never by his first name, suddenly I felt compelled to action.

Yellow Post-It Notes

I wrote about 15 yellow post-it notes referring to him by his first name. In each note I asked him not to promote. If the promotion took my dad away, I wasn’t interested.

(Courtesy McNeff family)

A child psychologist later told us by using his first name was my way of trying to enter his adult world. After all, that is how other adults referred to him, so that is how my childhood brain tried to get his attention.

The perspective I have shared is that of a 9-year-old. I continued in childhood as a good student in school and played baseball, football, and soccer. In high school I academically excelled while playing volleyball and wrestling.

Fast Forward 17 Years

Moreover, I went to college and graduated with a degree in English. I now live in the world of a 26-year-old man who teaches and ministers to children. Furthermore, I was married to a beautiful woman, Erice, a few years ago.

Here I am walking the beach with my new bride in 2017. (Dillon Phommasa Photo courtesy McNeff family)

This is a family pic at my 2017 wedding. Since it was held at the beach, Pops (old guy with gray hair, third from the left) was able to wear informal attire. (Courtesy McNeff family)

Finally, while I have expressed the perspective of a young boy, honestly it is not my own. While this is a true story, I don’t remember anything more than scant details regarding the post-it notes. I have chronicled the events as they’ve been pieced together for me as an adult. Even though my dad kept one of the notes in his locker for the duration of his career, my memory is vague. And yes, my mom still has my fourth-grade Native American project. But my parent’s prayers were answered. I don’t remember any of the details that brought anxiety or caused me to tremble before marching into the world of a 9-year-old.

———

Jordan McNeff is the son of a retired police lieutenant, author, and Law Officer collaborator, Jim McNeff. Jordan graduated from Vanguard University with a bachelor’s degree in English. He currently works in ministry at Mariners Church in Southern California.

———

(Dillon Phommasa Photo courtesy McNeff family. Feature image is Jim and Jordan McNeff at Jordan’s wedding in 2017.) 

The post My Dad Was Nearly Killed When I Was 9-Years-Old … This Is My Story appeared first on Law Officer.

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FLORIDA – Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial measure on Friday that blocks localities from becoming sanctuary cities and mandates they cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

“I am proud to sign the bill presented to me by the Florida Legislature to uphold the rule of law and ensure that no city or county jurisdiction can get in the way of Florida’s cooperation with our federal partners to enforce immigration law,” DeSantis said in a statement on Friday.

“This is about public safety, not about politics. We must do everything within our power, and use all the tools available to us, to ensure that our communities are safe.”

According to Fox News, the bill targeted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. These are requests by the federal agency for local and state governments not to release immigrants suspected of criminal offenses—something ignored by many jurisdictions, prompting fierce criticism from the president and earning them the title of “sanctuary jurisdictions.”

The bill narrowly passed the state’s Senate (22-18 vote) and made it through the House with more than a 20-vote margin. “This bill isn’t anti-immigrant and it’s dangerously disingenuous to suggest otherwise,” Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, R-DeLand, reportedly said.

Nevertheless, the Southern Poverty Law Center is among groups that opposed the law. The group’s senior policy counsel, Scott McCoy, reportedly accusing DeSantis of using “racial grievance to drive a wedge between Floridians.”

(Department of Homeland Security)

McCoy claims, “It undermines public safety making our towns and cities less safe by requiring local law enforcement to spend less of their time and resources fighting crime in local communities and more on doing the work of federal immigration authorities.”

Yet police officers nationwide have voiced opinions that align with Gov. DeSantis, according to experts at Law Officer and Badge 145.

The new law will likely face legal challenges as well, attracting more attention to an issue President Trump has brought to the fore by, among other things, harping on the tragic death of Kate Steinle in California.

Training opportunities:

As expected, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) blasted the measure as “unconstitutional.”

“The law is anti-immigrant, unconstitutional, inhumane, and hurts our families and communities,” the ACLU of Florida said on Twitter.

Should the ACLU and others sue, it would serve up another potential case for the nation’s courts to look at on this issue. Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department faced a legal battle after it cut off federal grants to cities that refused to cooperate with immigration enforcement. It also sued the state of California in 2018 over its sanctuary policies.

Florida’s law came as President Trump’s administration struggled to meet the demands of a growing migrant crisis in which authorities ran out of time and space for housing illegal immigrants. Trump previously suggested that he would send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities, allegedly including two South Florida counties that included Broward and Palm Beach. However, the administration later denied it had plans at the time to transfer migrants to those counties.

(Feature image credit: Open photo-Michael Jastremski)

The post Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Blocks Sanctuary Cities appeared first on Law Officer.

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Authorities say a Tarrant County deputy who was found with “significant injuries to his head” was pronounced dead Friday night at a Fort Worth hospital.

The deputy was identified as Sgt. Keith Shepherd, a 19-year veteran with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office.

“I can tell you what I know about Keith is that he had a great reputation at the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Bill E. Waybourn said. “He was a strong leader. He was loved. He was a great husband and a good father.”

Waybourn said Shepherd had gone to lunch Friday but never returned to the Sheriff’s Office, reported WFAA.

Fort Worth police said they received a call at about 9:27 p.m. that a Tarrant County deputy was found shot in the sheriff’s parking lot, located in the 100 block of Burnett Street, according to the report.

#Developing : The police are in a parking garage right across the street from the Tarrant County Jail, the Courthouse, and just down the street from the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office. pic.twitter.com/GHFLbUhSm4

— Alex Rozier (@RozierReports) June 15, 2019

“He was found in his vehicle with blood outside the vehicle and blood inside the vehicle,” Waybourn said. “And nobody knows what happened there. And the officers that found him immediately began to do emergency medical procedures on him.”

As a result, Shepherd was transported to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

While police said there was no suspect information at this time, Waybourn said he believed there was no immediate threat to the public.

Waybourn said the Fort Worth Police Department would take the lead in the investigation.

The post Tarrant County deputy dies after found shot in Fort Worth appeared first on Law Officer.

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