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10 most-read online stories for 2015

By Scott Brunner
Dec. 31, 2015 at 12:19 p.m.
Updated Dec. 31, 2015 at 12:19 p.m.

News-Journal photos

As 2015 nears a close, we are taking a look back at some of the area's most important stories from our coverage. One way we measure performance of a story on the website is by looking at how many people read it. These ten stories were our top this past year in terms of how many times readers like you clicked on them.

1. Longview officers fatally shoot woman who threatened them at station (Jan. 22)

Shortly before 8 p.m. on a rainy night in January, the Longview Police Department building on Cotton Street was locked down after what turned out to be the fatal officer-involved shooting of 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard.

No police were injured in the Jan. 22 shooting in the lobby of the building, which happened after the teen picked up the red phone twice, asking to speak to an officer.

Police later revealed that Coignard had "I have a gun" written on her hand and released surveillance video that showed Coignard lunging toward an officer with what police said was a butcher knife she had tucked in her waistband.

The story garnered international attention and spurred debate about whether the incident could have been handled in a way that might not have ended with Coignard's death. Demonstrations also were staged in the police department parking lot.

In July, the parents of Coignard filed a federal lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages. Later that month, the city of Longview filed a motion to dismiss part of the lawsuit, which named it, then-police Chief Don Dingler and the officers involved in the shooting as defendants.

2. Longview gang members of interest in Smith County shooting (Sept. 15)

The Smith County sheriff said at a press conference in September that five young men from Longview and surrounding areas with ties to known street gangs were persons of interest in an Aug. 29 shooting at a truck stop near Tyler that left one person dead and another injured.

3. Charleston church shootings have connection to Longview (June 22)

A manifesto purportedly by the suspect in a deadly South Carolina church shooting shows his views were rooted in those of a nationalist website run by a group whose president lives in Longview.

In the manifesto, what appears to be Dylann Roof wrote in the second paragraph that he first learned about "brutal black on white murders" when he saw the website of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

The Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) is a political organization that supports a lot of conservative causes along with white nationalism and white separatism. The group’s president is Earl Holt III who now lives in Longview.

4. Aunt says Longview teen killed at police department suffered from ‘mental illness’ (Jan. 26)

The aunt of 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard, who was fatally shot by police in January in Longview, said the teen had been struggling with mental illness, including depression and bipolar disorder.

Heather Robertson said Coignard had been hospitalized twice in recent years and had been taking medication and regularly seeing a therapist before the Jan. 22 incident in the lobby of the Longview Police Department.

5. Longview animal hospital fire ‘just devastating’ (June 9)

A late night fire on June 9 destroyed Kimbrough Animal Hospital in Longview and killed 38 of 40 animals at the clinic when the blaze started.

Dr. Kenneth Kimbrough, owner of the clinic in the 1600 block of Judson Road, worked alongside firefighters trying to save the animals.

A candlelight vigil was held for the animals the week after the fire, and the clinic has been operating out of Gindy’s Pet Express since.

6. Missing Liberty City teen home after 7 months (Nov. 27)

Paiglynn Raymond, 16, was reunited with her family in November after they spent seven months looking for the teen. She was home just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with them.

7.Iconic Longview restaurant Johnny Cace's to close doors in March (Jan. 20)

Owner Cathy Cace and General Manager Chelsea Cace announced in January that Johnny Cace's Seafood & Steak House would close March 28.

The first fine-dining restaurant in perhaps the region, Johnny Cace's opened in 1949. Since then, it has been the destination for anniversaries, engagements, graduations and special occasions, as well as everyday lunches, dinners and meetings.

8.Police: Teen fatally shot by officers had ‘I have a gun’ written on hand (Jan. 28)

Days after a 17-year-old was fatally shot by officers in the lobby of the Longview Police Department, officials released a detailed account of what happened that night along with surveillance video from the department lobby.

A department spokeswoman also confirmed at that time that Kristiana Coignard had "I have a gun" written on her hand when officers responded to her request for help in the lobby.

9. East Texas police chief urges residents to arm themselves (Dec. 7)

On Dec. 7, Hughes Springs Police Chief Randy Kennedy urged residents to arm themselves against terrorists after listening to President Barack Obama's address in the wake of a massacre in San Bernardino.

The chief urged residents to apply for concealed handgun permits and stand ready to help him or other officers in the event of similar violence.

10. Longview police shoot, injure suspect in break-in (Nov. 17)

On the morning of Nov. 17, police had cordoned off the entire parking lot of Academy Sports and Outdoors in Longview, along with the parking lot of the shopping center that contains Best Buy and a neighboring restaurant.

Hours later, police confirmed that officers had that morning been in an exchange of gunfire with a man who had broken into Academy. When officers responded to an alarm at the business a shootout and foot chase ensued that ended with Nathan David Lanicek, 35, calling 911 from the roof of nearby Best Buy.

Lanicek was taken to Longview Regional Medical Center and was later released and booked into the Gregg County Jail on two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant.

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