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19 children, 2 teachers killed in mass shooting at Texas elementary school

Authorities say the death toll from a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school shooting now stands at 19 children and two teacher, after a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Uvalde is located about 85 miles west of San Antonio and about 50 miles east of the Mexican border. At least six victims had been publicly identified by family members:  third grade student Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10; and fourth graders Uziyah Garcia; Xavier Lopez, 10; and Amerie Jo Garza, 9; were among the 19 students killed, relatives confirmed to news outlets. Family members also identified the two teachers as Eva Mireles, a 17-year educator who taught fourth grade, and Irma Garcia, who taught at the school for 23 years.

Speaking at a news conference shortly after the mass shooting, Texas Governor Greg Abbott identified the shooter as Salvador Ramos, a resident of Uvalde. He said the 18-year-old was killed by law enforcement officers, two of whom also sustained minor injuries. Abbott said Ramos entered the school with a handgun and possibly a rifle. The Texas Department of Public Safety said the suspect shot his grandmother before he drove toward the school;  after he apparently crashed nearby, he went to the campus and opened fire.

The assault at Robb Elementary School was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago. Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent, announcing that all school activities were canceled until further notice, saying: “My heart is broken today. We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”

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NYPD confirm suspect in New York City subway shooting is in custody

A suspect in the unprovoked fatal shooting of a man on a Q train in New York City is in custody. Law enforcement sources identified the suspect as Andrew Abdullah, a 25-year-old man from Brooklyn with about 20 prior arrests, including an outstanding gun charge from last year. He also has prior arrests for assault, robbery, menacing and grand larceny, sources said.

Abdullah has three cases that are still pending, including an April arrest for fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property for allegedly being found with a stolen motorcycle, as well as a June 2021 arrest for violating a protective order and March 2021 arrest for assault.

Abdullah arranged a surrender through his pastor to officers at the 5th precinct. The New York Police Department had released surveillance photos Monday of the suspect believed to have shot 48-year-old Daniel Enriquez, taken shortly after he exited the subway.  Detectives have also recovered the gun used in the shooting, which the suspect allegedly handed to a homeless man as he fled the Canal Street station. Sources say the homeless man then apparently sold the gun for $10 to a third person, who reported it to police.

Witnesses say the suspect was pacing back and forth in the last car of a Manhattan-bound train around 11:45 a.m. when he pulled out a gun and fired it at Enriquez unprovoked. A motive for the shooting is still unknown.

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D.C. Attorney General sues Mark Zuckerberg for Cambridge Analytica data leaks

Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, claiming decisions that he made in 2018 allowed Cambridge Analytica to expose millions of users’ personal data. The suit, filed Monday in the District of Columbia Superior Court, charged the Facebook founder with violations of the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act for failing to protect Facebook users’ data before and after the Cambridge Analytica leak. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has not commented about the lawsuit.

Racine said in a news release:  “The evidence shows Mr. Zuckerberg was personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect the privacy and data of its users leading directly to the Cambridge Analytica incident. This unprecedented security breach exposed tens of millions of Americans’ personal information, and Mr. Zuckerberg’s policies enabled a multi-year effort to mislead users about the extent of Facebook’s wrongful conduct.”  Racine said he filed the lawsuit against Zuckerberg after evidence surfaced during the ongoing litigation that showed a failure to protect user’s personal and consumer privacy: “This lawsuit is not only warranted, but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions.”

In December 2018, Racine filed a lawsuit against Facebook, after Cambridge Analytica shut down over accusations it data-mined 87 million Facebook users. Cambridge Analytica said a “siege of media coverage” of its dealings with Facebook had driven away customers, leaving the company no longer viable. In 2019, Facebook settled with the Federal Trade Commission for $5 billion over the company’s handling of the Cambridge Analytica leak.

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1 dead, 2 seriously injured after 4 people fall down 300-foot cliff in Southern California

Los Angeles police said that four people — two men and two women — plunged at least 300 feet over the side of a cliff in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. Monday morning, leaving one dead and three people injured on a beach below an ocean cliff early Monday. Two of the people suffered traumatic injuries while the fourth person suffered a minor injury and was able to walk away. The deadly fall happened around 4:45 a.m., about an hour before sunrise. First responders began their rescue and recovery operation around 5:45 a.m.

Reports state that one person was hoisted from the bottom of the cliff by a helicopter, and brought to the top of the cliff, while a second person was airlifted straight to the hospital. A second person was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Both people taken to the hospital are in critical condition.

No car was involved in the fall, and L.A. County Fire officials say they all appeared to have been on foot. Palos Verdes Estates is on the Palos Verdes Peninsula at the south end of Los Angeles County. A trail runs along the bluff top high above the Pacific Ocean. The area where the fall happened was described as very unstable, with very loose soil, and no fencing in the area.

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Suspect still at large in fatal shooting on NYC subway that killed one passenger

A suspect is still at large while New York City Police officers continue the search for a gunman who shot and killed a subway passenger, in what investigators describe as an unprovoked attack. Emergency responders attended to the victim at the scene, and he was transported to Bellevue Hospital, where he later died. His identity has not yet been released. No others were injured in the shooting.

NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey announced at a press conference that the suspect was pacing back and forth in the last car of a Manhattan-bound Q train as it crossed over the Manhattan Bridge around 11:45 a.m. Sunday when he pulled out a gun and “without provocation” fired it at a 48-year-old passenger at close range, striking him in the chest, witnesses told investigators.  When the train pulled into the Canal Street station — the first Manhattan stop on the Q line — the suspect fled. NYPD Chief Corey described  the suspectas dark-skinned with a beard and “heavy-set” and last seen wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt, gray sweatpants and white sneakers. Preliminary information suggests there was no prior contact between the victim and suspect.

Sunday marks the second New York City subway shooting in recent months. On April 12, 10 people on board the N train were shot as it approached the 36th Street station in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. The alleged gunman, Frank James, is being held without bail on charges of carrying out a terror attack against a mass transit system and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

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78,000 pounds of baby formula shipped from Germany arrives in the U.S.

A shipment of infant formula arrived in Indianapolis on Sunday, in the hopes of helping to alleviate the nationwide formula shortage. A C-17 cargo plane that originated in Switzerland was trucked to Germany where it was loaded with the formula and flown to the United States. The shipment contains hypoallergenic formula that will be fed to babies intolerant of protein in cow milk.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the shipment of 78,000 pounds of specialty infant formula arrived in Indiana on Sunday morning.  Jean-Pierre added that the formula was manufactured in an FDA-approved facility and would be inspected on arrival: “We prioritize this for the first shipment because this formula type serves a critical medical purpose and is in short supply in the United States as the result of the Abbott Sturgis plant closure,” she said.

President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter on Sunday: “Folks, I’m excited to tell you that the first flight from Operation Fly Formula is loaded up with more than 70,000 pounds of infant formula and about to land in Indiana. Our team is working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.”

A Biden administration official told CNN that the formula contained in the shipment will be distributed to hospitals, doctors, home healthcare facilities and pharmacies, with none making its way to store shelves.  Indianapolis was chosen as the arrival site for the formula, which includes Nestle Health Science formula, as a Nestle distribution site is located in the city. A Nestle spokesperson said: “Some cases are ready for distribution in the next couple of days. Others will be released into the supply chain after standard quality testing is completed.”  FedEx partners will assist with the sorting and distribution of the formula.

The United States has been facing a formula shortage since Abbott Nutrition, the largest infant formula manufacturer in the United States, announced a recall of several lines of powdered formula on Feb. 17, after they were linked to infections in infants.

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House Democrats pass bill against gas price gouging with no votes from Republicans

The U.S. House on Thursday passed a bill to prevent gasoline price gouging with a vote of 217-207; no Republican voted in favor of the bill.

Sponsored by Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash., and Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., the bill would make it illegal to sell gas at an excessive price during an energy emergency. Schrier said in a statement: “At a time when people in my district and across the country are feeling the pain of high prices at the gas pump, Congress needs to be doing all we can to bring down costs.”  She added that the FTC needs to have the power to investigate and crack down when there’s evidence of real gouging.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise wrote to Republican members that the bill was an “attempt by the Majority to distract and shift blame” for high gas prices, saying that there was no evidence of gas price gouging.

The Consumer Price Gouging Prevention Act of 2022 would give the president the power to issue an emergency declaration that would make it unlawful to hike gasoline and home energy prices “in an excessive or exploitative manner.”  It would also give the FTC more tools to crack down on price gouging, allowing the FTC to prioritize enforcement action on big oil and gas companies. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Texas, was one of four Democrats who voted against the bill, saying: “The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act would not fix high gasoline prices at the pump, and has the potential to exacerbate the supply shortage our country is facing, leading to even worse outcome. For these reasons, I voted no on this legislation today.”

The national average gas price by Thursday afternoon was $4.58 cents per gallon for regular; the price for diesel was $5.57 per gallon. Market analysts have said Russia’s Ukraine invasion and the pandemic recovery are the primary drivers of higher gas prices.

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Grand jury indicts suspect in Buffalo, N.Y. supermarket mass shooting

The white teenager accused of killing 10 black people at a Buffalo, New York supermarket appeared briefly in court on Thursday, after a grand jury indicted him on a first-degree murder charge. Assistant district attorney Gary Hackbush said the indictment of the suspect, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, was handed up Wednesday. At his initial court appearance last week, the suspect’s court-appointed lawyer entered a plea of “not guilty” on his behalf.

Gendron, wearing orange clothing and mask, was silent throughout the proceeding and sent back to jail.  In New York, prosecutors can charge a defendant with first-degree murder only under special circumstances, which includes multiple people being killed in one single incident.  Thirteen people were shot Saturday at the Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo. Authorities are continuing to investigate the possibility of hate crime and terrorism charges.

Gendron live-streamed the attack from a helmet camera before surrendering to police outside the grocery store. Prior to the deadly attack, he had posted hundreds of pages of writings to online discussion groups where he detailed his plans for the assault and his racist motivation. Investigators have been examining those documents, which included a private diary he kept on the chat platform Discord. The accused gunman’s online writings said he planned the assault after becoming infatuated with white supremacist ideology he encountered online. Discord confirmed Wednesday that an invitation to access his private writings was sent to a small group of people about 30 minutes before the assault began, but it remains unclear how many read what he had written or logged on to view the assault live. It also unclear whether anyone tried to alert law enforcement.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has authorized the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, to investigate social media platforms used by the suspect to determine if they were liable for “providing a platform to plan and promote violence.”

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House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on the future of abortion care access

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on abortion rights in the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicating five justices are poised to reverse Roe vs. Wade. Abortion-rights supporters said that right is an individual liberty; while anti-abortion activists said there is no individual liberty unless government prevents abortions.

Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. said in opening remarks: “The decision to become a parent belongs to the individual. She may consult with her doctor or her loved ones to inform that decision, but the decision belongs to her.” Nadler said overturning Roe vs. Wade would take that power away from women and give it to the state: “Bodily autonomy is a prerequisite for liberty.”

Committee ranking member Rep Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, disagreed, stating in his opening remarks: “You never have a real liberty, you never have true freedom, if government won’t protect your most fundamental right, your right to live.”  Jordan also said Democrats in the House have blocked the House from considering a Senate-passed measure providing extra security for Supreme Court justices as the justices face protests at their homes over the leaked opinion.

Americans United For Life President and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster told the House Judiciary Committee: “The truth is, abortion is always damaging and deadly. To speak for the violence of abortion is to speak for injustice.” Foster said the anti-abortion rights movement wants “a true constitutional order that equally protects all members of the human family.”

University of California Irvine School of Law Professor Michelle Goodwin told the House Judiciary Committee that if Roe vs. Wade abortion rights are lost, poor women will suffer most: “For poor women, particularly women of color, the loss will be deadly. This is the coming of the new Jane Crow.”  Professor Goodwin said that over the past 15 years there have been nearly 50 bombings of abortion clinics, where doctors, nurses and security guards have been killed. in addition to threats and mass shootings at abortion clinics.

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Ex-Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane pleads guilty to manslaughter in the death of George Floyd

One of the Minneapolis police officers involved in the deadly arrest of George Floyd two years ago has pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of aiding and abetting manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

The former police officer, Thomas Lane, entered the plea to second-degree manslaughter in Hennepin County court to Judge Peter Cahill, the same judge that presided over the criminal trial of Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for close to 10 minutes and caused his death during an arrest; he was convicted last year on state murder and manslaughter charges and sentenced to more than 22 years in prison.

Lane pleaded guilty on Wednesday in exchange for a three-year prison sentence to be served concurrently with his federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights. That sentence has not yet been imposed. Also as part of the plea, prosecutors will drop a charge of aiding and abetting second-degree unintentional murder.

Former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng are also scheduled to stand trial next month on state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. All three were found guilty in federal court in February of violating Floyd’s civil rights during the May 2020 arrest. Last week, a federal judge accepted a plea deal for Chauvin in which the former officer will receive a sentence of between 20 and 25 years for violating Floyd’s civil rights.

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