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California shooting: 4 dead; gunman tried to enter school

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A gunman killed four people and injured two children, in a shooting rampage in Tehama County on Tuesday morning before he was fatally shot by law enforcement.  Authorities described a chaotic scene in which a gunman in a stolen car appeared to pick targets at random in the rural Northern California county. They said the shootings appear to have begun as a “domestic violence incident,” but did not provide details.

The gunman was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies. His name has not been released. The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office said that it was dealing with seven crime scenes and that 10 victims were being treated for injuries.  Officials don’t have a motive for the attack but said the gunman seemed to fire at random and might have been in some type of dispute with neighbors.

The gunfire began minutes before 8 a.m. off Bobcat and Fawn lanes in Rancho Tehama, near Red Bluff, about 120 miles northwest of Sacramento. Authorities received a call of a “man down,” officials said. The gunfire awoke John and Ronda Root, who live nearby.  It was a sound they were accustomed to in the rural neighborhood of Rancho Tehama, where lots of people own guns. Neighbors are known to fire them off at night with some regularity, said Ronda Root. Another neighbor, Reta Sweeney, said she’s been hearing semi-daily gunfire in the evening and at night for more than a month.

FBI agents are seen behind yellow crime scene tape outside Rancho Tehama Elementary School after a shooting in the morning on November 14, 2017, in Rancho Tehama, California Four people were killed and nearly a dozen were wounded, including several children, when a gunman went on a rampage at multiple locations, including a school in rural northern California.  So when the gunfire started, John, known as “Big John” to his neighbors, was angry. He stomped onto his porch and started yelling.  “Hey! Don’t make me come down there and take that gun away! It’s 7:30 in the morning!”

It quickly became clear that the noise wasn’t coming from an early morning target practice. The shooting stopped, then started again, then stopped again, then started again. John Root said he heard at least three different kinds of firearms. “Gunfire like crazy. One bang after another,” he said.

By the time police arrived the shooting had stopped and the gunman was gone. The shooter stole an unoccupied white F-150 pickup truck “and went on a shooting rampage throughout the community,” said Tehama County’s assistant sheriff, Phil Johnston.

Authorities would not say exactly where the man opened fire in the area, but said it was spread across seven crime scenes that included the local elementary school about two miles from where the rampage began. At one point, officials said, the shooter returned to Bobcat Lane with the truck, but crashed it and then carjacked a sedan and continued his assault.

In between the two locations, authorities said the gunman drove down the street firing at random houses and cars and even shot at a mother taking her son to school who drove past him.

“She was transporting her children to school, driving down the road, passed by the [gunman’s] vehicle and he opened fire on them without provocation or warning,” Johnston said.

The boy, who was sitting in the back seat, was expected to survive. His mother, however, suffered “very life-threatening” injuries, Johnston said.  At the school, the gunman fired into buildings from outside, Johnston said. One boy in a classroom was wounded, but survived.

No children were among the dead, he said. There was also no apparent motive for the assault.  “We know of no real connection to any of the victims,” he said. “Most of the victims in this case appear to be random selections.”

“It was all over in about 45 minutes,” Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.

A semiautomatic rifle and two handguns were recovered after deputies shot and killed the gunman.

“I have to tell you I am personally grateful to the men who engaged this suspect,” Johnston said. “It’s a tragic event, but I am personally grateful for engaging such a terrible, a mass murderer really. That’s what he is.”

Tiffany Rodgers, 33, said the community of 1,200 is close knit, coming together even to hold a Christmas parade, decorations not required. She and her husband have lived here seven years, raising four children on a farmstead and running one of the few businesses in community, a small coffee and sandwich shop behind a thrift store.

Cellphone service is largely non-existent. Residents rely on a Facebook group page to share news, make requests to borrow ingredients when cooking, and post what they hear on the police scanner. While her husband was outside their coffee shop monitoring the path of gunfire beyond the trees across the road, she went to that site, and saw the active shooter warnings.

“We heard 20 more shots. We could hear kids screaming Get Down. I could hear kids screaming. I could hear commotion and shots,” she said. “At that point my husband and the road crew ran across the street, we could see a guy on the airstrip screaming help, about half way down. We heard a car squeal, some more shots, a dog yelp.”

She continued her account: “Silver car flew past us up the hill with a shot out window. About three minutes past that, sheriffs made it on here.  “We could hear everything, it is so quiet here. “Then we could hear the gun battle. Minimal 10 shots. After that main exchange I heard no more.” She paused.    “I just want to make sure this town doesn’t get a bad name. Such a beautiful, remote community and this happens everywhere,” she said. “And I’m really hoping they don’t go for the gun violence portion of this, either, because it’s not a gun. I own guns. I take my kids shooting. It’s the person. and sometimes bad things happen.

“It’s not the gun, it’s not mental illness. It’s not anything, it’s just life unfortunately.” Five of the shooting victims were taken to Enloe Medical Center and three have since been released, the hospital said. Dignity Health said its facilities received five victims and two have been transferred to other hospitals.

“We have assembled our resources, including staff and specialists, and are working closely with local facilities and agencies to help during this time,” Dignity Health said in a statement.  Nearby residents and business owners said they heard at least 100 gunshots.

“I thought this only happens to places like L.A. or New York,” Jose Garcia, owner of La Fortune Convenience, told the Los Angeles Times.

Coy Ferreira, a parent at the school, told KRCR-TV that he heard a series of gunshots through a classroom window and saw one young boy shot in the foot and chest and a second student shot in the arm. Both were alert and conscious, he said.

Gov. Jerry Brown released a statement expressing shock at the violence. “Anne and I are saddened to hear about today’s violence in Tehama County, which shockingly involved schoolchildren. We offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones and unite with all Californians in grief,” he wrote.   Sen. Kamala Harris said on Twitter: “Heartbroken by the news of a shooting at an elementary school in Rancho Tehama. Grateful to the officers and first responders on the scene. I am closely monitoring the situation.” Vice President Mike Pence also posted on Twitter. “Saddened to hear of the shooting in  N. California, the loss of life & injuries, including innocent children. We commend the effort of courageous law enforcement. We’ll continue to monitor the situation & provide federal support, as we pray for comfort & healing for all impacted.”

 

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Atlanta News & Entertainment

BREAKING: Cobb DA Joyette Holmes Named Prosecutor In Ahmaud Arbery Case

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Georgia’s attorney general will appoint a new prosecutor in the Ahmaud Arbery case.

Attorney General Chris Carr will name Cobb District Attorney Joyette Holmes to take over the case, Belcher learned.

Belcher spoke to Holmes, who did not deny it but instead just referred him to the current special prosecutor, Thomas Durden.

The official announcement is expected later today, Belcher said.

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was killed by a father and son as he jogged through their Glynn County neighborhood back in February. A video shot on a cellphone showed the confrontation between Arbery and the McMichaels after they confronted him with guns. It took 74 days for the McMichaels to be arrested and charged for Arbery’s death.


Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34

The McMichaels say that they suspected Arbery had broken into a home nearby that is under construction. Authorities said the McMichaels, thinking he was a burglary suspect, pursued him.

Arbery was shot and killed moments later.

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Fauci warns reopening states: ‘You can’t just leap over things’

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Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that states reopening their economies “can’t just leap over things” that would potentially allow the coronavirus to rebound.

In an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” show, Savannah Guthrie asked Fauci whether the states that are beginning to reopen have the capability to do contact tracing and Fauci responded that while he can’t go through a list state by state, he urged states that don’t have that capability to “go very slowly.”

“You can’t just leap over things and get into a situation where you’re really tempting a rebound,” he said. “That’s the thing I get concerned about. I hope they don’t do that.”

Fauci said states should follow federal guidelines and only begin to reopen if they have a two-week decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases. He cautioned that states must have the capability of identifying, isolating and contact tracing people who test positive because “there will be blips — there’s no doubt.”

“When you pull back, there will be cases,” Fauci said.

As for a vaccine to prevent the coronavirus, Fauci confirmed that he has been working on the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” project that is seeking to move up the timeline of a drug as quickly as possible.

Asked if he thinks developing hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine is doable by January, Fauci said, “Yeah, I do, Savannah.”

Fauci said that the U.S. is in the early phases of a trial for a vaccine and once researchers move into the next phase, they’re going to go “as quickly as we possibly can” to determine whether it’s safe. If they think that might be the case before that testing phase is completed, Fauci said the U.S. will start preemptively ramping up production of the vaccine in the hopes that it will work.

“I think that is doable if things fall in the right place,” he said about a January timeline.

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Las Vegas mayor faces backlash over plan to reopen amind coronavirus pandemic

Much of the criticism of Carolyn Goodman stems from a pair of television appearances.

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When Carolyn Goodman began her week, the independent mayor of Las Vegas probably didn’t anticipate that in a matter of days she would become one of the most-talked about public officials in the national conversation surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Only now she is, and in the eyes of critics, for all the wrong reasons.

It all stemmed from a pair of remarkable TV appearances — first on Tuesday with MSNBC’s Katy Tur and then Wednesday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, in which she doubled down on her head-scratching plan to reopen the city’s casinos and hotels with no apparent guidelines in place to ensure safety.

On Wednesday, Nevada’s leaders united to send the three-term mayor a pointed message: Not so fast.

“We are clearly not ready to open,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) told Cooper Wednesday night, noting the number of coronavirus-related deaths and infections in the state are still climbing. According to the most recent figures kept by the state, Nevada has more than 4,000 reported cases and 187 reported deaths.

“We will rebuild our economy,” Sisolak said. “Las Vegas will continue to thrive, but I can’t do that if I lose more people. We need to protect their health and their well-being.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), whose district includes Las Vegas, echoed Sisolak’s comments, stressing in a separate CNN interview with host Don Lemon that lifting restrictions has to be done “the right way.”

“You can’t open up too soon,” she said, because doing so could “cause death or health problems for individuals and then the economy will tank even worse and it will take us longer and be harder to come back.”

Meanwhile, Nevada’s largest union issued a harsher critique, calling Goodman’s remarks “outrageous.” In a statement, the Culinary Workers Union said it has lost 11 members to the coronavirus.

The rebukes of Goodman came at the end of a yet another whirlwind day for the mayor, who this week injected herself into the ongoing national debate over how to balance mitigating the country’s coronavirus outbreak against rising concerns of economic depression by pushing to reopen Las Vegas’s casinos and hotels under the assumption that “everybody is a carrier” of the new virus.

“Let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down,” Goodman, 81, told MSNBC’s Tur on Tuesday. “It’s that simple.”

Those comments raised eyebrows, and ridicule, nationally. While other public officials have urged swift reopenings of local business, most have based their argument on the idea that it’s safe to do so. Meanwhile, Goodman is advancing what Tur described as a “modern-day survival of the fittest.”

But rather than retreat into a moment of self-examination or soul-searching amid the outcry, Goodman wasted no time venturing onto a show hosted by one of television’s cleverest interviewers, who has voiced outrage at the acts of officials elsewhere who seem to be rushing to reopen.

Cooper gave her 25 minutes, a supersized segment by TV standards. It was no contest.

She swiftly went off the rails. He alternated between dramatic expressions of exasperation and bewilderment. Over the course of the interview, Goodman, who has been a vocal critic of Nevada’s lockdown order, argued that the responsibility is on businesses, not her, to find a way to open safely and appeared to suggest she had offered her city to be a “control group” for the virus.

“We offered to be a control group,” she said. “I did offer. It was turned down.”

Wednesday’s interview began amicably enough until Cooper started pressing Goodman about whether it is safe for her to be “encouraging hundreds of thousands of people” to flock to casinos where they will smoke, drink, gamble, touch slot machines and breathe recirculated air for hours on end before returning to their home states and countries.

“Doesn’t that sound like a virus petri dish?” Cooper asked.

“No, it sounds like you’re being an alarmist,” Goodman shot back.

This back-and-forth played out throughout the interview: Goodman trying to stay on message against Cooper as he voiced and displayed through facial expressions ever-mounting incredulity. At one point, he even took off his glasses to rub his eyes with both hands.

Any semblance of a conventional interview vanished entirely when Cooper displayed a graphic that showed how the virus could spread from a single carrier in a restaurant in China to multiple diners nearby, prompting Goodman to cut in.

“This isn’t China,” she interjected, “this is Las Vegas, Nevada.”

“Wow, okay, that’s really ignorant,” Cooper said. “That’s a restaurant, and yes it’s in China, but they are human beings, too.”

Not long after the interview, Goodman was trending on social media as many viewers dissected her performance.

“Anderson Cooper may have just ended her career,” tweeted professional poker player Daniel Negreanu. “I couldn’t imagine a public official coming off worse in an interview. There should be a mercy rule.”

Cooper, however, wasn’t the only person put off by Goodman’s remarks Wednesday.

While the mayor doesn’t have jurisdiction over the Las Vegas Strip, the four-mile stretch of hotels and casinos is south of the city limits in unincorporated Clark County, her comments prompted full-throated rebuttals from state leaders Wednesday night, who urged people to continue following social distancing guidelines.

“We need to send a sincere message and a consistent message,” Sisolak, the Nevada governor, told Cooper. “It’s difficult when we get one person that’s leading people astray, and I’m disappointed in that.”

Sisolak and Titus, the Nevada representative, were also taken aback by Goodman’s apparent suggestion that Las Vegas could be a virus “control group.”

“I will not allow the citizens of Nevada, our Nevadans, to be used as a control group, as a placebo, whatever she wants to call it,” Sisolak said.

Later on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,” Titus urged Goodman to “listen to the scientists and the health-care specialists and stop talking about my constituents as though they’re guinea pigs in some grand experiment that she’s trying to conduct.”

Goodman also drew ridicule from one other high-profile figure Wednesday: late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who grew up in Las Vegas.

On Twitter, Kimmel slammed the mayor as “dangerously misguided,” writing, “I am not easily shocked anymore, but the interview she is doing … right now is bonkers.”

“Carolyn Goodman should resign before lunch arrives today,” he wrote in another tweet. “She is an embarrassment to my hometown.”

He went on to revisit Wednesday’s interview in a scathing monologue on his ABC show.

“Mayor Goodman has a lot of thoughts,” he said, “and the one thing those thoughts have in common is that none of them make any sense.”

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