FALLOUT CONTINUES: Ohio gun reform urged; calls in Texas for Trump to stay away

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s Republican governor bucked his party to call for expanded gun laws Tuesday and some Democrats in Texas told President Donald Trump to stay away as both states reeled from a pair of shootings that killed 31 .

A racist screed remained the focus of police investigating the massacre at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, as further details trickled out on the shooter at a popular nightlife strip in Dayton, Ohio, who was described as fascinated with mass murder.


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged the GOP-led state Legislature to pass laws requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales and allowing courts to restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats.

Persuading the Legislature to pass such proposals could be an uphill battle. It has given little consideration this session to those and other gun-safety measures already introduced by Democrats and DeWine’s Republican predecessor, John Kasich, also unsuccessfully pushed for a so-called red flag law on restricting firearms for people considered threats.

“We can come together to do these things to save lives,” DeWine said.


An ex-girlfriend of the Ohio gunman, 24-year-old Connor Betts, said he suffered from bipolar disorder, joked about his dark thoughts and exhibited a fascination with mass shootings.

The woman, Adelia Johnson, said in an online essay that Betts showed her a video of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on their first date.

She said Betts expressed “uncontrollable urges” that she called “red flags,” which eventually led her to call things off in May.


President Donald Trump was planning visits to both cities Wednesday, an announcement that stirred some resistance in El Paso.

Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso made clear that the president was not welcome in her hometown as it mourned. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who was an El Paso congressman for six years, also said Trump should stay away.

Escobar said Tuesday that victims’ families were already using the city’s newly opened resource center where various government and mental health services have set up booths.

“We’ve got to make sure that folks have access to mental health care. There’s going to be a lot of trauma in our community, a lot of children saw things that no human being should see,” Escobar said.


On Monday, Trump made a vague expression of openness to new gun laws , suggesting a bill to expand gun background checks could be combined with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation’s immigration system but gave no rationale for the pairing.

Studies have repeatedly shown that immigrants have a lower level of criminality than those born in the U.S., both shooting suspects were citizens, and federal officials are investigating anti-immigrant bias as a potential motive in the Texas massacre.

In both El Paso and Dayton, a young white male was identified as the lone suspect. The suspect in the Texas shooting, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, was booked on murder charges. Betts was killed as police quickly swooped in to end his ambush.


Associated Press writers Julie Carr Smyth, Kantele Franko, Cedar Attanasio, Astrid Galvan, Morgan Lee, Paul J. Weber, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire contributed to the contents of this report.



HORROR IN THE HEARTLAND: Student in custody after opening fire at Indiana middle school

Noblesville, In — A male student was taken into custody Friday morning after police say he opened fire inside an Indiana middle school, leaving a student and one teacher critically injured.

Officials say the incident occurred at Noblesville West Middle School at approximately 9:06 a.m.

Both victims were transported to a nearby hospital and their families notified. IU Health Methodist Hospital confirmed that they are treating the adult shooting victim and Riley Hospital for Children confirmed that they are treating the child for gunshot wounds.

Eighth-grader Chris Navarro told WSAZ that he was inside an auditorium when he heard the sound of approximately 16 gunshots about a minute before the bell rang for the change in classes.

“The speaker came on and said we were on lockdown and people rushed in and we went to the back of the room. I went into this little room in the back with three other people,” Navarro said.

Noblesville Police Department Chief Kevin Jowitt told reporters Friday that a male student was detained after a teacher on campus was able to knock the gun from the shooter’s hands. He was unharmed and taken into custody without further incident.

A number of agencies, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, have been brought in to assist in the shooting investigation.

Former governor of Indiana Vice President Mike Pence took to Twitter shortly after news broke of the shooting to offer words of encouragement and support to the Noblesville community.

“Karen and I are praying for the victims of the terrible shooting in Indiana. To everyone in the Noblesville community – you are on our hearts and in our prayers. Thanks for the swift response by Hoosier law enforcement and first responders,” Pence wrote.

The shooter’s age and identity have not yet been released. It remains unclear what motivated the student to open fire.


CAUGHT: Tennessee’s Waffle House shooting suspect taken into custody

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — The suspect who police say killed four people at a Waffle House just outside Nashville on Sunday was arrested Monday afternoon not far from his apartment, the Associated Press reports.

Authorities had been searching for 29-year-old Travis Reinking since a gunman wearing only a jacket used an AR-15 to kill four victims and injure several others at a restaurant in Antioch, Tennessee.

Metropolitan Nashville Police announced Monday via Twitter that the suspect had been taken into custody without major incident. Photos posted by police show Reinking wearing tattered clothing and being placed into the back of a police car.

Abede DaSilva, brother of shooting victim Akilah DaSilva, said he was relieved that the suspected gunman was taken into custody.

“Its a sense of relief, but at the same time, I’m still getting it all processed in my head,” DaSilva told CNN. “It’s just unreal right now,” he added.

So far, police have not announced a motive for Sunday’s shooting.



SHOOTER IDENTIFIED: Police name suspect accused of killing 1, injuring 8 inside Tennessee church

ANTIOCH, TN — Police have identified the gunman who they say opened fire inside a suburban Nashville church.

Officials say the gunman, Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, was taken into custody after he allegedly opened fire after a church service in Antioch. One person has been confirmed dead and at least 8 others are confirmed injured.

“This is a mass casualty situation,” the Nashville Fire Department announced on Twitter. “All of the wounded have been transported to area hospitals. The majority are older adults.”

The incident took place shortly after 11:00 am in the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ just after the morning service had concluded. Witnesses say the gunman was in the church’s parking lot as the service was letting out and shot a woman as she exited the building.

The suspect then entered the building and “began indiscriminately shooting,” say those present.

Among those injured during the rampage were the church’s minister Joey Spann, 60, and his wife, Peggy, 65, said Nashville Christian School in a statement on Facebook. Four others were injured by gunfire and still another was pistol whipped, say police.

An usher inside the church, later identified by police as 22-year-old Robert Engle, confronted the gunman in an effort to stop the carnage, said Don Aaron, a police spokesperson.

“It would appear he was not expecting a brave individual like the church usher to initiate the struggle and confrontation,” Aaron said. As Engle battled Samson for the gun, Samson accidentally shot himself, leading to non-life threating injuries. He has been taken to nearby Vanderbilt University Medical Center under police guard.

“It is our belief that the gunman’s condition is not life-threatening,” Aaron said.

The shooting has rocked the close knit community and those who live there say they are in shock.

“It’s just a little country church,” said Steven Whidby, who lives about six houses from the church. “It’s just a sad day when people do something like that at a church.”

“This is a terrible tragedy for our city,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry in a released statement (http://www.nashville.gov/News-Media/News-Article/ID/6817/Mayor-Megan-Barry-Statement-on-Burnette-Chapel-Church-of-Christ-Shooting.aspx). “My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones. Their lives have been forever changed, as has the life of their faith community at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. My administration, especially the Metro Nashville Police Department, will continue to work with community members to stop crime before it starts, encourage peaceful conflict resolution, and promote non-violence.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R) Tenn., has weighed in on the shooting as well, offering his condolences to the victims via Twitter.

“We are closely monitoring reports of a church shooting in Antioch. As we await more details, please join me in praying for the victims.”

A motive has not yet been revealed and investigators say they are still interviewing witnesses.

All victims were sent to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and are reportedly listed in stable condition, with the exception of David Spann, who officials say remains in critical condition.


HIGH SCHOOL HORROR: 1 Dead 3 injured in high school shooting

ROCKFORD, WA — One person was killed and at least three others were injured Wednesday after a gunman opened fire at a high school in Washington State.

Police say three victims, all believed to be children, have been taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment and are, at last word, in stable condition.

The shooting occurred this afternoon at Freeman High School, which is located in Rockford, approximately 19 miles outside of Spokane.

One fatality, who sources say was a student at the school, has been confirmed and law enforcement officials have taken a suspect into custody.

No other information has yet been made available.