2 mass shootings in less than 24 hours shock US; 29 killed
It took just 30 seconds in Ohio and zero bullets in Texas for officers to stop two mass shooters this weekend, but not before 29 people were killed and about 50 injured in less than 24 hours.
Officers gunned down the Ohio shooter at the doorstep of a bar-turned-hiding place in the middle of Dayton’s nightclub district, and arrested the El Paso shooter as hundreds fled a crowded shopping centre. Though the two attacks staggered a nation accustomed to gun violence, the bigger shock may have been that the death toll wasn’t worse.
In the Texas border city of El Paso, a gunman opened fire Saturday morning in a shopping area packed with thousands of people during the busy back-to-school season. The attack killed 20 and wounded more than two dozen, many of them critically.
Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman wearing body armour and carrying extra magazines opened fire in a popular nightlife area, killing nine and injuring at least 26 people.
The attacks came less than a week after a 19-year-old gunman killed three people and injured 13 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in California before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Classmates: Ohio shooter kept a ‘hit list’ and a ‘rape list’
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — High school classmates of the gunman who killed nine people early Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, say he was suspended for compiling a “hit list” of those he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of girls he wanted to sexually assault.
The accounts by two former classmates emerged after police have said there was nothing in the background of 24-year-old Connor Betts that would have prevented him from purchasing the .223-calibre rifle with extended ammunition magazines that he used to open fire outside a crowded bar. Police on patrol in the entertainment district fatally shot him less than a minute later.
Both former classmates told The Associated Press that Betts was suspended during their junior year at suburban Bellbrook High School after a hit list was found scrawled in a school bathroom. That followed an earlier suspension after Betts came to school with a list of female students he wanted to sexually assault, according to the two classmates, a man and a woman who are both now 24 and spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern they might face harassment.
“There was a kill list and a rape list, and my name was on the rape list,” said the female classmate.
A former cheerleader, the woman said she didn’t really know Betts and was surprised when a police officer called her cellphone during her freshman year to tell her that her name was included on a list of potential targets.
Shooting victims include a mom who died protecting her baby
In the border town of El Paso, Texas, a shooter opened fire and left 20 people dead and more than two dozen injured. Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, a shooter killed 9 people and injured at least 27 others.
Here are some of their stories:
JORDAN ANCHONDO: ‘GAVE HER LIFE’ FOR HER BABY
Jordan Anchondo was among those killed in El Paso, Anchondo’s sister said, and she apparently died while protecting her 2-month-old son from the hail of bullets.
Leta Jamrowski of El Paso spoke to The Associated Press as she paced a waiting room at the University Medical Center of El Paso, where her 2-month-old nephew was being treated for broken bones — the result of his mother’s fall.
Life in public-shooting-era America: ‘You can’t just not go’
Ohio: A bar district where friends gathered for drinks on a warm Saturday night. Texas: A Walmart stocked with supplies for back-to-school shopping on an August morning. California: A family-focused festival that celebrates garlic, the local cash crop.
Two consecutive summer weekends. Less than seven days. More than 30 fellow human beings gone in moments, in public places exactly like those where huge swaths of the American population go without a second thought.
Or perhaps not. Perhaps no longer. Have we crossed into an era of second, third, even fourth thoughts?
“I don’t like to go out, especially without my husband. It’s really scary being out by myself,” preschool teacher Courtney Grier, 21, said Sunday outside a grocery store in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where a gunman killed 12 in a city building in late May.
But, Grier says, “You still have to go to the grocery store to get dinner. You can’t just not go.”
Trump tweets, stays out of sight for hours after shootings
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — As the nation reeled from two mass shootings in less than a day, President Donald Trump spent the first hours after the tragedies out of sight at his New Jersey golf course, sending out tweets of support awkwardly mixed in with those promoting a celebrity fight and attacking his political foes.
Americans did not glimpse the president in the immediate aftermath of a shooting in El Paso, Texas, that killed at least 20 people and, hours later, one in Dayton, Ohio, that claimed at least nine lives. Not until Trump and the first lady prepared to fly back to Washington in the late afternoon Sunday did he appear before cameras.
“Hate has no place in our country, and we’re going to take care of it,” Trump declared before boarding Air Force One.
While connecting “hate” and mental illness to the shootings, Trump made no direct mention of gun laws, a factor brought up by Democratic officials and those seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Trump’s reelection next year. He also ignored questions about the anti-immigration language in a manifesto written by the El Paso shooter that mirrors some of his own.
Trump tried to assure Americans he was dealing with the problem and defended his administration in light of criticism following the latest in a string of mass shootings.
Seoul says US, SKorea preparing joint military drills
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea and the United States are preparing to hold their annual joint military exercises despite warnings from North Korea that the drills could derail the fragile nuclear diplomacy, Seoul’s military said Friday.
Choi Hyun-soo, spokeswoman of Seoul’s Defence Ministry, said the exercises will be focused on verifying Seoul’s capabilities for its planned retaking of wartime operational control of its troops from Washington. She did not confirm or deny reports that the drills, which are expected to be computer simulated and not involve actual combat troops and equipment, began on Monday.
North Korea recently has been ramping up its weapons tests, including two test firings of what it described as a new rocket artillery system last week, while expressing frustration over the continuance of U.S.-South Korea drills it sees as an invasion rehearsal and also the slow pace of nuclear negotiations with the United States.
North Korea had said it will wait to see if the August exercises actually take place to decide on the fate of its diplomacy with the United States and also whether to continue its unilateral suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests, which leader Kim Jong Un announced last year amid a diplomatic outreach to Washington.
The allies have scaled down their major military exercises and also stopped regional dispatches of U.S. strategic assets such as long-range bombers and aircraft carriers since the first summit between Kim and President Donald Trump in Singapore in June last year to create space for diplomacy.
Nuon Chea, ideologue of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, dies at 93
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Nuon Chea, the chief ideologue of the communist Khmer Rouge regime that destroyed a generation of Cambodians, died Sunday, the country’s U.N.-assisted genocide tribunal said. He was 93.
Nuon Chea was known as Brother No. 2, the right-hand man of Pol Pot, the leader of the regime that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The group’s fanatical efforts to realize a utopian society led to the death of some 1.7 million people — more than a quarter of the country’s population at the time — from starvation, disease, overwork and executions.
Researchers believe Nuon Chea was responsible for the extremist policies of the Khmer Rouge and was directly involved in its purges and executions.
He was serving life in prison after convictions by the U.N.-backed tribunal on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
But Nuon Chea never admitted his guilt.
Hong Kong protests disrupt flights, subways as strike called
HONG KONG (AP) — At least 100 flights were cancelled and subway service widely disrupted in Hong Kong on Monday as a pro-democracy movement called for a general strike.
Cathay Pacific and other domestic carriers such as Hong Kong Airlines were the most affected by the flight cancellations, public broadcaster RTHK said. Airport express train service was also suspended.
A citywide strike and demonstrations in seven districts in Hong Kong have been called for Monday afternoon. They follow a weekend of clashes with police on the streets.
Hong Kong has seen protests all summer. A movement against an extradition bill that would have allowed residents to be sent to mainland China to stand trial has expanded into demands for an investigation into alleged police abuse at protests and the dissolution of the legislature. Protesters also want full democracy for the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Protesters snarled the morning rush hour by blocking train and platform doors to prevent trains from leaving stations.
China’s yuan falls below 7 to US dollar
BEIJING (AP) — China’s yuan fell below the politically sensitive level of seven to the U.S. dollar on Monday, possibly adding to trade tension with Washington.
The currency weakened to 7.0177 in early trading following President Donald Trump’s threat last week of tariff hikes on additional Chinese imports in a fight over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policies.
The yuan’s weakness is among a series of U.S. complaints that are fueling tensions with Washington. American officials complain a weak yuan makes China’s exports too inexpensive, hurting foreign competitors and swelling Beijing’s trade surplus.
The level of seven yuan to the dollar has no economic significance, but could revive U.S. attention to the exchange rate.
Trump’s tariff hikes have put downward pressure on the yuan by fueling fears economic growth might weaken.
India’s Chennai rapid growth threatened by water shortages
CHENNAI, India (AP) — With dozens of billion-dollar companies and thousands of high-paying IT and manufacturing jobs, the southern Indian city of Chennai has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
But now it’s running out of water, threatening to put a brake on all that growth.
The shortfall is disrupting business at all levels, forcing the city to spend huge sums to desalinate sea water, bring water by train from afar and deploy an army of water trucks to households whose taps ran dry.
Chennai’s population has more than tripled in three decades. And like many cities across India, in a drive to develop, the city has changed zoning to permit building over filled-in ponds and canals and on flood plains, which means the monsoon season’s copious rainfall isn’t absorbed to recharge groundwater supplies.
The Associated Press