Dayton, Aug 4 (AP/UNB) — Nine people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said.
Dayton police tweeted that an active shooter situation began in the Oregon District at 1 a.m., but that officers nearby were able to "put an end to it quickly." At least 16 others were taken to local hospitals with injuries, police said.
The suspected shooter's identity has not been released.
Miami Valley Hospital spokeswoman Terrea Little said 16 victims have been received at the hospital, but she couldn't confirm their conditions. Kettering Health Network spokeswoman Elizabeth Long said multiple victims from a shooting had been brought to system hospitals, but didn't have details on how many.
With a population of around 140,000 Dayton is in western Ohio, around 55 miles (90 kilometers) northeast of Cincinnati, 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Columbus and 120 miles (195 kilometers) east of Indianapolis. The Oregon District is a historic neighborhood near downtown Dayton that's home to entertainment options, including bars, restaurants and theaters. Police have not said where in the district the shooting took place.
The FBI is assisting with the investigation. A family assistance center will be set up at the Dayton Convention Center.
The Ohio shooting came hours after a young man opened fire in a crowded El Paso, Texas, shopping area, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured. Just days before, on July 28, a 19-year-old shot and killed three people, including two children, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California.
The El Paso shooting was the 21st mass killing in the United States in 2019, according to the AP/USATODAY/Northeastern University mass murder database that tracks all U.S. homicides since 2006 involving four or more people killed — not including the offender — over a short period of time regardless of weapon, location, victim-offender relationship or motive. That makes Sunday's shooting in Dayton the 22nd mass killed in the U.S. this year.
The first 20 mass killings in the U.S. in 2019 claimed 96 lives.
El Paso, Aug 4 (AP/UNB) — Among the 20 dead when a young gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, shopping area Saturday was a 25-year-old woman who was shot while holding her 2-month-old son, her sister said.
Leta Jamrowski, 19, of El Paso learned Saturday afternoon that her sister Jordan Anchondo had been shot to death at Walmart while shopping for back-to-school supplies. Jamrowski 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.
"From the baby's injuries, they said that more than likely my sister was trying to shield him," she said. "So when she got shot she was holding him and she fell on him, so that's why he broke some of his bones. So he pretty much lived because she gave her life."
Anchondo was the mother of three children.
Jamrowski spent the night desperately awaiting word of whether her brother-in-law, Andre Anchondo, had survived the attack that also wounded more than two dozen.
"They said that if he were alive, more than likely he would have gotten in contact by now," Jamrowski said.
In the hospital lobby, Mexican consular officials tracked the wounded and missing. El Paso, which has about 680,000 residents, is in West Texas and sits across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in the state of Chihuahua.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said three Mexicans were killed in the shooting.
He tweeted Saturday that he sends "condolences to the families of the victims, both American and Mexican."
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said six Mexicans were wounded in the shooting, including 45-year-old Mario de Alba Montes, 44-year-old Olivia Mariscal Rodríguez and 10-year-old Erika de Alba Mariscal. Ebrard says the man and woman are from Chihuahua. He said the other three wounded Mexicans, whose names weren't given, were two men and a woman from Torreón, in Coahuila state, and Ciudad Juarez.
Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic vice presidential candidate and an El Paso native, held a news conference on a street corner opposite the hospital as the sun set, recounting his visit with wounded victims, including a woman who had a bullet pass through her lungs.
"I told them that I am so amazed at how strong they are," the former U.S. congressman said.
Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for University Medical Center of El Paso, said 13 people were brought to the hospital with injuries, including one who died. Two of the injured were children who were being transferred to El Paso Children's Hospital, he said. Eleven other victims were being treated at Del Sol Medical Center, hospital spokesman Victor Guerrero said. Those victims' ages ranged from 35 to 82, he said.
Los Angeles, Aug 4 (AP/UNB) — Rosita Lopez said armed gang members demanded money from her and her partner at their small grocery store on the Guatemalan coast and threatened to kill them when they couldn't pay. When her partner was shot soon afterward, they sold everything and fled north.
Lopez was eight months pregnant when the couple arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border last year with their 1-year-old daughter. Just over a year later, an immigration judge in Los Angeles heard her case, denied her asylum and ordered her deported.
"I'm afraid of going back there," she told the judge.
The decision for 20-year-old Lopez — who now has an American-born baby — was swift in an immigration court system so backlogged with cases that asylum seekers often wait years for a hearing, let alone a ruling on whether they can stay in the country.
But her case is one of 56,000 in a Trump administration pilot program in 10 cities from Baltimore to Los Angeles aimed at fast-tracking court hearings to discourage migrants from making the journey to seek refuge in the United States. The administration selected family cases in those cities from the past 10 months.
Immigration lawyers who often complain that it takes too long to get a court date said the new timetable is too fast to prepare their clients to testify and get documents from foreign countries to bolster their claims.
"The families that are all ready to go and desperate, ready with counsel, have survived multiple atrocities can't seem to get before the judge, and others who seem to need time to get their cases together, they're pushing through without due process," said Judy London, directing attorney of the immigrant rights' project at Public Counsel, a pro bono law firm in Los Angeles.
The program is one way the Trump administration is seeking to curtail the arrival of tens of thousands of Central American families each month on the U.S.-Mexico border, many seeking asylum. Federal courts have blocked several efforts to limit asylum for the families, including rules that would prevent most migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. if they passed through another country first .
Speeding up court hearings aims to prevent migrant families from setting down roots while they wait to find out whether they qualify for asylum.
Immigrants can get permits to work legally in the United States once their asylum applications are pending before a judge for six months, which many with fast-tracked cases won't get to do, lawyers said.
The goal is to "disincentivize families — where an overwhelming majority of cases don't qualify for relief, but instead end with removal orders — from making the treacherous journey to the United States," Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement.
Immigration courts aim to complete the fast-tracked cases within a year, James McHenry III, director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, wrote in a November memo.
From September to June, the Department of Homeland Security tracked 56,000 cases it wants heard more quickly, according to data from the office, which runs immigration courts. Most cases are pending, but about one in five of those immigrants failed to show up for a hearing and was ordered deported, the data shows.
That was more common in some places. Only 4% of immigrants on the so-called family unit docket in San Francisco didn't show up for court and got deportation orders, compared with a third of immigrants on that docket in Atlanta, the data shows.
A recent immigration enforcement operation announced by President Donald Trump aimed to track down and arrest families facing such deportation orders. While agents targeted about 2,100 people, they arrested about three dozen.
The families' cases are moving much quicker than usual through immigration courts, which have nearly 900,000 cases that have been pending for an average of two years, according to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
Immigrant advocates have long complained the backlog prevents asylum seekers from starting their lives in the U.S. and bringing family to join them.
It wasn't immediately clear how the immigration courts could hear the fast-tracked cases so quickly. But the U.S. has hired more immigration judges in recent years to try to reduce the backlog.
In Los Angeles, some immigration judges who used to hear cases of immigrants held in now-shuttered detention facilities are assigned to family cases.
At a recent hearing, Judge Tara Naselow-Nahas gave families filing asylum claims three months until their final court dates.
At another, Judge Frank Travieso urged immigrants appearing for the first time to find an attorney for their next court date in a month. He went over the parents' names and addresses and those of their children squirming beside them — a smiling 7-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl with a red hair bow, and half a dozen others.
He then reviewed the rest of his 46-case calendar. A few families who didn't receive a hearing notice were sent another. Fourteen people who didn't attend court — half of them children — were ordered deported.
Bernal Ojeda, an immigration attorney who represented Lopez, said he doesn't know if more time would have helped her case. Lopez presented photos of her partner's gunshot wounds, and the judge questioned why he didn't tell Guatemalan authorities about the gang.
Ojeda said Lopez won't appeal and will return to Guatemala, where her partner was already deported, and resettle far from the town where they were threatened.
Asylum seekers who appeal wind up staying much longer while their cases are reviewed. But the timeline means little to those seeking protection in the U.S., said Joshua Greer, an immigration attorney in Los Angeles.
"They're not looking at how long was it between the first hearing and the pleadings and the individual hearing," Greer said. "Their question is detained, or not detained, and sent back or not sent back — and that's it."
El Paso, Aug 4 (AP/UNB) — Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town of El Paso, the state's governor said.
Among the possibilities being investigated is whether it was a hate crime, the police chief said. Two law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity identified the suspect taken into custody as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius. El Paso police haven't released his name, but confirmed the gunman is from Allen near Dallas.
Police said another 26 people were injured and most were being treated at hospitals. Most of the victims were believed to have been shot at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall, they said, adding that the store was packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school shopping season.
"The scene was a horrific one," said El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen, who described many of those hurt as having life-threatening injuries. He also said police found a post online that may have been written by the suspect — one reason authorities are looking at whether it was a hate crime.
El Paso, which has about 680,000 residents, is in West Texas and sits across the border from Juarez, Mexico.
Residents were quick to volunteer to give blood to the injured after the shooting, and police and military members were helping people look for missing loved ones.
"It's chaos right now," said Austin Johnson, an Army medic at nearby Fort Bliss, who volunteered to help at the shopping center and later at a school serving as a reunification center.
Adriana Quezada, 39, said she was in the women's clothing section of Walmart with her two children when she "heard shots."
"But I thought they were hits, like roof construction," she said.
Her 19-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son threw themselves to the ground, then ran out of the store through an emergency exit. They were not hurt, Quezada said.
She said she saw four men, dressed in black, moving together firing guns indiscriminately. Police later said they believed the suspect was the "sole shooter" but were continuing to investigate reports that others were involved.
El Paso police Sgt. Robert Gomez said the suspect, who used a rifle, was arrested without incident.
The shooting came less than a week after a gunman opened fire on a California food festival. Santino William Legan, 19, killed three people and injured 13 others last Sunday at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival, and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for University Medical Center of El Paso, said 13 people were brought to the hospital with injuries after the Texas shooting, including one who died. Two of the injured were children who were being transferred to El Paso Children's Hospital, he said. He wouldn't provide additional details on the victims.
Eleven other victims were being treated at Del Sol Medical Center, hospital spokesman Victor Guerrero said. Those victims' ages ranged from 35 to 82, he said.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who confirmed the number of victims at a news conference, called the shooting "a heinous and senseless act of violence" and said the state had deployed a number of law enforcement officers to the city. President Donald Trump tweeted: "Reports are very bad, many killed."
Presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke appeared a bit shaken as he appeared at a candidate forum Saturday in Las Vegas shortly after news of the shooting in his hometown was reported. The Democrat said the shooting shatters "any illusion that we have that progress is inevitable" on tackling gun violence.
He said he heard early reports that the shooter might have had a military-style weapon, saying we need to "keep that (expletive) on the battlefield. Do not bring it into our communities."
"We have to find some reason for optimism and hope or else we consign ourselves to a future where nearly 40,000 people a year will lose their lives to gun violence and I cannot accept that," O'Rourke said.
El Paso has become a focal point of the immigration debate, drawing Trump in February to argue that walling off the southern border would make the U.S. safer, while city residents and O'Rourke led thousands on a protest march past the barrier of barbed wire-topped fencing and towering metal slats.
O'Rourke stressed that border walls haven't made his hometown safer. The city's murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. Before the wall project started, El Paso had been rated one of the three safest major U.S. cities going back to 1997.
Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, also said the El Paso shooting suspect wasn't on her group's radar screen prior to the shooting.
"We had nothing in our files on him," Beirich wrote in an email.
The shooting is the 21st mass killing in the United States in 2019, and the fifth public mass shooting. Before Saturday, 96 people had died in mass killings in 2019 — 26 of them in public mass shootings.
The AP/USATODAY/Northeastern University mass murder database tracks all U.S. homicides since 2006 involving four or more people killed, not including the offender, over a short period of time regardless of weapon, location, victim-offender relationship or motive. The database shows that the median age of a public mass shooter is 28, significantly lower than the median age of a person who commits a mass shooting of their family.
Since 2006, 11 mass shootings — not including Saturday's — have been committed by men who are 21 or younger.
Encinitas, Aug 3(AP/UNB) — A popular surfing beach was closed Saturday after a cliff collapsed, sending tons of sandstone onto beachgoers and killing three people.
A 30-foot-long slab of the cliff plunged onto the sand near Grandview Beach north of San Diego. A KNSD-TV helicopter captured footage of beach chairs, towels, surf boards and beach toys strewn about the sand.
Other beachgoers and lifeguards at a nearby tower scrambled to the towering pile of debris, which was estimated to weigh tens of thousands of pounds, to help dig out victims.
"I saw first responders, and I saw lifeguards frantically digging people out of the debris," Jim Pepperdine, who lives nearby, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Pepperdine said he saw people trying to resuscitate a woman before her body was covered.
A woman died at the scene, and two more people later died at hospitals. Another person was taken to a hospital, and a person who had minor injuries was treated at the scene, according to statements from the city.
Their names and ages were not immediately released. All the victims were adults, authorities said.
Search dogs were brought in to hunt for other possible victims, and a skip loader was brought in to move the dense, heavy debris. No other victims were found by late Friday night.
The beach is reached by wooden stairs from a parking lot above. Homes atop the cliff were not in any danger, Encinitas Fire Chief Mike Stein said.
The cliff remained unstable and complicated the search effort, Stein said.
Suburbs north of San Diego have contended with rising water levels in the Pacific Ocean, pressuring bluffs along the coast. Some bluffs are fortified with concrete walls to prevent multimillion-dollar homes from falling into the sea.
Long stretches of beach in Encinitas are narrow strips of sand between stiff waves and towering rock walls. People lounging on beach chairs or blankets are sometimes surprised as waves roll past them and within a few feet of the walls.
Grandview Beach is fairly narrow, with tides high this week. Surfers lay their boards upright against the bluff.
Cliffside collapses are not unusual as the ocean chews away at the base of the sandstone, authorities said. Some beach areas were marked with signs warning of slide dangers.
Several people have been killed or injured over the years in bluff collapses. The Tribune reported that Rebecca Kowalczyk, 30, of Encinitas died near the same area on Jan. 16, 2000, when a 110-yard-wide chunk of bluff fell and buried her.
Bluffs give way four to eight times a year in Southern California, but "nothing of this magnitude," said Brian Ketterer, southern field division chief of California State Parks.
"This is a naturally eroding coastline," Encinitas Lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles said. "There's really no rhyme or reason, but that's what it does naturally. .... This is what it does, and this is how are beaches are actually partially made. It actually has these failures."