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A gun is discharged in a US school about once a week: advocacy group analysis

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By Kelly Terez

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The gun violence at a California elementary school last week is hardly uncommon in the U.S., which has seen an estimated 220 shootings — including suicides and accidents — in schools and colleges since the start of 2013, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates for gun control and against gun violence.

The advocacy organization began tracking shootings in schools, including colleges and universities, after the December 2012 massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school that killed 26.

The group’s analysis doesn’t go back far enough to include the deadliest school shooting in history, which occurred 10 years ago today, on April 16, 2007, when Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 students and faculty.

But Everytown’s figures, unlike some other tallies of gun violence, include shootings even if they are accidental or don’t result in any injuries or fatalities.

The list tracks “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds,” which could include suicides, accidental discharges, and criminal activity, such as gunfire related to an armed robbery, according to the website of Everytown, which is backed by billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

This broad definition of school shootings has led to some criticism from gun rights advocates who argue that the Everytown’s statistics present gun violence in schools as more common than it is.

But Everytown says on its website that its definition of school firearms incidents is “straightforward, fair, and comprehensive.” It covers “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds, as documented by the press and, when necessary, confirmed through further inquiries with law enforcement of school officials.”

Politifact analyzed Everytown’s figures in 2014 in response to the criticism and found that the group is open about its methodology and its broad definition of shootings in schools.

Politifact’s conclusion? By grouping mass shootings in schools with suicides or accidental shootings, Everytown could confuse people about the number of shootings that deliberately target students and staff. But it said the organization’s figures have value in quantifying the proximity of guns to school campuses.

Here’s a timeline of recent gun discharges and shootings in United States, based on Everytown’s findings and with the addition of the 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sandy Hook: December 2012

At Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who suffered from diagnosed social and behavioral problems and who was the son of a gun enthusiast, killed 20 1st-graders and six adults, including his mother.

In the aftermath, President Obama signed 23 executive actions in January 2013 related to gun control, but two major pieces of federal gun legislation in the wake of the shooting both failed to pass the Senate.

2013

Everytown lists 37 firing incidents at U.S. schools in 2013.

One occurred in October of 2013 when a 12-year-old boy opened fire at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nevada, killing a teacher, injuring two students and then killing himself, according to authorities and a news release from the Sparks Police Department.

Authorities said afterward that the shooter had held an interest in the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999.

In the months before the attack, the boy looked up the video game “Super Columbine Massacre RPG” and researched videos, websites, articles and images related to Columbine, according to police. In addition, authorities found pictures of the Columbine shooters on the boy’s cellphone, police said. The boy had been teased at school and exhibited signs of depression, according to police records.

2014

Gun incidents rose in 2014, according to Everytown’s research, jumping to 58.

Paine College, a historically black liberal arts school in Augusta, Georgia, was the site of two shootings in as many days, on May 4 and May 5, the second of which was a drive-by shooting.

In the first shooting, JaJuan L. Baker, the victim, was shot in the head after a confrontation that took place on the third floor of a school administrative office. She survived, according to the Augusta Chronicle.

A 21-year-old man, Xavier D. Cooper, was ultimately found guilty in the shooting and received the maximum possible sentence – 35 years in prison – for aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and carrying a weapon on school property for the first shooting, the Chronicle reported.

The second gun incident was a drive-by shooting.

2015

Gunfire incidents rose again in 2015, to 65, according to Everytown.

On Oct. 9, Chris Harper-Mercer killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. He had six guns with him at the school and seven additional guns at his home, according to officials.

The New York Times reported that Harper Mercer had an awkward exchange with a teacher a week prior to the shooting, who was among those killed.

Police engaged Harper-Mercer in a brief shootout, and wounded him, according to police.

After that, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, police said.

2016

Everytown lists fewer shootings in 2016 – 48.

One example is a shooting that took place July 25 of last year in Ava, Missouri. Everytown for Gun Safety lists a description of it as follows:

“Two 18-year-old boys who recently graduated from high school together met in the school parking lot to fight in a dispute about a girl,” the group writes. “One of the boys, Paul Porter, pulled out a handgun and shot the other, Payton Esterline, in the chest, and then shot and killed himself. Esterline was taken to a local hospital and placed in intensive care. Ava Police announced they were investigating the incident, and did not immediately announce how Porter acquired the …read more

Source:: National News

      

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Forest fires continue to plague Florida

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By Kelly Terez

@FFS_Withlacooch/Twitter(MIAMI) — Forest fires have continued to keep firefighters busy in Florida on Sunday.

There are still 110 active fires covering 20,285 acres, according to the Florida Forestry Service. The destructive wildfires, which have been burning from the Florida-Georgia border down to Miami-Dade County, led Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday, which remains in effect Sunday.

The two fires requiring the most amount of attention right now are in the Central Florida region, according to officials.

One fire, in Lake County, spans 731 acres of land and is 50 percent contained, officials said. Another, in Volusia County, is largely contained but had previously covered 350 acres of land, according to officials.

Last week, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said this was the most active wildfire season the state had experienced since 2011.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Report: Sam Hunt and fiancee Hannah Lee Fowler marry Saturday in Georgia

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By Music News Group

ABC/Mark LevineIt appears that “Body Like a Back Road” hitmaker Sam Hunt officially is off the market.

Sam and his fiancée Hannah Lee Fowler tied the knot Saturday at a Methodist church in Hunt’s hometown of Cedartown, Georgia, according to TMZ. The reception was held at the venue known as In the Woods in nearby Rockmart, Georgia.

We learned of Sam’s engagement to the woman who inspired his breakthrough Montevallo album in January. Just weeks ago, he serenaded Hannah during his performance at the ACM Awards.

The wedding was relatively small, with only about 150 people in attendance — and no celebrities — according to TMZ.

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Source:: Country Music News

      

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Manhunt underway in Cleveland for suspect who broadcast killing on Facebook: Police

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By Kelly Terez

Cleveland Police(CLEVELAND) — Cleveland, Ohio, police are searching for a man who they say killed an elderly man and broadcast it on Facebook Live.

The incident happened at about 2 p.m., police said. The suspect, identified by police as Steve Stephens, is described as 6-foot-1, 244 pounds and bald with a full beard. He is wearing a dark blue and gray- or black-striped polo shirt and believed to be driving a white Ford Fusion, according to police.

In the video, which has since been removed from Facebook, the elderly victim can be seen raising his hands in an apparent attempt to ward off his attacker before he is shot once in the head.

Stephens claims to have committed multiple homicides, according to police. No additional victims have been found, though officers are searching multiple locations, police said.

In a press conference Sunday evening, police urged Stephens to turn himself in.

“Everybody is looking for Steve,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, adding that there have been no confirmed sightings of the suspect since the Facebook Live event occurred.

Williams added that the killing is believed to be random.

Stephens is a member of the assertive community treatment team at Beech Brook, a mental health organization in northeast Ohio, a spokesperson for his employer confirmed.

“We learned about [the shooting] this afternoon when someone saw it on FB and notified us,” said Nancy Kortemeyer, vice president of marketing and PR at Beech Brook. “We are doing everything we can to help and help locate him.”

She added: “We are shocked and horrified.”

Stephens is considered armed and dangerous, according to police.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson called the incident a “horrific crime” and said that the company does “not allow this kind of content on Facebook.”

“We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety,” the Facebook spokesperson added.

The FBI is assisting Cleveland police in the investigation.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News

      

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