Saturday, May 14, 2022
Ten dead in Buffalo supermarket shooting, McConnell leads Senate delegation to Ukraine, thousands protest abortion rights nationwide, search for Texas suspect and Netflix set for streaming.
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Happy Saturday. Here’s a quick look at what’s happening:
AP: At least ten people are dead in a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and police are investigating the incident as a hate crime:
A gunman in military-style clothing opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities called a “hate crime and racially motived violent extremism,” killing 10 people and wounding three others before being taken in custody Saturday afternoon, law enforcement officials said.
The gunman was identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, a community about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Buffalo in New York state, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The officials were not permitted to speak publicly on the matter and did so on the condition of anonymity.
The suspect was being questioned Saturday evening by the FBI, one of the officials said, and was expected to appear in court later Saturday.
Officials said 11 of the victims were Black and two are white. The shooting happened in a predominantly Black neighborhood a few miles (kilometers) north of downtown Buffalo.
“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia added, “This was pure evil. It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the City of Good neighbors ... coming into our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us.”
Police officials said the gunman opened fire with a rifle at a Tops Friendly Market. Investigators believe he may have been streaming the shooting through a camera affixed to his helmet, one of the officials said.
The video showed the gunman pulling up to the front of the store with a rifle on the front seat and then pointing the rifle at people in the parking lot as he exited the vehicle and opening fire, the official said.
It also shows the suspect walking into the supermarket and shooting several other victims inside, the official said. One of the victims was a recently retired police officer who was working as a security guard at the store, according to the official.
Buffalo News: Ten people were killed and three others were wounded outside and inside a Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue on Saturday afternoon in what law enforcement officials described as a racially motivated hate crime.
WIVB-TV: The shooter was an 18-year-old white male who was heavily armed with tactical gear and was live-streaming during the mass shooting.
BNO News: A 106-page online manifesto, believed to have been uploaded by the shooter, explained that he was motivated by a conspiracy theory that white people are being replaced by other races.
It has been a violent start to the weekend in the United States:
WISN-TV: Milwaukee police say 17 people were shot near the Deer District, where 11,000 people gathered earlier in the evening to watch the Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
WRPI-TV: Seven people were transported to the hospital after a massive brawl led to stabbings involving rival motorcycle clubs in Fall River, Massachusetts.
KABC-TV: People fled Grand Central Market in Los Angeles after a reported shooting left at least one person injured.
CNBC: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell lead a Senate delegation to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Saturday:
The meeting was “a powerful signal of the two-party support of Ukraine by the United States’ Congress, as well as the American people,” Zelenskyy said in a Telegram post that was translated by NBC News.
Senators John Barrasso, John Cornyn, and Susan Collins were among the delegation, according to a video posted on social media. It’s unclear if the group is still in Ukraine.
Andrii Yermak, head of the president’s office, said the Senators discussed additional sanctions on Russia and Ukraine’s hopes that the Senate will pass a $40 billion aid package that’s already made its way through the House.
The U.S. has sent a handful of government officials to the embattled country in the past few weeks. Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a U.S. congressional delegation to meet with Zelenskyy, followed by first lady Jill Biden. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Victoria Spartz have also traveled to Ukraine.
Al Jazeera: Russian troops are withdrawing from Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv after weeks of heavy bombardment in another battlefield setback for Moscow.
Axios: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Finnish President Sauli Niinisto during a phone call on Saturday that a Finnish application for NATO membership ‘could have a negative effect on Russia-Finland relations.’
New York Post: Russian President Vladimir Putin is ‘very ill with blood cancer,’ an oligarch close to the Kremlin said in a secret recording.
AP: Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest in the early hours of Sunday in a clear show of support for the war-ravaged nation.
The Guardian: Thousands of people were taking part in protests across the U.S. on Saturday to decry the supreme court’s expected reversal of the landmark 1973 law that made abortion legal in America.
Organizers said there were more than 380 protest events in cities including major ones in Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago to demand that the right to an abortion is not stripped away by the court, which is dominated by rightwing justices.
Gathering in large groups and holding signs that included slogans such as “Reproductive justice for all” and “We will not go back”, and chanting “My body, my choice”, the protesters have been spurred by the leak of a supreme court draft opinion on 2 May. The leaked draft showed that the five rightwing justices on the nine-member court had voted to overturn Roe v Wade, the historic case that provided federal protection for abortion rights and proved a beacon in international efforts to improve the rights of women.
In the US capital, protestors gathered at the Washington Monument before marching to the supreme court, which is surrounded by a security fence. Some held pictures of coat hangers to symbolize the dangerous measures some people resorted to for illegal abortions prior to the Roe v Wade ruling. “If it’s a fight they want, it’s a fight they’ll get,” said Rachel Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, one of the groups, along with Planned Parenthood, UltraViolet and MoveOn that organized Saturday’s demonstrations, which they called “Bans Off Our Bodies”.
“We have to see an end to the attacks on our bodies,” Carmona added. “You can expect for women to be completely ungovernable until this government starts to work for us.”
Justice Clarence Thomas says the Supreme Court has been changed by the leak of a draft opinion earlier this month, the AP reports:
The opinion suggests the court is poised to overturn the right to an abortion recognized nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade to be overturned, described the leak as an unthinkable breach of trust.
“When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder. It’s like kind of an infidelity that you can explain it, but you can’t undo it,” he said while speaking at a conference Friday evening in Dallas.
The court has said the draft does not represent the final position of any of the court’s members, and Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered an investigation into the leak.
Thomas, a nominee of President George H.W. Bush, said it was beyond “anyone’s imagination” before the May 2 leak of the opinion to Politico that even a line of a draft opinion would be released in advance, much less an entire draft that runs nearly 100 pages. Politico has also reported that in addition to Thomas, conservative justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett had voted with the draft opinion’s author, Samuel Alito, to overrule Roe v. Wade and a 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that affirmed Roe’s finding of a constitutional right to abortion.
The Washington Post: President Biden and lawmakers from both parties are scrambling to address a growing lack of baby formula in many stores that has made it difficult for some parents to feed their young children.
On Thursday, Biden received an update from retailers and manufacturers, including Wal-Mart, Target, Reckitt and Gerber. Then administration officials announced they would cut bureaucratic red tape in hopes of getting more formula to stores more quickly, call on the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to crack down on formula price-gouging, and increase imports of formula to boost the domestic supply.
“We recognize that this is certainly a challenge for people across the country, something the president is very focused on, and we’re going to do everything we can to cut red tape and take steps to increase supply,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
Some House Republicans argued that legislators should redirect funds allotted to help Ukraine amid a Russian invasion and place some of that money toward finding solutions to the shortage caused by a massive recall of formula after reports that four infants in three states fell ill with bacterial infections. They have also accused the Biden administration of prioritizing providing formula to migrant mothers arriving at the southern border after images of stocked shelves and pallets of baby formula were taken by border agents at processing centers.
On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter to colleagues that the House would vote on legislation to grant “emergency authority” to a federal program for low-income women, infants and children that would “relax certain non-safety-related regulations during times of shortage” so that caregivers can more easily purchase formula. The legislation has overwhelming support in both parties.
Pelosi also said the House Appropriations Committee would hold a hearing next week ahead of introducing an emergency supplemental funding bill for floor consideration that would address the infant formula shortage.
“While it is essential that we ensure that this issue never happens again, right now the babies are crying and the babies are hungry – so we must take urgent action to protect their health and well-being,” she said in the letter.
House Democrats have also scheduled several hearings for this month to press Food and Drug Administration officials on what happened.
“Why is this such a shortage? What happened? What did the FDA do or not do? And what’s the deal on the supply chain?” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday about what Democrats hope to learn at the hearings.
ABC News reports that the reward has grown to $22,500 for the arrest of a Texas inmate serving life for murder who managed to break free from his shackles, overpower a bus driver and escape from custody:
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was on a transport bus en route from Gatesville to Huntsville for a medical appointment when he escaped in Leon County on Thursday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.
Two officers were on the bus: one at the front and one in the back who was armed with a shotgun, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst told reporters.
Lopez "was somehow able to get out of his shackles and get into the driver's compartment of the bus," Hurst said.
Lopez cut out the bottom of a door that separates inmates and the driver, Hurst said.
"He used some type of device, we don't know what some type of device, to cut out the bottom of the door," he said.
Lopez "was able to overpower the driver. There was a struggle...the bus went off the roadway," Hurst said.
Lopez allegedly tried to grab the driver's service weapon but couldn't remove it from the holster, he said.
During their fight, the officer driving the bus was stabbed in the hand and punctured in the chest, suffering non-life-threatening injuries, Hurst said.
The officer in the back of the bus fired two shots into the rear wheels of the bus, he said. Lopez was able to drive the bus for about 1 mile with the flat tires before he crashed, Hurst said. Lopez then jumped off the bus and fled, Hurst added.
Shots were fired at Lopez as he fled across a cow pasture, Hurst said.
Lopez is serving a life sentence for a capital murder in Hidalgo County and an attempted capital murder in Webb County, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said. The murder was committed with a pickaxe, Hurst said.
"We do not know if he has obtained any kind of a weapon," Hurst said. "Last we saw him he did not appear to have a weapon in his possession, but who knows what he might've been able to get."
Britney Spears has lost her “miracle baby.”
The singer, 40, announced in a joint statement with fiancm Asghari via Instagram on Saturday that she suffered a miscarriage.
“It is with our deepest sadness we have to announce that we have lost our miracle baby early in the pregnancy,” the statement read.
“This is a devastating time for any parent. Perhaps we should have waited to announce until we were further along. However we were overly excited to share the good news.”
Spears and Asghari, 28, added that their love for each other is their “strength” right now.
“We will continue trying to expand our beautiful family,” the statement continued. “We are grateful for all of your support. We kindly ask for privacy during this difficult moment.”
The post, signed “Sam & Britney,” also included a caption which read, “We are grateful for what we have in the process of expanding our beautiful family 💝 Thank you for your support.”
CNN: A federal judge has partially blocked an Alabama law that restricts gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors.
POLITICO: The administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis has appealed a state judge’s order blocking the Republican governor’s congressional redistricting map, the latest move in the long-running fight over redistricting in the state.
Santa Fe New Mexican: The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon blaze in New Mexico is now at 270,000 acres and still moving.
Colorado Springs Gazette: The High Park fire west of Cripple Creek, Colorado, has grown to just over 1,000 acres and is 10 percent contained.
The High Park Fire burning west of Cripple Creek has grown to more than 1,000 acres and is at 10% containment, according to officials during an update Saturday morning