COVID-19 updates: FDA may allow mixed boosters: Source

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(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 722,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 66.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Oct 18, 7:19 pm
FDA may allow mixed boosters: Source

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering allowing Americans to receive a booster shots from a different brand than their original shots, a source familiar with the agency’s planning told ABC News Monday.

The New York Times first reported the proposal Monday evening.

The FDA is moving toward recommending people get boosters that match their original doses — from the Pfizer or Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — but the agency may also allow health care providers to give certain patients boosters that do not match their initial doses, the source said.

An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is slated to discuss boosters this week and could issue recommendations for boosters by the end of the week.

ABC News’ Eric Strauss

Oct 18, 6:11 pm
New Mexico enacts crisis of standard care

New Mexico’s growing coronavirus hospitalization has forced the state to enact a crisis of standard care, the state’s health department announced Monday.

“In particular, the volume of COVID-19 patients – almost all of whom are unvaccinated – have exacerbated existing staffing and other resource shortages,” the health department said in a news release.

Medical facilities statewide must now use a “more standardized and equitable procedure,” before deciding who gets care and temporarily suspend procedures that are not medically necessary, according to the health department.

More details on the crisis of standard care will be revealed later this week, the health department said.

ABC News’ Jennifer Watts

Oct 18, 5:31 pm
99% of Seattle public employees complied with city’s vaccine mandate

Just hours before the midnight deadline for its public employee vaccine mandate, the city of Seattle revealed Monday that 99% of its 11,000 employees have complied with the order.

Approximately 150 public employees had yet to submit documents showing their vaccination status as of Monday evening, according to city officials. About 5% of public employees were granted exemption, the city said.

When it came to specific departments, the city said 91% of Seattle Police Department employees were vaccinated and 7% received exemptions. As of Monday evening, 24 Seattle PD employees (2% of the department) did not submit vaccination documents to the city, according to officials.

The Seattle Fire Department reported 93% of its employees complied with the vaccine mandate and 6% received exemptions, the city said. As of Monday evening, 16 Seattle Fire employees (1% of the department) did not submit their vaccination documents, according to city officials.

ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman

Oct 18, 3:24 pm
CDC now counts those with AstraZeneca, Novavax shots as ‘fully vaccinated’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” to include people who got the AstraZeneca and Novavax doses in clinical trials.

A person also should be considered fully immunized even if they mix their vaccines, the CDC announced Monday.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine

The new guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — and can be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, such as AstraZeneca and Oxford.

The CDC is not recommending vaccines that are not FDA-authorized and has not yet made a decision on official guidelines for mixing doses.

The new guidance on interpreting vaccine records does not impact CDC recommendations on primary series vaccination and should not guide clinical practice, according to the CDC.

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty

 

 

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Key takeaways from trial of 3 men in Ahmaud Arbery killing: Day 1

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(GLYNN COUNTY, Ga.) — As the trial of three white Georgia men charged with the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery got underway Monday with jury selection, Arbery’s father said he is “focused on justice.”

The first group of prospective jurors was called to the Glynn County, Georgia, Courthouse to begin the arduous task of selecting a panel to hear evidence in the case.

Arbery’s family and their attorneys said they are not taking anything for granted.

“It is a lived experience for Black people in America that we can never take for granted that a white person will be convicted for killing a Black person, no matter how much evidence we have,” Ben Crump, one of the Arbery family’s attorneys, said during a news conference outside the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia.

‘I know my son was lynched’

Arbery’s father, Marcus Arbery Sr., said he and his family are relying on the prayers of supporters from across the nation to get them through the trial that the lead prosecutor said could take until Nov. 19 to complete.

“I’m focused on justice,” Arbery Sr. said. “I know my son was lynched, lynched by a white mob.”

The three defendants are Gregory McMichael, 65, a retired police officer, his son, Travis McMichael, 35, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, 52.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment stemming from the Feb. 23, 2020, fatal shooting of Arbery in the unincorporated Satilla Shores neighborhood near Brunswick.

Prosecutors alleged Arbery was jogging through the neighborhood when Gregory McMichael saw him and thought he resembled a burglary suspect seen on a security video posted online by his neighborhood association. Gregory McMichael and his son allegedly armed themselves and with guns, and with the help of Bryan chased down Arbery in their pickup trucks, prosecutors said.

Travis McMichael allegedly shot Arbery three times with a shotgun after he was cornered and began fighting with Travis McMichael in the street. The fatal encounter was partially video recorded by Bryan on his cellphone and is poised to be the most significant piece of evidence prosecutors plan to present to the jury.

The McMichaels are claiming they were exercising their right to make a citizens’ arrest under a state law that was repealed following Arbery’s death. Travis McMichael is also claiming he shot Arbery in self-defense, according to his attorney.

Bryan claims he was just a witness to the incident, according to his lawyer. But prosecutors allege he was an active participant in the pursuit of Arbery and that he attempted to use his truck to block Arbery’s path.

In addition to state charges, all three men have been indicted on federal hate crime charges.

First 600 prospective jurors questioned

About 600 of the 1,000 prospective jurors who received questionnaires in the case were called to the courthouse on Monday to begin voir dire or the process to whittle down prospective the jury pool to 16 impartial people, including four alternates.

About 20 of the would-be jurors spent Monday afternoon answering general questions as a group before lawyers began questioning individual jurors. While Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley, who was appointed to preside over the Glynn County trial, allowed the media to observe and livestream the general questions of the group, he barred cameras from filming questioning of individual prospective jurors.

During the general questioning of the first batch of prospective jurors, 13 of the 20 said they had already formed an opinion on the guilt or innocence of the accused based on pre-trial publicity.

Before the actual questioning of potential jurors began, a hearing was held on what questions prosecutors and defense attorneys will be allowed to asked candidates.

In addition to how much prospective jurors know about the case and whether they can put that aside and decide the case solely on the evidence presented in court, defense attorneys for the McMichaels proposed 30 additional questions. Many of the defense questions pertained to thoughts on racism, the Black Lives Matter movement and whether would-be jurors believe the Confederate flag — which the McMichaels had on their pickup truck — as a symbol of racism.

Linda Dunikowski, the lead prosecutor in the case, objected to more than half of the defense questions, calling them too broad or unrelated to the evidence, including whether prospective jurors supported the Black Lives Matter movement or participated in any social justice demonstrations before or after Arberry’s death.

“That question has absolutely nothing to do with what the defendants did on Feb. 23, 2020, and participating in a constitutionally allowable peaceful assembly about social justice has absolutely nothing to do with these defendants,” Dunikowski said in court.

Walmsley said he’ll allow some of the defense questions, but ruled most of them, including questions on gun ownership, were too broad or would lead prospective jurors to prejudge the evidence.

Walmsley also said he would not allow the attorneys to ask whether the prospective jurors are “concerned about your safety, your reputation, your livelihood if you were to be a juror on this case.” Robert Rubin, an attorney for Travis McMichael, said that was likely the most important question on the list.

“This is a case that has garnered significant attention in this community as well as around the country, and I have no doubt that the 1,000 or so individuals that were summoned when they received that summons, reacted in some way to that,” Walmsley said. “This is not an easy thing for anybody.”

 

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How schools are struggling to serve lunch amid supply chain hurdles

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(NEW YORK) — School routines have been upended amid the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of recent nationwide supply chain problems, there are new challenges for free lunch programs.

From distribution delays and shortages of fresh foods to cafeteria supplies like trays and tongs, districts across the U.S. have had to rework breakfast and lunch options for students.

In Alabama, Alexander City Schools took to social media earlier this month to warn parents on Facebook that due to a lack of food deliveries from suppliers, their breakfast would be impacted in the coming weeks.

“In previous weeks we have not received our food deliveries due to suppliers who are short on supplies, drivers and even warehouse employees,” the Oct. 9 post said, adding that it opened accounts with outside vendors to get more supplies. “If possible, we ask that you feed your student breakfast prior to school or try to send a snack.”

The schools in Alexander City also had to alter their menus to fit the supplies they were receiving instead and notified parents of the limited menu selections, but confirmed that “at no time were our students not offered or served a meal for lunch or breakfast.”

“This is a situation that is frustrating for you as a parent, and for us as well as our ability to feed our students is being greatly impacted,” the post said.

Tonya Grier, a Child Nutrition Program Director for Dothan City Schools, told GMA its district, which is nearly three hours from Alexander City, has seen similar issues.

“Deliveries from our primary distributor continue to be unpredictable; we’re no longer confident of arrival until we see the truck at the back door. There are still multiple items (food and non-food) that are marked as “out” on our orders, but the vendor is working to find and offer substitutes for items that are in short supply from manufacturers,” Grier told GMA. “We are working to secure products from other distributors, but they too face the same challenges related to supply chain disruptions.”

“Particularly troubling is the shortage of supplies to serve food. We’re used to subbing out food items to make a menu; that happened occasionally even before COVID-19. But if we can’t get trays, cups, and cutlery to serve food to students, that’s a totally different challenge for us,” Grier said. “We serve an average of 9,400 meals a day (breakfast and lunch combined), and the volume of food and supplies needed to do that means going to our local grocery stores and warehouse club is not a viable option for us.”

Dothan Superintendent Dennis Coe told GMA that “the uncertainty of food supplies” has created “an extra layer of stress and anxiety for staff.”

“This exacerbates our existing difficulties in hiring qualified staff,” Coe said of the current issues facing the schools in Dothan.

The school district’s Public Relations Information Officer Megan Dorsey added that with students home for fall break until Oct. 20, they believe “some stress on food shortages” may be alleviated.

In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $1.5 billion investment to provide assistance for schools to respond to supply chain disruptions and feed students.

“Throughout the pandemic, school food professionals have met extraordinary challenges to ensure every child can get the food they need to learn, grow and thrive,” the USDA said in a release. “But circumstances in local communities remain unpredictable, and supply chains for food and labor have been stressed and at times disrupted. These funds will support procurement of agricultural commodities and enable USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to enhance the toolbox for school nutrition professionals working hard to make sure students have reliable access to healthy meals.”

School Nutrition Association President, Beth Wallace, hailed the waiver as “a huge relief for school nutrition professionals who are working so hard to serve our students healthy meals in the face of unprecedented challenges.”

Over the past several months, Wallace said their organization has scrambled “to secure foods and supplies for our students’ meals and re-working our menus when our orders have been canceled or deliveries delayed.”

A survey by the SNA heading into the 2021 school year found that 97% of school meal program directors nationwide were concerned about continued pandemic supply chain disruptions. Of those concerned, the SNA said 65% cited it as a “serious” concern.

Issues reported in the survey included “canceled orders, food and supply shortages, product substitutions, price increases, delayed and canceled deliveries often with little or no advance notice.”

Chalkbeat, a nonprofit organization that focuses on education news, started a self-submission form for parents, administrators and districts to report similar food program situations with respect to the supply chain woes.

In Newark, New Jersey’s largest district, Patrick Wall told GMA that shortages extend beyond just food and lunchroom supplies, but to cafeteria workers creating “horrible” lunch options for kids because it’s “difficult to prepare meals from scratch.”

“In response, the district has begun outsourcing some of its meal production. Last month, it made a $3.9 million ’emergency purchase’ of pre-made meals from a vendor,” he said.

 

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COVID-19 updates: US sees 50% drop in daily infections since September

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(NEW YORK) — The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 722,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 66.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Oct 18, 3:24 pm
CDC now counts those with AstraZeneca, Novavax shots as ‘fully vaccinated’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” to include people who got the AstraZeneca and Novavax doses in clinical trials.

A person also should be considered fully immunized even if they mix their vaccines, the CDC announced Monday.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine

The new guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — and can be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, such as AstraZeneca and Oxford.

The CDC is not recommending vaccines that are not FDA-authorized and has not yet made a decision on official guidelines for mixing doses.

The new guidance on interpreting vaccine records does not impact CDC recommendations on primary series vaccination and should not guide clinical practice, according to the CDC.

ABC News’ Anne Flaherty

Oct 18, 1:45 pm
US sees 50% drop in daily cases

Coronavirus infections are steadily falling across the country, thanks to significant declines in highly populated states such as Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The number of daily cases in the U.S. has dropped 50% since Sept. 1, with a 43% drop in hospitalizations and a 21% drop in daily deaths.

However, an uptick in cases in Northern states is causing some concern.

In recent weeks, coronavirus infections have been creeping up in several states in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast. Eight states — Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Vermont — have seen notable jumps in their case averages.

Experts have been warning for weeks that Northern states could begin to see upticks in the coming weeks as winter approaches, and people start to head indoors.

Alaska currently has the country’s highest case rate, followed by Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, West Virginia, and North Dakota, which all with case rates above 400 per 100,000 people.

Daily deaths are slowly falling, but remain persistently high. The nation is still reporting an average of 1,250 new deaths each day, and over the last four days alone, the U.S. reported just under 7,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

The death average is still about 6.5 times higher than in mid-July, when the national average had dropped to a near pandemic low of 192 deaths reported each day.

Nationally, hospitalization numbers have dropped to under 60,000 patients with COVID-19 currently receiving care, down from 104,000 patients in late August. Hospital admissions have also fallen by about 10.4% in the last week.

Approximately 113.5 million Americans remain completely unvaccinated. Just under 65.2 million of those people are over the age of 12. The other 48 million unvaccinated people are children under the age of 12.

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropolous

 

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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell dies from COVID complications

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(WASHINGTON) — Former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell died Monday morning due to complications from COVID-19, his family said in a statement.

“He was fully vaccinated. We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment,” the family said. “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American.”

Powell was 84 years old.

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

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Convicted murderer Robert Durst diagnosed with COVID-19, attorney says

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(LOS ANGELES) — Robert Durst has been diagnosed with COVID-19, his attorney confirmed Saturday, two days after the real estate heir was sentenced to life in prison on a first-degree murder conviction.

Durst, 78, was sentenced Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2000 killing of Susan Berman, his close confidant. The wheelchair-bound Durst appeared in the courtroom for his sentencing, looking frail and wearing a face mask.

His attorney, Dick DeGuerin, did not share any additional details on Durst’s condition.

The high-profile trial has been plagued by a series of delays due to the pandemic. After two days of testimony, the trial was delayed for 14 months after the coronavirus shuttered courts, with testimony resuming in May.

In August, testimony was briefly paused again after a courtroom observer tested positive for COVID-19. There was another holdup in June, when Durst was hospitalized for an unspecified health issue.

Durst did not appear in the courtroom when the verdict was announced in September because he was in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 by one of his sheriff drivers. Jurors found him guilty after deliberating for about seven hours over three days.

The New York real estate scion was accused of killing his best friend, Berman, who was shot in the back of the head in her Los Angeles home in 2000. Prosecutors alleged Durst killed Berman to prevent her from telling police she helped him cover up the unsolved murder of his wife, Kathleen Durst, in 1982. Durst has never been charged in his wife’s disappearance.

Durst pleaded not guilty in 2018 to the murder charge for Berman’s death. His attorneys have unsuccessfully sought a mistrial, arguing the lengthy delay impeded his chances of a fair trial.

Durst was also charged in the 2001 killing of a neighbor in Galveston, Texas. He claimed self-defense and was acquitted.

ABC News’ Cassidy Gard contributed to this report.

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Dramatic video shows Amtrak train slamming into semi-truck car hauler

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(THACKERVILLE, Okla.) — A dramatic video captured the moment an Amtrak train slammed into a semi-truck hauling several cars in Oklahoma, sending vehicles and debris flying and injuring several people on board.

The incident occurred Friday around 7 p.m. local time in Thackerville, near the Oklahoma-Texas border. Minutes before Amtrak Train 822, which operates daily between Fort Worth, Texas, and Oklahoma City, was scheduled to pass through, the car hauler tractor trailer got stuck on the train tracks, Love County Sheriff Marty Grisham told ABC News.

“The tracks are built up a little bit higher” at that crossing, Grisham said. “He had a lot of cars on the trailer. When he tried to cross over the tracks, the trailer high-centered on the tracks, causing him to be stuck and not able to move his tractor-trailer rig any further off the track.”

“Everything was just stuck,” he said.

A bystander who captured the video of the collision called 911, according to the sheriff. Authorities attempted to contact the railroad network operator, but the train couldn’t be stopped in time, Grisham said.

The video showed the railroad crossing gates partially lowered, unable to move past the cars on the upper deck of the double-decker car hauler trailer. The train’s horn blared before the locomotive collided with the trailer, sending debris on both sides of the crossing.

The driver and his dog were “shaken up” but uninjured in the collision, the sheriff’s office said. Five people on board the train were transported to two area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, the sheriff said. All patients involved in the incident have been treated released, a spokesperson for the hospitals told ABC News Saturday afternoon, though couldn’t confirm how many there were total.

There were 110 passengers and crew members on board, according to Amtrak.

“This train was canceled north of the incident scene and northbound customers were provided substitute transportation,” Amtrak said in a statement.

The Love County Sheriff’s Office warned travelers to avoid the area Friday night, as the crash scene would take “several hours” to clean up.

The site was cleared early Saturday morning “and we have resumed operations through the area,” the railroad operator, BNSF, told ABC News.

A traffic investigation is underway by local and state authorities, an Amtrak spokesperson said.

The video of the incident was captured by local Brandon Sampson, according to video licensing agency Storyful. ABC News was unable to reach him.

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Suspect charged with attempted murder in alleged hate crime shooting of Black man

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(STOCKTON, Calif.) — A week after a Black man was shot seven times by an assailant who was allegedly hurling racial epithets while firing at him, prosecutors said a suspect has been charged with attempted murder with a hate crime enhancement in the attack.

Michael Hayes, 31, was arraigned Friday in connection with the Oct. 8 shooting in Stockton, California. In addition to attempted murder, he has been charged with assault with a firearm with a hate crime enhancement, and carrying a loaded firearm while in a public space.

Prosecutors said, based on police reports, Hayes was “driving erratically and speeding” through a parking lot when the victim, 45-year-old Bobby Gayle, “told the driver to slow down.”

“The defendant then stopped, exited the vehicle, used racial epithets, and shot the victim seven times,” the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Friday following the arraignment.

Bobby Gayle, whom family said had just finished a construction job at a restaurant when the shooting occurred around 11:30 p.m., was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

From his hospital bed Thursday following Hayes’ arrest, Bobby Gayle told Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV he holds no hatred for the shooter.

“I can’t have hatred living in my heart,” the father of five told the station, struggling to talk due to his injuries.

“We come from a family, we just love everybody, there’s no hatred over here. One-hundred percent, that’s not me,” he said.

Bobby Gayle said he was shot twice in his face, as well as his neck, shoulder and legs. One of the bullets is lodged in his head and “is going to stay there because they can’t remove because it will do more damage,” his brother, Marlon Gayle, told KXTV.

The family expressed gratitude at news of the arrest.

“By God’s grace the guy is found and he’s arrested,” Marlon Gayle told KXTV. “We’ll let justice take its place.”

In an interview with ABC News earlier this week, Marlon Gayle said his brother spoke up after the shooter’s pick-up truck purportedly nearly hit him and a friend.

“According to my brother and the guy who was with him, his friend, the guy gets out of the truck, the white guy, and he has a gun, and he starts saying the n-word over and over again and started shooting my brother,” Marlon Gayle said.

The Stockton Police Department shared photos of the suspected shooter’s truck on Facebook Wednesday, describing it as a late-model Chevrolet Silverado, while asking the public for tips. A reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest was also offered.

On Thursday, police announced they had arrested Hayes the day prior. In a statement, Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones thanked the “anonymous tipster and the hard work of our detectives for bringing a quick resolution to this case for the victim and his family.”

Hayes has been remanded in custody and is scheduled to next appear in court on Oct. 28 for further arraignment, prosecutors said. ABC News has reached out to his attorney.

“The terrible actions of one is not a representation of who we are as a community. No one should be victimized because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement Friday. “My office takes these crimes very seriously. It is our goal, in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, to rid the community of hate and unnecessary gun violence.”

ABC News’ Adia Robinson contributed to this report.

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Deputy fatally shot, 2 injured in ‘ambush’ at Houston nightclub: Police

Houston Police Department

(HOUSTON) — A Texas constable deputy was fatally shot and two other deputies were wounded in what police are calling an “ambush” early Saturday morning outside a Houston nightclub.

The incident unfolded around 2:15 a.m. at the 45 North Bar and Lounge in the 4400 block of the North Freeway near Crosstimbers, Houston Police said.

Three Harris County Precinct 4 constable deputies were working an extra job at the club when they went outside to address “a disturbance” that “may have been a robbery,” Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief James Jones said during a press conference.

When they were wrestling with the suspect to either arrest or detain him, “we believe they were ambushed, shot from behind, by a suspect with a rifle,” Jones said. In total, three constable deputies were shot.

The suspected shooter was described as a Hispanic male in his early 20s. No futher information was made available.

Constable for Precinct 4 Mark Herman said one deputy was shot in the back and underwent surgery, another was shot in the foot who was to go into surgery, and a third was deceased at the hospital.

He described the incident as “Probably one of the toughest things I’ve done in my career.”

“We hope to have a suspect in custody soon and I hope for swift and quick justice for that individual because he ambushed my deputies,” Herman added.

The Houston Police Department is investigating the shooting.

One person of interest is in custody, but Jones said officials were not sure if he was a witness or a suspect.

“This is very tragic. I do believe that good always trumps evil and what happened tonight was evil,” Herman said.

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Boy, 13, dies after bullets flew through his bedroom window, struck his head

Tuscaloosa Police Department

(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) — A 13-year-old boy was shot and killed Friday evening inside his Alabama home when bullets flew through the window and struck him in the head.

The child was sitting in his room playing on his iPad when gunshots were fired at his home in Washington Square, Tuscaloosa around 6:20 p.m., police said in an update Saturday.

Police said when officers arrived, they found the boy suffering a gunshot wound to the head. The child has not been identified.

“It’s a senseless murder. We see it all the time where adults are shot and it’s terrible. When it’s a kid, it takes it to another level,” Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make these arrests.”

The scene was inundated with shell casings in the road, so many so that officers “had to pull business cards from their wallets to fold and use as temporary evidence markers until more could be brought to the scene,” police said.

The boy’s heartbroken parents had to stand across the street and watch as the ambulance drove away after realizing there was nothing they could do, authorities said.

Investigators with the Violent Crimes Unit are working to locate persons of interest in the case.

“We are asking for anyone with information that could be helpful to please call 205-349-2121, 205-464-8690 or report anonymously at 205-752-STOP (7867),” they said.

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