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Nation & World Briefs


Friday, February 02, 2018
Man who sold ammo to Vegas shooter is charged

CHANDLER, Ariz. — An Arizona man who sold ammunition to the gunman in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history was charged Friday with manufacturing armor-piercing bullets, according to court documents.

Unfired armor-piercing bullets found inside the Las Vegas hotel room where the attack was launched on Oct. 1 contained the fingerprints of ammunition dealer Douglas Haig of Arizona, according to the complaint filed in federal court in Phoenix. It says Haig didn’t have a license to manufacture armor-piercing ammunition.

The records don’t say if the ammunition was used in the attack. Haig was charged shortly before holding a news conference Friday where he said didn’t notice anything suspicious when he sold 720 rounds of ammunition to Stephen Paddock in the weeks before the attack that killed 58 people.

Haig, a 55-year-old aerospace engineer who sold ammunition as a hobby for about 25 years, said he met Paddock at a Phoenix gun show in the weeks before the shooting and he was well-dressed and polite.

He didn’t have the quantity of tracer ammunition on hand that Paddock was seeking, so Paddock contacted him a few days later and lined up a sale at Haig’s home in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Tracer bullets contain a pyrotechnic charge that illuminates the path of fired bullets so shooters can see whether their aim is correct.

Judge admonishes victims’ dad who charged at Nassar in court

CHARLOTTE, Mich. — A distraught father seething over sexual abuse suffered by three daughters tried to attack former sports doctor Larry Nassar in a Michigan courtroom Friday after a judge rejected his request to confront the “demon” in a locked room, a stunning rush that reflected the anguish felt by parents who trusted him with their children.

Randall Margraves was blocked by an attorney, tackled by sheriff’s deputies and hauled out of court. He later apologized, saying he had lost control. Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham said there was “no way” she would fine him or send him to jail under her contempt-of-court powers.

“I don’t know what it would be like to stand there as a father and know that three of your girls were injured physically and emotionally by somebody sitting in a courtroom. I can’t imagine that,” the judge said.

Nonetheless, she added, it is “not acceptable that we combat assault with assault.”

“I cannot tolerate or condone vigilantism or any other type of action that basically comes down to an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” Cunningham said.

Groundhog Day report: Flu’s worsening shadow blanketing US

NEW YORK — It looks like Groundhog Day for the nation’s flu report, too: It’s gotten worse and there are weeks of suffering ahead.

The government’s report out Friday showed the flu season continued to intensify last week.

One of every 14 visits to doctors and clinics were for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That’s the highest level since the swine flu pandemic in 2009. Last week, 42 states reported high patient traffic for the flu, up from 39.

Hospital stays because of the flu also increased.

Experts had thought this season might be bad, but its intensity has surprised most everyone.

LA school shooting: Unclear where 12-year-old got gun

LOS ANGELES — The semi-automatic handgun that fired accidentally inside a Los Angeles middle school classroom came from a 12-year-old girl’s backpack and the single bullet tore through the wrist of another girl before striking a boy’s head, police said Friday.

Los Angeles Police spokesman Josh Rubenstein said detectives are trying to figure out where the girl got the gun, which was unregistered, and why she brought it to school. It wasn’t clear what made it fire.

The girl, who was booked on a charge of negligent discharge of a firearm after Thursday’s shooting, has retained an attorney and isn’t answering questions, Rubenstein said.

Jordan Valenzuela, a 12-year-old classmate of the girl’s, told The Associated Press he was in the room next door when the gun went off and talked to her minutes later.

“She was crying,” Jordan said. “She was like, ‘I didn’t mean to. I had the gun in my backpack and I didn’t know it was loaded and my backpack fell and the gun went off.’“

Calls for change grow amid capitol sexual misconduct claims

An Arizona lawmaker who repeatedly harassed women has become the first since the swell of the #MeToo movement to get kicked out of office by colleagues but likely will not be the last to face repercussions amid intensifying scrutiny of sexual misconduct in state legislatures.

The heightened focus on harassment and misconduct has led to growing calls for change in a year that already has seen an unusually large number of women expressing interest in running for office.

“This conduct perpetuates the good-old-boys culture all too familiar to women in workplaces across the nation,” said Ohio state Rep. Teresa Fedor, one of several female Democratic lawmakers who called this week for the resignation of Republican Rep. Bill Seitz because of offense remarks. “Women and men deserve better, not more of the same tired excuses. It’s time for a change.”

With his expulsion on Thursday, Arizona Rep. Don Shooter became the 15th state lawmaker to leave office since the start of 2017 (the others resigned) after being accused of sexual misconduct. About 20 others have faced lesser consequences, ranging from forced apologies to suspensions to the loss of powerful leadership posts.

Sexual harassment investigations are ongoing against other state lawmakers, including in California, Hawaii, Kentucky and Oregon. On Friday, the Democratic leaders of the California Assembly and Senate released records that show four current lawmakers have faced such complaints since 2006, although none was formally disciplined. They include a 2017 allegation against a female lawmaker, Democratic Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, who later took responsibility for engaging in sexually charged banter.

From Associated Press