Uvalde a mix of pride and anger as it grieves school attack
UVALDE, Texas (AP) — Days after a local man burst into an elementary school and killed 19 children and two teachers before officers managed to kill him, the signs of grief, solidarity and local pride are everywhere in Uvalde.
Many are wearing maroon, the color for Uvalde's school district. And light blue ribbons adorn the giant oaks that shade the city's central square, where mourners come to lay flowers around a fountain and write messages on wooden crosses that bear the victims' names. In front of a day care center on one of the city's main streets, 21 wooden chairs sit empty.
Everyone in the predominantly Latino city of roughly 16,000 people seems to know someone whose life has been turned upside down by losing a family member or close friend in the attack at Robb Elementary School, which was one of the deadliest of its kind.
Joe Ruiz, pastor of Templo Cristiano, said a teacher who is friends with his wife — herself a former Uvalde teacher — summed up the community's mood best by saying people have “cried out everything” they could and are now just tired and needing rest.
Police have come under heavy criticism for waiting more than 45 minutes to confront the 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, inside the adjoining classrooms where he unleased carnage.
Police inaction moves to center of Uvalde shooting probe
The actions — or more notably, the inaction — of a school district police chief and other law enforcement officers have become the center of the investigation into this week's shocking school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
The delay in confronting the shooter — who was inside the school for more than an hour — could lead to discipline, lawsuits and even criminal charges against police.
The attack that left 19 children and two teachers dead in a fourth grade classroom was the nation's deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade, and for three days police offered a confusing and sometimes contradictory timeline that drew public anger and frustration.
By Friday, authorities acknowledged that students and teachers repeatedly begged 911 operators for help while the police chief told more than a dozen officers to wait in a hallway at Robb Elementary School. Officials said he believed the suspect was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and that there was no longer an active attack.
The chief's decision — and the officers' apparent willingness to follow his directives against established active-shooter protocols — prompted questions about whether more lives were lost because officers did not act faster to stop the gunman, and who should be held responsible.
TIMELINE: Texas elementary school shooting, minute by minute
In the hours and days following the fatal shooting of 19 children and their two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, authorities gave shifting and at times contradictory information of what happened and how they responded.
The investigation of the massacre is ongoing, but much is already known about the nearly two hours that passed between when authorities say Salvador Ramos shot his grandmother and when police radio traffic indicated that the 18-year-old gunman was dead and the siege was over.
Sometime after 11 a.m. — Ramos shoots his grandmother in the face, according to Texas Public Safety Director Steve McCraw. Gilbert Gallegos, 82, who lives across the street from Ramos and his grandmother, heard a shot as he was in his yard. He runs to the front and sees Ramos speed away in a pickup truck and Ramos' grandmother coming toward him pleading for help. Covered in blood, “She says, ‘Berto, this is what he did. He shot me,’” according to Gallegos, whose wife calls the police to report the shooting.
11:27 a.m. — Video shows a teacher, whom authorities haven't publicly identified, propping open an exterior door of the school, McCraw said.
Russia takes small cities, aims to widen east Ukraine battle
KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) — As Russia asserted progress in its goal of seizing the entirety of contested eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin tried Saturday to shake European resolve to punish his country with sanctions and to keep supplying weapons that have supported Ukraine's defense.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Lyman, the second small city to fall this week, had been “completely liberated” by a joint force of Russian soldiers and Kremlin-backed separatists, who have waged war for eight years in the industrial Donbas region bordering Russia.
Ukraine’s train system has ferried arms and evacuated citizens through Lyman, a key railway hub in the east. Control of it also would give Russia's military another foothold in the region; it has bridges for troops and equipment to cross the Siverskiy Donets river, which has so far impeded the Russian advance into the Donbas.
Ukrainian officials have sent mixed signals on Lyman. On Friday, Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said Russian troops controlled most of it and were trying to press their offensive toward Bakhmut, another city in the region. On Saturday, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar disputed Moscow's claim that Lyman had fallen, saying fighting there was still ongoing.
In his Saturday video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the situation in the east as “very complicated’’ and said that the “Russian army is trying to squeeze at least some result’’ by focusing its efforts there.
FBI records on search for fabled gold raise more questions
A scientific analysis commissioned by the FBI shortly before agents went digging for buried treasure suggested that a huge quantity of gold could be below the surface, according to newly released government documents and photos that deepen the mystery of the 2018 excavation in remote western Pennsylvania.
The report, by a geophysicist who performed microgravity testing at the site, hinted at an underground object with a mass of up to 9 tons and a density consistent with gold. The FBI used the consultant's work to obtain a warrant to seize the gold — if there was any to be found.
The government has long claimed its dig was a bust. But a father-son pair of treasure hunters who spent years hunting for the fabled Civil War-era gold — and who led agents to the woodland site, hoping for a finder's fee — suspect the FBI double-crossed them and made off with a cache that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The newly revealed geophysical survey was part of a court-ordered release of government records on the FBI's treasure hunt at Dent's Run, about 135 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh, where legend says an 1863 shipment of Union gold was either lost or stolen on its way to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
Dennis and Kem Parada, who co-own the treasure-hunting outfit Finders Keepers, successfully sued the Justice Department for the records after being stonewalled by the FBI. Finders Keepers provided the FBI records to The Associated Press. The FBI subsequently posted them on its website.
Ex-Proud Boys leader to stay jailed until Capitol riot trial
The former top leader of the Proud Boys will remain jailed while awaiting trial on charges that he conspired with other members of the far-right extremist group to attack the U.S. Capitol and stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's presidential victory, a federal judge has ruled.
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio poses a danger to the public that cannot be mitigated by home detention and banning him from using social media, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said in an order issued late Friday.
Tarrio, a South Florida resident, has been jailed since his arrest on March 8, a day after his indictment on charges including conspiracy. A federal magistrate in Miami previously ordered his pretrial detention.
Tarrio and other Proud Boys leaders used encrypted channels, social media and other electronic communications to plan and carry out a plot to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and interfere with the congressional certification of the Electoral College vote, according to the indictment.
Tarrio asked Kelly to order his release on bond, but the judge rejected the request. Kelly said the evidence against Tarrio is “very strong” despite Tarrio's argument that authorities essentially do not have “a smoking gun” against him, “perhaps in the form of direct evidence of an order from Tarrio to other Proud Boys to storm the Capitol.”
Children among 31 killed at church fair stampede in Nigeria
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — A stampede Saturday at a church charity event in southern Nigeria left 31 people dead and seven injured, police told The Associated Press, a shocking development at a program that aimed to offer hope to the needy. One witness said the dead included a pregnant woman and many children.
The stampede at the event organized by the Kings Assembly Pentecostal church in Rivers state involved people who came to the church’s annual “Shop for Free” charity program, according to Grace Iringe-Koko, a police spokeswoman.
Such events are common in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, where more than 80 million people live in poverty, according to government statistics.
Saturday’s charity program was supposed to begin at 9 a.m. but dozens arrived as early as 5 a.m. to secure their place in line, Iringe-Koko said. Somehow the locked gate was broken open, creating a stampede, she said.
Godwin Tepikor from Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency said first responders were able to evacuate the bodies of those trampled to death and bring them to the morgue. Security forces cordoned off the area.
As US mourns shootings, NRA in turmoil but influence remains
HOUSTON (AP) — For a brief moment in 2012, it seemed like a national stalemate over guns was breaking.
Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old gunman, had forced his way into a Connecticut elementary school and massacred 26 people, mostly children, with an AR-15-style rifle. Flags flew at half-staff. A sporting goods chain suspended sales of similar weapons. And longtime gun-rights supporters from both parties in Congress said they were willing to consider new legislation. The issue was complex, then-President Barack Obama said, but everyone was obligated to try.
Then, one week after the bloodshed at Sandy Hook elementary, the most powerful gun lobby in the U.S. made its public position known and the effort unraveled.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a defiant speech that blamed video games, cowardly lawmakers, the media and a perverted society for the carnage, while calling for armed guards at schools across the U.S.
Nearly a decade later, the nation is at another crossroads. A gunman killed at least 19 children with a similar weapon at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday in the nation's second mass killing this month. This time, however, LaPierre didn't need to address the bloodshed — the organization's Republican allies in Congress did.
'Triangle of Sadness' wins Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Fest
CANNES, France (AP) — Swedish director Ruben Ostlund’s class warfare comedy “Triangle of Sadness” won the Palme d’Or at the 75th Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, giving Ostlund one of cinema’s most prestigious prizes for the second time.
Ostlund, whose art-world send-up “The Square” took the Palme in 2017, pulled off the rare feat of winning Cannes' top award for back-to-back films. “Triangle of Sadness," featuring Woody Harrelson as a Marxist yacht captain and a climactic scene with rampant vomiting, pushes the satire even further.
“We wanted after the screening (for people) to go out together and have something to talk about,” said Ostlund. “All of us agree that the unique thing with cinema is that we're watching together. So we have to save something to talk about but we should also have fun and be entertained.”
The awards were selected by a nine-member jury headed by French actor Vincent Lindon and presented Saturday in a closing ceremony inside Cannes' Grand Lumière Theater.
The jury’s second prize, the Grand Prix, was shared between the Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s tender boyhood drama “Close,” about two 13-year-old boys whose bond is tragically separated after their intimacy is mocked by schoolmates; and French filmmaking legend Claire Denis' “Stars at Noon,” a Denis Johnson adaptation starring Margaret Qualley as a journalist in Nicaragua.
Madrid wins Champions League final marred by crowd chaos
PARIS (AP) — Yet another Champions League title for Real Madrid, the undisputed king of Europe.
Yet another showpiece European soccer game tarnished by chaotic crowd issues and disorder.
Madrid became European champion for a record-extending 14th time — double the number of any other team on the continent — after beating Liverpool 1-0 in a final that started 37 minutes late because of disturbing scenes outside the Stade de France on Saturday. It evoked memories of the violence that marred the European Championship final at Wembley Stadium 10 months ago.
Brazil winger Vinícius Júnior was the match-winner, applying a close-range finish in the 59th minute from Federico Valverde’s drive across the face of goal, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois took just as many plaudits by making breathtaking saves by Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
“Today nobody was going to get in my way,” Courtois said. “I was going to win a Champions League no matter what.”