A gunman killed seven people and injured 22 others on Saturday in the city of Odessa in western Texas. The injured included a 17-month-old girl. Police have identified the gunman as 36-year-old Seth Ator and say he went on the rampage just hours after he was fired from his trucking job. Police say the massacre began after an officer pulled Ator over for failing to use a turn signal. He then reportedly opened fire using an AR-15-style weapon before speeding away. Soon after, he began shooting randomly at residents and motorists, at one point ditching his car to hijack a postal truck. He died in a shootout with police outside a movie theater in Odessa. A neighbor of the alleged gunman told CNN that she reported him to police just last month after he threatened her with a rifle. But police apparently never visited Ator’s house because they couldn’t find the property on GPS maps.
The shooting came less than a month after 22 people were shot dead in a Walmart in El Paso. Less than one day after the Odessa mass shooting, a series of new laws weakening firearm regulations went into effect in Texas. Among other things, the new bills will make it easier to carry guns at schools, places of worship and in disaster zones. The NRA hailed the bills, calling the latest legislative session “highly successful.” Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has repeatedly backed measures expanding gun ownership. In 2015, he tweeted, “I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace Texans. @NRA.” Following the shooting, a slew of Democratic lawmakers, including 2020 candidates and congressional leaders, called again for legislative action on gun control. We’ll have more on this story after headlines.
In more news about gun violence, a federal court ruled that survivors and the relatives of victims of 2015’s massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, can sue the government for its failure in the firearms background check system. Nine black worshipers were killed in the mass shooting. Dylann Roof purchased a semiautomatic pistol from a licensed gun seller, but the agent who was charged with verifying his background failed to obtain a police report of a past drug-related infraction, which would have barred him from legally acquiring the weapon. Following the shooting, then-FBI Director James Comey admitted he should not have been permitted to purchase the gun. Roof was found guilty on 33 counts of federal hate crimes and sentenced to death in 2017.
Hurricane Dorian is continuing to devastate the Bahamas, where deadly winds and flooding killed five people and left many more stranded on the Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands over the weekend. At one point, the storm was the second-most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. It pummeled the Bahamas with winds up to 180 miles per hour before stalling over the region. This is Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hubert Minnis.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis: “We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of northern Bahamas. Our mission and focus now is search, rescue and recovery. I ask for your prayers for those in affected areas and for our first responders.”
Hurricane Dorian made landfall as a Category 5 storm, but President Trump claimed over the weekend that he had never heard of Category 5. The U.S. has in fact been threatened by four Category 5 storms during Trump’s presidency. Trump also denied knowing what a Category 5 storm was in 2017, when Hurricane Irma struck Florida, and in 2018, when Hurricane Michael hit Florida.
Trump also caused confusion Sunday by falsely suggesting Alabama would be hit by Hurricane Dorian. His tweet — one of at least 122 he posted this weekend — was quickly denied by the National Weather Service. Trump spent the long weekend golfing at his club in Virginia despite the hurricane and the mass shooting in West Texas. Dorian is expected to continue its destructive path toward Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. We’ll have more on Hurricane Dorian later in the broadcast.
In Afghanistan, a bomb blast shook Kabul Monday as the U.S. presented a draft deal to draw down its military presence. Monday’s blast, which killed at least 16 people and wounded over 100 others, rattled a compound used by international organizations. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which followed attacks in recent days on two major cities in northern Afghanistan.
The news came as special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said the Taliban and the U.S. have reached an agreement “in principle” to withdraw over 5,000 troops within five months of the deal being finalized. The U.S. envoy presented the deal to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, but the Afghan government has not participated in the peace talks between the Taliban and the United States.
Meanwhile, senior White House advisers are seeking to expand the CIA’s presence in Afghanistan as troops start to withdraw, according to a report in The New York Times. The CIA presence would include the creation of new counterterrorism militia forces, but CIA Director Gina Haspel reportedly has raised concerns about the idea. The Taliban has said the CIA must also leave the country along with the military.
In India, nearly 2 million people in the state of Assam are at risk of being rendered stateless after the government published its National Register of Citizens list Saturday. The highly contested register was first created in 1951 and lists people who are able to prove they came to the state by March 24, 1971 — one day before neighboring Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan. The Indian government says the list helps identify Bangladeshi migrants who are not legal residents. Critics say it is an attempt to deport millions of Muslims. Residents suspected of being foreigners can be rounded up and sent to prison camps. Assam residents who do not appear on the list have 120 days to appeal their exclusion before so-called foreigner tribunals. This is lawmaker Asaduddin Owaisi.
Asaduddin Owaisi: “I have spoken to many people in Assam. They tell me that their father’s name is included but the children’s name is not included. So I hope that the foreigners’ tribunal will act in a more judicious way, because if the parents’ name is there and the children’s names are not there, I am pretty much sure, because 120 days’ time has been given, people will definitely appeal.”
In Hong Kong, as mass protests entered their 13th week, an editorial by China’s Xinhua state news agency warned Sunday “the end is coming for those attempting to disrupt Hong Kong and antagonise China.” On Saturday, Chinese state television broadcast footage of paramilitary police conducting drills in the border city of Shenzhen, with a caption that read, “Able to attack at any time!” The ominous warnings came as students took to the streets Monday, cutting classes on the first day of the new term. The student demonstration followed another weekend of clashes between protesters and police forces, with dozens of reported arrests.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said today she has never attempted to resign from her position, after a leaked audio recording revealed she told business leaders that she would quit if she could. We’ll have more on Hong Kong later in the broadcast with Martin Lee, the founding chairman of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong.
In Britain, as the battle over Brexit heats up, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned rebel members of Parliament they will face a snap election in October — just two weeks before Britain is scheduled to exit the European Union — if they do not support him. The ultimatum came as lawmakers prepare to vote on a bill that would require Johnson to extend the Brexit deadline to January 31, unless Parliament either comes to an agreement on a deal or approves a no-deal scenario.
Meanwhile, legal proceedings are underway in Scotland attempting to overturn the planned suspension of Parliament announced by Johnson last week. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets across the U.K. for “Stop the Coup” demonstrations.
In Germany, regional elections saw the far-right party Alternative for Deutschland make its largest gains ever Sunday, coming in second place behind the country’s main centrist parties, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Party. The elections were held on the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday asked Poland for forgiveness for the Nazi invasion in 1939.
U.N. investigators said Tuesday the United States, Britain and France may be complicit in war crimes by arming the Saudi-led coalition that has led a bombing campaign in Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands since 2015 and caused the death by starvation of an estimated 85,000 children. This comes as aid workers say over 100 people were likely killed Sunday when air raids launched by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition leveled a prison in the southwestern city of Dhamar. This is Assem Mohamed, a prisoner who survived Sunday’s attack.
Assem Mohamed: “The first strike came with the plane. I was by the window. I then went under the window as the walls came tumbling down my back. There were eight people in the room and a total of 100. After the airstrikes, after about half an hour to an hour, they came to rescue people in the rooms yelling. I was yelling from underneath the rubble.”
2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who spearheaded the Senate’s passage of a War Powers Resolution that would end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war, tweeted, “U.S. bombs, logistical support, and intelligence for the Saudi dictatorship’s airstrikes make us complicit in this nightmare. Congress has declared this war unconstitutional. We must now stand up to Trump and defund all U.S. involvement in these horrors.”
Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah are mounting as both parties exchanged fire across the Lebanese border Sunday. The Israeli military said it fired into southern Lebanon after Hezbollah missiles were launched at an army base near the border, while Hezbollah said it was responding to a drone attack by Israeli forces. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Monday that the exchange of fire had launched a “new phase” in the conflict with Israel and that the new focus would be on targeting Israeli drones that breach Lebanese airspace.
In Colombia, right-wing President Iván Duque said Friday that nine former FARC rebels, including a commander, were killed in a bombing raid. Last week, a group of former FARC rebels announced they were taking up arms again, accusing the Colombian government of failing to live up to the 2016 peace accord that ended 50 years of fighting.
In more news from Colombia, a mayoral candidate for the town of Suárez in the Cauca region was killed along with at least four others while campaigning Sunday. Karina García is the fifth candidate to be killed ahead of municipal elections next month. García would have been the first female mayor of Suárez. She was recently threatened by armed men but refused to back down, publicly denouncing the attacks on her campaign.
Back in the United States, the U.S. Coast Guard has recovered 25 bodies, while another nine are still missing, after a commercial diving boat caught fire in the early hours of Monday morning off the coast of Santa Cruz island in Southern California. Five crew members were able to escape after the blaze started. Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the fire.
A 17-year-old Palestinian student who was denied entry into the U.S. last month will start classes with his fellow Harvard freshmen today after he returned to the country over the weekend. Ismail Ajjawi was turned away at Boston’s Logan Airport just under two weeks ago after being interrogated by immigration officials about his religion and social media posts by friends that were critical of U.S. policy. He was then forced to return home to Lebanon, but his case provoked outrage on the Harvard campus and among some Palestinian rights and academic freedom groups.
Theodore Kattouf, the president of AMIDEAST, the educational nonprofit that granted a scholarship to Ajjawi, said in a statement, “We are pleased that Ismail’s Harvard dream will come true after all. Ismail is a bright young man whose hard work, intelligence and drive enabled him to overcome the challenges that Palestinian refugee youth continue to face in order to earn a scholarship.”