Tag Archives: Florida

Florida House Passes Bill Making It Easier For People To Arm Themselves During A Natural Disaster

shutterstock_gun violence 3x2


I imagine Florida law makers  have the mind of little children during the 50′s and 60′s playing “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and Indians”.  To put it even more succinctly, these people are stuck on stupid.

Think Progress

“The bells of liberty are surely ringing throughout Florida today.” said state Rep. Heather Dawes Fitzenhagen (R). The cause of Fitzenhagen’s delight is a bill that would allow people with no criminal record to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in crisis or evacuation scenarios. Her bill, which applies to natural disaster scenarios such as hurricanes or forest fires and emergencies declared by the governor or local authorities, passed the state House of Representatives by a 80-36 margin.

Other lawmakers are not quite so excited about this bill. Democratic Rep. Victor Torres, a retired New York City transit police officer, opposed the bill noting that guns in places like storm shelters could be dangerous and increase tension in an already stressful scenario — “[y]ou are talking about introducing concealed firearms into an environment that is already teeming with tension. I hope that tragedy will not be a byproduct of our decision here today.” The bill’s opponents also noted that it would be difficult to check whether a particular individual has a criminal record in an emergency situation such as a hurricane when many technological databases would be unavailable, and that firearms could be used in robberies or other crimes at a time when looting is widespread.

While the bill received support from the National Rifle Association, several law-enforcement lobbyists, most notably the Florida Sheriffs Association, opposed the bill. When asked about their opposition, Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford offered “We don’t want to kill the bill, we want to clarify it. Does it mean when you’re moving out, when you check into your hotel?”



Filed under FL Legislators

Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

Rep. Matt Gaetz (Florida House of Representatives)

You know something’s wrong when they resort to these measures…

The Huffington Post

After a Tampa Bay Times’ review of 200 cases that involved the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law found an “uneven application” and “shocking outcomes,” one Florida lawmaker is seeking to impede the media’s ability to scrutinize the law.

Earlier this month, state Rep. Matt Gaetz(R-Fort Walton Beach) filed an amendment that would “severely limit access to court records in the self-defense cases,” the Times’ Michael van Sickler reports.

The amendment would allow those found innocent in a Stand Your Ground case to“apply for a certificate of eligibility to expunge the associated criminal history record.”

Gaetz said his amendment was unrelated to the Times’ Stand Your Ground investigation, the Associated Press reports. “The point is to ensure that someone who appropriately uses a Stand Your Ground defense doesn’t have their life ruined by the use of that defense,” he said.

Gaetz’s amendment has sparked concern among journalists, Media Matters reports, who say the loss of access to public records could have damaging effects. Alongside statements from editors at the Miami Herald and Florida Times-Union are the opinions of staff who worked on the groundbreaking review by the Times:

“Closing records and putting controversial cases that involve violence into the dark is a bad idea, it is against democracy,” said Neil Brown, Times editor and vice president. “This would have inhibited our work further. Our work was done based on court records as well as the stories of the incidents when they occurred.”

The Times coverage was named a finalist for the Online News Association’s Knight Award for Public Service and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism’s Taylor Award for Fairness in Journalism. The investigation has played a key role in informing other outlets’ coverage of cases relating to Stand Your Ground statutes.

It utilized hundreds of court and arrest records to reveal that the law was being interpreted in many different ways and being applied without a uniform approach, according to Kris Hundley, one of the three Times reporters who worked on the project.

“If those were expunged, I don’t know how you would ever do any kind of meaningful look back at the law,” Hundley said. “I think it was important because it gave people a sense of how it was applied across the state, how judges made different decisions faced with similar cases and the wide variety of cases in which it was employed. It showed the law was being expanded to far beyond what the legislators anticipated and (was) applied unevenly.”

Marion Hammer, a former NRA national president who founded and heads the organization’s Florida chapter, said the amendment is about protecting individuals who defend themselves within the law.

“It’s overreach on the media’s part to think they need to know everything about everybody’s life,” Hammer, who personally crafted the proposal that would become Stand Your Groundtold the Times/Herald. “The media wants to know this so they can create news. Privacy is an important thing in America. When people are wronged it should be repaired, and it shouldn’t be anybody’s business.”

The bill to which the amendment is attached — which would extend Stand Your Ground immunity to those who fire warning shots during a confrontation — has sailed through the Florida House.

The warning shot measure has enjoyed some bipartisan support in light of the high-profile case of Marissa Alexander. The Jacksonville woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing what she said was a warning shot into her own ceiling during a confrontation with her estranged husband. (An appeals court has ruled Alexander will get a new trial.)

But some Democrats are unhappy with the proposed expansion of Stand Your Ground. One local lawmaker asserted that the law has harmed black residents, and the Times study found that shooters who cited Stand Your Ground were more likely to prevail when the victim was black. Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee), who filed a repeal of Stand Your Ground last fall, has argued instead, “Don’t make this about color, make this about what’s right and wrong. Make this about life and death.”

Gaetz has already encountered resistance from Democrats, including Williams, over Stand Your Ground. Last fall, Florida Republicans seemed to concede to public opposition when they agreed to hold hearings on the law. Gaetz, who was appointed to chair the meetings, announced before the hearings began that he did not “support changing one damn comma of the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law,” and characterized any changes as “reactionary and dangerous” and protestors as “uninformed.”

“So much for an objective review of the law’s unintended consequences,” wrote the Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board at the time.

The Senate’s version of the warning shot bill is expected to see a vote this week.

H/t: Ted


Filed under Florida Justice

In Justifiable Homicide Cases, Race Disparity Extends To Women, Too

Marissa Alexander


Clearly, the process needs to be re-examined…

Think Progress

Past studies have found that the notorious Stand Your Ground laws that authorize deadly force in self-defense exacerbate racial disparities. Among all cases, the Urban Institute has found that white-on-black homicides are 354 percent more likely to be found justified than white-on-white homicides in states with Stand Your Ground laws.

As Marissa Alexander is facing 60 years in prison in a case in which she unsuccessfully invoked the defense for firing a warning shot during a dispute with her abusive boyfriend, MSNBC looked at racial disparities among women, albeit those who, unlike Alexander, purportedly killed a man in self-defense. While white women with black victims were found justified 13.5 percent of the time, blacks who kill whites are found justified just 2.9 percent of the time, and even whites who kill whites are found justified only 2.6 percent of the time.

“In any situation where a black male is perceived as being the aggressor, you are much more likely to have the homicide considered justifiable,” said John Roman, senior fellow at the Urban Institute who performed the research for MSNBC.


Significantly, these statistics come from an analysis of FBI data, which does not include Florida. So MSNBC looks to a Tampa Bay Times analysis of Florida. “All the cases where a woman did not succeed in claiming self-defense, including several in which she said she was the victim of rape or other physical abuse, involved white males,” MSNBC’s Irin Carmon notes. “By contrast, among the eight murder cases found justified, half involved women killing black men. Those cases included both intimate partner and stranger violence.”

The story of Marissa Alexander raises questions about the role domestic violence considerations play in Stand Your Ground cases. Prosecutor Angela Corey has eschewed sympathy for Alexander, even amidst public outcry. While Corey’s vigorous prosecution yielded Alexander a 20-year prison sentence the first time she was convicted of assault for firing the gun, she is now seeing three consecutive 20-year terms — a total of 60 years, after Alexander was granted a new trial and released from prison in the interim. By contrast, others in Florida who have been granted immunity in Florida were involved in bar fights or heated altercations.


Filed under Florida Justice, Marissa Alexander

West Wing Week 03/14/14 or “What’s Up, Captain America?”

The White House

This week, the Vice President and Dr. Biden traveled to Chile to attend the inauguration of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, while President Obama worked on improving access to college for students, raising the minimum wage, and negotiating a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. He also got out the word about the March 31 deadline for health insurance applications, congratulated NCAA champs, and designated a new national monument.


Friday, March 7th

·       The President and First Lady visited Coral Reef High School in Miami, Florida to speak about the importance of signing up for Federal financial aid.

Monday, March 10th

·       The President participated in a conference call with healthcare enrollment leaders.

·       The President congratulated the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I Champions at the White House.

Tuesday, March 11th

·      Funny or Die released an interview with President Obama on the web series Between Two Ferns.

·      The President added the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to existing National Monument land in California

·      Later that day, the President visited a Gap Store in New York City to highlight Gap’s choice to raise the minimum wage for their               employees.

Wednesday, March 12th

·     The President met with a group of advocates who are getting the word out about the Affordable Care Act.

·      Later that day, the President held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine.

·      Then, the President hosted a meeting with women members of Congressto discuss the 2014 women’s economic agenda.

Thursday, March 13th

·       The President spoke on the urgent need to get hardworking Americans the overtime pay they deserve.

·       Later, the President took a photo with the 52nd Annual U.S. Sentae Youth program.


1 Comment

Filed under West Wing Week

10 things you need to know today: March 12, 2014

Searchers for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight started looking in new directions Tuesday. 

Searchers for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight started looking in new directions Tuesday. | (AP Photo/Jeri Huanda)

The Week

Republicans win a preview of November’s mid-terms, Malaysia says plane turned around before vanishing, and more

1. Republican wins closely watched Florida special election
Republican David Jolly beat Democrat Alex Sink in a Tuesday special election to fill a vacant Congressional seat in Florida. The vote was seen as a bellwether ahead of November’s mid-term elections, partly because Florida is a major swing state. GOP leaders said the vote was a condemnation of ObamaCare, although the seat on Florida’s Gulf Coast was held for more than 40 years by Jolly’s late boss, Republican C.W. Bill Young. [Reuters]

2. Plane that disappeared flew off course
The Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished Saturday with 239 people on board changed course sharply before disappearing from radar screens, Malaysia’s air force chief said Wednesday. Air force chief Gen. Rodzali Daud said the turn was tracked on radar. Investigators still had no solid clues on what happened to the airliner after five days, and they expanded the already vast search area from the South China Sea to India’s territorial waters. [The Associated Press]

3. Feinstein accuses CIA of spying on Senate panel
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of unlawfully searching her committee’s computers. Feinstein said the CIA “violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution” by trying to undermine her panel’s investigation of a controversial CIA spying program. CIA Director John Brennan promptly disputed the claim. [The Washington Post]

4. Huge fire engulfs San Francisco apartment project
A massive, five-alarm fire destroyed a quarter-billion-dollar apartment complex under construction in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood on Tuesday. The fire started during the afternoon, and by evening was sending flames 40 feet into the air, forcing the evacuation of 100 people from neighboring buildings. There were no reports of injuries as night fell. [San Jose Mercury-News]

5. Bachelet sworn in as Chile’s president
Michelle Bachelet was sworn in as president of Chile on Tuesday, after being officially declared the winner of a Dec. 15 runoff. Bachelet, of the center-left New Majority coalition, defeated conservative Evelyn Rose Matthei with 62 percent of the vote. Bachelet’s father, air force brigadier general Alberto Bachelet, died in 1974 after being tortured by the government for opposing military ruler Augusto Pinochet. [ABC News]

6. Prosecutors investigate GM’s delay in revealing cars’ fatal flaw
The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation of General Motors over deadly safety problems that persisted for years before a big recall last month. Prosecutors are accusing the car company — the biggest in the U.S. — of failing to comply with federal laws requiring automakers to promptly report defects. Faulty ignitions switches in Chevy Cobalts and other cars have been linked to 13 deaths. [The New York Times]

7. Men’s Wearhouse announces it is buying Jos. A. Bank
Men’s Wearhouse said Tuesday that it was buying Jos. A. Bank Clothiers for $1.8 billion. The deal marks the end of five months of wrangling that started when Jos. A Bank tried to buy its larger rival for $2.3 billion. The Men’s Warehouse offer amounted to a 5.1 percent premium over Jos. A. Bank’s Monday closing stock price. “It’s a second Christmas for Jos. A. Bank shareholders,” said one merger expert. [Reuters]

8. Man allegedly mailed bomb addressed to Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Federal authorities said Tuesday that an Oklahoma man mailed explosives to Arizona sheriff andimmigration hawk Joe Arpaio last year. The package was discovered in a collection box in northern Arizona. Investigators at first thought the device could have been deadly, but they later realized it wasn’t operable. A 55-year-old Oklahoma man, Gregory Lynn Shrader, is accused of putting the device in the mail. [The Associated Press]

9. Louisiana inmate freed after 30 years on death row
Glenn Ford was released from a Louisiana prison on Tuesday after spending nearly 30 years on death row. Ford was sentenced for the Nov. 5, 1983, murder of Isadore Rozeman, a Shreveport businessman. Ford was the longest serving death-row inmate, but was finally exonerated with the help of lawyers from the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana. “It feels good,” Ford said. [USA Today]

10. FDA approves device to curb migraines
The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it had approved the first medical device to prevent migraines. The device, called Cefaly, resembles a tiara worn on the head. It has a battery-powered electrode that stimulates nerves beneath the forehead, just above the eyes. In a study published last month in the journal Neurology, 38 percent of chronic migraine sufferers reported a 50 percent drop in migraine episodes. [CNN]


Filed under 10 things you need to know today

Who are the real thugs?

Michael Dunn is seen during a recess in his trial in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday Feb. 10, 2014. The prosecution has rested in the trial of Dunn accused of killing a teen following an argument over loud music outside a Jacksonville convenience store in 2012. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Bob Mack, Pool)

The case of Michael Dunn bears a resemblance to another in Florida, Simon says. | AP Photo

Politico - Roger Simon

The Durango is red, which is unimportant. The teenagers are black, which is important.

The teenagers are planning to try to pick up some girls later in the evening and have stopped for some gum — “so our breath would smell good,” one will later testify — and cigarettes. The teenagers are playing loud music in the Durango.

A car pulls up next to the Durango, parking very close to it. Inside is Michael Dunn, 45, a software developer, and his fiancée. Both are white. Dunn’s fiancée goes into the store while Dunn waits in the car.

The couple are coming from the wedding of Dunn’s son. They have Dunn’s 7-month-old dog with them. Dunn had two drinks at the wedding but is not “buzzed,” he will later say. He describes his mood as happy.

But the loud, throbbing music from the Durango upsets him. It is rattling his rearview mirror, he will later claim. The music, he will say, is “ridiculously, obnoxiously loud thug music” and “rap crap.”

Dunn does not change parking spaces or go inside the store to join his fiancée and escape the noise. Instead, he rolls down his window and asks the teenagers to turn down the music. “They shut it off, and I was like, ‘Thank you,’” Dunn later tells police.

But one of the teenagers in the Durango objects and tells the driver to turn the music back on. Dunn rolls down his window again and words are exchanged between him and one of the teenagers. Dunn will tell police the teenagers were “menacing.”

“It got ugly,” Dunn later says. “I heard ‘something-something cracker.’”

The situation escalates. Dunn claims seeing one teenager pushing open the door of the Durango. (This is later denied by the teenagers.) Dunn also claims that he sees a weapon in the Durango. “I saw a barrel come up on the window, like a single-shot shotgun. … It was either a barrel or a stick,” Dunn tells police. “I’m sh—-ing bricks, but that’s when I reached in my glove box, unholstered my pistol … and so, quicker than a flash, I had a round chambered in it, and I shot.” Dunn says he always keeps the pistol loaded.

Why, you might ask, had Dunn taken a loaded 9mm Taurus PT semiautomatic handgun to a wedding?

Hey, this is Florida. The Gunshine State.

Dunn fires four shots into the Durango. The Durango pulls away. Dunn gets out of his car and aims again at the teenagers’ vehicle. “I was still scared and so I shot four more times … trying to keep their heads down to not catch any return fire. And that was it,” Dunn says later.

Police will find no shotgun or any other gun in the Durango or in the vicinity. No witness sees any shotgun or any other weapons in the Durango. When Dunn’s fiancée returns to the car, Dunn mentions the shooting but does not mention any shotgun.

The couple drive 40 miles to a bed and breakfast and relax. They order a pizza, they drink some wine and Dunn walks his dog. He learns from a report on TV that one of the teenagers in the Durango has died. He does not call police.

The next day, he and his fiancée drive 130 miles to his home in South Patrick Shores. Dunn says he “was waiting till we get around people we know” and he wanted to ensure “our dog and everybody were where they needed to be.” A witness to the shooting had called police with Dunn’s license plate number, and Dunn is arrested.

Three of the bullets fired by Dunn had hit Jordan Davis, 17. One severed his aorta, killing him.

Davis, a high school junior, had just gotten a job at McDonald’s to earn extra money. At Thanksgiving dinner, the day before he was shot, he thanked God for his family — especially his mom.

Dunn is charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle.

He pleads not guilty, saying he shot in self-defense.

One of his lawyers will tell reporters that Dunn acted “as any responsible firearms owner would have.”

Dunn’s lawyer at trial, Cory Strolla, tells the jury: “God didn’t make all men equal. Colt did. Colt is a firearm. [Dunn] had every right under the law to not be a victim, to be judged by 12 rather than carried by six.”

On Saturday, the jury deadlocked on the charge of murder but found Dunn guilty of attempted murder and shooting into a car. His lawyer says he will appeal. The prosecutor says she will try Dunn again for murder.

There are some similarities between this case and the case of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Fla. In neither case was Florida’s “stand your ground” law cited by defense lawyers, but in both trials the judges mentioned it to the juries.

Florida’s “stand your ground” defense law states that people need not retreat from attackers and can use deadly force in their own defense if they reasonably believe they may be hurt or killed.

In both the Zimmerman case and the Dunn case, armed white men shot and killed unarmed black teenagers.

Strolla, Dunn’s lawyer, said, however, the trial was not about race but about a “subculture thug issue.”

But who are the real thugs? The unarmed black kids who play loud music or walk to stores to buy Skittles? Or the white guys who are armed to the teeth and quick on the trigger?


Filed under Florida

Michael Dunn Headed to Prison for the Shots that Failed to Kill



Michael Dunn will likely receive a lengthy prison sentence after a jury found him guilty on three counts of attempted murder and one count of firing into a vehicle. The jury however was unable to reach agreement on the charge of first degree murder for killing Jordan Davis. On that charge, a mistrial was declared, but the four felony counts that Dunn was found guilty of could still send him to prison for up to 75 years. Dunn’s sentencing is scheduled for March 24th.

Dunn was remanded to custody after being convicted, and if the judge gives him anything close to the maximum sentence on each charge, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Yet, the verdict was disconcerting for one simple reason. Dunn was not convicted for murdering Jordan Davis. Had he confined his shooting to firing one or two fatal shots, he conceivably could have dodged the four felony counts and been in a position to get away with murder.

The case once again highlights the difficulty in convicting shooters who kill unarmed young black men. Although Dunn did face some consequences for his behavior and the case was so egregious, the jury still struggled with the notion that Dunn was guilty. Apparently by merely raising the suggestion that Jordan Davis could have had a gun, even though no gun was found, Dunn’s attorneys were able to plant the seed of doubt in the jury. A white guy who shoots black teenagers should be given the benefit of the doubt, the jury apparently reasoned. Even if the shooter fails to contact the police after murdering a black youth and instead orders pizza for take out, he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt because after all the guy he shot was black and black people are scary to white people.

In Florida, and in the United States, it is easier to get away with homicide if the victim is black. This is true no matter what race the shooter is although black shooters who shoot African-Americans are less likely to successfully claim self-defense than white or Hispanics who kill African-Americans. In  Stand Your Ground cases in Florida, whites or Hispanics who kill African-Americans are only convicted about ten percent of the time. When a non-white kills a white person and tries to use Stand Your Ground defense they are four times more likely to be convicted than a white or Hispanic person who kills a black person. While the Michael Dunn case did not technically invoke Stand Your Ground in a pre-trial motion, his self-defense argument underscores the racial disparities that define American court cases.

Had the shooter been an African-American who shot four white teenagers who were listening to country music in their pickup truck, does anybody think the jury would have struggled with convicting the black man of murder? It is possible but unlikely. In the United States, racial prejudices still operate and many Americans who find there way on juries presume that young African-American males are threatening or potential criminals. With such latent prejudices looming beneath the surface in the psyches of jurors, it makes convicting a white man who claims he felt threatened by a young black man extremely difficult.

Dunn will go to prison simply because his behavior was so egregious and because he was so trigger happy that he pumped an SUV full of bullets, firing ten shots into the vehicle even after it was retreating.  Nevertheless, the jury’s inability to agree that Dunn committed first degree murder still should give our nation cause for collective pause. A jury once again has raised questions about whether our justice system places the same value on young black lives as it does on white lives. The answer appears to be negative, but perhaps Dunn will be convicted if and when the case is retried. While he awaits a possible retrial, at least he will be doing so from a prison cell.  The only irony is that he will be doing time for the shots that missed and not for the fatal shot that took Jordan Davis’ life. That is a tragedy, even if Dunn spends the rest of his life in prison where he belongs.


Filed under Florida Justice

Florida County Eliminates Minority-Heavy Polling Places

Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett (R) |

This will likely be decided in the U.S. Supreme Court before the 2016 election.  I’m certain that it will affect the 2014 election…

Think Progress

On a party-line vote, a Florida county’s Republican majority Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to eliminate almost one-third of Manatee County’s voting sites. The board accepted a proposal by Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett (R) by a 6-1 vote to trim the number of precincts, despite unanimous public testimony against the move — and complaints by the lone Democratic Commissioner that it would eliminate half of the polling places in his heavily minority District 2.

Bennett, in his first term as elections supervisor, proposed reducing the number of Manatee County precincts from 99 to 69. Citing decreased Election Day turnout, as more voters switch to in-person early voting and vote-by-mail options, he told the commissioners that the move would save money and allow the county to offer more early voting sites in the future.

In the public comment section of the meeting, all ten speeches strongly opposed the move. Representatives of the local NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Council warned that the cuts would decrease voter turnout because voters would have to travel further to a polling place, especially among the elderly and people without cars, and noted that the cuts disproportionately affected minority-heavy precincts. Bennett dismissed these concerns, noting that because District 2 had received “preferential treatment in the past,” even with the changes, his district will have the smallest number of voters per precinct. “It was overbalanced before, it’s overbalanced now.” Bennett also repeatedly noted that he had discussed the move with civil rights groups and both the Republican and “Democrat” Parties.

Bennett assured the commission that if lines are longer in 2014 as a result of these changes, he would ask them to revisit the decision in 2015, before the 2016 elections. But it is unclear whether voter accessibility is a sincere priority for him. In 2011, while serving in the Florida Senate, he endorsed making it hard to vote: “I wouldn’t have any problem making it harder. I would want them to vote as badly as I want to vote. I want the people of the state of Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who’s willing to walk 200 miles…This should not be easy.” He made that comment as he supported a voter suppression bill that reduced the number of days for early voting in Florida and helped create long lines across the state.


Filed under Voter Disenfranchisement, Voter Suppression

Retired Florida Cop Opens Fire, Kills Man for… Texting During Movie

MediaiteJosh Feldman

Like I was saying, it’s always freaking Florida. A retired police officer in Florida was at the movies, watching a screening of the Mark Wahlberg movie Lone Survivor, and he was so angry at a couple texting during the film, he opened fire and killed one of them.

Curtis Reeves Jr. took out his gun Monday and fired at Chad and Nichole Oulson following a heated confrontation over the texting. Reeves reportedly asked them to stop texting several times before complaining to theater management, at which point he complained to theater management. They found out Reeves complained, angrily confronted him, and that’s when Reeves took out his gun. Chad was killed and Nichole was wounded, shot in the hand.

The theater was evacuated when police arrives on the scene, and Reeves was charged with second-degree homicide. Two nurses entered the theater to try and save Oulson but were too late.

Watch Bay News 9′s report on the incident below:


Police News Conference:



Filed under Gun Violence in America

10 things you need to know today: December 29, 2013

The now-functional Healthcare.gov has allowed at least 1 million Americans to sign up for coverage.

The now-functional Healthcare.gov has allowed at least 1 million Americans to sign up for coverage. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Week

Obamacare enrollment surpasses 1 million, a bomb kills 13 at a Russian train station, and more

1. Obamacare enrollment surpasses 1 million
A December surge propelled Obamacare sign-ups through the rehabilitated Healthcare.gov past the 1 million mark, the Obama administration said Sunday, reflecting new signs of life for the problem-plagued federal insurance exchange. Of the more than 1.1 million people now enrolled, nearly 1 million signed up in December, with the majority coming in the week before a pre-Christmas deadline for coverage to start in January. [TIME]

2. Suspected terrorist bomb kills 13 at Russia train station
A Sunday afternoon explosion at the main railroad station in Volgograd, a city about 550 miles south of Moscow, has killed at least 13 people, raising the concerns of a wave of terrorism ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Dozens of others were wounded by the bomb, meaning the death toll may still rise. If proved to be a terrorist act, as officials initially suspected, it would be the second in Volgograd in barely two months. [New York Times]

3. New Benghazi report refocuses blame
The deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last year was not orchestrated by al Qaeda but rather by a local militia leader who was outraged by a video lampooning Islam, according to a new report. An investigation by The New York Times, published Saturday, supports the initial version of events provided by the Obama administration immediately after the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. The paper described the prime suspect in the attack, Ahmed Abu Khattala, as an “erratic extremist” and militia leader with no known ties to Al Qaeda. [NY Daily News]

4. Lebanese rockets strike Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries. The Israel-Lebanon border has remained mostly quiet since a monthlong war in the summer of 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. [USA Today]

5. New York prepares for de Blasio’s inauguration
A panel on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday debated whether New York’s mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has fellow Democrat Anthony Weiner to thank for his victory. “I believe you could argue we have Bill de Blasio as the mayor because of Anthony Weiner,” said conservative commentator S.E. Cupp. “He really sucked a lot of oxygen out of Christine Quinn’s race and allowed Bill de Blasio to come up.” Former president Bill Clinton will swear in de Blasio at his Jan. 1 inauguration at City Hall. [Politico]


6. Separate avalanches kill two in Wyoming
A skier and a snowmobiler died less than two hours apart this week in separate snow avalanches in western Wyoming, according to a National Forest official. The skier, Michael Kazanjy, was buried under four feet of snow on Thursday in back-country near Jackson, Wyoming. The snowmobiler, Rex J. Anderson, died in an avalanche less than two hours later near the Idaho border. Snow conditions were not especially hazardous on Thursday when the deaths occurred. [Reuters]

7. Florida’s population expected to overtake New York’s
As the U.S. Census Bureau prepares to release its latest population estimates on Monday, many expect Florida to overtake New York as the nation’s third-most populous state. Stan Smith, population program director at the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR), told CNN that if this has not already occurred, it will likely happen at some point in 2014 or 2015. In last year’s census, New York’s population was just under 19.6 million, only about 250,000 higher than Florida’s. [CNN]

8. Ice ship stranded in Antarctica awaits second rescue mission
Reports from the Akademik Shokalskiy, a Russian-flagged ship that has been stranded in Antarctica since Christmas Eve, have suggested the ice is cracking around them. A Chinese icebreaker attempted to reach the icebound ship carrying 74 passengers on Friday but failed, and a more powerful ship is due to arrive later tonight for a second attempt to break through the ice. The Akademik Shokalskiy had been retracing Sir Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic expedition and conducting scientific research when sea ice closed in. [ABC News]

9. Mysterious “fireball” proven to be meteor
What was assumed by some to be a giant fireball streaking across Midwestern skies Dec. 26 is most likely a meteor entering and burning up in our atmosphere. Moments after CCTV cameras and people in states including Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas saw the fiery sight, the American Meteor Society received hundreds of reports. [NBC News]

10. Kennedy Center Honors airs tonight
The 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors will air tonight at 9 on CBS. Opera diva Martina Arroyo, virtuoso jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, Oscar-winning actress-singer-dancer Shirley MacLaine, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Billy Joel and Carlos Santana are this year’s honorees. [Boston Globe]


Filed under 10 things you need to know today