2 dead, 4 injured at college
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A man armed with a pistol opened fire on students in a classroom building at a North Carolina university during the last day of classes Tuesday, killing two people and wounding four others. Officers who had gathered ahead of a campus concert raced over and disarmed the suspect in the room where the shooting happened. The shooting prompted a lockdown at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and caused panic across campus as students sheltered in place. Campus Police Chief Jeff Baker said authorities received a call around 4:40 p.m. that a suspect armed with a pistol had shot several students. He said officers assembling nearby for a concert rushed to the scene, where they apprehended the male suspect.
Clashes rock Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela — Opposition leader Juan Guaido took a bold step to revive his movement to seize power in Venezuela, taking to the streets Tuesday to call for a military uprising that drew quick support from the Trump administration and fierce resistance from forces loyal to embattled socialist Nicolas Maduro. The violent street battles that erupted in parts of Caracas were the most serious challenge yet to Maduro’s rule. Still, the rebellion, dubbed “Operation Freedom,” seemed to have garnered only limited military support. In one dramatic incident during a chaotic day, several armored vehicles plowed into a group of anti-government demonstrators trying to storm the capital’s air base, hitting at least two protesters. Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the Trump administration was waiting for three key officials, including Maduro’s defense minister and head of the supreme court, to act on what he said were private pledges to remove Maduro. He did not provide details.
Cop convicted of murder
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis police officer was convicted of third-degree murder Tuesday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed woman who approached his squad car minutes after calling 911 to report a possible rape, a rare guilty verdict for an officer asserting he faced a life-or-death situation. Mohamed Noor was also found guilty of manslaughter in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond , a 40-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia whose death bewildered and angered people in both countries. Noor, a two-year veteran who testified that he shifted to policing from a career in business because he “always wanted to serve,” was acquitted of the most serious charge of intentional second-degree murder. Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for up to 15 years on the murder conviction and nearly five years on the manslaughter conviction, although judges aren’t bound by the guidelines and can impose much lower sentences. Noor was handcuffed and taken into custody immediately despite his attorney’s request that he be free on bond pending sentencing June 7. He showed no visible emotion and did not look back at his family, but his wife was crying.
Spanier’s conviction tossed
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal judge threw out former Penn State President Graham Spanier’s misdemeanor child-endangerment conviction on Tuesday, less than a day before he was due to turn himself in to begin serving a jail sentence. The decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton, Pa., gave state prosecutors three months to retry Spanier under the state’s 1995 child endangerment law, the version in place in 2001. Joe Grace, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said the decision was under review. Spanier’s defense lawyer, Sam Silver, declined to comment. Mehalchick agreed with Spanier that he was improperly charged under a 2007 law for actions that occurred in 2001, when he was responding to a complaint about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy on campus. “Spanier submits that this retroactive application is unreasonable and far more extensive than anyone in 2001 would have been able to reasonably foresee,” Mehalchick wrote. “The court agrees.”
Infrastructure package readied
WASHINGTON — President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders agreed Tuesday to work together on a $2 trillion infrastructure package — but put off for later the difficult question of how to pay for it. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said there was “good will in the meeting” — a marked departure from the last meeting between Trump, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Schumer said the two sides agreed that infrastructure investments create jobs and make the United States more competitive economically with the rest of the world. Most importantly, Schumer said, “we agreed on a number.” “Originally, we had started a little lower. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion, and that is a very good thing,” Schumer said. Added Pelosi: “We did come to one agreement: that the agreement would be big and bold.”
Shooter struggled with gun
SAN DIEGO — After a 19-year-old gunman fired at least eight rounds into a California synagogue, he stopped to fumble with his semiautomatic rifle and then fled with 50 unused bullets, prosecutors said Tuesday. In his first court appearance, John T. Earnest pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder in the shooting that killed a worshipper and injured three others at the Chabad of Poway synagogue on the last day of Passover, a major Jewish holiday. He also pleaded not guilty to burning a mosque last month in nearby Escondido. Earnest fired eight to 10 shots inside the synagogue near San Diego on Saturday, hitting Lori Kaye, 60, twice as she prayed in the foyer, prosecutors say. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein lost an index finger. Then Earnest turned toward a room of children and some adults, where Almog Peretz tried to protect his niece and other kids, prosecutors said. He and his niece Noya Dahan, 8, suffered shrapnel wounds. It was unclear if the weapon jammed or malfunctioned or if the gunman didn’t know how to reload.
Suspect kicked out of Army
LOS ANGELES — An Army veteran who converted to Islam and is accused of plotting terrorist attacks in California in retaliation for killings at New Zealand mosques was demoted and discharged from the military for a serious offense, a U.S. official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Mark Domingo violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and was kicked out of the service before completing his enlistment contract, according to the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about personnel issues and provided the information only on condition of anonymity. Officials would not provide details on his offense. Domingo, 26, was arrested Friday as he planned to plant bombs before a scheduled white supremacist rally in Long Beach. He was charged with providing material support to terrorists and held without bail.
Honor Flight struck by lightning
PEORIA, Ill. — Sun Country Airlines says lightning apparently struck its charter aircraft that was carrying Greater Peoria Honor Flight veterans from Illinois to Washington, D.C. Rhe airline said flight 8657 “landed safely and without incident” at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday morning. A separate plane was to be sent to Washington to bring the Honor Flight participants back to Peoria on Tuesday evening. The organization takes veterans for free to Washington to see memorials.
Big crater left on the moon
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A space rock left a big crater on the moon during January’s total lunar eclipse. Spanish scientists reported Tuesday the meteoroid hit the moon at 38,000 mph, carving out a crater nearly 50 feet across. It was the first impact flash observed during a lunar eclipse. The scientists — who operate a lunar impact detection system using eight telescopes in Spain — believe the object was a comet fragment up to 2 feet across and 100 pounds. The impact energy was equivalent to 1.5 tons of TNT. Astrophysicist Jose Maria Madiedo of the University of Huelva says it was “really exciting” to catch the brief flash, after many tries during eclipses.
Moose nuggets in carry-on
JUNEAU, Alaska — Politics can stink. That was the message delivered by a traveler to airport inspectors in Alaska who found moose nuggets inside his carry-on bag. The man told agents he collects the droppings and likes to present it “for politicians and their bleep policies.” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says the discovery didn’t warrant writing a report and the man was sent on his way with the poop. It’s not known if it was the same person, but a man was seen passing out baggies of moose nuggets at the Capitol on the same day as a protest against the governor’s proposed budget.
No jail time in rape sentence
WATERTOWN, N.Y. — An upstate New York judge who stoked social media outrage for sentencing a former school bus driver to probation in the rape of a 14-year-old is getting “numerous vitriolic” phone calls, court officials said Tuesday. Jefferson County Supreme Court Judge James McClusky last week sentenced Shane Piche to 10 years of probation, sparking an online wave of condemnation from people arguing that the punishment was too lenient. The 26-year-old was accused of raping the teenager at his residence here last summer. Piche, who was a bus driver in the victim’s school district, pleaded guilty to third-degree rape in February. Piche also was required to register as a Level 1 sex offender, the lowest of three categories based on the risk of another offense. State court spokesman Lucian Chalfen said the judge was “well within” the sentencing range for this type of negotiated plea conviction. The maximum state prison time he could have received would have been from 1 1/3 to 4 years, he said.
Airport searches are rising
WASHINGTON — U.S. government searches of travelers’ cellphones and laptops at airports and border crossings nearly quadrupled since 2015 and were being done for reasons beyond customs and immigration enforcement, according to papers filed Tuesday in a federal lawsuit that claims scouring the electronic devices without a warrant is unconstitutional. The government has vigorously defended the searches, which rose to 33,295 in fiscal 2018, as a critical tool to protect America. But the newly filed documents claim the scope of the warrantless searches has expanded to assist in enforcement of tax, bankruptcy, environmental and consumer protection laws, gather intelligence and advance criminal investigations. Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement consider requests from other government agencies in determining whether to search travelers’ electronic devices, the court papers said. They added that agents are searching the electronic devices of not only targeted individuals but their associates, friends and relatives. The new information about the searches was included in a motion the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. “The evidence we have presented the court shows that the scope of ICE and CBP border searches is unconstitutionally broad,” said Adam Schwartz, senior staff attorney for the EFF, based in San Francisco.
Sea lion rescued from highway
SAN FRANCISCO — A baby sea lion wandered onto a busy highway in South San Francisco Tuesday, stopping vehicles and alarming motorists before officials whisked it away. Motorists had tried to shoo the sea lion to safer ground, with one man getting out of his car to herd the sea lion with a handkerchief. Highway patrol succeeded in getting the animal into a patrol car, where video taken by KGO-TV shows the sea lion bobbing its head in the backseat. The sea lion may have come from a nearby creek. It was taken to a shelter.
Smollett out of the ‘Empire’
LOS ANGELES — Fox Entertainment said Tuesday that Jussie Smollett will not return to his series “Empire” next season in the wake of allegations by Chicago officials the actor lied about a racially motivated attack. “By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to ‘Empire,'” the studio said in a statement that gave no reasoning was given for the decision. Fox announced earlier Tuesday that the drama about a hip-hop record label and the fiery family behind it had been renewed for a sixth season. A Smollett representative released a statement to several media outlets suggesting a hope that he may eventually return. “We’ve been told that Jussie will not be on ‘Empire’ in the beginning of the season but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open,” the statement said. “Most importantly he is grateful to Fox and ‘Empire’ leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”
Rat poison found in lion
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — A mountain lion that died last month in the wilderness west of Los Angeles had rat poison in its system. The lion dubbed P-47 had no visible wounds when it was found dead March 21 in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area announced Tuesday that P-47 had six compounds of a rodenticide in its system. It’s unclear if that caused the death. Researchers say P-47 may have eaten a squirrel or other animal that ingested the poison, or snacked on a coyote or other predator that ate tainted prey.