Louisville, KY: 5 dead, 8 wounded in workplace mass shooting.
DOJ seeks stay on judge’s order banning abortion pills nationwide.
Virginia: Mother of 6-year-old who shot teacher indicted.
Louisville, KY: 5 dead, 8 wounded in workplace mass shooting
At 8:30AM local time this morning, a gunman killed 4 people and wounded at least 9 others at the Old National Bank in downtown Louisville, KY. The gunman, identified as 23-year-old Connor Sturgeon, engaged in a shootout with police and is also dead. It’s not clear whether he was killed by an officer or died of a self-inflicted wound. Police say Sturgeon was an employee at Old National Bank and was struggling with mental health issues.
Police have identified the victims as Joshua Barrick, 40; Thomas Elliot, 63; Juliana Farmer, 45; and James Tutt, 64. All four victims worked at the bank. Two police officers were among the wounded, one of whom was shot in the head.
In a statement, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear revealed that two close friends of his died in the shooting and another friend of his had been wounded. Beshear described Thomas Elliot as “one of my closest friends. Tommy Elliott helped me build my law career, helped me become governor, gave me advice on being a good dad. … He was an incredible friend.”
Some of the officers that responded to the scene had to leave to attend the scene of another shooting a mile away at Jefferson Community and Technical College. It’s not clear if there were any casualties at the second shooting, but police say the two incidents were unrelated.
The Old National Bank shooting is the 18th mass shooting in April and the 152nd in 2023 (Wikipedia counts incidents with 4 or more people wounded or killed as mass shootings. Today is the 100th day of the year.
DOJ seeks stay on judge’s order banning abortion pills nationwide
Last Friday, Federal District Judge Matthew Kaczmaryk in Amarillo, TX, issued an order halting FDA approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. This order would essentially halt sales and prescriptions of the drug. Kaczmaryk ruled in a case brought by anti-abortion groups seeking to nullify the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. The suit argued that the FDA’s use of an expedited approval process was improper.
The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000. Since then, it has been used in combination with another drug, misoprostol, by millions of women for medication abortions. Currently, medication abortions account for more than half of all abortions in the US. Adverse complications are extremely rare when the drug is used as approved.
The Department of Justice is appealing to the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to block Kaczmaryk’s order so that mifepristone can continue being used and sold. The DOJ’s filing called Kaczmaryk’s ruling and order “extraordinary and unprecedented”. They argue that the ruling was improper based on the merits of the lawsuit. The group who brought the suit can demonstrate no harm from sales of mifepristone and therefore had no standing to bring suit, the DOJ says. The group also waited until long after the typical 6-year post-approval window to challenge the approval.
The DOJ also calls Kaczmaryk’s order halting use and sales of the drug “especially unwarranted given the balance of harm. If allowed to take effect, the court’s order would thwart FDA’s scientific judgment and severely harm women, particularly those for whom mifepristone is a medical or practical necessity”. The plaintiffs, on the other hand “present no evidence that they will be injured at all, much less irreparably harmed, by maintaining the status quo they left unchallenged for years”.
Virginia: Mother of 6-year-old who shot teacher indicted
A grand jury has indicted Deja Taylor, the mother of a Virginia 6-year-old boy who shot his teacher in January. The boy brought his mother’s legally-purchased 9mm pistol to school and shot his first grade teacher Abigail Zwerner, 26, in the chest in what police say was an “intentional act”. The charges against Taylor include felony child neglect and a misdemeanor count of recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child.
Following the shooting, an attorney for the boy’s family stated that the boy had an “acute disability”. He was following a special learning plan that required one of his parents to attend school with him to help manage his violent outbursts.
Last week, Zwerner filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Newport News School Board and former school administrators for failing to take action to prevent the shooting. According to the suit, four members of staff had that day advised administrators that the boy was carrying a gun and was acting out, but administrators did nothing.
The suit also shed some light on the culpability of the boy’s parents. Despite being required to do so, neither parent was accompanying the boy that day as required. The parents also resisted placing the boy in a special education program that would have better addressed his needs.