Two Texas massacres kill 16 this weekend.
Trump rape suit trial goes to jury.
Fears intensify over Ukraine nuclear plant after evacuations.
Two Texas massacres kill 16 this weekend
On Saturday in Allen, TX, (about 45 minutes north of Dallas) a gunman wearing tactical gear and wielding an AR-15 killed 8 people in a mall whose ages ranged from 5 to 61. Police have not identified all the victims, but some family members have come forward to say they lost loved ones. Among them were a 20-year-old mall security guard, a young engineer, and two sisters in second and fourth grade.
A police officer responding to a separate call at the mall killed the shooter, Mauricio Garcia, 33. This is second-deadliest mass shooting this year, after the Chinese New Year killings in Monterey Park, CA. Many mourners who gathered for a vigil carried placards calling for gun reform in the state.
Garcia was wearing a patch with the letters RWDS on it, which stands for “Right Wing Death Squad”. This may be a hint to Garcia’s motivation for the shooting. Federal investigators are looking into Garcia’s online activity. Some of his social media posts expressed support for white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideology.
The morning after the shooting in Allen, a man in Brownsville, TX, plowed his SUV into a crowd of 18 pedestrians at a bus stop, killing 8 men. The driver, George Alvarez, 34, attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended and taken to a hospital for injuries. Police are waiting for toxicology results on Alvarez. Alvarez is charged with manslaughter.
Investigators are investigating whether the crash was intentional and what motive there might have been. Brownsville is near the Mexican border and the incident took place near a shelter for migrants and homeless people. Police have confirmed some of the victims were migrants from Venezuela.
Trump rape suit trial goes to jury
A Manhattan jury heard closing arguments today in the civil trial brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll against former President Donald Trump. Carroll is suing Trump for sexual battery and defamation and is seeking unspecified damages. The suit alleges that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll in the changing room of a Manhattan department store in the mid-90s and that he later defamed her by denying the accusation in 2019, when Trump was in office.
Trump has not attended the trial at all, but the jury saw a taped deposition he gave in the case last year. In the deposition, Carroll’s attorney shows him a picture of himself and Carroll at a party a few years before the attack and Trump misidentified Carroll as his second wife Marla Maples. Carroll’s attorney also confronted Trump about the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump said you could “grab [women] by the pussy” if you were a star. When asked if he thought that was true, Trump said he did believe that was true.
Since this is a civil case, there’s no jail time for Trump if the jury finds in Carroll’s favor. However, the jury may potentially award damages in the millions of dollars. The burden of proof in a civil trial is lower than a criminal trial. A civil jury must determine whether a plaintiff’s claims are true based on “the preponderance of the evidence” while a criminal jury must find a defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”
Fears intensify over Ukraine nuclear plant after evacuations
The Russian governor of a southern Ukrainian province has ordered a mandatory evacuation of communities near Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The plant and its security have been a source of anxiety since the war began. Despite efforts by members of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the plant and its facilities have been subject to frequent shelling and occasional power cuts.
Even though Russia annexed the region where the plant is located last year, the military situation around the plant hasn’t really stabilized. There’s been an increase in shelling in recent days. The region’s Moscow-appointed governor, Yegeny Balitsky, has ordered evacuations of at least 18 Russian occupied communities near the plant, one of which is home to most of the plant’s Ukrainian staff and their families. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi fears that the evacuations signal a further escalation of military hostilities which could threaten the plant.
None of the plant’s reactors are currently operational, but they need a steady power supply to prevent a potentially catastrophic meltdown.