News Headlines 6/1/22

POLICE: DOOR IN TEXAS SCHOOL SHOOTING WAS CLOSED, BUT DIDN’T LOCK: Texas state police said yesterday (May 31st) that an outside door at the elementary school that was the site of last week’s mass shooting had been closed by a teacher shortly before gunman Salvador Ramos used it to get inside, but it didn’t lock when it shut as it was designed to, and investigators will try to determine why. State police had initially said after the May 24th shooting in which 19 children and two teachers were killed that a teacher had propped the door open shortly before Ramos entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The Texas Department of Public Safety now says a teacher had propped the door open with a rock, but then removed it and closed the door when she realized there was a shooter on campus. The San Antonio Express-News cited an attorney as saying that the teacher, who wasn’t named, had propped open the door to carry food from a car to a classroom, and immediately closed it when she realized there was a shooter and called 911.

Meanwhile, investigators are still trying to interview Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was the commander at the scene during the shooting. The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has said Arrendondo keep 19 police officers waiting in a hallway outside the classroom where Ramos was for an extended period of time, treating it as a hostage situation and as if children were no longer at risk. The chief communications officer for DPS said yesterday that Arrendondo hadn’t reponded for two days to the department’s requests for an interview. 

U.S. TO SEND MEDIUM-RANGE ROCKET SYSTEMS TO UKRAINE: The administration said yesterday (May 31st) that the U.S. will send a small number of high-tech, medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine as part of a new $700 million package of security assistance that will be formally revealed today. Ukraine has been pleading for the rocket systems as it battles against Russia’s intense artillery barrages in the eastern Donbas region. AP said the U.S. has been trying to balance the desire to help Ukraine in that effort while not giving it weaponry that could allow it to hit targets deep in Russia, potentially triggering an escalation of the war. President Biden confirmed in a New York Times guest essay yesterday evening that he’s decided to, quote, “provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.” AP cited senior administration officials as saying Ukraine has assured the U.S. that it won’t fire rockets into Russian territory. Biden stated in the essay, “We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia.”

ONE KILLED, TWO INJURED IN SHOOTING AT LOUISIANA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION: An elderly woman was killed and two men were injured in a shooting on the campus of Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans after a high school graduation late yesterday morning (May 31st). The graduation ceremony for nearby Morris Jeff Community School was being held at the university, where the shooting took place in the parking lot. New Orleans Police Department Chief Deputy Superintendent Christopher Goodly said, “There was a fight that broke out between apparently two females. Subsequent to this fight, subjects produced weapons, and shots were shot.” A suspect and motive were still under investigation, were police saying no arrests had been made. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell spoke at the graduation, but left before the shooting.

CLINTON CAMPAIGN LAWYER ACQUITTED OF LYING TO FBI: An attorney for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Michael Sussman, was acquitted yesterday (May 31st) of lying to the FBI when he passed on a tip about possible connections between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia. The case was the first brought to trial in special counsel John Durham‘s three-year investigation since he was appointed by Trump adminstration attorney general Bill Barr to look for any government misconduct during the investigation into potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign. The trial focused on whether Sussmann, a cybersecurity attorney, hid from the FBI that he was representing Clinton’s campaign when he passed along data that he said showed a possible secret communication backchannel between Russia-based Alfa Bank and Trump’s company, the Trump Organization. Sussmann’s attorneys argued that though Sussmann legally represented the Clinton campaign, he didn’t attend the meeting on the campaign’s behalf and hadn’t asked the FBI to take any action to benefit the campaign. They called the case “extraordinary prosecutorial overreach.”