Top 5 Live-WURD Friday July 17
1. Chattanooga shooting: 4 Marines killed; dead suspect identified
Four Marines were killed when a gunman attacked two military sites in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Thursday, the Navy said.
The suspected shooter, 24-year-old Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, is also dead, the FBI said.
Investigators “have not determined whether it was an act of terrorism or whether it was a criminal act,” Ed Reinhold, FBI special agent in charge, told reporters. “We are looking at every possible avenue, whether it was terrorism — whether it was domestic, international — or whether it was a simple, criminal act.”
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian earlier told reporters that authorities were treating the shooting as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
The shootings unfolded at two sites over 30 minutes, Reinhold said.
The suspected gunman started spraying bullets at the glass doors of a strip mall military recruiting center around 10:45 a.m., witnesses said.
2. Aurora Theater Shooter James Holmes Found Guilty
A jury in Colorado has found Aurora theater shooter James Holmes guilty of first-degree murder in the 2012 mass shooting that killed 12 people and injured 70 others. Holmes could now face the death penalty.
The jury of nine women and three men, who heard nearly three months of testimony in the case, deliberated for a day and a half before arriving at a decision on Thursday.
The verdict comes nearly three years to the day after the mass shooting on July 20, 2012, at the Century Aurora 16 theater.
Holmes, 27, who had been charged with 166 counts, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
The trial will now enter a sentencing phase with testimony; jurors will decide whether Holmes should be sent to prison for life or sentenced to death.
3. Obama makes historic trip to prison, pushes reform
President Barack Obama is putting an exclamation point on his recent call for criminal justice reform by becoming the first sitting President to visit a federal prison Thursday.
Obama arrived at the El Reno Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, on Thursday morning to meet with inmates and law enforcement. Oklahomans sitting on parked cars watched as the motorcade whizzed by and arrived at the light brown brick prison, surrounded by barbed wire.
“I think we have a tendency sometimes to almost take for granted or think it’s normal that so many young people end up in our criminal justice system. It’s not normal. It’s not what happens in other countries. What is normal is teenagers doing stupid things,” Obama said after touring the facility and visiting with the six inmates.
4. Bucks lawmaker tries solitary path to a budget deal
With budget negotiations between Gov. Wolf and GOP leaders grinding to a halt, a Republican legislator from Bucks County on Thursday proposed a compromise plan.
Rep. Gene DiGirolamo said those at the negotiating table have become entrenched. He hopes his roughly $30.6 billion spending proposal could help spur a deal.
After 20 years in the House, DiGirolamo, of Bensalem, has carved out a reputation as a moderate Republican and his middle-ground budget reflected that. It would raise some – but not all – of the taxes Wolf has proposed to generate new revenue, while also increasing funding for public schools and social services.
DiGirolamo would impose a new, 3.2-percent tax on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, he says would raise about $200 million this fiscal year. (Wolf wants a 5-percent levy.)
5. Family questions death of Sandra Bland in Texas jail
The family of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old woman found dead Monday in a Texas jail cell questioned the rulingThursday that she had died by suicide, but called for calm as they pursue the facts.
Family attorney Cannon Lambert said the death should not be politicized as the family figures out what happened in the Waller County jail.
Bland’s older sister, Sharon Cooper, said her sister was outspoken, happy and passionate, and that suicide was “unfathomable.”
“When you think through the circumstances that have been shared with us to this point, it is unimaginable and difficult for us to wrap our minds around,” Cooper said.
While Lambert repeatedly emphasized that the family would not succumb to the “swirl of accusations” and instead wanted to gather facts, he also said after the news conference that the family thought “that she was killed.”
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon