Friday, October 9
President meets with families of campus shooting victims
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — President Barack Obama says the American people will eventually have to "come together" to figure out how to prevent deadly mass shootings like one that took place in Oregon last week.
He met privately Friday with the victims' grieving families. Eight students and a teacher at a community college in Roseburg were killed by a shooter who then turned the gun on himself.
Obama had pledged immediately after the shooting to "politicize" the issue.
But when he emerged from the approximately hour-long meeting Friday, he said, "Today is about the families."
Obama's renewed call for stricter gun laws did not go over well in Roseburg, where gun ownership is popular.
Hundreds of supporters and protesters gathered near the local airport to greet him as he arrived.
NEW: "Lucky one" in Roseburg shooting speaks about massacre
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — The 18-year-old college student singled out by the shooter as the "lucky one" to survive and deliver a package to law enforcement has spoken for the first time about the massacre.
Matthew Downing says in a written statement Friday that when Christopher Harper-Mercer entered the Umpqua Community College classroom Oct. 1, Downing's ears were ringing from shots already fired and he thought what was happening "couldn't be real."
Downing says the shooter had two handguns that he reloaded during the incident and that at one point Harper-Mercer was "firing on people who were just lying there."
One student picked up a desk to defend herself, Downing says, but Harper-Mercer fired at her anyway, hitting her in the leg.
Downing writes that after the shooter was hit by police gunfire, he laid down and shot himself in the head.
TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY-SHOOTING
1 dead in Texas college housing complex shooting
HOUSTON (AP) — Officials say a student was killed during a shooting outside a Texas Southern University student housing complex, and two people have been detained for questioning.
University President John Rudley says the student was a freshman at the school. The student's name, age and gender haven't been released.
Houston police say the other person who was shot is hospitalized in stable condition. That person's name and condition also haven't been released.
Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva says the shooting happened in a parking lot outside the University Courtyard Apartments, which is on the edge of the school's Houston campus. She says two people have now been detained, but that a motive remains unclear. She says a third person is being sought for questioning, but that there is no active shooting investigation.
Rudley says the school is no longer on lockdown and classes will resume Monday.
NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY SHOOTING
Suspect in Northern Arizona University shooting faces court appearance
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — An 18-year-old Northern Arizona University student accused of fatally shooting another student and wounding three others faces an initial court appearance in Flagstaff this afternoon.
University officials say Steven Jones was arrested immediately after the shooting and faces one count of first-degree murder and three of aggravated assault.
Police said the shooting occurred early this morning in a parking lot near a dorm following a confrontation between two groups of students.
The executive director of Delta Chi says the four victims were members of the fraternity. Justin Sherman also says the suspect was not a member.
The alleged gunman was not a member of the fraternity.
In Republican House tumult, pressure mounts on Paul Ryan to run for speaker
WASHINGTON (AP) — The pressure is on Congressman Paul Ryan to run for House speaker.
The process of finding a successor to John Boehner was thrown into chaos Thursday, when the front-runner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, announced he was abandoning his campaign for the post.
Entering a closed-door Republican meeting this morning, McCarthy said he's spoken with Ryan about it and thinks the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee would make a "great speaker." But McCarthy calls it a "big decision" and says Ryan needs to discuss it with "his wife and everybody else."
Ryan has insisted he's not interested in being speaker, preferring to focus on his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. In addition, any presidential aspirations the 45-year-old Wisconsin lawmaker might have could be undercut by holding the chamber's top job and managing an unruly GOP caucus.
Being speaker also calls for frequent travel to raise money for the GOP, a challenge for a lawmaker like Ryan with a young family back home.
A spokesman says Ryan appreciates the support he's been getting, but he's still not running.
FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS
Judge orders overhaul of Florida's congressional districts
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge is calling for a sweeping overhaul of the state's 27 congressional districts, including the one now held by a candidate seeking to become the next U.S. House speaker.
Judge Terry Lewis on Friday recommended a new congressional map that could make it nearly impossible for U.S. Rep. Dan Webster to win re-election from his current central Florida district.
Lewis's ruling also could lead to the ouster of U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham from her north Florida seat while resurrecting the political career of former Gov. Charlie Crist. Lewis also went along with a proposal that would make it harder for South Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo to get re-elected.
The Florida Supreme Court must decide whether to accept Lewis's proposal.
The court asked Lewis to sort through different proposals after the Florida Legislature couldn't agree on new districts.
US weighing Russian response on flight safety guildlines
ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — The Pentagon says Russian leaders have responded to a proposed draft of safety guidelines for military aircraft flying missions in the increasingly crowded skies over Syria.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook says a second round of talks between the two countries about the plan could take place as soon as this weekend. The U.S. and Russia are trying to hash out flight procedures to ensure that there are no collisions or other incidents as both countries conduct bombing operations in Syria.
The negotiations come on the heels of a series of Russian aircraft incidents that raised concerns about the potential for mishaps, as the U.S.-led coalition continues to launch daily airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.
EAST COAST RAINSTORM
Guardsman hit by impatient driver after floods
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina sheriff says a driver tired of waiting intentionally hit a member of the National Guard directing traffic outside of a food bank.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says the guardsman didn't appear to be severely injured in the incident Friday.
But the sheriff says he is furious anyone would put workers trying to help after the disaster in danger. He promised to file attempted murder charges when the driver is arrested.
Lott says a witness told deputies the guardsman was intentionally hit by an impatient driver. The sheriff says his deputies are looking for a silver Toyota and are checking surveillance cameras for a picture of the vehicle.
Federal attorneys to appeal judge's Katrina flooding ruling
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal attorneys plan to appeal a judge's ruling that the U.S. government is responsible for some of the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina and other storms — flooding blamed on a now-closed navigation channel.
They filed a notice of appeal Friday evening.
Last May, Judge Susan Braden of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington ruled the flooding constituted a "taking" of property for which people must be compensated. Plaintiffs in the case include the government of coastal St. Bernard Parish, adjacent to New Orleans.
Braden ruled in a 2005 lawsuit that focused on the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet — a navigation channel built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and blamed by many for flooding in St. Bernard and New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward.
Shia LaBeouf charged with public intoxication in Texas
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Actor Shia LaBeouf (SHY'-uh luh-BUF') has been arrested and charged with public intoxication after an incident in Austin, Texas.
Jail records show LaBeouf was booked Friday night into the Travis County Jail and released on his own recognizance. No attorney was listed on the record.
He was arrested in the city's Sixth Street entertainment district. The Austin City Limits music festival is taking place there through Sunday.
Police have not responded to a request from The Associated Press for additional details.
Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson to help Obamas celebrate arts
WASHINGTON (AP) — Queen Latifah, Smokey Robinson and Trombone Shorty are among the performing artists who will help celebrate the arts at the White House on Wednesday.
They will be joined by Usher, James Taylor, Audra McDonald and others for a PBS special hosted by President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. The event will mark the 50th anniversary of legislation that created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Carol Burnett is scheduled to perform special readings.
The latest installment of the "In Performance at the White House" series is scheduled for broadcast in January on PBS stations nationwide.
Mrs. Obama plans a student workshop with Robinson, Keb' Mo', MC Lyte, Esperanza Spalding and others before the evening performance.