Sheriff seeking what drove 'mad man' to shoot up dance hall

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — Investigators searching for a motive Monday in the worst mass shooting in Los Angeles County history said the gunman was previously arrested for illegally owning a firearm, had a rifle at home, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and appeared to be manufacturing gun silencers.

Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna said investigators had not yet established why 72-year-old Huu Can Tran gunned down patrons Saturday night at a ballroom dance hall he was said to frequent in Monterey Park, where tens of thousands attended Lunar New Year festivities earlier that evening.

“What drove a mad man to do this? We don’t know, but we intend to find out,” Luna said.

Tran fired 42 rounds at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, killing 11 people and wounding nine. He then drove to another nearby dance hall where Brandon Tsay, who works at the establishment started by his grandparents, wrestled a modified 9 mm submachine gun-style semi-automatic weapon away from him, Luna said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who visited Tsay and his family on Monday, was among those hailing him as a hero. The governor said hero can be an overused term that often loses its gravity, but he directed anyone doubting Tsay's courage to surveillance footage of him fighting with Tran.


Official: 7 killed in California community; suspect arrested

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — Seven people were killed in two related shootings Monday at agricultural facilities in a California coastal community south of San Francisco, and a suspect was in custody, officials said.

Four people were found dead and a fifth injured from gunshot wounds at one location, and three others were found dead at another several miles away, the San Mateo County Sheriff's office said.

Details about the locations weren't immediately clear. Sheriff Christina Corpus said they were nurseries.

The shootings occurred on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay, a city about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of San Francisco.

Officers arrested 67-year-old Chunli Zhao in connection with the shooting, the sheriff's office said.


Four Oath Keepers convicted of Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four members of the Oath Keepers were convicted Monday of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack in the second major trial of far-right extremists accused of plotting to forcibly keep President Donald Trump in power.

The verdict against Joseph Hackett of Sarasota, Florida; Roberto Minuta of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel of Punta Gorda, Florida; and Edward Vallejo of Phoenix comes weeks after after a different jury convicted the group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, in the mob’s attack that halted the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

It’s another major victory for the Justice Department, which is also trying to secure sedition convictions against the former leader of the Proud Boys and four associates. The trial against Enrique Tarrio and his lieutenants opened earlier this month in Washington and is expected to last several weeks.

The Washington jury deliberated for about 12 hours over three days before delivering their guilty verdict on the rarely used charge, which carries up to 20 years in prison. The four were also convicted of two other conspiracy charges as well as obstructing an official proceeding: Congress' certification of the 2020 election. Minuta, Hackett and Moerschel were acquitted of lesser charges.

The judge didn't immediately set a date for sentencing. The judge denied prosecutors' bid to lock up the men while they await sentencing, finding them not to be a risk of flight. They were ordered to remain in home detention with electronic monitoring.


Legal, political strategy in letting FBI search Biden's home

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s decision allowing the FBI to search his home in Delaware last week is laying him open to fresh negative attention and embarrassment following the earlier discoveries of classified documents at that home and a former office. But it’s a legal and political calculation that aides hope will pay off in the long run as he prepares to seek reelection.

The remarkable, nearly 13-hour search by FBI agents of the sitting president's Wilmington home is the latest political black eye for Biden, who promised to restore propriety to the office after the tumultuous tenure of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

But with his actions, Biden is doing more than simply complying with federal investigators assigned to look into the discovery of the records. The president is aiming to show that, unlike Trump, he never intended to retain classified materials — a key distinction that experts say diminishes the risks of criminal liability.

White House spokesman Ian Sams said Monday that Biden’s own attorneys invited the FBI to conduct the search. “This was a voluntary proactive offer by the president’s personal lawyers to DOJ to have access to the home,” he said, adding that it reflected “how seriously” Biden is taking the issue.

Mary McCord, a former senior Justice Department national security official, said, “If I was a lawyer and I represented the president of the United States and I wanted to show, ’I am being fully cooperative, and I do care to be projecting transparency to the American public, and I do take this seriously,' I think this is the advice I would give as well.”


Attorneys liken Tyre Nichols' arrest to Rodney King beating

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis police officers beat motorist Tyre Nichols for three minutes, treating him like “a human piñata” in a “savage” encounter reminiscent of the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King, attorneys for the family said Monday.

Attorney Ben Crump said police video viewed by the family on Monday showed that Nichols was shocked, pepper sprayed and restrained after the 29-year-old FedEx worker and father was pulled over Jan. 7 minutes from his home while returning from a suburban park where he had taken photos of the sunset. Another attorney, Antonio Romanucci, said that Nichols, who was Black, was kicked before Crump stopped him from saying more.

Crump said Nichols’ family agreed to investigators’ request to wait a week or two before making the video public to “make sure to give this family what they want most, and that is justice.” Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said in a statement Monday that investigators don’t want to risk compromising the investigation.

Crump said the video shows the encounter was “violent” and “troublesome on every level.” Romanucci called it “savage” and out of proportion to the alleged offense.

The city has been on edge about the release of the police footage because of the possibility of unrest. Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, asked that if there are protests, that they remain peaceful, saying violence “is not what Tyre wanted and won’t bring him back.”


Police: 2 students killed, man hurt in Des Moines shooting

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Two teenage students were killed Monday and a man was seriously injured in what police said was a targeted shooting at an alternative educational program designed to keep at-risk youth away from trouble. The injured man was identified as the program’s founder — a rapper who left a life of gangs and violence and has been dedicated to helping youth in Des Moines.

Police said Monday that one man had been charged in the shooting, and two other people remained in custody. Preston Walls, 18, of Des Moines, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for the shooting at the Starts Right Here program. He was also charged with criminal gang participation.

Authorities said the shooting was the result of an ongoing gang dispute. Police said Walls was on supervised release for a weapons charge and had removed his ankle monitor 16 minutes before the shooting.

“The incident was definitely targeted. It was not random. There was nothing random about this,” Sgt. Paul Parizek said.

Two Des Moines teens, an 18-year-old male and a 16-year-old male, were killed. William Holmes — a 49-year-old rapper who founded the program and goes by the stage name Will Keeps — was injured and was in surgery Monday evening.


US proposes once-a-year COVID shots for most Americans

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials want to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the annual flu shot.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday proposed a simplified approach for future vaccination efforts, allowing most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to protect against the mutating virus.

This means Americans would no longer have to keep track of how many shots they’ve received or how many months it’s been since their last booster.

The proposal comes as boosters have become a hard sell. While more than 80% of the U.S. population has had at least one vaccine dose, only 16% of those eligible have received the latest boosters authorized in August.

The FDA will ask its panel of outside vaccine experts to weigh in at a meeting Thursday. The agency is expected to take their advice into consideration while deciding future vaccine requirements for manufacturers.


Jacinda Ardern makes final appearance as New Zealand leader

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Jacinda Ardern made her final public appearance as New Zealand's prime minister Tuesday, saying the thing she would miss most was the people, because they had been the “joy of the job.”

Ardern, who has been a global icon of the left, shocked the nation Thursday when she said she was resigning as leader after more than five years because she had nothing left in the tank. Labour Party lawmakers voted unanimously Sunday for Chris Hipkins to take over as prime minister, and he will be sworn in Wednesday.

Ardern's final act as leader was to join Hipkins and other lawmakers attending celebrations at the Rātana meeting grounds, the home of an Indigenous Māori religious movement.

Ardern told reporters she’d been friends with Hipkins for nearly 20 years and spent two hours with him on the drive to the meeting grounds. She said the only real advice she could offer was, “You do you."

“This is for him now. It’s for him to carve out his own space to be his own kind of leader,” Ardern said. “Actually, there’s no advice I can really impart. I can share information, I can share experiences, but this is now for him.”


In '20 Days in Mariupol' doc, the horrors of war illuminated

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Associated Press video journalist Mstyslav Chernov had just broken out of Mariupol after covering the first 20 days of the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian city and was feeling guilty about leaving. He and his colleagues, photographer Evgeniy Maloletka and producer Vasilisa Stepanenko, had been the last journalists there, sending crucial dispatches from a city under a full-scale assault.

The day after, a theater with hundreds of people sheltering inside was bombed and he knew no one was there to document it. That’s when Chernov decided he wanted to do something bigger. He’d filmed some 30 hours of footage over his days in Mariupol. But poor and sometimes no internet connections made it extremely difficult to export anything. All told, he estimates only about 40 minutes of that successfully made it out to the world.

“Those shots which went out were very important. They went on the AP and then to thousands of news outlets,” Chernov said. “However, I had much more. ... I thought I should do something more. I should do something more with that 30 hours of footage to tell a bigger story and more context to show the audience of the scale.”

Chernov decided then that he wanted to make a documentary. That film, “20 Days in Mariupol,” a joint project between The Associated Press and PBS “Frontline,” premiered Friday at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where it is playing in competition.

There were, he knew, many ways to tell this story. But he decided early on to keep it contained to those harrowing first 20 days that he and his colleagues were on the ground, to evoke the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped. He also chose to narrate it himself and tell the story as a journalist would.


Purdue back at No. 1 in AP Top 25, Alabama right behind

Purdue is back at No. 1 in the AP Top 25. Alabama is right behind the Boilermakers.

Purdue returned to the top spot in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll on Monday, moving up two spots after Temple knocked off No. 1 Houston over the weekend. The Boilermakers received 39 first-place votes from a 62-person media panel after a volatile week where just two teams kept the same spot from a week ago.

Alabama climbed two spots to No. 2, picking up 23 first-place votes for its highest ranking since reaching No. 1 in 2002-03. Houston, Tennessee and Kansas State round out the top five.

Purdue (19-1, 8-1 Big Ten) had dropped to No. 3 after four weeks at No. 1 following a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3, but has since won six straight.

Alabama (17-2, 7-0 SEC) has made a steady climb since being ranked No. 20 in the preseason AP Top 25, moving into the top 10 in early December. The Crimson Tide had lopsided wins over Missouri and Vanderbilt after Darius Miles was dismissed from the team as he faces a murder charge in a fatal shooting near campus.

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