BC-TX--Texas News Digest 12 am, TX
Good morning! Here’s a look at AP’s general news coverage in Texas at this hour. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the Dallas AP at 972-991-2100, or, in Texas, 800-442-7189. Email: email@example.com. Jill Bleed is at the desk after 5:30 a.m.
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AUSTIN, Texas _ A year after a high school mass shooting near Houston that remains one of the deadliest in U.S. history, Texas lawmakers are on the brink of going home without passing any new gun restrictions, or even tougher firearm storage laws that Gov. Greg Abbott backed after the tragedy. A Republican governor pushing even a small restriction on firearms kept at home in gun-friendly Texas was a landmark shift after two decades of loosening weapons regulations. And it put Texas in line with other states exploring ways to prevent not just mass shootings, but thousands of lethal gun incidents involving minors. But the state’s effort was met with a swift and severe rebuke from gun-rights advocates who have all but killed the issue. The anniversary of the shooting at Santa Fe High School is Friday. By Jim Vertuno. UPCOMING: 880 words, photos by 2 a.m.
HOUSTON _ A Houston-area police officer knew his neighbor suffered from mental illness and should have offered assistance when that was apparent, but instead he fatally shot the 44-year-old woman, a lawyer for the victim’s family said. Pamela Turner had struggled with paranoid schizophrenia since her diagnosis in 2005, and may have been in crisis the night she was killed, attorney Ben Crump said during a press conference. By John L. Mone and Jake Bleiberg. SENT: 850 words, photos, video.
ELDERLY DEATHS-MURDER SUSPECT
DALLAS _ A Dallas man previously arrested in the death of an 81-year-old woman has been charged with killing at least 11 more elderly women whose jewelry and other valuables he stole, authorities said. Kim Leach, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County district attorney’s office, said 46-year-old Billy Chemirmir was indicted on six more counts of capital murder in the deaths of women ranging in age from 76 to 94. By David Warren. SENT: 450 words, photos.
WASHINGTON _ Unveiling a new immigration plan, President Donald Trump said he wanted to provide a sharp contrast with Democrats, and he did _ aiming to upend decades of family-based immigration policy with a new approach that favors younger, “totally brilliant,” high-skilled workers he says won’t compete for American jobs. Republicans in Congress who were briefed on the plan by Kushner and Miller earlier this week welcomed, but did not fully embrace, the approach. Some of those up for re-election, including Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, objected to its failure to account for the young Dreamers. “It’s obviously just a start,” said Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn, who will be among those running for re-election in 2020. “It’s a clear statement of what our immigration policy should be. ... We’re not eliminating family connections, it’s just adding an emphasis on merit.” By Zeke Miller, Lisa Mascaro and Jill Colvin. SENT: 1150 words, photos, video, audio. Moved on national political news services.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. _ Officials in South Florida say they are frantically preparing for an influx of immigrants being sent by the federal government as the number camped along the U.S. Mexico border grows rapidly. Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen said officials in Broward and neighboring Palm Beach County were alerted by the federal government that more than a 100 immigrants would be sent weekly to each of the two counties by plane starting in about two weeks. No shelters have been designated and no federal funding allotted to house, feed or guard them, Bogen said. Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said he was notified of the plans by Miami-based office of the U.S. Border Patrol, and that a total of 1,000 people per month would be brought to the two counties from the El Paso, Texas, area. By Kelli Kennedy and Ellis Rua. SENT: 720 words, photos. Moved on national general news services.
AROUND THE STATE & NATION:
NEW ORLEANS _ The year’s widespread flooding has made it likely that a big, oxygen-starved “dead zone” off Louisiana’s coast will form this summer, the head of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science said. Preliminary computer model runs “indicate a large to very large year,” for the area where there’s too little oxygen to support marine life, Steven Thur told the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force during a meeting livestreamed from Baton Rouge. Thur’s agency is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 500 words. Moved on general and science news services.
HIDDEN GULF SPILL
A chronic sheen has become “barely visible” since government contractors installed a new underwater system for capturing and collecting crude at a site in the Gulf of Mexico where oil has been leaking for 14 years, a Coast Guard official said. A Coast Guard statement describes the installation of the subsea containment system as a “major milestone” in long-running efforts by the federal government to contain the leak. More than 30,000 gallons of oil has been recovered since the system began operating, government attorneys said in a court filing Tuesday. By Michael Kunzelman. SENT: 680 words, photos. Moved on national general and financial news services.
NORFOLK, Va. _ A U.S. Navy SEAL has been sentenced to one year in military prison for his role in the 2017 hazing-related death of a U.S. Army Green Beret in Africa. Adam Matthews is the first of four U.S. service members to face military court proceedings as well as punishment for the strangulation death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Texas native. By Ben Finley. SENT: 580 words, photos.
RIO DE JANEIRO _ President Jair Bolsonaro has accused Brazilian prosecutors and the media of targeting his son in a corruption probe as an attempt to damage his administration, challenging critics to “come at me.” Bolsonaro, who took office Jan. 1, made the comments while on a visit to Dallas, Texas, to receive a person of the year award from the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce. By Peter Prengaman and Mauricio Savarese. SENT: 530 words, photos. Moved on international general news services.
ORPHANED GAS WELLS
PIERRE, S.D. _ South Dakota is turning to the court to settle an issue with a Texas company and the 40 natural gas wells it left behind after a drilling project fell idle several years ago. The Argus Leader reports that the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources sued Houston-based Spyglass Cedar Creek on Monday. SENT: 300 words.
_ CARTEL TRAFFICKER SENTENCED _ The head of the U.S. arm of the cocaine transportation and distribution network of Edgar Valdez-Villareal, also known as La Barbie, has been sentenced to federal prison for trafficking cocaine and money laundering. Prosecutors say Carlos Montemayor in 1992 established a successful trucking and logistics company in Laredo, Texas, that specialized in moving goods from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, into the United States. He partnered with Valdez-Villareal in 2002 and soon, his company began moving up to 300 kilograms of cocaine a week to stash houses in Atlanta; Memphis, Tennessee, and other U.S. cities. SENT: 130 words.
_ FLIGHT CENTER EVACUATIONS _ At least 100 flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport have been delayed after the partial evacuation of a nearby government air traffic control center because of a rank odor. SENT: 120 words.
_ SOUTHWEST AIRLINES-DENVER HANGAR _ Dallas-based Southwest Airlines says it will build a $100 million maintenance hangar at the Denver International Airport. SENT: 130 words. Moved on general, financial and travel news services.
_ FRAUD SPREE-SENTENCE _ Prosecutors in Montana say a Chicago woman faces nearly four years in federal prison for using fraudulent federal nutrition benefit checks to purchase nearly $220,000 worth of items at Kmart stores in 11 states, including Texas, during a four-month crime spree. SENT: 140 words.
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