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6 dead, 30 hurt in shooting at Chicago-area July 4 parade

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6 dead, 30 hurt in shooting at Chicago-area July 4 parade

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago on Monday, killing at least six people, wounding at least 30 and sending hundreds of marchers, parents with strollers and children on bicycles fleeing in terror, police said.

Authorities said a man named as a person of interest in the shooting was taken into police custody Monday evening after an hourslong manhunt in and around Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 on Chicago’s north shore.

The July 4 shooting was just the latest to shatter the rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become killing grounds in recent months. This time, the bloodshed came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together.

“It definitely hits a lot harder when it’s not only your hometown but it’s also right in front of you,” resident Ron Tuazon said as he and a friend returned to the parade route Monday evening to retrieve chairs, blankets and a child’s bike that he and his family abandoned when the shooting began.

“It’s commonplace now,” Tuazon said of what he called yet another American atrocity. “We don’t blink anymore. Until laws change, it’s going to be more of the same.”

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Motive likely not terror-related in ‘brutal’ Danish shooting

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A gunman who killed three people when he opened fire in a crowded shopping mall acted alone and apparently selected his victims at random, Danish police said Monday, all but ruling out that the attack was related to terrorism.

Authorities filed preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder against a 22-year-old Danish man, who will be held for 24 days in a secure mental health facility while authorities investigate the crime, prosecutor Søren Harbo told reporters.

After the custody hearing, defense lawyer Luise Høj said she agreed to have her client undergo a mental exam. She did not comment on the charges. Police have said the man was known to mental health service without elaborating.

Police have not identified a motive for Sunday’s attack inside one of Scandinavia’s biggest shopping centers. The suspect, carrying a rifle and knife, was quickly arrested, and Copenhagen chief police inspector Søren Thomassen said the man also had access to another gun. He said the firearms were obtained illegally but gave no further details.

“It was the worst possible nightmare,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Monday, calling the attack “unusually brutal.”

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In rural West, more worries about access to abortion clinics

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — In the central Oregon city of Bend, the sole Planned Parenthood clinic serving the eastern half of the state is bracing for an influx of patients, particularly from neighboring Idaho, where a trigger law banning most abortions is expected to take effect this summer.

“We’ve already started hiring,” said Joanna Dennis-Cook, the Bend Health Center Manager.

Across the U.S. West, many abortion providers serving rural areas were already struggling to meet demand in a vast region where staffing shortages and long travel distances are barriers to reproductive services for women. Oregon alone is larger geographically than the entire United Kingdom.

Some facilities serving rural communities in states where abortion remains legal worry those pre-existing challenges could be further compounded by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as more patients travel from states where the procedure is banned or greatly restricted.

Anticipating an abortion ban in Idaho, Oregon lawmakers earlier this year created a $15 million fund to increase access to abortion services.

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Uneasy US tries to fete a July 4 marred by parade shooting

A shooting that left at least six people dead at an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb rattled Monday’s celebrations across the U.S. and further rocked a country already awash in turmoil over high court rulings on abortion and guns as well as hearings on the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The latest mass shooting came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together. It was supposed to be a day for taking off work, flocking to parades, devouring hot dogs and burgers at backyard barbecues and gathering under a canopy of stars and exploding fireworks.

“On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said.

The Highland Park parade began around 10 a.m. but was suddenly halted 10 minutes later after shots were fired. Hundreds of parade-goers — some visibly bloodied — fled the area, leaving behind chairs, baby strollers and blankets. Authorities brought a person of interest into custody Monday evening.

As the Highland Park community mourned, fireworks began thundering in neighboring towns and across the country. Pyrotechnics bloomed shortly after nightfall in Boston and New York City, where a kaleidoscope of color exploded over the Hudson River and illuminated skyscrapers.

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Flight cancellations ease slightly as July 4 weekend ends

DALLAS (AP) — Travelers flying home from July Fourth getaways faced flight delays Monday, but airlines were canceling fewer flights than in the days leading up to the holiday weekend.

Since holiday weekend travel picked up on Thursday, airlines have canceled more than 2,200 U.S. flights, and another 25,000 were delayed.

Airports were packed.

More than 9 million flyers flocked to U.S. airports between Thursday and Sunday, peaking at 2.49 million, a pandemic-era record, on Friday, according to figures from the Transportation Security Administration.

By late Monday afternoon on the East Coast, more than 2,200 U.S. flights had been delayed and more than 200 canceled, according to FlightAware.

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Griner sends letter to President Biden pleading for his help

Brittney Griner has made an appeal to President Joe Biden in a letter passed to the White House through her representatives saying she feared she might never return home and asking that he not “ forget about me and the other American Detainees.”

Griner’s agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas said the letter was delivered on Monday. Most of the letter’s contents to President Biden remain private, though Griner’s representatives shared a few lines from the hand-written note.

″…As I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, family, friends, Olympic jersey, or any accomplishments, I’m terrified I might be here forever,” Griner wrote.

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War Veteran,” the Phoenix Mercury center added. “It hurts thinking about how I usually celebrate this day because freedom means something completely different to me this year.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is in the midst of a trial in Russia that began last week after she was arrested on Feb. 17 on charges of possessing cannabis oil while returning to play for her Russian team. The trial will resume Thursday.

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Sydney floods impact 50,000 around Australia’s largest city

SYDNEY (AP) — Hundreds of homes have been inundated in and around Australia’s largest city in a flood emergency that was impacting 50,000 people, officials said Tuesday.

Emergency response teams made 100 rescues overnight of people trapped in cars on flooded roads or in inundated homes in the Sydney area, State Emergency Service manager Ashley Sullivan said.

Days of torrential rain have caused dams to overflow and waterways to break their banks, bringing a fourth flood emergency in 16 months to parts of the city of 5 million people.

The New South Wales state government declared a disaster across 23 local government areas overnight, activating federal government financial assistance for flood victims.

Evacuation orders and warnings to prepare to abandon homes impacted 50,000 people, up from 32,000 on Monday, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said.

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Video shows Akron police kill Black man in hail of gunfire

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A Black man was unarmed when Akron police chased him on foot and killed him in a hail of gunfire, but officers believed he had shot at them earlier from a vehicle and feared he was preparing to fire again, authorities said Sunday at a news conference.

Akron police released video of the shooting of Jayland Walker, 25, who was killed June 27 in a pursuit that had started with an attempted traffic stop. The mayor called the shooting “heartbreaking” while asking for patience from the community.

It’s not clear how many shots were fired by the eight officers involved, but Walker sustained more than 60 wounds. An attorney for Walker’s family said officers kept firing even after he was on the ground.

Officers attempted to stop Walker’s car around 12:30 a.m. for unspecified traffic and equipment violations, but less than a minute into a pursuit, the sound of a shot was heard from the car, and a transportation department camera captured what appeared to be a muzzle flash coming from the vehicle, Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett said. That changed the nature of the case from “a routine traffic stop to now a public safety issue,” he said.

Police body camera videos show what unfolded after the roughly six-minute pursuit. Several shouting officers with guns drawn approach the slowing car on foot, as it rolls up over a curb and onto a sidewalk. A person wearing a ski mask exits the passenger door and runs toward a parking lot. Police chase him for about 10 seconds before officers fire from multiple directions, in a burst of shots that lasts 6 or 7 seconds.

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US: Israeli fire likely killed reporter; no final conclusion

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials said Monday the bullet that killed veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was likely fired from an Israeli position. But they said it was too badly damaged to reach an absolute determination, and that there is “no reason to believe” she was deliberately targeted.

State Department spokesman Ned Price, announcing the results of the probe, said “independent, third-party examiners” had undertaken an “extremely detailed forensic analysis” of the bullet that killed her after the Palestinian Authority handed it over to them.

The results, announced ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to the region next week, were unlikely to lay the matter to rest. The Palestinians reiterated that Israel was to blame, while Israel said its own investigation would remain open and did not address the U.S. conclusion that its troops were likely responsible.

Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian-American correspondent who was well known and respected throughout the Arab world, was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid on May 11 in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian eyewitnesses, including her crew, say Israeli troops killed her and that there were no militants in the immediate vicinity or any exchange of fire at the time she was shot.

Israel says she was killed during a complex battle with Palestinian militants and that only a forensic analysis of the bullet could confirm whether it was fired by an Israeli soldier or a Palestinian militant. It has strongly denied she was deliberately targeted, but says an Israeli soldier may have hit her by mistake during an exchange of fire with a militant.

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‘Hell on earth’: Ukrainian soldiers describe eastern front

BAKHMUT, Ukraine (AP) — Torched forests and cities burned to the ground. Colleagues with severed limbs. Bombardments so relentless the only option is to lie in a trench, wait and pray.

Ukrainian soldiers returning from the front lines in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region — where Russia is waging a fierce offensive — describe life during what has turned into a grueling war of attrition as apocalyptic.

In interviews with The Associated Press, some complained of chaotic organization, desertions and mental health problems caused by relentless shelling. Others spoke of high morale, their colleagues’ heroism, and a commitment to keep fighting, even as the better-equipped Russians control more of the combat zone.

Lt. Volodymyr Nazarenko, 30, second-in-command of the Ukrainian National Guard’s Svoboda Battalion, was with troops who retreated from Sievierodonetsk under orders from military leaders. During a month-long battle, Russian tanks obliterated any potential defensive positions and turned a city with a prewar population of 101,000 into “a burnt-down desert,” he said.

“They shelled us every day. I do not want to lie about it. But these were barrages of ammunition at every building,” Nazarenko said. “The city was methodically leveled out.”

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