The U.S. at a glance ...
Pool party shooting spree: One person was killed and six injured this week when a San Diego man, holding a beer in one hand and a gun in the other, opened fire at a poolside birthday party at his apartment complex. Authorities said Peter Selis, 49, was “distraught” after breaking up with his girlfriend when he carried out his rampage. Selis allegedly began firing shots and then sat down on a lounge chair and called the woman—keeping her on the phone as he continued shooting. Selis was killed when police arrived and opened fire. Though the gunman was white and five of his seven shooting victims were black, authorities said there was “zero information” to indicate race had played a role. But witnesses at the party disputed that conclusion, saying Selis had waved away a white man rather than shooting him during the attack.
Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas
Storms wreak havoc: At least 20 people were killed and dozens more were injured when deadly storms swept through the South and Midwest this week, unleashing tornadoes and torrential flooding. At least four fatalities occurred in East Texas, where tornadoes split trees in half, downed power lines, and sent cars flying through the air. In Canton, Texas, one twister touched down near an outdoor market. “We saw the tornado drop out of the sky,” said one witness. “It looked like a can opener opened this truck right in front of me.” Another seven people were killed by flooding and high winds in Arkansas, and a 7-year-old Mississippi boy died after being electrocuted in floodwaters. Three deaths were reported in Missouri, and in Tennessee, a 2-year-old was killed after being struck by a soccer goalpost that was blown over by high winds.
Trump and Putin chat: In their first publicly acknowledged conversation since the U.S. launched a missile strike in Syria in April, President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin this week agreed to work together to establish a cease-fire in the war-torn country’s six-year conflict. The White House characterized the phone call as “a very good one”—though Russian and American officials diverged on whether the discussion involved a plan to establish safe zones in Syria, as the White House claimed in its readout of the call. The two leaders also agreed to try to organize a personal meeting at the G-20 summit in Germany in July. Trump has repeatedly vowed to forge a new, constructive relationship with Russia, but relations became frosty following last month’s strike. Trump ordered the strike in response to a chemical attack by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al- Assad, a key Russian ally.
Black teen shot dead: A Dallas-area police officer was fired this week after using an AR-15 rifle to shoot into a moving vehicle full of black teenagers, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Balch Springs Officer Roy Oliver, who is white, had arrived on the scene to investigate a report of underage drinking at a house party. According to the police department’s initial statement, Oliver and other officers heard gunshots and saw a vehicle “backing down the street toward the officers in an aggressive manner”— prompting Oliver to shoot at the car. But after reviewing body-camera footage, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said the vehicle was actually driving away when Oliver opened fire. An attorney for Edwards’ family said that the teenagers in the car hadn’t been drinking, and that they fled after being fired upon—only stopping when they noticed Edwards, a straight-A student and standout athlete, wasn’t talking. Authorities said evidence would be presented to a grand jury.
New York City
Clinton lets rip: In her most forceful comments since her November defeat, Hillary Clinton this week blamed FBI Director James Comey for her loss in the 2016 election, and ripped President Trump for his conduct in office. Speaking at a Women for Women International event in New York City, Clinton said that while she took “absolute personal responsibility” for her defeat, she had been “on the way to winning” until Comey released a letter on Oct. 28 announcing his agency was conducting a review of Clinton’s emails. “If the election were on Oct. 27,” said Clinton, “I’d be your president.” The former Democratic candidate also denounced Trump for firing off tweets on sensitive foreign policy issues, and for his obsession with her 3 million–vote majority in the popular vote. Trump hit back on Twitter, saying that Comey “was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary” because he gave her a “free pass,” and that his own team had run “a great campaign.”
Walter Scott shooting: Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty in federal court this week to violating the civil rights of Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist who was shot dead by Slager as he tried to flee a routine traffic stop. In cellphone footage of the 2015 incident, Sla ger, 35, is seen firing upon Scott, 50, as the motorist ran away—striking Scott five times in the back. Slager, who was fired and charged with murder following the shooting, said he had acted in self defense and feared for his life. His state murder trial ended in a hung jury in December. As part of Scott’s plea bargain, prosecutors agreed to drop his retrial if the former officer pleaded guilty to a single federal count of using excessive force to deprive Scott of his civil rights. That charge carries a maximum of life in prison.