10 things you need to know today: July 5, 2022
A gunman kills 6 in "random" attack on Chicago-area July 4th parade, Putin declares victory in Luhansk, and more
Gunman kills 6 at suburban Chicago July 4th parade
A gunman with a high-powered rifle opened fire from a rooftop during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, on Monday, killing at least six people and injuring more than two dozen others. Lake County Deputy Sheriff Chris Covelli urged people in the area to stay inside their homes immediately after the shooting, which police described as "random." Police detained a "person of interest," 22-year-old Robert Crimo III, after a brief manhunt, later identifying him as the suspected gunman. The attack sent parade-goers scattering, leaving behind children's bikes, lawn chairs, and baby carriages, some decorated with American flags.
Putin declares victory in Ukraine's Luhansk region
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory for Russian armed forces in the Luhansk area of eastern Ukraine a day after Ukrainian defenders withdrew from Lysychansk, the last major city they had controlled in the province. Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk province make up Ukraine's industrial heartland of Donbas. Russian forces are now trying to push deeper into in the Donetsk region, about half of which Russia already controls, the Ukrainian General Staff said. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces returned their country's flag to Snake Island after Russian forces left the strategic outpost in the Black Sea following months of bombardment. Ukraine views control of the island as crucial to breaking a Russian naval blockade.
Biden says July 4th is time to unite and celebrate nation's 'goodness'
President Biden celebrated the Fourth of July with a White House cookout where he called for Americans to set aside their divisions. "The Fourth of July is a sacred day in our country — it's a time to celebrate the goodness of our nation, the only nation on Earth founded based on an idea: that all people are created equal," Biden tweeted. He acknowledged that the nation has taken "a few steps backward," a reference to the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, fear of a possible recession, recent mass shootings, tensions over hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection, and other problems, but he added: "Make no mistake, our best days still lie ahead."
U.S.: Israeli military likely killed Al Jazeera journalist
U.S. officials have concluded that gunfire from Israeli military positions "was likely responsible" for the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the State Department said Monday. Abu Akleh was killed while she was covering an Israeli military raid on the West Bank city of Jenin on May 11. State Department spokesman Ned Price said "independent, third-party examiners" conducted an "extremely detailed forensic analysis," and "ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion" as to who fired the shot. The U.S. also looked at both the Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian Authority investigations, Price said, and concluded there was "no reason to believe that this was intentional."
Brittney Griner appeals to Biden not to 'forget about me'
Basketball star Brittney Griner appealed to President Biden in a letter delivered to him on Monday, asking him not to "forget about me and the other American detainees" being held in Russia. "As I sit here in a Russian prison ... I'm terrified I might be here forever," the Phoenix Mercury center wrote in the letter. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was arrested after Russian security agents accused her of carrying cannabis vape cartridges through a Moscow airport, and could face 10 years in prison if convicted. Griner said marking the Fourth of July, which her family usually does by honoring those who have "fought for our freedom," is painful because "freedom means something completely different to me this year."
Drug distributors win West Virginia opioid lawsuit
A federal judge in West Virginia sided with three major U.S. drug distributors on Monday, ruling they can't be held responsible for the addiction epidemic in Cabell County. The drug companies — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson — distributed 81 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to Cabell County over eight years ending in 2014 — 94 pills per person annually. The county's lawyers argued that the distributors acted unreasonably and without regard for public health and safety during a growing opioid-fueled addiction crisis. Lawyers for the drug companies countered that they were only fulfilling orders from licensed pharmacies based on prescriptions written by doctors. U.S. District Judge David Faber agreed, saying the plaintiffs did not prove the companies violated public nuisance laws.
Protests continue in Akron, Ohio, over police shooting of Jayland Walker
Protests continued in Akron, Ohio, on Monday night over the fatal police shooting of Jayland Walker, an unarmed Black man, after he fled police who tried to pull him over for a routine traffic stop. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan declared a state of emergency Monday and issued a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew after peaceful protests led to slight damage Sunday night. Horrigan also canceled the city's Fourth of July fireworks. "We cannot and will not tolerate the destruction of property or violence," Horrigan said in a statement. Walker's family called for protests to remain peaceful after police released body-camera footage showing Walker running from his car and being shot 60 times by officers.
Highly contagious Omicron subvariants fuel California coronavirus surge
California is facing a fast-spreading new coronavirus wave driven by the two new ultra-contagious Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5. The outbreak has pushed two-thirds of the state's counties into the high COVID-19 community transmission level. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal masking in indoor public spaces when communities hit that level, and the California Department of Public Health has strongly advised retaining that practice since the state's mask mandate expired in February. Los Angeles County has not imposed new rules requiring face coverings, but health officials there warn that could soon be necessary, possibly later this month. "We're really worried," L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday.
Orlando apologizes for pre-July 4 message
The City of Orlando, Florida, apologized for saying in a pre-Independence Day weekly newsletter that it doesn't blame those who "don't want to celebrate our nation right now." The message added: "When there is so much division, hate and unrest, why on earth would you want to have a party celebrating any of it?" The city said it "sincerely regrets" any "negative impact" from the statement. Christina Pushaw, spokeswoman for Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted: "This is what happens when you elect Democrats ... they do not have the same view of America as we do." Orlando-area state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D) said the city didn't need to apologize. "It's not OK to be OK," she tweeted.
Airlines delay fewer flights as busy July 4th weekend ends
Airline delays eased across the United States on July 4 as weather improved. By Monday afternoon, only 183 flights had been canceled and 1,200 delayed, down from more than 300 cancellations and nearly 4,700 delays a day earlier, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. More than 19,000 flights, or roughly one-fifth of daily departures, were delayed Thursday through Sunday. About 1,600 flights were canceled over the first four days of the Thursday-to-Monday holiday weekend. Industry staffing shortages, partly due to pandemic-era buyouts, added to the disruptions caused by bad weather.