The U.S. at a glance …
Rancho Tehama Reserve, Calif.
Shooting spree: A roving gunman killed five people, including his wife, and wounded at least 10 others this week during a 45-minute rampage that ended when police rammed his vehicle and killed him in a shoot-out. Kevin Janson Neal, 44, is believed to have murdered his wife and hidden her body under the floor of their house before shooting two neighbors—including a woman who had obtained a restraining order against him after he stabbed her in January—and stealing a pickup truck. He then shot victims at random in the quiet town of 1,500 people. At one point, Neal menaced an elementary school, but was unable to get inside any classrooms because the school had gone on lockdown. No children were killed, but two were wounded when he fired down a hallway. Residents said Neal was known for harassing his neighbors. He “has been shooting a lot of bullets lately, hundreds of rounds,” one resident said. “We made [police] aware that this guy is crazy and he’s been threatening us.”
Nominee scrutiny: A controversial nominee for a lifetime federal judgeship did not disclose to lawmakers that he is married to a senior White House lawyer, The New York Times reported this week. Brett Talley, who has been nominated by President Trump to become a federal district judge in Alabama, is married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to White House counsel Donald McGahn. When asked by the Senate to list potential conflicts of interest on a questionnaire, Talley did not mention his wife or her position. The revelation has added to Democratic criticism of Talley, who at 36 has practiced law for only three years and has never tried a case. Talley received a unanimous “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, which has happened to only two other federal judicial nominees since 1989. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Talley’s nomination on a party-line vote this week, and the full Senate could confirm him as early as next week.
State College, Pa.
Frat death charges: Ten more college students were charged this week in connection with the hazing death of a 19-yearold fraternity pledge at Pennsylvania State University, after investigators recovered deleted surveillance footage from the frat house’s basement. The video shows sophomore Tim Piazza being given at least 18 alcoholic drinks in less than 90 minutes during a Beta Theta Pi pledge night in February. Piazza became so drunk that he fell down the basement stairs, fracturing his skull and rupturing his spleen, but fraternity members waited until the next day before calling an ambulance. Members initially told police that the security cameras weren’t working, but detectives later discovered that a member in charge of the house’s security system intentionally deleted the video just as investigators arrived to seize it. At least 24 people now face charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to tampering with evidence.
Serial killer? Tampa police were scouring the Seminole Heights area for a suspected serial killer this week, after the neighborhood was hit by its fourth seemingly random fatal shooting in just over a month. Ronald Felton, 60, was shot in the back early Tuesday outside the food bank where he volunteered, weeks after three other victims were killed within 15 blocks of one another—standing alone at a bus stop, in a vacant lot, or walking home. Police warned residents not to walk alone at night, and released grainy surveillance footage of a figure running from the scene of one of the earlier shootings. Authorities this week received their first description of the suspect from a witness account of a black male about 6 feet tall, dressed in all-black clothing, leaving an area near the food bank with a gun. Mayor Bob Buckhorn said police were hoping for a break in the case soon. “We have good folks living in this community that are scared to death,” said Buckhorn.
Gymnast accuses doctor: Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman this week said she too had been molested by the U.S. women’s gymnastics team doctor—making her the second of gymnastics’ “Fierce Five,” and one of more than 130 women, to accuse Lawrence Nassar of sexual abuse. Raisman, 23, who captained gymnastics teams in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, said that she would ball her hands into fists as Nassar’s “ungloved hands wor ked their way under [her] clothing” during treatments and exams, which began when she was 15. Other girls described the doctor touching their groin during massages. “I know people will say, ‘Why didn’t she tell her mom?’” said Raisman. “I didn’t really know what was happening to me.” She also criticized USA Gymnastics, the governing body for her sport, for creating a “culture” where young athletes felt afraid to speak up. Nasser is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.
Clinton special counsel? Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this week he’s considering whether to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton. In a letter to lawmakers, the Justice Department said that Sessions has asked for recommendations from federal prosecutors about whether to appoint a special counsel to investigate, among other matters, the controversial 2010 sale of the Canadian mining company Uranium One to Russia’s nuclear energy agency. That deal has long incensed conservative media, which has questioned whether the Clinton Foundation received donations to help speed the deal along at the State Department while Clinton was secretary of state, though nine government agencies signed off on the sale. Trump has repeatedly called for an investigation into the Uranium One deal, prompting criticism that he is trying to use the Justice Department to attack his political enemies. “To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election—it’s un- American, and it’s grotesque,” said John Danforth, a former special counsel.