Gunman, two students dead after New Mexico high school shooting

police sirens

(Reuters) – A suspected shooter opened fire at a high school in New Mexico on Thursday, killing two students before being killed, according to police and officials from the nearby Navajo Nation.

Few other details were immediately available about the incident at Aztec High School in the city of Aztec, about 200 miles (322 km) northwest of Santa Fe, including whether the shooter was a student or if the shooter was killed by police.

The New Mexico State Police said no other injuries were reported, that the school was evacuated, and families of the victims were notified. Police said there were no other credible threats to students.

Garrett Parker, a sophomore at Aztec High School, told Hearst news affiliate KOAT, that he initially thought the gunshots were other kids banging on locker doors.

“As it got closer and louder and it was obvious it was gunshots. All I could think of was that definitely, this is it today, if whoever it is comes in then I’m probably done,” Parker said. “Thankfully our teacher always locked his door. When they called over the intercom that this was not a drill, we went over to the corner to the classroom out of sight of the door and just started hiding.”

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said in a statement that all schools in the area were placed on preventative lockdown as a precaution.

“It’s tragic when our children are harmed in violent ways especially on school campuses,” Begaye said in the statement.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Additional reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Andrew Hay)

Student opens fire at Washington state school, killing classmate

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) – A student carrying two guns opened fire at his high school near Spokane, Washington on Wednesday, killing one classmate and injuring three others before he was apprehended by a staff member, the local sheriff said.

The slain student was trying to convince the shooter, whose first gun had jammed, not to carry out the morning rampage when he was shot dead, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told reporters.

The gunman then fired on three other students in a second-floor hallway of Freeman High School in Rockford, Washington, Knezovich said. The surviving victims, who were in their mid-teens, were listed in stable condition, a local hospital said.

Knezovich declined to identify the suspect or discuss what may have motivated the gun violence in detail but said: “It sounds like a case of a bullying-type of situation.”

He said that a member of the staff at Freeman who he described as “very courageous” was able to capture the gunman before police officers arrived on scene to take him into custody. He was being held at Spokane County juvenile jail.

“Fortunately that one (gun) jammed. This would have been a lot worse if it didn’t,” Knezovich said. “These are senseless, tragic events that really don’t need to happen and I don’t really understand them.”

“But we need to figure out what’s gone wrong with our society that our children decide that they need to take weapons to deal with the issues that they’re facing,” he said.

A freshman who witnessed the shooting told local KREM-TV that the shooter, a classmate since elementary school, stalked the hallway with a pistol and second gun, appearing calm as he fired at his victims and the ceiling.

The girl said that the suspect was an “outgoing” boy who she would not have thought capable of such violence. But she said other students had told her that he had made an ominous post about his intentions on a social media account.

Following the shooting at the school of 327 students, some parents abandoned their cars stuck in traffic and walked up to a mile to reach their children, KHQ-TV reported.

“This morning’s shooting at Freeman High School is heartbreaking. All Washingtonians are thinking of the victims and their families,” Governor Jay Inslee said on Twitter.

The United States has had an average of 52 school shooting incidents a year since a gunman killed 26 young children and educators in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control group founded in response to that massacre.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago, Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento and Derek Caney and Gina Cherulus in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

One dead, three wounded in Washington state school shooting

police sirens

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) – One child was killed and three people wounded at a shooting on Wednesday at a high school near Spokane, Washington before a suspect was taken into custody, the local fire chief said.

It was not immediately clear if the slain victim was a student at Freeman High School in Rockford, Washington, Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer told reporters at a news conference.

Schaeffer said he did not know if the suspect was a student at the school or what may have motivated the gun violence. None of the wounded victims were identified.

The fire chief described a chaotic scene at the school, with the sounds of bullets echoing through the halls prompting fears that there was more than one shooter.

Local television stations showed the school surrounded by police and fire vehicles, parents running the scene. Some parents got out of their cars and walked up to a mile rather than wait in traffic, KHQ-TV reported.

The high school has 327 students, according to U.S. News.

Three victims were in stable condition at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane, said spokeswoman Nicole Stewart.

A Twitter user named Christina identified herself as a junior at the high school and said she had been evacuated following at least four shots. She tweeted a picture of anxious-looking students sitting on the floor in a classroom.

“This morning’s shooting at Freeman High School is heartbreaking. All Washingtonians are thinking of the victims and their families,” Governor Jay Inslee said on Twitter.

Spokane placed all schools in the district on lockdown at about 10:30 a.m. PDT (1730 GMT), following the shooting, but an hour later said on Twitter that it had been lifted.

The United States has had an average of 52 school shooting incidents a year since a gunman killed 26 young children and educators in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control group founded in response to that massacre.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago, Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento and Derek Caney and Gina Cherulus in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Florida board votes to scrub Confederate general’s name from school

FILE PHOTO: The statue of Robert E. Lee is seen in Dallas, Texas, U.S. August 19, 2017. REUTERS/Rex Curry/File Photo

By Jim Forsyth

(Reuters) – A city commission in southern Florida on Wednesday voted to remove the names of three Confederate generals from city streets, in response to a community campaign begun months before the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The officials voted 5-1 to drop the names of Forrest, Hood and Lee streets in Hollywood, Florida, located about 20 miles (32 km) north of Miami, the Miami Herald newspaper said.

“This is about what the meaning of community is,” it quoted Mayor Josh Levy as saying. “We don’t endorse hate. We don’t endorse symbols of hate. What hurts you, hurts me. It should hurt all of us.”

Local and state leaders across the country have taken similar action after an Aug. 12 rally in Charlottesville by white nationalists opposed to plans to move a Lee statue turned deadly when a man crashed a car into counter-protesters, killing a woman.

Dozens of citizens and politicians spoke at a marathon city commission meeting in Hollywood, with most backing the change, including Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz.

Those opposed to the name change said they not think of Confederate generals when they drove on the streets, named for Robert E. Lee, leader of the Confederate army and fellow Confederate generals Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Bell Hood.

Although the city’s review of street names began before the Charlottesville clashes they have imbued it with a fresh significance.

The action came the night after a San Antonio school board voted to change the name of its Robert E. Lee High School, citing the violence in Charlottesville as the impetus.

Tuesday night’s unanimous action was taken by the same board that opted two years ago not to change the 59-year-old high school’s name. Several board members said the nation’s attitude toward symbols of the pro-slavery Confederacy had shifted.

On Wednesday, the chancellor of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill declined a request from a white nationalist group to rent campus space for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak.

“Our basis for this decision is the safety and security of the campus community,” UNC-CH Chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement.

Strong sentiment on the subject is highlighted by comments from a Georgia state lawmaker this week, who said people calling for the removal of Confederate monuments could “go missing” in a swamp if they visited the district he represented.

Representative Jason Spencer, who is white, posted the comment during a Facebook exchange with former state Representative LaDawn Jones, who is black, a screen grab on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s website showed.

The comment has been deleted from Spencer’s Facebook page.

(Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney and Clarence Fernandez)

What’s in a name? Virginia school enters Confederate symbols battle

Stonewall Jackson High School is pictured in this still image from video, in Manassas, Virginia, U.S., August 17, 2017. Image taken August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Greg Savoy

By Fatima Bhojani

MANASSAS, Va. (Reuters) – In the northern Virginia county where Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson earned his famous moniker, a battle has begun to remove his name from the local high school where it appears in large white letters on the red brick facade.

Inspired by last weekend’s race-fueled violence in Charlottesville, a local official proposed renaming the school, extending the debate over Confederate monuments to institutions whose names honor the leaders of the pro-slavery Southern states in the U.S. Civil War.

“It’s time to recognize that these schools were named in error,” said Ryan Sawyers, who is chairman of the Prince William County school board and is also running for U.S. Congress next year as a Democrat. “It’s time to right that wrong.”

His proposal on Wednesday set off a firestorm of debate in the picturesque suburban county about 40 miles (65 km) southwest of Washington, D.C., and provided a taste of what likely awaits similar new efforts in states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

“Despicable,” Corey Stewart, the Republican chairman of Prince William’s Board of County Supervisors and a 2018 U.S. Senate candidate, said of the idea of changing the name of Stonewall Jackson High School.

A strong supporter of President Donald Trump, Stewart ran unsuccessfully for governor this year largely on a platform of preserving Confederate monuments.

Trump has faced a storm of criticism over his remarks on last Saturday’s unrest in Charlottesville, where white nationalists rallied to protest the planned removal of a Confederate statue and a woman was killed when a car plowed through counter-protesters. The president has blamed the violence on not just the rally organizers but also on the anti-racist activists who confronted them.

Trump has also sided with those who favor keeping Confederate monuments in place, saying they are beautiful and will be missed if removed. Opponents of such monuments view them as a festering symbol of racism since the Confederacy fought for the preservation of slavery. Supporters say they honor American history. Some of the monuments have become rallying points for white nationalists.

General Jackson, who led Confederate troops in several key victories, earned his nickname in July 1861 during one of two major battles fought near Manassas, when a fellow general is said to have shouted: “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall!”

“He’s revered throughout Virginia and in Prince William County,” Stewart said. “To take his name off a school is really a slap in the face to an American hero.”

Stonewall Jackson High School, named in 1964 at the height of the civil rights era, is three miles (5 km) from Manassas battlefield. Its 2,400 students are 17 percent black, 19 percent white and more than half Hispanic.

Historians note that much like the installation of many Confederate statues, such school names were given decades after the Civil War ended in 1865, mostly as a response by local officials to growing calls for racial equality in the United States.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group, said it was aware of about 100 U.S. schools and nearly 500 roads named after Robert E. Lee and other Confederate generals. About half of the schools are in Virginia and Texas.

In Dallas, where at least four schools are named for Confederate figures, the school board president said this week he had added the issue to the agenda of an upcoming meeting.

“It’s very hard for me to come up with an answer to an African-American child, or any child, who asks, ‘Why is this school named in honor for someone who fought to keep my ancestors enslaved?'” said the president, Dan Micciche.


Sawyers, of the Prince William County school board, said the Charlottesville events were “the last straw” for him. An online fundraising campaign he started to avoid using taxpayer funds for a name change to Stonewall Jackson High School has raised about $2,000.

Two district teachers, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly about the controversy, criticized the idea of spending up to $750,000 on replacing signage, buying new sports uniforms and revamping facilities.

Parents on Sawyers’ Facebook page echoed that concern. But Cedric Lockhart, who has three children in the school system, contributed money.

“Having a school named after somebody who fought to enslave African-American families like mine – it just feels inappropriate in 2017,” he said in a phone interview.

Lockhart, who grew up in Prince William and attended another high school, said he always found the school’s name disturbing.

Mikayla Harshman, a 2014 graduate of Stonewall Jackson High, said she opposed changing the name.

“They’re erasing history,” said Harshman, 21, who is white and majoring in American history at Radford University. “I feel like taking something like that away is taking away an opportunity to learn.”

Confederate memorials are widespread in Virginia, which saw some of the deadliest Civil War battles. There is a cannon from the era at the entrance of the historic district of downtown Manassas, which seems plucked from the past with its small, quaint buildings.

Standing outside the local museum, Shiine Jackson, 32, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, said she supported changing the high school name.

“The name stands for the Confederacy,” said Jackson, who is black. “This is the South. As a minority, I’ve experienced a lot of racism in my life.”

(This story corrects 4th paragraph, corrects direction to “southwest,” not “east”)

(Reporting and writing by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York, Colleen Jenkins in North Carolina and Fatima Bhojani in Manassas, Virginia; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou and Frances Kerry)

A daily conundrum in convulsed Venezuela: will my kids make it to school?

FILE PHOTO: School children protect themselves from tear gas during a rally against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo

By Brian Ellsworth and Andreina Aponte

CARACAS (Reuters) – With anti-government protesters blocking avenues and highways across Venezuela several times a week, many parents spend their evenings asking the same question – will my kids make it to school tomorrow?

While parents worry they will be unable to pick up their children after classes because of the tumult, teachers are often forced to skip work due to the clashes between protesters and troops.

Yet the Education Ministry has refused to cancel classes at state schools even when spillover from demonstrations poses a risk to children – primarily from the tear gas fired to disperse protesters.

It also has forbidden private schools, which serve about a quarter of the country’s primary and secondary school students, from suspending lessons.

The result is that one of the most routine parenting responsibilities – getting children to school – now requires constantly juggling of contingency plans and calculating the odds of getting through protests that have left 75 people dead.

“We check Twitter until about 9:30, 10:00 at night and that’s when we decide if we’re going to take our son to school the next day,” said Ignacio, 33, a telecom engineer who asked that his last name not be used for fear of reprisals.

“Sometimes my wife will leave to pick him up and she’ll come across barricades or lanes closed on the highway, so we have to figure out if I have to rush from work to get him.”

Outraged by triple-digit inflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine, demonstrators gather on main avenues for protests that range from peaceful sit-ins to rock-throwing melees with troops firing rubber bullets and tear gas.

That creates traffic chaos that can disrupt public transportation just as school is letting out.

Protesters are demanding that the Socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro address a crippling economic crisis and scrap plans to rewrite the constitution of the South American oil producer.

Parents try to delicately explain to their kids why they are not in class while still sheltering them from the country’s virulent political discourse, which is increasingly drifting into the lexicon of even elementary school children.

Teachers constantly reschedule lessons and tests to compensate for missed days of the academic year, which normally runs from October to July. Parents worry that their kids risk falling behind in their studies if the unrest continues.

The protests have disrupted daily life well beyond schools. They at times prevent deliveries of raw materials to factories, force state agencies to remain closed, and lead shops to preventively shut their doors on rumors that demonstrations are devolving into looting.

The Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the situation.

Caribay Valenzuela (R), walks with her daughters (L-R) Carlota, Eloisa and Carmen, after picking them up on the school on a day of protests in Caracas, Venezuela June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Caribay Valenzuela (R), walks with her daughters (L-R) Carlota, Eloisa and Carmen, after picking them up on the school on a day of protests in Caracas, Venezuela June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins


Ruling Socialist Party officials say the protests are part of a violent effort to overthrow Maduro. They say the constant disruptions of public order limit access to education and thus undermine late socialist leader Hugo Chavez’s efforts to invest in  schools

Maduro says private schools have in some cases canceled class as a way of supporting the opposition.

“I have ordered an investigation against those owners of private schools that have promoted hatred, racism, violence,” Maduro said in a televised broadcast in May.

The Education Ministry last month said it had fined 15 private schools for “permitting, provoking and inciting violent actions in educational facilities and their surrounding areas.”

As a result, schools remain open even under extreme circumstances.

National Guard troops in late May fired a tear gas canister into the main patio of a school called the Montessori Institute in the city of Barquisimeto, according to a local media report, in an apparent effort to disperse a nearby protest.

When a group of students left the building to escape the fumes, three of them were detained by the National Guard, according to the report.

A school official said the report was accurate but declined further comment.

Two Caracas Catholic schools in separate incidents in April had to evacuate children after they were flooded by clouds of tear gas, according to Reuters witnesses. The schools declined to comment.

Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega, who has become a high-profile critic of the government’s handling of protests, recently called on security forces not to fire tear gas near clinics and schools.

Under the circumstances, many parents opt to leave kids at home. But this can lead to heightened government scrutiny of schools.

Education Ministry officials threatened to shutter one private school in the central state of Lara, where classrooms went empty for days on end due to parents’ safety concerns, according to two parents of children that study there.

They backed off the threat after an inspection determined that teachers were working normal hours, sitting in silent classrooms and maintaining lesson plans, they said.

A third parent, who is involved in the parent-teacher association, confirmed the incident but asked that the school not be named to avoid reprisals. Reuters was unable to obtain comment from the school.

Caribay Valenzuela, whose two daughters study near the Altamira neighborhood that has been a focal point of protests, sends them to school with goggles and a handkerchief in case the protests spill over.

The 39-year-old routinely picks up her kids early and takes them to her mother’s house because her own home is at times hit by tear gas.

“They ask me to pick up the kids at 10 a.m. when there are marches to make sure that staff can get home,” Valenzuela said.

“Maintaining the routine has been really difficult because they ask me ‘Is there school tomorrow? Is it a full day? What are we going to do tomorrow?'”

(Editing by Bill Trott)

Colorado school cancels classes over threat after Trump piñata incident

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) – A Colorado high school canceled classes on Monday following an unspecified online threat, authorities said, days after a Spanish teacher there was suspended over allegations he allowed students to strike a piñata depicting President Donald Trump.

Activities at Roosevelt High School in the town of Johnstown, about 40 miles north of Denver, were put on hold out of an abundance of caution, Martin Foster, superintendent of the Johnstown-Milliken school district, said in a statement.

“Recent tragedies around the country and in our own state have heightened everyone’s concern for the safety of students,” Foster said. He did not say if the threat was related to the piñata incident.

Colorado has been the scene of several school shootings and threats, most notably the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, where two students fatally shot a teacher and 12 students before committing suicide.

Foster said he became aware last Friday of social media posts of a Cinco De Mayo event at the school where a photograph of Trump was affixed to a piñata. Cinco De Mayo is an annual celebration commemorating the Mexican army’s defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

“This was an incredibly disrespectful act that does not reflect the values of Roosevelt High School or the school district,” Foster said.

The teacher, whom the district has not publicly identified, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated, Foster said.

Classes and other activities will resume on Tuesday with an increased police presence at the school, Assistant Superintendent Jason Seybert said by telephone.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Ben Klayman and Peter Cooney)

Police probe motives behind fatal San Bernardino classroom shooting

Police officers are pictured after a shooting at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California, U.S., April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police in San Bernardino, California, sought more clues on Tuesday to the marital discord they believe led a gunman to walk into an elementary school class taught by his estranged wife and open fire, fatally shooting her and a student before killing himself.

Monday’s shooting at North Park Elementary, the latest of dozens of U.S. schools traumatized by armed intruders in recent years, left a second child badly wounded and reopened a debate about what educators can do to safeguard students against gun violence.

It was especially wrenching for the city of San Bernardino, the “Inland Empire” town about 65 miles east of Los Angeles where another shooting rampage 15 months ago left 14 people dead and more than 20 wounded at an office holiday party.

Unlike the 2015 massacre, carried out by a radicalized Muslim couple in what authorities described as an act of terrorism, police said the latest shooting apparently grew out of a domestic dispute between the suspect and his wife.

The gunman in the North Park shooting was identified as Cedric Anderson, 53, of nearby Riverside, who according to police had a criminal history that included weapons charges and domestic violence that predated his brief marriage to the slain teacher, Karen Elaine Smith, also 53.

Her mother, Irma Sykes, told the Los Angeles Times the couple had been friends for four years before they married in January and that her daughter “decided she needed to leave him” after just a month.

“She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all,” Sykes was quoted as saying. “He had other motives. She left him, and that’s where the trouble began.” She declined to elaborate, the newspaper said.

Anderson was reported in local media to have served in the military for eight years, though police said they are still seeking to confirm that.

The two students hit by gunfire happened to have been standing behind Smith and were believed to have been unintentional victims, Police Chief Jarrod Burguan told reporters on Monday. One 8-year-old boy, Jonathan Martinez, died from his wounds. A 9-year-old classmate who was not publicly identified was admitted to a hospital, where he was said to be in stable condition.

Fifteen students and two adult teacher assistants were in the classroom at the time of the shooting, police said.

Police said Anderson was welcomed into the school as a legitimate visitor who stopped by to “drop something off with his wife,” Burguan said. He kept his weapon concealed until opening fire in the classroom without saying a word, then reloaded and shot himself to death.

Police and school officials said Anderson checked in at the school’s front office and even showed his identification. It was not clear whether a police officer normally assigned to the school was present.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Dan Grebler)

California gunman kills wife, self as she teaches class; student also dead

REFILE -- CORRECTING TYPO -- Students who were evacuated after a shooting at North Park Elementary School walk past well-wishers to be reunited with their waiting parents at a high school in San Bernardino, California, U.S. April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

By Olga Grigoryants

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (Reuters) – A special education teacher and one of her students were fatally shot by her estranged husband when he opened fire with a high-caliber revolver before killing himself in her classroom at a San Bernardino, California, elementary school, police said.

A second student was badly wounded by the gunman, who authorities said had a criminal history that included weapons charges and domestic violence that predated his brief marriage to the slain teacher.

Police said the two students, both boys, were believed to have been inadvertently caught in the gunfire as bystanders to Monday’s shooting, which took place about 8 miles (13 km) from where a radicalized Muslim couple killed 14 people in a December 2015 shooting rampage.

Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said the shooting at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, about 65 miles east of Los Angeles, was an apparent murder-suicide. It was the latest in dozens of cases of gun violence at U.S. school campuses.

The gunman was identified as Cedric Anderson, and his wife as Karen Elaine Smith, both 53. Burguan said the couple had been married briefly and had been separated for about a month or month and a half.

The two students struck by gunfire had been standing behind Smith, the chief said. One 8-year-old boy, identified as Jonathan Martinez, died from his wounds. A 9-year-old classmate who was not publicly identified was admitted to a hospital, where he was said to be in stable condition.

Fifteen students and two adult teacher assistants were in the classroom along with the couple at the time of the shooting, police said.

Police said Anderson was welcomed into the school as a legitimate visitor, stopping by the “drop something off with his wife,” and kept his weapon concealed until opening fire in the classroom, Burguan said.


The school was evacuated after the shooting and students were bused to the campus of California State University at San Bernardino to be briefed and interviewed by authorities. From there, they were taken to a nearby high school and be reunited with their families.

Aerial television footage showed children holding hands and walking single-file across the campus to waiting buses.

Parents waved and cheered as they greeted their children, who school staff had plied with bottled water, sandwiches and snack bars while waiting for parents to arrive.

“I’m glad my daughter is fine,” said Angelique Youmans, 31, as she hugged her 10-year-old daughter. “She is too young to understand what happened.”

Samantha Starcher, 25, said she waited four hours to be reunited with her 6-year-old daughter.

“When I heard about the shooting, I started praying, asking God to keep my daughter safe” she said. “She heard two gunshots but she didn’t know what it was. I’m not going to tell her (about the shooting) because I don’t want to traumatize her.”

School officials said North Park Elementary would remain closed for at least two days.

The city of San Bernardino last made national headlines on Dec. 2, 2015, when a husband and wife who authorities said were inspired by Islamic extremism opened fire on a holiday office party of county health workers, killing 14 people and wounding more than 20. The couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were killed by police during a shootout.


The school shooting came two days after a fitness instructor returned to a Florida gym a few hours after he had been fired and shot two former colleagues to death.

An estimated 10,000 people are murdered with guns each year in the United States, according to federal crime statistics.

The United States has had an average of 52 school shooting incidents a year since a gunman killed 26 young children and educators in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control group founded in response to that massacre.

Total school shootings, a figure that includes elementary schools, high schools and colleges, regardless of whether anyone was killed or wounded, rose from 37 in 2013 to 58 in 2014 and to 65 in 2015, before declining to 48 in 2016, according to the group’s data.

With Monday’s San Bernardino incident, the United States has had 12 school shootings this year, on pace to match 2016’s tally.

Mayor Carey Davis said he had spoken about the shooting to White House officials who said President Donald Trump expressed “concern for students and teachers” at North Park.

Security experts said schools have few options to limit such incidents, given the prevalence of guns in the United States.

“If people have guns, people are going to use guns, so it’s literally the price that we pay for that freedom,” said. John DeCarlo, a criminal justice professor at the University of New Haven and the former chief of police in Branford, Connecticut.

One answer, he said, would be for all schools to sweep everyone who entered with metal detectors like those used at airports and sports venues. U.S. Education Department data said just 2 percent of U.S. schools require people entering to pass through metal detectors, up from 1 percent in 2000.

Gun control activist Shannon Watts, who founded Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America following the Newtown shooting, said her group will continue to push for regulation on gun access rather than metal detectors as a solution.

“It’s a cultural question,” she said. “Do we want to become a country of magnetometers and safety checkpoints and gun lockers?”

(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman, Piya Sinha-Roy and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Scott Malone in Boston; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Bill Trott)

At least three injured in French school shooting, one arrested: officials

PARIS (Reuters) – At least three people were injured after a shooting at a high school in the small southern French town of Grasse, and a 17-year old student carrying a rifle, handguns and grenades was arrested, the interior ministry and police sources added.

“The individual does not seem to be known by police,” one police source said.

A second source said it appeared that two students had opened fire on the headmaster, who had been injured, adding that the suspects did not seem to be militants.

“One of the two was arrested and the second fled. There was panic and the students took refuge in the (neighboring) supermarket,” said the source.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told France Inter radio that three people had been injured, and advised families to remain patient as police took control to stabilize the situation. He had earlier told BFM TV eight were injured.

He said checks were underway on the possibility of a second assailant.

The incident comes with France in a state of emergency after several militants attacks over the last year. It is less than six weeks away from a presidential election in which security and fears of terrorism are among key issues.

An eye-witness student in the school interviewed by France Inter radio said the students had heard a bang and taken cover under the tables.

“I went to close the windows and saw a guy who looked at me in the eyes. He seemed to be a student and not very big. He shot in the air and ran away,” the student said without giving his name.

Local emergency services advised residents on Twitter to stay at home. The government launched its mobile telephone application warning of a “terrorist” attack.

(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry, Sophie Louet, and John Irish; Editing by Adrian Croft and Sudip Kar-Gupta)