Now considered a mass shooting in Denver

Important Takeaways:

  • ‘It’s a shock’: Colorado police ID shooter who killed 5 people in Denver-area shooting spree
  • Six people died, including the shooter, authorities said. Two people were injured, including a police officer.
  • This was the 13th mass shooting in Colorado this year
  • The archive defines a mass shooting as four or more people shot, not including the shooter, at the same general time and location.
  • In the U.S., there have been nearly 700 mass shootings in 2021

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Driver to face homicide charges for deaths at Wisconsin Christmas parade

By Brendan O’Brien and Cheney Orr

WAUKESHA, Wis. (Reuters) -Authorities will charge a 39-year-old man with multiple counts of homicide for driving into a crowded Christmas parade in Wisconsin, killing five, as he fled the scene of an earlier domestic disturbance, police said on Monday.

Police in Waukesha, a small city roughly 20 miles (32 km) west of Milwaukee, say they do not know what caused Darrell E. Brooks, a resident of Milwaukee, to drive into the crowd, injuring 48, including two children in critical condition.

“He drove right through the barricades and the officers,” Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson told a briefing, adding the incident was not related to terrorism. Police were not pursuing Brooks when he plowed into the parade, he said.

“Minutes after the incident occurred, I responded to the scene,” Thompson said. “And what I saw out of chaos and tragedy was heroes — first responders in the community coming together and working together on triaging victims.”

Police identified the five victims as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

A police officer opened fire at the suspect but had to stop for the safety of bystanders, Thompson said.

On the morning after Sunday’s carnage, a pink hat, a lone shoe and candy lay strewn across the main thoroughfare in Waukesha.

Dozens of orange evidence circles were painted on the street and most shops were closed in the city’s downtown district. A woman tied a bouquet of flowers to a street post as police officers blocked intersections along the main road.

The FBI is assisting local police in their investigation.

Brooks was previously charged with restricting or obstructing an officer, bail jumping and battery. A $1,000 cash bond was posted earlier this month, according to a statement by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office.

“The state’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks,” read the statement, which said the office was conducting an internal investigation.

‘STILL TOTALLY SHOCKED’

“It was terrifying,” said Waukesha resident Brian Hoffman, 33, who was present as the vehicle rammed through parade attendees.

“I saw children who were ran over,” Hoffman said sitting on a stoop near the scene that was still blocked off by police. “I am still totally shocked.”

The Children’s Wisconsin hospital officials said at a briefing they treated 18 children, including six who remained in critical condition and three in serious condition on Monday.

The rest were in fair condition or released. The hospital made no mention of any fatalities.

Among the victims were members of a group of “Dancing Grannies,” according to a statement posted on Facebook on Monday.

“Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed…..(with the) joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue….(that) held us together,” read the message posted on the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies Facebook page. “Our hearts are heavy at this most difficult time.”

Schools will remain closed on Monday and additional counselors will be available for students, the district superintendent of schools said. Waukesha authorities said a fund for the affected families had been set up.

U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration was monitoring the situation in Waukesha “very closely.”

“The entire community is struggling, struggling to cope with these horrific acts of violence,” Biden told reporters on Monday.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Cheney Orr in Waukesha, Wisconsin; Additional reporting by Peter Szekely and Tyler Clifford in New York; Mark Hosenball, Katharine Jackson and Christopher Gallagher in Washington; and Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Writing by Maria Caspani; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Migrant caravan limps north through Mexico, despite dengue and exhaustion

By Lizbeth Diaz and Jose Torres

MAPASTEPEC, Mexico (Reuters) – A caravan of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers from Central America and the Caribbean resumed its trek through southern Mexico on Monday, despite concerns that half of them could be injured or sick, including some from dengue fever.

Over the past week, the approximately 3,000 migrants, mostly women and children, have trekked over 100 km (60 miles) from the city of Tapachula on the Guatemalan border, struggling through sweltering heat and evening rains.

Kabir Sanchez, a volunteer doctor helping to look after injured caravan members, said he and his colleagues treated dozens of people on Saturday with foot injuries, respiratory problems, infections and pregnant women at risk of miscarrying.

“More than 50% of the people in the caravan are sick,” he told Reuters by telephone.

He said other caravan members had possible cases of coronavirus, but that the government had not provided COVID-19 tests.

The government’s National Migration Institute (INM) did not immediately reply to a request for comment on COVID-19 testing.

The INM did say in a statement that six people in the caravan, including five children, had contracted dengue.

On Sunday night, the caravan members slept outside in the rain having paused their trek during the day due to the health concerns.

Most of the migrants are fleeing poverty, violence and the impact of adverse environmental conditions linked to climate change in their homelands. Many hope to make it to the U.S. border.

Leaders of the caravan last week rejected the Mexican government’s offer of visas that are meant to grant migrants access to healthcare and regular work, arguing it had failed to keep promises to help them in the past.

(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City and Jose Torres in Mapastepec; Additional reporting by Daniel Becerril; Writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Alison Williams)

Four dead as hurricane-force winds batter Poland

WARSAW (Reuters) – Four people were killed and 18 injured in a storm that battered Poland with hurricane-force winds on Thursday night, authorities said, damaging properties and felling trees across western and central areas of the country.

Fire services reported more than 10,000 incidents and 930 buildings were damaged, private broadcaster TVN24 reported, with the western region of Lubuskie and the central Lodzkie region hardest hit.

“The storm was terrible, it broke the sheet metal and took it from one part of the roof to the other side of the house,” Krzysztof Kolczynski, whose house in the village of Maszkowice in central Poland was damaged in the storm, told TVN24.

“It’s good that there were chimneys, otherwise it would have torn off the entire roof.”

In the south-western city of Wroclaw, police said that two people were killed when a tree fell on their car.

“Wroclaw police received a report about a tree that fell on a moving vehicle,” said police officer Pawel Noga. “Unfortunately, it was confirmed on the spot that two people in the car were killed in the incident.”

The Polish meteorological office issued fresh storm warnings for Friday evening, with the north of the country expected to face the strongest winds.

(Writing by Alan Charlish; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Man kills several people in Norway in bow and arrow attacks, police say

OSLO (Reuters) -A man using a bow and arrow killed several people and wounded others in attacks in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg on Wednesday, local police said.

“The man has been apprehended … from the information we now have, this person carried out these actions alone,” police chief Oeyvind Aas told reporters.

“Several people have been injured and several are dead,” Aas said. He declined to comment on the number of casualties.

The attacks took place over “a large area” of Kongsberg, a municipality of about 28,000 people in southeastern Norway, 68 km (42 miles) from the capital, Oslo.

Following the attacks, the police directorate said it had immediately ordered officers nationwide to carry firearms. Norwegian police are normally unarmed but officers have access to guns and rifles when needed.

“This is an extra precaution. The police have no indication so far that there is a change in the national threat level,” the directorate said in a statement.

Norway’s minister of justice and public security, Monica Maeland, has received updates on the attacks and was closely monitoring the situation, the ministry said.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

10 dead, dozens trapped after landslide in India’s Himalayas – officials

By Devjyot Ghoshal and Alasdair Pal

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -A landslide in the mountainous Indian state of Himachal Pradesh has killed at least 10, injured 14 and left dozens trapped after boulders tumbled on to a major highway on Wednesday, smashing and burying several vehicles, Indian officials said.

Around 30 people are still trapped, including passengers inside a bus lying under the debris, Vivek Kumar Pandey, a spokesman for the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police, told Reuters.

“There has been a massive landslide on the Reckong Peo-Shimla highway,” Pandey said, later adding that “operations are under way, we are trying to reach the bus.”

Abid Hussain Sadiq, a top government official in the Kinnaur district where the incident happened, said that rescue operations could continue through the night in an attempt to find the survivors.

More than 200 personnel, including from the army, paramilitary forces and local police, are working along a stretch of National Highway 5 that runs along the Sutlej river and connects northern India to the border with China, officials said.

Local police chief Saju Ram Rana said the landside, which happened around noon on Wednesday, loosened large boulders and sent them cascading down the steep mountainside, blocking about 150 meters of the highway.

“The debris fell from quite high up,” Rana told Reuters, adding that heavy machinery was being brought in to clear the area.

In pictures shared by authorities on social media, helmeted rescue workers can be seen scrambling around the mangled remains of vehicles stranded among rocks and loose earth.

In late July, at least nine people were killed by a landslide in a different part of Kinnaur district, and dozens have been left stranded by landslides and flooding in recent weeks in another area of Himachal Pradesh, a scenic Himalayan state popular with tourists.

(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal and Alasdair Pal; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani, Kirsten Donovan)

California’s second-largest wildfire grows to near 500,000 acres; 3 hurt

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – A raging wildfire in northern California, now the second-largest recorded in state history, expanded to nearly 500,000 acres late on Sunday and has left three firefighters injured.

The Dixie Fire, burning northeast of San Francisco, had grown to 489,287 acres or 764.5 square miles (1,980 square kilometers) from about 274,000 acres in the middle of last week, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Twitter.

The blaze has been active for 26 days and is 21% contained, the department said. The burned area is about the size of Cancun in Mexico, and larger than the city of Houston in Texas.

Fire activity intensified on Sunday amid low relative humidity and strong southwest winds in the West Zone, and warm temperatures and low humidity in the East Zone, the department said, adding it has spread across four counties.

More than 5,000 firefighters are currently tackling the Dixie Fire.

“We’re seeing fire activity that even veteran firefighters haven’t seen in their career,” Edwin Zuniga, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the Washington Post.

Only the August Complex Fire of 2020 in California, which consumed more than 1 million acres, was bigger.

Thus far, no deaths have been attributed to the wildfire. However, the blaze has damaged 42 residential, commercial and other structures and destroyed 627 such structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) issued new evacuation orders on Sunday afternoon after the spread of the Dixie Fire.

California typically experiences peak fire season later in the year. The state was on pace to suffer even more burnt acreage this year than last year, which was the worst fire season on record.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Pacific Gas & Electric has said it may have started when a tree fell on one of the utility’s power lines.

A federal judge late on Friday ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to explain the utility company’s role in starting the fire. U.S. District Judge William Alsup said PG&E would have until Aug. 16 to respond.

“PG&E’s responses will not be deemed as an admission by PG&E that it caused any fire, but they will serve as a starting point for discussion,” the judge said.

PG&E told the Washington Post daily that it “will respond by the deadline.”

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Cleanup ongoing at Lyondell Texas plant after chemical leak kills two, injures 30

By Liz Hampton

(Reuters) -Cleanup was ongoing on Wednesday morning after a chemical leak killed two workers and injured 30 others at a LyondellBasell Industries plant in La Porte, Texas, the company said.

The incident occurred on Tuesday evening at the facility’s acetyls unit, releasing roughly 100,000 pounds (45,000 kg) of a mixture that included acetic acid. An “all clear” was issued early Wednesday morning and air monitoring did not indicate actionable levels, Lyondell said in a statement.

The company said 24 of the 30 individuals taken to local hospitals have been released. The two individuals who died in the incident were contractors.

The incident marks one of the worst chemical disasters in the United States since a series of explosions at a TPC Group plant in Port Neches, Texas, in November, 2019. Although there were no fatalities and only three injuries, 60,000 people within a four-mile radius were told to evacuate the day before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

An investigation into the cause of the leak was underway, and local and federal agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Chemical Safety Board, and Environmental Protection Agency, had all been notified, Lyondell said.

(Reporting by Liz Hampton in Denver and Erwin Seba in Houston editing by Jonathan Oatis, Diane Craft and Marguerita Choy)

Blast in German industrial park kills one, four others missing

BERLIN (Reuters) -An explosion in a German industrial park on Tuesday killed at least one person and injured 31 others, setting off a fierce blaze that sent a pall of smoke over the western city of Leverkusen. Four people were still missing.

Emergency services took three hours to extinguish the fire at the Chempark site, home to chemicals companies Bayer and Lanxess, that flared up after the blast at 9:40 a.m. (0740 GMT), park operator Currenta said.

“We are deeply shaken by the tragic death of one colleague,” said Chempark chief Lars Friedrich, adding that a search was underway for the four missing people.

Police said five of the 31 injured people were affected seriously enough to need intensive care.

“This is a tragic moment for the city of Leverkusen,” said Uwe Richrath, mayor of the city, which lies north of Cologne.

The area and surrounding roads were sealed off for much of the day.

Police told residents living nearby to stay indoors and shut doors and windows in case there were toxic fumes. Currenta said locals should also turn off air conditioning systems while it measured the air around the site for possible toxic gases.

Chempark’s Friedrich said it was not clear what had caused the explosion, which led to a fire starting in a tank containing solvents.

“Solvents were burned during the incident, and we do not know precisely what substances were released,” Friedrich added. “We are examining this with authorities, taking samples.”

Sirens and emergency alerts on the German civil protection agency’s mobile phone app warned citizens of “extreme danger.”

Leverkusen is less than 50 km (30 miles) from a region hit last week by catastrophic floods that killed at least 180 people.

More than 30 companies operate at the Chempark site in Leverkusen, including Covestro, Bayer, Lanxess and Arlanxeo, according to its website.

Bayer and Lanxess in 2019 sold Chempark operator Currenta to Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets for an enterprise value of 3.5 billion euros ($4.12 billion).

($1 = 0.8492 euros)

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Madeline Chambers, Caroline Copley; Editing by William Maclean, Edmund Blair and Gareth Jones)

Thunderstorms batter Chicago area, leave thousands in the dark

(Reuters) -Severe thunderstorms tore through the Chicago area on Sunday night after the National Weather Service said a “confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado” had touched down in a western suburb of the city, causing damage.

Chicago-area utility Commonwealth Edison’s (ComEd) website showed that more than 22,000 customers were without power as the thunderstorms swept through the region, near Lake Michigan in the north of the U.S. state of Illinois.

The tornado touched down near Route 53/75th Street in Woodridge, DuPage County, around 11 p.m. ET on Sunday. About a dozen homes were damaged, and four people were rushed to area hospitals with minor injuries, CBS Chicago reported.

A CBS Chicago reporter tweeted that six people were injured in total and some residents were evacuated to nearby shelters. The news outlet added that there were no fires, but there were lots of gas breaches.

Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis said that anyone who was displaced from their homes could go to Ranchview Elementary School, which was designated as a place of shelter, according to CBS Chicago.

The website of ComEd, a unit of Exelon Corp, showed about 12,000 customers were without power in DuPage County alone while about 8,000 customers were in the dark in Cook County, which includes Chicago.

“The severe threat has diminished/ended for most of the Chicago metro area. Severe T-storm Watch remains in effect for a bit longer for Will, Kankakee, Ford, Iroquois, and northwest Indiana counties,” NWS Chicago said on TwitterQ.

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Mark Heinrich)