Wisconsin city lifts evacuation order after refinery explosion

Dark smoke rises from Husky Energy oil refinery following an explosion in Superior, Wisconsin, U.S., April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Robert King/Duluth News Tribune

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of residents of a northern Wisconsin city were cleared to return to their homes on Friday, the day after a blast at a Husky Energy Inc refinery injured at least 15 people, a local official said.

Investigators searched for the cause of the massive Thursday morning explosion at the refinery, capable of processing up to 38,000 barrels of oil a day, which shook the city of Superior, Wisconsin, home to about 27,000 people.

“All indications are that the refinery site is safe and stable and the air quality is clean and normal,” Superior Mayor Jim Paine said in a Facebook posting, noting that the evacuation order was lifted as of 6 a.m. local time (1100 GMT). “Welcome home.”

A black liquid pours from a ruptured tank following an explosion at Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. REUTERS/Robert King/Duluth News Tribune

A black liquid pours from a ruptured tank following an explosion at Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. REUTERS/Robert King/Duluth News Tribune

At least 15 people were injured, local media reported, and at least 10 people – one seriously injured – were taken to area hospitals, said a spokeswoman for Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center, which operates hospitals in Superior and nearby Duluth, Minnesota.

What ignited the blast was not clear. After an initial blaze was extinguished, a storage tank was punctured, and a second fire erupted, Husky Energy spokesman Mel Duvall said.

Another tank caught fire at 3:15 p.m., a local ABC affiliate reported, citing Douglas County authorities.

“Our focus in the days ahead will turn to the investigation and understanding the root cause of the incident,” Husky Energy said in a late Thursday Twitter post.

Thick black smoke billowed from the facility and hung over Superior throughout the day on Thursday, forcing tens of thousands to flee homes and businesses.

Friday classes were canceled in Superior and nearby Maple school districts.

There were no reports of fatalities, and all of the refinery’s workers have been accounted for, Husky Energy’s Duvall said.

The refinery had additional workers on site preparing for a plant-wide overhaul when the blast occurred, he said. It produces asphalt, gasoline, diesel and heavy fuel oils, largely using heavy crude oil imported from Canada.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has sent a four-person team to investigate. The non-regulatory federal agency investigates serious chemical accidents such as refinery fires.

Husky purchased the refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP last year.

(Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Scott Malone)

Toronto van attack suspect faces murder charges in court

A damaged van seized by police is seen after multiple people were struck at a major intersection northern Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Saul Porto

By Allison Martell and Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – The driver suspected of killing 10 people and injuring 15 others when he plowed a rental van into pedestrians in Toronto made his first court appearance on Tuesday, where details of a motive for the attack were expected to emerge.

While the worst mass killing in Canada in decades has the hallmarks of other deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State supporters in the United States and Europe, officials said it did not represent a threat to national security.

Suspect Alek Minassian, 25, entered a Toronto courtroom on Tuesday morning. His head was shaved and he was looking down as prosecutors announced they were charging him with 10 counts of first-degree murder.

The proceedings began after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the attack outside of parliament in Ottawa, calling on all Canadians to stand united with Toronto.

“We cannot as Canadians choose to live in fear every single day as we go about our daily business. We need to focus on doing what we can and we must to keep Canadians safe while we stay true to the freedoms and values that we all as Canadians hold dear,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said that, while it would take time before the motives of the attacker were understood, the incident had not changed the country’s threat level or security preparations for a G7 summit in Quebec in June.

People left flowers at a makeshift memorial, which grew as commuters returned to work on Tuesday morning. Blank white posters left against a stone wall were covered with messages.

The Canadian flag was lowered to half-staff at parliament and at Toronto city hall.

Minassian, who was not previously known to authorities, attended a high school program where one classmate remembered him as “absolutely harmless.”

The officer who apprehended Minassian was praised for making a peaceful arrest even as the suspect shouted “Kill me” and claimed to have a gun.

Canadians mourned as the victims began to be identified on Tuesday.

“We are a peaceful, tolerant, free society. The horrific violence on Toronto’s Yonge Street will strengthen rather than undermine these truths,” columnist John Ibbitson wrote in the Globe and Mail national newspaper.

The attack shook the usually peaceful streets of Toronto, a multicultural city with a population of 2.8 million. The city recorded 61 murders last year.

Downtown Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, which is normally lit up in the evening, went dark on Monday evening.

The drama started at lunchtime on a warm spring day, when the driver drove his vehicle into the crowds. The street was soon covered in blood, empty shoes and bodies.

Canada is still recovering from the shock of a highway crash in Saskatchewan earlier this month that killed 16 people on a bus carrying a junior hockey team.

Last October, eight people died in New York when a man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path.

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Allision Martell; additional reporting and writing by Andrea Hopkins in Ottawa; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Jonathan Oatis and Jim Finkle)

Motive behind Waffle House shooting eludes Nashville police

Travis Reinking, the suspect in a Waffle House shooting in Nashville, is under arrest by Metro Nashville Police Department in a wooded area in Antioch, Tennessee, U.S., April 23, 2018. Courtesy Metro Nashville Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) – Nashville police were working on Tuesday to determine what motivated a gunman with an AR-15 rifle to kill four people at an all-night Waffle House restaurant, having arrested a suspect with a history of erratic behavior.

Travis Reinking, 29, was taken into custody on Monday after a protracted manhunt, following tips from the public that led authorities to search secluded woods in which he was hiding near his home.

Police say a nearly naked Reinking opened fire at the restaurant at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, then fled the scene. The gunman, who began shooting outside the restaurant and then moved inside, aborted his attack and fled when a customer, 29-year-old James Shaw Jr., wrestled the rifle from him in what authorities called an act of heroism.

“We don’t know why he went into the Waffle House,” Metropolitan Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters on Monday. He said an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was used in the attack.

Reinking, who had a pistol and ammunition in a backpack when he was arrested, was not talking to police. He was being held at a Nashville jail on bond initially set at $500,000 for each of four murder charges, online jail records showed.

Reinking, who moved to the Tennessee capital last year from his Illinois hometown, is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Wednesday morning.

The killings were the latest in a string of mass shootings around the country in which a gunman used an AR-15 style rifle. One of the deadliest was the massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 by a gunman brandishing an AR-15. A former student at the school is charged with the murders.

In Nashville, authorities said they are still unclear about what motivated the Waffle House attack, which sent a shudder through the city, one of the biggest in the U.S. South.

Tips from people in the neighborhood helped lead police to search through the woods about two miles (3 km) from the restaurant, where Reinking eventually surrendered without resisting.

More than 150 city, state and local law enforcement agents searched for the gunman, who has had a history of bizarre behavior, delusions and multiple encounters with authorities. In July 2017, Reinking was arrested for attempting to get into the White House, according to police records.

After that episode, authorities in Illinois revoked his gun license and confiscated four firearms, including what police said was the rifle used in the Waffle House shooting. The guns were given to his father, who told police he would lock up and keep them away from his son. But the father, from Tazewell County, Illinois, 130 miles southwest of Chicago, eventually returned the weapons to his son, Nashville police said on Sunday.

Marcus Watson, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Reinking’s father, Jeffrey, could face federal charges if he knowingly transferred weapons to a person who was prohibited from owning them. The father was not immediately available for comment.

(Writing by Brendan O’Brien; Editing by Frank McGurty and Steve Orlofsky)

Toronto van attack suspect due in court on Tuesday

A damaged van seized by police is seen after multiple people were struck at a major intersection northern Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Saul Porto

By Allison Martell and Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – The driver suspected of killing 10 and injuring 15 others when he plowed a rental van into pedestrians in Toronto will make his first court appearance on Tuesday when details of a motive for the attack were expected to emerge.

While the worst mass killing in Canada in decades has the hallmarks of other deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State supporters in the United States and Europe, officials said it did not represent a threat to national security.

Alex Minassian, 25, identified by police as the suspect, will appear in a Toronto court at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT), Toronto police said. Charges will be made public at that time.

Minassian, who was not previously known to authorities, attended a high school program where one classmate remembered him as “absolutely harmless.”

People left flowers at a makeshift memorial, which grew as commuters returned to work Tuesday morning. Blank white posters left against a stone wall were covered with messages.

The Canadian flag was lowered to half-staff at parliament and at Toronto city hall.

The officer who apprehended Minassian was praised for making a peaceful arrest eve as the suspect shouted “Kill me” and claimed to have a gun.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called the incident a “tragic and senseless attack,” was to speak to reporters at 8:25 a.m. EDT (1225 GMT) in Ottawa.

Canadians mourned as the victims began to be identified on Tuesday. “We are a peaceful, tolerant, free society. The horrific violence on Toronto’s Yonge Street will strengthen rather than undermine these truths,” columnist John Ibbitson wrote in the Globe and Mail national newspaper.

The attack shook the usually peaceful streets of Toronto, a multicultural city with a population of 2.8 million. The city recorded 61 murders last year.

Downtown Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, which is normally lit up in the evening, went dark on Monday evening.

The drama started at lunchtime on a warm spring day, when the driver drove his vehicle into the crowds. The street was soon covered in blood, empty shoes and bodies.

Canada is still recovering from the shock of a highway crash in Saskatchewan earlier this month that killed 16 people on a bus carrying a junior hockey team.

Last October eight people died in New York when a man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path.

(Additional reporting and writing by Andrea Hopkins in Ottawa; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

Driver kills nine, injures 16 plowing van onto Toronto sidewalk: police

Firemen cover a victim of an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

y Anna Mehler Paperny and Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) – A driver plowed his white Ryder rental van into a crowd, killing nine people and injuring 16 along a roughly mile-long stretch of busy Toronto sidewalk during lunch hour on a sunny Monday afternoon, police said.

Officials declined to answer questions about what motivated the driver to steer his vehicle toward people just before 1:30 p.m. (1730 GMT). They said the driver was in custody and stopped short of calling it a deliberate act.

But at least one witness described the driver as appearing to deliberately target victims on his roughly mile-long (1.6 km-long) rampage, according to media reports.

“This is going to be a long investigation,” Toronto Deputy Chief Peter Yuen told a news conference after disclosing the death toll.

People react to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

People react to an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto’s northern suburbs, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A Reuters witness saw at least two tarp-covered bodies at the site of the incident. Five people remained in critical condition at Sunnybrook Health Services Centre on Monday afternoon, the hospital said.

Canada’s public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, declined to comment on what may have motivated the attack.

“The investigation is at a stage where no further information can be confirmed at this point,” Goodale told a news conference said. “The police are conducting obviously their thorough investigation to determine what happened and why it happened, the motivations involved.”

Ryder System Inc spokeswoman Claudia Panfil confirmed that one of the company’s rental vehicles had been involved and said the company was cooperating with authorities.

There have been a string of deadly vehicle attacks in the United States and Europe, including an Oct. 31 attack in New York that killed eight. Islamic State militant group encourages its supporters to use vehicles for attacks.

Toronto police investigates an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Donovan

Toronto police investigates an incident where a van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto’s northern suburbs in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Donovan

‘IT’S UNPRECEDENTED’

The incident was one of the most violent in recent Canadian history.

A former Canadian university student last month pleaded guilty to killing six men praying in a Quebec City mosque in January 2017.

In September, a Somali refugee who was charged with attempted murder on allegations he ran down four pedestrians with a car and stabbed a police officer outside a sports stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.

“It’s unprecedented,” said John Flengas, acting superintendent in the city’s paramedic services. We’ve never seen anything like this in the city of Toronto.”

The incident occurred about 30 kms (18 miles) away from the site where Toronto is hosting a Group of Seven foreign ministers.

A man who gave his name as Ali told CNN he saw the van and that the driver appeared to have been targeting people.

“This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody,” the man said. “He kept going, he kept going. People were getting hit, one after another.”

He said a number of the victims were older people and at one point he saw a stroller fly into the air.

At least one person was struck outside on the sidewalk outside an Anglican church, north of where the van came to rest in front of a currency exchange in a condominium tower.

Yonge Street is large, divided boulevard at the point where the incident occurred, its center meridian dotted with planter boxes and sculptures.

Some of the victims were struck in a public square popular with office workers on lunch breaks. Aerial photos of the scene posted on social media showed a food truck parked just a few feet away from where emergency workers busily transferred people onto stretchers.

There was no noticeable change in security around the Intercontinental Hotel where the ministers of Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan were meeting on Monday.

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Allison Martell in Toronto; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle, Nichola Saminather, Carlo Allegri and Julie Gordon; Writing by Andrea Hopkins and Scott Malone; Editing by Grant McCool)

Waffle House shooting suspect arrested by Nashville police

Travis Reinking, the suspect in a Waffle House shooting in Nashville, is under arrest by Metro Nashville Police Department in a wooded area in Antioch, Tennessee, U.S., April 23, 2018. Courtesy Metro Nashville Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) – Nashville police on Monday arrested the suspect in the weekend killing of four people at a Waffle House restaurant, ending a manhunt that began when the gunman ran naked from the scene into nearby woods, authorities said.

Photos posted online by police showed Travis Reinking, a 29-year-old construction worker suspected of opening fire at the restaurant early Sunday, in the back of a police car. Looking disheveled, he was wearing a torn red shirt and dirty blue jeans, and had scratches on his shoulder.

Metro Davidson County Police inspect the truck of Travis Reinking, the suspected shooter, at the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary

Metro Davidson County Police inspect the truck of Travis Reinking, the suspected shooter, at the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary

Metropolitan Nashville police Lieutenant Carlos Lara said that as soon as a detective saw Reinking and ordered him to get on the ground, the suspect cooperated. “He did not try to run,” Lara told reporters in a news conference near the Waffle House.

The arrest ended a protracted search for the gunman, a man with a history of bizarre behavior who evaded capture for more than 30 hours after the shooting.

Police said they did not know what the gunman’s motive was in opening fire at the 24-hour chain restaurant. In addition to the four deaths, two people were injured in the attack.

“We need to move on as a community and do what we can to curb this violence,” Nashville Mayor David Briley told reporters.

Reinking, who had a handgun and ammunition in his backpack when he was arrested about two miles (3 km) from the Waffle House, immediately requested a lawyer and refused to answer questions, police said. He will be taken to a hospital for a checkup before being booked.

The suspect, who was originally from Illinois before moving to Nashville, will be booked on four counts of criminal homicide, police spokesman Don Aaron said.

Reinking had multiple encounters with law enforcement in recent years, including an episode in Washington in July 2017 where he was arrested for trying to get into the White House, according to police records.

Afterwards, Illinois authorities revoked his license to carry concealed weapons, but his father broke a promise to police and gave the suspect access to guns, authorities said.

The killings in Tennessee’s capital were the latest in a string of high-profile U.S. mass shootings in which a gunman used an AR-15 rifle. A nationwide debate on gun control has intensified since Feb. 14, when a former student killed 17 people with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

In Reinking’s hometown in Tazewell County, Illinois, police released incident reports about Reinking from the last couple of years. They showed he had multiple encounters with law enforcement about his delusions that people, including singer Taylor Swift, were following him.

During the shootings, the suspect was wearing only a green jacket that he shed before leaving on foot, police said. That jacket contained two clips of ammunition for the assault-style rifle used in the shootings, police and school officials said.

After Reinking’s gun license was revoked, his father told police he would lock up his son’s guns, which they said included the AR-15 rifle used in the Waffle House shooting. But the father relented and returned the weapons to his son, Nashville police said on Sunday.

Marcus Watson, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Reinking’s father Jeffrey could face federal charges if he knowingly transferred weapons to a person who was prohibited from owning them.

Reinking is accused of shooting two people to death outside the restaurant around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, and killing two inside. The suspect fled after a 29-year-old diner, James Shaw Jr., wrestled the rifle from him.

Shaw, who was grazed by a bullet during the attack, was praised by authorities for his courage, but on Sunday he denied he was a hero. “I just wanted to live,” he said.

David Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman student and prominent leader in a student movement for gun control that has emerged from the Parkland, Florida, attack, used Shaw’s example to taunt the National Rifle Association, which lobbies for gun rights, on Twitter.

“So only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun?” Hogg wrote in a message directed at the NRA.

An NRA representative could not immediately be reached to comment.

(Additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta, Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Jonathan Oatis)

Waffle House suspect still at large a day after Nashville shooting; known to authorities

The truck of Travis Reinking, the suspected shooter, is loaded on a trailer ready to be towed from the scene of a fatal shooting at a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. April 22, 2018. REUTERS/Harrison McClary

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) – There have been no credible sightings of the 29-year-old suspect in the fatal shooting of four people at a Waffle House restaurant over the weekend, police said on Monday, as a manhunt pushed into its second day.

Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois, is shown in this undated photo obtained April 22, 2018. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation/Handout via REUTERS

Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Illinois, is shown in this undated photo obtained April 22, 2018. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation/Handout via REUTERS

With the suspect still on the loose, Metro Nashville Police searched schools in the area near the restaurant in the Tennessee city’s Antioch neighborhood. Schools planned to open with extra security, police said, with a “lockout” barring all visitors in effect.

The suspected gunman, Travis Reinking, 29, originally from Tazewell County, Illinois, was last seen on Sunday morning wearing only black pants, police said. The suspect recently lived in an apartment not far from the 24-hour restaurant.

During the shootings, the suspect was wearing only a green jacket that he shed before leaving on foot, police said. That jacket contained two clips of ammunition for the assault-style rifle used in the shootings, police and school officials said.

The killings are the latest in a string of high-profile mass shootings in which a gunman used an AR-15 rifle. A nationwide debate on gun control has intensified since February, when a former student killed 17 people with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

In Nashville, two people were shot dead outside the restaurant at about 3:30 a.m. (0730 GMT) on Sunday, and two were killed inside. The suspect fled after a 29-year-old diner, James Shaw Jr., wrestled the rifle from him. Police say Shaw probably saved several lives.

Shaw said he had retreated into a narrow hallway next to bathrooms at the Waffle House when the gunman entered the restaurant.

“I was just waiting for a chance, so when I saw the barrel down, I just saw my opportunity and I attacked,” Shaw told NBC-TV on Monday morning. He said he took the assault rifle from the suspect and threw it over a counter.

Shaw, who was grazed by a bullet during the attack, was praised by authorities for his courage, but on Sunday he denied he was a hero: “I just wanted to live,” he said.

Reinking was already known to authorities. He was arrested on the White House grounds by Secret Service officers in July 2017 and charged with unlawful entry after crossing a security barrier, the agency said in a statement.

Afterwards, authorities revoked Reinking’s Illinois authorization to have firearms and seized four guns, including the AR-15 used in the Waffle House shootings, Nashville police said. The guns were later returned to Reinking’s father, who has acknowledged giving them back to his son, police said.

By Monday, two of the four guns were unaccounted for. One was recovered during a search of Reinking’s apartment, police said.

Police said those killed were Waffle House cook Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29, and three patrons: Joe R. Perez, 20; DeEbony Groves, 21; and Akilah Dasilva, 23.

Two wounded patrons were being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, both listed in stable condition early on Monday. Others were cut by shattered glass.

(Writing by Rich McKay in Atlanta and Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York, and Keith Coffman in Denver; editing by Michael Perry, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

Storms unleash tornadoes in U.S. east, record snow in Midwest

Dark clouds hover above buildings amidst tornadoes in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the U.S., April 10, 2018 in this still image obtained from a social media video. Emmet Finneran/via REUTERS

By Rich McKay

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Deadly slow-moving storms generated record or near-record snowfall and low temperatures in the U.S. Midwest and tornadoes further east on Sunday, leaving airline travelers stranded and thousands without power.

In Michigan, where snowfall was expected to reach 18 inches in some areas, about 310,000 homes and businesses were without power because of an ice storm, most of them in the southeast of the state.

Large areas of Detroit were without power and customers were not expected to have it back on Sunday night, utility DTE Energy said. It was working to have 90 percent of outages restored by Tuesday, DTE spokeswoman Carly Getz said in a statement.

Cars are seen on a road during a tornado in Mountainburg, Arkansas, U.S., April 13, 2018 in this picture grab obtained from social media video. JOSHUA COLEMAN/via REUTERS

Cars are seen on a road during a tornado in Mountainburg, Arkansas, U.S., April 13, 2018 in this picture grab obtained from social media video. JOSHUA COLEMAN/via REUTERS

The weight of ice on power lines, coupled with high winds, caused more than 1,000 power lines to fall in Detroit and Wayne County, DTE said.

The worst of the snow was focused on the upper Great Lakes, with Green Bay, Wisconsin, seeing its second largest snowstorm ever after 23.2 inches fell as of Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service said.

For the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, the April monthly record for snowfall of 21.8 inches (55 cm) was surpassed on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

Two tornadoes tore up trees and ripped apart homes in Greensboro and Reidsville, North Carolina, killing a motorist who was hit by a tree, according to Greensboro’s city manager, local media reported.

The storms stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest and were moving into the Northeast and New England.

Record low temperatures for the date were expected in Oklahoma City on Monday at 30 degrees F (-1 C), and in Kansas City, Missouri, at 25 F (-4 C), Hurley said.

On Friday, the weather system produced 17 reports of tornadoes in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, with four people injured and 160 buildings damaged in a possible tornado in northwest Arkansas, local media reported.

The weather was blamed for two traffic deaths in western Nebraska and Wisconsin, according to National Public Radio.

The storms also killed a one-year-old girl when a tree fell on a recreational vehicle where she was sleeping, the sheriff’s office in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, said.

By Sunday night, 1,804 flights had been canceled into or out of U.S. airports, the website flightaware.com reported, including 148 flights in or out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and Andrew Hay in Taos, N.M.; Editing by Adrian Croft and Peter Cooney)

YouTube attacker was vegan activist who accused tech firm of discrimination

Police officers are seen at Youtube headquarters following an active shooter situation in San Bruno, California, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

By Paresh Dave

SAN BRUNO, Calif. (Reuters) – The woman identified by police as the attacker who wounded three people at YouTube’s headquarters in California was a vegan blogger who accused the video-sharing service of discriminating against her, according to her online profile.

Nasim Najafi Aghdam appears in a handout photo provided by the San Bruno Police Department, April 4, 2018. San Bruno Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

Nasim Najafi Aghdam appears in a handout photo provided by the San Bruno Police Department, April 4, 2018. San Bruno Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

Police said 39-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam from San Diego was behind Tuesday’s shooting at YouTube’s offices in Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, where the company owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google employs nearly 2,000 people.

A man was in critical condition and two women were seriously wounded in the attack, which ended when Aghdam shot and killed herself.

Californian media reported that Aghdam’s family had warned the authorities that she may target YouTube prior to the shooting. Her father Ismail Aghdam told The Mercury News that he had told police that she might be going to YouTube’s headquarters because she “hated” the company.

Police said they were still investigating possible motives but Aghdam’s online activities show that she believed YouTube was deliberately obstructing her videos from being viewed.

“YouTube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views,” she wrote on YouTube according to a screenshot of her account. Her channel was deleted on Tuesday.

Writing in Persian on her Instagram account, Aghdam said she was born in Iranian city of Urmiah but that she was not planning to return to Iran.

“I think I am doing a great job. I have never fallen in love and have never got married. I have no physical and psychological diseases,” she wrote.

“But I live on a planet that is full of injustice and diseases.”

Her family in Southern California recently reported her missing because she had not been answering her phone for two days, police said.

At one point early Tuesday, Mountain View, California, police found her sleeping in her car and called her family to say everything was under control, hours before she walked onto the company grounds with a hand gun and opened fire.

The United States is in the grips of a fierce national debate around tighter curbs on gun ownership after the killing of 17 people in a mass shooting at a Florida high school in February. Authorities there failed to act on two warnings about the attacker prior to the shooting, prompting a public outcry.

Aghdam ran a website called NasimeSabz.com, which translates as “Green Breeze” from Persian, on which she posted about Persian culture, veganism and long, rambling passages railing against corporations and governments.

“BE AWARE! Dictatorships exist in all countries. But with different tactics,” she wrote. “They care only for short term profits and anything to to reach their goals even by fooling simple-minded people.”

Complaints about alleged censorship on YouTube are not unique. The video service has long faced a challenge in balancing its mission of fostering free speech with the need to both promote an appropriate and lawful environment for users.

In some cases involving videos with sensitive content, YouTube has allowed the videos to stay online but cut off the ability for their publishers to share in advertising revenue.

Criticisms from video makers that YouTube is too restrictive about which users can participate in revenue sharing swelled last year as the company imposed new restrictions.

YouTube spokeswoman Jessica Mason could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in ANKARA; Writing by Rich McKay; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Executive at fire-ravaged Russian shopping mall arrested

FILE PHOTO: A view shows the burnt facade of a shopping mall in Kemerovo, Russia March 27, 2018. REUTERS/Maksim Lisov

KEMEROVO, Russia (Reuters) – Russian police on Friday arrested an executive with the firm that owns a shopping mall where a fire last weekend killed 64 people, most of them children.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, the state body that investigates major crimes, said in a statement the executive, Yulia Bogdanova, had failed to address shortcomings in fire safety at the shopping mall.

Bogdanova is the general director of a firm called ОАО Kemerovo Confectionary Combine, the owner of the “Winter Cherry” mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo where the fire broke out on Sunday.

At the time, the top floor of the complex, where the fire started, was packed with families visiting a cinema and a children’s play area. Investigators said fire exits were blocked and the fire alarm system failed to function.

“The investigation established that Bogdanova, as the person responsible for fire safety, was repeatedly informed by subordinates about shortcomings in the building’s fire safety system.” It said Bogdanova did not deal with the shortcomings.

A lawyer who has acted for Bogdanova’s employer agreed to pass on to her Reuters questions about her management of the mall, but there was no reply. A woman who answered a phone number listed for Bogdanova said it was a wrong number.

(Reporting by Polina Ivanova; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)