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Fire on Thanksgiving Day leaves 2 dead, 2 critically injured in Bronx, NY

Officials say that an apartment fire in the New York City borough of The Bronx on Thanksgiving day left two people dead and two critically injured. The blaze broke out on the second floor of a five-story building in the Mount Hope neighborhood of the Bronx around 5:30 a.m., killing a 60-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman.

Police told local NY station WABC-TV that the victims were identified as 20-year-old Odalys Aramboles and 60-year-old Perfecto Aramboles. The other two victims, listed in critical condition at area hospitals, were described as a 62-year-old woman and a 63-year-old woman. An NYPD spokesperson said investigators believe all four victims are related.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officials say it may have been caused by an electrical fire that started in a hallway closet next to the kitchen.

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President Biden calls for assault weapons ban after latest mass shootings

During a Thanksgiving Day visit to Nantucket, Mass. to meet with local firefighters, President Joe Biden called for stricter gun laws in the wake of deadly mass shootings in Colorado, where a gunmen targeted an LGBTQ night club, and in Virginia, where a Walmart supervisor opened fire in an employee break room.

After Biden thanked first responders, he told reporters he would attempt to pass some form of gun control before a new Congress is seated in January, renewing his attempt to ban assault weapons. Said Biden: “I’m sick and tired of these shootings. We should have much stricter gun laws … Look, the idea that we’re not enforcing red-flag laws, period, just based on knowledge, not on parents saying or a loved one saying you should arrest this person now for his own sake, is ridiculous … The idea we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.”

The shootings in Colorado Springs and Chesapeake are just two of the more than 600 mass shootings so far this year. Other mass shootings occurred throughout the country over the past week; last Sunday, four people in Oklahoma were gunned down at a marijuana farm, an a mother and her three kids were killed in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday.

The president also called-in live to the broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City earlier in the day, saying:  “I want to say thanks to the firefighters, the police officers, the first responders — they never take a break.”  He said he planned to later talk to those serving in the military both here and abroad, adding,”God bless our troops, for real.”

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Sen. Lindsey Graham testifies before Georgia grand jury in 2020 Trump election probe

On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., testified before a special grand jury investigating whether President Donald Trump and others illegally meddled in the 2020 election in Georgia. Graham’s appearance before the panel came after a drawn-out legal fight that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court as Graham tried to avoid testifying. He had argued that his position as a senator shielded him from questioning. The courts rejected his assertion but did rule that prosecutors and grand jurors could not ask him about protected legislative activity.

Graham’s office said in a statement he testified for just over two hours and answered the grand jury’s questions: “The senator feels he was treated with respect, professionalism and courtesy. Out of respect for the grand jury process he will not comment on the substance of the questions.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is heading the investigation, is seeking details about phone calls Graham made to top election officials in Georgia amid disproven allegations from then-President Donald Trump about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Willis’ office is probing a pair of post-election phone calls Graham made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff. Raffensperger, a Republican targeted by Trump and his allies, alleged that Graham suggested that he had the authority to reject certain legally cast ballots. Graham denied having made such a suggestion, saying he was trying to understand the state’s process for verifying ballot signatures.

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Supreme Court clears the way for House Democrats to obtain Trump’s tax returns

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for a House committee to get six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, after a three-year battle by Democrats to obtain the former president’s taxes.

On Tuesday, the court rejected Trump’s Oct. 31 emergency application to block the Internal Revenue Service from turning over the documents to the House Ways and Means Committee. No justice publicly dissented from the decision. The IRS is now free to provide the returns and could do so imminently.

Trump was the first president in four decades years not to release his tax returns, seeking to keep details of his wealth and real estate company, the Trump Organization, private. The Ways and Means panel told the Supreme Court in a legal filing that siding with Trump would harm the constitutional authority of a co-equal branch of government “by in effect preventing Congress from completing any investigation involving a former president whenever there are allegations that the investigation was politically motivated.

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1 dead, at least 16 hurt after SUV crashes into Massachusetts Apple store

A criminal investigation is underway in Massachusetts after a man crashed an SUV into an Apple Store on Monday, killing one person and injuring 16. The crash happened about 10:45 a.m. EST at the Derby Street Shops in Hingham, about 16 miles southeast of downtown Boston.  The deceased victim was identified as Kevin Bradley, 65, of New Jersey, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said that the driver’s vehicle, a dark-colored SUV, drove through a plate glass window at the front of the store and struck several people, pinning some of them against the wall. Said Cruz: “There were people with numerous injuries inside the store. Right now family members are being notified. Needlessly to say, employees working within that store and nearby are visibly shaken. This morning was an unthinkable morning and people are trying to get through it and process what happened. We are very limited as to what we can say at this point.”

Hingham Fire Chief Steve Murphy said seven fire trucks and 14 ambulances responded to the scene, with victims transported to South Shore and Boston hospitals. Bystanders rendered first aid to some of those injured, said Murphy.

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Officials investigating quadruple homicide after hostage situation in Oklahoma

Authorities are investigating after four people were found shot dead and one wounded at a marijuana farm in northwest Oklahoma following a reported hostage situation. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) said in a statement that the agency was investigating what has been described as a quadruple homicide at the request of the Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies received a call around 7:45 p.m. Sunday about a suspected hostage situation unfolding on a 10-acre marijuana farm on North 2760 Road west of Hennessey, about 55 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Responding officers found four people dead from apparent gunshot wounds and one injured. The surviving victim was taken to a hospital in undisclosed condition, according to a statement from the OSBI.

Kingfisher County Sheriff Dennis Banther said that a warrant was issued late Monday morning for the arrest of a suspect in the quadruple homicide. Banther said the suspect and five victims have ties to the farm, and that the deadly shooting stemmed from an internal dispute and was not a random act of violence.

The suspect and the victims had not been identified as of Monday; and the suspect remained at large as of Monday afternoon.

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5 migrants dead, 5 missing after boat capsizes off coast of Florida

The U.S. Coast Guard Southeast said in a statement that five migrants have died and another five are missing after a homemade boat capsized off the coast of Florida.

The group of migrants was traveling in the homemade boat when it capsized 50 miles off the coast of Little Torch Key, Florida, authorities said. Some of the rescued migrants wore life jackets, which the Coast Guard said saved their lives with winds at 30 miles per hour on Saturday, and the seas were 6 to 8 feet in the swell. Nine people were rescued, while four died almost immediately upon capsizing and one died after the incident.

The Coast Guard did not identify the country of origin for the migrants but did tag the U.S. Embassy in Cuba Twitter account in tweets about the incident. The Coast Guard said: “For individuals residing in the US seeking information on a family member possibly intercepted by the Coast Guard, please contact your local government representative.”

The Department of Homeland Security and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has repeatedly warned migrants not to make the journey from the central triangle countries, because it is incredibly dangerous and could result in death.

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Suspect in custody after mass shooting at LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs kills 5

A 22-year-old man is in police custody after at least five people died and another 25 were injured in a shooting at a LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., just before midnight on Sunday.  The mass shooting occurred at Club Q, until recently the only LGBTQ+ nightclub in the city comprised of 484,000 residents.  Colorado Springs Police Lt. Pamela Castro said at a news conference that the suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, was taken into custody at 12:02 a.m. just minutes after the shooting. He is being treated for injuries at a local hospital.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez said that the suspect began shooting upon entering the club, and two “heroic” people fought with him and were able to stop him from killing and hurting others before officers arrived. “We owe them a great debt,” said Vasquez. At least two firearms were found at the scene, with an unspecified long rifle in the shooting. “The motive of the crime is part of the investigation and whether this was a hate crime is a part of that investigation,” Vasquez added.

Club Q said in a statement posted on Facebook“Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our prayers and thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.”

Gov. Jared Polis, the first openly gay governor in the U.S., tweeted : “This is horrific, sickening, devastating.  My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and made it clear that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman likely saving lives in the process and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”

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Nancy Pelosi stepping down as House Democratic leader after two decades

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is stepping down from House Democratic leadership but will remain in Congress. The 82-year-old Pelosi made the announcement in a floor speech on Thursday, and received a standing ovation from her colleagues. Noting she will continue to represent her San Francisco, California district, Pelosi said: “I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.”  She later tweeted:  “Thank you all — and may God continue to bless the United States of America.”

Pelosi was the the first woman to hold House speakership, and is the Democratic Party’s longest-serving House leader. Her decision will have a major impact on Democrats in their new position as House minority. Republicans officially won majority control in the U.S. House, ending a four-year Democratic majority despite a strong midterm showing for the party. As of Thursday morning, Republicans had captured 218 seats in the chamber compared to Democrats 211.

The announcement comes weeks after her husband, Paul Pelosi, was attacked in their family home in California, a crime believed to be politically motivated.  Pelosi had said the attack on her husband Paul would impact her decision to stay in House leadership post-midterms.

President Joe Biden said of Pelosi in a statement: “History will note she is the most consequential speaker of the House of Representatives in our history. There are countless examples of how she embodies the obligation of elected officials to uphold their oath to God and country to ensure our democracy delivers and remains a beacon to the world. In everything she does, she reflects a dignity in her actions and a dignity she sees in the lives of the people of this nation.”

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Gabby Petito’s family awarded $3M in wrongful death lawsuit against Laundrie estate

Gabby Petito’s family was awarded $3M after they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the parents of Brian Laundrie, who they believe killed their 22-year-old daughter last year. Months after Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt filed a civil suit in Sarasota County (where Brian’s parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, reside), a settlement was announced on Thursday, signed by Sarasota County Circuit Judge Hunter W. Carroll.

The suit alleged that the Laundries hindered the search for Petito and knew that she “had been murdered by their son,” who later died by suicide. Patrick Reilly, an attorney for Petito’s family, said: “The Petito family lost their daughter, and they were also denied the opportunity to confront her killer. No amount of money is sufficient to compensate the Petito family for the loss of their daughter, Gabby, at the hands of Brian Laundrie.” Brian Laundrie did not have $3 million at the time of his death and the settlement amount is “an arbitrary number.” The money will go toward the Gabby Petito Foundation, which was established after her August 2021 death.

Petito and Laundrie were on a cross-country trip when she disappeared. The engaged couple left Blue Point, New York, on July 2, 2021, in a 2012 Ford Transit van and documented their journey on YouTube and Instagram. They traveled to Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming before Petito was reported missing. Reports of altercations began to surface including one incident where police in Moab, Utah, responded to a report of a “domestic problem” between the pair. Petito stopped communicating with her family, and Laundrie returned to Florida alone with the van, which was recovered by North Port police at the home the couple shared with his parents. Wanted for questioning in Petito’s disappearance,Laundrie then vanished and his body was found in Florida in October 2021, a month after Petito was found dead in Wyoming. A coroner ruled Petito’s death a homicide and said she died by “manual strangulation.” Officials have said that Laundrie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and left a note saying he was responsible for his fiancée’s death.

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