National News: Shootings, fire and anti-abortion legislation spread across the nation

Law enforcement officials lead subway shooting suspect Frank R. James, 62, right, away from a police station and into a vehicle, in New York, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. James, made his first appearance in federal court and was ordered held without bail. Photo by John Minchillo/AP Photo.

In the past week, two shootings—one in New York City and one in Pittsburgh—a several-thousand-acre fire in New Mexico and a Florida ban on all abortions after 15 weeks topped national headlines. 

In New York City, suspect Frank R. James is believed to have set off a smoke grenade in a subway car before opening fire, according to the New York Times. The New York Times said he injured nearly 24 people, five of whom were in critical condition as of April 15. 

“The police in New York on Tuesday evening identified a man they called a ‘person of interest’ [POI] in the mass shooting on a crowded subway train in Brooklyn during the morning rush earlier that day that injured nearly two dozen people, five of them critically,” according to the New York Times. 

The New York Times said James had previously posted dozens of videos on YouTube, ranting about matters ranging from violence affecting Black communities to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. 

“He riffed off news events in long, vitriolic rants,” the New York Times said. “He blamed Black women for violence among Black people and pointed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as evidence that whites are genocidal.” 

On Sunday, a shooting at a Pittsburgh house party left two dead and eight injured. According to NPR, the house party’s nearly 200 attendees largely consisted of minors, including the two minors who were killed. 

The NPR article then stated a minimum of 90 rounds were fired during the shooting. 

“Calls to police reported multiple shots fired … But they believe there were far more shots fired based on the scene in and outside of the building,” according to NPR.  

Local reports said this was the fourth shooting within Pittsburgh city limits in 30 hours and the most severe since 2018, according to NPR. 

This image provided by New York Police Department on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, shows what they said is suspected subway shooter Frank R. James, 62, entering a subway station the morning prior to his attack on a subway train Tuesday. Photo by New York Police Department/AP Photo

Meanwhile, in central New Mexico, the McBride Fire has destroyed thousands of acres in the Gavilan Canyon, according to ABC News. “The McBride Fire has burned through 6,195 acres in the Gavilan Canyon within Ruidoso and remains 0% contained, according to fire officials, said ABC News. “The cause of the fire remains under investigation.” 

ABC News then reported that at least two bodies had been found in a home in Ruidoso on Wednesday. The couple have not been publicly identified, but first responders found the bodies after family member reported they had been unaccounted for. 

On April 14, Florida Governor Rob DeSantis passed a bill that will go into effect on July 1, banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, according to NPR. This law will replace Florida’s previous law that allowed for abortions up to 24 weeks. 

The new law does not allow for exceptions in cases of incest, rape or human trafficking, according to NPR. Still, the law does permit for an abortion if the procedure would save the life of the pregnant individual or prevent serious injury. 

NPR said groups like Planned Parenthood have criticized the bill, saying marginalized communities would face  “the added burden of traveling out of state for the procedure.”  

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