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Uber driver who killed 6 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, shooting rampage sentenced to life in prison

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(CNN)Nearly three years after driving an Uber around Kalamazoo, Michigan, and randomly shooting and killing six people, Jason Dalton was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole.

Dalton, 48, pleaded guilty last month to killing six people and wounding two others in a series of random shootings around the southern Michigan city over five hours on February 20, 2016. In between the shootings, he picked up and dropped off passengers as an Uber driver.
The shootings occurred on a Saturday evening in three different parts of Kalamazoo. He first shot Tiana Carruthers, then 25, in front of her children in an apartment complex parking lot.
Four hours later, he killed Richard Smith, 53, and his son Tyler Smith, 17, at a car dealership. He then opened fire in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, killing Barbara Hawthorne, 68, Mary Lou Nye, 62, Mary Jo Nye, 60, and Dorothy Brown, 74, and wounding a 14-year-old girl.
    “These were very deliberate killings. This wasn’t hurried in any way, shape or form,” prosecutor Jeffrey Getting said at the time. “They were intentional, deliberate and I don’t want to say casually done. Coldly done is what I want to say.”
    The shootings put a heightened focus on Uber and its protocol for approving drivers, who are considered independent contractors and not employees. A CNN investigation last year found that ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft have approved thousands of people who should have been disqualified because of criminal records, according to state agencies and lawsuits.
    Dalton passed a background check and had no criminal record.
    “For all intents and purposes, he was your average Joe,” Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said at the time. “This was random.”
    At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, family members of the victims gave statements as Dalton sat quietly in an orange prison outfit.
    Michigan does not have the death penalty, and state law mandates that first-degree murder be punished with life in prison without the possibility of parole.
    Emily Lemmer spoke about the difficulty of living without her father and brother, particularly during her recent wedding.
    “Every day since I woke up to half my family being gone has been a living nightmare,” Lemmer said through tears. “Nothing feels right and every day is a constant painful struggle, the same cycle of waking up to the chilling reality that half my family is gone.”
      Carruthers, who survived being shot, pleaded with Dalton to look at her during her victim impact statement. A defense attorney objected, but the judge informed the court that Dalton’s participation in the victim impact statements — or lack thereof — would be noted.
      Dalton’s disengaged presence Tuesday contrasted with a court hearing months after the shooting when he interrupted Carruthers with rambling statements. He later attempted to stand up in court, and court officers restrained him and dragged him out of the courtroom.

      Seven killed in Paris building blaze

      Firefighters are seen near a building that caught fire in the 16th arrondissement in Paris.

      Firefighters are seen near a building that caught fire in the 16th arrondissement in Paris.

      (CNN)At least seven people have died after a blaze swept through an apartment block in central Paris in the middle of the night, according to French news agency Agence France Presse (AFP).

      Another 27 people, including three firefighters, suffered minor injuries. One person was seriously injured.
      Firefighters are still working to control the blaze on the the top two floors of the eight-story building and searching for residents, fire service spokesman Clement Cognon told AFP, adding that the death toll could rise.
      Firefighters walk along the rue Erlanger, near the scene of the deadly blaze.

      Firefighters walk along the rue Erlanger, near the scene of the deadly blaze.

      The fire started at around 1 a.m. local time Tuesday (7 p.m. Monday ET) on the Rue Erlanger in the city’s 16th arrondisement, and sent some residents fleeing onto adjoining rooftops.
        “We had to carry out many (residents), including some people who had taken refuge on the roofs,” Cognon said.

        Around 30 people were evacuated from the building using ladders. Two neighboring buildings were evacuated as a precaution.
        By 4 a.m. local time, the building had been cleared, although some 200 firefighters remained on the scene battling the blaze.
          The cause of the fire is currently unknown.
          Paris’ upmarket 16th arrondisement is located west of the city center and features numerous notable landmarks, including the Trocadero gardens, with their views of the Eiffel Tower, the Roland Garros stadium that hosts the French tennis tournament, soccer team Paris Saint Germain’s home ground, the Parc des Princes, and, on its western edge, the sprawling Bois de Boulogne public park.

          Plane crashes in Southern California; 2 killed, officials say

          At least two people were killed in California on Sunday after a small plane crashed in a residential neighborhood, officials said.

          A twin-engine Cessna 414A crashed in Yorba Linda, in Orange County, just after taking off from the Fullerton Municipal Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

          SMALL PLANE CRASHES AT CALIFORNIA AIRPORT WITH NOBODY INSIDE

          Two people were killed in the incident, and two others were transported to a nearby hospital, the Orange County Fire Authority tweeted. It was unclear if they were in the house or the plane.

          Photos and video posted online shows a house in the Southern California neighborhood ablaze with flames, and people running from the area.

          Twitter user Joshua Nelson wrote, "A few houses down [from the crash] the propeller and engine landed in their yard."

          Twitter user Joshua Nelson wrote, “A few houses down [from the crash] the propeller and engine landed in their yard.” (Twitter/@JoshuaRNelson)

          This is a developing story; please check back for updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

          Border Patrol agent killed while on duty in Texas: officials

          A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent died while working in Texas on Saturday, officials said.

          Agent Donna Doss, 49, was helping state police near Interstate 20 in Abilene just before 9 p.m., the agency said in a news release.

          BORDER AGENTS REPORTEDLY DISCOVER 60-FOOT TUNNEL TO MEXICO AT SOUTHERN BORDER

          While she assisted, Doss was “struck and killed by a passing vehicle” and died at the scene.

          Doss served the agency for more than 15 years, after beginning duty in November 2003.

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          “Agent Doss died while performing her duty, protecting the community and the United States,” Del Rio Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Hudak said. “Our heart, prayers, and support go out to Agent Doss’ family in this time of need.”

          Louis C.K. joked about the Parkland shooting. A father whose son was killed hit back.

          Louis CK mocked Parkland shooting survivors. Now someone is mocking him.

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          (CNN)When Louis C.K. tried joking about the survivors of the Parkland shooting late last year, many saw it as a new low that couldn’t be countered much less fathomed.

          In audio from one of his sets that leaked in December, the comedian mocked Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students for testifying before Congress about gun control.
          “You’re not interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot,” Louis C.K. can be heard saying. “Why does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way and now I gotta listen to you talking?”
          Now a father whose son was killed in the shooting is taking the comedian to task by recording a standup routine of his own.
            The “comedy set” is a promotional campaign for Change the Ref, a nonprofit organization started by Manuel Oliver and his wife, Patricia, to help young people fight for gun control.
            The sobering video starts out with a shot of Oliver putting up posters to promote his set.
            “Murdering Innocent Children Comedy Night,” one of the posters reads. “It will be a gun barrel of laughs.”
            “Shooting near a city near you,” reads another line on the poster.
            Oliver opens his standup with a reference to Louis C.K., who tried to mitigate the Parkland joke in a later set by joking that it was a distraction from the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
            “Recently I heard this great line from a comedian. He said, ‘If you want people to forget that you were jerking off, just make a joke about kids getting shot.'” Oliver begins.
            “And I thought, jokes about kids getting shot … I can do that.”
            He goes on to describe what happened to his son, Joaquin Oliver, who was among the 17 people killed in the shooting in Parkland, Florida, last year.
            “Hear the one about the kid that walks into the school on Valentine’s Day? Skinny kid, wearing headphones. Gets dropped by his dad. And he says, ‘I love you,’ and gets out of the car and walks into the school. And then gets shot to death a couple of hours later.”
            A drummer punctuates the line by playing the classic comedy riff.
            “You guys ever heard dead baby jokes? I got a dead baby. His name was Joaquin Oliver. He was gonna be 18. But now he’s dead.”
            Oliver pauses.
            “And that’s not a joke,” he says before walking off the stage.
            The video ends with a call for people to stand up to gun violence.
            When Louis C.K. initially joked about Parkland, the survivors and others were quick to speak out.
            “It’s a shame when you sink so low that your comeback plan is to make fun of school shooting survivors for speaking out,” Stoneman Douglas graduate Ryan Deitsch said on Twitter in December.
              “LEAVE LOUIS CK IN 2018. WE’RE NOT TAKING THIS ENERGY INTO 2019. thank u.” Delaney Tarr, a survivor of the shooting wrote.
              The set with the Parkland joke came a few months after Louis C.K. returned to the stage, a year after he was accused of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior, including masturbating in front of women without their consent. The comedian confirmed that their stories were true.

              South Carolina high school football player and honor roll student killed in drug deal gone bad, deputies say

              A tale of guns and drugs surrounds the shocking murder of a 16-year-old boy who attended a South Carolina high school where he was an honor student and member of the football team.

              An 18-year-old high school dropout and his alleged accomplice, a 16-year-old juvenile, have been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Joshua Meeks, an 11th-grader at Mauldin High School in Greenville. He was shot and killed Tuesday. Greenville County deputies found his body dumped in another county two days later, according to reports Friday.

              The chilling discovery came after deputies found Joshua’s blood-splattered car in front of an apartment building in Greenville, according to the reports. Deputies said the building’s tenants included the dropout, Sosa Mandiez Croft.

              “During the course of investigation, investigators learned that Croft and the victim had engaged in some sort of drug deal prior to Croft stealing the victim’s car and ultimately shooting him,” the Greenville Sheriff’s Office said.

              MOTORCYCLE COP WHO SURVIVED SHOT IN FACE LAST YEAR IS KILLED IN COLLISION DURING FUNERAL PROCESSION

              On Friday, deputies charged Lyric Lawson, 18, of Greenville, with helping Croft dispose of the body, Fox Carolina reported. Lawson, Croft and the juvenile were all behind bars.

              Sosa Mandiez Croft, 18, (l.), has been charged with murder in last week's shooting death of Joshua Meeks, a 16-year-old high school football player in South Carolina. Lyric Lawson has been charged with helping Croft dumped Joshua's body. 

              Sosa Mandiez Croft, 18, (l.), has been charged with murder in last week’s shooting death of Joshua Meeks, a 16-year-old high school football player in South Carolina. Lyric Lawson has been charged with helping Croft dumped Joshua’s body.  (Greenville County Sheriff’s Office )

              The case began as a missing teen investigation Wednesday morning, according to reports.

              Joshua’s mom reported her son missing, telling deputies her son went out with friends around 9 p.m. Tuesday and never returned, the Greenville News reported.

              A Mauldin Police incident report says officers learned Joshua was going to meet a new drug dealer after conducting interviews with students, the paper reported.

              The coroner estimates Joshua was killed after 10 p.m. Tuesday, Fox Carolina reported.

              “Copious amounts” of blood covered the passenger seat in Joshua’s car when police found it, acording to the station.

              GEORGIA TEEN KILLS HIMSELF AFTER ACCIDENTALLY SHOOTING AND KILLING FRIEND: COPS

              At a bond hearing Thursday, Croft told Joshua’s family he was going to work with his lawyers to identify the “real killer,” according to the station.

              “I’m going to come clean,and put it all out there; and tell my involvement of the whole situation so ya’ll can have closure even though it can’t bring him back,” Croft was quoted as telling the family.

              Reports described Joshua as a popular student and teammate. He was a lineman on the offense.

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              “Today and the coming days will not be easy. Please continue to pray for the family of Josh Meeks, Mauldin High football coach Harry Cabaniss said on Twitter. “He was loved by all who knew him and will always be loved.”

              5 children killed in Maryland crash weren’t wearing seat belts, authorities say

              Five children, ages 5 to 15, were killed in a crash early Saturday morning when the vehicle in which they were riding went off the road and struck several trees, according to reports.

              None of the children was wearing seat belts, and all five were thrown from the Chrysler Pacifica SUV when it began to spin on the snow-covered ground, according to authorities.

              NTSB TO INVESTIGATE DEADLY FLORIDA CHURCH VAN CRASH

              Two adults in the vehicle were injured in the accident, which occurred around 5 a.m. on Route 301 in Bowie, Md.

              The driver of the vehicle may have suffered a medical emergency, leading to the crash, Washington’s FOX 5 reported.

              Both adults were being treated at a local hospital for unspecified injuries. Their medical conditions were not disclosed.

              PRINCE PHILIP SPOTTED DRIVING WITHOUT SEATBELT TWO DAYS AFTER CAR CRASH

              Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement about the crash via Twitter on Saturday.

              “Deeply saddened by this tragic auto accident in Prince George’s County,” he wrote. “Praying for everyone involved, including first responders.”

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              The children were identified as Paris Dixon, 5, and London Dixon, 8, both of Bowie, and Rickelle Ricks, 6; Zion Beard, 14, and Damari Herald, 15, all of Washington, D.C.

              The injured adults were identified as Cornell Simon, 23, of Oxon Hill, Md., and Dominique Taylor, 32, of Bowie. Taylor was identified as the driver and Simon was believed to have been a front-seat passenger.

              An investigation is underway, according to authorities.

              The Associated Press contributed to this story.

              Ohio sheriff’s deputy killed, another injured in standoff with gunman

              An Ohio sheriff’s deputy has died and another was injured during a standoff with a barricaded suspect at an apartment complex, according to reports.

              The scene in Pierce Township, near Cincinnati, was still active early Sunday morning. The incident began just before 7 p.m. Saturday when police responded to a psychiatric call.

              OFFICERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY IN 2018

              A male called 911 to report people in his home were refusing to leave and that he had weapons inside, Capt. Jeff Sellars with the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference.

              FOX affiliate WXIX-TV in the Cincinnati area reported that police first received calls about gunshots around 8:15 p.m. More shots came from inside an apartment as authorities tried negotiating with the suspect, striking two deputies. One deputy died and the other remained in stable condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical center.

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              Police did not fire back, Pierce Township police told the station. The deceased deputy has not been identified. Authorities are communicating with the suspect through via megaphone and have advised nearby residents to stay inside.

              Motorcycle cop who survived shot in face last year is killed in collision during funeral procession

              A Louisiana police officer who survived being shot in the face last year died Friday when a pickup truck plowed into his motorcycle during a funeral procession.

              Baton Rouge police Cpl. Shane Totty was a new dad to a baby girl and was planning his wedding when the truck pulled out of an apartment complex and struck him, reports said.

              “BRPD Cpl. Shane Totty, 31, succumbed from his traffic crash injuries late this afternoon at a local hospital. Please continue to keep the Totty family and our department in your prayers,” the Baton Rouge Police Department said on its Facebook page.

              OFFICERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY IN 2018

              The identity of the truck driver was not released as of Friday night. Authorities did not say whether charges would be filed.

              Totty, 31, returned to work several months ago after being shot in February 2018 while responding to a call. A suspect identified as Eugene Thomas Jr., a 34-year-old man with mental health issues, shot the four-year veteran through the windshield of Totty’s police vehicle, authorities said.

              Totty made a full recovery after suffering a temporary loss of sight in one eye and other injuries.

              “He’s a fighter,” BRPD Chief Murphy Paul told the Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge. “He was a really bright young man. He had a bright future with the police department.”

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              Capt. Don Kelly, who previously supervised Totty’s motorcycle unit, called the officer’s death “heartbreaking.”

              “Life was good for him. He had survived this near-death experience and everything was positive and going his way,” Kelly said. “How tragic that everything could be taken away in the blink of an eye. We’re all hurting.”

              The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

              A FedEx worker found dead at a delivery facility was one of 17 killed in the extreme weather

              (CNN)A 69-year-old FedEx worker has been found dead outside a delivery hub in western Illinois, and police believe the extreme cold snap that hit the country this week played a role.

              The man, whose name wasn't released, is among 17 people killed in the Midwest as a result of extreme weather conditions this week.
              A co-worker found the man's body between two tractor-trailers on Thursday morning outside the FedEx delivery hub in East Moline, police Capt. Darren Gault said.
                It wasn't immediately clear how long the worker had been there, or why he was there. The hub had been closed on Wednesday.
                It was extremely cold in the Moline area this week. At an airport only 10 miles from the hub, temperatures dipped below zero late Tuesday afternoon and never rose above that until Thursday evening. Wednesday evening's low was 29 below with a wind chill of 34 below; Thursday morning's low was 33 below.
                "We are saddened by the loss of our team member and our sympathies go out to his family and friends," FedEx said in a statement Friday. "We are working with local authorities as they investigate.
                  "FedEx has contingency plans in place to ensure the well-being of our team members and service providers. Several of our centers, including the Rock Island center, were closed or running very limited operations this week due to the extreme cold."
                  Of the 17 deaths linked to this week's extreme weather, eight were in Iowa, where some were due to car wrecks in snowy conditions. Weather-related deaths were also reported in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin, authorities said.