The Latest: Rep fires aide who claimed survivors were actors
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the deadly Florida high school shooting (all times local):
A Florida state representative has apparently fired an aide who emailed a reporter a claim that two survivors of a South Florida school shooting were actors.
Republican Rep. Shawn Harrison tweeted a comment that he didn’t agree with the “insensitive and inappropriate comments” made by aide Benjamin Kelly. Kelly later tweeted that he’d been terminated and said it was a mistake to make the claim in an email to Tampa Bay Times reporter Alex Leary.
Leary tweeted about the email he received from Kelly. It had a screenshot of two Marjory Stoneman Douglas students being interviewed on television and said the students were actors.
Harrison said in his tweet that Kelly acted without his knowledge.
Students who survived the Florida school shooting have broken into cheers at the news that two other celebrities have donated $500,000 each to the cause of ending gun violence.
The students were riding a bus to the state capital Tuesday night to pressure lawmakers to act on a package of gun control laws when they heard that director Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Animation founder Jeffrey Katzenberg had pledged the donations.
Seventeen people were killed at the school and others wounded when a gunman went on a rampage with an assault rifle. Students are mobilizing a March 24 march in Washington and elsewhere to urge lawmakers to enact tougher gun control.
Variety reports that Spielberg said in a statement that he and wife Kate Capshaw applaud students’ efforts “to take a stand for the benefit of this and future generations.”
The magazine reports that Katzenberg said he and his wife will also attend the march.
Oprah Winfrey also pledged $500,000 their cause, as did actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal.
Oprah Winfrey says she will match George and Amal Clooney’s $500,000 donation to students organizing marches against gun violence after a mass shooting in Florida.
The media mogul tweeted from her verified account Tuesday night that the student organizers remind her of civil rights activists in the 1960s “who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard.”
In a statement earlier Tuesday, the Clooneys say they’re inspired by the “courage and eloquence” of the survivors-turned-activists from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed at the school and others wounded when a gunman went on a rampage with an assault rifle. Students are mobilizing a March 24 march in Washington and elsewhere to urge lawmakers to enact tougher gun control.
Several students in the packed gallery of the Florida House were visibly upset by the lawmakers’ decision not to take up a bill to ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines.
Lizzie Eaton, a 16-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas junior said she couldn’t get into the House gallery Tuesday, but heard about the vote immediately after it happened.
She called it “a really heartbreaking vote” after the students had spent the day “trying to get our voices out to the Democrats and Republicans.” But she added that, “We’re not going to stop. We’re going to keep fighting for what we believe in. We’re not going to let this bring us down.”
Two groups that advocate for tougher gun laws are spending $230,000 on a two-page ad in The New York Times that lists about 100 members of Congress who have accepted donations from the National Rifle Association.
The ad bought by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is set to run Wednesday. It shows an image of schoolchildren leaving single-file from a school and features a quote from a student at Parkland asking adults to “get something done.”
The groups say the members of Congress listed have taken NRA contributions but “refuse to take action” on gun-control measures.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts says politicians who don’t take action to stop gun violence are “complicit in the deaths of our children.”
U.S. Military Academy officials say they have posthumously offered admission to a 15-year-old last seen holding open a door for other students during last week’s school shooting in Florida.
West Point officials said Tuesday that the Class of 2025 admission offer was an appropriate honor for Peter Wang, a “brave young man” whose lifetime goal was to attend the storied academy north of New York City.
Wang was a freshman member of the Junior ROTC program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and reportedly was wearing his gray ROTC shirt when he was killed.
West Point rarely offers posthumous admissions. Potential candidates’ actions must exemplify the academy’s tenets of duty, honor and country.
Parents, students and teachers affected by past school shootings will attend a White House listening session about school safety this week.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that attendees will include people from Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people at a high school last week.
She praised the bravery of victims who saved others and said President Donald Trump believes “it is the right of every American child to grow up in a safe community.”
Sanders says the Wednesday listening session also will include people touched by the Columbine and Sandy Hook mass shootings.
On Thursday, the local officials and law enforcement officers will continue the discussion.
A Florida Senate committee has endorsed a proposal to put law enforcement officers in every school in the state.
Only slightly more than half of Florida’s more than 4,000 public schools have the resource officers. They are sworn law-enforcement officers and allowed to carry a weapon on a school campus.
The Senate Education Committee voted Tuesday to include the requirement in a sweeping education bill that is now moving through the legislature.
The proposal is expected to also be part of a comprehensive gun bill that Senate Republicans plan to release later this week. GOP leaders have drafted the legislation in response to the shootings at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.
Meanwhile, the state House has voted down a motion to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles, effectively killing the measure for this session.
Less than a week after 17 people were fatally shot at a Florida high school, the state House has voted down a motion to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles, effectively killing the measure for this session.
The motion failed by a 36-71 vote.
As the Florida House opened its session Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Kionne McGhee asked for a procedural move that would have allowed it to consider a bill to ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines. The bill had been assigned to three committees but was not scheduled for a hearing. The committees won’t meet again before the legislative session ends March 9.
McGhee said that means the bill would be dead unless the House voted to remove it from the committees and let it be considered by the full House.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate say they will consider proposals including raising age restrictions for gun purchases and the red-flag bill regarding temporarily taking away someone’s guns if they are deemed a threat to others.
One of the three buses that were supposed to take school shooting survivors to the state capital has broken down as it prepared to leave.
The bus driver says the air conditioning on the bus is not working and they are trying to get another bus. They hope that the bus will join the other two that have departed for Tallahassee.
The group of about 100 students is making the 400-mile trip to the state capital to pressure lawmakers to act on a sweeping package of gun control laws.
The students plan to hold a rally Wednesday at the Capitol.
Authorities say a Florida teen has been arrested and had his rifle confiscated after posting a threatening video online.
A Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office news release says 18-year-old Kane Watson was charged Monday with making threats to do bodily harm and making a false report. Officials didn’t say which school, if any, Watson attended or whether he named a specific target.
Detectives say Watson posted a video to Snapchat that showed a tactical rifle being removed from a case and loaded with a magazine. A caption with the video said, “Don’t go to school.”
Detectives linked the post to Watson. Authorities say Watson admitted to posting the video, explaining that he did it to deal with stress through humor.
Crawfordville is about 435 miles northwest of Parkland, where 17 people were killed last week in a school shooting.
Students who walked out of classes in western North Carolina to protest mass shootings at U.S. schools say teenagers are tired of being ignored on the issue.
The Times-News of Hendersonville reports about 50 students left Polk High School on Tuesday and walked to the school entrance sign where they were greeted by an equal number of supporters.
Student body president Drew Bailey said school shootings are a humanitarian issue. Student body secretary-treasurer Luke Collins said students are tired of living in fear.
Students held cards with the names of 17 people killed last week at a high school in Parkland, Florida, when a former student went on a rampage with an assault rifle.
Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene supervised the event and helped direct traffic into the school.
Actor George Clooney and human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney are donating $500,000 to students organizing marches against gun violence, and the couple says they’ll also attend next month’s planned protests.
In a statement Tuesday, the Clooneys say they’re inspired by the “courage and eloquence” of the survivors-turned-activists from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed at the school and others wounded when a former student went on a rampage with an assault rifle. Students are mobilizing a March 24 march in Washington and elsewhere to urge lawmakers to enact tougher gun control.
The Clooneys say they’re donating the money in the names of their 8-month-old twins. The couple also says the family plans to “stand side by side” with students next month.
A group of students who survived the Florida school shooting have started their 400-mile trip to the state capital to pressure lawmakers to act on a sweeping package of gun control laws.
The students left Coral Springs on Tuesday afternoon and expect to arrive in Tallahassee in the evening. They plan to hold a rally Wednesday at the Capitol in hopes that it will put pressure on the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature.
The fate of the new restrictions is unclear. Lawmakers have rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of the governor’s office and the Legislature in 1999. But some in the GOP say they will consider the bills.
Wednesday will mark one week since authorities say a former student killed 17 students and faculty at Stoneman Douglas High School.
Buses are preparing to take about 100 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students to Tallahassee so that they can pressure state lawmakers to pass more restrictive gun laws.
Dozens of reporters and cameras swarmed the students as they prepared to leave. Many of the students wore burgundy T-shirts of the school’s colors. They carried sleeping bags, pillows and luggage and hugged their parents as they loaded the bus for the 400-mile journey.
Alfonso Calderon is a 16-year-old junior. He says he hopes that the trip will start a conversation between the Legislature, Gov. Rick Scott and the students over commonsense laws on guns.
(Corrects to three buses instead of two)
Students from several Florida high schools have taken to the streets in a show of solidarity with students from a nearby school where 17 students were gunned down in their classrooms on Valentine’s Day.
Video footage taken from television news helicopter crews showed several dozen students who walked out of West Boca Raton High School on Tuesday morning, apparently bound for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland. Many of the students were wearing their backpacks. The distance between the schools is about 11 miles (17 kilometers).
Several dozen more students gathered outside Fort Lauderdale High School, holding signs with messages that included “our blood is on your hands.”
On Monday, students at American Heritage High School held a similar protest.
Former Stoneman student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
A hundred Stoneman Douglas High School students are busing hundreds of miles across Florida to its capital to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week.
After arriving late Tuesday, they plan to hold a rally Wednesday in hopes that it will put pressure on the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws. Shortly after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and appeared shaken afterward.
Chris Grady is a 19-year-old senior on the trip. He said he hopes the trip will lead to some “commonsense laws like rigorous background checks.”