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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

    An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer in Atlanta turned himself in Monday afternoon and claims he acted in self-defense, his attorney said. >> Watch the news report here Only WSB-TV's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday. The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead on Saturday night. Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats, and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. Authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said. Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense. 'This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself,' he said. Patterson said Thornton was irate about the amount of time it took for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive, and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move.  'He turned around, put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to [expletive] you up,'' Patterson said. Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket, so he said he defended himself. Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away. >> Read more trending news  'You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down,' Patterson said. Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail. He will have a first appearance before a judge Tuesday. Uber sent WSB-TV a statement Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app: “We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app” A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV that Bivens passed a background check. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers. Uber is working with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation. Morehouse College sent the following statement:  'The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports. 'Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job. 'Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man.  'President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time. “ ‘The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,' Thomas said. 'Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.’ ”
  • The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development. >> Click here to watch Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled. >> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident. >> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know' According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017. >> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up. >> Read more trending news  The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.
  • Orange County Fire Rescue will soon own an old Lynx Bus that they plan to use to help save lives during mass casualty incidents in the future.   On Tuesday, commissioners are expected to approve the $2,500 purchase of the bus and refurbish it into a large ambulance.    Fire Rescue officials will take out the bus seats and install rows of stretchers. They believe these new changes will be useful in saving lives during responses to things like wildfires, hurricanes, or any incidents like Pulse.    The bus will the only one of its kind in the Orlando Metro region, but can be requested for use around Central Florida.    The county also plants to stage the bus at large events like marathons and parades.
  • Two New York state troopers are being credited with an immense kindness after they paid for the flight of a young woman to Florida to say goodbye to her friend, one of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.  Jordana Judson, 23, told NBC News that she was devastated to learn that her childhood friend, Meadow Pollack, was among the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting at her alma mater. Former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of killing 14 students and three faculty members with an AR-15 rifle.  >> Read more trending news Pollack, an 18-year-old senior, and Judson were lifelong friends, NBC News reported. “They were like our second family our whole lives,” Judson said of the Pollacks. Judson said she showed up at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, the day after the shooting, frantic to get a flight home to Florida, where she’d grown up.  “As soon as I got out of the car at the airport, I started hysterically crying,” she said.  Troopers Robert Troy and Thomas Karasinski spotted the distraught young woman and asked if she was all right. She tearfully explained that a friend was killed in the school shooting in Florida and that she needed help figuring out where to buy her ticket.  The troopers led her inside to the JetBlue counter, where an agent told her a one-way ticket to Florida would be almost $700, Judson told the news station. Unable to afford the cost, she begged the agent to lower the price or allow her a bereavement discount. The agent could not accommodate her, and was about to give the ticket to another passenger when Troy and Karasinski stepped in. “I look up, and the state troopers are standing there and they’re both handing over their credit cards,” Judson told NBC News. “I’m telling them that they don’t have to do this. This is crazy. They said, ‘It’s already done. We want you to be home with their families.’” A rabbi who sat Shiva with the Pollack family confirmed that Judson made it home to be with the family and to attend Meadow’s funeral on Friday, where the Miami Herald reported that she was described as a star with “a smile like sunshine.” Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, and her older brother, Hunter, both lamented the fact that they couldn’t protect her when she needed them. “This piece of (expletive) killed my kid, and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Andrew Pollack said, according to the Herald. “That’s never happened to me in my life. I’m always able to protect my family in any situation.” Hunter Pollack said he always looked out for his sister.  “I wanted to be the over-supportive brother my whole life, and I feel like I failed,” Hunter said. “So all I can do is hope that (her killer) gets what he deserves.” Judson told NBC News that the troopers’ gesture to get her to the funeral made her heart “full and heavy at the same time.” New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II told the news station in a statement that, as law enforcement officials, all troopers take an oath to protect and serve.  “We also instill in our members the importance of acting with respect and empathy for the people they encounter,” Beach said.  Troy told the news station that he sympathized with Judson’s dilemma. “The sense of just being there for your family and friends, you want to be there for them,” Troy said. “You’re going to go through anything to get there.” Explaining that he has five younger sisters, the trooper said it was a “sigh of relief” to be able to help Judson. “If that was one of them, I’d want someone to help them out,” he said. 
  • The White House on Monday signaled that President Donald Trump is willing to back at least one bipartisan measure to strengthen the national instant check system for those who buy firearms, as Democrats in the House and Senate continued to argue that action by the Congress on gun violence is long overdue. “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In a written statement sent to reporters, Sanders said the President spoke to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Friday; the Texas Republican has a bipartisan bill with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), which would force states and federal agencies to submit more information into the instant gun check system. Our churches and schools should be refuges where children and parents feel secure. Many of these shootings can be prevented. There's no reason not to advance #FixNICS to help https://t.co/0JpZDiLPOr — Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) February 15, 2018 Interesting morning. Two quick thoughts: 1/ Trump's support for the FixNICS Act, my bill with @JohnCornyn, is another sign the politics of gun violence are shifting rapidly. 2/ No one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic. — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 19, 2018 After a mass shooting last November in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 25 people died, the Air Force acknowledged that the killer – who received a ‘bad conduct’ discharge from the military – should not have been able to buy guns, but those records were never placed in the instant check system. “For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn said in November when he introduced this bipartisan gun measure.” Democrats had hoped there would be action on that measure – just like they had hoped there would have been action to ban “bump stocks” after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, action on the “No Fly, No Buy” measure after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, and then the “FixNics” bill after the Texas shooting. I know assault rifles. I carried one in Iraq. They have no place on America's streets. #Orlando pic.twitter.com/ibKQE2PpqF — Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 14, 2016 Last week’s shooting in Florida simply put all of those requests for legislation to deal with guns on repeat for Democrats. “We can’t ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). “And so, I’m asking – no, demanding – we take action now.” Democrats would certainly like to do much more than the ‘FixNics’ bill, or banning bump stocks, as other ideas have popped up in recent days, like not allowing anyone under age 21 to buy weapons like an AR-15. But as the President returned to Washington on Monday evening from a long weekend at his Florida retreat, it wasn’t clear if his support for one bipartisan plan would actually mean action – as GOP leaders have not put such measures on the fast track to a vote in the House and Senate. On Sunday, when the President met with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Florida, the two men discussed a series of issues, including “the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida.” The White House statement on their meeting did not characterize whether legislative action was discussed. No action will happen on anything gun-related this week – as the Congress won’t be back on Capitol Hill for votes until February 26.
  • An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer turned himself in Monday afternoon. >> Read more trending news According to WSB-TV, Robert Bivens, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder Monday. The shooting happened Saturday night at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead, Georgia. Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. At some point, authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver. The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said. Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Uber said in a statement on Monday, saying Bivens no longer has access to the app: “We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app.” A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV Bivens passed a background check and had only been an Uber Eats driver for about a week. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers. Uber is working closely with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation.
  • A Florida man spurred by the massacre that killed 17 people at a Parkland high school last week has “put (his) money where (his) mouth is” and surrendered his assault rifle to authorities. Ben Dickmann, 40, wrote on Friday, in a Facebook post that has since gone viral, that he decided to lead by example. “I own this rifle,” Dickmann wrote, sharing multiple photos of the semiautomatic AR-57 as he turned it in at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s a caliber variant of the AR-15.” The suspected gunman in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, former student Nikolas Cruz, is accused of using an AR-15 to gun down 14 students and three faculty members on Valentine’s Day.  “I am a responsible, highly-trained gun owner. (I am not a police officer or sheriff’s deputy),” Dickmann wrote. “However, I do not need this rifle.” Dickmann wrote that no one without a police badge needs an AR-57. “This rifle is not a ‘tool’ I have use for. A tool, by definition, makes a job/work easier,” Dickmann wrote. “Any ‘job’ I can think of legally needing doing can be done better by a different firearm.” Dickmann wrote that, although he enjoyed shooting the weapon, he has other types of guns that he can shoot for recreation. He could have sold the rifle, he wrote, but “no person needs this.” “I will be the change I want to see in this world,” Dickmann wrote. “If our lawmakers will continue to close their eyes and open their wallets, I will lead by example. #outofcirculation.” Officials with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office praised Dickmann for his decision. “We commend Ben for helping us get one more dangerous weapon off the streets,” a post on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page read. The post also offered two ways for the public to turn in an unloaded, unwanted weapon. A citizen can call the department’s non-emergency line, 954-765-HELP, and inform a deputy that they have a weapon to surrender for destruction.  “Leave the firearm in a location away from you in the home/business, allowing the responding deputy to retrieve it when they arrive,” the post read. “The deputy will take possession of the weapon (and) ammunition for disposal.” The second way to turn the weapon in is to secure the gun in the trunk of a vehicle and drive to the nearest Sheriff’s Office substation. After parking in the visitors’ lot, a citizen can go inside and tell the deputy at the desk that he or she has a firearm and/or ammunition in the vehicle for surrender.  “A deputy will meet with you and retrieve the weapon from your vehicle for disposal,” the post read.  Dickmann, who lives about 30 minutes from Parkland in Fort Lauderdale, told NPR in an interview that the decision to give up his assault rifle came after “a lot of soul searching.” He said that, like others, he sees a lot of “thoughts and prayers” being offered, but not much else. “I thought, ‘Well, this is something I can do that I think is right,” Dickmann said. “And it’s something I can do that might spark a change. You know, my whole goal was maybe to inspire one friend on my Facebook page to do the same thing. And maybe that friend would inspire one other person.” Dickmann said he considered taking action after the Las Vegas shooting, but thought that his gun was not hurting anyone sitting in his gun safe. The Stoneman Douglas massacre, however, hit close to home.  He said response to a Facebook post he wrote the day after the school shooting is what spurred that action. In that long post, Dickmann wrote that it was past time to do something about the mass violence undertaken with firearms in the United States. >> Read more trending news “I can now say I know people who have been directly affected by three of the most horrific gun violence events in our history (Northern Illinois University, Las Vegas, Stoneman Douglas), and a couple more single events,” he wrote. “This makes me sick. This makes me mad. I’m tired.” In the Northern Illinois University shooting, which took place 10 years to the day before the Stoneman Douglas massacre, former NIU student Steven Kazmierczak walked onto the stage in an auditorium where class was taking place and gunned down five students before killing himself. More than a dozen more were injured.  Commenters on Dickmann’s post, who numbered in the thousands, varied in their responses. Some thought he spoke common sense, while others accused him of being a paid lackey for the anti-gun crowd.  Dickmann told NPR that it was sarcasm from one man who told him, “Well, if you feel this way, why don’t you go turn your gun in?” The man even offered to drive Dickmann to the station.  “Even though he was being extremely sarcastic about it because he’s a very staunch conservative, gun rights activist person, it kind of spurred me to say, ‘You know what? Yeah, I’ll do that,’” he said.  Dickmann said he’s glad that his actions sparked a debate. “I hope somebody, be it the students, be it the next generation, picks up the torch and does something,” he said. 
  • A 16-year-old girl was killed when the utility terrain vehicle in which she was riding crashed and went into a lake, authorities said. >> Read more trending news Kate Jones, 16, of Athens, was submerged when the UTV rolled into the lake on private property, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said on Facebook. The incident happened about midnight. A deputy and a firefighter dived into the water, which was about 10 feet deep, and freed Jones from the vehicle, Berry said. Four other people were in the vehicle when it crashed. One of them is being treated for serious injuries at an Athens hospital. The crash was in the 5000 block of High Shoals Road in Bishop. The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash.
  • A California fire department is facing criticism after offering an AR-15 rifle as a raffle prize at a fundraiser just days after police said a 19-year-old used the same weapon to gun down 17 people at a high school in Florida. >> Read more trending news Allison Merrill told the Sacramento Bee that she was so offended by the gun, which was raffled Saturday during the Cameron Park Fire Department’s crab feed, that she and her friends walked out of the event. “When we walked out, the flag was at half-mast in front of the community center, and it was just so striking, how tone-deaf the whole event was,” she told the Bee. “We walk out and there’s the flag at half-mast for all those kids.” Police believe the shooter in last week’s deadly attack in Parkland, Florida, used an AR-15 when he killed 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “To have our first responders be the ones kind of offering a military-style assault rifle as a prize – putting that out into our community, especially right now – it was appalling,” Merrill told KOVR. >> Related: Florida school shooting: Probe focuses on gunman's motives, victims' lives Merrill told the news station that she spoke with the fire chief, who apologized and acknowledged that the gun raffle could be seen as insensitive. She told the Bee that event organizers refunded her and each of her three friends the $40 fee for the event, although she added to KCRA that “the money wasn’t really an issue.” “I was deeply disturbed by it,” Nancy Lugo, who attended the event with Merrill, told the Bee. “Not only the timing of the recent shootings but also the fact that it’s that easy to get an AR-15.” >> Related: Third-graders in Missouri selling raffle tickets for AR-15 weapon Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean told KCRA that the Cameron Park Fire Department has held similar fundraisers since 2002. The fire department is under contract with Cal Fire, according to KCRA. “These weapons are not any different than anything you could go into the gun store and buy,” McLean told the Bee, adding that the fundraiser was planned before last week’s deadly shooting. The gun was taken to a gun store after the raffle, McLean said, where it will stay for a 10-day waiting period required by law as officials run background checks to ensure the winner of the raffle can legally own the firearm. 'I understand the concerns, by all means,' McLean told KCRA. 'No harm was intended.
  • Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the hit PBS show 'Mister Rogers Neighborhood', and Rollins College in Winter Park is doing something special for the famed star. Fred Rogers, who turns out to be a 1951 graduate from Rollins College, met his wife Sara Joanne Byrd there and majored in music composition.  College officials announced that a free self guided walking tour will take place to celebrate the adored alum.  The tour will take place at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and will be available from February 20 through March 20th during the following business hours:  Tuesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Wednesday- Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Saturday Noon to 5 p.m.  The tour starts at the museum, which features Roger's sweater and sneakers on display and includes a stops at the Tiedtke Concert Hall, Strong Hall and the Olin Library.  A biopic starring Tom Hanks entitled 'You Are My Friend' is also in the works.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer in Atlanta turned himself in Monday afternoon and claims he acted in self-defense, his attorney said. >> Watch the news report here Only WSB-TV's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday. The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead on Saturday night. Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats, and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. Authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said. Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense. 'This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself,' he said. Patterson said Thornton was irate about the amount of time it took for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive, and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move.  'He turned around, put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to [expletive] you up,'' Patterson said. Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket, so he said he defended himself. Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away. >> Read more trending news  'You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down,' Patterson said. Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail. He will have a first appearance before a judge Tuesday. Uber sent WSB-TV a statement Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app: “We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app” A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV that Bivens passed a background check. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers. Uber is working with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation. Morehouse College sent the following statement:  'The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports. 'Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job. 'Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man.  'President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time. “ ‘The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,' Thomas said. 'Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.’ ”
  • The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development. >> Click here to watch Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled. >> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident. >> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know' According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017. >> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up. >> Read more trending news  The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.
  • Orange County Fire Rescue will soon own an old Lynx Bus that they plan to use to help save lives during mass casualty incidents in the future.   On Tuesday, commissioners are expected to approve the $2,500 purchase of the bus and refurbish it into a large ambulance.    Fire Rescue officials will take out the bus seats and install rows of stretchers. They believe these new changes will be useful in saving lives during responses to things like wildfires, hurricanes, or any incidents like Pulse.    The bus will the only one of its kind in the Orlando Metro region, but can be requested for use around Central Florida.    The county also plants to stage the bus at large events like marathons and parades.
  • Two New York state troopers are being credited with an immense kindness after they paid for the flight of a young woman to Florida to say goodbye to her friend, one of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.  Jordana Judson, 23, told NBC News that she was devastated to learn that her childhood friend, Meadow Pollack, was among the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting at her alma mater. Former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of killing 14 students and three faculty members with an AR-15 rifle.  >> Read more trending news Pollack, an 18-year-old senior, and Judson were lifelong friends, NBC News reported. “They were like our second family our whole lives,” Judson said of the Pollacks. Judson said she showed up at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, the day after the shooting, frantic to get a flight home to Florida, where she’d grown up.  “As soon as I got out of the car at the airport, I started hysterically crying,” she said.  Troopers Robert Troy and Thomas Karasinski spotted the distraught young woman and asked if she was all right. She tearfully explained that a friend was killed in the school shooting in Florida and that she needed help figuring out where to buy her ticket.  The troopers led her inside to the JetBlue counter, where an agent told her a one-way ticket to Florida would be almost $700, Judson told the news station. Unable to afford the cost, she begged the agent to lower the price or allow her a bereavement discount. The agent could not accommodate her, and was about to give the ticket to another passenger when Troy and Karasinski stepped in. “I look up, and the state troopers are standing there and they’re both handing over their credit cards,” Judson told NBC News. “I’m telling them that they don’t have to do this. This is crazy. They said, ‘It’s already done. We want you to be home with their families.’” A rabbi who sat Shiva with the Pollack family confirmed that Judson made it home to be with the family and to attend Meadow’s funeral on Friday, where the Miami Herald reported that she was described as a star with “a smile like sunshine.” Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, and her older brother, Hunter, both lamented the fact that they couldn’t protect her when she needed them. “This piece of (expletive) killed my kid, and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Andrew Pollack said, according to the Herald. “That’s never happened to me in my life. I’m always able to protect my family in any situation.” Hunter Pollack said he always looked out for his sister.  “I wanted to be the over-supportive brother my whole life, and I feel like I failed,” Hunter said. “So all I can do is hope that (her killer) gets what he deserves.” Judson told NBC News that the troopers’ gesture to get her to the funeral made her heart “full and heavy at the same time.” New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II told the news station in a statement that, as law enforcement officials, all troopers take an oath to protect and serve.  “We also instill in our members the importance of acting with respect and empathy for the people they encounter,” Beach said.  Troy told the news station that he sympathized with Judson’s dilemma. “The sense of just being there for your family and friends, you want to be there for them,” Troy said. “You’re going to go through anything to get there.” Explaining that he has five younger sisters, the trooper said it was a “sigh of relief” to be able to help Judson. “If that was one of them, I’d want someone to help them out,” he said. 
  • The White House on Monday signaled that President Donald Trump is willing to back at least one bipartisan measure to strengthen the national instant check system for those who buy firearms, as Democrats in the House and Senate continued to argue that action by the Congress on gun violence is long overdue. “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In a written statement sent to reporters, Sanders said the President spoke to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Friday; the Texas Republican has a bipartisan bill with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), which would force states and federal agencies to submit more information into the instant gun check system. Our churches and schools should be refuges where children and parents feel secure. Many of these shootings can be prevented. There's no reason not to advance #FixNICS to help https://t.co/0JpZDiLPOr — Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) February 15, 2018 Interesting morning. Two quick thoughts: 1/ Trump's support for the FixNICS Act, my bill with @JohnCornyn, is another sign the politics of gun violence are shifting rapidly. 2/ No one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic. — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 19, 2018 After a mass shooting last November in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 25 people died, the Air Force acknowledged that the killer – who received a ‘bad conduct’ discharge from the military – should not have been able to buy guns, but those records were never placed in the instant check system. “For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn said in November when he introduced this bipartisan gun measure.” Democrats had hoped there would be action on that measure – just like they had hoped there would have been action to ban “bump stocks” after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, action on the “No Fly, No Buy” measure after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, and then the “FixNics” bill after the Texas shooting. I know assault rifles. I carried one in Iraq. They have no place on America's streets. #Orlando pic.twitter.com/ibKQE2PpqF — Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 14, 2016 Last week’s shooting in Florida simply put all of those requests for legislation to deal with guns on repeat for Democrats. “We can’t ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). “And so, I’m asking – no, demanding – we take action now.” Democrats would certainly like to do much more than the ‘FixNics’ bill, or banning bump stocks, as other ideas have popped up in recent days, like not allowing anyone under age 21 to buy weapons like an AR-15. But as the President returned to Washington on Monday evening from a long weekend at his Florida retreat, it wasn’t clear if his support for one bipartisan plan would actually mean action – as GOP leaders have not put such measures on the fast track to a vote in the House and Senate. On Sunday, when the President met with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Florida, the two men discussed a series of issues, including “the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida.” The White House statement on their meeting did not characterize whether legislative action was discussed. No action will happen on anything gun-related this week – as the Congress won’t be back on Capitol Hill for votes until February 26.