- Three people were shot and two were killed on Tuesday during another night of unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
- On Wednesday, authorities arrested and charged a 17-year-old with first-degree intentional homicide in connection to the shootings, though they did not say if he was being charged for one or both of the fatalities.
- Video footage from the night shows the suspect running from a group of people before seemingly shooting a man who lunged at him in the head. After that, he ran from the scene and was heard telling someone on the phone: “I just killed somebody.”
- The footage then shows the suspect being chased by more people shouting “that’s the shooter.” He appeared to fall, and as three people rushed him, he fired three shots, hitting one person in the chest and another in the arm.
- The suspect then ran down the block to where police were stationed, lifting his arms up in apparent surrender, but multiple police cars drove right past him, reportedly to go aid the victims.
17-Year-Old Charged in Shooting
A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with first-degree intentional homicide on Wednesday in connection to three shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that left two dead and one injured.
The shootings took place on Tuesday, marking the third night of unrest in the city following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot in the back by a police officer seven times. Despite an 8 p.m. county-mandated curfew, many people took to the streets, including groups of armed civilians.
Some of those individuals were described by the reporters as armed counterprotesters, but others were self-declared militia members who police also described as vigilante militia groups.
Many of the armed people claimed they were there to protect the city, but as the night progressed, those groups could be seen facing off with protestors. Then at 11:45 p.m., three people were shot, according to police.
Timeline of Events
Little has been confirmed by authorities about what happened leading up to the incident and after it. However, because the alleged shooter appears in a number of videos taken throughout the night, some outlets have been able to piece together a timeline, including the New York Times, which has used available footage to track the suspect throughout the night.
A few hours before the shooting, the suspect appeared in several interviews with people on the ground, the Times reported.
One of the most circulated clips of the alleged shooter was taken by a videographer with the conservative blog The Daily Caller.
“People are getting injured, our job is to protect this business, and part of my job is to also help people,” the suspect said in the video. “If there’s somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle because I need to protect myself, obviously. I also have my med kit.”
According to the Times, about 15 minutes before the first shooting, police officers offered water to a group of armed civilians that included the alleged shooter. Video footage shows the suspect then walking up to police vehicles and talking to the officers.
“We appreciate you guys, we really do,” an officer told the group through a megaphone.
Six minutes after that, per the timeline outlined by the Times, footage showed the suspect being chased by a group of people into the parking lot of a car dealership. As he ran an unknown gunman fired into the air. The suspect turned towards the sound of that gunfire and someone lunged toward him from that direction.
He fired four times and seemed to hit the person in the head. Video taken shortly after that shows him running away from the person he just shot in the head while talking on the phone.
“I just killed somebody,” he can be heard saying as he runs.
Several people chased him as he fleed the scene, and some were heard shouting, “That’s the shooter!”
While running, the suspect appeared to trip and fall. Three people came toward him and he fired four shots. One person seemed to be hit in the chest and fell to the ground, and another, who was carrying a handgun, was hit in the arm.
The Times also pointed out that the suspect’s gunfire was “mixed in with the sound of at least 16 other gunshots,” adding, “As this happens, police vehicles just one block away remain stationary during the gunfire.”
The footage then showed the suspect walking towards the police vehicles with his hands up — seemingly surrendering. Bystanders can be heard yelling to the officers and saying he had just shot people, but multiple police vehicles drove by him without stopping, reportedly to go help the victims.
Arrest & Background
The following morning, officials arrested the suspect in his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, just 20 minutes southwest Kenosha.
Authorities have not yet said if he is being charged for both of the fatal shootings or just one. Notably, a police complaint filed in Illinois also said that after committing homicide in Wisconsin, the suspect fled “with the intent to avoid prosecution for that offense.”
He is currently being held in Illinois awaiting a trial that would extradite him to Wisconsin, where he will be tried as an adult under the state’s laws.
Following the arrest, more information began to surface about the alleged shooter. According to BuzzFeed News, which looked into his social media profiles, the suspect appeared obsessed with law enforcement and was a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and Blue Lives matter. The outlet also obtained a photo of him that appears to show him at a Trump rally at the start of this year.
Authorities have not said if he was a part of any of the militia groups that were in Kenosha Tuesday night, and the Anti-Defamation League also told reporters that there is no indication from his social media accounts that he was connected to any extremist movements.
Editor’s Note: Rogue Rocket has chosen not to include the name or photo of the suspect in this case and therefor will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.
Amazon Backs GOP Bill to Legalize Marijuana in Effort to Ramp Up Lobbying
The proposal is the first Republican-sponsored marijuana bill Amazon has backed since the company first began lobbying for legalization last summer.
Amazon Endorses States Reform Act
Amazon announced Tuesday that it is endorsing a Republican-backed proposal to legalize marijuana.
The move comes as the e-commerce giant has ramped up its efforts to legalize cannabis on the federal level since it came out in support of the idea last summer. Amazon argues that the move would remove hiring barriers — which disproportionately impact people of color — and, in turn, could increase the company’s application pool and boost employee retention.
The company has previously backed similar proposals by forward by Democrats, but Tuesday’s announcement marks the first time Amazon has put its support behind a Republican-sponsored bill aimed at addressing the issue.
The legislation, called the States Reform Act, was authored by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). Among other measures, it would remove cannabis as a Schedule I substance, allow states to create their own laws, impose an excise tax, and regulate the drug in a similar fashion to alcohol.
While Mace’s bill is fundamentally very similar to others put forth by Democrats, by proposing it herself, the Republican hopes to rally other members of her party around the idea that legalization is pro-business, pro-state’s rights, and anti-big government.
The measure has already received support from the highly influential conservative group, American’s for Prosperity, which is funded by the Koch brothers.
Mace and Amazon have painted the company’s endorsement as a game-changer for garnering more support — both from other large corporations and politicians on either side of the aisle. Mace specifically told reporters she believes Amazon’s decision will push other companies to do the same. If more major corporations like Amazon back the effort, other Republicans may be more persuaded to jump on board.
That sentiment was echoed by Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, who said in an interview with The Washington Post that the company was “particularly excited by Congresswoman Mace’s bill” because “it shows that there’s bipartisan support for this issue.”
Huseman also emphasized that, as part of its decision to back her bill, Amazon will use its powerful influence in Washington to try and drum up bipartisan support.
“We are talking with members of both parties, including Republicans, about why we think this is the right thing to do, especially from the standpoint of a major employer and what this means for our business and our employees and broadening the employee base,” he continued.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Forbes) (Marijuana Moment)
CDC Data Shows Booster Shots Provide Effective Protection Against Omicron
Public health experts have encouraged Americans to get boosted to protect themselves against the omicron variant, but less than 40% of fully vaccinated people who are eligible for their third shot have received it.
A First Glimpse of Official Data on Boosters and Omicron
COVID-19 booster shots are effective at preventing Americans from contracting omicron and protecting those who do become infected from severe illness, according to three reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published Friday.
The reports mark the first real-world data regarding the highly infectious variant and how it has impacted the U.S.
One of the CDC reports, which studied data from 25 state and local health departments, found that there were 149 cases per 100,000 people among those had been boosted on average each week.
In comparison, the figure was 255 cases per 100,000 people in Americans who had only received two shots.
Another study that looked at nearly 88,000 hospitalizations in 10 states found that the third doses were 90% effective at preventing hospitalization.
By contrast, those who received just two shots were only 57% protected against hospitalization by the time they were eligible for a booster six months after their second dose.
Additionally, the same report also found that the boosters were 82% effective at preventing visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers, a marked increase from the 38% efficacy for those who were six months out from their two-shot regime and had not yet received a third.
Low Booster Shot Vaccination Rates
Public health officials hope that the new data will urge more Americans to get their booster shots.
Since the emergence of omicron, experts and leading political figures have renewed their efforts to encourage people to get their third shots, arguing they are the best form of protection.
The CDC currently recommends that everyone 12 and older get a booster shot five months after their second shot of Pfizer and Moderna or two months after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Still, in the U.S., less than 40% of fully vaccinated individuals eligible for a third shot have gotten one.
While COVID cases in the country have begun to drop over the past several days from their peak of over 800,000 average daily infections, the figures are still nearly triple those seen in the largest previous surges.
Hospitalizations have also slowly begun to level out over the last week in places that were hit first, such as New York City and Boston, but medical resources still remain strained in many parts of the country that experienced later surges and have not yet seen cases slow.
Some experts predict that the U.S. will see a sharp decline in omicron cases, as experienced in South Africa and Britain. Still, they urge American’s to get boosted to ensure their continued protection from the variant, as well as other strains that will emerge.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CNN) (The New York Times)
California Bill Would Allow Kids 12 and Up to Get Vaccinated Without Parental Consent
Nearly one million California teens and preteens between the ages of 12 and 17 are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
State Senator Proposes Legislation
Legislation proposed in California on Thursday would allow children age 12 and up to get vaccinated without parental consent.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced Bill 866 in the hope it could boost vaccination rates among teenagers. According to Wiener, nearly one million kids aged 12- to 17-years old remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 in the state of California.
“Unvaccinated teens are at risk, put others at risk & make schools less safe,” Wiener tweeted. “They often can’t work, participate in sports, or go to friends’ homes.”
“Many want to get vaccinated but parents won’t let them or aren’t making the time to take them. Teens shouldn’t have to rely on parents’ views & availability to protect themselves from a deadly virus.”
Currently, teens in California can receive vaccines for human papillomavirus and hepatitis B without parental consent. They can also make other reproductive or mental healthcare choices without a guardian signing off. Wiener argues that their medical autonomy should expand to all vaccines, especially during a pandemic that has already killed roughly 78,000 Californians.
Vaccine Consent Across the U.S.
“Teens shouldn’t have to plot, scheme or fight with their parents to get a vaccine,” he said. “They should simply be able to walk in & get vaccinated like anyone else.”
Bill 866 would allow any kids ages 12 and up to receive any vaccine approved or granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Pfizer’s COVID vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for those 16 and older. It has received emergency authorization for ages five through 15.
Across the United States, vaccine consent ages vary. While the vast majority of states require parental approval for minors to be vaccinated against COVID-19, kids as young as 11 can get the jab on their own in Washington, D.C. In Alabama, kids can receive it without parental consent at 14, in Oregon at 15, and in Rhode Island and South Carolina at 16. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, providers can waive consent in certain cases in Arkansas, Idaho, Washington, and Tennesee.
In October, California became the first state to announce plans to require that students receive the COVID-19 vaccine to attend class. The mandate has yet to take effect, but under the guidelines, students will be “required to be vaccinated for in person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span.”
In other words, once the FDA gives a vaccine full approval for those aged 12 and up, it will be required the following session for kids in grades 7-12. Once it does so for kids as young as five, the same process will happen for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. There will also be room for exemptions from the mandate.
The Fight to Vaccinate California
This week, a group of California state legislators formed a Vaccine Work Group in order to boost public health policies in the state. Wiener is among the several members who are “examining data, hearing from experts, and engaging stakeholders to determine the best approaches to promote vaccines that have been proven to reduce serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.”
“Vaccines protect not only individuals but also whole communities when almost everyone is vaccinated at schools, workplaces and businesses, and safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have already prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” Sen. Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) said in a press release. “Public safety is a paramount duty of government, and I am proud to join a talented group of legislators in the pro-science Vaccine Work Group who want to end this disastrous pandemic and protect Californians from death and disability by preventable diseases.”
While vaccine policies have been a divisive subject nationwide, including in California, state politicians and leaders are hopeful public health initiatives will prevail.
“If we allow disinformation to drive our state policy making we will not only see more Americans needlessly suffer and die, but we will sacrifice the long term stability of our society having effectively abandoned the idea that we all must work together to protect each other in times of crisis.” Catherine Flores Martin, the Executive Director of the California Immunization Coalition, added.