News Roundup

A California man with connections to North Carolina, Kevin Janson Neal, killed five people and wounded eight others in a shooting spree in Northern California this week.  After killing his wife, Neal drove the streets of Rancho Tehama firing randomly at houses and other structures.  Eventually, Neal approached an elementary school and fired multiple shots into the building.  The sound of the shots caused school officials to lock the building down, preventing Neal from entering the school and likely saving many lives.  Keep reading for more news.

NC Connection.  WRAL has a report that discusses Neal’s connections to North Carolina.  According to the report, Neal grew up in Cary and some of his family still lives in the area.  In an interview, Neal’s sister said the family is heartbroken for the victims and recounts the family’s struggle to get mental health treatment for Neal.

Homemade Rifles.  Like Devin Kelley, the perpetrator of the mass shooting in Texas some days ago, Neal was prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of the shooting.  Neal had been charged months ago with assaulting a neighbor, who was one of the first victims of the shooting, and a protective order issued in connection with that incident required that he turn over any firearms he possessed.  It has been reported that Neal carried out the attack with unregistered AR-15 style rifles that he manufactured at his home.

Bail.  Neal had been charged with assaulting his neighbor by stabbing her, but he was out on bail with respect to those charges at the time of the shooting.  Though details of the situation are still developing, an editorial in the L.A. Times says that Neal likely had a relatively high bail (the editorial reports it as $300,000) and argues that the incident is evidence of the shortcomings of money bail systems.  The editorial suggests that the state move from money bail in favor of a risk-assessment model.

Menendez Mistrial.  The federal corruption trial of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez ended this week in a mistrial because of a deadlocked jury.  NBC News says that the jury deadlocked 10-2 with the majority leaning towards acquittal.  The corruption charges arose from allegations that a wealthy ophthalmologist, Salomon Melgen, provided Menendez with gifts and campaign contributions in exchange for Menendez using his senate seat to benefit Melgen.

Opioid Suit.  The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the ongoing opioid epidemic has motivated Buncombe County to file a federal lawsuit against various pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute opioids.  The lawsuit reportedly is a public nuisance suit and the county is seeking money damages.

GRE.  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the Wake Forest University School of Law will begin accepting GRE scores as an alternative to LSAT scores next year.  Eight other law schools around the country also accept the GRE, according to a press release from Wake Forest Law.

Thinking About Last Night.  It’s a dangerous world out there folks, and few know this better than counterterrorism supervisors in the FBI’s international terrorism section.  Counterterrorism supervisors stay attentive at all times, never waking up after a night of heavy drinking with strangers at a Charlotte hotel to discover that one of the strangers has stolen their Glock, their Rolex, and their cash.

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