News

Ex-'Cheer' star Harris gets 12 years for seeking photos, sex

A federal judge has sentenced Jerry Harris, a former star of the Netflix documentary series “Cheer,” to 12 years in prison for coercing teenage boys to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves and soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions. U.S. District Judge Manish Shah also ordered Wednesday that the sentence be followed by eight years of court-supervised release. Shah told the 22-year-old Naperville man to consider the sentence an “expression of the seriousness of your crimes, tempered with some hope that all is not lost for you or for your victims.” Harris pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Jury finds man guilty of murdering rapper Nipsey Hussle

Jurors have found a 32-year-old man guilty of first-degree murder for the 2019 fatal shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle. The Los Angeles County jury reached its verdict in the trial of Eric R. Holder Jr. on Wednesday. The verdict brings an end to a legal saga that has lasted more than three years and a trial that was often delayed because of the pandemic. Holder and Hussle had known each other for years when a chance meeting outside the Grammy-winning rapper’s Los Angeles clothing store led to the shooting, and Hussle's death. Holder could get life in prison when he’s sentenced on Sept. 15.

4 bears killed in Alaska campground reserved for homeless

Alaska wildlife officials have killed four black bears in a campground recently reserved for people in Anchorage who are homeless after the city’s largest shelter was closed. Employees from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Tuesday killed a sow and her two cubs and another adult bear that was acting separately, stealing food from tents inside Centennial Park. The city last week closed its pandemic mass shelter, which had housed hundreds of homeless people throughout the last two years. When the shelter closed, some people who are homeless moved to Centennial Park, grabbing the 84 available spots after the campground stopped taking reservations from the public.

Scramble as last Mississippi abortion clinic shuts its doors

Mississippi’s only abortion clinic has been buzzing with activity in the chaotic days since the U.S. Supreme Court upended abortion rights nationwide. The case originated in Mississippi with the bright pink medical facility called Jackson Women's Health Organization. Physicians there have been trying to see as many patients as possible before the facility, best known as the Pink House, permanently closes its doors at the end of business Wednesday. Clashes have intensified between anti-abortion protesters and volunteers who escort patients into the clinic. Unless there’s an intervention by the state’s conservative Supreme Court, Mississippi will enact a law Thursday to ban most abortions.

South American women's soccer improving but some way to go

The next edition of the Women's Copa America soccer tournament starts on Friday in Colombia at a time when the sport is clearly evolving in South America but at different speeds and opportunities for players. Ten teams are split into two groups with two countries advancing from each group to the knockout stage. The final is on July 30. Most female players in the region have struggled to get professional contracts except for defending champion Brazil, which developed its women’s soccer organization on its own.

In the midst of chaotic shooting, strangers save a young boy

In the midst of the chaos of a Chicago-area parade massacre, a woman walked up to Greg Ring and handed him a 2-year-old boy, covered in blood. Ring took the child, who was crying for his mom and dad, to a fire station, where he was asked to keep him, while authorities tried to deal with the shooter. The family drove to Ring’s in-laws' home, where the boy sat with Ring’s 4-year-old, watching a Mickey Mouse show. It wasn’t until later they were able to identify him and reunite him with his grandparents. Aiden McCarthy’s parents, Kevin and Irina, both died in the shooting, which killed seven people and wounded more than two dozen others.

EXPLAINER: Should red-flag law have stopped parade shooting?

Days after a rooftop gunman killed seven people at a parade, attention has turned to how the assailant obtained multiple guns and whether the laws on Illinois books could have prevented the Independence Day massacre. Illinois gun laws are generally praised by gun-control advocates as tougher than in most states. But they did not stop Robert E. Crimo III from carrying out the attack in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. One focus is on the state’s so-called red-flag law, which is intended to temporarily take away guns away from people with potentially violent behavior. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws.

Rural Florida county shocked by fentanyl deaths over holiday

A small, rural county just west of Florida’s capital is stunned by an unheard-of spike in deadly drug overdoses believed to be caused by fentanyl mixed with other illegal drugs. It's a sign that the national problem is becoming even more far-reaching. Over the holiday weekend, nine people died and another nine treated for suspected fentanyl overdoes. Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young on Wednesday said in all of 2021, the county had 10 overdoses. He couldn’t recall any being fatal. The state even previously rejected a grant application to treat fentanyl overdoes because the county couldn’t identify cases involving the powerful synthetic opioid.

'Taken too soon': Remembering Highland Park shooting victims

Police on Wednesday announced the name of the seventh person to die in the Highland Park parade shooting. The paradegoers were parents and grandparents, avid travelers, dedicated synagogue members and professionals. But in a hail of gunfire, they became the latest victims in a string of horrific mass shootings. The victims are Kevin McCarthy, 37; Irina McCarthy, 35; Katherine Goldstein, 64; Stephen Straus, 88; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63; Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69.

Inquest jury starts deliberations in Seattle woman's death by police

An inquest jury has started deliberations into the actions of two Seattle police officers who fatally shot a Black pregnant mother in her apartment. The Seattle Times reports the jury will weigh responses of “Yes,” “No,” or “Unknown” to 123 questions relating to the circumstances surrounding the death of Charleena Lyles on June 18, 2017. She was killed after purportedly brandishing a knife at officers who responded to her report of a burglary. Officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew, who are white, shot her seven times. They testified that Lyles suddenly went from conversational to confrontational, pulling a knife from her pocket and advancing on officers.

Knock-knock. Are any ivory-billed woodpeckers out there?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says experts disagree strongly about whether ivory-billed woodpeckers are extinct, and it's putting off a final decision on the question to review information. The bird with a 30-inch wingspan and a high, nasal call was among 23 animals the agency said last year it was planning to declare extinct. On Wednesday, it announced a six-month delay for a decision on the ivory-billed woodpecker. It also is reopening public comment for one month, and the agency is looking for new photos or videos that are so clear that independent observers all agree they show the birds.