AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EST
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Florida gunman had extra ammo at school, fired for 3 minutes
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — The teenager accused of using a semi-automatic rifle to kill 17 people at a Florida high school confessed to carrying out one of the nation's deadliest school shootings and carried extra ammunition in his backpack, according to a sheriff's department report released Thursday.
Nikolas Cruz told investigators that he shot students in the hallways and on the grounds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, north of Miami, the report from the Broward County Sheriff's Office said.
Cruz said he brought more loaded magazines to the school and kept them in the backpack until he got to campus.
As the gunman moved through the school, he fired into five classrooms — four on the first floor and one on the second floor, Sheriff Scott Israel said.
The shooting lasted for three minutes. The assailant then went to the third floor and dropped his AR-15 rifle and the backpack and ran out of the building, attempting to blend in with fleeing students, Israel said.
10 Things to Know for Friday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:
1. DETAILS OF FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTER'S ATTACK EMERGE
Authorities say Nikolas Cruz confessed to firing into five classrooms and several hallways with a semiautomatic rifle, killing 17 students and teachers.
2. TRUMP'S BUDGET UNDERCUTS HIS CALL FOR FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH AFTER SHOOTING
The budget proposal issued Monday would make major cuts to Medicaid, which is a main source of funding for mental health care.
Warning signs may have been missed in school shooting case
PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — Months before authorities say Nikolas Cruz walked into his former high school and slaughtered 17 people, the troubled teen began showing what may have been warning signs he was bent on violence.
"Im going to be a professional school shooter," a YouTube user with the screen name "Nikolas Cruz" posted in September.
The 19-year-old got expelled last year from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. And less than a year ago, the former Junior ROTC cadet bought a military-style AR-15 rifle.
As investigators tried to establish the motive for Wednesday's shooting rampage, students and
"I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him," 17-year-old Dakota Mutchler said after Cruz was identified as the gunman in the nation's deadliest school shooting in more than five years.
Shiffrin skis again and men's figure skating gets underway
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — American Mikaela Shiffrin is set to compete in the women's slalom for what would be her second gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics, and Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal will go for a second medal, in the men's super-G, as Day 7 gets underway.
Both skiers won medals Thursday, Shiffrin in the giant slalom and Svindal in the men's downhill. Both races had been scheduled for earlier in the games but were delayed due to high winds.
Also Friday, the men's figure-skating competition starts with the short program. Medals will be awarded after the free skate Saturday. Reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan will be the first skater in the final group, followed by American star Nathan Chen, Russian skater Mikhail Kolyada and countryman Shoma Uno.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
'Dreamers' left in limbo as Senate rejects immigration bills
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate left hundreds of thousands of "Dreamer" immigrants in limbo Thursday, rejecting rival plans that would have spared them from deportation and strengthened the nation's border security. Senators dealt President Donald Trump an especially galling defeat as more than a quarter of fellow Republicans abandoned him on an issue that helped propel him to the White House.
Also defeated was a plan by a bipartisan group of senators who offered a compromise that would have shielded the young immigrants and financed Trump's demands for money to build his coveted border wall with Mexico, though more gradually than he wants. Eight Republicans joined most Democrats in backing that plan, but it fell short after the White House threatened a veto and GOP leaders opposed it.
The day's votes, in which four separate proposals were defeated, illustrated anew Congress' steep challenge in striking a deal on an issue that's proven intractable for years and on which each party's most fervent supporters refuse to budge. The outcome suggested there may be no permanent solution soon to help the Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children, despite their sky-high support in public polling.
The Senate votes left the young immigrants facing a March 5 deadline that Trump has given Congress for restoring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, that he annulled last year. Federal courts have blocked him temporarily from dismantling the Obama-era initiative, but without congressional action the immigrants will face growing risks of deportation as their protections expire.
"Dreamers" are immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and now risk deportation because they lack permanent authorization to stay. DACA gives them the ability to live and work in the U.S. for two-year periods that can be renewed.
Florida shooting revives debate over gun age requirement
Just months after his 18th birthday, Nikolas Cruz went to a Florida gun store to buy a weapon. But there were limits on what he could purchase at his age.
Cruz wasn't old enough to buy any of the handguns at the store. But there's no such restriction for rifles, shotguns or the AR-15 that police say he used to carry out the nation's deadliest school shooting in more than five years.
The young age of the man accused in the Florida high school shooting that killed 17 people has revived the debate over age requirements for gun purchases in a country where a patchwork of laws and rural states steeped in hunting culture allow kids as young as 14 to buy rifles.
In most states, it's easier for teenagers to buy rifles than handguns.
Federal law requires someone to be at least 21 to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer, but only 18 in most places to buy a long gun. In some states — mostly rural places with a strong tradition of hunting — you can buy a rifle at the age of 14 or 16.
Court received 1.17 million war crimes claims from Afghans
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Since the International Criminal Court began collecting material three months ago for a possible war crimes case involving Afghanistan, it has gotten a staggering 1.17 million statements from Afghans who say they were victims.
The statements include accounts of alleged atrocities not only by groups like the Taliban and the Islamic State, but also involving Afghan Security Forces and government-affiliated warlords, the U.S.-led coalition, and foreign and domestic spy agencies, said Abdul Wadood Pedram of the Human Rights and Eradication of Violence Organization.
Based in part on the many statements, ICC judges in The Hague would then have to decide whether to seek a war crimes investigation. It's uncertain when that decision will be made.
The statements were collected between Nov. 20, 2017, and Jan. 31, 2018, by organizations based in Europe and Afghanistan and sent to the ICC, Pedram said. Because one statement might include multiple victims and one organization might represent thousands of victim statements, the number of Afghans seeking justice from the ICC could be several million.
"It is shocking there are so many," Pedram said, noting that in some instances, whole villages were represented. "It shows how the justice system in Afghanistan is not bringing justice for the victims and their families."
Flu shot only 36
NEW YORK (AP) — The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that's causing most illnesses.
Preliminary figures released Thursday suggest the vaccine is 36
There's only been one other time in the last decade when the flu vaccine did a worse job.
Most illnesses this winter have been caused by a nasty kind of flu called Type A H3N2. The vaccine was only 25
This kind of virus tends to cause more suffering and have been responsible for the worst recent flu seasons. But experts have wondered whether low vaccine effectiveness is another reason for the surprisingly severe season hitting the United States this winter.
Trump cites mental health _ not guns _ in speech on shooting
WASHINGTON (AP) — Declaring the nation united and grieving with "one heavy heart," President Donald Trump promised Thursday to tackle school safety and "the difficult issue of mental health" in response to the deadly shooting in Florida. He made no mention of the scourge of gun violence.
Not always a natural in the role of national comforter, Trump spoke deliberately, at one point directly addressing children who may feel "lost, alone, confused or even scared."
"I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be," Trump said. "You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you."
While Trump stressed the importance of mental health and school safety improvements, his latest budget request would slash Medicaid, the major source of federal funding for treating mental health problems, and cut school safety programs by more than a third. Last year, he signed a resolution blocking an Obama-era rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of certain mentally disabled people.
The president spoke to the nation from the White House, one day after a former student with an AR-15 rifle opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 14 more. It was the nation's deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years ago.
After 'kind of puking,' Shiffrin in 4th after 1st slalom run
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Not feeling so hot, Mikaela Shiffrin was fourth after a steady opening run of the Olympic slalom Friday as she tries to defend her title.
The American standout was 0.48 seconds behind leader Wendy Holdener of Switzerland heading into the second run later in the day. There were seven competitors all within a second of Holdener's time of 48.89 seconds.
Shiffrin, who won the giant slalom the day before, was asked in an NBC interview about throwing up before stepping into the starting gate for her slalom run.
"That was kind of sudden. It almost felt like a virus," Shiffrin said, laughing. "Kind of puking, less about nerves. But we'll see."
Shiffrin won the slalom four years ago at the Sochi Games and is aiming to become the first to defend his or her Olympic title in the discipline.