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911 dispatcher dies in crash; husband hears emergency call on scanner 

A Minnesota man listening to emergency dispatch audio learned that his wife, a 911 dispatcher, was killed in a crash with a wrong-way driver as she headed for work, the Star Tribune reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jenna L. Bixby, 30, died Saturday night in the head-on crash in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, authorities said. Her husband, Daniel Bixby, was listening to the audio that first reported the crash, according to Andrew Williams, who heads two Twin Cities scanner monitoring groups online, the Star Tribune reported.

The crash was reported at 8 p.m. Two hours later, State Patrol troopers contacted Daniel Bixby and confirmed that his wife had died.

“A few of us were listening at the same time last night and messaging back and forth,” Williams told the Star Tribune. “Maybe two hours later, Dan sent a message on the board that troopers came and told him it was his wife. Yeah, it’s tough.”

The wrong-way driver was identified as retired minister Richard J. Shaka, 72, of Blaine. He was in critical condition, authorities said. Troopers said alcohol consumption by Shaka appears to have been a factor in the collision.

Jenna Bixby worked the past 3½ years as a 911 dispatcher for the city of Minneapolis, according to city records.

“Minneapolis’ Emergency Communications staff work day and night to keep people safe,” Mayor Jacob Frey said Sunday. “As a 911 dispatcher, that’s what Jenna Bixby did for years -- and what she was on her way to do at City Hall when her life was tragically taken late last night.”

Shaka taught at North Central University in Minneapolis in the Bible and Theology Department from 1996 until he retired in 2011. Shaka also founded a Twin Cities nonprofit organization that builds orphanages and youth centers in his native Sierra Leone, the Star Tribune reported.

Substitute teacher fired after video surfaces showing him slamming student

A substitute teacher at Western Guilford Middle School, in Guilford County, North Carolina, was fired after a video surfaced of him body-slamming a student.

The student, Jose Escudero, told WGHP that the altercation started because of a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.

>> Read more trending news 

Jose said the teacher took the box, throwing it into a sink, WGHP reported.

The 12-year-old said he waited until end of class to ask for the chocolate to be returned.

Jose said he put them in his bag and the substitute teacher tried to grab the candy, WGHP reported

Jose said the teacher then grabbed him and held him against the wall before throwing him over his shoulder to the ground.

The student said he had bruises on his elbow, shoulder and back.

Jose’s mother shared the video of Jose falling to the floor on Facebook saying she wants justice.

Guilford County Schools spokeswoman Tina Firesheets told WGHP that the teacher is no longer a district employee.

The Escuderos told WGHP that they’re looking into legal action against both the school and teacher, whose name has not been released.

WSOCTV.COM contributed to this report.

Who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? 13 things to know about Parkland high school’s namesake

When an accused teenage gunman opened fire on his former classmates last week, he wore a maroon polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of the school from which he’d been expelled -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The name Stoneman Douglas has become synonymous with the tragedy that ended with 17 people dead and the accused killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, charged with murdering them. But who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

Douglas, who died in 1998 at the age of 108, was a journalist and advocate of the women’s suffrage movement. She may be most well-known, however, for her efforts to save the Florida Everglades, which are not far from the school bearing her name.

>> Read more trending news

Below are some of the details from Douglas’ remarkable life.

  • Marjory Stoneman, who was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, showed a tendency for excellence early on. According to the National Park Service, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Wellesley College, where she was elected “class orator.”
  • Following a brief marriage to a man named Kenneth Douglas, she moved to Florida in 1915 to reunite with her father, Frank Stoneman, who she had not seen since she was a child. The first publisher of the Miami Herald, Stoneman hired his daughter as a society columnist. 
  • Moving through various duties at the Herald, Douglas established herself as a noteworthy writer, the National Park Service said. It was as a journalist that she embraced activism, fighting for feminism, racial justice and conservation of nature. 
  • It was around 1917 that Douglas took on a passionate role in advocating for the preservation of the Everglades. NPR reported that most people at the time considered the Everglades “a worthless swamp,” but Douglas disagreed. 
  • “We have all these natural beauties and resources,” Douglas said in a 1981 NPR interview, when she was 91 years old. “Among all the states, there isn’t another state like it. And our great problem is to keep them as they are in spite of the tremendous increase of population of people who don’t necessarily understand the nature of Florida.”
  • Douglas in 1947 published her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” described by the National Park Service as the “definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect.” Later that year, she was an honored guest when President Harry Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park, according to the National Wildlife Federation.  
  • In the 1950s, Douglas railed against a major project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a system of canals, levees, dams and pumping stations designed to protect marshland -- now used for agriculture and real estate -- from flooding. The National Park Service credits Douglas with fighting the destruction of the wetlands long before scientists realized the effects it would have on Florida’s ecosystem.
  • In 1969, she founded the nonprofit Friends of the Everglades, which continues to fight for the wetlands today. 
  • Co-author John Rothchild, in the introduction to Douglas’ autobiography, described watching her speak at a 1973 public meeting regarding a Corps of Engineers permit: “When she spoke, everybody stopped slapping (mosquitoes) and more or less came to order. She reminded us all of our responsibility to nature and I don’t remember what else. Her voice had the sobering effect of a one-room schoolmarm’s. The tone itself seemed to tame the rowdiest of the local stone crabbers, plus the developers and the lawyers on both sides. I wonder if it didn’t also intimidate the mosquitoes. The request for a Corps of Engineers permit was eventually turned down. This was no surprise to those of us who’d heard her speak.”
  • Douglas was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame a year later
  • When discussing the issue of mankind and humans’ attitude toward nature, Douglas pulled no punches. “I’ll tell you, the whole thing is an enormous battle between man’s intelligence and his stupidity,” she told NPR. “And I’m not at all sure that stupidity isn’t going to win out in the long run.”
  • She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She later donated the medal to Wellesley College. 
  • On the same day she received the medal from President Clinton, Douglas was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly called the Brady Bill, according to the Daily Beast. The bill, named for Jim Brady, the press secretary critically injured during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, established a federal background check for those wanting to purchase a firearm.

Cruz passed a background check in February 2017 when he legally bought the assault rifle used in last week’s massacre at Stoneman Douglas. 

Louisville basketball team stripped of 2013 NCAA title

The NCAA stripped the University of Louisville of its 2013 national basketball title and mandated that the school must vacate 123 wins between 2011 and 2015, the organization said on its website Tuesday. The decision by an NCAA panel denied the Cardinals' appeals in a sex scandal case.

>> Read more trending news

The NCAA’s appeals committee also upheld the Division I Committee’s decision in June 2017 to require the university to return money it received through conference revenue sharing for its appearances in NCAA basketball tournaments during 2012 and 2013, when the Cardinals appeared in the Final Four; and tournament appearances in 2014 and 2015.

It is the first time in modern Division I men's basketball history that a championship was vacated. The Louisville-Courier Journal reported.

The decision ended a two-year process that began after a book published by Katina Powell sparked an NCAA probe in October 2015. In “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” Powell alleged that former Louisville basketball staff member Andre McGee paid women thousands of dollars and gave them game tickets to dance for and have sex with players and recruits, the Courier-Journal reported.

Louisville officials imposed a postseason ban for the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA tournaments, and then added recruiting sanctions after confirming Powell’s allegations, the Courier Journal reported. Former coach Rick Pitino was suspended for five conference games and appealed the ruling. Pitino dropped the appeal after he was fired in October 2017 after an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting practices included allegations against the school, the Courier-Journal reported.

In its appeal, Louisville argued that the penalties were “excessive,” the NCAA said. 

Florida teen brings knife to school with list of students' names, deputies say

A Florida high school student was arrested Monday after deputies said he brought a knife, gas mask and other disturbing items to school.

>> Read more trending news

Benjamin Mendoza, 18, was booked into the Collier County Jail on charges of possession of a weapon on school property and interfering/disrupting school administration functions. 

Deputies said they received a tip about Mendoza Friday from someone who said Mendoza had brought a gas mask to Palmetto Ridge High School and previously had made disturbing comments to him about the Las Vegas mass shooting.

>> Related: FBI didn't investigate tip about Nikolas Cruz before deadly school shooting

When confronted at the school, northwest of Naples, detectives found several items in Mendoza’s backpack, including: 

  • A fake, but realistic-looking, Los Angeles Police Department badge;  
  • A drawing of a body with bullet holes to the chest and the words “dead ha ha dead” written on the back of the paper; 
  • A small notebook containing stories and drawings depicting victims and suspects in murders and other crimes;  
  • A Palmetto Ridge High School map; and
  • A note that said “shoot up school” and “school shoot animae (cq) dead.”

Other students also told detectives that they saw Mendoza with a knife and gas mask at school. 

Dallas Mayor pro tem tells NRA it can hold annual convention someplace else

The National Rifle Association was planning to hold its annual convention in Dallas, but a city lawmaker has asked the gun lobby group to consider finding another host city. 

Dwaine Caraway warned the NRA that it will be met with “marches and demonstrations” if the group still holds its three-day meeting in the city in which he serves as mayor pro tem, ABC News reported.

The  147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits are scheduled to be held May 4-6. It is free for all NRA members. 

>> Read more trending news 

Caraway told ABCNews that he is “putting all citizens first” with his request to the NRA to reconsider.

If the group moves the meeting, Dallas could lose up to $40 million from the 80,000 members attending, USAToday reported.

The NRA responded after Caraway’s request.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesperson for the NRA, told WFAA, “No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city. We are already there. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members. Our members work in fire stations and police departments. They save lives in local hospitals and own businesses in communities, urban and rural, throughout the country.”

>>Complete coverage of 2017 NRA Convention in Atlanta 

Fox News reported that Caraway is a gun owner who says he believes in the Second Amendment, but is challenging the NRA to come to the table to work with leaders to increase gun safety through laws.

The NRA has come under fire after the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 students and teachers were killed and more than a dozen were wounded, NBC News reported.

The gunman, who is 19 years old, owned 10 rifles, CNN reported. He was able to buy them legally, Fox News and The Associated Press reported. That was despite having previous treatment at a mental health clinic and comments on YouTube, attributed to him, that he was going to be a professional school shooter, the AP reported. The FBI said it couldn’t confirm who posted the comment, the AP reported.

Last year, the NRA held its annual convention in Atlanta. President Donald Trump was a keynote speaker during the meetings, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

>>Watch: Donald Trump speech at NRA convention

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was also a speaker at last year’s meetings. He currently has an A-plus rating by the NRA, which helped him get re-elected last year, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

Students and their families who were directly affected by last week’s shooting are now speaking out against Scott and anyone who has been backed by the NRA.

Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to the Tampa Bay Times, said that, “These people who are being funded by the NRA are not going to be allowed to remain in office when midterm elections roll around. They’re going to be voted out of office.” 

This year’s event guest speakers include NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Benghazi survivor Mark Geist, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. and political commentator Tomi Lahren.

Related: 

George, Amal Clooney donate $500,000 to Parkland shooting survivors

Nearly a week after the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, George and Amal Clooney have announced they will participate in The March For Our Lives on March 24 and have donated $500,000 to the group.

>> Read more trending news 

The celebrity couple made the announcement in a statement from George Clooney. People reported the donation was made in the name of the couple’s 8-month-old twins Ella and Alexander.

“Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School,” Clooney said in a statement. “Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we’re donating $500,000 to help pay for this groundbreaking event. Our children’s lives depend on it.”

Related: Gabrielle Union, Kim Kardashian, more celebs call for gun control after Florida school shooting

The March of Our Lives event was announced by Students David Hogg, Alex Wind, Cameron Kasky, Jacqueline Coren and Emma Gonzalez, five survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school, killing 17 people.

Related: Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The March For Our Lives march will be in Washington, D.C. According to the group’s website, “the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end this epidemic of mass school shootings.”

Texas jail guard thanks inmates who aided him during heart attack 

A former Texas jail guard still becomes emotional when he thinks about the day several prisoners helped save his life when he suffered a massive heart attack.

>> Read more trending news

“Instead of overtaking me and taking my gun, and killing me or taking a hostage and escaping, they looked at me as a human being,” Gary Grimm told WFAA

Grimm, 52, was guarding prisoners in a basement holding cell at the Parker County District Courthouse on June 23, 2016, when he suffered the heart attack.

“I just slumped and went out,” Grimm told WFAA. “Next thing I remember is looking up at the ceiling in the ER (emergency room).”

The incident was captured on a courthouse surveillance video.

"They thought I was kidding," Grimm told WFAA. "I wasn't."

Inmates began shouting and banging on the holding cell walls, eventually breaking free from the cell. Their noise was heard by deputies in the courtroom, who called for paramedics after investigating the ruckus.

Grimm, who worked for more than 20 years at Texas prisons and jails, retired in December because of his heart condition. He said he always treated most inmates with respect.

“I don't care if they're a drug user, hot check writer, or child molester. They're still a human being. I don't have to like what they did, but it's not my position to be the judge and jury,” Grimm told WFAA.

Grimm said he will undergo open heart surgery this week and will have a left ventricle assistance device installed.

"I need that for at least six months, and then maybe we can have a transplant," Grimm said. 

He will get the chance for surgery thanks to the inmates that did not take advantage of Grimm’s incapacity.

"I get emotional. If they wished harm for me, all they had to do was sit there and do nothing,” Grimm told WFAA. 

Friends have started a GoFundMe page to help the family with extra expenses as Gary Grimm awaits a possible transplant.

Police: Ohio 7th-grader suffers self-inflicted wound after bringing gun to school

A seventh-grader was hospitalized after suffering an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at an Ohio middle school, police said Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

Shortly before 8 a.m., the boy shot himself in a restroom at Jackson Memorial Middle School, Jackson Township police Chief Mark Brink said.

Superintendent Christopher DiLoreto said middle school officials will decide later whether classes will be held Wednesday, WKYC reported.

Police did not say if the shooting was accidental or intentional, WOIO reported.

The boy was taken to a local hospital and his condition was unknown, police said.

As a precaution, the middle school and a high school in the Jackson Local School District in Stark County were on lockdown Tuesday, WOIO reported. All four elementary schools in the district were closed, WKYC reported.

Nobody else was injured, police said.

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