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Waffle House hero says shooter would’ve had ‘to work to kill me’; another crude Theta Tau frat video surfaces at Syracuse; more in U.S. news

Tennessee

Shooter had ‘to work to kill me’

The man who wrestled the gun away from the nearly naked Waffle House shooter in Nashville said Sunday if he were going to die, the gunman would "have to work to kill me." Police and Waffle House CEO Walter Ehmer are calling customer James Shaw Jr., 29, a hero for saving lives in the busy restaurant at which the shooter killed four people and wounded four others. Shaw, the father of a 4-year-old daughter, called his split-second decision a "selfish" act to survive — though he was glad he saved other lives, as well. Shaw said Sunday he hid behind a door near the counter after hearing shots, and a bullet likely grazed his arm. "When the gun jammed or whatever ... I hit him with the swivel door," Shaw said. He wrestled the shooter, ignoring his pain as he grabbed the hot barrel of the AR-15. Shaw threw the gun over the counter and took the shooter out of the Waffle House, where he escaped. When Shaw’s father saw him in the hospital, he had advice: "Don’t do that again." James Shaw Sr. explained: "I take no pride in him charging a loaded gun. I do take pride in him helping save the lives of other people."

Authorities search for Waffle House suspect: Nashville police said white suspect Travis Reinking, 29, escaped outside and shed his jacket, becoming naked, though he may be armed. Police hadn’t captured him by late Sunday. They said he killed worker Taurean Sanderlin, 29, and patrons Joe Perez, 20, Akilah Dasilva, 23, and Deebony Groves, 21. Chief Steve Anderson said there was no clear motive, though Reinking may have "mental issues." The AR-15 used in the shooting and a handgun authorities hadn’t recovered were among four guns that Illinois authorities took from Reinking, then an Illinois resident, after the U.S. Secret Service arrested him in July for being in a restricted area near the White House, wanting to meet President Donald Trump. His state firearms card was revoked at the FBI’s request, too. Illinois police then gave the guns to his father, who promised to keep them from Reinking. But Nashville police on Sunday said Jeffrey Reinking told them he gave the guns back.

New York

Another crude frat video surfaces

Syracuse University expelled Theta Tau fraternity over an offensive video that members say was satire, but the controversy grew with another video simulating a sexual assault of a person with disabilities. Chancellor Kent Syverud called the latest video clip "appalling and disgusting" on Sunday and acknowledged Syracuse had known about it since the first clip emerged Wednesday. Syverud said he hadn’t spoken earlier about the latest clip because of ongoing investigations. Theta Tau’s Syracuse chapter apologized Friday for the initial video that had prompted protests on campus, saying it was part of a "satirical sketch of an uneducated, racist, homophobic, misogynist, sexist, ableist and intolerant person." The chapter says "nothing like this will ever again be tolerated." Campus newspaper the Daily Orange posted the latest video Saturday. The clip appears to stem from the same event as the earlier video, which showed men laughing at performances punctuated by pantomimed sex acts and racist language. More videos are under investigation.

Columbia remembers ’68 protests

Fifty years ago today, Columbia University students angry about racism and the Vietnam War began a rebellion. Starting at noon April 23, 1968, student militants occupied Hamilton Hall, the main classroom building, and took a dean hostage for 24 hours. They stormed into the office of the university’s president, ransacked files and smoked his cigars. Hundreds of students would seize five campus buildings, attracting global attention. Then, on April 30, a thousand police officers swept in and violently cleared them out. One hundred students and 15 police officers were injured. Police made 700 arrests. "I have a very vivid memory of one cop sauntering up to one of the women and battering her head," said Hilton Obenzinger, who occupied the library. The protests were part of a year of global tumult that included Vietnam’s Tet Offensive and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. As Columbia prepared to observe today’s anniversary, some former students see parallels with today’s young activists. "When (the Parkland school shooting) happened and I saw particularly the young women speaking angrily and passionately about what had happened and what had to change, I just heard my own voice," said Nancy Biberman, who was a student at Barnard, the women’s college affiliated with Columbia.

Elsewhere

UC Berkeley elects "Furry Boi": University of California, Berkeley students named a squirrel to the student senate on April 13, the Sacramento Bee reported. "Furry Boi" initially took the form of a critter living on campus, running on platforms such as easier acorn access. But campaigner sophomore Stephen Boyle posted his real intentions and policies last week to Facebook. Boyle, who at times wore a squirrel costume, is focused on issues like environmentalism, disabilities and mental illness. Some elected student officers were far from nuts about the satirical campaign, though, saying students weren’t taking government seriously.

Nation

State bills to curtail LGBTQ rights are failing

In a striking shift, major legislation curtailing LGBTQ rights have been stymied in state capitols this year amid anxiety by Republican leaders over igniting economic backlash if they are discriminatory. In the thick of this year’s legislative sessions, LGBTQ activists were tracking about 120 proposed bills they called threats to their civil rights. Not one of them has been enacted as many sessions wind down; only two remain under serious consideration. A key factor in the shift: In the Republican-led states where these bills surface, moderate GOP lawmakers and business leaders are wary of losing events and corporations. North Carolina, Indiana and Arizona were among the states that faced backlash recently over anti-LGBTQ legislation. "Being anti-equality is not considered good politics anymore," said a Human Rights Campaign official. The change at the state level comes at a time when conservatives have a strong ally in President Donald Trump on the issue. His administration seeks to exclude transgender people from military service and promotes exemptions that allow businesses, health care providers and others to refuse to accommodate LGBTQ people based on their religious beliefs. — tbt* wires

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