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OffbeatIn sentencing hearing, prosecutor calls Texas church bus crash a “mass killing”

23:05  08 november  2018
23:05  08 november  2018 Source:   expressnews.com

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Greg Abbott called the deadliest mass shooting in his state's history. In fact, a recent analysis of FBI data by the group Everytown for Gun Safety found that over a five-year period, 54 percent of mass shootings were related to domestic or family violence and included the killing of a partner or other

A gunman opened fire in a Texas church on Sunday, killing over two dozen parishioners. The small town of Sutherland Springs is grieving after what is now the deadliest mass Sheriff's deputies didn't pursue a sexual assault investigation against the gunman in a mass shooting at a Texas church .

UVALDE — One by one, the names of the 13 elderly church members who died last year in one of the state’s worst traffic accidents were read aloud Wednesday in the sentencing hearing of the driver who plowed into their bus.

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There is no fixed definition of a mass shooting, but a common definition is an act of violence — excluding gang killings, domestic violence

Baptist church in rural Texas , killing at least 26 people and turning this tiny town east of San Antonio into the scene of the country’s newest mass horror. a weapon, and he should have been prosecuted for lying on the form that one has to fill out for a background check when purchasing the weapons.

“They were all killed by Jack Dillon Young,” District Attorney Daniel Kindred said after naming the victims before District Judge Camile DuBose and more than 50 spectators.

“This was a mass killing not an accident,” he added, while also asserting that Young was in state of “severe intoxication” when he drove his large pickup into the small church bus on March 29, 2017.

Young, 21, of Leakey, pleaded no contest in June to 13 counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count intoxication assault. His sentencing hearing here could last several days. He faces up to life in prison.

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Texas Governor Gregg Abbott says this is worst mass shooting in Texas history. He said there are "many pieces of a complex puzzle" to put together. The citizen pursued the gunman, joined shortly by police. Freeman said the suspect crashed the car just over the county line and was found dead in the

The National Traffic Safety Board concluded recently that Young’s drug-impaired driving led to the crash.

The agency said he lost control of his truck on U.S. 83 north of Uvalde because he had misused the prescription anti-depressant clonazepam and had smoked marijuana.

The sentencing hearing will include testimony from family and friends of the victims.

“Obviously, since the accident, they have been waiting for a judicial outcome. I’m hoping that this chapter of the entire event will be closed,” said Brad McLean, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Braunfels. The victims were returning from a church retreat in the Hill Country.

In his opening remarks, Young’s lawyer, Rogelio F. Muñoz asked for mercy, calling Young a “boy” and describing the crash as an accident.

He also shared intimate details of his client’s “tragic childhood” and blamed his doctors.

“My client has accepted responsibility for each and every one of these charges. We are not here to make excuses,” Muñoz began.

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It was the worst mass killing in the state’s history. “Who are we going to be tomorrow?” Stephen Curry, a pastor from a nearby church , asked the crowd. Terri and Brooke Kalinec attend a candlelight vigil after a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas , on Nov.

Sunday’s shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas , which killed 26 people, raised the total of victims lost in mass killings this year to For its database, USA TODAY examined FBI data, which defines a mass killing as one claiming four or more victims, not including the perpetrator or

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But he said that as the child of alcoholics and the victim of a sexual assault, Young suffered from depression and was prescribed anti-depressant drugs.

But, Muñoz claimed, the doctors failed to monitor Young’s intake, leading him to “over-medicate” himself.

“That’s the tragedy of this situation. It was a terrible accident, and all these wonderful people died, but he took the medication because the doctors told him to take it,” Muñoz said.

Wearing a black suit jacket and white shirt, Young sat next to his lawyer at the defense table. His father and other family members attended the hearing.

Across the room sat several dozen church and family members.

Tears flowed on both sides of the aisle during testimony of the horrific accident.

It began with the first witness, Jody Kuchler, who with his wife had been driving behind Young. They were so alarmed by his driving they made a 14-minute video of the veering truck, and also tried to call police to intervene.

Kuchler testified that the video, which was played in court, ended just 12 seconds before the fatal accident.

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It is the deadliest mass killing in Texas history. Freeman Martin, the regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters that the gunman pulled up outside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs at about 11:20 a.m. and started shooting. He then entered the church and

Two survivors of the worst mass murder in Texas history recalled on Tuesday how a gunman yelled "everybody's going to die" and then began spraying bullets inside their Baptist church "If I spoke or if I moved he was going to kill me because he was standing there killing everyone who moved.

Fighting his emotions, Kuchler told of running to the smashed van and looking inside for survivors.

“You couldn’t even tell there was a driver. There were two people on the floor dead,” he began. “No one in that van was crying. They never asked me for help. Two ladies were conscious. They looked at me. I said, ‘Hang on, I’ve got help on the way.’”

Only one passenger in the van survived.

Kuchler said that when he approached Young, trapped in his truck, he asked him, “Do you know what you just did?”

“And he said, “I’m sorry, I was texting.” The NTSB later found that his cellphone use did not cause the crash.

At the close of his testimony, Kuchler turned to Young and addressed him again.

“You aren’t a boy. You are a grown man. You make choices. You made wrong choices,” he said

Emergency workers and law enforcement officers who had responded to the scene or later worked to analyze it also testified.

Lt. Aaron Fritch, leader of the Department of Public Safety’s state crash reconstruction team, described some of the contents of the cellphone that was seized from Young.

Although the phone did not show Young to be texting at the time of the accident, it revealed another side of him.

The phone contained numerous text messages about “bud, smoke, bars, green, ’shroons, X and oxy’s,” as well as exchanges about drug transactions involving Young as the seller.

Seated in the second row, Betty McLean, no relation to the preacher, wore a picture pinned to her chest of her deceased sister, Avis Scholl Banks.

She said Banks, who was 83, always went to the church retreats in Leakey.

“I have asked myself what I actually feel. I don’t want to see him go free. There are hard feelings, but I’m approaching it from a Christian standpoint,” she said of Young.

“I would like to stick my finger in his face, and say, ‘I’m hurt and all of the grandchildren are hurt more. They don’t have her anymore,’” she said of her sister. “I’m curious if he understands the extent of the suffering and pain.”

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