5 things to know: Thursday - FOX34 Lubbock

5 things to know: Thursday

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Former student opens fire at Florida high school, killing 17

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) - A former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at a Florida high school yesterday, killing at least 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets in the nation's deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The shooter, who was equipped with a gas mask and smoke grenades, set off a fire alarm to draw students out of classrooms shortly before the day ended at one of the state's largest schools, officials said.

Authorities offered no immediate details on the 19-year-old suspect or any possible motive, except to say that he had been kicked out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which has about 3,000 students.

Students who knew the shooter, identified as Nikolas Cruz, described a volatile teenager whose strange behavior had caused others to end friendships with him, particularly after the fight that led to his expulsion.

The suspect was taken into custody without a fight in a residential neighborhood about a mile away. He had multiple magazines of ammunition, authorities said.

Most of the fatalities were inside the building, though some victims were found outside. The dead included a football coach, the sheriff said.

More than a dozen other people were wounded and taken to hospitals, doctors said.

Victoria Olvera, a junior at the school, said Cruz was expelled last school year because he got into a fight with his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. She said he had been abusive to his girlfriend.

The school was to be closed for the rest of the week.

Lubbock police investigate child death, hit by vehicle

(LUBBOCK, TX) – Officers with the Accident Investigation Unit are investigating the death of Damion Mendoza who was struck by a pickup truck around 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Through the initial investigation, it appears a man went to a home in the area of 4400 43rd Street to look at a car for sale. During this time, children were playing in the front yard.

The man, who had parked the pickup truck along the curb, got into the vehicle to leave. At some point, it appears 18-month-old Damion Mendoza went into the roadway in front of the truck.

Mendoza was struck as the pickup began to move forward. The driver, along with a relative of the child, immediately transported him to the hospital.

Mendoza was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.

At this time, all involved parties are cooperating with investigators. This case remains under investigation by the LPD Accident Investigation Unit.

American hero and Medal of Honor recipient speaks in Lubbock

LUBBOCK, Texas - An American hero and Marine awarded the nation's highest honor who now advocates for families of service members killed in the line of duty speaks in Lubbock Wednesday. 

Hershel "Woody" Williams joined the service like thousands of others after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Despite enthusiastically joining, he was not quite  prepared for what was to come.

"As a 19-year-old, well 18, 19-year-old, I didn't know that I would have to go to a foreign land and fight somebody I never had heard tale of," he said. "So it wasn't until I got in boot camp that I realized that I was going to have to go with the others to the Pacific that I never even heard tale of. I wasn't even sure we had a Pacific."

So he went off to war, serving in the infamous Battle of Iwo Jima. On Feb. 23, 1945 he saw battle for the first time. His squadron gone, his remaining brothers in arms taking fire from fortified Japanese Machine Guns.

Woody rose to the challenge. Supported only by four riflemen, he crawled through the mud and dirt, avoiding a barrage of bullets toward the bunkers.

Accounts of the battle note Woody crossed enemy lines multiple times to swap out flame throwers, each time charging back to clear the way for American forces to take the island.

President Truman awarded him the honor in Oct. of 1945. Since then he has been traveling the country advocating for families of the men and women who serve and die in uniform. 

At 94 years old, he shows no signs of stopping. 

Stolen rides are on the rise in Lubbock

LUBBOCK, Texas - There was a steady rise in the number of auto thefts in the city and in Lubbock county during 2017. It's become one of the most common crimes now, the targeted vehicles are of all makes and models.

"We had approximately 1800 vehicles that were stolen in 2017," said Mandy Myers, analyst and crime prevention coordinator for the Lubbock auto theft task force."But we still had a really great recovery rate of approximately 1650 to 1700 recovered." 

Recovering those vehicles required a joint effort from LPD units and sheriff deputies patrolling the streets and utilizing various resources. 

"They are out running license plate readers things like that," said Myers. "That's one tool that we can utilize that reads all the license plates around the area and anything stolen will of course come up on that, but a lot of its just good people working hard to recover the vehicles."

Myers adds that some vehicle owners get lucky while others just have to wait it out, most crooks take advantage of an opportunity provided by the victims and most seem to think that vehicle theft is just a one victim crime or a one time occurrence. 

"It's a crime that goes on and on people are stealing the vehicles," said Myers. "They are either going to commit other crimes, other thefts around the county things like that or like we saw at the beginning of the year there was quite a few police chases in the stolen vehicles." 

It is important that you do the due diligence and don't make it easy for these criminals, simple enough, do not leave your car running or leave your keys inside the ignition. 

President Trump speaks out on domestic violence

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Trump broke his silence on domestic abuse following days of controversy involving former White House aide Rob Porter.

Porter left his job after his two ex-wives went public last week with claims of spousal abuse, which Porter denies.

In Trump's earlier responses to the scandal, he praised Porter's character and said accused abusers deserve due process.

tTose comments prompted days of calls for a stronger statement from Trump on the issue.

"I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind," Trump said. "Everyone knows that, and it almost wouldn't even have to be said, so now you hear it, but you all know it."

There is still a sense of unease about the fate of Chief of Staff John Kelly who is under fire for mishandling the departure of Porter last week.

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