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Newsletter: Today: Massacre at a Texas Church

Texas church shooting
Mona Rodriguez holds her 12-year-old son, J Anthony Hernandez, during a vigil for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas.
(Nick Wagner / Associated Press)

At least 26 people were killed in another mass shooting, this time at a Texas church.

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Massacre at a Texas Church

Sutherland Springs is a rural suburb of San Antonio with just a few hundred residents. Violence tore through this small town on Sunday, when a man with a history of domestic violence opened fire using an AR-15-style assault rifle, killing 26 worshipers at the First Baptist Church and injuring 20 others. Authorities say that as the assailant left the church, a neighbor shot at him, then gave chase before the mortally wounded gunman drove off the side of a road. The shooting is the deadliest in modern Texas history and comes just six weeks after the massacre at a Las Vegas country music festival. Here is the latest.

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Texas church shooting
A woman prays with a man after a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
(Nick Wagner / Austin American-Statesman)

Trump on the Road

President Trump is in Japan for his five-country, 12-day tour of Asia, which will be heavily focused on the nuclear standoff with North Korea. From Tokyo, Trump called the Texas shooting an “act of evil” and blamed the gunman’s mental health amid meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In a mix of the heavy- and lighthearted, the two leaders have bonded over golf, including a round with the No. 4-ranked player in the world, and trucker hats. Trump’s next stops: South Korea, China, Vietnam (where he is expected to meet with Russia’s Vladimir Putin to discuss North Korea, on the sidelines of a regional trade summit) and the Philippines.

More Politics

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-- Trump called for Japan to buy U.S. anti-missile batteries to counter the growing ballistic missile threat from North Korea.

-- As part of the so-called Paradise Papers, newly leaked documents show that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has a stake in a company that does business with a gas producer partly owned by Putin’s son-in-law.

-- Authorities say Sen. Rand Paul was assaulted at his home. He reportedly suffered five broken ribs.

-- Yes, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Trump can be a “good president.” There’s a lot more to the story.

What Happened? Democrats Do More Than Look Skyward

Screaming helplessly at the sky on the first anniversary of Trump’s election Wednesday may feel therapeutic for Democrats, but it won’t help them at the ballot box. That’s why many in the party’s upper echelons are doing some painful soul-searching over what went wrong with Hillary Clinton’s campaign last year. Though former Democratic National Committee chief Donna Brazile’s book excerpts have generated headlines (contrary to Clinton critics, Brazile now says she found “no evidence” of rigging primaries in Clinton’s favor), a quieter set of discussions has taken place about what can be learned for next year’s congressional elections. This week, all eyes will be on the governors races in Virginia and New Jersey on Tuesday.

Palace Intrigue in Saudi Arabia

At least 11 princes, four sitting Cabinet members and “tens” of former ministers in Saudi Arabia were arrested over the weekend, in what’s been billed as a clampdown on corruption. The man thought to be behind it all is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been overseeing an ambitious plan to modernize the kingdom while consolidating tremendous power. Though the names of the arrestees have not been provided, one is reportedly Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men with investments in many huge Western companies.

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A Shot Across the Bow, and Nothing More

In 2016, the California medical board threatened to pull the license of Dr. Robert Sears, a celebrity in the anti-vaccine community. It was a move that seemed to signal a crackdown on doctors and parents who were hesitant to vaccinate children even after a strict state law had taken effect. But more than a year later, no doctors in California have been punished for writing unnecessary medical exemptions. Why? For starters, physicians don’t have to follow specific criteria when deciding whether a child qualifies for a medical exemption.

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

-- The fall of Harvey Weinstein has set off a string of allegations that some think may change Hollywood forever.

-- In Cambodia Town, a community is moving from survival to success.

-- Columnist Steve Lopez looks at those who are benefiting from rapidly rising rents: developers, landlords and investors.

-- Inside North Waziristan, a longtime hotbed for jihadi groups against whom Pakistan now says it’s taking action.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

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-- President Trump delivers his initial remarks about the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

-- In L.A., female fashion designers are bringing it. Here’s a look at nine, starting with Jenni Kayne.

-- “Dancing With the Stars” pro Val Chmerkovskiy may have bought a West Hollywood home, but he decorated it with a New York flair.

CALIFORNIA

-- Insurers in California made $5.4 billion in profits from 2014 to 2016 off taxpayer-funded Medicaid, in part because the state paid higher rates during the inaugural years of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

-- A Times review of police and fire dispatch calls from the morning a deadly fire swept into Redwood Valley reveals a chaotic scene in which officials debated when to send evacuation orders.

-- A Los Angeles Police Department captain has accused high-ranking members of the force of misclassifying violent crime and misleading the public about the true state of lawbreaking in the city.

-- The fatal shooting of a young mother on a party bus near the Santa Monica Pier remains unsolved with police continuing to ask for the public’s assistance in identifying the perpetrators.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- The New York Police Department said it had received a credible rape allegation from an actress against Harvey Weinstein and was gathering evidence for an arrest warrant.

-- On “Saturday Night Live,” Larry David created controversy with some concentration camp jokes in his monologue.

-- After a quiet October at the movie box office, the premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok” made some noise.

-- Film critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang tell you about the movies to look for this holiday season.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Thirty years ago today, “Less Than Zero” — starring Robert Downey Jr. in a tale of young, rich burnouts drifting through 1980s L.A. — opened in theaters. The film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel even got a mention in his 2010 follow-up book, “Imperial Bedrooms,” fusing fiction with reality: “They had made a movie about us,” it begins. “The movie was based on a book by someone we knew…. It was labeled fiction but only a few details had been altered and our names weren’t changed and there was nothing in it that hadn’t happened.”

NATION-WORLD

-- “I have no fear”: A woman in Florida perseveres after losing her baby, and her limbs, because of an infection during pregnancy.

-- As Florida enters its final week of a huge and sometimes troubled Hurricane Irma food relief program, the price tag has climbed to more than $1.3 billion.

-- The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan says it’s investigating reports that at least 14 civilians were killed in airstrikes in the northern province of Kunduz, site of a battle against the Taliban.

-- The ousted president of Catalonia and four former regional politicians turned themselves in to Belgian police and were awaiting a ruling on whether they will face extradition to Spain.

BUSINESS

-- Netflix has a mess on its hands with the collapse of “House of Cards” after sexual harassment and assault allegations against Kevin Spacey. On Friday, Netflix said it is cutting all ties with him.

-- The builders of big L.A. projects are making concrete with gravel and sand shipped all the way from Canada. Eh?! Here’s why.

SPORTS

-- New York City’s marathon was an uplifting, defiant response to last week’s terrorist attack, something very much on the mind of Shalane Flanagan, the first American woman to win there in 40 years.

-- Vin Scully said he’ll never watch an NFL game again because of protests during the national anthem.

OPINION

-- One year later, Bernie Sanders, Maxine Waters and others write about the 2016 election and what it wrought.

-- What a mockery: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is purging scientists from key advisory roles and replacing them with people tied to industry or those who share his disdain for science.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- For years, “Jenna Abrams” tweeted about everything from Kim Kardashian to slavery. Turns out it was another Russian troll. (The Daily Beast)

-- The “existential slap”: on being confronted with one’s own mortality. (The Atlantic)

-- The story of the color celadon is that it’s not easy being green. (The Awl)

ONLY IN L.A.

At the police station, they are known as the Baldies. Their adversaries call them Los Dobermans, the Doublemint Twins, and Heckle and Jeckle. Well, they do look alike. For nearly 30 years, LAPD officers Harold Marinelli and J.C. Duarte have patrolled the streets of northeast Los Angeles as an inseparable team. But as these partners against crime know, all good things must come to an end: Marinelli is retiring now, and Duarte will finish up next year.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends.Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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