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Today’s Headlines: A tragedy in Atlanta

Police outside a building
Authorities investigate a fatal shooting at a massage parlor late Tuesday in Acworth, Ga. Deadly shootings also occurred at two other massage parlors in Atlanta.
(Mike Stewart / Associated Press)

Shootings at Atlanta-area massage parlors killed several women of Asian descent, raising fears that the victims were targeted because of their race.

TOP STORIES

A Tragedy in Atlanta

Eight people, including several women of Asian descent, were shot to death at a string of Atlanta-area massage parlors, raising fear across the community that the victims were targeted because of their race. After a search by authorities, a 21-year-old man was arrested about 150 miles south of Atlanta.

While the motive behind the killings was not immediately known, the shootings took place at an Asian massage parlor in Acworth, Ga., and two Atlanta spas where many of the employees are Asian. With fear spreading across spas and massage parlors in the area, the Atlanta Police Department said that commanders in the area where the killings took place increased patrols and dispatched officers to check similar businesses nearby.

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In a statement, STOP AAPI Hate, a national coalition addressing anti-Asian hate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, called the shootings an “unspeakable tragedy — for the families of the victims first and foremost, but also for the AAPI community — which has been reeling from high levels of racial discrimination.”

Even without knowing the motive of the suspect, who is white, the group said, “Right now there is a great deal of fear and pain in the Asian American community that must be addressed.”

A study released Tuesday found that thousands of Asian Americans have faced racist verbal and physical attacks or have been shunned by others.

A Surge at the Border

In Texas, migrant families and unaccompanied children are overwhelming U.S. Customs and Border Protection holding areas and federal youth shelters even as the facilities are being expanded. The surge is happening as families flee gang violence, unstable governments, poverty and hurricane damage at a time many believe the Biden administration will be more welcoming than was the Trump administration. On Tuesday, President Biden said in an ABC News interview that his message to migrants is: “Don’t come over.”

“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said. “We are securing our border, executing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health authority to safeguard the American public and the migrants themselves.”

The number of migrant families has doubled this year but remains below previous spikes, including the most recent influx in 2019. But the flow of youths arriving without adults has increased to near-record levels, to 9,457 last month from 5,858 in January — more than the number who arrived in the same period in 2019. But the data can be difficult to compare for a number of reasons.

The influx is straining U.S. immigration resources and intensifying pressure on the Biden administration, with Republicans calling it a crisis and congressional Democrats, as well as some organizations that help migrants, saying that the region is not in crisis.

More Politics

— Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations to help then-President Trump in November’s presidential election, according to a declassified intelligence assessment that found broad efforts by the Kremlin and Iran to shape the outcome of the race, but ultimately no evidence that any foreign actor changed votes or otherwise disrupted the voting process.

— Democrats loved Rep. Katie Porter when she bashed Trump. Now she is making them squirm after taking aim at House Democrats’ rules and traditions for what is usually a behind-the-scenes competition to determine which lawmakers sit on which coveted committees.

— Earlier this week, Rep. Deb Haaland became the first Native American confirmed to serve in a Cabinet position. To some tribal leaders, it’s a moment of unparalleled opportunity.

— The Senate overwhelmingly approved Isabel Guzman to oversee the Small Business Administration, an agency that has seen its portfolio expand in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

— Biden said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign if the state attorney general’s investigation confirms the sexual harassment allegations against him.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.

The Lost Year

When school shut down in March 2020, some students at Alhambra High School welcomed the break. Just a few weeks, they were told, and the coronavirus quarantine will be over.

One year later, members of the classes of 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 have redefined the parameters of being a high school student.

They’ve struggled with the isolation of online learning. They miss their friends and the loud, happy moments in and between classes. They miss kicking it after school and hanging out before practice for band, baseball, basketball. They’ve picked up hobbies, clung to their passions. They’ve fought to stay motivated. Grades have both slipped and risen. They have experienced loneliness.

Here are some of their stories.

A student sits on the floor of his bedroom watching an online class.
Alhambra High School senior Kellen Gewecke watches a lecture in his room during an online classes in early March.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

Moderna has begun testing its COVID-19 vaccine in children to determine whether it is safe and effective in those as young as 6 months.

— Ten more California counties — including San Diego, Riverside, Sacramento, Ventura and Santa Barbara — have moved into the state’s red tier, allowing more businesses to reopen.

— Before the devastating holiday surge, the number of asymptomatic or undiagnosed coronavirus infections in the U.S. may have been twice as high as the official tally of cases, according to a new study that looks at the presence of coronavirus antibodies in nearly 62,000 life insurance applicants.

Building Wealth

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of new investors have delved into stocks. They are younger, more comfortable with trading apps and websites and come from a wider range of backgrounds than traditional stock investors.

In South L.A., some got into investing because they hope to buy a home. Several said their main motivation was to create generational wealth for their families and try to close the wealth gap between Black and Latino households and white households that exists in part because of unequal exposure to the stock market.

“I need to hustle. I’m so young, I need to make this money,” said Blanca Lopez, a 23-year-old South L.A. native who is a case manager for a senior home — and uses Webull, an investing app that enables her to buy and sell stocks 5½ hours before the market opens for regular trading.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A 12-foot-by-20-foot inflatable pig marched in Ventura’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in the 1990s, after the retirement of its live, dyed-green predecessor following an outcry from animal rights activists. The new, inflatable replacement — known as both Sham Hock and Pig O’ My Heart, after a name-the-pig contest yielded a tie — appeared in several events after 1991.

After a 1998 Los Angeles Times article, there was no mention of Sham Hock in further Times coverage of the parades. But Sham Hock lived on. According to the Ventura County Star, he marched in parades for 26 years. In 2015, he was stolen from a storage facility, but found in a crate on Ventura Boulevard in Ventura. In 2017, he deflated and was given a funeral procession to raise money for a replacement. And in 2018, Sham Hock 2 appeared in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

March 14, 1998: The giant green pig float Sham Hock in Ventura during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
March 14, 1998: The giant green pig float Sham Hock (aka Pig O’ My Heart) makes its way past the San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— Two people died after a massive explosion set off by fireworks at an Ontario house rocked a residential neighborhood, prompting a large response from firefighters and law enforcement.

— Gov. Gavin Newsom said he expects the Republican-led effort to recall him from office to qualify for the ballot and amplified his attacks against the campaign’s lead proponents.

— The Los Angeles County district attorney plans to identify the criminal cases involving a retired Los Angeles homicide detective who was allegedly captured on video calling a young Black man a racial slur last weekend in Valencia.

Peter Hardin, a former prosecutor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he will challenge Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer to become Orange County’s top prosecutor next year in a race that is poised to test the climate for justice reform in a county that has historically favored tough-on-crime policies.

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NATION-WORLD

— Schools in eastern Wyoming and northern Colorado remained closed for a second day Tuesday and roads were still impassable in the aftermath of a blizzard that pummeled the region with record snowfall.

— The United Nations warned that an offensive by Houthi rebels in Yemen has escalated the nearly six-year conflict in the Arab world’s poorest nation as it “speeds towards a massive famine.”

Uber Technologies Inc. will reclassify all 70,000 of its U.K. drivers as workers, entitling them to the minimum wage, vacation pay and other benefits after a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court last month.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— After scoring raves for “The Color Purple” and “Harriet,” Cynthia Erivo takes on her most challenging assignment to date: playing Aretha Franklin in NatGeo’s “Genius.”

H.E.R. had a career-making 12 hours this week: a Grammy win followed by an Oscar nomination.

Museums and movie theaters are reopening, but you won’t see theater critic Charles McNulty in one. Not until summer.

— The 2-month-long Coachella Valley biennial known as Desert X will not include a relocated Judy Chicago piece, the artist has told The Times, and the cancellation of the work is threatening a smoke sculpture planned for San Francisco’s De Young museum in mid-October.

BUSINESS

— L.A. cycling studios are reopening. Whether they pry people away from their Peloton bikes is an open question.

Chase stopped a fraudster from making off with $60,000 of a customer’s money — but then it handed the scammer $19,000 from the man’s account, columnist David Lazarus writes.

SPORTS

— Van Nuys native Ryan Turell was on a historic NCAA tournament tear when the pandemic shut down his season — but not his dream of becoming the first Orthodox Jew to play in the NBA.

Mookie Betts wanted to be a Red Sox lifer. But he wanted something else even more.

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OPINION

— No matter what the law says, some government agencies will always prefer to operate in the shadows. That’s why government must be pressed to be transparent and accountable — not just during Sunshine Week, but every day of the year, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— The pandemic is likely to change the low-wage labor market permanently, with automation and remote work displacing workers on a much larger scale than had been expected, economists Laura Tyson and Susan Lund write.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— The victims of Agent Orange the U.S. has never acknowledged. (New York Times)

Reproductive problems are rising at an alarming rate. (Scientific American)

ONLY IN L.A.

Public art in L.A., and its mission, have been altered by time and perspective — not art-class perspective but cultural perspective, writes columnist Patt Morrison. You can’t claim Angeleno-hood if you haven’t visited the La Brea Tar Pits. And in L.A., we don’t turn up our noses at kitsch — because what starts as kitsch can end as art. (See: the Watts Towers.) And then there’s the long-suffering Triforium.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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