Shooter debated sanity online during massacre
THOUSAND OAKS — The gunman who killed 12 people at a country music bar in Southern California went on social media during the attack and posted about his mental state and whether people would believe he was sane, a law enforcement official said Friday.
Also, one of the possibilities investigators are looking into is whether gunman Ian David Long believed his former girlfriend would be at the bar, the official said.
Authorities have not determined a motive for Wednesday night’s rampage at the Borderline Bar and Grill.
Long, a former machine gunner who served in Afghanistan, opened fire with a handgun during college night at the bar, then apparently killed himself as scores of police officers closed in.
Medical pot legalized; Medicaid expanded
SALT LAKE CITY — Voters in conservative Utah have decided to join the growing number of states legalizing medical marijuana and expanding Medicaid to cover tens of thousands more low-income residents, two issues that had long stalled out with conservative state lawmakers.
Utah will be on the list of more than 30 states allowing patients legal access to medical marijuana after the plan maintained a vote lead in in Friday tabulations. The measure will be revised, though, under a compromise that won the approval of influential Mormon church leaders.
The faith had opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to broader use, but after months of fierce debate agreed to the deal. It will change the law by blocking marijuana edibles such as cookies that might appeal to children and won’t allow people to grow their own marijuana if they live too far from a dispensary.
Vegas airport controller silent for 40 minutes
LAS VEGAS — Federal and airport authorities said Friday they are investigating why an air traffic controller became incapacitated and went silent while working a night shift alone in the tower at busy McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
“No safety events occurred during this incident,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement about what officials said amounted to a 40-minute span during which the female controller slurred words and then apparently lost consciousness shortly before midnight Wednesday.
“An air traffic controller at the Las Vegas tower became incapacitated while on duty,” the agency said. It did not identify the controller or the cause of her incapacitation.
Five inbound aircraft remained airborne during the incident, and aircraft on the ground held positions or communicated between themselves to maintain safety while moving, the FAA said.
Volunteers attempt to track down voters
ATLANTA — Volunteers spread out Friday trying to find any ballots that could help Democrat Stacey Abrams close the gap against Republican Brian Kemp in their unsettled, too-close-to-call race for Georgia governor.
Unofficial returns show Kemp with an advantage, and he has already resigned as secretary of state to start a transition with the blessing of the outgoing GOP governor, Nathan Deal. President Trump weighed in with a tweet that said Kemp “ran a great race in Georgia — he won. It is time to move on!”
In a frantic effort to make sure every possible vote was counted, dozens of volunteers converged on a warehouse-turned-phone bank near downtown. The goal: Reach voters who used a provisional ballot to make sure they take steps to ensure their vote was counted by Friday evening, the deadline.
Lawyer: Trump out of line on drilling ban
ANCHORAGE — President Trump exceeded his power when he signed an executive order reversing a ban on offshore drilling in vast parts of the Arctic Ocean and dozens of underwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean, an attorney argued in federal court on Friday.
Erik Grafe, an Alaska-based attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice, said Trump acted without the authority of Congress or the Constitution when he reversed President Barack Obama’s drilling ban.
Grafe, the lead attorney in a lawsuit backed by nearly a dozen environmental groups, contends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act only allows presidents to remove lands under consideration for development, not add them back in. Only Congress has that authority, he said.
“President Trump has attempted unilaterally to undo protections that President Obama put in place. And our argument is that that action is unlawful because he lacks constitutional authority, and he lacks authority from Congress,” Grafe told reporters .
Pipe bombs indictment could bring life sentence
NEW YORK — The Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Trump was indicted Friday on charges carrying a potential mandatory penalty of life in prison.
The 30-count indictment against Cesar Sayoc was handed up in Manhattan federal court, where Sayoc made an initial appearance earlier this week after he was brought to New York.
Sayoc, 56, was arrested Oct. 26 in Plantation, Florida, on five charges carrying a potential sentence upon conviction of nearly 50 years.