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    A man who shot and killed four people he held hostage in a Mississippi home has died from gunshot wounds he received during the 12-hour standoff, authorities said Sunday. Two small children were released unharmed from the home in Clinton several hours after the standoff began, police said. Not long afterward, TV cameras captured the sounds of a barrage of gunfire. Police used a battering ram to force their way into the house and found four people dead and the suspect wounded, authorities said. Nam Le, 34, later died from his wounds at a hospital, said Hinds County Coroner Sharon Gresham Stewart. The standoff began around 2:30 a.m. Saturday when officers checking on a domestic call were fired upon, according to authorities. The suspect went back inside the home and refused to come out, authorities said. Officers fired shots during the standoff, but a statement from Mississippi Public Safety Department spokesman Capt. John Poulos did not say if Le shot himself or was wounded by officers. 'When our officers arrived, they received fire from the suspect. The suspect then retreated into his home, and it is with a saddened heart that I report multiple fatalities,' Clinton Police Chief Ford Hayman was quoted afterward as telling broadcast outlet WAPT. Stewart told WAPT that all four killed in the home were shot multiple times. The coroner identified the four killed in the home as 30-year-old Lan Thi My Van, 28-year-old Le Thi My Van, 65-year-old Cho Thi Van, and Phung Minh Le, local broadcast stations reported. Stewart did not immediately specify the relationships among them. Authorities have not given any further details about the domestic disturbance call that preceded the standoff. Police tape still surrounded the one-story house Sunday afternoon. Several windows and the front door appeared to be blown out. The house is in a large subdivision in Clinton that backs up to the Nachez Trace Parkway, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Jackson. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said Sunday that it is investigating what it called an officer-involved shooting. Its statement said a crime scene unit and agents of that state law enforcement agency were gathering evidence and that the findings of the investigation would be presented to the corresponding District Attorney's office for review.
  • A Florida mother is upset after her 11-year-old son was kicked out of school, suspended and arrested after refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.  >> Read more trending news  The boy said the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people when a substitute teacher asked him to stand for the pledge Feb. 4, Bay News 9 reported.  'Why, if it was so bad here, he did not go to another place to live,' the teacher wrote in a discipline report, Bay News 9 reported. He replied, 'They brought me here.' The substitute continued, 'Well you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I'm not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live.' She wrote that she then called the office because she did not want to deal with the student any longer.  The sixth-grader, who is in the gifted program at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, was arrested and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence, Bay News 9 reported. The child, who was not identified, was taken to a juvenile detention center. He was also suspended from school for three days. 'I'm upset. I'm angry. I'm hurt,' the boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, told Bay News 9. 'More so for my son. My son has never been through anything like this. I feel like this should've been handled differently. If any disciplinary action should've been taken, it should've been with the school. He shouldn’t have been arrested.' Students do not have to participate in the pledge but the substitute teacher did not know this, a district spokeswoman told Bay News 9.  The substitute is no longer allowed to teach in the district. The district is looking into the incident. 'I want the charges dropped, and I want the school to be held accountable for what happened because it shouldn’t have been handled the way it was handled,' Talbot told Bay News 9. 
  • The national outrage that simmered after actor Jussie Smollett said he was attacked by people shouting racial and anti-gay slurs was fueled in part by celebrities who spoke out loud and strong on social media. But the outrage has now been replaced by surprise, doubt and bafflement as the singers, actors and politicians who came out in support of the 'Empire' star struggle to digest the strange twists the case has taken. Some conservative pundits, meanwhile, have gleefully seized on the moment. The narrative that just a week ago seemed cut-and-dry has become messy and divisive — and it's all playing out again on social media. Smollett, who is black and gay, said he was physically attacked last month by two masked men shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and 'This is MAGA country!'— a reference to the Make America Great Again slogan used in President Donald Trump's election campaign. Smollett said the attackers looped a rope around his neck before running away as he was out getting food at a Subway restaurant. Celebrities including Ariana Grande, Zendaya, Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Andy Cohen rallied behind Smollett immediately. They focused on the alleged hate crime as a microcosm for the ills of America in 2019 and how intolerance can lead to violent acts. Smollett's own celebrity and activism for the rights of the LGBTQ community helped raise the profile of the case even more. But then published reports emerged that police believe Smollett may have staged the attack — something the actor has vehemently denied through his lawyers — or that a grand jury may hear evidence in the case. The reports cited unidentified police sources. On Saturday, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the trajectory of the case had 'shifted' — that two brothers who had been questioned had been released without charges and investigators wanted to speak to Smollett again . Guglielmi did not elaborate. On Sunday, he issued a statement saying that police 'are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what's been unofficially released.' Smollett's attorneys said Saturday that he would continue to cooperate with police but that he felt victimized by the suggestion he played a role in his attack. Skeptics, including conservative pundits Dinesh D'Souza and Tomi Lahren, seized on the doubts that have arisen. 'And Libs wonder why we don't believe their BS stories,' Lahren tweeted Saturday. On Sunday, she criticized those who used social media after the attack to push 'the narrative (that) Trump supporters are racist homophobes.' The response from Smollett's celebrity supporters has ranged from silence to confusion and disbelief. Author Roxane Gay tweeted Saturday that she doesn't know what to say, but that the situation is a 'mess' and a 'travesty.' 'I genuinely thought no one, and especially no one that famous, could make something like that up,' Gay wrote. 'The lie is so damaging. The time the CPD has spent/wasted on this. The people who supported him.' GLAAD, a nongovernmental media-monitoring organization founded by LGBT members of the media, on Thursday reiterated its support for Smollett. The group said in a statement that the actor had been doubly victimized: first by the attack and then by the doubts cast around it. When Smollett first reported that he was assaulted, Democratic New Jersey senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker called it a 'modern-day lynching.' On Sunday, he said he would reserve judgment 'until all the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources.' Filmmaker Ava DuVernay said she is waiting for more information too. She tweeted on Sunday that she 'can't blindly believe' the Chicago Police Department. But if there is a consensus among those who very vocally supported Smollett from the outset, it's that no matter what happens in this case, they will still believe victims. DuVernay said: 'Whatever the outcome, this won't stop me from believing others. It can't.' Gay echoed her sentiments, tweeting that she does not regret believing Smollett. 'I'm not going to stop believing people who say they have suffered,' Gay wrote. 'Because more often than not they are telling the truth.' ___ Associated Press writer Elana Schor in Washington contributed to this report.
  • For more than 40 years, February has been designated Black History Month. The federally recognized, nationwide celebration honors the achievements of African-American figures, and the city of Atlanta is brimming with heritage and culture. >> Read more trending news  Aside from the typical museums and centers throughout the metro area, there are historic markers and various establishments that tell the stories of some of the nation’s most iconic heroes and events. Interested in learning more about the people and places that helped shape American history? Here are a few lesser-known places to visit to soak up some knowledge. The Atlanta University Center In 1929, Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University and Morris Brown College united as the Atlanta University Center. The consortium of historically black colleges, which now includes Morehouse School of Medicine, has since become a symbol of educational excellence with notable alumni including Julian Bond, James Weldon Johnson, Pearl Cleage and Spike Lee. If you take a stroll through the campuses, you’ll find various signs that briefly detail the rich history of the famous institutions. Atlanta University Center Consortium, 156 Mildred St., Atlanta. 404-523-5148, aucenter.edu. Paschal’s Restaurant Want a quick lesson and a bite to eat? You’ll experience both at Paschal’s. The eatery, founded by brothers James and Robert Paschal, was a common meeting place for key civil rights leaders and strategists including Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, the walls of the soul food spot, now located on Northside Drive, are lined with black and white photos of influential people of the past and present, and the website includes a comprehensive timeline of Paschal’s history. >> Related: How to celebrate Black History Month in Atlanta 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday brunch, 5- 9 p.m. Sunday dinner. Paschal’s Restaurants, 180 Northside Dr. SW, Atlanta. 404-525-2023, paschalsatlanta.com. True Colors Theater Company Founded by Tony-winning Broadway director Kenny Leon, the nonprofit theater said its “mission is to celebrate the rich tradition of black storytelling while giving voice to bold artists of all cultures.” Its latest show, “Skeleton Crew,” follows Detroit-based factory workers during the 2008 recession. Feb. 12 - Mar. 10. $20-50. True Colors at Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road, Atlanta. 404-532-1901, truecolorstheatre.org. Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church More than a century ago in 1911, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church became the first African-American Catholic Church in Atlanta thanks to founder Ignatius Lissner. A few decades later during the Civil Rights Movement, Lourdes parishioners participated in protest activities alongside the Old Fourth Ward community. The church, located in what is now the Martin Luther King Jr. Landmark district, still operates today and welcomes people of all races. >>Related: 11 Netflix titles to binge during Black History Month Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 25 Boulevard NE, Atlanta. 404-522-6776, lourdesatlanta.org. South-View Cemetery The land for this cemetery was purchased back in 1866 by nine former slaves who grew tired of the mistreatment received at segregated graveyards. The establishment, which sometimes offers walking tours, consists of more than 100 acres and over 70,000 people are buried there, including prominent musicians, athletes and activists. Both Martin Luther King Jr. and Benjamin Mays were laid to rest at South-View before being moved to the Martin Luther King Center and Morehouse College, respectively. South-View Cemetery, 1990 Jonesboro Road SE, Atlanta. 404-622-5393, southviewcemetery.com. Piedmont Park There are a few markers and statues throughout Piedmont Park. During a walk or a bike ride through the area, you’ll find signs about the Cotton States Exposition of 1895 and the famous speech Booker T. Washington delivered during the event. You can even take a guided tour to hear all about the historic occasion. 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. Piedmont Park, 400 Park Dr. NE, Atlanta. 404-875-7275, piedmontpark.org. Smith Plantation Head to Roswell to explore the Smith Plantation. The home, built by slaves in 1845, was preserved by three generations of the Smith family. It’s now a museum, where visitors can take a peek at the two-story farmhouse, which includes servants quarters, a barn, a smokehouse and a cookhouse. >> Related: Black History Month bucket list: 6 must-see Atlanta landmarks 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday. $8 for adults, $7 for 65 and up, $6 for children 6 to 12. Smith Plantation, 935 Alpharetta St., Roswell. 770-641-3978, roswellgov.com.
  • A truck tilted, tipped and sank into an ice-covered lake Saturday afternoon.  >> Read more trending news  It was the first time the driver had been to Lake Winnebago and he drove over Christmas trees that were placed on the icy road to divert traffic from a crack, the Oshkosh Northwestern reported.  “He just drove in a bad spot, that’s all,” Don Herman, owner of Sunk? Dive and Ice Service, told the Northwestern.  It was the 13th vehicle Herman has removed from the lake this year.  The driver was able to escape from the truck before it sank and was not injured.
  • Chicago police said Sunday they're still seeking a follow-up interview with Jussie Smollett after receiving new information that 'shifted' their investigation of a reported attack on the 'Empire' actor. The trajectory of the investigation 'shifted' after detectives questioned two brothers about the attack and released them late Friday without charges, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Saturday. He said police also reached out to Smollett's attorney to request another interview with him. Guglielmi said Sunday the interview had not yet been conducted. He declined to comment on published reports that police believe Smollett staged the assault or that a grand jury may hear evidence in the case. The reports cited unnamed police sources. 'We're not confirming, denying or commenting on anything until we can talk to him and we can corroborate some information that we've gotten,' he said. Smollett, who is black and gay, has said he was physically attacked last month by two masked men shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and 'This is MAGA country!' He said they looped a rope around his neck before running away as he was returning home from an early morning stop at a Subway restaurant in downtown Chicago. He said they also poured some kind of chemical on him. Pamela Sharp, a spokeswoman for Smollett, said Sunday that there were no updates 'as of now.' Another spokeswoman, Anne Kavanagh, later said she couldn't comment on whether Smollett had agreed to another interview. Smollett's lawyers said late Saturday that the actor felt 'victimized' by reports that he played a role in the assault, adding that, 'Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.' The statement from attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor P. Henderson also said Smollett would continue cooperating with police. Police said they combed surveillance video in the heavily monitored area where Smollett said the attack occurred but were unable to find any footage of the incident. They did obtain images of two people they said they would like to question. On Wednesday, Chicago police picked up the brothers at O'Hare International Airport as they returned from Nigeria. They described them as 'suspects' in the assault, questioned them and searched their apartment. Then, late Friday evening they released the two men without charges and said they were no longer suspects. They said they had gleaned new information from their interrogation of them. One of the men is Smollett's personal trainer, whom the actor hired to help get him physically ready for a music video, Smollett's attorneys said in their statement. 'It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity,' the attorneys said. Police have said they were investigating the attack as a possible hate crime and considered Smollett a victim. Reports of the assault drew outrage and support for him on social media from some politicians and celebrities. Smollett's account of what happened also has been met with skepticism, particularly in the wake of the latest developments. Smollett, who is also a musician, gave an emotional speech during a Feb. 2 concert in West Hollywood, California, saying he went ahead with the show because he couldn't let his attackers win. He also gave an interview to Robin Roberts of ABC News that aired Thursday in which he said he was 'pissed' at people who did not believe he was attacked. 'I've heard that it was a date gone bad, which I also resent that narrative,' he said. 'I'm not gonna go out and get a tuna sandwich and a salad to meet somebody. That's ridiculous. And it's offensive.' Earlier this week, police said reports that the attack against Smollett was a hoax were unconfirmed. Producers of the Fox television drama have supported Smollett, saying his character on 'Empire,' Jamal Lyon, was not being written off the show. Smollett turned over redacted phone records that police said were not sufficient for a criminal investigation. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the spokeswoman's last name is Kavanagh, not Kavanaugh, and that the first name of Smollett's character on the show is Jamal, not James. ___ Check out the AP's complete coverage of the Jussie Smollett case.
  • A group of Philadelphia real estate investors avoided more than a money pit when one of their properties included a booby-trapped staircase. >> Read more trending news  Ekrem Usayler was walking through a Southwest Philadelphia home Jan. 2 with his team when they noticed a small trip-wire covered in glass shards atop a stairway, WCAU reported.  They grabbed a pole, pulled the string and started filming. An aluminum crutch with a knife duct-taped to it fell to where a person’s head would be, the video shows. 'It's like 'Home Alone,' Delco style, Philly style,' Usayler told WCAU. 'It could've done a lot of damage, but luckily, we saw it before anybody got hurt.”
  • Drums, dragons and dancers paraded through New York's Chinatown on Sunday to usher in the Year of the Pig in the metropolis with the biggest population of Chinese descent of any city outside Asia. Confetti and spectators a half-dozen or more deep at points lined the route of the Lunar New Year Parade in lower Manhattan. 'The pig year is one of my favorite years, because it means lucky — everybody likes lucky — and, for me, a relationship or family' and a better life, Eva Zou said as she awaited the marchers. 'Because I just moved here several months ago, so it's a big challenge for me, but I feel so happy now.' There's an animal associated with every year in the 12-year Chinese astrological cycle, and the Year of the Pig started Feb. 5. Some marchers sported cheerful pink pig masks atop traditional Chinese garb of embroidered silk. Others played drums, banged gongs or held aloft big gold-and-red dragons on sticks, snaking the creatures along the route. Someone in a panda costume marched with a clutch of well-known children's characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Cookie Monster and Snoopy. Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, both Democrats, were among the politicians in the lineup, where Chinese music mixed with bagpipers and a police band played '76 Trombones,' from the classic musical 'The Music Man.' The lunar year is centered on the cycles of the moon and begins in January or February. Last year was the Year of the Dog. While some parade-goers were familiar with the Chinese zodiac, others said they were just there to enjoy the cultural spectacle or partake in a sense of auspicious beginning. 'We're here to get good luck for the year,' said Luz Que, who came to the parade with her husband, Jonathan Rosa. His hopes for the Year of the Pig? 'Wellness, well-being and happiness,' he said.
  • A Florida jail inmate helped save an infant Thursday who was accidentally locked in an SUV.  >> Read more trending news  Pasco Sheriff’s Office deputies were told the baby was in the locked vehicle in the parking lot of the courthouse, WFLA reported. Parents tried for several minutes to open the locked SUV and told responding deputies they could not afford a locksmith, WFLA reported.  The father told deputies he would break the front window, WFLA reported. However, an inmate crew from the jail was working nearby and offered to help. “There’s only a very small percentage of those criminals out there that want to fight us and want to attack us, but a lot of them, like these individuals, they know they made bad mistakes, bad choices but they want to do the right thing in life,' Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told WFTS. The father pulled on the door while an inmate used a coat hanger to push the button for the electric door lock. Within a couple of minutes the vehicle was open. The child, Dallas, was fine and her parents were grateful for the help, WFTS reported.  The mother, identified as Shadow Lantry, said her child was locked in the SUV for about five minutes. “Thank God for the criminals in the world. I respect all of y’all,” Lantry said in a video. 
  • Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner has been released from federal prison after being convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old girl in 2017. The Federal Bureau of Prisons website shows the 54-year-old New York Democrat is currently in the custody of its Residential Re-entry Management office in Brooklyn, New York. It's not immediately clear when Weiner was transferred and where he's staying now, but Weiner will have to register as a sex-offender and spend three years on supervised release under the terms of his sentence. The prison bureau and Weiner's lawyer didn't respond to emails seeking comment Sunday. Federal prosecutors in New York referred an inquiry to the prison bureau. Weiner began serving a 21-month prison sentence at the Federal Medical Center Devens, located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Boston in Ayer, Massachusetts, in November 2017. The bureau website shows Weiner is slated to complete his sentence May 14, a few months earlier than scheduled because of good conduct in prison. A once-rising star in the Democratic Party who served nearly 12 years in Congress, Weiner had a dramatic and sordid fall from grace after he sent a lewd picture of himself to a college student over Twitter in 2011. Weiner initially claimed his account had been hacked, then admitted he'd had inappropriate online interactions with at least six other women while married to top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Weiner resigned from Congress that year but mounted a campaign for New York City mayor in 2013. But his personal behavior was again his undoing after it was disclosed he sent explicit photos under the alias 'Carlos Danger' to at least one woman after resigning from Congress. Weiner ultimately garnered less than 5 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. His final fall came in 2017 after prosecutors say he sent a series of sexually explicit messages to a North Carolina high school student. Weiner pleaded guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor. At his sentencing, he said he'd been a 'very sick man for a very long time' because of his sex addiction. Weiner's attorney said the ex-lawmaker likely exchanged thousands of messages with hundreds of women over the years and was communicating with up to 19 women when he encountered the teenager. Abedin also filed for divorce from Weiner in 2017. But the two, who have a young son together, later agreed to discontinue the case in order to negotiate their separation privately.