By KELLI KENNEDY, TERRY SPENCER and JOSH REPLOGLE

Associated Press

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) – Students and teachers hugged and cried Wednesday as they returned under heavy police guard to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High for the first time since a teenager with an assault rifle killed 17 people and thrust the huge Florida school into the center of a renewed national gun debate.

The half-day began with fourth period so that the nearly 3,300 students could first be with the people they were with during the shooting two weeks ago.

“In the beginning, everyone was super serious, but then everyone cheered up and it started being the same vibes we had before the shooting. People started laughing and joking around,” said Kyle Kashuv, a junior who said he hugged every single teacher.

On the way in, teens were guarded by hundreds of police officers. The police were accompanied by comfort animals, including dogs, horses and a donkey. One of the horses had “eagle pride” painted on its side. A nearby woman held a sign offering “free kisses.”

After school dismissed, members of the Guardian Angels wearing their trademark red berets lined the streets at a crosswalk.

Kashuv said he was amazed by the outpouring of support from the community, including the police presence, the animals and many well-wishers. There were letters from all over the world and “banners on every single wall,” he said.

Some of the officers carried military-style rifles, and Superintendent Robert Runcie said the police presence would continue for the remainder of the school year. The heavy arms rattled some students.

“This is a picture of education in fear in this country.” The National Rifle Association “wants more people just like this, with that exact firearm, to scare more people and sell more guns,” said David Hogg, who has become a leading voice in the student movement to restrict assault weapons.

About 150 grief counselors were on campus “to provide a lot of love, a lot of understanding” and to help students “ease back” into their school routines, Runcie said.

The freshman building where the Feb. 14 massacre took place remained cordoned off.

Students were told leave their backpacks at home. Principal Ty Thomas tweeted that the school’s focus would be on “emotional readiness and comfort, not curriculum.”

In each classroom, colored pencils, coloring books, stress balls and toys were available to help students cope.

“It’s not how you go down. It’s how you get back up,” said Casey Sherman, a 17-year-old junior. She said she was not afraid to be return, “just nervous.”

Many students said the debate over new gun laws helped them process the traumatic event and prepared them to return.

Alexis Grogan, a 15-year-old sophomore, was concerned that it might be too soon to go on as usual without slain friends such as Luke Hoyer, who sat two seats behind her in Spanish class.

“Seeing everyone was good, but emotionally I was in shambles. I probably broke down into tears 10-plus times and had to walk out of my classes multiple times throughout the day,” she said.

As classes resumed, Dick’s Sporting Goods, a major U.S. retailer, announced that it would immediately halt sales of assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines at all of its stores and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21. The company’s CEO took on the NRA by demanding tougher gun laws. Later Wednesday, Walmart announced that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and would also remove items resembling assault-style rifles from its website.

At the Florida Capitol, a House committee voted Tuesday in favor of a bill to raise the minimum age to buy long guns from 18 to 21 and to create a program allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in classrooms if their school district allows it. Those teachers would receive law-enforcement training and get deputized by the local sheriff’s office.

State lawmakers continued their investigation of how the suspected shooter, Nikolas Cruz, managed to slip through local law enforcement despite previous warning signs.

The Florida House voted Wednesday to subpoena records from Broward County and the school board, as well as sheriff’s offices in Broward and Palm Beach counties and the city of Coral Springs. Among items requested from the school were documents on a mentoring program aimed at alternatives to the juvenile justice system. Critics have suggested the program led to lenience for Cruz, but the superintendent said Wednesday that the suspect was never was part of the program.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he hopes a gun and school-safety bill is passed before the annual legislative session ends March 9. The measures he proposed did not include arming teachers, but he declined to say Tuesday whether he would veto a sweeping package that includes that provision.

The Broward superintendent has spoken out against the idea of arming teachers.

Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and Unified Sportsmen of Florida, said she supports school security and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, but “guns are not the problem.”

Kashuv said he was most moved by a tattoo his teacher got that said “MSD Strong” with a giant eagle.

“The shooting doesn’t define us,” he said. “We’re really moving past it and trying to heal right now.”

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Associated Press writers Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida, and Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this report. Video journalist Robert Ray also contributed.

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Follow the AP’s complete coverage of the Florida school shooting here: https://apnews.com/tag/Floridaschoolshooting .

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By LAURIE KELLMAN

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The president gently touched the bare wood of Billy Graham’s casket. The speaker of the House bowed his head. And hundreds of other lawmakers, family and friends stood in a rare salute Wednesday to the man they called, “America’s pastor.”

“He ministered to all walks, from some of the greats whose statues line this hall – Eisenhower, King, Ford, and Reagan – to the everyday citizens lining up today to pay their respects,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, gesturing to Graham’s casket under the eye of the Capitol Rotunda.

President Donald Trump, who met Graham but is closer to his son, Franklin, nonetheless recalled that the elder Graham had long been part of his life. Trump said his father, Fred, “said to me, ‘Come on, son … Let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee Stadium.’ And it was something very special.”

He called Graham “an ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God’s grace.”

Graham’s influence stretched far beyond the city where he counseled presidents and lawmakers to a global flock over the better part of seven decades. He is known for having met every president, Trump included, and counseled most.

But he learned to be wary of the heat of politics. Close to Richard Nixon, Graham later said the details of the Watergate scandal made him feel used.

But the world of American politics and government embraced Graham on Wednesday, a week after he died at age 99. Those gathered, including Vice President Mike Pence, some members of Trump’s Cabinet and members of the House and Senate, stood around the casket. They were ringed by paintings of the nation’s founders.

“The man we recognize today shared the Gospel with more people, face-to-face, than anyone else in history,” said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As the leaders stood by the casket, Trump reached out to touch it. Ryan, nearby, bowed his head.

Some 30 family members accompanied Graham’s casket to Washington, where he had befriended presidents of both parties. Graham’s son, Franklin, tweeted a photo Wednesday of family members loading the casket onto a jet emblazoned with “Samaritan’s Purse,” the name of a Christian relief charity that he chairs.

Graham is lying in honor before a funeral Friday near his home in North Carolina. The Rotunda entrances were draped with black fabric, and Graham’s casket rested on a black-draped catafalque beneath the soaring ceiling and its painting, the “Apotheosis of Washington.”

Graham felt burned by Nixon for years. Nixon’s White House tapes released in 2002 included Graham’s voice telling the president that Jews “don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.” He apologized.

Nonetheless, he ministered to other presidents until his health began to fail.

Former President Bill Clinton recalled seeing one of Graham’s crusades as a child, a profound experience that became more amazing over his life. Graham counseled him as Arkansas governor, and later as president in the White House itself.

“In that little room, he was the same person I saw when I was 11 on that football field,” Clinton said Tuesday after viewing the casket at Graham’s home.

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, visited Graham’s home earlier in the week.

In Washington, Ryan said there had been no doubt that Graham would receive the honor of a public viewing in the Rotunda. He told reporters that almost immediately upon hearing of Graham’s death he, Trump, McConnell and Rep. Patrick McHenry, who represents the Graham family’s district, agreed it would happen.

Trump met Graham at the pastor’s 95th birthday party in 2013, but is closer to Franklin Graham Jr.

Graham shares the honor of a public viewing in the Rotunda with 11 presidents and other distinguished Americans, starting with Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky in 1852 and, most recently, Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii in 2012.

Graham is only the fourth private person to lie in honor since 1998. The others are two U.S. Capitol Police officers who died in the line of duty in 1998 and civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005.

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Follow Kellman at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By BY ANNE D’INNOCENZIO

AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart announced Wednesday that it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and would also remove items resembling assault-style rifles from its website.

The move comes after Dick’s Sporting Goods announced earlier in the day that it would restrict the sale of firearms to those under 21 years old. It didn’t mention ammunition. Dick’s also said it would immediately stop selling assault-style rifles, and its CEO took on the National Rifle Association by demanding tougher gun laws.

Walmart said its decision came after the company reviewed its firearm sales policy in light of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people. The teenage gunman used an AR-15 rifle. It said it takes “seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms” and also emphasized its background of serving “serving sportsmen and hunters.”

Several major corporations, including MetLife, Hertz and Delta Air Lines, have cut ties with the NRA since the Florida tragedy, but none were retailers that sold guns. The NRA has pushed back aggressively against calls for raising age limits for guns or restricting the sale of assault-style weapons.

Walmart Inc. stopped selling AR-15 guns and other semi-automatic weapons in 2015. It doesn’t sell bump stocks, the accessory attached to a semi-automatic gun that makes it easier to fire rounds faster. It also doesn’t sell large-capacity magazines. It also says it doesn’t sell handguns, except in Alaska.

In announcing the change in policy, the company said it had processes in place to make sure it was applied for online sales.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) – The Latest on the return of students and teachers to class following the killings of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Walmart says it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21.

The retailer’s new policy comes after Dick’s Sporting Goods announced earlier Wednesday that it would restrict the sale of firearms to those under 21 years old.

Walmart says the decision came after a review of its firearm sales policy in light of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

Walmart Inc. stopped selling AR-15 guns, and other semiautomatic weapons in 2015. It doesn’t sell bump stocks, the accessory attached to a semiautomatic gun that makes it easier to fire rounds faster. It also doesn’t sell large-capacity magazines.

The retailer says it is also removing items resembling assault-style rifles from its website.

6:45 p.m.

The Florida congressman who represents the town where 17 people were shot and killed in a high school says Congress needs to act immediately on passing gun legislation.

Rep. Ted Deutch is a Democrat from south Florida who represents Parkland, the city where the Feb. 14 shooting happened. He was one of a handful of congressional members who met Wednesday with President Donald Trump.

Deutch says Congress needs to move ahead on new laws that would raise the minimum age to buy guns, expand background checks and ban types of semiautomatic rifles.

He warned that any proposals to arm teachers with guns would “only crush this bipartisan momentum toward action.” He added that members of Congress need to put “the lives of children ahead” of any fear of blowback from the National Rifle Association.

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6:45 p.m.

(Eds: Rocxanne is correct spelling)

A judge in Florida is looking into assets that the man accused of the Florida high school massacre may have available from his late mother’s estate.

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday on whether 19-year-old shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz may have an inheritance coming in a few years. His mother, Lynda Cruz, died in November at age 68 and his father some years before that.

A family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, is also seeking to become administrator of the estate for Cruz and his younger brother. Cruz lived with Deschamps briefly after his mother died.

If Cruz comes into money later, it could be used to pay for his public defender.

Cruz could face the death penalty if convicted of 17 counts of murder in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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5:15 p.m.

The mother of a teacher killed in the Florida high school massacre says she opposes a proposal to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools.

Linda Beigel Schulman is the mother of 35-year-old geography teacher Scott Beigel. During a meeting with reporters Wednesday, she said the proposed bill would lead to a “firestorm.”

Schulman says she also is frustrated with state lawmakers, who she says keep changing their proposals and are trying to take advantage of the situation to advance political agendas.

She urged politicians to “do what’s right, not do what’s going to get you elected in November.”

The Florida House and Senate both have proposals that would raise the minimum age to buy any firearm from 18 to 21, create a waiting period to buy rifles, and allow school districts to arm teachers. Schulman also wants a ban on large-capacity-ammunition magazines and assault rifles – ideas the Republican leadership hasn’t been willing to consider.

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1:20 p.m.

Broward County Schools superintendent Robert Runcie said about 95 percent of the student body of 3,293 has returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two weeks after a mass shooting killed 17 people.

He called Wednesday’s attendance “outstanding.” Runcie added that there were about 150 counselors at the campus to offer support to staff and students, as well as 40 therapy dogs.

Almost all of the county’s high school principals also came to the school Wednesday to support the staff as school reopened for a half-day “modified schedule.”

Runcie said he would use the words “flexible, support and love” to describe what’s happening at the school this week. He added that a heavy law enforcement presence will be at the school for the remainder of the year.

The superintendent said only about 15 students and four of the 215 employees have inquired about transferring to other schools.

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12 p.m.

Students who returned to school two weeks after 17 people were killed at their Florida school are leaving the campus after a half day.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students were greeted Wednesday morning by police officers carrying military style rifles and an array of counselors and therapy dogs. They missed two weeks of school following the Valentine’s Day mass shooting that took place in a freshman building just before dismissal.

The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is in the Broward County Jail, charged with 17-counts of first-degree murder. The shooting has thrust many of the surviving students into the center of the nation’s gun debate.

But Wednesday was all about healing and getting back into a regular routine, albeit a shortened school day.

___

9:20 a.m.

Students are returning to the Florida high school where 17 were killed in a shooting two weeks ago, but they’ve been told to leave their backpacks at home.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School principal Ty Thomas said in a tweet that “our focus is on emotional readiness and comfort not curriculum: so there is no need for backpacks.”

Armed officers were on hand as students returned to the school Wednesday morning.

___

8:30 a.m.

Dick’s Sporting Goods will immediately end sales of assault-style rifles in its stores and won’t sell guns to anyone under 21 years old following the school massacre in Parkland, Florida.

Dick’s Chairman and CEO Edward Stack said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that after the shooting the company “felt it needed to do something.”

Stack says that the accused gunman, 19-year-old Nickolas Cruz, had purchased a gun at a Dick’s store, but not the one used at the school shooting, even though all existing rules were followed. Stack says the system that’s in place won’t stop sales to dangerous people and said lawmakers must do something.

Stack said Dick’s is prepared for any potential backlash, but won’t change its policies on gun sales.

____

7:40 a.m.

One of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who has become a leader in the anti-assault weapon campaign says he felt scared when he saw a photo of a police officer armed with a rifle outside his school.

David Hogg said it was a picture of education in fear in this country. Hogg has been calling for an assault weapon ban since the Valentine’s Day massacre killed 17 people at his school.

Hogg has spent the last two weeks making the rounds on network talk shows and speaking with legislators in Tallahassee, seeking gun legislation.

Students returned to the school Wednesday for the first time since the deadly shooting.

___

7:15 a.m.

Members of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association handed carnations out to students as they entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School two weeks after a former student gunned down 17 people inside the freshman building.

For Madison Geller, Wednesday offered an opportunity to get back into a routine, in spite of her fears.

“When I walk in there, I’m going to replay the whole thing in my head. But we have to come here and try to learn,” the high school junior said. “This week we will try to be comfortable and get back into the same routine.”

Angelyse Perez, a senior, said returning offers a chance for everyone to “get through this and be together.”

“But I’m graduating,” she said. “I just want to get out of here.”

___

6:30 a.m.

Teachers and students are arriving early at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, their first day back after an expelled classmate with an AR-15 killed 17 people in a Valentine’s Day massacre that has profoundly altered the lives of survivors.

A long line of cars bringing people back to the school in Parkland, Florida is being guided by police as dozens of television trucks and vehicles camp out nearby.

Only students, parents and staff are being allowed through a security cordon. The main entrance is covered with a sign saying “Welcome Back Eagles.”

___

2 a.m.

The walkway leading onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is lined with flowers and photographs, memorials to the 17 students and teachers killed in a Valentine’s Day massacre that forever altered their lives and thrust them into the center of the nation’s gun debate.

Alexis Grogan, a 15-year-old sophomore, was among those planning to wear maroon, a Stoneman Douglas color, among other things honoring those who died. She said she’s nervous after losing her friend Luke Hoyer, who sat two seats behind her in Spanish. Still, she says support from her fellow students and their fight to strengthen gun control laws is keeping her strong.

Relatives of the victims kept up pressure Tuesday in Florida’s capital with emotional testimony during a legislative hearing to discuss raising the age limit to buy long guns from 18 to 21.

The bill also would create a program that allows teachers who receive law-enforcement training and are deputized by the local sheriff’s office to carry concealed weapons in the classroom, if also approved by the school district. The school’s superintendent has spoken out firmly against that measure.

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Follow the AP’s complete coverage of the Florida school shooting here: https://apnews.com/tag/Floridaschoolshooting .

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By AMY TAXIN

Associated Press

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) – Vietnamese immigrants have filed a lawsuit alleging U.S. authorities are rounding them up and holding them in detention facilities for deportation – even though the Vietnamese government has not agreed to take them back.

Vietnam has only agreed to repatriate deportees who arrived in the United States after the two countries renewed diplomatic relations in 1995, the detainees’ lawyers said Wednesday.

The attorneys for the detained immigrants believe the Trump administration has started arresting deportees who came to the country before that date to pressure Vietnam to broaden the repatriation agreement.

“They are just using this as an excuse to round up people indiscriminately in the hope they can then convince Vietnam to take them back,” said Laboni Hoq, litigation director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed last week in federal court in Southern California with three named plaintiffs and seeks class action status.

About 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants live in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

It wasn’t immediately known how many arrived in the country before 1995, but many Vietnamese immigrants came as refugees after Saigon fell to communist forces in 1975.

As many as 10,000 Vietnamese immigrants have deportation orders, in many cases because they lost their green cards after criminal convictions, plaintiffs’ lawyers said.

In the past, authorities would typically release the immigrants if they had arrived in the United States before 1995 because of a Supreme Court ruling that generally bars authorities from detaining immigrants after a reasonable period of time if there’s no chance of deporting them.

But last year, authorities began arresting Vietnamese immigrants who had been in the United States for decades and were not subject to the repatriation agreement signed in 2008.

Plaintiff Long Nguyen, a 41-year-old resident of Charleston, South Carolina, came to the United States as a child in 1987, according to the lawsuit. He was issued a deportation order in 2012 after a drug charge and released from custody until October, when authorities pulled him over on his way to work and arrested him.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers said at least 45 Vietnamese immigrants are involved in such cases and have been held for months.

Vietnamese immigrants were arrested in October in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado and California, and many were interviewed by the Vietnamese consulate late last year, the lawsuit said.

In many communities, Vietnamese immigrants now fear they could be arrested even if they’ve lived in the U.S. for decades.

“I live day to day with uncertainty and fear,” said Tung Nguyen, an ex-convict-turned community advocate in Orange County, California, who has a deportation order. “If you don’t see me tomorrow, just remember me when I am gone.”

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ and ELLIOT SPAGAT

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – About 800 “criminals” avoided immigration arrests because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf alerted the public to the surprise operation, an extraordinarily high number of missed targets, according to a federal official.

Thomas Homan, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s acting director, told Fox News that the mayor’s warning on Twitter was “beyond the pale” and compared her to a gang lookout who tells people when a police car is arriving. Homan said the Justice Department is looking into whether Schaaf obstructed justice.

The mayor’s unusual public warning last weekend came hours before the agency launched an operation in Northern California that resulted in more than 150 arrests as of Tuesday, according to the agency.

The agency declined to elaborate on the 800 who allegedly got away or answer other questions about the operation that began Sunday. Danielle Bennett, an agency spokeswoman, said more information would be released later in the week.

John Torres, the agency’s director during the end of George W. Bush’s administration and beginning of Barack Obama’s, said agents generally capture about 40 percent of people they target in such sweeps.

Targets often elude authorities because agents don’t have search warrants and advocacy groups have waged public awareness campaigns urging people not to open their doors. Other times, agents have outdated addresses or targets are not home.

It was unclear how many people would have eluded capture without the mayor’s warning but Homan squarely blamed her for 800 and said her actions jeopardized officer safety.

“There’s over 800 significant public safety threat criminals, these are people who are here illegally and committed yet another crime, been convicted of a crime,” he told Fox. “She gave them warning, and there’s 800 that we were unable to locate because of that warning, so that community’s a lot less safe than it would have been.”

Homan’s statement of 800 missed targets – plus the 150 arrests – in only three days suggests an unusually large operation by the agency’s standards. Two weeks ago, it arrested 212 in a five-day operation in the Los Angeles area. A Texas operation in February resulted in 145 arrests over seven days.

The agency said about half of the people arrested during the Northern California sweep have criminal convictions in addition to immigration violations, including convictions for assault, weapons offenses and driving under the influence. It is impossible to independently verify that claim because the agency refuses to name them. Its statement identified only one arrest by name.

Schaff on Saturday issued a statement on Twitter that she learned from “multiple credible sources” that an immigration operation was imminent in the San Francisco area, including Oakland, possibly within 24 hours.

The mayor, who is running for another term this year, defended her actions again on Wednesday, saying she was not tipped off by “official sources” and that she didn’t reveal specific locations.

Asked about Homan likening her to a gang lookout, she said the “Trump administration is trying to distract the American people, convince them that these immigrants are dangerous people. That could not be further from the truth and it is based in racism.”

Lara Bazelon, an associate law professor at the University of San Francisco, said it was highly unlikely that the mayor would be prosecuted.

“It’s a tall order for ICE to show that she was obstructing justice because they would have to show she knew they were going after specific people and I just don’t see the evidence for that,” she said.

The warring words are the latest sign of escalating tension between California officials and the Trump administration over immigration enforcement and “sanctuary” jurisdictions. Homan vowed that immigration agents would have a stronger presence in California since a state law took effect in January to sharply limit cooperation between state and local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who attended a protest outside the agency’s San Francisco office, said immigration officials did not respond to his demand that attorneys be allowed to interview people detained in the operation.

Booking logs at the Sacramento County jail show at least 12 people booked there by the agency on Sunday.

Dozens of protesters marching outside the agency’s offices in San Francisco after Homan spoke chanted, “Shut down ICE!” David Chiu, a Democratic state assemblyman, said Trump “has declared war on our immigrant communities.”

“We’re here to stand united and say we do not want him ripping apart our families, ripping apart our economy, ripping apart California,” he said.

Homan, in announcing the arrests late Tuesday, renewed his warning that California’s limits on cooperating with ICE in local jails will lead to a bigger presence of immigration agents on the streets.

“Sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco and Oakland shield dangerous criminal aliens from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety,” he said.

Defenders of so-called sanctuary city practices say they improve public safety by promoting trust among law enforcement and immigrant communities and reserving scarce police resources for other, more urgent crime-fighting needs.

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Spagat reported from San Diego. Associated Press writers Paul Elias and Terry Chea in San Francisco contributed.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – An FBI agent has testified that he thinks a California man may have sexually assaulted 100 or more female inmates while transporting them between lockups around the country over the past 15 years.

Eric Scott Kindley faces federal charges in Arkansas alleging that he sexually assaulted a woman along a deserted road in January 2017 while transporting her from a jail in Alabama to Arizona, where there was a warrant for her arrest. Kindley faced similar charges in Arizona involving other female inmates he transported, but a judge dismissed those charges last week at the request of prosecutors, leaving just the Arkansas case.

During a hearing Tuesday, Special Agent Kyle Roberts testified that he has found evidence of attacks on at least 13 other women who were transported alone in Kindley’s Dodge Grand Caravan. He said he believes “there could be 100, maybe more” victims spanning Kindley’s 15 years transporting inmates across the country, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .

Kindley has pleaded not guilty to charges of deprivation of rights and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. His federal public defender, Christophe Tarver, didn’t immediately reply to a phone message left after working hours by The Associated Press.

Kindley was initially arrested in Stockton, California, last June, a day after he signed up as an Uber driver. Roberts testified that agents were monitoring his smartphone, which showed he had conducted searches about Uber drivers having sex with passengers.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Roberts testified that Kindley pulled over along a dark road outside Russellville, Arkansas, to let the 27-year-old inmate he was transporting urinate outside. He said that after unshackling one of her hands, Kindley threw the woman against the van and reached down her underwear, scratching hard enough to tear the fabric. Kindley demanded that the woman perform a sex act on him but her screams alerted nearby animals that started to howl. Spooked, Kindley ordered her back into the van, showed her his gun and told her, “It only takes one bullet to the head,” according to Roberts.

He said Kindley later made an overnight stop at a jail in Oklahoma, but that the woman didn’t report him to jailers because Kindley had warned her he was a U.S. Marshal with law enforcement relationships.

After arriving at the Arizona jail, the woman was housed with another woman who had been transported by Kindley from California several days earlier. The other inmate said Kindley had raped her in a remote desert area but that she didn’t report it out of fear. The FBI was later alerted of the attack after another female inmate informed a jail employee.

U.S. Department of Justice documents show two of Kindley’s former employees, Albert Long and William Cassidy, have been separately convicted of federal crimes related to sexually assaulting female inmates while working for his prison-transport business.

Roberts said both men described in interviews with the FBI that “it was understood among the transport officers that they could do as they wanted to the females during transport, so long as the authorities do not find out.”

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

DALTON, Ga. (AP) – The Latest on shots fired at high school in Georgia. (all times local):

10:50 p.m.

Police in the town where a Georgia teacher is accused of firing a gunshot in a high school classroom say they encountered him twice before exhibiting odd behavior.

Dalton police said in a 2016 report that teacher Jesse Randal Davidson walked into the police department and told a rambling story suggesting a murder might have occurred. But police said they weren’t able to verify any of the information. They said Davidson was taken to a hospital “based on him thinking about hurting himself.”

Police said in another report last year that officers found Davidson during a school day sitting on a street curb, unresponsive and being held up by two school employees. He was again taken to a hospital.

Both reports were posted late Wednesday by the Chattanooga Times Free Press .

___

6:55 p.m.

Within hours after a teacher fired a gun at a Georgia high school, students took to social media to call for more gun control and deride calls to arm more educators.

Dalton High School student Nathangel Lopez was still huddled in a locker room Wednesday, fearing for his life, when he tweeted at the NRA and President Donald Trump that student cries for gun control are being ignored.

Lopez said he has seen the momentum built by survivors of the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, shooting that left 17 dead and he hopes to push it forward.

Junior Chondi Chastain said the idea of arming teachers is absurd. In a post that was retweeted 15,000 times within hours, she wrote, “I dare you to tell me arming teachers will make us safe.” She said she’s hoping to bring about real change.

Police say the teacher was taken into custody after a standoff and no student was in the room when the shot was fired.

___

5 p.m.

A Georgia teacher accused of firing a gun inside his high school classroom is facing six charges, including aggravated assault involving a gun and terroristic threats and acts.

The only injury from the shooting occurred when a student hurt her ankle running during the evacuation of the school.

Whitfield County Jail records show that 53-year-old Jesse Randal Davidson also faces charges of carrying a weapon in a school safety zone and reckless conduct, among others.

The jail records do not indicate whether he has an attorney.

Dalton police say the social studies teacher at Dalton High School was taken into custody after a 30- to 45-minute standoff with officers. He’s also the play-by-play announcer for the Dalton High Catamounts football team.

___

3 p.m.

A mother says she was terrified as her daughter texted her while hiding inside her darkened classroom as police responded to reports of gunfire inside a Georgia high school.

Annmarie Jacobs says her daughter Emma texted that her teacher had turned the lights off and told the students to sit in a corner.

Then, in an act that brought home the danger of the situation, her daughter texted, “omg she’s putting desk in front of the door.”

Jacobs said she was about 100 miles (160 kilometers) away from Dalton High School and driving through Tennessee when she got the texts, and pulled over on the roadside, shaking.

Dalton police said 53-year-old Jesse Davidson, a social studies teacher at Dalton High School, was taken into custody after a 30- to 45-minute standoff with police.

___

2:40 p.m.

Police say a teacher who fired a gun inside a Georgia classroom taught social studies and was the play-by-play announcer for the high school’s football team.

Dalton police tweeted that 53-year-old Jesse Davidson has been taken into custody after a 30- to 45-minute standoff with police. Authorities say he was inside a locked classroom with no students present when he apparently fired a handgun.

Police have not said why he fired the gun. The only injury reported was a student who hurt their ankle running during the evacuation of Dalton High School.

___

2:20 p.m.

Police say a “threatening” note was found last week at a Georgia high school that was the scene of a teacher firing a gun inside a classroom.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the note was related to the shooting Wednesday at Dalton High School. Police in Georgia say a teacher apparently fired a handgun Wednesday and barricaded himself in the classroom for about 30 minutes before he was taken into custody.

No students were inside the classroom at the time.

Police say the note was found Feb. 21, and mentioned a threat against the school the following day.

Assistant Police Chief Cliff Cason said in a statement at the time that officers planned an increased presence at the city’s schools in response to the note.

Dalton is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta.

___

2 p.m.

Police in Georgia say a teacher apparently fired a gun inside a classroom and barricaded himself there for about 30 minutes before he was taken into custody.

WRCB reports that no students were inside the classroom at the time. Police spokesman Bruce Frazier says that the teacher apparently did not want to involve students. He says authorities have recovered a handgun.

A student apparently injured their ankle while running inside the school during the evacuation Wednesday.

___

1:40 p.m.

Police say one student has suffered an ankle injury after shots were reportedly fired at a high school in Georgia.

Police in Dalton tweeted that the student apparently injured their ankle while running inside the school during the evacuation Wednesday. Police say a teacher is in custody.

The student was treated by the EMS at the school.

Police spokesman Bruce Frazier says the scene is secure.

The incident happened two weeks after a school shooting in Florida left 17 students and faculty dead and put the country on edge.

___

1 p.m.

Police in Georgia say officers have responded to reports of shots fired at a high school and a teacher who may have been barricaded in a classroom is in custody.

Police in Dalton tweeted that no children were hurt or were in danger. Police spokesman Bruce Frazier tells The Associated Press that the scene is secure. Police are not immediately saying what happened inside the school.

Police say the school has been evacuated and students have been taken to the Northwest Georgia Center. Police are advising parents to go there to pick them up.

Dalton is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Atlanta.

The identity of the teacher has not been released.

The high school’s website says it has 2,000 students.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By MARK THIESSEN

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska Republican and most senior member of the U.S. House argued against gun control by wondering how many Jewish people “were put in the ovens” because they were not armed.

U.S. Rep. Don Young, who has a history of off-the-cuff remarks that can draw criticism, made the comments at a meeting last week in the state capital of Juneau when responding to a question about what the federal government and cities can do to stop school shootings.

“How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed?” Young, 84, said at a meeting of the Alaska Municipal League, a lobbying group for local communities. “Fifty million in Russia because their citizens weren’t armed. How many Jews were put into the ovens because they were unarmed?”

The comments were “taken entirely out of context,” Young spokeswoman Murphy McCollough said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“He was referencing the fact that when Hitler confiscated firearms from Jewish Germans, those communities were less able to defend themselves,” she said. “He was not implying that an armed Jewish population would have been able to prevent the horrors of the Holocaust, but his intended message is that disarming citizens can have detrimental consequences.”

Jewish groups denounced the remarks.

“It is mind-bending to suggest that personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000 remaining in Germany in 1938) could have stopped the totalitarian onslaught of Nazi Germany when the armies of Poland, France, Belgium and numerous other countries were overwhelmed by the Third Reich,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement Wednesday.

Young showed a “tremendous lack” of understanding of the history of the Holocaust and how the Nazis treated Jewish people, said rabbi Michael Oblath with Congregation Beth Sholom in Anchorage, the state’s oldest and largest synagogue.

“It’s misleading, it’s misrepresentative of the events, and I think it’s cold,” Oblath said.

The Alaska Democratic Party’s executive director said the comments show it’s time for residents to vote out Young. The longtime lawmaker is rarely in danger of being unseated in the heavily Republican state.

“Don Young continues to show he is completely divorced from reality,” Jay Parmley said.

Young wasn’t the first House Republican to face criticism for comments made after 17 students were killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney of New York said on a radio program last week that “many” people who commit mass murder turn out to be Democrats, without offering evidence.

Young’s comments emerged when Dimitri Shein, a Democrat, posted video of the lawmaker’s response to his question on YouTube.

Young intimated the violent nature of video games might play a role in gun violence. A former schoolteacher, he said kids brought guns to schools 40 years ago “and they didn’t shoot anybody.”

“Something’s happened, it’s easy to blame an object,” Young said. “Why don’t we look at the mental concept and the family structure” as he noted that he supports arming teachers.

Young, who was first elected in 1973, ensures civility in the U.S. House after receiving a largely ceremonial title earlier this year that’s given to the longest-serving member of the chamber.

He has faced blowback for other remarks.

A few years ago, he had to apologize for using a racial epithet when referring to Hispanic migrant workers and also backtracked when he said a female colleague “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.”

His staff had to apologize in 2014 after he spoke at an Alaska high school a day after a student’s suicide. When asked what his office was doing to combat the state’s high suicide rate, he stunned the audience by saying suicide showed a lack of support from family and friends.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

By ELLEN KNICKMEYER

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California officials, schoolchildren and at least one billionaire denounced the Trump administration’s plan to scrap Obama-era limits on emissions from power plants in blistering comments Wednesday to U.S. officials visiting a state that’s helping lead the fight against climate change.

Hundreds spoke in defense of the Clean Power Plan at a hearing in San Francisco, the latest in a series of nationwide “listening sessions” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its effort to repeal the restrictions. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has described them as part of former President Barack Obama’s “war on coal.”

Resistance to the rollback was a given in California, where switching to more renewable sources of electricity is mandated under Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. But officials from California, Washington state and Oregon turned out to make clear the extent of their opposition.

“I know this is a listening session, and I’m asking you, who are you listening to? The voices of outdated technology of the past?” Mary Nichols, chairwoman of California’s Air Resources Board, asked EPA officials.

“California is in complete opposition to the EPA’s proposal,” said Nichols, one of a half-dozen officials speaking from Brown’s administration.

It has pushed state programs that roll back reliance on coal-powered electrical plants, gas and diesel automobiles, and other carbon-burners. The governor also travels globally to urge on efforts and build alliances to cut climate-changing fossil fuels.

“Now more than ever is the time for the United States to be a leader and a partner on this,” Nichols said. “Not to walk away from this.”

Under Brown, California has committed to getting at least half its electricity from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, by 2030. It is one of the first North American governments to experiment with cap-and-trade, a scheme meant to limit carbon emissions by selling credits to pollute.

By midday, all the speakers at one of several halls at San Francisco’s main library opposed the plan by President Donald Trump’s administration and supported West Coast efforts to curb climate change.

“Mr. Pruitt may not understand about asthma,” said Mary Zhu, a retired doctor and one of several medical workers testifying about health risks from car exhaust and other carbon pollution. “Go to an ICU, go to an ER, and then decide if you want to kill people.”

Pruitt called the Clean Power Plan, unveiled in 2015, regulatory overreach by the Obama administration.

“We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate. Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule,” he said in announcing the repeal last year.

Parents, expectant mothers and at least two descendants of coal miners also spoke out Wednesday.

“As an American, I’m embarrassed that the United States is the only country moving away from the Paris accord,” Jim McMahon, a climate scientist from the San Francisco Bay Area, referencing the global pact to cut emissions.

Outside the listening session, more than 100 schoolchildren marched, banged drums and chanted, “No coal, no way, not ever not today.”

Most of the children were from Oakland, a more diverse, less affluent Bay Area city where opponents have battled a proposal to ship coal through its ports.

“I have friends who have asthma, and they’re going to die” because of coal, said Melisa Rodriguez, an 11-year-old marcher.

Steyer, a hedge-fund magnate and Trump opponent active in the fight for renewable energy, spoke briefly, and scathingly, to the environmental regulators inside.

“This can’t just be a sham listening session. Not when the health and prosperity of the American people is at stake,” Steyer said.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.