What To Know Today
A fight and shooting at a school in Texas left four injured. A 18-year old student shot and injured two people at Timberview High School in Arlington yesterday morning; two others were also injured, and a total of three people were hospitalized, one critically. Police said the victims included three students and an older adult who may be a teacher, and that the violence occurred when the suspect pulled a handgun after an altercation in class. The school went into lockdown as police blasted out an active shooter alert and eventually evacuated students to waiting parents. Police took the suspect into custody about four hours after the shooting, when he turned himself in. Since the beginning of August, there have been 37 shootings at schools, according to the Gun Violence Archive. More from The Trace: The federal government, states, and many school districts are dedicating funds to mental health in the hopes of also curbing violence.
CDC data confirms FBI homicide statistics for 2020. The health agency’s National Center for Health Statistics released its provisional 2020 data on Wednesday. The numbers included a 30 percent increase in homicides for the year, echoing an almost identical rise in murders found in the FBI’s crime statistics for last year. “It is the largest increase in 100 years,” Robert Anderson of the NCHS told CNN. The 2020 rate of 7.8 homicides per 100,000 people was the highest since 1995, but still well below the highs seen in the 1980s and early 1990s, the agency said. CDC researchers also noted that the provisional data showed that gun-related deaths increased by 14 percent — from 11.9 per 100,000 to 13.6 per 100,000. Just three states — Alaska, Maine, New Mexico — reported declines in homicides last year.
Black women and girls make up an unequal share of the victims. There were an additional 405 murders of Black women and girls last year, according to a Guardian analysis of FBI data. That amounted to at least four deaths per day, and experts told the paper that was likely an undercount. Meanwhile, Black women face a homicide rate that is three times that of white women. “What’s sad is that a lot of cases aren’t taken too seriously. It’s just another Black girl,” said the mother of a 19-year-old woman who was killed last fall.
Double-digit declines in the number of Black police officers in America. The hiring of nonwhite officers saw notable successes in the 1980s and 90s. But police agencies have slowly been losing diversity in their ranks, including large drops in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. “Data from the big departments all point in the same direction and match anecdotal reports: America’s police forces are getting less Black,” David Graham writes in The Atlantic. Related: In December, we profiled Marilyn Thompson, a Black police officer in Arkansas who believes policing would be more compassionate — and more effective — if police departments reflected their communities.
Gun violence splits Cook County prosecutor, Chicago mayor, and the city’s police chief. At issue is State Attorney Kim Foxx’s decision to not prosecute five people implicated in a shooting last week that left one person dead and two injured. The mayor and police chief blasted the decision to release the suspects without charging them, but Foxx defended her decision, saying there wasn’t enough evidence. She also defended her office’s prosecution record and in part blamed the police for perpetually low clearance rates in gun violence cases.
Fewer than 2,500 — the number of arrests made in Chicago’s shooting cases out of more than 13,000 shootings since Foxx took office, she said at a news conference on Tuesday. [The Chicago Tribune]