What To Know Today

How alcohol helps fuel New Mexico’s violence crisis. In a new seven-part series for New Mexico in Depth, reporter Ted Alcorn looks at the effect that alcohol is having in the state, where it kills people at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country. One component of the crisis is in how the drug contributes to violence: Forty-two percent of people who died from homicides from 2010 to 2020 had alcohol in their system, as did 32 percent of people who died by suicide, according to Alcorn’s analysis of state toxicology records. And in 2020, the state Department of Health found 231 violent deaths attributable to alcohol, more than alcohol-related traffic deaths. Overall, alcohol was the most common intoxicant in fatal violence. The link is especially notable for suicide deaths, which far outnumber homicides but receive fewer public resources. Among people 25 to 44, alcohol was involved in about half of suicide deaths last year. “If there is potential for violence, and you add alcohol, the potential increases,” one public health expert said, likening the role of alcohol in violence as pouring gasoline on a fire.

Shooting at a Los Angeles park leaves two people dead, five wounded. The incident happened in Peck Park in the San Pedro neighborhood on Sunday afternoon. Police said approximately 500 people were in the park when a shooting between two groups broke out on a baseball field. “That’s heartbreaking, that we can have peaceful events in this area for, you know, two, three years straight with no incidents, and then one incident like this happens,” local resident and gang interventionist Skipp Townsend told The Los Angeles Times. In Atlanta: A drive-by shooting left eight people between the ages of 16 and 21 injured as they stood outside a gas station, police said.

Jury selection begins in Alex Jones defamation trial. The trial in Austin, Texas, is set to then officially begin on Tuesday, where a jury will determine how much the far-right conspiracy theorist owes two families of Sandy Hook victims after losing several defamation suits last year related to Jones’ repeated claims that the 2012 shooting was a hoax. The Austin trial is the first of several that Jones faces to determine how much he owes in damages to Sandy Hook families.

Family of slain 9-year-old Houston girl decries no indictment of the man who shot her. In February, a 41-year-old man who was robbed at an ATM fired at a truck he thought the robbery suspect had climbed into, authorities said. But the vehicle was actually carrying 9-year-old Arlene Alvarez and her family. Last week, a Harris County grand jury opted against indicting the man on several charges, including aggravated assault and manslaughter. “That was not self-defense,” the aunt of the girl said at a news conference. But an expert told the Associated Press the case was difficult because Texas law gives “very broad self-defense rights for people carrying guns, even if the person makes a mistake.”

California man faces federal charges over cyber-stalking gun control activist Fred Guttenberg. James Catalano, 61, was charged with a monthslong campaign of harassment against the man whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was among those killed in the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Catalano allegedly wrote more than 200 homophobic, misogynistic, and violent messages, and was arrested last week as the murder trial for the Parkland shooting suspect is ongoing. Catalano faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

FBI charges Tennessee man who traveled to Capitol during the insurrection with shooting at a federal building. The drive-by shooting in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, happened on July 3rd, and Mark Thomas Reno was charged in an FBI warrant unsealed this week. Reno was already the target of an undercover federal probe, and officials said he had been present at the insurrection on January 6, 2021. The unsealed warrant says the suspect told an undercover FBI agent that he was part of a Catholic militia group and motivated by anti-government animus.

Data Point

15 — the number of Washington, D.C.-area colleges and universities that will participate in the newly launched 120 Initiative, a research consortium to study gun violence solutions. [The Washington Post]