What To Know Today

The ATF arrests a man in connection with shootings targeting unhoused people in D.C. and New York. The 30-year-old Washington, D.C., resident was arrested following the shootings of five men — two of them fatally — over the course of two weeks. The suspect’s father extended his condolences to the victims and their families, and said in a statement that his son’s mental health issues had never been properly addressed despite many run-ins with the criminal justice system that included assault charges. “I cannot speak to the details of the case,” he said. “I can only speak to the issue of the failure of the judicial system identifying that my son suffers from mental illness but not treating it.”

President Joe Biden signs bill reauthorizing the lapsed Violence Against Women Act. The provision was included in a massive $1.5 trillion omnibus bill that passed Congress last week. As we reported in February, a provision in the final legislation requires the FBI to alert state and local police when someone fails a background check while attempting to buy a gun — though it excludes a measure to close the so-called boyfriend loophole, as advocates wanted. The legislation also provides for a $50 million community violence intervention and prevention initiative at the DOJ and a $25 million allocation for gun violence research at the CDC and NIH. It’s the third year in a row for federal gun violence research funding after a more-than-20-year-gap.

Cook County State’s Attorney declines to file charges against officer who fatally shot Adam Toledo. Officer Eric Stillman shot the 13-year-old in an alley in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago last March after a ShotSpotter report of potential gunshots in the area. Body camera footage showed the officer shooting the boy less than a second after he turned around and held his hands in the air, per the officer’s commands, and moments after Toledo appeared to toss a gun over the fence behind him. “We’ve concluded that there was no evidence to prove that officer Stillman acted with criminal intent,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said on Tuesday. “Officer Stillman fired only one shot. … [He] reacted to the perceived threat presented by Adam Toledo, who he believed at the time was turning toward him to shoot him.” No charges for the officer who shot and killed a man days after Toledo’s death, either. Foxx simultaneously announced that she would not be filing criminal charges against Evan Solano, who shot 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez two days after Toledo’s death. Foxx said she does place blame on the officers who stopped Alvarez without any indication that he had committed a crime, and on Solano for pursuing him on foot without waiting for backup, saying they “themselves created the conditions in which the use of deadly force became necessary.” 

“Equipping law enforcement cannot be the sole focus”: Utica joins state efforts to combat gun violence with mental health services. New York’s state-funded SNUG program leverages mental health interventions in an effort to decrease gun violence in communities rife with trauma. As we covered in Poughkeepsie, SNUG’s approach is unique because it delivers services directly to residents — instead of trying to bring people into a traditional clinical setting, therapists meet patients in the streets. Utica is now the latest city in the state to adopt the community-focused intervention practice. “Equipping law enforcement cannot be the sole focus when it comes to protecting our communities,” state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said at an event unveiling the expanded program.

Data Point

4 — the average number of daily unintentional (accidental/negligent) shootings so far in 2022, adding up to a total 284 such incidents year to date. [Gun Violence Archive]