Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[Alexander Police Department/Facebook]

Daily Bulletin: An Arkansas Cop Said He’d Shoot at Protesters. Then He Killed a Fellow Cop.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Service members most at risk for suicide are most likely to unsafely store their guns. A survey of nearly 1,000 military personnel by the state-funded New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center found that more than a quarter of military service members who stored their weapons loaded and in an accessible location experienced long-term suicidal ideation; 13 percent were currently having thoughts of suicide. “The fact that firearm-owning service members who are experiencing or have experienced severe distress appear to be more prone to unsafe storage practices is particularly dangerous since they are often hesitant to seek mental health care or to disclose or change their firearm storage practices,” said the lead author of the study, which appears in Psychiatry Research.

A 1-year-old boy was New York City’s youngest gunshot victim in a tragic weekend. Davell Gardner Jr. succumbed to injuries he sustained in a mass shooting during a cookout at a park in Brooklyn that left three others injured. “I just want people to find them — who did that to him,” said the boy’s great-aunt. “That’s all I want to know: Who did it.” A total of 35 people were shot in 28 incidents between Friday and Sunday. There have been 634 shootings so far this year in New York — up from 394 at this point in 2019.

An Arkansas cop allegedly threatened to shoot protesters who came to his home. Days later, he killed a fellow officer. After demonstrations against police brutality erupted in Minneapolis, Calvin Salyers, an officer with the Alexander Police Department, reportedly told a co-worker that he’d “shoot through the door” at any protesters who came to his home. On June 3, he fatally shot fellow officer Scott Hutton as he came to Salyers’s door. Salyers said his gun accidentally discharged when he transferred it from one hand to another. The Arkansas State Police arrested Salyers on July 8 and charged him with felony manslaughter.

Peaceful protester in Oregon critically injured by “impact munition.” Video has emerged of a federal officer firing a projectile at a demonstrator across the street from a courthouse in Portland this past weekend. The round struck Donavan La Bella, 26, in the face, causing extensive damage. La Bella underwent extensive facial reconstruction surgery and had a tube inserted in his skull, and is experiencing neurological deficits, his mother told The Oregonian. The city’s mayor said the U.S. Marshals Service was investigating. So-called non-lethal weapons have been used extensively against demonstrators across the country during the recent wave of racial justice protests. A leading expert told The Trace’s Brian Freskos last month that the ammunition they use, including rubber bullets, are “dangerous, indiscriminate, and potentially lethal.”

Florida cop fired and charged with felony after holding handcuffed Black man at gunpoint. Sergeant Janak Amin of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon a day after pointing a gun at the man’s head as he lay on the ground and demanding that he identify himself. “The bottom line is there is no reason, no rationale or justification why anyone had to point a gun at his head and threaten his life simply because he refused to identify himself,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. Police said the man was being sought after he left a behavioral treatment facility. Chronister, who said he did not believe the incident was racially motivated, commended the officers who reported their colleague.

Youth activists in Chicago want to reinvest police funds to community anti-violence efforts. The grassroots group GoodKids MadCity says reallocating just 2 percent of the Chicago Police Department’s $1.76 billion budget would significantly reduce violence in the city’s Black and brown neighborhoods. The group is calling for the money to fund street outreach programs, mental health and trauma services, and schools. Related: Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities on Monday announced a $650,000 grant-making initiative to support nonprofit organizations that engage in community building activities to make neighborhoods safer. At least 64 people were shot in the city this past weekend, 11 of them fatally.

DATA POINT

26 percent — The inflation-adjusted rise in per capita state and local expenditures for police protection from 2000 to 2017. Bureau of Justice Statistics