Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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An attendee holds a candle at a vigil for Garrett Foster, who was shot and killed after an altercation with a motorist who allegedly drove into a crowd of demonstrators in Austin, Texas. [Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images]

Daily Bulletin: Guns at Protests Lead to Shots Fired in Three Cities

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

A motorist fatally shot an armed demonstrator during a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin, Texas. Marchers were moving through an intersection in the city’s downtown on Saturday night when a man reportedly aggressively drove his car into the group. One of the protesters, Garrett Foster, was carrying an assault-style rifle and approached the motorist, who shot Foster three times with a handgun. Another protester fired at the driver as he sped away. Both shooters were licensed handgun carriers and were released after questioning, said Austin Police, who continue to investigate the incident. Foster attended the protest with his fiancé, who later returned to the scene to mourn his death with fellow marchers.

Two protesters were shot in Aurora, Colorado, as marchers closed down an interstate. The demonstration in the Denver suburb honored Elijah McClain, who died last August after an encounter with police. Like in Austin, a car attempted to drive through the crowd, officials said, when a protester responded by opening fire. The shots missed the vehicle but struck another protester, who suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police are still searching for the weapon and the shooter. A second protester later showed up at the hospital with a minor bullet wound, police said.

Three people were injured by gunfire at a Louisville, Kentucky, protest that drew opposing militias. The Black NFAC militia organized the march in honor of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot during a no-knock police raid earlier this year. The far-right Three Percenter militia encouraged its members to also show up, but their presence was dwarfed by an estimated 500 NFAC members. During the gathering, three NFAC marchers were struck by what police say was an unintentional discharge by a fellow militia member. The most seriously injured NFAC marcher was treated in the ICU; all are expected to survive. “This is a tragic situation that could have been much worse,” the city’s police chief said.

Chicago street outreach work receives a $5 million injection. The president of the Cook County Board of commissioners announced that the money would go to Metropolitan Family Services, which oversees several of Chicago’s major community-led gun violence prevention initiatives (including a Metropolitan Peace Academy that trains new violence interrupters). Homicides in Cook County are up more than 40 percent year-over-year.

The city is also confronting a steep rise in suicide among Black people. Halfway through 2020, the number of Black residents of Cook County who’ve died by suicide has already surpassed last year’s total, The Trace’s Lakeidra Chavis reported in an article that appeared on the front page of Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times. “Ignoring the issue until it becomes a crisis has become the method of treatment,” one mental health advocate told her. The city’s underserved neighborhoods have a shortage of publicly funded counseling options, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot has yet to make good on a pledge to reopen city mental health clinics closed by her predecessor, Rahm Emanuel.

ICYMI: The NRA spent members’ money on a covert campaign to keep Wayne LaPierre in power. That’s the story told in an episode of Gangster Capitalism, a podcast that dedicated its second season to an examination of the National Rifle Association’s history and recent turmoil. The Trace’s Will Van Sant recapped the alleged scheme, through which the gun group reportedly arranged to lavish members with free travel and perks so they would campaign to keep LaPierre loyalists on its board of directors.

DATA POINT

In its 2021 budget, the Washington, D.C., City Council redirected $15 million away from the city’s police department toward public safety programs that include violence interruption and a new position that will coordinate the city’s gun violence prevention strategy. [WUSA9]