Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s briefing: New details on a massive theft from an ATF warehouse, an analysis of declining media coverage of campus shootings, and a report on a fatal shooting at a Georgia college that barely made the national news.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from The Trace: A man pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of guns and parts from an ATF facility. In a little-noticed plea agreement, Christopher Lee Yates, 52, admitted to engaging in the long-running heist while he worked as a security contractor at a West Virginia warehouse for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. His haul included handguns, semiautomatic rifles, unregistered machine guns, ammunition magazines, bullets, and scopes. Alex Yablon has the latest on the most significant failure by the ATF to secure weapons under its control since the Fast and Furious scandal.
The student killed in the Colorado shooting died after lunging at one of the attackers. Kendrick Castillo, 18, gave his classmates enough time to escape or hide under desks and likely saved lives, according to a survivor. “I can’t thank them enough,” she said of Castilllo and the two other students who tackled the shooters. Police also credited an armed security guard with helping to stop one of the shooters. A familiar story of extraordinary heroism: Just last week, Riley Howell, 21, died after lunging at a gunman during a school shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. More updates: The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office identified the 18-year-old perpetrator and his 16-year-old co-conspirator and both had their first court appearances on Wednesday. Investigators believe the teens stole the weapons from one of the suspect’s parents but they have not identified any motive.
The UNCC shooting got fewer than 43 minutes of cable news coverage. If it seems like school shootings are getting less air time, you aren’t imagining it. During the week of the shooting at UNCC, CNN covered the tragedy for 24 minutes, Fox News devoted just over 14, and MSNBC covered it for fewer than five, according to an analysis by the left-leaning research organization Media Matters.
A student was shot on a university campus in Georgia. A shooting at a student housing complex left one student wounded and classmates shaken as they took their finals on Tuesday morning at Savannah State University in Georgia. The suspect, who was not a student at the college, was taken into custody.
The number of police killed in the line of duty increased in 2018. More than 100 American law enforcement officers were killed on the job last year, a 12 percent increase from 2017, according to new FBI data. Fifty-one of the officers were killed by guns, four of which had been stolen from them.
Over 1,000 guns were seized from a home in a wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood. A man was arrested after local police officers and ATF agents served the search warrant on Wednesday. An ATF spokesperson said the agency had been tipped off that a person was “conducting illegal firearms transaction outside the scope of the federal firearm license that the individual possesses.”
The Alabama House unanimously passed a bill cracking down on stolen guns. The measure passed Tuesday strengthened the state’s existing law by making the possession of any stolen firearm a felony. Under current law, a weapon must be worth at least $1,500 to be prosecuted as a felony. The bill now heads to the state Senate. Context: Gun theft from legal owners is on the rise, quietly fueling violent crime across America. And guns stolen from cars are a particular problem, as NPR reports in a segment updating data that The Trace collected in 2016.
ONE LAST THING
Watch Trace reporter Mike Spies discuss his ongoing investigation into the NRA’s financial improprieties on “Morning Joe.” Mike shared takeaways from his latest scoop on conflicts of interest and unexplained spending by the nonprofit’s leaders and vendors. During the segment, he and fellow panelists also traded thoughts on how the NRA’s largesse and extreme rhetoric undermine the goals and values of many everyday NRA members.