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Suspect accused in deadly Tennessee Waffle House shooting pleads not guilty

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The man accused of fatally shooting four people and injuring others at a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee last year pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to 17 murder and weapon charges, authorities said.

Travis Reinking, 30, is accused of opening fire with an assault rifle at the Nashville restaurant in April 2018, and then fleeing the scene naked. He was arrested after a 36-hour manhunt.

The suspect did not appear during Wednesday’s arraignment hearing before Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Mark Fishburn, said Steve Hayslip, spokesman for the Office of the District Attorney in Nashville, in emails.

Reinking’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Davidson County grand jury previously charged Reinking with four counts of first-degree murder, four counts of premeditated first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder and five weapon-related counts, according to Hayslip.

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The grand jury’s indictment this month came after mental health authorities determined Reinking was competent to stand trial, Hayslip said.

Illinois, the state where Reinking lived before moving to Nashville, had revoked his gun license.

His firearms were transferred to his father after U.S. Secret Service agents arrested him in 2017 for being in a restricted area near the White House. Reinking said at the time that he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. Reinking’s father subsequently gave the guns back to him.

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In May 2018, the family of Joe Perez, one of the four people killed in the shooting, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Reinking’s father, Jeffrey Reinking, saying he improperly gave his son access to weapons.

Illinois lawmakers tried to close a legal loophole that allowed a confiscated AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to be given back to Reinking with legislation meant to deter a family member from returning a firearm to a relative whose gun license has been revoked.

The bill stalled in the Illinois legislature last year.

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Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio


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‘He’s ignorant — not stupid’: NYT columnist says Trump is trying to ‘bait’ Democrats because he wants to run against AOC

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President Donald Trump is not going to get the 2020 opponent he wants, so he's going to pretend that his actual opposition is being led by the four young women in Congress known as The Squad, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wrote on Tuesday.

Trump has spent the last few days with racist attacks on the four first-term members, who are Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

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Red Alert: record temperatures in world’s northernmost settlement

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Temperatures hit a record 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit in Alert, the northernmost permanently inhabited spot on the planet less than 600 miles from the North Pole, the Canadian meteorology service said Tuesday.

"It's quite phenomenal as a statistic, it's just one example among hundreds and hundreds of other records established by global warming," Armel Castellan, a meteorologist at the Canadian environment ministry told AFP.

The temperature -- 21 degrees on the Celsius scale -- was recorded on Sunday at Alert, a permanent military base on the 82nd parallel which intercepts Russian communications and which has been home to a weather station since 1950.

The temperature was marked at 69.8 F on Sunday and 68 F the following day. "It's an absolute record, we've never seen that before," said Castellan.

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‘Nickel and Dimed’ for the sharing economy: Inside the hellish new reality of low-wage work

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In 2001, journalist Barbara Ehrenreich's investigative book "Nickel and Dimed" revealed to those who weren't on low-wage payrolls how expensive it is to be a member of the working poor in America. Some things haven't changed since Ehrenreich's experiences working as a Walmart clerk, a restaurant server and a maid, among other jobs. Housing can still be prohibitively expensive on low hourly wages, and high turnover remains a constant. Workers still risk their health — mental, physical and emotional — every precarious day.

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