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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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Reinking with legislation meant to deter a family member from returning a firearm to a relative whose gun license has been revoked.

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The bill stalled in the Illinois legislature last year.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio

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Doctor fighting fraud charge cites Donald Trump in his defense of doling out COVID-19 drug

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As President Donald Trump promoted the drug hydroxychloroquine, one California doctor took his recommendations to the bank.

According to the San Diego Tribune, Dr. Jennings Staley is being charged in what appears to be the first case involving the drug. The FBI is charing Staley with mail fraud as part of an effort hailing hydroxychloroquine as a "miracle cure" and the "magic bullet" to an undercover agent posing as a patient, court documents say.

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The few police willing to join in solidarity with protesters

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Reports of the protests across the country are focusing on the violence, clashes and property damage caused by a small few rather than the peaceful protest of those rallying against injustice and the police standing in solidarity with them.

A few captured positive moments of cities where officers support the protests and believe Black lives do actually matter.

There were moments of protesters fist-bumping police, hugs with police, and in one incident in New York City over the weekend, one officer was separated from his unit. Protesters surrounded him with locked arms to protect him from those being violent. In Miami, Florida and Seattle, Washington, police joined protesters in kneeling.

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2020 Election

Trump shows all the signs of being ‘rattled’ now that the White House is under siege from protesters: columnist

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In a column for the Atlantic, longtime political observer Peter Nicholas stated that Donald Trump is showing all the signs of a scared man as massive protests have broken out across the country over the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four former Minneapolis cops -- and angry Americans are taking their case all the way up to the White House gates.

As Nicholas wrote, "Presidents live within a protective cocoon built and continually fortified for one purpose: keeping them alive. But inside the White House compound these days, Donald Trump seems rattled by what’s transpiring outside the windows of his historic residence."

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