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Fatal shooting outside a convenience store becomes the first homicide of 2021 in Fort Bend County


A man was shot and killed after two separate groups exchanged gunshots outside a convenience store in Stafford late Monday night.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office received a call last night regarding a male who was found shot on the side of the road here at 812 FM 1092, also known as Murphy Road around 11:56 p.m.

Camerron Long was the 22-year-old victim who was shot several times and was immediately transported to the Sugar Land Methodist Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

This event marks the first homicide of 2021 in Fort Bend County, just four days into the new year where in the previous year, there were a total of 12 homicides in Fort Bend County.

No arrests or motives have been announced in the shooting at the moment, but The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet that authorities don’t have any further information.

Anyone with information that could help Fort Bend County investigators should call their Crime Stoppers at 281-342-TIPS.

Produced by Shivani Parmar

Top Harris County Health Official to step down

Dr. Umair Shah addresses the Houston public in a press conference with Fort Bend County Judge, KP George

In Harris County, throughout the pandemic, one key individual has assisted in advising the county on COVID-19 recovery. Dr. Umair Shah, the primary advisor to County Judge Lina Hidalgo on the coronavirus, is stepping down. 

Two county officials revealed this news to the Houston Chronicle earlier today. 

Shah has taken a job in Washington state, and this decision comes only days after Houston area-hospitalizations have hit a high since Labor Day.

Shah has been head of the Harris County health department since 2013. 

With his unexpected departure from the county, the Commissioners Court will appoint an interim public health authority at its Dec. 1st meeting. His last day will be December 18th. 

This is a developing story. More details to follow soon.

Two police officers shot, suspect found says HPD Chief Acevedo


One officer has been injured, and another has died in a shooting with a suspect this morning in Southwest Houston.

The fallen officer, Sgt. Preston, served for the Houston Police Department for 41 years. The other officer who is endured non-fatal injuries is Officer Courtney Waller.

A press briefing with the police chief provided more details. The suspect, is a 51 year old Hispanic male, with a criminal history of family abuse. The family of the suspect called to report disturbances and reports of abuse multiple times before the incident.

The suspect has been transported to a Memorial Hermann hospital near the scene. His 14 year old son was also injured in this incident.

Police Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Turner provide a press briefing for the shooting on Tuesday morning.

HPD Police Chief, Art Acevedo tweeted on Tuesday morning that a suspect is being searched for after two police officers have been shot.

The shooting occurred in the Southwest area of Houston, in the 2600 block of Hollyhall, according to reports from KPRC.

One officer was transported to the Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center.

Lina Hidalgo and Mayor Sylvester Turner also tweeted at her followers asking for them to keep the officers in their thoughts.

The scene is no longer active. A criminal invesitigation is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

This is a developing story, check back for more information soon.

Bodies recovered from Monday building collapse

A partial building collapse in West Houston with three confirmed fatalities, one victim transported to nearby hospital in stable condition.

On Monday afternoon around 2 p.m, a building collapsed near west Houston– resulting in the deaths of at least three people.

All bodies from this collapse were recovered on Wednesday.

The incident occured near the I-10 Katy Freeway in the area of Town & Country Boulevard.

Rescue technicians and a hazmat team cut through rubble mounting three-stories high in order to recover the bodies.

The collapse injured one person, however, the 240 construction workers on the scene were not injured.

Assistant Fire Chief Ruy Lozano said on Monday in a press briefing that the collapse appeared to involve newly constructed stairs that began at the 13th and 14th floor of the 15-story building.

Harvey Builders, the company hired to take on the project, issued the following statement to ABC13:

“Harvey Builders is working with the Houston Fire Department, our subcontractor East Texas Precast, and Hines, the project’s development manager, to investigate a fatal accident involving the collapse of a stairway on the construction site of the future Houston headquarters of Marathon Oil. Construction is an inherently dangerous activity and in recognition of this Harvey and its subcontractors observe very strict protocols on every project. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with each of the families involved during this difficult time.”

Trump says name of whistleblower in impeachment inquiry should be revealed


U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday (November 3) said the name of the whistleblower whose concerns prompted an impeachment inquiry should be revealed because that individual had given false information.

Trump, without giving evidence, suggested the whistleblower could potentially be guilty of fraud. 

“The whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave false information,” Trump told reporters at the White House. 

Trump also took the opportunity to lash out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He said she “has lost her mind” and that “her district is going to hell.”

Trump’s comments came as the whistleblower offered to answer questions directly to Republicans on the intelligence committee leading the inquiry, one of his lawyers said on Sunday.

Mark Zaid said the action was taken to counter Republican efforts, led by Trump, to unmask the whistleblower, a member of the U.S. intelligence community whose identity has not been released.

(Production: Kristin Neubauer)

Hamilton wins chaotic Saudi GP to move level with Verstappen in title fight


Lewis Hamilton won a crazy, twice-halted Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday (December 5) to send the Formula One world championship into a winner-takes-all final showdown with the Mercedes driver and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen level on points.

On a chaotic night of soaring emotions in Jeddah, the inaugural race in the Gulf kingdom took almost as many twists and turns as an already astonishing and enthralling rollercoaster season.

There were crashes, safety cars, red flags, claims of dirty driving after Hamilton hit the back of Verstappen’s suddenly slowing car, penalties, collisions and extraordinary exchanges between race director Michael Masi and the top two teams.

Seven-times world champion Hamilton took the bonus point for fastest lap to level with Verstappen on 369.5 points after 21 races.

The final round of the season is at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina next weekend.

Verstappen, who finished second with Valtteri Bottas third for Mercedes, leads 9-8 on wins, however — meaning that the Dutch 24-year-old will be champion if neither score another point.

“I tried to be as tough as I could be out there but also sensible and with all my race experience over the years, just keeping the car on track and staying clean,” said Hamilton after his 103rd career win.

The Briton started on pole but twice lost out to Verstappen at standing re-starts.

The Dutch driver was eventually ordered to hand back the lead, after going wide as Hamilton tried to pass, but when he slowed Hamilton ran into the back of him — accusing his rival of ‘brake-testing’ him.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner defended his driver: “I don’t know why he ran into the back of you like that, it made no sense,” he said over the radio.

Stewards handed Verstappen a five second time penalty but Hamilton rendered that irrelevant by overtaking seven laps from the end.

Mercedes were angry with Masi, saying they had not been given time to inform Hamilton that Verstappen had been told to give the place back, and Verstappen was also furious.

“What happened today is unbelievable and this sport is more about penalties than racing. For me, this is not Formula One,” said the Dutchman, who was awarded Driver of the Day in a fan vote.

“That was spectacular but not a good race,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

(Production: Sophie Penney & David Grip)

Free at-home COVID test plan will blunt Omicron spread


U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer urged Americans to seek out free, at-home COVID test kits that are being distributed at community health centers on Sunday (December 5) just days after the U.S. confirmed infections of the Omicron variant.

President Joe Biden’s administration’s plan currently involves Americans purchasing self test kits and then seeking reimbursement through their insurance providers -an approach some Democrats believe will deter people from acting quickly to indentify possible infection.

New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Utah each reported their first cases of the Omicron variant on Friday (December 3) . Missouri was awaiting CDC confirmation of a case involving a St. Louis resident who had recently traveled within the United States.

The outbreak of Omicron has made worldwide headlines and prompted political leaders to impose new COVID-19 restrictions. But the predominant U.S. strain remains Delta, Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a briefing at the White House.

(Production: Deborah Gembara)

“A uniquely American problem,” says Michigan Governor after deadly school shooting


A 15-year-old boy killed three fellow high school students and wounded eight other people upon opening fire with a semi-automatic handgun at a Michigan high school , and he was quickly arrested, police said on Tuesday (November 30).

One of those wounded was a teacher and the remainder were students at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, about 40 miles (65 km) north of Detroit, the Oakland County Sheriff’s office said.

The motive of the shooter was unknown, officials said.

Those killed were a 16-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl, Undersheriff Michael McCabe told reporters at the scene.

Two of the wounded were in surgery and six were in stable condition, McCabe said.

The suspect, a sophomore at the school, was believed to have acted alone and was arrested without resistance after firing 15 to 20 shots, McCabe said.

The suspect divulged nothing to police and demanded his right to a lawyer upon being advised not to speak by his parents, McCabe said.

This is latest in a rash of U.S. school shootings will likely fuel debates about gun control and mental health care, with many states allowing easy access to firearms while mental health disorders frequently go untreated.

“This is a uniquely American problem that we need to address,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who rushed to the scene and appeared with McCabe before the media.

But Whitmer, a Democrat who has been harshly criticized by right-wing militias and pro-gun advocates, also told reporters it was inappropriate to discuss specific policies at the scene.

“I think we need to focus on the community, the families supporting all the first responders,” she said.

McCabe praised the school for its preparation for a shooting and an orderly evacuation.

McCabe downplayed reports that some students were forewarned of danger on social media, saying they were unconfirmed rumors.

(Production: Deborah Gembara)

U.S. congressman posts family Christmas picture with guns, days after school shooting


A U.S. congressman on Saturday (December 4) posted a Christmas picture of himself and what appeared to be his family, smiling and posing with an assortment of guns, just days after four teenagers were killed in a shooting at a Michigan high school.

“Merry Christmas! ps. Santa, please bring ammo,” U.S. Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky wrote on Twitter.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, on Tuesday carried out the deadliest U.S. school shooting this year, the latest in a decades-long series of mass shootings at U.S. schools. His parents were arrested on Saturday in connection with the slayings.

Massie, who represents a solidly Republican district, posted the picture of himself and six others holding firearms resembling an M60 machine gun, AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a Thompson submachine gun.

Some semi-automatic weapons are made to look nearly identical to fully automatic weapons like machine guns. Under U.S. law, weapons like machine guns are restricted to the military, law enforcement and civilians who have obtained special licenses for weapons made before May 1986.

Jonathan van Norman, a campaign manager for Massie, did not immediately reply to a request for comment via Twitter.

Democratic U.S. Representative John Yarmuth, who chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee, condemned his fellow Kentuckian’s post.

The shooting in Oxford, Michigan – in which four teenagers were killed and a teacher and six other students were wounded – was the latest in a string of sometimes-deadlier incidents that have prompted fierce debates over school safety, gun control and gun rights.

(Production: Mana Rabiee)

Solar Eclipse brings minutes to darkness to Antarctic summer


Video released by NASA showed a total solar eclipse as seen from Western Antarctica on Saturday (4 December).

The earth’s southernmost continent experiences continual daylight from mid-October until early April, but the eclipse brought a few minutes of total darkness.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the Sun’s light in some areas.

For a total eclipse to take place the Sun, Moon, and Earth must be in a direct line. The only place that this total eclipse could be seen was Antarctica.

The eclipse will be visible partially from South Africa, Chile, New Zealand and Australia on Saturday.

(Production: Jacqueline Clyne)

Omicron is ‘spreading like wildfire,’ although scientists have benefit of early warning


The new Omicron coronavirus variant – identified first in South Africa, but also detected in Europe and Asia – is raising concern worldwide given the number of mutations, which might help it spread or even evade antibodies from prior infection or vaccination.

Omicron is ‘spreading like wildfire’ but there’s no reason to panic said Dr. Jeremy Kamil, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Louisiana State University said on Friday (December 3).

News of the variant prompted countries to announce new travel restrictions on Friday and sent drugmakers scrambling to see if their COVID-19 vaccines remain protective.

Travel restrictions create a disincentive for countries to share data said Kamil.

“We’re rewarding them with travel bans. I mean, is that really the way that you’re going to get data quickly next time if a country like Haiti or the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica finds a new variant. Maybe there would be political pressure not to release that data because they’re worried about the effects of on tourism or their economies. We need to be thinking about incentives and putting the right ones in place,” Kamil said.

The World Health Organization on Friday classified the B.1.1.529 variant, or Omicron, as a SARS-CoV-2 “variant of concern,” saying it may spread more quickly than other forms of coronavirus.

The Delta variant remains dominant worldwide, and it is not yet clear whether Omicron will be able to displace Delta, according to Kamil.

Two distinct difference between Delta and Omicron are: Omicron’s early warning and its high level of transmissibility.

But the new variant has over 30 mutations in the part of the virus that current vaccines target. It is also suspected of driving a spike in new infections in South Africa..

Experimental antiviral pills – such as Pfizer Inc’s Paxlovid and Merck & Co Inc’s molnupiravir – target parts of the virus that are not changed in Omicron, and these drugs could become even more important if vaccine-induced and natural immunity are threatened.

Scientists say it could be several more weeks before they can define the type of disease caused by the variant, determine how contagious it is and identify how far it has already spread.

Some note that other variants of concern, including Beta, which was also first detected in South Africa, were ultimately replaced by Delta. But the biggest question remains whether protection from COVID-19 vaccines – nearly 8 billion doses have been administered globally – will hold up. And, will people previously infected with the coronavirus be immune from infection with Omicron?

COVID-19 vaccine makers have contingency plans to deal with the Omicron variant that include a combination vaccine against the original version and the variant as well as a variant-specific booster dose, a top U.S. health official said on Friday.

The U.S. government is working with Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J on multiple contingency plans, infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told reporters at a White House briefing.

“One is to rev up the production of the vaccines that they already have. The next is to make, for example, a bivalent, where you have the vaccine against both the ancestral strain and the new variant, and the other is to make a variant-specific boost,” said Fauci.

Data from a National Institutes of Health study strongly suggest that existing boosters provide cross protection against a number of variants, including Omicron, Fauci said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with local authorities to investigate suspect cases of the Omicron variant in states other than those where cases have already been reported, Director Rochelle Walensky said at the briefing.

There have been cases of Omicron detected in about 40 countries, she said, but the Delta variant remains the dominant strain in the United States.

(Production: Deborah Gembara)

Police search for parents charged in Michigan school shooting


Authorities on Friday (December 3) were searching for the parents of the Michigan teenager accused of murdering four students at his high school, hours after the couple was charged with involuntary manslaughter for buying their son the weapon as a Christmas gift and ignoring warning signs as late as the day of the shooting.

A fugitive warrant has been issued for James and Jennifer Crumbley, who had been scheduled for arraignment on four counts of manslaughter each later on Friday, three days after authorities say their 15-year-old son, Ethan, carried out the deadliest U.S. school shooting of 2021.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told CNN police were searching for the Crumbleys after the couple’s attorney told his office that they have stopped responding to messages.

(Production: Pavithra George)

Ambulance rear-ended by vehicle on FM 1960


HOUSTON – Eastbound lanes of FM 1960 at Cypresswood were closed after an ambulance was struck by another vehicle Thursday night. 

HCSO District 2 said the vehicle rear-ended an ESD 11 ambulance with a patient in the back, however, no serious injuries have been reported in the incident.

The driver that rear-ended the ambulance is at fault, deputies said. 

A short time later, roadway was opened for traffic.

Man shot and wounded on Royal Pine Drive


HOUSTON – Houston police are looking for a suspect after a man was shot and injured in the 10700 block of Royal Pine Drive Thursday night. 

According to police, the 40-year-old male victim was located with a gunshot wound to the groin area.  He was transported to a nearby trauma center where he is expected to survive.

As per initial information, the victim was shot by a man that he knew from the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect then fled the scene.

Lt Pavel with the Houston Police Department said the suspect had previously attempted to steal the victim’s trailer from his property. 

Further investigation is underway. 

Man allegedly shot, injured by neighbor on Linn Street


HOUSTON – Police are investigating a shooting incident in the 3300 block of Linn Street where a man was shot and injured Thursday night. 

Investigator said the victim was shot in the leg. He was moved to the hospital and is expected to survive.

The suspect is believed to be a neighbor and is known to the victim, an officer said, adding that the suspect dropped the firearm in an adjacent yard in front of witnesses.