Federal agents recall Branch Davidian shootout 24 years ago

(Information from: Houston Chronicle,

HOUSTON (AP) — Nearly 24 years after the Branch Davidian standoff began near Waco, some federal agents are opening up about their experiences that resulted in the worst day in the history of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and ultimately the deaths of some 70 people inside the compound more than seven weeks later.

ATF Agent Gary Orchowski tells the Houston Chronicle he’s decided he owes it to the four agents killed that day to tell the story.

The siege began with a shootout Feb. 28, 1993, after federal authorities showed up to execute search warrants for illegal stockpiles of automatic weapons and explosives at the compound.

Instead, they were greeted with gunfire. Investigators later would determine the people inside had been tipped about the planned surprise raid.




Hunters charged in Texas shooting had blamed immigrants

(Information from: KOSA-TV,

PRESIDIO, Texas (AP) — Two hunters accused in a shooting on a Texas ranch near the Mexican border had told authorities they were attacked by immigrants who had entered the U.S. illegally.

Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez told Odessa television KOSA that a grand jury indicted Michael Bryant and Walker Daugherty on charges of using deadly conduct by discharging firearms in the direction of others.

The charges stem from a Jan. 6 incident where police found Daugherty and another hunter, Edwin Roberts, with gunshot wounds. Dominguez says an investigation found that Daugherty shot Roberts and Bryant shot Daugherty.

The hunters’ claim that immigrants shot them became fodder for a Facebook post by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. He wrote the attack was another reason why a wall must be built along the border.




Man arrested for slaying of Caldwell County woman last year

LOCKHART, Texas (AP) — Central Texas authorities have arrested a 32-year-old man and charged him with murder for the slaying seven months ago of a 19-year-old woman.

Caldwell County Sheriff’s officials say Rudy Herrera Jr. was arrested Saturday for the slaying of Emilia Juarez. Her body was found in a field in Lockhart in August.

An autopsy showed she had been strangled.

Authorities have provided few immediate details, saying only that the arrest is based on interviews and evidence collected from the slaying scene.



Norma McCorvey, at center of landmark abortion ruling, dies

DALLAS (AP) — Norma McCorvey, whose legal challenge under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion has died. She was 69.

McCorvey died on Saturday at an assisted living center in Katy, Texas.

McCorvey was 22, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman’s life. The subsequent lawsuit, known as Roe v. Wade, led to the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that established abortion rights. But by the time of the ruling she had given birth and gave her daughter up for adoption.

Decades later, McCorvey underwent a conversion, becoming an evangelical Christian and later a Roman Catholic. She joined the anti-abortion movement.



Hundreds rally in Dallas in support of immigrants, refugees

(Information from: The Dallas Morning News,

DALLAS (AP) — Police estimate about 1,700 people have rallied in downtown Dallas in a peaceful show of support for immigrants and refugees.

The Dallas Morning News reports religious and civic leaders were among those Saturday protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Dallas police report the crowd gathered along streets and near the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. Officer Diana Flores says there were no arrests.

Some marchers carried U.S. flags or banners from other nations and chanted: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”

Imam Omar Suleiman, with Faith Forward Dallas, told the crowd: “We will not allow an extremist 10,000 miles away or an extremist in the White House to pit us against one another.”

About a dozen counter-protesters stood nearby in support of Trump.




AP Exclusive: Hundreds of Texans may have voted improperly

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas election officials acknowledge that hundreds of people were allowed to bypass the state’s toughest-in-the-nation voter ID law and improperly cast ballots in the presidential election by signing a sworn statement instead of showing a photo ID.

The chief election officers in two of Texas’ largest counties are considering whether to refer cases to prosecutors for possible charges. Officials in many other areas say they’ll let the mistakes go. They say there was widespread confusion among poll workers and voters.

The law requires voters to show one of seven approved forms of identification. It was softened in August to allow people without a driver’s license or other photo ID to sign an affidavit declaring that they have an impediment to obtaining required identification.



North Texas police: Officer fatally shoots murder suspect

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (AP) — Police say a North Texas officer responding to a disturbance call fatally shot a suspect later identified as a man charged in the December death of his girlfriend.

Grand Prairie police Detective Mark Beseda (buh-SEE’-duh) on Saturday said 30-year-old Joshua Henry faced a murder charge in Tarrant County. Records show Henry was free on $100,000 bond in the fatal shooting of Nicole Blahitka of Fort Worth.

Beseda says an officer Friday night responded to a disturbance call from a person reporting a male relative destroying property. Beseda says an officer arrived, the suspect became belligerent and the two had a physical altercation.

Beseda says the officer shot the suspect once. The suspect died at a hospital.

Police didn’t immediate say when they identified Henry.

The officer was put on administrative leave.



Some Texas grad students hold bar conferences to avoid guns

(Information from: Houston Chronicle,

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A 2016 Texas law that allows concealed handguns on college campuses has prompted some graduate students to move their student conferences to bars.

The Houston Chronicle reports several University of Texas at Austin graduate students made the move amid safety concerns.

Mark Sheridan, who’s also an English doctoral student, says he moved his office hours to a bar in the university student center. Texas law bans firearms in venues that primarily serve alcohol.

Texas has allowed concealed carry since 1995, but kept college campuses gun-free until last August.

A Houston Chronicle review of university records and interviews, in the first six months of the law, found reports of only three firearm discharges on public college campuses. The incidents were at the University of Houston, Tarleton State and Texas Tech.




Justice Department cites hiring freeze concerns for disabled

(Information from: Austin American-Statesman,

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice has questioned how Gov. Greg Abbott’s hiring freeze could affect Texas institutions for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday that Justice Department officials say potential staffing shortages could cause Texas to violate its federal agreement to improve the facilities.

Abbott on Jan. 31, amid budget concerns, ordered a state agency hiring freeze through August. The directive only applies to agencies under Abbott’s office and allows exemptions.

The Justice Department, in a Feb. 7 response, said Texas supported living centers already have serious problems with turnover.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has a filed waiver request with Abbott’s office.

An Abbott spokesman says the governor’s office is working to make sure the living centers aren’t negatively affected by the hiring freeze.