1 At Least Five Killed In Bank Hostage Situation
At least five people are dead in a hostage situation at a bank in Sebring, Florida yesterday. And in custody? Police say 21-year-old Zephen Xaver entered the SunTrust bank in the central Florida city and began shooting. Then he called police himself and reportedly admitted what he’d done. Soon, a SWAT team entered the bank, located the victims, and later took Xaver into custody. As Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund told reporters, the community has suffered a terrible loss at the hands of a "senseless criminal doing a senseless crime." The mystery that remains? Why. Officials have not named the victims pending family notification. It’s unclear if the victims were customers, bank employees or a combination. As shocked as the community is – so is Xaver’s family. "I'm heartbroken for my son. I'm heartbroken for the victims," his father, Josh Xaver, tells CNN. “He wasn't raised to be like this. He's always been a good kid. He's had his troubles, but he has never hurt anyone ever before. This is a total shock.”
2 SOTU Fight: Trump Blinks
The game of tit for tat continues between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump – and for the moment, Pelosi will have her way. Yesterday began with the Pelosi informing Mr. Trump that she was officially rescinding the invitation to deliver his State of the Union address. Then, the President told reporters he’d find an alternate venue – and in a photo op with reporters, said that she was only cancelling his address because she “didn’t want to hear the truth.” But then something else happened. Taking to Twitter, the President said he’d make his State of the Union address when the partial government shutdown is over. He explained that there's "no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber." Trump added, “I look forward to giving a “great” State of the Union Address in the near future!”
3 White House Hints Shutdown Could Last Into Spring
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is asking agencies to provide a list of programs that will be in jeopardy if the partial government shutdown continues into April. The longest government shutdown in U.S. history is now in its 34th day. According to the “Washington Post,” Mulvaney has asked for the list to be given to him by tomorrow – which is when about 800-thousand federal employees will be missing their second paycheck. But it’s not just federal employees – nearly 40 million Americans aren’t going to get food stamp benefits. On top of that, the federal court system is likely to stop operations after February 1st. That’s in addition to airports closing some security checkpoints as TSA agents continue to call in sick in record numbers. Meanwhile…former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is calling on his former boss and Congress to fund the critical mission of the Department of Homeland Security. He was one of five former Homeland Security secretaries to sign a letter saying DHS employees are leaving the department because they cannot continue to work unpaid as the shutdown drags on. Kelly was President Trump's chief of staff when the shutdown began in December. The group wrote that the DHS is facing a real crisis if the shutdown continues.