Biden Tries to Comfort Relatives of Slain Louisiana Officers | NECN
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Biden Tries to Comfort Relatives of Slain Louisiana Officers

Biden attended the service alongside Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and the officers' widows

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    (L-R) Matthew Gerald, 41, Montrell Jackson, 32 and Brad Garafola,45, of the Baton Rouge Police Department were fatally shot by gunman Gavin Long in an ambush-style shooting on July 17, 2016.

    The gunman's bullets that killed three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge also targeted the country and "touched the soul of an entire nation," Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday at a memorial service for the fallen officers. 

    "We need to heal," said Biden, who was joined at a Baton Rouge church by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, the officers' widows and hundreds of others. 

    Biden spoke directly to three officers' relatives from the stage. He promised them that a day will come when the memory of their loved ones will "bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye." 

    "They were defined by their courage," he said. "It matters who they were, and it matters who we are as a country." 

    New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    [NATL] New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    A new invention from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia may soon care for extremely premature babies. Artificial wombs stimulate an environment similar to a mother's womb - a method that researchers say is gentler than ventilators and incubators. 

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    Baton Rouge police officers Matthew Gerald, 41, and Montrell Jackson, 32, and sheriff's deputy Brad Garafola, 45, were shot and killed by Gavin Long, an Army veteran from Kansas City, Missouri, outside a convenience store on July 17. 

    Authorities say the gunman was targeting police officers. 

    Teens Overcoming Opioids Seek Treatment in Recovery Schools

    [NATL] Teens Overcoming Opioid Dependence Seek Treatment in 'Recovery Schools'

    A new method for battling teenage opioid abuse comes not in the form of a new drug or counseling method, but in special "recovery schools" that emphasize communal support and positive peer pressure. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    "When that assassin's bullet targeted our heroes — and he was an assassin — he not only targeted them, he targeted the city. He targeted his country, and it touched the soul of the entire nation," Biden said. 

    Long, 29, also wounded three other officers before a SWAT officer gunned him down. Long killed the officers less than two weeks after protests erupted in Baton Rouge over the death of Alton Sterling, a 29-year-old black man who was shot and killed during a scuffle with two white police officers. The killing was captured on cellphone video and circulated widely on the internet. 

    New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    [NATL] New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    The city of New Orleans will remove four statues of Confederate-era events and figures in an effort to divorce itself from symbols that some see as problematic. The first statue, the Liberty Place Monument, was taken down early Monday morning. 

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    Biden said he heard that Sterling's aunt embraced the father of one of the slain officers during a chance encounter after the shooting. He said they prayed together because "loss is loss is loss." 

    Lynch said it can feel as if the world is "broken beyond repair" after tragedies like the deadly shootout in Baton Rouge. But she said the gathering shows the community is united by "collective heartache" and a "common humanity." 

    Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    [NATL-DFW] Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    Body camera footage shows a Florida police officer being dragged by a driver attempting to flee a traffic stop.

    Police said Frank Wetzel, 61, was pulled over after blowing through a stop sign. Police said he started fidgeting with something next to him, making the officer suspicious. He was allegedly later found with a machete and handgun.

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    Lynch is scheduled to remain in Baton Rouge through Friday afternoon to meet with local police officials and other first responders. The Justice Department is investigating Sterling's death. The two officers involved in that July 5 shooting were placed on administrative leave. 

    Rosie Hernandez, whose nephew who is a Baton Rouge police officer, and her husband found seats Thursday inside the church where the vigil is being held. The 62-year-old said she is confident that the ceremony will help unite a community that has been grappling with racial tensions. 

    "Out of this tragedy, the hope is that we will become a closer community," she said. 

    Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Tullier was critically wounded and has remained in a hospital since the shooting. 

    Flight Attendant's Behavior Questioned Following Altercation

    [NATL-BAY] Flight Attendant's Behavior Questioned Following Altercation

    One day after an American Airlines flight attendant became entangled in an altercation with passengers, his employer is investigating whether or not he was out of line. Thom Jensen reports.

    (Published Sunday, April 23, 2017)

    Jackson, a corporal, was a 10-year veteran of the Baton Rouge Police Department. He was married and had a 4-month-old son. Days before he was shot to death, Jackson posted a message on Facebook about the difficulties of being both a black man and a police officer in the tumultuous aftermath of Sterling's shooting. 

    "Please don't let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better," wrote Jackson, whose funeral was Monday. 

    Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    [NATL] Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    When you think of a drive-thru, fast food probably comes to mind. But what about marijuana? Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru in Parachute, Colorado, is the first of its kind. After nearly a year of preparation, the drive-thru pot shop opened for business on 4/20. 

    "Their timing couldn't have been better in my opinion, I mean everybody wants to celebrate," said Kyle Steele, a customer at the drive-thru.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    Garafola, whose funeral was Saturday, is survived by a wife and four children: sons ages 21 and 12, and daughters ages 15 and 7. 

    East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said Garafola "went down fighting," with surveillance video showing him firing at the gunman as bullets hit the concrete around him. 

    Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    [NATL] Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    Just before midnight Thursday, Arkansas announced it had executed death row inmate Ledell Lee. He is the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire. A protester and a spokesperson for the governor reacted to the controversial execution.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    Gerald was a former Marine and Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq before joining the police force nine months ago. His wife, Dechia Gerald — now a widow with two young daughters — called him "my blue-eyed rock" in a written tribute. She expressed hope that his legacy will "bridge the gap and foster peace in the country he lived, loved and died for."