National Briefs

Official: School metal detectors not in use day of shooting

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Metal detectors at an Alabama high school were not in use the day a 17-year-old student was killed in a shooting on campus, the district’s superintendent said Thursday.

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring said the school system is reviewing security measures and protocols that were in place Wednesday, when Courtlin Arrington was fatally shot in a classroom at Huffman High School.

“We have not only heightened our procedures, but we are revamping and revisiting, with an extreme amount of urgency, those protocols, not just for Huffman High School, but for every single school in Birmingham,” Herring said at a news conference Thursday.

The superintendent said Huffman has more than 43 entry points with a combination of wand and stationary metal detectors in place, but they were not in use Wednesday. She didn’t give details about why.

Herring said Arrington, a senior who had aspirations to be a nurse, was a bright student “lost to senseless gun violence.”

“She was friendly, energetic and well-liked by peers and teachers alike,” Herring said.

The shooting took place as class was dismissing for the day, killing Arrington and injuring another student. Police said Wednesday that it was possible the shooting was accidental, but they were reviewing video footage and interviewing witnesses to determine exactly what happened.

Police took a “person of interest” in the shooting into custody Thursday but did not identify the person because no formal charges have been filed.

“Charges are pending a review of the case by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office,” the police statement read.

Birmingham interim police Chief Orlando Wilson said Wednesday that investigators were reviewing the possibility that the firearm had accidentally discharged.

“We have a lot of unanswered questions,” Wilson said.

Huffman High School was closed Thursday. Security was being increased at all city schools. Just last week, as police and school officials investigated a reported threat at Huffman Middle School, a gun was found outside an entrance door, believed to have been left there as students prepared to be scanned and have their backpacks checked.

Gov. Kay Ivey said she’s “praying for the family of this young lady who has tragically lost her life way too early. … It reaffirms that there is no place for students to have firearms or other weapons on campus.”

The shooting happened the day after Ivey created a school safety council to make recommendations on security in Alabama’s schools, including updated threat plans and training for students and staff on emergency situations.

Bones found in 1940 seem to be Amelia Earhart’s, study says

NEW YORK (AP) — Bones found in 1940 on a western Pacific Ocean island were quite likely to be remains from famed aviator Amelia Earhart, a new analysis concludes.

The study and other evidence “point toward her rather strongly,” University of Tennessee anthropologist Richard Jantz said Thursday.

Earhart disappeared during an attempted flight around the world in 1937, and the search for an answer to what happened to her and her navigator has captivated the public for decades.

Jantz’s analysis is the latest chapter in a back-and-forth that has played out about the remains, which were found in 1940 on Nikumaroro Island but are now lost.

All that survive are seven measurements, from the skull and bones of the arm and leg. Those measurements led a scientist in 1941 to conclude the bones belong to a man. In 1998, however, Jantz and another scientist reinterpreted them as coming from a woman of European ancestry, and about Earhart’s height. But in 2015, still other researchers concluded the original assessment as a man was correct.

Now Jantz weighs in with another analysis of the measurements, published in January in the journal Forensic Anthropology.

For comparison, Jantz used an inseam length and waist circumference from a pair of Earhart’s trousers. He also drew on a photo of her holding an oil can to estimate the lengths of two arm bones.

Analysis showed “the bones are consistent with Earhart in all respects we know or can reasonably infer,” he wrote in the journal article. It’s highly unlikely that a random person would resemble the bones as closely as Earhart, he wrote.

In a phone interview, Jantz noted that some artifacts found on the island also support the possibility that the bones came from Earhart.

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