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Powerful storms have killed at least 15 people and left a trail of destruction in their wake as they swept across parts of the central United States.

A tornado tore through a rural area in northern Texas, near the Oklahoma border, on Saturday night, killing at least seven people.

Cooke County sheriff Ray Sappington said two children, aged two and five, were among the victims, with numerous injuries also reported.

He said some of the many trailer homes in the area were “completely gone”, while others suffered massive damage from the storm which left a quarter of a mile-wide path of destruction for three to four miles.

“It’s just a trail of debris left,” he said. “The devastation is pretty severe.”

Storms also killed two people and destroyed houses in Oklahoma, where guests at an outdoor wedding were injured, while at least five people were killed in Arkansas, including a 26-year-old woman.

Elsewhere, a man was killed in Louisville, Kentucky, when a tree fell on him on Sunday.

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The small community of Valley View, a town in Cooke County, where barely 800 people live, was among the hardest hit.

Kevin Dorantes, 20, said he came across a father and son trapped under the debris and friends and neighbours worked to get them out.

“They were conscious but severely injured,” he said. “The father’s leg was snapped.”

He said they managed to carry the father on a mattress to a truck and he and his son were driven to a nearby ambulance.

Juana Landeros salvages a Guadalupe Virgin statue from her destroyed home. Pic: AP
Image:
Juana Landeros salvages a Guadalupe Virgin statue from her destroyed home. Pic: AP

Hugo Parra collects belongings from his vehicle. Pic: AP
Image:
Hugo Parra collects belongings from his vehicle. Pic: AP

Hugo Parra said he sheltered with around 40 to 50 people in the bathroom of a truck stop near Valley View as the storm sheared the roof and walls off the building, mangling metal beams and leaving battered cars in the car park.

“The best way to describe this is the wind tried to rip us out of the bathrooms,” he said.

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The full scale of the devastation began to come clear on Sunday morning as aerial footage showed dozens of damaged homes, many without roofs and others reduced to rubble, as residents woke up to overturned cars and collapsed garages.

Hundreds of thousands of customers were without power across a large part of the country, including in Arkansas, Missouri and Texas on Sunday, according to poweroutages.us.

In Indiana, bad weather delayed the start of the famous Indy 500 car race.

More severe weather is expected across parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee, with the National Weather Service warning of damaging winds, large hail and more tornadoes in the affected areas.

April and May have been a busy month for tornadoes, especially in the Midwest, with Iowa hit hard last week, when a deadly twister devastated Greenfield.

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Man who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband found guilty of kidnapping – and could face life in prison

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Man who attacked Nancy Pelosi's husband found guilty of kidnapping - and could face life in prison

A man who brutally attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer and was jailed for 30 years, has also been convicted of kidnapping and could spend the rest of his life in prison.

David DePape was sentenced last month by a federal judge to 30 years in federal prison after he was found guilty of the 2022 attack against Paul Pelosi – husband of the leading Democrat politician.

On Friday, a jury in San Francisco also found DePape guilty of first-degree burglary, false imprisonment of an elder, threatening a family member of a public official, dissuading a witness to the charges and aggravated kidnapping.

DePape was previously convicted of assaulting a federal official’s family member and attempting to kidnap a federal official.

The attack on Mr Pelosi was captured on police body camera video just days before the 2022 midterm elections and shocked US politics.

The then 82-year-old suffered two head wounds including a skull fracture that had to be mended with plates and screws.

Paul Pelosi. Pic: AP
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Paul Pelosi. Pic: AP

David DePape. Pic: AP
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David DePape. Pic: AP

Democratic former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pic: AP
Image:
Democratic former house speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pic: AP

In a statement, Mrs Pelosi’s office said: “Speaker Pelosi and her family remain in awe of their pop’s bravery, which shone through again on the witness stand in this trial just as it did when he saved his own life on the night of the attack.

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“For nearly 20 gruelling months, Mr Pelosi has demonstrated extraordinary courage and fortitude every day of his recovery.”

DePape’s public defender, Adam Lipson, said he planned to appeal the verdict.

He described the prosecutor’s decision to file a kidnapping for ransom charge during the trial as “vindictive”.

Mr Lipson said: “It’s really unfortunate that it was charged this way. It was sort of a textbook vindictive prosecution.

“As soon as they found that the attempted murder charge was going to be dismissed, they added this charge.”

Mr Lipson had earlier successfully argued that the state trial represented double jeopardy following the federal conviction and even though the courts are different, the cases stem from the same act.

San Francisco superior court judge Harry Dorfman agreed and dismissed the state charges of attempted murder, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.

Another judge upheld the decision on appeal.

Mr Lipson said the state verdict meant that after DePape served his 30 years in federal prison, he would then be transferred to a Californian prison “to spend the rest of his life” there.

In his closing arguments, he told the jury that the prosecution did not prove that DePape kidnapped Mr Pelosi with intent “to exact from another person money or something valuable”, which is integral to the charge.

However, assistant district attorney Phoebe Maffei pointed out that DePape told a detective, and testified in federal court, that he planned to get a video of Mrs Pelosi confessing to what he claimed were crimes – and post it on the internet.

Ms Maffei said: “There is inherent value in a video of the speaker of the House [of Representatives] confessing to crimes in her own home,”.

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Earlier this week, Ms Maffei outlined details of the attack where DePape broke into the politician’s home, entered their bedroom, “held him hostage with a hammer, threatened him, threatened his wife and attempted to kill him.”

Also during proceedings the jury was told that DePape lived a lonely, isolated life and had gone “down the rabbit hole of propaganda and conspiracy theories”.

During the week, the judge also expelled DePape’s former partner from the public gallery, accusing her of trying to tamper with the jury.

Gypsy Taub was handing out pieces of paper outside the courtroom with the address of a conspiracy theory website on them.

Cards were also found in a women’s bathroom nearby with the website’s address scrawled on the wall.

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Arkansas supermarket shooting leaves three dead and 10 wounded as gunman arrested

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Arkansas supermarket shooting leaves three dead and 10 wounded as gunman arrested

A supermarket shooting in Arkansas, US, has left three people dead and 10 others wounded.

Parked cars and shop windows were left riddled with bullet holes after a gunman opened fire on Friday, forcing bystanders to dive for cover.

Among the injured were two police officers who shot back at the gunman – before he was arrested.

The incident took place around 11.30am local time at the Mad Butcher supermarket in Fordyce – a city of just over 3,000 people located 65 miles south of Little Rock.

Colonel Mike Hagar, director of Arkansas State Police, told reporters: “It’s tragic, our hearts are broken”.

The gunman was identified by police as 44-year-old Travis Eugene Posey.

Posey was taken to jail and charged with three counts of murder.

Other charges are still pending and no court date has been set, according to the inmate roster.

Pic: AP
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Police on the scene of the attack in the aftermath of the shooting. Pic: AP

Neither Posey’s, nor the officers’ injuries were life threatening, but among the others the injuries ranged from “not life-threatening to extremely critical”, Col Hagar said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the motive for the shooting was, nor if it took place predominantly inside or outside the shop.

Roderick Rogers, a member of the city council, witnessed the attack.

He said he saw people fleeing for cover in all directions and added: “People were just jumping into cars to get to safety.”

Law enforcement officers work the scene of the shooting. Pic: AP
Image:
Law enforcement officers work the scene of the shooting. Pic: AP

Amiya Doherty said she was in her mum’s car in the car park of the shop when she heard what she thought were fireworks.

But she then saw a man holding a gun and firing and said she ducked out of view.

“I held my sister’s hand and I told her I love her,” Ms Doherty told Little Rock television station KATV.

Images from the scene showed a slew of bullet holes in the grocery store’s window, and spent shell casings strewn throughout the parking lot.

The shooting took place at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, Arkansas. Pic: AP
Image:
The shooting took place at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, Arkansas. Pic: AP

Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she had been briefed on the shooting.

In a post on social media she added: “I am thankful to law enforcement and first responders for their quick and heroic action to save lives.

“My prayers are with the victims and all those impacted by this.”

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The White House said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting and his team will continue to keep him updated.

David Rodriguez, 58, had stopped at his local petrol station in the town when he heard what he thought were fireworks.

But he too saw people fleeing from the shop and one person lying on the ground.

“The police started to show up, and then there was massive gunfire and ambulances pulling up,” he said.

“The bullets were just flying.”

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Convicted Rust armourer denied immunity to testify at Alec Baldwin’s trial, judge rules

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Convicted Rust armourer denied immunity to testify at Alec Baldwin's trial, judge rules

A convicted film set armourer has been denied immunity to testify at Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter trial over the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of Rust, a judge has ruled.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was jailed in April for her role in the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who died during a rehearsal on the New Mexico set of the western in 2021.

Baldwin pointed a prop gun at Hutchins, 42, when the revolver went off, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.

The actor has maintained he pulled back the gun’s hammer, but not the trigger.

Halyna Hutchins.
Pic:Shutterstock
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Halyna Hutchins. Pic:Shutterstock

Prosecutors had requested that Rust’s chief weapons supervisor Gutierrez-Reed get so-called use immunity, which would prevent them using anything she says at Baldwin’s trial, which is scheduled to start in July, against her.

Her lawyer said she does not wish to incriminate herself as she appeals her 18 months imprisonment over involuntary manslaughter and in another unrelated weapons case she faces.

She was found guilty of criminal negligence for mistakenly loading a live round into the gun Baldwin was using.

Actor Alec Baldwin departs his home, as he will be charged with involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie "Rust", in New York, U.S., January 31, 2023. Pic: Reuters
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Pic: Reuters

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Prosecutor Kari Morrissey told today’s hearing she may still call Gutierrez-Reed to give evidence at Baldwin’s trial in July and labelled her “an incredibly important witness”.

However, the judge said it was clear from preliminary interviews and arguments from Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyers that she would not answer questions on the stand, with or without immunity.

In pre-trial interviews, Gutierrez-Reed claimed her constitutional right to silence.

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Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.

Prosecutors are trying to show Baldwin was negligent in his use of the revolver.

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