AP News in Brief: 03-21-18

  • A mother walks her daughter, a student from Great Mills High School, to the car as she picks her up from Leonardtown High School in Leonardtown, Md., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. A teenager wounded a girl and a boy inside his Maryland high school Tuesday before a school resource officer was able to intervene, and each of them fired one more round as the shooter was fatally wounded, a sheriff said. St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron said the student with the handgun was declared dead at a hospital, and the other two students were in critical condition. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Teen shoots girl at school, killed in confrontation

GREAT MILLS, Md. — A teenager armed with a handgun shot and critically wounded a girl inside a Maryland school on Tuesday and the shooter was killed when a school resource officer confronted him moments after the gunfire erupted. A third student was in good condition after he was shot.

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The shooting at Great Mills High School, a month after 17 people were killed at a Florida high school, increased calls for Congress to act on gun violence at schools. This weekend, students across the country plan an anti-gun violence march on the nation’s capital.

In Maryland, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the shooter took his own life or was killed by the officer’s bullet, St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said, but the officer was credited with preventing any more loss of life.

Authorities didn’t release a motive, but said they believe the girl and the shooter — 17-year-old Austin Rollins — previously had a relationship. It wasn’t clear how the 14-year-old boy was wounded.

Trump congratulates Putin, gets backtalk from Republicans

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to congratulate him on his re-election, drawing bruising criticism from members of his own party, including a leading senator who scorned the election as a “sham.” Trump also said he and Putin might meet “in the not too distant future” to discuss the arms race and other matters.

What they didn’t discuss on Tuesday was noteworthy as well: Trump did not raise Russia’s meddling in the U.S. elections or its suspected involvement in the recent poisoning of a former spy in England.

“An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and has pressed the Trump administration to respond aggressively to Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent Trump critic, called the president’s call “odd.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump “can call whomever he chooses” but noted that calling Putin “wouldn’t have been high on my list.”

New blast sends investigators to Texas FedEx center

AUSTIN, Texas — Investigators pursuing a suspected serial bomber in the Texas capital shifted their attention Tuesday to a FedEx shipping center near San Antonio where a package exploded on a conveyor belt in the middle of the night and caused minor injuries to a worker.

Although the latest blast did not inflict serious harm, it added to the widening fear of more strikes like those that have already killed two people and badly wounded four others.

Hours after the explosion, police sent a bomb squad to a FedEx facility outside Austin’s main airport to check on a suspicious package that was reported shortly before sunrise. There was no immediate word about whether that package contained explosives.

Investigators also closed off an Austin-area FedEx store where they believe the bomb was sent to the distribution center. Authorities roped off a large area around the shopping center in the enclave of Sunset Valley.

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FBI agent Michelle Lee said the explosion happened around 1 a.m. at a FedEx facility in Schertz, which is just northeast of San Antonio and about 60 miles (95 kilometers) southwest of Austin.

By wire sources