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Broward County Sheriff visits Parkland school shooting victim in hospital

The Broward County sheriff said he was honored to visit a young student who survived the Feb. 14 South Florida school shooting that's left a community reeling. 

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The Broward County Sheriff's Office published a photo of Sheriff Scott Israel holding the hand of Anthony Borges, 15, in his hospital room.

"Fortunately, he is recovering -- but has a long road ahead with more surgeries needed," the Sheriff's Office posted. "Please join us in praying for the swift recovery of Anthony and all the other victims of this horrific criminal act."

The Sheriff's Office said in the Facebook post that Borges was shot five times during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Seventeen people, including students and staff, were killed in the shooting.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, who admitted to the shooting, remains in custody at the Broward County jail after being ordered held without bond on 17 counts of premeditated murder.

As memorials for the shooting victims continue, students are demanding tighter gun control and walkouts are being planned in the wake of the tragedy. 

Florida sheriff pushes for 'game changer' program to arm teachers

Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, Florida, went on the news Saturday to talk about the so-called “Sentinel Program” as a possible legislative response to mass shootings like the one that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week, that left 17 dead.

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Judd called the program a “game changer” by arming select educators whose backgrounds have been vetted thoroughly, who have been psychologically evaluated and trained in weapons more intensely than law enforcement by state standards.

The sheriff argued that the solution is not something he wants, but it’s something that must happen.

“We have got to wake up, wake up and understand that we have to have … specially trained people that have concealed firearms that can run to the threat and protect our children,” he said.

“Do you know that there is gun control on every campus in Florida -- and, I would submit, across the United States -- that you can’t bring a gun on campus. And no one does, except the crazed person, the active shooter. There has to be a line of defense,” Judd said.

“There’s no absolutes in life, but I can tell you this: At least two coaches were killed standing in front of and trying to protect kids. Don’t you believe it would be a game-changer if they had a gun to defend the children?”

Students and parents have responded to the mass shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz by calling for stricter guns laws in Florida.

Many participating in the #NeverAgain campaign seem to agree that they don’t want to arm teachers, but want “genuine, lasting change.”

Ohio sheriff: I will offer free conceal, carry class to teachers

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Sunday he will take steps to bolster local school safety by training those who work there.

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Jones posted to social media that his office will offer free conceal-and-carry classes to a limited number of teachers in Butler County. He also said training on how to react during school shootings would be provided.

He said the details would be coming soon online at the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Jones said Saturday he has “been saying this for years” as he tweeted a Fox News story that Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd said it would be a “game changer” to allow some handpicked teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.

Jones, in a video posted Thursday, urged local schools to act now to improve school security in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school on Wednesday.

He said local schools should stop doing fire drills and allow armed former police and military veterans into buildings to help protect students.

Republican mega-donor issues ultimatum on assault weapons

Al Hoffman Jr., a North Palm Beach real estate developer and major Republican donor, is cutting off donations to candidates who do not support a ban on assault weapons, according to a report in the New York Times.

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Hoffman said he would urge other Republican donors to support an assault weapons ban, according to the report. Hoffman announced the ultimatum in an email to half a dozen Republican leaders, including Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Scott. Hoffman has donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes over the years.

A critic of President Trump, Hoffman supported Jeb Bush during the 2016 presidential campaign and donated more than $1 million to Right to Rise, a super PAC that supported Bush’s brief candidacy, according to the report.

“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” Hoffman wrote in the email. “Enough is enough.”

The loss of Hoffman’s support could be especially harmful to Scott, who is considering a Senate bid this year. Republican Rep. Brian Mast also will not see any donations from Hoffman if he does not support new gun legislation, according to the report.

Hoffman, who has a history of speaking his mind, has threatened to cut donations before. In an interview with the Palm Beach Post in 2013, Hoffman said he would be reluctant to raise money for candidates who do not support “reasonable” gun control. The same year, Hoffman wrote a letter to former House Speaker John Boehner, urging him to also support gun measures.

Hoffman, a former Republican National Committee finance chair and ambassador to Portugal, further rankled Republicans in 2013 when he said President Barack Obama was right on gun issues, Hoffman made the comment after most Senate Republican and a few red-state Democrats blocked legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers.

Hoffman alluded to past mass shootings in his email after the deaths of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. He said future gun massacres are inevitable without government intervention, according to the New York Times report.

“If we go from Orlando to Las Vegas, and now Parkland, you just have to know that there are others around the country just dreaming about staging another mass murder.”

Republican lawmakers in Florida have pushed back on gun control initiatives, despite the state being the site of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando -- the second-worst mass shooting in U.S. history that left 49 dead. Only the October shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas claimed more lives, with 58 killed.

The day after the Parkland shooting last week, Senate President Joe Negron said his interest would be focused on improving school safety and access to mental health treatment – not restricting gun laws.

“My focus is on making sure that lawful citizens who are obeying the law and entitled to their constitutional rights have appropriate access to firearms,” Negron said.

Although several gun bills were introduced during the state’s ongoing legislative session, the only one likely to pass -- HB 1419 and its companion SB 1048 -- expands the rights of a licensed person to carry a concealed weapon inside a church or other house of worship.

Simidele Adeagbo makes history at Winter Olympics

Simidele Adeagbo, a former track star at the University of Kentucky, made Winter Olympics history this weekend as the Nigeria native became the first African female athlete to compete in skeleton.

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“Competing in the Olympics has been one of the most inspiring and proudest moments of my life,” Adeagbo said on her website. “It was a dream that started a long time ago and to be able fulfill that dream for myself, for Nigeria, and for future Olympians was so much more than I could have asked for.”

Adeagbo was one of four Nigerians who competed in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. It’s the first year Nigeria has sent athletes to the winter games.

Adeagbo finished in last place with a combined time of 3:36.78, but even qualifying was a significant accomplishment as she first touched a skeleton sled last September. It seemed much more likely that her Olympic path would be through track and field.

Adeagbo was a four-time All-American at Kentucky. She still holds the school record in the outdoor triple jump (44 feet/5 inch). She narrowly missed a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the triple jump.

Adeagbo graduated from Kentucky in 2003.

“Ultimately, for me, this is about breaking barriers in sports,” Adeagbo said. “It’s about making history and leaving a legacy. It’s about moving sport forward. That’s so much bigger than just me being an Olympian. This will open doors and unlock the potential of future generations of athletes.”

LeBron James on Parkland shooting: 'How is it possible that we can have minors buy a gun?'

When asked about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in which 17 people were killed, former Miami Heat star LeBron James had one question:

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“How is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun?”

Nikolas Cruz, accused of the killings, is actually 19 and legally bought the AR-15 semiautomatic weapon that was used during the Feb. 14 incident. Still, James, the Cavaliers’ superstar, and other players with ties to South Florida could not make sense of the tragedy.

The players were asked about the shooting during Saturday’s media day for the NBA All-Star Weekend.

“We have a kid who wasn’t legally unable (sic) to buy a beer at a bar, but he can go buy an AR-15?” James said “It doesn’t make sense. I’m not saying it should be legal for him to go buy beer. But how is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun?”

Heat guard Wayne Ellington, who was fourth in Saturday’s 3-point contest, said the nation has to “come together” to makes changes so these mass shootings do not continue to occur. The shooting was the ninth deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, five of those coming in the last six years.

WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

“I was at a loss for words,” Ellington said. “I couldn’t understand what’s going on, why (this) is going on in the world. Do we need to change? These young people doing unexplainable things, hurting each other and hurting innocent people it’s so unfortunate and sad, it’s something I don’t know how we can change but it’s something we need to come together and figure out.”

John Collins, the Atlanta Hawks rookie from Palm Beach County, was calling home to try to understand what was happening.

“It was a real shock to me,” said Collins, who played in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge. “Obviously, I never expected something like that to happen. I know a couple of people that were affected by that tragedy. You got to say your prayers and sending your condolences and thoughts to the victims.”

What are the worst school shootings in modern US history?

James, though, was the most outspoken in calling for gun control.

“We’ve seen these schools and these tragedies happen in America and there’s been no change to gun control,” James said. “I don’t have the answer to this. But we have to do something about it. We’re all sending our kids to school, right? We drop them off at 8 o’clock. At 3:15 they’re going to be ready to get picked up. Either we’re picking them or someone in our family is picking them up or they have to take a bus or there’s aftercare and they stay until 5. If they have study hall they stay until 5:30 or whatever. But we all feel like our kids are going to return, right?

“To the families in Parkland, down in Broward County, it’s sad and I’m sorry and it’s just a tragedy and I hope we don’t continue to see this because it’s too many in the last 10 years with guns.”

James, meanwhile, has been embroiled in a social media debate with Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham, who said that athletes like James should "keep the political commentary to yourself.”

“Or as someone once said, 'Shut up and dribble,’” Ingraham said.

Ingraham was referencing an interview that James and Kevin Durant taped in January with ESPN’s Cari Champion for a show called “Uninterrupted.” The two NBA stars spoke about the political climate in the United States and had harsh criticism for President Donald Trump, ESPN reported.

Durant, in an interview with USA Today on Friday, said Ingraham's comments were "racist." 

“That was definitely an ignorant comment (by Ingraham). I do play basketball, but I am a civilian and I am a citizen of the United States, so my voice is just as loud as hers, I think -- or even louder.”

James, on his Instagram account, posted a photo of a neon sign that read “I am more than an athlete.”

Ingraham released a statement Saturday defending her comments, ESPN reported.

"In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called 'Shut Up & Sing,' in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks and Barbra Streisand, who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics,” Ingraham wrote. “If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they're called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks -- false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism."

Third-graders in Missouri selling raffle tickets for AR-15 weapon

Selling raffle tickets to benefit an athletic team is not new, but having an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon as the prize is drawing heavy criticism in the wake of the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 and injured dozens, The Kansas City Star reported.

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Third-graders in the southern Missouri city of Neosho were selling the tickets to benefit their traveling baseball team. Levi Patterson, the coach of a 9-and-under team in Neosho, said the idea was conceived before the Feb. 14 shooting at Parkland High School in South Florida, the Star reported.

The father of one of the players offered the weapon for the raffle. 

Patterson told the Star that he considered changing the prize after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, but decided to “turn it into a positive thing.”

The post, which has since been removed by Facebook, showed a weapon next to the mascot logo of South Elementary School in Neosho. 

The raffle is not affiliated with the Neosho School District, and the winner must pass a background check before receiving the gun, the Star reported.

“Are you all tone deaf?” Dan Weaver wrote in a Facebook post on Patterson’s page. “AR15 kills seventeen so you raffle a gun for child sports? Lord, people wake the hell up. Justify all you want but you are wrong, period.”

Patterson answered the post, noting that “gun raffles have been going on for years. Evil has and will always exist. Our hearts break for those involved, and we do not take that lightly.”

The Star originally linked to the exchange, but the link is no longer active.

Patterson told the Star that he understands the criticism, which has been fierce.

>> Florida school shooting: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

“I applaud them for standing up for what they believe in. I just think they have feelings to this specific type of gun (that are) different than people around here do,” he said.

Tyler Tannahill of Kansas, who is running for Congress, was criticize this week for offering an AR-15 giveaway as part of his campaign, the Star reported.

Patterson stressed that the baseball players, who range in age from 7 to 9, are under no obligation to sell the raffle tickets.

“We appreciate your ‘concern’ but please understand, we are not, have not, and will not force one of our boys to sell raffle tickets for the Black Rain AR15 Spec 15, if they are uncomfortable doing so,” he wrote on Facebook.

John Kasich rips Congress, urges 'common-sense gun laws'

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who signed laws making it legal to carry concealed weapons at daycare facilities and college campuses, said he has “no confidence” Congress will approve what he called “common-sense gun laws” in the wake of a mass shooting last week at a Florida high school.

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During an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Kasich, who earned the endorsement of the National Rifle Association during his 2014 re-election campaign, indicated he would support “reasonable things,” such as full background checks for people buying guns and banning what are known as bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic weapon to fire like an automatic weapon.

“You’re never going to fix all of this,” Kasich said. “But common-sense gun laws make sense.”

In a major reversal, Kasich suggested he might support a ban on an the sale of AR-15 semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the Florida attack. Kasich said, “If all of a sudden you couldn’t buy an AR-15, what would you lose? Would you feel as though your Second Amendment rights would be eroded because you couldn’t buy a God-darned AR-15?”

“These are the things that have to be looked at and action has to happen,” Kasich said.

In 1994 as a member of Congress, Kasich voted to ban the production and sale of 19 semi-automatic assault weapons. But when he ran for president in 2016, Kasich called the ban “superfluous and we don’t need laws that are superfluous. It didn’t have any impact.”

>> Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims

The ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons expired in 2004 when Congress failed to renew it.

Kasich said he has formed a committee “on both sides of the issue” in Ohio to “look at everything” about improving gun safety. Neither Kasich nor his aides have said who is on the committee, but he said he was “hopeful” they would produce recommendations.

“If they don’t produce anything, I’ll put my own stuff out,” Kasich said.

David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said he was “glad” Kasich is on national TV and “speaking out” on guns.

“Hopefully he’s got some ability to work with the statehouse to find solutions and roll back some of the worst pieces of legislation they pushed through in the last seven years,” Pepper said.

‘Black Panther’ enjoys record weekend at box office

Moviegoers have been flocking to theaters this weekend to see Black Panther, shattering records with $192 million for the three-day weekend and a possible gross of $218 million for the four-day Presidents Day weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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The film by Marvel and Disney clinched the fifth-largest domestic opening of all time, Variety reported. With estimates of $169 million from international markets, the film, which stars Chadwick Boseman and was directed by Ryan Coogler, has an estimated global debut grossing more than $361 million through Sunday, Variety reported.

>> 2 kids dressed as ‘tall man’ unable to gain admission to ‘Black Panther’

“Black Panther” is unprecedented among movies since it features a nearly all-black cast in a big-budget movie, according to the Reporter. It also earned a 97 rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The movie also broke the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, cruising past the $152 million set in 2016 by “Deadpool,” Variety reported.

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