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Poll: Buttigieg Surges Ahead of Democratic Rivals in Iowa

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds a clear lead among Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa, the state that will hold the first nominating contest in February, a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom opinion poll showed on Saturday.Buttigieg’s support climbed to 25%, a 16-point increase since the previous survey in September, CNN reported.It said there was a close three-way battle for second with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 16%, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders each at 15%.Since September, Warren dropped six percentage points and Biden slipped five points, while Sanders gained four points, CNN said.Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, told the network the news was encouraging and his campaign felt growing momentum in the farm state, but there was “still a lot of work to do” in increasing his name recognition there.Buttigieg also led Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa in a Monmouth University poll released on Tuesday.A New York Times/Sienna poll released earlier this month also showed Buttigieg’s support surging in Iowa, but still behind Warren and Sanders. Nationally, he does not fare nearly as well, averaging around 8% in polls.Buttigieg’s campaign is betting a strong finish in the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3 will help quell questions about whether he is ready for the big stage, and persuade reluctant black and Hispanic voters to give him a second look.Buttigieg, 37, has invested heavily in Iowa from the start.His campaign has more than 100 staffers and 20 offices in the state, among the most of any candidate.Buttigieg finished the third quarter with $23.4 million in campaign cash on hand, ranking third behind Warren and Sanders at $25.7 million and $33.7 million, respectively. Biden had $8.9 million, forcing his campaign to abandon a promise to reject support from political action committees.
 

US, South Korea Postpone Joint Military Drills as ‘Act of Goodwill’ Toward North Korea

The U.S. and South Korea said Sunday they are postponing joint military drills.  U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the move is an “act of goodwill” toward North Korea. “I see this as a good-faith effort by the United States and the Republic of Korea to enable peace, to shape … to facilitate a political agreement — a deal, if you will — that leads to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Esper said.The joint announcement was made in Bangkok at an Asia defense ministers conference.Shortly after the announcement, Japan’s defense minister made a blistering counterstatement.”No one could be optimistic about North Korea,” Taro Kono said. “North Korea has repeatedly launched more than 20 missiles this year, including new types of ballistic missiles, as well as a submarine-launched ballistic missile.”  Kwon Jong Gun, a roving ambassador for North Korea’s foreign ministry, said earlier this month the joint drills are a “provocative and dangerous act.”He added that the U.S., in its “reckless frenzy,” is “throwing a wet blanket over the spark of the DPRK-U.S. dialogue on the verge of extinction.” The DPRK is the acronym for North Korea’s official name in English, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Since U.S. President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their historic Singapore summit in June 2018, the U.S. has either suspended or scaled down the joint military exercises in order to enhance the atmosphere for denuclearization talks to continue.The U.S. and South Korea have been conducting annual military exercises since 1955, months after the end of the Korean War, in order to maintain their combat abilities to defend against North Korea. There are about 28,500 American troops currently stationed in South Korea.

US, South Korea Delay Military Exercise Criticized by North Korea

The United States and South Korea on Sunday said they were postponing a joint military air exercise that North Korea has criticized as provocative.U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and his South Korean counterpart made the announcement in Bangkok, where they were attending an Asia defense ministers conference.As recently as Friday, when Esper was in Seoul to consult with South Korean officials, there was no word on postponing the military air exercise, which had been called Vigilant Ace.Seoul and Washington had scaled back the exercise recently and changed the name, but North Korea strongly objected, calling it evidence of a lack of interest in improving relations.The North has demanded accommodations before it will agree to resume nuclear negotiations.South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said the exercise had been put off pending further consultations between Seoul and Washington. No new date has been set.Esper told reporters he did not consider the postponement a concession to North Korea.“I see this as a good-faith effort by the United States and the Republic of Korea to enable peace … to facilitate a political agreement, a deal if you will, that leads to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Esper said.

Democrats Hold Louisiana Governor’s Seat Despite Trump

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has stunned Republicans again, narrowly winning a second term Saturday as the Deep South’s only Democratic governor and handing Donald Trump another gubernatorial loss this year.In the heart of Trump country, the moderate Edwards cobbled together enough cross-party support with his focus on bipartisan, state-specific issues to defeat Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.Coming after a defeat in the Kentucky governor’s race and sizable losses in Virginia’s legislative races, the Louisiana result seems certain to rattle Republicans as they head into the 2020 presidential election. Trump fought to return the seat to the GOP, making three trips to Louisiana to rally against Edwards.The president’s intense attention motivated not only conservative Republicans, but also powered a surge in anti-Trump and black voter turnout that helped Edwards.Louisiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone speaks as he is endorsed by President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Bossier City, La., Nov. 14, 2019.Moderate candidateDemocrats who argue that nominating a moderate presidential candidate is the best approach to beat Trump are certain to point to Louisiana’s race as bolstering their case. Edwards, a West Point graduate, opposes gun restrictions, signed one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans and dismissed the impeachment effort as a distraction.Still, while Rispone’s loss raises questions about the strength of Trump’s coattails, its relevance to his reelection chances are less clear. Louisiana is expected to easily back Trump next year, and Edwards’ views in many ways are out of step with his own party.In the final days as polls showed Edwards with momentum, national Republicans beefed up assistance for Rispone. That wasn’t enough to boost the GOP contender, who wasn’t among the top-tier candidates Republican leaders hoped would challenge Edwards as they sought to prove that the Democrat’s longshot victory in 2015 was a fluke.Little-known RepublicanRispone is a longtime political donor who was little-known when he launched his campaign, had ties to unpopular former Gov. Bobby Jindal and offered few details about his agenda. Edwards also proved to be a formidable candidate, with a record of achievements.Working with the majority-Republican Legislature, Edwards stabilized state finances with a package of tax increases, ending the deficit-riddled years of Jindal. New money paid for investments in public colleges and the first statewide teacher raise in a decade.Edwards expanded Louisiana’s Medicaid program, lowering the state’s uninsured rate below the national average. A bipartisan criminal sentencing law rewrite he championed ended Louisiana’s tenure as the nation’s top jailer.Rispone, the 70-year-old owner of a Baton Rouge industrial contracting company, hitched his entire candidacy to Trump, introducing himself to voters in ads that focused on support for the president in a state Trump won by 20 percentage points.But the 53-year-old Edwards, a former state lawmaker and former Army Ranger from rural Tangipahoa Parish, reminded voters that he’s a Louisiana Democrat, with political views that sometimes don’t match his party’s leaders.“They talk about I’m some sort of a radical liberal. The people of Louisiana know better than that. I am squarely in the middle of the political spectrum,” Edwards said. “That hasn’t changed, and that’s the way we’ve been governing.”Millions spentRispone poured more than $12 million of his own money into the race. But he had trouble drawing some of the primary vote that went to Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, after harshly attacking Abraham in ads as he sought to reach the runoff.Rispone also avoided many traditional public events attended by Louisiana gubernatorial candidates and sidestepped questions about his plans when taking office. He promised tax cuts, without saying where he’d shrink spending, and he pledged a constitutional convention, without detailing what he wanted to rewrite.Both parties spent millions on attack ads and get-out-the-vote work, on top of at least $36 million spent by candidates.

Sandy Hook Lawsuit Could Force Remington to Open Books

A recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court has upended a long-standing legal roadblock that has given the gun industry far-reaching immunity from lawsuits in the aftermath of mass killings. 
 
The court this week allowed families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre to sue the maker of the AR-15 used in the attack. The case against Remington will now proceed in the Connecticut courts. 
 
Remington is widely expected to win the case, but critics of the gun industry are eyeing what they see as a significant outcome even in the face of defeat: getting the gunmaker to open its books about how it markets firearms. 
 
Lawyers for the plaintiffs are certain to request that Remington turn over volumes of documents as part of the discovery phase. Those materials might include company emails, memos, business plans and corporate strategies, or anything that might suggest the company purposely marketed the firearm that may have compelled the shooter to use the weapon to carry out the slaughter. Message to gun companies
 
The plaintiffs also believe the ruling will put gun companies on notice about how they conduct business, knowing they could wind up in the courts in similar fashion. 
 
If the industry wakes up and understands their conduct behind closed doors is not protected, then the industry itself ... will take steps to try to help the massive problem we have instead of do nothing and sit by and cash the checks,'' said Joshua Koskoff, the Connecticut attorney who represents a survivor and relatives of nine victims who died at the Newtown, Connecticut, school on December 14, 2012.  FILE - In this March 1, 2018, photo, a light advertising Remington products hangs from the ceiling at Duke's Sport Shop in New Castle, Pa.The case hinges on Connecticut state consumer law that challenges how the firearm used by the Newtown shooter — a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle — was marketed, with plaintiffs alleging Remington purposely used advertisements that targeted younger, at-risk males. One of Remington's ads features the rifle against a plain backdrop and the phrase:Consider Your Man Card Reissued.” 
 
Remington did not respond to requests for comment after the U.S. Supreme Court denied its efforts to quash the lawsuit. 
 
Larry Keane, senior vice president and legal counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gunmakers, said he expected Remington to  ultimately prevail and that it was unfair to blame the gunmaker for Adam Lanza’s crime. 
 
Adam Lanza alone is the responsible person. Not Remington,'' he said. 
 2005 lawSuing the firearms industry has never been easy, and it was made even harder after Congress enacted the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005. The law backed by the National Rifle Association gave broad immunity to the gun industry. 
 
The plaintiffs’ chances of succeeding in this case are slim — a sentiment shared by the Connecticut Supreme Court, which said they face a
Herculean task” to prevail. Judges and juries generally have a tough time blaming anyone but the shooter for the crime, said Timothy D. Lytton, professor at Georgia State University’s College of Law and author of Suing the Gun Industry: A Battle at the Crossroads of Gun Control and Mass Torts.”  FILE - A firearms training unit detective holds up a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the same make and model of gun used in the Sandy Hook school shooting, during a hearing on gun laws in Hartford, Conn., Jan. 28, 2013.Add into the mix that Lanza himself didn't own the firearm; he stole it from his mother after killing her in the home they shared, then went to the elementary school in Newtown, where he killed 20 children and six adults. 
 
It makes it harder for juries to connect the dots. It’s a significant hurdle in all of these cases. It’s very rare that you have a very close time frame between the marketing of a weapon and a mass shooting,” Lytton said. 
 
Lanza’s mother purchased the Bushmaster AR-platform rifle in 2010 from a Connecticut gun shop. It’s unclear if she or her son were influenced by or had seen Remington’s advertising. Tough times for industry
 
Still, it’s been a tough few years for the industry. Sales plummeted with the election of President Donald Trump, and gun-control advocates have outspent perhaps his most loyal supporter: the NRA. With slumping sales, some companies, including Remington, have faced bankruptcy. And in the wake of high-profile mass shootings, corporate America has begun pushing back against the industry. 
 
AR-platform long guns have been a particular bone of contention for gun-control advocates who believe the firearms — once banned for a decade in the U.S. — are especially attractive to mass shooters for their ease of use and their ability to carry large-capacity magazines. 
 
While handguns remain used more often in mass shootings, ARs have been involved in some of the deadliest shootings, including when a gunman fired on a crowd of concertgoers outside his hotel room in Las Vegas in 2017, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds. 
 
The AR-15, its design based on the military M-16, has become one of the most popular firearms in the U.S. in recent decades. It’s lightweight, easy to customize and able to carry extended magazines, and its sales took off once the ban expired in 2004. There are now an estimated 16 million AR-platform long guns in the U.S. ‘Embarrassing’ information
 
Robert J. Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland and a longtime watcher of gun politics, said a case against Remington could cause pretty embarrassing information” to come out. “And it is certainly possible [plaintiffs] will find memos or other documents that may significantly support their case that Remington was manifestly irresponsible in the way they marketed their guns,'' he said. Even if embarrassing information isn't uncovered, he said, it could have a long-lasting impact on the industry and, more specifically, Remington. Considered the oldest gunmaker in the United States, Remington — founded in New York in 1816 and now based in Madison, North Carolina — only emerged from bankruptcy in 2018. 
 
They’re obviously in a precarious financial situation and this suit is certainly not helpful to them trying to restore their financial health,” Spitzer said. 

Senior White House Official Testifies Privately in Trump Impeachment Probe

A senior White House budget official arrived on Capitol Hill Saturday to testify behind closed doors before congressional investigators who are conducting an impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump.Mark Sandy, a longtime career official with the Office of Management and Budget, is the first agency employee to be deposed in the inquiry after three employees appointed by Trump defied congressional subpoenas to testify. It remains unclear if a subpoena had been issued to Sandy.Sandy could provide valuable information about the U.S. delay of nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine last summer, allegedly in exchange for the newly-elected Ukrainian president to launch investigations into 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son at Trump’s request. Investigators are also exploring debunked claims promoted by Trump and allies that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.Sandy was among the career employees who questioned the holdup, according to people with knowledge of the matter.His signature is on at least one document that prevented the provision of the aid to Ukraine, according to copies of documents investigators discussed during an earlier deposition. A transcript of the discussion has been publicly disclosed.Sandy appears before the House foreign affairs, intelligence, and oversight and reform committees.FILE – Members of Congress head to a resticted area for a closed-door deposition held as part of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 23, 2019.In a statement, the three Democratic-led committees said they are investigating “the extent to which President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and by withholding security assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters.”Sandy’s deposition comes one day after the ousted former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testified at the congressional impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump that she was “shocked and devastated” over remarks Trump made about her during a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.“I didn’t know what to think, but I was very concerned,” she told the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. “It felt like a threat.”Her testimony was consistent with her closed-door testimony last month when she said she felt “threatened” and worried about her safety after Trump said “she’s going to go through some things.”A career diplomat, Yovanovitch was unceremoniously recalled to Washington after Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, and his allies waged what her colleagues and Democrats have described as a smear campaign against her. Two Giuliani associates recently arrested for campaign finance violations are accused of lobbying former Republican House member Pete Sessions of Texas for her ouster.Yovanovitch was mentioned in Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy that triggered the impeachment probe after a whistleblower filed a complaint. According to the White House summary of the call, Trump said Yovanovitch was “bad news.”Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 15, 2019.An unusual exchange occurred during the hearing that began when Trump took to Twitter to again criticize Yovanovitch.  He tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.”Democratic committee chairman Adam Schiff interrupted the proceedings to read the tweet and asked her to respond. Yovanovitch paused before saying, “It’s very intimidating” and added: “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but the effect is to be intimidating.”Schiff responded that, “Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”Trump’s Twitter attack drew the ire of Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third highest-ranking Republican in the House.She said Trump “was wrong” and that Yovanovitch “clearly is somebody who’s been a public servant to the United States for decades, and I don’t think the president should have done that.”The White House later issued a statement denying accusations of intimidation.“The tweet was not witness intimidation, it was simply the President’s opinion, which he is entitled to,” the statement said. “This is not a trial, it is a partisan political process—or to put it more accurately, a totally illegitimate, charade stacked against the President. There is less due process in this hearing than any such event in the history of our country. It’s a true disgrace.”Yovanovitch also told lawmakers that she was the target of a “campaign of disinformation” during which “unofficial back channels” were used to oust her.Yovanovitch said repeated attacks from “corrupt interests” have created a “crisis in the State Department,” which she said “is being hallowed out within a competitive and complex time on the world stage.”A transcript of a phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is shown during former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony on Capitol Hill, Nov. 15, 2019.The veteran diplomat said that senior officials at the State Department, right up to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, failed to defend her from attacks from Trump and his allies, including Guiliani.Yovanovitch, who served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from July 2016 to May 2019, also testified last month that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had recommended she praise Trump on Twitter if she wanted to save her job.During opening remarks, Schiff said Yovanovitch was “smeared and cast aside” by Trump because she was viewed as an obstacle to Trump’s political and personal agenda.Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, described the hearings as nothing more than “spectacles” for Democrats to “advance their operation to topple a duly elected president.”Republicans, led by Nunes and their lead counsel, Steve Castor, tried to portray Yovanovitch as immaterial to the impeachment inquiry.Nunes suggested that Yovanovitch’s complaints are a personnel matter that is “more appropriate for the Subcommittee on Human Resources on Foreign Affairs” and declared she is “not a material fact witness.”Castor peppered Yovanovitch with questions aimed at proving her irrelevance, including whether she was involved in preparations for the July 25 call between Trump and Zelenskiy or plans for a White House meeting between the two leaders. She answered in the negative to all the questions.Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, left, talks to Steve Castor, Republican staff attorney, during testimony from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 15, 2019.Nunes also read a rough transcript of an April call Trump had with newly elected Zelenskiy that shows Zelenskiy was eager to have Trump attend his inauguration in Ukraine. The White House released the transcript just minutes after the hearing began, apparently an attempt to dispel any notions of wrongdoing by the president.“I know how busy you are, but if it’s possible for you to come to the inauguration ceremony, that would be a great, great thing for you to do to be with us on that day.”Trump vowed to have a “great representative” attend the event if he was unable to.The U.S. delegation to inauguration was led by Energy Secretary Rick Perry after Vice President Mike Pence canceled the trip.Yovanovitch’s removal sent shockwaves through the foreign service, with more than 50 former female U.S. ambassadors writing a letter to Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to protect foreign service officers from political retaliation.William Taylor, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, a senior State Department official in charge of U.S. policy toward Ukraine, testified on Wednesday during the first day of the historic televised hearings that could lead to a House vote on articles of impeachment before the end of the year.George Kent, senior State Department official, left, and Ambassador William Taylor, charge d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, are sworn in at at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 13, 2019.All three diplomats have previously testified behind closed doors about Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter, and to probe a discredited conspiracy theory regarding the 2016 president election.Democrats say the open hearings will allow the public to assess the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies. Republicans hope to discredit the impeachment proceedings and poke holes in the witnesses’ testimony.Also Friday, David Holmes, a staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, appeared before House investigators for closed-door testimony. Holmes testified he overheard Trump ask Sondland about the status of “investigations” during a phone call after Trump’s July 25 conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart.Sondland later explained the probes pertained to Biden, a former U.S. vice president, and his son, Hunter, according to Holmes. No wrongdoing by either Biden has been substantiated.Holmes’ testimony was one of the first direct accounts of Trump pursuing investigations of a political rival.Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry to determine if Trump withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine unless President Zelenskiy publicly committed himself to investigating 2020 Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden for corruption.FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2019.Trump also has repeated an unfounded claim that Ukraine, and not Russia, meddled in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Democrats and their candidate, Hillary Clinton.Republicans have contended that Trump did not improperly pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals for political advantage.Under pressure from Trump, Republican lawmakers have waged a vigorous defense of the president’s actions in dealing with Ukraine over a several-month period, and they have asserted that the Democrats’ case for impeachment against Trump is non-existent.Next week, the House panel will hold public hearings again. The schedule for testimony includes:
 
Tuesday: Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence; Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, former director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, Ambassador Kurt Volker, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine; and Tim Morrison, a White House aide with the National Security Council focusing on Europe and Russia policy.
 
Wednesday: Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union; Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs; and David Hale, under secretary of state for political affairs.
 
Thursday: Fiona Hill, former National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia. 

US Senate Passes Bill Making Animal Cruelty a Federal Felony

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill that makes animal cruelty a federal felony. The so-called PACT — Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture — Act was approved unanimously. VOA’s Maxim Moskalkiv reports.

House, Senate Agree on Something: A Way to Fight Robocalls

It’s looking like an anti-robocall bill will be sent to President Donald Trump this year, helping tackle an infuriating problem in the U.S.House and Senate leaders said Friday they’ve reached an agreement in principle on merging their two bills against robocalls.The House bill had gone further than the Senate one. Details about what’s in the final bill are still to come, but legislators say it will require phone companies to verify that phone numbers are real, and to block calls for free. It will also give government agencies more ability to go after scammers.It’s the latest effort in a crackdown, building on steps by state attorneys general and the Federal Communications Commission as well as the phone companies.Phone companies have been rolling out verification tools after prompting from regulators. These reassure customers that the number showing up on their phone is actually the number that called, and not a fraudster “spoofing,” or faking, the number to try to get people to pick it up. Numbers can be faked to look like they’re coming from the IRS, for example, or from a number with the same area code as you. But to combat this successfully, all carriers need to put the anti-spoofing system in place.Telecom companies are also offering call-blocking apps for smartphones and many home phones, although not always for free. The FCC in June gave them permission to turn on call-blocking by default. While tools had been available before, customers might not have known to ask about them.Robocalls have become almost inescapable as the cost of sending them dropped and going after callers is difficult. Tech vendor YouMail said there were 5.7 billion calls from scammers, telemarketers, debt collectors and others in October. Not all those calls are unwanted, though — you might want to get the call from your pharmacy saying your prescription is ready.

Americans Split on Impeachment Hearings

Millions of Americans have been watching the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment inquiry hearings into President Donald Trump. Mike O’Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, some voters support the process and others agree with Trump that it’s politically motivated.
 

California High School Shooter Dies From Wounds

A teenage shooter who opened fire at his high school in Southern California this week, and then turned the gun on himself, died from his wounds Friday afternoon. 
 
Police said Nathaniel Berhow, 16, died at a hospital with his mother at his side. 
  
Berhow shot five fellow students Thursday at his high school in Santa Clarita with a 45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, killing a 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Berhow, whose 16th birthday was the day of the shooting, saved the last bullet for himself, shooting himself in the head. 
 
Captain Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s homicide unit told reporters Friday that police had so far been unable to determine Berhow’s motive, even after carrying out more than 40 interviews. He said no manifesto or suicide note had been found. Random targets suspected
  
Berhow opened fire in an outdoor plaza at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of Los Angeles. 
 
“As far as we know the actual targets were at random,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. 
 
“There’s no relationships that we can tell [between] the suspect and the victims,” he said. 
 
Police said there also was no evidence that the teen had been bullied.Quiet, sociable 
 
Classmates described Berhow as quiet but sociable. They said he was a Boy Scout and had previously been on the school’s track team. 
 
Police said they were trying to determine how and where Berhow obtained his gun. Media reports said Berhow’s father, who died in December 2017, had sometimes taken Berhow on hunting trips and might have taught him how to shoot. 
 
Saugus High School has 2,385 students enrolled in grades nine through 12 for the 2019-20 school year.