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The nation in brief: Student held in another’s shooting death

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | May 25, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Student held in another's death

PITTSBURGH -- A 15-year-old student was charged with homicide in the fatal shooting of his 15-year-old schoolmate just outside a school in Pittsburgh shortly before classes were due to start Wednesday morning, police said.

Officers found Derrick Harris just before 7:30 a.m. with gunshot wounds by the front steps of Oliver Citywide Academy, police said. A gunshot detection system indicated 11 rounds had been fired. Major Crimes Commander Richard Ford said Harris was critically injured and rushed to a hospital, where he died.

The other 15-year-old student, who was seen by an officer running from the school with a gun, was arrested and a weapon recovered, Ford said. The student was identified as Jaymier Perry in a court docket and Jamier Perry in a police statement. He was charged with criminal homicide, possession of a firearm by a minor and carrying a firearm without a license. Perry was taken to the county jail, according to police. Court records didn't list a defense attorney.

Oliver Citywide Academy is a full-time special education center serving grades 3-12, according to the city school district's website. It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the shooting.

Most students were still on their way to the school when the shooting happened, and buses were rerouted to another school building, according to city spokesperson Maria Montano. Students who were already in the school were kept in the building and classes were canceled for the day.

Kansas City told to heed gender care law

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey on Wednesday vowed to take "any legal action necessary" against Kansas City if its Police Department does not enforce a law banning transgender transition procedures for minors.

Bailey, a Republican, said in a letter to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners that the board has a constitutional duty to enforce the law, which was passed by the Missouri Legislature this month. Republican Gov. Mike Parson has not yet signed the bill but is expected to do so.

The letter comes after the Kansas City Council on May 11 approved a resolution designating the city as an LGBTQ+ sanctuary city. The resolution said the city will not prosecute or fine any person or organization that seeks, provides, receives or helps someone receive gender-affirming care such as as puberty blockers, hormones or surgery.

The city also said if the state passes a law imposing criminal or civil punishments, fines, or professional sanctions in such cases, personnel in Missouri's largest city will make enforcing those requirements "their lowest priority."

Roberts: High court worthy of public trust

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said late Tuesday that he was "confident" the Supreme Court will convince the public that it "adheres to the highest standards of conduct."

Accepting an award at the American Law Institute, Roberts did not directly comment on the controversies that have surrounded the court's members and their financial disclosures or the mounting congressional pressure for a specific code of conduct for the Supreme Court.

But he said that disturbances outside the court have not affected the nine justices: "Inside the court, there is cause for optimism," he said.

Then he added:

"I want to assure people that I'm committed to making certain that we as a court adhere to the highest standards of conduct. We are continuing to look at things we can do to give practical effect to that commitment. And I am confident that there are ways to do that consistent with our status as an independent branch of government and the Constitution's separation of powers."

Roberts was accepting the organization's Henry Friendly Medal, named after a judge for whom the chief justice clerked.

Montana bans in-drag readings at school

HELENA, Mont. -- Montana has become the first state to specifically ban people dressed in drag from reading books to children at public schools and libraries, part of a host of legislation aimed at the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in Montana and other states.

Bills in Florida and Tennessee also appear to try to ban drag reading events, but both require the performances to be sexual in nature, which could be up for interpretation. Both bills also face legal challenges.

Montana's law is unique because -- while it defines such an event as one hosted by a drag king or drag queen who reads children's books to minor children -- it does not require a sexual element to be banned.

That makes Montana's law the first to specifically ban drag reading events, said Sasha Buchert, an attorney with Lambda Legal, a national organization that seeks to protect the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community and those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.

"It's just constitutionally suspect on all levels," Buchert said Tuesday, arguing the bill limits free speech and seeks to chill an effort that helps transgender youth know they are not alone.

The bill, which was co-sponsored by more than half of the Republican-controlled legislature, took immediate effect after Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed it on Monday.

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