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How to explain gun violence to children after the Texas church shooting

Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 2:13 AM

Talking To Your Child About A Traumatic Event Like A School Shooting

Last month, Jane Ripperger-Suhler, a child psychiatrist at the Texas Child Study Center in Seton, had this advice for parents about how much they should say about a deadly mass shooting, such as the one in Las Vegas or the one in Sutherland Springs.

Be careful about who is watching with TV with you and how you explain it, she advises.

>> PHOTOS: Dozens dead, wounded in Texas church shooting

“It really depends on the developmental level of the kids,” she says. Consider how you think your children will take what they see on TV, she says. “I wouldn’t watch a lot with preschooler.”

For kids already in school, you can watch some with them, but be prepared to talk about it and answer their questions. You can ask things like: “What do you think about this?” “What questions do you have?” Gage if they want to talk about it, but, she says, “I wouldn’t force them to talk about this.”

>> Mass shooting at Texas church: Live updates

Explain things in the simplest yet factual way you can. You could say, “A man shot some people at a concert. I guess he was upset about something,” she says. Or in this case: “A man walked into a church and shot people.”

You can focus on how you are feeling, that you’re upset and that you also don’t understand why this happened, but be careful about how you are reacting. “If a parent swoons or becomes frantic, a child is going to do likewise.”

>> Devin Patrick Kelley: What we know about the alleged Sutherland Springs Baptist Church shooter

Most importantly, remind kids that they are safe; that you will keep them safe, and when they are at school, their teachers will keep them safe.

If your child seems to be fixated on what happened in these shootings, you could encourage them to draw, build something or act something out if they don’t want to talk about it.

>> On Statesman.com: Complete coverage of the Sutherland Springs church shooting

If they don’t seem to be able to move on after a few days, are afraid to go to school, are too scared to go to bed, are having physical symptoms of stress or behavior problems, get them help sooner rather than later, Ripperger-Suhler says.

Be especially aware if a child has experience a trauma before. Watching this scene on TV will not cause post-traumatic stress disorder, she says, but it can be more traumatic and disturbing to some kids.

>> Read more trending news 

Ripperger-Suhler says it’s important to go about normal life. And for many families, that normal life may mean going to church on a Sunday.

If your children express some fear about it, reassure them that you will keep them safe.

VIDEO: Mass Shooting at Texas Church

Texas officer arrested, accused of stealing $830 in groceries from Walmart

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 2:41 PM

SECAUCUS, NJ - NOVEMBER 20:  Shoppers enter the Wal-Mart store November 20, 2007 in Secaucus, New Jersey. 
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
SECAUCUS, NJ - NOVEMBER 20: Shoppers enter the Wal-Mart store November 20, 2007 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

A police officer in Texas has been arrested, accused of stealing over $800 in groceries from a Walmart, law enforcement officials said.

Christopher Hankins, 30, is a Dallas Police Department officer, WFAA reported. He was arrested at a Denton County Walmart Wednesday, accused of leaving the store with $830 in groceries and not paying for them.

>> Read more trending news

The store's manager told police that Hankins was wearing his police department jacket, and spent almost three hours in the store, acting suspiciously. Arresting officers reported smelling alcohol on Hankins' breath.

Hankins has been with the Dallas Police Department since 2014, WFAA reported. He has been placed on administrative leave pending and investigation.

Police: Self-professed ‘voodoo priest’ arrested in death of Ollie the pit bull

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 1:11 PM

Brendan Evans, 31, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.
Palm Beach Post
Brendan Evans, 31, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.(Palm Beach Post)

A man, who Florida detectives believe fatally stabbed and left a pit bull named Ollie in a suitcase is behind bars.

Brendan Evans, 31, was charged with aggravated animal cruelty Wednesday, the Palm Beach Post reported. 

>> Read more trending news

>> Ollie the pit bull, found beaten, stuffed in suitcase, dies

Hollywood police said that DNA evidence left on the suitcase is what linked Evans to the Oct. 11 crime, where Ollie was found behind an abandoned building with 30 stab wounds and died days later. 

During the investigation, Evans allegedly told police that he was “a voodoo priest” and it was “his right to kill” animals if he wanted, according to WPLG

>> Stabbed, beaten dog found inside suitcase in Florida

Detectives reportedly found rats with their scalps removed, cat paws and blood in Evans’ refrigerator, the Palm Beach Post reported. There was also a CrimeStoppers poster of Ollie ripped in two, WPLG reported.  

“We will not tolerate any form of animal cruelty or violence in our city. Each reported case of animal cruelty, be it physical abuse or neglect, is disturbing, and this case is particularly heartbreaking,” said Acting Police Chief Chris O'Brien. “We were all pulling for Ollie to survive, but unfortunately he didn't make it. However, due to our investigation, we are now able to provide justice for Ollie.” 

>> See who was recently booked into the Palm Beach County Jail  

Man cited after fight with older man over handicap parking space

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 10:17 AM

A Massachusetts man was cited after a dispute over a handicap parking space.
Boston25News.com
A Massachusetts man was cited after a dispute over a handicap parking space.(Boston25News.com)

An altercation over a handicap parking space in front of a Boston Market was caught on camera Wednesday afternoon.

The 11-second video, which was shared across Facebook and with Boston 25 News, shows a younger man push an older man, knocking him to the ground.

The altercation started because the younger man, who isn’t being identified because he isn’t facing criminal charges, was sitting in his truck in a handicap parking spot.

When the older man approached him with his handicap placard in hand and asked for the space, things turned physical.

>> Read more trending news

“All he said was ‘my car is running and I’m allowed to sit here,’” Marcie, the woman who recorded the video, told Boston 25 News. “The word entitled is exactly what came to my mind at the beginning.”

In the video, Marcie can be heard telling the men she recorded what happened and was going to call 911, but that apparently didn’t stop it from continuing.

“After the older gentleman was on the ground, he got back up and they started to fight again, actually worse. I wish I got that (on) film,” she said.

The Swampscott Police Department tell Boston 25 News officers responded to the altercation. Officers say the man who was knocked to the ground declined to press charges, but the younger man was issued a citation for illegally parking in a handicap spot.

Woman pulled over by man impersonating law enforcement officer

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 4:47 PM



Chalabala/Getty Images/iStockphoto
(Chalabala/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A man impersonating a law enforcement officer pulled over a woman in Arkansas, according to the St. Francis County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident happened Saturday on Highway 38 near Hughes.

>> Read more trending news

Investigators said a man impersonating a game and fish officer stopped a woman and asked to check her vehicle for guns. He had a blue light on his dash and was in a dark-colored pickup truck.

The man did not show the woman a badge or a weapon. The incident happened during the daytime hours and appears to have been an isolated occurrence.

Investigators said they believe they know who the man is, but no arrests were immediately made.

Officials said the impersonator is not the same one who stopped people earlier this year.