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KUNR Today: Gov. Sisolak and First Lady threatened at restaurant, Support shown in Nev. for Ukraine

A metal sculpture in a plaza spells out “Believe.” There are sunflowers placed along the top of the sculpture. A river and hotel are visible in the background.
Lucia Starbuck
/
KUNR Public Radio
The City of Reno placed sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, in downtown Reno, Nev., on Feb. 28, 2022, ahead of its organized event in solidarity with Ukraine.

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

Nevada Gov. Sisolak, First Lady accosted and threatened at Vegas restaurant
By Lucia Starbuck

Editor’s note: As a warning, this story contains some disturbing language.

A video showing Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and First Lady Kathy Sisolak being accosted and threatened at a restaurant in Las Vegas over the weekend has gone viral.

The video, first published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, shows two men shouting racist and anti-government comments. They said the governor should be hung and accused him of working for China.

In a statement, the governor’s office said he’s deeply disappointed, particularly with the language directed at the First Lady, who is Asian American.

Many leaders on both sides of the aisle condemned the actions, but it hasn’t all been supportive. Some Republican gubernatorial candidates did not denounce the behavior. Reno lawyer Joey Gilbert said he cannot “think of a more deserving person.” Las Vegas Councilwoman Michelle Fiore told the Reno Gazette Journal the governor is lucky “it was just words.”

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who’s also running to unseat the governor, said, “hateful verbal abuse” has no place in politics, in a statement to media.

The incident is being investigated.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Events, gestures in Nevada show solidarity with Ukraine
By Lucia Starbuck

There are several events in Nevada this week to show solidarity with Ukraine as the country defends itself in war against Russia.

In Northern Nevada, there’s a demonstration planned in front of the Nevada State Capitol building in Carson City at noon Tuesday, according to Carson Now. Organizers are asking people to donate to relief funds and boycott Russian goods.

The City of Reno is inviting residents to an event in solidarity with Ukraine at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday as well. People are encouraged to place sunflowers, Ukraine’s national flower, on the Believe sign downtown. There was a demonstration held by community members at the same spot over the weekend as well.

In Southern Nevada, Clark County Commissioner Michael Taft announced that the Las Vegas Strip’s welcome sign will be lit up in yellow and blue, the colors of Ukraine’s flag.

McQueen student in custody for bringing a gun to school Monday
By Lucia Starbuck

A student at McQueen High School in Reno was taken into custody on Monday for bringing a gun to school.

In an email statement, the principal said that school police received information that a student might be in possession of a firearm. She said school police found the student and firearm in question immediately, so the school was not put on lockdown.

Two other firearms have been found in student backpacks at a high school and elementary school in Washoe County so far this calendar year, according to KRNV. A Carson High School student brought a gun on campus last week as well.

Martinez Guzman sentenced to life in prison without parole
By KUNR Staff

Wilber Ernesto Martinez Guzman was sentenced to life in prison Monday after he murdered four people across Douglas and Washoe counties back in 2019. KRNV is reporting that Guzman received two life sentences without the possibility of parole for the homicides in Washoe County.

The decision came after hours of emotional testimony from family members of the deceased. Guzman will also be sentenced in Douglas County and Carson City for two other murders and stealing property. He pled guilty to all charges last year to avoid the death penalty.

California, Oregon, Washington to drop school mask mandates
By The Associated Press

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington have announced that schoolchildren will no longer be required to wear masks starting March 12. The governors of the three states announced the measure in a joint statement as part of new indoor mask policies that come as coronavirus case and hospitalization rates decline across the West Coast.

The new guidance will make face coverings a recommendation rather than a requirement at schools and most indoor places regardless of vaccination status. The milestone comes as much of the country relaxes public health orders, including school mask mandates, in an effort to restore normalcy and boost economic recovery.

Authorities ID man killed in Vegas hookah lounge shooting
By The Associated Press

Authorities have identified a man killed in a shooting at a Las Vegas hookah lounge that left 13 others wounded, including two critically. The County Coroner’s Office said Monday that 33-year-old Demetreus Beard died from multiple gunshot wounds in the shooting early Saturday and his death has been ruled a homicide. The coroner’s office also said it couldn’t identify a place of residence for Beard.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police didn’t immediately respond to requests Monday from The Associated Press for updated information in the case. Police have previously said that detectives believe two people got into an argument during a party inside the lounge and exchanged gunfire before fleeing.

Mountain West gun suicide rates are some of the highest nationally
By Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Gun deaths largely driven by homicides spiked sharply in 2020. The Mountain West has some of the highest gun ownership rates in the country, but it has lower levels of gun homicides.

Dr. Garen Wintemute directs the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center. He’s sounding the alarm about gun-related injuries and deaths. He points out that gun suicide rates in our region are some of the highest in the country.

Still, he sees some glimmers here, like Colorado’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention. He says another state in our region stands out too.

“The state of Nevada, I think to many people’s surprise, adopted, twice, a statute requiring a background check for all purchases of firearms,” he said.

Wintemute said that policy could prove especially impactful as some Americans’ appetite for political violence grows.

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