Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

FBI finds gunman in Dayton, Ohio, rampage was obsessed with violence

The gunman who killed his sister and eight other people in Dayton, Ohio, before he was slain by police had a history of violent obsessions and had previously mused about committing mass murder, an FBI official said on Tuesday. FBI agent Todd Wickerham told a news conference two days after the massacre in Dayton's historic downtown Oregon District that investigators have yet to conclude what motivated the killer or whether he may have had an accomplice.

U.S. judge expresses support for novel opioid settlement talks framework

A federal judge on Tuesday expressed support for a novel plan by lawyers representing cities and counties suing drug companies over the U.S. opioid epidemic that would bring every community nationally into their settlement talks despite objections from most states. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster during a hearing in Cleveland, Ohio said that while the idea was unprecedented, it could allow companies accused of fueling the epidemic in nearly 2,000 lawsuits before him an ability to obtain "global peace."

Teen victim of Texas mass shooting straddled bi-national culture

Several hundred students, teachers and relatives filled a high school athletic stadium in Texas on Monday to honor a teenager of U.S.-Mexican citizenship who was the youngest of 22 killed in a shooting rampage police suspect was driven by racism. Javier Rodriguez, 15, was one week into his sophomore year at Horizon High School, where he played on the soccer team, when he was cut down by gunfire at a Walmart store on Saturday in the west Texas border city of El Paso.

Biden leads Democrats as minorities favor most electable candidate vs Trump: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Joe Biden maintained his lead for the Democratic presidential nomination as minorities gravitated toward the former vice president and his top rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in search of the safest bets for beating President Donald Trump in 2020, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. The Aug. 1-5 public opinion poll, released on Tuesday, showed that 22% of Democrats and independents would vote for Biden, a level that is unchanged from a similar poll that ran last month. Another 18% said they supported Sanders, up 2 percentage points from the July poll.

FBI says Ohio shooting suspect explored 'violent ideologies'

The suspected gunman in the Dayton, Ohio, weekend shooting that killed nine people was exploring violent ideologies but it was unclear whether that influenced his actions, an FBI agent said on Tuesday. "We have uncovered evidence that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies," FBI agent Todd Wickerham told reporters. He said authorities were working to determine whether the attacker was influenced by a particular ideology and whether he was helped by anyone.

Trump planned visit to grieving El Paso stokes debate about his rhetoric

U.S. President Donald Trump, whose rhetoric about an immigrant "invasion" has alienated many in the predominantly Hispanic city of El Paso, will visit the grieving Texas border town on Wednesday after a gun massacre that killed 22 people. El Paso has been on the front lines of the Trump administration's campaign to staunch the flow of migrants over the U.S.-Mexican border. The President in January called it one of America's "most dangerous cities" before a wall was built.

FBI opens domestic terror investigation into Gilroy, Calif., mass shooting

The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into a California mass shooting by a 19-year-old gunman who killed three people at a food festival last week, officials said on Tuesday. Authorities have said they still do not know what motivated Santino William Legan, 19, to fire an assault-style rifle into a crowd in Gilroy, California, on July 28. His victims included a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.

Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison dead at 88

U.S. author Toni Morrison, whose 1987 novel "Beloved" about a runaway slave won a Pulitzer Prize and contributed to a body of work that made her the first black woman to be presented the Nobel Prize in Literature, has died at the age of 88, her publisher said on Tuesday. Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for the publishing company Alfred A. Knopf, announced the death but did not provide an immediate cause. The Washington Post said she died on Monday at a New York hospital.

After shootings, Trump reins in his attacks - for now

After back-to-back mass shootings in two states over the weekend spurred widespread condemnation of his rhetoric and style, President Donald Trump chose to suppress his instinct to attack his rivals - at least for now. Trump has spent a large part of the summer engaged in attacks on four minority congresswomen and an African-American lawmaker from Baltimore. He has long railed against illegal immigrants, characterizing a surge of asylum seekers from Central America as an "invasion."

U.S. has lost 24 million acres of natural land in 16 years: independent report

The United States has lost the equivalent of nine Grand Canyon national parks, or 24 million acres (9712455.41 hectares) of natural area, between 2001 and 2017 due to agriculture, energy development, housing sprawl and other human factors, making the country more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, according to a report released Tuesday. The study by progressive think tank Center for American Progress titled "How Much Nature Should America Keep" said the U.S. needs to set a goal to protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030 to stem the rapid decline of natural areas, which will protect the country from the worst impacts of climate change and wildlife extinction.