AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis booed at vigil as hundreds mourn more racist killings

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at prayer vigils and in church, in frustration and exhaustion, to mourn yet another racist attack in America: this one the killing of three Black people in Florida at the hands of a white, 21-year-old man who authorities say left behind white supremacist ramblings that read like “the diary of a madman.”

Following services earlier in the day, about 200 people showed up at a Sunday evening vigil a block from the Dollar General store in Jacksonville where officials said Ryan Palmeter opened fire Saturday using guns he bought legally despite a past involuntary commitment for a mental health exam.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis — who is running for the GOP nomination for president, who has loosened gun laws in Florida and who has antagonized civil rights leaders by deriding “wokeness " — was loudly booed as he addressed the vigil.

Ju’Coby Pittman, a Jacksonville city councilwoman who represents the neighborhood where the shooting happened, stepped in to ask the crowd to listen.

“It ain’t about parties today,” she said. “A bullet don’t know a party.”


Tropical Storm Idalia takes aim at Gulf of Mexico on a possible track toward the US, forecasters say

MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Idalia formed Sunday off the coast of Mexico on a potential track to come ashore as a hurricane in the southern U.S., the National Hurricane Center said.

At 8 p.m. Sunday, the storm was about 95 miles (153 kilometers) east-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, moving northeast at 3 mph (4.8 kph) with highest sustained winds of 45 mph (64 kph), forecasters said. Hurricanes have winds of 74 mph (119 kph) and above.

Forecasters said they expected Idalia to become a hurricane on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico and then curve northeast toward the west coast of Florida.

Idalia could approach Florida on Wednesday with winds of up to 100 mph (160 kph), according to the latest forecasts from the Hurricane Center. That would make it a Category 2 hurricane.

Along a vast stretch of Florida's west coast, up to 11 feet (3.4 meters) of ocean water could surge on shore, raising fears of destructive flooding.


Trump's drumbeat of lies about the 2020 election keeps getting louder. Here are the facts

WASHINGTON (AP) — With Donald Trump facing felony charges over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, the former president is flooding the airwaves and his social media platform with distortions, misinformation and unfounded conspiracy theories about his defeat.

It's part of a multiyear effort to undermine public confidence in the American electoral process as he seeks to chart a return to the White House in 2024. There is evidence that his lies are resonating: New polling from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that 57% of Republicans believe Democrat Joe Biden was not legitimately elected as president.

Here are the facts about Trump's loss in the last presidential election:

Biden’s victory over Trump in 2020 was not particularly close. He won the Electoral College with 306 votes to Trump's 232, and the popular vote by more than 7 million ballots.

Because the Electoral College ultimately determines the presidency, the race was decided by a few battleground states. Many of those states conducted recounts or thorough reviews of the results, all of which confirmed Biden’s victory.


DeSantis cancels SC campaign travel, returns to Florida facing tropical storm and shooting aftermath

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis canceled a day of presidential campaign appearances to deal with crises at home as his state mourns a racist fatal shooting in Jacksonville and prepares for a tropical storm.

A day after appearing in Iowa, DeSantis was back in the state capital of Tallahassee on Sunday for a news conference on Tropical Storm Idalia. He urged Floridians to heed the advice of emergency managers. He also offered condolences and condemned the killing of three Black people by a white man who authorities say left behind a suicide note, a will, and writings with racist material.

Later Sunday, DeSantis appeared at a vigil outside the Jacksonville store where the shootings occurred. The Republican governor, who was met with boos when he briefly addressed the crowd, called the gunman a “scumbag” and said there was no tolerance for racist violence in Florida.

DeSantis’ campaign schedule had called for him to be in South Carolina Monday for a morning town hall in Kershaw and a barbecue with Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., in Anderson. But Sunday night, his campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin announced the governor was canceling his South Carolina travel. His wife, Casey DeSantis, is still expected to appear at the barbecue but the town hall in Kershaw was canceled.

“In light of the approaching hurricane, the Governor will be staying in Florida on Monday to assist with preparations,” Griffin said.


Simone Biles wins a record 8th US Gymnastics title a full decade after her first

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A decade later, Simone Biles is still on top.

The gymnastics star won her record eighth U.S. Championship on Sunday night, 10 years after she first ascended to the top of her sport as a teenage prodigy.

Biles, now a 26-year-old newlywed considered perhaps the greatest of all time, posted an all-around two-day total of 118.40, four points clear of runner-up Shilese Jones. Florida junior Leanne Wong claimed third, bolstering her chances of making a third straight world championship team.

Biles is all but assured of returning to the gym where she captured her first world title in 2013. Over the course of two electric nights at the SAP Center, she served notice that even after a two-year break following the Tokyo Olympics, in gymnastics there is the one referred to as the GOAT and there is everyone else.

Biles became the oldest woman to win a national title since USA Gymnastics began organizing the event in 1963. Her eight crowns moved her past Alfred Jochim, who won seven between 1925-33 when the Amateur Athletics Union ran the championships and the events in men's competition included rope climbing.


A US Marine Osprey crashes during drills in Australia, killing 3 and injuring 20, some critically

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A United States Marine Corps aircraft with 23 Marines aboard crashed on a north Australian island Sunday, killing at least three and critically injuring at least five during a multinational training exercise, officials said.

Three had been confirmed dead on Melville Island and five were flown in serious condition 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the mainland city of Darwin for hospital treatment after the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft crashed around 9:30 a.m., a statement from the Marines said.

“Recovery efforts are ongoing,” the statement said, adding the cause of the crash was under investigation.

Aircraft had been sent from Darwin to retrieve more survivors from the remote location but no further details on the fate of the other 15 Marines on board had been released hours later.

A U.S. military official reported to Australian air traffic controllers a “significant fire in the vicinity of the crash site,” according to an audio recording of the conversation broadcast by Nine News television.


Russia says it confirmed Wagner leader Prigozhin died in a plane crash

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities on Sunday confirmed the death of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, putting to rest any doubts about whether the wily mercenary leader turned mutineer was on a plane that crashed Wednesday, killing everyone on board.

Genetic testing on the 10 bodies recovered at the crash site “conform to the manifest ” for the flight, Russian Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko said in a statement. Russia’s civil aviation authority had said Prigozhin and some of his top lieutenants were on the list of seven passengers and three crew members.

The Investigative Committee did not indicate what might have caused the business jet to plummet from the sky halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Prigozhin's hometown.

But the crash's timing raised suspicions of a possible Kremlin-orchestrated hit, while Prigozhin’s chameleon-like background allowed for speculation that he wasn't on the plane or had somehow escaped death.

Two months ago, Prigozhin, 62, mounted a daylong mutiny against Russia's military, leading his mercenaries from Ukraine toward Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin decried the act as “treason” and vowed punishment for those involved.


Prigozhin's final months were overshadowed by questions about what the Kremlin had in store for him

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Yevgeny Prigozhin smiled as a crowd of adoring fans surrounded his black SUV on June 24 in Russia’s southern city of Rostov-on-Don and cheered him on.

“You rock!” fans shouted while taking selfies with the chief of the Wagner mercenary group, who was sitting in the vehicle after nightfall. “You’re a lion! Hang in there!”

Prigozhin and his masked, camouflage-clad fighters were leaving the city after a daylong mutiny against the country’s military leadership. President Vladimir Putin decried it as “treason” and vowed punishment, but then cut a deal not to prosecute Prigozhin. Beyond that, his fate looked uncertain.

Two months later, on Aug. 23, Prigozhin’s business jet plummeted from the sky and crashed in a field halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. All 10 people on board the plane were killed, Russian authorities said. Russia's Investigative Committee said Sunday that forensic testing confirmed Prigozhin was one of them.

The two scenes, which unfolded just two months apart, provide bookends to the mystery-shrouded final days of the outspoken, brutal mercenary leader who initially appeared to have escaped any retribution for the rebellion that posed the greatest challenge to Putin's authority in his 23-year rule.


Environmental groups recruit people of color into overwhelmingly white conservation world

BARABOO, Wis. (AP) — Arianna Barajas never thought of herself as the outdoors type. The daughter of Mexican immigrants who grew up in Chicago's suburbs, her forays into nature usually amounted to a bike ride to a community park.

She was interested in wild animals but had no idea she could make a living working with them until her older brother enrolled in veterinarian school. She took a leap of faith and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and became a wildlife ecology major.

This summer Barajas landed an internship designed for people of color at the International Crane Foundation's headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and stepped into a new world.

“I always knew growing up I had an interest in wildlife and animals but didn't know the options I had," Barajas, 21, said. “I really just have a passion for the outdoors. I can't just be in an office all day. I need to be outside and doing things I think are valuable.”

Environmental groups across the country have worked for the last two decades to introduce members of underrepresented populations like Barajas to the overwhelmingly white conservation world. The effort has gained momentum since George Floyd's death forced a national reckoning on race relations and challenged a variety of industries to focus on diversity and inclusion efforts.


Women working in Antarctica say they were left to fend for themselves against sexual harassers

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The howling winds and perpetual darkness of the Antarctic winter were easing to a frozen spring when mechanic Liz Monahon at McMurdo Station grabbed a hammer.

If those in charge weren’t going to protect her from the man she feared would kill her, she figured, she needed to protect herself. It wasn’t like she could escape. They were all stuck there together on the ice.

So she kept the hammer with her at all times, either looped into her Carhartt overalls or tucked into her sports bra.

“If he came anywhere near me, I was going to start swinging at him,” Monahon says. “I decided that I was going to survive.”


The Associated Press