The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is welcoming back K9 Officer Jeremy Mason, nearly 18 months after he was shot in the face while chasing a robbery and carjacking suspect. The shooting happened in July 2017, when police were called to 103rd Street and Old Middleburg Road, after community tips led them to believe a bank robbery suspect was in that area. Police say that suspect- since identified as 28-year-old Michael Harris- carjacked and kidnapped a woman there by getting in her car and forcing her to drive off. JSO says Mason was shot in the ensuing chase, but continued to pursue the suspect. The suspect vehicle got in a crash with a civilian car, and Mason and a detective ultimately fatally shot Harris when he refused to disarm, according to police. Mason has undergone 12 surgeries through his recovery, according to JSO. Today marks the first day back on the job for Mason and K9 Echo.
With a partial government shutdown showing no signs of being resolved, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday basically ‘disinvited’ President Donald Trump from a scheduled January 29 State of the Union Address, saying that the Secret Service and Homeland Security Department should not be tasked with such a major event while they are in a shutdown status. “Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened,” Pelosi wrote in a letter sent to the President on Wednesday morning. There was no immediate reaction from the White House or the President. The President gives the State of the Union at the invitation of the Congress, as the House and Senate must agree to use the House chamber for such an event. The reaction in Congress split down party lines. “It is very ironic that Democrats reference security concerns in their latest grandstanding tactic, delaying the State of the Union, but will not address the security concerns that are creating a humanitarian crisis at the border,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN). “We know the state of our union,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), as Democrats said there should be no speech from the President while the partial shutdown continues. In an interview with NBC News, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the President had been “disinvited” by Pelosi.
A number of U.S. service members were killed in an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, an attack that came less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw troops from the war torn country. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the rare morning attack, which local groups said killed 16 people in the U.S.-patrolled town of Manbij. The claim, which could not be independently confirmed, calls into question Trump's claim that IS has been defeated in Syria — his stated reason for pulling 2,000 American troops out of the country. 'We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,' Trump tweeted in December in announcing his intention to bring back U.S. troops 'NOW.' Trump has been clear about his desire to pull out of Syria, a country he described as 'sand and death.' But critics have said a pullout was premature, that IS was still not defeated and a pullout could lead to a power vacuum that would fuel even more violence. Video released by local activists and news agencies showed a restaurant that suffered extensive damage and a street covered with debris and blood. Several cars were also damaged. Another video showed a helicopter flying over the area. A security camera showed a busy street, and then a ball of fire and people running for cover as the blast went off. A local town council and a Syrian war monitoring group said the blast occurred outside a restaurant near the town's main market, near a patrol of the U.S.-led coalition, killing and wounding more than a dozen people. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 people were killed including nine civilians and others were wounded in the blast. It added that at least five U.S.-backed Syrian fighters were also among the dead. The U.S. military released a statement on Twitter that said: 'U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today. We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time.' The rare attack came days after the U.S. began the process of withdrawing from Syria, pulling out equipment from the northeast into neighboring Iraq. Trump's initial announcement about a rapid withdrawal took some of his closest aides by surprise, upset allies in the region, and led to the resignation of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. Since then, U.S. officials and Trump himself have suggested the withdrawal would be slower than initially believed. The Kurdish Hawar news agency, based in northern Syria, and the Observatory, which monitors the war through activists on the ground, reported U.S. troops were among the casualties. Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency, citing unnamed local sources, said a number of U.S. soldiers were injured in the blast and that the U.S. military evacuated soldiers by helicopter. It was not the first time that forces of the U.S.-led coalition were subjected to attacks in the area, although they have been rare. In March last year, a roadside bomb killed two coalition personnel, an American and a Briton, and wounded five in Manbij.