Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton Leave 31 Dead, More Than 50 Wounded
EDM Monday Briefing: Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton Leave 31 Dead, More Than 50 Wounded

EDM Monday Briefing: Mass Shootings in El Paso and Dayton Leave 31 Dead, More Than 50 Wounded


Emergency and disaster management briefing for August 5, 2019: Authorities are treating the mass shooting in El Paso as an act of domestic terrorism; a highly trained dive team is being used to search the Nelson River in connection with two teen fugitives wanted for murder in Canada; Dayton police are being credited with a quick response that saved lives in the mass shooting that occurred early Sunday morning; Brazil is using artificial intelligence and bionic eyes to provide early warnings for wildfires; firefighters were being assisted by air tankers and helicopters as they worked to contain Idaho's Nethker Fire; Oregon is lagging behind other western states in disaster preparedness; strong storms spark multiple wildfires in East Idaho; and FEMA is set to evaluate damages for 17 counties and two tribal nations in Wisconsin following a storm outbreak in July that spawned tornadoes and straight-line winds.

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1) Investigators are treating the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday that left 20 people dead and another 26 wounded as an act of domestic terrorism. Once the suspect was taken into custody, police identified the shooter as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, who allegedly posted a hate crime manifesto online just before the shooting began. In the wake of the mass shooting, the mayor of El Paso issued a local disaster declaration on Sunday. That action activates the emergency response plan and triggers state resources for long-term recovery efforts.

2) A new discovery prompted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to bring in a highly trained Underwater Recovery Team (URT) to search parts of the Nelson River for two teen fugitives wanted for multiple murders in Canada. Officers found an aluminum boat along the shores of the river which had allegedly been damaged going through rapids, prompting the underwater search for victims. The search for the teen fugitives has been ongoing for two weeks, but there have been no further sightings of the suspects since a vehicle believed to be theirs -- a burned-out SUV -- was found in a ditch near Fox Lake Cree Nation on July 22.

3) Police have identified the gunman from the second mass shooting that occurred over the weekend in Dayton, Ohio, as Connor Betts, 24, of Bellbrook, Ohio. It was the second mass shooting to occur in less than 24 hours, resulting in another nine people dead and 27 others injured, including one who remains in critical condition. Police who were stationed in the area quickly advanced toward the incident and allegedly neutralized the gunman, who wore body armor, less than a minute after the assailant opened fire in a crowded downtown nightlife area known as the Oregon District.

4) Artificial intelligence and bionic eyes are being used in Brazil to help spot wildfires before they begin burning out of control. Optical and thermal cameras scan the horizon and are able to discern between insect swarms, dust clouds and a plume of smoke, the latter of which demands immediate attention. According to the company that designed the system, Compta, its goal is to limit losses through early warnings, analyze compiled data through the use of IBM's Watson supercomputer, and to use weather forecasts to predict fire behavior and spread.

5) A Type II Incident Management Team (IMT) was ordered to manage a new wildfire that broke out near Burgdorf, Idaho, in the Payette National Forest at about 2:20 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Air tankers, helicopters and firefighter crews were actively working to suppress the blaze, which was named the Nethker Fire. By Sunday evening, the wildfire had already scorched over 150 acres, forced the evacuation of nearby campgrounds and hot springs, and prompted road closures.

6) Lawmakers in Oregon abandoned a nearly $12 million project late last month that was meant to develop early warning systems for earthquakes and wildfires. The funding was meant to enhance disaster preparedness across the state with the expansion of ShakeAlert and AlertWildfire early warning systems that help detect earthquakes and wildfires. The loss of funding means Oregon will lag even farther behind other western states who have already implemented both systems to make them effective in alerting the public.

7) Multiple wildfires have erupted across East Idaho since Thursday, with all but one being caused by lightning from strong thunderstorms. Firefighters made significant progress on the wildfires with the help of air tankers that dropped retardant and a few brief rain storms that hit the area. The two largest wildfires were burning near Craters of the Moon National Monument, which have scorched a total of more than 5,350 acres.

8) Wisconsin is evaluating damages and other costs associated with debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repairs to public infrastructure in the wake of heavy storms that swept through multiple counties nearly two weeks ago to determine if the state will seek federal assistance. Later this month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct a preliminary review of damages that occurred across 17 northern and central counties and two tribal nations. The outbreak of strong storms produced straight-line winds and tornadoes, which downed trees and power lines, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of customers and causing widespread damage.


Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.