Virginia Beach officials release final report on 2019 mass shooting, death penalty abolished, last Mountain Valley Pipeline protester removed, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

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• Police in Virginia Beach released their final report on a 2019 mass shooting at a municipal building. City leaders told family members of the victims that, “unfortunately, no evidence was found that shed light on the shooter’s motivations. We know this is one of the most difficult findings to accept and we know you may still have questions.”—Virginian-Pilot

• “The governor signed legislation Wednesday making Virginia the 23rd state to abolish the death penalty, a dramatic shift for the commonwealth, which had the second-highest number of executions in the U.S.”—Associated Press

• A Fisherville man is the latest Virginian arrested for breaching the U.S. Capitol in January. In court documents, the FBI alleged the 55-year-old former Army Special Forces officer beat police officers with a flag pole that had carried a pro-police “Thin Blue Line” flag.—News Virginian

• Sex trafficking victims will for the first time be able to raise a defense that they were forced to commit crimes for which they are accused under legislation before Gov. Ralph Northam. Advocates called it an overdue step already taken in many states.—Washington Post

• “Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), an influential progressive, announced her endorsement of Jennifer Carroll Foy for governor of Virginia on Wednesday.”—HuffPost

• Police removed the final tree sitter blocking the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, 931 days after the protest began.—Roanoke Times

• “Virginia Natural Gas has rescinded a plan to build a new natural gas pipeline in Prince William and Fauquier counties because one of the project’s customers no longer needs new pipeline capacity.”—Prince William Times

• Charlottesville’s mayor compared the city she leads to a rapist in a graphic poem she posted on social media.—Washington Post

• “Scientists at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech may have developed a potential COVID-19 vaccine that would protect against existing and future strains of coronavirus, costs about $1 per dose and can be easily transported. The catch: It has only been tested on pigs.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

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