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Texas

In the wake of the massacre at a small-town Texas church on Sunday, many people are asking why.

A large portion of the mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years have roots in domestic violence against partners and family members. Depending on how you count, it could be upwards of 50 percent.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Senator Richard Blumenthal called Sunday’s church shooting in Texas an “act of evil.”

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

A "domestic situation" might lie behind the massacre that unfolded at a small South Texas church during Sunday services, authorities say. At a news conference Monday, law enforcement officials explained that the gunman — identified by police as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley — had sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, who is has attended the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Currently, officials say they do not believe the attack was racially or religiously motivated.

Updated Monday at 5:10 a.m. ET

Federal authorities are investigating a shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a small community southeast of San Antonio.

In a news conference Sunday night, an official from the Texas Department of Public Safety described the scene: Around 11:20 a.m., a man dressed in black tactical gear approached the church and began firing an assault rifle. He then entered the church and continued firing.

Two weeks ago he locked arms and knelt with his players before the national anthem, then stood with them as it played. Now, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says players who "disrespect the flag," won't take the field.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Democratic congressional leaders announced Wednesday that they had reached a deal with President Trump in an Oval Office meeting to pass hurricane relief funding this week, along with measures to push off pressing fiscal deadlines to December — over the apparent objections of Republican leaders.

Now that the rain has stopped and floodwaters are slowly starting to recede, government officials are figuring out where tens of thousands of evacuees in Texas and Louisiana can stay.

The White House estimates about 100,000 houses were affected by the storm. Many were destroyed or are too damaged to live in. More than 30,000 people are staying in emergency shelters and will soon be in need of permanent accommodations.

Barret Anspach / Flickr/Creative Commons

People hoping to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts might actually be doing more harm than good. That’s according Juanita Rilling, former director of USAID's Center for International Disaster Information.

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

Fire broke out and containers of chemicals burst at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, early Thursday, confirming fears that highly flammable organic peroxides produced at the plant could pose a threat after Hurricane Harvey knocked out safety systems.

Updated at 12:15 a.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center says Harvey is now a tropical depression. As of 8 p.m. ET, the storm was located southwest of Alexandria, La., with sustained winds of 35 mph.

As Tropical Storm Harvey, it had made landfall in Louisiana, at 4 a.m. Central time, just west of Cameron, according to the Center.

The confirmed death toll from Harvey is at least 25, across five Texas counties — although that figure is likely to rise and does not include people who are missing or believed dead.

Randy Bresnik / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Insurers are among those deploying teams to communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. Travelers, which has its property casualty lines based in Hartford, has dispatched three mobile claims centers to the state. 

Texas National Guard / Creative Commons

Texas Governor Greg Abbott called Hurricane Harvey "one of the largest disasters America has ever faced." The devastating storm has dumped more than 40 inches of rain on Houston, the most "extreme rain event" in U.S. history. It has displaced thousands, and rescue efforts continue. 

Updated at 6:06 p.m. ET

President Trump visited Texas on Tuesday to show support for residents reeling from the effects of Hurricane Harvey and to assess the first stages of the federal recovery effort.

On Jan. 28, 1986, President Ronald Reagan was supposed to deliver the State of the Union.

Instead, he made a very different address to the nation that day, one that would transform the role of president, making it mandatory thereafter that presidents serve as consoler-in-chief.

Disasters like the flooding that has followed Hurricane Harvey, displacing thousands of people, always create a tremendous need for help — and a tremendous desire to provide that help.

But those who have dealt with disasters before say people need to be careful about how they contribute to disaster relief, and when. Cash donations are almost always preferred over items — such as blankets, clothing and stuffed animals — often sent into overwhelmed disaster areas by well-meaning donors.

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