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MISSOURI-STATE OF THE STATE

Missouri governor pitches plan to address violent crime

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is reaffirming his support for gun rights. Parson in his Wednesday State of the State address called on lawmakers to increase mental health resources, toughen laws against violent crime and ramp up witness protection to address violence in the state's biggest cities. St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield all have seen spikes in gun crimes and homicides in recent years. More than a dozen children were killed in gun violence in St. Louis in 2019. Democrats have called for more restrictions on gun ownership and greater flexibility for cities to impose their own gun rules.

ST. LOUIS PROSECUTOR-LAWSUIT

Leader of St. Louis black police union says racial bias real

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The president of a predominantly black St. Louis police union says the city prosecutor’s lawsuit is correct in pointing out racial concerns in St. Louis, including biases within the police department itself. Ethical Society of Police President Heather Taylor on Wednesday stopped short of endorsing Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s federal lawsuit, but questioned how anyone could ignore the department’s “long history of racial discrimination.” Gardner, who became St. Louis’ first black circuit attorney in 2017, filed a lawsuit Monday accusing “entrenched interests” of impeding her efforts to reform racist practices, in part by seeking to force her from office.

HOSPITAL CLOSING

Company closes Boonville hospital with short notice

BOONVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas hospital company abruptly closed a central Missouri hospital because of regulatory issues. Pinnacle Regional Hospital announced Wednesday that its Boonville hospital would close by the end of the day. The hospital said in a statement that conversations with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services led officials to decide it would be too costly to bring the hospital into compliance and make necessary repairs. Boonville, a town of about 8,400 people, will also lose a clinic and a rehab facility. Emergency department staff will remain at the hospital for two weeks to help walk-in patients. Pinnacle is based in Overland Park, Kansas.

ELECTION 2000-HOUSE-MISSOURI

Rep. Cleaver's opponent apologizes for Cosby-related tweet

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Democrat running against U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri in this year's primary has apologized after incorrectly accusing the incumbent of having a picture of convicted sex offender Bill Cosby under his desk. Maite Salazar, of Kansas City, retweeted a suggestion this month that the photo showed Cosby. The picture actually shows the late singer Al Jarreau. Salazar posted a video apology on Facebook Monday. Salazar is a progressive candidate running a low-budget campaign. Cleaver's political director, Phil Scaglia, says it is “unfortunate” that Salazar chose to attack Cleaver in such a disrespectful manner.

ST. LOUIS PROSECUTOR-LAWSUIT

Black prosecutors back Gardner, say they've faced resistance

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One day after St. Louis’ top prosecutor filed a federal lawsuit alleging a concerted and racist conspiracy to push her out of office, other black female prosecutors from across the U.S. are defending Kim Gardner, saying they’ve faced the same resistance in their own communities. Six prosecutors joined a rally Tuesday at a downtown courthouse to show support for Gardner. The St. Louis circuit attorney on Monday filed what she called an unprecedented civil rights lawsuit accusing the city, the police union and others of intentionally impeding her efforts to reform racist practices, in part by seeking her ouster.

JAIL DEATHS

Report: Staff believed inmate who died had headache or virus

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — An internal investigation has found that jailers and nurses at the St. Louis County Justice Center believed that a man suspected of shooting and wounding an officer had a bad headache or a virus before he became the fifth inmate at the lockup to die in custody last year. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that jail staffers seemed to understand by 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 25 that Jo’von Mitchell was very sick. But the report said it took more than eight hours to transport him to the infirmary, where a nurse found him unresponsive in a cell around 5 p.m. He died two days later.

GIRL WOUNDED-ST. LOUIS

4-year-old shot in back while riding in car in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say a 4-year-old girl was shot in the back while riding in a car in St. Louis. The police report says officers were told that someone in an unknown vehicle started shooting around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday as the girl was in a car with an 8- and 13-year-old and two adults. They rushed the girl to a hospital after realizing she was wounded. No one else was hurt. Police say the girl is conscious, breathing and in stable condition. An investigation is ongoing. There are no known suspects.

BLOWN-UP CAR

Missouri man sentenced for blowing up ex-wife's car

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for blowing up his ex-wife's car outside a St. Louis home where she and the couple's teenage son were sleeping. KTVI reports that Dean McBaine, of Jefferson City, was sentenced Wednesday for possession of an unregistered destructive device. McBaine also was ordered to pay $34,705.21 in restitution. Prosecutors said McBaine became enraged when his ex-wife took custody of their 13-year-old son after a domestic dispute with his new wife in Jefferson City ended with him firing into a ceiling. The rounds missed McBaine's older son, whose bedroom was in the room above.