Antoniette Tuff. (29348)

Arizona

Four immigration activists chained themselves to a gated fence outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters in Phoenix Wednesday to spotlight what they call “the inhumane separation of families happening every day.” The event was part of a planned “call to action” triggered by leaders from the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, including DREAMERS and undocumented mothers. Police moved in, cut the chains and arrested the four activists who were part of a larger group bent on shutting down ICE operations at the agency’s Phoenix Field Office at 2035 N. Central Ave. According to the coalition, Wednesday afternoon’s action was launched “to urge Congress to pass immigration reform that keeps families together, ends out-of-control enforcement and creates a real path to citizenship.” The “call to action” was followed by a 7:30 p.m. prayer vigil.

Florida

Florida legislators won’t hold a special session to take another look at the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law. While 47 state lawmakers voted in favor of holding a special session to discuss the law, 108 voted against it, Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a letter Tuesday. State law requires a three-fifths majority of both houses of the Florida Legislature to convene a special session, Detzner said. The law drew national attention last year after George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman’s defense never cited “stand your ground” laws in its case, but jurors were instructed to consider them during deliberations in the high-profile trial. The jury acquitted Zimmerman last month of all charges in the shooting of Martin.

Georgia

As the kids trooped back into a suburban Atlanta elementary school that was stormed by a gunman earlier this week, everyone was talking about Antoinette Tuff. The bookkeeper, an eight-year veteran of the DeKalb County school district, talked suspect Michael Brandon Hill into surrendering, after a brief standoff with police Tuesday afternoon. Faced with an armed 20-year-old who told her he was off his medication for a mental disorder, Tuff shared stories of heartbreak from her own life to help calm him down—including her recent divorce, and son with multiple disabilities. Tuff was off Thursday recovering from a pre-scheduled surgery, as the students returned to Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy. But Principal Brian Bolden said he credited Tuff’s quick thinking for avoiding what could have been a major tragedy. Online, a Facebook page calls for Tuff to be awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, while praise overflowed on Twitter.

Hawaii

A German tourist bitten by a shark while she was vacationing in Hawaii died Wednesday, a week after the attack, her family said. Jana Lutteropp was remembered by her mother, Jutta Lutteropp, and sister, Julia Broeske, as “a very beautiful, strong young woman who was always laughing, and we will forever remember her that way. Jana fought hard to stay alive,” her relatives said. “However, we are sad to say that she lost her fight today.” The woman, believed to be about 20 years old, was snorkeling about 50 yards off the Hawaiian island of Maui when a shark severed her right arm around 4:40 p.m. on Aug. 14, authorities said. First responders found her unconscious and took her to Maui Medical Center, said Lee Mainaga of the Maui Fire Department. She was initially listed in critical condition. Lutteropp had traveled to Hawaii after finishing her year as an au pair.

Kansas

“I am Chelsea Manning.” With those words, read from a statement, on NBC’s “Today” on Thursday, Bradley Manning immediately shifted public conversation away from the Army private’s conviction on espionage charges to gender identity. “As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in the statement. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.” While his supporters may back Manning, the Army said Thursday it won’t. “The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery,” Lt. Col. Justin Platt told CNN on Thursday. One Army official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about Manning’s case, said the private remains a male in the eyes of the Army. Another said Manning would be treated like any other prisoner. “A lot of the inmates have issues they’re dealing with,” said the second official, who also was not authorized to speak publicly about Manning’s case. “Even if you have gender identity disorder, you still serve your sentence.”

Children were injured when a school bus overturned in eastern Kansas on Wednesday afternoon, Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman Howard Dickinson said. The bus—carrying 36 girls and a driver—slipped down a hill as it came around a curb and came to rest on its side in Bonner Springs, Dickinson said. The University of Kansas Hospital received nine patients from the crash, said spokeswoman Jill Chadwick. Of those, three were admitted, and the rest had been discharged, she said. The injuries ranged from concussions to potentially more serious brain trauma, a spine injury and a leg injury, she said. The children tumbled inside the bus and suffered serious bumps and bruises, Chadwick said.

Massachusetts

A Bristol County grand jury indicted former NFL player Aaron Hernandez on a first-degree murder charge Thursday. Hernandez, a former New England Patriots tight end, is charged in connection with the alleged slaying of Odin Lloyd, the 27-year-old boyfriend of the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. Prosecutors say Hernandez, 23, orchestrated the shooting death of Lloyd. Hernandez and two other men allegedly picked Lloyd up on the morning of June 17, and his body was found later that day in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home. The football star has been in police custody since he was arrested on June 26. Along with the murder indictment, he was also indicted on five weapons charges. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The indictment takes the place of a hearing to establish “probable cause” that was originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Upon reviewing the case, a grand jury determined that prosecutors had enough evidence to constitute probable cause, or that the charges are reasonable based on the facts presented. The case against Hernandez can now proceed to trial.

Missouri

Law enforcement officials met with the family of a missing 12-year-old girl Wednesday after searchers found a body in a rural area outside Golden City, Mo. The body has not yet been identified, Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Watson told reporters. Citing comments from the girl’s father, CNN affiliate KMBC reported that the body is believed to be that of Adriaunna M. Horton, who was reported missing from a Golden City park on Monday. Watson declined to provide details about where the body was found, saying that the investigation is ongoing. Officials with the Barton County Sheriff’s Office have said Adriaunna was playing with friends outside when she was seen getting into a vehicle. That vehicle was found, and the driver was taken into custody. But there had been no sign of the missing girl.

Texas

The prosecution delivered its closing statement in the court-martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, and the suspect, who is representing himself, declined to give one. Hasan is the Army psychiatrist charged with 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in connection with the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at a deployment processing center for soldiers heading to Afghanistan and Iraq. The jury of 13 officers was given instructions Thursday before closing arguments. Prosecutors maintained the American-born Muslim underwent a progressive radicalization that led to the massacre at the sprawling central Texas base. If convicted, Hasan faces a possible death sentence.

Compiled By Juliana Norwood. CNN News Wire contributed to this report.