1. Family of ND mother and children brutally killed in Mexico sue drug cartel

A civil lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court against a Mexican drug cartel by surviving family members of individuals killed late last year when vehicles they were riding in came under attack while traveling between the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua.

Plaintiffs in the suit filed in federal court in North Dakota include Howard J. Miller and Tyler Edward Johnson.

Miller's wife, identified in the suit as Maria Rhonita LeBaron, and four of the couple's seven children, all of whom lived in Williston, N.D., were killed during the attacks on Nov. 4, as was Johnson's wife, identified in the suit as Christina Marie Langford.

Also killed in the attacks were Dawna Ray and two of her children, according to the suit.

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Read more from The Forum's Dave Olson

2. COVID-19 claims youngest victim in North Dakota as state announces Bismarck area task force

3D print of a SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—virus particle. The virus surface (blue) is covered with spike proteins (red) that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells. (Submitted / National Institutes of Health)
3D print of a SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—virus particle. The virus surface (blue) is covered with spike proteins (red) that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells. (Submitted / National Institutes of Health)

The North Dakota Department of Health confirmed Tuesday, July 28, that a McKenzie County woman in her 20s with no underlying health conditions became the 100th person in North Dakota to officially die of COVID-19.

The woman's death is an outlier, as nearly all North Dakotans who have died from the virus had underlying health conditions. She is the youngest person to die from COVID-19 in the state.

The department also announced 157 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a near-record during the state's outbreak of the illness.

Gov. Doug Burgum announced Tuesday the formation of a new task force that will aim to tackle a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the Bismarck metropolitan area.

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3. Airman charged with purchasing the firearm used in Grand Forks Air Force Base killing

A view of the visitors gate at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
A view of the visitors gate at the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

A Grand Forks airman has been accused of illegally purchasing a firearm that was used to kill Airman 1st Class Natasha Aposhian on the Air Force base last month, according to federal court documents.

Charges were filed against Airman 1st Class Daesha Renae Heard, 21, last week in federal court. Heard is charged with one count of unlawful purchase and transfer of a firearm, and one count of making false statements to obtain that firearm. The weapon was used by Airman 1st Class Julian Torres to kill Aposhian, according to federal court documents

The 319th Reconnaissance Wing has released few details about the June 1 incident in which Aposhian, 21, and Torres, 20, died by gunfire in a Grand Forks Air Force Base dormitory. For the first time, federal court documents officially confirm that Torres shot and killed Aposhian before using the gun to shoot himself. According to the base, Torres was rushed to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Aposhian's family has called the killing an act of domestic violence, and believe the two were dating in the two weeks before her death. In a recent news conference in Phoenix, Aposhian's mother said that days before she was killed, her daughter expressed fear that Torres was going to hurt her.

Read more from The Forum's Hannah Shirley

4. North Dakota GOP disavows anti-LGBT policy statement after party leaders condemn rhetoric

The sign for the North Dakota Republican Party headquarters sits along East Boulevard Avenue near the state Capitol in Bismarck. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
The sign for the North Dakota Republican Party headquarters sits along East Boulevard Avenue near the state Capitol in Bismarck. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

The North Dakota Republican Party has renounced a series of anti-LGBT statements that delegates approved as part of the party's official extended policy platform.

Chairman Rick Berg said in a statement Tuesday, July 28, the party's Executive Committee voted to disavow "harmful and divisive language" in a recently passed resolution that advocates against laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identityI.

Party Vice Chairman John Trandem said he drafted the original version of the resolution in 2016 when he was the GOP chairman of a Fargo district and a member of the resolutions committee. However, Trandem said he doesn't know who penned the last five "whereas" statements, which were added in 2018 and contain most of the resolution's openly anti-LGBT language.

Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley

5. Protest outside of Fargo police station set for chief's retirement day

The May 30 protest march brought thousands to Fargo police headquarters at 105 25th St. N. Another protest outside of police headquarters is planned for Friday, July 31. C.S. Hagen / The Forum
The May 30 protest march brought thousands to Fargo police headquarters at 105 25th St. N. Another protest outside of police headquarters is planned for Friday, July 31. C.S. Hagen / The Forum

OneFargo organizers are planning a protest they’re calling the “Chief Todd Retirement Rally” to be held along the sidewalk outside of Fargo police headquarters on Friday, July 31, which is Chief David Todd’s last day on the job before he retires.

“As devoted members of the community, we would like to make sure that Police Chief David Todd spends his last day doing what he loved to do best: pretending he’s at war with the citizens of Fargo, and trying to quell peaceful protest,” OneFargo said in a Facebook statement about the event planned for 4-6 p.m. Friday.

Mayor Tim Mahoney said in a statement regarding the protest that, ”The City of Fargo respects residents’ right to lawfully gather and demonstrate peacefully. The city remains ready to protect the safety of residents, their livelihoods and city infrastructure in the event it is necessary.”

The Fargo Police Department declined to comment on how it plans to respond to the protest outside its headquarters at 105 25th St. N. Within a few hours after OneFargo announced the protest on Facebook, over 50 people replied that they were going and over 160 said they were interested.

Read more from The Forum's C. S. Hagen