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News Brief: Week of Dec. 29 – Jan. 4


Qassem Soleimani killed by United States airstrike

Major General Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian commander and powerful figure in the Islamic Republic, was killed by an American airstrike on Friday, Jan. 3. 

The drone strike targeted the Baghdad airport, killing Soleimani, militia fighters and other top officials.

According to a statement, the Pentagon ordered Soleimani’s death due to his plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq, including the Dec. 27 attack on an Iraqi military base and plans to attack the U.S. embassy. In addition, it held him responsible for “the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.” As Iran’s most powerful security and intelligence commander, the United States designated Soleimani as a terrorist. 

The United States will send approximately 3000 troops to the Middle East for 60 days after thousands of protestors attacked the U.S. embassy. 

Three dead following shooting at Fort Worth-area church

A gunman opened fire at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, TX on Sunday, Dec. 29, fatally shooting two members before being shot by a member of the church’s security team.

The shooting occurred during communion. The gunman, identified as 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnuen, was sitting in a pew before pulling a gun and firing at a seated man and a man serving communion. Jack White, the leader of the church’s security team, drew a handgun and fatally shot Kinnuen.

The victims were identified as Richard White, 67, and Anton “Tony” Wallace, 64.

While the gunman’s exact motive remains unknown, the church’s minister, Britt Farmer, recognized Kinnuen. In an interview with the Christian Chronicle, Farmer said the church “helped him on several occasions with food. He gets mad when we won’t give him cash. He’s been here on multiple occasions.”


Fire at Quail Springs Mall prompts evacuation

A fire erupted in the food court of Quail Springs Mall on Saturday, Jan. 4, causing the evacuation of over 100 visitors.

A fire grew on a grill in the mall’s food court before spreading to the ventilation system and roof. However, the kitchen fire was extinguished by the automatic suppression system and firefighters extinguished the roof and ventilation flames.

No injuries were reported. Damages are calculated at an estimated $40,000.


Ron Wright, member of Oklahoma Christian 18, dies at 72

Ronald D. Wright, one of the 18 Oklahoma Christian University students arrested and dismissed for protesting the expulsions of black students in 1969, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 28. He was 72.

On March 6, 1969, 18 students from what was then Oklahoma Christian College visited Benson Hall to speak out against the recent racially-motivated expulsions of 14 black students. President James O. Baird told the group the college forbade sit-ins and called the police on the group after they refused to leave. The students were arrested, and later pleaded guilty for trespassing and were dismissed from the college.

Wright then transferred to Pepperdine University and later earned his doctorate from Cornell University. He served as the chancellor for Delgado Community College in New Orleans, LA. In addition, he was a minister and elder at Gray Road Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OH. 

New cafeteria to open for spring 2020 semester

Oklahoma Christian’s new cafeteria is set to open for the semester. The long-awaited caf is open for standard meal times beginning today, Monday, Jan. 6.

Construction on the new cafeteria began during the fall 2018 semester after the Thrive campaign raised funds for the new space.

The new cafeteria will feature over 450 seats, natural lighting from windowed walls and over 20 meal options. Students may enter the dining area without using a meal swipe; however, a swipe will be required to access the kitchen.

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