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GBI, 11 Alive News

The GBI identified the suspect who fatally shot a supermarket cashier and wounded a reserve deputy during an argument over wearing a face mask.

Victor Lee Tucker Jr., 30, of Palmetto, Georgia, got into a heated argument with an unnamed female cashier at the Big Bear supermarket on Candler Road in Decatur just after 1 p.m. on Monday.

The argument was over Tucker's refusal to wear a face mask in the store, DeKalb sheriff's office spokeswoman Cynthia Williams confirmed to AJC.com.

Authorities said Tucker left the store then immediately returned and shot the cashier in the head. She was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

A reserve deputy who was working part-time as a security guard in the store heard the commotion and confronted the suspect. The deputy and the suspect were both shot during an exchange of gunfire.

The officer was transported to Atlanta Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition. Tucker was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta where he is in stable condition.

A bullet grazed a second cashier who was treated at the scene by medics.

Tucker was arrested by responding officers as he tried to crawl out of the supermarket. He is well-known to store employees who say he has mental problems.

The GBI is leading the shooting investigation.

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Masks are not mandated in Georgia and many residents don't wear masks. However, private businesses still mandate masks as part of their store policy.

A sign outside the grocery store advises shoppers to wear a mask inside the store, but some shoppers disregard the signage.

The unidentified grocery store owner told a reporter he is considering banning guns inside the store.

Off-duty law enforcement moonlight at grocery stores in Georgia due to ongoing arguments over face masks.

Decatur is a suburb about 6 miles east of downtown Atlanta.
 

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C- and D-list celebrities attended rapper Future Hendrix's #MaskOff party at The Highlight in Hollywood, California on Wednesday. The rapper was seen arriving to The Highlight room with a group of friends. He wore a white shirt, black pants, draped sweater, and a red ball cap as he made his way into the maskless party.

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Rapper Saweetie attended rapper Future's #MaskOff party at The Highlight in Hollywood, California on Wednesday.

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Karrueche Tran attended rapper Future's #MaskOff party at The Highlight in Hollywood, California on Wednesday.

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Twitter/@RepMaryMiller

Republican lawmakers joined millions of Americans who snatched off their masks when the CDC gave the greenlight last week.

The CDC announced fully vaccinated Americans can remove their masks indoors -- except in crowds.

Conservatives who never wore masks even during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak celebrated the CDC's announcement as freedom from restrictions.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi imposed a $500 fine on any lawmaker who walked the halls of Congress without masks.

While some Democrats vowed to continue wearing their masks, Republican lawmakers happily paid Pelosi's $500 fee to go maskless.

"Best $500 I ever spent," Republican Rep. Brian Mast told NBC News. He refused to wear a mask on the House floor even after a member of the House Sergeant at Arms' office approached him on Tuesday, in full view of C-SPAN's camera, and asked him to wear one.

Mast and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene were among a group of GOP lawmakers seen on the House floor without a face covering on Tuesday. They all paid Pelosi's $500 fine.

"Proud to join these Patriots for a peaceful protest on the House floor against mask mandates!," Greene tweeted with a photo showing her and other barefaced Republican lawmakers.

"Enough is enough! #FreeYourFace," tweeted Illinois Rep. Mary Miller.

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The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance about wearing face masks outdoors for fully vaccinated people.

Under the new CDC guidance, people who received both Covid-19 mRNA injections can remove their face masks outdoors.

"It's the return of freedom," said Dr. Mike Saag, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "It's the return of us being able to do normal activities again."

Dr Anthony Fauci admitted on Sunday that the risk of contracting coronavirus outside is "miniscule."

During an interview on CBS, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on Tuesday, "You're vaccinated, guess what, you get to return to a normal lifestyle!"

He also had a message for those who prefer not to take the experimental mRNA vaccine. "You're not vaccinated, you're still a danger, you're still in danger as well, so get vaccinated."

In fully open states such as Georgia, Florida and Texas, 70% of residents have not received the vaccine, yet many walk around mask-free.

"When you get vaccinated, you can join [the two-thirds of vaccinated seniors] outdoors, and not have to wear masks," Becerra said.

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Senator Rand Paul, a licensed doctor, blames the White House and the CDC for the fact that many states are still under 30% vaccinated.

"[T]here is no science behind any of this. It's fear-mongering. But it also has a deleterious effect, in that it's discouraging people from getting the vaccine because they’re saying, well, if the vaccine doesn't mean anything, it doesn't seem to have any protective benefit, you get no benefit."

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Georgia mom Courtney Ann Taylor went viral this week after she pleaded with school board members to end the Covid-19 mask mandate in schools.

Taylor addressed Gwinnett County Board of Education members at its meeting on April 15. She ripped the members for dragging their feet on the mask mandate for over a month.

"If you truly mean that you would end the mask requirement tonight," Taylor said.

She noted that it's been over a year since the pandemic started, several vaccines are available, and every adult who wants the vaccines can have one.

"Every one of us knows that young children are not affected by this virus, and that's a blessing" she said. "But as the adults what have we done with that blessing? We've shoved it to the side and we've said, 'we don't care. You're still going to wear a mask on your face every day ... You still can't play together on the playground like normal children ... We don't care. We're still going to force you to carry a burden that was never yours to carry.' Shame on us!"

Taylor said that her 6-year-old daughter complains that she doesn’t want to wear the mask anymore.

"It's April 15, 2021, and it's time. Take these masks off of my child," Taylor said, as the room erupted in applause.

The video of Taylor's emotional plea went viral on social media.

Watch the video below.
 

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Protestors in Idaho, including elected officials and minor children, burned face masks at a rally outside the state capitol building in Boise on Saturday, March 6.

Idaho's Stay Healthy Order recommends wearing "a face covering over their nose and mouth in indoor public settings or in an outdoor public space where they are unable to maintain six-feet physical distancing."

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Photos and videos show residents tossing used face masks into roaring flames inside a barrel. Demonstrators gathered to burn masks in at least 20 cities across the state to protest COVID-19 restrictions.

Elected officials joined the demonstrators who cheered as protesters tossed their masks into the fire.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin and Republican lawmaker Heather Scott supported the demonstrators.

"Even if you don't have a mask — because in my district a lot of people don't wear masks — it's still symbolic," Scott said in a YouTube video. "It gets the word out to the governor that it's time for this emergency order to end."

In unrelated news, the CDC said people who are "fully vaccinated" can gather in "small groups" as long as they socially distance and practice good hand washing technique.

Some businesses say they will demand to see proof of vaccinations before a fully vaccinated person enters their establishment.

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A new report by the CDC suggests wearing 2 face masks can help reduce coronavirus exposure.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CDC are now recommending wearing 2 masks to block 95% of virus particles.

The CDC guidance followed the release of an agency study that shows double masking boosts protection from aerosolized particles.

"The bottom line is this: Masks work and they work best when they have a good fit and are worn correctly," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing on Wednesday.

Dr. Fauci recently said "there's no data that indicates that [double masking] is going to make a difference."

This isn't the first time Fauci has flip-flopped on coronavirus recommendations.

In March 2020, Dr. Fauci said a mask was less effective than good hand washing.

This week, the CDC issued guidelines to properly wear face masks for a snug fit.

The following guidelines ensure a snug fit against the face because gaps in the mask can let in air and virus particles.

  • Wear a cloth mask over a medical mask
  • Pick a medical mask with a flexible metal strip along the top of the mask
  • Bend the metal strip over your nose to fit close to your face
  • Use a mask filter or brace over your mask to prevent air from leaking around the edges
  • Check for air gaps in mask by cupping your hands around the edges of mask
  • Make sure no air is flowing from the outer edges of mask or from the mask edge near your eyes
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    Make sure you can breathe while wearing 2 masks.

    The CDC says wearing 2 masks is safe for those of you who don't have breathing problems or respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD.

    If you feel lightheaded or dizzy from breathing in your own carbon dioxide while wearing 2 masks, consider that you might be having a panic attack, which can trigger sudden feelings of suffocation, according to health.com.

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    Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson III (right) has been accused of thumbing his nose at the coronavirus outbreak. Florida officials slammed the semi-retired rapper as "stupid" for hosting a maskless pre-Super Bowl party over the weekend.

    The "In Da Club" rapper performed in front of a large crowd of maskless attendees inside a hangar at Albert Whitted Airport on Friday night, just two days before the sporting extravaganza was held in nearby Tampa.

    St. Petersburg, Florida Mayor Rick Kriseman expressed his disbelief at the news via Twitter.

    "This isn't how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It's not safe or smart. It's stupid," he wrote, before vowing to launch an investigation into the party.

    "We're going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cents."

    Ironically, 50 was among the stars who urged fans to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing and face coverings at the start of the pandemic last March.

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    Other celebrities holding maskless parties in the Tampa area ahead of Super Bowl Sunday include superstar DJs Diplo and Steve Aoki, who made sure to keep their masks on, while rappers Migos were bare faced as they attended a Bounce pop-up party.

    Rick Ross and French Montana co-hosted a bash at The Ritz Ybor attended by Flavor Flav and hip-hop stars Tory Lanez who joined hundreds of maskless guests.

    According to the CDC, Black and brown people are among the groups disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. They are also the groups least likely to roll up their sleeves for the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines.
     

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    An outspoken emergency room doctor with a large following on social media made headlines when he wished death on Americans who choose to live their lives without fear.

    On Feb. 3, Dr. Gilman reacted to a viral video that shows maskless shoppers in a Florida grocery store.

    In a now-deleted tweet, Gilman wrote: "Naples, Florida. Let 'em die. I'm so tired of these people. No vaccine for y'all."

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    In a follow-up tweet, he wrote: "I'm working in the COVID ICU tonight! I'm so tired of giving 200% while others in the U.S. can’t even help by simply wearing a mask!"

    When outraged Twitter followers reminded him that his impulsiveness got him fired from a hospital in Arizona, he blamed Republicans and walked back his statement.

    "Republicans trying to take my words out of context as if I deny medical care to people that don't wear masks & 'let 'em die. My point is that we can't waste our energy on these COVID deniers. [They] are not gonna protect themselves so let 'em die. They'll find out the hard way."

    On Nov. 22, Dr. Gilman was fired for lying about the lack of ICU beds in the state of Arizona.

    Gilman tweeted that there were "no more ICU beds in the state of Arizona."

    But Gov. Doug Ducey and the Department of Health disputed his tweet by confirming there were over 100 ICU beds available in the state that same day.

    Gilman's tweets made him a celebrity on Twitter. He received a Zoom call from Joe Biden's transition team and Oprah Winfrey offered to send him and his family on vacation.

    But others were not as tolerant of Gilman's attention-seeking tweets.

    Envision, the agency that contracts him to work temporary assignments in hospitals, told him his services were no longer needed at Yuma Medical Center in Arizona.

    When Gilman tweeted that he was "fired" from his temporary assignment, the hospital said it was all a "misunderstanding" and that he still worked shifts there.

    But Gilman told a reporter that he was on the schedule to work but he had not been permitted to work his scheduled shifts.

    "I was told by Envision that the hospital was not allowing me to return back due to a tweet," he said.

    The hospital quietly told Envision that Gilman would not be allowed to "be vocal or outspoken" on social media.

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    Social media users lashed out at Gilman for his insensitive tweet about the maskless grocery store in Florida.

    One Twitter user called Gilman "mentally unfit", while others expressed their support for him.

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    Dr. Gilman attempted to go viral with a rap song about Covid-19 last year, but it flopped.
     

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    NBC's Shep Smith fantasizes about "a time when we won't have to wear the masks anymore." But for many Floridians and Georgians, that time is now.

    NBC's Sam Brock filmed a video of a supermarket in Naples, Florida where both employees and customers don't wear masks. The video shows maskless shoppers and employees smiling and chatting face-to-face.

    There are no mask mandates or Covid-19 restrictions in Florida, where the death rate is less than half of the rates in heavily restricted blue states.

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    Masks are not enforced in the store because the store's guidelines include medical exemptions. A sign that greets shoppers states: "If we see you without a mask, we will assume you have a medical condition and we will welcome you inside to support our business."

    Brock asked the store owner, Alfie Oakes: "Is your position about medical exemptions or is it about the fact that you don't think masks work...?"

    "I know that the masks don't work and I know that the virus has not killed 400,000 people in this country," Oakes replied. "That's total hogwash,"

    The video quickly went viral on social media.

    In other news, the CDC and state health officials are sounding the alarm because white people are getting vaccinated at higher rates than Black people.

    Data from 23 states shows that white Americans are being vaccinated at rates of up to three times higher than Black Americans.

    Despite the fear mongering about new virus “variants" and “mutations," Black people are wary of vaccination efforts in the Black community for a virus that has a lower death rate than the seasonal flu.