Sep 2, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🛠️ It's been a sobering Labor Day, with a calamity on the West Coast and fears of disaster along the Southeast Coast.

  • Thank you for reading PM, edited today by managing editor David Nather. And our best to the many families for whom this was no holiday.
  • Today's PM is 580 words, a 3-minute read.

Breaking: The Odessa shooter "had just been fired from his job and called both police and the FBI before the shooting began," and FBI special agent Christopher Combs said the gunman “was on a long spiral down” before the shooting, AP reports.

1 big thing: Tragedy off the California coast
A commercial scuba diving vessel is engulfed off the Southern California coast. Photo: Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP

At least four people are dead and 29 people are missing hours after a pre-dawn fire swept through a commercial diving boat off the coast of Southern California.

  • Per the Los Angeles Times, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s coroner office "is preparing for a mass casualty incident." The office is "gearing up resources to be able to handle the potential for a lot of fatalities off of this boat," according to spokesman Erik Raney.

The latest, per the Associated Press:

  • The fire aboard the diving vessel Conception started at about 3 a.m. local time as the boat was anchored in Platt Harbor, near the coast of Santa Cruz Island.
  • Five crew members were already awake and jumped off the bridge, Coast Guard Capt. Monica Rochester said at a press conference.
  • In the audio of a garbled 3:15 am mayday call, obtained by the Los Angeles CBS affiliate, the caller can be heard shouting, "I can't breathe."
  • By the time the Coast Guard got the mayday call, the boat was already engulfed in flames.
  • The four bodies that were recovered had injuries consistent with drowning, according to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll.

What we don't know: The cause of the fire, and whether the crew tried to help any of the passengers.

2. Dorian shreds roofs, hurls cars in Bahamas

A surfer wipes out near Boca Raton as Hurricane Dorian approaches the Florida coast. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hurricane Dorian unleashed massive flooding across the Bahamas, pummeling the islands "with so much wind and water that authorities urged people to find floatation devices and grab hammers to break out of their attics if necessary," AP reports.

The latest:

  • The National Hurricane Center said at 2 pm Eastern that Dorian is "expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days," although it's expected to get gradually weaker.
  • Dorian is forecast to move "dangerously close" to Florida's east coast late Monday night through Wednesday night, before moving "dangerously close" to the George and South Carolina coasts on Wednesday night and Thursday.
Photo: Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP'/Getty Images
3. What you missed
  1. The U.S. would withdraw nearly 5,000 troops from Afghanistan and close five bases under the terms of a draft peace accord with the Taliban, as outlined by the top U.S. negotiator, per Reuters.
  2. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated he'll seek an early election to block rebels in his party who don't want a no-deal Brexit, according to CNN.
  3. A New Jersey man was arrested after explosives were discovered near the route of a Labor Day parade that was supposed to include Gov. Phil Murphy. Go deeper.
  4. The victims who lost their lives in the Odessa shooting included an Afghanistan veteran, a postal worker and father who was sitting at a traffic light with his wife and two children. Details.
4. 🎬 Biggest films of summer
Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood." Photo: Andrew Cooper/Sony-Columbia Pictures via AP

Walt Disney accounted for half of all U.S. ticket sales during the summer season, which closed yesterday with the Gerard Butler action thriller "Angel Has Fallen" topping the box office for the second weekend, AP Film Writer Jake Coyle reports.

  • Five of Disney's films crossed $1 billion this summer, including the season's biggest hit, "The Lion King." It currently ranks seventh all-time globally with $1.56 billion in ticket sales.
  • "Avengers: Endgame" ($2.796 billion) opened in late April, just before the summer began. "Toy Story 4" and "Aladdin" both easily cleared $1 billion.

Only one original film this summer ranked among the top 10, Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" — and it came in 10th.

Mike Allen