The Daystarter: Debate over driverless cars; Georgia fugitive killed in gun battle with Tampa police; training new school resource officers; get ready for Villanova, Michigan

Police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting at E 28th Avenue and N 15th Street. No officers were injured. [Sunday April 1, 2018] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
Police investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting at E 28th Avenue and N 15th Street. No officers were injured. [Sunday April 1, 2018] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
Published Apr. 2, 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today

• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

• Plan your week! Here are the top things to do this week in Tampa Bay including the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in Vinoy Park with Robert Cray and Buddy Guy, the political humor of the Pod Save America podcasters and the Florida Orchestra Pops series brings in American Idol's Michael Lynch to his hometown to sing R&B classics.

• A Georgia fugitive wanted on murder charges was killed after a gun battle with Tampa police Sunday evening. According to authorities, the suspect fired at pursuing officers more than once, and was killed while trying to carjack a vehicle. Times staff writer Paul Guzzo spoke with eyewitnesses at the scene.

• Florida law allows driverless vehicles to operate on our roadways — without a human behind the wheel. But after an autonomous vehicle killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., last month, some wonder if the law has gone too far. Proponents of AV technology, though, want to expand it even further to make the state accomodating to this new technology. Caitlin Johnston explains the debate.

• Former combat photographer Stacy Pearsall has found her purpose in civilian life by photographing her fellow veterans for the Veterans Portrait Project. Claire McNeill was with Pearsall as she photographed local veterans in St. Petersburg.

• Alternative treatments such as medical marijuana and acupuncture are emerging as safe havens for some patients concerned about the dangers of painkillers. But while many swear by the benefit, health insurance generally doesn't cover them. As Justine Griffin explains, advocates face an uphill fight to change that.

• An SUV carrying a large, free-spirited family from Washington state accelerated straight off a scenic California cliff and authorities said the deadly wreck may have been intentional, information pulled from the vehicle's software shows. The crash occurred three days after social service authorities in Washington state opened an investigation apparently prompted by a neighbor's complaint that the children were being deprived of food.

• Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who has received support from President Donald Trump in his bid for Florida governor, favors giving a benefit to immigrants in the country illegally, says an article on Facebook. "DeSantis voted in favor of food stamps for illegal immigrants," stated a March 23 headline on Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, a website that says it is a "community founded by United States Marine Veterans to bring awareness of the lame stream media." The article drew from the Central Florida Post, a right-leaning website. Is that true? Read PolitiFact Florida's analysis this morning.

• Pinellas County needs dozens of new school resource officers,/a> to comply with the Legislature's new school security law. That's why, as Colleen Wright explains, the county is scrambling to train all those new SROs in time for the new school year.

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• Two weeks after he survived a monstrous attack that killed his mother and sister, an 8-year-old Riverview boy is still in serious condition at a Tampa General Hospital intensive care unit. Records offer the most disturbing account yet of the violence inflicted upon Ronnie Oneal IV, his 9-year-old sister Ron'Niveya Oneal, and their 33-year-old mother, Kenyatta Barron, at their Riverview home. Patty Ryan has the story.

• The Final Four is now down to the Final Two tonight as Villanova and Michigan compete in the NCAA Tournament championship. The teams have different styles and lots of substance; here's what you need to know.

• As the Tampa Bay Lightning head into the postseason, keep up with the latest Bolts' news via the Tampa Bay Times' Lightning Strikes blog — including the latest on Steven Stamkos' lower-body injury. Also keep tabs on the Tampa Bay Rays as they start up their season with beat writer Marc Topkin.

• Before her talk tonight in Clearwater about her new memoir, we talked to This is Us star Chrissy Metz about her painful childhood in Gainesville, weathering fashion critics and body shamers and how she learned to love herself just as she is.

• With Chrissy Metz in town, our pop culture blog The Feed took a deep dive into the sometimes contrarian fashions the fearless actor dares you to question. Take a look at 5 fierce fashion choices from Chrissy Metz and what she said she was thinking about for awards show season.

• In case you missed it, read the Times special report on diapers — yes, diapers. Modern disposable diapers are small miracles of industrial science that come at a steep cost. Diapering a child now takes about $1,000 a year for an average product, and one in three families struggles with the expense. Click here to read our special report on why diapers cost so much, and to see an interactive graphic of how a diaper works.