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A string of shootings in New Jersey, Ohio and South Carolina left several people dead. One of the NFL’s top receivers might be ready for a new home. And is your tap water safe?

It’s Julius and Ashley, kicking off your week with news you’ll want to know.

But first, free flights for a year? ✈️ United Airlines offers select customers a chance to win free flights for a year if they share proof of vaccination. 

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Shootings leave 7 dead over the weekend

Authorities searched for answers Monday after a string of shootings over the weekend left at least seven dead. In New Jersey, two people were killed and a dozen others were wounded at a birthday party in Cumberland County. Authorities on Monday called the incident a “targeted attack.” The people who died were Asia Hester, 25, and Kevin Elliott, 30, Gov. Phil Murphy said. In South Carolina, more than a dozen people were shot during a concert in North Charleston, including a 14-year-old girl who was killed, police said Sunday. The girl was identified Monday as Ronjanae Smith. And in Ohio, at least three people were killed and three wounded in shootings Sunday outside a bar in Youngstown, police said. In Columbus, a teenage girl died in a shooting Saturday at a music party. 

Wuhan researchers reportedly hospitalized before first COVID-19 cases revealed in 2019

Chinese officials deny a U.S. Intelligence report – cited by The Wall Street Journal – saying three Wuhan Institute of Virology employees were hospitalized with possible coronavirus symptoms in November 2019, about a month before China reported its first COVID-19 infections. White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed the controversy Monday, saying the administration has been pressing for an international investigation led by the World Health Organization. “We need that data. We need that information from the Chinese government,” she said. “What we can’t do, and what I would caution anyone doing, is leaping ahead of an actual international process.” Yuan Zhiming, director of the lab, told the Global Times the Journal report was “groundless.” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, called the claim “completely untrue.”

What everyone’s talking about

Who’s paying for Gordon Sondland’s impeachment trial legal fees?

A central figure in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment filed a $1.8 million lawsuit Monday against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for legal fees. Gordon Sondland … remember him? He served as Trump’s ambassador to the European Union. During impeachment hearings, Sondland testified about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, saying there was a “quid pro quo” that Ukraine would receive military aid in exchange for investigating Joe Biden. Sondland said Pompeo assured him his legal fees would be covered when he was subpoenaed for testimony. The lawsuit says he had to hire private attorneys on short notice for the intense examination by congressional committees. A Pompeo spokesman called the suit ludicrous and said Pompeo is confident the court would agree. 

Is your tap water safe? Here’s how dead snakes, mice and toxic sludge go unnoticed in America’s water

For decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has known that deteriorating water towers and storage tanks are a vulnerable part of a water supply system that experts say sickens tens of millions of Americans and kills up to a thousand each year. States determine rules for maintaining and inspecting this critical infrastructure, and a USA TODAY investigation found gaps in oversight. Snakes, mice and raccoons have passed through small openings and drowned in the tanks, their bloated bodies found floating in the water. Pigeon droppings and other animal excrement in water supplies have sickened entire communities. Th the EPA is considering new regulations, that process could take years. 

Real quick 

Julio Jones may not be an Atlanta Falcon for much longer

Atlanta Falcons star receiver Julio Jones made waves Monday morning amid rampant speculation that his days with the team could be coming to an end. During a call with Shannon Sharpe on “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed,” Sharpe asked Jones if he wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys or remain with the Falcons. “I’m out of there, man,” Jones said. The 32-year-old receiver addressed the Dallas rumors more directly after Sharpe said the two were live on air: “I ain’t going to Dallas, man,” he said. “I ain’t never thought about going to Dallas.” It was unclear whether Jones was previously aware that the conversation was being broadcast. Last season, Jones was limited to nine games because of injuries but still managed to tally 771 receiving yards. 

A break from the news

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