Vanessa Romo

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.

Before her stint on the News Desk, Romo spent the early months of the Trump Administration on the Washington Desk covering stories about culture and politics – the voting habits of the post-millennial generation, the rise of Maxine Waters as a septuagenarian pop culture icon and DACA quinceañeras as Trump protests.

In 2016, she was at the core of the team that launched and produced The New York Times' first political podcast, The Run-Up with Michael Barbaro. Prior to that, Romo was a Spencer Education Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism where she began working on a radio documentary about a pilot program in Los Angeles teaching black and Latino students to code switch.

Romo has also traveled extensively through the Member station world in California and Washington. As the education reporter at Southern California Public Radio, she covered the region's K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and won the Education Writers Association first place award as well as a Regional Edward R. Murrow for Hard News Reporting.

Before that, she covered business and labor for Member station KNKX, keeping an eye on global companies including Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft.

A Los Angeles native, she is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she received a degree in history. She also earned a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. She loves all things camaron-based.

A Wisconsin court commissioner on Monday set bail at $2 million for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old accused of killing protesters in Kenosha, in his first court appearance in the state after being extradited from Illinois last week.

Rittenhouse is accused of fatally shooting two demonstrators and injuring a third during protests on Aug. 25 that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot several times at close range by Kenosha police and is now paralyzed.

Walmart pulled guns and ammunition from its store shelves as a precautionary measure, following the unrest in Philadelphia this week after police fatally shot a Black man more than a dozen times on Monday.

Both weapons and bullets are still available for purchase in the stores that carry them, but customers will have to specifically request the items as opposed to grabbing them from display shelves.

Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, has revealed himself to be "Anonymous," the author of a New York Times op-ed and book critical of the Trump presidency.

Updated Thursday at 10:55 a.m. ET

Some U.S. hospitals have been hit by coordinated ransomware attacks designed to infect systems for financial gain, federal agencies and a private-sector cybersecurity company warned on Wednesday.

A joint advisory by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI says there is "credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat" to U.S. hospitals and health care providers.

An abnormally early but powerful ice storm has crippled large swaths of Oklahoma, causing power outages for hundreds of thousands and toppling thousands of trees.

"We lost a branch but have propped up others to save them," wrote the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on Facebook. "We will continue to monitor it 24/7 throughout this historic storm."

Eli Lilly & Co. is ending a clinical trial of its antibody drug bamlanivimab in hospitalized COVID-19 patients after federal researchers concluded the therapy produced no marked improvement.

Barron Trump, the 14-year-old son of President Trump and Melania Trump, tested positive for COVID-19, after initially testing negative.

The First Lady made the announcement on Wednesday in a post called, "My personal experience with COVID-19," on the White House website, adding it was one of her greatest fears as a parent.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the white St. Louis couple charged in July with brandishing weapons at protesters who marched through their gated community, have been indicted by a grand jury, the Associated Press has reported.

Their lawyer, Joel Schwartz, told NPR he learned of the indictment from a variety of reports but has not yet been contacted by the prosecutor in the case, nor have the legal documents been filed in the court database.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on Monday refuted accusations by Breonna Taylor's family that he improperly handled the case that led to the indictment of just one officer involved in the fatal March shooting.

Cameron's office explained the circumstances giving him control over the grand jury process, saying it possessed the "resources required to complete the investigation."

An heiress to the Seagram's liquor fortune has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for fraud and forced labor as a leading member of Nxivm, a cult-like self-help group accused of holding women captive and coercing them into having sex with the group's leader.

Clare Bronfman, 41, was a member of Nxivm — pronounced Nehk-see-um — for 15 years, eventually joining its executive board and bankrolling numerous lawsuits against critics of the secretive organization led by Keith Raniere.

Sarah Collins Rudolph was 12 years old when the explosion of a bomb, planted by the Ku Klux Klan, ripped through the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963.

Her sister and three other young girls were killed by the dynamite blast, and although she survived, she lost an eye and was hospitalized for months. Since then, the medical bills and the trauma of that violent Sunday have haunted her.

A Texas sheriff has been indicted on felony charges of tampering with evidence in the case of Javier Ambler, a Black man who was killed by police last year during a traffic stop that escalated into a high-speed chase caught on film by a reality television show.

Sheriff Robert Chody, who turned himself in, was arrested and booked on Monday. He was released shortly after posting $10,000 bail.

Former Louisville Metro Police officer Brett Hankison pleaded not guilty on Monday to three counts of wanton endangerment in his initial court appearance related to the botched raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor.

Just two days after announcing that they have contracted the coronavirus, Republican Gov. Mike Parson and his wife, Teresa Parson, have reassured Missourians that they still plan to host their annual fall festival next month.

"WE WILL BE PROCEEDING WITH THIS EVENT," the first lady wrote in all caps on Twitter.

Outraged and angry and, at times, wailing protesters renewed their cries for justice for Breonna Taylor on Wednesday, following the Kentucky grand jury's decision to not charge the police officers for killing her.

Meanwhile, the Taylor family have been much more restrained with their anguish over the killing of the 26-year-old by Louisville Metropolitan Police officers during a botched drug raid, since the decision was announced. For the most part they've remained out of the spotlight, issuing a series of brief statements on social media.

The Pac-12 has changed its mind about playing football, voting unanimously to start the 2020 season on Nov. 6.

The reversal by the Pac-12's CEO group on Thursday comes about a month after the conference decided to halt all sports until Jan. 1 at the earliest in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 5:20 a.m. ET Thursday

Two Louisville Metropolitan Police officers have been shot as protesters marched to demand justice for Breonna Taylor following a limited indictment by a Jefferson County grand jury.

The officers were fired on after responding to a separate "shots fired call" at about 8:30 p.m. ET, Chief Robert Schroeder said in a brief press conference Wednesday evening.

One suspect has been taken into custody, Schroeder said.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, whose mask-wearing habits have been publicly inconsistent and who has declined to issue a statewide mandate for face coverings, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Republican governor's wife, Teresa Parson, has also tested positive.

In a brief video statement, Mike Parson said he is awaiting a second test to confirm the results.

A car drove into Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square on Thursday, hitting several people on foot and on bicycles.

Several demonstrators captured the chaotic scene and posted video shortly after 8 p.m. ET.

Hogan reports that protesters have "deescalated the situation" between themselves and Pro-Trump supporters who showed up to counterprotest.

Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver died from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19 on Monday, the Baseball Hall of Fame and MLB announced.

He was 75.

White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf called Seaver "a consummate professional" and "an artist on the mound."

"He had a fantastic sense of humor that reverberated around the club house

A man charged with running a drug syndicate was offered a plea deal in July if he would name Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who had been killed by police in her Louisville, Ky., apartment, as a member of his alleged criminal gang, according to the man's attorney.

The deal was one of several offered by prosecutors in the months after Taylor's death. All of which carried a penalty of 10 years and none of which were ultimately accepted.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents lack the training to take over the initial processing of asylum claims, a federal judge wrote in a ruling filed Monday.

For nearly 20 years, officers from Citizenship and Immigration Services have conducted all interviews with asylum-seekers and made what are called "credible fear determinations" for those who arrive at the nation's borders while fleeing to the U.S. to escape persecution.

Updated on Aug. 26 at 9:30 a.m. ET

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed Tuesday that he is resigning from his post following allegations of sexual behavior that flouted the school's honor code.

Appropriating Martin Luther King Jr.'s final words from his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech, Falwell told NPR that he is stepping down from his role at the university in Lynchburg, Va., saying he is "free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I am free at last!"

"That's the way, I feel," the 58-year-old added.

After several legal victories, California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra says he will take the Trump Administration back to court over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Jason Wright knows he's expected to be an outsider as he becomes the NFL's first Black — and youngest — team president.

Firefighters are battling more than a dozen wildfires across California as a scorching heat wave continues to bear down on the state. And in the midst of record-breaking temperatures, rare lightning storms have also sparked a handful of new fires that continue to rage on.

"We are all experiencing rather extraordinary conditions," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, adding that there are about 15 fires burning in the northern and southern ends of the state.

Gov. Brain Kemp is taking a new approach in his battle over face masks with Atlanta's mayor. Rather than have a judge rule on the conflict, he's going to issue a new order on the subject.

On Thursday Kemp announced the attorney general's office has withdrawn a lawsuit he filed against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta city council, when she moved to reinstate more restrictive COVID-19-related safeguards.

Flanked by more than a dozen community leaders, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced Tuesday that his office will not pursue cases against most Portland protesters.

The new policy states that only demonstrators who were involved in "deliberate property damage, theft or force against another person or threats of force" may face charges.

California's coffers are nearly exhausted, and forcing the state to cover a part of extended unemployment benefits would cause "enormous economic strife and enormous stress," Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday.

Despite the state's robust reserves at the start of the year, Newsom said, President Trump's latest executive action would put the state in a perilous position.

President Trump on Wednesday said his administration would "surge" federal law enforcement officials to help fight crime in Chicago and Albuquerque, N.M., as part of the Justice Department's controversial Operation Legend.

Trump accused local politicians in the cities of not doing enough to address what he says are waves of crime as the public and some politicians call for the reduction of police department budgets.

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