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.

Residents living on the West Coast don't know when the next earthquake will hit. But a new expansion of the U.S. earthquake early warning system gives 50 million people in California, Oregon — and now Washington — seconds to quickly get to safety whenever the next one hits.

Updated May 4, 2021 at 10:01 PM ET

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who was convicted last month of murdering George Floyd filed court documents for a new trial on Tuesday.

His attorney, Eric Nelson, petitioned the court, alleging that Chauvin's constitutional rights were violated when Judge Peter Cahill refused to change the venue of the trial, and that the pretrial publicity deprived the officer of a fair trial.

Updated May 3, 2021 at 6:53 PM ET

Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, announced on Monday that they are splitting after 27 years of marriage.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the couple wrote in a joint statement posted on Twitter.

More than 1,700 protesters were arrested in Russia on Wednesday as tens of thousands of Alexei Navalny supporters marched in demonstrations across the country.

OVD-info, the Russian human rights monitoring project, has been tracking the apprehensions, which started before the protests demanding that the Kremlin release the jailed opposition leader even began.

Philonise Floyd, who sat in the courtroom for much of the trial, said Tuesday he finally feels some relief, now that former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

"I feel relieved today that I finally have the opportunity for hopefully getting some sleep," he told a crowd of cheering supporters.

Minutes after the three guilty verdicts against former officer Derek Chauvin were read aloud in court Tuesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison thanked the public, saying he was grateful to have been given the space to pursue justice "wherever it led."

He said the guilty verdicts against Chauvin for killing George Floyd last May were the culmination of "long, hard, painstaking work." But he said Tuesday's outcome, after three weeks of testimony, should not be called justice.

Updated April 20, 2021 at 5:44 PM ET

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, was in the courtroom Tuesday afternoon when Judge Peter Cahill read the three guilty verdicts against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Updated April 19, 2021 at 5:40 PM ET

The prosecution and defense, in closing arguments, accused each other of misleading the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell had the last word, telling jurors, "the largest departure from the truth" was that "Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big."

Updated April 15, 2021 at 8:30 PM ET

Chicago has released video footage showing the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, more than two weeks after the 13-year-old was killed during a foot chase in the Little Village neighborhood.

A graphic and disturbing video captures what police have described as an alleyway confrontation between Toledo and an officer identified as Eric Stillman in the early morning of March 29.

Updated April 13, 2021 at 7:09 PM ET

A use-of-force witness gave a new point of view to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial on charges of murder and manslaughter. The defense witness said Tuesday that Chauvin and three other officers' actions were justified during the arrest that ended in George Floyd's death and that they used an appropriate amount of force.

Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and use of force expert, told jurors in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin that the actions by the officers involved in George Floyd's killing violated those of a "reasonable officer" throughout the fatal arrest.

Stoughton reiterated many of the findings in his 100-page-plus report, chronicling the pivotal moments in which Floyd's actions affected the officers' response and how what the officers were doing changed Floyd's behavior, as well as the potential threat level of the crowd.

Updated April 9, 2021 at 5:32 PM ET

A volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent has experienced an "explosive eruption," according to officials there, hours after increased activity at the mountain triggered a mandatory evacuation of nearby residents.

Senior Special Agent James Reyerson of Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is testifying in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in last May's death of George Floyd.

The BCA routinely investigates police use-of-force incidents in Minnesota. Chauvin is facing charges of second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter. Video footage from the scene showed Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd's neck area for more than nine minutes.

The San Francisco Board of Education will ultimately keep the names of dozens of public schools in a case of high-stakes second thoughts.

Inspector Katie Blackwell, who commands the Minneapolis Police Department's 5th Precinct and used to run the department's police training, methodically told the court on Monday that former officer Derek Chauvin went against authorized training when he used his knee on George Floyd's neck to pin him to the ground.

After describing the training that Chauvin, whom she said she has known for 20 years, has received throughout his career, Blackwell said his technique — kneeling on Floyd's neck while the Black man lay on his stomach — was not a maneuver the training operation taught.

Arkansas' governor on Monday vetoed a bill that would have made the state the first to ban gender-affirming medical care, including surgery, for transgender minors, even with parental consent.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, called the Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act, or SAFE Act, "a vast government overreach."

On the fourth day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial in the death George Floyd, jurors heard from multiple first responders who treated the Black man as he lay motionless last Memorial Day.

Hennepin County paramedic Seth Bravinder said Floyd's heart "flat-lined" in the ambulance and his team never detected a pulse in the 46-year-old man who died in police custody.

San Francisco police on Tuesday arrested a 45-year-old man suspected of threatening and stalking an Asian woman working at a bakery store on at least two occasions.

Darrell Hunter was taken into custody without incident, officials said in a statement that called the alleged actions a hate crime. He has been booked at San Francisco County Jail on three counts of criminal threats, two counts of burglary, stalking, three hate crime enhancements and a probation violation.

G. Gordon Liddy, the Republican adviser who was convicted for his role in the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, died on Tuesday.

The 90-year-old died at his daughter's house in Virginia, his son Thomas P. Liddy told The Associated Press. He did not give a cause of death.

Liddy was convicted in 1973 and sentenced to 20 years in jail for conspiracy, burglary and illegally wiretapping the Democratic Party's headquarters at the Watergate office complex. He served as Nixon's general counsel on his reelection committee at the time.

An underage witness in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, told jurors on Tuesday that George Floyd "looked kind of purple" and "was really limp" by the time ambulance arrived on the scene.

The 17-year-old girl identified as Kaylynn, who was off camera, spoke slowly, sometimes on the verge of tears, as she described the events leading up to Floyd's death on May 25, 2020.

Prosecutors began calling witnesses to the stand on Monday afternoon in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

The prosecution started with Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry, who dispatched police to Cup Foods after getting a call about a man with a counterfeit bill.

Scurry testified that despite several years of experience handling emergency calls, she became concerned when her monitors showed the responding officers, including Chauvin, kneeling on top of Floyd, pinning him to the ground.

Updated March 26, 2021 at 4:07 AM ET

Deadly tornadoes that ripped through Alabama throughout Thursday remain a significant threat to other Southern states as the sun rises on Friday.

At least five deaths and multiple injuries have been reported in Calhoun County, Ala., after a tornado hit the region, county coroner Pat Brown told NPR Thursday.

Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings estimated Thursday night that hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged in his state.

Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam announced an executive action on Tuesday that allows tens of thousands of felons to recover their voting and other civil rights upon release from prison.

The move applies immediately to an estimated 69,000 Virginians who have completed their sentences, including ex-convicts who remain on supervision. And it comes as the state prepares for gubernatorial and legislative elections on June 8.

Rochester city officials, including the former police chief and the mayor, "knowingly suppressed" information from getting to the public, and some officials made "untrue statements" about the events leading to the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man experiencing a mental health episode who was asphyxiated by police while restrained and handcuffed.

The number of asylum-seeking migrants, including unaccompanied minors, crossing the southwest border into the U.S. is soaring, leaving the Biden administration scrambling to find appropriate care and housing for thousands of children.

A Wisconsin judge on Wednesday delayed the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is charged with fatally shooting Black Lives Matters protesters in Kenosha last summer.

Prosecutors as well as Rittenhouse's defense attorneys had asked for the postponement, arguing they needed more time to build their respective cases. Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder also set a meeting for May, to ensure that the new timeline still works for the two legal teams.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

New York Attorney General Letitia James says a grand jury voted that no charges will be filed against Rochester police officers in connection with the March 2020 death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who was in the midst of a mental health free fall during his encounter with the police.

President Biden's COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients told governors on Tuesday that the weekly vaccine supply going out to states is increasing by more than 20% to 13.5 million doses this week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, announced.

Psaki also said the supply going directly to pharmacies will double to 2 million this week.

Before taking office, Biden promised to improve and streamline Trump's Operation Warp Speed and pledged to get 100 million vaccine doses into arms in the first 100 days of his administration.

Three former Aurora, Colo., police officers have lost a bid to get their jobs back after being fired in connection to posed photos reenacting a chokehold near the site where Elijah McClain was pinned down by police.

The city's Civil Service Commission upheld the firings of Officers Erica Marrero, Kyle Dittrich and Jason Rosenblatt. A fourth officer resigned before the others were kicked out of the department.

Updated at 7:11 p.m. ET

The Senate voted 87-7 on Monday to confirm President Biden's pick, Denis McDonough, to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary, making him only the second non-veteran to lead the troubled department.

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