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.

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.

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.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state legislature has gone a "step way too far," after the House and Senate on Tuesday voted to override his veto on a bill banning gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors in the state.

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."

This summer's Major League Baseball Draft and the All-Star Game won't be held in Atlanta, MLB officials announced Friday.

The withdrawal of the two events from the city in July is in response to Georgia's recently enacted voting restrictions, which critics, including President Biden, have denounced as "Jim Crow in the 21st century" because they say the legislation will disproportionately affect communities of color.

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.

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.

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.

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.

While the U.S. Senate began its second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, local lawmakers in the town of Palm Beach, Fla., also gathered to consider the former president's fate – specifically, whether to let him live full-time at his sprawling private club, Mar-a-Lago.

In a presentation at the council, John Marion, who represents Trump, argued that the former president meets the definition of a "bona fide" employee of the swanky club, and therefore can legally reside there.

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.

President Joe Biden has picked a slate of nearly two dozen acting officials to temporarily lead agencies as he waits for Congress to confirm his Cabinet.

According to a list of officials issued by the White House on Wednesday, most of the temporary leaders are career civil servants.

President Trump has signed an executive order banning business with several leading Chinese technology companies, claiming apps run by the companies have the ability to spy on Americans, including federal employees.

Trump's order seeks to prohibit transactions with eight companies including Alipay, owned by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma; the payment platform on the popular app WeChat; and a Chinese messaging service called QQ owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent.

Other software apps included in the order are CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, VMate and WPS Office.

A team of fast-acting health care workers saved the day — and potentially hundreds of lives — on Monday after a freezer malfunction nearly destroyed 830 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Somewhere around 2 a.m. the compressor of the freezer holding vials of the medicine at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County, Calif., failed, President Judson Howe told NPR.

That started a ticking clock on the shelf life of the vaccines, which can only be used for 12 hours once they're removed from refrigeration of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning health care workers that any changes to the authorized dosing schedules of COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered will significantly place public health at risk and undermine "the historic vaccination effort to protect the population" from the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

The Wisconsin pharmacist accused of intentionally sabotaging more than 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine at Christmastime told police he did it because he believed the drug is somehow hazardous.

"He'd formed this belief they were unsafe," Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said of Steven Brandenburg on Monday during a virtual hearing, The Associated Press reported.

Florida is the third U.S. state to announce it has a case of the more contagious coronavirus strain that first emerged in the United Kingdom.

A man in his 20s, with no history of travel, tested positive for the mutated coronavirus. The state Department of Health said he is in Martin County.

Updated at 2:05 a.m. ET

A Milwaukee pharmacist was arrested Thursday and accused of "tampering with and causing the destruction" of more than 550 doses of the Moderna vaccine against the coronavirus last week, Grafton, Wis., police confirmed.

In a statement, Grafton Police Department officials said the pharmacist — now fired from the Advocate Aurora Health hospital system — was arrested on recommended charges of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property.

The U.S. Department of Justice will not charge any of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a Black 12-year-old boy who was killed by police in Cleveland in 2014. The department has closed its investigation.

The Justice Department announced it found insufficient evidence to "support federal criminal charges against Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback."

Virginia and Maryland are sending thousands of extra COVID-19 vaccine doses out of their own supply to the District of Columbia as the city scrambles to inoculate health care workers amid the worsening pandemic.

Each state is sending 8,000 additional doses to the nation's capital. The move will more than triple the amount of the medicine that was allotted by the federal government.

Debunked claims about COVID-19 vaccinations will be swiftly removed from Twitter starting next week, the company announced on Wednesday.

And moving into 2021, officials said, the company may start placing labels or warnings on messages containing "unsubstantiated rumors, disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines."

The Minnesota Board of Pardons on Tuesday commuted the life sentence of Myon Burrell, a Black man who was sentenced to life in prison as a minor.

Burrell, who was 16 at the time of his arrest, was accused of fatally shooting an 11-year old girl, who was struck by a stray bullet while doing her homework inside her family's Minneapolis home.

Following the announcement of his imminent release, Burrell held back tears.

"Thank you. Thank you very much," he said reaching a hand out to the camera.

Tony-winning legend and dance icon Ann Reinking died on Saturday, family members confirmed to news outlets on Monday. She was 71.

"The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul. Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party," her family said in a statement, as reported by Variety.

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