Billy Ray Cyrus calls slain Nevada teacher a 'hero'
RENO, Nev. — Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus honored a Nevada teacher killed by a 12-year-old student in a schoolyard shooting last year, calling him a “true American hero.”
Cyrus praised Michael Landsberry and presented a memorial plaque to his widow, Sharon, during a concert Saturday night in Incline Village, a Nevada community on the north shore of Lake Tahoe.
Police say Landsberry, a 45-year-old ex-Marine, tried to talk the shooter into turning over the handgun before he was shot in the chest Oct. 21 at a middle school in the Reno suburb of Sparks. The student wounded two classmates before taking his life.
“Tonight we are here to honor a true American hero,” Cyrus told a crowd of over 1,000. “Michael Landsberry made the ultimate sacrifice to save his students after serving three terms in Afghanistan.”
Cyrus said Landsberry also represented the courage of the Vietnam veteran honored in his patriotic song, “Some Gave All.” With a large photograph of Landsberry in the background and the math teacher’s widow on stage, Cyrus led the crowd in singing the song.
Cyrus said he was moved by the story of Landsberry’s actions in the school shooting and decided to recognize him when offered a chance to perform at Lake Tahoe.
He and his father, Ronald Ray Cyrus, made similar presentations honoring American heroes for more than a decade, and this marked the first time the country star has done so since his father’s 2006 death.
“Just about every year, my dad and I would find an unsung hero and present them with a ‘Some Gave All’ award,” he told The Associated Press. “I kind of play everything by ear, and I thought sometime when the time is right, I would love to recognize the sacrifice Michael made.”
Sharon Landsberry thanked Cyrus and said his tribute moved her and their two daughters, Alisa Cook, 25, and Andrea Cook, 18. Alisa Cook also attended the concert, while Andrea Cook offered a videotaped message from an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, where she serves in the Marines.
“We all love him today. ... He lives within all of us,” Sharon Landsberry said of her husband.
Cyrus, who rose to fame in 1992 with the hit song “Achy Breaky Heart,” also gave her a “financial gift.” The amount was not disclosed.
The singer is involved with a program called Do the Write Thing, which aims to reduce school violence by encouraging the public to alert authorities to potential problems at schools.
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NEW YORK — Harrison Ford’s injury will cause production on “Star Wars: Episode VII” to be suspended for two weeks.
Disney announced Sunday that shooting would be halted for two weeks in August to adjust the production schedule following Ford’s injury. The 71-year-old broke his leg in June during filming of the much-anticipated sequel at Pinewood Studios outside of London.
Disney had said earlier that Ford’s injury wouldn’t cause any delays. The studio said Sunday that “Episode VII” is still “on track” to wrap in the fall and be released in December 2015. The accident involved a spacecraft door on the Millennium Falcon falling on Ford’s leg. His recuperation was expected to take up to two months.
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MONTECITO, Calif. — Jessica Simpson is a newlywed.
The singer and TV personality married retired NFL player Eric Johnson Saturday at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, Calif., her publicist Lauren Auslander confirms.
Simpson and Johnson began dating in 2010. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Maxwell, and a 1-year-old son named Ace. Auslander said Ace served as a ring bearer and Maxwell walked down the aisle as a flower girl.
It is the second marriage for both Simpson, 33, and Johnson, 34. Simpson was previously married to singer Nick Lachey. The two co-starred on a VH1 reality series “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica” for three seasons. Shortly after their third wedding anniversary, the two split up.
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LAS VEGAS — Police have cited rapper Flavor Flav over his annual Fourth of July fireworks show outside his Las Vegas home.
The reality TV star has been accused of setting off thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal fireworks at his holiday party since 2009.
Police put a stop to Friday’s show when neighbors called to complain shortly after it started.
Police Lt. Ken Romaine told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that officers confiscated over 100 pounds of the entertainer’s remaining fireworks and issued him two fireworks-related citations.
The rapper, whose real name is William Drayton, says his neighbors won’t have to worry about his show next year because he’s moving the party out of the neighborhood.
He says he doesn’t want to go to jail over fireworks, and some 100 guests were having “a ball” until police arrived.