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Suspected Gunman Dead After Officer-Involved Shooting in Austin, Texas


Twitter/hanskpaap(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A suspected gunman is dead after an officer-involved shooting in Austin, Texas, Friday morning, with the man alleged to have opened fire at city buildings, the Austin Police Department said.

Police worked to secure the scene after the man's death.

Austin Police Department Assistant Chief Raul Munguia, speaking at a news conference, said residents reported hearing shots at 2:22 a.m. local time.

After an officer fired at the suspect, police noticed the man wearing a vest, and a bomb squad was called to the scene, Munguia said.

No police officers were injured, but Austin’s Police Department headquarters was evacuated, authorities said.
A major area highway, Interstate 35, was also shut down during the incident, police said.

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Search On for Missing Ohio State Football Player


Kirk Irwin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An Ohio State football player hasn't been seen since going out for a walk late Tuesday night and his family and friends are concerned that something may be wrong.

Ohio State University football player Kosta Karageorge left his apartment about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to his family. His sister Sophia told the Columbus Dispatch that his roommate said that he left to take a walk.

As of 6 p.m. ET Thursday, a family member told ABC News that the search so far has yielded no clues to the college senior's whereabouts.

Karageorge, a defensive tackle who is also on the Ohio State wrestling team, had no vehicle, wallet or ID when he left, the sister told the newspaper.

"He had some extenuating circumstances that night that lead us to believe he was upset," she said.

 

Kosta was last seen around 2 am November 26. His family is asking for prayers & any info regarding his whereabouts.Please call: 614-747-1729

— KostadinosKarageorge (@kostadinos81) November 27, 2014

 

The reserve defensive lineman didn't show up for football practice Thursday morning, ABC affiliate WSYX-TV in Columbus reported. The Buckeyes are set to play Michigan on Saturday.

Karageorge, 22, is a white male, 6 feet, 3 inches tall, and weighs about 270 pounds. He was last seen wearing black sweatpants over jeans, black Timberland boots, and a black hoodie with FOC on it.

"He never misses practice," Sophia told the Dispatch. "I've seen him go to wrestling practice with a broken foot. I've seen him sick as a dog go to practice. He's always on schedule. He always has somewhere where he checks in."

She said that Karageorge has a history of sports-related concussions and the family is worried that might be disoriented because of one he suffered a month ago.

Anyone with information about Karageorge's whereabouts can call 614-747-1729.

A call to the Columbus police about the case wasn't immediately returned.


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Texas Homeowner Uses Facebook to Find Thief


iStock/Thinkstock(HARRIS COUNTY, Texas) -- A Texas homeowner turned to social media after a teen allegedly snatched a package off his front doorstep.

Jeff Turner, who lives in Harris County, said he witnessed the incident on his home video surveillance. The FedEx package had just been delivered when someone swooped in, with a sweatshirt covering his face. The person can be seen looking back and forth before grabbing the package and running off.

“It was bold,” Turner said. “The more I thought about it, the kind of madder I got, and I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to post this to a social media site.’”

Turner turned to his Facebook friends, posting screen-grabs of the surveillance footage on his neighborhood watch Facebook page to see whether anyone recognized the person.

It didn’t take long for neighbors to identify a local teen who was allegedly responsible.

But Turner took mercy and didn’t go to police, and the stolen item – a Houston Rockets sweater – was returned to Turner’s son, Jared.


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Florida Mom Goes Viral With 'Handmade Ugly Tacky Christmas Sweaters'


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Christmas sweaters are the "ugly" trend that everyone loves to hate, but no one may really love the sweaters more than Deb Rottum.

The 45-year-old mother of three from Tampa has become a viral star thanks to the Christmas sweater creations she hand crafts and then posts to her eBay store,"Deb's Handmade Ugly Tacky Christmas Sweaters."

“It takes me about two hours to make a sweater,” Rottum told ABC News.

It’s not just the detailed design that is gaining Rottum Internet fame. It is the way in which she displays the sweaters online, by posing in them herself in an arms-wide-open stance.

“I put my arms out so people can see what I’ve done to the sleeves of the sweater,” Rottum said.


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As for the seemingly crazed expression that Rottum has on her face in each picture, Rottum says that is a strategic move as well.

“My goofy face was just [to say], ‘Hey, have fun. Come buy my sweater,” Rottum said, laughing.

Commenters on Rottum’s eBay page are sometimes horrified and sometimes not amused.

“She scares me,” one commenter wrote.

“My kid seen that face and will not sleep alone,” wrote another.

Even with detractors, Rottum is watching sales of her sweaters skyrocket. Her sales have quadrupled and her designs are gaining worldwide attention.

“I had a girl from the U.K. want a sweater with skunks because she has pet skunks,” Rottum said. “I did one with a shark, a Hello Kitty and a duck just this week.”

“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s so much fun when people comment and tell me how much fun they had with a sweater I made.”

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Here's Proof Pigs Actually Do Fly (Almost)


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- They say pigs don't fly, but this one came close.

A pig landed on a US Airways flight out of Connecticut on Wednesday, but was taken off the plane after it became disruptive, a spokesperson told ABC News.

Jonathan Skolnik, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a passenger on the flight, told ABC News he thought the woman with the pig was carrying a duffel bag when she got on the plane and headed straight for the empty seat next to him.

"But it turns out it wasn't a duffel bag. We could smell it and it was a pig on a leash," he said. "She tethered it to the arm rest next to me and started to deal with her stuff, but the pig was walking back and forth."

"I was terrified, because I was thinking I'm gonna be on the plane with the pig," Snolnik added, saying he guesses the pig weighed between 50 and 70 pounds.

But the flight didn't take off with the pig. The woman and the animal eventually deplaned.

American Airlines, the parent company of US Airways, confirmed to ABC News that a passenger brought the pig aboard as an emotional support animal. After the pig became disruptive, she was asked to leave, a spokesperson said.

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More than 250,000 Still Without Power on Thanksgiving Afternoon


Andrejs Jegorovs/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than 250,000 are without power this Thanksgiving after Wednesday's storms knocked out power lines along the East Coast.

The storm system grounded hundreds of flights and clogged up highways on Wednesday. Over 350,000 electric customers lost power.

Thursday afternoon, when most families would prefer to be cooking turkeys or watching football, at least 251,175 power customers are in the dark. That total includes homes in 10 states, from Maine to Virginia.

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Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson Confident Federal Probe Will Clear Him Too


ABC News(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The Ferguson police officer cleared of charges by a Missouri grand jury in the killing an unarmed black teenager says he’s confident a federal criminal probe into his actions will find “nothing” and clear him too.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Officer Darren Wilson insisted he carried no racial bias when he fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, and Wilson said he’s never been accused of acting in a racist manner during his entire law enforcement career.

“I did my job and followed my training,” Wilson said. “The training took over.”

The U.S. Justice Department is now conducting two probes sparked by Wilson's fatal confrontation with Brown on Aug. 9.

A criminal investigation will try to determine whether Wilson used unreasonable force and intentionally violated Brown’s civil rights when he shot the teenager. The second probe - though not criminal in nature – will look more broadly into whether the Ferguson police department has routinely engaged in a "pattern or practice" of unlawful and discriminatory policing.

Training will be one of several “priority areas" scrutinized by the federal probes, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.

In his interview this week with Stephanopoulos, Wilson said he’s worried about being caught in the crosshairs of a federal criminal investigation, but is confident investigators will find “nothing” to suggest he broke the law.

“I stand by what I did,” he said. “I stand by my training, and just have to wait and see what they determine.”

Stephanopoulos asked Wilson: “You're confident that no charges will be brought?”

Wilson responded simply, “Yeah.”

During its criminal investigation into Wilson, the Justice Department will be analyzing his past record, but “racial animus” is not something federal prosecutors have to prove to bring charges, according to William Yeomans, a former top civil rights prosecutor who spent 26 years at the Justice Department.

Investigators would have to show Wilson shot Brown with the specific intent to violate Brown’s civil rights and “use more force than was reasonably necessary under the circumstances,” Yeomans said. Reaching that threshold “can be very difficult” when there are conflicting eyewitness accounts and few pieces of physical evidence, according to Yeomans.

“It's difficult to prove what was going on in his head,” Yeomans said.

In his interview this week, Wilson acknowledged that – while the Ferguson community is predominantly black – the police force there is overwhelmingly white. But he said that didn’t create any inherent mistrust or tension between him and those he encountered while on patrol.

Testifying before a St. Louis County grand jury two months ago, however, he described his beat in Ferguson as “an antipolice area for sure.”

“That community doesn’t like the police,” he testified.

Holder echoed that sentiment Tuesday, saying, “Michael Brown's tragic death has revealed a deep distrust between some in the Ferguson community and its police force.”

Holder said the Justice Department will conduct an “intensive review” of the “priority areas" identified by the broader probe into the entire Ferguson police department, including a look at how officers handled searches and traffic stops of black drivers.

According to data released by the Missouri state government, about 67 percent of the Ferguson population is black, but last year 86 percent of those stopped by police were black, and 92 percent of those searched were black.

In addition, according to the same data, Ferguson police were twice as likely to search a black individual than a white individual, but they were significantly less likely to actually find contraband on black individuals compared with when they searched white individuals.

“There are obvious ways the police department needs to be reformed,” Yeomans said. “And I am confident that once this process is concluded, it will be a significantly different police department.”

Holder vowed that the two federal probes will be “conducted rigorously and in a timely manner” so that federal authorities can begin “to restore trust, to rebuild understanding and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and community members.”


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Several Arrests Made Near Thanksgiving Day Parade


Reptile8488/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Seven protesters were arrested near the route of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday. The arrests came amid rumblings on social media about disrupting the parade and Black Friday to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decisions not to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown to death.

An estimated 50 protesters gathered a block away from the parade route at the New York Public Library. Several people were arrested when they started trying to interrupt the parade, including vandalizing, breaking windows and knocking over barricades, police said.

The parade was not interrupted, and the rest of the protesters returned to the library where they are now "peacefully" protesting, according to police.

“We will not tolerate, under any circumstances, any effort to disrupt this parade,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said before the arrests. “This is a national event, a historic event. Anybody who would seek to interrupt it would be callous, indeed, on this very special day.”

Hashtags such as #stoptheparade were trending Thursday morning. The NYPD was aware of the Internet conversations calling for demonstrations on Thanksgiving, Bratton said.

On a larger scale, a movement to boycott Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday has been gaining steam on social media, asking people to sit out Thanksgiving and Black Friday events to protest the grand jury's decision to not charge Officer Darren Wilson for killing the unarmed teen.

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Cash Pours In to Fix Bakery Damaged in Ferguson Riots


ABC NEWS(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A Missouri woman whose business was vandalized in Ferguson riots is busy pushing out pies and cakes at her bakery on Thanksgiving, despite broken windows and damage to the store.

Supporters raised more than $200,000 in two days to help Natalie DuBose, the owner of Natalie's Cakes & More. DuBose said her bakery, which she opened this summer, was damaged when protesters rioted following news that police officer Darren Wilson had not been indicted in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

"My main windows were smashed and bakery damaged," she wrote on a GoFundMe page launched on Tuesday. "I'm beside myself, but with the holidays, can't stop working.

"I'm truly mixing batter right now.”

Rioters smashed windows, burned down businesses and set police cars on fire late Monday in Ferguson after the grand jury's decision to not indict Wilson was announced.

DuBose was in tears Tuesday after learning the violence had reached her shop.

An employee who answered the phone at the bakery Thursday told ABC News the staff is busy delivering orders, despite the damage.

Kristine Froeba, a supporter who's helping run the bakery's social media pages, said DuBose is hard at work.

"She's backed up with her Thanksgiving orders, she's baking around the clock, the phone is ringing off the hook," Froeba said. "She's so busy."

DuBose says she's grateful for the financial support.

"I am truly and humbly blessed," she wrote on the GoFundMe page early Thursday.

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Snowmobiler Killed in Montana Avalanche


boggy22/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(COOKE CITY, Mont.) -- A Montana man was killed in an avalanche on Wednesday while snowmobiling on Henderson Peak.

According to a press release from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, the man was partially buried in an avalanche at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. His snowmobiling partner had rescue gear, but despite effort to dig the victim out of the snow, CPR was unsuccessful.

The GNFAC is asking skiers and snowmobilers to be cautious due to recent heavy snowfall. A Backcountry Avalanche Warning remains in place  for the area through at least Friday morning due to strong winds and heavy snow.

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FAA Releases Report Detailing Nearly 200 Drone Sightings Since February


estt/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Aviation Administration released a report on Wednesday detailing 194 drone sightings between February and November.

The FAA said in a statement that it receives approximately 25 reports per month of drone sightings by pilots. Most sightings had little to no impact on pilots, though in some cases, the FAA notes, pilots were forced to alter course to avoid an unmanned craft. At least six of the entries reflect "near misses," including at least one with a commercial aircraft and at least one other with a medevac helicopter.

Approximately 109 of the reports included drones operating more than 500 feet in the air. About 30 instances involved drones within five miles of airports.

"The FAA is in the process of executing a plan for safe and staged integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System," the agency's statement said. It pointed to increased awareness by pilots and improved reporting and record keeping for the increased number of reports.

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Exclusive: Police Officer Darren Wilson Discusses Firing Deadly Shot


ABC News(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson discussed his account of the moment he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

Wilson said Brown was charging at him, disregarding the officer’s instructions.

“I started backpedaling, ‘cause he’s just getting too close and he’s not stopping,” Wilson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

“After I fired the second round of shots, he gets about eight to 10 feet [away]. And as he does that, he kinda starts to lean forward like he’s gonna tackle me. And eight to 10 feet is close and what I saw was his head. If he’s gonna tackle me, he’s gonna tackle me at that point. And I looked down my barrel of my gun and I fired,” he continued.

The Aug. 9 shooting sparked months of protests, drawing national attention to the St. Louis suburb.

Wilson said he was driving to get lunch by himself -- just a normal day, he says -- when he encountered Brown and a friend walking in the middle of the street, “single-file on the double-yellow line.”

Wilson, 28, says he instructed the pair to walk on the sidewalk.

The first person, Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, ignored Wilson, the officer said.

“And then Michael Brown came next and he had to exchange some explicit words with me,” Wilson said. “He had said, “F*** what you have to say.”

“First words to you?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Yeah,” Wilson responded.

At that point, Wilson says he noticed cigarillos in Brown’s hand, noting that Brown and Johnson matched the description, he says, of suspects in the theft of cigars from a nearby convenience store earlier that day. Wilson said he wasn’t sure whether Brown was armed.

“I got on the radio and I asked for assistance,” Wilson said.

Wilson said he parked and tried to get out of his vehicle, when Brown again cursed at the officer and slammed the officer’s car door.

“I…again taken aback because I’ve never been trapped in my car,” Wilson said. “I use my door to try and push him back and yell at him to get back. And again he just pushed the door shut and just stared at me.”

“So you’re staring each other down?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Yeah, he stared at me, like almost over top of me…looked like he was trying to intimidate me," Wilson said. "And as I looked back at him, all of a sudden punches started flying…He threw the first one and hit me in the left side of my face."

Wilson said he doesn’t believe he could have done anything differently that day, and says he has a clean conscience.

“The reason I have a clean conscience is ’cause I know I did my job right,” he said.

Following Monday’s announcement that a grand jury declined to bring charges against Wilson, Brown’s relatives released a statement, saying, “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequences of his actions.”

Wilson said he feels remorse about the outcome of the altercation.

“I think those are grieving parents who are mourning the loss of their son,” Wilson said.

“Nothing you could say, but, again, you know, I’m sorry that their son lost his life. It wasn’t the intention of that day. It’s what occurred that day. And there’s no…nothing you could say that’s gonna make a parent feel better,” he added.

Watch George Stephanopoulos' full interview with Darren Wilson below:

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Winter Storm Causes Power Outages Throughout Northeast


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wednesday's winter storm has left almost 400,000 customers without power in the northeast.

Public Service Company of New Hampshire spokesman Martin Murray says, "The reason that this has occurred is we really had wet, heavy snow, that's fallen on evergreen trees and there hasn't been a lot of wind to push that snow off so instead they've been weighed down and they've interfered with power lines and equipment."

In New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, 293,000 customers are without power.

In New York, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, nearly 100,000 customers are without power.

It's expected to take days to restore power in some areas.

The storm is also impacting Thanksgiving travel. As of Wednesday night, 4,624 flights were delayed and 735 were cancelled, according to the flight-tracking company FlightAware.

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Snow, Rain Threatening Millions of Thanksgiving Travelers


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Wintry weather is bringing travel delays for many Americans on Wednesday, causing problems on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

As of Wednesday night, 4,624 flights were delayed and 735 were cancelled, according to the flight-tracking company FlightAware.

More than 46 million Americans are expected to travel more than 50 miles away from home in the coming days, the country’s highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2007, according to AAA.

Residents along the East Coast should expect heavy rain from a nor’easter, with the rain then changing to snow. Snow is expected across parts of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and interior New England.

Some areas off the Atlantic coastline could see 4 to 8 inches of snow.

Snow is also expected in the plains and Midwest, affecting parts of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the northern Rockies. Heavy, occasionally pounding rain is expected in the Pacific Northwest.

The East Coast storm is expected to pass through by Thursday, leaving travelers hopeful that their return trips will be uneventful.

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Video of Police Shooting Cleveland Boy with Toy Gun Is Released


File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(CLEVELAND) -- The video of a Cleveland police officer shooting a 12-year-old boy who had a toy gun was released on Wednesday after the department consulted with the boy's family.

Police initially withheld the video from the public while discussing handling of the disturbing footage with the family of Tamir Rice, the boy who was shot in a playground on Saturday.

"The family did not initially want the video to be released, but after reviewing it... expressed their wish to us" to make it public, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said on Wednesday.

Williams urged the public and the media to be cautious in the handling of the video.

"I want people to bear in mind this is a 12-year-old boy... The family will have to view it over and over," he said.

Rice was killed after a 911 caller reported a boy waving a gun around. The orange dot that is put in the barrel of toy guns had been removed and police said it was indistinguishable from a real weapon.

“We are honoring the wishes of the family in releasing this and also in the spirit of being open and fair with our community,” Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said.

The grainy video shows Rice walking around the playground and the sidewalk, occasionally pointing the toy at passersby or at objects. Police played a recording of a 911 call a man made after spotting the boy brandishing the toy gun and narrated the video because at times it is hard to see details of the video.

"He's sitting on the swing right now, but he keeps pulling it in and out of his pants and pointing it at people," the caller said.

"I don't know if it's real or not," the caller added.

The video shows the caller sitting in a gazebo near the boy and walking away before police arrive.

A police car pulled up and two officers, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback, exited the car, drawing their weapons.

An officer gave the boy an order three times to "show your hands" before shooting him. ABC News affiliate WEWS TV identified the officer who fired as Loehmann, 26, a rookie who joined the force in March. Garmback, 46, had been an officer since 2008.

Police also played the 911 dispatcher's message to police, relaying the 911 caller's report.

"He keeps pulling the gun out of his pants and pointing it at people," the dispatcher says.

It's not clear if police knew the caller had mentioned the gun could be fake.

"Shots fired. Male down. Black male. Maybe 20," an officer said in the 911 recording reporting Rice had been shot.

Rice's family issued a statement after the video was released, saying that the "situation could have been avoided and that Tamir should still be here with us."

"The video shows one thing distinctly: the police officers reacted quickly," read the family's statement in part. "We understand that some of you are hurt, angry and sad about our loss. But let’s use those emotions in a way that will contribute to positive efforts and solutions that bring change to Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and cities across the nation as it relates to how law enforcement officials interact with citizens of color."

Both officers are on administrative leave during the investigation, Tomba said.

Police tried to revive the boy after the shooting, Tomba said.

"Tamir was given first aid in under four minutes and approximately three minutes after that, our emergency service showed up and they provided medical service to the young man," he said.

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