Now Playing:
Abracadabra BY The Steve Miller Band
National
Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When New York State Police trooper Nicholas Clark responded to a reported suicidal person barricaded in a home this month, the suspect gunned him down before taking his own life.

"A 29-year-old trooper, a stellar trooper with an extraordinary record, his whole life before him," a grieving New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference hours later. "Great athlete. Well accomplished. He wanted to do one thing -- which was help people."

Clark was not alone. His death followed those of over 70 brothers and sisters in blue across the country already this year.

The number of U.S. law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in the first six months of the year rose about 12 percent to 73 from 65, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said last week.

Guns overtake traffic as No. 1 cause of death

Gunfire was the leading cause of death among the 73 officers killed in the first half of the year, accounting for 42 percent of the deaths, according to the memorial fund.

What’s more, of the 129 total deaths last year, the number involving guns equaled the number of officers who died in work-related traffic incidents, which usually account for more deaths, the organization said.

The overall increase continued in that direction for the first half of this year, when 31 officers died in gun-related incidents, compared with 25 in the same period last year, a 24 percent jump for the six-month period, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said.

Eight of this year's 31 gun deaths resulted from an arrest attempt; six officers died responding to a domestic disturbance; and three officers died in an ambush, the memorial fund said.

"I think what you're starting to see is some of these suspects committing their crimes with much more impunity than they have," ABC News contributor and former Dallas police chief David Brown said. "And officers are continuing to be, I think, a little more cautious in the way that they interact with these folks, trying to wait for cover, trying to give a little bit more time and distance.

"That's a significant change in the dynamic of officer safety," he added. "And this becomes a psychological thing for cops when they experience it on their beat or when they hear about the data of more aggression towards cops by armed suspects."

'73 shattered police departments'

Facing an armed suspect's aggression is something Brown knows all too well.

Five law enforcement officers were gunned down by a sniper in Dallas in July 2016 -- the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since 9/11. Brown, who was the police chief at the time of the attack, retired several months later after 33 years with the department.

As with Dallas this time two years ago, police agencies across the country, from Maine to Florida to California, have mourned fallen colleagues this year.

And the deaths go beyond shootings.

Out of the 73 officers killed in the line of duty from January to June, 27 died from traffic-related incidents, while 15 died from other causes, like job-related illnesses, the fund said.

Of the 15 who died from other causes, six of the officers died as a result of an illness from 9/11, the fund said.

"A lot of officers patrol and work in pairs, so you spend a lot of time with your immediate co-workers,” Steve Groeninger, spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, told ABC News. “So for one of them to be killed in the line of duty, it does have a big impact on any department that loses an officer.

"For smaller departments and agencies it has even a greater impact," he continued, "because not only are you trying to help your patrol cope with the loss of life and you're trying to help that family who lost their loved one and process the tragedy, but then as the department head -- especially in a small department -- you've lost a significant amount of your workforce."

Groeninger stressed, "While we're throwing around a lot of numbers and percentages, we all must be mindful as a nation that these 73 officers represent 73 shattered families, 73 shattered police departments or agencies, and I would have to guess, 73 upstanding citizens no longer a part of these communities."

On average, the 73 slain officers in the first half of the year each left behind two children, according to the memorial fund.

"We're talking about loss of life," he said. "It goes far deeper than numbers and percentages."

Hours after state trooper Clark's July 2 death, New York Gov. Cuomo said, “This is one situation that I've gone through before. There's no answer. There's no point. It's just sad and painful."

Every day is dangerous for police, Cuomo said, from domestic violence incidents to storms to potential terrorism.

"We know the danger that you put yourself in every day when you leave the house," the governor said. "We know the fear that is in your families' heart when you're out there. And we truly and deeply appreciate the risk that you take to keep our families safe."

'I pray for our cops every day'

Though officer deaths are on the rise this year, Brown said, "I don't believe this is sustainable. I don't think the spike will continue."

"One officer killed in the line of duty is one too many," Brown said. "We need them to continue their brave work and their sacrifice... and to know that people support them when they're doing the job the right way. Officers also need to hear that it's extremely important, as well, that they be held accountable when they make mistakes."

"Some of the bravest people you'll ever meet do this job. Every day, they don't know if they're coming home to their families. And every day, they strap up those guns and put the badges on and do great work," he said. "I pray for our cops every day. We need them to do the job in the right ways and to be safe and come home to their families."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Federal prosecutors believe that Maria Butina, the Russian gun-rights activist who was recently arrested and charged with acting as a foreign agent, maintained a “duplicitous relationship” with an American political operative for the purposes of gaining access to U.S. political organizations.

Identified in court filings only as “U.S. Person 1,” a 56-year-old political operative, private messages exchanged between them and surveillance conducted by federal law enforcement paint a picture of this person as someone Butina, 29, could rely on. Butina lived, at times, with U.S. Person 1. She asked U.S. Person 1 for help with her homework. As she prepared to move out of her apartment, U.S. Person 1 helped her arrange to rent a U-Haul and purchase moving boxes.

But U.S. Person 1 appears to have done much more than help a expatriate graduate student adjust to life in the United States. He also, prosecutors say, “worked with Butina to arrange introduction to U.S. persons having influence in American politics,” including high-ranking members of the NRA and organizers of the National Prayer Breakfast, “for the purposes of advancing the interests of the Russian Federation.”

Based on the prosecutors’ description, “U.S. Person 1” is believed to be Paul Erickson, a longtime GOP operative who is known to have had close ties to Butina. It is unclear whether he is cooperating with authorities in the case against Butina or whether he is under investigation himself, but he could be in serious trouble.

“He's got real exposure here,” one federal prosecutor told ABC News. “If he knew that he was helping [Butina], he may himself have a foreign agent problem.”

ABC News’ attempts to reach Erickson have been unsuccessful. Butina, meanwhile, pleaded not guilty in court on Wednesday, and her attorney, Robert Driscoll, called the charges against her “overblown.”

But the descriptions of the person believed to be Erikson’s alleged activities in the court filings have made him a fascinating character in an already twisted tale.

Erickson, 56, has a long and tangled record in Republican politics. In the 1980s, after graduating from Yale, Erickson served as Treasurer of the College Republican National Committee. Erickson then wrote a comedy sketch called “Fritzbusters” in 1984, which parodied Democratic presidential candidate Walter “Fritz” Mondale, the New York Times reported at the time.

After earning his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1988, Erickson embarked on a series of unconventional professional endeavors, including co-executive producing an anti-communism film starring Dolph Lundgren with Jack Abramoff called “Red Scorpion.” The Rapid City Journal, a South Dakota newspaper, has reported that Erickson then travelled to Nicaragua in 1990 to “observe U.S.-backed Contra rebels putting down their arms after Soviet-supported President Daniel Ortega agreed to abide by the results of a popular election.”

Erickson found his way back to Republican politics in the U.S. in 1992, joining conservative icon Pat Buchannan’s presidential campaign as a national political director. In the mid-1990s, Erickson and Abramoff joined forces again, opening up a lobbying firm whose clientele included Zairean strongman dictator Mobutu, the Washington Post reported at the time.

“I’ve enjoyed 33 years of wildly diverse business ventures all around the world in industries ranging from hotels to housing to entertainment to energy,” Erickson told the Rapid City Journal.

In 2007, Erickson was sued for $190,000 by conservative activist Brent Bozell, who claimed in the lawsuit that Erickson had failed to repay an investment, court documents showed. Bozell won a breach of contract judgment in 2008, though it’s unclear whether Erickson ever completed the payment.

According to the affidavit attached to the indictment, Butina first made contact with U.S. Person 1 around 2013. Within two years, Butina and U.S. Person 1 appear to have hatched a plan to improve U.S.-Russia relations through an unnamed gun-rights organization that had what Butina described as a “central place and influence” in an unnamed political party as “the largest sponsor of the elections to the US congress, as well as a sponsor of The CPAC conference and other events.”

Shortly after, U.S. Person 1 emailed Butina a list of potential media, business and political contacts, writing that “you could NOT do better than the list I just emailed you … YOU HAVE ALREADY MET ALL OF THE AMERICANS necessary to introduce you to EVERYONE on that list … I and your friends in America can’t make it any easier for you than that.”

By 2016, Butina had set her sights on a bigger target. She emailed U.S. Person 1 in September, saying “we only have 2 month [sic] left before the US elections and it’s the time for building an advisors team on Russia for a new president.”

A month later, U.S. Person 1 emailed an an unnamed acquaintance touting his involvement in “securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin” and leaders of an unnamed political party through an unnamed gun rights organization.

Following Donald Trump’s election, Butina appears to have used U.S. Person 1 to get as close to the president as she had ever been. U.S. Person 1 arranged for Butina and a Russian delegation to attend the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast the following February, where President Trump was the keynote speaker.

U.S. Person 1 even helped Butina book a hotel, advising her to place $3,500 on “one of your Russian charge cards” to pay the deposit “to be safe.”

By then, Butina appears to have become a fixture in Erickson’s life. Butina attended events in South Dakota, where Erickson lived. Erickson established a mysterious South Dakota-based company with Butina called Bridges LLC. Neighbors at the South Dakota apartment complex where Erickson lived remember Butina. One of them, Elaine Ahlemeier, says the couple seemed nice and she suspected nothing.

What few people appeared to know, and what prosecutors now allege, was that despite appearances, Butina “appear[ed] to treat that relationship as simply a necessary aspect of her activities.”

“On at least one occasion,” prosecutors claim, “Butina offered an individual other than U.S. Person 1 sex in exchange for a position within a special interest organization. Further, in papers sized by the FBI, Butina complained about living with U.S. Person 1 and expressed disdain for continuing to cohabitate with U.S. Person 1.”

Agents moved to arrest her this week, prosecutors say, because they feared she might attempt to flee: Her lease was ending, she had wired money to an account in Russia, and she appeared to be packing up her belongings.

Butina’s attorney says that’s not true. She was preparing, he said in court on Wednesday, to move to South Dakota – with her boyfriend.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- An 86-year-old underground steam pipe exploded in New York City Thursday morning, spewing dangerous asbestos-tainted debris throughout the area and leaving a crater in a street the size of a city bus, officials said.

The blast occurred about 6:39 a.m. in Manhattan's Flatiron District, just blocks from the iconic Flatiron Building, according to the New York City Fire Department.

While only five people suffered minor injuries, asbestos contamination was the bigger concern, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"There was asbestos in the steam line casing. That's obviously a real concern to us," de Blasio said at a Thursday afternoon news conference near the site of the blast at Fifth Avenue and 21st Street.

The steam pipe was installed in 1932, officials said.

The mayor spoke shortly after getting the results of tests conducted by Con Edison and the city Department of Environmental Protection.

A total of 49 buildings were evacuated, many of them containing residential units, and will require decontamination that could take a couple of days, the mayor said.

"There is real concern whether the debris entered buildings and air conditioners," de Blasio said.

He added: "We have also tested the air since the time of the incident. The air cleared fairly quickly after the incident. So the air in this area now is safe. There is no meaningful presence of asbestos in the air at this point."

De Blasio called it fortunate that the explosion occurred in the early-morning hours before the area was teeming with people and commuters headed to work.

"Thank God no one was seriously injured at that time," he said.

Aerial footage showed a vehicle covered in mud stopped just inches from the crater at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 21st Street. The crater measured roughly 32 feet in diameter, or about three traffic lanes wide.

"It was a loud boom and the building just shook," Byron Chavers, who works in the area, told ABC New York City station WABC-TV.

Five people suffered minor injuries but did not have to go to a hospital, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

"That's the good news for today," Nigro said at a news conference near the scene of the blast.

Twenty-eight of the 49 evacuated buildings were in what officials called "the hot zone" and will likely remain evacuated the longest, de Blasio said, adding that the buildings need to be scrubbed and closely examined for contamination.

The mayor also advised anyone who was in the area and got debris on their clothing to take the garments to a Con Ed center. The utility will compensate people for their clothing, he said.

At least 100 firefighters were being decontaminated and several civilians in the area at the time of the blast may also need to be decontaminated, Nigro said.

The explosion left a crater in the middle of the busy intersection of Fifth Avenue and 21st Street during the morning commute and prompted police to close off streets in the neighborhood.

The blast sent steam swirling into the air and rattled windows and nerves.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation but the age of the 20-inch steam pipe could be the reason for the rupture.

The explosion also disrupted a gas line, a water main and caused some electrical outages, Nigro said.

A similar steam pipe explosion occurred in midtown Manhattan almost 11 years to the date of Thursday's blast. The steam pipe rupture July 18, 2007, on Lexington Avenue at 41st Street, near Grand Central Terminal, killing a woman, injuring 20 people and creating a 25-foot crater that swallowed a tow truck.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla.) -- After a quick-thinking bystander noticed a baby boy in the back seat of a car on a hot Florida day, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said, "We avoided a disaster."

"Thank the Lord for a good Samaritan," he said. The baby is safe and the mother has been arrested for child neglect.

The close call began Tuesday afternoon in a strip-mall parking lot in Orange City when Jessica Kaiser, a passerby, saw what looked like a doll in the back seat of a car, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

They said she realized it was a real baby and called 911.

She and her husband opened the unlocked door and found the baby boy was in his car seat and was OK, the sheriff's office said.

The temperature reached 93 degrees Tuesday with a heat index, which gauges what it felt like, of 103 degrees.

Deputies and firefighters arrived and determined the 8-month-old "was in good health and good spirits," the sheriff's office said, adding that he had not been in the car long before Kaiser and her husband found him.

The little boy was smiling and laughing with the firefighters who were attending to him, Volusia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Andrew Gant told ABC News. But they said if he hadn't been found early, the situation could have been worse.

The baby's mother, 33-year-old Meagan Burgess, arrived back at the car about 24 minutes after the 911 call was made, the sheriff's office said.

"If not discovered, he would have been left unsupervised in an unlocked black vehicle, parked on black asphalt parking lot, in 93 degree weather for approximately twenty-four minutes," the sheriff's office said.

When Burgess returned, she told the deputies on the scene she forgot the baby was in the car, as she had just dropped off several other children with a family member.

She said leaving the baby in the car "as her worst fear" and that she had "seen people do this on the news," the sheriff's office said.

Burgess was arrested and charged with child neglect, the sheriff's office said. She made her first court appearance Wednesday.

The Florida Department of Children and Families was notified, the sheriff's office said.

"We can't hammer home enough how important it is for parents to say on top of their game and understand that that little life is depending on you," Sheriff Chitwood said Wednesday. "It's people like Jessica Kaiser, by being aware of their surroundings, who saved that young baby's life, and I couldn't be more proud."

Children's bodies can heat up much faster than adults' and their internal organs begin to shut down after their core body temperature reaches 104 degrees, according to a report from the National Safety Council. On an 86-degree day, for example, it would take only about 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach a dangerous 105 degrees.

According to the advocacy group kidsandcars.org, there have been 25 hot car deaths this year.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty Images(MURPHY, Texas) -- Police in northern Texas rescued a baby from a suspected bank robber who allegedly tried to use the child as a shield when officers attempted to arrest her, authorities said.

Evelyn Misumi, 36, walked in a Bank of America branch in Murphy, Texas, Wednesday afternoon with gasoline and lighter fluid, dumped it on the floor and demanded cash, according to a police statement.

She tried to flee the scene after realizing employees had alerted authorities, who were already outside waiting, the Murphy Police Department said in the statement.

Murphy is about 25 miles north of Dallas.

“Police elected not to draw weapons as no immediate danger to themselves or surrounding individuals was apparent,” according to the statement. “They did, however, attempt to impede her escape by tasing her. When that proved unsuccessful, officers used pepper spray on the woman.”

Misumi eventually made it to a car and “pulled a small child out of the vehicle and attempted to use the child as a shield,” police said, adding that they are working to verify her relationship to the child.

That's when at least three officers rushed over to rescue the child, as shown in witness video.

One video posted on social media captured police as they wrestled to pry the baby from the suspect’s arms. Police eventually recovered the baby and took the suspect into custody, according to the statement.

No injuries were reported.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the child was taken to Children’s Medical Center to ensure that the child did not suffer any consequences from the pepper spray that had been used on the woman,” the police department said. “Identification of the suspect and her relation to the child are currently being verified.”

Misumi was still in custody at the Collin County jail in McKinney, Texas as of early Thursday, according to court records. She faces charges of robbery and child endangerment. It was unclear whether she had obtained an attorney.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Ascent/PKS Media Inc./Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Wild horses, often considered elegant symbols of the American West, may be in danger with a new rule change by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

The change to the Obama-era rule removes restrictions on the horses' sale, according to activists, who fear the rule change will accelerate “mass round-ups” of wild horses, pave a path towards authorizing their euthanasia, and ultimately lead to their extinction.

The new rule, first released in late May, allows for the sale of up to 25 wild horses, which are federally protected, to one buyer within a six-month period without written approval from the agency’s assistant director – which activists say is a sharp increase from the 2013 rule’s maximum of four horses per buyer.

The American Wild Horse Campaign, an advocacy group, says the new rule means the agency “no longer has a requirement to describe the conditions in which the horses will be held.”

“Since riding a horse to his first day of work, Interior Secretary [Ryan] Zinke has galloped down a deadly path for America’s wild horse and burro herds – from asking Congress for permission to slaughter tens of thousands of these cherished animals to promoting the mass surgical sterilization of mustangs and burros on the range," Suzanne Roy, the American Wild Horse Campaign’s executive director, said in a statement. "Zinke is pushing the livestock industry agenda to rid our public lands of wild horses and trampling on the wishes of American citizens in the process.”

"The May 24, 2018 Instruction Memorandum that was released provides internal guidance for what is considered a sale eligible animal. It in no way changes the obligations and authorities given by Congress prohibiting the sale for slaughter or euthanasia of healthy animals. Secretary Zinke has made abundantly clear that he does not support slaughter or euthanasia of healthy horses and burros," the Bureau of Land Management told ABC News in a statement.

While wild horses have freely roamed the nation’s public lands for centuries, the Bureau of Land Management is concerned they’ll eventually overpopulate the land and become diseased.

Meanwhile, ranchers, who lease over 60 percent of Bureau of Land Management-owned public lands, have been pushing the agency to round up these untamed horses, claiming they compete with the ranchers’ livestock for grazing resources.

“Population control must be implemented to protect scarce and fragile resources in the arid West and ensure healthy animals. To carry out this mission, the BLM controls herd growth...through the periodic removals of excess animals and the placement of those animals into private care,” the agency’s Wild Horse and Burro Program webpage reads.

In January, the Bureau of Land Management considered allowing the euthanasia of wild horses for the first time in nearly 50 years. In late April, the agency submitted a report to Congress recommending euthanasia as an option for population control.

Currently, the ban on selling wild horses for the purpose of euthanasia is still in place.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Mega Millions jackpot has surged to $422 million for Friday night’s drawing after there were no winners Tuesday night for the top prize.

This is the seventh time the jackpot has exceeded $400 million and now the sixth largest prize in the game’s history, lottery officials said in a news release.

Although the jackpot is still up for grabs, there were some winners from Tuesday night’s drawing. Three $1 million tickets were sold Tuesday night in Florida, New Jersey and Oklahoma, according to lottery officials.

Two other historic Mega Millions jackpots have been awarded this year. A 20-year-old Floridian won $451 million in January and a food production manager from New Jersey won a whopping $533 million in April.

Friday night’s drawing will take place at 11 pm ET.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(McALLEN, Texas) -- Nearly 30 grandparents will pack into two 15-seat vans to caravan from New York to the U.S.-Mexico Border at the end of this month to protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

The week-long caravan comes after more than 2,000 immigrant children were separated from their families at the southern border, a result of the Trump administration’s "zero-tolerance" immigration policy. Trump has since signed an executive order to end the policy but numerous families remain in detention or separated.

"When the children started being separated from their parents at the border, I just couldn’t believe it. I was horrified," said Michelle Clifton, a 74-year-old grandmother. "I thought, 'what am I going to be able to do as an individual to have an impact on this and to bring attention to it?'"

The result: Grannies Respond, also referred to as Abuelas Responden, a group of grandparents and supporters which formed three weeks ago and says its ready to take to the road to protest.

The journey will begin in Beacon, NY on July 30, wend some 2,000 miles southward to the U.S.- Mexico Border, and arrive in McAllen, Texas on Aug. 6. Along the way, the group will stop in seven cities to host rallies, offer a message of compassion and demand the reunification and release of separated families.

"It’s deeper than that," said Dan Aymar-Blair, creator of Grannies Respond. "Those are just specific demands but this is about respecting human dignity. This is about respecting human life and caring for every member of our society."

Aymar-Blair says he came up with the idea when he was studying effective methods of protest. He claims that protests similar to a "journey" are "powerful" because they collect build momentum, empathy and people for a cause.

"To me, grannies mean something very, very, strong towards children just in terms of what we grannies and grandpas are," Claire Nelson, a 66-year-old grandmother said. "[We are ] strong, we’re elderly, we’re wise, we have unconditional love for our children and children of the world. I felt like that we could respond and make a difference in many ways."

Barry Nelson, 70, wants to set an example for his five grandchildren.

"People are being treated poorly and are being denied entrance into this country," Barry said. "Even people who are seeking political asylum and that’s just wrong and something we have to change and really work on to call attention to this and to everybody in this country."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(ASPEN, Colo.) -- As President Donald Trump continues to "clarify" his views on whether Russia launched an assault on the 2016 presidential election, the FBI director made his own views clear on Wednesday: "Russia attempted to interfere in the last election," FBI Director Chris Wray stated unequivocally.

Speaking at the annual Aspen Security Forum, Wray also reiterated his belief that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into those Russian efforts, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, is not a "witch hunt," as Trump has called it so many times.

Asked to respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin's denial of interference, as he stood next to Trump at the summit in Helsinki on Monday, Wray simply said Putin has "got his view."

"I can tell you what my view is," Wray added. "The intelligence community's assessment has not changed, my view has not changed, which is that Russia attempted to interfere in the last election, and that it continues to engage in malign [activity]."

Wray noted that Russia will identify divisive issues inside America and then use fake news and propaganda to "spin people up on both sides of the issue and then watch us go at each other."

He said the U.S. intelligence community has not yet seen attempts by Russia to target specific election-related infrastructure in the months before the midterm elections in November, but "it’s a threat that we need to take extremely seriously and need to respond to with fierce determination."

Nevertheless, Wray pushed back on Trump's attacks on Mueller's probe as a "witch hunt."

“I do not believe Special Counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt,” Wray said, describing Mueller as a "straight shooter" who's running a "professional" investigation.

Asked whether he ever came close to resigning amid the attacks on the FBI, Wray simply said he knows he's a low-key guy but "that should not be mistaken for what my spine is made out of."

That comment drew applause from the crowd at the forum in Aspen, Colorado.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(ISLIP, N.Y.) -- Authorities are investigating whether a 13-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl who both suffered large fish bites in the waters off of Fire Island were victims of shark attacks.

Shortly before noon Wednesday, officials said, the girl was bitten while wading in the water at a beach known as Sailors Haven on Fire Island, a barrier beach off the south shore of Long Island.

The girl's mother told ABC News that her daughter is "hanging in there - a little overwhelmed right now."

Soon after that attack, the boy was bitten while boogie boarding in the waters off another Fire Island beach, known as Atlantique, officials said. The two beaches are several miles apart.

Emergency medical workers removed a piece of shark tooth from the unidentified boy's leg, which suffered a puncture wound, according to officials with the Long Island town of Islip. The tooth is now being analyzed to determine the type of shark that attacked.

Dueling responses from different officials left some confusion as to what had attacked the two young people.

Islip town officials initially confirmed that the boy's bite was indeed a shark attack, but later issued a statement saying that the 13-year-old was bit by "what may possibly have been a shark."

Neither Suffolk County nor the National Parks Service -- which oversees some of Fire Island's beaches -- have yet confirmed that either of the bites came from sharks. County officials said that while the bite appeared to be from a shark, there had so far been no shark sighting.

A National Parks Service official told ABC News that the designation of a shark attack must come from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Beaches within the Town of Islip and all Fire Island National Seashore beaches are closed for the day in the wake of the attack.

Further west and a few hours after the two attacks, bathers were evacuated from the waters off Robert Moses State Park and Jones Beach after a lifeguard spotted a shark.

State police are sending a drone and a helicopter into the air to search the waters for sharks, according to state park officials.

The attacks come just days before the July 22 start of Discovery Channel's annual "Shark Week" programming, now in its 30th year.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Chief Terence Monahan/NYPDChiefofDept(NEW YORK) -- Twelve alleged Trinitarios gang members have been indicted on murder charges in the mistaken identity stabbing death of a 15-year-old Bronx teen that prosecutors blamed on intra-gang conflict.

Five of the defendants--Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Jose Muniz, Manuel Rivera, and Elvin Garcia--have been indicted on first-degree murder and intentional murder which included torture, according to the Bronx District Attorney’s office. They face up to life in prison.

The June killing of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, 15 and known affectionately as Junior, shocked the community. He had wanted to be a detective and was part of an NYPD youth program.

“This was an intra-gang conflict where the defendants allegedly plotted to attack an upstart sect of the Trinitarios and allegedly committed a crime that has shocked people everywhere for its brutality,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said.

Police believe they've now arrested everyone involved in the murder of the 15-year-old, who was dragged out of a Bronx bodega and stabbed with machetes and knives nearly a month ago by gang members.

“An innocent young man with a great future was unjustly targeted and brutally murdered,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “It doesn’t matter he was wrongly targeted, or it was a case of mistaken identity. Any group of people thinks committing such an act in New York City is abhorrent at its core.”

Investigators initially thought the Junior was mistaken for someone thought to be sleeping with the girlfriend of one of the gang members, but prosecutors said on Wednesday that has been found not to be true.

The defendants appeared in a courtroom packed with Junior’s relatives. At one point his mother was heard yelling “asesino” -- murderer -- at one of the suspects.

The suspects are allegedly part of the “Los Sures” set of the Trinitarios gang. On June 20, prosecutors said, they gathered at the Boston Road home of Diego Suero, the alleged leader of Los Sures, to plan to commit violence against another set of the Trinitarios called “Sunset.” The defendants then traveled in four cars, and came upon the victim, who fled from them, running approximately four blocks to a bodega in Belmont, where he tried to hide, officials said.

The defendants can be seen in surveillance footage from the store cameras entering the bodega and dragging the victim out of the store as he fought for his life. When the victim was forcefully taken from the store, five defendants repeatedly stabbed and slashed him in the neck and body with knives and a machete. The victim ran from the bodega to St. Barnabas Hospital and collapsed near the entrance.

According to prosecutors, after the stabbing, the defendants fled and went back to Diego Suero’s home to hide weapons and provide aid to Elvin Garcia, whose hand was cut in the midst of the multiple stabbings the victim received. Jonaiki Martinez Estrella, Antonio Rodriguez Hernandez Santiago, Jose Muniz, Manuel Rivera, Danel Fernandez and Jose Tavarez then fled and were ultimately arrested in Paterson, New Jersey four days later. Five other defendants were arrested in the Bronx, and one was detained in Connecticut.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

WJLA(WASHINGTON) -- Two days after masked gunmen opened fire in Washington, D.C, killing a 10-year-old girl in a terrifying caught-on-video attack, police say the suspects' car has been recovered -- but the little girl's killers remain on the run.

The suspects' car was found in Prince George's County, the D.C. Police Department announced Wednesday morning on Twitter, adding, "still need your help in identifying/locating suspects responsible for the shooting death of 10 yr old Makiyah."

Ten-year-old Makiyah Wilson was killed when the four masked gunmen pulled the now-recovered black SUV into a courtyard Monday night and opened fire on 15 to 20 people who were out enjoying the weather by a nearby playground, Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Chanel Dickerson said at a news conference Monday.

Four adults were injured, police said.

It remains unclear if any of the victims were intended targets, Dickerson said.

"They came out in this community without regard to human life and opened fire," Dickerson said. "And we have to stand up as a community to say, 'no more.'"

"All the hopes and dreams that her family had for her [are] gone," Dickerson said of the slain 10-year-old. "And we have to be outraged. We have to work with the police. You have to work with us to remove illegal firearms from our city."

"Enough is enough," Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted Monday. "We need every community member to help us get illegal guns off our streets."

Though the suspect's car is now recovered, police are urging the public to help them catch Makiyah's killer.

Anyone with information is asked to call (202)727-9099.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC (NEW YORK) -- How do you shred a guitar and let out a primal scream without making a sound?

One sign language interpreter stole the show at a heavy metal concert by passionately signing the music and lyrics for deaf fans.

Lindsay Rothschild-Cross' interpretation of a June 20 metal concert in Austin, Texas, was caught on video and has racked up tons of views online -- but the high school teacher told "Good Morning America" she is new to the genre.

"I grew up with Guns N' Roses, and Alice in Chains and Iron Maiden and things like that," Rothschild-Cross told "GMA." "I've never actually interpreted for death metal though. This is the first time."

Rothschild-Cross was accompanied by another American Sign Language interpreter during her on-camera interview with "GMA" so that she could share her thoughts with the deaf community.

The gig was part of Slayer's final world tour and included the bands Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, and Testament. The sign language teacher said that before each concert, she researches the artist so she can know their background. The key to signing music is to know the emotion behind the lyrics, not just the lyrics themselves, she said.

The viral video shows Rothschild-Cross interpreting Lamb of God's song, "Ruin." The lyrics include such hardcore lines as "I will show you all that I have mastered / Fear. / Pain. / Hatred. / Power. / This is the art of ruin."

"At first, I was honestly very nervous because I had never interpreted metal," Rothschild-Cross said. "The key is you have to impersonate the singer. The meaning of the song is a lot of anger. I just took on that feeling of someone that has hurt me before."

Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, state and local governments, as well as businesses and nonprofits that serve the public, must provide ways to "communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities." That can include a qualified sign language interpreter.

But not all interpreters are created equal, particularly when it comes to interpreting music. Amber Galloway Gallego is an American Sign Language interpreter and the owner of Amber G Productions, a company offering interpretation services for all different kinds of music.

Gallego said she has been interpreting for more than 14 years and has also worked with Rothschild-Cross.

"If you think about this analogy of how people sing, not everyone is good at it," Gallego told ABC News via email. "The same thing goes for interpreting music -- some are better at it and some of them look like a person who is scraping their nails against a chalkboard."

If venues choose to go with the cheapest interpreter available, she said, "the deaf person often will miss out on the experience which they paid good money to see."

Signing music is about much more than just conveying the meaning of the lyrics, she said.

"Every instrument has a voice. If we choose to ignore those voices, we are taking away from the experience and deaf people are constantly having things not be accessible," Gallego said. "If you only look at the lyrics, then it just becomes poetry. All the layers of music are what drives us to listen. You have to show all of them. And no, we are not playing air instruments, we are showing language."

Rothschild-Cross said multiple interpreters usually cover a concert, and at the June 20 gig, each covered four to six songs. While they try to prepare ahead of time, "sometimes they play a song and you just have to roll with it," she explained.

Her passion for conveying the music was evident to the band's fans -- both those who can hear and those who are deaf. The video was filmed by Freddie Ibarra, a fan who could hear but was so amazed by Rothschild-Cross and the response from deaf fans nearby that he started recording. But the experience also gave Rothschild-Cross a new take on heavy metal.

"I don’t normally listen to that music. But after listening, I gained a whole new appreciation," she said.

Rothschild-Cross has always been passionate about communicating with her friends in the deaf community in Austin and eventually pursued sign language in college as well. She said she has been interpreting at concerts for about four years and hopes the video will also help challenge stereotypes about deaf people.

"I just want people to understand that they can think, they can have religion, they can do anything we can do. Except hear," she said.

Gallego agreed, saying that the response from deaf fans is what makes her job special.

"My favorite experience is when deaf people have told me that this was their first time ever truly experiencing music and now have a better understanding of what each instrument sounds like," Gallego said. "When I see the deaf and hard of hearing patrons signing the instruments with me, it gives me chills every time."



Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News (LOS ANGELES) -- It's been 13 years since a young Southern California father of two was found shot dead in his bed.

But investigators are now releasing a new composite sketch of the suspect, a move the Los Angeles County Sheriff hopes will finally lead to the break detectives have been waiting for all these years.

"We believe we can show you the face of a killer," Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Tuesday at a news conference. "We believe we are very, very close to a breakthrough in this case."

The investigation began on Dec. 6, 2005, when Edward Berber was found shot to death inside his Hacienda Heights home.

His mother, who hadn't heard from him in several days, had gone to his home and found his body in bed, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. Detectives believe Berber, 27, was sleeping when he was shot and killed.

He left behind two children, ages 8 and 3, the sheriff's office said.

Berber and his wife were estranged at the time and in the process of divorcing.

Nothing in Berber's background suggests he had a falling out with anyone in his family or in the neighborhood, the sheriff's office said.

There was no sign of forced entry into his home and nothing is believed to have been stolen, according to the sheriff's office.

Berber was a "family man that loved his children," his sister, Alejandra Johnson, said at Tuesday's news conference.

"My brother had goals. He worked all his life to be accomplished and a professional, with a master's degree from Notre Dame. [He] was about to take his CPA test," she said, overcome with emotion. "I wished I could be like him."

As the years went by without an arrest, the initial homicide investigators exhausted all leads and have since retired.

"With a new set of homicide investigators looking at the facts of the case, the application of advanced technology, follow-up interviews and ongoing re-evaluation of evidence, homicide detectives believe this is a very solvable case," the sheriff's office said.

The composite sketch released on Tuesday was developed "based on re-interviewing witnesses from in 2005 and early 2006, as well as witnesses that were interviewed just recently," the sheriff's office said.

The image depicts what the suspect would have looked like 13 years ago.

"Please look at this face," McDonnell said Tuesday. "Someone out there knows him."

A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(STERLING, Va.) -- The unofficial rule of pickup basketball is "no blood, no foul." It says nothing about calling the cops, though.

A basketball game at an LA Fitness in Sterling, Virginia, resulted in just that, as one player called police after a hard foul during the contest, according to a report from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

The foul play, classified as an assault in the incident report, happened at 6:42 p.m. on Monday. One player took issue with a foul and went to the front desk in order to call the police, according to the report.

When an officer responded, apparently cooler heads had prevailed, because neither man decided to press charges against the other.

Officer Josiah Kennedy, who was the respondent, said in the report that management at the gym gave the two men "one more chance to keep the game civil" or they'd be tossed out of the LA Fitness for the day.

A person in the gym filmed the incident and posted it on Instagram and Twitter on Tuesday morning.

"This is the hardest foul in America, bro," said the person filming the aftermath of the foul. He asked the other players milling about on the court, "You calling the cops if you get fouled?"

The person filming follows one of the officers out of the gym and asks, "Have you ever been called for a basketball foul before?"

He sighs and responds, "No," and says all he was told was there was a fight.

The Instagram video had over 22,000 views as of early Wednesday morning. A photo tweeted by another player had tens of thousands of likes and retweets.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



On Facebook
Weather
Lost & Found Pets
Community Involvement
  • Megan, Public Relations, The Shelley Company Megan, Public Relations, The Shelley Company
Tune In Deals