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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Sunday
Dec212014

Teen Saves 4-Year-Old Sister From Alleged Kidnap Attempt in Southern California

iStock/Thinkstock(LANCASTER, Calif.) -- Police say a 13-year-old Southern California boy is their "hero for today" after he stepped in to save his 4-year-old sister from a would-be kidnapper.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office, deputies were patrolling a street in Lancaster, Calif., Saturday when they were flagged down to investigate a reported possible kidnap attempt.

Sgt. Eric Metten said the suspect, who was seen pacing near a home, asked a 4-year-old girl her name, reached down and grabbed her, then started to walk away. But the girl's 13-year-old brother intervened quickly, grabbing her arm and yelling for someone to dial 911.

Police caught the suspect, Earl Williams, 61, of Lancaster, while he was still in the neighborhood. He was arrested and charged with kidnapping. He was being held Sunday on $100,000 bail, and is scheduled for a court appearance Tuesday.

"It's a kidnapping charge -- not attempted -- because he actually picked her up and walked away with her," Metten said.

Police say the girl was not injured.

"Just startled, very scared," Deputy Amber Leist said, adding that she was a "smart little girl"

Police also praised her brother for his quick response.

"He was definitely quick on his feet," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Mighuel Ruiz told ABC's Los Angeles station KABC-TV. "He's very responsible for his family and obviously his 4-year-old sister. So at this point, he is our hero for today."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec212014

New York Police Officer Shooting Denounced by Families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown

Michael Graae/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The families of both Eric Garner and Michael Brown condemned the fatal shooting of two New York City police officers in what is believed to be retribution for their deaths, which have sparked national protests.

"I'm standing here in sorrow about losing those two police officers. That was definitely not our agenda. We are going in peace," Garner's mother Gwen Carr said at a news conference Sunday.

Carr stood alongside Rev. Al Sharpton and her son's widow, each reiterating that while they want protesters to make a point, they must do so peacefully.

"My husband was not a violent man, so we do not want any violence connected to his name," Esaw Garner said Sunday.

Michael Brown's family issued a statement through their lawyers just hours after the shooting in Brooklyn, sending their thoughts and prayers to the families of officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos, who police say were shot and killed by Ismaayil Brinsley.

"We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated. We must work together to bring peace to our communities," the statement said.

Garner died after an officer put him in a chokehold while stopping him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, while Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, over the summer.

Sharpton has been in touch with both families and revealed that now he has become a target himself.

Sharpton said that he began receiving threatening phone calls Saturday evening, and he played one of the messages at the news conference, saying that he has notified the FBI.

The recording accused Sharpton of being responsible for the deaths of "innocent people."

"We are now under intense threat from those who are misguided ... from [targeting] civil rights leaders to the mayor, rather than dealing with an ugly spirit that all of us need to fight," Sharpton said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec212014

New York Police Shooting Suspect Promised Attack Ahead of Time

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The man accused of killing two New York City police officers execution-style as they sat in their patrol vehicle promised his attack ahead of time, indicating on social media that he was doing so because the police-involved deaths of two African-American men earlier this year.

Ismaayil Brinsley shot officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos with "no warning, no provocation" shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, said NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.

Police believe Brinsley, 28, shot his ex-girlfriend in a suburb of Baltimore earlier in the day and then posted "anti-police postings" on her Instagram account, said Bratton.

"I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today," read the post, which included a picture of a handgun. "They Take 1 Of Ours...... Let's Take 2 Of Theirs."

The post also mentioned Eric Garner and Michael Brown, two men whose deaths have led to heavy criticism against police nationwide. In New York, Garner died after an officer put him in a chokehold while stopping him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, while Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, over the summer.


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Police in Baltimore alerted the NYPD about Brinsley after finding the post and seeing that his phone pinged from Brooklyn, but their message arrived about the same time the shootings occurred, Bratton said.

The last Facebook post made by Brinsley seemingly foreshadowed a violent ending, reading: "I Always Wanted To Be Known For Doing Something Right....... But My Past Is Stalking Me And My Present Is Haunting Me."

After shooting the two NYPD officers, Brinsley went down into the subway and ran onto the platform, where he shot himself in the head, killing himself, Bratton said.

Records show Brinsley has been arrested several times in New York, Georgia, and Ohio, with charges including robbery and assault.

Brinsley's mother was distraught after learning of the shooting, according to Tony Lindsey, her property manager.

"She's very upset and actually she's pretty much finding out about this whole thing on social media, which is horrible," Lindsey said. "The family is grieving and they're still trying to cope with what's happening."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec212014

Slain Officers 'Brought Back Horrible Memories,' Says Former NYPD Commissioner

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The shooting deaths of two city police officers "brought back horrible memories" for former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, he told ABC News Sunday.

Kelly said that Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been criticized in the wake of the deaths of officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos, "set off this latest firestorm" of anti-police sentiment after talking about how he trained his biracial son to deal with authorities.

"Quite frankly the mayor ran an anti-police campaign ... at a time when police had a 70 percent approval rating," said Kelly, who was the police commissioner when de Blasio was running for mayor.

While it has been three years since an NYPD officer was killed on the job, Kelly said police shootings were far more frequent decades ago.

"We have a history in this city, in the 70's, of these sorts of assassinations of teams of police officers and we saw more coming down the pike," said Kelly, an ABC News consultant. "Actually, in 1972, there were 12 police officers killed."

Kelly said that "we don't know" if Saturday's shooting will lead to copycat attacks.

While the NYPD announced that at least two police vehicles will respond to every call as a security precaution, Kelly suspects that will not stay in place for long.

"I think cooler heads will prevail. As I said, there was a lot of emotion last night," Kelly said. "You may see a little of that early on here ... but I think that will cool down pretty quickly."

The former police commissioner also pushed back against the presumption that police may recoil after the shooting.

"I've never seen officers back off from their sworn duty," he said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec212014

Texas Meteorologist Shooting: Witness Grabbed Paper Towels to Help Stop Bleeding

iStock/Thinkstock(WACO, Texas) -- An eyewitness recounted how he rushed to his truck to get paper towels to help stop the bleeding for a Texas meteorologist who was shot outside his television station earlier this week.

"He said 'I've been shot. I've been shot. I'm in terrible pain. Help me please!'" Richard Dieter told ABC News of the moment he saw Patrick Crawford early Wednesday.

"[I] went and got some paper towels out of my truck and we held those on his wounds and five to six minutes later, the state trooper showed up," Deiter said.

Deiter's account comes shortly after the reward was increased to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest in the shooting. Crawford, a meteorologist at KCEN-TV in Waco, Texas is still recovering, as law enforcement officials search for his attacker.


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The Falls County Sheriff's Office announced Saturday that an anonymous donor had donated $5,000 in addition to the $5,000 that had already been offered by authorities for information leading to an arrest in the case.

"We're going to do everything we can to find this person," said KCEN producer Crystal Pratt. "Someone knows who this person is."

KCEN News Director Jim Hice described the sound of the shooting, saying he "never thought it would happen here."

"I heard the 'pop, pop, pop, pop,'" he added.

Crawford was able to drive away and flag down help even though he had been shot twice. He remained at an area hospital Sunday, where he was recovering from his injuries.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said they hope the reward and sketch will help them track down the gunman.

"It's a good thing because we can get information out there quicker than we could 15, 20, 30 years ago," D.L Wilson, a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety, told ABC News affiliate KXXV-TV in Waco, Texas. "We still want people to keep calling in because this is what's going to help us solve the case."

Law enforcement is asking that anyone with information related to the shooting call Falls County Crime Stoppers at (254) 883-3105.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec212014

NYC Mayor de Blasio Criticized After Cop Killings

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for RFK Ripple Of Hope(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was criticized by New York Police Department union leaders Saturday night, after two officers wree killed as they sat in their car in Brooklyn.

Officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos were sitting in their vehicle in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn shortly before 3 p.m. when a man approached the car on the passenger side and opened fire. Both officers later died.

"The blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio. May God bless their families and may they rest in peace," the Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted.

 

 

De Blasio created controversy with his response to demonstrations about police relations with minorities, after a grand jury declined to indict an NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after he was put in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes.

The mayor, whose wife is black, said he has spoken to his mixed race teen son about how he should act if he is stopped by police.

In speaking about protesters who were arrested and charged with assaulting police during a demonstration in New York, de Blasio used the word "allegedly," which some in the NYPD seemed to take as a slight.

Patrolmens Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch and de Blasio have been locked in a public battle over treatment of officers following the grand jury's decision.

Earlier this week, Lynch suggested police officers sign a petition demanding that the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job.

Some officers turned their backs on de Blasio tonight as he walked into the hospital where the two officers were taken after the shooting.

Lynch said at a news conference tonight that there is "blood on many hands," explicitly blaming the mayor and protesters.

"We tried to warn it must not go on. It cannot be tolerated," he said. "That blood on the hands starts on the step of City Hall in the office of the mayor.

"When these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable," Lynch said.

At the news conference, de Blasio, appearing with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, wiped tears away as he spoke, and said the city is "in mourning."

"I don't think it's the time for politics or political analysis," he said. "It's a time to think about families that just lost their father, their husband, their son."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec212014

Two NYPD Cops 'Assassinated' in Brooklyn Ambush

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two New York City police officers were "assassinated," shot "execution-style" as they sat in their patrol vehicle in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, city officials said.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said the two officers were shot with "no warning, no provocation."

"Two of New York's finest were shot and killed, with no warning, no provocation," Bratton said. "They were quite simply assassinated -- targeted for their uniform."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio described the shooting of the two as they sat in a critical response vehicle in a Broklyn housing project as being carried out "execution style."

Officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos were sitting in their vehicle shortly before 3 p.m. when a man approached the car on the passenger side, took a "shooter's stance" and opened fire, Bratton said.

Liu and Ramos may have not even seen the gunman before they were shot, Bratton said.

"Officer Liu and Officer Ramos never had the opportunity to draw their weapons," he said. "They may never have actually seen their assailant, their murderer."


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"It is an attack on all of us, it is an attack on everything we hold dear," de Blasio said.

The suspect -- identified by police as Ismaayil Brinsley, 28 -- then ran to a nearby subway entrance, with police in pursuit, the commissioner said.

Brinsley went down into the subway and ran onto the platform, where he shot himself in the head, killing himself, Bratton said.

Police believe Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore earlier in the day, and then posted "anti-police postings" on her Instagram account, the police commissioner said.

Baltimore police investigating the shooting there found the posts, which included threats against New York police, and sent a message alerting the NYPD about Brinsley, but it arrived just about the time the shootings occurred, Bratton said.

Liu had gotten married just two months ago. Ramos, who had just turned 40, was a police officer for two years, fulfilling what Bratton said was a lifelong dream of being a cop. Before joining the NYPD he had been a school safety officer.

"Our city is in mourning. Our hearts are heavy," de Blasio said. "We lost two good men who devoted their lives to protecting all of us."

Hours after the shooting, dozens of police in tactical gear were still gathering evidence and had cordoned off a roughly three-block area around the site of the shooting, while other officers watched over the scene from rooftops in the area.

The shooting comes at a time when police nationwide are being heavily criticized for the deaths of unarmed black men. In New York City, Eric Garner, a black man who was stopped by police for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died after an officer put him in a chokehold.

"I can't breathe" -- words Garner could be heard gasping during his arrest, which was captured on an amateur video -- have become a rallying cry for demonstrators across the country.

One city councilman told ABC station WABC-TV in New York that the shooting in Brooklyn was "the worst thing that could have happened."

Until this shooting, no NYPD officer had been fatally shot since December 2011, when Peter Figoski, a 22-year veteran, responded to a report of a break-in at a Brooklyn apartment and was shot in the face by one of the suspects hiding in a side room. The shooter, Lamont Pride, was convicted of murder and sentenced in 2013 to 45 years to life in prison.


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Sunday
Dec212014

Rare White Lion Euthanized at Ohio Zoo

iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- A rare white lion was euthanized this week after zoo keepers found he had age-related health issues.

The lion named Future, was one of two male African white lions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. The two were loaned permanently to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden by Siegfried and Roy in 1998.

At age 17, the rare lion's ability to move had been compromised according to zoo officials.

"Future's ambulatory condition had deteriorated and his quality of life was a significant concern. Euthanasia was the most humane course of action," said Mark Campbell, Cincinnati Zoo's director of animal health, in a statement.

The average life span for a white lion is 16.8 years, when living in a zoo, according to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

"Future was a wonderful cat," said Future's zoo keeper, Michael, Land. "He was easy going as lions go and let (his brother) Sunshine do all the worrying. We will miss him."

"Future was our Brother; he will be sorely missed, especially since we are in the midst of the Holiday Season. We wish him a Magical Journey -- SARMOTI -- Siegfried & Roy," the two performers wrote.

White African lions are rare in the wild and in October the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the African lion, including the white lions, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.


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Saturday
Dec202014

Woman Thwarts Abduction of Young Girl 

iStock/Thinkstock(AUGUSTA, Maine) -- An employee at the Maine State Museum said her instincts kicked in when she saw an alleged attempted abduction.

Sharon Wise, 65, was at the museum reception desk on Tuesday when she saw a man run over to a 2-year-old girl and start to pull her by her wrist, according to ABC News affiliate WMTW-TV in Augusta, Maine.

Wise said it all happened while the little girl's grandmother was hanging up their coats.

"He grabbed a hold of the little girl and grabbed a hold of her wrist and he starts pulling her," Wise told WMTW-TV. "At that point, instinctively I bent over and hovered over the child. I kept saying in a very low voice, leave her alone."

Wise said the man did not leave the girl alone but instead kept pulling her. That's when Wise, acting on instinct, managed to get between the man and the young girl, according to WMTW-TV.

"I looked him right in the eye and I was really close to him and I said, 'Let go of her now,' and he waited for a minute, looked me right in the eye and he dropped her hand and left," she said.

Minutes after he left, the man identified as James Cavallaro was arrested by police in the museum parking lot. Cavallaro was charged with assault and held at the Kennebec County Jail.

Wise said she was happy she could be there to help, but that any other museum employee would have done the same.

"He was definitely not leaving the museum with a 2-year-old. It wasn't going to happen," she told WMTW-TV.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec202014

Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Propositioning Girl on Flight

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A California man accused of groping and sexually propositioning a teenage girl onboard a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City was in court Friday and pleaded guilty.

During a court hearing, 66-year-old Hans Loudermilk admitted to touching the 15-year-old girl on the chin and rubbing her leg while on board a Delta Airlines flight.

Prosecutors say he told the girl sitting next to him that he could teach her things and that she was old enough to marry him in Utah.

Loudermilk is pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault. In return, prosecutors are dropping two counts of sexual abuse on an aircraft.

The defense attorney claims that Loudermilk was in the beginning stages of bipolar disorder at the time of the incident.


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