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Sunday
Sep222019

Former police officer to go on trial for killing neighbor in apartment mix-up

Marilyn Nieves/iStock(DALLAS) -- In a homicide case that sparked days of protests in Dallas and calls for justice from the victim's family in the Caribbean, a former police officer is expected to go on trial Monday, accused of fatally shooting a 26-year-old unarmed black man after mistaking his apartment for her own and wrongly suspecting he was a burglar.

Amber Guyger, who is white and a former Dallas police officer, is charged with murder stemming from the Sept. 6, 2018, fatal shooting of Botham "Bo" Jean at the South Side Flats apartment complex in Dallas.

"Anytime you bring a case against a police officer it's difficult anywhere in the country because there's so much automatic credibility given to law enforcement officers," Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Jean's loved ones, told ABC News on Sunday.

Merritt said he is hoping the judge presiding over the case rejects Guyger's attempt to use Texas's Castle Doctrine as a defense. Similar to Florida's "stand your ground" law, the Castle Doctrine allows people to use lethal force to defend themselves from harm that presents itself in the comfort of their own home.

"Of course that's tricky because we know Amber Guyger was not in her own home," Merritt said.

He said if the judge refuses to instruct the jury on the Castle Doctrine, Guyger is likely to be convicted.

Opening arguments in the case are expected to begin Monday after a jury was picked earlier this month to hear the case.

Jean's family, including his parents, brother and sister, are expected to hold a prayer vigil on the steps of the Dallas courthouse Monday morning before the trial begins, Merritt said.

"We're hoping to see a diverse jury that's able to critically analyze testimony from law enforcement officers," Merritt said.

Guyger, 31, was fired from the Dallas Police Department 18 days after she fatally shot Jean. She had been a member of the department for four years.

She told investigators she arrived home about 10 p.m. after working a 15-hour shift and parked her car on the fourth floor of the building instead of the third floor, which corresponded to her apartment, according to an arrest warrant affidavit by investigators from the Texas Rangers, a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Guyger's apartment was directly beneath Jean's fourth-floor unit.

"Guyger entered the building and walked down the fourth-floor hallway to what she thought was her apartment," according to the arrest warrant. "She inserted a unique door key, with an electronic chip, into the door keyhole. The door, which was slightly ajar prior to Guyger's arrival, fully opened under the force of the key insertion."

When the door opened, she saw a "large silhouette" in the nearly completely dark apartment and believed it was a burglar, according to the warrant.

Guyger told investigators she drew her firearm, gave verbal commands that were ignored and fired twice, hitting Jean, who lived alone, in the torso, according to the document.

She was still in her uniform at the time of the shooting.

"Due to the interior darkness of the apartment, Guyger turned on the interior lights while on the phone with 911. Upon being asked where she was located by emergency dispatchers, Guyger returned to the front door to observe the address and discovered she was at the wrong apartment," according to the arrest warrant.

During his funeral, Jean, who was an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, was recalled by mourners as a man of many talents: a strong Christian, a beloved friend, dependable work colleague and a gifted singer. Jean's uncle said he had aspirations of becoming a politician in his native country of Saint Lucia.

"The sound of gunshots did not have the resonance to be heard on our small island, but their impact was of nuclear proportions," Jean's uncle, Ignatius Jean, told mourners at the funeral. "A nuke had been unleashed on our family by someone charged to protect and serve."

Guyger was initially arrested and charged with manslaughter. But a Dallas County grand jury later indicted her on one count of murder.

Guyger's defense team had requested a change of venue for the trial, arguing Guyger couldn’t get a fair trial in Dallas County because of the publicity surrounding the case.

A judge rejected the request.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Sep222019

Fort Jackson Army recruit dies preparing for outdoor physical training drill

JRLPhotographer/iStock(COLUMBIA, S.C.) --  An 18-year-old Army recruit at Fort Jackson died on Friday night following a "medical emergency" before an outdoor physical training exercise, according to a Fort Jackson official.

The unidentified recruit was from central North Carolina and part of the 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry regiment, nicknamed the "River Raiders."

U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr., posted a statement to Twitter saying the recruit, "experienced a medical emergency" while preparing to do physical training and that "separate investigations will be taking place to determine the facts behind the incident."


"The tragic loss of a Soldier, our nation's most precious resource, is devastating to the families, friends and teammates," according to the statement.

Medical responders transported the 18-year-old from Fort Jackson to Providence Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, where the recruit was pronounced dead shortly after 8:30 p.m. on Friday night. According to a statement on the Fort Jackson Facebook page, Providence Hospital staff reported that the death was not heat related.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own. Our hearts and prayers are with the family members and team mates of the deceased soldier," said Beagle. "We are providing every comfort and assistance we can to all involved."

All 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry soldiers-in-training were given the opportunity to call home in the 36 hours following the recruit's death.

The recruit's name would not be released until next-of-kin notification is complete. The cause of death is under investigation.

Fort Jackson trains half of the Army's basic combat recruits with 10,000 soldiers training daily, according to the base's website.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Sep222019

Viral 'beer money' request reportedly generates $1 million in donations for children's hospital 

Carson King(NEW YORK) --  A college football fan who made a social media plea for "beer money" and turned the humorous request into a fundraising effort for a children’s hospital has now reportedly reached $1 million in donations.

"We just reached a million in total contributions," Carson King, the man who launched the fundraising effort, tweeted on Sunday, along with "Let’s goooo!" and "We’re not done yet!"

King said the money is being raised through his Venmo account.

It all started as a joke when King, 24, waved a sign that read "Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished," under which he'd scrawled his Venmo handle in black Sharpie, on Sept. 14 during ESPN's "College GameDay."

"I thought it would just be a joke," King told "Good Morning America," on Friday. "I didn't think anyone would actually see it."

 When his Venmo account hit $600, he spoke to his family for advice and decided to change course. He took to social media to announce that after covering the cost of a case of Busch Lite, he would be donating the rest of the proceeds to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.

After the "GMA" broadcast, money transfers and donations flooded his Venmo account. Within hours, he'd received more than 2,000 notifications, King told "GMA."

Busch Beer and Venmo announced on Twitter that they would match King’s donation. As of Friday, King had raised $157,000.

King told "GMA" he intends to keep his Venmo account open for donations as they continue to appear until the end of the month. After that, he will cut a check from the money in his account and present it to the hospital in person, where he will go on a tour of the hospital facilities and get to meet some of the kids who will benefit from the massive donation.

"We can’t think – our minds are blown by this," tweeted an account which states is the official Twitter account of University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. "Thank you to everyone who helped reach this milestone! We’re so grateful!"

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Sunday
Sep222019

Woman arrested with $6,000 worth of stolen coins in baby stroller, police say

Bakersfield Police Department (BAKERSFIELD, Calif.) --  Police in Southern California said they were concerned when they saw a woman struggling to push her baby in a stroller, but they got a heck of a surprise when they went to check on her.

Officers in Bakersfield, California, just north of Los Angeles, said they approached the woman to "check her welfare" but they quickly realized that is wasn't a baby she was struggling with. She was actually totting thousands of dollars in stolen coins from a recent home invasion, according to the Bakersfield Police Department.

Police shared images from the scene via Twitter on Friday, showing the stolen coins, which they alleged she acquired in a burglary.

"Two BPD detectives saw a woman struggling to push a baby stroller," the department said in a tweet Friday. "They went to check her welfare and discovered the stroller didn’t contain a child… but instead held over 6K in coins taken in a burglary."

Fritz was arrested on burglary in the first degree, a felony, as well as other charges, including obstructing the peace and possession of a controlled substance, court records show.

She was being held on $65,000 bail as of Sunday afternoon and was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

It's unclear if Fritz has retained an attorney.

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Sunday
Sep222019

14-year-old boy fatally shot in Denver in argument over Jordan sneakers: Sister

aijohn784/iStock(DENVER) -- An argument over a pair of Jordan sneakers apparently escalated into a shooting in Denver that left a 14-year-old boy dead and his juvenile friend in custody, police and the victim's sister said.

Treaujalaune '"Trey" Lornes, a high school freshman, was killed on Wednesday afternoon at a home in Denver, police said.

A spokesman for the Denver Police Department confirmed to ABC News on Sunday that a juvenile was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting, but declined to release further details because the suspect is a minor.

But Lornes' sister, Tyquajanna Lornes, told ABC affiliate station KMGH-TV in Denver, that police informed her family that an argument over a pair of Jordan sneakers apparently prompted the killing.

"My brother got shot on the stairs in the house, and now they're saying that it's not over a gun, it was over a pair of shoes! It was over a pair of shoes!" the sister said.

She said her brother and his friends were at a car wash near their school, Washington High School, on Wednesday when an argument broke out over a pair of Jordan sneakers and continued at the home of one of the youngsters.

Police confirmed the shooting occurred inside a Denver home around 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

The suspect, whose name and age were not immediately released, was taken into custody on suspicion of manslaughter, second-degree assault, three counts of felony menacing, attempting to influence public officials and being a juvenile in possession of a handgun.

Formal charges against the suspect are pending a review of the case by the Denver District Attorney's Office. Officials at the district attorney's office could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday.

Tyquajanna Lornes told KMGH that the boy who shot her brother initially blamed the killing on someone else.

"The boy that sat there with him and watched him die, and watched him go, when he should have died at home with us, killed him," she said.

She said she spoke to the suspect's mother prior to his arrest.

"She told me, 'My son feels so bad. He cries every night and tells me that he sees Trey all over again every time he goes to sleep.' But to wake up this morning and know that you were the one that did that to him...," she said shaking her head.

Tyquajanna Lornes said her brother dreamed of one day playing professional basketball and earning enough money to take care of his entire family.

"He was sweet," she said tearfully. "He was a baby."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Sep222019

Young hotel worker hailed as a hero after working 32 hours straight during Hurricane Imelda 

Facebook/Angela K Chandler(BEAUMONT, Texas) -- A Texas hotel employee is being hailed as a hero after working 32 hours straight and helped to ensure guests' safety and comfort as the region was assailed by Hurricane Imelda.

Satchel Smith began his shift at the Homewood Suites in Beaumont at 3 p.m. on Sept. 18 but was not relieved until 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 20, reports ABC affiliate WFAA.

At one point, he was the lone employee on-site, said hotel guest Angela Chandler in a Facebook post praising Smith. His co-workers were unable to travel in the storm to get to work at the Hilton-owned hotel.

"Meet Satchel. He is the only employee here at Homewood Suites in Beaumont. The access road is underwater and [Interstate 10] is shut down due to flooding. We can’t get in or go out. The hotel a mile from us is under water. Satchel has been here all night," Chandler wrote. She said in her Facebook post that she was a guest at the hotel during Smith's long hours.

She went on to commend Smith, a full-time college student at Lamar University, for his service. "He has manned the phones, answered each of our questions, ensured that we have had a hot cup of coffee or tea, and helped serve us a hot breakfast," she posted. She wrote that he “handled this situation with grace, kindness, and a beautiful smile on his face."

During Smith's shift the weather caused problems with the hotel's computers, setting off fire alarms, yet the young worker tried to remain calm, Smith told WFAA. He and guests of the hotel worked together making breakfast and dinner for everyone.

However, Smith said that he doesn't consider himself a hero.

"I was always gonna be there for them, I would never plan on leaving," he said. "I don't consider myself a hero, that's just what I would do, I think anybody would do the same thing."

Alanna Hall, operations manager at Homewood Suites by Hilton, said that the company is also recognizing Smith.

The company's management "is going to be rewarding him for his hard work," Hall told ABC News. "He is usually just a one day a week employee and he just happened to be working that day -- and I am so happy he was because he totally stepped up to the crisis," she said.

The company will give Smith a bonus, said Hall.


Hurricane Imelda paralyzed the Houston, Texas, area, bringing hazardous flooding that so far, has left five dead and a wake of destruction in its aftermath. Many in the area are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, which struck two years ago.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday declared a state of disaster for 13 counties as the floodwaters climbed. In Harris County, which encompasses Houston, more than 1,000 people were rescued.

The downpour is the fourth highest amount of rain from a tropical system in Texas' recorded history, as well as the seventh highest amount of rain from a tropical system in U.S. recorded history.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Sep222019

Mother and grandmother arrested after 9-year-old boy stabbed in back of head by 4-year-old girl

iStock/MattGush(PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA) -- A mother and grandmother in Florida have been arrested after leaving 5 children between the ages of 3 and 9 home alone, during which time a 9-year-old boy was stabbed in the back of the head by a 4-year-old girl.

Julie Belliard, the 30-year-old mother of the 5 children, left to go to work in the early morning hours on Friday, leaving the children in the care of Marie Pierre, the 55-year-old grandmother of the 5 kids.

But when Belliard needed to get picked up from work in the afternoon, Pierre decided she would go, knowing the children would be left alone and unsupervised in the home, police in Port St. Lucie said.

Pierre provided the 9-year-old boy with a cell phone in case of an emergency and instructed him to call her if anything happened.

But while Pierre was out and the children were left alone, the youngest child, who is 3-years-old, picked up a knife. The 4-year old girl then grabbed it from the youngest child and threw it across the room and away from the 3-year-old, according to the Port St. Lucie Police in a statement on Facebook.

The knife then struck the TV, bounced off of the stand and hit the 9-year-old boy in the back of the head causing a half inch cut, police said.

Another child saw that the boy was bleeding heavily from the back of the head and immediately tried to call his mother and grandmother for help.

But neither Pierre nor Belliard answered their phones, police said.

Panicked, the child tried to call police for help but instead of dialing 9-1-1, they managed to dial 9-9-1 instead.

An 8-year-old boy then ran out of the house to a neighbor’s residence to get help.

"I mean, he was just bleeding everywhere from the head. … so it was scary," said neighbor Kristin Pusateri to ABC West Palm Beach affiliate WPBF.

Pusateri said she and her mother were watching television when the 8-year old boy came to them.

"The 8-year-old came and actually opened our front door and came in and was like, 'My brother is bleeding,'" Pusateri said.

It was then that Pusateri and her mother ran to the home to check on the children and discovered that the 5 kids were there with no adults and no supervision.

 They decided to bring all five children, including the 9-year-old victim, over to their home, according to WPBF.

"They all came in," Pusateri said. "We just wrapped his head in a towel just to stop the bleeding and just waited for the cops to show up."

The cops arrived quickly, according to Pusateri.

When the authorities arrived, the 9-year-old victim was flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

But, to make matters worse, when police began to conduct their investigation they said they noticed that the 5 children were unwashed and unkempt, had several bug bites on their legs and were living in deplorable conditions.

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) were called in to conduct an investigation where it was deemed that the children were in harm’s way and removed from the home.

The children are now in the care of DCF while Belliard and Pierre have been arrested and charged with Child Neglect.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Sep222019

Ohio grandmother charged with murder of 5-year-old grandson after allegedly beating him to death

ABC News/WTVG(TOLEDO, OHIO) -- A grandmother from Toledo, Ohio, has been charged with murder after she allegedly admitted to hitting her grandson so hard that he eventually died from the injuries.

The Toledo Fire Department responded to a call on Thursday from Yisenya Flores after she reported that her 5-year-old grandson had fallen off of a bed in her home, according to ABC’s Toledo affiliate station WTVG.

Flores allegedly claimed that her grandson, Anjuan M. Hare III, had jumped from a box spring mattress that was laid on its side onto a carpeted floor and injured himself in the fall.

Medics immediately initiated life-saving measures and immediately transported Hare to Toledo Hospital where he eventually died.

Staff members then told the authorities that Hare’s injuries were not consistent with a fall from a bed as Flores had claimed, according to court documents obtained by WTVG.

Police interviewed Flores who then admitted to hitting the child the previous day but did not call 9-1-1 until the following evening even though her grandson was allegedly “lethargic and semi-unresponsive” and was allegedly unable to get up from the floor after she hit him, according to the court documents.

The coroner discovered evidence that Hare had also been suffering from Battered Child Syndrome, which means that he had older blunt-force trauma injuries that were healing and that the alleged abuse was ongoing.

Flores was in court on Friday facing a charge of child endangerment and was held in jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond that was set during her arraignment by the court.

The murder charge was added on Saturday and Flores is expected to face a judge for the new charge on Monday morning.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Sep222019

At least 3 dead in Pittsburgh drug-overdose horror

IStock/MattGush(PITTSBURGH) -- At least three people, all wearing orange wristbands, died from drug overdoses early Sunday and four others were hospitalized after police responded to a medical emergency at an apartment complex in Pittsburgh, officials said.

Police and paramedics were called to the Southside Works City Apartments around 2 a.m. and discovered seven people in medical distress, including two who were unresponsive, police said.

All of the victims were wearing orange wristbands apparently connected a venue they had been to Saturday night, police said.

"The victims -- including three people who died and four who remain hospitalized -- appear to have been at the same venue together, and then to have gone to a second location at a private residence where they apparently overdosed on drugs," the Pittsburgh Police Department said in a statement. "The victims all took the narcotics at the same time and in the same location."

Police did not immediately say what kind of drugs the victims overdosed on, but expressed concern about a "tainted, potentially deadly batch of drugs in the community."

One man was found passed out in the street outside the apartment building and later died, police said at a news conference. Another victim was found unresponsive in an elevator, according to authorities.

When police officers went inside the apartment where the drugs were allegedly taken, they found five other people in need of medical assistance, authorities said.

The five people found inside the apartment were taken to a hospital with conditions ranging from serious to critical, officials said.

"To be clear, this was not a case of a tainted drug being passed around or distributed in large volume at a large venue which could have affected even more people," the police statement reads. "It appears to have been isolated to a single location."

Police said they identified multiple venues, including concerts, where orange wristbands were distributed but did not name the venue where the victims were before they overdosed.

As a precaution, air tests in the apartment and throughout the complex were conducted and came back negative, authorities said.

Police said no drug paraphernalia was found inside the building.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Sep222019

Heavy rains throughout Midwest, Tropical Storm Karen develops in Atlantic

IStock/Noppharat05081977(FARGO, N.D.) -- Over 9 inches of rain has hit parts of the Northeastern Plains as a cold front sweeps across the Central states.

Storms will push east today and could possibly impact the Northeast by Monday evening.

This frontal system was responsible for at least 9.5 inches of rain in northern Minnesota and 8.73 inches of rain in eastern North Dakota on Saturday.

As a result of the intense heavy rain, flash flooding was reported in both the Fargo and Grand Forks areas.

The system also brought 2 reported tornadoes to eastern Kansas on Saturday night as well as a 75 mph wind gust in Russell, KS.

This morning there have already been reports of rainfall totals approaching 4" in parts of Southern Nebraska due to heavy rain.

A long line of storms is visible on the radar stretching from the Mexican border to parts of the Upper Midwest.

A cold front is tapping into moisture from a rapidly weakening Tropical Storm Elena along with tropical moisture from the Gulf.

Flash flood Watches are in effect for parts of the region from southwest Texas to Wisconsin including Kansas City and Chicago.

As the cold front moves east today it will likely fire up some strong storms and heavy rain through parts of Midwest from Missouri to Michigan, including around St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis.

Rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour could cause flash flooding in spots throughout the day.

 Later this evening and into early Monday storms will slide over into the Ohio Valley and the interior northeast but will likely lose some moisture and coverage with the loss of daytime heating.

Then on Monday night into early Tuesday, it appears the cold front will tap into just enough heat and moisture to bring a round of storms to the northeast U.S.

While the chances of severe thunderstorms remains isolated, gusty winds and locally heavy downpours appear likely in the major metro areas Monday night and early Tuesday.

Locally over 4 inches of rain will fall in parts of the Midwest through today from this system, especially in areas of Illinois and Indiana.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Karen has formed in the Atlantic and could impact Puerto Rico on Tuesday as new Tropical Strom Warnings have been issued in the Caribbean.

A new tropical Storm warning has been issued for portions of the Windward Islands, including Trindiad and Tobago. Karen currently has winds of 40 mph and is moving West Northwest at 9MPH.

Karen is expected to bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds to parts of the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, over the next few days.

Although some overnight models are beginning to indicate that this tropical wave could become a system worth monitoring later this week, it remains too early to determine how this system will evolve in the long term.

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