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Saturday
Feb252017

8-year-old fatally shot in Houston after car crash

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- An 8-year-old girl was fatally shot following a car crash in Houston, Texas, early Saturday morning, police said.

Patrol officers responded to reports of a collision at the intersection of the Beltway 8 feeder road and Fuqua Street at around 2 a.m. local time. When officers arrived on scene, they learned that two or three vehicles were traveling at high rates of speed southbound on Fuqua Street. One of the vehicles, a Pontiac, was struck at the intersection by a black Honda Accord traveling eastbound on the feeder road, according to the Houston Police Department.

Following the crash, an unknown person opened fire on the Honda, striking 8-year-old De'Maree Adkins, who was in the vehicle with her mother. The girl was taken to a nearby hospital where she died from her injuries. The mother was not injured, according to the Houston Police Department.

Police told ABC News the incident is being investigated as a homicide. Officers are now searching for a dark colored, four-door sedan that fled the scene. There were no suspects in custody and no known motive for the fatal shooting at this time, police said.

The victim's mother, Toyia Thomas, told ABC News the incident happened as she was driving home with her daughter. Thomas took an exit south off the Beltway 8 and the traffic light at the intersection ahead turned from green to yellow as she approached. Thomas then noticed a car coming from another direction at a high speed but she couldn't slow down in time and the vehicles collided, Thomas told ABC News.

Thomas said she immediately checked on her daughter to make sure she was unharmed from the crash. De'Maree was still asleep in the backseat, she said.

Thomas said she was about to get out of her car when she saw another vehicle drive up and a woman get out with a gun. The woman then opened fire on her car, Thomas told ABC News.

Thomas said she didn't realize her daughter had been shot until she took De'Maree out of the car and saw a blood stain on her jacket. Thomas lifted up the girl's clothing and saw a bullet wound, she said.

"Never thought I'd be burying my 8-year-old daughter," Thomas told ABC News Saturday in an emotional interview. "That was my baby."

Thomas said she does not know the other people involved in the car crash.

The mother is struggling to make sense of why her daughter was shot and believes this may be a case of road rage. She described De'Maree as a "happy," "witty," smart," "fun-loving" 8-year-old girl who was an honor student at school and was learning to play the violin.

"My daughter was full of life," Thomas told ABC News as she wiped away tears from her eyes. "I can't watch her grow up."

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Saturday
Feb252017

Authorities investigating whether Kansas triple shooting that killed one was a hate crime

iStock/Thinkstock(OLATHE, Kan.) — Authorities are investigating whether a triple shooting at a Kansas bar, which resulted in one death, was a hate crime.

On Wednesday evening, police responded to a 911 call of shots fired at Austin's Bar and Grill in Olathe, located about 20 miles southwest of Kansas City, said Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke.

The suspect, Adam W. Purinton, was arrested in the early morning hours on Thursday in Clinton, Missouri and is being held on $2 million bond, said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe. Purinton had fled the scene of the shooting, according to Menke.

Authorities said the perpetrator of the attack shot Alok Madasani and Srinivas Kuchibhotla, both 32, and 24-year-old Ian Grillot.

All three victims were taken to a local hospital, where Kuchibhotla died, Menke said, adding that authorities have been in contact with all of the victim's families. The other two victims are in stable condition, Menke said.

Kuchibhotla worked as an engineer at Garmin.

"I am very disturbed by last night's shooting in Olathe," read a statement from Kansas Senator Jerry Moran. "I strongly condemn violence of any kind, especially if it is motivated by prejudice and xenophobia."

Grillot said in an interview from his hospital bed that after the shooting started, he took cover until he thought the shooter's magazine was empty.

"I got up and proceeded to chase him down, try to subdue him," Grillot said in a video posted online by the University of Kansas Health System. "I got behind him and he turned around and fired a round at me."

Grillot said he was hit in the hand and the chest, and that a bullet narrowly missed a major artery.

"I was told I was incredibly lucky for what happened to me," Grillot said. "I could have never walked again or seen my family again."

Purington has been charged with one count of premeditated murder and two counts of premeditated attempted murder, Howe said. It will be up to Clinton County to decide whether to waive extradition, he added.

Howe would not disclose the type of weapon used in the attack, which he described as a "pretty traumatic event in a very open, public situation."

It is unclear if Purington has retained a lawyer.

The FBI is investigating whether the shooting was a bias crime, said Kansas City FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Jackson. Local police will also aid in the investigation into whether the shooting was racially motivated.

Jackson FBI personnel are working the investigation into the shooting "from every angle to determine that the true facts are."

Authorities were unable to provide further details in the case, which is still under investigation.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Howe said.

Howe said the community around Olathe bonded together after a similar incident three years ago.

"In these tragic instances, often the community bonds together," Howe said. "I think we'll see this again. I'm very proud of this community."

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Saturday
Feb252017

Chicago police arrest 81 in overnight raids, mostly for drug and weapons offenses

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) --  The Chicago Police Department conducted a series of overnight raids from Thursday into Friday that resulted in 81 arrests, mostly for drug- and weapons-related offenses, Supt. Eddie Johnson said Friday.

The raids, focused on the city's South and West Side neighborhoods, were "focused on the underlying source of crime in these areas: the sale of narcotics," Johnson said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

 Of the 81 people arrested, Johnson said 61 are previously convicted felons, 49 are documented gang members, 19 have previously been arrested on gun charges, 14 are currently on parole, and 65 have been previously identified by police to be at a higher risk to be a victim or offender of gun violence.

"There are repeat gun offenders that one, don't care they're on parole, two, don't care about the fact they're already previously convicted felons," Johnson said.

Police are still looking for 40 people targeted in the raids, and said another raid in the coming weeks will have federal assistance.

 Twelve firearms were also seized by police during the raids, Johnson said.

Anthony Riccio, chief of organized crime, said, "One of the guns we took off the street ... is actually a machine gun capable of firing 40 to 50 rounds in just a matter of seconds."

Johnson added, "We are almost double in gun arrests than we were the same time last year -- that's a ridiculous number."

Drugs were also seized in the raids, which had been planned for about three weeks.

"Narcotics and narcotic sales is the thing that allows the buying of guns," Riccio said.

Johnson urged lawmakers at every level of government to help with stemming Chicago's seemingly out of control gun violence.

"CPD can do better, our judicial system can do better, our state legislators can do better. It takes all of us," he said. "If you're OK every day sitting by watching these people die and that's OK with you, then good luck on that. But if you care at all, you should be helping the city do something about this violence."

Johnson said stricter punishment for repeat gun offenders would stem the violence, because possible offenders would know the severity of the consequences and act as a deterrent from picking up a gun in the first place.

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Saturday
Feb252017

Las Vegas firefighters responding to house fire resuscitate pet cat with CPR

North Las Vegas Fire Department (LAS VEGAS) --  A Las Vegas couple is grateful that their cat has nine lives, after their feline required CPR after being caught in a house fire Friday, officials said.

The North Las Vegas Fire Department said it responded Friday afternoon to calls of a fire at a single-story, single-family home. The fire was extinguished and contained after about 37 minutes.

"There was one adult male and adult female, whom lived at the house but were not home at the time of the fire," the fire department said in a statement

While the human occupants were never in danger, the same couldn't be said for the cat of the house.

"The pet cat, which was in the house required pet CPR, was resuscitated, and is in good condition right now," the fire department said.

 Neighbor Calvin Lynch told firefighters who arrived at the scene that he thought the couple had a dog. Shortly after, firefighters came out carrying a lifeless cat and immediately hooked it up to oxygen and performed CPR. It was shortly after the cat was revived.

"I didn't really see it move after that," Lynch told ABC affiliate KTNV. "It actually kind of shook me, so I turned the other way. I just thought it was awesome that they were able to bring it back to life."

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Friday
Feb242017

Man connected to Connecticut Amber Alert was deported in 2013, authorities say

iStock/Thinkstock(BRIDGEPORT, Conn.) -- The 39-year-old man suspected of murder and connected to an Amber Alert involving his 6-year-old daughter had been deported from the U.S. in 2013, according to federal authorities.

Early Friday morning, an Amber Alert was issued in Bridgeport, Connecticut and several surrounding states after 6-year-old Aylin Sophia Hernandez had been reported missing, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

The girl's father, Oscar Obedio Hernandez, a citizen of El Salvador, had been issued a final order of removal by an immigration judge on Oct. 29, 2013 and was removed by immigration officers in Hartford, Connecticut less than a month later, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Hernandez has prior felony convictions from 2002 for assault and threatening, as well as several more misdemeanor convictions, according to ICE. It is unclear how he returned to the U.S after he was deported.

Police immediately suspected Hernandez's father in her abduction. He and the girl were located around 11 a.m. Friday, when a state trooper noticed the 2017 silver Hyundai Sonata Hernandez that was described in the alert.

Hernandez refused to pull the car over, which sparked a high-speed chase on Interstate 99 near Benner Township, Pennsylvania, according to state police. While traveling at high speeds, Hernandez struck the trailer of a truck, which caused the pursuing police officer to then rear-end his vehicle, police said.

The girl suffered minor injuries in the crash, but authorities determined her to be "safe." Hernandez was taken to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries, the extent of which are unclear.

Hernandez is suspected of killing the girl's mother prior to the abduction, ABC owned station WABC-TV reported, citing Bridgeport Police.

Criminal and traffic charges against Hernandez are forthcoming, according to state police. ICE has also placed an immigration detainer with the Bridgeport Police Department, the federal agency said.

The Bridgeport Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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Friday
Feb242017

Video captures police-involved shooting in DC that left man dead

Metropolitan Police Department(WASHINGTON) -- Police in Washington, D.C., continue to investigate a late-night shooting Thursday involving two officers and a civilian that was captured on video and then posted to social media.

During a news conference Friday, authorities said that around 10:42 p.m. Thursday, two uniformed officers in an unmarked car were responding to earlier reports of gunshots when they approached a man in the capital's Northeast section.

Police Chief Peter Newsham on Friday identified the man as 47-year-old Timothy Lionel Williams, whom he said ran and then stopped. He and the officers struggled and shots were fired, police said.

All three were hit by gunfire. Williams later died at a hospital; the two officers were hospitalized with nonlife-threatening injuries, police said. One officer underwent surgery Thursday night. Newsham said one officer already had been released.

Newsham said investigators believe that just one of the officers fired a weapon.

He also said Friday that a semi-automatic handgun that police believed belonged to Williams had been recovered at the scene of the shooting. Newsham could not say where investigators found the gun in proximity to Williams' body.

It was not clear whether Williams shot either of the officers, police said. However, authorities said there were indications that the weapon had been fired.

Newsham said that both officers were wearing activated body cameras and that he'd reviewed the footage. He said the mayor would review the footage and decide when to release it.

Both officers are on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol. Newsham said they were at least three-year veterans of the force and were part of a crime-suppression team focused on getting illegal firearms off the street in the capital's Fifth District.

He advised people who'd seen the video posted on Twitter not to jump to conclusions. He said that investigators had spoken with the person who'd taken the video and that the camera person had told police that he'd started recording after much of the incident had occurred.

"Whatever you have seen so far is incomplete so to draw any conclusions about exactly what happened is just -- I don't recommend doing that because I can't say, from everything I've seen and everything that I know, what happened," he said.

Newsham said that more witnesses are expected to come forward.

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Friday
Feb242017

Authorities investigating Indiana murders receive thousands of tips from public

Indiana State Police(DELPHI, Ind.) — Authorities investigating the slayings of two girls in Indiana have received over 1,900 tips since making an impassioned plea on Wednesday for people to come forward with information, a law enforcement source close to the investigation told ABC News Friday.

The surge in tips followed the release of a new video clip retrieved from the cellphone of one of the victims, 14-year-old Liberty "Libby" German. When police played some audio from the clip at a news conference in the town of Delphi on Wednesday morning, reporters heard just three words from a deep voice: "Down the hill."

The audio quality is not great, but police said it's enough for someone to recognize the individual's voice. Investigators believe the clip was recorded just before the attack.

"Libby had the presence of mind to turn on her video camera," Indiana State Police spokesman Capt. David Bursten said Wednesday. "There's no doubt in our minds that that young lady is a hero."

The rest of the video will not be released at this time because of the ongoing investigation. Investigators recovered other evidence from the girl's phone that is also not being released, Bursten said.

German and 13-year-old Abigail "Abby" Williams, both of Carroll County, were reported missing by their families Feb. 13 after the two did not return from a hike.

After organized searches, the bodies of the two girls were found Feb. 14 outside Delphi in the woods near Deer Creek, about three-quarters of a mile from an abandoned railroad bridge where they were dropped off the day before to go hiking. An autopsy revealed their identities.

"Evidence in this case has led investigators to believe that this is a double homicide, and that's what we're investigating at this time," Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Tony Slocum told reporters Wednesday.

Indiana State Police on Monday said a man in a photograph is the primary suspect in the investigation. The man — dressed in blue jeans, a blue jacket and a hoodie — was photographed on a nature trial around the same time the two girls disappeared.

He was previously labeled a person of interest, and police had said he might be only a witness to the crime.

"We are actively looking for this person. We believe this person is our suspect," Slocum said.

Authorities spent much of Wednesday's news conference delivering an emotional appeal to the public to submit tips to track down the man in the photograph and the person whose voice is in the audio clip.

"Someone knows who this individual is," Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter told reporters, while holding back tears. "And if you're watching, we'll find you."

Investigators said that there is the possibility of more than one suspect and that it's unclear whether the voice in the audio clip belongs to the man in the photograph.

The FBI has been assisting local authorities in the investigation since last week. Agents have briefed FBI Director James Comey on the case on two occasions.

Gregory Massa, the FBI assistant special agent in charge in Indianapolis, asked the public to think back to Feb. 13, the day the girls went missing.

"Just think if you had an interaction with an individual who inexplicably canceled an appointment that you had together," Massa said Wednesday. "Or an individual called into work sick and canceled a social engagement. At the time, they gave what would have been a plausible explanation."

Suspicious behavior or a change in someone's behavior should also be a red flag, Massa said.

"Did [an] individual travel unexpectedly?" he asked. "Did they change their appearance? Did they shave their beard, cut their hair or change the color of their hair? Did they change the way they dress?"

In total, authorities have received approximately 3,900 tips via phone and email. Authorities and community leaders are offering a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest, according to a press release from the Indiana State Police on Thursday.

Citizens can provide information about this case by calling the Delphi murder tip line at 844-459-5786. Information can be reported anonymously. Tips can also be emailed to abbyandlibbytip@cacoshrf.com.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb242017

Fire at Florida mosque being investigated as arson

ABCNews.com(THONOTOSASSA, Fla.) -- Officials believe an early morning fire at a mosque in Florida was intentionally set, and the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

The Hillsbourgh County Fire Rescue received a call around 2:09 a.m. local time Friday about a fire at the Islamic Society of New Tampa in Thonotosassa. Firefighters put out the blaze and no one was hurt, though the building, commonly referred to as the New Tampa Mosque, suffered some property damage, officials said.

Officials and mosque members said it appears someone tried to break into the building. There are marks on the door, which is locked every night when the mosque closes.

Authorities will review footage from surveillance cameras that are installed throughout the property. The investigation is ongoing.

Officials from CAIR Florida, the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, held a news conference with officials outside the mosque Friday morning. Members of the mosque told reporters they’ve already received incredible support on social media and from the community.

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, an attorney and the communications director for CAIR Florida, called the fire a “hate crime” and an “act of terror.”

"We congratulate the Hillsborough County first responders for their prompt response to this tragic situation. It is worrisome that our community have fallen victim of what appears to be another hate crime,” Ruiz said in a statement Friday. “CAIR-Florida urgently call [sic] all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to be on top of the investigation of what appears to be a heinous act of terror against the Muslim community.”

Due to the ongoing investigation, there will be no Friday prayer at the mosque Friday. All regular prayers will be held in the old mosque building, according to a press release from the Islamic Society of New Tampa.

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Friday
Feb242017

Woman pens obituary on behalf of her sassy, 91-year-old grandmother

Courtesy Melissa Falter (POWELL, Ohio) -- An Ohio woman has penned an obituary on behalf of her vivacious, 91-year-old grandmother before her death earlier this week.

Melissa Falter, granddaughter of the late Jean Oddi, wrote the humorous tribute that she said captured her grandmother's sassy personality.

"She's laughing," Falter, 45, told ABC News. "She's probably saying, 'See I told you I was funny and everybody loved me!' [I] think a lot of people are craving this great story and here's this woman who's 91 years old and got to travel, loved her family and friends and was comfortable in her own skin...she was very positive and I think lately this world has been very negative and divisive and maybe it's a new thing to have an uplifting mourning period to celebrate her life."

Oddi was born on Sept. 7, 1925. She was married twice and is survived by one daughter, Casey Clark, one grandchild, Melissa Falter, and two great-grandchildren, Griffin Falter, 16, and Nicholas Falter, 13.

In January, Oddi broke her hip and injured her head from a fall. She was admitted into the hospital on Feb. 13 and was declared unresponsive on Valentine's Day. Oddi died on Feb. 20, her granddaughter said.

"I will miss just being in the room with her because she changed the room whenever she was in it," said Falter of Powell, Ohio. "She had an answering machine..it's hysterical. It's kind of like, 'Hi, this is Jean, my number is...' and she starts to give her phone number and says, "Oh, you have my number, oh well, then leave message!' Just random times of day I would be in the car and I know she's not going to answer, but I'd listen to her message and I'd laugh."

"The three of us were almost ridiculously close," she added of her, her mom and grandma. "There were no topics that we couldn't discuss. My grandma was my matron of honor when I got married."

When Oddi, aka "Majean," took a turn for the worst, Falter decided to write her grandmother's obituary in "her voice." Falter took out a full-page column in The Columbus Dispatch, which cost $1,250.

In cheeky language, Oddi's obituary is written in a first-person narrative, describing who she was as a person and all the things she loved.

"I was a crazy teenager, a loving wife, a hard worker, a loyal friend and a hands-on grandmother," it said, in part. "I would like to thank my darling daughter Casey, who I adore, who cared for me, shuttled me around to my doctor's appointments, managed my pills, cleaned up after me and apologized in my wake for far too many years. I wasn't always nice, but I did, and always will, love you...Don't cry because I'm gone, instead have a drink and be happy you knew me."

A representative at Brookdale Senior Living Inc., where Oddi lived, said she will be missed.

"But as advised, the people at Brookdale Trillium Crossing will not be sad about losing her (after all, someone else has to win in cards), but instead we will cheers [sic] to a wonderful life and a vivacious personality," the company said in a statement. "She left a Jean-sized hole in our hearts.”

Services honoring Jean "Majean" Oddi's life will take place tomorrow at Brookdale Trillium Crossing Senior Living in Columbus.

Oddi's favorite food -- White Castle, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and pizza -- will be served.

As for her obituary, Falter's happy it made people smile. She said, "I love it all and I love that people think she wrote it. To me, that is a tremendous compliment that [you] hear her in every word. She loved attention and she was the life of the party. The bigger the crowd, the more on she was."

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Friday
Feb242017

Trump list shows 746 travelers 'detained or processed' under travel ban, lawyer says

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Nearly 750 people were "detained or processed" during the 26-hour period after a Brooklyn judge issued an order blocking part of Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, according to an attorney representing plaintiffs.

In a letter obtained by ABC News, the government said, “This list includes legal permanent residents."

A different federal judge in New York Tuesday ordered Trump's administration to produce a list of all people detained as part of his executive order that limited travel and immigration from seven countries and temporarily shut down the U.S. refugee program.

On Thursday, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union told ABC News that the government provided the organization with 746 names of people held or processed from Jan. 28 at 9:37 p.m. — when the Brooklyn judge halted part of the ban that allowed for deportations — to Jan. 29 at 11:59 p.m.

The list was ordered to include travelers who arrived with refugee applications, valid visa holders and people from the seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — covered by the ban who were legally authorized to enter the U.S.

After Trump issued the order, the administration said that green card holders and others were not subject to the order.

But a Washington state federal court put a nationwide block on Trump's order on Feb. 3. An appeals court declined to lift the restraining order.

At the time, Trump appeared to downplay the number of people detained as a result of the order's implementation.

 

 

And White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the same day: “Remember we’re talking about a universe of 109 people. There were 325,000 people that came into this country over a 24 hour period from another country. 109 of them were stopped for additional screening.”

Tuesday's order was delivered as part of a case filed by two Iraqi nationals who were detained at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. The restraining order issued in Brooklyn on Jan. 28 expired Tuesday.

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