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Tuesday
May312016

Three Girls Killed, Eight Injured in Car Crash Near Orlando, Florida

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Three children died and eight others were injured when an SUV carrying 11 people lost control and rolled over several times on a highway, officials told ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando.

The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. ET on I-95 northbound in Titusville, about 40 miles east of Orlando.

Firefighters and paramedics from numerous agencies responded to the scene, which shut down all northbound lanes in Brevard County for several hours Monday evening.

Authorities said three people under the age of 18 were killed, and six of eight people inside the SUV were taken to the hospital.

Troopers said they also found a child that had been ejected over the barrier. The child had minor injuries.

"You are talking an act of God at this point to find somebody ejected and still alive to where our first responders were able to locate them. It's a miracle," said Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), Trooper Steven Montiero.

"When you don't have your seat belt on, it's a recipe for disaster. If something is going to go wrong, it's going to go wrong because you are not wearing your seat belt," Montiero added.

The names of those involved have not been released.

Authorities said a tire malfunction was the cause of the crash.

FHP said the driver won't be charged, but she could face some traffic citations, according to WFTV.
 
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Tuesday
May312016

Expert: Cincinnati Gorilla Would Have Killed Boy Without Intervention

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- Days after a 450 pound gorilla named Harambe was shot and killed to protect the life of a 4-year-old boy who fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, Jack Hanna, the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, and the host of a series of television shows about wild animals, defended the decision to put down the animal.

"I’ve seen him take a green coconut, which you can’t bust open with a sledgehammer and squish it like this," Hanna told Good Morning America about Harambe, gesturing with his hand the ease with which gorillas can crush fruit. "You’re dealing with either human life or animal life here. So what is the decision? I think it’s very simple to figure that out."

A witness told ABC News that the gorilla was protecting the boy, who ultimately survived the encounter.

"The little boy, once he fell, I don't think the gorilla even knew that he was in there until he heard him splashing in the water," witness Brittany Nicely told ABC News on Sunday, explaining that zoogoers' screams drew more attention to the Saturday afternoon incident.

"The gorilla rushed the boy, but did not hit the boy," Nicely said. "He almost was guarding the boy, was protecting him."

Hanna argued that the boy would have been killed were it not for the intervention of the zoo employee who shot Harambe.

"I can tell you now, that there’s no doubt in my mind the child would not be here today if they hadn’t made that decision," Hanna said.

The death of Harambe has reignited a debate about zoos and their purpose. PETA, one of the world's most visible animal rights organizations, released a sharply-worded statement on its website condemning the death of Harambe, arguing that zoos fail to provide an adequate home for the "complex needs" of wild animals.

"Gorillas are self-aware. They love, laugh, sing, play, and grieve. Western lowland gorillas are gentle animals. They don’t attack unless they’re provoked," PETA said in its statement.

Hanna defended zoos, noting that they invest money in animal preservation.

"Remember something, no one loves gorillas more than the Columbus Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo and the zoo world," Hanna said. "We have given literally millions and millions of dollars to preserve these animals, both mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas."


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Monday
May302016

Former College Swimmer Drowns During Lifeguard Tryouts

ABC(CAPE COD, Mass.) -- A 22-year-old former college swimmer drowned during lifeguard tryouts near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Saturday night, according to authorities.

A graduate of the State University of New York-Cortland, Jack Jakubek was participating in a fitness test for lifeguards at Pilgrim Lake in Orleans, Massachusetts, when he went missing just before 9 a.m., according to the Orleans Fire-Rescue Department. He went under water while trying to swim to a buoy, ABC News Boston affiliate WCVB-TV reported.

Several rescue teams responded to the scene, including a dive team, Massachusetts State Police and the United States Coast Guard. Jakubet was found off shore by divers at 9:23 a.m., and efforts to resuscitate him failed as he was brought back to shore by boat, the fire department said.

Jakubek was pronounced dead at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. The Cape and Islands District Attorney's Office is investigating his death, according to the fire department. He had just graduated from SUNY Cortland two weeks before his death, WCVB reported.

Jakubek was formally the captain of the swim team at SUNY Cortland, WCVB reported. Jakubek's swim team coach at SUNY Cortland, Brian Tobin, praised his swimming skills and called him a "great teammate" who "everyone could rely on."

"He was a very good high school swimmer, and over the course of his four years here at Cortland, he continued to improve, progress. He had a tremendous work ethic," Tobin told WCVB.

After graduation, Jakubek had hoped to return to Cape Cod to work as a lifeguard, as he did last summer, WCVB reported.

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Monday
May302016

Five People Injured in Memorial Day Shooting in Baltimore

iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- Memorial Day in Baltimore was marred by a shooting that left five people with apparent gunshot wounds, according to the Baltimore Police Department.

All injuries are non-life threatening, police said.

Four of the victims were male -- ages 20, 25, 30, and 59 -- while the female is 56.

All of the victims were transported to the hospital.

The motive for shooting remains unknown, as does the identity of the victims or the identity of the shooter or shooters.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Monday
May302016

Vandals Set Off Illegal Fireworks, Setting Home Ablaze in Maryland

Photodisc/Thinkstock(RIVERDALE, Md.) -- Vandals were caught on camera setting off fireworks on the front porch of a home in Riverdale, Maryland, setting it partially ablaze, the homeowner and the local fire department said.

The homeowner, Lavonia, who asked that her last name not be used for privacy reasons, told ABC News that the incident took place at 2 a.m. on Saturday, and they still do not know who set the fireworks off, or why. At least two men, who were shirtless, can be seen in the video lighting the fireworks before running away.

"We heard a very loud explosion," Lavonia told ABC News. "I ran towards the front of the house and saw a lot of smoke. I figured where there is smoke there is fire. When I opened the front door it was just blazing."

Lavonia said that the family just remodeled their home three years ago, and the damages from the fire on her home are severe.

Lavonia said she called 911 but that she and her family were mostly able to put the fire out themselves.

"When the fire department got here they said they couldn't touch it," Lavonia added. "They had to call the bomb squad."

Beth Reed, a neighbor and the vice president of the local community association told ABC News that she lives a block away and heard the blast.

"It sounded like a car exploded," Reed said. "We can't figure out why it was that house. Nothing like this has happened before."

"We have a very strong community and we look out for each other." Reed told ABC News. "The community association is standing with the homeowners, whatever they need."

The Prince George's County Fire Department said they are not releasing the size or type of the fireworks involved, and that all fireworks are illegal in Prince George's County.

"This is an example of the powerful destruction caused by fireworks. This is the main reason we have outlawed all fireworks in our County," Mark Brady, a spokesperson for the Prince George's County Fire Department told ABC News Monday. They are still seeking information on the suspects.

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Monday
May302016

Bloody Weekend Leaves 4 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Chicago

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- It has been a violent Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, and the holiday is not even over yet.

Weekend shootings across the city have left four people dead and nearly 50 wounded, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Official numbers won’t be released until Tuesday, a Chicago Police Department spokesman told ABC News Monday.

A 15-year-old girl, identified as Veronica Lopez, was reportedly the youngest victim, shot while riding in a vehicle with a 28-year-old man around 1:30 a.m. Saturday on Lake Shore Drive, according to the Tribune.

The Cook County medical examiner's office was closed Monday.

The police department said officers, in coordination with Illinois State Police, have been out in full force all weekend long.

The planning began last week.

"Beginning now, several thousand Chicago police will be deployed in uniform ... to make sure everybody has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend," Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a news conference Thursday. "Our message to those who wish to victimize neighborhoods with violence is that your actions will not be tolerated..."

As officials braced for a deadly weekend and, by extension, what’s projected to be one of the deadliest years ever, the department noted in its quarterly crime report that there were 133 reported homicides from January to March this year, compared with 77 last year at the same time, and 59 in 2014.

"You have some families here raised into violence," a Chicago resident who requested anonymity told ABC News Monday, adding that the troubling crime rate is partly "the result of not so good policing as far as finding the guns and where they come from."

Tio Hardimanm, former executive director of Chicago-based anti-violence organization Ceasefire Illinois, offered another analysis.

"You have guys who are getting into it about any and everything," Hardiman told ABC News last month after a similarly deadly weekend shooting spree, "and some young guys are trying to build a body count so that they can show everybody in their neighborhood that they are the toughest guy over there."

Police superintendent Johnson was handpicked for the job last month by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said the 20-year Chicago police veteran was "everything the city needs."

Fifty-five people were shot, 12 fatally, in Memorial Day weekend shootings in 2015.

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Monday
May302016

Two in Critical Condition After Electrically Shocked in Swimming Pools

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The electrical shocking of two people while swimming in outdoor pools this weekend has brought attention to potential safety risks that could arise this summer.

An 8-year-old girl from Pennsylvania and a 34-year-old man from New Jersey are both in critical condition after suffering electrical shocks in outdoor pools this weekend, according to local police.

On Saturday, the 34-year-old man was shocked while swimming at the pool of the Aztec Motel in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, according to Detective Sergeant Edward Gorski of the Wildwood Crest Police Department. The man remains in critical condition at the Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia.

The Fairlawn, New Jersey, man was "discovered unconscious at the bottom of the pool," the police department said in a statement, and the exact cause of the incident remains under investigation.

Adamo Pipitone, the owner of the motel, told ABC News that he is praying for the victim, and that this has never happened before at his motel. Pipitone said the motel is still trying to figure out what caused the electrical shock.

Gorski told ABC News Monday that he has never seen this happen before, adding that you should call 911 if you believe someone is being electrically shocked in a swimming pool.

On Sunday, an 8-year-old girl was left in critical condition after enduring an electric shock while swimming in a backyard pool, Sergeant Jared Huff of the Silver Spring Township Police Department told ABC News Monday. Eight kids were swimming in the pool, and one of the kids flipped the switch for the pool light, which may have caused the electrical shock, Huff said, though the exact cause is still unclear. The 8-year-old girls was the only one who was not able to get out of the pool, and she was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center, where Huff said she remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Both police departments emphasized that these were rare occurrences.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, if you think someone in the water is experiencing an electrical shock, immediately turn off all power and call 911. If you are in the water and think you are being shocked, immediately move away from the source of the shock and get out of the water, if possible exit without using a metal ladder.

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Monday
May302016

Gorilla Carries 3-Year-Old Boy to Safety in 1996 Incident

ABC(BROOKFIELD, Ill.) -- In a 1996 incident at an Illinois zoo, a female gorilla cradled a 3-year-old boy who fell nearly 20 feet into her enclosure, resulting in a much different outcome than a similar incident in Cincinnati over the weekend.

An 8-year-old gorilla named Binti Jua made worldwide headlines when she carried a boy to safety after he slipped away from his mother and climbed through a barrier at the Western Lowland Gorilla Pit at the Brookfield Zoo on Aug. 19, 1996.

Video shows the boy lying on the ground before Binti Jua gingerly picks him up around the waist, carrying him to a door where rescuers waited as a crowd looked on. There were six other gorillas in the exhibit at the time.

The 150-pound gorilla carried her own 17-month baby named Koola on her back throughout her encounter with the boy, which may indicate that her maternal instincts led her rescue him.

The boy suffered a broken hand and cuts to his face and spent four days at the hospital. He and his mother were never identified.

Binti Jua, whose name means "daughter of sunshine," continues to live at the zoo, according to the website. The now 28-year-old gorilla arrived there in February 1991 on a breeding loan from the San Francisco zoo, but is still living in the Brookfield Zoo gorilla exhibit, according to the website.

Koola gave birth to her own daughter, Nora, in August 2013 at the zoo.

Recent events at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden drew similarities to the 1996 incident. On Saturday, a 450-pound male gorilla named Harambe was killed after he was seen dragging a 4-year-old boy who climbed through a barrier and fell about 10 feet into the gorilla enclosure.

While Binti Jua was hailed a hero, 17-year-old Harambe was shot by a zoo employee with the boy between his legs. Zoo officials called the decision a "tough choice," but said the boy's life was in danger because Harambe was an "extremely strong" animal in an agitated situation.

Western Lowland gorillas are an endangered species native to the thick forests of central and west Africa, according to National Geographic. They typically live to about 35 years old.

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Monday
May302016

Three Women Credited With Stopping Potential Sexual Assault

Monkey Business/Thinkstock(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- Three California women are being credited for stopping a potential sexual assault attempt after they said they spoke out about a man who appeared to be putting something into a woman's drink.

Sonia Ulrich, Marla Saltzer and Monica Kenyon said they were at a Santa Monica hotel for happy hour last Thursday when Kenyon first noticed a man and a woman at a nearby table who appeared to be on a date.

The women told ABC News they noticed the man acting “pretty suspicious” when his female companion left the table to go to the restroom.

“I thought he was trying to lace her drink,” Kenyon said. “He for sure dropped something into her drink.”

The friends took action, with one of them following the woman into the bathroom to let her know what she and her friends believed to have just seen.

“It was a weird, awkward thing to be like, ‘Hi, I know this is really weird but we saw the guy you were with put something in your drink,” Ulrich said of talking to the stranger in the restroom. “She said, ‘He’s one of my best friends.’”

Meanwhile, another of the three friends alerted the restaurant’s staff. The manager told the women that the restaurant’s security footage appeared to corroborate their suspicions and called police.

Police arrested the suspect, 25-year-old Michael Hsu, at the hotel. Hsu is now being held on $1 million bail and facing two felony counts, intent to commit felony and intent to use a drug to commit a felony, according to police.

Hsu is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

“I was relieved that he got busted,” Saltzer said.

“I am completely filled with gratitude that we were able to help another woman out,” Kenyon added.

Ulrich took to Facebook Friday to share her and her friends' story, posting a photo of the three of them posing like the heroines of “Charlie’s Angels.” The photo is captioned, "Don’t Roofie Someone On Our Watch.”

"Roofie" is slang for a sedative associated with date rape.

“I really wanted people to know that if they say something, it can make a difference,” Ulrich said.

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Monday
May302016

Memorial Day: When and Where People Died Fighting for America

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- At least 1.2 million people have died fighting for America during its wars dating back 241 years, according to Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs data.

Most died in battle, while many others never landed abroad but are no less honored on this Memorial Day.

Here’s a by-the-numbers breakdown of when and where they died, as of May 27, starting with the American Revolution:

American Revolution (1775-1783)

Battle Deaths: 4,435

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

Battle Deaths: 2,260

Indian Wars (approx. 1817-1898)

Battle Deaths (VA estimate): 1,000

Mexican War (1846-1848)

Battle Deaths: 1,733

Other Deaths (In Theater): 11,550

Civil War (1861-1865)

Battle Deaths (Union): 140,414

Other Deaths (In Theater)(Union): 224,097

Battle Deaths (Confederate): 74,524

Other Deaths (In Theater)(Confederate): 59,297

Spanish-American War (1898-1902)

Battle Deaths: 385

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater): 2,061

World War I (1917-1918)

Battle Deaths: 53,402

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater): 63,114

World War II (1941 –1945)

Battle Deaths: 291,557

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater): 113,842

Korean War (1950-1953)

Battle Deaths: 33,739

Other Deaths (In Theater): 2,835

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater): 17,672

Vietnam War (1964-1975)

Battle Deaths: 47,434

Other Deaths (In Theater): 10,786

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater): 32,000

(These cover period 11/1/55 to 5/15/75)

Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991)

Battle Deaths: 148

Other Deaths (In Theater): 235

Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater): 1,565

Global War on Terror, including Iraq and Afghanistan (Oct 2001 - present)

Total Deaths: 6,888.

In addition to those, the State Department Office of the Historian lists the Philippine-American War, 1899 to 1902, citing the deaths of more than 4,200 U.S. combatants.

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