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Tuesday
Sep022014

Over 30 Juveniles Escape from Tennessee Detention Center

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A number of "students" at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center escaped from their dorm on Monday night, fleeing from the detention center.

According to Rob Johnson, Communications Director for the Tennessee Department of Child Services, 32 of the teens, aged 14 to 17, were able to climb under the anti-climb chain-linked fence at around 11 p.m. At least some of the juveniles have felonies on their records.

Johnson said that the escape occurred during a shift change. "As the staff were trying to get the youth back into the dorms and out of the yard, they realized that some of them had managed to pull up a fence and crawl underneath it," he said Tuesday morning.

Many of the teens had histories that included aggravated burglary or robbery, theft, violent crimes including robbery or assault, among other legal issues.

The Metro Nashville Police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are searching the surrounding neighborhood for the escaped children.

By 7 a.m. ET, all but 17 of the teens had been captured or had surrendered. Johnson said he was confident that all of the escapees would be found.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep022014

Delta Flight Re-Routed Due to Passenger Disruption

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  A Delta flight from New York to Florida was re-routed Monday, the airline confirmed – the third flight diversion caused by passenger disruption in recent weeks.

Delta Flight 2370 departed New York at about 7 p.m. Monday, en route to West Palm Beach. The flight was diverted to Jacksonville due to the disturbance.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the captain elected to divert to the closest airport,” the airline said in a statement. “Local law enforcement met the flight and removed the passenger.”

The flight continued on to West Palm Beach, arriving after 11 p.m.

Clashes over shrinking legroom contributed to two incidents last week. A Miami to Paris flight landed in Boston on Wednesday after air marshals on the plane restrained a man who fought with a passenger trying to recline in front of him, a law enforcement source told ABC News.

That incident came days after a man on a United Airlines flight used a product called a Knee Defender to keep the seat in front of him from reclining. The woman in front, unable to recline, got into an argument with the man and reportedly threw a cup of water in his face. Both passengers were seated in United’s Economy Plus section, which gives fliers extra legroom for an extra fee.

The argument prompted the Newark, New Jersey-to-Denver flight to be diverted to Chicago, United Airlines confirmed, adding that the unidentified passengers were not allowed back on when the plane continued on to Denver.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep012014

New Hampshire Police Searching for Men Who Tried Kidnapping College Student

iStock/Thinkstock(DURHAM, N.H.) -- Police in New Hampshire continue to look for three men who tried kidnapping a college student as she walked home but were stopped by her friends.

The attempted abduction happened near the University of New Hampshire in Durham early Friday morning.

According to investigators, the woman told police she was walking home when three "military-looking" men pulled up in a tan, four-door sedan.

"It was an attempt to introduce themselves to her and when that seemed to fail, it was a little bit more aggressive," said Durham Police Chief David Kurz.

She told police two of the men grabbed her by the arm and tried throwing her inside the sedan's open trunk. The attempted kidnapping was foiled when her friends arrived and the men drove off.

The university alerted students about the abduction attempt the next day, ABC News affiliate WMUR-TV reported.

"It's pretty scary because we live around the corner," said student Morgan DiDonato.

"That could be me one day," added Cassandra Izzo, another student. "I could be walking by my friend's house and someone could try to pick me up."

The incident also has parents like Sherri Trocci worried with classes beginning Tuesday.

"It's a little disconcerting," she said. "We did some safety training. We did a little self-defense training before she came here. Hopefully, that will be in the back of her mind."

After the attempted abduction, several students told ABC News they downloaded the Live Safe app, which includes neighborhood safety reports and real-time sharing location with friends and police.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep012014

Ferguson Police Receive Body Camera Donation 

iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- A mobile video surveillance company has donated body cameras to the Ferguson Police Department, the Missouri police department that has been roiled by protests after an unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a police officer.

Witnesses claimed the teenager, Michael Brown, was surrendering and putting up his hands when he was shot at least six times. Defenders of the police officer, Darren Wilson, claim the officer suffered a serious facial injury in his confrontation with Brown and that the teenager was moving toward Wilson when he fired.

The Ferguson police department did not have body cameras at the time of the encounter. A state grand jury is hearing evidence in the case and the Justice Department is also looking into the shooting.

Safety Vision, a Texas-based manufacturer of video equipment for law enforcement agencies, has donated five body cameras to the Ferguson police department.

In a statement released on their website, the company said the donation was made "in an effort to protect both law enforcement and the public with the capture of indisputable evidence."

The body cameras have eight hours of recording life and a police radio interface, according to the company's website.

The Ferguson Police Department did not return ABC News' request for comment.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep012014

Ellis Island Hospital Tours Coming in October

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For the first time in 60 years, visitors to Ellis Island will be able to reenter its south-side hospital this October.

A massive complex comprised of 30 buildings, including staff residences and a mortuary, the hospital screened immigrants for infectious diseases before it was shuttered in 1954. But thanks to the diligence of nonprofit group Save Ellis Island in partnership with the National Parks Service, new tours will now be offered to groups of 10 visitors at a time.

Previously, the buildings in the public health complex were considered too dilapidated and dangerous to permit entry. After partial restoration, however, program tours will now make 18 stops around the campus and allow guests to experience another side of American history: Approximately 10% of the 12 million immigrants who made their way through Ellis Island arrived too sick to enter the country, according to the nonprofit group.

A photography exhibit by artist JR is also being installed on select interiors of the complex, and will include life-size portraits of immigrants pasted onto windows and walls to add context to the spaces.

Ticket prices have yet to be announced but will be available for purchase on the Save Ellis Island website beginning Sept. 25. Proceeds from the sales will go toward the further remediation of the complex.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep012014

Woman Ran Multi-Million Dollar Prostitution Ring Out of Bikini Barista Stands, Cops Say

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- A Washington woman has been charged with running a multi-million dollar prostitution ring from the "bikini barista" stands she owned and operated.

Carmela Panico, of Snohomish County, Wash., was charged with promoting prostitution and money laundering, police told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Police say they caught baristas at six bikini barista coffee stands owned by Panico across Snohomish County engaged in acts with customers that went beyond merely serving coffee.

According to court records obtained by KOMO-TV, Panico allegedly set a sales goal for the women working each coffee shift that was used as "effectively rent that the girls paid to have the opportunity to perform lewd conduct and acts of prostitution."

The young women made anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 a month, according to the documents. One girl allegedly made $89,000.

The baristas were fined if they did not wear high heels, have a tan, or wear makeup, according to the documents.

Panico's bank records, obtained by police, show that she deposited more than $2 million between 2010 and 2013.

Police say she kept two sets of accounting books. The first book was allegedly intended for the IRS and Washington State Department of Revenue and the second detailed her actual profit.

Detectives also allegedly confiscated $227,863 in cash from Panico's home, according to KOMO-TV.

A police investigation into Panico and her coffee businesses began when the department began to receive complaints about baristas showing their breasts to customers for tips.

Last summer, a sergeant at the Snohomish County Detective's Office was arrested for allegedly giving Panico information on undercover operations to gain evidence against her suspected prostitution ring, in exchange for sex.

The sergeant resigned after he was charged with promoting prostitution and official misconduct.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep012014

Texas Firefighters Comfort Grieving Widow With Act of Kindness

iStock/Thinkstock(BAYTON, Texas) -- Texas firefighters finished mowing the lawn of a man who suffered a heart attack mid-mow and comforted his wife in an act of kindness that has brought together an entire community.

Firefighters from Bayton, Texas, responded to a 911 call on Tuesday for a man who suffered a heart attack while mowing his lawn, according to a statement released by the City of Bayton on its Facebook page.

After taking the man to a hospital, members of Bayton Fire Department's Station 4, A-Shift returned to the man's home to finish mowing his lawn. They then put the lawnmower away and locked the garage.

They also left behind a note with comforting words for the victim's wife.

"We felt bad that your husband didn't get to finish the yard," the firefighters said.

The firefighters also let the woman know they would be there for her in the future.

"We are very sorry that your husband became ill, we hope he has a speedy recovery," they said. "Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you out."

Members of the Baytown community have rallied around the firefighters for their act of kindness.

"All of our City employees are proud to serve the citizens of Baytown, but this is truly special," the city said in a statement posted on Facebook. "We couldn't be prouder of our guys from Station 4. Our prayers are with the family at this sad time."

The heart attack victim, who has not been identified, died.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep012014

Eight-Year-Old Turns Lemons Into Lemonade for Wounded Vet

iStock/Thinkstock(NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- An Iraq war veteran who served 12 1/2 years protecting his country would be considered by most a hero.

But for this war veteran, his hero is a generous 8-year-old girl named Rachel Mennett.

"She's helped us accomplish so much in such a little amount of time," Nick Bailey, 34, of North Charleston, South Carolina, told ABC News. "For an 8-year-old girl to do something like this, to me, that is just heroic."

Bailey was injured by a mortar attack while on duty in Iraq. He sustained spinal injuries and nerve damage and has undergone several surgeries to try to help his physical pain, but those aren’t the only remnants of war that ail him. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

One of Bailey's biggest comforts throughout it all, however, has been his faithful friend-- his dog, Abel.

He and his wife, Vanessa, have had the German Shepherd ever since he was a 10-week-old puppy. Abel comforts Bailey when he's awoken from nightmares, lays on his lap while he suffers from migraines and helps steady his balance while he walks with a cane.

But in order to truly help to the level that Bailey requires on a daily basis, Abel needs formal service dog training, which comes with a lofty price tag.

"Our original goal was to go to a trainer in Arizona who is the best of the best, but it's $15,000,” Vanessa explained. "We never thought we'd be able to reach that. But every other organization we went to kept turning us down."

The family set up a GoFundMe page in the beginning of August to try to raise at least $6,000 before taking out a loan to fulfill the rest, but it just wasn't coming close to the amount they needed. That is, however, until little Rachel entered the picture.

"I had never met her until that day at the pet store when her brother called and said, 'Hey, my sister is doing a lemonade stand,'" Bailey recalled.

Rachel's older brother works at a pet store in Summerville, South Carolina, where Bailey would often take Abel. Once her brother got wind that Bailey was actively searching for service training for Abel, but didn't have the funds to afford it, he shared the story with his family.

"He took an interested to it and went home to his family and his little sister, at 8 years old, said, 'I think I'd like to help him. I want to do a lemonade stand,'" said Bailey. "At her age, that's amazing."

And sure enough, that's exactly what she did. Rachel set up shop in the pet store to help raise money for the wounded veteran she'd never met.

"It means a great deal to me," Bailey explained. "For a veteran like myself who sees a lot of dismay in the world today, it gives us hope for the next generation."

The attention the lemonade stand has received has significantly helped Bailey towards his goal, something for which he is eternally grateful.

"This little girl has done so much, more than she'll ever know," he said. "I'm really hoping once Abel is finally fully-trained, that he and I can go visit her at her school to do an assembly to present her with something to thank her. She's just an exceptional child, an exceptional human being, actually."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep012014

Children Shoot Guns at NM Firing Range

iStock/Thinkstock(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) -- A New Mexico shooting range encourages children to practice shooting guns, despite a fatal accident this week involving a 9-year-old girl in Arizona.

Calibers, a shooting range in Albuquerque, New Mexico, lets children as young as 8 pull the trigger, according to ABC affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque.

The children can shoot "Uzis, MAC-11s, AR-15s, and AK-47s," Calibers Training Director Jordan Nighbert told KOAT.

It's common for children to shoot the weapons at the range, he said.

One Calibers customer, John Thompson, even added that he first took his kids shooting when they were only 6.

"To take the curiosity from it," Thompson told KOAT, explaining his motivation. "Whether they like it or not, they respect them."

No one has ever been hurt while a child shot a gun at the Calibers firing range, Nighbert said.

That's in contrast to the case of an Arizona firing range where a 9-year-old accidentally shot and killed her gun instructor last Monday. The girl was shooting an Uzi.

Nighbert doubts that such an accident could happen at his gun range-- he only allows children to shoot weapons with barrels longer than 16 inches, he told KOAT.

"With a short barrel, it's a very short movement for that barrel to cover my body and put me in danger," he said. "With a long barrel, even if you had poor recoil control, the muzzle can't cover my head."

Nighbert also said Calibers considers a customer's shooting skill, physical skill and maturity before allowing children to shoot weapons.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug312014

First NFL Player is Arrested Following League's New Domestic Violence Policy

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- Ray McDonald, defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers, has been booked on domestic violence charges, becoming the first NFL player to be arrested since league commissioner Roger Goodell instituted new penalties last week for domestic violence.

On Thursday Goodell announced sweeping changes to the NFL domestic abuse policy, including a six game suspension for a first time offense and a potential lifetime ban on any subsequent offense.

The NFL is aware of McDonald's arrest and a spokesman tells ABC News the league is looking into it. The San Francisco 49ers says the team is still gathering facts.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio