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Friday
Apr292016

Video Shows Florida Teens Leaving Inlet the Day They Went Missing

ABC News(JUPITER, Fla.) -- Newly released video shows missing Florida teens Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen as they pull out of the Jupiter inlet by boat the day they went missing.

In the video, both 14-year-olds are shirtless and wearing dark-colored shorts. At one point, Stephanos takes off his hat, showing his blond hair and indicating he was driving the 19-foot single-engine boat as Cohen sits on the boat's edge, facing him.

The video, which shows several different angles of the boys as they cruise through the inlet lined with luxury homes, was released as part of the investigation into their disappearance.

The boat was found on March 18 off the coast of Bermuda, the U.S. Coast Guard announced last weekend. An iPhone belonging to Stephanos was recovered from the boat.

The boys' parents initially feuded over what to do with the phone, with Perry's mother, Pam, taking the issue to court. They eventually agreed Friday to have Apple analyze the iPhone, which may hold the key to what happened to the boys.

The teens, both experienced boaters, went missing on July 24. They were last seen buying more than $100 worth of fuel at the marina in Jupiter.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

Baltimore News Station Bomb Threat Suspect Facing Felony Charges

iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- A man who was shot by police after reportedly making a bomb threat at a Baltimore TV news station now faces felony charges as he remains hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries.

Alex Michael Brizzi, 25, is facing charges of second-degree arson and first-degree malicious burning -- both felonies -- as well as threat of arson, reckless endangerment and possessing a phony destructive device, Baltimore police said Friday.

Police said the incident was not connected to organized terrorism.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Friday that Brizzi, of Howard County, Maryland, had challenges with mental illness and that his father has been cooperative with authorities. Police said Brizzi will undergo a psychiatric evaluation when he’s well enough.

Brizzi was wearing a hedgehog "onesie" and a surgical mask, as well as what appeared to be an explosive vest, when he entered the Fox-affiliated news station WBFF Thursday, holding a flash drive with something he apparently wanted the station to run on the news.

Police said the USB flash drive contained video rants of Brizzi talking about the end of the world.

When Brizzi walked out of the station and didn't take orders to remove his hands out of his pockets, he was shot at least three times by an officer, police said. A robot was later deployed to disarm him.

Following the stand-off with police, investigators found that what originally appeared to be an explosive device on Brizzi was actually a vest stuffed with chocolate candy bars wrapped in aluminum foil, and nothing was wired that could possibly blow up. There was also a small motherboard contraption that was attached to him and a wire running down the sleeve of his jacket that emulated a detonation device, police said.

A car was also set on fire in front of the news station at the time Brizzi entered the station. Police said the fire was associated with Brizzi.

Police said Friday a search of the TV station and Brizzi’s home and car didn't turn up any other real or fake explosives.

Police said Friday they are still examining the contents of the flash drive.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

Arizona School Yanks Poster Some Students Find Offensive 

Alissa Adams(MESA, Ariz.) -- Officials removed a controversial poster from the Desert Ridge High School library in Mesa, Arizona, Thursday after some students took offense at its message that appears to be a humorous attempt to highlight the school’s dress code.

“I don’t get offended easily, but this definitely crossed the line for me,” senior Alissa Adams, 18, told ABC News.

The poster, which had a photo and cartoons attached, claimed that girls who came to school “looking pretty cute” made boys see them as “meat, and it’s distracting.” It went on to say that boys would “make lousy grades” as a result, but the girls “end up with one of them anyways because he thought you looked HOT!”

It suggested that the distractions posed by a girl left a boy “underemployed because he learned nothing in school,” leaving the girl to support him.

When Adams first saw the poster a couple days ago, she took a pen and wrote on the bottom, “So it’s the girls fault, right? #feminism,” she said.

Adams said she approached the librarian who put up the poster, but she declined to remove it, saying that Adams was the only person who took offense. Later that day, she said, another student alerted the principal, who directed the librarian to remove it.

“Hanging of the poster was inappropriate and very poor judgment on behalf of the librarian,” school spokeswoman Irene Mahoney Paige said in a statement. “It is not reflective of the spirit and community of Desert Ridge High School or the Gilbert Public Schools District.”

School officials said they had no idea who created the poster, only that the librarian put it up after she found it lying around. The school district declined to make the librarian available for comment.

Even after it was removed, Adams and other students voiced concern about the message.

“They shouldn’t have compared boys to animals and girls as meat,” Adams said. “They could’ve done it better.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

'Frisco Five' on Hunger Strike While San Francisco Police Chief Refuses to Resign

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Five protesters in San Francisco's Mission District, called the "Frisco Five," continue their hunger strike over what they call racist actions by the San Francisco police department, which they say include shootings of minorities and racially-charged text messages by officers.

The group is calling for the resignation of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, as well as San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. They have been camped out in front of the Mission District police station since April 21, refusing to eat.

Protesters cite the separate shootings over the past three years of Alejandro "Alex" Nieto, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Mario Woods and Luis Gongora as evidence of racism in the department.

They also mention the recent release of months-old transcripts showing racist text messages written by Officer Jason Lai, who has since resigned. The texts were discovered during a criminal investigation of Lai last fall. He was charged last month with six misdemeanor counts for unlawful access and use of criminal and motor vehicle data bases.

"The investigation also revealed that three other officers had each received single questionable text messages from Lai," a statement from the San Francisco Police Department reads. "The investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the officers."

Despite the rising pressure to resign, Suhr "has no intentions of stepping down," the department's spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza confirmed to ABC News.

Instead, Esparza said Suhr is working to clean up the department, mandating that all officers currently attend anti-harassment classes.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

Natural Gas Explosion Creates Massive Fireball

Instagram/@tonilconrad(SALEM, Pa.) -- A natural gas explosion erupted into a massive ball of fire near Salem Township, Pennsylvania, Friday morning. One person was injured.

Forbes Road Fire Department Chief Bob Rosatti said in a press conference it was the “biggest ball of fire I’ve ever seen.” As firetrucks "were coming around the bend, it looked like you were looking down in hell,” he added.

The Forbes Road Fire Department was dispatched at 8:17 a.m. after multiple calls of a huge fire. Spectra Energy reported the incident, which involved the Texas Eastern pipeline owned by the company.

“Our first concern is for the safety of the community, our employees and any others who may be affected. We have activated our emergency response plan,” Creighton Welch, manager of external communications for Spectra Energy, said in a statement.

One man sustained burns after running out of his home and being exposed to the heat from the fire ball. The man described the explosion as a loud noise like a tornado.

The Delmont Fire Department said homes and businesses within a one-mile radius were evacuated. By 9:30 a.m. the flames started to die down and it was mostly black smoke, according to the fire department.

Approximately 10 to 12 homes remain in the evacuation zone. The explosion is being investigated.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

Graffiti Etched Into Famed Rock Formation Might Be Irreparable

Alice de Anguera/National Park Service(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Staffers at the Arches National Park in Utah are speaking out against the rise in graffiti after discovering one of the ancient rock formations in the park was vandalized a couple weeks ago -- and the damage might be irreparable.

“There has been an enormous problem with graffiti in the past couple years,” Kate Cannon, superintendent of Arches National Park, told ABC News Friday. Graffiti is prevalent in arches and canyonlands in parks all over the country, according to Cannon.

This most recent incident on April 15 was at the Frame Arch, where the words “Staten” and “Andersen” were carved deeply into the famed rock formation.

The park has been victim to graffiti “of all types,” from minor scratches and paint to larger defacements, such as the etching in the Frame Arch, according to Cannon. But the park staff decided to use this most recent incident to post the photos and send a message to the public that the graffiti is doing “significant damage” and needs to “be made socially unacceptable.”

Cannon said the park does not have a way of boosting up surveillance and they won’t be closing areas of the park. “We have as our purpose to make parks available to the public, so there aren’t really good solutions in closing it for us. That defeats our purpose,” she said.

The hope is that “just as the graffiti trend accelerated and grew, we can push it back with the public’s help,” Cannon said. She urges the public to report when they see defacement or see someone defacing the land.

People caught in the act can face a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail, according to Cannon.

The park staff is thinking about filling back in the rock where the graffiti was scratched in, but “we know that if we do, we will have to go back and repair it over and over again,” Cannon said, adding that the same rock formation “was extensively cleaned of graffiti in last couple of years."

"How many times can you grind it down until it is no longer there?" she asked.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

NYC Police Looking for Man Who Reportedly Offered Boy to Tourist for Sex

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police say are investigating a report of a man who allegedly offered up a boy for sex in exchange for money in Central Park Thursday night.

A tourist in the park, a 50-year-old male, was allegedly "asked if he wanted to perform sexual acts with the child for $300.00," police told ABC News.

Authorities say they are treating the report as credible, and they are looking for the man and boy, who are both described as white and approximately 35 and 11 years old, respectively.

The man was described as being clean shaven, having dark hair and wearing a black coat with a furry hood and blue jeans. The child was wearing either an orange or red jacket.

The incident reportedly happened at around 11:49 p.m. Thursday night in the area of Central Park near the Bow Bridge on West 74th Street.

Police told ABC News they cannot confirm reports that the man is the child's father.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

FAA Investigating Two Emergency Landings at Philadelphia International Airport

iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating two emergency landings Friday morning at Philadelphia International Airport.

Both incidents occurred just after 8 a.m. ET, according to an FAA spokesperson.

Republic Airlines 4518, on its way to Philadelphia from Toronto, reported steering problems while in flight.

Piedmont Airlines 4801 was also on its way to Philadelphia when it reported smoke in the cockpit and cabin.

An FAA spokesperson said passengers evacuated the aircraft on the runway via emergency slides.

The airport has returned to full operations, with residual delays.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

Congress Passes Bill to Make Bison First 'National Mammal'

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Republicans and Democrats in Congress agree on one thing -- the American bison will become the country's first national mammal.

The House and Senate acted quickly this week to send The National Bison Legacy Act to the president's desk. The bill would designate the bison, the largest land mammal in America, a national icon beside the bald eagle.

The House approved the measure Wednesday and the Senate moved Thursday to concur on the proposal.

Millions of bison grazed across North America before westward expansion decimated the population. Advocates believe formally recognizing the bison will help protect its place in American cultural and natural history.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr292016

Suspicious White Powder Sent to Donald Trump Not Hazardous: Officials

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  A suspicious white powder was discovered at Trump Tower in Manhattan Thursday night, prompting the New York Fire Department, the New York Police Department and EMS workers to investigate -- but the powder was deemed not hazardous, according to the NYPD.

Samples were taken, however, from the scene for further testing.

According to the NYFD, the first responders were called to the Fifth Avenue hi-rise around 8:15 p.m.

The suspicious white powder was discovered on the 5th floor, according to the NYFD.

ABC-owned WABC in New York reported that the powder was found in the mailroom, in an envelope with a letter addressed to GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

The letter was opened by one of Trump's staffers, according to WABC.

Three people were isolated and evaluated.

A Trump campaign source tells ABC News the 5th floor offices were evacuated, but most of the staff had left for the day.

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