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Monday
May212018

Letter threatening shooting found at UT Southwestern Medical Center

Google Maps(DALLAS) -- A letter threatening an active shooting was found this morning at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the medical school said on Twitter.

One building on campus was evacuated as a precaution, the school said.

University Police are investigating and patrolling the campus, UT Southwestern said, adding that no immediate threats were discovered.

Additional details were not immediately available.

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Monday
May212018

Mom's disturbing post on moments daughter hid from gunman who opened fire amid taunts

Bob Levey/Getty Images(SANTA FE, Texas) -- When Deedra Van Ness answered a call from her daughter, Isabelle, Friday morning, the teen whispered, "Mom, they are shooting up the school, I'm hiding in a closet. I love you mom."

"In the background, I hear gunfire," Van Ness wrote on Facebook Saturday. "I beg her to stay on the phone and she says other kids with her want to call their parents and don't have phones."

Van Ness' heartbreaking post recounts the torturous hours she waited to see Isabelle after a gunman opened fire inside Santa Fe High School in Texas, as well as the emotional and traumatizing toll the experience took on her shy child.

When they were finally reunited and Van Ness took her daughter home, Isabelle opened up about what she experienced, telling her mother the gunman entered her art class from the room next door and started firing.

"Everyone is panicking and running around the room," Van Ness wrote. "There’s a door at the back of the room to which the kids are running ... only to discover the door is locked and they are trapped. Seeing the kids turning back from the door, she immediately starts running towards items to hide behind."

Isabelle moved "from item to item as the gunman" kept firing, "bullets hitting the walls around her," Van Ness wrote.

"Kids are scrambling trying to hide / escape and she finds an area where he can’t see her, but she can see him," Van Ness said. "She finally runs for the supply closet where she and 6 other kids hide. They are able to lock one door and begin blocking the other door as another girl runs into the closet with them."

The gunman then screamed "Surprise, M*****F******" and started firing into the closet, Van Ness wrote. The gunman hit three of the eight kids there, killing two instantly, she said.

Then, hearing the gunman in the classroom next door yelling "woohoo" as he fired at more students, Isabelle stayed in the closet and called the police, Van Ness said.

The gunman then returned to Isabelle's room, and said to the class, "Are you dead?" as he fired more shots, according to Van Ness' post.

Cellphones were ringing throughout the classroom, and the gunman taunted Isabelle and her classmates in the closet, saying to them, "Do you think it’s for you? Do you want to come answer it?'" Van Ness wrote.

The gunman fired more shots at the closet and tried to get inside, Van Ness wrote.

As Isabelle lay on the ground next to her dead classmates, police arrived outside the classroom and Isabelle listened to the gunman surrender, her mother wrote.

The closet door opened, and with guns pointed at her, Isabelle was told to put her hands up and slowly leave the closet.

The teen walked by bodies in her classroom and hallway before she was frisked and put in a police car to wait for questioning, her mother said.

Eight students and two teachers were killed in the attack, allegedly carried out by 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis. Thirteen others were wounded. Pagourtzis is in custody and has been charged with capital murder.

In Van Ness' post, she also noted moments of kindness, cruelty, fear and despair that affected her daughter in the hours after the shooting.

After she talked to police, a bus driver asked Isabelle whether she knew what happened to her daughter, whom “Isabelle had seen on the floor as she walked through the classroom," Van Ness wrote.

"This wonderful woman did everything she could to make Isabelle feel safe while not knowing the status of her own child," she added.

At home later that day, Isabelle was trolled on social media by other students who blamed her "for not trying to do more to save her classmates, calling her a liar about what happened, etc," Van Ness wrote. "I tell her it’s time to shut off social media and put the phone away."

Isabelle hurried through a shower that day, her mother said, because the sound of "the water hitting the tiles reminded her of sounds she heard while locked in the closet."

And when Isabelle learned the names of all of those killed dead, she "falls apart," her mother wrote. "She had prayed that her friends lying around the school were just injured and the confirmation of their deaths was crushing."

Van Ness also learned that day that her son's best friend was among the dead.

"I now have two children crying and we are helpless and can do nothing but hold them, “Van Ness wrote, “and try to make them feel loved and safe.”



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Monday
May212018

Famed chef Mario Batali investigated for sexual assault by NYPD

George Rose/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Beleaguered chef Mario Batali is being investigated by the New York Police Department for sexual assault allegations raised in a “60 Minutes” report that aired Sunday.

The NYPD told ABC News that a woman came forward earlier this year to report the alleged assault that took place in the mid-2000s.

The "60 Minutes" report featured an unidentified former employee of Batali's, who spoke out about the 57-year-old chef and former TV star, saying he drugged and assaulted her in New York City more than a decade ago.

After drinking wine with the chef at a popular Manhattan restaurant, the woman claims things got "completely foggy."

"I remember a moment where I was on his lap, kissing him. Like, he was kissing me," she said on the program. "And then I remember throwing up in a toilet. And that is all. I woke up by myself on the floor. The first thing I think is I've been drugged."

Another thought that crossed her mind: "I've been assaulted," she said.

The woman added that she spoke to police after the alleged incident but did not file a report.

A request for comment from Batali's rep wasn't immediately returned to ABC News, but the chef "vehemently" denied the assault to "60 Minutes."

https://twitter.com/60Minutes/status/998350571450064897

As for other allegations against him, he told the show, "My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions."

Last December four women came forward and told the website Eater that Batali had sexually harassed them.

"I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong, and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family," Batali said in a statement late last year.

After the Eater piece, Batali was asked to leave ABC's "The Chew" and he offered to step away from the day-to-day operations of his restaurant group. Batali's former organization, the Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group, told "60 Minutes" that it finds the allegations "deeply disturbing" and that "our partnership with Mr. Batali is ending. We have been actively negotiating with Mr. Batali to buy his interests in the restaurants."



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Monday
May212018

Police officer shouts 'pretend like we're going to shoot you' during traffic stop

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Houston police officers are under investigation for the way they ordered passengers to exit a vehicle, according to ABC Houston station KTRK-TV.

In a video of the Saturday incident, an officer can be heard saying over the cruiser loudspeaker, “Hands up. Pretend like we’re going to shoot you,” as passengers of the blue car slowly step out.

The officers ordered the four passengers to walk toward the squad cars one at a time, where they appear to get arrested. At one point, an officer can be seen confiscating crutches from one of the passengers. At the end, an officer drove the car away from the scene.

A bystander who filmed the May 19 video, Denee Harris, later told Storyful News, “I was so scared I didn’t know how it was going to end.”

The reason for the traffic stop and detentions were not immediately clear. It’s also unclear from the video how many officers were involved.

Authorities are aware of the video and are looking into the circumstances surrounding it, the Houston Police Department told KTRK.

Police did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.



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Monday
May212018

Kelly Clarkson calls for action in response to school shootings at Billboard Awards

Kevin Winter/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Host Kelly Clarkson opened the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night with an emotional speech about the recent mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, that killed 10 people and injured over a dozen more.

Struggling to get the words out, Clarkson began, "Before we start tonight's show, there's something I'd like to say -- this is gonna be so hard -- about the tragedy at Santa Fe High. I'm a Texas girl and my home state has had so much heartbreak over this past year. And once again, y'all, we're grieving for more kids that have died for just no reason at all."

The tearful singer continued, "Tonight they wanted me to say ... obviously we want to pray for all the victims and pray for their families, but they also wanted me to do a moment of silence. And I'm so sick of moments of silence. It's not working ... obviously. So, why don't we not do a moment of silence, why don’t we do a moment of action? Why don't we do a moment of change? Why don’t we change what's happening, because it’s horrible. And mommies and daddies should be able to send their kids to school, to church, to movie theaters, to clubs. ... You should be able to live your life without that kind of fear.

"We need to do better ... because we're failing our children. We're failing our communities," Kelly continued. "We're failing their families. I can't imagine. I have four children -- I cannot imagine getting that phone call or that knock on the door. So, instead of a moment of silence, I want to respect [the victims] and honor them. ... Tonight, y'all, in your community, where you live -- let's have a moment of action! Let's have a moment of change!"

While the three-time Grammy winner didn't specifically mention guns, or gun control, her calls to action were reminiscent of recent outcries from shooting survivors in Parkland, Florida. Students there complained of politicians offering prayers, but little action after 17 students and teachers were gunned down in February.

In response, they held the March for Our Lives on March 24 to call attention to gun violence and start a national discussion about how to change gun laws.

Performers Shawn Mendes and Khalid were joined onstage by members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Show Choir during their performance at the Billboard Music Awards Sunday night.

Clarkson is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, about four hours north of Santa Fe. Clarkson's mother was a elementary school teacher. Clarkson's children



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Monday
May212018

Record rainfall totals set in mid-Atlantic as storms continue in South

Henderson County Rescue(NEW YORK) -- Up to a foot of rain fell in the last 10 days in the mid-Atlantic, and more is on the way for the hard-hit region.

Asheville, North Carolina, set a record for the wettest May on record with 9.67 inches -- and there are still 10 days to go. Almost 10 inches of rain has been reported in southern Florida in the past eight days as well.

A flood watch continues for southern Florida as more tropical moisture is on the way. A subtropical high will sit in the western Atlantic and keep bringing moisture from the tropics into the Southeast over the next several days.

Unfortunately, hard-hit areas from the Carolinas to Florida will see more heavy rain this week. Most areas will see 2 to 3 inches, but over 4 inches is possible locally in southeastern Florida, southern Alabama and parts of Florida’s western Panhandle.

Midwest to see severe weather

There were 70 damaging storm reports made yesterday from Texas to Ohio with one tornado confirmed in Leander, Texas, near Austin.

The center of the storm system that brought the severe weather yesterday moves into the Ohio Valley and parts of Midwest on Monday with a trailing front stretching all the way into the southern Plains.

The biggest threat for damaging winds, flash flooding, some hail and even an isolated tornado will be from Indianapolis to Columbus, Ohio.

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Monday
May212018

Alleged Santa Fe HS gunman repeated 'another one bites the dust' amid carnage, survivor says

Scott Olson/Getty Images(SANTA FE, Texas) -- The gunman who opened fire inside Santa Fe High School in Texas Friday morning allegedly repeated "another one bites the dust" during the carnage, one survivor said this morning.

"He was playing music, making jokes, had slogans and rhymes he kept saying," student Trenton Beazely said of the suspect on "Good Morning America." "Every time he’d kill someone he’d say, ‘another one bites the dust.’”

Eight students and two teachers were shot and killed when 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis allegedly burst into an art room with a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver, both of which appear to be legally owned by his father. Thirteen others were wounded.

Beazely first heard a singular "boom" that morning in art class, he said, which he figured was a textbook falling to the floor. Then he heard two more "booms," after which "everyone just started taking off running,” he added.

Beazely broke into a room where they stored kilns but the gunman found them.

"I could see him running, gun pointed at the door," he said.

As his adrenaline raced, Beazely said, he helped wrap wounds for a victim. It wasn't until after police rescued them that he realized he had been shot.

Another student, Rome Shubert, scaled a 7-foot wall as he fled during the shooting, initially not realizing he had been shot in the head, he said.

His mother, Sheri Shubert, "wailed" and "screamed" when she found out her son was in the hospital, she told "GMA.”

But he wasn't critically hurt; the bullet went through the back of his head and out the side, Rome Shubert said on "GMA." If the wound was anywhere else, he said the doctors told him, he could have been paralyzed or killed.

The star baseball player at Santa Fe High School returned to the field the next day, he said, to "give a little feeling of hope." He wore the initials of the victims on his wrist as he played.

Standing with “GMA” co-anchor Michael Strahan as the sun rose over Santa Fe High School this morning, Beazely said he never thought a school shooting would happen there.

"You see it on the news happen at others schools, and it's sad until you actually end up experiencing it,” he said.

Pagourtzis is in custody and has been charged with capital murder, officials said.

The suspect allegedly wrote in journals that he wanted to carry out the shooting and then commit suicide, but he gave himself up to authorities, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who called the shooting "one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools."



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Monday
May212018

Father intentionally crashes into restaurant, killing 2: Police

WSOC(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- A father allegedly sat his family near the front door of a restaurant in North Carolina on Sunday, then promptly left, got in his car and plowed full speed into them on purpose, according to police and eyewitnesses. Two people were killed in the crash, police said.

Roger Self, 62, has been charged with two counts of murder over the alleged incident in which his daughter, Katelyn, and another person sitting at the table were killed, the Gaston County Sheriff's Office said.

Katelyn Self was a deputy with the Gaston County Sheriff's Office. She was off-duty at the time of the crash.

Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC identified the other person killed in the crash as Roger Self's daughter-in-law, Amanda Self.

Several other people, including those not related to the family at neighboring tables, were injured, according to police.

None of the other injuries are considered life-threatening, police said.

"Tragic, tragic loss of life,” Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger said. “I'm asking people just to keep the family in your prayers, and the sheriff's office, because we're suffering right now."

According to Caleb Martin, who was busing tables at the Surf and Turf Lodge restaurant in Bessemer City, the driver plowed through the front of the restaurant at full speed.

"I walked over to my station and I heard a loud boom," Martin told WSOC. "It went straight through. There's a doorway. There is a wall and he drove in another room."

Katelyn Self, 26, was employed by the sheriff's office for four years and started out as a detention officer working her way up to deputy.

The family's pastor, Austin Rammell, told WSOC that Roger had been dealing with mental health problems recently and "this was not a conscious act by their father and they know that."

Rammell said he was set to officiate Katelyn's wedding to her fiance in September.

Police said a Gaston County police officer and a Gastonia police officer were also injured in the crash. Their conditions are unknown.

Roger Self is being held in Gaston County Jail without bond. He is expected to appear in court on Monday.

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Monday
May212018

Two inmates charged with murder on the loose after escaping South Carolina jail

ABC News (ORANGEBURG, S.C.) -- One escaped inmate was caught Sunday, but two inmates -- both charged with murder -- are still on the loose after breaking out of a South Carolina prison late Saturday.

The three inmates escaped from Orangeburg County Detention Center in Orangeburg, South Carolina, just before 10 p.m. Saturday after overpowering a correctional officer, according to the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff's office said it was still investigating whether the trio had help.

Christopher Boltin, who had been jailed on charges of carjacking and possession of stolen vehicle, was caught Sunday evening, according to officials.

Boltin, 27, was arrested in Lexington County, South Carolina, about an hour north of the prison after being alerted by Orangeburg County Sheriff's that he "had contacts in that jurisdiction.

"Christopher Boltin was taken into custody in Lexington County by sheriff's deputies in that jurisdiction," Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. "He will be returned to Orangeburg and put back in jail to await his court hearing. We will now focus on the remaining two at large."

The two men at large, Tyshon Demontrea Johnson, 27, and Curtis Ray Green, 20, were both charged with murder in separate incidents, according to the sheriff's office.

"We know that these individuals are dangerous, we hope they’re not armed at this time, but we just advise people to be vigilant," said Ravenell.



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Monday
May212018

Video shows man accused of 'punching' pregnant deaf woman, service dog being shoved

Joshua Manley/Youtube(ORLANDO) -- A new video has emerged in the ongoing battle between a deaf man, his pregnant fiancee and their service dog -- and the man who police said punched the latter two after a flight from Colorado to Florida.

The video shows the deaf man, Matthew Silvay, in the aisle of the plane on Frontier Airlines Flight 1752, apparently enraged after Timothy Manley allegedly punched the dog, Zariel.

Silvay's fiancee, Hazel Ramirez, said he became upset and "yelled at the man to tell him, 'Never touch any dogs or service animals,'" she said, echoing what her husband allegedly told Manley in sign language and some words.

"She didn't do anything to anyone," Ramirez said of Zariel. "...the man punched my dog's face."

Ramirez says Zariel was "hurt and scared for her life."

Manley denied hitting the dog, describing the contact with the dog as a "swat."

"I pushed her away," he told ABC News, adding that he did so because of his wife's allergies. "I wouldn't call it a punch."

But according to a report by the Orlando Police Department, which was obtained by ABC News, Manley "punched it with a closed fist," causing Zariel to yelp and take cover under a seat.

At some point, Ramirez, who is 20 weeks pregnant, told police that she "was punched in the stomach by Timothy" and that her two small children "were touched by Timothy," according to the report.

Manley, however, dismissed the accusation.

"It's funny and hilarious that I would have punched her," he said.

The argument escalated in the aisle and spilled into the gangway and terminal of the Orlando International Airport.

That's when the video shows Silvay apparently blocking the aisle, seemingly waiting for Manley.

"They were physically blocking the door," Manley said.

The video footage, shot by Manley's son, Joshua, cuts to a moment after Manley is able to reach the terminal.

But now Silvay is seen allegedly shoving Manley to the ground, with children wailing in the background, the video shows.

"Unfortunately, the man [was] determined to leave so he ran through and punched my belly, then pushed my two daughters; they fell and cried so hard," Ramirez said.

In the police report, Silvay admitted he tackled Timothy, saying he did so to detain him until police arrived.

Since the incident, nobody has been arrested, but Orlando Police said they turned over the investigation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"The FBI was contacted and a copy of this reported [sic] is provided to them," the police report states. "Hazel does wish to prosecute and will testify in court."

The FBI did not immediately return ABC News' requests for comment.



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