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Thursday
Nov232017

Murdered Baltimore cop shot with own gun, was set to testify in police corruption case

iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- As the investigation into the murder of Baltimore Police Det. Sean Suiter continues, it was revealed during a press conference held by Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis on Wednesday evening that Suiter was shot with his own gun and the detective was set to testify in a police corruption case the next day.

Suiter was gunned down on Nov. 15 in West Baltimore while conducting a follow-up on a homicide investigation. The 18-year veteran officer sustained a close-contact gunshot wound to the head.

During Wednesday evening’s press conference, Davis confirmed that Suiter’s was set to testify in an unspecified case against officers who were indicted in March. Davis noted that the U.S. attorney's office and the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office assured him that Suiter was not a target in any ongoing criminal investigation.

"There is no information that has been communicated to me that Det. Suiter was anything other than a stellar detective, great friend, loving husband and dedicated father," Davis said.

Davis also revealed in Wednesday's press conference that Suiter was killed with his own gun.

Evidence found on the detective's clothing, in addition to body camera footage, indicates that there was a struggle between the officer and his killer, authorities said.

On the night of the incident there was a radio transmission by Suiter that lasted only a few seconds before he was killed indicating he was in distress, Davis said. Also, Suiters’ partner was confirmed to be nearby when the incident happened and can be seen on private surveillance video calling for help.

Davis said despite the timing of the shooting one night before Suiter was set to testify, the evidence does not indicate any conspiracy. Police believe the original motive is accurate -- the officers approached a suspicious individual when the struggle ensued and Suiter was shot.

Baltimore police still do not have a clear description of the suspect, other than that of an African-American man wearing a black coat with a white stripe.

"We will continue to follow the evidence in this very important case. ... I owe it to the Suiter family and the BPD to pursue every investigative lead and to examine every piece of evidence to determine exactly what happened," Davis said.

The reward for information leading to an arrest has grown to $215,000.

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Thursday
Nov232017

FBI, ATF to conduct review of criminal background check system in wake of Texas church massacre

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a comprehensive review of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in the wake of the shooting at a church in Sutherland Spring, Texas, which killed 26 people, including an unborn child police have included in the total.

“The recent shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas revealed that relevant information may not be getting reported to the NICS –- this is alarming and it is unacceptable," Sessions said in a statement.

The shooter in that case, Devin Kelley, should have been prevented from purchasing a gun, based on his conviction in a military court. That criminal information did not appear in his criminal background check when he purchased four guns over a four-year period, including the AR-556 rifle used in the deadly church massacre.

The Pentagon's inspector general is also conducting a review of why those records were not part of one of the federal criminal database used to keep firearms out of the hands of prohibited purchasers.

"I am directing the FBI and ATF to do a comprehensive review of the NICS and report back to me the steps we can take to ensure that those who are prohibited from purchasing firearms are prevented from doing so,” Sessions said.

Sessions is ordering the agencies to work with the Department of Defense to identify and resolve any issues the military may have with reporting convictions to the NICS system. The review will also identify others federal agencies that may not be fully and accurately reporting information into the system.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and FBI will also conduct a review of ATF Form 4473 and recommend changes as necessary. This is the form that people who purchase guns from federally licensed firearms dealer must fill out before a criminal background check is conducted.

Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 while a member of the Air Force on charges of assault on his spouse and their child. He received a bad conduct discharge, confinement for 12 months and a reduction of his military status. Kelley was killed by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after fleeing the church shooting.

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Thursday
Nov232017

FBI investigating 'potential assault' on Border Patrol agents

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI is investigating the injuries that left one Border Patrol agent dead and another severely injured as a "potential assault," officials said.

The agents had been discovered at the bottom of a ravine in Texas after they had responded to a sensor triggered in the area, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

On Monday, authorities were open to the possibility that the two agents had inadvertently slipped into the ravine because of a lack of concrete evidence, the sources said.

During a press conference on Tuesday, the FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Emerson Buie, Jr. said it was investigating the case as a "potential assault on federal officers" and appealed to the public to call in with any tips.

The unnamed injured agent was released Wednesday afternoon from University Medical Center in El Paso, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The reward for information has been raised to $25,000, officials said.

President Donald Trump said Monday that the agents had been "brutally attacked." When asked if Trump was correct in the description, Buie said that he had not briefed the president on the case.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also referred to the injuries the agents sustained as an "attack."

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Thursday
Nov232017

Remaining two victims of Pennsylvania nursing home fire found 

iStock/Thinkstock(WEST CHESTER, Pa.) -- Officials on Wednesday located the two remaining victims of a massive fire that burned down a senior living community last Thursday, claiming the lives of four residents.

The victims were discovered in the rubble of the building.

Authorities discovered the first victim of the Barclays Friends Senior Living Community fire in West Chester, Pennsylvania early Tuesday morning. The second victim was found Tuesday afternoon.

Recovery efforts continued Wednesday in the south wing where investigators believe the fire started, and that is where the remaining two victims were found, authorities said.

None of the victims have been identified by name, but authorities have said the four missing residents included a husband and wife ages 89 and 92, an 85-year-old woman and a 93-year-old woman.

The families of all four have been notified.

"The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of ATF are with the families of the victims during this difficult time. Their losses only strengthen our resolve to provide answers to them as a result of our investigation of this tragedy," said Special Agent in Charge Donald Robinson.

Both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Chester County Fire Department are continuing to investigate the origin and cause of the five-alarm fire. Cranes and excavating equipment have been brought to the scene to remove large masses of debris.

There were 152 people in the building when the blaze erupted on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET. Hundreds of first responders used beds and wheelchairs to evacuate elderly residents. The fire continued burning into the next day and was contained Friday afternoon.

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Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Nov222017

YouTube to crack down on videos showing child endangerment

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN Bruno, Calif.) -- YouTube has announced a plan to implement stricter controls on videos that show child endangerment.

The move, announced on Wednesday, comes after a BuzzFeed article exposed videos of children in “disturbing and abusive situations,” some of which had racked up millions of views.

YouTube says it implemented new guidelines to remove content that features the endangerment of a child, even if that’s not what the uploader intended.

In a post on the company’s official blog, the company's vice president of product management, Johanna Wright, said YouTube had shut down more than 50 channels and removed thousands of videos that don’t fit under the new, stricter guidelines in the past week.

YouTube also says it will block inappropriate comments on videos that feature minors by using a combination of automated and human flagging.

The company also announced the creation of a platform for family friendly content, called YouTube Kids, but didn't give a timeline for when it would be available.

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Wednesday
Nov222017

How the military handles the remains of fallen troops

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The discovery of additional remains of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the four soldiers killed in an October ambush in Niger, drew renewed attention to the process of how the military transports the remains of deceased service members back to the United States and releases them to their family.

On Tuesday, a Defense Department spokesperson told ABC News that additional remains were discovered on Nov. 12 in the same location in which his body was originally discovered two days after the Oct. 4 ambush.

In instances in which additional remains may be identified, the family of the deceased service member elects beforehand whether they wish to be notified, according to a spokesperson for Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

As is the case with the original remains, they are transferred to Dover and the family is given the choice of how they want to receive them, if at all.

Johnson's family had been notified about the discovery, the Defense Department said Tuesday.

Myeshia Johnson, Sgt. Johnson's widow, claimed in October that she was prevented from viewing her late husband's remains.

"Every time I asked to see my husband, they wouldn't let me," Myeshia Johnson said in an Oct. 23 interview on "Good Morning America." At the time, a Dover mortuary affairs spokesperson said that families cannot view remains at the base but are free to do so when they are released to the family.

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Wednesday
Nov222017

Inside the Thanksgiving mad dash at Charlotte Douglas International Airport

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, North Carolina) -- The rush is on at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina to get passengers into the air and on to their Thanksgiving plans.

The airport is the ninth busiest in the United States and the second biggest hub for American Airlines. Airport officials there are expecting to serve more than 130,000 passengers on Wednesday alone.

Nationwide, TSA plans to screen more than 26 million passengers and crew at airport checkpoints, a 5 percent increase over last year.

Many airline employees like pilots, flight attendants and gate agents are regularly seen by fliers, but there are others who are working equally hard over the holiday: baggage and cargo handlers, mechanics and cleaners.

"Everything has to be done in 120 minutes, otherwise we don't make our time," said Frank Fracsa, a maintenance worker for American Airlines.

If you look outside at the baggage handlers, you might witness a rarely seen exercise.

These men and women regularly gather to stretch, and are sometimes joined by an on-site physical therapist.

"It does make a difference," said Laura Sabatino, a physical therapist at the airport. "Nobody realizes how physical the jobs in the airport industry are. I mean, they're lifting over and over all day."

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Wednesday
Nov222017

Clear weather greets most of the country for Thanksgiving travel

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The travel forecast across much of the country for one of the busiest travel days of the year will be quiet with minimal travel disruptions on the road and in the air.

The main trouble spot will be in the Pacific Northwest, where several storms have brought heavy rain to the area this week. It will continue Wednesday with possible flooding and flight delays.

Anyone traveling early Wednesday morning in the Northeast could face some issues, with snow for the interior areas and rain showers from New York City to Boston. However, it will clear out by the afternoon.

Elsewhere, the rest of the country will be mostly sunny and dry with easy travel weather.

Wet early in Northeast

A cold front is making its way into the Northeast Wednesday with colder air behind the front and milder air ahead of it.

The cold air is creating light snow for parts of Pennsylvania and western New York early Wednesday morning, and that will move into interior New England later. Any snow should be confined to northern interior Maine by the afternoon.

ABC meteorologists are also tracking the rain ahead of the front with some heavy showers happening in eastern North Carolina -- mainly the Outer Banks -- and moving up the coast through Wednesday morning.

Washington D.C. should stay mostly dry, with some light rain anticipated for New York City between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Then rain moves into Boston, lingering there through the early afternoon. Overall, this could bring minor travel impacts to the area Wednesday morning.

Cold weather coming next

Behind that front is another cold blast. Although widespread record lows are not expected, wind chills will still be quite cold for the Midwest Wednesday morning and the Northeast by Thanksgiving morning.

Wind chills are in the teens and even single digits across the Midwest early Wednesday, and it feels like only 15 degrees in Chicago and 9 degrees in Minneapolis.

By Thursday, morning wind chills will be in the 20s from New York City to Boston.

It will be cold for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but winds look light with lots of sunshine.

Northwest continues to see rain

A flood watch remains in effect for northwest Washington, including Seattle, Wednesday through Thursday afternoon.

Rainfall totals of 2 to 5 inches have already fallen, and an additional 1 to 3 inches is possible, with storm totals of over 7 inches of rain this week.

Due to all the rain from these storms, minor flooding is possible for rivers in the area. The rain will also bring slick and wet roads for travelers.

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Wednesday
Nov222017

Police capture 'armed and extremely dangerous' Alabama fugitive

iStock/Thinkstock(ROCKFORD, Ala.) -- U.S. marshals have captured an "armed and extremely dangerous" fugitive who escaped through the ceiling of an Alabama jail on Sunday afternoon.

The Coosa County Sheriff's Office said Shane Anthony Vernon was taken back into custody without incident by DeKalb County, Georgia police at about 10:17 p.m on Tuesday. He is being held in DeKalb County Jail, just outside Atlanta, awaiting extradition back to Alabama.

It was the second time Vernon, 27, has escaped custody in less than a month, officials said.

After escaping Sunday from the Coosa County Jail, Vernon invaded a home in Rockford, Alabama, tied up its residents and stole a vehicle, Sheriff Bill Franklin of the Elmore County Sheriff's Office told ABC News.

After leaving the home, he drove seven-and-a-half miles to an area in Elmore County where he concealed the stolen vehicle in shrubs and branches in order to not be seen by the search helicopters, Franklin said.

He then went into another home in Elmore County, where he waited for another victim to get off of work, according to Franklin, and likely held that victim at gunpoint when he arrived home.

Vernon took another vehicle and left with the victim, driving about three hours to Douglasville, Georgia, Franklin said.

Douglasville Police alerted officials in Elmore County around 7 a.m. this morning that the stolen vehicle and the victim had both been found and that the victim was safe, Franklin said.

Vernon could be now in the metro Atlanta area, deputies told ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV.

The U.S. Marshals Service is assisting in the hunt for Vernon.

"The U.S. Marshals Service for the Middle District of Alabama and the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force is currently assisting the Coosa County Sheriff’s Office and the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office in locating and apprehending Shane Anthony Vernon. At this time, Vernon is wanted for multiple offenses and should be considered armed and extremely dangerous, his whereabouts are unknown," the U.S. Marshals Service told ABC News in a statement.

A statement on the Coosa County Jail's Facebook page said Vernon escaped after noticing that a correctional officer "had failed to properly secure one of the doors in the area of the jail he was in. Vernon was able to go through this door and gain access to the maintenance area in the ceiling of the jail." Vernon had been recaptured on Oct. 30 after previously escaping the jail, according to officials.

Multiple agencies are assisting in the search for Vernon, including the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

"As always, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is collaborating with local, state and federal law enforcement partners not only to locate and capture escaped inmate Shane Anthony Vernon, but to protect anyone who may cross his path," Hal Taylor, the Alabama secretary of law enforcement, told ABC News.

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Wednesday
Nov222017

Driver fleeing police hits, kills three-year-old boy in Connecticut

Connecticut State Police(WATERBURY, Conn.) -- A driver fleeing from authorities hit and killed a toddler in Connecticut on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The incident occurred in Waterbury, where local police officers in an unmarked vehicle attempted to stop a suspect of a criminal investigation on Tuesday around 3:45 p.m. ET. The suspect, identified as 18-year-old Zekhi Eric Lee of Waterbury, failed to pull over his Acura, and fled from officers, according to Connecticut State Police.

Lee collided with a Toyota Corolla at an intersection and veered off the road onto the sidewalk, striking four pedestrians and knocking down a light pole, state police said.

After crashing his vehicle, Lee fled on foot but was apprehended by Waterbury police officers a short time later and taken into custody, according to state police.

Five people were transported to local hospitals for injuries related to the incident, including a 19-month-old girl. A 3-year-old boy was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to state police.

Connecticut State Police detectives are investigating the fatal crash.

Police said anyone with information about the incident should contact Western District Major Crime Detective Ed Vayan at 203-267-2200 or text TIP711 with any information to 274637. All calls and texts will be kept confidential, authorities said.

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