President Obama to Honor Tucson Shooting Victims

Photo Courtesy - The White House/ Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In times of crisis and tragedy, Americans have turned to their president for leadership and words of reassurance.   At a memorial service Wednesday night in Tucson, Arizona, President Obama will try to help the nation make sense of a tragic shooting that took the lives of six innocent victims.

On Monday, Obama urged Americans to focus on the stories of bravery that came out of last Saturday's shooting, saying they speak to "the best of America, even in the face of such mindless violence."

"I think it's going to be important, I think, for the country as a whole, as well as the people of Arizona, to feel as if we are speaking directly to our sense of loss," the president said Monday at the White House, "but also speaking to our hopes for the future and how out of this tragedy we can come together as a stronger nation."

Obama is expected to focus on the victims, heroes and those in Tucson that have been impacted by the tragedy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Winter Snowstorm Slams Into Northeast

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The winter storm that snarled travel across the Southeast arrived in the Northeast late Tuesday after combining with snow from the Midwest.

It is the third storm to slam into the region in less than three weeks.

As of Wednesday morning, every state in the continental U.S. had snowfall or snow on the ground, with the exception of Florida.

New York City declared a weather emergency Tuesday to avoid the criticism the city received for its slow response to clear the roads after the blizzard last month.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged emergency crews would be ready this time.  A much more aggressive approach included 1,700 plows and 365 salt trucks that were out in full force Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

In Long Island, the area could get up to 20 inches with whiteout conditions and 35 mile an hour winds.

Over in Boston, officials declared a severe snow emergency and will be under a blizzard warning from 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday.  Public school classes have also been canceled as a precaution.

Rhode Island government officials are urging all state employees to stay home.

In Philadelphia, snow totals reached five inches and in central New Jersey, about eight inches have fallen by early Wednesday morning. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords' Husband Keeps Vigil By Her Side

Photo Courtesy - Office of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is making a remarkably strong recovery, her doctors said Tuesday.  Despite the good news, however, a photo of her husband holding her hand while keeping an exhausted vigil by her side clearly showed the agony of the ordeal for her family.

Giffords' doctors were upbeat Tuesday on her chance of surviving the shot to her head on Saturday.

"She has a 101 percent chance of surviving," said trauma chief Dr. Peter Rhee said Tuesday. "She will not die. She does not have that permission from me."

While Giffords' breathing tube remained in place, her neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole said she is breathing on her own for the first time since the shooting.

Doctors added that Giffords is also moving both arms. Two days ago they were delighted that she could raise two fingers and squeeze a hand.

The doctors corrected themselves on one aspect of the wound. They now believe she was shot in the forehead, with the bullet traveling the length of the left side of the brain and exiting the back. They originally believed she was shot in the back of the head and the bullet exited her forehead.

Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, has been by her side since shortly after she was shot on Saturday, allegedly by 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Discovery to Launch in February; Endeavour's Commander May Not Fly

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- NASA is dealing with two important issues at the moment -- one technical, one personal.

On Tuesday, officials with the space agency said shuttle Discovery would likely launch in late February, more than three months past its scheduled November lift-off.

Meant to be the penultimate flight of the shuttle program, Discovery has been plagued with a series of problems, not the least of which have been cracks in support beams that stabilize the spacecraft’s external fuel tank.

The goal is to take off for the International Space Station at or around Feb. 27.

In other developments, shuttle Endeavour is on track to put a cap on the program’s 30-year history this April, although the scheduled commander of the mission might be missing.

Astronaut Mark Kelly is the husband of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was gravely wounded in last Saturday's shootings in Tucson, Arizona.

Bill Gerstemaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations, said Tuesday the decision to fly will be left entirely with Kelly, who has more urgent matters to attend to at the moment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Family of College Football Star Shot by Police Intend to File Wrongful Death Suit

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Three months after a college football player in New York was shot and killed by police during an altercation outside a bar, his family said Tuesday they intend to take the first steps towards filing a wrongful death suit against police.

"All we're looking for is the absolute truth," Danroy Henry Jr.'s mother, Angella Henry, told ABC News.

Henry, a 20-year-old student at Pace University, was killed in October as he sat in his car with his friends after a night out celebrating a homecoming game in suburban Thornwood, N.Y.

There are differing accounts of what happened. Police say they were responding to an unruly crowd outside a bar, and when officers approached Henry's car parked in a fire lane and knocked on the window, the college student tried to speed away and struck an officer. Police say a second officer, Aaron Hess of the Mount Pleasant police department which responded to the disturbance, was thrown onto the hood of Henry's car. Police say Hess then fired in self-defense.

Several eyewitnesses say the police overreacted and that Henry was trying to move his car out of the fire lane when the police opened fire.

"The path of the bullet shows that as D.J. tried to move and get out of the vehicle, the officer shot directly at him," said Michael Sussman, an attorney for the Henry family, who disputes the police account of the incident.

Sussman said the Henrys would like to see murder charges filed.

A grand jury has been convened to hear evidence in the case. The family has not been allowed to attend the grand jury proceedings, which is standard procedure. But Danroy Henry Sr. said he has been asked to testify.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tucson Shooting: 'Divine Guard' to Counter Westboro Protesters

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- When Christin Gilmer learned that members of the Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest the funeral of Christina Taylor Green, the youngest victim in the Tucson, Ariz. massacre, she took action, enlisting a "divine guard" to buffer the picket signs.

"How dare you come with your hateful message when we're in mourning," Gilmer said. "Nobody comes into our beautiful town and tries to spew hate at the celebration and memorial of someone's life."

The Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kan., is the offshoot group of fundamentalist pastor Fred Phelps. It frequently pickets soldiers' funerals, political rallies and gay rights gatherings. Church members have long said they're exercising their First Amendment rights.

"However many are dead, Westboro Baptist Church will picket their funerals," said Phelps in a video on the church's website. "We will remind the living that you can still repent and obey. This is ultimatum time with God."

Green, who was nine years old, was allegedly gunned down by 22-year-old Jared Loughner, the man accused of spraying bullets at a political gathering in Tucson that left Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life.

Gilmer, 26, knew Gabriel Zimmerman, Giffords' staff member who died in the rampage, and was nauseated when she learned of his death.

"I was in shock and just kept crying and crying," Gilmer said. But she took action, sending a Facebook message to 90 of her friends Sunday. The message spread to thousands of others, and hundreds volunteered to help and donate money to the "divine guard."

"We're hoping to have people dressed in white, lining the streets to show a brightness and hope, to show Christina's family and Tucson that we love you...and we support them," Gilmer said.

Christina's mother, Roxanne Green, did not want to comment about the possibility of protesters at her daughter's funeral, saying she was overwhelmed by just having to plan it.

Of the more than 200 people donning white, 30 people will wear angel wings with the idea of blocking the Westboro protesters' signs.

"It's going to be a silent, counter protest. It's not about us. It's about protecting the family," Gilmer said.

But if Arizona lawmakers have their way, neither the "divine guard" nor their wings will be necessary.

Arizona State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has drafted legislation that would require the Westboro protestors to stay 300 feet away from the funeral from an hour before it starts until an hour after it ends, ABC affiliate KNXV reported. "I'm a strong advocate of the First Amendment, and the bottom line is this, Fred Phelps and his group of people can still spew their hate if they want. They just don't get to do it close to the families that are grieving. They have to be farther away," Sinema told KNXV.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Millionth Soldier Greeted by Volunteers at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Bert Brady doesn't know who exactly was the millionth soldier to pass through the Dallas-Fort Worth airport returning from duty, but to him it doesn't matter. The Army veteran greets them all the same.

For the past four years, Brady has been there for the nation's heroes as they arrive in the terminal on leave from places like Iraq and Afghanistan. He offers a smile, word of thanks, maybe a cell phone to call family or often just a hug. In the first days of 2011, Brady and his fellow volunteers at the "Welcome Home a Hero" program reached that milestone, greeting their millionth soldier.

"We have to support them. We simply have to support them," said Brady, 73. "They're our heroes and more important even than that, their wives and families are our heroes. They suffer just as badly as anybody."

Every day in Dallas, as many as 275 soldiers pass through the airport coming home for two weeks of rest and recuperation. Bert Brady and his volunteers have never missed a single one, even if it means greeting them at three in the morning.

On Tuesday, the thousands of volunteer greeters were honored for their work. Folks ranging from Boy Scouts to military generals come out to give soldiers a warm reception, something that almost never happened for veterans of wars in Vietnam and Korea.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Glock 19: How Did Unemployed Loughner Buy Expensive Pistol?

Photo Courtesy - Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) – Questions remain about how Jared Lee Loughner could afford the Glock 19 he allegedly used in the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The popular firearm costs about $450, not including ammunition and magazines.

Loughner legally purchased the Glock at a Sportsman's Warehouse chain store in Tucson on Nov. 30 after completing a form and passing a background check. Walmart Inc. confirmed that Loughner tried to buy ammunition at one of its stores but was refused service due to "strange behavior," according to the FBI. He was later able to get it at another Walmart.

Sportsman's Warehouse had no comment about Loughner's method of payment. Jason Ogan, spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department, said he did not have information related to Loughner's payment method either.

Loughner appeared Monday before a Phoenix judge, who assigned him two public defenders. Based on a financial affidavit that Loughner signed, the judge said he might not be able to afford defense attorneys.

Six people were killed and 14 injured in Tucson on Saturday. Giffords, shot in the left hemisphere of the brain, was in critical condition in a Tucson hospital. Loughner is charged with one federal count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government, and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ted Williams: ‘My Daughter Hit Me’

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LOS ANGELES) – Only a week after his overnight rise to fame, Ted Williams was picked up by the Los Angeles Police Department Monday night after a disturbance inside a Hollywood hotel.

Williams, the man with the “golden voice” who became an instant Internet sensation, told The Insider that his daughter, Jemay Williams, hit him with an ice bucket inside a room at the Renaissance hotel.

LAPD Spokesman Richard French said the investigation in ongoing and did not say that Williams had actually been arrested.

Williams, who was homeless before YouTube viewers caught on to his amazing voice, had previously battled drug and alcohol problems.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Coroner: Vegas Dancer Died of Asphyxiation

Photo Courtesy - VEGAS) – The Clark County Coroner has ruled that asphyxiation was the cause of death in the murder of Vegas showgirl Debora Flores-Narvaez.

The body of 31-year-old Flores-Narvaez was discovered Saturday at a home in the north part of the city.

Assistant Coroner John Fudenberg said her death was caused by asphyxiation due to neck compression. The incident has been ruled a homicide.

Flores-Narvaez had been missing since December 13 when she failed to show up for work as a dancer for the Luxor's "Fantasy" show.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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