SEARCH

Thursday
May182017

Planet Hollywood door supervisor tackled driver in Times Square crash after he tried to flee

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A Planet Hollywood door supervisor tackled the driver who plowed into pedestrians in Times Square Thursday and helped hold him, he told ABC News.

Kenya Bradix, 47, said he saw a car driving the wrong direction on 7th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets, and then saw it crash.

The driver of the car, identified by police as Richard Rojas, 26, of the Bronx, was screaming and flailing as he got out of the car after hitting multiple people, Bradix said.

Then, a traffic agent told Bradix to "get him," he said.

"I ran toward him and tackled him down," Bradix said, adding that he was assisted by an off-duty police officer and two passers-by.

Police showed up "seconds later," he said.

An 18-year-old woman died and 22 other people were injured in the crash.

Bradix said he didn't realize what the driver had done until he saw bodies lying in the street.

Bradix, who has been working at Planet Hollywood since 2000, added he doesn't consider himself a hero.

"I was just doing something that I hope people would do, because I was trying to do the right thing," he said.

Rojas, a Navy veteran, was taken into custody after he tried to flee the scene, police said.

Rojas has had multiple arrests, including two for driving while intoxicated, according to police. Law enforcement sources told ABC News initial tests have come back negative for alcohol but positive for drugs. Sources also said police are trying to determine whether Rojas suffers from psychological problems, based on statements made at the time of his arrest.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May182017

44 MS-13 gang members face federal charges in Los Angeles police sweep

Ruskpp/iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- After a three-year investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement authorities, 21 alleged members and associates of Mara Salvatrucha, commonly called MS-13, were taken into custody Wednesday by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Task Force on Violent Gangs (LAMTFVG), law enforcement officials announced in a news conference.

The 21 arrested individuals are among 44 alleged MS-13 gang members who face federal charges, including the former head of the entire gang in Los Angeles and 12 senior leaders of the gang. Of the 44 facing charges, 20 were already in custody and three are considered to be fugitives.

Law enforcement officials say the dozen high-ranking gang members had formed a de facto leadership council for the gang because no one person was willing to take on the top role in the wake of ongoing scrutiny by law enforcement.

Wednesday's arrests are part of a multi-agency case led by the FBI that started in 2014. FBI Assistant Director in Charge Deirdre Fike told said in a news conference that more than half of the MS-13 members arrested and charged are in the country illegally and it is unclear how long they have been in the United States.

According to police officials, 12 guns, thousands of dollars in cash and drugs, and 15 children were found at the homes raided Wednesday. An early morning raid at a storefront along a strip of dilapidated buildings also found at least seven people locked in a room and they are being investigated as possible human trafficking victims.

Carlos Alfredo Cardoza Lopez, 23, Samuel Alexander Paredes Rivas, 39, and Joffri Molina, 24, are among the alleged gang members who face charges for murders they allegedly committed in connection with the gang's activities, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. Lopez allegedly fatally shot an innocent bystander on August 15, 2015, after he was confronted inside the gang-controlled Little San Salvador Nightclub and Restaurant on North Western Avenue, the news release added. On August 30, 2015, Rivas allegedly murdered a man at a local strip mall in Pacoima, and on September 27, 2015, Molina allegedly murdered a man on the street in North Hollywood, according to the news release.

If found guilty of the murder charges, all three men could receive the death penalty under federal law.

“This gang is responsible for murders -- both of rival gangsters and innocent bystanders -- as well as drug dealing and extortion in many communities in the Los Angeles area,” acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown said. “With thousands of members here in the Southland, the gang’s power is widespread -- power which it maintains with severe acts of violence. Today’s charges and arrests, however, will deal a critical blow to the top leadership of this criminal organization and will significantly improve safety in neighborhoods across this region.”

Wednesday's sweep also includes a 41-count racketeering indictment that charges 34 members and associates of MS-13, law enforcement officials said at the news conference. The indictment alleges violations of the federal Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and outlines the gang’s organizational structure, its affiliation with the Mexican Mafia prison gang, and its strict set of rules and punishment.

Jose Balmore Romero, 43, is the lead defendant in the RICO indictment and is believed to have been the overall leader of MS-13 Los Angeles in 2013 and 2014. As the leader, Balmore allegedly "oversaw MS-13’s drug trafficking activities, coordinated the collection of extortionate 'taxes' and 'rent,' some of which was then distributed to Mexican Mafia members who oversaw MS-13," said the news release. He also allegedly conducted gang meetings, in which he authorized the “jumping in” of new members and the assault of members who were in bad standing. Balmore has been in local custody since February 2015 and has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges according to Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. It is unclear if he is represented by a lawyer.

In addition to the 34 defendants facing RICO indictment, five other gang members face a drug-trafficking indictment for being associated with the Mexican Mafia. These five members are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, as well as various narcotics and firearms offenses.

Two other MS-13 gang members have also been charged separately with narcotics and firearms offenses.

The individuals taken into custody Wednesday are expected to be arraigned on the charges against them this afternoon in United States District Court, and those who were already in custody will be brought into federal court to face charges at a later date.

“Today is a great win for justice and a heavy message to the community. Law enforcement will combine their resources and all our areas of expertise to cripple these organizations. We will win, they will lose," said ATF Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Eric Harden.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May182017

Former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes is dead

Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Roger Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News, is dead at age 77.

Ailes' wife, Elizabeth Ailes, announced his death in a statement.

"I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning surrounded by his beautiful family," the statement said. "Roger was my best friend, the most wonderful loving husband and father to our son, Zachary. He was a loyal friend to so many. Roger was a patriot, grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise — and to give back."

The cause of death is unknown.

Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News Channel, released a statement that Fox News employees were "shocked and grieved" to learn of Ailes' death.

"A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America’s media over the last 30 years," Murdoch said. "He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted. Roger and I shared a big idea which he executed in a way no one else could have. In addition, Roger was a great patriot who never ceased fighting for his beliefs."

Ailes was born in Warren, Ohio, and studied radio and television production at Ohio University, according to Fox News.

After graduating in 1962, he started working on the The Mike Douglas Show, which gave him "a keen eye for production," according to David Folkenflik, author of Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires, about 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News.

Ailes went into politics after meeting President Richard Nixon, who made an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show in 1967, according to Fox News. He went on to advise President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and then–Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988 for their election campaigns, according to Folkenflik.

In 1996, Ailes helped launch Fox News, which dramatically changed the media landscape. However, last summer he left the channel he helped to create after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson accused him of sexual harassment in a lawsuit. Other women at Fox News, including former host Megyn Kelly, have claimed that Ailes sexually harassed them during his tenure at the cable news channel.

Shortly after his resignation, he reportedly returned to politics. Sources told ABC News he was advising Donald Trump during his preparation for the presidential debates, although Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks denied Ailes' involvement at the time.

"He is not advising Mr. Trump or helping with debate prep. They are longtime friends, but he has no formal or informal role in the campaign," she told ABC News in a statement last August.

Ailes is survived by Elizabeth Ailes and their 17-year-old son, Zachary.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May182017

Chelsea Manning posts first photo revealing new look as a woman

xychelsea87/Instagram(NEW YORK) -- Chelsea Manning posted the first photo of her new look as a woman, just one day after she was released from military prison.

The photo was posted on her Twitter and Instagram accounts @xychelsea87.

In an exclusive statement to ABC News before her release Wednesday, Manning said, “I appreciate the wonderful support that I have received from so many people across the world over these past years. As I rebuild my life, I remind myself not to relive the past. The past will always affect me and I will keep that in mind while remembering that how it played out is only my starting point, not my final destination.”

Manning, a transgender U.S. Army soldier, was in prison for seven years at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, after being convicted by a military tribunal under the Espionage and Computer Fraud and Abuse Acts and sentenced to 35 years in prison for releasing approximately 750,000 documents to WikiLeaks, of which only a small amount of those documents ultimately led to her conviction (some of them were published by The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel).

Manning at that time was a 22-year-old Army private named Bradley Manning. The information she disclosed included low level battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, evidence of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantanamo prison camp detainee profiles and U.S. diplomatic correspondence.

President Obama commuted her sentence to time served three days before he left office. Her imprisonment was longer than any whistleblower in U.S. history.

Days after Manning was sentenced, she came out as transgender on Aug. 22, 2013. The military would not provide her with any treatment for her gender dysphoria, which she claimed resulted in her escalating distress. Her ACLU lawyer, Chase Strangio, filed a lawsuit on her behalf in September 2014.

“Ultimately, we negotiated with the military and Chelsea was provided with cosmetics, grooming items available to other women in custody and hormone therapy,” Strangio told ABC News.

The Army began treating Manning with hormone therapy in February 2015. According to Strangio, Manning became “the first military prisoner to receive health care related to gender transition and was part of a shift in practice that lead to the elimination of the ban on open trans service in the military.” Strangio has been a part of her advocacy team for the past four years providing support on a range of issues from prison disciplinary matters to the petition for clemency to general support around her transition.

Manning was held in solitary confinement for most of the time following her arrest in May 2010 until she was sent from Quantico to Leavenworth in March 2011. She was held in solitary in Kuwait and at Quantico. She was also placed in solitary several times during her incarceration at Leavenworth following her sentencing.

In her letter to President Obama asking to commute her sentence, Manning wrote: “The Army kept me in solitary confinement for nearly a year before formal charges were brought against me. It was a humiliating and degrading experience - one that altered my mind, body and spirit. I have since been placed in solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure for an attempted suicide despite a growing effort - led by the President of the United States - to stop the use of solitary confinement for any purpose.”

Manning attempted to end her life two times in the years since her 2013 sentence.

Strangio noted that while Manning herself has been the key force behind the campaign for her freedom, she was greatly aided by a team who have fought relentlessly, from her court martial attorney, David Coombs, to her appellate team of Nancy Hollander, Vince Ward, and Dave Hammond. Christina DiPasquale, founder of Balestra Media, has also been working for Manning pro bono for years to help elevate her story and as have friends across the country, including Evan Greer from “Fight for the Future.”

On the day of Manning’s release, director Tim Travers Hawkins announced his new documentary, XY Chelsea, been a two-year journey following Manning's story, at the Cannes Film Festival.

"I knew when I began making this film it was likely that I would never be able to film Chelsea directly," Hawkins told ABC News. "Chelsea herself said to me that she was 'a documentary-makers worst nightmare'. But I felt the fact that Chelsea was invisible to us made it even more important to get her voice and her story out into the world."

According to their press release about the film, Hawkins will be "filming with Chelsea later today as she walks free and begins to tell her story and reveal herself to the world in her journey through life beyond incarceration."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May182017

Officer used Taser 7 times and chokehold in fatal chase

artisteer/iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- A Las Vegas police officer involved in a deadly foot chase over the weekend used a stun gun seven times and held a man in a chokehold before he lost consciousness, authorities said
Wednesday.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kenneth Lopera, 31, said he believed Tashii Farmer, 40, was trying to break into to a vehicle when he discharged his Taser and placed him in an
unapproved rear neck hold for more than a minute, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Lopera has been placed on paid leave as the department investigates the matter.

Bodycam video and security footage provided by the department appears to show Lopera chasing Farmer early Sunday as he ran through an employee-only area of a coffee shop in the Venetian Hotel in
Las Vegas.

The video, which was shown at the press conference Wednesday, also appears to show the officer, who is white, firing his stun gun several times before putting Farmer, who is black, in a neck
restraint until other officers arrived to find Farmer unconscious.

Department officials said previously that the officer used an approved restraint technique, which is banned in many other cities, but a subsequent investigation revealed that he used a "rear naked
choke," a martial arts chokehold that is not approved.

Farmer would not have faced charges had he survived the incident, according to the department.

The episode began at about 12:50 a.m. Sunday when Farmer approached Lopera and his partner at a casino coffee shop in the Venetian. Farmer was sweating heavily, looked panicked and said people were
chasing him, according to the department, then ran into the restricted area.

Lopera ran after the man but lost sight of him before catching up to him outside the hotel, where, Lopera said, Farmer was attempting to open the tailgate of an occupied pickup truck, according to
authorities. Farmer was not armed.

"Don't move! Get on your stomach!" Lopera can be heard yelling in the video.

Farmer responds, "I will! I will!"

The recording then shows Farmer on his back with his arms up before another shock from the Taser stiffens him. Farmer yells out, "Please! Please!"

The two then begin to tussle as the officer tries to handcuff Farmer. Lopera hits Farmer on the head and neck from behind as hotel authorities assist and other police officers arrive.

The bodycam does not capture the alleged chokehold but does record Lopera later describing it as a "rear naked choke," according to the department.

The cause of death has not yet been determined, and a toxicology report could take six to eight weeks to complete, the department said.

Farmer grew up in Hawaii, where he has two children, and he lived with his mother, Trinita Farmer, in Las Vegas.

His cousin Tynisa Braun said he had a business selling shoes, hats and apparel.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May182017

Undocumented father fights for 'last shot' to stay in US and keep family together

tupungato/iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- It has been more than six months since Javier Flores García set foot outside the Arch Street United Methodist Church in downtown Philadelphia. Sometimes, as the other parishioners
make their way through the big double doors after Sunday Mass, he lets himself walk with them all the way to the threshold.

“It’s very hard to watch people leave with their families when I know I have to go back down below, to the same place,” García told ABC News in Spanish.

Outside, tourists snap photos in front of City Hall, and commuters rush to work. In the six months he has been staying in the church’s basement, fall has turned to winter and winter to spring.

“Sometimes, when there is no one in the church and my wife comes to bring me food or to eat with me, I go up and open the door,” he said. “It gives me such nostalgia to see all the people walking
outside when I know I can’t leave. That’s the hardest thing.”

But for García, a 40-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico, the risk of walking outside is too great. It would take only a few minutes for agents from the nearby Philadelphia field office of
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to arrive and arrest him — and eventually deport him. His ankle bracelet tells them where he is at all times. That’s why, since Nov. 13, he has been living in a
makeshift apartment in the church. Places of worship are a category of locations deemed sensitive by ICE, meaning the agency typically avoids conducting enforcement actions in them.

In García's small world, little has changed in six months. He spends his days doing odd jobs — painting, cleaning bathrooms and setting up tables for the free meals the congregation serves to
homeless people and veterans. In his room, a small TV often flickers in the corner, on but muted. He has a desk with Christmas cards, a mini-fridge with food and in one corner, a narrow bed.

It’s in this room that he said he spends his days waiting for the outcome of his petition for legal status in the United States.

“Every day, it’s the same, wondering … when they’re going to decide to approve or deny it,” García said. “That is what I find myself thinking about — when, what day and how they will decide.”

The alternative is to go back to Mexico, a country he hasn’t called home in 20 years, without his three children, all U.S. citizens. García said he crossed the border on foot in 1997. He then met
his wife, Alma Lopez, who is also undocumented, and together they have raised three children: Adamaris, 13; Javier, 5; and Yael, 2.

 “I came here, but they started their lives here in this country. It’s theirs, and they have to continue here,” he said. “It’s hard, but I think it’s worth it to keep fighting. Not for me but for
my children. It’s not fair to them to have their well-being taken away.”

But this is his last chance to legally stay with his family, according to his attorney, Brennan Gian-Grasso, 39. Authorities have deported García four times — in 2007, in 2013 and twice in 2014 —
Gian-Grasso said. Each time, García has managed to cross back into the U.S. on foot.

Now Garcia is waiting to hear whether he will be granted one of only 10,000 visas that are reserved each year for immigrants who are victims of crimes and agree to help law enforcement solve them.
Nearly two years after his U visa petition was filed, he has no choice but to continue to wait.

“This is really his only option right now,” Gian-Grasso told ABC News. “This is his shot.”

Vying for 1 of 10,000 visas

García’s fate hangs entirely on a visa dependent on one of the worst days of his life. On March 18, 2004, he and his brother were attacked and stabbed with box cutters in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, by
two other undocumented men.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by the detectives in the case, the brothers were transported to the hospital after “suffering stab wounds and numerous lacerations” from “grayish
colored box cutters.” The two men who attacked them were charged with aggravated assault.

“While he was in the hospital, Javier worked with police to let them know all the details he could,” Gian-Grasso said. “He was willing to testify, but because of his cooperation from the very get-
go and his ability to identify the people who hurt him, they ended up accepting plea deals to aggravated assault, served jail time and were ultimately deported.”

U nonimmigrant visas, created in 2000, are reserved for victims of crimes who have suffered physical and mental abuse and are willing to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation or
prosecution of those responsible, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. U visa holders may eventually petition for permanent residency and help their family members stay in the
U.S. as well.

The number of U visas granted hovers around 10,000 each year, according to USCIS. But the number of U visa petitions nearly tripled from 2010 to 2015, from 10,742 to 30,106, according to USCIS.

Susan Bowyer is the deputy director of the Immigration Center for Women and Children in Oakland, California. She said the center helps file about 1,000 principal U visa petitions each year.

“Law enforcement agencies consistently tell us that the U visa is a great way to build — or repair — bridges to immigrant communities,” she told ABC News in an email.

The increase in petitions can be attributed to increased awareness among immigration attorneys and their clients, she said.

“People learn about it from other people that got U visas. We had a client come in who was robbed on a street corner, and a woman leaned out the window above him and said, ‘Call the police. You can
get a U visa,’” Bowyer added.

But that wasn’t the case for García, Gian-Grasso said. No U visa petition was filed on his behalf until more than 10 years after he was attacked, when he was already in the Pike County Detention
Center, awaiting deportation.

Now that attack so many years ago is his only chance to stay with his children.

“The only reason Javier has any possibility for immigration relief is because he had the unfortunate experience of being the victim of a pretty heinous assault,” Gian-Grasso said. “Up to that
point, there have been a lot of missed opportunities with him being able to apply with previous immigration lawyers.”

But before USCIS may consider his U visa petition, Gian-Grasso said, García needs to be granted a waiver of inadmissibility because of his previous deportations. And while his attorney doubts his U
visa petition will be denied, he has been denied a waiver of inadmissibility twice.

“If the waiver is granted, I don’t see any issue. There has never been any statement that his qualifying crime was insufficient or that he didn’t cooperate,” Gian-Grasso said. “The real crux of the
issue right now is whether his waiver will be granted or not.”

Gian-Grasso said he filed a motion to reopen García’s request for a waiver of inadmissibility with USCIS, challenging the grounds for its previous denial. That motion has been pending since August
2016.

‘A downward spiral for the family’

García’s detention started in May 2015, when ICE agents were waiting for him as he left for work. It was about a year since he had entered the U.S. most recently, in 2014. He said his older son and
daughter watched as ICE agents handcuffed him at the family’s home. He was sent to a detention center more than 130 miles from his family in Philadelphia.

The family reached out to Juntos, an immigrants’ rights organization, for help. Olivia Vasquez, a community organizer with Juntos, said that at one point, the García children tried to sneak off and
hitchhike to the detention center where their father was held.

“His daughter, who was 12 at the time, was desperate to see her father, so she had said, ‘Come on, little brothers, let’s go see Dad,’” Vasquez told ABC News. “Alma came home and called the police,
and they found them a few miles away.”

As the months went by, it became clear that the children were increasingly affected by their father’s detention, Vasquez and Gian-Grasso said.

“There was just a downward spiral for the family. His daughter tried to commit suicide. His son ended up becoming increasingly psychologically affected by his detention. A whole bunch of really bad
things happened,” Gian-Grasso said.

Adamaris said her father’s detention was one of the most difficult times in her life.

“It affected me really bad, because I didn’t know if they were going to send him to Mexico or if I was ever going to see him again,” she told ABC News. “I had trouble in school. My mom sometimes
didn’t even want to come out of her room.”

García said he was desperate to help his family, so he decided to seek parole, which can be granted at ICE’s discretion. After three denials, his request was approved in August of last year, and he
was released with an ankle bracelet to monitor his movements. His parole was set to expire on Nov. 14, but in the 90 days García was out of detention, nothing changed with his U visa petition.
Worried about his family’s well-being if he went into detention again, he said, he took matters into his own hands.

‘We felt like we are actually living our faith’

García, a soft-spoken man, was not previously a member of the Arch Street United Methodist congregation. He said he has never really liked public speaking or being the center of attention. But on
the Sunday after Election Day, during a regularly scheduled service full of people, he stood up and formally asked for sanctuary. He was going to be detained the next day and deported soon after,
his attorney said.

“It wasn’t easy to find a church,” he said. “Many churches closed their doors to us. But thank God, this one opened theirs.”

The logistics of his sanctuary were the product of weeks of planning between the García family, Juntos and the church, the Rev. Robin Hynicka told ABC News. Arch Street United Methodist had been a
member of the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia for the past six years, Hynicka said, and a longtime Juntos ally. So when García’s case came before him, Hynicka said, he didn’t hesitate.

“When the call came for Arch Street to consider becoming a physical sanctuary for Javier, I simply put out a message to about 40 leaders in our church. I basically said, ‘I don’t think this is a
question of will we do this but how we will do this.’ And all of them agreed,” Hynicka said. “Within two weeks, we had a room ready.”

When García stood up during Mass, holding little Javier, the atmosphere in the church was something special, Hynicka said.

“We felt like we are actually living our faith. We aren’t just talking about doing justice and loving our neighbor. We’re actually loving our neighbor and doing justice right now, today,” Hynicka
said. “There was a real sense of community, a real sense of a peaceable kingdom that has power.”

Churches have served as sanctuaries for centuries, Hynicka said, and the Sanctuary Movement in the U.S. began in the 1980s, when churches opened their doors to Central American people fleeing civil
wars.

ICE said it views places of worship, schools and hospitals as sensitive locations and maintains a policy of avoiding enforcement actions there.

“The Department of Homeland Security is committed to ensuring that people seeking to participate in activities or utilize services provided at any sensitive location are free to do so without fear
or hesitation,” ICE officials told ABC News in a statement. They declined to comment on García’s case in particular.

But immigration officials know where he is at all times because of his ankle bracelet, Gian-Grasso said.

“Javier, when he went into sanctuary, said ‘Look, I’m not a fugitive. I’m not hiding anywhere. I’m going to tell you where I’m going to be. But I have to do this for my family.’ And this is
fundamentally a nonviolent form of protest,” Gian-Grasso added.

‘Their parents are legal here, but not all of us have that privilege’

The decision to stay in sanctuary hasn’t been easy. García said he used to earn $2,800 a month as an arborist and spent his days working outdoors. Now he does odd jobs in the church, and his family
relies on donations to make ends meet.

Lopez has had to care for the children largely on her own, she said.

“It’s affected us very much — economically, physically and morally — especially the children,” she told ABC News in Spanish. “I haven’t been able to look for work because of the children. I have to
take them to therapy. I have to take food to Javier.”

While Lopez is also undocumented, she doesn’t have an active deportation order against her.

Adamaris said that while having her father in sanctuary has been much better than having him in a detention center, her life is very different from her classmates’.

“Even though we can visit him sometimes, he is still far away. I have to go to school, and sometimes my mom has to pay more attention to my brothers and my dad than to me. So basically, I don’t get
the same attention,” Adamaris said.

And few of her classmates understand what it’s like to live with that stress, she said.

“I don’t think they know how it feels because they have both their parents there. They don’t know to experience that because their parents are legal here, but not all of us have that privilege,”
Adamaris said.

García said his children struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, which was diagnosed by therapists, from his time in detention.

“It’s very hard for them psychologically. Even now, when they see police, they assume they are here for me,” García said. “Recently, after I came here, my older son came to visit me, and he saw the
police lights pass by the window, and he said, ‘We have to run. We have to go.’ I told him, ‘Don’t worry. We’re safe here.’”

García said that as a parent, it’s hard to see his children live with such fear. Little Javier often stays overnight with his father at the church and cries when he goes back home without him.

“Normally, he lives with me here. He can leave for a day, two days, but normally but it’s just one day he spends at home,” García said. “His fear comes when night comes.”

“He calls me and asks, ‘Are you OK? Are you sad?’ I tell him, ‘No, I’m content because you are at home,’” García said. “It’s very hard. But now is not the time to fall apart. We have to be strong
because if I fall, my family falls.”

The family has been working to gradually get Javier to spend more nights at home with his mother and siblings in preparation for him to start kindergarten. But he is still waiting for his father’s
future to be determined.

“He says to me, ‘When you can leave, I will go to school,’” García said. “It’s very hard to see all of this, but I can’t give up now.”

‘Why would I give it all up?’

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, including Philadelphia. García said he knows he is vulnerable.

“The fear is always there. With the new president, anything can happen,” he said. “But I am not going to give up because of the fear.”

ICE said it has stepped up arrests by more than 37 percent under the Trump administration. From Jan. 22 to Apr. 29, deportation officers arrested 41,318 people. The agency said nearly 75 percent of
the people it has arrested since Trump took office are convicted criminals, although the majority were not convicted of violent crimes.

García, who was convicted of DUI in 2004 but was given probation rather than jail time, said many people have asked him why he doesn’t go back to Mexico and take his family with him. But because
his children are U.S. citizens and they have greater opportunities here, he feels compelled to stay.

“Why would I give it all up? Why would I give it up for me, not thinking about my children and their future here?” he said. “If they deport me, I will return. It doesn’t matter how long it takes
me. It could be one or two years. But I am going to return.”

And though ICE has policies in place to avoid conducting enforcement actions in churches, agents have leeway in how they interpret those policies, according to David Bier, an immigration policy
analyst at the Cato Institute, a think tank focused on free markets and limited government.

“What I see happening is that there is a lot of legal language being used that’s very carefully crafted to say that we’re not going to target people in certain areas, but then they’re targeted just
outside of those areas,” he told ABC News. “So the minute they walk out of that church or the minute they walk out of the courthouse, you have agents waiting for them.”

Bier said even when then-President Barack Obama told ICE in 2014 to focus on deporting convicted criminals, ICE’s discretion led to more removals. That could be the case once again under Trump.

“ICE was interpreting that as broadly as possible and using every possible means to effectuate more removals,” Bier said. “That resulted in an unprecedented number of deportations. I think that,
really, by giving them the flexibility, by giving them this discretion to decide that in certain cases, you can violate these restrictions, in certain cases you can go after people who haven’t been
convicted of a crime, that’s pretty much opening it up to have them do it whenever they want.”

With his history of immigration violation convictions, Hynicka knows that ICE could choose to go for García. But he said he hopes agents continue to respect the centuries-old practice of regarding
places of worship as sanctuaries.

“We have an open door every day. ICE knows where Javier is,” Hynicka said. “I would really state clearly that we are a church doing our work, we are church honoring our sacred call to be a loving
neighbor and doing justice. It would be a tremendous mistake if ICE would come to the church or any other church or community of faith that’s providing sanctuary.”

“We have procedures in place. We know what the law is. Javier knows what the law is. We know what our rights are,” he added, saying that he would ask agents for a warrant signed by a federal judge.

Gian-Grasso said that he will do everything in his power legally to protect García if ICE chooses to enter the church but that the options are limited.

“I could provide more information for a stay of removal, and there’s a lot of things I would have to do in terms of filing,” Gian-Grasso said. “What my inclination is, though — if he were forcibly
removed from the church right now, it would be very difficult to stop his removal.”

For now, García can only wait to see whether his petition is approved. But his wife and children know just what they will do if he is able to walk out those big church doors.

“That day, we will have all of our family members come over, since they have seen how hard we have worked for my dad to have his visa, and also our neighbors, because they are hoping to see him
soon too,” Adamaris said. “This time, we would like him to actually experience things like a legal citizen.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May182017

Officials search for driver who allegedly caused school bus crash in Pa.

WPVI-TV(LANCASTER, Pa.) -- Police near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, are searching for a driver who authorities say set in motion a crash that tipped a school bus on its side, sending 16 people to the hospital and leaving a 6-year-old boy "struggling for his life."

Police said four vehicles were involved in the Wednesday morning crash: a tractor trailer, an escort vehicle for the tractor trailer, the missing car and the school bus.

Police said the unknown driver hit the back of the escort vehicle in East Lampeter Township, about 65 miles west of Philadelphia. The escort vehicle was then pushed into another lane, side-swiping the school bus.

The collision tipped the bus on to its side and trapped one student underneath; the student was transported to the hospital via helicopter, police said.

Fourteen students, the school bus driver and the driver of the escort vehicle were hospitalized, a Lancaster General Hospital spokesperson said. Both adults and 12 of the students have since been released, a hospital spokesperson said Thursday.

The remaining two students have been transferred to other hospitals for further treatment.

A 6-year-old boy is considered a critical patient with serious injuries, officials said. While the patient had "some improvement," Lancaster County District Attorney's Office spokesman Brett Hambright said Thursday morning the boy is still "struggling for his life."

A 16-year-old boy is expected to be released from the hospital Thursday, officials added.

Police are looking for the missing driver who "essentially set this crash into motion," Hambright said.

The missing car appears to be a light-colored sedan, possibly a white Chevrolet Malibu, Hambright said. The front of the vehicle could be damaged, he noted, adding that the car may also have driver's side damage. Surveillance video from a business captured an image of what is believed to be the wanted car.

Hambright said authorities want to speak with the driver.

"That side of the story is very important to us," East Lampeter Township Police Chief John Bowman said. "It's pretty much all hands on deck to locate the vehicle and hopefully have a conversation with the driver."

Bowman said the police department has received a large number of tips and he encouraged anyone with information to come forward.

The students involved in the crash were from the Lancaster Mennonite School, police said.

The Lancaster Mennonite School said in a statement on Facebook Thursday morning, "Thank you for your prayers as our school community continues to heal, physically and emotionally, from Wednesday’s bus accident."

"Several pastors are at the Locust Grove Campus today having prayer with the students," the school said. "School is operating normally, although prayer and support will be infused throughout the day. School counselors are available, as always, to help in times of crisis."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May182017

Tulsa police officer acquitted in death of unarmed African-American man

iStock/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) -- A white police officer was found not guilty on Wednesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the 2016 shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered near the courthouse where a jury acquitted Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby of first-degree manslaughter charges in the 2016 shooting of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher.

After the decision was announced, peaceful but defiant protesters briefly blocked an intersection in downtown Tulsa, prompting authorities to threaten the use of tear gas and arrest. The crowd eventually dispersed overnight.

Demonstrators chanted, "No Justice, No Peace" and "Hands up, don't shoot!" in the streets.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin called for peace after the verdict came down.

"Those who disagree with the verdict have the right to express their opinions; I just ask that they do so in a peaceful manner," Fallin said in a statement. "I appeal to Tulsans and others to remain calm."

The nine-person jury took about nine hours to deliberate. The trial, which lasted eight days, focused on whether Shelby was justified in using deadly force against Crutcher, or if her actions were based on fear.

Shelby testified for more than two hours on Monday about her training as a Tulsa police officer and how she believed Crutcher was reaching for a gun inside his SUV when she fired, according to ABC’s Tulsa affiliate KTUL-TV.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a civil and human rights law organization, said it was "deeply disappointed" by the verdict. The organization said it is now awaiting the result of a separate Department of Justice probe.

"We are deeply disappointed that yet another police officer has eluded conviction for killing an unarmed African American," NAACP LDEF President Sherrilyn Ifill said in a statement Wednesday. "We eagerly await the findings of the Department of Justice's investigation, and hope that federal charges will be filed given the egregious misconduct."

The shooting was among a string of highly publicized officer-involved shooting deaths of African American across the U.S. in recent years.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May182017

Decades after catastrophic 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens is 'recharging'

USGS(NEW YORK) -- Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980 after two months of increasing volcanic activity.

That event is widely considered the most disastrous volcanic eruption in U.S. history. It killed 57 people, destroyed hundreds of homes, 57 bridges and some 200 miles of roads and highways, in addition to leveling tens of thousands of acres of forest land.

The eruption sent an ash cloud more than 12 miles into the atmosphere in just 10 minutes. The ash then spread across the continental U.S. in a matter of days and circled the earth within 15 days, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The volcano had been dormant for more than 100 years until the seismic activity started to increase in March 1980.

A series of earthquakes caused cracks in the snow and ice at the top of the mountain. On March 27, 1980, ash began to spray from the mountain's peak.

But what happened next caught many scientists by surprise. At 8:32 a.m. on the day of the big eruption, a 5.1-magnitude earthquake shook the area. Instead of the typical eruption, which spews from the mountain's top, this sent a huge explosion out from the mountain’s side.

Some 3.2 billion tons of ash spewed into the surrounding area, according to the United States Geological Survey. Streets and buildings were covered, and the eruption caused an estimated $1 billion in damage.

Over the nearly four decades since the cataclysmic eruption, the USGS has noticed signs of recovery near Mount St. Helens.

Even though these signs of re-growth are positive, there are also signs of increased seismic activity in the mountain.

“Mount St. Helens is at ‘normal’ background levels of activity,” Liz Westby, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey-Cascades Volcano Observatory, told ABC News. “But a bit out of the ordinary are several small magnitude earthquake swarms in March-May 2016, November 2016, and April 16-May 5, 2017. During the April 16-May 5, 2017 swarm, we detected well over 100 earthquakes - all below a magnitude 1.3.”

That size of quakes would be too small for a person to feel on the surface, even if they were standing directly above them, since the earthquakes are happening between sea level and 3 miles below sea level, Westby said.

And even though there is a swarm of earthquakes currently, Westby said that doesn’t mean that an eruption of Mount St. Helens is coming. Volcanic forecasts can be tricky.

“There are several reasons why it is very unlikely that this swarm is a precursor to imminent eruptive activity at Mount St. Helens: It is similar to ones in the past that did not lead to surface activity; it consists of very small earthquakes occurring at relatively low rates; there are no other geophysical indicators (like surface deformation, tilting, increased volcanic gas emissions) of unrest,” Westby told ABC News.

Westby said these swarms are extremely interesting and helpful to scientists, since each geophysical signal gives them a better understanding of how a volcano functions.

"This is why we maintain a close watch over these giants, so we can detect the earliest signs of reawakening," Westby told ABC News.

The agency sends out weekly updates on seismic activity around the volcano. The last time Mount St. Helens erupted was in 2008, but that volcanic activity did not compare to the cataclysmic eruption in 1980.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
May172017

Georgia high schooler dies after football conditioning; cause of death not determined

Purestock/iStock/Thinkstock(FAIRBURN, Ga.) -- A Georgia ninth-grader's cause of death is under investigation after he died following football conditioning.

Kamari McGowen, a student at Creekside High School about 25 miles outside of Atlanta, was participating in football exercises Monday when a coach noticed he was pale, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

911 was called and Kamari was taken from football conditioning to the hospital where he "died unexpectedly," according to spokespeople for Fulton County Schools.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office said a cause of death has not yet been determined as the office is still waiting on items including medical records, police reports and lab tests.

Baton Rouge high school quarterback gunned down ahead of graduation, no suspects or motive
Seattle high school football player dies days after being injured
A spokeswoman for Fulton County Schools said in a statement, "Fulton County Schools is saddened by the heartbreaking news of the death of Kamari McGowen."

"Creekside High had counselors at school on Tuesday and as long as necessary to assist students and teachers who are experiencing grief," the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the McGowen family."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio