Manhunt underway for 'armed and dangerous' suspect in killing of Georgia police officer

Gwinnett County Police(ATLANTA) -- A manhunt was underway Sunday for a suspect in the killing of a police officer near a suburban Atlanta school after he and his partner responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle, authorities said.

Tafahree Maynard, 18, is considered "armed and dangerous" and is believed to be the gunman who opened fire without warning Saturday afternoon on Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney and his partner, police said.

Maynard is wanted on suspicion of felony murder and aggravated assault in the death of Toney, who had recently celebrated his 30th birthday with colleagues in Las Vegas and was just six days short of marking his third anniversary as a member of the department, officials said.

As of Sunday afternoon, police said the hunt for Maynard was ongoing and announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and indictment.

Toney and another officer approached a vehicle near the Shiloh Middle School in Snellville about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday to check out a report of people smoking marijuana, according to Sgt. Jake Smith of the Gwinnett County Police Department.

"Before they could even get to the vehicle the shots rang out" from inside the car, Smith said, adding that such things don't happen "99.999 percent" of the time.

“That it went this way, it’s just tragic,” Smith said.

One of the bullets struck Toney, Smith said.

Toney's partner, who has not been identified, was not injured and dragged the mortally wounded officer away for cover, Smith said.

It was not immediately clear where Toney was struck. He was taken to nearby Gwinnett County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

"What a chief wants to hear is that the officer is OK. And when I asked that question, that wasn't the answer I got," Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers said during an emotional news conference late Saturday.

When Toney graduated from the police academy in 2015, it was Ayers who presented him with his badge.

"The people that worked with Officer Toney on a daily basis recalled a very jovial person who was dedicated to his job and dedicated to his community," Ayers said.

Initial reports indicated that the vehicle Toney and his partner were called to investigate contained as many as four people.

Following the shooting, the car took off and crashed less than a mile from the shooting scene, Smith said. The officers returned fire, but it was unclear whether anyone in the car was hit or if any injuries resulted from the crash, Smith said.

The suspects fled on foot.

One suspect, Isaiah Pretlow, 19, was arrested soon after the shooting and charged with aggravated assault, officials said. Pretlow was nabbed after he allegedly opened fire on U.S. Marshals as they approached him, officials said.

The marshals were not injured while arresting Pretlow, officials said.

Ayers said investigators are reviewing body camera footage of the shooting, but did not specify whose body camera footage he was referring to. Earlier, Smith had said most of the officers in the department have body cameras, but not all.

Friends and community residents joined officers who worked with Toney for a candlelight vigil Saturday night at the Gwinnett County Fallen Heroes Memorial in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

"He was practically like a brother. He was over at my house all the time," Reginald Pierre, a friend of Toney's who attended the vigil, told ABC affiliate station WSB-TV in Atlanta.

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Vague childhood memories of pre-war London led to a remarkable Texas family reunion 

Bob Pereira(HOUSTON) -- A family reunion decades in the making unfolded last week at the international arrivals terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Three siblings -- who lived separate lives after the eldest was abandoned as a toddler in a London orphanage -- met for the first time.

“I just turned to jelly,” Mary Winifred Meloy, who goes by Winifred, told ABC News. “I looked for years and years and all of a sudden -- she was there.”

“Well, anyway,” she said with a laugh. “I found her now!”

Her long-lost sister, Una Pereira, had almost given up hope, but now, after all these years, the void inside her had been filled, she said.

“I just gave them a hug. Maybe I hugged John too hard,” Pereira said of her brother. “He said, ‘Don’t break my neck!’”

'A lifetime wondering'

Raised in the London convent -- where she grew up and lived through the bombings and the brutality of World War II -- Pereira said that by this late in her life she could only grasp at thin strands of memories of her early childhood.

Pereira said she had no memory of her father or mother. But, she said, she did have a vague memory of a woman who visited twice -- once with a baby in her arms and a second time, a few years later, but this time with two toddlers, a boy and a girl.

There was a name, too: Winifred, which she said was embedded in her memory.

But who was Winifred? Her sister? The woman who visited?

She said she longed to know if her visitors were actually her family. And to know why she was left behind to live in the convent.

All her life, Pereira said, she felt there was an empty gap in her life.

“I spent a lifetime wondering where they were."

“I saw them one time when I was 6 years old. I never saw them again,” she said. “But I knew they were [out] there.”

Still, Winifred said, she wouldn't let it go.

“You don’t give up hope on things like that,” she said. “It’s always on the back of your mind.”

Winifred and her brother John had left London as young children fleeing the war, but she knew no matter where she went her sister needed her.

“She’s my sister,” Winifred explained. “She had to be somewhere -- and I had to find her.”

Putting puzzle pieces together

It would be Pereira’s grandson, Christopher Pereira, who was ultimately able to put the missing pieces of the family puzzle back together.

In the autumn of 2017, he returned home to Texas for a visit.

He would ask his grandmother about her distant past, but she always seemed reluctant to talk about it.

That all changed with a single question he put to Pereira: if you won the lottery, what would you do?

She said she would want to find out who her mother was and what happened to her as a baby.

 The younger Pereira, a band manager, was scheduled to leave on a European concert tour earlier this year, but instead of returning to his home in Nashville, Tennessee, he stayed in London.

He knew the key to unlock the mysteries of his grandmother’s early childhood must be somewhere in the Nazareth House Hammersmith convent.

“It’s daunting,” he told ABC News, describing his first trip to the London convent.

“I’m imagining my grandma being a little kid there. It looks like a place where only bad things happen.”

He arrived at the convent and ended up in the waiting room, where he began to muse about his family’s past and became intrigued.

“I realize I’m sitting in the same waiting room where my grandmother met that woman," he said.

Another roadblock

Then, another roadblock emerged. The archivist at the orphanage was reluctant to divulge information about Pereira's grandmother without a notarized letter.

He contacted his father, Bob Pereira, who sent a notarized letter by overnight mail.

The grandson returned to the convent the following day, anxious for a breakthrough. Instead, he said he waited for another hour in the orphanage’s now-familiar waiting room.

Finally, he said he heard footsteps approaching, and the archivist appeared, holding a folder.

The archivist told him that an Una Goodwin had been admitted to the orphanage around the same time -– by a Matilda Davis.

“Matilda must have been her mom,” he said.

The archivist said his grandmother was admitted as a 2-year-old girl.

Pereira said he contacted his family back in Texas, and they start trying to piece together more of the puzzle with the new information he had uncovered.

Still, it proved to be not enough, and for months it seemed to the Pereira family that they had reached a dead end in their ancestry investigation, all three of them told ABC News.

In February of this year, Christopher Pereira returned to Nashville from his European concert tour with the mystery still hanging over the family.

By March, his father was ready to hire a private detective.

An unexpected break

But back in London, the convent archivist was cataloging Christopher Pereira’s visit when he unexpectedly came across another inquiry from 2004 seeking information about a little girl of the same age named Una.

The convent reached out to the woman who had inquired, and after securing her permission, mailed a letter to Pereira with the news about her sister.

The name on the letter read: Mary Winifred.

Pereira excitedly dictated a letter, enclosed childhood photographs, and mailed it to Winifred, the sister she thought she would never find.

Three days later, Pereira’s son Bob got an unexpected call from the United Kingdom.

He said he heard the voice of a man who introduced himself as Melvin Meloy, Winifred’s husband.

Meloy told Bob Pereira that his wife was in shock, and couldn't immediately come to the phone. Meloy said his wife had been searching for Pereira all her life.

When Winifred "gets on the phone and I say, ‘Hello, Aunt Winifred. This is Bob, I am Una’s son.'”

He said Winifred’s voice began to crack when she first said hello.

After so many years, a trans-Atlantic reunion would take time to plan -- too much time, they said, for two excited siblings in the twilight of their lives to wait.

So they learned to use Facebook video chat.  

Face-to-face for the first time in decades, the sisters said, there were tears of joy, mutual frustration at why there had to be so much pain, but ultimately, the electrifying thrill of discovery.

The sisters spoke for more than two hours, they said. Over the ensuing months, the siblings would share pictures and message each other on a family Facebook group created in anticipation of the day that would fill a lonely void in each person's life with joy.

But there was a painful underside to the reunion.

Asked why his mother was left at the orphanage, Bob Pereira was reluctant at first to respond but eventually acknowledged a hard truth.

“She was an unwanted child,” he said, his voice heavy with sadness.

For Pereira, her new relationship with her long-lost siblings is bittersweet, she said with a mix of wistfulness and wise-cracking humor.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “But I am almost 93 years old. Don’t know much how longer we will all be together."

“It took a long time to get here!” she said, and began to laugh.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Boy with autism who improved socially by running plans to finish marathon with mom

Courtesy Lisa Hernandez-Cruz(NEW YORK) -- Around this time last year, Wilfrin Hernandez-Cruz waited for his mother at the finish line of the New York City marathon.

When his mom, Lisa Hernandez-Cruz, runs on Nov. 4 in this year's event, Wilfrin, who is 11 years old and has autism, plans to run by her side for the last leg of the 26.2-mile competition.

"I will be running a mile –- mile 25 to 26.2 -– on Marathon Day in the morning," Wilfrin, who lives in Brooklyn, said.

Wilfrin -- or Wil, as his mom calls him -- was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old. He started running with his mom a few years later.

"I've always been a runner," said Hernandez-Cruz, 35, a pastry chef who said she's been running since college. "Naturally, as he got older, he would run with me a mile here and a mile there."

Then she says a friend told her about New York Road Runner's races for children. Wil participated in the races, which are free, his mom said.

And this year, Wil was named a youth ambassador with the organization and will be competing in the marathon's youth invitational.

The New York City marathon is full of participants who run for the competition, better health and to achieve a lifelong goal. Some also run for charity, which goes a long way toward helping children like Wil participate for free in competitions.

"The whole reason my son gets to run for free is because these people raise money," Lisa said of the adult competitors. "They have been life-changing for us and our family."

Adult runners help raise money for youth programs by participating in 12 different marathons all over the world, including New York, London, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and Berlin, said Michael Rodgers, New York Road Runner's vice president of youth and community runner engagement.

The programs, which are called the Rising New York Road Runners, focus on developing children's physical literacy: skill, motivation and desire to be physically active for life.

"We trick kids into running through fun activities and games," Rodgers joked. "They don’t realize while they’re having fun. They’re running and engaging and learning how to move their bodies. When you’re physically active as a kid and you enjoy it, you want to continue doing that as an adult."

Rodgers added that the programs accommodate children with disabilities, too.

“We also have a Rising New York Road Runners Wheelchair Training Program," he said. "We work with kids who are in wheelchairs in special free clinics.”

Beyond children, the New York City marathon provides a platform for other inspirational stories to come to light.

Glenn Hartrick, for one, is an avid triathlete who was paralyzed four years ago when a driver made an illegal U-turn in New York City and struck him while he was training on a routine ride.

"I was in the best shape of my life before I was hit," Hartrick, 37, recalled, saying he had just finished Ironman Texas three weeks before the accident.

During his recovery in the hospital, Hartrick read about the Challenged Athletes Foundation and applied for a hand cycle. After the foundation granted it to him, he says he knew he'd be back.

"Fast forward, November 2015, I was there in a hand cycle and hand cycled the New York City marathon," he said. "Crossing that finish line and knowing all that went into it and my family and friends were there supporting me was a day I’ll never forget it.”

Now, he'll be competing in this year's marathon in a push rim wheelchair.

"I will be the first person to have competed in the New York City marathon as an able-bodied runner using a handcycle and in a racing wheelchair," he told ABC News.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation, which is based in San Diego, was co-founded in 1994 by Bob Babbit. He said the organization has sent out 23,000 grants and raised $100 million to help disabled athletes.

"We decided that anyone who needed training equipment of any sort that had to do with a sport, if they needed coaching or if they need travel expenses, they could apply for grants," he said.

The grant went a long toward helping Hartrick get back to competing. He said he finished a race in Florida last fall 37 minutes faster than his last competition as an able-bodied athlete.

"Anything is possible," he said. "I do it because I love it. I have been given a second chance."

The Challenged Athletes Foundation has teamed with New York Road Runners, too, to help children get what they need to participate in competitions, Rodgers said.

Hernandez-Cruz said the support Wil has received can't be measured by the number of races he's competed in or how many miles he's run. His confidence has skyrocketed in school, she said, ever since he became part of the running team.

"It made him incredibly proud of himself to show his peers and friends at school how great he was at running and that it was something he really excelled at," Hernandez-Cruz added.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Orange County Sheriff’s Department defends deputy seen punching DUI suspect

KABC-TV(STANTON, Calif.) -- The lawyer for a man shown being repeatedly punched by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy in dash-cam footage is fighting back against the department, which called the use of force "appropriate for the situation."

Mohamed Sayem, 33, was unconscious in the driver’s seat of his own vehicle in Stanton, California, when he was approached by deputies Michael Devitt and Eric Ota on Aug. 19. In the video, released this week, the deputies repeatedly ask for Sayem to provide identification.

“We need f------ ID! Where’s it at?” Devitt says to Sayem while standing outside the car's driver’s-side door.

Sayem places his foot outside of the vehicle, and Devitt warns him not to exit the car and puts his hands on his upper body.

“Don’t touch me like that,” Sayem responds.

The dash-cam footage shows that a physical altercation between Sayem and the deputy ensues. Sayem honks the horn with his right hand as he holds onto the steering wheel, while he attempts to hold Devitt off. At the same time, Devitt appears to land several punches on Sayem, including his face.

While lying on the ground and being handcuffed, Sayem asks the deputies if they will shoot him, to which Ota responds, “I’d like to.”

Scott Sanders, Sayem’s defense attorney, filed a motion on Thursday requesting information from the deputies’ personnel files, arguing that Devitt used excessive force in apprehending Sayem.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is "way out of hand,” Sanders told ABC News, saying that Devitt “lost control and, for whatever reason, exploded in violence and misunderstood the situation. He used too much force for the situation, unquestionably.”

In his motion, Sanders accuses Devitt of twice changing his story of what happened during the incident that led to Sayem’s arrest. He quotes Devitt’s police report, which states “I maintained a grasp on his arm but he stepped out of the vehicle and stood over me” and that “he tried to bear hug on me.”

The dash-cam video appears to show Sayem clinging to the steering wheel, even as he is dragged out of the vehicle.

Sanders shared a photo of Sayem from after the incident showing serious facial injuries, including cuts and swelling.

Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV reported that once the deputies discovered they were being recorded, another deputy shut off the video. Before shutting off the video, the deputies joke about the incident, with one deputy laughing and saying, "That was a good fight."

Carrie Braun, the Orange County Sherriff’s Department’s public information manager, said the deputies behaved in accordance with protocol, citing that they made “every attempt to de-escalate the situation.”

“The deputy used force appropriate for the situation to gain control of an uncooperative, assaultive and intoxicated person,” Braun said in a statement. “Any assertion otherwise substantially misrepresents the facts, and serves only to swell an anti-law enforcement narrative.”

Sayem was charged with resisting arrest and public intoxication. He pleaded not guilty and is expected back in court on Nov. 8.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Georgia police officer shot, killed while responding to report of suspicious vehicle

iStock/Thinkstock(SNELLVILLE, Ga.) -- A police officer was shot and killed near a school in Georgia after responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle, authorities said.

Antwan Toney and another officer approached a vehicle near the Shiloh Middle School in Snellville to check out a report of people smoking marijuana, according to Sgt. Jake Smith of the Gwinnett County Police Department.

That's when shots rang out from inside the vehicle, Smith said, adding that such things don't happen "99.999 percent" of the time.

“That it went this way -- it’s just tragic,” Smith said.

One of the bullets struck Toney, Smith said.

His partner, who has not been identified, dragged Toney away for cover, Smith said.

It was not immediately clear where Toney was struck, but he succumbed to his injuries -- just six days from his three-year mark with the department, Smith said.

The vehicle, which had as many as four people in it, took off and crashed less than a mile from the shooting scene, Smith said. The officers had returned fire, and it was unclear whether anyone in the car was wounded or whether the car simply crashed while fleeing, Smith said. The suspects fled on foot.

Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers said in a subsequent press conference that investigators are reviewing body camera footage of the shooting, but did not specify whose body camera footage he was referring to. Earlier, Smith had said most of the officers in the department have body cameras, but not all.

"The people that worked with Officer Toney on a daily basis recalled a very jovial person who was dedicated to his job and dedicated to his community," Ayers said.

Police announced at a late-night press conference that Isaiah Pretlow had been arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service. According to Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers, Pretlow was in the vehicle that crashed, and took off on foot. He was approached by officers and opened fire on them, but no one was struck.

Pretlow has been charged with aggravated assault, Ayers said.

At the same press conference, Ayers announced that police are still searching for Tafahree Maynard, but he has been charged with aggravated assault and murder. He also fled the crash on foot and is considered armed and dangerous.

The other officer who approached the vehicle with Toney did not appear to suffer any injuries.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Thirty injured when floor collapses during college party in Clemson

Twitter/@StevieW21(CLEMSON, S.C.) -- Dozens of people were injured early Sunday when a floor collapsed during a party at an apartment building near Clemson University in South Carolina.

Thirty people were taken to three area hospitals with injuries, according to police.

The collapse happened on the first floor of a building at The Woodlands of Clemson, a neighborhood a few minutes from campus, just before 12:30 a.m. The center of the floor at a clubhouse collapsed into the basement, police said.

The clubhouse had been leased for a private party. Videos shot at the scene showed a large party with people jumping around and dancing when the floor suddenly gave out from under them.

"By the time I had put one foot out the door, I felt that something was weird and that's when everyone just collapsed and the guy behind me disappeared," Raven Guerra, 20, told Good Morning America. "Everyone was on the floor and people were screaming, and there was wood sticking up from the floorboards."

Guerra added, "Turning around and seeing a bunch of people who used to be on the second floor now on the basement was really surreal, and people were crying. It was a lot to take in."

Everyone was able to be extricated from the building and no one was trapped, according to officials.

None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, Clemson Police Department said.

Clemson University was celebrating homecoming this weekend and had won a crucial college football game over fellow ranked opponent North Carolina State, 41-7, on Saturday afternoon.

Police said an investigation into the incident was ongoing.

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Investigators receive over 1,000 tips in desperate search for missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs, sheriff says

ABC News(BARRON, Wis.) -- Authorities say they have received over a thousand tips, and have thoroughly investigated more than 800 of them, in the desperate search for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who is believed to be in danger.

"We are using every resource available and have conducted hundreds of interviews, multiple searches, and are using the technical and forensic expertise of our state and federal resources to locate the person or persons who committed this offense and to locate Jayme," Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said in a statement Saturday, which marks the sixth day since Jayme vanished.

Investigators believe Jayme was abducted early Monday morning after her parents, James and Denise Closs, were shot dead in their home in Barron, Wisconsin.

Someone called 911 from Denise Closs' cellphone that morning just before 1 a.m. local time, and the 911 dispatcher heard "a lot of yelling," according to records from the Barron County Sheriff's Department obtained by ABC News. The dispatcher called the number back but was unable to leave a voicemail.

More attempts were made, and the phone went unanswered. Authorities also tried calling the home's landline but it was disconnected, records show.

When authorities responded to the home minutes later, they found the front door kicked in and the couple had been shot to death.

Their daughter, Jayme, was believed to be home when they were killed but had been abducted by the time authorities arrived.

"An entire state has been racked with Jayme’s disappearance, and the death of her parents," Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement Thursday.

The sheriff said bringing Jayme home is his "highest priority." Investigators are "working around the clock" to cover leads, conduct interviews and analyze "an incredible amount of information" related to the case.

"Every tip is important," Fitzgerald said in the statement Saturday.

An Amber Alert has been issued for Jayme. Anyone with information is asked to call the tip line at 1-855-744-3879.

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Woman seen on video leaving toddler on stranger's doorstep speaks out: 'I just feel destroyed'

Courtesy Montgomery County Sheriffs Office(HOUSTON) -- A woman who is facing child abandonment charges after she was seen on surveillance video leaving a 2-year-old boy on a stranger's doorstep in the middle of the night in a suburb of Houston claims it was all a misunderstanding.

"I just feel destroyed," Keairra Woods said in a recent telephone interview with ABC owned-and-operated station KTRK-TV in Houston.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office on Thursday morning released the 23-second video, which was recorded the night before by a doorbell security camera outside a home in Spring, Texas, some 25 miles north of Houston. The shocking footage garnered nationwide attention as authorities asked for the public's help in identifying the little boy and the adult who left him behind.

The video shows a woman carrying two bags and holding a toddler in the air by his arm as she runs toward the front door on Wednesday about 8:20 p.m. local time. When she reaches the front entrance, the woman puts the child down, repeatedly rings the doorbell and knocks several times.

She then drops the bags she was carrying, runs back to her parked vehicle and drives away, leaving the little boy behind.

Authorities received a 911 call that night from someone who said she went to answer a knock at her door and found an unidentified child standing there alone, according to the sheriff's office. The little boy was not injured and "appears to be in good health," the office said.

Child Protective Services took custody of the toddler and placed him in a foster home amid the ongoing investigation.

Authorities have since identified the toddler and the woman, who is not the child's mother, but haven't released their names.

In revealing that she is the woman in the footage, Woods told KTRK-TV there's an explanation for what happened.

She said the child's mother, who is her best friend's aunt, asked her to drop him off at his father's house but warned that the boy's stepmother has a restraining order against the mother. Woods said she has never met the child's father or stepmother, nor has she ever visited their home.

So she was relying on GPS and directions from the mother, who she said was on the phone with her at the time, to find the correct house, Woods told the station.

"I followed the GPS. Mind you, I'm still on the phone with her, so by the time I get to the house, I say, 'Well I just pulled up to the house.' She said, 'Okay, get out the car, get his bag and go to the door,'" Woods said in the interview Friday.

Woods said the mother should have known it was the wrong residence because she described to her the various cars parked in the driveway.

"By the time I get to the door, I ring the doorbell. I still have him in my hand. I say, 'It's like five cars out here, a red car, a black car, and a white car, and it's like two rows of cars.' She said 'Okay,'" Woods told the station. "That should have let you know I was at the wrong house then because you know your baby daddy don't drive so many cars.

"So I ring the doorbell, the lady walks like halfway to the door. That's when I took off running. And the only reason I took off running was because it was chilly outside and I didn't have no sweater on, as you can see in the video," Woods continued, adding that she was also avoiding interaction with the child's stepmother, who she thought was coming to answer the door.

"I never ran off and just left him there without even seeing if somebody came to the door. The woman was halfway to the door," she said. "At the end of the day ... it's really the mother's fault."

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond Saturday to ABC News' request for comment on Woods' remarks.

KTRK-TV also interviewed the homeowner of the residence where Woods dropped off the boy, and she corroborated the clothing that Woods said she saw her wearing through the front window as she was coming to answer the door. But the homeowner said Woods ran off so fast that she didn't get a good look at her.

Woods could potentially be charged with child abandonment, which is a felony of the third degree in Texas.

"The female in the video then left the location without verifying anyone was home or who she was releasing the child to, which placed the child in great danger," Lt. Scott Spencer of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office told reporters at a press conference Thursday.

Authorities determined that the boy's father lives next door to the house where his son was dropped off after he saw the video and "immediately recognized the child as his son," Spencer said.

Investigators learned the father had received a text from the child's mother, who was in the hospital at the time. The text said a friend would bring the toddler to his house on Wednesday in the early afternoon. When that didn't happen, the father assumed the mother's plans had changed and he left his residence for the evening, according to Spencer.

Child Protective Services will ultimately decide who will have custody of the child.

"Right now, we are ecstatic that the child’s father has been found and detectives are working with Child Protective Services to reunite the child with the father and family," Spencer told reporters Thursday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Florida city official charged with murder after shooting alleged shoplifter

Lakeland Police Department(LAKELAND, Fla.) -- The Florida city commissioner who confronted and shot an alleged shoplifter at a military surplus store earlier this month was charged with murder on Friday.

Michael Dunn, who serves as Lakeland's city commissioner for the Southwest District, was confronting a man police said had taken a hatchet from the store he owns when he shot and killed him. Surveillance footage from the incident, which took place Oct. 3, was released on Monday.

Christobal Lopez, 50, was killed in the shooting.

Dunn was charged with second-degree murder on Friday. If convicted, he could spend up to life in prison.

The 47-year-old Dunn had claimed he acted in self-defense, knowing the man was in possession of a hatchet, and cited the state's "stand your ground" law. The state attorney for Florida's 10th Judicial Circuit said otherwise.

"I have determined that this case and the actions of Mr. Dunn fall outside the protection of the 'stand your ground' law," Polk State Attorney Brian Haas said at a news conference Friday night.

According to an affidavit and the store surveillance footage, Dunn left his office at the Vets Army Navy Surplus store when he saw Lopez take a hatchet from a shelf and stick it in the waistband of his pants. Dunn grabbed a handgun, stuck it in his waistband and cut off Lopez from leaving the store. The two got into an argument, according to the affidavit, before the hatchet fell out of Lopez's pant leg and onto the floor.

Lopez said he would pay for the hatchet and moved back to the counter, before "hastily attempting to leave the business with the hatchet in hand," according to the affidavit. Dunn is seen grabbing Lopez's shirt to prevent him from leaving. He then loses his grip on the shirt and raised his gun to "eye level" and fired two shots.

One shot struck Lopez in the left upper torso and another hit him in his back, according to the affidavit. He died on the scene. Dunn did not attempt to "render aid to the victim," the affidavit says.

The affidavit also includes statements to police from Dunn after being read his Miranda rights: "The suspect stated he was in fear, but when he was asked what would have happened if he let go of the victim, the suspect replied, 'It might be fair to say that if I just stepped back and let somebody come in and take what they want, that there would be no issue."

Rusty Franklin, Dunn's lawyer, told ABC News on Monday -- prior to his client's arrest -- that "all legal defenses are under analysis and will be pursued."

Franklin later said at a press conference Monday that Dunn "acted responsibly and legally."

Dunn is currently being held in Polk County Jail, and an arraignment date has yet to be set.

The charge is the second example in three months in the state in which a prosecutor did not accept a "stand your ground" defense. Michael Drejka was charged with manslaughter after shooting a man outside a Clearwater convenience store in August. Security footage in that incident showed Markeis McGlockton pushing Drejka to the ground after he confronted his fiancé outside the gas station. Drejka shot and killed McGlockton.

Florida's "stand your ground" law came to national prominence in 2012 with the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. The law says a person "does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be."

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Texas facing flood threat; cold weather moving into Northeast, Midwest

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Another blast of cold air is in the forecast for the eastern half of the nation -- and this blast is a little stronger than the wave of cold that hit much of the central and eastern U.S. earlier this week.

Wind chills will be in the 20s across parts of the Midwest on Sunday, and wind chills in the 30s are possible for major cities in the Northeast.

On Monday, the cold air really grips the eastern U.S., with wind chills in the 20s across much of the Northeast and low 30s from New York City to Washington, D.C.

The cold air reaches even farther south, with wind chills in the low 40s all the way to Georgia and South Carolina. Even coastal regions -- such as Wilmington, North Carolina, which was hit by Hurricane Florence just a little over a month ago -- will see wind chill temperatures below 40.

More rain in Texas

After several rounds of drenching rain in Texas this week, showers are expected to become less widespread through the weekend in much of Texas. The rounds of heavy rain have left the ground saturated, and some rivers and lakes in the area are in flood stage.

The Colorado River at Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas, is still well into major flood stage. At about 704 feet, the gauge is within a Top 5 crest in history, and it is at its highest point since 1997 when the gauge was at more than 705 feet.

The lake will rise several more feet on Saturday, and officials are considering opening more flood gates on the Mansfield Dam on Lake Travis, according to Austin ABC affiliate KVUE-TV. The opening of additional flood gates would cause problems for homeowners downstream in the region.

Showers stretch from Texas into the Northeast on Saturday morning. Most of the rain is being caused by moisture interacting with a strong cold front moving through the central U.S.

No additional widespread flash flooding is expected with these rain showers.

Along Texas' Gulf Coast, moisture is interacting with a stationary front and causing locally enhanced downpours along the immediate coastline.

Most of hard-hit areas in Texas will not see additional rain over the weekend. However, parts of the Gulf Coast -- especially extreme southern Texas, near Brownsville and Corpus Christi -- will see enhanced rainfall that could cause flash flooding. Localized rainfall totals of over 4 inches are possible.

After a brief break from the drenching rain, some of the heavier rainfall may make its way further into hard-hit central Texas by Monday. Another shot of locally heavy rain is possible for much of Texas and parts of the Southern Plains by Wednesday. Through the upcoming work week, rainfall totals over 2 inches will be possible in parts of Texas.

Unfortunately, this could aggravate any ongoing flooding in Texas that has not had the time to recede.

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