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Thursday
Jun142018

Teen may have been killed during modified game of Russian roulette, authorities say

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- A teen in Nevada may have been shot and killed last week during a game of Russian roulette with several juveniles present, according to local police.

Evidence of the shooting was found on one of the suspect's cell phones, where he brags in text messages and self-made videos that he "caught a body," according to an arrest report released by the Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice Services. The videos also contained images showing the victim bleeding on the ground, the report states.

The suspects were arrested Friday after a Henderson Police officer initiated a traffic stop on a silver Mercedes that had committed traffic and vehicle violations, the report states.

When the officer attempted to stop the car, the driver ran a red light and fled at a high rate of speed before crashing into the perimeter of a gas station, authorities said. Several occupants then fled on foot.

One of the passengers was immediately apprehended, while the driver and rear passenger were apprehended a short time later, police said. Investigators later determined that the Mercedes had been reported stolen out of Las Vegas, the report states.

During an interview with detectives, the driver admitted to having a role in stealing the car but also told police that he had been present during a murder that took place earlier in the day, according to the report. The driver said that both the person who was killed and the person who shot him were friends of his.

The driver said that while he and several other minors were at at a home in Henderson, his friend pulled out his revolver to show the group. Someone then proposed a game of Russian roulette, a game where a single bullet is loaded into a revolver, the cylinder is spun, and the person carrying it aims the gun at himself and pulls the trigger, police said.

Instead, the owner of the gun stated that he doesn't allow others to handle the firearm or pull the trigger, the report stated. He then shot and killed the teen, the driver of the Mercedes told police.

The driver said that he and another witness fled the residence together and that other witnesses also fled without attempting to render aid or call 911, according to the report.

The driver then agreed to lead investigators to the home where the murder took place. When they arrived, they found the victim deceased inside.

The victim was found to have suffered from a single gunshot wound to the face, and evidence suggests that his body had been moved from the kitchen to a downstairs closet after he was shot, according to the report.

The next day, detectives interviewed a second suspect, and he "consistently lied and withheld information regarding his involvement in the murder," according to the report.

The suspect eventually relented when investigators told him what the driver said in his interview the day before, providing a similar version of what happened, but stating that he wasn't the person who shot and killed the victim, according to the police report.

The suspect claimed that he didn't own a firearm and that after the victim was shot and killed, he fled the residence. During a follow-up interview, he told police that he and another witness returned to the scene after fleeing because he "didn't feel right just leaving his friend," according to the report.

The suspect also made it clear to police that he and the other witness never called 911, didn't attempt to render aid and began to clean up the scene, fearing they had left evidence such as fingerprints and DNA behind, the report states.

The admission was consistent with what investigators observed at the residence, which included a puddle of water throughout the kitchen area and cleaning supplies located near a pool of blood that had been covered with towels, according to the report. The suspect also admitted that it was him who dragged the victim's body into a nearby closet and covered it with a plastic sheet.

In addition, someone had spray-painted "F--- [redacted]" on the closet door where the victim was found, according to the report.

A Ruger .357 revolver with one expended cartridge casing was found under the front passenger seat during the search of the Mercedes, police said. Cell phones that were also recovered from the car contained "self-made videos" from inside the residence that allegedly show the suspect handling and posing with firearms, including the revolver that was recovered in the Mercedes, according to the report.

One video allegedly depicts the suspect holding the revolver, which is shown to only have one loaded bullet in the cylinder, the report states.

In the video, taken at 12:59 p.m. on Friday, the suspect points the cellphone camera to himself and mimics a shooting gesture with the gun, police said.

In a second video taken nearly two hours later, the suspect allegedly speaks into the camera and says, "Bro, I just caught a body," police said. The phrase refers to somebody admitting that they have killed someone, the report states.

The suspect then turns the camera toward the kitchen floor, where the victim is seen lying in a pool of his own blood. Different angles show that the victim was still actively bleeding when the video was shot, according to the report.

A third video, taken at 2:50 p.m. that day, shows that the body has been moved and is now face-down. Another voice in the background asks if they are going to just leave the body there, and the suspect walks over to the kitchen sink, wets his hands, and begins to clean his shoes, police said.

Outgoing text messages also reveal that the suspect allegedly bragged to a friend that he "caught a body" and that he "popped his on accident," according to the report.

The victim's wallet was found in the Mercedes, which was notable to detectives because the shooting suspect allegedly "didn't feel right just leaving his friend," but "the fact that they stole his wallet speaks otherwise," the report states.

On Saturday, during a third interview with the shooting suspect, he again denied that he was the one who pulled the trigger. But, when police showed him the videos recovered from his cell phone, he "completely broke down and admitted his involvement," this time claiming it was an accident fueled by him being high on Xanax, according to the report.

The shooting suspect also confirmed that the victim's wallet had been stolen, and the $300 that was taken was later used to buy shoes and drugs that evening, police said.

One suspect was charged with murder with a deadly weapon and robbery, and another suspect was charged with accessory to murder after the fact, destroying evidence and robbery, according to the report.

The suspects were also given charges for the stolen vehicle, according to the report. The Mercedes had been reported stolen earlier this month, ABC Las Vegas affiliate KTNV reported.

The names of the suspects were redacted from the arrest report, and police are trying to identify the other witnesses who were present during the shooting.

Authorities determining whether to try the shooting suspect as an adult, court records show.

Both of the suspects are teens, ages 16 and 17, and the victim was 17 years old, according to KNTV. The home where the victim was shot is abandoned, the station reported.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun142018

Arizona police officers appear to beat, mock bloody suspect in newly released video 

ABC News(MESA, Arizona) -- An Arizona police department has come under renewed scrutiny after the release of video appearing to show its officers beating a suspect and mocking him as he lay covered in blood on the floor of a hospital.

Mesa Police Department officers initially encountered suspect Jose Luis Conde Jan. 28, when they pulled over a driver for a traffic stop, authorities said.

Conde, 23, was a passenger in the car, and the officers asked him to exit the vehicle after perceiving his behavior as suspicious and learning of his previous run-ins with the law, including firearm and drug violations, according to a police report.

While patting him down, one of the officers felt "small bulges" in Conde's sock, which he believed to be drugs, police said. Conde tensed up and turned to face the officer, leading police to believe "an imminent attack was going to occur," according to the report.

The officer took Conde to the ground, and a struggle ensued. Conde "attempted to fight off the officer through swinging his fists and attempted to hit the officer," the report stated.

The suspect also allegedly pushed, shoved the officers and refused to comply with their orders to stop. Two officers sustained injuries from the scuffle, including scrapes to their hands, elbows and knees, according to the report.

But Conde's attorney, Bret Royle, said any injuries the officers sustained were a result of their beating his client. Body camera video from one of the officers -- which Royle recently obtained from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and released to the media this week -- appears to show an officer repeatedly punching Conde, while others handcuffed the man.

During a news conference Thursday in Mesa, Royle said the police report tells a different story from what's seen on video. The attorney said his client has no record of weapons charges and doesn't show any lack of cooperation in the video. The officers, however, use "excessive force," Royle said.

"That's my biggest concern -- what parts of these police reports are accurate," Royle told reporters.

ABC News reached out to the Mesa Police Department Thursday but did not immediately hear back. The department told ABC station KNXV, however, that it would look into the incident after it inquired about the case.

"We have not received a complaint nor do we currently have an internal investigation concerning this incident. Based on your inquiry we are researching the incident," the police department told KNXV in a statement Wednesday.

Before obtaining the video, which Royle said "took me some time to get," the attorney rejected an initial plea deal on behalf of Conde that would have included prison time.

"We took a leap of faith and moved beyond, and I got that video and it showed exactly what I thought it would show," Royle told reporters. "I want to see charges dropped."

Conde, flanked by his attorney and mother at the news conference, read a prepared statement in which he described his account of what happened that night in January.

"I was the victim of a brutal assault at the hands of Mesa police officers," Conde said. "I was searched, I was thrown to the ground, I was heaved into a wall, I was Tased, I was punched over and over by multiple cops, I was gauged in the eye and I was hit in the head with a massive police flashlight. After all of this, they laughed at me as I laid in a pool of my own blood, barely conscious. And this is no laughing matter. In the end, I had to have my ears sewn back on, I had to have my head stapled back together and I’m left to defend myself in court.

"My hope is that my case can bring meaningful change within the Mesa police department and justice," he added.

The new video comes just days after the Mesa Police Department announced there are three independent investigations into its use-of-force policies, stemming from two separate incidents that occurred in May. Seven of the department's officers have since been placed on administrative leave, according to ABC affiliate KNXV in Phoenix.

"There are several officers within the Mesa Police Department that have demonstrated over the last couple of weeks their willingness to put themselves above the law, rather than to protect and serve," Royle told reporters Thursday. "It's concerning."

According to the police report, the officers were ultimately able to detain Conde in handcuffs and arrest him. But even while in handcuffs, the suspect "continued to struggle with officers that were attempting to search him," the police report said.

Three small, tied-off, plastic bags were found in Conde's sock. The substance in one of the bags field-tested positive for cocaine, police said.

Conde was subsequently taken to a nearby hospital, where his restraints were removed but he remained in custody while receiving treatment for his injuries. He attempted to flee after medical staff cleared him, according to the police report.

Conde ran out of his hospital room, past two awaiting officers, and down the hallway before he was caught, authorities said. He "pushed back and struggled with the officers to free himself" before he was placed back in handcuffs, according to the police report.

That's when one officer is seen in the body camera video appearing to mock Conde.

"Bless his little heart," the officer said in response to a nurse who explained why the suspect's face was bleeding.

"Aww," the officer added, before telling Conde to "man up" as he lay on the floor, surrounded by a pool of blood.

Conde was booked in Mesa City Jail on charges including resisting arrest, aggravated assault on police, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug for sale and attempting to escape from custody, according to the police report.

Conde, who lives in Mesa and works in landscaping, is not seeking financial compensation but rather exoneration from the charges, according to his lawyer, who said he has known the Conde family "for years."

"This is not a money grab," Royle told reporters Thursday. "My intention is to bring light on the behavior of these officers and negotiate with the county attorney office about dismissing the charges."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun142018

Two Texas girls who sent a balloon to their late father in heaven receive a heartwarming response

ABC News(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- Who would think that notes attached to a balloon and released into the sky would bring back so much love and joy?

In May, two heartbroken Texas sisters - Gypsy and Story Retting - wrote moving notes to their late father and attached to a balloon and released it up to the sky - hoping that their dad would receive their messages.

Gypsy, 7, and Story, 6, had been devastated since their father, Skyler Retting, passed away in 2017 from complications caused by a car accident 10 years earlier, said Tiro Western, the girl's mother. They launched the balloon a year after his death. Had he survived, Retting would be 30 this year.

On a Friday morning in May, Lance Dunahoe - who lives about four miles away from the Retting in Colleyville, a suburb of Fort Worth - saw the note-bearing balloon landing in his yard as he was about to leave home for work.

“I was very curious,” he told ABC News. “It was very private messages two girls sent to their father and landed in my yard,” he said.

Dunahoe, 49, a business coach and trainer, retrieved the balloons and read the notes.

One note said “Dear dad, we want to go up with you, we miss you so much. We want to go and hug you, and do all of the things you do. Love, Story.”

Another note read: “Dear daddy I miss you so much if you got this balloon then you are the best. I love you and Story too. Please watch over me and everyone in the family. Love, Gypsy.”

Touched by what he had just read, Dunahoe went back inside his house and gave his own two boys, 11 and 13, a big hug.

He said the notes mean a lot to him, and caused him to reflect on himself and his kids.

“When I saw these notes, I was very much aware of how precious my children are, and the time I spend with them that can change any moment.”

Dunahoe was curious about the origin of the notes, so he posted photos of the notes and the balloon on Facebook, hoping the authors would see them. He said he received an overwhelming amount of responses from his Facebook friends, asking how they could help.

Western, 30, said that her two daughters have been very upset since their father passed away. She did not think that the balloon sent into the sky by Story and Gypsy would end up in a yard of a man with such a huge heart.

But one of her Western's friends spotted the messages and balloon on Dunahoe's Facebook page, and alerted their mother - who had forgotten all about the balloon offering.

The friend put Western and Dunahoe in touch with each other, and they spoke by phone. Western said she was stunned.

“You could tell that he’s genuinely touched,” she said. “You don’t expect these this thing to happen out of nowhere.”

Western said she had never even read the notes the girls wrote to their dad and attached to the balloon.

"It's kind of very heartbreaking - that was the first time I got to see what they wrote," Western said. "My kids are great!"

The day that Dunahoe discovered the balloon, Story, who suffers from epilepsy, was admitted to a Texas hospital. The following day, Dunahoe turned up at the hospital with the balloon and the notes - and tears in his eyes.

"His eyes were really watery," Western said of the family's first meeting with Dunahoe at the hospital.

"I'm a daddy also," he told nine-year old Story and her eight-year old sister Gypsy.

Dunahoe said he has set up GoFundMe account to help alleviate the financial burdens on Western, who babysits to make ends meet. He said the response to the GoFundMe page is stunning, and that he is "totally overwhelmed by the generosity" of the human spirit.

Gypsy said that she believes her father in heaven could hear them and see them.

“I really miss him,” she told ABC News.

Asked what she would do to make her sick sister feel better, she said it was simple.

“I hold her hands and hug her.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun142018

Human smuggling charges filed after 54 suspected undocumented immigrants found in tractor trailer

ABC News(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) -- A U.S. citizen is facing human smuggling charges after dozens of suspected undocumented immigrants were found traveling inside his tractor-trailer in Texas on Tuesday night, according to federal authorities.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it received a call from a law enforcement agency on Tuesday around 8:30 p.m. local time regarding a possible human smuggling venture in San Antonio, near Interstate 410. Special agents responded to the location and discovered a tractor-trailer containing 54 people suspected of entering the country illegally, including men, women and minors from Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Medical assistance was provided on the scene to all individuals and five people were transported to local hospitals for further treatment, according to ICE.

As of Wednesday, four people had been released and one remained hospitalized.

"The people rescued from this tractor-trailer were very lucky to have been discovered before the Texas heat took its toll," Shane Folden, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations in San Antonio, said in a statement. "We have recently seen how smuggled people have died under the dangerous circumstances human smugglers transport their human cargo. These horrific instances show how no one should trust their lives -- or the lives of their loved ones -- to these criminal organizations."

San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told ABC affiliate KSAT that the individuals were traveling in an air-conditioned tractor trailer with drinking water and that no one suffered any heat-related illnesses.

The San Antonio Fire Department referred ABC News' inquiry to federal authorities.

ICE said its special agents detained the suspected undocumented immigrants and arrested the driver of the tractor-trailer -- an American who is expected to be federally charged with human smuggling. The investigation is ongoing.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas has accepted criminal prosecution of the driver, according to ICE.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun142018

How 'perfect storm' of jellyfish stung 1,200 Florida beach-goers within days: Local officials

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Hundreds and hundreds of central Florida beach-goers enjoying the sun and surf this week were faced with a very unpleasant shock.

About 1,200 beach-goers were stung by jellyfish just from Saturday to Wednesday in Volusia County, said Captain Tamra Malphurs, Public Information Officer for the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.

None of the incidents were life threatening, she said.

"This number is very high -- it's not something that happens more than once a year on average," Malphurs told ABC News.

There's no average number of jellyfish stings at Volusia County beaches, Malphurs said, adding that the area doesn't have a peak jellyfish season.

"The jellyfish are just pretty much at the mercy of the winds or currents," she explained, so the county can go weeks without one sting, and then when a group of jellyfish float in, shorelines could see up to 100 stings per day.

The water temperature this week has been typical for the time of year, Malphurs said, so she doesn't attribute the uptick to that. Instead, she blames the rising popularity of the county's beaches.

"People are really flocking here -- on the weekends it's extremely busy. We're at capacity in most areas," she said, so more people just happen to be enjoying the water.

More people in the water, combined with the winds and the current, created the "perfect storm" of stings this week, she said.

Here are some of Malphurs' tips for what to do if stung by a jellyfish:

-- Get out of the water and avoid rubbing the sting, which can make it worse.

-- Rinsing the area with vinegar is a common treatment.

-- Most jellyfish stings are not life threatening and usually the pain dies down after a few minutes.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun142018

Shelters for undocumented children nearing capacity as families separated at border

U.S. Government(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) -- For the first time since the Trump administration announced its "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal immigration, a small group of journalists was allowed into the country's largest licensed shelter for undocumented children.

Imagine being 10 years old, separated from your mother or father, not understanding why, and being taken to a hulking, windowless building filled with 1,500 other kids you've never met.

You're allowed to make two phone calls a week -- one of which hopefully is to a detained parent now thousands of miles away.

That's the reality in these shelters.

The facility is called Casa Padre. It's in Brownsville, Texas, in what was once a Walmart. About 1,500 boys aged 10 to 17 now call it home.

It's the largest licensed facility in the country. The vast majority of the boys crossed illegally and unaccompanied, but Casa Padre is nearing capacity as more children are separated from their parents at the border and shipped there.

On this night, 1,469 boys slept there. The official capacity is 1,497. An extra bed has been added to each room, which means there are five bunks inside a 10 foot-by-24 foot space.

The children get three daily meals and two snacks. They have access to video games, pool tables and classes where they can learn English and U.S. civics.

The children are each assigned a clinician to help them deal with separation trauma and mental-health issues.

The children spend about two hours outside -- one hour in the morning, one in the afternoon. There are soccer and basketball courts.

The children, nonetheless, spend most of their day inside a converted store, the walls of which are plastered with murals of U.S. presidents and quotations from them.

The quotation attached to a picture of Donald Trump reads, "Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war."

Southwest Key Programs, which ran the tour of the shelter for the group of journalists, operates 26 similar facilities, all of which are nearing capacity. Emergency shelters soon may need to be built to accommodate the inflow of children.

The average length of stay for an undocumented child at a facility such as Casa Padre is about 56 days.

Officials at Casa Padre said, "The goal is to reunite families."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun142018

Suspect at large after four cars struck by gunfire near Seattle airport

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Authorities are searching for at least one person who opened fire on four cars traveling down Highway 509 near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The highway near the airport was shut down for more than five hours while Washington Highway Patrol searched for the shooter Wednesday afternoon.

Seattle resident Mary Ertl's windshield was one of those struck.

"I heard a boom, and then glass all over my face," Ertl told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV. "I thought it was a rock until I looked at the passenger side, and then I knew it was a bullet."

Although no one was hurt, the western-most runway at the airport also was temporarily closed as a precaution. The highway later fully reopened.

Investigators told KOMO-TV the shooter likely was on foot, on the side of the highway, based on the trajectory of the bullets. Each vehicle was hit on the driver's side.

"When we're arriving at things like this, we are putting on our active-shooter gear -- which is a blessing to have -- the heavier vests that stops rifles and helmets," trooper Rick Johnson told KOMO-TV.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun142018

Teen in critical condition after 'near-drowning incident' at Six Flags wave pool

iStock/Thinkstock(BOWIE, Md.) -- A teenage boy was hospitalized in critical condition after a "near-drowning incident" at Six Flags America in Maryland on Wednesday, Prince George’s County Fire officials said.

The 14-year-old was rescued from a wave pool at the park and taken to a hospital after being treated by park officials and the county paramedics, according to Six Flags spokeswoman Denise Stokes.

Stokes did not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the near-drowning.

"The safety of our guests is always our highest priority," Stokes in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest and his family," she added.

The boy is an eighth-grader at Beltsville Academy who was at Six Flags for a class trip, Principal Leslie Lowe said in a letter to families on Wednesday.

"A number of students who witnessed the incident were deeply affected by it," Lowe said in the letter. "A support team of school psychologists, professional school counselors and pupil personnel workers from Prince George’s County Public Schools will be available tomorrow to provide counseling and support to students and staff. Counseling will continue to be available for both as long as necessary."

"I know that you join me in sending our very best wishes to the student’s family," Lowe added.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Jun142018

Las Vegas police release more bodycam video from deadly mass shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Police have released intense bodycam footage from the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas last October that shows first responders struggling to dodge bullets and shield victims with little understanding of where the gunfire was coming from.

The Las Vegas Metro Police Department on Wednesday released more than two dozen video files with hours of officer bodycam footage and about 500 recordings of phone calls from the night of Oct. 1, when suspected shooter Stephen Paddock unleashed a hail of bullets onto a crowd of concertgoers.

"There's a lot of casualties right in the middle of the field," one officer yelled.

"It's coming from the Mandalay Bay," another office screamed. "Get behind the police car."

The videos captured the earliest moments of what became the worst mass shooting in U.S. history -- 58 people died and more than 800 suffered injuries.

Paddock, 64, unloaded more than 1,000 rounds from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino before killing himself, police said.

Names of the officers in the new videos were not provided in the department's latest release, which came in response to a lawsuit from news organizations, including ABC. The department had initially refused to release the footage, despite requests from journalists, who were forced to sue.

Authorities have released six batches of files containing audio, video and documents in connection with the massacre, but they have not offered any new information about a possible motive in the shooting.

Some of the video released Wednesday showed officers taking cover as bullets first rained down on the crowd.

"We got everyone trying to respond for victims, but no one trying to lock this very large scene down," one officer said from inside a patrol car. "I have two people shot in the head. They aren't doing too well."

Unlike previous releases, including video from May that showed the inside of Paddock's hotel room, this new material depicted moments of chaos as well as heroism.

Footage shows officers and good Samaritans tending to wounded victims near the Route 91 Harvest music festival, where the shooting started. One responding officer was seen sheltering with several concertgoers, before he jumped into action and carried a gunshot victim to a triage area and eventually to a hospital.

At one point, you see a young woman calling her father to tell him there was a shooting.

"Dad, I love you. I'm going to make it OK," she said. "I'm gonna try to get there."

Las Vegas police also released 511 audio clips from 911 calls, on par with those it made public last week.

Investigators recovered 23 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition from Paddock's hotel suite, in which he shot himself as police closed in.

Investigators previously disclosed that he had researched police SWAT tactics, rented hotel rooms overlooking other outdoor concerts and investigated potential targets in at least four U.S. cities, according to a preliminary report.

The FBI is expected to release its final report on the shooting in July.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Jun132018

Wife of Orlando cop wounded in deadly hostage situation

Orlando Police Department(ORLANDO) -- The wife of an Orlando, Florida, police officer shot and critically wounded allegedly by a paroled felon who killed himself and four child hostages, broke down in tears Wednesday as she asked people to pray for his survival, saying, "My boys need their daddy and I need my husband."

Meghan Valencia -- the wife of Officer Kevin Valencia and the mother of his two sons, one 5 years old and the other 8 months old -- left his bedside at Orlando Regional Medical Center briefly to tell the world "my husband is a true, true hero."

Officer Valencia was shot in the head about 11:45 p.m. Sunday as he and his squad approached an Orlando apartment where Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr. was allegedly holding four children, including two of his own, hostage after his girlfriend, the mother of all four children, reported he had battered her, police said.

During a standoff that stretched into Monday night, Lindsey shot all four children to death with a .380-caliber pistol he had stolen from his father, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Wednesday.

Walter Benenati, an attorney for the children's mother, Ciara Lopez, identified the victims on Wednesday as Irayan Pluth, 12; Lillia Pluth, 10; Aidan Lindsey, 6; and 22-month-old Dove Lindsey.

"The mother is just in complete shock," Benenati told ABC News. "Right now she is angry and that will turn to grief that nobody can even fathom."

He said he spoke to the mother Wednesday and quoted her saying, "I am heartbroken and feel completely alone."

Officer Talmon Hall was with Valencia when he was shot and said Valencia's "primary concern was for the well-being of those four children."

"He wanted to be the first to bring the children out of the house and he wanted to be the first to apprehend the bad guy," said Hall, sitting next to Meghan Valencia during the news conference.

Dr. Chad Smith, director of the intensive care unit at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, said Valencia is in critical condition.

"He's in a coma. He does show some signs of responsiveness and he will have a long road ahead for recovery," Smith said.

Meghan Valencia said if anyone can survive, it is her husband.

"He is fighting every second. And I need him to continue to keep fighting because ...," she said breaking into sobs.

"This man was everything to me. I've been telling stories to the squad about how he is my first love, literally. Kevin and I were each other's first boyfriend and girlfriend when we were 12," she said. "So, you can imagine that this person is literally everything to me. He blessed me with two amazing little boys and he was ... he is the most amazing father ever."

She said her nightmare began early Sunday morning when her husband's colleagues knocked on her door and woke her up and "told me that my husband had been shot trying to save some kids."

"I'm sorry for those families," she said of the loved ones of the murdered children. "I'm a mom and I cannot even imagine what they're going through. It is more than what anybody can bear.

"I know every officer wanted to get those children out. And believe me, when I say that each and every single one of them feels the weight of the world because they couldn't."

Surrounded by her husband's colleagues and her family members, Meghan Valencia said her husband, who had been a member of the Orlando Police Department for two years, was always putting the lives of others over his own well-being.

She said once when her husband saw a car crash into a canal, he jumped into the water and saved people who were drowning.

"He didn't care about his well being, he just had to get them out," she said. "That was my husband. He did everything he possibly could to protect everybody. He was there for everyone."

She said her husband has been her biggest booster, especially at times when she's felt inadequate as a mother.

"When I would cry because I thought I was the worst mother in the world, he would tell me that I was the best and that every child would be lucky to have a mom like me," she said, bursting into tears again.

She said that even when her husband was at work, he would call home to talk to their sons and "tell them that he was going to be home to play with them."

"He has to come back," she said. "I just asked that everybody prays for him because he needs it. He needs all the support that he can get so that he can pull through, so that he can wake up, so that he can live because my boys need their daddy and I need my husband, and this community needs a real hero."

Chief Mina rejected critics who asked why the officers didn't go into the apartment sooner to confront Lindsey, 35, and to try to save the children he was holding hostage.

"A hostage situation is one of the most dangerous situations that we deal with," Mina said. "To do an entry in a situation like that, it really puts the hostages at risk. Our main concern was always those kids in there. So we didn't want to do anything to provoke his actions to do harm to them. We had been communicating with him throughout the day."

He said Lindsey was on community control, meaning he was supposed to be on supervised parole and under home confinement until the year 2045 after serving time for arson and domestic violence.

Asked if the criminal justice system let his officers and the children down, Mina said, "It is a shame that this person is not behind bars."

"I don't know why someone would get community control until the year 2045 and based on what I know, I think that person should have been behind bars," Mina said.

The Florida Department of Corrections released a statement Wednesday saying the agency last visited Lindsey's home on March 27 and did not observe any firearms.

"We are extremely heartbroken by the outcome of [this} incident involving this criminal," state Corrections Secretary Julie Jones said in the statement. "Our deepest condolences go out to everyone affected by this tragedy, and the Department stands ready to assist local law enforcement in any way we can moving forward."

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