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Wednesday
Apr252018

Dallas police officer dies one day after shooting that injured two others, officials say

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Dallas Police Officer Rogelio Santander died Wednesday morning after he was shot in the line of duty Tuesday afternoon, the Dallas police chief said on Wednesday.

A second Dallas police officer, Crystal Almeida, and a Home Depot loss prevention officer, Scott Painter, were also shot during the attack.

They are both in critical condition but are making "remarkable recoveries," Police Chief Reneé Hall said Wednesday.

The suspect, 29-year-old Armando Juarez, and a woman were arrested hours after a police chase.

"Crystal is doing amazingly well," Michael Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, told reporters. "She’s able to move parts of her arms and legs."

He added, "She’s a fighter. The doctors treating her are greatly surprised in the improvements that she’s made in the last 24 hours. We just ask for continued prayers. It’s going to be a very, very long road for her."

Mata called Santander an "amazing young man" who was widely respected in his community.

"We are going to take care of his family. They will for always and forever be a part of the Dallas Police Association and the Dallas Police Department," he said.

Almeida and Santander both joined the force three years ago, The Dallas Morning News reported.

"It sobers us to realize what officers walk into day in and day out, and how quickly they can become victims," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Tuesday.

Nearly two years ago, a sniper gunned down five law enforcement officers in Dallas. That shooting in July 2016 was the deadliest day for United States law enforcement since 9/11.

Condolences have poured in from law enforcement departments across Texas and the nation.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr252018

Alleged Waffle House suspected killer hit with new charges

Jason Davis/Getty Images(NASHVILLE) -- The alleged gunman in the massacre of four people at a Waffle House near Nashville, Tennessee, is facing five new charges, including an attempted murder count connected to the man hailed as a hero for stopping Sunday morning's attack.

In addition to four counts of criminal homicide, Travis Reinking was hit late Tuesday with four attempted murder charges and one count of unlawful gun possession in the commission of a violent felony, according to the Davidson County District Attorney's Office.

Reinking was to appear in court Wednesday morning, but the hearing has now been postponed until May 7. An attorney from the Davidson County Public Defenders Office has been appointed to represent him.

Prosecutors said one of the attempted murder charges stems from an injury suffered by James Shaw Jr., whose right elbow was grazed by a bullet in the barrage of gunfire early Sunday morning at a Waffle House in the Nashville suburb of Antioch.

Shaw, 29, was honored by lawmakers Tuesday at the Tennessee State House for stopping the attack when he charged through a door near the restaurant's restrooms and grabbed the red-hot barrel of the gunman's weapon, snatched it from his hands, hurled it over a counter and forced the alleged killer out of the establishment.

Police said Reinking was apparently reaching into his jacket pocket for an extra ammunition magazine to reload when Shaw confronted him.

Killed in the Waffle House shooting were Taurean Sanderlin, 29, a cook at the restaurant who was on a cigarette break; DeEbony Groves, 21, an honor student at Belmont University in Nashville; and Akilah DaSilva, 23, a Middle Tennessee State University student. The youngest victim was 20-year-old Joe Perez.

Four people, including Shaw, were wounded in the attack, two of them critically, officials said.

The 29-year-old Reinking, who police said carried out the rampage wearing only a jacket with no clothes underneath, fled the Waffle House on foot but was captured Monday afternoon about a mile from the restaurant following a nearly 34-hour manhunt. He was arrested in a wooded area behind an apartment complex where he lived, after a civilian spotted him walking through a construction site and called 911, police said.

He was initially held on $2 million bail, which has since been revoked by a judge.

Reinking is on suicide watch at the maximum-security Metro Jail in Nashville, according to Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall.

"We have to protect him from the community. There are people in any community during an event like this where the tensions are high and we have to protect him from them. And we have to protect him from other inmates. That's not easy either. We owe that to him. We also have to protect him from himself," Hall said.

He said Reinking is being housed alone in a 99-square-foot cell and is under medical observation.

Reinking is in the same jail as Emmanuel Samson, who is charged in a mass shooting in September at the Burnette Chapel Church, also in Antioch, that left one person dead and seven wounded.

"He'll be monitored every 15 minutes from mental health and medical staff, and correctional staff constantly," Hall said of Reinking.

"We expect Mr. Reinking to be here a year or more, and I expect our staff will be professional and exceptional during that entire time," he added.

He said Reinking has been alert, compliant and "fairly normal."

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Wednesday
Apr252018

Weather radar picks up widespread bird migration

Photodisc/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- The National Weather Service's radar detected an unlikely pattern in Texas on Tuesday: widespread bird migration.

The service tweeted a real-time animation of the ongoing migration, capturing spring birds in the Fort Worth, Texas, area as they flew north for the warmer months.

"What's that on radar?! Winds are generally out of the northwest (blowing towards the southeast) across the area, so what's that moving northward on the radar scopes," NWS tweeted Tuesday morning. "These light returns aren't rain or clouds, but birds continuing their northward migration!"

The post racked up about 300 likes and re-tweets, as well as a few comments from curious birdwatchers.

"Looks like an interesting case of super refraction to me," one Twitter user commented.

"So, what about the same echoes at the bottom of the screen, going the opposite direction? Are they already headed south for the winter?" another user said, which actually drew a reply from the service.

"It's tough to see in this short loop, but that area is also birds flying north," the NWS replied. "Our radar is just picking up more birds to the south as they fly within range of the radar."

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Wednesday
Apr252018

Dallas police arrest suspect in triple shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Authorities have arrested the man accused of shooting three people, including two police officers, in North Dallas on Tuesday.

Armando Juarez, 29, earlier identified as a person of interest, and an unidentified female were apprehended after a police pursuit that ended near uptown, authorities said.

"We got our man," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a press briefing.

Rawlings did not take questions, but he did ask for prayers for those who were shot. All three victims were out of surgery.

Emergency dispatchers received a call shortly after 4:12 p.m. to go to a Home Depot, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said in a press conference Tuesday night. After the responding officers arrived, a subsequent call for assistance was made after the shooting began.

Two officers were critically wounded, the Dallas Police Department posted on Twitter shortly after the shooting. The civilian who was shot is a loss-prevention officer for Home Depot, Hall said.

The officers were transported by the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Police didn't immediately release their names out of respect for their families, Hall said.

Rawlings earlier had described the aftermath of the shooting as a "two-front battle," referring to the victims' battles for their lives at the hospital as well as "the battle out in the community" to find the person of interest.

State, local and federal law enforcement agencies responded to the scene.

In 2016, five Dallas law-enforcement officers were shot and killed, and seven more injured, after they were ambushed by a 25-year-old former Army reservist named Micah Xavier Johnson, who later died in a standoff with police.

Former Dallas Police Chief and ABC News contributor David Brown said the most recent shooting of two Dallas police officers is "too much to bear for one department in such a short time frame."

"Once again," Rawlings said, "it sobers us to realize what officers walk into day in and day out, how quickly they can become victims."

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Tuesday
Apr242018

Dead man's girlfriend says police use of his finger in an effort to unlock iPhone after they killed him is 'disgusting'

Largo Police(LARGO, Fla.) -- After Linus Phillip Jr., 30, was killed by a police officer after he was stopped at a gas station in Largo, Florida, for heavily tinted car windows. Authorities went to the funeral home recently in an effort to use his finger to unlock his phone as part of an investigation, Phillip's family attorney confirmed.

Days before the funeral on April 31, two detectives held the man's hands up to the iPhone's fingerprint sensor in the cold storage at the funeral home but did not successfully unlock it, John Trevena, the family's pro bono attorney told ABC News.

Phillip's family was at the funeral home making arrangements when the detectives showed up.

"So they are allowed to pull him out of the refrigerator and use a dead man's finger to get to his phone. It's disgusting," Phillip's girlfriend Victoria Armstrong told ABC affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa Bay, Florida. "We are fighting to find out what happened."

The Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home, where Phillip's funeral was held, did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Lt. Randall Chaney confirmed the incident at the funeral home to the Tampa Bay Times, saying that detectives didn't think they would need a warrant since there's no expectation of privacy after death.

When reached by ABC News, the Largo Police Department declined to provide further information about the case.

"The case is still presently active, however, sometime in the near future the investigation should be concluded and the report will be available for any public records requests," a spokesperson for the police department said.

On March 23, Largo police officers saw Phillip's vehicle had heavily tinted windows, which violates Florida law, according to a press release that the police department shared with ABC News.

Phillip was driving a rental car and stopped at a Wawa gas station when the officers approached him. Phillip provided police with paperwork showing the car was a rental before an officer asked him why the car smelled like marijuana.

The officers told Phillip they were going to search him, according to the press release. When the officers attempted to lawfully detain Phillip, police said he jumped into the driver's seat and tried to flee.

An officer was hanging onto the car when Phillip allegedly put the car in reverse and accelerated nearby the gas pump, which made the officer fear for his life and fire his weapon, according to the press release.

Phillip was shot four times, killing him.

"It is the conclusion of the State Attorney's Office that the death of Linus Phillip Jr. was the result of having been shot by Officer Matt Steiner in the legal performance of his duty and the shooting was justifiable homicide," the press release said.

The Largo Police Department reviewed multiple Wawa cameras and said that the footage is "limited" and does not show the encounter between Phillip and the officers.

"Did they really need to kill him to stop him?" said Trevena. "It makes no sense."

The family of Phillip is demanding that all of the camera footage be released, according to WFTS-TV.

"They killed him after his 30th birthday. Oh god, he turned 30 on March 11," Martha Hicks, Phillip's mother, told WTFS-TV. "It's too much, too much. We just want to know what happened."

Phillip had marijuana, crack cocaine, powdered cocaine, hydromorphone pills, and over $1,500 in cash in his pockets at the time, according to the police report.

He did not have a gun in his possession and had a past criminal history, reported WFTS-TV.

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Tuesday
Apr242018

Husband of woman killed on Southwest flight: 'I immediately thought of the kids'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Michael Riordan met his wife Jennifer in a shopping mall 29 years ago. He was 17 years old. She was just 15.

Last week, Michael's world changed when he learned Jennifer had been killed on Southwest Flight 1380 after an engine failed 32,000 feet above the ground on April 17.

Jennifer, a 43-year-old bank executive and mother of two, was partially sucked out of the plane's window, despite wearing her seat belt. Her fellow passengers were able to pull her back inside of the aircraft but were not able to save her.

Jennifer became the first person to die in an accident on a U.S. airline in nearly 10 years.

Michael sat down with ABC News in his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to share how he learned about Jennifer's death and how he broke the news to their young children.

It began with a phone call from the chaplain at the Philadelphia hospital where Jennifer's body was taken after the flight made an emergency landing.

"The chaplain at the hospital called and said, 'We need to speak with Mike Riordan who is married to Jennifer. Are you married to Jennifer Riordan?'" Michael said. "I said, 'Yes, but she wasn't going through Philadelphia. She was planning on going to Chicago so I don't think you --' just absolute denial. I'm still in denial."

The chaplain told Michael he was going to have the doctor call him. Before the doctor got through, however, Michael was able to search for news online that could have affected Jennifer.

"I saw one passenger brought to the hospital, like, 'OK, but the whole plane didn't crash,'" he said, adding, "I was like, 'She can't be injured that bad she's just in a hospital, but I can get out there and I can hold her hand and love on her.'"

Two minutes later, Michael said, the doctor called and told him they were sorry and had tried everything they could to save his wife but she didn't make it.

"I immediately thought of the kids and how do you tell your kids their mom was gone," Michael said, referring to the couple's young son and daughter. Jennifer had planned to meet the family at their son's baseball game that Tuesday night after her flight from New York.

Instead, Michael drove to his children's school, where he brought them into a chapel to share the news.

"I just held their little hands and took a knee and said, 'Mommy's not going to come home guys,'" he said.

On Sunday, hundreds of people turned out to mourn Jennifer's passing. Michael said it was the first time he had felt peace since her death, being in the presence of those who loved her and were touched by her life.

Michael told ABC News he has avoided listening to news reports about the incident and Southwest's response, choosing for now to only concentrate on his children.

Southwest Airlines Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly expressed gratitude that no one else was seriously injured, but described the passenger's death as a "tragic loss."

"This is a sad day, and our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the deceased customer," Kelly said during a press conference April 17.

Kelly said he was not aware of any issues with the Boeing 737, which was last inspected on Sunday. No issues with the plane or engine were reported at that time, he said, calling the Boeing 737 the "workhorse of the airline industry."

In a statement, Boeing expressed its "deepest condolences" to the victim's family.

NTSB investigators will continue the investigation in Washington, D.C., where in 12 to 15 months they are expected to announce a probable cause and more safety recommendations.

Meanwhile, airlines are under an order to quickly inspect engines like the one that failed on Flight 1380.

ABC News' Martha Raddatz’s conversation with Michael Riordan will air on an upcoming episode of ABC News’ “20/20.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr242018

Waffle House shooting hero honored by Tennessee lawmakers in emotional ceremony

Jason Davis/Getty Images(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- In an emotional ceremony Tuesday at the Tennessee Capitol, lawmakers gave James Shaw Jr., the man who stopped the deadly attack a Waffle House in a Nashville suburb, a standing ovation for his bravery.

"You were confronted with the most unspeakable evil imaginable and you acted with the utmost honor, heroism, imaginable," state Rep. Jason Powell told Shaw. "And I want to say, James Shaw Jr., you are my hero and you are Tennessee's hero."

Shaw, dressed in a suit and tie, was honored along with his best friend, Brandon McMurry, who was also at the Waffle House early Sunday when a gunman opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle, killing four people and leaving four others injured, two critically.

Shaw, a 29-year-old AT&T worker and father of a 4-year-old girl, told ABC News' "Good Morning America" on Monday that he hid behind a door in the restaurant and when the suspected gunman, Travis Reinking, went to reload his weapon, he sprang into action. He grabbed the barrel of the gun and wrested it away from the suspect, throwing it over a counter and forcing the man outside.

Authorities say Shaw's courageous actions saved numerous lives, but he has refused to call himself a hero, saying he only took on the gunman to save his own life.

"I never thought I would be in a room with all the eyes on me but, you know, I am very grateful to be here," Shaw told the lawmakers today. "All I can say is ... this was a true test of a man. I do, once again, apologize to the people that lost loved ones, friends or family."

He said he went to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to visit some of the victims who were wounded.

"They all remember me," he said. "But I want you all to know, and I'll say this again, I am a genuine person: I didn't actually do it to save lives. I did it to save my life. In saving my life, I saved other lives. So that's probably the greatest things you could do."

McMurry, who also addressed the politicians, praised Shaw as not only his best friend but "a great man."

He said that during the shooting rampage, he tried to get Shaw to hide in a bathroom with other patrons of the restaurant, knowing that from where they were in a hallway leading to the restrooms that there was no other way out of the establishment except the front door.

"But he sometimes doesn't listen to me, and this is by far the best time that you didn't listen to me and I appreciate that," McMurry told Shaw.

Meanwhile, an online GoFundMe page set up to honor Shaw has raised more than $86,000 for him as more than 2,500 people donated.

"I normally don't get involved directly in these matters, but James' grace has inspired me to start this page and give him the support I feel he deserves," wrote Yashar Ali of New York, who established the fund-raising campaign on Monday.

"According to news reports, James has a 4-year-old daughter. Perhaps this money can be used for her college fund or some other education-related expense," Ali wrote. "But I'd be just as happy if James used some of this money to take his family on a nice vacation."

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Tuesday
Apr242018

Dozens of endangered Right whales seen feeding off Massachusetts coast

WCVB-TV(BOSTON) -- Dozens of endangered North Atlantic Right whales were seen feeding off the coast of Massachusetts over the past few days.

The massive ocean mammals were seen swimming at the surface of the Atlantic Ocean near Marshfield -- a town about 30 miles southeast of Boston -- in chopper video captured by ABC Boston affiliate WCVB-TV over the weekend.

The Marshfield Police Department's harbormaster and the U.S Coast Guard patrolled the waters nearby to make sure no other boats got too close to the pods of about 50 whales, Marshfield Harbormaster Mike DiMeo told ABC News. They were likely migrating north from Florida and the Carolinas, he said.

Marshfield resident Doug MacFarland, who watched the whales through a pair of binoculars, told The Patriot Ledger that he lost count of how many he saw in the ocean.

The 10 to 12 pods of whales were spread out over up to 10 miles along the Atlantic coast, DiMeo said.

"It's an anomaly for us," DiMeo said of the number of whales.

DiMeo was able to witness the whales for himself on Monday from about 50 yards away, he said.

"It's quite fascinating to see them in that close range," he said, adding that they "basically shut the engines down" and kept a distance to "let them go their way.

The species was hunted to near-extinction about a century ago, according to the local newspaper.

The Right whale remains critically endangered, although recent analysis suggests that the species has recently experienced a slight growth in population size, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 2011, at least 465 individual Right whales were in existence, according to the NOAA.

The last time the area had seen a large number of whales was in May 2015, when about 15 to 20 whales were spotted off the coast, DiMeo said. It could be a sign of a population increase, he added.

Among the biggest threats to the species include ship collisions, entanglement in fishing gear, habitat degradation, climate and ecosystem change, disturbance from whale-watching activities and noise, according to the NOAA.

Right whales have a protection zone of 500 yards, NOAA regulations state. So the harbormaster and Coast Guard were helping to enforce it, DiMeo said. Regulations also state that vessels over 65 feet must travel at 10 knots or less.

Humarock resident Paul Armstrong was paddleboarding when he had a close-up encounter with the whales, which can weigh up to 79 tons.

"I was almost on top of them at one point," Armstrong told The Patriot Ledger. "They were kind of curious about what I was."

The avid surfer described the sighting as "a really cool experience," adding, "It’s something I’ve always wanted to do."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Apr242018

Stoneman Douglas school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz found to be indigent, will keep public defender 

Amy Beth Bennett-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Florida Judge Elizabeth Scherer has found Nikolas Cruz to be indigent and the 19-year-old will keep his public defender, the State Attorney’s Office told ABC News today.

Cruz is accused of fatally shooting 17 students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Tuesday
Apr242018

Firefighter rescues baby deer from brush fire

Monroe County BOCC/Facebook(MONROE COUNTY, Fla.) When Jen Shockley Brack saw a baby deer running for its life, she jumped into the flames to save the endangered Key deer fawn.

“I wasn’t scared. I saw his big eyes and he was so scared and trembling, I just had to get him,” Shockley Brack told ABC News.

The Monroe County Fire Rescue firefighter saw the young spotted fawn while responding to the Big Pine Key brush fire in the Florida Keys. It's the beginning of the wildfire season in the area, and the fire was moving rapidly after starting Sunday afternoon.

Shockley Brack, who’s been working with the Monroe County Fire Rescue for three and a half years, and her team were holding the fire line to protect exposures in the area Sunday.

“I saw this little guy run out and he was terrified,” Shockley Brack said. “He was scared to death and his little legs were shaking.”

She told her coworker she was going in after him because the area where the fawn ran was fully engulfed. When she got to the fawn, he laid down and looked up at her.

“I think he knew I was there to help him,” she said.

Shockely Brack scooped up the fawn in her arms, singeing her eyelashes a little as she reached into the burning bush where the fawn hid.

While it is not uncommon to find Key deer near fires, they have adapted to stay safe in instances of fire. This was a unique situation because the fawn was found without its mother.

Rescue workers brought the fawn to a truck, giving him oxygen, water and wrapping him in a sheet while the fire was brought under control. The young deer was unharmed and, in accordance with the Key Deer Refuge Policy, was released back into the wild.

Shockley Brack said the fire was particularly bad because of the devestation caused by Hurricane Irma last summer. She said the hurricane knocked down a lot of trees, providing more fuel for the fire. Wildfires are natural to the ecosystem in the Florida Keys, but this one was particularly large.

The fire burned 100 acres and took one residence. But the property loss could have been much worse if the crews hadn't responded as quickly and effectively as they did, she explained.

Shockley Brack and her team evacuated residents’ pet dogs and cats, including a Mastiff and Saint Bernard.

Since it’s a small area, she said, she thinks the fawn will easily be able to meet back up with the rest of the herd.

“Hopefully that little guy is out there," she said, "and doing OK."

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