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Sunday
Dec212014

Slain Officers 'Brought Back Horrible Memories,' Says Former NYPD Commissioner

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The shooting deaths of two city police officers "brought back horrible memories" for former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, he told ABC News Sunday.

Kelly said that Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been criticized in the wake of the deaths of officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos, "set off this latest firestorm" of anti-police sentiment after talking about how he trained his biracial son to deal with authorities.

"Quite frankly the mayor ran an anti-police campaign ... at a time when police had a 70 percent approval rating," said Kelly, who was the police commissioner when de Blasio was running for mayor.

While it has been three years since an NYPD officer was killed on the job, Kelly said police shootings were far more frequent decades ago.

"We have a history in this city, in the 70's, of these sorts of assassinations of teams of police officers and we saw more coming down the pike," said Kelly, an ABC News consultant. "Actually, in 1972, there were 12 police officers killed."

Kelly said that "we don't know" if Saturday's shooting will lead to copycat attacks.

While the NYPD announced that at least two police vehicles will respond to every call as a security precaution, Kelly suspects that will not stay in place for long.

"I think cooler heads will prevail. As I said, there was a lot of emotion last night," Kelly said. "You may see a little of that early on here ... but I think that will cool down pretty quickly."

The former police commissioner also pushed back against the presumption that police may recoil after the shooting.

"I've never seen officers back off from their sworn duty," he said.


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Sunday
Dec212014

Texas Meteorologist Shooting: Witness Grabbed Paper Towels to Help Stop Bleeding

iStock/Thinkstock(WACO, Texas) -- An eyewitness recounted how he rushed to his truck to get paper towels to help stop the bleeding for a Texas meteorologist who was shot outside his television station earlier this week.

"He said 'I've been shot. I've been shot. I'm in terrible pain. Help me please!'" Richard Dieter told ABC News of the moment he saw Patrick Crawford early Wednesday.

"[I] went and got some paper towels out of my truck and we held those on his wounds and five to six minutes later, the state trooper showed up," Deiter said.

Deiter's account comes shortly after the reward was increased to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest in the shooting. Crawford, a meteorologist at KCEN-TV in Waco, Texas is still recovering, as law enforcement officials search for his attacker.


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The Falls County Sheriff's Office announced Saturday that an anonymous donor had donated $5,000 in addition to the $5,000 that had already been offered by authorities for information leading to an arrest in the case.

"We're going to do everything we can to find this person," said KCEN producer Crystal Pratt. "Someone knows who this person is."

KCEN News Director Jim Hice described the sound of the shooting, saying he "never thought it would happen here."

"I heard the 'pop, pop, pop, pop,'" he added.

Crawford was able to drive away and flag down help even though he had been shot twice. He remained at an area hospital Sunday, where he was recovering from his injuries.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said they hope the reward and sketch will help them track down the gunman.

"It's a good thing because we can get information out there quicker than we could 15, 20, 30 years ago," D.L Wilson, a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety, told ABC News affiliate KXXV-TV in Waco, Texas. "We still want people to keep calling in because this is what's going to help us solve the case."

Law enforcement is asking that anyone with information related to the shooting call Falls County Crime Stoppers at (254) 883-3105.


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Sunday
Dec212014

NYC Mayor de Blasio Criticized After Cop Killings

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for RFK Ripple Of Hope(NEW YORK) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was criticized by New York Police Department union leaders Saturday night, after two officers wree killed as they sat in their car in Brooklyn.

Officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos were sitting in their vehicle in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn shortly before 3 p.m. when a man approached the car on the passenger side and opened fire. Both officers later died.

"The blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio. May God bless their families and may they rest in peace," the Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted.

 

 

De Blasio created controversy with his response to demonstrations about police relations with minorities, after a grand jury declined to indict an NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after he was put in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes.

The mayor, whose wife is black, said he has spoken to his mixed race teen son about how he should act if he is stopped by police.

In speaking about protesters who were arrested and charged with assaulting police during a demonstration in New York, de Blasio used the word "allegedly," which some in the NYPD seemed to take as a slight.

Patrolmens Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch and de Blasio have been locked in a public battle over treatment of officers following the grand jury's decision.

Earlier this week, Lynch suggested police officers sign a petition demanding that the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job.

Some officers turned their backs on de Blasio tonight as he walked into the hospital where the two officers were taken after the shooting.

Lynch said at a news conference tonight that there is "blood on many hands," explicitly blaming the mayor and protesters.

"We tried to warn it must not go on. It cannot be tolerated," he said. "That blood on the hands starts on the step of City Hall in the office of the mayor.

"When these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable," Lynch said.

At the news conference, de Blasio, appearing with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, wiped tears away as he spoke, and said the city is "in mourning."

"I don't think it's the time for politics or political analysis," he said. "It's a time to think about families that just lost their father, their husband, their son."


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Sunday
Dec212014

Two NYPD Cops 'Assassinated' in Brooklyn Ambush

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two New York City police officers were "assassinated," shot "execution-style" as they sat in their patrol vehicle in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, city officials said.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said the two officers were shot with "no warning, no provocation."

"Two of New York's finest were shot and killed, with no warning, no provocation," Bratton said. "They were quite simply assassinated -- targeted for their uniform."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio described the shooting of the two as they sat in a critical response vehicle in a Broklyn housing project as being carried out "execution style."

Officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos were sitting in their vehicle shortly before 3 p.m. when a man approached the car on the passenger side, took a "shooter's stance" and opened fire, Bratton said.

Liu and Ramos may have not even seen the gunman before they were shot, Bratton said.

"Officer Liu and Officer Ramos never had the opportunity to draw their weapons," he said. "They may never have actually seen their assailant, their murderer."


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"It is an attack on all of us, it is an attack on everything we hold dear," de Blasio said.

The suspect -- identified by police as Ismaayil Brinsley, 28 -- then ran to a nearby subway entrance, with police in pursuit, the commissioner said.

Brinsley went down into the subway and ran onto the platform, where he shot himself in the head, killing himself, Bratton said.

Police believe Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore earlier in the day, and then posted "anti-police postings" on her Instagram account, the police commissioner said.

Baltimore police investigating the shooting there found the posts, which included threats against New York police, and sent a message alerting the NYPD about Brinsley, but it arrived just about the time the shootings occurred, Bratton said.

Liu had gotten married just two months ago. Ramos, who had just turned 40, was a police officer for two years, fulfilling what Bratton said was a lifelong dream of being a cop. Before joining the NYPD he had been a school safety officer.

"Our city is in mourning. Our hearts are heavy," de Blasio said. "We lost two good men who devoted their lives to protecting all of us."

Hours after the shooting, dozens of police in tactical gear were still gathering evidence and had cordoned off a roughly three-block area around the site of the shooting, while other officers watched over the scene from rooftops in the area.

The shooting comes at a time when police nationwide are being heavily criticized for the deaths of unarmed black men. In New York City, Eric Garner, a black man who was stopped by police for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died after an officer put him in a chokehold.

"I can't breathe" -- words Garner could be heard gasping during his arrest, which was captured on an amateur video -- have become a rallying cry for demonstrators across the country.

One city councilman told ABC station WABC-TV in New York that the shooting in Brooklyn was "the worst thing that could have happened."

Until this shooting, no NYPD officer had been fatally shot since December 2011, when Peter Figoski, a 22-year veteran, responded to a report of a break-in at a Brooklyn apartment and was shot in the face by one of the suspects hiding in a side room. The shooter, Lamont Pride, was convicted of murder and sentenced in 2013 to 45 years to life in prison.


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Sunday
Dec212014

Rare White Lion Euthanized at Ohio Zoo

iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- A rare white lion was euthanized this week after zoo keepers found he had age-related health issues.

The lion named Future, was one of two male African white lions at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. The two were loaned permanently to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden by Siegfried and Roy in 1998.

At age 17, the rare lion's ability to move had been compromised according to zoo officials.

"Future's ambulatory condition had deteriorated and his quality of life was a significant concern. Euthanasia was the most humane course of action," said Mark Campbell, Cincinnati Zoo's director of animal health, in a statement.

The average life span for a white lion is 16.8 years, when living in a zoo, according to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

"Future was a wonderful cat," said Future's zoo keeper, Michael, Land. "He was easy going as lions go and let (his brother) Sunshine do all the worrying. We will miss him."

"Future was our Brother; he will be sorely missed, especially since we are in the midst of the Holiday Season. We wish him a Magical Journey -- SARMOTI -- Siegfried & Roy," the two performers wrote.

White African lions are rare in the wild and in October the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the African lion, including the white lions, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.


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Saturday
Dec202014

Woman Thwarts Abduction of Young Girl 

iStock/Thinkstock(AUGUSTA, Maine) -- An employee at the Maine State Museum said her instincts kicked in when she saw an alleged attempted abduction.

Sharon Wise, 65, was at the museum reception desk on Tuesday when she saw a man run over to a 2-year-old girl and start to pull her by her wrist, according to ABC News affiliate WMTW-TV in Augusta, Maine.

Wise said it all happened while the little girl's grandmother was hanging up their coats.

"He grabbed a hold of the little girl and grabbed a hold of her wrist and he starts pulling her," Wise told WMTW-TV. "At that point, instinctively I bent over and hovered over the child. I kept saying in a very low voice, leave her alone."

Wise said the man did not leave the girl alone but instead kept pulling her. That's when Wise, acting on instinct, managed to get between the man and the young girl, according to WMTW-TV.

"I looked him right in the eye and I was really close to him and I said, 'Let go of her now,' and he waited for a minute, looked me right in the eye and he dropped her hand and left," she said.

Minutes after he left, the man identified as James Cavallaro was arrested by police in the museum parking lot. Cavallaro was charged with assault and held at the Kennebec County Jail.

Wise said she was happy she could be there to help, but that any other museum employee would have done the same.

"He was definitely not leaving the museum with a 2-year-old. It wasn't going to happen," she told WMTW-TV.


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Saturday
Dec202014

Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Propositioning Girl on Flight

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A California man accused of groping and sexually propositioning a teenage girl onboard a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City was in court Friday and pleaded guilty.

During a court hearing, 66-year-old Hans Loudermilk admitted to touching the 15-year-old girl on the chin and rubbing her leg while on board a Delta Airlines flight.

Prosecutors say he told the girl sitting next to him that he could teach her things and that she was old enough to marry him in Utah.

Loudermilk is pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault. In return, prosecutors are dropping two counts of sexual abuse on an aircraft.

The defense attorney claims that Loudermilk was in the beginning stages of bipolar disorder at the time of the incident.


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Saturday
Dec202014

Minor Injuries Reported at Megabus Crash in Indiana

iStock/Thinkstock(SEYMOURE, Ind.) -- Some passengers were injured when a Megabus rolled over near Seymoure, Indiana, Saturday morning.

The bus was on I-65 en route from Chicago to Atlanta when it rolled over at the 55-mile marker around 5:30 a.m.

The Indiana State Police says a few minor injuries were reported.


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Friday
Dec192014

Sony Says Alternate Means of Releasing "The Interview" Under Consideration

dan_alto/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sony Pictures said Friday that while it has cancelled the theatrical release of The Interview following the hack that the FBI has attributed to North Korea, the idea of an alternate means of releasing the film is not out of the question.

"Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment," the statement read. "For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees' personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released."

"Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion," the statement added.

Still, on Thursday, after threats of an impending attack on theaters showing the film were leveled by hackers, Sony told theater chains that they did not have to show the film. Several of the largest chains, including AMC and Regal, told Sony that they would not be screening The Interview, which prompted Sony's decision to cancel the Christmas Day theatrical release.

"The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation's theater owners choosing not to screen the film," Sony said Friday. "This was their decision."

"Let us be clear," Sony said. "The only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice."

Still, Sony maintains that alternate releases are possible. "After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform." The statement also said that "it is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so."


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Friday
Dec192014

Exclusive: Newly Released Ray Rice Video Shows Aftermath of Elevator Incident

Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Turns out there’s even more surveillance video Ray Rice doesn’t want you to see.

ABC News on Friday exclusively obtained a copy of the security-camera video that shows the ugly aftermath of the assault earlier this year when Ray Rice punched his now-wife in an Atlantic City casino and knocked her unconscious.

The nearly 45 minutes of never-before-seen footage shows a clearly distraught Janay Palmer, Rice’s then-fiancée and now wife, unwilling to talk to him after the NFL star had punched her inside an elevator on Feb. 15 at the now-closed Revel casino.

Palmer is seen physically pushing Rice away from her when he approached her immediately after the incident. Palmer was then protected by hotel security guards as Rice attempted to move closer.

The video then shows Palmer going through something of an emotional evolution in the middle of the night. Almost immediately after the assault, she appears angry. Soon after, Palmer begins to cry. And by the time she and Rice are both escorted into an elevator -- handcuffed -- she appears to kiss and nuzzle the one-time NFL star.

Both Rice and Palmer were arrested that night and charged with one count of assault each. The charge against Palmer was later dropped for “insufficient evidence,” while the charge against Rice was upgraded to aggravated assault.

The former Baltimore Ravens running back is a sports celebrity in New Jersey because of his college career at Rutgers. He was admitted to a probationary program that would allow the criminal charge to be dismissed next year. Once a video of the assault appeared online, the Ravens cut Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. The league’s penalty was later overturned.

Rice went to court to stop ABC News from obtaining the recording, but lost. Rice’s attorney, Peter Ginsberg, was disappointed that the new video was made public.

“This is a time of healing and he, quite naturally, doesn’t want another media showing of what must have been the worst event of his life,” Ginsberg said in an interview Friday. “What the media ought to be focusing on is the issue of domestic violence and why the NFL never did anything to construct a personal conduct program that works and why the NFL ignored the issue of domestic violence. Showing yet another Ray Rice video is simply a distraction.”

During a two-hour hearing in Trenton, N.J., on Wednesday, Ginsberg said that Rice “literally does not talk to me about the events [at the casino] without crying -- to this day.”

The new video shows hotel staffers concerned with Palmer’s condition, bringing a wheelchair to her in case she had trouble walking and then giving her first aid. It shows Rice agitated at times, being kept at a distance from Palmer and talking on the phone at one point.

By the time cops and hotel security are prepared to move the player out of the lobby area, Rice is handcuffed and led away by the arm. A cop can be seen pulling the hood of his sweatshirt over Rice’s head.

The startling moment comes in the elevator – the same or similar elevator as the one where the assault occurred – when Palmer stretches her neck so she can kiss and nuzzle Rice. The two are then walked separately to waiting police cars.

The new video was turned over to ABC News in response to a public-records request filed with the N.J. Gaming Enforcement Division.

Since winning his appeal of the NFL’s indefinite suspension, Rice has started re-emerging into public life. He appeared on NBC last month. On Thursday night, aware that the new video would be released, Rice appeared at a charity event in Baltimore and talked about the incident.

"I made a horrible mistake in my life, but if you truly believe in second chances, they will forgive me,” Rice said at the event. “I think all the fans have looked deep into who I am.”


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