Entries in California (368)


Intern Killed by Lion at California Sanctuary Identified

A male lion (pictured here) killed a person at the Sierra Cat Haven in Dunlap, CA on March 6. ABC News(DUNLAP, Calif.) -- California state wildlife officials say they will perform a necropsy on the 4-year-old African lion that attacked and killed a female volunteer intern Wednesday afternoon at a big cat sanctuary in Fresno County.

Authorities say the woman was attacked at Project Survival’s Cat Haven when she entered the lion’s enclosure around 12:30 p.m. local time.

Deputies from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene and shot and killed the lion.  A spokesperson for Project Survival said the lion was named Cous Cous and had been hand-raised at the sanctuary since he was eight weeks old.

ABC News has learned the victim is 24-year-old Dianna Hanson.  She was two months into a six-month internship at Cat Haven.

Her father, Paul Hanson, spoke to ABC News by phone from his home in Washington state and said he dropped his daughter off in January, and that she was not allowed inside the lion and tiger cages and could only feed the animals from outside the cage.  He says he has no idea why Dianna was inside the cage on Wednesday.

Paul Hanson said Dianna cared for the animals each morning and gave tours to school children in the afternoons.  He said she loved to be around big cats -- it was her passion.

The sanctuary was closed to the public at the time of the attack.  California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife says Cat Haven is licensed and has a good safety record.

Dave Anderson, the founder of Cat Haven, said his thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s friends and family.

Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and host of Jack Hanna's Into the Wild, says there’s an old saying: “You can usually train a wild animal.  You can never tame a wild animal.”

Hanna says people who work with animals must remember they're dealing with wild creatures.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Intern Killed by Lion at California Sanctuary

A male lion (pictured here) killed a person at the Sierra Cat Haven in Dunlap, CA on March 6. ABC News (DUNLAP, Calif.) -- An intern at a big cat sanctuary in Dunlap, Calif., was killed after being attacked by a lion, officials told ABC News.

"The lion was also killed," CalFire spokesman Ryan Michaels said.

The incident occurred at around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sierra Cat Haven in Dunlap, a small town in Fresno County near King's Canyon National Park, authorities said.

The worker was inside the cat enclosure when the attack occurred, officials said. It was not immediately clear what the worker was doing inside the closure, or what prompted the attack.

In an interview with ABC News television affiliate KFSN, Sgt. Gregg Collins of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said responding deputies found the worker dead inside a big cat enclosure.

Authorities have not named the deceased worker, but Dale Anderson, the owner of the facility, told reporters it was a female volunteer intern, KFSN reported.

The animal involved in the attack, a male African lion, was shot by a Fresno County sheriff's deputy who responded to a call, authorities said.

The park was closed at the time of the attack.

The reserve was founded in 1999 on 100 acres by Anderson and is home to a variety of species of big cats, including cheetahs and tigers, according to the company website.

Officials said the park has had a good history, and had an active permit to operate.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Fresno County Sheriff's Department were investigating the incident.

Tony Spada of the Fish and Wildlife Department said wildlife forensic personnel would, "look at the animal and determine if the animal did, in fact, attack the subject, and then we will have our findings. And we work closely with the homicide detectives and/or detectives working the case."


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sequestration and Projected Furloughs Causing Concern

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Across-the-board spending cuts are forcing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to make cutbacks.  The result is already evident in the Port of Long Beach in California.

Sean Strawbridge, the managing director for the port, says essential operations are already being affected less than a week into sequestration.  He says there is already a backup of ships waiting to dock.

Strawbridge says the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach move over a billion dollars worth of goods a day “so any impact has an amplified effect not only on the local economy but the regional and the nation economy as well.”

At California’s Port of Hueneme, port CEO Kristen Decase says the Fed has cut overtime, which means the port can no longer conduct business on Saturdays.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Tuesday that expected furloughs at Customs and Border Protection would mean wait times at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York would increase 50 percent.

Speaking at a New York Police Department counterterror meeting, Napolitano said at peak arrival times, the wait at Customs could be four hours.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association announced on Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration has informed the group that it intends to send furlough notices to all its employees, a decision that the association says beginning next month will result in “fewer air traffic controllers in towers and radar rooms helping our national airspace work.”

The association issued a statement saying that as a result of the sequester-generated furloughs “fewer flights will be able to take off and land and the traveling public and the many businesses that rely on our air travel system will be impacted by the delays.”

The air traffic controllers group warns that the FAA “intends to close many towers around the country that provide critically important safety and efficiency services to aviation, keeping our system vibrant, growing and crucial to our economy.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Elderly Woman Dies After Nurse Refuses to Give Her CPR

ABC News(BAKERSFIELD, Calif.) -- A 911 dispatcher pleaded with a nurse at a Bakersfield, Calif., senior living facility to save the life of an elderly woman by giving her CPR, but the nurse said policy did not allow her to, according to a newly released audiotape of the call.

“Is there anybody there that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?” the dispatcher asked in a recording of the 911 call released by the Bakersfield Fire Department.

“Not at this time,” the nurse said.

The incident unfolded on Tuesday when 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless collapsed at Glenwood Gardens, a senior living facility in Bakersfield.

In the seven-minute, 16-second recording, the nurse told the dispatcher it was against the facility’s policy for employees to perform CPR on residents.

With every passing second, Bayless’ chances of survival were diminishing. The dispatcher’s tone turned desperate.

“Anybody there can do CPR. Give them the phone please. I understand if your facility is not willing to do that. Give the phone to that passerby,” the dispatcher said.  ”This woman is not breathing enough. She is going to die if we don’t get this started.”

After several minutes, an ambulance arrived and took Bayless to Mercy Southwest Hospital, where she died.

Glenwood Gardens released a statement confirming its policy prohibiting employees from performing CPR.

“In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community, our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives. That is the protocol we followed,” the statement said.

Despite protocol being followed, the nursing home said it would launch an internal investigation into the matter.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


California Anchorwoman Paula Lopez Safe at Home After Missing Persons Scare

WKYT(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) -- Paula Lopez, an anchorwoman for ABC News affiliate KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara, Calif., was safe back at her home after a missing persons scare, family members told KEYT.

Lopez's family earlier had called authorities to say the 48-year-old was missing just after 10 a.m., the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department said.

"Her last known location was at her home located near Cathedral Oaks Road and North San Marcos Road," the sheriff's department said in a news release this evening. "No foul play is suspected but her family is concerned about her welfare."

It was not immediately clear why her family reported her missing so quickly after she last was seen.

The report prompted a search that was assisted by K-9 units and a Santa Barbara County Air Support Unit helicopter, the sheriff's department said.

It also prompted a written statement by Mark Danielson, general manager of KEYT, who called Lopez, who anchored the 11 p.m. news, "a beloved member of the KEYT family."

"We have been in touch with her family and know they, as well as local authorities, are doing everything possible to find her safe and sound," the statement said. "It is clearly a difficult time for her family and our own family at KEYT. All of us at KEYT stand ready to assist in any way we can."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


California Student Catches Alleged Thief: Her Teacher

ABC News(LINDEN, Calif.) -- A California high school student was shocked at what she found when she decided to play detective and stop a string of thefts from backpacks during gym class.

Justine Betti said she decided to hide in a locker to see if she could catch the thief in action. She didn’t expect the alleged culprit to be her gym teacher.

After all of the students left the locker room, the teacher stayed behind, rummaged through backpacks and took money, Betti said.

“Something needed to be done. That’s not okay,” she told ABC News’ Sacramento affiliate, KXTV. Betti is a sophomore at Linden High School in Linden, Calif., about 60 miles southeast of Sacramento.

Betti decided to hide in the locker again — this time, with a cellphone camera to record what she saw. She set up a second camera in another locker to get two angles.

Once again, she said she saw the teacher go through the bags.  Her video shows someone digging through the bags, and one video appears to show the person taking something out of a pink duffel bag.

“I didn’t want to believe that she would do something like that because she was so nice, but then she did it,” Betti said. “It was really scary. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I just got this on video.’”

Betti said she kept watching it “over and over” and eventually took the video to her principal with some friends.

“He said that he’ll investigate it and he told us to delete the video, but I had already sent it to my dad,” she said.

The teacher is on administrative leave, according to KXTV. The Linden School District told ABC News that it is investigating the matter, but the superintendent did not immediately respond to requests for further information.

The teacher has not been identified, but is a 30-year teaching veteran described as a “great teacher” by many students.

Betti said she struggled with recording and sharing the video, but said classmates have supported her.

“They’ve been supportive and said that we did the right thing,” she said. “We feel like we did the right thing, but it’s still kind of hard.”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Suspect in Deadly California Carjacking Spree Identified

Hemera/Thinkstock(TUSTIN, Calif.) -- An unemployed 20-year-old went on an early morning shooting rampage in Orange County, Calif., on Tuesday, killing three people and terrorizing several other motorists whom he shot at and carjacked before taking his own life, police said.

After receiving dozens of 911 calls, and just as they were readying to confront him, police watched suspect Ali Syed jump from the last vehicle he stole that morning and almost instantaneously shoot himself in the head with a shotgun, authorities said.

Syed, a part-time student at Saddleback College, began his hour-long killing spree just before 5 a.m. PT, in his parents' Ladera Ranch home, where he shot an unknown woman in her 20s, according to Tustin Police Chief Scott Jordan, who briefed reporters Tuesday afternoon.

Police have not yet identified the woman or determined her relationship to Syed.

His parents heard the shotgun blast and called police, while Syed fled with a shotgun in their black SUV, Jordan said.

Syed drove to a Denny's parking lot in nearby Tustin, Calif., where he confronted a driver waiting to carpool his son, and shot the motorist through the back window of his vehicle, the chief said.  The unidentified man was wounded and remains in the hospital.

The suspect then stole a bystander's car from the Denny's lot and fled, according to Jordan.

Syed is believed to have driven that car only briefly before pulling into a Mobil gas station and confronting another motorist.

"I don't want to hurt you," Syed told the driver gassing up his car, according to police.  "I killed someone.  Today is my last day.  Give me your keys."

The driver handed over the keys to a BMW and Syed sped away.

From there, he pulled the car over and began randomly shooting at drivers proceeding southbound on California Route 55, Jordan said.

He hit three cars, severely wounding one driver who was hit by either a bullet or shrapnel in the hand and face.  That driver, who did not have a cellphone, managed to drive himself home and call police, Jordan said.

Syed then confronted another driver, stopped at a stop sign.

"He approached the victim at gunpoint, walked him across the road and executed him, shooting him three times," the chief said.

That victim has not been identified.

Syed then pulled into the parking lot of Tustin computer store Micro Center, where he allegedly confronted his final victim, later identified as 26-year-old Jeremy Lewis.  

Syed killed the man and stole his truck, according to police.

By then, "many calls were coming and [California Highway Patrol officers] got behind the stolen vehicle ... getting in position to make a felony car stop," Jordan said.

Before cops had the chance to confront him in the city of Orange, Calif., Syed "exited the vehicle while it was still in motion ... [and] almost instantly as he exited the vehicle, he took the shotgun, put it to his head and killed himself," the chief said.

Cops said they do not know Syed's motive.  They said he acted alone and was not part of a larger conspiracy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Human Bones Found in California Backyard Were Bought on eBay

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(PASADENA, Calif.) -- What was supposed to be a response to a call about a trespasser in Pasadena, Calif., took an unusual twist when police found an altar with human bones in a backyard, and now they are investigating how they were sold on eBay.

Pasadena police responded to the 800 block of North Oakland Avenue on Sunday after a woman living in the home reported an individual trespassing on her property.

“The officers went there on a whole different call.  When they checked the area there was a makeshift altar that included some bones,” Lt. Terysa Rojas with the Pasadena Police Department Crimes Against Person’s division told ABC News.  “The coroner determined them to be human bones.”

According to Rojas, the woman cooperated with police and was interviewed while the bones were turned over to the coroner’s office.

Investigators say the altar serves a religious purpose for the woman living in the home, more specifically a West African and Caribbean religion known as Santeria.  However, throughout the investigation over the past couple of days, police learned the woman ordered the bones on eBay.

“There are some sites where you can order human bones or skulls through eBay,” Rojas said.  “I don’t know where they get them or how they get to put them on eBay.  That’s part of our investigation.”

Police say there were not only human bones, but also those of animal heads along with burned incense and candles.  While the investigation is still preliminary, Rojas said there is nothing the woman can be charged with due to the religious purpose.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Facebook Murder Trial: Closing Arguments Set for This Week

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) -- Closing arguments are set to begin this week in the trial of a California teenager who allegedly lured his victim, an up and coming boxer, using a bogus Facebook profile and then fatally shot him.

Prosecutors say Manuel Edmundo Guzman Jr., 19, was the man hiding behind a phony Facebook profile of a fictional woman he named Rebecca Santhiago.

Guzman, who was 17 at the time Eddie Leal was gunned down, used photos of an East Coast Internet model in the profile in attempts to lure young men, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

His motive, prosecutors say, was simply to kill for a thrill.

On May 30, 2011, Leal, 23, a professional bantamweight boxer, went to meet Rebecca Santhiago, the sultry single he had been Facebook messaging with, at a San Jacinto park, according to prosecutors.

But first, Santhiago had asked Leal to pick her up a Four Loko drink, according to the Press-Enterprise in Riverside. She advised Leal to pick up her brother, who would guide him to a liquor store, the newspaper reported.

Instead, prosecutors say Leal met Guzman, who shot him multiple times.

Authorities found Leal shot to death in the driver’s seat of his Toyota Corolla, which they said hit a parked car during the ambush.

The Facebook profile was traced to a computer at Guzman’s mother’s house, where he lived, prosecutors said.

Guzman’s defense attorney, however, has argued that the case is circumstantial and said there is no evidence the teenager fired a gun.

If convicted, Guzman faces life in prison.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Legal Loophole Could Hold Up $1M Christopher Dorner Reward

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- A legal loophole could prevent good Samaritans, instrumental in ending the manhunt for a fugitive ex-cop accused of killing four people, from claiming more than $1 million in reward money because Christopher Dorner died and was not captured.

Last weekend, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pledged $1 million, sourced from private individuals, companies and unions, "for information that will lead to Mr. Dorner's capture."

The L.A. City Council followed up with its own promise of a $100,000 reward for information "leading to the identification, apprehension and conviction of Christopher Dorner."

But Dorner was never captured, apprehended or convicted.  Instead, he died following a standoff with police near Big Bear, Calif., when the cabin in which he was barricaded burned down with him inside.

The mayor's office has not yet determined if the reward could still be paid out given that Dorner died.

"At this time, no decision has been made on the reward," Villaraigosa's spokesman Peter Sanders told ABC News in an email.

So far, none of the privately sourced "funds have been deposited into the city's 'Special Reward Trust Fund,'" according to Frank T. Mateljan, a spokesman for the city attorney.

That still leaves an additional $100,000 that the city council could pay with municipal money, but there are legal questions there, as well.

"The reward is definitely still on the table," said Jessica Tarman, a spokeswoman for Councilman Daniel Zine.

The council ultimately decides how the reward will be distributed and who will get it.  If its members are feeling generous, they could interpret the language of the original offer to make sure a worthy recipient gets paid.

"Arguably, city law is broad enough to allow payment to persons who assisted in the 'identification, apprehension OR arrest and conviction' of a suspect," Metaljan said in an email.

If the city decides to honor the reward, there are still multiple steps before a claimant can be paid.

Anyone who thinks they are worthy must apply in writing.  That claim would then be reviewed by the Los Angeles Police Department's robbery and homicide division, and a recommendation would be made to the police commissioner.  The commissioner would tell the council to consider the claim, and the council would vote on it.

So far, no one has come forward to ask for the reward.  More than 1,000 leads were called in to a city hotline.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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