Entries in Deaths (13)


Texas Sheriff's Office 'Taking Precautions' to Protect Elected Officials After District Attorney, Wife Slain

Hemera/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- After the second murder of a prosecutor in the past two months in Kaufman County, Texas, the sheriff said his department was "taking precautions" to protect elected officials, but stopped short of saying he believed they were being targeted.

Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death in their Forney home on Saturday, Sheriff David Byrnes said on Sunday.

Byrnes would not definitively say whether he believed the murders were related to the slaying of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, who was gunned down outside the courthouse on Jan. 31.

"We have nothing indicating that for sure," he said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon.

Byrnes declined to discuss what security measures were already in place and whether any new steps might be taken, but said people should not be afraid to go to the courthouse, where there would be "visible security."

"It's pretty obvious it's unnerving and its unnerving to the law enforcement community and the community at large, which is why we're striving to ensure the community we are providing public safety," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Priest's 'Horrible' Job of Telling Newtown Parents of Children's Deaths

ABC News(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- A Newtown, Conn., priest had the "horrible" job of going door-to-door informing families early Saturday morning that their children had been killed in the elementary school massacre.

There were 20 children among the 27 people killed the day Adam Lanza, 20, invaded Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire on staff and students. Lanza was also found dead in the school.

Most of the children were between the ages of 5 and 10, President Obama said on Friday.

Medical examiners have completed the grim work of identifying all of the victims at the school and families were informed early on Saturday morning that their loved ones had been killed.

"We were gathered until after midnight and we were sent out with teams to go to the homes of the victims," parish priest Monsignor Robert Weiss told Good Morning America on Saturday. "We went to their homes early this morning to confirm the death of their children and it was just horrible."

"The uncertainty...even though they knew in their hearts that this was real," he said. "And the questions they were asking, the regrets they had. 'Why did I send my child to school today?'"


Weiss said some of the parents shared the last moments they had with their children. One dad said that, for some reason, his child got up early Friday morning and came down to tell the father how much she loved him. Another parent said their child had asked what dying was like just the day before.

"Parents are really going through a tremendous amount of pain and hurt right now, trying to deal with not just their personal loss, but what happened to their child in the last moments of their life," he said.

A number of the victims' families are part of Weiss' parish. He baptized some of the children and some of them went to his parish's nursery school.

"It's hard to believe that these little children are gone," he said.

Weiss met with the families from his parish who lost children and said the hurt and the anguish are "just settling in now" and then "there's going to be anger."

"And then they're going to have to live with this reality that this big part of their life is gone for them," he said.

Weiss said he has "no answer" when families ask him why their children have been taken from them.

"This was not God's plan," he said. "This was a man who has serious issues in his life. Why he'd want to destroy innocent children, no one can figure out."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Drunk Driving Incidents Declining, Says DOT

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- States are making progress on reducing drunk driving incidents.

In 27 states there were declines in the number of deaths blamed on drunk driving last year, according to a report from the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. New York, Texas, South Carolina, and Tennessee had the biggest reductions.

There were still nearly 10,000 people killed in drunk driving crashes IN 2011, so the Department of Transportation is starting a holiday crackdown. Transportation officials remind partiers to designate a sober driver or arrange a safe ride home and keep drunk people from getting behind the wheel.

"The holiday season can be an especially dangerous time on our nation's roadways due to drunk drivers -- that's why law enforcement officers will be out in full force," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Our message is simple: drive sober or get pulled over."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Superstorm Sandy Deaths: 2 NY Boys Killed by Downed Tree

File Photo - Matthew Fiasconaro/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A community in Westchester County, N.Y., is in mourning Tuesday after two boys, ages 11 and 13, were killed when a tree downed during Sandy struck the suburban house where they were hunkered down.

"It's just a tragic, tragic accident, and it could have been anybody's kids," Investigator Brian Dedusevic of State Police Troop K in Somers told ABC News.

Neighborhood pals Jack Baumler, 11, and Michael Robson, 13, died Monday night when a nearly 100-foot oak tree crashed into the family room of the Baumler home, in North Salem, N.Y., Dedusevic told ABC News.

"Heaven got two all-stars too soon," Daniel Seymour, Jack Baumler's uncle, told the Journal News from outside his North Salem home Tuesday.

"Our faith will comfort us. North Salem has a huge heart, and this community wraps its arms around this family. We're asking for prayers and privacy," he said.

New York State police in Somers, N.Y. arrived at the home shortly after 7:20 p.m. Monday in North Salem and found that the massive oak had crashed into the home, striking and killing the boys.

"I believe the boys died instantly," Dedusevic said.

The accident, which Dedusevic said he believes was likely caused by high winds and wet soil, also injured two other minors, ages 15 and 12, according to the New York State Police.

The injured 15-year-old was Michael Robson's 15-year-old sister Caitlyn Robson, according to state police. She was treated for scrapes at the scene by responding EMS personnel, but suffered no serious injuries. She and her brother were friends from a neighboring residence, police said.

Jack Baumler's 12-year-old brother William was at the house as well. He also survived with only minor scrapes and was treated at scene. Their mother Valerie was also home at the time but not injured, according to Dedusevic.

"A lot more of stuff could have happened with the winds and weather that we experienced. And it picked two innocent kids," he said. "It's very hard to swallow."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


West Nile-Related Deaths Confirmed in Texas, California

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two West Nile-related deaths were confirmed Tuesday 2,000 miles apart -- the 11th confirmed this year in Dallas County, Texas, and the first in Fresno County, Calif.

Nationwide, there have been at least 26 deaths attributed to the West Nile virus this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health said an elderly woman was hospitalized for the virus and later died, marking the second West Nile-related death in California in 2012.

“All residents, especially those over 50 years of age and those with chronic health conditions, must take this disease seriously and should take every precaution to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Edward L. Moreno, director and health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health, in a news release. “I also encourage residents to engage the services of their mosquito abatement district, if necessary, to eliminate possible mosquito-breeding sources around their homes.”

Dallas County Health and Human Services spokeswoman Patricia Huston would not provide any specific identifying information on the county’s 11th virus fatality because of medical confidentiality and personal privacy rules.

The death came just a day after Dallas launched a second aerial attack against the West Nile virus. Five small planes sprayed more than 360,000 acres with mosquito-killing pesticides.

The first aerial attack was last Friday, making it the first time in more than 40 years that Dallas County has used an aerial launch to treat a virus.

“What our preliminary data is showing is that the aerial planes that are going out are knocking down these mosquitoes,” DCHHS director Zachary Thompson told ABC News affiliate WFAA.

The DCHHS is testing mosquito traps set around the city to see how much the insecticides have affected the West Nile mosquito population, Thompson added.

The insecticide aerial fight came on the cusp of the worst nationwide outbreak of the West Nile virus, which has now killed 11 people in Dallas alone and sickened more than 200.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 693 cases in 43 states, with the majority of infections in Texas. Oklahoma, which borders Texas to the north, has reported more than 100 cases, three of which have resulted in death.

According to the CDC, up to 20 percent of infected people develop West Nile fever and exhibit mild symptoms -- including fever, headache, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting. They might also develop swollen lymph glands and a rash on the chest, back or stomach. Symptoms can last for as little as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

On average, about four out of five people who are infected with the West Nile virus will not show any symptoms at all.

There is no specific treatment for a West Nile virus infection. In cases with milder symptoms, people experience symptoms such as fever and aches that pass on their own.

There is no known cure for the virus; however, there are preventative measures. DCHHS said the best way to avoid exposure to West Nile virus is to practice the four Ds:

  1. Use insect repellents that contain DEET.
  2. Drain any standing water.
  3. Dress in long, loose and light-colored clothing.
  4. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prelimary FBI Report Shows 72 Officers Died in 2011

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year rose to 72, according to preliminary statistics released Monday by the FBI.

The figure marks an increase from 2010, when 56 officers were reported killed.

In describing the deaths, the FBI said in a statement, "14 officers were victims of unprovoked attacks, 11 were killed during traffic pursuits or stops, six were killed during tactical situations, five were killed during entrapments/premeditated ambushes, and five were slain while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances."

The final report will be released sometime this fall.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Deadly Year for Law Enforcement Officers, Report Shows

The casket of NYPD officer Peter Figoski is brought out following his funeral in Babylon, New York. Figoski, a 22-year NYPD veteran was gunned down during an attempted robbery in December. Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This year was one of the deadliest in recent history for U.S. law enforcement, according to a new report.

In-the-line-of-duty deaths among police officers ticked up for the first time in four years, the report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said. A total of 173 officers were reported killed in the line of duty, up 13 percent from the year before.

“We've seen drastic budget cuts affecting law enforcement agencies across the country and those budget cuts have put our officers at grave risk,” the organization’s Craig Floyd said, adding that “These numbers we’re releasing today are a wake-up call to legislators across this country that when it comes to public safety, we must stop cutting.”

This year marks the first time in 14 years that firearm deaths were higher than the number of officers killed in traffic. Of the 68 firearm deaths, Floyd says, 14 were shot making an arrest.

The report found that 64 officers died in traffic accidents this year, down from the 71 killed in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Two Runners Die in Philadelphia Marathon

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Two runners collapsed near the downtown finish line of Sunday’s Philadelphia Marathon and were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reported that rescue workers said neither of the men, aged 21 and 40, had vital signs before they were transported to Hahnemann Hospital.  Police confirmed their deaths.

The runners, who have not yet been identified, had set out at 7 a.m. under partly sunny skies, with the temperature expected to rise to a high of 64 degrees -- weather conditions that some in the crowd said were ideal for running.

Race organizers expressed their condolences in a statement released Sunday afternoon: “We are deeply saddened and our thoughts are with their families and friends.  We cannot at this time disclose the identities of the runners pending notification of the families.  We will provide more information as it becomes available.  Our thoughts remain with the runners’ families and friends.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Officials Continue to Identify Those Killed by Joplin Tornado

Julie Denesha/Getty Images(JOPLIN, Mo.) -- As recovery efforts continue in Joplin, Missouri following the deadly tornado which recently passed through the area, officials say they are continuing to work on identifying victims who died from injuries suffered during the storms.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety issued a statement on Sunday saying that officials had identified 87 individuals who were killed by the tornado which struck on May 22, and that their next-of-kin have been notified.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has been designated the duty of notifying the next-of-kin of victims.

At least 139 people have died from injuries caused by the tornado.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Death Toll Continues to Climb from Southern Storms

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) -- The death toll of the southern storms continued to rise Saturday, making it one of the deadliest twister outbreaks in U.S. history.

Alabama was the hardest hit of the seven states. Approximately 1,700 people were injured by the storms in the state, according to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. The official state death toll has reached 248, according to Alabama emergency officials.

The National Weather Service categorized Wednesday afternoon's tornado in Smithville, Miss., as an EF-5, reserved for only the fiercest and most devastating of tornadoes.

Since Wednesday, storms have ravaged communities across Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Virginia, Louisiana and Tennessee. In addition to those killed in Alabama, 34 people died in Mississippi, 34 in Tennessee, 15 in Georgia, five in Virginia, two in Louisiana and one in Kentucky.

The storms have destroyed or damaged power plants, power lines, gas stations and water supplies, leaving more than one million people without electricity. Thousands are homeless or without fuel or safe drinking water. Three nuclear power plants have shut down and are offline.

President Obama and the first lady toured the disaster area Friday in hard-hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., where 36 people died.

Across the country, Americans have been donating to the relief effort, through text-message donations to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, among other charities. The New York Yankees have donated $500,000 to relief efforts

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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