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Monday
Sep162019

3-year-old's lemonade stand raises hundreds for police K-9

Molly Stephens(GERMANTOWN, Wisconsin) -- A 3-year-old girl from Wisconsin has donated hundreds of dollars from her lemonade stand so her local police department could afford a new K-9 dog.

Lainie Stephens raised $754 by selling snacks and lemonade during her family's three-day garage sale to help the Germantown Police Department.

Lainie's good deed captured the attention of media outlets, and she's since received hundreds more via crowdfunding.

"She's super outgoing and excited to greet people," mom Molly Stephens told "Good Morning America." "She was very proud of the fact she had all those customers."

Stephens said she helped her daughter set up the lemonade stand as a learning experience to interact with neighbors and practice counting money.

When Stephens thought to make it a charitable moment, she decided Lainie should give the funds to the Germantown police, since the department was hoping to get another K-9.

"We have a history of law enforcement in the family, and we support the local police department," Stephens said. "I was expecting [Lainie would raise] $30 to $40."

Last week, Lainie gave the money raised to Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell.

"It doesn’t get any cuter than that, warms the heart," the department wrote on Facebook Sept. 12.

Lainie has racked up an additional $325 on GoFundMe and hopes to hit her $500 goal.

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Monday
Sep162019

Homeowner shoots and kills 3 masked men in possible 'stand your ground' case

ABC News(ATLANTA) -- A homeowner in Georgia shot and killed three young masked men at his home early Monday morning, according to Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett.

Authorities identified the three deceased individuals as juveniles Monday evening -- two 16-year-olds and one 15-year-old -- but have not released their names. The sheriff’s office told ABC News it waited to release information about the teens, all from Conyers, Georgia, until all three families were notified.

The homeowner, who has also not been identified by deputies, was taken to the station for questioning.

"It could be a 'stand your ground' type case, based on the preliminary [information] that we have learned so far," Levett said during the briefing.

The three teens allegedly approached the home and attempted to rob three people in the front yard, the sheriff's office said Monday night. One of the attempted robbery suspects purportedly brandished a handgun and fired shots at the residents before one returned fire. All three attempted robbery suspects were killed during the exchange, authorities said.

The victims of the attempted robbery were all uninjured. No charges have been filed against anyone in the case.

Deputies found two guns at the scene, but have yet to determine to whom the weapons belonged, Levett said.

The men were found outside the home when deputies arrived. One man was pronounced dead at the scene, and the two others were transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead.

A neighbor told Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB that he heard gunfire around 4 a.m. Monday and ran outside to see what happened.

"It was five shots, and then it sounded like a handgun. Then I heard somebody have an assault rifle. And it was a slew of shots that came out," neighbor Carlos Watson told the station.

The legal phrase "stand your ground" became a national story in 2012 when George Zimmerman killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin following an altercation in their Florida neighborhood.

Zimmerman was charged with murder, but said he had no choice but to shoot Martin because he feared for his life. In July 2013, a Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman.

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Monday
Sep162019

'Total devastation': 1 firefighter dead, 6 people hurt in powerful explosion in Maine

WMTW(FARMINGTON, Maine) -- A 68-year-old Maine fire captain was killed and six people were injured from a powerful explosion at a building Monday morning, leaving a fire department in mourning, according to officials.

Farmington Fire Capt. Michael Bell, a 30-year member of the department, died while responding to reports of a propane smell at a local Farmington business, according to Maine State Police.

The building -- the central office for LEAP, a program that supports homes for developmentally disabled people -- exploded minutes after responders arrived, flattening the two-story structure, according to police.

The cause of the explosion is believed to be an accidental propane or natural gas leak, said Farmington police chief Jack Peck.

Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols was one of the first responders and helped moved people away from the scene, according to the police chief.

"I spent a year in Iraq, it’s about the closest I can explain it. Total devastation," Nichols said. "I've never seen destruction like that in my career... It was horrible."

Five of the six injured are firefighters. Among them is Fire Chief Terry Bell, 62, the brother of fallen Capt. Michael Bell, said state police.

The other injured firefighters are Capt. Timothy Hardy; Capt. Scott Baxter; Scott Baxter's father, Firefighter Theodore Baxter; Firefighter Joseph Hastings; and Deputy Fire Chief Clyde Ross, said state police.

The sixth person injured was a maintenance worker at the facility: 60-year-old Larry Lord, said police.

Ross has been treated and released while the other five remain hospitalized to be treated for serious injuries, said police.

Residents who live in the area appear to be fine but shaken, said the sheriff.

The blast was so powerful that those in the adjoining town said they felt it, said the police chief.

"Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this tragedy, especially to the loved ones of the firefighter lost and others injured," Maine Gov. Janet Mills tweeted. "I am grateful for the work of first responders who are at the scene and urge Maine people to avoid the area."

Grieving firemen lined up outside the medical examiner’s office Monday afternoon ahead of the procession to the funeral home.

The governor has directed flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the fallen firefighter.

"Our hearts go out to anyone injured or impacted today," said officials with LEAP.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate the cause and origin of the blast, said Mills, who visited the explosion site.

Agents will begin processing the scene on Tuesday, according to state police.

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Monday
Sep162019

Authorities find bodies of Florida mother and her children who vanished six weeks ago

Marion County Sheriff(MARION COUNTY, Ga.) -- Authorities have found the bodies of a 32-year-old Florida mother and her four children across state lines in Georgia, six weeks after they vanished.

Casei Jones was reported missing to the Marion County Sheriff's Office on Saturday night along with her four children, 10-year-old Cameron Bowers, 5-year-old Preston Bowers, 2-year-old Mercalli Jones and 1-year-old Aiyana Jones.

They were last seen in early August in the Ocala area, a Florida city about 40 miles south of Gainesville. Their family hadn't heard from them since then, according to the sheriff's office.

Then on Monday morning, the Marion County Sheriff's Office confirmed that detectives located and identified the body of Casei Jones and her children near Georgia's Brantley County, some 150 miles from Ocala, Florida.

The woman's 38-year-old husband, Michael Waye Jones Jr., who was located in Georgia after a traffic accident, is now being questioned in connection to their deaths.

Casei Jones' body was found in Michael Wayne Jones' vehicle, according to the sheriff's office. He then led detective to the remains of the children, authorities said.

Detectives believe Jones Jr. murdered the victims at their home in Florida and then stored their bodies there and in the van for several weeks before moving them to Georgia.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest for second-degree homicide, according to the sheriff's office.

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Monday
Sep162019

Wildfires continue spreading in California, Humberto veers away from US

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- There are currently 12 wildfires burning in the state of California Monday morning according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

On Saturday a wildfire, known as the Horseshoe Fire, broke out in Riverside County, California, and caused mandatory evacuations that have now been lifted. The fire is currently 30% contained and has burned 490 acres of land so far.

On Sunday a fire dubbed the Bautista Fire also broke out in Riverside County. The fire has burned 50 acres and is 0% contained at the moment meaning that dry brush and gusty winds could actually fuel these fires to spread even more.

There is also fire danger in the east of California near the Nevada border including most of the state of Nevada and into Utah where winds could gust from 40 to 60 mph Monday.

The good news is that much cooler air will be moving into central and northern California with rain so the risk of wildfires should go down dramatically later Monday there.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Humberto is now a Category 1 hurricane with winds at 85 mph and is moving northeast away from the U.S. coastline. The only threat to the U.S. will be large waves of up to 7 feet high and rip currents along the coasts of Florida and the Carolinas.

Humberto will pass to the north of Bermuda on Wednesday night into Thursday morning bringing some heavy rain to the island but the good news is that Bermuda is not expecting to suffer a direct hit.

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Monday
Sep162019

North Carolina woman forced to be sex slave, tortured in front of her children

vmargineanu/iStock(PINEVILLE, N.C.) -- A North Carolina woman was held as a sex slave and repeatedly beaten and tortured in front of her two children.

The woman -- who remains unnamed -- was allegedly held against her will at two separate hotels in Pineville, North Carolina where police say “she was forced into sexual acts with random men,” according to a statement from the Pineville Police Department.

The suspects, Thomas Antoine Miller and Shakeeta Lasha Adams, then allegedly physically and mentally punished the woman if she did not meet certain financial quotas.

“The punishments range from verbal abuse, to beatings with a belt, being held under water/ice bath in a bathtub while being strangled, and burned/branded with a hot wire coat hanger. This violence was done in front of her two children and they were beaten as well with a belt at times,” read the police statement.

The Pineville Police opened up an “extensive criminal investigation” over a three-week period into human trafficking through interviews, undercover surveillance and search warrants at area hotels when the victim came forward during the investigation asking for help for her and her two children.

Miller and Adams were arrested for their involvement in the case. Miller, 26, was charged with human trafficking of an adult victim, sexual servitude of an adult victim, assault by strangulation, assault on a child under 12, assault on a female and communicating threats, according to the Charlotte Observer. Adams, 25, was charged with simple assault and is free on bail pending trial.

Police are still concerned that other victims of Miller and Adams could still be out there.

“We want those victims to come forward to us. We also want them to know that there is help out there for them,” the police statement said.

“Our victim in this case and her children had a long road of physical and mental recovery ahead of them. Our victim has been very brave in coming forward and we hope that if there are more victims out there, then they too will be inspired to come forward,” the statement continued.

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Monday
Sep162019

"Resident Evil" stunt woman felt abandoned by producers after losing arm

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- A Hollywood stunt double who lost her arm while filming one of the Resident Evil movies said she thought the production company would take care of her, but now she's suing the producers of the film, hoping to make her nightmare the last for stunt workers.

Olivia Jackson sued the producers of Resident Evil: The Last Chapter last week, claiming they left her on her own as she racked up medical bills after the career-ending accident.

Jackson has performed in several blockbuster films throughout her career, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but she said no film could ever prepare her for the trauma she suffered after the 2015 accident.

"It's something you always hear happening to someone else and you think, 'Oh dear that's horrible,' but you never think its gonna be you," Jackson said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Good Morning America airing Monday. "I thought the production would take care of me for a number of reasons."

Jackson was performing as a stunt double for Milla Jovovich on Resident Evil: The Last Chapter when she was injured in a motorcycle crash that resulted in her arm being amputated after being placed in a medically induced coma.

Jackson said she was initially slated to film a fight scene on the day of the crash, but in a "last-minute change, she was asked to perform a dangerous and technically complex motorcycle scene in adverse weather," according to her lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles.

The scene Involved her speeding toward a camera that was supposed to lift over her head before she reached it. But the "haphazardly planned stunt went terribly wrong," the lawsuit said, and Jackson collided with the camera at full speed.

"It went straight into my left arm, my head and my shoulder," Jackson told GMA. "The next thing I remember, I woke up three weeks later, [after] being in a coma, and then saw my family."

"I had numerous injuries, brain bleed, brain swelling, it hit the left-hand side of my face and all along here was -- it's called de-gloving -- where it's all pulled-back flesh. ... You could see my teeth through my cheek," she added.

Now, unable to work, Jackson says she's still fighting for proper compensation. Her lawsuit, which names producer Jeremy Bolton and producer/director Paul W.S. Anderson as defendants, said the crash was the result of the production team "elevating financial considerations over safety."

She said the movie’s producers misled her into believing that their insurance would cover any potential injuries sustained during on the job. Jackson claims the producers "abandoned" her and took out an insurance policy that only covered $33,000 of her medical expenses. After the accident, she said she was paid $990 in lost earnings despite the film's blockbuster success and gross of more than $300 million.

"They admitted they had very limited insurance, but they promised they would take care of me and make sure I came back to health," Jackson told GMA. "When they stopped paying for the medical bills I think I was just really hurt and really scared because I was stuck. … I was really hurt and really scared because now I was stuck on my own."

Thankfully, members of the stunt actors community and movie lovers from around the world gathered to raise funds to help her have the surgeries she required, Jackson said.

The lawsuit did not list a specific amount in damages, but Jackson said she's seeking compensation to "take care of myself for the rest of my life and pay for all the extensive medical bills that are ongoing."

She also wants to raise awareness for cases like hers and hopefully inspire actors to be advocates for their own safety.

"I would really like to make the world aware that things like this happen and make sure there is safety and insurance in place for the crews that make these films and give their lives, 16 hours a day, working to make these films," Jackson told GMA. "A lot of the things with the insurance, those were hidden from me. It's hard really to learn from it, when you sign a contract that says the production has insurance, but you don't really know, every crew member on a film doesn't know to ask them for their insurance papers."

Representatives for Anderson, Bolt and their respective companies did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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Sunday
Sep152019

Border Patrol agent shot, suspect killed during traffic stop

jetcityimage/iStock(BRACKETTVILLE, TX) -- A Border Patrol agent was shot in Texas over the weekend while conducting a traffic stop near the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said. The suspect was shot and killed by the agent's partner soon after.

The incident unfolded on Friday night when two Border Patrol agents and a deputy with the Kinney County Sheriff's Department pulled over a vehicle near Brackettville, Texas, where the two U.S. agents were based, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Saturday.

The traffic stop turned deadly when a passenger in the vehicle opened fired on the agents, wounding one of them. The agent's partner returned fire, hitting the gunman and killing him on the scene. There were no other injuries reported.

The area is frequently used by smugglers to move drugs and people from the border to San Antonio and surrounding areas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

CBP did not release the agents' or the suspects' identities, but they described the deceased passenger as a 25-year-old man. The driver, who was taken into custody at the scene, was described as a 32-year-old woman. They are both U.S. citizens.

"The agents and sheriff's deputy requested medical assistance and rendered first aid, however the passenger of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene," CBP said in a statement Saturday. "The injured agent was taken to a local hospital for treatment of a non-life threatening gunshot wound, and later transported by AirFlight to a San Antonio hospital."

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted about the shooting shortly after the announcement, calling it a reminder of the dangers agents face every day.

"Border Patrol Agents go out and do their duty each and every day despite the dangers. My prayers are with the agents involved and their families," he said.

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Authorities did not say why the vehicle was pulled over, but the incident is being investigated by the FBI, Kinney County Sheriff’s Office and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

Both CBP agents have been placed on administrative leave in light of the ongoing investigation.

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Sunday
Sep152019

2 men facing charges after caught on camera dangerously close to Yellowstone's Old Faithful

Kimberly Guilliams/Facebook(NEW YORK) --  Two tourists are in hot water after they were caught on camera trespassing at Yellowstone National Park's Old Faithful and leaning dangerously close to the iconic geyser's spout while snapping cellphone pictures, according to park rangers and a witness.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at the nation's most famous geyser in Wyoming, according to park officials.

Witness Kimberly Guilliams was at Old Faithful with her family waiting for the thermal sightseeing attraction to blow when she spotted the two men ignoring no trespassing signs and leaving a designated boardwalk to step right up to the mouth of the steaming geyser.

 uilliams quickly took photos of the men, whose names have not been released, and reported them to National Park rangers.

Guilliams called the actions of the men "complete stupidity."

"My family and I just couldn't believe what was happening," Guilliams told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Sunday. "They just didn't care and we couldn't believe that they thought that that was OK."

National Parks officials confirmed to KRTV in Great Falls, Montana, that the two suspects were charged with thermal trespassing and have been ordered to appear in court in December.

"I don't see how anyone couldn't be aware of the rules," Guilliams said. "They're posted everywhere. They're in multiple different languages. All around the border of the geyser, there are rules saying that it is very dangerous, that the ground is unstable and very fragile."

It's not the first time someone has been caught trespassing at Old Faithful.

Gabriel Villalva, 27, of Greeley, Colorado, was arrested after park visitors' video recorded him getting dangerously close to the geyser's spout in September 2018. The video, which was passed on to park rangers, not only showed Villalva walking up to the geyser, which spews 200-degree boiling water about every hour, but sticking his head in the spout.

Villalva pleaded guilty in November to disorderly conduct and thermal trespassing. He was sentenced to five years' probation and banned from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks for five years, officials said.

On the Yellowstone National Park website visitors are warned about the dangers of venturing close to the geyser, saying, "burns from thermal features are a common cause of serious injury and death in the park.

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Sunday
Sep152019

Suspect identified in blaze that destroyed historic Minnesota synagogue 

iStock/Thinkstock(DULUTH, Minnesota) -- Minnesota police have identified the suspect allegedly responsible for sparking a fire that destroyed a historic Minnesota synagogue on Monday.

Duluth resident Matthew John Amiot, 36, was arrested last week on a charge of arson for allegedly starting the fire at the Adas Israel Congregation in downtown Duluth, the city's police chief Mike Tusken said in a press conference on Sunday.

Firefighters spent more than 12 hours battling the flames after they broke out Monday around 2 a.m.

Despite the destruction, there is no evidence that the arson was the result of a bias or hate crime, Tusken said. The point of origin for the fire was outside the structure, and no accelerants appear to have been used, he added.

The synagogue was built more than 120 years ago, Mayor Emily Larson said in a press conference last week.

A spokesperson for the fire department described the structure as "pretty much a total loss," The Associated Press reported. Eight of 14 Torah scrolls were saved.

The congregation served about 75 Orthodox and High Conservation Jewish members, according to AP.

Additional information was not immediately available.

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