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Thursday
Sep032015

Bears Nab Tennessee Woman's Purse, Lunch From Her Car

Courtesy of Kathy Gafford(GATLINBURG, Tenn.) -- A Tennessee woman learned the hard way a valuable lesson about bears -- always keep your car windows closed.

Kathy Gafford, of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, was inspecting cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Monday when she looked down at her car and saw a mother and baby bear had found their way in.

“I’ve always left my windows down. I just took for granted that they would never get in my car,” Gafford told ABC News affiliate WATE-TV of the bears in the area. “Well, wrong.”

“The baby was sitting in the passenger seat. The mama was sitting in that seat [driver's] looking like she was cruising around, like she was fixing to take off,” she said. “I was carjacked by a bear.”

The bears grabbed Gafford’s purse, as seen in a photo Gafford took that shows the bear leaning out of the car with the purse firmly in its mouth.

The mother bear also found a cooler that Gafford had stocked with her lunch and snacks for the day.

“Mama was the bad one. She was the bad bear,” Gafford said. “She just wanted anything and everything she could find that I had in my car.”

Gafford told WATE-TV she was not scared by the bears and started banging on pans and yelling to scare the animals away.

She also says she will be closing her car windows from now on.

“And I would advise everybody else to do the same,” she said.

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Thursday
Sep032015

Kansas Farmer Catches Fish Using Flying Drone 

iStock/Thinkstock(PEABODY, Kan.) -- A farmer from Peabody, Kansas, recently recorded himself catching a fish using his drone, which he transformed into a fishing pole.

Derek Klingenberg, known as Farmer Derek on his YouTube Channel with over 58,871 subscribers, went out to his private pond on his farm this past Monday morning with his drone in tow, he said.

"I tied a fishing line to the drone complete with the bobber and hook, and I forgot bait, but I found a plastic worm lying around, and off it went," Klingenberg, 36, told ABC News Thursday. "I'm always trying to to think fun things to do with my drone, and I thought why not go fishing?"

The video shows the drone whirring over the pond when a Blue Gill suddenly bites and Klingenberg flies it back to him.

"Yes! My first drone fish!" Klingenberg can be heard shouting, while sporting a huge grin.

Before taking off the hook, he thought, "But first, let me take a selfie," he said. The video shows the Snapchat photo he took with the fish on the line.

The viral video had over 771,000 views as of Thursday morning.

Klingenberg told ABC News he's started making videos as Farmer Derek two years ago on the Kansas farm, which belongs to his brother, dad and him. He said they raise cattle, corn, soybeans and wheat.

His favorite video he's done so far is "Farm Dog," a parody of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" and a tribute to his "canine BFF for shizzle," he said.

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Thursday
Sep032015

Falling Tree Splits Washington Home in Half

KOMO-TV(SEATTLE) -- A tree that crashed down into a Snohomish County, Washington house during a recent storm -- splitting it in half -- narrowly missed the family of four inside it.

Homeowner Marlon Waske said that he, his wife, their two young daughters and their dog had just moved into the home about three weeks ago, and they weren't even finished unpacking when a strong windstorm knocked over the large tree into their home this past Saturday.

"My wife and I were just sitting on the couch upstairs with my one-year-old and three-year-old daughters and our dog when we heard a big gust of wind coming through," Waske, 38, told ABC News. "It seemed to be at least 60 miles per hour, and we could hear the branches hitting the roof. We thought, 'Whoa, that's getting bad,' so we grabbed the kids and dog and went downstairs."

Just three minutes after moving downstairs, the tree crashed through their home, he said. The tree stopped only about a foot away from his head, he added.

"When it came down, it sounded like a war zone," Waske said. "It looked like it, too. Everything -- debris, glass, the stairwell -- came shooting down, and then it was just the whole room full of dust. Our ears were ringing."

Neighbors came running down the street, he said, adding that "they thought everyone was dead until I put my thumbs up and showed them we were OK."

"We ran outside, and we were all still in our pajamas and bare feet," Waske said. "When we came outside, we saw our cars were completely totaled. Our neighbors took us in."

Waske said he's been frustrated with the slow response of his insurance company, who he declined to name, but he's thankful for local tree services who helped remove the tree from their home on Wednesday night.

ABC News is respecting Waske's wishes not to identify the city where their home is to prevent anyone from coming and trying to take something from the damaged home.

The family temporarily lived in a hotel for a little bit but has since been "bouncing back and forth" between Waske's parents' home and his wife's parents' home, he said.

"It's been hard because we haven't spent one night all together yet because I'm taking care of the dog at one house while my wife stays with the kids," Waske said. "We haven't gone to the hospital either. My wife's got headaches. My ears are still ringing, and our bodies are aching. It feels like we were in a car wreck. Luckily, the kids seem OK."

The father of two added that what's even more heartbreaking about the situation is that he and his dad had spent over three months remodeling the "dream home" before he and his family moved in.

"One thing we did during remodeling was added steel brackets to a beam running across upstairs, and I think those brackets are what stopped the tree from going through and crushing us," he said.

A structural engineer was scheduled to take a look at the home today to determine whether or not it was safe for workers to be inside and begin work on the home, Waske said.

"I just really want my house back," he said. "I just want to rebuild it and have my family back together."


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Thursday
Sep032015

30-Foot-Long Basking Shark Dies Despite Rescue Efforts

Mark Steven Olson(LUBEC, Maine) -- Beachgoers in Lubec, Maine, near the Canadian border, tried to save a 30-foot-long basking shark that recently washed ashore, according to a video showing the desperate rescue attempt.

Onlooker Mark Olsen recorded the video Wednesday morning, when more than a dozen people spent several hours pouring buckets of ocean water into the large shark's gills and onto its skin.

The 30-foot-long shark can be seen immobile, lying on its side with a bloodied fin in the video.

Despite the efforts to save the shark, it died Wednesday afternoon, according to Lubec Town Administrator John Sutherland. He said the College of the Atlantic will be handling the shark's remains.

It was unclear how the shark washed ashore the beach.

Basking sharks are filter-feeders that mostly eat plankton and are rarely seen, swimming in deep waters, according to The Shark Trust, a U.K.-registered charity working to advance the worldwide conservation of sharks.


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Thursday
Sep032015

Air Force Veteran Finally Finds Girl He Rescued During Katrina 10 Years Ago

Airman 1st Class Veronica Pierce/Air Force(NEW ORLEANS) -- The Air Force veteran who has been trying to reconnect with a girl he rescued 10 years ago during Hurricane Katrina has finally found her, thanks to the power of social media, he said.

This past March, Master Sgt. Michael Maroney started the social media campaign hashtag #FindKatrinaGirl in the hopes of reuniting with the three-year-old girl he rescued. She was was photographed smiling in pigtails and pink shirt hugging Maroney back in 2005.

The iconic New Orleans image has served as a symbol of hope after the devastation.

"When she wrapped me up with that hug, I just melted, and the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders," Maroney, 40, previously told ABC News. "Everything in the world just stopped, and I wasn’t in New Orleans or in the devastation, I was just being hugged by a beautiful little girl."

Unfortunately, he never got her name. But last week, a miracle happened, he said.

"A friend of hers contacted my son on his Instagram and said, 'Hey, the girl your dad's looking for is a friend of mine," Maroney told ABC News today. "He sent us a photo of the girl a month after Katrina, showing her and her family in a shelter in Tennessee. I compared that photo with my photo, and I knew that it was her."

Maroney found out the girl was now 13, that her name was Leshay Brown and that she and her family were currently living in Waveland, Mississippi.

The airman, who currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, said that when he phoned Brown and her family, he was nervous and scared that it would be a hoax, but her voice and the memories her mother shared confirmed for him that this was indeed the girl.

"Words cannot describe how I felt hearing their voices again at that moment," Maroney said. "I was like, 'Is this real? Is this really her?' I've been waiting for 10 years for this, and finally I found her. I had a stupid smile across my whole face the whole time."

Maroney said though Brown could only remember little of their helicopter ride together 10 years ago, her mother remembered everything.

"I was just happy to know they're alive and doing alright," he said. "Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks I'll get to meet them in person, and I plan on bringing my two boys. They're right around her age, so I think that's why when I first met her 10 years ago, I was drawn to her."

Maroney added that he wants to thank everyone who took to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media to help him find Brown.


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Thursday
Sep032015

Police Departments Rush to Outfit Officers With Body Cameras 

Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Law enforcement officials around the country are racing to purchase body cameras for their officers.

Officials in Texas’ Bexar County, which includes San Antonio,voted Tuesday to buy more body cameras for officers a day after cell phone video appeared to show sheriff deputies shooting a man with his hands up.

Taser, the largest manufacturer of the devices, says it's had a 154 percent increase in sales in the past year.

The buying spree comes amid an environment where controversial police encounters continue to make headlines and cops are under ever increasing scrutiny.

Body cameras often vindicate police actions. In Palestine, Texas, for instance, a camera revealed that a suspect suddenly pulled a gun on officers as they were escorting him out of a bar.

Also, a routine traffic stop in Trinity, Texas, last week turned unexpectedly serious as on officer drew his firearm on the driver of a parked car. The police dash-cam video appeared to show the officer aggressively going for his gun at a startled man without provocation.

But the body camera showed a different vantage point and revealed that the officer suddenly saw a gun in the car.

"Is that a real gun right there?” the officer asked.

"No! Don't you touch that gun! You keep your hands out of the car,” the driver responded.

Trinity Police Chief, Steven Jones, said he was thankful for the department’s new body cameras.

“If officer Wheeler would have shot the gentleman and all we had was our dash-car video,there would have been an outrage that officer Wheeler shot this unarmed man unjustly,” Jones said.

Many police departments across the country agree with Jones’ views on body camera expansion. Just this week, the Los Angeles Police Department and the New York Police Department also expanded their use.

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Thursday
Sep032015

Woman Charged With Falsifying Report Amid Manhunt for Fox Lake Cop Killers

Police officers search an area for suspects involved in shooting an officer September 1, 2015 in Fox Lake, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(FOX LAKE, Ill.) --  A woman was charged Thursday morning with falsifying a report about suspicious men near the Illinois town where a police officer was shot and killed earlier this week, authorities said.

A manhunt continues for the three suspects responsible for the death of Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, who was shot and killed Tuesday in the Chicago suburb of Fox Lake.

According to a Lake County Sheriff’s Office press release, Kristin B. Kiefer, 30, called police at 9:20 p.m. Wednesday to report that two men approached her car in the town of Volo, but later fled into a cornfield.

Federal, state and local authorities spent five hours searching the area – but no one was located.

Kiefer later admitted that she fabricated the account, the sheriff’s office said, because “she wanted attention from a family where she was employed as a nanny.”

“Additionally, she indicated she chose this location to fabricate the event, as she was aware of the death of a police officer in the area,” the press release states.

Kiefer was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct for falsifying a police report, and is currently being held in jail pending a bond hearing, authorities said.


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Thursday
Sep032015

College Football Player Killed by Police Had Drugs in System At Time of Shooting

Christian Taylor, right, poses alongside his younger brother Joshua Taylor. (Courtesy Joshua Taylor)(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- Christian Taylor, the college football player shot to death by police in Arlington, Texas last month, had marijuana and a psychedelic drug in his system at the time of the shooting, an autopsy confirmed.

According to the autopsy report released on Wednesday, Taylor was shot four times by police, but had six gunshot wounds found on his person. In his system, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office found THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and 25iNBOMe, a psychedelic drug that the report says can "cause distorted perceptions, agitation and hallucinations, and have been associated with random and bizarre behavior in users."

The Angelo State University football player was seen on surveillance video bashing car windows, starting one vehicle, and driving that vehicle through a gate ito the showroom. The video did not capture his shooting.

The autopsy report said that officers attempted to use a Taser to subdue Taylor, but that only one of the stun gun's two prongs struck him.

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Thursday
Sep032015

Army Removes Gender Barrier for Ranger Course

Capt. Kristen Griest (R) and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver (L) with their Ranger tabs after the graduation ceremony of the United States Army's Ranger School on August 21, 2015 at Fort Benning, Georgia . Griest and Haver are the first women ever to successfully complete the U.S. Army's Ranger School. Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of the graduation of a pair of women from the U.S. Army Ranger course last month, the Army has announced that it will fully remove the gender barrier for all future classes.

The 19 women who began the course in April were intended to be part of a one-time assessment to determine which units should continue to be restricted to female servicemembers. However, after two women successfully completed the class, the Army says all qualified personnel will be eligible for the Ranger Course regardless of gender.

"We must ensure that this training opportunity is available to all soldiers who are qualified and capable and we continue to look for ways to select, train, and retrain the best soldiers to meet our nation's needs," said Secretary of the Army John McHugh.

"Giving every qualified soldier the opportunity to attend the Ranger Course, the Army's premier small unit leadership school, ensures we are maintaining our combat readiness today, tomorrow and for future generations," added Chief of Staff of Army Gen. Mark Milley.

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Thursday
Sep032015

Two Soldiers Remain Hospitalized After Helicopter Training Crash in Colorado

Aydin Bacak/iStock/Thinkstock(FORT CARSON, Colo.) -- Two soldiers were hospitalized on Wednesday when a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter suffered a hard landing during a training mission.

A press release from Fort Carson noted that the training was occurring on U.S. Forest Service land, and that four soldiers were on board at the time. Chief Deputy Steve Johnson of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said that all four "had varying degrees of injury," but that only two remained hospitalized on Thursday morning. None of the injuries are believed to have been life-threatening.

One of the soldiers on board the helicopter was able to alert authorities to the crash and provide the location of the helicopter, a Douglas County Sheriff's Office representative said at a Wednesday press conference.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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