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Friday
May222015

California Oil Cleanup Expands as US Takes Action Against Pipeline Owner

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(GOLETA, Calif.) -- A massive cleanup remained under way on the California shores Friday as a crude-oil slick from a ruptured pipeline covered nearly 10 squares miles of Pacific Ocean and nearly 8 miles of coastline, forcing the closure of beaches and campgrounds just as Memorial Day weekend nears.

"There's a lot of wildlife out there," said veterinarian Dr. Christine Fiorelo, who is helping to treat six birds.

The oil leak was first reported around noon Tuesday in southern California. Officials said that up to 105,000 gallons of crude oil had escaped the busted pipeline and that 21,000 gallons had reached the waters off the California shore, which 200 species of animals and birds call home.

"It's terrible to know that all of that toxic material is out there," Fiorelo told ABC News. "It's a very heavy, thick, tarry oil. It's a hard product to get off."

Houston, Texas-based Plains All American, the pipeline's owner, came under fire as the U.S. government took swift and tough action against it Friday.

Plains All American had 175 safety and maintenance violations in the last nine years and paid out more than $24 million in damages, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's records.

Patrick Hodgins, the director of safety and security for Plains, said recently though that "the number of reportable incidents, by percentage, is well within the industry norms."

The administration said the pipeline had been inspected May 5 through an outside vendor, chosen by Plains All American. It also said today that it had asked the pipeline owner to share the results of that inspection so the administration could see what the pipeline knew before the leak.

A spokesman for the pipeline said Friday's cleanup efforts had been "productive," with a total of 145 bins being filled with contaminated oil.

"We continue to focus our efforts on the shoreline and removing the oil there," said Rick McMichael, the senior director of operations for Plains All American. "We are making good progress although we still have a ways to go."

Plains All American said it had shut down the flow of oil and McMichael said Friday the pipeline was currently working to excavated the affected section of pipeline.

The administration also ordered the pipeline to suspend operations until the agency deemed it safe to reopen; remove the part of the pipe that had failed in 45 days and have it tested; and purge the line of all remaining oil product.

Officials warned Thursday that there was a potential that far more oil had leaked into the Pacific Ocean through the faulty pipeline.

"California is tremendously well-prepared to deal with these spills, much better than probably anywhere else in the country, and maybe in the world, so that's fantastic," veterinarian Fiorelo said on Friday. "But it's also, of course, very terrible that it has to happen at all."


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Friday
May222015

Navy Training Jet Skids Into San Diego Bay, Pilot Rescued

KGTV-TV(SAN DIEGO) -- A Navy jet has skidded off a runway during takeoff for a training flight in San Diego, and its pilot was rescued by a civilian boat, a Navy official said.

The T-45 Goshawk crashed into the San Diego Bay Friday at around 2:30 p.m. PT, the official said, as it was taking off from Naval Air Station North Island.

"Local mariners safely recovered the pilot from San Diego Bay," Naval Air Forces Public Affairs said in a written statement. "The aircraft was conducting routine training in advance of aircraft carrier landing qualifications prior to the mishap."

The pilot was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released, according to a statement from Naval Air Station North Island.

The pilot was from Training Squadron NINE (VT-9), stationed out of Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi, officials said.

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Friday
May222015

Dispatch Audio Captures Dramatic Moments After Omaha Officer's Fatal Shooting

Courtesy of Omahas Mayor Office(OMAHA, Neb.) -- The chilling audio recorded in moments after an Omaha police officer was shot in the line of duty this week has been released, and it reveals the frantic efforts to get help for the mortally wounded cop.

Officer Kerrie Orozco, 29, was shot in the chest just above her bullet proof vest on Wednesday while serving a felony warrant and later died from her injuries at Creighton University Medical Center, police said.

"Help an officer! Help an officer!" someone can be heard yelling on the recording of the exchange between officers at the scene and dispatch. The dispatcher then warns other officers the scene wasn’t yet secure.

Orozco was set to go on maternity leave the next day to take care of her newborn daughter, Olivia Ruth, who was born premature and set to be released from the neonatal intensive care unit, authorities told ABC News. Orozco was back to work the week after giving birth to Olivia on Feb. 17, according to officials.

The audio was released by Mean Streets Omaha, a citizen's group that live-tweets police radio calls in Omaha. The Omaha Police Department did not immediately confirm the authenticity of the recordings to ABC News.

Orozco and two other officers were in pursuit of 26-year-old Marcus D. Wheeler on Wednesday afternoon near 30th Street and Martin Avenue, police said. He was wanted on a felony warrant for first-degree assault from a September 2014 shooting.

When Orozco and another officer pulled up to Wheeler in an unmarked car with lights flashing, Wheeler shot at the officers and then ran, Omaha Police Department Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said on Thursday night, adding new details to how the tragedy unfolded.

When officers caught up with Wheeler, he fired again, and the officers returned fire, Schmaderer said. That's when Orozco was hit by one of at least six gunshots that Wheeler fired, he said.

Wheeler was shot multiple times before collapsing in a nearby yard, Schmaderer said, and he was later pronounced dead from a lethal gunshot wound to the chest.

In the audio recordings, sirens can be heard in the background while medics report back that two patients are en route to the hospital.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced a vigil for Orozco at 7 p.m. Monday at St. John’s Catholic Church at Creighton University. Her memorial is planned for Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. John’s.

The Omaha Police Department has set up a college fund for Olivia that the community can to donate to.


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Friday
May222015

Memorial Day 2015: The Real Story Behind the Holiday

flySnow/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Memorial Day Weekend usually conjures up images of backyard parties, beaches and beer.

But Memorial Day is more than just a three-day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer. It's actually been an official national holiday for over 40 years aimed at remembering those who served in the armed forces.

Here is a brief look at the history behind the holiday and how people are expressing the true meaning of Memorial Day through photos on social media.

A few years after the end of the Civil War, May 30 was established as "Declaration Day" -- a day to decorates veterans' graves with flowers. May 30 may have been the selected day because flowers would be in bloom throughout the country, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

In 1971, Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday and placed on the last Monday in May, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website says.

In December 2000, the president signed into law The National Moment of Remembrance Act.

"The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation," the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website says.

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Friday
May222015

Florida Teen Shocked By What She Saw in Her Yearbook

Courtesy of Jessica Morales (NAPLES, Fla.) -- Jessica Morales, 18, said she was shocked to open her high school yearbook last week to see what she felt is a racially offensive photo depicting the "border patrol" interacting with students in stereotypical costumes.

"It was just really offensive because it kind of belittles the whole issue," Morales told ABC affiliate WFTS-TV in Tampa Bay, Florida, referring to the immigration process that both of her parents are still enduring.

The photo, which was printed on page 96 of the $90 Naples High School yearbook in Naples, Florida, pictured six students dressed in ponchos and sombreros and wearing mustaches, and one student in a shirt labeled "border patrol."

Morales' father, Miguel Morales, told WFTS-TV the image struck him as "really racist," adding, "I've never seen anything like that, I thought it was 2015 and people don't act like that."

However, a senior who said she participated in the initial staged snapshots, but was not involved with the “border patrol” part of the photo presented there, told ABC News that she and her friends were just fooling around and no offense was intended. She said they were dressed in the themed attire in order to represent a Mariachi band for "Twin Day" during their high school's spirit week in October 2014.

"I am Cuban and I don’t find this offensive," said Sophie Wasmer, 18. "Without a doubt, people wouldn't even making these comments if it wasn't because of social media. ... Even girls I sit at lunch with are antagonizing us. If she [Morales] knew that six out of the seven of us were Latino, I don’t think she would’ve done that [complained]."

The Collier County Public School District expressed regret that the photo got through its yearbook vetting process.

"The picture in question is from Naples High School’s Spirit week," the district said in a statement. "The Naples High yearbook staff has a vetting process for which all content is reviewed. If anyone on the yearbook team finds a picture questionable, the yearbook sponsor brings it forward to Naples High Principal Kevin Saba. That regrettably did not happen in this case."

In the statement, Saba added, “We regret if any Golden Eagle student, parent, or community member found it offensive. It was certainly not our intent.”

Wasmer said she was surprised to learn via Twitter that the photo was causing so much controversy.

"It looks like we were 'Crossing the border, being Mexican,' and that’s not how we wanted it interpreted," Wasmer said. "Our intention was never to offend anyone. ... I'm not really angered by it, but I just want to get over it, pretty much. It was just blown out of proportion."

Morales said she hoped to enter into a career that combats what she feels is offensive behavior, such as the yearbook image.

"It would be amazing to do that," Morales told WFTS-TV. "To ... make an impact on the world because there is so much inequality in it. It would be awesome to make a change."

Morales did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for additional comment.

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Friday
May222015

Sea Lion Pup Wanders Into a Bar, Gets Carded

Courtesy Michael Armstrong(NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.) -- A sea lion walks into a bar.

This isn't the set-up to a joke, it happened in real life in Newport Beach, California, last week when a pup waddled in to “grab a beverage,” according to manager Sonia Warner.

But the Beach Ball Bar on Balboa Peninsula refused service to the little guy on May 12.

“We’re very careful not to serve alcohol to minors and he clearly wasn’t above the drinking age,” Warner joked.

The bartender and two customers tried to use bar stools to keep the sea lion outside the bar, but Warner said he wandered in and out for almost two hours. “He had a gash on his back and a little eye problem but he was happy doing his own thing,” Warner told ABC News.

The Newport Beach Animal Control workers took the pup to the vet and he was cleared to be released about 35 miles south, in San Clemente.

That didn’t stop him from making it back to Newport Beach the next day.

This time, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center took him in and appropriately named him Beach Ball, Warner said, noting that the center is treating him for an eye infection and “fattening him up.”

Warner went to visit Beach Ball last week and said the center has about 125 sea lion pups they’re taking care of.

“They told me Beach Ball isn’t alone in being a starving pup,” said Warner. “Apparently the water is so warm it’s making the food deeper. The moms are abandoning their pups.”

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center plans to release Beach Ball back to the wild when he’s healthier.

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Friday
May222015

DC Mansion Murder Suspect Taken Into Custody

Metropolitan Police Department(WASHINGTON) — Daron Dylon Wint, the man suspected in a quadruple murder at a Washington, D.C. mansion, was taken into custody on Thursday night, police said.

Wint, 34, was arrested at 11 p.m. on Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast Washington, Metropolitan Police said. He is charged with first degree felony murder while armed. Members of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force made the arrest. He is slated to be arraigned Friday.

Wint was named by Metropolitan Police as the suspect in the murders after his DNA was found on the crust of a Domino's pizza that had been delivered to the house, authorities said.

Savvas Savopoulos and his wife Amy, their 10-year-old son Phillip and longtime housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa were found dead on May 14.

Robert Fernandez, Commander of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, says Wint's arrest occurred after officers trailed two vehicles leaving a Maryland hotel. The capture apparently followed a missed opportunity for an arrest.

“We tracked him up to New York City and we barely missed him,” Fernandez said.

“It was a very fluid situation. We were planning on figuring out where he was in the hotel and then taking him down. When we were approaching, we realized he was in a vehicle.”

Investigators believe the home invasion was not random.

"We do believe there is a connection between this suspect in this case through the business," Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.

Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, which specializes in steel and iron manufacturing. Wint was previously an employee of the company.

Authorities have not ruled out more than one person being involved in the crime.

Following the arrest, the Savopoulos family released a statement, saying, "We are thankful to law enforcement who have worked so diligently to bring about an arrest in this case. While it does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city. We are blessed to live in a community comprised of close circles of friends who have supported us and grieve with us."


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Friday
May222015

Two California Men Arrested on Terrorism Charges

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Two men from Anaheim, California were arrested Thursday night on terrorism charges, law enforcement sources confirm to ABC News.

The arrests -- one at Los Angeles International Airport and the other in Orange County, California -- were carried out by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and are said to be a part of a wide-ranging investigation into men suspected of planning travel abroad to join ISIS. They come at a time when the FBI has warned of an ISIS social media campaign to recruit followers.

"There are people in the U.S. who go onto these websites and without ever having talked to anybody or met anybody in ISIS, they get converted," says ABC News' counterterrorism consultant Richard Clarke.

Clarke says those American converts are urged to join the fight in Iraq or Syria or kill at home.

In this latest case, there was no known public threat to Southern California.

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Friday
May222015

DC Mansion Murders: Inside the Search and Arrest of Suspect Daron Wint

WJLA(WASHINGTON) — The man accused of murdering a family and their housekeeper inside their D.C. mansion -- before setting it on fire was caught late Thursday night following a multi-state manhunt that stretched from Maryland to New York City.

"It’s been a very active and busy over 48 hours for us," U.S. Marshal's Commander Robert Fernandez told ABC News.

Daron Wint was named a suspect in the murder of Savvas Savopoulos, his wife Amy, their son Phillip and their housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, whose bodies were found in the Savopoulos home after it was set on fire May 14.

Here is how it went down:

Pizza Crust


Police did not publicly release Wint's name until a week later, after they were able to positively match trace DNA they found on an uneaten pizza crust left inside the mansion. In the hours before and after the public announcement, the manhunt was on.

Fernandez said that investigators were able to trace the Prince George's County, Maryland, resident to Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday night, but they were too late.

U.S. Marshal's and New York Police Department officers "went to the location, but he had just fled so they barely missed him," Fernandez said.

New York City


NYPD sources told ABC News that they still are not certain that Wint was ever actually in Brooklyn. While police said they did trace his phone to the borough, they have no other evidence except his girlfriend's testimony placing him physically in New York.

While D.C. Police Commissioner Cathy Lanier said she believed he was in Brooklyn at around noon on Thursday, New York investigators later clarified that they were "not confident" with the testimony that initially led them to believe he was there.

Fernandez said the U.S. Marshals moved on and used additional information, though he did not specify what that intelligence was. It ultimately tracked Wint to College Park, Maryland.

"We were able to marry up the information that we were getting from both locations and determined that he was en route back to the D.C. area. We just had to figure out where he was heading," Fernandez said.

Back in Maryland

Authorities placed Wint at a Howard Johnson's and planned to arrest him inside, but Fernandez said plans changed.

"Things are always fluid when you’re trying to find a human body and they’re mobile and before we could get to the hotel, two vehicles left and he was in one of the vehicles," Fernandez said.

The 20 vehicles that law enforcement had near the hotel then began following the two cars as they were driving north along Route 1. Officers were waiting to "take down" the car because they wanted to be certain he was in the vehicle. Right then the cars made "a wacky U-turn" and the Marshals thought they had been "made," Fernandez said.

Apparently they hadn't because the car trail carried on into Washington D.C. until just after 11 p.m. when the arrest was finally made.

"We reached the point where we knew we could take tactically take them down safely so we did without a vehicle pin maneuver on both vehicles and were able to stop them and arrest everybody with not a shot fired," Fernandez said.

Wint was in a car with another man and two women, and two other men were in the second car, authorities said.

None of the others have been publicly identified and it is unknown whether or not they are still in police custody or if they have been arrested.

Wint is due in D.C. Superior Court Friday afternoon for an initial hearing.

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Friday
May222015

Atlanta Man Turns the Tables on an Attempted Carjacker

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — “You went to bed and woke up stupid this morning, huh?”

That’s what Hashim Fannin said as a would-be carjacker lay flat on the ground with his hands up, a gun pointed squarely to his back.

Fannin said he was pulling into a parking spot at the Family Dollar in northwest Atlanta earlier this month when Edgar Horn, 61, slid into his passenger seat and allegedly said, “You know what this is.”

That’s when Fannin pulled out a small handgun and “asked him to get out of the car, probably not in those exact words,” Fannin recounted.

When police arrived, cell phone video showed Fannin waving police over, then calmly dropping his weapon. One officer even extends a hand in gratitude before tending to the hapless criminal.

“Honestly, I look at it like this. That is one less guy I got to worry about bothering my mom when she’s out grocery shopping,” Fannin told ABC affiliate WSB.

Horn was arrested for attempted robbery and entering an automobile, according to a police report.

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