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Wednesday
Jun212017

Funeral expected Wednesday for Muslim teenager murdered in Virginia

iStock/Thinkstock(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- A funeral is set for Wednesday for a 17-year-old Muslim girl from Virginia who police say was murdered this past weekend.

Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, is in custody for the murder of Nabra Hassanen of Reston, Virginia, after he allegedly "became so enraged" that he hit her with a baseball bat, the Fairfax County Police Department said Monday. Road rage was the alleged motive behind the murder, police said.

Police said the incident occurred at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday, when a group of teenagers was heading to an overnight event at a mosque. Police believe one teen on a bike began arguing with Martinez Torres as he approached the group in his car.

The suspect "then drove his car onto the curb as the group scattered," the police said. "Witnesses say [Martinez] Torres caught up with them a short time later in a nearby parking lot and got out of his car armed with a baseball bat and began chasing the group. [Martinez] Torres was able to catch Nabra [Hassanen]. His anger over the encounter led to violence when he hit Nabra [Hassanen] with a baseball bat."

Police said Martinez Torres took Hassanen in his car to Loudoun County, Virginia, and the teenager's body was found in a pond in Loudoun County later that evening. According to her autopsy, Hassanen suffered from blunt force trauma to the upper body, police said.

The teen's funeral is set to take place Wednesday afternoon at the teenager's former mosque, All Dulles Area Muslim Society, in Sterling, Virginia, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said.

In Washington, D.C., hundreds of people attended a vigil Tuesday evening, according to ABC affiliate WJLA-TV.

While the Fairfax County Police Department said Monday there is nothing to indicate this was a hate crime, explaining that "it appears the suspect became so enraged over the traffic dispute it escalated into deadly violence," WJLA reported that a speaker at the D.C. vigil on Tuesday said, "We're not going to let Fairfax County police tell us that this was just a case of road rage."

The police's statement on Monday added, "If during the course of this ongoing criminal investigation, information or evidence later surfaces that would indicate this was hate-motivated, detectives would certainly ensure appropriate charges are filed."

Martinez Torres is held without bond, according to police.

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Wednesday
Jun212017

Death penalty is 'expressed intention' for Georgia inmates

iStock/Thinkstock(WRIGHTSVILLE, Ga.) -- A Georgia judge said Wednesday that the death penalty is the "expressed intention" for inmates Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose, who were on the run for over 48 hours after one of them shot and killed two correctional officers.

A Putnam County judge did not grant bond for the men. Their next court date was set for Sept. 18.

Rowe and Dubose were on a transport bus on June 13 when they allegedly breached a protective gate, reaching Baldwin State Prison officers Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58, at the front of the bus. The inmates allegedly disarmed and killed them both, officials said. It was unclear which inmate shot and killed the two officers.

The prisoners, armed with the officers' weapons, then allegedly carjacked a nearby vehicle and spent over 48 hours on the run.

They were captured in Tennessee on June 15 after leading police on a high-speed chase.

Rowe and Dubose were cellmates and friends in prison, and may have planned their escape; however, the bus ride on June 13 was unscheduled, officials said.

At the time of the shooting, 31 other inmates were on board the bus, which was en route to a diagnostic facility when the escape took place. Those inmates provided assistance to investigators, officials said.

Rowe was serving life without parole for armed robbery, the department of corrections said, and Dubose was serving a 20-year sentence for armed robbery.

The Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement that the slain officers "were known for their unwavering commitment to their job and their love of family."

Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory Dozier said, "Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of two of our officers, who are our family."

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Wednesday
Jun212017

Video shows runaway bus careening down NY street backward

WABC-TV(NEW YORK) -- Dramatic video captured by bystanders shows a runaway MTA bus rolling backward down a Brooklyn, New York street and hitting parked cars early Wednesday morning.

ABC station WABC-TV reported that just before 1 a.m., the bus operator parked and exited the bus on Palmetto Avenue in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The empty bus then began rolling backward, hitting cars and slamming into a fence in front of St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Knickerbocker Avenue, according to WABC.

The MTA employee was not injured, but WABC reported that one man who was changing a tire on the street during the incident jumped out of the way when he saw the bus. He was taken to Wyckoff Hospital to be treated for minor injuries. According to WABC, he was not hit by the bus.

What caused the bus to roll away is still under investigation, according to WABC.

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Wednesday
Jun212017

Parents, newborn among six killed in 25-car pileup in New Mexico

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- A Phoenix couple and their newborn daughter were among six people killed in a massive pileup near the border of Arizona and New Mexico on Monday, according to police.

Jose Elias Caraveo-Serrano, 30, Susana Caraveo, 29, and their 6-month-old daughter, Julissa, were killed in a 25-car pileup on Interstate 10 West while traveling home from New Mexico, according to ABC’s Phoenix affiliate KNXV-TV.

Caraveo was a second-grade teacher at Desert Spirit Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona.

Jill Badcock, a fellow teacher at Desert Spirit Elementary, described Caraveo as a "young sweet soul" who brought “sunshine” wherever she went.

"She was always my little Miss Sunshine," Badcock told KNXV Tuesday. "It’s such a tragedy, for not only the community but for educators, for her friends ... It’s unbelievable.”

A GoFundMe campaign for the couple, who would have celebrated their second wedding anniversary on Tuesday, had raised more than $7,000 as of early Wednesday.

Twenty-five vehicles -- 18 commercial motor vehicles and seven passengers vehicles -- were involved in the crashes, which resulted in six fatalities and a number of injuries, according to the New Mexico State Police.

The other victims were identified as Jose Manuel Clemente, 77, Maurella Clemente Munoz, 38, both of El Paso, Texas, and Josefina Silva, 47, of Escondido, California.

Officials with the New Mexico State Police said the collisions stemmed from a dust storm that brought high winds and limited visibility to the area.

Other fatal accidents in the Phoenix area have been attributed to dust storms in recent years.

"It's a topographical area in which the winds come through where there's nothing that can be done to prevent it," New Mexico State Police spokesman Carl Christiansen said on Tuesday. "It's never easy. It doesn't get easier each time."

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Wednesday
Jun212017

Police searching for suspect who killed teen during apparent Craigslist transaction

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Miami-Dade police are looking for the suspect or suspects connected to the death of a 19-year-old student athlete who was shot and killed on June 14 during an apparent Craigslist transaction, police said.

Brian Brown, 19, was shot around 3:04 p.m. local time, according to police. Relatives told ABC affiliate WPLG-TV that Brown, who graduated high school a week before his death, was shot three times in the back over what they believe to be a Craigslist transaction.

According to WPLG, relatives said Brown advertised video games and a Play Station on Craigslist to sell. They said he went to go meet the person who was supposed to buy the items from him when the shooting happened.

The teen's dad, Craig Brown, told ABC News that his son's girlfriend was with him at the time of the incident. Brian Brown's girlfriend drove him to Jackson North Medical Center before he was transferred to Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Brian Brown, who played football, had received a full scholarship to Merced College and was excited to head off to school after recently going dorm room shopping, his dad told WPLG. He was expected to leave for school in California on July 1.

"He was getting ready for it, staying in shape, and everyone, his teammates, friends, everyone was talking about it. He was ready to go," Craig Brown said.

Craig Brown described his son as a very lovable person and told WPLG, "I can say at least 200 to 300 people have come here to hug me and told me what a great kid he was, and how much love he just had for everyone."

"I don't know how I'm going to live without Brian," the teen's mother, Landcy Brown, told WPLG.

Detective Robin Pinkard told ABC News that as of Tuesday afternoon no arrest has been made in the shooting death of Brown and that they "are still seeking assistance from the community."

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 305-471-2500 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. A cash reward up to $3,000 is offered for anyone with information leading to an arrest.

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Tuesday
Jun202017

Dashcam video from police-involved shooting of Philando Castile released

Ramsey County(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Dashcam video from the fatal shooting of a black man by a Minnesota police officer was released by officials Tuesday, days after the officer was acquitted in the man's death.

Philando Castile, 32, was shot several times by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who is Latino, in July 2016 after Castile was pulled over with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and Reynolds' 4-year-old daughter in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, a suburb of Saint Paul. Reynolds live-streamed the aftermath on Facebook Live. Yanez has since been fired from the police force.

The 10-minute video, which was released by Ramsey County in Minnesota, shows Yanez driving behind the white sedan Castile was driving before pulling him over.

Yanez approaches the car and says, "Hello, sir," to Castile, who responds, "How are you?"

"Good," Yanez replies, telling him that the reason why he pulled him over is because the brake light to the car is out. He then asks for Castile's license and insurance while another officer stands on the passenger side of the car.

Castile hands over a piece of paper to Yanez before he says, "Sir, I have to tell you: I do have a firearm on me."

"OK. Don't reach for it, then," Yanez says to Castile as he appears to reach for his own weapon. "Don't pull it out."

As Yanez says "Don't pull it out" a second time, he grabs his gun and points it inside the car, firing multiple rounds. Reynolds can be heard screaming inside the car as the shooting occurs.

Yanez then orders her not to move before saying "f---" multiple times.

Reynolds' young daughter, who was in the backseat of the car at the time of the shooting, then exits through the passenger side, and the other officer on the scene picks her up and carries her out of view.

As Reynolds explains that Castile was reaching to get out his ID, Yanez says, "I told him not to reach for it."

Yanez then radios for help, and once additional officers arrive minutes later, they pull Castile's body out of the car and attempt to render aid.

Once the ambulance arrives, Yanez can be heard off camera, breathing heavily as he says, "He had his grip a lot wider than a wallet, and I don't know where the gun was. He didn't tell me where the f------ gun was."

The video was played during Yanez's trial. Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter last Friday and the city of St. Anthony announced that day that Yanez had been fired.

Prosecutors claimed that Yanez did not see the gun and acted unreasonably while the defense argued that Yanez saw Castile's hand on the gun, which he had a permit to carry, the AP said.

Defense attorney Earl Gray said that the "verdict was correct" and that the "jury worked hard." Another defense attorney, Thomas Kelly, that while Castile's death was a tragedy, he is "satisfied" with the verdict and "relieved" that the trial is over.

After the verdict was announced Friday, Castile's family addressed the media, applauding the efforts of Special Prosecutor Don Lewis and his team.

"I don't know what more could have been done," said Castile family attorney Glenda Hatchett. "I am disappointed. My heart breaks for this family. My heart breaks for this nation."

Philando Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, said she was "mad as hell" with the verdict and called Yanez a "murderer."

"The system continues to fail all black people," she said.

She continued, "I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota. My son loved this state."

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Tuesday
Jun202017

First responders save up to 27 people from flooded parking lot in Georgia

Gwinnett Police Department(ATLANTA) -- First responders in Georgia rescued up to 27 people from a flooded parking lot with chest-deep waters Tuesday.

Just after 1:30 p.m., firefighters in Gwinnett County, northwest of Atlanta, were dispatched to a parking lot and two businesses located at the bottom of a hill after they became flooded with water, according to Gwinnett County Fire & Emergency Services.

Parts of the parking lot were filled with waist and chest-deep waters, officials said. First responders were able to walk about half of the people out through water that was just ankle deep.

The remaining people were moved to higher ground using a raft from the Swiftwater Rescue Team, according to officials. Between 24 and 27 were rescued, but no injuries were reported.

Gwinnett County officials encouraged residents to stay alert to weather conditions and be prepared to evacuate due to flooding.

A flash flood warning is in effect in Georgia until 10 p.m. Tuesday. Up to three inches of rain has already fallen in some parts of the state, and additional pockets of heavy rain will continue to move through the area tonight.

In nearby DeKalb County, firefighters rescued a family of four from their home, which was becoming surrounded by water.

No one was injured in the ordeal, and DeKalb County Fire Rescue broadcast the swift water rescue on Periscope.

The heavy rain in DeKalb County was enhanced by tropical moisture coming from Tropical Storm Cindy, which was coming off the Gulf of Mexico.

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Tuesday
Jun202017

OJ Simpson's parole hearing date set for July 20

Issac Brekken-Pool/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- O.J. Simpson is set to face a parole board on July 20, the Nevada Department of Corrections announced Tuesday.

Simpson was arrested in 2007 during a botched robbery in Las Vegas when he led a group of men into a hotel and casino to steal his own sports memorabilia at gunpoint. He was charged with a number of felony counts, including kidnapping and armed robbery. He was found guilty and sentenced to 33 years in prison. He is serving his time at Lovelock Correctional Facility in Nevada.

The former football star contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him. His bid for a new trial in the case was rejected in 2013, but he was granted parole that same year on some of the charges, based on good behavior. He was not released from prison at that time, since his prison sentences were set to run consecutively. Simpson had to wait until this year to appear again before the parole board.

If Simpson is granted parole next month, he would be released in October. If not, commissioners will decide the date of the next parole board meeting, which could be as far away as five years.

Simpson’s friend, Tom Scotto, told ABC News that Simpson is "hopeful." Scotto said if Simpson is freed, he would want "to just keep a low profile, be with his kids, be with his family, play golf."

Simpson, who will turn 70 in July, was acquitted more than 20 years ago of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. The two were found on June 12, 1994, stabbed to death at her Los Angeles home.

A civil jury later ordered Simpson to pay $33.5 million in damages after finding him liable for wrongful death in the double murder.

Goldman's family told ABC News earlier this year they cannot bear the idea of Simpson as a free man.

"Disgust," Ron Goldman's father, Fred Goldman, said when asked what it would look like to him if Simpson was paroled.

Added Ron Goldman's sister, Kim Goldman, "He committed a horrible heinous crime, and I have no feeling except rot in hell."

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Tuesday
Jun202017

ICE seeks custody of El Salvador man accused of murdering Muslim teenager 

iStock/Thinkstock(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is seeking custody of the El Salvador man who is accused of murdering a 17-year-old Muslim girl near a Virginia mosque this weekend, officials said.

Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, has been detained for the murder of Nabra Hassanen of Reston, Virginia, after he allegedly "became so enraged" that he hit her with a baseball bat, the Fairfax County Police Department said Monday. Road rage, and not a hate crime, was the alleged motive behind the murder, police said.

On Monday ICE lodged a detainer on Martinez Torres, ICE spokesperson Carissa Cutrell said.

"ICE lodges detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges when the agency has probable cause to believe an alien is removable from the United States," she said.

He has no prior encounters with ICE, Cutrell added.

Police said the incident occurred at about 3:40 a.m. Sunday, when a group of teenagers was heading to an overnight event at a mosque.

Police believe one teen on a bike began arguing with Martinez Torres as he approached the group in his car.

The suspect "then drove his car onto the curb as the group scattered," the police said. "Witnesses say [Martinez] Torres caught up with them a short time later in a nearby parking lot and got out of his car armed with a baseball bat and began chasing the group. [Martinez] Torres was able to catch Nabra [Hassanen]. His anger over the encounter led to violence when he hit Nabra [Hassanen] with a baseball bat."

Police said Martinez Torres took Hassanen in his car to Loudoun County, Virginia, and the teenager's body was found in a pond in Loudoun County later that evening. According to her autopsy, Hassanen suffered from blunt force trauma to the upper body, police said.

"There is nothing to indicate at this point this tragic case was a hate crime. No evidence has been uncovered that shows this murder was motivated by race or religion," the police said in a statement Monday. "It appears the suspect became so enraged over the traffic dispute it escalated into deadly violence. If during the course of this ongoing criminal investigation, information or evidence later surfaces that would indicate this was hate-motivated, detectives would certainly ensure appropriate charges are filed."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jun202017

Muslims 'absolutely' the group most victimized by global terrorism, researchers say

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This week's terrorist attack targeting people leaving a London mosque after Ramadan prayers is part of a wider phenomenon, in which Muslims are the most affected by terrorism around the world, researchers told ABC News.

While attacks by Muslims against non-Muslims in Europe have dominated headlines recently, researchers from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a research and education center at the University of Maryland, believe that Muslims are in fact the most likely victims of terrorism worldwide.

Attacks target Muslims in the Middle East and beyond

START Executive Director William Braniff and his team studied the causes and human consequences of terrorism, compiling details about attacks like the one that took place in London on Monday. What they found is that — although they did not always have information about the religious beliefs of the victims — Muslims were the most affected overall.

"In the Middle East, Muslims are the most likely victims of both terrorism and counterterrorism efforts," Braniff told ABC News.

His point of view may come as a surprise to Westerners who think about terrorism only as high-profile attacks carried out in the U.S. and Europe, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year. But when he and his team looked at terrorism more comprehensively, including regions like the Middle East and Africa, it became clear that Muslims are most frequently targeted, he said.

On May 30, for example, ISIS killed 31 people in Iraq in dual bombings. But those bombings drew significantly less attention from Western media than the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that took place May 22. In the Manchester attack, Salman Ramadan Abedi killed more than 20 people and left dozens of others injured, according to authorities.

But Braniff stressed that Muslims face threats from terrorism outside the Middle East as well. He said that START researchers found an increase over the past several years in terrorism-related violence against Muslims in the 35 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an intergovernmental economic organization that includes the U.S. and much of Europe.

"Here, we've seen an increase in attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists but also terrorist attacks targeted against Muslims," he said.

Attacks on the rise in the West but result in fewer fatalities

Erin Miller, the program manager of START's Global Terrorism Database, which tracks attacks going back to 1970, agreed that attacks against Muslims are on the rise and offered some insight into why they don't always garner the same media attention.

"There are many attacks against Muslims in the West, but they are frequently less lethal," she told ABC News.

Miller cited a report by a German media group that said there were 3,533 attacks on refugees and refugee hostels in Germany in 2016. Those attacks injured 560 people, including 43 children, according to the report, but did not result in any fatalities.

Monday's attack in London, outside the Finsbury Park Mosque, injured at least 10 people, and one person died, but it is unclear if his death was a direct result of the attack.

Miller said that it is frequently difficult to determine the difference between what is referred to as a hate crime in the U.S. and terrorism directed against Muslims, although that distinction isn't the most important one to make when determining what groups are most often targeted by violence.

"The distinction between whether something is terrorism or a hate crime is often not very useful in this discussion," she said. "It's an artificial distinction."

The FBI defines a terrorist act as "a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, in violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state, to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives."

The bureau defines a hate crime as "a traditional offense like murder, arson or vandalism, with an added element of bias."

Muslims are threatened by both terrorism and hate crimes in the West, according to Miller.

Criticism of Trump's response to non-Muslim attacks

President Trump has frequently been criticized by human rights groups for not speaking out against the white supremacist contingent of his base more vociferously and for failing to respond promptly to violence that affects Muslims, rather than violence that is perpetrated by them.

"It's like pulling teeth to get President Trump to respond to terror attacks on Muslims," Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement.

Hooper criticized Trump's response to the mosque attack in London and to the killing of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen in Virginia. She was attacked near the mosque she attended, in what appears to be a road-rage-related episode, according to police.

"His silence or his delay really sends a negative message to the American Muslim community that their lives and their safety are not as important as the lives and safety of other citizens," Hooper added.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the president's response to Monday's terrorist attack in London or attacks on Muslims in general.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in an off-camera press briefing on Monday that the administration's "thoughts and prayers" were with the victims of the mosque attack in London and that Trump was receiving updates about it.

The president's Twitter account, which he frequently uses to denounce terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims, has been silent on the matter.

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