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Monday
Jul152019

40 water rescues required in Panama City Beach due to deadly rip currents

Panama City Beach Fire Rescue(PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla.) -- Authorities made 40 water rescues in Panama City Beach on Sunday due to deadly rip currents off the Florida coast.

One person died after getting swept away in an extremely strong rip current, according to the Panama City Beach Police Department.

A rip current forms when a narrow, fast-moving section of water travels in an offshore direction. Rip currents flow away from the shoreline perpendicular to shore, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Double red flags were flying along the shore of Panama City Beach on Sunday. Beachgoers were seen forming a human chain to save a swimmer caught in a rip current.

The Panama City Beach Fire Rescue said it was receiving "nonstop calls" for rescues that day and urged people to stay out of the water.

"Please avoid getting in the water," the fire department said in a Facebook post. "The decision to ignore the warnings has impacts far beyond the swimmer that becomes distressed."

Rip current speeds have been measured as high as 8 feet per second, faster than any Olympic swimmer ever recorded, according to NOAA, which says it's important "not to panic" if you are ever caught in a rip current.

"A person caught in a rip can be swept away from shore very quickly," NOAA says on its website. "Continue to breathe, try to keep your head above water, and don’t exhaust yourself fighting against the force of the current."

NOAA advises people caught in rip currents to swim parallel to the shore instead of toward it. Swimmers also can let the current carry them out to sea until the force weakens.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jul152019

College graduate to run across the US to raise awareness on ocean plastics pollution

Courtesy Sam Bencheghib(NEW YORK) -- A recent college graduate is marking his first foray into his post-education life by embarking on a cross-country trek to raise awareness of the plight of the world's oceans.

Sam Bencheghib, 22, told ABC News he witnessed first-hand the pollution plaguing oceans when he and his brother would surf off the coast of Bali after he and his family moved there from Paris.

"We would kind of go to the beach every day and realize there's trash everywhere," he said. "We were paddling in trash. That's where my passion for the oceans and my want to fight against plastic pollution really began."

Bencheghib and his 24-year-old brother, Gary, started organizing local beach cleanups about 10 years ago, he said. Their efforts later evolved to video storytelling to reach a larger audience, and the pair co-founded Make a Change World, a media organization that aims to promote uplifting and inspirational content about sustainability.

Part of the brothers' strategy to raise awareness on plastic pollution and the effects it can have on the environment, especially the ocean, is to see through "crazy ideas to get people's attention," he said.

One of their most effective schemes came in August 2017, when they built two kayaks out of plastic bottles and floated down the Citraum River in West Java, Indonesia, widely considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world.

The video the Bencheghibs posted to Facebook garnered so much attention that Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo made a public commitment to clean up the river within seven years.

Bencheghib, who in May graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., is gearing up for his next adventure in the name of the environment. He plans to run across the U.S. -- from ocean to ocean -- in an effort to emphasize the importance of sustainability and reducing plastic use.

The journey will begin in Battery Park in New York City on July 26 and end six months later in Santa Monica, Calif. Bencheghib will be running six days a week, 20 miles a day, all the while being followed by a camera man and RV driver to document the expedition.

In total, the run will encompass about 3,100 miles, and he'll do it while wearing the Adidas x Parley running shoes, which are made with up-cycled plastic waste collected from remote beaches and coastal communities.

"We really think that no idea is crazy enough to talk about plastic pollution," he said. Ironically, he considers himself more of a tennis player and "not much of a runner," he said.

Along the way, Bencheghib will be doing everything he can to get people's attention, he said. On his rest days, he will be stopping by college campuses to talk to as many people as he can about the issue as well as showing up to every City Hall possible in an effort to convince mayors to sign a no-plastic pledge.

The eldest Bencheghib sibling, Kelly, told ABC News she's "super in awe" at the "incredible challenge" her youngest brother is taking, adding that it combines his two passions: athleticism and the environment.

"I'm actually super worried about his health, but I know that he's doing everything to be able to complete that challenge, and he's so passionate about the environment," she said.

Kelly Bencheghib, 26, also works with Make a Change World from her post in Paris, while Gary is based in Bali and Sam in New York City. She said her parents are "super proud" of their children.

"They couldn't be happier to have their three children working together," she said. "We're a very close family."

Sam Bencheghib said he hopes his quest will help illustrate to the world just how devastating the effects of the current usage rates of plastic are and inspire people to change their habits.

"In the time of such environmental concern, we need to talk about the solutions and innovations available to us instead of just using plastic," he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jul152019

Lightning kills man, injures woman in Colorado

TeamDAF/iStock(BOULDER, Colo.) -- A man was killed and his wife was injured when he was struck by lightning as they hiked in Colorado on Sunday.

The couple was on the Bear Creek Trail on Flagstaff Mountain when the bolt struck him around 1 p.m., according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. Another hiker spotted the couple an alerted authorities.

Initial investigations from the scene show that the man was struck directly in his upper body, and his wife was injured from "ancillary electrical current from the strike that hit her husband," the sheriff's office said.

She was conscious and breathing and taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The man was temporarily resuscitated on scene but died at the hospital.

The identities of the man, 36, and his wife, 37, are being withheld pending notification of their families.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Jul142019

Protesters gather outside governor's mansion in Puerto Rico demanding resignation

Jose Jimenez/Getty Images(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- Protesters in Puerto Rico have gathered outside the governor's mansion demanding he resign after last week's corruption arrests and a group chat scandal that led to the resignation of top government officials.

Governor Ricardo Rossello is sticking firm as his administration is embroiled in a scandal that has forced cabinet level officials and close associates out of their roles.

On Saturday, the non-profit journalism group Center of Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of conversations that detail efforts to manipulate public narratives, operations to discredit negative press coverage and criticism of opposition leaders.

The conversations, made through the Telegram app, also contain sexist, homophobic and misogynistic comments from the members of the group, according to the report.

These messages have not been independently authenticated by ABC News.

The very public display of these communications, obtained by the journalism group by an anonymous source, has caused a collapse in the credibility of a government that has struggled to hold onto one. Rossello announced on Saturday that two of the island’s top officials had resigned.

It also follows the federal indictment and arrests on Wednesday of six people, including two former high-ranking government officials, who were charged with conspiracy and other fraud-related charges in connection with millions of dollars in federal Medicaid and education funds.

Rossello has vowed to keep working.

"I was elected by the people and I will continue the mission that was granted to me, now more than ever," he said in a statement on Saturday.

Sunday has been marked by protests and riot police standing off in the streets of old San Juan outside the gates of La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion, with some protesters sleeping outside the doors on Saturday night.

On Sunday evening, Rossello released another statement saying he spent the day in meetings government officials and will spend the week working on "transparency initiatives to combat corruption."

Rossello was the public face of the island during the 2017 landfall of Hurricane Maria that claimed thousands of lives and put on full display the island’s weak infrastructure and crippling debt crisis. He was criticized by many on the island for not pressing the federal government harder in the weeks and months after the storm. Rossello is running for reelection.

Senator Rick Scott, who stood with Rossello in the months following Hurricane Maria, tweeted Sunday night: "Puerto Rican families deserve better. I’ve made ten trips to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria. I’ve been there for the island and I remain committed to the families of Puerto Rico. But all credibility has been lost. It is clear that the families of Puerto Rico need leadership committed to creating better opportunities on the island."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Jul142019

Dozens rescued in Louisiana after Barry causes thousands of power outages across the state

ABC News(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- Residents of Louisiana felt the full brunt of Tropical Storm Barry's rainfall overnight as they woke to find localized flooding and tens of thousands without power across the state.

First responders rescued 93 people from 11 parishes as a result of the storm, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news conference Sunday afternoon. Thirteen of those people and two pets were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

There were no reports of weather-related fatalities, Edwards said.

Rain was expected throughout Sunday, especially in Louisiana, even as nearly 7 inches of rain had fallen in Montrose, Alabama, and just over 6 inches fell in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, through the first day of the storm.

Edwards advised Louisiana residents to continue to remain vigilant as several inches of rain were still expected through Sunday night, especially in southern Louisiana, which could lead to flash flooding, as well as tornado watches in nine parishes until 7 p.m. local time.

The hurricane protection systems in southern Louisiana functioned well, even though the storm surge that was originally anticipated did not occur. However, Edwards said he was "grateful" that the "worst-case scenario" in rain and flooding did not occur.

President Trump tweeted his support to the residents of Louisiana and the surrounding areas Sunday morning.

"A big risk of major flooding in large parts of Louisiana and all across the Gulf Coast," he wrote. "Please be very careful!"

There were over 152,000 customers without power in the state as of 5 a.m. on Sunday. That's an increase of about 30,000 customers from Saturday afternoon.

Barry made landfall as a very weak Category 1 hurricane on Saturday afternoon near Intercostal City, Louisiana. The last hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana was Nate in 2017.

The levees have held in most prominent cities, but a levee was overtopped in Terrebonne Parish, on the coast southeast of New Orleans, where the Coast Guard rescued 12 people and two dogs by helicopter.

"Every storm is different and sometimes we want to think we know what to expect from today's storm based on what we've experienced in the past," Edwards said. "And we continually learn that lesson, but every storm is different."

The storm is now moving over land, but it is not over. Life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding are still expected from Louisiana up through the lower Mississippi Valley through Monday.

Rain bands will continue to intensify and expand on the eastern and southern Side of Barry on Sunday. Rainfall rates in these bands could exceed 3 inches per hour.

Storm surge will remain a localized issue along the Louisiana coast until the storm weakens a little more, and the winds shift back offshore.

The most concerning aspect of this storm is the continued guidance showing not much movement over the next 48 hours.

On Monday morning, heavy rain will continue to push into parts of Arkansas as Barry -- or what remains of it -- barely moves northward. However, more tropical rain will push into parts of southern Louisiana from Lake Charles to Baton Rouge with rainfall rates still exceeding 3 inches per hour in spots.

Over a foot of rain is still expected in parts of the region, especially southern Louisiana, and some areas could quickly pick up 3 to 6 inches of rain in just a few hours during the day Sunday and on Monday morning.

Early predictions for river crests are being lowered, but they will remain a concern heading into the work week.

"Because of a change in the rain forecast, the crest predictions for many of the rivers have actually gone down," Edwards said. "However I should point out, that even the revised crest heights qualify as major flooding and present serious threats to life and to property. I implore you to remain alert and aware."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Jul142019

ICE raids across major US cities fall short of expectations but fear remains

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Donald Trump’s vow to launch a nationwide deportation sweep fell short of expectations on Sunday, with only a small number of operations that appeared to fall closer in line with routine enforcement.

While the effort seems to have been downgraded -- or perhaps just delayed -- immigrant communities across the U.S. were still on red alert.

Jorge-Mario Cabrera with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, or CHIRLA, in Los Angeles told ABC News' Clayton Sandell that most of the calls the organization has received are people inquiring about their legal rights and that most reports of ICE vans in the city turned out to be unfounded.

The fear though among many undocumented immigrants is that the Trump administration has merely delayed the raids, which could happen Monday when people return to work.

"If the president wanted to hold communities hostage, he’s done a very good job," Cabrera said.

Greg Chen, head of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said community organizations were expecting the threat of raids to last through Friday.

"This is by no means over yet," he said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Sunday declined to disclose any arrest numbers and referred reporters to a prior statement that declined to offer details "due to law-enforcement sensitivities."

Federal immigration officers were initially scheduled to sweep across 10 cities on Sunday, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, Chicago and Atlanta, to arrest about 2,000 undocumented immigrants with final removal orders, the Trump administration announced.

Elected officials and advocates took to social media to assure residents of the resources available to them.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted to those who may be affected to remember that they have rights.

 

 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti posted a video Saturday stating that the city was not coordinating with ICE's efforts.


Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted that he stands "with every Houstonion regardless of immigration status."


Denver Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted to residents to "remain aware" and know their rights.


Baltimore Mayor Jack Young said in a statement that "immigrants who call Baltimore home should not live in fear of family separation and deportation."

 

 

 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city stands "shoulder to shoulder with every Chicagoan, regardless of their legal status."


Pete Buttigieg, presidential hopeful and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, tweeted that the raids were designed to "tear families apart" and further Trump's "extreme agenda."

 

 

 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told ABC News Live on Saturday that state officials were monitoring the proposed raids "very carefully" and that they would "vigorously defend the rights of anyone" in the state.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said the Trump administration announced the raids to "make news" and scare the public.

 

 

"If you wanted to go after security risks, and there are people who are security risks, why would you alert them and say you're doing this on a Sunday and do it two weekends in a row?" Klobuchar asked ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on "This Week" on Sunday. "Why? Because you want to make news, right?"

 Sen. Amy Klobuchar says warnings about ICE raids are "about scaring everyone" and "changing the news" and not about security as claimed.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms appeared on CNN over the weekend, asking people in fear of deportation to stay in or travel in groups.

The ACLU and other immigration advocacy groups advised residents to assert their rights.

 

 

 

 


On Sunday, ICE urged jurisdictions in California and other sanctuary locations to cooperate to "keep foreign criminals off of our streets," tweeting that "communities are safer when law enforcement agencies work together."

 

 



Officials later announced that Houston and New Orleans would not see immigration enforcement actions due to Hurricane Barry, which made landfall on Saturday.

In San Diego, 20 people were were arrested in raids on Saturday, but those arrests were part of a five-day enforcement operation, and apparently not specifically tied to the raids mentioned by Trump.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Sunday
Jul142019

Manhattan blackout shines light on rift between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The power may be back on in New York City, but a five-hour Saturday night blackout continued to cast light on a rift between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio was campaigning in Waterloo, Iowa, when a massive power outage struck, plunging 73,000 Con Edison customers and tens of thousands of the mayor's constituents and tourists in a wide swath of Manhattan into darkness.

"Look, mayors are important. And situations like this come up, you know. And you have to be on-site. I believe that," Cuomo said in an interview on CNN during the crisis.

De Blasio responded Sunday, saying he did his job. Even from more than 1,000 miles away, the mayor said he was able to "take charge" of the crisis.

A 13,000-volt distribution feeder circuit on the west side of Manhattan malfunctioned at 6:47 p.m. Saturday, cutting electricity to 60 blocks stretching from the Greenwich Village neighborhood to the Upper West Side on the 42nd anniversary of a 1977 near-citywide blackout that led to widespread looting and vandalism.

Saturday's blackout crippled the subway system, knocked out traffic lights on Manhattan's west side and caused the cancellations of numerous concerts and events, including several Broadway plays and a performance by Jennifer Lopez at Madison Square Garden. Lopez tweeted Sunday that her canceled show has been rescheduled for Monday night, tweeting, "Gonna take more than a city-wide blackout to shut us down."

More than 400 occupied elevators got stuck during the outage, according to New York Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro. No injuries were reported from the massive power outage.

De Blasio flew home Sunday morning from the campaign trail after making a four-hour drive from Iowa to Chicago. He immediately went to inspect the ConEd equipment that caused a domino effect and cut power to six of the utility's sectors or neighborhoods.

The mayor said at a news conference Sunday afternoon in Manhattan that one thing he knows is that "this was not a cyber attack and this was not an act of physical terrorism."

He said the cause of the circuit malfunction remains under investigation.

ConEd President Timothy Crawley said it is still unclear why the circuit feeder malfunctioned. The power grid was not overloaded, he added, nor was it a question of the equipment's age.

While "we sincerely regret the disruption," he said, "we think the grid is sound."

It was the first widespread power outage in New York City since 2006, when a blackout started in the borough of Queens and lasted for 90 minutes. The last citywide blackout occurred in 2003 and was part of a major power outage that affected the entire Northeast corridor.

De Blasio was asked several times if he had any regrets about being out of the city during the emergency.

"I want people to understand that with this job and any public CEO today, you have to take charge wherever you are and I did that," de Blasio said.

He said once he learned the power outage and its root cause was not going to be solved immediately, he made arrangements to return to New York.

De Blasio held a news conference in Iowa Saturday night, saying he has been in constant communication with emergency officials in the city. He decided to stay in the Midwest instead of immediately traveling to midtown, leaving himself open to criticism from Cuomo, a fellow Democrat.

"It was knowing that it was going to take quite a while to get back, so I was going to have to provide guidance wherever I was, which is what any leader has to do...," the mayor said Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, de Blasio defended himself on national TV.

"When you're a mayor or a governor you're going to travel for a variety of reasons. The important thing is to have the hand on the wheel, make sure things are moving effectively and communicate to people. Even from where I was, I was able to do that right away with the people of New York City," de Blasio said on CNN's "State of the Union" while he was still in Chicago waiting to fly home.

But Cuomo said Saturday night that he can count "on my fingers" the number of trips he's taken outside the state during his eight years as governor.

"I'm not going to second-guess anyone, either," Cuomo said. "I do my job the way I think I should do my job and I leave it to others to do the same."

While de Blasio was in Iowa, Cuomo hit the darkened streets of the city expressing outrage over the outage and demanding ConEd get to the bottom of it.

Cuomo and de Blasio's not-so-cozy relationship dates back to when the mayor was first elected in 2013 and proposed a tax on wealthy individuals to pay for pre-kindergarten in all five boroughs. Cuomo publicly ripped the plan, arguing it would prompt wealthy people to flee the city.

In 2015, the relationship soured even more when during a blizzard the governor, who controls the agency that operates the city's trains and buses, ordered the shutdown subway system without consulting the mayor.

The rift became so pronounced that Hillary Clinton joked about it during her failed run for president in 2016 in remarks during the Al Smith Dinner in New York, an annual white-tie fundraiser for Catholic charities that brings partisan rivals together.

“Your Eminence, you do deserve great credit for bringing together two people who have been at each other’s throats, mortal enemies, bitter foes," Clinton said in her speech to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the New York Archdiocese. "I’ve got to ask: How did you get the Governor and Mayor here together tonight?”

Following Saturday's blackout, both Cuomo and de Blasio agreed on two things: that first responders, city officials and New Yorkers, in general, did a great job preventing the outage from becoming dangerous and chaotic, and that an investigation needs to be launched to determine how to prevent a repeat in the future.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Jul142019

Power restored in Manhattan after outage darkens Times Square, disrupts traffic

Gary Hershorn/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Parts of midtown Manhattan in New York City were hit with a power outage on Saturday evening, causing Times Square billboards to go dark, leaving people trapped in elevators and shutting down a Jennifer Lopez concert at Madison Square Garden.

Just before midnight on Saturday, Consolidated Edison Inc., New York City's power provider, said that power had been restored to all of the 73,000 affected customers, though some lingering issues continued, such as darkened traffic lights. The utility's news conference at one of its Upper West Side locations was briefly interrupted by whoops and cheers as lights came back on.

"This is something that we have plans for -- every precinct has plans for. ... We've been through this and we really know what we need to do," New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at a late Saturday press conference.

Luis Ferer said he was walking from Central Park to meet a friend at Lincoln Center at about 7:20 p.m. and was startled to see the darkened streets.

"The only things you could see were the car headlights and the neon lights of the halal carts. It was nerve-racking. I was asking why there weren't any police."

Photos circulated on social media showing the iconic sign of Radio Music Hall unlit, movie-goers evacuating from Lincoln Center's cinema and the sprawling Columbus Circle subway station without lights. Traffic lights were not working along a stretch of Manhattan that extends up about a mile, from midtown, near Times Square, and extending up to the Upper West Side, the area close to Lincoln Center performing arts complex, and west from Central Park to the Hudson River.

"This could be a very chaotic situation. We saw New Yorkers at their best. ... New Yorkers helping neighbors," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said late Saturday.

In some cases, New Yorkers stepped in to help direct traffic.

"I applaud all New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "When things are at their worst, New Yorkers are at their best."

Adam Korzeniewski, a political consultant, was heading to meet a friend for dinner on the Upper West Side when the lights went out.

“It was surreal, because normally you have the lights and commotion of New York City. But it was pitch black,” he said.

He said he saw a handful of pedestrians step in to direct traffic. Once he reached the northern point of the blackout, he said he saw an "exodus of people” walking towards the lit-up buildings.

The outage began just before 7 p.m. and initially impacted about 20,000 customers. An hour later, the impacted area nearly doubled, and the outage eventually spread even further, causing the lights to go out at Madison Square Garden, a Con Ed spokesman said.

The singer Jennifer Lopez said on Twitter she would reschedule her show after her performance was cut short. Concert attendees posted the moment when the stadium went dark.

A spokesman for the city fire department said they responded to "numerous" calls about stuck elevators and power outages.

The Twitter account for New York subways said the agency is working to keep trains moving and bypassed affected stations. All lines and stations were back operating as usual by 2 a.m. on Sunday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is Iowa to campaign for president, initially delayed returning to the city, but later his spokesperson said he was on his way back.

O'Neill said he'd been speaking to de Blasio throughout the outage and "he knows the lights are back on and he's real proud of the first responders."

Two city officials briefed on the situation told ABC News that the outages at first appeared to be under control. But when it appeared the problem was getting worse, it set off a scramble among city and state officials who feared that the outages could expand further and the mayor decide to return to New York.

While the official numbers may not be available until later Sunday, the FDNY told New York ABC station WABC-TV that call volume in Manhattan jumped exponentially within the first few hours of the blackout. The FDNY responded to approximately 1,000 calls in Manhattan alone, with about 750 related to stuck elevators and automatic alarms.

"We've got to make sure it doesn't happen again and it's designed to not happen again," Cuomo said.

Con Ed said it dealt with returning power to the city Saturday night and would begin assessing what happened throughout the night and into Sunday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Jul142019

Founder of African American museum discovered dead in trunk of car

iStock(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- Homicide investigators are probing a "heinous act" after the body of a 75-year-old woman who co-founded an African American museum in Louisiana was discovered dead in the trunk of a car.

Sadie Roberts-Joseph, a Baton Rouge community activist who teamed up with police on an anti-drug and violence program, was found slain Friday afternoon when police were directed to a car parked in a residential neighborhood northeast of downtown Baton Rouge and discovered her body in the trunk, officials said.

"Our detectives are working diligently to bring the person or persons responsible for this heinous act to justice," the Baton Rouge Police Department said in a statement.

Louisiana state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle called Roberts-Joseph an "amazing woman" who loved history.

"My heart is empty ... as I learned last night that Ms. Sadie Roberts Joseph was found murdered!" Marcelle said in a statement posted on Facebook. "She never bothered anyone, just wanted to expand her African American Museum downtown, where she continually hosted the Juneteenth Celebration yearly. I loved working with her and am saddened by her death. ... Whoever knows what happened to her, please contact the authorities and say something."

Police did not say how Roberts-Joseph, known as "Ms. Sadie" in her community, died, nor did they explain what led them to look in the trunk of the car parked about 3 miles from her home.

An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death, police said.

Baton Rouge police officials called Roberts-Joseph a "tireless advocate of peace in the community."

"Ms. Sadie is a treasure to our community. She will be missed by BRPD and her loss will be felt in the community she served," police officials said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The victim's sister, Beatrice Johnson, told The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge that Roberts-Johnson stopped by her house earlier on Friday. She said her sister lived near her in the Scotlandville neighborhood of Baton Rouge and would check in with her daily.

"Friday, she came by [because] she had mixed some cornbread, but her oven went out, and she brought it here to put in the oven," Johnson told the newspaper. "The bread is still there. She never came back to get it."

Roberts-Joseph helped found the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African-American History Museum in 2001. The museum, now known as the Baton Rouge African-American History Museum, is housed on the campus of New St. Luke Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.

She also organized the city's annual Juneteenth festival at the museum, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the U.S., and partnered with Baton Rouge police to launch a Community Against Drugs and Violence program.

In a recent interview with ABC affiliate station WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, Roberts-Joseph said her work at the museum and the annual Juneteenth event was meant "to celebrate, to embrace" African American history and to "learn of our past and to be able to move forward in unity."

Baton Rouge police are asking anyone with information on the case to contact homicide detectives immediately.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jul132019

Rifle-toting man throwing "incendiary devices" at ICE detention center fatally shot by police

Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images(TACOMA, Wash.) -- A man armed with a rifle, flares and "incendiary devices" at an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Washington state was fatally shot by police early Saturday, authorities said.

The unidentified man was allegedly throwing lit objects at buildings at Tacoma's North West Detention Center on Saturday when he was shot following a confrontation with responding officers, Tacoma Police Department officials said in a statement released on Saturday.

A worker first reported that a man outside the facility was armed with a rifle around 4 a.m., Tacoma police said.

"It was reported the male was throwing incendiary devices at the Detention Center and then at vehicles in the parking lot," the statement said. "A vehicle was set on fire. The male attempted to ignite a large propane tank and set out buildings on fire. The male continued throwing lit objects at the buildings and cars."

Upon arriving on the scene and locating the man, "officers called out shots were fired," according to the Tacoma Police statement. "Officers noted that in addition to the weapon, he was wearing a satchel and had flares on his person."

Police did not immediately identify the deceased man, citing an ongoing investigation.

None of the police officers involved in the incident were injured. They were not identified by name but police officials said that the four male officers involved were placed on paid leave per department policy after an officer-involved shooting.

The officers involved include: a 45-year-old who has been with the Tacoma Police Department for 20 years, a 27-year old with four years on the force, a 28-year old with one year as a Tacoma police officer, and a 24-year old with nine months on the force.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) from the Seattle field office also responded to the scene, according to officials.

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