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Tuesday
Aug202019

Man, woman dead in apparent murder-suicide; 2-year-old unharmed at the scene: Police

Brian Sevald/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- A man and woman were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide Monday night while a 2-year-old girl was safe at the scene, authorities said.

The man and woman, who were not identified, were both discovered dead from gunshot wounds Monday night in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Sun Valley, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The woman had been shot multiple times, police said, while the man was shot once.

A 2-year-old girl, who also was not identified, was discovered unharmed in a bedroom, according to the LAPD.

"She was in a safe playpen with toys," LAPD Lt. Mike Kodak told ABC Los Angeles station KABC. "She didn't seem to know what was going on, obviously at that age."

Police did not release additional details.

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Tuesday
Aug202019

Man clinging to capsized sailboat for 12 hours rescued by boaters in Lake Erie

Savannah Macasek/iStock(MARBLEHEAD, Ohio) -- A man who clung to the hull of his sailboat for 12 hours after it capsized in Lake Erie was rescued by boaters who happened upon him the next morning.

The man was sailing home to Port Clinton on Sunday when the winds picked up around 8 p.m., knocking his boat over and sending him into the water, his wife told ABC Toledo affiliate WTVG.

The next morning, Captain Eric Langermeiser and first mate Brant Cook were taking 17 customers out on the Waterfox for sport fishing when Cook spotted a flashing light from what he first thought was a jet ski, according to the Port Clinton Fisherman's Wharf.

As they neared the vessel, they realized that it was "too odd shaped and too big" to be a jet ski, Cook told WTVG. They then saw the man straddling the hull of the boat, Langermeiser said, describing the man's eyes as "big as saucers" as they approached.

The man was suffering from mild hypothermia but was in otherwise good spirits, Langermeiser said. Customers aboard the boat donated their extra layers of clothing so the man could change out of his wet clothes.

"He was capsized, had no radio, lost his cellphone, and it happened so fast that he'd lost his life jacket," Langermeiser said.

Another vessel had passed him earlier that morning but hadn't noticed him, according to the local station.

The man was about 4 miles offshore when he boarded the Waterfox, WTVG reported. He then boarded a boat from the U.S. Coast Guard at Marblehead, Ohio, and was brought for treatment at a local hospital.

"The individual was very lucky that he was able to make it through the night," U.S. Coast Guard at Marblehead Chief Petty Officer Dave Turner told WTVG.

Coast Guard officials reminded boaters to check the weather before going out and to always wear a life jacket.

"If your boat capsizes, try to climb on top of the hull or stay with the debris; which aids us in detecting you in the water," a the Coast Guard wrote in a Facebook post.

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Tuesday
Aug202019

Severe storms targeting Midwest, Northeast as West stays hot

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- More than 140 damaging storms were reported on Monday from Georgia up to Maine.

New Jersey and Delaware experienced gusts of 75 mph, and wind speeds in Long Island, New York, reached 67 mph. Parts of Massachusetts saw hail larger than golf balls as areas around Philadelphia had trees knocked onto power lines and cars.

Severe weather in the Midwest on Tuesday -- including potential storms all the way from Nebraska to Ohio -- is likely to make its way to the Northeast by Wednesday. Damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes are the biggest threats.

The cold front is forecast to reach the Northeast on Wednesday afternoon. Damaging winds and flash flooding are the biggest threats.

Nine southern states are under heat warnings and advisories as heat indices could top 110.

The Southwest remains hot, and parts of California, Nevada and Arizona could see record highs by Wednesday.

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Tuesday
Aug202019

Father walks into NC police station to confess daughter's murder: Police

Union County Sheriffs Office(MONROE, N.C.) -- A 32-year-old North Carolina man allegedly confessed to killing his daughter, according to authorities.

Joshua Lee Burgess, 32, walked into the Union County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina at 9:24 a.m. on Sunday morning to turn himself in for murder, police said.

His 15-year-old daughter, Zaria Joshalyn Burgess, had been visiting him for the weekend.

One of the officers quickly began inquiring about Burgess and if he had any outstanding arrest warrants, police said. Burgess allegedly replied that there would be no information on him and that there was a dead body at his home.

Deputies responded immediately to Burgess’ residence where they discovered his dead daughter inside, police said.

Burgess was allegedly compliant and provided “detailed information concerning his daughter’s death,” according to a press release from the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators spent the next several hours conducting interviews and doing a detailed search of the crime scene, police said. Numerous pieces of evidence were also seized from the crime scene.

Zaria’s official cause of death and the circumstances surrounding it have not yet been released and will be determined by the medical examiner once the autopsy has been completed.

Burgess has been charged with first degree murder and is being held without bond, according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

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Tuesday
Aug202019

'Joke or not, these types of comments are felonies': Police arrest Florida teen for online threat

rustythedog/iStock(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- A 15-year-old student was arrested in Central Florida on Friday after authorities said he made an online threat to shoot up his school.

The unnamed teenager, who attends Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, allegedly posted a comment on a video game chat platform on Thursday using a fake name, vowing to bring his father's M15 assault rifle to school and kill seven people "at a minimum," according to a statement from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

The school's principal did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Tuesday morning.

The comment was reported to the FBI, which contacted the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. The teen allegedly admitted to posting the comment but insisted it was just a joke.

"Joke or not, these types of comments are felonies under the law," the sheriff's office said in a statement Monday. "After the mass violence we've seen in Florida and across the country, law enforcement officers have a responsibility to investigate and charge those who choose to make these types of threatening statements."

Body-camera footage released by the sheriff's office shows the moment deputies arrived at the teen's home on Friday morning and handcuffed him. His mother can be heard telling deputies that she does own a gun and understands threats cannot be taken lightly.

"But," she says, "he's just a little kid playing a video game."

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Tuesday
Aug202019

Video surfaces showing California high school students giving Nazi salute

smolaw11/iStock(GARDEN GROVE, Calif.) -- A group of Southern California high school students sparked outrage on Monday after video surfaced of them giving the Nazi salute while a German World War II-era marching song played in the background.

The video shows several male students from Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, California, giving the Adolf Hitler salute and laughing as the song plays. At least one student appeared to sing along with the music.

Officials with the Garden Grove Unified School District said the video was taken in November 2018, but the school became aware of it in March and took “immediate action," according to a statement released Monday.

The school district said it could not disclose if any of the students had been disciplined as a result of the video, citing federal privacy laws.

"Garden Grove Unified School District and Pacifica High School strongly condemn a video recorded last year of some students who engaged in offensive Nazi-related gestures," the statement said. "It was not brought to the attention of the administration of Pacifica High School until March of 2019, four months following the banquet, at which time school administrators took immediate action and addressed the situation with all students and families involved."

The video was initially "shared within a small group of students on SnapChat" and was taken during an off-campus student athletics banquet in an empty and unsupervised room at the facility, district officials said.

The Daily Beast, which first reported on the video, said the students are members of the boys’ water polo team, but ABC News could not confirm those details.

The district called it an "unfortunate incident" and said it reached out to community organizers to help facilitate anti-bias training.

"In response to this unfortunate incident, district and school administrators have reached out to community organizations to provide support that will continue to ensure an anti-bias learning environment and address issues of hate, bias, and exclusion with all staff and students," the statement said. "Pacifica High School, along with our other district schools, will be working with students, staff, and parents to continue to address these issues in the fall in collaboration with agencies dedicated to anti-bias education."

"A highly diverse district, Garden Grove Unified School District actively combats bias and bullying, remains focused on fostering an inclusive environment for all stakeholders and is committed to holding students accountable, educating them on the consequences of their choices and the impact these actions have on our schools and community at large," it added.

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Tuesday
Aug202019

Retired administrator stabbed to death on Cal State Fullerton campus

MicroStockHub/iStock(FULLERTON, Calif.) -- A retired administrator was stabbed to death on California State University Fullerton's campus Monday morning, launching a manhunt for the suspect.

The victim was identified by police Monday night as 57-year-old Steven Shek Keung Chan from Hacienda Heights. Police said he "was a retired administrator working as a consultant on campus."

Chan was found in a car in a campus parking lot with "numerous" stab wounds, according to the CSU Fullerton police.

Police located a backpack underneath Chan's vehicle that contained items including tape, zipties, blindfolds and a "very crude" incendiary device that officials said would've had to be manually set off. The device was not a bomb, but something that would start a fire, according to police, who do not believe the suspect was planning to hurt anyone else with the device.

A weapon that could be used to stab someone was also found, but police do not believe it was the one used to commit the stabbing.

It appears Chan was targeted, but a potential connection between the suspect and victim was not clear, said university police. The motive is unknown, but officials called it a very violent homicide.

Officials believe the suspect arrived at the location specifically with the intent to harm Chan and they don't believe there is a threat to the community.

At this time, it does not appear Chan had received any specific threats but everyone with a connection to him is being looked at as a possible suspect, police said.

Though the suspect -- who has not been identified -- remains at large, a university police official said authorities "do not believe there is a random stabber at this point in the investigation running around."

But authorities are increasing patrols in and around campus as a precaution, according to university police. CSU Fullerton is about 30 miles south of Los Angeles.

The university said counseling and support services are available.

The slaying came on the school's first day of the academic year. Classes are scheduled to start on Saturday.

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Tuesday
Aug202019

Ohio boy makes big donation to St. Jude after winning $15,000 at county fair

Western Reserve Schools(NEW YORK) -- An Ohio school district celebrated one of its students in a social media post on Monday after he made a generous donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Diesel Pippert, a seventh grader at Western Reserve Local Schools, donated $15,000 -- the entirety of his livestock premiums from the Huron County Fair animal sale -- to the children's hospital in an effort to help fight cancer, the district said.

Western Reserve Schools shared an image of Diesel at the county's 2019 Livestock Show on Monday, calling him a hero who "should be an example to us all."

"A young man lives amongst us who should be an example to us all. WR 7th grader Diesel Pippert donated all of his livestock premiums to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital today at the Huron County Fair large animal sale," the district wrote in the post. "His donation of $15,000 will help to find cures for young children and save lives. Diesel, you are a hero!"

District officials weren't the only ones celebrating young Diesel. The school district's Facebook followers also fell in love with the story as the post accumulated thousands of likes and comments.

"Thank you, Diesel! My daughter is receiving treatment at St Jude's currently. I'm also a farm kid so I understand the hard work you put into the care of your animals," one Facebook user commented.

"AWESOME! What a selfless thing to do. A very generous donation that will help many sick kids. I read about you on a random act of kindness page and I hope the shares have others following your example," another added.

The school district's post had racked up more than 4,000 reactions, shares and comments on Facebook as of Monday evening.

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Tuesday
Aug202019

DOJ arrests man who allegedly threatened attack on women's reproductive clinic

BlakeDavidTaylor/iStock(CHICAGO) -- The Department of Justice has announced federal charges against a Chicago man who prosecutors say threatened an attack against a women's reproductive clinic, the latest in a string of potential mass attacks thwarted by law enforcement.

Farhan Sheikh, 19, was arrested last Friday evening after posting on the social media platform iFunny that he would attack a local clinic and "proceed to slaughter and murder any doctor, patient, or visitor I see in the area and I will not back down," according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Chicago.

"Consider this a warning for anyone visiting," Sheikh allegedly wrote.

The indictment does not list the clinic where Sheikh was allegedly threatening to carry out his attack, but said it is approximately 4 miles from his residence in Chicago.

In a post to the platform last week, Sheikh wrote he was "done" with Illinois' "abortion laws and allowing innocrnt (sic) kids to be slaughtered for the so called 'womans right' [expletive]."

According to the complaint, when investigators confronted Sheikh at his residence about the posts he admitted they were his but sought to downplay the seriousness of his threats, despite accompanying posts that warned his threats weren't "satirical."

Sheikh was charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The arrest follows at least three possible mass attacks thwarted by law enforcement over the weekend, with suspects arrested in Connecticut, Florida and Ohio.

The FBI directly assisted in two of the cases. In Connecticut, a 22-year-old man was charged with illegal possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines after authorities discovered a Facebook post where he expressed interest in carrying out a mass shooting.

In Ohio, police arrested a 20-year-old man who was a self-proclaimed white nationalist that had allegedly posted on Instagram what investigators believed was a threat to carry out an attack on a local Jewish center. He has pleaded not guilty to telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing.

And in Florida, a 25-year-old man was arrested after allegedly sending text messages where he expressed interest in carrying out the "longest confirmed kill ever" and was strategizing about locations where to carry out his attack, officials said.

Last week, Attorney General William Barr said the DOJ was crafting a bill that would seek to expedite death penalty proceedings for mass shooters, following a directive from President Donald Trump in the wake of the El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio shootings.

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Monday
Aug192019

Bag found by searchers looking for Florida firefighters who vanished on fishing trip

DraganSaponjic/iStock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- As the desperate search for two firefighters who disappeared during a fishing trip off the coast of Florida continues into its fourth day, the family confirmed that a bag located by civilian searchers did belong to one of the missing men.

Brian McCluney, a Jacksonville, Florida, firefighter, and Justin Walker, a member of the Fairfax, Virginia, fire department, were last seen on Friday launching a 22-foot fishing boat at Port Canaveral, near the Kennedy Space Center, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Sunday.

On Monday, officials had 37 boats out searching for them as well as 6 aircraft. Approximately 5,000 square miles of water was searched on Monday, according to Jacksonville Fire Rescue.

Around 11 a.m. Monday, an off-shore angular fishing bag was found by a civilian searcher about 50 nautical miles east of St. Augustine, officials said. Family has confirmed that the bag belonged to McCluney.

Search efforts will be increased Tuesday in the area where the bag was found. Officials are asking anyone with a boat that can go out 30 to 50 miles off shore to assist in the search.

Meanwhile, the wife of one of the missing men is speaking out about the circumstances surrounding the men's situation.

Stephanie McCluney, wife of Brian McCluney, expressed her concerns – and her resolve -- to ABC's local affiliate station in Jacksonville, Florida, WJXX.

"It was supposed to be a fairly short day on the water," she said. "I gave them until 6 p.m. maybe because the fishing was great. But 6 o'clock, I didn't hear and I still could see that he didn't read my messages – they hadn't even been delivered yet … at 8 p.m. we called the Coast Guard."

One of the main reasons McCluney and Walker were taking the fishing boat out for the day was to honor Brian McCluney's recently-departed father.

"[Brian] wanted to get those lines wet one more time. You know, one big final hurrah for his dad and it was just supposed to be one great day in his honor … he was excited to get out there on the water," said Stephanie McCluney.

Instead, the day ended with a massive search party being launched for the two missing men.

About 50 firefighters from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department joined the Coast Guard in searching for the lost firefighters, combing the waters between Daytona Beach and Vilano in 11 boats over the weekend.

Also looking for the men were crews from the U.S. Navy, the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. The Coast Guard also deployed a C-130 plane to search from the air.

Search-and-rescue crews had covered an estimated 24,000 miles of ocean between Port Canaveral and north of the city of Jacksonville, Coast Guard officials said on Twitter Monday morning.

"He was prior military, navy veteran. He has SERE [Search, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape] training, survival training through the navy. Of course, firefighter, paramedic. So he is built to help people. He was a combat medical corpsman during the push through Fallujah so if there is anyone built of an iron man, that's him," said Stephanie McCluney of her husband.

 Her confidence in her husband's ability to survive is not just based in the skills he learned throughout his career, but also bolstered by her faith.

"I have an army of support. I know that the ocean is large and my God I serve is larger. He can change the wind and the waters at his command. I have faith. I have so many prayer warriors behind me … the fire department hasn't left my side. I feel so well held between my spiritual family, my fire family, and my family family," McCluney described.

"If there is ever two people," McCluney stated confidently, "I mean those two men are survivors and they are going to find their way home."

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