SEARCH

Saturday
Aug192017

Counterprotesters swarm Boston after police deem free speech rally over

Scott Eisen/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- One week after violent protests rattled Charlottesville, Virginia, a scheduled free speech rally in Boston today was met with thousands of counterprotesters, but the day went off mostly smoothly, police said, with 27 arrests but few injuries.

The free speech rally was deemed "officially over" by police ahead of its official end time, but thousands of counterprotesters continued to spread out in the city throughout the afternoon, with some protesting peacefully but others confronting officers and people.

A total of 27 arrests were made today, mostly from disorderly conduct and a few assaults on police officers, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said at a news conference this afternoon. Some urine-filled bottles were thrown at officers, Evans said, and police indicated on Twitter that some were throwing rocks at police.

But for the most part, Evans said, the day of direct action went off smoothly as police planned, with very little injury and property damage.

"Overall I thought we got the First Amendment people in, we got them out, no one got hurt, no one got killed," he said.

Police did stop three people with ballistic vests and a gun, Evans said, "but we were lucky to get those three out of here and confiscate the vests."

Evans said roughly 40,000 people descended on Boston today, "standing tall against hatred and bigotry in our city, and that's a good feeling." He added that he wished the "trouble makers stayed away," who he said weren't there for either the free speech side or the counterprotesters' side, but "were here just to cause problems."

Evans said that "99.9 percent of the people here were for the right reasons -- that's to fight bigotry and hate."

Ahead of the scheduled rally, giant crowds of counterprotesters gathered in the city, holding signs that read "Hate speech is not free speech" and "White silence is violence." An estimated 15,000 counterprotesters marched through the city, according to reports.

Near the entrance to the rally, counterprotesters chanted, "No fascists, no KKK, no racist USA."

Boston officials said they planned to deploy about 500 police officers to prevent violence similar to what took place in Charlottesville last weekend, where a rally by white nationalists, including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members demonstrating over plans to remove a Robert E. Lee statue, ended in the death of a counterprotester after a car was rammed into a crowd that was marching through the streets.

"We're going to respect their right to free speech,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday, but "they don't have the right to create unsafe conditions."

Walsh tweeted Saturday morning, asking the participants to remain peaceful.

Scheduled to speak at the free speech rally, which was organized by the Boston Free Speech Coalition, were Kyle Chapman, who caused controversy online after photos emerged of him hitting anti-Trump protesters; Joe Biggs, who previously worked at the website InfoWars, run by conservative radio host Alex Jones; Republican congressional candidate Shiva Ayyadurai; and Racioppi.

John Medlar, who said he is an organizer for Boston Free Speech, said the group has no affiliation with the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Boston.com reported.

"While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech -- and defend that basic human right -- we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry. We denounce the politics of supremacy and violence," the group wrote on its Facebook page.

The group is largely made up of students in their mid-teens to mid-20s, Medlar told Boston.com.

WCVB-TV reported that the KKK’s national director, Thomas Robb, said as many as five KKK members from Springfield and possibly more from Boston were planning to attend Saturday's rally.

“They might be holding signs about free speech, but they're not going to say anything about the KKK or anything," Robb said ahead of the rally, according to WCVB-TV. "I mean, they might. I don't know. They didn't really say."

Boston Police Commissioner Billy Evans said Friday that while he believes "a few troublemakers" will attend the rally, police will be "working the crowd real closely."

Anything that can be used as a weapon, including backpacks and sticks, have been banned from the rally, WCVB-TV reported.

Demonstrators should even avoid using sticks to hold up their posters, Evans said.

The permit for the event allows the rally to take place between noon and 2 p.m., according to the Boston Globe.

Other rallies are planned across the U.S. on Saturday, many of which are in response to Charlottesville, the movement to remove Confederate statues across the country and Donald Trump’s controversial press conference on Tuesday.

Rallies are planned in Austin; Dallas; Houston; Atlanta; New Orleans; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Aug192017

Two dead in Oregon plane crash

iStock/Thinkstock(MADRAS, Ore.) -- Two dead after a plane crashed  in Willow Creek Canyon in Oregon, this afternoon.
The location of the crash is approximately one mile south of the Madras Airport runway.

Deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Troopers, along with Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene.

According to emergency responders, the plane was found fully engulfed in flames near the top of the canyon.

According to the  Jefferson County Sheriff's Office , the two occupants on board did not survive the crash.
The small fire that occurred was contained and is now being cleaned up. No other property was damaged.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Witnesses are being interviewed at this time.
 
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Aug192017

Two police officers dead after six were shot in multiple US cities

iStock/Thinkstock(KISSIMMEE, Fla.) -- Two policemen have died after six law enforcement officers were shot in three different U.S. cities on Friday night, their respective agencies have confirmed.

In central Florida, two officers with the Kissimmee Police Department were shot, according to Police Chief Jeffrey O'Dell.

Officer Matthew Baxter, a three-year veteran, died from his wound. The other officer, 10-year veteran Sgt. Sam Howard, remains in "grave critical condition," and "the prognosis does not look good," O'Dell said at a press conference early Saturday morning.

At a later press conference, the police chief announced they had arrested suspect Everett Glenn Miller for premeditated first-degree murder. Miller will be booked at Osceola County Jail in Kissimmee, which is located about 23 miles south of Orlando.

O'Dell said they do not anticipate any other arrests or charges. Earlier, the police chief said officers were investigating several suspicious persons.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the fallen officer was a "married father of three and a dedicated law enforcement hero in central Florida."

"My heart breaks for Matthew's family. May Matthew's service and the service of our law enforcement community be a constant reminder of the sacrifice of those who serve to keep us safe," Scott said in a statement Saturday. "Following last night's shooting, I have been in touch with local law enforcement and community officials to let them know that our state supports them every step of the way."

President Donald Trump reacted to the shootings in Kissimmee, saying in a tweet early Saturday that the police department is in his "thoughts and prayers," adding "We are with you."


Meanwhile, in northeastern Florida, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced that two of its officers were shot by one suspect who was armed with a "high-powered rifle" late Friday night.

The officers were responding to 911 call about an attempted suicide at a home around 11 p.m. ET. They heard gunfire coming from inside the house and attempted to make entry. But as they approached, the suspect began shooting at the officers through the door, according to the sheriff's office.

One officer was shot in both hands, while the other was shot in the stomach. One remains in critical condition and the other is in stable condition, the sheriff's office said.

The suspect was shot and killed by officers.

Three other people inside the house at the time of the incident hid in a back bedroom for safety. They are all safe, according to the sheriff's office.

"Let me be very clear -- last night's violence against our law enforcement community is reprehensible and has no place in our state," Scott said in a statement Saturday. "Florida has zero tolerance for violence, and we will not accept hatred for one second."

Hundreds of miles away in western Pennsylvania, two Pennsylvania State Police troopers were shot in Fairchance on Friday night. Both troopers are in stable condition and expected to survive, according to Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson Melinda Bondarenka.

The suspect in that shooting is dead, Bondarenka told ABC News.

According to Uniontown Hospital spokesperson Josh Krysak, one of the injured troopers was brought there for treatment.

"I can confirm that one state police trooper was brought to Uniontown Hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in a shooting incident in Fairchance this evening," Krysak told ABC News. "The injuries suffered by this officer are not life-threatening."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Aug192017

A look back at the 1979 total solar eclipse

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Dressed in a dark blazer and a polka-dot tie, ABC News' Frank Reynolds anchored the network's live coverage of a total solar eclipse 38 years ago.

Although the celestial phenomenon on Feb. 26, 1979, was only visible from the Pacific Northwest, it was the last total solar eclipse over the contiguous United States to take place that century. And just like this year, the rare event captured the imagination of the nation.

"Good morning. This is indeed a special-events broadcast of a genuine special event: the last total eclipse of the sun over the continent this century," Reynolds said from ABC News' studio in New York City. "The moon is moving between the sun and the earth and across a relatively narrow strip of the northwestern United States and central Canada."

ABC News broadcast the solar eclipse live from various locations within the path of totality. Viewers watched as the moon's shadow blocked the sun's beaming face in broad daylight over Portland, Oregon, and the city plunged into darkness at around 8:14 a.m. PT.

The experienced lasted just over two minutes there.

"Welcome back to daylight, Portland," Reynolds laughed, as the live shot of the city showed a bright sky.

Another live shot of the total solar eclipse from Montana's capital city of Helena captured the solar corona, the sun's outer atmosphere that is usually obscured by glare but appears as a ring of ethereal white wisps around the moon as it blocks the solar surface. Cheers and applause rang out from the crowd in Helena in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

"The light here is eerie. It's a yellowish gray on the horizon," ABC News' Ron Miller said while reporting on location.

Soon after, the sun emerged from behind the moon, creating the "diamond ring" effect over Helena, and the crowd roared in awe.

“So that’s it -- the last solar eclipse to be seen on this continent in this century," Reynolds said before signing off. "And as I said, not until August 21, 2017, will another eclipse be visible from North America. That’s 38 years from now.

"May the shadow of the moon fall on a world in peace. ABC News, of course, will bring you a complete report on that next eclipse 38 years from now."

On Monday, starting at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, ABC News' David Muir will lead the network's live coverage of the astronomical event from within the path of totality.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Aug192017

Brother arrested after three young girls found dead in Maryland home

Prince George's County Police Department(CLINTON, Md.) -- A man has been arrested in connection with the discovery of three girls under age 10 found dead in a home in Maryland, police said. One of the girls was the sister of the man now in custody, authorities said.

Antonio Williams, 25, was arrested and is a suspect in the killing of the three girls -- two 6-year-olds and one 9-year-old -- Prince George's County police said in a press release. He faces charges of first- and second-degree murder and related charges.

The girls were found with stab wounds Friday morning by authorities after the mother of the suspect came home from work and found the three young victims. All three were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Williams is a brother of one of the 6-year-olds. The other two girls are sisters from Newark, New Jersey. They are daughters of a relative of Williams's mother, police said.

The three girls were found in a basement bedroom in bed, police said. A 2-year-old was also home but was unharmed, police said.

Police said in a news release that Williams "had sole care and custody of the children at the home overnight into Friday."

The suspect's mother was working an overnight shift and the suspect was left in charge, police said.

Police said, "He has confessed to killing the victims. Detectives are working to establish a motive in this case."

Williams is "in custody of the Department of Corrections on a no-bond status," police said.

Prince George's County Police Assistant Chief Hector Velez said Friday that the community is "grieving the loss of three beautiful young children."

"I wear a uniform, but I am a father," Velez said.

Jennifer Donelan, director of media relations for the Prince George's County Police Department, said it was one of the "most difficult scenes" the department's officers have ever seen.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug182017

Boston ready for 'free speech' rally but 'we don't want hate groups'

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Boston is adequately prepared for Saturday’s “free speech” rally, city officials said, despite the elevated tension and rhetoric that followed the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

More than 500 police officers will be on hand for the Boston Free Speech Coalition's event so that "we don’t have an incident ... like last week in Virginia,” Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday.

"We're going to respect their right to free speech,” Walsh said, but "they don't have the right to create unsafe conditions."

“We don’t want hate groups to come to our city or state,” he added.

Boston Free Speech, the group behind the rally, has invited a number of groups to speak. There are four headliners listed on the Boston Free Speech Facebook page, including Kyle Chapman, who made waves online after photos of his hitting anti-Trump protesters were shared widely. Another scheduled headliner is Joe Biggs, who previously worked at the site InfoWars, which is run by conservative radio host Alex Jones. Republican congressional candidate Shiva Ayyadurai and Libertarian congressional candidate Samson Racioppi are also listed as headliners.

John Medlar, who says he is an organizer for Boston Free Speech, said the group has no affiliation with the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville last weekend, Boston.com reported.

His group is largely made up of students in their mid-teens to mid-20s who live around the city, Medlar told the news website.

The group’s permit limits the rally to noon to 2 p.m., according to the Boston Globe.

Boston Police Commissioner Billy Evans on Friday said "we're going to be really working the crowd real closely."

"It's that little percentage that wants to cause problems that we're going to watch," Evans said.

The city has been working with “free speech” group organizers and protesters in advance of the event, Evans said, and they have been encouraged not to bring any weapons. Even posters should have no sticks attached to them for fear that they could be used as weapons, he added.

Evans also criticized the publicity surrounding the event, saying that because of "the frenzy over the last six days," the Boston rally has been portrayed "like a showdown."

"I hope anyone who protests and is marching is doing it for the right reason," Evans said, though conceding, "unfortunately, I think there's going to be a few troublemakers here."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug182017

Charlottesville mayor wants Robert E. Lee statue removed: Its 'historical meaning has been changed forever'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- The mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, wants the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee removed from the city’s center, he said in a statement Friday, explaining that such “monuments were transformed from equestrian statues into lightning rods" at last weekend’s deadly white nationalist protest sparked by the city's plans to remove the statue.

“We can, and we must, respond by denying the Nazis and the KKK and the so-called alt-right the twisted totem they seek," Mayor Mike Signer said in a statement Friday.

He said he is calling on the governor to convene an emergency meeting of the state General Assembly to allow Charlottesville to remove the statue.

Signer is also pushing for legislation to permit "localities to ban the open or concealed carry of weapons in public events reasonably deemed to pose a potential security threat," according to a news release.

“In a new age of domestic terrorism, we need to re-examine the balance that we strike between public safety and violent protests,” Signer said. "It should not be acceptable to open-carry or concealed-carry firearms at an event of the sort we saw last weekend."

The mayor's statement comes six days after a Unite the Right rally sparked by Charlottesville's plan to remove the Lee statue from a local park turned deadly. The rally was attended by neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. They were met with hundreds of counterprotesters, which led to street brawls and violent clashes.

A driver plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring several others. The suspected driver is in custody, facing charges including second-degree murder.

Signer said Friday, "Heather Heyer’s memorial service was a profound turning point for me and many others. Her mother said, 'They tried to kill my child to shut her up. But guess what? You just magnified her.' I realized at Heather’s memorial service that that our Confederate statues’ historical meaning has been changed forever. In other words, it will never be possible again for the Lee statue to only tell the story of what happened here during the Civil War and the Jim Crow era. Its historical meaning now, and forevermore, will be of a magnet for terrorism."

Signer said Friday he also plans to bring proposals to the City Council and to community stakeholders for ways to memorialize Heyer's name and legacy.

Despite the "painful" event, "we’re not going to let them define us,” Signer told ABC News earlier this week of the agitators.

"They’re not going to tell our story," he said. "We’re going to tell our story. And outsiders -- their time has come and gone. This city is back on their feet and we’re going to be better than ever despite this."

Signer compared his hopes for Charlottesville's recovery to the aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in June 2015 that killed nine people. The gunman in that attack said he wanted to start a race war but the tragedy instead united the city.

"There’s a memorial right now in front of Charlottesville City Hall that’s flowers and a heart that talks about the love that we have here. Those are the images that are going to replace these horrific ones from this weekend. That’s the work that we have as a country," Signer said.

"That’s what happened in Charleston. There were those horrible images of those people bloodied and killed and weeping from the church. But they were replaced quickly, steadily, by the work that started to happen. By people who said, 'You’re not going to tell our story for us. We’re going to tell our story.'

"And that’s what’s happening in this community. That’s my work as the mayor here -- is not to allow these hateful people who just don’t get this country to define us," he said. "And they’re not going to define us."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug182017

Little girl whose family couldn't afford a bike gets surprise gift from paramedics

Courtesy of Eddie Gonzalez(SAN ANTONIO) -- Hope Rhoades, 3, is having the best week ever.

The San Antonio Fire Department surprised her with a bike, training wheels, helmet and knee pads after learning her family couldn’t afford one.

“She was just through the moon,” Hope’s mom, Brandy Rhoades, 36, told ABC News.

The paramedics first met Hope when they were called to her house because of a small emergency.

“We were outside and she ran up the stairs and I was telling her to come down because it was dangerous and she starts coming down and she misstepped and she took a tumble,” her mom explained. "They checked her out and she was OK and she connected really well with one of the paramedics because he has a daughter too."

The emergency workers noticed that Hope’s family seemed to have limited financial means and wanted to do something special for her.

Paramedic Rene Bocanegra noticed Hope playing with a Monster High doll and remembered his daughter had outgrown her Monster High bike, and knew Hope would love to have it.

After a few failed attempts, his colleagues were finally able to drop the bike off, much to the surprise of the family.

“I was speechless. I was so moved that I was actually starting to cry,” said Rhoades. “They made her day. My daughter was just so incredibly happy. They were able to fulfill a dream for her that I couldn’t.”

Eddie Gonzalez, an engineer with the fire department, captured the heartwarming moment on camera and shared it on Facebook.

Rhoades said her daughter’s birthday was on Aug. 6 so the new bike couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I can’t think of guys with more open arms or big hearts,” said the overjoyed mom. “We are so thankful. My daughter is so happy. All she can talk about is her bike and their fire truck and their ambulance."

Bocanegra said Hope is a sweet little girl who was already asking her mom if she could wear her new knee pads and helmet all day.

“Watching her smile today was awesome,” he said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug182017

Woman hits $1.6M slot jackpot at Vegas airport

Ingram Publishing(PARADISE, Nev.) -- A California woman made the most of her time spent waiting at McCarran International Airport Tuesday by scoring more than a million dollars, according to the airport's Facebook page.

A woman identified by the airport as Sandra A. from Dublin, California, tried her luck on the Wheel of Fortune slot machine in the airport's C concourse.

Her gamble paid off when she hit the jackpot, winning more than $1.6 million, according to the airport.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug182017

Mother of woman killed in Charlottesville has 'no interest' in speaking with Trump

ABC News(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- The mother of Heather Heyer, the woman killed Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, said she has "no interest" in speaking with President Donald Trump in the wake of her daughter's death.

"I understand that President Trump wants to speak with me; I've heard from his press secretary and a few other people. And it's not that I'm trying to be calloused. It's that I have no interest in speaking to politicians just to hear them say, 'I'm sorry,'" Susan Bro said in an interview Thursday with ABC News. "If I felt like that's all they wanted to say, that would be different, but I feel like I'm wanted to be used for political agendas and I'm resistant to that."

Bro thanked Trump in a statement on Monday for "those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred," but said on Friday in an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America that her opinion changed after she had time to watch news coverage of the Charlottesville protests after laying her 32-year-old daughter to rest on Wednesday.

"I hadn’t really watched the news until last night, and I’m not talking to the president now, after what he said," Bro said, adding that she "saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters" with "the KKK and the white supremacists."

She continued, "You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m not forgiving for that."

When asked Friday if there was anything she would want to say to Trump, Bro said, "Think before you speak."

Many have criticized Trump's response to Saturday's "Unite the Right" rally, which was attended by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, and turned deadly after a car plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heyer and injuring 19 others. In a news conference Tuesday in Trump Tower, Trump reiterated that "both sides" were to blame for the violence.

Bro told ABC News on Thursday that she has "heard it said that there was violence on both sides, that everybody was hurting everybody."

"I wasn't there that day, but I will tell you that I'm pretty sure that's the only person that ran people down with a car, so that level of violence didn't take place on both sides. That did not happen," she said.

"I've heard it said that the murder of my daughter was part of making America great," Bro added. "The blood on the streets -- is that what made America great? Attacking innocent people with a vehicle -- is that what made America great?"

When asked if she had sympathy for the cause of the white nationalists, Bro said, "I don't know what their cause is. I haven't heard what's bothering them."

Bro clarified Friday on Good Morning America that her daughter, a paralegal who lived in Charlottesville, was not part of any organized group protesting in her hometown, saying, "She was part of a group of human beings who cared to protest."

"I'm honestly a little embarrassed to say that part of the reason Heather got so much attention is because she's white, and she stood up for black people," Bro told ABC News on Thursday. "Isn't that a shame? That a white person standing up for a black person caused all this excitement? That should be an everyday thing. That should be a norm."

Bro said she is now dedicating herself to "forward Heather's mission."

"A lot of people are already aware of injustice. It's not that they're not aware; it's that they won't do anything about it," Bro said on Thursday. "'I'm afraid, I'm afraid' -- that's what I keep hearing, and that's what the murder of my daughter and the injury of several others was intended to do -- was to make people afraid."

"But if we live in fear, then they've won," she said, calling on people to "get involved" when they witness injustices.

"Heather was not a politician, but she was interested in changing people," Bro said. "My focus is not on politics; my focus is on human beings and on how we as human beings can fix problems."

Bro did not allow politicians to speak at the memorial service for Heyer on Wednesday, which was attended by more than 1,000 people.



Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio