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Friday
Oct132017

Sheriff breaks down in tears while praising officers' response to Las Vegas shooting

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo broke down in tears Friday while praising the brave actions of three members of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1 that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more.

Lombardo said that while "there's 1,000 heroes out there," he wanted to bring his attention to a "couple of key individuals" from the sheriff's office for their roles in the response to the shooting.

The sheriff began to cry after describing the wounds sustained by Officer Brady Cook from a single bullet. After Cook was struck by gunfire, causing a "substantial shoulder wound," it went through his bicep, into his chest and out of his back, Lombardo said.

On Friday, Cook asked Lombardo if he could return to work, the sheriff said. The day of the shooting marked Cook's second day on the job, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“This is what I signed up for,” Cook, 22, told the local newspaper. “I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

The night before the shooting, on his first day of the job, Cook had been assigned to monitor the Route 91 Harvest country music festival alongside his father, also a Las Vegas Metro police officer, according to the Review-Journal reported.

Lombardo said Friday that he believes that gunman Stephen Paddock targeted the officers as they arrived. Cook and his training officer were among the first to arrive on the scene.

"As the officers began to arrive via vehicles, it is readily apparent to me that he adjusted his fire and directed toward the police vehicles," Lombardo said.

In the "immediate aftermath of the shooting," one of Lombardo's sergeants saw the need for triage, the sheriff said. After setting it up, he remained calm and helped to triage at least 50 gunshot victims -- so many that they were required to use "anything they could to stop the bleeding" once they ran out of tourniquets.

Another officer, Samuel Whitworth, sustained a broken leg "during the melee in his attempt to evacuate victims," Lombardo said. Despite his injury, Whitworth stayed on the scene and provided security to medical personnel, the sheriff added.

Lombardo ended the press conference thanking the community for its support.

"I want to thank you for letting me be your sheriff, and Vegas strong," he said.

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Friday
Oct132017

Couple rescued after surviving six days in Utah mountains

Kane County Search and Rescue/Facebook(PANGUITCH, Utah) -- A Texas couple has been rescued after surviving six days in the mountains in Utah, authorities said.

On Oct. 2, Panguitch, Utah, resident Dell LeFevre came across 78-year-old Helena Byler in distress at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument while there to check on his cattle, according to the Kane County Sheriff's Office.

Byler of Houston was "severely dehydrated and confused," police said. LeFevre then alerted dispatchers and help transport her to the care of first responders, according to the sheriff's office.

After having some food and water, Byler was able to recall some details of what had happened to her, authorities said. She said that she and her husband, 76-year-old Gerald Byler, left their motel on the morning of Sept. 26 for a day trip to Lake Powell.

When the couple had not returned to their room the next day, the motel reported them as overdue, police said.

It was speculated that her husband must still be near the Kia rental car they had been driving. The ordeal began after they could no longer drive the car due to the road conditions, so they attempted to walk up the road on foot. After it became dark, the couple spent the night in the rain, she said. The next morning, her husband could not walk any further, so she left him to get help.

LeVerne found her five days later, police said.

Helicopter crews found the rental car near an "SOS" sign made out of rocks and flowers, but Gerald Byler was not there, according to the sheriff's department. Search and rescue crews found him "very dehydrated and unable to move" inside an old trailer near a corral about half a mile up the road.

Gerald Byler was transported to the hospital via helicopter.

It appears that Helena Byler had to spend a couple nights another trailer near the corral, not knowing that her husband was also nearby, police said. She said she drank water from puddles, authorities said.

Gerald Byler remained hospitalized a week after the couple was discovered. He and his wife are both expected to make a full recovery and return home to Texas soon, the sheriff's office said.

Kane County Chief Deputy Alan Alldredge said that the cooler weather, LeFevre and the first responders made it possible for the couple to be rescued.

"One more day would probably have resulted in a very different outcome," Alldredge said.

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Friday
Oct132017

Santa Rosa resident, 85, says fire-destroyed neighborhood 'looks like WWII'

sarahhwiggins/Instagram(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) -- An 85-year-old Santa Rosa, California, woman said her wildfire-destroyed neighborhood "looks like WWII."

"It looks like the pictures I saw when I was kid -- when England and Germany were being bombed out," Jean Welch told ABC News. She said at the end of WWII, a school friend in Germany even sent her pictures, and "it looked just like this. Just piles of junk. You couldn’t even tell what it was.

"People survived," she said. "I guess we will, too.”

Santa Rosa is among the hardest hit areas of devastating wildfires in California. Over 9,000 firefighters are battling 17 fires across the state that have killed 32 people and burned over 221,000 acres.

In Santa Rosa, where residents were forced to quickly evacuate, over 2,800 structures have been damaged or destroyed.

In Welch's neighborhood of Coffee Park, most of the homes burned down. Some lucky residents, including Welch, returned to find their homes still standing, just a stone's throw away from houses in ashes.

“I'm sorry that other people’s homes didn’t make it," she said. On why her own home survived, she said, "I don’t know why. I’m just grateful for what I have. I worked for this house. I’ve been here 39 years and I paid it off a few years ago, and was very proud of myself."

Welch also noted that in the chaos of the evacuation, residents and first responders remained kind.

"Thank you to everyone -- how kind you’ve been. Even the traffic that night -- everyone was taking turns. There were no horns blasting. I couldn’t believe it," she said. "The police cars and men and firemen have been so nice. I wish we could all stay that way forever.”

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Friday
Oct132017

Las Vegas shooter purposely fired at fuel tanks, no connection to extremism: Officials

ABC News(LAS VEGAS) -- Sheriff Joe Lombardo held a press conference on Friday to update the timeline of the Las Vegas shooting.

Here's the latest on the investigation:

  • It’s believed gunman Stephen Paddock purposely fired at nearby fuel tanks, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.
  • The shooter’s brain is being tested for abnormalities, the sheriff said.
  • Security officer Jesus Campos first encountered barricaded door at 9:59 p.m.; was shot later, according to the sheriff.
  • The “firing had ceased” by the time police arrived, Lombardo said.
  • “No signs of ideology or affiliation to any groups,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said.
  • Over 1,000 pieces of evidence collected and are being reviewed, Rouse said.

Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock is believed to have purposely fired at aviation fuel tanks at the McCarran International Airport near the concert venue where he killed 58 people and injured hundreds more on Oct. 1, authorities said at a press conference Friday.

"It is believed the fuel tanks were fired upon with intent," said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

Lombardo said that he has been advised that there is a "very low probability" that the aviation fuel could be affected by the gunfire.

Paddock shot himself after opening fire on the concert below. A motive for the shooting is still unknown.

Lombardo attempted to clear up some discrepancies, saying that he has been offended by accusations of incompetence on the investigators' parts based on the evolution of the changing timeline of events.

Police told ABC News Friday that they now agree with the statement released by MGM Resorts International on the time in which Mandalay Bay security officer Jesus Campos was shot in the leg. Police previously stated that Campos was shot in the leg at 9:59 p.m., six minutes before the rampage began. They now believe Campos was shot closer to 10:05 p.m., when Paddock first unleashed gunfire on the crowd below.

Authorities now believe that at 9:59 p.m., Campos reported that he had encountered a barricaded door near the suspect's room. Campos was then shot later as he went into the hall.

Lombardo also said that investigators were aware of a discrepancy on the date Paddock checked into the hotel. Paddock had first occupied the room on Sept. 25, but the name and comp status on the room changed on Sept. 28 to include his girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who was overseas at the time of the shooting.

The information for the timeline has been obtained via security logs, officer body logs, body-worn cameras, police department dispatch, hotel and private cameras and interviews, Lombardo said.

The autopsy on Las Vegas gunman Paddock's body did not immediately reveal any abnormalities, though his brain has been taken to a facility for a "microscopic evaluation," Lombardo said.

As of Friday morning, the count on the number of victims injured was at 546, Lombardo said, reminding the public that he had previously warned that information "would change" as the investigation continued.

A total of 45 patients remain hospitalized, some in critical condition. The death toll remained at 58 Friday, but "may raise," Lombardo said.

Seventeen separate medical facilities attended to the hundreds of victims in the aftermath of the shooting, Lombardo said.

"That speaks volumes of the medical community," Lombardo said.

Lombardo also said that he believes Paddock targeted authorities as they arrived on the scene.

"As the officers began to arrive via vehicles, it is readily apparent to me that he adjusted his fire and directed toward the police vehicles," Lombardo said.

Lombardo broke down in tears as he praised members of his department for their response to the shooting.

One of Lombardo's deputies who sustained four gunshot wounds asked him Friday if he could return to work, the sheriff said.

Lombardo did not take any questions at the press conference, ending it by thanking the Las Vegas community instead.

"I want to thank you for letting me be your sheriff, and Vegas strong," he said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct132017

Brazen attempted carjacking at gas station caught on surveillance camera

Allen Park Police(ALLEN PARK, Mich.) -- Police in Allen Park, Michigan, have released several videos of an attempted carjacking in broad daylight at a gas station recently in hopes that the public will help identify the perpetrator.

The incident was captured on surveillance camera Thursday around 2 p.m. at a BP gas station. Ali Noureddine, a worker at gas station, said he saw the attempted carjacker initially just walking around.

"It looked like he was walking into the station. All of a sudden, he busts a right," Noureddine told ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV. "I guess he seen the lady pumping gas and seized the opportunity -- he jumped in the front seat."

In the videos, after the man gets into the car, the woman seen pumping gas then jumps into the vehicle in the front passenger's seat. The two appear to wrestle for the wheel inside the car before the car eventually stops near a fuel truck parked in the gas station.

"They drove around, around here. You know, our fear was that it was going to hit the fuel truck. ... It would've been a disaster," Noureddine said.

Police said the driver of that fuel truck then got involved with the attempted carjacker who'd, by then, gotten out of the vehicle. On surveillance footage, the truck driver can be seen wrestling with the individual, attempting to restrain him and removing an article of his clothing, but the man gets away.

Police said in a statement on Facebook that the woman in the video was not harmed and that the attempted carjacker had not used a weapon.

"This could happen anywhere, no matter where you are. You should always lock your door and I would recommend take the keys out the ignition because you never know what could happen," Noureddine said.

Authorities asked that the public contact Allen Park police with any information regarding the incident.

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Friday
Oct132017

#WomenBoycottTwitter movement gathers steam after Rose McGowan suspended

Noam Galai/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Celebrities and everyday Twitter users rallied to the cause of actress Rose McGowan late Thursday as they organized a 24-hour boycott of the website after the company suspended her account temporarily.

The hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter was the No. 1 trending topic in the United States into Friday morning as women -- and men -- pledged to go silent on Friday.

McGowan, known for roles in Scream and the TV series Charmed, was briefly suspended from the service Wednesday over tweets about disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Twitter said in a statement that her account was suspended because she included a private phone number.

"We have been in touch with Ms. McGowan's team," Twitter's statement read. "We want to explain that her account was temporarily locked because one of her Tweets included a private phone number, which violates our Terms of Service.

"The tweet was removed and her account has been unlocked. We will be clearer about these policies and decisions in the future." Many users took issue with Twitter's stated reason for suspending McGowan, noting that Donald Trump tweeted the phone number of Sen. Lindsey Graham in July 2015. And in November 2016, Lou Dobbs tweeted the phone number of a woman who accused Trump of groping. Neither was suspended.

Journalists Natalie Shure and Mikki Kendall said they had reported multiple times about their numbers being shared without Twitter acting.

After returning to Twitter, McGowan wrote, in complaints directed at Amazon's Jeff Bezos, that "HW" raped her, an apparent reference to Weinstein. She confirmed she was referring to the co-founder of Miramax in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Thursday afternoon. Amazon Studios has two projects produced by The Weinstein Co. currently in development, and McGowan said she warned the head of Amazon Studios against getting involved with the company. “We are reviewing our options for the projects we have with The Weinstein Co.,” Amazon told The Hollywood Reporter this week.

McGowan reached a $100,000 settlement with Weinstein after an alleged incident in a hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997, The New York Times reported.

Weinstein has denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex. He was fired from his position with The Weinstein Co. earlier this week.

McGowan retweeted an account calling for the boycott -- and using the hashtag -- at 6:47 p.m. Thursday. The movement took off from there.

McGowan and quoted a tweet with the hashtag at midnight.

She hasn't tweeted since 10:48 p.m. PT Thursday. Other celebrities jumped on the movement, including actress Alyssa Milano, model Chrissy Teigen, Roots bandleader Questlove, actor Mark Ruffalo, director Joss Whedon and actor Billy Eichner.

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Friday
Oct132017

Man accused of killing young boy; three adults captured after urgent manhunt

iStock/Thinkstock(IRONTON, Ohio) -- A 23-year-old man accused of killing an 8-year-old boy and three adults in southern Ohio is in custody following an urgent manhunt, the Lawrence County sheriff announced Friday.

Aaron Lawson was captured after spending more than 24 hours at large.

He was wanted for the fatal shootings of three adults who were found dead in a house trailer Wednesday evening, as well as a young boy who was also shot dead and apparently hidden in the home, according to reports. The boy was initially thought to be missing after police discovered the bodies of the three adults, authorities said. His body was not found until Thursday.

Lawson is allegedly a relative of the victims, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said at a news conference on Friday.

A fourth adult was also stabbed at the home and was hospitalized for treatment, officials said.

Lawless said the suspect was captured after a local resident saw him walking along a road and notified the sheriff's office. Officers working the area quickly intercepted him without incident, Lawless said.

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Friday
Oct132017

Two dead, ten injured after attempted prison break in North Carolina

iStock/Thinkstock(ELIZABETH CITY, N.C.) -- Two prison employees were killed and 10 others hospitalized with injuries after an attempted prison break in North Carolina, officials said.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety on Thursday night identified the fatalities as correctional officer Justin Smith, 35, who provided security in the Correction Enterprises Specialty Sewing Plant. He had worked as a correctional officer since 2012. The other fatality was correction enterprises manager Veronica Darden, 50, who supervised inmates working in the Specialty Sewing Plant. She had been a correction enterprises employee since 2007 and previously worked as a correctional officer.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement, "Those who work in our prisons do a difficult and demanding job that is critical to our safety. We're grateful to these fallen prison employees for their service, and we offer our condolences to their families, friends, coworkers and community on this tragic loss."

The incident occurred Thursday afternoon at the Pasquotank Correctional Institute in Elizabeth City, a dispatcher at the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office told ABC News.

Around 3:30 p.m., an inmate set a fire in the sewing plant, which injured several employees, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.


"Our hearts are broken by this tragedy that took members of our Correction family," said W. David Guice, chief deputy secretary of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice. "Words cannot express our deep sorrow. We will work closely with investigators to learn the circumstances of today’s incident and bring to justice those responsible."

The prison currently houses 729 inmates, according to the department of public safety. Correction Enterprises, which works within the safety department, operates a sewing plant on site.

Three of the ten patients sent to the  Sentara Albemarle Medical Center were transferred to the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia, said Sentara Healthcare spokesperson Peter J. Sengenberger in a statement. Sengenberger reported in a previous statement that nine people had been taken to Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, and two of those were transferred to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Five more people were expected, according to the earlier statement.

The health care system asked the families of patients bring government-issued identification and the patient's full name with them to the hospital. The injuries to some of those involved are serious, according to Keith Acree, North Carolina Department of Public Safety spokesperson. He added that to his knowledge, no one escaped from the prison.

The conditions of the patients were not released.

Three local public schools were placed on lockdown following the incident. Students on school buses who had not already arrived home were brought back to the schools due to the potential of inmates being in the area, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools said on Facebook. The lockdown has since been lifted.

The situation is under control, the department of public safety said. Further details were not immediately available.

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Thursday
Oct122017

How this week's wildfire outbreak became one of the deadliest in California's history 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) -- What started as just a spark on Sunday raged into a full-blown inferno in a matter of hours, threatening thousands of lives in Santa Rosa, a picturesque city with a population of over 175,000 situated in Northern California's wine country.

The so-called Tubbs fire was just 10 percent contained on Thursday, some four days after it rampaged into the broad valley where Santa Rosa sits, giving terrified residents little warning before they were forced to gather what belongings they could and get out.

Some didn't make it. Tragically, many of the victims appear to have been elderly people in their 70s and 80s, Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said at a press conference on Thursday night.

The Tubbs blaze has been blamed for at least 17 fatalities so far, by itself one of the deadliest wildfires in California history. Some 21 fires in multiple counties have exacted a heavy toll this week: 31 fatalities. Taken together, this outbreak matches California's deadliest wildfire, the 1933 Griffith Park blaze that also killed 29.

"When a fire moves that quickly, there really is no evacuation notification system that can keep up," said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at the University of California Berkeley, referring to the Tubbs fire that devastated Santa Rosa. "We're talking about just minutes."
 
That blaze traveled some 14 miles over a mountain range and down into the city in a little over two hours, Stephens said. The wall of flames hundreds of feet wide descended down the mountain at the pace of a moderate jog, incinerating the mixed oak woodlands and chaparral shrubs that surround the city.

Then it began to consume whole neighborhoods.

Once it reached Santa Rosa, it tore through more than three-quarters of a mile of urban environment, destroying virtually everything in its path, including hundreds of homes and businesses and even a brand new fire station.

The fact that it happened at night made it even harder to see coming, potentially adding to its lethality. A phenomenon known as an ember attack would have begun to pummel the city even before the flames came into view.

Embers thrown aloft from the massive heat generated by wildfires -- which can reach temperatures of 1,500 Fahrenheit -- can travel "at least a mile and maybe more in bad situations," Stephens said.

The outbreak that began on Sunday night presented just such a scenario: bone-dry conditions coupled with what is known as a Diablo wind, which comes from the east -- hot, dry and with high velocity. In other words, the conditions were perfect for breeding wildfires.

Stephens called the scenario "about as bad as it gets," compounded by the fact that responders were facing not one but 21 out-of-control blazes in several counties.

"The winds gusted up to 70 mph on Sunday," said Yana Valachovic, county director and forest adviser at the University of California Cooperative Extension. Valachovic called this week's outbreak "a massive ember-driven event with high winds."

"It's like being in a hail storm of embers, but they're blowing horizontally," she said. "You have no time. You have to get out of there."

She described what's known as a cascading effect, when embers pile up on one house, and when it goes up in flames, surrounding houses are consumed with increasing rapidity.

"Your house's survival is dependent on your neighbor's house," she said.

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Thursday
Oct122017

Manhunt underway for suspect accused of killing four in Ohio, including young boy

Lawrence County Ohio Sheriff's Office (PEDRO, Ohio) -- A manhunt is underway for a suspect accused of killing four people -- including a child who had been reported missing -- inside a home in Pedro, Ohio, according to ABC Charleston, West Virginia, affiliate WCHS.

The suspect, identified by police as Aaron Lawson, 23, was last seen after a police chase Thursday morning, when he crashed his car into a ditch and then ran into the woods, Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said in a press conference Thursday afternoon. Lawson is considered dangerous and may have a knife, but the gun believed to have been used in the homicides has been recovered, Lawless said.

When police responded to the home Wednesday night, they found three adults dead from apparent gunshot wounds, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office said in a press release early Thursday morning. A fourth victim was also found alive at the home with apparent stab wounds to the neck and head, and was flown by helicopter to Cabell Huntington Hospital for treatment, police said.

The boy's body was discovered hidden in the home today, police said. He was initially thought to be missing after police discovered the bodies of the three adults, police said.

Lawless said investigators may have been “delayed” in finding the boy’s body because the crime scene was spread out throughout the home.

"The entire residence is a crime scene. There’s things that happened in every room of that residence, so they were taking each room one room at a time and working their way through, doing a methodical search of the rooms," Lawless said. "That may have delayed them finding him once they got in there and started searching that room completely."

The boy -- who is under the age of 8 -- lived at the home, police said.

Lawson is related to everyone in the home in some way and spent a lot there "visiting and socializing," Lawless said.

The massive manhunt for Lawson is involving multiple agencies across several states, according to WCHS. Warrants for Lawson's arrest have been issued for three counts of murder and one count of aggravated murder, WCHS reported.

The victim who was stabbed is in good condition and is expected to be OK, Lawless said, according to WCHS.

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