Review Category : National News

Debate Creates Carnival Atmosphere at Hofstra

Meghan Keneally/ABC News(HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.) — The 2016 presidential race has turned Hofstra University into something of a campaign carnival Monday ahead of the first debate of the general election.

There was a marching band performing for cable news, cheerleaders doing routines among reporters, and college students — many of whom are going to be voting in their first election — were transported back to their childhoods with free turns in a White House-shaped bouncy castle.

The lively, fun-filled atmosphere here in Hempstead, Long Island, doesn’t hint at this year’s rather acrimonious political climate.

Erin Daley and Monica Feijoo, both 19-year-old sophomores, are planning to vote for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton respectively, but their different political allegiances didn’t stop them from enjoying the free ice cream and T-shirts being handed out near the school’s student center today.

“Peace is possible,” Feijoo joked.

Another set of sophomore roommates, Abby Salamon and Hadas Hayun, were more politically aligned, telling ABC News they’re both planning to vote for Trump.

“Even though it doesn’t seem like he has all of the knowledge or information he may need right now … I think he’ll grow into the position [once elected],” Hayun said.

Though college campuses tend to skew liberal, it comes as little surprise that the Republican scene at Hofstra is fairly vibrant. In the 2012 presidential election, President Obama did win Nassau County with 52.9 percent of the vote, but Mitt Romney was right behind him with 46.9 percent. Trump has had several large rallies on Long Island.

For an even more old-school effect, many of the students have turned to sidewalk chalk to air their opinions. Some opted for politically charged statements — “Let Gary Debate” was one, while Black Lives Matter supporters also made their mark. There were also a number of Harambe shout-outs that served as a reminder that this is all taking place on a college campus.

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Florida Woman Jumped on Purse-Snatcher’s Car as He Tried to Get Away

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Surveillance video from a South Florida gas station caught the moment a woman jumped on top of a man’s car after he allegedly stole her purse, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO).

The incident happened on Sept. 17, while Janelle Della-Libera, 32, was pumping gas, according to the BSO incident report obtained by ABC News Monday. Della-Libera heard someone open and close the driver’s door of her vehicle and then saw a man running with her purse in his hand.

As the suspect got in his car and attempted to drive away, Della-Libera “jumped on top of his vehicle’s hood, attempting to prevent him from fleeing,” the incident report said. As the suspect “started accelerating,” she was “forced from the hood to the windshield and then to the front part of the vehicle’s roof.”

The suspect then “made a sharp right turn,” and Dell-Libera “lost her balance and fell down between the vehicle’s body and the opened driver’s door,” the incident report added. “The suspect’s vehicle then ran over the victim’s left ankle and fled the area.”

Emergency personnel checked Della-Libera at the scene before she was transported to a hospital by her husband, according to the report.

Della-Libera told ABC News Monday that she suffered a severely sprained ankle, in addition to multiple cuts and bruises.

“It literally feels like I’ve been hit by a bus,” she said. “I was actually hit by a car, so I guess that’s pretty close.”

“While it was going on, every single second, I was just like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening, I can’t believe this is happening!'” she added.

After watching the surveillance video more than 50 times, Della-Libera said she thought she “could have handled the situation better” but she does want other women to know that “they have the power to fight back.”

“My instincts just took over and I did everything I could to try to not be taken advantage of,” she said. “If anything, I hope this reminds people to always stay vigilant. We’re a generation of multitasking and doing a million things at one time, but it leaves us vulnerable to people like this. So just always be aware of who and what’s around you.”

The suspect caught on the surveillance video was not identified nor located as of this afternoon, according to BSO public information officer Joy Oglesby.

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Nine Wounded After Shooting in Houston Shopping Center

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — The Houston Police Department responded to an active shooter situation in a shopping center that injured nine people, according to police Monday.

The suspect, a lawyer, was shot and killed, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police confirmed that they received a call that a firearm was discharged at 6:29 a.m. When they arrived at the scene, the suspect was firing, and officers fired back at him.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is in Cuba for a trade mission, told ABC affiliate KTRK-TV that the incident may have been related to the suspect’s work.

“[The suspect] was either fired or had a bad relationship with this law firm,” Turner said.

Weapons were found in the suspect’s Porsche, which was at the shopping center, and the bomb squad will investigate the vehicle, police said.

The suspect’s apartment will be investigated next.

Of the nine people wounded, one is in critical condition, another is in serious condition, and three were treated and released, police said.

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Obama Tells Standing Rock Demonstrators: ‘You’re Making Your Voice Heard’

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Obama weighed in on the Native American movement to block a disputed oil pipeline Monday as he hosted more than 500 Native American leaders for his eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference as president.

“I know many of you have come together, across tribes and across the country, to support the community at Standing Rock and together you’re making your voices heard,” the president said to applause.

“And in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, we’ve made a lot of progress for Indian country over the past eight years, and this moment highlights why it’s so important that we re-double our efforts to make sure that every federal agency truly consults and listens, and works with you, sovereign-to-sovereign,” Obama continued.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued to block construction of the four-state Dakota Access pipeline earlier this summer, citing concerns over potential water contamination and destruction to what they deemed to be culturally sacred sites. The tribe also argued that they were never meaningfully consulted on the project before construction began.

While a judge in Washington denied the tribe’s request for a temporary injunction, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior intervened with an unprecedented joint statement requesting “that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.”

Kelcy Warren, chairman and CEO of Energy Transfer, denied the tribe’s claims, writing in an internal memo that “concerns about the pipeline’s impact on the local water supply are unfounded” and “multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.”

Last Friday, the Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of the Army and other federal agencies officially invited the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for consultations on “how the Federal Government can better account for, and integrate tribal views, on future infrastructure decisions throughout the country.”

The movement to block the 1,172-mile pipeline, being built by the Texas-based company Energy Transfer, has united tribal groups and environmental activists from across the nation, with hundreds still camped out near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation in North Dakota.

Chairman Dave Archambault II of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe praised the Obama administration’s relationship with Native American tribes, saying, “Along with the ongoing review of this pipeline, the Administration has taken a major step forward by initiating consultation on nationwide reform on the protection of tribal interests regarding infrastructure projects. We will continue to advocate for the protection of our water, lands and sacred places, and the necessary respect as Indigenous Peoples.”

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How Open Carry Laws Played into Charlotte Shooting

Photodisc/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Keith Lamont Scott’s alleged possession of a firearm at the time of his shooting death would not on its own be a reason to forcibly disarm him, according to two legal experts.

Police announced on Saturday that lab analysis had revealed the presence of Scott’s DNA and fingerprints on a loaded handgun recovered from the scene by investigators.

Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney also released body and dashboard camera videos of the fatal police shooting of Scott, answering to demands made by community leaders, protesters and politicians, but it is not entirely clear from those videos, or from the one taken by Scott’s wife, Rakeiya Scott, that the victim had a gun, or that he brandished it in a way that would pose a threat to the officers who approached him.

Police also released evidence of an ankle holster and a marijuana cigarette. Police have alleged that Scott was rolling a marijuana “blunt” in his car.

ABC News spoke to E. Gregory Wallace, a professor at Campbell University School of Law in North Carolina, and Joseph E. Kennedy, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, about the state’s open carry gun laws, and they agreed that short of “brandishing” a gun, the presence of a handgun on Scott would not on its own justify an attempt by officers to disarm him.

States like California and New York ban the practice of carrying handguns in public, and some states allow open carry under a license, but North Carolina is among the 31 states that do not require a license.

There are limitations to the law, however; one’s criminal history, drug use or immigration status can forfeit the right to carry a gun.

Wallace noted that if the police saw the marijuana cigarette in combination with the gun, it might be enough to justify forcibly disarming Scott because of the implication of illegal activity, but police would have needed to have seen both at the same time.

“The mere display of a firearm in the city of Charlotte doesn’t give police cause to detain or disarm a citizen,” Wallace said.

Wallace said that the videos fail to show the encounter that lead to his shooting, leaving many questions about the incident unanswered. He separates the Scott incident into two parts: the decision to disarm Scott, followed by the decision to shoot.

“The video doesn’t cover any time prior to having guns drawn,” he said. “My question is: What was the cause of the initial approach?”

The video released by police shows Scott exiting a white SUV. He backs away from it with his hands at his sides, and doesn’t appear to be acting in a threatening manner.

Officers can be heard shouting, “Drop the gun!” in the video.

Scott was shot multiple times. He can be heard in the video moaning in pain as officers apply handcuffs to him.

Kennedy told ABC News that in North Carolina, someone can legally challenge a police officer’s request to put a gun down.

“Having a gun makes you armed, but it doesn’t necessarily make you dangerous,” he said.

He spoke critically of open carry laws, and said that the laws put both citizens and police officers in an “impossible situation” due to the legal justification for citizens to be armed in public.

He added that without a gun in Scott’s hand, the shooting of him should be considered “grossly negligent” on the part of police.

Wallace added that if it could be determined that Scott had his weapon in his holster at the time of the shooting, it would be a “game changer,” noting that it would not have put the police in enough danger to warrant shooting him.

Ray Dotch, Scott’s brother-in-law, called Monday for the release of the full police video, saying that he hopes Americans will take “an absolute unflinching look” at prejudice and police-involved shootings and that “we as a nation tell the truth about who we are.”

It is unclear whether or not the full video will provide clear evidence of what happened during the initial approach to Scott’s vehicle, or whether or not he had a gun in his hand at the time he was shot by police.

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Iowa Mayor to Residents in Flood Evacuation Area: ‘Please, Please Leave’

iStock/Thinkstock(VINTON, Iowa) — Iowa residents are waiting nervously as the swollen Cedar River rises steadily to its highest levels since a devastating flood in 2008 that caused some $10 billion in damages and took one life.

The river in Cedar Rapids is now 19.4 feet, a level at which major flooding can occur, officials said Monday.

The city’s mayor, Ron Corbett, said only an estimated 50 percent of residents in lower-lying areas designated for voluntary evacuation had complied. Altogether, about 5,000 people live in the evacuation area, The Des Moines Register reported.

Corbett said he “won’t drag people out but please, please leave.”

“It’s crunch time in Cedar Rapids,” the mayor said at a news conference Monday morning. “The next 48 hours are the most critical, are the most dangerous.”

“The next 48 hours we need 100 percent cooperation from the citizens in both the evacuation area and outside the evacuation area,” he said. “I want to make sure the confidence we have doesn’t let our guard down.”

Authorities had asked residents living in designated evacuation areas to leave by 8 p.m. Sunday evening in anticipation of flooding. The mayor also issued a nightly curfew within the evacuation area from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., starting Sunday evening and lasting until further notice.

The National Weather Service predicts that the river will crest Tuesday morning.

“This will likely go on record on the second-largest flood in the city’s area.” Jen Winter, public works director of Cedar Rapids, said at the press conference. For safety, she said, “no one should be walking, biking, or driving, within this evacuation area.”

The city is preparing for the worst, making preparations for “water rescues and water-based operations,” by staging boats on both sides of the river.

“Waters are rising, so please remember to be safe and stay out of flooded areas,” Fire Chief Mark English said. “Six inches of water can knock you down, two feet of water can sweep your car away.”

The river crested in the town of Vinton at just under 22 feet at 3 a.m. Monday, less than three feet shy of the record in 2008.

Floodwaters invaded streets, inundating homes, businesses, parks, yards and stopped traffic in parts of the town.

“I think it could have been a lot worse,” resident Becci Sloan told KCRG-TV, a local ABC affiliate, hours before the river crested. “There’s going to be a lot of trash left over and a lot of wood and debris.”

Emergency crews stood vigil, preparing for the worst.

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Suspect Confesses in Washington Mall Shooting that Killed Five

Skagit County DEM(BURLINGTON, Wash.) — The suspect in Friday’s deadly mall shooting in Washington state confessed to police in the shooting that left five people dead, according to charging documents.

He faces charges on five counts of first-degree murder and is being held on $2 million bond, charging documents show.

Authorities identified the alleged shooter as Arcan Cetin, 20, of Oak Harbor, Washington. He was arrested Saturday in Oak Harbor after authorities received a tip that linked him to the shooting “as a person of interest,” the Skagit County Department of Emergency Management said.

Cetin apparently had a falling out with his father prior to the shooting, the arrest warrant declaration in the case shows. His mother helped to identify him from surveillance camera images released by police.

Cetin was spotted walking on a sidewalk and then taken into custody. He was unarmed, did not resist arrest and was in a “zombie-like” state, Lt. Mike Hawley with the Island County Sheriff’s Office said during a news conference Saturday.

Friday’s shooting occurred in the evening at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, about 65 miles north of Seattle. At Saturday’s news conference, police said that the gunman first entered the mall unarmed and then re-entered with a firearm. He opened fire in the makeup department of Macy’s.

Four women were killed and a man later died from his injuries Saturday at a Seattle hospital, said Sgt. Mark Francis, a public information officer with the Washington State Patrol.

Although police initially said Cetin was Hispanic, authorities later said that he had immigrated from Turkey and is a legal permanent resident of the United States.

Police have said they believe Cetin acted alone and the FBI said it had no indication that the shooting was linked to terrorism.

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Violent Crime in US Up as City Homicides Spur 11 Percent Hike in Overall Murders

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Cities across the country suffered an uptick in violent crime last year, including a nearly 11 percent jump in murders from the year before, according to new statistics compiled by the FBI.

There were 1,197,704 violent crimes committed around the nation last year — a 3.9 percent increase from 2014, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. However, last year’s statistics were still slightly lower than in 2011, and more than 16 percent below the 2006 level, the FBI said Monday.

It’s important to note that big jumps in violent crime in only a handful of U.S. cities can drive the national average up. Some cities, like Chicago and Los Angeles, saw more than 24,000 violent crimes each last year, while so many other cities and towns across the country experienced single-digit or no violent crimes at all.

Overall, murders accounted for nearly 15,700 of last year’s violent crimes, and nearly three-quarters of them were committed with firearms, according to the FBI report.

“The report shows that there was an overall increase in violent crime last year, making clear what each of us already knows: that we still have so much work to do,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a violent-reduction summit in Little Rock, Arkansas. “But the report also reminds us of the progress that we are making. It shows that in many communities, crime has remained stable or even decreased from the historic lows reported in 2014. And it is important to remember that while crime did increase overall last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades.”

Lynch said the nation must not become “complacent” about violent crime.

“The residents of communities where violence remains a fact of daily life care little whether overall crime rates are up and down,” she said. “And in the raft of data and analysis that can so often define our work, we must never forget that all of our numbers reflect the lives of real people.”

She emphasized that “there is no single cause of violence, and solutions will vary from one community to another.”

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Son Found After Eight Days Lost at Sea, Mother’s Fate a Mystery

iStock/Thinkstock(POINT JUDITH, R.I.) — The U.S. Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the mystery a 54-year-old Connecticut mother’s whereabouts after she and her son disappeared during a fishing trip last week.

Though the 22-year-old Nathan Carman was found alive after six days of searching, Linda Carman’s location remains unknown, according to the Coast Guard.

The two from Middletown, Connecticut were first reported missing last Sunday, Sept. 18, after failing to return from a fishing trip they had begun the previous night.

They had embarked from Point Judith, Rhode Island in a 32-foot aluminum center console boat, Coast Guard Petty Officer Nicole Groll told ABC News.

The Coast Guard performed exhaustive search for Nathan and Linda over the six days, covering an area larger than the state of Georgia, Groll said. The search was suspended on Friday, Sept. 23.

But just two days later, a freighter found Nathan Carman in a life raft with food and water, Groll said. Nathan Carman’s mother, however, was not in the life raft and was nowhere to be found.

The mother and son’s boat has not been located.

The investigation into Linda Carman’s whereabouts and what exactly happened to their boat continues, Groll said.

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Seven Wounded After Shooting in Houston Shopping Center

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — The Houston Police Department has responded to an active shooter situation in a shopping center that has left multiple people wounded, according to an alert published by the city.

The suspect was shot and killed, according to police.

The Houston Fire Department confirmed to ABC News that the shooting began at 6:29 a.m. at a Petco store.

Local ABC affiliate KTRK reported that seven people were injured in the attack. Police said the individuals have been transported to area hospitals.

“At this time, the shooting scene is believed to be contained, but residents are asked to please avoid the area of Wesleyan St, between Westpark Drive and Bissonnet Street as it is still an active response and investigation scene,” the alert read.

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