Review Category : National News

Ferguson Cop Had ‘Serious Facial Injury,’ Source Tells ABC News

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teenager suffered “a serious facial injury” in the altercation before firing the fatal shots, according to a source close to the officer who spoke to ABC News Wednesday.

The characterization about Officer Darren Wilson being injured in his confrontation with Michael Brown emerged on the day that a grand jury was expected to begin hearing evidence in the shooting.

Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Wilson on Aug. 9, and protesters have been angrily calling for Wilson’s arrest and indictment since that day.

St. Louis County Prosecutor David McCullough cautioned on Wednesday that a decision on whether or not the officer would be indicted will not come quickly. He told ABC News “our target date is the middle of October” for wrapping up the evidence and asking the jury to decide whether to charge Wilson. Grand juries typically meet one day a week.

A source close to Wilson told ABC News that during the struggle at the patrol car, Wilson suffered “a serious facial injury.”

The injury was not described, but last week Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that Wilson had swelling to the side of his face.

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James Foley’s Parents Recall Son’s ‘Big Heart’

Peter Kramer/NBC(NEW YORK) — The parents of James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded by a masked captor, graciously remembered their son’s big heart and said they were trying to not be bitter.

John and Diane Foley spoke outside their New Hampshire home Wednesday about their son’s legacy and asked for mercy for other Americans being held abroad.

“There is no reason for this slaughter. Jim was just a symbol for our country. Jim was there to hear the truth and bear witness to the love and suffering…and they knew that,” Diane Foley said, referring to the militant Islamic group ISIS that claimed responsibility for killing Foley.

“Jim had a big heart and that is what we shared with President Obama. We just pray that Jim’s death can bring our country together in a stronger way,” she said.

Her husband’s voice broke as he cited his son’s final words, that he wished he could have spent more time with his family. The father’s last sentence was interrupted by a sob as he paused to compose himself.

“We’re very proud of Jim,” his mother said while speaking at times emotionally about her son. “He was a courageous, fearless journalist. A very compassionate American.”

The parents showed remarkable grace while talking about the grisly execution of their son.

“Jim would never want us to hate or be bitter…We’re praying for the strength to love like he did,” Diane Foley said. “We are praying for mercy for the remaining hostages.”

Her husband added, “We’re just begging for mercy…They never hurt anybody. They were trying to help.”

The Foleys, who have five children, had been through the anguish of their son’s capture once before when he was held for 44 days in Libya.

Diane Foley said her son’s decision to return to work abroad made some of his siblings angry after they had worked tirelessly to raise awareness during his detention in Libya.

“Jim, you have so many gifts,” she said they told him. “Why are you doing this?”

John Foley said his son’s decision to work in conflict zones was driven by the passion for his work, which he said “gave him energy.”

“He was not crazy. He was motivated,” John Foley said.

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Indiana Police Investigate Possible Link in Moms’ Disappearances

iStock/Thinkstock(BOONVILLE, Ind.) — The mysterious disappearances of two Indiana moms who vanished within weeks of each other could be linked, according to police.

Police say they are actively investigating any possible connection between the disappearances of Joelle Lockwood, 30, and Kristy Kelley, 27, who vanished about 20 miles apart.

“It doesn’t happen frequently that we have two women of the same age group that go missing around the same time,” Warrick County Sheriff Brett Kruse said.

Police say they have nothing linking the disappearances at this point, but investigators on both cases are comparing notes daily.

Kelley was last seen at 1:30 a.m. Friday leaving a Boonville VFW club. Surveillance footage shows what police believe is Kelley’s car heading in the direction of her home. Authorities haven’t noticed any activity on Kelley’s bank accounts, and “no evidence pointing towards any type of struggle,” Kruse said.

Meanwhile, Lockwood was last seen July 9 leaving a party in Evansville, about 20 miles away. She, too, has disappeared without a trace, and her mother, Candace Lockwood, is grief-stricken.

“She’s faced a lot of different challenges in her life, and we’re very worried for her right now,” Candace Lockwood said.

Kelley’s mother, Kathy Scales, is stunned that her daughter is missing.

“I just can’t explain the pit that I have in my stomach. And just knowing that our daughter is out there and we can’t get to her. It’s very, very, very rough,” Scales said.

Both families are pleading for the public’s help, reassuring their grandchildren that they won’t stop searching.

“It’s been difficult to keep one foot in front of the other,” Candace Lockwood said. “But we are doing that, and we will find our daughter.”

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New Mexico Teen in Critical Condition After Lightning Strike at Football Practice

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) — A New Mexico middle-school student is in critical condition and three others were injured after a lightning strike.

The lightning strike happened Tuesday at Picacho Middle School in Las Cruces in the southern part of the state. The school’s eighth-grade football team was practicing after school ended when it became overcast and started to drizzle, said Jo Galvan, director of communications for Las Cruces Public Schools.

The group started walking toward the school when lightning struck a nearby tree, sending several students and coaches falling to the ground, likely the lightning grounding itself, Galvan said.

Three 13-year-old boys and one coach were injured, Galvan said, with a parent and a coach performing CPR on the critically injured boy.

Kelly Duke, marketing director of Mountain View Regional Medical Center, confirmed to ABC News that the players and coach were taken to the hospital, with the critically injured boy later transferred to University Medical Center, listed in critical but stable condition.

The other two students were listed in stable condition, Duke said. The coach’s injuries aren’t life-threatening.

Counselors and district school physiologists will be at the school Wednesday to speak with students, Galvan said.

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Staten Island District Attorney to Convene Grand Jury in Police Chokehold Case

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Staten Island, New York District Attorney has opted to convene a Grand Jury to determine whether or not charges will be filed against the police officer who allegedly choked a man last month, leading to his death.

District Attorney Daniel Donovan assured the public that he is, “committed to conducting a fair, thorough, and responsible investigation” into the death of Eric Garner on July 17. The incident provoked outrage last month after a witness filmed NYPD cops placing Eric Garner in what appeared to be a chokehold while arresting Garner for selling cigarettes illegally. Garner, who was 6-foot-3 and 350 pounds, could be heard yelling that he could not breathe.

Earlier this month, the New York City Medical Examiner determined that the cause of Garner’s death was, “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

According to a statement from Donovan released on Tuesday, a Grand Jury will be convened and evidence will be presented beginning in September.

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Man Braves Muddy Flood Waters to Rescue Elderly Woman From Car

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) — Heavy rain in Arizona has flooded streets and one major freeway, stranding cars and trapping drivers and passengers.

One dramatic rescue in Sun City West was caught on the camera by ABC affiliate KNXV.

In the video, a white minivan was swamped on a main street in Sun City West. The fast-moving stream had submerged the minivan to its hood.

One rescue worker from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office approached the vehicle with nothing in his hands but a stick. He didn’t have a security belt tied to his waist, only his co-worker pulling him from behind, just in case he lost his balance.

The rescue worker slowly approached the minivan, hitting the front window repeatedly with a stick and eventually breaking it. He tried to open the passenger door, but the water pressure from the flooding made it difficult to pop the door open.

After finally sliding open the door, he got inside the minivan and pulled out an elderly woman. Wrapping her arms around the worker’s neck, the woman appeared to be struggling with the muddy road.

As soon as the two rescue workers brought the woman to safety, the flood fully covered the minivan’s hood.

The two rescue workers brought the woman to a neighbor’s garage and sat her down on a chair. A neighbor offered the woman towels to keep her warm.

The several inches of rainfall in less than an hour caused havoc during the morning commute for commuters in the state.

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Alleged School Massacre Plot in California Foiled

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SOUTH PASADENA, Calif.) — Two Southern California male teenagers were being held in juvenile hall Tuesday after an investigation by authorities using social media led authorities to suspect taht the two were allegedly in the early stages of a plot to commit a mass shooting at South Pasadena High School.

“It was a very viable threat what they were plotting,” said South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller. “They were making a huge plan of a school massacre. … During our interviews with the suspects, they, more or less, confirmed what they had talked about, very cold-heartedly.”

Miller said the suspects, whom police did not identify, were 16 and 17. They were arrested Monday on suspicion of conspiracy and criminal threats.

The investigation started Thursday after an anonymous person informed the school’s staff about the alleged plot. The staff then contacted police about a possible school shooting in the works.

Miller said detectives watched the teens’ conversations on social media and eventually were able to get a search warrant Monday.

Miller said that three staff members were targeted by name as were “random” students.

“As they put it, they just wanted to kill as many people as possible,” Miller said.

On Monday afternoon, officers went to two homes in South Pasadena and removed two computers. Miller said a search of the teens’ computers found the students had researched weapons as well as how to make bombs.

He said the students were in the beginning stages of their plan and were also looking online about tactical training.

He said they told detectives they were prepared to die.

“[They were] very monotone, very matter-of-fact, and when you are talking about killing people, shooting them in the head and to be so calm about it. It’s very chilling,” he said. “It’s very frightening.”

No weapons were found in the houses. Miller did not reveal a motive or a target date and said that the parents were stunned.

“I can’t emphasize enough how that one phone call to us got the ball rolling,” he said. “This press conference today would have been a much different one, had we not acted.”

School is set to start Thursday.

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Coast Guard Responding After 8,000 Gallons of Diesel Spilled in Ohio River

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) — The U.S. Coast Guard is responding after 8,000 gallons of diesel oil spilled into the Ohio River near Cincinnati.

The spill took place at the Duke Energy W.C. Beckjord Power Station. Duke Energy has assumed responsibility for the cleanup and is working with an approved oil spill response organization.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were three Coast Guard vessels on scene helping to contain the oil.

An investigation into the cause of the spill is underway with local, state and federal officials. Cincinnati Waterworks and Northern Kentucky Waterworks have been contacted to address possible concerns regarding municipal water intakes.

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Ferguson Chants Heard After St. Louis Cops Shoot Suspect

ABC News(FERGUSON, Mo.) — A 23-year-old black man was shot and killed by St. Louis police Tuesday after he charged at them with a knife.

The incident comes just 10 days after police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, less than 6 miles away.

The man had taken two energy drinks from a store and returned to take a package of pastries without paying, according to St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson. The suspect then went into the street and was “acting erratically,” and talking to himself, Dotson said. When the store employee followed him outside, the man threw the pastries into the street, the chief said.

Police responded to a 911 call, and the suspect walked toward the officers’ vehicle and put his hand on his waistband, pulled out a knife and held it in an “overhand” position above his shoulder, Dotson said.

The chief said the officers got out of their vehicle and drew their weapons, telling the man to drop the knife, but he continued to advance, reportedly saying “Shoot me, kill me now.”

When he got within four feet of one officer, both cops fired their weapons at the man, who has not yet been identified. Dotson said that witnesses described it as “suicide by cop.”

A crowd of about 150 gathered at the scene of the shooting in the moments after the incident. Many expressed anger that cops had not used other means of restraint.

“You don’t need to shoot if you’ve got a Taser and he’s got a knife,” one bystander said.

“You just kill, kill, kill because you got a gun,” another said. “They could’ve tased him. He was by himself.”

“They’re trying to shoot us down,” a third onlooker said.

Many in the crowd began chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and “No justice, no peace,” the chants that have been a hallmark of the protests in Ferguson over the past 10 days.

Reporters asked Dotson whether the officers should have used lethal force in this situation, given the tensions in the area over Brown’s death.

“Our policy is at the end of the day the officer should be able to go home, so (he should use) the amount of force necessary to overcome resistance. If a person is charging you within 3-4 feet that’s a lethal range,” Dotson said.

“I think officer safety is the number one issue and we can all understand the officers’ right to defend themselves. I understand what’s going on in Ferguson, but I think everyone has to understand that right and think of officer safety,” Dotson said.

Dotson said the officers would be placed on administrative duty while the department investigates the shooting, as per policy.

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Woman Refuses to Leave Tree to Protest Mall Project

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash.) — A 19-year-old college student is refusing to leave her “tree house” that is 70 feet up in the air — not for the bird’s-eye view, but to protest against a development project in Washington state that is set to cut down 830 trees.

Chiara D’Angelou, of Bainbridge Island, said she hasn’t come down from the tree since 4 a.m. on Monday. She said she secured a wooden board to branches, placed a mattress on top of it, and brought food, water, books, a guitar, a cellphone and even solar charger with her.

“I have been practicing climbing trees,” D’Angelou told ABC News Tuesday. “I have a security belt tied on my waist just in case I fell.”

“My grandparents live in the area. I grew up here,” D’Angelou said.

In addition to felling hundreds of trees, the 62,000-square-foot mall approved by the city of Bainbridge Island would cripple local businesses, D’Angelou said.

“I’m up here because I want to give people some extra time to rally and raise their voices,” said D’Angelou, a junior at Western Washington University, noting she has been visited by at least 300 people who support her cause.

She uses a basket to transport food from visitors, she said.

“I’ve had kale chips, peaches, figs, chia tea, crab, salmon, granola, lots of amazing stuff sent to me,” said D’Angelou, noting she has no plan to come down any time soon.

“I hope the city will rethink the plan,” she said. “As long as I can, I’ll stay up here. I want to create space for a community voice.”

“The developer of this project, Visconsi, said that they would authorize the police department to arrest her for trespassing after 4 p.m. today,” Kellie Stickney, community engagement specialist at the Bainbridge Island City Council, told ABC News Tuesday.

“The city would really prefer not to arrest her, and just have her come down herself,” Stickney said. “We hope that the situation just resolves itself.”

“The project is in a commercially zoned area and the hearing examiner found that the project was in line with the uses of the area,” Stickney said. “At this point, the only party that can stop the project is the developer.”

Visconsi, the Ohio-based developer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by ABC News.

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