Review Category : National News

Rhode Island Prison Escapee Captured in Massachusetts

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — An inmate who was on the run for days after escaping from a federal prison in Rhode Island was captured near Boston Thursday afternoon, the Massachusetts State Police said.

James Morales’ capture in Somerville, Massachusetts, came hours after he allegedly tried to rob a bank in nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Morales, 35, had escaped from the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island, on New Year’s Eve, authorities said.

Morales — a former Army reservist — was in federal custody for the “theft of numerous firearms from the Worcester Army Reserve Armory in 2015,” Massachusetts State Police said. He was also wanted “for an alleged violent and brutal sexual assault of a child,” police said.

Thursday morning, Morales allegedly tried to rob a bank on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, which is about 50 miles northeast of the prison, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Police said he passed a note to the teller demanding money shortly before 10 a.m. The suspect did not get any money, police said.

Cambridge police’s description of the robbery suspect matches a description of Morales.

“We do not have an identity of the suspect at this point in time,” Cambridge police said at the time, but “investigators are looking at the possibility that the suspect generally fits the description” of Morales.

Officials said Morales broke out of the prison by climbing a basketball hoop to reach a rooftop, cutting through a fence and then climbing through razor wire.

Jamie Hainsworth, a U.S. marshal for the district of Rhode Island, said Morales “has the potential to be dangerous and could be armed” and urged anyone who encountered him not to approach him and to instead call 911.

Hainsworth said officials will take a “hard look” at the procedures of the Wyatt prison and investigate whether the community of Central Falls was appropriately notified of the escape. Morales was discovered to be missing by prison staff at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 — about three hours after he escaped, according to Hainsworth.

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Criminal Charges Filed Against Four Suspects in Facebook Live Assault Case

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Criminal charges were filed Thursday against the four Illinois residents who are accused of torturing a mentally challenged man in Chicago earlier this week.

The suspects initially posted a video on Facebook that allegedly shows them assaulting the man. The video was later removed by the social media company.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Illinois identified the four suspects as Jordan Hill of Carpentersville, Tesfaye Cooper of Chicago, Brittany Covington of Chicago and Tanishia Covington of Chicago.

All four suspects were charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Hill, Cooper and Covington were also charged with residential burglary. Hill was additionally charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to the attorney’s office.

The four suspects are scheduled to appear in Central Bond Court on Friday afternoon.

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RI Prison Escapee Believed to Be Suspect Who Robbed Bank

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — An inmate on the run after escaping from a federal prison in Rhode Island allegedly tried to rob a bank Thursday morning in Cambridge, Massachusetts, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

James Morales, 35, escaped from the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Center Falls, Rhode Island, on New Year’s Eve, authorities said.

Thursday morning, Morales tried to rob a bank on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is about 50 miles north from the prison, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Police said he passed a note to the teller demanding money shortly before 10 a.m. The suspect did not get any money, police said.

Cambridge police’s description of the robbery suspect matches a description of Morales.

“We do not have an identity of the suspect at this point in time,” Cambridge police said, but “investigators are looking at the possibility that the suspect generally fits the description” of Morales.

Morales was in federal custody for the “theft of numerous firearms from the Worcester Army Reserve Armory in 2015,” Massachusetts State Police said. He is also wanted “for an alleged violent and brutal sexual assault of a child,” police said.

Officials said Morales broke out of the prison by climbing a basketball hoop to reach a rooftop, cutting through a fence and then climbing through razor wire.

Jamie Hainsworth, U.S. Marshal for the district of Rhode Island, said Morales “has the potential to be dangerous and could be armed.” He urged anyone who encounters Morales not to approach him and to instead call 911.

Hainsworth said Tuesday that the priority for authorities is to catch Morales, but he also said officials would take a “hard look” at the procedures of the prison from which Morales escaped and investigate whether the community of Center Falls was appropriately notified of the escape. Morales was discovered to be missing by prison staff at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 — about three hours after he escaped, according to Hainsworth.

Morales “may have suffered significant lacerations during his escape,” according to police. Authorities noted that he was last seen wearing “gray sweatpants, a gray sweatshirt and black sneakers,” and “had a beard at the time of the escape and has balding/shaved brown hair.”

Morales also has a “large tattoo of an eagle on the left side of his neck” and “additional tattoos on his chest, arms and hands,” Massachusetts State Police added.

Hainsworth urged anyone with information to call a hotline established by the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-800-336-0102.

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Coast Guard: Fire Extinguished on Gulf of Mexico Oil Platform

iStock/Thinkstock(GRAND ISLE, La.) — The fire that burned on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico has been extinguished, the Coast Guard said Thursday. Four people were evacuated early Thursday morning after the fire broke out.

“Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans were notified at approximately 2:30 a.m. that an oil production platform caught fire approximately 80 miles south of Grand Isle,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The Coast Guard said an aircrew was dispatched to the scene, where several offshore supply vessels were fighting the blaze.

Clean Gulf, an oil spill response organization, also sent a team to the platform, according to the statement.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the incident is under investigation, the Coast Guard said.

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Victims’ Families Recount Stories of Loss After Charleston Shooting

Charleston County Sheriff(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — The families of the Charleston church shooting victims are recounting their tragic stories of loss and grief to the jurors who will decide whether or not convicted killer Dylann Roof will be sentenced to death.

Roof, who is representing himself for the sentencing phase of his federal trial, spoke for less than five minutes in his opening statement Wednesday, telling the jury there is nothing wrong with him psychologically. Roof did not apologize for his actions.

Last month, the jury found Roof guilty of shooting and killing nine parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, in June 2015. The 33 federal counts against Roof included hate crimes resulting in death and obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death.

The government is asking the jury to sentence Roof to death. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams Wednesday presented a letter in court that Roof penned six weeks after his arrest, in which he wrote in part, “I have not shed a tear for the innocent people I killed.”

Roof went to the church armed and “with the intent of killing African-Americans engaged in the exercise of their religious beliefs,” according to the federal indictment against him. The church members welcomed Roof into their Bible study, according to the indictment, after which Roof drew a gun and opened fire.

Jennifer Pinckney, wife of slain pastor and South Carolina State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, told the jury Wednesday her husband was a loving, devoted and involved father to their two young daughters.

Jennifer Pinckney and their youngest daughter were at the church the night of the shooting; they were in an office while her husband was at the Bible study. She told the jury how she and her daughter hid under a desk as gunshots rang out; she said they put their hands over each other’s mouths.

Pinckney testified that she heard Roof say he was not crazy and had to do this. She said Roof tried to open the door to where she was, but it was locked.

She said the hardest thing she ever had to do was tell her 6-year-old and 12-year-old that their father had been killed.

Defense attorney David Bruck told the court last month, “He did it … You’re probably wondering, so what we are doing here? Why does there need to be a trial? … The practical reason is that the government has asked for the death penalty after conviction, and because of that, we have a procedure to go through.”

“Our society does not order the death penalty if there are reasons to choose life,” Bruck added. “You’re going to want to understand who this person was and why on earth he would want to cause so much grief.”

Roof also faces a state trial in which he may again face the death penalty.

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Parents of Boy Who Saved Twin Brother from Fallen Dresser Defend Video’s Authenticity

Courtesy Kayli Shoff(NEW YORK) — The parents of the 2-year-old who was caught on camera saving his twin brother from a fallen dresser says the heart-stopping footage is authentic, despite critics claiming the incident was a hoax.

On Monday mom Kayli Shoff posted the video on YouTube, where it was viewed more than 12 million times. But some YouTube users are skeptical of the circumstances surrounding the incident — especially since the dresser drawers were empty and the angle of the security camera was directed on the dresser, not the boys’ bed.

“Basically you can tell they’re pretty active, so we do whatever we can to make sure we can keep it clean,” dad Ricky Shoff said Thursday on ABC News’ Good Morning America. “So they would get into the drawers, pull all the clothes that we had in the drawers and put them out and just throw them all over their room during nap time. So we just decided the easiest thing was to empty the drawers and put all their clothes in the closet.”

Ricky Shoff said there are cameras everywhere in the family’s home in Orem, Utah. He works in sales for a security camera company.

“They’re mounted on the wall and fixed so they don’t move,” he said. “We don’t move them around. That’s where it is.”

Kayli Shoff said she did not hear the dresser fall, but witnessed the aftermath on camera.

“I didn’t hear anything so I go to my phone, looked on the camera, and the dresser was falling down just flat and I didn’t see any kids anywhere,” she said.

“I was frantic, so I ran downstairs, flung open the door and they were just over in the corner playing nice and quiet like nothing happened,” she added.

The Shoffs said their hearts “dropped” after seeing the footage of Bowdy rescuing Brock.

The boys are seen playing in the dresser when it tipped over, pinning Brock underneath. The video shows Bowdy trying to push the heavy furniture from both sides, but it doesn’t move.

He tries to lift it, but that doesn’t work. Bowdy then attempts to push the dresser again and manages to move it, freeing his brother.

Both boys were uninjured.

The Shoffs told ABC News earlier this week that they had not realized their son’s incredible feat until they reviewed the surveillance video.

Kayli Shoff said she bolted the dresser to the wall after watching the video. She later encouraged other parents to take the same precaution.

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Coast Guard: Fire Reported on Gulf of Mexico Oil Platform

iStock/Thinkstock(GRAND ISLE, La.) — Four people were evacuated after a fire broke out on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, the Coast Guard said.

“Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans were notified at approximately 2:30 a.m. that an oil production platform caught fire approximately 80 miles south of Grand Isle,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The Coast Guard said an aircrew was en route to the scene, where several offshore supply vessels were fighting the blaze.

Clean Gulf, an oil spill response organization, has dispatched a team to the platform, according to the statement.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the incident is under investigation, the Coast Guard said.

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Chicago Police Arrest Four in Connection with ‘Sickening’ Assault Video Posted to Social Media

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Four people were arrested in Chicago Wednesday in connection with a “sickening” video posted to social media that allegedly shows the individuals committing a “brutal act” toward a man with “mental health challenges,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a press conference following the arrests.

While on patrol Tuesday on Chicago’s West Side, police officers encountered the victim, who “didn’t seem right” and was in “in distress,” Chicago Police Capt. Steven Sesso said at the press conference. The victim was then transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Around the same time, the suspects were taken into custody for another incident near the address where the victim was found, police said. A Chicago Police press release explained that the officers “responded to a battery at a residence … where they discovered signs of a struggle and damage to the property and were able to link this evidence to the disoriented male.”

Police determined that the individuals arrested were responsible for the “injury and maltreatment” of the victim, Capt. Sesso said.

Officials later became aware of a social media video depicting a battery of an adult male which is believed to be the same individual, police said.

Video of the alleged incident was initially posted on Facebook, but was later removed from the social media site.

CPD press conference regarding disturbing live social media video depicting a battery ; victim was tied up https://t.co/jDrjfz4sJV

— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) January 5, 2017

The suspects — two men and two women — allegedly assaulted the victim and then broadcast it “for the entire world to see,” said Supt. Johnson.

Detectives later determined that the victim had been listed as missing or endangered from a nearby suburb, said Cmdr. Kevin Duffin. Police believe the victim is an acquaintance of one of the suspects and that he went voluntarily when they then stole a van from the suburbs and brought him to Chicago, Cmdr. Duffin said. He may have been held captive for 24 to 48 hours, police said.

Police believe the suspects eventually unbound the victim and let him go. He was later released from the hospital but has been “traumatized” by the incident, Cmdr. Duffin said.

“It’s sickening,” Supt. Johnson said of the video. “It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat someone like that.”

The suspects, three of whom are Chicago residents, are expected to be charged in the next 24 hours, Cmdr. Duffin said. Police will determine whether kidnapping or hate crime charges will be given to the suspects, who he described as “young adults.” They have all given video statements.

Police do not believe any additional suspects were involved in the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

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B-52 Bomber Loses Engine During Training Flight

iStock/Thinkstock(MINOT, N.D.) — A B-52 bomber on a training flight near Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota lost an engine mid-flight but was able to land safely with all of its crew aboard, according to an Air Force spokesman.

The crew “declared an in-flight emergency when the pilot discovered that an engine departed the aircraft,” according to an Air Force spokesman.

“There were no weapons on board and it was a local training mission. The aircraft landed safely with no injuries to the five personnel on board,” the spokesman added.

The incident occurred mid-morning on Wednesday, the same day that departing Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James was visiting the base as part of a farewell tour.

An Air Force helicopter sent to recover the wreckage “located possible engine debris” in an unpopulated area about 25 nautical miles northeast of the base, Air Force officials added.

Officials said that there was no threat to public safety and that an investigation has been started.

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Pistol-Wielding Texas Grandma Runs Off Armed Intruder

KTRK-TV/ ABC News(BOWIE COUNTY, Texas) — A 74-year-old Texas grandmother stood down an armed intruder with the help of her .38-caliber pistol, ABC affiliate KTRK reports.

Rebbie Roberson, of Bowie County, was seated in her recliner getting ready to watch the evening news when she saw a man wearing a mask and gloves break into her home.

“And when I started to get up, he was in here on me with a gun facing me right to my face,” Roberson said.

To the intruder’s shock, Roberson calmly walked over to a table and picked up her gun.

“So I had to walk right out in front of him,” Roberson said. “I didn’t know if he was going to kill me or what. I reached over there and grabbed this gun. And when I swerved around, I pointed it at him and he ran.”

With her pistol in hand, Roberson said she pursued the suspect, firing several shots that left holes in the walls of her home.

“I’m not sure I didn’t hit him. I don’t know yet. I sure tried. I sure was hoping,” Roberson said.

Roberson said that the incident marked the first and, hopefully, the last time she will have to use her gun.

“That was the scare of my life.”

Police say they are looking for a suspect in the incident, which didn’t appear to cause any bloodshed.

“It could have been worse for both individuals, both the victim and the suspect,” Bowie County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jeff Neal said.

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