Review Category : National News

Twenty-Two Shot in Chicago In 12 Hours; 11-Year Old Girl Among Dead

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Two people were killed and 20 others were wounded in a rash of gun violence over the course of 12 hours in Chicago, two weeks after the city was rocked by gunfire over the Independence Day holiday.

One of the victims was 11-year-old Shamiya Adams, who was shot in the head at a sleepover at a friend’s home in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood at around 9:35 p.m. Friday.

Adams was in a first floor bedroom when gunshots came in through the window, originating from somewhere outside the house, Chicago Police Department spokesman Officer Jose Estrada said.

Adams was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition where she was later pronounced dead, and police are investigating her death as a homicide.

Estrada told ABC News that 22 people were shot between the hours of 3 p.m. Friday and 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Of the people shot two were killed and twenty injured.

A second homicide occurred early Saturday morning at approximately 3 a.m. in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, where police found a man dead of multiple gunshot wounds, Estrada said.

The deadly 12-hour period comes in the wake of a violent Independence Day weekend, when shootings left nine dead and more than 60 injured in Chicago.

“We will keep building on our strategy, putting more officers on the street in summer months, proactively intervening in gang conflicts, partnering with community leaders,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a statement.

Marin Maloney at the Chicago Police Department’s Director of News Affairs did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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Bodies Found in Storage Unit Rented by Unlicensed Funeral Director

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — The bodies of 12 people have been discovered in a storage locker in Weymouth, Mass., and the cremated remains of another 40 people were found in another storage facility in Somerville, Mass.

Both storage units were rented by unlicensed funeral director Joseph O’Donnell.

Charlotte McLaughlin, of Quincy, Mass., wonders if one of those sets of cremated remains belongs to her father, who died in 2012. The family never received his ashes.

“I can’t believe somebody would take vulnerable people in this state of mind that they’re burying a loved one, and take complete advantage of their situation,” McLaughlin said.

O’Donnell is currently in jail, awaiting trial on two larceny charges to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say they are approaching this as a criminal investigation.

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Boy Battling Cancer Asks for Box of Birthday Cards

iStock/Thinkstock(FOXBORO, Mass.) — A 5-year-old Massachusetts boy battling cancer said all he wants for his upcoming birthday is a box of birthday cards.

Danny Nickerson, of Foxboro, Mass., will turn six on July 25. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor this past October — one of the most chemotherapy-resistant cancers. As a result, he has since stopped going to kindergarten.

The boy gets lonely from time to time, and is always happy to get cards with his name written on them.

“He can recognize his name now,” Carley Nickerson, Danny’s mother told ABC News. “When he saw his name on the package from magical fairies on Easter, he was so happy.”

But the packages and cards stopped after Easter.

“He had 33 radiations from November through December last year,” Nickerson said. “We are now getting chemo therapy every two weeks.”

Doctors tell Nickerson that less than 10% of the children diagnosed with this type of cancer live longer than 18 months.

“I don’t really believe in that. He is doing great,” Nickerson said. “Every day is a blessing for us,”

So far, Danny has received about 40 letters.

“I gave him to key to the P.O. box,” Nickerson said. “He was so excited when he opened it.”

Nickerson said Danny loves Lego and Super Mario.

“I wish Lego makes Super Mario toys,” Nickerson chuckled. “That would really make him happy.”

Danny’s birthday is July 25. Cards can be mailed to: Danny Nickerson, P.O. Box 212, Foxboro, MA, 02035.

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Military Firefighting Planes Called Up to Battle Western Wildfires

iStock/Thinkstock(BOISE, Idaho) — Two military C-130 airplanes were activated Saturday morning to help fight raging western wildfires, a spokesman told ABC News.

The two planes belong to the Wyoming Air National Guard 153rd Air Wing and carry a portable tank called a MAFFS — short for Modular Airborne Firefighting System. MAFFS-equipped planes can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in only five seconds.

The aircraft will head from Wyoming to a base in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, and will be assigned to specific fires Sunday, said Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a MAFFS spokesman with the North Carolina Air National Guard.

“We are mobilizing MAFFS to ensure that we continue to have adequate air tanker capability as we experience very challenging wildfire conditions in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and elsewhere in the West,” said Aitor Bidaburu with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho in a press release.

There are eight MAFFS planes in total at bases around the country that are called up when fire activity is high and the U.S. Forest Service runs short on federally-contracted civilian firefighting planes.

In recent years the Forest Service has been criticized for a critical shortage of firefighting air tankers. The fleet has shrunk from around 50 a decade ago to 15 this year. Many of the planes are aging relics dating back to the Korean War.

The Forest Service has increasingly been awarding firefighting contracts to more modern jet aircraft.

Of the 15 non-MAFFS firefighting planes available this fire season, nine are the newer “next generation” air tankers, said Jennifer Jones, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Forest Service. The remaining six are older, so-called “legacy” planes, Jones said.

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Illinois Man Accused of Killing Wife on Valentine’s Day Heads to Trial

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — A former Baptist missionary from Illinois is on trial for allegedly killing his wife on Valentine’s Day so he could be with the Lithuanian college student prosecutors say is his mistress.

Nathan Leuthold, 39, of Peoria, Ill., called police to his home on Feb. 14, 2013, saying he was the victim of a home invasion. It was there that officers found the body of his wife, Denise Leuthold, with a single gunshot wound to the head.

“I observed some kitchen cabinets open, and some kitchen drawers on the floor. I felt that this was not an ordinary burglary,” Officer Richard Linthicum testified.

Investigators say Denise Leuthold was killed with a Glock 40, the same gun Leuthold owns but which is now missing. They also found Internet searches for “how to muffle a gun,” “hitting someone over the head to knock them out,” and “lethal injection,” on Leuthold’s computer.

Leuthold has been charged with first degree murder. Prosecutors say they believe he murdered his wife so he could be with Aina Dobilaite, the 20-year-old college student.

Leuthold and his wife met Dobilaite during a missionairy trip to Lithuania. When she turned 18, the couple sponsored her to come to the United States.

Now prosecutors say they believe Leuthold’s relationship with the college student was more than just a sponsored student.

“I know you want me dead. Why do you want to humiliate me by running around with a 20-year-old,” Leuthold’s wife allegedly wrote in a day planner entry investigators found.

Leuthold’s lawyers say there is no evidence that Leuthold was romantically involved with the college student or that he shot his wife on Valentine’s Day.

If convicted, Leuthold faces up to 45 years in prison.

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Bodies Found in Storange Unit Rented by Unlicensed Funeral Director

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — The bodies of 12 people have been discovered in a storage locker in Weymouth, Mass., and the cremated remains of another 40 people were found in another storage facility in Somerville, Mass.

Both storage units were rented by unlicensed funeral director Joseph O’Donnell.

Charlotte McLaughlin, of Quincy, Mass., wonders if one of those sets of cremated remains belongs to her father, who died in 2012. The family never received his ashes.

“I can’t believe somebody would take vulnerable people in this state of mind that they’re burying a loved one, and take complete advantage of their situation,” McLaughlin said.

O’Donnell is currently in jail, awaiting trial on two larceny charges to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say they are approaching this as a criminal investigation.

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Boy Batting Cancer Asks for Box of Birthday Cards

iStock/Thinkstock(FOXBORO, Mass.) — A 5-year-old Massachusetts boy battling cancer said all he wants for his upcoming birthday is a box of birthday cards.

Danny Nickerson, of Foxboro, Mass., will turn six on July 25. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor this past October — one of the most chemotherapy-resistant cancers. As a result, he has since stopped going to kindergarten.

The boy gets lonely from time to time, and is always happy to get cards with his name written on them.

“He can recognize his name now,” Carley Nickerson, Danny’s mother told ABC News. “When he saw his name on the package from magical fairies on Easter, he was so happy.”

But the packages and cards stopped after Easter.

“He had 33 radiations from November through December last year,” Nickerson said. “We are now getting chemo therapy every two weeks.”

Doctors tell Nickerson that less than 10% of the children diagnosed with this type of cancer live longer than 18 months.

“I don’t really believe in that. He is doing great,” Nickerson said. “Every day is a blessing for us,”

So far, Danny has received about 40 letters.

“I gave him to key to the P.O. box,” Nickerson said. “He was so excited when he opened it.”

Nickerson said Danny loves Lego and Super Mario.

“I wish Lego makes Super Mario toys,” Nickerson chuckled. “That would really make him happy.”

Danny’s birthday is July 25. Cards can be mailed to: Danny Nickerson, P.O. Box 212, Foxboro, MA, 02035.

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Bodies Found in Storange Unit Rented by Unlicensed Funeral Director

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — The bodies of 12 people have been discovered in a storage locker in Weymouth, Mass., and the cremated remains of another 40 people were found in another storage facility in Somerville, Mass.

Both storage units were rented by unlicensed funeral director Joseph O’Donnell.

Charlotte McLaughlin, of Quincy, Mass., wonders if one of those sets of cremated remains belongs to her father, who died in 2012. The family never received his ashes.

“I can’t believe somebody would take vulnerable people in this state of mind that they’re burying a loved one, and take complete advantage of their situation,” McLaughlin said.

O’Donnell is currently in jail, awaiting trial on two larceny charges to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say they are approaching this as a criminal investigation.

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Boy Batting Cancer Asks for Box of Birthday Cards

iStock/Thinkstock(FOXBORO, Mass.) — A 5-year-old Massachusetts boy battling cancer said all he wants for his upcoming birthday is a box of birthday cards.

Danny Nickerson, of Foxboro, Mass., will turn six on July 25. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor this past October — one of the most chemotherapy-resistant cancers. As a result, he has since stopped going to kindergarten.

The boy gets lonely from time to time, and is always happy to get cards with his name written on them.

“He can recognize his name now,” Carley Nickerson, Danny’s mother told ABC News. “When he saw his name on the package from magical fairies on Easter, he was so happy.”

But the packages and cards stopped after Easter.

“He had 33 radiations from November through December last year,” Nickerson said. “We are now getting chemo therapy every two weeks.”

Doctors tell Nickerson that less than 10% of the children diagnosed with this type of cancer live longer than 18 months.

“I don’t really believe in that. He is doing great,” Nickerson said. “Every day is a blessing for us,”

So far, Danny has received about 40 letters.

“I gave him to key to the P.O. box,” Nickerson said. “He was so excited when he opened it.”

Nickerson said Danny loves Lego and Super Mario.

“I wish Lego makes Super Mario toys,” Nickerson chuckled. “That would really make him happy.”

Danny’s birthday is July 25. Cards can be mailed to: Danny Nickerson, P.O. Box 212, Foxboro, MA, 02035.

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Cluster of Plague Cases Confirmed in Colorado

Creatas/Thinkstock(DENVER) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment identified three Colorado residents who have been infected with pneumonic plague.

Each of the residents reportedly had direct contact with a dog that recently died of plague. The initial patient, whose family owned the dog, remains hospitalized. Plague was identified in the dog on July 8, the CDPHE says.

Officials believe the dog had been exposed to the disease through a prairie dog or rabbit that carried plague-infected fleas.

The cluster of plague infections is the first in the United States since 1923.

Plague symptoms include fever, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting. Residents are urged not to handle any dead rodents, keep pets away from wildlife, treat pets for fleas and avoid feeding prairie dogs or other rodents.

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