Review Category : National News

Video Captures Chilling Moment Man Opens Fire on Unsuspecting Police Officers

Alex_Schmidt/iStock/Thinkstock(CHANDLER, Ariz.) — Police in Chandler, Arizona, have released surveillance footage from an April 2016 shootout that left two officers injured and the suspect dead.

On April 23, 2016, at around 6:21 a.m., Officers Joshua Pueblo and Daniel Colwell responded to a non-emergency call about a person trespassing at a Walmart store, police said.

Colwell arrived first and spoke with the suspect, whom police identified as Mitchell Oakley. Police said that shortly after Pueblo arrived, Oakley then shot both officers multiple times.

In the video footage, which shows multiple angles of the scene unfolding, officers can be seen talking with Oakley, who is seated in a chair in front of them. As Oakley stands up, he suddenly starts shooting as shoppers scatter.

Pueblo, 34, was shot three times — in the torso, arm and face, police said. Colwell, 29, was shot two or three times in the torso. The force of the bullets sent him flying through a display. But he was able to get back up and return fire, killing Oakley as he tried to run out of the store, according to police.

“In a matter of seconds, the suspect fired six rounds at the officers,” Officer Seth Tyler, a police spokesman, told ABC News in an email today. “Faced with the threat of imminent death, both officers were exceptional in their actions. The threat was stopped and no innocent bystanders were injured.”

Both officers were wearing ballistic vests.

Chandler police said that Pueblo is still recovering from his injuries — he has nerve damage in his face — and has not returned to duty. Six days after the April shooting, however, he left the hospital to a standing ovation.

Colwell has been back on duty for a few months.

Police said the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office was still investigating the incident. Police did not comment on why Oakley opened fire.

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Chicago Police Investigating ‘Disturbing’ Video Posted Online

welcomia/iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Police in Chicago are investigating after a video posted on social media appeared to show a man being beaten.

Regarding the disturbing video that surfaced on social media of a battery: Incident is under investigation/suspects are being questioned pic.twitter.com/GGi3qs9rGv

— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) January 4, 2017

According to the Chicago Police Department, officers on patrol on Tuesday night noticed a disoriented male walking along West Lexington Street. ABC affiliate WLS in Chicago says that officers later responded to a reported battery on that same street, and discovered signs of a struggle and damage to property. Police believe the scene is connected to the disoriented man.

The CPD says it later became aware of a “social media video depicting a battery of an adult male which is believed to be the same individual.” In the video, the victim was “tied up.”

“At this point CPD believes the video is credible and detectives are questioning persons of interest in the case.”

The victim was taken to a nearby hospital and is in stable condition, police said.

The victim was determined to be “an endangered missing” from a suburb of Chicago.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that the incident would be investigated as a possible hate crime. “It’s sickening,” he said. “It makes you wonder what would make somebody treat someone like that.”

Johnson also said that there was no immediate evidence that the battery was politically motivated, but that it was too early to tell.

CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said that that four people are currently in custody being interrogated.

Police Commander Kevin Duffin said that the people being detained included two adult males and two adult females. Three of the four were from the city of Chicago.

He also said that the victim was an acquaintance of the suspects, having gone to school with them. The suspects are believed to have stolen a van in the suburbs and brought the victim into the city of Chicago.

Charges are expected within 24 hours.

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Three People, Including Infant, Survive Small Plane Crash in Wisconsin: Police

HodagMedia/iStock/Thinkstock(BROOKFIELD, Wis.) — Three people, including an infant, survived after a small plane crashed into a parked car near an airport runway in Wisconsin, according to authorities.

A male survivor suffered the most serious injuries, according to the Brookfield Police Department. The extent of his injuries was not known.

The man’s wife was not as seriously injured, and the infant did not appear to be injured, police said. All three passengers were conscious when emergency responders arrived at the scene.

The man and his wife were taken to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, while the infant was taken to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to be checked out as a precaution, police said.

The three were from out of state, according to police.

The single-engine plane had departed from Capitol Airport when it lost altitude, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson. It is not clear where the plane was traveling to.

It is not clear whether the plane struck something before it crashed into the parked car, police said. No one was in the vehicle when the plane crashed into it.

Both the plane and vehicle suffered significant damage, according to police.

The FAA is investigating the crash. The airport will be closed for the next 24 hours.

The plane and vehicle each suffered significant damage according to authorities.

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Dylann Roof Tells Jury ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Me Psychologically’

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Dylann Roof, addressing the jurors who will decide whether or not he will be sentenced to death, said in an opening statement Wednesday, “there’s nothing wrong with me psychologically.”

Roof, who is representing himself for the sentencing phase of his federal trial, spoke for less than five minutes, telling the jury, “Other than I trust people I shouldn’t … there’s nothing wrong with me psychologically,” ABC affiliate WCIV reported.

When Roof began his statement, one woman spoke out and walked out of the courtroom. Two other women walked out shortly after.

Roof said he’s acting as his own lawyer because he doesn’t want mental health evidence to be presented at his sentencing. Roof asked the jurors to “forget” anything his defense attorneys may have told them about his mental health during the guilt phase of the trial. Last month, the jury found Roof guilty of shooting and killing nine parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, in June 2015.

The government is asking the jury to sentence Roof to death. In the government’s opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Williams said the government plans to break down Roof’s motive, his lack of remorse and the impact his crime had on the victims.

Williams said Roof targeted his victims because of the color of their skin and said he preyed upon their vulnerability.

Williams presented a letter 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.”

Survivors and victims’ families packed the courtroom Wednesday, and many people sobbed during the government’s opening statement. The husband of survivor Felicia Sanders stood up during the government’s statement to move to another row to comfort someone.

Roof’s grandparents, including his grandfather, who is a longtime attorney, were the only family in the courtroom this morning on Roof’s behalf. They sat in silence and showed no emotion.

The first witness called by the government was Jennifer Pinckney, wife of slain pastor and South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

Jennifer Pinckney told the jury her husband was a loving, devoted and involved father to their two young daughters, ages 12 and 7. His nickname for one of his daughters was “grasshopper.”

Jennifer Pinckney said the family loved going to the movies and Clementa Pinckney would often surprise her with gifts.

She said he was a great catch and described him as the person that every mom would want her daughter to meet.

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

Jennifer 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.

Her emotional 911 call was also played in court; in the call, she told the dispatcher she could hear people moaning.

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.
She told the jury she and her daughter could have easily been victims, but she thinks her life was spared so she could continue her husband’s legacy.
The government is expected to call more than 30 witnesses, mostly survivors and victims’ family members, to testify. Survivors Polly Sheppard and Sanders, who were called to the stand during the first phase of the trial, are expected to testify again.
Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel last week he has “no plans whatsoever to call witnesses” during the sentencing phase.

During the sentencing phase, Roof cannot approach the jury, the witness stand or the bench, Gergel wrote in an order. Roof’s standby counsel will sit in the first two seats at the defendant’s counsel table closest to the center aisle and Roof will sit in the third seat, Gergel ordered.

Roof, who is white, was convicted last month of shooting and killing nine parishioners at the predominantly black Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015. The 33 federal counts against Roof included hate crimes resulting in death and obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death.

Roof entered 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 parishioners welcomed Roof into their Bible study group, according to the indictment, after which Roof drew his pistol and opened fire.

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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Long-Lost Black Box From Crashed 1985 Flight Headed to NTSB

Dan Futrell/Isaac Stoner(NORWOOD, Mass.) — The National Transportation Safety Board has retrieved the remains of a long-lost black box belonging to 1985’s ill-fated Eastern Airlines Flight 980.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, at a small airport in Norwood, Massachusetts, NTSB investigator Bill English met with Dan Futrell and Isaac Stoner to pick up pieces of evidence to one of the biggest aviation mysteries of the 20th century.

Several pieces of mangled orange metal and a spool of magnetic tape are on the way to the NTSB’s laboratory in Washington, D.C.

In May 2016, two Bostonians, Dan Futrell and Isaac Stoner, climbed Bolivia’s Mt. Illimani and, at an elevation of 16,000 feet, recovered what appears to be the flight recorders from the U.S. airliner, a task many experts and investigators thought was impossible.

Flight 980 crashed on Jan. 1, 1985, on its approach to the airport outside La Paz, Bolivia. El Alto, as the airport is commonly called, is the highest international airport in the world with a runway perched at over 13,000 feet. There were 29 people on board the Boeing 727, including eight Americans. No one survived, and multiple international efforts to recover the flight recorders ended fruitlessly because of the inaccessibility of the crash site, the NTSB previously said.

International regulations dictate that the nation where an accident occurs is in charge of any investigation. After the discovery by Futrell and Stoner this spring, the NTSB offered its services, but the agency needed the green light from Bolivia before proceeding.

Months of efforts by the adventurers and ABC News to reach the Bolivian embassy in Washington, D.C., were unsuccessful.

During that time, the NTSB and the U.S. State Department awaited permission from the Bolivians to analyze the tapes.

It wasn’t until Dec. 1, when Capt. Edgar Chavez, the operations inspector at the General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Bolivia, emailed ABC News confirming the Bolivian government would allow the NTSB to look at the tape found by Futrell and Stoner.

He was unable to say when that would occur. However, he added that his agency was “still working on the paperwork.”

Chavez did not responded to follow-up calls and emails from ABC News requesting an update or another interview.

On Dec. 21, the NTSB confirmed that it was arranging for the retrieval of the black box from Boston.

Wednesday’s hand-off marks the end of months of diplomatic red tape preventing the NTSB from looking at the tapes.

The analysis of the tapes is expected to take no more than a few weeks. After that, the NTSB will report its findings to Bolivian authorities, according to the NTSB.

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Series of Storms to Bring Heavy Rain, Snow, Frigid Air Across Country

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Rain, snow and brutal cold are in store for much of the country this week as several weather systems move in from the west.

Powerful storms are set to drench California over the next few days, threatening floods and mudslides. Over a foot of rain is possible in low-lying areas in central California by Saturday and several feet of snow could accumulate in elevated regions, including the Sierra Nevada range and the Rocky Mountains, according to ABC News meteorologists.

Thousands of residents in the San Francisco Bay Area were already left without power due to strong winds and heavy rain Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, an arctic blast is headed for the Midwest and the Northeast regions. ABC News meteorologists say wind chills, or feels-like temperatures, in Midwestern cities could dip as low as -45 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday.

“Frostbite can set in in as little as 10 minutes,” warned ABC News senior meteorologist Max Golembo.

This frigid cold will begin to spread east, hitting cities in the Northeast down to the Southeast by Thursday morning. Wind chills could fall to -2 degrees Fahrenheit in Buffalo, New York, and 19 degrees Fahrenheit in Washington, D.C., according to ABC News meteorologists.

As the arctic air mixes with several weather systems brewing out west, ABC News meteorologists say snowfall is possible on the East Coast from north to south over the weekend. The first system could bring light accumulations of snow to the northeast Friday morning.

The second system could deliver rare heavy snow to northern Georgia and the Carolinas. This storm could then track close enough to the East Coast to dump some fresh snow on the coastal Mid-Atlantic and major Northeast cities, such as Boston and New York City.

“This could change dramatically as we get closer to the weekend and the storm could go out to sea,” Golembo said. “Stay tuned.”

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Sentencing Phase Begins in Dylann Roof Federal Death Penalty Case

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — The jurors who found Dylann Roof guilty of killing nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, return to a federal courtroom to decide if he will be sentenced to death or to life in prison.

The government plans to call more than 30 witnesses, mostly survivors and victims’ family members, to testify. Survivors Polly Sheppard and Felicia Sanders, who were called to the stand during the first phase of the trial, are expected to testify again.

Roof, who is representing himself, told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel last week he has “no plans whatsoever to call witnesses” during the sentencing phase.

During the sentencing phase Roof cannot approach the jury, the witness stand or the bench, Gergel wrote in an order. Roof’s standby counsel will sit in the first two seats at the defendant’s counsel table closest to the center aisle and Roof will sit in the third seat, Gergel ordered.

Roof, who is white, was convicted last month of shooting and killing nine parishioners at the predominantly black Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015. The 33 federal counts against Roof included hate crimes resulting in death and obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death.

Roof entered 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 parishioners welcomed Roof into their Bible study group, according to the indictment, after which Roof drew his pistol and opened fire.

In a police video interview of Roof that was played in court, Roof laughed as he admitted to the shooting, saying he used a Glock 45 to do it. “I didn’t say anything to them before I pulled it out, not even one word,” Roof said of the gun in the video. “I mean they reacted after I shot them.”

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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LIRR Commuter Train Crashes in Brooklyn, NY; Over 100 Injured

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) commuter train crashed at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, New York, Wednesday morning, injuring 103 passengers, officials said.

The worst injury is believed to be a broken leg, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

According to a spokesperson for the New York Fire Department, “one of the rails actually pierced the bottom of the train … we are fortunate we didn’t have more serious injuries.”

Cuomo said the train did not stop before the track’s bumping block but it was traveling as a “fairly low rate of speed.”

There will be an investigation to find out what happened and why the operator didn’t stop the train, he added.

An LIRR passenger told New York ABC station WABC-TV that she heard a big thump, describing the scene as total pandemonium. She said passengers were falling on top of each other, screaming and crying.

About 600 people were on the train at the time of the derailment, according to WABC. The incident happened on LIRR track 6 around 8:30 a.m. The terminal is located near the Barclays Center.

Another woman told WABC she believed the train was traveling at a faster speed than usual right before the crash.

Cuomo emphasized that Wednesday’s incident was “minor” compared to the crash at Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey on Sept. 29, 2016, that killed one bystander and destroyed part of the historic train terminal.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration are involved in the investigation.

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Lyle Menendez on Prison Life, Separation from His Brother Erik Menendez

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation(IONE, Calif.) — Lyle Menendez has spent the past 26 years in prison, where he is expected to remain for the rest of his life. But in many ways he feels happier there, “more at peace,” he said, then on the outside.

“It’s shocking to think … that I could have been involved in taking anyone’s life — and my parents’ life… it seems unimaginable because it seems so far removed from who I am,” Menendez told ABC News during a recent phone interview from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.

“But I found that my own childhood prepared me surprisingly well for the chaos of prison life.”

On Aug. 20, 1989, Lyle Menendez, then 21, and his brother Erik Menendez, then 18, opened fire on their wealthy parents inside the family’s Beverly Hills mansion, using shotguns they had bought just days before the murders.

Their father, Jose Menendez, was a successful Cuban-American business executive and had been shot point-blank in the head. Their mother, Mary “Kitty” Menendez, a homemaker and a socialite, had been shot several times in her torso and face, leaving her unrecognizable. Both had been shot in the kneecap, which authorities argued was the brothers’ attempt to make it look like a mob hit.

“I am the kid that did kill his parents, and no river of tears has changed that and no amount of regret has changed it,” Lyle Menendez told ABC News. “I accept that. You are often defined by a few moments of your life, but that’s not who you are in your life, you know. Your life is your totality of it… You can’t change it. You just, you’re stuck with the decisions you made.”

Authorities arrested the brothers in March 1990 after their psychologist’s girlfriend went to police claiming Erik had confessed the murders to the psychologist during a session and Lyle had threatened the doctor’s life, thus voiding doctor-patient privilege.

“I was just living in the wake of what had happened,” Lyle Menendez, 48, told ABC News. “Now you have secrets upon secrets. I was just trapped in the same nightmare of these things that I obviously cannot tell anyone about.

“You’re not living in the reality of what has occurred and why it occurred with anyone in your life,” he continued. “Emotionally you’re a ghost. You’re just living like a ghost among people that are alive.”

The Menendez brothers’ murder trial was one of the most notorious and publicized cases of the ‘90s. Millions of Americans tuned in as the trial was broadcasted live on CourtTV.

Courtesy Brian AndersenProsecutors alleged that the brothers, who lived a life of privilege, murdering their parents out of greed, hoping to get their hands on the family fortune, while the defense argued the brothers’ acted in self-defense after years enduring their parents’ abuse.

“My own father, he was a person of means and stature, and my mother was sort of a socialite-type person, a country club type person,” Lyle told ABC News. “No one’s going to intervene in how they raise their family.”

Erik testified that he and his brother lived in fear of their father, who they claimed had sexually abused him. Erik said he had been abused for many years and that the brothers believed their father would have killed them to prevent the family secret from getting out. They testified that their mother knew what their father was doing and did nothing to stop it.

“Very quickly as you get older… each secret gets closeted away, each traumatic experience you just closet it away,” Lyle Menendez told ABC News. “Because that’s the only way you can sort of survive it.”

Lyle claimed that the shared experiences of alleged abuse by their father bonded him and his brother “through secrets.”

“It’s so painful and complicated and confusing,” he said. “We have an intimacy related to that shared experience… [and] the bond become very great and intense.”

“I’m the older brother so I find myself trying to protect Erik quite a bit through childhood, but pretty much trying to survive,” Lyle continued. “It was pretty crushing to in the end to realize that I had not been able to protect to or save him from such horrible abuse as I thought. I thought we had sort of survived early childhood pretty well and that turned out not to be true.”

Kitty Menendez’s brother Brian Anderson denied his nephews’ claims that they were abused at home.

“There was certainly no indication of any kind that there was ever any abuse,” Anderson told ABC News in a recent interview. “It just didn’t happen. It just didn’t happen. I think the motive was strictly money.”

ABC NewsThe initial trial ended on Jan. 13, 1994 in a mistrial. Jurors were deadlocked with some believing the brothers should be convicted of manslaughter because of the abuse they alleged, while others, who believed the brothers had committed the crime for money, voted for first-degree murder.

At the second trial in 1995, in which TV cameras were not permitted inside the courtroom, the judge ruled that the defense’s evidence regarding the brothers’ alleged abuse by their parents, including testimony from dozens of family members, was not allowed. The judge also decided not to give jurors the choice to vote on a manslaughter conviction.

The Menendez brothers were convicted of first-degree murder on March 20, 1996, and sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole. Over the next decade, they appealed their case up to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals but were denied each time.

Today, Lyle said he has “accepted” his prison sentence and spends his days focused on keeping a good quality of life behind bars.

“I’m very different than I was as a late teen, simply by way of the fact that just a huge weight off my shoulders having gone through this trial, having been able to talk about what happened in my family,” Lyle said. “I don’t live for the future now. I just sort of — I just take each day, short-term goals.”

Erik Menendez, now 46, declined to be interviewed for this ABC News report, but told ABC’s Barbara Walters in a 1996 interview that he felt “tremendous remorse” for the slayings. At the time he said, “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what happened and wish I could take that moment back.”

The two men were sent to different prisons after their conviction and haven’t seen each other in years, though they have communicated over letters and Lyle said their “bond is really strong.” Lyle said his brother works with terminally ill and physically challenged inmates at the Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California, where he is serving his sentence.

“I really wondered, separated from me and so on, how would he do?” Lyle said. “It’s just amazing to me that you can come from such terrible circumstances and then grow up to be someone who is so empathetic, so I’m very proud of him.”

Both brothers have gotten married while in prison. In 1999, Erik married Tammi Menendez, a pen pal he corresponded with for years. Lyle first married former model Anna Erickson in 1996, and then married his second wife Rebecca Sneed in 2003. Neither brother has children, though Tammi has a daughter named Talia from her first marriage. Under California law, conjugal visits are prohibited for those sentenced to life without parole.

“One thing I’ve learned is that your physical comfort is much less important than your connection with the people around you,” Lyle told ABC News. “I’ve found I can have a healthy marriage that is complicated and built around conversation and finding creative ways to communicate, sharing, without all the props that are normally there in marriage in terms of going out to dinner and having as much intimate time together and so on.”

Even after all these years, Lyle said he and his brother have “almost never talked about” the murders because it’s “just too overwhelming.”

“My life is a struggle [to] not to be defined by what happened,” Lyle said. “I’m at peace with my life growing up. I’m at peace with it, because I’ve just sort of accepted [that] it’s okay not to understand.”

Watch the full story in the two-hour ABC News special, Truth and Lies: The Menendez Brothers, on Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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LIRR Commuter Train Derails in Brooklyn, NY; Injuries Reported

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Long Island Railroad (LIRR) commuter train derailed at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, New York, Wednesday morning.

Officials said 18 people suffered minor injuries; none were serious.

The train apparently hit the platform or a bumper at a very low speed, according to New York’s Office of Emergency Management.

The crash happened around 8:30 a.m. The terminal is located near the Barclays Center.

Story developing…

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