Review Category : National News

Gunmen Open Fire on Officers Outside Dallas Police Headquarters

dpa1981/Instagram(DALLAS) — Several gunmen opened fire on Dallas police officers outside the department’s headquarters on Saturday and used what witnesses described as an armored van to ram a squad car before leading officers on a chase.

The van was chased to the parking lot of a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant about 13 miles away in Hutchins, Texas, where a standoff continued as officers and those inside the van exchanged gunfire. It’s unclear how many gunmen were involved in the shooting, said police.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said negotiations with the driver were ongoing. The driver told officers he blames police for losing custody of his son and “accusing him of being a terrorist,” said Brown.

No officers were injured in the shootings.

Police also found four bags — including at least one that contained pipe bombs — around the department’s headquarters. Bomb squad technicians detonated the explosives.

Brown said based on witness accounts, as many as four gunmen may have been involved in the shootings outside the department’s headquarters, including some from elevated positions.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Passengers Forced to Evacuate Plane as Smell of Fuel Fills Cabin

Jacquelyn Jones(BOISE, Idaho) — Passengers arriving in Boise, Idaho, were forced to evacuate onto the wing of their aircraft Friday night when they smelled fuel and saw what looked like smoke in the cabin.

Allegiant Air flight 330 had arrived in Boise from Los Angeles about 7 p.m. local time when a fuel spilled occurred while the plane was at the gate, said Boise Airport spokesman Sean Briggs. The passengers saw vapor coming from the spill, which they thought was smoke, he said.

Passenger Niki Hughes told ABC News in an email that vapor was filling the plane and was so strong that people were covering their noses with their clothes.

“They did not make any announcements to the rest of the plane until they noticed that someone had opened the emergency exit,” she said. “The flight attendant made it clear that she was frustrated at the fact that someone opened the door because they would not be able to leave on time now for their next flight. People were visibly scared and confused and the staff on the plane just seemed annoyed.”

Jacquelyn Jones, who later flew from Boise to California, watched from the terminal as the passengers stood on the wing.

“The smell inside the waiting area was very strong and burning my throat and nose,” she told ABC News in an email. “Passengers were very upset.”

There were no injuries, said Briggs. It’s unclear what caused the spill.

Allegiant Air issued a statement, saying, “the safety of our passengers and employees is our number one priority … A review of the incident confirmed that at no time were the passengers or crew members on board the plane in danger.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Gunmen Open Fire on Officers Outside Dallas Police Headquarters

dpa1981/Instagram(DALLAS) — Several gunmen opened fire on Dallas police officers outside the department’s headquarters on Saturday and used what witnesses described as an armored van to ram a squad car before leading officers on a chase.

The van was chased to the parking lot of a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant about 13 miles away in Hutchins, Texas, where a standoff continued as officers and those inside the van exchanged gunfire. It’s unclear how many gunmen were involved in the shooting, said police.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said negotiations with the driver were ongoing. The driver told officers he blames police for losing custody of his son and “accusing him of being a terrorist,” said Brown.

No officers were injured in the shootings.

Police also found four bags — including at least one that contained pipe bombs — around the department’s headquarters. Bomb squad technicians detonated the explosives.

Brown said based on witness accounts, as many as four gunmen may have been involved in the shootings outside the department’s headquarters, including some from elevated positions.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Passengers Forced to Evacuate Plane as Smell of Fuel Fills Cabin

Jacquelyn Jones(BOISE, Idaho) — Passengers arriving in Boise, Idaho, were forced to evacuate onto the wing of their aircraft Friday night when they smelled fuel and saw what looked like smoke in the cabin.

Allegiant Air flight 330 had arrived in Boise from Los Angeles about 7 p.m. local time when a fuel spilled occurred while the plane was at the gate, said Boise Airport spokesman Sean Briggs. The passengers saw vapor coming from the spill, which they thought was smoke, he said.

Passenger Niki Hughes told ABC News in an email that vapor was filling the plane and was so strong that people were covering their noses with their clothes.

“They did not make any announcements to the rest of the plane until they noticed that someone had opened the emergency exit,” she said. “The flight attendant made it clear that she was frustrated at the fact that someone opened the door because they would not be able to leave on time now for their next flight. People were visibly scared and confused and the staff on the plane just seemed annoyed.”

Jacquelyn Jones, who later flew from Boise to California, watched from the terminal as the passengers stood on the wing.

“The smell inside the waiting area was very strong and burning my throat and nose,” she told ABC News in an email. “Passengers were very upset.”

There were no injuries, said Briggs. It’s unclear what caused the spill.

Allegiant Air issued a statement, saying, “the safety of our passengers and employees is our number one priority … A review of the incident confirmed that at no time were the passengers or crew members on board the plane in danger.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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NAACP Stands Behind Chapter President Rachel Dolezal

KXLY-TV(SPOKANE, Wash.) — The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is standing behind Rachel Dolezal, the president of Spokane, Washington’s NAACP chapter, after reports that the 37-year-old may have misrepresented her race when applying for the city’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission.

“One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership,” the NAACP said in a statement Friday.

On the city application form, Dolezal identified herself as white, black and American Indian, ABC News affiliate KXLY-TV in Spokane reported. The city has said it is investigating whether her claims violated any city policies.

But Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal told KXLY-TV that Dolezal is their biological daughter and they are both white.

When a KXLY-TV reporter asked Rachel Dolezal Wednesday, “Are your parents white?” Dolezal removed her microphone and walked away, KXLY-TV said.

ABC News’ attempts to reach Rachel, Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal Friday were unsuccessful.

Amid it all, Dolezal became the center of a social media frenzy, and #RachelDolezal was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter.

Reactions included anger over her possible misrepresentations — but also apparent sympathy. Some commenters even brought up the recent gender transformation of ex-Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner.

Though Dolezal’s application for the city position is being examined, her racial claims may not be an issue for the NAACP.

“For 106 years, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has held a long and proud tradition of receiving support from people of all faiths, races, colors and creeds,” the group’s statement said. “NAACP Spokane Washington Branch President Rachel Dolezal is enduring a legal issue with her family, and we respect her privacy in this matter.

“The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal’s advocacy record,” the group added. “In every corner of this country, the NAACP remains committed to securing political, educational and economic justice for all people, and we encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization.”

According to KXLY-TV, Dolezal reported several hate crimes over the past few years, most recently saying she received a packet of hateful letters at the NAACP’s post office box.

“Hate language sent through mail and social media along with credible threats continue to be a serious issue for our units in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation,” the group said. “We take all threats seriously and encourage the FBI and the Department of Justice to fully investigate each occurrence.”

The NAACP Spokane chapter led by Dolezal did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart said in a statement: “We are committed to independent citizen oversight and take very seriously the concerns raised regarding the chair of the independent citizen police ombudsman commission. We are gathering facts to determine if any city policies related to volunteer boards and commissions have been violated. That information will be reviewed by the City Council, which has oversight of city boards and commissions.”

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NAACP Stands Behind Chapter President Rachel Dolezal

KXLY-TV(SPOKANE, Wash.) — The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is standing behind Rachel Dolezal, the president of Spokane, Washington’s NAACP chapter, after reports that the 37-year-old may have misrepresented her race when applying for the city’s Office of Police Ombudsman Commission.

“One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership,” the NAACP said in a statement Friday.

On the city application form, Dolezal identified herself as white, black and American Indian, ABC News affiliate KXLY-TV in Spokane reported. The city has said it is investigating whether her claims violated any city policies.

But Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal told KXLY-TV that Dolezal is their biological daughter and they are both white.

When a KXLY-TV reporter asked Rachel Dolezal Wednesday, “Are your parents white?” Dolezal removed her microphone and walked away, KXLY-TV said.

ABC News’ attempts to reach Rachel, Ruthanne and Lawrence Dolezal Friday were unsuccessful.

Amid it all, Dolezal became the center of a social media frenzy, and #RachelDolezal was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter.

Reactions included anger over her possible misrepresentations — but also apparent sympathy. Some commenters even brought up the recent gender transformation of ex-Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner.

Though Dolezal’s application for the city position is being examined, her racial claims may not be an issue for the NAACP.

“For 106 years, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has held a long and proud tradition of receiving support from people of all faiths, races, colors and creeds,” the group’s statement said. “NAACP Spokane Washington Branch President Rachel Dolezal is enduring a legal issue with her family, and we respect her privacy in this matter.

“The NAACP Alaska-Oregon-Washington State Conference stands behind Ms. Dolezal’s advocacy record,” the group added. “In every corner of this country, the NAACP remains committed to securing political, educational and economic justice for all people, and we encourage Americans of all stripes to become members and serve as leaders in our organization.”

According to KXLY-TV, Dolezal reported several hate crimes over the past few years, most recently saying she received a packet of hateful letters at the NAACP’s post office box.

“Hate language sent through mail and social media along with credible threats continue to be a serious issue for our units in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation,” the group said. “We take all threats seriously and encourage the FBI and the Department of Justice to fully investigate each occurrence.”

The NAACP Spokane chapter led by Dolezal did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart said in a statement: “We are committed to independent citizen oversight and take very seriously the concerns raised regarding the chair of the independent citizen police ombudsman commission. We are gathering facts to determine if any city policies related to volunteer boards and commissions have been violated. That information will be reviewed by the City Council, which has oversight of city boards and commissions.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Maryland Woman Returns Library Book After 34 Years

Enoch Pratt Free Library(BALTIMORE) — A woman in Baltimore was relieved to finally return a library book. That’s because she checked it out as a teenager and it was 34 years overdue.

Michele Wojciechowski, a writer from Kingsville, Maryland, 15 miles north of Baltimore, said she “completely freaked out” when she discovered the book in her childhood home in Baltimore’s Brewers Hill neighborhood last fall.

“I showed my husband, an accountant, and he said, ‘So what?'” Wojciechowski told ABC News. “I said, ‘No, it’s a library book and it’s overdue.’ He starts figuring out how high the fine could possibly be, which made me feel sick to my stomach.”

Wojciechowski, 47, found the copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, adapted and illustrated by Alice and Joel Schick, in a kitchen cabinet above a refrigerator. The book stamp was dated April 24, 1981, when she was 13 years old.

The library fine could be about $2,500, calculating at a rate of 20 cents a day for 12,346 days. But luckily for Wojciechowski, Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library system caps late fines at $6.

Wojciechowski returned the book Thursday. She also donated copies of her humor book, Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box, to each of the city’s library branches and paid the $6 fine.

“I have the receipt, so the police aren’t going to come get me,” she joked.

“We’re always excited when patrons come forward when they discover books they didn’t return,” said the library system’s director of communications, Roswell Encina. “We always welcome other people to enjoy them too, no matter how long they’ve had it.”

Encina said Wojciechowski’s 34-year-overdue book is not the most overdue book he’s seen since starting at the library in 2007. A World War II veteran checked out a book in 1946 and mailed it back in 2010, he said, and his colleagues recalled even books returned after even longer periods.

“There are always books way overdue,” Encina said. “One good thing about Michele returning this book is to remind people of the importance of people returning books at the library nationwide.”

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Arlington Burial for Guardsman Killed in Helicopter Crash

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In a reversal of a controversial decision, one of the 11 service members killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash off the Florida coast this past month will be allowed to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The family of Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, a Louisiana National Guardsman, had sought his internment at the nation’s most hallowed burial site, just like one of the seven active duty Marines killed in the crash, but was denied because he was not active duty.

Florich was one of four Guardsmen flying a Black Hawk helicopter when it crashed into the waters off of the Florida Panhandle on March 10. Also killed were seven Marines who were being flown by the crew to practice nighttime maneuvers.

An investigation determined that the helicopter crashed because the Black Hawk’s pilots were disoriented by heavy fog that moved into their training area.

Florich’s family appealed the cemetery’s decision to Army Secretary John McHugh who on Friday announced that he had approved an exception.

An Army statement said that after reviewing the Florich family’s request, McHugh agreed that there was a “compelling justification for granting this request for an exception to ANC’s interment eligibility criteria.”

McHugh noted that while Florich “was training in his capacity as a member of the National Guard, others who were killed were considered to be on active duty and were therefore eligible for burial at Arlington without an exception to policy.”

The family’s request for Florich’s burial at the nation’s most hallowed site was denied both by the cemetery and an advisory panel.

With burial space growing more limited at the historic cemetery, the Army had instituted tougher standards several years ago as a means of ensuring burials there for the next 40 years.

That rejection came on the heels of the burial of Marine Staff Sgt. Andrew Seif at the cemetery. Seif was one of the seven Marines killed in the crash.

McHugh noted the evolving relationship between America’s active duty and reserve military forces who are training together “with increasing frequency.”

“When these service members tragically lose their lives while training side-by-side for the same mission in defense of our nation, it is fitting to afford them the same burial privileges,” McHugh wrote in an Army memo.

The Army secretary has also ordered a review of the federal regulations that govern eligibility for interment and inurnment at Arlington “ to see if changes may be needed.”

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Tuna Crabs Invade San Diego Beaches by the Thousands

KGTV(SAN DIEGO) — Thousands of tuna crabs have invaded the beaches of San Diego Bay.

The thumb-sized crustaceans started washing ashore further up the California coast earlier this year, but turned up this week in San Diego in unusually larger numbers, officials said.

They’ve washed ashore periodically over the years because of any number of natural effects, but research scientist Michael Shane of the Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego cited El Nino as the phenomenon that might have pushed the crabs up from their normal habitat far offshore.

The result is certain death and nothing can be done to save the crabs.

“The crabs start to die because the local waters are much cooler,” Shane told ABC News Friday. “Local animals have begun to eat the crabs and they have been found in the gut contents of sea lions, fish, and birds.”

The remaining carcasses will remain on the shore until they decompose or are swept back into the water.

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High School Senior Accepted to 26 Universities

WLS-TV(CHICAGO) — It’s no secret that getting into college is growing more competitive and the cost for a college education is high.

But one graduating senior in Chicago doesn’t have to stress about it.

Arianna Alexander was accepted into 26 colleges — including six Ivy League universities — and was awarded a combined total of more than $3 million in scholarships, ABC News’ Chicago station WLS-TV reported.

Arianna graduated as valedictorian of her class at Kenwood Academy High School in Chicago and earned a 5.1 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

“It was a lot to take in. I received emails, letters. It was just like, ‘Come here, come here!’ They were bombarding me with all this information,” Arianna told WLS.

Among all the acceptances were scholarship offers that mean Arianna can afford college and not worry about the cost.

Arianna was inspired to aim high with encouragement from her parents and seeing a previous Kenwood student awarded with about $1 million in scholarships.

“I planted the seed in Arianna’s mind that you can do the same thing,” her father Pierre Alexander told WLS.

“So when the process got started and a million was achieved, let’s go for two. I said let’s go for three and she did it,” he added.

Ultimately, Arianna sorted through her dozens of options and made the decision to attend the University of Pennsylvania this fall, thanks to the advice from one of her teachers, Paul Brush, WLS reported.

“He said, ‘Do you know about the Wharton School of Business? ‘I said, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about,’” she told WLS.

The Gates Scholarship recipient plans to become an entrepreneur and told WLS she’s already starting the groundwork on the menus for the four restaurants she plans to own.

The Alexander family and Kenwood Academy did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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