Review Category : National News

Suspects caught on camera snatching purses off chairs in Manhattan restaurants

artolympic/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’re dining out in Manhattan, be sure to keep your belongings close.

Police on the Upper East Side are searching for two suspects who have stolen purses at multiple New York City restaurants.

On April 18, the NYPD 19th precinct tweeted out a video showing two male suspects sitting behind a woman as one gently slides the woman’s purse off the back of her chair, under the table and into the hands of his partner. The incident took place at the Via Quadronno restaurant on E. 73rd Street.

NYPD told ABC News in an email that the video was captured at 6:49 p.m. and is the fifth incident in a string of similar thefts. The first incident occurred on Dec. 1, 2016, when a 32-year-old female reportedly had her wallet stolen.

“The suspects are targeting purses hanging on the back of chairs and removing property from inside, such as a wallet,” the NYPD said.

Via Quadronno owner Paolo Della Puppa told ABC’s New York station WABC, “Obviously, these people didn’t know we have cameras. They are highly recognizable. I mean, how stupid can you be?”

The NYPD is asking anyone with tips or leads on this case to contact 800-577-TIPS.

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Ex-girlfriend of accused ‘Facebook killer’ meets with victim’s daughters

Cleveland Police(NEW YORK) — The ex-girlfriend of Steve Stephens, the suspect in the Cleveland, Ohio, Facebook killing, said she is trying to “pick up the pieces of my world” after Stephens used her name in a video of a murder he uploaded to Facebook.

“I don’t know if I know how to be Joy Lane anymore. I don’t know how to pick up all the pieces of my world at the moment,” Joy Lane told WJW, a Fox station in Cleveland, on Tuesday. “I’ve got a lot of negative comments…I’ve been told that I’m the one who should have died.”

Stephens, who dated Lane for several years, allegedly gunned down Robert Godwin Sr., 74, in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday and uploaded the video to Facebook.

In the video, which has since been removed from Facebook, Stephens mentions Lane in the moments before the shooting, saying to the victim, “She’s the reason why all this about to happen to you.”

Godwin can be seen raising his hands in an apparent attempt to ward off his attacker before he is shot once in the head.

Two of Godwin’s daughters, Tonya Godwin Baines and Debbie Godwin, met with Lane on Tuesday and told her “[It’s] not your fault.”

“I feel bad,” Lane told the sisters, according to WJW. “The last thing [Godwin] would have said is my name and he didn’t know me or why he was saying it, and that’s been difficult.”

Baines told ABC News Monday that the video “forever will be in my mind because I saw the fear in my father’s eyes.”

Baines said it “feels like our heart is just ripped out of our chest. For somebody to brutally murder my father like that is unbelievable.”

Baines described her father as the epitome of a family man who “would give you the shirt off his back.”

“He taught us about God, he taught us love, forgiveness. Just to know that I will never ever hear my father’s voice again is devastating,” Baines said.

“We can never replace him,” she added, crying. “A part of us died with him.”

Lane told WJW she last spoke to Stephens the night before the shooting and he told her he had quit his job and moved out of the state.

Stephens shot and killed himself after a brief police chase in Erie County, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Police received a tip that the vehicle police were looking for in connection to Stephens, who had been on the run since Sunday, was in a McDonald’s parking lot near Erie, about 100 miles northeast of Cleveland, Calvin Williams, Cleveland’s police chief, said at a news conference Tuesday.

It was a McDonald’s employee who called police after recognizing Stephens while at the drive-thru.

“The drive-thru employee that was working at the time recognized him,” the restaurant’s owner, Tom Ducharme Jr., told ABC News. “Basically told him it was going to be a minute for his fries. He was a little nerved up, a little agitated and didn’t want to wait, said he had to go.”

Surveillance video captured Stephens’ car traveling down the road before police officers eventually rammed his car, bringing Stephens to a stop.

“The vehicles surrounded the white Ford Focus at which time Mr. Stephens took his own life,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Wayne Kline said in a news conference.

Police have not yet confirmed whether the McDonald’s drive-thru employee will be given reward money.

McDonald’s applauded the crew members in a statement Tuesday to ABC news.

“We applaud the crew members at this McDonald’s restaurant who recognized the suspect and did the right thing by quickly alerting the authorities of his location,” a spokesperson for McDonald’s said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s loved ones and all of those impacted by this horrific crime.”

Stephens claimed to have committed multiple homicides, according to police, but no additional victims have been found. The investigation is ongoing, police said Tuesday.

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Queens jogger murder suspect allegedly told police he got ‘madder and madder’ and ‘strangled her’

WABC(NEW YORK) — The Brooklyn man accused of murdering Queens jogger Karina Vetrano allegedly told New York City police detectives he “just lost it” and got “madder and madder and I strangled her” after he encountered the 30-year-old on a jogging path.

Vetrano “didn’t do anything,” the suspect, 20-year-old Chanel Lewis, told police. “I was just mad at the time. I beat her to let my emotions out. I never really meant to hurt her, it just happened.” The never-before-heard details of Vetrano’s death came from statements Lewis gave to police that prosecutors read aloud during his arraignment today in Queens.

Vetrano was fatally strangled on Aug. 2, 2016, while jogging alone in Howard Beach in the borough of Queens, on a path where she and her father often ran together.

According to the account Lewis gave detectives and read in court, Lewis fought with Vetrano for about five minutes. Lewis said she scratched his face and that he hit her five times, breaking her teeth and knocking her out, prosecutors said.

Lewis said he got “madder and madder and I strangled her” before she fell into a puddle and drowned, prosecutors said.

Lewis later told his mother he fell when she asked about the scratches on his face, prosecutors said. He asked police to tell his mother he was sorry, prosecutors said.

Lewis was ordered held and will return to court in July.

Lewis was arrested in February for second-degree murder in connection with Vetrano’s death and pleaded not guilty. Earlier this month, a Queens County grand jury returned a 13-count indictment charging Lewis with four counts of first-degree murder; five counts of second-degree murder; two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

The Legal Aid Society, which is representing Lewis, said in a statement, “Today, Chanel Lewis officially pleaded not guilty to all charges of the indictment. Under New York State law, the Queens District Attorney’s Office must now begin to disclose and turn over all evidence related to the prosecution of this case. Our defense team looks forward to closely reviewing all case documents during this process.”

If convicted, Lewis faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Lewis has been held without bail since his February arrest.

Lewis was first approached by police about the murder the week before his arrest, police said. He gave a voluntary DNA sample, which matched DNA recovered from the crime scene, police said, and he was arrested for second-degree murder.

Police investigating Vetrano’s death had received over 250 leads and taken 600 DNA samples by the time a suspect was arrested.

The New York City Council honored New York Police Department Lt. John Russo earlier this month for his “instrumental role in cracking the case.”

“Connecting the dots, Lt. John Russo of the 106th Precinct spent six months poring through records, eventually finding the suspect,” the New York City Council said.

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Death of New York judge found dead in river is suspicious, police say

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The New York Police department said Tuesday that the death of a New York Court of Appeals judge whose body was found on the banks of the Hudson River in Manhattan last week is suspicious.

The NYPD said it would treat the death of Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first black woman to serve on New York’s top court, as suspicious because there was no immediate indication of suicide or criminality.

“We have a middle aged woman deceased in the water with all her clothes on with no signs of homicide or suicide,” NYPD Sgt. Brendan Ryan told ABC News late Tuesday.

The department said the death appeared to be non-criminal, but “at this point we can’t say for sure,” according to an NYPD statement.

Abdus-Salaam’s body washed up on the banks of the river in an area near Harlem last Wednesday, a day after she was reported missing, police said.

The #NYPD is seeking info on the death of Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam. Anyone with info is asked to call our detectives at the numbers listed. pic.twitter.com/pSXDtuaVTo

— NYPD 26th Precinct (@NYPD26Pct) April 18, 2017

The NYPD said it is seeking people who may be able to shed light on the hours leading up to her disappearance, with hopes that it will help it to establish what happened.

Abdus-Salaam, 65, was appointed to the New York Court of Appeals by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2013. She served as a judge on the Manhattan state Supreme Court for 14 years.

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Police arrest man accused of fatally shooting 3 people in Fresno on same day in ‘hate crime’

iStock/Thinkstock(FRESNO, Calif.) — California police have arrested a man they believe shot and killed three people in three different locations Tuesday in Fresno, California.

Officers witnessed him yell “Allah Akbar,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Tuesday afternoon, adding that he has written anti-government sentiments on social media as well as posts saying that he does not like white people. The murdered victims were white males.

Later in the day, at a press conference Tuesday night, Dyer said he did not believe the murders were related to terrorism, adding that the shootings were “solely based on race,” deeming it a hate crime.

Around 10:45 a.m. local time, police officers with the Fresno Police Department responded to a scene after two gunshots were detected through ShotSpotter, a gunfire locator, according to Dyer. Several more gunshots were detected nearby, Dyer said.

A total of 16 rounds were fired in less than a minute in four different locations, Dyer said.

One of the shooting victims was driven to police in a Pacific Gas and Electric Company truck, Dyer said. That shooting was “unprovoked,” Dyer said.

The suspect then encountered a resident in the neighborhood, who he shot at multiple times but missed, Dyer said. After that, he encountered another man, who he shot and killed, Dyer said.

The suspect, who was armed with a revolver, then dropped shell casings and reloaded his gun before he set off to Catholic Charities on North Fulton Street in Fresno, Dyer said. There, he encountered a man in the parking lot and killed him, Dyer said.

Officers responding to the scene saw a black man running, who got on the ground once he saw the officers, Dyer said.

Police identified the suspect as Kori Ali Muhammad — born Kori McDonald — who was already wanted for an alleged murder of a security guard at Motel 6 on Thursday.

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Fishing crew rescues stranded kayakers off the California coast

Rocky Lee(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — Two kayakers have a California fishing crew to thank for reeling them in.

According to ABC affiliate KEYT-TV, two kayakers on Sunday were drifting miles off the coast of Goleta, 15 miles west of Santa Barbara.

The Stardust Sportfishing crew threw a life ring to the man and the woman who were barely treading water and were not wearing life jackets.

As seen in the video, a kayak is floating in the distance behind the two.

“They put the guy on first,” Jason Diamond, one of the owners of the Stardust, told KEYT-TV on Monday. “He was exhausted, bobbing to the point where his head was going under.”

Once on board, the man and woman continuously thanked the fishing crew for saving their lives.

“We do these drills all the time,” said Diamond. “That was just a good textbook save. Those guys did a great job.”

It is unknown at this time why the two people were stranded or what happened to the kayak.

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One-time DACA recipient deported as Homeland Security disputes status

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A 23-year-old man who was at one time a protected undocumented immigrant under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has been deported to Mexico, according to court documents. The deportation, his lawyers claim, is the first of its kind under the administration of President Donald Trump, a fact disputed by the Department of Homeland Security.

Juan Manuel Montes was deported by Customs and Border Protection on February 18 after illegally entering the United States by climbing over the fence in downtown Calexico, California, according to Homeland Security officials. Court documents note that the status of DACA recipients is terminated if the individual leaves the U.S. without receiving “advance parole.” It is unclear whether Montes had such a clearance.

A #DACA recipient was deported in the middle of the night without access to a lawyer. We’re suing to find out what happened. #JusticeForJuan pic.twitter.com/5qjk1I5LY1

— Nat’l Imm Law Center (@NILC_org) April 18, 2017

Attorneys for Montes filed a lawsuit alleging that he had permission to stay in the U.S. under the program protecting undocumented immigrants to the country who arrived as children.

Montes’ defense claims that he was provided no explanation for his removal. He had lived in the U.S. since he was nine years old and his attorneys reported that he received a renewal of his DACA status and work authorization in 2016 which was not set to expire until 2018. DHS claims that Montes’ DACA status expired in 2015 and that their records do not show that he was issued a renewal.

“Not a single piece of documentation or verbal explanation of what happened to him [was provided],” said attorney Nora Preciado of the National Immigration Law Center, which is representing Montes. Preciado said the lawsuit was filed to determine “what happened” in February and that they are unable to move forward without additional information.

The DACA policy, launched by the Obama administration in 2012, protects persons — often called “DREAMers” — brought into the U.S. during their youth from deportation and provides them with the right to work legally.

Since the launch of his presidential campaign, Trump has promised to interrupt undocumented immigration into the country, but has wavered on the particulars of the DACA policy. The president has said both that DACA is “one of the most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a President,” while also noting that that “DREAMers” “shouldn’t be very worried.”

“I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody,” said Trump in an interview with ABC News’ David Muir in January, adding, “We’ll be coming out with policy on that over the next period of four weeks.”

The White House has yet to expand on Trump’s promise of a policy.

Washington, D.C. lawmakers spoke out about Montes’ deportation Thursday, split along party lines. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, portrayed the administration’s stance as in favor of “an indiscriminate deportation dragnet of appalling inhumanity.”

“The Trump Administration is terrorizing patriotic young people who want nothing more than to live, work and contribute to the country they love — the only home they’ve ever known,” said Pelosi in a statement. The Trump Administration’s cruelty toward the DREAMers disgraces our values as a nation. Shame on them.”

In his own statement, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, claimed Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly promised him “that no one with DACA would lose this protection unless they violated the terms of DACA.”

“I intend to hold him to this commitment,” said Durbin.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, an outspoken proponent of stronger restrictions on immigration shared his thoughts on Montes’ deportation on Twitter, toasting “Border Patrol” with a picture of a beer mug and writing “this one’s for you.”

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Pentagon begins Nuclear Posture Review

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon has begun a Nuclear Posture Review that will guide the strategy for the U.S. military’s nuclear weapons programs and modernization of the nuclear triad over the next decade. The new review will also factor in the current geopolitical reality of frayed relationships with Russia and China that were not present during the last review conducted in 2010.

“The Nuclear Posture Review is a legislatively-mandated review that establishes U.S. nuclear policy, strategy, capabilities and force posture for the next five to ten years,” reads the Defense Department’s website for the review.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27 that, among other things, directed the Pentagon to conduct the Nuclear Posture Review this year.

According to a Pentagon statement issued Monday, the review will “ensure the U.S. nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, effective, reliable and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.”

How many nuclear weapons does the U.S. have?

The review will be led by Bob Work, the deputy defense secretary, and Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and include other agencies, in particular the Energy Department, which is responsible for American’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

A final report is expected to be presented to Trump by the end of the year.

The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review for the first time prioritized the prevention of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. It also defined steps for strengthening existing non-proliferation norms, the securing of nuclear materials around the globe and holding accountable states and nonstate actors involved in proliferation.

According to a Defense Department fact sheet the U.S. also affirmed it would “not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.”

“The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners,” the fact sheet adds.

That earlier review was also conducted at a time when diplomatic relations with Russia were much better than they are now. Relations soured in early 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea, provided military troops to Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and moved Russian troops into Syria to support the Assad regime.

Last week, Trump characterized the state of U.S. and Russian relations as possibly being “at an all-time low”.

The 2010 review also aligned a reduction in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile with the New START Treaty with Russia.

Under that treaty, the U.S. and Russia have committed to reduce their deployed nuclear weapons stockpiles to 1,550 by February 2018. That is the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarines or heavy bombers by the U.S. and Russia.

The United States currently has 1,411 deployed warheads and Russia has 1,765. The higher number of Russian warheads is attributed to an ongoing modernization program.

While Russia has abided by the New START Treaty, the U.S. has accused it of violating the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty by deploying a new nuclear-capable land-based cruise missile.

Current tensions in Asia with North Korea and China will also likely factor into the new review. Since 2010, North Korea has made significant strides in its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program that have the stated goal of placing a nuclear warhead atop a long-range missile capable of reaching the American mainland.

“The president has made clear that he will not accept the United States and its allies and partners in the region being under threat from this hostile regime with nuclear weapons,” Lt. General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

The security relationship with China has also deteriorated with its territorial claims in the South China Sea, where it has built military-capable facilities on seven artificial islands.

The review will likely also have to take into account the Pentagon’s planned modernization program of its nuclear triad: strategic bombers carrying nuclear weapons, ICBMs and submarine-launched ICBMs.

While the Pentagon has undergone a modernization process to keep these decades-old systems viable, it has plans to replace each leg of the triad in the coming decades.

The initial phase of modernization over the next decade could cost $400 billion beginning in 2021, according to initial estimates. With additional work needed after that, there estimates that the modernization of the nuclear triad could cost $1 trillion.

But the replacements for the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman III missiles, a new long-range strategic Air Force bomber and a replacement the Navy’s submarine ballistic missile fleet are still at least a decade away from becoming a reality.

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Police arrest man accused of shooting and killing 3 people in Fresno on same day

iStock/Thinkstock(FRESNO, Calif.) — California police have arrested a man they believe shot and killed three people in three different locations Tuesday in Fresno, California.

Around 10:45 a.m. local time, police officers with the Fresno Police Department responded to a scene after two gunshots were detected through ShotSpotter, a gunfire locator, according to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. Several more gunshots were detected nearby, Dyer told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.

A total of 16 rounds were fired in less than a minute in four different locations, Dyer said.

One of the shooting victims was driven to police in a Pacific Gas and Electric Company truck, Dyer said. That shooting was “unprovoked,” Dyer said.

The suspect then encountered a resident in the neighborhood, who he shot at multiple times but missed, Dyer said. After that, he encountered another man, who he shot and killed, Dyer said.

The suspect, who was armed with a revolver, then dropped shell casings and reloaded his gun before he set off to Catholic Charities on North Fulton Street in Fresno, Dyer said. There, he encountered a man in the parking lot and killed him, Dyer said.

Officers responding to the scene saw a black man running, who got on the ground once he saw the officers, Dyer said.

Police identified the suspect as Kori Ali Muhammad, who was already wanted for an alleged murder of a security guard at Motel 6 on Thursday. He is currently in custody.

Officers witnessed him yell “Allah Akbar,” Dyer said, adding that he has written anti-government sentiments on social media as well as posts saying that he does not like white people.

Fresno police are now in contact with the FBI, but it is unclear if the shootings were terrorist-related.

Further details on the incident were not immediately available.

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Suspect in custody after sheriff’s deputy shot dead in Oklahoma

iStock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) — A man is in custody after he allegedly shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy in Oklahoma and fled the scene earlier Tuesday, police said.

Authorities in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, were searching for the alleged gunman, 45-year-old Nathan Aaron Leforce, who allegedly stole a car and fled after shooting Logan County sheriff’s deputy David Wade earlier today, police said.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the Logan Co Sheriff’s Office & to the family of Deputy Wade,” the Oklahoma City Police tweeted. “His sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

UPDATE: Police have located the Logan County shooting suspect vehicle near County Rd 76/Jaxton Rd. northeast of Guthrie. 1/2

— Oklahoma City Police (@OKCPD) April 18, 2017

UPDATE: The Logan County shooting suspect is described as a white male wearing a black shirt with tattoos on his neck. 1/2

— Oklahoma City Police (@OKCPD) April 18, 2017

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