Review Category : National News

President Obama to Visit Baton Rouge

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(BATON ROUGE, La.) — President Obama is expected to travel to Baton Rouge next Tuesday to get a first hand look at the devastating flood damage in the state.

This is a developing story. Please check back in for updates.

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Blue Cut Wildfires in Southern California Destroy 96 Homes, 213 Other Buildings

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) — Wildfires ravaging Southern California have destroyed a total of 96 homes and 213 other buildings, according to the San Bernardino Fire Department.

Nearly 1,600 firefighters are battling the Blue Cut wildfire east of Los Angeles. On Friday, the San Bernardino National Forest announced that 37,000 acres have burned and the fire has been contained to 26 percent.

#BlueCutFire – 37,000 Acres have burned, firefighters raise containment to 26% @sbcountysheriff @SBCOUNTYFIRE @CHPInland

— San Bernardino NF (@SanBernardinoNF) August 19, 2016

Gusty winds between 30 and 50 mph are expected to continue in the area, and warnings of fire weather and excessive heat are stretching from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest due to the winds and low humidity, with some parts of Southern California have less than 5 percent humidity.

#BlueCutFire – Lytle Creek is still under Mandatory Evacuations – Media please help dispel the rumors.. @sbcountysheriff @SBCOUNTYFIRE

— San Bernardino NF (@SanBernardinoNF) August 19, 2016

At one point during the blaze, more than 34,000 homes and 82,000 residents were under evacuation orders. The ferocious fire began Tuesday morning around 10:30 a.m. in the Cajon Pass in hot, gusty conditions near Interstate 15, officials said.

No fire-related deaths have been reported so far.

On Thursday, local police said three people were arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto and looting for attempting to steal a flatbed truck and other items from a house that was evacuated.

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Georgia Teen Accused of Trying to Hire Undercover Cop to Kill 2 Classmates

Pickens County Sheriff’s Office(JASPER, Ga.) — A Georgia teenager allegedly attempted to hire an undercover officer as a hit man to kill two classmates, according to the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.

The Pickens High School student, identified by authorities as 17-year-old Morgan Miles Morris, was arrested Wednesday evening and charged as an adult with criminal solicitation to commit murder, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release posted to Facebook.

After receiving a tip that Morris was allegedly attempting to hire a hit man, the sheriff’s office said it “arranged for undercover law enforcement officers to meet with Morris.”

The boy allegedly offered an undercover officer $12,000 to kill two students at his high school, according to Capt. Kris Stancil, public information officer for Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.

Morris also offered to go along with the undercover agent at one point and talked about shooting the two students, Stancil told ABC News Friday.

Authorities did not say when the meeting took place.

Morris was still in custody as of Friday, and a magistrate judge denied him bond during his first appearance hearing, Stancil said.

The teen has not yet entered a plea but has obtained an attorney, Stancil said. But he said he did not immediately have the name of Morris’ attorney or contact information on hand.

A spokeswoman for Pickens County’s Clerk of the Superior and Juvenile Courts today referred ABC News Friday to the county’s Magistrate Court clerk when asked for information about Morris’ attorney.

ABC News was not immediately successful in reaching the county’s Magistrate Court Clerk for information.

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Couple Hopes to Inspire With Barbecue for Louisiana Flood Victims

Christian Dornhorst(BATON ROUGE, La.) — A Louisiana couple who served barbecue to flood victims is urging others to pay it forward.

Christian Dornhorst of Port Allen, told ABC News that he and his wife, Amanda, spent $1,840 on food for their two-day barbecue event, and want to inspire others to help those affected by the catastrophic flooding in the state.

“The attention needs to be on this,” Dornhorst said. “Number one, we need to thank all the people that pulled together in the city. The need isn’t over. We need to remember that the fight for these people has just begun. There’s sheet rock that needs to be ripped down, power that needs to be restored…there’s so much that’s going on right now.”

Dornhorst was at work Monday when he decided he’d host a barbecue for the flood victims.

Knowing there was a shortage of food in the area, Dornhorst, an army veteran, asked local grocery stores to set aside the meat they had in stock for his barbecue.

Dornhorst filled 110 coolers with chicken, beef, sausage and 108 pounds of brisket, smoking the meat for five hours. Dornhorst’s employer has offered to reimburse him for all the food he purchased for the cookout, he said.

The barbecue was brought to Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge, where the husband and wife duo shared a tent with law enforcement who were cooking a giant vat of homemade chicken noodle soup.

“It’s been an amazing community effort,” said Patrick Mulhearn, executive director of Celtic Studios.” Baton Rouge has never been more unified. There was a point where it took hours to drop off donations because the outpouring was overwhelming and that’s typical of people in south Louisiana. We find comfort in food.”

The Dornhorsts helped feed 3,000 hungry people that day.

Amanda Dornhorst wrote to ABC News that what her family did was “part of a larger movement” and she is urging others to provide aid to evacuees in Louisiana or “get involved in their own community.”

The day after the barbecue, the Dornhorsts returned to the Celtic Media Centre and served military and police officers who were assisting the victims.

The couple plans on continuing their relief efforts for the foreseeable future.

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Good Samaritans Lift Car to Rescue Trapped Pedestrians, Police Say

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — A group of good Samaritans recently helped rescue three people trapped underneath a car that had run them over in Boston, according to police.

The three victims had been walking on a crosswalk around noon on Thursday “when a silver Mercedes-Benz operated by Shantiqua Steele, 25, of Needham, ran the red light and struck them, partially trapping the victims beneath the vehicle,” the Boston Police Department’s Office of Media Relations told ABC News Friday in a statement.

Steele then exited the car and fled, according to police.

Meanwhile, a group of good Samaritans worked together and “lifted the car and dragged the victims to safety,” police said.

The victims were found “lying in the street being tended to by several witnesses” when officers arrived to the scene, police said. The victims were later transported to nearby hospitals “for treatment of non-life threatening injuries,” police added.

Witnesses helped police locate Needham inside a nearby building, and she was placed into custody, police said.

“During the investigation it was revealed that the suspect did not a have a driver’s license,” police said.

Needham was issued several moving violations and was scheduled to appear in Boston Municipal Court Friday to be arraigned on charges of unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, using a motor vehicle without authority and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury, police added.

It was not immediately clear if Neeham had obtained a lawyer, according to Jake Wark, press secretary for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

Wark told ABC News Friday that in the state of Massachusetts, a plea of not guilty is automatically entered for defendants prior to their arraignment.

A spokeswoman for the Boston Municipal Court told ABC News the arraignment scheduled for Friday was still pending and that information about its outcome would be available later.

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Maryland Apartment Fire: Three Dead, Site of Explosion Identified

Monkey Business/Thinkstock(SILVER SPRING, Md.) — Three of the seven people who died in an Aug. 10 apartment explosion in Silver Spring, Maryland have been identified, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.

Saul Paniagua, 65, Maria Auxiliadorai Castellon-Martinez, 53, and Augusto Jimenez Sr., 62 died during the incident.

Two of these victims were found close to each other, but the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service did not reveal which two.

The site of the explosion was the meter room, directly below one of the apartments, according to Daniel Ward, special agent in charge at the Baltimore Division of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions (ATF).

The blast and three-alarm fire at the Flower Branch Apartments late Wednesday night left at least 34 people with injuries, including three firefighters. Some 100 residents from 28 apartments in two buildings were forced to evacuate, according to Montgomery County Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer.

One building at the complex suffered structural collapse, several others were damaged and storefront windows across the street were shattered. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service division chief David Steckel said the building still presents a “collapse hazard” to investigators and rescue crews, and that hot weather has made their working conditions difficult.

The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the lead of the investigation.

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Alleged Robbers Trapped in Store by Quick-Thinking NJ Clerk

WABC-TV(PATERSON, N.J.) — Dramatic surveillance video caught the moment a quick-thinking store clerk outsmarted two alleged robbers by sneaking out a back door and pulling down the store’s security gates to trap them in.

The incident happened Wednesday afternoon at a Boost Mobile store in Paterson, New Jersey, according to store clerk Tommy Torres.

“Two guys came in and, at first, I thought they were pulling a prank or something,” Torres told ABC News Friday. “But then one guy came to the back and pointed a gun at me.”

That moment was caught on the surveillance video obtained by ABC News Friday.

“They asked me, ‘Where’s the iPhones and Galaxies?’ and I told them, ‘We don’t have those, but you can take whatever phone on the wall that you want or anything in the cash register,'” Torres said.

While the men began going through the register, Torres sneaked out a back door, he said.

Torres then pulled down a security gate in front of the back door and a security gate in front of the store’s main entrance, trapping the men inside, he said.

“I called the police several times saying there was a robbery in progress and that there was a man with a gun inside,” Torres said. “But 30 to 40 minutes passed and there was no police.”

A crowd had gathered in front of the store, and many were watching and laughing at the men trapped inside, according to Torres. He added that several people in the crowd also called 911 and many were wondering what was taking so long.

“Cops eventually came like 45 minutes later, but the robbers had already found a tool in my back office and had escaped from a back window,” Torres said. “They left the phones, but they got away with about $100 in cash.”

One cop explained to Torres that a dispatcher said the call was only a shoplifting incident, so they didn’t think it was that urgent, he said. He added that the cops left behind the surveillance video he wanted to give to them, and that he has called police about it, but hasn’t heard back.

Paterson Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division is looking into the delayed response time, police director Jerry Speziale told ABC New York City station WABC-TV.

The division is trying to figure out whether the delayed response time was because of human error or callers’ improperly relaying information about the incident, Speziale said.

A Paterson Police Department employee on Friday referred ABC News to Sgt. Anthony Lay, who directed the call to the department’s Office of the Chief.

A spokesman for the Office of the Chief declined to comment to ABC News.

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New Jersey Bus Crash Leaves One Dead, 18 Injured

WABC(NEWARK, N.J.) — One person has died and 18 others are injured after two buses collided in Newark, New Jersey, Friday morning, officials said.

The New Jersey Transit buses crashed into each other around 6:02 a.m. near the intersection of North Broad Street and Raymond Boulevard in downtown Newark, according to the Newark Police Department. One of the buses had no passengers on board but the driver — a longtime employee — was killed, according to New Jersey Transit Police.

“NJ Transit is a family and when an incident like this happens, it impacts everyone in a very meaningful way,” NJ Transit Police chief Christopher Trucillo said.

The other bus was carrying 17 passengers and all of them were taken to nearby hospitals for injuries. Several are in critical condition. The bus driver — another longtime NJ Transit employee — was also transported to a hospital for neck, shoulder and back injuries, police said.

The Newark Mayor’s Office and New Jersey Transit Police had initially reported that 19 passengers were injured in the collision.

The passenger-filled bus was on its regular route, from Irvington to Clifton, picking up and discharging passengers when the crash occurred, police said.

Officials suspect one of the buses ran a red light at the intersection, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said.

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will investigate the crash, police said.

Streets are closed because of the accident, police said. Commuters have been advised of bus service delays and detours in the area.

Broad Street & Raymond Blvd in Newark is closed due to bus accident. All buses are detouring to University Ave. Buses may experience delays

— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) August 19, 2016

#NJTBus service in downtown Newark will experience delays/detours due to a bus accident by Raymond Blvd & Broad St, Newark.

— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) August 19, 2016

Dramatic photos from the scene appeared to show one of the buses on its side and crushed nearly in half.

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New Jersey Bus Crash Leaves One Dead, 20 Injured

WABC(NEWARK, N.J.) — One person has died and at least 20 others are injured after two buses collided in Newark, New Jersey, this morning, officials said.

The New Jersey Transit buses crashed into each other around 6:02 a.m. near the intersection of North Broad Street and Raymond Boulevard in downtown Newark, according to the Newark Police Department. One of the buses had no passengers on board but the driver was killed, according to New Jersey Transit Police.

“NJ Transit is a family and when an incident like this happens, it impacts everyone in a very meaningful way,” NJ Transit Police chief Christopher Trucillo said.

The other bus was carrying about 19 passengers and all of them were taken to nearby hospitals for injuries. Seven are in critical condition, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said. The bus driver was also transported to a hospital for neck, shoulder and back injuries, police said.

Officials suspect one of the buses ran a red light at the intersection.

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will investigate the crash, according to ABC’s New York affiliate WABC.

Many streets are closed because of the accident, police said. Commuters have been advised of bus service delays and detours in the area.

Broad Street & Raymond Blvd in Newark is closed due to bus accident. All buses are detouring to University Ave. Buses may experience delays

— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) August 19, 2016

#NJTBus service in downtown Newark will experience delays/detours due to a bus accident by Raymond Blvd & Broad St, Newark.

— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) August 19, 2016

Dramatic photos from the scene appeared to show one of the buses on its side and crushed nearly in half.

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New Jersey Bus Crash Leaves One Dead, 19 Injured

WABC(NEWARK, N.J.) — One person has died and at least 19 others are injured after two buses collided in Newark, New Jersey, Friday morning.

The New Jersey Transit buses crashed into each other around 6 a.m. near the intersection of North Broad Street and Raymond Boulevard in downtown Newark. The driver of one of the buses was killed, the Newark Police Department told ABC’s New York affiliate WABC.

Nineteen passengers were wounded and seven of them have been transported to nearby hospitals in serious condition. The others have non-life threatening injures, police told WABC.

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will investigate the crash, WABC reported.

The two streets are closed due to the accident, officials said. Commuters have been advised of bus service delays and detours in the area.

Broad Street & Raymond Blvd in Newark is closed due to bus accident. All buses are detouring to University Ave. Buses may experience delays

— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) August 19, 2016

#NJTBus service in downtown Newark will experience delays/detours due to a bus accident by Raymond Blvd & Broad St, Newark.

— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) August 19, 2016

Dramatic photos from the scene appeared to show one of the buses on its side and crushed nearly in half.

ABC News has reached out to the Newark Police Department and New Jersey Transit Police for independent confirmation.

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