Review Category : National News

Grieving families speak out as police hunt for killer of two Colorado teens

Courtesy of the families(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) — As authorities in Colorado hunt for the killer of two teenagers who were found dead on the side of a road, their families are left grieving.

Derek Benjamin Greer, 15, and Natalie Partida, 16, were found dead Sunday morning, their bodies lying on the shoulder of a road 15 miles from their high school in Colorado Springs, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said.

Natalie’s cousin, Hannah Ortega, told ABC News’ Good Morning America that Natalie and Derek “went everywhere together.”

“They loved each other,” Ortega said. Derek was Natalie’s “truest friend,” she said.

“They had a whole life to live,” she continued. “They don’t get to have kids, they don’t get to graduate high school, they don’t get to work their dream jobs, they don’t get to live anymore. Nobody deserves to get their life taken.”

Natalie’s grandmother, Margaret Partida, told GMA that “[Natalie] meant the world to us. Natalie was a girl full of just joy and happiness. She always had a smile on her face.”

Partida, overcome with emotion, recalled the last words her granddaughter said to her.

“She had a couple of tears in her eyes, and she said, ‘Grandma, I want to tell you how much I love you,'” Partida said. “I never dreamed that would be the last I would see of my granddaughter.”

Partida said she has no idea who committed the crime.

“It ended so quickly,” Partida said. “They were just beginning life.”

Derek’s mother, Heather Ferguson, told GMA she wanted to speak out because “he wasn’t just somebody’s garbage. He deserves to be remembered and deserves to have justice.”

She described Derek as “so loving.”

“He was my best friend and loved me so much,” she said.

Derek’s stepfather, Jeff Ferguson, said Derek was always talking and usually the center of attention.

“He made an impression on people,” he said.

He added, “We just hope that at some point the person or persons who did this realize how many lives they destroyed.”

“A part of you is gone, forever,” Heather Ferguson said. “Our home will never be the same.”

While the sheriff’s office ruled the deaths as homicides, authorities have not released how the teens were killed, saying they are waiting until the toxicology reports come back.

As police look for the killer, Jacqueline Kirby, spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, said authorities are “aggressively pursuing all leads.”

The sheriff’s office asks anyone who “sees anything out of the ordinary for their area” to call the sheriff’s office at 719-390-5555.

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EMT dead after being run over by own stolen ambulance in New York

Monkey Business Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An FDNY EMT and mother of five is dead after her ambulance was stolen and she was then hit by her own vehicle.

The incident occurred in the Bronx, New York, at just after 7 p.m. on Thursday, a police source told ABC News, and involved two EMTs, both female.

The deceased EMT has been identified by the FDNY as Yadira Arroyo, 44, a 14-year veteran of the FDNY. “#FDNY mourns the loss of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo, Station 26, who was killed in the line of duty tonight while serving our city,” the FDNY tweeted.

At a press conference late Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Arroyo was “lost in the line of duty … bravely doing her job … We lost a good woman.”

NYC Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro added, “No matter how many times we do this, it doesn’t make it any easier.”

The ambulance was driving when it was flagged down by a pedestrian who was looking for help with an emotionally disturbed person acting out on the sidewalk, the source said.

Arroyo got out to help, while the EMT in the passenger seat stayed in the vehicle, the source said. The person acting out then got behind the wheel of the ambulance and proceeded to drive away.

Arroyo grabbed onto the ambulance and was dragged along, according to the source. When she let go, the suspect then backed the vehicle up and ran her over. As the suspect tried to drive away, the ambulance crashed into a parked car.

An off-duty MTA police officer who happened to be driving by subdued the suspect with the help of some passers-by, the source said. The suspect has been identified by Nigro as a 25-year-old male.

Arroyo’s partner in the vehicle suffered only minor injuries, though police initially said she was in critical condition.

The incident is being investigated.

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New York City prepares for 256th Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

(Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images) New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio marches in the 2016 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.(NEW YORK) — New York City will hold its 256th Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on Friday morning and the city is working hard to prepare.

Following this week’s snowstorm, sanitation crews spent Thursday moving huge piles of snow and ice into a melting machine, hoping to clear intersections and swaths of Fifth Avenue.

The city expects 150,000 marchers on Friday, and as many as two million spectators.

Security is expected to be on alert Friday, in similar fashion to the levels it was for the Thanksgiving Day Parade and for New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Sand trucks and other vehicles will be placed at intersections to prevent rogue vehicles from entering the parade route.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will march in the parade, which he had boycotted until last year, when gay and lesbian groups were allowed to participate. The honorary grand marshal will be Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health.

In a first, the parade will march past the home of the sitting president — Trump Tower. Spectators will not be allowed to watch from the sidewalk across from the building, and 57th Street will be closed until the parade passes.

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Airport security officer hailed a hero for thwarting man’s apparent suicide attempt

Starflamedia/iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — A security officer at Los Angeles International Airport is being hailed a hero for stopping an apparently suicidal man from jumping off a pedestrian bridge inside the airport’s international terminal.

The incident occurred at around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Los Angeles airport police told ABC News.

John Solis, a 40-year old security officer, was walking across the pedestrian bridge leading from the international terminal’s screening area to the grand hall when he saw a 25-year-old man throw his leg over the bridge railing “with the intent to fall, [60] feet to the ground below,” airport police said in a press release.

“Solis quickly grabbed the distraught man, pulled him from the railing, and away from the edge,” the release continues. “The man laid on the ground and refused to speak while Solis tried to console him. Suddenly the young man leapt to his feet, threw his leg over the railing again, and tried to jump. Security Officer Solis grabbed him, wrestling him to the ground as help arrived.”

Chief of Airport Police David Maggard praised Solis’ quick thinking, crediting him with saving the man’s life.

“Security Officer Solis, like our other employees, is constantly prepared for situations involving people who are distraught,” Maggard said in a statement. “I am proud of him, and all of my officers for their ability to balance compassion and respect as part of their response.”

The man, who has been put on a mental hold, is alive and doing well, airport police said.

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One dead, one injured after EMTs run over by their own stolen ambulance

Monkey Business Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — One EMT from the Fire Department of New York is dead and another is injured after their ambulance was stolen and they were run over with their own vehicle.

The incident occurred in the Bronx, New York, at just after 7 p.m. on Thursday, according to local ABC-owned station WABC. Police said the EMTs were standing outside the ambulance when it was taken, WABC reported.

The victims were rushed to a nearby hospital, WABC reported. One of the victims has since died, while the other remains in critical condition, ABC News has confirmed.

A person is under arrest and the incident is being investigated, according to WABC.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Muslim Marine is traveling the US with a sign saying, ‘Ask anything’

(Credit: Mansoor Shams) Mansoor Shams, who served for four years as a Marine, is traveling the U.S. to educate people on what it is to be a Muslim. (NEW YORK) — A U.S. Marine is traveling around the country with a sign that reads, “I’m A Muslim U.S. Marine. Ask Anything.”

Mansoor Shams, who served four years in the Marine Corps before being honorably discharged in 2004, said he aims to foster a greater understanding of his religion among people who may have never met a Muslim before.

The Baltimore, Maryland, man was inspired to go on his quest after his religious community ran a campaign called, “Meet a Muslim,” where community members would go out and engage people in conversation.

“I was inspired by that for sure and felt that I could have an ever greater impact because of the resume I held,” Shams, 34, told ABC News.

“Given the current day climate … I came to realize that it’s time for people like myself to sort of come out of their comfort zone and and engage in conversation,” he added. “That’s the only solution … within my abilities.”

Shams has stood holding his sign for a couple of hours at a time in places such as his hometown in Maryland and locales in Colorado, Washington and New York.

He recalled an encounter in Houston, Texas, that he said he’ll never forget.

“A gentleman walked by and he sort of stared me down in a very, very bad way,” Shams said.

Eventually the man came up to Shams asking him, “What did you say?”

Shams said he told the man, who appeared to be white and in his 50s, “‘You gave me an evil look, man!'”

“And I just stand there to see what’s about to happen, and he just sort of calms down,” Shams continued. “[He said] ‘You know, I just want to apologize to you. I didn’t read the whole sign.’ He only read the Muslim part.”

Shams said he then asked the man, what if that was all his sign said? He said his question led to a civil conversation in which the man said, “‘I’m sorry. You’re right. I’ve been ignorant. I feel like I’m being played like a pawn. Help me to understand.'”

The two would go on to exchange numbers and have kept in touch to this day.

Shams is now planning a trip to Tennessee and Kentucky next week. He also plans to go to Georgia and Alabama in April.

“I believe that it’s my responsibility and sort of a duty, a job, an obligation upon myself, particularly for me as a Muslim Marine,” Shams said. “I was giving back to my country in uniform and now I’m giving back to my country in a different way.”

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City bus driver takes in young child wandering streets

iStock/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) — A city bus driver in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is being lauded as a hero after she rescued a young child wandering the streets in the middle of the night in some clothes and socks.

Denise Wilson, a driver with the Milwaukee County Transit System, was taking a short break during her shift in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 when she came across the 5-year-old boy.

“It’s after midnight, so I’m just like, am I really seeing what I’m seeing?” she told ABC affiliate WISN-TV. “He came out of nowhere, out of nowhere. I just happened to look over and heard him crying.”

Footage from cameras on the city bus show Wilson carrying the little boy onto the bus and out of the frigid cold. WISN-TV said the high that morning was 31 degrees; the low, 22 degrees.

“You OK?” she can be heard asking him. “Still cold? Still a little cold?”

As they waited for police to arrive, Wilson said she gave the child her jacket and something small to eat.

Milwaukee police said that the child was reunited with his family and that it was determined he’d “left the house by mistake.”

Wilson said she didn’t consider her actions as heroic.

“I’m happy I made that stop. You know, I always say God puts us in places, you know, where he needs us at times,” she said. “I don’t look at it as being a hero, [I look at it as] just being there to help.”

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Detroit suspect attacked officers ‘unprovoked’ with apparent intention to kill: police

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) — A 60-year-old man suspected of allegedly shooting and injuring two Detroit police officers fired at the two policemen “unprovoked” with the apparent intention of killing them, police said.

The suspect who police said has no history of violence, though he had two burglary convictions 20 years ago, was arrested late Wednesday blocks from the scene on Detroit’s west side where he had earlier opened fire on two officers.

“The suspect armed himself, fired several shots striking both officers, unprovoked,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a news conference Thursday morning of the incident the night before. “Clearly he was aggressively trying to kill our officers.”

One of the injured officers was wearing body armor that stopped two bullets toward his chest, police said. He suffered a gunshot wound to the ankle. The other officer was shot in the neck, Craig said. Their injuries are not life-threatening, police said.

After shooting the two officers, the suspect “continued to make an attempt to engage them as they were trying to gain some concealment and cover,” Craig said.

The suspect then fled a few blocks away. As other officers approached him there, “he, in a second attempt, tried to attack these officers. Fortunately he was taken into custody without incident,” Craig said.

The two injured officers have not been identified. One is a 20-year veteran of the police force, and his partner is a four-year veteran, police said.

The suspect, who has yet to be charged, also suffered a gunshot wound in the exchange of fire with the two officers. His injury is also not life-threatening, police said.

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Boy, 10, dies after being trapped in snow pile from late-winter storm

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A 10-year-old boy died in upstate New York on Wednesday after becoming trapped in a pile of snow from this week’s storm.

Investigators believe the boy was digging a tunnel into the snow pile when it collapsed on him in the town of Pendleton, New York, some 15 miles east of Niagara Falls. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident at approximately 3:40 p.m. ET and the child was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The boy’s name is being withheld until family members are notified.

The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office said the death is being investigated by its criminal investigation bureau but the incident appears to be accidental.

The incident marked the sixth weather-related death from the late-winter snowstorm that pummeled the Northeast region on Tuesday.

Because the storm shifted west from its originally projected path, the New York City-area got notably less snow than anticipated while some towns further inland were buried. The National Weather Service reported 16 inches of snow had fallen in Niagara Falls and about 28.8 inches had accumulated in Lockport, some 7 miles northeast of Pendleton.

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Barack Obama visits Hawaii, hits the links and enjoys fine dining

Noi Thai Cuisine(NEW YORK) — Barack Obama is making the most out of post-presidency life.

The former commander-in-chief headed to the Aloha State this week, where he’s been spotted hitting the links, dining out and, of course, attracting throngs of photo-snapping fans wherever he goes.

On Tuesday night, Obama headed to Noi Thai Cuisine at Honolulu’s Royal Hawaiian Center, where he had dinner in a private dining room with a group of friends and his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, a restaurant spokeswoman tells ABC News.

The restaurant’s general manager, Ying Rosawan, says Obama was “very friendly and down to earth, as well as very cool.”

Rosawan adds, “We wanted President Obama and his party to have a nice, quiet dinner at Noi Thai. We did our best to keep it under wraps the whole day — even diners on the other side of the restaurant had no idea the president was eating here. Only a handful of people knew he was coming. We only told our staff just before he came. In the end, it was so worth it, and we really hope to see him on his next visit back home to Hawaii.”

Noi Thai Cuisine posted photos of Obama with restaurant staff on its Facebook page, writing “It was an honor to welcome former President Barack Obama in Noi Thai Cuisine Hawaii. He was as warm and friendly as anyone you could meet!!”

Earlier Tuesday, Obama was spotted playing golf at Mid Pacific Country Club in Kailua.

Obama is believed to have arrived in Hawaii, where he was born, on Monday. That evening, he dined at one of his regular spots, Buzz’s Steakhouse in Kailua.

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