Review Category : National News

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigns following allegations of using state resources to hide affair

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has resigned following allegations that he used state resources to cover up an affair he was having with one of his top aides.

On Monday, Alabama lawmakers began impeachment hearings for the Republican governor, whose alleged indiscretions with aide Rebekah Mason were detailed in a report by Jack Sharman, a veteran Birmingham-based lawyer.

“Governor Bentley directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests and, in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia, subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks intended to protect his reputation,” the report states.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey will replace Bentley as governor.

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

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Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof ‘is not all bad,’ grandfather says

ABC News(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Families of the Charleston church shooting victims — and the grandfather of the convicted killer — spoke out in court Monday as Dylann Roof pleaded guilty to all state charges against him.

As Roof’s grandfather Joe Roof, a longtime real estate lawyer in Columbia, South Carolina, addressed the court for the first time, he said, “Dylann is not all bad.”

His grandson, who is white, has already been convicted of hate crimes in a federal case and has been sentenced to death for the murders of nine black parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.

“We’re sorry,” Joe Roof said, adding, “We have been distressed and just sick over what has happened to these families.”

“My wife and I have them in our prayers every night, every meal,” Joe Roof said.

“What happened here I will never understand,” he added. “I will go to my grave not understanding.”

Joe Roof said he’s lost his grandson, who turned 23 last week, and said it’s likely the last time he will see him. “I’m just aching to hold him and hug him as I did when he was a tot,” he said.

He added: “The system which I worked in almost 60 years now and believe in seems to have worked as it should have worked.”

Family members of Roof’s nine victims also spoke.

Nadine Collier, daughter of victim Ethel Lance, who was thrust into the spotlight after she told Dylann Roof she forgave him at his bond hearing less than 48 hours after the shooting, said Monday she still forgives him and now she is moving on.

“Today I wanted to address the court. I wanted to say to Dylann Roof I’m the one that forgave you in the bond hearing, and I still do today,” Collier said.

“He came here to start a battle — but I win the war,” Collier continued. “I wore white today to let everybody know the chapter in my life right now today is closed. I will not open that book again. And I just want to say have mercy on your soul.”

Melvin Graham, brother of victim Cynthia Hurd, was emotional as he spoke in court, saying he wanted to let Hurd speak for herself. Graham read an email that Hurd sent to their sister in 2013; Graham said Hurd sent the email when their sister was having a difficult time handling the death of their parents.

In the email, which Graham read aloud, Hurd said that Easter was her favorite holiday because it reminded her that death is not forever and they will have the chance to be reunited one day.

Blondell Gadsden, sister of victim Myra Thompson, said to the court of Dylann Roof, “Even though we’re at a point where death has been the sentence for him, my heart still goes out to him in hopes that he would repent to save himself from himself.”

“I can’t think of anything worse that he could do at this point than to not accept Christ and try to make his days on this earth a little bit more peaceful,” Gadsden added. “I come here today not to do anything more than to thank the court system and on behalf of my family say that we are pleased with everything that has been done.”

Dylann Roof, who was sentenced to death in January in his federal trial, today pleaded guilty to all state charges, including nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, instead of going through a second trial.

Dylann Roof’s guilty plea in state court was in exchange for life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said the mission for the guilty plea was to get the “surest path to Dylann Roof’s execution” in connection with the federal trial.

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SEAL instructor will not face charges in death of trainee who drowned

US Navy(WASHINGTON) — The Navy has decided that an instructor will not face criminal charges in the death of Navy SEAL trainee James Derek Lovelace, 21, who drowned during a pool training exercise last May. The unit commander determined that Lovelace’s death was not the result of a crime.

“The commanding officer of the Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command has determined that the 6 May 2016 death of Seaman James ‘Derek’ Lovelace, a Basic Underwater Demolition and SEAL training (BUD/S) trainee, was not the result of a crime and will not pursue criminal charges against any personnel in connection with the death,” according to a statement from the Navy’s Special Warfare Command.

The statement said Cmdr. Liam Hulin’s decision was based on a review of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigation into the circumstances of Lovelace’s death during SEAL training.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Lovelace family,” Hulin sad. “No loss of life in training is an acceptable loss.”

“The scope of the NCIS case was sufficient to provide Hulin with information necessary to determine whether the training fatality may have been caused by the commission of a crime,” the statement said.

Lovelace died May 6, 2016, while participating in a pool exercise with other SEAL trainees as part of the rigorous program that selects the sailors who will join the elite special operations unit. Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL, known as BUDS, is conducted at the Naval Special Warfare Center in San Diego.

The training exercise was known as “Combat Swimmer Orientation” where “instructors in the water splash, make waves and yell at the students in order to create an “adverse” environment.” But instructors were reportedly “not to dunk or pull the students under the water,” according to the medical examiner’s investigation and report.

In July, the San Diego medical examiner suggested that the stressful exercise in the pool and aggressive instructors may have played a role in his death. The report also found that Lovelace had an underlying condition known as cardiomegaly, or an enlarged heart, which could have been a contributing factor.

The medical examiner’s report labeled Lovelace’s death as a homicide, but the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) cautioned that the term “homicide” referred to “death at the hands of another” and a homicide is not inherently a crime.

“According to multiple witnesses, the decedent was struggling during the event,” the medical examiner’s report said. “Multiple people stated that his face was purple and his lips were blue.”

“One individual was even reportedly considering calling a time-out to stop the exercise,” the report read. “According to Naval records, the decedent was not a strong swimmer.”

Lovelace was pulled from the pool conscious, soon became unresponsive and later died, despite what the medical examiner’s report described as “aggressive resuscitative efforts” after he was taken to a hospital.

“It is not known how the anatomic cardiac findings may have affected the decedent,” the report said, “as aberrant coronary arteries have been associated with sudden cardiac death, especially in athletes or other situations of extreme exertion.”

The medical examiner’s report cited video footage of the pool training exercise, reviewed by investigators, where an instructor “is seen to dunk the decedent under the water and then follow him around the pool for approximately 5 minutes,” the report read. “He continually splashes the decedent, dunks him at least one additional time and appears to be yelling at him. The decedent is also splashed by other individuals during the event.”

Lovelace’s death in May was the third in seven months involving current or former SEAL recruits who had gone through BUDS training.

The deaths led the Navy to institute new procedures for keeping track of trainees who do not make it through the grueling process to become SEALs.

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Man, woman dead in apparent murder-suicide at San Bernardino elementary school, police say

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) — A man and a woman are dead and two students are injured in an apparent murder-suicide at a San Bernardino, California, elementary school, according to police.

The deceased were found in a classroom at North Park Elementary School, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan wrote on Twitter. The shooting appears to be a murder-suicide, Burguan added.

Two injured students were taken to local hospitals for treatment, Burguan said. They are listed in critical condition, but their identities are being withheld pending family notification, San Bernardino Public Information Officer Lt. Mike Madden said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

We believe this to be a murder suicide. Happened in a class room. Two students have been transported to the hospital.

— Chief Jarrod Burguan (@SBPDChief) April 10, 2017

Emergency dispatchers began receiving 911 calls reporting shots fired around 10:27 a.m., Madden said. San Bernardino police officers were on the scene within four minutes of the initial call.

One male and one female died in the shooting, with the man succumbing to injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Madden said. The suspect — armed with a handgun — had come to the school as a visitor and signed into the front office, said Capt. Ron Maass, who is leading the investigation for the San Bernardino Police Department.

The entire incident occurred in one classroom and the students were injured simply due to their proximity to the adult female, Maass said. It is unclear how many people were in the classroom at the time.

There is no indication that the gun was visible upon the suspect’s arrival to the school, Maass said, adding that he does not believe the school is equipped with metal detectors.

Police are working to determine the relationship between the deceased. It is unclear how many shots were fired or if domestic violence played a role in the shooting, Maass said.

Students at the elementary school were taken to the nearby Cajon High School for safety immediately following the incident, Burguan said.

San Bernardino Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Dale Marsden asked that parents to be patient when retrieving their children from the high school. Pickup could take up to three hours, especially since authorities are conducting interviews with students and staff members, he said.

North Park Elementary School will be closed for at least the next two days, Marsden added.

Helicopter footage from ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV showed students gathered near an exterior fence on campus after the incident. The footage also showed law enforcement canvassing the campus parking lot.

The mother of a fourth-grade student at the school told KABC-TV that she was watching the news when she heard about the shooting and said she “ran right over” to the school to check on her daughter, saying she was “scared to death.”

The woman said she could see her daughter on the other side of the fence and said she was “crying” as she held hands with her classmates.

San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis said he received a call from the White House expressing concern for the students and teachers at the school.

San Bernardino was the site of a December 2015 terror attack that killed 14 people and injured 22 others. The mayor said that after that tragedy, the community “came together.”

“We did that because too often these incidents are utilized for others to take advantage of,” Davis said. “We felt that it was important to not only unite our community but to also … show that a community short on resources is very resilient and can deal with tragedy and disaster just as effective as” the rest of the country.

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Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof pleads guilty to state charges

ABC News(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Nearly two years after Dylann Roof opened fire at a Bible study at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, killing nine black parishioners, the convicted killer pleaded guilty Monday in state court.

Roof, who turned 23 last week, has already been convicted of hate crimes in a federal case and has been sentenced to death for the murders at the predominantly black Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.

As Roof returned to court Monday afternoon, here is a look back at the pivotal moments in the Charleston church tragedy:

June 17, 2015: The shooting

The night of June 17, 2015, 21-year-old Roof, who is white, entered the Emanuel AME Church and attended a Bible study, where he was welcomed by the parishioners, according to authorities. Roof then drew his pistol and opened fire, authorities said.

Felicia Sanders, a survivor of the shooting, later testified that when Roof opened fire she clutched her granddaughter tight and told her to play dead.

“I could feel the warm blood flowing on each side of me,” she said.

“I was just waiting on my turn,” she added. “Even if I got shot, I just didn’t want my granddaughter to get shot.”

Amid the chaos and the bloodshed, her youngest son, Tywanza Sanders, stood up and confronted the assailant: “Why are you doing this?” he asked, according to Felicia Sanders’ testimony.

“And he told our son, ‘I have to do this because y’all raping our women and taking over the world,'” Felicia Sanders said. “And that’s when [the gunman] put about five bullets in my son.

“We watched him take his last breath,” she said of her son. “I watched my son come into this world, and I watched my son leave this world.”

After fatally shooting nine people, Roof walked out the door, to his car and fled, leaving the carnage behind him.

June 18, 2015: A suspect is captured

The morning after the massacre, Roof was apprehended at a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina, about 245 miles north of the Charleston church.

Roof had a handwritten note in his car with the names of several churches on it, a Confederate flag, a burned U.S. flag, a gun, an empty box of ammunition and a laser attachment for a gun that helps with accuracy, according to authorities.

June 19, 2015: Victims’ families offer forgiveness

Less than 48 hours after the shooting, some victims’ family members spoke at Roof’s first court appearance and offered forgiveness to the 21-year-old.

“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, the daughter of victim Ethel Lance, said through tears to Roof, who appeared at the bond hearing via video conferencing from jail. “You took something very precious from me and I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”

Anthony Thompson, the husband of victim Myra Thompson, said, “I forgive you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent, confess, give your life to the one who matters most: Christ. So that he can change it, can change your ways no matter what happened to you and you’ll be OK. Do that and you’ll be better off than what you are right now.”

Dec. 15, 2016: A guilty verdict in federal hate crimes case

On Dec. 15, 2016, Roof was found guilty on all 33 counts in his federal trial, including hate crimes resulting in death and obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death.

During the emotional trial, survivor Polly Sheppard testified that she saw Roof shoot another churchgoer, then she ducked under a table.

Sheppard testified that Roof told her to shut up as she was praying out loud.

Then, she said, Roof asked her whether she was shot. She told him no, she added, and he replied that he wouldn’t shoot her. “I’m going to leave you alive to tell the story,” Sheppard said Roof told her.

A video interview of Roof conducted by an FBI agent shortly after he was captured was also played in court. In the video Roof laughed as he admitted to the shooting.

In the video Roof said he used a .45-caliber Glock to commit the crime. “I didn’t say anything to them before I pulled it out, not even one word,” Roof says of the gun in the video. “I mean, they reacted after I shot them.”

“I am guilty,” he said in the video, laughing.

Defense attorney David Bruck said in court that Roof committed the crime but the trial involves understanding “who this person was and why on earth he would want to cause so much grief.”

Jan. 10, 2017: Roof sentenced to death in federal case

Roof was sentenced to death Jan. 10, 2017, the first time a death penalty verdict was rendered in a federal hate crimes case, the Justice Department said.

The jury’s decision had to be unanimous to sentence Roof to death.

The jury spent less than one day deliberating Roof’s fate, after Roof told the jurors in a closing statement in the sentencing phase, “I still feel like I had to do it.”

In the government’s closing argument in the sentencing phase, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson said that before the killings, Roof’s racist hatred had built up for years. Roof scouted the Emanuel AME Church months before, calling and visiting, Richardson said.

After Roof left the scene of the shooting, Richardson said, he “fully understood the horrific nature” of his crime.

While Roof expressed sorrow to his parents and pity for himself, he didn’t shed a tear for the people he killed, Richardson said. Roof showed multiple times that he didn’t have remorse, according to Richardson, from his jailhouse manifesto with racist language to the shoes he wore in court during the federal trial that had racist symbols on them.

Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement, “Roof sought out and opened fire on African-American parishioners engaged in worship. … He did so because of their race. And he did so to interfere with their peaceful exercise of religion. The victims in the case led lives as compassionate civic and religious leaders; devoted public servants and teachers; and beloved family members and friends.”

“No verdict can bring back the nine we lost that day at Mother Emanuel,” Lynch continued. “And no verdict can heal the wounds of the five church members who survived the attack or the souls of those who lost loved ones to Roof’s callous hand. But we hope that the completion of the prosecution provides the people of Charleston — and the people of our nation — with a measure of closure.”

April 10, 2017: Roof pleads guilty in state case

Roof on Monday pleaded guilty to all state charges, including nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder, instead of going through a second trial.

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Two dead in shooting at San Bernardino elementary school, police say

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) — Two adults are dead after a school shooting at a San Bernardino, California, elementary school, according to police.

The deceased were found in a classroom at North Park Elementary School, San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan wrote on Twitter. The shooting appears to be a murder-suicide, Burguan added.

Two injured victims — possibly students — were taken to local hospitals for treatment, Burguan said. Their condition is unknown at this time, he added.

The suspected shooter is believed to be “down” and there is no further threat at this time, according to Burguan.

The school is currently on lockdown, and other area schools have been placed on precautionary lockdown, San Bernardino City Schools Communications Officer Maria Garcia told ABC News. Students at the school are be taking to Cajon High School for safety, Burguan added.

Helicopter footage from ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV shows students gathered near an exterior fence on campus. The footage also shows law enforcement canvassing the campus parking lot.

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Mountain lion invades California home, Calif.) — One California family is taking a deep breath after dealing with an unwanted visitor at their home in Pollock Pines.

Homeowner Mark Dolph told ABC station KXTV that he was making dinner when he heard a commotion. Deciding to check out the source of the disturbance, he saw the family’s felines running scared and soon encountered a much larger cat: a mountain lion.

Armed with only a piñata bat, Dolph called for his family to retreat into the kitchen pantry and he called 911.

“It was pretty stressful,” Dolph admitted.

The big cat managed to break a few dishes and turn on the kitchen faucet, but it was gone when police arrived 30 minutes later.

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Multiple gunshot victims reported at California school, fire officials say

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) — Multiple gunshot victims have been reported at a school in San Bernardino, California, according to the San Bernardino County Fire District.

First responders are on the scene at North Park School.

SAN BERNARDINO: #SBCoFD on scene mult GSW victims at North Park School. Triage and victim count taking place. ^eas

— SB County Fire (@SBCOUNTYFIRE) April 10, 2017

Story developing…

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Judge shot to death in Chicago, manhunt on for suspect

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — Chicago police are searching for a gunman who they say shot and killed a Cook County, Illinois, criminal court judge Monday morning outside his Chicago home on the city’s South Side.

First Deputy Superintendent of Police Kevin Navarro Monday morning called Judge Raymond Myles’ death “another senseless act of violence.”

Chicago police Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples said the shooting happened shortly before 5 a.m. A woman, described by Staples as a “close associate” of the judge, walked out of the judge’s home, exchanged words with the gunman and she was shot once, Staples said. She suffered a non-life-threatening injury, Staples said.

Myles heard the commotion and the gunshot and went outside of his home to investigate, and that’s when he exchanged words with the gunman and was fatally shot multiple times, Staples said.

The suspect then fled on foot, the injured woman told police.

Staples said police “do not know” whether the judge was the intended target and said this was a “potential robbery.”

Staples said police do not believe the injured woman knows the gunman.

Police are reviewing footage, investigating potential motives and looking into a “multitude” of possible leads, Staples said.

Police said neighbors said the judge and the woman were known to go for early-morning workouts so it was not unusual for them to be up before dawn.

The FBI has offered a reward for information leading to an arrest and the police urge anyone with information to come forward.

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Judge shot dead outside Chicago home

iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — A Cook County, Illinois, judge was shot and killed outside his Chicago home on the city’s South Side early Monday morning, according to ABC Chicago station WLS-TV.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi Monday morning called Judge Raymond Myles’ death a “senseless murder” and said detectives are “making progress in the investigation.”

UPDATE: Notifications have been made in the senseless murder of Judge Raymond Myles. Detectives making progress in the investigation

— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) April 10, 2017

Myles was shot several times, WLS reported.

Another person, a 52-year-old woman, was also shot, and was hospitalized in serious condition with a gunshot wound to her leg, according to the station.

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