Review Category : National News

Soldier Apprehended Following Active Shooter Situation at Fort Campbell

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT CAMPBELL, Ky.) — A soldier at Fort Campbell was apprehended Thursday after allegedly firing shots in what is being described as an active shooter situation.

No one was reported injured in the incident, which occurred near the airfield at the Army base located in Kentucky.

“An 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldier was apprehended this afternoon by military police after they responded to a report of an active shooter near Campbell Army Airfield,” said an Army statement posted on the Fort Campbell Facebook page.

“There have been no reports of any injuries and at this time and the installation is currently secure, the gates are open and there are no threats to the post or local communities,” the statement added.

Robert Jenkins, the director of public affairs at Fort Campbell, stressed that the Army post was secure and there was no danger to the community.

He said that the soldier was subdued quickly by military police, who responded immediately to the incident.

Jenkins did not know what kind of weapon the soldier allegedly used to fire the rounds that triggered the active shooter situation.

Weapons at military facilities are stored in armories when not used for training. Privately owned weapons can be held on post at a soldier’s barracks as long as they are registered with the post.

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Police Identify Woman Who Died on Zip Line Platform in Delaware

iStock/Thinkstock(BEAR, Del.) — The 59-year-old woman who died after falling approximately 35 feet from the Go Ape Treetop Adventure attraction Wednesday has been identified as Tina Werner of Felton, Delaware, by Delaware State Police.

Authorities said Werner was standing on a platform, waiting to go on the zip line, when she fell to her death.

“Werner was standing on a platform located approximately 35′ above the ground, waiting to descend on a zip line,” the Delaware State Police said in a statement Thursday. “It was at this point that she fell from the platform to the ground.”

Foul play is not suspected, police said, although the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The incident occurred at approximately 2:35 p.m. Wednesday at the Go Ape Aerial Rope Adventure Course in the Lums Pond State Park, authorities said.

First aid was rendered to Werner by Go Ape employees and park rangers before she was treated at the scene by New Castle County Paramedics, according to authorities. Werner was then transported to the Christiana Hospital were she was pronounced dead.

In a statement Wednesday, Go Ape said it was “deeply saddened by this tragic occurrence.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends and in particular to those who were on the course with her at the time,” the statement continued.

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Over 200 Indiana Residents Placed in Shelters After Indiana Tornadoes

Ann Johansson/Corbis via Getty Images(KOKOMO, Ind.) — The mayor of Kokomo, Indiana, said he feels “very grateful” this morning after no deaths or serious injuries were reported from a devastating storm and tornado that hit the town Wednesday, flattening buildings and damaging homes.

About 10 to 15 minor injuries were reported, said Howard County Sheriff Steven Rogers, who added that the community was “very blessed” that there were no fatalities.

The storm in Kokomo, about 50 miles north of Indianapolis, piled cars on top of one another and even flattened a Starbucks, where people hid in the coffee shop’s bathroom.

The devastation has forced 220 people to be temporarily placed in shelters, many of whom lived in several large apartment complexes that were heavily damaged, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said Thursday morning.

Tens of thousands of people were left without power, and Goodnight said that a major focus now is working on repairing damaged lines and restoring power.

A tornado took a similar path through this stretch of Kokomo in 2013, officials said.

Thirty-five tornadoes were reported in Indiana and Illinois Wednesday — the one in Kokomo being the strongest, where winds reached 165 miles per hour.

In Crawfordsville, Indiana, about 60 miles southwest of Kokomo, winds reached 111 miles per hour.

The tornadoes will be rated Thursday as the National Weather Service surveys the damage.

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Calls for Judge’s Removal After 18-Year-Old Sexual Assault Defendant Given Probation

iStock/Thinkstock(EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass.) — An online petition is calling for a judge in Massachusetts to be removed from the bench after sentencing an 18-year-old accused of sexually assaulting two classmates with two years of probation.

David Becker of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery, according to court documents, after an April incident in which he was accused of sexually assaulting two girls who were sleeping in a bed after a house party. Becker and the alleged victims, who are not being identified, were all seniors.

As a part of his probation, Becker must remain drug and alcohol free and not contact the victims, the court documents state. He also has to undergo an evaluation for sex offender treatment, according to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office.

The district attorney’s office said that if Becker does not violate his probation, he will not have to register as a sex offender, as the charges will be dismissed at the completion of probation.

The online petition creator called the probation ruling “a slap on the wrist,” as prosecutors in the case recommended two years in prison. The petition calls for the removal of Palmer District Court Judge Thomas Estes and has over 16,000 supporters.

At a plea hearing this summer, Becker’s lawyer, Thomas Rooke, argued the former high school athlete had already suffered due to his actions.

Estes appeared to give weight to that argument, saying, “There have already been significant consequences, collateral consequences to simply being charged with the offense in the first place.” Estes added that a harsher punishment would “slam a lot of doors” for Becker.

Becker’s attorney described him as a model student that deserved to go to college.

“He was a star, he was a rising star… and then suddenly, April 2, 2016, he’s at a house party. There’s no parents. There’s alcohol, there’s marijuana, there’s testosterone, there’s estrogen. A perfect mix for a nuclear disaster. And he makes a bad decision,” Rooke said.

According to police reports, Becker told investigators that when one of the girls “didn’t protest,” when he digitally penetrated her, he assumed it was “OK.” He denied having any physical contact with the other alleged victim.

One of the alleged victims told police Becker texted her after the incident writing, “Very sorry about last night I was very much in the wrong.” The girl replied, “don’t even worry about it it’s all good.”

The Hampden District Attorney’s Office recommended two years of prison time for Becker, which it considered “appropriate and fair, based on the facts and circumstances of the case,” a district attorney’s office spokesman said.

Scott Berkowitz, the president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, was disappointed by the decision.

“I think that the judge’s sympathies were misplaced in this case. This offender’s college career shouldn’t have been the priority. Punishment for the act he committed should be the priority,” Berkowitz said.

Becker’s case comes on the heels of another sexual assault case that caused outrage over a six-month jail sentence given to former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner after he allegedly assaulted an unconscious woman.

The online petition compares Becker’s case to Turner’s, saying it is “another instance of a white athlete receiving a slap on the wrist for a violent sexual crime.”

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Buildings Flattened, Cars Tossed But No SeriousOver 200 Indiana Residents Placed in Shelters After Tornado Injuries After Indiana Tornadoes

Ann Johansson/Corbis via Getty Images(KOKOMO, Ind.) — The mayor of Kokomo, Indiana, said he feels “very grateful” this morning after no deaths or serious injuries were reported from a devastating storm and tornado that hit the town Wednesday, flattening buildings and damaging homes.

About 10 to 15 minor injuries were reported, said Howard County Sheriff Steven Rogers, who added that the community was “very blessed” that there were no fatalities.

The storm in Kokomo, about 50 miles north of Indianapolis, piled cars on top of one another and even flattened a Starbucks, where people hid in the coffee shop’s bathroom.

The devastation has forced 220 people to be temporarily placed in shelters, many of whom lived in several large apartment complexes that were heavily damaged, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said Thursday morning.

Tens of thousands of people were left without power, and Goodnight said that a major focus now is working on repairing damaged lines and restoring power.

A tornado took a similar path through this stretch of Kokomo in 2013, officials said.

Thirty-five tornadoes were reported in Indiana and Illinois Wednesday — the one in Kokomo being the strongest, where winds reached 165 miles per hour.

In Crawfordsville, Indiana, about 60 miles southwest of Kokomo, winds reached 111 miles per hour.

The tornadoes will be rated Thursday as the National Weather Service surveys the damage.

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Capybaras Could Become Invasive Species in Florida

Courtesy Elizabeth Congdon(NEW YORK) — Capybaras, giant rodents that are native to South America, may be establishing themselves as an invasive species in Florida, according to Elizabeth Congdon, the only biologist in North America studying the animal.

“Right now, they’re considered exotics — non-native animals that aren’t supposed to be here,” Congdon told ABC News Wednesday. “But if they breed and grow enough to the point that they’re causing damage, they could be considered an invasive species.”

Capybaras were first accidentally introduced to forests in northern Florida after five of them escaped a research facility in the early ’90s, said Congdon, an assistant professor at the Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, who warned about the potential threat of the species at an animal behavior conference earlier this month.

Since then, Congdon said there have been dozens of capybaras sighted over the past few years in a state park near the facility — including about 50 in 2008.

“They’re definitely breeding, and there’s certainly more than 50 of them there by now,” she said.

As long as the capybara population doesn’t grow and stays within the state park’s confines, Congdon said she believes they will not pose a problem. However, they could begin breeding at more rapid rates and start spreading to agricultural areas.

Congdon explained that the dog-sized rodents are “very social” and resilient. They warn each other of predators coming and females work together and actually help nurse each other’s young.

“If they start growing and expanding, they could start eating crops,” she said. “They’re known to eat corn and sugar cane in Brazil. That could cause significant economic damage for the state.”

Congdon and her students will be studying the animals and trying to come up with a population estimate for the next few months, she said.

“At this point, we’re just trying to prevent them from becoming an invasive species, and we don’t necessarily know the solution right now,” she said. “It could be that we have to remove large males or breeding females. It may be possible to fence in the park so they simple can’t escape and control their spread that way.”

The “most extreme solution” would be to kill some of them, Congdon said.

“That’s the question: How do you humanely stop the spread?” she said. “And it’s a fine line for those of us studying these animals. I love them, and they’re my favorite animal in the planet, but at the same time, it may be necessary to remove them from here.”

For now, Congdon said she will be working hard to do more research on the animal and find potential preventive solutions.

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Orlando Hospitals Won’t Bill Pulse Nightclub Massacre Victims

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Survivors of the Pulse Nightclub massacre who were treated at two Orlando hospitals will not be billed for their medical care, the facilities announced Wednesday.

Orlando Health, the healthcare network which includes Orlando Regional Medical Center, said in a statement, “Orlando Health has not sent any hospital or medical bills directly to Pulse patients and we don’t intend to pursue reimbursement of medical costs from them.”

Orlando Regional Hospital treated 44 patients of the June 12 terror attack, during which gunman Omar Mateen slaughtered 49 people at Pulse Nightclub, one of Orlando’s most popular LGBT venues.

Orlando Health said it is “exploring numerous options to help the victims of the Pulse nightclub tragedy address immediate and ongoing medical costs. These include state and federal funds, private insurance, victim funds like the One Orlando fund, disability insurance, Florida’s crime victim compensation program, funding sources established for individual victims, means-tested programs like Medicaid, as well as charity care provided by Orlando Health.”

The not-for-profit healthcare network said total unreimbursed costs “could exceed $5 million.”

Florida Hospital, part of the Florida Hospital Healthcare system, treated 12 survivors of the attack. It also said it will not be billing for services, according to ABC Orlando television affiliate WFTV.

“It was incredible to see how our community came together in the wake of the senseless Pulse shooting,” the hospital’s CEO, Daryl Tol, said in a statement. “We hope this gesture can add to the heart and goodwill that defines Orlando.”

Pulse massacre survivor Mario Lopez, 34, who was grazed by a bullet and had fragments explode into his left side, told the Orlando Sentinel he welcomes the announcement since he is uninsured. “I was so worried because I can’t afford any of that,” he told the newspaper, which reported that his seven-hour hospital visit left him with a potential $20,000-bill. “It’s a huge relief.”

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Buildings Flattened, Cars Tossed But No Serious Injuries After Indiana Tornadoes

iStock/Thinkstock(KOKOMO, Ind.) — Multiple tornadoes struck central Indiana Wednesday — damaging homes, leveling buildings and piling cars on top of one another like toys.

Miraculously, state police said late Wednesday that no serious injures had been reported even as tens of thousands of residents had no power. About a dozen people suffered cuts and bruises.

At 3:15 p.m. local time, the National Weather Service urged everyone in the area to take shelter immediately, calling the situation “particularly dangerous.”

Minutes later, the NWS issued warning for a “confirmed large and destructive tornado.”

Tornado hitting Chippendale just south of 26 Kokomo @weatherchannel @shamar_walters pic.twitter.com/3fyXxBqlJI

— Amy True (@mama2ninekokomo) August 24, 2016

The tornado blew roofs off of homes and buildings, knocked over trees and even flattened a Starbucks in Kokomo’s Markland Mall, ABC television affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis reported.

Utility companies reported more than 32,000 customers were without power in the state as of Wednesday night.

People who had been hiding in the Starbucks’ bathroom somehow survived with no major injuries.

“It’s crazy. It’s a madhouse,” said Mitchell Carlson, a maintenance technician at the Park Place Apartments in Kokomo. He added that the complex has 16 buildings and “probably eight of them don’t have a roof.”

Despite the violent winds, everyone appeared to have escaped harm. “So, I guess we’re all blessed at the Park Place,” Carlson said.

In addition to the Kokomo twisters, police in Indianapolis spotted at least two funnel clouds close to the ground in the city just south of Interstate 70, but the department had received no reports of damage, according to Officer Jim Gillespie of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

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Two Flights Suffer Bird Strikes Arriving at JFK 2 Hours Apart

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two flights, two hours apart, suffered bird strikes Wednesday morning on arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, officials said.

No humans were injured during the two incidents.

JetBlue Flight 1248 reported striking a bird after landing at 8:30 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Airbus A320, which typically seats up to 150 passengers, had departed from Los Angeles.

Air traffic control audio indicates that a small bird struck the side of the aircraft upon landing.

JetBlue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

About two hours later, Singapore Airlines Flight 26 hit several birds.

The Airbus jet arriving in New York from Singapore, via Frankfurt, Germany, experienced the collision upon landing, according to an airline statement.

One pilot reported “a big flock of birds just went into the right two engines of that Singapore [Airbus] A380,” according to air traffic control audio.

Officials were forced to close two runways after the incident, according to the audio.

The FAA reported 13,668 bird strikes in the U.S. in 2014, the year for which the most recent statistics are available.

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Multiple Tornadoes Reported in Indiana, Leaving Thousands Without Power

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Multiple tornadoes have been reported striking central Indiana Wednesday — damaging homes, destroying a Starbucks cafe, downing trees and leaving over 60,000 residents without power.

At 3:15 p.m. local time, the National Weather Service urged everyone in the area to take shelter immediately, calling the situation “particularly dangerous.”

A little later, the NWS issued a tornado warning saying a “confirmed large and destructive tornado was about 10 miles east of Kokomo,” or about 40 miles north of Indianapolis.

The tornado blew roofs off of homes and buildings, knocked over trees and even flattened a Starbucks in Kokomo’s Markland Mall, ABC affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis reported.

People who had been hiding in the Starbucks’ bathroom miraculously survived the tornado with no major injuries.

“It’s crazy. It’s a madhouse,” said Mitchell Carlson, a maintenance technician at the Park Place Apartments in Kokomo. He added that the complex has 16 buildings and “probably eight of them don’t have a roof.”

But fortunately, there have not been any reported injuries at the complex, he said. “So, I guess we’re all blessed at the Park Place.”

Though the tornado in Kokomo caused damaged and cut power to thousands of homes and businesses in Howard County, no injuries or deaths have been reported, according to Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman John Erickson.

In addition to the Kokomo tornado, the IDHS has been assessing whether another reported tornado touchdown on Indianapolis’ near east side caused any damage, Erickson said. “We’re just asking people to sit tight, especially if there’s a tornado warning in their area, so they can stay as safe as possible.”

Police officers in Indianapolis spotted at least two funnel clouds close to the ground in the city just south of Interstate 70, but the department had received no reports of damage, according to Officer Jim Gillespie of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

The NWS said it had not received any immediate reports of major injuries.

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