Review Category : National News

Eric Frein Possibly Spotted by Resident, Police Say

PA Dept of Transporation(CANADENSIS, Pa.) — Police are investigating a new possible sighting of accused cop killer Eric Frein, who authorities believe has been hiding in the woods of the Pocono Mountains for more than six weeks.

The possible sighting was made by a resident in Barrett Township early Tuesday afternoon, said Trooper Connie Devens, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police.

Frein, 31, has been at large since Sept. 12, when he allegedly opened fire at the Blooming Grove police barracks, killing one trooper and injuring another. Police believe Frein, a self-trained survivalist from nearby Canadensis, escaped to the woods. They have found two pipe bombs, an AK-47, ammunition and various food and supplies they believe belong to the suspect.

Police have investigated several possible sightings in recent weeks, but Frein has not been located.

They’re also investigating blood a woman found near the chicken coop on her farm in Canadensis.

Police recently deployed a giant balloon to help in the search. It’s tethered, unmanned and quieter than a helicopter, and can provide similar technology to aviation equipment at a smaller cost, police said.

The FBI is assisting Pennsylvania State Police in the manhunt and has added Frein to its 10 Most Wanted fugitive list.

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Police Voice New Concerns Amid Few Signs of Vanished Broncos Fan

Tia Bakke(DENVER) — Police consider it “highly unusual” that they still have found no solid trace of Paul Kitterman, the 53-year-old father who went missing during halftime at Thursday’s Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers game.

“People go missing quite often, but it’s highly unusual that someone goes missing for this amount of time,” Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson told ABC News.

“Obviously, it’s a missing persons case,” Jackson added. “Unfortunately, we get numerous cases every day on the same lines and people turn up relatively quick. In this case, he hasn’t shown back up and we’re concerned, as well as the family is.”

Authorities are combing through hours of surveillance footage from Thursday’s game in hopes of turning up clues.

“We’re reviewing tapes over at the stadium,” Jackson said. “We’re following up on any tips and leads we get as to where he might be. We’re basically in contact with the family quite a bit, seeing if we can get additional information from them. And we’re moving forward with the investigation.”

Kitterman seemed to be happy and behaving normally, his companions said, and told them that the experience of going to his first Broncos home game was “awesome.”

Soon afterwards, he vanished.

Court records showed Kitterman had a history of relatively minor motor vehicle citations over more than a decade. More recent legal troubles involved a major bank and the Colorado Department of Revenue.

His friend, Tia Bakke, who went with him to the Broncos game, said she knew he had money problems but doubted that would have been reason for him to vanish at the game.

“If he wanted to leave town because of money problems, he would have come home, gotten all of his money and left,” she told ABC News.

Denver Police were seeking information from anyone who might have seen Kitterman after his loved ones did.

“We got a report that he was possibly seen near a concession stand … at the end of the 3rd quarter, within the stadium at that time,” Jackson said. “So we’re following up on that, as well, talking to the person who said they think they saw him at that location and anybody else who gives us information that they saw him — so we can talk, see what his demeanor was, what he might have said, things of that nature.”

Foul play is not considered likely because “with 70,000 people and cameras all over the stadium, you would see something if a violent crime occurred,” Jackson said Monday.

Police were letting officials at Sports Authority Field dig through the game’s surveillance footage, a process that began Monday, because of their expertise with the camera setups, Jackson said on Tuesday. Any intriguing moments on the tapes were to be flagged for police.

“It takes a long time — specifically when you’re looking for one individual with a lot of people in the crowd,” Jackson said. “You’re talking about a stadium. So you have to start at the time he went missing and move forward. … There are numerous gates, there are numerous areas around the stadium, so that’s going to take some time.”

The Denver Police Department tweeted Tuesday that they had located a male body near the stadium, but said they did not believe it was Kitterman.

Kitterman was sitting with his stepson, Jarod Tonneson, after going to the game with Bakke and another friend, who were sitting in a different section. He was last seen by his son when he left to go meet those friends around halftime.

Kitterman, a construction worker and ranch hand from Kremmling, Colorado, did not have his cellphone or any credit cards — and only had about $50 cash — when he went to the game, Bakke told ABC News.

“He would never bail on his son or anyone, so by Friday night we knew something was really, really, wrong,” Bakke told ABC News.

Police were not actively searching on foot for Kitterman because there was no indication a crime occurred, they said.

Besides the analysis of the surveillance footage, much of the search appeared to be in the hands of friends passing out fliers.

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Shooting Outside NC Courthouse Leaves Two Wounded

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, N.C.) — A shooting outside a North Carolina courthouse on Tuesday left two people seriously wounded.

According to the Nashville Police Department, the incident took place at the Nash County Courthouse just after 11 a.m. The suspect remains at-large.

“At this time, we’re looking for one. There’s a possibility there could be a second, but right now, the only indication is one suspect that did the shooting,” Nashville Police Chief Thomas Bashore said.

The two victims — both adult males — sustained multiple gunshot wounds. One was shot in the shoulder and the other has a wound in his right hand and two wounds in his left leg.

“They are in stable condition. They have serious wounds, but they’re apparently non-life threatening,” said Nash Health Care Public Relations Director Jeff Hedgepeth.

Both victims were airlifted to Greenville, North Carolina for further treatment.

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Details on One World Trade Center’s Observation Deck Released

Port Authority New York/New Jersey(NEW YORK) — The operators of the highly anticipated observation deck at the top of New York’s One World Trade Center have released new details about pricing and what visitors will experience when it opens in the spring of 2015.

One World Observatory will span 120,000 square feet over three floors, providing visitors with panoramic views of New York City and the surrounding region.

After taking elevators to the building’s 102nd floor, visitors will watch a two-minute video presentation combing bird’s-eye imagery and time-lapse shots of New York City.

The main observatory space on the 100th floor features an interactive skyline “concierge” to help find city landmarks and neighborhoods from 1,250 feet in the air. That level will also feature a Sky Portal, where visitors can step onto a 14-foot-wide circular disc in the floor for a live view in high-definition of city streets below.

One World Observatory will also feature three unique dining areas, including a seated dining area, a café, and a bar.

Admission tickets go on sale in early 2015, with tickets ranging in cost between $32 for adults, $30 for seniors over age 65, and $26 for children ages 6-12.

The Observatory will offer complimentary admission tickets to 9/11 family members and 9/11 rescue and recovery workers. Special discounts will be also offered to active and retired members of the U.S. military.

One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the U.S., opens on Monday, Nov. 3, when media giant Conde Nast formally moves in.

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Registered Sex Offender Emerges as Star College Football Player

ABC News(NEW YORK) — A registered sex offender has emerged as a star player on a top tier college football team, resuming his athletic career after being expelled from the Air Force Academy where he was court-martialed for sexual assault.

No National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rule prevents a person with a criminal conviction from playing college athletics, a spokesperson told ABC News. It is left up to the individual college or conference to determine eligibility.

Jamil Cooks, 23, enrolled at Alcorn State in Mississippi, a Division One NCAA school, after being found guilty in April 2013 of abusive sexual contact in a court martial proceeding at the Air Force Academy, which required him to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Cooks’ lawyer, Richard Stevens, says he is appealing the conviction.

The ability of Cooks to continue his football career despite being a sexual predator is only the latest example of distorted priorities that involve sexual violence, said Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

“I think it’s wrong that they’re allowed to continue to play,” she told ABC News.

Officials at the Air Force Academy said the court-martial and dismissal of Cooks was part of an effort to end a culture in which sexual assault had gone unreported or tolerated.

“It’s disappointing,” said Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson about the ability of Cooks to continue to play high-level college athletics. “That’s not what we tolerate here.”

Cooks was one of two members of the Air Force Academy football team court-martialed for sexual assault as part of a sweeping, controversial investigation that also led to the resignations or dismissals of 15 other cadets. Johnson was appointed superintendent after the investigation.

A smiling photo of Cooks appears on Mississippi’s Sex Offender Registry, with his home address listed as a dormitory at Alcorn State, a small historically black college.

Cooks, a defensive end, was named Alcorn State Player of the Week after he “recorded six tackles, one sack, and three tackles for a loss in the Braves 55-7 victory over Virginia University of Lynchburg” in September.

In October, Cooks was named “newcomer of the week” by the Southwest Athletic Conference following his performance in an Alcorn State victory over Texas Southern.

A spokesperson said the school “had no issues with Cooks enrollment,” but declined to say whether female students had been notified of Cooks’ presence, citing privacy concerns for Cooks. The president of Alcorn State, Dr. Alfred Rankins, Jr., did not return repeated requests for comment.

A general statement from President Rankins on the school website boasts of Alcorn State “scoring gains in athletics.”

“If you’ve been convicted of sexual assault or rape you shouldn’t be allowed to play on the team,” said Sen. Gillibrand, who is calling on the National Football League, NCAA and the military to do more to protect victims from sexual predators.

She said the NCAA rules that allow convicted sexual offenders to play should be changed.

“It shows that there is not a value put on the person who the crime was committed against,” she told ABC News.

In a statement, Richard Stevens, Cooks’ lawyer, says “the reporting about Jamil’s case has not only been inaccurate, it has been, in my opinion, irresponsible journalism.”

Cooks was convicted of abusive sexual contact but found not guilty of aggravated sexual assault. A charge of attempted sodomy was dropped at the request of the victim, according to Stevens.

Stevens said Cooks’ accuser made her allegations because she “was upset and angry that he didn’t want a more serious, committed, and public relationship with her.”

Stevens said it is getting more difficult to “ensure fair trials in the military” because politicians and others “are continuously trying to make the military justice system more about pre-determined and politically palatable outcomes than about a search for the truth or actual justice.”

An ABC News report on the Air Force Academy investigation will air Wednesday on Good Morning America, World News With David Muir and Nightline.

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Officials Comb Surveillance Video for Trace of Vanished Broncos Fan

Tia Bakke(DENVER) — Authorities are combing through hours of surveillance footage from Thursday’s Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers game and seeking people who may have seen Paul Kitterman after the 53-year-old father went missing during halftime.

Kitterman seemed to be happy and behaving normally, his companions said, and told them that the experience of going to his first Broncos home game was “awesome.” Soon afterwards, he vanished.

“We searched the stadium we have been going to hospitals,” said his stepson, Jarod Tonneson, who went with him to the game. “We have just been all over the place.”

Court records revealed that Kitterman had a history of relatively minor motor vehicle citations over more than a decade, though more recent legal troubles involved a bank and the Colorado Department of Revenue.

His friend, Tia Bakke, who went with him to the Broncos game, said she knew he had money problems, but doubted that would have been reason for him to vanish at the game.

“If he wanted to leave town because of money problems, he would have come home, gotten all of his money and left,” she told ABC News.

Denver police said that they were still actively investigating the missing persons case. Foul play was not being considered because “there’s nothing to suggest it at this point,” police spokesperson Sonny Jackson told ABC News Tuesday.

“We’re being open-minded about the investigation,” he said.

“With 70,000 people and cameras all over the stadium, you would see something if a violent crime occurred,” Jackson told ABC News on Monday.

Kitterman was sitting with Tonneson after going to the game with Bakke and another friend, who were sitting in a different section. He was last seen when he left to go meet those friends during halftime.

Kitterman, a construction worker and ranch hand from Kremmling, Colorado, did not have his cellphone or any credit cards — and only had about $50 cash — when he went to the game, Bakke told ABC News.

“He would never bail on his son, or anyone so by Friday night, we knew something was really, really, wrong,” Bakke told ABC News.

Police were not actively searching on foot for Kitterman because they were not sure if a crime occurred.

Much of the search has been put in the hands of friends passing out fliers and officials at Sports Authority Field, who were digging through the game surveillance footage.

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Wild Hogs May Force Florida County to Cancel Halloween Festivities

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Children in a Florida county may experience a cruel trick instead of sweet treats this Halloween thanks to a group of wild hogs that are wreaking havoc on homes, authorities said.

Feral hogs have recently been running amok throughout neighborhoods in Brevard County, on the Atlantic coast near Orlando, having already destroyed up to 17 yards by ripping up the grass in search of food, authorities said.

Law enforcement has hired licensed tracker James Dean, 52, for the month to capture the hogs in the hopes that they will not pose a danger to children trick-or-treating on Halloween. Dean told ABC News that he has already caught 11.

“There’s really no telling how many hogs are out there,” Dean said. “But there’s a lot more than those 11 that are damaging yards.”

It can be expensive to repair the damage, with costs sometimes reaching over $1,000, he noted.

Feral hogs are common throughout Florida, and tend to forage wider in late fall in search of food such as grub worms and acorns, Dean said, adding that the population has been growing.

“They multiply like rabbits,” said Dean. “It’s just totally impossible to keep them under control.”

Dean, a tracker of 20 years, said he uses a cooked mixture of corn, swamp water, sugar and powered yeast to lure the hogs into cages. He has set up traps before for Brevard County around both homes and golf courses. But with Halloween just around the corner, he said he plans to use a pack of dogs to chase the rest of the hogs back into the woods.

Hogs, though they do not commonly attack, can be provoked if confronted or if they feel someone may pose harm, Dean said. No attacks have been reported yet this year but Dean advises anyone who sees one to walk in the opposite direction as their attacks can be vicious and aggressive.

“I’ve had four of my ribs broken. I’ve had my finger re-attached,” Dean said. “My buddy, he had his cap muscles torn out. He had to have surgery.”

As for cancelling Halloween festivities, the decision is still up in the air.

“Just talk right now,” Dean said. “That’s one of the reasons why I want to bring in the dogs … so the kids can have their Halloween.”

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Unstoppable Lava Flow Reaches Hawaiian Town

ABC News(PAHOA, Hawaii) — A stream of molten lava has oozed into a small Hawaiian town, covering the yard of the house closest to the volcano, Hawaii County officials reported Tuesday.

The lava flow has been edging its way towards Pahoa on Hawaii’s Big Island for weeks with authorities and residents powerless to halt or divert it.

The final number of Kilauea residents affected has not been released, but it is expected to be dozens.

The lava is advancing at about 10 to 15 yards per hour, making it far slower than one might expect from a Hollywood version of the nightmare scenario, but it is moving at a steady pace.

One major road has been closed to everyone except residents. Teams of scientists are among the few allowed close to the flow so that they can provide reports from the burning front line.

The lava is blistering hot, burying streets and covering trees. Residents in the scenic town of Pahoa on Hawaii’s Big Island were forced to flee, powerless to stop the approaching river of lava.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do,” resident Theresa Zendejas said. “It’s really scary.”

The lava has been spewing from the Kilauea volcano since it erupted in June. The lava flow has traveled 12 miles since then, at times speeding up erratically, recently fanning out to cover more ground.

Officials say there is no way to stop the lava, but they’re working to protect power poles from burning and to create detours in case the main road is affected — which would cut off access for thousands of people. Hawaii officials are making arrangements for those living in the lava’s path.

Beyond being buried by dozens of feet of hardened black rock, structures could also catch fire by being near the 2,000-degree lava.

Since Kilauea’s current eruption began in 1983, unstoppable lava flows have added 500 new acres to the island and destroyed at least 181 homes, a visitor center, a church and a community center, according the National Park Service.

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Second Dallas Nurse Ebola-Free, Thanks Hospital, Family and God

Obtained by ABC News(ATLANTA) — A second Dallas nurse undergoing treatment for Ebola was released Tuesday from Emory University Hospital after doctors said she had been cured from the deadly virus.

Nurse Amber Vinson, 29, was discharged after spending the last two weeks in Atlanta undergoing treatment in its biocontainment unit.

“I’m so grateful to be well,” Vinson said Tuesday. “First and foremost, I want to thank God,” she said, adding that God gave her the “hope and strength to fight” Ebola.

Vinson also thanked her mother, fiancé and extended family for visiting.

“Family played such an important role in my recovery,” she said. “By being there every minute every day even though you couldn’t be close.”

She also thanked health workers who cared for her and stressed the importance of not losing “focus” on the fight against Ebola in West Africa. Before she left, Vinson hugged more than a dozen staff members, as they smiled, laughed and wished her a safe trip home to Texas.

Dr. Bruce Ribner, medical director of Emory University Hospital’s Infectious Disease Unit, said Vinson is the hospital’s fourth Ebola patient since the outbreak began.

“As fellow members of the health care community, we deeply admire Ms. Vinson’s courage and dedication in caring for a patient with a serious communicable disease,” Ribner said. “Nurses are on the front lines 24 hours a day in treating our patients and it is their skill, their knowledge and their passion for healing that makes one of the critical diff in caring for our patients.”

Vinson had cared for Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, who became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Duncan died on Oct. 8, and Vinson’s colleague, Nina Pham, 26, was diagnosed with Ebola a few days later. She has since been treated and released.

Vinson took a flight to Ohio and returned to Dallas in the days before she, too, was diagnosed with Ebola on Oct. 15. That evening, she was flown to Emory University Hospital. Passengers on both of Vinson’s flights were notified about the ordeal.

“We are overjoyed to announce that, as of yesterday [Oct. 21] evening, officials at Emory University Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control are no longer able to detect virus in her body,” the family said in the statement on Oct. 22, adding that Vinson should be able to leave the isolation unit.

Meanwhile, Dr. Craig Allen Spencer, who tested positive for Ebola last week in New York City a week after traveling home from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, remains in serious but stable condition at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

Another little boy was tested for Ebola at the hospital Monday after recently traveling from Guinea, but the hospital confirmed that he has tested negative and will be removed from isolation, officials said.

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Kaci Hickox’s Quarantine Was Based on ‘Fear and Politics,’ Attorney Says

Handout(NEWARK, N.J.) — Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was placed in quarantine at a New Jersey hospital despite exhibiting no Ebola symptoms after arriving from West Africa, is “very pleased” about her release and looks forward to some rest and relaxation, her attorney told ABC News.

Hickox left the hospital Monday afternoon to be taken to Maine, where she lives. Her attorney, Norman Siegel, said he plans to speak with Hickox Tuesday about their strategy for dealing with the courts of law and public opinion.

“Her civil rights were violated,” Siegel told ABC News. “At a minimum, she could bring an action for damages. But I think her goal is to try to revise the current policies with regard to, for example, mandatory quarantines.”

Siegel criticized New Jersey and New York governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo for enacting quarantine policies, despite criticisms from the Obama administration and medical experts that the measures were unnecessary.

Hickox, 29, was the first person forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine after arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport Friday. She had previously treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders, but never registered a fever, leaving no medical reason to keep her quarantined, Siegel said.

She was held in a tent structure outside of University Hospital in Newark.

“When you look at what happened and how it happened, you come away with the sense that this policy was based on fear and politics rather on medical fact, and we can’t have the politicians directing these kinds of important issues,” Siegel said.

Health care workers such as Hickox who return to Maine from West Africa will remain under a 21-day home quarantine, with their condition actively monitored, Gov. Paul R. LePage said in a statement.

“We will help make sure the health care worker has everything to make this time as comfortable as possible,” he said.

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