Review Category : Top Stories

Sandy Hook Group Releases PSA on Gun Violence

ABC News(NEW YORK) — An organization created by some of the family members who lost their loved ones to a horrific act of gun violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly four years ago have released a new video day calling for people to recognize warning signs and intervene to prevent tragedies before they happen.

The group’s public service announcement, called “Know the Signs,” which debuted in a shortened version Friday on Good Morning America, follows a typical teenager at school as he anxiously awaits his summer break.

Meanwhile, another student exhibits several of the identified warning signs for violent behavior. The PSA is intended to make viewers aware of how easy it can be to overlook — or do nothing — about warning signs that often come before acts of violence.

“The ‘Know the Signs’ campaign has been our mission at Sandy Hook Promise for a number of years now. We believe that gun violence is preventable when you know the signs, when you know what to look for,” Nicole Hockley, the co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, a national gun violence prevention organization, told ABC News.

“This has been the case in a number of mass shootings,” Hockley said. “It was the case of the shooting that killed my son.”

Since her son, Dylan, was killed at his school nearly four years ago in Newtown, Connecticut, Hockley said she has dedicated a majority of her time to trying to prevent gun violence and making sure no other mother has to suffer the same loss.

Hockley said all of the work she does now in memory of Dylan, who was only six years old when he was killed. “I can’t go back in time and save Dylan but in his name we can save a lot of other people,” Hockley said.

Hockley described her son as “incredibly loving.”

“Dylan was autistic, he was incredibly loving, he loved cuddles more than anything, he was just smiling all the time,” Hockley said of her youngest son, who was in first grade at the time he was killed. “He had a sort of musical laugh, so we would always tickle him just to hear his laugh.”

“He loved playing with other kids. He was fascinated by looking at the moon every night,” Hockley said. “He was pure love really.”

“Like a lot of children on the spectrum, communication was a challenge with him, his language skills were underdeveloped but all he did was love, that’s all he could express,” Hockley said.

The PSA comes out nearly four years after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which garnered many immediate calls for reform or action to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. Yet just this summer, Orlando was rocked with the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history at a nightclub.

“We really hope that it is an eye opener,” Hockley said of the new PSA, adding that they have created a guide and a website so people can learn what the warning signs are, and become trained to prevent gun violence.

“In a little under two years we trained a little over 1 million people,” Hockley said, adding that they were made aware that their training program prevented a school shooting plot in Cincinnati.

Hockley said if her son were still around, she hopes he would be proud of the work she is doing.

“He’d be ten now, I think he’d have an understanding of what I do,” Hockley said. “I hope he’d be proud of me, and know that his legacy is giving so many other people a chance at life.”

“I just want people to watch this video, it is a compelling video I want them to know that there are actions that they can take in their own community, in their own family, to make a difference. All the training we provide is completely free. We just want to save lives,” she added.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Husband of California Mom on Getting the Call Missing Wife Was Alive

ABC News(REDDING, Calif.) — The husband of Sherri Papini, the California mom who was missing for three weeks after allegedly being kidnapped while out jogging, described the heart-wrenching moment he learned his wife had been found alive.

Sherri Papini, 34, went missing on Nov. 2 and was found alive on Thanksgiving Day on the side of a road roughly 150 miles from the Papini family home in Redding, California.

It was very early that morning on Nov. 24 that Keith Papini said his home phone rang.

“It was my wife screaming in the background, yelling my name, and a CHP [California High Patrol] officer that seemed somewhat confused at the moment, like, ‘What is going on?’” Keith Papini told ABC’s 20/20 in an exclusive interview. “And [the officer] said, ‘I need you to be calm. I need you to be calm.’ … I already know it’s her. I can tell her voice.”

At first, Keith Papini said he didn’t know what going on, whether his wife was hurt or not. He can only hear her screaming.

“I get the phone and, [I said], ‘Oh my God, honey.’ And of course she’s screaming,” Keith Papini said. “It’s very emotional. And, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you, Oh my God, you’re here. You’re back. Where are you?’ And then the phone gets taken away from her. Like, super quick.”

Getting that phone call and hearing his wife screaming made him feel “very mixed emotion[s],” Keith Papini said.

“I’m panicked but I’m happy because at this point this is the first time I’ve heard her voice,” he added. “I know she’s alive.”

Soon after getting the call, Keith Papini said he told the couple’s two children their mother had been found. He said he told their 4-year-old son, Tyler, first.

“I sat him down, and I was on my knees and he was standing up,” Keith Papini said. “And I said, ‘You know what, buddy? I found mom,’ and he got the biggest grin.’”

He then told their 2-year-old daughter, Violet. “I wanted to do it one by one,” Keith Papini said.

Keith Papini told ABC News in an exclusive statement this week that when he was reunited with his wife at the hospital, her face was “covered in bruises ranging from yellow to black because of repeated beatings,” the bridge of her nose had been broken and her signature long blond hair had been chopped off. He added that his wife weighed only 87 pounds when she was found.

On the day she was found, Keith Papini said his wife told him she had been in a vehicle with her alleged captors and that one of her arms was chained to something inside the car.

“She was bound … she had a metal chain around her waist,” he said. “She had a bag over her head … she was chained anytime she was in a vehicle.”

Keith Papini said his wife told him that at some point her alleged captors stopped the vehicle and opened the door. “They cut something” that freed her restraint that was holding her in the vehicle, he said, then pushed her out onto the road and drove away.

“She screamed so much, she’s coughing up blood from the screaming, trying to get somebody to stop [on the road],” he said. “And again just another sign of how my wife is, she’s so wonderful. She’s saying, ‘Well maybe people aren’t stopping because I have a chain that looks like I broke out of prison’ so she tried to tuck in her chain under her clothes.”

Authorities said they have interviewed Sherri Papini twice about her ordeal and are still hunting for the alleged kidnappers.

Based on Sherri Papini’s description of her alleged captors, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko told ABC News that authorities are searching for two Hispanic female adults armed with a gun and driving a dark SUV.

One suspect, the younger of the two, was described as having long curly hair and a thick accent, pierced ears and thin eyebrows, Bosenko said, while the other woman, the older one, was described as having straight black hair with some grays and thick eyebrows.

Bosenko also told ABC News that Sherri Papini had “branding” on her body that contained “a message.” He confirmed the details in Keith Papini’s account of his wife’s ordeal and said police have no reason to doubt her story.

“So far, we are investigating this as a kidnapping-abduction, and everything that she is providing us thus far is indicating that,” he said.

Watch Keith Papini’s emotional interview, in which he describes searching for his wife and then reuniting with her for the first time, on ABC’s 20/20 FRIDAY, Dec. 2 at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Woman Locked in Metal Container for Two Months Sues Suspected Serial Killer

iStock/Thinkstock(ANDERSON CITY, S.C.) — Kala Brown, a woman who was locked inside a metal container for more than two months, filed a lawsuit in civil court on Thursday seeking damages from suspected kidnapper and serial killer Todd Kohlhepp, reports WLOS, a local ABC affiliate.

Brown was discovered by detectives searching Kohlhepp’s property in rural South Carolina when they heard a banging coming from inside the container on Nov. 3. She and her boyfriend went missing on Aug. 31, according to police.

Brown’s suit alleges that after going out to the property “for the purpose of work that involved cleaning up,” Kohlhepp “presented a firearm and took Miss Brown hostage,” and “chained and locked her inside a metal shipping container.”

The suit seeks damages, alleging that Kohlhepp “forcefully kidnapped and imprisoned her, threatened and actually committed physical assault and battery upon her person, and intentionally and negligently inflicted severe emotional distress upon her.”

Brown’s lawyers allege that she was subjected to intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, assault and battery.

Brown, 30, told investigators that she witnessed Kohlhepp shoot and kill her boyfriend, Charles Carver. Carver’s body was later found in a shallow grave on the property.

Police suspect Kohlhepp’s involvement in a total of seven killings.

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Parents Disarm 15-Year-Old Who Fired Gun at Utah Junior High School: Police

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A Utah junior high school was placed on lockdown Thursday after a 15-year-old fired at least one round in a hallway — but the teen was disarmed by his parents, who came to the school after being concerned that guns had gone missing from their house, police said.

Police dispatchers received a 911 call form a Mueller Park Junior High School teacher around 8:15 a.m. who stated that there was an individual in the school firing a weapon, according to Bountiful City Police Chief Tom Ross.

The teen’s parents had gone to the school to look for their son and arrived before the shot was fired, Ross said. After they heard the gun go off, they were able to find and disarm him, Ross said. An officer arrived on scene within two minutes of the initial 911 call, and the teen was then taken into custody.

Active Shooter at Muller Park Jr. Suspect in custody, no injuries reported. Officers conducting clear of school now.

— BountifulCityPD (@bountifulcityPD) December 1, 2016

Police said the teen entered a classroom with 26 students and fired a shot to the ceiling. He did not speak to anyone in that instance, they said.

A shotgun and a handgun were recovered from the scene, as well as additional ammunition, police said. It is unclear which weapon was discharged.

The teen’s parents went to the school because they were “worried” about their son and were “concerned that there were weapons missing from the home,” Ross said. Police said that they also believed their son had been acting strangely. Someone had also tried to talk him out of carrying out the act, police said.

A motive is not known at this time. No others were involved in the ordeal, and the it is unclear if there were any targets, police said. The teen is being held in a juvenile detention center. No charges have been filed as of yet.

More than 100 law enforcement and emergency personnel responded, Ross said. The police department has done several drills over the years ever since the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

The Davis School District announced that the lockdown had been lifted around 11 a.m., and school remained in session. Parents were not required to take their students home, but those who wished to were instructed to get their children from a nearby church. ABC News could not immediately reach the school district for comment.

Stephanie Neslen, whose son attends the school, said the drive to pick him up was the longest in her life.

“He texted me and said, ‘Mom, it’s not a drill. I heard a gun,'” Neslen told ABC Salt Lake City affiliate KTVX.

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Man Fatally Shoots Home Intruder While on Phone With 911: ‘They’re in My House’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A man fatally shot one of three intruders who allegedly broke into his Sunrise, Florida, home in a dramatic moment all caught on the homeowner’s call to 911.

Sunrise police received the 911 call Monday from the homeowner, Warren Darlow, who told the police he saw a car pull into his driveway. According to arrest affidavits obtained by ABC News, Darlow then told police he saw men he didn’t know get out of the car and walk toward his home.

“Fearing the suspects were going to break into his house, Darlow armed himself with a shotgun,” the affidavits say. Darlow told police he loaded the gun and called 911, according to the affidavits. As he was on the phone with 911, the suspects shattered a glass door and broke in, he told police, the affidavits say.

“They’re in my house right now,” the victim whispers to the 911 dispatcher in the call, which was obtained by ABC News.

Darlow later told police he was worried that if the suspects weren’t already armed, they would arm themselves with one of Darlow’s guns that he keeps in plain view on nightstands, according to the affidavits.

Darlow told police “several times that he feared for his life,” according to the affidavits.

Darlow then fired his gun three times, according to the affidavits. Though the first shot did not hit anyone, the second shot did, the affidavits say. Darlow told police that after that second shot, he saw the injured individual appear to “reach toward something,” so Darlow fired again, the affidavits say.

On the 911 call, the homeowner tells the dispatcher, “I killed one, I think.”

The dispatcher asks about the other men and he says, “I don’t know.”

The homeowner then asks the dispatcher to tell the cops to hurry.

The injured suspect was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the affidavits.

Officers later stopped two men who matched descriptions given by Darlow; the suspects were both positively identified by Darlow as the men allegedly involved in the home invasion, and they were taken into custody. The men were later identified by police as Jose Coleman and Curtis Jefferies.

Jefferies, 26, and Coleman, 23, were arrested for homicide-willful kill-murder while engaged in certain felony and burglary-dwelling structure or conveyance armed. According to the affidavits, Coleman admitted to committing the burglary, but Jefferies maintained he just drove Coleman and the victim to the house, and said he was not involved in the break-in. It is not clear whether either man has obtained a lawyer. In Florida, anyone committing a felony can face a murder-related charge if a death occurs during the crime.

Broward County Court officials say both suspects were in front of the magistrate on the Nov. 28; no court dates have been set.

The Sunrise Police Department said Darlow will face no charges for killing the intruder.

Darlow declined to comment to ABC News about the incident.

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Tennessee Wildfires Killed at Least 10, Officials Report

Brian Blanco/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Three more deaths have been confirmed as a result of the massive wildfires in eastern Tennessee — bringing the death toll to 10, according to officials.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam called the wildfires the state’s largest in 100 years.

The blazes — which officials believe were “human-caused” — have injured at least 80 other people, burned more than 17,100 acres of land and devastated the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and other areas in Sevier County.

All the fires have been extinguished as of this afternoon, though a few “hot spots” remain, officials said.

They added that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have started working in conjunction with the National Park Service to determine a timeline of how the wildfire transpired.

Authorities said that they are still working on trying to positively identify the 10 deceased before notifying relatives.

“It is certainly a distressing time for all of us,” Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said at a news conference today. He added that he and the city are extending their thoughts and prayers to the families of victims.

In addition to working on positively identifying the deceased, authorities said they are trying to compile a list of missing people in areas affected by the blazes.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation established a hotline to coordinate reports of missing people on Wednesday, Waters said. Those who wish to report missing individuals are urged contact 1-800-TBI-FIND, he added.

The hotline has received more than 100 calls in less than 24 hours, according to officials.

Firefighters and responders have made “significant progress” in searching and clearing areas affected by the fires, Waters said.

The eastern part of Gatlinburg has been opened, and local officials are hoping to allow owners to access to their properties “in a controlled process” by the beginning of next week, according to Gatlinburg City Manager Cindy Ogle.

She added that officials are working on getting up a website that will have a list of properties damaged by the fires and that the website will be updated gradually as officials receive more information.

“We’re working around the clock and doing everything we possibly can to get Gatlinburg open and them back on their feet,” said Mayor Mike Werner. “We’re mountain tough, and we have a strong faith in God.”

Despite the destruction the blazes have left, an overwhelming outpouring of support and donations from across the country are helping, officials said.

Dolly Parton has promised to donate $1,000 per month for six months to families that lost their homes, according to David Dotson, president of the Dollywood Foundation.

He said at the news conference today that Parton was “heartbroken” and has set up a website where people around the world can donate. He said the website has not even been up for 24 hours yet, but “the world is responding in a big way.”

“We’re going to be strong,” added Werner, Gatlinburg’s mayor. “We’re going to be back better than ever.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Christmas Party May Have Triggered San Bernardino Terror Attack: Police

ABC News(SAN BERNARDINO, Calf.) — Authorities believe the terrorist attack on Dec. 2, 2015, in San Bernardino may have been triggered by a mandatory employee training session and lunch replete with holiday decorations, including a Christmas tree, that shooter Syed Farook was forced to attend.

Emails discovered by the FBI and police reveal Farook’s wife, Pakistani native Tashfeen Malik, objected to the Christmas setting and was upset her husband had to go.

Just before the attack, Farook posed with four fellow county employees in front of a Christmas tree in a conference room.

A short time later, 14 people were killed and 22 others injured when Farook and Malik opened fire at the meeting with assault rifles.

“She had essentially made the statement in an online account that she didn’t think that a Muslim should have to participate in a non-Muslim holiday or event,” said San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan in an exclusive interview with ABC News that aired on ABC News’ “Nightline.”

“That really is one of the very, very few pieces of potential evidence that we have that we can truly point to and say, ‘That probably is a motive in this case.’”

Four hours after their rampage, Farook and Malik were shot dead in a gunbattle on a San Bernardino street with police.

Farook at the Range

New video, obtained by ABC News, shows Farook two days before the attack practicing at a local firing range with a pistol and an assault rifle that a friend bought for him.

The video shows Farook adjusting the sights on his rifle and then firing at paper torso silhouette targets, one of which was later recovered in the shooters’ vehicle and led authorities to the range.

“They had high-powered weaponry. They had lots of ammunition. They had bombs at their disposal,” said Burguan.

An analysis by the FBI shows that after the two shooters left the scene of the shooting, they never went more than 7 miles from the site and were constantly circling often driving right past police barricades.

Officials now believe they were trying to remotely set off three pipe bombs they left behind that failed to detonate.

The remote detonator was discovered in their car after the final shootout.

An Ignorant ISIS Pledge

Shortly after the attack, the couple posted an online message pledging their allegiance to the ISIS terrorist group and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

But police say the couple actually had to search online earlier in the day for the name of al-Baghdadi.

“You would think that somebody that truly wanted to do that, somebody that was truly committed, certainly wouldn’t be researching on that particular day,” said Burguan.

The murderous couple left behind a 6-month old daughter who remains in state foster care, according to family members.

“It certainly surprised me that you’d have a woman with a 6-month old baby who do something like this,” said David Bowdich, who was the in charge of the FBI Los Angeles office. “That’s very hard for us to comprehend.”

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Authorities Working to ‘Positively Identify’ Seven Killed in Tennessee Wildfire

Brian Blanco/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Authorities said Thursday that they are still working on trying to “positively identify” the seven people killed by the massive wildfire in eastern Tennessee.

The blaze, which has injured at least 74 others, has burned more than 17,100 acres of land and devastated the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and other surrounding areas in Sevier County, according to officials.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has called the wildfire the state’s largest fire in 100 years.

“It is certainly a distressing time for all of us,” Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said at a news conference Thursday. He added that he and the city are extending their thoughts and prayers to the families of the seven victims.

In addition to working on positively identifying the seven deceased, authorities said they are also trying to compile a list of missing persons in areas affected by the wildfire.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) established a hotline to coordinate reports of missing persons on Wednesday, Waters said. Those who wish to report missing individuals are urged contact 1-800-TBI-FIND, he added.

The hotline has received more than 100 calls in less than 24 hours, according to officials.

Firefighters and responders have made “significant process” in searching and clearing areas affected by the fire, Waters said.

The eastern part of the city of Gatlinburg has been opened and local officials are hoping to allow owners to access their properties “in a controlled process” by the beginning of next week, according to Gatlinburg City Manager Cindy Ogle.

She added that officials are working on getting up a website that will contain a list of properties damaged by the fire. That website will be updated gradually as officials receive more information, Ogle noted.

A recent “significant amount of rainfall” has helped contain the wildfire, which continues to burn on Thursday, according to Cassius Cash, superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the fire started.

However, Cash said Thursday that people should not let the rain “give us a false sense of security.” He emphasized that it would take some time to completely put out the fire and recover from its devastation.

Despite the destruction the blaze has left, there has been an “overwhelming” outpouring of support and donations from across the country, officials said.

Dolly Parton has promised to donate $1,000 per month for six months to families that lost their homes, said David Dotson, president of The Dollywood Foundation.

Dotson said at the news conference Thursday that Parton was “heartbroken” and has set up a website where people around the world can donate. He said the website has not even been up for 24 hours yet, but “the world is responding in a big way.”

“We’re going to be strong,” added Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner. “We’re going to be back better than ever.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Armed Man in Custody After Hostage Situation at Florida Bank

iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) — An armed man was taken into custody after a hostage situation stemming from a bank robbery at a Jacksonville, Florida, bank, authorities said Thursday morning.

Eleven hostages were rescued, authorities said, adding that no one was injured.

Thursday morning’s incident began with a gunman taking hostages inside the Community First Credit Union. As the situation unfolded, the suspect released a couple of hostages, but continued to threaten people, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said at news conference.

Williams said the suspect threatened to kill hostages multiple times and put a gun to the back of hostages’ heads a couple times.

At one point, two hostages tried to flee, which distracted the suspect, and that’s when SWAT team members stormed into the bank, taking the suspect into custody, Williams said.

While the situation was resolved peacefully, the victims — employees and bank customers — are “shaken up,” Williams said.

The suspect is not a bank employee, Williams added.

John Hirabayashi, CEO and president at Community First Credit Union, said in a statement, “We are so thankful that today’s hostage situation resolved itself in a safe way. Our hearts and prayers are with the families and membership.”

While the hostage situation was unfolding, the mother of a bank employee told local news station First Coast News that she hadn’t been able to reach her 45-year-old daughter, who she knew had left for work that morning.

“I don’t know what is going on,” the employee’s mother said, appearing emotional. “She just had a birthday.”

Directly across the street from the bank, staff members and children huddled inside a church/day care. One woman said they were trapped inside the day care and church building because of the police and fire trucks blocking the street. She told ABC News she wasn’t scared, saying, “We have God.”

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Cooper Tire Buys 65 Percent Stake In Chinese Rubber Company

12/1/16 – 7:27 A.M.

Cooper Tire and Rubber is expanding its presence in China. The company says it has bought a 65 percent stake in the Qingdao Ge Rui Da Rubber Company, also known as GRT. GRT makes truck and bus radial tires. Cooper says it will make tires for North American and Asian markets.

GRT’s plant in China is one-million-square-feet. Cooper says the factory has room for expansion.

A statement from Cooper CEO Brad Hughes says “Our partnership with GRT is an important step in Cooper’s strategic plan as it diversifies our TBR tire supply beyond a single source.”

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