Police Handout(LAUDERHILL, Fla.) — A 22-year-old man clad in a bright red bucket hat went on a bizarre and violent crime spree in Lauderhill, Florida, on Sunday morning, injuring two, police said.

Jovaughn Walker stole a vehicle, attacked an elderly man with a metal rod at a gas station, then drove to a market and attacked a clerk with a replica samurai sword before he was taken into custody, police said.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 32 years now and I’ve never encountered anything this bizarre.” Maj. Rick Rocco of the Lauderhill Police Department told ABC News Tuesday. “Just randomly attacking people, especially in the manner, especially with a sword.”

Walker has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, carjacking, aggravated assault, and possession of cannabis, according to the Lauderhill Police Department.

Police received a call about an incident at a Shell Gas Station a little after 10 a.m. on Sunday saying that an elderly man had been attacked.

“An 81-year-old male and his wife were inside the store area of the Shell and while they’re in there the suspect comes walking into the store and without saying a word goes into the display rack and takes the support pole, then approaches the elderly male and just starts to attack him,” Rocco said. “The victim’s wife gets between the suspect and the victim, and he doesn’t hurt the wife but then he leaves the gas station.”

While police were trying to piece together this attack, they got a call about someone at the Swap Shop attacking people with a sword, Rocco said. The Swap Shop is a huge local flea-market type of mall with many vendors and booths. “Our unit rushes down there and we find out that it is the same person from the previous attack,” Rocco said.

Walker picked up a 3-foot replica samurai sword that was on display and started attacking a vendor, Rocco said. Surveillance video and audio shows onlookers screaming as the 49-year-old victim tries to fight Walker off. “When police got there he was being held down and detained by other vendors,” Rocco said.

The motive for this violent bender remains unknown, Rocco said.

“There is no connection between the suspect and either of the victims,” Rocco said. “He was found with cannabis. We don’t know if he was using some other kind of drug, or if he had a mental condition.”

The two victims were hospitalized, suffering lacerations, but have since been released, police said.

It could have been much worse, Rocco said, adding “I thank God it was a replica sword. I thank God that the victims weren’t seriously hurt.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton defended his decision to walk out of the Super Bowl’s post-game press conference after his team’s loss to the Denver Broncos.

“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser,” he said Tuesday as players cleaned out their lockers.

“I’ve got no more tears to cry,” Newton said, according to ESPN. “I’ve obviously had a lot of time to think about it. I’ve seen so much blown out of proportion.”

A Broncos player could be heard boasting about his team’s win as Newton was answering questions from reporters.

For his part, Chris Harris Jr., the Broncos player in question, said that he did not intentionally try to interrupt Newton.

“I would have been mad, too, if I was Cam,” Harris told ESPN on Monday. “To be able to hear your opponent right behind you talking, nobody wants to hear that. So I think that was a bad setup, but things happen. But you have to deal with it and approach things like a man, and we’ve been in that situation where we lost a Super Bowl and be able to take things as they come. I’m just happy we were on the good side of things this time.”

Newton said “that’s cool” if he offended anyone by walking out, but he won’t change his personality.

“At the end of the day, when you invest so much time and sacrifice so much and things don’t go as planned, the emotions take over. That’s what happens. As far as trying to be like this person, trying to be like that person … the truth of the matter is I’m not trying to be like this person,” Newton said Tuesday, according to ESPN.

He continued: “This is a great league with or without me. I am my own person. I said it since day one. I am who I am. I know what I’m capable of and I know where I’m going. I don’t have to conform to anybody else’s wants for me to do. I’m not that guy.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

WLS-TV(CHICAGO) — The father of a young woman who was struck in the head by a stray bullet in Chicago Friday has spoken out about his daughter’s tragic shooting, saying he warned her not to move to the Windy City.

Aaren O’Connor, 25, moved from California to Chicago just over a year ago for a new job and to be with her boyfriend.

“I pleaded with her when she told me she was going to go to Chicago. I said there are much safer places for you to be,” Aaren’s father, David O’Connor, told ABC owned station WLS-TV.

Aaren was killed as she was sitting in her car after work, her father told WLS. According to David O’Connor, Aaren was on the phone with her sister when the shooting happened. He tried calling his daughter back when the line cut out.

“She was incoherent, didn’t know where she was, and kept saying that her head hurts. Her head hurts,” he told WLS. “I wish I could have known what was going on, so I could have told her that I love her one more time.”

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Chicago Police Department have not yet confirmed O’Connor’s death.

O’Connor’s shooting comes as the murder rate in Chicago is markedly higher than this time last year.

According to a Chicago police spokesperson, there have been 69 murders in the city so far this year. By contrast, there had only been 35 murders during that same time period in 2015, meaning the number of homicides has almost doubled so far this year.

It should be noted that O’Connor is not one of those included in this year’s figures, since her death has not yet been officially reported.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Jessica Sheridan(NEW YORK) — One passenger on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by hurricane-force winds said she was afraid for her life as the boat tipped side to side and she lay in bed shaking.

Guests on the Anthem of the Seas ship were asked to stay in their rooms Sunday as wind gusts topped 76 miles per hour and 40-foot waves battered the ship. No one was seriously injured.

The ship is sailing back to port in New Jersey in the wake of the turbulent weather off the coast of the Carolinas. The ship was originally sailing to the Bahamas.

Here’s a first-hand account of the terror at sea told to ABC News Tuesday by Jessica Sheridan of Brooklyn, New York, who is on the ship with her husband and 20-month-old son:

When we initially left New Jersey we were told there was some “weather” ahead of us that we were going to try to go around. Needless to say that failed, so the captain decided to try to take the storm head on.

Around noon on Sunday the ride started getting really rocky. I had to go to my room because it was too rocky for me to stand up.

They were taping the merchandise in the ship’s store onto the shelves because it was flying out. My husband took my son to the kids play room and a little boy was tipped over and sent flying across the room in a Little Tikes toy car.

Shortly after, around 2 or 3 p.m., an announcement was made that we were going through the storm and we should all go back to our cabins.

It was horrifying. The boat was tipping so much from side to side that you could hardly get out of bed. I was literally just lying in bed shaking and crying and trying to stay calm so I didn’t scare my 20-month-old son. I was afraid for my life.

I was determined to “go off the grid” on this vacation but quickly decided to purchase Wi-Fi to contact my mother. I was afraid for my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been as frightened as I was for those 12 hours in my whole life.

The captain gave updates but they were not reassuring at all. He basically turned the ship into the storm and decided to fight the wind and waves as the best course of action. Glasses were flying off our counters and smashing in the room.

Things didn’t really get better until the storm passed and we were able to turn around.

The ship was totally trashed. Ceilings falling down. Chairs over turned. Broken glass everywhere.

Food was sparse the next morning but seems okay now. My plan was to get off the boat in Florida and not get back on because the thought that this could possibly ever happen again is enough for me to never cruise again. We didn’t dock in Florida because of another storm developing and were on our way back to New Jersey now and I’ve never been more excited to be going to NJ!

The entire situation was completely horrifying and traumatizing and I can’t help but feel that major mistakes were made on the part of Royal Caribbean and the captain. Seems like a negligent decision to me.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told ABC News Tuesday, “We are sensitive to the fact that our guests went through an uncomfortable ride. Every time one of our ships sets sail, our single focus is to give our guests a wonderful, outstanding vacation. Clearly, due to the weather, we were unable to deliver the Royal Caribbean cruise vacation anticipated, and that we were looking forward to providing. The Anthem team maintained a safe environment, continued to deliver needed services, and did their best to reassure worried guests.”

Royal Caribbean noted Monday that the ship’s seaworthiness had not been affected in spite of the “extreme wind and sea conditions” which included “wind speeds higher than what was forecasted.”

“We know it was tough day on Sunday and apologize for their discomfort,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement Monday. “We also thank our captain and crew for guiding the ship safely back to better weather.”

“Safety is our highest priority and ships are designed to withstand even more extreme circumstances than Anthem of the Seas encountered,” the statement said.

The company said on Twitter that all guests were “safe and accounted for” and the ship would be arriving back in New Jersey on Wednesday.

The ship had originally left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Saturday for a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas.

All guests will receive a full refund and a future cruise certificate for 50 percent of the cruise fare paid, the company tweeted.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

WMAR(BLACKSBURG, Va.) — A friend of the 13-year-old Virginia girl who was allegedly abducted and murdered last month said the teen had told her about an older “boyfriend” before she went missing.

Nicole Lovell, 13, was found dead four days after going missing in late-January and Virginia Tech students David Eisenhauer, 18, and Natalie Keepers, 19, have since been arrested and charged in connection to the case.

A friend of Lovell’s told ABC News that Nicole had showed her pictures of “her boyfriend” named David. The photos appeared to match Eisenhauer, the friend said.

The friend, whose identity is not being publicly disclosed, also told ABC News that Nicole had met with David at a park at least one time before she disappeared Jan. 27.

The park, called Nellie’s Cave, is visible from Nicole’s bedroom window, has walking trails and is featured on several online running routes through the town of Blacksburg, Virginia.

Eisenhauer, who was a star track and field runner in high school and was a member of the Virginia Tech cross country team, has been charged with first degree murder and abduction. He was arraigned but is expected to enter a plea at his first hearing in late March. His attorney has not commented on the case.

A source familiar with the case told ABC News that Eisenhauer had a relationship the person characterized as “inappropriate” with Lovell. The source would not elaborate on the relationship to ABC News.

Keepers, a friend of Eisenhauer, was charged with being an accessory both before and after the fact as well as improper disposal of a body. She appeared at a bond hearing where the state attorney detailed how Keepers had told investigators about how she and Eisenhauer planned the attack and disposed of the body. Her bond was denied and she has not yet had to enter a plea.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(TORONTO) — The Toronto Maple Leafs has finalized a nine-player trade with provincial rival Ottawa Senators, both teams announced on Tuesday.

The focus of the trade is on Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf being dealt to the Senators.

Ottawa will also get forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, and Ryan Rupert, and defenseman Cody Donaghey from Toronto. In return, Toronto will get defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, and Tobias Lindberg, as well as Ottawa’s second-round 2017 NHL draft pick.

Phaneuf, 30, is a three-time All-Star, and has three goals and 21 assists in his 51 games for Toronto in the 2015-2016 season. He was named the 18th captain for the Maple Leafs in June 2010.

The All-Star defenseman still has five more years on his $7-million contract with the Maple Leafs after this season.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Tompkins County Jail(ITHACA, N.Y.) — A Cornell University fraternity president accused of attempted rape and sexual abuse was released from custody Tuesday, but a Cornell representative told ABC News the student is not allowed on campus, where he lives.

Wolfgang Ballinger, 21, a member of Psi Upsilon’s Chi Chapter at Cornell, did not appear in court Tuesday. No evidence was presented. A grand jury is set to decide whether to indict him.

Ballinger was charged with first-degree attempted rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse, university police said.

Ballinger has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

He was booked into Tompkins County, New York, Jail on Thursday after a female student reported that she was sexually assaulted at the fraternity house, according to university police. Ballinger has served as president of the chapter, Psi Upsilon Executive Director Thomas Fox told ABC News.

The young woman, who is not being identified, reported the alleged incident to police on Jan. 31, telling authorities she was sexually assaulted in a bedroom at the frat house at about 2 a.m. that day. She helped identify Ballinger as the alleged perpetrator, the Cornell University Police Department said.

At the request of the police through his attorney, Ballinger turned himself in to Cornell University Police investigators Thursday. Ballinger was booked at the Tompkins County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond, Cornell University Police said.

Ballinger’s attorney, James Baker, told ABC News in a statement Saturday that Ballinger did not commit the crimes of which he is accused. “His innocence will be established at the proper time and in the proper place, which is in the courts, not in the media,” Baker said.

Cornell’s Office of Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living said, as of Feb. 1, Psi Upsilon was placed “on interim suspension status as a result of alleged sexual misconduct” at the fraternity house.

“Interim suspension is a pause in the operations of a chapter during which the chapter may not engage in any activities other than operation of its residence,” the statement said.

Psi Upsilon Fraternity’s national organization said Friday that all activity at the Cornell chapter is suspended and the fraternity is cooperating with Cornell University during its investigation. Fraternity staff members are also traveling to Ithaca to help.

“Sexual assault, and any form of sexual harassment, is against our policy and in opposition of the values of Psi Upsilon,” Psi Upsilon’s Executive Director Fox said. “Our chapter is cooperating with Cornell’s investigation into this matter and any members involved will be held accountable. The Chi Chapter at Cornell has a distinguished history with the University and we are committed to continuing to be a benefit to Cornell and the Ithaca Community.”

Cornell University President Elizabeth Garrett said in a statement: “I am deeply disturbed by the allegations of sexual assault involving the president of Psi Upsilon. Sexual violence has no place at Cornell, and if these allegations are substantiated, those involved will be held accountable.”

“When we were notified of these allegations on Monday, February 1, Psi Upsilon was immediately placed on interim suspension pending the conclusion of a full investigation,” Garrett said. “Although I applaud the swift actions of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to mandate additional training for its members, we will be considering what additional steps should be taken to ensure the Greek community at Cornell is living up to our institutional standard of excellence and respect for others.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) — Lawyers trying to get a new trial for Adnan Syed, the convicted killer at the center of hit podcast “Serial,” and the state attorneys who are hoping to keep him behind bars are making their closing arguments Tuesday after resting their respective cases in Syed’s bid for a retrial.

Syed’s lawyers — C. Justin Brown and Christopher Nieto — and members of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office will wrap up Tuesday before retired Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Martin P. Welch. Welch is likely to release a written decision at a later time, though he could issue a ruling from the bench Tuesday at the conclusion of the hearing.

Syed was convicted in 2000 of murdering his former girlfriend and Woodlawn High School classmate, Hae Min Lee, who was found strangled to death in Leakin Park in 1999. The prosecution at the time placed Syed at the site where Lee’s body was found, using incoming call location data that AT&T had said at the time was “unreliable” in a written memo that was never presented to the jury.

Syed’s lawyers have argued that the call location data should never have been used against him and that his former lawyer, the late Cristina Gutierrez, failed to properly cross-examine the state’s cellular phone expert during Syed’s 2000 trial.

The state says not so, calling another cellular expert last week during Syed’s post-conviction proceedings who corroborated the expert testimony from 2000. He remained on the stand Monday morning.

Syed’s case was propelled into the limelight in late 2014 after Serial uncovered new evidence that could potentially help provide Syed with an alibi: Asia McClain, another classmate, says she saw Syed at the Woodlawn Public Library at around the same time the state says Syed murdered Lee.

McClain, now married and living in Washington State, was confident on the stand last week, saying she and Syed spoke for 15 to 20 minutes on Jan. 13, 1999. She wrote him two letters while he was in prison, offering to speak up on his behalf but Syed’s lawyer never sought her out for her potential alibi testimony.

Lawyers for Syed say he received ineffective counsel in 2000 and that his constitutional rights were violated. The Maryland Attorney General’s Office says he received a fair trial and says it believes Syed is the real killer.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Obama announced Tuesday a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan to help combat what the president calls one of the most important challenges the U.S. faces.

The plan calls for more than $19 billion for cybersecurity, with $3.1 billion going toward updating the government’s old computer system.

“The Social Security Administration uses systems and code from the 1960s,” Obama wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. “No successful business could operate this way. Going forward, we will require agencies to increase protections for their most valued information and make it easier for them to update their networks.”

The Obama Administration will additionally create a new federal position called Chief Information Security Officer to control and lead the work changes across the government.

The plan will also require stepped-up efforts to build a group of cyber professionals across the government to “push practices at every level,” strengthen partnerships with the private sector to prevent threats, and empower Americans to protect themselves when they’re using the Internet.

“As long as I’m president, protecting America’s digital infrastructure is going to remain a top national-security priority,” Obama said in the op-ed. “We won’t resolve all these challenges over the coming year, but we’re laying a strong foundation for the future.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — One gymnast is tumbling into Facebook glory with more than 22 million views on her epic hip-hop-themed floor routine.

Sophina DeJesus, a senior at UCLA, nailed her floor routine versus Utah with moves that would make even Beyoncé proud. She struts, she dabs and she Nae Naes in her shiny silver and blue uniform with matching black and blue ponytail.

She perfectly sticks all her landings, pulls off an unbelievable triple flip into a split and caps it off with a salute like it’s no big deal.

The officials at the meet gave DeJesus a 9.925, helping earn UCLA the overall victory.

The routine has been shared on Facebook by ESPN and gymnastic groups from as far away as Australia.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →