National News

San Francisco Woman Shot, Killed While Strolling on Pier with Father in 'Random


A California woman was shot and killed in an apparent random act of violence. (Courtesy of Steinle family)(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A San Francisco woman was recently shot and killed in a seemingly "random shooting" while she was strolling and taking photos with her father in a tourist-heavy area of the city, according to the authorities and the victim's family. Kathryn Steinle, 31 -- a medical sales rep was on her way to see her sister-in-law, who was expecting a baby -- was shot in her upper torso at Pier 14 in San Francisco on Wednesday around 6:30 p.m., police said. Despite a Good Samaritan helping officers attend to Steinle before paramedics arrived, she later died at San Francisco General Hospital. The alleged shooter, Francisco Sanchez, 45, fled the scene, but officers found him in front of a restaurant in the area about an hour after Steinle was shot. Sanchez was on probation in Texas at the time of the shooting, and he has been formally charged with Steinle's murder, according to authorities. It was not clear what he was on probation for. "There does not appear to be any connection between the victim and the suspect," San Francisco Police Sgt. Mike Andraychak told ABC News affiliate KGO-TV. "At this point, it appears to be a random shooting incident." Sanchez has been previously deported five times and his criminal history includes seven prior felony convictions, four of which involve narcotics charges, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It was not clear what the other convictions were for. ICE said in a statement that Sanchez was turned over to the San Francisco Police Department this past March on an outstanding drug warrant and that the department requested that police keep Sanchez in custody based on his criminal background and a new case against him. However, police did not honor the request, ICE said, adding that the case "illustrates the importance of jurisdictions working with ICE in order to avoid needless tragedy in their communities." San Francisco PD did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the allegations from ICE. In the meantime, Steinle's family is in shock and mourning, KGO-TV reported. The victim's brother, Brad Steinle, told KGO-TV his sister, who loved to make people laugh and smile, was supposed to see him the night she died to learn if he and his wife were expecting a boy or girl. "She won't get to meet my daughter," Brad said through tears. "Cherish the people in your life, and who you love, and tell them you love them, cause I'll never get to tell my sister that I love her again," Kathryn Steinle, who was went by "Kate," lived in San Francisco, but grew up in the small town of Pleasanton, California. She graduated from Amador Valley High School in 2001, KGO-TV reported. She eventually made her way to the city, working as a medical device sales representative for Medtronic, the station added. "We are saddened and shocked by this senseless act," Medtronic said in a statement on Thursday. "Our thoughts and condolences are with Kate's family and friends." On Thursday evening, flowers were left on Pier 14 to honor and remember Kate Steinle. "She was amazing," her friend, Heather Childress told KGO-TV. "She was a very compassionate person, her smile was infectious." Childress and other friends also told KGO-TV that Steinle was the kind of friend who was always there. When friends organized a charity bike ride for multiple sclerosis, Kate threw a fundraising dinner to help without being asked, they said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Men Catch Shark on North Carolina Beach as String of Attacks Rattle Nerves


A man pulled a shark out of the water in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, on July 3, 2015. (Anna Korman) (KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C.) -- Amid a string of shark attacks in North Carolina, two beach-goers turned the tables on one shark that got a little bit too close for comfort on Friday. Two men were fishing in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, this morning when they caught a shark, witness Chloe Finlay told ABC News. These photos, provided by witness Anna Korman, show one of the men grabbing the shark by its tail and pulling it right out of the water. Stunned vacationers gathered on the sand, snapping photos of the shark up-close. Seven shark attacks have been reported in North Carolina in June, according to authorities. A beach-goer told ABC News affiliate WRIC-TV in Richmond, Virginia the shark measured about 77 inches.After the shark was measured, it was released back into the water, according to Finlay.ABC US News | World NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

City in Drought-Stricken Calif. Forced to Dump 550,000 Gallons of Water


Fuse/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water went to waste in California at a time when water conservation efforts are more serious than ever for the drought-stricken state.The mayor of Poway, a city in San Diego County, defended the decision to dump 550,000 gallons of drinking water into a nearby canyon, according to ABC News affiliate KGTV.“It was a perfect storm of conservation and heat,” Poway Mayor Steve Vaus told KGTV.In an ironic twist, the reason so much water was lost was because of conservation efforts. The water sat in the Blue Crystal Reservoir for too long, according to KGTV. Heat created a chemical imbalance of chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia used to disinfect drinking water, making the water, according to state regulations, unsafe to drink.“I think it’s a shame, the city should have prepared better for it,” said resident Helen Shelden.More than 500,000 gallons of water can reportedly supply four households for a year.Vaus said the water was dumped rather than being put back in the lake where it came from, because it would be too expensive.“This was just an unfortunate consequence that pains us, but we want to keep our people healthy,” Vaus said.The mayor said the water wasted is a small amount compared to what residents use annually, according to KGTV.The City of Poway did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mall Security Guards Suspended After Punching Teen on Video


iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A cellphone video that’s burning up the Internet Friday morning has led to the suspensions of three security guards seen repeatedly punching a shirtless 15-year-old boy outside the Stonecrest Mall south of Atlanta.Witnesses say the guards were trying to get a group of underage kids to leave. Mall policy says someone has to be 18 to remain on the property without a parent. But the girl who shot the video, who’s avoiding cameras, told police that one of the guards swung first.The boy's mother, Chavella Hamm, 45, and her lawyer are furious."I was horrified, I was scared," Hamm said. "I was at another store ... across the street from the mall, and I got a phone call on my phone, and it was my son, hysterical, screaming, 'Ma, come help me.'"They went to court Thursday and filed documents demanding that police arrest the security guards for "battery and visible harm." They were granted a hearing next month, where they plan to show a judge the video."They should not be allowed to continuing working as security officers," said Hamm’s lawyer, Mawuli Mel Davis. "But even more importantly, they should be arrested and prosecuted as criminals."In a statement, the mall said that guards work for Securitas USA, a "third-party company" that "is currently working with the DeKalb Police Department while this incident is under investigation.""The security officers have been suspended without pay and will no longer work on site at the shopping center," the Mall at Stonecrest said in its statement. "With this being an ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide any additional information at this time."Securitas USA did not respond to a request for comment.The boy's mother said he’s recovering from a gash near his eye and wounds to his back and arms."What those three men did, it could have turned out even worse," Hamm said. "But my baby came home. What's to say someone else's baby won’t come home. ... And I want something done about this. This will be dealt with."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mass. Police Desperate to Identify Girl Found Dead in Trash Bag


Massachusetts State Police(BOSTON) -- Massachusetts authorities have released new photos in hopes of identifying a young girl who was discovered dead inside a trash bag.On June 25, a dog walker found the girl's body on the western shore of Deer Island in Winthrop, a peninsula in Boston Harbor opposite Logan Airport, Massachusetts State Police said. The girl was found with a fleece blanket and wrapped in a trash bag.There were no signs of trauma, said Dave Procopio, director of media relations for the state police.On Thursday, police released a computer-generated composite image of the girl, who was approximately 4 years old. The photo, prepared by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, depicts what she may have looked like, police said.The girl was described as having brown eyes and brown hair. She weighed about 30 pounds and stood about 3 feet 6 inches tall, police said.Police also released images of the leggings she was wearing when discovered as well as the zebra-striped blanket found with her body.Police have received several dozen tips, Procopio told ABC News Friday, adding that he was surprised no family members have come forward.The cause of death has not been determined, police said.State police, local police and the district attorney's office are investigating. Anyone with any information can call Massachusetts State Police at 508-820-2121.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Car Wedged Under Milk Tanker in Accident on Tennessee Highway


Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(MT. JULIET, Tenn.) -- A father and his two sons managed to survive a scary car crash with a tractor trailer.A Nissan Maxima and a commercial tractor trailer -- carrying milk -- collided on a Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, highway on Thursday morning, wedging the smaller car underneath the tanker, police told ABC News Friday.The 33-year-old father lost control of the car in the heavy rain as he switched from the far left lane to the right, ABC News affiliate WKRN-TV reported.The truck driver drove on top of the car, wedging it, and didn’t realize there was a car underneath the trailer until it had been dragged a short distance, according to WKRN.“Initially, it was thought that the tanker was leaking milk, but it was only leaking diesel from its gas tank,” Mt. Juliet Police Lt. Tyler Chandler told ABC News Friday.The fire department stopped the leak and Chandler called the accident a “terrifying, mangled mess.”The father and his two sons were transported to the Vanderbilt Emergency Room with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.The tanker driver was not injured in the crash.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

This Fourth of July Could Be Among Deadliest Ever on Highways


Fuse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An estimated 35 million Americans will be on the roads this holiday weekend, and this year could be one of the deadliest due to drunk drivers, according to AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.The National Safety Council, a nonprofit group, estimates that about 400 Americans will die on the roads this weekend, with drunk driving being the leading cause of fatalities."The combination of low gas prices and an improving economy is resulting in more miles being driven on our roads, unfortunately resulting in an increase in the number of deaths," said Ken Kolosh of the National Safety Council.The Ford Motor Company has a kit using weights and goggles that mimics the effect of drunk driving, and ABC News' David Kerley tried the devices to get a feel for how much control a motorist loses when driving drunk. The sensation is similar to vertigo.While Kerley strapped on the kit, U.S. Park Police Sgt. Adam Zielinski put him through the paces of a DUI stop, and Kerley was staggering, unable to walk even nine steps in a straight line."Do you think that you were able to operate a vehicle safely?" Zielinski asked.The answer was a clear no when Kerley couldn't even get one foot in front of the other.And it's not just gas prices that this officer is worried about, it's the calendar, too, because Friday is a legal holiday and Saturday is the Fourth of July."So you have the possibility of people attending two different events, on a Friday and a Saturday," Zielinski said. "There's just a culmination of different effects that could really be an integral part on how highway safety is this weekend."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Shark Attack Surge in North Carolina: What Could Be Behind It


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As beach season hits high gear this holiday weekend, some people in North Carolina are calling for beach closures amid a surge in shark attacks over the past month.There have been 11 shark attacks off the shores of the Carolinas this year, most in just the last three weeks.On Wednesday, a 68-year-old man was bitten by a shark off the coast of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. The victim, identified by the hospital as Andrew Costello, was bitten on his left side in his lower leg and hip, and on both his hands, Hyde County EMS Director Justin Gibbs told ABC News.Experts say the increase in attacks this year could be based on four factors: First, due to drought conditions limiting fresh water along the coast, the ocean water is saltier, which sharks like. Throw in warmer water than usual, add in a surge of fish for food and factor in more people than usual at the beach and it's a recipe for disaster.“They do like the clear ocean water,” said Capt. Steve Wilson of Dream Girl Sport Fishing, “but you also have a booming sea turtle population and they love sea turtles.”Though some are calling for beach closures, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is offering a warning instead.“Recognize that there are certain areas where we are having these bites,” he said. “So use your common sense -- especially if you are in and around a fishing area.”Shark encounters haven’t just been limited to the Carolina coast.An aggressive shark capsized a man's kayak in Florida in a terrifying moment caught on video last Thursday.Ben Chancey, a U.S. Coast Guard captain for fishing charters, was off the coast of Stuart, Florida, trying to catch a goliath grouper when several bull sharks started swimming around his kayak, he said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Armed Robbery at Florida Cellphone Store Caught on Camera


Broward Sheriff's Office(PEMBROKE PARK, Fla.) -- Dramatic surveillance video out of Pembroke Park, Florida, shows multiple angles of an armed robbery at a cellphone store this week.The footage, released by the Broward Sheriff's Office, shows three customers and a baby present during the incident on Wednesday at a Metro PCS store.The video starts on the exterior of the store and shows the suspects pulling up in a dark-colored Nissan Maxima.Two masked men get out of the vehicle and enter the store. One of the men is armed with a black semi-automatic assault rifle, according to police. The footage reveals different angles from inside the store during the holdup.The unarmed masked suspect runs to the back of the store near the register, while the masked man holds the gun up and points it toward the employees. The suspects are heard yelling, "Don't move!" and "Open the register."The customers and baby sit on the side of the store, while the employees calmly hand over the cash drawers to the suspects.The unarmed man takes one drawer, jumps over a counter and exits. The armed man takes two drawers and appears to slightly trip as he exits.Another angle of the store’s exterior shows the men leaving, entering the vehicle and making an exit with a getaway driver who had remained in the car during the holdup.The Broward County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Anonymous Donors Give $3M to Scholarship Fund After SC Church Massacre


Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- Anonymous donors have given $3 million to a scholarship fund for members of the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church community after a massacre at the historic house of worship left nine dead.The money has been donated to the Rev. Pinckney Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims in the Charleston, South Carolina tragedy. The fund will provide college and advanced degree scholarships for the historical church's extended community, including the families of the victims."We do not pretend to understand the pain caused by this unimaginable tragedy," the anonymous donors said in a statement. "We simply want members of the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church community to know that the burdens of perseverance and empathy, which they have demonstrated with such dignity, do not fall exclusively on their shoulders.""We want them to know that others, most of whom do not share their race or religion, who do not come from South Carolina, abhor the injustices from which they have suffered and admire the ways the African-American community has enriched our nation," the donors added. "We honor Reverend Pinckney who so profoundly embodied the values that bind us together as Americans."Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. said the generosity of the donors "touched us all" and that "the grace and courage of this church and its members is a light in the darkness of this tragedy."Emanuel AME's interim pastor said the scholarship fund was appropriate because the Rev. Pinckney highly valued education."The loss of Rev. Pinckney and the death of the faithful eight who perished with him cuts deep, but through this educational fund, Rev. Pinckney's already rich legacy will ripple across time, promoting the values of learning and public service he so nobly embodied in word and in sterling deed," said Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of the fund's board members.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man 'Essentially' Confesses to Murdering Arizona Couple: Sheriff


Pinal County Sheriff(PHOENIX) -- A man has "essentially" confessed to murdering an Arizona couple who were missing for over a week, and the suspect claims he and the victims were involved in recreational methamphetamine use, law enforcement officials said on Thursday.Jose Valenzuela "essentially" confessed on Wednesday to killing Michael Careccia, 44, and Tina Careccia, 42, an official from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office said at a news conference Thursday in Florence, Arizona.The couple went missing on June 22, according to ABC News affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix.Valenzuela told authorities "all this information about killing both Mike and Tina" near their Phoenix-area home, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said on Thursday. "This is a tragic case where both of these individuals ... were murdered."Authorities said they have retrieved the murder weapon -- a revolver.In addition to his confession, Valenzuela also directed authorities to the spot where the Careccias were buried, an official from the sheriff's office told ABC News Thursday. The bodies have been recovered and positively identified as the husband and wife, the official said."One of our investigators had talked with him, got further information to determine that the decedents were buried on that property, very close to the house, within feet of the residence. He had a weapon on him at the time," Babeu said.Valenzuela borrowed a hoe to bury his victims, Babeu said."He built not a makeshift grave, an actual 6-foot grave. And he put these victims in that grave and buried them," Babeu said.Valenzuela was taken into custody without incident, the sheriff's office said. He is facing two charges of murder.Valenzuela had an initial court appearance Thursday morning and was given a $2 million cash bond, officials said. The sheriff's office said it is unknown if Valenzuela has retained a lawyer yet.But the case is still evolving, the sheriff's office said, in part because Valenzuela claimed Mike and Tina Careccia were involved in recreational methamphetamine use.Valenzuela said he had a "two-year relationship or friendship with Mike and Tina," sheriff's office officials said, noting that Valenzuela said he brought the Careccias meth on Father's Day, June 21, and attended a party at their home.Later that evening, they went to Valenzuela's house and "something happened, a fight," that led to the killing, Babeu said.While the sheriff's office would not confirm Thursday if authorities believe the victims were involved in drug use, the sheriff said officials do believe there was drug use involved, at least by Valenzuela, "by his own admission and some other information that we have."The sheriff would not say if drugs were found at Valenzuela's house.A full autopsy is pending, officials said.ABC News' attempts to reach members of the Careccia family were not immediately successful.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida Doctor Found Killed in Her Home, Police Say


iStock/Thinkstock(BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.) -- Sheriff's investigators in Bonita Springs, Florida, are searching for clues after deputies found Teresa Sievers, a local doctor and mother of two, dead in her home, a crime that authorities are calling a homicide.After a family vacation last week, Sievers, 46, returned to Florida alone, calling her husband to let him know she’d arrived safely, according to reports. When she didn't show up for work Monday morning, worried colleagues called the police, who discovered her body at home, authorities said.Sievers -- known for a practice focusing on integrated health using a mix of western and eastern medicine, Restorative Health and Healing Center in Estero, Florida -- was a passionate advocate for holistic health care and hormone therapy, according to those who knew her.“I remember the first time that I went to see her she spent more than an hour with me,” LaDonna Roye, a former patient, told ABC News affiliate WZVN-TV in Fort Myers, Florida.Sievers was a popular fixture in her community, with one friend even nicknaming her Mother Teresa.“She had a quality like Mother Teresa,” said Lenka Spiska, a medical professional who said she was Sievers’ best friend and colleague. “She had nothing more to offer than love.”Authorities say they are actively pursuing leads in this ongoing investigation and have reminded neighbors to lock their doors.“Everybody in the neighborhood wants to know why, how, when,” Kimberly Torres, a neighbor, told WZVN. “You know: Who found her? Who called 911?”While the community and police search for answers, Sievers' mourning family, including 8- and 11-year-old daughters, hopes to carry on her life's mission.“We have to be strong because she was strong,” said Sievers’ sister, Annie Tottenham Lisa. “She cared about everybody. She wanted people to get healthy.”Authorities are asking anyone who may have information on Sievers' death to call the Lee County Sheriff's Office at (239) 477-1000.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Law Enforcement Ramps Up Security for July 4th Weekend


Photo by John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Law enforcement agencies around the country say they are pulling out all the stops to make sure that this year’s Independence Day celebrations are not disrupted by a terror attack. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have issued a bulletin to authorities nationwide, warning that ISIS sympathizers may try to stage attacks and police are responding by beefing up security measures. “Our nation is under threat, our law enforcement, our military are under threat, so we take the threat seriously,” U.S. Park Police Chief Robert MacLean says. However, no specific threats have been made. An ABC News analysis shows that this year alone 40 people with suspected ties to ISIS have been arrested in the U.S. There have been seven arrests in just the last two weeks, including a group of ISIS believers who allegedly had plans to plant a bomb on the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey. ABC News has checked with police departments in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta and were told that all plan to have full deployments on July 4th. In New York, a sophisticated command center is up and running, with surveillance cameras and police patrols closely monitoring all five boroughs, as well as the waterways and airspace. “We have a very robust, overlapping, concentric rings of security that we adopt on July 4th,” MacLean told ABC News Correspondent Pierre Thomas of preparations for the National Mall. MacLean said the security at the nine access points to the Mall will be seen and unseen and will focus on protecting law enforcement as well as the crowds. The reason is increasing concern about attacks on military, police and law enforcement itself, MacLean said. ISIS has taken to social media to urge its followers to assault police officers and others in authority. “We tell our officers on a day-to-day basis to be aware of your surroundings. You as law enforcement are targets, our nation is a target,” MacLean said. And the threats are not just here on U.S. soil. The American airbase at Lakenheath, England has cancelled its July 4th celebration amid reports of worrisome social media chatter revealing specific events and locations. The base Commander saying he was taking no chances with the safety of his troops. MacLean and other law enforcement leaders are asking the public to become their eyes and ears this weekend. On the National Mall, visitors can use a two-way text messaging system called Nixle to stay in touch with the police. “We are able to message to the visiting public and now they are able to message back to us,” MacLean said. Mall visitors can text July4dc to 888777 and receive updates on developments and the weather. And, if need be, they can text the Park Police “if there is any type of critical incident law enforcement should be responding to,” MacLean said. Finally, MacLean said, trust your gut. “We use the sixth sense of law enforcement as a great tool for us. If you believe something is wrong…don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to reach out to a member of law enforcement that is in the area to let them know.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man Recovering Day After 'Frightening and Painful' Shark Attack in North Carolin


A man was taken to the hospital after he was attacked by a shark, July 1,2015, off the coast of Okracoke Island, N.C. (@Jasongreer/Twitter)(OCRACOKE ISLAND, N.C.) -- A 68-year-old man bitten by a shark off the coast of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, on Wednesday has been upgraded from fair to good condition today after surviving what he described as a "frightening and painful" attack. The victim, identified by the hospital as Andrew Costello, was bitten on his left side in his lower leg and hip and on both his hands, Hyde County EMS Director Justin Gibbs told ABC News. Costello was taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina, in fair condition Wednesday, the hospital said. On Thursday, he was upgraded to good condition, the hospital said. Costello called the attack "frightening and painful" in a statement today, adding that he feels "very fortunate to have survived." Costello will need several operations, Dr. Eric Toschlog, Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at Vidant Medical Center, said in a statement Thursday. "We are optimistic that he will make a full recovery," Toschlog said. Costello "had been swimming in about 25-30 feet offshore in about waist-deep water" at the time of the attack, the National Park Service said in a statement. "There were no other swimmers injured." This was the seventh shark attack off the North Carolina coast since June.ABC US News | World NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fire at Mt. Zion AME Church in South Carolina Attributed to 'Natural' Causes


A fire broke out at the Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, June 30, 2015.(Clarendon County Fire Department)(GREELEYVILLE, S.C.) -- The cause of a recent fire that burned down Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina has been classified as stemming from "natural" causes according to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the U.S. Department of Justice. The finding comes amid a period of heightened alert about a series of recent church fires across the south and fears that they may be cases of arson. Two of those cases have been found to linked to natural causes and no links have yet been found between them. It also comes in the wake of a racially motivated massacre in Charleston, SC that left 9 dead. "Based upon the scene examination, the fire debris analysis, witness statements and a lightning strike report, the cause of the fire was best classified as natural," SLED told ABC News Thursday in a statement. "Investigators observed no indicator of criminal intent. The investigation is complete." Mt. Zion AME Church was totally destroyed after the fire gutted the house of worship Tuesday night, local officials said. Only the walls of the church were left standing, they added. The predominantly black church in South Carolina has a history of being targeted and was burned to the ground by the KKK in 1995. President Clinton spoke at the dedication of the newly rebuilt church the next year. Preliminary investigations into a series of five church fires in the south indicate that two of the fires were started by natural causes and one was the result of an electrical fire, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. "If in fact there is evidence to support hate crime charges in any one of these cases, the FBI, in coordination with the ATF and local authorities, will work closely with the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to bring those forward," Justice Department spokesperson Melanie Newman told ABC News in a statement.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Escaped Prisoner Richard Matt Aimed Shotgun at Agent Who Found and Killed Him


New York State Police(DANNEMORA, N.Y.) -- New York prison escapee Richard Matt aimed a 20-gauge shotgun at the border patrol SWAT team agent who found him after a nearly three-week manhunt and then killed him, according to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB). Earlier, state police said only that Matt refused to surrender and that he did not fire on the agents. Matt and fellow prisoner David Sweat, led more than 1,000 law enforcement officers on a search that lasted 20 days after the two convicted murderers escaped from maximum security prison Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York on June 6. A team of border patrol agents and state police was responding to a report of gunshots on June 26 near Malone, New York when one of the agents, whose identity hasn't been released, came upon Matt and ordered to him to put his hands up, the CPB said. Matt didn't listen to the agent's verbal commands and then aimed "what was determined to be a 20-gauge shotgun" at the agent, the CPB said. After that, the agent "discharged his service-issued M-4, striking the individual, who died at the scene."Matt appeared to be acting intoxicated at the time he was shot and killed, an official brief on the matter previously told ABC News. Sweat was later found in the area of Constable, New York, about 1.5 miles south of the Canadian border, where he was shot and wounded by a state cop this past Sunday. Sweat was last reported recovering at Albany Medical Center. Investigators have been interviewing Sweat to better understand how the men escaped June 6 from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, and how they were able to avoid capture for so long.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Ohio Due to Bomb Threat


Angel Di Bilio/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Travelers got a midair scare Thursday on one of the busiest travel days of the year, after an unruly passenger's bomb threat forced a plane to make an emergency landing, a government official told ABC News. The United Express flight, carrying 53 on board, was headed to Washington D.C. from St. Louis, Missouri, around 11 a.m. when the passenger reportedly claimed to have a bomb. The flight was diverted to the Port Columbus International Airport in Ohio, where the aircraft was placed in an isolated area, according to airport spokesman David Whitaker. By noon, passengers were put on buses after their bags were pulled off the plane and thoroughly checked. The Columbus Division of Fire and Bomb Squad as well as the FBI took part in the investigation. With the holiday weekend drawing near – and authorities concerned about a potential terror attack -- fliers said they definitely saw an uptick in security. "There seem to be a lot more canine units out," said Rachel Stephenson, who was not on the United Express flight, "and a lot more people on the ground." The passenger who made the threat was questioned by law enforcement and then released. No further details about the passenger were released. Authorities did not say what about the passenger’s remarks had made the flight crew decide to request an emergency landing.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mansion Murder Suspect's Lawyer Fired, Says Daron Wint 'Never Intended' Harm


aijohn784/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The D.C. mansion murder case took another strange turn on Thursday as accused killer Daron Wint dismissed his defense attorney, who then told reporters that Wint “never intended or wanted anybody ... to be harmed.” Attorney Sean Hanover said that a disagreement over defense strategy lead to Wint dropping him as his lawyer. The lawyer was dismissed from the case after a brief courtroom conference Thursday, prior to a scheduled preliminary hearing in the case. Wint is charged in the murder of Savvas Savopoulos, who authorities said was killed along with his wife Amy, son Phillip and family housekeeper Veralica Figueroa on May 14. Police say the four were held captive overnight at the Savopoulos home, and murdered after a $40,000 ransom payment was made. The home was then set on fire. Investigators said in court documents they believe more than one person was involved in the murders. Wint is charged with the murder of Savvas, but no one else has been charged in the case.At an impromptu news conference after Thursday’s hearing, Hanover revealed his theory that Wint had been “set up” as the fall guy by alleged co-conspirators in the case. He would not comment on who he believed the other co-conspirators to be. Hanover was asked if Wint had ever expressed any sympathy for the victims. Wint "was heartbroken like everybody else at their death. And I can assure you he never intended or wanted anybody -- them or anyone else–to be harmed," Hanover said. When reporters asked if that statement was an admission that Wint did, in fact, have something to do with the murders, Hanover said, “he has never intended anyone any harm.” Judge Rhonda Reid Winston appointed Wint attorneys from the Public Defender Service, and rescheduled the preliminary hearing for July 20. “Justice will be served, and I am confident that the Public Defender Service will bring out the truth in this matter,” Hanover said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Georgia Teens Ransack a Walmart Caught on Video


Police are still looking for teens involved in vandalizing a Walmart in Macon, Georgia, around 2 a.m. on June 28, 2015.(Bibb County Sheriff's Office) (MACON, Ga.) -- Police are looking for about 50 teens that allegedly trashed a Walmart in Georgia. The Bibb County Sheriff’s office released surveillance footage of the group ransacking the store in Macon, Georgia, just before 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. The group of 40 to 50 teens went down the store’s main aisle, pulling merchandise off the shelves, before turning around and running out, Bibb County Sheriff’s office Lt. Sean DeFoe told ABC News on Thursday. “Out of all my years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything happen like this,” he added. As the video above shows, the teens ransacked the store, then scattered and fled from the parking lot in multiple cars. Police identified and arrested 17-year-old Kharron Nathan Green after he went back into the store to get his cellphone that he had apparently dropped during the incident. DeFoe said Green was arrested on charges of second-degree criminal damage to property and inciting a riot since he allegedly appeared to be the group’s leader. “According to the report, [Green] threw up a gang sign at the camera and then ran into the store,” DeFoe said. Green told his parents the group was at a party before they decided to go to the Walmart and “cause as much damage as they could,” according to DeFoe. Police said the store manager told them that the estimated damage was more than $2,000. A Walmart spokesperson declined to comment on the estimated amount of damage, but said they’re working with police on their ongoing investigation. “Some of the teens looked older than 17 and some looked younger, but each of them that we identify will be charged appropriately,” DeFoe said.ABC US News | World NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

GoFundMe Page Asked for Money to Cover Dylann Roof's Sister's Wedding After Char


A screen grab made on July 2, 2015 shows the GoFundMe page created by a person claiming to be Amber Roof that was taken down from the site later on the same day. (GoFundMe)(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- A GoFundMe page administered by someone claiming to be Amber Roof asked for donations to fund a "dream honeymoon" and pay off her wedding that was canceled after Dylann Roof allegedly killed nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last month. Dylann Roof has a sister named Amber, 27. Amber Roof did not immediately respond to ABC News' calls and a message sent via the GoFundMe page for additional comment. According to the page, which was taken down this afternoon, the administrator said Amber Roof was supposed to marry fiance Michael Tyo June 24, but they canceled four days before the wedding after Dylann Roof allegedly shot the parishioners attending a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church. Roof, 21, is being held without bail in the Charleston County jail and faces nine counts of murder. "Our wedding day was suppose to be the most important and special day of our lives," the page administrator wrote on GoFundMe. "Our day was the exact opposite. Our wedding day was full of sorrow, pain, and shame, tainted by the actions of one man." The campaign organizer added that they canceled their wedding "to protect our family and mourn the lives of those lost" but that she started the GoFundMe account for a "create new memories and a new start with our family." "Money raised will be used to cover lost wedding costs, to pay bills, and to send us on our dream honeymoon," the administrator wrote on GoFundMe. "10% of all funds raised will be donated to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church." The administrator raised $1,604 of their total goal of $5,000 as of 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, according to the GoFundMe page, which was first set up last Saturday. The administrator posted an update Wednesday, saying, "We are so grateful for all of your contributions. We love you all so much. Thank you for helping us reach our goal of our dream honeymoon!" Campaign organizers can still access funds that have already been committed even after they remove their page from the site, according to GoFundMe.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How to Stay Safe from Shark Attacks over Fourth of July Weekend


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Less than two weeks into summer, a string of shark attacks have already been reported in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.So, if you're heading to the beach this Fourth of July weekend, especially vacations spots in North Carolina, where seven shark attacks have been reported since June, experts say it's important to know how to stay safe in the water.Here are some tips from former Green Beret and survival expert Terri Schappert:1. Stay calm.If you see a shark, don't thrash or scream, Schappert told ABC News Thursday. Just turn around, get out of the water, and tell everyone else to get out, he said.Sharks pick up vibrations and smells, but most of the time, they can't see you, Schappert said."The more you flail around ... [the sharks] are very attracted to that," Schappert said.2. Have a plan.Every beach-goer should have an evacuation plan, which includes knowing where the closest hospital is, Schappert said."Just think in your head, what would happen ... if someone you love just got bit? What now?" he said. "Don't be paranoid, but have a procedure. Think about how you'd get out of the water, then think about ... the chain of what would happen next.""Try not to freak out," Schappert added. "But know it's a possibility."3. Know first-aid.Most shark bites are on the limbs, according to Schappert and other experts, and when a shark's mouth hits a swimmer's arm or leg, "it's bound to sever an artery.""Shark bites are not smooth -- they're jagged -- which makes the wound worse," he said. And the more jagged the wound, the more it will bleed, so it's important to know first-aid."The best thing you can do for that person is to stop the bleeding," Schappert said, which, if the victim is bit on a limb, means applying a tourniquet.In 2014, Schappert took ABC News' Matt Gutman swimming in shark-infested waters off the Bahamas.To properly learn how to fend off sharks, Gutman pulled on 15 pounds of chain mail, and then put clothes on top to simulate real people finding themselves stuck in shark-infested waters following a plane or a boat crash. Gutman and Schappert then did what experts say not to do: flapping around in waters where sharks were feeding, wearing regular clothing.While they were in the water, Schappert's advice to Gutman was to:1. Slow down your movements.Fast movements give off the signal of prey, he said. Also conserving energy is key to survival in the above scenario.2. Team up.If there are two people in the water, Schappert recommended treading water back to back to limit the spheres of control by half, to 180 degrees each.3. Fight back.If the sharks begin attacking, fight them off, Schappert said.He said to strike the sharks using quick, downward punching motions."All you can do is fight and let them know 'I am not going down easy,'" Schappert told Gutman.With the Fourth of July approaching, some law enforcement officials along the North Carolina coast are calling for some of the waterfront communities to consider closing their beaches.Kaye Dotson, a tourist in the area of Ocracoke Island Beach, North Carolina, said on Thursday that she won't let her grandchildren go in the water after the recent spate of shark attacks."Just the fact that [the sharks are] out where we go. We always swim out there. I swim out there with my grandchildren," Dotson told ABC News Thursday. "I am not [letting them in the water] and I hope their parents are not."Sarah Johnson, public information officer for Hyde County, North Carolina, told ABC News Thursday that, while Hyde County has no control over beach patrol or staffing, the EMS presence at Ocracoke Island will be increased slightly this weekend.North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Park Service will add extra beach patrol rangers this weekend who will warn beach-goers of the dangers, Cyndy Holda, public affairs specialist at the National Park Service, told ABC News Thursday.While there won't be extra surveillance in the water, Holda said, there will be "strong encouragement to not stray from the shore" for those who do go in the water.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Officials Investigate Boardwalk Games Before Summertime Rush


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s summertime and that means family fun in the sun. And for many, boardwalk games are a big part of that. However, a lot of players find themselves frustrated -- sometimes going home empty-handed, which makes them wonder if the games might be rigged.In New Jersey, every game is inspected at least once a year.New Jersey’s acting attorney general, John Hoffman, says these inspections are important because the games are meant to be fair.“People have a chance to win, and an opportunity to win and it's a game like anything else,” Hoffman said. “Of course everybody can't win every time. But we also don't want to be in a situation when people unfairly lose.”Good Morning America Investigates tagged along Tuesday as New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs conducted surprise inspections.“People assume that games like this are rigged,” said Steve Lee, acting director of New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “They think that they have no chance. But actually New Jersey does a good job of making sure that these games are fair. It's important for us to keep coming out here.”The division's Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission oversees the operations of approximately 1,000 Amusement Games operated at recognized amusement parks, seashore or other resorts or agricultural exhibitions such as county fairs.One inspection was conducted on a game where the objective is to throw darts at balloons, to pop them and win a prize.Inspectors advise that all players check the balloons to see if they are properly inflated so there is enough pressure in the balloon to be punctured by a dart. They also suggest players inspect the darts themselves.“Make sure that the tip is pointed and sharp,” inspector Paul Johnson said. “[make sure] the fins are in good condition so when you throw the dart, it has a nice balanced flight and can hit the target.”Though the inspector found a couple of balloons weren’t inflated to regulation, overall the game checked out.“I've proven that the game works. It's a fair game. It is operated fairly. The consumer can feel safe about playing this game without being cheated,” inspector Johnson said.Next, inspectors moved on to a basketball game.“I want to see if a basketball would fit through that rim,” inspector Bill Waters said while checking the hoop’s circumference.Inspectors checked for several other things including proper state licensing, whether the basketball hoops were leveled evenly and had the proper air pressure. If the basketballs are overinflated, they become too hard and may bounce off the hoop.Ultimately, the inspector gave the basketball game the seal of the approval.Finally, inspectors checked claw games. On YouTube, video after video shows people winning and losing at these games. Many consider this game to be the frustrating of all since it can drop that coveted prize, even after the player has grabbed it.Along the Seaside Heights boardwalk, one arcade’s claw game passed inspection.“This one we consider satisfactory,” inspector Johnson said. “Even though it hasn't dropped in here yet, it picks it up and then it's headed over there. If it can pick it up and survive when it stops, and starts going in the right direction, we usually say that's fine.”At another arcade, inspector Christine Donahue checked the tension on one claw game, finding that it was fine. But the claw right next to it, not so much. Donahue told ABC News the claw’s grip was too weak to hold the prize.Donahue ordered the game to be shut down until the claw could be adjusted.“So what we're going to do, is we are going to have this machine shut down for now, until they either put lighter plush in here, or they increase the tension, because the attendant doesn't know exactly how to do that at this moment,” Donahue explained. “We are going to come back, but right now he is going to tape it up.”The arcade employee told ABC News when prizes are changed, employees may sometimes forget to adjust the tension of the claw.The arcade company, Casino Pier, told ABC News: “Casino Pier stands by the fact that we operate all our legalized games of chance within the regulations and do not alter any of our games. Our commitment is to customer service and would never look to deceive our valued guests. We were surprised of this violation and are immediately correcting the issue caused by the crane in question.”Casino Pier told GMA on Wednesday that it has since fixed the game and officials are expected to re-inspect the game Thursday to determine whether it can operate again.Hoffman says his office takes violations of gaming regulations very seriously. Punishments vary but violators can be given a warning, ordered to recalibrate their machines, or sometimes even fined $250-$500, depending on the severity of the offense and whether they are a previous offender.Hoffman also noted that their goal is to ensure consumers are treated fairly.“We want to make sure that everybody feels comfortable and confident when they come to enjoy the boardwalk,” Hoffman said. “This is part of our soul.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pig-Shaped Hot Air Balloon Falls in Emergency Landing, Burns Pilot


Austin Duke(PROVO, Utah) -- A hot air balloon in the shape of a pink piggy bank crashed Thursday morning in Provo, Utah.The balloon, sponsored by Bank of American Fork at America’s Freedom Festival, got hit by another balloon’s basket and the top of the pig had a 6- to 8-foot hole torn in the nylon, festival safety officer Curt Bramble told ABC News.“The pilot immediately took the appropriate steps and had the burner going to safely make an emergency landing,” he added, noting that part of the balloon landed in a tree, missing the power lines a short distance away.The pilot walked away from the crash landing with only minor burns, Bramble said.“When the nylon fabric melts, it’ll drip little spots of the sticky residue. [The pilot] has a bandage on his cheek, but he’s going to be fine and back flying tomorrow and Saturday,” Bramble said.Bank of American Fork has had a sponsored hot air balloon run by Balloon West since 1984 and spokesperson Christopher Liechty said this is the first, and hopefully last, incident.“We’re going to take a look at the balloon and see if it’s reparable,” he told ABC News Thursday. “Our pilot did a great job of bringing [the balloon] down without hurting anyone.”The flying pig wasn’t the only spectacle in the sky -- Darth Vader, Yoda and Smokey the Bear also flew in the festival.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'All Clear' at Washington Navy Yard After Lockdown for Report of Possible Shoote


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Washington Navy Yard is "all clear," after being placed on lockdown Thursday morning, law enforcement sources told ABC News.No threats were found, the source said.In a tweet, the U.S. Navy said the facility, which is about 1.5 miles from the Capitol, was "on lockdown/shelter in place" -- although "no incident can be confirmed as of yet. More to follow."A second tweet said the "investigation continues."U.S. Park Police confirmed Thursday morning that they were responding to the Navy Yard for a report of a possible active shooter.A Defense official told ABC News the response was prompted by a 911 call received by the Naval District of Washington. It's unclear whether the call originated on base or off base.Chris Johnson, public affairs officer for the Naval Sea Systems command, said everyone has been ordered to shelter in place."But there’s been no confirmed details on what the incident is or may me. We're currently investigating," Johnson said.There is no known threat to the Capitol Complex, the U.S. Capitol Police said, however there are enhanced security officers in the area.A defense official told ABC News the incident was based on a report of a "suspicious person." Nothing was confirmed but the report was taken seriously given the 2013 shooting at the Navy Yard.In September 2013, a lone gunman went on a shooting spree at the Navy Yard, killing 12 people. The suspect was then killed in a firefight with police.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Washington Navy Yard on Lockdown Following 'Active Shooter' Report


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Washington Navy Yard was placed on lockdown Thursday morning following reports of an "active shooter" at the scene, the U.S. Navy said.In a tweet, the U.S. Navy said the facility is "on lockdown/shelter in place" -- although "no incident can be confirmed as of yet. More to follow." Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thousands Evacuated After Train Hauling Chemicals Catches Fire in Tennessee


Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn.) — A train carrying chemicals partially derailed and caught fire overnight in Blount County, Tennessee, displacing up to 5,000 people, authorities said.The CSX train was traveling from Cincinnati to Waycross, Georgia when the fire broke out, said Kristin Seay with CSX Corporate Communications. The train was carrying liquefied petroleum gas and acrylonitrile – a product used in the manufacture of plastics.As many as three cars derailed, Blount County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Marian O’Briant said.Local fire authorities ordered a one-mile evacuation, and Hazmat crews responded to the scene, O’Briant said.“Evacuation time could last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, but we'll get word out as soon as we can,” she said.No serious injuries for first responders or residents have been reported.The train includes two locomotives, 45 loaded rail cars carrying mixed freight and 12 empty rail cars, Seay said.ABC US News | World NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fireworks Won't Fly on July 4th, TSA Says


Purestock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Transportation Security Administration would like to take this opportunity to remind you fireworks are not permitted on planes this Fourth of July weekend, or any other time of the year for that matter."Most fireworks are meant to fly high in the sky, but never via a commercial aircraft," the TSA wrote on its blog. "Fireworks are explosive and incendiary, so in an effort to keep the skies safe, the FAA has prohibited fireworks from being transported in both carry-on and checked bags."This includes fireworks such as aerial repeater fireworks, aerial shell fireworks, firecrackers, flying spinners, chasers, fountains, bottle rockets, ground spinners, parachute fireworks, poppers, snaps, skyrockets, missiles, roman candles, smoke fireworks, snakes, strobes, sparklers, wheels and any other type of fire work you can think of."Remember to check your children’s bags, as they tend to sneak their favorite fireworks into suitcases and backpacks," the TSA said.Speaking of family travels, the summer months mean airports and aircraft crowded with kids. Click here for a refresh on traveling through the airport with kids.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

California Woman Rescued Two Days After SUV Plunged off Cliff


iStock/Thinkstock(MALIBU, Calif.) -- A California woman is recovering from two days trapped in her SUV after it plunged off a cliff.Jennifer Duron, 40, vanished Monday when she was on her way home from a run in Malibu. Her family reported her missing, unaware her vehicle was sitting 70 feet down an embankment.Duron was stuck for two days and two nights in the damaged SUV, with no food or water.“I think for the time she was down there, she was wondering if anyone was going to see her,” her father, Michael Daruty, said.“Her first words were, I didn’t think anyone was going to find me,” Daruty said.Duron was rescued Wednesday after a woman walking her dog heard screams coming from below. She was alert and talking as authorities raised her to the surface.Duron’s family is grateful that she has been found, and with non-life-threatening injuries.“She is in remarkably good condition for being down an overpass and ravine for two days,” Daruty said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Woman Who Removed Confederate Flag at SC Statehouse: 'Enough Is Enough'


Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — Brittany “Bree” Newsome says she’s proud after climbing a flagpole and removing the Confederate flag outside the South Carolina statehouse.“I felt very strongly we needed that moment,” she told ABC News. “We needed that moment to say ‘enough is enough.’ We want an end to the hate.”Newsome’s act marked a new flashpoint in activist efforts to have the flag permanently removed from the statehouse grounds, a hotly contested issue following a mass shooting in Charleston. After the shooting, photos surfaced of accused gunman Dylann Roof posing with a Confederate flag.“How much longer do we want to go forward like this isn't it?” she said. “It’s time to reconcile ourselves with the past and move forward into a better future where everyone has equal rights.”Newsome, 30, quoted scripture while descending the flagpole Saturday. She and a fellow activist were charged with defacing a monument after allegedly removing the flag.Newsome faces up to a $5,000 fine and three years in prison if convicted.Supporters expressed solidarity on social media using the hashtag #Freebree, and celebrities such as Michael Moore, Jesse Jackson and Ava DuVernay all lauded Newsome’s efforts. Social media users have raised nearly $125,000 so far for her legal expenses.In order for the flag to be removed permanently, a two-thirds majority is needed from South Carolina legislators.The governor has said it should come down.Newsome, an activist and filmmaker who attended high school in Maryland, is encouraged by the social progress that’s occurred in recent weeks.“The majority of people in this nation are good,” she said. “The majority of people in this nation want peace. We want to eliminate racism, and we want more equality, and I think the outpouring support reflects that.” Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hear Harrowing 911 Call as Sisters Hide During Burglary


Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A recently released 911 call reveals the harrowing ordeal two teenage sisters faced when their Nashville, Tennessee, home was burglarized with them inside."There's two men outside my house. I think they're trying to break in. Me and my sister are home alone," one girl told the 911 dispatcher.The siblings, ages 13 and 16, who asked that their identities be withheld, said they were home Monday morning around 9:15 when they heard banging on the door."This was real," the younger sister told ABC News affiliate WKRN-TV on Tuesday. "People were trying to get into our house.""You never think this is actually gonna happen to you," the older sister said.The two said when they looked out the kitchen window Monday, they spotted two men dressed in black. The eldest sister said she called 911 as they ran into the bathroom in their parents' bedroom.With the dispatcher still on the line, the girls stuffed themselves in a bathroom cabinet -- side-by-side on a shelf -- as they waited for the police to arrive."We are in the very back in my parent's bedroom bathroom," one sister told the dispatcher. "Please hurry!"Nashville police said one man fled in a car when officers arrived and the other locked himself in the room where the girls were hiding. Both men were eventually arrested.Police found musical instruments, a computer and other items in the car that one of the men were driving, WKRN said.Both were charged with aggravated burglary and have lengthy criminal histories, police said.According to the FBI, burglaries happen in the U.S. every 15 seconds and more than a quarter of the time a person is in the home."I'm, you know, most glad that I could help, you know, capture two guys that could've done worse," the older sister said, according to WKRN.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Teen Bitten by Shark Off Isle of Palms, South Carolina


Alexander Kolomietz/iStock/Thinkstock(PALMS, S.C.) -- A teenage boy was bitten by a shark in Isle of Palms, South Carolina -- the latest in a string of incidents has made headlines in recent weeks. According to Isle of Palms Fire Chief Ann Graham, the boy was bitten on his leg Tuesday evening after 6 p.m. and suffered non life-threatening injuries. “It was a pretty big bite – but it didn’t do any tearing,” she told ABC News. This is first shark attack in Isle of Palms this year, officials said. “He’s lucky its not a whole lot worse – he’ll have a story to tell,” Graham said. News of the bite comes on the same day that a 68-year-old man was bitten by a shark in North Carolina, the seventh shark attack that state has seen this year.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Clinton Correctional Facility Eliminates 'Honor Block' and Institutes Stricter R


Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(DANNEMORA, N.Y.) -- New York State corrections officials instituted a set of stricter regulations in the wake of the historic escape of two inmates from a maximum security prison, including eliminating the "honor block," which gave inmates special privileges and checking cells and the catwalks behind them every week, officials said. They also named a new head of Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, Michael Kirkpatrick, after three of the top executives, Superintendent Steven Racette and deputy superintendents Stephen Brown and Donald Quinn were placed on paid leave along with nine others. Richard Matt and David Sweat pulled off a dramatic escape from the prison -- the first in its history -- on June 6, escaping via the catwalk and through walls and pipes reminiscent of Shawshank Redemption. Matt was killed by border patrol and Sweat shot and captured after a three-week manhunt that involved more than 1,000 officers. The men were housed in the so-called honor block, a special section of the prison for well-behaved inmates that let prisoners remain out of their cells for most of the day and have special jobs like assisting plumbers and electricians, according to a source and former inmate Erik Jensen. Honor block inmates are also allowed to cook in the cell block, have phone use and get recreation as well as wear plain clothes, according to regulations and Jensen. They only have to wear uniforms to the mess hall and work assignments, according to Jensen. The honor block was "eliminated pending further review and all inmates are subject to the same security restrictions," the corrections department said. Corrections officials also announced that a senior member of the security staff will be inspecting each cell's "integrity" and the catwalk behind it every week. Every cell was checked in the wake of the June 6 escape, corrections officials said. Sweat was allegedly allowed to access his cell's electrical boxes via the catwalk by Corrections Officer Gene Palmer. Palmer -- who has been charged with promoting prison contraband, but insists he did not know about the escape plan -- said that he allowed Sweat to access the boxes in order to "enhance their ability to cook in their cells," according to a statement that he allegedly gave police. In the wake of the escape, all of the panels in the honor block, were inspected to see if the appropriate amperage was being used. The rest of the cells in the prison were in the process of being inspected, corrections officials said. Among the other security enhancements were:Installing security gates in the tunnels and making inspections monthly instead of biannual.Creating new rules for contractors including securing "job boxes" in a gated area and not storing them in tunnels.Using a heartbeat detection monitor to bolster searches.Tripling the number of cells searched for contraband each day and searching every cell "at least once every two months."Conducting bed checks at random intervals.Keeping a member of the executive team on the overnight shift.Requiring executive staff to visually inspect head counts and other security procedures.Sweat claimed that he was able to conduct a dry run of the escape the night before and may have been planning their escape for six months, according to an interview with Clinton County DA Andrew Wylie. Sweat and Matt allegedly used tools to cut through the back wall of their adjacent cells and access the catwalk behind them. The also broke through a brick wall, cut into a steam pipe slithered through it and finally emerged at a manhole outside the prison. Some of the tools that they used to escape were in a toolbox left behind by contractors. A prison worker, Joyce Mitchell, was charged with promoting contraband for allegedly passing Matt hacksaw blades and other tools in frozen hamburger meat. She pleaded not guilty to the charges. Palmer then said that he gave the package of meat to Matt, not knowing what was inside, according to a statement given to police. He waived a right to a preliminary hearing Monday and did not enter a plea.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

16 Percent of American Church Fires Are Intentionally Set, Stats Show


People meet near the burned ruins of the Mt. Zion AME Church July 1, 2015 in Greeleyville, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)(GREELEYVILLE, S.C.) -- Fires break out at churches and other "religious and funeral properties" in the US an average of 1,780 times in recent years -- about 34 a week -- and 16 percent of those were found to have been intentionally set, according to statistics from a non-profit fire protection group. The scrutiny of church fires comes as federal investigators look into the cause of a fire at a historic black church in South Carolina that was previously burned down by a hate group. Though the investigation into the fire that started at the Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville on Tuesday night is only in its initial stages, sources close to the investigation have told ABC News that it does not appear to have been a criminal act. According to statistics collected by the National Fire Protection Association, a non-profit "devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards," about 16 percent of fires at places of worship and funeral homes between 2007 and 2011 were intentionally set. It was not clear what percentage of these fires, an average of 280 a year, were considered hate crimes. By contrast, 30 percent were from cooking (most of which were "minor"), the top cause and another 16 percent were electrical. Candles and smoking accounted for smaller percentages, the statistics from the report, date June 2013, say. Arson accounted for 25 percent of the property damage from fires, compared to 4 percent from cooking. The study defines a structure fire as "any fire that occurs in or on a structure...even if the fire was limited to contents and the building itself was not damaged." Overall fires at churches declined from 3,500 in 1980 to 1,660 in 2011, the latest year for which statistics were available, a drop of about 53 percent. Initial witness reports from the Mt. Zion fire suggested that the blaze may have been started as a result of lightning hitting the roof, but local and federal authorities involved in the investigation were careful not to reveal any details at a press conference this morning. "We haven't ruled anything in or anything out at this point,” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms special agent in charge Craig Chillcott said. “We're going to let the case dictate.” The ATF released a statement on Tuesday saying that they are investigating five fires that were reported in as many states in the past two weeks though they say they have no reason to believe the series of church fires were racially motivated or related. The fires came amid heightened tensions caused by the racially charged massacre at a Charleston, SC church that left nine people, including a pastor dead and an uproar over the Confederate flag flying at the South Carolina statehouse.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Not This Clinic': VA Calls Alleged Mistreatment of Veteran 'Unacceptable'


Photo by John Moore/Getty Images(OAKWOOD, Ga.) -- A troubling video by an Iraq War veteran posted to YouTube Tuesday has led the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue an statement acknowledging what appears to be mistreatment of a man seeking help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The veteran, identified by the nonprofit North Georgia Veteran’s Outreach Center as Chris Dorsey, is shown in the video approaching a counter at the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Oakwood, Ga. After waiting for more than five minutes, Dorsey tells a man at the counter he was previously receiving care at a clinic in Athens, Ga., but had lost his job and needed to switch clinics. In the video, the man at the counter can be heard saying, “We’re not accepting any new patients.” Dorsey replies, “The VA is not accepting any new patients?” The man then says, “Not this clinic.” Dorsey then walks away from the counter, saying, “Wonder why 22 veterans kill themselves every day.” In a statement to ABC News, the Department of Veterans Affairs said the message Dorsey was given “is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” “It is inconsistent with our ICARE values, which include commitment and advocacy to and for our nation’s veterans, our patients,” the statement reads. “VA staff should have established a full understanding of Mr. Dorsey’s medical situation and determined if an appointment was available for him at another location or if he was eligible for the Choice Program and could be seen outside of VA.” The VA’s statement said leadership at Atlanta’s medical center is reaching out to Dorsey to try and give him help, and facility officials “are implementing a plan to re-train front line staff in the appropriate way to inform veterans about the options they have available to them.” The video surfaced at a time of increased scrutiny for the department, following a series of scandals involving extensive wait times and falsified records in several VA hospitals. As the VA has attempted reforms, a recent New York Times report suggests the number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is 50 percent higher than when the scandal first broke more than a year ago. ABC News has reached out to Dorsey for comment, but has not yet received a response.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.