National News

DC Mansion Murder Suspect Taken Into Custody


Metropolitan Police Department(NEW YORK) -- Daron Dylon Wint, the man suspected in a quadruple murder at a Washington, D.C. mansion, was taken into custody Thursday night, police sources said.Wint, 34, was named by Metropolitan Police as the suspect in the murders after his DNA was found on the crust of a Domino's pizza that had been delivered to the house, authorities said.Savvas Savopoulos and his wife Amy, their 10-year-old son Phillip, and longtime housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa were found dead May 14.Authorities have not ruled out more than one person being involved in the crime.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

DC Mansion Fire Suspect: 'No Reason to Believe' He Is in New York City, Police S


Metropolitan Police Department(NEW YORK) -- New York City police told ABC News that they have "no reason to believe" that quadruple murder suspect Daron Wint is in New York Thursday evening, even though that was widely believed to be the case earlier in the day. Police have not been able to confirm that Wint, who was named as the suspect in the attack on a family in their Washington, D.C., mansion last week, was ever in New York City despite his girlfriend's claims that he stayed at her apartment Wednesday night. The girlfriend, whose name has not been publicly released, said that he might have come up to New York via bus after last Thursday's murders but police sources told ABC News that they are "not confident" that's accurate. The girlfriend met with investigators on Thursday and told them that she was under the impression that Wint would be turning himself in, but police have no indication that will be happening. She is not a suspect in the case and does not face any charges, police said. Wint was named by D.C.'s Metropolitan Police as the suspect in the yet-unsolved murders after they discovered his DNA at the scene, left on an uneaten pizza crust, authorities said. D.C. Police Commissioner Cathy Lanier said Thursday morning that Wint was in Brooklyn at that time and law enforcement officials confirmed to ABC News that the U.S. Marshals are working the case in New York and in D.C. through fugitive task forces that include investigators from dozens of law enforcement agencies. Wint grew up in Guyana and moved to the United States in 2000. A Marine Corps source told ABC News that Wint went through their boot camp on a South Carolina base for two months in 2001 but he never graduated from the program, meaning that he was never a Marine and is qualified as a Marine recruit. The reason why he did not graduate was not released. Lanier said that the investigation has determined that the attack which left four dead including a 10-year-old boy does not appear to be random. "We do believe there is a connection between the suspect in this case through the business" of the male victim, Savvas Savopoulos, Lanier said. Wint is believed to have previously worked at American Ironworks, the company which Savopoulos was CEO, she said. Wint has previously been charged with second degree assault four times and one fourth degree sexual offense, all in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Three of the assault charges and the sexual offense charge were dropped but he was found guilty of second degree assault in March 2009. NYPD detective bureaus in each precinct have been alerted to the possibility the suspect may be in New York or the surrounding areas. Police do not know about any car that Wint may be using, but Lanier suggested that Wint may have traveled from the D.C. area to New York via bus. Police urged anyone who sees Wint to call police and to treat him as armed and dangerous.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Baltimore Grand Jury Indicts Officers in Freddie Gray's Death


Courtesy Murphy, Falcon & Murphy(BALTIMORE) -- Three weeks after Baltimore’s top prosecutor announced initial charges against the six police officers involved in the controversial arrest of Freddie Gray, a grand jury has now indicted all six officers. “As our investigation has continued, additional information has been discovered, and as is often the case during an ongoing investigation, charges can and should be revised based upon the evidence,” state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby, the chief prosecutor for Baltimore, announced Thursday afternoon. The grand jury returned the indictments earlier in the day after hearing evidence from prosecutors for two weeks, Mosby said. The charges outlined in the indictment are nearly identical to charges announced earlier this month -- though the grand jury added "reckless endangerment" charges and dropped false imprisonment charges against some of the officers. Gray, 25, died last month after suffering a spinal injury during an arrest and subsequent van transport, during which he was handcuffed but unsecured. The incident sparked violent protests and a federal civil rights probe into the entire Baltimore Police Department over whether officers engage in a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing. According to Mosby, the specific charges in the indictments are: Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. (van driver)Second-degree depraved heart murder; involuntary manslaughter; second-degree negligent assault; manslaughter by vehicle and gross negligence; manslaughter by vehicle, criminal negligence; misconduct in office for failure to perform a duty regarding safety of a prisoner; reckless endangerment. Officer William PorterInvoluntary manslaughter; second-degree negligent assault; misconduct in office for failure to perform a duty regarding safety of a prisoner; reckless endangerment. Lt. Brian RiceInvoluntary manslaughter; second-degree negligent assault; misconduct in office for failure to perform a duty regarding safety of a prisoner and an illegal arrest; reckless endangerment. Officer Edward NeroSecond-degree intentional assault; misconduct in office for an illegal arrest; misconduct in office for failure to perform a duty regarding safety of a prisoner; reckless endangerment. Officer Garrett MillerSecond-degree intentional assault; misconduct in office for an illegal arrest; misconduct in office for failure to perform a duty regarding safety of a prisoner; reckless endangerment. Sgt. Alicia WhiteInvoluntary manslaughter; second-degree negligent assault; misconduct in office for failure to perform a duty regarding safety of a prisoner; reckless endangerment.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Omaha Police Officer Killed Just Hours Before Maternity Leave


aijohn784/iStock/Thinkstock(OMAHA, Neb.) -- An Omaha police officer was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon while trying to serve a felony warrant to a suspect, according to the Omaha Police Department. Officer Kerrie Orozco, 29, was scheduled to go on maternity leave Thursday to take care of her daughter, Olivia Ruth, born premature in February, according to authorities. Orozco was a 7-year veteran of the department and had worked in the North Gang Suppression Squad since 2012. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmanderer said Orozco and other officers were in pursuit of 26-year-old Marcus D. Wheeler when Wheeler began shooting at police. Police returned gunfire, hitting Wheeler. Orozco and Wheeler were both pronounced dead at Creighton University Medical Center soon after the 1 p.m. shooting, according to Schmanderer at a news conference. Authorities said Wheeler was a gang member and convicted felon. He had a felony warrant for first-degree assault from a previous shooting in 2014. “Officer Kerrie Orozco gave her life for all of us in her service to the Omaha Police Department,” said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert in a statement. “She will be missed and remembered as a loving wife, mother, daughter and dedicated officer.” The mayor’s office announced on Thursday that flags will be at half-mast through Memorial Day to honor Officer Orozco. "She was a friend, a popular officer," Schmaderer said. "I just can't even imagine that this has happened. The city of Omaha owes her and her family a debt of gratitude." Schmanderer said Orozco was very involved with the community and was a Girl Scout mentor, a baseball coach for the Omaha Boys and Girls Club and the president of the Police Officer’s Ball. The Omaha community is rallying to raise money for Orozco’s husband, two step-children and her newborn daughter.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Police Officers Involved in Freddie Gray Death Indicted by Grand Jury


Courtesy Murphy, Falcon & Murphy(BALTIMORE) -- All six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray have been indicted by a grand jury, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Thursday afternoon. Arraignments have been scheduled for July 2.This is a developing story. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Capitol Hill Gyrocopter Pilot Douglas Hughes Pleads Not Guilty


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Douglas Hughes, the pilot and activist who shocked the country when he landed his gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., last month entered a not guilty plea in court on Thursday to all six charges pending against him, including two felonies. The charges range from piloting without proper license to violating national defense airspace. The judge lifted home detention, allowing him to travel within his home county of Hillsborough County, Florida. He will retain his ankle bracelet with GPS to track him. In addition, he may not be in Washington, except for court appearances and meeting with his lawyer. He also may not operate an aircraft and must stay away from the White House and Capitol. Hughes was supported in the courtroom by several activists sympathetic to his call to get money out of politics. Hughes told reporters outside, "I accept the consequences of what I did, because I believe it is critical that we return our democracy to the people." Both Hughes and his lawyer referred to the landing as “civil disobedience.” He said he is not eager for jail time and would consider a plea. "I will never do anything like this again,” he said. “But I would not do anything different." Hughes was presented with a stamp featuring his photo by activists from the group Code Pink whose representatives call Hughes "an American hero." He is next due in court at on May 27 for a status hearing.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Colorado Town on Edge as Authorities Consider Serial Shooter Angle


ABC News(WINDSOR, Colo.) -- The FBI has joined a probe into whether a possible serial shooter is on the loose in rural Colorado after a man was fatally shot while biking on a stretch of road recently. John Jacoby, 48, was found dead near his bike Monday in Windsor, Colorado. Local authorities, who have since called in agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said it is the first homicide in Windsor in eight years. Residents said Jacoby, reportedly a part-time parks worker and grocery store bagger who walked or rode his bike everywhere, was known by many people and loved by all. A memorial was erected where his body was found. Investigators say they are now looking into whether Jacoby's slaying is linked to a mysterious shooting on a nearby highway in April. On April 22, Cori Romero, 20, was shot in the neck while driving along Interstate 25 near Fort Collins, Colorado. Romero said initially she didn't think she'd been shot. She thought that her window had been shattered by an unknown object and that glass had punctured her skin. "You don't really think that something like that would happen to you, just driving home from work," Romero said. Investigators are now concerned that the two cases could be linked. In recent weeks, several other cars, including a sheriff's jail van, also have had windows blown out. It wasn't clear whether gunfire was the cause. The news has residents on edge, though. "I think obviously people are going to be concerned when they hear of something like this, especially with two incidents within a relatively close proximity to each other," said David Moore, a spokesman for the Larimer County sheriff. The Pelican Fest Triathlon that was originally scheduled for the weekend in Windsor has been canceled. The organizer posted on Facebook that it was not comfortable with the potential risk. Meanwhile, there are heightened patrols on the interstate and investigators are hoping for a break. "It would be extremely helpful if we could get a citizen to come forward," Moore said. Police say they have no suspects.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Flooding, Storms to Threaten Central US over Memorial Day Weekend


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It's that time of year again. Time to dust off the barbecue and replace coats with bathing suits. Memorial Day weekend is finally here, the unofficial start of summer. Warm sunshine is expected on both coasts, which is great news for the beaches, but that isn't the case for the plain states, the Midwest and central parts of the country. The East Coast will see temperatures climb throughout the weekend from Florida to New Jersey. By Monday, some spots could reach the mid- to upper-80s in the Mid-Atlantic states. New England will be a bit milder, with highs topping out in the 60s and 70s. Dry weather is on tap for much of the coast, with a bright mix of sun and clouds -- great beach weather. Out West, more sunshine and warm temperatures, especially for Southern California and the Southwest. The Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies could see some wet weather throughout the weekend. Scattered showers with mostly cloudy skies are expected with cooler temperatures in the 60s. The main trouble area for the weekend is across the plain states and the Midwest, where scattered thunderstorms, some severe, will threaten the area each day of the holiday weekend, and could put a damper on any outdoor activities. Large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes are possible from the Southern Plains to the Midwest, mainly in the afternoon and evening hours from Saturday through Monday. A bigger concern with these storms will be the potential for significant flooding over the weekend, especially in parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Texas was in an exceptional drought the past 3 to 5 years, and with these recent rains this month they are finally seeing some relief. But all of this rain so fast is causing dangerous flash flooding. In Oklahoma City, they've already received nearly 14 inches this month, and with more rain on the way, May 2015 will likely go down as the wettest month on record there. From Texas to Oklahoma, flash flood watches are posted through the holiday weekend for an additional three to six inches of rain. On top of already saturated ground, this could become a life-threatening flood situation, and anyone with outdoor plans should pay attention to severe and flash flood warnings in their area.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

DC Mansion Fire Suspect Tracked to New York City, Authorities Say


Metropolitan Police Department(NEW YORK) — Investigators now believe the main suspect in a D.C. quadruple murder is currently in Brooklyn, New York.Daron Dylan Wint was named by D.C.'s Metropolitan Police as the suspect in the yet-unsolved murders after they discovered his DNA at the scene, left on an uneaten pizza crust, authorities said.D.C. Police Commissioner Cathy Lanier said Thursday that Wint is currently in Brooklyn and law enforcement officials confirmed to ABC News that the U.S. Marshals are working the case in N.Y. and in D.C. through fugitive task forces that include investigators from dozens of law enforcement agencies.Lanier said that the investigation has determined that the attack which left four dead including a 10-year-old boy does not appear to be random."We do believe there is a connection between the suspect in this case through the business" of the male victim, Savvas Savopoulus, Lanier said.Wint is believed to have previously worked at American Ironworks, a company that Savopoulus led, she said.NYPD detective bureaus in each precinct have been alerted to the possibility the suspect may be in New York or the surrounding areas. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

California Oil Spill Has Deadly Effect on Wildlife


Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — Two days after a ruptured pipeline leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil off the California shore, wildlife — including pelicans — have been found coated in oil on the beach.At least one bird was found dead even as teams from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife combed the area looking for injured animals. According to the department at least 272 people are taking part in the clean-up effort.On Facebook the California Office of Spill Prevention and Response said they have sent at least five pelicans to rehabilitation centers. The oil leak was first reported around noon on Tuesday in southern California. The pipeline was built in 1991 by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, which said it shut down the flow of oil."Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact,” the company said in an earlier statement.A day after the spill, oil could be seen on nearly every rock in Refugio as crews worked to clean up the area. Further south along the coast, one beach was nearly covered with crude oil Wednesday before it apparently was washed to sea before Thursday morning. The pungent crude oil smell lingered in the area as crew members in white suits worked on Rufugio beach to clean the area.The Refugio state beach is often packed with campers during Memorial Day weekend, but will now be closed indefinitely as crews operate to clean that beach and other coastlines.Officials said there's a potential that far more oil leaked into the Pacific ocean through the faulty pipeline with a worst case scenario at 105,000 gallons.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Rogue Wave Slams Whale Watching Boat, Injuring Eight Students


Obtained by ABC News(CAPE COD, Mass.) — A rogue wave slammed into a boat carrying students on a whale watching trip off of Massachusetts Wednesday, sending eight to the hospital.The boat — the Captain John & Son II — was carrying 112 people, all part of a high school group from New York, when it was struck by a wave, according to ABC-affiliated station WCVB-TV. The students on the 76-foot boat were whale watching off of Cape Cod.“Everyone went sliding down because no one was holding on,” student Marisa Kehley said. “I was terrified. I didn’t think that waves that big could hit a boat.”The wave, as high as eight feet, combined with 20-knot winds to create conditions so rough that some of the passengers on board the boat passed out.Emergency crews were waiting when the boat reached the dock, and eight people were taken to an area hospital, many of them suffering cuts and bruises. All of the students were later released from the hospital.The situation had some students fearful of going back on the water.“I never want to go on another whale watch again,” Kehley said. “I didn’t think that the ocean was going to be that bad.”ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sources: DNA on Pizza Crust Aiding Search for DC Murder Suspect


Daron Dylon Wint, 34, seen in this undated police handout, is wanted in connection with a quadruple homicide which occurred May 14, 2015, in northwest Washington. (Metropolitan Police Department)(LANHAM, Md.) -- Authorities searched a Maryland home overnight in the investigation of a deadly mansion murder, going through the trash and removing bags of evidence -- but in the end it was a piece of pizza crust that could lead to the suspect's arrest.Daron Dylon Wint, 34, was identified on Wednesday as the key suspect in the quadruple slaying and arson attack in Northwest, a section of Washington, D.C. A court issued an arrest warrant for Wint with “murder one while armed,” authorities said.Two sources familiar with the case told ABC News that DNA found on the crust of a Domino's pizza that had been delivered to the house led authorities to identify Wint as the suspect. Police visited a home in Lanham, Maryland, and removed three bags of items in relation to the investigation. Wint’s stepmother, speaking to ABC News, called Wint “hostile.” “He doesn’t listen,” said the woman, who has not been identified. “You try to tell him and guide him the right way, but he thinks he knows the law … more than anybody else. He was very argumentative. Everywhere he goes there's an argument ... very arrogant.” Savvas Savopoulos and his wife Amy, their 10-year-old son Phillip and longtime housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa were found dead May 14. According to a source familiar with the case, only the boy was burned to death -- the other victims were doused with gasoline and stabbed. Police reports show that the victims made a flurry of calls the day of the fire. Additionally, Savopoulos’ personal assistant dropped off a package containing $40,000 in cash to the home, the source said. Bernardo Alfaro, Figuera’s husband, told ABC News in an exclusive interview that he became alarmed when his wife didn’t come home. “I didn’t hear from her, and every time I call the phone, it just going straight to voicemail,” he said. After Alfaro couldn’t reach his wife, he drove to the house, knocked on the door and rang the doorbell. But after Savapolous called him saying he’d call back, Alfaro went home, waiting for a call that never came. The house was engulfed in flames hours later, authorities said. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Second Marine Dies After Osprey Crash in Hawaii


iStock/Thinkstock(WAIMANALO, Hawaii) — A second Marine has died as a result of injuries he sustained when an Osprey aircraft experienced a hard landing during a training flight in Hawaii, officials said.Lance Cpl. Matthew J. Determan, 21, of Maricopa, Arizona, died Tuesday, according to a release from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.One other Marine was also killed Sunday, when the aircraft disappeared behind a cloud of red dust as it began to land around 11:40 a.m. at Oahu's Bellows Air Force Station.“Lance Cpl. Determan represents the best America has to offer,” said Col Vance L. Cryer, commanding officer, 15th MEU. “Our country and our Corps are poorer for his loss, but his example will continue to inspire us."The Osprey was carrying 22 U.S. service members when it crashed. According to the Marines, 21 Marines and one Navy corpsman were on board. Three others remain hospitalized, but in stable condition.Investigators said on Monday that they were not sure why the aircraft went down in Hawaii but that an investigation was ongoing and that there would be no change in Osprey flights."It's too soon to determine exactly what caused the crash," the Pentagon's Warren said. "As of now there have been no safety messages, no adjustments to operations." Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Washington DC Police Name Suspect in Fatal Mansion Fire


Metropolitan Police Department(WASHINGTON) — Police in Washington, D.C., Wednesday named a suspect in a fatal mansion fire that killed four people last week.The Metropolitan Police Department said officers were searching for Daron Wint, 34, after a court issued an arrest warrant charging him with "Murder One while Armed."Police did not say what led them to Wint.The fire killed the homeowners — Savvas Savopoulos and his wife, Amy — along with their 10-year-old son Phillip and their longtime housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa.The Metropolitan Police Department has offered a reward of $25,000 per victim to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Freddie Gray Arrest: Cell Phone Video May Shed More Light on Case


Courtesy Murphy, Falcon & Murphy(BALTIMORE) -- Shaky cell phone video released on Wednesday may show officers with Freddie Gray during one of the stops made while the Baltimore man was in police custody after his arrest, according to a report. The Baltimore Sun released the footage taken by an unidentified witness. The video appears to show police officers surrounding Gray, 25, as he is motionless outside a police van. It is the latest of several videos that have emerged in the case. Police took Gray into custody in Baltimore on April 12. An officer was heard telling dispatch at 8:40 a.m. that officers had one person in custody in the 1700 block of Presbury Street, two blocks south of North and Mount Streets, police said. The cell phone footage takes place at the first stop officers made during Gray's apprehension, at the corner of Mount and Baker streets, according to The Baltimore Sun. Multiple police are seen in the video, though it is not clear which of six officers arrested in the case are involved in this particular moment. Reached for comment about the video, State Attorney’s Office Director of Communications Rochelle Ritchie said, “We have nothing to add at this point.” Earlier this month, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said officers put flex cuffs on Gray's wrists and leg cuffs on his legs before loading him “on his stomach, head first into the wagon.” They did not secure him with a seat belt, she said, which is “contrary to a [Baltimore Police Department] order.” The medical examiner’s office ruled Gray’s death was ruled a homicide by severe trauma by earlier this month. Officers Caesar Goodson Jr., William Porter, Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, Lt. Brian Rice, and Sgt. Alicia Miller were arrested and charged in Gray's death. The officers have not yet entered pleas, according to White's attorney, Ivan Bates, who had no comment on the new video other than saying he did not see White in it. However, Michael Davey, an attorney hired by one of the officers who spoke on behalf of all six, said after charges were filed, “These officers will be vindicated because they have done nothing wrong.” He added, “No officer injured Mr. Gray, caused harm to Mr. Gray, and [they] are truly saddened by his death.” Gray sustained a spinal injury when he was in custody and required medical attention. He went into a coma several days later and died a week after his apprehension. It remains unclear why Gray was taken into custody, with police only noting he ran away from officers.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Virginia Mom Thanks White State Trooper for Not Stereotyping Her Son


Courtesy Nada Owusu(DANVILLE, Va.) -- A Virginia State Trooper’s act of kindness has gotten him a lot of attention from one loving mom. Dr. Nada Owusu’s son, Joseph, was driving home from an exam at Virginia Tech on May 14 when one of his tires had “blown off his car,” ABC News affiliate WSET-TV reported on Tuesday. According to a post on Facebook, Dr. Owusu wrote that Virginia State Trooper Matt Okes “got on his knees to replace his tire” and “provided all the needed protection” until 2 a.m. In the post, Dr. Owusu wrote the trooper never questioned why her son was driving a Mercedes, just showed up and tried to help."I wanted to thank him and share it with my Facebook friends about how a police officer helped my son," she told ABC News on Wednesday. "It was late in the night and he stayed with my son for 4 hours. I was expecting 50 maybe 100 friends to like it. Then it went viral, and I was surprised." Dr. Owusu told WSET-TV that Joseph was in a dangerous area because “the road is curvy [and] there are no lights.” Owusu said she went public with the incident since she was trying to give recognition to the trooper for keeping her son safe because “it was very comforting to me as a mother.” Now, that recognition has been shared over 22,000 times and widely commented on, including by Montel Williams, who said "Grateful that your son is okay, and also grateful that you shared Trooper Okes' act of heroic kindness with the world."In a statement, Okes said, “The attention the photo has generated on social media has been overwhelming and I certainly wasn't expecting the photo to receive as much attention as it has. I was simply doing my job as any other Virginia state trooper would. I appreciate the kind comments by Dr. Owusu and am glad Joseph and his parents were able to finally make it home safe. I am honored to be a member of the Virginia state police and am blessed by God to serve and protect."ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Washington Mansion Fire: Friend of DC Blaze Victim Calls Her 'Devoted' Mom


Facebook(WASHINGTON) -- A friend of the woman who was murdered in her D.C. mansion after it was set on fire said that she was a devoted and “selfless” mother. Amy Savopoulus was found dead in her home alongside her husband Savvas, their 10-year-old son Phillip, and their longtime housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa under mysterious circumstances. Their bodies were only discovered when their house was allegedly set ablaze the same day they are believed to have been killed, authorities said. “Amy was one of the most devoted loving caring thoughtful mothers friends i have ever known she was incredibly devoted to her children,” her friend Elizabeth Blalack told ABC News. “Every minute of every day, she was thinking about them.” The Savopoulus’ had three children, but their two teenage daughters were away at boarding school when the family’s Washington D.C. home was burned on Thursday. “She would call her girls her little pearls because she saw each one as so precious and rare and something to be cherished, and she called Phillip her little prince,” Blalack said. In the last voicemail Blalack received from her friend, Savopoulus reportedly said that she called just because she missed Blalack’s smiling face. That was just one of many anecdotes Blalack said she can remember showing Savopoulus’ kindness. “I had a daughter who was very sick when she and Phillip were in kindergarten together and Amy showed up at my door with a gift in had because she didn’t want my daughter to miss out on the fun they had had that day in school,” Blalack said. “The world lost a really tender soul way too prematurely and that the world would not be as good a place without Amy in it,” she said. D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department is still investigating the case and a $25,000 reward has been issued to anyone who gives a tip that leads to the arrest and conviction of a suspect. As of now, police have issued surveillance footage showing a person of interest running from the scene but they have not publicly announced any leads on that individual since the footage was made public Friday. Blalack said that she hopes “there is justice in the world.”ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How Taking a Photograph of Old Faithful This Summer Could Land You in Jail


AdamLongSculpture/iStock/Thinkstock(YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo.) -- Visitors to Wyoming's renowned Yellowstone National Park could find themselves thrown in jail for simply taking a photograph without permission, according to critics of a statute signed into law by the Wyoming governor this spring.While the law is meant to criminalize the act of entering public and private lands in order to collect pollution data, critics argue that the law's wide-ranging restrictions could ensnare a tourist taking photos in one of the state's National Parks."A Yellowstone tourist who goes for a hike with the intention of photographing the natural resources in Yellowstone is in violation of this law because they are entering into open land for the purpose of collecting what falls under the definition of resource data," Susan Kraham, a senior attorney for the Environmental Law Clinic at Columbia University, told ABC News.Kraham noted that to violate the law, a tourist would have to have the intent to submit their photos to a government agency, though that intent could be as benign as wanting to enter the photo into a government-sponsored photography contest.Proponents of what has been called the "trespassing to collect data" law passed last March, argue that prosecutors would never bring such a case to court, but opponents point out there's nothing in the law's language to prevent prosecutors from doing so."A promise is wonderful but the law allows for prosecution," said Linda Burt, a lawyer and former director of the now-closed Wyoming ACLU chapter, which fought the law during legislative proceedings.Under the law's broad framework, anyone who enters "open land" defined as "land outside the exterior boundaries of any incorporated city, town, subdivision" with the intent to collect data without explicit permission to do so, could face up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Burt called the law "a very dangerous precedent."Opponents have called the law an "ag-gag," alleging the new regulations are intended to prevent the reporting of pollution on public lands."What is unique and highly problematic is that it is clearly intended to apply to public land," Mark Squillace, a law professor at the University of Colorado who specializes in natural resource law, told ABC News. "It essentially makes a party guilty of trespass if they engage in what would otherwise be lawful activity on federal public land."Critics say it’s no coincidence that such a law was passed amid an ongoing dispute between a group of Wyoming ranchers and the Western Watershed Project, a group of "citizen enforcers" who set out to collect data on E. coli contamination in public streams and rivers that they allege is caused by industrial cattle grazing."The ag industry didn't like what I was doing so it passed a law to make it illegal," said Jonathan Ratner, a researcher with the WWP who has been documenting alleged pollution in Wyoming for more than a decade.A group of twelve ranchers are currently suing Ratner and the WWP for allegedly trespassing through private land in order to collect pollution data on public streams that the WWP alleges have been contaminated by the ranchers' cattle. Lawyers for the WWP have asked the suit to be dismissed, calling it “an abuse of the legal process.”"The idea that people would use common law to destroy an organization that is going out into public lands and revealing legal problems is deeply troubling to me," Justin Pidot, an environmental law professor at the University of Denver and a lawyer representing the WWP on a pro-bono basis, told ABC News."Information about the environment is vital both to the government and the public," Pidot said.Supporters of the trespassing to collect data law argue it protects property and privacy rights, two things Wyoming tends to pride itself on."We hold the protection of private property in very high regard," state Sen. Leland Christensen, a Republican lawmaker who chaired the committee that oversaw the bill's legislative process, told ABC News."People that own property, either good or bad actors, deserve to be protected on their private property," said Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Western Stock Growers Association, a trade association that supported the bill during the legislative process. Magagna said most industrial cattle grazing practices are designed to avoid pollution, and that Wyoming's trespassing laws needed to be updated.But opponents argue that Wyoming already has strict trespassing laws in place for private property."The Wyoming law is totally unnecessary to criminalize trespass onto private land," William Funk, a professor of law at the Lewis and Clark University, wrote to ABC News in a statement. Funk also argued that collecting data is a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.According to Ratner, the law will have a chilling effect on his attempts to report pollution.Kraham, of Columbia University, said: "The really big issue here is that the appropriate response to citizen scientists and resource protection is for the state to step up its enforcement as opposed to silence those who are bringing the issues to the public attention."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Biker Attack: 911 Calls Give Glimpse into Terrifying NYC Attack


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The frantic 911 calls placed by a mother who was in the car with her husband and baby when a group of bikers attacked their Range Rover in 2013 were played in a New York City courtroom.“We have a baby in the car! Stop! Oh my God stop! We have a baby in the car!” Roslyn Ng can be heard screaming at the bikers while on the phone with police.The video of the moment when a pack of people on motorcycles swarmed a black SUV on Manhattan’s West Side Highway was released shortly after the attack, showing how the car apparently nudged one of the bikers amid the traffic.That sparked outrage among the bikers, who surrounded car and causing the driver to drive off, running over one of them as he tried to get away.The bikers then followed the car for three miles, during which Ng and her husband Alex Ng called 911 a total of three times seeking police help.“There’s like a hundred motorcycles. They're all attacking us on our car and something's wrong with our car and we have like a baby in our car,” Roslyn can be heard saying on the first call. “They’re like so scary ... could you send police to like help us please. They're all surrounding us and our car.”Her husband is heard making the second, calmer call -- but the 911 operator directs him to call Manhattan police because the operator deems it a “non-emergency."During her testimony at trial, Roslyn Ng recalled how she crawled from the front passenger’s seat to the backseat to check on their then-2-year-old child who was in a car seat after the bikers started hitting -- and ultimately shattering -- the car’s windshield."They somehow get my door open and there were like two or three guys. And they were yanking me out. They couldn't drag me out of the car because I still had my seatbelt on," she said Tuesday, according to WABC."I'm screaming, 'We have a baby! We have a baby! Stop! Stop!'"Ng said that she tried taking a photo of one of the bikers who allegedly smashed their driver's side mirror. Ng also allegedly saw some of the men making throat-slitting gestures at her."I was trying to keep my daughter's face away from looking at Alex. I just didn't want to scare her," she said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Air Force's Secret X37-B Space Plane Launches on Fourth Mission


US Air Force(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — A secretive space plane owned by the United States Air Force launched Wednesday morning on its fourth mission to space.Strapped atop an United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, the X-37B space plane had a smooth ascent into space, quickly reaching Mach 1 -- the speed of sound -- as it traveled to its place in low Earth orbit.While it is not known how long the plane's fourth mission will last, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base said last month the plane will be testing a Hall thruster, a type of propulsion system that could one day be used to power spacecraft on long-haul missions.Measuring 29 feet in length and having a 15-foot wingspan, the unmanned re-usable orbital test vehicle looks like a miniature version of NASA's now retired space shuttles.Like the space shuttle, the X-37B lands on runways, though it does so without pilots at the helm.The plane touched down last October at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, marking the end of its third mission and 674 consecutive days in space.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Aaron Hernandez Allegedly Involved in Prison Fight, Law Enforcement Officials Sa


John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) — Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, just a month into a life sentence on first degree murder charges, was in “a two-on-one fight” that sent him to a segregation unit at a Massachusetts prison, law enforcement officials confirmed to ABC News.Hernandez was convicted last month in the murder of his friend Odin Lloyd, whose bullet-riddled body was found a mile from the mansion Hernandez shared with his fiancé and toddler daughter.Hernandez is now serving life without the possibility of parole at the MCI-Shirley Souza-Baronowski Correctional Facility, which is where he was sent to Special Management Unit on Monday night after he was allegedly involved in an attack on another inmate, several law enforcement sources said."It was two-on-one, he was part of the two,” said one prison official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A second source said the inmate was beaten in his cell and that it appeared “gang related.”After the fight, prison officials found that the former NFL standout had been inked with a new tattoo that references the Bloods gang, the sources said."The victim in the fight was some absolute nobody. He was just trying to show he’s down with the Bloods, a scared man looking at life in prison,” a source said."We cannot comment on specific prisoners," said Chris Fallon, a spokesman for the state's Department of Correction.Hernandez's attorneys, James Sultan and Michael Fee, did not immediately return calls and emails seeking comment.Hernandez is now slated to go on trial for the double murder of two men who were shot in a drive-by Boston prosecutors say was sparked by a spilled drink on a dance floor at a popular nightclub. A third man was wounded in that July 2012 attack. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers have said he will be vindicated.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Clean Up Resumes Following Oil Spill Off Southern California Coast


iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) -- Clean up is expected to continue Wednesday along the coast of Santa Barbara, California, after thousands of gallons of crude oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean overnight.Officials are blaming the spill on a ruptured pipeline."It spilled approximately 21,000 gallons of oil into a culvert, and then that culvert fed into a drainage pipe, which then brought the oil onto the beach," says Mike Eliason with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.The leak has been stopped, but as ABC News' Alex Stone explains, the scene is still a big mess."Just walking along the beach here, there is oil everywhere, on the rocks, walking up to the beach, there are globs of oil all over the rocks and then walking down on to the beach, it's completely covered. The beach is black and it has the smell of oil," Stone says.In a news conference Tuesday night, Darren Palmer, the district manager at Plains All-American Pipeline, apologized for the leak."Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact," he said.Palmer added, "Our focus remains on ensuring the safety of all involved. No injuries have been reported at this time."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Video: Substitute Teacher Uses Belt to Discipline Students


WJLA(BRANDYWINE, Md.) -- New video apparently shows a substitute teacher in Maryland beating a student with what appears to be a leather belt. In the video, children can be heard screaming as they try to run away. The alleged incident took place on May 15 at Gwynn Park Middle School. The video has already been seen hundreds of thousands of times online. The circumstances behind the teacher’s behavior aren’t known, but town residents and parents are outraged. The substitute teacher, who has not been identified, has been removed from the classroom, according to the school.In a statement, the school called the teacher’s actions “improper." The school said it "does not condone this type of behavior, and it is not representative of the level of professionalism and respectful conduct of the team at the school."Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Miracle Baby' Unhurt After SUV Crashes Into Crib


KOMO-TV(BELLEVUE, Wash.) -- A 9-month-old in Washington State is being called a miracle baby after an SUV slammed through the part of the home and into the crib he was sleeping in. Somehow, the boy wasn’t harmed. The accident happened Tuesday in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. Investigators say the 34-year-old driver accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes while pulling into the apartment complex.Bellevue Police Officer Seth Tyler said the boy’s parents were shaken. “The parents were frantic at the time of the crash. They heard the commotion, they went into the room, obviously saw the car in their baby’s room and grabbed their child,” Tyler said. The crib was heavily damaged by the impact. But miraculously, the baby was fine. Medics on the scene checked the baby’s condition -- and determined that he was uninjured. For now, the family is staying with a neighbor because the home sustained significant damage. The driver of the SUV has not been charged after authorities deemed it an accident.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.