SUBMIT A TIP | Fax # 309-839-4126
LISTEN LIVE
ABC - National News
Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The Broward County Sheriff's Office is investigating reports that three of its deputies remained outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the midst of the Feb. 14 shooting rampage instead of entering the school, Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed to ABC News.

"If there is no wrongdoing in the part of our deputies, we’ll move on," Israel said Friday. "If there is wrongdoing on the part of our deputies, we’ll handle it accordingly, as I have for five years as sheriff."

Israel was responding to reports by CNN and South Florida's Sun-Sentinel newspaper, which cited unnamed police sources within the Coral Springs Police Department, claiming that Coral Springs officers were shocked to arrive at the scene and see the Broward deputies still outside, with their pistols drawn and behind their vehicles. Coral Springs neighbors Parkland, where the shooting rampage that claimed 17 lives occurred.

ABC News has not confirmed those reports, and it is not clear if gunman Nikolas Cruz was inside the school when the Coral Springs officers said they arrived.

But Israel doesn't need to rely on those reports; his office is hearing it directly from his colleagues in Coral Springs, he said.

"This information came to us from Chief [Anthony] Pustizzi of Coral Springs," Israel said. "He relayed it to one of my colonels, my colonel filled me in, we immediately decided that the course of action we’re going to take is meet with the chief and ask for permission to interview his officers. Contingent upon what they say, we will head our investigation in whatever way we need to."

Israel continued, "We will dot every 'I,' cross every 'T.' We'll do it in a meticulous manner."

These reports follow the suspension without pay of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas school resource officer after Israel said video shows him taking up a defensive position during the shooting but never entering the school.

Israel announced Thursday that the decision to suspend Deputy Scot Peterson was made after reviewing video from the shooting and taking statements from witnesses and Peterson himself, Israel said.

On Friday, Israel said, "In the video I saw of Peterson, which caused me to go in the direction I went, I don’t believe you even see a deputy in that part of the picture at all."

Peterson was armed and on campus during the shooting, Israel said. Since he met the requirements for retirement, Peterson opted to resign after he was told he was being suspended, Israel said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SPRINGFIELD, Tenn.) -- Two people were killed in the South on Saturday as the result of a reported tornado, officials told ABC News.

An elderly woman was killed in her home in Logan County, Kentucky, the coroner there confirmed. The Logan County Sheriff’s Department said the woman lived in a one-story home on Dot Road and her home was among several that were destroyed.

The coroner also said another victim of the severe weather was discovered in Springfield, Tennessee in neighboring Robertson County. Further details were unavailable Saturday evening.

The National Weather Service in Nashville reported that several tornadoes had occurred in eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee, but it was unclear whether those tornadoes caused the two deaths.

Twenty-two minutes later, the agency upped the ante, and said it detected "tornadic debris with several storms in west Tennessee."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- One mother made a statement to her local school district by filming herself walking inside of her daughter's high school undetected.

In the wake of last week's deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, Stacey Alderete, whose daughter goes to South San High School in San Antonio, Texas, said she wondered what more could have been done to protect the children.

“You see those kids broken," Alderete told ABC News. "I don’t want to see that happen in our district or anywhere else.”

While dropping her daughter off at school on Tuesday and going to bring paperwork to the school’s office, Alderete decided to dress up like a student, even wearing a backpack, and test the school's security, capturing her journey on video.

There are no officers or security visible in the video. A few students are seen in the hallway midway through her filming.

“We have AMAZING officers but unfortunately not enough and are VERY SHORT HANDED,” Alderete wrote on Facebook, along with the video. “There are no longer officers on the weekend and evening patrol.”

The South San Antonio Independent School District did not respond to multiple requests for comment from ABC News, but told ABC affiliate KSAT-TV that the “safety protocol at our schools requires that all visitors, including parents, first check in at the front desk.”

“Principals are given the discretion to determine which exterior doors must remain locked at all times. Most elementary principals keep all exterior doors locked. Because of the requirement to change classes every hour at the middle and high school, most secondary schools do not lock most exterior doors, but security cameras and police officers constantly monitor exterior doors,” the district said.

According to Alderete, the district is dealing with significant budget concerns and removed officers from various schools.

Up until November 2016, Alderete was a board member for the district and at one time every elementary school and junior high school had at least one officer stationed at each school, but that is no longer the case, according to Alderete.

Alderete claimed to KSAT-TV that the school district wants to scale back on security as part of upcoming budget cuts. The district disputed that characterization.

“Seven million dollars in potential budget reductions were discussed at the last meeting and these reductions impact many departments and areas in the school district. The police department was only one of many areas discussed. These proposed reductions are simply at the discussion level at this time. Final decisions will be made when the budget is adopted in August,” a district spokesperson told KSAT-TV.

According to the district, there are four officers assigned to the high school, two at each middle school, and two for the nine elementary schools, KSAT-TV reported.

Alderete told ABC News that the response to her video has been mixed. Some people have praised it, while others have criticized her for showing people how easy it is to get in the school.

But Alderete said she does not regret posting the video.

“I want our children and kids to be safe and I want our staff to be safe,” Alderete said. “We can’t control what happens in Washington but as parents we have authority and can control what happens here.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Kasey Hansen did not grow up with guns around the house, never mind owning one.

By 2012, she was a new teacher and had maybe only fired a gun twice in her entire life. That all changed after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“It broke my heart to think that all the teachers could do was huddle their kids in a corner, stand in front of them and pray that nothing was going to come through that classroom door,” Hansen told ABC News’ “Nightline.”

Today, Hansen, who teaches special education, brings her gun to school where she works in Utah, a state where carrying a concealed firearm is legal with a permit.

“I have different holsters that go on different parts. And so depending on my outfit is where the gun goes,” Hansen said.

Questions about whether teachers should be armed in schools have surfaced on the national debate stage, following the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

A beloved football coach and college-bound high school seniors were among the 17 people killed, and more than a dozen others were injured. The suspect, a former student, was arrested and charged with premeditated murder.

Now many of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students have channeled their grief to anger and anger into activism. Protests have sprung up in cities from Florida to Washington, D.C., with many calling on lawmakers to make significant changes to gun laws.

According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 42 percent of people surveyed say the Parkland shooting could have been prevented if teachers carried guns.

But 58 percent of those polled said stricter gun laws could have stopped the killings.

In 2016, the American Medical Association (AMA) made a statement saying that “gun violence represents a public health crisis which requires a comprehensive public health response and solution.” The AMA also supports bans on the possession and use of firearms and ammunition by unsupervised youths under the age of 18 and the mandatory inclusion of safety devices on all firearms, whether manufactured or imported into the United States.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a policy statement on firearm-related injuries affecting children, which states that the “absence of guns from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents.” According to the AAP, the U.S. has the highest rates of firearm-related deaths among high-income countries, and 84.5 percent of all homicides of people ages 15 to 19 were firearm-related in 2009. The AAP also noted that for kids ages 10 to 17, guns are the method used for 40 percent of suicides.

The AAP supports stronger gun laws, including stronger background checks, banning assaults weapons and addressing firearm trafficking. In their priorities for gun violence prevention, the AAP advocates for violence prevention programs, more funding for gun violence prevention research, physician counseling on the health hazards of firearms and mental health access for children and their families, particularly to address the effects of exposure to violence.

At a listening session with high school shooting survivors and students at the White House on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said concealed carrying “only works when you have people adept at using firearms.” And in a recent tweet, Trump wrote, “Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive.”

Melissa Falkowski, who teaches newspaper, English and creative writing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, told ABC News that the shooting has left her feeling “failed by society, failed by the state, failed by Congress.”

“Because they’ve just, on this particular issue, have been taken no action in recent years, and so I just feel like what happened to us was totally preventable,” she said.

Falkowski said she and 19 of her students hid in a closet in her classroom during the Feb. 14 shooting. She called the notion of training teachers on how to use weapons and arming them in schools as a way to combat school shooters was “absurd.”

“The logistics of it make no sense,” she said. “Like in this scenario [at Marjory Stoneman Douglas], [the shooter] was wearing full body armor, with this AR-15 … shooting down the hallways as a barrage of bullets, and he’s wearing protective headgear, and so you’re going to take a teacher who’s concealed carrying some kind of handgun and you’re going to pit them against somebody who has an AR-15 and full body armor, and so that is not a fair fight.”

“And in that moment,” Falkowski continued, “the teachers are shielding the students, throwing themselves on top of the kids, and trying to comfort for them and put them in a place where they can be safe and out of his view and out of his way, and so they don’t have time to react to ‘Oh my gosh, let me go into this locked cabinet and get a gun,’ and so I don’t think in this scenario that it would have helped.”

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said there was a telephone town hall with 60,000 teachers Wednesday night and "the response was universal, even from educators who are gun owners: teachers don't want to be armed, we want to teach."

"We don’t want to be, and would never have the expertise needed to be, sharpshooters; no amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15," Weingarten said in a statement released by the AFT.

"How would arming teachers even work? Would kindergarten teachers be carrying guns in holsters? Is every classroom now going to have a gun closet? Will it be locked? When you have seconds to act when you hear the code for an active shooter, is a teacher supposed to use those seconds getting her gun instead of getting her students to safety?" she said in the statement. "Anyone who pushes arming teachers doesn’t understand teachers and doesn’t understand our schools. Adding more guns to schools may create an illusion of safety, but in reality it would make our classrooms less safe."

Kasey Hansen said she believes teachers should have the ability to defend their students.

“I'm just a teacher who wants to protect her students. I'm not going to roam the halls if I hear lockdown is occurring and someone's in the building. I'm not going to go looking for him,” Hansen said. “That's not my job. My job is to lock the classroom. Turn off all the lights. Get the kids in the corner and be ready.”

While some might argue that people in schools during a shooting should wait for police, Hansen said that might take too long.

“How long is it going to take for the police to get there? And how long is it going to take for them to roam the halls? My school is a big school,” Hansen said. “The gunman could be anywhere. He could be in my room clear across campus and it's going to take a while for the police to figure out.”

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Hansen said it was her mom who encouraged her to take a concealed carry class.

“I wasn't planning on buying a gun. It was just information. And I learned about gun safety. I learned about the gun laws. I learned about protection. It was educational,” Hansen said. “It got me thinking, ‘What would I do if a shooting at my school happened?’”

Hansen said she doesn’t tell her students when she is carrying her gun and might not always have it on her. She also believes people shouldn’t need to know whether or not she is carrying her gun.

“It's my personal choice, and it's my right to decide that. And so why tell anyone?” she said. “I almost feel like I would be a target if I announce to my boss, if I announce to my students, if I announce to my parents, ‘Hey guess what? Today I'm wearing a gun. Just FYI.’”

Hansen said she also likes the idea of retired military being employed by schools for security.

“I wish more schools would implement it,” she said. “I don't think the protection and the security should be on teachers.”

For those hesitant about using guns, Hansen said practice and education are key.

“And if you know how to handle it, if you know what you're doing, and if you start to practice your mindset and start to visualize, ‘OK, where would I go in my school? Where would I be? How would I protect my students?’” Hansen said. “If you start that visualization and that thought process, it's really not as scary as you might think.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- The body of the Rev. Billy Graham, one of the world's most famous Christian evangelists, will be brought back to his North Carolina hometown on Saturday in a 130-mile procession that is expected to draw thousands of mourners and well-wishers.

The procession started Saturday morning at 11 a.m. ET with a ceremonial departure from a training center run by Graham's evangelistic association, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. A private family prayer service was held at the chapel earlier.

From there, the motorcade carrying the casket passed through the town of Black Mountain before turning onto the interstate for an approximately four-hour journey to the Billy Graham Library in the city of Charlotte, near the town of Montreat where the evangelist was born and grew up on a dairy farm.

There are designated viewing areas along the procession route for the public to pay their last respects.

A ceremonial arrival for the procession will take place at the Billy Graham Library, where Graham's body will be buried alongside his wife, Ruth, after a funeral next week.

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in North Carolina's mountains, spokesman Mark DeMoss said. He was 99.

He is survived by three daughters and two sons as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His wife died in 2007.

Known as "America's pastor," Graham was a key figure in the revival of the U.S. evangelical Christian movement. He began holding revival meetings in the 1940s and went on to become an adviser to several U.S. presidents.

Graham had been in poor health in recent years and had turned his international ministry over to his son Franklin Graham. The elder Graham did not have cancer, despite reports claiming otherwise, his spokesman said.

Despite numerous hospitalizations in recent years, Graham's work remained in the public eye late into his life. In 2011, around his 93rd birthday, he released what official reports said was his 30th book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well, on the subject of aging. Also in 2011, audio files documenting six decades of his ministry were put online in a searchable database.

Graham brought evangelical Christianity into the mainstream. As a spiritual adviser to U.S. presidents, he had great access to the White House.

"Each one I've known long before they ever became president, been in their homes many times,  always called them by their first names, until they became president," Graham said of several former presidents.

He was especially close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes.

Bill Clinton turned to him after his much publicized sex scandal, and George W. Bush credited Graham with helping him to quit drinking alcohol.

When asked how his life would be different if it were not for Billy Graham, George W. Bush said simply, "I wouldn't be president."

The evangelist brought his "Billy Graham Crusades" around the world, preaching to more than 210 million people in 185 countries and territories. His largest such gathering drew 1 million people in Seoul, South Korea, in the 1970s.

However, Graham was met with criticism in February 2002, when audiotapes released by the National Archives revealed a 1972 conversation with Nixon at the White House in which Graham said Jewish people had a "stranglehold" on the media.

He later apologized and said his work with Jewish people over the years belied that remark.

Donald and Melania Trump met Graham at the preacher's 95th birthday party in 2013, but they never met after Trump took office as president.

Invitations to Graham's funeral on Friday have been extended to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as living ex-presidents, DeMoss said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Educators around the U.S. are protesting proposals to arm teachers by posting with a hashtag, #ArmMeWith, to ask for more school counselors, books, snacks for hungry students and other things they say schools need rather than guns.

As of Saturday morning, the hashtag has been used about 96,700 times.

President Donald Trump called this week for arming teachers in the wake of the latest mass shooting at a school, the Feb. 14 massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and staff.

The president said teachers with guns would offer better protection than a security guard who "doesn't love the children." He also said teachers would be able to respond more quickly than police.

The nation's teachers' unions swiftly rejected the idea.

"We don’t want to be, and would never have the expertise needed to be, sharpshooters. No amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR-15," Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement. "How would arming teachers even work? Would kindergarten teachers be carrying guns in holsters? Is every classroom now going to have a gun closet? Will it be locked? When you have seconds to act when you hear the code for an active shooter, is a teacher supposed to use those seconds getting her gun instead of getting her students to safety?"

Many teachers on social media appeared to agree, using the #ArmMeWith hashtag to oppose the notion of arming educators while highlighting basic resources that they suggest their schools lack.

A Twitter user whose profile said she is a Pittsburgh teacher posted a sign promising "to fight for my students and colleagues. Please "#armmewith the things I need."

Another educator said "I would risk my life to save my students but I would never keep a concealed gun in my classroom." Instead, this teacher asks for tissue and paper towels.

Another woman who identifies herself as a teacher tweeted, "#ArmMeWith my own voice. Educators should make decisions about education, not politicians."

One Twitter user identified as a school counselor in San Francisco tweeted she needs lower ratios of counselors to students and better connections to therapists for "my anxious, suicidal & lost kids."

One educator acknowledges a need for school security but said it should not come for her carrying a gun "around a preschooler."

The movement is drawing the attention of some celebrities, such as singer Ricky Davila.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Residents of the central U.S., brace yourselves.

A major storm system is developing in the central U.S., and it will bring several high-impact weather events across much of the region, including the potential for a major flash flood event Saturday.

Flood watches Saturday morning have been posted from northern Texas to western Pennsylvania, and includes many metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Little Rock, Nashville, Louisville and Pittsburgh.

On the colder side of this system, winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings have been posted for snow and ice accumulation. Minneapolis is in the path for the brunt of this developing snow event.

The storm will really start to develop Saturday morning before bringing widespread impacts by mid-day and into the evening. Accumulation, heavy rain and dangerous thunderstorms will develop in the Mississippi River Valley from Little Rock to Memphis, as well as along parts of the Midwest from Paducah, Kentucky, to Cincinnati.

On the northern side of this storm, snow will develop and intensify as it heads toward Minnesota. Low visibility and blowing snow will likely be an issue Saturday evening.

By Saturday night or Sunday morning, the storm will slide eastward with very heavy rain and thunderstorms from Louisiana all the way to Pennsylvania. A wintry mix and some snow will be likely for parts of New England, including Hartford, Connecticut, and Albany, New York. The storm will clear the U.S. by Sunday night.

The storm will tap into high-moisture content across parts of the South and Midwest. A high risk of flash flooding has been issued by the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center, and covers Little Rock, Paducah, Louisville and Cincinnati.

Locally, over 4 inches of rainfall is expected through Sunday in the region. However, this will be on top of the rain that has already fallen in some areas. Nearly 10.5 inches of rain has been reported in parts of Arkansas this week. This means that any excessive rain that falls will cause flash flooding.

The heavy rain, however, will miss northern Indiana, Michigan and northern Illinois -- the latter of which has been dealing with ongoing major river flooding from rain over the last week.

Strong severe storms will develop across the South and Midwest on Sunday. Intense storms will develop by mid-day and into Saturday night. An enhanced risk for severe weather has been issued for parts of Louisiana up through parts of Kentucky.

Tornadoes -- perhaps a couple of strong ones -- could develop later Saturday across the enhanced risk region. Damaging winds and large hail will also be possible.

The severe weather threat is not expected to remain intense through the day on Sunday.

On the colder side of this storm, there is some freezing rain and light snow moving across northern Missouri and Kansas on Saturday morning.

The snow will expand and intensify as it heads toward the upper Midwest. Heavy snow, low visibility and blowing snow will be likely in Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin by Saturday afternoon and evening.

Nearly 6 inches to 10 inches of fresh snow is likely across parts of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

Some snow and ice makes its way toward New England on Sunday. Accumulations will be light, but could catch some people off guard considering how warm the Northeast was all week.

Many rivers in northern Indiana and Southern Michigan are still running high on Saturday morning. Some rivers still have a few days before they will begin to recede, and some have time before they crest.

With more heavy rain on the way, widespread river flooding is expected on the Ohio River next week. The Ohio River at Parkersburg, West Virginia, will rise into moderate flood stage, even near major flood stage by Monday or Tuesday. The Ohio River at Racine Lock is forecast to reach major flood stage by Monday night and Tuesday. A 48-inch crest could flood the town of Racine, West Virginia.

In parts of Louisville and Cincinnati, the rising Ohio River is expected to be the highest it has been in 20 years, but only moderate impacts are expected. This could change based on how much rain the region receives this weekend.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The female tipster close to accused Florida high school shooter Nikolas Cruz told the FBI Cruz was "going to explode," according to a transcript of the Jan. 5 call more than a month before the shooting obtained by ABC News.

"It’s so much and I know he’s – he’s going to explode," the woman said.

The five-page transcript of the call obtained by ABC News detailed what had been reported the FBI knew about Cruz before he killed 17 students and teachers at his former school in February. The FBI has admitted to failing to follow up on the tip called in to the FBI's call center in January and sharing it with the bureau's FBI field office.

The tipster also provided details about Cruz’s concerning social media activity, identifying four Instagram accounts and troubling posts, and sharing details about his upbringing, foster family and concerning behavior.

“I just want someone to know about this so they can look into it,” the tipster said. “If they think it’s something worth going into, fine. If not, um, I just know I have a clear conscience if he takes off and, and just starts shooting places up.”

On the call, an intake specialist located in West Virginia, asked the caller for information about Cruz, and whether he had made any threats of violence or “talk about ISIS.”

The tipster, whose name is redacted from the transcript but identified as an "unknown female," said Cruz “expresses different things” on social media “and then he takes it off.”

“Just recently, now he has switched it to he wants to kill people. And then he put that on his Instagram and about two days later, he took it off,” the tipster said.

The tipster described Cruz as a violent child who killed animals, posted frequently about firearms and ISIS, and was “thrown out of all these schools because he would pick up a chair and just throw it at somebody, a teacher or a student because he didn’t like the way they were talking to him.”

“It’s alarming to see these pictures and to know what he’s capable of doing and-and what could happen,” the tipster told the FBI on the call, according to a transcript reviewed by ABC News. ”I just think about, you know, getting into a school and just shooting the place up.”

The caller, who dialed the FBI on January 5th, left her name with the FBI for follow up questions and also identified the officer she had spoken with at the Parkland Police Department, who she had given “all the information I had.”

“I didn’t know whether to call you or Homeland Security or who, but like I said … when you look into this you can make the decision as to whether you want to go further or not,” the tipster told the FBI in the call.

“I just want to, you know, get it off my chest in case something does happen and I do believe something’s going to happen,” the tipster said.

The intake specialist did not say if the agency would be following up with the caller.

The FBI has admitted to not following proper protocol after the shooting at the high school last week that left 17 people dead, and properly following up on the Jan. 5 call to the tip line.

The FBI has admitted to not following proper protocol after the shooting at the high school last week that left 17 people dead, and properly following up on the Jan. 5 call to the tip line.

“We have determined that these protocols were not followed for the information received by the PAL on January 5. The information was not provided to the Miami field office, and no further investigation was conducted at that time,” the FBI said in a statement last week.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has come under fire for the episode, including from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has called for Wray to resign over the FBI’s “failure to take action.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Anthony Watson(NEW YORK) -- Flooding remains a big threat from Texas to Michigan to Pennsylvania where relentless rounds of heavy rain keeps falling over the same areas, causing streams and rivers to continue to rise right into the weekend. Flood watches are still in effect Friday from Texas to Pennsylvania and will likely stay up into the weekend for the next round of rain on Saturday into Sunday.

Twenty-two rivers across the country are currently in "major flood stage," with the majority of those being in northern Indiana and southern Michigan: The Yellow River, St. Joseph River, and Kankakee Rivers in Northern Illinois are all in major- and record-flood stage and will remain that way for the next few days.

From the Rockies to the Upper Midwest, winter weather advisories and winter storm watches are in effect for a new storm to bring a blast of snow on Saturday.

A new storm will bring more flooding rain, heavy snow, and severe weather across the country over the weekend. By Saturday afternoon, more heavy rain stretches from Texas to Pennsylvania with severe weather in the South. On the wintry side of the storm, snow will move across the central and Northern Plains, from Omaha to Minneapolis by Saturday afternoon into the evening.

Severe weather is possible Saturday afternoon and evening from Dallas to Louisville, with an enhanced threat from Little Rock to Memphis to Evansville. Damaging winds and a few strong tornadoes are all possible, along with isolated instances of large hail and flash flooding during the heaviest downpours. Storm timing for the enhanced area will be between 4:00 p.m. and midnight.

Looking ahead to Sunday the cold front will swing eastward with a line of heavy rain from New Orleans to New York as most of the wintry precipitation will be confined to northern New England.

Snow across the Midwest could exceed 6 inches for parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa where the winter storm watches are in effect. Another 3 to 5 inches of rain is possible from Oklahoma to Kentucky as the flooding risk continues through Saturday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- John Cohen and his police officer partner responded to a call for help to thwart a rape in progress, and after pulling the suspect off of the victim and physically getting control of the suspect, Cohen realized he should have had help.

Cohen said that incident, which happened back when he was a police officer in Southern California in the 1980s, was the first of two times that he felt his partner froze on him.

“I was conscious of the fact that my partner was not with me,” said Cohen, a former police officer who is now an ABC News contributor

After the second incident, Cohen told his sergeant that “as much as I liked the person,” he couldn’t work with the partner anymore.

“As a police officer inevitably you will be forced to confront a situation which requires you to make a split second decision that very well may put your life in jeopardy but may allow you to capture a dangerous suspect or save someone else. I have seen many officers who are able to do that but I have also seen some officers who weren’t,” Cohen said.

Law enforcement officers freezing under pressure has come into the spotlight after reports that the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, did not go into the building when the deadly shooting was unfolding.

The exact hesitations or reasoning that prompted Deputy Scott Peterson, who worked as the school resource officer (SRO) at the high school, remain unknown. Peterson was suspended without pay from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office after it was made clear that he remained outside of the building where the shooting was happening for more than four minutes. Peterson met the requirements for retirement and has since resigned.

“He should have went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer,” Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday in a news conference announcing Peterson’s suspension and retirement.

President Donald Trump has weighed in on the situation, commenting multiple times on Friday about Peterson’s inaction, saying that “turned out to be not good,” adding that he was either a “coward” or someone who froze under pressure.

Peterson received praise from Jeff Bell, the head of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, for “calling the exact location and getting units out there,” he told ABC News. But Bell added that as first responders they’re trained to go into active shooting situations so if they don’t, it should be viewed as a failure.

Cohen said that he “could make the case either way” for the officer entering the building or to wait for back up, noting that “at the end of the day it’s going to be up to that officer in that situation to make the decision.”

Steve Gomez, a former police officer and FBI special agent in charge who is now an ABC News contributor, said that Peterson’s background could play a role in his decision-making process under pressure.

Peterson worked at the sheriff’s department since 1985 and is believed to have served as an SRO for several years.

Gomez explained that Peterson's lengthy experience at the school would have benefits and drawbacks.

“There’s definitely a benefit of him being assigned to the school for a number of years because he has historical knowledge of how the school functions, he knows the kids and the faculty which means that he is able to develop relationships that will allow him to gather info that would be helpful to secure the school,” Gomez told ABC News.

However, he pointed to beat street cops who “respond to domestic violence calls, crime suppression, or just even pulling over a vehicle with the risk of that vehicle having a criminal and a gun” as examples of those who have experience not freezing.

“Those officers are experiencing high stress, highly dangerous situations on a daily basis so they have no time to freeze,” Gomez said. “My thought is that if he had been away from fighting crime the way most patrol officers deal with crime on a daily basis then he may have been less ready to deal with an active shooter situation at the school.”

Gomez added that conversations about freezing under pressure are ones that “you tend to have with someone at the beginning of their career.” He recalled a fellow police officer, who just months into the job, quit the force shortly after his vehicle was shot while patrolling in a heavy crime area.

"He resigned due to the fear of him getting killed and what that would do to his family that he would leave behind," Gomez said.

Similarly, Cohen said that he personally had to face down an “overwhelming, paralyzing fear” at times during his years in law enforcement.

“I remember times when I would be driving into work, thinking about my family, thinking about things I may confront at work,” Cohen said. “You pull over to the side of the road and think, ‘What am I doing? Why am I doing this?’”

Both Cohen and Gomez agreed that any internal hesitations need to be assessed and addressed before a life-or-death situation unfolds while the officer is on duty.

“This kind of situation may not have been expected by somebody with 30-plus years on the job,” Gomez said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Mike Blake /Pool/Getty Images(RIVERSIDE, Calif.) -- Some of the 13 siblings allegedly held captive by their parents in their California home are "starting to make plans for their future," Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel told ABC News on Friday.

"Their minds are just being opened," she said, to "having a choice and not being so controlled."

The young adult victims are now "getting up and making the day happen for themselves, getting out of bed and deciding what they want to eat."

"They're starting from very elementary stuff," she said, but have "progressed very, very well."

David and Louise Turpin are accused of abusing their children, including in some cases allegedly forcing them to shower only once a year, shackling them and beating them routinely, prosecutors said. The victims weren't released from their chains even to go to the bathroom, according to prosecutors.

When found last month, the children hadn't been to a doctor in over four years and had never been to a dentist, prosecutors said.

The Turpins were arrested in January after the couple’s 17-year-old daughter escaped the home and alerted authorities.

All the children except for the youngest, a toddler, were severely malnourished, prosecutors said. The eldest victim -- a 29-year-old woman -- weighed only 82 pounds when rescued.

David and Louise Turpin have each been charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse. David Turpin was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear or duress. They have pleaded not guilty.

The Turpins made a brief appearance in court on Friday, where neither spoke. They will return for a settlement conference hearing set for March 23. Three additional charges of abuse were filed against both David and Louise Turpin on Friday, and one new count of felony assault was filed against just Louise Turpin.

They pleaded not guilty to all new charges.

Meanwhile, the siblings are recovering in hospitals.

The adult victims have Skyped with their younger siblings as they have been separated to two different hospitals, Spiegel said, adding that they have put on weight.

Some of the siblings "didn't really know what a toothbrush was used for," Spiegel said.

Some of the victims had never had shoes, Spiegel said, recounting how when one boy was given his first shoes, they were too tight, but he wouldn't relinquish them until a bigger pair arrived because he was scared he would never get shoes back.

Spiegel described the young adult victims as "so loving and warm and affectionate," and said they appreciate the "things we take for granted."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The armed school resource officer who officials say did not enter the school during last week's mass shooting in Florida had received positive evaluations and feedback from his colleagues, according to his personnel file.

Deputy Scot Peterson began working at Florida's Broward Sheriff’s Department in 1985 and completed multiple training programs, including a mandatory firearms training program and special tactical problems training program.

Peterson was named Parkland district employee of the month in May 2012 and was recognized as school resource officer of the year in 2014.

Peterson "takes pride in protecting the students, faculty and staff at his school. Deputy Peterson is dependable and reliable and handles issues that arise with tact and solid judgment," according to one evaluation.

An internal memo dated March 2017 said, “Peterson is a positive influence on the students and they respect and appreciate his position.”

The 2017 memo also shows Peterson was nominated for Parkland deputy of the year.

Seventeen people were fatally shot in the Valentine's Day massacre. The suspect allegedly fled after the shooting but was later apprehended.

A decision to suspend Peterson was made after reviewing video from the shooting and taking statements from witnesses and Peterson himself, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel announced Thursday. Since he met the requirements for retirement, Peterson opted to resign after he was told he was being suspended, Israel said.

Law enforcement officials who reviewed the video say Peterson arrived at the west side of Building 12, where most of the killing happened. He then took up a position but "never went in," officials said. The video has not been released publicly.

The video shows that Peterson remained outside the building for upward of four minutes during the shooting, which lasted about six minutes, Israel said. Aside from getting "on his radio," Peterson did "nothing" while standing outside the building, Israel said.

“He should have went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer,” Israel said.

When asked by reporters to describe how the video made him feel, Israel responded, "sick to my stomach" and "devastated."

"It doesn’t matter who went in first, it doesn’t matter in what order you went in," he said. "What matters is that when we in law enforcement arrive at an active shooter, we go in and address the target and that’s what should have been done."

It is still unclear why Peterson did not go after the shooter.

President Donald Trump on Friday slammed Peterson for his response, saying, "When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn't have the courage or something happened."

"He certainly did a poor job," Trump said. "That's the case where somebody was outside. They're trained, they didn't react properly under pressure or they were a coward. It was a real shock to the police department."

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said at a news conference Friday that Peterson's actions were “outrageous” and “inexcusable,” adding, “I’ll leave it at that. I have no words.”

When asked about Peterson’s praise in the past, he responded, “I don’t care about the past. Just care about the actions that he took that day.”

Runcie said there was nothing inhibiting Peterson from entering the school.

“I wish he had the same kind of courage that our teachers have,” Runcie said.

Jeff Bell, the president of Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, told ABC News that Peterson "did do a good job in terms of calling the exact location and getting units out there."

Teacher Jim Gard told ABC News he is "completely and totally disgusted" that Peterson allegedly stayed outside the building, calling it "beyond comprehensible."

Recent graduate Megan Leahy told ABC News, "You're a police officer -- your number one job is to protect. And to hear he didn't go in the school, that's your job -- that's what you signed up for."

"Mr. [Christopher] Hixon did, and Coach [Aaron] Feis," she said, referring to two staff members who were killed. "They went in. They protected us. ... Tried."

But recent graduate Zachary Knecht added, "You never know what's going through someone's mind ... I don't know if I can say what he was thinking."

ABC News has reached out to Peterson for comment.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- A Florida police officer was overcome with emotion as he described responding to last week's mass shooting at a high school, where his wife and son were on lockdown inside.

"It was surreal," Coral Springs police Sgt. Jeff Heinrich said at a news conference this morning, telling his story through tears.

Heinrich was off duty on Valentine's Day but happened to be watering the baseball field at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where his wife is an assistant athletic director and his son is a student, when the shooting happened.

Heinrich said he heard the fire alarm go off and then gunshots, but at first he thought it was fireworks. He noticed students walking to the parking lot were relaxed as if was a usual fire drill.

Then, the children started to run and scream and he heard a round of five or six shots, Heinrich said.

Heinrich said he ran toward the parking lot where the students were and found a student named Kyle who had a gunshot wound to his ankle. Heinrich grabbed Kyle and took him to the baseball area, where he said he used a first-aid kit at the clubhouse to treat him.

Kyle, while seriously injured, managed to give Heinrich a great description of what was going on and what the shooter was wearing, which Heinrich then relayed to the dispatcher, he said.

Kyle survived and remains in the hospital, Heinrich said.

Heinrich, emotional and holding back tears told reporters, “I called my wife. Luckily I was able to get ahold of her. By the grace of God my wife and my son who are on opposite ends of the school ... they both heard the fire alarm and decided to evacuate.”

His wife and son found each other and were able to shelter in place together with other teachers and students, Heinrich said, crying.

Heinrich said he continued to work the rest of the day and didn't reunite with his family until 10 p.m.

Officer Chris Crawford, a former Marine, was also among the officers sharing their stories.

Crawford said he rescued a 14-year-old boy who had been shot several times. He was trying to get the teen to where the fire department was, but the boy told him he couldn’t breathe or walk, he said. When Crawford put him down, he said he found injuries to his back, shoulder, thigh and arm.

"It’s awful," Crawford said. "It’s as bad as you can imagine -- times 10.”

Crawford also said when he knocked on one class door and identified himself, the students pushed desks up against the door and refused to let him in. Crawford said the students made him pass his ID to them and read off his ID number to provide his identity.

Crawford said his wife is a detective and he's a father of a 2-year-old.

"I don’t want to send him to school," Crawford said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Jon Kaupp(GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.) -- A search and rescue effort is underway after a single-engine Piper aircraft with four people onboard went missing after departing Grand Junction, Colorado, around 10 a.m. local time Thursday, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the aircraft was missing and issued an alert.

Jon Kaupp, the son of pilot Bill Kaupp, told ABC News that his 65-year-old father was planning to fly another son, 28-year-old Clint Kaupp, and their respective best friends west over Moab, Utah, before turning south to their destination of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The other passengers were Tim Mueller, 28, and Ron McKenzie, 66, according to Jon Kaupp.

Bill Kaupp has been an "avid" aviator for the last 10 years, said Jon Kaupp.

Search and rescue efforts are being coordinated by the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.

It's unclear if Bill Kaupp was familiar with that area of Colorado and Utah.

There was light snow and mist in Grand Junction Thursday morning, but no significant storms, according to ABC News meteorologists.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that he is going to push to raise the firearm purchase age in Florida from 18 to 21 years old in the wake of the deadly school shooting last week.

"Change is coming, and it will come fast," Scott said.

Scott, a Republican with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, announced the age increase as part of a series of steps he wants the state to take on gun laws, school safety and mental health.

He started his news conference Friday by reading the names of the 17 students and school staff who were killed at the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

"Unfortunately, none of the plans I’m announcing today will bring any of them back, but it’s important to remember them. The 17 lives that were cut short and all the hopes and dreams that were ruined have changed our state forever. Florida will never be the same," Scott said.

He called for the institution of what he termed a "violent threat restraining order" -- similar versions of which are in place in some states. The order would allow a court to stop a mentally ill or violent person from buying a gun after a family member, community welfare expert or law enforcement officer files a request to instate the order.

"I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who has mental issues to use a gun. I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who is a danger to themselves or others to use a gun," Scott said.

He also called for a strengthening of the restrictions that should stop mentally ill individuals from buying guns.

The age hike that would stop someone from buying a gun before they are 21 would have exceptions "for active-duty and reserve military and spouses, National Guard members and law enforcement," Scott said.

Scott's list of proposals also included an outright ban of bump stocks, which were not believed to have been used in the Parkland shooting but gained infamy following the deadly shooting at a Las Vegas concert in October.

He also detailed his plans to increase security precautions and training at schools. He said he will push to have more law enforcement officers at schools, suggesting that there be at least one law enforcement officer for every 1,000 students. Scott also called for a mandatory implementation of active-shooter "code red" drills at the beginning of each semester at public schools.

Scott said he and Florida lawmakers would be discussing the plans in Tallahassee, the state capital, during the next two weeks while the state government is still in its legislative session.

"I will not accept the old, tired political notion that we don’t have enough time to get anything done. Government does not have to be slow or lethargic. And when it comes to protecting our schools and our kids, we need to be swift and decisive," Scott said.

He noted that the ideas he mentioned amount to "half a billion dollars for school safety and mental health initiatives," and he said that "if providing this funding means we won’t be able to cut taxes this year -- so be it."

The announcement comes the same morning that some staff members returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, nine days after the shooting.

Teachers were seen hugging as they arrived back at the school in the wake of the Valentine's Day massacre.

Staff members had the option to go back to the school Friday, and all staff is expected to return on Monday and Tuesday for planning days ahead of classes, Broward County Public Schools said.

A "variety of support services" is available, the district said.

The school district, calling this an "emotional and difficult recovery process," is also holding a voluntary campus orientation for students and parents Sunday afternoon.

Classes for students will resume on Wednesday with a modified, shorter schedule for the week, the district said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Local Weather
Calendar
Polls
What Do You Want This Weeks Hog Country #1 to be?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.