Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(FLINT, Mich.) — The 8-year-old girl who received a letter from President Obama after writing to him about Flint, Michigan, will get a chance to meet the commander-in-chief Wednesday.
"Little Miss Flint" Mari Copeny wrote to the president before she traveled 12 hours by bus with a group of more than 200 Flint residents to a congressional hearing on the Flint water crisis. In the letter, Mari described herself as "one of the children [affected]" by Flint's lead-filled water and stressed that meeting him or the first lady "would really lift people's spirits."
The letter inspired the president to send Flint's mini-ambassador a letter of his own.
"You're right that Presidents are often busy, but the truth is, in America, there is no more important title than citizen," Obama wrote.
Before the trip to Washington, D.C., Mari was keen on meeting the president to tell him everything she's been doing to raise awareness for Flint, her mother, Lulu Brezzell, told ABC News.
Obama wrote in his letter to Mari that he wanted her to be the "first to know" about his upcoming trip to Flint. "Like you, I'll use my voice to call for change and help lift up your community," the president wrote.
The meeting will take place Wednesday afternoon at Northwestern High School, where Obama will deliver remarks to a crowd of about 1,000 people, the White House told ABC News.
"In the end, it was my 8-year-old who convinced him that maybe it was time to come," Brezzell said, describing her daughter as a "force of nature" who "loves to use her voice"
Mari told ABC News that meeting the president will be better than her birthday and Christmas and is the "most exciting thing to happen" to her.
"People need him to give us hope," she said of Obama, adding that the first thing she'll do is "give him a big hug."
Mari received the title "Little Miss Flint" last spring after winning a local pageant, Brezzell said. Although her reign is almost over, another pageant system has offered to let her keep the title for another year because of all the awareness she's raised with it, Brezzell added.
The pageant winner says her dream is to become "Miss America" and then become a police officer after that. She's been active in the efforts to help Flint, her mother said, participating in rallies and protests to raise awareness.
In addition, Mari said education is an important issue to her. She enjoys cheerleading, gymnastics, tap dancing, singing and playing the violin, she said, and plans to "keep on helping" her fellow Flint residents.
"Cause I'm a kid that cares," Mari said. "We do not drink [the water] 'cause it's poison."
Brezzell said her family is not able to cook or bathe with the water that comes out of their faucet, saying they get rashes similar to chemical burns when it touches their skin. The mother of three called Flint's water crisis "heartbreaking" and "avoidable."
Mari's final message: "Don't forget Flint."
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has called on Obama to drink the water in Flint during his visit.
“We are hopeful the president will drink the water in Flint, to help reinforce Gov. Snyder’s actions and the EPA’s message that filtered Flint water is safe to drink,” Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said in a statement to ABC.
Despite the Environmental Protection Agency's assessment that filtered water is safe to drink, Flint residents continue to drink only bottled water, Heaton said. Last month, Snyder vowed to drink Flint's water for at least 30 days.
In January, Obama addressed the water crisis in a visit to Detroit, saying he would be "beside" himself if his kids' health could be at risk. He declared a national emergency in Flint, directing funds to assist in relief efforts, following a request from Gov. Snyder.
It is unclear if the governor will meet will meet with the president during his visit. Snyder is not currently scheduled to be in Flint, according to his office.
iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — The FBI has arrested a Michigan man for allegedly spraying a poisonous mixture of chemicals on food at three grocery stores in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The FBI and Michigan Health Department are now looking at whether anyone was seriously ill from the low-scale chemical attack to contaminate food.
Authorities believe the unidentified suspect targeted at least three grocery stores in the past two weeks: Whole Foods, Meijer and Plum Market. Law enforcement officials are also now trying to determine whether he victimized other stores with his toxic mixture of hand-cleaner, water and Tomcat mice poison.
"What if he's been doing this for weeks, or months, or even years, and just suddenly someone saw him?” one concerned citizen said. “Makes you think about everything you buy all the time."
The suspect may have mental health issues, and so far there is no indication of terrorism, sources said.
The FBI had released photos of the suspect Sunday, seeking the public’s help in identifying him.
“The FBI and Ann Arbor Police want to thank the media for bringing attention to this matter, and the public for their assistance,” the FBI said in a statement Tuesday.
iStock/Thinkstock(TRENTON, N.J.) — With President Obama scheduled to tour Flint, Michigan, Wednesday, concerns about water safety have been elevated to the national stage once again, leading many to speculate whether another water crisis is looming for more American cities.
One example is in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie ordered mandatory lead testing for all of the state’s public schools on Monday.
Elevated levels of lead found in Newark Public Schools in March created panic among residents. In the city of Camden, students and public school staff have been drinking bottled water since 2002 due to deterioration of piping found in the buildings, many of which were constructed nearly a century ago.
Nearly 50 percent of the residents in Newark and Camden are black, according to recent census data, similar to the demographics of Flint. A 2012 report published by a group of international water policy experts determined that African-American residents were nearly twice as likely to live in buildings with inadequate plumbing as whites.
The tests announced by Christie will impact approximately 3,000 public schools. The governor hopes to reduce the level of lead in a child's blood from 10 micrograms per deciliter to five, meeting standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012. The CDC says a level of 5 micrograms per deciliter is used to identify children with high levels of lead in their blood.
Funding for the tests, which will cost an estimated $10 million, will not come easily for the cash-strapped state, whose debt reached $170 million in 2015, according to Truth in Accounting, a watchdog group.
Improving New Jersey’s water supply has been a concern for Christie long before Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency in December of last year.
Christie signed the Water Infrastructure Protection Act in February of 2015, a bill designed to fast-track the privatization of the state’s public water systems. Proponents argue that the legislation would spur investment in the state’s crumbling infrastructure, but environmentalists strongly oppose it, arguing that it turns a necessity into a profit-making resource for corporations without necessarily solving the problem at hand.
“What consumer protection groups find is that turning over water systems to private industry often increases the cost for residents without guaranteeing the safety that lawmakers like Christie say they want,” said Andrea Muehlebach, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in water systems.
New Jersey residents are not alone in their struggles with infrastructure. An investigative report published this March in USA Today found potentially hazardous lead levels in close to 2,000 water systems across the county.
Obama’s visit to Flint, which was prompted by a letter he received from Mari Copeny, an 8-year-old Flint resident requesting to meet with him, gives the president the opportunity to draw attention to the severity of the crisis.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will greet Obama at the airport in Flint, a spokesman for Snyder confirmed to ABC News.
The spokesman also said the governor will participate in the president’s briefing with federal officials on the Flint water crisis. In April, two state regulators and one city employee were charged with misconduct, tampering and other offenses in relation to Flint's water crisis.
It was unclear if Obama would drink filtered water during his stay.
New Mexico State Police(SHIPROCK, N.M.) -- A 27-year-old man has been arrested in the abduction and death of an 11-year-old girl believed to have been kidnapped from the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, the FBI announced Tuesday evening.
The Albuquerque office of the FBI tweeted its arrest of Tom Begaye, 27, of Waterflow, New Mexico, for the "abduction and death" of Ashlynne Mike, who went missing Monday and was found dead Tuesday.
Begaye is slated to appear in court Wednesday, according to the FBI's tweet. It was unknown if he had a lawyer yet.
#FBI announces Tom Begaye, 27, of Waterflow, N.M., arrested in abduction and death of 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike. Court appearance tomorrow.
Ashlynne Mike was last seen Monday around 4 p.m., according to a press release from New Mexico State Police. "An unknown Native American male is believed to have abducted Ashlynn[e]," read the press release. "[The] abductor was last seen in the area of Navajo Route 36 Mile Post 13 at 4 p.m."
Her parents filed a police report Monday night after Ashlynne and her 9-year-old brother, Ian, went missing, Najavo Nation Public Information Officer Mihio Manus said.
Shortly after the report was filed, a motorist picked up Ian as he walked along the highway and took him to the Shiprock Police Department. Ian told police that a man had taken them toward the Shiprock Pinnacle, but he let Ian out when he came upon a dead end, Manus said. The man then continued on with Ashlynne.
The man later returned without Ashlynne and told Ian to "go home," Manus said.
Ashlynne's body was found Tuesday in Shiprock, according to FBI Public Affairs Specialist Frank Fisher.
The FBI described the man suspected of abducting her as a light-skinned Navajo man in his 20s or 30s with short, dark hair. The man has a tear-drop tattoo under his left eye, according to the FBI, and was last seen wearing earrings in both ears, a long, silver chain necklace, gold watch, with a black shirt and blue pants.
The vehicle used in the alleged abduction was a maroon minivan with sliding doors with a luggage rack on the top and no hub caps on the wheels, the FBI said.
“We want to reassure the family that the Navajo Nation Police are conducting a thorough investigation in this case and will be working with the FBI to apprehend the abductor and bring him to justice,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock(FLINT, Mich.) — The streets of Flint, Michigan will soon be patrolled by a mother and son duo, who were recently sworn-in together as members of the Flint Police Department.
Soon after Maria Reed, 39, first applied to the police academy at Mott Community College, in Fenton, Michigan, her son, Dion, 20, followed.
The pair went through all 16 weeks of the training in tandem. The academy’s training coordinator told ABC News it was the first time he’s seen a parent and child complete the program together.
“I’ve been doing police academies for 27 years and have never even heard of it,” said Sgt. Dunnell Chaney of the Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy. “I’ve seen brothers but never a parent and a child.”
The pair graduated last Thursday, according to Chaney. Dion said he took some ribbing from his classmates while at the academy with his mom.
“They make a lot a jokes, like the only reason I'm at the academy is because she can't find a babysitter," Dion told ABC affiliate WJRT-TV in Flint, Michigan.
Maria and Dion were two of the seven new officers sworn in to the Flint Police Department on Monday morning. They will join the 107-member strong police force for the Michigan city.
"This is the first I’m aware of a parent and child being sworn in together," Flint Police Capt. Leigh Golden told ABC News. "It is pretty unique."
The mother and son are in training this week and could not be reached by ABC News. They will start "working the road" next week, according to Golden.
Maria will have her first full shift as a uniformed Flint officer on Mother’s Day. When she is on the job though, she says she will just be Officer Reed. She told WJRT-TV, “I can't be a mom when I am out there doing my job."
WABC-TV(SYOSSET, N.Y.) -- A pilot and two passengers are dead after a small plane en route from South Carolina to Connecticut crashed on Long Island, New York, officials say.
According to Nassau County Police, the plane came down in the hamlet of Syosset at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
Initially, police said it suffered an “an unknown problem." But at an NTSB briefing this evening, senior NTSB air safety investigator Robert Gretz said that the pilot of the aircraft made a distress call prior to the crash, reporting an issue with the plane’s instrumentation panel -- possibly the loss of the panel.
Gretz says the plane broke up before reaching the ground and the debris field spans about 2 miles.
He added that at this time there is no indication that the plane ran out of gas. The NTSB's investigation continues.
Despite the large debris field, which is near several schools, there were no injuries on the ground.
Most of the children had already been dismissed, but the superintendent told ABC News he will keep the remaining students at South Woods Middle School, Berry Hill Elementary and Syosset High School in their respective buildings for the time being.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the Beech BE35 aircraft crashed on Cold Spring Road in Syosset as it was heading to Robertson Field in Plainville, Connecticut, from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.
iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Detroit teachers are taking to the streets instead of classrooms for the second day of a "sick out" rally in a fight for paychecks.
Kendra Lincourt, an art teacher who has worked at Detroit Public Schools for 17 years, participated in the rallies, both on Monday and Tuesday.
"People need to realize that teachers are not going to work without being paid," Lincourt told ABC News Tuesday. "I love my job. I want to continue to do my job, but I'm not going to do it for free. I have a family I need to support."
Lincourt said her husband is also a teacher but not with Detroit public schools.
"We're not trying to be selfish by any means," she said. "It's our passion, but it's also our job, it's how we live. We're not asking for anything that we don't deserve."
On Tuesday, 94 of 97 schools in the Detroit Public School district were closed, impacting 45,726 students, according to school officials.
A spokeswoman for the district said the three remaining schools had enough teachers report to work. The district closed schools where 40 percent or more of the teaching staff called in sick, the spokeswoman said.
Monday's "sick out" also closed 94 schools, impacting 45,628 students. The sick out is ongoing "because we still don't have assurance that we're going to be paid," Detroit Federation of Teachers interim President Ivy Bailey told ABC News Tuesday.
"We were hoping yesterday would be the last day," Bailey said, adding that teachers were telling her they miss their students.
Lincourt said it's unfortunate that the school closures are causing last-minute child care problems for parents.
"We do feel for the parents," she said. "At our school we're fortunate that we have a lot of parental support. They understand that nobody is going to work without being paid"
And as for her own three daughters, who attend the school where she teachers, they went along to the rallies, Lincourt said. While her children are missing class time, Lincourt said the rallies provided "amazing connections." She said one daughter, a 4th-grader, likened marching down the middle of a Detroit road to her studies about Martin Luther King.
When the "sick out" began Monday, Bailey explained to ABC News the reason behind it. Because teachers do not get paid during the summer, some teachers are on 26 pay periods. "They take their salary and they pro-rate it throughout the year [with] additional pay periods in the summer, so they can get paid over the summer," she said.
She explained that the state gave the district $48.7 million to get through the rest of the school year but that did not include money to cover summer payments.
"When we figured out what was going on and looked at the payments of those teachers, technically Thursday of last week is the last day that they're actually being paid," Bailey said.
"In theory, they're working without pay," she said. "There's no guarantee -- based on what the district has told us -- that they will receive payment after June 30, which is not fair. No one should work for free."
In Detroit, where the economy has been struggling for years, schools are currently under a state of financial emergency and are run by an emergency manager instead of a school board and superintendent.
"If you are an emergency manager and you're supposed to be the person who came here to straighten out our finances, and now they're worse than they ever were ... I believe we have every right to be upset. And there is no accountability for what has gone on with these emergency mangers," she said.
"The teachers feel, and I feel, that no one is listening to us," Bailey said. "The teachers are not only fighting for themselves, but more importantly, they're fighting for their students."
Mechelle Doty, a school psychologist for the district, told ABC News Tuesday that staff members "would like nothing better than being able to serve the students. But we just want what's fair."
"Anyone in any work place ... expects compensation," she said. "We have bills, we have families, we have responsibilities just like anyone else who has a job. We're just really asking for fairness and what's due."
Doty said she's not sure if she'll go back to school Wednesday.
"It's a day-to-day approach," she said. "We are showing what our concerns are and we're waiting for a response. And we're really waiting to see if the funding that is necessary for the education of the district, if that's going to be approved."
Tuesday also happens to be National Teacher Appreciation Day, a part of Teacher Appreciation Week. Bailey said the timing is a coincidence.
"I did tell teachers 'Happy Appreciation Day,'" Bailey said. "It's kind of ironic."
Detroit Public Schools DPS Transition Manager Steven Rhodes did not immediately issue a statement on the second day of the "sick out," but he said Monday, "I am on record as saying that I cannot in good conscience ask anyone to work without pay."
"Nevertheless, it breaks my heart to think about the major impact that the closure of 94 of the district’s 97 schools is having on our students and their families," Rhodes said Monday, also noting that "families were forced to try to find a way to unexpectedly care for their students" and "many parents may have been forced to take a day off from work without pay." He also mentioned that some students rely on school for meals.
"Apart from the toll this is taking on our students and their families, of closing 94 schools, District funding will also be impacted -- at a time when we can least afford it," he said. "Today’s school closure action encouraged by the DFT may cost the District approximately $2 million in state aid. That amount of funding equates to the cost of hiring roughly 20 teachers. The loss of these funds also does nothing to help the district address the serious issues that we have all been working to address, including teacher/student ratios and smaller class sizes, as well as improving the quality of the learning environment in our schools."
Rhodes said he "can make no guarantees, but it is clear that the Michigan Legislature understands the urgency of this situation and will act in a timely manner to ensure that operations of the school district continues uninterrupted."
He said he will continue to work with Lansing policy makers to "help them understand how critical the passage of the legislation before them is not only to the future of Detroit Public Schools, but also to the future of the city of Detroit."
"Without this legislation, Detroit Public Schools will not be able to operate after June 30, 2016," Rhodes said.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- Victims of domestic violence in Connecticut will receive additional protections with the passing of a bill aimed at prohibiting those who are subject to a temporary restraining order from possessing firearms, thus eliminating a critical window of time during which a victim’s life could be at risk. The bill heads to the governor’s desk in the coming days for his signature before it becomes state law.
The bill passed in the Connecticut General Assembly -- the House passing its version of the bill last week, the Senate approving it Monday -- the latest action to strengthening gun laws following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Gov. Dannel Malloy, who introduced the bill in February this year, said the bill is vital for the safety of domestic violence victims.
"We have a moral obligation to work to prevent needless tragedy and to make this the law,” he said in a statement Monday. “Women in abusive relationships are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm. When an instance of domestic violence rises to the point that a temporary restraining order is needed, we must do everything we can to prevent tragedy. Now, Connecticut will take a commonsense step towards strengthening and enhancing our gun violence protection laws.”
Under current state law, only those with permanent restraining orders are prohibited from firearm possession. Those with temporary restraining orders must attend a hearing with a judge before a full restraining order can be granted -- this process often taking several weeks during which a victim’s life could be at risk, according to supporters of the bill.
The new bill will require the subject of the temporary order to turn in their firearm to police within 24 hours. The bill also requires a hearing on a full order to take place within seven days to usher along the process in a timely fashion, instead of the two week time allotment.
It's a bill federal lawmakers are also trying to mirror and propel across a national level. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, who's working on legislation of his own in the U.S. Senate, told ABC News that Congress needs to act, and fast.
“Congress must follow Connecticut’s lead and end its complicity with domestic violence gun deaths by passing national legislation prohibiting domestic abusers from having firearms. My measure would save lives by preventing domestic abusers across the country from purchasing or possessing guns," Blumenthal said. "Abusers are often at the height of their rage after being served with a temporary restraining order, and this new Connecticut law removes deadly weapons from their hands before they can cause irreversible harm. The link between guns and domestic violence is a deadly one. We must act quickly. Lives are literally on the line.”
Connecticut’s other Democratic senator, Chris Murphy, a co-sponsor of Blumenthal's bill, faults Congress for its inaction.
“I’m glad Connecticut is continuing to lead the nation in preventing dangerous people from buying guns. I see absolutely no reason why anyone would stand up and argue that a domestic abuser under a under a court-ordered temporary restraining order should be able to walk out of a store with a gun,” he said. “If Congress continues to fail to expand background checks and keep deadly weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers, more lives will be lost. And that will be on us.”
The state bill has earned applause from the White House and also former congresswoman and gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords.
“I applaud Connecticut’s leaders who stood up for common sense and voted for this responsible bill that will make it harder for abusers to get their hands on guns,” she said in a statement posted online.
According to Giffords’ organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions, women in the U.S. are 11 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other developed countries. And more than than half of all murders of American women are committed with a gun, according to the group, which also noted that abused women are also five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a firearm.
But critics of gun control, including the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, say the bill violates due process rights for gun owners. CCDL President Scott Wilson posted his own statement online saying the bill eliminates the protections affirmed under the Fifth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
“We feel it is important for the public to understand that individuals who may be served with an order of this type do not even have to be charged with any crime, let alone convicted of wrong-doing,” Wilson said. “It’s very unfortunate that proponents of this bill that hold office and have sworn to uphold our constitution are working hand in hand with groups that are specifically misleading the public.”
Courtesy Nathaniel White(HOUSTON) -- "Non, je ne parle pas Français," is what one substitute high school teacher in Texas might say to his students -- though he is supposed to be teaching them French language.
When Energy Institute High School in Houston, Texas parted ways with their staff French teacher in December, they didn't have another teacher qualified to teach the language. They had to hire someone to run the class on short notice and the school district sent them a substitute who does not speak, let alone teach, French language.
The former teacher of the class, Jean Cius, said his students were doing well in French before he left the school. Although he doesn't believe it's the new teacher's fault that he doesn't know French, he doesn't believe he's a good fit for teaching the class.
“If you are a long-term sub, you have to be knowledgeable of the subject," he said. "You can’t be a sub for longer than two or three months and not be knowledgeable.”
But the substitute now in charge of the class, Albert Moyer, defends his position saying he has to be flexible. In a personal blog post, Moyer added that because he is an associate teacher he is not required to be certified in the subject.
“My job is to be as qualified as I can in an emergency wherever I am placed," he wrote in the post. "I have had numerous assignments in all subjects.”
Nathaniel White is a student in Moyer’s class and said he likes him as a teacher, but the class works on fill in the blank worksheets in order to learn the material.
White’s mother, Sharonda White, said she doesn't blame Moyer, but her Nathaniel is not learning the foreign language like he should be. She believes the school should be doing more to help the situation.
“It’s not his fault that he’s there. The school should do a better job at finding someone who is qualified.”
Jason Spencer of Houston Independent School District (HISD)said the school has been trying to find a qualified instructor but there is a shallow pool of candidates.
“It can often become a difficult task to find certified foreign language teachers, in the middle of the academic school year, to fill the needs of the district. Effective French teachers are especially hard to come by," officials from the HISD said in a statement. "The district continues its efforts to hire talented foreign language teachers to instruct HISD students. HISD strives to ensure all students have access to an education that will help ensure they are successful academically and ready to complete in a global econom
With one month left in the school year, Spencer says Moyer will still be in charge of the school’s French class unless a permanent replacement is found.
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A “disturbing” attitude towards safety contributed to the track fire that killed one passenger and injured 91 more in Washington, D.C.’s metro system in January 2015, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart said Tuesday.
Following an electrical arcing incident on the yellow line’s high-voltage third rail, hundreds of riders were trapped underground in a dark, smoky train for nearly an hour, many unable to pry open the doors.
As a voice on the loudspeaker urged passengers to “remain calm,” survivors say many were coughing, choking and crying.
Numerous issues -- including an ineffectively deployed ventilation system and poor communication with first responders -- intensified the situation, officials from the NTSB explained Tuesday.
A 61-year-old mother died of respiratory failure, and scores more suffered from smoke inhalation, authorities said.
According to the NTSB, the Washington Area Metro Transit Authority (WMATA) lacked comprehensive written procedures for responding to smoke and fire events in tunnels -- and didn't follow standard operating procedures where they had them.
For example, WMATA procedures dictate the control center stop all trains in both directions when smoke is reported in a tunnel. But disturbingly, according to the NTSB, rather than halting trains, "it was common practice to use trains with passengers to investigate reports of fire or smoke instead."
"If WMATA had followed this standard operating procedure and stopped all trains at the first report of smoke, train 302 would not have been trapped in the smoke-filled tunnel," investigators said Tuesday.
This isn't the first time the NTSB has noted deficiencies in metro's safety culture.
Following a deadly collision near the Fort Totten in 2009, NTSB investigators cited WMATA's ineffective safety culture.
”Safety is still not institutionalized as a core value at WMATA,” Hart said Tuesday.
The NTSB's criticism didn't stop with the Metro. Officials also lambasted the "uniquely dysfunctional" tri-state oversight committee, and noted that the DC Fire Department and EMS had not practiced a full-scale tunnel evacuation for five years before the fatal accident at L'Enfant Plaza.
DEA(LAKE DELTON, Wis.) — The wife of a federal employee has died after a gunman shot her in the neck while she was in her car with her family, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The victim was identified as 44-year-old Tracy Czaczkowski of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Her husband has been a DEA employee for 11 years.
"Tracy is a loving wife of 15 years, mother of two tender age children, daughter and friend," the DEA said in a statement. "The family is asking for privacy in this difficult time so that they can comfort each other. The family would like to say thank you for the prayers and out pouring of support for Tracy."
Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney called the shooting "a random act." There is no suspected link to husband’s employment with DEA, a DEA spokesman confirmed to ABC News. The gunman, who was later shot by law enforcement, is in police custody.
The incident happened Sunday afternoon on Interstate 90/94 as Czaczkowski, her husband and their two children were driving home to Illinois from the Wisconsin Dells area.
They were passing a Chevrolet Blazer when the Blazer driver rolled down his window and fired three rounds at their car, the Sauk County Sheriff's Office said.
It was the second round that went into the passenger window and hit Czaczkowski's neck. The sheriff's office said Czaczkowski's husband and children were not injured.
Meanwhile, the gunman -- with his two brothers as passengers -- kept driving. The Dane County Sheriff's Office said another car was also struck by gunfire but the driver wasn't injured.
Witnesses called 911 and officers pursued the gunman's car, deploying road spikes to stop it. The suspect then got out of the car and walked toward the officers armed with a revolver, the sheriff's office said. After ignoring commands to stop, the suspect was shot by officers, according to police.
The sheriff's office said the alleged gunman is also the suspect in a murder at an apartment building in West Allis, Wisconsin, that occurred on the morning of the shooting.
The suspect, identified as 20-year-old Zachary Hays of West Allis, remains in a local hospital, officials said. "Multiple counties, including Milwaukee, Columbia, Sauk, and Dane are continuing to investigate collaboratively to determine what charges will be referred to the respective District Attorneys," the Dane County Sheriff's Office said.
One of Hays' brothers, 30-year-old Jeremy Hays, is being held on a tentative charge of felon in possession of a firearm, the sheriff's office said. The identity of the other brother was not released.
Google(BOSTON) — The search for missing art stolen more than two decades ago from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has taken FBI agents to six continents around the world. But the most active lead seems to be in the backyard of an aging mobster in a small town in Connecticut.
Boston FBI field office spokeswoman Kristen Setera confirmed to ABC News that the “FBI is conducting court-authorized activity at 69 Frances Drive in Manchester, [Connecticut], in connection with an ongoing federal investigation,” but declined to comment further.
It is the third time the FBI has executed search warrants in and around that particular ranch house, the home of Robert “Bobby the Cook” Gentile, who is currently serving a 2-and-a-half-year federal sentence on unrelated drug and gun charges that came with his 2015 arrest by the FBI.
Gentile, who pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges, has repeatedly denied any connection to the stolen art and once famously muttered in court that his involvement in the heist was “lies, lies, all lies.” His lawyer, Rome McGuigan, told ABC News that his client knows nothing.
"He laughed and he couldn’t believe they were, that they were at his house again, and he said, this is a quote, ‘They ain’t gonna find nuttin,’" McGuigan said.
Among the stolen pieces were three Rembrandts, including his only seascape, "Storm on the Sea of Galilee," along with one of only 31 known works by Vermeer, "The Concert."
In a court filing obtained by ABC News, McGuigan alleged that the government was using the drug and gun charges as a way to force his client to produce the Gardner Museum paintings. He also said that the government had used informants to prod him into “talking about the paintings.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham acknowledged in a separate court filing that the FBI "tasked" a mob informant "to go see Gentile and engage him in general conversation” in 2010. The informant was instructed to "pay particular attention to anything Gentile might say about the Gardner Museum theft, but not to initiate any conversation on that topic."
According to Durham, Gentile failed a lie detector test administered by the FBI when asked questions including: “Did you know those paintings would be stolen before it happened?”; “Did you ever have any of those stolen paintings in your possession?”; and “Do know the current location of any of those paintings?”
Gentile answered no to each question but “the results of the polygraph,” the government claimed in the filing, established he “was not being truthful” about the 13 paintings stolen from the Gardner Museum in March 1990. The infamous heist remains unsolved.
Anthony Amore, the security director for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, referred all questions about Monday’s activities to the FBI. It remains unclear what was recovered, if anything, in Monday's search.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEWBURGH, N.Y.) — A State of Emergency was declared in a small town in the metropolitan area of New York Monday due to the discovery of contaminated water.
City officials in Newburgh -- with a population of roughly 30,000, is located about 60 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River -- detected elevated levels of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), a key ingredient found in Scotchgard and numerous stain repellents.
The New York State Department of Conservation and The Department of Health have recommended that steps be taken to reduce or eliminate the compound from the city's water system, according to a statement released by City Manager Michael Ciaravino.
Officials are asking people to conserve usage while the city draws water from other local resources for the time being.
iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- Detroit Public School teachers are fighting for their paychecks by continuing a "sick out" that started Monday and closed over 90 of the 105 public schools in the city.
"The teachers feel, and I feel, that no one is listening to us when we try to explain what's going on here. I feel like we're being held hostage by our legislatures," Detroit Federation of Teachers interim president Ivy Bailey told ABC News Monday. "The teachers are not only fighting for themselves, but more importantly, they're fighting for their students."
"We have teachers who are on 26 pay periods," Bailey explained. "What happens is they take their salary and they pro-rate it throughout the year [with] additional pay periods in the summer, so they can get paid over the summer -- because teachers do not get paid in the summer."
She explained that the state gave the district $48.7 million to get through the rest of the school year but that did not include money to cover summer payments.
"When we figured out what was going on and looked at the payments of those teachers, technically Thursday of last week is the last day that they're actually being paid," Bailey said.
"In theory, they're working without pay," she said. "There's no guarantee -- based on what the district has told us -- that they will receive payment after June 30, which is not fair. No one should work for free. And so rightfully so, we're all upset about that."
Bailey said when they asked if the money they received would include money for all employees who are on a 26 pay period, they were told "yes."
She said this is not happening anywhere else in Michigan -- just Detroit, where the economy has been struggling for years.
Detroit schools are currently under a state of financial emergency and are run by an emergency manager instead of a school board and superintendent.
"I'm hoping today will accomplish an awareness across the city of Detroit -- what's happening to our schools systems is an atrocity," Bailey said. "If you are an emergency manager and you're supposed to be the person who came here to straighten out our finances, and now they're worse than they ever were ... I believe we have every right to be upset. And there is no accountability for what has gone on with these emergency mangers."
Detroit Public Schools did not immediately provide a comment on Monday, but Transition Manager Judge Steven Rhodes said in a statement Sunday evening that the planned "sick out" would be "counterproductive and detrimental."
"It is unfortunate that the DFT [Detroit Federation of Teachers] has chosen to make a statement in this way," Rhodes said.
"I am on record as saying that I cannot in good conscience ask anyone to work without pay. Wages that are owed to teachers should be paid. I understand the frustration and anger that our teachers feel," Rhodes said. "I am, however, confident that the legislature will support the request that will guarantee that teachers will receive the pay that is owed to them. The DFT's choice for a drastic call to action was not necessary."
"I am confident that the Michigan Legislature understands the urgency of this situation and will act in a timely manner to ensure that operations of the school district continue uninterrupted," he said, adding that he's working with policy makers in Lansing "to move this legislation forward."
"A district-wide sick out will be counterproductive and detrimental to the efforts of everyone working to help the District," he said. Rhodes said he hopes to continue his "strong relationship" with the Detroit Federation of Teachers "so that jointly we can achieve our mutual goal of creating a New DPS under local control that we can be proud of.”