Subscribe To This Feed

DJ Mack/Instagram (SAN ANTONIO) -- An undocumented immigrant who survived an alleged smuggling attempt on a stifling hot tractor-trailer where 10 people died told investigators that the driver ignored their banging from inside a shipping container as they took turns breathing through a hole in the wall, according to a criminal complaint.

Some people had trouble breathing and passed out, the man said, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday against the driver that does not name the immigrant.

The immigrant told investigators there were about 70 other people when he and his group of 28 got inside the tractor-trailer, where officials said temperatures climbed to over 100 degrees, according to the criminal complaint. When authorities responded to the tractor-trailer parked outside a San Antonio, Texas, Walmart this weekend, a total of 39 people, including children, were found inside. Ten people, all adult men, died, and 29 people were being treated at hospitals, officials said. Many experienced heat stroke and dehydration, officials said.

The immigrant told investigators he was from Mexico and was being smuggled into the United States with a final destination of San Antonio, according to the criminal complaint.

"He stated once he arrived in San Antonio, TX he was to pay the smugglers," the document said, adding that he told authorities the pitch-black container had no water or food.

When the rear doors were finally opened, the undocumented immigrant told investigators, people swarmed out and six black SUVs were waiting to pick them up. The vehicles filled up in a matter of minutes before leaving, the criminal complaint said. It’s unclear why he stayed behind.

The truck was discovered early-Sunday morning by San Antonio firefighters and police after a Walmart employee called late-Saturday for a welfare check when someone asked the employee for water, officials said.

The responding authorities "discovered an alien-smuggling venture gone horribly wrong," U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin Jr. of the Western District of Texas said in a statement.

"All were victims of ruthless human smugglers indifferent to the well-being of their fragile cargo,” he said. “The South Texas heat is punishing this time of year. These people were helpless in the hands of their transporters. Imagine their suffering, trapped in a stifling trailer in 100-plus-degree heat."

The criminal complaint alleges that when a San Antonio police officer responded to the scene, the driver, James Mathew Bradley Jr., 60, exited the tractor-trailer and told the officer that the trailer he was hauling had been sold and he was taking it from Iowa to Brownsville, Texas.

Bradley told the officer he was unaware of the contents, the criminal complaint said.

Bradley told the officer "after he parked his tractor trailer he exited the vehicle to urinate when he heard movement in the trailer. Bradley said he then went to the rear of the trailer and opened the door. Bradley stated he tried to administer aid to the occupants," according to the document.

According to the criminal complaint, Bradley said his boss told him he had sold the trailer to a person in Brownsville and asked him to deliver it. Bradley said he was not given a time frame to deliver the trailer nor was he given the delivery address, according to the criminal complaint.

"Bradley stated when he arrived at the Wal-Mart he exited the vehicle to urinate and he heard banging and shaking in the trailer," the criminal complaint said. "Bradley said he went to open the doors and was surprised when he was run over by 'Spanish' people and knocked to the ground. Bradley said he then noticed bodies just lying on the floor like meat."

Bradley said he went back to the tractor-trailer and called his wife but she didn't answer, the criminal complaint said. He said he did not call 911. He said about 30 to 40 people ran out of the trailer when he opened the doors.

The criminal complaint alleges Bradley "knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that aliens had come to, entered or remained in the United States in violation of law, transport and move and attempt to transport and move such aliens for the purpose of commercial advantage of private financial gain ... and approximately thirty six others within the United States by means of transportation and otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law resulting in the death of approximately 10 of the aliens so transported."

Bradley, of Clearwater, Florida, made his first appearance in federal court Monday; he did not make any statements beyond saying "yes" to the judge as she explained the charges and that he would also need a death penalty attorney. Bradley has a court appointed attorney, who declined to comment.

His next hearing is scheduled for July 27. According to the criminal complaint, the maximum sentence if convicted is the death penalty or life in prison.

Acting Director Thomas Homan of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that the "horrific crime" is a "stark reminder of why human smuggling networks must be pursued, caught and punished."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- A 3-month-old killer whale calf named Kyara died in captivity at SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas on Monday, the park said in a statement.

Kyara was being treated for an infection, likely pneumonia, that SeaWorld's veterinary and animal care staff was "aggressively treating," according to the statement.

“Kyara had a tremendous impact on each of her care staff, not to mention all of the guests that had the chance to see her," Julie, one of the park's orca trainers, said in the statement. "From late nights to early morning, rain or shine, we dedicate our lives to these animals, and this loss will be felt throughout the entire SeaWorld family.”

Kyara was the last killer whale to be born in captivity at SeaWorld's parks after the company announced it would end its breeding program last year.

According to the park, the whale's illness was not caused by being in captivity.

The whale's official cause of death has not yet been determined pending a full post-mortem examination.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Merced County Sheriff Office(STOCKTON, Calif.) -- A California teenager is accused of driving under the influence and causing a deadly car crash while livestreaming on social media.

The driver, Obdulia Sanchez, 18, of Stockton, California, crashed on July 21 in Los Banos, California, about 80 miles southeast of San Jose, the California Highway Patrol said. The crash happened when the car went through a barbed wire fence and overturned in a field, ejecting the two passengers, the highway patrol said.

The passengers were both 14 years old and were not wearing seat belts; one was killed and the other suffered a major injury, the highway patrol said.

ABC-owned station KFSN-TV in Fresno reported that Sanchez was livestreaming video on Instagram when the crash occurred. Video before the crash shows her singing and dancing along to music as she drives.

In live video following the crash, Sanchez references the victim as her sister.

"I f------ killed my sister," Sanchez says in the video, according to KFSN-TV. "I know I’m going to jail for life. ... I don't f------ care at all."

Chuck Mosley, commander of the highway patrol in Los Banos, confirmed the authenticity of the video obtained by KFSN-TV and told ABC News, "We do know she was livestreaming via social media at the time of the collision."

The highway patrol said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

Sanchez was arrested and booked at the Merced County Jail, charged with DUI alcohol/drugs causing bodily injury and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. She is being held on a $300,000 bond. It was not immediately clear if Sanchez had an attorney.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed -- More than 3,800 records related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have been released this week by the National Archives.

Most of the documents were previously released with parts redacted, and 441 have never been released before. Of those that were previously redacted, some have now had the redactions removed.

Among the materials, which include CIA and FBI records, are transcripts and 17 recordings of interviews with Yuri Nosenko, a former KGB agent who defected in 1964 and claimed he was in charge of the KGB file on Lee Harvey Oswald when Oswald was in the Soviet Union.

The list of documents released Monday also includes some referring to the investigation into Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968, five years after President Kennedy was killed.

The National Archives has been working toward releasing documents related to Kennedy's death since 1992 when a law was passed to preserve the approximately 5 million pages of records surrounding the investigation.

Most of the millions of pages have already been released or made available to the public. Those released today had previously been withheld in part or in full. Several more batches of records are to be released this fall.

The materials released Monday can be viewed on the National Archives website

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed YORK) -- Two U.S. service members tied the knot over the weekend, but it was the groom's 4-year-old son who stole the show.

Emily Leehan, a senior airman in the Air Force, stood at the altar at Quincy Cellars in New York on Saturday to marry Marine Sgt. Joshua Newville and recited separate vows to his son Gage.

As she shared her meaningful words, her soon-to-be stepson became overwhelmed with emotion, welled up with tears and embraced her.

"When she started reciting the vows, that's when the emotion took over and he lost it," Newville told ABC News. "The whole day was pretty emotional, so I was just trying to keep myself together and keep him together."

Gage stood with his father as Emily finished with the words, "I may not have given you the gift of life, but life surely gave me the gift of you."

The two shared a hug and a kiss.

After the ceremony Gage was told how special he made the moment, "We were telling him, 'You did awesome,' and our family and friends were saying that and told him he made it even better," Newville said.

The 4-year-old is also a massive "Star Wars" fan and was clad in a Darth Vader mask as he entered the reception with the bridal party to the film series' famous theme music.

The active-military couple will not have a honeymoon at this time and will return to their Joint Base McGuire-Dix-LakeHurst, New Jersey.

Gage, who lives with his new stepmom and dad, also has, as his father put it, a "great mother," Kali Nuckols, who lives in Virginia Beach and he visits as much as possible.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed, Fla.) -- The life of the world’s oldest captive manatee came to an end at the South Florida Museum on Saturday, one day after his 69th birthday.

Born in 1948, Snooty was the center of attention on Friday and the keeper of a manatee milestone worth celebrating. According to the non-profit Save the Manatee Club, the large marine mammals usually live up to 60 years or more in captivity.

But news of the marine mammal’s death one day later created a much different mood at the museum in Bradenton, Florida.

"Today we are getting an outpouring of love and support from our community and all of Snooty’s fans," South Florida Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio said at a news conference on Saturday.

According to museum officials, aquarium staff noticed on Saturday morning that an underwater hatch used to access plumbing in the manatee tank had been knocked loose and was opened.

"It appears that Snooty was able to get into the area, but was not able to extract himself from that situation," South Florida Museum COO Jeff Rodgers said.

Rodgers said that by the time staff reached the 69-year-old manatee, he was no longer alive.

Besio said that the museum is reviewing the situation and will "conduct a full investigation into the circumstances."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed, Ariz.) -- Arizona law enforcement officers have rescued a dozen hikers trapped in raging floodwaters but two remain stranded overnight in a wilderness area just east of Tuscon, officials said.

Dramatic video footage showed a Pima County Sheriff’s Department helicopter hovering over the rock-covered, fast-moving water of the Tanque Verde Falls as a rescuer was lowered on a line to save two hikers. The sheriff's department, together with the Southern Arizona Rescue Association and Rural Metro Fire Department pulled at least a dozen from the water as of late Sunday, including a 4-year-old boy, authorities said.

The rescue happened in a spot known as Redington Pass, a high mountain area of Tanque Verde Canyon, about 20 miles east of Tuscon.

As of late Sunday, two men remain trapped on a ledge on the far side of the canyon, according to the rescue association. Conditions were unsafe for the helicopter to retrieve them. A team of rescue association volunteers on foot made contact from the near shore and was waiting the night to keep an eye on them. Another team was hiking to access the men from the far side with the intention of descending the cliff to reach them.

"At that time water levels will be reassessed and a decision will be made to help them out on the far side or cross the stream if conditions are safe,” according to the rescue association.

Law enforcement officials said that area is known for flash flooding.

"It takes time for the water to flow from the mountain down to the valley, and when it does it can be swift and deadly," according to the sheriff's department. "All too often, hikers decide to hike just after it rains because the air temperature is cooler, not realizing they are walking into areas which are at an increased risk for flash flooding."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

South Florida Museum(BRADENTON, Fla.) -- Snooty, believed to be the world's oldest manatee and the oldest manatee in captivity, has died one day after celebrating his 69th birthday, according to officials at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton.

Officials said Snooty's death was the result of a tragic accident where the manatee was able to get into an underwater area that's normally blocked off and used to access plumbing for the life support system.

"The manatees had access to get into this tight area," said Jeff Rodgers, the museum's provost and chief operating officer. "The young manatees were able to get in and out of that and it appears that Snooty was able to get into the area, but he was not able to extract himself from that situation."

Museum officials were trying to figure out how to deal with the situation, and when they were finally able to get to Snooty, he was dead, the COO said.

Rodgers added there was no indication of foul play or anything malicious.

South Florida Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio said the museum was "heartbroken" over Snooty's death.

"Snooty was important to so many," she said. "Today we are getting an outpouring of love and support from our community and all of Snooty's fans."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

La Plata County Sheriffs Office(BELLINGHAM, Wash.) -- Nearly five years after a 13-year-old boy disappeared while on a court-ordered visit with his father in Colorado, the man has been charged with murdering his son.

Mark Redwine was arrested Saturday in Bellingham, Washington, and may face a request by authorities to extradite him to Colorado where a grand jury has indicted him for second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of his son, Dylan, the Sheriff's Office in La Plata County, Colorado, said in a press release.

Redwine, who is being held in Washington on a $1 million cash-only bond, has in the past denied involvement in the death of his son Dylan. It is unclear at this time whether Redwine has obtained a lawyer or if he has yet made a plea.

Thanksgiving visit allegedly turned violent

Dylan was visiting his father in Bayfield in La Plata County for the Thanksgiving holiday in 2012 when he disappeared, the indictment says.

The father and son had argued on a previous visit, according to the indictment, and witnesses said Dylan had not wanted to go to his father's home that Thanksgiving.

Surveillance video at the airport, where the father picked up the boy who had flown from the home of his mother, Elaine, in Colorado Springs, and from a store they went to afterward showed that the pair had "little to no personal interaction," according to the grand jury indictment and Sheriff's press release.

"Dylan Redwine was never seen or heard from again after that evening," the indictment says.

Dylan had made plans to stay with a friend the same night of his arrival, a plan his father denied. The boy then made plans to visit a friend's house early the following morning. When Dylan did not show up, his friend texted, "Where are you?" the indictment states.

Redwine told police at the time that his son was in his home when he left to run some errands at 7:30 a.m. that morning and that when he returned four hours later, the boy was missing.

A previous wife of Mark Redwine's, Betsy Horvath, told investigators shortly after Dylan's disappearance that she was concerned Redwine might have hurt the boy. She said that during her and Redwine's own divorce and custody proceedings over their children he told her he would "kill the kids before he let her have them."

Horvath's account was referring to her children with Redwine, not to his children with his later wife, Elaine.

Horvath also told investigators that Redwine once told her that if he ever had to dispose of a body, he would leave it "out in the mountains," the indictment said.

At the time Dylan went missing, Redwine and his more recent wife, Elaine, were in the middle of a heated custody battle, the indictment states.

Elaine Redwine told ABC News in November 2012 that she suspected her ex-husband was involved in the boy's disappearance.

"I was married to Mark for a lot of years, and I know the way he reacts to things," Elaine Redwine told ABC News. "If Dylan maybe did or said something that wasn't what Mark wanted to hear, I'm just afraid of how Mark would have reacted."

Dylan's blood was found in Redwine's home

Grizzly details are laid out in the indictment of the discovery of Dylan's blood and later his remains.

The boy's blood was found in multiple locations inside of his father's living room, according to the indictment, including on the couch, the floor in front of the couch, the corner of a coffee table, the floor beneath a rug, and on a love seat.

In June 2013, some of Dylan's remains were found on a road about eight miles from his father’s home, and that August, police conducted a canine search to determine "if the corpse of a deceased person" had been present. The search found traces of the scent of a human cadaver in Redwine's home and in the bed of his truck, the indictment said.

More than two years later, on Nov. 1, 2015, hikers found Dylan’s skull one and a half miles away from where his partial remains had been discovered in 2013.

Wildlife experts determined that "no animal known to the area would transport a body up the mountain from Mr. Redwine's residence to the first recovery site ... [or] would transport the skull an additional 1.5 miles through the terrain where the skull was found," the indictment said.

Forensic anthropologists examined the skull and said it showed injuries "consistent with blunt force trauma," and that the skull "had two small markings consistent with the use of a knife."

Authorities in 2015 identified Mark Redwine as a "person of interest" in the death of Dylan, according to ABC affiliate KMGH-TV.

In the more than four years since Dylan has disappeared, the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and Federal Bureau of Investigation "invested thousands of hours in investigating this case," the Sheriff's office said in the press release announcing Redwine's arrest.

'A tremendous loss'

Betsy Horvath told ABC affiliate KMGH-TV that her heart breaks for Dylan's mom, Elaine, and Dylan's brother.

"They've suffered a tremendous loss," she said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed CITY, Nev.) -- The countdown is on for O.J. Simpson's release from Nevada's Lovelock Correctional Center, which could come as early as Oct. 1.

So how is the former football star's state of mind?

"Mr. Simpson is on cloud nine," his lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne, told Fox News' Jeanine Pirro during an interview Saturday night. "He obviously likes the outcome ... Everything is hung from the moon at this point."

A group of four commissioners from the Nevada parole board on Thursday granted parole to Simpson after he served the minimum nine years of his 33-year sentence for a 2007 kidnapping and armed robbery incident in Las Vegas. Simpson was sentenced to prison after he allegedly led a group of men into a hotel and casino to steal sports memorabilia at gunpoint; he contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him, and he denied ever holding a gun or threatening the robbery victims.

Following the parole board's decision, Simpson is now in protective custody, having been moved to a separate part of the prison and removed from the general population, according to Nevada Department of Corrections spokesperson Brooke Keast.

But that's not sitting well with Simpson, according to LaVergne.

"The only thing that's kind of a little bit disheartening for him is that he's had a change of custody status, and they are going to kind of change that for the next couple of months until he's released," LaVergne said. "He's had to move his cell to an area where he is a bit more protected. There's good reason for that. One of them is for his own safety and basically not to rile things up ... There is a legitimate concern about threats."

As for his post-prison life, LaVergne said, "Florida has obviously been mentioned. California is another option. He is looking forward to spending a lot of time with his family. There were loved ones who have passed away, who he wants to honor them at their graves. He wants to live a quiet life."

And contrary to reports and Internet speculation, LaVergne said Simpson is not currently negotiating any deals, such as starring in a reality show.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Janet Weinstein/ABC News (NORFOLK, Va.) -- President Trump at the commissioning of the Navy's first new aircraft carrier in 40 years declared that the massive ship ensures that "if a fight does come ... we will win."

The president made his remarks aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, which was unveiled at a commissioning ceremony on Saturday in Norfolk, Virginia.

The massive ship -- which displaces 100,000 tons of water and is about twice as long as the Washington Monument would be on its side -- cost nearly $13 billion to build, making it the Navy's most expensive aircraft carrier ever.

Navy officials say the ship is state-of-the-art, from its voyage-management system to the design of its sleeping quarters for sailors.

The president said the aircraft carrier sends a message to the world that “American might is second to none.”

"This ship also ensures that if a fight does come, it will always end the same way," Trump said. "We will win, win, win. We will never lose."

The president also touted securing $20 billion dollars for the defense budget and took a subtle swipe at previous administrations for what he said was unpredictable military funding.

"For years our government has subjected the military to unpredictable funding ... This has led to deferred maintenance, a lack of investment in new equipment and technology."

Navy officials said the USS Gerald R. Ford is the first of a class that will replace Nimitz-class carriers as the next generation of ships.

“This is the first new design of an aircraft carrier in more than 40 years, and it really is a state-of-the-art ship,” U.S. Navy Cmdr. Dave Hecht told ABC News. "The USS Gerald R. Ford is really a quantum leap into the 21st century."

ABC News and other media were invited on a tour of the carrier 12 days before its commissioning on Saturday. Officers brought the press around for a quick look at the flight deck, crew quarters, navigation room, and other spaces that represent advancements from earlier classes of carriers.

“Our voyage-management system is the only one of its kind. Our steering gear-control system, only one of its kind,” Petty Officer 1st Class Jose Triana said. “You really can’t compare it to anything else.'

On the flight deck, planes will use a new electromagnetic system to launch as opposed to the old steam-driven catapult.

The redesign extends to the sleeping areas. Before, 100 sailors would be crammed together at night. Now, only 25 to 30 will sleep in each area.

The massive 1,100-foot warship won’t be sent into combat for at least four more years, as it still needs to undergo more testing. Around 2,600 sailors will work and call the ship home once it’s fully operational.

Despite the delays and big price tag, the U.S. Navy says the Ford-class carriers will be $4 billion cheaper to construct compared to older ships.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(COCOA, Fla.) -- Police in Florida are pursuing misdemeanor charges against five teenagers for failure to report a death after authorities say they recorded video of a man’s drowning and didn't intervene.

The video, taken earlier this month in Cocoa, Florida, about 45 miles east of Orlando, shows a person's head bobbing up and down in a pond. The teenagers, who are between the ages of 14 and 18 and have not been named by police, are heard laughing and joking in the video, with one of them appearing to laugh and say, "He just died!"

Cocoa Police Chief Mike Cantaloupe said the department learned of the recording last weekend and later reviewed it. Police identified and interviewed the five teens, he said.

Police in conjunction with the State Attorney’s Office determined that charges of "failure to report a death under Florida Statute 406.12," a misdemeanor, will be pursued, the Cocoa police said in a statement Friday. Police said the charging document, case report and video evidence are being sent to the State Attorney’s Office for review, and a decision about whether the charges will be prosecuted.

“When we initially reviewed this case it was determined there were no laws broken as the teens were not directly involved with the death,” Cantaloupe said in a statement Friday. "Further research of the statutes and consultation with the State Attorney’s Office yielded the decision to move forward with charges under this statute. It’s our belief that this law has never been enforced in a scenario like this, but we feel it could be applicable.”

Cantaloupe added, “Pursuing criminal charges is a way to hold them accountable for their own actions.”

Earlier, Cocoa police said that the five teenagers were not facing criminal charges after the State Attorney’s Office was consulted.

“As horrible as this video is the laws in the State of Florida do not obligate citizens to render aid or call someone to render aid to a person in distress," Cantaloupe said on Thursday.

The victim, 31-year-old Jamel Dunn of Cocoa, drowned July 9, police said. He was reported missing July 12 and authorities recovered his body July 14 after a passerby reported a body floating in the pond.

Police said home surveillance video apparently captured Dunn jumping over a fence and willingly going into the water. "I don't think you can ever replace a lost life," Cantaloupe told ABC News Friday.

He added, "I think what we look at is, the hope that what we do from here going forward, whether it be this charge or some new legislation, that another family doesn’t have to go through this. And that we work with our youth ... to instill these morals ... I would’ve never believed that somebody could watch somebody in distress and not do anything about it."

Of the video recorded by the teenagers, Cantaloupe said in a statement Thursday, "There are no words to describe how utterly inhumane and cruel the actions of these juveniles were towards Mr. Dunn. ... I want to express my deepest condolences to Mr. Dunn’s family and friends."

Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish III released a statement Friday regarding the incident. "It saddens me to the core to watch video shot by a group of kids watching a man drown and doing nothing to help him. There just are no words to describe the lack of conscience within these young people," he said.

"I also would like to extend my deepest condolences to Mr. Dunn’s family and friends," he added. "My hope is we all come together to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else."

Parrish said of the decision to pursue charges, "While this in no way will bring justice for what occurred, it is a start."

"In a case like this we struggle to understand how anyone could be so cold and heartless and then learn that there are no laws in Florida that obligate someone to render aid or call for someone to render aid for a person they see in distress," he said. "If this case can be used as an example to draft new legislation, then I am committed to move forward to make that happen. More so, may this tragic incident, which has shocked all of us, cause each of us to examine ourselves and our responsibility to one another."

"I implore the State Attorney’s Office to follow through and file the charges presented by the Cocoa Police Department!" he added.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- A sheriff's deputy in Texas was fired Friday for her alleged involvement in a deadly fight outside a Houston-area Denny's restaurant in May.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office announced in a press release Friday that it has concluded its internal investigation of the violent altercation in a parking lot of a Denny's restaurant on May 28 that left 24-year-old John Hernandez dead. As a result, Deputy Chauna Thompson, who faces charges in the man's death, has been terminated.

“I have strong confidence in the leadership of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the rank-and-file deputies who put their lives on the line every day to protect our community,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a statement Friday afternoon. “However, we will learn from the tragic death of John Hernandez."

Four other unnamed employees -- three sergeants and one deputy -- received disciplinary action for their involvement in the investigation, the sheriff's office said.

"It was great news to us. We feel like it should have happened since day one, but it's a step in the right direction and we're pleased with the outcome," Melissa Hernandez, a cousin of the victim, told ABC station KTRK-TV in Houston.

Chauna Thompson's attorney, Greg Cagle, told KTRK-TV she was fired for "inaction."

"They called her in, wouldn't tell her what the meeting was about, and told her she was fired," Cagle said.

Chauna Thompson had been put on administrative leave without pay on June 6.

A Harris County grand jury on June 8 indicted the deputy and her husband, Terry Thompson, on murder charges in the choking death of Hernandez, whom the couple encountered outside the Denny's restaurant near Sheldon, about 17 miles from downtown Houston. Chauna Thompson was off-duty at the time, the sheriff's office said.

According to the initial incident report, the confrontation occurred on May 28 around 11:40 p.m. after Terry Thompson pulled into the Denny's parking lot with his children where he saw Hernandez urinating outside the restaurant. Terry Thompson approached the man, which led to the physical altercation.

Chauna Thompson arrived in a separate car to join her family at the restaurant and called authorities for assistance. The off-duty deputy then helped her husband restrain Hernandez, and they then realized the man had stopped breathing. Chauna Thompson "immediately" performed CPR on him until medics arrived and transported him to a local hospital, according to the incident report.

Hernandez later died by asphyxiation, the sheriff's office said.

Chauna Thompson’s attorney said she and her husband had no intention of causing harm and as soon as the then-deputy saw Hernandez needed help, she rendered aid.

"She was there for under a minute and at the very moment she realized he was having a medical issue, she told her husband to get off and then she performed CPR," Cagle told KTRK-TV.

According to KTRK-TV, cellphone video of the incident taken by a witness shows Chauna Thompson yelling at Hernandez to stay on the ground, cursing at him and pushing her right knee into his side. The footage also shows her husband on top of Hernandez with his arm around the man's throat.

Scot Courtney, the attorney for Terry Thompson, said the cellphone video does not show everything that occurred.

"They certainly don't show the beginning where Mr. Hernandez attacked my client. He was the initial aggressor," Courtney said in a June 5 statement, according to KTRK-TV.

The Harris County sheriff said the internal investigation found "no evidence of nefarious actions on the part of our on-duty personnel" who responded to the incident.

"We did find areas in which we must improve as a department," Gonzalez added in his statement Friday. "I will continue reviewing best practices to implement changes aimed at improving scene management and other aspects of our operation."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.) -- Minnesota officials have identified and located a key witness to the officer-involved shooting that killed an Australian bride-to-be in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced in a press release Friday night that its agents interviewed the witness, who was seen riding a bike in the area immediately before the shooting and stopped at the scene to watch as two Minneapolis police officers provided medical assistance to Justine Ruszczyk.

"The individual has been cooperative and provided an interview today," the agency said in the Friday-night press release, without naming the individual.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is conducting the investigation into the incident at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department, is urging anyone who may have also witnessed the shooting to contact them at 651-793-7000.

Ruszczyk, a 40-year-old Australian native, called 911 on the night of July 15 to report what she believed was a sexual assault occurring near her home in Minneapolis' Fulton neighborhood. Two officers from the Minneapolis Police Department, identified by authorities as Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor, responded to Ruszczyk's call.

Harrity was driving the squad car, while Noor was in the passenger seat, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. As they neared Ruszczyk's home, Harrity indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the car, after which Ruszczyk immediately approached the driver's side, authorities said.

Noor then fired his weapon, striking Ruszczyk through the driver's side window, which was open. The officers provided medical assistance to Ruszczyk until medics arrived, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office has confirmed that Ruszczyk died of a single gunshot wound to her abdomen.

Both officers have been placed on standard paid administrative leave pending the investigation. Ruszczyk's death has been ruled a homicide.

The Minneapolis Police Department has launched an internal affairs review of the officers' use of force.

Harrity's attorney, Fred Bruno, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that it was "certainly reasonable" for the police officers to assume they could be the target of an ambush.

Noor has not provided any statements regarding the incident and has declined to be interviewed by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency said. Noor's attorney has not provided an update on when, if ever, an interview would be possible. The agency said it cannot by law compel the officer to give a testimony.

On Friday, the city's police chief, Janeé Harteau, resigned after Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she “lost confidence in the chief’s ability to lead.” Hodges also announced she has nominated Assistant Chief Medaria "Rondo" Arradondo to lead the police department.

Ruszczyk, who went by her fiancé's last name, Damond, was a yoga instructor, a personal health and life coach, and a "meditation teacher, embracing and teaching the neuro-scientific benefits of meditation," according to her personal website.

Ruszczyk's family -- most of whom are located in her native country of Australia -- said they have been in close touch with U.S. and Australian officials in reference to the ongoing investigation of her death.

"We are in constant contact with the Australian government and representatives of the U.S. government and Minnesota state authorities," the family said in a statement Thursday. "We want to see the investigation come to a conclusion as soon as possible, so we have some resolution to the tragedy."

Robert Bennett, the attorney representing both Ruszczyk's fiancé and her family, told ABC News on Friday that they want "justice in its largest sense."

"I think Justine is the last person you’d expect to be killed by police," said Bennett, who represented the family of Philando Castile, a black man who was fatally shot by Minnesota police in July 2016.

"Of the cases that I’ve been involved in over the years, she doesn’t fit any of the patterns," Bennett added. "Her life’s intersection with the police is totally bizarre."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Chaos erupted at a Minneapolis press conference Friday night as the city’s mayor nominated a new police chief amid citywide anger in the wake of the officer-involved shooting of an Australian bride-to-be.

Minneapolis residents and demonstrators attended the news conference, and one man began shouting down Mayor Betsy Hodges, yelling, “We do not want you as mayor,” to applause from those gathered. As Hodges left the room, the demonstrators chanted “Bye-bye, Betsy!”

About an hour later, Hodges returned to speak to the gathered press and take questions. The mayor had asked for Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau's resignation after she “lost confidence in the chief’s ability to lead.” She announced that she has nominated Assistant Chief Medaria "Rondo" Arradondo to lead the department.

Earlier Friday night, Harteau had announced that she is resigning in the wake of the deadly shooting last weekend.

"[L]ast Saturday’s tragedy, as well as some other recent incidents, have caused me to engage in deep reflection," Harteau said in part in a statement posted on the police department's Facebook page.

She continued: "The recent incidents do not reflect the training and procedures we’ve developed as a Department. Despite the MPD’s many accomplishments under my leadership over these years and my love for the City, I have to put the communities we serve first. I’ve decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be."

Justine Ruszczyk, 40, who went by her fiancé Don Damond's last name, was killed by a police officer on July 15 after she called 911 to report what she believed was a sexual assault occurring near her home.

Authorities said officers Matthew Harrity and Mohammed Noor responded to Ruszczyk's 911 call, but never found a suspect. They were startled by a loud noise and then Ruszczyk approached the driver's side of the car and Noor, who was on the passenger side, fired his gun through the open driver's side window, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Harrity's attorney, Fred Bruno, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that it was "certainly reasonable" for the police officers to assume they could be the target of an ambush.

Noor has not made any statements to investigators and has declined to be interviewed, according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Both officers have been placed on standard paid administrative leave pending the investigation. Ruszczyk's death has been ruled a homicide.

Police have launched an internal affairs review of the officers' use of force.

Harteau faced criticism for her notable absence in the days following Ruszczyk's death, but she told reporters Thursday that she was in a remote area, "backpacking in the mountains," which made it difficult for her to return. She was scheduled to return on Aug. 1, she said.

Hodges said in a statement that she asked for Harteau's resignation.

"I've lost confidence in the chief’s ability to lead us further — and from the many conversations I've had with people around our city, especially this week, it is clear that she has lost the confidence of the people of Minneapolis as well," Hodges said. “In conversation with the chief today, she and I agreed that she would step aside to make way for new leadership. I asked Chief Harteau for her resignation, she tendered it, and I have accepted it.”

On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Police Department released transcripts from Ruszczyk’s Saturday’s 911 call, detailing what she believed was a sexual assault occurring near her home in Minneapolis' Fulton neighborhood.

"I can hear someone out the back and I -- I'm not sure if she's having sex or being raped," Ruszczyk tells the 911 operator, according to the transcript released by police.

Robert Bennett, the attorney representing both Damond and family of Ruszczyk, told ABC News this week "the family wants justice in its largest sense."

"I think Justine is the last person you’d expect to be killed by police," Bennett said.

Bennett said the idea that Justine Damond could have been thought of as a threat is "patently, utterly, ridiculous."

"If that’s the excuse they want to use to shoot people, I guess they can use any excuse they want, we’re all in danger," the attorney said.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Friday that a witness to the shooting has been identified and interviewed, though the agency did not disclose what the witness, a bicyclist, said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


God Bless America & Our Home Louisiana

970 KSYL On Air Now
Mark Levin
Mark Levin
5:00pm - 8:00pm
Mark Levin
Still The Best!

America's Anchorman!

Rush Limbaugh


11 to 2

KSYL 970am / 100.3 HD3

Kim Komando

Click For Kim Komando's Daily Tip!!

The Best Of The 60's & 70's

Now On Air At 100.3 HD2

Or Click The Logo Above

To Listen.


State Wire
North Rapides Business & Industry Alliance



All Weekend Long

It's a

Political Free Zone!

Good Food Project

LinkedUpRadio Envisionwise Web Services