iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The North Lawn of the White House was on lockdown for about three hours Thursday after a man jumped the fence.
The First Family was home at the time celebrating Thanksgiving.
Joseph Caputo was immediately taken into custody by Secret Service after he scaled the fence wrapped in an American flag.
The incident comes just months after the Secret Service took numerous steps to improve security at the White House, including adding a short bike rack fence, and adding spikes atop a fence lining the perimeter of the complex.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents in New York City witnessed their worst nightmare come true when a thief was caught creeping around their home on Wednesday morning, a police report released yesterday said.
Prior to getting in the Flushing, Queens home, the burglar was caught on a surveillance video outside around 2.20 a.m., the New York City Police department said.
The footage released by police, documents the suspect crawling around with a knife in his mouth and skulking around the house for approximately 30 minutes, ABC news owned station, WABC in New York reported.
In addition to that, the video shows the suspect going into the owner's bedroom and taking a Samsung S6 cellphone that was sitting on top of a dresser.
WABC said, the burglar fled on foot when the 42-year-old resident woke up and shouted at him.
Police describe the suspect as 6’2” and 200 pounds. At the time of entry, "he was wearing all black and a black snow cap with 'diamond' in red and white letting on it," the report stated.
"[The neighborhood] changed,” the owner told WABC. “We have to check all the doors and windows.”
iStock/Thinkstock(OPHIR, Colo.) -- Two brothers feared the worst for each other’s fate when they triggered separate avalanches while skiing in the backcountry of Ophir, Colorado.
On Wednesday, Brian Holmes, 26, triggered the first avalanche when he started his descent near Waterfall Canyon in Ophir, police said. His 27-year-old brother, Alex Holmes, told police that he triggered a second avalanche when he tried to ski down to search for Brian and left the area to go for help.
Police and rescue volunteers began their search for the brothers around 1 p.m., authorities said. Around the same time, dispatchers received a call from Brian’s cellphone and heard someone breathing, but nothing else.
Brian later told police that he slid about 1,000 feet down the mountain and landed on his back. He said most of his body was covered in snow, other than his face and one arm. He was able to get himself out of the snow in 10 to 15 minutes, police said.
"He then began searching for his brother, whom he thought was dead," police said.
After searching for about an hour, Brian made his way down to the town of Ophir around 2 p.m. He was taken to Telluride Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Rector said in a report that given the wind and worsening conditions, it’s not surprising that an avalanche was triggered.
“The [San Juan mountain range] in general can represent some of the most tenuous snow conditions on the continent, he said. “Given the circumstances and nature of the slide, this skier is extremely fortunate.”
iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- New dash cam footage released from the night of teen Laquan McDonald's fatal shooting by police shows the teen running from a cop car.
This blurry footage, taken from the dash camera in officer Jason Van Dyke's patrol car, shows the 17-year-old running from the vehicle.
The video from the night of Oct. 20, 2014, released by police, ends less than 30 seconds before Van Dyke began shooting McDonald.
Van Dyke, who has since been charged with first degree murder is accused of shooting McDonald 16 times in a 14 to 15 second span, authorities said.
Footage from another police car's dash cam, which arrived at the scene less than one minute after McDonald, shows the teen lying on the ground. He later died at a hospital.
The footage from Van Dyke's camera comes two days after Chicago police released the initial footage of McDonald being fatally shot. The police released that footage, against the wishes of McDonald's family, after a court order.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It's the largest police force in the country with about 60,000 employees, and now U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the first to conduct a massive experiment to test the use of body cameras along the United States borders.
Agents have been testing different models of body cameras as part of an initiative to reduce use of force -- and it’s these cameras that are the most controversial part of a new 18-month retraining program ordered by reform Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske.
“People get concerned," Kerlikowske said. “Is it going to be used to catch me doing something wrong?”
The training program and body cameras were the former Seattle police chief’s response to a series of "use of force" complaints that came before he took office, from the beating and tazing of Antonio Hernandez Rojas -- which in this case the U.S. Justice Department ruled the agents broke no laws and did not prosecute -- to the shooting of 16-year-old Jose Rodriguez, who was standing on the Mexican side at the time accused of rock throwing but who witnesses say was an innocent bystander.
The Southern Border Communities Coalition accuses the agency of 40 deaths due to excessive force by the Border Patrol since 2010.
In response, the Border Patrol cited a 26 percent reduction in use of force incidents in fiscal year 2016.
"There are times in law enforcement when some level of force must be used to safeguard the public or protect an officer or agent," the agency said. "Any use of force must be justified and consistent with CBP policy. There is no apprehension -- no seizure, no arrest, and no pursuit -- is worth the risk of injury or death to either CBP personnel or those with whom we come in contact."
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Kerlikowske said the incidents and resulting publicity have harmed his agency's credibility -- something he plans to fix.
“We knew we had this amount of scrutiny, the amount of attention, and, frankly, the lack of being able to work with the public as a result of that increased suspicion that the agents are involved in excessive force when, in fact, it’s a dangerous environment and they show great restraint,” he said.
He believes that installing more cameras at the border crossings, in vehicles, and on the bodies of his officers will vindicate the majority of his agents, while holding the overly aggressive accountable.
Today, the United States spends $18 billion a year on border control -- more spent on agents, technology and weapons than ever before.
There are more than 8,000 cameras watching the border wall, watching the ports of entry and watching above from helium balloons. Soon, there will be body cameras on agents themselves at an estimated cost of tens of millions of dollars.
The body cam program is about to begin a second pilot program designed to address objections from the agents' union that the cameras are hurting morale and making it harder for them to do their jobs -- and the challenges the cameras face in the harsh environment Border Patrol agents work.
Despite those challenges, Kerlikowske believes they will be a benefit for all involved.
“In the long run, more cameras will prove that over and over again, these agents treat people the way I’ve seen them treat people: in a very humane way,” he said.
Additionally, Kerlikowske has placed what he calls a relentless focus on tactics, on new policy, on new equipment and on training since taking office, with body cameras constituting just one part of that effort.
Another part of that effort: a training center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where new state of the art simulators with 300-degree screens allow agents to train in troublesome real life scenarios they could potentially face while on the job, including everything from an active shooter situation in a movie theater to encounters with smugglers at the border to rock throwing incidents.
“The more that we can expose them to these kinds of things the better for us, and, frankly, the better for the public," Kerlikowske said.
For the first time, Border Patrol agents under Kerlikowske are being trained to use less violent means of controlling the frontier. He believes that a gun isn’t always the best choice.
“The strategy is that we want to give the agents as many tools as possible,” Kerlikowske said.
Under his leadership, Borer Patrol agents are now armed with a wide variety of non-lethal bullets, pepper powders, and chemical sprays.
“Now we have a range of tools, some that can give us quite a bit of distance between ourselves and the suspect,” Kerlikowske said.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- New York Police are showing up in droves to protect the record-breaking crowd expected at Thursday's Thanksgiving parade in the city.
The "thousands and thousands" of officers that Mayor Bill de Blasio said are going to be protecting the parade on Thursday will range from uniformed patrols to officers in plainclothes.
The concern over the crowd comes as so-called "soft targets" have come under scrutiny after the shootings and bombings in Paris and Mali in recent weeks. But officials, including President Obama, have said there were no specific threats.
At the parade, there will be members of the heavily armed and elite Hercules team as well as members of the city's new counter terror force and critical response command who will also be heavily armed.
Bomb-sniffing police dogs and radiation detectors will also be used to locate any dirty bombs.
De Blasio said that it will mark "the most NYPD presence we've ever had for one of these parades."
"We are ready here today and I have to tell you, the people of the city are voting with their feet: we're going to see millions of people here today meaning they are feeling safe and secure," de Blasio said during a press conference along the parade route.
Walt Disney World Resort(NEW YORK) -- Two military families, who formed an unlikely bond at a Virginia post office while a member of one was deployed in Afghanistan, were reunited at Walt Disney World for an unforgettable Thanksgiving surprise on “Good Morning America.”
Petty Officer Shannon Thompson and his wife, Irene, live at the naval air station in Lemoore, California with their two young daughters. In 2010, the couple was living in Salem, Va., when Shannon was deployed to Afghanistan with Second Battalion First Marines. “I was definitely concerned with how she was gonna handle, you know, being two parents at one time,” Shannon, a Navy Corpsman, told ABC News.
Irene stayed in Virginia with their 4-year-old daughter Alanna.
“It was scary,” she said. “Thinking about him going to a war zone [is] nerve wracking...because you don't know what's going on.”
Irene was living with her in-laws, but it was when she went to mail a package to her husband overseas, she struck up a surprising friendship.
“I had to get some help filling out the form because I didn't know what to do,” she told ABC News. Postal clerk Ron Johnson, 53, who served 6 years in the Air Force beginning in April 1983, was working that day and helped Irene mail the package.
“I remember she came in and [she] had no clue as to what to do and how to send these things overseas. And [I] just took her in and helped her you know get everything done to get the package mailed to her husband,” Johnson said. “As time went on, every time she came in, we'd talk more and more about her husband and her kid and family and just kind of built a little relationship there.”
The friendship became a source of great comfort for Irene.
“Being prior military himself, [Ron] knew kind of what it was like going through what I was going through,” she recalled. “I would wait to get in his line and go to his register, so I could just talk to him and you know give him an update and let him know how things were going. There was a period of time one time while [Shannon] was deployed I didn't speak to him for five weeks. He told me, he said, 'With military no news is good news. So if you haven't heard from him, he's OK. So that kind of made me feel better.”
The clerk's advice helped Irene more than he could ever know.
Shannon, who remains on active duty, made it home safely in May 2011, and although the Thompson's lost touch with Johnson when they moved to California shortly afterwards, they never forgot the impact his kindness had on their family.
They were thrilled for the opportunity to offer an incredible "thank you" to Johnson at Walt Disney World, where Ron learned that he and his fiancee, Kat, were being made Grand Marshals of the Disney parade in the Magic Kingdom.
After enjoying the parade up-close, the families boarded a boat together for a chance to catch up and take in the sights when they reached the pier at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
A Thanksgiving feast was the backdrop for their incredible reunion five years in the making, and as friendships rekindled, a huge "thank you" was delivered at long last in a magical way.
The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.
Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama said he was "deeply disturbed" by the video of a Chicago teen being shot by police, he said in a statement Wednesday evening.
"Like many Americans, I was deeply disturbed by the footage of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald," the president wrote in a Facebook post. "This Thanksgiving, I ask everybody to keep those who’ve suffered tragic loss in our thoughts and prayers, and to be thankful for the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who protect our communities with honor. And I’m personally grateful to the people of my hometown for keeping protests peaceful."
The video shows McDonald, 17, who later died at a hospital, walking near a group of officers responding to a report of someone with a knife on Oct. 20, 2014.
Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged with first degree murder, allegedly fired at the teen 16 times, including while he was on the ground.
The video shows puffs of smoke coming from the ground, which were caused by bullets hitting the pavement and kicking up debris, according to court documents.
Releasing the video was controversial and the Chicago Police Department did so under court order a day before the mandated deadline.
Many feared that the release of the footage would spark violence.
Van Dyke's lawyer, Dan Herbert, said that "It's certainly everyone's right to make a judgment about it but I would just state that the judgment made by individuals who have viewed this tape from the comfort of their living room, on their sofa ... it's not the same."
Obama declined to answer questions about the video earlier in the day.
llhoward/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) -- College students across the country are speaking out in response to Facebook pages purporting to represent “White Student Unions” on their campuses.
Phelan Simpkins, a senior at the University of Missouri, told ABC News he believes the "Mizzou White Student Union" page and similar pages are troll accounts created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It’s sad,” Simpkins said. “Everyone is not a protester. Some people hide behind a keyboard and I expect to see more people speak out on their college campuses.”
Recent racial tensions at Mizzou forced the university's president, Timothy Wolfe, to step down.
The Facebook pages in question have not been verified as legitimate student organizations registered with their respective universities. Mizzou, Penn State and the University of California, Berkeley released Facebook statements saying the pages are not affiliated with their campuses and do not represent their values.
“It’s upsetting,” Brooke Jin, a sophomore at Penn State University said in response to the "Penn State White Student Union" page. "I personally feel the groups are incredibly insensitive."
Other students are complaining that the creation of these groups and the response by universities to remove the pages are a violation of free speech.
Spencer Simpson, a senior at University of California, Berkeley, said, called the pages "a ridiculous joke."
“Fundamentally, everyone has a right to free speech but it should always be metered with passion, empathy and respect and something that makes a mockery of existing organizations and histories that exist as responses to oppression should be critically assessed,” Simpson said.
“Just because there is freedom of speech does not mean there are freedom of consequences,” Jin said. “People are going to be angry at the creation of these groups.”
ABC News reached out to representatives at the three schools and were directed to the schools’ Facebook page with the statement.
In a letter posted on Facebook, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks suggested the pages were part of a "national effort."
"More than 30 of such pages have been created around the country in the last week - which indicates that this page is a part of a national effort, and did not emanate from our campus," Dirks said in the letter, posted on the school's Facebook page.
Some of the pages of other universities targeted have since been pulled down.
A Facebook rep told ABC News it is not in a position to comment on all of these [student union] groups as a category, and cannot comment on personal user data or why a particular page was taken down, however they ask users to follow a set of standards which Facebook uses to assess reported violations.
Facebook said it will continue to review reported violations and take action when necessary.
aijohn784/iStock/ThinkStock(CHICAGO) -- The Chicago police officer charged in connection to the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald has a history of civilian complaints of misconduct, according to data provided by the Chicago Police Department to Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based journalistic production company and watchdog group.
The database -- which includes police reports from 2002 to 2008, and from 2011 to 2015 -- shows the Chicago Police Department received 20 civilian complaints against Officer Jason Van Dyke, 37, who is being held without bail after being charged Tuesday with first-degree murder. He has not yet entered a plea.
The charges from Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez came hours before a graphic dash-cam video, apparently showing the officer firing 16 shots at the teenager in October 2014, was released a day before a court-ordered deadline to release it.
Of the 20 complaints against Van Dyke, 10 are for alleged excessive force, including two involving the use of a firearm, according to the data collected by Invisible Institute, which said the information on its website is in response to litigation and Freedom of Information Act requests.
Another complaint accuses him of using racial slurs.
No disciplinary action was taken as a result on any of the complaints for which there is information available on the findings. Five were deemed unfounded, five not sustained and Van Dyke was exonerated regarding four complaints. The outcome of the others is not provided, which could mean the complaints are pending a review or waiting for the complainant to submit an affidavit, Alison Flowers of Invisible Institute told ABC News.
The Invisible Institute is an independent organization whose collaborators include the University of Chicago Law School’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic.
Its database does not indicate specific dates for many of the complaints. Invisible Institute notes that the City of Chicago’s release of this data was “accompanied by a disclaimer that not all of the information contained in the City’s database may be completely accurate. No independent verification of the City’s records has taken place and this public database does not purport to be an accurate reflection of either the City’s internal database or of its truthfulness.”
Flowers said the institute has records of all complaints, including civilian, on all Chicago police officers for the past five years, but a court injunction obtained by the local police union prevents the institute from getting records older than that from the City of Chicago. Invisible Institute uses two other sources, containing complaints older than five years for some -- not all -- city officers, to complement the database, she said.
The Chicago Police Department's press office confirmed 18 complaints against Van Dyke to ABC News but did not give details on them.
Van Dyke, a police officer for 14 years, was stripped of his police powers after an eight-day conduct review immediately after the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of McDonald, according to police.
He had been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, police said.
Van Dyke's attorney Dan Herbert gave a statement after the bond hearing, saying that he anticipates that people will form opinions "about the split-second actions of my client."
"It's certainly everyone's right to make a judgment about it but I would just state that the judgment made by individuals who have viewed this tape from the comfort of their living room, on their sofa ... it's not the same," Herbert said.
Herbert also said politicians judging his client were "irresponsible" and that his client "should be afforded the same presumption of innocence that every American charged with a crime is afforded."
"This is not a murder case," he said. "Despite what you heard in the courtroom, it's truly not a murder case and we feel we will be very successful in defending this case."
Van Dyke was suspended without pay Tuesday after being charged with murder, according to a statement from the department.
A group of investigators -- including the Independent Police Review Authority in Chicago, the Cook County State’s Attorney's Office, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney -- reviewed the evidence collected from the scene.
Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer in decades to be charged with murder in an on-duty shooting.
The Invisible Institute database shows that of the 28,567 misconduct complaints filed against police from 2011 through September 2015, less than 2 percent resulted in disciplinary actions. Only 33 officers have been terminated in that time, according to the database.
His next court appearance is set for Monday, when the prosecutor is expected to show the dash-cam video. The video appears to show Van Dyke started shooting a few seconds after getting out of his squad car Oct. 20, 2014. He apparently fired 16 shots in the span of 14 to 15 seconds.
The video apparently shows that McDonald never made a move toward Van Dyke, but the officer did appear to take at least one step toward McDonald, who was allegedly armed with a knife with a 3-inch blade. The teenager died later at a hospital.
The city previously fought to keep the video private, citing a continuing investigation into the shooting, but a court ordered it released by Wednesday. The McDonald family had also asked for the video to be kept private, according to a statement from their lawyer.
Gallatin Police Department(NEW YORK) -- A Tennessee community college received a postcard in October suggesting a possible murder on nearby railroad tracks, sparking a police investigation in Gallatin, a spokesman for the department told ABC News Wednesday.
The radio station at Volunteer State Community College received an anonymous postcard in the mail on Oct. 8 signed “Green Light Killa” and reported the suspicious note to campus police, who then brought it to the Gallatin Police Department the same day, Gallatin spokesman Bill Storment said.
Police immediately started an investigation and “gathered a large contingent of personnel to go out and search the railroad tracks through Gallatin,” Storment said.
The search included emergency management personnel, command staff, lieutenants, patrol officers, reserve officers and cadaver dogs, Storment said, but after searching “about a couple dozen miles of train tracks,” the team came up with nothing.
The postcard, which was postmarked in Peoria, Illinois reads: “Hello, you know what it’s like to watch a train hit a man you laid on the tracks. Trains make an awful mess of an old drunk. Guess the cops never found his glasses. I found this is the best way to kill a man.”
The note ends with, “Best wishes, the Green Light Killa.”
Police have looked at the area’s two train track fatalities within the last 12 months to see if there could be a possible connection, but train conductors confirmed that these incidents were not related, Storment said.
Although police have contacted local departments for information and put out a national bulletin, they have “gotten no responses back,” Storment said.
Officials at Volunteer State Community College also "have no idea" why it was sent to the radio station, college spokesman Eric Melcher told ABC News Wednesday.
Police have considered the possibility of the postcard being a hoax, but Storment said that only “time may answer that question.”
He added: “A body may turn up a year from now that gets connected to this claim, however we are confident no crime was committed in Gallatin, Tennessee.”
Bellmead Police Department(NEW YORK) -- Crimes against the elderly are heinous enough to incite the highest caliber of anger, but police say one group of Good Samaritans decided to act on their own when they witnessed a suspect steal a purse from an 84-year-old woman at a Walmart in Bellmead, Tex.
The victim was loading groceries into her car Monday when the suspect, 27-year-old Andre Dawson, snatched her purse, which was sitting in the grocery cart, according to Detective Kory Martin of the Bellmead Police Department.
Cellphone video shows a group of men chasing Dawson and holding him down, while a woman approached the scene with a gun drawn, pointing it toward him, ABC News station KXXV-TV reported.
When Dawson broke free, the woman pointing the gun fired one round over his head, Martin said. He then stumbled to the ground before trying to flee again.
The men detained him until police arrived and the victim’s purse was recovered, Martin said.
The 28-year-old woman who fired the gun left the scene, but she voluntarily went to the Bellmead police station to aid in the investigation and was later released, Martin said. A grand jury will decide if she committed a criminal offense in firing the gun, but no charges have been filed.
While Martin commends the actions of the Good Samaritans, he advises individuals to thoroughly evaluate a situation before deciding to step in and help.
“We won’t ever recommend for people to intervene directly,” he told ABC News. “We want you to help without causing a danger to anyone else and yourself.”
Martin says the best way to help is to provide as many details as possible in a 911 call so officers can arrive to the scene as fast as they can.
Dawson was originally charged with theft under $100, but the charge was upgraded to a Class B misdemeanor due to a previous theft conviction, Martin said. He is also being charged with credit card abuse. Dawson has not yet entered a plea.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Thanksgiving draws near, millions of Americans will sit down with families and friends across the country to give thanks and enjoy a well cooked meal.
But America’s favorite fall holiday isn’t just about comfort and relaxation, it’s also about big business. Travel services, football leagues, massive parades and, of course, the turkey industry will all thrive this Thursday.
So to get a clearer look at the statistics behind this time honored tradition, ABC News presents Thanksgiving by the Numbers: