(DEARBORN, Mich.) -- A suspect has been taken into custody following a shooting and hourslong negotiations with authorities at a Hampton Inn in Dearborn, Michigan, the Michigan State Police said.
"The barricaded gunman has been taken into custody without incident," police said Thursday night. "Michigan Ave. is still closed and will be as the investigation continues. This will be our final update."
One victim has been hospitalized, according to Dearborn police. Authorities said they did not have an update on the victim's condition.
Police said the suspect was firing shots with a long gun from inside the hotel.
Dearborn police said they had been in contact with the suspect's family to get him to surrender peacefully.
According to police, the suspect was in a dispute with hotel staff over money.
Officers evacuated hotel employees and guests, police said.
Authorities are urging people to stay away from downtown Dearborn.
(NEW YORK) -- The plaintiffs' attorney in a defamation trial against Alex Jones argued the conspiracy theorist should pay more than half a billion dollars to victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for calling the massacre a hoax.
"It is your job to make sure he understands the wreckage he has caused," the attorney, Chris Mattei, told the Connecticut jury during his closing argument Thursday at a trial to determine how much the Infowars host should pay in damages.
A judge last year found Jones and Infowars' parent company, Free Speech Systems, liable in the defamation lawsuit, with plaintiffs that include an FBI agent who responded to the scene and eight families of victims that Jones called actors.
Mattei said $550 million was a "baseline" and did not take into account the emotional distress of the families, who claim Jones violated a Connecticut law that prohibits profiting off of lies.
"He built a lie machine," Mattei said. "You reap what you sow."
Mattei asked the six jurors to "think about the scale of the defamation," citing as one example Jones' claim the families, "faked their 6- or 7-year-old's death."
Defense attorney Norm Pattis said he represents a "despised human being" but balked at the half-billion-dollar sum proposed by the plaintiffs' attorney.
"It would take a person earning $100,000 a year hundreds of years to make $550 million," Pattis said during his closing statement.
The defense said the plaintiffs presented no evidence that put a price tag on the harm the families said they suffered.
"You heard from no physician. You saw no medical bill. You heard nothing about a lost wage. No receipt for anything has been put before you," Pattis said.
Pattis told jurors it was not their job to bankrupt Jones so he would stop broadcasting lies.
"That's not why you're here," Pattis said.
Each of the plaintiffs, which include parents of some of the 20 children killed in the 2012 massacre, have testified during the weeks-long trial, detailing how they have faced years of death threats, rape threats and confrontations outside their homes from people who believed Jones' lies.
In his closing argument Thursday, Mattei told the jurors that Jones built an argument based on "fear, anger and demonization" that the 2012 mass shooting was a hoax so his loyal audience would buy products he was selling.
Mattei said Jones knew "darn well" his lies about the massacre prompted harassments of the families that sued Jones for defamation and infliction of emotional distress.
"As these families were living out their daily lives Alex Jones was waiting to pounce," Mattei said. "He knew his army was coming after them."
In his testimony last month, Jones declined to apologize, declaring he was done saying sorry and actually believed the government staged the shooting to generate support for gun control legislation.
"Is this a struggle session? Are we in China? I've already said I'm sorry hundreds of times and I'm done saying I'm sorry," Jones said.
Jones declined to testify as a witness for the defense this week, claiming he could be held in contempt if he says he is "innocent."
After closing arguments wrapped, Judge Barbara Bellis gave the jury final instructions and they are now deliberating on how much Jones should pay to the plaintiffs.
In August, a Texas jury ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of one of the Sandy Hook victims in a separate defamation trial.
(TUCSON, AZ) -- A professor was shot and killed on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson on Wednesday afternoon, allegedly by a former student, campus police said.
The suspect, Murad Dervish, 46, was taken into custody hours later following a traffic stop by the state’s Department of Public Safety near the town of Gila Bend, University of Arizona Police Chief Paula Balafas said at a news conference.
The victim was identified Thursday as professor Thomas Meixner, department head of the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, said university president Robert Robbins.
"This incident is a deep shock to our community, and it is a tragedy. I have no words that can undo it, but I grieve with you for the loss, and I am pained especially for Tom’s family members, colleagues and students," Robbins said.
ABC News' Marilyn Heck and Teddy Grant contributed to this report.
(FORT MEYERS, FL) -- Power has been restored to more than 2.1 million customers as of Thursday morning in some of Florida's hardest-hit areas, a week after Hurricane Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, Florida Power & Light said. Less than 100,000 of its customers are still in the dark, the utility company reported.
"In some of the hardest-hit areas, multiple specialized tree-trimming crews are needed to clear debris for every traditional line crew working to repair or, in some instances, rebuild infrastructure," FPL said in a statement.
Crews have been working around the clock to restore power to customers and made a lot of progress overnight, Eric Silagy, FPL’s Chairman and CEO, said during a press conference held in Fort Meyers.
"Lots of destruction in the area, many buildings are unsafe and need to be inspected before they can actually have the power turned back on. Even when we have power in the area, you have to make sure that your home, your condominium building, your apartment building or your business can safely be restored," Silagy said.
Sanibel Island remains inaccessible and FPL cannot turn the power back on in Fort Meyers Beach until search, rescue and recovery operations cease, according to Silagy.
In a statement Silagy said that progress will "slow some" as FPL focuses on the hardest-hit areas.
FPL expects to restore power to 95% of customers in the counties of Charlotte, DeSoto, Lee and Sarasota (south of Fruitville Road) by end of day Friday, except those who cannot safely accept service or who are still located in heavily-flooded area, the company said in a statement.
A total of more than 186,000 customers remain in the dark in Florida, according to PowerOutage.us.
The death toll from Ian continues to rise with at least 120 people, according to local officials. President Joe Biden visited Florida Wednesday to tour the damage and meet with local officials including Gov. Ron DeSantis.
(ORLANDO, FL) -- The world's tallest tower drop ride will be taken down after a Missouri teenager fell to his death while riding it earlier this year, the operator of the Florida amusement park attraction announced Thursday.
Fourteen-year-old Tyre Sampson died after slipping out of his seat while on the Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park on March 24. The eighth grader was a star football player who was visiting the theme park with his team.
Orlando Slingshot, which operates the ride, said it has decided to take down the 430-foot-tall attraction in the wake of Sampson's death.
"We are devastated by Tyre's death. We have listened to the wishes of Tyre's family and the community, and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall," Ritchie Armstrong, an official with Orlando Slingshot, said in a statement.
The timeline for decommissioning the ride, which has been closed since the incident, will be determined pending approval from "all involved parties and regulatory entities," the operator said.
Orlando Slingshot also plans to create a scholarship in Sampson's name to honor his "legacy in the classroom and on the football field," Armstrong said.
ICON Park said it supports the removal of the Orlando FreeFall.
"Tyre's death is a tragedy that we will never forget. As the landlord, ICON Park welcomes and appreciates Orlando Slingshot's decision to take down the ride," ICON Park said in a statement.
An attorney representing Sampson's mother, Nekia Dodd, said the ride should have been taken down "immediately" after the teen's death.
"This is not a ride that can be operated safely, given the design defects," the attorney, Bob Hilliard, said in a statement. "Dismantling the ride is the right move, though it should have been done immediately after Tyre's death."
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Sampson's father, Yarnell Sampson, called the announcement "long overdue" and one his father has been advocating for "since the day Tyre fell to his death."
"The Orlando Free Fall ride never should have been permitted to operate under those faulty conditions," Crump said in a joint statement with Hilliard. "Theme parks, their parent companies, and regulatory agencies must do better to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to any other family."
Operator error is suspected as the primary cause in Sampson's death, according to a forensic engineer's field investigation report released in April. The report showed that the individual operator of the FreeFall ride, who was not identified, "made manual adjustments to the ride resulting in it being unsafe."
According to the report, manual manipulations were made to the seat Sampson was sitting in to allow the harness restraint opening to be loosened, apparently to accommodate the more than 300-pound teenager. The investigation found Sampson's harness restraint opening was "almost double that of a normal restraint opening range."
Sampson's parents have filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit accusing ICON Park and other defendants of negligence.
(NEW YORK) -- Students at more than 60 high schools and universities across at least 29 states are holding student strikes and events on Thursday to fight for reproductive justice.
The self-dubbed "Day of Student Action" is organized by the Graduate Student Action Network, a group formed in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade ending federal protections for abortion rights, and the Young Democratic Socialists of America.
Students plan to demand that their school step in and defend their reproductive rights and freedom of gender expression in the absence of action from elected leaders, CalTech graduate student and founder of GSAN, Rachael Kuintzle told ABC News in an interview.
GSAN was born over the summer when Kuintzle started emailing student leaders including grad student government leaders, union reps and advocacy club officers.
"Right after the Supreme Court decision in June, I felt really helpless and I started reaching out to grad students across the country … emailing them, and asking if they wanted to meet together and figure out what we can do to get health into the hands of our students as soon as possible. And so what came out of that was this day of action," Kuintzle said in an interview with ABC News.
Another student group, the Young Democratic Socialists of America, was also separately running a reproductive justice group looking into how they could make a difference and so the two groups teamed up, organizing protests and events jointly, Kuintzle said.
GSAN plans to send letters to Congress and President Joe Biden on Thursday listing their demands.
In the group's letter to Congress, they are demanding safe, legal and accessible abortion; gender-affirming healthcare; free contraception of all varieties; and federally mandated sex education, including standardized curriculum on sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy prevention and consent.
GSAN is asking Biden to declare a public health emergency over abortion to ensure that abortion pills can be provided by mail for free in all states and implement a program to mail free at-home pregnancy tests on demand to U.S. households to enable early detection of pregnancies.
The letters will be sent from the group of student leaders, but students at some campuses are also gathering signatures for petitions listing demands specific to their school.
Some of the campuses organizing protests or events Thursday include the University of Arkansas, the University of South Dakota, multiple CUNY system campuses, University of Texas at Austin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Law School.
Nikole Schneider and Danielle Galvin, students at at the University of South Dakota, told ABC News they will also be fighting for health insurance, which they do not currently have. They plan to set up several booths on Thursday for voter registration, the student health center, the school's mental health services, Planned Parenthood and a fundraising booth for a student-run group that offers free healthcare services for those without insurance.
Schneider and Galvin said being in contact with students from around the country has allowed them to feel like they are making a difference, despite initially feeling lonely and helpless after Roe was overturned.
"It's definitely changed how I think that I can affect what's happening in the country, especially now, just like being a part of something bigger," Schneider said.
Galvin said it has been eye-opening to hear the support other students around the country are getting from their schools, with those students giving them advice on how to advocate for themselves with their university's administration.
A trigger ban in South Dakota prohibits abortions entirely, "unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female," according to the law.
The law, which went into effect when Roe was overturned, makes it a class 6 felony to provide abortion care in the state.
Students at the University of Arkansas have already had a few protests since Roe was overturned, but they are hoping this day of action would give them momentum going into the midterms, specifically because of the tight restrictions on abortion in the state and attacks on transgender individuals, organizer and graduate student Katy Dupree told ABC News.
A state law in Arkansas bans all abortions except to save the life of the mother, making it a felony for anyone to perform a non-approved abortion, punishable with up to 10 years in prison.
Dupree said they are organizing a comprehensive resource fair with a voter registration booth and speakers along with their student walkout and protest.
"This organization kind of fell into my lap. And it has been a very serendipitous and beneficial kind of happenstance for me, I struggled a lot through the pandemic with figuring out if graduate school is something that I really wanted to continue to pursue. And if I was happy with what I was studying, and really found that advocating for others helped me pull myself kind of up and out," Dupree said.
The student leaders all agreed that the Oct. 6 protest is just a starting point. What started out as Kuintzle emailing students around the country has since grown into a more organized graduate student group.
"We have a structure, we voted on a name together, we meet regularly, we have rules of operation, we're over 50 grad leaders in over 30 states," Kuintzle said.
Only 59 campuses opted to publicly list their name on the GSAN website, saying they will participate in the protests, but Kuintzle said there will be events at seven other schools.
The group plans to continue organizing events and advocating for students in the future.
"We're committed to fighting for our students rights, not just in reproductive justice, but beyond. We're looking for future actions and climate justice and indigenous sovereignty, we're going to be taking some action to fight for higher stipends and better health care coverage for graduate students in the near future as well," Kuintzle said.
(NEW YORK) -- All four family members who were mysteriously kidnapped in Northern California have been found dead in a rural almond orchard, the Merced County sheriff said.
Eight-month-old Aroohi Dheri and her parents -- 27-year-old mother Jasleen Kaur and 36-year-old father Jasdeep Singh -- were taken against their will from a business on Monday, Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said. The baby's uncle, 39-year-old Amandeep Singh, was also kidnapped, the sheriff said.
Warnke announced Wednesday night that a farm worker came across the victims' bodies, which were found relatively close together.
No motive is known, Warnke said.
The sheriff called it "horribly senseless."
The suspected kidnapper, 48-year-old Jesus Manuel Salgado, was taken into custody on Tuesday, the sheriff's office said.
Salgado attempted to take his own life "prior to law enforcement involvement" and was receiving medical attention, which delayed investigators' ability to talk to him, the sheriff's office said.
Warnke said Wednesday night that investigators have now spoken with Salgado, but the sheriff didn't provide details.
"Salgado is still being medically treated and investigators are still interviewing him," the sheriff's office said Thursday.
The sheriff added that he believes at least one other person is involved.
On Wednesday, sheriff's officials revealed surveillance video showing the family's movements outside the business -- a trucking company -- on the day of the kidnapping.
At 8:30 a.m. Monday, Jasdeep Singh arrived at the business in a minivan, and minutes later, his brother Amandeep Singh arrived there in his pickup truck, the sheriff's office said.
Someone was seen walking along the highway near the business that morning, officials said. Jasdeep Singh then made contact with the suspect and the two walked back toward the building, officials said.
The suspect -- identified by sheriff's officials Thursday as Salgado -- was seen on video pulling out a gun and entering the business, officials said.
At 9:11 a.m., video showed the back door opening and the armed suspect exiting, officials said.
Jasdeep and Amandeep Singh were seen exiting the building, apparently with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, and were put in the back seat of the pickup truck, officials said.
The truck left for a few minutes and then returned, and the suspect got out of the truck and went into the business, officials said.
Less than one minute later, Jasleen Kaur and her 8-month-old baby exited the business, officials said.
The final surveillance video image showed the truck leaving the business, officials said.
The four family members were the only people in the business at the time, the sheriff said.
The sheriff's office announced on Tuesday that Amandeep Singh's truck had been found on fire shortly before noon on Monday.
Police went to Amandeep Singh's Merced home around 12:35 p.m. Monday; while they couldn't locate him, they spoke to another relative, the sheriff's office said. When the relative couldn't reach Jasleen Kaur, Jasdeep Singh or Amandeep Singh, the relative reported them missing, the sheriff's office said.
Sheriff's officials then responded to the business, and "during the primary investigation, detectives determined that the individuals were kidnapped," the sheriff's office said Tuesday.
There were two bank transactions from the family's accounts, the sheriff said.
(UVALDE, Texas) -- ABC News has confirmed that a former Texas state trooper now under investigation for her conduct in responding to the May 24 Uvalde school shooting rampage is among the new officers hired for the Uvalde school district police department -- the same force that has come under fire for the bungled response to the massacre.
The news was first reported by CNN.
CNN reported Wednesday night that the former trooper is Crimson Elizondo, the first member of the Texas Department of Public Safety to enter the hallway at Robb Elementary School after the shooter gained entry. A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation confirmed CNN's report.
The trooper did not bring her rifle or vest into the school, according to the results of an internal review by DPS that was detailed to ABC News. As a result of potential failure to follow standard procedures, the trooper was among five DPS personnel whose conduct is now being investigated by the agency's inspector general. The five have been suspended; the trooper in question resigned from DPS and went to work for the Uvalde schools.
Elizondo is the second officer listed on the district's police webpage.
The official said DPS was not contacted by Uvalde's school personnel prior to hiring the former trooper.
DPS declined to comment. The Uvalde school district has not responded to a request for comment. The trooper declined to comment to CNN.
Nineteen students and two teachers were killed during the massacre in May. Some families of the dead have joined to form a group called Lives Robbed.
In a statement Wednesday night, the group said: "We are disgusted and angry at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District's (UCISD) decision to hire Officer Crimson Elizondo. Her hiring puts into question the credibility and thoroughness of UCISD's HR and vetting practices. And it confirms what we have been saying all along: UCISD has not and is not in the business of ensuring the safety of our children at school."
The statement continues: "We cannot trust the decisions that have been made in regard to the safety of our schools. Therefore, we are calling for all UCISD officers to be suspended, pending the conclusion of the investigation by JPPI Investigations LLC. The results of this investigation must be released to the families of the victims of the Robb Elementary shooting, as well as to the public. Our families have been calling for accountability, and we deserve transparency and justice at the state, local and federal levels. Our children have been taken from us. We will not stop fighting until we have answers and we ensure the safety of the children in our community is the top priority."
Questions were also raised about the district's pre-hiring vetting of Pete Arredondo, the former district police chief who has been blamed for much of the bungled shooting response and has been fired because of it. He had been demoted in a previous job, and critics contend that work history was not taken into account when the district hired him to run its police force.
The practice of police officers switching jobs and jurisdictions despite concerns raised in prior posts has become a concern nationally. Some have called for the creation of national standards and databases that would enable prospective employers to learn quickly whether a cop has anything potentially disqualifying in their employment history.
(NEW YORK) -- Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones declined to take the stand in his own defense Wednesday in the Infowars host's second defamation trial over his Sandy Hook comments, as jurors are slated to begin deliberating the damages this week.
Standing outside the Connecticut courthouse on Tuesday, Jones called the trial a "fraud" and told reporters he was likely not going to testify again because he could be held in contempt if he says he is "innocent."
"I'm being ordered to perjure myself when they ask me questions, or I'll be arrested if I tell the truth," he said.
His attorney, Norm Pattis, told the court Wednesday that Jones is "boycotting" the trial because he would commit perjury if he testifies under the court's orders.
Pattis did not call any witnesses for the defense, which is aiming to limit the amount of damages Jones must pay for calling the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School a hoax.
The six-member jury is expected to begin deliberating on Thursday after hearing closing arguments.
The judge last year found Jones and Infowars' parent company, Free Speech Systems, liable in the defamation lawsuit, whose plaintiffs include an FBI agent who responded to the scene and eight families of victims that Jones called actors.
Parents of some of the 20 children killed in the massacre have testified during the weeks-long trial, detailing how they have faced years of death threats, rape threats and confrontations outside their homes from people who believed Jones' lies.
Jones did testify last month after called to the stand by the plaintiff's attorney. During the tempestuous testimony, Jones suggested the families who sued him have a political agenda because they are advocates for gun safety.
After the plaintiffs' attorney, Chris Mattei, at one point told Jones to "show a little respect" to the families of victims in the courtroom, Jones responded, "I've already said I'm sorry hundreds of times and I'm done saying I'm sorry."
During the trial, Mattei accused Jones of putting a target on the backs of families through his repeated lies about the massacre being a government-staged hoax and the families of victims being crisis actors.
Prior to testifying, Jones has spoken out amid the trial outside the Waterbury courthouse, calling the judge a "tyrant" and the trial a "political hit job."
The Connecticut trial is the latest legal battle for Jones involving his comments on the Sandy Hook shooting, in which 20 children and six adults were killed.
In August, a Texas jury ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of one of the victims -- including $4.1 million in compensatory damages for the suffering he put them through and $45.2 million in punitive damages.
The judge in the case has yet to rule on whether to apply state caps for punitive damages to the amount awarded to the plaintiffs -- Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was killed.
In both the Texas and Connecticut cases, the judges issued default judgments against Jones because he failed to turn over court-ordered documents.
A similar decision was issued in a second Texas defamation case last year involving Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose son Noah was killed in the shooting. A trial to determine those damages has not yet started.
Amid the lawsuits, Infowar's parent company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy protection.
(LOS ANGELES) -- An attorney representing the family of a Los Angeles police officer who died after a training exercise in May alleged Wednesday that the officer was targeted and killed after filing a report accusing fellow officers of sexually assaulting a woman.
"I think it's an intentional act because of the magnitude of injuries," Brad Gage, the attorney for Houston Tipping's family, told ABC News. "We know that Houston was a whistleblower who reported this alleged criminal act."
Bicycle officer Tipping, 32, suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury after he and another officer fell to the ground during a simulation, according to a report released Tuesday by Los Angeles Police Department's Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy, which called his death a "tragic accident."
"The impact on the ground with the arm of the officer in that position around the backside of Officer Tipping's neck...in that instance is where the fracture occurred," LAPD Chief Michel Moore previously said.
Gage says they intend to file a lawsuit against the LAPD over the officer's death.
A spokesperson for the LAPD told ABC News on Wednesday that the department does not comment on open and pending cases and that "the report that was released yesterday stands on its own."
The Los Angeles Medical Examiner-Coroner's office ruled Tipping's death an accident.
The LAPD's investigators said they found no evidence of wrongdoing.
According to the LAPD report, officers taking part in the training exercise are expected to be punched and kicked, which according to Gage, Tipping was subjected to during the exercise, leading to his injuries.
Gage disputed the department's findings, claiming that Tipping was beaten in a retaliatory act for filing a report by a woman who claimed that four LAPD officers sexually assaulted her in July 2021, while wearing their uniforms.
One of the officers involved in the alleged sexual assault was at the training, according to Gage.
The autopsy report said that a cut to Tipping's head and fractured ribs were sustained while officers tried to save his life.
(DETROIT) -- Detroit police said they fired 38 shots in three seconds at Porter Burks, a 20-year-old schizophrenic Black man, as he was in an apparent mental health crisis, killing him.
During a press conference on Tuesday with Detroit Police Chief James White, snippets of body camera footage were shown of events leading up to the fatal shooting that occurred Sunday. The body camera footage shown involved a trained crisis intervention officer identified as Shawn in the video.
In the video, officers can be heard negotiating with Burks, who is alleged to have been armed with an 8-inch blade knife, ordering him to put it down and offering to get him some help.
"You're not in any trouble, just drop the knife and we'll get you some help," the officer said in the video.
Burks can be seen running toward officers in the video before he was fatally shot.
"It's unfortunate but this was a life-threatening situation," White said.
"This is a tragic situation. Any time we use force, it's not the desired outcome. Any time we use fatal force, it's the worst outcome," he added.
Burks was too far from law enforcement for a taser to be effective, White said.
Detroit Police executive team director Christopher Graveline said there were numerous officers at the scene Sunday where Burks was killed, but only five had fired their weapons.
Due to the ongoing investigation by Michigan State police, White said he is not releasing the full names of the five officers involved but they are all currently on administrative leave.
Burks was diagnosed with schizophrenia three years prior and was having a mental episode, according to his brother Damondo Anderson, who called the police for help.
In the body camera video, Anderson tells police Burks was frantic and slashed his tires. Anderson claimed he was “concerned for people” because he was armed with a knife.
Police were aware of Burks' mental health condition, according to Graveline. They responded multiple times on separate occasions -- two incidents dating back to 2020 where Burks stabbed his siblings.
"In March of 2020, he stabbed two family members, a sister…he stabbed her in both her neck and her hand," Graveline said at the news conference. "As well as a brother in the top of his head as the brother came to defend the sister."
"What we have found unfortunately is a system that has failed Mr. Burks on several different occasions," Graveline said. "That schizophrenia manifested itself into violent behavior. We have seen a pattern of him being brought to psychological services and being released and not being followed up with taking his medication."
White said that they need "help with the system."
"The system failed Mr. Burks," White said.
Fieger Law announced Wednesday that Geoffrey Fieger will be representing the family of Burks and will hold a press conference Thursday at 10:30 am.
(UVALDE, Texas) -- Uvalde parents are still protesting outside the school administration offices after a full week, in an attempt to get UCISD officers suspended pending the independent review of the shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, in which 19 children and two adults were killed.
Brett Cross, guardian of 10-year-old victim Uziyah Garcia, has not left the building site since last Tuesday morning, sleeping overnight in a cot and receiving food deliveries and messages of support from across the country.
"I am still out here and the plan is to stay," Cross told ABC News. "The goal is the same since we started this, we will stay here until those officers are held accountable."
Both Brett and his wife Niki Cross have posted updates on social media to document their efforts.
One video shows 19 backpacks and two teachers' tote bags lined up outside the building in remembrance of the victims, captioned, "These lives are who we are fighting for and I'm gonna make damn sure that this administration remembers them."
In another video posted Tuesday, Brett said, "Everything that they're doing is reactionary instead of proactive," referring to office security upgrades that have gone into place since he's been there.
Traffic gates with a combination padlock were installed at the administrative building only days after protestors arrived, while fencing and security measures at the district's schools are not complete more than a month into the school session.
Cross says he has not heard from the school district superintendent or his staff since their 8-minute meeting on Friday morning, which Cross live-streamed on Twitter. During that meeting, Superintendent Hal Harrell told Cross the district was conducting an investigation of the events on May 24 but officers were needed for campus patrol.
"We have had no communication with the school district," Cross told ABC News. "They've made some adjustments on how they enter the building, but that's it."
The school district did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on Wednesday.
In a Sept. 30 internal memo to the school district obtained by ABC News, Harrell told teachers, "We do not condone this group's behavior and are seeking an end to the disruption. We are working to identify state or local partners who are willing to assist us in restoring peace."
There have been no reports of violence and no police intervention into the gathering to date, though Texas Department of Public Safety Officers have been present throughout the week.
UCISD spokesperson Anne Marie Espinoza told ABC News last week that the school district hired JPPI Investigations, a private investigative firm, to conduct an independent review of UCISD police actions on May 24.
"At this time, we do not have an expected completion date for the reviews," she said in an emailed statement to ABC News.
(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- A professor was shot and killed on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson on Wednesday, campus police said.
The campus police chief said a male professor in the Department of Hydrology was shot and killed by a former student. The suspect was identified by police as Murad Dervish. The professor has not been identified.
Dervish, 46, was taken into custody following a traffic stop by the state’s Department of Public Safety near the town of Gila Bend, University of Arizona Police Chief Paula Balafas said during a news conference.
Police said the suspect used a handgun.
The victim was sent to a local hospital but was pronounced dead by medical staff, Balafas said.
Police responded to the campus' John W. Harshbarger building "for a shooting," University of Arizona Police said on Twitter shortly after 2 p.m. local time Wednesday.
Police did not issue a lockdown but warned people to stay away from the building and surrounding area.
"Male suspect was ID'd but no longer on scene. Police currently looking for him," University of Arizona Police had said, describing the suspect as being in his mid-30s with short brown hair and wearing a blue baseball cap and carrying a dark backpack.
All remaining classes being held at the school's main campus were canceled Wednesday, police said.
(NEW YORK) -- At least 120 people in Florida have died due to Hurricane Ian, according to local officials, as the death toll continues to climb a week after the powerful storm slammed into the state's southwestern coast.
Five additional people were also reported dead due to the storm in North Carolina, according to the governor's office.
The Category 4 storm made landfall in Florida the afternoon of Sept. 28, causing catastrophic damage, fierce winds and dangerous, record-breaking storm surges.
Deaths from Hurricane Ian reported in Florida
The deaths span multiple counties in Florida, including 58 in Lee County and 24 in Charlotte County. Also reported were seven in Monroe County; five each in Volusia, Collier and Sarasota counties; four in Hendry County; three each in Manatee and Putnam counties; two in Polk County; and one each in Hardee, Hillsborough, Lake and Martin counties, ABC News has determined based on information from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission and inquiries with local officials and authorities.
Hurricane Ian's death toll has been rising amid ongoing search and rescue missions.
The causes of the deaths in Florida were primarily drownings, as well as two vehicle accidents and a roofing accident, officials said.
It is unclear whether the state's figure overlaps with ABC News' analysis. The state confirms deaths by reviewing medical examiner records, which can take some time.
Confirmed deaths from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement occurred in Lake, Sarasota, Manatee, Volusia and Collier counties between Sept. 27 and 30. The victims ranged in age from 22 to 91. One, a 68-year-old woman, drowned after being swept into the ocean by a wave on Sept. 29, the department said.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office was among the first to publicly announce a fatality from Ian. A 72-year-old man in Deltona died after attempting to drain his pool during the storm, the office said Thursday.
The man, who was not publicly identified, "disappeared" after heading outside, the sheriff's office said. Deputies found him unresponsive in a canal behind the home and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital, the sheriff's office said.
Deaths from Hurricane Ian reported in North Carolina
The storm made landfall again on Friday in South Carolina, which has reported no deaths due to the storm so far, Gov. Henry McMaster said Saturday.
Though in neighboring North Carolina, five storm-related deaths have been reported. In a statement Saturday, Gov. Roy Cooper said three involved vehicle accidents on Friday, with the victims ranging in age from 22 to 25. Additionally, a 65-year-old man died Saturday from carbon monoxide poisoning after running a generator in his closed garage while the power was out. The manner of the fifth death is unclear.
Hurricane damage across the Southeast, as rescue efforts continue
Florida Rep. Kathy Castor, who represents the Tampa Bay area, called the situation a "major catastrophe."
"I'm afraid we're going to be dealing with a larger loss of life than we anticipated," she said on "ABC News Live" Thursday.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott told "Good Morning America" Thursday morning there were "thousands of rescue efforts going on right now."
"We've got great sheriff's departments, police departments, fire departments, state rescue teams. They're working hard. But there's a lot of people that need help right now," he said.
He expressed concern for the state's many low-lying areas.
"The water kills and I'm just -- I'm scared to death of, you know, what's happened here and I hope everybody stays safe," he said.
Sheriff Marceno told "Good Morning America" Thursday they had thousands of 911 calls they were answering.
"We still cannot access many of the people that are in need," Marceno said. "It's a real, real rough road ahead."
ABC News' Jay O'Brien, Ahmad Hemmingway, Benjamin Stein and Will Gretsky contributed to this report.
(SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.) -- The jury is deliberating in the murder trial of the man accused of killing Kristin Smart, a California college student who disappeared in 1996 while walking home from a party.
Paul Flores, 45, who walked Smart from the party and previously was named the "prime suspect," was arrested and charged with her murder last year.
After 11 weeks of testimony, closing arguments wrapped late Tuesday afternoon and the jury is currently deliberating their verdict.
In his closing argument, defense attorney Robert Sanger told the jury, "there is no evidence of a murder so that's really the end of it."
"This case was not prosecuted all these years because there was no evidence and there's still no evidence," he said.
The prosecutor, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle, tried to show a pattern of behavior by Flores that began with Smart. Two women, Sarah Doe and Rhonda Doe, testified during the trial that they were drugged and sexually assaulted by Flores in 2008 and 2011, respectively.
"Do you see a pattern here?" Peuvrelle asked the jury in his closing argument, calling Flores a "serial drugger and rapist."
Sanger argued there was no evidence that Smart was raped or that Flores attempted to rape her and jurors should not consider the testimony of Sarah Doe and Rhonda Doe.
In her instructions to the jurors, Judge Jennifer O'Keefe said they need to decide if they believe Flores drugged and raped Sarah Doe and Rhonda Doe. If the answer is yes, they can rely on their testimony; if the answer is no, they cannot use their testimony.
Flores' father, Ruben Flores, 81, was charged with being an accessory to the crime last year. Prosecutors say he helped hide Smart's body before moving it in 2020.
The two men are being tried at the same time, with separate juries hearing the case together. After hearing closing arguments Wednesday, the jury is now deliberating in the Ruben Flores' trial.
Once a verdict is reached by one jury, it will be sealed until the other jury reaches their verdict.
A judge earlier this year ordered that the Flores trials be moved out of San Luis Obispo County more than 100 miles away -- north to Monterey County -- to ensure fair legal proceedings.
Both Paul and Ruben Flores have pleaded not guilty to their charges.
Smart, a 19-year-old freshman at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, disappeared in the early hours of May 25, 1996, after a party near school. Her body has never been found.