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Death toll rises to 22 in El Paso shooting as 2 more victims die in hospital: Police

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cmannphoto/iStock(EL PASO, Texas) — The death toll from a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, increased to 22 after two more victims died in the hospital, police said.

David Shimp, chief executive officer at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, said one patient died late Sunday night and another Monday morning.

The victims were among more than two dozen people wounded in the massacre that erupted about 10:39 a.m. local time Saturday inside a Walmart crowded with shoppers, including children and parents drawn to a back-to-school sale.

Alvaro Mena confirmed to ABC News that his father, 78-year-old Juan Valazquez, died Monday morning.

Mena said his family is “devastated” by the loss of his father and are now afraid for their own lives after police said the suspect told investigators he was out to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

“We are afraid to go out,” Mena said. “We are afraid to go out into the streets because we feel like we are being hunted because of skin color.”

Those wounded in the mass shooting ranged in age from 2 years old to 82, according to authorities.

Mena said his both his mother and father were shot outside the Walmart when they went to the store to exchange merchandise they had purchased there. He said he believes the gunman targeted his parents because they are Hispanic.

He said his mother remains in the hospital and is expected to survive.

Dr. Stephen Flaherty, director of trauma at Del Sol Medical Center, said the second patient who died was an elderly woman.

Both patients suffered “major and devastating” wounds that were consistent with high-velocity gunshots, he added.

“We are truly heartbroken to have to be here to report this,” said Flaherty, his voice cracking with emotion.

He said he could only speak of the female victim who died.

“The patient had major intra-abdominal injuries affecting the liver, the kidney and the intestines,” Flaherty said. “She received massive blood transfusion, utilizing all types of blood products.”

Shimp added that six other wounded victims remain at Del Sol Medical Center, one in critical condition and five in stable condition. He said two other patients were discharged and one was transferred to another local hospital.

News of the latest death came just hours after the El Paso County Coroner’s Officer removed the last victim’s body from the premises.

The suspect was identified by authorities as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas. He is being held on a charge of capital murder, court records show.

John Bash, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said Sunday that federal authorities are investigating the incident as an act of “domestic terrorism,” meaning the suspect was allegedly intent on “coercing and intimidating a civilian population.”

Bash said federal authorities are also considering bringing hate crimes and federal firearms charges against Crusius that carry the penalty of death.

Police said Crusius drove more than 600 miles from his home in the Dallas area to El Paso to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

Investigators also believe Crusius is the same man who allegedly posted a four-page racist, anti-immigrant document on the dark website 8chan before launching the attack, officials said.

“We consider this an act of terrorism against the Mexican-American community and the Mexicans living in the United States,” Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said in a video statement.

At least seven of the 20 people killed were Mexican nationals and nine additional Mexicans were among those wounded, Ebrard said.

Ebrard called the shooting an “act of barbarism,” and threatened to take legal action against those responsible for selling the assault-style rifle Crusius allegedly used in the rampage.

“We’re going to ask for access to the investigation to see how it was sold to him and how the gun got into the hands of this individual,” Ebrard said. “We consider the issue of weapons to be a crucial issue.”

In an interview Monday with ABC News anchor David Muir, Sylvia Saucedo described how she and her mother survived the Walmart shooting by hiding under a table in a McDonald’s inside the Walmart.

“We were having breakfast and my mom said, ‘I think there’s a sale going on because there’s a lot of people running around, let’s just go see what’s going on,'” Saucedo said. “And then we heard the gunshots. And the lady at the cash register said, ‘Everybody down.'”

Saucedo said she immediately got on the floor and crawled under a table, pulling her 91-year-old mother alongside her.

“So then we were just hiding there,” Saucedo said. “So then I saw the guy. I just saw the guy walking from the knees down. And actually, I saw two people going in and then people started running and he went straight and started shooting.”

Despite being terrified, Saucedo said she took out her cellphone and started making a video of the incident, recording the rapid fire of the shooting and the screams of people running for their lives.

“I was so scared,” she said. “I called 911 but they never answered because they had so many calls. So, I decided to just start recording. I have faith, I knew that we were going to get back home safe. And I said, ‘I need to see this video, later on.'”

When she looked at the video later she saw that she had recorded one person dead on the floor.

“We were praying,” she said of what she and her mother did as they hid under the table. “She was praying and she was crying. And I was holding her hand.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bus driver arrested for intentionally locking woman in luggage compartment, police say

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Connecticut State Police(NEW YORK) — A bus driver was arrested in Connecticut over the weekend after being accused of deliberately locking a passenger inside of one of the vehicle’s luggage compartments and driving off, according to police.

The strange case unfolded on a Peter Pan Bus Line trip from New York to Boston, when a woman dialed 911 from inside the compartment and told dispatchers she was trapped inside, Connecticut State Police said.

Officers tracked the call and pulled the bus over on Interstate 84 in Union, Connecticut, about 30 miles northeast of Hartford. The woman said one of the bus drivers, identified as 49-year-old Wendy Alberty, locked her inside while she was trying to retrieve something from her bag, according to a police statement.

“The female victim was asked if she needed medical attention to which she refused. She further stated that she had been purposely locked inside by a female driver,” the statement said. “Upon taking statements from the victim and witnesses the accused was taken into custody.”

Police did not reveal exactly how long the woman may have been inside, but one witness said she must’ve been down there for at least 45 minutes based on when the bus had last stopped.

Fellow passenger Caroline Van Allen said passengers were extremely surprised by her cool and calm demeanor after the rescue. She said at least four passengers near the front recalled hearing a loud noise, like “someone banging frantically beneath their feet.”

“She didn’t have access to air and ventilation for 45 minutes. I think that would put someone over the edge,” Van Allen told ABC News. “I cannot stress enough how calm she was and she did not seem angry … she even didn’t look relieved. She just looked dead in the eyes.”

Peter Pan Bus Lines told ABC affiliate WCVB that it has suspended Alberty while they investigate the incident.

Alberty was booked on charges of reckless endangerment, unlawful restraint and breach of peace. She was released on $2,000 bail as of Monday evening. It’s unclear if she has retained an attorney.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Texas grandma heroically foils grandson's mass shooting plot by bringing him to hospital

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Lubbock County Jail(LUBBOCK, Texas) — A Texas grandmother was hailed as a hero by federal authorities after she foiled a potential mass shooting by taking her grandson to a hospital after he allegedly made threats.

William Patrick Williams, 19, was taken into custody by federal agents in Lubbock, Texas, after he told his grandmother about a plot to “shoot up” a local hotel and then commit suicide by cop, according to the Department of Justice.

According to a criminal complaint, the plot came to light on July 13, just weeks before a pair of mass shootings claimed the lives of at least 31 people in one weekend, when Williams told his grandmother that he’d purchased an AK-47.

Sensing he could be both homicidal and suicidal, federal officials said the grandmother convinced Williams to go with her to a local hospital instead of carrying out the shooting, averting a potential tragedy.

“This was a tragedy averted,” U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox said in a statement. “I want to praise the defendant’s grandmother, who saved lives by interrupting this plot, as well as the Lubbock police officers and federal agents who investigated his unlawful acquisition of a deadly weapon.”

“If you suspect a friend or loved one is planning violence against themselves or others, do not hesitate to seek help immediately by calling law enforcement,” he added.

Police said Williams gave officers permission to search a room he’d rented at a Texas hotel, where they discovered an AK-47 rifle, 17 loaded magazines and multiple knives, according to the statement.

Officers also found a black trench coat, black tactical pants, black tactical gloves with the fingers cut off and a black t-shirt with the words “Let ‘Em Come” written on it.

After looking into the suspect’s background, authorities later discovered that he listed false information and misrepresented his address when he purchased the firearm from a federally-licensed dealer last month, according to the DOJ.

Williams was arrested last Thursday, after a brief hospital stay by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI for allegedly making false statements to a firearms dealer. If convicted as charged, authorities said he could face up to five years in federal prison.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Families of victims in El Paso Walmart massacre will not have to pay for funerals

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ABC News(EL PASO, Texas) — As the El Paso, Texas, community grapples with the massacre at a Walmart that took the lives of at least 22 people and families mourn the loss of their loved ones, one group has been working behind the scenes to make sure that the funerals for all the victims will be financially covered.

“I kinda shed a couple tears yesterday as we were making arrangements for the funeral directors, getting them together, pulling them together. … They agreed. It doesn’t matter the number of people. We will go ahead and take care of these people,” Angel Gomez, of Operation H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Endure), told ABC News’ David Muir on Sunday. “I just want the people to be at ease here in El Paso — family members of the victims — that there will be no cost for their funerals.”

Gomez said he’d started Operation H.O.P.E. 22 years ago with a friend to help the El Paso community, providing clothing, shoes and even food. He said the organization had flown children to San Antonio, Texas, for treatment at hospitals at no cost to the families.

“We have done funerals in the El Paso community and in New Mexico for a number of years at no cost to the families,” he said.

Gomez said that when he reached out to funeral directors in El Paso after Saturday’s shooting to see if they would take care of the affected families, they told him: “It doesn’t matter the number. How high it goes. They will all be covered.”

On Saturday, more than two dozen people were wounded in the massacre that erupted at about 10:39 a.m. local time inside a Walmart crowded with shoppers, including children.

The suspect was identified by authorities as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas. He is being held on a charge of capital murder, court records show.

At least seven of the 22 people killed were Mexican nationals, and nine additional Mexicans were among those wounded, Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said previously.

Gomez told Muir that the Mexican nationalists would also be cared for through the consulate.

“[We’ll] take care of crossing the bridge. You know, you have to go from country to country. [There’s] paperwork to take the body over. We’ll do everything,” he said.

“We have 22 victims. We will be providing their funeral services, not only in the El Paso area, but we’re going to be sending the bodies once they get embalmed to Juarez, Mexico, Torreon and Chihuahua. And this is all done at no cost to the families. None whatsoever, my friend. As I say, this is how El Paso rolls – as one. We are one community,” he told ABC News Live’s “The Briefing Room” on Monday.

“One of the things the funeral homes will do is provide the caskets and embalming and stuff for the victims but one of the things we have to find for them is the cemeteries that we have to go and do the burials and that. That’s something we’ll be tackling later today and tomorrow,” he said.

In February 2017, Gomez and his wife, Patsy, paid for a woman and her ailing parents to fly from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico to New York. Gomez and Patsy even traveled from their El Paso home to meet the family when they landed.

He said Saturday’s massacre had left the El Paso community in shock.

“It’s so hard to come up with the words,” Gomez said. “El Paso is such a passive, quiet, city. You know what i mean? We have a beautiful time here.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

"People" says "lovebirds" Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani are "happier than ever" shooting "The Voice"

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John Shearer/Getty Images via ABCBlake Shelton and Gwen Stefani are currently shooting season 17 of The Voice, and they couldn’t be happier, according to People.

“They’re coming up on their four-year anniversary, but Blake and Gwen still act like lovebirds,” an unnamed source tells the magazine.

The couple started dating in the fall of 2015 after they both went through divorces. They’d met a year earlier, on The Voice season seven.

“They’re really happier than ever, and being back where they first fell in love has been fun for them,” the source goes on. “They can’t believe how quickly time has flown by, and their relationship is very solid.”

“Blake worships her, and Gwen feels very secure with him,” the insider adds.

Gwen fits right in on The Voice, returning to the show after longtime coach Adam Levine announced he was leaving after sixteen seasons in May.

“It’s like she never left,” People’s source observes.  “Her kids also love going to set.”

Season 17 of The Voice — which also stars Kelly Clarkson and John Legend — starts September 23 on NBC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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