TTR News Center

'Pizzagate' shooter sentenced to four years in prison, judge describes 'breathtaking' recklessness

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By Louis Milman

IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Edgar Madison Welch, who fired shots in a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant in December, was sentenced to four years for federal and local crimes.

Welch, 29, was arrested for firing an AR-15 inside the D.C. restaurant Comet Ping Pong, as he investigated an unfounded conspiracy theory dubbed “Pizzagate” that the restaurant was involved in a child sex-trafficking ring connected to Hillary Clinton.

Welch “carried a loaded AR-15 assault rifle and a revolver into a Northwest Washington pizza restaurant, scattering employees and customers, and fired his assault rifle into a door,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. said in a statement announcing the sentence.

Welch received four years for a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition and two years for a District of Columbia charge of assault with a dangerous weapon, to be served concurrently. He was also sentenced to 36 months of supervised release after pleading guilty to the charges in March.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson called “the extent of the recklessness” of the defendant’s actions “breathtaking” as she sentenced Welch Thursday.

Upon his release from prison, Welch will receive a mental health assessment and will be placed on supervised release for three years. He was further ordered to stay away from Comet Ping Pong.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


American student who died after release from North Korea mourned at funeral

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By Jeanette Torres

Xinhua/Lu Rui via Getty Images(CINCINNATI) — Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died just days after North Korea released him from prison while he was in a coma, was mourned at his funeral in his hometown of Cincinnati on Thursday.

The funeral service began at 9 a.m. ET at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, where Warmbier was the salutatorian of his 2013 graduating class. The service was open to the public but closed to the press, according to a press release from the funeral home.

Hundreds of people were seen beforehand lined up outside the Pendery Center for the Arts, part of Wyoming High School, waiting to enter the auditorium for the service. Nearby trees were adorned with blue and white ribbons, the high school’s colors, in honor of Warmbier.

Warmbier’s belongings from his time in North Korea, including the jacket he wore during a trial in Pyongyang that ended with his imprisonment, were displayed at the service.

Bagpipes blared after the service as Warmbier’s casket was carried out of the building toward a waiting hearse, followed by a long line of mourners.

Warmbier will be buried at the Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati following the service.

The 22-year-old University of Virginia student was detained by North Korea for nearly 17 months before he was medically evacuated and flown to Cincinnati on June 13. He was then rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. North Korea claimed that Warmbier slipped into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill shortly after his sentencing.

He was arrested in January 2016 at the airport in Pyongyang for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster while he was visiting North Korea on a sightseeing tour organized by a Chinese-based company. After a one-hour trial in March 2016, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

At a news conference on June 15 his father, Fred Warmbier, revealed that President Trump called him a day earlier to ask about his son and the rest of his family. Warmbier said Trump, who was “very candid” during the telephone call, told him Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other U.S. officials worked hard to negotiate his son’s release.

Fred Warmbier told reporters at a news conference that the North Korean regime deemed his son a “war criminal” and “brutalized and terrorized” him during his detainment.

At that news conference, doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Otto Warmbier suffered from injuries related to cardiopulmonary arrest and was in a state of unresponsive wakefulness. They said that scans showed extensive loss of tissue in all regions of his brain and that they found no evidence of botulism.

“This pattern of brain injury is usually seen as result of cardiopulmonary arrest, where blood supply to the brain is inadequate for a period of time, resulting in the death of brain tissue,” Dr. Daniel Kanter told reporters at the news conference.

He said Warmbier was breathing on his own at the time and his vital signs were normal but he could not speak or move voluntarily.

“He shows no signs of understanding language … He has not spoken. He has not engaged in any purposeful movements,” Kanter said. “He has profound weakness of contraction in his arms and legs.”

According to Dr. Jordan Bonomo, Warmbier had “no fractures to the bone and has minor blemishes on his skin. We see no evidence of an acute or healing fracture.”

Warmbier died six days after he was returned home.

“It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died,” his parents wrote in a statement Monday.

“Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible,” they said.

The Warmbiers added that they are “at peace” and “at home.”

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office in Ohio examined Warmbier’s body after he died and announced that his family declined an autopsy, leaving his cause of death a medical mystery for now.

“The family’s objection to an autopsy was honored and only an external examination was performed,” the coroner’s office said in a statement Tuesday night.

In addition to the external exam, the coroner’s office reviewed his medical records from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and AeroMed Management Group, the air ambulance service that helped evacuate him from Pyongyang, North Korea, where he had been detained. The coroner’s office also had “extensive conversations” with Warmbier’s treating physician at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, according to the statement.

“No conclusions about the cause and manner of Mr. Warmbier’s death have been drawn at this time, as there are additional medical records and imaging to review and people to interview,” the coroner’s office said in its statement. “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Mr. Warmbier at this time of their tragic loss.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Officer stabbed at Flint airport 'never stopped fighting' until suspect was in handcuffs

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By Michelle Boncardo

iStock/Thinkstock(FLINT, Mich.) — The airport police officer who was stabbed in the neck at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, on Wednesday morning, was able to stop the assault within a minute and “never stopped fighting” until the attacker was in handcuffs, officials said.

The suspect, Amor Ftouhi of Canada, is in custody and the police officer, Lt. Jeff Neville, was listed in stable condition Wednesday and is expected to fully recover.

Officials said Ftouhi was outside the TSA screening area at the time of the attack.

Ftouhi allegedly went into a public restroom, dropped his bags and “came out, pulled out a knife, yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ and stabbed Lt. Neville in the neck,” David Gelios of the FBI said.

Gelios said the attacker, armed with a roughly 12-inch knife that had an 8-inch serrated blade, “continued to exclaim ‘Allah’ and he made a statement to the effect of ‘you killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan’ and ‘We’re all going to die.'”

Neville stopped the attack and Ftouhi was taken into custody and interviewed by authorities.

Officials said it appears the suspect “has a hatred for the United States and a variety of other things that motivated him to coming to the airport today to conduct this act of violence.”

No one else appears to have been involved and there is no information to suggest a wider plot, officials said. After the incident, a complaint was filed against the suspect for “violence at an international airport,” but officials noted that there could be more charges in the future. The ongoing investigation is part of a joint operation with Canada, officials said. Ftouhi legally entered the U.S. in Lake Champlain, New York, on June 16, and later traveled to Flint, Gelios said.

The airport, which was evacuated and shut down, later reopened. All passengers were safe, officials said.

An airport official said Wednesday afternoon that Neville is “doing fine” and “resting comfortably” at a hospital.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Police chief pleads with author who hid treasure to 'call off the hunt' after two die

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By Jeanette Torres

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The New Mexico State Police chief is pleading with author Forrest Fenn to call off a treasure hunt he created that authorities say has resulted in the death of two people.

“I want Mr. Fenn to retrieve the treasure or call off the hunt,” Pete Kassetas, the chief of the New Mexico State Police, told ABC News. “It’s solely based in the interest of public safety.”

Kassetas said he “felt compelled to take a stance” on the treasure hunt after a body was recovered earlier this week in the New Mexico wilderness that police believe is Paris Wallace, a Colorado pastor who went missing after telling family members that he was searching for treasure hidden by Fenn.

Kassetas said they are still awaiting final confirmation from medical investigators that the body is Wallace, but told ABC News, “we’re very sure its him, unfortunately.”

Last year, the Santa Fe Police Department announced they found the remains of Randy Bilyeu, a 54-year-old man who also embarked on a quest to find the chest of gold and gems that Fenn, a Sante Fe author and antiquities dealer, says he hid somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.

Fenn told ABC News in a 2015 interview that the chest contains 265 gold coins — “mostly American eagles and double eagles, hundreds of gold nuggets, some as large as chicken eggs, ancient Chinese carved jade figures, pre-Columbian gold animal artifacts, lots of rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds and other things.”

In Fenn’s self-published 2011 memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, he includes a poem with clues as to where to find the treasure. Part of the poem reads, “Begin it where warm waters halt / and take it in the canyon down / not far, but too far to walk / put in below the home of Brown.”

Kassetas said he has spoken to Fenn on multiple occasions and respects what he is trying to do, but maintains that the two deaths could have been avoided.

“I want people to have fun and I want people to be adventurous, but the reality is … when you have 2 million dollars or so, as its rumored to be, at stake, people make poor decisions,” Kassetas said.

“His ultimate goal is to get people outdoors, I understand that,” he added. “But people, at least two, have died, and that’s difficult for me to fathom and accept as the chief of the state police here in New Mexico.”

Kassetas said he is also concerned about the lives of other police officers and search and rescue crews at risk. He urges those who continue to search for the treasure to educate and equip themselves.

“Mr. Fenn has told me personally that he has not put this treasure anywhere where it will cause harm to anybody,” Kassetas said.

Mitzi Wallace, the wife of Paris Wallace, the Colorado pastor who authorities believe died in pursuit of Fenn’s treasure, said she does not blame the author for her husband’s death, telling ABC News, “it wasn’t his fault.”

Mitzi Wallace said searching for Fenn’s treasure is something she and her husband “did together as a hobby” and it served as “a motivation to get out in nature.”

“Paris knew his Lord, and it was time for him to go home,” Mitzi Wallace added. “Searching for the treasure, and having the time we had together, it was wonderful.”

Mitzi Wallace said she may even still go searching for Fenn’s treasure with her two sons, aged 19 and 21, saying “we may, because we enjoy the outdoors, we enjoy hiking.”

The pastor’s wife added that she is “thankful” to Fenn for “giving us an adventure.”

Earlier this week, Fenn issued a statement mourning the death of Paris Wallace, saying the loss “is tragic and it has impacted me in a profound way. My heart and prayers go out to Mrs. Wallace, his friends, and to his congregation. I am so sorry.”

In response to calls for him to put an end to the treasure hunt that has taken a deadly turn, Fenn told ABC News in a statement, “I have given a lot of thought about ending the search, but I am not sure what that would accomplish.”

“An average of 9 people lose their lives each year at the Grand Canyon, but there is no call to close it,” Fenn added. “I have said that my treasure is not hidden in a dangerous place, so why are people searching in dangerous places?”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Tropical Storm Cindy makes landfall in Louisiana

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By Jeanette Torres

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall in southwestern Louisiana near the Texas border early Thursday morning, bringing the threat of strong winds, rain and potentially-dangerous floods to several Southern states.

The National Weather Service has warned that the storm could cause “life-threatening flash flooding.”

A tropical storm warning is in effect from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana. But ABC News meteorologists said this warning is likely to end soon as Cindy weakens throughout the day.

Cindy is expected to slowly sweep across western and northern Louisiana and into southeastern Arkansas between Thursday night and Friday morning. The storm will then move into Tennessee later Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

As of 8 a.m. ET Thursday, the eye of the storm was located some 40 miles northwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and moving north at 12 mph. The storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 miles per hour, with higher gusts.

Although Cindy is expected to continue weakening over the next 48 hours, the National Weather Service said the weather disturbance could still produce a few tornadoes Thursday night from the lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valley regions to the central Gulf Coast.

There have been at least five tornadoes reported in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida in the past two days in relation to the approaching storm, according to ABC News meteorologists who are tracking Cindy.

The service also warned of storm surges of 1 to 3 feet of water above ground level along the coast and in areas with strong onshore winds.

“It should die out relatively quickly, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot of moisture with it,” ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee said Thursday on Good Morning America.

“It squeezes against a cold front, and that’s why western Tennessee, southeastern Arkansas, all the way through western Pennsylvania will see the remnant plus the cold front, creating a potential for flash flooding,” Zee added.

According to the National Weather Service’s latest advisory, the storm is expected to dump a total of 3 to 6 inches of rain, with as much as 12 inches in isolated spots, over eastern Texas and western and central Louisiana, as well as southern and eastern Arkansas through Friday morning. Meanwhile, southern Mississippi, southern and central Alabama and far-western portions of the Florida Panhandle could see 2 to 4 inches of rain with as much as 8 inches in isolated spots.

“This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash flooding in these areas,” the National Weather Service said in its advisory.

The governors of Louisiana and Alabama both declared statewide states of emergency ahead of the storm.

Before Cindy made landfall Thursday, one person had already died from injuries related to the storm’s winds.

A 10-year-old boy died in Fort Morgan, Alabama, on Wednesday, according to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office. The boy had walked outside a waterfront condo, where he and his family were staying, and was standing just a few feet from the door when a large wave knocked a log into him around 10:30 a.m. local time.

The boy, whose name has not been released, died at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.

Prior to reaching land, the storm brought heavy winds and rain to some Southern states on Wednesday, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Residents in Lake Charles, Louisiana, uploaded images and video of the storm to social media on Wednesday as it battered the city with severe rain. One person even posted a video of people kayaking through the flooded streets of Lake Charles.

Meanwhile, social media users near the Florida panhandle shared video on Wednesday showing the shoreline edging closer as unusually large waves crashed on the beaches there.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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