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Officials declare June 12 'Orlando United Day — A Day of Love and Kindness' in honor of Pulse anniversary

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By Carmen Cox

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — On June 12, 2016, gunman Omar Mateen murdered 49 people and injured dozens more during a three-hour standoff at the popular Orlando LGBT venue, Pulse Nightclub.

Mateen — a radicalized U.S.-born Muslim who pledged allegiance to ISIS during the massacre — was shot and killed by police.

Now, as the one-year anniversary approaches, city and county officials in Orlando have laid out their plans to commemorate the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history.

June 12 will be dedicated as “Orlando United Day — A Day of Love and Kindness,” the city of Orlando and Orange County, in conjunction with Pulse, announced in a press release.

“This announcement formally dedicates June 12 to the memory and honor of the 49 innocent lives taken at Pulse, reaffirms the community’s commitment to survivors and loved ones, as well as recognizes the global compassion and love displayed in the wake of the tragedy,” reads the release.

A series of events are planned for June 12, including a memorial service at the site of the former nightclub. Another memorial service will be held at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.

An exhibit of artwork from memorials across Orlando will be on display at the Orange County History Center, as well.

“Our community will never forget the tragedy of Pulse or the grief of those who lost loved ones,” Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer said in a video posted to a new website, OrlandoUnitedDay.com. “From heartbroken family and friends to survivors putting shattered lives back together, our entire community stands with you.”

Teresa Jacobs, the mayor of Orange County, Florida, also shared a touching message in the video.

“As we prepare for the anniversary of Pulse, the world is working to honor and remember the lives we lost,” she said. “Through a day of love and kindness dedicated to the legacy of those who perished, we will continue to cherish their memories.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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Three storm chasers die in Texas car crash, authorities say

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By Kelly Terez

iStock/Thinkstock(SPUR, Texas) — Three storm chasers died in a car crash in Spur, Texas, according to authorities.

At around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, a black Chevy Suburban was traveling northbound on Farm to Market Road 1081 before it disregarded a stop sign and collided with a black Jeep that was traveling westbound on Farm to Market Road 2794, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a press release.

The two-car crash occurred about five miles west of the city of Spur, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Both drivers and one passenger were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said, adding that all three people were storm chasers.

The location of the crash was either in or near an area under a tornado warning, ABC Lubbock affiliate KAMC-TV reported. A tornado watch is in effect for Dickens County until 11 p.m.

Authorities are continuing to investigate.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for from Del Rio to Amarillo until about 9 p.m. Tuesday, with large hail and tornadoes possible. Fourteen million Americans from Texas to Oklahoma may be affected by possible storms overnight.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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Killing of 3 teens during burglary may test Oklahoma 'stand your ground' law

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By Kelly Terez

iStock/Thinkstock(OOLAGAH, Okla.) — Three teen burglary suspects were shot and killed Monday by a homeowner’s son armed with an assault rifle in Oklahoma — which has a “stand your ground” law — and the alleged getaway driver in the case was arrested on felony murder and other charges, authorities said.

Authorities said they had not determined if the shooter, who was armed with an AR-15, would face charges. Oklahoma law presumes homeowners have a fear that justifies use of defensive force just by virtue of someone breaking into a home.

A decision on charges for the shooter as well as formal charges for the alleged getaway driver, would be determined in the coming days, prosecutors said.

“And at that time, there’ll be a final decision — I know there’s questions that have been posed regarding Stand Your Ground law as well as the application of the felony murder rule,” said first assistant district attorney Jack Thorpe. “We hope to be able to answer those questions with our formal filing decision when we reach that decision.”

According to Deputy Nick Mahoney of the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office, deputies got a call around 12:30 p.m. Monday about a possible home invasion with shots fired.

On Tuesday, Chief Deputy Les Young identified the 911 caller as Zach Peters, the son of the homeowner. They said he told the dispatcher that people had entered his home and that he’d discharged his weapon.

Mahoney said that when police arrived, they found three deceased male teenagers, ranging in age from 16-18.

Two were in the kitchen area of the house, Mahoney said; one appeared to have run from the home after being shot but had died in the driveway.

“These three individuals came to this residence, which we believe, with the intent to break in, to burglarize the home,” he said.

Hearing of retired cop who shot moviegoer puts Florida’s controversial ‘stand your ground’ law back in the spotlight

Mahoney said the males were dressed in black, wearing masks and gloves, when they allegedly forced their way through a glass backdoor. He said, there, the three allegedly encountered Peters, who was armed with a rifle. Police said Tuesday that multiple shots were fired.

Mahoney said Peters and his father, the homeowner, were in the home at the time but were not hurt. Police said Peters went to the Sheriff’s Office and was interviewed by investigators.

Mahoney said two of the deceased were considered armed. One had brass knuckles, he said. Another had a knife. Mahoney said the third suspect had not yet been searched by police.

Police with the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday they’d arrested an alleged getaway driver who they identified as Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez.

Mahoney said that Rodriguez, 21, had turned herself in to authorities after the shooting, allegedly saying that she had information about the incident. He said she was interviewed and taken into custody. Police said Tuesday that Rodriguez had identified the three dead males in the house.

Rodriguez was arrested on three counts of felony first degree murder (for deaths that occur during the commission of a felony), one count of first degree burglary and one count of second degree burglary. Police said the last count was because the four had allegedly gone to the same home earlier in the day and then returned. She has yet to be formally charged.

Mahoney said he did not know whether Rodriguez had dropped the suspects off at the home or had planned to pick them up. Police said that the investigation was ongoing and that they did not know whether the burglary was random. They would not release the names of the three killed until they contacted relatives.

Rodriguez was scheduled to appear in court April 5.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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California police looking for man seen 'car surfing' on highway

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By Kelly Terez

California Highway Patrol(LOS ANGELES) — Police are looking for a man spotted “car surfing” on a California highway.

In a video provided to local ABC-owned station KABC-TV, the man appears to dance while hanging off the passenger side of a dark-colored pickup truck for several seconds before he re-enters the car through a window.

The California Highway Patrol told ABC News that the agency is looking for the unknown man. Police stressed the danger of such a stunt, noting that the man could have fallen off the vehicle and into traffic.

Further details on the incident were not immediately available.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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Mother 'livid' over disputed pat-down of son at TSA checkpoint in Texas airport

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By Kelly Terez

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — An angry mother said Tuesday that she was owed an apology from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration after she said her 13-year-old son was patted down and held for what she said was more than an hour as her family prepared to board a flight in Texas.

On Sunday, in a Facebook post, Jennifer Williamson described the “horrifying” experience at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and included a video capturing a little more than two minutes of the incident. The video has gone viral with more than 92,000 shares so far.

“We have been through hell this morning,” Williamson said. “They detained Aaron for well over an hour at DFW. (And deliberately kept us from our flight… we are now on an alternate) We were treated like dogs because I requested they attempt to screen him in other ways per TSA rules. He has SPD and I didn’t want my child given a pat down like this. Let me make something else crystal clear. He set off NO alarms. He physically did not alarm at all during screening, he passed through the detector just fine. … I am livid.”

She added: “I wish I had taped the entire interchange. … Somehow these power-tripping TSA agents who are traumatizing children and doing whatever they feel like without any cause, need to be reined in.”

In the post, Williamson said Aaron has sensory processing disorder and hours after the incident was still saying, “I don’t know what I did. What did I do?”

On Tuesday, Aaron and his mother spoke to ABC News about the incident.

“I have always been like really sensitive to people touching me and whenever he touched me, I got, started having hives a little bit and I had that for at least half of the plane ride,” he said.

Williamson said that Aaron had not removed his laptop from his backpack and was not aware that he had to remove it, setting off an alarm. Williamson said, however, that a TSA agent had removed the laptop, ran it through a scanner and cleared it. She maintained Tuesday that the entire situation had not been handled appropriately.

“He [Aaron] hadn’t done anything wrong. He had done everything they had told him. … We’ve flown frequently before and never had a problem,” she said Tuesday, adding that she’d filed a complaint on the TSA and written to the agency on Twitter.

Williamson said she had not heard back yet.

In a statement Monday, the TSA said family members were at the checkpoint for about 45 minutes.

“TSA allows for a pat-down of a teenage passenger, and in this case, all approved procedures were followed to resolve an alarm of a passenger’s laptop,” according to the statement. “The video shows a male TSA officer explaining the procedure to the passenger, who fully cooperates. Afterward, the TSA officer was instructed by his supervisor, who was observing, to complete the final step of the screening process. In total, the pat-down took approximately two minutes, and was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother. TSA officers were with the teenager for approximately 35 minutes, which included the time it took to discuss screening procedures with the mother and to screen three carry-on items that required further inspection.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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