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Survivors on hand as alleged gunman in El Paso mass shooting appears in court to face 90 federal charges

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NiseriN/iStock(EL PASO, Texas) — Under heavy guard and restrained by shackles, the alleged gunman in a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart store that left 22 people dead made his first federal court appearance on Wednesday to face multiple hate-crime charges stemming from the August 2019 massacre.

Patrick Crusius, 21, appeared in U.S. District Court in El Paso after Magistrate Miguel Torres rejected a request from his attorneys that he be allowed to enter the courtroom unrestrained.

In his ruling, Torres wrote that Crusius posed a security risk based on the “extremely violent offenses” he is charged with.

“The Court finds it appropriate that the Defendant be restrained at his initial appearance … using the customary restraints used by the United States Marshals under the circumstances,” wrote Torres in an order signed about an hour before Crusius’ court appearance, according to El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA .

Around a dozen victims who survived the attack attended the hearing, some breaking into tears as they watched Crusius, according to KVIA.

Crusius’ two court-appointed attorneys, David Lane and Rebecca Hudsmith, waived the reading of the charges against him and his right to a detention hearing.

“We are going to do everything in our power to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America,” Lane told reporters outside the courtroom.

Already facing state capital murder charges, Crusius was indicted last week on 90 federal charges, including 22 counts of committing a hate crime resulting in death, 22 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder, 23 counts of a hate crime involving an attempt to kill and 23 counts of use of a firearm during a crime.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he will decide whether to pursue the death penalty after consulting with the victims’ families.

Crusius did not enter a plea and remained silent throughout Wednesday’s hearing.

He is accused of being the sole gunman to carry out the Aug. 3, 2019, killing rampage that federal authorities investigated as an act of “domestic terrorism,” meaning the suspect was allegedly intent on “coercing and intimidating a civilian population,” officials said.

Crusius allegedly told investigators following his arrest that he set out to kill as many Mexicans as he could after driving from his home in Allen, Texas, about 650 miles east of El Paso, armed with an AK-47 style semi-automatic rifle and 1,000 rounds of hollow-point ammunition, officials said.

During the investigation of the massacre, investigators discovered a document titled “The Inconvenient Truth” allegedly written by Crusius and posted online, in which he purportedly discussed his hate for immigrants and Mexicans, and said his motive for the attack was to defend the United States from an invasion, according to the federal indictment.

Law enforcement officials told ABC News that Crusius cased the Walmart, going inside without any weapons, apparently to size up the clientele inside the store, which is about 5 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

After seeing the 1,000 to 3,000 people that police estimate were inside at the time, Crusius exited the store and allegedly armed himself, officials said. He returned wearing protective ear muffs, safety glasses and wielding the high-powered rifle, according to video surveillance of him inside the store.

Police officials said Crusius allegedly started firing indiscriminately at victims, many of whom were doing back-to-school shopping, before he even walked through the front door.

The victims killed ranged in age from 15 to 90. More than two dozen people were injured in the rampage.

Eight of the 22 people killed were Mexican nationals and nine additional Mexicans were among those wounded, officials said.

Weeks before the shooting, Crusius’ mother contacted police to express concern over her son owning an assault rifle due to his age, maturity level and lack of experience, the family’s attorneys, Chris Ayres and R. Jack Ayres, told ABC News in August.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

2 officers shot while serving arrest warrant in Baltimore: Police

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MattGush/iStock(BALTIMORE) — Two officers were shot and injured while trying to serve a felony arrest warrant in Baltimore Wednesday, authorities said.

Both officers are expected to recover, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said.

“At least one of their lives was likely saved by application of a tourniquet applied by their fellow officers,” a hospital official said.

When the officers — one from Baltimore city and one from Baltimore County — confronted the suspect around noon, gunshots were fired, according to the Baltimore police.

The suspect was shot and killed at the scene, said police.

Hogan said the suspect was a “former state corrections official who had been under investigation.”

He left his job and “then had a warrant outstanding for attempted murder in Pennsylvania last night and who came back to Baltimore and then was involved in the shooting today,” Hogan said at a news conference.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison did not confirm Hogan’s description of the suspect, only saying the officers were serving a felony arrest warrant on a “violent offender” wanted in Baltimore.

The suspect — who was outside and armed — was believed to be the only individual police were looking for, Harrison said.

One officer suffered multiple gunshot wounds, the governor said, and is listed in serious but stable condition.

The second officer, who was shot in the leg, is “doing great” and is alert and in good spirits, he said.

The officers were part of a joint federal-state-local task force, Hogan said.

“We ask Marylanders to join us in praying for the full and speedy recovery of the brave officers who were injured,” Hogan said in a statement.

Just last week, two Anne Arundel County, Maryland, police detectives were shot and injured in the line of duty. Both have been released from the hospital.

“We are providing unprecedented resources to combat this violent crime crisis from all directions, with everything we’ve got,” Hogan said. “The time has come for Baltimore City to finally take back its streets and communities, once and for all.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Sarah Lawrence College dad pleads not guilty in sex trafficking, extortion case

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Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock(NEW YORK) — The father of a Sarah Lawrence College student pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor and other offenses in Manhattan federal court.

Lawrence Ray is accused of targeting his daughter’s roommates and subjecting them “to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse.”

Prosecutors said in court Wednesday that some of the material they have gathered from the victims includes sexually explicit images and Ray berating them.

The allegations stem from so-called therapy sessions he provided to Sarah Lawrence College students after he moved into his daughter’s on-campus housing in 2010. Ray moved in after he was released from a prison sentence for security fraud. He moved into a one-bedroom apartment with several of the roommates on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 2011.

Ray presented himself as a father figure to the students and learned “intimate details about their private lives, vulnerabilities, and mental health struggles under the pretense of helping them” during the sessions, according to the indictment.

Yet instead of helping, he alienated them from their parents and convinced several that they were “broken” and “in need of fixing by Ray,” the indictment claimed.

In some cases, he allegedly made up lies about the students and when they denied it, he would subject them to interrogations that included “sleep deprivation, psychological and sexual humiliation, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence, physical violence, and threats of criminal legal action” — actions that then garnered false confessions, according to the indictment.

Ray used the confessions to extort money from the students and for those who couldn’t pay, he ordered them to drain hundreds of thousands of dollars out of their parents’ savings accounts, open lines of credit, engage in real estate fraud and in one case earn money through prostitution, according to the indictment.

He was arrested Tuesday in Piscataway, New Jersey, and was with one of the students identified in the indictment and one of his daughter’s roommates at the time, authorities said.

Sarah Lawrence College called the charges “serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting,” according to a statement from the school sent to ABC News.

The statement also noted that the school conducted an investigation into the accusations against Ray in 2019, after a lengthy profile appeared in New York Magazine’s The Cut, which detailed his dealings with the Sarah Lawrence College students. The school found the investigation “did not substantiate those specific claims,” according to the statement. A spokesperson for the college did not respond to ABC News when asked what specific claims were investigated.

In that profile from The Cut, Ray denied mostly all the accusations and did not talk about his past, but did admit to taking money from one of his alleged victims that she earned through escorting.

Ray is being held without bail.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Orlando or bust: Blake Shelton wants you to join him at the new Ole Red Florida location

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ABC/Image Group LAThe newest location of Blake Shelton’s Ole Red bar and restaurant is set to open in Orlando in April, and he’s hoping you’ll join him for the grand opening in June.

You can win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the event this summer, including airfare and accommodations at the Gaylord Palms, as well as tickets to the theme park of your choice, a VIP experience at Topgolf, and more.

To be eligible to win, all you have to do is register online before Friday, May 15 at OleRed.com.

The Florida location joins Blake’s other properties in Tishomingo, Oklahoma and Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

After long onscreen hiatus, Rick Moranis returning for 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' sequel

No Comments Entertainment News

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Although he basically retired from onscreen work to be a full-time dad when his wife died in 1997, Deadline reports Rick Moranis has agreed to return to the big screen for the next Honey, I Shrunk the Kids sequel, called Shrunk.

The sequel will have Frozen‘s Josh Gad playing the son of Moranis’ oddball inventor, Wayne Szalinski.  Like father like son, Gad’s character accidentally shrinks his kids while trying to emulate his dad’s tech.

The 1989 original spawned a sequel called Honey I Blew Up the Kid, and the video-only release Honey We Shrunk Ourselves.

Deadline further reports original Honey I Shrunk The Kids director Joe Johnston will also return this time around for the film, which will be released theatrically by ABC’s parent company, Disney.

Moranis, also the star of Ghostbusters, Spaceballs and Parenthood, to name a few, has mostly performed voiceover work since his decision to be a full-time dad. He even opted out of returning to the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife film, which managed to woo back all the other living original stars, save for Harold Ramis, who died in 2014.

Moranis didn’t appear in the flesh, but recently provided his voice for Dark Helmet, his Darth Vader-like Spaceballs villain, in a tribute episode of The Goldbergs.

Moranis did take part in an eagerly anticipated reunion of the cast of SCTV, the beloved Canadian sketch comedy show that also made stars of Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short and the late John Candy, among others. The resulting documentary from the 2018 special was directed by none other than Martin Scorsese, and will soon appear on Netflix as An Afternoon with SCTV.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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