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Kansas City Police Have Highway Shooting Suspect in Custody


ABC News(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) --  Kansas City, Mo., police said Thursday they have taken into custody a suspect in connection with a string of highway shootings that have set the area on edge.

SWAT teams were seen swarming the house of the male suspect in Grandview, Mo. In a brief news conference Thursday evening, police did not provide details on what led them to the suspect.

"Residents are safe...we have a person in custody," Police Chief Darryl Forté said. "That person has not been charged." He said more details will provided Friday and the investigation is ongoing.

One person was killed and another injured on Monday after a shooting on a Kansas City highway.

Police in Kansas City, Kan., where the shooting occurred, had said they believe it was an isolated incident and not part of a spate of up to 20 highway shootings that have occurred in the past month on the Missouri side of Kansas City, but are still investigating any possible connection to the other cases.


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Good Samaritan Prevents Possible Murder-Suicide in NJ


Andrew F Kazmierski/Thinkstock(FLORENCE, N.J.) -- An apparent murder-suicide attempt was foiled in New Jersey this week by a Good Samaritan, who local authorities say saved a mother and her teenage kids from drowning.

Police are crediting Darnell Taylor with diving into the Delaware River near the town of Florence and rescuing Joann Smith and her three children, ages 13, 14 and 15.

According to prosecutors, Smith deliberately drove a van into the river as the youngsters called their father to tell them what was happening. Taylor told the daughter to kick open the window, pulling the girl out first. He then went back and retrieved the others before the van sank.

One child received cuts to the leg but otherwise, everyone was okay.

Smith, whose first court appearance is next week, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of endangering the welfare of children. Bail has been set at $600,000.

Smith's husband, Jeffrey Smith, says that his wife has been dealing with a mental health issue for more than a decade.

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'Horseless E-Carriage' Debuts in Time for NY Auto Show


Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tries to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city, an animal advocacy group is pushing an alternative to the tourist attraction with "Horseless eCarriages."


NYCLASS, which stands for New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets, debuted a model of the eight-passenger vintage-style vehicle Thursday to coincide with the New York Auto Show. The car runs on a lithium-ion battery with a top speed of 30 mph.

The nonprofit animal advocacy organization said it hopes to bring the vehicle to the streets of New York for commercial use in the future.

The organization commissioned a classic car restoration business in Dania Beach, Fla., called The Creative Workshop, to build the car, which has a GPS-regulated automatic 5 mph for those slow Central Park drives.


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Stormfront Website Posters Have Murdered Almost 100 People, Watchdog Group Says


iStock/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- Nine men who were allegedly prolific posters on the white supremacist website Stormfront were responsible for killing almost 100 people over the past five years, according to a report released Thursday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Among the nine people named in the report are Anders Breivik, who was convicted of killing 77 people in two attacks in Norway in 2011; Wade Michael Page, who authorities said killed six people at a Milwaukee Sikh temple before taking his own life; and Richard Poplawski, who was sentenced to death for killing three Pittsburgh police officers.

“If you spend enough time looking at these folks, there is a pattern that emerges," said Heidi Beirich, who spent two years analyzing Stormfront, which she calls the "murder capital of the Internet."

"It is a myth that racist killers hide in the shadows. Investigators find that most offenders openly advocated their ideology online, often posting on racist forums and blogs for hours every day," Beirich said.

With 268,000 registered users, she said Stormfront has become a breeding ground for hate, where the typical shooter, who she said is a "frustrated, unemployed, white adult male," can post his grievances against society.

While online, the alleged perpetrators of these killings exhibited several unique characteristics, including being argumentative on the forums, discussing violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution and a notable change in their posting frequencies in the days leading up to their crimes.

Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan member and the founder of Stormfront, told ABC News the Southern Poverty Law Center's report was "ludicrous" and said the number of murdered was inflated because they included Breivik, who he said posted only a few times on the site before he was banned.

"There are any number of websites who have had murderers come through their ranks," Black said, naming several popular social media and online personals websites.

"We have had a few people who have gone on shooting sprees. Most were domestic issues that didn't have anything to do with politics," Black said.

Frazier Glenn Miller, the man who allegedly killed three people outside two Jewish sites in Kansas last weekend, posted more than 12,000 times on a different racist web forum, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Miller was charged this week with one count of capital murder and a second count of premeditated first-degree murder. He has not yet entered a plea.

Black, who said he knows Miller from decades ago, said he wasn't welcome on the Stormfront website since he became a "government informant" in exchange for a plea deal and testified against several white supremacists at a 1988 sedition trial.

"He was certainly unwelcome and I couldn't imagine why he would think he is welcome. He was a big-time government informant," Black said. "He wouldn’t have been allowed to post the stuff he had [on VNN] on our board."

Stormfront is staffed with moderators, Black said, who "do not tolerate illegal violence, even the suggestion of illegal violence."

"Anybody who says anything like that gets shown the door," he said.

Black said his website is a place for white nationalists to "discuss the truth as we see it" and, if anything, may act as a deterrent.

"The kind of people that are more likely to go out and do something and go on a shooting spree are by themselves typically," he said. "If they become part of our community they are less likely to do something because they have a support group."

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Obama: US ‘Prepared to Respond’ to Russian Aggression in Ukraine


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Thursday said the U.S. and its allies “have to be prepared – potentially – to respond” to continued efforts by Russia to interfere in southern Ukraine.

He held out the “the possibility, the prospect that diplomacy can de-escalate the situation,” but warned that he was not counting on it.

However, he said that military options are still not on the table “because this is not a situation that would be amenable to a clear military solution.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier the lengthy four-way meeting on Ukraine had produced metrics for measuring how quickly the situation there de-escalates, but added that there is still more work to be done. Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room, Obama called the development “a glimmer of hope.”

“All of this, we believe, represents a good day’s work,” he said after the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. “But on the other hand, this day’s work has produced principles. And it has produced commitments."

Turning to domestic issues, Obama also called upon Republicans to end their “endless, fruitless” efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“The repeal debate is and should be over,” the president said as he announced that enrollment in Obamacare, his signature legislative achievement, his now topped 8 million Americans with “millions more to come next year and the year after.”

But some Republicans, he said, “still can’t bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working.”

The president also expressed his frustration with states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid “for no other reason than political spite.”

“That’s wrong,” Obama said. “It should stop.”

In his remarks on Thursday, the president also took the opportunity to express his “deepest condolences” to the Republic of Korea in the wake of the ferry disaster earlier this week. Obama travels to Seoul next week as part of a multi-country trip to Asia.


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Newly-Released Video Captures Deadly Plant Explosion


WFAA-TV/ABC News(WEST, Texas) -- Witnesses to last year’s fiery explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, have come forward with a new video of the explosion that shows a gas cloud burst into flames.

The video was taken by Jeff Tobola, who was sitting in a car with his son Mason near the plant when it happened.

“I just happened to throw it up at about that time,” Jeff Tobola told ABC News affiliate WFAA, saying he shot the video with only a moment to spare.

He shared the video with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as part of this investigation into the explosion, which happened one year ago Thursday and claimed 15 lives. More than 160 people were injured.

“When it exploded, you could see the wave of the energy of the explosion actually like in slow motion… like in a movie,” Mason Tobola told WFAA.

 

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Exclusive: Image Shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Last Message Before Arrest


Obtained by ABC News(BOSTON) -- A new image shows the bullet-riddled anti-American rant allegedly scrawled by suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the inside wall of a boat as he hid from a police manhunt last year.

“The U.S. government is killing our innocent civilians, but most of you already know that…I can’t stand to see such [bullet hole] go unpunished,” says the handwriting captured in the image obtained by ABC News from a law enforcement official in Massachusetts. “We Muslims are one body. You kill one of us, you hurt [bullet hole] us all.”

Two state and two federal law enforcement officials confirmed the authenticity of the image.

Along with bullet holes that interrupt Tsarnaev’s message, the image shows drips of red liquid on the wall, which could be paint or, officials said, blood. Dzhokhar had been injured in a firefight with police hours before -- the same firefight that took the life of his older brother and alleged co-conspirator Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

ABC News has previously reported that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote an anti-American message on the boat, called the Slip Away II, in which he hid during the massive manhunt last April. Law enforcement sources previously said that the message also included the phrase “F*** America”. That portion of the message was not included in the image obtained by ABC News.

This week, law enforcement sources said Dzhokhar also lamented elsewhere in the note that his brother was able to meet Allah first.

David Bruck, a member of Tsarnaev’s defense team, had no comment when he was shown the photograph Wednesday. In a pre-trial hearing Wednesday, he repeated arguments made in court filings that Tamerlan was ultimately responsible for last year’s terror attacks. Previous filings indicated the defense may argue in Dzhokhar’s November trial that the 19-year-old was only doing his older brothers’ bidding.

“If the government’s indictment is true, this [case] is about a family,'' Bruck said, adding, "a story of this family and the relationships between the people in."

Dzhokhar has pleaded not guilty to 30 counts related to the dual explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line last year. The blasts killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injured some 260 others.

The bombings also kicked off an enormous investigation in and around Boston during which, three days after the bombing, the FBI released surveillance images of the Tsarnaev brothers, who had not yet been identified, as suspects numbers one and two in the case.

Hours after the photos were released, the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly ambushed and killed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier and then carjacked a man. A high-speed chase escalated into a firefight where the suspects hurtled bombs at the police on the streets of nearby Watertown.

Authorities say Dzhokhar at least partially contributed to Tamerlan’s death during the firefight when Dzhokhar hit his brother with a vehicle during his getaway. Dzhokhar temporarily disappeared, only to be discovered in a boat sitting on land in a local resident’s back yard.

While injured, authorities say Dzhokhar had taken the time to write on the walls of the boat in black pen. When authorities arrived, a bloodied Dzhokhar surrendered.

Based on the image obtained by ABC News, he begins the message with the Muslim statement of faith, saying that there is but one god, Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.

Aside from the aforementioned legible messages, much of the rest of the note in the image is unintelligible due to the red liquid, bullet holes and fading ink.

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Fast Food Workers Rewarded for Fast Action That Saved Customer’s Life


Scott Olson/Getty Images(FLINT, Mich.) -- When a couple of fast food restaurant workers got no response over the microphone at their drive-thru station they rushed outside to find a driver in cardiac arrest. They pulled him out of his vehicle and gave him life-saving CPR.

The customer returned to the Burger King in Flint, Mich., Wednesday to thank his rescuers and applaud them.

Assistant Manager Lidia Rodriguez, 26, was working the drive-thru when Howard Turner Jr., 46, pulled up to the speaker on March 29. Rodriguez heard nothing from the other end and knew something was wrong.

“I go toward my back room where I can see out to my speaker and I’m like, ‘If you’re okay, raise your hand’ and I didn’t get no response,” Rodriguez told ABC’s Michigan affiliate, WJRT.

Rodriguez and a co-worker, Kelseigh Valdez, a member of a volunteer paramedic program, rushed outside to Turner.

They pulled Turner out of his car, and Rodriguez called 911 while Valdez performed CPR.

The two saved Turner’s life.

“I feel like I’m going to be connected with them forever. They were just like my angels, right at the time,” Turner said.

Mobile Medical Response, a non-profit organization that provides emergency medical services to counties across Michigan, presented both women with lifesaving awards on Wednesday, but they also had a surprise for Valdez.

Valdez, 18, originally from Oregon, moved to Flint to participate in a volunteer paramedic program. MMR gave her a scholarship to become a professional paramedic. Valdez was shocked to see her dreams come to fruition.

“I knew it was going to happen at some point in my life, just not at Burger King,” she said.

The scholarship award came as a surprise to everybody. “I got all teary eyed when it happened,” said Donna Bennett, the Burger King manager.

“Oh my God, I am so proud of both of them. I don’t know if I could have ever done anything like that. I would have probably just panicked,” Bennett told ABC News.

“I thought what they did was great,” Bennett added.

Turner does not recall the women pulling him out of his car, but he is forever grateful. “Without them, I definitely wouldn’t be here and I know that for a fact,” Turner said.

Bennett said incorporating CPR training for employees is something she and her owner will likely discuss for the future.


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Touching Procession for Fallen Hero K-9 Dog


iStock/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- A K-9 dog that died saving the life of his police officer partner during a shootout was given an impromptu motorcade procession to the veterinarian’s office, flanked by police, firemen and canine units.

Mick, a K-9 dog fresh out of training, was shot and killed by an armed robbery suspect who was among three men trying to burglarize a police uniform store in Southwest Portland, according to police.

The dog's K-9 officer, Jeff Dorn, was shot in both legs. He is currently recovering from non-life-threatening injuries in hospital, a police spokesman said.

Authorities found the alleged shooter with the help of a police helicopter and 911 calls from neighbors, police said.

The 20-year-old suspect surrendered at gunpoint and was taken by medics to a hospital, although it remains unclear if he was shot.

Mick suffered a fatal gunshot wound and was found dead beneath a hedge after an intensive search.

An impromptu procession brought the K-9’s body from the scene of the shooting to the veterinarian’s office in Southeast Portland on Wednesday.

The procession involved members of the police force, fire department and other K-9 handlers and their dogs.

Dorn told fellow police officers that Mick undoubtedly saved his life, according to ABC News affiliate KATU in Portland, Ore. The dog-handler team had just completed the 400 hours of training together required for Mick to graduate as a fully-fledged K-9 officer.

"In this situation, the dog was doing its job. It was protecting our community. It's tragic that we lost the dog," said Portland Police Chief Mike Reese. "As far as a handler, my heart goes out to him and his family,” said Hall. “It’s almost like losing somebody close to you, like a family member almost; I mean they’re part of the family, they live with us."

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Mystery Surrounds College Wrestler's Death


Dammion Heard, 20, was a scholarship wrestler at Western State Colorado University. (Gomountaineers.com)(DALLAS) -- Dammion Heard’s parents still can’t make any sense of their son’s death.

Heard, a scholarship wrestler at Western State Colorado University, was found dead in a field two weeks ago, his SUV located nearby. The 20-year-old’s cause of death was listed as strangulation by hanging. His parents Gary and Jamie Heard say police told them he took his own life.

“He was always upbeat,” Gary Heard said in an interview with ABC affiliate WFAA-TV. “He never had any issues with depression or anxiety.”

His parents say phone records indicate he planned on meeting a girl the morning following his disappearance.

He was also involved in a fight the night before he died, police said, according to his parents.

And perhaps most suspicious of all, Heard’s parents say police told them that surveillance footage shows the student filling up his Saturn just before he died.

“None of it adds up,” Gary Heard said. “It all just seemed really fishy.”

Police told ABC News that they’re waiting on autopsy results. An earlier press release did not mention a possible suicide but stated, “no suspects are being pursued at this time” and that “the investigation into Dammion Heard’s death is ongoing”.

In the meantime, support from Heard’s friends continues to pour in, with the Texas native remembered on campus and across social media.

Heard’s parents say they plan on hiring their own investigator, hoping to unravel their son’s death.

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Two Fire Trucks Collide En Route to California House Fire


Monkey Business Images/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- A pair of fire trucks collided while responding to a house fire in Monterey Park, Calif., on Wednesday.

The engines, from two different fire departments, crashed just after 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The collision occurred even though both engines had their lights and sirens on, ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV reports.

No one was killed in the crash, but 15 were injured, one critically. The other injuries were considered minor or moderate.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

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Explosion at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills One, Seriously Injures Three Others


File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(MCEWEN, Tenn.) -- One person is dead and three other people have been seriously injured in a fiery explosion Wednesday at a Tennessee ammunition plant.

Now under control, according to officials, the fire destroyed Rio Ammunition in McEwen, Tenn. The plant is owned by the adjacent explosives manufacturer Accurate Energetic Systems.

"At this time we've got the fire extinguished in the building itself -- still smoldering but under control," Odell Poyner, Humphrey County director of Emergency Management, said Wednesday. "Firefighters are still putting on some water."

The plant explosion set off a small brush fire at the rural location of the structures, but Odell said firefighters were nearly finished controlling it.

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US Lawyers Aim to Profit in Malaysia Airlines Tragedy


Feng Li/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- In the midst of their anguish and grief, some families of the passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 say they are being besieged by high-stakes versions of ambulance chasers -- American lawyers looking for clients.

"That is piling insult onto injury and this is just not acceptable,” said Sarah Bacj, girlfriend of American passenger Philip Wood.

Among the U.S. lawyers who have already shown up in Malaysia are members of Ribbeck Law of Chicago, led by Monica Ribbeck Kelly. At a quickly staged news conference, the firm’s lawyers discussed multi-million-dollar lawsuits against Boeing, the maker of the aircraft that disappeared, even before anyone has figured out what actually happened to the plane.

According to two grief counselors, the Ribbeck firm has been aggressively distributing cards and brochures in Chinese to family members, a practice that legal experts say would not be legal in the U.S. in order to protect families at a vulnerable time. One of the brochures includes the claim that it is quite common for families of victims to receive “millions or even tens of millions of dollars” from lawsuits.

Caesar Sun, a volunteer grief counselor in Beijing, told ABC News about the experience of one family member.

"He told me that a lawyer came to him and said, 'You can get a million dollars if the plane was confirmed as crashed. And you have to let us do it... Sign something so we can do it for you,'" Sun said.

The Ribbeck firm lists its address in a Chicago high-rise, but the offices appear to be empty, supposedly being remodeled, as first reported by The Chicago Tribune.

Kelly denied that any of her lawyers had contacted families directly, and said that while her firm had signed up dozens of families, all of them had asked her to represent them.

"It's up to the families," Kelly told ABC News. "It is ethical and moral."

At a Ribbeck Law press conference in Kuala Lumpur last month, Kelly said, “In many of these crashes, we have no wreckage and we have no black boxes…and in many cases we have black boxes that cannot be read. So we cannot wait for them to find the wreckage or find the black boxes because the litigation can start without it.”


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Boston Marathon Hoax Suspect Held on $100K Bail


Suffolk County District Attorney's Office(BOSTON) -- The man accused in a hoax on the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon attacks was ordered held on $100,000 bail when he appeared briefly in court Wednesday.

In a blue V-neck prison smock, 25-year-old Kevin Edson stood while prosecutor Susan Terry told the judge Edson left a backpack containing a rice cooker at the finish line of the marathon Tuesday night.

The device Edson had was not an actual explosive, police said.

A doctor said Edson has a history of psychiatric disturbances and was off his medication, while prosecutors said Edson told police he knew what he was doing.

The two suspicious bags -- only one of which police say they believe the man dropped -- were both exploded Tuesday evening after the suspect had been detained for questioning.

"With the marathon coming, we are taking it serious," Boston Police Officer Randall Halstead said. "Our officers are trained in looking for any kind of suspicious activity, and when it is brought to their attention or they notice it, which was in this case, they act upon it."

The race takes place on April 21, but Tuesday was a day of remembrance in Boston, a year after bombings at the finish line killed three and injured 264.

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Mother of Boy Found in Claw Machine Will Not Face Charges


iStock/Thinkstock(LINCOLN, Neb.) -- The mother of the 3-year-old Nebraska boy who was reported missing before being found safe inside a claw machine at a nearby bowling alley will not face charges.

The mother, who was not identified, called 911 Monday evening to report she could not find her son in the family’s Lincoln, Neb., home, according to police officials.

At nearly the same time, at a bowling alley and billiards business across a one-lane side street from the family’s home, a patron reported seeing a young boy stuck inside a claw machine.

“A patron went inside the bar and asked if anyone was missing a little boy,” Randy Lee, a front counter worker at Madsen’s Bowling and Billiards, told ABC News.  “No one said anything and she said, ‘There’s a boy stuck in the machine.’”

“They thought maybe his arm was stuck and the bar maid went out and saw him actually stuck inside,” Lee said.

Employees called police, who, by that time, had also received the missing persons call from the boy’s mother.

Madsen employees called Value Vendor Services (VVS), which owns and operates the claw machine, to come and unlock the machine.

Nearly half an hour after he was found inside the machine, the young boy was safely removed and returned to his family.

Lee says the claw machine is located against a wall that is not visible from the front counter.  Lee did not know how long the boy was inside the machine before he was found around 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The owner of the claw machine gave the boy a stuffed animal after he was rescued, according to Lee.

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