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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Some 35 millions Americans from Texas to Mississippi to Kansas are at risk for tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

The widespread severe weather is expected to last into Saturday evening and a possible severe outbreak situation is expected to unfold going into the weekend.

Six states are all in the storm zone -- Corpus Christi to New Orleans to Dallas, Tulsa and Wichita -- but there are two pockets with an enhanced risk that brings more concern.

Heavy rain Friday morning in parts of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas has already saturated the ground enough to spark flash flooding once additional rain moves through.

Much of the Southeast will see severe storms Saturday, even in the early morning, in Memphis, Jackson, Birmingham, Atlanta and Charleston. Damaging winds and large hail are the main threats in those cities, but isolated tornadoes can’t be ruled out.

By Saturday afternoon and evening, enhanced severe weather development is expected in the lower Ohio Valley, including Nashville, Bowling Green, Evansville and south of St. Louis.

Very large hail and a few, perhaps strong, tornadoes are possible.

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ngevdmeeberg/iStock/Thinkstock(DANVILLE, Penn.) -- A sign of spring has brought new problems to one Pennsylvania town, as officials say that groundhog holes have left an important levee system damaged.

Almost 70 holes dug by groundhogs were plugged with concrete on Friday after being filled with carbon monoxide gas earlier in the week, according to a report by ABC News affiliate WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  
 
Borough officials told WNEP-TV the groundhog burrows have been showing up on the levee system for several years, but recently noticed damaged caused by the holes have weakened the flood control system.

Earlier this week, all of the holes dug by the animals were filled with carbon monoxide-producing cartridges to kill the groundhogs burrowed inside.

Eric Ebling of Danville told WNEP-TV he felt bad for the groundhogs, but was glad the work was done.

“We do need to keep the dike intact and keep the flood out, but maybe they could have relocated them or something if they had the opportunity,” Ebling said.

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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said on Friday a "massive investigation" is looking at every aspect of the arrest of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died from a spinal injury a week after he was taken into custody.

Police released a new image of Gray on Friday as he was taken into custody, which showed him still talking, walking and breathing.

“We have ramped up a task force of 30 plus investigators, from various disciplines in this agency. Dozens of interviews have been conducted; many more remain,” Batts said.

The update comes as weekend protests are planned in Baltimore, where anger continues to simmer over Gray's death. Batts said on Friday that problems have been few so far.

“The demonstrations have been largely peaceful and respectful, but there are some who characterize the protestors as wanting a confrontation or wanting a fight,” Batts said. “We know this simply isn't true.”

Protesters have claimed Gray was the victim of what's known in Baltimore as a "rough ride,” where police intentionally stopping short and drive erratically with the intention of causing injuries.

The department is facing a lawsuit from a woman over a similar incident, and has settled other cases.  

“We know he was not buckled in the transportation wagon as he should have been, no excuses for that, period,” Batts said on Friday. “We know our police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.”


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iStock/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- After four attacks centered on a northern Colorado highway within three days, authorities are concerned a serial shooter may be on the loose.

Police are trying to determine whether the incidents in Larimer and Weld counties are linked, the most severe of which was Wednesday, when a woman was shot in the neck.

The 20-year-old woman was driving alone on Interstate 25 in Larimer County late Wednesday night when she was shot and the front driver's side window of her car shattered, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office said.

She said in a call to 911, "I'm on the highway right now and somebody just hit me and I'm bleeding from my neck and I'm scared."

The 911 operator tells her to place a dry cloth on the wound.

The woman says, "I'm trying but it's on both sides of my neck. ... I'm just scared."

She underwent surgery and is expected to survive, according to Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.

"Listening to how calm she remains with the dispatcher, I can tell you that she is a very brave young woman," Smith said.

While authorities believe the woman was randomly selected, they are concerned the shooting may not be an isolated incident.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office cited a Tuesday morning incident when deputies were driving a department van on I-25 in Weld County, transporting three inmates from one jail to another, and the right passenger window shattered. No injuries were reported, the sheriff's office said.

Two more drivers also reported shattered windows.

A man was driving in Larimer County near I-25 Wednesday night when his car's rear window shattered, ABC affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver reported, and Thursday afternoon, a man was driving in Weld County near the highway when his driver's side window shattered. Neither man was injured, KMGH reported.

But David Moore, a spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, said, unlike the Wednesday night shooting, these three incidents have not been “proven to be cases where windows were broken by a bullet."

Separately, an abandoned truck was also found along I-25 with its back window blown out, according to KMGH. But Moore said it is too soon to connect the truck to the other incidents.

No suspects have been identified and the investigation is ongoing. The authorities urge drivers to report any suspicious behavior.


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Newly released surveillance footage from Rikers Island, New York City's 400-plus-acre prison complex, is raising concerns about alleged abuse and violence inmates face while behind bars there.

The footage, obtained by The New Yorker, appears to show New York City teen Kalief Browder being slammed to the ground by a Rikers Island guard in one incident and then being beaten by other inmates in another.

Browder, who turns 22 next month, spent three years at Rikers Island -- two years in solitary confinement -- while waiting for a trial over police accusing him of stealing a backpack in May 2010. Browder was released in June 2013 when the charges against him were dismissed.

In an interview last July, Browder told ABC News that he was held there for three years because his mother could not afford to pay his bail, set at $3,500, and a trial kept getting delayed.

"Only thing on my mind was that I gotta go home, I didn't do this," said Browder, who was 16 when he was first incarcerated at Rikers. "Now I'm in jail around these grown men and they're, you know, they're fighting each other. I don't know. It was like hell on Earth."

Browder said he was beaten, stomped on and hit with weapons by correction officers.

"They cuffed me to the back, and they were just beating on me while I was in the cell," he said.

In the newly released security video, reportedly from Sept. 23, 2012, a guard can be seen arriving at Browder's cell to escort Browder to the shower, The New Yorker reported.

After a few seconds, the guard appears to slam Browder, who is handcuffed, to the ground and then hold him down. Two more guards appear to run up to the guard and Browder.

The video is then followed by footage, reportedly from Oct. 20, 2010, after Browder punched a gang leader at Rikers who spat on him, according to The New Yorker. Browder was then beaten, the magazine reported.

A group of inmates can be seen on the video attacking Browder, who appears to be punched kicked to the ground. Two guards then appear in the video, and they seem to try unsuccessfully to stop the fight. After some time, the video shows Browder being put into another room, where he is seen walking around with his hands to his head.

After a few minutes, another inmate can be seen kicking in the door to the room Browder is isolated in, and the group is seen trying to beat him again. At the end of the footage, guards finally get the inmates out, and Browder kneels on the floor, facing the wall with his hands behind him, as armored officers walk in.

A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Correction said the agency's commissioner is very troubled by what he saw on the footage of the guard apparently slamming Browder in 2012.

"He and Mayor [Bill] de Blasio have already adopted a 14-point anti-violence initiative to change the culture at DOC, and changes to the DOC’s Use of Force policy are already under way," the spokesperson said. "Training curricula for officers will be revised to reflect these changes. The Department is re-training the officer involved."

Browder's lawyer, Paul Prestia, told ABC News Friday that a lawsuit against the city is pending, but was unable to immediately give additional information.

A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Law told ABC News on Friday, "Mr. Browder's suit is currently under review."

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ABC News(SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah) -- Nicole Mayhew was at work Monday morning when she says she had a strong feeling.

“I had this feeling come over me that I needed to go home and check on my husband,” Mayhew, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, told ABC News.

Mayhew left work and went home, where she found her husband, 43-year-old Scott Mayhew, in serious trouble. He had been working on the family’s SUV when it slipped off the jack and crushed him.

“I was kind of on my side, reaching for a wrench when the car started to come down," he said. "I couldn't move at all.”

With six broken ribs and internal injuries, Scott Mayhew lay trapped, calling out for help for more than an hour.

“There was a lot of pain. I felt the car crushing me," he said. "I just knew if I hung on long enough, my prayers would be answered and she would know to come home."

Nicole Mayhew, a mother of three, said she panicked when she saw her husband’s situation.

“I was scared, but since I could hear him, I knew he was still alive,” she said. “I kind of heard him say, ‘Help me, love.'"

She and her neighbor lifted the vehicle off Scott's chest and called 911.

“I consider him extremely lucky," said one of the paramedics, Chad Pate. "I really think with her coming home as fast as she did in the time that she did, he could have lost his life had he been under the car much longer than that."

Scott believes he’s alive because of his wife’s intuition, and his wife attributes his survival to their faith.

"She's a very strong woman and I'm lucky to have her," he said.

"I think God was watching us that day," said Nicole Mayhew. "I'm so thankful for that.


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Sarah Green(JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind.) -- Miracle, a tabby that apparently survived an Indiana blaze that destroyed an apartment complex, chased 48 families from their homes and killed at least seven other cats, is now living up to his name.

Now 2 weeks old, the feline was discovered at the scene by Capt. Rusty Hall of the Jeffersonville Fire Department, one day after the fire.

"Twenty-four hours later, me and my partner, Rex Caldwell, we went back to look for equipment and, more or less, checking out the building to make sure there was no hidden hot spots," Hall told ABC News. "It just so happened that we looked over and seen something yellow sitting on the ground. I had hollered for Rex and I said, 'Is that what I think it is?'"

After realizing that the kitten was alive, Hall and Caldwell brought him back to a fire truck.

"They named him Miracle, because it is," Hall said. "It's a miracle he survived through the heavy smoke and surviving for 24 hours without food or water."

"It was something you just don’t see every day," he said. "It was really amazing and it was like I was put in the right place and the right time to find this kitten."

Sarah Green, director at the J.B Ogle Animal Shelter, where Miracle now is being cared for, said seven cats -- including two adult cats found in the same apartment unit as Miracle -- were killed in the fire, and about four other cats remain missing.

"He's actually doing pretty well," Green said. "Cats that young without a mother already have the deck stacked against them."

Green believes that she may have spoken to Miracle's owner at the scene, but added she has been unsuccessful in attempting to contact her.

"If she'll be in a place where she can take the cat, I'd like to reunite him," Green said. "If not, the firefighter at the scene wants to adopt him so either way, he has a place to go."

The fire took place on the afternoon of April 16, said Jeffersonville Fire Chief Eric Hedrick. He added that the incident left one person injured and 48 families homeless.

The official cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Statue of Liberty was evacuated Friday after a caller made a threat stating that "they were going to blow up" the landmark, authorities said.

The National Park Service, which operates the landmark and island in New York City, said the call came in at 11 a.m. and everyone was "immediately evacuated and all personnel and visitors are safe."

In a statement, the federal agency said, "United States Park Police personnel including two canine units swept the Statue. The canine units alerted on an area of interest near the lockers at the base of the statue. At this point ... it was in best to evacuate the island. The island has been cleared of all visitors and personnel.”

The NYPD Bomb Squad was investigating what was believed to be a suspicious package indicated by a K-9 unit in a visitor’s locker, police sources said.

Police said the locker was inspected and found empty.

The four-hour closure also kept ferries from New York City and New Jersey from docking.

The evacuation and subsequent suspension in ferry service resulted in a backlog that forced the island to effectively close for most of the afternoon.

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Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Why three people lost consciousness on a SkyWest Airlines flight this week remains a mystery, but they shared at least one thing: proximity.

The passengers who fainted were in two rows in the middle of the plane -- rows 11 and 12 -- over the wings on their flight from Chicago to Hartford, Connecticut, Wednesday.

But at least one expert doubts that’s relevant.

"The cabin is pressurized exactly the same from the front to the back," ABC News aviation analyst John Nance said Friday. "The fact that they're located [closely] simply means one person was noticed to be lethargic. ... We don't know what the rest of the cabin was like."

SkyWest Airlines Flight 5622 -- operating as United Express on behalf of United Airlines -- had nearly 80 passengers on board when the first person fainted.

A passenger and nurse on board, Mary Cunningham, attended to two passed out passengers and saw a flight attended also get lightheaded.

"And at that point I was thinking, who else was going to be affected? Who's next?" Cunningham said. "I myself started to feel lightheaded, dizzy, just -- I thought I was going to pass out."

The power of suggestion can be "very psychologically powerful on an airplane," Nance, a former commercial and Air Force pilot, said, "where people are on-edge to begin with."

"At the altitude they're at, any exertion is going to make you woozy," Nance said. "I'm sure that entire airplane was woozy, they just didn't recognize it."

While the Federal Aviation Administration says the pilot likely feared a potential cabin pressure problem and dropped the plane to get breathable air, SkyWest said there were no indications of a pressurization problem on the plane.

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Ray Casanova/YouTube(NEW YORK) -- Four Swedish cops vacationing in New York City helped break up a fight between two straphangers on a 6-train subway Wednesday afternoon, the New York City Police Department confirmed Thursday.

New York City resident Raymond Casanova caught the incident on cellphone video and uploaded it to YouTube, he said.

"I was hopping on an uptown 6 train at the Bleecker Street subway station when I noticed the train was being delayed due to a commotion occurring at the first car," Casanova told ABC News today.

He then went around and saw the four off-duty cops, who he later learned were from Sweden, he said.

"If you hear the audio carefully, you can even hear the [Swedish] cops asking the man they were restraining if he was OK several times," Casanova said.

NYPD officers showed up a few minutes later, a spokesman for the department said.

"There was a physical fight between two gentlemen, and four off-duty Swedish cops were able to stop the fight and held the aggressive, irrational gentleman down," a NYPD spokesman told ABC News Thursday. "No arrests were made, and the man acting irrational was taken to a hospital for evaluation."

The Swedish cops who stepped in were reportedly Erik Näslund, 26, Samuel Kvarzell, 25, Makrus Åsberg, 25, and Eric Jansberger, 28, DNAinfo New York reported, adding that the four were on their way to see Les Miserables on Broadway.

"We're just regular tourists," Åsberg told DNAinfo. "Is this a big deal?"

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ABC News(NEWPORT, Ky.) — A 24-year-old Kentucky woman was convicted of murder Thursday in the 2012 shooting death of her on-again, off-again boyfriend.

Jurors deliberated for almost five hours before reaching a verdict.

Shayna Hubers shot attorney Ryan Poston six times, with prosecutors alleging she shot Poston out of anger after he tried to break up with her.

Hubers had argued that she shot him in self-defense.

After the verdict was reached, Poston’s paternal and maternal relatives released a statement to ABC News.

“While we wish that this trial could bring Ryan back to us, we understand that it can only provide justice. The same kind of justice that Ryan sought for his clients every day,” the statement from the Poston and Carter families reads. “Ryan believed in the legal system. And today it worked. Twelve hardworking Americans have listened to the legal arguments, reviewed the facts, deliberated, and discerned the truth. Ryan’s good name is now fully vindicated and the person responsible for this brutal act is now held accountable. We thank them for their service, insight, and leadership.”

Sentencing is scheduled to begin Friday morning.

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Monkey Business/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- A high school auditorium stage in Indiana collapsed during a student performance Thursday, injuring at least a dozen people, police said.

The accident happened at Westfield High School, located about 20 miles north of Indianapolis.

The students were performing the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’” at the time of the accident.

A Westfield Police Department spokesman, speaking at a briefing, said the exact number of people injured isn’t known, with one person possibly in critical condition.

The school will be open Friday, and the incident is under investigation, the spokesman said.


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FBI (BOSTON) -- Prosecutors rested their case in the penalty phase of the trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted of the Boston Marathon bombings, by showing a dramatic video from the day of the explosions.

The video showed Denise Richard with her 8-year-old son Martin. Martin was killed in the bombings. A trauma surgeon testified that Martin did not die instantly, and that his injuries would have caused him pain.

The surveillance video that came near the end of the prosecution's case shows Denise Richard rocking back and forth over her son's body. Steve Woolfenden described witnessing the scene that day, saying he could hear Denise saying "please" and "Martin" repeatedly.

The trial will continue on Monday with Tsarnaev's defense team's case. There will be no court on Friday.

Prosecutors reserve the right to a rebuttal after the defense rests.

The same jury that convicted Tsarnaev earlier this month will decide whether to give him a life sentence or the death penalty.

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Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(AURORA, Colo.) -- A last-minute attempt by lawyers for alleged Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes to get the venue of his murder trial changed was denied by a judge on Thursday, with opening statements in the trial slated for next week.

Lawyers for Holmes had previously moved for a change of venue in April 2014, but that attempt was also denied.

Twenty-four jurors were seated last week. The opening statements are scheduled to begin on Monday.

Holmes is accused in the shooting that left 12 people dead and many more injured at an Aurora movie theater in 2013. He faces 24 counts of first-degree murder.

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estt/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident that occurred on Thursday morning when a drone was spotted near the runways for Dulles International Airport.

The FAA released a statement Thursday saying that the crew of a Trans States Airlines flight spotted the drone at about 11 a.m. The pilots said the unmanned aircraft was flying about 1,000 feet above the earth within three to four miles of the airport.

The Trans States Airlines flight was able to land safely.

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