iStock/Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- The officer who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland last year, said he "knew it was a gun and it was coming out" before he opened fire and repeatedly warned the boy to put his hands up, according to newly released statements from the cop and his partner.
The unsworn statements given Monday to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and released Tuesday by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, mark the first time that officer Timothy Loehmann and his partner's versions of events has been made public.
Rice had been holding a toy gun when officer Timothy Loehmann allegedly shot him in November 2014 and claimed in his statement that he was aiming for the 12-year-old's weapon.
Loehmann said he and his partner responded to a report of a "male waiving [sic] a gun and pointing at people" and he saw the suspect put something into his waistband.
When Rice turned towards the patrol car, Loehmann claimed he "yelled continuously 'show me your hands' as loud as I could," the statement said.
Loehmann said the suspect "appeared to be over 18 years old and about 185 pounds."
"The suspect lifted his shirt reached down into his waistband. We continued to yell 'show me your hands.' I was focused on the suspect," Loehmann wrote. "Even when he was reaching into his waistband, I didn't fire. I still was yelling the command 'show me your hands.'"
Loehmann said the suspect "had been threatening others with the weapon and had not obeyed our command to show us his hands," according to the statement. "He was facing us. This was an active shooter situation."
"I had very little time as I exited the vehicle...I observed the suspect pulling the gun out of the waistband with his elbow coming up," he wrote.
Video shows rice being shot in less than 2 seconds after car door opens.
Loehmann said he and his partner were still yelling "show me your hands."
"With his hands pulling the gun out and his elbow coming up, I knew it was a gun and it was coming out," he wrote. "I saw the weapon in his hands coming out of his waistband and the threat to my partner and myself was real and active."
He said he fired two shots, aiming towards the gun in Rice's hand, the statement said, based on "tap-tap" training.
Loehmann's partner, Frank Garmback, wrote that he saw Rice pulling the gun "from the right front area of his waistband. I thought the gun was real," his statement said.
Garmback said he and Loehmann both directed the suspect to show his hands. He also wrote that he believed the suspect was over 18.
The investigation by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office has been unable to substantiate any claims that Loehmann and/or Garmback issued any verbal commands to Rice prior to the shooting; the investigation determined that no witness was close enough to the scene to hear the alleged commands.
A grand jury is currently hearing evidence in the Rice shooting to determine if any charges will be brought against the officers.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office would not comment on whether the officers' statements have been presented to the grand jurors but said the statements were "released in keeping with our determination to be as transparent as possible in this and other police use of fatal deadly force cases." Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said, “The investigation is continuing and ultimately the Grand Jury will make its decision based on all the evidence."
The officers' statements to the sheriff's office were not sworn, the prosecutor's office said.
The officers' attorneys could not be immediately reached on Tuesday for comment.
iStock/Thinkstock(BARTLESVILLE, Okla.) -- Amid protests at universities around the country, Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper has some blunt and controversial advice for today's culture: In short, grow up.
In a blog post titled This Is Not a Daycare. It’s a University published on the Christian liberal arts school’s website, Piper described an incident when a student at the school complained of feeling “victimized” by a university sermon about 1 Corinthians 13, a bible verse that Piper calls "the quintessential love chapter."
Piper told ABC News that his open letter is directed at culture as a whole and his peers in academia rather than just one student. He feels that kids today are taught to be “self-absorbed and narcissistic” and that they go on the defensive when something makes them uncomfortable or hurts their feelings. The post goes on to say that “Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a ‘safe place,’ but rather, a place to learn.”
Piper has been president of the school since 2002, and said that while he writes weekly blog posts, none have taken off like this one. His sentiments are not new, but they're going viral at a time when political correctness is a constant topic of discussion, and while colleges are in the midst of a debate about whether marginalizing certain language should instead be protected free speech.
While his remarks are certainly ruffling feathers, Piper stands by his post. "Why this [post] goes viral is beyond me," he said. "Is it possible that I'm addressing an idea that culture finds disturbing?"
As for the incident in question in the post, sermons are generally intended to foster feelings of guilt, selfishness and discontent -- otherwise known as a good conscience, Piper said. But, he added, “If you’re more interested in playing the ‘hater’ card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn,” there are other universities besides his that will provide that opportunity.
Danielle Reid/EyeEm via Getty Images(FAIRFAX, Va.) -- The loss of a camera is heartbreaking and all-too-common, but the real shame is when the content inside cannot be recovered.
That’s why 30-year-old Thomas Tufts set out to find the owner of a muddy camera he found underwater in a West Virginia lake weeks after it was lost.
Tufts and his girlfriend made their second trip Saturday to Summersville Lake, which is “great” for rock climbing because it adds about 20 feet of cliff when it is drained in the winter every year, he said.
The Fairfax, Virginia, man spotted the camera as he walked across the rocks. “I saw this muddy, black strap,” he told ABC News on Tuesday.
Tufts initially thought the camera would be waterlogged and ruined but, to his surprise, it worked, and a single video was loaded onto the memory card.
The clip starts off with a diver climbing the rock, the camera strapped to his head and tattoos visible on his right bicep and forearm. Two friends are seen wading in the reservoir below while more wait for him at the top of the cliff.
“Say hi,” he says to one friend. “You’re on camera.”
After the taxing climb, the cameraman scopes out his surroundings before jumping off the rock. After the camera hits the water, a screen of green is visible as it plunges to the bottom of the lake, where it recorded an additional 45 minutes of video before it died.
The video must have been taken over the summer, Tufts said, adding that the time stamp says it was shot Sept. 5 at 7:15 p.m.
Tufts and his girlfriend are avid rock climbers and both own GoPros, he said, so he is determined to return the camera to the owner.
“My main motivation is to get the camera back to the guy,” he said, adding that he had hoped there would be more video on the memory card to better identify him.
Tufts started a thread on Reddit to help find the owner. One user commented that he recognized one of the men in the video from a rock climbing gym in Virginia Beach.
“We come all the way from Fairfax, [Virginia] to climb at Summersville,” he said. “So it doesn’t surprise me that someone would come from Virginia Beach to do the same.”
The camera, a Sony HD Steadyshot, is still in “perfect condition,” Tufts said.
ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been asked to resign, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Tuesday.
Emanuel said that he asked for McCarthy's formal resignation Tuesday morning.
"To build the trust and confidence of the public and, at this point, in this juncture for the city, given what we're working on, he had become an issue rather than dealing with the issue and a distraction," Emanuel said.
Deputy Superintendent John Escalante will step in to fill McCarthy's place for the time being, Emanuel said. The police board will be tasked with finding a permanent superintendent, he said.
Calls were made for McCarthy's resignation in the wake of the release of dash cam footage showing a police officer shooting a teen in October 2014. The footage was not made public until last week, after a court order.
McCarthy appeared on ABC's Chicago station WLS-TV on Tuesday, saying that he would not resign.
"I'm doing the best job I can do, let's put it that way," he said.
McCarthy was hired as the police department's superintendent in May 2011, and previously served as the chief of police in Newark, New Jersey, and spent years working for the New York City Police Department as well.
AbleStock.com/Thinkstock(GROVE, Okla.) -- Recordings of a mother desperately calling 911 for help as her family is stuck in an Oklahoma river during a storm has been released.
The 911 calls came on Friday when Britta Franck, her three small sons and her elderly grandmother were all stuck in a river.
"We're in the water, the car is under the water. We need help!" Franck can be heard screaming on the 911 call.
It is unclear how their car got into the river, but the heavy rains and storms that hit the region that day are believed to have contributed to the water's speed.
She is heard telling the dispatcher that they were on their way home to Kansas from her sister's home in Grove, Oklahoma.
Franck sounds frantic in her first call, and she made a second call to the dispatcher, pleading with her to "please stay on the phone, it's scary!"
The dispatcher asks about the condition of the family members with her, and she said that her grandmother was the only one bleeding, which Franck suspected was the result of the passenger's side window cracking from the water pressure.
Franck also said that she was keeping her three sons -- ages 1, 3 and 6 -- within reach.
"I've got two of them in my arms and my other son is sitting on this tree," she is heard saying.
Later in the recording, one of the boys can be heard asking his mother to "please get off the phone."
Another can be heard trying to comfort her, repeating: "Mom, I love you, mommy."
At the end of the call, Franck can be heard directing emergency responders and ending the call.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office(CLEVELAND) — An Ohio father has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping his son 13 years ago in Alabama.
Bobby Hernandez, who was arrested in November, appeared in an Ohio court Tuesday, where he entered a plea of not guilty to all 32 counts against him. Hernandez is facing several counts of kidnapping, interfering with custody, tampering with records and forging identification cards, according to Cuyahoga County court records, in connection with the alleged kidnapping of his son, Julian.
Julian, now 18, was reported missing by his mother in Alabama in August 2002, according to police. He was 5 years old at the time.
As an Ohio teenager, Julian couldn't validate his Social Security number when he was applying to college, and he and his guidance counselor found him in a database for missing children. Hernandez was taken into custody in November.
Hernandez appeared Tuesday handcuffed and shackled, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. He did not speak.
His first pre-trial hearing was set for Dec. 10.
"He's been a perfect father," Hernandez's lawyer, Ralph DeFranco, told reporters after court Tuesday. "His son is a senior in high school, he's athletic, he's an athlete, a straight A-student, planning to go to college. He's been everything a father can be."
Last month Julian Hernandez pleaded for privacy.
"I have goals that I am striving to meet, so please, again, respect my request for privacy," Julian said in a statement provided by the FBI in Cleveland, Ohio.
"I just want to be left alone," said Julian.
After Julian's identity was revealed, a representative for Julian's mother said the family was "overjoyed" to "learn that he is safe."
Underwood Archives/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Dec. 1, 1955, was the day Rosa Parks became an icon for change. That was when the “Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement” refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger.
Parks was arrested because segregation on buses was legal in Montgomery, Alabama, at the time. Parks, an NAACP member, wasn’t the first to refuse to give up a seat, but her action led to the Montgomery bus boycott. In 1956, the Supreme Court ruled to ban segregation on public buses. Watch this video to learn about Rosa Parks in a minute.
President Obama praised Parks Tuesday for “her singular moment of courage” that energized the Civil Rights Movement.
Read the president's full statement:
"Rosa Parks held no elected office. She was not born into wealth or power. Yet sixty years ago today, Rosa Parks changed America. Refusing to give up a seat on a segregated bus was the simplest of gestures, but her grace, dignity, and refusal to tolerate injustice helped spark a Civil Rights Movement that spread across America. Just a few days after Rosa Parks’ arrest in Montgomery, Alabama, a little-known, 26 year-old pastor named Martin Luther King Jr. stood by her side, along with thousands of her fellow citizens. Together, they began a boycott. Three-hundred and eighty-five days later, the Montgomery buses were desegregated, and the entire foundation of Jim Crow began to crumble.
Like so many giants of her age, Rosa Parks is no longer with us. But her lifetime of activism – and her singular moment of courage – continue to inspire us today. Rosa Parks reminds us that there is always something we can do. It is always within our power to make America better. Because Rosa Parks kept her seat, thousands of ordinary commuters walked instead of rode. Because they walked, countless other quiet heroes marched. Because they marched, our union is more perfect. Today, we remember their heroism. Most of all, we recommit ourselves to continuing their march."
iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting after a routine traffic stop that resulted in an exchange of gunfire outside an Atlanta hotel that left one man dead Monday night.
The incident began when an officer, whose identity has not been released, saw a Jeep going the wrong way down a one-way street, according to Atlanta Police Maj. Adam Lee III. When the officer tried a routine traffic stop, the Jeep sped up, hit a shuttle bus and then subsequently crashed into a pole, Lee said.
The driver of the car was apprehended immediately, but the passenger jumped out and fled, Lee said. The exchange of gunfire, heard and recorded by a number of witnesses in the area, was between the passenger and an officer. According to Lee, no officers were injured, but the fleeing passenger was found dead near a dumpster with a 45-caliber gun and shell casings nearby.
Three officers are believed to have been involved in the shooting, Lee said, but he could not confirm that number. Police have the driver in custody. The deceased has not been identified.
Two guns were found in the car, along with money and a large quantity of drugs, Lee said, but police do not yet have an explanation for why the suspects attempted to flee.
Courtesy of Carole Adler(NEW YORK) — While families all over prepare to reunite for the holiday season, Carole Adler is trying to adjust to the loss of her only son and best friend.
This May, Taylor Thyfault was training with the Colorado State Patrol when he was struck on the scene of an unrelated accident by a suspect evading police. He was pronounced dead at the scene, but he used his last moments to save someone else. Before he was hit, Taylor, 21, screamed at the tow truck driver on scene to get out of the way of the speeding suspect.
“He took his half a second to react [to the approaching car] to warn the tow truck driver to get out of the road,” his mother told ABC News.
Adler said she and her son were extremely close. They texted each other all the time, and Adler said that her son was texting her right before he was killed. When she heard what happened, she texted him immediately, with no response. In the months after Thyfault’s death, Adler said texting his phone kept her feeling close to him.
She never really considered that his number might be reassigned to someone else so soon after the accident -- until she finally got a text back from his number. Taylor’s number had coincidentally ended up on the phone of a veteran officer who worked in the county where Thyfault was killed.
Sergeant Kell Husley got a new phone number this August and ignored the first couple of texts from Adler, which he assumed were accidentally sent to the wrong number. “Then I got one that was really heartfelt and I knew that this is somebody who doesn’t know I have this phone,” Husley said.
When Husley found out who Adler was, he offered to change his number -- but Adler said she felt the fact that Thyfault’s number had been reassigned to someone with the job he one day hoped to have was fate. “I am honored that a police officer of your credentials has [Thyfault’s] number,” Adler texted him. “You’re doing the things he wanted to do.”
Though they’ve never met, Adler still texts Husley every couple of days, instructing him to stay safe.
As Adler prepares to see her son’s name added to a national memorial to fallen officers next year, she said it feels bittersweet.
“I just want to text him and tell him I’m so proud, it’s a knee-jerk reaction because we were that close,” she said.
ABC News(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Suspected Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Dear appeared in court via video on Monday as authorities continue to investigate the shooting and hours-long standoff at the Colorado Springs clinic that authorities said left three dead and nine others injured.
Dear faces charges of murder in the first-degree. The next hearing to formally charge him was set for Dec. 9.
If convicted, he could face a minimum of life in prison to a maximum of the death penalty, court officials said.
Dear is being held in jail with no bond. For his court appearance via video he wore a padded jacket that jail officials called a "suicide prevention garment."
He was appointed public defender, Daniel King, who also represented Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes.
While police haven't released a possible motive or said whether the clinic was the intended target, law enforcement sources told ABC News that Dear, 57, made rambling comments during the incident, some of which suggested animosity toward the health care provider.
They said the Justice Department is building a domestic terrorism case against Dear, though it would only move forward if somehow the state capital case was sidetracked.
Dear also allegedly made statements about President Obama during or after the incident that were concerning enough that he now has the attention of the U.S. Secret Service, which has dispatched agents to evaluate the remarks and possibly interview him, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
Police and federal agents Saturday used a bomb robot to search the mobile home and storage shed on the property in Hartsel, Colorado, where Dear lived. Hartsel is about 65 miles west of Colorado Springs.
Zigmund Post, one of Dear's neighbors, told ABC News that the last time he saw the man was Wednesday, outside the post office.
Dear made an impression on Post the first time they met, he said, because he immediately gave him anti-Obama pamphlets.
"That was kind of weird that within three minutes of meeting somebody, they're already wanting to give you that kind of stuff," Post said.
"You could tell he wasn't that friendly of a guy," Gary Murr, another Hartsel resident, told ABC News. "He sure didn't smile or nothing. He would just answer a question and that's it."
Cook County Sheriff's Office(CHICAGO) -- The Chicago police officer who has been charged with murder for the fatal shooting of a black teenager has been released on $1.5 million bond.
Jason Van Dyke turned himself in last week and was charged with the first-degree murder of Laquan McDonald, 17, after allegedly shooting him 16 times during an incident in October 2014.
On Monday, Van Dyke appeared in court wearing handcuffs, leg irons, and a greenish grey prison uniform when he appeared before Judge Donald Panarese.
The court played dash cam footage from the shooting.
Van Dyke's attorney Daniel Herbert argued that his client was not a flight risk, had significant ties to the community and planned to fight the charges. Prosecutors had asked that he continue to be held without bail.
Hebert said that he and his client are happy that the judge imposed bond, which will give his family and supporters a chance to get him out of jail if they raise 10 percent of its value, which amounts to $150,000.
The bond was posted Monday and Van Dyke left the Cook County jail shortly after 6 p.m.
The police officer's arrest on Nov. 24, more than a year after McDonald's death, came hours before dash cam footage of the shooting was released after a judge ordered the City of Chicago to do so.
iStock/Thinkstock(SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla.) -- Police in Florida and Connecticut are trying to track down a woman after a picture of her dog with its mouth taped shut was posted on her Facebook page.
A post Friday from “Katie Brown” -- the name police said Katherine Lemansky uses on Facebook -- shows a Chocolate Lab with duct tape wrapped around its mouth, a statement from the South Daytona Police Department said.
The caption on the photo reads, “This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!!” After receiving negative comments and thousands of shares, another post appeared on Lemansky's page reading: “Dont panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasnt barked since... POINT MADE!!!”
Police said that because Lemansky identified herself as living in South Daytona on her Facebook page, the police department and city email and Facebook pages were bombarded with questions and concerns.
“The City Facebook postings reached 1.4 million people and received more than 19,000 comments and 600 messages,” police said. “The City brought in extra resources to handle the high volume of calls to the police station.”
According to police, Lemansky owns property in both Florida and Connecticut, making it difficult to determine where she is living.
“The local property in South Daytona appears vacant and is currently under code enforcement action,” police said.
In order to find her, the South Daytona police were working with the Torrington Police Department in Connecticut, which also received about 200 messages of concern on its Facebook page, Torrington Police Department spokesman Linas Venclauskas told ABC News on Monday.
“Some of the posts were from Canada and all over the country,” Venclauskas said.
Venclauskas said investigators believe Lemansky was heading back to Florida after visiting family.
South Daytona police said they have reached out to Lemansky’s friends and family and requested that they “urge her to bring the dog into the nearest police station so that the well-being of the animal can be determined.”
Lemansky has not been charged, but both police departments said that once she is located, investigators will determine how to proceed.
South Daytona Police added: “It is important for everyone to know that this case is a high priority and will be handled as would any other criminal investigation.”
Lemansky could not be reached by ABC News for comment.
iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- The suspect in an online threat against the University of Chicago -- a student from a nearby college -- allegedly wanted to kill approximately 16 students or staff and "any number of white policemen that I can in the process" in retaliation for the fatal police shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times, officials said Monday.
Jabari Dean, 21, was charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, according to federal prosecutors, and could face five years in prison if convicted, officials said, though the FBI determined he did not have the means to carry it out.
In the threat, Dean allegedly said that he would arrive on the campus quad at 10 a.m. on Nov. 30, armed with an "M-4 Carbine" and "2 Desert Eagles."
"I will execute aproximately [sic] 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time [sic] Mcdonald [sic] was killed," the threat read, according to court documents. "I then will die killing any number of white policemen that I can in the process. This is not a joke. I am to do my part to rid the world of the white devils. I expect you to do the same...."
According to the criminal complaint, the FBI was tipped off about the threat when someone reported Dean's alleged post to an unspecified social media site. The report was made on Nov. 29, but the comment had been posted the day before, on Nov. 28.
"The caller explained that the threatening comment had been posted in response to a video clip," the criminal complaint states.
The criminal complaint does not specify the nature of the video that Dean allegedly commented on. Chicago police released dash cam footage on Tuesday Nov. 24 of then-officer Jason Van Dyke allegedly shooting 17-year-old McDonald 16 times, including when he was on the ground. Van Dyke's lawyer Dan Herbert, urged the public not to rush to judgment about what the video showed.
"This is not a murder case," Herbert has said. "Despite what you heard in the courtroom, it's truly not a murder case and we feel we will be very successful in defending this case."
There have been protests throughout the city since the release of the video.
The comment originally posted by Dean had been removed by the time the FBI agent looked at the social media site, but based on a screenshot provided by the caller, the agent was able to call the unnamed service provider which maintains accounts posting comments to get the subscriber information for the person who posted the threat.
After the FBI came to his house, Dean allegedly admitted that he had posted the threat and taken it down "shortly after posting it."
The University of Illinois at Chicago, which is about eight miles north of the University of Chicago, has put out a statement confirming that one of its students was arrested in connection to "an investigation of threats made against students and staff at the University of Chicago."
The UIC statement noted that the person was a student living off campus.
On Sunday night, the University of Chicago announced that it would be closing campus today because of "an online threat of gun violence."
"Based on the FBI’s assessment of this threat and recent tragic events at other campuses across the country, we have decided in consultation with federal and local law enforcement officials, to exercise caution by canceling all classes and activities on the Hyde Park campus through midnight on Monday," the statement said.
Two other area schools announced that they would also be closed today, with one noting that the issue was its proximity to the University of Chicago rather than a different threat.
Twin Cities Salvation Army(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Christmas just got a lot brighter for the less fortunate of Minnesota.
The Twin Cities Salvation Army received the largest single donation they have ever received in the organization's iconic red kettles -- a check for an eye-popping $500,000 from a couple that once faced hard times, the Salvation Army said in a statement.
The donors, a Minnesota couple that wishes to remain anonymous, dropped the check into a red kettle outside of The Cub Foods in Rosemount on Saturday and said “they made the gift in hopes of encouraging others to give as generously as they can, too,” the Salvation Army said.
According to the Salvation Army, the donors faced money struggles of their own and would often rely on discarded food from a local grocery store.
“You get to a point in life where it’s time to take care of others, the way you were taken care of,” the donors said in the statement.
The couple said their donation was also meant to honor one of their fathers, who served in World War I and appreciated the donuts and coffee brought to soldiers by the Salvation Army Donut Girls.
Major Jeff Strickler, Twin Cities commander, said in the statement that the Salvation Army is “simply stunned and honored” to have received the gift, which is 20 times larger than the prior largest donation of $25,000.
He added: “This is a true blessing and it could not come at a better time for The Salvation Army and the people we serve.”
The Salvation Army has set a goal of raising $11.6 million during the Christmas campaign this year, and to date they have raised about $2.2 million, the Salvation Army said.