A CDC employee left work sick 10 days ago; he hasn’t been seen since

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Timothy Cunningham, 35, has not been heard from since Feb. 12, police said.

Armed sheriff’s deputy who did ‘nothing’ during Florida school shooting resigns

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Deputy Scot Peterson resigned after he was suspended without pay.

The Latest: Official: Inmate scream not from execution drugs

Posted on: February 23rd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Florida authorities say there’s ‘no indication’ a blood-curdling scream let out by a Florida inmate during his execution was caused lethal injection procedure

3 nursing-home staffers charged in death of WWII veteran

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) —  Three staff members at a Georgia senior-care facility have been indicted on charges that their actions not only caused the death of a resident in their care, but that they also tried to cover up his death.

On Tuesday, almost four years to the day that James Dempsey, 89, of Woodstock, Georgia, died, former nurses Wanda Nuckles and Loyce Pickquet Agyeman as well as aide Mable L. Turner were charged in connection with his 2014 death.

According to police records, in January 2014, Dempsey, a World War II Navy veteran, entered the Northeast Atlanta Rehabilitation Center in Brookhaven, Georgia. His family told Brookhaven police that he had been having liver problems and was undergoing dialysis treatment at the center.

Relatives told ABC affiliate WSB-TV in 2015 that when he expressed concerns about staying at the center overnight, they installed a hidden camera in his room.

After Dempsey’s death, his family took the camera home and said they felt “shock” when they watched footage from that day.

“Video surveillance shows the patient suffering in respiratory distress and repeatedly calling out for help. Soon after his distress calls, the victim became unresponsive. The indictment alleges the Defendants, in varying degrees, failed to provide timely and necessary medical assistance, ultimately resulting in Mr. Dempsey’s death,” the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.

The District Attorney’s Office said video surveillance of the Feb. 27, 2014 incident was made public in November 2017, after the family filed a civil lawsuit against the center, alleging “wrongful death” and “negligence.” The civil suit was settled but the footage prompted a joint investigation between the DA’s office and law enforcement.

In the video revealed during a deposition in the civil suit, Dempsey can be seen lying in his hospital bed, gasping for air and calling for help six times.

According to the indictment, on Feb. 27, 2014, Agyeman “failed to call 911” when Dempsey complained about his heart, despite medical instructions in his chart stating that he should be sent to a hospital in the event of chest pain.

It also said that Agyeman and Nuckles had “started performing two-person cardiopulmonary resuscitation approximately one hour” after he’d become unresponsive, “to create the false impression that they were trying to save James Dempsey’s life.”

In a 2015 sworn deposition, Nuckles said the staff had administered CPR immediately.

Nuckles of Buford, Georgia, is charged with depriving an elder person of essential services. Turman of College Park, Georgia, faces a charge of neglect to an elder person. And, Agyeman of Snellville, Georgia, is charged with felony murder and neglect to an elder person. Each woman also faces a charge of concealing the death of another.

Grand jury warrants were issued for each woman’s arrest, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said.

Both Nuckles and Agyeman voluntarily surrendered their licenses in September 2017, according to the state board.

Nuckles told ABC News that she has no comment on what happened and that her lawyer would not allow her to say anything to the media. ABC News was not able to reach Turman or Agyeman. The company that runs the nursing home did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.

None of the women have entered a plea at this time. A trial date has not been set.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

3 nursing-home staffers charged in death of WWII veteran

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) —  Three staff members at a Georgia senior-care facility have been indicted on charges that their actions not only caused the death of a resident in their care, but that they also tried to cover up his death.

On Tuesday, almost four years to the day that James Dempsey, 89, of Woodstock, Georgia, died, former nurses Wanda Nuckles and Loyce Pickquet Agyeman as well as aide Mable L. Turner were charged in connection with his 2014 death.

According to police records, in January 2014, Dempsey, a World War II Navy veteran, entered the Northeast Atlanta Rehabilitation Center in Brookhaven, Georgia. His family told Brookhaven police that he had been having liver problems and was undergoing dialysis treatment at the center.

Relatives told ABC affiliate WSB-TV in 2015 that when he expressed concerns about staying at the center overnight, they installed a hidden camera in his room.

After Dempsey’s death, his family took the camera home and said they felt “shock” when they watched footage from that day.

“Video surveillance shows the patient suffering in respiratory distress and repeatedly calling out for help. Soon after his distress calls, the victim became unresponsive. The indictment alleges the Defendants, in varying degrees, failed to provide timely and necessary medical assistance, ultimately resulting in Mr. Dempsey’s death,” the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.

The District Attorney’s Office said video surveillance of the Feb. 27, 2014 incident was made public in November 2017, after the family filed a civil lawsuit against the center, alleging “wrongful death” and “negligence.” The civil suit was settled but the footage prompted a joint investigation between the DA’s office and law enforcement.

In the video revealed during a deposition in the civil suit, Dempsey can be seen lying in his hospital bed, gasping for air and calling for help six times.

According to the indictment, on Feb. 27, 2014, Agyeman “failed to call 911” when Dempsey complained about his heart, despite medical instructions in his chart stating that he should be sent to a hospital in the event of chest pain.

It also said that Agyeman and Nuckles had “started performing two-person cardiopulmonary resuscitation approximately one hour” after he’d become unresponsive, “to create the false impression that they were trying to save James Dempsey’s life.”

In a 2015 sworn deposition, Nuckles said the staff had administered CPR immediately.

Nuckles of Buford, Georgia, is charged with depriving an elder person of essential services. Turman of College Park, Georgia, faces a charge of neglect to an elder person. And, Agyeman of Snellville, Georgia, is charged with felony murder and neglect to an elder person. Each woman also faces a charge of concealing the death of another.

Grand jury warrants were issued for each woman’s arrest, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said.

Both Nuckles and Agyeman voluntarily surrendered their licenses in September 2017, according to the state board.

Nuckles told ABC News that she has no comment on what happened and that her lawyer would not allow her to say anything to the media. ABC News was not able to reach Turman or Agyeman. The company that runs the nursing home did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.

None of the women have entered a plea at this time. A trial date has not been set.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man who plotted his family’s murder will not be executed, governor says

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) —  The governor of Texas decided Thursday to spare the life of a convicted killer who carried out a plot to kill his parents and his brother.

About 40 minutes before the scheduled execution, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would grant clemency to 38-year-old Thomas “Bart” Whitaker. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, in a rare recommendation, voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the “lesser penalty” of commuting Whitaker’s death sentence to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

“In just over three years as governor, I have allowed 30 executions. I have not granted a commutation of a death sentence until now,” Abbott said in a statement. “The murders of Mr. Whitaker’s mother and brother are reprehensible. The crime deserves severe punishment for the criminals who killed them. The recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and my action on it, ensures Mr. Whitaker will never be released from prison.”

Bart Whitaker was convicted of capital murder for the shooting deaths of his mother, Tricia Whitaker, and his younger brother, Kevin Whitaker, in an attack he devised at the family’s Sugar Land, Texas, home in December 2003. Bart’s father, Kent Whitaker, was also shot during the attack, but survived.

Kent Whitaker said he has forgiven his son and became his most outspoken advocate.

“I love him. He’s my son,” Kent Whitaker told “20/20.” “I don’t want to see him executed at the hands of Texas in the name of justice when there’s a better justice available.”

Watch the full story on “20/20” FRIDAY, Feb. 23 at 10 p.m. ET

 On Tuesday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, in a rare recommendation, voted unanimously in favor of the “lesser penalty” of commuting Whitaker’s death sentence to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutor Fred Felcman, who was also the original prosecutor in the case, told ABC’s Houston station KTRK-TV on Tuesday that he was disappointed by the parole board’s recommendation.

“I guess the 12 jurors’ opinion means nothing to the parole board,” Felcman said.

“20/20” sat down with Kent Whitaker awhile he awaited the board’s decision on his son’s fate. He said that Bart has learned Spanish in prison and was teaching some inmates English, while helping others earn their high school diplomas.

“I have seen such change in him,” Kent Whitaker said of his son. “He’s been incarcerated for 11 years. That’s 4,000 days. He’s done a lot of work himself and he’s struggled hard to try to find out what it was that went wrong in his mind.”

“There’s a mental illness issue here that we still don’t quite understand,” the father added. “But he has learned how to recognize the danger points and to work around them. I want the opportunity to spend years watching him grow. And there’s so much that he can do.”

Kent Whitaker said he recognizes the horrible crime his son committed, saying, “I live with it every day… and nobody’s denying it.”

“Forgiveness is absolutely critical if you want to heal from your loss,” he continued. “It is the only way that you can get the bitterness out, and the bitterness is going to stay there and it’s going to affect your relationships in ways that you can’t even see or recognize. But it’s going to negatively affect them. I was able to forgive on the night of the shootings.”

On Dec. 10, 2003, Bart Whitaker announced to his family that he had finished his final exams at Sam Houston State University and would be graduating. To honor his achievement, his parents presented him with a Rolex watch. That night, the family went to a popular Cajun restaurant to celebrate.

Photos taken from that night show Bart smiling for the camera, but he told “20/20” in a 2009 interview that he knew at that moment that an intruder had entered their home and was waiting for their return. If everything went according to his plan, his brother, mother and father would all be dead within minutes.

“I don’t really know a better term for how I was feeling [that night], other than I was on auto-pilot. I wasn’t even aware of myself,” Bart Whitaker told “20/20” in 2009.

“I wanted them dead,” he added. “It was my idea.”

When the family arrived home, Bart, knowing what awaited his family inside, ran down the driveway, saying he needed to grab his cell phone out of his car. Kevin Whitaker, 19, was the first one to open the door and was shot in the chest, then his mother followed and was also shot.

Next, his father was wounded, too — he was shot through the right chest and arm, breaking his humerus bone.

Bart said he then ran into the house and pretended to try and catch the shooter. They wrestled a bit and then Bart was shot in the arm to make him appear to be a victim.

“It was to distance me from the guilt,” he told “20/20” in 2009. “But also I think on an internal level it was me realizing that there was no way that I could come out of this physically unscathed.”

Kevin and Tricia both died from their gunshot wounds. Kent and Bart both survived. Investigators would later discover that Bart had never graduated Sam Houston State University and was still listed as a freshman on academic probation.

When they were released from the hospital, Bart moved back home to be with his father, where they spent time together reading the Bible.

The investigation made little progress, until a man named Adam Hipp walked into the Sugar Land police station and introduced himself as a former friend of Bart Whitaker’s. Hipp told police Bart had hatched a second, previously unknown murder plot that was aborted at the last minute, but Hipp claimed Whitaker had asked him to be the shooter.

Another break in the case came in August 2005, when a man named Steven Champagne, who was Bart’s former co-worker and neighbor, went to police and confessed to assisting in the crime and provided the entire story of what happened on that December 2003 night.

Champagne told investigators that Bart had set up the crime and lured his family to dinner to celebrate his fake graduation from college. As the Whitakers celebrated, Champagne said he watched from a car in the parking lot.

Meanwhile, Bart’s roommate, Chris Brashear, hid in Bart’s SUV outside the Whitaker home. Champagne told police Brashear entered the house with the key and disabled the alarm with the code Bart had given him. Champagne said he followed the family home and parked on a nearby street and waited.

“[Brashear] said Bart’s brother had walked in first,” Champagne recalled in his confession. “And, when Chris shot him, he said before he shot him he thought he smiled. And then Chris shot his mom and then shot Bart’s dad …. And then, he acted like he wrestled around with Bart and shot Bart.”

A minute later, as he told cops, Brashear joined him in the car and they fled the scene.

“Bart said his family was worth a lot of money,” Champagne said, explaining his motivation. “He said he would give us some money — I mean millions of dollars.”

He also told police that he and Brashear had thrown a bag full of evidence off of a bridge into a nearby lake. A police dive team later found a soggy duffel bag full of decomposing evidence. Though the bag had spent two years at the bottom of the lake, detectives were able to obtain a DNA profile of Brashear on the mouth of a water bottle. The bag also contained Bart Whitaker’s cell phone.

In March 2007, a jury convicted Bart Whitaker of the capital murder of his mother and his younger brother, and he was sentenced to death. The shooter, Brashear, received life in prison without parole. The getaway driver, Champagne, was sentenced to 15 years for his role in the plot.

 Since then, Kent Whitaker has gotten remarried and has devoted his time to spreading his message of forgiveness as well as fighting to prevent his son’s execution. Kent wrote a book, “Murder by Family,” in which he tracks the pain, tears and faith that carried him through it all.

“I think that justice would be the opportunity to spend his life helping others and allowing me the opportunity to walk that road with him,” Kent Whitaker said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Man who plotted his family’s murder will not be executed, governor says

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) —  The governor of Texas decided Thursday to spare the life of a convicted killer who carried out a plot to kill his parents and his brother.

About 40 minutes before the scheduled execution, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would grant clemency to 38-year-old Thomas “Bart” Whitaker. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, in a rare recommendation, voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the “lesser penalty” of commuting Whitaker’s death sentence to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

“In just over three years as governor, I have allowed 30 executions. I have not granted a commutation of a death sentence until now,” Abbott said in a statement. “The murders of Mr. Whitaker’s mother and brother are reprehensible. The crime deserves severe punishment for the criminals who killed them. The recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and my action on it, ensures Mr. Whitaker will never be released from prison.”

Bart Whitaker was convicted of capital murder for the shooting deaths of his mother, Tricia Whitaker, and his younger brother, Kevin Whitaker, in an attack he devised at the family’s Sugar Land, Texas, home in December 2003. Bart’s father, Kent Whitaker, was also shot during the attack, but survived.

Kent Whitaker said he has forgiven his son and became his most outspoken advocate.

“I love him. He’s my son,” Kent Whitaker told “20/20.” “I don’t want to see him executed at the hands of Texas in the name of justice when there’s a better justice available.”

Watch the full story on “20/20” FRIDAY, Feb. 23 at 10 p.m. ET

 On Tuesday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, in a rare recommendation, voted unanimously in favor of the “lesser penalty” of commuting Whitaker’s death sentence to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutor Fred Felcman, who was also the original prosecutor in the case, told ABC’s Houston station KTRK-TV on Tuesday that he was disappointed by the parole board’s recommendation.

“I guess the 12 jurors’ opinion means nothing to the parole board,” Felcman said.

“20/20” sat down with Kent Whitaker awhile he awaited the board’s decision on his son’s fate. He said that Bart has learned Spanish in prison and was teaching some inmates English, while helping others earn their high school diplomas.

“I have seen such change in him,” Kent Whitaker said of his son. “He’s been incarcerated for 11 years. That’s 4,000 days. He’s done a lot of work himself and he’s struggled hard to try to find out what it was that went wrong in his mind.”

“There’s a mental illness issue here that we still don’t quite understand,” the father added. “But he has learned how to recognize the danger points and to work around them. I want the opportunity to spend years watching him grow. And there’s so much that he can do.”

Kent Whitaker said he recognizes the horrible crime his son committed, saying, “I live with it every day… and nobody’s denying it.”

“Forgiveness is absolutely critical if you want to heal from your loss,” he continued. “It is the only way that you can get the bitterness out, and the bitterness is going to stay there and it’s going to affect your relationships in ways that you can’t even see or recognize. But it’s going to negatively affect them. I was able to forgive on the night of the shootings.”

On Dec. 10, 2003, Bart Whitaker announced to his family that he had finished his final exams at Sam Houston State University and would be graduating. To honor his achievement, his parents presented him with a Rolex watch. That night, the family went to a popular Cajun restaurant to celebrate.

Photos taken from that night show Bart smiling for the camera, but he told “20/20” in a 2009 interview that he knew at that moment that an intruder had entered their home and was waiting for their return. If everything went according to his plan, his brother, mother and father would all be dead within minutes.

“I don’t really know a better term for how I was feeling [that night], other than I was on auto-pilot. I wasn’t even aware of myself,” Bart Whitaker told “20/20” in 2009.

“I wanted them dead,” he added. “It was my idea.”

When the family arrived home, Bart, knowing what awaited his family inside, ran down the driveway, saying he needed to grab his cell phone out of his car. Kevin Whitaker, 19, was the first one to open the door and was shot in the chest, then his mother followed and was also shot.

Next, his father was wounded, too — he was shot through the right chest and arm, breaking his humerus bone.

Bart said he then ran into the house and pretended to try and catch the shooter. They wrestled a bit and then Bart was shot in the arm to make him appear to be a victim.

“It was to distance me from the guilt,” he told “20/20” in 2009. “But also I think on an internal level it was me realizing that there was no way that I could come out of this physically unscathed.”

Kevin and Tricia both died from their gunshot wounds. Kent and Bart both survived. Investigators would later discover that Bart had never graduated Sam Houston State University and was still listed as a freshman on academic probation.

When they were released from the hospital, Bart moved back home to be with his father, where they spent time together reading the Bible.

The investigation made little progress, until a man named Adam Hipp walked into the Sugar Land police station and introduced himself as a former friend of Bart Whitaker’s. Hipp told police Bart had hatched a second, previously unknown murder plot that was aborted at the last minute, but Hipp claimed Whitaker had asked him to be the shooter.

Another break in the case came in August 2005, when a man named Steven Champagne, who was Bart’s former co-worker and neighbor, went to police and confessed to assisting in the crime and provided the entire story of what happened on that December 2003 night.

Champagne told investigators that Bart had set up the crime and lured his family to dinner to celebrate his fake graduation from college. As the Whitakers celebrated, Champagne said he watched from a car in the parking lot.

Meanwhile, Bart’s roommate, Chris Brashear, hid in Bart’s SUV outside the Whitaker home. Champagne told police Brashear entered the house with the key and disabled the alarm with the code Bart had given him. Champagne said he followed the family home and parked on a nearby street and waited.

“[Brashear] said Bart’s brother had walked in first,” Champagne recalled in his confession. “And, when Chris shot him, he said before he shot him he thought he smiled. And then Chris shot his mom and then shot Bart’s dad …. And then, he acted like he wrestled around with Bart and shot Bart.”

A minute later, as he told cops, Brashear joined him in the car and they fled the scene.

“Bart said his family was worth a lot of money,” Champagne said, explaining his motivation. “He said he would give us some money — I mean millions of dollars.”

He also told police that he and Brashear had thrown a bag full of evidence off of a bridge into a nearby lake. A police dive team later found a soggy duffel bag full of decomposing evidence. Though the bag had spent two years at the bottom of the lake, detectives were able to obtain a DNA profile of Brashear on the mouth of a water bottle. The bag also contained Bart Whitaker’s cell phone.

In March 2007, a jury convicted Bart Whitaker of the capital murder of his mother and his younger brother, and he was sentenced to death. The shooter, Brashear, received life in prison without parole. The getaway driver, Champagne, was sentenced to 15 years for his role in the plot.

 Since then, Kent Whitaker has gotten remarried and has devoted his time to spreading his message of forgiveness as well as fighting to prevent his son’s execution. Kent wrote a book, “Murder by Family,” in which he tracks the pain, tears and faith that carried him through it all.

“I think that justice would be the opportunity to spend his life helping others and allowing me the opportunity to walk that road with him,” Kent Whitaker said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Student says Nikolas Cruz threatened to ‘kill’ him, sent photo of guns

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) —  Six months before Nikolas Cruz allegedly gunned down former classmates and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, he apparently texted a photo of an assault rifle, among a slew of other weapons, to a student he repeatedly threatened to kill.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News Wednesday night, Enea Sabadini said it was the one time he did not report Cruz to school officials, despite a tirade of threats and insults from him via social media. Sabadini said he didn’t take Cruz’s messages seriously at the time.

“If I was able to go back, I would have gone and reported him to police and told my mother about it,” Sabadini told ABC News.

Sabadini, who plays high school rugby, said his first interaction with Cruz occurred in August 2016. Cruz sent him direct messages on Instagram saying to stay away from his ex-girlfriend, whom Sabadini had just started dating.

At that time, Sabadini hadn’t met Cruz in person and didn’t respond to his messages.

“I was confused why, because I hadn’t had any prior problems with this person,” he said. “At first, I didn’t answer back at all.”

Sabadini said Cruz’s ex-girlfriend told him to ignore the messages, even though they included racial slurs, threats of murder and even of Cruz feeling depressed.

“you know how f—— mad iam (sic) at you,” Cruz wrote in one message. “you took my ex i been depressed.”

Still, she said Cruz was “misunderstood.” But, according to Sabadini, she added that he had been “violent and abusive” toward her.

Then one morning, a week or two after school started that year, Cruz approached Sabadini at the school to apologize.

“I think he knew where I sat with my friends in the mornings, so as I was walking toward my usual area, he pulled me aside to apologize,” Sabadini said. “I accepted his apology and everything was cool.”

Just days later, Cruz again sent hostile messages to Sabadini and threatened some of his friends.

Sabadini, who said he was “confused” by Cruz’s hostility, chose not to respond to the messages again. But he and his friends reported the incident to school officials.

It was unclear whether Cruz was ever disciplined for those messages.

Then, one day after school when Sabadini was leaving school with friends, they noticed Cruz was following closely behind. A brief confrontation between Cruz and Sabadini ensued, in which Cruz yelled at Sabadini to stop talking to his ex-girlfriend.

“We almost get into a fight, but I decide it’s not worth it and I walk away,” Sabadini said.

Suddenly, Cruz starts running toward Sabadini with pencils in each of his hands, holding them like daggers, “in a stabbing stance,” Sabadini said.

Sabadini took off running and Cruz chased him down the street, Sabadini said. He eventually outran Cruz and reported the incident to school officials, he said.

Another day at school, Cruz started a fight with Sabadini during lunch. The fight was captured on cell phone video and led to the brief suspension of both students.

“I don’t know why he came up behind me and decided to fight me that day,” Sabadini told ABC News. “I was tired of all the things he had been doing to me and my friends.”

 Sabadini said Cruz continued to send him threatening messages for a few weeks afterward and would occasionally give him the middle finger at school during lunch. The harassment finally stopped only when Cruz was expelled in December 2016, but “out of the blue” in the early morning hours of Aug. 17, 2017, the messaging attacks resumed, Sabadini said.

Eventually, the harassment stopped completely -– until the early morning hours of Aug. 17, the following summer.

In screenshots of the series of Instagram direct messages provided to ABC News, Cruz apparently curses at Sabadini, uses a slew of derogatory insults and threatens multiple times to “kill” him.

“You underground hispanic wall jumper ill (sic) will f—— destroy you,” Cruz writes to Sabadini, who is Italian and African American.

After sending the image of guns laid out on his bed, Cruz writes: “Don’t f— with me!!!!!”

 In further direct messages to Sabadini, Cruz says he “stole my ex” and that she meant “everything to me.” Cruz writes that he’s been “depressed” and “drinking” ever since, and all he can think about is “hurting” Sabadini.

This time, Sabadini responds to Cruz’s messages, saying he and the girl “broke up” in December 2016. But Cruz continues to threaten him.

“you have no idea what iam (sic) capable of,” Cruz writes.

“Iam (sic) going to f—–g kill you.”

“Iam (sic) going to watch ypu (sic) bleed.”

Sabadini responds, “F—– off I’m trying to watch YouTube.”

Cruz writes, “I will kill you !!!!!”

“I am going to shoot you dead.”

Most of Sabadini’s responses appear nonchalant with a sarcastic tone. He writes, “Hey man you should take a cold shower to calm down, I here (sic) they are refreshing.”

Sabadini told ABC News he didn’t take Cruz’s threats seriously at the time. Cruz had been expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School unspecified disciplinary reasons, authorities said.

“I did not really think much because he was no longer going to our school,” Sabadini said. “I just thought nothing of it at the time.”

 Months later, on Feb. 14, Cruz allegedly opened fire inside the school, killing 17 people and wounding dozens of others, with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle authorities say he legally purchased a year ago.

When Sabadini heard there was an active shooter on campus, he said he and his friends immediately knew it was Cruz.

“I wasn’t surprised,” he told ABC News.

He added that everyone who had interacted with him knew that “if anything was really to happen at the school, like a shooting, that he probably was the only one with enough hate to do so.”

Sabadini said he personally knew three of the students who were killed, and that he feels lucky to be alive.

Cruz was arrested and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the aftermath of the attack.

The Instagram account associated with Cruz that directly messaged Sabadini appears to have been taken down.

Sabadini’s mother, Mayi Sabadini, told ABC News she believes it’s important for her son to share his story.

“Even though Nikolas wanted to kill my son, I believe he’s the 18th victim. His life is over, too. He is obviously very, very troubled,” she told ABC News in a separate interview.

Mayi Sabadini became emotional when talking about the loss and suffering of so many families, and said she can’t believe her son was sucked in by Cruz’s obsession and rage over the ex-girlfriend.

“Kids have to tell their parents about any threat, every single threat. We know that now,” she said. “There are many other troubled, sick kids like Nikolas at other schools. I feel very lucky my son is alive.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Armed deputy stood outside for minutes doing ‘nothing’ during massacre, sheriff says

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Deputy Scot Peterson resigned after he was suspended without pay.

Armed deputy stood outside for minutes doing ‘nothing’ during massacre, sheriff says

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Deputy Scot Peterson resigned after he was suspended without pay.

Suspect in Florida school massacre questioned in November over shooting threat

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Mike Stocker-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The suspected gunman in the Florida school massacre was questioned by a police officer in November after a woman he was living with at the time called 911 to report he had threatened to use a gun on her 22-year-old son, according to records obtained by ABC News.

The report from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is just the latest in a string of red flags concerning Nikolas Cruz’ volatility that law enforcement, school officials and mental health experts were notified of prior the Valentine’s Day attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 people dead, including 14 students.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s offense report from Nov. 29 shows that a woman who initially took Cruz in after his mother’s death in November, called 911 to complain that Cruz had gotten into an altercation with her son in her Lantana, Florida, home and threatened to get a gun and come back.

“[He] bought a gun from Dicks last week and is now going to pick it up,” the woman told a 911 dispatcher, according to a log of the call contained in the report.

“[He] bought tons of ammo…[and] has used a gun against [people] before,” the dispatcher’s log states. “He has put the gun to others heads in the past.”

While the name of the 911 caller was redacted in the report, ABC News has learned that, at the time, Cruz was living with Rocxanne Deschamps, a family friend who took him and his younger brother in after their 68-year-old adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, contracted pneumonia and died on Nov. 1.

After police arrived at Deschamps’ home just after 3 p.m., her son told an officer that he had gotten into a physical altercation with Cruz, who became “upset and began punching walls and breaking items inside the home.”

The son said Cruz punched him in the left side of his jaw as he attempted to calm Cruz down, according to the report. He told the officer he punched Cruz back in “self-defense” and attempted to restrain him before Cruz bolted from the residence, the report says.

The officer found Cruz in a nearby park and described the 19-year-old as being “nervous and calm,” according to the report. Cruz told the officer he had become upset and punched a wall after losing a picture of his late mother.

“He said he was sorry for losing his temper,” according to the officer’s report.

There were no references to guns in the officer’s narrative, but the dispatch notes indicate that Cruz told police there were guns inside the home.

Ultimately, the son told police he did not want Cruz arrested and signed a “refusal to prosecute” form, according to the officer’s report. But the son expressed that he wanted Cruz to leave the residence until he calmed down, according to the report.

He said Cruz “has been going through a lot with his loss” and he “did not want him to go to jail” the report states.

The officer’s report concludes that the son and Cruz hugged to reconcile their differences, and the case was cleared with no arrest or charges filed.

Cruz moved out of Deschamps’ home around the time of the altercation and went to live with James and Kimberly Snead, the parents of a friend.

In an earlier police report obtained by ABC News, officers were called to Deschamps’ residence on Nov. 24 by her son, who claimed Cruz had possibly hidden a gun in the back yard. There is no indication in the report that a gun was found and the incident was declared “domestic unfounded,” according to the document

In documents filed in Broward County probate court the day after the Feb. 14 mass shooting, Deschamps’ attorney, Audra Simovitch, petitioned to have Deschamps appointed a personal representative of Lynda Cruz’s estate, claiming an interest in the estate “as a family friend … who is caring for a 50% minor beneficiary,” meaning Cruz’s younger brother.

Simovitch declined to comment on the probate motion. But in a court document filed Thursday, she asked a judge to allow her to see Cruz in jail and that she was retained by Cruz on Dec. 13 to represent him in the probate matter. Deschamps also signed the retainer agreement and was named as the “proposed personal representative” for Cruz and his brother, according to the document.

The Sneads claimed that Nikolas Cruz told them he stood to inherit in a few years at least $800,000 from his deceased parents’ estates, the couple’s attorney, Jim Lewis, told ABC News. Cruz’s adoptive father, Roger Cruz, died in 2004 at the age of 67.

As investigators dig into Cruz’s background, more and more instances have emerged in which state and federal officials had been in contact with Cruz or were alerted of his violent behavior prior to the mass shooting.

The growing list of warning signs either detailed by public statements from officials or public records, includes an admission by the FBI that a tip it received on Jan. 5 warning that Cruz might be planning a “school shooting” and detailing his guns, was not passed on to its Miami field office and was never investigated.

Records show the Broward County Sheriff’s Office also received 39 calls for service in the last few years regarding Cruz for a variety of disturbance complaints, including fighting with his mother. In a police report from Sept. 28, 2016, a therapist who went on one of the calls cleared Cruz, concluding he was “no threat to anyone or himself.”

A report in August 2016 by the Florida Department of Children and Family shows the agency investigated a Snapchat post in which Cruz was seen cutting his arms and was told by Cruz that he “plans to go out and buy a gun.” The agency determined Cruz “to be stable enough not to be hospitalized,” according to the DCF report. DCF said in a statement it “relies on the expertise of mental health professionals and law enforcement and these records show that DCF took the steps to involve these partners in investigating this alleged abuse.”

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Student says Nikolas Cruz threatened to ‘kill’ him, sent photo of guns

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Enea Sabadini, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said Nikolas Cruz had sent him dozens of threatening messages prior to the Feb. 14 shooting.

School officer waited outside building for 4 minutes as killings happened: Sheriff

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Deputy Scot Peterson resigned after he was suspended without pay.

Same-sex couple allegedly told they don’t ‘mirror the holy family’ and denied chance to be foster parents

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) — A Texas same-sex couple has sued the federal government, alleging they were denied the chance to be foster parents to a refugee child because they do not “mirror the holy family.”

According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday, married couple Fatma Marouf and Bryn Esplin expressed their interest in February 2017 in fostering a refugee child to an official with the Catholic Charities of Fort Worth (CCFW). The group is an affiliate of the United States Conference of Bishops, which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contracts for some of its federal child welfare duties.

The lawsuit alleges that during a phone conversation with Donna Springer, chair of the executive committee of CCFW’s board of directors, they were told that foster parents must “mirror the holy family,” and they would not “qualify” to foster a child.

“We were both completely shocked,” Marouf told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.

“It was hurtful in realizing there was no overcoming that barrier,” Esplin added.

The lawsuit says the couple also asked if any of the refugee children in the program might be lesbian or gay and were told that none of the 700 children served by the program are members of the LGBT community.

Marouf immediately reported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement via email that CCFW had discriminated against her and her wife, the complaint says, but she did not receive a response for nearly two months. The couple claims they haven’t received any further communication from them since, leading to this week’s lawsuit.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and HHS are named in the lawsuit.

HHS told ABC News, “We do not comment on pending litigation.” The USCCB has not immediately responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Catholic Charities Fort Worth denies to the Dallas Morning News that the couple ever spoke with Springer — saying she “never had any contact with the couple” — but acknowledged the then-director of child welfare services talked to them over the phone. The organization also denied allegations in the lawsuit that the couple was told the agency did not have any LGBT kids among the refugee children in its care at the time.

“We do not screen or otherwise ask the children we serve to self-identify if they are LGBT,” said Katelin Cortney, Catholic Charities Fort Worth’s communications director told the local news outlet. “We train our foster families to accept children from all cultures and walks of life so they can be as prepared as possible to welcome someone new into their home.”

The couple hopes the lawsuit will allow them to apply to be foster parents to a refugee child, as well as prevent sexual orientation-based discrimination against other prospective parents, according to the lawsuit.

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Man who plotted his family’s murder will not be executed, governor says

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Bart Whitaker was convicted in 2007 of murdering his brother, mother.

The Latest: Spokesman: Graham planned own funeral carefully

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

A family spokesman says the Rev. Billy Graham carefully planned and signed off on every detail of his funeral next week

Florida student mistaken for gunman: ‘I knew any move I made’ would end ‘my life’

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

“I had six SWAT members pointing their guns at me.”

Florida student mistaken for gunman: ‘I knew any move I made’ would end ‘my life’

Posted on: February 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

“I had six SWAT members pointing their guns at me.”

Christian evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Ron Galella Ltd./WireImage(NEW YORK) — The Rev. Billy Graham, one of the world’s most famous Christian evangelists, has died, a family spokesman said Wednesday. He was 99.

Graham died at his North Carolina home Wednesday morning, spokesman Mark DeMoss said.

At a press briefing Wednesday night, DeMoss said Graham — whose body he said is currently at Morris Funeral Home in Asheville, North Carolina — was not in the company of any family members when he died. DeMoss said Graham died in his sleep, and that an attendant nurse would have been the only person with him.

DeMoss said Graham’s body is slated to move Thursday afternoon to the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville. A private family prayer service will be held Saturday morning. Beginning Monday, for at least two days, Graham’s body will lie in repose at the Graham family home.

Then next Friday, a 90-minute funeral will be held at which his son Franklin Graham will speak, in addition to his other children. The hymns chosen for the funeral are some of Graham’s favorite. In fact, he personally approved the details of the service years ago.

After the funeral, Graham’s body will be buried at a cross-shaped brick walkway in the northeast side of the Billy Graham Library, next to his wife Ruth, who was buried in 2007. The interment will be private and family-only. Casket was made by inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary prison in Angola.

Invitations have been extended to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as living ex-presidents, DeMoss said.

Known as “America’s pastor,” Graham was a key figure in the revival of the U.S. evangelical Christian movement. The preacher began holding revival meetings in the 1940s and went on to become an adviser to several U.S. presidents.

He had been in poor health in recent years, and had turned his international ministry over to son Franklin Graham. Graham did not have cancer, despite reports claiming otherwise, his spokesman said.

Despite numerous hospitalizations in recent years, Graham’s work remained in the public eye late into his life. In 2011, around his 93rd birthday, he released what The Associated Press said was his 30th book, “Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well,” on the subject of aging. Also in 2011, audio files documenting six decades of his ministry were put online in a searchable database.

Graham brought evangelical Christianity into the mainstream. As a spiritual adviser to U.S. presidents, he had great access to the White House.

“Each one I’ve known long before they ever became president, been in their homes many times; always called them by their first names, until they became president,” Graham said of several former presidents.

He was especially close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes.

Bill Clinton turned to him after his much publicized sex scandal, and George W. Bush credited Graham with helping him to quit drinking alcohol.

When asked how his life would be different if it were not for Billy Graham, George W. Bush said simply, “I wouldn’t be president.”

Donald and Melania Trump met Graham at the preacher’s 95th birthday party in 2013, but they never met after Trump took office as president.

The evangelist brought his “Billy Graham Crusades” around the world, preaching to more than 210 million people in 185 countries and territories. His largest such gathering drew 1 million people in Seoul, South Korea, in the 1970s.

As Graham prepared at age 86 for what he called his final U.S. crusade, a three-day event in New York City the weekend of June 25, 2005, he pondered his own mortality.

“Do I fear death?” he asked at a news conference. “No. I look forward to death with great anticipation. I’m looking forward to seeing God face to face, and that could happen any day.”

Graham was met with criticism in February 2002, when audiotapes released by the National Archives revealed a 1972 conversation with Nixon at the White House in which Graham said Jewish people had a “stranglehold” on the media.

He later apologized and said his work with Jewish people over the years belied that remark.

Billy Graham had been admitted numerous times in recent years to Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, for a pulmonary condition. Upon being admitted Nov. 30, 2011, he was seen “alert, smiling and waving at hospital staff,” his family said in a statement at the time.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1989. He also suffered from prostate cancer and hydrocephalus, or fluid on the brain, according to The Associated Press. In January 2004, he fell and fractured his left hip, and afterward used a walker to move about.

A born preacher

Graham was born Nov. 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and raised on a dairy farm in nearby Montreat. The eldest of four children in a strict Presbyterian family, he was known as “Billy Frank” in his teenage years.

His life began to change at age 16 when he heard the fiery sermon of a traveling evangelist named Mordecai Ham, who persuaded him to give his life to Christ during a spiritual revival. He attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, but left after one semester, saying the religious school was too strict.

He went on to Florida Bible Institute, now called Trinity College, near Tampa and was ordained a Southern Baptist minister in 1939.

At Wheaton College in Illinois, he majored in anthropology. In 1943, he married fellow Wheaton student Ruth McCue Bell, daughter of a missionary doctor. They remained married until her death in 2007.

From 1947 to 1952, Graham served as president of Northwestern College in Minneapolis. It was during this period that he began holding revival meetings with singer George Beverly Shea and song leader Cliff Barrows.

By 1949, his career was taking off as some 10,000 people were turning out to hear Graham’s preaching on a regular basis. A New York City crusade in Madison Square Garden in 1957 ran nightly for 16 weeks.

Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in 1950, running it for 50 years before retiring and handing it over to his son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, in November 2000.

Graham began preaching overseas in 1954 with a visit to Great Britain, where more than 2 million people attended his rallies. He held hundreds of rallies around the world, including South Africa, South Korea, Poland and Romania. In 1990, he toured China, something he would later call the “greatest crusade of my life.”

Graham’s autobiography, “Just As I Am,” was published in 1997.

Family business

After Franklin Graham took over as CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the elder Graham continued to serve as chairman of the board. Franklin Graham also ran his own ministry, the Samaritan’s Purse international relief organization.

The other four Graham children also got into the family business, either through their own ministries or evangelical speaking.

Graham is survived by three daughters, two sons, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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Florida student mistaken for gunman: ‘I knew any move I made would be the end of my life’

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(TALLAHASSE, Fla.) — As gunshots and screams echoed through his school, Lorenzo Prado said he locked himself in the sound booth at the auditorium at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and prepared to die.

But moments after the gunfire subsided and he thought he was safe, he said he was confronted by six officers pointing guns in his face.

“On the day of the Douglas massacre, I was a victim like everyone else,” Prado, 17, said during an emotional news conference Wednesday in Tallahasse, the Florida state capital. “But my case was different than all the others because on that day, I was a suspected school shooter.”

The 19-year-old Cruz, a former student at the school, was later arrested off campus after he allegedly killed 14 of Prado’s fellow students and three school staffers, including his swimming coach, Hixon.

“I was just hiding up there. I had no idea what was going on and then the door started to rattle,” Prado said. “And, at first, the only thing that came to my mind was, ‘I’m going to die, the shooter is going to kill me.'”

He said that when the door burst open, he saw the officers and initially thought he was rescued. But he quickly learned, “They thought it was me that killed 17 people.”

“I go down the stairs and they tell me to put my hands up and I, being the fool that I am, tried putting my phone back in my pocket,” he said. “They demanded again, and I, not trying to be one of those news stories of someone dying wrongfully because they refused to put their hands up, I just dropped my phone at that moment and kept going.”

When he went out the door, he said, “I had six SWAT members pointing their guns at me.”

Prado said he was tossed to the ground, handcuffed and held at gunpoint “for the degrading and depreciating action of the disturbed individual Nikolas Cruz.”

He said he was put in a corner with a police officer guarding him.

“I knew any move I made would be the end of my life,” he said. “Throughout the entire event, I only felt two things: I felt fear, as I did not know my future. I did not know if I was going to be let go. I did not know where the terrorist was. … The second thing was guilt.

“I felt guilty for closing the door behind me,” he continued. “I felt guilty for startling the audience. I felt guilty for the SWAT members who had to pursue me instead of pursuing the murderer. I felt guilty for not contacting my mother. I felt guilty for Coach Hixon, whose life I thought I saved when he walked inside the auditorium but whose life was ended when he walked out again.”

Prado joined his fellow survivors in Tallahassee Wednesday to meet with legislators to tell their stories of unimaginable horror in the hopes the politicians will take their words to heart and pass laws to make schools safe and ban assault weapons like the one Cruz allegedly used in the attack.

“If I have to drop everything else in my life just to make these changes happen, I will,” Prado said. “To me, to let these victims’ lives be taken and without any change in return is an act of treason to our great country.”


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After deadly Parkland shooting, deputies will now carry AR-15 rifles on school grounds, sheriff says

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) —  Broward County sheriff’s deputies will now carry AR-15 rifles while on school campuses following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week, Sheriff Scott Israel announced today.

The new policy was implemented Wednesday morning. In lieu of gun lockers, the only time deputies will not be “slinging a rifle” is when the firearm is locked in police vehicles, Israel said.

The rifles will not be fully automatic and will only be handled by deputies who are “trained and qualified” to operate them, Israel said.

The suspect in the shooting, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, allegedly used a variant of the AR-15 to carry out the deadly attack, which killed 17 people, authorities said.

When asked by a reporter what the motive in the shooting was, Israel responded, “Pure evil.”

Israel suggested a “three-pronged approach” to better secure schools, which includes fortifying the buildings, evaluating how many school resource deputies are needed at each school and sensible gun control.

“There are some people in this country that shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun,” Israel said.

At least one armed school resource deputy was on campus at the time of the shooting, and his response and actions will be “looked at and scrutinized,” Israel said.

“You’re darn right he was prepared to do something about it,” Israel said of the school resource deputy.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump held a listening session with students and parents affected by school shootings. In addition, lawmakers in Florida are facing political pressure following the Parkland shooting.

Israel thanked the numerous law enforcement agencies that assisted in the shooting response and commended the students who traveled to Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., to speak out about gun control.

The sheriff vowed to remain transparent throughout the investigation and keep the public informed as important information comes to light.

Cruz was arrested in a residential neighborhood near his former high school more than an hour after the shooting began. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held in a Broward County jail.

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Survivors of Florida high school shooting seek ‘middle ground’ on gun control debate

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Don Juan Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Florida high school students who survived last week’s deadly shooting are demanding gun control say they aren’t fighting to get rid of firearms completely, but lawmakers on both sides of the debate must find a “middle ground” to put an end to the violence.

Kyle Kashuv, Kai Koerber and Olivia Feller were among dozens of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland who traveled to Florida’s capital city Wednesday to demand gun restrictions, one week after 17 of their classmates and teachers were gunned down. The three students, who appeared on “The View” via satellite from Tallahassee, said they understand the concerns of Americans who firmly support the Second Amendment, which protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.”

“I totally understand the concern and some aspects I really agree with it,” Kashuv, 16, said on “The View” Wednesday. “We have to make sure we get the middle ground. … Congress has to make sure that they enact laws that distinctly make sure that this can’t spiral out of control.”

“That’s why this has become a bipartisan issue,” he continued. “We really want to see reform, and the subject isn’t taking away all guns; it’s making sure atrocities such as these never happen again.”

For instance, the students said the age to purchase an AR-15-style rifle, the weapon used in the Feb. 14 massacre, shouldn’t be younger than the age requirement to purchase a handgun.

“There should be no distinguishing,” said Koerber, 16. “It should be one age per all guns across the board.”

The Florida state House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected a bill to ban purchases of many assault rifles, like the one 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly used to open fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas last week. The bill would have also barred purchases of large-capacity magazines statewide.

The 71-36 vote in the Republican-controlled body shocked students who were sitting in the gallery of the Capitol building.

“Obviously it was a disappointment, but I don’t think that this procedural issue should affect the resolve of our movement,” Koerber said on “The View” Wednesday. “At the end of the day, our mission is to get people talking. We don’t expect to achieve immediate results.”

Kashuv, Koerber and Feller rallied alongside scores of their classmates as well as hundreds of students from other schools at the state Capitol in Tallahassee this afternoon, calling for legislative action in the wake of one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Survivors of the Valentine’s Day shooting also are planning a “March For Our Lives” in Washington, D.C., on March 24.

“We are definitely going to make sure that this movement continues and our voices continue to be heard and that no one is able to forget this event in order to prevent mass shootings from happening in the future,” Feller, 16, said on “The View” today.

She added, “It’s not about a political debate between the two parties, it’s about saving lives.”

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Missing Wichita boy’s stepmom charged with child endangerment

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The stepmother of a 5-year-old boy who’s been missing since Saturday has been arrested, officials announced Wednesday.

Wichita police said 26-year old Emily Glass was arrested for child endangerment as they continue to look for Lucas Hernandez.

Sedgwick County jail records indicate Glass was booked at 3:27 p.m. Wednesday afternoon on two counts of child endangerment. Police confirmed that Lucas and another child were involved, but did not identify the other child.

Lucas disappeared from his Wichita, Kansas, home around 3 p.m. on Saturday, police said. According to police, Glass told investigators she last saw him in his bedroom just before she took a shower and fell asleep.

Police were called to the home about three hours later and have been searching for Lucas ever since.

 Lucas’ great-aunt Sally Rasmussen told ABC News that she reported possible child abuse to Kansas Child Protective Services in May after seeing a picture of Lucas where it appeared he had marks on his arms and cheeks.

Rasmussen did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the arrest of Glass.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families, of which Child Protective Services is a part, said it couldn’t share any information on its cases either but expressed worry for Lucas.

“We share the public’s concern regarding Lucas Hernandez,” Theresa Freed, communications director for Kansas DCF, said in a statement to ABC News. “In the event the agency has information, we will share it with law enforcement, assisting them as requested.”

Lucas has not been located yet, but officers expressed hope he will be found alive in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

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School shooting suspect could lose public defender after reports of $800K inheritance

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Suspect Nikolas Cruz may have been left a large inheritance by his late parents.

Attorney general in hot seat again after new Trump tweet

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The president has a history of attacking his attorney general.

California school shooting plot foiled, assault rifles found

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Authorities say they thwarted a 17-year-old student’s plot to open fire at a Southern California high school after a staff member overheard his threat

Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99

Posted on: February 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Billy Graham, one of the world’s most famous Christian evangelists, has died, a family spokesman said today. He was 99.

Florida school shooting suspect was fascinated by talk of guns, preoccupied with wars: School records

Posted on: February 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) — The teenager accused of gunning down 17 people at a Florida high school had a fascination with talk of guns and was preoccupied with wars and terrorists, according to school records obtained by ABC affiliate WPLG.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested after last week’s Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The documents, first obtained by WPLG, detail an individualized education plan (IEP) written for Cruz in June 2015, seven months before he transferred to Stoneman Douglas High School. His eligibility for the IEP was based on emotional/behavioral disabilities and language impairments.

A spokesperson for Broward County Public Schools declined to comment to ABC News on the documents.

The IEP was written as Cruz was finishing ninth grade at Cross Creek, an alternative school. The IEP shows a mixed bag of an improving student with ongoing issues of self-control — and a fascination with talk of guns.

The IEP indicated that Cruz was making progress at the alternative school, both academically and behaviorally, but that he was, at times, easily distracted by his peers when discussions involved guns and the military.

In a science class, Cruz was “very compliant” and “helpful to his peers,” the document notes, but he was also reported to be “at times … distracted by inappropriate conversations of his peers if the topic is about guns, people being killed or the Armed Forces.”

Another entry in the report indicated Cruz needed to be redirected at times to make better choices and use better coping skills.

“When things don’t go that way he wants, Nikolas becomes frustrated and will perceive that it’s the fault of others,” the documents state. “He has made comments that authority figures are against him as a result of his not getting his way.”

“He becomes pre-occupied with things such as current events regarding wars and terrorist [sic],” the documents state. “He is fascinated by the use of guns and often speaks of weapons and the importance of ‘having weapons to remain safe in this world.’”

The IEP references Cruz’s mother, who has since died. She, according to the report, felt her son was “doing well at this school.”

“She is so happy with his academic as well as behavioral progress,” the report states.

The report says Cruz had no behavioral issues that had required him to be removed from the classroom, but it does note two incidents outside class; one where he was coerced into jumping out the back of a bus, and another where he was repeatedly punched by a peer because Cruz allegedly used racial slurs toward the peer.

The documents also reveal that Cruz enjoyed volunteering for the YMCA every week and playing video games after school.

“Nikolas navigates the community independently, and rides his bike throughout his neighborhood,” the report says. “Nikolas has not had any incidents of stealing since attending this school. He has been very focused on making appropriate choices in both the school and his neighborhood community.”

But the report adds, “Although Nikolas has made behavioral progress he continues to lack impulse control, he needs to be monitored while in both the school and neighborhood communities. … Nikolas has difficulty with wanting to have friends and engaging in following the negative behaviors of those peers. He also has poor judgment in social situations.”

According to the report, Cruz’s personal goal was to be “mainstreamed to his home high school. He often perseverates on the idea that his current school is for students that are ‘not smart’ and that he can now handle being in ‘regular’ school.”

“He expressed that he looks forward to living independently,” the report says. “He has been studying for the drivers [sic] license test and looks forward to getting his license before graduating high school.”

Cruz planned to go to college and/or the military, according to the report.

In court after his arrest last week, public defender Melisa McNeill called Cruz a “broken child.”

“My children they go to school in this community and I feel horrible for these families,” McNeill said, adding, “and Mr. Cruz feels that pain.”

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Suspect in custody for shootings that appeared to target homeless people

Posted on: February 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) — A suspect has been identified in connection with the series of shootings in Las Vegas that appeared to target the homeless.

Joshua Castellon was taken into custody Friday by an ATF special agent on a federal weapons charge. On Tuesday, detectives with the Las Vegas Metro Police Department submitted an arrest warrant declaration for Castellon two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

“Castellon will be booked into the Clark County Detention Center after the resolution of the federal case,” according to a press release from police.

At least four people were shot between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2, according to police. Three of the shootings occurred in the early morning hours of Jan. 29, according to the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. One of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene after the suspect shot him while he was sleeping, police said.

The two other victims who were shot that day were taken to the hospital and treated for their injuries. One of the victims had been shot in the head and could not recall what happened, while the other victim was outside of a convenience store when the suspect approached him in a vehicle and shot several rounds at him, striking him once, police said.

The most recent victim was a homeless man named James Lewis, who was killed while he was sleeping under a bridge on Feb. 2, officials said. His killing was caught on surveillance video.

Video shows a dark-colored SUV parking near where Lewis was found. A man then walks up to Lewis and shoots him before running back to the SUV and driving away.

“He still should be here today regardless of if he’s homeless or not,” Lewis’s daughter, Oneida Lewis Baker, told ABC News earlier this month.

Further details on Castellon’s arrest were not immediately available.

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Survivors of school massacre take their ‘Never Again’ fight to Florida capital

Posted on: February 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Many of the students barely had time to dry their eyes as they rushed from funerals for classmates killed in a mass shooting at their school to buses chartered to take them to the Florida state capital, where they plan to lobby legislators and rally for tougher gun laws and school safety.

The two busloads of student activists spawned from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week left Parkland, Florida, about 1:30 p.m. today, for the 400-mile trip to Tallahassee.

“This isn’t about Democrats. This isn’t about Republicans. This is about us demanding change and this is about the fact that we have already won, it’s just a matter of when,” yelled a student standing atop a car, firing up the group before they hit the road.

But just as the students started rolling north on their journey for justice, state lawmakers voted down a measure to ban purchases of assault rifles like the one 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly used in his attack that left 17 students and school staff members dead in Parkland

With a 36-71 vote, Florida lawmakers defeated the assault rifle bill that would have also banned the purchases of large-capacity magazines statewide.

Several students from Stoneman Douglas who traveled to Tallahassee Monday night were in the gallery at the state capitol building when the vote was taken, and some gasped in disbelief.

Chris Grady, a 19-year-old senior at Stoneman Douglas school, was not deterred by the stubbornness to change gun laws even in the face of the tragedy that occurred less than a week ago.

“I really think they are going to hear us out,” Grady said as he prepared the board the bus in Parkland. He added that he hopes he and his classmates will change the minds of lawmakers to pass “common-sense laws like rigorous background checks.”

“We are focusing on gun rights and mental health,” Jaclyn Corin, a 17-year-old junior who helped organized the bus trip, told ABC News.

She said he hopes lawmakers will listen once they come face to face with school shooting survivors like herself.

“There aren’t a lot of bills focusing on mental health and we hope to change that,” Corin said.

The buses are scheduled to reach Tallahassee about 8:30 p.m. and a group of students from Leon County High School there plan to be on hand to greet them as a sign of support.

State Sen. Lauren Book — D-Plantation, Fla., who paid for the charter buses for the students out of her own pocket — also plans to greet the students when they arrive and help them organize and meet her fellow legislators on Wednesday.

The students plan to start their lobbying efforts early Wednesday when they walk to the state capitol building holding signs reading “Never Again,” the motto for their grassroots movement.

The students also plan to attend a noon rally Wednesday outside the old state capitol building to support gun safety reform.

“I’m committed to making sure no child is going to be scared going into a classroom,” Jon Faber, a parent chaperone on that trip, told ABC News. “That’s what they’re going to achieve.”

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