National News

Sandy Hook shooting: Victims of gun violence commemorate 7th anniversary of massacre

Twitter/@fred_guttenberg(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- Families of the victims of Sandy Hook commemorated the mass shooting's seventh anniversary on Saturday with a stark reminder to the public: "[It] could happen to a kid you love."

Twenty-six people, including 20 children, were killed on Dec. 14, 2012, when a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire.

The gunman eventually fatally shot himself.

Marie-Claude Duytschaever, who lost her 6-year-old grandson Noah Pozner in the shooting, penned an emotional but blunt blog post detailing what she said is the painful reality of mass shootings and gun violence.

"I can tell you that had Noah died in his bed, the last seconds of his life wouldn’t have been filled with deafening noises, blood and terror. … That is the reality of gun violence. Not an abstraction. Not a statistic," she wrote.

"What happened to Noah and nineteen other first graders in a peaceful little New England town ten days before Christmas seven years ago could happen to a kid you love," her post read.

Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan Hockley was killed in the tragedy, detailed how she heard about the shooting seven years ago.

When she was in a class, a call came from a friend, she wrote on Twitter.

"A shooting at our school. She was scared and asked me to go find her son," she wrote. "I collapsed to the floor. Friends picked me up and one drove me to the school."

At Sandy Hook, she found her eldest son, who was 8 at the time, and her friend's son.

"I did not find Dylan," she said.

"Seven years ago started as a normal Friday morning," Hockley said. "And nothing has ever been normal since."

Hockley has since co-founded the Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit aimed at minimizing gun violence across the country.

Numerous others also spoke out in light of the anniversary, including a father who lost his daughter in the Parkland mass shooting and Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot in the head in a shooting that left 12 others wounded in Tucson in 2011.

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime Guttenberg was killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, wrote that both incidents show "why we must defeat the gun lobby and focus on gun safety."

"Your lives and your safety are worth it," he rote on Twitter.

Giffords said prior to the Newtown shooting, "I thought I’d felt pain and loss without parallel, but Sandy Hook shattered my heart."

Giffords, like Hockley, has also become a gun reform activist.

"They were children. We failed to keep them safe," she wrote. "And so I said enough."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

NYPD officers' body cameras shows moments leading up to killing of police officer, suspect

New York City Police Department(NEW YORK) -- The NYPD has released body camera footage from officers involved in a pursuit and deadly shooting that left a fellow officer and a suspect dead.

The video, released Friday, shows police officer Brian Mulkeen and other plainclothes officers on patrol in the Bronx on Sept. 29, 2019. The footage shows him and officer Robert Wichers get out of an unmarked vehicle and approach two suspects.

The officers were patrolling the neighborhood after a shootout there earlier that week, police said.

One of the suspects, Antonio Williams, immediately flees and leads Mulkeen and Wichers on a foot chase, according to Wichers' body camera.

The other suspect, who was not named, did not run and was pat down by officer Brian Mahon who called for back up, his body camera video shows.

Wichers catches up to Williams, shoves him to the ground and struggles with him, the video shows.

"He's reaching! He's f------ reaching! He's reaching!" one of the officers is heard saying, according to Wichers' body camera.

Wichers is seen punching Williams before three more officers arrived on the scene. Wichers separates from Williams and, along with the other officers, opens fire.

In total, there 15 bullets were fired by all six officers, said Kevin Maloney, deputy chief of the Force Investigation Division, who narrated a 13-minute NYPD video detailing the shooting.

Mulkeen was struck by one of his fellow officers' bullets, the NYPD determined. He died at a local hospital.

Williams, who was armed with a pistol, was shot and killed, too, police said. His gun was not fired, the NYPD determined.

The other suspect was detained for a parole violation and later released.

Maloney said investigators from the division the Bronx District Attorney's office will continue to interview witnesses and review more footage as part of the investigation.

"After the investigation is complete, the facts of this case will be presented to the First Deputy Commissioner's use of force review board, where the evidence will be evaluated to determine if the force applied in this case was justified and consistent with department guidelines," he said in the video.

Justin Williams, Antonio Williams' brother, however, said the video didn't appear to show the plainclothes officers identify themselves as police. He said in a press statement released by the family that relatives saw the video and felt "sadness, anger and questions."

"I saw and heard my brother being punched and beaten by officers before he was killed," he said.

He added that the NYPD's "hyper-aggressiveness policing and recklessness murdered my brother Antonio and the officer."

The NYPD did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Saturday.

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Van with possible connection to Jersey City Jewish deli shooting found

FBI(JERSEY CITY, New Jersey) -- The van that was registered to one of the alleged shooters in the deadly Jersey City attack has been recovered, authorities said Saturday.

The FBI was searching for the white 2001 Ford Van as the agency investigated the shooting at a Jewish deli and cemetery, which left four people dead, as "potential acts of domestic terrorism."

The vehicle was registered to suspected attacker David Anderson, 47, and has a "possible connection" to the shootings, according to the FBI.

Anderson and Francine Graham, 50, were identified as the two suspects who officials said carried out the attack and appeared to have been motivated by "both anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement."

Both were killed in an hours-long shootout with police on Tuesday.

The incident unfolded at 12:38 p.m. after police received a 911 call from an individual who discovered a body at the Bayview Cemetery, according to New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.

The victim turned out to be Jersey City police detective Joseph Seals, who apparently went to the cemetery to meet one of the suspects who was an informant for him, sources told ABC News.

After the suspects allegedly killed Seals, they got into a stolen U-Haul van and drove to the Jersey City Kosher Supermarket, arriving at about 12:43 p.m., Grewal said.

The two then opened fire at the store, according to Grewal.

The victims killed at the kosher deli were identified as Mindy Ferencz, 33, the wife of the supermarket owner and mother of five; 24-year-old Moshe Deutsch, a Yeshiva student; and Douglas Miguel Rodriguez, 49, an employee at the store.

Ferencz and Deutsch were buried at cemeteries in Jersey City and Brooklyn, respectively, on Wednesday. Thousands of members of the Jewish Orthodox community attended the burials.

A memorial for Rodriguez will begin on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Michigan Memorial Funeral Home in Paterson, New Jersey.

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Suspect in Pensacola naval base shooting wrote 'the countdown has started' 4 months before attack: Report

FBI(PENSACOLA, Fla.) -- New details have emerged in the deadly shooting at a Florida naval base, including a cryptic message that the suspect wrote just months before the attack, according to a federal report obtained by ABC News.

Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force who authorities say killed three people and injured eight others after opening fire at the Naval Air Base Pensacola last week, wrote the phrase "the countdown has started" on Sept. 11, 2019 with no further explanation, according to a Joint Intelligence Bulletin released Friday.

The post was written about four months before the Dec. 6 shooting, according to the report.

The bulletin, which was issued by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, National Counterterrorism Center and the Defense Intelligence Agency, also stated that his social media included references to non-Muslims as "infidels" and defended jihad.

Sources previously told ABC News that investigators determined the shooting was likely a "terror" attack inspired by radical Islamic ideology.

One post contained writings that were consistent with a 2010 statement from American-born cleric Anwar al Awlaki, who was killed in 2011 in a CIA-led drone strike, according to the report.

"I'm against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil," the post read, according to the report. "What I see from America is the supporting of Israel which is invasion of Muslim countries, I see invasion of many countries by its troops, I see Guantanamo Bay. I see cruise missiles, cluster bombs and UAV."

The multi-agency report also detailed new information about what happened inside the classroom where the shooting took place.

The attack lasted about 15 minutes, during which time Alshamrani unloaded 180 rounds of his ammo and fired directly at pictures of President Donald Trump and a former president, who was not named, according to the report.

Alshamrani purchased a Glock 9 mm pistol legally by taking advantage of a federal gun law exception that allows foreign nationals to purchase weapons -- which is normally prohibited -- for hunting, authorities have said.

A witness told investigators that during the attack, Alshamrani made statements that were critical of U.S. military actions overseas, according to the report.

Alshamrani, who was in the United States for flight training, was shot and killed by Escambia County Sheriff's deputies at the scene.

The report stresses that federal authorities are not aware of any ongoing specific, credible threats to the public.

The FBI-Jacksonville, the lead investigative agency, said the investigation into the shooting remains active and they are working under the presumption "that this was an act of terrorism."

"Our unified goal remains clear: to determine if the shooter acted alone or if anyone assisted, provided support for, or had knowledge of his attack in advance," according to the FBI's statement.

The victims in the attack were identified as Ensign Joshua Watson, 23; Airman Mohammed Haitham, 19; and Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters, 21.

The Navy posthumously advanced Haitham and Walters to Naval Aircrewman Mechanical 3rd Class on Saturday.

"These sailors exhibited the finest warrior ethos and quick decision-making that undoubtedly saved many lives,” Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said in a statement. “They took action when it was needed most, with the same skill and professionalism that they’d exhibited throughout their service to our nation."

Haitham and Walters had previously been proclaimed naval aircrewmen after they were awarded their Wings of Gold.

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5-year-old's birthday wish of bedding for children in need extended for the holidays

Courtesy Jackie Sliz(LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois) -- When their birthdays roll around, most children ask for a growing list of presents -- or a pony -- but that wasn't the case for 5-year-old Tyler Sliz.

Tyler asked family and friends to help him donate bedding to children in need through the Sleep in Heavenly Peace organization at his church in Libertyville, Illinois.

Almost two months later, much to his delight, the bedding donations are still coming in.

"At first, I was concerned he would feel disappointment at his birthday party when all he received was bedding, but he surprised me with his giving heart," his mother, Jackie Sliz, told ABC News. "All he truly wanted for his birthday was bedding so that he could carry it to Sleep In Heavenly Peace."

Sleep in Heavenly Peace consists of a group of volunteers who focus on making sure children have a bed to sleep in every night. The volunteers build, assemble and deliver the beds to the families in need in Lake Country and McHenry County in Illinois.

Tyler and his family belong to the group's chapter at St. Joseph's. Tyler also attends preschool at St. Joseph's Catholic School.

Because Tyler couldn't help build the beds -- he has to wait till he's 12 -- he wanted to contribute in another way. So, he had his mom record a video to send to his birthday party guests, requesting that they bring bedding, pillows and sheets instead of gifts to the festivities on Oct. 26.
On Oct. 23, the day he turned 5, Tyler began collecting the donated items.

"Even when two guests chose to give him money, he, in turn, decided to buy more bedding with it," Sliz told ABC News.

Four days later, with the help of his grandparents, Tyler had his first bed built. He donated all of his birthday gifts -- 30 pieces of bedding that he'd received from party guests.

"People tend to be surprised that he chooses collecting bedding instead of gifts for himself. Many are inspired to ask their friends and family for bedding," Sliz said. "[They say,] 'If a 5-year-old can do it, so can I.'"

Tyler was a "special bed builder" with the group in October, Sleep in Heavenly Peace said in a statement to ABC News.

"Four generations of his family were there on [Oct. 27] making sure No Kid Sleeps on The Floor in His Town," the statement said. "This young man sure knows what's important and has a great heart!"

Tyler's collection of bedding continues to grow as people donate. He hopes to continue collecting throughout the holiday season and receive at least 100 pieces of bedding.

When he was asked how much bedding he wanted to collect, he said: "As many as my house can hold!"

Sliz said the Libertyville chapter had celebrated its first anniversary on Nov. 23. In that year, the chapter built and donated 300 beds, she said.

"I want to get more bedding so kids don’t have to sleep on the floor," he told ABC News. "I hope Santa brings all the kids bedding and presents."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Storm system moves along Mid-Atlantic coast as 2nd storm impacts West

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A coastal storm system is moving along the Mid-Atlantic coastline this morning, bringing several weather hazards on all sides of the system from the Gulf Coast through New England.

Strong storms from the Florida panhandle through parts of the Carolinas will fizzle out as we continue through Saturday morning with several tornado warnings issued for parts of central and northern Florida.

Heavy rain and downpours are impacting states from the Midwest through portions of New England, bringing the threat for flooding, mainly in the Northeast.

Alerts are in place across 10 states this morning from Delaware to Maine. Flooding will be a concern through the weekend especially along coastal areas and in New England areas where partially frozen ground will make it difficult for water to drain.

Winter weather advisories are posted for portions of the Eastern Great Lakes as lake effect snow bands are expected to set up through the weekend with 6 or more inches of localized snow expected in some areas.

Wind gusts topping 40 mph are expected through Saturday and into Sunday for coastal Cape Cod and The Islands.

By Saturday evening, the center of the system moves into New England, with most of the heavy rain pushing offshore. We’ll see heavy rain continue into Upstate New York, east of the freezing line.

Further west, an icy mix may occur along the freezing line with snow expected further west in an area stretching from Western Pennsylvania north through New York state.

By Sunday morning, the storm moves offshore with lake effect snow bands setting up for the Eastern Great Lakes and portions of interior New England. Windy conditions develop through Saturday and into Sunday for much of the Northeast, with gusts between 25-35 mph expected.

After the storm leaves the area Sunday evening, we are expecting rain totals of a few inches, with higher amounts along the New England coastline.

For snow, 3-6 inches can be expected in typical lake effect zones, with some localized amounts topping 6 inches as we head through Sunday night.

In the meantime, a second storm system is impacting the western states this morning with heavy mountain snow occurring in the Rockies and High Plains.

Weather alerts are in effect this morning for 9 states across the Western U.S. This system will continue to bring heavy mountain snow across portions of the Rockies, especially in Colorado where 1-3 feet of snow is expected in high elevations through the weekend.

There is also a high avalanche risk in effect for portions of the Colorado Rockies through the weekend.

By Sunday afternoon, this system moves into the Central Plains, bringing the threat for snow and ice on the northern side of the system, and rain/storms developing on the eastern side of the system.

By Monday morning, a long line of heavy rain and stormy weather will set up from Arkansas through West Virginia. A bit further north, we’ll see some additional wintry weather impact southern Pennsylvanian and perhaps parts of New Jersey as the storm continues to track northeast through the beginning of the work week.

Finally, a dangerous swell in the Pacific is impacting parts of the West Coast this morning with wave heights and breakers over 20 feet high expected through early Sunday morning.

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New Orleans city government hit with cyberattack

City of New Orleans(NEW ORLEANS) -- The computer network that handles governmental operations for the city of New Orleans was shut down Friday by a cyberattack, city officials say.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell signed a declaration of emergency for the city after a ransomware attack was detected by staffers at city hall Friday morning.

The perpetrators of the attack, who had not been identified, made no demands in conjunction with the attack, Cantrell said at a Friday afternoon press conference.

Among those services taken offline was the city's website at
911 service and computer-aided dispatch have not been affected by the attack, said New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.

"The only difference between now and what we were doing yesterday is that we're now documenting our reports manually," he said. "Other than that, services remain the same, response times remain the same."

Officials were working with cybersecurity experts from the Louisiana State Police, FBI, Louisiana National Guard, and United States Secret Service to perform a forensic and technical cyber-investigation into the attack, the mayor said.

Cantrell said that, to her knowledge, no city information was compromised in the incident. The attack was similar to a recent cyberattack that occurred on the state level, she said.

Suspicious activity in the form of phishing emails and other malware was initially detected at around 5 a.m. Friday, with increased activity detected at around 8 a.m., officials said. Officials determined between 11-11:30 a.m. that the attack had compromised the network, at which point city hall employees were instructed over the building's public address system to shut down and unplug their computers.

No city employee had reported clicking on malware to precipitate the attack, officials said, although authorities were still investigating how the attack occurred.

Collin Arnold, the city's director of homeland security, said that the city was well-prepared for this kind of incident, as a result of recent hurricane disasters.

"We can operate without internet, without the city network," he said. "It makes it obviously more difficult, but from a public safety standpoint ... we've trained to do that, because of hurricane season."

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Starbucks apologizes after 2 sheriff's deputies say servers ignored them

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Starbucks is in the spotlight again for alleged mistreatment of law enforcement officers.

The Riverside County, California, sheriff’s department claims that two of its deputies were refused service at a Starbucks location on Thursday night.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco tweeted late Friday, “The anti police culture repeatedly displayed by Starbucks employees must end.”

The incident comes two weeks after an Oklahoma police officer’s Starbucks order had the name “Pig" printed on one of the cups. Starbucks fired the worker it says put the offensive word on the cup, and apologized to law enforcement.

"This language is offensive to all law enforcement and is not representative of the deep appreciation we have for police officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe," the company said in a statement following the incident.

When contacted about Thursday night's incident in Riverside County, a Starbucks representative told ABC News that the two California deputies were in uniform when they visited the Starbucks at around 11 p.m., and were ignored by workers for about five minutes.

“There is simply no excuse for how the two deputies were ignored,” said Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges. “We’re deeply sorry for that.”

The company contends the deputies were not refused service, but that employees were simply not attentive. Starbucks is launching an investigation into the incident to better understand if the deputies were intentionally ignored by the employees.

While the investigation is underway, the employees who were on duty are not being scheduled to work. Starbucks leadership will travel to the location to fully understand what unfolded, company representatives said.

Starbucks officials also said they have reached out to Sheriff Bianco to apologize.

“We really want to connect with the two deputies, apologize directly, and hear their stories,” explained Borges. “We take full responsibility for any intentional or unintentional disrespect to law enforcement.”

Starbucks says it is a violation of policy to not serve a customer for such a long period of time.

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Cowboys assist in the arrest of an alleged carjacking suspect in Las Vegas

Cayden Cox(LAS VEGAS) -- A Las Vegas “cowboy arrest” caught on video is going viral after the footage captured the moment several cowboys on horses yelled and threatened to lasso a man who was suspected of a carjacking.

The ordeal began when the Las Vegas Metro Police Department spotted a reportedly stolen car and attempted to stop it, according to ABC station KTNV in Las Vegas. The three people in the stolen car bolted out to escape but were met with the ropers on their horses.

"I noticed a helicopter flying in a circle right about us and then that’s when I saw all the cop cars hauling, but I started kind of looking around and sure as heck I saw a guy running through the stalls and I yelled, ‘There he is!’ Cayden Cox, a cowboy and professional cattle roper, told ABC News. “So I turned my horse around and ran as fast as I could over there and about 30 other cowboys followed me.”

“Right when I got to him, the guy just gave up and held his hands up and he was looking around, and right when I wanted to rope him, another cowboy on foot ran up behind him and tackled him,” he said.

The cowboys stayed on the suspect until police arrived to arrest him, and the two others involved in the carjacking, KTNV reported. Las Vegas police told the station that it took all three people into custody.

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Victim's remains still inside Hard Rock Hotel 2 months after partial collapse

iStock(NEW ORLEANS) -- Two months after the Hard Rock Hotel partially collapsed, the family of one of the victims whose body remains trapped inside is still looking for closure.

Quinnyon Wimberly, 36, died in the collapse of the under-construction hotel in downtown New Orleans on Oct. 12. He was one of three construction workers who were killed.

Though crews initially hoped to recover his body, they have since changed course and told the family they would have to demolish the building with Wimberly's body inside.

The plans for the demolition are not expected to begin until some months into 2020, the city's Fire Department Superintendent Tim McConnel told reporters Thursday, according to ABC New Orleans affiliate WGNO.

"It's a wound that won't heal," Wimberly's brother, Frank Wimberly, told ABC News in a telephone interview Friday. "Two months, to step back in front of that building, it brings it all back."

He said his family hasn't been given a definitive date as to when the demolition is expected to happen, but was told that rescue workers would try to remove the debris and concrete that collapsed on Wimberly so they can extract the body from the building in one piece.

Crews are expected to begin stabilizing the structure next week in hopes that they can safely recover the bodies after the demolition and obtain evidence to help determine the cause of the collapse, according to WGNO.

The official cause of the collapse is unknown, but numerous lawsuits have been filed against the construction companies involved for alleged negligence.

The New Orleans mayor's office did not respond to ABC News for comment regarding the demolition timeline.

However, in a previous statement, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that her "focus and priority remains recovery of the remains, and securing closure for the victim’s families -- with whom she has been in close contact. Our public safety team continues working with engineers to evaluate the next steps on the site."

For Quinnyon Wimberly's family, though, they remain cautiously optimistic about whatever those next steps are.

"I guess I have to see it to believe it," his brother said of the city's hope to bring his brother out in one piece. "We've had so many setbacks."

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Why Texas woman lied to police about her alleged cop killer son for days: 'Because I am a mom'

Harris County Sheriff(HOUSTON) -- A Houston mother was held on $50,000 bond Friday for allegedly lying for days about her son's whereabouts after he fled the scene of a fatal hit-and-run that killed a veteran sergeant, authorities said.

Tiffany Henderson was arrested and charged by Harris County prosecutors on Thursday with hindering apprehension after telling investigators that she did not know where her son, Tavores Dewayne Henderson, was located.

When investigators asked the 37-year-old mother why she continued to "lie" to them, she responded: "Because I am a mom," according to the criminal complaint.

Her boyfriend, 33-year-old Geoffrey Wheeler, was also charged with hindering prosecution.

During a traffic stop on Tuesday evening on the 2000 block of San Sebastian Court, Nassau Bay Sgt. Kalia Sullivan and another officer attempted to arrest the 21-year-old who had an active warrant for allegedly assaulting a family member in February. Tavores Dewayne Henderson managed to break away from the two officers, get behind the wheel of his car and allegedly run over Sullivan.

Sullivan was taken to a nearby hospital where she died from her injuries. The 16-year veteran was 43.

Meanwhile, the alleged fugitive contacted his mother and Wheeler, who picked him up and drove him more than 30 miles away to The Sterling Inn hotel in West Houston, Texas, to hide out, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators went to Tiffany Henderson's home early Wednesday morning, where she denied knowing where he was or who he is, prosecutors said at a press conference on Thursday.

Police said the mother and Wheeler were seen on surveillance video leaving the hotel.

The manhunt increased on Wednesday as a "Blue Alert" was issued, and the reward money for information leading to his arrest was raised to $20,000.

Tiffany Henderson gave her condolences to Sullivan's family and her concern that her son would get killed or hurt by police during an interview with ABC station KTRK in Houston on Thursday.

"At this moment, I just want to get my son to safety and all precautions to be followed," said Henderson, who gave an anecdote about a conversation with an unidentified "guy" that was aware of her son's whereabouts. "I want my son to turn himself in."

Police the received a tip that Tavores Dewayne Henderson was in a house on the 4200 block of Heritage Trail Drive in Houston.

As law enforcement surrounded the house, "(Tiffany Henderson) informed officers that she wanted the opportunity to tell her son, Tavores Henderson, to surrender. (Tiffany Henderson) was allowed to speak to Tavores Henderson and he responded by surrendering himself," according to the criminal complaint.

The alleged cop killer was taken into custody Thursday afternoon "without incident," police said.

The mother, who has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2001, was held on a $50,000 bond at a preliminary court appearance Friday morning, according to court records.

Wheeler, who is the alleged getaway driver, told investigators that he lied to "because I was scared," according to the criminal complaint. He posted a $10,000 bond, according to court records.

Both mom and Wheeler are expected back in court on Dec. 16.

Before a judge saw Henderson for the underlying case that escalated the traffic stop to an attempted arrest, officers restrained his wrist behind his back Sullivan's handcuffs. The alleged cop killer was held on $150,000 for the assault charge and is expected back in court on Saturday for the upgraded capital murder charge, according to court records.

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Police arrest juvenile suspect in fatal stabbing of Barnard College student: Sources

TheaDesign/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police have arrested a 13-year-old boy in connection with the fatal stabbing of a Barnard College student, according to three law enforcement sources.

The sources told ABC News that the juvenile suspect is facing charges of murder, robbery and weapons possession after he allegedly made statements linking himself to Wednesday's killing of Tessa Rane Majors, an 18-year-old freshman at the private women's liberal arts college which sits just outside Morningside Park in Upper Manhattan, alongside Columbia University.

Detectives believe there may have been as many as three people involved in the incident, the sources said.

Majors was walking through the park near campus on Wednesday evening when she was accosted by an unknown number of people and stabbed multiple times during a struggle. Majors managed to get herself out of the park and onto a nearby street, where she was spotted by a school public safety officer who called 911. She died soon after at a local hospital, according to the New York City Police Department.

Majors' family said they have "lost a very special, very talented and very well-loved young woman."

"Tess shone bright in this world, and our hearts will never be the same," the family told ABC News in a statement Thursday.

Majors was finishing up her first year at Barnard College, with final exams set to begin Friday. The school's president, Sian Leah Beilock, said that Majors was wounded "during an armed robbery" that occurred off campus in the park.

"This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core," Beilock said in a statement.

Investigators continued combing Morningside Park for evidence on Thursday. The New York City Police Department's chief of detectives, Rodney Harrison, told reporters that a knife was recovered from the crime scene but it's unclear whether the weapon was used in the stabbing.

Several people have been let go after being questioned by police, Harrison said.

Police are increasing patrols near the park and the neighboring college campuses in the wake of Majors' death, according to Harrison.

Hundreds of people gathered at Barnard College to mourn Majors at a vigil Thursday night. Students, faculty and other community members placed flowers, candles and notes at a makeshift memorial on campus.

“The idea that a college freshman at Barnard was murdered in cold blood is absolutely, not only painful to me as a parent, it’s terrifying to think that that could happen anywhere,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday. “It’s an unacceptable reality.”

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Unsettled weather on both coasts Friday and into the weekend

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Now that Arctic air is moving out of the Northeast, our attention turns to stormy weather on both coasts, with rain, snow and ice on both coasts Friday and into the weekend.

In the East, a storm system will be moving from the Gulf Coast up the East Coast, with freezing rain along the Appalachians from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and heavy rain with a threat of flooding along the coast.

On Friday morning, a winter weather advisory has been issued from North Carolina to Pennsylvania for freezing rain, sleet and some snow. Freezing rain will be the biggest issue because it can accumulate on trees and power lines, which could produce power outages. Also, very icy conditions are expected on the roads.

Also Friday morning, a flood watch has been issued from Rhode Island to Maine for several inches of rain that will fall on frozen ground, which could create flooding.

Later Friday afternoon, the storm system will be moving out of the Gulf of Mexico and will redevelop near the Carolinas’ coast into a coastal storm, bringing heavy rain to the area. Meanwhile, freezing rain will be falling all morning and into the afternoon along the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina to Pennsylvania.

Friday night into Saturday morning, heavy rain will spread into the Northeast with flooding possible, especially in New England where the ground is frozen so water has nowhere to go. Rainfall there could be 1-3 inches.

In the meantime, a series of Pacific storms will ride the jet stream and bring heavy rain and snow through the weekend into the Western U.S.

On Friday morning, 10 western states are under winter weather alerts for heavy snow from Washington to New Mexico.

Some of the tropical moisture near the Hawaiian Islands is being picked up by the kink in the jet stream and pushed east toward the West Coast. In meteorology, we call this Pineapple Express of Atmospheric River.

Through the weekend, 1-3 feet of snow is expected from the Sierra Range to the Rockies, where avalanche danger will be high.

Along the Northern California coast and into Southern Oregon, some areas could see 2-3 inches of rain.

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Small plane makes emergency landing on California freeway

Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(CARLSBAD, Calif.) -- A single-engine plane made an emergency landing on a California freeway Thursday night, authorities said.

California Highway Police said the incident took place shortly after 7 p.m. The aircraft came down on the southbound lanes of the I-5 near Carlsbad, nose-diving into the center divide, police said.

Video posted by police on social media shows the plane land on the road, but apparently without major damage.

No one in the aircraft or on the ground were injured, officials said..

The aircraft was carrying a man and a woman, who told firefighters that the Cessna’s cockpit filled with smoke and it lost power.

Their identities have not yet been released.

The couple was flying from El Monte and were planning to land a few miles away at the Palomar Airport, police said.

Police said that they removed the fuel from the plane before it was moved onto a truck with a crane and cleared from the scene.

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Maryland councilmember proposes video cameras to thwart texting and driving

bernardbodo/iStock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- While some states have pushed back against the implementation of red-light cameras, one councilmember from Montgomery County, Maryland, thinks current photographic deterrents are not enough.

Councilmember Tom Hucker is seeking to gain permission from the Maryland state legislature to install highway cameras that would record what drivers are doing inside their vehicles, in an attempt to curb distracted driving.

“Maryland is facing an epidemic of serious crashes from distracted driving," Hucker told ABC News. "We have over 38,000 crashes a year and they result in far too many fatalities and serious injuries."

According to government records, Montgomery County saw only 20 homicides in 2018 compared to 27 fatal car crashes the same year -- one reason Hucker is arguing for such drastic action to be taken.

Although Maryland banned the use of handheld devices while driving in 2013, officials say the fines associated with being caught -- $75 dollars for the first offense, $125 for the second offense and $175 for subsequent offenses -- are not enough, and previous attempts to raise the fines have failed.

“If we’re serious about traffic safety, we need to look at using the best available technology to keep people safe and use the best tools at our disposal,” Hucker said. “This is a new tool that is available on the market. But we don’t have the authority to use it yet.”

The goal of the cameras, Hucker argues, is to increase the effectiveness of existing laws by catching drivers in the act of using their phones and then following through with some sort of punishment, like a fine or a written warning of some kind, he told ABC News.

Opponents of the plan are skeptical that this degree of surveillance is necessary.

“It’s really invasive,” John Townsend, public relations manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a phone interview with ABC News. “It’s like a peeping Tom. Not just violators, but everyone who drives by that camera will be recorded.”

Townsend said they were also concerned that such practices could lead to future violations of privacy and that lawmakers may alter the legislation in the future in an attempt to make more money.

“It’s a very slippery slope,” Townsend said. “Are they really doing this for traffic safety reasons or because there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?”

Hucker responded to these concerns by asserting that the same questions were asked about red-light cameras back when they were first being considered, and that they are now widely used and proven to be extremely effective in deterring dangerous driving.

“Opponents then alleged that municipalities were [installing red-light cameras] to raise revenue,” Hucker said. “All we’re doing is seeking the authority to consider having a program, and you can set up any program you want.”

If Montgomery County were to adopt this policy, it would be the first program of its kind in the country and among the first in the world.

Ultimately, the council decided to postpone taking a position on the bill until the legislative session begins in January.

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