ABC - National News
Subscribe To This Feed

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As Starbucks prepares to shut down 8,000 company-owned stores on Tuesday for a mass employee teaching session on combating racial bias, the president of one of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights groups told ABC News that the crucial test will be after the coffee giant concludes its training.

Marc Morial, president of the Urban League, said the company cannot expect one afternoon of teaching to root out the type of implicit bias that prompted the wrongful arrest of two African-American men at a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks store earlier this year and caused its CEO to apologize to the men in person.

"I think Starbucks should be applauded for what I would call one of the most ambitious efforts to confront an incident of this type that I've seen any company do in recent times," Morial told ABC News. "However, it's important to realize that one day of diversity training will not solve implicit and explicit racism either at a company or in America. The test is going to be what is the go-forward strategy by the company to institutionalize which kind of training or professional development to deal with the broader issues."

On April 12, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, two 23-year-old black entrepreneurs and longtime friends, were waiting to meet a potential business partner at a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia when a white manager asked them whether they wanted to order anything. They declined and told her they were just there for a quick meeting.

Nelson said he immediately asked to use the restroom when they walked in but was informed it was for paying customers only. So the pair sat at a table and waited for the person with whom they were scheduled to meet.

Within two minutes after entering the store, the manager called 911 and police officers arrested the men for trespassing and paraded them out of the store in handcuffs when they refused requests to leave.

A customer posted a cellphone video on Twitter of the men being arrested, sparking national outrage, protests at the Philadelphia Starbucks and calls for a boycott against the company.

Within 24 hours, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson called the incident "reprehensible" and apologized to the men. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross also issued a public apology and all charges against the men were dropped.

"We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer," Howard Schultz, the executive chairman of Starbucks, said in a statement.

On April 17, Starbucks announced it would close more than 8,000 company-owned stores across the nation for one afternoon to train 170,000 employees on how to avoid "racial bias."

Starbucks says the training will run up to four hours on Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. Employees will gather at their individual stores and go over a curriculum created with input from experts such as Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; and Heather McGhee, president of the public policy organization Demos.

The company last week released a preview of the video workers will watch during the training. It features Academy Award-winning rapper Common, who will guide them through the lesson, the company said.

During the training, employees will go through a workbook and given instruction on identifying implicit and explicit bias and how to control it. Employees are also expected to hold group discussions and share personal experiences on discrimination.

The company has already instituted what it calls a "Third Place Policy" in which customers are "welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase."

"Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussion will make a difference within and beyond our stores," Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president of U.S. retail, told employees in a note the company made public on May 23.

Following the training session, the curriculum will be available to the public.

"May 29 isn't a solution, it's a first step," Williams said. "By educating ourselves on understanding bias and how it affects our lives and the lives of the people we encounter and serve, we renew our commitment to making the third place welcoming and safe for everyone."

Morial, the former mayor of New Orleans, noted that African-Americans have endured similar incidents at other retail chains since the incident at the Philadelphia Starbucks.

Earlier this month, police were called on three black teens wrongly accused of shoplifting at a Nordstrom Rack in St. Louis, Missouri, prompting the company's president Geevy Thomas to meet with the three young men and their parents and apologize. In another incident this month, police were called on an African-American customer at a Hobby Lobby store near Birmingham, Alabama, because he vaguely resembled a suspect in a check-cashing scheme.

"Implicit and explicit bias is a reality in 21st century America," Morial told ABC News. "It's just a reality and to deny it is to deny the obvious because now with social media people are often getting caught red-handed."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New Jersey police officer was recorded repeatedly punching a Philadelphia woman as they wrestled on the ground at a New Jersey beach over the Memorial Day weekend.

Video of the confrontation, which took place in Wildwood, New Jersey, on Saturday around 4 p.m., has been viewed almost 40,000 times on Twitter.

The footage shows multiple Wildwood Police Department officers working in concert to subdue a woman they identified as Emily Weinman, a 20-year-old from Philadelphia, who is seen flailing her arms and legs in a one-piece black swimsuit.

The cops manage to wrestle Weinman to the sand and one is seen throwing three punches with his right fist downward to her head, while another pins her bare legs.

Numerous beachgoers circling the melee can be heard repeatedly warning Weinman, "Stop resisting."

Weinman faces charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault by spitting bodily fluids at/on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, obstruction and possession of alcohol by a minor.

Alexis Hewitt was sleeping on a towel next to Weinman when she heard the commotion and woke up. She confirmed to ABC News that she shot video of the altercation.

"I was sleeping on the beach and I woke up to this... i can't believe it...," she wrote on Twitter.

After Hewitt's video went viral the Wildwood Police Department put out a release that an internal investigation was opened and the officers involved in the arrest of Weinman "have been reassigned to administrative duty" pending its outcome.

"Chief [Robert] Regalbuto stated that while he finds this video to be alarming, he does not want to rush to any judgment until having the final results of the investigation," the statement said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(Ellicott City, Md.) -- A small Maryland town's Main Street metamorphosed into a raging muddy river on Saturday.

Flash floods caused storefronts in Ellicott City, located just outside of Baltimore, to become engulfed by brown, soupy water from the nearby Patapsco River. Parked cars on the street slid and collided into each other.

A state of emergency was declared by the state's governor, Larry Hogan

Earlier in the day Maryland's Howard County issued a flash flood emergency at around 4:45 p.m.

Charlie Risselado, a waiter at Tersiguel’s restaurant, told ABC News in a phone interview that the rainstorm had flooded the basement.

"Right now we have about 6 inches," he said.

Risselado said water had been "gushing out of windows" of some of the storefronts and "blasting through the fronts of these buildings."

"I'm losing power and I would like to take care of my staff," he added.

Two years ago another rainstorm killed two residents and significantly impacted local businesses.

Some people in the town managed to record some of Mother Nature's mayhem.

Parked cars were reduced to air hockey pucks.

The newly-formed street river can be seen on full display in this video.

A view from the second floor of an antique shop shows the treacherous waters that used to be a street.

Even first responders were turning away at this street intersection. 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Christian Bales(COVINGTON, Ky.) -- A high school valedictorian in Kentucky praised the fight for stronger gun laws by school-shooting survivors in Florida, and applauded his classmates for participating in an anti-abortion march, saying students should "continue to utilize our voices."

The only problem was that Holy Cross High School valedictorian Christian Bales gave his commencement address through a bullhorn outside the graduation venue after officials with the local Catholic diocese ruled that parts of his speech was too political and not in keeping with church teachings.

Student Council President Katherine Frantz at the Catholic school in Covington, Kentucky, was barred from giving her graduation speech at the ceremony as well.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Covington said parts of the two students' speeches were political and inconsistent with Catholic teaching.

"When the proposed speeches were received, they were found to contain elements that were political and inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church," Fitzgerald said in a statement.

He also said the student speakers missed a deadline for submitting their speeches for review.

Bales, 18, suggested that the diocese's decision may have stemmed from his and Frantz's being known as outspoken on social issues.

"We have been two huge advocates for social reform in our community, which has likely put us on the radar for the diocese," Bales told ABC affiliate WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.

Bales is an openly gay student who said he plans to major in biology in the fall at the University of Louisville, where he has an academic scholarship.

Bales' mother, Gillian Marksberry, said the students were notified of the decision not to allow them to speak about 10 hours before Friday night's graduation at the Connor Convocation Center at Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, near Covington.

Marksberry said she found the decision "shocking" and felt "very, very emotional" that her son was barred from giving his address.

But Bales and Frantz would not be silenced.

Following the commencement ceremony, they gave their speeches outside the auditorium through a bullhorn, surrounded by fellow graduates and their families.

Marksberry said, "We don't want to be vindictive. We don't want to be vengeful. That's not what this is about. He's earned the right to have a voice."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thomas Bailey and Karen Bushell have never met, but their families have eerily similar stories to tell.

On August 16, 2017, Thomas was informed that his daughter 1st Lt. Kathryn Bailey, 26, was missing; her Army Black Hawk helicopter had crashed into the ocean off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

Six days later, Karen received that same devastating word. Her son, Electronics Technician Petty Officer First Class Kevin Bushell, 26, was also missing. His Navy destroyer, the USS McCain, had collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Singapore.

Kathryn and Kevin were not in war zones when they died, but were conducting routine training missions so that they could be prepared for any situation in which the U.S. military might call upon their service.

Since last Memorial Day, about 75 service members from across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have lost their lives in noncombat-related incidents. By comparison, since June of last year, 14 service members were killed in combat-related incidents in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Thomas and Karen had not feared they would lose their child in the way that they did. Now they say the sacrifice of service members like Kathryn and Kevin is just as important to remember this Memorial Day as any overseas combat death.

Before the crash: 1st Lt. Kathryn Bailey

Kathryn Michelle Bailey was born on August 7, 1991, to Thomas Bailey and Virginia Koch, who both served in the Army for a number of years. Kathryn spent most of her life in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“She was an Army brat,” her father told ABC News in an interview in Newport News, Virginia last week.

“She was a very inquisitive girl, a very smart girl, and very stubborn but very loyal,” he added.

“She just kept you on your toes," her sister said. "You didn’t know what she was going to say, what she as going to do. She was just the life of the room.”

Despite two parents who served in the Army, Kathryn’s family said it was never her plan to join the military. Instead, Kathryn followed her sister to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, earning a bachelor’s degree in European studies and art history. Then, she went to London's Kingston University for a master’s degree in museum studies.

But it was during that time in England that her father said she became “ferociously patriotic.” Kathryn would visit her father -- then retired from the Army and divorced -- at his U.S. government job in Saudi Arabia. She also traveled through Europe, visiting historic sites from World War II.

“After that is pretty much when she decided she wanted to join the Army,” he said. “She called me up one day and said, ‘Dad, I want to be like you. I want to join the Army and be a helicopter pilot.’”

Her sister said she had mixed feelings upon learning of Kathryn's decision.

“I actually kind of got mad at her,” she said.

“We’re in the middle of all this stuff going on the in the Middle East, and it’s the last thing I wanted for her,” she added. “Not that I don’t admire it, but when it’s your sister, it’s scary.”

Looking back, she said she could see why her sister was drawn to the Army -- how Kathryn liked the structure and sense of community that she saw it gave to her parents.

Soon, Kathryn was speaking with recruiters and training to pass the physical fitness tests that she knew lay ahead.

“That’s when I knew she was serious about it,” her sister said, laughing. “And then after that it was just, you know, you get over the initial fear of hearing it and then you’re just proud.”

“I couldn’t brag enough about her, especially as she started getting up and flying, and she was always so excited about it,” Jessica said.

Her father and sister never seemed to fear for Kathryn’s safety even after she graduated from flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama and headed off to become a platoon leader in the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade at Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii.

“I never thought that anything would happen until she went overseas,” her sister said. “So something like what happened never even crossed my mind.”

Before the crash: Electronics Technician Petty Officer First Class Kevin Bushell

Growing up, Kevin loved animals and would bring home anything that he came across: snapping turtles, tadpoles, frogs, snakes, roosters, ducks and hermit crabs.

“He was sweet,” his mother said during an interview at their home last week. “He was a good soul from the time he was born.”

Kevin’s sister Sarah Bushell remembered looking up to her brother, even though she was the older sibling.

“He could let anything and everything just roll off of his back,” she said. “And I just thought that was such an amazing thing that nothing would ever get him down.”

As high school graduation neared, Kevin surprised the entire family with a declaration that he wanted to join the Navy, his mother told ABC News.

“We were sitting at a family dinner, and he said that he wanted to join, and I said, ‘Absolutely not. I don’t want you to. The world is too crazy.’”

“He wanted to travel,” she added. “He just had a drive to leave Gaithersburg and see the world. And he was able to do that with the Navy.”

Kevin was persistent, meeting with a recruiter and eventually heading to Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois for training.

“Once he made the commitment, and I knew that he was going to go forward with this, we were all behind him, all supportive of him,” his mother said.

Kevin’s oldest sister, Ashlee Day, spoke about visiting Kevin at Great Lakes for his graduation.

“We were blown away by his transformation in that short amount of time,” she said. “We said goodbye to him, and he was a free spirit. And when we saw him at graduation, he was a man on a mission. He knew what he wanted to do in his life. It was amazing to see the Navy gave him purpose.”

Kevin met his wife, Jenny, while on his first duty station in Rota, Spain. His service in the Navy would take him throughout Europe before returning to San Diego for additional school, and then on to Japan.

“I remember when he went to the DMZ [Korean Demilitarized Zone], he thought it was the coolest place in the world,” his mother said.

“He loved it,” she added. “He loved every bit of seeing the world and experiencing new things.”

When Kevin was home from deployments, he would swap stories with Shane, his mother’s wife, about her 12 years in the Navy.

In June, the destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship 12 miles off the Japanese coastline. His mother immediately messaged Kevin, who assured her not to worry.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry -- that should have never happened. It would never happen again. And I’m safe.  I’m on the safest place I could possibly be.’”

After the crash: 1st Lt. Kathryn Bailey

At 8 o’clock in the morning on August 16, 2017, Thomas received a phone call from Kathryn’s acting battalion commander that she was missing. Her UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter had gone down the night before during a training mission off of Oahu, Hawaii, and the Army was looking for five soldiers on board.

It was Kathryn’s last flight where she was required to be paired with an instructor pilot.

“I know they were a quarter -- about 0.4 miles -- off the coast, and I know they had night vision goggles, and it was zero illumination,” her father said.

Her sister Jessica, an occupational therapist, was with a patient when her dad tried to call with the news. Minutes later, they finally connected.

“I was in disbelief because I was just talking to her the night before, you know, I said goodnight,” she said.

For the next three weeks, the Army began providing the Bailey family updates in their search for Kathryn. At first, the updates came every six hours, but then they dwindled down to 12 hours, and -- finally -- once per day.

Immediate family gathered in Kathryn’s mother’s home in North Carolina.

“I had hope for about the first five days because hers was one of the helmets that was recovered, and it had no damage to the helmet,” her father said. “It was a survivable helmet. So, about the first five days, I thought, ‘Hey, she was out there. I thought she was floating.’”

“I didn’t believe it until they showed up at our house to tell us in uniform,” her sister Jessica said. “Because for me, it was impossible.”

Now the family is living through their first year without Kathryn.

“To me, it’s sort of like some days I say, ‘Hey, I’ve got to tell Kathryn about this.’ So I get ready to text her and then realize,” her dad said. “Every time I see a helicopter flying overhead, it makes me think of her too, but she’s still with us. She’s still with us in spirit.”

Kathryn was going to be her sister’s maid of honor in Jessica’s wedding -- scheduled for two weeks after the crash. The wedding was pushed back to December, and one chair was left empty in honor of Kathryn.

Her sister has been organizing runs and fundraisers in honor of Kathryn, including an event this fall in which proceeds will go to the Army Aviation Association that helped their family after the crash.

“I think that’s how I’m channeling how I’m feeling is just doing everything I can to make sure people know about her,” Jessica said.

For her, part of the fear is that Kathryn won’t be remembered in the same way because her death did not occur in combat.

“I don’t want anyone to diminish what she gave because you do hear about it on the news all the time about these soldiers overseas,” she said.

“And yes, they gave. But if you don’t go through these trainings, you can never get over there,” Jessica said. “I just don’t want anyone to hear that it happened back home and it wasn’t important.”

Kathryn’s dad also fears that Americans aren’t aware of just how many training accidents occur each year.

“Personally, I didn’t think it would happen to us,” he said. “It never happens to you. Well, it did happen to us -- and it is. It just doesn’t happen in combat. And I think a lot of people don’t realize that.”

The family takes solace in knowing that Kathryn did so much in her short amount of time.

“She really makes us step back and think ‘What have I done with my life?’ kind of thing,” her sister said. “She makes you want to take advantage of every day you have.”

After the crash: Electronics Technician Petty Officer First Class Kevin Bushell

On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2017, Karen Bushell received a text message from her cousin that the USS McCain was involved in an accident. She called her son’s wife, who wasn’t yet aware of the collision, and then called her children.

“We just went to bed that night just hoping that we always knew Kevin was lucky,” Bushell said. “Kevin was so lucky in so many ways that we knew he would be okay.”

But the next morning, a Naval officer was outside of their home, knocking.

“I remember just shaking,” she said. “And that’s when they told us that he was one of the missing.”

The Bushells’ extended family came to their home to sit in the living room and wait for news of Kevin.

“Our house was very full with a lot of love and support,” Karen said.

It would be a full week before they received the official word that Kevin was one of 10 deceased sailors -- his body trapped inside the ship as the compartment where he was sleeping that night flooded after the collision.

He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in October.

“He wanted to make a career of the Navy,” his mother said. “And I know he would have done well. I know he would have.”

“We wouldn’t have gotten to see the wonderful person he grew up to be if it hadn’t been for the Navy and him following his dreams,” his sister Ashlee said. “So I think we’re all grateful for that. We also miss him terribly. You don’t come across someone like Kevin very often.”

The night of the interview with ABC News, the Bushell family returned to Gaithersburg High School, where a scholarship established by the family and Kevin’s Navy friends was awarded to a student in his name.

It’s one small way that they will keep his memory alive.

“I know that we didn’t get to have Kevin for as long as we would have liked, but I really tried to stay grateful for the time that I did have with him,” his sister Sarah said. “In the short 26 years that he lived, I know that he lived more in those 26 years than some people do in a lifetime.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Subtropical storm Alberto is delivering heavy rain and gusty winds to Florida on Sunday morning with current projections showing the storm making landfall in the Panhandle as a tropical storm on Monday.

Mississippi, Alabama and Florida all pre-emptively declared a state of emergency on Saturday.

Alberto is about 330 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida, on Sunday morning at 5 a.m. The storm is moving north-northeast at 13 mph with winds at 40 mph. Winds of 40 mph extend outward from the center of the storm up to 150 miles.

The storm is producing winds and rains over southern Florida early Sunday. On Saturday evening, a wind gust of 47 mph was reported by the National Weather Service in Key West, Florida.

Tropical storm warnings and watches have been issued for parts of the Mississippi coast all the way to the western Gulf Coast of Florida. Tampa, Florida; Sarasota, Florida; and Fort Myers, Florida, are under a tropical storm warning for tropical storm conditions arriving on Saturday.

Alberto will move further north in the Gulf of Mexico, passing west of the peninsula of Florida. Alberto's heavy rains and gusty winds remain predominantly on the right side of the storm, and therefore heavy rain and some gusty winds are expected across much of Florida on Sunday.

Additionally, some of the strong tropical thunderstorms east of the center of circulation could spawn brief tornadoes. There is a threat for a few tornadoes for much of the southern half of Florida, including Tampa, Fort Myers, Miami and West Palm Beach. The strongest tropical thunderstorms could also have rainfall rates exceeding 2 inches per hour, which could trigger flash flooding.

On Monday, Alberto is forecast to make landfall somewhere along the northern Gulf Coast -- likely somewhere along the coastal region of the Florida Panhandle or southern Alabama. Regardless of exact landfall location, strong tropical downpours are expected for much of the Gulf Coast on Memorial Day, with heavy rain causing flash flooding across much of the Gulf Coast region.

Alberto -- or what remains of it -- will move into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday.

Rainfall remains the most widespread threat from Alberto. Isolated parts of the Gulf Coast could receive up to a foot of rain. Locally, more than 8 inches of rain is possible in parts of the Florida Panhandle, southern Alabama and southwest Georgia. In the Florida Keys and southern Florida, a widespread 3 to 6 inches of rain is likely, with up to 10 inches possible locally.

Flash flood watches have been posted for much of Florida, and along the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and southwest Georgia. Additionally, Alberto is pushing tropical moisture north. New flash flood watches have been issued for parts of the Carolinas, where 2 to 6 inches of rain is possible.

Heat comes to central US

While the Southeast deals with Alberto, Sunday will be another day of very hot temperatures throughout the central U.S. Widespread 90-degree temperatures are expected across the region. Chicago saw its first 90-degree day on Saturday -- a little more than a week ahead of average.

On Sunday, the heat will slide just slightly to the east, but many spots -- including Minneapolis and Des Moines, Iowa -- will see another day of temperatures in the 90s.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

European Space Agency(HONOLULU) -- The spread of lava in the Puna district of Hawaii's Big Island has gotten so large that it can be seen from space.

The European Space Agency (ESA) tweeted unbelievable photos of the lava that has gushed from more than 20 fissures on the island since Kilauea erupted on May 3. Fissures No. 6, 13 and 22 have been the most active, flowing to the southeast into the ocean, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The photos were taken on May 23 and shared by the ESA on Friday.

There have been a total of 82 structures damaged from the lava so far, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Of those damaged, 41 are houses.

The acreage covered by lava as of Friday night in Hawaii was 2,232 acres, officials said. The Civil Defense Agency also noted that 37 homes are "isolated" either due to lava surrounding them or roads being cut off by the flow.

There’s still a potential for lava to cut off all access to the Lower Puna area, which would trigger the helicopter evacuations that officials have been planning.

As of Friday, there were 230 people in shelters, the agency said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NOBLESVILLE, Ind.) -- A middle school boy allegedly opened fire at an Indiana school Friday morning, police said, leaving a teacher and another student injured, the latest in a string of school shootings this year.

"I heard gunshots and a few screams," a seventh-grader who was across the hall from the shooting told ABC News. "I was scared, I was in shock."

The suspected shooter, a student at Noblesville West Middle School, located about 27 miles north of Indianapolis, asked to be excused from class and then returned to the room armed with two handguns, Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt said at a news conference.

The teacher and student victims were shot in that room, Jowitt said, adding that the situation was resolved quickly. The suspect, who wasn't injured and wasn't identified, was taken into custody, police said.

One student said he was in class taking a test when the suspect came in with a handgun and started shooting aimlessly, "waiving his hand around," reported ABC affiliate RTV in Indianapolis.

The teacher -- whom multiple students identified as Jason Seaman -- allegedly stopped the shooter, the student told RTV.

The family of Ella Whistler, the student injured in the shooting, released a statement Friday night saying her "status is critical" but she's "stable."

"Our daughter, Ella Whistler, was involved in a horrific shooting today at her school. We will spend the next days and weeks processing what happened and why," the statement reads. "But first, we wanted to say she is doing well at Riley Hospital for Children. Her status is critical, yet we are pleased to report she is stable. We’d like to thank everyone across the country who prayed for our family today. We’ve felt those prayers and appreciate each of them. We’d also like to thank the first responders, Noblesville police, Indiana State Police and the medical staff and surgeons at Riley."

Seaman was struck three times and underwent surgery, according to a Facebook post by his mother.

By Saturday he had been discharged from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and was photographed at Noblesville West Middle School shaking hands with U.S. Rep. Susan W. Brooks.

The local politician praised him for his bravery.

“Jason Seaman selflessly put himself in harm’s way to protect his students and it is because of his heroic actions more students were not hurt," she said, according to a release.

Seaman's wife, Colette, provided an initial statement to ABC News from Jason.

"First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care," the statement from Jason said. "I want to let everyone know that I was injured but am doing great. To all the students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach."

Students were forced to shelter in classrooms and barricade doors during the incident.

"I was thinking, 'It's not real, it's not real, everything is going to be OK,'" student Gabbie Manns told ABC News of her time barricaded in the classroom. "We are holding hands holding tight ... people I didn't even know that well came over and held my hand and we all felt really united at that moment."

"There was people crying ... it was really chaos," she added. "I thought about all the other school shootings."

Tanner, an eighth grader, said he was in class when he saw kids running and screaming.

“There was only three of us, we had to barricade the door to make sure no one came in,” he told ABC News.

“I was shaking for my life,” he said, overcome with emotion. “I just didn’t wanna die.”

Kendall, a sixth grader, said she heard an announcement over the intercom, telling students to get in their rooms and barricade the door. She and her classmates got in the corner and the teacher turned off the lights.

“I was really scared, I didn't really know what was going on,” she told ABC News. “My teacher let me use his phone to call my mom.”

"I heard gunshots and a few screams," seventh-grader CJ Livingston, who was in a classroom across from the shooting, told ABC News. "We were all trying to be quiet and there were a lot of people crying around me."

"I was scared, I was in shock. I didn’t really know what to do," he continued. "I just thought I really needed to protect my peers and my friends and if something happened, I was petrified."

He said they threw chairs at the door as a barricade and then lined up behind the desks to hide.

"When I think about how that really must have felt for him I start sobbing," CJ's mother, Kristin Huber, told ABC News. "Something you don’t want your children to ever have to experience."

"When you get a text message from your son saying, 'Mom, there’s an intruder, I just wanted to tell you I love you,' just thinking about him texting me that is pretty tough," she said. "It was devastating. I was grateful when he let me know he was OK."

The school has a full-time school resource officer who was in the building at the time, Jowitt said.

The school does not have metal detectors, officials said.

At the nearby Noblesville East Middle School, "everybody just got so scared" and a lot of people were crying, one sixth-grade girl told RTV.

"It's a surreal feeling," the girl's dad added. "You don't think it's happening in your own town."

"A secondary threat" was also made at Noblesville High School, Jowitt said.

"We have not received any information that this has been anything other than a communicated threat," Jowitt said. "We are securing the high school and taking steps to make sure that it stays secure."

"All this says to me is insanity has hit Indiana," one man whose wife's grandson attends school in the district told RTV.

The man, who described the shooting as "chaos," said the boy texted his mother, "come get me."

Vice President Mike Pence, an Indiana native, said he is "praying for the victims."

“To everyone in the Noblesville community -- you are on our hearts and in our prayers,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thanks for the swift response by Hoosier law enforcement and first responders.”

Friday morning's shooting comes one week after a teenage boy allegedly stormed his Texas high school, shooting and killing 10 and wounding 13 others.

ABC News' Alex Perez, Andy Fies, Rachel Katz, Teri Whitcraft, Ryan Burrow, Briana Montalvo and M.L. Nestel
contributed to this report.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NOBLESVILLE, Ind.) -- When a middle school boy allegedly opened fire at his Indiana school, the science teacher immediately ran and tackled him to the ground, one student in the classroom told ABC News.

The suspected shooter, a student at Noblesville West Middle School, asked to be excused from class Friday morning and then returned to the room armed with two handguns, Noblesville police said.

"He pulled the gun out of his pocket and everyone started screaming, and trying to get behind stuff, like the desks and tables. And he started shooting," seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker, 13, told ABC News.

The teacher had a basketball in his hands and immediately launched it at the gunman, and then ran toward the bullets, Ethan said.

"Immediately [teacher] Mr. [Jason] Seaman was yelling and running right at him and tackled him to the ground," Ethan said. "I was trying to stay crouched behind the back table, but also see what’s going on and that’s when [Mr. Seaman] was running right at him with this arms in front of him, and then he just tackled him against the wall.

"Then they were on the ground after [Mr. Seaman] swatted the gun from him and he just laid on the shooter so he couldn’t do anything," Ethan said. "We got behind the back table in the corner of the room, and most people were just crouched covering their heads, but some people were trying to peer over the table and make sure they could see what’s going on."

The teacher and one student were shot and hospitalized, police said.

The science teacher was struck three times and underwent surgery, according to a Facebook post by his mother.

By Saturday he had been discharged from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and was photographed at Noblesville West Middle School shaking hands with U.S. Rep. Susan W. Brooks.

The local politician praised him for his bravery.

“Jason Seaman selflessly put himself in harm’s way to protect his students and it is because of his heroic actions more students were not hurt," she said, according to a release.

Seaman’s wife, Colette Seaman, provided an initial statement to ABC News on behalf of her husband: “First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care. I want to let everyone know that I was injured but am doing great. To all the students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.”

The suspect, who wasn't injured and was not identified, was taken into custody, police said.

"He’s very brave, he’s a hero today," Ethan said of his teacher. "And he did something that most people would never dare to do.

"If it wasn’t for him ... a lot of us could have been hurt," Ethan continued. "He pretty much protected all of us and it’s something that you couldn’t ask more of."

Ethan described the suspected gunman as "a nice kid most of the times."

"He’s funny, making jokes with most kids and stuff," Ethan said. "He’s in all my classes and it’s just a shock that he would do something like that."

Ethan said he never thought a school shooting "would somehow get that close to you."

"But then when it happens you want it to somehow be prevented from happening again," he said. "You want laws passed or more security."Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(ORLANDO) -- Subtropical Storm Alberto could put a damper on Memorial Day activities on the Gulf Coast this weekend, prompting the governors of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to preemptively declare a state of emergency.

Alberto's center is forecast to pass west of Cuba, the Florida Keys and mainland Florida, setting its sights on eastern Louisiana, the Florida Panhandle and the coasts of Alabama and Mississippi.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Saturday morning the state of emergency covers all 67 counties to "prepare for the torrential rain and severe flooding this storm will bring."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he would make "the National Guard and other resources available should they become necessary."

Alabama's Gov. Kay Ivey also said he directed "essential state agencies to be on the ready should they be needed over the next couple of days."

Alberto is the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season.

The path of the storm has tracked north-northeast at 13 mph with winds up to 40 mph.

The storm will deliver spells of tropical rain showers that will strike Florida and the Gulf Coast by the end of the weekend.

Even before Alberto arrives, the tropical showers and thunderstorms preceding it could bring brief tornadoes and heavy swells.

The precipitation levels will be hard to handle for places like Key West, Florida, which already has experienced its wettest May on record, with 13.08 inches of rain.

Western Cuba could see over 2 feet of rain, causing deadly flash flooding and mudslides.

Both storm surge and flash flood watches have been issued in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and large swaths of Florida, where the downpour could reach or exceed 2 inches per hour.

A tropical storm watch has been posted for parts of the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama. A storm surge watch has been posted for parts of the coastal region from eastern Louisiana to the Panhandle of Florida. Storm surge could reach 2 to 4 feet when Alberto approaches the region on Monday.

Locals have been prepping for the worst.

“I've got over 100 sandbags sitting in my driveway," Edd Falsetti of Tampa, Florida, told ABC News station WFTS. "This would be my 10th season having them."

Krista Eva scrapped her holiday plans to monitor the storm.

"A lot of times people don't get prepared because they're like, 'Oh it's just Florida weather. We won't get hit.' I think these last few storms, especially Irma, it woke a lot of people up," she told WFTS.

The National Park Service already announced the closure of West Ship Island, forcing boats in Gulfport Harbor to stay docked.

"It's devastating," National Park Service Cpt. Louis Skrmetta told ABC News station WLOX.

"It's the perfect storm as far as ruining the tourism industry this weekend," Skrmetta said.

Edward Quinn, who runs a Gulfport Marina Bait and Tackle Shop across the harbor, invested $3,000 in a cooling system for the holiday weekend. He expected to earn back "tenfold" with the customers.

That's all on hold and the expensive equipment may have to be moved along with his vessels.

"Hopefully, we don't have to move our boats, but generally when you get winds over 40-50 miles per hour it can cause problems in the marina," Skrmetta told WLOX. "So you would have to move out of these marinas and hopefully that won't be the case here."

There were 79 reports of severe weather in the country on Friday, with the majority of the reports coming from the central United States. Three tornadoes, including one landspout in southern Minnesota and one supercell tornado in central Texas, were reported.

Hail up to the size of baseballs and softballs were also reported in central Texas.

Parts of eastern Montana and western North Dakota are at risk for damaging winds, large hail and lightning.

The following day the threat will stretch from western Kansas into southern North Dakota.

ABC News' M.L. Nestel contributed to this report.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- American Joshua Holt, who has been jailed in Venezuela without a trial for two years, has been released, officials said today.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who has advocated for Holt's release, said he's "honored" to be able to finally reunite the Utah native with his family.

"Over the past two years I've worked with two presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela, and President Maduro himself, and I could not be more honored to be able to reunited Josh with his sweet, long suffering family in Riverton," Hatch said in a statement Saturday morning.

In a tweet, the senator released video of the family reuniting.

The elation on display was reinforced by Vice President Mike Pence who tweeted that Holt is "now back home with his family -- where he always belonged."

Earlier, President Donald Trump said via Twitter that Holt will arrive Saturday night in Washington, D.C., where he will be reunited with his family at the White House.

"The great people of Utah will be very happy!"

Holt will be returning to the United States with his wife, Thamara Caleño.

The Mormon missionary traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry Caleño, whom he met on an online Mormon dating site. Holt planned to return to the United States with his new wife and two stepchildren, but they never made it back.

The newlyweds were awaiting visas when Venezuelan police raided their apartment and arrested them on charges of terrorism, espionage and illegal possession of weapons. They were imprisoned in Caracas awaiting trial ever since. Holt and his family maintain they were wrongly accused.

Holt's parents have said their son was kept in appalling conditions, with meager food and limited access to health services, at El Helicoide, the infamous political prison in central Caracas. He had lost a considerable amount of weight and was suffering from kidney stones and painful tooth decay, they said.

They called the release of their son and his wife a "miracle."

"We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish," Holt's family said in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday. "We ask that you allow us to meet with our son and his wife before giving any interviews and statements. We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle."

The news of their release comes just days after Venezuela's presidential election. Nicolas Maduro was re-elected last Sunday for a second six-year term in a vote the United States denounced and said it won't recognize.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --A veteran Border Patrol Agent in Texas shot and killed an undocumented immigrant who was part of a group engaged in "illegal activity" that "rushed" the officer, the agency said, shifting from an earlier statement that the attacked the officer "using blunt instruments."

The woman, identified in an Associated Press report as Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, was allegedly part of a group allegedly attempting to cross the border into the U.S. around midnight on Wednesday near Rio Bravo, Texas.

The group were described as "illegal aliens" involved in "illegal activity," according to a statement released by the Border Patrol.

Gomez's aunt, Dominga Vicente, said her niece migrated to the U.S. to escape poverty in her native Guatemala, the AP reported. Guatemala's foreign ministry both confirmed Gomez's identity and condemned the shooting, according to the AP.

The agent said the group of immigrants ignored the his demands to "get on the ground" and "instead rushed him," according to the second statement by the agency.

"The agent discharged one round from his service-issued firearm, striking one member of the group" as others in her group fled, the statement reads.

But agents managed to catch three people described in the statement as "three illegal aliens related to the incident."

Medics were called to the scene and attempted to resuscitate the woman, according to the statement.

Border Patrol's initial statement said the agent "attempted to apprehend the group," but "came under attack by multiple subjects using blunt objects."

It's unclear why in a subsequent release by Border Patrol, the mention of "blunt objects" used as weapons was omitted.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection acknowledged both statements, but, "outside of that we don’t have anything additional to offer as the FBI is in charge if the investigation," he wrote.

The FBI, Texas Rangers and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility are all investigating what led to Gomez's death.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Mario Batali's three restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip will shut down amid investigations into sexual assault allegations against the celebrity chef, his company announced Friday.

B&B Ristorante, Otto Enotea e Pizzeria and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, all located on a luxury complex that includes swanky casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, will permanently close July 27. Batali & Bastianich (B&B) Hospitality Group, which Batali helped found, announced the closures in a letter to employees Friday morning.

"These restaurants have continued to succeed, and they are a tribute to every one of you who works in them and brings great dining experiences to our guests," B&B Hospitality Group partner Joe Bastianich said in the letter, obtained by ABC affiliate KTNV. "Unfortunately, our partner in these restaurants, Las Vegas Sands Corp., has decided to end our relationship."

Bastianich said he will visit the three restaurants to speak with employees.

"You are all dedicated professionals who deliver night in and night out for our guests, you are part of our family, and we will all feel your loss," he said in the letter. "It is because of the amazing dining experiences you bring our guests that I am committed to continuing our presence in Las Vegas. I am beginning to explore options, but it will take some time to execute them. Unfortunately, I won't be able to do that in the next 60 days."

Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns two casino resorts, The Venetian and The Palazzo, on the complex, but does not run the restaurants, said "there are no other plans for the space."

"We would like to thank the team members of B&B Restaurant Group for their dedication and many contributions to The Venetian and The Palazzo. We appreciate the hard work and energy of director of operations Zach Allen, Chef/Culinary Director Nicole Brisson and the rest of this team. At this time, there are no other plans for the space," the casino and resort company said in a statement obtained by KTNV.

Batali is under criminal investigation by the New York City Police Department for two separate instances of sexual assault allegations, one of which was reported on "60 Minutes" last weekend.

The unidentified woman featured in a "60 Minutes" segment last Sunday claims the 57-year-old chef and former TV star drugged and assaulted her after drinking wine together at a popular Manhattan restaurant in 2005.

B&B Hospitality Group told "60 Minutes" that it finds the allegations "deeply disturbing" and that "our partnership with Mr. Batali is ending. We have been actively negotiating with Mr. Batali to buy his interests in the restaurants."

The other allegation was brought to the New York City Police Department late last year, police sources told ABC News. A woman alleges she lost consciousness at a New York City restaurant in 2004 and found Batali on top of her when she awoke.

Batali responded to the allegations in a statement to ABC News on May 21: "I vehemently deny any allegations of sexual assault. My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions. I am not attempting a professional comeback. My only focus is finding a personal path forward where I can continue in my charitable endeavors - helping the underprivileged and those in need."

Last December, four women told the website Eater that Batali had touched them inappropriately.

Batali was subsequently asked to leave ABC's "The Chew," which he had co-hosted since 2011, and he offered to step away from the day-to-day operations of B&B Hospitality Group.

In response to the allegations in the Eater article, Batali issued a statement appearing to acknowledge that he had engaged in "wrong" behavior and apologizing to those whom he has "mistreated and hurt"

"I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt," he said in the statement released late last year. "Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong, and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family."

ABC News' Aaron Katersky, Josh Margolin and Michael Rothman contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A school district in upstate New York was found negligent in the death of a student who committed suicide after he said he was bullied. However, the jury said the negligence was not a factor in his death, and therefore the district would not have to pay a decision to the family.

According to Albany ABC affiliate WTEN-TV, Jacobe Taras' family had sued the South Glens Falls School District and four school employees for $9 million in damages, as well as $250,000 for wrongful death, after the 13-year-old Jacobe committed suicide in 2015.

Jacobe, who lived in Moreau, New York, about 45 miles north of Albany, left a suicide note saying he could no longer put up with bullying at school, WTEN-TV reported.

The defense argued in the case that the district was unaware of the bullying, with defense attorney Malcom O'Hara saying only one witness was presented who saw any bullying behavior toward Jacobe.

Jacobe's mother, Christine Taras, was critical of the school employees, who WTEN-TV reported were hugging after the verdict was announced Friday.

"The teachers can lie and deny and not recall and walk out patting each other on the back and smiling. I don't get where anybody should have had a smile on their face," Christine Taras told WTEN-TV.

Despite the loss in court, Jacobe's family has had success in the state legislature pushing for a bill that would require schools to inform parents if their children were bullied. Both the parents of the kid doing the bullying and the one being bullied would be contacted.

The New York Senate passed the bill, informally known as Jacobe's Law, in February. The bill passed by a vote of 59-0 in the Senate on Feb. 28. The state Assembly has yet to vote on its version of the bill, which remains in committee.

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia also supports the bill, calling it "a positive change" that can "save lives."

"If we become the brick and the mud that someone gets to step on to walk through the door to give our children a voice in the school, that's what we did," Christine Taras told WTEN-TV after the verdict. "Jacobe's voice was heard. And, believe me, there will be changes in that school system."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Michael Kovac/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias is stepping down over a scandal involving a former campus gynecologist, the school's board of trustees announced Friday.

In a letter to students and faculty members, Rick Caruso, chairman of the Subcommittee of the Executive Committee, said Nikias and the board "agreed to begin an orderly transition and commence the process of selecting a new president."

"We appreciate the voices of the many members of the university community who have expressed indignation from the harm inflicted on our students by Dr. Tyndall," Caruso wrote in a letter to USC students and staff. "As a father of USC students, an alumnus and a member of the USC community, I share your outrage and understand the frustration and anger regarding the situation with the former physician."

Two class-action lawsuits were filed against USC on Thursday by the law firm Janet, Janet and Suggs "on behalf of thousands of female students who were allegedly sexually abused and illicitly photographed by a USC OB/GYN," according to the firm.

Earlier this week, hundreds of faculty members called for Nikias to resign over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against former campus gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall, saying Nikia lacked the "moral authority" to oversee the investigation.

At least six women have sued the university, alleging Tyndall had molested them and took illicit photos during examinations.

"We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed," Caruso wrote in the letter announcing Nikias' resignation. The date of his planned exit was not announced.

Tyndall, who spent 30 years at the USC health clinic, denied wrongdoing in interviews with the Los Angeles Times.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Find Us On Facebook