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4 California sheriff's deputies hurt in shootout, chase with rifle-wielding suspect

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(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) -- Four Northern California sheriff's deputies were injured, one critically, during a gunfight early Monday with a suspect who led them on a car chase and opened fire on them before dying in a crash, authorities said.

The shooting occurred just after midnight local time near Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, authorities said. The suspect was killed after crashing his vehicle, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

"During the pursuit, the suspect stopped, fired shots at the deputies, and continued the pursuit. Deputies returned fire and, ultimately, the suspect crashed the vehicle he was driving," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

A motive for the shooting is under investigation by the Santa Rosa Police Department.

One of the deputies involved in the incident suffered a head injury and was taken to a hospital in critical but stable condition, according to the sheriff's office. Another deputy suffered a bullet wound to the leg, and two others sustained unspecified injuries to their hands, the sheriff's office said.

The names of the dead suspect and the injured deputies were not immediately released.

The incident unfolded when the deputies responded to investigate a report of a person brandishing a rifle in an unincorporated Sonoma County area west of Santa Rosa, according to the sheriff's office.

When the deputies arrived at the scene, they found the suspect, who got into a vehicle and sped off, leading the deputies on a chase, the sheriff's office said.


The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. It was not immediately clear if he died from injuries suffered in the crash or if he was shot by one of the deputies who returned fire.

The Santa Rosa Police Department was assigned to investigate the incident after the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office invoked a critical incident protocol for officer-involved shooting.


The sheriff's department said the chase and gunfight were captured on body-worn cameras the deputies were equipped with. The footage is expected to be made public at some point in keeping with state law, according to the sheriff's department.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Slain Amish woman was found with throat cut, court documents show

Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

(SPARTANSBURG, Pa.) -- The pregnant Amish woman who was killed in her rural Pennsylvania home was found lying in a pool of blood with her throat cut, according to court documents.

The woman who called 911 on Feb. 26 said she and Andy Byler, 24, had just returned to Byler's home in Sparta Township and found his wife, Rebekah Byler, lying on her back in a pool of blood in the living room, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Rebekah Byler, 23, was pregnant, according to police. Her throat was cut and she had a "scalping type wound on her head," according to the probable cause affidavit.

Shawn Cranston, 52, from Corry, Pennsylvania, has been arrested and is facing charges including criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary and criminal trespass, Pennsylvania State Police announced Saturday.

A motive is not clear.

State police said Monday that leads, interviews and evidence collection led to Cranston's arrest.

Cranston was arraigned Saturday morning and is being held without bond at the Crawford County Jail.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Pentagon leak suspect Jack Teixeira agrees to accept 16-year prison sentence

Stefani Reynolds/ Getty Images

(BOSTON) -- Former Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira agreed Monday that he caused one of the most extraordinary leaks of national defense secrets in years and agreed to accept a prison sentence of 16 years.

According to the signed plea agreement filed with the court, Teixeira, 22, agreed to plead guilty to all six counts charging him with willful retention and transmission of national defense information. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to charge him with additional counts under the Espionage Act.

Teixeira is accused of leaking a trove of classified military documents and posting them online.

As part of his plea agreement, Teixeira must sit for a debrief with the Defense Department and the Justice Department and give back any sensitive materials that might remain in his possession.

Federal prosecutors in Boston had last week filed a motion for a Rule 11 hearing, which signaled Teixeira would plead guilty and the judge would determine whether the plea is truly voluntary.

Teixeira, who was 21 years old when he was arrested, pleaded not guilty in June 2023 to six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information.

Teixeira is accused of abusing his security clearance and posting classified documents on social media sites, such as Discord, according to the Department of Justice. Teixeira allegedly revealed the kinds of military equipment the United States was prepared to give to Ukraine, "how the equipment would be transferred, and how the equipment would be used upon receipt," according to the indictment.

Teixeira enlisted in the Air National Guard in 2019, according to his service record, and had top secret security clearance since 2021, according to the Department of Justice.

He allegedly began posting classified documents online in January 2022, according to the Justice Department.

In December, 15 airmen were disciplined -- including with removal of their command -- for failing to take proper action when they became aware of Teixeira's intelligence-seeking activities, according to a broad Air Force investigation.

The internal investigation placed blame on Teixeira for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, but it found that members of his unit failed to take necessary steps such as adequately inspecting areas under their command and giving inconsistent guidance for reporting security incidents.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Hero firefighter describes rescue of semitruck driver dangling from bridge

Bryce Carden speaks to Good Morning America, Mar. 4, 2024. -- GMA/ABC News

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- A semitruck driver survived a harrowing 40 minute rescue high above the Ohio River thanks to a firefighter who successfully pulled the woman from the cab to safety.

“She was you know, scared,” firefighter Bryce Carden told ABC News of the driver who, according to investigators, was sent over the edge after a vehicle crossed into the wrong lane and struck the semi.

“It is tremendously lucky if you look at the way that that semi truck threaded the needle of those bridge stanchions, but then ended up getting wedged in there and not plowing through and ending up in the water is tremendously lucky,” Chief of Louisville Fire Department Brian O’Neill said.

Footage of the incident showed the truck cabin dangling off of Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville with the driver still inside.

Once on the scene Carden lowered himself down to help pull the driver to safety.

He recalled the driver repeating “thank God” and asked him to help her.

“I was able to coach her through, helping me get done what I needed to get done to perform the rescue,” he said.

The risky operation, in which Carden rappelled down and hooked the woman into his harness, took nearly 40 minutes as the two were carefully hoisted back up onto the bridge above the water.

“Finally, when she realized she was safe and she was going to live, she was overcome with emotions as anybody would be,” Carden said.

According to ABC News' Louisville affiliate WHAS, the two other people involved in the crash were seriously injured.

Speaking to the press on Saturday, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said that according to Louisville Metro Police’s preliminary investigation, "witnesses told police a vehicle traveling southbound on the Clark Memorial Bridge when it hit a stalled vehicle that was in the right lane of the southbound vehicles," WHAS reported. "After the impact, the driver of that vehicle lost control and crossed into the northbound lane where that vehicle struck the Sysco truck which was traveling north."

Greenberg praised the driver for her bravery and the rescue team for their heroic action.

"She is incredible brave. She is incredibly fortunate,” he said.

“I’ve played a very small piece in a large puzzle,” Carden said. “I contribute all of the success of it to the guys topside and the guys on the bottom who helped make it happen.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Monster blizzard slams the West, with more snow on the way

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The biggest snowstorm of the season ended in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California overnight, but more snow is on the way for some.

Some of the highest snowfall totals so far are more than 7 feet.

The highest wind gusts in the mountain peaks were above 190 miles per hour, while lower elevations had gusts 50 to 100 mph.

As of early Monday, Interstate 80 remained closed in California due to the massive blizzard.

There were also two reported tornadoes in California, north of Fresno, over the weekend.

A new snowstorm is expected to hit the West Coast on Monday night into Tuesday but further north this time, mostly over Mount Shasta in the Cascade Range in far northern California and into parts of Oregon and Washington.

Lake Tahoe and the hard-hit I-80 could get grazed by the southern edge of this new storm, with an additional 6 to 18 inches of snow possible.

The region is under a winter storm warning until Tuesday night.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg to plead guilty to perjury charges: Sources

ftwitty/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Allen Weisselberg, the ex-chief financial officer of former President Donald Trump's family real estate company, will plead guilty Monday to perjury charges that resulted from his testimony during Trump's civil fraud trial, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

The terms of the plea remain sealed until Weisselberg appears in court Monday.

This will be Weisselberg's second criminal conviction after he pleaded guilty in 2022 to evading taxes on nearly $2 million in off-the-books compensation from the Trump Organization, including an apartment, a luxury car and his grandchildren's school tuition.

As ABC News reported last month, Weisselberg, 75, had been in plea talks with the Manhattan district attorney's office to resolve charges that he lied on the witness stand when he testified in October at the civil trial in which he was also held liable for fraud.

During his testimony, Weisselberg struggled to explain why Trump's Fifth Avenue Manhattan triplex, which is less than 11,000 square feet, was listed on Trump's statements of financial condition as 30,000 square feet.

"It was almost de minimis relative to his net worth, so I didn't really focus on it," Weisselberg said during the trial. "I never even thought about the apartment."

But Forbes magazine published an article following Weisselberg's appearance that accused him of lying under oath and suggested Weisselberg did think about the apartment because he played a key role in trying to convince the magazine the apartment was as big a Trump's financial statements represented.

At the trial, a lawyer with the New York attorney general's office, Louis Solomon, confronted Weisselberg with emails from a Forbes reporter seeking clarity about the apartment's size and a letter signed by Weisselberg certifying the excessive square footage to the Trump Organization's accountant, Mazars USA.

"Forbes was right, the triplex was actually only 10,996 right?" Solomon asked.

"Right," Weisselberg finally conceded.

Weisselberg is not expected to be called as a witness in the criminal trial that starts later this month accusing Trump of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denied all wrongdoing.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has said in court filings Weisselberg that advised then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen how to pay off Daniels, and later arranged for Cohen to be paid back in monthly installments.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Central Park memorial service for Flaco the owl draws huge crowd

Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl that escaped from the Central Park Zoo, in Central Park, New York City, Feb. 15, 2023. -- Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images/FILE

(NEW YORK) -- A memorial service for Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl who escaped from his vandalized enclosure at the Central Park Zoo and spent more than a year as a wild bird, drew several hundred fans on Sunday, including speakers who eulogized the apex predator, citing his resilience and underdog quest to live free.

Flaco, who would have turned 14 years old this month, was remembered in poems and songs, as well as heartfelt words from those he inspired with his escapades around Manhattan.

Photographer Jacqueline Emery, who took thousands of pictures of the owl in the wild, told the crowd that the one thing she'll miss most about Flaco is his hooting.

"He was just starting to find his voice. In time his hoots would become louder and more confident," Emery said.

She played a recording made of Flaco once sounding off from the top of a tall building on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Like a voice from the grave, a hooting Flaco came over a loudspeaker, bringing smiles to some mourners and tears to others.

The large crowd gathered around one of Flaco's favorite oak trees in the North Woods of Central Park, where a makeshift memorial sprang up in the wake of his death. Organizers called the event "Flaco Remembrance Day." The service was even live-streamed, with people viewing it from around the world.

Lynn Johnston, a Manhattan resident, read a letter she wrote for Flaco, recalling how he used to stretch his six-foot wing span while perched in a tree.

"I was surprised to feel such elation," said Johnston. "I'd pump my fist in the air as you eviscerated rat after rat."

New York City musician Jonathan Green performed a song he wrote about Flaco, singing, "Ooh, ooh, Flaco the owl ... upon my roof. Ooh, ooh, Flaco the owl, I'm so like you always wondering who."

Another musician, Elijah Shiffer, also played a song on his saxophone that he said was inspired by Flaco.

Wildlife photographer David Lei told the gathering how he watched with amazement over the year as Flaco taught himself how to survive in America's largest city, recalling how initially the owl appeared to be a clumsy flyer and recalled hearing "a crash of branches everywhere he went."

"We hoped he would be rescued quickly and uneventfully. But Flaco had other ideas and he transformed himself into a wild bird before our eyes," Lei said.

Broadway playwright Nan Knighton, who on Nov. 14 looked out the kitchen window of her 13th-floor Upper East Side apartment and saw Flaco perched on the narrow ledge staring back at her for three hours, read a poem she wrote about the owl, titled, "A Celebration of Flaco."

"The rooftops are empty. The railings are bare. And no graceful owl is seen cruising the air. There's no gentle hooting to soften the night. No gold-brindled feathers to catch the light," Knighton said, reciting her poem to the crowd.

New York astrologer Breanne Delgado, who officiated over the event, read a long list of words she solicited from Flaco fans to describe the beloved owl, including majestic, joy, inspiring, freedom, heavenly, faithful, warrior, heroic and indefatigable.

"Just watching his story of resiliency and learning how to be an owl ... really proved that it's safe for all of us to break out of our cages right now and leave the matrix systems that are put in place to disempower us," Delgado said.

Flaco died on Feb. 23 after apparently colliding with a building on West 89th Street in Manhattan, according to a statement from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which runs the Central Park Zoo.

People in the building reported the downed owl to the Wild Bird Fund (WBF). Staff from the WBF quickly responded, but Flaco was nonresponsive and they declared him dead shortly afterward.

Flaco unwittingly transformed from an obscure bird to a cause célèbre after being reported missing on Feb. 2, 2023, from the cramped Central Park digs that served as his home since 2010, when he arrived in the city as a fledgling from a North Carolina bird sanctuary. The New York Police Department said a vandal cut a hole in the steel mesh lining of the owl's enclosure, enabling Flaco to bolt into the wilds of New York City.

The case remains under investigation, but no arrests have been announced.

Bird experts initially feared that Flaco would not be able to survive on his own and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which runs the Central Park Zoo, initially launched a team to try to recover him by setting traps, chasing him with nets and even playing audio recordings of siren calls from female Eurasian eagle owls.

But after about a week on the lam, the fugitive fowl taught himself to hunt and perfected his flying skills, prompting zoo officials to halt efforts to catch him, saying in a Feb. 12, 2023, statement, "A major concern for everyone at the beginning was whether Flaco would be able to hunt and eat; that is no longer a concern."

New York City Council member Gale Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side, called Sunday's ceremony for Flaco "wonderful" and said she was impressed by the large crowd that turned out to pay respects.

"Flaco was very exciting to a lot of people," said Brewer, who attended the ceremony, adding she is happy that proposed legislation to protect birds in New York by requiring new or significantly altered state buildings to incorporate bird-friendly designs, particularly in their windows, has been renamed the FLACO Act.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Men in 'dark-colored masks' open fire outside California party, killing four, police say

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(KING CITY, Calif.) -- Four people were killed Sunday afternoon when a group of gunmen opened fire outside a party at a house in King City, California, police said.

A silver Kia pulled up outside the party on North 2nd Street on Sunday afternoon, the King City Police Department said in a statement. Three men hopped out of the vehicle and "shot multiple rounds at the partygoers in the front yard," police said.

"The suspects got back in their vehicle and fled the scene," police said. "The suspects were wearing dark-colored clothing and had dark-colored masks over their heads. They have not been identified and remain outstanding."

Police were dispatched to the scene at about 6 p.m., according to the statement. Three men were pronounced dead outside the house and a woman was transported to Mee Memorial Hospital, where she later died, police said.

Three other men were transported to Natividad Hospital in Salinas for medical treatment, police said.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Postal worker shot dead in his mail van in targeted attack: Ohio police

WYTV

(WARREN, Ohio) -- A 33-year-old postal worker was in his mail van when he was fatally shot in a "targeted attack," according to Ohio police.

Jonte Davis was shot Saturday afternoon by a gunman who fired from another car, said police in Warren, about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Police said they believe Davis and the suspect knew each other.

Later on Saturday, the suspect's car was discovered in a driveway, and police said they obtained a search warrant for the home and car.

Several people were interviewed, but no one is in custody, police said.

The U.S. Postal Service and the FBI are helping with the investigation.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Davis’s family, friends, and fellow postal employees, who knew and worked with him," Michael Martel, a spokesperson for the Postal Inspection Service, said in a statement. "Mr. Davis worked for USPS less than a year and was described as a good employee by his supervisors."

The Postal Inspection Service is offering a reward up to $250,000 and asks anyone with information to call them at 877-876-2455.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


11-year-old suffers possible shark bite off Honolulu, officials say

Gary Bell/Getty Images

(HONOLULU) -- An 11-year-old girl suffered a possible shark bite off Honolulu, officials say.

Honolulu Ocean Safety, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services and the Honolulu Fire Department responded to a possible shark bite Saturday afternoon, Shayne Enright of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department told ABC News.

"The 911 call came in just before 1:30 p.m. for an 11-year-old girl who may have suffered a shark bite to her left foot at [a] spot known as Rainbows in Ka'a'awa (across from the back gate to Kualoa Ranch)," Enright said in an email.

The child suffered non-life-threatening injuries and her parents declined EMS transport to an emergency room, she said.

"A witness described seeing what appeared to be a small reef shark in the area," Enright said.

The report said the girl "was close to shore when this occurred," Enright added.

Honolulu Ocean Safety was working to post warning signs in the area.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Teen shot outside Six Flags Over Georgia as gunfire erupts between police and 'unruly crowd': Officials

ABC News/WSB

(AUSTELL, Ga.) -- Multiple suspects are being sought after a 15-year-old was shot when police exchanged gunfire with what they described as an "unruly crowd" of up to 600 people near the Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park in suburban Atlanta, authorities say.

The shooting erupted around 6:15 p.m. Saturday on a service road just off the 290-acre theme park's property in Austell, about 17 miles northwest of Atlanta, according to the Cobb County Police Department.

Before the shooting, Cobb County police officers were called to the park by Six Flags Over Georgia security to help disperse "a sizeable unruly crowd" of 500 to 600 people "running through the park and fighting," Cobb County police said in a statement to Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV.

When police arrived, they were confronted by a large crowd leaving the park, which was celebrating its opening day of the season, according to authorities.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is leading an investigation into the shooting, said in a statement Sunday afternoon that preliminary information indicates Cobb County officers were responding to assist with crowd control near the park's entrance "after several fights had taken place amongst patrons" leaving the park.

"At some point, multiple people began shooting, hitting an unoccupied CCPD marked patrol car," according to the GBI statement. "As officers identified where the shots were coming from, they ran after people who had run into the woods. During the incident, one CCPD officer fired his weapon, hitting one minor."

The wounded teenager was taken to Grady Hospital in Atlanta, where he was in critical condition on Sunday, according to the GBI. The teenager's name was not released.

A handgun was recovered by police near where they located the wounded teenager, according to the GBI.

"It is incredibly disappointing that our community is disrupted at public events throughout the region by groups of underaged youth. Just like other venues in the area, we are committed to keeping this type of trouble outside our park and off our property," Six Flags Over Georgia said in a statement.

The shooting occurred on the South Service Road, which is not owned or operated by Six Flags, theme park officials said.

"However, we join our community and the Atlanta region in our commitment to safety and security. We won't put up with that type of activity here," park officials said, adding that the park has "state-of-the-art security systems and metal detection."

"Every guest is expected to follow our strict code of conduct and anyone unwilling to follow that code of conduct is unwelcome," park officials added.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Three trains involved in collision, derailment in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley: NTSB

Nancy Run Fire Company/Facebook

(BETHLEHEM, Pa.) -- The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a collision and derailment involving three Norfolk Southern trains on Saturday, the agency said in a post on X.

The derailment occurred in Lower Saucon Township, Pennsylvania, Norfolk Southern said.

There is "no threat to the public, no hazardous material concerns from the railcars, and no reports of injuries to our crew members," Norfolk Southern spokesperson Connor Spielmaker said in a statement to ABC.

Images from the Nancy Run Fire Company's Facebook page show a freight train derailed and off its tracks on Riverside Drive in Lower Saucon Township, Pennsylvania, on Saturday morning.

The train was hauling boxcars and tanker cars, the photos show. No injuries are being reported.

According to Norfolk Southern, a "small diesel fuel leak" at the derailment site has been contained with booms and will be vacuumed out. The company says such a leak is "common when locomotives are involved."

One car containing plastic pellets has spilled its contents onto the ground, which Northfolk Southern said will also be cleaned up. The derailment has led to nearby road closures.

Cleanup crews and contractors with Norfolk Southern will remain on scene over the coming days, Spielmaker said.

"We appreciate the quick, professional response by local emergency agencies," said Spielmaker. "Our crews and contractors will remain on-scene over the coming days to cleanup, and we appreciate the public’s patience while they work as quickly, thoroughly, and as safely as possible. We are always working to advance safety. We will investigate this incident to understand how it happened and prevent others like it."

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New York AG sends cease-and-desist over transgender sports ban in Nassau County

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The New York Attorney General's Office sent a cease-and-desist letter to Nassau County over its recent anti-transgender sports ban.

"The Order’s immediate effect is to force sports leagues to make an impossible choice: discriminate against transgender women and girls, in violation of New York law, or find somewhere else to play," said the letter addressed to Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.

Blakeman announced an executive order on Feb. 22 that bans transgender athletes from competing in events aligning with their gender identity in county-run facilities.

The executive order states that sports leagues, organizations, teams and other entities in the Long Island county must expressly designate teams based on an athlete's sex assigned at birth when applying for a "use and occupancy" permit at a Nassau County Parks property for a sporting competition or event on all levels.

The AG's office argues that the order is "in clear violation of New York State anti-discrimination laws and demands that it be immediately rescinded."

The letter argues that not only will the policy deter inclusive teams from attending events in about 100 venues in the county, but also "by requiring teams and leagues to exclude transgender women and girls as a condition of using covered facilities, it invites invasive policing of the sex and gender identity and expression of all girls and women."

In a social media post, Blakeman defended the transgender sports ban.

"My [executive order] stops the bullying of women and girls by transgender males who have many outlets to compete without putting the safety and security of females in danger," said Blakeman. "In Nassau we will continue to fight for females’ right to be safe, secure, and have a level playing field to compete."

Under the executive order, permits will not be given to any event or competition that allows transgender women or girls to compete in girls' or women's sporting events. This restrictions were set to go into effect immediately, according to Blakeman's office.

The move goes against guidelines from local and national sports associations.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association's transgender policy states that it is "committed to providing all students with the opportunity to participate ... in a manner consistent with their gender identity and the New York State Commissioner of Education's Regulations."

The governing bodies of several national and international sports leagues, including the International Olympic Committee, require transgender women to meet certain hormone levels in order to play on sports teams with cisgender women.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association transgender guidelines vary from sport to sport. Transgender student-athletes typically need to document sport-specific testosterone levels at the beginning of their season and a second documentation six months later, and then another documentation four weeks before championship selections.

There is no clear data on whether transgender women have an advantage physiologically, according to health experts.

One study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that the athletic advantages of 46 trans women over their cisgender counterparts declined with feminizing therapy. However, this study also found they had a 9% faster mean run speed than cisgender women after a one-year period of testosterone suppression.

A different study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that there is not yet any direct or consistent research suggesting transgender women have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition.

Experts wrote in a recent JAMA Pediatrics editorial that preventing trans youth from participating in school sports could be harmful for the mental and physical health of an already at-risk population because they lose out on the developmental benefits of sports participation.

Blakeman, a Republican, said he believes the designation of separate athletic teams or sports based on sex assigned at birth "is necessary to maintain fairness for women's athletic opportunities."

"Women and Girls hard work, on-field achievements, and athletic futures deserve to be fostered, nurtured, and celebrated," Blakeman stated in the executive order.

Local civil rights advocacy groups, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, argued the executive order is illegal.

"Requiring girls who are trans to compete on boys' teams effectively bars them from sports altogether," NYCLU said in a statement to ABC News. "Participating would mean being outed and being denied the same opportunities other girls enjoy: to challenge themselves, improve fitness, and be part of a team of their peers."

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Arrest made in murder of pregnant Amish woman found dead in her Pennsylvania home

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images/STOCK

(SPARTANSBURG, Pa.) -- Police have announced an arrest in connection to the death of 23-year-old pregnant Rebekah Byler that has shaken an Amish community in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania State Police announced early Saturday morning that Shawn Cranston -- a 52-year-old man from Corry, Pennsylvania -- has been arrested in connection with the murder of the Amish woman and is now facing multiple charges, including criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary and criminal trespass.

Cranston was arraigned Saturday morning and is currently being held without bond at the Crawford County Jail.

On Feb. 26, police responded to a home in Sparta Township, where they found Byler dead, according to Pennsylvania State Police. Byler's cause of death has not been released.

Sparta Township is a small township in Crawford County, just outside of the borough of Spartansburg and about 35 miles southeast of Erie, Pennsylvania.

"Everyone is stunned -- this doesn't happen here," Charleen Hajec, a pharmacist who was born and raised in Spartansburg, told ABC News. "Everyone is talking. It's scary and frustrating."

Hajec said she couldn't believe a murder would happen in Sparta Township, which she called a "tight-knit community."

"The outside world doesn't get in," Hajec said. "To have something this tragic ... it doesn't happen here."

ABC News' Emily Shapiro and Stephanie Ramos contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Americans love bananas: Why bananas have remained cheap amid produce inflation

Catherine McQueen/Getty Images/STOCK

(NEW YORK) -- An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a banana a day is cheaper.

While inflation has pushed prices up in most aisles of the grocery store, the common yellow fruit has impressively defied produce inflation and remained accessible to consumers across the country.

The average price of bananas, per pound, is 62 cents, while neighboring produce section fruits' price tags are significantly higher, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports the average price of apples ($1.32), lemons ($2.08), grapefruit ($1.71) and oranges ($1.55).

"Bananas are a fascinating example of everyday items that most people in the United States take for granted," John Soluri, a history professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the author of "Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States," told ABC News.

"We don't think too much about bananas, because they are so ubiquitous, not only in grocery stores, but even in popular culture as well," Soluri said, adding that bananas are considered "the poor man's luxury."

Bananas have been a staple fruit in the American diet for decades, with the U.S. importing more bananas by volume than any other country since 1961, according to the USDA.

The average American consumes nearly 27 pounds of bananas each year, which equates to about 90 bananas, and around the world, more than 100 billion bananas are eaten annually, according to Mayo Clinic.

Bananas were first introduced to the U.S. market during the World's Fair in Philadelphia in 1876 as an "exotic" tropical fruit.

With increased market value for bananas, the United Fruit Company acquired huge amounts of land for plantations in Central and South America, according to Britannica, which notes, the term "Banana Republic" originated during this era.

"They started to acquire land, they built railroads, and they created a vertically integrated economy and commodity chain," Soluri said. "They were growing and shipping bananas wholesale to the U.S."

The United Fruit Company became part of the United Brands Company, in 1970, which was renamed Chiquita Brands International in 1990, according to Britannica, which remains one the world's largest banana brands.

Most of the bananas the U.S. imports are grown in Guatemala, which accounts for approximately 41% of America's supply, according to the USDA, which notes, Guatemala is the third largest banana exporting country globally, trailing Costa Rica and Columbia.

Bananas are perennial plants, meaning they live for more than one growing season without needing to be replanted. They also are a high-yield herb, offering up to 240 bananas per plant, according to the Rainforest Alliance.

The abundance of bananas grown in regions with low labor costs intersects with the fruit's short shelf life and makes for a product that producers and grocery stores alike want to sell quickly.

There are hundreds of different varieties of bananas grown around the world, however, America mostly imports one variety -- Cavendish bananas, according to Soluri, who suggests the monoculture of bananas in America makes the import system a well-oiled machine.

"Bananas arrive to grocery stores reliably, every week, and are priced relatively the same, with the quality being more or less the same," Soluri said. "This only happens because a lot of people are working quite hard to make that possible -- and, frankly, leading a lifestyle that would probably not satisfy a lot of the consumers in the United States."

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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