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(NEW YORK) -- The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 676,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.7 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The average number of daily deaths in the U.S. has risen about 20% in the last week, according to data from the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. is continuing to sink on the list of global vaccination rates, currently ranking No. 45, according to data compiled by the Financial Times. Just 64% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Sep 21, 10:35 am
Biden addresses UN, touts global vaccine donations

President Joe Biden kicked off his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly since taking office by focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, the global death toll and the need to "act together."

"Will we work together to save lives, defeat COVID-19 everywhere and take the necessary steps to prepare ourselves for the next pandemic, if there will be another one? Or will we fail to harness the tools at our disposal as the dangerous variants take hold?" Biden said Tuesday.

"To fight this pandemic, we need a collective act of science and political will. We need to act now to get shots in arms as fast as possible. Expand access to oxygen, tests, treatments, to save lives around the world," he said. "And for the future, we need to create a new mechanism to finance global health security."

The president touted global vaccine donations, saying the U.S. has sent more than 160 million doses to 100 other countries.

Biden said he would announce "additional commitments" at Wednesday's virtual COVID-19 summit.

Sep 21, 9:16 am
Washington state requests federal staff for overwhelmed hospitals

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to the White House Monday requesting staffing resources to help the state's overwhelmed hospitals.

"Once the Delta variant hit Washington state, COVID-19 hospitalizations skyrocketed. From mid-July to late August, we saw hospitalizations double about every two weeks," Inslee wrote. "The hospitals have surged to increase staffed beds and stretch staff and have canceled most non-urgent procedures, but are still over capacity across the state."

"While there are hopeful signs that the current wave of infection is peaking, and some states are beginning to see declines, we have not yet seen that effect here," the governor said.

Washington state had already asked for 1,200 federal government staffers and is now "requesting the deployment of Department of Defense medical personnel to assist with the current hospital crisis," Inslee said.

Sep 21, 8:31 am
2nd dose of J&J vaccine results in stronger protection, company says

A second dose of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine given two months after the first leads to stronger protection, the company said Tuesday.

Compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine always had slightly lower efficacy. Peak efficacy from the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines was 95% and 94%, respectively, against symptomatic illness. But two Johnson & Johnson shots, given two months apart, resulted in a similarly high effectiveness level: 94% protection against any symptomatic infection in the U.S. and 100% against severe disease.

J&J chief scientific officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said the single-shot vaccine still provides "strong and long-lasting protection" while also being "easy to use, distribute and administer."

"At the same time," Stoffels said, "we now have generated evidence that a booster shot further increases protection against COVID-19 and is expected to extend the duration of protection significantly."

Sep 20, 5:39 pm
US records 1.1 million pediatric COVID-19 cases over past 5 weeks

The U.S. reported more than 225,000 child COVID-19 cases, marking the fourth consecutive week with over 200,000 new pediatric cases reported, according to a newly released weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

In the last five weeks alone, the country has reported more than 1.1 million pediatric cases, according to the organizations.

"The weekly figure is now about 26 times higher than it was in June, when just 8,400 pediatric cases were reported over the span of a week," the organizations wrote in their report.

The South accounted for about half --110,000-- of last week's pediatric cases, according to the report.

The organizations added that more than 2,200 children are hospitalized with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection.

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(NORTH PORT, Fla.) -- A massive search is continuing in southern Florida for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing on a cross-country trip and who authorities say is "consistent with the description" of a body discovered on Sunday in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

The search for the 23-year-old Laundrie is centered around North Port, Florida, where investigators said Laundrie returned to his home on Sept. 1 without Petito but driving her 2012 Ford Transit.

Laundrie has been named by police as a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. Laundrie has refused to speak to the police and has not been seen since Tuesday, Sept. 14, according to law enforcement officials.

The search for Laundrie is the latest twist in the case that has grabbed national attention as he and Petito had been traveling across the country since June, documenting the trip on social media.

Petito's parents, who live in Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for two weeks.

Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern:

Sep 21, 10:24 am
Search resumes for Laundrie in 'gator and snake infested' swamp preserve

Police returned on Tuesday morning to the vast Carlton Reserve near North Port, Florida, to resume their search for Brian Laundrie a day after they said they had "exhausted all avenues in searching the grounds."

A North Port Police Department spokesman released a statement saying police, FBI, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other law enforcement agencies resumed the search for Laundrie on the Venice, Florida, side of the roughly 25,000-acre preserve.

Laundrie's parents told police their son said he was going to the preserve on Sept. 14 and that was the last time they heard from him.

Police spent most of Saturday and Sunday searching the preserve, entering from the North Port side. Josh Taylor, the North Port police spokesperson, said on Monday that the initial search of the preserve turned up no clues of Laundrie's whereabouts there and that bloodhounds and K-9 units did not pick up Laundrie's scent.

"Please be aware, the Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times. It is currently waste deep in water in many areas. This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails," Taylor said in the statement released on Tuesday.

Sep 21, 9:56 am
Laundrie family lawyer calls off press conference

A press conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon by the Laundrie family and their attorney has been called off.

Steven Bertolino, the family's lawyer, told ABC News that he canceled the press conference after speaking with the FBI. He did not elaborate on what prompted the cancellation.

The press conference was scheduled to be held at 1 p.m. ET at a hotel in Long Island, New York, near Petito's hometown of Blue Point.

Sep 20, 6:34 pm
FBI ends search at Laundrie residence

The FBI Tampa office tweeted Monday evening that they ended their search of the Laundrie residence North Port, Florida.

"No further details since this is an ongoing investigation," the office tweeted.

Sep 20, 5:29 pm
Search warrant last week uncovered hard drive, revealed Petito's last text

Details of a search warrant executed last week by Florida investigators looking into Gabby Petito's disappearance were revealed Monday.

This warrant, filed by the North Port Police Department this past Wednesday, wasn't associated with the FBI activity at the Laundrie family’s North Port home Monday.

Police say that after they searched the 2012 Ford Transit van, crime scene technicians found an external hard drive that they believed "may contain viable digital forensic data that could assist in the location" of Petito, court documents said.

A detective said Petito’s mother received an "odd text" from the 22-year-old, on Aug. 27, -- making it likely the last communication from Petito, according to court documents.

The text asked Petito's mom, "Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,” referring to Petito’s grandfather, who she “never” refers to as Stan, according to her mother.

Sep 20, 4:14 pm
911 caller claimed he saw Brian Laundrie 'slapping' Gabby Petito

The Grand County, Utah, Sheriff's Office released on Monday a 911 recording from August in which a caller claimed he witnessed Brian Laundrie allegedly "slapping" Gabby Petito and chasing her up and down a sidewalk hitting her.

In the recording of the 911 call from Aug. 12, the caller, whose name was not released, claimed he saw an apparent domestic dispute unfold on Main Street in Moab between a young couple driving a white van with Florida license plates.

"We drove by, and the gentleman was slapping the girl," the caller told a 911 dispatcher. "And then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and drove off."

Moab Police Department Chief Bret Edge said last week that his officers responded to the incident, located the van and pulled the couple over. Moab police released body camera footage of the traffic stop and wrote in a report that the couple, identified as Laundrie and Petito, admitted to arguing and that Petito had slapped Laundrie.

The couple also stated to police that Laundrie did not hit Petito, according to the report.

After speaking to Petito and Laundrie separately, the police allowed the couple to go on their way. Edge said "insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges."

Sep 20, 1:44 pm
Car Brian Laundrie last used was parked in parents' driveway: Authorities

A Ford Mustang convertible authorities believe Brian Laundrie used to purportedly drive himself to the Carlton Reserve near North Port, Florida, was parked in the driveway of his family's home when FBI agents served a search warrant there on Monday.

Laundrie's parents told authorities he went to the nearly 25,000-acre preserve on Tuesday, which is the last time they claim they saw him, according to the family's attorney.

Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, told ABC News that the family picked up the car on Thursday morning from the reserve after going out on Wednesday to look for Laundrie.

Laundrie left his family's home on Tuesday morning with a backpack, Bertolino said. He said that when family members went to the reserve to look for him, they spotted a note left on the car from the North Port Police Department saying it needed to be removed.

Bertolino said the family left the car overnight “so he [Laundrie] could drive back." When Laundrie didn’t come home Thursday morning, the family went back to retrieve the car, the attorney said.

The family called the police on Friday to file a missing person report, authorities said.

 

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(NEW YORK) -- As millions of kids head back to school this fall, "World News Tonight" has followed three incredible teachers caring for students in and outside the classroom.

In Washington D.C., Imani Baucom teaches at the Bilingual Public Charter School. She said her students' safety comes first.

"The kids are really happy to be back… Walking to class. Masks on," said Baucom. "We just remember to put the kids first, to put our health first, and to just take it one day at a time."

With some students and teachers returning to in-person learning amid the pandemic, some adjustments are having to be made.

World News Tonight previously reported that Jennifer Martin, who lives outside of Austin, Texas, turned her garage into a library. With the help of "World News Tonight" viewers, she has now collected more than 4,000 books and 350 students have visited her library.

"Thanks to supporters from all over the country," Martin said. "It's important to continue this effort because once you grow a reader. A reader needs books to read."

Across the country, in Livermore, California, Heidi Robinson has been going the extra mile -- quite literally.

Robinson, who teaches at Marylin Avenue Elementary School, had delivered lesson plans door-to-door during the pandemic and sent her students many virtual hugs along the way.

Nearly a year and a half later, Robinson reports that the class is back together again.

"We are back in school full time! Wearing masks so we're all very safe," said Robinson.

Robinson said virtual hugs have been replaced with elbow bumps and she hopes that progress will only continue.

"We are so incredibly happy to be back in school," she said. "With challenges behind us and lots of hope ahead of us."

 

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(TEXAS) -- Texas legislators are heading into their third special session Monday with several controversial topics on the agenda, including transgender student participation in sports and gender-affirming health care for trans youth.

Lawmakers will consider banning transgender students from playing on interscholastic teams that align with their gender identity. Children in grades K through 12 would only be allowed to play sports that correspond with their sex assigned at birth or sex designated on their original birth certificate.

Texas lawmakers alone have introduced more than 40 anti-trans bills this year.

At least 30 states across the country have introduced similar bills on trans student-athletes. So far, eight states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Dakota and West Virginia -- have passed the bills into laws or signed them as executive orders.

The laws are being challenged in Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Some groups in support of the bills, like the conservative Christian group Concerned Women for America, claim that trans girls have an unfair advantage.

"The issue is about the basic fairness and opportunities that women have fought for centuries to obtain," the group said in a statement to ABC News. "The disparity comes when forcing women to compete against a biological male that has innate biological differences, giving them physical advantages that simply cannot be erased."

There is no evidence that trans athletes disproportionately dominate sports when playing on teams that correspond with their gender identity. There is also no evidence that they have an advantage.

Other anti-trans bills on the special session docket include bans on gender-affirming therapy, counseling, surgery or health care. In some cases, allowing a child or teen under the age of 18 gender-affirming health care may be considered child abuse, if HB22 is signed into law.

LGBTQ+ advocates say these bills only serve to tarnish the mental health and safety of trans students.

"Like any other student, trans young people just want to stay healthy, go to school and spend time with their friends and loved ones," Andy Marra, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, told ABC News. "For transgender students living in states where their very lives are under attack, it can be near impossible to focus on much else but surviving."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that discrimination can lead to poor mental health, suicide, substance abuse, violence and other health risks for trans youth.

Young transgender students are also three times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers, the CDC reported.

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(NEW YORK) -- A massive search is continuing in southern Florida for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing on a cross-country trip and who authorities say is "consistent with the description" of a body discovered on Sunday in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

The search for the 23-year-old Laundrie is centered around North Port, Florida, where investigators said Laundrie returned to his home on Sept. 1 without Petito but driving her 2012 Ford Transit.

Laundrie has been named by police as a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. Laundrie has refused to speak to the police and has not been seen since Tuesday, Sept. 14, according to law enforcement officials.

The search for Laundrie is the latest twist in the case that has grabbed national attention as he and Petito had been traveling across the country since June, documenting the trip on social media.

Petito's parents, who live in Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for two weeks.

Latest headlines (EST time)

Sep 20, 5:29 pm
Search warrant last week uncovered hard drive, revealed Petito's last text

Details of a search warrant executed last week by Florida investigators looking into into Gabby Petito's disappearance were revealed Monday.

This warrant, filed by the North Port Police Department this past Wednesday, wasn't associated with the FBI activity at the Laundrie family’s North Port home Monday.

Police say that after they searched the 2012 Ford Transit van, crime scene technicians found an external hard drive that they believed "may contain viable digital forensic data that could assist in the location" of Petito, court documents said.

A detective said Petito’s mother received an "odd text" from the 22-year-old, on Aug. 27, -- making it likely the last communication from Petito, according to court documents.

The text asked Petito's mom, "Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,” referring to Petito’s grandfather, who she “never” refers to as Stan, according to her mother.

Sep 20, 4:14 pm
911 caller claimed he saw Brian Laundrie 'slapping' Gabby Petito

The Grand County, Utah, Sheriff's Office released on Monday a 911 recording from August in which a caller claimed he witnessed Brian Laundrie allegedly "slapping" Gabby Petito and chasing her up and down a sidewalk hitting her.

In the recording of the 911 call from Aug. 12, the caller, whose name was not released, claimed he saw an apparent domestic dispute unfold on Main Street in Moab between a young couple driving a white van with Florida license plates.

"We drove by, and the gentleman was slapping the girl," the caller told a 911 dispatcher. "And then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and drove off."

Moab Police Department Chief Bret Edge said last week that his officers responded to the incident, located the van and pulled the couple over. Moab police released body camera footage of the traffic stop and wrote in a report that the couple, identified as Laundrie and Petito, admitted to arguing and that Petito had slapped Laundrie.

The couple also stated to police that Laundrie did not hit Petito, according to the report.

After speaking to Petito and Laundrie separately, the police allowed the couple to go on their way. Edge said "insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges."

Sep 20, 1:44 pm
Car Brian Laundrie last used was parked in parents' driveway: Authorities

A Ford Mustang convertible authorities believe Brian Laundrie used to purportedly drive himself to the Carlton Reserve near North Port, Florida, was parked in the driveway of his family's home when FBI agents served a search warrant there on Monday.

Laundrie's parents told authorities he went to the nearly 25,000-acre preserve on Tuesday, which is the last time they claim they saw him, according to the family's attorney.

Sep 20, 10:33 am
Search of vast Florida swamp preserve 'exhausted': Police

The North Port, Florida, Police Department said on Monday that a search for Laundrie in the vast Carlton Reserve near North Port has been "exhausted."

Josh Taylor, a spokesperson for the North Port Police Department, told ABC News that the two-day search of the nearly 25,000-acre swampland preserve turned up no sign of Laundrie.

Taylor said search dogs did not pick up the sent of Laundrie while searching the preserve, which authorities described as alligator infested.

"At this time, we currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there," Taylor said in a statement. "Law enforcement agencies continue to search for Brian Laundrie."

 

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(NEW YORK) -- More than a century ago, the globe was left devastated by a pandemic that has been described by experts as "the deadliest in human history."

The 1918 influenza pandemic killed at least 50 million people worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, equivalent in proportion to 200 million in today's global population. An estimated 675,000 of those deaths occurred in the United States.

Now, 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic, the virus has claimed more American lives than its counterpart a hundred years ago.

At this point, at least 675,446 Americans have been confirmed to have died since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, with thousands of Americans lives still being lost each day.

Surpassing the 1918 death toll is a dismal milestone, but experts suggest there are key differences between both pandemics that must be taken into account, given modern day access to better medical treatments and vaccinations.

"These are two different viruses, two different times in history, at two different times of medical history, with what you have available to combat or treat it," Howard Markel, professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan, told ABC News.

The influenza outbreak of 1918 began in the spring, with the novel H1N1 virus passing from birds to humans, and lasted for approximately two years. Approximately one-third of the world's population at that time, or 500 million people, was ultimately estimated to have been infected, according to the CDC.

According to experts, it is important to recall, when comparing data from the two pandemics, that the numbers of deaths stemming from the 1918 pandemic are just estimates. In fact, according to Dr. Graham Mooney, assistant professor of the history of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, it is likely that these figures were significantly underestimated, because of non-registration, missing records, misdiagnosis or underreporting.

Likewise, experts believe that the current COVID-19 death count could already be greatly undercounted, due to inconsistent reporting by states and localities, and the exclusion of excess deaths.

In comparing the pandemics, Markel said, it is important to remember that we now have many more people living in the U.S. than in 1918, when the population stood at approximately 105 million, according to census data, compared to 328 million people in 2019.

The U.S. currently has a coronavirus case fatality rate of 1.6%, compared to the 2.5% fatality rate for influenza in 1918, noted Mooney. Normally, the flu's fatality rate is less than 0.1%. And thus, the rate of death in the United States, due to COVID-19, remains significantly below the one attributed to the 1918 pandemic.

Ultimately, when compared on a per-capita basis, the pandemic of 1918 was far deadlier than this one, according to Christopher McKnight Nichols, associate professor of history at Oregon State University.

"The difference is that 1 in 500 Americans have died now, and about 1 in 152 died in 1918, although our number keeps going up," Nichols told ABC News.

Vaccinations and traditional intervention methods key to protection

Although the two pandemics were at first comparable, the introduction of the coronavirus vaccine made the differences between the two "stark," said Nichols.

"People were desperate for treatment measures in 1918. People were desperate for a vaccine," Nichols said. "We have effective vaccines now, and so what strikes me in the comparison, if you think about this milestone, this tragedy of deaths, is that same number but we have a really effective treatment, the thing that they most wanted in 1918 and '19, we've got. And for a lot of different reasons, we botched the response."

Similar to the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, no vaccines or treatments were available to protect people against the 1918 influenza. Thus, protection through non-pharmaceutical interventions was critical, Mooney said.

"The same kinds of measures -- the so-called non-pharmaceutical interventions that were put on in 1918 -- were the same that we saw last year: lockdowns, social distancing, hygiene masks, limits on gathering places," Nichols said.

In fact, social distancing was also one of the great historical lessons learned from 1918, according to Markel, demonstrating that if done early, and for a long time, such measures can work.

Millions of different communities and demographics affected

One fundamental contrast between the two pandemics, according to Markel, is that different age groups were most significantly impacted. A disproportionate number of those who succumbed to the disease in 1918 were in the 18- to 45-year-old age group. Young children and the elderly were also significantly impacted.

However, in the coronavirus pandemic, the age group that has been the most affected is over the age of 65, who make up 78.7% of virus-related deaths.

Historical evidence suggests that racial and ethnic disparities, which have affected communities of color throughout the coronavirus pandemic, were also present during the 1918 pandemic.

Black Americans had higher case fatality rates from influenza in 1918-19 than whites, according to a 2019 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Similarly, Black Americans account for nearly 14% of COVID-19 related deaths, despite the fact that Black Americans only account for 12.5% of the population.

Becoming endemic

Domestically and globally, experts said, it will be crucial for vaccine uptake to increase, in order to blunt the impact of the coronavirus death toll.

"I'm a little pessimistic going into winter, given the fact that there's such a large unvaccinated population that it is a lot like 1918," Nichols said, adding that it will ultimately be "some combination of getting more of the population immune, with vaccines and with infections."

Ultimately, although "it's not the worst of all time, it's pretty darn close," Markel said of the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's the worst of our lifetimes, and it's changed our lives in so many ways."

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(HAWAII) --- It's been more than a week since the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabella Kalua in Waimanalo, Hawaii. The search for Isabella continues, as Honolulu police and volunteers spread across the city to find the missing child.

Isabella was last seen asleep in her room at her Puha Street address on Sunday, Sept. 12 around 9 p.m., local time, according to the Honolulu Police Department.

Her adoptive family has not participated in search crews, but their attorney told KITV that they have spoken and are cooperating with police. Since they have received death threats regarding the child's disappearance they have not gone out to search, the attorney said.

KITV reports that HPD has acquired several items that may be linked to Isabella, including a photo album and toys found in a garbage bag, but they have yet to confirm its connection to the case.

Police are also working with the FBI to investigate her disappearance.

"We have conducted numerous interviews; however, there are still individuals, to include acquaintances and family members, who have yet to come forward to be interviewed," HPD said in a statement to KITV.

Honolulu Police say it won't rule out foul play.

"I don't want to think the worst-case scenario," Alena Kaeo, Kalua's biological aunt told ABC-affiliate KITV. "But it is always is a possibility. Again, I'm trying to keep my faith as strong as possible and I pray -- I pray hard that she is safe. I don't want to think the worst but it is a possibility."

Isabella is described by authorities as being a brown-eyed, brown-haired, white, and mixed-race girl. Police said Isabella was likely wearing a black hoodie, black leggings, colorful socks, and Nike slides when she went missing.

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(NEW YORK) -- Two people are being treated for gunshot wounds following a shooting at Heritage High School in Newport News, Virginia, according to police. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Students at the high school were evacuated and sent to the tennis courts, according to the Newport News Police Department.

Police said at 11:30 a.m., they responded to a shooting call at the school. "Four, maybe five" students were sent to area hospitals. Of those, two were being treated for gunshot wounds.

The two gunshot victims are 17 years old. One male was shot in the face and a female was shot in the lower leg, police said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

Another student is being treated after falling during the chaotic scene, while another was transported for breathing issues related to asthma, police said.

Later in the afternoon, the Newport police said they had a person in custody, who they would only describe as "a male juvenile."

The investigation is ongoing.

Police said they are going through footage and evidence recovered from the scene as they hunt for the suspect. Police officers said they don't believe the suspect is a threat to other members of the community and it seems there was some type of altercation that led to the shooting, but they're still investigating.

An official with the FBI Field Office in Norfolk, Virginia, tells ABC News they are aware and providing assistance to local authorities. The ATF said it is also assisting.

Police have not publicly released the name of the suspect or victims.

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(NEW YORK) -- One Arizona woman is on a mission to educate others about influential Latin women -- by using her TikTok.

“I think it wasn't necessarily them trying to teach me history, but they're just trying to teach me about these cultural icons that touched so many people in my culture,” Cortes said.

Like many 20-somethings, Cortes downloaded TikTok during the pandemic and began to get ideas for videos she could make. While millions of others were learning the latest dance crazes, she decided to make it a space where she could teach others about Latinas who changed the course of history.

“I just decided to start talking about these women that inspired me,” Cortes said. “I felt like they weren’t being recognized or acknowledged. ... I wanted to put their names out there, their stories out there and hopefully connect with someone and have another young Latina find someone that they can see themselves in.”

Cortes began a series on her account called “Bad a— Latinas in History.” In every video Cortes highlights a different Latina and shares how she helped change the world. She began her series honoring Mexican film actress María Félix and has now highlighted nearly 100 influential Latina woman through her videos.

“I've talked about Rita Moreno, how she was the first Latina to win an Oscar, or Sylvia Mendez who and her and her mom helped end segregation in California, which set a precedent to end segregation in the entire country,” Cortes said. “I felt like their stories were so important. ... So I wanted to put them out there and hopefully connect with someone who had never heard about them before.”

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(CHICAGO) -- At least six people have been killed and 37 wounded, including a 3-year-old boy, in shootings that erupted across Chicago over the weekend, according to police.

As of noon Sunday, Chicago police had responded to at least 35 separate shooting incidents across the city since 6:30 p.m. Friday, according to police incident reports reviewed by ABC News.

Like other major cities across the country grappling with a rising number of shootings this year, Chicago has deployed a series of strategies to tackle the problem, including a crackdown on illegal guns pouring into the city by targeting firearm straw buyers. Police have also stepped up enforcement in areas that have seen spikes in shootings.

So far, nothing seems to have curbed gun violence.

In one incident early Sunday, five people ranging in age from 18 to 47 were wounded when two gunmen drove up in a silver sedan, got out and opened fire on a group of people gathered on the street. The gunmen then got back in the car and fled, police said.

The mass shooting unfolded just after 3 a.m. in the Austin neighborhood of northwest Chicago, and all of the victims were in serious condition at hospitals, police said. No arrests were made in the incident.

Also on Sunday morning, a tow truck driver was shot and killed as he was providing roadside service to a customer in the Englewood neighborhood on the city's South Side, police said. The 27-year-old tow truck driver, whose name was not released, was working when someone approached on foot and shot him multiple times.

The victim was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said. No arrests have been made in the homicide.

On Saturday, five other men were fatally shot over the span of about four hours Saturday.

Two men, ages 29 and 34, were fatally shot in one incident around 12:14 a.m. Saturday as they were walking on a street in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side of the city, police said. Police are searching for a red vehicle they believe the fatal shots came from.

Less than an hour later, a 31-year-old man was found shot and unresponsive on a street in the West Pullman neighborhood on the South Side, police said. He was taken to Christ Medical Center and pronounced dead, police said. No arrests have been made.

A 21-year-old man was fatally shot around 2:39 a.m. Saturday. Police said the victim, whose name was not released, was arguing with a woman on a street in the East Garfield Park section on the West Side when a gunman walked up and shot him multiple times, including once in the chest, police said. The victim was taken to Mt. Sinai Medical Center and pronounced dead.

A little over an hour later, a 33-year-old man died from gunshot wounds he suffered in the River North section of Chicago's North Side when someone in a blue SUV drove by and opened fire, hitting the victim in the chest, police said. The man was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

At about 10:45 p.m. Saturday, someone fired shots into a home in the Calumet Heights neighborhood on the South Side, hitting a 3-year-old boy in the back, police said. The child was taken to Trinity Hospital and later transferred to Comer's Children Hospital, where he was listed in good condition, according to police.

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old girl was among two people shot and wounded as they were standing on a street in the West Englewood neighborhood on the South Side at about 11:18 p.m. Saturday, police said. A gunman, who police are working to identify, opened fire from a distance hitting the girl in the buttocks and a 20-year-old woman in the leg.

More than 250 minors have been shot in Chicago so far this year, according to ABC station WLS in Chicago.

The shooting of children over the weekend came just two weeks after eight children were shot, including a 4-year-old who was killed over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

A total of at least 2,490 people have been shot in Chicago this year, a 9% increase from the same period as last year, according to police department crime statistics. The city has recorded 558 homicides, most of them the result of shootings, this year -- a 3% increase from 2020.

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(TETON COUNTY, Wyo.) -- A body "consistent with the description of" Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, was discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

The FBI Denver, the National Park Service and law enforcement made the announcement during a news conference Sunday evening in Grand Teton National Park. Charles Jones, the FBI’s supervisory senior resident agent, said that a full forensic identification hasn’t yet been completed, but investigators did notify Petito’s parents.

A cause of death was also undetermined. Jones declined to comment further on the investigation.

"We continue to seek information from anyone who utilized the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area between the dates of August 27 and August 30. Anyone that may have had contact with Gabby, or her boyfriend or who may have seen their vehicle in that area, please share any new information with the FBI," Jones said.

An attorney for the Petito family released a statement Sunday evening asking for privacy to grieve and also thanking the agencies that assisted in the search.

“Your tireless work and determination helped bring Gabby home to her parents,” the statement said. “The family and I will be forever grateful.”

North Port Police tweeted that it will be working with the FBI in its investigation.

"Our focus from the start, along with the FBI, and national partners, has been to bring her home," the department tweeted.

The Teton County coroner confirmed to ABC News on Sunday afternoon that the agency dispatched resources to a body found in the national forest. No further details were disclosed.

The development came as a search for Brian Laundrie, Petito's boyfriend, resumed in Florida.

Petito's parents reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not speaking with her for two weeks.

Laundrie had been named by police as a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. The 23-year-old Laundrie, who returned home more than two weeks ago without Petito and has refused to speak to police, has not been seen since Tuesday, according to law enforcement officials.

The Laundrie family attorney said in a statement Sunday evening, “The news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking. The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family.”

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Courtesy of Nicole Schmidt and Joseph Petito

(NORTH PORT, Fla.) -- A search for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, resumed on Sunday in a 24,565-acre preserve in Florida as authorities more than 2,300 miles away combed Grand Teton National Park for clues on the whereabouts of the woman who went missing during the couple's cross-country road trip.

North Port, Florida, police said a team of officers picked up the search for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve north of Laundrie's home in North Port. The search began on Saturday but was suspended overnight due to darkness.

"A team of more than 50 looking for anything of note after his (Laundrie's) parents say this is where he went," North Port police said in a post on Twitter Sunday morning.

Laundrie has been named by police as a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. The 23-year-old Laundrie, who returned home more than two weeks ago without Petito and has refused to speak to the police, has not been seen since Tuesday, according to law enforcement officials.

"Be advised that the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie are currently unknown," an attorney for the Laundrie family said Friday. "The FBI is currently at the Laundrie residence removing property to assist in locating Brian. As of now, the FBI is now looking for both Gabby and Brian."

North Port police officers accompanied by FBI agents, drones, K-9 and bloodhounds are involved in the search for Laundrie, police said during a briefing Saturday afternoon. Authorities took clothing from the family home Friday to help canine units, North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor said.

Laundrie's family told police on Friday that they last saw him on Tuesday with a backpack and he told them he was going to the massive preserve, which he would frequent for hikes, according to Taylor.

"Our goal is to get answers. We love to be able to find Gabby. And right now we need to find Brian, too. Not only is he missing, but he potentially holds some key information in helping us find Gabby," Taylor told ABC News on Saturday night. "We have to locate him. We're hopeful to bring him in because I think he does have some information that will really lead us to Gabby. And that is the primary objective, to find this little girl."

In response to the news that Laundrie's whereabouts were unknown, a lawyer for the Petito family said in a statement: "All of Gabby's family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing."

The search for Laundrie is the latest twist in the case that has grabbed national attention as the couple had been traveling across the country since June in Petito's 2012 Ford Transit and documenting the trip on social media. Laundrie returned home in Petito's van to North Port, on Sept. 1 without his girlfriend, according to police.

Petito's parents reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not speaking with her for two weeks.

As the search for Petito continues, FBI Denver said in an update Saturday evening that authorities are "conducting ground surveys" at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. The FBI asked for anyone who saw the couple's white van, with Florida license plate QFTG03, to contact the FBI.

Taylor confirmed that investigators have spoken to Miranda Baker, a college student who posted a TikTok video over the weekend claiming she and her boyfriend picked up Laundrie around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 as he was hitchhiking alone in the Colter Bay Village area of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. In the video, Baker said Laundrie offered her and her boyfriend $200 to drive him to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

"He told us he's been camping for multiple days without his fiancee. He did say he had a fiancee and that she was working on their social media page back at their van," Baker said in the video.

She said that during the ride, Laundrie "freaked out" and demanded to be let out of the vehicle.

"He's like, 'Nope, I need to get out right now. You have to pull over,'" Baker said in the video and later in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America.

Baker said she and her boyfriend let Laundrie out near the Jackson Lake Dam a little after 6 p.m. She said Laundrie had a backpack and was dressed in a long-sleeve shirt, pants, hiking boots and had a scruffy beard.

"For someone who was camping for multiple days, he didn't look dirty. He didn't smell dirty," Baker said.

Asked about Baker's purported encounter with Laundrie, Taylor told ABC News on Sunday, "We have spoken to her. Her timeline is plausible."

The FBI specifically said it would like to talk to anyone who was at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area from Aug. 27 to 30 and may have seen the couple or their van. The agency said it would not comment on the specifics of the information in its investigation.

North Port police were also forced to clear up a rumor about finding a body in the Carlton Reserve that spread on social media Saturday, saying it was "completely fake."

Petito was last seen on Aug. 24 leaving a hotel room in Utah. The next day, she spoke to her mother, Nichole Schmidt, telling her that their next stops would be at Grand Teton and Yellowstone, Schmidt told ABC News.

Schmidt received two text messages from her daughter's phone in the days after speaking to her, but it was unclear whether they were actually sent by Petito

"Many people are wondering why Mr. Laundrie would not make a statement or speak with law enforcement in the face of Ms. Petito's absence," the attorney representing the Laundrie family, Steven P. Bertolino, said in a statement last week. "In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on in cases like this, and the warning that 'any statement will be used against you' is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito's disappearance. As such, on the advice of counsel, Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on this matter."

The North Port Police Department said Friday afternoon it had entered the family's home, where Brian was believed to be staying, to speak with the family "at their request."

The police later tweeted Friday, "The conversation at the Laundrie home is complete. Once we have the details, a statement will be made. We ask for calm! Please let us work through this and information will be forthcoming."

It was after that tweet that the family lawyer released the statement saying the location of Brian Laundrie was unknown.

"We've been trying to reach the family all week. This is the first time we've had communication with them, and now they're telling us that he's been gone for essentially the last four days," Taylor said in an interview with Good Morning America Saturday.

Laundrie's family told police about where he went after becoming "concerned about his whereabouts" and wanted to file a missing person's report, Taylor told reporters Saturday.

Laundrie's car was at the Carlton Reserve but then found again at the family's home, police said. When pressed by reporters as to how the car would have gotten back without a sign of Laundrie, Taylor said, "We are going by [the family's] word."

Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, told ABC News the family picked up the car after going out to look for their son.

Bertolino said the family went to the reserve Wednesday to look for him and spotted a note from the North Port Police Department on the car saying it needed to be removed. The family left the car overnight "so he could drive back," the attorney said. When Laundrie didn't come home Thursday morning, the family went back to retrieve the car, according to Bertolino.

People had gathered outside the Laundrie home throughout the day Friday, some with bullhorns, chanting "Where is Gabby?" and calling on Brian Laundrie or the family to talk to authorities. Those people were moved from the lawn to the sidewalk as they chanted toward the house.

Brian's sister, Cassandra Laundrie, spoke to ABC News on Thursday night, saying she had spoken to police about Petito's disappearance but was mostly learning details from the news.

"Obviously, me and my family want Gabby to be found safe," she said. "She is like a sister and my children love her, and all I want is for her to come home safe and sound and this be just a big misunderstanding."

The Grand County Sheriff's Office in Moab, Utah, said last week that Petito and Laundrie did not appear to be connected to the murders of two women at a campground in mid-August. The sheriff's office said on Thursday it had been in contact with Florida authorities about investigating a possible connection to the double murder.

The two women were last seen leaving a bar on Aug. 13, one day after authorities were called about a disagreement between Petito and Laundrie while they were traveling in Moab.

The couple's white van had been pulled over after a witness called police about an altercation between the two at the Arches National Park. Moab police released body camera footage of the couple admitting they had been arguing and that Petito had slapped Laundrie, according to a police report. The couple told police that Laundrie had not hit Petito.

There was "insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges," Moab Police Department Chief Bret Edge said in a statement Tuesday.

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(LAKE WORTH, Texas) -- Three homes have been damaged after a military training aircraft crashed in Lake Worth, Texas, according to the Fort Worth Fire Department.

The Navy T-45C Goshawk jet trainer aircraft crashed in the backyard of one of the homes, and the debris damaged the nearby structures, Lake Worth Fire Chief Ryan Arthur told reporters at a press conference Sunday afternoon.

A military flight student and an instructor pilot were apparently conducting a drill training exercise at the time of the crash, Arthur said. The pilots were on a routine training flight out of Corpus Christi International Airport before the incident, according to a statement from the chief of naval air training. The aircraft is assigned to the training wing of the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas

One of the pilot's parachutes got caught in a power line after he was ejected from the plane, he said. The other was found in a neighborhood nearby, Arthur said.

Both pilots are being treated at the hospital, Arthur said. The instructor is in stable condition, and the student naval aviator was reported to be in serious condition, but his injuries were not life threatening, according to the military.

A small fire resulted from the crash, Arthur said. Three residents of the damaged homes sustained minor injuries and were treated on the scene, according to the Fort Worth Fire Department.

"We are incredibly fortunate that the plane crashed in the backyard of the homes and not the residences themselves," a statement from the Fort Worth Fire Department read.

More than 40 homes in the area surrounding the crash are experiencing power outages, according to officials.

Residents were advised to stay out of the area due to the hazardous material that needs to be cleared. Cleanup crews have been advised by the military that the ejection seats could contain unexploded ordnances.

The Navy is cooperating fully with local authorities, the chief of Naval Air Training said, adding, "We are extremely thankful for the support from Lake Worth and Fort Worth Fire Departments, Lake Worth Police, Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, and other community partners who responded to the scene."

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(MIAMI) — When a condo building suddenly collapsed in the Miami Beach area earlier this summer, killing 98, it shocked the nation.

Rescuers worked for days at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside to try to find survivors in the rubble. But hope faded after all surviving victims were rescued and the mission shifted to recovery.

In the wake of the collapse, profound grief and questions about how a massive concrete structure could just fall to the ground lingered.

As federal investigators piece together evidence, a trail of documents indicated the 12-story, 136-unit oceanfront condo building had substantial concrete structural damage to its pool deck area and was overdue for repairs.

While federal authorities have not yet concluded the investigation to determine the cause of the fall, a number of experts and engineers believe prolonged structural damage, delayed repairs and environmental issues over four decades could have contributed to the building's deterioration.

Here is what we know:

'Independent spirit'

The Champlain Condominium Towers North and South were built in 1981 in Surfside, Fla. a neighborhood that sits just north of Miami.

"Surfside always had an independent spirit. The Surf Club was really the center of Surfside and it was built in 1930. The owners and the members of that club. wanted to have their own neighborhood and didn't want to be part of Miami Beach," Daniel Ciraldo, executive director of the Miami Design Preservation League, told ABC News.

During the 70's and 80's, Miami city leaders were looking to transition into a higher-end market, according to the New York Times at the time.

But at that time, a quarter of South Beach Miami was made up of mostly retired residents, many of whom protested the idea of rebuilding the city as many feared displacement.

"In 1973, a building moratorium was imposed partially due to a decaying Miami and concerns about the sewage system," Ciraldo said. To rectify this, the condominium developers fronted at least half of a $400,000 bill to fix the sewage issue and resume construction, according to a Miami Herald report from 1979.

The Champlain Towers were the first condominiums built once the moratorium was lifted.

Early signs of damage

Signs of structural damage to the Champlain Towers South's pool deck and garage ceiling were reported as early as 1996. Western Water Co., a local contractor, noted in a report the pool deck of the Champlain condo building and the ceiling of the underground parking garage beneath needed "concrete structural repair."

The work was later completed and certified to the city in November 1997, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

"The most common problems are weather intrusions. The way you combat that is with good quality solid weatherproofing and paint; and those repairs need to be identified when they happen and repaired in order to maintain the strength and integrity of the building," Peter Dyga, the president and CEO of Associated Builders & Contractors, Florida East Coast Chapter (a national construction industry trade association), told ABC News.

40-year recertification underway

After a Miami-area building collapse in 1974, county lawmakers enacted a mandatory inspection for commercial and residential buildings 40 years after they're constructed. The Champlain towers were in the process of recertification when part of the building came crashing down.

Morabito Consultants, a structural engineering firm, was hired by the condo association in 2018 to conduct the inspection and reported, among other things, concrete structural damage to concrete structural slabs on the pool deck due to failed waterproofing. They estimated repairs would cost more than $9 million, but those repairs were never completed.

Frank Morabito, a consultant and engineer from Morabito Consultants, declined to comment to ABC News.

'Very good shape'

Despite the structural engineering report and the detailed construction plan from Morabito, Rosendo "Ross" Prieto, the former Surfside building inspector, told residents at Champlain Tower South at a board meeting in November 2018 that their building was "in very good shape," according to records released by the city of Surfside.

"When things happen related to building construction, builders are generally the scapegoats and it may be the quality of the building," Dyga told ABC News. "On the other end of the problem is with a building. One that is most common that we see is failing to maintain. One of the most important things about building maintenance is weatherproofing," Dyga added.

In April, two months prior to the collapse, Champlain condo owners received an itemized bill from the board, a two-page letter obtained by ABC News shows.

The estimated repair costs was nearly $15 million, $6 million more than what Morabito assessed three years before. The owners were expected to begin making payments beginning July 1.

Following the collapse, Prieto, who was no longer Surfside's building inspector, was placed on a "leave of absence," according to a statement from the city of Doral, where he had been listed as interim building inspector but has since been removed.

He has not responded to ABC News' repeated requests for comment.

'The future'

In the wake of the collapse, Miami-Dade County inspected more than 500 buildings that were approaching the 40-year recertification deadline to identify any obvious structural concerns.

Buildings in Surfside that are more than 30 years and more than three stories high were notified to begin recertification. Surfside operates as its own city and has its own building department.

"The future is what is the capacity of a small town when we're talking about really large development projects?," Ciraldo said. "And the corollary of what is the ability of a volunteer condo association to be the permanent stewards of these properties," he continued.

In late July, a Florida judge ordered the families who suffered losses from the collapse to be compensated $150 million -- $50 million in insurance and nearly $100 million in proceeds upon the property sale.

At the conclusion of the federal agency National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigation, which could take several years according to NIST experts, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has pledged to bring the matter to a grand jury, which will gather evidence and hear testimony and could recommend criminal charges or needed reforms.

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(SAN FRANCISCO) — Wildfires swirling around California's giant sequoia trees are prompting more evacuations as they spread toward communities surrounding the forests.

Residents in Ponderosa and Quaking Aspen in Tulare County have been ordered to evacuate immediately now that the Windy Fire had fanned to more than 18,000 acres surrounding the Sequoia National Forest and was 0% contained on Sunday morning.

Other communities in Tulare County, such as Johnsondale and Camp Whitsett, had been ordered to evacuate several days earlier due to the Windy Fire, while the KNP Complex Fire, which is also threatening the historic sequoia forests, prompted evacuations in the Three Rivers community.

The KNP Complex Fire had grown to nearly 22,000 acres by Sunday morning and was also 0% contained.

Fire crews were seen earlier this week wrapping cabins and other structures in Sequoia National Forest in foil to protect them as the wildfires continue to spread. The historic trees are thousands of years old and grew to be hundreds of feet tall.

The sequoia trees are increasingly being threatened by drought, climate change and extreme fire.

Last year, the Castle Fire wiped out 10% of the world's native sequoias, according to the National Park Service.

Firefighters faced high temperatures and dry conditions as they battled the blaze over the weekend, and the dangerous fire conditions are expected to continue in the region.

Parts of Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Park are closed to the public due to the fires.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.

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