(NEW YORK) — In April 2004, "Mean Girls" was playing in theaters and "Yeah!" by Usher was topping the Billboard music charts.
At the same time, around the mid-Atlantic region, small holes in the ground were opening up from which billions of bulky, red-eyed, winged insects would emerge, readying for a bacchanal of singing and mating -- and reminding humans of a horror movie.
As the summer of 2004 waned, so did the lifespan, just a few weeks long, of those adult cicadas, and the larvae of the next generation dropped back to the earth where they would spend the next 17 years.
This spring -- 17 years later -- those cicadas are part of Brood X (ominous as the "X" sounds, it stands for the Roman numeral ten) and for all that time they have been underground eating and growing.
Researchers aren't sure exactly how many will surface, except that it will be in the billions: They estimate the numbers will be at least 1.5 million per acre, which could mean as many as 30 of the creatures covering your average square foot.
Brood X, sometimes referred to as the Great Eastern Brood, is among the largest in terms of geographical areas in North America, according to the University of Connecticut's Cicada Mapping Project.
The billions of bugs will come out, scientists say, when conditions are just right: when the soil is 64 degrees and on a night that's humid enough, but free of wind and rain.
According to John Cooley, who runs the Periodical Cicada Mapping Project at the University of Connecticut, they start very pale and very small, even as small as "a grain of rice." But once the cicadas are above ground, they grow -- and grow fast.
"They're going to emerge from that hole and go climb up some vegetation and undergo their final molt to the adult form, and that molting process takes about an hour and the newly emerged adult will be very pale when it comes out," Cooley said. "And over the next couple of hours, it'll finish very quickly finish expanding its body and then dark enough to have the adult colors.”
After that, the cicadas spend about a week maturing. Once fully grown, their primary objective is -- mating.
Their quest to procreate is precipitated by a loud signature "song." Male cicadas generate sounds with tymbals, an organ that generates sound when it contracts, the hollow body amplifies the sound.
According to a project to prevent hearing in children loss sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, cicada choruses can reach 90 decibels and ordinances in the District of Columbia, the epicenter of the brood, say any sound over 70 decibels is considered a disturbance. (That might be just enough to drown out the political noise in Washington.)
"It's like a bunch of guys at a frat party, they're all singing[...]some cheesy party song, and then the college sophomore girl sees the guy and she winks at him, and so that's the female cicada's click," Jadin said. "And so then he starts going, 'hey, baby, hey, baby, hey, baby, hey, baby, hey baby,' faster and faster and then they find each other."
After all the singing and clicking, the cicadas mate and the females lay eggs in trees and other plants. Then, after about 4 to 6 weeks of life above ground, the party ends with dead adult cicadas and molted exoskeletons littered literally everywhere and the next generation of cicada larvae heading back underground.
Although the cicadas invade in great volume -- to overwhelm the appetites of predators -- they are harmless, don't bite or sting and aren't toxic. In fact, Jadin says they can make tasty treats.
She says the insects can substitute for nuts or raisins in traditional recipes and notes that around the world, eating insects is common and can be a sustainable and accessible form of nutrition.
She concedes, however, that raw cicadas can taste a bit bitter.
"However, if you've cooked them, they basically take on the flavor of whatever they're cooked in," Jadin said. "So, I like them dipped in chocolate, I like them fried with batter, or just fried plain with a little bit of spice on them.”
Jadin says it's best to eat young cicadas recently emerged from the ground, but also cautions that the insects might not be organic if they've been living in areas treated by fertilizers or pesticides.
Despite their huge numbers, they shouldn't do much physical damage. Cooley does recommend that people put netting over any young or delicate trees because cicadas could do damage to branches as they lay eggs and feed.
He also cautions against using and pesticide or repellent, noting it would take a lot of chemicals to ward off so many insects. Instead, Cooley urges people to appreciate the once-in-a-17-year experience and the cicada songs that won't be heard again until 2038.
"I think the thing to really do is to sit back and enjoy and learn and understand, this is a really quite a unique thing. There are lots of species of cicadas in the world but there are not many periodical cicadas species ... so this is kind of a special thing," he said.
(NEW YORK) — Millions of people are waking up to flooding rain, damaging winds and possible tornadoes across the Deep South, where round of severe storms is expected Saturday from New Orleans to Tallahassee, Florida.
Friday's storms continue Saturday morning, with multiple tornado warnings and flash flooding alerts.
There are still tornado watches and severe storm warnings through the morning.
So far, there have been 159 reports of hail across the South and 18 wind reports. One tornado has been spotted, but not yet confirmed, in Pelahatchie, Mississippi. Up to 67 mph wind gusts have been reported and up to 3-inch in diameter hail.
There are more than 121,000 customers without power Saturday in the South, including more than 50,000 without power in Louisiana and over 42,000 in Mississippi.
After facing back-to-back severe storms all week, more storms are hitting the South Saturday afternoon through the evening from southeast Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, extending to the western parts of Georgia.
About 6 million people will be facing damaging winds, flooding rain and a few tornadoes.
These storms move east on Sunday, impacting Northern Florida to New York City.
Up to 4 inches of rain are possible over the next couple of days with these storms.
(TAKOMA PARK, Md.) -- David Hall Dixon, a Pentagon Force Protection Agency police officer who was off duty at the time of a fatal shooting in Maryland, has been charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing two people, Takoma Park police said Friday.
Those killed were identified by the Takoma Park police as Dominique Williams, 32, and James Lionel Johnson, 38.
The shooting took place in a parking lot early Wednesday, according to police.
Shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday, Takoma Park police responded to reports of shots fired in the parking lot area of the Takoma Overlook Condominiums, according to a department news release issued Wednesday.
An off-duty Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer approached the Takoma Park police and said he had seen what he thought was a car break-in and "engaged the suspects who failed to follow his direction," according to the Wednesday release.
When the "suspects" tried to "flee" in a vehicle, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer "discharged his service weapon," Takoma Park police said then.
The two men shot were taken to the hospital and died there, police said.
Dixon was also charged with second-degree attempted murder of Michael Thomas, 36 -- the driver of the vehicle he shot into, police said Friday.
He also faces three counts for use of a handgun in commission of a felony and two counts of wreckless endangerment, police said.
Dixon was taken into custody without incident Friday morning, according to the release.
Carlean Ponder, an activist with the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, said it was a "relief" that the officer was charged.
"For us, there were many questions surrounding this incident," Ponder told ABC News.
Ponder also said that the "biggest problem is the excessive use of force," and the use of lethal force.
The Takoma Park Police Department has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Friday.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
(BRYAN, Texas) -- Two victims remain in critical condition following a Thursday afternoon shooting at a cabinet-making business in Texas, police said Friday.
An employee of Kent Moore Cabinets in Bryan, just outside of College Station, allegedly opened fire, killing 40-year-old Timothy Smith and injuring four others at the facility, officials said.
A sixth shooting victim -- a Texas Department of Public Safety officer -- was shot and injured while trying to apprehend the suspect, officials said.
Police on Thursday arrested 27-year-old Larry Bollin, of Iola, Texas, and charged him with murder. He's being held on $1 million bond, according to jail records.
Bollin was an employee of Kent Moore Cabinets, Bryan Police Department Chief Eric Buske said.
Marc Barron, a co-worker, told ABC Houston station KTRK that he'd see Bollin every day.
During the shooting, Barron said they came face to face.
"I turned around and he faces me. We made eye-to-eye contact," Barron told KTRK. "He basically turned away from me to shoot."
Bollin had fled the location when Bryan police arrived shortly after 2:30 p.m. local time, authorities said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said its officers tried to take Bollin into custody near Iola at about 3:30 p.m., but the suspect allegedly shot a trooper and fled. Bollin was then found and taken into custody 50 minutes later in the town of Bedias.
The trooper, Juan Rojas Tovar, "remains in critical but stable condition," the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday.
A seventh victim was taken to the hospital after suffering an asthma attack.
Amelia Rodriguez, another co-worker, told ABC News, "I don't know how to feel."
"Two hours ago, I thought I was gonna pass out, you know, my legs are feeling weak and everything," she said. "Life is unpredictable, and it can go in a second."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement, "I have been working closely with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers as they assist local law enforcement on a swift response to this criminal act."
"The state will assist in any way needed to help prosecute the suspect," he said. "Cecilia [the governor's wife] and I are praying for the victims and their families and for the law enforcement officer injured while apprehending the suspect."
Hours before the shooting, Abbott had criticized President Joe Biden's new executive actions aimed at gun reform.
"Biden is threatening our 2nd Amendment rights. He just announced a new liberal power grab to take away our guns," he tweeted. "We will NOT allow this in TX."
(WASHINGTON) -- A Pennsylvania man charged with assaulting officers at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection says he was brutally beaten by two guards at the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility late last month, according to his lawyer.
Ryan Samsel, who was arrested in late January after authorities identified him as the man seen on video pushing against a police barricade that knocked a female officer to the ground as a pro-Trump mob descended on the Capitol, relayed details of his alleged assault to his attorney, Elisabeth Pasqualani.
In a phone interview with ABC News Thursday, Pasqualani said she believes the incident is being investigated by both the D.C. Department of Corrections and the FBI's Washington Field Office.
"The Department of Corrections takes the safety and well-being of all residents, staff, and contractors extremely seriously," a Department of Corrections representative said in a statement to ABC News. "We are aware of the allegation made by an inmate and it is under investigation by the Department of Justice."
FBI officials, in a brief statement, said they were "aware of the allegations, however, as a matter of policy, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation."
Pasqualani said Thursday that she was told by Samsel that two guards came to his cell late last month in the early morning hours and ordered him to put on zip-tie handcuffs before taking him to another nearby cell.
Pasqualani said Samsel told her that one of the officers then proceeded to "punch him, hit him, kick him" as he lay on the ground.
According to Pasqualani, Samsel was taken to a hospital and suffered a broken nose and a fractured orbital floor in his eye socket, and that he still cannot see out of his right eye, which "might be permanent," she said.
Samsel has since been relocated to a separate facility, Pasqualani said, after she requested his transfer following the alleged assault.
Samsel is not the first defendant to raise accusations of harsh treatment and poor conditions in the D.C. jail.
During a hearing this week, Capitol riot defendant Ronald Sandlin told a judge that guards have harassed his fellow defendants with threats of violence, and he cited Samsel's alleged beating as he pleaded for release from pretrial detention.
Other defendants have complained to the court that they've been kept in lockdown for 23 hours each day, with some alleging decrepit conditions inside their cells like freezing temperatures and insect infestations.
Last month, a former Trump appointee arrested for his alleged role during the riot complained to a judge that there were "cockroaches literally everywhere" in his detention facility.
"I'm wondering if there's a place I could stay in detention where I don't have cockroaches crawling on me while I'm trying to sleep," Federico Klein, who was an active government appointee when he allegedly participated in the riot, asked a federal judge.
A deputy warden at the jail confirmed to a federal judge last month that defendants being held on charges related to the Capitol riot were being held in a restrictive housing unit, citing "their own safety and security."
In a separate detention hearing for an accused Capitol rioter on Thursday, a senior judge in the D.C. district court, Emmet Sullivan, said he and several of his colleagues had set a Friday meeting with the director of the D.C. Department of Corrections to get answers on some of the "rumors" they had been hearing from defense attorneys in their cases.
Sullivan expressed concern that attorneys for accused rioter Jeffrey Sabol said they have not received an explanation as to why Sabol and others are being placed in lockdown for 23 hours a day.
"Like everything else, we want to separate fact from fiction," Sullivan said.
(ROCK HILL, S.C.) -- Five people are dead, including a doctor and two of his grandchildren, following a shooting at a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Wednesday afternoon, according to the York County Sheriff's Office.
The suspect, 32-year-old Phillip Adams, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at a nearby home, the York County Sheriff's Office said.
Adams, a Rock Hill native, was a former NFL player, according to ESPN. He was drafted by San Francisco in the seventh round out of South Carolina State in 2010 and played as a reserve defensive back for five teams in six years from 2010 to 2015.
The victims were identified as Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70; his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69; their grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie; and James Lewis, 39, who was working at the home at the time he was shot, authorities said.
A sixth person was also shot and survived, officials said.
Lewis and the surviving victim -- who was in critical condition Thursday morning -- were air conditioning techs who were found shot beside their work vans, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.
Lewis leaves behind a daughter and two sons, according to a GoFundMe.
Robert Lesslie was a well-known doctor in Rock Hill, ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC reported. He spent many years working in emergency rooms in the Charlotte area, according to his website biography.
The sheriff said, "Dr. Lesslie was a pillar in this community."
"He had treated me in the past," he said.
Robert Lesslie and his wife had four children and five grandchildren, his website biography said.
The Lesslie family said in a statement, "We are truly in the midst of the unimaginable. The losses we are suffering cannot be uttered at this time."
The family said, "If you would like to do something for the family, Adah and Noah would want you to stock the free pantries and libraries in your community. Barbara and Robert would want you to be good stewards of what you are given, leaving every place better than it was before you got there."
All the deaths are being investigated as homicides, according to the York County Coroner's Office.
The York County Coroner’s Office said Adams was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a nearby home on the same road as the Lesslies, following a standoff.
"We did recover evidence at the scene that linked Mr. Adams to that area definitively," Tolson said at a news conference Thursday.
A motive has not been determined, Tolson said.
"There is nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us," the sheriff said.
Rock Hill is about 26 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina.
South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman said Robert and Barbara Lesslie were his close friends.
"Through the decades, they made such an incredible impact on our area and the lives of countless people," Norman said in a statement.
"It is impossible to imagine the grief that the extended Lesslie family must be feeling," he said. "I also want to send my sincere condolences to the family of James Lewis."
Joel and Steven Long, co-owners of GSM Services, the company which employed Lewis and the man who was shot and survived, said in a statement, "Our team at GSM Services is heart broken."
"Both men involved in this incident are long-standing, beloved members of our family at GSM. These men embody the values we strive to achieve at GSM and are family focused, up-beat, and wonderful team members who cared about all the people they encountered," the Longs said. "In the coming days, our focus is on helping these families and our team members cope with this tragedy."
The NFL said in a statement, "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of these devastating tragedies."
(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Medical personnel from various backgrounds have testified in Derek Chauvin's trial, often painting a grave picture of George Floyd's final moments.
Paramedics found Floyd had no pulse upon arriving at the scene, and a respiratory expert said even a healthy person would have died under the restraints Chauvin used on Floyd.
The testimony of these medical experts is expected to carry great sway over the jury, as defense attorneys contend Floyd's death was caused by drugs he'd ingested, underlying health conditions and his own adrenaline, not the pressure of Chauvin's knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.
An autopsy found fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.
Here's the latest testimony from expert witnesses:
Dr. Martin Tobin
A pulmonologist and national expert on breathing, Dr. Martin Tobin, testified on April 8 that even "a healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died."
He said the cause of Floyd's death was low oxygen levels caused by shallow breaths due to Floyd's body position and the pressure of Chauvin's knee on his neck.
"Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen. And this caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a PEA arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop," Tobin said.
Tobin used detailed graphs and photos of the incident to support his contention that Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck and back made it impossible for him to breathe. He asked jurors to feel their own necks as he walked through the mechanics of breathing.
He calculated that Chauvin's left knee was on Floyd's neck for more than 90% of the incident.
Citing footage of the incident, Tobin testified that Chauvin placed about 91.5 pounds of pressure just on Floyd's neck, and that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for more than three minutes after there wasn't "an ounce of oxygen" left in Floyd's body.
Tobin dismissed a theory presented by the defense that Floyd's fentanyl use depressed his breathing and led to the high carbon dioxide levels detected in his blood at the hospital. That increase in carbon dioxide was because his body was deprived of oxygen for so long, Tobin testified.
Dr. Daniel Isenschmid
Dr. Daniel Isenschmid, a forensic toxicology expert who did lab work for Floyd's case, testified on April 8 that Floyd's hospital blood and autopsy urine contained low levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine.
He said Floyd's blood sample had 11 nanograms of fentanyl per milliliter and 5.6 nanograms of norfentanyl per milliliter. He said the level of methamphetamine was "low" and consistent with a prescription dose.
He said those levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine are significantly lower than the average amount seen in blood samples of DUI suspects, and much lower than post-mortem cases for individuals who die from drug overdoses.
Dr. William Smock
Dr. William Smock, an emergency medicine physician who specializes in legal forensic medicine, said Floyd died of positional asphyxia.
Smock said that after reviewing the case there was no evidence Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose, a methamphetamine overdose or any sort of combination of the two, nor from a heart attack. He also ruled out excited delirium.
"He's breathing. He's talking. He's not snoring. He is saying, 'Please, please get off of me. I want to breathe. I can't breathe.' That is not a fentanyl overdose. That is somebody begging to breathe," Smock said.
The defense tried to suggest during cross-examination that the combination of drugs in Floyd's system could have played a major role in his death.
A forensic scientist for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Breahna Giles, said some of the pills in Floyd's SUV contained methamphetamine and fentanyl.
She testified on April 7 about evidence collected at the crime scene, in Floyd's SUV and in the squad car officers tried to place Floyd.
Susan Neith, a forensic chemic at NMS labs in Pennsylvania, testified on April 7 that two pills found in Floyd's SUV and a partial pill found in the squad car contained a fentanyl concentration of less than 1%, which she said is common.
The pills contained a methamphetamine concentration of 1.9% to 2.9%, which she described as significantly lower than "street" meth. "The majority of the time I see 90 to 100% methamphetamine," she added.
Dr. Bradford Langenfeld
Bradford Langenfeld, who was a senior resident in the emergency room at Hennepin County Medical Center in May 2020, testified on April 5 that officers decreased Floyd's chances of survival by not administering CPR.
"It's well known that any amount of time that a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate CPR markedly decreases the chance of a good outcome -- approximately a 10 to 15% decrease in survival for every minute that CPR is not administered," he said.
Langenfeld was the doctor who declared Floyd dead and said Floyd likely died from asphyxia. This is contrary to the defense's angle that Floyd died of a heart attack or drug overdose.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson tried to tie Floyd's death to using fentanyl and methamphetamine -- drugs found in his system during an autopsy. Langenfeld agreed that the use of those drugs can cause shortness of breath and suppress breathing.
Floyd was in cardiac arrest for at least an hour -- a half-hour as paramedics worked on him and another half hour at the hospital, where Langenfeld and his team worked on him before his death.
Seth Z. Bravinder
Seth Z. Bravinder, who drove the ambulance that transported Floyd to the hospital, testified on April 1 that Floyd wasn't responsive or breathing when the ambulance arrived.
Video played at the trial shows Bravinder and his partner paramedic, Derek Smith, working on Floyd, placing him on a Lucas device, which does chest compressions, starting an airway, and administering an IV to deliver medicine for his heart.
They moved Floyd into the ambulance and drove a few blocks away to administer care because the initial scene was becoming so crowded.
A monitor showed that Floyd had flat-lined, meaning his heart had stopped. Bravinder said they were never able to restore a pulse.
"Did it appear to you that he was dead when you got there?" prosecutor Erin Eldridge asked.
"I wouldn't know when I first pulled up," Bravinder said, "but I didn't see him moving or breathing."
Paramedic Derek Smith appeared nervous to deliver testimony on April 1, and he repeatedly clarified that he felt Floyd was dead when the ambulance arrived.
Video showed at the trial depicts him checking Floyd's neck for a pulse as Chauvin remained on top of him.
"In a living person, there would be a pulse there," Smith said. "I didn't detect one, so I thought this patient to be dead."
Smith appeared frustrated that the officers hadn't provided medical care.
"When I arrived to the scene, there was no medical services being provided to the patient," he said.
He later added: "I don't know why Minneapolis [Police] didn't start compressions."
Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter, testified on March 30 that she tried to render aid to Floyd but was prevented from doing so.
She said she was off work and walking home when she came upon the scene.
She said Chauvin had his hands in his pockets and looked "so comfortable" while kneeling on Floyd's neck. She said she felt "totally distressed" when she could not get access to help Floyd.
Instead of being allowed to examine Floyd, she said now-former officer Tou Thao ordered her to get on the sidewalk, telling her, "If you're really a Minneapolis firefighter, you know better than to get involved."
"That's not right -- that's exactly what I should have done," Hansen said. "There was a man being killed, and I would have -- had I had access to a call similar to that -- I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities. And this human was denied that right."
A medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, Nicole Mackenzie, said on April 6 that officers at the scene should have rendered aid to Floyd.
She's involved in the medical training of MPD officers, including Chauvin, and said officers are trained to begin CPR immediately and call an ambulance if they do not detect a pulse on a subject.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked her about a phrase officers are heard saying to Floyd in video footage: "If you can talk, you can breathe."
"That would be incomplete to say," Mackenzie explained. "Just because they can talk doesn't mean they can breathe adequately."
(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A world-renowned pulmonologist, who authored the bible on treating breathing disorders, testified on Thursday that George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen to his brain resulting from former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin jamming his knee into the back of Floyd's neck as he laid pinned to the ground in handcuffs.
Dr. Martin Tobin, a physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and at the Hines Veteran Administration Hospital in Illinois, was called as an expert medical witness for the prosecution.
Tobin, who said he's not being paid for his testimony, used graphics and 3D images to lead jurors through a series of demonstrations that illustrated the horrific death Floyd suffered. Tobin even provided a second-by-second timeline showing the precise moments the 46-year-old Black man lost consciousness, stopped breathing and suffered a traumatic, irreversible brain injury.
"Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen. And this caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a [Pulseless Electrical Activity] arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop," Tobin explained.
He testified that he based his opinion on medical and investigative evidence that included hundreds of viewings of numerous videos, filmed from different angles, that showed Chauvin and two other officers taking a handcuffed Floyd to the pavement just after 8 p.m. on May 25 outside a Cup Foods store in south Minneapolis.
Tobin, author of a 1,500-page textbook titled "Principles and Practice of Mechanical Ventilation" -- described by the medical journal The Lancet as the bible on the topic -- said the manner of Floyd's death is often referred to as asphyxia.
Asked by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell if he had formed an opinion "to a reasonable degree of medical certainty" about what caused Floyd to suffer a fatal loss of oxygen, Tobin answered that it was shallow breathing to the point where air wasn't able to get through his lungs and the lower regions of his respiratory tract that filters out carbon dioxide.
That's the moment the life goes out of his body.
Tobin testified that Floyd's shallow breathing was the direct result of being handcuffed in a prone position "and then that he has a knee on his neck, and then that he has a knee on his back and down his side."
The physician said Chauvin's left knee was on the back of Floyd's neck for more than 90% of nine minutes and 29 seconds prosecutors said Floyd was restrained on the ground. Tobin said the former officer's right knee was on Floyd's back or rammed against the left side of his chest for at least 57% of the time.
He said during the entire episode, Chauvin and former officer J. Alexander Kueng applied additional force by pulling Floyd's handcuffed wrists up high behind his back.
Tobin said Floyd essentially was squeezed to death as if he were in a vice. Chauvin's knee jammed into Floyd's neck narrowed the hypopharynx in his throat, normally the size of a dime, severely restricting his ability to take in air.
During the ordeal, Floyd, who was arrested for the misdemeanor offense of allegedly using a phony $20 bill to buy cigarettes, repeatedly cried out, "I can't breathe" and complained of pain in his stomach, neck and back.
"I mean, when you have to breathe through a narrow passageway," Tobin said, "it's like breathing through a drinking straw."
The exact moment Floyd died
On Tuesday, the lead investigator in the case, Special Agent James Reyerson of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified that Chauvin weighed 140 pounds and had an additional 30 to 40 pounds of equipment on him during the encounter with Floyd
Reviewing a photo showing Chauvin's left knee on Floyd's neck, Tobin noted that at one point the officer's left boot was raised off the ground and that half his weight was pressing down on the man.
"So, we're taking half his body weight plus the weight of ... half the gear, and all of that is coming directly down on Mr. Floyd's neck," Tobin said.
Tobin ruled out the possibility that the fentanyl found in Floyd's system during the autopsy played a role in his death because he had a normal respiratory rate when the restraint began, and that fentanyl, or at least a significant dose of it, would have lowered his respiratory rate.
Tobin also said his analysis rejected the possibility that Floyd, who suffered from undiagnosed heart disease, died from a sudden heart attack. If that were the case, Floyd would have likely complained about chest pains, and his respiratory rate would have skyrocketed.
At times during his testimony, Tobin asked jurors to place their hands on their throats and the back of their necks as he spoke of certain parts of the anatomy. Defense attorney Eric Nelson objected, prompting Judge Peter Cahill to tell the jury they were not obligated to follow the doctor's directions but could if they wanted to.
In one dramatic moment, Tobin noted the exact times Floyd went unconscious, stopped breathing and died. At 8:22 p.m. and 22 seconds on May 25, Tobin said, "That's the moment the life goes out of his body."
He said that despite the officers checking and realizing Floyd no longer had a pulse, Chauvin kept his knee smashed into Floyd's neck for another two minutes and 44 seconds, until paramedics arrived and put Floyd's lifeless body on a gurney.
During cross-examination, Nelson asked Tobin whether he was aware that Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker, whom prosecutors plan to call to the witness stand on Friday, found no bruising on Floyd's neck nor any injuries to his hypopharynx.
"I'm aware," Tobin answered.
Nelson challenged Tobin on his opinion that fentanyl played no medical role in Floyd's death. The defense lawyer asked a hypothetical question of whether peak fentanyl respiratory depression occurs five minutes after ingestion.
"Correct," Tobin answered.
On redirect questioning, Blackwell asked Tobin why no bruising was found on Floyd's neck or injuries to his hypopharynx.
"I wouldn't expect anything to be found there," he said, "because the effects are not something that will remain at the time of autopsy."
Daniel Isenschmid, a forensic toxicologist for the NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, testified that he was asked by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office to test blood drawn from Floyd's body the night he died.
Isenschmid, testifying for the prosecution, said Floyd's blood contained 11 nanograms of fentanyl per milliliter and 19 nanograms of methamphetamine per milliliter. He said he also found 5.6 nanograms of norfentanyl, or metabolize fentanyl, in Floyd's blood samples as well as traces of caffeine and THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Isenschmid, the former chief toxicologist for the Wayne County, Michigan, Medical Examiner's Office, described the fentanyl and methamphetamine found in Floyd's blood as "low level" traces.
Dr. Bill Smock, the police surgeon for the Louisville Metro Police Department and an expert in emergency medical care and forensic medicine, also said Floyd didn't die from a drug overdose.
Smock, testifying as a paid prosecution expert, said medical records he reviewed showed that Floyd had been a chronic drug user for years and had built up a tolerance to fentanyl and methamphetamine.
He said the drugs found in Floyd's system during the post-mortem examination were not at levels close to those required for him to overdose.
"The more you use any drug -- in this case, fentanyl -- you build up that tolerance, so it takes more drug to give you that high, to affect your brain," Smock said.
He said that had Floyd been suffering from an overdose, he would have been nearly comatose, likely snoring and unable to speak to the officers.
"He gave appropriate responses: Name, date of birth," he said, describing what he saw in videos showing Floyd's arrest. "He knew exactly where he was and what he was doing, and responded appropriately to the questions that were asked of him."
Smock also said he found no evidence that Floyd possibly died of a sudden heart attack nor that his death was the result of excited delirium, a physical and psychiatric state that produces an imbalance in the brain and causes some people to exhibit "superhuman strength."
Smock went through a 10-point checklist used to determine whether someone is experiencing excited delirium, including feeling excessively hot, sweating excessively, breathing rapidly, feeling an unusual attraction to glass and mirrors, and failing to respond to a police presence. He said that someone experiencing excited delirium would exhibit at least six of the 10 symptoms.
"So, Dr. Smock," Blackwell, the prosecutor, asked, "if we have to have a minimum of six of these items -- six of 10 for excited delirium -- how many did you see?"
Virginia, 95, and Jack Byrne, 94, were able to celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary in person after spending more than a year apart.
According to their daughter, Rosemary Byrne, since her father lives in a memory care facility and her mother lives on her own, the two have not been able to see each other due to COVID-19 restrictions.
On March 19, the couple reunited at McKnight Place Assisted Living and Memory Care in St. Louis, Missouri.
Rosemary Byrne wrote “World News Tonight” to deliver the good news.
“As my Mom was waiting to see my Dad, she said, ‘Each minute feels like an hour. I’m as nervous as a schoolgirl,’” Rosemary Byrne wrote.
On Thursday, Virginia Byrne told “World News Tonight” about the long awaited hug she had with her husband.
“The lights went on again in my life, because I was able to be so close to my husband for the first time in more than a year,” Virginia Byrne said. “I looked into his eyes, and his eyes sparkled as they always did when we were close together.”
“It was a wonderful moment. I could hardly let go,” she added.
Virginia Byrne said the couple is back together again and that she hopes that others will also have heartwarming reunions soon.
“I’m hopeful that now many people will be able to share this kind of moment as vaccinations conquer this robber of togetherness,” she said.
(WASHINGTON) -- As Derek Chauvin's murder trial continues in Minneapolis, the intelligence branch of the Department of Homeland Security is warning that foreign adversaries and domestic extremists may use the case to further their own agendas.
In an intelligence briefing obtained by ABC News, DHS analysts warn that domestic extremists -- including anarchists and white supremacists -- "may attempt to exploit activities and events surrounding the legal proceeding" and "violence could occur with little or no warning."
The briefing goes through the various types of extremists who it says might exploit the events. The agency warns that domestic violent extremists could commit violence during the trial, but "are more likely following the outcome of the trials associated with the death of George Floyd."
Some domestic extremist groups the briefing warns about include those who are adherents to the anti-government "boogaloo" movement. After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the Justice Department announced the arrest of two militia members associated with the boogaloo movement, including one who allegedly sought to incite a riot in Louisville, Kentucky, during the Capitol riot.
DHS also concluded that violent anarchist extremists were likely to use the Chauvin trial, regardless of the outcome, to "incite others online" and "commit property damage against critical infrastructure, such as government facilities." The report also said that a "likely anarchist violent extremist" posted an image online threatening law enforcement in response to the trial.
Some white supremacist extremists have remarked online that the Chauvin trial may lead to a race war, the briefing states.
Black separatists groups may target law enforcement officers or government facilities should Chauvin be acquitted, or if there is a mistrial, or if sentencing against Chauvin is perceived too lenient, the DHS briefing also stated.
Additionally, DHS warned that foreign entities could see an opportunity in the ongoing trial.
"Foreign terrorist groups and nation-state adversaries may seek to sow discord by portraying the trials as indicative of a racist and divided American public," the document says. "Last year, both al-Qa'ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham published media depicting the civil unrest as emblematic of societal division in the United States, and al-Qa'ida compared the protests to its alleged efforts to 'end injustice and oppose tyranny.' Russian and Iranian media outlets have claimed that the trials surrounding the death of George Floyd illustrate America's police brutality and racism, according to press reporting."
George Floyd, 46, was arrested shortly after 8 p.m. on May 26, 2020 after allegedly using a fake $20 bill at a local Cup Foods. A disturbing cellphone video later posted to Facebook showed former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee on the back of Floyd's neck while the handcuffed man repeats "I can't breathe" and goes unconscious. Floyd later died at a hospital. The incident sparked nationwide outrage and Black Lives Matter protests.
Chauvin, and three officers involved in the incident: J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, both felonies, court records show.
Chauvin also received an additional second-degree murder charge, a felony, according to court records.
The trial is currently in the ninth day of proceedings.
ABC News' Samara Lynn, Rosa Sanchez, Alexander Mallin, Bill Hutchinson and Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.
(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Drought conditions in the West are so severe that officials are worried about the potential of a fire season even more dangerous than the last.
In Colorado, higher temperatures and lower precipitation after a winter with less-than-normal snowfall has made the land similar to a tinderbox should a flame spark a wildfire, officials from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control told reporters in a press conference Thursday.
“Historically, wildfire seasons were a four-month event in the middle of summer. Today, the average core wildfire season is 78 days longer than in the 1970’s, with Colorado experiencing large fires every month of the year.” - @COStateFire Director Mike Morgan #cofirepic.twitter.com/HMvBN05YDq
Top-ranking firefighters in the state said during the wildfire outlook presentation that the current weather conditions will not allow them to start mitigation efforts they would typically be doing at this time of year, such as controlled burns that stand between areas of concern and populated towns.
In Southern California, the latest drought monitor on Thursday showed worsening conditions, putting Los Angeles County under the "Severe Drought" category ahead of the dry season.
A cattle rancher in Petaluma, California, about 40 miles north of San Francisco, reported that the reservoir pond on his property, which typically collects rainwater runoff, is completely dry due to the lack of precipitation.
"That pond should be running over right now," Don DeBernardi told ABC San Francisco station KGO.
When asked whether the pond has ever been empty, DeBernardi, who has owned the property since 1976, replied "Never. Never. Never," adding that the current drought has been "probably the worst one."
When filled, the pond has enough water to run DeBernardi's ranch and give his hundreds of cows water for a year and a half, he said. But the bottom is so dry that the bottom has begun to crack.
At the beginning of March, 46.6% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor Report. Drought conditions have especially intensified and expanded across portions of the Northeast, Texas, the northern Plains and California, according to the report.
Both California and Colorado had historic fire seasons in 2020.
Colorado had four of its largest wildfires in state history last year, officials said. Some believe that if it were not for an unusual snowstorm that hit at the right time, the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake may have been destroyed by the deadly East Troublesome Fire, which spread through 87,093 acres in late October.
People sit on a dried lake bed at the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, Calif., April 6, 2021.
In California, more than 4 million acres burned in 2020 after dozens of wildfires, some major, burned simultaneously through the state through September.
Three of the top five fires in California state history occurred in 2020. Firefighters in the state have not seen anything like that season in more than 100 years, when the Great Fire of 1910 blazed through more than 3 million acres.
While conditions of the landscape in the West make wildfires a natural occurrence, fire seasons have intensified as a result of warming global temperatures, climate scientists have told ABC News.
The amount of forest area burned by wildfires between 1984 and 2015 was twice what would have burned had climate change not occurred, according to the 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment.
The Colorado state government is pouring resources into preparation for wildfires to buy more helicopters, airplanes and drones and hire more firefighters, Gov. Jared Polis said at the press conference Thursday, while California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that $536 million will be dedicated toward wildfire mitigation and forest management projects ahead of fire season.
ABC News' Jeffrey Cook, Max Golembo and Jennifer Watts contributed to this report.
(WASHINGTON) -- Immigration authorities arrested or detained more than 172,000 migrants at the southwest border last month, according to administration officials.
The total number of Border Patrol apprehensions was the largest in a month since the early 2000s. The vast majority were taken into custody between U.S. ports of entry, while about 4,000 were stopped by port officials.
A growing majority of family members were allowed to stay in the U.S. for longer during processing while about a third were quickly "expelled" under Trump administration-era public health regulations known as Title 42, according to officials. Sixty percent of those encountered -- or about 103,000 people -- were rapidly removed under Title 42.
As the rapid expulsions continue for older families, Customs and Border Protection has seen some cases of "self separation," according to the officials, where some families who are removed are sending their children on their own.
The number of unaccompanied children taken into custody roughly doubled from February to March, accounting for about 18,890 individuals, according to officials.
The numbers have continued to rise in early April. There was a significant spike in the number of unaccompanied minors taken into CBP custody on Tuesday, according to the latest Homeland Security stats. The number of kids in CBP custody stayed virtually the same from the day before while the number placed in HHS facilities grew by about 1,000.
There are now more than 20,200 unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody, according to the two agencies.
While the administration remains strained by the high numbers, it's also becoming more capable of handling them as the Department of Health and Human Services brings a growing number of large, temporary shelters online. The average number of children transferred out of CBP custody each day has nearly doubled from 276 at the end of February to 507 at the end of March.
There's broad consensus among immigration enforcement authorities that Border Patrol stations, which often resemble small-town jails, are not fit nor equipped to handle children.
HHS has also worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase shelter space in existing facilities by about 1,500 by modifying COVID-19 mitigation measures to free up space that was previously left empty for social distancing. The administration has also brought in refugee resettlement and citizenship and immigration services staff to initiate the case management process of interviewing children and locating sponsors more quickly.
One official underscored the initial lack of preparedness at HHS and again laid blame on the prior administration.
"We are continuing to dig out of a hole that was left by the previous administration," the official said.
Additionally, the officials supported several requests from Congress, including more authority to crack down on smugglers and criminal trafficking organizations, more technology at the border, infrastructure at ports of entry to hold asylum seekers and more asylum officers and immigration judges. They also implemented methods to speed up legal immigration.
"Nobody should have the expectation this is going to be solved overnight after four years of sort of potentially undermining the system," one official said.
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- One person has died and at least eight others are injured following an explosion and fire at a paint manufacturing plant overnight Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.
At 12:05 a.m., authorities got a call of an explosion at 1920 Leonard Ave. As firefighters pulled up to the second alarm fire at Yenkin-Majestic Paints, they were met by employees exiting the building.
Wendell Light, 44, was initially unaccounted for into the early morning. He was found deceased around 9:16 a.m. partially covered in rubble of the collapsed building, according to Columbus Police.
Light was a press room supervisor for Yenkin-Majestic Paint.
Five people were wounded and taken to local hospitals, Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin. They are in stable condition.
"Two other employees were trapped inside the building and had to be rescued. They are in critical condition at OSU Main," Martin said.
All of the victims are employees at the plant.
In a Thursday morning update, officials said the condition of the eight victims who were transported remains unchanged from "stable."
The fire was contained by 5 a.m., though black smoke continued to rise from the building as officials let some products "burn off."
Later into Thursday morning, fire investigators were able get into areas of the building that were not accessible earlier, leading to the discovery of Light.
(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has urged the federal government to shut down a temporary facility that is holding scores of migrant children in San Antonio, following reports of abuse and neglect.
Abbott announced during a press conference Wednesday that he has ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers to investigate the allegations inside the federally-run unaccompanied minor facility set up at the Freeman Coliseum, a concert and sports venue in San Antonio. The Republican governor said state officials have received complaints that include reports of sexual assault, insufficient staffing, children not eating throughout the day and children who have tested positive for COVID-19 not being physically separated from those who have tested negative.
Further details on the allegations were not provided.
Abbott described the facility as a "health and safety nightmare," blaming President Joe Biden's border policies and lack of planning for increased migration flows. Since taking office on Jan. 20, Biden has reversed many of the controversial immigration policies that his predecessor, Donald Trump, put in place, including the practice of immediately expelling unaccompanied children and teenagers. However, migration is driven by many factors, and the exact impact of Biden's policies is unclear.
"The Biden administration opened the borders and failed to plan for the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border, and now we are faced with our worst fears -- allegations of child abuse and neglect," Abbott said in a statement. “I am calling on the Biden administration to close this facility, and I am directing the DPS and the Texas Rangers to immediately begin investigating these allegations. President Biden’s disastrous decisions caused this crisis, and his administration must act now to protect these children, secure the border and end this crisis.”
Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, who has been inside the facility as both an elected Democratic official and a volunteer, said the children are offered three meals plus two snacks a day and that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is placed in a separate area from other children. Clay-Flores toured the facility with Abbott after the press conference, later telling reporters that she wished the governor had done so before "he politicized children."
“What I saw when I went in there on several occasions, it was well-staffed, the children are very happy and very excited to be here,” Clay-Flores told reporters after Abbott left. “This is not a political issue. This is about children who deserve protection from adults.”
It's the first time that state officials announced they are investigating such allegations at one of the emergency intake sites that the federal government has rapidly opened in Texas, as the United States grapples with a surge in Central American migrants arriving at its southern border. The number of children and families attempting to cross the border increased by more than 100% between January and February. Meanwhile, the amount of children trying to cross the border alone jumped by 61% to over 9,400, the highest monthly total since the spring of 2019, according to statistics released last month by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Initially, 500 boys aged 13 to 17 who had arrived at the border alone were bused from El Paso to the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio on March 29. As of Monday, the makeshift site was holding 1,370 unaccompanied minors. The facility has the capacity to house up to 2,500 children, who are eventually transferred to longer-term shelters, according to San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT.