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New York Man Indicted, Accused of Attempting to Support ISIS


BrianAJackson/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) -- A Rochester man was indicted on Tuesday on charges that he attempted to provide "material support" to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and tried to kill current and former members of the U.S. military, among other accusations.

The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement on Tuesday charging Mufid Elfgeeh, 30, with three counts of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, one count of attempter murder, one count of possessing firearms equipped with silencers in furtherance of a crime of violence, and two counts of receipt and possession of unregistered firearm silencers. "We will remain aggressive in identifying and disrupting those who seek to provide support to [ISIS] and other terrorist groups that are bent on inflicting harm upon Americans," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Court records indicate that Elfgeeh is accused of attempting to assist three people in traveling to Syria with the intent to join and fight on behalf of ISIS. He also is accused of planning to shoot and kill military members who had returned from Iraq. As part of that plot, Elfgeeh allegedly purchased weapons from a confidential information.

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Space Race: NASA Awards Contracts to Boeing, SpaceX


NASA(HOUSTON) -- NASA awarded contracts Tuesday to Boeing and Elon Musk's SpaceX to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, signalling the agency's return to manned space launches after the end of the space shuttle program.

"This is the fulfillment of the commitment President Obama made to return human space flight launches to U.S. soil and end our reliance on the Russians," NASA administrator Charles Bolden said.

The winning designs will end U.S. dependence on the Russian Soyuz for transportation back and forth to the International Space Station.

The announcement came after an expensive and ferocious competition to determine which companies would be tasked with building the next era of spacecraft.

NASA's space shuttle program rolled to a stop on July 21, 2011, when Commander Chris Ferguson noted the poignant end of the shuttle program. "Mission complete, Houston, after serving the world for over 30 years, the shuttle has earned its place in history, and it has come to a final stop," he said.

The contracts are worth a potential $6.8 billion in the long run, according to Bolden, to launch U.S. astronauts into space by the end of 2017, the year NASA's current contract with Russia expires.

The Commercial Crew Program was designed by NASA to replace the retired space shuttle, which was the workhorse of the space program for over 30 years.

Boeing has invested in the CST 100 capsule, which would launch on an Atlas V rocket -- almost a turnkey proposition for NASA when you consider the company’s history in aerospace.

SpaceX has the advantage of already launching cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station and hopes to parlay that experience into a human version of its Dragon spacecraft.

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Suspect in Pennsylvania Cop Shooting Is a Survivalist


Photo Credit: PennDOT(CANADENSIS, Pa.) --  The suspect in the shooting of two Pennsylvania state troopers is a sharpshooting survivalist who specifically targeted cops and was out for mass murder, authorities said.

Suspect Eric Matthew Frein, 31, from Canadensis, Pennsylvania, practices survivalism -- the ability to survive without the help of government or society, and often storing food and guns, Pennsylvania police said Tuesday.

"He has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also to commit mass acts of murder," State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said at a news conference when he revealed Frein's name. "What his reasons are, we don't know. But he has very strong feelings about law enforcement and seems to be very angry with a lot of things that go on in our society."

A massive manhunt is on in the rural forest area of eastern Pennsylvania to find Frein, who was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder, homicide of a law enforcement officer and other offenses. Police describe him as approximately 165 pounds, about 6-feet-1, and with blue eyes.

Noonan said he is still armed and is "extremely dangerous."

"We don't know where he is," Noonan said.

Cpl. Bryon Dickson, 38, was killed and Trooper Alex Douglass, 31, was wounded when a gunman opened fire during a shift change before slipping away, police said.

Lt. Col. George Bivens addressed the shooter directly at a separate news conference on Monday.

"You're a coward," Bivens said. "You committed this spineless act and you did it from a place of hiding and then ran."

A resident who was walking his dog two miles from the barracks spotted a vehicle submerged in a pond and alerted authorities, who matched shell casings found in the car to ones also found at the shooting scene, Noonan said.

The vehicle is a Jeep registered to Frein's father but owned by his parents, they told police.

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Grand Jury to Decide on Tony Stewart Case


Geoff Burke/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NASCAR star Tony Stewart may face criminal charges in a fatal accident that killed a Sprint car driver.

After a review of evidence, prosecutors in Ontario County, New York said it would be best for a grand jury to decide whether Stewart should be charged in last month's accident that killed Kevin Ward on a dirt track in Canandaigua. Ward had climbed out of his car and onto the track to confront Stewart.

Stewart said he respects the decision to send his case to a grand jury and, in a statement Tuesday, pledged his "full cooperation."

It's not immediately clear when the grand jury would convene or whether Stewart will testify.

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Family of Missing University of Virginia Student Pleads for Help


Charlottesville Police(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- The family of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham pleaded for help Tuesday in finding their daughter, whose disappearance this weekend has left them "heartbroken."

The 18-year-old sophomore was last heard from after 1 a.m. Saturday when she texted friends saying she was on her way to a party but never showed up.

"Those of us who know and love Hannah know that she would not disappear without contacting family or friends," the student's family said in a statement released by the university.

"We urge anyone with any information, however insignificant it may seem, to call a newly dedicated tip line at 434-295-3851 at the Charlottesville Police Department," the family said.

They described Graham as being "highly responsible and organized" and said "all summer she was looking forward to the start of the new school year."

"She embraces life with energy and enthusiasm and has enriched the lives of many. Her empathy is evident in her daily interactions with us and her friends," the statement from John, Susan and James Graham stated.

"The kindness and support of so many -- her friends at U.Va., particularly her friends on the Ski Team, her friends from high school, our neighbors, and the larger community -- mean so much to us at this difficult time," the statement concluded.

Charlottesville Police Lt. Ronnie Roberts told ABC News that they received 60 tips from the public Tuesday morning, hours after they released surveillance footage of Hannah Graham. Roberts said the new information "may shift the particular area we were searching yesterday to a different area."

Police had been combing a wooded area with the help of a bloodhound, Police Capt. Gary Pleasants said. Police declined to describe the new area under consideration.

Graham’s apartment is off campus and, according to police, she and other students were drinking heavily that night and were “fairly well intoxicated."

Graham was seen at a pizza restaurant before she and a classmate headed to another party, authorities said. They left at 12:15 a.m., with Graham appearing to be walking home alone, according to police.

Police released surveillance images Monday showing Graham in her apartment hallway at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, hours before she disappeared.

Pleasants said authorities are using all available means to figure out what happened to Graham.

“We are checking her cellphone records, computer, bank accounts, everything we can possibly do,” he said.

University President Theresa A. Sullivan said that the campus community is "united in our deep concern" for the sophomore and is calling on the campus’ 21,000 students for help. “We are hopeful someone will come forward soon with information,” she said in a statement.

Graham’s parents, who are British but live in northern Virginia, have gone to campus to help authorities in the search.

Katie Schrieber, a friend of Graham’s, said the teen was especially kind to strangers.

“Hannah was really good at making friends,” Schreiber said. “She’s always one of the first people to talk to you. And she’s so friendly, so outgoing.”

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Texas Police Officer Blocks Speeding Car with Kids Inside


iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- A Texas police officer who drove his police cruiser directly into the path of a car speeding close to 100 mph the wrong way down a highway is being hailed as a hero for saving lives.

Dash cam video shows the moment Shenandoah, Texas, Police Sgt. Gary Sharpen swerved his police cruiser directly into the path of the speeding vehicle Friday night.

The driver of the vehicle, who was allegedly intoxicated, slammed on his brakes just feet before Sharpen’s stopped car, the video showed.

“Knowing this guy was as reckless and as dangerous as he was, he needed to be stopped one way or another,” Sharpen told ABC News affiliate KTRK.

“If I'm put in that position again, I think I'll do the same,” he said.

The driver, later identified by police as Jose Luis Alejo-Zavalija, 25, continued on his high-speed chase with police after being stopped by Sharpen, officials said.

Alejo-Zavalija made a U-turn and drove through gas stations and parking lots until he finally stopped several minutes later, according to authorities.

When police arrested the suspect, they discovered he was driving with a 4-year-old and an 18-month-old child in the car, they said.

Authorities charged Alejo-Zavalija with a total of five felonies, including DUI, evading arrest and child endangerment.

He was being held on $125,000 bond, a Shenandoah Police Department spokesman told ABC News Tuesday.

Alejo-Zavalija has not yet retained an attorney, according to the Montgomery County District Clerk.

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Thousands Sign Online Petition to Stop 'Black Mass'


iStock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Over 88,000 people have signed an online petition to stop a satanic black mass scheduled for later this week in Oklahoma City.

A petition started by the conservative activist website CitizenGo.org calls on the Oklahoma City Civic Center to cancel the Sunday event. The petition calls the event "offensive and blasphemous,” and "designed as a mockery of the Catholic Mass.”

"We'll continue over the next week," CitizenGo's U.S. campaigns director Gregory Mertz told ABC News.

Each signature automatically sends an e-mail to both the general manager of the Civic Center and the city's mayor, he said.

"Hopefully, they will do the right thing and cancel the black mass," he added.

Mertz says the website has protections in place to keep people from signing the petition, which launched Sept. 1, more than once.

Whatever the number of signatures, city officials have already gone on record defending the organization's right to hold the event. The Parks and Recreation Department, which rented the space to the group for $420, cited First Amendment protections in allowing the group to meet in a public facility.

Organizers of the black mass event say that as their detractors charge, they do intend to mock the rituals of the Catholic church in their services; it is these acts of mockery that make up their services and serve as an integral part of their religious practice.

Co-founder of Dakhma of Angra Mainyu Adam Daniels told ABC News that the religious and educational organization decided to hold the black mass in public but it will be a “tamer” version than some traditional satanic ceremonies by, for example, substituting vinegar for acts involving urine to comply with state health laws.

"One of the dictates of the church is not only to educate the members but to educate the public,” Daniels told ABC News earlier this month, “and to debunk the Hollywood-projected image of our beliefs.”

Daniels said on Tuesday that he’s also aware of several other petitions online to stop the black mass, and that he has signed them all out of spite. He said he believes, which city officials have confirmed, that there’s no stopping the event.

“I really don’t care if 80,000 people don’t like me,” he said. “It’s a free country and they cannot like it all they want.”

The Oklahoma City Archdiocese filed a lawsuit against Daniels' group after media reports that he was in possession of a consecrated host, a wafer that some Catholics believe is literally the body of Christ.

The petition argues that “while the Constitution protects freedom of expression, it does not protect stealing property from others and desecrating it.” The host in question has since been handed over to the archdiocese and the legal action has been stopped.

Daniels said all 88 tickets to the event at the city’s Civic Center have been sold.

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Cellphone Records Could Hold Clues in UVA Student's Disappearance


iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Police in Charlottesville, Virginia, are pouring over cellphone records, trying to find a University of Virginia student who vanished during a night of partying with friends.

Hannah Elizabeth Graham, 18, was last heard from after 1 a.m. Saturday.

Graham’s apartment is off campus and, according to police, she and other students were drinking heavily that night; “fairly well intoxicated,” police said. Graham was seen at a pizza shop before she and a classmate headed to another party, which they left at 12:15 a.m., with Graham appearing to be walking home alone.

But Graham may have changed her mind, texting friends at another party that she was on her way, authorities said.

She never made it.

Police released surveillance images Monday showing Graham in her apartment hallway at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, hours before she went missing.

Charlottesville Police Capt. Gary Pleasants said authorities are using all available means to figure out what happened, including a bloodhound, which was used to search a heavily wooded area.

“We are checking her cellphone records, computer, bank accounts, everything we can possibly do,” he said.

University president Theresa A. Sullivan is calling on the campus’ 21,000 students for help. “We are hopeful someone will come forward soon with information,” she said.

Graham’s parents have arrived on campus from England to help authorities in the search.

Katie Schrieber, a friend of Graham’s, said the England native was especially kind to strangers.

“Hannah was really good at making friends,” Schreiber said. “She’s always one of the first people to talk to you. And she’s so friendly, so outgoing.”


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NFL Commissioner Enlists Four Women to Help League’s Domestic Violence Policy


Allison Joyce/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of the Ray Rice scandal, the NFL has decided it needs a woman’s perspective in shaping the league’s policies on domestic violence and sexual assault.

Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the league’s teams Monday that he has given NFL vice president of community affairs and philanthropy Anna Isaacson a new role as NFL vice president of social responsibility. Issacson will be responsible for developing education, training and support programs.

Goodell also announced the league was retaining the services of three women as senior advisors to help develop policies on domestic violence and sexual assault.

The three include Lisa Friel, the former head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney's Office; Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; and Jane Randel, the co-founder of NO MORE, an organization that strives to raise the profile of and normalize the conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault.

Teresa C. Younger, the president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, an advocacy group for women’s rights, reacted to Goodell’s announcement by issuing a statement saying, "Hiring three women as senior advisors is a start -- but this should not be where it ends.”

Younger’s statement continues, “We hope the NFL will be inclusive of the voices called to the table to address systemic cultural issues that perpetuate violence against women. The NFL needs to support victims, expand education for football players and fans at all levels, and dismantle sexism within football.”

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New California Wildfire Has Destroyed at Least 75 Buildings


Toa55/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WEED, California) -- A wildfire in the California town of Weed has destroyed at least 75 buildings and spread to cover 350 acres as of Monday night.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the fire is just 15 percent contained. Evacuations have been ordered for the communities of Weed, Carrick and Lake Shashinta, including at least 15,000 people.

[PHOTOS: California Wildfire Threatens Homes]

On Monday, the fire was fanned by high winds. Along with at least 11 other wildfires burning around the state, Cal Fire spokesperson Daniel Berlant told ABC News that more than 6,000 firefighters were on the frontlines of those fires.

The high temperatures, high winds, and drought conditions are believed to have helped fan the flames.


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FBI Announces Facial Recognition Program Is 'Operational'


FBI Building qingwa/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The FBI announced on Monday that it has declared its Next Generation Identification System, for facial recognition, fully operational.

The NGI System was designed in the hopes of expanding the FBI's "biometric identification capabilities." Among the functional capabilities of the system are Rap Back, which enables authorized entities to receive status notifications on the criminal history of those in "positions of trust," such as teachers. The NGI System also includes the Interstate Photo System involving facial recognition and "will provide the nation's law enforcement community with an investigative tool that provides an image-searching capability of photographs associated with criminal identities."

Phase one of the NGI System was introduced in 2011.

An FBI statement called the latest advances "a significant step forward for the criminal justice community in utilizing biometrics as an investigative enabler."

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'Slender Man' Judge Says 'Reason to Doubt' Girl's Competency for Trial


iStock/Thinkstock(WAUKESHA, Wis.) -- A Wisconsin judge said Monday "there is reason to doubt" the competency of a 12-year-old girl to go on trial for allegedly stabbing a classmate 19 times to please the fictional character "Slender Man."

The judge ordered Anissa Weier to undergo a 30-day psychological evaluation to determine her competency. The prosecution did not object.

Weier, 12, and her friend, Morgan Geyser, are both charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the May 31 attack. Judge Michael Bohren has already determined that Geyser is not competent at this time to stand trial following a series of psychological exams.

Earlier this month, Weier's attorney, Assistant State Public Defender Joseph Smith Jr., sent a letter to the judge saying his client met with a forensic psychologist, and that “in his professional opinion, she is not presently competent to proceed.”

Before issuing his ruling Monday, Bohren said, "There is reason to doubt Ms. Weier's competency to proceed."

The survivor’s spokesman, Stephen Lyons of the Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. law firm, told ABC News that the girl’s family stands behind prosecutors’ efforts.

“They have the full confidence in the DA and his team and the judicial system that ultimately justice will be served,” Lyons said.

The 12-year-old survivor has remained anonymous since the attack on May 31, when she managed to attract the attention of a passing bicyclist. An online fundraising page -- “Hearts for Healing” -- has raised more than $60,000 for her recovery efforts. Additionally, thousands of people have sent the girl homemade hearts, messages of hope made of construction paper, fabric and wool.

She’s back at school now and making major strides, Lyons said.

“On May 31, this little girl was lured into the woods and stabbed 19 times. At that point, she was a victim ... and today she is a survivor,” Lyons said. “And that’s how we refer to her and to the family: They’re survivors. They rose above this horrific crime and they survived. And she is thriving."

“What an ultimate testimony of the human heart to know she can both physically heal and then emotionally begin this journey of healing,” he added.

ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams said the main goal for the suspects’ attorneys is to get the case transferred to juvenile court, which requires a waiver for children above the age of 10 who face murder or attempted murder charges.

It’s unlikely that both of the suspects will avoid trial or a criminal punishment, Abrams said.

“Incompetent does not mean insane. Incompetence is generally supposed to be a temporary state,” Abrams said. “The treatment is supposed to bring the defendant to a state of competence so they can be tried.”

Attorney Wendy Murphy, who is unrelated to this case, said the judge has a duty to get a complete understanding of the suspects’ mental state.

“The defense benefits greatly from putting the brakes on. And in a case like this, fighting about competency is one of the ways to put the brakes on,” Murphy said.

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Adrian Peterson Sorry for the 'Hurt' He Brought to His Son


Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Adrian Peterson said Monday that he wants the public to "understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child."

Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings running back who was benched after being charged with child abuse for allegedly disciplining his son with a switch, made his first public statement on the issue Monday.

"I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser," he said in a statement released through his agent and posted on social media Monday.

"I never imagined being in a position where the world is judging my parenting skills or calling me a child abuser because of the discipline I administered to my son," Peterson said.

[ CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STATEMENT ]

The incident occurred at his home in Texas this May but was not known publicly until Friday when he was indicted. He allegedly hit his 4-year-old son with a thin branch and the incident was reported by a doctor who was concerned about how much the boy was bleeding.

"I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen," Peterson said in the statement. "I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate."

Peterson has never spoken publicly about the ways in which he was disciplined as a child, but alluded to having received similar punishments as a child. He said in his statement, "I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man."

The Vikings benched the star running back for last week’s game but announced Monday that he will be reinstated this week. His next hearing is on Wednesday and he has not yet entered a plea.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said the team has met with Peterson and his lawyers several times before allowing him to return to the team this week.

"This is a difficult path to navigate... on how a parent disciplines their child," Spielman said. He added, "We believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out.”

Spielman declined to say whether Peterson's actions were child abuse.

"We must defer ot the legal system to determine if he went too far, but we cannot make that judgment," he said.

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Convicted Killer Jodi Arias Selling Glasses She Wore During Trial


ABC News(PHOENIX) -- Jodi Arias, the Arizona woman who was convicted of stabbing, shooting and slitting the throat of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, is auctioning the glasses she wore during her 2013 trial.

"Get ready to own a one-of-a-kind piece of history," Arias' website says.

The starting bid for the spectacles begins at $500. The auction will close on Sept. 24. The website says 100 percent of the profits will go to a Phoenix-based non-profit, however it does not name the charity.

It's not the first time Arias has apparently tried to sell an item online from prison.

In January 2013, shortly after her murder trial began, Arias' jailhouse art was listed for sale online. At that time, descriptions listed with the art noted that the profits would go to costs associated with the trial, including paying for Arias’ family to travel from their homes in California to Arizona for the five-month trial.

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Fake House Cleaners Hit Homes in Upscale California Neighborhood


iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Two women are believed to have helped steal tens of thousands of dollars from homes by posing as cleaning people in California, police said

Surveillance video shows two women knocking on doors in the upscale California neighborhood, purportedly offering their services as maids.

Police allege that the would-be housekeepers are really part of a burglary ring now hitting some of the wealthiest communities in Los Angeles.

Officials said that if no one answered when the women knocked at the door, the women would then call their male accomplices, who would break in.

Surveillance video from inside a Bel Air home shows men ransacking the living room in broad daylight. The men took cash, electronics and passports, police said. The homeowners told police that the thieves also ripped a safe from the wall, making off with up to $40,000 worth of property.

Officer Sally Madera said five suspects were involved.

“If we can identify who these people are they could be directly linked to other crimes,” Madera told KABC.

Posing as service providers is not an uncommon tactic. A man was arrested in Orange County, California, in August after he posed as a delivery man to get into home and allegedly rob residents at gunpoint before leaving them bound in zip ties.

And in 2012, a Miami woman’s Valentine’s Day was ruined when a fake flower delivery man pulled a gun and robbed her.

To keep themselves safe, experts say, people should always ask for credentials from delivery people or other service workers who come to their home.

“Have adequate lighting outside, or windows, obviously, if you live in a house, to physically see who is out there to begin with,” Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and ABC News analyst, said. “I even recommend that people have some sort of speaker system.”

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