National
Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) -- A man driving his pregnant wife to a hospital for delivery of their baby was detained and taken into custody by immigration agents, according to the couple's lawyer and a news report.

The 36-year-old husband, whose lawyer said had no criminal record, was taken into custody when the couple stopped at a gas station Wednesday in San Bernardino, California, his wife, Maria del Carmen Venegas, told Univision in Spanish. They had been on the way to the hospital for a scheduled C-section.

“[I asked] why are you taking my husband, and they said, somebody had reported us. And I said, 'No, how is that possible?' I said we are hard workers,” Carmen Venegas told Univision in an interview after the birth of her child.

“It is very hard because he was always there," the mother told Univision. "And he would say everything will be OK and not to worry, that we will meet the baby. And for me to be alone it feels brutal."

In addition to the newborn, the couple have four children between the ages of 2 and 13 years old.

An attorney representing Carmen Venegas told ABC News that Arrona-Lara was detained for not having identification on him. The lawyer, Emilio Amaya, said the father has no criminal record and no arrest warrant.

According to Amaya, witnesses at the gas station said ICE agents were there when Arrona-Lara's car pulled up and that the agents seemingly approached the family randomly.

ICE said in a statement that Arrona-Lara is an undocumented immigrant in custody pending removal proceedings.

“Mr. Arrona-Lara, a citizen of Mexico illegally residing in the United States, was taken into custody Wednesday by ICE Fugitive Operations Team officers in San Bernardino, Calif.," the agency said. "Mr. Arrona-Lara is currently in ICE custody pending removal proceedings with the Executive Office for Immigration Review."

The statement went on to say that ICE focuses on people who pose a threat to security or public safety, but "will no longer exempt" others from potential enforcement.

"ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security," the statement said. "ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. However, ICE will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(MERIDIAN, Miss.) -- A 12-year-old girl allegedly took her mother’s car and led police on a chase around a trailer park before crashing into a sheriff's deputy responding to the incident, authorities said.

Video of the event on Wednesday night near Meridian, Mississippi, shows the moments before and after a deputy was allegedly hit by the vehicle. A few seconds later, gunshots are heard when another officer allegedly fired on the car.

The deputy suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, a spokesperson for the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s office said.

The 12-year-old suspect has been detained and is at a juvenile detention center, the sheriff's office said.

Sheriff Billy Sollie told ABC News that the deputy was laying out spike strips that are used to stop vehicles when he got hit by the car. Sollie also defended the other responding officer's firing shots at the car, which he said were aimed at the vehicle, not the girl.

“That 3,500-pound vehicle is being operated by a 12-year-old," Sollie said. "It would be the same difference if a 12-year-old had a gun pointed at you. Would you say, 'She’s 12, she’s not going to pull the trigger'?”

Witnesses said the girl was driving in circles around the area at a high speed.

“She was going like 70, 80 miles [per hour],” Charles Brown told ABC News affiliate WTOK in Meridian.

“The officer, I guess he was trying to get the spikes out [on] the road or something, and she ran him over,” Brown said.

Sollie told WTOK that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation.

The bureau has not yet responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE) -- An all-out manhunt is underway for two "cold-blooded killers" in a rash of deadly shootings this month in Nashville -- and police are investigating whether all of the crimes are linked to the same gunmen.

The latest shooting happened early Friday in the parking lot of a club on Gallatin Avenue. Four people, including Bartley Teal and Jaime Sarrantonio, had just left Cobra Nashville about 3 a.m. when two armed men approached them and announced a robbery, police said.

Teal told the suspects he didn't have anything to give, authorities said. That's when at least one of the gunmen shot Teal -- who was celebrating his 33rd birthday, police said.

The suspects then fatally shot Sarrantonio, according to the Nashville Police Department.

"These are just two senseless cold-blooded homicides," Don Aaron, public affairs manager for the department, said at a news conference Friday.

The other two people with Teal and Sarrantonio -- a 34-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman -- were not injured, police said.

The suspects fled in a small Chevrolet vehicle with some of the victims' belongings, Aaron said. They dumped the items in an alley on 23rd Avenue North, a location the killers may be familiar with, he added.

The belongings have been recovered and are being processed for clues, police said.

The killing of Teal and Sarrantonio has led police to investigate whether the suspects are responsible for other shootings in the city earlier this month.

One of them occurred early Tuesday on Alta Loma Road. Kendall Rice, 31, was waiting for a bus there to go to work at Vanderbilt Medical Center when, at about 5 a.m., two suspects tried to rob him, police said.

The gunmen, who used a vehicle similar to the one used in the Friday killings, shot him to death too, police said.

The police department "has not ruled out" that the people who killed Teal and Sarrantonio are the same people who killed Rice, Aaron said.

The suspects may be responsible for yet another shooting, police said. A woman was shot in the back while walking her dog on Aug. 8, according to ABC affiliate WKRN-TV in Nashville.

The getaway vehicle in that shooting was also a dark-colored Chevrolet sedan, police said.

The unidentified victim was seriously injured but survived the shooting, the station reported.

"At this time, we aren't ruling anything out," Aaron said. "Anything is a possibility and everything is on the table."

Aaron urged witnesses -- as well as anyone who may have spoken to the suspects -- to come forward.

"Frequently these suspects involved in crimes like these talk -- talk amongst themselves," Aaron added. "They talk amongst their friends. They talk amongst their associates."

He said the department, working in conjunction with other jurisdictions, had officers throughout Nashville looking for "two cold-blooded killers who obviously have no respect" for "the sanctity of human life."

"We know that Nashville wants to join the police department in getting these people into custody," he said. "We know that Nashville neighborhoods throughout the city want to help us in getting these two killers off the street."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Severe storms brought rain, lightning and damaging winds to the Northeast on Friday evening, with wind gusts up to 65 mph in parts of central and western New Jersey, and reports of over 5 inches of rain falling in Chatham, New York, overnight.

Lightning lit up the sky in New York City late Friday night, and is believed to have started a fire in Saratoga Springs City Hall.

Strong thunderstorms have been moving through parts of the Northeast Saturday morning. The intensity of this activity is expected to wind down Saturday morning before more storms fire up again on Saturday afternoon and evening.

A new flash flood watch has been posted for much of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and extreme northeast Maryland due to heavy rain. This new watch is for storms expected Saturday afternoon and evening that could dump heavy rainfall on already-saturated ground.

Storms will fire up during the afternoon before reaching the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston during the early evening hours on Saturday. The storms are expected to produce gusty winds, lightning and heavy rain. Flash flooding is a concern, particularly in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where there has been a good deal of rain the last several weeks.

Some locations from Pennsylvania to New York have seen nearly triple the amount of rain they usually see in August to date.

The heaviest rain will pass on Saturday evening. On Sunday, there will be some lingering showers holding on to parts of east. Locally, 1 to 2 inches of rain is expected in the heavier downpours across the eastern U.S. from strong thunderstorms through Sunday night.

New storm system developing

A new storm system will develop in the central U.S. on Saturday night and last into the beginning of next week. Strong storms will move across the Plains during the early morning hours on Sunday. The storm activity will become more widespread Sunday night across nearly the entire central U.S.

The main concern with these storms will be localized flash flooding that occurs from slow-moving thunderstorms. The strong storms are expected to bring gusty winds as well.

The storms could dump 2 to 4 inches of rain by Monday morning across parts of the Gulf Coast, from Louisiana to Alabama, as well as parts of the plains from Kansas to Minnesota.

Another round of summer heat

Another round of summer heat is moving into the West this weekend. Triple-digit temperatures are expected Saturday through much of Central and Northern California. Temperatures in the 90s are expected across parts of the interior Pacific Northwest.

Gusty winds in parts of the northern Rockies could cause dangerous fire conditions. The Stubblefield Fire in Eastern Oregon grew from 600 to 5,000 acres on Friday due to gusty winds in the region.

After a hot weekend, some slightly cooler air moves into the West early next week.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Federal officials this week warned police around the country that drones are posing an ever-growing threat to safety and security.

Citing the Aug. 4 attack during an appearance of Venezuela’s president, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center issued an intelligence bulletin with the starkest of warnings: “An attack could be conducted by one person or several people using a commercially available, off-the-shelf (drone) to target venues which attract large crowds, such as sporting facilities, concerts, and transportation terminals, or public figures.”

The bulletin, dated Aug. 13 and obtained by ABC News, went on to say “details on building or modifying (drones) by terrorists as a means to deliver a weapon, are available on the internet and online forums, making it feasible for a person with sufficient technical experience or motivation to conduct an attack.”

Unmanned, high-tech flying machines have been proliferating throughout the United States in recent years. The feds noted that in 2017 there were 3,000 reports of drones flying over or near critical sites in the U.S. That number is expected to grow as technology improves while costs continue to come down.

The bulletin says that ISIS has already started using drones in Iraq and Syria – both for surveillance and to commit attacks.

“Commercially available (drones) may be used by threat actors to deliver hazardous payloads, including explosives, chemicals, or biological or radiological agents, to conduct an attack, and recent (drone) employment tactics could expand options for potential attackers to conduct precise,” according to the bulletin.

The threat from drones was driven home on international TV early this month when low-flying devices exploded over a military ceremony in Caracas, Venezuela, just as President Nicolas Maduro was speaking.

Following the attack, U.S. officials went public with their own concerns about drones.

“The danger from weaponized drones is real,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted the day after the Maduro attack. “It is time for Congress to give (DHS) the authority to counter this rapidly evolving threat.”

Security expert Steve Gomez, the retired chief of counterterrorism at the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said American officials have been slow to recognize this new threat.

“Even though we haven’t seen terrorists in the U.S. utilizing this method for attack, this has been seen outside the country,” said Gomez, an ABC News contributor. “Law enforcement has to be proactive. This is just one more example of terrorists identifying a new technology and this technology is going to be getting better.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(BALTIMORE, Md.) -- Authorities in Baltimore have arrested a suspect in connection with the death of a 7-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet while sitting in the backseat of a car.

On the afternoon of July 5, second-grader Taylor Hayes was taken to the a local hospital after she was shot in the back in southwest Baltimore while riding in the back of a Honda Accord, according to the Baltimore Police Department.

Trauma doctors did "everything they could" but could not save her, Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said in a press conference Friday. Taylor died at the hospital after struggling to fight for her life for two weeks, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Baltimore resident Keon Gray, 29, has been arrested in the connection with the girl's death and charged with first and second-degree murder, first-degree assault, possession of a firearm in commission of a violent felony, firearm possession with felony conviction, illegal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment and for discharging a firearm, according to police.

"When you have a child, 7 years old, thinking about playing with dolls and wanting to get candy, that person should not be subjected to violence," Tuggle said.

The woman believed to be Gray's girlfriend was also arrested on suspicion that she was an accessory to murder after the fact, Tuggle said.

Tuggle would not discuss a motive in the shooting.

Members of Taylor's family stood behind officials at the podium as they announced the charges Friday.

Taylor's mother, Shanika Robinson, asked members of the community to come together and stop the violence.

"I don't have my 7-year-old daughter anymore," she said. "... All the killing [has] got to stop. It has to. It's kids getting killed."

Taylor's aunt, Ebony Ward, told reporters that while the arrest provided "a little relief" to the grieving family, Robinson "still [doesn't] have her daughter back."

Ward thanked people who sent in tips and investigators for making the arrest.

"It's 'bout to be a long road, but we're gonna get through this," she said. "It won't bring Taylor back, but at least we're 'bout to get some type of justice, and we just want to thank everybody for all their hard work, and we really appreciate it."

Gray was arrested in a different county after an "incredible effort" by investigators and members of the community who sent in tips, Tuggle said. Gray was in custody and being transported back to Baltimore on Friday afternoon.

The girl's death elicited anger about a "no-snitching" ethos in the city, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Baltimore detectives believed that at least one individual had information on who killed Taylor but would not cooperate, according to the Sun.

It is unclear whether Gray has retained an attorney or has entered a plea.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(VANCOUVER, Wash.) -- The 18-year-old who pushed her teenage friend off a 60-foot bridge in Washington state, leaving her with multiple injuries, has been charged with one count of reckless endangerment.

Prosecutors filed the charge Friday, with a declaration of probable cause from the arresting officer stated, "it is clear that Taylor Smith engaged in conduct which created a substantial risk of death and resulted in serious physical injury to Jordan Holgerson."

Reckless endangerment is considered a gross misdemeanor.

Smith pushed Holgerson, 16, off a bridge over the Lewis River at Moulton Falls Regional Park near Vancouver, Washington, Aug. 7. Holgerson plunged the equivalent of three stories before belly-flopping into the water below. She suffered "significant injuries" including six broken ribs, a punctured lung and air bubbles in her chest, officials said.

The incident was captured in a video clip that went viral on social media but has since been removed. Surveillance camera video also shows the moment Smith pushed Holgerson off the bridge ledge.

Earlier Friday, in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Good Morning America, Smith said she didn't consider the repercussions beforehand.

"She wanted to jump and she was scared and she had asked me to give her a push, and I didn't think about the consequences," Smith told "GMA" co-anchor Michael Strahan. "I thought she would be fine."

In an interview last week with ABC Portland, Oregon, affiliate KATU-TV from her hospital bed, Holgerson described the moments leading up to the push. She had initially wanted to jump off the bridge after seeing a friend do it, she said

"I went to the top of the bridge and my other -- my friend ... she came up to the bridge with me," Holgerson told KATU Aug. 9. "And so, she was counting down but I didn’t think anything of it. And I was like, 'No, don’t count down, like, I won’t go if you count down. I’m not ready.' And then she pushed me."

Holgerson said she didn't feel any pain but adrenaline kicked in after she hit the water.

"And then an EMT that was off-duty helped me onto the rocks and just a whole bunch of people surrounding me were helping me, calming me down," she told KATU. "I am happy to be OK."

Smith told GMA that she immediately reached out to Holgerson after the incident and "apologized several times," and even tried to visit her in the hospital but was "asked to leave."

Holgerson has since stopped communicating with her, Smith said.

Courtesy Taylor SmithThe two were "pretty close" friends for years, she added.

"I love that girl," Smith said during Friday's interview. "I never intended to hurt her ever, nor would I intend to hurt anyone. I'm really sorry it turned out that way. I just pray that she heals and gets better."

Investigators from the Clark County Sheriff's Office wrapped up their probe of the incident earlier this week and turned over their finding to prosecutors, who announced the reckless endangerment charge Friday afternoon.

Earlier, Smith told GMA that the prospect of facing charges is "scary" but she will "accept whatever the prosecutor gives me."

"I accept whatever the prosecutors think is best for me, considering I caused not only bodily harm but emotional trauma as well," she said. "But I just hope for the best."

ABC News' Michael Harris, Santina Leuci and Jim Vojtech contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

WFAA(MESQUITE, Texas) -- A woman who barely survived a terrifying hit-and-run at a Texas gas station she owns has spoken out for the first time, saying that she suffers from intolerable pain but is glad to be alive.

"I don't know what miracle saved me," gas station owner Alka Patel told ABC News affiliate WFAA.

With multiplying medical bills and injuries from the collarbone down, Patel said she uses Indian prayer to get her through the pain, but she still feels trapped by her injuries.

“Somebody just put me in a cage, where I can’t even do anything,” Patel, who has been on bed rest since the incident on July 19, told WFAA.

Frightening surveillance videos show an SUV pulling out of a spot at the Kwik Fuel and Food gas station in Mesquite, Texas, and recklessly backing into Patel.

"All of a sudden, he just came so far back," Patel said. "I didn't think he was going to come that much."

Earlier this month, police arrested suspect Jose Luis Ortiz Mendoza. He has been charged with felony hit and run, according to Mesquite Police Department officials.

Patel’s husband was killed at the same gas station, 17 years ago, when a white supremacist went on a shooting spree after 9/11.

She told WFAA that a miracle saved her and she’s thankful to her two children who have been supporting her.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(FREDERICK, Col.) -- Earlier this week, a Colorado father pleaded for help to find his missing wife and two daughters, saying his children “light up my life.”

“I just want them back,” Chris Watts told ABC Denver affiliate KMGH-TV. His wife, Shanann, and daughters Celeste, 3 and Bella, 4 were reported missing Monday by a concerned family friend.

Just days later, the case took a chilling turn, with Chris Watts taken into custody and booked on murder charges.

Authorities have not commented on a possible motive in the case that has shocked the small town of Frederick.

Here's some of what we know -- and still don't know -- about the case.

A mysterious missing persons case

Chris Watts, 33, had initially told reporters that his wife, who was 15 weeks pregnant, disappeared without a trace, leaving her purse and keys at home.

"When I came home and then walked in the house, nothing. Vanished. Nothing was here," Chris Watts told KMGH-TV Tuesday. "My kids are my life ... I mean, those smiles light up my life."

'He fooled us'

After Shanann Watts, 34, and the girls were reported missing, family friends Nick and Amanda Thayer came to Chris Watts' side.

The Thayers helped their friend think through ideas on how to find his missing wife and daughters. Chris Watts even spent Tuesday night at the Thayers' home.

"We feel so stupid ... trusting him to stay the night in the same house as our daughter," Nick Thayer told ABC News on Thursday, overcome with emotion. "I'll never let that go."

He said it didn't cross his and his wife's minds to ask Watts if he was involved.

Watts was a "hands-on dad," Nick Thayer said. "And that's why we were there with him because all the times we were with him it was nothing but love" toward his family.

"He fooled us. And I'm so sorry. We just thought we were doing the right thing by being a good friend," Nick Thayer said. "We were duped."

"In the 48 to 72 hours we were with him ... he was his normal self," Amanda Thayer added. "He never once cried."

"He and Shanann were always hugging, kissing and smiling. They were just a picture of 'in love,'" she said.

Now, with the accusations that Watts killed his family, Amanda Thayer said: "I want to know why."

"It doesn't make sense," her husband said.

Bodies recovered

Police on Friday positively identified the bodies asShanann Watts, Bella and Celeste have been recovered near each other, officials said while declining to say the location.

Shanann Watts' body was found in a shallow grave near an oil tank, according to court documents filed in Weld County. The property she was found on is where Chris Watts worked, according to ABC affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver.

The daughters' bodies were found inside mostly full oil and gas tanks, according to a motion filed Friday by Chris Watts' defense requesting that DNA swabs be taken from girls' bodies. The bodies had been submerged in oil for four days, the document states.

Forensic scientist Richard Eikelenboom advised that even though the bodies had been in the tanks for several days, DNA would still be present, according to the court documents. The motion requests that the hands and nails of the mother should also be sampled, the document shows.

"It does not seem clear that the coroner, pathologist, or anyone working on behalf of the prosecution team in autopsy plan to take swabs of the necks of the two decedent children," the document states.

The autopsies were expected to take place Friday, according to the motion.

The causes of death were not immediately clear, but a recommendation from Eikelenboom stated, "I have a lot of experience taking samples from dead bodies getting good results after strangulation. The hands of the children should be sampled as well."

Prosecutors said in court Thursday they believe the victims were killed in the family’s home, KMGH-TV reported.

A husband in custody

Chris Watts has been booked on three counts each of first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence.

He has not yet been formally charged and is set to return to court on Tuesday.

"The suspect is presumed innocent until otherwise proven guilty in the court of law," Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said at a news conference Thursday.

Authorities have declined to comment on a potential motive.

"Our role now is to do everything we can to determine exactly what occurred and assist in filing the thorough case," Colorado Bureau of Investigation director John Camper added on Thursday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) -- A 14-year-old girl was allegedly stabbed by a fellow student at a high school assembly in Oklahoma, according to local officials.

The victim was stabbed repeatedly in the upper back, head, arm and wrist on Thursday while she was in the auditorium on the first day of school at Luther High School in Luther, near Oklahoma City, according to the Luther Fire Department.

"The Luther High School Staff did a great job with assisting the victim and keeping her calm," the fire department said.

The girl, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital, where she is stable, Sgt. Tony Walker of the Luther Police Department told ABC News on Friday.

The unidentified suspect, a 14-year-old boy who is in ninth-grade, was immediately taken into custody and is being held at a juvenile facility, Walker said.

The motive is unknown, Walker said.

Luther Public Schools wrote on Facebook, "There was an incident at the High School Assembly this morning at the Auditorium. The situation is under control, all students are safe."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- A 13-year-old Arizona boy who miraculously survived being struck by lightning says he's now waiting for his "powers" to kick in.

Josiah Wiedman was walking home through a park in Phoenix with a friend when he said a jolt of lightning launched him in the air.

"As we were walking, I got struck ... sending me 9 feet into the air, making me bounce on my head and then flip over to my back," the boy told ABC News. "All I remember is just a little bit of heat -- but barely."

The majority of what he said he remembers from the incident is from what others have told him.

"I really don't remember what happened, but I [have] people telling me what happened," he said. "I was skateboarding and [it happened] just like that."

His mom, Krista Wiedman, told ABC News that two girls who know Josiah ran to their home and "were weeping at the front door" when they told her what happened. The concerned mother immediately called his dad and rushed to the park.

"My son was unresponsive with a medical team surrounding him. At that time, all I could do was drop to my knees and begin to pray," she said.

His father, William Wiedman, hailed a bystander who performed CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene for his son's survival.

"It amazes me that a lot of people stepped in," the father said. "For Cory [Cieszynsky] to be inside his house and to hear this and investigate and run outside and run to my son's aid, he's an angel and I can't thank him enough."

Cieszynsky even checked in on Josiah at the hospital, William Wiedman said.

But after the heroic rescue, William Wiedman wasn't sure his son would make it.

"The first initial report said that Josiah was not going to survive," he said.

Doctors placed Josiah, who suffered a fractured skull and concussion, into a drug-induced coma for three days. The teen shocked everyone with a speedy recovery.

"I couldn't believe it," Krista Wiedman said. "My son should've been dead on the spot."

Javier Tapia, who was with Josiah, was also struck but had only minor injuries and was not taken to the hospital.

Josiah said the experience has give him a new lease on life.

"I'm going to try to live my life a bit more because I know it can end at any time," Josiah said.

Krista called her son her "Superman," but the teen said he's just waiting for those superhero powers to kick in.

"I haven't felt my powers yet but I will soon," he said.

 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Maricopa County Sheriff(PHOENIX) -- When Melvin Harris' 16-year-old daughter told him a strange man followed her into the bathroom of an Arizona convenience store and tried to force his way into her stall, his fatherly instinct kicked in and he took matters into his own hands, his fiancée told ABC News on Thursday.

When Harris' frightened daughter told him what happened inside the QuikTrip convenience store in Phoenix he confronted the man, Leon Armstrong, 26, and ended up beating him in a gravel area outside the store, police said.

The encounter left Armstrong dead and Harris in jail on a second-degree murder charge.

"I don't feel like he did anything wrong. He was doing what any father would do," Harris' fiancée, Diana Jackson, told ABC News. "I don't think his intentions were for the man to die. Not at all."

The incident unfolded around 11 p.m. on Aug. 2, after Harris picked his daughter and her friends up from work.

"She wanted to get a fountain drink and she wanted to use the restroom," Jackson said of the couple's daughter.

Harris told Phoenix police that Armstrong approached his car as he waited outside the QuikTrip and panhandled change from him, then went inside the store, according to court records.

Moments later, Harris' daughter came out of the store and told him a man followed her into the restroom, according to the court papers.

"Melvin went into the business and told a security guard he needed to handle the situation, or he would do it himself," according to the court document. "Security told him they would handle the situation."

Harris went back to his car and started to drive away, but then saw Armstrong and confronted him, court documents showed.

"According to witnesses, Melvin approached the victim and punched him in the face causing the victim to fall. Witnesses described the victim as snoring and moaning while on the ground," the court records say. "Melvin then, while standing over the victim, struck the victim in the face several more time and also kicked and stopped [sic] on him."

He then got into his car and drove away, the records said.

Police obtained a detailed description of Harris' car from video surveillance footage and tracked down the man at his home, which is near the convenience store, and detained him for questioning.

"During the interview, he admitted to punching the victim in the face but said it was only because the victim swung at him first, striking him near the neck and shoulder area," according to court records. "After hitting the victim, the victim fell to the ground and curled up into a ball. Melvin denied recalling any further strikes to the victim while he was down on the ground."

Harris was initially arrested on suspicion of felony aggravated assault. The charges were upped to second-degree murder after Armstrong died on Aug. 7.

Police said Armstrong suffered swelling to the brain and a nasal fracture in the confrontation with Harris.

"I understand you want to defend your daughter; I totally get that. I have kids myself. But the way [Harris] went about it was totally wrong," Armstrong's sister, Ashley Armstrong, told ABC affiliate station KNXV-TV in Phoenix.

Armstrong suffered from drug addiction and mental illness, and had been living on the streets of Phoenix, his step-grandmother, Marie Armstrong, told KNXV.

"We did not know where Leon was for days," Marie Armstrong said, adding that the family learned he was in the hospital from police.

"He didn't just get kicked in the head once, twice, maybe three times," she said. "His brain was so beat up that he could not breathe.

She said she does not believe that Armstrong was out to harm Harris' daughter.

"I really seriously in my heart believe that he was confused in the bathroom," Marie Armstrong said.

But Jackson said her daughter was terrified by the incident and believes that Harris was trying to attack her.

"She feels guilty," Jackson told ABC News. "That's what she kept saying. She wishes she had never told [Harris] to take her to that store."

She described Harris as an "awesome" father and "really a family man," who has seven other children and two grandchildren.

"I just think murder shouldn't be an option as a charge," Jackson said.

Harris has not entered a plea. He is expected in court for arraignment on Friday, court records showed.

Harris' court appointed attorney has not commented on the case.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- A Phoenix police officer who was critically injured in a shooting is now stable and alert, ABC affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix reported Friday.

The officer was attempting a traffic stop and was getting out of his police car Thursday night when the suspect opened fire, Phoenix police said.

The officer returned fire and stopped the threat, police said.

"In my opinion, I believed he was ambushed," Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said at the hospital Thursday night.

Though the wounded officer was hospitalized in critical condition, by Friday he was stable, alert and breathing, police told KNXV-TV.

The suspect was listed in critical condition on Thursday, police said, though it was unclear if he was struck by gunfire.

His condition on Friday was not immediately clear.

The officer has been on the force for about a year, police said.

"Thank you for your continued support of our injured officer and our department," the Phoenix police wrote on Twitter Friday. "The support from our law enforcement partners and our community has been amazing and humbling."

"We don't know what’s going to happen when you put on the uniform," a police spokesperson said Thursday night. "You come to work, and you hope for the best."

Police have not identified the officer or the suspect.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Jamie Sumner(BEAVER CREEK, Colo.) -- A worker at the skating rink at Beaver Creek, Colorado, made the day of a little boy and a vacation for a family.

And he did it by "not treating Charlie special."

Charlie Sumner has cerebral palsy and was a "medically complex" infant, his mom Jamie Sumner told "Good Morning America." He had a trach and the family couldn't leave the house much.

"It was isolating," said his mom, the author of "Unbound," a book about motherhood and special needs.

Today, Charlie -- now 6 -- uses a wheelchair to get around. The family had attempted the Beaver Creek vacation once before with Charlie and his younger brother and sister, but it "was a disaster," Sumner told "GMA."

This vacation though, was the "best family vacation ever," for the Sumners from Nashville, Tennessee, in part because of the help of perfect stranger.

"Charlie hiked with us in a hiking backpack, we took the train in Leadville, made sure he got to do everything," his mom said. "But the ice skating, that was the one thing I could not think of a way to make work."

His younger brother and sister, now 4, had been "begging" to go ice skating, Sumner said. Her husband, Jody, plays in an ice hockey league, so he wanted to skate too.

At first, it was a situation all too familiar to the family: together, but separate.

"When we go to the park, I'll take Charlie on a walk in his wheelchair on the path while Jody climbs on the monkey bars with the twins," Sumner said.

Charlie and his mom watched the rest of the family from the side. The ice rink worker, whom the family knows only as Richard, was helping Jody with the twins on the ice.

But Charlie wanted to skate too. "Charlie kept pointing to ice," Sumner said.

"Richard came over and said 'want to take him out on the ice?' I wasn't prepared, I didn't think it was an option," Sumner said.

While many people often comment on Charlie being "cute," Sumner explained, they "very rarely offer to be hands on."

"This guy just did it," she said. "He did not treat Charlie special. He treated him like everyone else, just the way he did with his brother and sister."

Sumner attached grippers to her shoes and out on the ice they went. Jody took over, using all his hockey training to give Charlie the fun he deserved.

"Charlie loved it," she said. "He loves to go fast, which he did, he loves to spin around, which he did."

And now, simply because a stranger treated a child with a disability like any other child, the family has a new activity they can do together.

They won't be waiting until next year's trip to Beaver Creek for it either.

"We're going to do it at the indoor rink here," Sumner said. "It's going to be family night."Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- There were 75 damaging storm reports on Thursday, with tornadoes reported in Illinois, Kansas and Iowa.

Radar estimates showed more than 5 inches of rain fell just south of Tulsa, Oklahoma, over just a few hours, flooding streets and stalling cars.

Strong winds -- with gusts of 60 to 70 mph -- damaged parts of Kansas and Alabama, where a tent collapsed and injured a dozen folks. Trees were uprooted throughout the Plains and Midwest.

The storm system responsible for that is moving east this morning, nearing the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes.

Strong to severe storms are expected later this afternoon throughout the Northeast, from Pennsylvania all the way to Vermont. Damaging wind, hail and isolated tornadoes are all possible.

By Saturday, the cold front likely will make its way to the coast, continuing the threat of heavy rain and storms from Washington up to Boston.

Flash flooding is possible is several regions over the next 48 hours, with more than 3 inches possible locally.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Hound Poll
SCOUTS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh: Right pick or no?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.