Subscribe To This Feed

Gerald Mayr/Senckenberg Research Institute(WASHINGTON) -- Giant penguins, standing over 6 feet tall and weighing more than 220 pounds, may have roamed Earth some 60 million years ago, according to new research.

Scientists on Tuesday said they discovered fossils of an ancient penguin that may have stood 5-foot-7 -- nearly the height of the average American male -- at about 223 pounds, according to a Nature Communications research report.

The monster flightless bird, called the Kumimanu biceae, is believed to have swam off the coast of New Zealand between 56 million and 60 million years ago, according to the research.

The size would dwarf the emperor penguin, the biggest penguin today, which stands at less than 4 feet tall.

Researchers said the fossils, unearthed in New Zealand, shed “considerable light on the early evolution of penguins.”

“Kumimanu shows that gigantism was not uncommon in early penguins, and was already in the earliest evolutionary stages of these birds," said Gerald Mayr, a paleontologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, and lead author of the Nature Communications report.

He said the fossils are “among the oldest known finds of penguins and it is worth noting that already earliest forms were enormously large.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The secretary at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School made a split-second decision on a Tuesday morning last month: to get all the children inside the building within seconds of hearing gunshots.

"Because that call was made then, 47 seconds later, we had a completely locked-down school. Ten seconds after that, the shooter was in the quad firing shots," Rick Fitzpatrick, the superintendent of the Corning Union Elementary School District in California, told ABC News. "We had a 10-second cushion."

But almost five years before the Rancho Tehama shooting, the fate of students at an elementary school on the opposite side of the country was very different. On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 first-graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. And in the years since, school administrators and safety consultants have grappled with how best to secure schools to keep students safe in worst-case scenarios.

"There's a lot of things about Sandy Hook that they did right, and it still didn't work," said Fitzpatrick, who was the site principal of an elementary school at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting. He said he remembers "thinking it could have been any of us."

While little action has been taken at the federal level in terms of gun control, school shooting drills and preparation have increased dramatically.

In March 2016 the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a study looking at federal coordination of how schools prepare for emergencies. The study cited the Sandy Hook shooting as one of the motivators and found that 40 states required individual schools to conduct emergency exercises and 32 states required school districts to conduct such exercises. The nature of the exercises mentioned in the report, however, was not specified.

But just how students and teachers should prepare to face active shooter situations has been the subject of intense debate.

Lockdown drills vs. full-scale simulations

Katherine Cowan, the director of communications for the National Association of School Psychologists, said that there is a spectrum of kinds of drills that schools use and that the level of interaction varies.

Options include simple, announced lockdown drills and the much more controversial full-scale simulations, which sometimes feature actors with air rifles simulating shooters and local law enforcement officers responding to the scene.

Such full-scale simulations have caused outrage in some cases, including one in Winter Haven, Florida, in 2014 in which teachers, students and parents weren't told until afterward that the police officer who barged into their middle school classroom with an assault rifle was participating in a drill.

"It is not possible to know exactly how many schools are doing full-scale simulations versus other types of drills along the spectrum of training possibilities. However, it is pretty clear that it is exponentially more than before Newtown," Cowan told ABC News.

She said that law enforcement officials and school administrators "need to understand the cost-benefit and risks associated with whatever it is they choose to do," including the "potential psychological and emotional impacts of full-scale simulation."

Teaching students and teachers to fight back

The shift from solely using shooting drills to incorporating possible action by teachers and students against a would-be attacker started before Sandy Hook, experts said.

Greg Crane, a former Dallas-based police and SWAT officer, said that he and his wife, Lisa Crane, who was a high school principal, formed their approach to school safety — and their training company — after the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999.

"While I understood a securing-in-place mindset and protocol, my question ... was, 'What about when that specific response plan does not fit the scenario?'" he told ABC News, citing the possibility of a shooter breaching a school's secured area.

The name of the Cranes' company, the ALICE Training Institute, incorporates the acronym for people's response options to a school shooting: alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate, Greg Crane said. He said the order of the responses in the acronym is not sequential for how individuals should respond but just the options they have.

The company holds 500 to 600 training sessions annually, Crane said, and sessions are adapted to each venue.

One part of the ALICE training model that has raised some experts' eyebrows is the suggestion that people throw items — including pencils and possibly canned goods — at attackers. Crane said while throwing things at shooters might not incapacitate them, doing so could make it harder for them to kill.

"I may not be able to stop him shooting at me, but if I can stop him from shooting accurately at me, then that's a huge benefit because that drives his hit rate down, and that drives his accuracy down," Crane said.

Beyond that kind of interaction with the shooter — which falls under the acronym's counter category — Crane said "the priority needs to be an empowerment and authorization of the people on the scene. Don’t tell them what they should do. Tell them what they can do."

Crane is not the only one to favor this model. Fitzpatrick credited the success of the lockdown at Rancho Tehama to the authority that the secretary had to immediately call the lockdown when she felt it was needed.

"If she had had to say, 'I need to call the principal, I have to call the superintendent’... we would have had a body count," Fitzpatrick said.

But school security consultant Ken Trump believes that the ALICE model is one of a number of proposals that "prey on the emotions of anxious parents and educators looking for a 'quick fix' to the complex issues of school safety and emergency planning," he writes on his website.

Trump, who is not related to the president, told ABC News that the focus on active shooter situations leads to school administrators' overlooking other security threats at schools like abductions by noncustodial parents, natural disasters and sexual assaults.

"It's not to say that you shouldn't prepare for active shooters, but we have a tunnel-vision focus on this, and we're losing focus on more day-to-day security issues," he said.

He called on schools to diversify the nature of their lockdown drills as well as the times when they are held, including while students are in class, during lunch or on the playground.

Trump said school administrators should also ask themselves, "Are we crossing the line of reasonableness with some of these over-the-top drills and theories and fads?"

Prevention is key

One group working to stop shootings before a person even plans an attack knows the subject matter all too well. Sandy Hook Promise is a group founded in 2013 by parents of two Sandy Hook victims, and it aims to prevent gun-related deaths and raise awareness about mental health issues.

The group holds training sessions at schools nationally, and a number of its initiatives, like one called Start With Hello, address issues surrounding social isolation that it believes can help prevent students from becoming violent.

"Everything that we do at Sandy Hook Promise has the nexus back to what happened with the Sandy Hook shooting," said Mark Barden, one of Sandy Hook Promise's founders, whose son Daniel was killed at the school. Barden said the shooter "was chronically socially isolated."

"We also know that the shooter was planning this for over a year and giving off all of these warning signs," Barden said. "We could have connected this person with the help that he needed before he committed this tragedy."

Barden said that the group has received feedback that its programs have helped prevent at least three school shootings.

He said a school guidance counselor told him that after taking Sandy Hook Promise training, a student at the school said something after the student saw a social media posting from another student that raised concerns. Barden said that officials were "able to uncover a very serious incident that was about to happen and they stopped it because of the model."

"I literally had goosebumps when this guidance counselor [was] telling me this story," Barden said. "To think that after all this work, we're making an actual difference — that's an incredible feeling for me. That’s the ultimate way to honor my little Daniel."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- Kentucky state Rep. Dan Johnson took his own life on Wednesday afternoon after being publicly accused of molesting a teen girl, according to ABC affiliate WHAS in Louisville.

An expansive expose published Monday by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting alleged that Johnson sexually abused the 17-year-old victim after a New Year's party in 2013.

Bullitt County coroner David Billings told ABC News Wednesday night that Johnson was found with a single gunshot wound to the head at Greenwell Ford Road in Mount Washington, Kentucky. His death is being treated as a “probable suicide.” A .40 caliber gun was recovered at the scene and is in the possession of law enforcement.

Kentucky Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne said in a statement, "It is with great sadness that we have received confirmed reports of the passing of Rep. Dan Johnson this evening. Please keep his family in your prayers during this incredibly difficult time."

The state's governor, Matt Bevin, confirmed Johnson's death, but not how he died, earlier in the evening in a tweet.

Johnson vehemently denied the allegations at a press conference Tuesday.

"This allegation concerning this lady, this young girl, absolutely has no merit, these are unfounded accusations, totally," he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Johnson was one of the latest in a long list of high-profile men who have been accused of sexual misconduct across a range of industries.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican representing Kentucky, tweeted Wednesday night, "Just terrible news from Kentucky tonight on the passing of Rep. Dan Johnson. I cannot imagine his pain or the heartbreak his family is dealing with tonight. Kelley and I pray for his loved ones."

And the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, part of Kentucky Public Radio, which ran a five-part series on Johnson and his past, said in a statement Wednesday night, "All of us at Louisville Public Media are deeply sad to hear that State Representative Dan Johnson has died, apparently of suicide. We grieve for his family, friends, church community and constituents."

The statement continued, "Our Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting released a report on Johnson this week. Our aim, as always, is to provide the public with fact-based, unbiased reporting and hold public officials accountable for their actions ... As part of our process, we reached out to Representative Johnson numerous times over the course of a seven-month investigation. He declined requests to talk about our findings.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A police department in Michigan has launched an internal investigation into a recent incident in which an 11-year-old girl was handcuffed at gunpoint.

The Grand Rapids Police Department on Tuesday released footage from body cameras worn by officers who were investigating a stabbing in the city on Dec. 6. At one point, the footage shows police pointing guns at an 11-year-old girl before placing her in handcuffs as she screams, "No, please!"

One officer can be heard saying to the girl, "You're fine. You're not going to jail or anything."

Meanwhile, the girl's mother can be heard in the background screaming, "That's my child!"

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky called the video "disturbing."

"Listening to the 11-year-old's response makes my stomach turn. It makes me physically nauseous," Rahinsky said at a press conference Tuesday when the footage was released.

The incident began when officers were searching for a suspect in a domestic-related stabbing in Westside Grand Rapids. The officers determined that the female suspect had fled the residence still armed with the knife, police said.

The investigation led the officers to a second home where it was believed the suspect may be. As officers set up a perimeter around the residence, two women and an 11-year-old girl simultaneously exited the home. The officers detained all three individuals until it was determined that none of them were the suspect nor were armed with a weapon, police said.

The homeowner gave officers consent to search the home and it was deemed none of the three were the suspect for which the officers were searching, nor was the suspect in the residence. The individuals were subsequently released, police said.

The officers then searched another nearby residence where the suspect was ultimately located and arrested. The woman was charged for assault with intent to murder, as well as resisting and obstructing arrest, police said.

The victim of the stabbing was treated for her injuries at a local hospital and has been released, police added.

Following a complaint filed on behalf of the 11-year-old girl, the Grand Rapids Police Department opened an internal investigation. That investigation is ongoing, police said.

Rahinksy said the body camera footage shows how officers inappropriately treated the child like an adult.

"In this situation, I don’t think we acted accordingly," the police chief told reporters Tuesday. "I think we need to take a look at everything we do because if an officer can point to policy or can point to training or point to hiring and say, 'This is what I was told, this is how I was taught, this is consistent with practice,' then we’ve got a problem."

"And what I just said is accurate," he continued. "We do have a problem."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --  Two advocacy groups are suing the U.S. military for records pertaining to sexual assault and the military justice system.

Protect Our Defenders and the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center filed a lawsuit with a Connecticut federal court on Wednesday against the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security "to release records related to gender disparities within the military justice system and the military record correction boards' handling of cases involving sexual assault and harassment."

The groups have filed multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests with the various military services and the U.S. Coast Guard for information pertaining to sexual assault and the military justice system, but they argue the services' responses to those requests are often "insufficient" or incomplete.

"The military has resisted efforts to end the epidemic of sexual assault and retaliation within its ranks, despite years of Congressional attention and reform," Col. Don Christensen (USAF-Ret.), president of Protect Our Defenders, said in a press release. "Service members, Members of Congress, and the public deserve to know if the military unlawfully discriminates against female service members and survivors of sexual assault."

The records requested by Protect Our Defenders and the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center are separate from the sexual assault data released publicly by the Department of Defense, Christensen told ABC News.

Last month, the Department of Defense published the number of sexual assault reports made at U.S. military installations around the world for fiscal years 2013 through 2016.

In May, the department released their annual sexual assault report which estimated that the number of sexual assaults decreased 26.6 percent between 2014 and 2016, from 20,300 in 2014 to 14,900 last year.

Christensen said the information these organizations hope to obtain through the lawsuit include data about sexual assaults, but also look at the broader military justice system.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut),a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees, applauded Wednesday's filling, saying in the press release that he hoped "this suit, combined with legislative action will begin to break down the unacceptable barriers to justice too many victims face."

"Survivors of military sexual assault are owed justice and openness in discharge proceedings. Instead, far too many are re-victimized by dishonorable discharges that bar them from receiving the services and recognition they need and deserve," Blumenthal said.

The Department of Justice, which defends federal agencies in lawsuits, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Why couldn't a student and driver escape a bus that erupted into flames Tuesday? Federal investigators are heading to Iowa to try to answer that very question.

The incident occurred Tuesday morning in the farm town of Oakland as the bus backed out of a driveway and landed in a ditch where it caught fire, Pottawattamie County officials said. Authorities identified the 74-year-old driver as Donald Hendricks and the student as Megan Klindt, 16. They failed to escape the vehicle and died inside, according to officials.

“[The bus] was backing out of the driveway, and ended up in the opposite side ditch and a fire ensued; and the driver and one student was unable to get off the bus,” Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Rob Ambrose told reporters at the scene.

The crash occurred just outside Klindt's home after she had been picked up by the driver, Ambrose told ABC News. They were the only people on board.

"This is an absolute mystery," said Debbie Hersman, president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council and former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. "School buses are designed with safety in mind and the fact that two adult people could not get off the bus in time to save their own lives is a big concern."

Official government statistics indicate 379 school bus fires occur on average each year, but deaths from the fires are rare, just about one per year.

The Riverside Community School District issued a statement, saying, "Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones."

It added, "School is in session and a crisis team from the Green Hills Area Education Agency along with area schools counselors and many community volunteers have been deployed to all our buildings to assist students and staff."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  City officials in Charlottesville, Virginia are closing downtown streets Thursday in anticipation of scheduled court hearings for four people charged in relation to the violent "Unite the Right" rally that took place in August.

James Alex Fields Jr., the driver accused of barreling a car into a crowd protesting the white nationalist rally, killing a woman and injuring several others, is expected to appear for a preliminary hearing on charges relating to the rally, The Daily Progress, a local Charlottesville newspaper, reported.

City officials are closing streets near Court Square in downtown Charlottesville in anticipation of crowds of people looking to attend the hearings at the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse, the city said in a press release. Attendees will be barred from bringing any bags, backpacks, purses, electronic devices, cell phones or anything other items deemed by Charlottesville deputies as disruptive or dangerous into the courthouse, officials said.

The other three men expected to appear in court Thursday are charged with discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, malicious wounding and felony assault on the day of the rally, according to court records.

On Aug. 12, a group of white nationalists, which included neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members, descended onto Charlottesville for a rally spurred by the city's plans to remove a Confederate statue from a downtown park. Violence broke out as counter protesters clashed with white nationalists, prompting Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency.

Amid the chaos, Fields allegedly drove a silver Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter protesters and Charlottesville residents, tossing people into the air and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. He is charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding, two charges of felonious assault and failure to stop that led to death, court records show.

After the deadly crash, Derek Weimer, Fields' high school history teacher, told ABC Cincinnati affiliate WCPO-TV that his former student was "very infatuated with the Nazis" and Adolf Hitler.

Fields is currently being housed in a Virginia jail after he was denied bail in August. It is unclear if he entered a plea in the charges against him.

Fields' attorney, Denise Lunsford, did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The man accused of detonating an explosive in a New York City subway passageway, only causing serious injury to himself, made his initial appearance before a federal judge Wednesday via video from his hospital bed.

Akayed Ullah, 27, an immigrant from Bangladesh, is accused of setting off a homemade bomb in an underground passageway near the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Monday morning, forcing commuters to evacuate the major transit hub just blocks from Times Square. Five victims suffered minor injuries, officials said. Ullah suffered burns to his torso and arms.

At his afternoon court appearance, Ullah, who had a bed sheet up to his neck, peered straight into the camera with no discernible emotion.

He spoke softly when he affirmed he could see the judge and responded, "Yes I have" when asked whether he had seen the complaint that charges him with five federal counts, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use.

Ullah could face life in prison. The death penalty is not a possibility in this case because there were no deaths resulting from his alleged crimes.

Ullah was ordered held until his next court date on Jan. 13.

Ullah allegedly aimed to "murder as many innocent human beings as he could and to blow himself up in the process -- all in support of a vicious terrorist cause," Joon Kim, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a news conference Tuesday

He wrote on Facebook the morning of his alleged attack, “Trump you failed to protect your nation," according to the federal complaint against him.

Ullah made statements to police indicating he “was inspired by ISIS to carry out” the attack and said, “I did it for the Islamic State,” according to the charging document.

Ullah's radicalization began in at least 2014 when he began viewing pro-ISIS material online, the document stated. Some of the material he viewed included instructions to attack in homelands if unable to travel overseas to join ISIS on the battlefield, the document alleged.

Ullah began researching how to build improvised explosive devices a year ago, the charging document said.

Ullah built the bomb in his Brooklyn home a week before his alleged attack, according to the complaint.

Ullah’s wife, Jannatul Ferdous, told ABC News that the two spoke on the morning of the alleged attack. She said there were no signs of anything wrong on Monday morning and she said her husband -- whom she married in 2016 -- had never said anything negative about the United States.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  A woman has been charged with murder after her husband's dismembered remains were found inside their Ohio home, six months after he disappeared.

Now one of the victim's sons is speaking out, telling ABC News his stepmother had told him his father left for Texas months ago.

"We all thought it was odd and strange that he would just up and leave, but it never crossed our mind that she would actually murder him," Jonathon Eubank, a son of Howard Eubank and a stepson of Marcia Eubank, told ABC News. He added that he's in "shock" over the grisly discovery.

The six-month saga came to an end on Saturday, when authorities in Summit County received a call of possible human remains. Responding deputies "found what appeared to be deteriorated remains" that were tentatively identified as 54-year-old Howard Eubank, Summit County Sheriff's Office said.

The victim was shot in the head, his body dismembered and placed in storage containers, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Howard Eubank's wife, Marcia Eubank, 49, was taken into custody Saturday and charged with one count of murder, the sheriff's office said.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Marcia Eubank was interviewed and "admitted to killing her husband in June 2017. Marcia Eubank admitted to shooting her husband in the head and dismembering his body."

Jonathon Eubank, a son of Howard Eubank and a stepson of Marcia Eubank, told ABC News Wednesday that for all these months he thought his dad had left home for Texas -- a story he said came from his stepmother.

He said he last heard his dad's voice on the phone in May.

"We were talking about him coming to my wedding and how excited he was to come and how proud of me he was," said Jonathon Eubank, 27. "And then in the middle of June, we get a message saying that he left my stepmom and went to Texas."

"My oldest brother got a text message from my dad off his phone saying he's in Texas and he's fine," he said.

"And then about a month or so later he posted something on Facebook, my dad did, saying he'll reach out to people when he's ready. ... Clearly, that wasn't him doing any of that stuff.

"... Periodically there would be posts on his Facebook -- one was to Marcia saying he had missed her," Jonathon Eubank said. "That was one of the last Facebook posts that we had seen from his account."

The months ticked by, and in August, Jonathon Eubank got married -- but the happy occasion left him feeling angry, upset and resentful toward his father, who didn't show up.

"I don't know how you can up and just leave your kids' lives and miss probably one of the most important days of my life," he said. "We all thought it was odd and strange that he would just up and leave ... but it never crossed our mind that she would actually murder him."

In October, Jonathon Eubank, who lives out of state, went to his stepmother's Ohio home. He said he and his wife both hugged his stepmother, who he said acted "normally."

"We had no idea that my dad was 20, 30 feet away from us," he said.

He said this Saturday he was coming out of church when one of his brothers told him that he found his father's remains at the home.

Now with his stepmother in custody, he said he feels "angry and numb -- still in shock."

He said his father and stepmother had been married for over 20 years.

"None of us know why," she allegedly killed her husband, he said. "None of us know why she chose to say he went to Texas.

"Playing this whole past six months through my head is just, it's difficult."

Marcia Eubank's attorney, Brian Pierce, told ABC News Wednesday morning that his client was expected to enter a plea of not guilty at her 1 p.m. court appearance on Wednesday. She is being held in the Summit County jail on a $1 million bond, Pierce said. He declined to comment further.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Police are investigating a deadly Kansas house fire as a possible homicide after finding three bodies inside, authorities said Tuesday.

Details surrounding the case are limited, but officials with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department said the fire could have been set to cover a murder scene.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but KCK Police Chief Terry Zeigler said on Twitter that it appeared to be a homicide.

The identities of the three victims have not yet been released, but one woman told reporters that she feared her sister could be one the victims.

Patricia Green told ABC affiliate KMBC-TV that her sister, Gwen, had lived at the single-family residence for the past several months.  “I hope for the best, that she’s somewhere at another location and she’ll see this broadcast and reach out to one of us and let us know that she’s OK,” Green said in an on-camera interview with KMBC.

She said she tried to call her sister multiple times, but “her phone is going straight to 'not accepting calls.'”

The fire was reported at around 3 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said, adding that "crews experienced heavy fire conditions upon arrival."

“Kansas City Kansas Fire Department units arrived on the scene to find a fully involved house fire. As a result of an initial search, two bodies were discovered in the residence,” the fire department said in a statement Tuesday.

“During the course of the fire investigation, a third body was discovered in the residence and the cause of death of the three victims is under investigation,” the statement added.

The fire department said it is conducting an "extensive fire investigation" and will release further details "at the appropriate time."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The wife of the alleged New York City subway bomber told ABC News that he "never ever" spoke negatively of the U.S. and that she saw "no signs" of his impending attack when she spoke to him by phone the morning he detonated a pipe bomb strapped to his body in an underground subway tunnel.

Akayed Ullah, 27, was hit with a litany of state and federal terrorism charges on Tuesday for the Monday-morning attack.

The bombing, during the height of the morning commute, resulted in just a few minor injuries in the crowded passageway under the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Ullah suffered burns to his abdomen and arm. He is currently recovering at Bellevue Hospital.

Jannatul Ferdous spoke to ABC News through a closed door from her home in Dhaka, Bangladesh, saying she talked to her husband on the morning of the attack and he did not allude to the attempted suicide bombing.

"I talked with him on the day of the incident at 5 a.m. U.S. time," Ferdous told ABC News in Bengali. "I mainly phoned to wake him up to go to work."

Ferdous said she routinely woke her husband up to go to work.

The couple married in 2016. They have an infant son.

She said he showed no signs of anger on Monday, saying, "There were no signs of that. He did not even call before leaving for work."

Ullah's mother-in-law, who also lives at the same home, spoke to ABC News as well, and said her son-in-law was in Dhaka in September and returned to New York on Oct. 22. Ullah lived in Brooklyn, where authorities believe he constructed the pipe bomb used in the alleged attack.

According to authorities, Ullah said he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS. Investigators said he began showing signs of radicalization in 2014 when he began viewing pro-ISIS propaganda online.

Ullah is charged with five federal counts, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use. He could face life in prison.

When asked by ABC News whether she would fight for her husband in court, she said, "It's not my own decision right now. It does not matter whether I want it or not."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC(NEW YORK) -- It's brutally cold outside Wednesday morning in the Northeast, with winds gusting close to 40 mph from Washington, D.C. to Boston, producing wind chills in the single digits and teens.

Even at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, wind chills should still be running from zero to 16 degrees from northern New York to North Carolina.

Behind this cold, a new dose of snow is forecast Wednesday into Thursday for the Great Lakes and the Northeast.

Because of the cold and snow, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter weather advisories, lake-effect snow warning, winter storm warnings and wind chill advisory for 14 states, from North Dakota to North Carolina.

A new clipper system is moving into the Great Lakes Wednesday morning and spreading snow from Duluth, Minnesota, to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

By Wednesday evening, heavy snow will be falling in Detroit and Cleveland. It will be falling from Pennsylvania to Long Island Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

The total snow accumulations with this clipper system will be more than a half a foot of snow from northern Wisconsin through Michigan. For the Northeast, the heaviest snow will be in western Pennsylvania and New York where up to 10 inches of snow could fall.

For major cities such as New York, not a lot of snow is forecast, but a dusting to 1 inch is possible early Thursday morning.

Red-flag warnings have been extended and expanded in southern and into central California through Wednesday due to the forecast gusty winds and very dry conditions.

Unfortunately, even stronger winds are forecast Thursday and Friday for Southern California, prompting the NWS to issue fire weather watch from Los Angeles to San Diego counties.

The NWS is warning that winds could increase Thursday and Friday for Los Angeles and Ventura counties and all the way to San Diego County. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph. Some mountains could see even higher gusts.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  The National Transportation Safety Board laid partial blame for the 2015 sinking of the El Faro on the ship’s captain, Michael Davidson, the investigative agency announced Tuesday.

All 33 crew members, including the captain, perished when the 790-foot cargo ship sunk near the path of Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015.

"The captain had multiple opportunities to reroute the vessel to avoid the hurricane," but despite repeated warnings from his second and third mates, he refused to substantially alter course, said NTSB investigator Carrie Bell. "The captain endangered El Faro and its crew."

Davidson, who repeatedly reminded the crew that he’d endured storms in Alaska, likely felt “overconfident” in his ability to withstand foul weather and may have worried that selecting a new route would cost him time and fuel, Bell said.

The junior officers -- who repeatedly expressed concern about the ship’s route -- treated Davidson in a “deferential” manner, and appeared “reluctant” to question his judgment, according to Bell.

"Had the deck officers more assertively stated their concerns ... the captain's situational awareness might have been improved," NTSB Chair Robert Sumwalt said. His suggestion riled some of the late crews' family members in the office.

"I took it as like, an attack against the officers, because, you know, they have to follow a chain of command," Claudia Shultz told ABC News through tears. Her husband, Steve, was chief mate. "My husband is not here to defend himself, and neither are the other officers."

And her feelings towards the late captain? "Poor choices were made," she said.

Based on audio captured from the ship’s voyage data recorder, Capt. Davidson seemed unaware that he was relying on weather data that was six hours old. (Though more current data was available onboard the ship, it was transmitted in a different format and required laborious manual charting, the NTSB found.)

Making matters worse, he also issued the command to abandon ship "too late" -- but even if the crew had been given more time to evacuate, the lifeboats likely wouldn't have provided adequate protection for crew, because they were "open," rather than enclosed, the NTSB said.

Though open lifeboats have been considered obsolete since the 1980s, almost half of the U.S. ocean-going fleet is still equipped with open lifeboats, the NTSB noted. Because it was built in the 1970s and its subsequent modifications hadn’t been classified as “major” conversions, Tote’s lifeboats hadn’t been updated.

Compounding the captain’s apparent mismanagement was the “weak safety culture” at El Faro’s owner Tote Maritime, which failed to monitor the ship’s position in relation to the hurricane or offer support as the storm barred down, Bell said. Tote also failed to provide adequate training and neglected to document its “dwindling confidence” in Davidson.

Tote spokesperson Darrell Wilson said in a statement to ABC News, "We as a company intend to learn everything possible from this accident and the resulting investigations to prevent anything similar from occurring in the future. Tote also remains focused, as we have from the start, on caring for the families of those we lost and working daily ashore and at sea to safeguard the lives of mariners."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The Skirball brush fire that caused residents of Los Angeles' affluent Bel-Air neighborhood to flee their multimillion-dollar mansions last week was sparked by an illegal cooking fire, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in a press release Tuesday.

The fire broke out on Dec. 6 just before 5 a.m. at an encampment under Interstate 405 and Sepulveda Boulevard in Long Beach , the fire department said. The fire was then spread by arid landscapes and Santa Ana winds, which also fueled five other fires throughout the state last week.

No one was present when authorities arrived at the area of origin, and no arrests have been made in connection with the fire, officials said.

The Skirball fire burned more than 400 acres and destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others in Bel-Air, the fire department said. As of Tuesday, it was 85 percent contained, but dozens of firefighters continued to work to achieve 100 percent containment, according to fire officials.

Last week, the Skirball fire caused all Los Angeles Unified School District schools in the San Fernando Valley and 17 schools on Los Angeles' Westside to shutter due to the poor air quality, officials said. All evacuations due to the Skirball fire have now been lifted.

About 90 percent of wildfires in the U.S. are human-caused, according to the National Park Service. The fires are often caused by campfires that are left unattended, the burning of debris, cigarettes that are discarded negligently, and intentional acts of arson, the National Park Service said. The remaining 10 percent of wildfires are caused by lightning or lava, according to the park service.

Five fires are still blazing through the Golden State.

The Thomas fire, threatening more than 18,000 structures in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, remains the main concern for firefighters at just 25 percent containment.

More than 6,000 fire personnel are still battling the Thomas fire, which has singed through more than 236,000 acres so far, growing by more than 50,000 acres on Sunday alone. The Thomas fire has destroyed nearly 800 structures and damaged at least 187, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Severe fire weather will continue to promote significant fire growth in Santa Barbara County, the Department of Fire said.

The remaining fires, the Lilac, Creek and Rye fires, were all at least 92 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed FRANCISCO) --  Authorities are investigating the death of a 23-year-old Google employee whose body was found in San Francisco Bay.

Last Thursday morning, a man riding his bicycle on the Bay Trail called 911 to report a naked body floating in the water of the bay, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety said.

The body -- later identified as 23-year-old Chu Chu Ma -- was found by authorities, floating face down in a drainage canal along the Bay Trail, the department of public safety said.

Ma's boyfriend filed a missing persons report Thursday with the police in Mountain View, which is a few miles away from Sunnyvale, the Mountain View Police Department said.

Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Captain Shawn Ahearn told ABC News that nothing has been ruled out in the investigation as police await the results of the autopsy report.

A Google spokesperson said that Ma "was an excellent software engineer in our developer product team."

"We are devastated to learn of her passing, and our deepest condolences are with her family and friends," the spokesperson said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Hound Poll
Should NFL players be allowed to kneel during the National Anthem
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.