National News

America Conducted Fewest Executions Since 1994


Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Death Penalty Information Center on Thursday released its annual report, which found that America conducted the fewest executions in 20 years in 2014.The report says that just 35 executions took place in 2014 in seven states, the smallest number of people put to death since 1994. Also in 2014, only 72 people received death sentences, the smallest number in the 40 years of the modern death penalty.Three states -- Texas, Missouri and Florida -- accounted for 80 percent of the country's executions.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Ohio Supreme Court Says Traffic Camera Can Stay


Timothy Epp/iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- The Supreme Court of Ohio on Thursday upheld the city of Toledo's automated traffic camera system used to catch drivers who run red lights or commit speeding violations.According to the court documents, the court heard arguments from an Ohio man who claimed that the policy "usurps the jurisdiction of the municipal court, is unconstitutionally vague and violates due process." The crux of the complaint is that the appeal process through which a motorist would have to go if they were to contest a camera-issued ticket is established by the Toledo Police Department. The state supreme court says that the Toledo law "does not offend...the Ohio Constitution" and that cities are within their rights to establish automated ticketing systems.Three justices wrote a dissenting opinion, arguing that the city council did not have the power to limit a municipal court's jurisdiction, as they believe the Toledo system does.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

North Carolina Driver Gets Into Two Accidents, Caught on Video


Evgueni Sinigalia/Hemera/Thinkstock(HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C.) -- A driver in Holly Springs, North Carolina, was hit by two cars in domino accidents both caught on his car cameras.Rear- and front-view cameras captured the first hit from behind on a two-lane road."I was rear-ended by this guy on my way home from school," the YouTube user wrote in the video description. "He claimed that his window was fogged up, so he did not see me. It doesn't show in the video, but I saw him coming in my rear view mirror. His windshield was NOT fogged up and I could see his eyes were pointed downward. Clearly, he was playing around on his phone."The impact pushed the car into oncoming traffic."The driver at fault was hauled off to the hospital complaining of back pain, and the lady who hit my car from the front said her finger was hurt."The air bag was deployed and the car was "considered a total loss by the insurance company," the YouTube user wrote.More ABC News Videos | ABC World NewsFollow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

New York AG Sends Cease-and-Desist Letters to Companies Selling Realistic-Lookin


sunstock/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Thursday that his office has sent cease-and-desist letters to retailers including Walmart, Amazon and Kmart, urging them to stop selling toy guns that break New York state law by lacking distinguishing designs from the real thing."When toy guns are mistaken for real guns," Schneiderman said, "there can be tragic consequences." The law prohibits the sale of toy guns in realistic colors -- such as black, blue, silver or aluminum -- unless it has a non-removable, one-inch-wide orange stripe running down the sides and front end of the barrel. "New York State law is clear," Schneiderman added, "retailers cannot put children and law enforcement at risk by selling toy guns that are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing."Schneiderman's office also sent cease-and-desist letters to ToyArsenal.com and Sears.At least four people have been killed and one child seriously injured since 1997 due to law enforcement officers mistaking toy guns for real guns.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Mystery in Texas Meteorologist's Shooting Deepens


KCEN/Facebook(WACO, Texas) -- Police in Texas don't have a suspect or a motive in the shooting of a TV meteorologist in the station's parking lot on Wednesday.The suspect fled on foot as the weatherman was able to drive a short distance in his bullet-ridden car to get help."We are actively looking for [the suspect]," Trooper D.L. Wilson told ABC News Thursday. "We had troopers out overnight, but we didn't get any calls of suspicious people. We can't rule out that he's not in the area, but more than likely, he's left the area."Because there is no specific search area, police are "kind of scaling back," he added.Police are interviewing the victim, KCEN-TV's Patrick Crawford, and trying to get enough information for a forensic sketch of the suspect.The man shot Crawford at least twice on Wednesday as he was getting into his car outside the Bruceville-Eddy, Texas, TV station, and left 11 bullet holes in his vehicle, Wilson said."Mr. Crawford is advising he has never seen this man before," the trooper said.The suspect has been described as a white male, 30 to 35 years old, with a medium build and a receding hairline."We'll do our best, follow any leads, and hopefully we can track this gentleman down," Wilson said.Crawford's wife Heather Brinkmann, who is also a meteorologist at the station, posted an update on her Facebook page Wednesday night to say her husband is in stable condition.KCEN-TV reported that police were at the station Thursday, checking IDs of everyone driving in the parking lot.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Al Sharpton Meets with Sony's Amy Pascal over Hacked Emails


Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton met with Sony Chairman Amy Pascal Thursday morning about the racial remarks in private emails that were leaked after the company was hacked, and while he said that they discussed possible routes for improved relations, he did not let her off the hook."The jury is still out with where we go with Amy," Sharpton said at a news conference after his meeting with Pascal.Pascal is the chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and her emails were a main target in the hack. She has already apologized for the contents of the emails, but said that the private messages "are not an accurate reflection of who I am."That was not enough for Sharpton, however, who said that she called his advocacy organization, the National Action Network, as soon as the inappropriate remarks were released."I said to her at that time that the climate and environment of Hollywood only confirms the type of language that was used in those emails," Sharpton said Thursday."Being that Hollywood is an environment that still resembles 1950s America, it is a context that confirms the language," he said.Sharpton did confirm that the National Action Network, as well as the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Black Women's Roundtable, will work with executives from Sony about ways to increase and improve racial diversity in the entertainment industry."Our interest is in changing Hollywood...seeing to it that Sony is on the right side of changing Hollywood," said Mark Morial, the president of the National Urban League, who appeared alongside Sharpton during Thursday's new conference.Both men concluded their comments by condemning the hack itself, with Sharpton slamming the "dangerous precedent" that was set by what Sharpton described as a foreign government being able to "manipulate and bully the American corporate structure."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

'Slender Man' Stabbing Suspects Competent to Stand Trial


iStock/Thinkstock(WAUKESHA, Wis.) -- Two Wisconsin girls who allegedly stabbed a friend over Slender Man were found competent on Thursday to stand trial.A Wisconsin judge found 13-year-old Anissa Weier competent, while the second suspect, Morgan Geyser, waived her right to a hearing and was, as a result, ruled competent.Testimony from three doctors who evaluated Weier -- one hired by the prosecution, the other two by her defense -- presented their findings before the judge.The prosecution's doctor found her competent, while the defense's doctors found her incompetent.When Weier herself was asked by Judge Michael Bohren if she considered herself competent, Weier said, "I consider myself incompetent, sir."By stating such, under Wisconsin law, Weier set a very high burden of proof for the prosecution to clear and the judge ruled that they had met the burden.Later in the day, a second hearing to determine Geyser's competency was waived by the teen's lawyers, agreeing with a doctor's opinion that she is competent. The judge agreed and as a result Geyser was ruled to be in fact competent.According to investigators, Geyser and Weier from Waukesha, Wisconsin, decided they wanted to be with Slender Man, a fictional horror character born from a dark corner of the Internet.In stories they read about him online, Slender Man kidnaps and kills children. Not only did the girls believe he was real, police said, they were convinced the only way to get in his good graces was to kill someone. But Slender Man isn’t real. And their friend, a girl named Payton Leutner, survived being stabbed last May with a large kitchen knife 19 times.All three girls were 12 at the time.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Judge Finds 'Slender Man' Stabbing Suspect Competent to Stand Trial


iStock/Thinkstock(WAUKESHA, Wis.) -- A Wisconsin judge found 13-year-old Slender Man stabbing suspect Anissa Weier competent to stand trial on Thursday.Testimony from three doctors who evaluated Weier -- one hired by the prosecution, the other two by her defense -- were heard in court.The prosecution's doctor found her competent, while the defense's doctors found her incompetent.When Weier herself was asked by Judge Michael Bohren if she considered herself competent, Weier said, "I consider myself incompetent, sir."By stating such, under Wisconsin law, Weier set a very high burden of proof for the prosecution to clear and the judge ruled that they had met the burden.A second hearing to determine the competency of the other suspect, Morgan Geyser, is set Thursday for 2:30 p.m. ET.According to investigators, Geyser and Weier from Waukesha, Wisconsin, decided they wanted to be with Slender Man, a fictional horror character born from a dark corner of the Internet. In stories they read about him online, Slender Man kidnaps and kills children.Not only did the girls believe he was real, police said, they were convinced the only way to get in his good graces was to kill someone.But Slender Man isn’t real. And their friend, a girl named Payton Leutner, survived being stabbed last May with a large kitchen knife 19 times.All three girls were 12 at the time.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

American Kennel Club Recognizes Four New Breeds


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Four new breeds of dogs have made it into the big league when it comes to dogs, the American Kennel Club.The Spanish Water Dog, Cirneco dell’Etna, Bergamasco, and Boerboel have each gained full recognition, the AKC announced on Wednesday.The four new breeds had to meet the requirements of having, “a minimum number of dogs geographically distributed throughout the U.S., as well as an established breed club of responsible owners and breeders,” in order to become AKC recognized, the organization reports.The breeds will become recognized breeds and be allowed to compete in AKC-sanctioned dog shows on Jan. 1, 2015.The Spanish Water Dog is described by the AKC as, “lively, hardworking, and very intelligent,” in addition to being “naturally protective.”The Cirneco dell’Etna is described as, “a hunter that works by scent, sight, and hearing.”The AKC calls the Bergamasco an, “athletic, sociable and intelligent dog that has a deep desire to please its owner.”The Boerbol is described as not the dog for first-time dog owners, but one that still has, “strong protective instincts and loves its family.”The four breeds' recognition means there will be 184 AKC-recognized dog breeds come Jan. 1.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Appears in Court


FBI(BOSTON) -- With a slight, scruffy beard and long, tousled hair, accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appeared in federal court Thursday -- the first time he’s been seen in public in a year and a half.The 21-year-old politely answered the judge’s questions in a final status conference, what is expected to be his last pretrial hearing before jury selection in his case begins in January.Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges connected to twin explosions that ripped through the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three, including an 8-year-old boy, and injuring more than 260 others.Investigators say that he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, planted the bombs and followed the horrific attack up with a series of other crimes. Four days after the explosions, investigators say, the Tsarnaevs murdered MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, carjacked a Mercedes SUV driver, and led police on a high-speed chase in Watertown where a bomb and bullet battle erupted in the street. Tamerlan was killed in the firefight.Dzhokhar fled the scene and hid for more than 16 hours until his capture on a dry-docked boat, where he appeared to explain his motive for the crime with a note written inside, according to prosecutors.“We Muslims are one body. You hurt one of us you hurt us all," read part of a note allegedly written by Tsarnaev on the wall of the boat amid bullet holes. “Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel [of] your gun and see heaven.”Court documents filed in March gave a potential hint of at least part of the defense strategy Tsarnaev’s legal team could use: saying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was under the control of his older brother -- “an all-powerful force who could not be ignored or disobeyed.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

49ers Drop Ray McDonald Following Alleged Sex Assault


Christian Petersen/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — Amid allegations of possible sexual assault, San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was released by his team Wednesday.In a statement, 49ers General Manager Trent Balke said, "This is about a pattern of poor behavior. We expect a lot from our players, hold them accountable for their actions."Although no arrests have been made, the San Jose Police Department say that McDonald's home had been searched after a woman told detectives "she was possibly sexually assaulted."According to cops, the alleged victim sought treatment at a hospital Tuesday, which then notified authorities about her accusations against McDonald.Earlier this year, McDonald was arrested by Santa Clara police following an alleged domestic violence incident involving his fiancée. However, charges were never filed.Now a free agent, McDonald had played for San Francisco since 2007.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Pedestrians Struck in Deadly Crash in Redondo Beach, California


iStock/Thinkstock(REDONDO BEACH, Calif.) — At least one person is dead, with up to 12 others injured after a car slammed into a group of pedestrians Wednesday in Redondo Beach, California, police said.The crash occurred outside St. James Catholic Church where a Christmas service had just ended, according to the Los Angeles Times.Some of the pedestrians were rushed to hospitals with critical injuries, Redondo Beach police Lt. Joe Hoffman said. One adult died at a hospital, and the injured included at least one child.According to ABC station KABC-TV, police said that a woman was driving northbound on Pacific Coast Highway when she ran a red light, striking the pedestrians and hitting another car.The woman was taken in police custody to a hospital, where she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, authorities said.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Deployed Airman Dressed as Santa Claus Surprises Son


Fuse/Thinkstock(MT. JULIET, Tenn.) -- Aaron Williams, a kindergartner from Tennessee, may never look at a Santa Claus anywhere, anytime the same way again.The 6-year-old was surprised at his school Tuesday by his dad, a member of the U.S. Air Force who dressed as Santa Claus, white beard and all, for the surprise.Aaron’s dad, Senior Airman Nicholas Williams, is in the middle of a year-long deployment to South Korea, so Aaron thought his dad would not be home to celebrate Christmas.“He started actually crying when I told him that,” Aaron’s mom, Whitney, told local ABC affiliate WKRN, referring to how she kept the secret from her son by telling him that his dad would not be home.“He was really upset and I felt really bad, like a horrible mother for lying to him like that,” she said.All was perhaps forgiven Tuesday morning when Aaron and his classmates at Lakeview Elementary School in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., gathered in the school library to, they thought, be read a story by an elf.When Santa Claus appeared and the elf, the school's physical education teacher in costume, asked who wanted to pull Santa's beard, it was Aaron who, by chance, raised his hand first."He's actually a really shy little boy so it was so sweet that he wanted to do it the most of all of them," Tiffany Brown, the school's assistant principal, told ABC News."It took him a few times of tugging on the beard and it wasn't until it came off that he saw," Brown said. "He stopped laughing and went into kind of awe and his first word was very clearly, 'Daddy.'""There wasn't a dry eye in the room," she said.Williams will have 28 days at home with his family before returning to South Korea through May to complete his military tour, WKRN reports.“I couldn’t ask for really anything more than to be home for Christmas,” Williams told the station.More ABC News Videos | ABC World NewsFollow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Former Justice of the Peace Sentenced to Death for 2013 Murders


Kuzma/iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- A Texas jury sentenced former Justice of the Peace Eric Williams to death in connection with the 2013 murder of the wife of a district attorney.The jury had found Williams guilty in the murder of Cynthia McLelland, the wife of District Attorney Mike McLelland, earlier this month.Among those who testified against Williams was his ex-wife, who described in detail the planning that went into Williams' revenge killings. District Attorney Mike McLelland and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse had prosecuted Williams for theft, effectively ending his legal career.The McLellands were killed in March 2013. Williams was charged with killing Mike McLelland as well as Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, who was killed about two months earlier, but never tried for their deaths.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Suspect in Kidnap of New Hampshire Girl Faces 205 Charges


New Hampshire Attorney General's Office(CONCORD, N.H.) -- A New Hampshire man who allegedly kidnapped a teenage girl and held her for nine months now faces more than 200 charges, including assault and felonious sexual assault, prosecutors said Wednesday.Nathaniel Kibby, 34, is charged with 80 counts each of aggravated felonious sexual assault and sexual assault, as well as 40 other crimes, said Jane Young, assistant attorney general of New Hampshire.Kibby allegedly used an "anti-bark shock dog training collar" on the teen to prevent her from making noise, according to court documents. Other times, the court records accuse him of using a gag in her mouth, zip ties around her wrists and a motorcycle helmet on her head with her eyes taped shut.The name of Kibby's alleged victim was initially released publicly when she went missing and when she returned to her family, but now that she is alleged to be the victim of sex crimes, her name is being withheld.The girl was 14 years old when she vanished in October 2013. She mysteriously returned to her mother's home in New Hampshire on July 20, and Kibby was arrested eight days later.Court records accuse Kibby of using a Taser to kidnap the girl, threatening to shoot her with a rifle and confining her to commit sexual assault.Parts of the report released Wednesday have been redacted, but the charges make it clear that the suspect is accused of repeated, violent sexual assault.Questions about the relationship between the girl and her alleged captor were initially raised because she did not immediately identify Kibby to police, though a spokesman for the girl's family later said the girl did not know her attacker prior to her abduction. The court records say that at one point, Kibby allegedly laid on top of the girl and put a gun in her hand, telling her that it was better to shoot him than to tell police about the kidnapping.Kibby, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to appear in Coos Superior Court on Jan. 8 for arraignment.Attempts to reach his attorney for comment weren't immediately successful.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Montana Man Found Guilty in Slaying of German Exchange Student


iStock/Thinkstock(GRANT CREEK, Mont.) -- Markus Kaarma has been found guilty in the slaying of 17-year-old German exchange student Diren Dede, whom he shot after the teen wandered into Kaarma’s Grant Creek, Montana, garage.Kaarma had claimed that he killed the teenager inside his garage out of fear for the safety of his family.Montana law allows a homeowner to protect himself with deadly force if threatened.Prosecutors say Kaarma bragged about wanting to "shoot some kids" and left his garage door open, baiting a would-be robber.The jury agreed, convicting Kaarma on Wednesday of deliberate homicide.Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 11.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Search Continues for Suspect Who Shot Texas Meteorologist Outside TV Station


KCEN/Facebook(WACO, Texas) --  Police continued their search tonight for a suspect in the shooting of a Texas meteorologist outside a TV station in Waco, Texas.The suspect fled after allegedly shooting Patrick Crawford, NBC affiliate KCEN's morning meteorologist, multiple times in the studio's parking lot, Department of Public Safety Trooper D.L. Wilson told ABC News today.Crawford underwent surgery, he added. Crawford's wife, Heather Brinkmann, also a meteorologist at the station, was with him at the hospital, KCEN's news director Jim Hice told ABC News."Thank you for your continuous thoughts and prayers," Heather Brinkmann posted on Facebook tonight. "I am happy to say that Patrick is in stable condition. Doctors continue to tell me how well he's doing considering the multiple gunshot wounds. Police tell me that if it wasn't for his smarts to hurry up and drive off and flag down construction workers, it could have been a whole different story. He is truly my hero."A man was later captured after a standoff at a nearby house, but police told ABC affiliate KXXV that he was wanted in an unrelated case."[Crawford] was getting into his car this morning after leaving the building and the subject walked up to him and they had a confrontation," Wilson said.With multiple gunshot wounds, Crawford, 35, was still able to drive away and flag down a construction worker for help, he added. It's not clear if there is a relationship between Crawford and the shooter."Whether they know each other or it's a random shooting, we don't know that yet," Wilson said.The suspect is reportedly described as a white man with a receding hairline, 30 to 35 years old, wearing a black hoodie and dark jeans. He is considered armed and dangerous.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Meteorologist Shot Outside Texas TV Station


KCEN/Facebook(WACO, Texas) -- A Texas meteorologist was shot Wednesday outside a TV station in Waco, police said.The suspect fled after allegedly shooting Patrick Crawford, NBC affiliate KCEN's morning meteorologist, multiple times in the studio's parking lot, Department of Public Safety Trooper D.L. Wilson told ABC News Wednesday."[Crawford] was getting into his car this morning after leaving the building and the subject walked up to him and they had a confrontation," Wilson said.With multiple gunshot wounds, Crawford was still able to drive away and flag down a construction worker for help, he added. It's not clear if there is a relationship between Crawford and the shooter."Whether they know each other or it's a random shooting, we don't know that yet," Wilson said.As of 2:30 p.m. ET, police had surrounded a home about a mile and a half away from the station but do not know if the shooter is inside, Wilson said. They are also looking in other areas.Crawford is now in surgery, he added.The suspect is reportedly described as a white man with a receding hairline, 30 to 35 years old, wearing a black hoodie and dark jeans. He is considered armed and dangerous.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

After Five Years in Prison, Alan Gross Says It's 'Good to Be Home'


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Alan Gross, the American subcontractor released Wednesday morning after more than five years in a Cuban prison, says it’s "good to be home.”"What a blessing it is to be a citizen of this country," he added.Gross, who was sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban jail after authorities accused him of a “subversive” plot to destroy the Cuban government, on Wednesday praised President Obama’s plan to restore diplomatic relations with the island nation, calling the move “a game changer.”“Cubanos are incredibly kind, generous, and talented. It pains me to see them treated so unjustly,” he said.“It was particularly cool to be sitting next to the Sec[retary] of State as he was hearing about his job description for the next few months,” added Gross, who watched the president’s address with Secretary of State John Kerry.Reportedly suffering from partial blindness and degenerative arthritis, Gross acknowledged the efforts of his wife, Judy, and the many lawmakers who visited him during his detainment."I want to thank all of the members of Congress of all sides of the aisle...who spoke up or visited me, subjected themselves to my ranting, and helped me regain some of my weight," he said. "Even in Cuba, M&Ms melt in my mouth."Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Boston Marathon Suspect to Make Court Appearance Thursday


FBI(BOSTON) -- Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is expected to appear in federal court for a final status conference hearing Thursday before his trial is slated to begin on murder and terrorism charges next month -- making it the first time he has been seen in more than a year and a half.Tsarnaev, 21, has not been in court since his arraignment on July 10, 2013 on charges that he and his brother Tamerlan detonated two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the historic race in April 2013, killing three and wounding more than 260 others, with 16 of those victims losing limbs.Four days later, federal prosecutors said, the Tsarnaev brothers murdered MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, carjacked a Mercedes SUV driver, and led police on a high-speed chase in Watertown where a bomb and bullet battle erupted in the street. Tamerlan was killed in the firefight. Dzhokhar fled the scene and hid for more than 16 hours until his capture on a dry-docked boat, where he appeared to explain his motive for the crime with a note written inside, according to prosecutors.“We Muslims are one body. You hurt one of us you hurt us all,’’ read part of a note allegedly written by Tsarnaev on the wall of the boat amid bullet holes. “Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel your gun and see heaven.” ABC News obtained a photo of the bloodstained bullet-pocked note.Among the issues expected to be discussed Thursday is the jury selection process, which is slated to being Jan. 5. Tsarnaev’s trial is expected to run for two to three months.Based on court filings, defense attorneys want the judge to include a question for potential jurors that would “identify those jurors who are especially likely to believe that the death penalty should be automatic for terrorism-murders, or for murderers of children or police officers.”Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Johns Hopkins Sends Rejected Students 'Welcome' Emails in Error


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) -- Johns Hopkins University accidentally sent nearly 300 students emails suggesting they had been accepted to the school, when actually they had already been turned down, the school admitted.The university quickly sent another note to those students on Sunday, apologizing, telling them that the "welcome" email was an error and saying their original rejection still stood."That was far worse than the original denial," Chuck Stephenson, whose 17-year-old son Sam was among the 294 students who received the error message, told ABC News on Wednesday. "We all realize how difficult Johns Hopkins and some of the other premier schools are to get into, so the initial one wasn't a shocker. Everyone had gotten over that. But the second one was tough to swallow."Sam Stephenson is a senior at Eastern View High School in Culpeper, Virginia. When he got the first email on Sunday that welcomed students to the class of 2019 and urged them to stock up on John Hopkins gear, "he assumed the original letter of denial was incorrect," his dad said. He still plans to apply for regular admission to Dartmouth, Duke, Vanderbilt and the University of Virginia, he said.One student posted the messages from the school on Twitter: I just have the worst luck in the world!!! LMAO I GOT TROLLED SO HARD smh #JHU2019 #wtf pic.twitter.com/FFwipsjl6O— Geoffrey Wang (@geodudewang) December 14, 2014 Johns Hopkins' early decision acceptances were announced on Dec. 12. On Dec. 14, the mistaken message welcoming students who were not actually accepted was sent "due to a human error at a vendor working for our undergraduate admissions office," said Dennis O'Shea of the school's media relations department."When the problem was discovered, we quickly sent out a correction to those who had received the message by mistake," O'Shea said. "We sincerely apologize to the students affected and to their families. This was an unacceptable error and we are working to ensure it does not happen again."Of the 1,865 students who applied for early decision to the prestigious Baltimore school, 539 were accepted.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

ABC EXCLUSIVE: Alan Gross: Cuba Releases Him After Five Years in Prison


Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Held for five years in Cuba, 65-year-old American contractor Alan Gross has been released from prison and is en route to U.S. soil, ABC News has learned exclusively.In a landmark humanitarian prisoner exchange to be announced by President Obama shortly at the White House, the agreement was reached following more than a year of secret back channel talks at the highest levels of both governments.Wednesday’s release of Gross, who is said to be in poor physical condition, represents a first step toward normalizing relations with the neighbor just 90-miles off the Florida coast.Gross was convicted of espionage by a Cuban court in 2011 and sentenced to 15 years for bringing telecommunication devices into Cuba while working as a subcontractor for United State Agency for International Development.The Cuban government accused him of being part of a U.S.-led plot to overthrow the government through an “Arab spring.”Following a recent visit, Gross’ attorney described him as nearly toothless, barely able to walk because of arthritis in his hips and blind in one eye. He has been kept in a small room at a military hospital 24 hours a day with two other Cuban political prisoners.Gross has refused medical and dental care or outside privileges, and declined visits and food from the U.S. Interest section in Havana. He had promised a hunger strike leading to death if not released by the end of this year.In a statement released earlier this month to mark the anniversary of Gross’ time in jail, Gross’s wife Judy said: “Enough is enough. My husband has paid a terrible price for serving his country and community.”In return for Gross, the United States has agreed to the humanitarian release of three Cuban agents convicted of espionage in a controversial trial that found them guilty of spying on anti-Castro groups in Miami, but not the U.S. government. All three were most recently held in North Carolina at a federal medical facility for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.The humanitarian release is just the beginning of a promised new relationship with Cuba. The White House is indicating the beginning of new talks on everything from travel restrictions to eventual lifting of the Cuban embargo in place since John F. Kennedy was President.In an interview last week with Jorge Ramos for Fusion -- a sister network to ABC News -- President Obama said: “We’ve been in conversations about how we can get Alan Gross home for quite some time.”"We continue to be concerned about him. We think that he shouldn’t have been held in the first place,” Obama told Ramos. “With respect to Cuba generally, I’ve made very clear that the policies that we have in making remittances easier for Cuban families, and making it easier for families to travel, have been helpful to people inside Cuba...But the Cuban government still needs to make significant changes."More ABC News Videos | ABC World NewsFollow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Water Leak at Barclays Center Causes 'Rain Delay' During NBA Game


Al Bello/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat was delayed for about 30 minutes Tuesday after a leak left water dripping onto the court.The installation of a new roof at New York City’s Barclays Center -- which cost $1 billion to build -- led to the leak, center officials said.Play was suspended with 1:47 remaining in the first quarter. As the water dripped onto the court, personnel covered the floor with towels and added a garbage can to collect the water.Miami charged ahead after play resumed, winning 95-91.Rainouts have happened at indoor sports facilities before, but it’s uncommon. A 1986 NBA game between the Seattle SuperSonics and Phoenix Suns was postponed due to a leaking roof. In 1976, baseball’s Houston Astros -- playing in the Astrodome -- had to reschedule a game due to flooding in and around the stadium following a storm.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Drive Sober Campaign Aims to Top Last Year's Success


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says motorists should be wary about seeing a red light in their rear view mirror this holiday season. It probably won't be from Rudolph's nose but a cop pulling them over for possibly driving drunk.With the government having again launched its annual "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, Foxx issued a warning to motorists not to take any chances with drinking and driving this holiday season.On the downside, the transportation chief said that alcohol played a role in over 10,000 traffic deaths last year.However, campaigns like "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" appear to be working because Foxx added, "Last December saw the fewest drunk driving deaths of any December in more than 30 years. Drunk driving deaths were down by 2.5 percent over the whole year."While an improvement, Foxx said state and local authorities hope to improve on that record this month.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jesus Sign at Fire Station Becomes Hot Topic


Hemera/Thinkstock(UTICA, N.Y.) — The chief of a Utica, New York, fire station says its holiday sign reading "Happy Birthday Jesus We Love You" is staying put.Freedom From Religion Foundation based in Madison, Wisconsin, contends the sign outside Fire Station 4 is unconstitutional because it suggests the city prefers "religion over nonreligion," according to Syracuse.com.Rebecca Markert, an attorney for the group, argues that it also excludes Jews, Muslims, Native Americans and nonreligious people.This isn't the first time a controversy over the sign has erupted. Fire Chief Russell Brooks says that as far back as 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union made a similar complaint.In fact, the Freedom From Religion Foundation also raised objections last year about the fire station's expression of its love for Jesus.However, Brooks said that he received assurances from the Thomas More Law Center, a Christian, nonprofit law firm, that the sign is perfectly legal.Despite the FFRF's latest protest, Brooks told a local TV station Tuesday the sign isn't going anywhere.Follow @ABCNewsRadio !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio