National News

Houston-Area Flash Flooding Leaves at Least Five Dead


File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(HOUSTON) -- Floodwaters that inundated Houston, bringing the city to a standstill, were blamed Tuesday for at least five deaths, and statewide, the disaster claimed at least 12 lives, authorities said Tuesday.Houston Mayor Annalise Parker did not identify the fatalities, but said that two were found inside vehicles and another was found in a bayou and police suspect that the individual suffered from a heart attack while trying to push their vehicle.A fourth person was also found in a bayou, and officials said it is possible he was a man who was lost during a rescue attempt earlier on Tuesday. Another man had a heart attack trying to push his car out of flood waters."Given the magnitude and how quickly it happened, in such a short period of time, I've never seen this before," said Rick Flanagan, Houston's emergency management coordinator.There are still 30 people unaccounted for in Hays County, according to the latest figures from a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson.Some of the underpasses in Houston that flood in normal rainfalls were the first areas affected when 6 to 10 inches of rain fell by early Tuesday morning. Parker said there have been more than 1,000 cars left stranded on highways and roadways. Parker explained the rain created two problems: the first being that the ground was largely saturated and couldn't absorb all of the evening's rainfall because of "several weeks of really heavy rainfall." On top of that, the small rivers that surround and run through Houston began overflowing their banks and flooding neighborhoods. "It's still a dangerous situation along the bayous, they're flowing very, very rapidly," Parker said. A city official noted that they responded to 968 incidents overnight into Tuesday, 531 of which were water-related. As a result of the rainfall and flooded roadways, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for the Texas counties of Harris and Fort Bend. Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Danny Perez encouraged area commuters to take the day off. "We're just asking folks to, if you're at home, stay put," Perez said. "If you need to be on the roadway, make sure you're checking in with supervisors or whoever you need to check in with. It's not worth it if you can stay home." The high water shut down the Katy Freeway eastbound and westbound at the 610 West loop. Hundreds of homes are currently impacted by the flooding, Harris County Emergency management said. The White Oak Bayou in Houston is rapidly rising and spilling over highways, currently at major flood stage and expected to rise to more than 40 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The last time the bayou crested to this level was during Hurricane Ike in 2008. The Brays Bayou is expected to expand to 45 feet before receding, while the Keegans Bayor, which feeds into Brays Bayou, has reached record levels. Those conditions caused some fans at Houston's Toyota Center to remain in their seats following Monday's Western Conference Finals basketball game between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors. Fans and players were asked not to leave the arena following the Rockets' 128-115 Game 4 victory. When someone's phone beeped loudly with a flash flood warning during Rockets center Dwight Howard's postgame press conference he shook his head and said: "It's bad outside." Howard stayed at the arena, hoping to wait out the storm. The flash flooding follows a series of deadly, powerful storms across the southern Great Plains. Earlier Monday, a tornado ripped through Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, a city on the U.S. Mexico border, killing at least 13 people. The deadly tornado was one of at least 15 reported Monday. It tore a baby from its mother's arms, ripped apart buildings, tossed cars and trucks around, in some cases leaving them standing on end. In weekend flooding that hit parts of Texas, one driver had to be rescued as the surge of water swept away his SUV outside San Antonio. At least five people were killed over the weekend as a result of flash floods along the Blanco River between Austin and San Antonio, officials said Monday. Among the dead was 14-year-old Damien Blade, who was found with his dog in a suburban Dallas storm drain. Investigators said they apparently had drowned but their investigation continues. According to police, Damien's family reported him missing about 10 p.m. Sunday after one of his two dogs showed up alone at the house, wet and extremely muddy. In the town of Wimberley alone, as many as 400 homes have been destroyed. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added 24 counties Monday to the list of those where he has declared a state of emergency, and he said with more rain in the forecast, he could add additional counties. The weekend storms were blamed for three deaths, including two in Oklahoma and one in Texas, where a man's body was recovered from a flooded area along the Blanco River.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Florida Bounce House Incident Was 'Freak Act of Nature,' City Manager Says


Brandon Burchett(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- Fort Lauderdale City Manager called Memorial Day's beach bounce house incident "a freak act of nature that no one could have prepared for or predicted.""The change in weather was sudden and severe," the statement from City Manager Lee Feldman said. "An intense water spout came ashore rapidly and without warning bringing forceful winds that meteorologists have estimated were between 65 and 85 miles per hour. Its powerful unpredictable path knocked down street lights and destroyed a cement basketball support structure."After a waterspout came ashore on the Florida beach, it hit an inflated bouncy castle, tossing it into the air and injuring three children.The video, provided to ABC News by Brandon Burchett, shows the swirling column of wind and ocean water head straight towards the amusement ride. The bouncy castle then got caught in the wind and flipped over repeatedly before it was swept even further up in the air.The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said three children, whose identities would not be released, were injured. One was held overnight for observation and two were treated for minor fractures and released, police said.Feldman's statement added: "Under the circumstances, our Police, Public Safety and Fire-Rescue personal responded quickly and appropriately to minimize injuries and damage. While our thoughts and prayers remain with the injured children and their families for a speedy recovery, we are grateful that this act of god did not cause any more serious harm given the large number of people who were enjoying the beach on Memorial Day."The city said it has already put the bounce house vendor, All Star Events, on notice of their responsibility as "we continue to investigate the incident."All Star Events declined to comment to ABC News.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Missouri Man Catches 65-Pound Striped Bass on Lake


Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation(TANEY COUNTY, Mo.) -- A Missouri fisherman who caught a record-setting 65-pound striped bass earlier this month quickly found out he needed more than just a strong line to reel the fish in.Lawrence Dillman of Rockaway Beach, Missouri hooked the giant striped bass on Bull Shoals Lake near the Arkansas border on May 21 using just a rod and reel, the Missouri Department of Conservation said Tuesday in a news release.Dillman used a 20-pound line and a minnow to catch the fish, but discovered he needed to get much more physically involved to get the big catch. "I fought the giant for over 45 minutes until I got him to shallow water," Dillman said. "I then bear hugged the fish and got it out of the water on to the bank."The bass weighed in at 65 pounds, 2 ounces, more than 49 inches in length and a girth of 36 inches, according to the agency, which broke the previous “pole and line” striped bass record of 60 pounds, 9 ounces caught on Bull Shoals Lake in 2011. Staff from the Missouri Department of Conservation verified the record-weight fish. "Once the fish was on the line, I knew I had a decent one, but I didn't at all think it was a striped bass," Dillman said. "I thought it was a spoonbill or something else. But when I got him to the bank I knew I had something amazing!"The longtime angler said the fish is now at Bass Pro in Springfield getting mounted, but his latest catch won’t have him stop fishing every day anytime soon. "I've caught bigger fish in the ocean, but this fish is the biggest fresh-water fish I have ever caught,” Dillman said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Missouri Man Catches 65 Pound Bass on Lake


Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation(TANEY COUNTY, Mo.) -- A Missouri fisherman who caught a record-setting 65-pound bass earlier this month quickly found out he needed more than just a strong line to reel the fish in.Lawrence Dillman of Rockaway Beach, Missouri hooked the giant striped bass on Bull Shoals Lake near the Arkansas border on May 21 using just a rod and reel, the Missouri Department of Conservation said Tuesday in a news release.Dillman used a 20-pound line and a minnow to catch the fish, but discovered he needed to get much more physically involved to get the big catch. "I fought the giant for over 45 minutes until I got him to shallow water," Dillman said. "I then bear hugged the fish and got it out of the water on to the bank."The bass weighed in at 65 pounds, 2 ounces, more than 49 inches in length and a girth of 36 inches, according to the agency, which broke the previous “pole and line” striped bass record of 60 pounds, 9 ounces caught on Bull Shoals Lake in 2011. Staff from the Missouri Department of Conservation verified the record-weight fish. "Once the fish was on the line, I knew I had a decent one, but I didn't at all think it was a striped bass," Dillman said. "I thought it was a spoonbill or something else. But when I got him to the bank I knew I had something amazing!"The longtime angler said the fish is now at Bass Pro in Springfield getting mounted, but his latest catch won’t have him stop fishing every day anytime soon. "I've caught bigger fish in the ocean, but this fish is the biggest fresh-water fish I have ever caught,” Dilman said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amtrak to Install Inward-Facing Cameras in Locomotives Following Deadly Derailme


Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Amtrak announced on Tuesday that it will install new inward-facing video cameras in its new fleet of electric locomotives in service along the Northeast Corridor by the end of the year following a deadly derailment earlier this month in Philadelphia that killed 8 people.Installation will first occur in 70 ACS-64 electric locomotives that will power all Northeast Regional and long-distance trains between Washington, New York and Boston, as well as Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa.“Inward-facing video cameras will help improve safety and serve as a valuable investigative tool,” said Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman in a statement. “We have tested these cameras and will begin installation as an additional measure to enhance safety.” Amtrak is developing a plan for installation of inward-facing cameras in the rest of its locomotive fleet, including Acela Express power cars and diesel locomotives. The railroad currently has outward-facing cameras on locomotives, along with advanced systems that monitor locomotive and engineer actions.A camera mounted on the locomotive of Amtrak 188 focused on the track ahead and showed investigators the constant acceleration in the minute prior to that train’s derailment in Philadelphia.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Merriam-Webster Adds 'Meme,' 'Photobombing,' 'Jeggings' to Dictionary


chayathonwong/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Yes, texters rejoice. WTF is now a real word -- and so are some 1,700 other entries the editors at Merriam-Webster just added to their unabridged dictionary.Photobombing, while still a culturally-questionable way to ruin a family portrait, is now in the book. So are all the picture memes exchanged between co-workers, and those other emails that are NSFW. In more contentious, less playful realms of online culture, additions included anonymous dark money contributions to political campaigns and the hotly debated net neutrality principle that treats all internet data equally.Jeggings also made the cut-though some might wonder what took Merriam and Webster so long to try on the stylish stretchy jeans, which came on the market at least six years ago, and were picked up by Oxford Dictionaries in 2011.World foods like delicate French macarons and savory Mexican chilaquiles were also officially appropriated by English-speakers.You can check out some of the rest of their choicest entries here. Talk about clickbait.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Feds Reach Settlement to Overhaul, Re-train Cleveland Police Department


Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Days after protests over a police shooting verdict rocked Cleveland, the Justice Department reached a settlement with the city over police conduct that has shown a “pattern and practice” of unnecessary force. The settlement comes after a Cleveland patrolman was acquitted Friday for his role in the fatal shootings of two unarmed black people in 2012.Announcing the agreement, Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said, “Today, Cleveland demonstrates to the rest of the country that people can come together across perceived differences to realize a common vision of a safer, more just city.”The agreement will require the Cleveland Police to provide improved training and guidance on when and how officers use force. “Officers will be trained to use de-escalation techniques, rather than force, whenever possible. In addition, if force is used, officers will immediately provide emergency first aid as necessary,” Gupta said. The agreement also sets up a new Community Police Commission of faith-based organizations, civil rights advocates, police unions and other community leaders who will partner with police to work towards "bias-free" policing.The investigation of the Cleveland police by the Civil Rights Division found that the police had a disturbing record of shooting residents, striking them in the head, and spraying them with chemicals, when such extreme force was not needed. The highly critical report was issued last December, a month after Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African American boy, was fatally shot by police officers while he was holding a toy pistol. Video of the incident went viral, and drew national attention to Cleveland’s police department. The protests in Cleveland over the Memorial Day weekend were triggered by the acquittal of Officer Michael Brelo on manslaughter charges in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in 2012. Russell and Williams were killed after they allegedly led police on a long car chase across Cleveland that eventually grew to more than 60 police cars. Prosecutors charged that once the car was finally stopped, more than a dozen officers fired more than 100 rounds into the vehicle. Officer Brelo was accused of climbing in the hood of the car and shooting 15 rounds through the windshield, striking Russell and Williams. The Justice Department said it is continuing its investigation of that shooting, despite Brelo’s acquittal, and it could bring federal civil rights charges against the officer.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Feds Reach Settlement Over Police Use of Force in Cleveland


Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Just days after protests over a police shooting verdict rocked Cleveland, sources say the Justice Department has reached a settlement with the city over police conduct that has shown a “pattern and practice” of unnecessary force. The settlement comes after a Cleveland patrolman was acquitted Friday for his role in the fatal shootings of two unarmed black people in 2012. The Justice Department, now led by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is expected to announce the details of the settlement later today. The investigation of the Cleveland police by the Civil Rights Division found that the police had a disturbing record of shooting residents, striking them in the head, and spraying them with chemicals, when such extreme force was not needed. The highly critical report was issued last December, a month after Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African American boy, was fatally shot by police officers while he was holding a toy pistol. Video of the incident went viral, and drew national attention to Cleveland’s police department. Then-Attorney General Eric Holder went to Cleveland in December to announce the results of the DOJ investigation, and said the police and the city had agreed to appoint an independent monitor to oversee police reforms, and increase supervision and training of officers. Today’s settlement is likely to expand on that agreement. The protests in Cleveland over the Memorial Day weekend were triggered by the acquittal of Officer Michael Brelo on manslaughter charges in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams in 2012. Russell and Williams were killed after they allegedly led police on a long car chase across Cleveland that eventually grew to more than 60 police cars. Prosecutors charged that once the car was finally stopped, more than a dozen officers fired more than 100 rounds into the vehicle. Officer Brelo was accused of climbing in the hood of the car and shooting 15 rounds through the windshield, striking Russell and Williams. The Justice Department said it is continuing its investigation of that shooting, despite Brelo’s acquittal, and it could bring federal civil rights charges against the officer.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mom Swept Away by Texas Floods Called Sister as Rain Poured Down


KVUE(SAN ANTONIO) -- A missing mother of two made a frantic phone call to her sister as deadly floodwaters inundated Texas over the weekend. Julie Shields said her sister Laura McComb had been in touch with her Saturday night when the rain started pouring down in Wimberley, a river town between Austin and San Antonio. Laura and her husband, Jonathan McComb, had come with their 4- and 6-year-old children as part of a bigger group of friends from Corpus Christi who wanted to spend Memorial Day Weekend on the Blanco River. "My sister and I had been texting and talking throughout the night and she had told me around 11:00 that water had started coming in," Shields told ABC News affiliate KVUE in Austin. About three hours later, Shields became the last person to hear from her sister, who’s still missing, along with her children. "She called me, she said 'I'm in a house. I'm floating down the river. Tell mom and dad I love you and pray,'" Shields told KVUE. Jonathan McComb survived and was found on a river bank by rescue crews. He broke his rib, sternum and suffered a collapsed lung, and has been treated at a hospital in San Antonio. "He is absolutely devastated,” Shields said. “He did everything he possibly could to save them. "What happened was the house slammed into a bridge and the house broke in two and they had all been in the house together holding hands but when the house hit the bridge and it separated, he got separated from everyone else," she said. The state team from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was to resume their search for the McCombs and the nine others who are still missing, but the family is not overly optimistic. "I think recognizing with what's happening with the weather, we all know and we have accepted that they're gone," Shields said.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

72,000 Ladybugs Set Free in School


iStock/Thinkstock(MORGANZA, Md.) -- Here's one way to bug your teachers. Seniors at Chopticon High School in Maryland left a mark on their school in more ways than one -- in 72,000 ways to be exact. A group decided their senior prank would be to release 72,000 ladybugs to freely roam the hallways, according to the St. Mary’s County’s Sheriff’s Office. Five suspects wearing masks and hoodies forced open the school’s back door around 3:40 a.m. on May 20 and spread the ladybugs before leaving, authorities said. Police told ABC News that two others did not enter the school at the time, but instead waited in a car.Of the seven people involved, four are juveniles being charged with fourth-degree burglary, property destruction under $1,000 and disruption of school activities. The three adult males will be charged by criminal summons, police said.None of the students have been identified by name. The group ordered the ladybugs from Amazon for about $100, according to senior Eric Maxey, who was not involved in the night of the prank. He said about 75 seniors pitched in money to help pay for the bugs.“Everyone was obviously laughing the next morning because it was so unique,” said Maxey. “It didn’t cause any damage and the school had already bagged up most of them by our second period.” Janitors from local schools came to help clean up the ladybugs and were armed with vacuums on their backs, said sophomore Trinity Alexander. School officials decided one senior involved will not be allowed to walk at graduation this Wednesday. Chopticon High School officials did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Orleans Cop Shooting: What We Know About Slain Officer


WGNO(NEW ORLEANS) -- James Bennett Jr., the 45-year-old New Orleans police officer shot dead in his cruiser this weekend, had over 15 years’ experience in law enforcement. "Bennett was a former member of the JPSO [Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office] Reserve Division from April 2000 until March of 2006," the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "He went full-time in the Second District Patrol Division for a short time, returning back into the Reserves in October 2006. In May of 2013, Sergeant James Bennett, Jr. left the JPSO to go full-time with HANO [Housing Authority of New Orleans]." Bennett was working with HANO when he was shot Sunday morning, police said. His fellow New Orleans police officers responded to the shooting and found that Bennett's car had rolled forward and struck a curb, police said. A HANO officer "investigates complaints, maintains order, aids individuals, and identifies criminal offenders," according to a summary of the position on hano.org. HANO officers also perform "unplanned physical tasks which include the restraining of violent individuals, running, climbing fences and responding to EMS and rescue emergencies. Officers must handle gun belts," the summary said. New Orleans Coroner Jeffrey C. Rouse said in a statement: "May God bless both the Bennett family and the entire family of law enforcement officers who keep civilization going with their sacrifices, great and small." New Orleans police said Tuesday the shooting remains under investigation and no additional information is available. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement Sunday: "The death of this HANO police officer is an unspeakable tragedy, and a vile and cowardly act. Tragedies that involve our men and women in uniform affect our entire city and touch every member of our law enforcement community. We are deeply saddened by this loss, and our hearts and prayers are with the officer's friends and family and with the entire HANO family during this very difficult time.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hudson River Kayak Mystery: Fiancee Indicted, Body Identified


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A body found in New York's Hudson River over the weekend has been identified as 46-year-old Vincent Viafore, the man who disappeared after kayaking with his fiancee last month, and indictments against the fiancee for second-degree murder and manslaughter have been handed up, Orange County, New York, District Attorney David Hoovler said on Tuesday.New York State Police said on Saturday that a body was pulled from the river near West Point and was taken to the Orange County Medical Examiner for an autopsy and identification. Police did not identify the body at the time.The attorney for the fiancee, Angelika Graswald, 35, has also confirmed that the remains were identified as Viafore.The attorney said in a statement: "The members of Ms. Graswald's defense team, like everybody involved in this case, are relieved that Mr. Viafore has been recovered and identified. It is our sincere hope that the recovery and identification of Mr. Viafore helps bring some consolation to his family and loved ones."Viafore's family has declined to comment to ABC News.Viafore disappeared last month while he was kayaking with Graswald, authorities said.About two weeks after the incident, prosecutors charged Graswald with second-degree murder.New York State Police initially said rough water and strong winds caused Viafore's kayak to overturn.Graswald, a Latvian national, called 911, according to police, who initially said that she tried to help him. While trying to help her fiance, she fell out of her kayak, police said, but was later found by a boater and rescued. Police noted at the time of the incident that Graswald was treated for hypothermia at a local hospital and released.Then, prosecutors said last month that Graswald admitted to investigators that she tampered with Viafore's kayak so that it would take on water.Prosecutors said Graswald also told police that she watched Viafore struggle in the Hudson's icy waters for several minutes before he went under.Prosecutors said Graswald admitted to New York State Police it "felt good knowing that he was going to die," and implied that "this was her only way out."After charging Graswald with second-degree murder, prosecutors said her motive was two life insurance policies that could benefit her for a total of about $250,000. Graswald even "talked about what she could possibly do with the money," prosecutors said.Graswald's lawyer has said he plans to challenge the alleged confessions."We're going to find out whether they indeed happened, whether they were voluntary or forced," Graswald's attorney, Richard Portale, said of the alleged confessions reported by prosecutors. "And it's all going to come out."Graswald has not yet entered a plea. Her bail has been set at $3 million.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Free Range Parents' Cleared of One Child Neglect Charge


ABC News(ROCKVILLE, Md.) -- The Maryland parents who were charged with child neglect over their "free range parenting" style have been cleared of a second of three charges against them.Child Protective Services of Montgomery County, Maryland, changed the ruling on a Dec. 20 incident from "unsubstantiated neglect" to having charges "ruled out," the attorney for Alexander and Danielle Meitiv told ABC News Tuesday."This ruling confirms that we never exposed our children to a ‘substantial risk of harm,'" Danielle Meitiv said in a news release.The couple has faced three charges from CPS since 2014, each based on an instance where their 6-year-old and 10-year-old children were found walking home by themselves from parks. State law dictates that children under the age of 8 must be in the care of a person at least 13.CPS did not disclose a reason for the ruling, the Meitivs' attorney said, and the agency did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.The charge that was most recently dismissed stemmed from an instance when the children were detained by authorities after they were spotted walking unaccompanied by an adult during the mile-long trip back to their home from the park in December.The Meitivs already faced an accusation relating to a similar incident in October 2014, their attorney Matthew Dowd said, for which they previously obtained a favorable ruling. They still face a charge for a third incident in April of this year."We are working to ensure that this abuse by CPS does not happen again in the future," Dowd said, telling ABC News the family is concerned about the children being held by CPS for several hours, as they were in December.Danielle Meitiv echoed his concerns."We fear that our family and other Maryland families will be subject to further investigations and frightening police detentions simply because our and their children have been taught how to walk safely in their neighborhood, including to and from school and local parks," she said in the statement.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Shooting at ND Walmart Kills Two, Including Gunman


Fuse/Thinkstock(GRAND FORKS, N.D.) -- Two people were killed, including the gunman, and one person was injured in a shooting at a Walmart early Tuesday morning, police confirmed.Grand Forks police officers were dispatched to the scene a little after 1:04 a.m. following a report of gunshots. After arriving, they found multiple people hurt inside the store and were immediately transported to Altru Hospital for treatment. The Grand Forks Police Department told ABC News they will not release the names of the victims or the shooter until families are notified. Andy Legg told ABC News affiliate WDAY-TV he heard "popping sounds" going off in the store before he and a group of customers were taken to another section in the store. When he and the group later left the building, he said they passed an employee covered in blood. It "didn't look good," Legg said.  While there's no motive yet on why the shooter opened fire, authorities are calling this an ongoing investigation but they do not believe the public is at risk at this time.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Colorado Theater Shooting Trial: Holmes' Notebook Takes Center Stage


Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) -- One of the most mysterious pieces of evidence in the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting case will be further revealed when the trial of James Holmes enters its fifth week.The now-infamous notebook with the words "James Holmes" and "My Life" written on the front cover, has been a huge controversy in the case since the beginning.There have been intense arguments in the past three years as to whether the notebook should be admitted into evidence. It is a Pandora's Box written by the gunman in the weeks before the shooting. His thoughts will be interpreted by both sides, but first presented by the prosecution.Holmes, 27, mailed it to his psychiatrist on July 19, 2012, just hours before he booby-trapped his apartment and then entered a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises dressed head to toe in ballistic gear on a mission to kill as many people as he could to increase what he referred to in the notebook as his "human capitol."He faces 166 charges, including numerous counts of murder, attempted murder and possession of explosives, in the July 20, 2012, attack, in which 12 people were killed and 70 injured. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.Holmes' attorneys say he cataloged his thoughts in the notebook -- which looks like a typical college student project, plastic-covered with colorful separators -- in the weeks before the shooting.During opening statements, the court heard what was inside for the first time as Holmes' lawyer, public defender Dan King, waved it in the air and read his client's writings: "We are all one unity, as such there is no difference between life and death or space time. ...Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why does the value of a person even matter?""This notebook," said King,"is a whole lot of crazy."But prosecutors presented the contents of the notebook differently."It was a philosophical discourse," Arapaho County District Attorney George Brauchler said to the 24-person jury.Pages of the notebook were shown on screens in the courtroom that day. One monitor is over the jurors' heads, one is just to the left of where the defendant and his attorneys sit, and a third is displayed behind Judge Carlos Samour Jr.In the notebook, Holmes' scribbled out "his longstanding hatred of mankind," and asked questions about the meaning of life and death, Brauchler said. Holmes then supported these theories with drawings and diagrams of the actions he would take -- actions which "would make him feel better," the prosecutor said. Prosecutors say the missive was intended for his family: Goober, Bobbo and Chrissy, pet names for his mother Arlene, father Robert and younger sister Chris.Holmes mailed the notebook from a post office near the Century 16 theater on a Thursday, but it arrived at the University of Colorado Medical School mail room on the weekend and sat there until the next Monday. His psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, never saw it.The defendant's writings will be interpreted by both sides as they battle out whether he was sane or insane the night he opened fire with a shotgun, a semi-assault rifle and a Glock handgun into a theater full of excited Batman fans.It is unclear how this crucial evidence from Holmes' mind will be presented to the court. Will the jury receive a copy of the notebook to read for themselves? Will it be displayed page by page on the courtroom TV screens? Or will it be read aloud like a grim storybook?The district attorney hinted Thursday before the Memorial Day break that his case, which is nearing the halfway point, will take a turn starting this week. The court has yet to hear from state psychiatrists who evaluated the defendant in nearly 48 hours of taped interviews.The defense says it will take about a month to put on its case, but, explained King, there have been some duplicate witnesses, so it may not take as long as that.Legal observers say three months of being subjected to grueling testimony and then a possible month of sentencing will be hard on the 19-woman and five-man jury. Some of the evidence has been tedious, including hours of plotting out bullet impacts in dozens of theater seats.Last week, Samour admonished one juror for seemingly falling asleep.But no one was sleeping as court wound down Thursday, as the Arapahoe County Coroner described the autopsies of half of the 12 gunshot victims, including those of 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan. The jury passed around Kleenex, dabbed their eyes, and quietly walked out of the room for a much-needed holiday break.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Drivers Stranded, Homes Damaged by Houston-Area Flash Flooding


File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(HOUSTON) -- Flash flooding in Houston has left roads blocked, drivers stranded and homes destroyed, according to officials.Roadways in the Houston area are blocked, drivers are stranded and homes have been destroyed due to flash flooding, according to officials.Between 6 and 10 inches of rain had fallen in the region by early Tuesday, with additional rain possible.As a result of the rainfall and flooded roadways, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for the Texas counties of Harris and Fort Bend. Residents are urged not to travel unless they are fleeing a flooded area. That emergency was set to expire at 2:45 a.m. local time.The high water shut down the Katy Freeway eastbound and westbound at the 610 West loop.Hundreds of homes are currently impacted by the flooding, Harris County Emergency management said.The White Oak Bayou in Houston is rapidly rising and spilling over highways. It is currently at major flood stage and is expected to rise to more than 40 feet, according to the National Weather Service. The last time the bayou crested to this level was during Hurricane Ike in 2008.Those conditions caused some fans at Houston’s Toyota Center to remain in their seats following Monday’s Western Conference Finals basketball game between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.Fans and players were asked not to leave the arena following the Rockets’ 128-115 Game 4 victory.The flash flooding follows a series of deadly, powerful storms across the southern Great Plains. Earlier Monday, a tornado ripped through Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, a city on the U.S.-Mexico border, killing at least 13 people.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added 24 counties Monday to the list of those where he has declared a state of emergency, and he said with more rain in the forecast, he could add additional counties.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Manhunt Continues Following New Orleans Police Officer's Shooting Death


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- A manhunt continues in New Orleans after a police officer was found shot dead in his marked patrol car Sunday.The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office identified the victim Monday as James Bennett, Jr., 45.Bennett, a Housing Authority of New Orleans Police Officer since 2013, had previously worked in the sheriff’s office Reserve Division -- a volunteer unit that supplements regular officers.The shooting was reported at 7 a.m. Sunday, the New Orleans Police Department said in a news release. The victim's car rolled forward and struck a curb after the shooting."The death of this HANO police officer is an unspeakable tragedy, and a vile and cowardly act,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement following the officer’s death. “Tragedies that involve our men and women in uniform affect our entire city and touch every member of our law enforcement community. We are deeply saddened by this loss, and our hearts and prayers are with the officer's friends and family and with the entire HANO family during this very difficult time.”Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: Cleveland Reaches Settlement with DOJ over 'Excessive Force'


Ricky Rhodes/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The city of Cleveland has reached a settlement with the Justice Department over charges of police brutality, according to The New York Times.The news comes as hundreds took to the streets to protest a judge's decision not to convict a white police officer in the 2012 fatal shootings of an unarmed black couple. On Saturday, Officer Michael Brelo was cleared in the killing of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, as they sat in their car."It's a tragedy because no one is being held accountable," Michelle Russell, Timothy Russell's sister, said Saturday.The settlement, the details of which were unknown, could be announced Tuesday, according to The Times. In December, Attorney General Eric Holder said there was reasonable cause to believe that the Cleveland Division of Police engaged in a pattern of excessive force.After an investigation of nearly 600 "troubling, high-profile use of force incidents" between 2010 and 2013, "we determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Cleveland division of public police engages in a pattern and practice of using excessive force," Holder said in December.ABC News' calls to city officials, including the mayor's office and the police department, were not returned.Prosecutors said Brelo, 31, was one of 13 officers who fired 137 times into the couple's car in the November 2012 shooting. The 22-mile, high-speed chase through Cleveland began when an officer tried pulling over Timony Russell for a turn signal violation. His car backfired while speeding away, causing officers to think someone in the car had fired a gun.At the end of the chase, Brelo stood on the car's hood when it was stopped and shot 15 times into the windshield, said prosecutors. Brelo told the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation that he thought he and his partner were being shot at. Russell and Williams were each shot more than 20 times.No gun was ever found in the car. Brelo was the only officer charged criminally because prosecutors said he had intended to kill the couple, alleging that he'd reloaded during the shooting barrage and that it was his final salvo that killed the couple. On Saturday, the judge ruled that Brelo's use of deadly force was constitutionally reasonable based on how the events unfolded.Protests, mostly peaceful, quickly followed the acquittal. Cleveland police made 71 arrests during Saturday's demonstrations, Chief Calvin Williams said during a news conference Sunday. Of those arrests, the majority were arraigned on misdemeanor charges and released from jail. Three who were wanted on unrelated felony charges are still being held.Ohio Gov. John Kasich praised the people of Cleveland, calling its residents a "model" in their response to the judge's ruling.Community leaders said on Sunday, however, that they were growing anxious as they awaited the results into the police shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. The youth was fatally shot by police officers on Nov. 22 while he was holding a toy gun in a Cleveland playground. Earlier this month, the sheriff leading the investigation said that "the majority of our work is complete.""Obviously, there are concerns," said the Rev. Jawanza Colvin of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. "A simmering pot is only a few degrees from boiling. ... What I'm concerned about is what we do in between the Brelo case and the Tamir Rice investigation. We need to be focused on reforms."There is no word yet on when the Tamir Rice decision will be announced.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fighter Jets Scramble Following at Least Six Reports of Threats to Passenger Pla


Officials search an Air France plane after it lands at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City on May 25, 2015. WABC-TV(NEW YORK) -- At least six flights were impacted by threats at airports in New York, New Jersey and Boston on Monday, according to airlines and law enforcement. JFK Airport: An Air France plane was escorted to JFK Airport in New York City Monday morning after an anonymous threat was made against the flight, law enforcement officials told ABC News. The FBI said the plane has since been checked and cleared with "no incidents or hazards reported on board the flight by either the passengers or its crew." Authorities said that the decision to have the plane escorted by two fighter jets was done "out of an abundance of caution" after the Maryland State Police McHenry Barrack, in Garrett County, received an anonymous call of a “chemical weapons threat” aboard Air France Flight 22, which was en route from Paris to the New York City airport. The tip was called in at 6:45 a.m. on an untraceable line and the caller did not identify himself, a senior federal official told ABC News. Two F-15 planes were scrambled and followed the plane into U.S. airspace, but they flew in a way so that the passengers and crew would not be able to see the military planes, sources said. The Airbus A-330 has since landed and was taken between two runways and locked down while the threat is investigated. A police dispatch that was sent out after the jets were scrambled noted that the area where the plane was taken is generally known as the "hijack site" because it is the area used in such scenarios. During an initial investigation, nothing dangerous has been found on board, the federal official told ABC News. A Saudi Airlines flight from Saudi Arabia was also escorted to a remote area at JFK. It was cleared and passengers were brought back to the terminal, officials said. For an American Airlines flight from Birmingham, England, to JFK, the pilot was initially instructed to taxi to a remote area, but the threat was determined not credible and the plane was cleared to go to the terminal. Newark Airport: Two flights to Newark, New Jersey, were also affected -- a Delta Air Lines flight from London and a United Airlines flight from Madrid, authorities said. Logan Airport: A threat also turned up negative for a Delta flight from Paris to Logan Airport in Boston, authorities said.  ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Waterspout Hits Ground in Florida, Hurls Bouncy Castle Through the Air


tzahiV/iStock/Thinkstock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A waterspout that went ashore at a Florida beach turned dangerous after it hit an inflated bouncy castle that had four children inside. The swirling column of wind and ocean water that formed in Fort Lauderdale hit the ground this morning and video shows that it headed straight towards the childrens' amusement ride. The video, obtained by ABC News affiliate WPBF-TV, shows the bouncy castle get caught in the wind, flipping over repeatedly before it was swept even further up in the air. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department reported that the waterspout "uprooted" the inflatable and it was "sent across parking lot into roadway." While police reported there were three children were inside the castle, WPBF-TV said one of the children was seriously injured. The ages of the children were not immediately known.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fighter Jets Scramble Following Reports of Multiple Threats to Passenger Planes,


WABC-TV(NEW YORK) -- An Air France plane was escorted to JFK Airport in New York City Monday morning after an anonymous threat was made against the flight -- one of several threats made to multiple airplanes bound for different U.S. airports, law enforcement officials told ABC News. The Maryland State Police McHenry Barrack, in Garrett County received an anonymous call of a “chemical weapons threat” aboard Air France Flight 22, which was en route from Paris to New York City airport. The threat was not considered to be credible as law enforcement and aviation officials told ABC News that they are responding to multiple, unconfirmed threats to multiple airplanes bound for different airports. As for the Air France flight, two American fighter jets scrambled to accompany the New York-bound flight as it headed towards the airport. The tip was called in at 6:45 a.m. on an untraceable line and the caller did not identify himself, a senior federal official told ABC News. The two F15 planes were scrambled and followed the plane into U.S. airspace, but they flew in a way so that the passengers and crew would not be able to see the military planes, the sources said. The caller said that four flights had devices on board -- but only specified the JFK-bound Air France flight. The Airbus A-330 has since landed and was taken between two runways and locked down while the threat is investigated. A police dispatch that was sent out after the jets were scrambled noted that the area where the plane was taken is generally known as the "hijack site" because it is the area used in such scenarios. During an initial investigation, nothing dangerous has been found on board, the federal official told ABC.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The Latest Twist in the Alleged Kayak Murder on the Hudson River


New York State Police(NEW YORK) -- A body was found this weekend near the location where a man disappeared after his kayak capsized on the Hudson River in New York State, authorities said. Vincent Viafore, 46, disappeared last month while he was kayaking with his fiancée, Angelika Graswald, 35, authorities said. About two weeks later, prosecutors charged Graswald with second-degree murder. The pair, both of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., were kayaking together in April, authorities said, when Viafore's kayak filled with water, causing it to capsize. As the kayak case continues, here is what authorities have said so far: The kayaking trip:New York State Police initially said rough water and strong winds caused Viafore's kayak to overturn. Graswald, a Latvian national, called 911, according to police, who initially said that she tried to help him. While trying to help her fiance, she fell out of her kayak, police said, but was later found by a boater and rescued. Police noted at the time of the incident that Graswald was treated for hypothermia at a local hospital and released. Then, prosecutors said last month that Graswald admitted to investigators that she tampered with Viafore's kayak so that it would take on water. Prosecutors said Graswald also told police that she watched Viafore struggle in the Hudson's icy waters for several minutes before he went under. Prosecutors said Graswald admitted to New York State Police it "felt good knowing that he was going to die," and implied that "this was her only way out." Angelika Graswald charged with murder:About two weeks after the incident, police charged Graswald with second-degree murder. Her motive, prosecutors said, was two life insurance policies that could benefit her for a total of about $250,000. Graswald even "talked about what she could possibly do with the money," prosecutors said. Graswald's lawyer has said he plans to challenge the alleged confessions. "We're going to find out whether they indeed happened, whether they were voluntary or forced," Graswald's attorney, Richard Portale, said of the alleged confessions reported by prosecutors. "And it's all going to come out." Graswald has not yet entered a plea. Her bail has been set at $3 million. A body in the Hudson: This Saturday, a body was found in the Hudson River near where Viafore disappeared. New York State Police said the body was pulled from the river near West Point and was taken to the Orange County Medical Examiner for an autopsy and identification. Police released no identifying information about the body. Viafore's family declined to comment to ABC News.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Road Where John Nash Was Killed: Notorious 'Black Dragon'


Natalia Bratslavsky/iStock/Thinkstock(MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J.) -- The New Jersey Turnpike, the road where Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash and his wife were killed in a taxi cab crash is a massive, unforgiving, high-speed highway that's been called "The Big Road" and "The Monster Road." Most ominously perhaps, it's known by those who know it best as "The Black Dragon." The tragic crash that claimed the lives of Nash and his wife comes nearly a year after a Wal-Mart truck driven by Kevin Roper crashed into a vehicle carrying comedian Tracy Morgan and his entourage on the turnpike. One person, James McNair, was killed, while three were injured. Morgan, 46, was hospitalized for several weeks after the accident. Sixty-four years since it was first opened to traffic, the turnpike remains one of America's best-known and most daunting thoroughfares. A road so fast, so mean and so fearsome that some state troopers spend their careers trying to avoid being assigned to it, while those who have patrolled the highway wear their experiences as a badge of honor. "It's always been a real source of pride for someone to say 'I worked The Black Dragon," retired New Jersey State Police Maj. Al Della Fave told ABC News last year after another fatal crash nearly killed actor Tracy Morgan. "They don't even allow troops to go out there too soon -- they want you to have minimum 18 months experience before you're even allowed to patrol the turnpike." The highway has posted speed limits of 65 mph at its fastest points, but the actual pace of traffic on the ground easily surpasses 80 mph. "There are so many lanes, and the speed that drivers can attain, that things happen very fast," Della Fave said. "Multiple lanes, high volume. So when somebody makes a mistake it's almost certain to be serious." In recent years, the turnpike experienced a dramatic decline in fatal crashes. According to The Star-Ledger of New Jersey, 2013 marked the fewest fatal Turnpike accidents in the highway's history. There were nine highway deaths on the Turnpike in 2013, compared with 24 in 2012. The all-time high was in 1973, when 79 people were killed on The Black Dragon. First opened in 1951, the 122-mile road cuts a wide, flat diagonal path through industrial New Jersey, from the urban centers of Newark and Elizabeth, passing New Brunswick and Trenton, down toward Camden and then on to the Delaware border. It was a forerunner to the interstate highways built under President Dwight Eisenhower and was developed to move people and goods between New York and Philadelphia -- quickly. "It was built to be a conveyer belt for speed," Joseph Collum, author of the book The Black Dragon, which detailed the controversial history of the turnpike and the troopers who patrol it, told ABC News. "Before it was built, that trip could take five hours. Now it's less than two." Like New Jersey itself, the turnpike displays its different personalities at its various sections: in the north, it's 12 lanes wide at points and split into four sections; alongside the runways of Newark Liberty International Airport, it feels as if a plane could easily land on the highway by mistake; and, closer to Philadelphia and Delaware, the freeway feels like little more than a standard, modern highway. "It was designed to be wide and relatively straight," Collum said. "There's a tremendous amount of traffic and it's really intimidating to drive through. And the troopers assigned to it looked at enforcing traffic codes as secondary to what they were really out there to do, which is catch people out there transporting drugs." That history of drug interdiction is what led to the now-banned policy of stopping drivers based on race in order to find contraband. One such stop in 1998 led to a shooting that revealed the state police practice of "racial profiling" and, eventually, prompted laws and court rulings that led it to be banned across the country. The turnpike remains one of the defining features of New Jersey. It has played roles in Bruce Springsteen songs and appeared in the opening credits of The Sopranos. It also ranks routinely among the top five busiest roads in the country, yielding nearly $1 billion a year in toll revenue. "It's the black, asphalt spine that runs up and down New Jersey," Collum said. "It is a dangerous road." Authorities said today they are not planning to charge anyone in the Nash accident. Prosecutors have charged Walmart trucker Kevin Roper with causing the Morgan wreck after driving without having slept for more than 24 hours.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Deadly Flooding Wreaks Havoc in Texas, Oklahoma


Nathanael Callon(DALLAS) -- At least five people were killed, three others are missing and hundreds of homes were destroyed as large parts of the central and southern Plains states faced flash floods and tornadoes. In Claremore, Oklahoma, about 30 miles northeast of Tulsa, firefighter Jason Farley died when he was swept away while attempting a water rescue, Deputy Chief Matt Wilson of the Claremore Fire Department told ABC News. Alyssa Ramirez, 18, a student at Devine High School in Texas, died Saturday driving home from her school’s prom, after her car got stuck in floodwater, ABC News affiliate KSAT-TV reports.According to the National Weather Service, one other person died in Union, Mississippi when a tree fell on the victim’s car.[CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY FLASH FOODS IN TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA]In Wimberley, about 40 miles southwest of Austin, hundreds of homes were destroyed, many of them washed away, after more than 9 inches of rain was reported and the Blanco River rose.Trey Hatt, Communications Specialist for the city of San Marcos, told ABC News that three people remain missing from the Wimberley area – and 550 properties and 1,100 structures were impacted by the flood waters. A tornado touched down in Houston early Sunday, severely damaging an apartment complex and sending at least two people to the hospital. The National Weather Service identified the tornado in a preliminary report as an EF-1 with 100 mile per hour winds. The threat for severe weather will encompass a large swath of Texas and the southern part of Oklahoma yet again on Memorial Day with large hail, damaging winds, and an isolated tornado possible across the region. Heavy rain and more flash flooding are expected for areas that are already extremely saturated.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Orleans Cop Shot Dead in Cruiser


Hemera Technologies/AbeStock.com/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- A New Orleans police officer was found shot dead in his marked patrol car Sunday morning, city officials said. The shooting was reported around 7 a.m., the New Orleans Police Department said in a news release. The victim's car rolled forward and struck a curb after the shooting. The officer's name has not been released, but the New Orleans police identified the victim as a 45-year-old man who worked as a Housing Authority police officer. A Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) police officer "Investigates complaints, maintains order, aids individuals, and identifies criminal offenders," according to a summary of the position on hano.org. The officers also perform "unplanned physical tasks which include the restraining of violent individuals, running, climbing fences and responding to EMS and rescue emergencies. Officers must handle gun belts," the summary said. The officer had been a member of the HANO Police Department since 2013, according to the police press release. The police department declined to comment further. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement: "The death of this HANO police officer is an unspeakable tragedy, and a vile and cowardly act. Tragedies that involve our men and women in uniform affect our entire city and touch every member of our law enforcement community. We are deeply saddened by this loss, and our hearts and prayers are with the officer's friends and family and with the entire HANO family during this very difficult time. "NOPD and HANO will work very closely to identify and arrest those responsible for this heinous assault. NOPD and HANO are part of the same close-knit law enforcement family that puts their lives on the line to protect and serve the people of New Orleans. Never are we more aware of the risk they face every day than we are on terrible days like this." The New Orleans Police Department is investigating.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Swimmer's Death in Florida Brings New Attention to Rip Current Dangers


Voyagerix/iStock/Thinkstock(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- The death of a swimmer this Memorial Day weekend in Florida has drawn new attention to the dangers of rip currents. One person drowned Sunday after he was pulled from the surf in Daytona Beach, in front of an unguarded lifeguard tower. Beach-goers nearby tried to revive him. “We tried to keep his head up, and then we got him out and I started doing chest compressions,” Marissa Purvis said. More than 130 rescues occurred in Volusia County, Florida on Sunday alone. Rescuers in Jacksonville spent the past two days combing waters by boat and helicopter looking for a missing 11-year-old caught in the currents. That search has been called off. Waters along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are under a rip current advisory. Rip currents are formed when water moves away from the shoreline. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rip currents typically form at breaks in sandbars, and also near structures such as jetties and piers. A change in the water color or a line of foam or seaweed can be signs of a rip current. If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm, don’t fight the current and swim parallel to the shoreline, waiting for the current to weaken.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Skydiver Falls to the Ground After Hitting Power Lines in Tennessee


WKRN-TV(WINCHESTER, Tenn.) -- A weekend tribute to veterans in Tennessee went horribly wrong when a skydiver hit a set of power lines before slamming to the ground. John Pitts, 27, struck the power lines during a Vietnam Memorial Day event -- titled “Red, White and You” -- in Winchester Saturday. Pitts, an experienced skydiver with more than 1,000 jumps, got tangled on the wires before falling. Thousands of people were attending the show at the time. Some of the attendees started praying after Pitts fell. The married father of two was airlifted to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries. Derek Slade was jumping out of the same plane as Pitts and saw the accident play out in front of him. “It could have been very catastrophic. He’s very lucky it turned out the way it did,” Slade said. Police and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey Sings to Cheer Up Families of Fallen Servic


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was a guest speaker at Friday’s 21st annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp for Young Survivors -- and he sung his heart out. “I love the fact that you're here but I hate the way you got here,” Dempsey said to the parents at the event in Arlington, Virginia. “I love the fact that you gather once a year and can find solace with each other and friendship with each other and camaraderie with each other.” Parents were treated to his rendition of “Keep Up Your Head” by Andy Grammer. For the kids: “The Unicorn Song.” Dempsey, along with other military officers, also did a medley of Disney songs, including “Let It Go” from Frozen and “You Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. (Disney is the parent company of ABC News). This is Dempsey’s fifth year in a row participating -- and he always sings. “That's become my thing with the kids," Dempsey said, explaining that it's easier for him to "sing with emotion ... than speak with emotion." “I didn't have a family background in the military but I think that my mom and dad always thought that I should challenge myself. So when I got accepted to West Point, I actually didn't want to go at all,” Dempsey said. “I went home to talk to my mother about it ... and she really wanted me to go to West Point. And I kept fighting it off and finally she burst into tears. And I said, you know what, I can't do that to my mother. So here I am 44 years later. So be careful of your mothers.” According to its website, TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, offers support to families and friends of military members who died in service.ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment NewsCopyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Afghanistan Combat Vet, 20, Goes AWOL From Colorado Army Base


Courtesy Tom Domres(FORT CARSON, Colo.) -- A Minnesota couple is searching for their son, a 20-year-old combat veteran, who hasn't been seen since he went AWOL from a Colorado army base nearly two weeks ago. Army Spc. Daniel Domres, 20, was last seen May 11 at Fort Carson in Colorado, and is considered AWOL -- absent without leave -- according to ABC News affiliate KSTP-TV in St. Paul, Minnesota. His father, Tom Domres, of St Louis Park, Minnesota, said he hadn't heard from his son in weeks when he found out he was missing. "He hadn't called home for Mother's Day," Tom Domres told ABC News on Saturday. "I texted a friend of his in the unit... The guy said, 'I haven't seen Danny in a while, he's listed as AWOL.' At that moment ... everything changed. We were panicked." Tom Domres said his son always wanted to serve his country, and he signed up for the military when he was 18. But Domres is an Afghanistan combat veteran, and his family is worried he may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Daniel Domres' "personality was different" after Afghanistan, the young man's father said -- he was "not communicative" and withdrew from his friends and family. And since January, Domres has had "sporadic" contact with the family, Tom Domres said. Since the family learned of Domres' disappearance, Tom Domres has been in Colorado looking for him, he said. "We're just trying everything we can," Tom Domres said. "It's tough. We just want him to come home or reach out to us... Are you OK? Are you in trouble? We're just really worried." According to the Missing Warrior Alert Facebook page, Domres may have made a phone call before leaving Fort Carson. His father says he has "some good sources" that Domres may still be in the area. Domres is described as having blue eyes, brown hair and a scar above his right eye. He stands at 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 155 pounds, according to the Facebook page. Anyone with information can call the St. Louis Park, Minnesota, police at 952-924-2618. Officials at Fort Carson did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment.Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.