National

'Our entire community is changed forever': California shooting victims face a new reality

ABC News(SANTA CLARITA, Calif.) -- Megan Puettmann was in class Thursday morning when she heard the faint sound of gunshots.

Students and teachers alike were confused as the seconds passed without any announcements over the loudspeaker at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California.

Then they heard more gunshots and even screams, she said. Panic and fear began to set in.

"We could hear kids crying," Puettmann, 17, who is the editor-in-chief of the school yearbook, told ABC News in a telephone interview Thursday.

The school was placed on lockdown and the students in Puettmann's classroom began barricading the door with desks and chairs. Then they waited silently in the dark classroom for what felt like forever, she said, until police arrived and evacuations began.

"It's just scary because I didn't know if my friends were OK," Puettmann told ABC News. "We weren't getting updates ... We didn't know anything for an hour and a half."

A 16-year-old student had taken a gun from his backpack and opened fire in the quad of Saugus High School. He shot five of his classmates, killing at least two, before taking the gun to his head and pulling the trigger, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The whole shooting lasted about 16 seconds, authorities said.

The alleged gunman, identified by authorities as Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow, 16, died on Friday. He had been hospitalized with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

The alleged gunman was taken into custody and was last reported to be at a local hospital in critical condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

A 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl died from their gunshot wounds after arriving at the hospital. A 14-year-old girl, a 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy were also shot but survived, authorities said. The names of the victims have not been released.

Puettmann said she wants pages of the upcoming school yearbook to be in memory of their slain classmates. The editor-in-chief said she was already planning to dedicate a section of the yearbook to the nationwide issue of gun violence in schools, but now wants to do something more in-depth that "spreads awareness and helps students somehow."

There have been nearly 70 shooting incidents at schools across the country this year alone, and more than 400 in the last decade, according to data collected by the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

“Our entire community is changed forever," Puettmann told ABC News. “It's not going to be OK.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Santa Clarita high school gunman dies from self-inflicted gunshot wound

carlballou/iStock(SANTA CLARITA, Calif.) -- The 16-year-old accused of shooting multiple classmates, two fatally, has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities confirmed on Friday.

He was identified by authorities as Nathaniel Tennosuke Berhow.

The three teenagers who survived being shot at their Santa Clarita, California, high school Thursday are all on the road to recovery, officials said.

Two of the five victims, 15-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger and a 14-year-old boy, died in the hospital after the attack at Saugus High School. The boy's name has not been released.

The three other students shot -- a 15-year-old girl, a 14-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy -- are all expected to survive.

A male student, on his 16th birthday, was in the quad around 7:30 a.m. local time when he took a pistol from his backpack and unloaded the entire magazine, firing six rounds apparently at random, shooting five classmates and himself, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Villanueva described it as a planned, deliberate attack, but the motive is unclear.

The gunman was counting his bullets, the sheriff said, and was skilled in using guns. When the weapon jammed, he quickly managed to clear it and keep firing, authorities said, citing surveillance video.

"From the time that he withdrew the handgun from his backpack to the time that he was on the ground with a gunshot wound to his head was about 16 seconds," Capt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told reporters late Thursday.

The injured 15-year-old girl was shot below the bellybutton and has a bullet lodged in her hip, while the 14-year-old girl was shot in the shoulder and abdomen, hospital officials said Friday.

Both girls, who know each other, were rushed to the same hospital where they are recovering. Both should be discharged in the next few days, officials said.

The girls "held their composure despite being shot," said Dr. Boris Borazjani, a trauma surgeon at Providence Holy Cross Hospital. "I'm very proud."

The teens were "stoic" and "composed, talking to us and I think they were handling it exceptionally well," doctors said Friday.

The injured 14-year-old boy has already been released from the hospital.

The suspect remains in the hospital in critical condition from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

The shooting "shook every one of us to our core," said Deputy Superintendent Mike Kuhlman.

Choir teacher Kaitlin Holt said one girl, shot in the hip and shoulder, was rushed into her classroom by other students. She gave the wounded student first aid and called 911.

"I should have never had to treat a gunshot wound as a choir teacher," Holt told ABC News. "And there's something really wrong and something has to change, 'cause I held a bleeding child today in a room with 40 sobbing children."

Now, as the community wades through the chaos and grief, authorities are desperate for answers.

It "still remains a mystery why," Villanueva said Friday.

"We have not yet established a motive or a nexus between the subject and his victims other than to say that they were all students at the high school together," Wegener said.

There's no evidence so far to suggest the suspect acted on behalf of a group or with any co-conspirators, authorities added.

The suspect was dropped off at school on Thursday by his mom, the sheriff added.

A .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol was recovered from the crime scene. Several guns registered to the suspect's father were recovered at the teen's home, Villanueva said. Other guns found at the suspect's home were not registered to anyone, he noted.

The suspect's mother and girlfriend have met with detectives, according to authorities.

The William S. Hart Union High School District, which includes Saugus High School, canceled Friday classes at all of its schools in the wake of the attack.

The school district holds shooting trainings, though "we prayed that we would never need it," Kuhlman, the deputy superintendent, said in a letter to the community on Thursday.

"Yet today, our brilliant staff bravely and vigilantly went into action," Kuhlman said. "Placing a priority on their students’ safety, our wonderful Saugus High School team were quick to order students to shelter in place, and your students responded."

Kuhlman wrote to the parents: "Hold your children tight. Love them. Praise them for being responsible in the face of fear."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rodney Reed's execution stayed by Texas appeals court

ABC(DALLAS) --  Just hours after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended a 120-day reprieve Friday for Rodney Reed, a Texas man scheduled for execution next week for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, an appeals court granted him an indefinite stay of execution.

"Applicant's execution is stayed pending further order of this Court," the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said in its order Friday.

The parole board sent to Texas Gov. Abbott its recommendation that he sign the reprieve but not grant Reed a commutation.

Reed's execution was to be Nov. 20.

The appeals court docs show Reed's legal team filed its latest application on Nov. 11, raising four claims: that the state suppressed exculpatory evidence, that the state presented false testimony in violation of due process, that Reed's trial counsel was ineffective and that he is actually innocent.

After reviewing the application, the court said it found Reed's first three claims satisfy the requirements of Habeas Corpus, which is a "remedy to be used when any person is restrained in his liberty."

"Accordingly, we remand those claims to the trial court for further development," court documents said.

The Innocence Project, a legal non-profit that works to free people who claim they've been wrongly convicted, picked up Reed's case 18 years ago.

"We are extremely relieved and thankful that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) has issued a stay of execution for our client Rodney Reed," the non-profit said in a statement Friday night. "The CCA has ordered the claims of Brady violations, false testimony and actual innocence in Mr. Reed's case back to the trial court. This opportunity will allow for proper consideration of the powerful and mounting new evidence of Mr. Reed's innocence."

Reed's case has gained national attention and civil rights leaders have spoke out against his sentence. Friday's decisions were reasons for hope for those who've fought to bring Reed's case more attention.

"It is imperative, given how much evidence has yet to be reviewed, and the growing concerns from the public, that this case is given the highest level of scrutiny possible," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. III said in a statement to ABC News prior to the appeals court ruling. "Killing someone who is potentially innocent would only show the dangerous flaws of our criminal justice system's continued use of the death penalty. I pray that God grants Governor Abbott the courage to do the right thing—to delay the execution."

Reed, 51, has been on death row for 21 years and long maintained his innocence.

"Early on I was somewhat upset, just for knowing her. If I wouldn't have known her, I wouldn't have been associated with her [and] I wouldn't be in this situation," Reed told ABC News' Deborah Roberts in a jailhouse interview last month. "But, this is the situation that was handed to me so I have [to] accept … that I did know her. I have to accept that there was a relationship. I have to accept that I'm here now for something that I didn't do.

"I hope that the right people look at this case in the right way," Reed continued. "The evidence will speak for itself."

The Innocence Project has argued Texas must be certain the state is executing a man who's actually guilty.

The "Office of the Governor Greg Abbott has only stopped one of 47 executions," the organization said in a statement Friday. "We need your help to make sure Rodney Reed is the second."

"Wrongful convictions are real; just ask any of the 27 innocent people we at the Innocence Project of Texas have exonerated in the last decade alone after they were wrongfully convicted," the organization said in a statement Thursday. "If the State of Texas is going to take the irreversible action of imposing the death penalty on someone, it must do so in full confidence that it is not executing an innocent man."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kelsey Berreth murder trial: Patrick Frazee had hit list of witnesses to kill, inmate says in testimony

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- At the trial of Patrick Frazee, a Colorado man accused of killing his fiancee, an inmate told the jury in bombshell testimony Friday that Frazee recently asked him to use his connections to a prison gang to kill a number of witnesses in the case.

Frazee is accused of attacking his fiancee Kelsey Berreth with a baseball bat at her Woodland Park, Colorado, home on Thanksgiving Day 2018 while the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Kaylee, sat in a playpen in a back room.

Prosecutors allege Frazee, who's on trial for murder, put 29-year-old Berreth's body in a black plastic tote and burned it on his property.

But the defense has stressed that a body and a murder weapon have never been recovered.

 The inmate who took the stand Friday said among the witnesses Frazee wanted killed was Frazee's ex-girlfriend, Krystal Lee.

Lee, a star witness for the prosecution, has testified that Frazee called her to come to Berreth's house, where she claims she cleaned up the bloody aftermath. Lee told the jury that Berreth's last words, as told to her by Frazee, were "please stop."

The inmate says he and Frazee were housed near each other in Teller County Jail for three weeks between Sept. 26 and Oct. 12, 2019. ABC News is not naming the inmate because he testified that he fears reprisals from members of his former prison gang.

The inmate said Frazee asked him about his tattoo representing a prison gang, and eventually asked him if he could help eliminate a number of witnesses set to testify against him.

"He would pass me notes if his information was too sensitive," the man said, claiming Frazee told him he'd take care of him financially when he got out.

In court, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Gregg Slater read from a number of those notes, which were written on paper towels and napkins. The notes, Slater testified, contained hit lists, along with detailed instructions on where to find the witnesses.

The hit list included Lee, her parents and her ex-husband.

 "They all need to disappear, unseen until 11/22 after the trial," said the letter, which Slater testified appeared to be in Frazee's handwriting.

"I'd really like to see Krystal with a bullet in her head," read Slater from the handwritten notes. "No video, no weapon, no body, no forensics."

The letters had instructions to flush them down the toilet after they'd been read.

"Flush when you're done," Slater read from one letter.

Instead, the witness kept the letters and presented them to investigators this week.

When questioned by the defense, the inmate admitted he wanted a plea deal in exchange for the letters and is hoping for a lighter sentence.

"I was kind of torn about what to do. I decided to come forward. It seemed like the right thing to do," he testified.

A former homicide investigator took the stand earlier Friday, telling jurors that the amount of blood reportedly found in the victim's home suggests it may have taken 10 to 15 blows from a baseball bat to kill the young mom.

"People aren't easy to kill," veteran former homicide investigator Jonathyn Priest said as he testified for the prosecution Friday. "They're very resilient. Beatings are nasty, in that they don't have the effect that they have on television."

Frazee is accused of attacking his fiancee Kelsey Berreth with a baseball bat at her Woodland Park, Colorado, home on Thanksgiving Day 2018 while the couple's 1-year-old daughter, Kaylee, sat in a playpen in a back room.

Prosecutors allege Frazee, who is on trial for murder, put 29-year-old Berreth's body in a black plastic tote and burned it on his property.

But the defense has stressed that a body and a murder weapon have never been recovered.

Prosecutors on Friday showed photos depicting tiny drops of blood found on Berreth's fireplace and chairs, as well as blood that appeared to have seeped down between hardwood floor boards that were later removed by investigators. Two "significant indentations" on one floor board, Priest testified, could have been created by the strike of a baseball bat.

During this testimony, the jury was shown body camera video recorded on Dec. 21 in which Frazee's ex-girlfriend, Krystal Lee, guided investigators through the condo where Frazee allegedly beat Berreth to death.

Lee testified that Frazee called her to come to Berreth's house where she claims she cleaned up the bloody aftermath. Lee told the jury that Berreth's last words, as told to her by Frazee, were "please stop."

The 15-minute video begins with Lee pointing out a spot where she says she found blood spatter on the rocks around the fireplace.

"Is that consistent with someone being beaten with a bat?" prosecutor Dan May asked Priest.

"Certainly it is," Priest responded.

As Priest testified about the blood stains, Berreth's father put his head in his hands and sobbed.

In the video, Lee walked investigators through Berreth's kitchen, telling them how she wiped blood off of the stove and coffeemaker. She said she found blood on tinfoil that covered a pan of cinnamon rolls.

In one shot, Lee used a long piece of wood to point out where she said she found bloodstains high on a wall above the kitchen cabinets. Later in the living room, Lee told investigators she found blood on the drapes that she removed from the home.

Priest testified that the type of radiating blood patterns Lee described finding on the wall are consistent with what he called blunt force impacts.

When prosecutors showed a photo of the underside of a toilet bowl stained with blood, Priest responded, "Something bloody contacted this toilet."

Lee, who has admitted to disposing of Berreth's phone, has pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence. She is awaiting sentencing once Frazee's case concludes.

During cross-examination last week, public defender Adam Steigerwald recounted the three times that Lee came to Colorado at Frazee's behest when the defendant allegedly wanted her help killing Berreth. The public defender pointed out that if Lee had been charged with attempted murder and if convicted, she could have faced decades in prison.

Instead, prosecutors allowed Lee to plead guilty to moving Berreth's phone, and now her worst-case scenario is three years in prison, the defense stressed.

Lee began to cry on the stand as Steigerwald repeatedly got her to admit that, even though she drove from her Idaho home to Colorado multiple times when Frazee allegedly wanted her help killing Berreth, she never took her suspicions to Berreth's family, her own family or police.

"You were looking at essentially the rest of your life in prison," Steigerwald said. "Instead, the district attorney allows you to plead guilty to moving Kelsey Berreth's cell phone."

"Your worst-case scenario is three years in prison, correct?" Steigerwald asked. "You could get probation with no jail."

"Yes," said Lee, through tears.



Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Suspected Potomac River Rapist, who 'terrorized' women in '90s, caught with genetic genealogy

Montgomery County Department of Police(WASHINGTON) -- The suspect behind a string of sexual assaults and one slaying that "terrorized" Washington, D.C., women in the 1990s is now in custody after he was nabbed through the novel investigative tool of genetic genealogy, authorities said.

"Between 1991 and 1998 a man terrorized our community as he brutally preyed upon and attacked multiple women across this region," D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a Thursday news conference.

Known as the Potomac River Rapist, the suspect -- now identified by police as 60-year-old Giles Daniel Warrick -- allegedly committed at least eight sexual assaults in Montgomery County, Maryland, and two sexual assaults in Washington, D.C., authorities said.

The Potomac River Rapist would cut phone lines, force his way into homes, cover the victims' heads and sexually assault them, authorities said.

It appears the attacks became more violent over time, police said. Among the 10 victims was Christine Mirzayan, a 29-year-old congressional fellow who was sexually assaulted, hit on the head, "brutally beaten" and murdered, Newsham said. The murder weapon was a 73-pound rock, according to the FBI.

But the identity of the suspected Potomac River Rapist was unknown for decades, until genetic genealogy came into play, said Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones.

Genetic genealogy compares unknown DNA evidence from a crime scene to public genetic databases to identify suspects through their family members who voluntarily uploaded their DNA to those databases.

Genetic genealogy has been called a "game-changer" in the effort to crack cold cases. Since the arrest of the suspected "Golden State Killer" in April 2018, about 100 suspects have been identified through the technology, according to CeCe Moore, the chief genealogist at Parabon NanoLabs. Moore, who has appeared as an expert in ABC News "20/20" episodes and has been quoted in ABCNews.com articles, investigated the Potomac River Rapist case among others.

Police did not elaborate on which of Warrick's relatives had voluntarily submitted their DNA to databases. Police also did not disclose how they obtained Warrick's DNA to confirm the match.

Warrick was arrested Wednesday at his home in Horry County, South Carolina, and has been charged with six counts of first-degree rape in Montgomery County, police said. All six of those cases were linked to the same suspect DNA, police said.

Warrick is expected to be extradited to D.C. to be charged with first-degree murder and the D.C.-area sexual assaults, Newsham said.

Warrick, who had a landscaping company and worked as a utility company contractor, had been living in the D.C. area before recently moving to South Carolina, Jones said.

It was not immediately clear when Warrick will appear in court.

"Detectives are concerned there may be additional victims in the area given the prolonged period of time that has elapsed involving Giles Daniel Warrick," Montgomery County police said. "Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Patricia Anton, US teacher killed in Dominican Republic, found 'peace and purpose' on island

Facebook(CABARETE, Dominican Republic) -- Patricia Anton, an American teacher who was found dead in the Domincan Republic, will be memorialized at the school where she devoted herself for what would be the last years of her life, her family said.

A "peace park" will be erected in her honor at 3 Mariposas Montessori School in Cabarete, where Anton worked as a teacher for six years, her cousin Adrianne Machina told ABC News on Thursday.

"Her life was so much bigger than her death," Machina said.

Anton's husband, Patrick, said in a statement to ABC News that the peace park "will become a lasting legacy in the Cabarete community she loved so much."

Police this week revealed details on how Anton, 63, was found in Cabarete, a town on the northern coast of the island nation. However, the circumstances of her death are still not clear.

She appeared to have been a victim of a robbery, as police noted items including her phone, computer and television had been stolen. Local police told ABC News Thursday that no one has been detained yet, but they have identified a suspect and an arrest is imminent.

Yet for Anton's family, they are trying to remember her for who she was and what she meant to the community. The Dominican Republic, her cousin said, satisfied her wanderlust and gave her the opportunity to work with children.

"The Dominican Republic was her happy place. I think her dream was to retire down there," Machina said. "The Dominican Republic really gave her purpose and peace."

Machina added that when bringing relatives to visit the island nation, she would be the one to reassure them it was safe.

"The last thing she'd want to be is the poster girl for 'Don't go to the Dominican Republic,'" her cousin said.

Anton's husband, Patrick, said in a statement that he and his children -- a 35-year-old son, a 31-year-old son and 28-year-old daughter -- appreciate the support they have received during this time.

"We encourage you to spread Patty's message of kindness and good works," the family said.

Anton was born in Trieste, Italy, but was an American citizen who lived in Detroit and Traverse City, Michigan, before moving to the Dominican Republic around 2013.

Calling her a "maternal mama bear," Machina said Anton always wanted to help children and believed that both education and human connection could benefit any community.

"If people want to do something that would be meaningful, stand up for the underdog and be kind to people who look different from you," Machina said. "She was all about kindness and sweetness."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Too early for Christmas? Family told to remove decorations until closer to holiday

ABC News(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) -- A Texas family isn't budging after they were ordered to remove their Christmas decorations.

This year, Claudia and Nick Simonis of San Antonio displayed their holiday cheer one day after Halloween. Shortly after, they said, an inspector visited their home bah humbugging to take the festive decorations down.

The couple told "Good Morning America" they received a letter that read, "please remove the snowman until closer to the holiday season."

"It doesn't state any dates at all on when to put the decorations [back] up," Nick Simonis told "GMA." "It only stated that we must take down the decorations ten days after the holidays."

Diamond Association Management & Consulting, the Simonis Homeowner Association, has not yet responded to ABC News' request for comment.

One of the Simonis' reasons for their early decking of the halls is because Claudia is 8-months pregnant.

"I just wanted to be prepared," she told "GMA."

One of the Simonis' neighbors told "GMA" she was "furious" when she heard about the issue.

"It's not bothering anyone, it's gorgeous," the neighbor said.

Despite the notice, the Simonis said they're not removing their Christmas decor.

"We're definitely keeping them up," Nick Simonis said. "We're not taking them down at all."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Pilot thanks kayakers who rescued him from small plane crash

Brett Easter(KENT, Washington) -- A bright yellow ultralight plane made an incredible crash water landing and two nearby kayakers were in the right place at the right time to save the pilot's day.

Brett Easter took off from Norman Grier Field in Kent, Washington, on Monday unaware that he would have to make a quick maneuver to save his life.

The propellers stopped moving shortly after takeoff and Easter told ABC News affiliate KOMO that he looked for a clear place to land setting his sights on Lake Morton.

"At that point, you don't know where the airplane is going," he said. "I mean there are houses over here and no one deserves to pay for my engine failure

So Easter said he made a quick decision to land his plane on a lake and executed a perfect water landing.

But upon landing in the water, he got tangled in his jacket and became trapped in the 47-degree water.

Easter kicked ferociously for 10 minutes in an attempt to stay above water.

"I was totally expecting not to wake up from it," he said.

Just as it seemed like all hope was lost, two good Samaritans appeared on a kayak and came to his aid.

"Robert was yelling at him, 'Stay up, you're going to be okay, this isn't your day. Not today,'" Lori Jurek told ABC News.

Robert Thomas said that they watched the plane go down and paddled over to the scene. They helped Easter keep his head above water while a canoe brought them back to shore.

"I just jumped in and was paddling as fast as I could and I'm turning 60 this month, so it wasn't as easy as it used to be," Lori said.

"Everything worked perfectly for him to survive this," Thomas added. "The day, the time, everything."

The young pilot spent a night at the hospital, according to KOMO, but still had water in his lungs when he was released.

Despite the turbulent start with his new aircraft, Easter said it won't keep him down.

"I'm definitely not done flying. It's not gonna keep me out of the sky. One engine failure's not gonna do it for me," he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Temperature whiplash as cold returns to Northeast, coastal storm brings heavy rain

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- It’s a temperature whiplash, from record cold this week, to mild weather Friday, then back into the freezer Saturday as millions experience a temperature roller-coaster.

We start out mild for most of the Eastern U.S. Friday, with every major city above freezing in the Midwest. Even Minneapolis and Chicago will be near 40 degrees, with 50 degree temps from Kansas City to New York City and Boston.

Then a dose of Arctic air is aimed at the Northeast for Saturday. Temperatures will plummet below freezing again, and with wind it will feel like it’s again in the single digits, with teens and 20s from Boston to New York and even Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, a coastal storm will be developing Friday in the Carolinas with heavy rain stretching from Georgia to North Carolina. Gusty winds up to 65 mph are possible and some areas could see up to 4-6" of rain, with localized flash flooding possible.

By Saturday evening, the storm system will slowly crawl near the Carolina coast, continuing to bring very heavy rain and gusty winds. Flash flooding will be possible in the coastal Carolinas.

Then by Sunday late afternoon and into the evening hours, the coastal storm will really strengthen off the Virginia coast and will bring gusty winds and rain from the coastal Mid-Atlantic to eastern New England.

Northeast cities that will see this nasty weather will include Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Further inland, from the Poconos to the Catskills and into higher elevations of eastern New England, some of the rain could freeze on contact and become freezing rain, which will produce treacherous road conditions Sunday night.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Five arrested in connection with deadly shooting at Airbnb Halloween party

Craig Cannon(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Police have arrested five suspects in the Halloween shooting at a California Airbnb that left five partygoers dead.

The arrests came during a coordinated police operation in four Northern California cities, reported San Francisco ABC station KGO-TV.

Five partygoers were killed on Halloween night at a house in the affluent town of Orinda, just east of Berkeley, that had been rented through Airbnb. The owner of the home told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had rented out the house to a woman who told him she was planning to have a family reunion for about a dozen people.

Instead, authorities said that upwards of 100 partygoers fled the house in panic after shots rang out. One witness told the Chronicle that most of the party's attendees were college students.

The Contra Costa Sheriffs Office confirmed to KGO the arrest of five men between 20 and 20 years old in connection with the shootings. Four of the men were being held without bail on murder and conspiracy charges, while one was being held as an accessory.

Contra Costa County sheriff David Livingston said Thursday that two of the victims at the party were themselves armed, which he said may have "played a role in the tragedy," according to KGO.

Orinda Mayor Inga Miller told KGO she was relieved that police were making progress in the case.

"I think in this time of uncertainty, people feel fear, they feel many emotions," Miller said. "They feel sadness for the victims in this case, and fear for a shooting anywhere."

Following the shooting, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that the company would increase efforts to "combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


US plane crash fatalities increased in 2018, NTSB says

Joe Marcus/Twitter(NEW YORK) -- The number of people killed in plane crashes in the U.S. increased by about 13% in 2018, according to data released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Civil aviation fatalities rose from 347 in 2017 to 393 in 2018, NTSB officials said. The increase means that, on average, there was at least one aviation death per day in 2018.

The death toll included Jennifer Riordan, the first commercial airline passenger killed in the U.S. in nine years.

The overwhelming majority of aviation fatalities involve small, private airplanes, and not large commercial airliners. But on April 17, 2018, Riordan died on Southwest flight 1380 after shrapnel from the engine broke the window next to her seat and she was partially sucked out of the aircraft.

Other passengers pulled her back into the cabin and tried unsuccessfully to perform CPR.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are around three small plane crashes in the U.S. per day.

In 2018, 46 more people were killed in aviation accidents than the year before, leading the fatal accident rate to rise above 1 per 100,000 flight hours for the first time in two years.

“It is disappointing to see the fatal general aviation accident rate increase after two years with the rate below 1 per 100,000 flight hours,” NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in a statement.

NTSB officials said the statistics do not point to a specific reason for the increase in aviation fatalities, but that they are committed to addressing and highlighting any safety related issues.

On Tuesday, the NTSB is expected to hold a board meeting to determine the probable cause of the engine failure that led to Riordan's death on Southwest flight 1380.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Texas teen beaten by teacher on video says she's afraid to return to school

maroke/iStock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A 16-year-old high school student says she is afraid to return to the classroom where video footage showed a substitute teacher brutally beating her last week, leaving her with severe injuries.

"I'm scared to even set foot in that school or even outside," the Texas student, identified as Savannah, said Thursday. "I've had lots of headaches. I've very sensitive to light, it's hard to think and I have lots of anxiety."

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Austin ABC affiliate KVUE-TV, the teenager said she's found it hard to leave her house due to fear of someone recognizing her after video of the attack went viral.

Classmates at Lehman High School in Kyle, Texas, shared videos of the Nov. 8 incident on social media, showing substitute teacher Tiffani Shadell Lankford, 32, walking up to Savannah and confronting her at her desk.

One video appears to show Savannah swiping at the teacher first, but the student says she only "shoved her shoulder" in an effort to remove Lankford from her personal space.

The video shows Lankford responding by punching the student multiple times. On the video Lankford then drags her from her desk and throws her to the floor, where she stomps on her head.

Lankford, who had been working for the Hays Consolidated Independent School District since late August, was fired and charged with aggravated assault. It's unclear if she has retained an attorney.

The disturbing video sparked outrage online and even caught the attention of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who said the school district would be investigated.

"Conduct like this won't be tolerated in Texas classrooms," Abbott said. "The substitute teacher who committed this heinous act has been arrested and will face serious legal consequences. The school district will be investigated by the Texas Education Agency."

Doctors said the beating left Savannah with a brain injury, but it's too early to know the full extent of it, according to her family's attorney.

Savannah said she'd heard stories about teachers attacking students in the past, but she never thought it would happen to her.

"I never expected it to be me. I hated that it was me," she told KVUE.

When asked if she had anything to say to the teacher, Savannah said, "No. I would too scared to say anything to her or even go see her."

Lankford was released on a $10,000 bond after her arrest last Friday. She could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted as charged.

Officials for the Hays Consolidated Independent School District said she had worked 18 times as a substitute teacher, starting on Sept. 13 and ending Friday.

District officials said they were shocked by her actions.

"We are appalled at the actions of this former employee," Hays CISD Chief Communication Officer Tim Savoy said in a statement. "There is absolutely no excuse or circumstance that can justify what you see unfold on the video. It is unconscionable what this adult did to one of our students."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Police seek motive in California school shooting that killed 2, left suspect in 'grave condition'

ChiccoDodiFC/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- At least two students are dead and three others injured after a classmate opened fire at a high school in Southern California Thursday morning, sheriff's officials said.

The 16-year-old male suspect was taken into custody and was last reported to be at a local hospital in "grave condition" from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Detectives reviewed video from the scene which showed the gunman in the quad of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita when he took a gun from his backpack, shot five people and then shot himself in the head, authorities said, noting that the shooting lasted for about 16 seconds.

"From the time that he withdrew the handgun from his backpack to the time that he was on the ground with a gunshot wound to his head was about 16 seconds," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Captain Kent Wegener told reporters late Thursday. "We have not yet established a motive or a nexus between the subject and his victims other than to say that they were all students at the high school together."

Authorities served a search warrant at the suspect's purported residence, Wegener said. He said there is no history at that address to indicate there were any issues at the home prior to the shooting. Authorities said there was no evidence to suggest the suspect acted on behalf of a group or with any co-conspirators.

The early-morning school shooting was on the suspect's birthday, authorities said.

The surviving victims are a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl, officials said. A 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy died after arriving at the hospital.

Terrified students barricaded in classrooms before they fled the campus to search for their concerned parents, who had gathered in the streets.

"I just started running," sophomore Brooklyn Moreno said. "There was girls falling in front of me and I tried to help them up, then just kept running 'cause I didn't want to get hurt, either."

The weapon, a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, was recovered with no bullets left, authorities said. Police said the suspect mentioned the school in a message on his Instagram bio that read: "Saugus have fun at school tomorrow." That post has since been removed.

"I can confirm that that was posted to his account, and I can also confirm that it has been changed since this incident, which means there is somebody else that has access to this account, be it a hacker be it a friend that has his password," Wegener told reporters. "That was posted at one point. We are aware of it and we are researching the source, when it was posted and when it was taken down."

Authorities became aware of the post after the shooting.

The suspect's girlfriend and his mother are speaking with detectives, authorities said.

The shooting was reported at 7:38 a.m. local time during what's called "Zero Period," before the school day officially begins at 8 a.m., often a time used for extracurricular classes.

When 17-year-old Hayden Trowbridge heard the gunshots, his classmates pushed their desks to the door as a barricade, he told ABC News.

The teen said he grabbed his metal water bottle to use as a weapon as they all hid under their desks, crying and holding each other.

Trowbridge said during shooting drills he had practiced putting a book in front of his chest to protect against a fatal shot, but he didn’t have anything big enough nearby.

Choir teacher Kaitlin Holt said one girl, shot in the hip and shoulder, was rushed into her classroom by other students. Holt told ABC News she gave the girl first aid and called 911.

Moreno said she was in the school's quad when she heard what she thought was a balloon popping. She took off running.

"I never thought this would happen at my school," Moreno told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV. "I'm still kinda in shock right now. I’ve been shaking and crying a lot -- I’m an emotional wreck."

Jeff Turner, a father of three Saugus High School students, said his daughter "was beside herself, hysterical.”

She "thought she should have stayed and helped the kids she saw shot, feeling terrified and guilty all at once," Turner told ABC News. "I broke down in tears. Had to pull myself out of it to help her."

As the search for the suspect was unfolding earlier on Thursday, other schools were placed on lockdown, and officials urged those who live in the area to lock their doors.

Misty Wolf, a Saugus High School graduate whose 16-year-old daughter goes to a nearby school, said they were just arriving when her daughter's school was placed on lockdown.

"We were all getting there and parents heard shots -- or what we thought were shots," Wolf told ABC News. "The nice guy who waves us in the lot every morning started shouting at the kids walking to get out of the way get up the hill. We were all trying to get out. People were confused."

"Having my kid, who is already dealing with things in life -- being scared because I told her to duck down because they don't know where the shooter is -- is hard," Wolf said. "There was another [school lockdown] a few years ago and she never wanted to leave her classroom after it. I'm worried that this will make her not want to be at school because she doesn't feel safe."

Moments before news of the shooting broke, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was on the Senate floor calling on his colleagues to bring up a universal background checks bill that was passed by the House earlier this year.

He asked for unanimous consent to pass the legislation dubbed the "Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019" that would establish new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties. The House approved of the measure in February in a 240-90 vote.

His fellow Democratic Connecticut senator, Richard Blumenthal, was in the middle of his remarks on gun violence when he was handed a note informing him of the reported shooting.

In August, the William S. Hart Union High School District, which includes Saugus High School, voted to extend a contract for school safety for another year for $1.05 million, local newspaper, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, reported. Schools in the district began holding lockdown drills several years ago, a public information officer for the school district told Santa Clarita radio station KHTS in 2018 after the Parkland shooting in Florida.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chilling audio of possible kidnapping caught on home surveillance camera in Los Angeles

Ring/WABC (LOS ANGELES) -- Outdoor home surveillance camera footage released by the Los Angeles Police Department captured the sounds of an unseen woman screaming in terror in what police believe is a suspected kidnapping.

The screaming woman may be the victim of a possible kidnapping that occurred on Nov. 12, police said via a press release.

Another woman can be seen in the video standing on what appears to be a front porch and looking towards the direction of the screams. An LAPD spokesperson told ABC News that the woman in the video is the owner of the home with the home surveillance camera.

The video also shows a car speeding away from the camera's view.

Police provided more details in a press release about the possible kidnapping.

"Witnesses on the 3000 block of 3rd Avenue heard a female screaming, 'help me, somebody help me," the statement read.

"At the same time witnesses observed a possible 4-door white Prius with two occupants inside, speed off southbound 3rd Avenue," the statement continued, and that a woman with "dark braided hair" was believed to be in the front passenger seat.

A witness observed the woman's hair being pulled backward while she was screaming, according to the statement. "Witness-1 observed plastic wrap over the front passenger side window from a possible prior traffic collision. The Suspect was heard shouting, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,'" the statement also read.

The LAPD spokesperson said there was no new or additional information about the suspected kidnapping.

“I’m bothered, I’m really bothered,” said witness Denise Bingham to ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV. “Her screams, I can’t forget it. I can’t forget it.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


'Quack' gets away with causing the death of Maryland woman with illegal butt injections

Christina Carrega/ABC News(SUITLAND, Md.) -- A heartbroken Suitland, Maryland, family traveled to a New York City courtroom on Thursday to face the woman, who gave lethal butt injections to their loved one and legally "got away with murder."

Kelly Mayhew made an appointment with Donna Francis for May 30, 2015 to have a discounted buttock augmentation procedure done. The 34-year-old and her mother, Latrice Mayhew-Lane, made the five-hour trip to the basement of a home on Dickens Street in Far Rockaway that Francis, "an incompetent quack," disguised as a "second-rate medical office," said Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan in a press release.

Francis, 39 of London, England, had a massage table set up and was armed with dimethicone -- a silicone-based gel -- purchased from Ebay. Mayhew received the first injection of the clear fluid and as the second dosage was inserted, she "began showing signs of distress," said Ryan.

While holding Mayhew-Lane's hand, Mayhew pleaded for her life as Francis refused to call for help, said Mayhew-Lane's son, Richard Lane, as he read from a letter his mother wrote. The frantic mother said she called 911, but didn't know the cross streets and Francis, again, refused to help. Instead, Francis left the mother and daughter in the house, got into a car and flew back to her home country.

"Kelly's last words to me were 'Mommy, hold my hand,'" said Lane.

Mayhew went into cardiac arrest and died at a nearby hospital.

"She was a coward ... and she had been a coward for the last three years fighting extradition back to this country," said Assistant District Attorney George DeLuca-Farrugia in court on Thursday.

The city's medical examiner ruled her death a homicide as a result of systemic silicone embolism.

Francis fought extradition to face the consequences of her actions for criminally negligent homicide that carries an upstate prison term of up to four years.

"I'm not sure what information was given to the British courts or what they knew regarding the backstory. But one wonders, had this crime occurred in London, if they would have been content with a one year sentence for this action," said Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder to Francis.

Stipulations of Francis' agreed-upon extradition was a limited sentence of a year in jail and to not serve any of the time on Rikers Island.

"I'm sorry, it was not my intention to hurt anyone," cried Francis, who wore a navy-blue pant suit with yellow stiletto heels. "Sorry for all the years that this has been going on. I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

"I have to say that the phrase getting away with murder certainly applies to you and to say that I'm not happy with this plea and sentence is an understatement," said Holder to Francis who has been housed in Suffolk County.

If the judge rejected the extradition conditions, the family may never see Francis brought to justice. The family -- which filled one half of the Kew Gardens courtroom -- would have to wait until Francis "makes a mistake" and travels to another country "that does not have same interest England has in dictating the terms of your extradition," said Holder, adding, "... because what she (Mayhew-Lane) is not getting here, in my opinion, is justice."

"She got away with murder," said Mayhew-Lane outside of the courthouse as she wiped away tears and was consoled by her son, Richard Lane.

In 2016, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons released a study that showed that between 2000 and 2015 deaths related to butt augmentations were up 252% -- 4,767 in 2015, up from 1,356 in 2000. Prosecutors said it should be noted that when silicone is injected into a human body, it must be encapsulated to prevent free silicone from entering the bloodstream and causing an embolism.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


970 KSYL On Air Now

Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro
8:00pm - 10:00pm
Ben Shapiro

94.7 ESPN On Air Now

Weather

Upcoming Events

 

 

Resources

Station Tour

Station Tour