National

Car barrels into day care center, 4 kids taken to hospitals

Courtesy Debbie Reese(PHILADELPHIA) -- Four children were taken to hospitals after a car barreled into a day care in Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon, officials said.

Seventeen children were in the room, and some of them were napping, as the driver collided into the classroom at Children of America day care in Upper Southampton Township, according to Gregg Shore, first assistant district attorney for Bucks County.

The driver crashed about 40 or 50 feet into the building, Shore said at a news conference.

 One of the four children suffered serious injuries and was taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Shore said. The township is about 25 miles outside of Philadelphia.

Shore did not elaborate on the conditions of the other children.

The driver, a woman in her 50s, was taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries and has been released, Shore said.

Shore described the motorist as a delivery driver who was at the day care in a business capacity. She has been cooperative, he added.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

About 75 children were at the day care at the time, and all have been accounted for and have been picked up, Shore said.

The kids who were in the room of the crash are around 3 and 4 years old, Shore said.

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Two Ohio University students plead guilty in 18-year-old's hazing death

Google Street View(ATHENS, OH) --  Two Ohio University students pleaded guilty Thursday for their involvement in the hazing death of an 18-year-old freshman, prosecutors said.

Dominic A. Figliola, 21, and Cullen Willi McLaughlin, 21, both appeared before a judge to enter their pleas in the death of Collin Wiant, who died of asphyxiation from nitrous oxide ingestion on Nov. 12, 2018, according to a statement from Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller Blackburn.

Figliola pleaded guilty to hazing, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, while McLaughlin pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of LSD, a fifth-degree felony, according to the statement.

A third person, Zachary Herskovitz, 22, of Coraopolis, PA, also appeared in court and pleaded guilty to permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth degree. Herkovitz was convicted of hazing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, and ordered to complete one year of non-reporting probation and pay a fine of $250.

Neither were hit with jail time. They will instead have to successfully complete the Prosecutor's Office Athens County Empowerment Program.

Figliola was also ordered to complete a year of probation.

Blackburn said that both students were part of a "cycle of hazing that has existed within Ohio University Sigma Pi fraternity for years."

Wiant was a freshman at the university and had been selected as a pledge two months before he died, according to a wrongful death suit filed by his family in February against the fraternity and 10 individuals.

The teenager died inside a Sigma Pi Epsilon annex house in Athens, Ohio, where he was allegedly beaten with a belt, pelted with eggs, deprived of sleep and forced to take drugs and drink a gallon of alcohol in an hour, the lawsuit alleged.

Seven other people were also arrested in his death and indicted on a range of charges, including involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, trafficking and tampering with evidence.

Figliola and McLaughlin will testify against those defendants as part of their guilty plea, according to prosecutors.

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Babysitter takes video of self with gun, accidentally shoots 10-year-old: Sheriff

KTRK-TV(HOUSTON) --  A 19-year-old was taking a video of herself with a gun when she allegedly shot her 10-year-old nephew by accident, according to Texas authorities.

Caitlyn Smith, 19, has been arrested as her nephew recovers, Deputy Thomas Gilliland, spokesman with the Harris County Sheriff's Office, told ABC News on Thursday.

The boy was is in stable condition Thursday, said Gilliland.

The shooting unfolded on Tuesday when Smith was babysitting the boy at a home in Harris County, according to Gilliland.

She recorded herself holding the gun, and then went to disengage the magazine from the pistol, Gilliland said.

But her finger was allegedly on the trigger, so when she pulled to eject the magazine, the gun fired, striking the 10-year-old in the abdomen, said Gilliland.

Smith was charged Wednesday night with serious bodily injury to a child -- a second-degree felony, said Gilliland.

 He said Smith was not charged until officials had a better sense of the boy's prognosis.

"Weapons are not meant to be props in selfies or any type of videoing," Gilliland said, adding that the teen "could have caused a homicide."

Smith has not yet appeared in court, said Gilliland.


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Some NYPD officers tip each other off when body cameras are on: watchdog report

tillsonburg/iStock(NEW YORK) -- They are supposed to be a deterrent for misconduct, yet some New York Police Department officers are sending verbal and non-verbal signals to each other when their body cameras are tuned on, one watchdog agency found.

The New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) found in a report that while investigating allegations of misconduct by the city's police department, that one of their biggest issues were cases where Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) are involved.

During its investigation, CCRB claims that NYPD officers in videos it reviewed used phrases like "I went Hollywood," "Green," "We're live," and "I'm hot" to warn fellow officers that their BWCs were on and recording.

 "Officers also used non-verbal cues, such as tapping motions, shoulder brushing, and gesturing to indicate whether their cameras were turned on or off," the CCRB said in its investigation report released Thursday, that focused on the impact of police body-worn cameras from May 2017 to June 2019.

BWCs were introduced to the NYPD -- the largest police departments in the country -- in 2014 after a federal judge determined that the stop-question-and-frisk policy implemented by the agency was unconstitutional and violated the rights of people of color in New York City.

By August 2019, 24,000 of the over 36,000 NYPD officers, including those in specialized units like the Emergency Service Unit, were equipped with BWCs and over 3.5 million videos have been recorded, according to the NYPD.

 These recordings help CCRB investigators with the thousands of complaints they receive annually, but with officers signaling to each other about the presence of a BWC, it "undermines the purpose of the BWC program, which is meant to, 'provide a contemporaneous, objective record of stops and frisks, allowing for the review of officer conduct,'" the report shows.

From 2017 to June 2019 2,033 complaints where BWC footage was received, only 318 were fully investigated and ended with a conclusion. The CCRB reached a clear determination of fact in 76% of all cases, compared to 39% when no video was available, the agency reported.

In response to the signaling accusations, an NYPD spokeswoman said the CCRB has "mischaracterized" the Patrol Guide's guidelines which says "to notify members of the public as soon as reasonably practical that a BWC is recording."

The spokeswoman also said that the notifications are also a form of de-escalation.

The CCRB and NYPD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2019 which included a request to amend the NYPD's Patrol Guide and create a policy prohibiting body camera interference tactics. Although NYPD said "changing the patrol guide is...not necessary and "the use of shorthand or jargon among officers is commonplace and not inappropriate."

Approximately 20 other cities including Minneapolis, Atlanta and Baltimore have policies prohibiting officers from interfering with BWC recordings, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, a public interest and legal advocacy organization.

The Brennan Center for Justice created a resource for suggested language for BWC policies.

"Appropriate disciplinary action shall be taken against any enforcement member who is found to have intentionally failed to adhere to the recording or retention requirements contained in this policy, or to have intentionally interfered with a BWC’s ability to accurately capture video footage," according to a policy established in Parker, Colorado.

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Authorities identify gunman who killed 5 at Molson Coors brewery

Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE, Wis.) -- Law enforcement officials identified 51-year-old Anthony Ferrill as the employee of the Molson Coors Beverage Company who gunned down five co-workers at the company's Milwaukee brewery campus.

Ferrill left the MillerCoors campus and returned to the site with a gun on Wednesday, opening fire around 2 p.m. local time, law enforcement officials briefed on the probe told ABC News.

The victims were identified by Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales as employees Jesus Valle Jr., 33; Gennady Levshetz, 61; Trevor Wetselaar, 33; Dana Walk, 57; and Dale Hudson, 60.

The employees were powerhouse operators, machinists and electricians, Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley told reporters during a press conference Thursday.

"But more importantly, they were husbands, they were fathers, and they were friends," Hattersley said.

No other victims were injured in Wednesday afternoon's mass shooting, Milwaukee police said. Ferrill, a resident of Milwaukee, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

The attack garnered a massive response of first responders to the brewery.

Investigators do not yet know the motive of the shooting or how the incident transpired, Morales said.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett described Molson Coors as the "fabric of this community" for more than a century and a half and emphasized the need for support in the aftermath of the shooting.

"We should also recognize that they are going to need our help as a community, because they’ve gone through something that no one ever wants to go through -- a sudden, tragic, unexpected, unbelievable loss of life," he said.

Hattersley said Wednesday in response to the shooting, "There are no words to express the deep sadness many of us are feeling right now."

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement, "Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were senselessly taken, all of the folks and workers at Molson Coors, and the Milwaukee community as we grapple with yet another act of gun violence that will have long-lasting consequences for this community and our state.

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University of Oklahoma promises changes after student sit-in protests use of racial slurs

KOCO-TV(NORMAN, Okla.) -- University of Oklahoma administrators say they will make changes in the wake of a sit-in by students protesting two incidents in which professors used racial slurs while teaching class.

The first incident occured on Feb. 11, when journalism professor Peter Gade compared the offensiveness of the phrase "OK, Boomer" and the use of the "N-word."

The second incident occurred on Monday, when a history professor read from a historical document that used the N-word "repeatedly," the university said in a statement, which also denounced her use of the word. That professor was not named.

In response to the incidents, the university's Black Emergency Response Team staged a sit-in outside the president's office in Evans Hall on Wednesday.

University officials condemned both incidents, saying that the school "must serve as an example to our society of both freedom of expression and understanding and tolerance," according to ABC Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO-TV.

Regarding Professor Gade, administrators said in a statement that "While the professor’s comments are protected by the First Amendment and academic freedom, his comment and word choice are fundamentally offensive and wrong." Gade did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

In response to the professor who read aloud the historical document, a university statement said that "While she could have made the point without reciting the actual word, she chose otherwise. Her issuance of a 'trigger warning' before her recitation does not lessen the pain caused by the use of the word. For students in her class, as well as members of our community, this was another painful experience. It is common sense to avoid uttering the most offensive word in the English language, especially in an environment where the speaker holds power."

Students at the resulting sit-in posted a list of demands that includes the resignation of university provost Kyle Harper, mandatory equity training for all faculty, shifting the one-time diversity training to a semester-long class taken by all incoming and transfer students, and creating a multicultural center for all marginalized groups on campus.

The students refused to leave the building until all of their demands were met, the group wrote on Twitter. Some students remained in the building for more than 13 hours, KOCO reported.

"At this time I can say that not all of the demands have been met, but we will still be here as long as we need to until those demands have been met," a member of the group, who is also a KOCO employee, said on video.

University administrators met with students Wednesday evening to discuss the demands and "better understand their concerns," according to a statement released by the university.

"We identified areas of agreement that will move our University forward," the statement read. "We have agreed to continue these discussions. We will also advance those discussions with other student, faculty, and staff leadership.

The document the university gave to the group in response to their demands was provided to ABC News by OU Director of Media Relations Kesha Keith. It outlines a plan that will be presented to the Board of Regents in draft form on March 11 and 12.

The tentative plans includes mandatory equity training for all faculty and staff, to be implemented by the fall; the development and implementation of a student course to promote respect for all students, to be piloted in the upcoming fall semester and included in the general education curriculum during Fall 2021; and the expansion of mental health resources for students.

"We believe these are in the best interests of the University," the document read.

Dozens of students remained at the sit-in on Thursday morning, Emma Keith, a reporter for The Norman Transcript, tweeted.

 University administrators said in response to the protests that they "join with OU's concerned and hurt students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends, and we echo the need for equal respect for everyone."

"Our community has experienced incidents in the last two weeks that have certainly caused pain, but more importantly have been reminders of trauma caused by racism and structural issues both past and present," the statement read. "As a University, one of our responsibilities is to not simply reflect society, but to engage in productive, positive discourse, come together, and make society better."

The statement was signed by UO Interim President Joseph Harroz, Jr., Vice President for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Dr. Belinda Higgs Hyppolite and Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. David Surratt.

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Former Michigan wrestler says he came forward with sexual abuse complaint in 1975, but was ignored

ABCNews.com(NEW YORK) --  Three former students at the University of Michigan, all of who claim to be victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a deceased school physician, spoke out Thursday on what they described as "decades of sexual abuse and ignoring victims" at the school.

One of the alleged victims, Tad Deluca, is the first person to have brought forward the allegations against Dr. Robert E. Anderson to coaches at the Ann-Arbor university, according to his lawyers.

"I spoke up by letter in 1975 and was ignored and denigrated by the University of Michigan. I spoke up again by letter in 2018 … once again the University of Michigan ignored me," Deluca said at a press conference in Southfield, Michigan. "I'm here today to speak up again to let the University of Michigan know I will not be ignored again."

Deluca and his attorney said he was kicked off the team for reporting a complaint against Anderson in 1975, which later resulted in him losing his scholarship.

Deluca said he came forward again in 2018 after being inspired by the victims of disgraced USA Olympic gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to more than 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting numerous athletes.

Rick Fitzgerald, university spokesperson, praised the "three brave men who came forward today to share their stories" and that they "delivered a powerful message."

"As U-M President Mark Schlissel has said, we are deeply sorry for the harm caused by Anderson," Fitzgerald said in a statement to ABC News. "The university engaged a firm with deep expertise to conduct an independent, thorough, and unflinching review of the facts – wherever they may lead. Through the work of this independent firm, there will be a full, public accounting of the harms caused by Anderson as well as the institutional failings that allowed him to keep practicing."

"We again urge anyone to come forward and talk directly and confidentially to our outside, independent investigators. It is truly important for the investigators to hear the voices of survivors for the investigators to understand the full scope of harm and its root causes," the statement added.

Deluca wrote in his original letter to his then-coach Bill Johannesen that no matter the injury he sustained, "[Anderson] always makes you drop your drawers," according to attorney Parker Stinar.

During treatment sessions with Anderson, the doctor felt Deluca's penis, his testicles and inserted his finger into his rectum, according to his letter, parts of which were read by Stinar.

 Former wrestler Andy Hrovat, who was one of the first to publicly come forward with the allegations, was also in attendance at the press conference.

"Our culture in this sport, and even other sports, is make no excuses. You're not a victim. You gotta suck it up. You gotta push through it, and that is very difficult, especially for men, to stand up and say, 'This did happen. It was wrong,'" Hrovat said. "You may not see yourself as a victim, but you are."

Hrovat, Deluca and another alleged victim, Thomas Evasheski, all encouraged others to come forward and speak up.

Stinar said he expects "hundreds more victims" to come forward. He said there is a meeting scheduled with the University of Michigan to discuss the allegations and hold them accountable. Stinar did not give a date and only disclosed it would be in the "near future."


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Border Patrol discovers new smuggling tunnel in southern US

U.S. Border Patrol(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona have uncovered another illegal tunnel running under the U.S.-Mexico border, the latest in a series of discoveries and the result of renewed efforts targeting underground smuggling routes.

The tunnel, according to Customs and Border Protection, ran about 30 feet into Nogales, Arizona. No arrests were immediately made in connection with the tunnel, a CBP official confirmed to ABC News.

It’s the third time since December that agents have thwarted a suspected underground smuggling route in the area, according to Border Patrol.

Similar tunnels used for drug trafficking have recently been found across the southern U.S. border as part of regularly coordinating investigations with Mexican authorities.

Tensions between the U.S. and Mexico have been heightened over the past year as Trump administration officials push for further cooperation to secure the southern border, including petitioning for more resources into the border wall.

Mexican government officials in early 2019 were reluctant to accept the administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy. The protocols have exposed tens of thousands of Central American asylum seekers to the dangers of Mexican-border towns while they await their immigration court hearings.

Despite the pushback, the Department of Homeland Security expanded the program across the southern border, while front-line Border Patrol agents face on-going security challenges. Those efforts require careful communication and long-standing ties with Mexico's military, according to multiple Border Patrol officials.

Last month, federal authorities in San Diego discovered the longest cross-border tunnel on record. It extended more than 14 football fields and included lighting fixtures, cabling and an elevator, according to CBP.

Customs officials have seen a spike in hard narcotics trafficking primarily of Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid linked to a rise in overdose deaths in recent years.

At the same time, Border Patrol seized far less marijuana in recent years, according to the latest CBP data. The reduction is a likely result of U.S. states legalizing medicinal and recreational cannabis use, an agency official said.

The tunnel discovered in Nogales this week was less sophisticated, allowing only enough space for one person to crawl through at a time, according to the official.

Arizona Border Patrol agents said the newly discovered was built in connection with an extensive sewage system that runs under Nogales’ sister city on the Mexican side of the border, making it more challenging to detect the illicit passage way.

After an investigation, authorities filled the passage with concrete.

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New lawsuit backed by Jay-Z, Yo Gotti slams 'barbaric' Mississippi prison conditions

DNY59/iStock(GREENVILLE, Miss.) -- For the second time in about a month, hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Yo Gotti are financially backing a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi prison system, bringing the number of inmates complaining of being subjected to "barbaric" conditions to 181.

The new lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greenville, Mississippi, on behalf of 152 inmates, most of them serving time at the state's largest and most notorious prison in Parchman.

Since late December, at least 19 inmates have died in Mississippi's four state-run prisons, including seven killed in homicides and three by suicide, officials said.

Addressing conditions at the Parchman prison, the new lawsuit blames understaffing and poor funding for decades of problems.

"As a result, prisoners endure abhorrent conditions, abuse and constant violence, inadequate health care and mental health care, and overuse of isolation," the lawsuit states.

"The conditions of confinement at Parchman are so barbaric, the deprivation of health and mental health care so extreme, and the defects in security so severe, that the people confined at Parchman live a miserable and hopeless existence confronted daily by imminent risk of substantial harm in violation of their rights under the U.S. Constitution," the suit alleges.

Jay-Z's Roc Nation entertainment company and Yo Gotti also published a full-page ad in the New York Times directly addressed to Mississippi's new governor Tate Reeves, saying, "this is now part of your legacy."

"We need to be blunt: the alarming humanitarian crisis currently overwhelming Parchman Prison is spiraling out of control. We’ve heard you talk about bold and immediate action; now we need to see results before more lives are destroyed. The situation is critical," the ad reads.

It goes on to mention the nearly two dozen "senseless deaths" in the prisons since Dec. 29, and the "countless injuries and untold cases of mental and physical terrorism inflicted on inmates."

"Given those tragedies, if you don't act decisively, Parchman will soon be the site of a human catastrophe the likes of which the United States hasn't see in a generation," the ad reads. "If animals in the Jackson [Mississippi] Zoo were treated in such a way, you would immediately shutter it and launch an investigation."

Last month Jay-Z and Yo Gotti financially supported a similar lawsuit filed on behalf of 29 Mississippi prison inmates. The federal suit, filed on Jan. 16, alleges the prisoners' "lives are in peril" and claims that recent deaths were a "direct result of Mississippi’s utter disregard for the people it has incarcerated and their constitutional rights.”

In addition to the new lawsuit, Jay-Z's company released a YouTube video containing footage inmates took with contraband cell phones showing conditions in Parchman, including prison cells with no working toilets or running water, and other cells with leaking roofs. The video also showed a prisoner beating and chasing another prisoner through a cellblock with no guards in sight.

The video includes interviews with relatives of prisoners who have recently died in the penitentiaries, including the mother and sister of inmate A.D. "Buddy" Mills who, according to prison officials, died on Jan. 8 from natural causes at age of 42.

Mills' sister, Claudia Mills, said her brother suffered from diabetes and kidney failure. She said he died of renal failure.

"He was in Parchman 25 days, sick, we not knowing if he was getting his medicine or anything, not knowing if he was getting the proper care," Mills says in the video. "We know that he wasn't. We've been sent some videos [of] people crying out to help him."

Janice Sherman said in the video that her nephew, Joshua Norman, 26, was found dead hanging in his cell at Parchman on Jan. 26, four days after she assured him in a phone conversation that officials were working to improve conditions at the prison, which she described as "the scariest place on Earth."

"That was pretty devastating," she said of receiving the phone call that her nephew was dead. "It was my worst nightmare because it was never ... just never expected it. I knew there were struggles. I knew there were issues but I never lost hope of the possibility that he'd be OK."

Alarmed by a string of murders, suicides and cellblock riots, the Department of Justice announced on Feb. 6 that it was launching a civil rights investigation of the Mississippi prison system.

DOJ officials said the probe by the Civil Rights Division's Special Litigation Section is focusing on "whether the Mississippi Department of Corrections adequately protects prisoners from physical harm at the hands of other prisoners at the four prisons, as well as whether there is adequate suicide prevention, including adequate mental health care and appropriate use of isolation at Parchman."

Besides Parchman, the DOJ is investigating conditions at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl and the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville.

The DOJ investigation was initiated about a month after 11 prisoner advocacy groups -- including the American Civil Liberty Union of Mississippi, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP -- sent the agency a 23-page letter asking the federal government to investigate the state's prison system.

"Mississippi is deliberately and systematically subjecting people in its care to a substantial risk of serious harm due to understaffing, in violation of the rights secured and protected by the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and it is no exaggeration to say lives will be lost absent of immediate intervention," reads the letter, which was also signed by U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Mississippi's new governor, Tate Reeves, who took office on Jan. 14, has made fixing the prison system a major focus of his administration.

One of the first things Reeves did as governor was visit the troubled prisons and announce a series "common sense" changes, including a crackdown on contraband cellphones, which, he said, have been used to coordinate violence throughout the prison system. He's also started a process to weed out guards who are corrupt or have gang affiliations.

He immediately deployed maintenance teams to Parchman to improve conditions he called "terrible." In his first State of the State address, Reeves announced he had ordered the closing of the notorious Unit 29 at Parchman, where a deadly riot broke out in early January and thrust the crisis into the national spotlight.

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St. Louis County to ban domestic violence offenders from carrying concealed guns

Rdlamkin/iStock(ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo.) -- People with domestic violence convictions and orders of protection against them will soon be banned from carrying concealed guns in St. Louis County, Missouri, according to a vote this week from the county council that was sharply split along party and gender lines.

The four women on the council who are all Democrats, voted yes at Tuesday's meeting, while the three men on the council, who are all Republicans, voted no.

Councilman Tim Fitch said at the meeting that the bill would "take a federal felony charge and make it an ordinance violation," or essentially a "ticket."

"While it may look good on a campaign brochure," Fitch said, "it's going the opposite direction."

In response to Fitch, Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway conceded that passing this bill would make an ordinance that wouldn't have the same penalties as a federal crime.

But Dunaway stressed, "the problem is, these particular federal crimes do not get prosecuted," because federal prosecutors are "too busy with much bigger issues."

"If we can hand this law over to the county government, it's more likely to be prosecuted," Dunaway said.

"We'd like to do a whole lot more to protect people from gun violence," Dunaway said. "Even though this doesn't go far enough, I think it's the first step in the right direction."

Councilwoman Rochelle Walton Gray argued that the ordinance furthers the federal law because "it sends a message to our prosecutors."

But Councilman Ernie Trakas said he believes the bill "encroaches" on the 2nd Amendment, telling the council at Tuesday's meeting, "this bill overreaches, is not well thought out, and I believe it violates state law."

Councilman Mark Harder voted no, and at the meeting called the bill "flawed."

"If we're going to tackle domestic violence in St Louis County -- and we should -- this does not go near far enough to act as a deterrent to domestic violence," Harder said.

Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, chair of the county council, introduced the bill.

"Like probably a lot of other states, Missouri’s got some pretty tight restrictions" on how local government regulates guns, Clancy told ABC News on Thursday. She calls this bill the best steps to address gun violence and domestic violence at the local level.

"I wish the bill could go further, but it can't at this time until we change some state laws," she said.

Clancy said St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is expected to sign the law in the next few weeks.

She said it was co-sponsored by the other women on the county council and that the process included involvement from the county executive and domestic violence advocates.

Clancy said Kansas City's city council has already passed a similar bill and lawmakers with the city of St. Louis are working though a similar bill of their own.

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Latest American infected could be first coronavirus case of community spread within US

Samara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The latest patient being treated for the novel coronavirus in the United States is being investigated by health officials as possibly the first case of community spread on American soil.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the diagnosis Wednesday night, bringing the total number of infected Americans to 60. The majority of the cases are U.S. citizens who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was placed under quarantine in Japanese waters as hundreds of passengers became infected with the newly identified virus, known officially as COVID-19, which originated in China.

However, the newest patient, who is a resident of California's Solano County, had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected individual, according to the California Department of Public Health.

"We have been anticipating the potential for such a case in the U.S.," Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement Wednesday night, "and given our close familial, social and business relationships with China, it is not unexpected that the first case in the U.S. would be in California."

The individual was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento from another hospital on Wednesday, and doctors requested COVID-19 testing by the CDC.

"When the patient arrived, the patient had already been intubated, was on a ventilator, and given droplet protection orders because of an undiagnosed and suspected viral condition," the hospital said in a statement Wednesday night. "Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered. UC Davis Health does not control the testing process."

The CDC ordered COVID-19 testing on Sunday, according to UC Davis Medical Center.

The CDC said it would continue to investigate the source of the infection. It's "possible" that the individual "may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected," an agency official said in a statement Wednesday.

The new coronavirus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan back in December and has since spread overseas to at least 37 other countries, with South Korea, Italy and Iran seeing recent surges in case numbers. The World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a global health emergency and said it "absolutely" has the potential to become a pandemic, has recorded more than 81,000 confirmed infections globally. Over 96% of those cases were in China.

At least 2,762 people have died from confirmed cases of the virus, all but 44 in China, according to the latest data from the WHO.

Increasing concerns over virus exposure have prompted some cities around the world to suspend public gatherings and shutter schools, businesses and restaurants. Many airlines have also suspended flights to China as well as South Korea, which has the second-highest national total of coronavirus cases behind China.

COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from the mild, such as a slight cough, to the more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC. There is no vaccine yet for the virus.

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Winter storm with heavy snow, rain and wind hitting Northeast

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The latest winter storm continues to move east after bringing almost a half a foot of snow to Detroit and up to 8 inches of accumulation in northern Indiana.

Thursday morning, as the storm moves through the Northeast, snow, wind and even blizzard alerts have been issued for 14 states from North Carolina to Maine.

Heavy rain is falling for coastal New England Thursday, including Boston and Portland, Maine, where some street flooding is possible.

To the west and north, heavy snow is falling in Western New York and into the northern New England mountains.

The big story Thursday will be strong winds developing for all of the Northeast, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

Heavy lake effect snow will hit south of Buffalo, New York and north of Syracuse. Some areas in Western New York could see more than 3 feet of snow, which would be the biggest lake effect snow of the season for the Northeast.

Behind this winter storm, it will get cold once again for the Midwest and the Northeast.

The cold air is already in the Midwest Thursday morning and now it will move into the Northeast later in the afternoon.

By Friday morning, wind chills will be below zero from the northern Great Lakes into parts of the Northeast.

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Teacher dressed up as a black leader every day for Black History Month

Courtesy Latoya McGriff(SUFFOLK, Va.) -- To celebrate Black History Month, this Virginia-based teacher is bringing history to life.

Latoya McGriff is a first-grade teacher at Creekside Elementary School in Suffolk, Virginia. This year, McGriff decided to dress up as a different African American historical figure every school day during Black History Month.

"I decided to dress up for Black History Month so that the kids are actually seeing a live person from history," McGriff told Good Morning America. "I just wanted to bring history alive for the kids."

McGriff, who has been an educator for 12 years, said that the majority of her school's population is black and she emphasized the persistent importance of representation within history.

"It is important for the children to see that people who look like them have made contributions because it reassures them that they can, too … It's hard to believe in something you don't see," McGriff said.

The different outfits are used as a conversation-starter, McGriff explained. The students will ask questions when they see them and will want to know more about the historical figure she's portraying, she added.

McGriff decided to also put a focus this year on African American historical figures local to Virginia. Her personal favorite has been Mary Jackson.

Jackson was a mathematician and an aerospace engineer for NASA in the 1950s and played a large -- and widely unrecognized -- role in sending the first astronaut into orbit.

Jackson's life was most recently portrayed in the 2016 blockbuster Hidden Figures, where she was played by Janelle Monae.

"Mary Jackson personally influenced me because of her struggle," said McGriff. "She was known as a human computer, yet she wasn't even allowed in meetings because of the color of her skin and because she was a woman. Yet, she prevailed."

McGriff dressed as other well-known figures such as Misty Copeland, Ella Fitzgerald and Barack Obama, but also gave recognition to those who are lesser-known, such as James Lafayette, a former slave turned spy during the Revolutionary War; Dr. L.D. Britt, the first African American doctor in America to have an endowed chair in surgery; and Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court's first African American justice.

Along with different historical figures, McGriff also chose to honor historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and the nine historically Black Greek-letter organizations.

Two institutions personally relevant to McGriff are Hampton University, the Virginia school that she graduated from in 2006, and Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., the sorority of which she's a member.

McGriff said she wanted to incorporate HBCUs and Black Greek-letter organizations as an inspiration for higher education.

"[Learning about these organizations] gives children something to look up to, and they get excited about wanting to go to school and get to college," McGriff told GMA.

"I hope that [the students] learn, no matter the circumstances, they can make a difference in this world," said McGriff. "No matter where they come from, how they look, they can make a difference."

Although the online attention has been a shock, McGriff hopes it will continue to raise awareness of the importance of Black History Month in schools.

"I hope that [people who see the story] will implement some type of Black History Month program in their school," McGriff said. "They don't have to dress up like I did … but, I just want people to incorporate black history so that other students of color can see themselves represented in history."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Hearse stolen from California church with dead body still inside: Officials

GrabillCreative/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- Authorities in Los Angeles County were looking for a stolen hearse late Wednesday night, but said they were far more concerned about what was inside the vehicle: a woman's body.

It was recovered early Thursday, said police, who took one suspect into custody after a short pursuit. A tip from a resident who spotted the vehicle led to the arrest.

The black Lincoln Navigator had been taken around 8 p.m. local time from St. Anthony's Church on Rosemead Boulevard in Pasadena, California, with the casket inside, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

"Out of all the bad decisions you have made, at least make one good one & bring back the deceased person & casket inside the Navigator," the department tweeted Wednesday.

Authorities have not publicly released the suspect's name, possible whereabouts for the vehicle, nor the name of the person whose body is inside the SUV.

The Greek Orthodox Church, according to ABC Los Angeles station KABC, was holding a prayer service often held the night before a funeral on Wednesday evening. However, officials told KABC that the woman's body that was stolen was not associated with the service.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lori Loughlin's lawyers claim new evidence exonerates actress

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lori Loughlin's lawyers seized on the news Wednesday that "Varsity Blues" mastermind Rick Singer once complained that the FBI was making him lie to bolster the government's case, according to a new court document, proclaiming that it showed the actress was innocent of bribery charges.

In iPhone notes taken by Singer -- who pleaded guilty to racketeering and fraud in connection with the college admission scandal last year -- and shared between Singer and his defense attorney before he decided to cooperate with federal authorities, he claims the FBI wanted him "to tell a fib."

Singer relates a discussion with FBI agents to his lawyer, saying, "Loud and abrasive call with agents. They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where there (sic) money was going -- to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment."

Loughlin's lawyers pointed to the new evidence that emerged Wednesday to say their client, and her fashion designer husband, are innocent of the charges filed against them in the "Varsity Blues" scandal.

Sean M. Berkowitz, the lawyer for the Full House actress and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, asked to postpone the setting of a trial date until ongoing evidence disputes can be decided, according to the Wednesday filing.

"This afternoon, less than 24 hours before the status conference at which the Court intended to set trial dates in this mater, the Government for the very first time produced in discovery Brady information that is not only exculpatory, but exonerating for the Defendants the Government has charged with bribery," Berkowitz wrote in the filing. "That discovery consists of Rick Singer's written notes contemporaneously memorializing his discussions with FBI investigators about recorded phone calls that they directed him to make to his clients in order to induce inculpatory statements to be used against those clients in subsequent criminal prosecutions."

"Singer's notes indicate that FBI agents yelled at him and instructed him to lie by saying that he told his clients who participated in the alleged 'side door' scheme that their payments were bribes, rather than legitimate donations that went to the schools," Berkowitz wrote in the filing.

Loughlin's defense has centered on the fact that she says she thought she was making proper donations to the University of Southern California instead of a bribe.

The message was set aside for review by a government taint team because it was initially flagged as subject to attorney-client privilege. When the taint team recently determined it was not privileged, the U.S. Attorney’s Office released it to defense attorneys, according to a source familiar with the case.

While the message was disclosed to all defendants, the source said it applies only to one, unknown defendant.

Prosecutors believe the new information won’t make a difference, according to a source, who said the notes were Singer’s interpretation of his interaction with the FBI -- what the source called "a con man's interpretation.”

Loughlin and Giannulli have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering. They have pleaded not guilty.

According to the indictment, Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly paid $500,000 in bribes to Singer in exchange for having their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose Giannulli, designated as recruits for USC's crew team even though neither had ever participated in the sport.

Michelle Janavs, whose family developed Hot Pockets before selling the company, was sentenced Tuesday to five months in prison for her role in the college admissions scandal.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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