National Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

SeaWorld(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- The much-anticipated, revamped killer whale show at SeaWorld debuted this weekend, replacing the previous attraction that had generated controversy for years from animal rights activists.

The new show, called "Orca Encounter," includes a film about the animals' behavior, and places a high emphasis on learning more about the marine predators. While the orcas do splash the audience, the show is vastly different from the parks' long-running spectacle of the past, where the whales would perform tricks, and trainers would ride the whales and swim with them underwater.

Lindy Donahue, an animal behaviorist at SeaWorld, told ABC News that "the animals are happy," and the work the park has done in recent years to accommodate the animals "is absolutely enough."

Donahue added that she believed the whales at SeaWorld were living a happy, full life.

"People need to learn about the animals otherwise they won't learn to protect them," she added.

Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo, echoed Donahue's sentiment that people need to see whales in order to understand why their conservation is important.

"We have to understand something, touch the heart to teach the mind," Hanna said Tuesday on ABC News' Good Morning America. "We have to understand what these whales are. No one can see a whale. If you see a whale, you fall in love with these animals, they’re beautiful."

Hanna called the film shown during "Orca Encounter" about orcas' behaviors "absolutely unbelievable." He also commended SeaWorld on how they treat the whales while conducting important research.

"These animals are born in a beautiful situation at SeaWorld," Hanna said. "They have every kind of care there is. They take care of these animals better than most people throughout the world. They’re happy animals."

He added, "SeaWorld will always be a repository of the ocean world and of whales. No one, after 50-something years of research, can ever top that."

So far, the new show has received mixed reviews, with people posting reactions on social media that range from "poignant" to "boring."

The park announced last year that it would no longer breed its orcas, following years of protests from animal rights activists.

The new orca show also comes after the park's revenue and attendance has suffered since the release of the 2013 documentary film, Blackfish, which chronicled the life of an orca named Tilikum, who was responsible for the 2010 death of trainer Dawn Brancheau. The film critically examined the treatment of whales in captivity, and led to boycott calls and protests of the marine park.

The film's director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, told ABC News that she believes SeaWorld has made some progress with its new show, but has not gone far enough.

"They are still in concrete tanks," Cowperthwaite said of the orcas' conditions at SeaWorld. "My overall hope would be that SeaWorld will embrace the opportunity to truly evolve and to retire these whales into seaside sanctuaries."

"They'd be in the ocean and still cared for by human beings, but it would be the best way that we could possibly approximate the natural environment for these whales," Cowperthwaite added, saying that option is "The best we can do as humans, and we can give them a dignified retirement."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, Miss.) -- The family of the suspect in a deadly weekend shooting spree in Mississippi said he had been acting out in the days leading up to the massacre, which left a sheriff’s deputy and seven others dead.

The suspect, Willie Godbolt, 35, was taken into custody Sunday accused of carrying out a deadly shooting rampage that occurred a day earlier in two rural towns located about 70 miles south of Jackson.

Authorities believe Godbolt shot and killed eight people, including Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy William Durr, 36, after getting into an argument with his estranged wife. The shootings occurred at three different locations.

Shon Blackwell, who identified himself as Godbolt’s cousin, told ABC affiliate WAPT-TV that the suspect had been having “episodes,” pulling guns on people and shooting animals before the incident happened.

"He had been having episodes for a while where he had been acting out, pulling guns, shooting at things [and] dogs you know doing different things," Blackwell said.

Blackwell’s son, Jordan Blackwell, 18, along with his nephew Austin Edwards, 11, were among the eight people killed in the massacre, according to WAPT. The two were reportedly playing video games in their living room when a gunman stormed in looking for their relatives.

Authorities identifies the other victims as Barbara Mitchell, 55; Brenda May, 53; Tocarra May, 35; Ferral Burage, 45; and Shelia Burage, 46. Family members said the mother, aunt and sister of Godbolt's estranged wife were among the dead. Godbolt's wife and children managed to escape the scene, according to the family.

Investigators are still working to determine the motive behind the attack.

Authorities plan to charge the suspect with one count of capital murder and seven counts of first-degree murder, but those charges could evolve in the coming days.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A Navy SEAL who died during a parachute demonstration was identified Monday as Remington Peters, a 27-year-old “expert” Naval parachutist who enlisted in 2008, according to the Navy.

"Words cannot begin to express our devastation and heartbreak over the passing of our courageous warrior," his family said in a statement released Monday. "His accomplishments far outweigh his years. Anyone that has ever had the pleasure of knowing Remi could attest to his fierce loyalty to his friends, family, and his country."

"We are so grateful for all that he taught us, and all the love he gave us in his 27 wonderful years. Today, we honor our selfless, humble, and quiet professional,” the statement concluded.

The SEAL, who had been a member of the Navy’s parachute team for a little more than a year, was honored at a Memorial Day service Monday at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. He was a native of Colorado.

His parachute failed to open properly during a jump that was part of a Fleet Week event Sunday at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. He landed in the Hudson River. The Coast Guard and the Jersey City Fire Department marine unit responded immediately and took him to the Jersey Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m.

In a statement released late Monday, the Navy’s Special Warfare Center attributed the accident to an “equipment malfunction,” but it said the specific nature and cause is still unknown. It said an investigation into the accident is currently underway.

Peters, a veteran of two combat deployments, had more than 900 Naval parachute jumps under his belt.

He received more than a dozen medals and awards during his service, including a Combat Action medal, a National Defense Service medal and a Global War on Terrorism Service medal.

"This young special officer's death is an all too real reminder of the hazards our men and women face when building the skills necessary to defend this great nation," the commander of the U.S. fleet forces, Adm. Phil Davidson, said during the ceremony. "Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and loved ones and his team this Memorial Day."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for a moment of silence for the fallen SEAL, who was part of the Navy's elite parachute team, the Leap Frogs.

"But unfortunately, as we know, as Fleet Week ends, it ends with deep, deep sorrow," de Blasio said. "And I know on the behalf of all 8 1/2 million New Yorkers, we are feeling sadness, we are feeling sympathy and solidarity with the family of the Navy SEAL we lost just yesterday. We're feeling sympathy not just for his birth family but for his larger family, the men and women of the U.S. Navy."

De Blasio added, "It's a shock to see this loss, but our solidarity with the SEALs is strong."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- The mayor of Portland, Oregon, is asking the federal government to cancel the permit for an "alt right" rally scheduled for Sunday, saying it could make a difficult situation worse, after two men were stabbed to death as they tried to intervene when a pair of women were targeted by a man yellow what authorities have described as hate speech.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also said he is trying to ensure that a permit is not issued for a June 10 protest, which is reported by ABC Portland affiliate KATU-TV to be called #MarchAgainstSharia.

The City of Portland has not issued any permits for either of the two events, which are planned for the Terry Shrunk Plaza, Wheeler said. The federal government controls permitting for the venue and has issued a permit for the June 4 demonstration, called the "Trump Free Speech Rally," Wheeler said.

"I am calling on the federal government to IMMEDIATELY REVOKE the permits(s) they have issued for the June 4th event and to not issue a permit for June 4th event and to not issue a permit for June 10th," Wheeler said. "Our City is in mourning, our community's anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation."

Wheeler also urged the organizers of the demonstrations to cancel the events and asked the supporters of the demonstrations to "stay away from Portland."

On Friday afternoon, two men were stabbed to death while trying to help two young women who were being targeted by hate speech.

The men were identified by police as 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and 53-year-old Ricky John Best. A third victim, 21-year-old Micah David Cole-Fletcher, was treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries.

"Their heroism is now part of the legacy of this great city and I want future generations to remember what happened here, and why, so that it might serve to both eradicate hatred and inspire future generations to stand up for the right values like Rick, Taliesin, and Micah did last week," Wheeler said.

A 35-year-old North Portland resident, Jeremy Joseph Christian, was arrested in connection with the stabbings, which occurred after commuters on the train allegedly tried to calm him as he was yelling what authorities described as hate speech.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- The mother of a stabbing victim was able to meet the hero who saved her son's life on Sunday.

Margie Fletcher's 21-year-old son, Micah Fletcher, is still in the hospital after being injured in a stabbing rampage that left two other men dead on a Portland, Oregon, train on May 26.

Marcus Knipe, an Iraq War veteran, acted quickly when he saw Micah stumbling on the train station platform.

"He was terrified," Knipe told ABC affiliate KATU-TV. "He was scared. There was blood coming through his fingers or seeping through his fingers ... He was sitting there screaming out. 'Somebody help me, help me, I've been stabbed.'"

Knipe said he tried to keep Micah Fletcher calm while he called his mother. Once he reached her, he told her that he was helping her son and that Micah was going to be taken to the hospital.

"All I know is I was in the right place at the right time and knew what needed to be done just to get him to stay alive," Knipe told KATU.

Margie Fletcher said she was grateful for the opportunity to meet Knipe and thank him in person.

"I can't thank him enough. Never, ever. There's nothing I can do that will ever make up for what he did," she told KATU.

According to police, Jeremy Christian, 35, allegedly yelled hateful comments at two teen girls while riding the light rail. One of the girls was wearing a hijab. Ricky John Best, 53, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Micah Fletcher came to the girls' aid and Christian attacked the men. Best and Meche died in the stabbing.

Christian is facing two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, two counts of intimidation and possession of a restricted weapon by a felon.

The FBI is investigating the incident and will determine whether it should be categorized as a federal hate crime or act of domestic terrorism.

Christian is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Courtesy Hayes Family(STRATFORD, Wisc.) -- For decades, trumpet player Elmer Hayes has been honoring fallen service members with taps.

Hayes, 91, knows the 24-note soundtrack well. The Korean War veteran from Stratford, Wisconsin, has been playing taps on Memorial Day since 1956.

When he started playing the trumpet at 10 years old, he seemed to display a natural talent.

And when Hayes entered high school, a teacher asked him for a favor: to play taps at a military funeral.

"He needed somebody and I was playing in the band so I learned how to play taps -- just one of those things that happens," Hayes told ABC affiliate WAOW-TV last year.

He said he quickly learned that taps was more than just a piece of sheet music. He frequently plays during veteran funerals and Memorial Day services.

"Taps is part of the final musical part of what happens at a military funeral," he said. "It's the last thing that the family will hear."

Since then, Hayes has become a name in the polka scene with his trumpet. He is one of the founding members of the Hayes Boys Orchestra. He said playing in the ballroom was fun, but said he'd rather pick up his horn for fellow veterans.

"You think of what the piece is actually saying," he said. "It's this one long, beautiful piece and you try to play it as emotionally as you can. ... It has an effect on you."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(ELM GROVE, Wisc.) -- Three people were injured while watching a Memorial Day parade in Wisconsin after show ponies broke loose from their handlers and ran into the crowd, police said.

The ponies, which were pulling a wooden carriage with their owners on board, were likely startled by firework "snaps" and tennis balls that may have been thrown into the parade route by children, according to the Elm Grove Police Department.

Although attempts were made to stop the ponies from running, police added, the carriage entered a crowd of spectators.

A 77-year-old man struck his head after he was knocked to the ground by the ponies, police said. He was not seriously injured and refused medical transport. A 9-year-old boy was transported to a children's hospital after he received minor lacerations to his ear and experienced stomach pains where the carriage struck him.

A 58-year-old woman injured her ankle, shoulder and head after she was struck by the carriage and knocked off her chair, the department added.

The ponies were brought to the parade from Erin Meadows Farm in Hartford, Wisconsin. After the event, they were taken to a veterinarian, ABC Milwaukee affiliate WISN-TV reported.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Courtesy Jennifer Tilson (GRANITE CITY, Ill.) -- A 19-year-old U.S. Army soldier was reunited with his family thanks to a good Samaritan who paid for him to travel home.

Keaton Tilson returned to Granite City, Illinois, for the first time since Christmas after Josh Rainey of St. Louis, Missouri, shelled out the $350 for his plane ticket.

"I needed to personally and publicly thank him," mom Jennifer Tilson said of Rainey. "You don't hear of that all the time of a complete stranger willing to spend all that money. We needed to find out who he was.

"We are super appreciative that Josh did this so Keaton could come home," she added. "I know it was short, but it was better than nothing."

Keaton Tilson is stationed in Fort Worth, Texas.

On May 25, Keaton Tilson received approval to return home for Memorial Day weekend, but because it was such short notice, he was on standby to get on a flight home to Illinois. When a stranger, Josh Rainey, noticed Keaton Tilson wasn't having much luck with his standby ticket, he bought him a one-way ticket home so the soldier could return home immediately, Jennifer Tilson said.

"He missed a couple of flights because they were full," she added. "He called back a few minutes later all choked up and said, 'Somebody just bought my ticket.'"

Josh Rainey, 35, told ABC News that he first walked over to Keaton Tilson to try to trade airline tickets with him, but was informed by staff that Keaton Tilson was not next in line on standby. Rainey said he then paid for a new ticket instead.

"I didn't go over there thinking I was going to buy a ticket, but it didn't look like he just wanted to go home, it looked like it was for a reason," Rainey recalled. "He shook my hand and walked away and then came back and asked if he could give me a hug. Getting a hug from him was the most payment I could've gotten.

"This is so much more about him," Rainey added. "He has chosen to give up at least the next four years of his life. He got the week off. Instead of choosing to travel or see another country, he had to get home to his family."

Keaton Tilson returned home just in time for Memorial Day weekend. His mother captured the emotional moment when he surprised his younger siblings on camera.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(JACKSON, Miss.) -- Investigators have yet to determine what triggered a 35-year-old man to allegedly kill a sheriff's deputy and seven other people in a shooting rampage in rural Mississippi over Memorial Day weekend.

The suspect, Willie Corey Godbolt, was apprehended Sunday after the shootings, which took place overnight Saturday. The preliminary investigation indicates that Godbolt was either related to or an acquaintance of the victims, police said.

Godbolt remains hospitalized at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, where he's receiving treatment for a gunshot wound, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain told ABC News.

Godbolt reportedly told The Clarion-Ledger at the scene of his arrest that he had attempted to commit "suicide by cop."

"I ain't fit to live, not after what I done," Godbolt told the paper while handcuffed.

Godbolt faces preliminary charges, including one count of capital murder and seven counts of first-degree murder, but those charges could evolve in the coming days. He has yet to be formally charged, as he remains in the hospital. Strain told ABC News that he didn't anticipate that Godbolt would leave the hospital Monday.

It's unclear whether Godbolt has obtained a lawyer.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Across the country, bouts of severe weather are having a big impact on Americans marking Memorial Day weekend.

A man and a woman died and another woman is still missing after their car was swept away by flood waters in Branson, Missouri, over the weekend, a spokesperson for the city said Sunday.

Up to 5 inches of rain fell, flooding roads and neighborhoods in the popular family vacation destination.

There were seven tornadoes reported in Missouri and Oklahoma this weekend, and wind gusts hit nearly 90 miles per hour.

In Memphis, Tennessee, 70-mile-per-hour winds knocked out power for 180,000 people on Saturday.

Meanwhile, rain and flash floods battered parts of southern and eastern Texas.

In parts of the Northeast, Memorial Day, traditionally seen as the start of America's outdoor season, was overshadowed by rain clouds.

New England residents may have to spend the end of their holiday weekend indoors, as rain is predicted all day long.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Gene Mace Jr./Storyful(NEW YORK) -- A newly-released video depicts the harrowing moment a great white shark confronts a kayaker in California's Monterey Bay.

The shark knocked the kayaker into the water during the terrifying encounter, which took place this March. The victim can be seen flailing in the water as the shark swims nearby.

 Gene Mace Jr., who filmed the incident, can be heard in the video asking his wife to call for help.

"That person just got knocked out of his kayak by a shark," Mace says in the video. "See his kayak, a shark's pushing it around...It's swimming towards the guy now."

Eventually, a family passing by on a sailboat was able to rescue the victim from the water.

The video's release coincides with a recent uptick in shark sightings on both U.S. coasts.

On Sunday, a two-mile stretch of beach in San Clemente, California, was shut down do to shark sightings, according to local reports.

Earlier this month, approximately 15 great white sharks were spotted off of the coast of a beach in Orange County, California.

And last month, a teenage girl in Destin, Florida, was attacked by shark, requiring over 100 stitches.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Multnomah County Sheriffs Office(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- A young woman who was targeted with suspected hate speech in Oregon Friday before her attacker allegedly went on a deadly stabbing rampage asked for privacy and time to heal from the traumatic event.

Destinee Mangum, 16, and a 17-year-old friend who was wearing a hijab, were riding a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon, Friday evening when Joseph Christian, 35, allegedly began to yell racial slurs at them.

Christian allegedly killed two people and seriously injured another when they tried to intervene.

“The best thing that you guys can help out with it [to] just give me and my family time to process everything,” Mangum said in a video posted on her mother’s Facebook page. “I would appreciate it if you guys just give us our privacy and time to heal and [to] be together.”

Authorities said three men -- Rick John Best, 53, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21 -- tried to defend Mangum and her friend before the incident turned fatal when Christian allegedly attacked the men with a knife.

Best and Namkai-Meche were killed in the attack, which occurred on the first day of Ramadan -- the holiest time of the year for Muslims. Fletcher is currently at a local hospital where he is being treated for serious injuries, according to authorities.

Christian was arrested in connection with the stabbings and police said a preliminary investigation indicated that he had yelled “various remarks that would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicity and religions."

He was booked Saturday on charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder in the second degree and felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

In the video posted on Sunday, Mangum and her mother, Dyjuana Hudson, thanked the public for their support.

"We're just here to say thank you," Hudson said. "We really appreciate what's being done for us and for the victims."

Hudson also shared a link to a crowdfunding campaign to raise money that will go towards mental health services for the two teens, who are, according to the fundraiser’s page, “suffering immense trauma in the aftermath” of the tragedy.

"Although they survived, their lives will never be the same as they were being the targets of hate,” the campaign’s creators said. “In order to help them heal from this traumatic event we are raising funds to help girls to move on and feel safe in the future.”

The campaign had raised more than $14,500 as of early Monday morning. The fundraiser has a goal of $50,000.

Christian is currently being held without bail and is set to appear in court later on Monday. He was apprehended shortly after the attack when he was confronted by other men.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(JERSEY CITY, N.J.) -- A member of the Navy SEAL Elite Parachute team "The Leap Frogs" was killed in a parachuting accident during Fleet Week Sunday in Jersey City, New Jersey.

According to Rear Adm. Jack Scorby, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, the parachute of one of the team members failed to open properly and he landed in the water adjacent to Liberty Park.

The Coast Guard and the Jersey City Fire Department Marine Unit immediately responded and got the SEAL out of the water and he was brought to the Jersey Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:10 p.m.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, and I ask for all of your prayers for the Navy SEAL community who lost a true patriot today," Scorby said.

The cause of the accident is under investigation and the SEAL's name was being withheld until the next of kin are notified, the Navy said.

Video taken by ABC station WABC-TV showed part of the parachute coming down after the parachutist separated from his chute and landed in the water.

 

Fleet Week parachute accident. https://t.co/Wk5K1w8j0A parachutist cut away, landed in water, & injured. Courtesy Aaron Moss Stay w/@ABC7NY pic.twitter.com/3OXxKOWoYJ

— Stacey Sager (@staceysager7) May 28, 2017

 

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

Multnomah County Sheriffs Office(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- The family of one of the two men stabbed to death in Portland, Oregon, in an incident allegedly involving hate speech said the victim, 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, died in a "final act of bravery."

"We lost him in a senseless act that brought close to home the insidious rift of prejudice and intolerance that is too familiar, too common," the man's sister, Vajra, said in a statement Saturday. "In his final act of bravery, he held true to what he believed."

Namkai-Meche and the other man killed in the stabbing, 53-year-old Ricky John Best, were identified by the Portland Police Bureau on Saturday.

Best, of Happy Valley, Oregon, died at the scene and Namkai-Meche, of Southeast Portland died at a hospital. Another victim who was injured in the attack has been identified as 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher of Southeast Portland. Fletcher remains in a hospital where he's being treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

The mother of Namkai-Meche told ABC News her son was among those who tried to protect other commuters from the knife-wielding man. On Saturday, she posted a photo of her son on Facebook, calling him a "hero" and a "shining bright star."

Namkai-Meche's sister added in her statement, "We ask that in honor of his memory, we use this tragedy as an opportunity for reflection and change. We choose love."

The Oregon State Medical Examiner conducted autopsies on the deceased victims Saturday, but the results have not yet been released.

Police have arrested 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian of North Portland in connection with the stabbings, which occurred after commuters on the train allegedly tried to calm the suspect who was yelling what authorities said "would best be characterized as hate speech."

Christian is being held without bail at the Multnomah County Jail on charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder, intimidation in the second degree and felon in possession of a restricted weapon. Christian, 35, will be arraigned Tuesday at the Multnomah County Court, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

Police said the incident happened Friday afternoon, with multiple officers responding at 4:30 p.m. local time to a report of a disturbance on an eastbound light-rail train involving a man who had stabbed people. While en route to the scene, officers learned that the suspect had exited the train and was fleeing the area on foot toward a hospital, police said.

Upon arriving at the station where the train had stopped, officers found three stabbing victims and immediately began administering treatment on site until medical personnel arrived, police said.

Officers eventually located the suspect and placed him in custody. Christian received medical treatment and was put in the custody of homicide detectives, police said.

A preliminary investigation indicates that Christian was on the train "yelling various remarks that would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicity and religions," the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement.

At least two of the stabbing victims tried to intervene and calm him down. The suspect then attacked the men, stabbing three, before leaving the train, police said.

 

More photos of the deadly stabbing at Hollywood Transit Center from #Chopper2. Info: https://t.co/WBtMpVFWoY pic.twitter.com/NpZ48oVc7z

— KATU News (@KATUNews) May 27, 2017

 

Police said witnesses described two young women, "possibly Muslim," who were on the train at the time but left before officers arrived on scene. One of the women was wearing a hijab, witnesses told police.

The young women have been identified and detectives have been in contact with them. Their names are not being released at this time, police said.

Namkai-Meche's aunt in a statement to ABC News affiliate KATU in Portland said, “Taliesin gave his life to protect two teenage girls who were being abused. I was on the phone when it happened and I heard the hate speech from a white supremacist. I told him to get off the phone with me and videotape what was happening so he could send it to police. I didn’t mean for him to try to be a hero and get himself killed ... Taliesin was huge, just look at him, his soul didn’t even fit in his body, so much love. Stop the hate, that is the message, stop the hate."

Portland police detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances leading to the stabbings.

"As part of that investigation, detectives will extensively examine the background of the suspect, Jeremy Christian, including the information publicly available about the suspect's extremist ideology," the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement Saturday. "A review of the suspect's record with the Portland Police Bureau shows he is not flagged as a criminal gang member, nor does he have any known mental health history listed."

The FBI released a statement Friday night saying it was aware of the stabbings in Portland and that it's offering any resource that may assist local police in their investigation.

"We will certainly be looking at the facts and evidence as the investigation unfolds to determine whether there is any potential federal violation," the FBI said in its statement. "At the core of the FBI's mission is the belief that every person has the right to live, work and worship in this country without fear. Hate and bigotry have no place in our community, and we will not allow violence in the name of hate to go unanswered."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(BRANSON, Missouri) -- Two people are dead and one person is missing following flooding in the popular family tourist destination of Branson, Missouri, according to a spokesperson for the city.

The spokesperson said that at around 9:20 p.m. Saturday night, the local fire department responding to a call found a car with five people in it who were "affected by flooding," and that while two people escaped, three others were swept away.

The bodies of two of those three people -- a man and a woman -- have since been recovered. Another woman is still missing, the spokesperson said.

The five people who were in the car are believed to be from Memphis, Tennessee, which is about a five-hour drive from Branson.

Branson is situated in the Ozarks and is home to a group of family-friendly entertainment theaters that draw visitors from across the country.

Pervasive, record-breaking flooding has plagued parts of Missouri and Arkansas throughout this month, according to the National Weather Service.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.