National News

Kennywood shooting: 3 shot, including 2 teenagers, in front of ride at amusement park

Mike Valente/WTAE

(PITTSBURGH) -- A gunman was on the run Sunday after shooting three people, including two teenagers, and sparking panic at a crowded amusement park near Pittsburgh, police said.

Gunfire erupted around 10:46 p.m. Saturday at the Kennywood amusement park in the Pittsburgh suburb of West Mifflin, police said.

Witnesses said the shooting occurred in front of the park's popular Musik Express ride and sent park-goers diving for cover and running to the exits. Police said several people were injured when they were apparently trampled while attempting to get out of harm's way.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Christopher Kearns said an altercation occurred and the alleged assailant pulled a handgun and started firing.

At the time of the shooting, West Mifflin and Allegheny County police officers were at the park and quickly responded along with park security to the gunfire, according to a statement released by park officials.

Kearns said officers found two people wounded at the scene. He said a 15-year-old boy and a 39-year-old man were both shot in the leg. The teenager was taken to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh in stable condition, while the adult victim was treated and released from Mercy Hospital, Kearns said.

A third victim, also a 15-year-old boy, left the park on his own but later showed up at a hospital to be treated for a graze wound to his leg, Kearns said.

Witnesses told investigators the suspected gunman appeared to be a teenager wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a COVID-style mask.

A handgun was recovered at the scene, according to police.

Police are investigating how the weapon got into the park. All Kennywood employees and guests must pass through metal detectors at the entrance gate and all backpacks and coolers are subject to inspection, according to the park's website.

The shooting occurred on the first day of the park's 20th annual Phantom Fall Fest, a family-friendly Halloween season event, according to the park's website.

The gunfire broke out about 14 minutes before the park was set to close for the night.

"Most everyone ran. There was, at one point, a hundred people just ran out of the park," a witness told ABC affiliate station WTAE in Pittsburgh.

Kennywood officials said the amusement park was immediately shut down after the shooting and all visitors were evacuated. The park plans to reopen on Sept. 30, according to the park's website.

"The safety of our guests and team members are our top priority," the park's statement reads.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Massive mural of Harriet Tubman unveiled in chosen hometown of abolitionist

Courtesy of Arthur Hutchinson

(NEW YORK) -- The 'Harriet Tubman: Her Life in Freedom Mural' was unveiled in a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday in downtown Auburn, New York, the city where the abolitionist, activist, and freedom pioneer spent over 50 years of her life.

Measuring an impressive 26 by 61 feet, the mural, commissioned by a group called the Harriet Tubman Boosters, showcases Tubman's life as a self-emancipated woman.

Debra Rose Brillati, a member of the organization first formed in 1953 to keep Tubman's legacy alive, told ABC News that the piece has been an ongoing project since 2019. After years of fundraising efforts, the Harriet Tubman Boosters reached their $40,000 fundraising goal on August 19.

While the mural was an idea that had been discussed by the group previously, it was Michael Rosato's 'Harriet Tubman Mural' in Cambridge, Maryland, near Tubman's enslaved birthplace of Dorchester County that prompted the group to move forward.

"When we saw that we said, 'You know what, we need a mural in Auburn'," Brillati said. After a meeting with Rosato, the Harriet Tubman Boosters mural committee ultimately decided to find a local artist to take on the project.

"And so when we saw Arthur Hutchinson's work, we were like, boy, this, this fits the bill," Brillati added.

Arthur "The Artist" Hutchinson, the creative behind the mural, told ABC News that he wanted the piece to be a vibrant tapestry that makes an impact on all who see it.

"The tricky thing about this mural is it's not just a picture of her, it's really there to tell her story," Hutchinson, who grew up in Auburn, said. "I hope they react at first and just see this bright, beautiful picture and are attracted to it. And then once they start to actually look at it, I hope they're able to learn that Harriet Tubman did more than the Underground Railroad."

The design features scenes of Tubman at various stages of her life including her as a leader of the 1863 Combahee River Raid, a nurse during the Civil War, an active participant in the women's suffrage movement, and an older woman in the apple orchard she cultivated at her home.

Not far from the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, the mural is the Harriet Tubman Boosters' latest and largest project in furthering their mission of honoring Tubman's life, Brillati said.

"She worked her whole life. You know, she never gave up on her quest for freedom and justice and rights for people," she said. "And that's…a story that we have to tell here that I think is important for people to hear."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tropical Storm Ian forecast to impact Florida as major hurricane

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A storm that has the potential to make landfall in Florida next week as a Category 3 hurricane strengthened overnight into a tropical storm.

Tropical Storm Ian formed over the central Caribbean Sea late Friday, becoming the ninth tropical storm of the season.

The storm is expected to continue to strengthen over the weekend into a hurricane by Sunday night as it approaches the Cayman Islands. A tropical storm watch currently is in effect for Jamaica, and a hurricane watch is in effect for the Cayman Islands.

Ian is forecast to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane as it closely passes the Cayman Islands, then become a major Category 3 hurricane by Tuesday morning as it moves past Cuba. Very warm ocean waters and low wind shear are providing favorable conditions for rapid intensification of the storm.

The current forecast track shows landfall on the west coast of Florida by early Thursday, though the track and intensity of the storm can still change over the coming days.

"With majority of west coast in the cone, uncertainty of landfall remains high," the National Weather Service said.

The National Hurricane Center has advised residents of Cuba, the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula to have a hurricane plan in place and closely follow forecast updates.

In preparation for the storm, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Friday declaring a "state of emergency" for 24 Florida counties in the system's potential path. He expanded the order on Saturday to include the entire state of Florida, with conditions "projected to constitute a major disaster."

"This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations," DeSantis said in a statement. "We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”

The emergency order means members of the Florida National Guard will be activated and on standby.

White House officials confirmed late Friday that FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell had spoken to DeSantis about the pending storm.

ABC News' Riley Winch, Melissa Griffin and Dan Amarante contributed to this report.

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Artemis I launch attempt set for Tuesday, but possible hurricane could delay plans

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

(CAPE CANAVERAL, FL) -- NASA said Friday it is planning its third launch attempt of Artemis I on Sept. 27 after scrubbing the initial endeavor earlier this month.

During a press conference, officials said the launch window will open at 11:37 a.m. ET, but Tropical Depression Nine could delay plans.

Currently, there is only a 20% chance of favorable weather on Tuesday as Tropical Depression Nine heads towards Florida and may make landfall as a major hurricane next week.

However, Tom Whitmeyer, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, said the team is not assuming the launch will be canceled just yet.

"It's still a tropical depression number nine, it's not a named storm," Whitmeyer told reporters. "We really want to continue to try to get as much information as we can so we can make the best possible decision for the hardware."

The team said it will continue to monitor the weather and will decide on Saturday whether to continue with the Tuesday launch.

NASA had to scrub the first launch attempt on Aug. 29 because of a faulty temperature sensor and the second attempt on Sept. 3 due to a liquid hydrogen leak.

Since then, engineers and mission managers have been running tests to make sure the rocket is ready during its next attempt.

In a press release, NASA said the Artemis team encountered a hydrogen leak during a test run on Wednesday, but the issue was addressed and resolved.

The process of tanking, which includes filling the rocket's core stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, was also successful.

"We had a very successful tanking test all of the tanks," John Blevins, NASA's Space Launch System chief engineer, said during the press conference. "We were able to do some things that we won't have to do again, some things that we intended to do even on launch day that were left over from previous dress rehearsals. So, it was a very successful."

If the launch is scrubbed on Sept. 27, the next launch attempt will occur on Sunday, Oct. 2.

If that Oct. 2 is also a no-go, the rocket will be taken back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center until the team decides on the next date.

Over the course of the Artemis missions, NASA plans to eventually send the first female astronaut and the first astronaut of color to the moon.

The federal space agency also plans to establish a moon base as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars by 2024 or 2025.

 

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Artemis I launch attempt scrubbed due to possible hurricane

Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- NASA said Saturday that is is scrubbing its third planned launch attempt of Artemis I, that was scheduled for Sept. 27, due to weather concerns. The announcement comes after NASA delayed two previous attempts in recent weeks.

Engineers will wait until Sunday night to decide if the rocket needs to roll back off the launch pad. If they do not roll it back, the next possible launch date is Sunday, Oct. 2.

If they decide to roll it back, that would begin Monday morning.

During a press conference Friday, officials said the launch window would have opened at 11:37 a.m. ET, but Tropical Depression Nine could delay plans.

As of Friday, there is only a 20% chance of favorable weather on Tuesday as Tropical Depression Nine heads towards Florida and may make landfall as a major hurricane next week.

Currently, the National Hurricane Center Track suggests the storm could become a major hurricane next week. It is projected to make landfall in Florida on Wednesday into early Thursday as a Category 3 Hurricane.

"It's still a tropical depression number nine, it's not a named storm," Tom Whitmeyer, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, told reporters Friday. "We really want to continue to try to get as much information as we can so we can make the best possible decision for the hardware."

NASA had to scrub the first launch attempt on Aug. 29 because of a faulty temperature sensor and the second attempt on Sept. 3 due to a liquid hydrogen leak.

Since then, engineers and mission managers have been running tests to make sure the rocket is ready during its next attempt.

In a press release, NASA said the Artemis team encountered a hydrogen leak during a test run on Wednesday, but the issue was addressed and resolved.

The process of tanking, which includes filling the rocket's core stage with liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, was also successful.

"We had a very successful tanking test all of the tanks," John Blevins, NASA's Space Launch System chief engineer, said during the press conference. "We were able to do some things that we won't have to do again, some things that we intended to do even on launch day that were left over from previous dress rehearsals. So, it was a very successful."

If the Oct. 2 launch is also a no-go, the rocket will be taken back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center until the team decides on the next date.

Over the course of the Artemis missions, NASA plans to eventually send the first female astronaut and the first astronaut of color to the moon.

The federal space agency also plans to establish a moon base as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars by 2024 or 2025.

-ABC News' Daniel Amarante and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Amended Elijah McClain autopsy report to be released

Family photo

(NEW YORK) -- The Adams County Coroner’s Office in Colorado is set to release Elijah McClain's amended autopsy report after several news organizations sued for its release on Friday.

The report was amended based on confidential grand jury information, according to the chief coroner for Adams County.

The release comes before the arraignment of five former Aurora police officers and paramedics in McClain's 2019 death.

McClain, a Black 23-year-old massage therapist, died following an encounter with police in August 2019 while he was walking home from a convenience store.

A passerby had called 911 to report McClain was acting "sketchy" since he was wearing a ski mask on a warm night. The lawyer for the McClain family attributed this to the fact that McClain was anemic, which made him feel cold more easily.

Aurora police officers responded to the scene and confronted McClain. An officer can be heard saying in body camera footage that they put him into a carotid chokehold, which restricts the carotid artery and cuts off blood to the brain, according to the Department of Justice. McClain can be heard saying, "I can't breathe," in police body camera footage.

Paramedics arrived, giving McClain an "excessive" dose of ketamine, according to McCain's lawyer, and McClain suffered from cardiac arrest shortly after in an ambulance, according to officials. McClain was pronounced dead three days later.

Former Aurora Police Officers Jason Rosenblatt, Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema as well as paramedics Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper were charged with 32 criminal counts, including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault charges.

Their arraignment is set for November.

CPR News filed a lawsuit against the Adams County Coroner’s Office on Sept. 1, arguing for the autopsy report to be released. Several other local news organizations joined the effort after open records requests to obtain the report were denied.

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Category 2 hurricane may make landfall in Florida next week: Forecast

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- After a slow start to hurricane season, a Category 2 hurricane may make landfall in Florida next week.

The storm, currently known as Tropical Depression 9, is set to move into the warm waters of the Western Caribbean this weekend and is expected to strengthen to a hurricane by Monday morning.

Models forecast it to hit Florida's west coast during the middle of next week. But details on strength, track and timing could still change.

This would become the fifth hurricane of the season and would be named either Hermine or Ian.

September is the peak month for hurricanes. The season lasts until Nov. 30.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Families of mass shooting victims find solidarity at US Capitol rally

Tetra Images - Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- Survivors and surviving families from at least nine mass shootings in the United States gathered Thursday on Capitol Hill to advocate for a federal assault weapons ban.

Advocacy organization March Fourth held the "Pass the Ban" rally, bringing in survivors from the recent Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, going all the way back to the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

After marches and rallies earlier this year in support of H.R. 1808, which proposes a civilian ban on assault weapons, the bill passed in the House in July and reached the Senate on Aug. 1.

With the Senate in recess for most of August, consideration for the bill has just begun, but it faces a tough road ahead: Senate Democrats would need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome the filibuster.

The bill would make it a federal crime to "knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD)."

Dion Green, who survived a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, in 2019, but lost his father in the tragedy, spoke at the rally in support of the legislation.

"We have to continue to come together like this, continue to be the game changers to prevent these events from happening again," Green told ABC News. "Our pain is real, and we're not alone."

Others echoed Green, saying they find solace in the support they're able to give one another, as many families present are still working through their grief from losing loved ones.

Nubia Hogan lost her father, Eduardo Uvaldo, at the July 4 parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. Hogan said she and her sister, Tanya Castro, have chosen to be his voice and advocate for a ban on assault weapons since he cannot speak for himself.

The sisters told ABC News if it takes marching and talking to politicians to prevent another family from being affected by a mass shooting carried out by an assault weapon, that's what they will do.

"These type of things shouldn't be happening. It's just like every month you hear about something going on… you have to put a stop to it…there has to be a change, you know, because families shouldn't have to go through what we're going through," Hogan said.

When it gets tough, they're able to find comfort through fellow shooting victims' family members that advocate alongside them, they said.

"It feels like we're with people that know… that understand us…that really understand us, because they've been through it. They lost someone. There's a connection. It kind of feels like you get an extended family," Hogan said.

The sisters added that knowing other loved ones who have experienced guilt helps them heal and feel less alone.

Jazmin Cazares, sister to 10-year-old Uvalde shooting victim Jacklyn Cazares, said people don't seem to understand the guilt she feels "for even waking up in the morning, let alone having fun," but finds purpose in advocacy.

She told ABC News that families like her own now find themselves in "a club that no one wants to be a part of."

Her father, Javier Cazares, rallied alongside Jazmin, and reflected on the gathering of families.

"Now more than ever we have more families of different shootings. We're a coalition of people from Vegas to everywhere else," Javier Cazares told ABC News.

He added, "We're getting bigger and bigger unfortunately for the same reason—our kids lost. At first you hear us one by one, and now you hear all the voices coming together and it's very powerful."

Survivors from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Connecticut, who are now seniors in high school, came with the Junior Newtown Action Alliance and urged Senators to pass the assault weapons ban.

"Congress should've banned these weapons of war after Sandy Hook," Leah Crebbin, co-chair of the Junior Newton Action Alliance, said to the crowd. "The acts of terror and atrocities that have been committed will continue to occur if Senators stand by and do nothing."

Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., who authored H.R. 1808, told ABC News via email: "It is always so inspiring to see groups like the one who gathered on Capitol Hill today, though I wish they didn't need to be here. Families shouldn't be forced to demand that their representatives do their jobs and act to keep their communities safe."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New Jersey first state to introduce climate change curriculum in schools

FG Trade/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- New Jersey public school students will be the first in the country required to learn about climate change while in the classroom starting this school year.

"Climate change is becoming a real reality," New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy, who spearheaded the initiative, told "ABC News Live" on Thursday.

The new standards were adopted by the state's board of education in 2020, but because of the pandemic, the roll out was halted, giving educators and districts more time to prepare the lesson plans for all students in grades K-12.

"The districts themselves are able to design whatever it is that the way they want to implement and interpret this new education standard," said Murphy.

Lessons will focus on how climate change has accelerated in recent decades and how it's impacted public health, human society, and contributed to natural disasters.

"You can look around the world, whether it's Pakistan that has a third of the country under water right now, or wildfires raging across the United States, and droughts in Asia," said Murphy. "Here in our own backyard in New Jersey, we have our own challenges. Whether it's sea level rise or microburst or algae blooms."

The program will also introduce students to careers in climate change, as federal and local officials work to combat natural disasters and create a greener economy by adding new jobs and increased funding.

"I want to make sure that the next generation of students and those who come after have the skill set necessary to be able to win and succeed at the incredible jobs that are going to be available as we all shift towards a greener economy," said Murphy.

Last month, President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act was passed, which aims to tackle climate change and analysts believe that it can create as many as 1.5 to 9 million new jobs in construction, manufacturing and service over the next 10 years.

In his first address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, the president said we're "already living in a climate crisis."

"No one seems to doubt it after this past year," Biden said. "Choosing which child to feed and wondering whether they will survive. This is the human cost of climate change. And it is growing."

Over the past few years, many state and local officials have taken action to involve their communities in the fight against climate change. Gov. Phil Murphy allocated $5 million in the fiscal 2023 state budget for climate education in March.

"A top priority of my administration has been to reestablish New Jersey's role as a leader in the fight against climate change," the governor said in a statement.

To help educators adapt to this new curriculum, the state launched the New Jersey Climate Change Education Hub, which gives teachers access to lesson plans, educational videos, and professional development.

The first lady said that while creating this program, she traveled to at least 10-15 schools and found that climate change was already being taught to some degree in most classroom settings. She added that having it as a requirement is necessary to ensure all students have the same learning opportunities, as they do with other required subjects.

Murphy added that within just the first month of the school year, teachers have expressed their excitement towards the curriculum, and that the state "has gotten great initial feedback."

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After Hurricane Fiona, Puerto Ricans are frustrated with electric grid, infrastructure problems

Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Hurricane Fiona has pummeled Puerto Rico, an island whose infrastructure struggled to recover from the devastating Hurricane Maria that killed almost 3,000 people in 2017.

Fiona left many without electricity and water, including Pedro Julio Serrano, a resident and human rights activist.

"It's not a natural disaster. This is a political disaster," Julio Serrano told ABC News.

Some Puerto Ricans who spoke with ABC News are frustrated with the lack of progress in reconstructing the island so residents no longer have to worry about having running water, electricity, and safe roads, buildings and more.

After Maria, many elderly, sick, and disabled people died because they didn't have the electricity or access to the care and necessities they required, according to Puerto Rican officials. Following Fiona, hospitals and people in need of care have been left scrambling to find generators to support them, according to Puerto Rico's Gov. Pedro Pierluisi.

"The vast majority of the people who died [from Maria] was because of incompetence and because people couldn't get their power back for months," Julio Serrano said. "What is happening is criminal."

Some residents said local and federal governments have had several years to fix things.

"We really shouldn't have to be resilient in the 21st century, when we're supposed to be a part of the richest nation in the world," Victor Amauri, referring to Puerto Rico's status as a U.S. territory, told ABC News. Amauri is a resident and spokesperson for Brigada Solidaria del Oeste, a local activist group.

Puerto Rico's electric system has long been unstable, even before Hurricane Maria devastated the island. As a result, blackouts have been a regular part of life for many residents for the last five years, according to island residents.

Those who spoke with ABC News say they blame LUMA, a private company that has operated and managed Puerto Rico's electric power transmission and distribution system since June 2021.

LUMA said it was currently working with customers to restore power and stabilize the grid.

"We will continue to work non-stop until every customer is restored and the entire grid is reenergized" LUMA Public Safety Manager, Abner Gómez, said in a statement. "While these efforts continue over the coming days, we strongly encourage customers to continue to exercise caution and stay away from any downed power lines."

Much of the federal money allocated to help fix the electric grid has not been spent due to disagreements between Puerto Rican officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on how to use it.

LUMA, as well as the Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi, did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Cynthia Burgos López, resident and executive director of La Maraña, a group dedicated to rebuilding Puerto Rico, told ABC News that residents hadn't seen the impact of federal dollars on the island.

"Being a colony from the States, we have a lot of money that's being sent all the time to Puerto Rico, but we have such a corrupt government, that nothing gets to the communities," she said.

Burgos López recalled the long, but recent history of government officials who have been embroiled in corruption scandals.

At least nine Puerto Rican mayors and several other government officials have been arrested on charges of bribery, extortion, and more in recent years.

Residents said they blame the long-standing corruption, under-resourcing and underfunding for why the island was not ready for Fiona, and why it will not be ready for the next storm.

"We know that without Fiona, we were not having light. So with Fiona, we were going to be monthslong without light," Burgos López told ABC News.

Some also told ABC News that barriers imposed by the United States -- such as the enforcement of the Jones Act, which mandates ships carrying goods between U.S. ports to be built in the United States -- have continued to place a financial strain on Puerto Rico and its residents due to increased prices of goods, though it's a furiously debated topic.

For now, residents are working together to ensure their fellow community members get what they need, and not waiting for outside help to touch down on the island. However, some residents and activists plan to protest, and demand action from officials in the wake of the storm's damage.

Amauri said there are long lines to get gasoline, people using generators to refrigerate their food, and residents are scrambling to find clean drinking water.

"People are suffering more each day," he said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Boy, 8, paralyzed in Highland Park shooting returns home

Jason and Keely Roberts

(HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.) -- After a little over two months of hospitalizations and rehabilitation, an 8-year-old boy, who was left paralyzed from the deadly Highland Park, Illinois shooting, was finally able to go home.

Jason and Keely Roberts said they are "at a total loss of words" at how to describe the feeling of having their son, Cooper, at home.

"There was a time, not all that long ago, where we were desperately and feverishly praying just for Cooper to live," the Roberts wrote in a statement Thursday. "To be able to have Cooper home and our family all reunited together again is such an amazing blessing."

Cooper plans on returning to school with his twin brother, Luke, at Braeside Elementary School in Highland Park, where the two can enjoy the third grade together.

Cooper was at his hometown's Fourth of July parade when a shooter opened fire on the marchers and spectators. The suspected gunman, Robert "Bobby" Crimo III, allegedly climbed onto the roof of a building and used a high-powered rifle to kill seven people and leave at least 38 others injured.

Among those injured was Cooper, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury when a bullet went into the child's back and exited through his chest, his mother, who was also shot in two parts of her leg, shared in a statement this summer.

The Roberts family said that they're happy to have Cooper home, but stated it's a difficult transition to "find, renovate or build" a new home that is wheelchair accessible and can work for the family.

Nevertheless, they said they're focusing on the good. Cooper, who has always loved sports, has found a new sport -- wheelchair tennis.

"Cooper is alive and home and our sweet and lovely athletic little boy has made up his mind that he is going to figure out new ways to play sports," the Roberts statement said. "We have no doubt Cooper will be wicked awesome at tennis… and any other sport he decides to play. It will just be different."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New evidence alleges Ethan Crumbley exhibited more warning signs ahead of school shooting

David Guralnick-Pool/Getty Images

(OXFORD, Mich.) --  New evidence uncovered during discovery of the case of Ethan Crumbley allegedly shows that Oxford High School teachers and school officials failed to respond to warning signs exhibited by the accused school shooter in the months leading up to the November 2021 shooting, attorney Ven Johnson, who represents the victims and their families in a lawsuit, told reporters Thursday.

The evidence was allegedly uncovered as several lawsuits against the school, school officials, the school district, Crumbley and his parents have been filed. At least eight lawsuits accuse the school district and others of wrongdoing and failure to act in the months and days leading up to the shooting, despite teachers and counselors allegedly being aware of concerning behavior exhibited by the accused shooter.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot ordered the release of evidence in June, including school surveillance footage from the shooting. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith also enjoined coordinated discovery and other matters for eight civil lawsuits brought against the Oxford, Michigan, school and school officials.

Crumbley, who was a student at the school, is charged with 24 counts after he allegedly shot and killed four of his classmates on Nov. 30, 2021.

His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after allegedly failing to recognize warning signs about their son in the months before the shooting.

All three Crumbleys have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Johnson, in a press conference Thursday, said new details were revealed after deposing teachers and school employees who had direct contact with the accused shooter prior to the Nov. 30 shooting, including email correspondence between school employees and several instances where Crumbley's concerning behavior was not addressed.

Evidence allegedly uncovered included a school assignment submitted by Crumbley in late August 2021 on which he drew what Johnson alleged might be a magazine full of bullets, or a building. In sworn testimony, the teacher who discovered this drawing alleged she only saw the drawing on Nov. 29, just one day before the shooting.

In another instance, a Sept. 8 email from a Spanish teacher to the school's counselor discusses a school assignment in which Crumbley allegedly wrote that he feels "terrible" and that his family "was a mistake," Johnson said on Thursday.

Despite the school counselor being informed of this instance, the counselor allegedly never spoke to Crumbley, Johnson alleged.

Weeks later, a teacher sent an email to the school counselor on Nov. 10 raising concerns about Crumbley, saying he is having a rough time and that he may need to speak to the counselor, Johnson alleged.

The counselor testified in his deposition that he went down to Crumbley's classroom and asked him to step out into the hallway. The counselor then allegedly told Crumbley that if he is having a tough time, the counselor was available to speak with him. Crumbley allegedly responded "okay," according to Johnson.

Johnson criticized the counselor's actions, saying more needed to be done and that the counselor needed to follow up with Crumbley, considering this was the second time concerning behavior had been flagged to the counselor.  According to Johnson, another email uncovered was sent from a teacher to the dean of students and another school official, telling them that Crumbley was seen in class looking at photos of bullets on his cell phone. The teacher then looked at some of Crumbley's previous work completed earlier in the year and said it "leans a bit toward the violent side," Johnson alleges the email said.

The parents of Tate Myre, Justin Shilling and Keegan Gregory, all victims of the shooting, were present at the press conference with Johnson and criticized the school board's lack of transparency in the months after the shooting, saying its members should resign. Its president resigned last week after receiving months of backlash.

The school board had declined several offers from the state attorney general to investigate the shooting, saying it will launch a third-party investigation as soon as litigation in civil suits brought against the district conclude.

Separately, a Michigan judge ruled Thursday that Ethan Crumbley will remain in Oakland County Jail for adults, as part of monthly procedural hearing. Crumbley's trial was initially scheduled to begin in September, but was pushed to January 2023.

Attorneys for the Oxford Community School District did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

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9-year-old boy seriously injured in bear attack while hunting in Alaska: Troopers

Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images, FILE

(PALMER, Alaska) -- Two people, including a 9-year-old boy, were injured in a bear attack while hunting in Alaska, authorities said.

The child suffered serious injuries, while a man sustained minor injuries, Alaska State Troopers said.

The incident occurred Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. local time near Palmer, located about 40 miles northeast of Anchorage, police said.

The pair, who are related, were hunting moose in the Palmer Hay Flats area, a state game refuge, Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel told ABC News. Troopers did not specify their relationship.

They came upon a brown bear that then mauled the child, troopers said. The man shot and killed the bear during the attack, police said.

Troopers and EMS responding to the scene following reports of a bear attack found the two victims, who were taken to a hospital in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley area, troopers said.

McDaniel said the last report he received had the child listed in "fair condition."

The brown bear was with a cub at the time of the attack. The Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Alaska Department of Fish and Game were unable to locate a cub in the area after ground and aerial searches, McDaniel said.

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NYC opening humanitarian relief centers for asylum seekers, mayor announces

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(NEW YORK) -- New York City plans to open humanitarian relief centers for asylum seekers coming from Texas and states along the southern border, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday.

The Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centers will offer aid to individual and family asylum seekers by providing them food, medical care, shelter and casework services, Adams said in a press release. The centers will be the "first touch point" for asylum seekers arriving in the city, the release says.

"More than 100 years ago, Ellis Island opened its doors to welcome in those 'yearning to breathe free.' Now, more than ever, it's clear that we are again dealing with a humanitarian crisis created by human hands. While other leaders have abdicated their moral duty to support arriving asylum seekers, New York City refuses to do so," Adams said.

Since May, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sent thousands of migrants seeking asylum to New York City as part of his busing policy, Adams told "Nightline" co-anchor Byron Pitts last month.

"It's the worst type of politics," Adams told "Nightline." "It's hateful politics to raise his national profile and, you know what, you should not be doing it by taking away the respect and dignity of people who are in need."

The Republican governor defended his policy of sending migrants from the Texas-Mexico border to Democrat-controlled cities, telling Pitts in a "Nightline" interview that Texas must secure its border.

Abbott also criticized Adams, calling him a "hypocrite because New York City is a self-declared 'sanctuary city,'" a city where the local government protects undocumented immigrants from deportation by the federal government.

Adams said during a June 21 press conference that the city would find shelter for migrants arriving from Texas under the state's "right to shelter" law.

But as thousands of asylum seekers arrived in New York City over the past couple of months, the shelter system has been strained.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis received blowback from Democrats and some Republicans for sending two planes of migrants to Martha's Vineyard last week.

DeSantis said the move was a message to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to do their "damn job" and secure the border.

The new relief centers will be operated by the New York City Emergency Management agency and NYC Health + Hospitals, which operates the city's public hospitals. Two centers will open in the coming weeks, with more to open as needed, the city said.

"This emergency response represents what we know must be done during this humanitarian crisis, as we continue to seek assistance from our federal and state partners to continue this work," Adams said in Thursday's press release. "Like the generations that came to our city before, New York will provide the thousands now coming to our city with the foundation to build a better life."

ABC News' Deena Zaru and Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.

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One aspect of Trump, DOJ saga 'a frolic and a detour,' former federal prosecutor says

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(NEW YORK) -- In another twist in the case against former President Donald Trump, who has been accused of keeping classified government material at his Mar-a-Lago estate, a panel of judges on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday gave the Justice Department the OK to continue their investigation into the documents.

The panel also said the Justice Department no longer has to submit those materials to special master Raymond Dearie for his review.

ABC News contributor and former federal prosecutor Kan Nawaday spoke with ABC News Live Prime to discuss the significance of the court order.

ABC NEWS LIVE: This feels significant.

KAN NAWADAY: It is significant, but in my mind not surprising. What was really significant was the fact that the district court judge enjoined the DOJ from using documents in an ongoing criminal investigation. It's basically following the law. So they're basically doing frankly what the district court should have done below.

ABC NEWS LIVE: What does this mean now as far as the special master is appointed? It seems like that's a moot point now.

NAWADAY: It is with respect to the classified documents. That whole special master thing with classified documents, that was a frolic and a detour.

ABC NEWS LIVE: At this point do you expect Trump's team will appeal this decision?

NAWADAY: I think they will. I think they have shown they will litigate every point at every stage and take every opportunity they can.

I can see them trying to get an en banc hearing, meaning all of the judges in the 11th Circuit to decide on this. So I think they're going to fight.

ABC NEWS LIVE: It seems the special master seems a little skeptical. They're saying it feels like Trump's lawyers are not providing enough significant or any documentation to suggest that Trump needed or declassified these documents.

NAWADAY: Exactly. They never did. They never did it before the district court, which is why everyone was surprised. Why is the district court having a special master to look into this? The special master said the same thing: 'Wait, there's no evidence that there was any declassification or any need.' And now the 11th Circuit has found the same thing.

ABC NEWS LIVE: And let's talk about Ginni Thomas, also a new development here. [She's] the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She's now agreeing to voluntarily talk to the Jan. 6 committee.

NAWADAY: I think that is significant. She's not making the Jan. 6 committee subpoena her. And we'll see maybe one day what her testimony is. I think down the line, the fact that she is testifying, and is potentially a fact witness may have implications for Justice Thomas with respect for any case that ever goes up to the Supreme Court that may involve the testimony of his wife.

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