National News

Kansas City Chiefs parade mass shooting: Two adults arrested for murder

Jason Marz/Getty Images

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- Two adults have been arrested in connection with the mass shooting at the Chiefs' Super Bowl parade last week, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Dominic Miller and Lyndell Mays each face charges of second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said, noting that paradegoer Lisa Lopez-Galvan was fatally shot by a bullet from Miller's gun.

It appears Mays was in a "verbal argument" at the parade with someone he had no prior history with, Baker said at a news conference. "That argument very quickly escalated to Mays" pulling out his handgun, and "almost immediately, others pulled their firearms," including Miller, Baker said.

Both men are in the hospital for injuries sustained in the shooting, Baker said. Both are being held on a $1 million bond, according to Baker.

Lopez-Galvan, a radio DJ, was killed and 22 were hurt in Wednesday's mass shooting.

Two juvenile suspects were taken into custody last week on gun-related charges and resisting arrest, officials said.

"We seek to hold every shooter accountable for their actions," Baker said Tuesday.

"The effort and dedicated hours spent to expeditiously investigate this senseless act of violence is extremely commendable," Lopez-Galvan's relatives said in a statement that was read at the press conference on their behalf. "It is reassuring for our family and the entire community to know that this joint team effort has resulted in the identification of the suspects involved."

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on Saturday in remembrance of Lopez-Galvan.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Virginia Tech student goes missing driving home to take exam

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office

(MERRIMAC, Va.) -- A 20-year-old Virginia Tech student has been reported missing after he vanished days ago, according to the university.

Johnny Roop, a senior at the school's business college, was last seen on Friday at his apartment complex in Merrimac in Montgomery County, just south of the Virginia Tech campus, the university said.

At 4:26 p.m. Friday, the university said Roop's phone pinged near the New River Valley Mall, which is a few miles south of the apartment complex.

Roop was traveling to drive to his parent's house, which is 100 miles away in Abingdon, Virginia, to take an online exam by 5 p.m., but he never arrived, according to the university.

Authorities believe Roop left Montgomery County on his own Friday afternoon, and most likely traveled southwest toward Abingdon, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said. He was seen on surveillance video in Montgomery County at about 3:30 p.m., according to the sheriff's office.

"Based on interviews with friends and family (in addition to video surveillance) it was noted that Mr. Roop's behavior on Friday was not consistent with his normal patterns of behavior; however, information received seems to indicate that he was alone," the sheriff's office said in a statement Tuesday. "We have received no information leading us to believe that he is in immediate danger; however, due to the fact that Mr. Roop appears to be acting outside of his normal behavior we would like to make contact with him to confirm that he is indeed ok."

Roop drives a black 2018 Toyota Camry with a sticker of the Virginia Tech flag on the back window, the university said. The car has Virginia license plate number TXW6643.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Suspect in killings of Minnesota first responders had been banned for life from possessing firearms

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The gunman suspected in the fatal shootings of two Minnesota police officers and a paramedic during a domestic violence standoff in a Minneapolis suburb was serving a lifetime ban from possessing firearms at the time of the deadly encounter, according to court documents.

The suspect, 38-year-old Shannon Cortez Gooden, was issued the lifetime firearms ban following a 2008 conviction for second-degree assault with a deadly weapon in Dakota County, Minnesota, according to court records reviewed by ABC News. Gooden petitioned in 2020 to have his gun rights restored, claiming, "I would like to be able to protect not only myself but my family as well," according to the documents.

A judge, however, denied Gooden's petition on Oct. 9, 2020, after prosecutors cited other encounters Gooden had with police since his conviction and two orders of protection filed against him alleging domestic assault and abuse. In one of the incidents cited, a woman who Gooden used as a character witness in his attempt to get his gun rights restored, had filed an order of protection against him in 2017, alleging he "head-butted" her and threw her down a flight of stairs, according to the court documents.

Despite his petition being rejected, investigators said Gooden was armed with multiple firearms when he barricaded himself inside a Burnsville, Minnesota, home with family members, including seven children ranging from 2 to 15 years old.

Goodwin allegedly opened fire on officers who responded to the domestic violence incident, killing Burnsville police officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, and Burnsville firefighter and paramedic Adam Finseth, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said the 27-year-old Elmstrand was shot multiple times; Ruge, also 27, was shot in the chest and Finseth, 40, suffered bullet wounds to the right arm and torso.

A third Burnsville police officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott, 38, was hospitalized with injuries from the shooting, officials said. Medlicott was released from the hospital on Monday.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner announced Tuesday that Gooden died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators have yet to say how Gooden obtained the firearms and ammunition used in the attack.

"Criminals don't follow the law, and we have to be better prepared on the whole criminal justice system to react," state Sen. Warren Limmer, a Republican, said on Monday following a moment of silence for the slain first responders at the state capital.

State Sen. Ron Latz, a Democrat, added: "We do background checks, we've got the red flag laws, all these are pieces of the puzzle and data shows that they will have an effect and reducing violence in our communities, but you're not going to catch every situation. It's just not possible."

The fatal incident unfolded about 2 a.m. Sunday when Burnsville police were called to a home on a report of a domestic situation in progress involving an armed man barricaded with family members, according to a statement from Burnsville city officials.

Elmstrand, Ruge and Finseth were killed during a gunfight between Gooden and the police officers that erupted soon after the first responders arrived at the scene, officials said.

Gooden is believed to have died from suicide around 8 a.m. Sunday and family members barricaded with him emerged from the home uninjured, according to officials.

In his denied petition to get his gun rights restored, Gooden argued that he had rehabilitated himself since his 2007 arrest, in which he was accused of threatening a family with a knife outside a shopping mall.

"I completed an anger management course as well as a parenting course," Gooden wrote in his petition, adding he had a steady job at the time and had earned an associate's degree at a technical college. "I am in a loving and committed relationship with my girlfriend. I have five children, ages 8, 10, 11, 2, and 11 months that I love and care for dearly. I do all I can to provide for them. I also provide for my girlfriend's two kids who are 8 and 10 years old."

While Gooden listed in the petition a series of misdemeanor traffic offenses against him, the judge that denied his request cited other more serious crimes he was accused of, including the two orders of protection filed against him that he did not list.

The most recent order of protection was filed against him in July 2020 by a woman who was barricaded in the house with Gooden during Sunday's incident, according to court records. The woman, who has children with Gooden, claimed in her request for an order of protection that Gooden had told his then-girlfriend to beat her up while they were arranging for a child exchange.

The woman also claimed that in 2014, Gooden "grabbed a knife and cut her clothes and sideswiped her foot," causing her to fall down a set of stairs. She alleged in the petition that Gooden was "going to kill her."

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Suspect in killings of Minnesota first responders had been banned for life from possessing firearms

Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

(BURNSVILLE, Minn.) -- The gunman suspected in the fatal shootings of two Minnesota police officers and a paramedic during a domestic violence standoff in a Minneapolis suburb was serving a lifetime ban from possessing firearms at the time of the deadly encounter, according to court documents.

The suspect, 38-year-old Shannon Cortez Gooden, was issued the lifetime firearms ban following a 2008 conviction for second-degree assault with a deadly weapon in Dakota County, Minnesota, according to court records reviewed by ABC News. Gooden petitioned in 2020 to have his gun rights restored, claiming, "I would like to be able to protect not only myself but my family as well," according to the documents.

A judge, however, denied Gooden's petition on Oct. 9, 2020, after prosecutors cited other encounters Gooden had with police since his conviction and two orders of protection filed against him alleging domestic assault and abuse. In one of the incidents cited, a woman who Gooden used as a character witness in his attempt to get his gun rights restored, had filed an order of protection against him in 2017, alleging he "head-butted" her and threw her down a flight of stairs, according to the court documents.

Despite his petition being rejected, investigators said Gooden was armed with multiple firearms when he barricaded himself inside a Burnsville, Minnesota, home with family members, including seven children ranging from 2 to 15 years old.

Goodwin allegedly opened fire on officers who responded to the domestic violence incident, killing Burnsville police officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, and Burnsville firefighter and paramedic Adam Finseth, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said the 27-year-old Elmstrand was shot multiple times; Ruge, also 27, was shot in the chest and Finseth, 40, suffered bullet wounds to the right arm and torso.

A third Burnsville police officer, Sgt. Adam Medlicott, 38, was hospitalized with injuries from the shooting, officials said. Medlicott was released from the hospital on Monday.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner announced Tuesday that Gooden died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators have yet to say how Gooden obtained the firearms and ammunition used in the attack.

"Criminals don't follow the law, and we have to be better prepared on the whole criminal justice system to react," state Sen. Warren Limmer, a Republican, said on Monday following a moment of silence for the slain first responders at the state capital.

State Sen. Ron Latz, a Democrat, added: "We do background checks, we've got the red flag laws, all these are pieces of the puzzle and data shows that they will have an effect and reducing violence in our communities, but you're not going to catch every situation. It's just not possible."

The fatal incident unfolded about 2 a.m. Sunday when Burnsville police were called to a home on a report of a domestic situation in progress involving an armed man barricaded with family members, according to a statement from Burnsville city officials.

Elmstrand, Ruge and Finseth were killed during a gunfight between Gooden and the police officers that erupted soon after the first responders arrived at the scene, officials said.

Gooden is believed to have died from suicide around 8 a.m. Sunday and family members barricaded with him emerged from the home uninjured, according to officials.

In his denied petition to get his gun rights restored, Gooden argued that he had rehabilitated himself since his 2007 arrest, in which he was accused of threatening a family with a knife outside a shopping mall.

"I completed an anger management course as well as a parenting course," Gooden wrote in his petition, adding he had a steady job at the time and had earned an associate's degree at a technical college. "I am in a loving and committed relationship with my girlfriend. I have five children, ages 8, 10, 11, 2, and 11 months that I love and care for dearly. I do all I can to provide for them. I also provide for my girlfriend's two kids who are 8 and 10 years old."

While Gooden listed in the petition a series of misdemeanor traffic offenses against him, the judge that denied his request cited other more serious crimes he was accused of, including the two orders of protection filed against him that he did not list.

The most recent order of protection was filed against him in July 2020 by a woman who was barricaded in the house with Gooden during Sunday's incident, according to court records. The woman, who has children with Gooden, claimed in her request for an order of protection that Gooden had told his then-girlfriend to beat her up while they were arranging for a child exchange.

The woman also claimed that in 2014, Gooden "grabbed a knife and cut her clothes and sideswiped her foot," causing her to fall down a set of stairs. She alleged in the petition that Gooden was "going to kill her."

Meanwhile, a procession was underway Tuesday afternoon as hundreds of law enforcement officers in patrol cars with flashing emergency lights escorted two black hearses carrying the bodies of Elmstrand and Ruge from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office in Minnetonka to a funeral home in Jordan. Many local residents lined the 26-mile precession route, some saluting the hearses or placing their hands over their hearts as they went by. Firefighters also parked their engines on highway overpasses and displayed American flags as the procession passed.

A similar procession played out Monday as Finseth's body was escorted from Minnetonka to the Jordan funeral home.

Details on funeral services for the three fallen first responders are pending.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Raskin blasts GOP's top Biden impeachment witness Tony Bobulinski over interview with Oversight panel

Marilyn Nieves/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin, slammed Tony Bobulinski, one of House Republicans' top witnesses in their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, in a letter first obtained by ABC News.

Bobulinski, a onetime business associate of Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden who has since become a critic of the Biden family, appeared last week before the Oversight Committee, where he reiterated claims he made during the 2020 election that Joe Biden was "an enabler" of several of his family's overseas business schemes that "sold out to foreign actors who were seeking to gain influence and access to Joe Biden and the United States government."

"Your client's interview was chaotic to the point of burlesque as he repeatedly yelled, shouted, filibustered, and hurled outlandish and baseless accusations and insults against Democratic Members and staff," Raskin wrote in the letter sent on Tuesday to Bobulinski's attorney as well as Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer.

"Mr. Bobulinski did not offer any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden," Raskin said in his letter. "He also did not provide any evidence that President Biden was involved in his family's business dealings."

The transcript of Bobulinski's appearance appears to show that when pressed, Bobulinski -- who Comer has described as "the one honest, credible guy that was involved with the Bidens" -- could not point to direct evidence that Joe Biden was involved in his family's business dealings.

At one point in the interview, New York Rep. Dan Goldman questioned Bobulinski about a report by The Wall Street Journal that found that text messages and emails that Bobulinski handed over "didn't show either Hunter Biden or [President Biden's brother] James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture" that was being discussed.

"Can you point to anything in this text message where Jim Biden discusses Joe Biden at all?" Goldman asked.

Bobulinski responded, "Well, Jim Biden doesn't actually respond to me in this text message. This is a text message on May 2nd at 11:40 p.m. from myself to Jim Biden that he doesn't respond to."

The transcript of the interview also shows that when Republican investigators asked Bobulinski to describe his two interactions with Joe Biden, who was a private citizen at the time, Bobulinski said the meetings did not include any direct discussion of any involvement in the business venture by Hunter Biden, James Biden, or two other partners, James Gilliar and Rob Walker.

In Bobulinski's retelling, one encounter with Joe Biden focused on Bobulinski's "background in detail," the Biden "family's background," as well as President Biden's "appreciation for the military" -- but not any specifics regarding any business.

"I shook his hands, and we sat down. And I think the meeting was, you know, 45 minutes to an hour," Bobulinski said regarding a meeting with Joe Biden in May 2017. "I remember going through my background in detail. I was very proud of it. I think he actually went first out of, you know, obviously, general respect at the time, and, you know, talked about some of the things they had dealt with as a family, their appreciation for the military, and stuff like that."

Raskin, in his letter, also blasted Bobulinski for accusing "a broad group of individuals and organizations of lying," including the multiple agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Wall Street Journal, and former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

In Hutchinson's book, "Enough," she wrote that she recalled that Bobulinski chose to wear a "ski mask" to conceal his identity during a secretive encounter with Trump's then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, at a campaign rally in Rome, Georgia, at which Meadows handed him a "folded sheet of paper or small envelope."

"Cassidy Hutchinson is an absolute liar and a fraud," Bobulinski told the panel. "[Meadows] didn't hand me a single thing."

Comer, speaking to reporters following Bobulinski's appearance last week, said that Bobulinski had "articulated under oath that Joe Biden was 'the brand' the Bidens sold to enrich the family."

"Tony Bobulinski testified he believes Joe Biden committed wrongdoing and continues to lie to the American people about his participation in his family's influence peddling schemes," Comer said.

In a subsequent statement to ABC News, a House Oversight spokesperson said, "Joe Biden not only knew about his family's dealings with a Chinese Communist Party-linked energy company, but he also enabled them and participated in them. ... We now have evidence revealing Joe Biden met with nearly all of his son's foreign associates who funneled him millions of dollars, and evidence revealing he benefited from his son's influence-peddling schemes. Democrats continue to ignore this corruption and smear Tony Bobulinski as they play defense attorney for the Bidens."

Responding to Raskin's letter, Bobulinski's attorney, Stefan Passantino, said, "These dishonest criticisms entirely ignore the facts and substance of Mr. Bobulinski's actual testimony, delivered under oath before Congress last week. The Democrats are deliberately misleading the American public and obfuscating the facts. Mr. Bobulinski has laid out the facts under oath and remains willing to appear before Congress live, under oath, and next to his former business associates to lay out the facts and the importance of his testimony."

In his appearance before the panel, Bobulinski repeated previous claims that, while working on the prospective Chinese joint venture, Bobulinski penned an email proposing a 10% cut for the "the big guy," a reference he said referred to Joe Biden, which Republicans have cited as evidence of the president's involvement in his son's overseas work. Others involved in the proposed venture have derided Bobulinski's proposition as "not serious," and Walker has testified that nobody responded to Bobulinski's email after he sent it.

Gilliar, who was also on the email, told the Wall Street Journal in 2020 that he was not aware of "any involvement at anytime of the former vice president" and that "the activity in question never delivered any project revenue."

Bobulinski told the committee last week that none of his disclosures to JPMorgan Chase had described President Biden -- or the "the big guy" -- as having any share or role in the venture.

"No 'big guy' secretly being involved in the company in your disclosure to JP Morgan?" Republican investigators asked Bobulinski, who replied, "I did not."

Notably, three days after Bobulinski's email was sent, a draft agreement setting up the prospective venture showed that each partner would receive 20% -- but there is no mention of Joe Biden.

 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Powerful storm continues to slam California with rain, snow, wind

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A flood watch remains in effect Tuesday across California, from San Diego in the south to Redding in the north, as a powerful storm continues to unleash rain, snow and wind on much of the West Coast.

The south-central California counties of Santa Barabara and Ventura have seen the most rainfall so far, with 8 to 11 inches accumulating over the past three days. Areas further south in the Golden State have been somewhat spared but are expected to get heavy rain Tuesday morning, with local amounts of 1 to 3 inches possible from Los Angeles to San Diego.

The mountains in Los Angeles County already got up to 6 inches of rain, while downtown Los Angeles saw about 1 inch. The city of Los Angeles is just 2 inches of rainfall away from having its wettest February on record.

In addition to rain, strong winds of 50 to 60 miles per hour were reported in spots from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

In parts of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, gusts were over 100 mph and 2 feet of snow had fallen.

The winds are forecast to ease Tuesday but, with an atmospheric river affecting the area, thunderstorms could form and bring gusts to southern California.

Winter storm warnings and snow alerts are in effect Tuesday from Southern California to Utah and Colorado, where an additional 1 to 2 feet of snow is possible.

The storm is expected to continue feeding moisture from the Pacific Ocean into California through Wednesday before moving out of the region by the evening.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Fani Willis ethics case may reverberate long after judge decision: Experts

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on Feb. 15, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) -- Over the last few weeks, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the prosecution against former President Donald Trump and his allies over alleged election interference in Georgia, has been put on the hot seat after she was accused by multiple defendants' attorneys of a conflict of interest with a fellow prosecutor.

Willis and Nathan Wade admitted in court to having a romantic relationship but have contended their relationship "has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit" to the DA.

Legal experts told ABC News that the extra court drama will reverberate long in the court of public opinion after the judge makes his decision and will impact how the prosecution and defense present their cases.

"I don’t think there is any scenario where this is a bad situation for the prosecutor. At the minimum, it will distract from the core information of the case and delay the trial," Scott Cummings, the Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics at the UCLA School of Law, told ABC News.

Cummings said the biggest problem with the ethics violation allegations is that it's adding another distraction to the high-profile case.

Even if the judge dismisses Trump co-defendant Michael Roman's motion to remove Willis from the case, Cummings predicted the former president and co-defendants' attorneys will constantly bring up her relationship with Wade to sow distrust.

"In the near term, when it comes to optics and public perception, it does unfortunately interfere with the perception of integrity. I think it's unfortunate because there is no underlying basis for the questioning of whether or not the prosecution was legitimate," Cummings said.

John Acevedo, a visiting associate professor at Emory School of Law, told ABC News that motions of attorney conflict of interest are common in criminal cases, but Willis' situation is one of the rare times where an accusation has been made against two prosecutors.

Most conflict motions are made because of relationships or past issues between a prosecutor and defense attorney, Acevedo said.

"This does not fit the normal pattern that attorneys are looking for, so it's not surprising that [Willis'] office didn't think it could be a problem," he said.

Acevedo said from the testimony he's seen so far in the hearings, the matter was a "slip up," and said Willis, Wade and others have so far shown good counterarguments to the defense's claims.

Last week, Willis took the stand in the court hearings over the motion and pushed back against the accusations, telling defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who filed the motion, "You lied."

"You think I'm on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I'm not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial," Willis testified Thursday.

The testimony got heated with Steve Sadow, Trump's attorney, and Merchant objecting to Willis' accusations before being broken up by the judge.

Willis also contended that she and Wade did not start dating until 2022, after he was hired by the Fulton County DA's office.

Cummings said the DA was wise in taking the stand to tell her side of the story and respond to the allegations even if it meant she was thrust further into the spotlight. He said from the testimony he's seen so far, Willis and the DA's office have a solid job of countering the defense's claims of a conflict of interest.

"The key question is financial benefit and I don't see any evidence that contradicted her claim," he said.

Acevedo said if the judge does remove Willis from the case, it would lead to a legal procedure to determine which Georgia prosecutorial office would take over the case, which would cause a lengthy delay.

"It could possibly end the case officially but practically," he said.

If the judge dismisses the motion, Acevedo said there is a chance that the issue over Willis' and Wade's relationship could blow over because of the ever-changing media cycle, but he predicted Trump and the co-defendants' attorneys will keep bringing it up in news conferences, interviews and other media appearances.

Acevedo noted that the ethics violation allegations and the court hearings surrounding it will come into play during jury selection for the Trump trial.

"You're going to have to screen people over a few new issues. You'll need to screen people over whether or not they think less of the prosecution because of the allegations, but also screen people over whether or not they think less of the defense because of the way they questioned Willis," Acevedo said.

Moving forward, Acevedo said Willis' ethics case will prompt the Fulton County DA's office and other prosecuting offices to expand their scope of potential conflicts of interest.

"At the end of the day, it's up to district attorney offices to make sure that there are no distractions," he said.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Detroit man awarded $10 million after wrongful conviction

Wolf Mueller Law

(DETROIT) -- A man who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for over six years was awarded $10 million in damages by a jury in Detroit.

Alexandre Ansari, who was awarded last Friday, was wrongfully serving a life sentence over claims that in 2012 he shot and killed Ileana Cuevas, a 15-year-old girl, and wounded two others in Detroit, according to a lawsuit filed by Ansari in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division.

"Once I got the verdict back, my heart dropped. And I'm like, 'Dang, I got to spend the rest of my life in here for something I didn't do.' And you know, I tried to kill myself," Ansari told Linsey Davis on "ABC News Live Prime." "It felt like nobody didn't put all the evidence together to see that I wasn't the person in the first place. So things started getting overwhelming for me."

Ansari, 39, was exonerated in 2019 by the Wayne County Circuit Court after it determined that Moises Jimenez, a former Detroit police detective, withheld evidence for Ansari’s trial that would have implicated someone else as the shooter, according to the County of Wayne Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.

"Mr. Ansari’s criminal conviction was dismissed in Wayne County Circuit Court by Judge Thomas Hathaway in 2019," the county prosecutor told ABC News in a statement. "The jury found that Alexandre Ansari's constitutional rights were violated by a Detroit police detective by concealing evidence in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl."

Jimenez received an anonymous tip that linked the shooter to the Mexican Drug Cartel, according to the complaint that released Ansari. He withheld the evidence from Ansari’s 2013 trial, according to the lawsuit. Jimenez’s attorneys told ABC News that the former detective claims that he provided all evidence he uncovered during his investigation and plans to appeal the $10 million lawsuit verdict.

"Additionally, there was an ‘Internal Memorandum’ in the trial prosecutor’s file which confirmed that she had received the information which was the subject of the litigation," Jerry Ashford, chief of litigation for the City of Detroit Law Department, who is representing Jimenez, told ABC News in a statement. "This was always a witness identification case where two witnesses identified Plaintiff [Ansari] as the shooter. The witnesses never recanted."

There have been no reported arrests connected to the shooting since Ansari’s exoneration. Ansari was wrongfully arrested for the crime when he was 27 years old, according to Wolf Mueller, Ansari’s attorney. Mueller told ABC News that Jimenez's appeal will go nowhere.

"If he put the cartel leader away for murder, he would be sentenced, just like Alex, to life without parole," Mueller told Linsey Davis on "ABC News Live Prime." "And he feared retaliation from the cartel, so he hid the evidence and purposely directed the investigation away from the cartel leader."

Ansari told ABC News that he looks forward to enjoying his life of freedom.

"Live a life that I missed," Ansari said. "Just invest and try to give back to the universe."

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


83-year-old convicted robber back behind bars in new series of bank heists

WIN-Initiative/Neleman/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- An 83-year-old man imprisoned for more than three decades for a string of 1980s bank robberies is back behind bars, according to federal officials.

Donald "Doc" Bennett, once dubbed by the FBI as the "leaping bandit" for jumping over counters in his younger days during bank robberies, was arrested hours after allegedly holding up Chase bank in Hickory Hills, Illinois, on Valentine's Day with an accomplice identified as 55-year-old Edward Binert, according to a federal criminal complaint filed against the pair.

Both Bennett of Campbellsville, Kentucky, and Binert of Oak Lawn, Illinois, are both charged with armed robbery. The men are expected to appear at a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Thursday.

Bennett was released from prison in 2020 having served 31 years of a 50-year sentence after being convicted in 1989 of multiple bank robberies committed in the Chicago area, according to the FBI.

Following his arrest, Binert reportedly confessed to FBI investigators in a video-recorded interview that he was involved in the Feb. 14 robbery of the Chase branch in Hickory Hill, according to the criminal complaint.

Binert told investigators that he first met Bennett in 2006 while they were both serving time in a federal penitentiary in Michigan, according to the complaint.

Binert and Bennett were both arrested at Binert's home in Oak Lawn, Illinois, where investigators seized evidence linking the men to the robbery, including weapons, a brown wig, two sets of Illinois license plates and a stack of shrink-wrapped U.S. currency believed to be loot from one of the holdups, according to the complaint. Nearly $7,000 was taken in the Valentine's Day robbery, according to the complaint.

The FBI suspects Bennett was involved in at least seven bank robberies that have occurred in the Chicago suburbs since June 27, when a bandit got away with $11,400 from a Chase bank in Oak Lawn, the complaint alleges.

"Based on my personal involvement in this investigation, including my review of police reports and other evidence, I know that six of the seven bank robberies have the following similarities: the robber was a single older white male wearing a face covering, who brandished a handgun; the robber demanded bank funds from a teller; and a rental vehicle was used as the getaway vehicle," FBI special agent Cassandra Johnson wrote in the complaint.

Among the other robberies Bennett is suspected of committing was one that occurred on Aug. 25 at a different Chase bank in Oak Lawn in which $30,886 was taken.

Investigators managed to identify both Bennett and Binert as suspects because they used their real names and identification to rent getaway cars used in the robberies, including the Valentine's Day heist, according to the complaint.

Bennett's arrest comes about a month after 71-year-old bank robbery suspect Bruce Edward Bell, who had spent 40 years in federal prison for a series of bank robberies, was nabbed on suspicion of holding up a bank in Sun Valley, California, according to police. Bell had been released from prison in July 2021.

The nation's oldest convicted bank robber is J.L. Hunter "Red" Rountree, who pleaded guilty to robbing an Abilene, Texas, bank in August 2003 at the age of 91. Roundtree was sentence to 151 months in prison and died in October 2004 at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.

 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Search continues after 11-year-old girl disappears from Texas school bus stop

Audrii Cunningham is seen in this undated photo released by Texas Police following her disappearance. -- Polk County Sheriff's Office via Facebook

(LIVINGSTON, Texas) -- Authorities are searching for an 11-year-old Texas girl who vanished Thursday and police say a person of interest in the case has been taken into custody.

Audrii Cunningham was last seen on the morning of Feb. 15 near her father's home in Livingston, Texas, at about 7 a.m., the time neighbors say they usually see the girl walking to her school bus stop, according to authorities. But Audrii didn't board the school bus.

"She did not make it to school. That was the reason why the father, the family, became very concerned when she did not get off the bus," Lt. Craig Cummings, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said. "We are looking at this as a criminal investigation."

A statewide Amber Alert was issued on Feb. 15.

Officials said they are looking into a person of interest, Don Steven McDougal, a friend of Audrii's father who lives in a camper behind the house where Audrii lives.

Investigators said they believe McDougal was the last person to see Audrii.

McDougal was arrested on an unrelated aggravated assault charge Friday and is in custody, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. He has an extensive criminal history, including enticing a minor in 2008.

Investigators have given McDougal opportunities to cooperate and are hopeful he will help with the case, Cummings said on Monday.

Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons said McDougal is the "main person of interest," but added that authorities are not ruling anyone out.

Investigators are also searching for McDougal's 2003 blue Chevy Suburban.

"Anyone that saw that vehicle on Thursday or Friday, we're asking that you call the Polk County Sheriff's Office," Cummings said.

Multiple law enforcement agencies and volunteers have teamed up to search for Audrii in the Livingston area and have since located her backpack near Lake Livingston Dam.

"There were other items that were found," Cummings said. "But we're not getting into what those items were. That's all part of the investigative effort."

Audrii's mother, Cassie Matthews, is desperate to bring her daughter home.

"There's not words for it," Matthews told Houston ABC station KTRK. "You're broken, you're mad, you're lost, you're empty. And right now, I'm empty."

Lyons said he is "hoping and praying" that Audrii is still alive.

Audrii is described as being 4-foot-1 with blond hair, blue eyes and weighing about 75 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, a camouflage backpack, black pants and black high-top tennis shoes.

A reward has increased to $10,000. Anyone with any information is urged to call the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 936-327-6810.

 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Why an ancient lake that reemerged at Death Valley National Park will stick around

This series of images compares the desert basin before flooding (left) with its more-waterlogged state following each major storm. In both August 2023 (middle) and February 2024 (right), a shallow lake several kilometers across fills in the low-lying salt flat. CREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory

(NEW YORK) -- An ancient lake that reemerged at Death Valley National Park last year will stick around for longer than initially expected now that several rounds of extreme rain have poured through Southern California, according to officials.

Death Valley's famed Badwater Basin began filling up with water in August due to heavy precipitation from Hurricane Hilary, which prompted the first tropical storm watch in California state history, Abby Wines, park ranger at Death Valley National Park, told ABC News last month. During that event, more than 2 inches of water fell on Aug. 20 -- the amount the region typically sees in a year.

Park rangers initially estimated that the water filling up several inches in the basin where the Ice Age-era Lake Manly once stood would only last until February. But storm systems fueled with potent atmospheric rivers in recent weeks has expanded the lake once again, satellite images released by NASA show.

Much of the precipitation occurred between Feb. 4 and Feb. 7, when 1.5 inches of water fell in the park, according to a statement released by the National Park Service on Friday. The series of satellite images shows how the lake expanded from virtually no water on July 5 to being filled with water from August through February.

Death Valley is the driest place in North America, with a typical rainfall total of about 2 inches per year, according to NASA. In the past six months, the region has received nearly 5 inches of rain, records show.

At this point, park rangers are uncertain how long the lake will last.

Another round of atmospheric rivers are forecast for the region on Monday through Wednesday.

At its peak, Lake Manly once held up to 700 feet of water. Currently, at about 6 miles long, 3 miles wide and 1 foot deep, the temporary lake in Badwater Basin is deep enough to kayak in, a "rare opportunity," Wines said in a statement on Friday.

It was deep enough to kayak in August as well, but visitors were not able to partake because the park remained closed until October, in which the temporary lake had already reduced by several inches, according to the NPS.

"Now most of the main roads are open, so it’s a great time to come visit!" Wines said.

Badwater Basin is known for its place at the lowest elevation in North America, at 282 below sea level. The basin, normally a saltwater flat, is endorheic, meaning that water flows into but not out of it.

The evaporation rate in the desert, combined normally low amounts of precipitation, typically do not allow water to collect in the basin for long.

"You might think with no drain to the sea, that Death Valley would always have a lake," Wines said on Friday. "But this is an extremely rare event. Normally the amount of water flowing in is much less than the evaporation rate."

Visitors have enjoyed witnessing stunning reflections of the surrounding mountain peaks in the calm waters resting in the basin, Wines said.

Tiffany Lin, a travel and hiking blogger in her mid-30s, described the water to ABC News last month as having a "vibrant reflection" to it.

"It was perfectly clear," said Lin, who drove from her home in Orange County, California, over Thanksgiving weekend to see the lake.

ABC News' Dan Manzo contributed to this report.

 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


California storm: Santa Barbara airport closes as rain drenches state

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A flood watch is in effect from Redding in Northern California to San Diego in Southern California as a storm slams the state with rain and wind.

Two to 5 inches of rain is forecast in lower elevations, while up to 8 inches of rain is possible in California's foothills and mountains. Wind gusts could reach 60 mph.

The Santa Barbara Airport closed Monday morning due to flooding.

Flash flooding and mudslides are ongoing Monday, and the flood watch will last through Wednesday.

At the biggest risk for flash flooding Monday is the area between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. More than 6 inches of rain has already fallen and mudslides have closed roads.

Downtown Los Angeles needs only 3 inches of rain to have its rainiest February on record.

In Northern California, the cities of Yuba City, Sacramento and Stockton could also face heavy rain and flooding on Monday. Sacramento could even see tornadoes and hail.

In the Sierra Nevada mountains, winter storm warnings were issued as several feet of snow is expected to pile up over the next few days.

Along the coast, high surf advisories are in effect for waves up to 28 feet.

By Monday evening, the rain will let up for most of the state.

On Tuesday, more rounds of rain are possible from San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego, and pockets of heavy rain could cause more flooding, mudslides and rockslides.

The rain will move out on Wednesday, but heavy snow will continue in the mountains.

 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Cyclists 'fight off' cougar, save friend being mauled: Washington Police

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A group of cyclists saved a fellow rider's life by fighting off a cougar that attacked her over the holiday weekend on a suburban Seattle trail, according to authorities.

The scary wildlife-human encounter happened Saturday near Fall City, Washington, about 25 miles southeast of Seattle and left the 60-year-old rider hospitalized with serious injuries, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Four other cyclists were hurt when they rushed to save the woman, who suffered injuries to her face, neck and jaw, according to a statement from the WDFW.

"They 100% saved their friend's life," WDFW Police Sgt. Carlo Pace told ABC affiliate station KOMO in Seattle.

Pace said the cyclists not only pulled the "subadult" puma off the rider, but they used a bike to capture the beast.

"They were able to pin down a good-sized lion with its claws and teeth and everything else under a mountain bike until we arrived," Pace said.

The incident unfolded at 12:48 p.m. as the group of cyclists were out enjoying a Presidents Day weekend ride on the Tokul Creek trail, according to the WDFW.

“It jumped from the side of the road and latched onto her, and her friends were able to detach and fight this thing off," Pace said.

Wildlife officers removed the mountain lion from the area. Eyewitnesses told officers there may have been a second cougar in the vicinity at the time of the attack, according to the WDFW. Officers enlisted the help of a houndsman to search the area, but authorities said they could not locate the second cougar.

The injured cyclist was taken to a hospital, treated and released, Pace said. The names of the cyclist and her life-saving companions were not known.

The attack left other weekend cyclists on the Tokul Creek trail rattled.

"It’s terrifying," cyclist Luke Chouinard told KOMO. "I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but there is definitely wildlife around these parts, so you always have to be careful and aware."

WDFW officials said cougar attacks on humans are extremely rare. As of 2022, WDFW estimates there are about 3,600 cougars in Washington state.

In July, a mountain lion attacked an 8-year-old child who was camping with family in Washington's Olympic National Park. The child's mother screamed at the big cat, prompting the animal to abandon its attack, according to the National Parks Service.

In May 2018, a cyclist was killed and his friend was injured when they were attacked by a mountain lion while riding on a trial in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, about 30 miles southeast of Seattle, according to the WDFW. The victims initially used one of their bikes to fight off the cougar and shoo it away, but just as they let their guard down, the animal came back and attacked them again, killing a 32-year-old rider.

 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


One dead, five injured in mass shooting at Indianapolis Waffle House, police say

mphotoi/Getty Images

(INDIANAPOLIS) -- One person was killed and five others were injured in a mass shooting at a Waffle House in Indianapolis early Monday, police said.

Officers were dispatched to the scene around 12:40 a.m. and found five people with gunshot wounds, according to Indianapolis police.

Those five victims -- three men in stable condition, one woman in stable condition and one woman in critical condition -- were taken to hospitals, police said.

The woman in critical condition later died at the hospital, police said.

Officers were also notified of a sixth gunshot victim -- a man in critical condition -- who either took himself or was taken by someone else to a local hospital, according to police.

Preliminary information indicates the "incident started with a disturbance between two groups that escalated to gunfire," police said.

"It is not clear at this point if any of the people injured were also individuals who fired shots. That will be part of what detectives will attempt to determine," police said in a statement. "Detectives are also working to review any video surveillance footage that may be available as the business did have surveillance cameras."

Waffle House said it's cooperating fully with the investigation.

 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Killer remains at large in University of Colorado double homicide: Police

Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Classes at the University of Colorado were canceled for a "day of healing" Monday as investigators continued to work to identify a suspect in the fatal shooting of two people on Friday in a dorm room on the Colorado Springs campus, authorities said.

The victims of the double homicide were identified Sunday afternoon as 26-year-old Celie Rain Montgomery of Pueblo, Colorado, and 24-year-old Samuel Knopp of Parker, Colorado, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department. Kopp was a registered student at the school while Montgomery was not currently registered, police said.

"Since the beginning of this investigation, the primary focus has been on the victims of this tragic incident and pursuing justice for them and their families," Colorado Springs police said in a statement. "This remains an active investigation, which includes detectives continuing to develop additional investigative leads and suspect information."

The El Paso County Coroner’s Office conducted autopsies on Montgomery and Kopp on Saturday, but the results have not been made public.

"While the Coroner’s Office will determine the cause and manner of death, Celie Montgomery and Samual Knopp’s deaths are being investigated as homicides," according to the police statement.

Few details have been released about the killings by police, who cited the "fluid nature" of the investigation.

"While acknowledging the difficulty of the situation and the withholding of information in the initial stages of the investigation, we owe it to the victims and their families to deliver accountability and justice for this horrific act," police said.

The campus dispatch center received a call of shots fired just before 6 a.m. Friday, Colorado Springs police said. Campus officers responded to a room at Crestone House, a campus dormitory, and found two people dead from gunshot wounds, police said.

"This incident does not appear to be a murder-suicide and both deaths are being investigated as homicides," police said Friday evening. "We are continuing to develop and follow investigative leads and will provide additional information when it becomes available."

Colorado Springs police still believe it is an isolated incident "between parties that were known to one another and not a random attack against the school or other students at the university."

The campus was initially put on lockdown for several hours Friday, a university spokesperson said, however, classes were canceled through Monday, but the campus would be open for a "Day of Healing."

"We are in shock as we process this tragic loss of two lives," university Chancellor Jennifer Sobanet said at a news conference. "My heart is broken for the victims of today's senseless violence."

The killings marked the third and fourth homicides in Colorado Springs this year, according to police. At this time last year, the city had recorded two homicides.

ABC News' Amanda Morris contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.