(GLYNN COUNTY, Ga.) -- A Georgia judge is considering whether to allow Ahmaud Arbery's criminal history and a diagnosis of mental illness to be presented at the trial of the three white men accused of tracking down the 25-year-old Black man and fatally shooting him in February 2020.
Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy R. Walmsley, who was appointed to oversee the Glynn County case, began a two-day hearing Tuesday on a dozen motions by the defense and prosecution on what will and will not be allowed as evidence during the trial scheduled for October.
Attorneys for defendants Gregory McMichael, 65, and his 35-year-old son, Travis McMichael, argued that Arbery's criminal background shows a pattern of him responding in an "angry and aggressive" way when confronted by someone with authority.
Defense attorney Jason Sheffield called witnesses in Tuesday's all-day hearing who testified about different instances involving Arbery's encounters with police, including a 2013 arrest for bringing a gun into a high school gym during a basketball game.
But Cobb County prosecutor Linda Dunikowski countered that none of the instances were relevant in the death of Arbery because the McMichaels and a third defendant, William "Roddie" Bryan, 51, a neighbor of the McMichaels, had no knowledge of them when they allegedly chased down Arbery, who had been jogging in their Satilla Shores neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia. Travis McMichael allegedly ended up shooting him three times with a shotgun.
The incidents the defense attorneys want to use included a Dec. 1, 2017, shoplifting case, when Arbery was arrested for trying to steal a 65-inch TV from a Walmart, and a Nov. 7, 2017, incident caught on body camera footage showing Arbery getting aggravated over being questioned by an officer about parking his car in a grassy area of a park. In that encounter, Arbery was allowed to walk away from the scene.
Arbery pleaded guilty in the shoplifting case and received five years probation, according to Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB.
The defense also asked the judge to be allowed to tell a jury of an incident when Arbery became angry when sheriff deputies issued him a warning for trespassing on private property.
Dunikowski countered that the defense attorneys are attempting to blame Arbery for his own death.
She noted that the defendants are claiming they acted in self-defense when Travis McMichael allegedly shot and killed Arbery on Feb. 23, 2020.
"You can't claim self-defense if you started it," Dunikowski said.
The three men also claimed they were exercising the state's Civil War-era citizen's arrest statute when they attempted to detain Arbery.
On Monday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law repealing the state's citizen's arrest statute, a move that was prompted by Arbery's killing.
Dunikowski alleged what the men committed was not a citizen's arrest, but an "illegal detention."
"It's false imprisonment," she said.
She said the fatal encounter started when Gregory McMichael, a former George police officer and investigator for the Glynn County District Attorney's Office, saw Arbery running through his neighborhood and suspected him of being a burglar.
Dunikowski said that while Arbery was captured on surveillance video walking into a home under construction in the neighborhood and leaving empty handed, Gregory McMichael had no way of knowing that when he first spotted Arbery.
"The last time I checked, this is the United States of America and you could go anywhere you wanted," she said. "He walked into a house that was not open, yes -- not his, but not theirs (the defendants) either."
Sheffield also asked Walmsley to allow him to admit medical records that Arbery was diagnosed in 2018 with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and mood disorders.
Walmsley stopped Sheffield from proceeding with his argument to use the medical records, saying he needed more time to consider whether that would be legally appropriate.
Dunikowski argued that Arbery's mental state is also irrelevant and should not be allowed.
"They want to talk about Mr. Arbery's reaction to Greg McMichael and Travis McMichael," she said of the defense. "It's common sense, fight or flight. And what Mr. Ahmaud Arbery did was he fled because he was under no obligation whatsoever to stop and talk to strangers who are trying to hit him with their pickup truck and shoot him."
"They just basically said that Ahmaud Arbery's decision and his conduct is what this case is about," Dunikowski said. "That's bad character evidence."
In June 2020, a Glynn County grand jury voted to indict the McMichaels and Bryan on charges of felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal contempt to commit a felony in the death of Arbery. They each have pleaded not guilty and have been ordered to stand trial later this year.
On Tuesday, all three men were arraigned on federal hate crime charges. A federal grand jury indicted them last month on charges of interference of rights and attempted kidnapping, while the McMichaels were also charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. They also pleaded not guilty to those charges.
The pretrial hearing in the state's case is expected to continue on Thursday.
(WASHINGTON) -- The Colonial Pipeline has been restarted following a multiday shutdown in the wake of a ransomware attack. The shutdown had caused panic buying of gas in many southeastern states.
The company restarted operations at about 5 p.m. ET.
"Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal," the company said in a statement. "Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal."
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said she had spoken to the company's CEO just prior to them restarting operations.
Colonial Pipeline transports approximately 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. The company said Saturday it was the victim of a cyberattack involving ransomware, and had temporarily halted all pipeline operations as a result.
Gas prices nationally crossed $3 a gallon on Wednesday as many in the Southeast lined up for hours to fill their tanks.
"The group discussed the latest updates on fuel supply in the affected region, and steps that agencies have taken and are considering to further alleviate the supply shortages," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Even with the pipeline reopened, it's unclear exactly when those shortages will be relieved.
President Joe Biden teased "good news" in a briefing Wednesday afternoon.
"We have been in very, very close contact with Colonial Pipeline, which is the one area you're talking about, where the -- one of the reasons the gasoline prices are going up," he said. "And think you're going to hear some good news in the next 24 hours. And I think we'll be getting that under control."
ABC News' Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report.
(NEW YORK) — The suspected shooter who opened fire in Times Square over the weekend and wounded three people, including a 4-year-old girl, has been arrested in Florida by U.S. Marshals, the New York Police Department announced Wednesday.
Farrakhan Muhammad was arrested Wednesday in a McDonald's parking lot in Starke, outside of Jacksonville, where he fled with his girlfriend, police said.
Muhammad will be brought to New York City to face charges.
The victims of the shooting were a 23-year-old female tourist from Rhode Island, a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey and the 4-year-old girl from Brooklyn.
The shooting unfolded around 5 p.m. Saturday near 45th Street and 7th Avenue when two to four men got into a dispute during which one person pulled out a gun and opened fire, injuring three bystanders, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Saturday.
Muhammad's brother told investigators he was the intended target in the shooting, police said at a press conference Wednesday. The motive in the shooting is still under investigation.
After the shooting, Muhammad fled south. He was spotted with his girlfriend at a Walmart in Fayetteville, North Carolina, before he was finally arrested in Florida. Police said he shaved parts of his head to alter his appearance.
Police said that Muhammad and the woman he was with were CD vendors in New York City. Police officials said the girlfriend is a person of interest, but she’s currently not being charged and is not in police custody.
"While there is no joy today, there is justice," Shea said Wednesday.
Video from the incident shows police officer Alyssa Vogel rush to the injured 4-year-old, wrap a tourniquet around her leg to stop her from bleeding and sprint through the area to an awaiting ambulance.
"This little girl is the strongest person I have ever seen," Vogel told "Good Morning America" on Monday.
Vogel recalled arriving to the chaotic scene Saturday afternoon and how she instinctively pulled the tourniquet off her gun belt and applied it to the child's leg.
"For somebody who has just been shot, she was just standing there. obviously scared, but she wasn't crying or anything," Vogel said. "She only yelled when we were tightening the tourniquet, because that's very painful, but she was very calm for somebody who was in a very traumatic situation.”
The child's mother, father and aunt were all with her at the time of the shooting.
All three victims are out of the hospital and Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Monday news conference they would "make a strong recovery."
(NEW YORK) — When 13-year-old Kris Wilka was younger, he would watch football games at his cousin’s house. This tradition, he says, sent him spiraling into playing the sport himself.
“It was very fascinating to me. Like, all the different things that would go into making a play and executing a play,” he told “Nightline.” “It kind of spiraled from there... When I was in second grade, I went straight to tackle football -- I never played any flag [football] -- and I was quarterback for two years in my league, and then I was on the line my third year. I got recruited to a new league, played a year there.”
Now Kris plays quarterback at Harrisburg North middle school in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Like so many of his teammates, he can’t imagine life without the sport and his team. However, he may soon be forced out of playing football. Unlike his teammates, he was assigned female at birth.
Watch the full story on "Nightline" TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET on ABC
“He was a boy … ever since he was able to walk, talk, emulate, act,” Kris’ father John Wilka said. “He was a boy… [He] was transgender. That is what he was.”
Kris says playing football has been “life saving.”
“Without football, I don't quite know if I would still be here, because it's given me a sense of belonging,” he said. “It's taken away the spotlight on the fact that I am transgender and it's just allowed me to be a boy and it's allowed me to be a kid, and it's allowed me to just, I guess, live life without having to worry about anything. [I] just have just put my main focus on what I'm going to be doing on the football field.”
After failed negotiations in March between South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and the state’s representatives, Noem killed a bill she previously signaled support for – the bill would have banned transgender women and girls from female sports, including enforcement policies and requirements for schools to receive documentation of athletes’ sex at birth.
Noem asked lawmakers to revise the language over concerns the bill would not survive legal challenges. She faced swift backlash from conservatives and could not come to an agreement with state representatives. Noem then issued two weaker executive orders that essentially recommended that public schools and universities require documentation showing athletes were born female.
"Only girls should play girls’ sports," Noem tweeted of the orders.
Kris, who is only in the seventh grade, decided to testify against the bill and his story spread like wildfire.
“The main reason why I'm using my voice is so that I can speak for others that may not be able to use their own,” he said. “I want to be an outlet or a source of comfort, and to let people know that you're not alone.”
Kris’ parents have cautioned him about going public with his gender identity.
“Every step along the way, we've told Kris, ‘Kris, you don't have to do this because you're putting yourself out there.’ Because, on social media, a lot of hurtful things [have been] said about him by these so-called grown ups and adults,” Wilka said. “Every step of the way, though, Kris' message has been, ‘Mom and dad, if I don't speak up for me, who's going to?’”
Kris says he considers all people in the trans community to be his family.
“We[‘ve] got to stand up for each other and with each other,” he said. “I don't think they're thinking that we're all humans, we all have emotions… They need to know that … we're not different in that aspect that we're humans.”
Kris says football has earned him his closest friends, and taught him discipline and how to work with others. He also says it’s a crucial personal safe space.
“It's where I can be myself the most. It's where I can sometimes escape from school or something,” he said. “It's a place that I can feel like I belong. And, without football, without that safe place, there isn't really -- I mean, there's my family, there [are] my teachers -- but there isn't really somewhere that I can go to escape a lot of things.”
His mother, Jena Wilka, says she’s glad he has been able to play the sport but she fears it will be taken away.
“I worry about that a lot. I think about it a lot,” she told “Nightline.” “As he gets older we don't really know what he would do without football as an outlet. So I'm hoping that we keep that going as far as kids just being kids, kids just playing sports and being children.”
John Wilka added that if his son were to stop playing because an authority figure told him to, he wants it to be a coach, not a politician.
“You know, when a coach says, ‘Well, you're not good enough for the team,’ whatever age that may be,” he said. “I just don't [want] some legislator that doesn't play sports to do that.”
Kris said his coaches were some of the first people he’d told about being transgender. Afterward, one of the first questions they asked was about which position he’d feel best playing.
“They made me do push ups when we all had to do push ups, they never stopped me from doing anything more than the other kids,” Kris said. “They completely just went over me being transgender and they treated me like another kid on the team.”
Kris hopes to try out for quarterback next year.
“The quarterback is who people look up to for direction,” he said. “You have to remember what will go down in the play and make sure it will go smoothly and make sure your line is behind the ball. ... There's a lot that goes into it, but it's definitely rewarding.”
(WASHINGTON) -- Personal information belonging to officers of the U.S. capital's primary law enforcement agency has been leaked on the dark web by a Russian-speaking ransomware gang, according to a source briefed on the investigation.
The source told ABC News late Tuesday that the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia was notifying the affected officers.
The police department has not responded to ABC News' request for comment.
The group behind the leak, called Babuk, said in a statement on its darknet site late Monday that it would release "all the data" it stole from the police department if it did not "raise the price."
"The negotiations reached a dead end, the amount we were offered does not suit us," Babuk said.
The group has since posted sensitive information from more than 20 personnel files of police officers, according to a screenshot of the post on the dark web.
The Metropolitan Police Department later confirmed to ABC News that "approximately 20 members' information was released" on Tuesday "through the access obtained from MPD’s network by unauthorized parties."
"Additionally, Chief Contee sent an email last week to all MPD members with instructions on how to sign up for a credit monitoring service," the police department said in a statement Wednesday. "There is no further information available to provide at this time."
Last month, Babuk claimed to have hacked into the police department's internal computer network and threatened to leak details of confidential informants unless the agency paid an unspecified ransom within three days.
At the time, the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed to ABC News that it was "aware of unauthorized access on our server" but said it was still determining "the full impact" and had called in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate. The FBI told ABC News that it was "assisting" with the police department's investigation.
The Metropolitan Police Department has over 4,000 sworn and civilian members serving Washington, D.C., making it one of the 10 largest local police agencies in the United States, according to its website.
The alleged extortion comes on the heels of a separate ransomware attack on a major gas pipeline that has disrupted part of the country's fuel supply. The company that operates the Colonial Pipeline, the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, announced Saturday that it had "proactively" halted all pipeline operations after falling victim to a cyberattack involving ransomware. The company said they expect to have operations back up and running by the end of the week.
The 5,500-mile pipeline system stretches from Texas to New York and transports approximately 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, according to its website.
(HOUSTON) -- A car matching the description of one belonging to a Texas mother who went missing three weeks ago was found in a pond with a body inside, authorities said Tuesday.
Erica Hernandez, 40, was last seen leaving a friend's house in southwest Houston in the early morning hours of April 18.
In the weeks since, police and her family have been searching for the single mother of three.
Information gathered from the FBI led authorities to a retention pond in Pearland, southeast of Houston, where they searched the area and "found a location that was consistent with a vehicle striking the curb and entering a body of water at the end of the road," Houston Police Department Commander Kevin Deese said during a press briefing Tuesday evening.
The police department's dive team recovered a vehicle at the bottom of the pond that had the same body, make and license plate as Hernandez's car, Deese said. It also had damage consistent with a car striking the curb, he said.
Hernandez was driving a black 2020 GMC Acadia with Texas plates the night she vanished, according to officials.
Over two hours after divers entered the water, a dark-colored SUV was recovered from the pond at about 7 p.m. local time, according to Houston ABC station KTRK-TV.
The search for Hernandez is not "definitively over," though her family is awaiting positive identification of the person found inside the car, Deese said.
The Pearland Police Department is leading the investigation into the death of the person found in the car, authorities said. The body will be sent to the Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office for further investigation.
It was evident the car had been in the pond for an "extended period of time," Deese said.
Authorities could not share what information led them to that location, or where in the pond, which ranged from 8 to 15 feet deep, it was found.
Hernandez was captured by a Ring doorbell camera leaving her brother and sister-in-law's home on the night of April 17, just hours before she disappeared. She then took her children home before going to a friend's house, relatives said. She left her friend's home about 2:30 a.m. on April 18. She texted her friend that she was "five minutes away from getting home," sources told KTRK.
After Hernandez vanished, her cellphone and her vehicle's OnStar connection stopped sending location signals, police said. Previously police said they had not ruled out foul play.
Since her disappearance, her family members have passed out missing person fliers and have searched for clues on possible routes she could have taken to get home.
Family members of Hernandez were on the scene of the investigation at the retention pond Tuesday, KTRK reported.
(WASHINGTON) -- Actress Phylicia Rashad is taking on an exciting new role off-screen.
Howard University announced Wednesday that the award-winning actress will serve as the dean of its recently reestablished College of Fine Arts.
Rashad, who famously played Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, previously graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Howard University. She has kept close ties to the HBCU since, serving as a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member at the university.
She will begin her role as the new dean of the College of Fine Arts on July 1, 2021.
In the announcement, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick shared a statement on Rashad's appointment, expressing how much trust he has in her future leadership.
"I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role than Ms. Phylicia Rashad," his statement read. "As we reintroduce our campus community and the world at large to Howard's College of Fine Arts, the dean will play an instrumental role in ensuring an auspicious beginning for this reestablished institution. Given Ms. Rashad's reputation as well as her capabilities and impressive list of accomplishments, she will undoubtedly empower the college to transcend even our incredibly high expectations."
"Under her leadership, Howard will continue to inspire and cultivate the artists and leaders who will shape our niche and national cultures for generations to come," he added.
The Tony Award-winning actress, 72, said, "It is a privilege to serve in this capacity and to work with the Howard University administration, faculty and students in reestablishing the College of Fine Arts."
Many took to social media to celebrate Rashad's appointment. Shonda Rhimes tweeted, "Now I wish I was a college student...go Dean Rashad! @PhyliciaRashad @HowardU"
Read more about the crucial role historically Black colleges and universities have played in shaping leaders across the United States here.
(NEW YORK) -- After spending 22 years in solitary confinement, Anthony Gay is trying to make sure no other prisoner in Illinois has to experience the same level of trauma that he went through.
Gay is the face of the state's Anthony Gay Isolated Confinement Act, a bill developed over the last 10 years that would limit solitary confinement to no more than 10 days per six-month period. It's one of several bills currently moving through state legislatures across the country that aim to reform solitary confinement in prisons and reduce the severe mental health toll on prisoners.
"The worst part is being trapped in a cell 24/7, not being able to receive social contact and human contact," said Gay, who was released from prison in 2018 after representing himself in over 80 appeals before he was able to retain the help of a lawyer.
Gay's path to solitary confinement began when he was 20 years old. He'd been involved in a street fight and, as a result, was charged with aggravated battery and robbery for stealing a hat and a dollar bill.
"They were like, 'If you plead guilty to the robbery, they'll dismiss the aggravated battery.' So, I'm thinking, 'I don't want to face 15 years [in prison] for a street fight,'" he said. "So, I plead guilty to the robbery and get four years probation."
Gay, of Rock Island, Illinois, said he was arrested during his probation for driving without a license. His probation was revoked and he was re-sentenced to seven years in prison.
"I had no idea that I was about to be tortured for decades," he said.
While serving time, Gay was involved in another fight, which landed him in solitary confinement.
"It's dark and it's cold as a dungeon -- psychologically, anyway," he said. "The light is dim in the room, and [the room is] very small, and it just seemed like the walls are caving in."
Gay said he was in the cell for 24 hours a day and that occasionally he'd be let out for an hour.
"But when I got out," he added, "it was much different because I didn't have to do the extreme in order to have social stimulation in human contact."
There are an estimated 80,000 Americans in solitary confinement on any given day, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Gay said the experience nearly broke him.
"I would cut on myself. ... I would act out [and] throw urine, liquids, [at] all officers. They would extend my time and things of that sort instead of allowing me to see mental health [professionals] and taking it as a health concern. They took punitive measures," he said.
Gay said he doesn't think people understand the importance of human contact. Some people, he said, "don't care and other people are just not aware."
Stephanie Gangemi, Ph.D., a forensic social worker, said solitary confinement is a "devastating and brutal" way to lock people up, and that it can sometimes perpetuate a cycle of heightened anxiety that can cause inmates to act up, leading to extensions in their stay.
"It breaks down the ability for people to do emotional regulation -- to read appropriate social cues," Gangemi said.
The Chicago nonprofit Uptown People's Law Center first introduced Illinois state Rep. Lashawn Ford to the solitary confinement reform bill that now bears Anthony Gay's name. His name was attached to the bill after Ford heard about his story. The bill was passed in the state's House last month and is now being considered by the state Senate.
"When we learned about Anthony Gay's situation and how it impacted him mentally, and what he had to do to get out of solitary confinement, it was devastating," said Ford. "He immediately touched my heart."
He went on to say, "What we're learning is if there's going to be some form of solitary confinement, it's our job to make sure that you don't keep people locked away for over 20 years in a solitary state. That's harmful, it's traumatic and it only harms society as a whole because those people come back and they become our neighbors."
Even now, Gay said there are times when he cries at night. He said more people need to be made aware of what he called the "psychological torture" of solitary confinement.
"I know what it's like to be ... tortured and I know that many people are still being tortured, and I feel guilty because I got out and they didn't," he said. "But I believe that if we can inform more people and more people become aware that strength is in numbers. … This is domestic terrorism. This is psychological torture. This is a crime against humanity, and [we can] compel them to do something about it. It's wrong ... despicable and it's horrible and it needs to stop."
(NORMANDY, Texas) -- Five young migrant children, including an 11-month-old, were found abandoned at the U.S.-Mexico border in scorching temperatures over the weekend, according to government officials.
Eagle Pass Station Border Patrol said it received a call about five girls being found near Normandy, Texas, on Sunday, when the temperature would reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The children were identified as three Honduran nationals aged 2, 3 and 7 and two Guatemalan nationals, aged 5 and 11 months, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a press release.
Officials said the children did not require medical attention and were transported to the Uvalde Station for processing. CBP's Office of Public Affairs told ABC News the five girls were transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday morning.
"It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere," Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero II said in a statement. "Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help."
Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, shared a photo of the young girls sitting on the sandy ground on Twitter.
He reported that Del Rio Border Patrol said the girls were "uninjured, healthy and in good spirits."
He shared a video on Monday speaking with the farmer who found the kids on his land in Quemado, Texas, across the Rio Grande.
Last night I shared a heartbreaking photo of young children found by a farmer on his land in Quemado. While we thank God they were found alive, these tragic scenes are happening more & more.
"I was making my rounds here on the farm, it was about 8:30 a.m. in the morning, just driving along and all of a sudden I see them on the bank of the river. Five little baby girls all by themselves, hungry, crying," the farmer said, adding he alerted Border Patrol and the Maverick County constable.
"I don't think they would've made it if I hadn't found them because it got up to 103 [degrees] yesterday," he added.
The nation has been grappling with a surge of migrants at the border. The U.S. government picked up nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children crossing the Mexican border in March alone -- the largest monthly number ever recorded.
As of Monday, there were 21,713 migrant children in CBP custody or HHS care.
(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Investigators say the suspect who killed six adults, including his girlfriend, and took his own life in front of young children at a Colorado Springs birthday party over the weekend was fueled by jealousy after he was not invited to the family gathering.
The Colorado Springs Police Department identified the victims of Sunday's shooting as Melvin Perez, 30, Mayra Ibarra de Perez, 33, Jose Gutierrez-Cruz, 21, Joana Cruz, 52, Sandra Ibarra-Perez, 28, and Jose Ibarra, 26. Melvin Perez and Mayra Ibarra de Perez were married, and Joana Cruz was Melvin Perez and Jose Gutierrez-Cruz's mother, according to investigators. Sandra Ibarra-Perez and Jose Ibarra were Mayra Ibarra de Perez's siblings, police said.
Lt. Joe Frabbiele told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that the suspect, Teodoro Macias, 28, had been dating Sandra Ibarra-Perez for a year and there was tension between him and her family following a get-together the previous week.
The suspect became angry when he was not invited to the birthday party this Saturday and drove up to the mobile home where the gathering took place early Sunday morning night and opened fire, Frabbiele said.
"At the core of this horrendous act is domestic violence,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski told reporters.
The shooting unfolded at the Canterbury Mobile Home Park after police were called to the scene around 12:18 a.m. Frabbiele said gunshots were heard on the 911 call. There were 10 family members in total inside of the home when the incident happened, according to police.
One adult was unharmed, as were three children -- aged 2, 5 and 11 -- who were inside the home when Macias allegedly opened fire, the police said. The children ran into a bedroom to seek cover while the adult ran out to call 911, according to police.
"The evidence supports the children were in close proximity to the event and to some degree witnessed what happened," Frabbiele said.
Three teen family members who attended the party were outside of the mobile home picking up an item from a neighbor when shots rang out and immediately returned to help the victims, Frabbiele said. One of the younger children and two of the teens lost a parent in the incident, he said.
Jose Gutierrez-Cruz was still alive when officers responded to the scene, but he succumbed to his injuries at the hospital, police said. Officers found a Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun underneath Macias's body, Frabbiele said.
Frabbiele said the investigation is ongoing, but police were able to determine the suspect's alleged motive based on interviews with family members and phone communications between the suspect and Sandra Ibarra-Perez. There were no previous reported domestic violence incidents between the two, but family members said he had a "history of controlling and jealous behavior," including trying to prevent her from attending family events, according to police.
Frabbiele said officers are also investigating the origins behind the weapon used in the shooting. Records show that the handgun was purchased in 2014 at a local dealer by another person, according to Frabbiele.
"The serial number on that firearm is not reported stolen," he said.
Police said victims counseling resource staffers are with the surviving members.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called for patience as investigators searched for clues behind the killings, and he offered his condolences to the family.
"He had anger directed at the adults and his partner, and the tragic consequences are awful," Suthers said.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
(BRUNSWICK, Ga.) -- Three white Georgia men already facing state murder charges for allegedly tracking down and fatally shooting Ahmaud Arbery as the 25-year-old Black man jogged through their neighborhood in 2020 all pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal hate crime charges.
Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael and their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan were arraigned in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia.
The men appeared at the hearing without defense lawyers, and each asked to be represented by a public defender. They are being held in custody without bond.
During the Tuesday hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Benjamin Cheesbro read the federal complaint against the three men, which alleges they “did willfully, by force and threat of force, injure, intimidate and interfere with Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man, because of his race and color.”
The three indicted suspects are charged with one count each of interference of rights and attempted kidnapping, while the McMichaels were also each charged with using, carrying and brandishing a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
The McMichaels and Bryan are also awaiting a trial in October on state charges of felony murder, malice murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal contempt to commit a felony in the death of Arbery. The defendants have all pleaded not guilty to the state charges.
The new indictment was handed down by a federal grand jury on April 28 and alleges that all three men chased Arbery "in an attempt to restrain [him], restrict his free movement, corral and detain him against his will and prevent his escape."
Arbery, 25, was killed while jogging in the neighborhood of Satilla Shores in Brunswick, Georgia, on Feb. 23, 2020.
Gregory McMichael, 65, a retired investigator with the Brunswick District Attorney's Office who previously served as a Glynn County police officer, saw Arbery and assumed he was the person who committed "several break-ins" in their neighborhood, according to a police report. He and his 35-year-old son grabbed their guns -- a .357 Magnum and a shotgun, respectively -- jumped into a pickup truck and chased down Arbery, authorities said.
Bryan, 51, is accused of using his pickup truck to help the McMichaels corral Arbery, and prosecutors allege he struck Arbery with his vehicle. He also recorded cell phone video that captured Travis McMichael shooting Arbery with a shotgun during a struggle.
The three men claimed they were exercising the state's Civil War-era citizen's arrest statute when they attempted to detain Arbery. Travis McMichael has also claimed he shot Arbery three times in self-defense.
During a preliminary hearing last June on the state charges, Richard Dial, a special agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, testified that Bryan told investigators he heard Travis McMichael yell a racial slur at Arbery as he lay dying on the ground.
Minutes before the fatal encounter, Arbery was recorded on surveillance video entering a home that was under construction in the Satilla Shores neighborhood, looking around and leaving empty-handed. Attorneys for Arbery's mother said he could have been searching for a water source when he entered the construction site.
On Monday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law repealing the state's citizen's arrest statute, banning private citizens from arresting people they suspect committed a crime. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, attended Kemp's signing ceremony.
"After the tragic killing of Ahmaud Arbery," Kemp said, "we knew that action was needed to ensure an antiquated, Civil-War era statute could not be used to justify rogue vigilantism in the Peach State."
(ATLANTA) -- A Georgia district attorney will seek the death penalty and hate crimes charges against Atlanta spa shooting suspect Robert Aaron Long.
Long is accused of killing eight people, including six Asian women, in a spree targeting three Atlanta-area spas on March 16.
Long was indicted Tuesday on murder and other charges stemming from the shootings.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed notice that she intends to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty against Long.
"Last year, I told the voters of Fulton County that I could not imagine a circumstance where I would seek [the death penalty]," Willis said during a press briefing Tuesday evening. "Unfortunately, a case has arisen in the first few months of my term that I believe warrants the ultimate penalty, and we shall seek it."
Long was indicted in Fulton County for the deaths of Suncha Kim, 69; Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; and Yong Ae Yue, 63 -- four of the eight deaths in the attacks at two Atlanta-area spas.
The filing notice of intent states that Long intentionally selected his targets because of their "actual of perceived race, national origin, sex and gender."
Willis said this marks the first time Georgia's new hate crimes law will be used in Fulton County, and possibly the state, and "sends a message that everyone in this community is valued."
In total, Long was indicted on 19 counts: four counts of murder, four counts of felony murder, five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of domestic terrorism, according to the indictment.
A separate grand jury in Cherokee County will decide on charges for the shooting at a spa near suburban Woodstock that claimed the lives of Xiaojie "Emily" Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Delaina Yaun, 33; and Paul Michels, 54.
"The charges in this indictment were determined based on a comprehensive investigation of Robert Aaron Long and the mass shooting that occurred at Young's Asian Massage in Woodstock," Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said in a statement. "Today we have taken another step forward in seeking justice for the victims of this crime and for their family members."
Officials did not share a motive for the attack. Long told investigators that he blamed the businesses he targeted for providing an outlet for his addiction to sex, the Cherokee County Sheriff's office said at the time.
The first shooting was reported at about 5 p.m. at Young's Asian Massage near Woodstock, Georgia. That shooting resulted in four people dead -- two Asian and two white individuals -- and one person injured, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
About 47 minutes after that incident, Atlanta police responded to a 911 call of a robbery in progress at Gold Spa on Piedmont Road, about 30 miles away from the first shooting site. There they found three women dead from gunshot wounds, a spokesman told ABC News in a statement at the time.
While on the scene, the officers were advised of shots fired at Aromatherapy Spa across the street. When they went to investigate, police found a woman inside dead from a gunshot wound, Atlanta police said.
Long's phone was tracked to find his location, authorities said. Police spotted his car in Crisp County around 8 p.m., about three hours south of Atlanta, and he was arrested. A 9 mm gun was recovered at the traffic stop, authorities said.
Willis will host a press conference on the charges at 5:45 p.m. local time.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
(CLARKSBURG, W.Va.) -- U.S. Army veteran Felix McDermott was affectionally known by his grandchildren as “Snappy Pappy.” He would have seen his family grow even larger had he not been murdered at the VA in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Reta Mays has never explained why she killed the seven veterans and assaulted an eighth with the intent to kill. She offered no hint of motive when she tearfully addressed the court Tuesday before the judge imposed seven consecutive life sentences.
“There are no words I can say that would offer the families any comfort,” Mays said. “I can only say I'm sorry for the pain I caused the families and my family. I don't ask for forgiveness because I don't think I could forgive anyone who did what I did.”
McDermott’s daughter-in-law, Melanie Proctor, said Mays took "the rights of his great children to ever meet him. There have been three born since his death. She has taken away any faith that we had in the VA system that my dad held in really high esteem.”
The former nurse's assistant pleaded guilty to killing McDermott and six other elderly war veterans by injecting them with lethal doses of insulin in 2017 and 2018.
“You preyed on them when they were at their weakest. For that you are a coward,” Proctor said.
Mays also killed Robert Edge, who served with the U.S. Navy in the Korean War before he was honorably discharged in 1956.
“He was a good man and an honest man, a good husband and a great dad. He was a good provider for our family,” Edge’s son, Robert Edge Jr., told the court in a videotaped statement. “You have deprived nine grandkids and eight great grandkids of ever knowing that love. I do not forgive you for what you have done. I would punish you with my own hands if it would ever do any good.”
The defense shifted some blame to the VA for tasking her to care for the men she killed while she simultaneously was a patient at the hospital.
"Why," defense attorney Jay McCamic said, “is not a question that can be answered.” He mentioned Mays' “well-documented mental health issues.”
U.S. District Judge Thomas Kleeh named each victim before he handed down the sentence.
“You murdered George Nelson Shaw, a retired senior master sergeant who served for 28 years in the U.S. Air Force,” Kleeh said. “Many, if not all, of these gentlemen would be considered part of the Greatest Generation.”
The judge said Mays made decisions “she was not entitled to make” when she injected the veterans with lethal doses of insulin. She “weaponized” the medication and used it “as an instrument of death.”
“You took the lives of these gentlemen into your own hands for reasons that will forever remain unclear,” Kleeh said.
Immediately before imposing the sentence, the judge called Mays “the worst kind” of monster.
"You’ve made liars out of anyone who has told their kids monsters don’t exist," Kleeh said.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- A 71-year-old hiker who went missing in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon on Saturday has been found safe after spending two nights in the wilderness.
Joseph Dean of Portland was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. He texted his wife in the afternoon saying he was lost somewhere on the Rock of Ages Trail in Multnomah County.
Rescue crews found Dean “conscious and breathing” Monday at 8:54 a.m. near the Horsetail Falls Trail and provided him first aid, the sheriff's office said.
Dean was placed into a wheeled basket and guided down the rocky trail until he was reunited with family.
“Dean was transported to a local hospital for further medical evaluation. He was talking and able to walk with assistance,” the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office said in a press release.
“He’s doing well and is being assisted back to the command post. Thank you to the dedicated members both Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Search-and-Rescue Team,” Sheriff Mike Reese said.
Dean told officials he planned to hike the 12-mile loop from Horsetail Falls, along the Rock of Ages Ridge, and return via the Oneonta Creek Trail. But halfway into the trek he got lost.
Deputies noted both the Oneonta and Horsetail Creek areas suffered significant fire damage during the 2017 Eagle Fire and the trails had become “indistinguishable and overgrown.” The sheriff's office said the area has been closed since the fire.
Dean was carrying thermal leggings, a jacket, a balaclava and rationed snacks but ran out of drinking water before he was found, the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff’s office activated a Search and Rescue team on Saturday and 65 crew members from multiple organizations began looking for Dean. They used cellphone data to identify the general search area and a drone was deployed.
Dean’s son, William Dean, said he was “elated” his father, whom he described as an experienced hiker, was found safe and sound.
“I thought today was quite do or die,” Dean said to local ABC affiliate KATU Monday. “I’ve always said he’s the person I want to be stuck out overnight with by accident so I’m really glad he was able to get out of here.”
This is the sixth search and rescue since the beginning of April, according to the sheriff's office.