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Off-duty FBI agent appears to fatally shoot person at DC's Metro Center station, police say

Oliver Helbig/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- An off-duty FBI agent appeared to fatally shoot a person at a metro station in Washington, D.C., Wednesday night, police said.

Police responded to reports of multiple shots fired on the Red Line platform at the Metro Center station shortly before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, D.C. Metro Transit Police said.

Based on preliminary reports, the federal officer opened fire, fatally striking one individual, police said. The officer was also transported to a local hospital with "unknown injuries," police said.

Ashan Benedict, Metropolitan Police Department executive assistant chief of police, later said it appeared two individuals, including the agent, were involved in an altercation, where one apparently grabbed the other and both went over a side wall, away from the tracks, which was an 8-foot drop.

The struggle continued and shots were fired, Benedict said.

The FBI agent was transported to an area hospital with minor injures, he added.

Multiple sources told ABC News there is no ongoing threat to the public.

Red Line service has been suspended between Farragut North and Gallery Place amid the investigation and delays are expected in both directions.

ABC News' Jack Date and Sam Sweeney contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Idaho murders: Police to start removing victims' belongings from house

Heather Roberts/ABC News

(MOSCOW, Idaho) -- As police in Moscow, Idaho, began to remove some of the victims' personal belongings from the house where four University of Idaho students were killed, they're now also looking to speak with the occupant or occupants of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that was in the "immediate area" of the home the morning of the gruesome crimes.

"Investigators believe the occupant(s) of this vehicle may have critical information to share regarding this case," police said Wednesday.

Belongings "no longer needed for the investigation" started to get collected earlier in the day to be returned to victims' families, who've asked for some of the items, police said.

"It's time for us to get those things back that really mean something to those families, and hopefully help with some of their healing," Moscow Police Chief James Fry said Tuesday.

It's been nearly one month since roommates Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle, as well as Kernodle's boyfriend Ethan Chapin, were stabbed to death in the girls' off-campus house in the early hours of Nov. 13.

No suspects have been identified.

Two surviving roommates -- who police said are not suspects -- were home at the time and likely slept through the attacks, according to authorities. They were on the ground floor while the four victims were on the second and third floors.

Police added Tuesday that "the house remains an active crime scene" and said "progress continues to be made in the investigation."

Police urge anyone with information to upload digital media to fbi.gov/moscowidaho or contact the tip line at tipline@ci.moscow.id.us or 208-883-7180.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


The New School part-time faculty will stop receiving pay from university as strike continues

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Part-time faculty on strike at The New School university in New York City will stop receiving wages and premiums for health care benefits on Wednesday, three weeks into its strike.

The workers are paid on a monthly basis, so they will not be affected until the end of the month, but many of them are scared, Lee-Sean Huang, a member of the bargaining committee and part-time faculty member at The New School's Parsons School of Design, told ABC News.

Part-time faculty on strike are asking the university for affordable and reliable health insurance; pay that accounts for out-of-class work and inflation; job security; and recourse against discrimination and harassment, according to Huang.

About 2,600 part-time faculty represented by the ACT-UAW Local 7902 worker's union voted to go on strike on Nov. 16. But, not all of the faculty are teaching this semester so only about 1,500 of those faculty are actively on strike, according to Huang.

Part-time faculty's contracts and pay "have not kept up" with high inflation, Huang said. Minimum rates for part-time faculty currently range from $71.31 to $127.85 per teaching hour based on the type of course they teach, according to the university's website.

If the strike continues, workers would get strike pay from the union of about $400 a week.

The New School is not the only institution where workers have gone on strike demanding higher compensation. A worker strike across the University of California system's 10 campuses has entered its fourth week as they demand higher wages, improved leave for parents and caregivers and childcare support.

Workers across the University of California system say their compensation does not line up with the cost of living. Academic researchers and postdocs at the University of California reached a tentative agreement with the system, while academic student employees and student researchers have not yet voted to ratify proposed agreements. Academic researchers and postdocs said they would continue the strike in solidarity.

Negotiations between the union and The New School had begun in June.

The university put what it said was its "last and final offer" on the table on Nov. 20, which it said included "a very fair package of wages, comparable or even superior to many other institutions that are comparable to us," Tokumbo Shobowale, the executive vice president for Business and Operations at The New School, told ABC News.

Union workers overwhelmingly voted to reject the proposal, according to Huang.

The university has not received a written counterproposal from the union, Shobowale said.

Even though a lot of progress has been made, Shobowale said fundamental issues need to be resolved. Shobowale, who could not discuss details of the offer, said the union is making demands that the school cannot afford and asking for things that no other university offers. A mediator was brought in on Friday, which Shobowale said has helped the negotiations.

Shobowale said the university is working hard to get a deal done, but the union is not reacting with a sense of urgency.

He said that the union is sometimes coming to the table in a "largely performative manner," with as many as 700 members having attended some bargaining sessions.

Huang pushed back against those claims and said the matter was urgent for union members, especially after the university said it would cut off pay. Union teams were up late Monday and Tuesday to give the university a counterproposal and availability for bargaining this week has depended largely on the federal mediators' schedule, Huang said.

Huang also said the union submitted a counterproposal to the university's proposal by the deadline and is waiting to hear back.

The union's initial request would have added $1 billion in compensation over five years, but the school's annual budget is only $460 million, the school said. This would have been unattainable over five years and the university wouldn't have been able to continue existing as it is, according to Shobowale.

"We are continuing to do everything possible to reach an agreement, as quickly as possible, on a contract that is fair, equitable, and financially responsible. The union’s contract demands continue to reflect the union’s desire that the university spend money that the university simply does not have," The New School told ABC News in a statement.

"Agreeing to the union’s demands will grow the university deficit and likely force the university to make drastic cuts to university offerings and substantially increase tuition," The New School added.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


West Hollywood requiring all new businesses to have multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

(WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.) -- The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved a measure requiring all new construction or significant renovations to businesses to include only gender-neutral bathrooms.

All single-stall restrooms throughout the city have been required to be designated "gender-neutral" since 2014, but this is the first mandate that all new multi-stall restrooms be marked "gender-neutral."

"I noticed in my conversations that multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms are kind of the future," Council member John M. Erickson told ABC News. "It's easier. Going to the bathroom should just be going to the bathroom."

Unless they do a major redesign, current businesses won't be impacted by the new law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1.

West Hollywood's decision comes at a time when debates about who uses public bathrooms have become major topics of conversation in recent years.

Last year, a transgender man from Virginia won a legal battle against his former high school after it refused to let him use the boy's bathroom when he was a student.

"I am glad that my years-long fight to have my school see me for who I am is over," the former student, Gavin Grimm said in a statement at the time. "Being forced to use the nurse's room, a private bathroom, and the girl's room was humiliating for me, and having to go to out-of-the-way bathrooms severely interfered with my education."

In 2019, a Georgia school district reversed its decision to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponded with their gender identity after staff members received death threats.

Hundreds of thousands of people signed a petition to boycott Target after it announced in 2016 it was allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and dressing rooms that matched their gender identity.

In 2016, North Carolina passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, also known as the "bathroom bill," which said that state law overrides all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and public accommodations.

The bill's passage caused boycotts and protests, which prompted the NBA to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte.

A year after the bill was passed, North Carolina legislatures approved a bill appealing the "bathroom bill," but prevented local governments and schools from regulating multi-stall restrooms.

As for West Hollywood, Erickson said that public safety is always the primary concern and that it's essential to ensure everyone using a bathroom feels safe.

Erickson said that data shows there have been no reported crimes in existing gender-neutral bathrooms in West Hollywood and that any pushback is based on fear-mongering from the right.

"This is about going to the bathroom at the end of the day," he said. "If we allow science and data to rule our decision, then we know that multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms are not only safe, but the future for the world and the country."

ABC News' Karma Allen, Devin Dwyer and Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


$75K reward offered in NC power grid attacks that caused major blackout

Dominik Stötter / EyeEm/ Getty Images

(MOORE COUNTY, N.C.) -- A $75,000 reward is being offered in the search for the gun-wielding suspects who attacked vital infrastructure equipment over the weekend and caused a massive electrical blackout in a North Carolina county.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced the reward Wednesday afternoon, saying, such attacks "will not be tolerated."

Cooper said the state, Moore County and Duke Energy each contributed $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for what authorities have been deemed a "criminal occurrence."

Federal search warrants have been applied for as part of the investigation into the attacks, a local law enforcement source told ABC News on Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, Duke Energy, the local utility company, said damage caused to two substations in Moore County has been completely repaired or replaced and authorities said power is expected to be restored to tens of thousands of utility customers by midnight.

The announcement came as many residents in Moore County awoke for the fourth day Wednesday without electricity and as law enforcement continued to the search for the perpetrator or perpetrators who sabotaged two key power distribution substations Saturday night.

"Once we have completed all necessary testing, the gradual restoration of service to those Moore County communities still without power will begin," Duke Energy said in a statement. "To avoid overwhelming the electrical system we will bring power back on gradually, with the goal of having the majority of customers restored before midnight tonight."

While no new significant details on the investigation were released Wednesday, Moore County Chief Sheriff Deputy Richard Maness told ABC News that investigators are are closely analyzing evidence discovered at the two crime scenes and following up on tips from the public. No arrests have been announced and authorities have not commented on a possible motive.

"I can confirm that multiple shell casings were recovered," said Maness, who declined to say what type of firearm was used in the attack or the caliber of the shell casings collected.

According to Poweroutage.us, a website that tracks outages across the country, about 200 Duke Energy customers were still without electricity Wednesday afternoon, down from about 35,000 Tuesday night and a high of 45,000 initially affected by the attack. Schools remained canceled on Wednesday and a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew has been imposed.

"We worry about the health and safety of people, particularly those in adult care homes and those who live by themselves, particularly our senior citizens and those who are vulnerable," Cooper said in an interview Wednesday on ABC's "GMA3."

Cooper reiterated that the criminal or criminals knew what they were doing when the power stations were riddled with bullets.

"This was a malicious attack on an entire community, and it plunged tens of thousands of people into darkness. They knew what to do to disable this substation. ... But we know that people are very frustrated here, and that's very understandable," Cooper said.

The crisis in Moore County has prompted local law enforcement to call in the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to help in the probe of what has been deemed a criminal act. The White House is also closely monitoring the situation, officials said.

Asked at a news conference on Monday whether the attacks are being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism, Cooper said, "I think investigators are leaving no stone unturned as to what this is as they are looking at every motivation that could possibly occur."

Moore County law enforcement said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference that one person died inside a residence without power, but it remained unclear if the death is related to the electrical outage.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields told ABC News earlier that murder charges could be filed against those responsible for the attack if anyone dies as a result of the power outage.

"What was done was an intentional act. It was not a random act," Fields said.

Carthage business owner Rachel Haviley used her portable generator to serve up coffee and food to neighbors in need.

"My kids are home, they're not in school. My husband was supposed to go to D.C., now he's in daddy day care," Haviley told WSOC. "I have a friend that was supposed to be at the hospital for class, now she's not there. There are elderly people who rely on things that help keep them alive, so people's lives and families have been impacted by this."

The attacks occurred just after 7 p.m. Saturday, officials said.

The attacks came amid protests over a Downtown Divas drag show in the Moore County city of Southern Pines. The drag show had been scheduled for Saturday night and was disrupted due to the blackout.

Fields said no evidence has yet been uncovered linking the power outage to the drag show.

ABC News' Mona Kosar Abdi contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


11-year-old sworn in as honorary officer for 53 police departments

Franklin Ohio Police Department

(QUANTICO, Va.) -- An 11-year-old cancer patient was sworn in as an honorary police officer for 53 different police departments at a ceremony held Monday at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Devarjaye "DJ" Daniel's journey to becoming an honorary police officer started several years ago, according to his father Theodis Daniel.

Daniel told "Good Morning America" that DJ, who was diagnosed four years ago with anaplastic ependymoma, a terminal cancer of the brain and spine, set his goal after three police officers helped the Daniel family in 2017 when they were displaced by Hurricane Harvey and were temporarily living at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center.

"That first impression was everlasting to all my boys and now all of my boys have been sworn in as honorary officers … and Devarjaye is part of 743 police departments as of yesterday," Daniel told "GMA" in a phone interview Wednesday, adding that DJ was also inspired by a newspaper article about Abigail Arias, another young cancer patient who became an honorary police officer in 2019.

Adam Colon, the chief of police for the city of Franklin, Ohio, was one of the 53 law enforcement leaders, all part of the FBI National Academy's Session 284 participants, who honored the Texas boy on Monday.

Colon had a custom Franklin Police Division suit badge made for DJ, whom he described as "positive" and "full of energy and life" despite the boy's terminal cancer diagnosis.

"He's got a lot of personality and I think it just makes him happy and [he] likes to make others happy, and it's good to see," Colon told "GMA" of DJ's goal to become an honorary police officer for hundreds of departments.

Lt. Josh Sanders of the Wheeling Police Department in Wheeling, West Virginia, also honored DJ on Monday. "What we like to do is help people … so if we can add some health to that young man's life [with these swearing-in ceremonies], that's what we wanted to do," Sanders said.

Sanders said he was able to have dinner with DJ, DJ's two brothers and the boys' father, and described the 11-year-old as a "riot" who loves dad jokes.

"The kid has a great spirit. He is a motivator. He is an inspirer. He just makes me want to be a better person," Sanders added.

In addition to being honored by U.S. police departments, the FBI Academy confirmed DJ was also named an honorary police officer with the London Metropolitan Police, his first international honor.

Daniel told "GMA" that he hopes sharing DJ's story will inspire more kindness in the world.

"I hope this story inspires everyone in the nation, in the world, to be kind to one another," he said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Teacher vacancies more pronounced in high-poverty, high-minority schools since COVID

mixetto/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Teacher vacancies in schools around the country persist after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

However, schools with large numbers of minority students and in high-poverty areas are suffering the worst staff shortages.

About 40% of public schools with over 75% minority populations have multiple teaching vacancies, according to NCES. In comparison, 19% of schools with less than 25% minority populations are experiencing multiple vacancies.

"We asked teachers about job satisfaction where they're teaching, and how poverty schools are having a challenge in getting certified teachers," NCES commissioner Dr. Peggy G. Carr said. "The performance for the students are usually more challenging because they are dealing with a lot of other equity issues around factors that impact how well they can perform, resource issues in the school and at home. So, it's a multi-faceted problem and the minority schools are getting the brunt of it."

According to Carr, external factors students dealing with poverty experience, such as less access to technology at home, struggles with a home environment conducive to continuing their studies and higher levels of mental health issues, are affecting their performance in school. Potential teachers for these students are deterred from educating in high-poverty schools because they don't want to be saddled with the monumental task of educating students who need more attention but have less resources than their counterparts in low-poverty schools, she said and that minorities are the overwhelming majority in high-poverty schools.

Schools are trying to retain qualified teachers in high-minority, high-poverty schools through pay incentives and extra days off, but teacher vacancies in these schools are high compared to their counterparts, Carr said.

The COVID-19 pandemic set students across the nation back in their education, but those whose parents weren't able to work from home during the pandemic and give more attention to their children's studies might have experienced the the most educational setbacks.

"They are the working class and we can't survive without them, and you know they couldn't stay home and take care of their kids, like many of us could," Carr said. "We need to be able to marry these kinds of statistics to see if we can provide some cause and effect and understand the full impact of this virus on these communities."

Congress approved more than $190 billion to help students keep up their learning during the pandemic, CNN reported. School districts with higher levels of low-income students received more funds. But NCES's data shows that the money had little effect on retaining teachers in these schools.

Only 43% of high-poverty schools reported being fully staffed compared to 59% of low-poverty schools that claim to be fully staffed, according to the NCES. For high-minority and high-poverty populations who have historically suffered from inadequate educational resources, the implications are sobering.

"What if we don't get them what they need? What if we don't get them back on track?" Carr said. "What will that mean for their lives, their earning power, or for us as a country when we are not prepared to compete."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Atatiana Jefferson trial: Witness testimony continues on officer charged in fatal shooting

Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

(DALLAS) -- Witness testimony continued Wednesday in the trial of now-former police officer Aaron Dean in the 2019 fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson.

Dean is charged with murder in the death of Jefferson, a Black woman who was allegedly fatally shot by Dean inside her Fort Worth, Texas, home on Oct. 12, 2019.

Opening statements

Prosecutors began their opening statements Monday by telling jurors about who Jefferson was. She was a 28-year-old woman who was living with her mother to take care of her, as well as address her own "severe health issues with her heart," according to prosecutors. In that house, she helped raise Zion Carr, her then-8-year-old nephew who was present when she was fatally shot by police. She was "helping raise Zion, teaching him the responsibilities, day-to-day chores," prosecutors said.

On that night, "[Zion] sees his aunt Tay -- which is what he calls her -- still playing video games and she's up so, 8-year-old says 'I want to play too.' So, he gets up and he starts playing video games with her so they're laughing, having a good time. Tatianna and Zion had no idea what was coming," prosecutor Ashlea Deener said.

The defense began Monday's hearing arguing for a motion to change the venue in which the trial is held because almost all of the potential jurors during jury selection had heard of the case. Judge George Gallagher denied the motion.

During opening statements, the defense focused on the gun in Jefferson's hand in the moments before she was shot. The prosecution argued that Dean shot Jefferson before Dean could see a gun and before Jefferson could follow his commands.

"As soon as Aaron enters into the backyard, he sees a silhouette at the window," Dean's defense attorney Miles Brissette said. "Aaron sees that silhouette in the window and that silhouette has a firearm. That silhouette has a firearm with a green laser mounted on the front rail of that firearm pointed directly at Aaron, closer than me to you to the window."

"The evidence will support he did not see the gun in her hand," Deener said. "This is not a justification. This is not a self-defense case. This is murder."

There were concerns the trial would be delayed after Dean's lead attorney, Jim Lane, died on Nov. 27, according to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA, just one day before the jury selection in the case began. Lane had been ill and two other lawyers took over as lead attorneys in May, according to WFAA.

Monday's court proceedings only lasted half a day because of Lane's funeral.

Jefferson's nephew testifies

On the stand, now-11-year-old Zion told the court that he and Jefferson burned the hamburgers they were making that night, which is why they opened the door. They left the screen door open to let the smoke out, according to Zion and prosecutors.

He was the first and only witness to take the stand on the first day of the trial.

Police said they received a call just before 2:30 a.m. to respond to Jefferson's home on East Allen Avenue after a neighbor called to say the front door was open.

Two officers arrived at the house shortly after and parked near Jefferson's home, but not in front of the residence, according to officials.

The front door appears open in the body-camera footage, but a screen door looks to be closed in front of it. The officer doesn't appear to knock.

Officials said the officers walked around the back of the house and that one of the officers observed a person through the rear window of the home and opened fire.

Zion said his aunt heard a noise, asked him about it and went to get a handgun from her purse. She walked toward the window, and then he said he saw her fall to the ground.

"She started crying and then two police officers came and got me," Zion said.

Zion said his aunt did not raise her gun when she approached the window, however the defense attorney kept asking Zion questions about his recollection of an interview he did the night after his aunt was shot.

Zion had allegedly said during that interview that Jefferson had at one point raised the gun from her side, but Zion said he didn't remember the details of what he did or said during the interview in response to the questions, visibly frustrated on the stand.

Other officer on the scene testifies

Officer Carol Darch, Dean's former partner in the Fort Worth Police Department, took the stand Tuesday for cross-examination.

In her testimony, Darch said messiness inside the home made it look like there had been a home invasion of some sort, "like someone had methodically gone through that house looking for something."

She said she and Dean didn't announce themselves because of their own safety, as well as based on "open structure" procedure that trains officers to reduce the possibility that they might give an intruder into the home a chance to escape by alerting them of their presence.

Darch described the call as an "open structure" call, which refers to a call about a structure with an open door or window.

She later was asked to describe the "pyramid" style "Use-of-Force Continuum," which calls for deadly force to be the last resort in addressing a threat. However, training does not require officers to take all steps before using deadly force if met with a deadly force.

"Deadly force is always met with deadly force," Darch said. "We're trained to stop the threat."

Darch told the jury that she never saw Jefferson's gun on the scene and never heard Dean announce that he saw a gun on Jefferson himself.

"I heard him give commands, I started turning. I was halfway through my turn and I heard the shot," Darch said.

She later added, "The only thing I could see [through the window] was eyes, really. I couldn't make out if it was a male or a female. I just saw someone in the window and I saw their eyes -- as big as saucers."

Darch got emotional on the stand when Zion came up in questioning. She said she was concerned about his well-being, as she said she tended to Zion's care following the shooting.

Body camera footage released by the department shows the officer approaching a rear window of the home with his gun drawn. The officer shouts, "Put your hands up, show me your hands," and fires one shot through the window.

The video seems to confirm the officer never identified himself as police before he opened fire.

Police officials said Jefferson was within her rights to protect herself and her nephew when she heard noises in her backyard and went to the window to investigate.

The 911 call

Abriel Talbert, the call center employee who took the 911 call from Jefferson's neighbor, told the jury that she included details about the house for police answering the call.

In her description to police, she included information that the caller shared that "both neighbors' vehicles are in the driveway … and neighbors are usually home but never have a door open."

She included those details "so the officer knows what's supposed to be at the address, nothing out of the ordinary, other than the open door."

She classified the call as an open structure call because of the open doors.

James Smith, who made the call to the city's non-emergency line, had asked responders for a "welfare check" on Jefferson's home because he was concerned about his neighbors with whom he's friends with. However, they responded to the call instead as an open structure call.

3rd day of testimony

On the third day of witness testimony, jurors heard from Fort Worth officer James Van Gorkom, Fort Worth major case unit detective Doug Rohloff and another Fort Worth police officer.

ABC News' Amanda Su contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Storm systems bring snow and flood threats to Northern Rockies and Plains

Anna Kraynova / EyeEm/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Several storm systems are moving across the country, raising the risk of avalanches in certain states.

Snow will continue in the Rockies on Wednesday, with some areas getting 6 inches to 12 inches.

There could be heavy rain and flash flooding in the Plains on Wednesday into Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

In the mid-South and the East Coast, periods of rain will continue Wednesday as the storms continue.

The heaviest rain over the next 48 hours will be from Oklahoma to Tennessee, where some areas could see 2 inches to 4 inches. Some localized flash flooding is possible.

For the Midwest, some of that rain will turn to snow, where several inches are possible. A winter weather advisory has been issued for the area.

A new storm system moves into the West Coast Wednesday. Another storm over the weekend will dump an additional 6 feet of snow in California.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


DOJ watchdog finds 'serious' problems in handling of 'Whitey' Bulger prison transfer

Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- An investigation by the Justice Department's top watchdog uncovered "serious" failures in the Bureau of Prison's handling of the prison transfer of notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger prior to his murder in custody in 2018, a new report released Wednesday said.

Bulger was found dead in his prison cell just 12 hours after his arrival at the U.S. Penitentiary Hazelton in West Virginia after suffering brutal injuries to his head and face. Three inmates in the prison have been charged in connection with his murder and are awaiting trial.

The Justice Department's inspector general mounted a separate investigation into how the agency handled Bulger's transfer. While its report Wednesday said investigators did not find evidence of "malicious intent" or purposely improper behavior on the part of BOP officials, they identified numerous failures at multiple levels of the prison system as well as puzzling bureaucratic issues in how Bulger's transfer was allowed to go through.

"In our view, no BOP inmate's transfer, whether they are a notorious offender or a non-violent offender, should be handled like Bulger's transfer was handled in this instance," Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a statement accompanying the release of the report.

Bulger was 89 years old and in a wheelchair at the time of his transfer from the high security federal prison at USP Coleman II in Florida to USP Hazelton, where he was immediately placed within the general population despite his notoriety as one of New England's most sinister gangsters and previous history as an informant for the FBI.

Officials at USP Coleman began the process of seeking Bulger's transfer in early 2018 after he reportedly issued a threat against a nurse at the facility, which led to his placement in a single cell in Coleman's Special Housing Unit.

While Bulger was at the time designated as a 'level 3' medical care inmate due to his development of a heart condition while he was in federal custody, officials in BOP sought to downgrade his classification to make him eligible for placement at a higher number of other facilities, the report found.

Despite repeated efforts to reclassify Bulger as a 'level 2' medical care inmate, officials were instructed that Bulger's health situation warranted him remaining at 'level 3,' the report said. But officials at Coleman seemingly ignored the recommendation and omitted other key information about Bulger's health in their final transfer request before he was sent to Hazelton, a high-security level 2 care facility.

Investigators found that after Bulger's transfer was approved, more than 100 employees at BOP received notifications and multiple inmates at Hazelton began sending communications about the transfer making clear they were aware he was due to arrive. Investigators said they were unable to determine which particular BOP employees at the prison were responsible for improperly disclosing news of Bulger's transfer to inmates at Hazelton.

One alarming portion of the report found that a unit manager at Hazelton specifically requested Bulger be assigned to their unit even despite the fact that it housed another organized crime associate who would have familiarity with Bulger's history. When interviewed by the inspector general's office, the unit manager responded he was not a "gang expert" and was not aware of information "being discussed or put out" by others before Bulger arrived.

The inmate, Fotios Geas, was serving a life prison sentence on RICO charges and was associated with the Genovese Organized Crime Family and was one of the three individuals charged in Bulger's death.

Investigators also found additional issues with how officials at Hazelton assessed the risk of harm Bulger faced from other inmates upon his transfer to the facility. According to the repot, BOP policy did not require Bulger to undergo a risk assessment by a BOP officer prior to his transfer which -- if conducted, would have singled him out as likely ineligible for placement with the general population.

Bulger, who after 8 months in the single-cell Special Housing Unit at Coleman had reportedly started saying he had lost any will to live, also expressed a preference to be placed with the general population. Investigators also say he lied on an intake form that had asked whether he had ever been a member of a gang or if he provided cooperation to a law enforcement investigation.

Upon conclusion of their investigation the IG's office made 11 recommendations to the Bureau of Prisons for improvements to their policies, all of which the agency accepted.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Atatiana Jefferson's family seeks 'accountability' as former officer stands trial in her fatal shooting

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The family of a Black woman who was fatally shot in her home by a former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer in 2019 said they've been waiting for justice for over three years.

Atatiana Jefferson's sister Ashley Carr said it's "surreal" to finally see the case go to trial.

"We've been fighting and fussing about having this day and making sure that accountability is served for my sister's death," she told ABC News' Good Morning America. "But now it's really here, and it's a realization that this is not in our control. This is in control of the jurors."

Opening statements began on Monday in the trial of former police officer Aaron Dean who was charged with murder after fatally shooting Jefferson in her Fort, Worth Texas, home on Oct. 12, 2019. Dean was responding to a concerned neighbor's request to check on Jefferson's wellbeing after noticing her house's front door open at night, police said.

Dean pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Though some of the 12 selected jurors are people of color, none are Black, which drew backlash and prompted protests in 2019.

The trial so far has hinged on the handgun in Jefferson's hand right before Dean shot her. During opening arguments, his defense attorney, Miles Brissette, argued Dean was acting in self-defense after seeing Jefferson's silhouette in the window holding a firearm with a green laser pointed directly at him. The prosecution, on the other hand, argued Dean couldn't have seen her gun in the split second before he opened fire.

The trial's first witness was Zion Carr, Jefferson's then 8-year-old nephew who was playing video games and cooking hamburgers with his aunt right before Dean shot her in their house. During questioning, Carr, 11, was asked to recount the traumatic events from that night, testifying that his aunt had never raised the gun from her side.

Brissette declined ABC News' request for comment.

Ed Kraus, the Fort Worth Police chief at the time of the shooting who has since retired, said in 2019 that Dean's conduct was in violation of multiple police department policies, including "our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy, and unprofessional conduct."

"I certainly have not been able to make sense of why she had to lose her life," Kraus said at the time. "On behalf of the men and women of the Fort Worth Police Department, I'm so sorry for what occurred."

Jefferson, a pre-medical graduate of Xavier University, is survived by her three siblings: Ashley, Amber and Adarius, who say they've been one another’s “support system” their entire lives. Their mother, Yolanda Carr, who died just months after Jefferson's death, nicknamed her children the "A-Team" because their names all start with the letter A.

"We understand as a family that there is nothing that we can do in this process but be present," Ashley Carr said. "So our goal is to be present to make sure everyone knows that Atatiana was loved."

Ashley Carr said she and her family have tried to "keep the momentum" going to ensure Jefferson's name is not forgotten, including speaking at the White House and U.S. Senate.

"They joined the fight for families all across the country," Lee Merritt, the family's attorney, told Good Morning America. "They've been a part of a community of activists and organizers who were at the forefront of what became a major moment in history during the Black Lives Matter movement."

Jefferson's siblings also started a nonprofit called the Atatiana Project that strives to promote STEAM education and activities among urban youth. They've even hosted a free summer camp where kids could build their own computers and robots.

"Our goal is just to amplify how beautiful Atatiana was," Carr said, remembering her sister as an avid video gamer, animal lover and aspiring medical student. "If you go on our website, we say she didn't die. She will multiply through the generations that we serve."

"She was my little sister, but was such a big person," she added.

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Ted Cruz's daughter OK, family asks for privacy after police called to senator's home

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(HOUSTON) -- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's office said late Tuesday that his daughter is OK and asked for privacy for the family after Houston police and fire personnel were called to his home.

"This is a family matter and thankfully their daughter is okay," Cruz's representatives said in a statement to ABC affiliate KTRK-TV and other outlets.

"There were no serious injuries. The family requests the media respect their daughter's privacy at this time," Cruz's office said.

According to KTRK, the Houston Police Department said they received reports just before 8 p.m. local time on Tuesday of a 14-year-old with self-inflicted stab wounds on their arms in the neighborhood River Oaks, where the Republican lawmaker resides with his wife, Heidi, and their two daughters.

Authorities said the unidentified teen was taken to the hospital but could not say whether the 911 call involved a member of Cruz's family.

When KTRK arrived to the scene, police officers were outside Cruz's home.

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Uvalde shooting survivor advocates for assault weapons ban on Capitol Hill

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(WASHINGTON) -- Ten-year-old Caitlyne Gonzales' day began early when she and her family boarded a plane bound for Washington, D.C, a flight that was crowded with people affected by the May shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Caitlyne, a survivor of the massacre, family members of some of the victims and local leaders traveled to the nation's capital on Tuesday to speak with members of Congress during a lame-duck session in an effort to ban the sale and possession of assault-style rifles before Republicans take control of the House of Representatives this January. The group's itinerary includes multiple meetings with U.S. senators, a vigil and a silent protest outside the Capitol Building.

"It brings me comfort that we can all be together as one," said Caitlyne.

The group is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 736, which would ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines like the ones used by the shooters to gun down students at Robb Elementary, parade-goers in Highland Park, Illinois, and LGBTQ nightclub patrons in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The bill would have barred the Uvalde shooter from purchasing a rifle as he did a week before the May 24 shooting. The passing of the ban is highly unlikely before the end of the legislative session, but President Joe Biden reiterated his support for the bill last month.

The U.S. Senate has until the end of the year to pass the bill or else the voting process starts over.

"I’m going to try. I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons," Biden said.

Caitlyne has been an advocate for gun reform since the tragedy occurred. On May 24, she hid in her classroom as she listened to shots ring out down the hall. Her best friend, 9-year-old Jackie Cazares, was one of the 19 students killed during the massacre. She says she misses her friend's laughter and hugs.

Since the shooting, Caitlyne has been in the local and national spotlight. She called for police accountability at school board meetings in Uvalde, for gun control at rallies in Austin, Texas, and for a national ban on assault weapons in Washington D.C.

"Turn in your badge and step down. You don't deserve to wear one," the 10-year-old said at a packed August school board meeting, addressing the school district's police chief, Pete Arredondo, who was fired a few hours after her confrontation for his alleged role in the flawed police response to the shooting.

"It feels good that I'm able to make a change," said Caitlyne a few months after that speech.

Arredondo contested his firing and requested his job back, including back pay, on the grounds that the school district violated his constitutional rights.

Caitlyne, publicly outspoken and composed, says in private she's had trouble sleeping and is sensitive to loud noises since the shooting.

This is not her first trip to Washington, D.C., in an attempt to effect change. She has campaigned for Democratic candidates, met with U.S. Senators, and delivered speeches in front of hundreds of people.

When she speaks, she represents younger voices in a growing chorus of Uvaldeans demanding more gun control and stronger school safety measures in the wake of the tragedy that rocked their town of 15,000. More than two dozen of them will be in D.C. this week.

"I decided to be a voice for my friends who can't use their voice no more," said Caitlyne.

Caitlyne has found other ways to remember her friends who died. She posts TikToks of their photos together, ran in a 5K race for 10-year-old victim Lexi Rubio and delivered pancakes (her favorite food) to Jackie Cazares' grave site on Día de Los Muertos.

Over the past few months, Caitlyne has joined an ever-expanding group of young people spurred to action amid grief following their experience of a school shooting.

Recently, she spent a drizzly Saturday in Uvalde with survivors of the 2021 high school shooting in Oxford, Michigan. She helped set up an activity day for Robb survivors, including herself and many of her classmates. The Oxford students flew in from Michigan to spend time with the kids at the town's community center.

Caitlyne's trip this week is being sponsored by March Fourth, a grassroots, mom-led advocacy group formed after the parade shooting in Highland Park. The organization has hosted other Uvalde families in D.C. previously, and has organized many rallies and marches they have participated in. Their objective is to ban assault-style rifles nationwide.

In addition to the silent protest the Uvaldeans led Tuesday evening with the organization, they will attend some 30 meetings with senators that March Fourth says they have arranged. Dozens of other organizations will also be in D.C. this week for the Newtown Action Alliance's 10th annual gun violence vigil, which Caitlyne also plans to attend.

Caitlyne and other families will be joined by approximately 60 physicians from across 25 states, who are rallying behind the assault weapons ban this week on Capitol Hill. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for kids in the teens in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Medical Association has declared gun violence a "public health crisis."

March Fourth's founder, Kitty Brandtner, told ABC News she hopes the physicians' support, compelled by "non-emotional, evidence-based data," will nudge senators over the edge to vote to pass the ban.

As for Caitlyne, she wants senators to know that her friend Jackie was "very kind and loving," and didn't deserve to lose her life that day. She hopes, with the passage of the ban, she can get back to being a kid.

"I hope in the future I'll actually feel safer and be able to do normal kid things," she said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


San Francisco cancels plans for 'killer police robots'

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(SAN FRANCISCO) -- San Francisco supervisors have nixed their plan to allow police officers to use robots to kill in emergency situations, a board member confirmed on Tuesday.

“The people of San Francisco have spoken loud and clear: There is no place for killer police robots in our city,” supervisor Dean Preston told ABC News in a statement. “There have been more killings at the hands of police than any other year on record nationwide. We should be working on ways to decrease the use of force by local law enforcement, not giving them new tools to kill people.”

The news comes a day after community groups protested outside San Francisco’s City Hall condemning the ordinance, which the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved in an 8-3 vote on Nov. 29.

Before the board’s vote reversing course, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California told ABC News that it was a terrible idea to let cops use robots for deadly force.

“Allowing them to kill remotely will lead to more mistakes, and as we have seen many times before with other police weapons, to more frequent use,” ACLU NorCal said.

In a letter to Mayor London Breed and city board members, dozens of racial justice groups, civil rights and civil liberties organizations, LGBTQ organizations and labor unions called for board members to change their vote, saying the use of robots would be dangerous to not only San Francisco residents, but to people who visit the city.

“SFPD’s proposal would allow officers to send these robots to all arrests and all searches with warrants, and to protests if police decide that 'exigent circumstances' or other flexible justifications in the policy apply,” the organizations wrote in the letter.

The SFPD did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment about the board’s reversal, but did defend the passage of the Law Enforcement Equipment Policy in a Dec. 1 press release, saying that it only planned to deploy the robots for potential lethal force “in extreme circumstances to save or prevent further loss of life.”

“The use of robots in potentially deadly force situations is a last resort option. We live in a time when unthinkable mass violence is becoming more commonplace,” San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said at the time. “We need the option to be able to save lives in the event we have that type of tragedy in our city.”

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Attacks, plots similar to sabotage of North Carolina power grid have threatened infrastructure nationwide

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(WASHINGTON) -- Just three days before two electrical substations were shot up, causing tens of thousands of customers to lose power in North Carolina, the federal Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning "lone offenders and small groups" could be plotting attacks and that the nation's critical infrastructure was among the possible targets.

The warning became a reality on Saturday when widespread power outages in North Carolina were reported after a perpetrator or perpetrators shot up the power stations in Moore County. The incident left up to 45,000 utility customers without electricity and prompted local officials to declare a state of emergency.

The Homeland Security "National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin" issued on Nov. 30 said individuals and groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances "continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland."

"Targets of potential violence include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents," the bulletin reads.

The bulletin followed one issued by the Department of Homeland Security in January, warning that domestic extremists have been developing "credible, specific plans" to attack electricity infrastructure since at least 2020, according to the Associated Press.

While law enforcement investigating the Moore County sabotage has yet to identify a suspect or a motive, the attack has been described by local authorities as an "eye-opener" and prompted calls to harden the state's infrastructure to deter future incidents.

"This kind of attack raises a new level of threat," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

But similar attacks and foiled plots suggest electrical grids and other infrastructure across the United States have been targeted over the past decade.

In April 2013, a group of suspects wielding high-powered rifles staged an attack in California's Silicon Valley, shooting up the Pacific Gas & Electric Company's Metcalf substation, riddling transformers with bullets, officials said. PG&E said the attack caused $15 million in damage and prompted the utility company to spend $100 million to beef up security at its substations, including installing intruder detection systems.

No arrests were made in the California attack.

"Metcalf was an interesting attack because they also attacked the fiber communications vault just up the street to try to interfere with the alarm and communication with the substation," Kevin Perry, retired director of critical infrastructure protection at Southwest Power Pool in Arkansas, told ABC News.

Unlike in Moore County, the attack failed to cause a major power outage.

"There's a lot of redundancy that's built into the grid. And in the case of Metcalf, even though the substation was taken out of service, (PG&E) was able to bypass the substation and continue to energize the area," Perry said.

Perry said most electrical distribution substations across the country are vulnerable to attacks because they are usually in remote areas and have little security.

"Substations tend to be out in the middle of nowhere, and that means they’re, for the most part, unattended," Perry said. "If you take out enough equipment then you lose the redundancy and when you lose the redundancy you don’t have any way of feeding power to that particular area, and that’s when you end up with a regional blackout."

In February, three men each pleaded guilty in Ohio to a federal charge of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists as part of a scheme to attack power grids in the United States in furtherance of white supremacist ideology, according to the Department of Justice. The men - one from Ohio, one from Texas and the third from Wisconsin -- met online and plotted to use high-powered rifles to attack electrical substations in different regions of the United States, the DOJ said in a statement.

"The defendants believed their plan would cost the government millions of dollars and cause unrest for Americans in the region. They had conversations about how the possibility of the power being out for many months could cause war, even a race war, and induce the next Great Depression," the DOJ's statement reads.

The plot was thwarted when two of the men were pulled over by police in Ohio for a traffic violation and one swallowed a "suicide pill" but ultimately survived, according to federal prosecutors.

In 2019, a Utah man pleaded guilty to one federal count of destruction of an energy facility stemming from a 2016 rifle attack on a Buckskin Electrical substation in Kane County and was sentenced to 96 months in prison, according to federal officials. The attack caused nearly $400,000 in damage and triggered a power outage in Kane and Garfield counties, officials said.

As part of the plea agreement, the defendant admitted causing damage to three substations in Nevada, but was not charged in those incidents, according to federal prosecutors.

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