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iStock/Thinkstock(WEST ORANGE, N.J.) -- Some students in New Jersey were forced to sleep in their schools overnight as the first snowstorm of the season crippled the Tri-state area.

Treacherous conditions on snow-covered roads in New Jersey's Essex County left some kids stranded at public schools in the suburban township of West Orange on Thursday, as school buses and parents were unable to get them home.

The West Orange public school district ordered its buses to "shelter in place" on Thursday afternoon as car crashes jammed up traffic on the icy highway nearby.

"When the West Orange Police Department provides the all clear, those buses will begin their route," the school district said in an update on its website Thursday evening.

Faculty stayed to supervise the students who remained. As the hours ticked by and snow continued to fall, the school district ultimately decided to follow a "shelter in place protocol" for the students still in their care.

"Elementary, middle and high school students who remain in the schools have eaten dinner and are safe with familiar teachers and staff," the West Orange public school district said in another update Thursday night.

The dozens of students stranded at Liberty Middle School were treated to plenty of snacks, activities and entertainment throughout the night. The school principal provided updates via Twitter, posting photographs of the kids eating ice cream, watching the movie Frozen in the auditorium, playing basketball in the gymnasium, falling asleep on gym mats and faculty serving French toast for breakfast in the cafeteria.

Meanwhile, the pre-winter storm raging outside had dumped several inches of snow.

On Friday morning, the kids at Liberty Middle School were returned home safely while buses were en route to pick up students who had stayed overnight at a few other schools.

All West Orange public schools will be closed Friday.

"Thank you to our AMAZING faculty and staff for going above and beyond, staying overnight, caring, cooking, reading, singing and making sure our students were safe during this crazy snowstorm," the school district wrote in a statement on Facebook.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA ROSA, Calif.) -- One year after the Tubbs Fire burned through the town of Santa Rosa, California, claiming 22 lives, residents are still grappling with what they lost and looking at what went wrong, as they rebuild from the ground up.

The Tubbs Fire burned 36,000 acres last fall and was the most destructive wildfire in state history until last week’s Camp Fire set ablaze over three times as much land in a neighboring county.

"A lot of that night seems like a complete blur," said Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal about the fateful night of October 8, 2017, when the Tubbs Fire overtook the quiet suburb of Santa Rosa. "I just remember hearing sirens... it seemed like for days."

For some, the fire came without warning and dealt a vicious hand. In its wake, it left utter devastation with whole neighborhoods reduced to ash.

Earlier that night, around 11 p.m., Lowenthal, who lives in Santa Rosa, got a call from work -- there was a fire over in neighboring Napa County, and he needed to respond to it. On his way there, his car became surrounded by flames. He quickly found himself in the midst of a raging wildfire.

Lowenthal realized that the fire was too massive and intense to try and fight, so instead he turned his attention to saving lives; but it was the middle of the night, and most of the city was asleep -- so Lowenthal called the Santa Rosa Police Department for help.

"It seemed like in a matter of moments, you just heard sirens coming from all directions," he said. "Those police officers just dove in without asking questions and immediately started going door to door and getting people out of harm's way."

With body cameras rolling, the police officers were deployed to areas where they thought they fire was going, but the winds that night had a mind of their own.

"We were seeing embers the size of quarters to the size of footballs flying through the sky," Lowenthal remembered.

The wind pushed the fire farther than first responders had anticipated -- leaving some residents in the Santa Rosa neighborhood of Coffey Park unaware of what was headed their way.

"It was the loudest wind I’ve ever heard in my life. It was like, just a barreling sound of nonstop wind," Kate Higgins remembered.

"I went out to the front yard and seeing it was really windy and smoky and ash was flying," her husband Charlie Higgins said. "Then within that, like less than five seconds, I looked back and there was a wall of red. I figured by the way the wind was blowing, that house was gonna be burned down within 15 minutes."

Jeff Okrepkie said he and his wife had no time to even process what was happening. "It was like, 'Grab the dogs. Grab some clothes.' I mean we literally pulled a duffel bag out. We grabbed some of our son's stuff, put it all in a duffel bag. It was one duffel bag for the three of us. I get in my car, I turn the corner. And right as I turn the corner, there’s somebody’s lawn on fire. I see flames coming up from over the rooftops. And that’s when it registered with me -- This is bad. This is real bad."

In another area of Coffey Park, Ken and Nancy Mazzoni were unaware of how dire the situation was. Nancy said she and her husband believed that the Santa Rosa Fire Department would be able to put the fire out. "The fire department had to be ... they had to be coming. They've got this... we’re gonna help."

Police officers approached their house, urging Ken to evacuate, but Ken, holding a hose, asserted that he was "going to fight it out."

At the time, Nancy and Ken didn’t realize that whole chunks of their neighborhood were already engulfed in flames. The fire just hadn’t reached their house yet.

"He couldn’t grasp it. We were in shock," Nancy said.

But terror soon set in when Nancy began to see her block on fire. "There were 30-foot flames in the house across the street from us. All you saw was fire."

With only seconds to spare, Nancy and Ken fled their home.

The fire spread throughout multiple neighborhoods in Santa Rosa. "It was literally structure after structure after structure burning. Thousands of structures all on fire within a matter of hours. ... It [was] completely wiping out, not only residential neighborhoods, but commercial areas," Lowenthal said. The Press Democrat's photographer, Kent Porter, captured much of the devastation that night.

But for all the chaos and fear, the strength of Santa Rosa’s citizens was undiminished. The best parts of humanity were on display that night -- from the city’s police officers to its bus drivers, who volunteered their time to drive their buses through the flames to help evacuate dozens of the elderly.

So much of that night was comprised of life changing, split-second decisions to choose courage over fear.

At the Kathleen Rose Gardens Assisted Living Facility, Mario Monte was the sole nurse on duty. When a police officer approached the building urging Mario to evacuate, Mario told him that he couldn’t leave -- he had five elderly ladies in the house with him that needed help.

While the police officer sought backup, Mario began waking the residents up and wheeling them out the front door.

87-year-old Irene Lopez was one of the facility’s residents. When Officer Adams arrived on scene, Mario directed him to Irene. Officer Adams wheeled her out of the house and loaded her into the back of his car while embers rained down upon them.

Adams safely drove Irene to an evacuation shelter where she was welcomed by first responders, volunteers and a mass of evacuees -- so many afraid of what the morning held.

When a new day dawned, Santa Rosa’s residents slowly returned to find the community they once knew, now unfamiliar.

Jeff Okrepkie came home to a pile of ruins where his house once stood.

"We're driving to our house, and we actually passed our street because everything was burnt," Okrepkie remembered. "It was hard to take in, and it was hard to really grasp for a while."

He said many referred to the destruction as a "war zone," a term he feels correctly depicts what he saw.

"My neighbors -- I had some that owned guns and were hunters, and they had gun safes, and all those rounds cooked off. So, the street was littered with shells and bullets."

"I wanted to be sick," Kate Higgins said of returning to the ruins of her home. "Everything we've worked for, all of the things that, you know, we treasured, the gifts from relatives, all of the photos. It's all gone.'"

"We had stone columns in front of our house. And those were the only things standing," her husband remembered. On those two stone columns, her husband hung an American flag. It would become a symbol of the community’s strength and perseverance.

Okrepkie said in the days and weeks after, he became frustrated when he heard people say, "'They’re just things. It’s just stuff.' In your mind, you... just wanna cuss 'em out. Because it’s … not 'just stuff.' It’s the memorial flag for my wife’s father. My wife lost her dad in Iraq in 2004, and that's all we had left of him. And... it's my son's favorite toy... It's the ornaments that I had from when I was four or five years old. Those aren't just things. Those are... remnants of our lives."

The fire laid waste to more than 3,000 residences in Santa Rosa. Some of these included the homes of first responders who worked tirelessly to evacuate others... like the house of firefighter Paul Lowenthal.

"I was one of seven other firefighters that lost their home that night, and all of us were 100% committed to our jobs... when it kinda finally hit me, it was day five," Lowenthal said. He says he worked for five days straight after his home was destroyed in the fire.

Lowenthal said that his fire chief Tony Gossner, and the battalion chief of Cal Fire, Jonathan Cox, finally both told him to take a break.

"I looked at him and said, 'I don't really -- where, what do you want me to do? I don't really have anything to go to,'" Lowenthal said.

He says the hardest part was having to break the news to his then 9-year-old daughter.

"Trying to explain to my daughter that our home... was destroyed in the fire… It was one of the most difficult conversations I have had," he said.

Lowenthal is now rebuilding his home. Of the 3,062 residences in Santa Rosa that were destroyed by the fire, 788 are currently under construction. 55 are completed.

Nancy and Ken are also rebuilding their home and hope to move back in by the end of this year, as do Kate and Charlie Higgins.

"Every time we come and there’s a little bit more done, it means we’re a little closer to being back home," Higgins said. "Feels like a little piece of me was being put back together."

Compounding Kate’s loss, her mother passed away last Christmas Eve. She says she wants nothing more than to be home in her new house when that difficult anniversary hits.

After living in homes in fire prone areas -- so many in Santa Rosa have a constant fear that disaster could strike again. Climate science has found that longer, dryer periods, have created tinderbox conditions, that when sparked, and mixed with coastal winds, are leading to high-speed infernos, like the one we saw earlier this week that destroyed the town of Paradise, California. "Northern California seems to be the spot where we're seeing the destructive wildfires," Paul Lowenthal said. "We're seein' 'em time and time again. So it's definitely becoming the new norm."

"The only good thing that’s come out of this disaster is the neighborhood coming together and being more of a family," Jeff Okrepkie’s wife, Stephanie, said. "We’re stronger together now than we were a year ago."

Beautiful bonds were forged in that fire – like the one between 87-year-old Irene Lopez and Santa Rosa police officer Andy Adams. One year after the night of the fire, she finally got to say thank you to Adams for selflessly rescuing her from her senior care home.

"I’m alive thanks to you," Lopez said. "I’m not gonna forget... I thank God every night and I pray for your family too."

Jeff Okrepkie now runs a neighborhood organization called "Coffey Strong." On the one year anniversary of the fire, the group organized a vigil, where more than a hundred people gathered together in Coffey Park to commemorate the lives of those lost and to honor the strength of their community.

Santa Rosa resident, Ronnie Duvall, hung lights from trees. This Christmas, he plans to have "Christmas in Coffey Park," complete with lights and Christmas trees. He even wants to bring in fake snow for the neighborhood kids. "You can burn a neighborhood to the ground but you can’t take our community spirit," he said. "So what you’re finding here is the strength, the hope, the love - the life - that’s back. And is stronger than it ever was."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- There are seven states in the Northeast still under winter storm warnings or winter weather advisories one day after a nor'easter snarled traffic, cancelled flights and even left kids stranded at school.

There were more than 377,000 customers without power across 14 states in the eastern U.S. -- and Washington, D.C. -- Friday morning.

New York City got a whopping 6 inches of snow, the biggest one-day snow total for the city in November since the late 1800s. Philadelphia saw 3.6 inches, its biggest storm since 1967 and Washington, D.C., had its biggest storm since 1989.

Other snow totals:

  • Mount Hope, New York: 18.3 inches
  • Newton, Pennsylvania: 12.3 inches
  • Montague, New Jersey: 10.2 inches
  • New Fairfield, Connecticut: 10 inches
  • Burrillville, Rhode Island: 9 inches


The nor’easter is moving through the Northeast on Friday morning and bringing more snow from New York to Maine.

The storm will exit the Northeast by Friday afternoon, but a new smaller clipper system is developing in the Northern Plains.

This new storm system will move through the Great Lakes overnight into Saturday morning and bring snow from Minneapolis to Green Bay and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and into Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Additional snowfall on Friday morning is expected from New York to Maine, with some areas in New England getting an additional 3 to 6 inches of fresh snow.

With the new storm system in the Midwest, a general area of about 2 to 4 inches is expected -- with half a foot possible locally in the Dakotas.

Behind the clipper system in the Midwest, another dose of arctic air will move into the Midwest this weekend and into the Northeast early next week.

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Marcus Yam /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(PARADISE, Calif.) -- Search crews found seven more bodies in the burned out rubble of Paradise, California, on Thursday, and officials fear more deaths in the destructive blazes at both ends of the state that have now claimed 66 lives.

The deadliest and most destructive of the two wildfires is the Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, which has killed at least 63 people. The seven bodies found Thursday were all as a result of the Camp Fire, officials said.

There were more than 631 people missing in the Butte County fire zones on Thursday night, though officials were working to track them down. Butte County officials asked residents to go to the sheriff's website to check the missing persons list to make sure they are not on it.

Thom Porter, chief of strategic planning for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, said the death toll from the Camp Fire is expected to go higher as search crews comb through at least 11,862 structures destroyed by the blaze.

"It is by far the most deadly single fire in California history and it's going to get worse, unfortunately," Porter said of the Camp Fire.

Gov. Jerry Brown toured the devastation caused by the Camp Fire on Wednesday with Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The government leaders visited firefighters still battling the blaze, which burned 138,000 acres and obliterated the town of Paradise, destroying nearly every home in the community of 30,000 people.

"This is one of the worst disasters I've ever seen in my career, hands down," Long said at a news conference Wednesday in Northern California.

Brown said the destruction "looks like a war zone." He said he spoke earlier Wednesday to President Donald Trump, "who pledged the full resources of the federal government" to help in the recovery effort.

Trump said he plans to visit the area on Saturday to meet with survivors and firefighters.

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iStock/Thinkstock(JEFFERSONTOWN, Ky.) -- The man who allegedly opened fire at a Kroger grocery store in October, killing two people, is now facing hate crime charges.

Investigators announced a grand jury returned hate crime charges against Gregory Bush, 51, who allegedly shot and killed a black man and woman at the Jeffersontown, Kentucky, store on Oct. 24.

A grand jury returned a six-count indictment against the accused shooter, including two counts of shooting and killing two victims based on their race, one count of attempting to shoot a victim based on race and three firearm counts based on its use in support of the previous charges.

Vickie Jones, 67, and Maurice Stallard, 69, were both killed when the suspect began shooting indiscriminately in the store and then outside. Stallard was shot inside the store, while Jones was gunned down just outside the entrance, police said.

Police said that just prior to the killings at the Kroger store, Bush was spotted on security footage outside the First Baptist Church, a historically black church in Jeffersontown. After he was unable to get inside, he allegedly went to the Kroger store and opened fire.

Federal authorities launched a probe into whether Bush should be charged with hate crimes on Nov. 1.

United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman, FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Robert Brown and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special-Agent-in-Charge Stuart Lowrey were present at the news conference on Thursday. They said at the news conference Bush has maintained his innocence.

"No Kentuckian should be frightened to go shopping, no Kentuckian should be frightened to worship, no Kentuckian should be frightened to go to school," Coleman said. "There is no place for hate-filled violence in this community."

Bush was arraigned on two counts of murder, one count of criminal attempted murder and three counts of wanton endangerment in October.

He pleaded not guilty to the original charges last month.

Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek the death penalty in the case, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he would support it if Bush is convicted, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Bush's next court date is set for Jan. 15.

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iStock/Thinkstock(HANOVER, N.H.) -- Details of alleged widespread sexual harassment conducted by tenured professors in Dartmouth College's psychology department are beginning to emerge as plaintiffs in a class action Title IX lawsuit against the Ivy League school publicly recount their experiences.

A complaint filed Thursday in federal court for the District of New Hampshire alleges that three professors for Dartmouth's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences "sexually assaulted, sexually harassed and raped female students," both undergraduate and graduate, within the department, according to a press release from the law firm that filed the lawsuit, Sanford Heisler Sharp.

Plaintiffs who spoke to ABC News described a climate in which they would not receive academic advising or resources to complete their research if they did not participate in an "unprofessional culture" of drinking and socializing outside of the office.

Each of the seven named plaintiffs are described in the release as "highly accomplished" female scientists who have all completed their doctorates in brain science and are now at Yale, Stanford and Dartmouth.

The department was referred to in the lawsuit as a "predators club" and a "21st Century Animal House." The class represented in the lawsuit is being defined as "the undergraduate and graduate women who were students in the PBS departments," Deborah Marcuse, managing partner of the Sanford Heisler Sharp Baltimore office, told ABC News.

The lawsuit is seeking $70 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Dartmouth College did not immediately reply to ABC News' request for comment.

Marcuse described the culture at Dartmouth's psychology department as including "flagrant harassment and gender discrimination."

The plaintiffs and other women in the department experienced "groping, leering, cat calling, all manner of inappropriate communications, and in some cases, sexual assault and rape" by the three professors, Marcuse said.

The professors also allegedly hired female lab assistants based on their physical attractiveness to compete for who had the "hottest lab," according to the complaint.

Professors would conduct professional lab meetings at bars and invite students to late-night "hot tub parties" in their homes as well as invite undergraduate students to use cocaine during classes related to addiction as part of a "demonstration," the complaint states.

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Alabama District Attorneys Association(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- A district attorney in a rural Alabama county was shot after he was ambushed Thursday, police said.

Greg Griggers, the district attorney for the 17th judicial circuit, suffered non-life threatening injuries, a spokesperson for the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation told reporters Thursday.

Griggers had just had lunch with a law enforcement officer when he was shot, the spokesperson said. That officer, who was in another car, exited the vehicle to fire at the suspect, who has been identified as former Alabama State Trooper Stephen Smith Jr.

Smith died at the scene a result of his injuries, according to the State Bureau of Investigation. No other suspects are being considered at this time.

Griggers was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released, according to the State Bureau of Investigation. He was the only person injured in the incident.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall posted on Twitter that he was "praying for the recovery" of Griggers.

"Greg is both a friend and a tremendous public servant. Keeping him and his family in our thoughts," Marshall posted.

Smith worked as a law enforcement officer from 1982 until he was fired in 1996, according to the State Bureau of Investigation.

Authorities say there is no further threat at this time.

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ABC News(BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J.) -- The "heartwarming tale" of a New Jersey couple helping drug-addicted homeless veteran Johnny Bobbitt was "predicated on a lie," designed to dupe thousands of people into contributing to a GoFundMe campaign, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Bobbitt, and the couple, Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico, allegedly conspired to concoct a story to tug at the hearts and wallets of kindhearted individuals, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said at a news conference Thursday. They initially sought to raise $10,000. But the wildly successful GoFundMe campaign brought in over $400,000.

But every shred of the trio's story, including the part that Bobbitt used his last $20 to help McClure out of a roadside jam when she ran out of gas, was all bogus, Coffina said.

"The entire campaign was predicated on a lie," Coffina said. "Less than an hour after the GoFundMe campaign went live McClure, in a text exchange with a friend, stated that the story about Bobbitt assisting her was fake."

In one of the texts read by Coffina, McClure allegedly wrote to a friend, "Ok, so wait, the gas part is completely made up but the guy isn't. I had to make something up to make people feel bad. So, shush about the made up stuff."

GoFundMe, which has cooperated in the investigation, has agreed to refund money to the 14,000 people who donated to Bobbitt.

"While this type of behavior by an individual is extremely rare, it's unacceptable and clearly it has consequences. Committing fraud, whether it takes place on or offline is against the law. We are fully cooperating and assisting law enforcement officials to recover every dollar withdrawn by Ms. McClure and Mr. D'Amico," GoFundMe said in a statement.

Coffina said the suspected fraudsters might have gotten away with the scam had Bobbitt not filed a lawsuit against McClure and D'Amico in August, accusing them of withholding the funds from him.

He said the money is all gone, most of it squandered by McClure and D'Amico on gambling, numerous luxury handbags, a New Year's trip to Las Vegas and a BMW. The couple also used the donated funds to pay back $9,000 they owed to relatives.

McClure, 28, D'Amico, 39, and Bobbitt, 34, were all charged with second-degree theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft by deception. They voluntarily surrendered to authorities on Wednesday, and have since been released, Coffina said.

Bobbitt was arrested Wednesday night by the Philadelphia Police Department on charges of being a fugitive from justice, according to Philadelphia police. He is expected to be extradited to Burlington County to face charges related to the GoFundMe case.

Reached Thursday morning, an attorney for McClure and D'Amico told ABC News, "We have no comment. Have a nice day."

In numerous media appearances, McClure claimed she was driving to meet a friend in September 2017 when she ran out of gas around midnight on the I-95 exit ramp near Philadelphia and Bobbitt, who was sleeping under a nearby overpass, came to her rescue. She claimed Bobbitt spent his last $20 to buy her gas.

"I pulled over to the side of the road as far as I could and I was going to get out and walk to the nearest gas station because it was not that far away, and that's when I met Johnny," McClure said last November in a "Good Morning America" interview. "He walked up and he said, 'Get back in the car. Lock the doors. I'll be back.' I was just like, 'OK.'"

She said Bobbitt used his panhandling money to get her out of the jam.

"I almost couldn't believe it," McClure added. "I said, 'Thank you...I swear, I'll be back. I promise I'll be back to give you [the] money back.'"

Hoping to repay Bobbitt for the apparent generous act, McClure and D'Amico set up a GoFundMe online account that tugged at people's hearts and wallets.

"I just got her gas to help her get back on her way. I didn't think anything about it. I wasn't expecting anything in return," Bobbitt told "Good Morning America." "That's how I got the money to start with -- from other people. [I had to] return the favor. I can't constantly take and not give back."

Now it's unclear if the entire story was false.

Burlington County prosecutors said they would not discuss the case until Thursday afternoon.

In August, Bobbitt filed a lawsuit accusing McClure and D'Amico of committing fraud by taking more than half of the money they raised for themselves. His attorney alleged in court papers that the couple treated the donations like their "personal piggy bank to fund a lifestyle that they could not otherwise afford."

D'Amico and McClure denied the allegations.

In September, the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office launched a criminal investigation into the missing GoFundMe donations and raided the couple's home, seizing a BMW and other belongings.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A Nor'easter is churning through the East Coast Thursday, bringing many Northeast cities their first snowfall of the season.

The snow and ice have caused over 1,000 flights to be canceled.

The winter weather will stay put through the evening, causing a treacherous rush hour commute home.

Washington, D.C.

The snow, ice and sleet have already coated the Washington, D.C., roadways.

Reagan National Airport saw 1.4 inches of snow -- the heaviest snow in November in D.C. since 1989.

Parts of Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland saw up to six inches of snow.

Rain is expected to continue overnight.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia has seen over two inches of snow, while central Pennsylvania has over six inches.

The heaviest snow will likely be across central Pennsylvania and New York where up to 10 inches of snow is possible.

New York City

Fast-falling snow is also blowing through New York.

Northern New Jersey, New York City and the Hudson Valley region could get one to two inches of snow per hour.

The last time New York City saw more than one inch of snow in November was in 2012.

Boston

Boston is likely to see two to five inches of snow between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. Thursday.

By Friday morning, the snow will change to rain from New York to Connecticut to Boston.

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U.S. Department of State(WASHINGTON) -- Two SEALs from the Navy's elite Seal Team Six and two Marines have been charged with murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in Mali in June 2017. If the case moves to a court-martial, the four members of some of the U.S. military's most elite units face the possibility of life in prison without parole.

"Charges were preferred yesterday against two Sailors and two Marines in the death of Army Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar, who died June 4, 2017, while serving in Bamako, Mali," said a Navy statement.

"The four personnel face charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice including Felony Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter, Conspiracy, Obstruction of Justice, Hazing and Burglary," the statement said.

Charge sheets identify the two SEALs as serving with Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the official name for SEAL Team Six, the elite unit most famous for carrying out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The two Marines belong to the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

The charge sheets allege that on the night of June 10, 2018, the four special operations service members obtained duct tape, broke down the door into Melgar’s sleeping quarters, bound him up with duct tape and then strangled him to death while in a chokehold. The charge sheets do not provide a motive for Melgar's death but under the burglary charge alleges that the four broke into Melgar's bedroom "with the intent to assault."

Another charge of hazing alleges that they had allegedly committed "hazing" by breaking into his bedroom "while he was sleeping and participating in an assault."

The four service members also face charges of obstruction of justice for denying their use of duct tape, lying that they had drunk alcohol and providing false timelines about what happened that night.

One of the SEALS is alleged to have gruesomely tried to cover up the damage to Melgar's trachea by carrying out a cricothyrotomy, normally a life-saving procedure where an incision is made in the trachea to help with breathing.

The circumstances of Melgar's death had initially triggered an Army investigation that was referred to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) last September. Last week, NCIS referred its completed investigation to Admiral Charles Rock the Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, to decide how the case should proceed.

Melgar was part of a small group of U.S. military personnel working in Bamako, Mali in support of the U.S. Embassy. The Lubbock, Texas, native enlisted in the Army in January 2012 as an 18X. In 2013, he started his Special Forces training and was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) in 2016, after he'd completed the Special Forces Qualification and Special Forces Engineer courses.

Melgar conducted two deployments to Afghanistan as an engineer sergeant.

"We honor the memory of Staff Sgt. Melgar, our thoughts remain with his family and teammates," said Captain Jason Salata, a spokesman for U.S. Special Operations Command.

"If these allegations of misconduct are substantiated, they represent a violation of the trust and standards required of all service members. We trust our service members to safeguard our nation's most sensitive interests and to do so with honor."

"We will not allow allegations or substantiated incidents of misconduct erode decades of honorable accomplishments by the members of US Special Operations Command," he added. "Ours is a culture of professionalism and accountability, which prides itself in being a learning organization that uses critical self-examination in a relentless dedication to improvement."

The four will face a preliminary Article 32 court hearing on Dec. 10 that will determine if they will face a general court-martial. A Navy spokesperson says the maximum penalty they currently face is life without parole, but that could change if the Article 32 hearing determines the case merits a capital court-martial which carries the death penalty.

The four service members are currently not being held in pre-trial confinement.

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Ventura County Sheriff(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.) -- Family and friends will gather Thursday to mourn the sergeant killed in the line of duty in the Thousand Oaks, California, mass shooting.

Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, was among the 12 people shot dead on Nov. 7 at the Borderline Bar & Grill, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.

Helus was one of the first responders on the scene and was shot multiple times when he arrived the bar, authorities said.

Helus, 54, who is survived by his wife and son, was looking to retire soon, the sheriff's office said.

Instead, he made "the ultimate sacrifice," Dean said.

When the report of the shooting came in, the sheriff said Helus was checking in with his wife on the phone, as he often did during his shift.

"Hey, I got to go handle a call, I love you," Helus told his wife, according to Dean.

"He was a great man," Capt. Garo Kuredjian, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, told ABC's Good Morning America last week. "He was a cop's cop, and we miss him."

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ABCNews.com(LOS ANGELES) -- Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, has been arrested for domestic violence, police said.

The incident took place Tuesday and Avenatti was arrested Wednesday, police said.

Avenatti was booked at 3:44 p.m. local time Wednesday on a charge of domestic violence with injuries, according to booking records obtained by ABC Station KABC-TV. His bail was set at $50,000, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

The case will be "presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney for prosecution," the LAPD said in a press release.

Avenatti is due in court on the charge Dec. 5.

After being released on bail, Avenatti said he is "confident that I will be fully exonerated."

"First of all, I want to thank the hardworking men and women of the LAPD for their professionalism and their work today. They had no option in light of the allegations. Secondly, I have never struck a woman. I never will strike a woman. I have been an advocate for women's rights my entire career and I'm going to continue to be an advocate," Avenatti said. "I am not going to be intimidated from stopping what I am doing. I am a father to two beautiful, smart, daughters. I would never disrespect them by touching a woman inappropriately or striking a woman. I am looking forward to a full investigation at which point I am confident that I will be fully exonerated. I also want to thank everyone for their support that has reached out. You know my character. You know me as a man and I appreciate it. Thank you."

Avenatti also issued a statement through his law firm denying the allegation:

"I wish to thank the hard working men and woman of the LAPD for their professionalism they were only doing their jobs in light of the completely bogus allegations against me. I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night. Any accusations to the contrary are fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation. I look forward to being fully exonerated."

Both Avenatti's estranged wife, who he is in the process of divorcing, and ex-wife issued statements saying he was never violent with them -- the former through her lawyer.

"My client states that there has never been domestic violence in her relationship with Michael and that she has never known Michael to be physically violent toward anyone," Valerie Prescott, Lisa Storie-Avenatti's lawyer, said. "My client requests that the media respect her privacy and that of the parties' young son."

Christine Avenatti-Carlin, Avenatti's first wife and mother of his two daughters, defended her ex-husband, too.

"I've known Michael for the last 26 years. We met when he was 21 years old and we were married for 13 years," she said. "Michael has always been a loving, kind father to our two daughters and husband.

"He has never been abusive to me or anyone else," Avenatti-Carlin added. "He is a very good man."

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Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, has been arrested for domestic violence, police told ABC News.

The incident took place Tuesday and Avenatti was arrested today, police said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Authorities are investigating the death of an American woman on board a Princess Cruises ship on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old woman, described only as a "female guest" on the Royal Princess from the U.S., died under unclear circumstances. The ship was on a seven-day cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Aruba.

No cause of death has been reported.

"The incident was reported to the FBI and local authorities and the local authorities met and boarded the ship upon arrival in Aruba," Princess Cruises said in a statement Wednesday. "We are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities, including the FBI."

The ship, which can carry up to 3,560 passengers, was expected to return to South Florida on Saturday. The Royal Princess is set to undergo a $15.9 million makeover in just a matter of weeks.

"We are deeply saddened by this incident and offer our sincere condolences to the family and those affected," the cruise line said.

The woman's name and hometown have not been released.

The death was the second announcement of a person being killed on a cruise ship on Wednesday. Holland America announced a 70-year-old woman was killed when she fell into the water in the South Pacific while trying to move between the deck and a smaller boat.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) -- Education officials in Texas launched an investigation into the possible discrimination of an African-American student after a white lecturer was recorded on a cellphone video having police remove her from a classroom -- allegedly, according to witnesses, for having her feet on the seat in front of her days earlier.

Many are saying this is the latest in a string of incidents in the United States of white people calling the police on black people who are seemingly going about their normal lives. Many of the incidents have been recorded on cellphone videos -- and have exploded on social media.

The new incident occurred on Monday in a biology class at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Taylor Eighmy, the school's president said in a statement.

"While the facts aren't fully known regarding [the] incident, our Office of Equal Opportunity Services is already conducting an investigation into possible discrimination," Eighmy said.

Eighmy said a second "inquiry regarding the academic management of the classroom" is being conducted by the university's interim dean of the College of Sciences.

"Beyond this particular incident, I am very much aware that the circumstance represents another example of the work we need to do as an institution around issues of inclusivity and supporting our students of color," Eighmy said in his statement. "This concerns me greatly, and it's incumbent upon us as an institution to face this head-on. It's something that we need to address immediately as a university community."

The lecturer was identified by students to ABC News, but attempts to reach her for comment Wednesday were not successful.

After a classmate's video of her went viral on social media, the student who was removed from the class addressed the controversy on Twitter.

"Upon entering class I was told I needed to leave or would be escorted out by officers, I never disobeyed the student code of conduct. Not once," wrote the student, tweeting under the handle @FavoritePaigeee. "A police report is being filed atm [at this moment], this is just the beginning. Thanks for your support!"

Apurva Rawal recorded video of the incident with his cellphone and posted it on Twitter, writing, "So this happened today in class, a girl had her feet up and the professor called the police after calling our class uncivil."

The video showed the lecturer at the back of the class talking to three police officers, who then walked to where the student was seated and asked her to leave. Without objecting, the student gathered her belongings and walked out of the classroom.

Another student from the biology class told ABC News the incident apparently stemmed from a run-in the classmate had with the lecturer on Friday.

"The girl who was escorted out had her feet up on a chair in front of her, there was no one around her and she wasn't disturbing anyone," the student, who asked not to be identified, told ABC News.

"However, the professor went up to her and told her to please place her feet down and she did. A few minutes later [the student] had her feet in her own chair now, so the professor once again went up to her and told her to stop and she did. A few minutes before class ended [the] professor gave a speech about civility and told us that we were the most disruptive class and we never paid attention," the student said.

On Monday, the lecturer began the class by handing out a paper on civility and walked up to the African-American student she had scolded before about having her feet on a seat and spoke to her prior to calling the university police, the student told ABC News. She said her African-American classmate didn't have her feet on the seat Monday before police were summoned, but had just walked in and sat down.

"I did not believe she was calling them [police] but, sure enough, they came a few minutes after she had stopped talking on the phone," the student said. "They escorted [her] out and once the police had left out of the classroom, a lot of students started telling [the lecturer] she had done wrong, she was being disruptive of class time and she had taken matters out of control."

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Washington County Sheriffs Office(TONTITOWN, Ark.) -- An intense shootout between a sheriff’s deputy and a suspect in Arkansas was caught on video.

Corporal Brett Thompson attempted to stop the driver of a green Saturn for a traffic violation on Nov. 11 near Tontitown, Arkansas, but the driver refused to pull over, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

In dashcam footage released by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Luis Cobos-Cenobio, is seen eventually pulling over, leaning out of his car and firing his gun directly at the officer’s vehicle parked behind him. The video then shows Cobos-Cenobio leaving his car and continuing to shoot while approaching the deputy’s vehicle.

The sheriff's office said Cobos-Cenobio and Thompson exchanged gunfire for 53 seconds before Cobos-Cenobio drove away, dropping off a female passenger a short distance away who was also in the vehicle. The sheriff’s office said the woman had wanted to leave the vehicle during the incident, and was not charged with any crimes.

An alert was issued for Cobos-Cenobio and his vehicle. He was spotted by officers with the Springdale Police Department, after which Cobos-Cenobio exchanged gunfire with them while officers tried to stop the vehicle, according to authorities.

The chase continued into Fayetteville, Arkansas, with officers from the Fayetteville Police Department and Arkansas State Police assisting. The suspect eventually returned to Springdale, where he stopped and surrendered, according to Springdale Police.

Cobos-Cenobio suffered a “wound to the left arm/shoulder,” according to the sheriff’s office. He was treated at Northwest Medical Center and released into police custody.

The sheriff's office also released video of Thompson’s vehicle following the incident showing numerous bullet holes in the vehicle and the windshield as well as shattered windows.

Cobos-Cenobio was charged with four counts of attempted capital murder, committing a terroristic act, fleeing, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, and was being held on $500,000 bond, Kelly Cantrell, a spokesperson for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC News.

He is scheduled to be arraigned at the Washington County Detention Center on Dec. 10, according to the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

The sheriff's office said no officers or deputies were injured, and that state police were investigating.

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