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Three children, mother pulled from lake in apparent triple murder-suicide

Catherine McQueen/Getty Images/Stock

(VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn.) -- The bodies of three young children and their mother were pulled from a Minnesota lake during a two-day search in what is being investigated as a possible triple murder-suicide, authorities said.

Law enforcement responded to Vadnais-Sucker Lake Regional Park in Vadnais Heights Friday afternoon in response to a welfare check requested on the woman and children, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The woman's car and items including the children's shoes were found at the scene, prompting responding deputies and officers to close the park and begin searching the area and water, the sheriff's office said.

The first child was pulled out of the lake around 7:30 p.m. Friday and declared dead following life-saving measures, authorities said. The second child was located around midnight and declared dead. Responders continued to look for the remaining child and woman until 3 a.m.

The search resumed at 6 a.m. Saturday. The woman was located around 10:40 a.m., and the third child about 20 minutes later, the sheriff's office said. Both were declared dead.

All three children -- two boys and a girl -- are believed to be under the age of 6. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner will release the names of the four found and their manner and cause of death at a later date.

"There is nothing more tragic than the loss of children," Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told reporters Friday, saying that the responders would be searching "long into the night."

Distraught family and friends had gathered outside the police perimeter while the search was underway Friday, ABC affiliate KSTP in Saint Paul, Minnesota, reported.

The welfare check at the lake is believed to be connected to another death investigation in a nearby city in Ramsey County, the sheriff's office said. On Friday morning, Maplewood police officers and firefighters responding to the report of a possible suicide in a residential area found a man dead at the scene.

After responding to that report, authorities then began searching for the mother and three children, ultimately tracking the mother's cellphone to the lake, Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin told reporters during a briefing Saturday.

"Our hearts go out to the families involved here and their friends," Martin said. "Our goal was to find the children and the mother and to return them to their families, and we're glad that we were able to do that."

No further information was released on the connection between the two death investigations.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Uvalde school district police chief plans to resign from city council post, officials say

Brandon Bell/Getty Images

(UVALDE, Texas) -- Pete Arredondo, the embattled police chief of the school district where 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting, is resigning from his city council post, city officials said.

A local newspaper in Uvalde, Texas, first reported Arredondo's decision to resign, which city officials later confirmed.

Arredondo, the police chief for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, served as incident commander during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24. He has faced criticism and calls for his resignation as chief from parents and the Uvalde community over the police response and delay in breaching the classrooms where the gunman carried out the attack.

Arredondo was elected to the Uvalde City Council in early May and sworn in days after the school shooting. He told the Uvalde Leader-News on Friday he plans to resign from his city council post, according to the local newspaper.

Following the report's publication, the city of Uvalde said it had not seen a letter of resignation or spoken to Arredondo. The Uvalde city manager’s office told ABC News Saturday afternoon that the city council had just received his written resignation. The city called his resignation "the right thing to do."

In his resignation letter obtained by ABC News, Arredondo said that "it is in the best interest of the community to step down as a member of the City Council for District 3 to minimize further distractions."

"The Mayor, the City Council, and the City Staff must continue to move forward to unite our community, once again," he continued.

Arredondo and his representatives have not responded to ABC News' requests for comment.

The news comes after the Uvalde City Council last week denied Arredondo's request for a leave of absence from future meetings, in an effort to be more transparent following criticisms of law enforcement's handling of the shooting.

Arredondo has not been present at three meetings since he was sworn in, including a heated hearing on Thursday during which families of victims demanded more information on what happened that tragic day.

The school district placed Arredondo on administrative leave last week, effective immediately, amid multiple ongoing investigations into the shooting.

Arredondo defended the police response in a rare interview with The Texas Tribune last month.

"Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children," Arredondo told the paper. "We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced."

He added, "Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat."

He also told the paper he did not consider himself the commanding officer on the scene that day.

During an emotional school board meeting last week, parents and community members called for Arredondo's resignation. Several argued that law enforcement should be held partly accountable for the tragedy due to what was described as inadequate decision-making.

Nineteen law enforcement officers waited 77 minutes in the hallway outside the classroom containing the gunman, after Arredondo wrongly believed that the situation had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject, law enforcement has said.

Arredondo testified last week for almost five hours during a hearing on the shooting held during an executive session by the Texas state House of Representatives. A special Texas state Senate panel is also currently conducting a probe into the shooting.

The Uvalde district attorney is also investigating the shooting, and the U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the law enforcement response.

ABC News' Julia Jacobo, Teddy Grant, Samira Said and Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Immigrants find safe havens in shelters amid border chaos

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As the largest migrant caravan this year makes its way through Mexico toward the United States, numerous organizations on both sides of the border are trying to support the several thousand immigrants seeking asylum.

For people like Estefanía Rebellón, who runs a school within a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, the work is personal.

“When I was 10 years old, my parents had to travel to the United States from Colombia to seek asylum,” Rebellón told ABC News. “I know what it's like to be transported from your home to a completely unknown place.”

Rebellón runs a school called Yes We Can, which provides free education to children five days a week while their families are preparing to cross the border into the United States.

This week, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" policy, known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP, which required migrants seeking asylum and traveling through Mexico from a third country to return to Mexico while awaiting their court dates. The Biden administration has rarely enforced the policy and has said it seeks to end it.

Far more consequential has been former President Donald Trump’s policy called Title 42, which allows border officials to turn migrants seeking asylum away due to the health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the American Immigration Council, over 1.8 million people have been expelled as a result.

Recently more than 50 people died in an alleged migrant smuggling operation in San Antonio, Texas, in what Homeland Security Investigations has called the deadliest incident of human smuggling in U.S. history.

Willie, a third-generation coyote, the colloquial term for a person who smuggles migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, says that he has no qualms about his profession.

“Nothing in this life is safe," Willie, who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym, told ABC News' Maria Elena Salinas. "Right now, [there are] people who are helping their families and have thanked me for it.”

“For some it’s illegal. For us it’s legal,” he added of his illegal activities.

In Deming, New Mexico, 35 miles from the U.S. Mexico border, Ariana Saludares runs a pop-up shelter for migrants called Colores United.

Some who are dropped at her shelter have applied for asylum and are legally awaiting their claims; others have requested humanitarian parole. The shelter, which receives around 50 migrants twice a week, runs out of a number of local hotels.

Saludares says that, while she would love to have a permanent space for a shelter, the local hotels she operates out of are her only option.

“There's no other space that’s available to us,” said Saludares. “We hope that will change one day, but we can't wait. We need a shelter. And we need it now.”

Benny Jasso, the mayor of Deming is specifically concerned that removing Title 42 would mean an influx of migrants that he says the city cannot handle.

“What I'm concerned with is, are we going to be able to process them?” he told Salinas.

“We do not have the volunteer base right now to establish a shelter.”

He says that Deming currently receives no federal resources to help house the asylum seekers they receive.

What might be a concern to some, like added safety risks, are not a concern for Deming’s police chief Clint Hogan.

“We don't have any issues… at all,” he told Salinas during an interview.

Marisa Ugarte is the founder and executive director of the human rights non-profit Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, based in California.

Ugarte has helped people such as "Maria," who is a survivor of abuse at the hands of people who promised to smuggle her safely across the border.

"Maria," who is using a pseudonym due to safety concerns, was brought from El Salvador to Sonora, Mexico, where instead of finding safety she says she was repeatedly drugged and raped.

She finally managed to escape and fled to a shelter where she was helped by the workers, who encouraged her to make the trip to the U.S.

“Thank God I’m okay, even though I almost died,” "Maria" told Salinas. “But God never abandoned me.”

Maria was taken to meet Ugarte, who helped her obtain asylum in the U.S. For Ugarte, who has supported countless women in similar situations, the notion that people immigrating to the U.S. should do so the proverbial “right way,” waiting for whatever legal means are available at the time, is flawed.

“What is the right way?” she said. “If you're running from violence and from dying, what is the right way?”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


World UFO Day observed by believers seeking the truth

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- World UFO Day is an annual affair that has captured the interest of many enthusiastic alien believers and recognized globally with parades, scientific discussion, and occasionally pointy tinfoil hats.

It takes place every July 2 to commemorate the anniversary of the alleged 1947 Unidentified Flying Object crash in Roswell, New Mexico. The original report hailed the crashed object as a “flying disk.” Later, the U.S. Army called it a UFO accident, but ultimately, the Pentagon claimed it was a balloon wreck. To this day, many don’t accept that account and have urged the government to declassify information.

Since 2001, people worldwide have celebrated the day, but it takes various forms. Science museums, restaurants, and entire towns hold their own events to commemorate the day.

Some Ufologists, or UFO researchers, voice concern with how the day is observed. Instead of the tinfoil hat-wearing that has been documented at past parades, those such as Ronald James hope for “meaningful discussions and awareness,” to come out of the day. James is the media relations director of Mutual UFO Network, a nonprofit which investigates reported UFO sightings around the world.

“We think anything that brings awareness to the topic is good, but we also again are dedicated to the scientific understanding of the subject,” James told ABC Audio. “World UFO Day is absolutely awesome, just because it’s bringing attention to the whole topic.”

The official World UFO Day goal is “to celebrate the existence of UFOs and extraterrestrial life”, according to the event’s website. One of the proposed actions to celebrate is to “watch the sky together and spot strange objects flying around,” which is exactly what one branch of MUFON plans to do. The Missouri MUFON Chapter is holding a “sky watch” Saturday at 7 p.m. in Kansas City, to locate potential UFOs.

According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans believe that aliens exist. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives held a hearing on UFOs and the possible vulnerabilities they generate. This was something that MUFON’s 4000-plus members advocated for since its founding in 1969 and was the first time the House had done so in 50 years.

“We were happy that the hearings happened. MUFON was in Washington,” James said. “We were involved in helping to push this forward and we’re actually in Washington a lot right now dealing with politicians.”

For those living in Roswell, New Mexico, the site of the alleged crash that sparked this all, awareness is just a slight part of the celebration. Ufologists will speak about their take on the government’s role in investigating alleged UFO sightings, but more so, the day is an economic opportunity presented by their annual UFO Festival, which now marks 75 years since the Roswell incident.

This year, its festival will take place Friday through Sunday and will feature a parade, concert, speakers, food, tours, and more, making it the biggest celebration of World UFO Day anywhere, with a history that spans long before World UFO Day became a global phenomenon.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Officials identify 19 of 53 killed in migrant smuggling case, victim released from hospital

National Institute Of Migration

(NEW YORK) -- A 23-year-old victim onboard a tractor-trailer involved in an alleged smuggling incident in San Antonio was released from the hospital, according to University Health Hospital. Another adolescent male remains in critical condition, according to the hospital. The smuggling incident left 53 people dead after they were trapped in a tractor-trailer.

The Bexar County medical examiner's office has conclusively identified 19 of the victims killed, the office said Saturday. The victims' ages range between 13 and 38. Of these 19 victims, eight were citizens of Mexico, six were citizens of Guatemala and five were citizens of Honduras.

The office is unsure of whether the victims' next of kin have not been informed yet, so their names have not yet been released.

The office has also made 30 potential identifications, but is awaiting confirmation of these cases from the victims' respective consulates. Four of the victims remain unidentified, according to the medical examiner's office.

One of four men facing federal charges in connection with the alleged smuggling incident appeared in court Thursday. Homero Zamorano Jr., 45, of Pasadena, Texas, is charged with one count of alien smuggling resulting in death. He is suspected of being the driver of the truck that was found in San Antonio on Monday.

Zamorano could face up to life in prison or the death penalty.

Court documents show Zamorano will be held in the custody of the United States Marshal without bond until he appears again in court on July 6. Zamorano was appointed a public defender.

Investigators say Zamorano was apprehended at the scene after trying to pass himself off as one of the migrants. Police were able to recover a phone, a hat and a wallet that contained an ID belonging to Zamorano, court documents show.

Using surveillance footage from the truck's immigration checkpoint border crossing, officials from Homeland Security Investigations say they were able to determine that Zamorano was the driver. The driver was seen in surveillance footage wearing a black shirt with white or grey stripes and a hat. HSI officials say they verified Zamorano was wearing the same clothing.

Zamorano was taken to a local hospital for a medical evaluation after he was apprehended.

According to court documents, responding HSI agents initially found 48 people dead inside and around the tractor-trailer. Of those found dead, authorities say 22 were from Mexico, seven from Guatemala, two from Honduras and 17 of unknown origins, who officials suspect are undocumented.

Officials said 16 people were hospitalized.

According to court documents, there were 64 individuals suspected of being in the country illegally in connection to this alleged smuggling incident.

Of the 53 bodies in the custody of the medical examiner's office, 40 are male and 13 are female, the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office said Wednesday.

Rebeca Clay-Flores, the Bexar County Precinct 1 commissioner, said at a press conference Tuesday that some of those found are under the age of 18, likely teenagers.

Clay-Flores, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and representatives from the county medical examiner's office met with Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Búcaro, three Guatemalan consuls, representatives from the Embassy of Mexico and Consul General of El Salvador Fátima Margarita Flores on Wednesday, the medical examiner's office said Thursday.

The medical examiner's office said they would release information on the number and nationality of confirmed identities as they become available. Names and identifying information will not be released until their foreign country's consulate or embassy confirms their next of kin has been notified.

On Tuesday, police arrested Christian Martinez, 28, in Palestine, Texas, alleging he was in contact with Zamorano about the alleged smuggling operation.

Two other men, Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mendez and Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao, were arrested in connection with the truck deaths on gun charges. They were identified as unauthorized migrants in possession of multiple weapons, according to federal authorities.

The incident unfolded in the southern Texas city on Monday evening at around 5:50 p.m. local time, when a nearby worker heard a cry for help and found the tractor-trailer with the doors partially opened and the bodies of 46 people inside, according to San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus and San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood.

"They suffered, horrendously, could have been for hours," Hood said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Severe weather hits East Coast this holiday weekend

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The East Coast is getting hit with severe weather this holiday weekend.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the Carolinas as a storm moves through the region, while millions of people are bracing for severe storms in the Northeast.

The National Hurricane Center named its third storm of the 2022 season earlier Saturday. Tropical Storm Colin formed "rather unexpectedly," according to the center, and while not strong it could create holiday weekend disruptions in the Carolinas.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect from just south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, through Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks. There is a flash flooding risk, with around 2 inches to as much as 6 inches of rain possible in some of the downpours across the eastern Carolinas.

The storm has already brought wind gusts exceeding 40 mph along the South Carolina coast as it moved through, with gusty winds and rain expected across southeastern North Carolina throughout the afternoon.

"The most significant storm impacts (rain & wind) will remain at the beaches and offshore today," the National Weather Service said.

The storm is expected to slowly progress northeastward Saturday into Sunday and eventually move out to sea by Monday.

Meanwhile, cities including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston have the potential for storms with damaging winds and hail Saturday afternoon. Some 50 million people are currently in the zone with the greatest severe weather threat today.

The National Weather Service warned that the Philadelphia region into southern New Jersey and the coast could see thunderstorms with flash flooding and damaging wind gusts Saturday evening.

A flood watch is also in effect for the Washington and Baltimore metro areas. Damaging wind gusts and large hail are also a threat, the National Weather Service said.

Holiday travel out of the Northeast could be impacted as the storms come through. Weather will likely not be a major factor at airport hubs like Atlanta, Chicago, Denver or Los Angeles on Saturday.

ABC News' Daniel Amarante contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Thousands of anchovies fall from sky, wash ashore in the Bay Area

Marin Country Parks via Instagram

(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Thousands of dead anchovies washed ashore on the Bolinas Lagoon shore in Marin County, California, and fell from the sky earlier this week, according to photos and video shared with ABC News' San Francisco affiliate, ABC7 News, KGO.

"This is just one of those times where we kind of get to see just the sheer number of the size of these schools of fish," Marin County Parks director Max Korten told ABC7 News. "So it's kind of amazing."

There is still uncertainty about why the fish washed up on the shore. Referencing biologists, Korten explained, "What likely happened is, you know, some kind of predator out in the ocean encountered a school of anchovy somewhere near the mouth of Bolinas Lagoon," according to ABC7 News.

He said this possibly pushed the anchovy more toward the shallow water, where they sucked up the limited oxygen and suffocated, according to ABC7 News.

A volunteer researcher told ABC7 News the anchovy could have been going where the food is.

Jim Ervin told ABC7 this La Nina year is generating more food production and the foraging fish are following. He explained the cool water is bringing in more anchovy than seen in the last 10 years off the coast and in the bay.

Ervin said seabirds are feasting. "There's more fish than they know what to do with," he told ABC7 News.

Officials said there is no reason to panic over the mass die-off, saying similar events have happened several times over the last few decades.

"My biggest words of assurance, I guess, is that anchovy populations boom and bust," Ervin told ABC7 News. "And we're in a boom year. Then things like that, they drive 'em into the shore and unfortunately they do themselves in sometimes."

Korten with Marin County Parks told ABC7 News the Bolinas Lagoon as a pretty fragile ecosystem and is encouraging anyone wanting to see the anchovies, to be mindful of the environment.

"It's a home to a really abundant amount of marine life," he said. "We just asked if anybody goes near there, just use caution and not to disturb the animals, the seals and things that make their home there."

ABC News' Amanda del Castillo, Jeffrey Cook and Jennifer Metz contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Three Kentucky officers killed, several hurt by gunman who opened fire at his home

Richard Williams Photography/Getty Images/Stock

(ALLEN, Ky.) --Three Kentucky police officers were shot and killed after a 49-year-old man, who is in custody, allegedly gunned them down and wounded several others in a mass shooting at his Kentucky home.

The City of Prestonburg Police Department shared in a Facebook post Friday that canine handler Jacob R. Chaffins had died.

"You have dedicated your short time on this earth to the service of the citizens of Prestonsburg and the Commonwealth as an EMT, Fire Fighter, and Police Officer. You further dedicated yourself to the security of our country as a valiant soldier,” the statement read.

“The lives you’ve saved since you even started policing are innumerable, and that’s how you gave your life - saving another. We will shine your light to Paisley and the world so long as we breathe. Rest yourself, we have the watch."

The two other slain officers were identified by the sheriff's office as Deputy William Petry and Prestonsburg Police Capt. Ralph Frasure.

The shooting unfolded in Floyd County at about 6:44 p.m. local time Thursday, Kentucky State Police said. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called it a "barricade situation."

According to an arrest report, Lance Storz, who was armed with a rifle, fired multiple rounds at police officers around his home, killing two officers and a police K9.

The arrest report said five other officers and an emergency management director were injured, though state police said four officers and one civilian were hurt.

"Floyd County and our brave first responders suffered a tragic loss last night," the governor tweeted Friday. "I want to ask all of Kentucky to join me in praying for this community. This is a tough morning for our commonwealth."

Storz is in custody on multiple charges including murder of a police officer and attempted murder of a police officer. He entered a plea of not guilty and is being held on $10 million bond. Storz returns to court on July 11.

ABC News' Jason Volack and Ahmad J. Hemingway contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Suspect arrested in the death of 20-year-old mom gunned down on NYC street

WABC

(NEW YORK) -- New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced Friday evening the arrest of a 22-year-old suspect for the murder of a 20-year-old woman was fatally shot in the head while pushing her 3-month-old baby in a stroller on New York City's Upper East Side on Wednesday night.

Isaac Argro, 22, has been arrested and charged with murder of Azsia Johnson and criminal possession of a weapon, the NYPD said in a tweet and added that police would “continue to be relentless in their pursuit of justice.”

Johnson was fatally shot in the head Wednesday on the Upper East Side in what police sources said appeared to be a targeted attack.

Johnson was pushing a baby stroller around 8:25 p.m. when a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt came up from behind and fired a single shot at close range before fleeing on foot, police said. The baby was unharmed, police said.

Before the shooting, Johnson texted a relative saying she was planning to meet her baby's father "to work things out," according to police sources.

Following the shooting, police were wanting to talk to the baby’s father but had not initially named him as a suspect, sources said.

"We are going to find this person that's guilty of this horrific crime. We are going to find him and bring him to justice," New York City Mayor Eric Adams had told reporters Thursday.

Detectives believe Johnson was living at a women's shelter in East Harlem, sources said.

Friends and family held a vigil for Johnson on Thursday at the scene of the shooting, which was near a playground.

Johnson also had a 1-year-old son and was an aspiring pediatric nurse, ABC New York station WABC reported.

ABC News' Matt J. Foster contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Family demanding answers after Black man killed by police during traffic stop in Ohio

Sheila Paras/Getty Images/Stock

(AKRON, Ohio) -- A grieving Ohio family is waiting for answers after a 25-year-old Black man was fatally shot by Akron police officers during a traffic stop earlier this week.

Jayland Walker was shot multiple times after he was pulled over early Monday for a minor traffic violation, according to lawyers representing his family.

Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announced Friday that they will release body-worn camera footage from the incident, which has sparked days of protests outside the police headquarters calling for "Justice for Jayland," on Sunday.

Mylett will meet with members of Walker's family before the briefing to allow them to see the footage, officials said.

"How these events took place leaves us with many, many, many questions," Bobby DiCello, one of the lawyers representing the family, said during a press briefing Thursday.

One question involves what police did to de-escalate the situation, he said. Authorities also have not released details on the number of shots fired by the eight officers involved in the shooting, or how many fired their weapons.

Preliminary medical examiner records reviewed by ABC Cleveland affiliate WEWS on Friday showed there were more than 60 markers indicating "defects" on Walker's body, and that there were multiple gunshot wounds to his face, abdomen and upper legs.

The incident occurred early Monday, when Akron police officers attempted a traffic stop at around 12:30 a.m. When the driver did not stop, a police pursuit ensued, police said in a statement.

"During the pursuit, officers reported a firearm being discharged from the suspect vehicle," police said.

Walker allegedly fled from the car while it was still moving, with officers then engaging in a foot pursuit, police said.

"The suspect ran northbound into a nearby parking lot. Actions by the suspect caused the officers to perceive he posed a deadly threat to them," police said. "In response to this threat, officers discharged their firearms, striking the suspect."

Officers administered first aid, though Walker was pronounced dead at the scene. Medical examiner records show he was found on his back on the pavement in handcuffs, and that a gun was recovered inside his car, according to WEWS.

The officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an investigation that will be presented to the Ohio Attorney General's Office and Summit County Grand Jury, authorities said.

"We have every confidence in the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation to conduct a thorough, fair, and honest investigation," Mayor Horrigan and Chief Mylett said in a joint statement Wednesday. "We will cooperate fully with that investigation and have made it a top priority for our staffs. As a city, we are committed to this process and trust that it will yield a fuller understanding of this incident."

As they wait to view the footage from the shooting, Walker's family is demanding answers.

"What's unfortunate … is portraying Jayland as the reason this happened," Ken Abbarno, another lawyer for Walker's family, told reporters. "That's spin, that's protection, and that's designed for a specific reason. We will learn in the coming days the real truth of what happened."

Walker, a DoorDash driver, had no criminal record, the family's lawyers said.

Walker's aunt described her "skinny little nephew" as a "sweet young man."

"He never caused any trouble,” Lajuana Walker-Dawkins, who spoke on behalf of the family, told reporters Thursday. "We don't know what happened, and we'd like to know. For the mother, the sister, the whole family and the community."

In the aftermath of the shooting, the city canceled a Fourth of July festival scheduled to run Friday through Monday.

"I completely understand that some residents and guests will be disappointed by the decision to cancel the festival this holiday weekend," Horrigan said in a statement. "Independence Day is meant to be a celebration and a time of gathering with friends and family. Unfortunately, I feel strongly that this is not the time for a city-led celebration."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Uvalde DA makes rare comments on investigation

Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

(UVALDE, Texas) -- The district attorney investigating the May 24 massacre that killed two teachers and 19 students in Uvalde, Texas, revealed Friday that she has been meeting with the families of victims to update them on the ongoing investigation.

“We're trying to make sure that they're getting the resources that they need,” District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee, the top prosecutor in Uvalde, said in an interview at her downtown office. “And then I am telling them where I am in the investigation, and so those conversations have been ongoing."

Busbee declined to tell ABC News which families she has spoken with and did not provide an update on the investigation of the shooting. Her comments came the day after some in the public tore into the DA and other leaders for keeping them in the dark about the ongoing probe into the Robb Elementary School shooting.

“I want the Texas Rangers and the FBI to have time to do their job to give me a complete and thorough investigation,” Busbee told ABC News. “This is a very complicated matter and so I’m allowing them time to do their job. And once the investigation is complete it will be submitted to me and then I will do my job.”

Police have said the shooter was killed by law enforcement, but the ongoing investigation is looking at, among other things, any communications the killer might have had prior to the massacre and the bungled response of police who, authorities have said, did not follow proper procedures in waiting over an hour to stop the rampage.

Complaints about Busbee and other agencies were at times impassioned during a special city council meeting Thursday evening.

“Come here, show your face,” said Tina Quintanilla-Taylor, whose daughter survived the shooting. "We're here showing our face because we lost somebody or somebody's suffering. Enough is enough.”

“We have questions,” Quintanilla-Taylor added. “We want answers. We demand answers. We're not here just to sit around, we are demanding answers. Show your face, answer our questions.”

“No one should have much power,” Irma Garcia’s sister, Velma Lisa Duran, said of the district attorney at the meeting.

In response to the accusation by families of victims that she is covering for the police who are currently under investigation for their response to the shooting, Busbee told ABC News that she is going to put out a statement “at some point.”

As she continued during the interview, Busbee said, “I would hope that everybody in this community knows that if…” and then she paused out of concern she was about to say too much.

“I’m going to stop right there because I'm getting into the things that I'm going to put in a written statement at some point,” Busbee added.

The families complained the district attorney has dodged their questions and has refused to release evidence including 911 calls and surveillance footage. During the council meeting, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin showed a letter from Busbee, explaining that the DA formally instructed city officials that “any release of records to that incident at this time would interfere with said ongoing investigation.”

“All questions relating to body cam videos and other Robb Elementary School investigative records should be directed to the Uvalde County District Attorney and the Texas Department of Public Safety/Texas Rangers,” McLaughlin said in a statement released last week.

“Anyone who suggests the City of Uvalde is withholding information without legitimate and legal reasons is wrong and is spreading misinformation,” the statement said. “There are specific legal reasons the City cannot release information at this time.”

Busbee declined to comment on whether McLaughlin has been briefed on the investigation.

Uvalde:365 is a continuing ABC News series reported from Uvalde and focused on the Texas community and how it forges on in the shadow of tragedy.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Arrest warrant in Emmett Till case found in Mississippi court basement after 67 years

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(NEW YORK) -- Advocates and some relatives of Emmett Till are pushing for the arrest of Carolyn Bryant Donham after finding an unserved arrest warrant for kidnapping, an attached affidavit from Moses Wright, and court minutes from 1955 in the basement of a Leflore County courthouse.

Keith Beauchamp, director of the movie, "Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till," told ABC News that he and a team from the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, including co-founder and Till's cousin Deborah Watts, went to Mississippi to check if the warrant had ever been rescinded, but came across the documents in an unmarked box, seemingly untouched for over sixty years.

Beauchamp said he is looking to state law enforcement for prosecution on the kidnapping charge in an effort to hold Bryant Donham, 88, accountable for her alleged role in the lynching of 14-year-old Till. The Department of Justice first opened an investigation into Till's murder under its Cold Case Initiative in 2004, but stated it lacked jurisdiction to raise federal charges.

"This is only the tip of the iceberg," Beauchamp said. "I want people to understand that this is not a complicated case…I thought it was impossible to get the case reopened in 2004. But it happened."

"Let's follow the law and make sure that justice is done in this case," he added.

In 1955, 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant accused the teenager, who was visiting from Chicago, of whistling at her after leaving a store, Bryant's Grocery & Meat Market. Till was later abducted from his great-uncle Moses Wright's home by Carolyn Bryant's husband Roy Bryant and his half brother J.W. Milam.

Till's brutalized remains were found days later in the Tallahatchie River. Mamie Till Mobley's decision to have photos from her son's open casket funeral published in Jet magazine catalyzed the civil rights movement.

The two men were indicted on kidnapping and murder charges, but later acquitted by an all-white jury. Rev. Wheeler Parker, Till's cousin, was there the night he was kidnapped. He has worked for years to see justice for Till For him, the rediscovery of the warrant "is only a headline, not evidence."

"For nearly 67 years, I have sought justice in the brutal lynching of my cousin and best friend, Emmett Till. We accepted the determination of the government that there was not sufficient evidence to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham," he said in a statement to ABC News.

The Department of Justice closed its 2017 re-investigation of Till's murder in December 2021. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division declined ABC News' request for comment on this recent development.

"I would be overjoyed if that woman could be held accountable for this horrible crime. If she can be compelled merely to tell the truth, I would even support that," Parker said. "To me, there is a measure of justice in that, too."

"We need to send a message that it doesn't matter how long you live, if you commit a hate crime, eventually the law will catch up to you. But we don't want to keep raising our hopes just to have them dashed again—if it's not going to lead to justice."

ABC News' Fatima Curry contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


How three states are moving to protect abortion rights after the fall of Roe v. Wade

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(NEW YORK) -- A week after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, ending a nearly 50-year precedent, several governors are moving to protect abortion rights in their states.

On Friday, New York is expected to pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing access to abortion during a special session initially called to rewrite state gun permit laws in the wake of another Supreme Court decision that rolled back the state's concealed carry restrictions.

The measure, which has been supported by Gov. Kathy Hochul, would codify the right to an abortion and the right to contraception in the state's constitution. It would also update the existing Equal Rights Amendment to extend protections to several new classes, including on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, reproductive healthcare and autonomy), disability, national origin, ethnicity and age.

The state Senate passed the measure Friday afternoon, sending it to the Assembly, which is also expected to pass it. An amendment to the state's constitution would ultimately be decided by voters in a referendum after passing two separately elected state legislatures.

"We refuse to stand idly by while the Supreme Court attacks the rights of New Yorkers," Hochul said on Twitter while sharing a proclamation to add the equal rights resolution to the state legislature's session agenda on Friday.

In neighboring New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Friday afternoon abortion bills that protect health care providers and out-of-state patients. One bill bans the extradition of people who get or perform abortions in New Jersey to states that criminalize the procedure, and the second prohibits state agencies from assisting in investigations that release their information to other states.

The bills swiftly passed the state legislature in the wake of the Supreme Court decision impacting Roe.

"While others throughout the country are revoking a woman’s right to reproductive freedom, New Jersey will continue to defend this fundamental right in our state," Murphy said in a statement Friday.

The laws follow other actions by the state to protect abortion rights in anticipation of Roe falling. In January, Murphy signed a bill that codified the right to an abortion into state law.

In Connecticut, a new law strengthening abortion rights goes into effect on Friday. The law, which was signed by the governor in May, protects medical providers and patients seeking abortion care who may be traveling to Connecticut from states that have outlawed abortion. It also expands abortion access in Connecticut by expanding the type of practitioners eligible to perform certain abortion-related care.

As the state becomes a "safe harbor" state for abortion care, Lamont also issued an open letter Friday urging out-of-state businesses to relocate to Connecticut, "a state that supports the rights of women and whose actions and laws are unwavering in support of tolerance and inclusivity."

"With the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, there are many states across the country outlawing a woman's right to make her own reproductive choices. Not here in Connecticut. Not as long as I'm governor," Lamont said in a video message, asking businesses to consider the state as a place where their employees and customers may better identify with its values.

Lamont also touted the state's policies around paid family leave, child care and education for those seeking to start a family.

Twenty-six states are certain or likely to ban abortion with the fall of Roe, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health policy research organization.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision, President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet virtually on Friday with nearly a dozen governors, including Lamont and Hochul, to discuss the administration's efforts to protect access to reproductive care, according to a White House official.

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Trump PAC paid nearly half a million to law firms representing allies subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee

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(NEW YORK) -- Former President Donald Trump's political action committee has paid nearly half a million dollars to multiple law firms that employ attorneys representing close allies of Trump who have been targeted by the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol attack, according to a review of financial records by ABC News -- an arrangement that committee members say raises concerns about the possible coercion of witnesses.

Trump's Save America PAC began paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to multiple law firms and lawyers connected to his allies in the committee's crosshairs after the panel was first formed last summer, and continued the payments as the committee's investigation began issuing subpoenas throughout the year, according to multiple sources and a review of Federal Election Commission filings.

ABC News has identified payments to at least five law firms that are connected to lawyers representing Trump allies subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee, totaling $471,000. None of the firms were paid by the PAC prior to the committee's formation last summer, according to FEC reports. The payments continued until as recently as May of this year.

While the disclosure reports show Save America's payments to these firms, the documents don't show which specific lawyers the payments are intended for, or who the firms are representing.

Key allies of the former president whose attorney's firms have received payments by Trump's PAC include former White House aides Stephen Bannon and Peter Navarro, as well as his former special assistant Dan Scavino -- all of whom have engaged in fierce legal battles with the committee in an effort to block their cooperation.

This week, a member of the Jan. 6 committee suggested that allies of Trump could be attempting to coerce committee witnesses by paying for their lawyers using money raised off of false election claims.

"We talked about the hundreds of millions of dollars that the former president raised, some of that money is being used to pay for lawyers for witnesses," Rep. Zoe Lofgren said on CNN. "And it's not clear that that arrangement is one that is without coercion, potentially, for some of those witnesses."

In a statement to ABC News, Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington pushed back on the committee's suggestion, calling the panel "illegal and illegitimate" and saying the committee "does not have the facts, so instead they traffic in dishonest suggestions knowing the truth is not relevant to the Fake News Media."

Bannon and Navarro, two of the former president's fiercest supporters who have both been indicted by a federal grand jury on contempt of Congress charges, have both been represented by firms that have received money from Save America PAC.

The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Bannon in September 2021, citing "reason to believe" that the former Trump adviser had information regarding the Capitol attack. Bannon defied the subpoena and was ultimately indicted on contempt of Congress charges in November..

That same month, an attorney named Matthew Evan Corcoran from the firm Silverman Thompson filed a notice of appearance on behalf of Bannon to defend against contempt of Congress charges alongside David Schoen, who represented Trump during his second impeachment trial, according to court records reviewed by ABC News. Months later, campaign disclosure records show Trump's PAC made a $50,000 payment to Corcoran's law firm, Silverman Thompson, in May 2022. It was Save America's first time paying the firm.

Then in June, former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was arrested after being indicted for his refusal to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 panel. Navarro, who's been identified as a key player in the former president's efforts to overturn the election, represented himself when he was first subpoenaed in February -- but at least since mid-June, he's has been represented by attorney John Rowley, whose firm JPRowley Law has received thousands of dollars in payments from Trump's PAC since the committee was created.

Cleta Mitchell, a conservative lawyer who also played a key role in Trump's efforts to hold onto power, was also represented by Rowley as she worked to defy the committee's requests for cooperation.

In December 2021, Rowley, on Mitchell's behalf, filed to block the committee from obtaining her phone and text records, according to court documents reviewed by ABC News. Mitchell later withdrew the motion and testified before the committee.

Rowley's firm has received a total of $125,000 dollars from Trump's PAC since November of last year. The firm was first paid $50,000 on November 29, 2021, which came two weeks before Mitchell filed to block the committee, then in May received two more payments totaling $75,000.

Other law firms representing close Trump allies facing Jan. 6 subpoenas, including his former deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scavino, current spokesperson Taylor Budowich, and former New York City police commissioner Bernie Kerik, have also been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars from Trump's PAC, financial disclosure records show. Both Budowich and Scavino still work for Trump.

Scavino, one of Trump's closest aides, was held in contempt by the committee after he offered limited cooperation with its subpoena. The Department of Justice earlier this month declined to pursue charges against him.

"This illegitimate committee is trying to drown innocent Americans in legal fees and assassinate their character with doctored evidence and dishonest innuendos -- that's the only coercion happening and the media is ignoring it," Budowich said in a statement to ABC News. "I will not be intimidated by corrupt politicians who are trying to destroy our country."

Budowich's attorney, Michael Abel, cofounder of Abel Bean Law, said in a statement, "Our Firm's representation of Mr. Budowich is a matter of public record. ... We categorically reject any contention regarding the alleged coercion of witnesses. Never happened. Never would happen. Ever. Nor has something so outrageous or unethical ever been mentioned or suggested to us."

Kerik's attorney, Timothy Parlatore -- whose firm, Parlatore Law Group LLP, received $25,000 from Save America PAC for "legal consulting" on April 22, 2022 -- told ABC News that the Save America payment was unrelated to Kerik. A representative for Scavino did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

Separately, former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson was initially represented by former Trump White House lawyer Stefan Passantino, with her legal bills covered by Trump's Save America PAC, according to a source familiar with the arrangement. But Hutchinson switched attorneys just before delivering her bombshell testimony to the committee earlier this week, and is now represented by a firm not paid by the former president's political arm.

Since July 2021 when the Jan. 6 committee was formed, Passantino's firm, Elections LLC -- which has long received payments from Trump's PAC -- has been paid a total of $280,548 by Save America. It's unclear how much of that amount was for Hutchinson's legal bills.

Cofounded by Passantino and Trump's former deputy campaign manager, Justin Clark, Elections LLC has been one of the law firms paid not only by Save America but also by Trump's former presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee.

The former Trump campaign, in particular, paid the firm tens of thousands of dollars every month from April 2019 through March of this year, totaling $1.3 million, as both Passantino and Clark aided Trump's team in various legal matters, including contesting votes in states following the 2020 election.

Trump's team has also been directing others to a legal defense fund set up by American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, sources tell ABC News.

Schlapp, who set up the "America First Fund" and has worked with Trump's team to determine who would receive assistance from the fund, has said that the fund is "not going to assist anyone who agrees with the mission of the committee and is aiding and abetting the committee."

At the close of Tuesday's hearing, Jan. 6 committee leaders said they believe that some Trump allies who they did not name have attempted to intimidate witnesses who are cooperating with the special House panel. Sources have told ABC News that Hutchinson was one of the witnesses who told the Jan. 6 committee she was pressured by Trump allies to protect the former president.

"Most people know that attempting to influence witnesses to testify untruthfully presents very serious concerns," Rep. Liz Cheney said. "We will be discussing these issues as a committee and carefully considering our next steps."

A lightly regulated political action committee, Save America PAC can spend its funds freely as long as its expenditures are property reported to the FEC, said Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance expert and the deputy executive director of the watchdog journalism project Documented.

But the PAC selectively covering witnesses' legal fees raises ethical concerns, he said, especially when the PAC's funds are controlled by a person who "arguably has the most at stake in the Jan. investigation."

"The biggest ethical concern is that Trump's PAC will cover legal fees strategically, in order to deter witnesses from cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee or to encourage favorable testimony," Fischer said. "In other words, the worry is that there'll be an implicit understanding that Trump's PAC will only cover the legal fees of those who decline to fully cooperate with the committee, or that the PAC will withhold support to witnesses who provide testimony that Trump deems harmful."

ABC News' Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

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New York City launches program to offer free COVID medications at testing sites

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(NEW YORK) -- New York City became the first to launch a "Test to Treat" program that provides COVID-19 antiviral treatments, including Paxlovid, for people who test positive for the novel coronavirus, according to city health officials and White House response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.

The treatments, which are provided free of cost, are available at three sites. The program will expand to a total of 30 sites by the end of July. The select testing sites are managed by the New York City Test & Trace Corps.

Clinicians will provide the treatment at the sites, which are currently located outside of local pharmacies to allow for the distribution of the medication.

The program launch comes as the city's COVID test positivity rate is above 10% for the first time since January. The number of positive cases has also risen 10% from just two weeks ago, according to data from the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Experts previously suggested the true test positivity rate could even be higher due to the number of people testing positive with at-home rapid tests.

This is a trend seen on the national level as well. According to data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, as of June 26, the seven-day average for the COVID test positivity rate in the United States was 15.65%, the highest figure recorded since Feb. 3.

The average number of daily COVID-19 related deaths has risen to over 300. The U.S. was reporting just over 2,700 deaths every day at one point in February.

"COVID is a formidable opponent," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference Thursday. "It pivots and shifts and we are clear that we are going to pivot and shift with it and we are leading the way in the country on how we utilize all of our assets to address this serious crisis that we have faced and that we cycle out of."

The city has already been offering home delivery for city residents who receive a prescription for antiviral medication.

"We were the epicenter of the COVID pandemic at the start, but we're leading the way [with] prevention and mitigation," Adams said. "We are now leading the way again by having this mobile unit. This new public health service will help all New York to get access to life saving treatments."

Equitable access to Paxlovid remains a significant issue across the country, noted Jha.

"This is about equity, this is about making sure that everybody who ... can benefit from treatments gets it," Jha told reporters. "This is about meeting people where they are. Literally going into neighborhoods, going into communities and making sure that we're not asking people to come to us. That we are going to them and that is the ultimate public health."

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