CDC(ATLANTA) — A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employee has been found dead nearly two months after he mysteriously vanished, authorities said Thursday.The body of Timothy Cunningham, 35, was found Tuesday night in the Chattahoochee River, according to the Atlanta Police Department. Additional information was not immediately available. Cunningham, a commander in the Public Health Service who responded to public health emergencies including the Ebola virus and the Zika virus, disappeared on Feb. 12 after he said he was sick and left his Atlanta office. All of his belongings, including his dog, were left at his home, according to police and ABC affiliate WSB.“This is an extremely unusual set of circumstances,” Maj. Michael O’Connor of the Atlanta Police told reporters in February.“The most unusual factor in this case is that every single belonging that we are aware of was located in the residence,” O’Connor said. “His keys, his cell phone, credit cards, debit cards, wallet, all his identification, passport — everything you can think of, we’ve been able to locate. None of those items are missing.” In March, Cunningham’s sister, Tiara, told ABC News that her parents were “remaining positive and prayerful.”“I have been trying my best to go through daily activities such as work without getting distracted,” she said. “But no one can really prepare you for seeing your face or your brother’s face on the news while at work.”This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) — Police in Tampa say a mother pushing a stroller was killed Wednesday due to street racing.The Tampa Police Department have arrested Cameron Coyle Herrin, 18, Tristan Christopher Herrin, 20, and John Alexander Barrineau, 17, in connection with the death of 24-year-old Jessica Reisinger, it announced today.All three suspects are Tampa residents, according to police.Ressinger, a resident of Jeromesville, Ohio, was walking with her 1-year-old daughter on Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard when they were struck, police said.Witnesses told police that they saw a 2018 black Ford Mustang, allegedly driven by Cameron Herrin, traveling northbound on the boulevard at a high rate of speed while racing with a gold Nissan, allegedly driven by Barrineau, according to a press release. Tristan Herrin was allegedly a passenger in the Mustang, according to police. The cars were sometimes driving side by side, and sometimes they switched places and switched lanes, witnesses told police.The Mustang then struck Ressinger and her daughter as they were attempting to legally cross at a pedestrian ramp at an intersection, police said, adding that the baby girl was seriously injured.Reisinger was later declared dead at a local hospital.The drivers in the incident have been charged with street racing, vehicular homicide and reckless driving resulting in serious bodily injury, while Tristan Herrin faces a misdemeanor count of racing, police said.Tristan Herrin is being charged under Florida Statute 316.191(2), which states that it is illegal for a driver to engage in racing and that it is also illegal to “knowingly ride as a passenger in any such race, competition, contest, test, or exhibition,” according to police.ABC News could not immediately reach the suspects for comment. It is unclear if they have obtained a lawyer or entered a plea.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC News (NEW YORK) — The Pawnee fire in Northern California has burned 10,500 acres and destroyed 22 structures, as winds and hot weather fuel the flames.Over 1,000 people have been evacuated and the blaze is just 5 percent contained.California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in the area.“Each day we’re fighting mother nature,” Cal Fire Assistant Chief Billy See told ABC station KGO in San Francisco.The West is also facing extreme heat. Temperatures could reach 115 degrees in Death Valley, 111 in Palm Springs and 110 in Phoenix.A heat wave is headed to the Midwest and will then spread to the East Coast by Friday.This is expected to be the longest heat wave of the season so far for the Midwest and Northeast.Strong storms are also headed to the Midwest.Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Tulsa could see damaging winds, hail and a few tornadoes.Flooding is also headed to the Midwest Tuesday afternoon, from Chicago to Louisville.Some areas could see 2 to 4 inches of rain Tuesday, especially from Chicago to the Carolinas.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Minneapolis Police (MINNEAPOLIS) — Minneapolis police released multiple videos on Sunday of the frenetic chase that led to the fatal shooting of a 31-year-old man in an alley as he fled from officers.The video shows the chase, which lasted only about a minute from when police officers Justin Schmidt and Ryan Kelly pulled up to the scene to when Thurman Blevins was shot and killed in an alley in North Minneapolis. The officers were responding to the area after a 911 call was made saying someone was firing a gun into the air.Bodycam footage from both of the officers shows them pull up to the location and immediately jump out of the vehicle, with one of the officers shouting, “He’s got a gun!”Schmidt, who was in the passenger seat, can be heard shouting “Drop the f—— gun!” as Blevins immediately runs from the scene. Schmidt repeatedly shouts for Blevins to stop running and drop the gun while Blevins shouts back “I did nothing, bro” and “Leave me alone.”The officer shouts “Put your hands up, I will f—— shoot you!” multiple times before he eventually does open fire and strike Blevins.When slowed down, the video shows Blevins pulled out a gun in his waistband just before being shot by both officers, but it is unclear if Blevins fired the weapon.Family members saw the video for the first time on Sunday as well, according to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.“Regardless of the facts and circumstances that took place on the afternoon of June 23, and regardless of how our own life experiences and backgrounds inform the conclusions we draw, let us all recognize one conclusion: a life was lost and that, in and of itself, is a tragedy,” Frey said at a press conference Sunday in which the footage was released. While the body camera footage is now released, this is just one part of an effort to bring greater transparency to these processes. In the weeks and months ahead, we will undoubtedly learn more. In this quest to bring about greater transparency there will be pain.”The family, as well as protesters, had been calling for the release of the video since the shooting took place on June 23. Both officers were placed on paid administrative duties while the investigation is underway.The graphic video was made available on the city’s website.Sydnee Brown, Blevins’ cousin who has served as a spokesperson for the family, continued calls for Kelly and Schmidt to be charged in the shooting after seeing the video.“Officers Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt should be fired without pay and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Brown told Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP.Frey took special care to discuss the racial aspect of Blevins, a black man, being shot by two white officers.“I did not experience the pain of inequities that continue to exist in areas well beyond policing and public safety,” he said. “But we all need to understand that this pain is felt acutely by people of color. That must be acknowledged.”Frey said he has met with Blevins’ family and would be willing to do so again.Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo would not comment on the footage as an investigation into the shooting continues.“While Chief Arradondo is currently prohibited by data practice law from commenting on the specifics of this case he will continue to remain engaged, active and listen throughout the community,” a statement from the department said.Schmidt’s lawyer, Kevin Short, defended his client’s actions, saying in a statement to KSTP, “The video shows Thurman Blevins fired one shot at officers. It’s gratifying to know the actions of the officers were justified. Hopefully the public learned a lesson to wait for all the facts and video to come out before vilifying officers.”Kelly’s lawyer did not comment.The Office of Police Conduct Review, where complaints about officers’ behavior can be made and reviewed by an independent party, shows both Schmidt and Kelly have had three complaints lodged against them during their time on the force. They were all closed without discipline, and the reasons for complaints are not made public.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
NC Highway Patrol(COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C.) — A veteran state trooper in North Carolina was shot dead while making a traffic stop early Wednesday, authorities said.The deadly confrontation unfolded when Kevin Conner, an 11-year veteran, stopped a pickup truck for speeding in Columbus County just after midnight, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety said.The driver pulled onto the shoulder, and when Conner approached, the driver allegedly fired several shots, authorities said.The suspected shooter then fled the scene and led police on a car chase, authorities said.His car became stuck while trying to drive over a railroad crossing, authorities said, so he then fled on foot.The suspect as found after an “extensive search” and taken into custody without incident, authorities said.“The Highway Patrol family is mourning the loss of a hero,” State Highway Patrol commander Colonel Glenn McNeill Jr. said in a statement.The department “will forever be changed by the tragic events,” he said. “We ask everyone to please keep Trooper Conner’s family and all who knew him in your thoughts and prayers.”The suspect has not yet been identified, authorities said, adding that charges are pending.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
KABC(LOS ANGELES) — Blaze Bernstein was a bright student, loyal friend and passionate culinary aficionado who spent the fall of 2017 as a sophomore taking pre-med courses at the University of Pennsylvania and acting as a managing editor of the school’s culinary magazine, friends and family recalled.“He was always so involved in ‘Penn Appétit’ and he absolutely loved food,” said classmate Rachel Prokupek. “He always got super passionate and in-depth into whatever he was writing about.”Gideon Bernstein, Blaze’s father, said his son had a “gift for creative writing.”“He applied and auditioned to get into a performing arts and creative arts charter school called Orange County School of the Arts,” he told ABC News this month. “That’s really where he got a lot of his development for his amazing writing skills, which was really how he was able to get into the University of Pennsylvania.”But just a couple of weeks after completing his third semester at school, Blaze Bernstein’s promising life was cut short back home in California.Wednesday will mark a year since Bernstein, 19, who was gay and Jewish, was stabbed to death in an alleged hate crime while home for winter break.His devastated parents said they’ve spent the year battling the “uncharted grounds of losing a child” as they struggle to come “to grips of being the victims of an incredible tragedy” that captured the nation’s attention.As their son’s former high school classmate prepares to go on trial for murder, the Bernsteins say, amid their grief, “We’re trying to take a moment of hate and turn it into a movement of hope.”Through a campaign encouraging people to participate in acts of kindness, Gideon Bernstein says, “We want his name to be remembered as somebody who reminds people of the hope for the future.”A week-long searchThe hard-working teen was home in Southern California with his family for winter break when he vanished on Jan. 2, 2018.His worried parents reported him missing the next day.Blaze Bernstein was last seen driving with a friend to Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch, authorities said initially.Over the next week, Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials combed through the park. A group of professional and amateur drone users even offered to help in the search.Blaze Bernstein’s body was found on Jan. 9 in the brush surrounding Borrego Park, the sheriff’s department said.His body was left near his elementary school, where he’d play soccer and the library he used to visit, his mother said.An alleged hate crimeIt was Sam Woodward, a former classmate of Blaze Berstein’s from the Orange County School of the Arts, who had allegedly picked up the teen from his parents’ home that night, Orange County prosecutors said.At some point, prosecutors believe Woodward stabbed Bernstein 19 times and buried his body in the dirt.Woodward, then 20 years old, was arrested on Jan. 12 and charged with murder.Woodward’s cell phone allegedly revealed racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic thoughts and intentions, prosecutors said. He was linked to a neo-Nazi organization, according to a source close to the case.Woodward is accused of targeting Blaze Bernstein because of his sexual orientation. A hate crime sentencing enhancement was added to the murder charge in August.Woodward, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, also faces a sentencing enhancement of personal use of a knife; he has denied both enhancements.Robert Kohler, a public defender who is defending Woodward, confirmed his client pleaded not guilty but did not comment to ABC News on the ongoing case.For Gideon Bernstein, it’s “been hard to be able to come to grips with” the “realization” that “there’s still a lot of people out there that just have some reason to hate.”The number of sexual orientation-based hate crimes reported in 2017 increased 5 percent from 2016, according to FBI data, said Michael Lieberman, Washington counsel for the Anti-Defamation League. Beyond sexual orientation, hate crimes overall increased 17 percent from 2016 to 2017, FBI data showed, according to Lieberman.One of the most monumental steps to combat sexual orientation-based hate crimes was the 2009 signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added crimes motivated by the victim’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion and disability to the federal hate crime law.“There has been tremendous progress on addressing hate violence since the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act in 2009,” said Lieberman, who was involved in the push to pass the act.It was named after 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who in 1998 was abducted, tied to a fence and fatally beaten in Wyoming for being openly gay. It was also named after James Byrd Jr., a black man murdered by three white supremacists in Texas in 1998.“It took us 13 years to pass the Matthew Shepard Act,” Lieberman said, “because we insisted that sexual orientation be included. Sexual orientation is always the third or second most frequent hate crime behind race and religion.“There has been improved training, education awareness of sexual orientation crimes since Matthew Shepard,” Lieberman said.He stressed, however, that “it would be really important to have complementary federal initiatives to prevent bullying” because “the best way to address hate crimes is to prevent them.”Lieberman said the Trump administration has “taken their eye off the ball on the prevention side,” something he hopes to fight in 2019.‘We can’t bring him back’As Woodward’s case inches toward trial, the Bernsteins haven’t attended the court appearances.The slain teen’s mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, said she’ll only go if it will help bring justice.“As far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing that … will come out of us being there,” she told ABC News. “It will not fix the problem. And the problem is my son is gone. We can’t bring him back. So whatever happens, I just want the resolution to protect the safety and welfare of our community, so that this person, if it is found that he did this, that he is not allowed out in our society again to hurt anyone else.”Woodward, now 21, returns to court on Jan. 25. If convicted, Woodward faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.‘A movement of hope’Instead of focusing on the crime, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein said her family is “focused on things that we can fix, and things that can improve the quality of life for everyone, which includes tolerance education.”“We’re trying to take a moment of hate and turn it into a movement of hope,” Gideon Bernstein said. “That’s hope for humanity, and hope for other people to help to make this world a better place now that our son is no longer here. And we’ve been doing everything in our power to try to focus on that.”The Bernsteins consider one of their most significant accomplishments this year the “Blaze it Forward” campaign, which aims to honor their son by encouraging people to participate in community service and other acts of kindness.On the “Blaze it Forward” Facebook page, participants share their good deeds in Blaze’s memory and to inspire others.One woman recounted how she and her mother bought gloves and socks for a young homeless man they often see near their home.“We handed him all these items and told him the story of Blaze and reason for why we wanted to do this for him. We left him speechless,” she wrote in the December post. “Thank you Blaze for the inspiration to do good for all mankind.”Another woman wrote, “Inspired by the stories here, I decided to sell my glass artwork during the holidays and am sending 100% of the proceeds to support cancer organizations.”In addition, the Blaze Bernstein Memorial Fund was launched to support charities that protect kids from violence and other charities Blaze would have been involved in. A scholarship in Blaze’s name has also been started to support local, college-bound students who have overcome struggles and contributed to their community.“We want his name to be remembered as somebody who reminds people of the hope for the future,” Gideon Bernstein said. “What was taken from us, that they have to replace that by doing other things to help people out and make this world a better place. And that keeps us going.” Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock/Bogdan Khmelnytskyi(ORLANDO) — Chaos erupted at Orlando International Airport Saturday after a man tried to breach a security checkpoint and travelers yelled out that the suspect had a gun, police said.Video shows people running for cover just after noon when they believed the man, who police said reached into his pocket, was armed.Orlando Police tweeted that the suspect was unarmed.Police arrested the suspect, who has not been identified.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
ABC News(NEW YORK) — After slamming Canada over the weekend, Dorian has finally moved out to the northern Atlantic Ocean and has lost all of its tropical characteristics.Dorian made landfall on Nova Scotia about 15 miles south of Halifax late on Saturday afternoon with maximum sustained winds at landfall of 100 mph as a Category 2 hurricane. Now that Dorian is gone and the tropics are quieting down — for the time being, at least — there is no threat from tropical systems in the Atlantic for any land mass.Elsewhere, more than 22 large uncontained wildfires have been burning in the western U.S. from California to Montana.Some of the worst ones are in northern California where mandatory evacuations have been ordered over the weekend.A fire in Plumas County, California, north of Sacramento exploded Saturday night into Sunday morning to 38,048 acres and is only 5% contained.The heat will be lower Monday in northern California, however, and the winds won’t be as bad, which should hopefully limit the spread of the fires.The strongest winds and worst fire conditions will be from Utah to Las Vegas and into southern California where Red Flag Warnings and Wind Advisories have been issued with winds gusting as high as 55 mph.While it will remain dry in the Southwest, it will be stormy with possible tornadoes and flooding from the Pacific Northwest into the Rockies.There were two possible tornadoes in parts of Washington and Oregon on Sunday with a tornado reported in Colorado Sunday with winds that gusted to near 80 mph near Salt Lake City.On Monday, severe storms will move into the Midwest from South Dakota to Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, where damaging winds, large hail and even a few tornadoes are possible.The South, however, had numerous record highs reported over the weekend including Monroe, Louisiana hitting 102 degrees Fahrenheit, Houston tying their high with 99 degrees, and Miami reaching 94 degrees on Saturday. On Sunday, Austin, Texas at Camp Mabry hit 102 degrees, New Orleans made it to 99 degrees and Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Tallahassee, Florida both tied their record highs of 98 degrees.A Heat Advisory continues for Alabama and Georgia where highs will be in the mid to upper 90s. But, combined with humidity, the temperature will feel like it is close to 110 degrees.The rest of the south will be hot and it will feel like it is above 100 degrees from Houston to Memphis, Tennessee and all the way down to Jacksonville, Florida. Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Michael Hannegan Jr.(BOWIE, Md.) — A plane’s pilot and passenger were seen standing in the median of a highway in Bowie, Maryland, on Thursday after surviving a crash shortly before noon.“I’m blessed that we’re not hurt. I’m still overloaded and we’re still running on adrenaline so we’re doing okay,” pilot Julius Tolson, 58, told ABC News Washington D.C. affiliate WJLA-TV.As the plane went down, its wing slammed into the roof of a car carrying two other men, who suffered minor injuries, according to Maryland State Police.“Police were on the scene very quickly,” Tolson said.“[The two men injured in the car] were taken away pretty quickly and so we’re happy to hear that they weren’t hurt seriously or anything like that,” Michael Garrah, 57, the plane’s passenger, told WJLA.The pilot and passenger were treated at the scene, and the crash caused lane closures along U.S. Route 50, police said.Tolson and Garrah told WJLA they were taking off just east of Washington D.C. when they had an instrumentation problem and decided to abort.Maryland State Police believe the pilot misjudged the landing prior to the crash.“We could’ve got hit by a tractor trailer…the way that the plane spun,” Garrah said. “I think it absorbed a lot of the energy. So I think we’re obviously really lucky.”Federal Aviation Administration officials said they were investigating the accident.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Monterey County Sheriff (MONTEREY, Calif.) — The two homicide suspects who escaped from a California jail over the weekend, were able to “exploit” a “blind spot” in the facility, according to authorities.Santos Fonseca, 21, and Jonathan Salazar, 20, escaped from the Monterey County Jail in Salinas, a city about 60 miles south of San Jose, in the early morning hours on Sunday but were not reported missing until about 8:15 a.m., Capt. John Thornburg, public information officer for the Monterey Sheriff’s Office, told reporters during a press conference Monday.Fonseca and Salazar were able to create a hole about 22 inches wide in the ceiling above a bathroom in their housing unit, which enabled them to climb in and work their way through, Thornburg said.On the other side of the bathroom wall, which is a space that houses pipes for plumbing, they kicked in a hatch that led to the outside. Since the jail is under construction, the outdoor area was covered in construction fencing, rather than security fencing with barbed wire, and the two were able to leave the jail’s grounds, Thornburg said.The vulnerability is unique to the unit that the pair was being housed in, and maintenance crews are currently addressing how to fix it, Thornburg said.The jail experienced another escape about five years ago, but in that case, the inmate climbed through a ventilation duct in a different housing unit, Thornburg said.Authorities are investigating how long they were planning their escape. When asked whether they had help on the inside by employees, Thornburg replied, “absolutely not.”Fonseca and Salazar were both arrested by the Salinas Police Department for homicide and other violent crimes, Thornburg said.Fonseca was booked on June 7, 2018, for charges of murder and attempted robbery on a $2.25 million bond, according to court records. He allegedly shot and killed two people earlier that month, The Californian reported.Salazar was arrested on July 7, 2018 for a murder that was committed in October 2017, according to the Salinas Police Department. He and an unnamed minor were charged with killing a man and attempting to murder his girlfriend after Salazar allegedly fired into the couple’s car with their 18-month-old child inside, The Californian reported. The child was not injured in the shooting.Other charges Salazar was being held on include vehicle theft, conspiracy to commit a crime, violation of probation and possession of a stolen vehicle, according to court records.They were both born in Salinas and are affiliated with gangs, although it appears that they are affiliated with opposing gangs and did not have a connection prior to being jailed in the same unit, said Thornburg.Authorities are asking for the public’s help locating them, but warned not to approach the suspects, who are considered to be armed and dangerous. They are currently wearing jail-issued clothing, he added.A $5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the inmates’ arrest. Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.