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ABC News(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- The Justice Department is seeking the death penalty against Dylann Roof, the South Carolina man who allegedly opened fire inside a Charleston church last year, killing nine.

"Following the department’s rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty," Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Tuesday. "The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision."

Roof is accused of killing black worshipers at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. in June 2015, allegedly armed with a .45 caliber handgun and eight magazines loaded with hollow point bullets.

He was looking to kill black worshipers with the goal of "fanning racial flames" around the country and as retribution for perceived slights against whites, Lynch has previously said.

A federal grand jury in South Carolina has indicted Roof, now 22, on 33 counts of federal hate crimes and firearms charges. Roof is also facing state charges.

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

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ABCNews.com(DODGE CITY, Kan.) -- A "large and destructive" tornado hit Kansas four miles southwest of Dodge City, Kansas Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service confirmed.

The tornado struck at 6:40 p.m., moving at 20 mph. The NWS called the weather event potentially "deadly" and cautioned residents to "take cover," adding that mobile homes could be destroyed and homes, businesses and vehicles could sustain considerable damage.

It is unclear how much damage the tornado caused.

A Tornado Warning was issued for Northwestern Ford County until 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. "Catastrophic" hail was also forecast as a possibility.

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

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KGO-TV(SAN LEANDRO, Calif.) -- Two people were killed when an Amtrak train collided with a car in Northern California on Tuesday, the Alameda County Fire Department said.

The crash occurred in San Leandro, a city on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, according to the fire department. The Amtrak Capitol Corridor train 532, which operates between San Jose and Sacramento, was heading east when it struck the car, Amtrak Spokesperson Vernae Graham said in a statement.

None of the 39 passengers on board were injured, Graham said. They were transferred to a bus, where they will reconnect to another train and continue to their destination.

Amtrak is investigating the position of the railroad crossing gates at the time of the accident. It is unclear whether they were raised or how fast the train was traveling.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The notorious Romanian hacker known as Guccifer is expected to plead guilty in federal court on Wednesday, according to prosecutors.

Guccifer, whose name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, 44, allegedly hacked into emails and social media accounts and released the personal information of numerous high-profile victims.

His alleged victims include former Secretary of State Colin Powell and family members of former President George W. Bush.

Earlier this month, Lazar made headlines when he said he had hacked into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, but officials remain skeptical of his claims.

In 2014, he was indicted on charges of wire fraud, unauthorized access to a protected computer, aggravated identity theft, cyberstalking and obstruction of justice, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Lazar hacked accounts of a "family member of two former U.S. presidents, a former U.S. Cabinet member, a former member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former presidential adviser," the press release states.

"After gaining unauthorized access to their email and social media accounts, Lazar publicly released his victims’ private email correspondence, medical and financial information, and personal photographs," according to the press release.

Lazar initially pleaded not guilty to the charges against him on April 14, but a change-of-plea hearing was scheduled last week, according to court records.

In March, his extradition from Romania was approved, and he made his initial court appearance on U.S. soil on April 1. “Mr. Lazar violated the privacy of his victims and thought he could hide behind the anonymity of the Internet,” Dana J. Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement at the time of his extradition.

His court-appointed attorney, Shannon Quill, declined to comment on his case, citing office policy.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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Snohomish County Sheriff(SEATTLE) -- The bodies of a Washington State couple who went missing last month after failing to attend a concert with friends have been found, authorities said.

Patrick Shunn, 45, and Monique Patenaude, 46, were found in a remote area a few miles north of their home in Arlington, according to Shari Ireton, Director of Communications for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives used information they received from suspect Tony Reed, who helped them pinpoint the exact location of the bodies, Ireton said.

Shunn and Patenaude were last seen April 11 after they planned to go to an Iron Maiden concert in Tacoma but never showed up. Neighbors reported them missing the next day.

Days later, police announced they had probable cause for the arrest of Tony Reed and his brother, John. Tony Reed, 49, was taken into custody on May 16 at the U.S.-Mexico border, Ireton said. He was booked into the Snohomish County jail on Saturday and is charged with helping his 53-year-old brother murder the couple.

The brothers fled to Mexico after the murder, according to police. John Reed is still at large. Investigators said they found a car belonging to him on April 16 in Ellensburg, Washington.

He was described by police as 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds with hazel eyes and gray hair.

A cause of death has yet to be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner, Ireton said.

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KTRK-TV(HOUSTON) -- Authorities released surveillance footage Tuesday that captured a Houston, Texas boy's journey home from school moments before he was stabbed to death in a brazen daytime attack.

In footage given to police from a neighbor's home-security system, Josue Flores, 11, could be seen on May 17 at one point crossing the street and then making his way home on the sidewalk. He is carrying a green backpack.

Police said just two blocks from where the footage was taken, the sixth-grader at Marshall Middle School was fatally stabbed around 4:45 p.m. He'd reportedly stayed late at school that day to attend a science club party.

According to police, witnesses said they "heard loud screaming" and saw Josue struggling with someone who eventually then ran off. Police said they found Josue collapsed in the grass near the sidewalk.

"Josue was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital to be treated for multiple stab wounds, but was pronounced dead a short time later," police said.

Josue's funeral was held Tuesday at Holy Name Catholic Church. Funds were being raised to help with the cost of funeral expenses.

"I wake up believing it's just a horrible dream, that I'll wake up and be able to see my brother again, talk to him about this," Juan Flores, Josue's brother, told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV. "When the burial is over it's something I have to accept, that it's reality."

In a plea for the public's help, authorities released the surveillance video hoping that it would lead them to the boy's killer. Investigators are still awaiting results on DNA evidence.

"This is a monstrous crime -- and I say that not just as district attorney but as a mother," Harris County district attorney Devon Anderson said recently during a news conference. "There is a monster who is out among us. You may know who he is. ... Your conscience needs to be your guide."

On May 18, Houston authorities named and arrested a suspect, charging the man with murder in Josue's slaying. On May 20, however, they announced that charges had been dropped because the man had a confirmed alibi.

"The murderer is still loose at this point," Lt. Robert Blain said that day during a news conference.

Josue's attacker is described as a black male, 25 to 30 years old, about 6 feet tall and weighing 180 to 200 pounds. Police said he had short hair and was wearing a black shirt, black pants and had a green jacket over his shoulders at the time of the attack.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) -- A threat affecting planes originating in Houston prompted additional screening and course changes for at least two flights, ABC News has confirmed. The threat was found to be non-specific and non-credible.

First, a Delta flight from Houston to Atlanta was forced to turn around shortly after takeoff this morning due to security concerns. Customers and baggage were re-screened, and the flight was allowed to take off after a short delay.

Then, an American Eagle flight from Houston to Los Angeles with 71 on board landed and parked at a remote location at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after officials became aware of a threat. Video appeared to show law enforcement officers approaching the aircraft with guns drawn.

An investigation to determine the person or persons responsible for the threat is in progress, according to a spokesperson for the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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FBI(NEW YORK) -- Federal officials arrested a young New York City man Tuesday for allegedly supporting ISIS, the culmination of an elaborate joint FBI-New York Police Department sting operation in which the 22-year-old was duped by at least four undercover law enforcement agents, according to court documents.

Bronx resident Sajmir Alimehmeti was arrested before dawn Tuesday morning without incident. A criminal complaint filed by the Department of Justice alleges that Alimehmeti helped a person he believed to be an ISIS recruit -- who was in fact working for federal authorities -- travel to Syria to fight with ISIS by giving advice and helping the individual grab last-minute supplies.

Alimehmeti was also charged with passport fraud for allegedly lying about losing his passport in an attempt to get a new one.

Alimehmeti had previously attempted to join ISIS himself in 2014, the complaint says, but he was stopped in the United Kingdom twice -- once because “authorities found camouflage pants and shirts, as well as nunchucks, in Alimehmeti’s luggage.” The second time, U.K. authorities reported that “a number of images of ISIL [ISIS] flags and improvised explosive device (‘IED’) attacks.” He was sent back to the U.S.

The complaint says U.K. authorities shared this information with the U.S. in late 2014 and by the fall of 2015, a complicated plan had come together to use a team of undercover agents in an investigation into Alimehmeti’s purported connection to ISIS, including the staging of one agent’s fake travel to Raqqa, Syria, complete with photographs of the agent with what looked like desert in the background.

Alimehmeti spent some time with a rotating cast of undercover agents and allegedly repeatedly showed his support for ISIS. Upon learning of the one undercover agent’s apparent travel to Syria, Alimehmeti “expressed excitement and indicated, in sum and substance, that he was jealous of [the undercover employee] and that [the employee] should ‘hook him up,’” according to the complaint.

“I’m ready to f---ing go with you, man… You know I would… I’m done with this place. There are kuffar [unbelievers] everywhere,” he said later, upon learning of another “ISIS recruit’s” plans to travel to Syria, according to the complaint.

A search of Alimehmeti’s computer turned up more purported evidence of his support for ISIS, including a photograph of him with the black flag commonly associated with ISIS in the background. The computer also contained photos of ISIS fighters in the Middle East, the FBI said.

Making yet another appearance in a domestic terrorism case is Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born member of al Qaeda who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Al-Awlaki’s sermons preaching jihad and violence against the West have been found on computers of several Americans accused of terror-related crimes, and he is believed to have inspired several attacks against the American homeland. In this case, the FBI says several of his lectures were found on Alimehmeti’s computer.


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ABC News(LAS VEGAS) -- Amid a storm of outrage and criticism, George Zimmerman on Monday explained publicly for the first time why he auctioned off the pistol he used to kill unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin during an altercation in 2012.

The former neighborhood-watch volunteer, who was acquitted of second-degree murder in July of 2013, said he auctioned off his 9-mm Kel-Tec PF-9 pistol for $250,000. He also promised to use some of the proceeds to push back against the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter, which has risen in popularity in the wake of the death of Martin and other unarmed black victims of gun and police violence.

A Black Lives Matter community Facebook page has over 130,000 “likes,” and uses as its cover page an illustration of an activist wearing a black hood, symbolic of the protests that erupted after 17-year-old Martin was killed by Zimmerman near his Florida home.

Speaking Monday to ABC Las Vegas affiliate KTNV-TV via Skype between puffs from a thick cigar, Zimmerman struck a pose of defiance, discussing the process of auctioning the gun, and accusing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton of pandering to the black community to get votes.

"I was tired of Hillary Clinton's anti-gun rhetoric,” Zimmerman said of his rationale for auctioning off the pistol. "She has been stumping around for a false campaign for the Trayvon Martin Foundation. She lied, saying that I killed him when he was walking home in his daddy's neighborhood. Which if anyone watched more than seven minutes of the trial they would know that is false."

The unarmed Martin was visiting his father's fiancée’s neighborhood where he was returning from a convenience store before the deadly encounter with Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense.

Zimmerman said he would use some of the proceeds to help cops who had been targeted by violence.

"I am going to donate to officers such as the deputy in Texas that was shot in the head at point-blank range for no other reason than he was in uniform,” Zimmerman said, referring to Alden Clopton, a police officer who was shot four times ambush-style and survived. “No one can replace his life. No one can replace the service he was doing to his community. My goal is to attempt to make his family as whole as possible again."

Zimmerman has been savaged by critics from the moment he announced his desire to auction off the pistol. Shaun King, a prominent civil rights activist and surrogate of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, penned an op-ed in the New York Daily News calling Zimmerman "injustice in the flesh".

"He is the living, breathing, walking, talking personification of injustice. He is injustice in the flesh. It nauseates us. It infuriates us. It takes us somewhere, emotionally, where we don't want to go, but we can't help it," King wrote.

This is not the first time Zimmerman has provoked outrage since being acquitted of murdering Martin. In 2015, he generated headlines for retweeting an image of Martin's corpse.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Thieves robbed a New York City bank over the weekend, apparently by cutting a wide hole in the roof, police said, noting that the sophisticated heist at the Maspeth Federal Savings branch in Rego Park, Queens, is the tenth of its kind across New York City.

A bank employee first saw the gaping hole in the roof of the building upon arriving for work shortly before 8:30 a.m. Monday, police said. A ladder was also found in the back of the bank. The hole apparently gave the thieves access to the vault area, which houses safety deposit boxes and teller’s cash.

“There is wood on the roof. They cut directly through the metal that sits underneath there. They go after the safety deposit boxes, normally this crew,” New York Police Department Detectives Bureau Chief Robert Boyce told ABC News. “They are pros, because they cut the video cameras.”

An unknown amount of safety deposit boxes, which customers rent from the bank to keep important documents, valuable jewelry and other prized possessions, were found to have been removed from the vault. Police discovered dozens of empty boxes piled on the roof of the building.

“Generally, they seek to get the boxes inside and they just stack them up on the roof and they go through it,” Boyce said.

The burglary is part of “a 10-case pattern” across the city that’s been occurring since 2011, Boyce said. The one at the Maspeth Federal Savings branch is likely connected to another through-the-roof raid that happened in Brooklyn’s Borough Park in April, in which thieves pilfered nearly $300,000, Boyce said. No arrests have been made in any of the cases and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

Maspeth Federal Savings released a statement Monday, saying its Rego Park branch will remain closed while authorities conduct a forensic investigation over the coming days. ABC News reached out to bank employees for additional comment but did not immediately hear back.

“Maspeth Federal Savings is a community bank and this burglary really hits home,” the bank said on its Facebook page. “The full extent of what was stolen is still being determined but includes a number of safe deposit boxes and teller’s cash, which is kept in the same area.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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Scott Mall(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — A North Carolina mother of two who was charged with child abuse last year after letting her 11-year-old son drive a golf cart during a family vacation is now sharing her story publicly.

Julie and Scott Mall were watching a sunset on exclusive Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina last July when, they said, their son asked to drive the golf cart back to their $1,000 per night rented cottage. Moments later, police officers stopped the family.

Julie Mall, 43, of the Charlotte area, described to the Charlotte Observer how she remembers the police officer handling her.

"He has my arm behind my back and I sort of fall to my knees, because it hurts, and then he pushes me down into the ground, puts his knee into my back and he's a big dude,” Mall told the newspaper.

Mall’s husband recorded video as police handcuffed Mall and carried her away, taking her to jail and charging her with resisting arrest and child abuse.

Bald Head Island is an area accessible only by boat. No cars are allowed and golf carts are allowed to be driven by people age 16 and older.

The arresting officer, James Hunter, claimed Mall was at fault in the arrest. In the arresting documents, the officer said Mall failed to “surrender her hands to be handcuffed” and that Mall and her husband were “intoxicated…uncooperative and obstinate.”

Mall told the Charlotte Observer neither she nor her husband was intoxicated, adding that she had one glass of wine with dinner earlier in the evening. The mom of two told the Observer she was taken to a detention center on the mainland and charged with resisting a public officer, being intoxicated and disruptive and misdemeanor child abuse.

The state later dismissed the case against Mall after Officer Hunter twice failed to appear in court, according to the Observer.

Under North Carolina law, the charges against Mall could be reinstated at any time up to two years after the offense.

Neither the village of Bald Head Island nor the attorney for Officer Hunter replied to ABC News’ requests for comment.

Mall’s criminal defense attorney said his client “got a good outcome.”

"Julie and her family suffered a great deal during this ordeal, but got a good outcome in the end,” Bruce Mason told ABC News. “It should be noted that widespread use of cameras means that officers are now monitored by the people. When their conduct exceeds their authority, they will be held accountable."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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iStock/Thinkstock(LIHUE, Hawaii) -- In separate incidents, two planes crashed in Hawaii Monday morning, authorities said.

The first crash, which occurred at 9:30 a.m. local time, killed all five adults on-board the Cessna 182H taking off for a skydiving trip, going down shortly after departure from Port Allen Airport on the island of Kauai, according to Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara.

The plane held a pilot, two instructors and two jumpers, likely preparing for a tandem jump over the island, Sakahara said.

The crash caused a brush fire just outside the fence line of the airport, where one of the victims was transported to a local hospital before being pronounced dead, authorities said.

Kauai Fire Department said the plane belonged to Skydive Kaua. The company did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

The second crash occurred under more unclear circumstances, but with less grim results.

According to Honolulu EMS, the separate accident occurred about 2 hours later when a 56-year-old pilot and his 52-year-old female passenger crashed just yards off the shore of the island of Oahu. Both were rescued by Ocean Safety lifeguards and brought to shore. They both survived the crash. One had injuries, but was declared stable.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told ABC News the Beechcraft Sundowner experienced engine trouble while inbound to Honolulu International Airport and landed just off of Makaha Beach.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate both crashes, according to Gregor and the NTSB.

Sakahara confirmed the second crash and told ABC News the weather appeared clear Monday morning.


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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Kelly Hoggan, the Transportation Security Administration's head of security, has been removed from his post, according to an internal memo and the House Oversight Committee.

Even after TSA failed to catch fake bombs and banned weapons smuggled through checkpoints by undercover investigators, Hogan received bonuses totaling $90,000, causing widespread outrage among lawmakers.

 

UPDATE: Kelly Hoggan has been removed from his position as head of security at TSA, following our hearing on May 12 on mismanagement at TSA.

— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) May 23, 2016

Deputy Assistant Administrator Darby LaJoye will temporarily take Hoggan’s place, according to the TSA internal memo, which does not name Hoggan.

LaJoye will take the reins as the TSA grapples with long lines and a stagnant workforce nationwide.


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Win McNamee/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Federal authorities have been looking into whether donations made to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s campaign to become governor may have violated federal law, a source with knowledge of the probe told ABC News.

The probe could very well turn up no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the source said.

According to an attorney for the Democratic governor’s campaign, McAuliffe has not been told he is under FBI investigation, and neither he nor the campaign know anything about the matter.

Nevertheless, as part of the FBI’s review, agents have looked at McAuliffe’s time associated with the Clinton Global Initiative and contributions to his 2013 campaign from foreign nationals such as Wang Wenliang, a prominent Chinese businessman who reportedly donated $120,000 to McAuliffe’s campaign, the source said.

“[C]ontributions to the campaign from Mr. Wang were completely lawful,” McAuliffe campaign attorney Marc Elias said in a statement to ABC News. “The Governor will certainly cooperate with the government if he is contacted about it.”

An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on news of the probe, which was first reported by CNN.

The governor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) — A judge found Baltimore police officer Edward Nero not guilty Monday on all four charges for his role in the events leading up to the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

Nero, 30, had pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from his actions during the initial stop and arrest of Gray, who suffered a catastrophic spinal injury while in police custody. Gray died one week later and his death sparked days of violent protests in Baltimore. Because Nero opted for a bench trial, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams decided his fate rather than a jury.

During the case, prosecutors argued that Nero had no regard for Gray’s safety and was reckless by ignoring policing rules when he failed to place a seat belt on Gray, who was placed on his stomach in shackles in the back of a police transport vehicle. Congressman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said he would like to see seat belts in every police van moving forward.

Williams grilled prosecutors during closing arguments last Thursday, questioning whether a crime was in fact committed by Nero.

“So, every time there’s an arrest without probable justification -- it is a crime?” Williams asked.

“We believe that the search and arrest without justification are assault, your honor,” Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe responded. “There’s no question about that.”

Legal experts say the tone of Williams' pointed questions during closing arguments gave an indication it would be an uphill battle for prosecutors to win their case against Nero.

The verdict comes more than a year after Gray’s death last April. His death became a symbol of the black community’s distrust of police, triggering days of rioting and angry backlash from community members.

Defense attorney Marc Zayon said that his client's actions were completely legal and protected by the law, and that the state’s case against Nero is “nonsensical.”

“I can’t believe I even have to argue this,” he said. “The detention is okay, the cuffing is okay, the moving is okay,” he said. “Being detained is a horrible thing, being cuffed is a horrible thing…but the law allows it.”

Public officials, including Cummings, called for peace and respect for the rule of law following the verdict.

“Whatever may be Judge Barry Williams' decision with respect to Officer Nero’s role in the death of Freddie Gray, that verdict will have as much legitimacy as our society and our justice system can provide,” Cummings said last week. “We will respect the decision.”


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