Town rallies around mom who alerted police to ‘imminent danger’ of school shooting

U.S. NEWS Town rallies around mom who alerted police to 'imminent danger' of school shooting

nazarethman/iStock(RICHMOND, Ind.) — Community members in Richmond, Ind., came together at a candlelight vigil Sunday to support a mom who alerted police about her teenage son who brought a gun to a middle school and turned the weapon on himself after exchanging gunfire with police.

The mother called 911 Thursday to alert authorities “to the imminent danger,” the Indiana State Police said. Her actions “likely prevented a lot of lost lives,” police said.

The armed 14-year-old died at Dennis Intermediate School from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police. He was not a student at the school but lived in the area.

Dozens attended Sunday’s vigil, where community members met with the boy’s mother and prayed with her, reported local NBC station WTHR.

“She’s a human. She’s a mother. She lost her child,” vigil organizer Shawn Wright told WTHR. “We wanted to bring her to let her know that she is supported too because at the end of the day she did a lot. She saved a lot of lives.”

The chaos at the middle school unfolded after the boy’s mother called police around 8 a.m. Thursday to report potential violence at the school, prompting a police response and the building to go on lock down, authorities said.

Officers confronted the teen outside the school and the gunman then “reportedly shot out the glass of a locked entry door” and ran inside the building, police said.

The teen exchanged gunfire with the officers as they followed him, police said.

No students were hurt, police said.

Because “someone knew something and said something,” Indiana State Police Sgt. John Bowling added Thursday, “the school was able to follow procedure to help protect students.”

The middle school remains closed on Monday.

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Posted On 17 Dec 2018

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to spend Christmas together

WORLD NEWS Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to spend Christmas together

Paul Grover- WPA Pool/Getty Images(LONDON) — Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will spend Christmas Day together at Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth’s estate in Norfolk.

The couples’ Christmas plans show a united front amid speculation swirling about disputes between Prince William, 36, and Prince Harry, 34, and their wives.

This will be the second year the couples spend Christmas together with Queen Elizabeth and the royal family.

The news came just days after the royals’ Christmas card photos were shared with the public.

William and Kate’s photo shows the couple casually posing with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, on the grounds of Anmer Hall, their country home in Norfolk.

Meghan and Harry’s photo was a never-before-seen shot of the couple gazing at fireworks during their wedding reception hosted by Prince Charles. The wedding reception was held at Frogmore House at Windsor Castle, near Frogmore Cottage, where the couple plans to live full-time beginning next year.

The royal family gathers on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts, following the German tradition. On Christmas Day, they join the congregation for the morning service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham followed by a Christmas lunch and, later, a buffet dinner prepared by Queen Elizabeth’s chef.

“I think if there have been any disagreements behind closed doors, then I think they will be very careful not to let that show,” said ABC News’ royal contributor Victoria Murphy. “I think we’ll see a show of all of them together enjoying themselves and being united for the holidays.”

The announcement of the royal family’s Christmas plans also came just as a division in Meghan’s personal life was made public again.

Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, gave an interview to Good Morning Britain Monday in which he begged his daughter to contact him. Meghan and her father have been estranged since around the time of her wedding to Harry in May.

“I love you very much. You’re my daughter and I’d really like to hear from you,” Thomas Markle said. “Whatever differences we probably have, we should be able to work them out. We’re family. Please reach out to me.”

Thomas Markle, who did not attend Harry and Meghan’s wedding, also spoke out about his future grandchild. Meghan and Harry are expecting their first child next year.

“There has to be a place for me,” he said. “I’m her father and I will be her grandfather to her children.”

Meghan, whose mother, Doria Ragland, attended her wedding, is preparing in London not only for the birth of her first child but also for the announcement of the focus of her charitable work.

There are new reports that Meghan, 37, will receive her first royal patronages from Queen Elizabeth in the New Year.

“She’s been having meetings behind the scenes to find out more about the charities and organizations that she’s considering becoming patron of,” Murphy said of Meghan. “She is very interested we know in women’s and girls’ rights around the world.”

She added, “We also know that she’s interested in education and equality of education for all, and we know that, with her background as an actress, she is very interested in the arts.”

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Posted On 17 Dec 2018

Coast Guardsman kills wife, son before taking own life in Miami: Officials

U.S. NEWS Coast Guardsman kills wife, son before taking own life in Miami: Officials

kali9/iStock(MIAMI) — An 8-year-old girl is fighting for her life after her father allegedly shot her and killed her mother, her little brother and himself at their Miami home, police said.

Petty Officer 1st Class John Presnar, 44, allegedly opened fire on his family after getting into an argument with his 39-year-old wife early Sunday, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Presnar’s mother-in-law witnessed part of the incident before running out of the house to seek help when Presnar pulled a gun, police said.

“According to investigators, [Presnar] and his wife were involved in a domestic dispute that escalated into a shooting,” police said in a statement. “When [Presnar] started shooting, his wife told her mother to run out of the house and call for help.”

The shooting happened about 12:41 a.m. Sunday at the family’s home in Miami, police said.

After killing his wife, Gretchen Presner, the Coast Guardsman allegedly shot his 7-year-old son to death, police said.

When officers arrived at the home, they found Presnar’s 8-year-old daughter suffering from a gunshot wound but still alive, officials said.

The girl was taken by helicopter to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, where she was in critical condition, police said.

Police did not immediately say what the couple was arguing about.

John Presnar joined the Coast Guard in 2001 and served as an electronics technician, Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Kelly told ABC affiliate station WPLG-TV in Miami.

“The Coast Guard is deeply saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the family members of those who where killed,” Kelly said. “We continue to pray and offer the full support of the Coast Guard to the young child fighting for her life.”

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Posted On 17 Dec 2018

Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray, crowned Miss Universe

Entertainment News  Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray, crowned Miss Universe


LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images(BANGKOK) — Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray, has been crowned the new Miss Universe. The 24-year-old Australia native beat out 93 contestants on Sunday night to take the title. She took the crown held by the outgoing Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.

The event took place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand aired on Fox and was hosted once again by Steve Harvey and model Ashley Graham. It was the 67th time the pageant has been staged.

Catriona, who works as a teacher’s assistant and is an HIV/AIDS advocate at Love Yourself PH, according to her Miss Universe biography, studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and holds a masters certificate in music theory.

Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green came in second, while Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutiérrez placed third.

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Posted On 17 Dec 2018

Former WNBA star Lisa Leslie appears in ABC’s “Speechless”

Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Former WNBA star Lisa Leslie took her talents to the small screen and made a guest appearance on an episode of ABC’s Speechless.

In the episode, which aired on Dec. 14, Leslie played character Kenneth Clements’ sister.

Watch a clip from her appearance on the sitcom below:

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Posted On 17 Dec 2018

Trump Organization plots quiet return to Dominican Republic, igniting ethics concerns

nzphotonz/iStock(WASHINGTON) — When the Trump Organization left the Dominican Republic after the economy crashed 10 years ago, their plans for dozens of luxury estates in a Trump-branded development appeared to leave with them. Buyers who staked millions on lots for their dream homes were left empty handed. The Trump team sued the developers, alleging fraud. And the billboards bearing the Trump name came down.

Now, there are signs the Trump brand may be returning to the Dominican Republic, and that has critics sounding alarms about the potential conflicts of interest for the sitting president of the United States.

“The constitution is very clear,” Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland on the foreign relations committee, told ABC News. “We expect the President to avoid these types of conflicts.”

The first sign the Trumps might try again in the sprawling Cap Cana resort community came 16 days after Donald Trump took the oath of office. His son Eric made a visit to the island on Feb. 5. 2017 to meet with the same developers he had once accused of “textbook fraud.” With the legal case settled, they had appeared to make peace.

“We are excited to be working with the Trump Organization in the future phases of the project,” a press release from the local developers said at the time. The visit sparked months of rumors, but no details emerged about how or when the Trump Organization would make its formal return to the island, and the original property where Trump helped market luxury estates remained largely barren.

But last month, the non-profit group Global Witness sent an undercover investigator to see if they could learn more. The group, which has a 25-year history of investigating corrupt regimes, human rights abuses, and money laundering, shared their findings exclusively with ABC News. That included undercover recordings that captured a sales agent at the Cap Cana resort describing a Trump-branded condominium development in the works for a new, beachfront location.

“We’re going to have a new development with the Trump Organization of apartments and commercial areas,” a saleswoman told a man she thought was a potential buyer who was actually a Global Witness investigator. “That is still in the works … With the Trump Organization, everything right now is on good terms.”

The saleswoman showed the investigator the beachfront location on a map of the Cap Cana resort community where she believed a Trump-branded project was slated to be built, and a man identifying himself as her boss confirmed it was in the works — a new phase of the original deal between the Trumps and local developers.

The Trump Organization calls the Global Witness report “completely false,” maintaining that it has no new development deals in the works and insists talks with the Dominican developers have been infrequent.

“In 2007, the company entered into a license agreement with a local developer for a multi-component real estate development project to be built over several years,” the statement says. “Though there have been some discussions about starting the next phase of the development, there are no plans in place at this time.”

An executive at the Trump Organization told ABC News that the company’s original 2007 agreement always envisioned their return to build a beachfront hotel and condominium project.

“This was all contemplated from day one,” said the executive, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly.

The potential for conflicts is a unique issue that confronted Trump even before he took office, as the first president in years who came into office with vast global business deals — many still in the works — and without any agreement to place that business into a blind trust. His business is run by his adult children, but their successes and failures still have the potential to impact his personal wealth.

Global Witness and other critics say any move by the Trump Organization to return to the island nation could represent a departure from the president’s promise to avoid undertaking fresh overseas developments during his term in office. It was a promise made nine days before Trump took the oath of office.

He told a gathering of reporters “I won’t have any conflicts of interest” before ceding the stage to his attorney, Sheri Dillon, who said Trump would insist on written approval from an ethics adviser “for new deals, actions, and transactions that could potentially raise ethics or conflicts of interest concerns.”

“President-elect Trump as well as Don [Trump Jr.], Eric [Trump]and [the company’s chief financial officer] Allen [Weisselberg] are committed to ensuring that the activities of the Trump organization are beyond reproach and cannot be perceived to be exploitive of the office of the presidency,” she said, adding: “No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s Presidency.”

A Trump Organization official did not respond when asked if the firm had received any ethics guidance about renewed discussions about the Dominican development.

Neither the Cap Cana developer, nor a New York lawyer who represented them in past matters, responded to calls and emails from ABC News seeking comment.

Investigators at Global Witness who said they have examined permitting and other records, say ethics issues are present whether or not their return to the Dominican was pre-ordained by their 2007 agreement.

“New or old, Trump’s business in the Dominican Republic poses a conflict of interest for him and for the American people,” a new report from Global Witness said, “as his business interests and the foreign policy interests of the U.S. may not always align.”

Cardin said the conflicts run both ways.

“If a foreign country wants to do a favor for the President by helping his business interests, they are expecting that will help them get favors here from the United States,” he said. At the same time, “it raises questions to everyone on whether decisions made by the President of the United States are based on what’s in the best interest of the United States or the best interest of his business.”

There have been signs the Dominican Republic has sought to influence the Trump Administration in a range of areas. Just weeks after the inauguration and Eric Trump’s visit to the Dominican Republic, the Dominican government hired a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm for the first time since 2007.

According to Justice Department filings reviewed by ABC News, the office of the Dominican president signed a $1.2 million contract with lobbyist Brian Ballard, who had previously represented Trump, and has been described in Politico as “closer to the president than perhaps any other lobbyist in town.” The lobbyist pledged to “advise, counsel, and assist,” the Dominican president “in communications with U.S. government officials.”

Other filings through the Foreign Agent Registration Act show Ballard’s office sharing updates with U.S. officials on a range issues with the U.S., including trade, alternative energy, as well as the country’s continued importance as a vacation destination for American tourists.

Ballard did not respond to questions from ABC News.

Eryn Schornick, an attorney with Global Witness, said she is concerned that the president may have a personal motivation to help the Dominican Republic with whatever dealings are going on between the two countries.

“He may be acting in his own accord and not on the interests of American people,” she said.

Right now, no federal ethics laws prevent the president from operating his business as he sees fit, but Cardin said he would like to see Congress take additional steps to address the potential for conflicts.

“That conflict is there,” Cardin said. “As we see in the Dominican Republic, they are doing additional business. So they have not even drawn the line at their current business enterprises. They are expanding them.”

Already, Democrats in Congress have indicated they plan to closely examine the president’s foreign dealings when they take control of the House of Representatives next month.

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Posted On 17 Dec 2018

Scoreboard roundup — 12/16/18

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Sunday’s sports events:

Brooklyn 144, Atlanta 127
Philadelphia 128, Cleveland 105
Indiana 110, NY Knicks 99
Washington 128, L.A. Lakers 110
Sacramento 120, Dallas 113
Miami 102, New Orleans 96
Denver 95, Toronto 86

OT Vegas 4, NY Rangers 3
Carolina 3, Arizona 0
Calgary 7, St. Louis 2
Buffalo 4, Boston 2
OT Winnipeg 5, Tampa Bay 4
San Jose 7, Chicago 3
Vancouver 4, Edmonton 2

Tennessee 17, NY Giants 0
Baltimore 20, Tampa Bay 12
Chicago 24, Green Bay 17
Buffalo 14, Detroit 13
Minnesota 41, Miami 17
Cincinnati 30, Oakland 16
Atlanta 40, Arizona 14
Indianapolis 23, Dallas 0
Washington 16, Jacksonville 13
OT San Francisco 26, Seattle 23
Pittsburgh 17, New England 10
Philadelphia 30, L.A. Rams 23

(9) Michigan St. 104, Green Bay 83
(24) Houston 68, Saint Louis 64

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Posted On 17 Dec 2018

Black conservatives to GOP: Reach out to black voters

adamkaz/iStock(WASHINGTON) — As a candidate in 2016, Donald Trump said Republicans must do better and would do better to reach members of the African-American community.

In another 2016 campaign speech, Trump boldly pledged to win 95 percent of black voters by 2020, declaring he wanted the GOP “to be the home of the African-American voter.”

However, more than two years later, 20 longtime conservative African-Americans who were extensively involved in the GOP before 2016, aren’t certain the Republican party has made necessary changes to sway black voters.

Increasingly in the era of Trump, not all conservatives consider themselves Republicans despite voting with the party.

“With respect to the GOP engaging blacks, it’s where it’s always been, it can always be better,” said Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former Republican National Committee spokesperson who has advised numerous top campaigns.

In order for things to change, she said Republicans have to make black outreach a priority.

In Florida, Latanya Peterson led a successful effort as the minorities coalition coordinator for the Ron DeSantis gubernatorial campaign. DeSantis, a white Republican with close ties to Trump, ran against the Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum, an African-American.

According to a CNN exit poll, DeSantis won 14 percent of black voters in the general election — nearly double Trump’s 2016 showing.

Peterson and other Florida conservatives noted DeSantis’ victory was based on work over several years to bring together coalitions of minority voters. Nationally, Peterson said outreach on the local level isn’t the focus of leadership.

In a statement to ABC News, Kamilah Prince, the RNC’s director of African-American engagement, said that the committee is connecting with African-Americans through “information sessions, roundtables, town halls and workshops,” giving the party “the opportunity to have real conversations, build relationships, and discuss policies from the Trump Administration that directly benefit African Americans” such as record low unemployment, criminal justice reform or support for historically black colleges and universities.

In 2012, the RNC commissioned an “autopsy” report after former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss to former President Barack Obama. It urged the party to recruit minority candidates. The RNC then pledged to spend $10 million on minority communities.

Telly Lovelace joined the RNC in 2016 as the director of black initiatives, and he said he was the only full-time African-American staffer outside of human resources and security. He said RNC chair Reince Prebius could have done better but did do more than current RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel.

The RNC does “a little bit here and a little bit there but when they do it, it’s to check a box,” Lovelace said about outreach efforts.

He also noted since his departure that the committee doesn’t have an African-American spokesperson.

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s missteps at the end of her campaign didn’t help. The white Republican who ran against former Rep. Mike Espy, an African-American Democrat, embraced a supporter after he praised her and said before a cheering crowd, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” Mississippi had the highest number of recorded lynchings in the U.S.

Shermichael Singleton, a veteran of three presidential campaigns, called Trump’s decision to campaign for Hyde-Smith a “categorical mistake.” After Democrats secured the House, Singleton and others noted the importance of the GOP keeping the Senate, but would have preferred Trump not campaign for Hyde-Smith even if it cost Republicans the Senate seat.

“It has nothing to do about her views — he can care less about her view,” said media mogul and conservative commentator Armstrong Williams.

Then, as ballots were still being counted, the president held a post-election press conference and said, “Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

Days later, the first African-American Republican woman who was elected to Congress conceded defeat in a midterm decided by less than 1,000 votes.

“I felt sad that the president would publicly say these things about her,” said Williams said, echoing the sentiment of many black conservatives.

During an interview on ABC’s The View, Love said she was surprised by the remarks. She said Trump’s remarks noted the GOP’s issues with minority outreach.

People of color “need to feel like [outreach is] more than just transactional. They need to feel like there’s a relationship there,” Love said.

“The Republican Party traditionally has underestimated the black conservatives and African-American vote” said Alveda King, director of civil rights for the unborn for Priests for Life. “The thought [is] maybe, well, they aren’t going to vote for us anyway, so let’s not waste any money on that.”

King says Trump’s outreach to African-Americans was different, noting he spoke directly to black voters in churches, community events and at campaign rallies.

With Obama not on the ballot in 2016, “the Republican Party should have been primed for a rebound” among black voters, said Leah Wright Rigueur, an assistant professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. However, she said 2016 represented a conundrum for the GOP trying to appear inclusive as a “big tent” party.

In 2009, former RNC chairman Michael Steele worked to expand the party’s reach into communities of color as the first African-American to hold the position in the committee. Under his leadership, Republicans won 62 House seats, regained the House, saw the election of then-Rep. Tim Scott, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

In 2011, Steele lost re-election to Priebus, and reflected on the lack of progress on diversity asking “since then what has happened?”

It’s too early to tell if Trump will win 95 percent of black voters in 2020. Many conservatives say it’s unlikely he’ll face a primary challenger, but didn’t rule out the possibility from moderate Republicans such as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen.-elect Mitt Romney.

Trump, the only Republican who has filed for 2020, welcomed potential primary challenges from Flake or Kasich on Fox News last week.

On Sunday, Kasich’s political action committee “Kasich for America” sent a fundraising email in response to Trump’s interview on Fox News. The email stopped short of announcing a 2020 bid, but wrote, “Be careful what you wish for!”

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Posted On 17 Dec 2018