Fort Hood Shooter Was Being Treated for ‘Mental Issues’

Posted on: April 3rd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images(KILLEEN, Texas) — An Iraq War veteran who was being treated for mental health issues gunned down three colleagues at Fort Hood Wednesday before killing himself, authorities said.

Authorities are investigating whether an argument on or near the Texas base might have sparked the mayhem, sources tell ABC News.

The suspected gunman was identified by law enforcement and military sources as 34-year-old Spc. Ivan Lopez.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said the shooter — who he declined to identify — suffered from “mental issues,” was on medication, and was being evaluated for possible post-traumatic stress disorder.

The gunman was assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command, which is based at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, and had served four months in Iraq in 2011, Milley said at Wednesday’s media briefing.

A motive had not been identified, Milley said. He added that there was “no indication” the incident was related to terrorism, although investigators were not ruling anything out.

“Obviously, we are digging deep into his background,” Milley said. “He was undergoing behavioral health, psychiatric treatment for depression and anxiety and a variety of other psychological and psychiatric issues. …He was not diagnosed, as of today, with PTSD, he was undergoing a diagnosis process to determine if he had PTSD. That is a lengthy process.”

In addition to the four deaths, 16 people were injured in the shooting, all members of the military, Milley said. At least three were in critical condition, according to one of the hospitals treating the survivors.

The exact sequence of events was not totally clear, Milley said, but it is believed that, starting around 4 p.m. local time, the gunman “walked into one of the unit buildings, opened fire, got into a vehicle, fired from [the] vehicle, got out of the vehicle, walked into another building, opened fire again and was engaged by local law enforcement here at Fort Hood.”

At one point, Milley said, the gunman put his hands in the air, but then reached for his gun. When he did, an unidentified military policewoman engaged him. The gunman then shot and killed himself.

“It was clearly heroic, what she did at that moment in time,” Milley said.

[ CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE ]

Xanderia Morris, who lives near the Lopez family in Killeen, said Lopez’s wife walked outside, looking distraught as news of the shooting spread.

“She told me that she hasn’t talked to [her husband] since 3 o’clock and was hysterical,” Morris said. “She was shaking and crying.”

The shooting details were especially surprising for Morris because she says Lopez seemed normal, a devoted husband and father.

“He was always smiling and waving whenever I saw him, so I didn’t think anything strange or unusual,” she said.

The firearm used by the assailant was a semi-automatic, .45 caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, Milley said, adding that it was not registered on the base as base rules require.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was conducting an urgent trace of the gun, which is standard protocol in these types of incidents, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Authorities initially were concerned another shooter might be at large and a “shelter in place” order remained in effect after the shooting. An all-clear siren sounded several hours after the shooting, reopening Fort Hood.

Wednesday’s violence brought back sharp memories from November 2009, when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire inside Fort Hood, killing 13 people. He was convicted and sentenced to death in August.

“Obviously, this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago,” Obama said during an impromptu appearance before reporters inside the Chicago Cut Steakhouse.

“We know these families. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make,” he said. “Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community, and we are going to do everything we can to make sure the community of Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with a tough situation, but also any potential aftermath.”

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Bus Driver Caught on Camera Calling Student a ‘Crybaby’

Posted on: April 3rd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Jaroslav Frank/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO) — Texas officials fired a school bus driver after an on-board camera caught her calling a sobbing student “crybaby” and urging other children to chime in and mock the girl.

The video, first obtained by ABC News affiliate KSAT-TV in San Antonio, shows the bus driver from Floresville Elementary School in southern Texas berating the student.

“Ready?” she asked the students. “Cry…cry…cry… I want my mama.”

The video was apparently recorded in late February or early March. Monna Perez, whose children ride the same bus, was horrified after seeing the footage.

“I think it’s horrible, especially if it’s my child crying?” Perez said. “If you can’t bully at school, why are they allowing it on the bus?”

Floresville Independent School District Superintendent Sherri Bays, who did not identify the driver, told ABC News that her behavior was unacceptable.

“I was very concerned with that, and it’s definitely not appropriate,” Bays said. “I think she’s acting very childish and immature.”

The school’s PTA is also disappointed, saying in a statement, “The video is of great concern to everyone who has watched it.”

The driver is no longer employed by the district, Bays told ABC News.

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Fort Hood Shooting: Alleged Gunman Identified as Spc. Ivan Lopez

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

KWTX-TV(FORT HOOD) — The soldier who allegedly went on a deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood Wednesday was identified as Spc. Ivan Lopez, according to law enforcement officials.

At an evening news conference, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley did not identify Lopez, but said the alleged shooter arrived at Ft. Hood in February from another installation and was being evaluated for possible post-traumatic stress disorder.

Milley added that the alleged gunman was married with a family and served a four-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2011. He was not believed to have been wounded in action.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News Lopez was among the four people — all soldiers — who died in the shooting at the army base in Killeen, Texas. At least 16 other service members were injured in the shooting and were being treated at area hospitals.

“Obviously, we are digging deep into his background,” Milley said of a probe into the shooter’s psychiatric history and experiences in combat.

Lopez was an active duty soldier and served as a truck driver in the 1st Infantry Division, sources said. He also served in the National Guard from 1999 until 2010.

Milley declined to discuss a possible motive, though he said the incident was not believed to be tied to terrorism.

Fort Hood was the site of a mass shooting in 2009, when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people.

During Hasan’s trial, he called himself a “mujahedeen,” or Muslim holy warrior, and did not deny he was the shooter. He was convicted and received the death penalty in August 2013.

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Four Dead in Fort Hood Shooting

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT HOOD, Texas) — Four people have been killed, including the gunman, in a shooting at Fort Hood in Texas Wednesday, according to senior U.S. officials and the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The committee chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told CNN he had been briefed on the deadly incident and said there were also 14 injuries. Authorities were concerned another shooter might be at large, but no link to terrorism has been discovered, the lawmaker said.

Before McCaul’s appearance on CNN, Fort Hood’s media office cited an initial report that the shooter was dead, but said the report was not confirmed.

Sgt. Maj. Nicholas Connor, a spokesman for Fort Hood, told ABC News that authorities were searching for the shooter and would lift the “shelter in place” order as soon as they believed it was safe.

President Obama said his national security team was “working with folks on the ground to determine exactly what happened and to ensure that everyone is secure.”

“The situation is fluid right now….Any shooting is troubling,” the president said. “We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again.” The president said he didn’t want to comment on the facts “until we know exactly what happened. But just for now I would hope that everyone across the country keep the families of Fort Hood in our thoughts and our prayers.”

The president added, “We don’t yet know what happened tonight but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again.”

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Connor said, “Unfortunately, this is something that we here at Fort Hood have experience with and this is something that is conjuring up a lot of memories of the past.”

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Shooting at Fort Hood Military Base

Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, was the site of a mass shooting in 2009, when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people.

During Hasan’s trial, he called himself a “mujahedeen,” or Muslim holy warrior, and did not deny he was the shooter. He was convicted and received the death penalty in August 2013.

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Colorado Zoo Offers Playdate With Otter Pups

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(PUEBLO, Colo.) — In what may be the cutest playdate ever, Colorado’s Pueblo Zoo is offering the chance to interact with the zoo’s three adorable newborn otter pups.

The first two people who offer the zoo a $500 donation will be able to hold the tiny animals and help with their wellness checks, spokeswoman Abigail Krause, director of marketing and communications at the Pueblo Zoo, told ABC News.

“It’s an opportunity for people to get an up-close look at what happens with otters and at a zoo,” Krause said. ”The mother, Freyja, has been very trusting of the keeper, but the amount of time people can have contact with them right now is once a week.”

The pups — two females and one male — were born on March 3 and now weigh a little more than a pound each, Krause said.

She expects the pups, which also need to be named, will make their public debuts this summer.

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Judge in Colo. Philanthropist Murder Case Sets April 23 Hearing Date

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ASPEN, Colo.) — Three people arrested in connection with the death of Aspen philanthropist Nancy Pfister will be back inside a Colorado courtroom later this month after a judge on Wednesday set an April 23 hearing date.

Judge Gail Nichols was set to hear motions Wednesday, but postponed the hearing after defense lawyers argued they needed more time to analyze evidence.

Pfister, 57, whose late parents co-founded the popular Buttermilk ski area west of Aspen, was found severely beaten in her mountain home on Feb. 26 after returning from an extended trip to Australia, authorities said.

Pfister’s friend Katherine M. Carpenter was arrested last month and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. William F. Styler III and his wife, Nancy Styler, have also been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

“We have almost a terabyte of discovery,” said Tina Fang, the attorney for William Styler. “It’s an incredible amount of information.”

Styler, 65, was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair, followed by Carpenter and then his wife, Nancy, 62.

Each has hired their own lawyers and are being held in separate county jails.

It was Carpenter who made the 911 call around 6 p.m. on Feb. 26 to report finding Pfister’s body in the upstairs master bedroom closet inside her home.

Pfister wrote in late January and in early February on Facebook that the Stylers, who rented the home for about three months, had not been paying rent or utilities and that she was seeking new tenants.

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Shooting Incident at Fort Hood, FBI Tells ABC News

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT HOOD, Texas) –  A shooting occurred Wednesday at Fort Hood in Texas, federal authorities told ABC News, and FBI and ATF agents are responding to the scene.

A defense official said there is an “active shooter” on the Army post and said there have been “some casualties.”

A Twitter account for the army base announced “shelter in place” has been ordered for all personnel. The post released a statement saying that “injuries” have been reported, but no further details were available.

President Obama has been informed of the shooting, a White House spokesperson said.

Fort Hood was the site of a mass shooting in 2009, when Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Plants White House Garden

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Spring is slow to come, but first lady Michelle Obama got a jump on the season — planting fruits and vegetables alongside local elementary school students in the White House Kitchen Garden Wednesday afternoon.

This year, it will be a pollinating garden, adding a flower section designed to attract bees and butterflies.

“Make sure all of them get a little water,” the first lady said while kneeling alongside two students from several D.C. elementary schools.

The White House Kitchen Garden, now in its sixth year, was the seed of what ultimately grew to be Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. This year, Obama was joined by the founders of FoodCorps and six of its members, each of whom have dedicated a year to ensuring children grow up in healthier food environments.

The students planted a variety of fruits and vegetables, including collard greens, rhubarb, onions, strawberries, raspberries and a new addition, a paw paw tree.

Obama worked alongside the students, helping them lift a watering can when its weight grew too heavy and planting some of the larger flowers.

“Guys, this is awesome,” she told them. “Look at all the work you did. You know how long this would have taken me if I did it by myself?”

Before leaving, the first lady said she was looking forward to seeing the students again at harvest time – “when we pick it up, take it out and we eat it.”

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Harvard Sets Up Task Force After Sex Attack Victim Speaks Out

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — The victim of an on-campus sexual assault who wrote a scathing op-ed piece this week in Harvard University’s Crimson has “generated a lot of emotion” at the Ivy League school, prompting university officials to write a letter to its undergraduate students.

The student, who remained anonymous, says in her piece, “Dear Harvard: You Win,” that she survived a violent sexual attack in 2013 and her complaints were dismissed by college officials. In response, Harvard officials said they will support a student task force to evaluate its sexual assault policy.

“Harvard College as an institution and as a community deplores sexual violence and is committed to its prevention and to supporting its victims,” wrote Stephen Lassonde, dean of student life. “Sexual harassment and sexual assault can never be tolerated.”

“This op-ed has sparked discussions across the community,” he wrote in the letter, which he shared with ABC News. “As we enhance and refine our policies and procedures, we also need constructive engagement with our community, especially the student community. This includes using the existing support structure, speaking with your tutors, proctors and resident deans, and engaging and supporting your peers.”

The student’s op-ed piece has once again put a spotlight on the issue of campus sexual assaults, just as a White House task force is set to release recommendations on how to cope with the problem.

The woman says she has been living in the same dorm with the man who assaulted her, “running into [him] about five times a day,” and yet all her efforts to have him removed were ignored by her resident dean, housemaster, sexual assault tutors and counselors from the university’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, as well as her lawyer.

As a result of the op-ed, Harvard’s Undergraduate Council has formed a task force to discuss the university’s two-decades-old sexual assault policy, which the victim says is “outdated and narrow in scope.” It will collaborate with the student activist organization Our Harvard Can Do Better, which has been advocating for such changes.

Undergraduate Council Vice President Sietse K. Goffard told The Crimson that he was “taken aback” and “disturbed” by the scenario described in the anonymous Crimson piece and had sent it to numerous campus officials to urge action.

The author of the op-ed said that as a result of the assault, a psychiatrist diagnosed her with anxiety disorder and depression. She writes that she was having difficulty keeping up with her classes, taking pills to sleep and having nightmares about another assault.

“I spend most of my time outside of class curled up in bed, crying, sleeping, or staring at the ceiling, occasionally wondering if I just heard my assailant’s voice in the staircase,” she writes. “Often, the cough syrup sitting in my drawer or the pavement several floors down from my window seem like reasonable options.”

“I’m exhausted from asking for extensions because of ‘personal issues,’” she writes. “I’m exhausted from avoiding the laundry room, the house library and the mailroom because I’m scared of who I will run into….More than anything, I’m exhausted from living in the same house as the student who sexually assaulted me nine months ago.”

She said her assailant was a friend whom she trusted.

“It was a freezing Friday night when I stumbled into his dorm room after too many drinks,” she wrote. “He took my shirt off and started biting the skin on my neck and breast. I pushed back on his chest and asked him to stop kissing me aggressively. He laughed. He said that I should ‘just wear a scarf’ to cover the marks.”

She said he trapped her against a wall and abused and hurt her body even as she protested. “I was scared to death that he would continue to ignore what I said. I stopped everything and turned my back to him, praying he would leave me alone,” she wrote.

When the victim reported the assault to college officials, she said there was little hope they could launch an investigation and charge her assailant because he “may not have technically violated the school’s policy in the student handbook.”

“Even though he had verbally pressured me into sexual activity and physically hurt me, the incident did not fall within the scope of the school’s narrow definition of sexual assault,” she wrote.

This is not the first time The Crimson has addressed the issue of sexual assault. Editor Samuel Weinstock pointed out that the newspaper last year published the story of another sexual assault victim, named “Julie.”

She said that Harvard’s Administrative Board decided in closed deliberations to allow the student who sexually assaulted her to remain on campus. She also remained anonymous and told the newspaper she “feared retaliation from her perpetrator.”

Sexual violence is “common” on the American college campus, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), and this woman’s personal story is a familiar one, advocates said.

“The general things she is expressing are things we hear from many survivors,” said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN. “And I think there is a lot of frustration about the way universities are dealing with reports of rape. I can’t speak to the specifics of her case, whether or not the college handled it well or not, but her complaints are consistent with those of many others.”

“One of the hardest things a survivor has to deal with, and we’d like to see, is the university to quickly make [housing] accommodations,” he said.

The National Institute of Justice reports that at least 80 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim.

Justice Department statistics reveal that fewer than 5 percent of college women report rape and crimes of sexual assault.

Noting those alarming statistics, the White House Task Force on Women and Children has been set up to address the issue of sexual assaults on campus. Recommendations from that task force are expected later this month.

In 1992, the federal Jeanne Clery Act, also known as the “Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act,” was amended to require that schools afford victims of campus sexual assault certain basic rights. And in 1998, it required reporting of these crimes.

Congress also annually appropriates funds for schools to combat on-campus violence against women.

But, according to Berkowitz, colleges have been lax in reporting these statistics. “I think part of it is that no one wants to seem like a school where a lot of rapes happen, particularly when all the competitive schools are reporting low numbers,” he said. “The reality is that one school is probably not any worse than the next. This is a universal problem.”

He also noted that campus judicial systems are “not set up” to deal with serious crimes like rape: “They are established to deal with things like plagiarism and internal violations. Rape is more akin to murder and is a very elaborate crime.”

Harvard University officials said they would share the results of its new task force with the “entire Harvard community” in the coming months, said Lassonde, emphasizing students to avail themselves of a “number of resources that address sexual assault and harassment.”

“We look forward to seeing the results of that work,” he wrote.

“To build a community free of sexual violence and harassment will require all of us working together,” Lassonde said. “We take this issue very seriously and it is our hope that no student feels discouraged from reporting an incident.”

“Through our discussions and our actions we must be clear that sexual violence is not tolerated in our community,” he said. “Coming forward is one of the hardest things a person can do, which is why we must work to make it easier to speak to people within our community and get the support and guidance needed in these difficult and challenging situations.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Earthquakes in Chile and LA Raise Fears

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — The 8.2 earthquake that shook northern Chile and surrounding countries late Tuesday night was one of a string of recent earthquakes along what is known as the “Ring of Fire,” a circle of quake-prone areas on the Pacific Rim.

A magnitude 5.1 quake hit Los Angeles last week, followed by aftershocks along the California coast. And South America will be on the lookout in coming days for aftershocks that have already started following Tuesday night’s temblor.

Both cities lie along the so-called Ring of Fire, where two plates underneath the earth’s surface occasionally bump up against other plates, according to Kate Hutton, staff seismologist at California Institute of Technology.

“That affects South America, the California coast, Alaska, Japan, the Philippines. Basically any places around the Pacific Rim are at risk,” she said.

The 9.0 magnitude quake that hit Japan and caused the Fukushima meltdown in 2011 was on the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Hutton said the current risk is not greater because California and Chile experienced quakes.

“The biggest risk is aftershocks for the 8.2 in the same area where the 8.2 occurred. They’ll become less frequent with time, but the risk still exists for days and weeks,” Hutton said.

Scientists still don’t have a way to predict when and where earthquakes will hit, so it is impossible to say whether other quakes will strike along rim areas, she said.

The most susceptible areas on the Ring of Fire include such populated cities as Santiago, Chile; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Tokyo; and Lima, Peru.

“The most obvious aspect of earthquake distribution is its randomness in time,” Hutton said, “though not geography.”

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911 Operator Helps Save Dad’s Life on First Day on the Job

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The 911 operator who helped save her father’s life on her first day of work says her “hands froze over her keyboard” when she got the call.

Crystal Morrow was four hours into her first shift as a 911 operator in Dekalb County, Ga., in August when she answered a call about a 55-year-old man with diabetes who was incoherent.

The person on the other end of the newly released 911 call was Morrow’s aunt, Gail Morrow, who was calling about Crystal’s father.

“I heard her voice and I saw her name pop up on the screen,” Crystal Morrow said. “I said, ‘Wait, that is my aunt.’

“I did freeze, my hands froze over the keyboard, but I knew I had to get the call in,” she said.

Morrow walked her aunt through lifesaving steps to save her father until paramedics arrived, all while her aunt had no idea it was her niece on the other end of the phone.

“I want you to watch him very closely, if he becomes less awake and vomits, quickly turn him on his side,” Morrow can be heard instructing her aunt in the 911 call. “If he gets worse in any way, call us back immediately for further instructions, OK?”

Morrow’s father beat the odds and survived, just like his daughter beat the odds in getting the call in a 911 center that has as many as 12 operators answering close to 3,000 calls per day.

“Because of so many people being in the room, I didn’t think I would get the call,” Morrow said. “It’s crazy that I got it on my first day.”

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American Flag Found in Rubble of Washington Mudslide

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

David Ryder/Getty Images(OSO, Wash.) — When Sgt. Michael Cohan found an American flag lying in debris from the Snohomish County, Wash., mudslide, “he felt obliged to display it proudly,” the Washington National Guard tweeted.

 

SSgt. Michael Cohan finds an #AmericanFlag lying in the debris & felt obliged to display it proudly. #530slide pic.twitter.com/d7eHgCzaOm

— WA National Guard (@wa_natl_guard) April 1, 2014

 

After all, it was the rare poignant find in the search-and-rescue mission following the March 22 mudslide, which currently has a death toll of 28 with 20 victims still missing.

Because the flag is tattered and muddy, it isn’t fit to be flown, according to the flag portion of the U.S. Code. Instead, guardsman are flying a clean flag at half mast in the wreckage.

 

Maintaining morale & keeping hopes high amongst the devastation. A U.S. flag flies at half-staff amidst the #530slide pic.twitter.com/z2JmYjHwWA

— WA National Guard (@wa_natl_guard) April 1, 2014

 

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Thousands Come to Pay Respects to Firefighters Killed in Boston Blaze

Posted on: April 2nd, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) — Thousands of firefighters from as far away as Australia poured into Boston on Tuesday to remember two of their own killed in the line of duty.

Michael Kennedy, 33, a former Marine, and Lt. Edward Walsh Jr., 43, a married father of three, helped rescue the residents of a four-story brownstone apartment building on March 26 before getting trapped in the smoky basement.

Thirteen other firefighters were hurt in the blaze.

“The fire service has always been a brotherhood, sisterhood and a big family, big extended family,” said Capt. Derrick Bart, who traveled from Los Angeles to attend the funeral services Tuesday and Wednesday. “So we come out to keep that going and show our respects.”

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also paid his respects at Engine 33 and Ladder 15, the firehouse where Walsh and Kennedy were stationed. On Tuesday, a mountain of flowers were on display.

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady, who lived just doors away from the apartment building and witnessed the blaze, recently called into a local radio show to pay tribute to the fallen.

“You realize who the real heroes are in the world,” he said. “And I just feel so badly for their families. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. Both men will be posthumously awarded the city’s Medal of Valor.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

It’s All About the Shoes in Houston Woman’s Murder Trial

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Houston Police Dept./University of Houston(HOUSTON) — It’s all about the shoes.

A Houston trial that has gained international notoriety because of the weapon — a blue suede closed toe pump, size 9 with 5-inch heels.

Ana Trujillo, 45, allegedly bludgeoned her boyfriend, Dr. Stefan Andersson, to death by hitting him in the head 25 times with the heel of her stiletto, prosecutors said on Monday.

She is accused of murder, but is claiming self-defense.

Prosecutor Sarah Michaelson grabbed the jury’s attention during opening arguments by pulling off one of her bright blue Manolo Blahnik’s and pounding the air with it to demonstrate what happened that Saturday night last June.

Every woman who has watched Sex and the City would instantly recognize the shoes since they’re the same ones Carrie Bradshaw left in her dream closet.

Trujillo is a diminutive woman, her attorney Jack Carroll says, while her boyfriend was much bigger. When an argument broke out that night, and she tried to defend herself, she grabbed the closest weapon at hand — her high heel.

If convicted, Trujillo could face five years to life in prison.

When Trujillo walks into the courtroom every morning all eyes swivel to her feet. Tuesday, she wore nude patent pumps with a low heel.

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Missing Runner Found Alive After 48 Hours in Snow

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Placer County Sheriff’s Office(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — A runner wearing only shorts and a windbreaker who got lost in snowy conditions was found alive Tuesday by a California search and rescue team, nearly 48 hours after he disappeared.

Robert Root, 55, was running with seven other people in rugged terrain in a remote part of Placer County, about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, Calif.

“The running group Sunday was split between slow runners and fast runners,” Dena Erwin from the Placer County Sheriff’s Department told ABC News Tuesday. “[Root] was initially running with the slower group and when his group stopped for a moment, Root decided to run ahead to join the faster group.”

That was the last time Root was seen.

Hours later, the other runners realized Root was missing and began to sweep the rugged trail before calling authorities. The Placer County Sheriff’s Department utilized about three dozen searchers and a helicopter Sunday, and continued through the night, lighting signal fires to attract Root.

Root was a member of the running club Shadowcase and his fellow runners were involved in the search for him, posting regular updates on its Facebook page.

The Placer County Sherriff’s Department did not immediately respond to questions about Root’s health conditions when he was rescued.

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Scheduled Re-Entry at New Mexico Nuclear Waste Plant Delayed

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CARLSBAD, N.M.) — Workers were unable to re-enter the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad on Tuesday as scheduled due to an equipment delay.

The radiation monitors that the personnel entering the plant are expected to wear were not received in time to enter the plant’s mines on Tuesday. The re-entry would have been the first since the plant was shut down following a February radiation leak.

Eight workers had been expected to establish a safe base of operations, conduct radiation surveys and check for airborne contamination.

The plant had been in operation for 15 years and allows for the permanent disposal of nuclear waste in salt mines over 2,000 feet below the earth’s surface. In February, prior to the initial radiation leak, the plant had suffered a vehicle fire in the underground mines.

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Virginia Couple Wins Lottery Three Times in One Month

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Virginia Lottery(PORTSMOUTH, Va.) — The third time was the lucky charm — along with the first and second times too — for a Virginia couple who won the lottery three times in one month.

Calvin and Zatera Spencer, of Portsmouth, Va., won their first lottery prize on March 12 when they won $1 million in a Powerball drawing.

Two weeks later, Calvin Spencer won $50,000 playing the Virginia Lottery Pick 4 game.

Spencer had purchased 10 tickets with the winning numbers of 6-6-6-6, giving him 10 prizes worth $5,000 each.

Just one day later, Spencer won another $1 million prize on a Virginia Lottery Scratcher $100 Million Cash Extravaganza ticket that he purchased at a local 7-Eleven.

“Baby, we did it again,” Spencer said to his wife, according to Virginia Lottery officials.

Spencer and his wife will have even more chances to “do it again” because the $1 million prize the couple claimed is only the second prize won in the $100 Million Cash Extravaganza.  Lottery officials say three million dollar tickets remain unclaimed.

“We’re not finished yet,” Spencer said as he claimed his prize.

The Spencers, who could not be reached Tuesday by ABC News, chose the one-time cash option of $681,000 before taxes for their $100 Million Cash Extravaganza win.

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Satellite Photo Dramatizes Scope of Devastating Mudslide

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(OSO, Wash.) — A striking satellite photo released by DigitalGlobe shows the geographic toll of the mudslide that hit Snohomish County, Wash., on March 22, as rescuers continue to search the area for the 22 victims who remain missing.

The photo, shown left, highlights the mudslide area in Oso, Wash., where a mountainside soaked by rain crashed into neighboring communities, destroying houses and piling debris up to 75 feet high at its tallest point.

Search-and-rescue workers have recovered the remains of 27 victims of the mudslide, using search dogs to find the bodies in cold and rainy weather conditions. Nineteen of the bodies have been identified and crews are working to identify the remaining victims.

The cliff face that was left behind from the mudslide is 1,500 feet wide and 600 feet tall, according to a report by the Seattle Times.

In a letter Monday to the Federal Emergency Management Administration, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee asked President Obama to declare the mudslide a “major disaster.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Atlanta Bishop Apologizes for Building $2.2 Million Mansion

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

SHAWN THEW/AFP/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — A Georgia bishop has apologized for building a $2.2 million home using donated money earmarked for religious and charitable use.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory built the mansion on property donated to the church by Joseph Mitchell, the heir of Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell’s fortune. Wilton tore down the building on the property and built a much larger house.

“The plan seemed very simple,” Gregory said. “We will build here what we had there — separate living quarters and common spaces, a large kitchen for catering, and lots of room for receptions and other gatherings. What we didn’t stop to consider, and that oversight rests with me and me alone, was that the world and the Church have changed.”

Gregory moved out of his former home to provide a rectory for the Cathedral of Christ the King, a church close to his old residence.

“As the Shepherd of this local Church, a responsibility I hold more dear than any other, certainly more than any configuration of brick and mortar, I am disappointed that, while my advisers and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia,” the archbishop continues in the message.

At the end of the notice, the archbishop says that he will meet with his councilors to make a decision about whether or not the building should be sold. Readers can see Gregory’s complete response in the Catholic publication The Georgia Bulletin.

Outraged parishioners were happy about the apology, but they won’t be completely satisfied until the archbishop actually sells the house, said Laura Mullins, who is leading a group of local Catholics who think the archbishop’s home goes against the values expressed by Pope Francis, who has made modesty a focus of his papacy.

“I think it’s wonderful that Archbishop Gregory apologized,” Mullins said. “I think it was needed, I think it was unexpected. It’s very unusual for a Catholic leader to apologize for a mistake in the church. But it’s welcomed.

“I’m a little concerned that he’s turning to council who are in essence serving him,” Mullins continued. “They may feel that it is not their place to oppose the archbishop or to criticize him. They should listen to the pope. The pope is telling the world as often as he can to live simply so others can simply live.”

The pope has chosen to live in a small apartment instead of the usual grand papal quarters. Last week, he removed the German “Bishop of Bling,” who lived in a $43 million mansion.

To Mullins, that focus is especially important in Atlanta, which is one of the poorest and most crime-ridden cities in the country.

“We are in the middle of Lent, which is the holiest season in the Catholic Church,” she said. “We don’t need to be distracted by this horrible issue.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

New York Student Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Schools

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — High school seniors anxiously checking the mail or logging online to see if they were accepted to their dream college can look with hope, or envy, to Kwasi Enin.

The 17-year-old, from Long Island, N.Y., was accepted to not one, not two, but all eight of the most prestigious universities in the U.S., otherwise known as the Ivy League.

Enin, a senior at William Floyd High School, scored a 2250 out of 2400 on the SAT, placing him in the 99th percentile for all students taking the exam.  He also ranks in the top 2 percent of his class, yet he says he never thought he would get into Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale.

“I thought I would get one or two,” Enin told Newsday. “I simply thought I would apply.  I knew it was crazy.”

Enin, who is also a violinist, was accepted to Princeton in December and then heard from the remaining seven schools on March 27. He got his final acceptance email, from Harvard, at 5:30 p.m. that day, according to Newsday.

That email from Harvard put Enin among the only 5.9 percent of applicants, out of a pool of over 35,000, who are accepted to the university.

Enin says he wants to follow in the steps of his parents, both immigrants from Ghana, and study medicine.

Exactly where Enin  — who was also accepted to Duke University, Stony Brook University, SUNY Geneseo and Binghamton University — will study medicine is still to be decided, but he does have a favorite.

“I think my preference is Yale,” Enin said of the New Haven, Conn., school. “I still have to compare all these wonderful schools.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Two Dozen Known Dead from Washington Landslide

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images(OSO, Wash.) — As the hunt for bodies goes on, the death toll from the March 22 landslide near Oso, Wash., is now at 24, according to Snohomish County Executive Director Gary Haakenson.

As of late Monday, 18 of the dead have been positively identified while the six awaiting identification may be among the missing.

Of those killed, the youngest victim was a 4-month-old baby girl name Sonoah. Other children who perished in the landslide include a 5-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.

Meanwhile, the number of missing and unaccounted for was revised to 22, down eight from the day before.

Also for the first time, Snohomish County officials released a list of the missing and unaccounted for. They range in age from 2 to 91 years old.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Smoke Odor Forces JetBlue Flight to Return to Jamaica

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Digitalmediapro/iStock Editorial/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A Florida-bound JetBlue plane was forced to return to Jamaica soon after takeoff after a smoke odor was reported, with six of the passengers receiving medical evaluation, a JetBlue spokesperson told ABC News.

The flight was carrying 98 passengers when it departed Monday from Jamaica’s Norman Manley International Airport. The plane was headed to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, but returned to Jamaica about 15 minutes after takeoff.

The jet is under inspection to find out the odor’s cause. JetBlue is working with passengers to ensure their needs are met, airline officials said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Skydiving Instructor Died Attempting ‘Tracking’ Maneuver

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(SAN DIEGO) — A veteran skydiving instructor who was killed over the weekend after his parachute failed to open was attempting a maneuver he had done plenty of times before, according to the owner of Skydive San Diego.

During a jump on Sunday, Jordan Janway, 27, apparently collided with one of his students in mid-air while he was attempting to perform a maneuver known as “tracking,” in which divers get horizontal separation while free-falling.

“We don’t know what went wrong but the possibilities are endless,” said Buzz Fink, owner of Skydive San Diego, where Janway was an instructor. “He could have made a mistake and run into the guy or had a medical condition. Nobody knows right now what caused him to do that.”

Janway was a “master parachutist” who had completed more than 1,000 skydives, Fink said. He was also an Federal Aviation Administration-certified senior parachute rigger, meaning he was skilled in doing maintenance on parachutes, Fink said.

Janway was reported missing on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. near Otay Lakes, outside of Jamul, Calif., police said, and a search helicopter from the San Diego Sheriff’s Office spotted his body shortly after 5 p.m.

The sheriff’s office said they are investigating the incident.

“He was a great guy and was loved by everyone,” Fink said. “The kind of guy I’d hope my kids grow up to be. Right now we’re all just emotionally trying to deal with the situation.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Video Shows Apparent Case of Drive-Thru Road Rage, Police Say

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Winter Haven Police(WINTER HAVEN, Fla.) — A Winter Haven, Fla., man faces a battery charge after he was allegedly caught on video punching a woman in the double lane drive-thru at a McDonald’s restaurant.

The apparent case of fast food road rage unfolded Saturday after police said Howard Carl Wilson, 68, became irate when another car pulled ahead of him after ordering.

Police said witnesses reported that Wilson was yelling profanities and racial slurs before he approached the vehicle in front of him and confronted passenger Brittani Thomas.

A video of the altercation that was taken by another customer waiting in the drive-thru shows Thomas opening the door to ask what was wrong and then attempting to close it multiple times while the man in the video continued yelling.

As the other vehicles moved up in line, the man in the video then reached into the vehicle and punched Thomas in the face before leaving the scene.

Police said they later caught up with Wilson at his home and that after watching the video, he realized the situation was more intense than he had recalled and said it was “like a road rage incident.”

Wilson was charged with simple battery and was booked into the Polk County Jail. He has since been released on bond and has not yet entered a plea.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Death Toll from Washington State Landslide Continues to Rise

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

David Ryder/Getty Images(OSO, Wash.) — The official death count from the March 22 landslide near Oso, Wash., is now at 24 with 18 identified and six awaiting official identification.

Snohomish County officials, who have been leading the search for any signs of life amid the mountain of shifting rubble, have also dropped the number of missing and unaccounted for down to 22 from 90.

Jason Biermann, program manager for the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, admits an actual count of fatalities might never be possible since in some instances, only partial remains have been located.

Biermann told reporters, “The slide hit with such force that often the rescuers are not recovering full, intact victims,” which can make identification that much more difficult.

Any remains that can’t be identified won’t be counted with the official death toll. There are estimates of body parts from as many as 10 people.

Confirmation of death comes through identification by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

As for the deep drop in those missing and unaccounted for, names started getting crossed off the list through investigation and people learning that they were among those who couldn’t be found.

Reportedly, one person who lived next to the local Post Office was surprised he was listed as missing.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Workers to Enter NM Nuclear Waste Plant for First Time Since February

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CARLSBAD, N.M.) — Workers will enter a nuclear waste dump on Tuesday for the first time since a Feb. 14 radiation leak.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was shut down after the February radiation leak. Two weeks ago, tests showed that additional radiation had been released into the air on March 11.

The plant had been in operation for 15 years and allows for the permanent disposal of nuclear waste in salt mines over 2,000 feet below the earth’s surface. In February, prior to the initial radiation leak, the plant had suffered a vehicle fire in the underground mines.

Eight workers, trained in radiological control, mine operations and mine rescue will enter the mine on Tuesday to establish a base of operations, conduct radiation testing and check for contamination. A second group of eight workers are expected to enter the underground later on if the first team does not find evidence of contamination.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

‘Stiletto Stabbing’ Trial Starting with Likely Self-Defense Claim

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Houston Police Dept./University of Houston(HOUSTON) — The Texas woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death with her stiletto heel is expected to claim self-defense as opening statements begin Monday.

Ana Trujillo, 45, is facing trial in the death of her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Dr. Alf Stefan Andersson.

Police say Trujillo called 911 shortly before 4 a.m. on June 9, 2013. When police arrived at the victim’s luxury high-rise apartment, they say, Trujillo answered the door covered in blood.

Inside, police found Andersson, 59, a medical researcher at the University of Houston, in a hallway, with Trujillo’s stiletto next to him, officials say.

Andersson appeared to have about 10 puncture wounds to the head, as well as 15 to 20 wounds along his face, arms and neck, prosecutors say.

Police say the couple got into a fight at a nightclub after another man offered to buy Trujillo a drink. Later, police say, the fight continued at Andersson’s apartment.

Prosecutors allege that Trujillo tried to stop Andersson from breathing by “applying pressure to [his] neck,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

Trujillo, a mother of two who’s out on bail, has pleaded not guilty. She was acting in self-defense, her attorney, Jack Carroll, said.

“Stefan Andersson grabbed her, they started wrestling, he got on top of her and she couldn’t breathe,” Carroll said. “He got her in a hold.”

Trujillo’s lawyer is hoping to put her on the stand.

“I’m going to have limited time to try to get a jury to understand that although Ana has had problems in the past, she is a kind person at heart,” he said.

ABC News Chief Legal Affairs Anchor Dan Abrams believes the alleged murder weapon — the stiletto heel — is a major factor in the case.

“A stiletto heel is not what’s typically used to kill someone. It’s not a knife or a gun, it’s more of a self-defense tool, something you use because that’s all you have,” Abrams said. “The fact that the weapon was a stiletto heel tends to help the defense.”

Prosecutors will argue that Trujillo also smothered and strangled Andersson, trying to prove to a jury that she went too far, Abrams said.

“This is not an easy case for the prosecution,” Abrams said, “which seems to have already conceded that there was some sort of argument that led up to the killing.”

If convicted, Trujillo could face anywhere from five years to life in prison.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Body in DC Park May Be Girl’s Suspected Kidnapper

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Washington Metropolitan Police Department(WASHINGTON) — Police in the nation’s capital Monday said they are looking into whether a body found in a park is that of a man suspected of kidnapping an 8-year-old homeless girl weeks ago, a case full of mystery and missed opportunities that has gripped the Washington area.

Relisha Rudd was last seen weeks ago with a 51-year-old janitor, Kahlil Malik Tatum, who worked in the shelter her family called home. When the girl failed to show up at school, city authorities reached out to Rudd’s mother, who may have given Tatum initial permission to spend time with her daughter outside of the shelter, a law enforcement source said. There is still no sign of the girl.

After the case garnered significant media attention two weeks ago, Tatum’s wife was found dead in a motel outside Washington, and he has been charged with her murder.

For days, hundreds of police officers, firefighters and others have been scouring a 700-acre park for any sign of Rudd or her alleged kidnapper. Police Monday found an adult male’s body in what police chief Cathy Lanier said “likely is a suicide.”

At a hastily-scheduled news conference outside the park, Lanier said authorities had yet to confirm the identity of the dead man but were “obviously” trying to determine if it’s Tatum’s body.

Last week, law enforcement agencies released surveillance video from inside a Washington hotel on Feb. 26. In the video, Tatum and Rudd can be seen walking down the hall of a Holiday Inn Express, both carrying plastic bags filled with unidentifiable items. Rudd is seen wearing a pair of pink boots and a purple Helly Hansen brand jacket with white stripes.

The FBI has offered a reward of $25,000 for information leading to Rudd’s return. Other agencies have also offered tens of thousands in rewards for information tied to the case.

Investigators are now trying to determine if information Rudd’s mother provided to authorities about her daughter’s whereabouts was inaccurate, the source said.

Lanier said the search for Rudd “will continue.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tucson Police Investigate Cop Who Allegedly Knocked Down Student

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(TUSCON, Ariz.) — Tuscon police are investigating an officer who was captured on video appearing to knock down a female student and sending her flying into a metal bench during a riot last weekend near the University of Arizona campus.

The cell phone video that has logged more than 85,000 views on YouTube shows an incident Saturday night following the school’s loss to the University of Wisconsin, eliminating them from the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

The female student, who has not been identified, goes flying backward over a metal bench after she appears to be tackled by a cop in riot police gear.

Tucson Police Department spokesman Chris Widmer told ABC News Monday that its internal affairs office has been made aware of the video and they are in contact with the victim. The identity of the police officer is unknown at this time, police said, and no charges were filed against the girl who was pushed.

Phoebe Landolt said she witnessed the incident and said her friend is the one who shot the now infamous video.

“Out of nowhere we see this cop come up and just level her,” she told Good Morning America in a Skype interview. “She wasn’t looking around, she wasn’t antagonizing anybody.”

Other media outlets have identified Landolt as the one who took the video.

The girl in the video didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong, Landolt said. “There was no warning, they weren’t telling us anything — the girl just got knocked over out of the blue.”

An “unlawful assembly” occurred at a recreational area directly west of the University of Alabama’s campus on Friday night around 8:45 p.m. MT, a spokesperson for the University of Arizona said.

About 50 Tucson officers, wearing riot gear as a precautionary measure, reported to the scene to address the situation, the spokesperson told ABC News. Students were chanting as a group and when some students threw bottles, the police moved in to control the crowd, the spokesperson said.

According to a tweet by University of Arizona newspaper Daily Wildcat, the crowd chanted “They can’t take us all” and “Don’t fall back.”

The majority of the crowd did not respond to the dispersal order and began throwing beer bottles, beer cans and firecrackers at the officers, the Tucson Police Department said in a statement.

The officers used a variety of means to deal with the unruly crowd, according to the statement, including two Arwenn rounds, four foam baton rounds, nine OC vapor aerosol canisters and approximately 200 individual pepper ball rounds.

There were 15 misdemeanor arrests — 14 of the individuals were cited and released, while one was booked into the Pima County Jail, police said. The arrests included charges such as unlawful assembly, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Three of those arrested sustained minor injuries from the incident, police said.

University of Arizona officials said in a statement that “It is disappointing that a minority of Wildcat fans chose to engage in behavior that does not reflect the culture of the University of Arizona and Tucson communities.”

“Our basketball team had a great season and they exhibited exceptional class at every turn,” the statement went on to say. “They do not deserve the bad actions of these others. As with all incidents, University students engaged in behavior that violates our Student Code of Conduct will be held accountable.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

US Has No Status ‘Update’ on Reported Deal to Release Israeli Spy

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Obama administration officials were pressed Monday on reports they are considering releasing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in an effort to salvage Mideast peace talks, but said they did not have an “update on his status.”

The reports of a deal including Pollard have percolated for about a week, but the Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an unnamed senior Israeli official Monday as saying, “There is a possibility that the release of spy Jonathan Pollard will come as part of the deal being worked out right now.”

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki and White House spokesperson Jay Carney gave the same response, almost word-for-word, in Monday’s briefings: “Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage and is serving his sentence. I do not have any update for you on his status.”

The State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, added: “Rumors about what may or may not be on the table is certainly not breaking news in terms of these negotiations and it’s not just new to the last few weeks.”

Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst, is serving a life term in a North Carolina prison after pleading guilty in 1987 to spying for Israel from June 1984 until he was arrested in November 1985.

The latest threat to the peace talks is a refusal by Israel to release a fourth round of Palestinian prisoners, which Israel has said it will not do until the Palestinians agree to continue talks past the end of March.

Israel has frequently sought Pollard’s release but a string of U.S. presidents have refused.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio