ABC News(AUSTIN, Texas) — Law enforcement officials said an incident involving an artillery simulator that went off in Austin, Texas, Tuesday evening is not related to a series of recent bombings.The string of explosions in Austin, which have left two dead and injured others, has the city on edge and sparked hundreds of law enforcement to descend on the area. Earlier on Tuesday, a package detonated at a FedEx facility near San Antonio, injuring one.Reports of a package explosion at a Goodwill store on Brodie Lane Tuesday night initially sparked panic, but police later said the incident involved an artillery simulator and was not connected to the so-called serial bomber terrorizing the area.A male Goodwill employee was injured when he handled the device, police said in a press conference Tuesday. The device was one of two dropped off in a box at Goodwill, police said, adding that they will investigate who left the devices at the store.Police said there was no reason to believe the incident was a copycat attempt related to the recent bombings.An unexploded package bomb was discovered earlier Tuesday at the FedEx facility in Austin, Texas, two sources briefed on the investigation told ABC News, the sixth device connected to the serial bomber. Among the devices are five package bombs and one device involving a tripwire.The intact package was discovered by FedEx workers, the company said in a statement, and could yield major clues in the hunt for the serial bomber terrorizing Austin.“We have also confirmed that the individual responsible [for Tuesday’s package bomb] also shipped a second package that has now been secured and turned over to law enforcement,” FedEx said in its statement but did not reveal which of its facilities the package was discovered in.The two sources confirmed to ABC News the undetonated package was discovered at an Austin facility.“We have provided law enforcement responsible for this investigation extensive evidence related to these packages and the individual that shipped them collected from our advanced technology security systems,” FedEx said. “The safety and security measures in place across the FedEx networks are designed to protect the safety of our people, customers and communities, and to assist law enforcement as appropriate.”The FBI has discovered a link between packages involved in the Austin bombings and a mail delivery office at a strip mall in the neighboring city of Sunset Valley. Police cordoned off the area and were combing through the office Tuesday.In his first public comments on the Texas bombings, which started March 2, President Donald Trump said the federal government is doing everything it can think of to catch the culprits.“These are sick people and we need to find them immediately,” Trump told reporters at the White House.Tuesday’s explosion in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz occurred about 12:45 a.m. at a FedEx facility. About 65 miles away, two men were injured Sunday night in the fourth bombing in 17 days to rock the Texas capital.Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told the Austin City Council this morning that the package that exploded in Schertz originated at a facility in Austin that has been closed.“A package had been traveling along an automated conveyor when it exploded,” Schertz Police Chief Michael Hanson said at a news conference outside the Schertz FexEx facility this morning.Hanson said the injured worker complained of “ringing in her ears,” was treated at the scene and released.Earlier Tuesday, police told ABC San Antonio affiliate KSAT-TV that the medium-sized box that exploded contained nails and metal shrapnel.Jim McClusky, a spokesman for FedEx, confirmed in a statement to ABC News that “a single package exploded” and that one worker was treated for minor injuries.There were 75 people in the building at the time of the explosion, authorities said.“This is a fluid investigation and we want the general public to know their safety is our No. 1 priority,” said Frank Ortega, ATF acting assistant special agent in charge.He said the ATF’s National Response Team and bomb-sniffing dogs were searching the facility for other possible explosives.Neither Ortega or FBI assistant special agent James Smith, who both spoke at the news conference, would say if investigators definitively believe the explosion is connected to the Austin bombings.Manley said investigators from his department, the FBI and the ATF were working to determine whether the explosive is the work of a serial bomber or bombers who have terrorized Austin since the beginning of the month.“We’ve seen an evolution in the type of devices, the one in Schertz involves a delivery service. What we are seeing here is unprecedented,” Manley told the city council.He cautioned residents to pay close attention to any suspicious device whether it be a package, a bag, a backpack “or anything that looks out of place” and advised residents to immediately call 911 and stay clear of the suspicious items.Manley said Monday at a news conference on the Austin explosions, “Clearly we are dealing with a serial bomber.”Austin residents have been on edge for a month after the series of bombings. The first three bombings were packages, apparently hand-delivered and left on porches of homes before exploding when picked up by residents, police said.The fourth explosion took place Sunday night. Two men, ages 22 and 23, were injured in that blast, which was caused by a device using a tripwire on a sidewalk in the Travis Country neighborhood of Austin.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Four people are dead and four others injured after a shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee early Sunday morning.Nashville police said six people were shot, including the four who died, and two others were also injured in the incident at about 3:30 a.m. local time on Sunday in Antioch, Tennessee.Two of those who died were fatally shot outside the restaurant, and one inside, police said. A fourth person died at the hospital.Vanderbilt Hospital has two patients who were shot in the incident.Antioch is a suburban neighborhood about 12 miles southeast of downtown Nashville.Police said the suspect was wearing only a green jacket and was otherwise nude at the time of the shooting. A patron managed to wrestle away the rifle being used by the suspect, police said.Nashville police also announced that they are searching for a person of interest in the shooting whom they identified as Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Ill. A tweet from the police said the vehicle that the gunman arrived in at the Waffle House was registered to Reinking.There were 35 officers from three precincts responding to the shooting, police said.Pat Warner, director of public relations and external affairs for Waffle House, called it a “very troubling” situation.“We are sending our corporate team from Atlanta and heading to Nashville now,” Warner said. “Our thoughts are with those affected.”“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident,” Waffle House said later in a statement. “Right now, our first thoughts are with the victims and their families, and we will be there for them in this most difficult time. We are still gathering the details, and so we do not have much information to share … This is a very sad day for the Waffle House family.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — All three people on board a corporate jet have died after the plane crashed in a rural, wooded area of southern Indiana, the Indiana State Police said Friday.The crash took place shortly before 11:30 a.m. local time in Clark County, just north of Louisville, Kentucky.The Clark County Airport in Sellersburg, Indiana, said the plane had three people, including the pilot, on board when it took off at 11:24 a.m., according to police.The jet was headed to Chicago’s Midway International Airport when it fell from air traffic radar, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Chicago office told ABC Chicago station WLS-TV.The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating. The NTSB identified the plane as a Cessna Citation.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
FBI Charlotte(NEW YORK) — A North Carolina community is rallying in support of the family of 13-year-old Hania Aguilar, whose body was found more than three weeks after she was kidnapped in front of her home.An online petition to the Guatemalan Embassy requesting that Hania’s father be allowed to enter the U.S. to attend her funeral had garnered more than 9,200 signatures as of Sunday afternoon.Hania’s father “needs permission” to enter the U.S. “in order to see his daughter one last time,” the petition, posted to Change.org, stated. The petition also asks that the appropriate agencies “come together diligently to facilitate the process so this father can come to his daughter’s Funeral.”“No parent should be denied the right to attend their child’s funeral,” the petition stated, adding that Hania was a U.S. citizen born in Tennessee. North Carolina-based immigration attorney Stacy Maynor told ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC that Hania’s father would have to prove that he did not intend to remain in the U.S. and that the federal government will take information like income and family history into account to determine the likelihood he will return to Guatemala.Hania’s father likely would not be able to make the funeral, Maynor told WSOC, because the process to obtain a special visa or green card could take weeks. The funeral is scheduled to take place on Saturday, the station reported. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment. A man wearing a yellow bandanna and dressed in all black snatched Hania from outside her home at the Rosewood Mobile Park in Lumberton, North Carolina, on Nov. 5.That morning, Hania had taken the keys to start her aunt’s SUV when the man forced her into the car and drove away. Investigators found the stolen SUV three days later in Lumberton. Hania’s remains were found in a body of water in Robeson County on Nov. 27, authorities said.Authorities are combing through surveillance video from nearby homes and businesses and are trying to locate a man seen walking near Hania’s neighborhood the morning she was abducted.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Alex Edelman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — They are janitors scrubbing toilets and maintenance workers polishing the majestic marble floors in many of Washington D.C.’s wide-ranging expanse of federal office buildings.They are security officers in some of America’s most treasured museums, maintaining vigilance and ensuring visitor safety at a tense time in the nation’s history. They are federal corrections officers and Forest Service firefighters and National Weather Service forecasters and members of the Coast Guard.And for the foreseeable future, hundreds of thousands of them are out of luck.Roughly 420,000 federal employees will work without pay this week as the shutdown continues, and as many as an additional 380,000 will be furloughed, possibly indefinitely, according to some congressional estimates.Late Saturday afternoon, legislators in the U.S. Capitol adjourned for the holidays without reaching a deal to re-open the partially-shuttered federal government. They will not return until after Christmas, leaving federal employee families across the country wondering what comes next.The shutdown “could be devastating for the men and women who keep our federal buildings safe and clean,” said 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Vice President Jaime Contreras.“32BJ members cannot afford interruptions to their weekly paychecks, especially in the middle of the holiday season.”Across the nation, anxiety is rising among hundreds of thousands of federal employees caught in the jaws of an unpredictable government shutdown with no clear end in sight.But don’t call it a shutdown. Call it a “lapse.”That’s the official language released by the White House this week in a four-page contingency plan that spells out the contours of every last lump of coal the shutdown will be delivering to federal employees in the days and possibly weeks ahead.In a lapse, all pre-scheduled, paid leave and other paid time off is cancelled — including so-called “use-or-lose” leave that many workers end up with at the close of a busy year.And if you are called in to work during the shutdown, or to work a national holiday like Christmas or New Year’s Day, you don’t get paid until the shutdown ends and Congress passes legislation to fund those paychecks.Chris Barrett, a correctional officer at a federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, said on Friday that he was planning to take off work until after the New Year holiday, but now his plans are up in the air. Barrett said on Friday that he expects he’ll receive a call telling him to report to work on Monday.That’s because Barrett is what the government deems an “essential” employee.And according to the rules, any planned leave by an essential employee is canceled and employees are expected to report to work.That irks Barrett, who is also the president of his local union, known as local 3951.“I’m not really happy…For the government to play with our lives like that, it’s not fair.”By mid-January, furloughed federal employees’ paychecks will begin to dry up, according to officials with one of the nation’s largest unions representing federal employees.Many employees and contractors will be paid up until that point in January because the government operates on a delayed pay schedule, said Ashley De Smeth, a spokeswoman for the American Federation of Government Employees.But after that, workers will have to wait for Congress to pass legislation to provide back pay.And with the post-holiday credit card bills beginning to come due next month just as paychecks could be drying up, typical holiday season stress could be exacerbated by extreme financial uncertainty.“Not being able to pay our bills or put gas in our car – or having to carpool -– it’s very stressful,” Barrett said.But despite the cold shoulders from lawmakers and the president, some Americans are still looking out for the tens of thousands of federal employees heading into this holiday season with one eye on their wallets.Celebrity chef Jose Andres – who owns numerous high-end restaurants in the Washington D.C. area, announced on Twitter on Friday morning that he is willing to step up and help out until the government gets back on its feet.“I will offer again Free Sandwiches to the poor men and women of the federal government, republicans and democrats, at every restaurant of mine in DC for lunch until they paid again!”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Sherry Smith/iStock(SUNLAND PARK, N.M.) — The leader of a militia operating along the southern border has been arrested by the FBI days after the armed group detained over 200 migrants who had just illegally crossed into New Mexico.Larry Mitchell Hopkins, 69, of Flora Vista, New Mexico, was arrested Saturday on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the FBI Albuquerque office said. Hopkins was arrested in Sunland Park, New Mexico, which lies right on the border with Mexico and is just 8 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas. “This is a dangerous felon who should not have weapons around children and families,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement. “Today’s arrest by the FBI indicates clearly that the rule of law should be in the hands of trained law enforcement officials, and not armed vigilantes.”The spokesperson for the group attacked Balderas and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for the arrest.“I am confident that Mr. Hopkins will get though this, will fare well,” the militia’s spokesperson, Jim Benvie, told El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA-TV, while wearing a red “Trump 2020” hat. “The [New Mexico] AG has declared war on American citizens at the order of the ACLU, instructing the governor, in a sense, to effectively find a reason to remove private citizens from assisting and documenting a crisis on the border. It’s really sad that she can’t use the resources of the National Guard or even the FBI, if they had to, to help protect the border. Instead, they had to infiltrate and set up our camp, and we’re confident about our position with this.“We’re not worried about it. It doesn’t change anything,” he added.Hopkins was convicted of impersonating an officer and felony gun possession in 2006, according to The Daily Beast.He leads a group called The United Constitutional Patriots, which states on its Facebook page that its mission is “to uphold the Constitution of The United States of America.”“We uphold this cause against all enemies both foreign and domestic which shall infringe upon the rights of the citizens given by the Constitution,” it says. “We are here to serve in time of need at the local and state level and if necessary for our country.”Benvie regularly uploads videos to his Facebook page showing the group’s actions detaining migrants.The group gained attention on Tuesday when it detained over 200 migrants at gunpoint after they crossed into the U.S. near Sunland Park. The group was held by the militia until U.S. Border Patrol agents responded and took them into custody.A spokesperson for the group told KVIA-TV that the group never points a gun at migrants and they weren’t forced to stay.The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately came out against the action, and blamed it on the rhetoric of the president.“The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law,” the ACLU said in a statement Friday. “This has no place in our state: we cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum.”Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on behalf of the government expressing “profound concern about the activities of intimidation and extortion of migrants by groups of militias on the New Mexico border.”The group wrote Friday on its Facebook page that Paypal had permanently suspended its fundraising account.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
iStock(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) — An Indiana toddler had a fatal fall from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship after her grandfather put her up on a railing, thinking the glass window was closed, according to the family’s attorney.Chloe Wiegand, who was 18 months old, was traveling with her grandparents and parents on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas when she fell to her death on Sunday, according to her parent’s attorney, Michael Winkleman.Chloe was with her grandfather in the children’s water park play area when her grandfather put her on a wood railing in front of a wall of glass windows, Winkleman said at a news conference on Tuesday.Chloe is a hockey fan and loved to bang on the ice hockey rink glass wall as she watched her older brother, Winkleman said, and her grandfather put her on the railing thinking she’d bang on the glass.However, the window was open — and she was “gone,” Winkleman said, calling her death a “tragic accident that was preventable.”“Why would you ever, in a kids play area put windows that passengers can open?” Winkleman said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to put a child there thinking there’s glass.”“The South Bend Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to Officer Alan Wiegand and his family during this difficult time following the tragic loss of their child while in Puerto Rico,” the department said in a statement. “The department asks the community to pray for the entire Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy.”South Bend Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg added on Twitter, “We are saddened by the terrible accident that took the life of Officer Wiegand’s young daughter, and the city is holding this family in our hearts.”Owen Torres, corporate communications manager with Royal Caribbean, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the family. We’ve made our Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need.”Torres added on Tuesday, “We are assisting local authorities in San Juan, PR, as they make inquiries.” Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
aijohn784/iStock(COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa) — Ten years after an Iowa man mysteriously disappeared, his body was discovered wedged behind a cooler in a vacant grocery store where he used to work, police said.In 2009, Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada was a 25-year-old working at a No Frills Supermarket store in Council Bluffs,Iowa, said Council Bluffs police officials.On Nov. 28, 2009, Murillo-Moncada’s parents reported him missing, telling authorities that their son “became upset and ran out of their home,” said police.He was never seen alive again.A decade later, on Jan. 24, 2019, crews were removing shelving and coolers at the now-vacant grocery store and discovered a body, said police.Last week Council Bluffs police learned from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation that the body was identified as Murillo-Moncada, police officials announced Monday.Investigators believe Murillo-Moncada left home, went to the grocery store, climbed on the coolers, and then fell into a roughly 18-inch gap between the back of the cooler and the wall and became trapped, said police.The death has been classified as accidental, police said. His autopsy indicates no signs of trauma, said police.Former employees said it was common for workers to be on top of the grocery store’s coolers because the space was used for storage, according to police.The grocery store closed in 2016, according to Omaha ABC affiliate KETV.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
WPVI(PHILADELPHIA) — A 2-year-old girl is dead after being shot in the back of the head when someone opened fire on a house in North Philadelphia on Sunday. The shooting came less than 24 hours after an 11-month-old survived when shot four times in the city. The child was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.The shooting took place at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The mother of the child, 24, was also struck by gunfire in the head and back and is in stable condition. A 33-year-old man is in critical condition after being struck in the stomach, police said.Authorities said the house seemed to be targeted in the shooting, with someone shooting from outside the home.Police are looking for surveillance video from the area to help in the investigation. No one has been arrested and no description of a suspect has been released.The 11-month-old was struck at about 8 p.m. Saturday while in the back of a vehicle being driven by the child’s stepmother, police said. The child was struck in the head, chest and back in the shooting and taken to Einstein Medical Center in critical condition.No arrests have been made in that shooting either.Phildelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police is offering $5,000 for information leading to an arrest. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was “disgusted” by the violence Sunday afternoon.“Outraged, disgusted, and heartbroken by the violence this weekend that claimed the life of an innocent 2-year-old and left another infant fighting for his life,” he said in a series of tweets. “My prayers are with their families and communities during this tragic time.”“Philadelphians should not live in fear of violence that could take away a child’s life,” he continued. “But for too many, this is a sad reality. With the unabated flow of illegal guns and drugs, we must do whatever we can locally to address violence and help residents.”He added, “We’ll have teams in the neighborhoods impacted by this weekend’s violence to provide support and trauma-informed care. The @PhillyPolice department is conducting a full investigation and will have whatever resources they need to bring these perpetrators to justice.” Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
iStock(FORT STEWART, Ga.) — The U.S. Army has identified the three soldiers who died during an early morning training exercise Sunday at Fort Stewart in Georgia.Sfc. Bryan Andrew Jenkins, of Florida, Cpl. Thomas Cole Walker, of Ohio and Pfc. Antonio Gilbert Garcia of Arizona died when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle flipped over into the water around 3:20 a.m. Sunday. Three other 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team soldiers were injured during the accident. Two of those soldiers have been released and another remains hospitalized with non-life threating injuries.The three deceased soldiers were pronounced dead at the scene.“It is hard enough when you lose one soldier, but when you lose three at one time, that pain is amplified,” Maj. Gen. Tony Aguto, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division, said during a press conference Monday evening. “And we are really feeling and sharing that pain across the division and the community.”“It’s been tough for all of us,” he saidAguto wouldn’t go into specific details of how the incident happened Monday but said the soldiers’ Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled off a bridge and was submerged upside down in a stream. Officials would not say how the vehicle fell off the bridge.“Our family is heartbroken at the news of this tragic accident at Ft. Stewart,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement Sunday. “Our prayers are with the families of those who passed and those undergoing treatment for their injuries.”The cause of the accident is still under investigation by the 3rd Infantry Division and a team from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center and officials said they would release more information as it becomes available.Aguto said training will continue on the base but that they constantly look for ways to mitigate risks. However, he also said that training on not perfect conditions is part of the job.“Training is tough, realistic and we train for all sorts of conditions,” he said Monday. You would expect us to do that.”Aguto said everyone is struggling to deal with this tragic accident.“We share your pain and we honor and are humbled by their service and sacrifice, and we will truly miss them,” Aguto said at a press conference Monday.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.