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Man arrested for threatening to stab undercover Asian police officer


(NEW YORK) -- A man was arrested for allegedly threatening to stab an Asian undercover police officer in the face at Penn Station in New York City.

On Friday, Juvian Rodriguez, 35, approached a New York Police Department officer who was undercover as they were both on an escalator near 7th Avenue and 32nd Street entering the station, and started shouting anti-Asian statements, police said.

Rodriguez allegedly told the officer to "go back to China before you end up in the graveyard," according to local ABC station WABC. He then threatened to stab the officer in the face, WABC reported. He was arrested inside the station around 1:20 p.m. according to police.

Rodriguez is charged with harassment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment based on race or religion, menacing as a hate crime, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to the NYPD.

Rodriguez was freed but placed under supervised released following his arraignment, the district attorney's office told ABC News.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have surged over the past four years. The coronavirus pandemic and its suspected origins in Wuhan, China, have been cited by advocates as one motive for the surge in anti-Asian discrimination in the United States over the last year.

From March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021, there were more than 3,795 hate incidents, including verbal harassment and physical assault, against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States reported to Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit organization that tracks such incidents.

The NYPD announced last month it was increasing patrols and adding undercover officers in areas with significant Asian American populations to curb crimes.

"The next person you target, whether it's through speech, menacing activity or anything else, walking along a sidewalk or on a train platform, may be a plainclothes New York City police officer. So think twice," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said during a March 25 press conference.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

2 deputies injured, suspect dead after shooting outside Utah sheriff's office


(SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah) -- Two deputies are injured and a suspect is dead following a shooting outside a sheriff's office in South Salt Lake, Utah, authorities said.

The shooting occurred around 10:30 a.m. local time Saturday, on the north side of the property's parking lot near a bus stop, Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said during a press briefing.

Two deputies on the campus security team were shot and are currently hospitalized, she said. One is in stable condition after getting shot in the face, and the other is in critical condition after being shot in the eye, the sheriff said.

An Officer Involved Critical Incident team will be investigating, she said, though didn't provide any additional details about the shooting.

"Something occurred to where there were shots fired and that is all we can release at this time," she said.

"These incidents are devastating for the department, and we hope and pray the deputies will be OK," she added.

The sheriff's office is located near the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, which is on lockdown following the shooting.

"It'll be on lockdown until we feel it's secure," Rivera said. "The jail is not in danger but that is our protocol."

ABC News' Sarah Hermina contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Pentagon officer charged with murder also pulled gun on homeless woman last year: Police

Ivan Cholakov/iStock

(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon police officer charged with murder for allegedly killing two people in Maryland this week also pulled a shotgun on a homeless woman in his apartment lobby last year, police said.

David Hall Dixon, a Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer, was charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Dominique Williams, 32, and James Lionel Johnson, 38, in Takoma Park, police said Friday.

He was off-duty at the time of the shooting, which took place shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday, in the parking lot of the Takoma Overlook Condominiums, according to police.

Footage from May 2020 obtained by ABC affiliate WJLA appears to show Dixon using a gun to confront a homeless woman who entered the lobby of his apartment building. Police confirmed that they reported to the apartment

Dixon appeared to retrieve a long gun and then point it at the woman while telling her to leave, according to WJLA. Video footage appeared to show him pointing it near her face and she rushed to leave. No shots were fired.

Takoma Police announced in a Friday release they will file criminal charges against Dixon for allegedly assaulting the woman in the incident.

Officials said Takoma Police were called to an apartment building to investigate a report of a homeless individual swinging sticks at people on May 6, and they interviewed Dixon upon arrival. Police said he told them a woman was blocking access to the building, and he told officers he went to his apartment to retrieve his pepper spray and concealed weapon.

Police said there was evidence in the lobby that pepper spray had been deployed. Dixon didn't mention any use of a gun to officers, but said he pepper-sprayed the woman, according to authorities.

Officers found the woman and confirmed that she'd been pepper-sprayed. They said she also appeared to be in a "mental crisis" and soon was transported for emergency evaluation.

Following that incident, police contacted the Pentagon Protection Force Police to make them aware of the incident and Dixon's alleged use of force outside his jurisdiction. It was investigated by Pentagon Police.

"A review of all body-worn camera footage related to the incident revealed at no time during the interview with officers or at anytime during our investigation did Mr. Dixon mention he deployed a shotgun against the involved female," a police statement said.

Police said they were never made aware, by Dixon or anyone else, of his alleged use of the shotgun, nor was the department aware that video of the incident existed until Friday.

In the Wednesday Takoma Park shooting, Dixon said that he thought he saw a car break-in and he "engaged the suspects who failed to follow his direction," according to police. He said he "discharged his weapon" when those suspects tried to flee, police added.

However, in a Friday press conference, Chief of Police Antonio DeVaul said Dixon's descriptions of events were "inconsistent."

"Our investigation revealed that Mr. Dixon's overview of events was inconsistent with the facts in the case," DeVaul said. "And that Mr. Dixon had no lawful or justifiable reason to shoot and kill Mr. Williams and Mr. Johnson."

It's unclear whether Dixon has obtained an attorney.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Cicada invasion: After 17 years underground, billions to emerge this spring


(NEW YORK) — In April 2004, "Mean Girls" was playing in theaters and "Yeah!" by Usher was topping the Billboard music charts.

At the same time, around the mid-Atlantic region, small holes in the ground were opening up from which billions of bulky, red-eyed, winged insects would emerge, readying for a bacchanal of singing and mating -- and reminding humans of a horror movie.

As the summer of 2004 waned, so did the lifespan, just a few weeks long, of those adult cicadas, and the larvae of the next generation dropped back to the earth where they would spend the next 17 years.

This spring -- 17 years later -- those cicadas are part of Brood X (ominous as the "X" sounds, it stands for the Roman numeral ten) and for all that time they have been underground eating and growing.

Researchers aren't sure exactly how many will surface, except that it will be in the billions: They estimate the numbers will be at least 1.5 million per acre, which could mean as many as 30 of the creatures covering your average square foot.

Brood X, sometimes referred to as the Great Eastern Brood, is among the largest in terms of geographical areas in North America, according to the University of Connecticut's Cicada Mapping Project.

The billions of bugs will come out, scientists say, when conditions are just right: when the soil is 64 degrees and on a night that's humid enough, but free of wind and rain.

According to John Cooley, who runs the Periodical Cicada Mapping Project at the University of Connecticut, they start very pale and very small, even as small as "a grain of rice." But once the cicadas are above ground, they grow -- and grow fast.

"They're going to emerge from that hole and go climb up some vegetation and undergo their final molt to the adult form, and that molting process takes about an hour and the newly emerged adult will be very pale when it comes out," Cooley said. "And over the next couple of hours, it'll finish very quickly finish expanding its body and then dark enough to have the adult colors.”

After that, the cicadas spend about a week maturing. Once fully grown, their primary objective is -- mating.

Their quest to procreate is precipitated by a loud signature "song." Male cicadas generate sounds with tymbals, an organ that generates sound when it contracts, the hollow body amplifies the sound.

According to a project to prevent hearing in children loss sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, cicada choruses can reach 90 decibels and ordinances in the District of Columbia, the epicenter of the brood, say any sound over 70 decibels is considered a disturbance. (That might be just enough to drown out the political noise in Washington.)

Males sing to entice females, of course, and Jenna Jadin, who has researched the insects at the University of Maryland (and even wrote a cicada cookbook "Cicada-Liscious"), likens the sound to human mating rituals.

"It's like a bunch of guys at a frat party, they're all singing[...]some cheesy party song, and then the college sophomore girl sees the guy and she winks at him, and so that's the female cicada's click," Jadin said. "And so then he starts going, 'hey, baby, hey, baby, hey, baby, hey, baby, hey baby,' faster and faster and then they find each other."

After all the singing and clicking, the cicadas mate and the females lay eggs in trees and other plants. Then, after about 4 to 6 weeks of life above ground, the party ends with dead adult cicadas and molted exoskeletons littered literally everywhere and the next generation of cicada larvae heading back underground.

Although the cicadas invade in great volume -- to overwhelm the appetites of predators -- they are harmless, don't bite or sting and aren't toxic. In fact, Jadin says they can make tasty treats.

She says the insects can substitute for nuts or raisins in traditional recipes and notes that around the world, eating insects is common and can be a sustainable and accessible form of nutrition.

She concedes, however, that raw cicadas can taste a bit bitter.

"However, if you've cooked them, they basically take on the flavor of whatever they're cooked in," Jadin said. "So, I like them dipped in chocolate, I like them fried with batter, or just fried plain with a little bit of spice on them.”

Jadin says it's best to eat young cicadas recently emerged from the ground, but also cautions that the insects might not be organic if they've been living in areas treated by fertilizers or pesticides.

Despite their huge numbers, they shouldn't do much physical damage. Cooley does recommend that people put netting over any young or delicate trees because cicadas could do damage to branches as they lay eggs and feed.

He also cautions against using and pesticide or repellent, noting it would take a lot of chemicals to ward off so many insects. Instead, Cooley urges people to appreciate the once-in-a-17-year experience and the cicada songs that won't be heard again until 2038.

"I think the thing to really do is to sit back and enjoy and learn and understand, this is a really quite a unique thing. There are lots of species of cicadas in the world but there are not many periodical cicadas species ... so this is kind of a special thing," he said.

In other words, get used to it.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Another round of severe storms expected Saturday in South


(NEW YORK) — Millions of people are waking up to flooding rain, damaging winds and possible tornadoes across the Deep South, where round of severe storms is expected Saturday from New Orleans to Tallahassee, Florida.

Friday's storms continue Saturday morning, with multiple tornado warnings and flash flooding alerts.

There are still tornado watches and severe storm warnings through the morning.

So far, there have been 159 reports of hail across the South and 18 wind reports. One tornado has been spotted, but not yet confirmed, in Pelahatchie, Mississippi. Up to 67 mph wind gusts have been reported and up to 3-inch in diameter hail.

There are more than 121,000 customers without power Saturday in the South, including more than 50,000 without power in Louisiana and over 42,000 in Mississippi.

After facing back-to-back severe storms all week, more storms are hitting the South Saturday afternoon through the evening from southeast Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, extending to the western parts of Georgia.

About 6 million people will be facing damaging winds, flooding rain and a few tornadoes.

These storms move east on Sunday, impacting Northern Florida to New York City.

Up to 4 inches of rain are possible over the next couple of days with these storms.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Off-duty Pentagon police officer charged with murder for allegedly killing two


(TAKOMA PARK, Md.) -- David Hall Dixon, a Pentagon Force Protection Agency police officer who was off duty at the time of a fatal shooting in Maryland, has been charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing two people, Takoma Park police said Friday.

Those killed were identified by the Takoma Park police as Dominique Williams, 32, and James Lionel Johnson, 38.

The shooting took place in a parking lot early Wednesday, according to police.

Shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday, Takoma Park police responded to reports of shots fired in the parking lot area of the Takoma Overlook Condominiums, according to a department news release issued Wednesday.

An off-duty Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer approached the Takoma Park police and said he had seen what he thought was a car break-in and "engaged the suspects who failed to follow his direction," according to the Wednesday release.

When the "suspects" tried to "flee" in a vehicle, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer "discharged his service weapon," Takoma Park police said then.

The two men shot were taken to the hospital and died there, police said.

Dixon was also charged with second-degree attempted murder of Michael Thomas, 36 -- the driver of the vehicle he shot into, police said Friday.

He also faces three counts for use of a handgun in commission of a felony and two counts of wreckless endangerment, police said.

Dixon was taken into custody without incident Friday morning, according to the release.

Carlean Ponder, an activist with the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, said it was a "relief" that the officer was charged.

"For us, there were many questions surrounding this incident," Ponder told ABC News.

Ponder also said that the "biggest problem is the excessive use of force," and the use of lethal force.

The Takoma Park Police Department has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Friday.

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

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Two remain in critical condition after Texas office shooting, man killed identified: Latest


(BRYAN, Texas) -- Two victims remain in critical condition following a Thursday afternoon shooting at a cabinet-making business in Texas, police said Friday.

An employee of Kent Moore Cabinets in Bryan, just outside of College Station, allegedly opened fire, killing 40-year-old Timothy Smith and injuring four others at the facility, officials said.

A sixth shooting victim -- a Texas Department of Public Safety officer -- was shot and injured while trying to apprehend the suspect, officials said.

Police on Thursday arrested 27-year-old Larry Bollin, of Iola, Texas, and charged him with murder. He's being held on $1 million bond, according to jail records.

Bollin was an employee of Kent Moore Cabinets, Bryan Police Department Chief Eric Buske said.

Marc Barron, a co-worker, told ABC Houston station KTRK that he'd see Bollin every day.

During the shooting, Barron said they came face to face.

"I turned around and he faces me. We made eye-to-eye contact," Barron told KTRK. "He basically turned away from me to shoot."

Bollin had fled the location when Bryan police arrived shortly after 2:30 p.m. local time, authorities said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said its officers tried to take Bollin into custody near Iola at about 3:30 p.m., but the suspect allegedly shot a trooper and fled. Bollin was then found and taken into custody 50 minutes later in the town of Bedias.

The trooper, Juan Rojas Tovar, "remains in critical but stable condition," the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday.

A seventh victim was taken to the hospital after suffering an asthma attack.

Amelia Rodriguez, another co-worker, told ABC News, "I don't know how to feel."

"Two hours ago, I thought I was gonna pass out, you know, my legs are feeling weak and everything," she said. "Life is unpredictable, and it can go in a second."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement, "I have been working closely with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers as they assist local law enforcement on a swift response to this criminal act."

"The state will assist in any way needed to help prosecute the suspect," he said. "Cecilia [the governor's wife] and I are praying for the victims and their families and for the law enforcement officer injured while apprehending the suspect."

Hours before the shooting, Abbott had criticized President Joe Biden's new executive actions aimed at gun reform.

"Biden is threatening our 2nd Amendment rights. He just announced a new liberal power grab to take away our guns," he tweeted. "We will NOT allow this in TX."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Capitol riot defendant claims he was attacked by DC jail guards, lawyer says

FILE photo - Dennis Swanson - Studio 101 West Photography/iStock

(WASHINGTON) -- A Pennsylvania man charged with assaulting officers at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection says he was brutally beaten by two guards at the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility late last month, according to his lawyer.

Ryan Samsel, who was arrested in late January after authorities identified him as the man seen on video pushing against a police barricade that knocked a female officer to the ground as a pro-Trump mob descended on the Capitol, relayed details of his alleged assault to his attorney, Elisabeth Pasqualani.

In a phone interview with ABC News Thursday, Pasqualani said she believes the incident is being investigated by both the D.C. Department of Corrections and the FBI's Washington Field Office.

"The Department of Corrections takes the safety and well-being of all residents, staff, and contractors extremely seriously," a Department of Corrections representative said in a statement to ABC News. "We are aware of the allegation made by an inmate and it is under investigation by the Department of Justice."

FBI officials, in a brief statement, said they were "aware of the allegations, however, as a matter of policy, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation."

Pasqualani said Thursday that she was told by Samsel that two guards came to his cell late last month in the early morning hours and ordered him to put on zip-tie handcuffs before taking him to another nearby cell.

Pasqualani said Samsel told her that one of the officers then proceeded to "punch him, hit him, kick him" as he lay on the ground.

According to Pasqualani, Samsel was taken to a hospital and suffered a broken nose and a fractured orbital floor in his eye socket, and that he still cannot see out of his right eye, which "might be permanent," she said.

Samsel has since been relocated to a separate facility, Pasqualani said, after she requested his transfer following the alleged assault.

Samsel is not the first defendant to raise accusations of harsh treatment and poor conditions in the D.C. jail.

During a hearing this week, Capitol riot defendant Ronald Sandlin told a judge that guards have harassed his fellow defendants with threats of violence, and he cited Samsel's alleged beating as he pleaded for release from pretrial detention.

Other defendants have complained to the court that they've been kept in lockdown for 23 hours each day, with some alleging decrepit conditions inside their cells like freezing temperatures and insect infestations.

Last month, a former Trump appointee arrested for his alleged role during the riot complained to a judge that there were "cockroaches literally everywhere" in his detention facility.

"I'm wondering if there's a place I could stay in detention where I don't have cockroaches crawling on me while I'm trying to sleep," Federico Klein, who was an active government appointee when he allegedly participated in the riot, asked a federal judge.

A deputy warden at the jail confirmed to a federal judge last month that defendants being held on charges related to the Capitol riot were being held in a restrictive housing unit, citing "their own safety and security."

In a separate detention hearing for an accused Capitol rioter on Thursday, a senior judge in the D.C. district court, Emmet Sullivan, said he and several of his colleagues had set a Friday meeting with the director of the D.C. Department of Corrections to get answers on some of the "rumors" they had been hearing from defense attorneys in their cases.

Sullivan expressed concern that attorneys for accused rioter Jeffrey Sabol said they have not received an explanation as to why Sabol and others are being placed in lockdown for 23 hours a day.

"Like everything else, we want to separate fact from fiction," Sullivan said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Suspect in mass shooting that killed five in South Carolina played in the NFL


(ROCK HILL, S.C.) -- Five people are dead, including a doctor and two of his grandchildren, following a shooting at a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Wednesday afternoon, according to the York County Sheriff's Office.

The suspect, 32-year-old Phillip Adams, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at a nearby home, the York County Sheriff's Office said.

Adams, a Rock Hill native, was a former NFL player, according to ESPN. He was drafted by San Francisco in the seventh round out of South Carolina State in 2010 and played as a reserve defensive back for five teams in six years from 2010 to 2015.

The victims were identified as Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70; his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69; their grandchildren, 9-year-old Adah Lesslie and 5-year-old Noah Lesslie; and James Lewis, 39, who was working at the home at the time he was shot, authorities said.

A sixth person was also shot and survived, officials said.

Lewis and the surviving victim -- who was in critical condition Thursday morning -- were air conditioning techs who were found shot beside their work vans, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said.

Lewis leaves behind a daughter and two sons, according to a GoFundMe.

Robert Lesslie was a well-known doctor in Rock Hill, ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC reported. He spent many years working in emergency rooms in the Charlotte area, according to his website biography.

The sheriff said, "Dr. Lesslie was a pillar in this community."

"He had treated me in the past," he said.

Robert Lesslie and his wife had four children and five grandchildren, his website biography said.

The Lesslie family said in a statement, "We are truly in the midst of the unimaginable. The losses we are suffering cannot be uttered at this time."

The family said, "If you would like to do something for the family, Adah and Noah would want you to stock the free pantries and libraries in your community. Barbara and Robert would want you to be good stewards of what you are given, leaving every place better than it was before you got there."

All the deaths are being investigated as homicides, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

The York County Coroner’s Office said Adams was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a nearby home on the same road as the Lesslies, following a standoff.

"We did recover evidence at the scene that linked Mr. Adams to that area definitively," Tolson said at a news conference Thursday.

A motive has not been determined, Tolson said.

"There is nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us," the sheriff said.

Rock Hill is about 26 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina.

South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman said Robert and Barbara Lesslie were his close friends.

"Through the decades, they made such an incredible impact on our area and the lives of countless people," Norman said in a statement.

"It is impossible to imagine the grief that the extended Lesslie family must be feeling," he said. "I also want to send my sincere condolences to the family of James Lewis."

Joel and Steven Long, co-owners of GSM Services, the company which employed Lewis and the man who was shot and survived, said in a statement, "Our team at GSM Services is heart broken."

"Both men involved in this incident are long-standing, beloved members of our family at GSM. These men embody the values we strive to achieve at GSM and are family focused, up-beat, and wonderful team members who cared about all the people they encountered," the Longs said. "In the coming days, our focus is on helping these families and our team members cope with this tragedy."

The NFL said in a statement, "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of these devastating tragedies."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Medical witnesses clash with defense over George Floyd's death


(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Medical personnel from various backgrounds have testified in Derek Chauvin's trial, often painting a grave picture of George Floyd's final moments.

Paramedics found Floyd had no pulse upon arriving at the scene, and a respiratory expert said even a healthy person would have died under the restraints Chauvin used on Floyd.

The testimony of these medical experts is expected to carry great sway over the jury, as defense attorneys contend Floyd's death was caused by drugs he'd ingested, underlying health conditions and his own adrenaline, not the pressure of Chauvin's knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.

An autopsy found fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.

Here's the latest testimony from expert witnesses:

Dr. Martin Tobin

A pulmonologist and national expert on breathing, Dr. Martin Tobin, testified on April 8 that even "a healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died."

He said the cause of Floyd's death was low oxygen levels caused by shallow breaths due to Floyd's body position and the pressure of Chauvin's knee on his neck.

"Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen. And this caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a PEA arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop," Tobin said.

Tobin used detailed graphs and photos of the incident to support his contention that Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck and back made it impossible for him to breathe. He asked jurors to feel their own necks as he walked through the mechanics of breathing.

He calculated that Chauvin's left knee was on Floyd's neck for more than 90% of the incident.

Citing footage of the incident, Tobin testified that Chauvin placed about 91.5 pounds of pressure just on Floyd's neck, and that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for more than three minutes after there wasn't "an ounce of oxygen" left in Floyd's body.

Tobin dismissed a theory presented by the defense that Floyd's fentanyl use depressed his breathing and led to the high carbon dioxide levels detected in his blood at the hospital. That increase in carbon dioxide was because his body was deprived of oxygen for so long, Tobin testified.

Dr. Daniel Isenschmid

Dr. Daniel Isenschmid, a forensic toxicology expert who did lab work for Floyd's case, testified on April 8 that Floyd's hospital blood and autopsy urine contained low levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine.

He said Floyd's blood sample had 11 nanograms of fentanyl per milliliter and 5.6 nanograms of norfentanyl per milliliter. He said the level of methamphetamine was "low" and consistent with a prescription dose.

He said those levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine are significantly lower than the average amount seen in blood samples of DUI suspects, and much lower than post-mortem cases for individuals who die from drug overdoses.

Dr. William Smock

Dr. William Smock, an emergency medicine physician who specializes in legal forensic medicine, said Floyd died of positional asphyxia.

Smock said that after reviewing the case there was no evidence Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose, a methamphetamine overdose or any sort of combination of the two, nor from a heart attack. He also ruled out excited delirium.

"He's breathing. He's talking. He's not snoring. He is saying, 'Please, please get off of me. I want to breathe. I can't breathe.' That is not a fentanyl overdose. That is somebody begging to breathe," Smock said.

The defense tried to suggest during cross-examination that the combination of drugs in Floyd's system could have played a major role in his death.

Breahna Giles

A forensic scientist for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Breahna Giles, said some of the pills in Floyd's SUV contained methamphetamine and fentanyl.

She testified on April 7 about evidence collected at the crime scene, in Floyd's SUV and in the squad car officers tried to place Floyd.

Susan Neith

Susan Neith, a forensic chemic at NMS labs in Pennsylvania, testified on April 7 that two pills found in Floyd's SUV and a partial pill found in the squad car contained a fentanyl concentration of less than 1%, which she said is common.

The pills contained a methamphetamine concentration of 1.9% to 2.9%, which she described as significantly lower than "street" meth. "The majority of the time I see 90 to 100% methamphetamine," she added.

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld

Bradford Langenfeld, who was a senior resident in the emergency room at Hennepin County Medical Center in May 2020, testified on April 5 that officers decreased Floyd's chances of survival by not administering CPR.

"It's well known that any amount of time that a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate CPR markedly decreases the chance of a good outcome -- approximately a 10 to 15% decrease in survival for every minute that CPR is not administered," he said.

Langenfeld was the doctor who declared Floyd dead and said Floyd likely died from asphyxia. This is contrary to the defense's angle that Floyd died of a heart attack or drug overdose.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson tried to tie Floyd's death to using fentanyl and methamphetamine -- drugs found in his system during an autopsy. Langenfeld agreed that the use of those drugs can cause shortness of breath and suppress breathing.

Floyd was in cardiac arrest for at least an hour -- a half-hour as paramedics worked on him and another half hour at the hospital, where Langenfeld and his team worked on him before his death.

Seth Z. Bravinder

Seth Z. Bravinder, who drove the ambulance that transported Floyd to the hospital, testified on April 1 that Floyd wasn't responsive or breathing when the ambulance arrived.

Video played at the trial shows Bravinder and his partner paramedic, Derek Smith, working on Floyd, placing him on a Lucas device, which does chest compressions, starting an airway, and administering an IV to deliver medicine for his heart.

They moved Floyd into the ambulance and drove a few blocks away to administer care because the initial scene was becoming so crowded.

A monitor showed that Floyd had flat-lined, meaning his heart had stopped. Bravinder said they were never able to restore a pulse.

"Did it appear to you that he was dead when you got there?" prosecutor Erin Eldridge asked.

"I wouldn't know when I first pulled up," Bravinder said, "but I didn't see him moving or breathing."

Derek Smith

Paramedic Derek Smith appeared nervous to deliver testimony on April 1, and he repeatedly clarified that he felt Floyd was dead when the ambulance arrived.

Video showed at the trial depicts him checking Floyd's neck for a pulse as Chauvin remained on top of him.

"In a living person, there would be a pulse there," Smith said. "I didn't detect one, so I thought this patient to be dead."

Smith appeared frustrated that the officers hadn't provided medical care.

"When I arrived to the scene, there was no medical services being provided to the patient," he said.

He later added: "I don't know why Minneapolis [Police] didn't start compressions."

Genevieve Hansen

Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter, testified on March 30 that she tried to render aid to Floyd but was prevented from doing so.

She said she was off work and walking home when she came upon the scene.

She said Chauvin had his hands in his pockets and looked "so comfortable" while kneeling on Floyd's neck. She said she felt "totally distressed" when she could not get access to help Floyd.

Instead of being allowed to examine Floyd, she said now-former officer Tou Thao ordered her to get on the sidewalk, telling her, "If you're really a Minneapolis firefighter, you know better than to get involved."

"That's not right -- that's exactly what I should have done," Hansen said. "There was a man being killed, and I would have -- had I had access to a call similar to that -- I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities. And this human was denied that right."

Nicole Mackenzie

A medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, Nicole Mackenzie, said on April 6 that officers at the scene should have rendered aid to Floyd.

She's involved in the medical training of MPD officers, including Chauvin, and said officers are trained to begin CPR immediately and call an ambulance if they do not detect a pulse on a subject.

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked her about a phrase officers are heard saying to Floyd in video footage: "If you can talk, you can breathe."

"That would be incomplete to say," Mackenzie explained. "Just because they can talk doesn't mean they can breathe adequately."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

More than 30 million people on alert for severe weather

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A new storm will move into the Gulf Coast states Friday with the second-highest alert risk possible for damaging straight-line winds and tornadoes.

States that are in the bullseye Friday are Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.

More than 30 million people are on alert for severe weather in the next 24 hours from Texas to Georgia.

The severe weather threat will not move much Saturday, with tornadoes and damaging winds possible from New Orleans to Atlanta.

Meanwhile, in the West, it’s very dry, windy and warm with high fire danger.

In Arizona Thursday, a 500-acre wildfire forced 200 residents to evacuate north of Tucson. At least 12 structures have been destroyed.

The forward progress of the fire has been stopped. The fire is 20% contained, but evacuations remain in effect in Dudleyville, Arizona.

Nine states from California to North Dakota are under wind alerts and red flag warnings Friday due to low humidity and gusty winds that could quickly spread wildfires.

Several reported tornadoes in eastern Tennessee produced damage to buildings and uprooted trees Thursday. One of the tornadoes in Cumberland was rated as an EF-0 with winds of up to 80 mph.

Tennis ball size hail was reported in Texas, where it covered the ground.

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Key takeaways in the Derek Chauvin trial, Day 9


(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A world-renowned pulmonologist, who authored the bible on treating breathing disorders, testified on Thursday that George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen to his brain resulting from former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin jamming his knee into the back of Floyd's neck as he laid pinned to the ground in handcuffs.

Dr. Martin Tobin, a physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and at the Hines Veteran Administration Hospital in Illinois, was called as an expert medical witness for the prosecution.

Tobin, who said he's not being paid for his testimony, used graphics and 3D images to lead jurors through a series of demonstrations that illustrated the horrific death Floyd suffered. Tobin even provided a second-by-second timeline showing the precise moments the 46-year-old Black man lost consciousness, stopped breathing and suffered a traumatic, irreversible brain injury.

"Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen. And this caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused a [Pulseless Electrical Activity] arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop," Tobin explained.

He testified that he based his opinion on medical and investigative evidence that included hundreds of viewings of numerous videos, filmed from different angles, that showed Chauvin and two other officers taking a handcuffed Floyd to the pavement just after 8 p.m. on May 25 outside a Cup Foods store in south Minneapolis.

Tobin, author of a 1,500-page textbook titled "Principles and Practice of Mechanical Ventilation" -- described by the medical journal The Lancet as the bible on the topic -- said the manner of Floyd's death is often referred to as asphyxia.

Asked by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell if he had formed an opinion "to a reasonable degree of medical certainty" about what caused Floyd to suffer a fatal loss of oxygen, Tobin answered that it was shallow breathing to the point where air wasn't able to get through his lungs and the lower regions of his respiratory tract that filters out carbon dioxide.

That's the moment the life goes out of his body.

Tobin testified that Floyd's shallow breathing was the direct result of being handcuffed in a prone position "and then that he has a knee on his neck, and then that he has a knee on his back and down his side."

The physician said Chauvin's left knee was on the back of Floyd's neck for more than 90% of nine minutes and 29 seconds prosecutors said Floyd was restrained on the ground. Tobin said the former officer's right knee was on Floyd's back or rammed against the left side of his chest for at least 57% of the time.

He said during the entire episode, Chauvin and former officer J. Alexander Kueng applied additional force by pulling Floyd's handcuffed wrists up high behind his back.

Tobin said Floyd essentially was squeezed to death as if he were in a vice. Chauvin's knee jammed into Floyd's neck narrowed the hypopharynx in his throat, normally the size of a dime, severely restricting his ability to take in air.

During the ordeal, Floyd, who was arrested for the misdemeanor offense of allegedly using a phony $20 bill to buy cigarettes, repeatedly cried out, "I can't breathe" and complained of pain in his stomach, neck and back.

"I mean, when you have to breathe through a narrow passageway," Tobin said, "it's like breathing through a drinking straw."

The exact moment Floyd died
On Tuesday, the lead investigator in the case, Special Agent James Reyerson of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified that Chauvin weighed 140 pounds and had an additional 30 to 40 pounds of equipment on him during the encounter with Floyd

Reviewing a photo showing Chauvin's left knee on Floyd's neck, Tobin noted that at one point the officer's left boot was raised off the ground and that half his weight was pressing down on the man.

"So, we're taking half his body weight plus the weight of ... half the gear, and all of that is coming directly down on Mr. Floyd's neck," Tobin said.

Tobin ruled out the possibility that the fentanyl found in Floyd's system during the autopsy played a role in his death because he had a normal respiratory rate when the restraint began, and that fentanyl, or at least a significant dose of it, would have lowered his respiratory rate.

Tobin also said his analysis rejected the possibility that Floyd, who suffered from undiagnosed heart disease, died from a sudden heart attack. If that were the case, Floyd would have likely complained about chest pains, and his respiratory rate would have skyrocketed.

At times during his testimony, Tobin asked jurors to place their hands on their throats and the back of their necks as he spoke of certain parts of the anatomy. Defense attorney Eric Nelson objected, prompting Judge Peter Cahill to tell the jury they were not obligated to follow the doctor's directions but could if they wanted to.

In one dramatic moment, Tobin noted the exact times Floyd went unconscious, stopped breathing and died. At 8:22 p.m. and 22 seconds on May 25, Tobin said, "That's the moment the life goes out of his body."

He said that despite the officers checking and realizing Floyd no longer had a pulse, Chauvin kept his knee smashed into Floyd's neck for another two minutes and 44 seconds, until paramedics arrived and put Floyd's lifeless body on a gurney.

During cross-examination, Nelson asked Tobin whether he was aware that Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker, whom prosecutors plan to call to the witness stand on Friday, found no bruising on Floyd's neck nor any injuries to his hypopharynx.

"I'm aware," Tobin answered.

Nelson challenged Tobin on his opinion that fentanyl played no medical role in Floyd's death. The defense lawyer asked a hypothetical question of whether peak fentanyl respiratory depression occurs five minutes after ingestion.

"Correct," Tobin answered.

On redirect questioning, Blackwell asked Tobin why no bruising was found on Floyd's neck or injuries to his hypopharynx.

"I wouldn't expect anything to be found there," he said, "because the effects are not something that will remain at the time of autopsy."

Toxicology tests
Daniel Isenschmid, a forensic toxicologist for the NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, testified that he was asked by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office to test blood drawn from Floyd's body the night he died.

Isenschmid, testifying for the prosecution, said Floyd's blood contained 11 nanograms of fentanyl per milliliter and 19 nanograms of methamphetamine per milliliter. He said he also found 5.6 nanograms of norfentanyl, or metabolize fentanyl, in Floyd's blood samples as well as traces of caffeine and THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Isenschmid, the former chief toxicologist for the Wayne County, Michigan, Medical Examiner's Office, described the fentanyl and methamphetamine found in Floyd's blood as "low level" traces.

Dr. Bill Smock, the police surgeon for the Louisville Metro Police Department and an expert in emergency medical care and forensic medicine, also said Floyd didn't die from a drug overdose.

Smock, testifying as a paid prosecution expert, said medical records he reviewed showed that Floyd had been a chronic drug user for years and had built up a tolerance to fentanyl and methamphetamine.

He said the drugs found in Floyd's system during the post-mortem examination were not at levels close to those required for him to overdose.

"The more you use any drug -- in this case, fentanyl -- you build up that tolerance, so it takes more drug to give you that high, to affect your brain," Smock said.

He said that had Floyd been suffering from an overdose, he would have been nearly comatose, likely snoring and unable to speak to the officers.

"He gave appropriate responses: Name, date of birth," he said, describing what he saw in videos showing Floyd's arrest. "He knew exactly where he was and what he was doing, and responded appropriately to the questions that were asked of him."

Smock also said he found no evidence that Floyd possibly died of a sudden heart attack nor that his death was the result of excited delirium, a physical and psychiatric state that produces an imbalance in the brain and causes some people to exhibit "superhuman strength."

Smock went through a 10-point checklist used to determine whether someone is experiencing excited delirium, including feeling excessively hot, sweating excessively, breathing rapidly, feeling an unusual attraction to glass and mirrors, and failing to respond to a police presence. He said that someone experiencing excited delirium would exhibit at least six of the 10 symptoms.

"So, Dr. Smock," Blackwell, the prosecutor, asked, "if we have to have a minimum of six of these items -- six of 10 for excited delirium -- how many did you see?"

Smock responded: "Zip."

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Couple in their 90s reunited after being separated for a year due to COVID-19

Rosemary Byrne

(ST LOUIS, Mo.) -- Together again, at last.

Virginia, 95, and Jack Byrne, 94, were able to celebrate their 72nd wedding anniversary in person after spending more than a year apart.

According to their daughter, Rosemary Byrne, since her father lives in a memory care facility and her mother lives on her own, the two have not been able to see each other due to COVID-19 restrictions.

On March 19, the couple reunited at McKnight Place Assisted Living and Memory Care in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rosemary Byrne wrote “World News Tonight” to deliver the good news.

“As my Mom was waiting to see my Dad, she said, ‘Each minute feels like an hour. I’m as nervous as a schoolgirl,’” Rosemary Byrne wrote.

On Thursday, Virginia Byrne told “World News Tonight” about the long awaited hug she had with her husband.

“The lights went on again in my life, because I was able to be so close to my husband for the first time in more than a year,” Virginia Byrne said. “I looked into his eyes, and his eyes sparkled as they always did when we were close together.”

“It was a wonderful moment. I could hardly let go,” she added.

Virginia Byrne said the couple is back together again and that she hopes that others will also have heartwarming reunions soon.

“I’m hopeful that now many people will be able to share this kind of moment as vaccinations conquer this robber of togetherness,” she said.

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White supremacists, extremists may use Chauvin trial to further their agendas: DHS


(WASHINGTON) -- As Derek Chauvin's murder trial continues in Minneapolis, the intelligence branch of the Department of Homeland Security is warning that foreign adversaries and domestic extremists may use the case to further their own agendas.

In an intelligence briefing obtained by ABC News, DHS analysts warn that domestic extremists -- including anarchists and white supremacists -- "may attempt to exploit activities and events surrounding the legal proceeding" and "violence could occur with little or no warning."

The briefing goes through the various types of extremists who it says might exploit the events. The agency warns that domestic violent extremists could commit violence during the trial, but "are more likely following the outcome of the trials associated with the death of George Floyd."

Some domestic extremist groups the briefing warns about include those who are adherents to the anti-government "boogaloo" movement. After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the Justice Department announced the arrest of two militia members associated with the boogaloo movement, including one who allegedly sought to incite a riot in Louisville, Kentucky, during the Capitol riot.

DHS also concluded that violent anarchist extremists were likely to use the Chauvin trial, regardless of the outcome, to "incite others online" and "commit property damage against critical infrastructure, such as government facilities." The report also said that a "likely anarchist violent extremist" posted an image online threatening law enforcement in response to the trial.

Some white supremacist extremists have remarked online that the Chauvin trial may lead to a race war, the briefing states.

Black separatists groups may target law enforcement officers or government facilities should Chauvin be acquitted, or if there is a mistrial, or if sentencing against Chauvin is perceived too lenient, the DHS briefing also stated.

Additionally, DHS warned that foreign entities could see an opportunity in the ongoing trial.

"Foreign terrorist groups and nation-state adversaries may seek to sow discord by portraying the trials as indicative of a racist and divided American public," the document says. "Last year, both al-Qa'ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham published media depicting the civil unrest as emblematic of societal division in the United States, and al-Qa'ida compared the protests to its alleged efforts to 'end injustice and oppose tyranny.' Russian and Iranian media outlets have claimed that the trials surrounding the death of George Floyd illustrate America's police brutality and racism, according to press reporting."

George Floyd, 46, was arrested shortly after 8 p.m. on May 26, 2020 after allegedly using a fake $20 bill at a local Cup Foods. A disturbing cellphone video later posted to Facebook showed former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee on the back of Floyd's neck while the handcuffed man repeats "I can't breathe" and goes unconscious. Floyd later died at a hospital. The incident sparked nationwide outrage and Black Lives Matter protests.

Chauvin, and three officers involved in the incident: J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, both felonies, court records show.

Chauvin also received an additional second-degree murder charge, a felony, according to court records.

The trial is currently in the ninth day of proceedings.

ABC News' Samara Lynn, Rosa Sanchez, Alexander Mallin, Bill Hutchinson and Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.

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West anticipating dangerous fire season due to severe drought conditions


(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Drought conditions in the West are so severe that officials are worried about the potential of a fire season even more dangerous than the last.

In Colorado, higher temperatures and lower precipitation after a winter with less-than-normal snowfall has made the land similar to a tinderbox should a flame spark a wildfire, officials from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control told reporters in a press conference Thursday.

Top-ranking firefighters in the state said during the wildfire outlook presentation that the current weather conditions will not allow them to start mitigation efforts they would typically be doing at this time of year, such as controlled burns that stand between areas of concern and populated towns.

In Southern California, the latest drought monitor on Thursday showed worsening conditions, putting Los Angeles County under the "Severe Drought" category ahead of the dry season.

A cattle rancher in Petaluma, California, about 40 miles north of San Francisco, reported that the reservoir pond on his property, which typically collects rainwater runoff, is completely dry due to the lack of precipitation.

"That pond should be running over right now," Don DeBernardi told ABC San Francisco station KGO.

When asked whether the pond has ever been empty, DeBernardi, who has owned the property since 1976, replied "Never. Never. Never," adding that the current drought has been "probably the worst one."

When filled, the pond has enough water to run DeBernardi's ranch and give his hundreds of cows water for a year and a half, he said. But the bottom is so dry that the bottom has begun to crack.

At the beginning of March, 46.6% of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor Report. Drought conditions have especially intensified and expanded across portions of the Northeast, Texas, the northern Plains and California, according to the report.

Both California and Colorado had historic fire seasons in 2020.

Colorado had four of its largest wildfires in state history last year, officials said. Some believe that if it were not for an unusual snowstorm that hit at the right time, the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake may have been destroyed by the deadly East Troublesome Fire, which spread through 87,093 acres in late October.

People sit on a dried lake bed at the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, Calif., April 6, 2021.
In California, more than 4 million acres burned in 2020 after dozens of wildfires, some major, burned simultaneously through the state through September.

Three of the top five fires in California state history occurred in 2020. Firefighters in the state have not seen anything like that season in more than 100 years, when the Great Fire of 1910 blazed through more than 3 million acres.

While conditions of the landscape in the West make wildfires a natural occurrence, fire seasons have intensified as a result of warming global temperatures, climate scientists have told ABC News.

The amount of forest area burned by wildfires between 1984 and 2015 was twice what would have burned had climate change not occurred, according to the 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment.

The Colorado state government is pouring resources into preparation for wildfires to buy more helicopters, airplanes and drones and hire more firefighters, Gov. Jared Polis said at the press conference Thursday, while California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that $536 million will be dedicated toward wildfire mitigation and forest management projects ahead of fire season.

ABC News' Jeffrey Cook, Max Golembo and Jennifer Watts contributed to this report.

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