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Timeline of plane crash outside DC that scrambled fighter jets raises questions

Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The chain of events set off by an unresponsive plane that eventually crashed Sunday in Virginia continues to raise questions about what happened on board and how the incident was handled.

Six fighter jets were scrambled on the afternoon of June 4 to try to intercept the private Cessna jet, originally on a flight from Tennessee to New York, as it encroached on restricted airspace around Washington D.C. The plane eventually went down in a mountainous area of Virginia, killing all four people on board.

But because the fighter jets weren't launched until long after the plane first went unresponsive, and after it turned around in New York without landing, it's unclear why NORAD waited to intercept the plane until it was about 20 miles northeast of the nation's capital.

White House spokesman John Kirby declined to tell ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Mary Bruce on Tuesday whether he thought it was okay for 90 minutes to lapse between the time the Cessna jet went dark to it being intercepted F-16s.

"[Department of Defense] will take a look at the process," Kirby said. Kirby added the response was done in "textbook fashion" but DOD will determine if anything should have been done differently.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has begun an investigation into exactly what happened.

Here's a timeline of the plane's path, and the military response that led to a sonic booms over the D.C. region and along the East Coast. All times are Eastern.

Flight takes off from Tennessee

At 1:13 p.m. the plane departed from Elizabethton Municipal Airport in Tennessee bound for Long Island MacArthur Airport in New York, according to the NTSB. Three passengers and the pilot were on board.

Shortly after take-off, at approximately 1:28 p.m., air traffic controllers lost contact with the jet and repeatedly called out to the plane but received no response, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Defense and homeland security officials were notified of the situation eight minutes after controllers lost contact with the plane, the agency said.

Air traffic controllers began warning pilots as early as 1:50 p.m. that an unresponsive plane was in the air.

Flight reaches Long Island, turns around

At approximately 2:30 p.m., the Cessna jet reached Long Island but did a 180-degree turn, changing its path to a southwestern trajectory as it flew over MacArthur Airport at a cruising altitude of 34,000 feet.

It's unclear why the plane didn't land at its intended destination.

Flight enters restricted airspace, fighter jets scramble

The exact timeline is unclear but around 3 p.m., the plane drew closer to restricted airspace over Washington, stoking increased alarm among officials.

It’s at this time that NORAD, or North American Aerospace Defense Command, scrambled six F-16 fighters from three different units and bases: two from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and the other four from Atlantic City, New Jersey, and McEntire, South Carolina.

Sonic boom heard by D.C.-area residents

Starting shortly after 3 p.m., residents across the Washington metro area began to circulate social media postings about what sounded like a loud explosion.

Door-camera footage from northern Virginia at 3:09 p.m. captured the noise of a sonic boom, which was later confirmed to be from the F-16’s that were authorized to travel at supersonic speeds to catch up to the unresponsive Cessna plane.

NORAD said that two F-16s launched from Atlantic City traveling at supersonic speed created the noise.

A U.S. official defense explained to ABC News that as the F-16 traveled the region at supersonic speeds for several minutes, people would have heard the sonic boom at different locations at different times.

F-16s intercept plane

At approximately 3:20 p.m., the plane was intercepted 20 miles northeast of Reagan National Airport, according to NORAD.

A defense official said two F-16s that had taken off from Joint Base Andrews deployed flares and flew around the aircraft to try to capture the pilot's attention but received no response.

A second U.S. official said the fighter jet pilots “visually confirmed that the Cessna pilot was unresponsive.” A U.S. official told ABC News that the pilot seemed to have passed out.

Experts said it was likely hypoxia, a condition that occurs when the body loses oxygen, that caused the pilot to become unresponsive.

The F-16’s continued to follow the unresponsive Cessna plane until its crash.

Plane crashes in Virginia

The NTSB said the plane began to descend at 3:23 p.m. and crashed at approximately 3:32 p.m. near the George Washington National Forest.

The flight tracking software following the plane’s path also reported it going down at 3:32 p.m.

The Virginia State Police said in a statement they were informed of the crash at 3:50 p.m.

According to state police, first responders were able to reach the crash site shortly before 8 p.m. No survivors were located.

ABC News' Lauren Minore and Davon Morales contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

2 shot at Maryland cemetery during burial of 10-year-old gun violence victim

Tetra Images/Getty Images

(BOWIE, Md.) -- Two people have been shot, one fatally, at a Maryland cemetery during the burial of a 10-year-old girl who fell victim to gun violence last month, according to police.

It appears Tuesday afternoon's shooting at Washington National Cemetery in Prince George's County, just outside of Washington, D.C., stemmed from a "dispute totally unrelated to what was going on with the funeral," Prince George's County police Maj. David Blazer said at a news conference.

A man, who died from his gunshot wounds, and a woman, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, were not directly connected to the funeral for 10-year-old Arianna Davis, Blazer said.

One person is in custody, Blazer said.

Davis was in the car with her family on Mother's Day when she was "accidentally hit in a barrage of gunfire," said Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police.

ABC News' Beatrice Peterson contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Fight for transgender equality transcends generations

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Nicole Maines – a transgender actress who has starred in “Supergirl,” “Yellowjackets,” and more – never intended to become an activist.

But when she and her family won a groundbreaking case against her school district in 2014, arguing that the school could not deny her access to the girl’s bathroom because she was transgender, the role came naturally.

Years later, Maines would go on to make history again as the first live action transgender superhero on television as Dreamer in “Supergirl."

Maines spoke with ABC News in 2015, sharing the excitement she felt about preparing to undergo gender affirming surgery.

“I just knew in my head and in my heart that I was supposed to be a girl,” she said in the 2015 interview. “It was just the voice in my head telling me, ‘No, this is who you are, you need to be a girl.’”

Gender-affirming care can include puberty blockers, hormone medications and surgery.

“I had just graduated high school,” Maines, now 26, said in a recent interview, after watching the old footage of herself. “I was on my way to get my surgery that I'd been looking forward to my entire life, that I'd been talking about my entire life.”

Maines’ story is part of "The Freedom to Exist - A Soul of a Nation Presentation," airing June 6 on ABC.

As bills restricting transgender youth health care and trans bathroom bans pop up across the country, Maines says “there's so much work to be done…we all need to decide what kind of country that we want to live in.”

At least 18 states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah -- have passed laws or policies that restrict gender-affirming care for people under the age of legal adulthood.

In several of these states, adults, too, face restrictions and red-tape toward receiving such care.

Leading medical groups and pediatric experts say gender-affirming care improves the mental well-being of transgender youth, who are more likely to face mental health conditions due to discrimination and gender dysphoria – or not being able to express oneself in the gender they identify with.

Despite this, youth continue to face barriers to care.

The next generation of trans youth

Hobbes Chukumba, a junior in high school, came out as transgender to his father when he was 11 years old.

People would call Hobbes a “young boy,” a “brother,” a “son,” and it would never bother him – “It wasn't several years later until I realized it's because that's really how I identify. That's how I felt,” he said.

“I was so relieved to finally have this weight put off my chest because it had been something that I was harboring for... I don't know how long,” Hobbes told ABC News in an interview.

His father told him he loved him, gave him a hug, left the room and immediately went to search for answers. He had no frame of reference on how to support his son.

“For the next two years, I was doing all the research I could to figure out what it was that I was dealing with, and how to best help my child realize who he was, and how he could become his best self,” Hobbe's father, Stephen, told ABC News.

Hobbes said he knew he wanted to medically transition to feel more aligned with his body.

Stephen, Hobbes’ father, describes the process as “a whole battery of appointments and meetings and doctors and clinicians and psychiatrists.”

“For me, I felt really good,” he continued, “because I didn't want my son taking something, doing something to alter his body that he didn't understand, that I didn't understand.”

Hobbes said that when he began taking testosterone, he felt the change from within immediately.

“It felt like, on the first day, I was like, ‘Oh, look at me, I already have a huge mustache and awesome beard,’ even though, obviously, that wasn't true. But it was just the feeling, the thought, that one day I will.”

Hobbes was one of several trans youth organizers who helped to plan the Trans Youth Prom to celebrate trans youth and show people that "trans kids are kids."

"We're people, we can have fun, we can enjoy ourselves and we have pride to be who we are," he said.

Hobbes continued, “When I go on to college and into the rest of my life, I want people to look at me as I currently am, and not as I was. I don't want them to see me as Hobbes, who used to be whoever. I want them to just see me, and see Hobbes.”

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mom fears for her trans daughter in wake of gender-affirming care ban: 'It's not going to stop there'

ABC News

(SIOUX FALLS, S.D) -- A South Dakota law prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors is set to take effect next month, joining a growing list of states considering or enacting similar bans across the country.

Meanwhile, a concerned mother is grappling with how her transgender daughter will continue to receive transition-related care, telling ABC News they soon may have to travel up to 200 miles away to get her daughter’s puberty blockers prescribed in Minnesota.

“We’re just putting a pause on [puberty] until we get to a point where her therapist, her medical doctor and her parent all agree she’s mature enough to make a decision how she wants to progress,” said Carrie, whose daughter's name is Willow.

She added, “The most frustrating part of all of those laws for me is that, I’m her parent. I should be able to make decisions regarding my child’s health care.”

Willow began to socially transition in about fifth grade, but kids at her previous school would “deliberately misgender her or deliberately call her by her old name,” Carrie said. The mom and daughter now drive from rural Minnesota to nearby Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for work, school and medical care.

Carrie and Willow's story is part of "The Freedom to Exist - A Soul of a Nation Presentation," airing June 6 on ABC.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed HB 1080, known as the “Help Not Harm bill," into law in February. The law bans both surgical and non-surgical gender-affirming care for transgender youth, including hormone replacement therapy and puberty blockers. Supporters of the law believe they are protecting children by prohibiting these treatments until adulthood.

Critics say such restrictions infringe on the rights of parents like Carrie to make health decisions on behalf of their children. They also point to research about the risks associated with disallowing transgender children experiencing gender dysphoria to access essential care.

“[Risks] include increased risk for depression and anxiety and, sadly, increased risks for feelings of self-harm, including suicidality,” Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told ABC News.

“If you’ve got a law in your state that says you are wrong for being who you know you are, that’s going to deeply impact your sense of self,” Hoffman continued.

At least 18 states have passed laws or policies that at least partially restrict gender-affirming care for minors. The laws in Alabama and Arkansas are temporarily blocked, as legal challenges make their way through the courts. At least 14 other states are considering similar laws.

And gender-affirming health care isn’t the only thing under threat, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The organization is tracking at least 491 anti-LGBTQ bills up for consideration in state legislatures across the country, involving issues like civil rights, free speech and expression.

“There is a lot of anxiety around the increased affirmation and visibility of LGBTQ experiences, and especially trans and nonbinary experiences,” said activist and author Raquel Willis.

Several trans activists told ABC News that a turning point came in 2015, when the Supreme Court struck down the remaining bans on marriage equality for same-sex couples.

“One of the things trans activists absolutely rightly pointed out is that while you might win on gay marriage, where is this huge infrastructure opposing it going to then park all of its energy? And since L-G-B-T — well the T is just sitting right there, they didn’t have to go very far,” said John Hopkins University professor Dr. Jules Gill-Peterson.

ACLU attorney Chase Strangio speculates the anti-trans legislation moving through state legislatures nationwide stems from "an ideological goal of eradicating trans people."

For Willow’s mom, it’s a frightening — and all too real — possibility.

“Passing of these laws, things that are said about the trans community will make them feel even more like they don’t belong, that their existence doesn’t matter. It’s not going to stop there. And that’s what scares me I think the most,” Carrie said.

ABC News' Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wildfire smoke map: Which US cities, states are being impacted by Canadian wildfires

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Wildfires burning in Canada are continuing to create poor air quality conditions in the U.S. as the smoke makes its way south.

Hazy skies, low visibility and poor air quality will be present in most of the Northeast and the Midwest and even as far south as the Carolinas.

Air quality alerts have been issued in 17 states and in cities such as Baltimore, Boston, Minneapolis, Raleigh and St. Louis.

Smoke plumes are now extending along the East Coast with smoky skies lingering into the Ohio Valley.

Air quality is currently deemed "unhealthy" for millions of residents. With these ratings, all individuals, not just sensitive groups, should limit times outdoors.

A very dense area of smoke over upstate New York will soon sweep down across Northern New Jersey, New York City and southern New England.

Large cities with the lowest air quality include New York City, Albany and Cincinnati, a map by AirNow, a website that publishes air quality data, shows.

Another large and dense plume of smoke will be moving down across parts of the Northeast on Wednesday, delivering a one-two punch for some cities. That batch of very dense smoke will push down across the Northeast throughout the day on Wednesday, giving some relief to New England and the Midwest.

At-risk populations, such as young children, the elderly or those with lung and heart disease, should especially avoid the outdoors, according to the advisories.

The smoke originated from wildfires in Quebec, where more than 160 forest fires are currently active. Some of the fires in the region were ignited by lightning strikes, according to NASA. Unusually dry and warm weather has fueled the fires.

The intensity of the fires has exceeded the capacity of water bombers, Quebec's wildfire prevention agency announced on Monday, CTV reported.

Firefighters are currently unable to get the wildfires under control, François Legault, a member of the Canadian parliament serving Quebec, told reporters during a news conference on Monday. Firefighters in other provinces are unable to assist because they are battling their own fires but an additional 200 firefighters are traveling from France and the U.S., Legault said.

The number of wildfires in the country has grown past 400, officials said, and conditions are not forecast to improve in the coming days.

Northern U.S. states have been under the haze of the migrating smoke since early-season wildfires began to spark in mid-May.

The bulk of the smoke impacting the Northeast Tuesday is coming down from Quebec.

Air quality alerts were issued for all of Montana and parts of Idaho, Colorado and Arizona due to wildfires in Western Canada.

Wildfires burning last week near Halifax, Nova Scotia, created hazardous air quality ratings in many of the regions affected by the wildfires currently burning in Quebec.

There is also an elevated fire danger from northern Michigan to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with red flag warnings in effect for some areas. If any fires spark, they could easily spread due the very dry conditions and gusty winds. Lightning from isolated thunderstorms in Pennsylvania and New Jersey could be a source of new wildfire ignition.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

It's been 79 years since D-Day landings. How experts say we'll continue to honor WWII veterans

National D-Day Memorial Foundation

(NEW YORK) -- Seventy-nine years ago, on June 6, 1944, more than 156,000 Allied troops invaded Normandy, France, on D-Day.

"It was one of the most momentous events of the last century," April Cheek-Messier, president and CEO of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, told ABC News. "The men and women of D-Day and World War II literally saved the world. They saved the world for the next generation."

As nations reflect on Operation Overlord, the mission that changed the course of history and liberated Europe from Hitler's Germany, America also faces down another fact: The number of WWII veterans, especially those who participated in D-Day, is dwindling.

Experts say those WWII veterans who are no longer with us would want their stories passed on, and it's critical to honor their legacies and preserve history by doing so.

"We need to educate [people] on the stories we do know and pass them on. They devoted their lives to that," military historian, author and professor John C. McManus told ABC News, echoing something he said during a D-Day commemoration last year: "The reality is, once that generation is gone, which it almost entirely is, it's incumbent on historians to carry on that legacy."

The Normandy landings represent something "monumental," he said, and it's hard to imagine anything more important than telling WWII veterans' stories.

The National D-Day Memorial Foundation was originally about paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on June 6, 1944, and the tens of thousands who died in the weeks that followed, Cheek-Messier said.

It also communicated to veterans that "we know what you did, why your story is important, why we need to pass it on," she said. "We wanted to make sure we paid tribute to those veterans. Their stories had not really been told."

In addition to maintaining the monument, which is more than 20 years old and located in Bedford, Virginia, the foundation also undertakes the difficult research of confirming the names of those who died on D-Day.

When the foundation was formed, there was no list, database or roster that existed, Cheek-Messier said. Now, the foundation maintains the most complete name-by-name listing in the world of Allied service members who died on June 6, 1944.

According to the foundation's necrology database, 4,415 men died that day, including 2,502 Americans.

"Remembrance is key. It's central to any lasting memorial," Cheek-Messier said. "Education is central to remembrance."

She said veterans have a desire for their stories and memories to be passed on to future generations: "Many of them came home. Many of their friends did not."

As the foundation looks toward the 80th commemoration of D-Day next year, the research and education continue.

"How are we as a nation now remembering? How are we passing on their stories?" Cheek-Messier said.

The foundation expects to be able to add some new names to its wall at the Bedford memorial in 2024, she noted, so those individuals can also be recognized.

"Now that we're nearing the 80th anniversary, we realize most are no longer with us," she said. "We can't hear these stories firsthand. We have to make sure we're able to tell their stories. Not just us at the memorial, but all of us as American citizens."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Unlawful southern border entries down 70% from record highs since end of Title 42

Bloomberg Creative Photos/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- Unlawful entries along the southern border have decreased 70% from their record highs since the end of Title 42 on May 11, according the Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has averaged 3,400 encounters in between ports of entry per day and fewer than 300 non-CBP One Office of Field Operations (OFO) encounters at ports of entry per day, for a total of approximately 3,700 unscheduled encounters per day, according to statistics released by DHS Tuesday morning.

From May 12 to June 2, DHS repatriated over 38,400 noncitizens under Title 8 authorities, including single adults and families, to more than 80 countries. This includes over 1,400 noncitizens from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela who were returned to Mexico under Title 8 authorities -- the first time in our bilateral history that the Mexican government has allowed the repatriation of non-Mexican nationals at the border under Title 8 authorities. The top three nationalities encountered during that time period were Mexican, Honduran and Venezuelan, which collectively accounted for 70% of the encounters per day, according to DHS.

The White House applauded the decrease.

"Political pundits and Republican lawmakers claimed we were unprepared for the end of Title 42. We proved them wrong," tweeted White House Assistant Press Secretary Abdullah Hasan.

The CBP One app, which was rolled out by DHS as a hub offering a variety of CBP services, saw 1,070 noncitizens presented "in a safe and orderly manner at a port of entry each day to be processed during their scheduled appointment time," DHS said. CBP has, as of June 1, expanded the number of appointments available to 1,250 each day.

But some Republicans have expressed skepticism of CBP One, saying the app is a vehicle that would allow mass migration.

"Abusing the CBP One App is the Biden admin's newest tactic to funnel tens of thousands of illegal aliens into the country every month. House Republicans voted to bar DHS from exploiting the app & restore it back to its original intent," Republicans on the House Committee on Homeland Security tweeted Monday.

The decrease comes as two top immigration officials have announced their departure from DHS. Chief of the Border Patrol Raul Ortiz told employees he was leaving at the end of June, and Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tae Johnson is also retiring, according to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Total CBP enforcement actions for fiscal year 2023 are 1,246,371 year-to-date, according to CBP.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Surveillance video shows box-wearing bandit allegedly burglarizing Florida grocery store

Courtesy Jeremias Berganza

(MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.) -- A Florida man donned a unique disguise to burglarize a Miami Gardens supermarket.

Claude Vincent Griffin Jr., 33, was caught on surveillance cameras haphazardly wearing a cardboard box as a mask when breaking into a glass display containing iPhones. Police allege that Griffin stole over $30,000 worth of merchandise, according to an arrest affidavit.

Authorities charged Griffin, who they say is homeless, with 11 criminal counts, including burglary, grand theft, criminal mischief, cocaine possession, and resisting arrest.

The manager of Miami Gardens' Price Choice Supermarket said he learned that his store was burglarized early Saturday morning three separate times by the same intruder, according to the affidavit. A review of the store's surveillance system quickly revealed many of the details of the incident.

Police allege that Griffin entered the supermarket unmasked through a rear door typically used to access product storage. The store's security alarm, which was functional at the time of the incidents, according to police, did not go off at any time over the three incidents.

During his first visit, he stole multiple scratch-off tickets and cigarettes before exiting, according to the affidavit.

An hour later, Griffin returned to the supermarket "wearing a box to conceal his face" before approaching kiosks that contained phones and jewelry, noted the complaint.

Captured on surveillance camera, the box-wearing bandit used a blunt object to break into a glass display case. Wearing a pair of allegedly stolen gloves to avoid the shards of glass in the display case, Griffin can be seen putting multiple iPhones into his backpack, one of which police allege he was carrying at the time of his arrest.

However, Griffin apparently did not cut eye holes into his mask, complicating the theft and ultimately contributing to his demise.

"As [Griffin] was breaking into the glass, the box covering his facial features fell to the ground allowing surveillance video to capture an image of [his] face," according to the complaint. Police later used that identification to arrest Griffin.

"I had a laugh on my face [when I saw the video]," kiosk owner Jeremias Berganza told ABC affiliate WPLG.

Before leaving the store on the second robbery, Griffin similarly broke into another glass display case to steal multiple watches.

Police allege that Griffin returned to the store a third time, prying open a cash box, stealing more iPhones and nabbing some phone chargers on his way out of the store.

Police estimate the total value of the stolen merchandise as over $30,000, along with over two thousand dollars worth of vandalism damage.

Roughly eight hours after police responded to the incident, Griffin was spotted at the same plaza as the grocery store, according to authorities.

"Ten hours later, after the break-in, they called me from the barber shop saying he was in front of the liquor store," Berganza said.

Police arrested Griffin, who later confessed to the theft. He is being held on bond at a local correctional center.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Yellowstone visitors are getting so comfortable with approaching wildlife that park officials are asking them to stop

Jeff R Clow/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- As the weather warms and visitors flock to the oldest national park in the U.S., the number of disturbing human-wildlife encounters has prompted Yellowstone officials to beg guests to maintain their distance.

Several events in recent weeks at Yellowstone National Park have led to the endangerment of both humans and wildlife, as well as the death of wildlife, the National Park Service announced on Thursday.

The message to tourists who spot wild animals in a campsite, trail, boardwalk, parking lot, road or in a developed area: "Leave it alone and give it space."

The most recent encounter circulated on social media the day the NPS made its plea. A woman at Yellowstone was filmed on May 20 standing dangerously close to a fully grown bison to take a selfie.

The bison seemed unperturbed as the woman posed for the camera next to it, remaining still on the ground, only moving to graze on nearby grass.

Visitors are required to stay at least 25 yards away from all wildlife, including bison, elk and deer, and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.

Bison are especially unpredictable and have injured more people in the park than any other animal, park officials said.

Disregarding these regulations can result in fines, injury and even death, park officials said.

A visitor from Hawaii was ordered on May 31 to pay a $500 fine and make a $500 payment to the Yellowstone Forever Wildlife Protection Fund for the charge of intentionally disturbing wildlife after he pleaded guilty to picking up a bison calf on May 20, causing the animal's herd to reject it, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Wyoming. The calf was then euthanized so it would no longer be a hazard to itself and humans.

The man approached the struggling newborn bison calf after it got separated from its mother when the herd was crossing the Lamar River, prosecutors said. The man pushed the calf up from the river and onto a roadway.

The park is also investigating a range of other recent bison incidents, officials said.

Another calf -- this time elk -- was picked up on U.S. Highway 191 and placed in a car by tourists who drove it to the police department in West Yellowstone, Montana, according to the NPS. The elk later ran off into the forest and its condition is unknown.

The dangerous encounters with wildlife have become so commonplace that an Instagram profile with the handle "@touronsofyellowstone" -- with "touron" being a combination of the words "tourist" and "moron" -- has garnered more than 271,000 followers.

Recent posts include a man getting out of a car to chase a bear and a woman narrowly escaping a male elk trying to charge at her. There are also more posts of people standing perilously close to bison to take photos, including a video of a teenage boy posing in front of a bison while an adult snaps the photo and another of an adult standing inches away from an approaching bison while holding a traditional camera.

While part of the magic of Yellowstone is seeing America's most iconic animals living in the wild, "devastating consequences" can occur when visitors get too close and fail to respect the boundaries of wild animals, Wendy Keefover, senior strategist of wildlife protection at the Humane Society of the United States, told ABC News.

"The chance at a photo is not worth risking your life, the lives of other visitors or that of an animal," Keefover said. "If you ever see someone putting themselves or wildlife in danger, speak out and call 911 to alert law enforcement immediately."

Animals are also being struck and killed on Yellowstone roadways.

On the afternoon of May 28, a male black bear was struck and killed on U.S. Highway 191 in the northwestern section of the park, near milepost 14, officials said. Later that evening, another male black bear was struck and killed on U.S. Highway 191 at milepost 29.

One elk and one bison were also struck by separate vehicles in recent days, according to the NPS, which reminded visitors to travel at 55 mph or less on U.S. 191.

In addition, calving season began on May 19, and cow elk are much more aggressive toward people and are more likely to charge at or kick visitors, according to the NPS.

Attacks can be unprovoked and unpredictable, the NPS said, advising guests to find shelter in their vehicle or behind a tall, sturdy barrier if they see an elk running toward them.

Last year, attacks by bison included a 71-year-old woman who was walking back to her vehicle with her daughter and inadvertently encountered a bison, a 34-year-old man who was walking with his family near Giant Geyser at Old Faithful, and a 25-year-old woman who was gored after approaching the animal near a boardwalk at Black Sand Basin.

In 2019, a bison was seen charging at a 9-year-old girl before tossing her in the air. Another bison calf was euthanized in 2016 after a visitor placed it in his car and it was rejected by its herd.

The NPS's urges to the public to protect wildlife and respect safety regulations are so dire that it is encouraging guests to take the "Yellowstone Pledge," a personal promise made to oneself and the park.

"The park calls on visitors to protect wildlife by understanding how their actions can negatively impact wildlife," the NPS said in a statement.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Navy SEAL commander speaks out on 'Hell Week' training after death of candidate

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The Navy commander in charge of the "Hell Week" training when a SEAL candidate died spoke out on ABC News' Good Morning America after an investigation found multiple problems with the program.

Capt. Brad Geary told ABC News' Stephanie Ramos that the death of Kyle Mullen in 2022 was a "tragedy" but defended himself and the program against the probe, which outlined ways the selection progress for SEAL candidates had become dangerous.

"That entire report mischaracterizes, misrepresents and misquotes our organization and Naval special warfare," Geary said. "Because it was built off of a bias that was inappropriate and regurgitated untruths that simply didn't exist."

Mullen, a 24-year-old former Yale football team captain, collapsed and died just hours after completing the program. His death, and the hospitalization of three others from his class, shined a light on the intense, non-stop physical Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course candidates undergo to become elite SEALs.

A nearly 200-page report the Naval Education and Training Command released last month identified "failures across multiple systems that led to a number of candidates being at a high risk of serious injury."

Poor leadership, inadequately organized medical care and other factors increased the risks for SEAL candidates, according to the report.

Three Navy officers, including Geary, received "non-punitive" letters as a result of Mullen's death.

"There's a weight on the shoulders of every commanding officer that has served," Geary said when asked if he felt responsibility for Mullen's death. "And I don't think that weight can be reduced down to one term-like responsibility. I will always carry the weight of Kyle's death on my shoulders. What I feel responsible for is speaking truth to ensure that it never happens again."

Geary said there was no one he held accountable for Mullen's death.

"His death was a tragedy," Geary said. "And this is one thing I agree with the report on. It was a perfect storm of factors that all combined at the wrong possible moment in time and resulted in the tragic loss of Kyle."

Mullen's mother, Regina Mullen, expressed frustration with what she said was a lack of accountability for her son's death.

"The Navy SEAL code item four says take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates," she said. "He's the commander, the commander's supposed to command. Four people almost died that day. My son, unfortunately, died. He's responsible. I don't know how he could say he's not."

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Trump opposes Michael Cohen's attempt to dismiss lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Former President Donald Trump on Monday opposed an attempt by his former fixer Michael Cohen to dismiss a lawsuit that accused Cohen of breaching his fiduciary duty to Trump "by spreading falsehoods" about his ex-boss.

"Despite Cohen's arguments to the contrary, the Complaint alleges that Cohen was conferred substantial benefits during his representation of the Plaintiff and utilized such benefits for purposes of obtaining selfish, financial profit at the expense of Plaintiff," Trump's attorney, Alejandro Britto, said in a statement.

Trump accused Cohen of "egregious breaches of fiduciary duty and contract" in connection with the publication of books and the production of a podcast that "are intended to be embarrassing or detrimental" to Trump.

Cohen argued that the lawsuit failed to properly state a claim and cast it as an attempt to silence "an important government witness" in the Manhattan district attorney's criminal prosecution of Trump.

Trump's legal team declined to directly address Cohen's claim.

"Cohen discusses the rulings in unrelated legal matters, makes references to various news articles designed to taint this Court's view of the Plaintiff and this case, unnecessarily injects invectives designed to exacerbate this already caustic matter," Britto said.

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Mom of 6-year-old who shot his teacher will plead guilty to new charges: Lawyer

Newport News Police Department

(NEW YORK) -- The mother of the 6-year-old who police say shot his first-grade teacher in January in Virginia plans to plead guilty to new charges related to when she bought the gun her son is believed to have used.

Deja Taylor was accused on Monday of unlawful use of marijuana in possession of a handgun and making a false statement about her drug use during the purchase of the firearm, both of which are felonies, federal prosecutors said.

Taylor's attorney, James Ellenson, told ABC News later Monday that she will enter a guilty plea within days.

"We intend to present mitigating evidence that we trust the Court will view favorably at sentencing later this year following preparation of a pre-sentence report," Ellenson said in a statement.

He added that the shooting at Richneck Elementary School, in Newport News, "was a tragedy for all parties, most especially teacher Abby Zwerner for whom we wish a complete recovery."

Zwerner, 25, sustained a gunshot wound through her hand and into her chest on Jan. 6 when the student brought a gun into her classroom at Richneck and intentionally shot and wounded her, police have said.

Her lawyer has said a bullet is still in her body. Prosecutors said they wouldn't charge the boy, citing concerns of his competency given his age.

Taylor also faces a state criminal case after being indicted in April for felony child neglect and a misdemeanor charge of endangering a child by reckless storage of a firearm. She has not pleaded to those counts.

Taylor, who had no previous criminal record, was released on a $5,000 surety bond on her state charges.

After Taylor's last court appearance, Ellenson told reporters that she suffered from postpartum depression after a succession of miscarriages, including an ectopic pregnancy.

Those incidents had "been a large factor in a number of the events that led up to the unfortunate event" when the teacher was shot, Ellenson said.

The 6-year-old's family previously said in a statement that he "suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day."

"The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him," they said.

Zwerner has filed a $40 million lawsuit against her school district, accusing them of negligence. The school board's lawyers have sought to dismiss her claim, arguing her injuries are covered under the state's worker's compensation law.

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Canadian wildfire smoke returns to parts of the Midwest and Northeast

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The devastating wildfire emergency continues across a large swath of Canada, with numerous large fires burning out of control, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador as of Monday afternoon.

The smoke is sweeping south across parts of the Midwest, including the Ohio River Valley, and will spread to much of the Northeast over the next 24 hours, peaking on Tuesday and forecast to disperse on Wednesday, according to meteorologists.

Hazy skies are likely in these regions Tuesday and will possibly linger into Wednesday.

Air quality alerts are in effect from Minnesota to Vermont, including cities such as Minneapolis, Chicago and Burlington, Vermont. Air quality issues could expand into more locations. Much of that smoke is coming from wildfires in the Quebec province, according to meteorologists.

There have been nearly 400 forest fires in the province so far this year, while the 10-year average is 197, data from the fire prevention nonprofit SOPFEU shows, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Projections show there will be increased fire activity across Canada during the 2023 wildfire season due to drought conditions and warm temperatures, according to Natural Resources of Canada.

On Sunday, dry weather and strong winds in the Midwest increased the wildfire risk, with a large portion of Michigan being placed under a red flag warning, meteorologists said.

The Wilderness Trail Fire in Michigan, which began on Saturday, has burned thousands of acres and is 90% contained, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said.

Scattered thunderstorms will be possible in areas of the country Monday afternoon into Tuesday.

A few strong thunderstorms could bring downpours, hail and frequent lightning, with it most likely happening in parts of northern Nevada, West Texas and into the Southeast on Tuesday, according to meteorologists.

Warm weather is expected to remain across much of the South and as far north as the Dakotas, according to meteorologists.

Dry conditions are likely in much of the Southwest, with scattered showers and thunderstorms possible in parts of the Northwest.

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NYPD safety team making high number of unlawful stops, mostly people of color: Report

Thinkstock Images/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A decade after the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactic was deemed unconstitutional, the police are still unlawfully stopping and searching many people, particularly men of color, according to a new report issued Monday by a court-appointed monitor.

The monitor, Mylan Denerstein, faulted certain units of the NYPD’s Neighborhood Safety Teams (NST), which are meant to combat gun violence in high-crime areas.

“Despite training and experience, NST officers overall appear to be stopping, frisking, and searching individuals at an unsatisfactory level of compliance,” Denerstein’s report said.

Earlier versions of the NSTs, who wear modified uniforms and drive unmarked cars, were discontinued in 2020 amid protests that followed the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams revived NSTs after he took office.

“The NYPD is still reviewing the monitor’s report. However, the Department disagrees with the conclusions of the monitor with respect to some of the encounters the team reviewed," the NYPD said in a statement provided to ABC News. "NSTs engage with the public lawfully and constitutionally, and since the implementation of the program they have been instrumental in the reduction of shootings and homicides that the city is experiencing."

"As we have previously shared with the monitor, we have serious concerns with the methodology used here. However, the facts are clear: Before Mayor Adams and NYPD Commissioner Sewell came into office, citywide shootings were up by double digits, but following the creation of the Neighborhood Safety Teams in March 2022, shootings have consistently fallen and were down by double digits last year, and that trend has continued into 2023," a spokesperson for Adams told ABC News.

The mayor's office called stops that were unconstitutional "unacceptable," but said that safety teams have improved training and oversight to make sure that New Yorkers are protected, and their civil liberties are safeguarded.

"As Mayor Adams always says, the prerequisites to prosperity are public safety and justice," his spokesperson said.

After analyzing a random sample of stops by Neighborhood Safety Teams in 10 precincts, the monitor found that “more than 97% of the people encountered were Black or Hispanic,” with approximately 93% being men, according to the report.

A quarter of the frisks lacked reasonable suspicion and a third of the searches lacked legal basis, according to Denerstein.

Out of 230 car stops, two turned up weapons and another two stops recovered contraband that the monitor team wasn't able to identify, according to the report.

“First-line supervisors are not identifying and correcting improper stops, frisks and searches, and oversight by the precinct command and the department is similarly lacking,” the monitor said.

Denerstein praised some commands consistently engaged in constitutional stops, frisks and searches.

“The fact that some commands have a very high level of compliance makes clear that lawful and effective policing are not incompatible,” Denerstein wrote. “Although some commands have 100% compliance, others fall far short of the mark.”

Shortly after a U.S. District Court judge ruled in 2013 the policy violated the Constitution, then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, pushed back against claims that stop-and-frisk promoted racial profiling.

Bloomberg walked back his support of his signature policy when he ran for president in 2020.

"I've gotten a lot of grief for it lately, but I defended it for too long," Bloomberg said during a campaign stop in Virginia in February 2020. "And because I didn't fully understand the unintentional pain it caused young Black and brown kids and their families, I should have acted sooner and I should have stopped it, and I didn't, and I apologize for that."

The vast majority of stops, about 97%, that occurred between 2003 and 2022 happened during Bloomberg's time as mayor, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.

"While comparatively fewer stops occurred during the de Blasio administration -- nearly 135,000 -- enormous racial disparities have persisted every year," the NYCLU said.

Last year, under Mayor Adam's administration, New York City police conducted more than 15,000 stops, according to NYCLU.

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Fighter jets scrambled 1.5 hours after contact lost with unresponsive jet that veered to DC

P. Wallick/ClassicStock/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- It was only 15 minutes after a Cessna 560 Citation civilian jet took off from an airport in northeastern Tennessee on Sunday that the aircraft, bound for New York, stopped responding to air traffic controllers, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday -- as new details emerged about an unusual episode in the skies over the nation's capital.

About 80 minutes after takeoff, the Cessna, having apparently been unresponsive to the outside world for more than an hour, made it to the intended destination on Long Island, flight tracking software shows.

But rather than landing at MacArthur Airport, the plane turned around.

At that point, one U.S. official told ABC News, concerns grew significantly. Until then, the Cessna had been following its flight path and was being tracked on radar by the FAA, even despite the lack of communication.

Around 3 p.m. ET, and nearly two hours after the Cessna left Tennessee and an hour-and-a-half after last communicating with aviation officials, the plane, flying at an altitude of 34,000 feet, was drawing closer to the restricted airspace over Washington, D.C.

That's when six F-16s were scrambled by NORAD, or North American Aerospace Defense Command, to intercept it, a U.S. defense official said.

As the military jets raced toward the craft from three bases in Maryland, New Jersey and South Carolina, one of the F-16s from New Jersey is believed to have created a thunderous sonic boom heard over much of Washington and its suburbs, according to NORAD.

Around 3:20 p.m., two F-16s that had taken off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland were the first to reach the aircraft, about 20 miles northeast of Reagan National Airport, according to the defense official.

The military pilots attempted to communicate with the unresponsive Cessna by radio and by rocking their wings, firing flares and flying around the aircraft, according to this official.

"NORAD pilots visually confirmed that the Cessna pilot was unresponsive," a second U.S. official said.

Around 3:32 p.m., according to the tracking software, the plane crashed in a remote, mountainous area near Montebello, Virginia. Authorities said the pilot and three passengers onboard were killed.

How the alarm was raised

The FAA, NORAD and other federal agencies had tracked the civilian jet as it headed northward after departing from the city airport in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Once the pilot failed to respond to air traffic control around 1:28 p.m., the FAA reported the issue about eight minutes later to a network that included "the military, national security, homeland security and other law enforcement agencies."

NORAD and other federal agencies were abreast of the situation on the conference call established for the incident.

But NORAD's view of the situation changed after the plane turned back over Long Island because it was now flying on an unknown flight plan which raised security concerns, one of the U.S. officials said.

NORAD can decide for itself if it will scramble jets based on its own criteria or after discussion with the other agencies. In such cases, military planes are deployed so they can provide "eyes on" an aircraft that is not responding to communications.

A U.S. official noted that occasionally pilots experience radio trouble or other issues that could cause a temporary loss of communication, leading flight controllers to attempt to reach them while monitoring the craft for any other odd activity.

"The actual standards [for scrambling jets] are classified, but there is a good bit of judgement involved," retired Marine Col. Stephen Ganyard, an ABC News contributor, said on Good Morning America Monday.

It appears that military officials decided not to shoot the Cessna down because it was maintaining a constant high altitude and heading, meaning it wasn't seen as a threat, Ganyard said.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

"We are here not only to figure out what happened but why this happened, to prevent future accidents," Adam Gerhardt, a NTSB senior air safety investigator, told reporters at a news conference near the crash site on Monday.

He said the area is extremely rural and mountainous and the "destroyed" wreckage will need to be lifted out by helicopter and brought to a secure facility in Delaware.

The NTSB has said the Cessna was not required to have a black box.

A preliminary report from NTSB investigators is expected within three weeks, officials said. That report will look at "the human, machine and environment as the outline of the investigation."

"At this early stage of an investigation, NTSB does not state a cause but will provide factual information when available," the board said.

Suspected cause

The man who runs the company that owns the Cessna told The New York Times that the victims included his daughter, 2-year-old granddaughter and her nanny.

Adina Azarian, a prominent New York real estate agent and her daughter, Aria, were identified as among the dead, according to Azarian's employer.

"My family is gone, my daughter and granddaughter," Azarian's mother, Barbara Rumpel, posted on Facebook,

Experts said it was likely hypoxia that caused the pilot and passengers to be unresponsive. Hypoxia is a condition that occurs when the body loses oxygen -- and severe hypoxia can cause a loss of consciousness and eventually death.

If an aircraft isn't pressurized, hypoxia can occur at or above 10,000 feet. At a higher altitude like 34,000 feet, hypoxia can occur much more rapidly, causing unconsciousness in around a minute to a minute-and-a-half.

"The pressurization in the aircraft should keep enough oxygen in the cabin to stay alert and stay awake," Ganyard said in an interview on World News Tonight.

But "[hypoxia] can happen insidiously," Ganyard said, "where you lose consciousness, you begin to feel tingling, you feel a sense of euphoria and it very slowly overcomes the people in the cabin."

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