National News

Police shoot man firing indiscriminately at people outside San Antonio airport: Police

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(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) -- Police shot and killed an individual who began firing indiscriminately at people outside San Antonio International Airport in Texas on Thursday, police said.

The person, described as being in his 40s, drove up to Terminal B and was confronted by a police officer, who had been warned of the vehicle driving the wrong way into the terminal. When confronted by the officer, the man got out of the car and started shooting wildly at the officer, the terminal and behind him, according to San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

He was shot by police and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.

One bystander was injured by shrapnel and another was injured as people fled from the area, police said. Neither injury was considered serious. No officers were injured.

"The police officer who stopped this saved a lot of lives," McManus said during a press conference outside the airport Thursday afternoon. "We were very lucky today to not have a lot of people injured or killed because of this event."

"The shooter had a lot of ammunition and a big hand gun that he was shooting indiscriminately," he added.

McManus said the man was firing a .45-caliber hand gun.

The officer who stopped the individual was an 11-year veteran of the San Antonio Park Police. He was not identified by authorities.

The airport was locked down, but reopened a couple hours after the incident.

"There is no active threat to the public. As a precaution, the Airport has been put on lock down," the San Antonio police tweeted.

Police said they were familiar with the shooter and that he had mental health issues. The FBI said there does not appear to be any connection to terrorism and it will remain a local investigation.

The lower level, where passengers are picked up, was locked down immediately as the shooting took place.

There was briefly a ground stop for arriving and departing airplanes at the airport.

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

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Daunte Wright's mom says she 'wants 100% accountability' in wake of officer's arrest

ABC News

(BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn.) -- The mother of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man shot dead by a Minnesota police officer at a traffic stop, said she "wants 100% accountability" in the wake of the officer's arrest.

"If that even happens, we're still going to bury our son," Wright's mother, Katie Wright, said at a Thursday news conference. "We're still never going to be able to see our baby boy."

"There's never gonna be justice for us," she added.

"I have anger, hatred, sadness," Katie Wright told ABC News Thursday. "You have so many feelings.”

Daunte Wright was shot by Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter on Sunday when the veteran officer allegedly mistook her gun for a Taser, according to the former police chief.

"My son was a good young man," his father, Aubrey Wright, said at the news conference. "We were building my son up to be somebody."

"The way he was killed, he did not deserve that," he said.

Potter was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter.

"It's very difficult for this family to accept that this is an accident when you have a veteran [Potter] who has been on the police force for 26 years," Ben Crump, an attorney representing the Wright family, said at the news conference.

"It was over-policing. It was excessive use of force," Crump said. "Because we have a propensity in America to over-police marginalized minorities -- especially Black men."

He continued, "Why don't they deescalate when there's so many Black people who are unarmed?"

The shooting unfolded Sunday afternoon, after Potter and an officer she was training pulled Daunte Wright over for an expired registration tag on his car, and then determined during the stop that he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, then-Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Tuesday.

When the officers tried to take Daunte Wright into custody, he got back into the car, police said. Potter then announced that she would use the taser on the 20-year-old, according to the Washington County Attorney's Office.

Potter pointed her handgun at Daunte Wright, "saying again that she would tase him," prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday. "Potter said 'Taser, Taser, Taser,' and pulled the trigger on her handgun."

After firing, Potter said, "S---, I just shot him!" according to prosecutors.

"Y'all see the difference," Daunte Wright's aunt, Naisha Wright, said at the family news conference, holding photos of the taser and the gun next to each other.

"My nephew was killed with this: a Glock," she said.

"All we ask for is, please ... help us to go ahead and get something done, a conviction," she said.

Potter made her first appearance in court on Thursday afternoon. She is set to return to court on May 17.

Potter and Gannon have submitted their resignations.

ABC News' Stephanie Wash, Stephanie Ramos, Chris Donato and Rachel Katz contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Derek Chauvin tells court he will not testify

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(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing George Floyd, addressed the court on Thursday, telling the presiding judge that he has decided not to testify in his own defense.

"I will invoke my 5th Amendment privilege today," Chauvin said, using a microphone in court.

Chauvin announced his decision after he and his defense attorney, Eric Nelson, had an open on-the-record discussion in court, in which Nelson emphasized, "This is your decision and your decision alone."

Nelson said that he and Chauvin have had numerous conversations on whether or not he should take the witness stand, including a lengthy conversation Wednesday night.

Judge Peter Cahill questioned Chauvin about his decision, asking if he was pressured in any way in making it.

"No promises or threats, your honor," Chauvin said.

Cahill said he will comply with Chauvin's request to instruct the jury that they "should not draw any inference" on his guilt or innocence by exercising his right not to testify.

The development in the high-profile murder trial came as the defense prepared to rest its case Thursday.

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Suspects in 1996 murder of Kristin Smart make first court appearance via Zoom

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff

(NEW YORK) -- Paul Flores, the man charged with murder this week in connection to the 1996 disappearance of his college classmate, Kristin Smart, made a brief first appearance in court via Zoom on Thursday.

Smart, a 19-year-old freshman at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo disappeared in the early hours of May 25, 1996, after a party near school.

Flores -- who was arrested for murder on Tuesday -- walked Smart home from that party, and previously was named the "prime suspect," authorities said.

Flores is accused of causing the teen's death during an attempted rape, San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow said Wednesday.

During Thursday's court appearance, Flores' attorney, Robert Sanger, requested the arraignment be continued until Monday and will enter a plea at that time.

Flores' father, Ruben Flores, is accused of helping conceal Smart's body after the murder, Dow said.

Ruben Flores was charged Tuesday as an accessory to the murder after the fact and appeared in court via Zoom along with his son on Thursday.

Harold Mesick, Ruben's attorney, also asked to continue the arraignment to Monday.

Paul Flores will remain held on no bail and his father is held on $250,000 bail, the judge said.

The father and son will return to court on Monday afternoon.

Smart's family said in a statement Thursday, "After nearly 25 years of waiting, today’s delay in the arraignment process was not unexpected or surprising. Make no mistake, we have begun the final quest to bring justice for Kristin. We know we are in good hands with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office, and we will wait patiently for the process to commence."

Despite this week's arrests, Smart's remains have not been found, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said.

"We are not going to stop until Kristin has been recovered," he said Tuesday.

Smart's family said in a statement Tuesday, "The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this horrible secret for nearly 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain."

"We now put our faith in the justice system and move forward, comforted in the knowledge that Kristin has been held in the hearts of so many and that she has not been forgotten," they said.

Dow said Wednesday that his office is seeking information from the public on other potential crimes committed by Paul Flores or his father.

"Paul Flores was known to frequent bars in the San Pedro area from 2005 until the present day," Dow said, asking anyone with information to call San Luis Obispo County Crime Stoppers at 805-549-7867.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Adam Toledo police shooting: Chicago to release body cam footage of 13-year-old's death

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(CHICAGO) -- Body camera footage of the fatal Chicago police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo will be released Thursday, according to the city's Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).

COPA agreed to release the video at the request of Toledo’s family, who got a first look at the footage on Tuesday. A statement from the law firm representing the family said the “experience was extremely difficult and heartbreaking for everyone present and especially for Adam’s family.”

City policy requires that body cam footage be released within 60 days of an incident. COPA also plans on releasing third-party video of the incident, ShotSpotter recordings, Office of Emergency Management and Communications transmissions, as well as use of force and arrest reports.

The Toledo family’s lawyers say they are conducting an investigation of their own.

“We are continuing to conduct our own investigation as we seek justice for Adam and his family,” the lawyers said in a statement. “We are meeting with representatives of the city of Chicago and will have no further comment on the facts in the case at this time.”

On March 29, the Chicago Police Department’s ShotSpotter detected gunshots on the city’s West Side in the early hours of the morning. A ShotSpotter is a gun detection system with sensors that can identify and alert officials of potential gunshots, according to CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Police were dispatched just before 3 a.m. and saw two males: Adam Toledo and a 21-year-old man, Ruben Roman. When the two ran, officers pursued them. Toledo, who police say had a gun, was shot once in the chest when confronted by officers.

Roman has been arrested on felony charges of reckless discharge of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and child endangerment.

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Hundreds protest at Brooklyn Center Police Department for fourth night after fatal shooting of Daunte Wright

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(BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn.) -- Hundreds of people gathered outside the police department in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Wednesday evening as protests over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright continued for a fourth consecutive night.

"The crowd tonight continued to present some public safety challenges as they pulled on the fence, shot pyrotechnics, lobbed bricks and bottles over the fence," Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said at a press conference just after midnight. "I think tonight we were around 500 people there, yelling and chanting late into the evening."

There were no reports of looting or fires in Brooklyn Center, nor any such reports in nearby Minneapolis or Saint Paul, according to Harrington.

Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, said he believes the size of the crowd was actually smaller than the previous night.

"Things started out very peaceful," Langer told reporters. "I can tell you that the discussion we had internally was that the number one tool we wanted to use tonight was patience, and that's what we exercised for a long period of time even though we saw groups coming and fortifying and we saw umbrellas and we saw plywood shields and makeshift barricades and blocks and bricks brought in to the scene."

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said "a lot" of objects were thrown at authorities Wednesday night.

The crowd "largely scattered" around the time of the 10 p.m. curfew when authorities decided to move in after issuing dispersal orders, Langer said. The Minnesota State Patrol did not use any chemical munitions or rubber bullets when enforcing arrests, according to Langer.

"We were very thankful there was not a strong entrenchment mentality of the people that were there at the event," he said. "It was almost uneventful."

The Minnesota State Patrol arrested about 24 people on charges ranging from violating curfew to riot, which was "much lower" than the previous night's 72 arrests, according to Langer.

"We just want people to leave. We don't want to arrest people," he added. "The goal of law enforcement is not every night to see how many people we can arrest. Our goal is to plead and ask and direct and help people understand how not to get arrested by listening to our simple advice."

The majority of those arrested Wednesday night were not Brooklyn Center residents, according to Hutchinson.

Although the protests are taking place outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters, the area is residential and there's an apartment building adjacent to the police station. Harrington expressed concern over the impact the nightly protests are having on the neighborhood's families. Langer also shared that sentiment but said he personally has not spoken to any residents of the nearby apartment building.

"Our preference is that we get this back to a position where it's a peaceful assembly of people lifting up their voice to express their opinion, and we need people's help to do that," Langer said. "The commissioner and I and other leaders have been talking to people all day long saying, what can we do to intervene on this cycle of behavior and reaction and action that we've seen this week. And so my expectation, my hope, my desire is that tomorrow is better than tonight because tonight was better than last night."

The protests began Sunday after the officer-involved shooting of Wright, a 20-year-old Black man and father of a 2-year-old boy.

Wright was driving in Brooklyn Center, about 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis, when he was stopped by police Sunday afternoon. The officers initially pulled him over for an expired registration tag on his car but determined during the traffic stop that he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, police said.

As police tried to take him into custody, Wright got back into the car and one of the officers -- identified as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department -- fired her gun, striking him. A preliminary report released Monday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Wright died from a gunshot wound to the chest and that his death was a homicide.

Police said Potter intended to deploy her Taser instead of her gun when she "accidentally" shot Wright. In body camera video, which was released at a press conference Monday, police said Potter could be heard warning Wright that she was going to deploy her Taser.

"However, the officer drew their handgun instead of their Taser," Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters Monday. "It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer's reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright."

Both Potter and Gannon submitted their resignations on Tuesday, effective immediately.

Washington County Attorney Peter Orput announced Wednesday that Potter, 48, had been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with Wright's shooting. She has been booked into the Hennepin County Jail, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the fatal encounter.

Potter posted bond and was released from jail Wednesday evening. She is scheduled to appear in court Thursday at 1:30 p.m. local time, according to jail records.

A second-degree manslaughter conviction in Minnesota carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

According to the criminal complaint, Potter used her right hand to pull her department-issued Glock 9mm handgun from her duty belt and shoot Wright. The gun was holstered on the right side of her belt while her Taser was on the left. The grips or handles of both the gun and Taser face Potter’s rear. The Taser is yellow with a black grip and is "set in a straight-draw position, meaning [Potter] would have to use her left hand to pull the Taser out of its holster," according to the complaint.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Potter's case was being handled by his counterpart in nearby Washington County due to a new policy that was put in place last year "to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest in handling such cases."

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Wright family, released a statement following Potter's arrest and seemed to suggest that her actions warranted a more serious charge.

"While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back," Crump said. "This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence. A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant. Daunte’s life, like George Floyd’s life, like Eric Garner’s, like Breonna Taylor’s, like David Smith’s meant something."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


White soldier charged with assault for shoving, berating Black man in viral video

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(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- A white active-duty soldier who was seen in a viral video berating and shoving a Black man in a South Carolina neighborhood has been charged with third-degree assault and battery, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

"The first time I saw the video, it was terrible," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at a press conference Wednesday evening. "It was unnecessary. It was a bad video -- young man was the victim, the individual that was arrested was the aggressor, and he's been dealt with accordingly."

Jonathan Pentland, who is a U.S. Army soldier assigned to Fort Jackson, was arrested at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday and was booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. If found guilty, Pentland faces a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

The incident took place on Monday, officials said. Police were called and responded to the neighborhood at the time.

In the video, posted to Twitter, the man, identified as Pentland, is seen confronting a Black man walking down the sidewalk and yelling at him to leave the neighborhood, known as The Summit, in Columbia, South Carolina.

Pentland, 42, shoves the victim and yells and curses at him: "You better start walking right now. You're in the wrong neighborhood, m-----f-----. Get out!"

The victim protests, saying he did nothing wrong, and is followed by the suspect who continues berating him.

"The leaders at Fort Jackson in no way condone the behavior depicted in the video posted recently," Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr., Fort Jackson's commander, said in a statement. "This action deeply impacts our community -- the neighbors in the Summit, the city of Columbia, Richland & Lexington counties, and our Army family."

"I ask that our communities and leaders exercise a degree of patience, affording Sherriff Lott and law enforcement investigators to account for the full measure of events before, during, and after the incident that was recorded," the statement added.

According to the sheriff's department, the victim "approached several neighbors in a threatening manner and the confrontation escalated after a neighbor asked Pentland to intervene."

The sheriff said an unspecified underlying medical condition might have led to the victim approaching the neighbors.

Lott and Beagle said the Department of Justice is also looking into the incident.

The sheriff did not confirm the identity of the victim, but confirmed the Black man who was accosted is not a juvenile.

Lott said once the video ended, Pentland also shoved the victim again and knocked his phone out of his hand when he tried to take a picture.

"The message I want to give is that when something like that happens, the sheriff's department is going to act very swiftly and we're going to hold those responsible for those [incidents] accountable," Lott said. "We're not going to let people be bullies in our community. And if you are, you're going to answer for it. And that's what we've done in this case."

Community leaders, activists, witnesses and the victim's father were interviewed by the sheriff's department during the investigation.

Late Wednesday, the Richmond County Sheriff's Department said Pentland and his family were moved from their home after protests outside became violent and the home was vandalized. The street was shut down to nonresidents, as well.

Officials said they were called to the Pentland home around 8:20 p.m. Wednesday due to an unknown number of protesters vandalizing the home. One object thrown at the home went through an upstairs window and another broke a light fixture, authorities said.

"While RCSD has always supported peaceful protests, criminal acts will not be tolerated and those who committed this vandalism will face consequences," the sheriff's office said in a statement, according to ABC News South Carolina affiliate WOLO-TV.

In a speech from the South Carolina State House, state Sen. Mia McLeod referenced the video and spoke of the concern for her own children after the shooting death of Daunte Wright.

"An African American man was standing on the sidewalk, walking down the street, and was accosted by an angry white man and pushed and demeaned and publicly humiliated," said McLeod, who represents the Columbia area. "He could've have been killed. For what? For walking down the street while Black. If you don't believe that race-based hate is real, you don't have to come to my district to see it. All you have to do is turn on the news every single day."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


April snowstorm for the Northeast and Central US, more severe weather for South

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A mid-April snowstorm is expected for the Northeast and the central U.S., and five states in the Northeast are on alert for snow from upstate New York to Maine.

A winter storm warning has been issued for Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine where some areas could see up to 15 inches of fresh April snow.

If you live along the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston, all precipitation will fall in the form of rain.

A separate storm system will bring more snow to the central U.S. from Kansas to Wyoming, where six states are on alert for heavy April snow.

Locally up to 18 inches of snow is possible from Wyoming to Colorado with up to a half a foot from South Dakota into Nebraska and western Kansas.

Already some areas from Lake Tahoe, California, to Utah and Colorado have seen 12 to 17 inches of fresh powder in the last 24 hours.

In the South and along the hard hit Gulf Coast states, more severe weather is expected in the next 24 hours.

On Wednesday, huge hail the size of a baseball was reported in central Texas where it covered the ground as damaging winds up to 66 mph were reported elsewhere in hard hit southern Louisiana.

On Wednesday, severe weather will be mostly in Texas from Austin to San Angelo with the biggest threat for hail and damaging winds.

In addition, heavy rain will continue for the Gulf Coast Thursday morning from Louisiana to Alabama, where flash flood watches have been posted.

Another round of rain is expected along the Gulf Coast on Friday into the weekend with another 3 to as much as 4 inches of rain possible.

But with the ground being saturated from recent heavy rain, flash flooding will be possible over the next several days.

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Daunte Wright shooting: Other officers have mistaken their guns for stun guns

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(NEW YORK) -- The veteran police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, may have accidentally grabbed her gun instead of her stun gun before the shooting, an assertion offered by the police chief.

In body camera footage of the incident, the officer, Kim Potter, can be heard yelling “Taser” repeatedly before she shoots Wright. After firing her handgun, she yells, “Holy s---! I just shot him!”

“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” former chief Tim Gannon, who has since resigned, said Monday in a press conference.

He said Potter had been taught to warn others when deploying a Taser, and that the distress she expressed following the incident shows that it was an accidental discharge.

While the assertion has sparked anger and disbelief from some, this wouldn’t be the first time an officer has shot a suspect with a handgun instead of firing a stun gun.

And in several recent cases, officers faced little to no consequences for what was deemed a mistake.

In 2019, a New Hope, Pennsylvania police officer shot and wounded an unarmed man in what he says was a mistaken use of his gun. Like Potter, he yelled “Taser” before pulling out his gun and shooting the man in the stomach. The victim was in critical condition following the incident. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the officer violated a New Hope department rule that mandates that stun guns be worn on the opposite hip from a firearm. This officer wore his stun gun on his right side in front of his firearm, according to the police.

Though the officer violated policy, District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said he did not violate the law, claiming it was “was neither justified, nor criminal, but was excused” in a letter to the New Hope police chief. The officer was not charged with a crime.

In May 2018, a Kansas police officer was initially charged with aggravated battery after she shot a Black man following a traffic stop. He was wounded in his back and later taken to a hospital. Then-Lawrence Police Department officer Brindley Blood also yelled “Taser” before firing her gun at the man, who had hit and slammed an officer to the ground using his body. The rookie police officer told investigators she had meant to use her stun gun. Criminal charges were later dismissed when a Douglas County judge ruled that the evidence didn’t prove that Blood reacted recklessly to the situation.

Also, in May 2018, a Southwestern Regional police officer in Pennsylvania, Stuart Lee Harrison, allegedly tried to use a stun gun against a subject’s thigh while he was handcuffed and instead shot him with a firearm. According to the York Daily Record, the arrestee was hospitalized and his condition was unclear. Harrison was charged with simple assault and the criminal case is ongoing, but he is free without bond. The police department disbanded in 2019.

And in 2015, an Oklahoma reserve deputy shot and killed an unarmed Black man. The subject ran from police and when officers struggled to subdue him, then-deputy Robert Bates said he mistook his handgun for his stun gun and accidentally killed the subject. Bates was sentenced to four years in prison for second-degree manslaughter but served 16 months.

There is no national data on these kinds of incidents, but law enforcement experts agree that mistaking guns for stun guns, while relatively rare, does happen.

Other cases have occurred in recent years as well. An Americans for Effective Law Enforcement article from 2012 found nine more instances of these accidents between 2001 and 2009. Americans for Effective Law Enforcement is a not-for-profit research organization that focuses on criminal justice.

In the case of Wright’s death, former chief Gannon said Brooklyn Center officers go through specific training on the placement of their stun guns to avoid such an incident.

“We train with our handguns on our dominant side and our Taser on our weak side,” Gannon said. “So if you're right-handed, you carry your firearm on your right side, you carry a Taser on the left. This is done purposefully and is trained.”

It’s unclear if Potter was carrying her equipment according to department policy. In the body camera footage, another officer can be seen wearing their stun gun on one side and their gun on the other.

Potter is a 26-year BCPD veteran, former union president, and was serving as a field training officer at the time of the incident. She has since resigned from her position, but Brooklyn Center's Mayor Mike Elliott said he has not yet accepted the resignation. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced that Potter will be charged with second-degree manslaughter. In Minnesota, a second-degree manslaughter conviction can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

“The question becomes: ‘How could she have not differentiated between a firearm and that of a yellow Taser, which should be on her weak side,” law enforcement expert Cedric Alexander said in an interview with ABC News. “It is distinguishably a very different-looking instrument in your hand … That would be hard to mistake.”

It is unclear what make or model stun gun Potter had. Body camera footage of another officer on the scene alongside Potter shows a stun gun in its holster with a brightly colored handle that is noticeably different than the gun Potter held in her hand during the incident.

Potter is being represented by attorney Earl Gray. He is also representing Thomas Lane, one of the officers involved in George Floyd's death who is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Alexander, a law enforcement veteran with more than 40 years of experience, says stress, pressure and lack of training can lead to this kind of mistake in a high-intensity situation in the field. He said training and practice have to be continuous throughout an officer’s career -- but, not speaking specifically about Potter, he also believes departments have to do the work to “be far better assured about who it is that we're hiring and bringing into our police department across this country. What's their comfortability with people who have different than themselves, who may have a different orientation than themselves, whether it's around race or gender, or sexual preference or religious preference?”

Even when stun guns -- which are designed to be less-lethal weapons for law enforcement -- are deployed, they can be deadly.

Alexander says Potter needs to be held accountable.

“Someone here did lose their life, and there are certain mistakes out here that we cannot make,” Alexander said. “But we need to allow the investigation to take place … and then we'll have a better idea of what was going through her mind at that time.”

In an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, Wright’s father said he refused to believe that the killing was an accident.

"I lost my son, he's never coming back," Aubrey Wright, said. "I can't accept that -- a mistake, that doesn't even sound right …. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can't accept that."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Soldiers disciplined for helicopters hovering over BLM protesters in DC

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(WASHINGTON) -- An Army investigation into why low-flying D.C. National Guard helicopters hovered above Black Lives Matter protesters last June determined that while the use of the helicopters was "reasonable," there were performance shortcomings that day.

Those performance issues have resulted in disciplinary actions against certain individuals, according to Army officials. The investigation has also led the Army to implement changes in procedures for when Guard helicopters can be used for crowd control.

The D.C. National Guard's investigation was triggered by the outcry that followed the use of medical evacuation helicopters that hovered above Black Lives Matter protesters on the night of June 1, 2020.

Earlier that day, federal law enforcement forces had forcibly removed protesters from the area in front of Lafayette Square across from the White House. National Guard troops stationed in the Square did not participate in that action but reinforced the newly established perimeter.

Protests continued into the night, spilling over into other parts of the nation's capital, and National Guard personnel were dispatched to protect the monuments along the National Mall. The Secret Service also granted a waiver for National Guard MEDEVAC helicopters to fly in what is normally restricted airspace above the Mall.

The helicopters were later sent to the streets around the Capital One sports arena in the city's Chinatown district where protesters had gathered.

That was when at least one D.C. Guard helicopter hovered above the protesters at a low altitude in an apparent attempt to disperse the crowd.

The Guard's initial investigation into the incident was finished on June 30, 2020 but its release was delayed until oversight questions raised by the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General and the Army's Inspector General had been resolved.

"We opined that the use of the medevac helicopters was authorized because of the emergency situation," an Army official told reporters. "But we also found that there was a systemic lack of understanding about the command and control and employment of those helicopters during civil disturbance operations."

The report itself noted that according to Army National Guard regulations MEDEVAC helicopters should only be used "within the confines of the MEDEVAC mission set."

"There is no evidence in this investigation that the low hover that is the subject of this investigation was intended to take immediate action to save life, mitigate property damage, or alleviate human suffering," the report said.

Another Army official, who briefed reporters on the contents of the report, said that the use of the helicopters was not prohibited by law or policy but that "there was a very general lack of understanding of how to use, how to employ helicopters in civil disturbance support operations."

The Army official said that given the emergency nature of the situation that night, it was "reasonable" for the helicopters to be called into service, but while the actions of those involved were not determined to be misconduct "they were considered to be performance issues" which resulted in the vice chief of staff of the Army taking unspecified administrative "disciplinary actions" against a number of soldiers involved.

The actions detailed in the report have led to changes that puts checks on when Army Guard aviation assets can be used in crowd control.

"As you probably know you haven't seen aviation used for any operations in support of the police department or agencies downtown since this event," said one official.

There is now "a very strict process" to validate the approval of orders for the use of aviation assets in Washington, D.C.

The political fallout from the deployment of Guardsmen and the Guard's helicopters on June 1, 2020 led to sensitivities at the Pentagon about their future employment in protests in Washington.

Ahead of the Jan. 6 demonstrations that later developed into the assault on the U.S. Capitol, the Army strictly adhered to the D.C. Mayor's request that several hundred Guardsmen be mobilized only for traffic control. The use of D.C. National Guard helicopters was not authorized by the secretary of the Army, who is responsible for mobilizing the D.C. Guard.

No date has been set for the release of an additional investigation of the helicopter incident carried out by the Army's Inspector General.

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Body found in Mississippi River identified as missing LSU student Kori Gauthier

LSU Police Department

(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- A body recovered in the Mississippi River Tuesday has been identified as missing Louisiana State University student Kori Gauthier, authorities said.

Gauthier, an 18-year-old freshman at LSU, was last seen April 6, her family said. Police found her car abandoned on a Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge early the following day after someone crashed into it.

A massive search effort involved multiple agencies and hundreds of volunteers in the days after she was reported missing.

LSU confirmed Wednesday a body found in St. John the Baptist Parish near Reserve, which is about 44 miles southeast of Baton Rouge, was Gauthier.

"Since Kori was first reported missing, the LSU Police Department, Baton Rouge Police Department and other law enforcement agencies and volunteers have taken exhaustive measures to locate her and, in the process, to determine what led to her disappearance," LSU Chief of Police Bart Thompson said in a statement. "This is a difficult conclusion for all of us, but we hope this will bring closure for the Gauthier family."

Thompson said no criminal activity or foul play was involved, based on cellphone tracking, video footage and other evidence only shared with Gauthier's parents "out of respect for their privacy."

Her family thanked those who showed support and helped in the search efforts.

"Not the end result that we were hoping for, but at least we have her body and can start the healing process," her uncle, Spencer Gauthier, said in an emotional video posted to Facebook.

He talked about her love of music, especially country, and asked people to listen to Stevie Wonder's "These Three Words" in honor of his niece.

"Listen to that song, hold on to those words, and live life," he said.

Interim LSU President Tom Galligan said the school community is "devastated to learn of the loss of Kori Gauthier."

"Our thoughts are with her parents, her family, and all who knew her during this very difficult time," he said in a statement. "We offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends."

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome also offered her condolences.

"Our entire community is heartbroken by the loss of this amazing young woman," Broome said in a statement. "I send my most heartfelt condolences to Kori's family and loved ones. Please keep them in your prayers during this time."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright charged with second-degree manslaughter: DA

Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images

(BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn.) --

Kim Potter, the white police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter, authorities said.

Potter, 48, was arrested at about 11:30 a.m. local time and was booked into the Hennepin County Jail, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said.

Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, submitted her resignation on Tuesday following Sunday afternoon's fatal shooting.

She posted bond and was released from jail Wednesday evening. Potter is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. local time Thursday, according to jail records.

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon also submitted his resignation Tuesday.

Gannon said earlier this week that Potter intended to deploy her Taser instead of her gun when she "accidentally" shot Wright.

Wright, a father to a 2-year-old boy, was driving in Brooklyn Center, just outside of Minneapolis, when he was stopped by police. The officers -- Potter and an officer she was training -- initially pulled him over for an expired registration tag on his car but determined during the traffic stop that he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, according to Gannon.

As police tried to take Wright into custody, he got back into the car, police said. Potter then announced that she would use the taser on Wright, according to the Washington County Attorney's Office.

"She pulled her Glock 9mm handgun with her right hand and pointed it at Wright, saying again that she would tase him," prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday. "Potter said 'Taser, Taser, Taser,' and pulled the trigger on her handgun."

After firing, Potter said, "S---, I just shot him!" according to prosecutors.

Potter's gun was holstered on the right side of her belt and the Taser was on the left side, with the handles for both facing her back, prosecutors said.

"The Taser is yellow with a black grip. Also, the Taser is set in a straight-draw position, meaning Potter would have to use her left hand to pull the Taser out of its holster," prosecutors said.

Attorneys Benjamin Crump, Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci, who are representing Wright's family, said in a statement Wednesday, "While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back."

"This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force," the attorneys claimed. "A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant."

In a resignation letter to city officials on Tuesday, Potter wrote, "I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately."

A second-degree manslaughter conviction in Minnesota carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Later in the evening, acting Brooklyn Center City Manager Reggie Edwards said at a news conference that Potter's resignation was accepted, and he couldn't comment on the charge since she wasn't a city employee. He noted that she would be entitled to her benefits due to her resignation.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Wednesday that it will continue to work with the Washington County Attorney's Office on the case.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot ordered another curfew to begin at 10 p.m. local time and end at 5 a.m. the next morning as more protests are planned.

Edwards said the city is working on establishing a new community crisis management team to address the issues between the police and citizens.

"Trust will not be built overnight," he said.

Dozens of arrests have been made in recent nights as police and protesters clashed. Officers were seen using pepper spray, rubber bullets and gas to disperse crowds and there were reports that some protesters threw bottles or other items at officers.

Elliot denounced the use of gas and other irritants by officers. He urged protesters to remain peaceful and obey the curfew.

"All eyes of the world are on Brooklyn Center," Elliot said. "We need to show and must show the very best of our community. Mr. Wright’s family deserves that."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


One dead, 12 missing after 190-foot lift boat capsizes off Louisiana coast

U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris

(NEW YORK) -- A massive lift boat capsized off the southern coast of Louisiana on Tuesday as severe storms moved through the region, killing one and leaving a dozen on board still missing.

SEACOR Marine, the ship's owner, said there were 19 people -- employees and contractors -- on board at the time the bad weather hit. Initially, officials said they believed 18 people were on board.

One person was found dead on the surface of the water, while six were rescued and 12 others remain missing, Capt. Will Watson from U.S. Coast Guard New Orleans said Wednesday at a press conference.

The 190-foot commercial ship flipped about 7 miles south of Port Fourchon, located about 20 miles west of Grand Isle, where a Coast Guard station is located. The ship was initially identified by the Coast Guard as being 129 feet.

"What we know of the weather conditions at the time, we had 80 to 90 mph winds and 7 to 9 foot seas," Watson said. "That’s challenging under any circumstance. We don’t know the degree to which that contributed to what happened, but what we do know those are challenges conditions to be out in a maritime environment."

The U.S. Coast Guard and good Samaritan boats responded to the scene, according to USCG Heartland. The Coast Guard received the distress call around 4:30 p.m. local time. Coast Guard officials said they arrived to the spot of the radio beacon with 30 minutes.

One person was rescued by the Coast Guard Cutter Glenn Harris, while another Coast Guard ship from Grand Isle located a second person. The other four people were rescued by good Samaritans, the USCG said.

The vessel remains overturned on its starboard side and is partially submerged and grounded in about 55 feet of water, Watson said Wednesday.

SEACOR Marine confirmed to ABC News that the lift boat involved is the SEACOR Power. It's used in oil and gas exploration.

In addition to the Glenn Harris and two 45-foot ships from Coast Guard station Grand Isle, the Coast Guard Cutter Amberjack, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the USCG station New Orleans and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane from USCG station Corpus Christi were searching for additional people in the water.

Severe storms have swept through southern Louisiana on Tuesday. A flash flood watch and wind advisory were in effect for Grand Isle with the National Weather Service predicting 1 to 2 inches of rain and wind gusts over 50 mph Tuesday night.

ABC News' Darren Reynolds contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


DOJ drops probe into officer who shot Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt

uschools/iStock

The Justice Department has closed its investigation into the death of Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Trump supporter shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer during the Jan. 6 riot, the agency announced in a press release Wednesday.

In a release explaining the decision to close the probe, the department said officials determined "there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution" of the officer who shot Babbitt.

"Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber," the release said.

The investigation determined Babbit was part of a group of rioters trying to break through barricaded entrances near the Speaker's Lobby that leads to the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, from which members of Congress were being evacuated, according to the release.

"As members of the mob continued to strike the glass doors, Ms. Babbitt attempted to climb through one of the doors where glass was broken out," the release said. "An officer inside the Speaker’s Lobby fired one round from his service pistol, striking Ms. Babbitt in the left shoulder, causing her to fall back from the doorway and onto the floor."

The Justice Department acknowledged "tragic loss of life" and offered condolences but determined to close the probe.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Texas police officer 'ambushed,' shot at traffic stop; suspect in custody: Officials

Daniel Tadevosyan/iStock

(BURLESON, Texas) -- A police officer was shot ‘multiple times’ during an early morning traffic stop in Burleson, Texas.
A man was captured in Texas Wednesday afternoon after he allegedly shot a police officer during an "ambush" at a traffic stop overnight, authorities said.

Jerry Don Elders, 39, allegedly fired multiple shots at a Burleson police officer when he approached Edlers' car for an equipment violation at about 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, Burleson Police Chief Billy Cordell said.

The officer is "alert" and in stable condition, Cordell said. Authorities believe he was shot three times.

"He had a through-and-through shot to his neck," Cordell said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. "It's an amazing story. ... It could have been a very different outcome."

After the shooting, Elders and two others who were in the car with him fled the scene, Cordell said.

The suspects' car then caught on fire and they abandoned the vehicle, he said.

Authorities believe one of the suspects went to a home and carjacked a resident, police said.

"At 8:44 a.m. this morning, a female arrived at the Joshua Police Department ... with gunshot wounds," Cordell continued.

She was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead, he said.

Elders -- who allegedly abandoned a car and was found in a wooded area near Gainesville, Texas, on Wednesday afternoon -- was "likely involved in the death" of that woman, Cordell said.

"There was a second subject with [Elders in the wooded area]," Cordell said. "We don't know for sure who that is. They are continuing to search for that person."

As for the third person in the car during the shooting of the officer, Cordell said, "We know who they are. We've been in contact with them."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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