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Steven Sotloff’s Family Breaks Silence: ‘A Mere Man Trying to Find Good’

Steven Sotloff’s Family Breaks Silence: ‘A Mere Man Trying to Find Good’

File photo of American journalist Steven Sotloff (center with black helmet). Etienne de Malglaive via Getty Images (NEW YORK) — The family of slain American journalist Steven Sotloff broke their silence Wednesday, saying through a spokesperson that Sotloff was not a “war junkie” but “merely wanted to give a voice to those who have none.”

Barak Barfi, a family spokesperson and close personal friend of Sotloff’s, said the writer was torn between choosing a comfortable life in the U.S. and his desire to travel to the embattled region. His on-the-ground work appeared in international publications like TIME and Foreign Policy.

“Steve was no hero. Like all of us, he was a mere man who tried to find good concealed in a world of darkness,” Barfi said. “He ultimately sacrificed his life to bring their story to the world… He had a gentle soul that this world will be without.”

The family also said they would not “allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the one weapon they possess: fear.”

Barfi then spoke heatedly in Arabic, daring Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), to a debate on the tenets of Islam.

A video uploaded earlier this week appeared to show the execution of Sotloff at the hands of an ISIS fighter. The week before, Sotloff’s mother, Shirley, made her own personal plea to al-Baghdadi, asking for him to have mercy on her “child.”

Wednesday, the family said they are grieving, but will “emerge from this ordeal.”

“Our village is strong,” Barfi said on the family’s behalf.

 

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Venomous Albino Cobra on the Loose for Days in Southern California

Venomous Albino Cobra on the Loose for Days in Southern California

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — A rare and venomous albino cobra is on the loose in southern California after it bit a dog Monday night, authorities said.

“This is a venomous and very dangerous animal that the public should not approach for any reason,” a Los Angeles County official told ABC News on Wednesday.

The albino monocled cobra has been on the loose for days in Thousand Oaks City and has officials from the county and state on the hunt.

The snake was originally identified by a dog owner owner after the snake reportedly attacked the animal and sent him to the hospital in critical condition.

The search team is focusing on the vicinity of the dog attack on 1300 block of Rancho Lane, ABC’s Los Angeles station KABC reported. The snake is most active during morning or evening hours when it is cooler, experts said.

Officials were notified Tuesday evening that the snake was on the loose. They do not know how long it’s been out or where it came from.

The species is not native to California and it is illegal to own a monocled cobra without a permit, authorities said.

The dog that was bitten has since recovered, authorities said, noting that no other injuries have been reported.

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Arrest in Kansas City Rampage That Killed Three, Including Elderly Woman

Arrest in Kansas City Rampage That Killed Three, Including Elderly Woman

Jayson Photography/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) –  A Kansas City man who police believe got into a dispute over a Jaguar car was charged Wednesday with wounding two people and killing three others, including a 88-year-old woman.

Brandon B. Howell, 34, the suspect in the triple homicide, was also charged with assaulting three other people hours later in a nearby motel.

“Any type of incident such as this is weird, this is not normal, this not what happens in our society. This is a random act violence that we are so thankful that we have the suspect in custody,” said Sgt. Kari Thompson.

Howell’s alleged rampage began shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday when a shooting erupted that killed Darryl Hurst, 63, Alice Hurst, 88, and Susan Choucroun, 69. Two others were wounded.

A police alert went out for the suspect, as well as a white Toyota Highlander that was missing from the crime scene, police said.

“We are still trying to piece together all of the pieces of the puzzle and determine the exact part this other vehicle played in this matter,” Thompson said.

Police cordoned off the area and went door-to-door to make sure there weren’t any more victims, and area schools were placed on lockdown during the manhunt.

Police received another call at 3:19 p.m. in which three people were assaulted at a Motel 6. No weapon was used, officials said.

“We have no idea why the three people were assaulted,” Thompson said referring to the motel attacks.

A search of the area turned up the Toyota Highlander that was missing from the shooting scene, and shortly before midnight, Howell was taken into custody. He was armed with a gun at the time of his arrest, police said.

The officer said that Howell has been “positively identified” as the suspect in both attacks.

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WATCH: Unruly Flyer Escorted Off Plane After Reclining Seat Fight

WATCH: Unruly Flyer Escorted Off Plane After Reclining Seat Fight

Courtesy Joanna Thatcher(NEW YORK) — When a Delta plane from New York City bound for West Palm Beach, Florida, suddenly diverted to Jacksonville this week, most passengers had no idea what was happening, one flyer told ABC News.

“I noticed that my ears started popping and I looked out my window and saw we were getting lower and really quickly,” Joanna Thatcher, who was aboard the plane Monday night, told ABC News Wednesday.

“We didn’t know if it was weather or there was a medical emergency on the plane.”

It turned out to be the third case in about a week of a plane forced to land because of a fight between passengers over reclining a seat. This time, a woman named Amy Fine became irate after the woman in front of her reclined her seat, smacking her in the head, according to a report from the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

New video shows the moment Fine, 52, was escorted off the plane by two police officers. Thatcher, who was sitting a few rows behind Fine, said she didn’t realize there had been a fight until she later saw the news.

“The woman wasn’t causing a scene, so to speak,” she said.

But Thatcher thinks it’s absurd that one unruly passenger can force a plane to land.

“It’s ridiculous that one passenger inconvenienced 100-something other passengers and cost the airline thousands of dollars, and she gets to walk away without being fined,” she said.

Fine, from Boca Raton, was interviewed and escorted to the rental car area, authorities said.

She demanded the plane land after the seat spat, passengers said.

“She said something to the effect of, ‘I don’t care about the consequences. Put this plane down now,’” one flyer told ABC affiliate WPBF.

Fine has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Passengers also said the woman who reclined her seat, infuriating Fine, was an older woman who was knitting. She was not identified.

Last week, two other U.S. flights were diverted because of fights over legroom.

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‘Slender Man’ Stabbing Survivor Returns to School

‘Slender Man’ Stabbing Survivor Returns to School

iStock/Thinkstock(WAUKESHA, Wis.) — The 12-year-old girl who was attacked by her two friends in May and survived 19 stab wounds has returned to school.

“This little girl was excited to get back to school,” her spokesperson Stephen Lyons of the Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. law firm told ABC News Wednesday. “It helped put some closure on things that happened a few months ago. She was excited to start anew back at the classroom, back with her friends, and back with the school and district that the family loves.”

Before her first day of seventh grade on Tuesday, Lyons said Horning Middle School in Waukesha, Wisconsin, put the little girl’s family at ease with clear communication, starting the upcoming school year with a welcoming atmosphere in the community that has “rallied around her.”

Lyons said the survivor, whose name ABC News is not releasing, spent her summer with her family, and receiving medical treatment as she healed.

“She had a very good first day,” Lyons said.

Days before the survivor returned to school, a one-day mini-bratwurst festival was held in Madison, Wisconsin, in her honor. Lyons said over $70,000 was raised on Aug. 29, to help her family with “mounting medical bills.”

“The amazing part of this story was that the world has supported this little girl and her family, even though they don’t know her name,” Lyons said. In conjunction with the “Hearts for Healing” fundraiser, a special tent at the festival allowed guests to create their own messages of encouragement for the little girl, to be hand-delivered to her family.

“That tent was busy all day long,” Lyons said.

According to Lyons, over 250 volunteers worked at the event. Roughly 15,000 brats, hotdogs and other food items were sold. In a statement the survivor’s family wrote: “The generosity of so many Wisconsin businesses, the support of so many volunteers, and the goodwill shared by so many people means so much to our entire family. Thank you all.”

On May 31, police say 12-year-old’s Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser allegedly tried to kill the survivor in the woods, in hopes of becoming agents for a fictional online character named “Slender Man.”

According to authorities, the survivor crawled from the woods where she was discovered by a cyclist riding by. Upon realizing she was wounded, the cyclist called 911.

Geyser and Weier have been charged as adults with first-degree attempted murder. Geyser has been ruled incompetent to stand trial at this time and is receiving court-ordered mental health treatment.

Weier faces a probable cause hearing in Waukesha County court next month.

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Minivan Cop Shooting Mom ‘Thought About Trayvon Martin’ When Officers Fired

Minivan Cop Shooting Mom ‘Thought About Trayvon Martin’ When Officers Fired

File photo. Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Oriana Farrell was terrified.

The single mother of five recalled an October 2013 traffic stop, when officers wrestled her out of her minivan along a New Mexico highway, and then shot at the vehicle as she tried to flee with her children inside. Video from a police dashboard camera captured the seemingly-routine traffic stop devolving into a tense incident.

“I started thinking about children who have been shot, families who have been shot,” she said in her first television interview that appeared Wednesday on Good Morning America. “I started thinking about Trayvon Martin.”

The ordeal began when a police officer pulled Farrell over, alleging she was speeding. Farrell says when the officer walked away from the car without giving her a ticket she drove off, assuming she wasn’t getting one.

“I started pulling out slowly, like we do from any traffic stop,” she said.

That’s when the officer chased her down, trying to pull Farrell out of the vehicle as her children screamed.

For Farrell, confusion gave way to fear when the officer tried to arrest her. Her son Zeke — thinking his mother was in danger — got out of the car.

“He had his hands on her and that wasn’t really OK with me,” Zeke said.

Moments later, backup arrived. As a shaken Farrell sped away, officer Elias Montoya fired three shots, unaware of who was in the car.

The appellate court has ordered Farrell’s charges to be dismissed, but the case may not be over. The District Attorney can still refile, and the officer who fired his gun, Montoya, has appealed the decision to fire him.

No one was hurt, but Farrell says there’s a lesson to be learned.

“Even if I was speeding, that doesn’t require being shot at any point,” she said. “Even if he thought I drove off, that didn’t deserve us being shot at.”
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Water Wars: Californians Stealing from Hydrants Amid Drought

Water Wars: Californians Stealing from Hydrants Amid Drought

iStock/Thinkstock(FRESNO, Calif.) — The worsening drought in California is taking a toll on citizens, some of whom are stealing water in the middle of the night from fire hydrants, officials said.

The city of Lemoore says at least four fire hydrants have been tampered with and, in one case, the perpetrator didn’t even bother to clean up the evidence.

“There was a hydrant that had a hose on it and whoever was there was left the hose,” Lemoore Public Works Director Dave Wlaschin told ABC station KFSN-TV in Fresno.

Wlaschin said he’s also aware of people who have filled up tanks of water to sell in other drought-stricken areas.

“We’re concerned about it, we’ve been on an active alert for those types of things, with groundwater supplies what they are and surface water supplies an even greater problem,” he told KFSN.

Lemoore isn’t the only city worried about water theft. Across the state, residents and businesses are under strict orders to conserve.

Brazen thieves swiped thousands of gallons of water last month from a fire department in North San Juan, California, ABC affiliate KXTV reported, by hooking their truck up to a valve.

Illegal marijuana operations are also contributing to the problem. Authorities recently raided a growing operation in central California they say was illegally siphoning water from streams that supply an American Indian tribe.

Experts say the drought, which has destroyed crops and sparked wildfires for three years, will only get worse. It could become a “megadrought,” according to researchers at the University of Arizona and Cornell University.

“A megadrought is a drought that’s just as bad, in terms of severity, just as dry as the big droughts of the 20th Century, so think 1930s Dust Bowl, think 1950s drought, but much longer lasting,” Toby Ault, a professor at Cornell University, told KABC in Los Angeles.

He stressed the importance of conserving water.

“I think we’d really have to change the way we think about water and the way that we can use water because right now we’re on a path that would be unsustainable if we had a drought of 35 years,” Ault said.

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New Witness Emerges in Florida Woman’s 2010 Mysterious Death

New Witness Emerges in Florida Woman’s 2010 Mysterious Death

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.) — A new witness has emerged raising questions about whether the shooting death of a young Florida mother was suicide or murder.

Loved ones gathered Tuesday, marking the anniversary of Michelle O’Connell’s death, a death that remains surrounded by questions. Her then-boyfriend Jeremy Banks, a sheriff’s deputy, discovered O’Connell’s body on Sept. 2, 2010. He dialed 911, suggesting to the dispatcher that O’Connell may have shot herself.

The weapon involved in her death was Banks’ department-issued gun.

Experts later proposed that her death could have been consistent with a homicide.

On Tuesday, a witness statement by former bar owner Danny Harmon was introduced. Harmon says Banks came to his bar — the Ring of Fire — the night after O’Connell died, making suggestive remarks about her.

“He told me that all she ever did was put him down and make him feel bad about himself,” Harmon said. “He was going to be moving on with his life, and he wasn’t going to let the [explicative] hold him back anymore.”

In a sworn affidavit, Harmon stated that he believes that Banks had something to do with O’Connell’s death.

No one has ever been arrested in the case. Banks’ attorney Mac McLeod denies that Banks and the bar owner spoke the night after O’Connell’s death.

“My client wasn’t anywhere near that place the night after Michelle took her life,” McLeod said. “Anytime there’s a factual investigation, the facts demonstrate this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

O’Connell’s family is determined to press for a new investigation.

“Michelle counted to our family,” said her sister Jennifer Crites. “She played a role.”

Ciara Morris, a friend of O’Connell’s, said the woman’s death doesn’t make sense.

“The facts don’t add up, and we know Michelle as an individual that would never leave her daughter, ever, without a mother,” Morris said.

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Smartphone App Helps Save Washington Baby’s Life

Smartphone App Helps Save Washington Baby’s Life

LDProd/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SPOKANE, Wash.) — A Washington state man saved a baby’s life thanks to a smartphone app that alerted him that a person nearby was in need of CPR.

Jeff Olson was working at his job as an auto mechanic in Spokane when his phone began to give off what he describes as an Amber Alert-like alarm.

“I looked at it and it said CPR needed and it gave the address,” Olson told ABC’s Spokane affiliate KXLY-TV of the Pulse Point app he had installed on his smartphone.

Olson, who is also a volunteer EMT, ran the two blocks to a nearby store where a clerk had called 911 after a 1-month-old boy inside the store had suddenly stopped breathing.

Olson responded to the store moments before paramedics thanks to his Pulse Point app, which used GPS on Olson’s phone to identify him as within a two-block radius and able to help, according to KXLY.

“I asked the lady standing outside, ‘Do you have a medical emergency here?’ And she said it’s an infant and he’s blue,’” Olson told the station.

“This guy just came out of nowhere and just scooped the baby up and really knew what he was doing which was such a blessing to all of us,” the store clerk, Lesley Reckord, told KXLY.

Olson was able to perform CPR and resuscitate the child.

“I don’t think I’ve ever done CPR on an infant before or even rescue breathing and when I got done I shook for about ten minutes,” Olson said.

The incident was the first time a rescue has occurred with Pulse Point in Spokane since the fire department there connected the app to its dispatch center, according to KXLY.

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More Than 12 Injured in Wisconsin School Bus Crash

More Than 12 Injured in Wisconsin School Bus Crash

Jaroslav Frank/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PULASKI, Wis.) — Over a dozen people were injured on Tuesday in a crash involving a school bus and at least one other vehicle.

A pair of area hospitals say that they have taken in 14 patients, one in critical condition and the others ranging from “fair” to “serious.” At least six of those taken to hospitals were students.

The Pulaski Community School District said in a statement posted to their Facebook page that the bus was carrying members of the Pulaski High School varsity and junior varsity girls volleyball teams. The bus was returning from a match at Seymour High School.

According to the school district, 25 people were on board the bus at the time of the crash — 21 students, three coaches and the driver.

The condition of the occupants of the other vehicle were not immediately clear.

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Executed Journalist Steven Sotloff Noted for His Heartfelt War Reporting

Executed Journalist Steven Sotloff Noted for His Heartfelt War Reporting

File photo of American journalist Steven Sotloff (center with black helmet). Etienne de Malglaive via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — ISIS appears to have cruelly executed American journalist Steven Sotloff just one week after his mother pleaded with the group’s leader to “be merciful” and spare her son.

Shirley Sotloff’s heartbreaking bid for her son’s life was ignored and a video was released Tuesday indicating he was the second American journalist to be beheaded by the Islamic militant group, ostensibly in retribution for U.S. planes bombing ISIS fighters in Iraq.

Sotloff’s parents have declined any media interviews and have been enduring an agonizing wait after James Foley was executed last month and Sotloff was shown on his knees, wearing an orange jumpsuit and threatened with execution. Their only public words were Shirley Sotloff’s video message to ISIS’ caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi saying, “I ask you justice be merciful and not [to] punish my son for matters he has no control over. I ask you to use your authority to spare his life.”

[READ MORE: New Video Appears to Show ISIS Execution of Second American Steven Sotloff]

At the time of his capture, Sotloff, 31, had been covering the Middle East for years as a freelance reporter, including stints in Yemen and Egypt. He wrote for Time magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the Daily Caller, Foreign Policy, and most recently for World Affairs journal.

The reporter studied journalism at the University of Central Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel. His articles online show heartfelt reporting about the brutality of the Syrian war.

His parents live in Miami, and Sotloff’s last Tweet, from August 2013, was about the Miami Heat NBA team.

His Twitter feed, which was his major online presence beyond his reported stories, showed a mix of humor and seriousness about his reporting.

Is it bad that I want to focus on #syria, but all I can think of is a #HEATFinals repeat?

— Steven Sotloff (@stevensotloff) June 12, 2013

Friends of Sotloff and his family had started a White House petition urging the government to do all it can to rescue the freelance reporter.

“Steven Sotloff is an American citizen and reporter with Time magazine who is believed to have gone missing in August of 2013,” the petition read. “Today, on August 19, 2014 it was revealed that Steven is a captive of the Islamist terrorist organization ISIS.”

“We, the undersigned call upon you, President Obama, to take immediate action to save Steven’s life by any means necessary,” it said.

Matthew Van Dyke, a documentary filmmaker, self-described “revolutionary” and friend of Sotloff’s, told ABC News that the two last saw each other in Washington, D.C., just a few weeks before Sotloff’s disappearance. Van Dyke has reported from the Middle East, and joined the fighting during the Libyan revolution, and was held as a prisoner of war.

“We were talking about his upcoming trip to Syria,” Van Dyke said. “I feel horrible for what he’s going through, I can’t really imagine. I mean I thought I had a tough time in Libya but to be held by ISIS for this long, Steven’s been there for a year now and who knows what kind of conditions they’re in. It’s absolutely horrifying. I can’t imagine it.”

World Affairs, the journal that had most recently employed Sotloff, described him as “an honest and thoughtful journalist who strives to understand the story from local perspectives and report his findings straightforwardly. He is certainly courageous.”
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Parents of Girl in Uzi Accident Devastated by ‘Life Changing Tragedy’

Parents of Girl in Uzi Accident Devastated by ‘Life Changing Tragedy’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The family a 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot her gun instructor when she lost control of a powerful Uzi submachine gun said Tuesday they are “devastated” that their “brief excursion” on their summer vacation turned into a “life changing tragedy.”

The family issued a statement through their lawyer after Arizona police released a report of the Aug. 25 shooting accident in which the girl complained that the weapon was “too much” for her to handle and complained that the gun’s recoil had hurt her shoulder.

The parents huddled around the girl, comforting her briefly, unaware that the shots had fatally struck instructor Charles Vacca, according to the police incident report.

Just hours after the report was released, the girl’s family broke their silence through a New Jersey lawyer.

“They are devastated by this accident that turned what was supposed to be a unique and brief excursion from their summer vacation into a life changing tragedy,” the statement read.

“Words cannot express the family’s sadness about the accidental shooting of Charles Vacca. They prayed day and night that he would survive his injury, and they continue to pray for his family during this terribly difficult time,” the statement read.

The police incident report gave details of the family’s actions when they took a monster truck from Las Vegas to Arizona Last Stop, a recreational facility that houses a gun range called Bullets and Burgers.

They told responding officers how they huddled around their daughter as she gripped her shoulder, saying she was injured by the gun’s powerful recoil after she fired the automatic weapon. The parents comforted their injured daughter, not realizing at that point that she had fatally shot her instructor, Charles Vacca.

The girl’s mother told police that she saw her daughter drop the gun before turning towards her parents and telling them, “the gun was too much for her and it hurt her shoulder.”

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office has released their incident report, which includes descriptions of the shooting from both of the girl’s parents.

“[The girl's mother] said no one knew Vacca was shot until the other instructor ran over,” the report reads.

Vacca was identified in the report as a range master at the facility and he had been working with the New Jersey family while they were on vacation in Las Vegas.

One of Vacca’s colleagues, a range instructor, told police that he was standing by when the shooting happened and he saw the girl, whose name was redacted from the police report because of her age, shoot the mini 9 mm Uzi.

The instructor, “saw the girl start to shoot the weapon and due to the recoil, the weapon went straight up in the air and crossed the path where Charles had his head,” the report states.

The instructor rushed to Vacca’s side after he collapsed and began applying pressure to the head wound. The girl’s father said that their first indication that something was wrong only came when the instructor ran over to Vacca.

The incident was filmed by the girl’s parents as they stood behind both she and Vacca and recorded her on their iPhone. The girl’s mother shared that video with police as soon as they spoke with her at the gun range’s restaurant.

No charges have been filed in the case and responding officers noted that they believed it was an accidental shooting. The range allows anyone above the age of 8 to shoot automatic weapons if the instructor believes they are suitable.

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WATCH: Tennis Pro John McEnroe Waterboarded in Music Video

WATCH: Tennis Pro John McEnroe Waterboarded in Music Video

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former tennis pro John McEnroe, a former Wimbledon champion, is seen being tortured and waterboarded in a powerful debut video from a California rock band.

The group, Future User, says the video, called “Clockwork,” is about “police militarization.” It was posted online Monday and also includes a clip of Eric Garner, who died after a police officer allegedly put him in a chokehold, shots of Trayvon Martin and his accused killer George Zimmerman, and several scenes of police brutality.

McEnroe said he got involved in the project through a friend, and called it “an experience I’ll never forget,” according to a press release.

In the video, the tennis star loses a match and then is kidnapped, tied to a bench and tortured.

S.W.I.M., a member of the band who appears masked in the video, told ABC News the torture scenes are entirely real.

“I zip-tied him and duct-taped him and tied him down and waterboarded him,” said S.W.I.M, who declined to provide his real name. “You can see in the video, he’s not acting. That’s real.”

He said he got the idea after researching Guantanamo Bay and how waterboarding was used as an interrogation technique.

“As citizens above the world, we should rise above that,” he said.

Future User said it has other “very political” videos in the works.

McEnroe did not return a call requesting comment.

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Hackers Who Leaked Celeb Photos Could Face Jail Time

Hackers Who Leaked Celeb Photos Could Face Jail Time

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The hackers who leaked explicit photos of celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton will likely face jail time, if previous cases are any indication.

The FBI said it is actively investigating the case, after dozens of private, risqué photos of stars appeared online late Sunday, and the U.S. Justice Department has a history of taking a hard stance against hackers who target celebrities –- though prison sentences have varied.

In December 2012, Christopher Chaney was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into the personal email accounts of stars including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera.

Chaney, from Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to counts that included wiretapping and unauthorized access to a computer.

In March, Jared Abrahams, a computer science student from southern California, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into the personal computers of several women, including Cassidy Wolf, a former Miss Teen USA. He demanded they send nude photos and videos, or else risk their explicit photos being leaked online.

Abrahams, 19, pleaded guilty to extortion and unauthorized access to a computer.

Months earlier, Karen “Gary” Kazaryan of Glendale, California, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to hacking into hundreds of online accounts and using extortion to coerce women into sending naked photos.

In the most recent case, the photos were hacked by targeting the celebrities’ user names and passwords, according to Apple, rather than breaching Apple’s iCloud system as a whole. Hacking is a computer crime, and at least one of the affected actresses, Jennifer Lawrence, has been clear about wanting to prosecute, through a statement by her attorney.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on this specific case or speculate on any specific charges.

The photos have sparked concerns about cyber safety, and the security of storing photos and videos on the cloud.

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Uzi Was ‘Too Much,’ Girl Said After Fatal Gun Range Accident

Uzi Was ‘Too Much,’ Girl Said After Fatal Gun Range Accident

iStock/Thinkstock(KINGMAN, Ariz.) — The 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot her gun instructor when she lost control of a powerful Uzi submachine gun dropped the weapon and complained that it was “too much” for her to handle, according to a police report of the incident released Tuesday.

The girl’s parents huddled around her as she gripped her shoulder that she said was injured by the gun’s powerful recoil after she fired the automatic weapon at Bullets and Burgers gun range in Arizona. The girl’s parents comforted their injured daughter, not realizing at that point that she had fatally shot her instructor, Charles Vacca.

The girl’s mother told police that she saw her daughter drop the gun before turning towards her parents and telling them “the gun was too much for her and it hurt her shoulder.”

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office has released their incident report, which includes descriptions of the shooting from both of the girl’s parents.

“[The girl's mother] said no one knew Vacca was shot until the other instructor ran over,” the report reads.

Vacca was identified in the report as a range master at the facility and he had been working with the New Jersey family while they were on vacation in Las Vegas.

One of Vacca’s colleagues, a range instructor, told police that he was standing by when the shooting happened and he saw the girl, whose name was redacted from the police report because of her age, shoot the mini 9 mm Uzi.

The instructor “saw the girl start to shoot the weapon and due to the recoil, the weapon went straight up in the air and crossed the path where Charles had his head,” the report states.

The instructor rushed to Vacca’s side after he collapsed and began applying pressure to the head wound. The girl’s father said that their first indication that something was wrong only came when the instructor ran over to Vacca.

The incident was filmed by the girl’s parents as they stood behind both she and Vacca and recorded her on their iPhone. The girl’s mother shared that video with police as soon as they spoke with her at the gun range’s restaurant.

No charges have been filed in the case and responding officers noted that they believed it was an accidental shooting. The range allows anyone above the age of 8 to shoot automatic weapons if the instructor believes they are suitable.

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Passengers Thankful After Coast Guard Rescues Five from Sinking Boat

Passengers Thankful After Coast Guard Rescues Five from Sinking Boat

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) –  The mayday call came in — five passengers on a sinking boat, 17 miles off the coast of San Diego, their boat without power.

The 30-foot boat lost power Saturday after the pump system failed to operate. Water weighed the vessel down, with the boat leaning precariously to one side.

Passenger Mike Jernigan knew something was drastically wrong.

“I didn’t know if there was a giant hole in the boat, or a pinhole in the boat, but there was a problem,” said Jernigan.

The passengers, who had been fishing, radioed the Coast Guard for help and fired an emergency flare, hoping for a miracle.

“We just started bailing the water out,” using water bottles, passenger John Grudzinski said. “So we were just dunking water bottles in and throwing those out.”

The water bottles could only do so much. As the situation grew increasingly dire, a good Samaritan on a nearby boat rushed to the passengers’ rescue. The Coast Guard followed moments later, using pumps to remove the water before towing the boat to safety.

“On the way back we were full of energy, full of zeal for saving lives,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Rambo said. “It’s why we joined. It’s what we’re here for.”

Jernigan is thankful for the rescue efforts. “I mean, I won’t forget these people,” he added.

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Accused Killer in Florida Faces ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Pass

Accused Killer in Florida Faces ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Pass

Creatas/Thinkstock(BROWARD COUNTY, Fla.) — A Florida man charged in a gruesome slaying faces an all-or-nothing offer that could set him free from jail.

Gustavo Dubon could also spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted in the 2007 killing of Francisco Cuevas. The businessman’s remains were uncovered months after his death, located inside a rusted metal box found in a wooded area.

Dubon was charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder last year, after police said he confessed. Dubon has pleaded not guilty.

In a newly released recording, the two detectives working the case were caught on a recording telling their supervisor they think Dubon is innocent.

“Seriously. Serious, serious doubts that Dubon had anything to do with this,” Det. David Young is heard saying to Brian Koenig on the recording.

That interaction was recorded when one of the detectives failed to remove his microphone after interviewing an unrelated suspect on another case. The recording was later released to the attorney for Dubon.

On the audio, the detectives claim Dubon gave a false confession rife with errors about key case details.

Despite the presence of the audio, Broward County assistant state attorney Gregg Rossman is still moving forward with the trial.

“What you hear in that audio is an intelligent debate between two very good detectives and their sergeant, and has no impact, no effect at all on the case,” Rossman said.

But authorities are offering Dubon the polygraph as a possible “get out of jail free” pass.

“Both parties agree that it’s admissible in court and if, in fact, the defendant passes the polygraph examination as to their involvement in the crime, we drop the case, or dismiss the case,” Rossman said. “If the party fails, and is deceptive on the exam as to their involvement in the case, then the stipulated polygraph is admissible in court in front of a jury and can be used as evidence against them.”

Dubon is still undecided about whether he will take the polygraph.

Proponents say the tests are accurate about 90 percent of the time, according to the American Polygraph Association, while critics argue that the accuracy is closer to 70 percent.

The next hearing is set for Thursday.

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‘AK-47 Bandit’ Resurfaces in Nebraska Bank Heist

‘AK-47 Bandit’ Resurfaces in Nebraska Bank Heist

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEBRASKA CITY, Neb.) — A manhunt is underway for a notorious bank robber known as the “AK-47 Bandit,” suspected in a slew of brazen heists across the northwest and now in Nebraska.

At a press conference in Chino, Calif., on Monday where the heavily armed suspect’s spree is believed to have begun, police said the bandit is armed, dangerous and at it again.

“We’re going to do whatever we can do, use every resource available to us to hunt this guy down and take him into custody,” Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt said.

The unidentified bank robber is a suspect in five bank robberies in four states, including an Aug. 22 robbery at the First National Bank Branch in Nebraska City, Neb. In the recent robbery, the suspect ordered employees to empty out the vault, making off with a duffel bag full of cash.

And just like each heist before, he was seen during the Nebraska heist carrying a high-powered assault weapon, complete with a round drum magazine.

Investigators suspect the man may have been a law enforcement officer at some point. He’s been seen wearing a sheriff’s vest during some of his holdups.

“His tactics suggest he may have had military or law enforcement experience,” Pruitt said.

The spree started two years ago at the California Bank and Trust in Chino. The bandit allegedly called 911 to report a bomb threat, apparently to create a diversion before carrying out the 2012 robbery.

During the escape, he opened fire on a police officer, seriously wounding the officer. That officer has since recovered from his injuries.

After the heist in California, the FBI says the man robbed banks in Idaho, Washington and Nebraska. Each time, he’s worn a black ski mask to hide his face, and he’s always been seen carrying the same AK-47.

According to the FBI, the suspect has been seen leaving the scene of robberies in a dark gray Nissan Maxima. He’s described as white, about 5-feet-10 and 180 to 220 pounds.

Authorities have offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.

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Over 30 Juveniles Escape from Tennessee Detention Center

Over 30 Juveniles Escape from Tennessee Detention Center

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — A number of “students” at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center escaped from their dorm on Monday night, fleeing from the detention center.

According to Rob Johnson, Communications Director for the Tennessee Department of Child Services, 32 of the teens, aged 14 to 17, were able to climb under the anti-climb chain-linked fence at around 11 p.m. At least some of the juveniles have felonies on their records.

Johnson said that the escape occurred during a shift change. “As the staff were trying to get the youth back into the dorms and out of the yard, they realized that some of them had managed to pull up a fence and crawl underneath it,” he said Tuesday morning.

Many of the teens had histories that included aggravated burglary or robbery, theft, violent crimes including robbery or assault, among other legal issues.

The Metro Nashville Police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are searching the surrounding neighborhood for the escaped children.

By 11 a.m. ET, all but eight of the teens had been captured or had surrendered. Johnson said he was confident that all of the escapees would be found.

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Delta Flight Re-Routed Due to Passenger Disruption

Delta Flight Re-Routed Due to Passenger Disruption

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) –  A Delta flight from New York to Florida was re-routed Monday, the airline confirmed – the third flight diversion caused by passenger disruption in recent weeks.

Delta Flight 2370 departed New York at about 7 p.m. Monday, en route to West Palm Beach. The flight was diverted to Jacksonville due to the disturbance.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the captain elected to divert to the closest airport,” the airline said in a statement. “Local law enforcement met the flight and removed the passenger.”

The flight continued on to West Palm Beach, arriving after 11 p.m.

Clashes over shrinking legroom contributed to two incidents last week. A Miami to Paris flight landed in Boston on Wednesday after air marshals on the plane restrained a man who fought with a passenger trying to recline in front of him, a law enforcement source told ABC News.

That incident came days after a man on a United Airlines flight used a product called a Knee Defender to keep the seat in front of him from reclining. The woman in front, unable to recline, got into an argument with the man and reportedly threw a cup of water in his face. Both passengers were seated in United’s Economy Plus section, which gives fliers extra legroom for an extra fee.

The argument prompted the Newark, New Jersey-to-Denver flight to be diverted to Chicago, United Airlines confirmed, adding that the unidentified passengers were not allowed back on when the plane continued on to Denver.

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