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  • Courtesy Cochran Family(NEW YORK) -- The family of an American who was killed in the London terror attack last week thanked the public for their generosity and prayers.Utah resident Kurt Cochran was in Europe with his wife Melissa to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary when the attacker, Khalid Masood, drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge."So many people have been so kind, and we are deeply touched by their goodness and generosity," Melissa Cochran's brother, Clint Payne, said at a press conference Monday.Payne testified to his brother-in-law's virtues as a person, including his passion for music, and expressed sadness over the attack."The most difficult part of this is that Kurt is no longer with us," he said.Meanwhile, in the Cochrans' hometown of Utah, friends and musicians gathered inside the Bountiful Davis Art Center to pay tribute to Kurt's life, according to ABC affiliate KTVX-TV in Utah.Bret Layton, a musician who played alongside Kurt for decades, told the station that he was at work when he heard the news of the terror attack."I texted him on Facebook Messenger. I said, 'Hey, I heard this terrorist report in the news, I'm just curious -- do you guys know what's going on? Are you guys alright?' And I didn't hear anything back," he said.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Edgar Madison Welch, who fired a gun inside a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant in December while investigating a conspiracy theory, pleaded guilty Friday morning to two charges, including interstate transport of a firearm and assault with a dangerous weapon.Welch, 28, was arrested for firing an AR-15 inside Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant in northwest D.C. The incident was sparked by a false story that implicated the pizza joint in a child sex-trafficking operation connected to Hillary Clinton. The conspiracy was not grounded in any truth, but did have real consequences.During Friday's hearing, Welch admitted that he had driven from North Carolina to D.C. with a firearm and ammunition, entered Comet Ping Pong, fired one shot and pointed it at at least one person.Both the federal and D.C. charge have 10-year maximum prison sentences. The sentences can be concurrent or consecutive.Welch was originally indicted on a possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence charge, but that was dropped in his plea agreement. That charge held a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.He also agreed to pay restitution of $5,744.43. That was based on a restitution request from the owner of the restaurant for damages, which included damage to a ping pong table, according to the government attorney. His defense attorney pointed out that the exact number was based on the insurance estimate and out-of-pocket expenses.The court was satisfied that Welch was competent to face charges and that there were adequate facts to support the charges, so his plea was entered.Welch's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 22; he will remain detained until the hearing.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A Jewish man who is a dual Israeli-American citizen has been arrested in Israel in connection with a series of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers and Jewish schools in the United States and other countries, sources told ABC News.Police believe the man, 19, carried out fake bomb threats in New Zealand, Australia and against scores of Jewish institutions across the U.S.He also allegedly called in fake bomb threats to two Delta flights at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2015, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.The threats grounded the flights while passengers were evacuated and luggage was re-screened.The suspect was arrested early Thursday morning in his family's home in the southern city of Ashkelon after a months-long investigation that included the FBI and European law enforcement agencies, Rosenfeld said.Israeli police confiscated several computers, antennas, satellite equipment and other advanced technology. Some of the equipment was allegedly used to "camouflage" the suspect's voice for automated calls, Rosenfeld said. The suspect also allegedly had equipment that allowed him to use many different IP addresses, making it hard to trace him, Rosenfeld added.According to an official briefed on the investigation, the suspect had been deemed insufficiently mentally stable to be drafted into the Israeli Army.The suspect's attorney, Galit Bash, told ABC News in a statement, "This is a young man without a criminal record who suffers from serious medical problems from a young age. There is a concern that his medical condition affects his cognitive functions. In light of this, we asked the court to order the young man to undergo a medical examination. The court accepted our arguments and ordered the police to examine the young man's medical condition."The suspect appeared in an Israeli court Thursday and the judge ruled that his identity would not be released until his next court appearance on March 30.Police have not commented on the suspect's motives. It is unclear if the suspect will be tried in Israel or the U.S., police said.Doron Krakow, president and CEO of the JCC Association of North America, said the organization is "troubled to learn that the individual suspected of making these threats against Jewish Community Centers, which play a central role in the Jewish community, as well as serve as inclusive and welcoming places for all – is reportedly Jewish."He continued, “Emblematic of the strength of JCCs and the important model they represent for acceptance, inclusion, and appreciation for diversity is the remarkable support we have received from communities and community leaders across North America, including civic, political and faith community leaders. Throughout this long running period of concern and disruption that we are hopeful has come to an end, JCCs have had the opportunity to review and assess our security protocols and procedures, and we are confident that JCCs are safer today than ever before."Gilad Erdan, Israel's minister of public security, said in a statement following reports of the arrest, "I congratulate the Israeli Police on leading a complex international investigation, together with law enforcement agencies from around the world, which led to the arrest of the suspect. We hope that this investigation will help shed light on some of the recent threats against Jewish institutions, which have caused great concern both among Jewish communities and the Israeli government."The FBI said in a statement, "Investigating hate crimes is a top priority for the FBI and we will continue to work to make sure all races and religions feel safe in their communities and in their places of worship."U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the arrest "the culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country.""The Department of Justice is co
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  • The Birmingham Police Department(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- Police arrested and charged a suspect on Wednesday in connection with an alleged Alabama kidnapping that ended when the victim escaped from the trunk of a moving car.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A woman who spent five days stranded in the Grand Canyon described the "true panic" of her harrowing experience in an exclusive interview with ABC News."I was panicking and crying and sobbing -- I was a mess," said Amber Vanhecke, 24, about the moment she first realized she was lost without GPS or cell reception.Originally from Denton, Texas, Vanhecke was sight-seeing by herself near the Southern rim of the Grand Canyon when her GPS instructed her to make a wrong turn, and lead her through increasingly tough terrain.An experienced Girl Scout and outdoor adventurer, Vanhecke had traveled by herself numerous times before and visited other national parks including Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sequoias and Redwoods."I planned out my itinerary, had it posted on Facebook and stuff and off I went with some non-perishables and water," Vanhecke, a college student, said of the spring break trip she'd been planning since January. She left Denton and spent a day in Carlsbad, New Mexico, before driving the rest of the night to the Grand Canyon.During her drive, she followed her GPS from a highway to a dirt road. But she eventually came across a more primitive road with grass and cacti."The problem was, the road wasn't there," she recalled. Vanhecke said that eventually her GPS stopped working entirely and her car ran out of gas.As it started to get dark and she knew she was lost, Vanhecke started to worry about her spotty cellphone signal and GPS, which eventually stopped working. She was able to briefly get through to a 911 dispatcher in a moment of desperation."He said 'what's the nature of your emergency?' and I said 'please help me' because I was panicking and crying and sobbing." But then the call dropped."And that was the first moment I felt true panic," she said.Using her outdoors knowledge, she slept until daylight and re-assessed her situation, but she said that day "no one drove by" past the road she was on.The second day she made an SOS sign as well as a signal fire hoping that a helicopter or small plane would see her distress signal, both survival skills she said she learned as a girl scout and from movies and television shows."I felt very disconnected from just everything and everyone," Vanhecke said.She initially thought a search party would be sent after her, but it soon became apparent that she might be on her own."[A]pparently there was a miscommunication somewhere and no one was looking for me at all," she said.It dawned on Vanhecke that she would have to take her rescue into her own hands.
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