• Oli Scarff/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Six families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, as well as an FBI agent who responded to the scene, filed a defamation lawsuit today against radio personality Alex Jones, who has repeatedly called the shooting fake.The lawsuit accuses Jones, a staunch gun rights advocate who operates Infowars, a website that routinely propagates conspiracies, of “a years-long campaign of abusive and outrageous false statements.”Twenty children and six educators died in the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at the Newtown, Connecticut, school.“While the nation recoiled at the terrible reality of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Alex Jones saw an opportunity,” the families’ attorney Josh Koskoff said. “He went on a sustained attack that has lasted for years, accusing shattered family members of being actors, stating as fact that the shooting itself was a hoax and inciting others to act on these malicious lies.”The plaintiffs are the parents of four children killed at Sandy Hook -- Jacqueline and Mark Barden, parents of Daniel; Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Dylan; Francine and David Wheeler, parents of Ben; and Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman, parents of Avielle -- as well as Donna Soto, Carlee Soto-Parisi, Carlos Soto and Jillian Soto, the mother and siblings of first-grade teacher Victoria Leigh Soto; and Erica Lafferty-Garbatini, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung. FBI agent Bill Aldenberg is also a plaintiff.
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  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- The hard-charging publicity arm of the National Rifle Association is engaged in an increasingly vicious Twitter battle with Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, as the firearms organization struggles to contain fallout from yet another mass shooting.The result has been a multi-day social media battle between Houston's top law enforcement official and a prominent and outspoken NRA personality. On Tuesday, the dispute escalated to include threats of legal filings, references to Nazi Germany and suggestions of inappropriate surveillance.After last Friday's mass shooting at Santa He High School in Texas, which left ten people dead 13 wounded, Acevedo posted a desperate and emotional plea on his Facebook page to do something about gun violence.“I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue," Acevedo wrote. "Please do not post anything about guns [not being] the problem and [that] there’s little we can do."“This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and inaction," he continued. "It’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction.”He followed up the comments on CBS News' Face the Nation, calling on the public to vote out lawmakers "that are doing nothing" on gun violence.NRATV, a combative video production and social media operation that frequently targets perceived opponents of the gun organization, soon released multiple videos of NRATV hosts and guests criticizing Acevedo over his statements on gun violence and his so-called "sanctuary city" stance.“I call him a political hack, in many respects, because he does the bidding of left-wing city officers that hire him,” NRATV host Grant Stinchfield said in a clip the organization tweeted Monday. One Texas law enforcement officials, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn, agreed in the clip, saying most law enforcement officers in Texas are “Second Amendment people.”"Art Acevedo is a police chief who thinks it's completely appropriate to ignore the law of the land when it concerns legal immigration,” NRA spokesperson Dana Leosch said in a separate clip, “but thinks that he has the right to apparently go into every home in Texas and inspect how everybody's storing their #firearms."Acevedo responded in a string of tweets late Monday night."NRATV is against what most major cities...police chiefs have to say about these issues," he wrote."NRATV is losing the moral high ground on what was once their core values, so let’s try to talk about anything and everything under the Sun to deflect from issue at hand," he replied to a tweet from Loesch. "We know we are on the right track when that happens."When a third NRATV clip accused Acevedo of ignoring gang violence in Houston to go after gun owners, the police chief replied, "Blah blah blah," and linked to an article about his department's arrest of hundreds of gang members.Acevedo "was incredibly unhappy that I and others called him out," Loesch said in a clip released on Twitter on Tuesday, accusing Acevedo of espousing a "gun-grabbing ideology."Acevedo responded with screenshots of him turning down Loesch’s interview request, and warned further discussion would take place in a legal setting."We will be watching and will do our talking in a court of law if the need arises," he wrote.Loesch retweeted a tweet from a conservative commentator comparing Acevedo to the Gestapo, and was still tweeting at the police chief into Wednesday afternoon."It’s surreal to see a chief reacting to free speech this way," she wrote, eventually questioning whether she was already under surveillance.
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  • George Rose/Getty Images(MARIPOSA, Calif.) --  A hiker slipped and fell to his death Monday while climbing Yosemite National Park's famous Half Dome trail, officials said.The man was ascending the Half Dome cables with another hiker during a thunderstorm when he slipped and fell off the rock formation Monday afternoon, according to the U.S. National Park Service. The metal cables take hikers up the last 400 feet of granite to the summit of Half Dome, which is nearly 5,000 feet above California's Yosemite Valley.Park rangers were notified and found his body around 1 p.m. local time. The man's identity will be released after his family is notified, according to the National Park Service.Park rangers also provided assistance to the second hiker on the Half Dome cables.The National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday that the cause of the incident remains under investigation.It's the first death on the Half Dome cables since 2011 and the first visitor fatality of this year.
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  • ABC News(COLUMBUS, Miss.) -- An Air Force training jet crashed near Columbus, Mississippi Wednesday, but both pilots aboard were able to safely eject from the aircraft.The crash occurred just days after the Air Force completed a one-day safety review that grounded aircraft so units could focus on safety procedures sparked by a series of recent fatal aviation accidents."An Air Force T-38C Talon II crashed at about 8:30 a.m. today in a remote area near Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi," said an Air Force statement. "Both pilots ejected from the aircraft safely."The pilots were transported to a local hospital for evaluation. No houses or other structures were impacted by the crash of the aircraft.The Talon T-38 is the Air Force's primary aircraft for training new pilots. Columbus Air Force Base is one of the bases used to train new Air Force pilots.The crash occurred two days after all Air Force active-duty units with flying and maintenance functions completed an operational safety review to reinforce safety procedures.Active-duty units had until May 21 to complete the one-day review, which was triggered after a series of fatal Air Force aviation accidents this year.Air National Guard and Reserve units have until June 25 to complete the review.The safety review came after the deadly crash in Georgia of a WC-130 aircraft, from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, that killed nine airmen.That crash followed another deadly accident where a pilot from the elite Thunderbird air demonstration team last month after a F-16 crashed outside of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.In March, seven airmen died when an HH-60 Pave Hawk crashed into a power line in western Iraq.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Rochester Police Department(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) -- Police bodycam footage from upstate New York appears to show an officer instructing a man to break into his ex-girlfriend's home, according to the woman's lawyer.On Nov. 13, the man had requested assistance from the Rochester Police Department to aid in retrieving some of his belongings from the home of his ex-girlfriend, Catherine Bonner, her attorney, David Pilato, told ABC News. The man had told authorities that he lived at the home, which Bonner shares with her mother, Pilato said.The day before, an incident occurred between the former couple that caused Bonner to accidentally break her foot, and she feared for her safety, Pilato said.In the footage, which Pilato provided to ABC Rochester affiliate WHAM-TV, an officer instructs the man to "just go into the house" as he stands outside the front door.The man then tells the officer that his former girlfriend has a gun. After the officer asks him if his ex is in the house, he says, "You have the right to kick the door in, if you want, to gain access," the video shows."You will not be held responsible, criminally, but ... you may have to pay the damage to break the door," the officer says.The officer then tells the man that he has a "right to be here," suggests that the man break a pane of glass and stick his hand through to "unlock the door."The man then shouts into the front door, "If you don't open the door, they gave me permission to break it."Another officer off camera then says, "Ma'am, can you just open up the door, please?""You gotta open the door," the man says to his ex. "The cops are telling you to open the door."The man then goes to a side window and breaks the pane of glass using his fist, and uses his shoe to clear out the rest of the glass. As he does this, the barrel of a gun becomes visible through the window's blinds.All three men then scatter from the immediate vicinity of the window, and the man tells her, "Now, you're in trouble.""I'm protecting my home," the woman is heard saying.The officers then approach the window with their weapons drawn, instructing the woman to show them her hands, and the video then shows an officer kicking in the door to gain entry to the home.Bonner was then arrested and charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, menacing a police officer and a misdemeanor count of menacing her boyfriend, according to an indictment filed in Monroe County on Dec. 1.The man had told the officer that he lived at the home for five months -- the amount of time they'd been dating -- and that Bonner had changed the locks, Pilato said. Had the officers checked the man's driver's license, they would have seen that his address was outside of the county, Pilato said. The two had a "typical" relationship, in which the man would stay at the home often, Pilato said.Pilato said the man initially didn't want to break into the home but eventually gave in to the officer's instructions."For 12 minutes, they tell him over and over, 'You have a right to do this,'" Pilato said.At one point, the man asked the officers to put together a report so he could just go to small claims court, Pilato said. A neighbor who confirmed to police on video that the man had lived at the home for more than 10 days later told the officers that she was concerned for Bonner's safety due to the incident that occurred the day before, Pilato said.Bonner's ex-boyfriend, whom Pilato declined to identify, was not charged in the incident on Nov. 13 or the incident the day before in which Bonner broke her foot, the attorney said.A spokeswoman for the Rochester Police Department declined to comment on the pending litigation, emphasizing that the police department did not release the bodycam video and pointing ABC News to a training bulletin that was posted by the department on March 8.The bulletin states that "employees shall not use the powers of their office to render assistance in the pursuit of matters which are strictly private or
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  • Darrah Bull Bully Rescue(PHOENIX) -- One lucky dog who wound up on the other side of the country was returned to his rightful home thanks to a group of 20 volunteers.Jake, a 7-year-old Coonhound, first went missing from his home in Phoenix, Arizona, last year. In April Jake was found wandering the streets of Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, by Adam Herbaugh, who was out walking his own two dogs. Herbaugh took Jake to Companion Animal Hospital where the veterinarian scanned for a microchip and called the registered owners more than 2,000 miles away. Jake appeared to be in good health when the vet examined him and it is unclear how the dog got from Arizona to Pennsylvania.The dog's owner, who asked to remain anonymous, was shocked and delighted to receive the good news, but could not make the cross-country trip to bring Jake home. So a local dog rescue group decided to help.Ranae Metz, president of A Darrah Bull Bully Rescue, told ABC News that the owners reached out via Facebook to explain the situation, asking for assistance in getting the hound home safe and sound."My sister, Heather Shaw, is a transport coordinator [for Darrah Bull Bully Rescue]. She used Facebook groups which consist of transport volunteers to coordinate Jake's trip home," Metz said.The group wrote posts on Facebook and requested "qualified volunteers" who could each tackle a different leg of the journey from Pennsylvania to Arizona. Once the eager volunteers were in place, the three-day trip kicked off on May 18 and ended on May 21."Transports are generally done on Saturdays or Sundays when volunteers are more readily available," Metz explained, adding that his team facilitates moves of animals from high-kill shelters up and down the East Coast on a weekly basis.The entire transport took 20 volunteers, 30 stops in nine states and three volunteers who were willing to keep Jake overnight during the trip, according to Metz.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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