Louisiana woman hailed as a hero for stopping man from beating police officer

Feb 21, 2017 3

Authorities said a Louisiana woman “made a big difference” Sunday when she jumped on a suspect’s back to save a police officer from a brutal beatdown.

Vickie Williams-Tillman, 56, was being hailed as a hero, The Advocate reported. Williams-Tillman was driving to a store, listening to gospel music on her radio, when she spotted the Baton Rouge officer and the suspect.

Baton Rouge police spokesman Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said the suspect grabbed the officer’s baton and repeatedly bashed him on the head with it, and also tried to grab the officer’s gun.

“I could see in his eyes he needed help,” Williams-Tillman told The Advocate. “You don’t have time to think about it … I did what God needed me to do.”

Police said the officer found 28-year-old Thomas Bennett asleep inside his vehicle with drug paraphernalia out in the open at around 8 a.m. Bennett became aggressive after he exited his vehicle and that’s when the squabble started.

Soon at Williams-Tillman jumped on the man’s back, police backup arrived and the suspect was apprehended after being shot with a stun gun. The 44-year-old officer was not identified.

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome called the woman a courageous hero.

“Vickie Williams-Tillman epitomizes the true Good Samaritan,” Weston-Broome said. “She reached out and offered a courageous and unconditional response to the officer. Ms. Williams-Tillman is a hero and demonstrates the true meaning of loving God and loving your neighbor.”

Williams-Tillman said she didn’t think twice about helping the officer. “It was something that went through my soul,” she said. “You don’t think about the risk.”

Bennett was arrested on aggravated batters, disarming a police officer, battery on a police offer, resisting an officer with violence, possession of cocaine and possession drug paraphernalia charges.

The police officer suffered a few wounds to his head. Williams-Tillman injured her wrist.

The officer and Williams-Tillman embraced in a hug after they were both treated at the hospital.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from The Advocate.

Interracial couple refuses to cover slur on garage door until police investigate

Feb 21, 2017 8

An interracial couple in Connecticut said they will not remove the racial slur from the garage door of their home, despite being issued a blight citation that carries a $100 daily fine.

Heather Lindsay and her husband Lexene Charles found the n-word spray-painted on their home. The incident occured on the weekend leading up to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Lindsay told the Stamford Advocate on Monday that the slur will not be removed until “authorities do their job” and “not just cover it up and sweep it under the table as they have done in the past.”

Lindsay said their home has been vandalized multiple times and at least three of her neighbors have yelled racial slurs at her husband.

The local and state chapters of the NAACP condemned the incident and denounced city officials over their response.

“For them to be called n—-, it must be so hurtful that they can easily just erase the board and suffer within, quietly by themselves, and act like nothing happened,” said Darnell Crosland, legal counsel for the state chapter of the NAACP. “And in fact, that’s what the Stamford police asked them to do. They were requested to take the sign down… and to just act normal, like nothing happened.”

Crosland called on Stamford police to conduct a full investigation.

Authorities said they were investigating the case, but were having a difficult time finding witnesses.

Stamford director of public safety Ted Jankowski said the police department repeatedly offered to remove the slur from the house at no cost, but the couple refused.

“The neighbors were very upset when the incident occurred and truly felt for the couple,” Jankowski said in a statement. “However, the residents who have condemned the racial incident are upset and are complaining about continuing to see the racial slur and how it is disturbing the peace in the quiet neighborhood.”

Lindsay has a foreclosure trial on her house set for March 7. She and her husband have lived in the house since 1999, The Stamford Advocate reported.

Supporters of the couple want authorities to question three specific neighbors who Lindsay claims have discriminated against the couple in the past.

“We want those people investigated,” the family’s attorney Andre Cayo said. “We want those doors knocked on. We want their basements to be searched for spray cans.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from the Stamford Advocate.

Morning brief: Filmmaker defends investigation of refugees in Sweden

Feb 21, 2017 8

‘MY RECORD STANDS FOR ITSELF’

Filmmaker Ami Horowitz defended his investigation of refugees in Sweden Monday night amid a blacklash after President Trump cited his work during a campaign speech over the weekend.

‘TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT’ ARE REFUGEES CONNECTED TO CRIME INCREASE?

VACATION TRAGEDY

Four American tourists on a golfing vacation were killed along with their pilot when their light plane crashed Tuesday into a shopping mall shortly after takeoff in the Australian city of Melbourne. One witness said he saw a “massive fireball” and he could feel the heat through his car.

HOLDER, HUFFINGTON TO INVESTIGATE

Uber hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to lead its review of a sexual harassment claim made by a female former engineer at the company who claims her career prospects suffered after she complained about advances from a manager. Ariana Huffington will also take part in the probe.

RE-TAKING MOSUL

Iraqi forces—backed by the U.S.—have are closing in on the Mosul airport Monday after they pushed back ISIS fighters at a nearby hill, Reuters reported, citing the Iraqi military. (WATCH: CONNER POWELL REPORTS FROM JERUSALEM)

‘HAPPENING NOW’: ON THE GROUND WITH IRAQ’S MOST ELITE FORCES IN MOSUL 

MYSTERIOUS FIND

A half-eaten shark that washed up on a Florida beach Saturday raised questions about a bigger fish possibly lurking in the water.

MUST WATCH ON FNC

12 pm ET: Newly confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt delivers remarks to EPA employees at the agency’s HQ (WATCH Doug McKelway live at 9 am ET on Fox News Channel from outside EPA HQ)

1 pm  ET: White House press briefing with Sean Spicer

2:30 pm ET: House meets in a pro forma session.

3 pm ET: Milo makes first on-camera comments to press regarding the recent controversy

Heavy rain forces California residents to evacuate

Feb 21, 2017 10

Evacuations were ordered in Central California on Monday and flash-flood warnings were issued elsewhere as downpours swelled creeks and rivers to troubling levels in the already soggy region.

People living along a section of the Carmel River in Monterey County were told to leave, as were those in a neighborhood of Salinas near Santa Rita Creek and a few people in rural Royal Oaks, where a mudslide encroached on a home.

No injuries were reported.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office sent rugged Humvees out to help with the evacuations.

The Carmel River, which has flooded several times in the past month, was expected to rise to nearly 11 feet by Tuesday, which would be a moderate flood stage, while the Salinas River near Spreckels could reach nearly to the moderate flood stage of 26 feet by Tuesday night, which could inundate the Monterey-Salinas Highway, the Monterey Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2kSYbU1).

The Big Sur River reached its moderate flood stage of 10 feet Monday morning and was expected to crest at 12 feet, the paper reported.

“The ground is saturated, and all rainfall at this point is increasing not only the pooling along the lower-lying elevations but also the river levels,” said Eric Ulwelling, a division chief with the Monterey County Regional Fire District.

Areas of the county received more than 1½ inches of rain in 24 hours. The National Weather Service said heavy rain could persist into the evening as the latest in a serious of storms hovered over California’s northern and central areas, including the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley.

Weather watches and warnings were issued for nearly a dozen counties because of flooding concerns and gusty winds.

In the San Joaquin Valley, residents patrolled levees for signs of danger, reviewing evacuation plans and filling hundreds of sand bags as the San Joaquin River kept rising.

“Our community is pulling together like real champs,” said San Joaquin River Club resident Paula Martin, who is helping coordinate emergency plans for the private neighborhood of 800 homes.

Martin said the neighborhood has sirens in a clubhouse and church that can warn residents of impending flooding.

Santa Cruz County had seen 2.8 inches of rain in 24 hours and could see up to 8 inches before the storm passes Tuesday. Well over 1½ inches of rain fell in San Francisco.

Forecasters said rainfall in San Francisco has already surpassed the normal annual amount for the wet season that begins in October.

A pre-evacuation advisory was issued for a community in Madera County after water discharges from Bass Lake were increased and threatened to swell rivers, officials said.

The order was issued for several roads near downtown North Fork, about 10 miles from the lake, The Fresno Bee reported (http://bit.ly/2m5S8NG).

Residents should be ready to leave quickly if conditions worsen, the sheriff’s office said.

In the mountains, the weather service forecast heavy snow in the Lake Tahoe area with a high avalanche danger until Tuesday in an area of the Sierra Nevada from Yuba Pass to Ebbetts Pass.

Forecasters said the winter storm could drop up to 5 feet of snow in areas above 7,500 feet while lower elevations could see between 8 and 24 inches of snow.

Forecasters advised motorists to avoid travel in the area through Tuesday.

Moderate to heavy rain along with snowmelt below 7,000 feet was expected to swell rivers and streams and increase the chance of flooding.

The San Joaquin River was approaching the top of levees and could remain at that level for four days, said Tim Daly, a spokesman with the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services.

“When the water gets that high and more water is coming, there is just too much pressure and levees can break,” Daly said. “They can be topped.”

The Don Pedro reservoir, which captures water from the Tuolumne River, a key tributary of the San Joaquin, was at 97 percent capacity.

For the first time in more than 10 years, water flowed into Lake Berryessa’s unique spillway.

The Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway, also known as the Glory Hole, operates similarly to a bathtub drain for the northern California lake.

The last time it spilled over was in 2006.

Elsewhere, the water level kept falling at Oroville Dam, where a damaged spillway had raised major flood concerns and prompted the evacuation of 188,000 people a week ago.

'Deliberately planted' spikes injures 2, forces closure of North Carolina park

Feb 21, 2017 20

Officials in North Carolina Monday shut down a park in the western region of the state because spikes deliberately planted were found   in the park, injuring at least two people.

The News & Observer reported that a runner’s foot was impaled on Feb. 11 and a walker’s shoe was damaged on Feb. 18. The Sylva Herald, a local paper, reported that town officials plan a metal detector sweep on the 18 miles of trail at Pinnacle park.

“Someone deliberately put them there,” Paige Roberson Dowling, Sylva’s town manager, told WLOS.com. More than 30 spikes were found during the weekend, he said.

BlueRidgeOutdoors.com reported that the park is home to 1,100 acres of “protected land formerly used as a watershed for the town.” There is a popular network of trails that lead to the Smoky Mountain Expressway.

6 teenagers fall through ice into Central Park pond, rescued

Feb 20, 2017 16

Six teenagers have fallen through ice into an off-limits pond in New York’s Central Park but have been rescued.

It happened Monday evening at the southern end of the park.

Police say the 15- and 16-year-olds were on the ice when it gave way. A nearby sign said, “Danger Thin Ice Keep Off.”

Police and fire rescue units including divers responded and pulled the teenagers out of the water.

A police spokesman says the teens are expected to be OK.

Indiana church's Jesus statue beheaded twice in two weeks

Feb 20, 2017 17

For the second time in two weeks, members of a church on the south side of Indianapolis have found their Jesus statue vandalized, giving it the appearance of being beheaded.

“It makes me sad that somebody would do something like that,” said Pastor Brad Flaskamp. “I was hoping it was just a random act to destroy it in the first place.”

That’s what the pastor and other members of Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellowship thought two weeks ago, the first time somebody broke the head off their concrete Jesus statue. The 5-year-old statue stands next to the front door of the church, which has stood in the 800 block of Cottage Avenue for roughly 100 years.

Two weeks ago, whoever caused the damage left the head sitting next to the statue. Church members were finally able to reattach the head on Saturday. But Sunday morning, it was broken off again. And whoever did it took the head with them.

“I can tell you that I don’t think it’s kids,” said Pastor Flaskamp. “It would have to be a kid that can wield a sledge hammer.”

Flaskamp and other church members don’t know quite what to make of the recurring damage. There’s no way to tell if it’s the work of somebody seeking a thrill, or somebody trying to send the church a message, or something else.

READ MORE FROM FOX 59 INDIANAPOLIS.

Dozens of headstones damaged at Jewish cemetery near St. Louis

Feb 20, 2017 16

Investigators with the University City Police Department are working to determine who knocked over or damaged several headstones at a local Jewish cemetery.

Police would not say if they considered the vandalism at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery to be a hate crime or not. It is believed there was some organization behind the crime, meaning this was not the act of one individual. Police said they’re reviewing security camera footage from the area.

More than 100 headstones were damaged.

Related stories…

The investigation coincides with yet another round of bomb threats at Jewish community centers across the nation.

Read more at FOX2Now.com.

Nearly a dozen passengers walked through unattended TSA checkpoint at JFK, police say

Feb 20, 2017 18

Police were racing Monday to find as many as 11 people who apparently walked through an open and unattended checkpoint at New York’s JFK Airport.

The passengers walked through the Terminal 5 screening area at around 6 a.m., Port Authority Police told Fox News. They said they searched the terminal for those passengers around 8 a.m. after getting “belated notification” from the Transportation Security Administration.

Police determined three passengers boarded a flight to California and would get screened upon arrival, the Port Authority added, saying it was still working to find and identify the other eight.

The TSA responded, “Early reports indicate 3 passengers did not receive required secondary screening after alarming the walk through metal detector. All personal carry-on bags received required screening. A K9 team was present at the checkpoint at the time of the incident.”

The TSA also promised to take “appropriate action” after a review.

The metal detector went off three times as the travelers walked through, sources told the New York Daily News, which broke the story.

The search of the terminal by police started “when a TSA supervisor discovered and alerted Port Authority Police to the lapse,” Port Authority officials added.

Terminal 5 is used primarily by JetBlue Airways. The airline did not immediately comment.

Fox News’ Shira Bush and Lissa Kaplan contributed to this report.

California storms threaten to cause more flooding

Feb 20, 2017 18

Downpours swelled creeks and rivers Monday in Northern California, threatening to cause even more flooding in the already soggy region.

In the San Joaquin Valley, residents were patrolling levees for signs of danger, reviewing evacuation plans and filling hundreds of sand bags after the San Joaquin River kept rising.

“Our community is pulling together like real champs,” said San Joaquin River Club resident Paula Martin, who is helping coordinate emergency plans for the private neighborhood of 800 homes.

Martin said the neighborhood has sirens in a clubhouse and church that can warn residents of impending flooding.

The National Weather Service issued flood, snow and wind advisories, including a flash flood warning for the Soberanes burn area in Monterey County. Winds could reach 60 mph in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Santa Cruz County had seen 2.8 inches of rain in 24 hours and could see up to 8 inches before the storm passes Tuesday. Marin County got 2.3 inches of rain while close to an inch fell in San Francisco.

Forecasters said rainfall in San Francisco has already surpassed the normal annual amount for the wet season that begins in October.

The city has logged 24.50 inches of rain since Oct. 1, said National Weather Service forecaster Bob Benjamin. The average rainfall for the year ending Sept. 30 is 23.65 inches.

The San Joaquin River was approaching the top of levees and could remain at that level for four days, said Tim Daly, a spokesman with the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services.

“When the water gets that high and more water is coming, there is just too much pressure and levees can break,” Daly said. “They can be topped.”

The Don Pedro reservoir, which captures water from the Tuolumne River, a key tributary of the San Joaquin. was at 97 percent capacity.

Elsewhere, high water was receding in the farm community of Maxwell, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, where dozens of people sought higher ground Friday after creeks topped their banks and inundated houses.

“We’re not seeing anything like we did the other day,” said Colusa County Assistant Sheriff Jim Saso.

About 60 miles east, the water level also kept falling at Oroville Dam, where a damaged spillway had raised major flood concerns and prompted the evacuation of 188,000 people a week ago.