Mar 26

Fearless Florida diver pulls metal hook from shark's belly

Photodisc/iStock/Thinkstock(JUPITER, Fla.) — Talk about a fearless diver.

Josh Eccles, a diver with Emerald Charter in Jupiter, Florida, was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean Wednesday when one of the lemon sharks passing by kept bumping into him.

“Every time it swam by me, it would bump into me a little more,” Eccles, who is in the water at least six times a week as part of his job with the scuba diving center, told West Palm Beach ABC affiliate WPBF. “They always bump into us but they don’t bump into us that frequently.”

Eccles suspected something was amiss with the creature, so he took a closer look, which the shark didn’t seem to mind.

“It would lift up its stomach and I noticed something, so I kind of poked at it a little, the little hook or something,” he said.

Showing no fear, Eccles decided to alleviate the shark’s discomfort and remove the hook, which was about the size of his hand.

Incredible video! Diver pulls hook from shark’s belly

— WPBF 25 News (@WPBF25News) March 25, 2017

After Eccles removed the hook, the shark swam away, only to return several times. At one point, the shark swam right up to a video camera, which Eccles believes was its way of saying thank you.

Said Eccles: “That was a crazy opportunity, experience to be a part of.”

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Mar 26

'Incognito Bandit' bank robbery suspect arrested trying to board South Africa-bound flight

verbaska_studio/iStock/Thinkstock(DULLES, Va.) — The “Incognito Bandit” has been caught.

The alleged elusive serial bank robber was arrested Friday night at Dulles International Airport in Virginia as he attempted to board a South Africa-bound flight, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston said Friday.

Albert Taderera, 36, of Brighton, Massachusetts, was charged with the October 2016 robbery of a TD Bank branch in Wayland, Massachusetts.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, citing court documents, said 16 banks were robbed between February 2015 and March 2017 in the greater Boston area allegedly by the “Incognito Bandit.”

The nickname “Incognito Bandit” is derived from the fact that the robber typically was disguised in a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark face mask/sunglasses, dark gloves and dark clothing.

In most of the robberies, the robber displayed what tellers described as a black semi-automatic handgun.

Earlier this month, police in Massachusetts say they determined that Taderera fit the general description of the individual responsible for the 16 robberies.

The FBI then learned of his travel plans.

“On Thursday March 23, 2017, at approximately 10:15 pm, the FBI learned that Taderera had booked a flight, scheduled to leave on Friday, March 24, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., from Dulles International Airport to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

But those plans changed.

The release continues, “During the morning of Friday, March 24, 2017, Taderera was en route to Dulles having taken a flight out of Boston. It was later learned that Taderera had rebooked his flight and was now planning to leave on March 24, 2017, at 5:45 p.m. from Dulles to Johannesburg, South Africa.”

The charging statute provides for a sentence up to 25 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Taderera is scheduled to appear in the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Virginia on Monday.

It was unclear if he has an attorney.

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Mar 26

Virginia police arrest sword-wielding man dressed as the Joker

Winchester Police Department(WINCHESTER, Va.) — A 31-year-old man in Virginia was arrested and charged with wearing a mask in public Friday after he was spotted walking around dressed as the iconic comic book supervillain the Joker, police said.

Police in Winchester — located about 75 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. — said the Winchester Emergency Communications Center received “several calls” around 2 p.m. on Friday of a suspicious male wearing a black cape and carrying a sword walking around the city.

Jeremy Putman was charged with wearing a mask in public, a felony that could land him in jail for up to five years, the Winchester Police Department said in a statement.

Police said they had received several similar reports over the last week, but they do not believe there are additional suspects.

Although it may seem surprising that wearing a mask in public is a felony, police said it wants “to remind the community of the seriousness of the crime.”

According to Virginia Code 18.2-422, “It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood, or other device, whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered, so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, to be or appear in any public place, or upon any private property in this Commonwealth, without first having obtained from the owner or tenant thereof consent to do so in writing.”

Putnam is being held at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center on a $2,000 secured bond.

It is unclear if he has an attorney.

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Mar 25

US reviewing airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that may have killed 100s of civilians

iStock/Thinkstock(MOSUL, Iraq) — The U.S. military is reviewing whether three airstrikes in Syria and Iraq over the past week were responsible for the reported deaths of more than 200 civilians.

U.S. Central Command confirms it has begun “credibility assessments” into allegations of civilian casualties in a possible airstrike in Mosul, Iraq, this week that reportedly killed 200 civilians, a March 16 airstrike near a mosque in al-Jinnah, Syria, that is said to have killed dozens, and an airstrike Monday on a school building outside of Raqqa, Syria, that may have also killed dozens of civilians fleeing local fighting.

Credibility assessments are initial reviews that seek to determine whether claims of civilian deaths from airstrikes are credible.

The U.S.-led coalition has conducted more than 19,000 airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since the summer of 2014. U.S. Central Command’s review of allegations of civilian casualties has determined that at least 220 civilians have been unintentionally killed by coalition airstrikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve.

The latest allegations of civilian deaths from a coalition airstrike involve reports that as many as 200 civilians were killed in an airstrike in western Mosul targeting three adjoining houses. Local news reports indicate ISIS may have used the civilians as human shields to prevent airstrikes on the buildings, and the Iraqi military’s media operations center claims ISIS was responsible for the civilian deaths.

“The coalition has opened a formal civilian casualty credibility assessment on this allegation and we are currently analyzing conflicting allegations and all possible strikes in that area,” said Col. Joseph Scrocca, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve. “This process takes time though, especially when the date of the alleged strike is in question. Right now we are working with multiple allegations placing a strike in the area sometime between March 17 and 23.

“We will continue to assess the allegations and determine what if any role a coalition strike may have had in that area,” said Scrocca.

The spokesman noted ISIS’s previous disregard for civilians and civilian facilities by “using human shields, and fighting from protected sites such as schools, hospitals and religious sites.” He added there have been instances where ISIS forced families from their homes to booby-trap them with explosives to delay Iraqi forces.

U.S. Central Command has also opened a credibility assessment into an airstrike Monday night that targeted a school building near Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital inside Syria.

The activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights alleges that an airstrike on the school killed 33 civilians who had been seeking shelter from local fighting.

U.S. Central Command is also conducting a full investigation and credibility assessment into an airstrike on March 16 in the village of al-Jinnah in northwestern Syria.

U.S. officials said that airstrike killed dozens of al-Qaeda militants who had gathered for a meeting in a building near a mosque across the street. They emphasized that the mosque was not struck and that the building was not affiliated with the mosque. However, locals said that dozens of worshipers were killed in the airstrike and that the targeted building was, in fact, a mosque.

A U.S. Central Command spokesman confirms that earlier this week Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command, ordered a full investigation into the circumstances of the mission.

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Mar 25

Police release photo of London terror attack suspect

Metropolitan Police(LONDON) — Police Friday released a photograph of the British national believed to be behind this week’s deadly terror attack in London.

The suspect, Khalid Masood, was shot and killed by police after his Wednesday afternoon attack that killed four people, including a police officer, and injured at least 28 others.

The Metropolitan Police said Masood “has previously gone by the names of Adrian Elms and Adrian Russell Ajao. He may also be known by a number of other names.”

The investigation focuses on determinding Masood’s motivation, preparation and associates, Metropolitan Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley said Friday. Police are working to find out if Masood “acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda” or “if others have encouraged, supported or directed him,” Rowley said.

There is no evidence of further threats connected to the attack, Rowley said, adding that anyone with information about Masood is asked to come forward, Rowley said.

Six of the people who were arrested as part of the investigation were released from police custody on Friday, Metropolitan Police said in a press release. Four people remain in custody after they were arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts, police said.

Wednesday’s attack began when a car struck pedestrians and three police officers on Westminster Bridge.

The car then crashed into the fence around the Houses of Parliament, and a man armed with a knife attacked an officer who was standing guard.

London police said that among those injured, two remain in critical condition in hospitals, one of them with life-threatening injuries.

In addition, two police officers injured in the attack remain in the hospital with serious injuries.

On Thursday night, London Mayor Sadiq Khan led a candlelight vigil in Trafalgar Square for the victims.

“We come together as Londoners tonight to remember those who have lost their lives and all those affected by the horrific attack yesterday,” Khan said in a speech at the vigil. “When Londoners face adversity we always pull together … Our response to this attack on our city, to this attack on our way of life, to this attack on our shared values, shows the world what it means to be a Londoner.”

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Mar 25

Prince William, Duchess Kate announce school choice for Prince George

Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) — Prince William and Duchess Kate will send their oldest child, Prince George, to Thomas’s Battersea School, a private school in Battersea, South London, in September.

Kensington Palace announced the school choice in a statement Froday saying, “Their Royal Highnesses are delighted to have found a school where they are confident George will have a happy and successful start to his education.”

Speculation over where George, who will turn 4 in July, would attend had focused on Wetherby School, a school located near Kensington Palace that William and Prince Harry attended before they went to Eton.

William, 34, and Kate, 35, though chose Thomas’, a coeducation school with tuition of $22,000 per year. The school has approximately 500 students and is located in a middle-class area of London.

Thomas’ Battersea includes children from a variety of backgrounds whom George will one day lead when he is king. Parents of current students were briefed ahead of the announcement Friday.

The school’s headmaster, Ben Thomas, also issued a statement welcoming George to Thomas’s.

“We are honoured and delighted that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen Thomas’s Battersea for Prince George,” the statement read. “We greatly look forward to welcoming him and all of our new pupils to the school in September.”

William and Kate, also the parents of Princess Charlotte, who will turn 2 in May, have made a very measured and considered approach to George’s education. The Cambridges have not been afraid to depart from tradition and chart their own path for what they think will best protect their children.

George has been attending Westacre, a local Montessori school near the family’s country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, a few days per week since January 2016.

William and Kate plan to move their full-time residence to Kensington Palace in the fall as George begins school.

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Mar 25

Parliament member who aided London terror attack victim shakes hands with armed officer

Jack Taylor/Getty Images(LONDON) — A member of British Parliament hailed as a hero after he aided a victim of the London terror attack was photographed shaking hands with an armed officer as he walked into the Houses of Parliament two days after the attack.

As Tobias Ellwood, who also serves as a foreign office minister, came to work Friday, he walked by a pile of flowers laid in honor of the four people, including police officer Keith Palmer, who died in the Wednesday afternoon terror attack.

When the attack unfolded Wednesday near London’s Westminster Bridge, Ellwood, 50, was photographed with a bloody face after he attempted to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Palmer, who was stabbed, the BBC reported.

Photos show Ellwood crouched over the victim as first responders surrounded them.

Palmer, a husband and father who had served for 15 years with the Metropolitan Police Service, did not survive.

Wednesday’s attack began when a car struck pedestrians and three police officers on Westminster Bridge.

The car then crashed into the fence around the Houses of Parliament, and a man armed with a knife attacked an officer who was standing guard.

The suspect, who authorities believe acted alone, was then shot and killed by police, according to the Metropolitan Police Service.

Four people died in the attack, and at least 28 others were injured.

Wednesday’s attack, which occurred on the one-year anniversary of attacks in Brussels that killed 32 people and wounded hundreds, recalled the vehicle attacks last year in Berlin and Nice, France.

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Mar 25

Two more 'significant arrests' made over London terror attack

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Two more “significant arrests” have been made in connection with the London terrorist attack, London police said Friday.

Speaking to reporters outside Scotland Yard Friday morning, Metropolitan Police acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley said that new arrests — which occurred overnight in the West Midlands and North West — brought the total number of people in custody to nine, with one person having been released on bail.

Rowley said police had thus far conducted a total of 15 searches across the country, and that five more were currently underway.

The birth name of British national Khalid Masood, who on Thursday was identified as the attacker, was revealed to be Adrian Russell Ajao, Scotland Yard said Friday.

London police said that two of the people hospitalized from the attack remained in critical condition, one with life threatening injuries. In addition, two police officers injured in the attack remained in the hospital with serious injuries.

The 75-year old man who succumbed to injuries from the attack and died on Thursday was identified on Friday as Leslie Rhodes.

On Thursday night, London Mayor Sadiq Khan led a candlelight vigil in Trafalgar Square for the victims of Wednesday’s attack, in which Masood killed four people on Westminster Bridge before being shot dead by police.

“We come together as Londoners tonight to remember those who have lost their lives and all those affected by the horrific attack yesterday.”

Khan added that they were also there “to send a clear message: Londoners will never be cowed and by terrorism.”

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Mar 25

Fourth victim dies in London terror attack, police identify suspect as UK native Khalid Masood

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — The man police believe was responsible for Wednesday’s terrorist attack in London has been identified as Khalid Masood — a U.K. native with a number of criminal convictions.

Four people, including a police officer, were killed, and at least 28 others were injured in Wednesday’s attack, which authorities have declared a terrorist incident. The fourth victim was identified by as a 75-year-old man, who died from his injuries Thursday evening after he was pulled from life support.

Masood was fatally shot by police at the scene, according to the Metropolitan Police Service.

What we know about the suspect

Police said Masood, 52, was known to authorities and has a range of convictions, including for assault, grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offenses. His most recent conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife, according to the Metropolitan Police Service in London.

Massod was born in Kent in southeastern England, and detectives believe he was most recently residing in the West Midlands in west-central England. He was also known by a number of aliases, according to police.

He was not convicted of any terrorism offenses, police noted.

Police said Masood was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence regarding his intent to launch a terrorist attack.

ISIS claims responsibility

Police said they believe the attack was “inspired by international terrorism” and they are looking at the suspect’s possible associates.

In a statement published Thursday by its media outlet, Amaq News Agency, ISIS called the attacker “a soldier of the Islamic State” and said he “carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the international coalition.”

During a press conference Thursday morning, Metropolitan Police acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley said eight people were arrested in connection with the attack after raids at various locations in England.

Overnight Wednesday, police arrested a 39-year-old woman at an address in East London, a 21-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man at an address in Birmingham and a 26-year-old woman and three men ages 26 to 28 at a separate address in Birmingham. This morning, police arrested a 58-year-old man at a separate address in Birmingham. All eight were arrested on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts, according to the Metropolitan Police Service.

Detectives are searching a number of addresses linked to the investigation, including one in Carmarthenshire, three in Birmingham and one in East London. Authorities have concluded searches at addresses in Brighton and Southeast London, police said.

How the attack unfolded

The attack began around 2:40 p.m. local time Wednesday, when a car struck pedestrians and three police officers on Westminster Bridge. The car then crashed into the fence around the Houses of Parliament, and a man armed with a knife attacked an officer who was standing guard. The suspect, who authorities believe acted alone, was then shot and killed by police, according to the Metropolitan Police Service.

In an initial news conference Wednesday night, Rowley said the suspect tried to enter Parliament but was stopped “very close to the gate.”

Authorities said they initially received different reports Wednesday of a person in the River Thames, a car that collided with pedestrians and a man armed with a knife.

A seriously injured woman was pulled from the Thames and was among those who received medical treatment, an official with the Port of London Authority told ABC News.

Earlier Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May addressed members of Parliament, speaking solemnly about the “act of terrorism that tried to silence our democracy.”

“But today we meet as normal — as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do — to deliver a simple message: We are not afraid,” she said at the U.K.’s House of Commons. “And our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.”

May discussed what intelligence and security officials had so far gleaned about the attack, noting that the assailant was born in the United Kingdom and had been on the radar of security services.

What we know about the victims

A fourth victim, a 75-year-old man, died Thursday from injuries he sustained in the attack, according to police. The man died after his life support was withdrawn, police said. They did not offer any details on the man’s identity.

A 54-year-old American who died in the attack, Kurt Cochran, was celebrating his wedding anniversary, a family member told ABC News. He and his wife, Melissa Cochran, traveled to Europe to celebrate their 25th anniversary and had plans to return home to Utah today, according to a statement by her brother, Clint Payne.

She was injured in the attack and remains in a hospital. President Donald Trump took to Twitter today to express his condolences to the Cochran family.

A great American, Kurt Cochran, was killed in the London terror attack. My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2017

The officer who died, identified as 48-year-old Keith Palmer, was not armed. Palmer, a husband and father, served for 15 years with the Metropolitan Police Service, according to police.

In a statement released through the Metropolitan Police Service, his family described him as “a wonderful dad and husband,” “a friend to everyone who knew him” and “dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous.”

“He will be deeply missed. We love him so much,” Palmer’s family said in the statement. “His friends and family are shocked and devastated by his loss and ask that they are left to grieve alone in peace.”

An American tourist, Staci Martin of Wellington, Florida, happen to take a photo with Palmer 48 minutes before he was fatally stabbed.

“I liked his funny hat so I asked him if he would take a picture with me,” Martin wrote on Facebook. “He obliged. He was very polite.”

Another victim was identified today as 43-year-old Aysha Frade, a staff member of DLD College London.

In a statement, the school confirmed that she died in the attack.

“We are all deeply shocked and saddened at the news that one of the victims yesterday was a member of our staff, Aysha Frade. All our thoughts and our deepest sympathies are with her family,” said Rachel Borland, the principal of DLD College London. “We will be offering every support we can to them as they try to come to terms with their devastating loss.”

Frade was a member of the college’s administration team and had two daughters. At the time of the attack, she was about to pick up her daughters from their school, which is near Westminster Bridge, the school told ABC News.

Witnesses described a hectic scene

Eyewitnesses described the attack for ABC News. Richard Tice said he saw injured people lying on the pavement on Westminster Bridge. The car involved in the attack appeared to have jumped the curb, knocking people over, he added.

Bradford and Joanne Buck, who are visiting London from Connecticut, just emerged from the city’s subway system when they saw the crashed car.

“We saw all of this commotion going on. Looked over, there was a car crashed into the gate, door opened, and there was a man down right next to the car, all curled up,” Bradford Buck said in an interview Thursday on Good Morning America.

“The next thing I saw was a few police officers with machine guns,” he added. “Very, very hectic. This must have just happened when we came up from the Underground.”

The Bucks said they were in shock at first but quickly took cover. After a few minutes, they felt safe enough to leave the area.

“Just couldn’t believe it was happening,” Joanne Buck told GMA. “Just saw the machine guns and knew we had to take cover quickly.”

Despite a heavy police presence, the couple said Londoners appeared to be doing well after the attack.

“The people are great. They’re going about their business. There’s a lot of police officers with machine guns walking around, which we hadn’t seen before this happened, but the mood of the people is great,” Bradford Buck told GMA.

He added, “We’re going to carry on with our vacation. We’re not going to let it stop us and hope to finish our sightseeing while we are here in London.”

The attack was similar to one in Nice

Wednesday’s attack, which occurred on the first anniversary of attacks in Brussels that killed 32 people and wounded hundreds of others, was reminiscent of vehicle attacks last year in Berlin and Nice, France.

A spokesperson for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, an American company headquartered in Missouri, confirmed to ABC News that the vehicle used in Wednesday’s attack in London was rented from one of its branches in Birmingham, England. The spokesperson refused to provide additional details about the individual who rented the car, when it was rented and how it was paid for.

“We can confirm that the car used in the tragic attack in London yesterday afternoon was one of ours. An employee identified the vehicle after seeing the license plate in an image online. We ran another check to verify and immediately contacted the authorities,” the spokesperson in a statement today. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities and will provide any assistance that we can to the investigation.”

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Mar 25

Small plane crashes into home in Cobb County, Georgia

iStock/Thinkstock(COBB COUNTY, Ga.) — A small plane crashed into a home in Cobb County, Georgia Friday evening, local fire officials told ABC affiliate WSB.

It was unclear if anyone was killed or injured on the plane or on the ground. It was also not clear how many people were on board, officials said.

According to the FAA, the Cessna Citation I aircraft was en route to Fulton County Airport and crashed east of Cobb County International Airport around 7:20 p.m. Eastern.

Further information was not immediately available.

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