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Heather Heyer identified as victim of Charlottesville car attack 

Published: Sunday, August 13, 2017 @ 2:14 PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 13:   Flowers surround a photo of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting against the white supremacist Unite the Right rally, August 13, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville is calm the day after violence errupted around the Unite the Right rally, a gathering of white supremacists, that left Heyer dead and injured 19 others.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Getty Images
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - AUGUST 13: Flowers surround a photo of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting against the white supremacist Unite the Right rally, August 13, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville is calm the day after violence errupted around the Unite the Right rally, a gathering of white supremacists, that left Heyer dead and injured 19 others.(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Heather Heyer, 32, has been identified by authorities as the woman who was killed when a man plowed his car into counterprotesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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NBC News reported that Heyer worked at a Ruckersville, Virginia, law firm. She was killed as she crossed the street with other counterprotesters.

“She was there with her friends and she was trying to simply cross the street as the movement was breaking up that day and she was plowed down by a young man who was intent on spreading hate and thought hate would fix the world, and hate does not fix the world,” Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said.

Related: Deadly Charlottesville car attack: What we know now 

Ohio resident James Alex Fields Jr., 20, was taken into custody by police shortly after videos showed a silver Dodge Challenger registered under his name speeding toward a crowd, hitting people and cars in front of it, and then backing out of the street.

He is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death, according to CNN.

“I told him to be careful,” his mother, Samantha Bloom, told the Toledo Blade. “(And) if they’re going to rally to make sure he’s doing it peacefully.”

Related: Who is James Alex Fields Jr., suspect in deadly Charlottesville car attack?

Bloom recalled that her son told her he was on his way to an “alt-right” rally in Virginia.

“I thought it had something to do with Trump,” she admitted, saying that she tries to stay out of her son’s political views.

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” is one of the last posts that can be seen on Heyer’s Facebook.

“I always encouraged her to be strong and strong-minded — even though that wasn’t always easy to raise -- but I was always proud of what she was doing,” Bro told NBC News. “She was a fun loving person and tenderhearted person, but at times she could be tough as nails too.” 

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Fire department raffles AR-15 rifle, draws criticism

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 3:23 PM

In this photo illustration a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen on December 18, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
In this photo illustration a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen on December 18, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A California fire department is facing criticism after offering an AR-15 rifle as a raffle prize at a fundraiser just days after police said a 19-year-old used the same weapon to gun down 17 people at a high school in Florida.

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Allison Merrill told the Sacramento Bee that she was so offended by the gun, which was raffled Saturday during the Cameron Park Fire Department’s crab feed, that she and her friends walked out of the event.

“When we walked out, the flag was at half-mast in front of the community center, and it was just so striking, how tone-deaf the whole event was,” she told the Bee. “We walk out and there’s the flag at half-mast for all those kids.”

One person said they were "deeply disturbed."

Posted by The Sacramento Bee on Sunday, February 18, 2018

Police believe the shooter in last week’s deadly attack in Parkland, Florida, used an AR-15 when he killed 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“To have our first responders be the ones kind of offering a military-style assault rifle as a prize – putting that out into our community, especially right now – it was appalling,” Merrill told KOVR.

>> Related: Florida school shooting: Probe focuses on gunman's motives, victims' lives

Merrill told the news station that she spoke with the fire chief, who apologized and acknowledged that the gun raffle could be seen as insensitive. She told the Bee that event organizers refunded her and each of her three friends the $40 fee for the event, although she added to KCRA that “the money wasn’t really an issue.”

“I was deeply disturbed by it,” Nancy Lugo, who attended the event with Merrill, told the Bee. “Not only the timing of the recent shootings but also the fact that it’s that easy to get an AR-15.”

>> Related: Third-graders in Missouri selling raffle tickets for AR-15 weapon

Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean told KCRA that the Cameron Park Fire Department has held similar fundraisers since 2002. The fire department is under contract with Cal Fire, according to KCRA.

“These weapons are not any different than anything you could go into the gun store and buy,” McLean told the Bee, adding that the fundraiser was planned before last week’s deadly shooting.

The gun was taken to a gun store after the raffle, McLean said, where it will stay for a 10-day waiting period required by law as officials run background checks to ensure the winner of the raffle can legally own the firearm.

"I understand the concerns, by all means," McLean told KCRA. "No harm was intended."

7 Things Harder To Get Than A Gun

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Florida gun owner surrenders assault rifle after Parkland high school massacre

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 4:08 PM

A Broward County sheriff's deputy fills out paperwork after Ben Dickmann, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, voluntarily surrendered his AR-57 semiautomatic rifle, pictured on the desk. At right is a close-up of Dickmann's copy of the form, which indicates that the weapon will be destroyed at Dickmann's request. Dickmann got rid of the gun two days after 17 students and faculty members were gunned down with a similar AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Photos courtesy of the Broward County Sheriff's Office
A Broward County sheriff's deputy fills out paperwork after Ben Dickmann, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, voluntarily surrendered his AR-57 semiautomatic rifle, pictured on the desk. At right is a close-up of Dickmann's copy of the form, which indicates that the weapon will be destroyed at Dickmann's request. Dickmann got rid of the gun two days after 17 students and faculty members were gunned down with a similar AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.(Photos courtesy of the Broward County Sheriff's Office)

A Florida man spurred by the massacre that killed 17 people at a Parkland high school last week has “put (his) money where (his) mouth is” and surrendered his assault rifle to authorities.

Ben Dickmann, 40, wrote on Friday, in a Facebook post that has since gone viral, that he decided to lead by example.

“I own this rifle,” Dickmann wrote, sharing multiple photos of the semiautomatic AR-57 as he turned it in at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s a caliber variant of the AR-15.”

The suspected gunman in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, former student Nikolas Cruz, is accused of using an AR-15 to gun down 14 students and three faculty members on Valentine’s Day. 

“I am a responsible, highly-trained gun owner. (I am not a police officer or sheriff’s deputy),” Dickmann wrote. “However, I do not need this rifle.”

Dickmann wrote that no one without a police badge needs an AR-57.

“This rifle is not a ‘tool’ I have use for. A tool, by definition, makes a job/work easier,” Dickmann wrote. “Any ‘job’ I can think of legally needing doing can be done better by a different firearm.”

Dickmann wrote that, although he enjoyed shooting the weapon, he has other types of guns that he can shoot for recreation. He could have sold the rifle, he wrote, but “no person needs this.”

“I will be the change I want to see in this world,” Dickmann wrote. “If our lawmakers will continue to close their eyes and open their wallets, I will lead by example. #outofcirculation.”

Officials with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office praised Dickmann for his decision.

“We commend Ben for helping us get one more dangerous weapon off the streets,” a post on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page read.

The post also offered two ways for the public to turn in an unloaded, unwanted weapon. A citizen can call the department’s non-emergency line, 954-765-HELP, and inform a deputy that they have a weapon to surrender for destruction. 

“Leave the firearm in a location away from you in the home/business, allowing the responding deputy to retrieve it when they arrive,” the post read. “The deputy will take possession of the weapon (and) ammunition for disposal.”

The second way to turn the weapon in is to secure the gun in the trunk of a vehicle and drive to the nearest Sheriff’s Office substation. After parking in the visitors’ lot, a citizen can go inside and tell the deputy at the desk that he or she has a firearm and/or ammunition in the vehicle for surrender. 

“A deputy will meet with you and retrieve the weapon from your vehicle for disposal,” the post read

Dickmann, who lives about 30 minutes from Parkland in Fort Lauderdale, told NPR in an interview that the decision to give up his assault rifle came after “a lot of soul searching.” He said that, like others, he sees a lot of “thoughts and prayers” being offered, but not much else.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is something I can do that I think is right,” Dickmann said. “And it’s something I can do that might spark a change. You know, my whole goal was maybe to inspire one friend on my Facebook page to do the same thing. And maybe that friend would inspire one other person.”

Dickmann said he considered taking action after the Las Vegas shooting, but thought that his gun was not hurting anyone sitting in his gun safe. The Stoneman Douglas massacre, however, hit close to home. 

He said response to a Facebook post he wrote the day after the school shooting is what spurred that action. In that long post, Dickmann wrote that it was past time to do something about the mass violence undertaken with firearms in the United States.

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“I can now say I know people who have been directly affected by three of the most horrific gun violence events in our history (Northern Illinois University, Las Vegas, Stoneman Douglas), and a couple more single events,” he wrote. “This makes me sick. This makes me mad. I’m tired.”

In the Northern Illinois University shooting, which took place 10 years to the day before the Stoneman Douglas massacre, former NIU student Steven Kazmierczak walked onto the stage in an auditorium where class was taking place and gunned down five students before killing himself. More than a dozen more were injured.

Commenters on Dickmann’s post, who numbered in the thousands, varied in their responses. Some thought he spoke common sense, while others accused him of being a paid lackey for the anti-gun crowd. 

Dickmann told NPR that it was sarcasm from one man who told him, “Well, if you feel this way, why don’t you go turn your gun in?” The man even offered to drive Dickmann to the station. 

“Even though he was being extremely sarcastic about it because he’s a very staunch conservative, gun rights activist person, it kind of spurred me to say, ‘You know what? Yeah, I’ll do that,’” he said

Dickmann said he’s glad that his actions sparked a debate.

“I hope somebody, be it the students, be it the next generation, picks up the torch and does something,” he said

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Girl, 16, killed when UTV crashes into Georgia lake

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 3:56 PM



Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

A 16-year-old girl was killed when the utility terrain vehicle in which she was riding crashed and went into a lake, authorities said.

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Kate Jones, 16, of Athens, was submerged when the UTV rolled into the lake on private property, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said on Facebook. The incident happened about midnight.

A deputy and a firefighter dived into the water, which was about 10 feet deep, and freed Jones from the vehicle, Berry said.

Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry announces that a 16 year old young lady died last night around midnight in a UTV...

Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Saturday, February 17, 2018

Four other people were in the vehicle when it crashed. One of them is being treated for serious injuries at an Athens hospital.

The crash was in the 5000 block of High Shoals Road in Bishop.

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash.

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Mom donates 600 gallons of breast milk, diagnosed with hyper lactation

Published: Wednesday, August 02, 2017 @ 7:30 AM

Mom Donates 600 Gallons Of Breast Milk, Diagnosed With Hyper Lactation

Elisabeth Anderson-Sierra was diagnosed with a medical condition, but instead of considering it a road block, she used it to help others.

Anderson-Sierra was diagnosed with hyper lactation syndrome. Her body produced extra breast milk. So much extra, that she donated more than 78,000 ounces of milk by mid-2017. That’s more than 600 gallons, People reported.

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Her daughter, who was 6 months old at the time, drank about 20-28 ounces a day, but Anderson-Sierra’s body produced 225 ounces daily.

She donated the extra to milk banks, which was then sent across the country to help families who couldn’t breastfeed still get the benefits of breast milk.

After her first daughter was born, she donated to local moms, but after her second daughter was born, she expanded her donation circle to the rest of the country.

Anderson-Sierra spent four to five hours a day last year pumping, People reported.

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