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Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 5:16 PM
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The Stone Mountain Memorial Association this week denied a Ku Klux Klan request to burn a cross at the park in Dekalb County, Georgia, citing the trouble at a “pro-white” rally last year.
Joey Hobbs, a Dublin man with the Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, wanted to hold a “lighting” ceremony on Oct. 21 with 20 participants, according to the application. This would have been to commemorate the KKK’s 1915 revival, which began with a flaming cross atop Stone Mountain on the evening of Thanksgiving.
“We will light our cross and 20 minutes later we will be gone,” wrote Hobbs, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, in an application dated May 26. It wasn’t immediately clear if Hobbs holds a formal position with the group.
“We don’t want any of these groups at the park, quite frankly,” John Bankhead, spokesman for the association said Wednesday, referring to white nationalists groups and the KKK. “This is a family-oriented park.”
But since it’s a public park, the association created a permit process to consider each application individually.
In a statement, the memorial group, which oversees the park, said it “condemns the beliefs and actions of the Ku Klux Klan and believes the denial of this Public Assembly request is in the best interest of all parties.”
>> Related: Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in CharlottesvilleWriting to deny Hobbs, CEO Bill Stephens cited the trouble at the “Rock Stone Mountain” rally of April 23, 2016. The park had to close that day as white power revelers, including KKK members, clashed with counter-protesters.
Stephens said an event like Hobbs’ would require public safety resources beyond what park police could provide, and thus, would put guests, employees and public safety workers in danger.
Besides creating a potentially-dangerous scene, the cross-burning would’ve also been an act of intimidation, Bankhead said.
“I think anybody who knows about cross burning knows why it’s used,” Bankhead said, recalling the KKK’s track record of setting crosses on fire to intimidate African Americans. “We’re just not going to allow that.”
Georgia's terroristic threats and acts statute also specifically bars the practice when it’s done with the intent to “terrorize.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that states can ban cross-burning, though it warned that the intent to intimidate must be proven in each case.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:41 AM
EUSTIS, Fla. — A young boy died of rabies after being scratched by a bat, according to Christian Academy school officials in Eustis, Florida.
The school posted about the boy’s death on its website, saying that he attended the school in 2016.
The post said Ryker Roque “was a quiet boy adored by teachers and classmates.”
Henry Roque, Ryker's father, took a video of the two on a fishing trip and said they were as close as father and son could be.
He shared pictures and videos of his son with WFTV to share with the world how much he loved his son.
As Ryker underwent an experimental procedure for the rabies infection, Henry held out hope, even as doctors told the family he had virtually no chance of surviving.
"I've seen huge miracles before. And I went back on the bed and laid with him and held him and said, 'Ryker, miracles happen every day. I know you hear me,'" Henry said.
Several weeks ago, Henry said he found a sick bat, which he did not know had rabies, and put it in a bucket, telling Ryker not to touch it.
But Ryker did touch it and was scratched by the bat – but seemed fine, school officials said.
A week later, the child lost use of his legs and “experienced confusion,” having hallucinations and convulsions.
Ryker was hospitalized and an experimental treatment was used, but he died Sunday.
The school held a fundraiser to help the family with medical expenses.
"He was a very sweet boy. Everything he did was nice. The kids loved to play with him because he was the kindest kid," said Connor Jenkins, with the Christian Academy preschool.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:13 AM
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Incredible video captured firefighters rescuing a child from a burning building in DeKalb County, Georgia.
The helmet camera video, posted by DeKalb County Fire and Rescue, was taken at the Avondale Forest Apartments on Jan. 3.
The video shows a person on top of a ladder drop a child down to a firefighter as the flames roar around them.
The firefighter catches the child and quickly runs to safety.
"Third-generation DCFR firefighter Capt. Scott Stroup can be seen catching one of the children that was dropped from the third-floor balcony. Great job by all hands operating on this fire as several lifesaving grabs were made that night," the department posted on Facebook.
An estimated 50 people were left without a place to live after the massive fire at the Decatur apartment complex.
Capt. Eric Jackson, with DeKalb County Fire and Rescue, told WSB-TV that four adults and eight children were hurt in the fire.
He said their injuries were minor and mostly related to smoke inhalation.
Firefighters kicked in doors and ushered out residents when they arrived on the scene, Jackson said.
One of the victims told WSB-TV's Steve Gehlbach hearing the screams coming from the people trapped was the most frightening part of the fire for them.
Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 9:59 AM
PITTSBURGH — There was a slight scare ahead of Sunday’s Steelers game at Heinz Field after police arrested a man who allegedly threatened to kill players and fans at the game.
Authorities arrested Yuttana Choochongkol, 40, who is from San Antonio, in Texas.
Investigators said the man made several threats online, sending them to the director of security at Heinz Field.
“The Steelers game will be packed, and that's when I plan on killing Steelers football players and fans before taking my own pitiful life," Choochongkol wrote.
The Steelers issued a statement regarding the threats.
Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 12:08 PM
ALEXANDRIA, La. — A postal worker pleaded guilty Friday to burning at least 20 tubs of mail at his home over the course of six months, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Mark Wayne Thompson, 50, pleaded guilty to use of delay or destruction of mail by a postal employee.
Thompson took mail from his rural route in Elmer to his home to burn from Dec. 1, 2016, to May 1, 2017, according to officials.