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Published: Friday, December 29, 2017 @ 4:37 PM
PHOENIX — An Arizona author, vegan chef and motivational speaker is charged with three counts of first-degree murder after he gunned down his ex-wife and their two children on Christmas Day, police officials said.
Anthony Milan Ross, 45, of Phoenix, is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault, 19 counts of aggravated assault against an officer and a single count of discharging a firearm in city limits, ABC 15 in Phoenix reported. He is being held without bond in the Maricopa County Jail.
Ross, who earned a following after losing a significant amount of weight and attributing the loss to his vegan diet, is accused of killing Iris Ross, 38, and their two children, Nigel, 11, and Anora, who was 10 months old. He is also accused of shooting at police officers during a six-hour-long standoff following the slayings.
Ross, who goes by his middle name, on Monday posted a video showing him and his son singing together for the holiday. The video was shot the night before.
“Hey guys, it’s Milan, and I’m hanging out with Nigel on Christmas Eve,” Ross said in the video. “We’re about to embarrass ourselves. We’re going to sing.”
A giggling Nigel joined his father in singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” laughing throughout the song and looking up at his father with adoration in his eyes.
Just over two hours after Ross posted the video, Nigel, his baby sister and their mother were dead, according to police.
The Arizona Republic reported that court documents state that witnesses saw Milan Ross shoot Iris Ross outside his apartment complex as she tried to run from him. Milan Ross then went into his apartment and the witnesses heard multiple gunshots, the Republic reported.
That is when police believe he killed Nigel and Anora. Iris Ross had gone to her ex-husband’s apartment to pick the children up for a Christmas party at their own home about a mile away, the Republic reported.
The witnesses told investigators that Ross came back outside and began rifling through Iris Ross’ pockets. When the witnesses asked if she was OK, Milan Ross said “no” and pointed his gun at them, the court documents say.
When officers arrived at the home at 3:45 p.m., they found Iris Ross’ body on the patio. Ross barricaded himself in the apartment for several hours before he began firing at officers outside.
Ross initially told police negotiators that he had already killed the children, the Republic reported. They continued negotiating with him, however, in the hopes that one or both of the children had not yet been slain.
The suspect later changed his story, telling the officers that the children were still alive and that he would kill them, police officials said.
Just after 10 p.m., police officers sent a robot into the apartment, where a camera showed the baby dead in one of the rooms, the Republic reported. That was when a police team went in, at which time Ross opened fire on the officers.
He was taken into custody uninjured, but a 46-year-old officer was injured by shrapnel and was hospitalized in stable condition.
Nigel’s body was found in another room of the apartment after his father was arrested, the newspaper said.
Iris Ross’ sister, Mary Wogas, told ABC 15 that she received a text from Milan Ross on Christmas afternoon, in which he admitted what he had done.
“I received a text yesterday about 2:52 p.m.,” Wogas told the news station. “Two messages, (the) first one saying, ‘I just killed Iris and the kids.’ The second message was, ‘with a gun.’”
Wogas said she had suspected that Milan Ross was unstable, but had no idea how her sister’s life, and those of the children, would end.
“I knew he had a very, very dark side,” Wogas said. “I didn’t know it was this dark.”
Wogas said that Milan Ross’ behavior changed in June, after Iris Ross filed for divorce.
“The man was off his rocker. One minute, he was yelling at her and calling her a whore and the next minute wanting to tell her he loved her and wanted them to be a family unit,” Wogas told the news station. “He would also claim that he was working with a voodoo priest in New Orleans to put a hex on her. Just very, very dark, very dark intentions.”
Milan Ross’ Facebook page is full of inspirational posts about weight loss and a vegan diet. He has a website devoted to veganism called Full Flavor Vegan and co-authored two books, The Change and The Change Cookbook.
Iris Ross worked as an administrator at a local outpatient surgery center, where officials released a statement mourning the “beloved” executive and her children.
“Iris was a fabulous person with a huge heart, and we are honored to have had her as part of our family,” the statement from St. Joseph’s Outpatient Surgery Center read.
Iris Ross’ roommate, Lushanya Echeverria, told the Republic that Iris saw the beauty in everyone.
“She saw people on the inside,” Echeverria said. “Every person who encountered her, they felt touched by her. They felt seen.”
Echeverria, who shared a home with Iris Ross for about a year, described the children as “beautiful, bring lights.”
She said that Milan Ross had harassed his ex-wife in recent weeks, and had shown up to pick up the children with a handgun that he said he carried for protection, the Republic reported. Despite the problems, Iris Ross tried to see the positives in the situation.
“She believed everybody was honest and good, even her ex-husband,” Echeverria told the newspaper. “That ultimately, he would do right for the children and he would have a healthy parenting relationship with her so that the kids could grow up healthy.”
Milan Ross told KPNX-TV just last month that his son was his inspiration for losing more than 300 pounds. He said he weighed in at 518 pounds during a family trip to Universal Studios, when he was told he was too big to fit on a Harry Potter ride that Nigel wanted to go on.
“He started crying,” Ross told the television station in the interview. “It was at that moment I learned that the decisions I was making didn’t just affect me.”
Losing the weight strengthened his bond with his son, Ross said. It also led to appearances in magazines and on television shows and to the writing of his two books.
Ross’ fans weighed in on the slayings in comments on the Christmas Eve video he posted hours before he is accused of killing his family.
“This just shows you that you never know what state of mind someone is in,” one man wrote.
Others wondered if Ross’ vegan diet played a role in his actions.
“I support vegan ideals 100 percent, but unfortunately most of us are genetically wired to need omega 3 and some animal fat for a healthy brain function,” another commenter wrote.
“This has nothing to do with being vegan,” one woman responded. “Most serial killers and murderers…are meat eaters. This is about mental health, not diet!”
Others expressed anger that Ross allegedly killed his children just hours after posting such a happy video.
“Omg (Oh my God), I’m in shock, like wth (what the hell)?” one woman wrote. “How could someone do this to their family? I don’t even know what to say! I thought you were an inspiration, but I clearly was wrong! Rest in peace, little ones.”
Another woman wrote that killing an infant was unfathomable.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:40 PM
PARKLAND, Fla. — The brother of confessed school shooter Nikolas Cruz was arrested Monday afternoon for trespassing on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas campus in Parkland, according to the Broward County Sheriff’ Office.
Zachary Cruz, 18, told deputies he went to the campus to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in,” according to the arrest report.
The sheriff’s office said he rode his skateboard through the campus, passing all locked doors and gates. Deputies said he was previously warned by school officials to stay away from the campus.
The sheriff’s office said Zachary Cruz has no connections to Broward County at this time. Before the shootings, he lived with his brother and family friend, Rocxanne Deschamps, in a Lantana-area mobile home.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, is charged in a 34-count indictment with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others. He is being held without bail at the Broward County Jail after the Feb. 14 school shooting that left 14 students and three adults dead.
After the fatal shootings, Zachary Cruz was put under a mental-health evaluation. He told investigators that as he drove home with Deschamps after he heard about the shootings he said, "I don't want to be alive. I don't want to deal with this stuff."
He has denied wanting either to kill or harm himself.
Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 11:53 PM
ORLANDO, Fla. — A woman said she felt fat-shamed when she was unable to ride Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida.
Angel Morales said she asked workers if she could ride the ride bench with one fewer person so that she wouldn't make anyone sitting beside her feel uncomfortable.
Morales said she felt humiliated when employees declined her request.
The theme park doesn't have weight restrictions, so Morales said she didn't know she couldn't go on the ride until she was about to board it.
Morales said she bought annual passes to the park last year and couldn't wait to check out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
"(I) couldn't fit on any of the Harry Potter rides because of my weight," she said. "(I) did a lot of bag-holding in Diagon Alley and that kind of thing."
She had hoped to ride the King Kong attraction, because its seat is a bench without a safety bar, but when she got to the front of the line, she told her daughters that she didn't think they'd fit without making others uncomfortable, Morales said.
A man waiting in line overheard their conversation and offered to wait for the next available ride so Morales could ride with her daughters.
During another trip to the park, Morales said she tried to spare herself from further embarrassment by asking workers if one fewer person could ride in her row.
She said they wouldn't allow it, because they said they have to "push for capacity."
"It's somewhat humiliating to have to ask for an accommodation because of one's weight -- that you have to put yourself out there and kind of beg to be able to ride and embarrass yourself because of weight," Morales said.
She filed a discrimination complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. She said overweight people should be a protected class.
"Their interest is getting bodies and getting money and not accommodating paying customers," she said. "That's how I felt."
Morales said she was offered a $100 gift card, dinner and movie tickets, but she doesn't plan to return to the park.
WFTV asked Universal if it trains its workers to handle such incidents and if it considers Morales' request unreasonable.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 5:52 PM
— That water bottle you just purchased is likely contaminated with microplastic particles, according to a new investigation from researchers at the State University of New York at Fredonia and journalism organization Orb Media.
Through an analysis of 259 water bottles from 11 brands sold across nine countries, including the United States, scientists found 93 percent were contaminated with an average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter of water. That’s twice the amount of contamination typically found in tap water.
Major brand names such as Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and San Pellegrino were among the water bottles tested.
"In this study, 65 percent of the particles we found were actually fragments and not fibers," lead researcher Sherri Mason told AFP.
According to the research, the plastic debris found in the water bottles included polypropylene, nylon and polyethylene terephthalate, which is used to make bottle caps. The particles are likely a result of the industrial bottling and plastic packaging process.
But the effects of these chemicals on human health, scientists say, are still unclear.
“As much as 90% of ingested plastic could pass through a human body, but some of it may end up lodged in the gut, or traveling through the lymphatic system, according to research by the European Food Safety Authority,” Time reported.
Previous research has linked synthetic chemicals often found in plastic to “certain kinds of cancer to lower sperm count to increases in conditions like ADHD and autism,” Mason said, prompting calls for further studies on the possible health implications of plastics pollution.
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute.— Precision Homes (@PrecisionHomes_) March 15, 2018
An edible, biodegradable water bottle offers a solution to this waste. #tech #Sustainability #innovation #plastic #plasticfree #ThursdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/9pubbX8WZO
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:32 AM
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Authorities are investigating a deadly home invasion in Gwinnett County.
Jacob Albright with the Gwinnett County Police Department told our partners at WSB Radio the victim was found dead at the home on Scholar Drive.
Albright said a husband, his wife and their 19-year-old daughter were tied up inside the home. When the husband tried to break free, he was shot.
"This is a shocker for us because this is a quiet neighborhood," said neighbor Matthew Cook.
Cook said he came home from church and saw police in front of his neighbor's home.
He was horrified to learn that police believe home intruders shot a husband in front of his family in the middle of the afternoon.
"I would be scared, I would be worrying about my family, and say just whatever you get want, just don’t hurt us," Cook said.
Police said two men in bright construction or traffic vests got into the home without any obvious signs of forced entry.
The victim has been identified as Miguel Osorio, 44.
Neighbors said they heard multiple gunshots then screams from the women in the house.
Cook said he didn't know the man who died but said this robbery never should have turned deadly.
"I understand he was scared and everything, but they didn't have to shoot him," he said.
Police said the suspects got into a car that already had a driver inside of it. The car is described as a gold or tan SUV.