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'Goodbye racists': Pair kicked off plane after asking Pakistani couple if they had a bomb

Published: Thursday, February 23, 2017 @ 5:17 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 @ 5:17 PM

How Airline Crews Deals with Unruly Passengers – and What You Should Do

A man and his companion were escorted off a United Airlines plane over the weekend after he made racist remarks to a Pakistani couple, according to multiple reports.

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The passengers, who were not identified, were traveling Saturday from Chicago to Houston when the man in question spotted a Pakistani man and woman dressed in traditional garb, KHOU reported. As the Pakistani pair put their bags into the bin above their seats, the man asked whether they had a bomb.

It appeared the pair didn't hear him, so he repeated the question.

"That's not a bomb in your bag, is it?" he asked, according to a woman on the flight who spoke to KHOU.

>> Related: Muslim family kicked off United Airlines flight for 'safety of flight'

The comment made at least three passengers uncomfortable enough to complain to flight attendants. Among them was the unidentified woman who spoke to KHOU and her boyfriend, who is Indian-American.

After they lodged their complaints, the man in question confronted them.

"(He) asked where my boyfriend was from (and) my boyfriend said, 'It's none of your business,'" the woman told KHOU. "At that point, he said all illegals and all foreigners need to leave the country."

In cellphone footage captured before the man and his companion were escorted from the flight, the man can be heard saying that all "illegals" need to "get out."

Seconds later, a flight attendant asks him to gather his belongings and get off the plane. His companion joins him, smiling sarcastically and occasionally waving a middle finger at the person recording the incident.

>> Related: Delta: Passengers kicked off plane for 'provocative behavior,' not for speaking Arabic

"Happy flight home," the man tells the person recording as he grabs a bag from an overhead bin. "I hope you stay there."

"Get out of here," a woman responds. "Racists aren't welcome in America. This is not Trump's America."

As the man waves, passengers can be heard cheering.

>> Related: Woman escorted off plane after berating Trump supporter

"Goodbye, racists," a woman says.

"Hey, I'll come back, but you'll be gone," the man responds.

United Airlines spokesman Jonathan Guerin told The Washington Post the man and woman who were escorted off the plane were able to get on a later flight to Houston.

>> Related: Veteran claims she was kicked off flight because of her pit bull mix support dog

"We removed two passengers for making others feel uncomfortable on the flight and for saying some inappropriate things to customers on the flight," Guerin told the Post. "Most customers appreciate a place where they feel safe and where they're not going to be attacked, and we want to provide that."

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Waffle House shooting: Remembering the victims

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

Police: 4 Dead After Waffle House Shooting by Nude Gunman

Four people were killed when a nearly nude gunman, armed with an AR-15, opened fire at a Nashville, Tennessee, Waffle House Sunday.

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Travis Reinking, is the suspected shooter, was arrested Monday afternoon after police got a tip about a man crossing into a wooded area near the Waffle House.

Related: Who is James Shaw Jr., the man who disarmed the Waffle House shooter?

Those killed have been identified as Akilah DaSilva, 23, DeEbony Groves, 21, Joe R. Perez, 20, and Taurean C. Sanderlin, 29. Two others, Shanita Waggoner, 21, and Sharita Henderson, 24, were injured. 

Here is what we know about the victims.

Akilah DaSilva

DaSilva was at the restaurant with his older brother and Waggonner, his girlfriend of five years. He was critically wounded at the restaurant and later died at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

The 23-year-old was a musical engineering student at Middle Tennessee State University and a musician who went by the stage name Natrix, his mother, Shaundell Brooks, told WTVF.

The family released the following statement on DaSilva:

“Akilah DaSilva also known as Natrix (his stage name) was a humble kind and well respected young man. His character spoke volumes. One of 6 loving siblings, Akilah was passionate about his music, family, and life. He was pursuing a career in musical engineering at MTSU. He had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that would warm your heart. He embodied compassion and had a zeal for life. A loving son and selfless friend, he was a beacon of hope, love, and strength in his family.

“His family hopes that in the midst of this senseless act of terrorism and hate, his life will not be in vain. We hope that this tremendous loss will spark tangible action in true gun law reform so no other family would ever have to experience this sort of tragedy.

“In the wake of this tragic event, The DaSilva Family welcomes prayers, words of comfort, and any contribution during their time of grief.”

GoFundMe page has been created by the family. It has surpassed its $10,000 goal.

DeEbony Groves

A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Groves was with some of her sorority sisters, including Henderson, at the Waffle House, WKRN reported. She was fatally shot in the restaurant. The New York Times reported she was a senior sociology major at Belmont University and worked two jobs

“The entire campus community is shocked and devastated by how such senseless violence has taken the life of this young woman, an individual full of immense potential,” the school said in a statement. “We extend our thoughts and prayers to her family and friends as they come to terms with unimaginable grief.”

A woman, center, who would only be identified as the godmother of shooting victim DeEbony Groves, cries as she listens at a news conference regarding the capture of Travis Reinking Monday, April 23, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. Reinking, who police say shot and killed at least four people Sunday at a Waffle House restaurant, was captured Monday in a wooded area near his apartment complex and the restaurant. Groves, 21, was a student at Nashville's Belmont University. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)(Mark Humphrey/AP)

Groves’ grandmother, Carolyn Groves, told the NYT she would always find time to visit her. 

“She was a sweetheart,” Groves said of her granddaughter.

Police told The Tennessean Henderson is in critical but stable condition.

Delta Sigma Theta president Beverly E. Smith said in a statement that the sorority will mourn the injuries and loss of life.

“Sorors, we will honor those who have lost their lives or who have been affected by gun violence by raising our voices, casting our votes and standing on the side of justice in our communities,” Smith said. “We mourn this loss today, but we will not let this act of violence silence our will to do what is right.”

Joe R. Perez

The Associated Press reported that, according to a police statement, Perez, 20, was killed in the parking lot of the Waffle House with Taurean Sanderlin, 29.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Perez was from Texas and had family in Austin. Patricia Perez, who is reportedly the victim’s mother, posted on Facebook Sunday asking for prayers.

“Please say a prayer for my family for today is the hardest day of my life,” the post said. “Me, my husband and sons are broken right now with this loss. Our lives are shattered.”

The New York Times reported that Perez moved to Nashville to work with one of his two older brothers after graduating from Hays High School in 2016. He was supposed to pick up his mother from the airport Wednesday when she visited him in Nashville. She last spoke to him Saturday night.

“I will never see him again,” Patricia Perez aid. “He was my baby.”

Taurean C. Sanderlin

Sanderlin, a Waffle House employee, was killed in the restaurant parking lot with Joe Perez, The AP reported

According to The New York Times, Walter G. Ehmer, the chief executive of Waffle House, said Sanderlin had worked at the chain for five years. The Goodlettsville, Tennessee, resident, was slain as he stood outside the restaurant while taking a break, The Tennessean reported.

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Senate postpones hearing for Trump VA pick Ronny Jackson amid 'serious allegations'

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 4:05 PM

Who is Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson?

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, White House physician Ronny Jackson, will decide whether it’s worth it to pursue the post after lawmakers postponed a hearing on his nomination in light of several allegations.

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“I don’t want to put a man through a process like this. ... It’s totally his decision,” the president told reporters at the White House, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree. “I will tell you, he is one of the finest people that I’ve met.”

Lawmakers indefinitely postponed a hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, to consider Jackson’s nomination. The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ top Republican and its top Democrat said in a joint statement that the decision was made “in light of new information presented to the committee.”

“We take very seriously our constitutional duty to thoroughly and carefully vet each nominee sent to the Senate for confirmation,” Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, and Jon Tester, D-Montana, said in the statement. “We will continue looking into these serious allegations and have requested additional information from the White House to enable the committee to conduct a full review.”

The congressmen also sent a letter addressed to Trump on Tuesday asking for "all documentation pertaining to Rear Admiral Jackson's service in the White House Medical Unit and as Physician to the President."

Committee members didn’t elaborate on the allegations levied against Jackson, although The New York Times reported that they include accusations that Jackson oversaw a hostile work environment while serving as White House doctor, that he allowed for drugs to be overprescribed and that he might have drank while on the job.

Jackson declined Tuesday to answer questions from reporters about the allegations.

"I'm looking forward to rescheduling the hearing and answering everyone's questions," Jackson told reporters on Capitol Hill, according to CNN.

Trump nominated Jackson to fill the role left vacant after he fired David Shulkin from the position late last month. Shulkin had been a top holdover from President Barack Obama’s administration, but he clashed with Trump administration officials and faced criticism over his use of resources.

Jackson, a U.S. Navy rear admiral, was appointed in 2013 as physician to the president by Barack Obama.

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Mother takes to social media to warn others of dry drowning

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 1:34 PM

Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Explained

As warming weather is starting to creep in, more children will be hitting the pools sooner rather than later and parents may have forgotten about the condition called secondary drowning, or dry drowning.

One mom is thankful that she caught a news report last year that recently saved her daughter’s life.

Elianna was swimming at her grandparents’ home in Sarasota, Florida, earlier this month, WTSP reported. The whole family was in the pool having fun. 

“We were all just playing, taking the [swim] noodle and blowing water in each other’s faces, and then she just happened to put her mouth on it the same time someone else put their mouth on the other end, and it all went down,” Lacey Grace, Elianna’s mother, told WTSP.

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Grace said that Lacey threw up the water and she thought all was OK.

But two days later, she came down with a fever, and two days after that she went to her doctor then to urgent care, WTSP reported.

It’s a good thing she did. 

“[We] went from there to the urgent care, which was about five minutes and in that five minutes, her skin turned purple. Her heart rate was through the roof. Her oxygen level was dropping. The doctor came right in and just said, ‘I don’t know where the nearest ER is’ because he’s new to the area, but he said, ‘You have to get to it right away,’” Grace told WTSP.

Grace had a feeling that her daughter was experiencing dry drowning. She had read an article about a boy in Texas, named Frankie, who died of secondary, or dry, drowning.

It happens when you inhale water and it gets into the lungs. 

>>Read: Children may face drowning danger 24 hours after hitting the pool

Elianna is on antibiotics and recovering from aspiration pneumonia. Grace also posted to Facebook to remind parents of the symptoms. Grace calls Frankie her angel, WTSP reported.

FILE PHOTO (Pexels/Pixabay license: https://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/#usage)(Pexels/Pixabay)

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20-year-old bear attack survivor bitten by shark while surfing

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 3:33 PM

A tiger shark maneuvers in the water in this February 2018 photo captured in Fuvahmulah, Maldives.
Andrey Nekrasov/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
A tiger shark maneuvers in the water in this February 2018 photo captured in Fuvahmulah, Maldives.(Andrey Nekrasov/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Dylan McWilliams loves nature, but nature doesn’t always love him back.

The 20-year-old Grand Junction, Colorado, resident was surfing off the Kauai coastline in Hawaii Thursday morning when he suddenly felt searing pain in his calf. He told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that he looked down to see what appeared to be a tiger shark between 6 and 8 feet long.

“At first, I panicked,” McWilliams told the newspaper. “I didn’t know if I lost half my leg or what.”

The panic gave way to his survival instinct, and he kicked the shark away as hard as he could. He began desperately swimming for shore, which he said was the scariest part of the ordeal.

“I didn’t know where the shark was, and I didn’t know if he would come after me again,” McWilliams said

A woman who heard his cries for help called 911 once he reached shore and took him to an urgent care facility, where seven stitches were used to close the deep gashes in his leg. 

McWilliams, who has worked as a tree trimmer, ranch hand and survival training instructor, shared the gory images on Facebook. Click here to see his post

“First time in the water in Kauai and get tagged by a shark,” he said. 

McWilliams’ friends were shocked by the encounter, in part because it is not the first time in the past year he has been attacked by a wild animal. CBS Denver reported that McWilliams, then 19, was camping at Glacier View Ranch near Boulder in July when he was attacked by a 300-pound black bear. 

“Are you kidding me?” one Facebook friend asked. “Dude, why do you always have animals wanting to eat you?”

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McWilliams relived his summer ordeal, which began when the bear grabbed him as he slept, following Thursday’s shark attack. 

“The bear grabbed the back of my head and started pulling me and I was fighting back as best as I could,” McWilliams told Hawaii News Now. “It dropped me and stomped on me a little bit, and I was able to get back to the group and they scared it away.”

McWilliams said he was lucky to have survived not only the bear and the shark, but also to have survived a rattlesnake bite during a 2015 hike in Utah, the Star-Advertiser reported. The bite was a “dry bite,” which only delivered enough venom to make him ill for a couple of days. 

National Geographic reported that the odds of one person being bitten by a shark, a bear and a rattlesnake are 893.35 quadrillion to one. An average American has a one in 11.5 million chance of being bitten by a shark.

A person is more likely to be attacked by a bear, with odds of one in 2.1 million, the magazine reported.

The odds of being bitten by a poisonous snake in the U.S. are one in 37,500.

Some commenters on Facebook called McWilliams a “legend” for all he’s survived, while others chastised him for getting in the water when much of the island was under a “brown water advisory,” meaning that bad storms had turned much of the coastal waters brown.

Murky water is known to bring in sharks, who prowl the coastline looking for an easy meal. 

“Can tell he’s not from around here or he would have known that,” one person wrote. 

“I guess no one told you that murky water attracts sharks, huh?” another man wrote. 

“It was actually mostly clear where I was,” McWilliams responded.

“‘Mostly’ is a key word in this situation,” the man wrote back. “But it looks like the island gods were ‘mostly’ looking out for you. Speedy recovery, broheem.”

McWilliams told Hawaii News Now that he does not plan on letting his encounter with the tiger shark keep him down.

“I’m just mad that I can’t get back in the water for a couple days,” he said. 

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