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‘American Sniper’ Widow Taya Kyle Describes Day She Found Out Chris Kyle Was Dead

Friday, May 1st, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Courtesy Taya Kyle(NEW YORK) — When Taya Kyle first heard that her husband, famed Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who had served four tours in Iraq, had been murdered at a Texas gun range, she kept thinking over and over that there had been some mistake.

“He was a survivor and a fighter, and honestly, I didn’t know how many times he had been shot,” Taya Kyle told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an exclusive interview that airs Friday night at 10 p.m. on a special edition of 20/20.

“He had been in so many close calls that it didn’t seem real,” she said.

Chris Kyle, a highly decorated SEAL, was the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, with 160 confirmed kills. As a SEAL sniper, Kyle was sent to the worst areas with the heaviest combat and had spent years in an out of Iraq.

But on Feb. 2, 2013, former Marine Eddie Ray Routh murdered Chris Kyle and Kyle’s friend, Chad Littlefield, at the Texas hunting resort Rough Creek Lodge. Routh was convicted of capital murder in their shooting deaths on Feb. 24, 2015.

In the wake of her husband’s death, Taya Kyle wrote a memoir, American Wife: Love, War, Faith and Renewal, which details their love story, how she and her family dealt with his death, and her life as a military spouse. It will be released on Monday, May 4, in collaboration with Jim DeFelice and published by William Morrow Publishers.

Mark Treibly, who had played football with Chris Kyle in high school and is now an investigator with Midlothian, Texas, police, was the one who broke the news to Kyle’s wife.

“I remember looking in his eyes, so intently, and just saying, like, ‘Are you sure?’” Taya Kyle said. “Because I’ve had these scares before where I thought he was dead and he wasn’t. And he said, ‘Yes.’”

Telling their two young children, a son Chris had nicknamed “Bubba” and a daughter he had nicknamed, “Angel,” was the hardest thing Taya Kyle ever had to do, she said.

“I just told them something really bad had happened and that ‘Daddy got hurt,’” Kyle said. “And my daughter looked at me and she said, ‘Is he dead?’ And then I just shook my head, and then just this sound from her chest and her stomach. … She was thinking, ‘That couldn’t possibly be true.’

“It’s just very hard to understand. … ‘Why would he do that?’ You know, ‘Why would somebody do that to Daddy?’” she added.

Nearly three years after coming home from Iraq for good, Chris Kyle had become a bestselling author with American Sniper, which chronicled his war experience and later became an Oscar-winning movie. He also began helping fellow veterans adjust to civilian life by taking them to Rough Creek Lodge. He found that hunting and target shooting helped veterans relax and open up.

On Feb. 2, 2013, Chris Kyle was doing just that with Routh, a former marine who graduated from the same high school as Kyle and served in Haiti after the deadly earthquakes, and Iraq — although he never saw combat.

Routh’s mother reached out to Chris Kyle for help with her son, who, after he returned home, was acting erratically, smoking marijuana, drinking heavily and even threatening suicide. Though he never met Routh, Chris Kyle agreed to help and asked Chad Littlefield to come with him to Rough Creek Lodge.

According to Routh’s attorney, Warren St. John, Chris Kyle had not informed Routh or his mother ahead of time about the trip to Rough Creek Lodge.

“[Routh] had no idea they were going to a gun range,” St. John said. “He thought they were going to go grab some coffee. So, when he got in the truck, he was somewhat shocked that it was full of guns and full of multiple pieces of ammunition. … I don’t think he was afraid of the guns. I think he was concerned about what are these guys about to do.”

According to his attorneys, Routh also said he was upset Kyle didn’t shake his hand when they met, and that he was further distressed when Kyle stopped to grab a bite to eat at a fast-food restaurant.

“Chris Kyle gave him a hamburger and basically told him to eat it and he thought that was awful strange,” St. John said.

Routh set off alarm bells for Chris Kyle and Littlefield while the three drove to the hunting resort. He sat in the back, as Littlefield sat up front with Kyle. During the drive, Littlefield texted Chris Kyle, saying, “This dude is straight up nuts.” Kyle responded, “He’s right behind me, watch my six,” which is military slang for “watch my back.”

The tension did not ease once the three men arrived at the range. After waiting for Kyle to fire all his shots down range, Routh used one of Kyle’s 9mm handguns to shoot Littlefield six times in the back, killing him. Routh then killed Kyle with six shots, all in the back.

“Neither one of them saw it coming,” said Taya Kyle.

Routh then took off, taking Kyle’s 9mm and loading it with 15 more bullets, according to authorities. He then jumped into Kyle’s truck and drove back towards his home in Lancaster, Texas.

On the way, he stopped at his sister’s house and told her he had just killed two men. As soon as he left, his sister called 911, saying “my brother just came by here. He told me that he committed a murder.”

Mark Treibly was at the Midlothian police station when he heard a report about a white male driving a supercharged black Ford F350 with jacked up tires.

“I knew immediately that was the description of Chris’ truck,” Treibly said. “I immediately left the police station and went to [Kyle’s] house. … Taya immediately knew something was wrong, and I told her that it was confirmed that Chris had been murdered.”

Routh made it to his own house, where authorities said he stopped to pick up his dog, Girly, but he barely made it out of the driveway before police swarmed him. Routh then led police on a high-speed chase through residential neighborhoods. He made it to I-35 North, but eventually gave up. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Littlefield and Kyle.

Nine days later, thousands of people attended a memorial at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, home of the Dallas Cowboys, to pay their respects to the fallen hero. As emotional as the memorial was, Taya Kyle said she is still moved by the trip from Dallas to Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

“It’s 200 miles of people lining the streets and every overpass … and the bagpipers and people stopped on the other side of the freeway,” Taya Kyle said. “I mean, it was that feeling of patriotism and acceptance and that goes right in line with Chris’s life.”

Today, Taya Kyle said she has mixed feelings about the gun range where her husband spent so much of his time.

“It can be comforting that it was a peaceful place and he never saw it coming, and that makes me angry that somebody would — Like, how evil do you have to be,” she said. “The people are there just to help you. It was a beautiful, sunny day.”


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Building Collapses at Watergate Complex

Friday, May 1st, 2015 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — More than 25 firefighters are on the scene of a partial structure collapse Friday at the Watergate complex in Washington, the D.C. Fire Department has confirmed.

Witnesses to the collapse posted photos of the incident to Twitter.

Search and rescue teams are also at the scene. One person was seen being loaded into an ambulance.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Freddie Gray’s Death Ruled a Homicide

Friday, May 1st, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Courtesy Murphy, Falcon & Murphy(BALTIMORE) — The death of Freddie Gray has been ruled a homicide caused by severe trauma, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday morning. Her office has also found probable cause to pursue criminal charges in connection to the case.

Mosby announced a series of charges now facing the six police officers involved in putting Gray in custody and transporting him in a police wagon earlier this month. The charges vary for each individual, but include several counts of manslaughter, second degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment, among others.

The most serious charge she listed was second degree depraved heart murder, which only one officer faces. A warrant has been issued for the police officer’s arrest, Mosby said.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake later confirmed Friday afternoon that five of the six police officers are now in custody.

Gray, 25, was taken into police custody in Baltimore on April 12 and sustained a spinal injury during that time that required medical attention. He went into a coma several days later and died a week after his apprehension.

Police have never said why they took him into custody in the first place, noting only that he ran from officers, and they have not publicly explained how Gray received the spinal injury.

Mosby detailed the findings of her office’s independent investigation into Gray’s apprehension, and she detailed how officers repeatedly ignored Gray’s pleas for help and that officers bound his arms behind his back and put his legs in clamps but did not secure him within the police wagon with a seatbelt, which is a violation of Baltimore police policy.

One of the biggest findings that Mosby announced was that the decision to take Gray into custody in the first place was illegal because the knife that he had is allowed under Baltimore laws. While the knife was able to fold, it was not a switchblade.

Mosby urged calm in the wake of the charges, speaking directly to protesters at the end of her press conference.

“I heard your call for ‘no justice, no peace’ however your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of Freddie Gray,” she said.

In an open letter Friday before Mosby’s news conference, the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police asked Mosby to appoint a special independent prosecutor.

“I have full faith in your professional integrity. While I have the utmost respect for you and your office, I have very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest presented by your office conducting an investigation in this case,” the statement read. “These conflicts include your personal and professional relationship with Gray family attorney, William Murphy and the lead prosecutor’s connections with members of the local media.”


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Loyal Listeners Club

Colorado Woman ‘Still in Shock’ After Getting Shot While Driving

Friday, May 1st, 2015 by

Posted in National News

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT COLLINS, Colo.) — Cori Romero didn’t initially realize she’d been shot.

The 20-year-old was driving along Interstate 25 near Fort Collins, Colorado, on April 22, when she says she felt a pain in her neck.

“I thought that came from glass that had shattered my window,” she said.

In fact, the pain and shattered window were caused by a bullet.

Police are hunting for the gunman, and authorities believe the unknown person may be linked to a series of other roadway incidents — seven other shattered car windows on or near I-25.

The gunman pulled up beside Romero’s car in a dark SUV and fired, Romero said.

“I’m still in shock,” Romero said Thursday after being released from the hospital. “You don’t really think that something like that would happen to you, just driving home from work.”

Authorities have not recovered any bullets besides the one that struck Romero.

Romero is still recovering from her injuries. “I’ve been lucky to be able to walk away, like literally walk away from this incident and still have my voice and still be able to do everything that I could do before,” she said.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Woman Charged with Murder of Missing Fiance After His Kayak Capsizes

Friday, May 1st, 2015 by

Posted in National News

New York State Police(NEW YORK) — The fiancee of a man who disappeared after his kayak capsized in New York State has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with his death, authorities said Thursday.

Angelika Graswald, 35, and Vincent Viafore, 46, both of Poughkeepsie, New York, were kayaking on the Hudson River near Cornwall, New York, at approximately 7:30 p.m. on April 19, according to the New York State Police.

Graswald “did intentionally cause the death of Vincent Viafore,” according to a criminal complaint by the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

According to authorities, rough water and strong winds caused Viafore’s kayak to overturn. Viafore, who was not wearing a life jacket, was unable to right to his kayak, according to state police.

Graswald called 911, according to authorities, and they initially said that she tried to help him. While trying to help her fiance, she fell out of her kayak, but was later located in the water by a boater and rescued, authorities initially said, noting that Graswald was later treated and released from a local hospital for hypothermia.

Authorities located both kayaks, but Viafore was not found, according to state police. Despite what initially appeared to be a tragedy on the open water, Graswald has now been charged with murder.

It’s unclear why authorities believe Graswald acted with intent to allegedly kill Viafore. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, New York State Police officials did not specify a motive or detail how Viafore was killed.

It was unclear if Graswald has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

Graswald is scheduled to next appear in court on May 5, according to Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler.

“My office is working closely with the New York State Police to ensure that this case can be presented to an Orange County Grand Jury next week,” Hoovler said in a statement Thursday, noting that the investigation is ongoing.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Song of The Day

Aurora Shooting Trial: Officers Recount Moments When James Holmes Was Captured

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) — Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes was wearing so much protective gear when police first saw him on the night of the attack that first responders thought he was a SWAT member, police testified on Thursday.

First responders told the court how they apprehended Holmes, who faces the death penalty for killing 12 and injuring 70 others in the 2012 attack. Holmes has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, and his attorneys have admitted in court that Holmes was the one responsible for the attack but believe he was not sane at the time.

Here are several officers’ descriptions of the moments when they apprehended Holmes.

Where They Found Holmes

Two of the responding officers who were the first on the scene, Jason Oviatt and Jason Sweeney, testified in court on Thursday. The first 911 calls from the theater came in to dispatch at 12:39 a.m. and police officers arrived on scene at 12:40 a.m.

Oviatt said that he saw Holmes as soon as they pulled up to the theater because he was standing by a white car by the emergency exit of theater nine, where the shooting had happened.

“There was a person standing on the opposite side of the car dressed in a black tactical helmet and a gas mask. On first glance, he looked like another cop to me,” said Aurora police officer Jason Oviatt.

As Oviatt approached, he began to realize that the gear Holmes was wearing was not police-issued tactical gear, and when he was about 20 feet away, Oviatt began to get a sense of his demeanor which tipped him off.

“The person was relaxed. That said to me he wasn’t an officer,” Oviatt said. “I knew that he had to be involved in the shooting.”

Oviatt said that as he approached Holmes, he “pointed my gun at him.”

As Oviatt held Holmes at gunpoint, Officer Jason Sweeney told the court that he cleared the vehicle and ordered the suspect on the ground when he saw a plastic clamshell rifle case.

What Did Holmes First Say To Officers

Sweeney ordered Holmes to the ground and “he had his head up, he was looking where we were taking him,” Sweeney said in court.

When they patted Holmes down through his layers of tactical gear, they found “a couple” of pocket knives and a handgun, Sweeney said.

Sweeney was the one to ask him if he was alone and Holmes responded: “It’s just me.”

Dismantling Holmes’ Gear

Oviatt and Sweeney then dragged Holmes away from his car and towards a nearby dumpster where they began taking off the layers of tactical gear that he was wearing.

“I made him kneel down on the ground and then cut his coat off,” Oviatt said in court. “There was too much material in the coat, I was cutting with a razor but every cut I made there was more to get through, it took too long.”

“I left him in his underwear and a torn T-shirt,” he said.

Taking Him to the Police Station

The officers then put him in the back of a patrol car and strapped him in.

“He was moving around quite a bit, not sitting still, appeared to be looking all around,” Sgt. Stephen Redfearn told the court.

“The suspect appeared to be trying to look at what was on my computer,” Redfearn said.

Holmes has been in court since the trial started on Monday, sitting quietly and relatively expressionless throughout.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Baltimore Police Officers Reeling From Riot-Related Injuries

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Laryn Bakker/iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) — Baltimore police Thursday said 98 of the city’s officers have been injured since riots broke out Monday afternoon.

Nearly half, or 43 officers, required emergency medical treatment at a hospital, with 13 still out on medical leave, “meaning they are unable to come in to work at all,” Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk announced.

Fifteen of those 43 most-severely injured officers have been put on light duty because they can perform administrative duties but not patrol the street. The remaining 15 were able to return to active duty, officials said.

Kowalczyk did not detail any specific injuries sustained by the officers, or how they received them, although many of them were pelted with rocks and other objects.

“These weren’t little pebbles being thrown,” he said of the interactions with rioters. “These were chunks of cement with serrated edges and glass embedded in them. That’s what was being thrown at our officers.”



Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Nugget of Knowldege

Sea Lion Rescued After Wandering San Francisco Streets

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

KGO-TV(SAN FRANCISCO) — A sea lion pup that wandered onto the streets of San Francisco early Thursday morning is now resting safe at a marine mammal rescue center.

A tourist first spotted the male sea lion under an SUV in San Francisco’s Marina District around 6:30 a.m., ABC News station KGO-TV reports.

It took rescue crews close to a half-hour to eventually capture the animal, with aerial helicopter footage showing one rescue worker finally getting the sea lion into a net.

“Luckily the San Francisco Police Department had stopped traffic around him and was protecting him until we got there,” Shawn Johnson with the Marine Mammal Center told KGO-TV.

After the sea lion was captured, workers with the Marine Mammal Center realized they’ve dealt with this particular seal once before.

“He was rescued in Santa Barbara County in February and brought up here for rehabilitation. He was here at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito for nearly two months,” Johnson told KGO-TV.

The person who found the sea lion the first time named him “Rubbish,” Johnson told KGO-TV, and in that time, he’s lost close to 20 pounds.

Johnson said sea lions like Rubbish are part of a growing problem, as crews from the center have rescued more animals in the past four months than all of 2014.

“The elevated ocean temperatures have caused all the fish to migrate farther away from them,” Johnson told KGO-TV.

Johnson said he hopes after this latest stay at the center, Rubbish will go on to live a successful life in the wild.

“It is pretty heart-wrenching to know that you put all this effort into rehabilitating them and giving them a chance out in the wild,” he said.


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New Information About Freddie Gray’s Police Van Ride

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Courtesy Murphy, Falcon & Murphy(NEW YORK) — Police have handed over their investigation of Freddie Gray’s death to the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, which is now tasked with determining what caused the spinal injury the 25-year-old sustained while in police custody.

Gray died Sunday, one week after he was arrested in Baltimore.

In announcing the handover, Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who led the group of 30 detectives during their investigation, said Thursday that they have discovered a stop the police van made but that investigators had not known about earlier.

Here is a rundown of the timeline compiled from information released by police since Gray’s death:

Police Take Gray Into Custody

Police said officers were working in a West Baltimore area with a history of violence and drug deals at 8:39 a.m. when a man, later identified as Gray, was seen at the corner of North Avenue and Mount Street.

The officers approached the man, who then fled on foot, but why they moved toward him remains a part of the ongoing police investigation, police said.

A police officer was heard telling dispatch at 8:40 a.m. that officers had one person in custody on the 1700 block of Presbury Street, two blocks south of North and Mount Streets, police said.

At this morning’s news conference, Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said Gray ran from the police before being taken into custody on that same city block.

A “wagon,” or van, was requested for transport at 8:42 a.m., according to earlier Baltimore police statements, and Gray asked for an inhaler.

First Stop

Davis confirmed this morning that the police made a stop at Mount and Baker streets, though no further details about that stop were released. This intersection is just one block south from where Gray was taken into custody.

Second Stop

Davis said police have since determined that the wagon made a second stop they had not previously known about, at N. Fremont Avenue and Mosher Street. They did not release other details.

Investigators learned about this stop after reviewing video footage from a privately-owned camera.

Third Stop

The van then resumes the schedule that officers had previously known about with a stop at Druid Hill Avenue and Dolphin Street, which is not far from the second, unknown stop, though no further details about what happened here have been released.

Fourth Stop

The wagon then goes to North and Pennsylvania avenues to pick up an additional prisoner.

Davis did not release the time for each of these stops, but police have already said that at 8:46 a.m., the driver of the van reported that he believes Gray is acting “irate.” An officer asks the van to stop so paperwork could be completed, according to Baltimore police. At that point, Gray is taken out of the vehicle, and police said he was placed in leg irons and then put back in the van. Police have not specified when this occurred in relation to the van’s various stops.

By 8:54 a.m., the wagon had cleared Mount Street and was heading toward central booking, police said in earlier statements.

At 8:59 a.m. a request was made by the driver of the van for an additional “unit” to check on Gray, police say. There was some undisclosed communication with Gray at this point, police said in earlier statements.

Arrives at the Police Station

Police have not released the official time when the wagon arrived at Western District station, but at 9:23 a.m. emergency medical services directed a technician to respond for an injured patient, as heard on a recording of the call that was publicly released.

A minute later, police officers requested paramedics to the Western District to transport the man to the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center. In a subsequent charging document, police said, “During transport to Western District via wagon transport the Defendant suffered a medical emergency and was immediately transported to Shock Trauma.”

On-scene medical responders said Gray was not breathing at 9:37 a.m., according to EMS reports.

Transported to the Hospital

He was then transferred to Shock Trauma. On Thursday, April 16, Gray’s family’s attorney said he had gone into a coma, and he died on the morning of Sunday, April 19.



Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Pet of the Week

Baltimore Cops ‘Could Have Been Better Prepared,’ Former NYPD Commissioner Says

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) — In the wake of Monday’s violence in Baltimore that prompted the declaration of a state of emergency and deployment of the National Guard, former New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly said the city’s local law enforcement could have been better prepared.

With about 500 National Guard personnel already supporting local law enforcement and plans to increase their presence to 2,000, here is what Kelly, an ABC News consultant, told ABC News Tuesday about the police’s role in Baltimore this week:

1. How well was local law enforcement prepared for Monday’s violence?

Kelly: “Quite frankly…[they] could have been better prepared. The activities over the weekend perhaps should have alerted them to the fact that there was potential for disorder. Hindsight is 20/20.”

2. Could their response have been better?

Kelly: “I think the response could have been different….[I] don’t know how it would have turned out, but I think we could have seen more pro-activity on the part of the police officers last night.”

3. What do you think about bringing in the National Guard?

Kelly: “I think it’s wise, what the governor did. It has a potential downside because national guardsmen are not trained as police officers, are not from the community for the most part, and don’t know the people in Baltimore. And we’ll have to see. Obviously the city government asked for help, and the governor responded. In fact, had to respond.”

4. What about the role of the federal government?

Kelly: “The federal government is doing an investigation, the Justice Department is looking at potential civil rights violations in the Freddie Gray matter. They are not positioned, generally speaking, are not authorized to deploy any resources in a law enforcement-type mode.”

5. Was it a good idea Baltimore closed schools?

Kelly: “I thought the schools should have remained open because it would have kept some potential demonstrators, or violent demonstrators, off the streets. Because if you looked at the video from yesterday, you saw that many of the people engaged in disorderly conduct were people of high school age.”

6. Do you think it will get worse or better in Baltimore this week?

Kelly: “I believe it will get better and I think the focus and the resources that the governor put in will have a significant impact.”

7. Was it a good idea to keep Wednesday’s Baltimore Orioles game closed from the public?

Kelly: “I think it’s generally speaking wise to do that. You have 30,000 to 40,000 people coming out….Fans, before they go there, they don’t know what’s going on in the city….You just have sort of a vague notion based on what the media says, so who knows what the attendance would have been like anyway.”


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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