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Small plane crashes into parking lot, killing 5 in Southern California

Small plane crashes into parking lot, killing 5 in Southern California

(CNN) - Five people died when a small plane crashed in a Southern California parking lot on Sunday, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

The twin-engine Cessna plane crashed in Santa Ana, and had been bound to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, said Capt. Tony Bommarito, the public information officer with Orange County Fire Authority.

There were no survivors on the airplane, he said.

The plane crashed just a block away from South Coast Plaza, a large mall. There were no injuries on the ground. The plane hit an unoccupied, parked vehicle on the ground, but the owner was in a store at the time of the crash, Bommarito said.

Fire authorities were called about the crash around 12:30 p.m. local time.

The Cessna 414 aircraft had declared an emergency before the incident, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the cause of the accident, the FAA said in a tweet.

In 14 hours on Sunday in Chicago, 44 people were shot, including 5 who died, police say

In 14 hours on Sunday in Chicago, 44 people were shot, including 5 who died, police say

(CNN) - Chicago police records show 44 people were shot on Sunday, including five who were killed.In three hours beginning at 1:30 a.m., records show, 30 were shot and two killed in 10 incidents. ... Continue Reading
Randy Moss attends his Hall of Fame ceremony wearing a tie that honors African-Americans killed by police

Randy Moss attends his Hall of Fame ceremony wearing a tie that honors African-Americans killed by police

(CNN) - Former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss used his wardrobe to make a powerful statement at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction, wearing a necktie bearing the names of African-Americans killed by police or while in police custody.

Moss' black tie with gold lettering listed more than 10 names, including Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland and Alton Sterling.

Rice, 12, was shot and killed in 2014 by a Cleveland officer who mistook his toy gun for a real weapon. Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by a New York Police Department officer in 2014. Gray died after suffering a neck injury while in the custody of Baltimore police in 2015.

Bland died in a Waller County, Texas, jail in July 2015, three days after being arrested for allegedly failing to use a turn signal. Sterling was killed in July 2016 by one of two officers who confronted him outside a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, convenience store.

"What I wanted to be able to express with my tie is to let these families know that they're not alone," Moss told NFL Network, according to Bleacher Report. "I'm not here voicing, but by these names on my tie and a big platform as the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there's a lot of stuff going on in our country. And I just wanted to let these family members know they're not alone."

Moss played 14 seasons in the NFL, most notably with the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots, with whom he set a record for most touchdown receptions in a season (23) in 2007.

He joins a growing list of pro athletes who have paid tribute to African-Americans killed by police, most notably Colin Kaepernick, whose act of kneeling during the National Anthem in the 2016 NFL season caused widespread controversy and helped propel issues of police brutality and social injustice into national discourse.

11 emaciated children are rescued from a filthy and heavily armed compound

11 emaciated children are rescued from a filthy and heavily armed compound

(CNN) - The 11 children were so famished, the sheriff said, they "looked like third-world country refugees."

But they weren't found in an underdeveloped country. They were discovered in a remote New Mexico compound where an underground trailer kept them hidden from the outside world.

"The only food we saw were a few potatoes and a box of rice in the filthy trailer," Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.

"But what was most surprising and heartbreaking was when the team located a total of five adults and 11 children that looked like third-world country refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing."

Authorities were tipped off to the scene in Amalia, near the Colorado border, after someone forwarded a message believed to be from a third party. The message said, in part, "we are starving and need food and water."

After executing a search warrant Friday, officers found 11 children ranging from ages 1 to 15, along with three gaunt women believed to be their mothers. The three women were taken into custody for questioning and were released, officers said.

Authorities arrested two heavily armed men -- Lucas Morten and Siraj Wahhaj -- at the scene, the sheriff's office said.

An AR-15 rifle, loaded 30-round magazines, four loaded pistols and many rounds of ammo were found in the makeshift compound that included a small travel trailer buried in the ground covered by plastic with no water, plumbing, or electricity, the sheriff's office said.

Wahhaj was wanted for the abduction of his 3-year-old son Abdul Ghani Wahhaj in Georgia, authorities said. He was booked with no bond because of a warrant out related to his missing son.

Morten was charged with harboring a fugitive.

It was not immediately clear whether Morten or Wahhaj had attorneys. They have not yet made their first appearances in court.

The sheriff said the toddler Wahhaj is accused of kidnapping was not one of the 11 children found at the compound. CNN has reached out to the woman believed to be the missing child's mother, but has not received a response.

US Nuclear Power Plants Fast Facts

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Houston police say he killed a doctor. As a manhunt closed in, he took his own life. Here's how it unfolded

Houston police say he killed a doctor. As a manhunt closed in, he took his own life. Here's how it unfolded

(CNN) - On July 20, police say Joseph Pappas shot and killed prominent surgeon Dr. Mark Hausknecht in broad daylight as the doctor rode his bike along a Houston street.

Fourteen days later, Pappas took his own life as an intense manhunt closed in on him.

In the space between, a decades-old grudge surfaced as possible motivation -- Hausknecht performed an operation on Pappas' mother 20 years ago. Police allege Pappas had long plotted his attack on the physician to avenge his mother's death on the operating table.

After the doctor's killing, Pappas got his affairs squared away as he planned his own death or disappearance -- even while apparently trying to throw investigators off his trail.

This is what we know about what Pappas was doing in his last days:

Thursday, July 19: A day before the shooting

Pappas, a real estate broker and former constable, prepared to transfer the deed for his three-bedroom, 2,100-square-foot ranch house in Houston to a woman he knows in Ohio.

A courier, Joe Donalson, says Pappas asked him on this day to pick up paperwork relating to the deed, but Donalson couldn't pick it up.

Friday, July 20: Dr. Hausknecht is killed

Hausknecht, a 65-year-old doctor whose patients included former President George H.W. Bush, is shot and killed while on his roughly 2-mile bike commute to Houston Methodist Hospital, where he'd worked over three decades.

Hausknecht and the gunman were seen riding their bikes in the same direction on the same street, and soon afterward, Hausknecht was shot in front of a hotel, not far from the hospital, police say. The gunman is believed to have pedaled away.

Georgia Hsieh, the renowned cardiologist's wife, would later say, citing police, that her husband was riding through a construction area when the gunman rode up in front of him, turned around to face him and fired three shots.

Saturday, July 21

Police release a composite sketch of the suspected gunman.

Sunday, July 22

The public gets its first look at surveillance images of the cyclists -- and it's becoming apparent that the suspected gunman was following the doctor.

Houston police release four still images from the day of the shooting. In the first three, Hausknecht pedals north on Main Street, crossing an intersection around 8:47 a.m. on July 20. A suspect follows.

In the fourth image, the suspect is pedaling away at 8:48 a.m., "moments after the shooting," police say.

Monday, July 23

Pappas contacts Donalson again. The courier goes to Pappas' home to fetch the deed paperwork and take it to a courthouse, Donalson recalls later.

Pappas was acting "very nervous," Donalson said. Pappas cracked the door open and peeked out, then opened the door wider.

He was "looking up and down the street, to see if anybody else was there. And then he passed me the envelope," Donalson said.

Donalson said Pappas called him three times that day to make sure the documents were filed.

This is also the day that Jeanette Spencer, of Painesville, Ohio, who had known Pappas for 25 years, learns that his home was being deeded to her. She received notification in the mail, she later tells northern Ohio's News-Herald newspaper.

Also this day, police give the public its first up-close look at the suspect, releasing video and still pictures captured from a Houston Metro Lift Bus on the day of the shooting.

The images show the suspect trailing Hausknecht closely on Main Street, just three blocks from where the surgeon was shot.

By now, police are saying the suspect wore a blue, short-sleeved polo shirt; a ball cap; khaki shorts; and an olive green backpack.

Tuesday, July 24

Spencer, the Ohio woman, calls Pappas this day. He tells her he's deeded her the home because he has a terminal illness, she recalls later to the News-Herald.

Wednesday, July 25

By now, someone has listed several guns, ammunition, tactical vests and ballistic plates for car doors on a firearms auction website.

The items are listed anonymously, but they include a contact phone number that turns out to belong to Pappas' real estate company. The listings are timestamped in the late morning of July 25.

(CNN reported about these postings the following week, after police named Pappas a suspect. It's unclear whether any of the equipment had any connection to Hausknecht's killing, and Houston police haven't commented on the ads.)

On July 25, police still are a week away from naming a suspect in Hausknecht's death. But Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said this day that he believes there was a high probability that Hausknecht was targeted.

Acevedo declined to say why he believed so, and he emphasized that investigators still were not certain of the motive.

Thursday, July 26

Officials reveal that Hausknecht was shot three times.

The cause of death was "gunshot wounds of the head, torso and left upper extremity," the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences says.

Sunday, July 29

Pappas, it appears, is still at home.

Errol Francis, one of Pappas' neighbors, recalls that he saw him mowing the lawn on this day.

Monday, July 30

Communications between Pappas and Spencer, his friend in Ohio, appear to have taken an alarming turn.

Pappas texts Spencer to say he is committing suicide, and gives her instructions on how to secure the house, she recalls to the News-Herald.

"Sorry for handling things this way," the text reads, according to the News-Herald. "House and property is now yours. Please make the best use of it for you and (your daughter)."

Spencer says she tried to call Pappas, but the calls went straight to voicemail. She then called police, she tells the News-Herald -- but it's unclear when she called.

Meanwhile, Houston police release new footage of who they believe is the gunman.

They say it's another surveillance video and a new set of still pictures showing the suspect on a bike in a neighborhood around 8:49 a.m. July 20, "immediately following the doctor's shooting."

Tuesday and Wednesday, July 31 and August 1

A number of developments turn investigators' attention toward Pappas.

Police on July 31 get a tip from two neighbors that he may be the bicyclist in the surveillance video released a day earlier.

Also, an out-of-state family friend tells police that she texted Pappas to see whether they could get together, but he responded by text to say he was going to kill himself, police say later in a probable cause affidavit.

That woman's mother then tells police she had recently received the deed to his house and the title to his vehicle, and that subsequently Pappas told her he had a terminal illness, according to the affidavit.

It's not clear whether the woman in the affidavit is Spencer, the woman who talked to the News-Herald.

Officers go to Pappas' home and don't find him. But over two days, investigators do find materials that showed Pappas was intensely interested in Hausknecht, and it appeared that his mother's surgery 20 years ago was a link, police have said.

The material included "a very extensive intelligence file" on Hausknecht, containing information about the surgeon's residence, place of employment and other personal information, Police Chief Acevedo has said.

"If you think about his fascination with the doctor ... the only thing we can think of is the connection between his mother dying over 20 years ago during surgery," Acevedo said. "We can't say definitively that that's the motivation behind this killing, but there's nothing else that would explain it."

According to the affidavit, police also found:

-- Pappas' last will and testament, in his kitchen.

-- Three boxes of .22-caliber ammunition in the garage. (Police have said .22-caliber shell casings were found at the site where Hausknecht was killed.)

-- A large piece of metal near the house's front door placed in a way to buttress the door "against any attempt to force entry into the residence."

-- Pappas' black Ford Crown Victoria in the garage with the back seat removed, leaving enough room for a bicycle to be placed there.

-- A draft of what would have been a report to police alleging that a 10-speed Schwinn bicycle had been stolen sometime between July 19 and July 25.

Police have said he owned such a bike, and that the stolen bike report was never sent to police. In the affidavit, a police officer writes that people who use vehicles in a crime often report them stolen, so that they can distance themselves from the vehicle should it be identified by witnesses.

On August 1, Acevedo holds a news conference and names Pappas as a suspect in Hausknecht's death, and the manhunt is on.

Thursday, August 2

Police still don't know where Pappas is, but they return to his home on this night after someone called to report a man riding a bike near the home.

A responding officer reports seeing light inside the home and a back gate open. But police find no one there.

It's not clear where Pappas was this week, especially from the time police began searching his home July 31. Acevedo tells reporters later that Pappas:

-- May have been camping.

-- May have had his bicycle.

-- May have entered homes that were on the market. Pappas, as a real estate broker, had a key that gave him access to homes listed for sale. "We can tell you that he used that key four times," Acevedo said, while not revealing which homes Pappas visited, when he visited them, what he did there or whether anyone else was present at the time.

Friday, August 3

This is the day, police say, Pappas kills himself.

Here's how it happened, according to Acevedo:

A Houston parks board member, while checking on an area that has been plagued by vandalism, encounters a man in the morning. The man starts walking away.

"(The board member) actually yelled, 'Hey, I'm sorry, I thought you were a graffiti vandal,'" and Pappas kept walking, Acevedo said. The witness said he then noticed a wallet on the ground -- and it contained Pappas' identification.

Recognizing Pappas as a suspect in Hausknecht's killing, he called police.

A police officer arrived and confronted Pappas, who didn't follow the officer's commands and had his right hand hidden. The officer takes cover, and a second officer arrived, giving Pappas virtually no place to go.

Pappas then shot himself in the head.

He was found with a revolver in his hand and a bulletproof vest beneath his shirt.

What were Pappas' plans? Acevedo says he doesn't know.

But given that Pappas was wearing a bulletproof vest, Acevedo says he doubted Pappas planned to end his own life when he did.

Did he intend to kill anyone else? Acevedo says there's no evidence to show that.

Avecedo says Pappas' intelligence file on Hausknecht included a page that, besides having the doctor's personal information, also had the names of some employees at the Texas Medical Center. Acevedo said he didn't know why those names were there.

"I don't think we have enough information to say it was a hit list," Acevedo said.

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White House approves Carr Fire disaster declaration, California governor says

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A flat tire started the deadly Carr Fire and days of devastation in California

A flat tire started the deadly Carr Fire and days of devastation in California

(CNN) - It happens countless times on roads across America: a vehicle gets a flat tire, usually just a temporary inconvenience.

But on one road near Redding, California, when a tire failed last month on a trailer and its rim scraped the asphalt, the result was catastrophic for an entire region.

The sparks that shot out July 23 from that minor incident, California fire officials said, ignited what is now the sixth-most destructive wildfire in state history.

The Carr Fire blazed a fiery path along Highway 299, lighting up mile after mile of dry brush as it crept up on residential areas.

The blaze turned everything it touched into ash, mangled metal and black embers, and is still burning nearly two weeks later. It's killed seven people, scorched more than 145,000 acres and is the deadliest of 17 blazes racing through the state.

It caught residents by surprise

Ed Bledsoe lost his wife and their two great-grandchildren in the fire, all within 15 minutes.

The Shasta County resident had left home to see a doctor, unaware of the fire's erratic movement. At the time, it had burned for three days, but away from his neighborhood.

While he was out, his wife, Melody Bledsoe, 70, called and told him the fire was getting closer to their home. She begged him to come get her and their great-grandchildren: Emily Roberts, 4, and James Roberts, 5.

James took the phone and pleaded with his great-grandfather to hurry up and save them.

"He just kept saying, 'Grandpa, Come get me ... come on, Grandpa,' " Ed Bledsoe said.

He dropped everything and rushed home. But the roads were congested and the heat and flames so intense, the area near his house was cordoned off. His wife and the two children were among the seven people killed in the Carr Fire.

"I tried to call them back and it just went to nothing," Bledsoe said as he wept. "Poor babies and my wife."

The winds caused a tornado of fire

The day Bledsoe's family died, the winds were so strong in Redding, they uprooted trees, ripped off roofs and downed power lines. Experts described it as a "firenado," when a fire's intense heat causes the air to heat up and rise rapidly. That, combined with strong winds, creates a vortex similar to a dust devil that pulls fires in different directions.

Redding resident Dominic Galvin said he and his wife did not think the fire would get that big so fast, and scrambled to get out at the last minute.

"When we saw the fire on the ridge ... once we saw it there we knew it was coming, but it was too late then," he said.

His wife, Sylvia Castaneda, broke down in tears as she recounted their loss.

"I had a lot of photos from my childhood, from life, and everything is gone. It seems like part of my life is gone. There's nothing -- just ashes."

Firefighters suffered losses, too

Firefighter David Spliethof was doing his job as a spotter pilot, flying over the fiery chaos to assess damage and flag trouble. As he flew over his neighborhood this week, he realized his home had burned to ashes, too.

He took a picture of the charred debris where his house once stood and continued fighting the blaze, at times working 24-hour shifts with some of the nearly 5,000 firefighters battling it.

"I don't feel that I did anything special," he said of continuing to work despite losing his home. "Once I saw my house gone ... there's going to be plenty of time to go back through the remains and see what we can salvage."

Other firefighters lost their lives while trying to save others.

Of the seven people killed in the Carr Fire, two were firefighters: Jeremy Stoke, who was helping evacuate people, and an unidentified bulldozer operator killed while fighting the flames.

To show their appreciation to firefighters and emergency personnel, Northern California communities are offering them food, water, even free haircuts. Some have posted handwritten signs all over the city. "Best first responders ever! Our heroes," one sign read.

"We wanted to show our gratitude for fighting to save our city," said Redding resident Nichole Grubbs-Miller, who posted some of the signs.

Some areas look 'like a bomb hit'

All that's left of some neighborhoods are piles of ash, concrete and charred cars. Preetha Reddy said her street in Redding looks like a war zone.

"There's nothing left. It looks like a bomb hit it," she said. Residents are not allowed to enter, and the destruction seems surreal.

"If they'd only let us in and have it sink in," Reddy said.

Fire officials said some areas in Shasta County remain under evacuation orders because shifting winds and steep terrain are creating hazardous conditions. The weather this weekend will not provide much relief, with temperatures forecast to be in the mid-90s and wind gusts of up to 30 mph, CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.

Firefighter Rick Johnson said the humidity and the nearly triple-digit temperatures are difficult enough without adding the heat from the fire. The blaze is so large and hot, it is creating its own localized weather system with strong winds, making it difficult to predict which way it will spread.

Carr is one of 17 major fires in the state

The Carr Fire, named after the location where it began, has burned more than 1,500 structures to the ground and is one of 17 major wildfires stretching state resources, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. said.

California has already spent a quarter of its firefighting budget for the year just in July.

Firefighters are struggling to stop the blazes, with the Carr Fire 41% contained by Saturday night.

Fire officials have issued a grim prediction, warning that massive blazes will cost the state billions of dollars over the next decade.

"What we're seeing in California right now is more destructive, larger fires burning at rates that we have historically never seen," Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said.

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