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John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  The Pentagon estimates that the current costs of the U.S. military’s border support mission will cost $72 million.

It is the first cost estimate provided since the start of the mission to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ahead of the arrival of several migrant caravans making their way north through Mexico from Central America.

“Based on the current phased force laydown of approximately 5,900 Active Component personnel through Dec. 15, 2018, the estimated cost to deploy, operate, sustain, and redeploy forces is approximately $72 million,” said Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman.

"The total cost of the operation has yet to be determined and will depend on the total size, duration, and scope of the DoD support to DHS,” he added.

Prior to the election, President Trump had said that the border mission deployment could rise to as many as 10,000 or 15,000 troops. Some analysts had used the president's prediction to arrive at estimates that the cost of the mission could end up being as high as $200 million.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and other Pentagon officials said they had been unable to provide estimates about the potential costs of the mission. Last week, during a trip to the border, Mattis told reporters that while the Pentagon was tracking early cost information it was still too early to make a firm cost estimate.

Last week, the Pentagon confirmed, that for now, the border mission will remain at 5,900 depending on future requests for assistance from CBP.

At one point, U.S. Northern Command had said the number of troops authorized for the mission could end up being more than 7,000.

For comparison, the cost of the ongoing National Guard deployment of 2,100 troops that began in April has cost $138 million so far.

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Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels, was allegedly berating his girlfriend about money before an alleged physical altercation in the couple's Southern California home occurred last week, according to court documents file by the ex-girlfriend.

Mareli Miniutti, a 24-year-old actress in Los Angeles who says she was in a relationship with Avenatti for more than a year, was granted a temporary restraining order in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday. When asked if the allegations aren't true, Avenatti told ABC News' Tom Llamas via text Tuesday afternoon, "I am completely innocent and am anxious for all of the evidence to be disclosed - the video tapes, the Instagram posts, the physical evidence, all of it. I did nothing wrong and certainly did not commit any crime."

Miniutti alleges in the court filing that she and Avenatti were in the master bedroom on Nov. 13 when they began arguing about money.

Avenatti, 47, allegedly told Miniutti, that she was "ungrateful," calling her a "f------ b----," the court document stated.

Miniutti then went to the guest bedroom to sleep, and Avenatti allegedly followed her, approached her in a "threatening manner" before "forcefully hitting" her in the face with pillows, she wrote in her filing.
"He then said words to the effect of, 'Do not disrespect me. You don't get to sleep in my house tonight,'" Miniutti wrote.

Avenatti then allegedly grabbed her wrist, attempting to pull her out of bed, but he slipped and lost his grip, according to her statements filed with the court. When Miniutti attempted to send a text to a friend, he then allegedly grabbed the phone and screamed, "This is my phone!" and put it in his pocket.

"At all times, he remained very close to me such that I was afraid for my safety," Miniutti wrote.
After Miniutti "screamed for help towards the nearby window," Avenatti allegedly grabbed her arm, dragged her out of bed onto the floor and through the front door into the public hallway, she said, adding that she suffered scratches to her side and leg.

When Miniutti rang a neighbor's doorbell, Avenatti allegedly yelled at her and pulled her back into the apartment, she said. He then allegedly blocked the door with his body to prevent her from leaving.

Avenatti then followed Miniutti as she ran back into the guest room, according to Miniutti's court filing

She put on pants but "did not have time to put on shoes," and was able to get around Avenatti, running toward the main elevator. When Avenatti followed her, she pressed the call button for the service elevator, and he allegedly then entered the service elevator with her again, court documents stated.
During the ride down to the lobby, Avenatti allegedly begged, "Don't do this, Mareli, don't involve them," her filing stated.

Miniutti then spoke to building security and called a friend to pick her up, she said. The next day, she returned to the apartment to pack her belongings, she wrote. Avenatti allegedly came home briefly during that time, but he left after Miniutti informed him that police were at the building, according to the order.

Police told Miniutti later that day that Avenatti had been arrested.

A letter sent to the LAPD on behalf of Avenatti's attorneys, and obtained by ABC News, detailed efforts by private investigators to interview staff and view security camera footage from the building where the alleged incident took place.

According to the letter from Avenatti's defense team, there was no evidence that Avenatti was physically violent with Miniutti.

While the apartment complex contained multiple security cameras, at no point do they "show force, violence or offensive touching of Ms. Miniutti by Mr. Avenatti," the letter obtained by ABC News stated.
This included video footage in the reception area, elevators, leasing office and foyer of the building, the letter said.

While cameras did capture Avenatti and Miniutti together the night of the alleged incident, the videos, according to the document, "conclusively demonstrate that Mr. Avenatti was calm and collected at all relevant times." the letter stated.

According to the letter, both a security guard and building concierge, who spoke with investigators hired by Avenatti's attorneys, did not witness Avenatti "use any force or violence against Ms. Miniutti, nor engage in any act of disrespectful or angry touching, nor make any threats, or even any threatening gestures, towards her."

Miniutti's attorney, Michael Bachner, told ABC News that she "stands by the accuracy of her statements to the LAPD."

"The suggestions contained in Mr. Avenatti’s counsel’s letter to the LAPD are vindictive, demonstrably contrary to the evidence, and unworthy of further reply," Bachner wrote.

Miniutti wrote in her filing that she is afraid that Avenatti may "harass" and "cause harm" to her as a result of the events that allegedly occurred on Nov. 13. She also said that Avenatti "has a history of being very verbally abusive and financially controlling towards" her, has "vehemently opposed" to her desire to "earn a living outside of Hollywood," and has "made promises" to take care of her "financially and sometimes fails to follow through," according to the court document.

The temporary restraining order request included photos showing what appeared to be bruises on Miniutti's hands and leg. The request was granted on Monday and remains in force until a hearing on Dec. 10. A request to seal the case to avoid a media circus and national scrutiny was denied, as was a request for Avenatti to return an iPhone to Miniutti.

The order instructed Avenatti to refrain from harassing, threatening, striking or stalking Miniutti. He is also barred from contacting her or coming within 100 yards of her, her job, her home or her vehicle.
After he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence with injuries last week, Avenatti maintained that he has "never struck a woman." He has not been formally charged with a crime, and the Los Angeles Police Department had not sent the case over to prosecutors for a determination on whether to file formal charges as of Tuesday morning.

"I wish to thank the hard working men and woman of the LAPD for their professionalism they were only doing their jobs in light of the completely bogus allegations against me," Avenatti said in a statement released through his law firm last week. "I have never been physically abusive in my life nor was I last night. Any accusations to the contrary are fabricated and meant to do harm to my reputation. I look forward to being fully exonerated."

On Tuesday, Avenatti tweeted that he has requested the "immediate release" of the video footage recorded on the date of the alleged incident to his counsel and the Los Angeles Police department to reveal "the truth." He also blasted TMZ, the outlet that broke the news of his arrest, for its "false reporting" about the alleged incident, and threatened to sue them if they do not retract the story and issue an apology. TMZ's initial report indicated that the alleged victim in the incident was Avenatti's estranged wife. The outlet later issued a correction.

Miniutti, a Los-Angeles based actress, is originally from Estonia, records showed. The pair had been dating since October 2017 and moved in together in January, according to her court declaration. Their relationship ended on the night of the alleged incident, Miniutti wrote in her filing.

Avenatti's estranged wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, who he is in the process of divorcing, and his ex-wife, Christine Avenatti-Carlin, both issued statements after his arrest saying he was never violent with them.

"My client states that there has never been domestic violence in her relationship with Michael and that she has never known Michael to be physically violent toward anyone," Valerie Prescott, Lisa Storie-Avenatti's lawyer, said. "My client requests that the media respect her privacy and that of the parties' young son."

Christine Avenatti-Carlin, Avenatti's first wife and mother of his two daughters, said, "Michael has always been a loving, kind father to our two daughters and husband."

"He has never been abusive to me or anyone else," Avenatti-Carlin added. "He is a very good man."

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Tamara O'Neal was a church-going emergency room doctor who was greatly concerned about gun violence. Dayna Less had survived a neurological disease as a teenager and was planning to get married next year. And Officer Samuel Jimenez had been a Chicago police officer for less than two years and was the loving father of three young children.

On Monday, a gunman shot all three dead in an eruption of violence at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center on the South Side of Chicago.

"It's a senseless loss of life," Patrick Connor, director of emergency medicine and chair of the emergency department at the hospital, said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

He described all three victims as "young vibrant people with very bright careers."

Tamara O'Neal

Dr. O'Neal, 38, led her choir at church every Sunday, Connor said.

"She had one request when I became director of the emergency department," Connor said. "We struck a bargain that she would not have to work on Sundays because she was such a big part of her church, where she was in charge of the choir."

She'd only worked at Mercy Hospital for about two years before she was gunned down Monday by a man she had broken up with who confronted her to demand she give back an engagement ring, police said Tuesday.

Police identified the gunman as Juan Lopez, 32, who died in the rampage, authorities said. An autopsy by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office showed that Lopez died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

O'Neal's father, Thomas O'Neal, recalled the last conversation he had with his daughter over the weekend.

"She said 'I love you.' That's the last words she spoke to me," Thomas O'Neal told ABC Chicago station WLS-TV.

As an ER doctor, O'Neal often expressed concern about the toll of gun violence she saw on a regular basis.

"She talked about it a lot, and about the incessant national tragedy that all these people were dying needlessly," Connor said.

Conner added that O'Neal was shot to death at the end of her shift on Monday.

"She had no children. Never missed work. The best person ever, really," Connor said.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Stephanie Loudin, the nurse manager at the hospital, said O'Neal started as a resident at Mercy after graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago and became part of the medical staff in 2016.

"She was well liked, well respected and we will miss her," Loudin said.

Connor added that when he took over the emergency department in 2017, O'Neal was of great help to him.

"Without her, we couldn't have done it," Connor said, describing O'Neal as a "fantastic" person."
"If I was in extremis and about to die, I would love for Dr. O'Neal to be near to take care of me," Connor said.

Dayna Less

Dayna Less, 25, graduated from Purdue University in May and was a pharmacy resident in training at Mercy, having joined the hospital in July. She was inside a hospital elevator when a bullet fatally struck her, police said.

"I do not want Dayna remembered as a victim, and I want everyone to understand that," her father, Brian Less, said in an emotional news conference Tuesday. "Dayna was a very special person. She had unique gifts. She was intelligent, she was funny, she was kind. She was a good friend and has good friends."

He said his daughter was planning to get married to her fiancé, Adam Keric, next June.

"It was a match made in heaven. We were planning a wedding of over 500 people, and I was going to be giving a wedding speech instead of a eulogy," Brian Less said.

He said that at the age of 15, his daughter suffered a neurological disease that required her to undergo a series of surgeries at Georgetown University in 2011.

"They brought her back to us," he said. "Dayna decided at 16 years old that she had been given her chance at life back and she was going to freely give her life to everyone she could. She was going to give of herself."

He said his daughter and his wife, Teena, started the blog to help children who suffer from afflictions like the one she endured as a teenager.

"She realized then that she could not sit still and only wanted to help others and the less fortunate," her father said, adding that his daughter spent time in Keyna helping at a hospital.

"She was forged in her own adversity which made her the strongest person I will ever know," he said.

Officer Samuel Jimenez

Officer Jimenez, 28, died from gunshot wounds suffered when he arrived on scene and chased the alleged gunman, Juan Lopez, 32, into the hospital.

Jimenez was shot to death in the lobby of the hospital during a gunfight with the suspect, police officials said.

"We cannot thank him enough for his courage and bravery," Connor said of Jimenez. "A hospital should be a safe place. Every shooting in America is a tragedy -- it is a national tragedy. And it is especially senseless when a shooting occurs in a healing space of a hospital."

Jimenez, 28, a married father of three young children, "saved a lot of lives," said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, adding that police vigorously pursued the suspect because they "just don't know how much damage he was prepared to do."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised Jimenez and his colleagues who responded to the shooting, saying Tuesday that they "did save and potentially prevent a lot worse loss of life,"

"Today, the Fraternal Order of Police lost a valued brother -- a courageous police officer who got up this morning, went to work and wanted to protect the city of Chicago," said Kevin Graham, president of Chicago chapter of the police union. "He did that today, and he did so with his life."

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WABC-TV(COLTS NECK, N.J.) -- The bodies of two adults and two children were found in a New Jersey house fire that is being investigated as arson, officials said Tuesday.

One body, that of a male, was found at the front of the home in Colts Neck, police said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. The bodies of the other adult and two children were found badly burned inside, and the medical examiner's office is currently working to identify them, police added.

Firefighters responded to reports of a fire at a mansion on Willow Brook Road in Colts Neck around 1:30 p.m., ABC-owned station WABC-TV reported.

The prosecutor's office is investigating this fire along with another fire at 27 Tilton Drive in Ocean Township that occurred at around 5:20 a.m. Tuesday morning, officials told ABC News.

The home in Ocean Township is owned by a relative of the registered owner of the house in Colts Neck, authorities said.

The prosecutor's office declined to comment on whether the two fires were connected but said it was "something we're investigating."

Both fires appear to be suspicious, according to authorities.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The number of people who remain missing in the wake of a pair of ferocious wildfires that have been blazing across both ends of California remains close to 1,000 as of early this morning.

The two monstrous blazes, which both ignited last week, have claimed a total of 82 lives while laying waste to a total area of nearly 400 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Officials said that 64 of the remains have been positively identified so far.

The vast majority of the deaths -- 79 total -- were due to the Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildland fire in the state's history.

The number of people missing or unaccounted for in Butte County was 1,202 as of Sunday but decreased to 699 on Monday evening, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

President Donald Trump arrived in California on Sunday to survey the devastation and meet with firefighters, alongside California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state's governor-elect, Gavin Newsom.

The president stopped first in Paradise, where he called the damage "total devastation."

"We've never seen anything like this in California," Trump said.

The president later visited Malibu to tour devastation from the Woolsey Fire.

Meanwhile, the smoke from the flames has descended across the Golden State and choked the air in major cities, including San Francisco. Officials have advised residents in the affected areas to remain indoors and wear a protective mask outside.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for California through Sunday as humidity drops and wind gusts could get up to 40 mph in the Camp Fire zone.

The Camp Fire in Northern California

The Camp Fire ignited Nov. 8 near Pulga, a tiny community in Butte County nestled in the Plumas National Forest. The blaze exploded as strong winds fanned the flames southwest, enveloping the town of Paradise, a bucolic community of 27,000 people in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The fire has virtually decimated the entire town.

Melissa Schuster, a Paradise town council member, said her house was among those leveled by the Camp Fire.

"Our entire five-member council is homeless," Schuster said in a Nov. 13 interview on ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "All of our houses have been destroyed."

The death toll from the Camp Fire increased to 76 on Saturday, after officials found still more bodies in the burned-out rubble of homes and melted cars, according to the Butte County sheriff, who has warned that the remains of some of the missing may never be recovered due to the severity of the fire.

The Camp Fire had burned more than 149,000 acres as of Saturday evening, and destroyed nearly 13,000 structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Thom Porter, chief of strategic planning for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the body count is expected to climb higher as search crews continue sifting through the destruction.

"It is by far the most deadly single fire in California history and it's going to get worse, unfortunately," Porter said of the Camp Fire.

Many of the deaths have taken place in Paradise.

"The entire community of Paradise is a toxic wasteland right now," Schuster said, holding back tears. "In addition to that, and this is the hardest part for me to even talk about, the number of fatalities is [among] things that we don't know at this moment and that's something that has to be determined before people can move back in."

The Camp Fire, which has scorched a total of 149,000 acres in Butte County, was 55 percent contained Saturday evening as thousands of exhausted firefighters work around the clock to quell the inferno, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Two prison inmate firefighters were among a total of three firefighters who have been injured while battling the Camp Fire, officials told ABC News.

Earlier this week, Gov. Brown toured the devastation caused by the Camp Fire along with Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

"This is one of the worst disasters I've ever seen in my career, hands down," Long told reporters at the scene Wednesday.

The Woolsey Fire in Southern California

The Woolsey Fire also ignited Nov. 8 near the city of Simi Valley in Ventura County and rapidly spread south to Los Angeles County. The wind-driven flames jumped the 101 Freeway before sweeping through the celebrity enclaves of Malibu and Calabasas.

The entire city of Malibu and a sprawling naval base near the seaside city of Oxnard were among the areas under mandatory evacuation orders, as officials warned the blaze could potentially spread all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Evacuation orders have since been lifted for some areas, including parts of Malibu, as firefighters successfully stretch containment levels.

The Woolsey Fire, which has torched a total of 96,949 acres in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, was up to 88 percent containment by Saturday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

In all, 1,130 structures have been destroyed and another 300 have been damaged, as of Sunday morning.

The blaze burned down a portion of Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills known as “Western Town,” where hundreds of movies and television shows, including HBO’s "Westworld," have been filmed, dating back to the 1920s.

The Woolsey Fire has been blamed for the deaths of at least three people, and three firefighters sustained injuries while battling the flames, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

A public health emergency

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has declared a public health emergency in California, where the wildfires have forced the evacuation of at least two hospitals and eight other health facilities.

"We are working closely with state health authorities and monitoring the needs of healthcare facilities to provide whatever they may need to save lives and protect health," Azar said in a statement Wednesday. "This declaration will help ensure that Americans who are threatened by these dangerous wildfires and who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have continuous access to the care they need."

Smoke advisories have been issued for the affected region amid concerns that smoke from the fires could present a "significant health threat" for people with asthma and other lung conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Residents have been urged to stay indoors as much as possible and to wear a properly fitting mask when venturing outside.

Berkeley Earth, a California-based nonprofit that analyzes air quality in real-time, ranked San Francisco, Stockton and Sacramento as the world's three "most polluted cities" on Friday morning.

National Weather Service meteorologist Aviva Braun told reporters that light winds have contributed to the poor air quality but, on Saturday, stronger northeast winds mixing in the valley should help improve conditions.

Meanwhile, there has been an outbreak of norovirus at a shelter in Butte County housing evacuees, according to Lisa Almaguer, public information officer for Butte County Public Health.

People who are ill at the shelter have been taken to a separate location, are using separate restroom facilities and are being cared for by public health experts, according to Almaguer, who said the presence of the contagious virus is "not uncommon," especially at this time of year and "with hundreds of people living in close quarters."

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Middlesex District Attorney's Office(BOSTON) -- Investigators may finally have a break in a cold case murder that has haunted the Boston area for almost 50 years.

The Middlesex District Attorney's Office is slated to hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce a "significant development" in the unsolved 1969 killing of Jane Britton due to DNA testing.

"Over the past year our office has been in the process of conducting DNA testing on the evidence taken from a 1969 Cambridge homicide," Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a press release Monday. "I am excited to announce a significant development in the case as a result of that testing."

Prosecutors declined to provide more details before the press conference takes place.

Britton, a 23-year-old graduate student studying anthropology at Harvard University, was found dead in her fourth-floor apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the chilly afternoon of Jan. 7, 1969. A boyfriend discovered her body when he came to check on her after she didn't show up for an exam that morning.

Britton, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, had been sexually assaulted and bludgeoned to death, according to Cambridge police records.

The Harvard Crimson, the daily student newspaper of Harvard University, reported that police found "reddish-brown powder" scattered across the walls, ceiling and floor of Britton's apartment, as well as on her body.

Police questioned several people at the time, but investigators never identified a suspect and the case went cold for decades -- until now.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Across the Northeast Tuesday morning, winter weather advisories are in effect, with much of New England anticipating snow.

Around 7 a.m. EST snowfall's expected to begin from western Massachusetts to Albany, New York, as well as in southern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Snow showers from Buffalo to Watertown are also expected in New York.

Widespread snowfalls of 2 to 4 inches are possible, with some areas, including higher elevations, potentially seeing as much as 6 inches.

Thanksgiving Day is going to be frigid, with wind chills in the Northeast below zero and in the teens from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.

Record lows are expected throughout the region, with daytime temperatures forecast to be 20 to 35 degrees below normal. Temps should return to normal by the weekend.

On the West Coast, much-needed rain should be falling soon, necessitating a flood watch for parts of Northern California from Wednesday evening through Friday morning. Heavy rains may help extinguish the deadly Camp Fire, but too much precipitation could lead to mudslides.

Beginning Wednesday evening, 6 to 15 inches of snow is possible throughout the Sierra Nevadas, which could make travel in those areas quite difficult.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, and perhaps lasting much of the day, showers are likely from Seattle down to Los Angeles.

Another storm likely will move in Thursday night, into Friday morning, but it will mostly be confined to the Northwest, where a flood watch should be in effect.

The travel forecast on Wednesday looks mostly clear, with a few trouble spots including the rain on the West Coast, a few showers toward the Gulf of Mexico and a little lake effect snow. The middle part of the country and East Coast should be seasonable, sunny and dry.

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Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The number of people who remain missing in the wake of a pair of wildfires that have been blazing across both ends of California remains close to 1,000 as of early Tuesday morning.

The two blazes, which both ignited last week, have claimed a total of 82 lives while laying waste to a total area of nearly 400 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Officials said that 64 of the remains have been positively identified so far.

The vast majority of the deaths -- 79 total -- were due to the Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildland fire in the state's history.

The number of people missing or unaccounted for in Butte County was 1,202 as of Sunday but decreased to 699 on Monday evening, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

President Donald Trump arrived in California on Sunday to survey the devastation and meet with firefighters, alongside California Gov. Jerry Brown and the state's governor-elect, Gavin Newsom.

The president stopped first in Paradise, where he called the damage "total devastation."

"We've never seen anything like this in California," Trump said.

The president later visited Malibu to tour devastation from the Woolsey Fire.

Meanwhile, the smoke from the flames has descended across the Golden State and choked the air in major cities, including San Francisco. Officials have advised residents in the affected areas to remain indoors and wear a protective mask outside.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for California through Sunday as humidity drops and wind gusts could get up to 40 mph in the Camp Fire zone.

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Courtesy Officer Monica Blake(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- A Nashville Police officer has filed a federal lawsuit against her employer, accusing the department of retaliating against her after she reported that she was raped by a fellow officer.

On May 2, 2016, Officer Monica Blake, 36, was strangled and sexually assaulted allegedly by another officer, Julian Pirtle, in her home while that officer was drunk, according to the lawsuit, filed Friday in the Middle District of Tennessee.

Blake had been romantically involved with Pirtle "off-and-on for a number of years," up until that point, the civil complaint stated.

Blake was "terrified" by the attack and thought Pirtle was going to kill her, according to the lawsuit. She did not immediately report the attack but stopped seeing and communicating with the man, the lawsuit said.

On May 10, 2016, Pirtle showed up to McKissack Middle School, where Blake was assigned as a school resource officer, to talk to her about what happened, the civil complaint stated. Blake "surreptitiously" recorded the conversation, which included Pirtle allegedly admitting to choking her, as well as him referring to himself as "a killer" and "The Hulk," according to the court document. Blake then reported the attack to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, but did not disclose that she was raped until May 23, 2016.

The next day, Pirtle was charged with aggravated domestic assault and decommissioned, a press release by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville showed. A temporary order of protection was also issued against Pirtle that day, and he was later charged with rape, online criminal court records showed.

Pirtle is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Trouble for Blake began after she reported the attack, she told ABC News. The lawsuit names the Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson County and Cmdr. Janet Marlene Pardue in her role as Blake's supervisor, as defendents.

First, Blake's shift was changed from the morning to evening shift, and when Blake submitted a hardship request asking to be assigned to a different detail "due to the trauma she had experienced" as well as due to her childcare responsibilities, Pardue moved her shift back to mornings but required her to work a weekend day as well, the lawsuit stated.

In addition, when Blake asked to move her start time to an hour later so she could take her kids to school, Pardue agreed, but said she would have to use her vacation time for that hour, Blake said, adding that she used up several vacation days as a result.

It was then that Blake had an inkling she was being retaliated against, because she was aware that similar requests made to Pardue had been granted without issue, Blake said. The retaliation became "continuous" after that point, she said.

On June 8, 2016, Pirtle violated the order of protection by texting Blake, and Blake reported the violation to the department, documents stated. That same day, Davidson County’s Jean Crowe Advocacy Center sent an "Outstanding Officer" commendation on behalf of Blake to Pardue in recognition of "Blake's excellent work on a particular domestic violence case," according to the lawsuit.

Pardue then decommissioned Blake on June 15, 2016, the court document stated. Blake's police powers were stripped, and she was required to turn in her badge, gun and radio, she said. She returned to work later that summer after completing a psyche evaluation, she added.

Then, in October 2017, Pardue initiated two disciplinary investigations into Blake for her handling of situations at McKissack Middle School, one of which she had already been exonerated for, and the other, a "truthfulness allegation" against Blake's claim that she'd taken her utility belt off before entering her car, had been proven false by surveillance video from the middle school, according to the civil complaint.

Blake, who has been working with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department since 2005, had "received only a handful of minor disciplinary infractions" from the police department up until 2014, and between 2010 and 2013, her performance reviews averaged a 3 on a 4-point scale, with "3" ranking as "Commendable," according to the lawsuit.

On Oct. 17, 2017, Pardue informed Blake that she would be "indefinitely restricted from any secondary employment privileges," without giving a reason or providing a process to contest it, according to the civil complaint.

Pardue also indicated to Pirtle's defense attorney in December 2017 that she would be "willing to testify on behalf of Pirtle by alleging that Officer Blake is a dishonest person," according to the complaint.

In January of this year, Pirtle pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, but the rape charge against him was dropped, criminal records showed. He was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to stay away from Blake.

The plea bargain prosecutors offered Pirtle kept his name off the sex offender registry and will allow him to expunge his record if he completes three years of probation successfully, according to Blake's lawsuit.

After Pirtle was convicted, Blake then became concerned that Pardue would "use any excuse to provoke a conflict, make false allegations against her, or even physically harm her," according to the lawsuit.

Blake was temporary assigned to the North Precinct after expressing her concerns to human resources. On Jan. 29, when she and her attorney showed up to the West Precinct for a settlement hearing on the two disciplinary investigations from October, she appeared unarmed and out of uniform "in order to minimize the chances of escalating the conflict with Pardue," the complaint stated. A lieutenant who asked Blake why she was out of uniform then advised her to write a supplement to human resources detailing her concerns.

When Blake also appeared in civilian clothes for a Feb. 12 meeting, Pardue questioned why she was out of uniform and unarmed, according to the complaint.

Blake responded, "I have explained in detail why I’m not comfortable being armed at this point around you particularly," which another lieutenant who was present constituted as a "threat" to Pardue, the complaint stated.

That lieutenant advised Pardue to "review the recording" of her interaction with Blake, and after doing so, Pardue referred the "threat" to MNPD Deputy Chief Brian Johnson, according to the lawsuit.

Later that day, Johnson reviewed the recording and "immediately decommissioned" Blake, the lawsuit said. Pardue filed an incident report the next day, characterizing the alleged threat as "assault by intimidation," the court document stated. Blake returned to work again on April 13 after undergoing another psyche evaluation, she said.

After that, a barrage of complaints were filed against Blake.

One for a March 26 Facebook post she made stating that a community oversight board would help relations between the police and the public, and another for a 2012 video in which "Blake had done a video testimonial for the website of a magician, which she did not have permission for from the police chief, violating MNPD policy," the lawsuit alleged.

Another complaint stated that Blake violated MNPD's "secondary employment" policy in 2013, about five years earlier, by hosting a "Princess House" party without the department's authorization, and another was filed for "assault" for the comment she made to Pardue on Feb. 12, according to the complaint.

Blake has been given 41 suspensions since first reporting the attack in 2017, she said. If an officer receives 30 or more suspension days in a calendar year, he or she will be terminated, under MNPD policy, the lawsuit stated.

Blake may have been retaliated against for not adhering to the "blue code," a "cultural ethos" that "asserts that police officers must identify as police officers first, must always take up for other officers, and must never report on other officers' misconduct," according to the civil complaint.

But, Pardue's discrimination toward Blake allegedly began long before she reported the attack, the lawsuit alleged. Pardue began "making life difficult" for Blake the moment she assumed command of the West Precinct in 2012, the complaint stated.

The lawsuit also accused Pardue of "typically" favoring male officers over female officers, giving one example of Pardue "accommodating the work-related requests of male officers more frequently and easily than similar requests by female officers." The lawsuit also accused Pardue as being "personally hostile to African-Americans who raise the issue of racism in America, especially if they raise it in the context of the criminal justice system."

The "retaliation" by Pardue has caused Blake "to suffer emotional harm as well as lost income," the complaint alleged. Blake is still on patrol as a school resource officer, but now is assigned to a high school in the North Precinct, she said.

Blake told ABC News she filed the lawsuit after exhausting "every possible way to try and resolve the conflict."

"But, because of the culture of the police department, at every turn, either the complaints fell on deaf ears, or inadequate investigations would occur, or they would not include me in the investigation at all," she said.

Blake said she also hoped the lawsuit would "hold the people who have done wrong accountable for their actions," adding that she hoped to change the culture within the police department.

"We can't call ourselves the guardians of Nashville and not stand up in every situation," she said.

The lawsuit requested a jury trial, nominal damages, compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by the jury, attorneys fees, court costs and a restraining order against the department "as soon as possible."

When asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department directed ABC News to the Metropolitan Nashville Department of Law, which will be defending the police department in the lawsuit. A spokesman for the Department of Law declined to comment on the pending federal court litigation to ABC News.

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Marine Animal Rescue/Facebook(MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif.) -- An animal rescue group is outraged after its president said he recovered a dolphin shot to death at a beach in Southern California.

Peter Wallerstein, president of Marine Animal Rescue based out of El Segundo, California, told ABC News he spotted the freshly-killed dolphin in the surf on Manhattan Beach on Nov. 8.

Wallerstein said he pulled the animal -- known as a common dolphin -- out of the water. When he saw the hole in its side, he brought the animal to an animal rehab center where the bullet was removed.

Usually officials with the Los Angeles Natural History Museum will pick up a dead animal for a necropsy, according to Wallerstein. But since this seemed to be case in which the dolphin was purposefully killed, he wanted it to be analyzed immediately.

Wallerstein called the incident "barbaric" and a "senseless act of aggression." He noted that he's seen sea lions who have been shot over the years, but this is the first dolphin killing he has come across.

It's possible other dolphins in the area have been shot, but if they float further out to sea instead of towards shore, they wouldn't be noticed.

"We don't know if it's the only one," said Wallerstein. "There could be others being shot out there, too."

Marine Animal Rescue, which saves hundreds of marine animals every year in Los Angeles County, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the dolphin's shooter.

"We're gonna pursue it until we get the killer," Wallerstein said.

Killing a wild dolphin -- as well as harassing, hurting or feeding one -- is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, according to NOAA Fisheries. The offender could face up to one year in jail and up to a $100,000 fine.

Earlier this year, a dolphin was shot and killed off the coast of Mississippi. The NOAA wrote on its website that "the number of violent incidents towards dolphins in the Northern Gulf have increased in recent years."

An NOAA spokesperson told ABC News the agency was aware of the reports that a dolphin had been shot in Manhattan Beach, but they would not comment on any potential or ongoing investigation.

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KABC-TV(LOS ANGELES) -- One 7-year-old from California has chosen to do what she can by holding a toy drive for kids who were affected by the Woolsey Fire -- even after her own family were victimized by the devastation.

Sophia Novotny's home in Agoura Hills was among the 1,500 structures destroyed in the wildfires that swept through neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, ABC owned station KABC-TV reported.

Despite losing valuable items in the fire, Sophia was more consumed with helping out other children in her situation, her mother said.

"Very quickly she realized that our things were gone, so the day that we lost the house, she said...'Let's get some toys for the other kids who lost their house,'" April Novotny, Sophia’s mother told KABC-TV.

That sparked the idea for "The Sophia’s Wishes Toy Drive," with a goal to help replace toys for children who lost their treasured possessions in the fire.

"I just want to help other kids because I know how it feels to lose your things," Sophia told to KABC-TV.

The toy drive was held on Sunday, with all the donated items given to any child on-site who was victimized by the fire.

"Thank you for making my wish come true," Sophia said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Six people left the dining room on the 95th floor of Chicago’s famed Hancock building early Friday, stepped into an express elevator and fell 84 floors before they were rescued by firefighters who had to break through a brick wall to access them.

The 100-story skyscraper is the twelfth tallest building in the world, 141 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower.

The Chicago Fire Department were called after passengers became stuck at 12:30 a.m. Friday, and officials soon realized two cables had snapped and six people, including a pregnant woman, were trapped in a "blind shaft" elevator.

Found in parking garages and other tall buildings, these elevators travel express between floors – in a shaft constructed without openings in between.

This caused a big problem for Chicago FD’s Special Ops: "It was a pretty precarious situation where the cables that were broke were on top of the elevator," Battalion Chief Patrick Maloney said. "We couldn’t do an elevator to elevator rescue."

They broke through a brick wall on the 11th floor, where the elevator was halted, to open the doors.

Thankfully, Maloney said the group was “very gracious that the Fire Department did a nice job” and unharmed after they waited nearly three hours to be rescued.

He explained because there are "multiple" cables on elevators, they "were still safe in there" – the car was just not operational.

"They’re from out of town, came to visit the great city of Chicago," Maloney said. "They were just joyous that we were able to assist."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed -- Four people were found "executed" in the basement of a Philadelphia home, authorities said Monday.

The victims who were shot dead were two men and two women who appeared to be in their 30s, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. said at a Monday news conference. It appeared they were shot in the head on Sunday night.

"Sadly, all four of these individuals were executed," Ross said, calling it an "evil" act and a "horrible scene."

The home appeared to be in the process of being renovated, Ross said, and when a neighbor heard banging Sunday night, he thought it was part of the renovations.

It appeared the victims were led to the basement, Ross said, citing that there were no signs of struggle in the home.

At least one of the victims lived in the home, police said, and some of the victims may be related.

"This could be anybody's family," Ross said. "You just hope that people don't get desensitized to these horrible acts that just keep occurring."

There's no indication of motive, Ross said.

"We're interviewing witnesses, family members to see if we can determine what this might be about, as well as checking potential surveillance cameras in the area," Ross said.

The area is gentrifying, Ross said, adding that this block isn't frequented by police.

Ross urged anyone with information to "please call so we can get this killer off the street. Or killers."

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iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- The port of entry in San Ysidro, California, was briefly closed early Monday after immigration authorities said they had received reports that members of a migrant "caravan" were gathering in Tijuana and planning to "rush" the border.

Customs and Border Patrol said the northbound lanes at the nation's busiest border crossing were closed and with the military's help "port hardening materials" quickly installed, including "jersey barriers and concertina wire, to prepare for the potential arrival of thousands of people migrating in a caravan heading towards the border of the United States.”

But it turned out to be a false alarm -- the CPB said no migrants never came.

On Monday afternoon, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted out photos of CPB officers in riot gear as well as the barbed wire and barriers citing the reports about plans to "rush" the border.

According to a DHS official, the concern prompted a suspension of the port for three hours in order to get more CBP personnel in the area.

“CBP will not allow for the unlawful entry of persons into the United States, at or between our ports of entry,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations in San Diego. “Waiting until a large group of persons mass at the border to attempt an illegal crossing is too late for us; we need to be prepared prior to when they arrive at the border crossing.”

According to a DHS official, the San Ysidro facility can hold only up to 300 people.

Officials said they are also limited if they need to deal with rival gang members in custody or unaccompanied minors.

The main concern was safety for their personnel, that DHS official said.

DHS claims the department has identified more than "500 criminals" in the caravan.

"Most of the caravan are not women and children," an official said, adding that most are men and male teenagers trying to enter the country.

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Weld County Sheriff(DENVER) -- The Colorado man convicted of killing his pregnant wife and two young daughters was called a "heartless monster" by his father-in-law at Monday's sentencing hearing.

Chris Watts, 33, was sentenced to life without parole for the murders of his pregnant wife, Shanann Watts, 34, and their daughters Celeste, 3 and Bella, 4.

Shanann's father, Frank Rzucek, said Chris Watts "carried them out like trash."

"I trusted you to take care of them, not kill them. And they also trusted you," said Rzucek, who was overcome with emotion. "You disgust me."

Both daughters died from smothering, prosecutors said.

"Imagine the horror in Bella's mind as her father took her last breaths away," Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said at Monday's sentencing, adding that "Bella fought back for her life."

Shanann Watts' family clutched each other and wept as Rourke described how Chris Watts disposed of his daughters' bodies, shoving them through 8-inch holes at the top of separate oil tanks.

Judge Marcelo Kopcow commented, "This is perhaps the most inhumane and vicious crime that I have handled out of the thousands of cases."

Chris Watts pleaded guilty to all charges. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors will not pursue the death penalty, the Weld County District Attorney's office said. The victims' family agreed to those terms, the district attorney's office added.

"They looked up to you because you promised to keep them safe. Instead, you turned on your family," Shanann's brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., wrote in a statement read in court Monday by prosecutors.

"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't cry for my family. They were my whole world," Rzucek Jr. said. "Why would you do this? ... What kind of person slaughters the people that love them the most?"

He called his sister his "best friend" and said his brother-in-law "took away my privilege of being an uncle to the most precious girls."

"Hearing my mother and father cry themselves to sleep ... causes me anguish beyond words," he continued. "I hope you spend the rest of your life ... being haunted by what you've done."

Sandra Rzucek, Shanann's mother, said they loved Chris Watts "like a son."

"We trusted you," she said. "Your faithful wife trusted you. Your children adored you.

"I didn't want death for you because that's not my right," she added. "Your life is between you and God and I pray that he has mercy for you."

Chris Watts' mother, Cindy Watts, said in court, "I am still struggling to understand how and why this tragedy occurred."

"I may never be able to understand and accept it, but I pray for peace and healing for all of us," she said in court, shaking.

His parents said they accept he is guilty and encourage a full confession.

To her son, who sat in just steps away in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, Cindy Watts said, "I've known you since the day you were born into this world. I've watched you grow from a quiet and sweet child who Bella reminded me so much of."

"As your mother, Chris, I have always loved you and I still do. I hate what has happened," she said, crying. "But we will remain faithful as your family ... we love you and we forgive you, son."

In August, right after the killings, Chris Watts spoke out to reporters, saying his wife and daughters disappeared without a trace, leaving her purse and keys at home.

"My kids are my life," he told ABC Denver affiliate KMGH-TV. "I mean, those smiles light up my life."

"When I came home and then walked in the house, nothing. Vanished. Nothing was here," he said.

Within days of the disappearance, Chris Watts was arrested and the bodies of his wife and children were found.

Chris Watts' attorney, Kathryn Harrold, on Monday said her client is "devastated" and "is sincerely sorry for all of this."

Chris Watts declined to speak.

Prosecutors claim his "desire for a fresh start" to begin a new relationship was a motive for the crimes.

At the time of the killings, Chris Watts was dating another woman, 30-year-old Nichol Kessinger, she told The Denver Post.

Chris Watts and Kessinger met through work in June and started dating the next month, she told the newspaper.

Chris Watts told Kessinger he had two daughters and was going through a mutual divorce, which was almost finalized, Kessinger said.

At the end of July, Chris Watts told her that his divorce was official, Kessinger said in the report, which was published online last week.

Chris Watts pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him: five counts of murder in the first degree; three counts of tampering with a deceased human body; and one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy.

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