Spencer Platt/Getty Image(MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.) -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio's attorneys said Saturday they plan to appeal a federal judge's finding that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, helmed by Arpaio, racially profiled Latinos while on immigration patrols.
Complaints of deputies pulling over and singling out people who are dark skinned and speak Spanish to check their immigration status have long been levied against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Tim Casey, the attorney representing Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said racial profiling has never been a policy of the department, but said deputies may have been given faulty training by federal authorities on immigration enforcement.
"The law clearly says you cannot do that, and this judge has clearly made it known that that is not the law,and ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) taught that, and that is not correct," he said.
Casey said the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office would appeal the judge's ruling in the next 30 days.
The lawsuit was brought against the department by a group of Latinos who alleged they were racially profiled by Arpaio's deputies for the purpose of immigration status checks.
The group did not seek monetary damages in the lawsuit and instead asked for a judge to declare the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office had engaged in racial profiling and to order policy changes.
"We were looking for a declaration from the court that these are unconstitutional practices as an important first step in stopping those practices," said Don Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has championed the case.
The 142-page ruling was issued on Friday, more than eight months after a seven-day bench trial was held in the case.
U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow wrote that "the evidence introduced at trial establishes that, in the past, the MCSO has aggressively protected its right to engage in immigration and immigration-related enforcement operations even when it had no accurate legal basis for doing so."
A hearing has been set on June 14 in Phoenix to discuss how to carry out the orders in the ruling. Arpaio, who will turn 81 in June, is serving his sixth consecutive term as sheriff of Arizona's most populous county, which includes Phoenix.
The self-styled "America's Toughest Sheriff" has made national headlines for everything from putting inmates in pink underwear to creating the nation's first all-female chain gang.
In February, he tapped actor Steven Seagal to lead members of the Arizona sheriff's volunteer posse through a simulated school shooting.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/ThinkStock(SAN ANTONIO, Tex.) -- Record rainfall hitting the city of San Antonio, Texas, in the past 24 hours is causing widespread flooding, with at least one confirmed death.
The National Weather Service says the city airport recorded about 10 inches of rain in 12 hours, breaking several records.
“It set a new daily record, not only a daily record, monthly record but it's the second all time record for the city of San Antonio for rainfall in a 24 hour period of time,” Pat McDonald of the National Weather Service.
The rain has caused significant flooding in some areas, closing roadways and stranding motorists, and leaving thousands of homes without power. Five rivers are overflowing their banks as well.
ABC's Matt Rivers, reporting from San Antonio, says at least 40 homes have had to be evacuated. “It's just like the scenes you see during hurricanes with people being taken out of their homes on rafts with first responders guiding them to safety,” Rivers said.
Larry Trevino, the emergency manager for San Antonio, says there have been a significant number of high water rescues.
“We've performed probably 20 to 25 actual rescues out in high water intersections so we are urging people to please do not leave their homes,” Trevino said. “There's about 160 calls right now for high water related or water related rescues and incidents.”
One woman is confirmed to have died during the flooding. Few details have been revealed, but authorities believe her car became stuck, and the woman was swept away when she got out of her car.
Despite the tragedy, some are hoping that a little good can be salvaged from the flood. The heavy rain comes on the heels of a multi-year drought in the area.
“This will definitely help,” McDonald said. “Will it break the drought? No one can tell right now because the rain came in at a very fast rate.”
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(MOUNT VERNON, Wash.) -- The trucker whose oversized load bumped the steel framework of a Washington State bridge just before it collapsed will be interviewed today by investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, who are on the scene working to determine the cause of the collapse.
Three people were sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries after a portion of an Interstate 5 highway bridge in Mount Vernon, Wash., buckled Thursday, dumping two vehicles and a travel trailer into the icy water of the Skagit River, authorities said.
The semi truck was traveling in the right lane of the four-lane bridge when it is believed to have hit a girder just before the collapse, according to John Batiste, Chief of the Washington State Patrol.
The driver of the truck, identified as William Scott remained on the scene and has been cooperative, authorities said.
Investigators were also trying to determine today how to pull the steel pieces of the bridge from the river and preserve them for analysis of what caused the bridge to collapse.
More than 77,000 cars cross the bridge daily and Lynn Peterson, Washington State's Secretary of Transportation, said officials were waiting on an assessment of the scene before determining whether an emergency bridge could be put in place.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters Friday that one in five bridges in Washington have a rating of "functional obsolescence," which he described as "troubling." Inslee acknowledged the bridge collapse is going to cause a headache for tens of thousands of drivers.
"This is the aorta, the arterial of commerce for western Washington and we will ask all Washingtonians to help us avoid traffic problems," he said.
I-5 is the longest interstate highway on the West Coast, running from the Mexican border all the way north to Canada.
The bridge, built in 1955, was not considered structurally deficient but was listed as "functionally obsolete" -- a category indicating an outdated design, such as having narrow shoulders and low clearance underneath, according to a database compiled by the Federal Highway Administration.
Federal records show it had a sufficiency rating of 57 out of 100, meaning it was in need of repairs. The bridge was inspected twice last year, most recently in November, and repairs were made, Peterson said.
Dan Sligh and his wife, Sally, were among the injured transported to Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon. Sligh told ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle that he was treated for cuts, bruises and a separated shoulder.
Sligh was driving his truck with a travel trailer attached to it to begin a camping trip. Sligh said he was crossing the bridge behind the semi-truck when the accident occurred around 7 p.m. local time.
"I was commenting to my wife that it seemed that the load he was carrying was about 4 feet wider than the actual bridge," he said.
The vehicles plunged about 40 feet from the bridge into the river, which set off a massive rescue operation.
"It was just a white flash and cold water," Sligh said. "The Skagit is quite cold this time of year." Sligh said he acted quickly to rescue his wife, who was unresponsive after the collapse.
"Popped my shoulder back in so I could unbuckle everything so I could get over to her. Unbuckled her and pulled her into my side, which had less water," he said.
Helicopter footage from KOMO-TV showed several rescue boats in the river with several ambulances waiting on the shore.
"When you're sitting down in the water and there's all that mangled metal and bridge and you're looking around kind of pinching yourself and realizing you're lucky to be alive ... it's a pretty amazing day to tell you the truth," Sligh said.
Chris Knorr / Design Pics / Thinkstock(ST. LOUIS) -- A special needs Boy Scout Troop is set to retire over 2,000 American flags Saturday to benefit the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.
According to the United States flag code, when an American flag is worn, torn, faded or badly soiled, to the point where it needs to be replaced, it’s time to “retire” the old flag through a respectful ceremony.Troop leader Joe Vaughn says it's the largest flag retirement event ever.
“I have Googled it, I've Binged it,” Vaughn said. “2,000 flags have never been retired before.”
With each flag that is retired, the troop is asking for a dollar, and all the money collected goes to buy new flags for Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
“We decided since a lot of my boys are on [Social Security's Supplemental Security Income] and they've had state and federal help in the past that we wanted to pay it forward a little bit,” Vaughn explained.
There are many ways to respectfully retire a flag, all of which end by burning it, but the Boy Scouts have a special ceremony of their own.
The flag is cut into four pieces, and all four are then burned. The blue star-filled section is never to be cut, according to the Boy Scout’s website, as “it represents the union of the fifty states and one should never let the union be broken.”
While it is burning, scouts maintain a vigil over the fire, and recite a short eulogy for Old Glory.
Fuse(NEW YORK) -- Fire officials are warning folks to remember proper grill safety when lighting up the barbecue this Memorial Day Weekend.
David Cherrone, Fire Marshall for Clay Township, outside of South Bend, Ind., says a common mistake is grilling on wood decks and balconies.
“There's nothing against your grill sitting on your balcony. It's just that when you get ready to use it, it needs to be on the main level at least 15 feet away.” Cherrone said. “We'll get calls for either the grill is on fire [and then] people calling to say their deck is on fire.”
Cherrone says another rule cooks often forget is to check for leaky hoses. Leaking propane is a serious fire hazard.
“If [the grill] sits outside, replace it yearly. If you store it away then every other year is a good way to replace those to make sure again that the diaphragms stay fresh, that you have less chance of leakage,” he said.
Cherrone also says to avoid lighting the grill when the lid is shut, as rather than allowing the gas to vent it builds up and flashes back upon ignition.
iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- New York City’s beaches officially open Saturday just months after being damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Another shoreline fixture, the New York Aquarium on Coney Island, is partially reopening, having been badly damaged by the storm.
The aquarium, which is a major money-maker for Coney Island, opened in 1957. The entire aquarium has been closed to the public since the October hurricane.
Part of the shore-front attraction remains closed for repairs, but a majority of the displays will be open to the public, according to Jon Forrest Dohlin, director of the New York Aquarium.
“All of our marine mammals will be on exhibit, our walruses, our sea lions, our harbor seals, our sea otters and our penguins will be out as well,” Dohlin said.
Dohlin told ABC News the storm killed so many fish the aquarium won't be able to fully re-open until 2016, as Sandy flooded tanks with water that was filled with debris, and backup power was knocked out to all exhibits
“We had some freshwater fish outside in outdoor ponds that were inundated with the salt water,” he said. “We lost those animals. That was quite a tragedy and there was a couple of large tanks that we could not get to quickly enough to stabilize.”
Still, the Aquarium is looking forward to re-opining, even if it’s only partial.
“We have a very important role in the economy of Coney Island and of Brooklyn writ large,” Dohlin explained. “We do about 58 million dollars of economic activity, we're a science education outreach juggernaut and we are a very important voice for marine conservation. So we decided it was important to get open in any way we could.”
Dolhlin says the animals are looking forward to the reopening as well.
“The animals, I think, have missed the day-to-day rhythm of having the public here,” he said.
MERS/Missouri Goodwill(ST. LOUIS) -- Just in time for Memorial Day, a mystery that started with a surprise discovery by Goodwill in Missouri had a happy ending.
A box of World War II medals, awards and other mementos was discovered by MERS/Missouri Goodwill earlier this week.
Lewis Chartock, chief executive officer of MERS/Missouri Goodwill, said he believed the box was donated to Goodwill but was likely flagged by a processing person.
Ron Scanlon, Goodwill's director of loss prevention, noticed the box when it made its way to the MERS/Missouri Goodwill headquarters in downtown St. Louis. He notified Chartock.
"He spotted it and understood it was important," Chartock said.
"There's all kinds of stuff. If you ever watch 'Antiques Roadshow,' you know they love to see all of this stuff together: a picture of the whole platoon, combat medals, and a Silver Star."
A citation indicated the Silver Star was awarded to Sgt. James J. McKenzie, a Marine vet who was also a prisoner of war during World War II. McKenzie was born in St. Louis in 1918 and joined the Marines in October 1940. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said McKenzie spent three and a half years imprisoned in Osaka, Japan, and was released as Japan surrendered in September 1945. He died in 1979 of lung cancer at age 60.
Following a "heavy Japanese artillery barrage" on Corregidor Island in the Philippines on April 13, 1942, McKenzie rescued his comrades as they were trapped in tunnels, the citation described.
"Disregarding the imminent danger of collapsing walls and roofs, Sgt. McKenzie heroically entered the tunnels, assisted in extricating trapped soldiers, and gave first aid to the wounded," the citation said.
Workers from Goodwill found McKenzie's last address and learned the home's last owner was his daughter, Rebecca McKenzie. However, a demolition crew was gutting the home on Thursday and indicated that it was recently sold.
Chartolk's staff contacted the home's realtor, who gave them the name of a person who had helped clean out the house and eventually tracked down Mackenzie's daughter-in-law, Deborah Anne Ellis, in Avon, Ind.
Ellis directed the Goodwill to McKenzie's daughter in Pollock Pines, Calif., Michele McKenzie.
When Chartolk called Michele McKenzie on Friday, she said she cried tears of joy.
Michele McKenzie, a retired attorney, said she is not sure how the Silver Star made its way to Goodwill. She said the last time she talked to her stepsister, Rebecca McKenzie, was about three weeks ago, but she did not know her current whereabouts.
Though Rebecca McKenzie was not related by blood to Sgt. McKenzie, Michele said he adopted Rebecca after his second marriage.
Rebecca McKenzie could not be reached for comment. Her mother, Sgt. McKenzie's second wife, Toby McKenzie, died in 2006.
Michele's younger brother, Sgt. McKenzie's son, died two years ago.
Michele McKenzie's parents, Sgt. McKenzie and Grace Francis "Mimi" Woodlock, had divorced when she was five-years old. Her mother died in 1994.
Though Michele McKenzie only saw her father on weekends and Wednesday nights, she said they had a close relationship.
She remembers when her father would pick her up from school in the third grade, when he was a salesman.
"Suddenly, I would see my father down on one knee in front of the school, screaming, 'Mike', which was a boy's name, but I know he didn't mean it that way," she said. "I would drop my books and would run as fast as I could run to him."
But he never wanted to talk about the war, even when she asked. Eventually, she and her mother moved to California in 1969 when Michele was 19 years old.
She knew her father was awarded the Silver Star, but after he died, her stepmother told her it was lost or stolen.
She and her husband weren't sure what they are going to do with the mementos.
She said it's a "sad thing" that her husband, named Jim, never met her father. When Michele McKenzie got married in 1976, she couldn't fly because of a head injury and her father was sick and also couldn't travel.
"They would have liked each other," she said.
Michele McKenzie said she offered to have a notary send proof to Chartock that she is Sgt. McKenzie's daughter.
When asked how she might feel when she first sees her father's mementos, she said, "Hold onto them and kiss them -- something like that."
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.) -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is famous for chasing after undocumented immigrants in his Arizona jurisdiction.
But the man known as "America's Toughest Sheriff" hasn't been following the law, according to a decision issued by a federal judge on Friday.
The judge found that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) has systematically employed racial profiling against Hispanics. The office was ordered to stop using Hispanic ancestry as a factor in making law-enforcement decisions.
"The MCSO is disappointed by the outcome in this decision," said Tim Casey, a lawyer for the sheriff's office. "The MCSO's position is that it has never used race and will never use race in making its law-enforcement decisions."
Arpaio can appeal the decision, but Casey said that they would begin working internally to remedy any problems raised in the ruling.
"The sheriff respects the court and its authority and it will comply," Casey said.
The four-and-a-half-year case involved several plaintiffs, including two Latino siblings from Chicago who believed they had been subject to racial profiling, according to The Arizona Republic.
The parties were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and pro-bono attorneys from a Bay-Area law firm.
Dan Pochoda, the legal director for the ACLU of Arizona, said this was a victory for community members in Maricopa who have spoken out against Arpaio over this exact issue.
"The sheriff's pronouncement that he's never been found to do anything wrong is going to have to go by the wayside," Pochoda said.
The practical implications are unclear -- it's possible the office may need to undergo monitoring for the use of racial profiling, or supply data to the court to authenticate its practices, but not certain. The parties are scheduled to reconvene on June 14 to discuss implementation of the decision.
The ruling is a long-awaited victory for immigrant-rights activists who have criticized Arpaio's tactics for years. The judge's ruling explicitly points out that Arpaio overstepped the line when trying to enforce immigration laws.
"The evidence introduced at trial establishes that, in the past, the MCSO has aggressively protected its right to engage in immigration and immigration-related enforcement operations even when it had no accurate legal basis for doing so," U.S. District Judge Murray Snow wrote.
Photos.com/Thinkstock(EDISON, N.J.) -- An Edison, N.J., police officer is behind bars, accused of setting the home of his captain ablaze while the family of five was asleep inside.
Flames, believed to be from a Molotov cocktail thrown at the two-story home, came within inches of where Captain Mark Anderko's two children were sleeping, but the kids along with his wife and 92-year-old mother all made it out uninjured.Officer Michael A. Dotro, who's been with the Edison Police Department for 10 years, was questioned about the Monday morning incident Wednesday evening. The next day, investigators returned with a warrant to search the cop's home in Manalapan, N.J., according to Dotro's lawyer Lawrence Bitterman. Following the search, Dotro was arrested and charged with five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated arson. Bail was set at $5 million."My client tells me it makes him sick to his stomach that he's been accused of this," Bitterman told ABC News. He says his client will plead not guilty and ask for bail.
"I've known him for 12 years and find it absolutely incomprehensible that he could have done this," said Bitterman.Dotro has been suspended with pay and was arraigned in New Brunswick, N.J. Friday afternoon.One law enforcement official told ABC News that Dotro has a "long history of disciplinary issues," including complaints against him of police brutality.According to a series of reports by the Star Ledger, officer Dotro was accused of being one of the chief suspects in a 2008 theft of a police car, but after an investigation, was not criminally charged. Dotro was also accused of police brutality in 2005 after arresting a member of the township's sizeable Asian-Indian community. But, according to the Star Ledger, Dotro was cleared amid community protests and headlines.The Edison PD, one of New Jersey's largest police departments, has spent years embroiled in an ugly civil war that has, at times, spilled into public view. Dotro and his captain are known to be on opposing sides of the internecine battling.Sources tell ABC News that Anderko had recently written a harsh review of Dotro that could hinder the officer's chances of a promotion.Bitterman insisted his client has no harsh feelings towards the captain."Officer Dotro expresses his deepest condolences to Captain Anderko and his family," said Bitterman.After numerous incidents, the state Attorney General's Office has taken a more aggressive role in overseeing the conduct of the Edison Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit, receiving monthly reports and reviewing cases. This new incident could lead the AG to invoke the state law that allows the state to take over the Edison force, a state official said."They used to just use IA to go after each other," the official told ABC News. "But this takes it to a whole new level."Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama and actress Kerry Washington stopped by Savoy Elementary School in southeast Washington, D.C., Friday to watch a song-and dance performance that included “Who Put the Bop” and a few other numbers.Washington has adopted the school in the capital’s Anacostia neighborhood as part of the Turnaround Arts Initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, which will give grants to low-income schools, seeking to improve students’ overall performance through arts education. Besides the Scandal star, actor Forest Whitaker and actress Sarah Jessica Parker also adopted schools last month.The first lady visited teacher Jacqueline Lyons’ pre-K class and freeze-danced with the students to James Brown’s “Gonna Have a Funky Good Time.” (Lyons reportedly asked the children who James Brown was; they responded, “The Godfather of Soul.”)Obama delivered remarks from an auditorium stage before the song-and-dance performance, praising Washington for her involvement in the program and offering her up as an inspiration for the students.“Kerry is a big-time star right now. Big time. I mean, there is no bigger star right now than Kerry,” the first lady said. “She’s not just a beautiful, fashionable, talented woman, but she’s real inside, and there is beauty deep inside. The fact that she is flying all over the country, but she comes to spend time with you guys and she does it for real … it shows more her love for all of you. So, Kerry, love you, girl. Keep it going. Very proud of you."“Kerry got a lot of rejections,” Obama added. “She spent a lot of time developing her craft. She spent a lot of time practicing and working and trying out for things and having people tell her. ‘No,’ ‘No thank you,’ ‘You’re not good enough,’ ‘You’re not pretty enough.’ Could you imagine somebody telling Kerry that she wasn’t pretty enough, she wasn’t tall enough, she was too short? That’s all performing is, is rejection. … But when you work hard and you invest thousands of hours in anything, you get better. And that’s what you guys are learning here at Savoy.”After the performance, Washington and the first lady greeted and congratulated the students and teachers.In a pull-aside interview, Washington praised the Turnaround Arts program.“It opens them up,” Washington said. “It helps them be front and center, not just on the stage but in their lives and in the classroom.”Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Three dogs rescued from alleged Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro are in foster care until the three women police say he held captive decide whether any one of them wants to keep the dogs.The Chihuahua and two terrier-poodle mixes were found at the Ohio house where Castro allegedly kept Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, in captivity for more than a decade.Knight's attorney, Kathryn Joseph, said she appreciates officials' giving the women time and the opportunity to decide whether they want the dogs."I think it's really nice that they're hanging on to them because I know they were meaningful, at least to my client," Joseph said Friday. "I don't know if she's interested, so it's something I have to talk to her about."Knight is "doing very well" and has not had or needed facial reconstruction surgery, contrary to some reports, Joseph said."They're all doing pretty well, amazingly well. You'd be shocked," she said. "They're happy. They're optimistic. They're excited about their futures."Another member of the legal team whose firm is working primarily with Berry and DeJesus declined to comment.John Baird, chief animal control officer for Cleveland, said the dogs are at a foster home, pending a decision by the women."We're going to try to give them as much time as they need," Baird said.He said all three dogs have since been sterilized and micro-chipped. Two of them had matted hair and have been groomed. He said they "seem to be great" and did not appear to have been abused or mistreated."We think that maybe one of these women, or all of the women, may have bonded with one or more of these dogs and we'd like to make sure they get a chance to get one of them, or whatever dog they bonded with, to maybe make things a little bit easier on them," Baird said.All three women have kept a low profile since Berry escaped and the other two women were rescued May 6.Their attorneys released a letter earlier this week on behalf of their clients, thanking the public for their encouragement, as well as for respecting their requests for privacy."The outpouring of public support has been nothing short of remarkable," the letter said. "To have complete strangers offer loving support in the form of money, goods and services, reaching out to help like a family member, is appreciated in ways that are impossible to put into words. Amanda, Gina and Michelle, who have asked for nothing, are frankly overwhelmed by it all."Castro, 52, has been charged with kidnapping and rape. He is being held on an $8 million bond and has yet to enter a plea.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Glenn DePriest/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Just over a month after Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a standoff with police, investigators said they have begun to piece together a picture of what he did during a six-month visit last year to Dagestan, a volatile region in southern Russia that is home to Tsarneav's parents as well as a violent struggle with Islamist insurgency. American investigators believe Tsarnaev traveled to Dagestan seeking to make contact with militant groups, but for reasons that remain unclear, he was either unable or unwilling to join their ranks. As they peel back the layers of the man accused of working with his younger brother to set off a pair of bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, investigators said they are finding a frustrated young man who felt out of place in the United States. They said Tsarnaev appears to have been largely self-radicalized before arriving in Dagestan in search of a lifestyle that may not have met his expectations either, according to U.S. officials close to or briefed on the investigation. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity. The officials described Tsarnaev as a typical lone wolf. While Tsarnaev's radicalization appears to have deepened during his time in Dagestan, investigators have not found a particular contact there or a "manifesto" on his computer or elsewhere that would explain why he and his younger brother Dzhokhar allegedly placed bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the officials said. Hours after Tamerlan was killed in the police shootout, Dzhokhar was apprehended and remains in custody. While officials stressed the investigation is still ongoing, they have also found no signs that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was affiliated with an international terror organization like al Qaeda. Similarly, they have found no evidence to suggest he was directed to strike the U.S. by anyone he met in Dagestan. They have not found any signs of suspicious contacts during Tsarnaev's trips to visit his father's family in Chechnya, which has also battled an Islamist insurgency, and probes into Tsarnaev's father's rumored ties to Chechen security officials have also not revealed anything of concern, the officials said. Tsarnev's closest known militant contact in Dagestan appears to have been a young man named Mahmud Mansur Nidal, officials said. The two were often seen together leaving a Salafist mosque, popular with fighters, in Makhachkala. But while Nidal eventually went off to join a militant group -- what locals call going "into the forest" -- investigators say they have uncovered no evidence that Tsarnaev joined him. Nidal would eventually be killed in a police raid after returning to visit family. Tsarnaev had also been in touch over the internet with a Russian-Canadian convert to Islam and suspected militant named William Plotnikov, but officials say they have no evidence to suggest the two ever met in person. Contrary to previous reporting, investigators say they do not believe Tsarnaev dropped off the map after Plotnikov was killed by police in July, shortly before Tsarnaev left Russia to return to the United States. Investigators have also taken a hard look at Magomed Kartashov, Tsarnaev's distant cousin and the founder and leader of a Islamist group called the Union of the Just. The group is anti-American and campaigns for the application of Sharia, or Islamic law. The cousins met several times during Tsarnaev's stay in Dagestan. Kartashov's lawyer, Patimat Abdullaeva, told ABC News by phone that the two did discuss religion, but she insisted Tsarnaev was the one with extremist views. Kartashov is in prison for an unrelated matter -- waving an Islamist flag during a wedding procession -- but his lawyer says Russian investigators have interviewed him there about his interactions with Tsarnaev. Magomed Magomedov, another member of Union for the Just, told ABC News he also saw Tsarnaev several times last year, at the mosque and around Makhachkala, but could not remember their discussions about religion. He described Tsarnaev as being aloof and out of place in Dagestan. "He was sticking out, it was obvious he is not local. He liked to draw attention with his expensive and fancy clothes. His haircut was something no one has seen before," he said. That description matches the picture that investigators are painting of Tsarnaev. They said when Tsarnaev arrived in Dagestan, his flashy appearance and demeanor immediately set him apart. He also apparently drew attention to himself by claiming to know more about Islam than he really did. According to investigators, Tsarnaev would often recite things he had read or seen on the Internet, often confusing those he was trying to impress. "He was driving people crazy," one official said. The officials said he was not as strict a practitioner of Islam as he claimed to be. While his younger brother and alleged co-conspirator Dzhokhar has been described as the family pothead, one official said Tamerlan was also fond of marijuana, spending hours high on the couch in Massachusetts where he did not have a steady job. The FBI has met with Tsarnaev's parents at least once. Officials said they are still planning to meet with nine or 10 other individuals, including with Tsarnaev's extended family, childhood friends, and contacts at the mosque. Those meetings were described as "tying up loose ends" rather than suspicious leads. The American officials praised the unusual level of cooperation they've received from their Russian counterparts. Often that relationship is plagued by lingering Cold War-era mistrust, but officials described how both sides have poured over linkage maps together, with the Russians sharing their knowledge and analysis, even suggesting individuals that the American side may want to interview. That, they say, is different from the past when the Russians offered little more than terse responses to American requests for information. Indeed, that mistrust may have hindered early attempts to investigate Tsarnaev in 2011, when Russia asked the United States to look into what it suspected were Tsarnaev's plans to join extremist groups abroad. The FBI found nothing to support those claims, but said Russia did not follow up when the bureau asked for more information. That communication gap has become a target for a group of American lawmakers who plan to visit Russia next week to investigate the bombing. "If there was a distrust, or lack of cooperation because of that distrust, between the Russian intelligence and the FBI, then that needs to be fixed and we will be talking about that," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats who is leading the Congressional delegation, told ABC News by telephone. While the officials described their cooperation with the Russians as "unprecedented," they grumbled privately that they have been unable to do a methodical step-by-step investigation like they are used to doing in the U.S., or even in other countries where they have long-standing cooperation. American investigators from the FBI have been unable to travel to Dagestan without permission from the Russian authorities. Still, they insist they have been able to confirm much of what they have been told by Russian government officials from what one official vaguely described as "other channels."Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FORT BRAGG, N.C.) -- Nineteen new names were chiseled into the black granite face of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Fallen Soldiers Memorial at Fort Bragg, N.C. Thursday.A squall washed over dozens of “Gold Star” relatives -- so named for the small banners that adorn windows of homes where a loved one perished fighting overseas -- who lined up to lay a red rose at the base of the wall in memory of those lost over the past year.The most recent fallen, who mostly died in counter-terrorism operations, join a union of 1,151 other Army special operations forces soldiers killed in missions over the past 60 years.It is an annual ritual at the Army’s home of the elite soldiers who increasingly are bearing the brunt of combat casualties as surge troops withdraw from Afghanistan ahead of 2014.“We will remember through children named after fallen friends, stones laid in their honor, building and street names, books written, tattoos inked, and ribbons and pins worn,” Army Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland, the command’s top officer, told hundreds gathered in the rain.Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Pennsylvania State Police(PHILADELPHIA) -- Missing University of Rhode Island student Matthew Royer has been located unharmed in North Carolina, according to authorities and his family, but how he got there remains a mystery. Royer, 21, had been last seen on May 16 on the University of Rhode Island campus. The college junior had moved out of his apartment and returned the keys, according to ABC News' Philadelphia station WPVI. Royer was on his way home to Skippack Township, Pa., for the summer where his family was waiting for him. He was supposed to report for work at a golf course the day after he returned home, but when he did not show up, his family reported him missing. Royer was located on Thursday but details about what took him to North Carolina have not been released. "The family requests that the media not contact them nor reveal his location as they wish to consider this a private and closed matter," Pennsylvania State Police said in a statement. Royer was reunited with family members at an undisclosed location, according to ABC station WPVI. "I had figured someone took him prisoner or something," Royer's grandfather Thomas Scully told ABC News Friday. "We were searching for him. We were afraid." Scully, 91, said he did not know why Royer went to North Carolina or how he got there, but called his grandson a "bright kid." "His mother knows where he is and he's alright," a relieved Scully said. "We don't know what he's doing now. He's making his own world." After Royer was reported missing, authorities determined that he made it within about 30 miles of his Pennsylvania home before falling off the grid. Royer sent a text message to his mother, Janet Royer, at around 6 p.m. on Thursday to say that he had overslept and was "about to leave." From there, surveillance footage, debit card use and cell phone tower pings showed Royer stopping at a gas station in Rhode Island at 6:30 p.m., and near Allentown, Pa., at 2 a.m. on Friday and stopping at a gas station about 35 miles from his home a short time later, according to his family and authorities. Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images(MOUNT VERNON, Wash.) -- Three people were sent to the hospital after a portion of an Interstate 5 highway bridge in Mount Vernon, Wash., collapsed Thursday, dumping two vehicles and a travel trailer into the icy water, authorities said. The three people were rescued from the Skagit River by first responders and taken to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. Officials located a semi-truck believed to have hit several girders on the four-lane bridge just before the collapse. The driver remained on the scene and was cooperating with investigators, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said at a press conference early Friday morning. "We're looking at the cause being an oversized, over-height vehicle, striking critical portions of this bridge, causing it to collapse," said Travis Phelps of the Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol. The National Transportation Safety Board will arrive Friday to investigate the collapse. The collapse occurred on the portion of Interstate 5 over the Skagit River, about 60 miles north of Seattle. The vehicles plunged about 40 feet from the bridge into the river, which set off a massive rescue operation. Helicopter footage from ABC News affiliate KOMO-TV showed several rescue boats in the Skagit River with several ambulances waiting on the shore. The bridge, built in 1955, was not considered structurally deficient, but was listed as "functionally obsolete" -- a category indicating an outdated design, such as having narrow shoulders and low clearance underneath, according to a database compiled by the Federal Highway Administration. Federal records show it had a sufficiency rating of 57 out of 100, meaning it's in need of repairs. The bridge was inspected twice last year, most recently in November, and repairs were made, according to Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson Clean-up efforts will take several days to weeks, according to Phelps. The bridge sees 77,000 cars per day, and Phelps said they were expecting significant congestion until the bridge is fixed. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters that one in five bridges in Washington have a rating of "functional obsolescence," which he described as "troubling." Inslee acknowledged the bridge collapse is going to cause a headache for tens of thousands of drivers. "This is the aorta, the arterial of commerce for western Washington and we will ask all Washingtonians to help us avoid traffic problems," he said. I-5 is the longest interstate highway on the West Coast, running from the Mexican border all the way north to Canada. Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.