New York gives in-state tuition to students impacted by hurricanes

New York gives in-state tuition to students impacted by hurricanes

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York will give in-state tuition rates to students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who were displaced by recent hurricanes.

The State University of New York Board of Trustees approved the initiative on Friday at the direction of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.

SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall says the state’s higher education system has a responsibility to help those students whose ability to get an education was put at risk by the storms.

New York authorized in-state tuition for students displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Rates vary between the state’s public colleges and universities, but the typical in-state student can save roughly $10,000 a year.

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Lead engine of Amtrak train hits boulder, partially derails

Lead engine of Amtrak train hits boulder, partially derails

WATROUS, N.M. (AP) – Amtrak says the lead engine of a passenger train crossing northern New Mexico partially derailed when it struck a boulder on the tracks, delaying the train for over 10 hours but causing no serious injuries.

The incident occurred Thursday evening on Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks near Watrous (WAH’-trohse) about 105 miles (169 kilometers) northeast of Albuquerque.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the nine-car train carrying 132 passengers and 14 crew members couldn’t resume its journey from Los Angeles to Chicago until Friday morning after the boulder was removed and the tracks repaired.

Magiiari says the train’s second engine remained on the tracks and that the train still had power, heating and toilet service while it remained at the derailment site.

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DOJ lays out Trump admin’s guidelines for religious liberties protections

DOJ lays out Trump admin’s guidelines for religious liberties protections

The Justice Department issued legal guidance across the federal government Friday that will shape how the Trump administration interprets religious liberties protections, interpretations expected to come into play in a number of ongoing lawsuits.

The memo, issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, does not resolve any specific ongoing litigation, but it will serve as a baseline for how the Justice Department will interpret current federal laws such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Among 20 principles outlined in the memo, the Justice Department finds that RFRA protections extend not just to individuals but also to organizations, associations and at least some for-profit companies and that the government is not permitted to “second-guess the reasonableness of a religious belief.”

As an example, the memo states that the Department of Health and Human Services cannot second-guess “the determination of a religious employer that providing contraceptive coverage to its employees would make the employer complicit in wrongdoing in violation of the organization’s religious precepts.”

The DOJ memo was issued the same day that the Trump administration announced it would allow employers to claim religious or moral objections in order to be exempt from providing birth control coverage in their health insurance plans.

DOJ officials said in drafting the memo, they consulted with numerous religious groups and civil liberties organizations, including the ACLU and Alliance Defending Freedom.

President Trump ordered the attorney general to conduct an evaluation of religious liberties protections in an executive order issued in May.

Mr. Sessions said the memo issued Friday fulfills that requirement.

“The constitutional protection of religious beliefs and the right to exercise those beliefs have served this country well, have made us one of the most tolerant countries in the world, and have also helped make us the freest and most generous,” Mr. Sessions said. “President Trump promised that this administration would ‘lead by example on religious liberty,’ and he is delivering on that promise.”

Among other principles outlined in the memo, the Justice Department instructs that “Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in the marketplace, partaking of the public square, or interacting with government.”

The interpretation appears relevant in the Justice Department’s recent decision to file a Supreme Court brief siding with a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

In a brief filed last month, DOJ lawyers said trying to force Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker, to make a cake for someone against his beliefs violates his conscience rights.

Mr. Phillips refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, drawing the ire of a Colorado civil rights commission that said he was illegally discriminating in his business practices. Courts have upheld the commission’s ruling, and Mr. Phillips has appealed to the Supreme Court.

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Kane Gamble, British hacker, admits targeting heads of CIA, FBI

Kane Gamble, British hacker, admits targeting heads of CIA, FBI

A British teenager pleaded guilty Friday to 10 charges related to a hacking spree that targeted high-ranking U.S. government officials including the previous director of the CIA and the FBI’s former deputy director, among others.

Kane Gamble, 18, pleaded guilty in Leicester Crown Court to eight charges of “performing a function with intent to secure unauthorized access” and two charges of “unauthorized modification of computer material,” local media reported.

Waged between June 2015 and February 2016, Gamble’s admitted cybercrime spree targeted victims including then-CIA Director John Brennan and the former deputy director of the FBI, Mark Giuliano, the Leicestershire Mercury and Birmingham Mail both reported following Friday’s court hearing.

Both victims were targeted during that same span by a hacking group known as Crackas With Attitude. Previous reporting has identified the group’s leader, “Cracka,” as a British teenager arrested in February 2016 at the age of 16.

Gamble was 16 at the time of his arrest, his attorney said Friday, but was not previously named in court filings on account of a court order shielding his identity until he turned 18 this week, The Mercury reported.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Dec. 15, the reports said.

Two Americans charged with participating in Crackas With Attitude — Andrew Boggs and Justin Liverman, both of North Carolina — were arrested in 2016 and sentenced earlier this year after pleading guilty to criminal hacking conspiracy. They received two- and five-year prison sentences, respectively.

Court documents filed in the cases against Boggs and Liverman allege they conspired with “Cracka” to infiltrate the internet accounts of several senior U.S. officials and their families, causing more than $1.5 million in losses.

The hacker known as “Cracka” first achieved notoriety in October 2015 after boasting of breaching an email account belonging to Mr. Brennen and obtaining correspondence subsequently published by WikiLeaks. Boggs and Liverman linked up with the hacker shortly afterwards and began branding themselves as “Crackas With Attitude,” or CWA, according to the FBI.

The group took credit the following month for hacking AOL email accounts belonging to Mr. Giuliano and his wife, and ultimately CWA targeted more than 10 individual victims, according to the FBI.

Gamble admitted Friday to setting his sights on other U.S. government targets including former President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Avril Haines, and his senior science and technology adviser, John Holdren, local media reported.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment on the British teen’s guilty plea Friday. Prosecutors previously said at least three alleged members of the hacking group resided in the U.K. and are under investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service.

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2 stops on Ricketts manufacturing tour canceled due to fog

2 stops on Ricketts manufacturing tour canceled due to fog

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska governor’s office says it has canceled two planned stops on Gov. Pete Ricketts’ manufacturing tour because of fog.

Ricketts was scheduled to visit Becton Dickinson in Holdrege at noon on Friday and Royal Engineered Composites in Minden at 1:30 p.m. The governor’s office says the flights to both cities were canceled because of fog.

The tour is part of “Manufacturing Month” in Nebraska, a campaign with business and economic development leaders to recognize the state’s second-largest industry.

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Las Vegas massacre: Portraits of the 58 victims

Las Vegas massacre: Portraits of the 58 victims

Among the 58 killed in a mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night was a special education teacher, a kindergarten teacher and a nurse from Tennessee who saved his wife’s life.

Here is what we know about the 58 victims of the massacre:

Las Vegas resident Laura Shipp, 50, died in the shooting, her brother, Steve Shipp, confirmed to ABC News.

Laura Shipp was originally from Thousand Oaks, California, but moved to Las Vegas five years ago, Steve Shipp said.

Laura Shipp had attended multiple days of the country music festival, according to a GoFundMe account set up in her honor. Her son also works in Las Vegas, according to the GoFundMe page.

Quinton Robbins, 20, of Henderson, Nevada, died a few hours after the shooting, according to his girlfriend, Ally Plumlee.

Plumlee wrote on Instagram, “I love you more than life. you got hurt trying to protect me and I have no words … I love you so much and I know I’ll see you again.”

Bailey Schweitzer, a 20-year-old from Bakersfield, California, died in the shooting, according to ABC affiliate KERO-TV.

Her employer, Infinity Communications and Consulting, Inc., in a statement described her as a “ray of sunshine” in the office.

“No one could possibly have a bad day when Bailey was around,” the company said.

Victims Neysa Tonks leaves behind three sons, according to her employer, Las Vegas-based technology solutions company Technologent.

Technologent described Tonks as a “great mother, colleague and friend.”

Carrie Barnette, a member of the culinary team for Disney California Adventure for 10 years, died in the attack, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Another Disney cast member, Jessica Milam, was seriously injured in the shooting, Iger said.

“Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by the tragic events in Las Vegas -– the victims of violence, the witnesses, and the friends and families mourning loved ones,” Iger said.

Dorene Anderson was visiting Las Vegas with her husband and two daughters when she was killed, her friend, Marie English, told ABC News.

English said Anderson was the treasurer for the Cowbell CREW, a nonprofit based in Anchorage, Alaska, that supports local hockey teams.

English described Anderson as “very friendly and genuine,” saying she had a “kind heart.”

Jennifer Parks, a teacher at Anaverde Hills, a public school in Palmdale, California, also died in the attack, the Westside Union School District announced. Parks had just entered her third year of teaching kindergarten at the school, the district said.

“She was always enthusiastic, energetic, committed and dedicated to her students, her colleagues and was so proud to be a teacher. Her spirit was something to behold,” the school district said. “The students who were instructed by her knew what it was to love learning as Jennifer gave them the sense of wonder, curiosity and excitement about all they did.”

The district added, “Our team of crisis counselors are at the school to assist students, staff and family from this terrible event impacting those at Anaverde Hills School or elsewhere within the school district.”

Chris Roybal, 28, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, was among the victims, ABC Chicago station WLS reported.

Rhonda LeRocque, a wife and mother to a 6-year-old girl, was among those killed, her mother, Priscilla Champagne, told reporters.

LeRocque, an active Jehovah’s Witness, worked as a nanny, and loved to cook, bake and travel, her mother said. LeRocque and her husband dreamed of moving to Hawaii.

Champagne said when she was called with the news, “I was devastated. I was in shock. No mother deserves to get a phone call like that about their baby.”

“She was enjoying country music and they were going to … take their baby girl to Disney,” Champagne said.

“She was a beautiful person,” the mourning mother said. “She was perfect in every sense of the word. She was a perfect mother, a perfect daughter, perfect granddaughter, perfect sister, perfect wife. She was perfect. This is a tragic loss for this family.”

Derrick “Bo” Taylor, a 29-year veteran of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation who led inmates fighting wildfires, was killed in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Taylor was at the concert with his girlfriend, who also died, according to the paper.

Denise Cohen, a mother of two sons, died at the concert along with Taylor, her boyfriend, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Cohen loved country music and traveling, the paper said.

“Everyone who knows her will tell you she was a happy, free spirit,” her sister, Kristal Vogel, said, according to ABC station KGO.

Thousand Oaks, California resident Keri Galvan — a mother of three — was killed in the Las Vegas attack, her employer, Landry’s, Inc., said in a statement.

Galvan had worked for Mastro’s Steakhouse for almost a decade, the statement read. She leaves behind her husband and children, ages 10, 4, and 2, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her sister, Lindsey Poole.

Brian Fraser, a resident of La Palma, California and vice president of sales for Greenpath Funding, was killed in the shooting Sunday, Greenpath said in a statement on Facebook.

“Fraser impacted everyone who crossed his path with his infectious energy,” Greenpath said.

Fraser was an alumnus of California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California, the school said in a statement.

Andrea Castilla died in the Las Vegas attack, her brother, Adam, confirmed.

Her family, who was with her at the concert, called her a “beautiful soul.”

Sonny Melton, R.N., was killed in the attack, his employer, Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee, said. According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, he died shielding his wife, Dr. Heather Melton, who survived.

“When the bullets began raining down, Sonny shielded her from danger, giving up his life to save hers,” Sanders said at Monday’s press briefing.

Thomas Gee, CEO at Henry County Medical Center, said in a statement, “The thoughts and prayers of the entire HCMC family are with Sonny and Heather’s families.”

Heather Melton, an orthopaedic surgeon, told NBC affiliate WSMV her husband saved her life. “He saved my life. He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back,” she said. “I want everyone to know what a kind-hearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe.”

The medical center said it has “provided counselors for any staff affected by this horrible incident.”

“This event is a traumatic life experience for those there and those that are a part of the HCMC caring community,” the medical center added. “If you are struggling to understand this event or other types of losses, HCMC has staff available at Lake Haven Behavioral Center. HCMC will be offering information and mental health tips to our partners, families and our community throughout this month as we all begin to cope with this tragedy.”

Another victim was identified as Sandy Casey, a special education teacher in Manhattan Beach, California.

Michael Matthews, superintendent of Schools at the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, said several other members of the school community were at the concert, including a principal and school psychologists.

“This is unbelievably sad and tragic,” Matthews said in a letter to families. “We wanted to let you know so that you can be prepared to support your children and to help them process this information. As you can imagine, this loss is impacting many of our staff members deeply, and while we collectively grieve, we will be working to provide support to everyone affected.”

Matthews said counselors will be available to provide support for students, teachers and parents.

West Virginia resident Denise Burditus died in her husband’s arms. Tony Burditus wrote on Facebook that he lost his wife of 32 years, who was a mother of two and soon-to-be grandmother of five.

Simi Valley Unified School District employee Susan Smith was also killed while attending the concert.

Smith had worked at the Vista Elementary School in Simi Valley, California, for three years and the school district for 16 years, a spokesperson for the school district told ABC News.

Lisa Romero-Muniz, a discipline secretary at Miyamura High School in Gallup, New Mexico, also died in the attack, the school confirmed.

Rachael Parker was among two employees from California’s Manhattan Beach Police Department who were shot, according to a police press release. Parker, a records technician, died in the hospital, police said.

“She was employed with the Manhattan Beach Police Department for 10 years and will be greatly missed,” the press release read.

The other department employee who was shot — a sworn police officer — suffered minor injuries, police said.

Dana Gardner, 52, a mother of three, also died in the attack.

Gardner’s daughter, Kayla, was with her during the shooting but was not injured, Gardner’s sister, Amber Harton, told ABC News.

Charleston Hartfield, a Nevada Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class and a Las Vegas police officer, was attending the concert when he was shot and killed, the Nevada National Guard said.

“Charleston Hartfield lived to serve the public and protect his family,” Brig. Gen. William Burks, the adjutant general of the Nevada National Guard, said in a statement. “He is the epitome of a citizen-soldier.”

Brig. Gen. Zachary Doser, commander, Nevada Army National Guard, said in the statement, “Sgt. 1st Class Hartfield epitomizes everything good about America and those who wear the uniform representative of the most powerful Army in the world.”

Another victim was Hannah Ahlers, a 35-year-old mother of three from Murrieta, California, according to WLS.

Jordan McIldoon of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, was killed in the mass shooting, CTV reported.

Riverside Polytechnic High School in California confirmed that Angela Gomez, a former student who graduated in 2015, died in the shooting.

Victim Jessica Klymchuk was an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver at St. Stephen’s Catholic school in Alberta, Canada, according to her employer, the superintendent’s office of the Holy Family Catholic Regional Division.

Alberta Minister of Education David Eggen tweeted, “I’m devastated to learn that one of the victims of last night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas was an EA, librarian & bus driver for @HFCRD37 [Holy Family Catholic Regional Division].”

Victim Erick Silva, 21, lived in Las Vegas and worked for the Contemporary Services Corporation, according to his stepsister, Daisy Hernandez.

Christiana Duarte of California was among the victims, her family said.

Duarte, 22, was with her brother’s girlfriend at the time of the shooting, according to the Daily Breeze.

According to the Daily Breeze, Duarte graduated from the University of Arizona and worked as a fan services associate for the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings will honor Duarte and the other victims as a part of the team’s first regular season game on Thursday.

Michelle Vo of Pasadena, California, was among the victims, according to her employer.

“Like all Americans, we are shocked and saddened at the terrible tragedy that has unfolded in Las Vegas,” a New York Life spokesperson said. “Our grief is deepened by knowing that a member of the New York Life family, Michelle Vo, an agent in our Greater Pasadena office, was among those killed. During this terrible time, our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and loved ones.”

Las Vegas resident Brennan Stewart was also killed in the attack, as he shielded his girlfriend and helped others to safety, his family said in a statement.

Stewart was the “kind of guy who always put others before himself,” the statement read. He played the guitar and loved country music, rarely missing an opportunity to attend a country concert, his family said.

He also loved the Atlanta Braves, the San Francisco 49ers and hunting, according to the statement.

“We had hope and were desperately searching for him all night and day until we got the news,” Stewart’s friend, Jeremy Jones, said. “Brennan was a best friend of mine. He is one of two brothers, and I have been best friends with him and his brother for 20 years.”

Austin Davis, 29, was among the victims, according to a GoFundMe page established by his friend, Katelyn Hood.

Hood wrote that Davis’ parents headed to Las Vegas the moment they heard their only child was potentially hurt.

“Not being able to find him in the chaos, they ended up waiting 20+ hours in the hospital to even know if their son and loved one was alive,” she wrote. “Their bond as a family is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. …. Their pride and joy to every extent. They raised the best son.”

“Austin met his high school sweetheart 9 years ago, Aubree,” Hood wrote. “My heart hurts for them more than words can describe. Austin was my best friend, my sons god father.”

John Phippen, a father of six, was among the victims, ABC station KABC in Los Angeles reported.

Phippen, 56, of Santa Clarita, California, was in the crowd with his adult son, Travis, who was injured, KABC reported.

KABC reported that “Phippen had been supporting three of his children, between the ages of 15 and 24, since the death of his second wife three years ago.”

Paul Nagyivanyi told KABC that Phippen was a “once-in-a-lifetime friend.”

Tom Day Jr. died from the shooting, said one of his daughters, Kelsey-Lee Day.

Victim Melissa Ramirez graduated from Cal State Bakersfield in 2014.

CSUB President Horace Mitchell said, “We are terribly saddened to learn that we lost a member of our CSUB family in this senseless act of violence. Our entire CSUB campus community is heartbroken, and we send our deepest sympathies to Melissa Ramirez’s family and friends.”

Flags at CSUB were lowered to half staff in her honor.

Victim Stacee Etcheber, mother to a 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, was at the concert with her husband Vinnie Etcheber, a San Francisco police officer, ABC station KGO reported.

Vinnie Etcheber told his wife to run as he helped victims, said the officer’s brother, Al Etcheber, according to KGO.

“She probably didn’t run too far, she probably turned right back around and wanted to be there with her husband that’s just the person she was,” Al Etcheber said, according to KGO.

Stacee Etcheber was missing after the concert; the family later learned she died.

Victim Steve Berger was a father of three from Minnesota, according to ABC affiliate KSTP.

“Steve was the most humble guy,” his father, Richard Berger, said, according to KSTP. “Just a great father.”

He was in Las Vegas with friends to celebrate his 44th birthday, KSTP reported.

Kurt Von Tillow, a husband, father and grandfather from northern California, was among the victims, according to ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento. He was with his wife at the time, who was not injured, KXTV said.

His family told KXTV he loved golf and was very patriotic, always wearing red, white and blue.

Carrie Parsons, 31, a Seattle woman who loved country music, was on a girls trip when she died at the concert, according to ABC affiliate KOMO in Seattle.

She worked as a recruiter and recently got engaged in Hawaii, KOMO reported.

Victor Link, 52, of California, had just returned from a Europe trip with his fiance when he headed to Las Vegas, according to the Orange County Register.

Link is survived by his adopted adult son, Christian Link, who in a Facebook post promised to accomplish the goals he had set with his dad, the Orange County Register reported.

Link’s family said in a statement, “Victor was a loving fiance, proud father, loyal son, protective brother, supportive uncle and kind friend. … While we mourn the loss of a great man, we also celebrate the wonderful life he led.”

Utah resident Heather Alvarado, a mother of three children ages 4, 7 and 14, was among the victims, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune.

According to the Las Vegas-Review Journal, Alvarado’s husband, a firefighter, released a statement through the Cedar City Police Department, saying his wife “always saw the good in others.”

“She spent her whole life serving others in her family and community,” he said, according to the newspaper. “She was happiest when she was together with her family, especially her children and she would do anything for them.”

Victim Lisa Patterson of California was a mother of three, a family friend said.

She was a “constant presence” at the local girls softball league, where she and her husband, Bob, “spent endless hours donating their time and energy to help the girls of our community,” according to a GoFundMe page.

Cameron Robinson, 28, who worked as a management analyst for the city of Las Vegas, attended the concert with his boyfriend, according to The New York Times.

Robinson died in his boyfriend’s arms, The New York Times said.

Victim Tara Roe, 34, of Canada, was in Las Vegas with her husband and another couple, her aunt Val Rodgers said, according to CTV.

Roe was a model and also worked as an educational assistant for a school district, CTV said.

“She was a wonderful mother and our family is going to miss her dearly,” Rodgers said, according to CTV.

Victim Calla Medig, 28, of Canada, took time off from her job at a Moxie’s restaurant to attend the music festival, her boss Scott Collingwood said, according to CTV.

“She was kind of a rock and, as of Thursday, she would have been our newest manager,” Collingwood said, according to CTV. “A lot of us around here have super heavy hearts and we already miss her.”

Bill Wolfe Jr. of Pennsylvania was among the victims, according to the Shippensburg Police Department.

The police department said in a Facebook post, “It is with the most of broken hearts, the families of Bill Wolfe Jr. and his wife Robyn share that Bill has been confirmed to be among the deceased. … Please continue to hold our entire family as well as those affected across the nation in your unending prayers.”

According to ABC station WPVI in Philadelphia, Wolfe coached for Shippensburg Little League and Shippensburg Greyhound Wrestling.

WPVI said the little league board said in a statement, “His leadership, enthusiasm, and care and concern for these children will be greatly missed and certainly never forgotten in this community.”

Candice Bowers, a mother of three, is among the dead, her friend said.

“Candice left this world doing what she loved, dancing to country music among loved ones,” a GoFundMe page said. “She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.”

Jordyn Rivera, a fourth-year student at Cal State San Bernardino’s Health Care Management program, was among the dead.

CSUSB President Tomas D. Morales said in a statement, “I personally got a chance to know her when we spent time together last summer in London during the summer abroad program. As one of her faculty members noted, we will remember and treasure her for her warmth, optimism, energy, and kindness.”

“This is a devastating loss for the entire CSUSB family,” Morales said. “In this time of grief, our thoughts and prayers are with Jordyn’s family, friends and all who knew her.”

Adrian Murfitt, 35, a commercial fisherman from Anchorage, Alaska, was among those killed, his friend Ian Anderson told ABC News.

Murfitt’s best friend, Brian MacKinnon, wrote on Facebook that Murfitt died in his arms, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

“He was always happy,” MacKinnon said, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. “He was just a top-notch friend.”

Victim Rocio Rocha Guillen was a mother of four, including a 1-month-old baby boy, a family member said. She is also survived by her fiance, according to a GoFundMe page.

“Her greatest accomplishment was being a mother as she would always say,” the GoFundMe page said. “She was a supermom, always working hard and juggling everything to be the best mom to her 4 children.”

Nicol Kimura, 38, of southern California, was among the victims, the Orange County Register reported.

Friend Ryan Miller wrote on a GoFundMe page, “Our close knit group of 7 was in attendance together at Route 91, up from Orange County, California. We scattered after the shooting began and were reunited, less one, many hours later.”

According to the Orange County Register, Miller said Kimura “had the most infectious laugh and personality. … She was always loving and considerate to her friends. Her spirit will live on with us forever.”

Chris Hazencomb, of California, spent his 44th birthday with his mother four days before he was killed, the Las Vegas-Review Journal reported.

His mother, Maryanne Hazencomb, who took her son off life support Monday, said her son “evidently saved [his friend] from getting hit so she could raise her two boys with her husband,” the paper reported.

Brett Schwanbeck, a father and grandfather, was at the concert with his fiance when he was fatally shot, family friend Carla Dawn told ABC News.

“Brett was a great man that was funny, generous, kind, loving and so full of joy!” Dawn wrote on a GoFundMe page. “He would drive 500 miles to help you if you needed it. He loved his family dearly and cherished lake trips, family gatherings, hunting, camping and spending time with his kids and grandkids. He was so loving and this tradegy is so difficult on everyone close to him.”

The 54-year-old Jack Beaton was a resident of Bakersfield, California and married father of two children, according to his obituary published in the Bakersfield Californian. Beaton’s 23rd wedding anniversary was the day of the shooting and he was in Las Vegas celebrating with his wife, Laurie.

Jennifer Irvine, 42, was a lawyer in San Diego and a graduate of the University of San Diego and California Western School of Law, according to ABC affiliate KGTV.

“It just doesn’t seem real to me at all,” Irvine’s friend Sarah Whyte told KGTV. “I’m at a loss for words to be honest with you.”

Carly Kreibaum was from Sutherland, Iowa and had gone on vacation to Las Vegas with friends, according to The Associated Press. The 33-year-old was a mother of two and had attended Wayne State in Nebraska.

Kelsey Meadows was a substitute teacher in her hometown of Taft, California and just 27 years old. Her death was confirmed by her brother, ABC affiliate KERO. Her alma mater, Fresno State University, released a statement saying flags would be flown at half staff in her honor.

“We have received the devastating news that Fresno State alumna Kelsey Meadows was one of the victims who lost her life as a result of the Las Vegas shooting Oct. 1,” the statement read. “We are saddened by this tragic loss of such a promising young life.”

Patricia Mestas, 67, was a native of Menifee Lakes, California and was attending the concert with her friend and son when she was killed, according to ABC station KABC. Mestas was the oldest person to die in the massacre.

Austin Meyer was attending the concert with his fiancee, Dana Getreu, according to KSBW. The 24-year-old was celebrating his birthday two weeks prior and his recent move to Reno, Nevada.

The Oct. 1 shooting is the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Besides the 58 fatalities, 489 people were injured. Police said that after the shooting, the lone suspect was found dead when authorities stormed his Mandalay Bay hotel room.

ABC News’ Dominick Proto, Teri Whitcraft, Zunaira Zaki, Jessica Puckett, Esther Castillejo, Mya Green and Emilie Richardson contributed to this report.

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5 days after Las Vegas massacre many questions remain, few answers

5 days after Las Vegas massacre many questions remain, few answers

The investigation into what drove Stephen Paddock to open fire on a music festival in Las Vegas last Sunday is crawling into its fifth day with ever-mounting questions and few answers.

Paddock, the lone suspect according to Las Vegas police, killed himself in the hotel suite he had rented on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino as police closed in on his location. And along with Paddock went any clear answer for why he opened fire on the festival and killed 58 people and wounded 489 others.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, the public face of the investigation, has had few answers for why Paddock committed the crime. Authorities did not hold a press conference on Thursday, the first day since Sunday there was none.

Sunday’s attack was in stark contrast to recent mass shootings, which have had motives surface soon afterward. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June 2016, called police to confess to being an ISIS sympathizer while still in the club. When Nidal Hassan shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood in 2009 authorities were already aware he had reached out to radical clerics in the Middle East. Dylann Roof walked into a church in Columbia, South Carolina in December 2016 and killed nine people only after telling friends he planned to kill people and posting a manifesto espousing white supremacy.

The investigation into Paddock has had no such crystalizing context.

Lombardo has said investigators are looking at a computer and multiple electronic devices found in the suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel. Authorities have also removed evidence from homes Paddock owned in Mesquite and Reno, Nevada. There have not been any revelations so far.

Authorities also found a note in Paddock’s hotel room but said it was not a suicide note. The contents are unknown.

Police say there is no question the attack was “meticulously planned,” as Lombardo described it. The shooter brought 10 luggages worth of weapons — 24 guns, many of them rifles, and thousands of rounds of ammunition — up to his hotel room.

Experts say the weapons found in his hotel suite were high-end and high-powered, the kind used by U.S. special forces and commandoes. Officials tell ABC News some of the ammo was bought under a name not his, leading to speculation of a possible accomplice.

Lombardo said on Wednesday Paddock may have had help and that he planned to escape the scene, but provided no further details on either piece of information.

Authorities’ best hopes seemed to be pinned on the girlfriend of Paddock, Marilou Danley, who was in the Philippines at the time of the shooting. Danley returned to the U.S. on Tuesday night and began speaking with the FBI on Wednesday. Danley, however, has told authorities she had no idea Paddock was planning an attack and her lawyer read a statement saying she knew him as “a kind, caring man.”

Even a few months before the shooting, however, Paddock and Danley’s relationship at least appeared to be on solid ground.

Danley accompanied Paddock to a Reno car dealership in August, where Paddock purchased a vehicle with a check for $14,411. When Danley went on a test drive, she told a saleswoman that Paddock had saved her from a troubled marriage.

“She said she had a bad relationship prior to him,” the saleswoman told ABC News. “And how he had turned her life around. Really helped her out.”

Paddock bought Danley a plane ticket to her native Philippines and wired her $100,000, according to authorities. However, she’s said she thought the dual purchases were a context to breaking up with her.

Danley continues to cooperate fully with authorities.

Less than 24 hours after the attack, Eric Paddock, Stephen’s brother, told reporters outside his home that his brother had no connection to political or religious groups, and no obvious motives.

Officials say Las Vegas prostitutes have provided perhaps the most telling profile of Paddock, known by them as a regular customer, as a cheap man who didn’t display emotion, and about the only clues into a reason for the attack center around Paddock’s mental state. A person briefed on findings from the investigation told ABC News’ Brian Ross that Paddock’s mental state was deteriorating in the months prior to the attack, including weight gain, an increasingly slovenly appearance and an obsession with Danley’s ex-husband.

The biggest revelations on Thursday into the investigation spoke more to the planning of Paddock than motive. Officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News that Paddock had booked hotel rooms in Chicago in early August coinciding with Lollapalooza, the massive annual music festival held in Grant Park that attracted hundreds of thousands of people, including one of President Barack Obama’s daughters.

A source with the Chicago Police Department confirmed to ABC News that Paddock had reservations at The Blackstone Hotel, across from the park, though the hotel said no one with the name Paddock had stayed in their hotel in August.

A source also indicated to ABC News that Paddock had searched for hotels around Fenway Park in Boston, but there was no indication he had traveled there.

Meanwhile, the FBI is warning law enforcement partners of a potential threat to New York City’s Times Square. According to a situational information report issued by the FBI and obtained by ABC News, an Instagram user on Wednesday afternoon posted, “I’m a Syrian refugee and I’m going to do something big in New York on Friday.” The user also wrote, “I’m going to make the Las Vegas attack look small on Friday at Times Square.”

However, the FBI and the New York City Police Department do not believe the threat is credible after the FBI was able to trace the IP addresses associated with the Instagram posts to South Africa.

“The NYPD is aware of this online threat,” police said in a statement Friday. “It is very common to receive these types of postings in the aftermath of significant events throughout the world. There is no reason to believe this threat has any particular credibility. We have significant regular security resources in Times Square and continuously monitor the threat levels in this area.”

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.

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Las Vegas shooter booked hotel overlooking Lollapalooza, seen with mystery woman

Las Vegas shooter booked hotel overlooking Lollapalooza, seen with mystery woman

Here’s the latest on the investigation into the Las Vegas shooting:

— At least 59 people, including the shooter, died after Sunday night’s mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival.

— The motive remains unknown, but police say the attack was “obviously premeditated.”

— The gunman, Stephen Paddock, may have planned to escape the scene.

— A note authorities found in Paddock’s hotel was not a suicide note.

— Paddock visited several music festivals in the Las Vegas area.

— Paddock booked hotel rooms in Chicago in August overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival.

— Paddock was seen gambling for eight hours straight on the night before the shooting.

— Paddock was seen with another woman, who was not his girlfriend, in the days before the shooting.

Officials briefed on the investigation into alleged Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock told ABC News that Paddock booked hotel rooms in Chicago in early August during the Lollapalooza music festival. One of the hotels where he had reservations was the Blackstone on South Michigan Avenue, across from Grant Park, where the annual event took place.

The Chicago Police Department said in a statement Thursday, “We are aware of the media reports and have been in communication with our federal partners. As you saw earlier this week the city conducts extensive public safety planning and training around major events, in close coordination with our law enforcement partners, to ensure public safety.”

A source with the Chicago Police Department confirmed for ABC News that Paddock had reservations at the Blackstone hotel.

However, a spokesman for the Blackstone told ABC News in a statement today, “We can confirm that there was no guest under [Paddock’s] name who stayed at our hotel in August during the Lollapalooza music festival. We are cooperating with the authorities on this matter.”

It’s unclear whether Paddock traveled to Chicago at that time.

Officials briefed on the investigation also told ABC News that Paddock may have visited several music festivals in the greater Las Vegas area over the past several months. All the venues are believed to have been within driving distance of Las Vegas.

Paddock is also believed to have made regular trips to the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino starting Sept. 3 and through the rest of the month. He was known at most of the big casinos on the Las Vegas Strip because he was a major player who visited the casinos a lot, the officials said.

Investigators are also looking into whether Paddock tried to secure a room at El Cortez Hotel and Casino, at the opposite end of the Strip from the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, on the weekend that the Life Is Beautiful music festival took place, from Sept. 22 to Sept. 24, the officials told ABC News.

During the Wednesday news conference, Lombardo confirmed that Paddock rented a room that weekend at the Ogden hotel in downtown Las Vegas. Authorities have recovered items and surveillance video from when he stayed there, Lombardo said.

Paddock also searched for hotels near Fenway Park in Boston, though there is no indication that he traveled there, sources briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

The Boston Police Department said in a statement today, “We are aware of the media reports referencing a Boston connection to the Las Vegas mass shooting incident that occurred on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. The Boston Regional Intelligence Center is in contact with our local and federal law enforcement partners here and in Las Vegas and continues to monitor the situation. There is currently no known threat to the Metro Boston homeland security region related to this incident.”

As investigators delve deeper into how Sunday night’s massacre in Las Vegas unfolded, more chilling details have emerged about the suspected gunman and how he carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Authorities said Paddock opened fire on a music festival crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injuring 489 others — a decrease from original reports, after officials double-checked numbers. More than 22,000 people were attending the final night of the Route 91 Harvest Festival when gunfire erupted.

The shooting lasted nine to 11 minutes, with the first reports of gunshots beginning Sunday at 10:05 p.m. PT and the final shots being fired at 10:15 p.m., authorities said. It’s believed that Paddock was the sole shooter in the attack.

But Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told a news conference Wednesday night there are indications that Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nevada, may have had some kind of help.

Lombardo also said there is evidence that indicates he planned to escape the scene. But the sheriff did not provide any details on what the evidence was or why he believes that.

Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sept. 28 with 10 bags and at least 23 guns, including high-power rifles. He set up surveillance cameras inside and outside his two-room suite.

There were two cameras on a room service cart in the hallway outside his suite, one on the peephole of the door to his room and a baby monitor in the living room. None of the cameras were recording, police said.

Paddock was shuttered inside his suite for three days at the giant hotel-casino, perched high above the site of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, which was taking place across the street. Room service was provided at some point during his stay, police said.

Investigators believe Paddock used a device similar to a hammer to smash two windows in his room before he opened fire on the music festival crowd, shortly after a rendition of “God Bless America.”

Police responded to the hotel room, where Paddock was found dead. He is believed to have killed himself before police entered.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News that Paddock possibly set up the cameras to monitor for approaching authorities.

“I anticipate he was looking for anybody coming to take him into custody,” Lombardo said at a news conference Tuesday.

Authorities also found a note in Paddock’s hotel room but said it was not a suicide note. The contents of the note are unknown.

While the motives behind the deadly rampage remain unclear, Lombardo said the attack was “obviously premeditated” and “meticulously planned,” and that the shooter “evaluated everything he did.” Investigators are still combing through the life of Paddock, whom Lombardo described at the Wednesday news conference as a “disturbed and dangerous” man who had led a “secret life.”

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told a news conference Wednesday that the shooting “doesn’t seem to have a terrorism nexus.”

ABC News has obtained images from inside Paddock’s hotel room. A body, believed to be Paddock’s, is partly visibly in one of the photos.

The images also show rifles and bullet shells scattered across the floor, with high-capacity magazines stacked like bricks in a corner.

WARNING: Images may be disturbing to some readers.

An employee at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino told ABC News she spent a total of 16 hours serving Paddock in the casino during her shifts there over the weekend. She said she watched him gamble for eight hours straight, from Saturday night to Sunday morning.

He played high-stakes video poker on machines in a separate, “exclusive” section of the casino, she said.

As soon as she saw Paddock’s picture on the news, identifying him as the suspected gunman, she said she knew it was the man who was her customer the night before the shooting.

Authorities have executed search warrants at three locations and for Paddock’s vehicle parked at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

In addition to the 23 guns recovered from Paddock’s hotel room — which police said were purchased in Nevada, California, Utah and Texas — authorities found a computer and several pieces of media there. Law enforcement sources said multiple loaded high-capacity magazines and a modified bump stock rifle, which allows a gun to simulate rapid automatic gunfire, were discovered in the room as well.

Investigators are still in the process of examining the firearms to determine whether they were capable of firing automatically.

Meanwhile, 50 pounds of an explosive and about 1,600 rounds of ammunition were discovered in Paddock’s car.

Explosive material and 19 additional firearms were also found at Paddock’s home in a Mesquite retirement community.

Five handguns, two shotguns, numerous electronics and a “plethora of ammunition” were recovered from his property in Reno, according to Lombardo.

Jill Snyder, the special agent in charge at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told “CBS This Morning” in an interview Wednesday that Paddock had been stockpiling firearms since 1982. He bought nearly 50 guns legally, she said, but none of those purchases set off any red flags for the ATF.

“From October 2016 to Sept. 28, 2017, he purchased 33 firearms, majority of them rifles,” Snyder said. “We wouldn’t get notified of the purchases of the rifles. We would only get notified if there was a multiple sale, which would be two or more handguns in an individual purchase.”

Investigators say Paddock’s longtime girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who lived with him at his home in Mesquite, is more than a mere witness.

“Currently she’s a person of interest,” Lombardo told a news conference Tuesday.

Danley, 62, returned to the United States from the Philippines, where she was born, landing at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday night at 7:17 p.m. PT on Philippine Air Flight 102.

She was taken out a back way so she wouldn’t be seen in public, and FBI agents met her upon landing, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The law offices of Matthew Lombard confirmed to ABC News on Wednesday afternoon that Danley was at the FBI field office in Los Angeles with Lombard, who is representing her. He said his client is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.

At a news conference later, Lombard read a statement from Danley, in which she said she knew Paddock as a “kind, caring man” and she was not aware that “something horrible like this was going to happen.”

“I loved him and hoped for a quiet future together with him,” the statement said. “It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.”

Danley is not in custody and is free to go where she pleases. Investigators are hoping she can shed some light on the motivations behind Paddock’s attack, but even a few months before the shooting, Paddock and Danley’s relationship at least appeared to be on solid ground.

Danley accompanied Paddock to a Reno car dealership in August, where Paddock purchased a vehicle with a check for $14,411. When Danley went on a test drive, she told a saleswoman that Paddock had saved her from a troubled marriage.

“She said she had a bad relationship prior to him,” the saleswoman told ABC News. “And how he had turned her life around. Really helped her out.”

In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, her elder brother Reynaldo Bustos said he immediately contacted her when he saw the news that her boyfriend was responsible for the massacre in Las Vegas.

“I called her up immediately, and she said, ‘Relax. We shouldn’t worry about it. I’ll fix it. Do not panic. I have a clean conscience,'” Bustos said outside Manila in Tagalog, his native language.

Officials briefed on the investigation told ABC News that investigators believe Paddock was seen with another woman, who was not his girlfriend, in the days before Sunday night’s shooting.

Investigators are working to identify the woman and are interested in speaking with her to find out whether she has any insight, the officials said.

ABC News’ Brian Ross, Cindy Galli, Anna Marie Cerezo, Jack Date, Andy Fies, Matt Gutman, James Hill, Aaron Katersky, Meghan Keneally, Jonah Lustig, Josh Margolin, Bonnie McLean, Alex Stone and Pierre Thomas contributed to this report.

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Trump administration rolling back mandate to cover birth control

Trump administration rolling back mandate to cover birth control

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released two new rules today allowing employers to claim exemptions to covering contraception under the Affordable Care Act. The rules go into effect today.

The first new rule allows any employer to opt against providing birth control coverage based on the employer’s religious beliefs. The second rule provides an exemption for organizations and small businesses that object on the basis of moral conviction rather than religious belief.

Legal challenges to the change in rules have already begun, including with a lawsuit filed Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Some state attorneys general are also conferring on possible legal action against the federal action.

Since contraception became a covered preventive benefit under Obamacare, the share of women employees in the U.S. who pay their own money for birth control pills has plunged to under 4 percent from 21 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Health and Human Services Department says the change in rules will affect only a small fraction of women — an estimated 120,000 nationally.

The changes “will not affect over 99.9 percent of the 165 million women in the United States,” the HHS statement said. It added that the exemptions will likely only have an impact for the roughly 200 employers that have filed lawsuits based on religious or moral objections.

“No American should be forced to violate his or her own conscience in order to abide by the laws and regulations governing our health care system,” Caitlin Oakley, Health and Human Services press secretary, said in a statement. “Today’s actions affirm the Trump administration’s commitment to upholding the freedoms afforded all Americans under our Constitution,” the statement said.

It is unclear how religious-affiliated employers, like Catholic hospitals and universities, will respond to the rule changes, according to The Associated Press.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards slammed the decision.

“The Trump administration just took direct aim at birth control coverage for 62 million women. This is an unacceptable attack on basic health care that the vast majority of women rely on,” Richards said in a statement.

“With this rule in place, any employer could decide that their employees no longer have health insurance coverage for birth control,” she said in the statement.

The ACLU was similarly critical, saying in a statement, “The Trump Administration is forcing women to pay for their boss’s religious beliefs.”

Virginia State Attorney General Mark Herring said he and some other state attorneys general are discussing a possible legal response.

“Today’s decision by the Trump administration puts healthcare decisions in the hands of a woman’s employer, which is so demeaning, discriminatory, and dangerous that it’s hard to put it into words,” Herring said in a statement. “We have been anticipating this awful idea and have already begun working with other states to evaluate any legal response that may be appropriate to protect our citizens’ private decisions and access to affordable healthcare.”

The Health and Humsan Services Department’s new rules cite the Supreme Court‘s Hobby Lobby ruling as legal grounds.

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After pounding Central America, Tropical Storm Nate set to hit US

After pounding Central America, Tropical Storm Nate set to hit US

A tropical storm that killed at least 22 people in Central America is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane over the weekend before roaring ashore in New Orleans.

Hurricane watches and warnings were already in effect for coastal areas of four southeastern U.S. states. The region includes metropolitan New Orleans, where a hurricane watch has been issued, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on Thursday as his state braces for a direct hit. He mobilized 1,300 National Guard troops, with 15 going to New Orleans to monitor the troubled pump and drainage system there.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared a state of emergency for the city ahead of the storm’s approach. Landrieu warned that the areas outside of the levee protection system could see a 3 to 6 foot storm surge.

Landrieu said officials are working “around the clock” to repair all power and pumps for the city’s drainage system, which is grappling with flooding from recent rains. As of Thursday afternoon, 108 of the city’s 120 pumps were working, the mayor said.

St. Bernard Parish, just 5 miles southeast of downtown New Orleans, also declared a state of emergency and issued a mandatory evacuation for residents outside of the levee system.

St. John the Baptist Parish, located 30 miles northwest of New Orleans, issued a voluntary evacuation for areas north of the Interstate 55 exit ramp, specifically Peavine, Frenier and Manchac.

So far, the Atlantic has seen five major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) during the 2017 season, two short of the record set in 2005, when seven major hurricanes hit.

The new weather system, dubbed Nate, strengthened into a tropical storm in the western Caribbean Sea near Nicaragua on Thursday morning. It pounded Central America with rain heavy, causing deadly flash floods and mudslides. Some areas could see up to 15 inches of rain through the weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

According to The Associated Press, 22 people were killed, including 15 in Nicaragua and seven in Costa Rica. Costa Rican officials said 15 people were missing as well.

Tropical Storm Nate will traverse the northwestern Caribbean Sea today and reach the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula early this evening. The storm’s center was churning about 175 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and racing toward the north-northwest at 21 mph as of 11 a.m. ET. Maximum sustained winds were 50 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Nate is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico,” the National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.

Nate is forecast to approach southeastern Louisiana early Sunday, making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane somewhere between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

In preparation for the storm, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency that went into effect at 7 a.m. ET Friday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday declared a state of emergency in 29 countries.

Oil and gas companies began evacuating six production platforms on Thursday, according to the Bureau of Safety Environmental Enforcement. While one movable rig was taken out of the storm’s path, no drilling rigs have been evacuated.

Nate could drop 3 to 6 inches of rain in states along the central U.S. Gulf Coast, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. Tropical storm conditions and hurricane conditions are possible within the designated watch areas Saturday night.

Meanwhile, a storm surge is expected to raise water levels by as much as 4 to 7 feet from Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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