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'They aren't dead?' Florida man asks police when he learns 2 survived shooting, officials say

A man was arrested Thursday just hours after a fatal shooting at the Best Southern Sun Plaza Motel on South Ridgewood Avenue, police said.

Police said they arrested Marcus Pinckney, 40, in connection with the shooting. He was found in an Ormond Beach hotel, police said.

>> Read more trending news

The shooting happened at about 3 a.m. at the Best Southern Sun Plaza Motel.

A 57-year-old man died at the scene and two other men were injured. The survivors were taken to Halifax Medical Center, where they are in stable condition, officials said.

“This is an Isolated incident. Suspects and victims all knew each other,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said during a news conference. “His targets were intended targets. Almost like an execution, if you want to call it (that).” 

Police said the shooting started in the parking lot of the motel, where there was likely a feud with the gunman about a deal gone badly. 

“The deceased male and one of the injured males are father and son. The third male may be partially blind,” police said in a news release.

Witnesses told officers they looked outside when they heard gunshots, police said. Capri said there have been some narcotics complaints at the motel.

The manager showed WFTV reporter Sarahbeth Ackerman surveillance video of the incident. The video shows a man getting out of a silver Honda and opening fire on three other men.

Police said Pinckney kidnapped his girlfriend, who was in the car at the time of the shooting. She was able to later escape, officers said.

Officers received several tips that Pinckney was at the Ormond Beach motel. They found him armed with a gun at the hotel with his ex-girlfriend, police said.

“He got right into the hands of the police,” a police spokesperson said.

Police said when Pinckney was arrested, he asked officers, “They aren’t dead?” in reference to the victims.

The motel’s manager, Charles Urban, said the three men had been living there for 2 1/2 years and knew the shooter. Urban said they had caused problems at the motel before.

“Nothing like this. It's just that there's a lot of traffic coming in and out. You'd have to live here to understand, but there's a lot of homeless people. There's a lot of prostitutes, and they seem to always gravitate to (room) No. 4," Urban said.

Pinckney was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and a slew of other charges, police said.

Court records show Pinckney has prior arrests on charges of battery and drugs.

The names of victims have not been released. 

Walmart employee breaks window to rescue infant from hot car, police say

A Walmart employee broke a hot car’s window Tuesday to save an infant locked inside, police said. 

>> Read more trending news

The employee was on break when (he or she) saw Casey Hornsby park her car and walk into Walmart with a child, according to the Valley Times-News. The employee, who has not been identified, went back to work about 20 minutes later and saw an infant in a car seat.

The employee got help from co-workers and people walking by in order to break a window and remove the child from the car, Valley Police Maj. Mike Reynolds told the Times-News.

“The vehicle was off, the windows were rolled up and it was approximately 93 degrees at the time,” Reynolds said. “(People) have all rights to do what they need to do to ensure the safety of a child.” 

The child, who was lethargic and flushed, was removed from the vehicle and taken inside the store. After cooling off, there were no injuries.

Hornsby was paged inside the store and after several attempts was found leaving the store. Hornsby told police she had “forgotten the child was in the car,” according to the Times-News

She was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Times-News. The children were taken into custody by child protective services and then later released to the father.

Traffic surge on Amazon Prime Day buckles servers, leads to hours of glitches

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. EDT, July 19: 

Amazon failed to secure enough servers capable of handling the traffic surge on Prime Day, one of the tech giant’s biggest shopping days of the year, causing a series of glitches that temporarily affected some customers.

>> Read more trending news 

The information comes from CNBC, which obtained internal Amazon documents on the problem.

Amazon also had to add servers manually to handle the traffic, CNBC reported.

“A breakdown in an internal system called Sable, which Amazon uses to provide compute and storage services to its retail and digital businesses, caused a series of glitches across other services that depend on it, like Prime, authentication, and video playback,” according to CNBC, citing Amazon documents.

Despite the outage, which lasted for hours, Amazon said this year’s Prime Day was the “biggest shopping event” in the company’s history, with over 100 million products sold over a 36-hour period.

ORIGINAL STORY 3:30 p.m. EDT, July 16:

Amazon Prime Day started at 3 p.m. Eastern time today, but not without some glitches.

CNBC reported that customers complained of errors on desktop and mobile. According to the outlet, some customers got an error page featuring “dogs of Amazon.” On those pages, a photo of a dog appears with the text, “Sorry. Something went wrong on our end,” “Sorry. We couldn’t find that page,” or a similar error message. The dog photo changes with each refresh. There are more than a dozen dog images.

Visiting, navigating to the Prime Day page and clicking on “shop all deals,” or “shop deals by interest” led some users to a redirect loop to the “shop all deals” page.

Related: Amazon glitch: Here's how to get on the Amazon Prime site

According to Tech Crunch, direct links to product pages work fine, including direct links to specific products on the Prime Day page. 

Amazon has not commented on the reports about Prime Day site glitches. The Associated Press reported that the extent of the outage is not clear.

New York City steam pipe explosion injures 5, sends massive plume over Manhattan

A steam pipe explosion in Manhattan’s Flatiron District sent massive plumes into the sky Thursday morning over New York City.

>> Watch WABC’s coverage here

Update 3:05 p.m. EDT July 19: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said tests have confirmed that an 86-year-old steam pipe that exploded in Manhattan early Thursday was lined with asbestos.

The explosion, reported just before 6:40 a.m. near the intersection of 21st Street and Fifth Avenue, sent a massive smoke plume into the air and prompted authorities to evacuate dozens of buildings. New York City Fire Department Commissioner Dan Nigro said five people suffered minor injuries in the explosion.

De Blasio said streets closed by Thursday morning’s explosion would remain so until at least Saturday to give authorities the opportunity to clean the facades of the affected buildings.

“Our concern is the debris that was thrown off by the rupture,” he said. “Some of that is still visible on the street and on the building facades -- that all needs to be cleaned up.”

He said officials will conduct an assessment to ensure no asbestos remains in the area before they open it back up for business and residents.

Officials said the air cleared of asbestos shortly after the explosion, however, authorities warned people who were in the area during the incident that they should bag their clothing and shower.

“The challenge is anything that might cause repeat exposure,” de Blasio said. “One time brief exposure is generally not a problem.”

Update 12:50 p.m. EDT July 19: Streets closed Thursday morning when a nearly century-old steam pipe exploded in New York City could remain closed for several days if officials confirm the pipe was lined with asbestos, according to The New York Times.

New York City Fire Department Commissioner Dan Nigro said officials were working under that assumption on Thursday because the pipe was installed in 1932.

City officials told the Times that the exteriors of buildings in the area will have to be decontaminated if asbestos is confirmed.

In a statement obtained by WPIX, officials with the utility company Con Edison warned people to stay clear of the area of the explosion, on 5th Avenue and 21st Street in Manhattan.

“Environmental testing is being conducted to determine whether asbestos or other contaminants are present, but as a precaution anyone in the vicinity of the rupture who was covered in material is advised to bag their clothing and shower,” the statement said.

According to The Associated Press, there are more than 100 miles of steam pipes running beneath Manhattan. 

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT July 19: New York City Fire Department Commissioner Dan Nigro said five people suffered minor injuries when a high-pressure steam pipe that was installed in 1932 exploded Thursday morning.

“The major disruption is that not only did this steam line burst, but it caused the disruption of a gas line, a water main and some electrical power,” he said Thursday at a news conference.

Officials said 28 buildings were evacuated by 11 a.m. Thursday, up from the 11 reportedly evacuated in the immediate aftermath of the explosion.

Nigro said authorities sent samples to be tested for asbestos because of the age of the burst pipe.

“We are operating as if the samples will come back positive,” Nigro said.

Original report: According to WNBC, the blast occurred about 6:30 a.m. EDT Thursday near the intersection of 21st Street and Fifth Avenue.

>> Read more trending news 

Authorities have not reported any injuries in the explosion, which “spewed debris all over the streets,” the news station said.

Fire crews were still at the scene an hour later, and officials closed streets in the area as commuters headed to work. 

Starbucks to the rescue when weather cancels teen’s senior pictures

The employees at some Starbucks locations really feel like they don’t just work at a coffee shop, they’re part of the community. One shop in Fountain, Colorado, apparently is one of those type of stores. 

Sydney Johansson was getting ready to have her senior portraits taken Sunday afternoon, but the weather wouldn’t cooperate. So her mother drove her around, with the photographer in tow, looking for anywhere that could accommodate them, KKTV reported

The photography session couldn’t be rescheduled because Sydney has an upcoming surgery. She is also in a wheelchair. 

Sydney has cerebral palsy among other health conditions, KKTV reported

Laura Johansson suggested Starbucks, thinking the worst that could happen, would be that the shop would say no.

Photographer Jessica Vallia posted what transpired at the store to Facebook

Vallia said that the man at the counter told them that they could absolutely use the store for the photos. The employee, Chris, offered the Johanssons his umbrella so they could stay dry as the trio transferred from the vehicle into the store. Chris then went out with them, getting soaked in the rain in the process, to help Sydney and Jessica into the shop.

Chris warmed the group up with hot chocolate and inquired multiple times if they needed anything else. As the session progressed, Chris got paper and markers out to make Sydney a backdrop for her photos. 

>> Read more trending news 

Vallia said they took over the Starbucks for at least an hour. 

“All of these fates aligned and gave me the most perfect story for my most perfect kid, and I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Laura told KKTV.

Vallia’s post caught the attention of Starbucks’ offices, which said in its own Facebook post, “To Chris and the partners at our Fountain, CO store -- thank you for going out of your way to do the right thing, for setting an example for all of us, and most of all, bringing some sunshine to Sydney and her family on this very special day.”

Resident calls police on black student canvassing voters in Georgia

Morehouse College junior Eli Sabur has been canvassing since 2015. He’s spent countless hours knocking on doors, trying to get metro Atlanta residents to support causes — from political candidates to public broadcasting — that he cares about.

Approximately three times a month, someone calls the police, Sabur said.

>> Read more trending news

That happened on June 30 in Snellville. Sabur and a friend were canvassing for Democratic congressional candidate David Kim, who is in the July 24 runoff election for the 7th Congressional District, when three Gwinnett County police cars pulled up. Someone in the neighborhood had called 911 and reported a suspicious vehicle, said Cpl. Wilbert Rundles, a Gwinnett County police spokesman.

The caller told a 911 operator that one man had been sitting in a parked car near the caller’s house for about 20 minutes while another man walked around the neighborhood, according to audio from the call. The caller did not say he saw either man doing anything potentially criminal, but wanted officers to come check on the situation.

>> WATCH: 'Permit Patty' appears to call police on girl selling bottled water in viral video

Sabur pulled out his phone and started recording. In the brief clip, he counted the police cars and shook his head. Once officers learned Sabur and his friend were legally canvassing, they left without issuing any citation or warning. 

Sabur posted the short video on social media after the encounter. The clip blew up online when social justice activist Shaun King shared it on Twitter. The video has been viewed more than 149,000 times. 

Sabur was surprised that the clip had gained such attention, mostly because he has to deal with the same situation so often. Sabur, who is black, believes it’s racial profiling, but has gotten used to dealing with cops showing up when he’s knocking on doors.

“Just growing up black you kind of have to be aware that you have to live like you’re being feared,” Sabur told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If I went out every day and a cop got called, I wouldn’t be surprised. It happens so consistently, it makes no difference to me.”

In the June 30 call, the caller made no mention of race until asked by the 911 operator for identification purposes.

>> Huge cookout held at Oakland park where cops called on black family's barbecue

Gwinnett police spokesman has said the incident had nothing to do with race, and that the resident was only doing as law enforcement has instructed citizens, to speak up when they suspect suspicious behavior.

Sabur has supervised other canvassers before and has noticed the disparity in how often black canvassers and white canvassers deal with police. For black men and women, Sabur said, it’s a regular occurrence, but white canvassers rarely encounter law enforcement on the job. 

“You can blatantly see it,” Sabur said.

He expects that he’ll still have to regularly deal with the police being called on him, but he’s not deterred.

“Canvassing is super important. I love people and it’s always work for purpose,” Sabur said. “If there’s any drawback, it’s the Georgia heat and unpredictable weather.”

Florida gas station owner charged after shooting man who stole $36 worth of beer, police say

A gas station owner was arrested after shooting a man who left the store with $36 worth of Natural Ice beer, police say. 

>> Read more trending news

Rennie Defoe Jr. walked into a Shell gas station Tuesday night and walked out with three 18-packs of Natural Ice beer without paying, according to WFLA

Mehedeun Hasan, 22, who co-owns the gas station with his father, grabbed a 9mm handgun and walked out in order to confront Defoe, according to WFLA

Defoe, 43, is seen in surveillance footage loading the beer into his car, then getting in and shutting the door. Hasan then arrives and appears to be pointing a gun. 

Defoe was shot in the left arm and chest as he reversed to leave. He drove a short distance before crashing. He was taken to a hospital, where he is in critical condition, according to WFLA.

Hasan, who has no prior criminal history, was arrested and charged Wednesday with shooting into an occupied vehicle and attempted second-degree murder, according to WFLA

Defoe has 12 previous felony charges and nine previous misdemeanors, including firing a missile into a dwelling, battery, grand theft and grand larceny, according to WFLA. He was most recently released from prison June 12.

Woman accused of hitting 16-year-old sister with car, assaulting officers

A 16-year-old girl was struck by a vehicle driven by her sister Wednesday night in Pittsburgh’s Fineview neighborhood, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news

The girl jumped on the hood of the moving vehicle, fell off and was hit shortly after 10 p.m. on Belleau Drive, according to investigators.

Police said the teenager was taken to a hospital in critical condition. She was later upgraded to serious condition.

As the girl was being taken to the hospital, a crowd started gathering and people were separated by officers because they were about to fight, according to a criminal complaint.

Officers then attempted to talk with the driver, 23-year-old Breyanna Fields. She was uncooperative and was handcuffed, police said.

Fields kicked two officers and pushed a third, the complaint said. She tried to bite another officer.

Witnesses told police Fields was seen speeding up and down the street before the 16-year-old was hit, and the car was moved before police arrived, the complaint said.

Charges against Fields include driving under the influence, aggravated assault, resisting arrest and driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked.

Department of Justice seeking reimbursement for Georgia sheriff’s $70K muscle car

The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding reimbursement for the nearly $70,000 that Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway spent on the high-powered sports car he drives to and from work.

In a letter to Conway, the DOJ characterized the sheriff’s purchase of a Dodge Charger Hellcat — a 707-horsepower muscle car that some have called the fastest sedan ever built — as extravagant.

The federal government previously approved the purchase, which used asset forfeiture funds, but are now questioning if the Hellcat is being used for its stated purpose.

>> Read more trending news 

Gwinnett County officials said this week they’ll comply with the reimbursement request, and that they’ll be adding “review points” to their acquisition process.

Conway, who has been sheriff since 1996, is standing behind the purchase.

“Sheriff Conway maintains that this vehicle is an appropriate purchase, especially for an agency with a $92 million budget and the opportunity this vehicle provides in making our roadways safer,” Deputy Shannon Volkodav, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman, said in a written statement, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Conway’s office purchased the all-black Hellcat with heavily tinted windows in April. It used $69,258 that had been previously approved by the DOJ’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section as part of its “equitable sharing program,” which distributes assets seized during enforcement efforts to state and local agencies hoping to make purchases to support their missions.

The sheriff’s Hellcat application touted the high-powered vehicle’s potential use in Gwinnett County’s Beat the Heat program, a nonprofit that uses drag races in controlled environments to “educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving and illegal street racing.”

Guidelines prohibit “the use of equitably shared funds for extravagant expenditures,” the DOJ’s letter, dated July 10, said. “The vehicle in question is a high-performance vehicle not typically purchased as part of a traditional fleet of law enforcement vehicles.”

The department also took issue with part of the request that stated Conway would also use the car for undercover and covert operations.

The Sheriff’s Office defended the claim, saying that, in addition to driving the car to and from work, Conway uses it “when he participates in field operations, covert and otherwise, with our deputies.”

William Perry, the executive director of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, called the sheriff’s office’s explanations of the car’s use “bullfeathers.” He said money from seized assets should be “treated the same way as a dollar coming out of a taxpayer’s pocket.”

“In my eyes, the only way Butch Conway can save face is if he writes a personal check for that vehicle and apologizes to the taxpayers of Gwinnett County,” Perry said.

According to the Department of Justice’s letter, the sheriff’s office is not eligible to request or receive more asset forfeiture funds until the Hellcat money is reimbursed. A deadline of July 31 was given.

Volkodav said Wednesday that the sheriff’s office hadn’t yet formally responded to the letter and was exploring its options.

Gwinnett County spokesman Joe Sorenson said the county was “committed to resolving the matter quickly and will be adding review points in our process for equipment purchased with asset forfeiture funds to make sure we comply with guidelines set forth by the Department of Justice.”

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