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Authorities say a man convicted of murder as a suspected member of the notorious “Ripper Crew” that killed as many as 20 Chicago-area women in the 1980s has been released from prison.

An alert from Illinois’ victim notification system was issued Friday saying 58-year-old Thomas Kokoraleis had been discharged from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Kokoraleis was initially sentenced to life in prison for the 1982 slaying of 21-year-old Lorraine “Lorry” Ann Borowski.

But prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty on appeal in exchange for a 70-year prison term. The deal allowed for his release this week.

Relatives of some victims were infuriated in 2017 when they learned of Kokoraleis’ expected release and delayed his initial parole date.

Records show Kokoraleis was held at the Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Peoria.

Source: Fox News National

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FILE PHOTO: MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs
FILE PHOTO: Apr 8, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester (34) pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

April 9, 2019

Chicago Cubs ace Jon Lester will be placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday and miss “one, maybe two” starts with a hamstring strain, manager Joe Maddon announced.

The left-hander got hurt while running the bases during the Cubs’ six-run second inning in Monday’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He doubled home a run and later scored from second base on a single by Ben Zobrist.

Lester, 35, attempted to come out and pitch in the third inning but was removed from the game due to discomfort. Chicago went on to win, 10-0.

Despite the injury, Lester maintained his sense of humor. “Sometimes when you have elite speed these things can happen,” he tweeted Tuesday morning.

Lester is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts this season. The five-time All-Star is 178-98 with a 3.49 ERA in 14 major league seasons.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

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FILE PHOTO: Rio de Janeiro's Mayor Crivella speaks with Brazil's Finance Minister Meirelles during a meeting in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Marcelo Crivella speaks with Brazil’s Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles during a meeting in Brasilia, Brazil February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

April 3, 2019

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Rio de Janeiro’s municipal council voted to impeach the city’s mayor, Marcelo Crivella, on Tuesday for alleged improbity in extending advertising contracts without public bidding last year.

Crivella, who is also an evangelical bishop and gospel singer, has 10 days to present his defense to the council, which will then open a 90-day investigation of the mayor.

“We did nothing illegal. We will show that during the council’s investigation,” the mayor said on his Facebook page, accusing “ill-intentioned” people of slandering him.

Crivella successfully defeated three attempts to impeach him last year in the city council, but on Tuesday he lost by 35-14 votes after former allies abandoned him.

The anti-gay and anti-abortion preacher-turned-politician was elected mayor of Brazil’s most popular tourist destination in 2016, defeating his Socialist opponent Marcelo Freixo.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

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The French government vowed to strengthen security as yellow vest protesters stage a 19th round of demonstrations, following last week’s riots in Paris.

Authorities banned protests from the capital’s Champs-Elysees avenue and central areas of several cities including Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice in the south, and Rouen in western France.

New Paris police chief Didier Lallement, who took charge following last week’s protests, said specific police units have been created to react faster to any violence.

Authorities also deployed soldiers to protect sensitive sites and allow police forces to focus on maintaining order during the protests.

In Paris, yellow vests issued calls for a gathering on Trocadero plaza, next to the Eiffel Tower, and a demonstration from the south of the capital to Montmartre neighborhood.

Source: Fox News World

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FILE PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines jet waits on the tarmac at Denver International Airport in Denver
FILE PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines jet waits on the tarmac at Denver International Airport in Denver January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

May 21, 2019

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Southwest Airlines Co’s mechanics union said on Tuesday it had voted to ratify a tentative contract agreement with the company, ending seven years of labor negotiations.

In a statement on its website, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association said about 95 percent of its members had voted to accept the agreement, which includes significant pay increases and headcount protections.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

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Thai economy faces heightened political uncertainties: central bank minutes

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Bank of Thailand in Bangkok
FILE PHOTO: A view of the Bank of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo

May 22, 2019

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Heightened political uncertainties in Thailand after an election meant to herald a return to democracy have clouded the outlook for economic policy, the central bank said in minutes of a meeting earlier this month that left interest rates unchanged.

No clear winner emerged from the March 24 election, the first since a military coup in 2014, and the country is still waiting for a new government to be formed.

Whichever party ends up taking the reins, it is likely to be leading a fragile coalition.

Central bank policy makers alluded to potential hazards for the economy in minutes of their May 8 meeting that left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75%.

“The Thai economy was subject to heightened political uncertainties, which could have implications for economic growth, including a direct effect on government spending in the period ahead and an indirect effect on private consumption and investor confidence,” minutes of the bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting said.

Continuing on that theme, another entry said: “Investors remained cautious to invest in Thai assets partly due to domestic political uncertainties.”

The minutes also referred to a “rate adjustment”, marking a change in wording from the previous policy meeting, held on March 20, which had said “a policy rate increase would be gradual” and follow a data-dependent approach.

Data released on Tuesday showed the Thai economy grew 2.8% in the first quarter from a year ago – the weakest in over four years – and the central bank said earlier this month that this year’s growth would be lower than its last forecast of 3.8 percent.

According to the minutes, the committee would need to wait for more clarity due to global economic and domestic political uncertainties.

“Therefore, current accommodative policy would remain appropriate. Going forward, further policy rate adjustment would be gradual and follow a data-dependent approach,” they said.

The central bank raised its policy rate in December for the first time since 2011 to help curb financial risks, but has held the rate steady at the three subsequent meetings of its MPC.

The MPC will next review monetary policy on June 19, when it will also give updated economic forecasts. Most economists expect no policy rate change throughout 2019.

For the full minutes:

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

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House Dems and some ‘GOT’ fans have something new in common

House Democrats and 'GOT' fans share something in common: they want to change the script

However, a question remains: would a change in the narrative make the outcome better?

It wasn’t long ago that the chances of impeaching President Trump were rather low. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., all but ruled out impeachment. But the chances that Democrats could launch an impeachment probe of the president spiked dramatically this week.

Democrats were buoyed by the ruling by a federal judge that the accounting firm Mazars must hand over the president’s financial records, complying with a House subpoena for the documents. It could be argued that the ruling could have mollified some pushes for impeachment. But the decision actually intensified demands for impeachment among some House Democrats. Then the Justice Department told the House Judiciary Committee that former White House Counsel Don McGahn wouldn’t testify this week, defying a subpoena.


“She isn’t going to be able to hold off impeachment much longer. It’s coming to a head” predicted one senior House Democrat of Pelosi. The lawmaker asked that they not be identified.

The Democrat argued that Pelosi would switch her position on impeachment “within the next two weeks” and added “the vast majority of us are for impeachment.”

House Democrats engaged in an animated debate about how leaders should proceed Monday night. Pelosi huddled with her top leadership brass and Nadler until 9:40 p.m. on Monday. When he emerged from the conclave, a cadre of reporters asked the New York Democrat about impeachment for Mr. Trump.

“He’s making it very difficult to avoid thinking about that,” replied Nadler.

Pelosi exited the Capitol for the night a few minutes later.

“There’s no divide,” said Pelosi when asked about divergent views among Democrats on impeachment. “We’re fine. We’re good.”


On Monday night, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., leader of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) ramped up his impeachment advocacy.

“There’s a tremendous level of frustration at our inability to get witnesses and documents that are necessary to do our work,” said Cicilline.

But Cicilline stopped short of saying Pelosi should shift her impeachment stance.

“She’s the Speaker of the House and she’ll make those decisions,” said Cicilline of Pelosi. “I think the Speaker is very responsive to the caucus and she’ll make her judgement on where she thinks the caucus is.”

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., is running for president. He says “it is past time” for a debate about impeachment.

“What about just doing the right thing?” asked Moulton. “What about fulfilling our Congressional, Constitutional duty? I understand the politics are tricky and that’s a fair question. But I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.”

So let’s evaluate where thing stand:

The Judiciary Committee voted to cite Attorney General William Barr with a contempt of Congress resolution a few weeks ago. The full House has yet to vote to slap Barr with contempt. Congress is scheduled to abandon Washington on Thursday afternoon until early June. So the House won’t consider the Barr contempt issue for weeks. The Judiciary Committee hasn’t scheduled a meeting to hold McGahn in contempt.

Pelosi is expected to deliver a “status report” to the Democratic Caucus on Wednesday and entertain views from rank-and-file members about what’s next.

Liberal Democrats have long argued for impeachment. But now some Democrats who represent battleground districts or those which are friendly to Mr. Trump are starting to chatter about impeachment.

“I think there is a growing amount of support,” said Progressive Caucus leader & Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.


Many Democrats think they can go to the mat with the president and still push other items on their agenda, ranging from health care to better wages.

“What’s covered in the district is different from what’s on cable television,” said Jayapal. “And it’s not like this goes away even if we don’t open an impeachment inquiry.”

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., flipped her district from red to blue in 2016, and represents a district with GOP leanings.

“The danger we should be most-focused on is undermining our own democracy,” said Murphy when asked about impeachment. Murphy added that Pelosi is “counseling patience to let this play out.”

This is a struggle for Democrats. The party is torn between trying to stand up for the institution of Congress and voters thinking they’ve gone overboard. There could be a political backlash.

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., is a freshman who won what had historically been a GOP district. Crow represents the type of district Democrats must maintain if they are to keep their grip on the House. Crow argues that Democrats can strike a balance.

“The idea that we can’t walk and chew gum is an idea that I reject,” said Crow. “There isn’t a binary choice here.”

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., narrowly flipped her seat to Democratic control last year. Slotkin says Democrats must continue “chewing the gum.” In other words, don’t allow investigations and impeachment to sidetrack conversations about the cost of prescription drugs.

“We risk losing focus on the issues that help people in their everyday lives,” said Slotkin.

But know this: Any devolution into impeachment will devour Washington. There won’t be bandwidth to discuss economic issues or health care – the “bread and butter” issues Democrats like Crow and Slotkin must champion to hold their seats. Go back to 1998 when House Republicans impeached President Clinton. Few subjects could keep pace with impeachment. That’s why many Democrats know it’s risky to pursue the impeachment strategy.

“The caucus wants to proceed methodically,” observed House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

And that’s why the decision to move ahead with impeachment could hinge on next year’s election prospects.


“To say there’s no political calculus would not be honest for any of us in the Congress,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

Game of Thrones fans may demand a re-write. Liberal Democrats may demand a change in the script, too. Democratic leaders could find themselves wrestling with impeachment. Democrats may need a way to distract attention from impeaching President Trump.

There’s an easy remedy for that. Just leave a coffee cup or a few water bottles lying around the set.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Half of American adults expect war with Iran ‘within next few years’: Reuters/Ipsos poll

FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives during the Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives of the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

May 22, 2019

By Chris Kahn

(Reuters) – Half of all Americans believe that the United States will go to war with Iran “within the next few years,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Tuesday amid increased tensions between the two countries.

While Americans are more concerned about Iran as a security threat to the United States now than they were last year, few would be in favor of a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military. But if Iran attacked U.S. military forces first, four out of five believed the United States should respond militarily in a full or limited way, the May 17-20 poll showed.

Historically tense relations between Washington and Tehran worsened in May after U.S. President Donald Trump hardened his anti-Iran stance and restored all sanctions on Iranian oil exports following his decision a year ago to pull the United States out of a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran.

The United States moved an aircraft carrier and forces to the Gulf region in response to intelligence that Iran may be plotting against U.S. interests, an assertion Iran denies.

Nearly half – 49% – of all Americans disapprove of how Republican Trump is handling relations with Iran, the poll found, with 31% saying they strongly disapprove. Overall, 39% approve of Trump’s policy.

The survey showed that 51% of adults felt that the United States and Iran would go to war within the next few years, up 8 percentage points from a similar poll published last June. In this year’s poll, Democrats and Republicans were both more likely to see Iran as a threat and to say war was likely.

Iran was characterized by 53% of adults in the United States as either a “serious” or “imminent” threat, up 6 percentage points from a similar poll from last July. In comparison, 58% of Americans characterized North Korea as a threat and 51% characterized Russia as a threat.

Despite their concerns, 60% of Americans said the United States should not conduct a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military, while 12% advocate for striking first.

If Iran attacked, however, 79% said that the U.S. military should retaliate: 40% favored a limited response with airstrikes, while 39% favored a full invasion.

Both the United States and Iran have said they do not want war, although there have been bellicose statements from both.

Despite Trump’s decision to withdraw, the poll showed 61% of Americans still supported the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers to curb Iran’s potential pathway to a nuclear bomb in return for sanctions relief. Republicans also favored the accord negotiated by the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama, with a little more than half saying they supported it.

Gulf allies and U.S. government officials have said they believe Iran-backed groups are responsible for a series of attacks on shipping and pipelines in the Gulf in the last week.

Trump has said he would like to negotiate with the Islamic Republic’s leaders. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected talks on Tuesday and has said “economic war” is being waged against Iran.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,007 adults, including 377 Democrats and 313 Republicans, and has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 4 percentage points.

To see a copy of the full poll results and methodology, click here:

(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

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Trump’s agenda hampered by troubling number of lower court injunctions, Barr says

Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday said he has noticed a troubling trend of nationwide injunctions issued by lower courts that have taken their toll on President Trump’s agenda and threaten the political process for future administrations.

Barr, who has been accused by Democrats of protecting Trump after the release of the Mueller report, told the American Law Institute that there is a new trend of judicial "willingness" to review executive action, which injects courts into the political process.

He pointed to the district court in California that in January 2018 issued a temporary injunction to block the Trump administration from ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

DACA has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas. The program includes hundreds of thousands of college-age students.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup said at the time that lawyers in favor of DACA demonstrated that the immigrants “were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm” without court action. The judge also said the lawyers have a strong chance of succeeding at trial.

The White House was swift to criticize these lower court injunctions and called this particular decision “outrageous.” Vice President Mike Pence recently said the administration will ask the Supreme Court to bar them.

"So what have these nationwide injunction wrought?  Dreamers remain in limbo, the political process has been pre-empted, and we have had over a year of bitter political division that included a government shutdown of unprecedented length," Barr said.


Barr said nationwide injunctions violate the separation of powers. He said that since Trump took office, there have been 37 nationwide injunctions—more than once a month-- against his office and he said there is likely no end in sight. He said, by comparison, there were two instances where district courts issued an injunction in President Obama’s first two years. 

The Associated Press wrote that this is “the latest example of Barr moving to embrace Trump’s political talking points.” Its report pointed out the Trump criticized these rulings at a rally earlier this month, saying, “activist judges who issue nationwide injunctions based on their personal beliefs, which undermine democracy and threaten the rule of law.”

Barr has brushed aside criticism from Democrats that he is in the president’s pocket. He told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that he is defending the presidency, not Trump.


“If you destroy the presidency and make it an errand boy for Congress, we’re going to be a much weaker and more divided nation,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

Source: Fox News Politics

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Japan’s sumo fans welcome Trump Trophy but wish he’d sit cross-legged

College students work out at the Sumo wrestling club at Nippon Sports Science University in Tokyo
College students work out at the Sumo wrestling club at Nippon Sports Science University in Tokyo, Japan May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

May 22, 2019

By Jack Tarrant and Yoko Kono

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump can expect a warm welcome from the sumo wrestling community when he presents a custom-made “Trump Award” to the winner of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo on May 26.

However, with Trump expected to view the bouts from a chair instead of sitting cross-legged on a cushion as ringside viewers typically do, some fans have been left upset at his special treatment.

Trump is expected to watch the final three bouts on the last day of the tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan venue alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his May 25-28 state visit. Their wives, Melania Trump and Akie Abe, are also expected to attend.

He will present the trophy to the winning wrestler following other awards, the Japanese Sumo Association (JSA) said.

“I’ve always found that fascinating,” Trump said of sumo at a news conference in April.

Some members of the sumo community welcomed the increased exposure that Trump’s visit will give their sport.

“Sumo is Japanese traditional culture. It is not just about winning and defeat. So, it is good that the president is involved and will present a trophy,” said Kazuo Saito, a sumo coach at Nippon Sports Science University.

Saito also doesn’t think U.S. leader’s presence will affect the wrestlers’ performance.

“I believe that they will compete at their best,” he said

Trump, 72, will sit in a chair, instead of on a “zabuton” cushion on the floor as is customary.

That has upset some sumo fans.

Masaru Tomamoto, 73, said he sympathized with Trump but nonetheless would prefer the U.S. leader to follow custom.

“I also want to sit on chair as we watch sumo wrestling,” admitted Tomamoto over a steaming bowl of chanko nabe, the stew favored by sumo wrestlers.

“But if (Trump) watches a Japanese traditional sport, sumo, I think that it would be much better for him to sit cross-legged with the cushion on the floor, rather than on chair.”

Izumi China from Sapporo in northern Japan echoed the sentiment: “As we say, when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Trump will have to climb onto the ‘dohyo’ – or sumo ring – to present the award alongside Abe. Shoes are typically not worn on the dohyo so he may have to wear slippers or shoe covers.

Almost one-eighth of the 11,000 seats have been reserved for Trump, Abe and their security teams. Ordinary attendees will have to go through security checks, media reported.

Trump will not be the first foreign dignitary to present a trophy to a sumo tournament winner.

Former French President Jacques Chirac, who was known as a big sumo fan, created the President of the Republic of France Cup and presented the trophy to the winning wrestler in 2000. It was presented every year until Chirac left office in 2007.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant and Yoko Kono; additional reporting by Masashi Kato and Ami Miyazaki; editing by Linda Sieg)

Source: OANN

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U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm Hikvision: NYT

FILE PHOTO: Security China 2018 exhibition in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Visitors walk near the stall of the Hikvision Digital Technology Co. at the Security China 2018 exhibition on public safety and security in Beijing, China October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

May 22, 2019

(Reuters) – The U.S. administration is considering limits to Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision’s ability to buy U.S. technology, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, in a move that deepens worries about trade frictions between the world’s two top economies.

The move would effectively place Hikvision on a U.S. blacklist and U.S. companies may have to obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, the paper said.

The U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei Technologies from buying U.S. goods last week, effectively banning U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese firm, a major escalation in the trade war, saying Huawei was involved in activities contrary to national security.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Hikvision shares opened 10% lower but an executive in the company’soffice told Reuters the company had not been informed of the possible U.S. blacklisting.

“The chips Hikvision uses are very commercial and most of the suppliers are actually in China although there are some in the United States,” said the executive, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“Even if the U.S. stops selling them to us we can remedy this through other suppliers” she said.

Hikvision and Dahua Technology which produce audio-visual equipment that can be used for surveillance were specifically cited in a letter to Trump’s top advisers last month, signed by more than 40 lawmakers.

The lawmakers said China’s actions in its western region of Xinjiang “may constitute crimes against humanity” and urged tighter U.S. export controls to ensure that U.S. companies are not assisting the Chinese government’s crackdown there.

China has faced growing condemnation from Western capitals and rights groups for setting up facilities that U.N. experts describe as mass detention centers holding more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims.

Beijing has said its measures in Xinjiang, which are also reported to include widespread surveillance of the population, are aimed at stemming the threat of Islamist militancy. The facilities or camps that have opened are vocational training centers, the government has said.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat and Philip George in Bengaluru; Additional Reporting by Brenda Goh and Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and Anshuman Daga)

Source: OANN

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Suspect in custody after police chase RV in Southern California; dog seen tumbling from vehicle

A suspect was in custody following a high-speed police chase of a mobile home in Southern California on Tuesday evening. At one point, a dog was seen tumbling out of the suspect's badly damaged vehicle but appeared to walk away unscathed.

Much of the chase was broadcast live on local television as news helicopters followed the mobile home.


The California Highway Patrol said officers suspected the mobile home had been stolen from the Newhall area of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County. The driver weaved in and out of traffic on surface streets at high speeds in the San Fernando Valley area. The woman  slammed into a tree and several other vehicles, tearing off the passenger-side door of one car before continuing on.

The driver crashed into a vehicle near a home in Tarzana and ran from the motor home, a second dog following shortly behind her. The woman tried to leap a fence before being tackled by law enforcement.


Police and fire crews were on the scene. Aerial footage showed at least one person injured, lying on his back in the driveway of the home near where the suspect crashed, KABC-TV of Los Angeles reported. He was taken to a local hospital, but the severity of his injuries was unknown.

The suspect was taken into custody around 7:30 p.m. and was treated by first responders.

Source: Fox News National

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