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Duke removes Robert E. Lee statue from chapel entrance

Duke University released a statement Saturday morning that said the school removed the Robert E. Lee statue from its chapel entrance.

The announcement comes days after the statue was one of many vandalized around the nation after the Charlottesville, Virginia protests.

>> Read more trending news

The Duke University president, Vincent E. Price, sent the following statement to the students:

To the Duke community,

After hearing from and consulting with a number of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and with the strong support of the Board of Trustees, I authorized the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee from the entrance of Duke Chapel early this morning.

I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university.

The removal also presents an opportunity for us to learn and heal. The statue will be preserved so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future.

Wednesday night’s act of vandalism made clear that the turmoil and turbulence of recent months do not stop at Duke’s gates. We have a responsibility to come together as a community to determine how we can respond to this unrest in a way that demonstrates our firm commitment to justice, not discrimination; to civil protest, not violence; to authentic dialogue, not rhetoric; and to empathy, not hatred.

As part of this effort, I am creating a commission, to include faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and members of the Durham community, to advise on next steps and to assist us in navigating the role of memory and history at Duke. The commission will look at how we memorialize individuals on the Duke campus in buildings and sculpture and recommend principles drawn from Duke’s core values to guide us when questions arise. I will ask this commission to work expeditiously.

In addition, and in concert with Provost Sally Kornbluth, we will use the next year to explore various aspects of Duke's history and ambitions through teaching and scholarship. This will include an exhibition in the Library; a campus conversation about controversy and injustice in Duke’s history; and a forum to explore academic freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly in the university. Further information about these programs will be forthcoming.

As this process moves forward, I welcome your thoughts about how Duke can best address the troubling events of the past few months, learn from a careful and unvarnished understanding of our national and institutional history, and build a stronger, more inclusive future as a university community.

Police: Cook threw hot grease on customer during fight at Memphis gas station

A gas station cook is a facing serious charge after police said she attacked a customer and threw a pot of hot grease on her. 

The victim told officers she entered a Shell gas station in Memphis early Friday and ordered chicken wings. 

She said the wings were undercooked. When she tried to explain the problem, she said the cook, Olivia Gipson, became agitated and started arguing with her.

>> Read more trending news

Police said Gipson punched the victim in the face when she tried to talk to a manager and pulled out a box cutter, slicing at the victim's face. The cook is also accused of throwing a hot pot of grease in the victim's face. 

Gipson told police the victim started the fight and she was just trying to defend herself. She was charged with aggravated assault.

When officers arrived, they said the victim was covered in blood. Police said there was a trail of blood all over the store. She had second-degree burns to her face, eyes, chest and shoulders, and was taken to Regional One in noncritical condition.

FOX13 spoke to the store owner, who said the victim never actually bought any chicken on the day of the incident. He also told us the victim has caused problems in his store before.

Police: Mom tried to breast-feed after being pulled over on suspicion of DWI

A woman pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated attempted to breast-feed her child while an officer spoke to her, police said.

Natasha Abrams, 27, was pulled over Thursday night in Albuquerque after police observed her driving erratically, KOB reported. As an officer tried to speak to Abrams, he witnessed Abrams attempting to feed her baby, according to the police report. The officer noted Abrams had watery, bloodshot eyes and the odor of alcohol was present.

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Abrams told police that she had been looking at her phone when the dog jumped on her, causing her to swerve. She said she had a glass of wine earlier in the day. Abrams failed sobriety tests and blew at or above the legal limit during a breath test, police said.

Abrams was arrested and charged with child endangerment in addition to DWI. The baby was placed in the temporary custody of the grandparents, police said.

Crowds gather for ‘Free Speech’ rally  in Boston

A free speech rally planned for Boston Common since last month is set to take place Saturday. Two protests have also been planned to take place denouncing recent violence that took place at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

>> Read more trending news

Cameras and other security measures were in place at and around Boston Common. Street closures are expected to begin Saturday around 10:30 a.m. Crowds could be seen gathering Saturday morning ahead of the noon rally.

Boston police and city officials began construction of barriers designed to keep the different rallies separated. In a news conference, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh asked everyone to help promote peace and stay safe Saturday amid the planned rallies. He advised people who aren't planning to attend to avoid the area around the common.

>> Tensions high in N.C. amid rumored KKK march

“They have the right to gather, no matter how repugnant their views are. But they don’t have the right to create unsafe conditions,” he said. “They must respect our city.”

Man tried to sell stolen refrigeration unit back to owner, police say

An Iowa man accused of trying to steal a stolen refrigerator back to its owner pleaded guilty to felony theft charges Thursday.

Roger Otts, 38, stole a refrigeration unit worth $12,000, police said. He then tried to sell the unit back to the owner, who was disguised as a buyer, for $8,000, KCCI reported. Otts was immediately arrested.

>> Read more trending news

Otts pleaded guilty to felony theft and probation violation charges, KCCI reported. A judge ordered Otts to serve 90 days for parole violations. Otts then will serve a two-year probation for the theft charge. If he violates the probation, as a habitual offender, he will be required to serve at least three years in prison.

Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors

The White House announced in a statement Saturday that President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will not attend this year's Kennedy Center Honors.

The statement said that the president made the decision to not participate to “allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction.” The statement said the president and first lady “extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments.”

>> Read more trending news

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual tradition. Past presidents and first ladies host a reception for honorees at the White House before the Kennedy Center gala and attend the televised event. 

One of this year's honorees, television writer and producer Norman Lear, had announced he was skipping the White House reception due to Trump, and other honorees also planned to boycott the reception, the Washington Post reported.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Police: Man's attempt to carjack football players ends in beating

A man accused of attempting to carjack a group of football players ended up getting a beating, police said.

Angelo Martinez, 21, was seen hanging around a community center in Albuquerque on Aug. 11,  when a group of men were playing football. As the men returned to their car, Martinez asked them for a ride. They obliged, but as they pulled up to an address Martinez provided, he pulled out a gun and demanded they give up the car, KOAT reported. 

>> Read more trending news

The men exited the vehicle but as Martinez tried to take control of the car, he dropped the gun and one of the men reached in and punched Martinez in the face. The other men joined in, and were able to restrain Martinez, KOAT reported. The men told police they found a knife and a fake gun on Martinez.

Police were called and arrested Martinez at the scene. 

Jacksonville officer in critical condition after shooting 

One Florida officer is in critical condition and another is stable after being shot Friday, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.

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The officers were responding to an attempted suicide call, Sheriff’s Office Director Mike Bruno said.

The suspect was shot by police and later died, deputies said.

The injured officers were taken to UF Health Jacksonville after the shooting.

When officers arrived at the house, they encountered a man armed with a high-powered rifle, Bruno said. Three people were barricaded in a bedroom inside the home.

>> Central Florida policeman shot, killed

The shooter shot through the front door at the responding officers, then exited the house and exchanged gunfire with police, Bruno said. One officer was shot in the hands and another was shot in the stomach, Bruno said.

The three people who were inside the home are safe, Bruno said.

Earlier Friday night in central Florida, one officer was killed and another was gravely wounded in a shooting in Kissimmee.

Girl burned with boiling water during sleepover happy to be home

A New York girl who was severely burned after another girl poured boiling water on her face while she was sleeping is making a nice recovery, her mother said Friday.

Jamoneisha Merritt told the New York Daily News, “I’m so great,” upon being released from the hospital and returning home. Merritt said she was dancing and listening to music. Her mother said her daughter is in good spirits, but still has a long recovery ahead of her. She will likely miss the beginning of the school year, requiring home schooling while her burn injuries continue to heal.

Read the original report below.

A sleepover at a friend’s house ended with an 11-year-old girl in a New York burn unit and a 12 -year-old in police custody after police said the 12-year-old poured boiling hot water over the younger girl’s face.

Police said that Jamoneisha Merritt, 11, was sleeping at the 12-year-old’s home when the older girl got a cup of boiling water and poured it on Jamoneisha, WNBC reported

>> Read more trending news 

Jamoneisha’s relatives said the two had been arguing.

Her aunt, Yolanda Richardson, told WNBC, “Her and her friend got into an argument and she told her if she goes to sleep they were going to do something to her.”

Jamoneisha woke when the burning water hit her face, back, shoulders, neck and chest. 

She suffered second-degree burns and was taken to a burn unit at Harlem Hospital, listed in serious but stable condition.

Her mother told NY1 that her daughter is in a lot of pain, not only physical pain, but emotional pain too.

“She’s very sad. She’s emotionally messed up. She don’t understand why they did that to her. She thought they was her friends,” Ebony Merritt told NY1.

Her mother told the television reporters that those involved had been bullying her daughter.

The 12-year-old was arrested and police charged her with assault.

Charlottesville victim’s mother won’t take Trump’s call

The mother of the woman killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend said she does not want to hear from President Donald Trump because she believes he was “equating the protesters” like her daughter, Heather Meyer, to white supremacists,  CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

"I'm not talking to the president now," Susan Bro said Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America." "I'm sorry. After what he said about my child, and it's not that I saw somebody else's tweets about him. I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Ms. (Heather) Heyer with the KKK and the white supremacists."

Earlier this week, Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.

Heyer, 32, was killed Saturday when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters gathered to oppose a “Unite the Right” rally of white nationalist and other right-wing groups. Nineteen others were injured in the incident.

James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, is charged with second-degree murder in Heyer's death.

Bro said the White House attempted to reach her repeatedly during her daughter's funeral on Wednesday, CNN reported. 

"At first, I just missed his calls," she said. "The call -- the first call looked like it actually came during the funeral. I didn't even see that message.

"There were three more frantic messages from press secretaries throughout the day and I didn't know why that would have been on Wednesday,” Bro said. “I was home recovering from the exhaustion of the funeral and, so I thought well, I'll get to him later and then I had more meetings to establish her foundation, so I hadn't really watched the news until last night.”

Messages left with the White House about efforts to contact Bro were not returned Friday. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with her and her family," CNN reported.

The president called Heyer "truly special" in a tweet Tuesday but was criticized for not calling Bro directly to express his condolences.

After seeing Trump’s news conference, Bro said it was too late for apologies.

"You can't wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying 'I'm sorry.' I'm not forgiving for that," she said. “Think before you speak.”

New biography about David Bowie reveals details of his wild life

An upcoming biography of David Bowie reveals new details about the singer’s life, including some strange propositions, NME reported.

>> Read more trending news

“David Bowie: A Life” will be released Sept. 12. Written by Dylan Jones, the biography is described as “intimate a portrait as may ever be drawn” about Bowie, who died Jan. 11, 2016, after an 18-month battle with cancer.

In the book, groupie Josette Caruso describes the time Bowie was offered a “warm, deady body” to have sex with while on tour in Philadelphia in September 1972, NME reported.

According to the Daily Mail, Caruso told how Bowie’s bodyguard answered the door and then called for the singer, looking “white as a sheet.”

“He obviously looked like such a freak that some sick people thought he might be into necrophilia,” Caruso said.

“Who on earth do they think I am? Why would they think I’d be interested in something like that?” Bowie reportedly said.

Other details from the book, according to the Daily Mail:

  • Bowie’s sex addiction drove him to sleep with 13-year-old groupies, engage in orgies and declare he was bisexual.

  • Because of his brother's schizophrenia, he did not like LSD but developed a cocaine habit.

  • Born David Jones, he changed his last name to Bowie -- like the Bowie Knife -- after British media nicknamed Mick Jagger, 'Jagger Dagger' 

The book also gives a detailed insight into the singer’s life from his childhood in Brixton, through his wild and successful music career, to his relatively calm last few years with wife Iman, NME reported.by

“David Bowie was his very own creation, his very own work of art,” Dylan Jones writes.“This was the boy from postwar Brixton with his sights set on the world.”

 

Taylor Swift wipes social media accounts; website goes dark

Taylor Swift has wiped her social media accounts clean, and fans of the singer are trying to figure out why, Billboard reported.

>> Read more trending news

On average, Swift has put out a new album every two years since her debut in 2006. Her last album, however -- “1989” -- was released in October 2014.

Friday morning, fans noticed that Swift had deleted her Twitter avatar and header, along with blanking out her Facebook page. All of her posts on Tumblr also were deleted, Billboard reported.

Swift has more than 102 million followers on Instagram, but that site also has been wiped clean, Billboard reported. Her official website is blacked out.

What does it all mean? Have her sites been hacked, or is she gearing up for a comeback. Several Twitter followers speculated about both scenarios. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the singer could not be reached for comment, Billboard reported.

On Monday, a jury ruled in favor of Swift in her countersuit against former radio host David Mueller for alleged assault and battery.

Large rattlesnake found beneath New Orleans home

A wildlife removal expert captured a rattlesnake measuring nearly 6 feet long beneath a home in New Orleans, WVUE reported.

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Ryan Cook, who operates Gulf Coast Wildlife removal, said he was called after homeowners spotted the canebrake rattlesnake earlier this week.

“This thing gets out from underneath the deck and it's pretty much the biggest rattlesnake, the biggest snake I've seen in Louisiana,” Cook told WVUE. “Anything over 5 feet with a rattlesnake is considered a monster. This one was 5 foot 8 inches and has 13 rattles on it, so it's been around a good long time.” 

Cook said it’s not the first time he’s heard of rattlesnakes in the area.

“I've been hearing of a lot more rattlesnake activity in the New Orleans East area. I believe especially around the Six Flags area because it's so overgrown,” Cook told WVUE. “No one's really doing anything to knock the numbers down, so you're starting to see more and more of these guys showing up in residential neighborhoods.”

Police name Barcelona attack suspect

Spanish authorities said they are looking for Younes Abouyaaqoub, a suspect in the deadly Barcelona terror attack who remains at large, a spokesman for the Catalan police told CNN on Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

The spokesman also revealed the names of three of the five suspected terrorists who were killed after a confrontation with police in Cambrils: Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa and Mohamed Hychami.

Catalan police had not released the names and pictures of any of the suspects but decided to confirm those details after they began circulating on social media and in news reports, the spokesman told CNN.

The four names and photos that have appeared in the media are of Abouyaaqoub, Oukabir, Aallaa and Hychami, CNN reported.

 

Police: Stabbings in Finland ‘a terrorist attack’

Police in Finland said they believe the killing of two people in the southwestern city of Turku on Friday was a terrorist attack, the BBC reported Saturday.

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The attacker, who was shot in the leg by police and taken into custody, was an 18-year-old Moroccan. The two people stabbed to death were both Finnish, police said. Eight people were also injured, among them two Swedes and one Italian.

Police raided a flat and made a number of arrests overnight, the BBC reported.

In a statement, police said "The act had been investigated as murder, but during the night we received additional information which indicates that the criminal offences are now terrorist killings."

Police said they knew the identity of the Moroccan but have not yet released it, the BBC reported.

The attack happened in the Puutori/Market Square area of Turku.

Tensions high after rumored KKK march in North Carolina

Tensions were high in a North Carolina city Friday as hundreds of people descended on downtown Durham to oppose a rumored march by the Ku Klux Klan, the Herald-Sun reported.

>> Read more trending news

When the white supremacist group did not show up, a smaller group of people marched through the streets of Durham and encountered police wearing helmets and armed with batons, the Herald-Sun reported.

“Similar to a tornado watch that indicates conditions are favorable for a weather event, the highest levels of Sheriff’s Office notified the appropriate leaders of the community of the potential for a critical incident as it continued to verify information,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Tamara Gibbs said Friday afternoon. “This was done proactively to allow for planning in the event the Agency received verified information.”

As of Friday evening, there was no march.

Friday, a group of 50 to 75 people engaged police in a standoff in the street outside the Durham Police Department headquarters. Some of the people were carry anti-KKK and anti-racism signs, the Herald-Sun reported. Police blocked the protesters and threatened to arrest anyone who did not leave the street. Most of the protesters moved to the sidewalks, the Herald-Sun reported.

Police made one arrest. 

Eva Panjwani called the opposition to the KKK a “people’s victory.”

“This is all part of a KKK strategy: a strategy to divide us like ants, scurrying away in fear,” she told the Herald-Sun.

“There’s been a lot of misinformation today, but there’s one thing that’s become even more clear than it ever has been before, that the community and the people of Durham must stand together,” she said.

2 Pennsylvania troopers shot, suspect dead

Two Pennsylvania State Police troopers were shot and a suspect is dead Friday night in Fairchance.

>> Read more trending news

The incident was reported about 9 p.m. near a convenience store in the southwestern Pennsylvania town, police said.

>> Central Florida officer shot, killed

One of the troopers was life-flighted from the scene to a hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia, officials said. The other trooper was taken to a hospital via ambulance. Both were stable and alert.

Witnesses who said they were in their car in the Shop ’n Save parking lot in Fairchance said they heard 10 to 15 gunshots.

>> Jacksonville officer critical after shooting

In a statement, Shop ’n Save officials said they were “deeply saddened” by the shootings.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” the statement said. “Providing a safe environment for our employees and guests is our number one concern.”

Central Florida police officer shot and killed, another gravely wounded

One central Florida police officer was shot and killed Friday night and one is in grave condition, Kissimmee Police Chief Jeffrey O’Dell said.

>> Read more trending news

O’Dell said that Officer Matthew Baxter was killed and Sgt. Sam Howard was shot and is in grave condition. The uniformed officers were responding to a call at 9:30 p.m. in Kissimmee.

It appears that there was only one shooter, O'Dell said at a news conference early Saturday.  An Osceola County deputy arrested the suspected gunman, Everett Glenn Miller, 45. Two of the three people they originally responded to check out are in custody, O'Dell said.

>> Jacksonville officer critical after shooting

Howard was a 10-year veteran of the department and Baxter had been with the Kissimmee department for three years, O’Dell said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers” are with the Kissimmee Police Department. 

“We are with you!” the president wrote.

“This is a tough time in law enforcement,” O’Dell said. “I would ask that you pray for the men and women of law enforcement.”

“Tonight we lost a brave officer,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted. “Praying for @kissimmeepolice.”

Former Yankees star Derek Jeter, wife welcome first child 

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was called “The Captain” during his major-league career.

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Now he can be called a dad.

Jeter’s wife Hannah gave birth to a girl, Bella Raine Jeter, on Thursday, according to the verified Twitter account of The Players’ Tribune, which was founded by Jeter in 2014.

The Jeters were married in July 2016, and Hannah Jeter announced her pregnancy via a February essay in The Players’ Tribune, Newsday reported.

Jeter, 43, retired from the Yankees in 2014 after a 20-year career. He finished with a franchise-record 3,465 hits and a .310 batting average while leading the Yankees to seven World Series and five titles.

Confederate-like designs to be removed from NYC subway wall

Metropolitan Transit Authority officials said they will modify wall tiles in a Manhattan subway station that create designs that look like Confederate flags, WNYW reported.

>> Read more trending news

The patterns, located at the Times Square station, have been on the walls for nearly 100 years. MTA officials said the tiles represent Times Square’s nickname as the “Crossroads of the World” and are not Confederate flags, WNYW reported.

"These are not Confederate flags, it is a design based on geometric forms that represent the "Crossroads of the World" and to avoid absolutely any confusion we will modify them to make that absolutely crystal clear,” MTA officials said in a statement.

Times Square did not exist during the Civil War, the MTA said.

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