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Mom, 4 children dead in apparent murder-suicide, deputies say

A Tennessee mother and four children were found dead Monday in what investigators believe was a murder-suicide.

>> Watch the news conference here

According to the Columbia Daily Herald, a family member arrived at the Maury County home after 6 p.m. Monday and discovered the bodies, authorities said. 

The mother, whose name has not been released, appeared to have died from "a self-inflicted gunshot wound," the Daily Herald reported. The children – three girls and a boy – ranged from 8 to 16 years old and were home-schooled, authorities told WSMV.

>> Read more news stories 

Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland said investigators do not believe there are any additional suspects, and the children's father was not at home during the incident, WZTV reported.

"We don't believe we have a suspect at large at this time, but we are going to be thorough with this investigation," Rowland said, according to the Daily Herald.

He added: "As emergency responders, we see gruesome scenes regularly, but this is not one that you see every day."

Read more here.

'Kill Trump' tweet leads to Secret Service probe of school employee

A Massachusetts school employee is under investigation by the Secret Service for allegedly threatening President Donald Trump on social media.

>> Watch the news report here

The employee, a Fitchburg Public Schools paraprofessional who works with special-needs students, has also been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

Her husband, a principal at Fitchburg's Longsjo Middle School, spoke only to WFXT about his wife's alleged tweet, which was captured in screen shots and shared multiple times on social media.

At first, the tweet caught the attention of the local police force and subsequently of federal agents.

"People have their preferences, but sometimes you should just keep your 2 cents to yourself, you know?" said Roger Valcourt, a parent.

The tweet, posted Oct, 10 which read, "No just kill Trump," has been generating controversy around town.

Parents were shocked to learn what happened, saying both the principal and his wife are star educators.

After the tweet was reported to Ashburnham police, the Secret Service launched an investigation, telling WFXT that they are aware of the incident and investigate all threats made against the president.

"I don’t know what was going through her head, I guess, but it’s not a good thing to say you want to kill the president," said Alex Clemente, a parent.

Clemente, a veteran who fought in Iraq, says the tweet went too far.

"Even though you don’t like him, you can’t say that," Clemente said.

>> Read more trending news 

The employee's husband told WFXT in an off-camera interview she meant no harm, saying, "It was lapse in judgment, a mistake. It was a bad choice of words that were taken out of context. My wife is not a malicious person, and has an impeccable work record. She’s embarrassed by this situation."

While Craig Chalifoux spoke to WFXT on the record, his wife isn't being identified because she is not facing any charges.

The superintendent told WFXT that the employee has been placed on paid administrative leave, saying, in a statement, this "is being done to protect her interests as well as the interest of the district [and] it will allow the investigation to conclude and minimize any disruption and distraction and protects her safety and security."

Ex-West Virginia football star cut by Falcons faces child sex charge

A former college football standout who briefly signed with the Atlanta Falcons was arrested Saturday by police in Columbus, Georgia, for allegedly having sex with a 12-year-old girl, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

Justin Crawford, 23, who played running back at Georgia's Hardaway High School and West Virginia University, faces charges of incest, sodomy and enticing a child for indecent purposes, according to Muscogee County Jail records.

At a preliminary hearing on Monday, Columbus Detective Mark Scruggs said Crawford’s wife, Chakeya, woke up Saturday around 5 a.m. and walked into her living room to find her husband with an erection as he stood over the child, the newspaper reported.

However, she told the Ledger-Enquirer she objected to Scruggs’ account, saying her husband’s penis was exposed but not erect. She said she confronted her husband about it, that he denied any wrongdoing and she decided to go back to bed.

>> Read more news stories 

She took the 12-year-old to the child’s mother later, and that’s when the girl said she had been asleep in the living room when Crawford came in and had her perform oral sex on him before they had intercourse, Scruggs said.

The newspaper reported that Scruggs said Crawford initially denied any sexual contact with the girl to police, but he later admitted to having oral sex and intercourse with her but claimed it was her idea.

Crawford remains in the Muscogee County Jail without bond, according to jail records.

As a senior in high school, Crawford rushed for 825 yards and seven touchdowns, the Ledger-Enquirer reported.

He spent two years at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he rushed for over 3,000 yards and six touchdowns, putting him in the national spotlight. He then transferred to West Virginia, where he rushed for 2,237 yards and 11 touchdowns over two seasons.

Crawford signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent on May 1, but he was among 36 players released in September during the preseason.

He was on the roster for the Atlanta Legends in the new Alliance of American Football league but was suspended by the team after being arrested, according to The Associated Press.

Man hits ex for taking too long at Walmart, stabs dad, police say

A Georgia man is in jail on assault and battery charges after he allegedly stabbed his father and punched his ex-girlfriend in the face, police said.

Jonathan Allen Fain, 25, of Gwinnett County, has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, battery and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a felony.

>> On AJC.com: Georgia man accused of taking, posting pictures of sleeping girls in underwear

Fain got his ex-girlfriend to give him a ride to the Walmart on Rockbridge Road the morning of Oct. 11, according to a police report. He began yelling at her that she was taking too long shopping while they were inside, and the yelling continued while she was driving him home, the report said. She told him to get out of the car, but he wouldn’t, so she threw his wallet out the window, according to police. Fain punched the woman in the face and exited the car to get his wallet; the woman took that opportunity to drive away, the report said.

Soon after, Fain arrived at his father’s house in Lilburn. They got into an argument, and at some point, Fain stabbed his father, according to the police report. When an officer arrived around 11 a.m., Fain had fled on foot into some nearby woods, the report said. Fain’s father was lying on the ground with a stab wound to his stomach. The officer found a kitchen knife with its blade missing; the blade had broken off and was still inside Fain’s father, the report said. 

>> Read more trending news 

Shortly after, Fain reportedly returned to the house, entering the basement. Fain surrendered when officers entered the basement and was arrested, the report said.

The father was transported to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the report.

Fain was taken to the Gwinnett County Detention Center, where he is being held without bond. 

4 killed, 1 hurt in shooting at Texas child’s 1st birthday party

A child’s first birthday party turned deadly over the weekend when an argument among family members ended in gunfire that left a man and three of his grandsons dead.

CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported that the shooting took place in Taft, a city of about 3,000 people 12 miles north of Corpus Christi. The dead were all distant relatives of the child for whom the party was held. 

Sgt. Nathan Brandley, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said that officers arrived at the residence just after 5 p.m. Saturday to find four men dead: Juan Espinoza Sr., 62, and his grandsons, Juan Sandoval III, 20, Jeremy Sandoval, 22, and Nicky Sandoval, 25. According to the news station, the injured man was Espinoza’s 43-year-old son, Juan Espinoza Jr.

Juan Espinoza Jr. was airlifted to a hospital in Corpus Christi and was expected to survive, the CBS affiliate reported. His sister, Belinda Espinoza, said on Facebook Sunday that he was in critical condition and required surgery. 

CNN reported that all the dead were found in the backyard of the home where the party took place. 

A 20-year-old man, Ronnie Rodriguez Jr., is in custody in the shooting, Brandley told CNN. His father, Ronnie Rodriguez Sr., 37, is at large. 

No charges had been filed against the younger Rodriguez as of Sunday, Brandley said. 

“There (were) a lot of people who witnessed this happen,” Brandley told the CBS affiliate. “(We’re) still interviewing eyewitnesses and everybody that was there at the party, trying to piece all the pieces of the puzzle together.”

Family members did not say what the argument was about, but Brandley told CNN witnesses said it started with “an argument over something real small and it escalated real quickly to where guns were involved.”

It was not clear Monday whether any of the men killed or injured were armed at the time of the shooting. 

>> Read more trending news

Belinda Espinoza, who is raising funds on Facebook to help bury her father and nephews, told CNN that her father was a farmer and family man.

“He did everything he could for us,” Espinoza told the network. “He was happily married to his first and only love, my mother, Eulalia Sandoval.”

She described her brother, Juan Espinoza Jr., as a man who would “give the shirt off his back” for anyone he cared about.

“He always opened his home to anyone,” she said. 

Her nephews were also good men, Espinoza said. Jeremy Sandoval leaves behind a wife and young son, CNN said

Man sentenced to 30 years for attack on woman in front of their son

Officials announced that an Ohio man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for trying to kill a Georgia woman in front of their 5-year-old son in 2015.

Joseph Tarik Davis, now 38, previously pleaded guilty to a number of charges in connection with the Feb. 12, 2015, attack on his former girlfriend, whose name has not been released, according to a statement from Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds’ office. 

>> Read more trending news 

Prosecutors said Davis broke into the woman’s apartment in Kennesaw, Georgia, while she was at work and hid in a closet. When the woman returned home with the couple’s child, Davis jumped out of the closet and choked her until she passed out, according to officials.

When she came to, he stabbed her at least seven times as she tried to run after their child, who was trying to get out of their apartment, prosecutors said. Davis told the woman he was going to kill her, according to the statement.

He then took the child and left the scene before being taken into custody the next morning.

“This type of violence, especially against women and children, simply will not be tolerated,” said Assistant District Attorney David Williamson, one of the prosecutors on the case.

During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Davis angrily shouted at the woman as deputies took him from the courtroom, the DA’s office said.

The former girlfriend said her son still has nightmares about the attack.

Davis was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated battery, cruelty to children in the first degree and other charges. After he is released from prison, he will be on probation for 10 years, according to the terms of the sentence.

Man tries to hijack Houston TV news van, then steals patrol car

A vehicle crashed into a Houston television station’s news van Monday morning, and the driver attempted to hijack the crew before he stole a police cruiser, police said.

>> Read more trending news 

The incident involved a KPRC news van at 4:40 a.m. Police said the driver hit the van and unsuccessfully attempted to pull the driver out of the vehicle, KHOU reported.

According to KPRC, reporter Sofia Ojeda and photographer Damon Sales, who was driving the van, were on their way to cover a story. They were stopped at a red light at an intersection when a vehicle sideswiped the van, the television station reported.

"He said, 'I'm stealing your vehicle. I'm stealing your vehicle,'" Sales told KPRC. "He tried to pull me out. We're buckled in, and he's like, 'Get out! Get out! Get out!'"

Two Houston officers stopped to help, the television station reported. The man pushed one officer down and dragged the other one out of the cruiser before stealing the vehicle.

The patrol car was found two hours later, KHOU reported. The suspect is still at large, the television station reported.

Both journalists were taken to a hospital for evaluation, KPRC reported. One officer suffered minor injuries.

Fugitive's own dog leads deputies to him after chase, officials say

An Oklahoma man is behind bars after his own dog led deputies to him during a search, officials said.

>> Read a Facebook post about the incident here

James L. Ayer's arrest came Saturday, three days after sheriff's deputies served a search warrant for methamphetamine and firearms at a Wagoner County barn that was turned into a house.

When deputies entered the house Wednesday, they said they found Carrie Metcalf hiding inside and arrested her on other warrants.

Drugs and firearms were found during the search, deputies said.

Investigators later identified Ayer as another suspect. He had been on the run from police until his arrest this weekend, officials said.

>> Read more trending news 

Deputies said they spotted Ayer's car Saturday and pulled him over. Ayer got out of the car, ran from deputies and hid in a nearby field, officials said.

Searchlights were put up in the area while officials looked for Ayer. Deputies were able to see a dog's eyes glowing and looking at them, according to the incident report. When deputies went toward the dog, they found Ayer hiding, the report said.

Deputies said they later found out that the dog that helped them was Ayer's personal pet.

Robber forces McDonald's employees into fridge at gunpoint, police say

Police have arrested a man who is accused of robbing a McDonald's and locking employees into a freezer at gunpoint early Saturday morning in Cumming, Georgia.

Kaleem Tariq-Madyun, 35, is charged with one count of armed robbery and seven counts of aggravated assault. 

>> Read more trending news 

“Employees reported being forced into a refrigerated area by an armed suspect who took an undisclosed amount of money,” Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman said in a Facebook post Sunday. “The employees fled out of the back of the building and contacted deputies.”

Forsyth County News reported that a joint effort by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Gwinnett County Police Department led to Tariq-Madyun’s arrest after a search warrant was obtained and officials went to the suspect’s home.

Tariq-Madyun remains in the Forsyth County Jail without bond and has a pending court hearing.

Florida man accused of defrauding FEMA of thousands of dollars after hurricanes, tropical storm

As people in Florida are struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, a Jacksonville man is wanted on allegations of defrauding FEMA of thousands of dollars.

>> Watch the news report here

Lepoleon Spikes is accused of claiming damage to different homes in Jacksonville for three separate storms.

>> Visit ActionNewsJax.com for the latest on recovery efforts in Hurricane Michael’s aftermath

A grand jury indictment claims he provided FEMA with fraudulent lease agreements as proof of damage.

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: 17 Florida DCF workers fired over emergency food stamp applications

Documents say Spikes was awarded thousands of dollars after Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, as well as Tropical Storm Debby.

“You’re taking from people and families that really need the money,” said Scherlinda Bennett, who says her home was flooded during both Matthew and Irma.

>> Read more trending news 

ActionNewsJax went to one of the homes where Spikes supposedly lived, but learned that was years ago. The home’s current owner claims it never had storm damage.

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