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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Hurricane Maria slammed into the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm with "merciless" 160 mph winds Monday night, and the storm, deemed "potentially catastrophic" by the National Hurricane Center, is now headed for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Maria is expected to move over the northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and is forecast to "remain an extremely dangerous category 4 or 5 hurricane" as it approaches the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tonight and Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Most models are forecasting Maria will stay away from Florida and the U.S. mainland.

As residents of Puerto Rico brace for their second major hurricane, two weeks after Irma tore through the U.S. territory, killing at least three, Gov. Ricardo Rossello is now calling Maria "the biggest and potentially most catastrophic hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in a century.”

The governor said the storm will be violent and that by 4 to 8 p.m. today Puerto Rico should see tropical storm-force winds. The governor advised residents to be prepared to hunker down for 72 to 90 hours.

Rossello said up to 25 inches of rain could fall in some areas and he urged anyone in a flood-prone, mudslide-prone or coastal area to leave. Hundreds of shelters are opening, the governor said.

Rossello said a lot of infrastructure will likely be lost and he said communications will be affected.

While Puerto Rico residents appeared to go about their days with little urgency Monday, many seem to be on edge today as the storm nears.

In the capital of San Juan, most business are closed or closing early today and the San Juan Airport is closing this evening.

As Maria hit Dominica Monday night, Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit published a series of dire Facebook posts, calling the 160 mph winds "merciless."

"We do not know what is happening outside. We not dare look out ... we pray for its end!" Skerrit wrote.

Maria was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall on Dominica; before Monday the strongest hurricane to hit Dominica was Hurricane David, a Category 4 in 1979.

Guadeloupe and Martinique, which both neighbor Dominica in the Caribbean, were also battered with Maria's powerful winds and rain.

Dominica was "shut down" as the storm approached, said Anil Etienne, a spokesman for Dominica’s Office of Disaster Management. Etienne told ABC News officials were worried about flooding in low-lying areas and opened about 146 shelters.

The prime minister of Dominica wrote on Facebook late Monday night, "My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding," before announcing, "I have been rescued."

Skerrit gave an update this morning, writing on Facebook, "Initial reports are of widespread devastation. So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace. My greatest fear for the morning is that we will wake to news of serious physical injury and possible deaths as a result of likely landslides triggered by persistent rains."

"The winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with," he continued. "The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go and this apparently triggered an avalanche of torn away roofs in the city and the countryside."

"Come tomorrow morning we will hit the road, as soon as the all clear is given, in search of the injured and those trapped in the rubble."

After hitting Puerto Rico, the storm will begin to turn north and is expected to come near the Dominican Republic Wednesday afternoon, potentially with winds over 100 mph.

Maria is forecast to then continue north, avoiding the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Florida, before ending up out to sea.

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ABC News(ATLANTA) -- Three people were arrested and students were ordered to shelter in place at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta on Monday as violent protests erupted in response to the police shooting death of a student who allegedly had a knife, the university.

The protests broke out after a peaceful vigil for Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz, 21, who was fatally shot by police late Saturday night after he called 911 to report an armed and possibly intoxicated suspicious person, authorities said.

A police vehicle was set on fire, two officers suffered minor injuries and one officer was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries during the "violent protests on campus," according to the university.

 

Georgia Tech right now. pic.twitter.com/6BR2w54hZE

— ㅤSebastian (@RealSebGonz) September 19, 2017

 

The university estimated that a about 50 people participated in the protests, including some who marched to the the Georgia Tech Police Department immmdiately after the "peaceful memorial vigil" for Schultz.

At one point, Georgia Tech police ordered students to stay inside and lock their doors, while off-campus students were told to remain off campus.

“Seek shelter in a secure location until further notice. Lock all doors and windows. Take Immediate Action Now,” the Georgia Tech Department said in a tweet at 9:28 p.m. Monday.

Video posted on social media showed a police vehicle on fire and officers pinning people to the ground while witnesses yelled in the background.

Police said they restored order by 11 p.m. Monday and gave students the “all clear” to resume normal activities.

Three people were arrested and charged with inciting a riot and battery of an officer, a university spokesperson said. Police told students to "expect additional patrols throughout campus tonight" and asked them to report "anything suspicious."

In a statement released through attorney Chris Stewart, Schultz's family urged protesters to remain peaceful.

"[W]e ask that those who wish to protest Scout's death do so peacefully. Answering violence with violence is not the answer," the statement said. "Our goal is to work diligently to make positive change at Georgia Tech in an effort to ensure a safer campus for all students."

"Scout's family respects the rights of those who wish to voice opposition to what they feel was an unnecessary use of force, but they ask that it be done respectfully and safely," the statement added.

Earlier on Monday, Stewart described Schultz as a loving child who lost his life simply because the police overreacted.

He said Schultz was barefoot and "disoriented," in the middle of a "mental breakdown" when he was shot.

“Scout should not have been shot,” Stewart told reporters Monday. “There has to be a bigger value put on taking a human life than fear when you are doing your job.”

Stewart also accused the school of handling the situation poorly and pushing a narrative that Schultz was a "knife-wielding" threat despite evidence suggesting otherwise.

Scout Schultz's father, William Schultz, said Schultz had a 3.9 GPA and was scheduled to graduate in December.

Scout Schultz served as president of the Georgia Tech Pride Alliance, and a leading voice within the campus’ LGBTQ community. Scout Schultz identified as nonbinary and intersex and prefers to use the pronouns they, them and their, according to the group's web site.


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The days of Latanya Simpson being a shy and timid student are a thing of the past.

“My 9th grade year I was kind of not sure of myself,” Simpson said. “I didn’t have the confidence I really needed.”

Simpson, 19, started to believe in herself after taking a humanities class at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston with her teacher, Sydney Chaffee. Simpson said having Sydney as her teacher was “the best thing” that could have happened to her.

“She made learning fun. I felt comfortable raising my hands, asking questions, and Sydney would stop in the middle of teaching just to reteach and go over whatever questions any student had,” said Simpson.

Chaffee, 34, is the 2017 national teacher of the year and has been an educator for the past 10 years. She said she finds it amusing to hear that Simpson wasn’t confident because she “was a star” during the class.

“She got on stage and had so much confidence and she had such presence and such a voice,” said Chaffee. “When you see students step into who they’re able to be, and you see students step into their own confidence and step into their own voice, that reminds me of how powerful the job is.”

Simpson is now a sophomore at Providence College in Rhode Island.

She said the confidence she gained from Sydney’s class is helping her speak up in packed lecture halls and mentoring new students on campus.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Chris was an 11-year-old Boy Scout in New Jersey when he says his life became consumed with a dark secret.

“You do everything you can to block it out of your mind,” he said.

Chris, whose last name “Nightline” is withholding at his request, says his Boy Scout troop leader, Stephen Corcoran, sexually abused him hundreds of times over five years, from the time he was 11 until he was 16.

“I couldn’t even tell you every location it happened in,” Chris said. “It became it became that normal.”

Chris claims Corcoran began paying special attention to him as soon as he joined the troop and eventually became a trusted family friend. But along the way, according to Chris, things took a sickening turn.

Weeks after he hit puberty, Chris said Corcoran took him over to his apartment before one of their troop meetings and said, “Hey, I got some beer in the fridge for you. Help yourself.”

“Then he breaks out a stash of porn,” Chris said. “Then one thing led to another, but at that point, you know, I was 11 and essentially intoxicated … not knowing what to do, what was happening to my body.”

“I was literally frozen,” he continued. “I just couldn’t move.”

Chris, now an adult, said he is finally sharing his story publically, two decades later. His adulthood, he said, is plagued by depression, anxiety and anger.

“I’ve had this kind of whirlwind of mess throughout my adult life,” he said. “I’m still dealing with this, like it happened yesterday.”

Chris, along with two other former Boy Scouts who also allege Corcoran abused them, have filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, saying the organization did not do enough to prevent the sexual abuse.

“Who's the only guy in the troop without a kid there ... and then look at his interaction with the kids,” Chris said. “If you knew there was a problem like this and someone was down there with knowledge of what ‘grooming’ looks like you're going to spot it in five minutes. They chose not to do this.”

Chris said there was no escaping the abuse and eventually, he said, he was spending hours at a time with Corcoran.

The abuse, he said, even continued on troop outings, including a group ski trip. Chris has a photo from that trip that shows an unidentified adult man in his underwater sitting next to him.

“Those are his boxers,” Chris said, pointing to the man in the photo. “So at what point does someone say, ‘Hey there's a problem here.’ How does someone not realize that there's an issue?”

He said Corcoran openly provided young scouts with alcohol, adding that on some of their away trips, “he literally turned it into a booze fest.”

In one instance, Chris said an adult friend of Corcoran’s allegedly witnessed the sexual abuse, catching him and Corcoran together, and confronted Corcoran about it.

“Steve told me he played it off,” Chris said. “He said, ‘You need to be more careful in the future,’ and that friend just disappeared out of the troop ... He didn’t like to do what normal people would do and call the police.”

Chris said the abuse finally ended when he was 16 years old, but by then, his former Scout leader had become a family friend and was even a guest at his wedding.

“I can’t believe the guy made it at my wedding,” Chris said. “Unfortunately, I originally left them off the list for the wedding, and my wife asked me, ‘What about him?’ And I remember I didn't have an answer to say no. Like how could I? At the time I couldn't justify saying no without telling the truth.”

Chris’s wife Tina said she had no idea the pain Chris said he suffered as a child and that Chris opened up to her about it when they were almost six years into their marriage.

“He said, ‘Steve abused me,’ and that was it,” Tina said. “It was like a one statement: ‘Steve abused me.' I mean I had no clue, no earthly idea.”

After he told her, Tina said she then started to notice the pain on Chris’s face in their wedding photos taken with Corcoran.

Chris said he also finally confided in his attorney at the time.

“I broke down in absolute tears and I just told him,” he said. “I told him exactly what happened.”

In a statement to ABC News, The Boy Scouts of America said the organization is “outraged there have been times when Scouts were abused and we sincerely apologize to victims and their families... in the many years since these alleged actions occurred, we have continued to evaluate and strengthen our efforts to protect youth.”

Attorney Bruce Nagel, who represents Chris in his civil suit against the organization, said they hope their lawsuit will “bring to light that this is an epidemic throughout the United States.”

“People need to be educated, that there is sexual abuse going on through the United States in the Boy Scouts,” Nagel added.

Corcoran’s attorney maintains that his client is innocent of the abuse allegations. But in a separate case, Corcoran, now 49, was found guilty of possession of child pornography. In June, he was sentenced to seven years in prison.

If he could say anything to Corcoran now, Chris said he would ask him “why me?”

“For some reason he chose me,” Chris continued. “I don’t know.”

This is not the first time The Boy Scouts of America have been accused of harboring abusers in its ranks of scout leaders.

In 2010, a Portland, Oregon, jury awarded former scout Kerry Lewis almost $20 million in damages for the sexual abuse he said he suffered in the ‘80s by former assistant Scoutmaster Timur Dykes.

Lewis’ attorneys successfully argued that at the time the Boy Scouts of America knew Dykes had a history of child molestation. Dykes, who eventually served prison time for charges related to sex with minors, admitted as early as 1983 that he had molested 17 boys.

"If you put the interests of your organization ahead of the safety of children, the guardians of our community's safety, which we call juries, will hold you accountable," said Kelly Clark, one of Lewis’ attorneys.

Released files detail alleged abuse in Boy Scouts

The month-long trial also revealed the Scouts kept secret files of alleged child molesters for decades.

The Los Angeles Times spent a year creating a database of the Boy Scouts files. Reporter Kim Christensen led the newspaper’s investigation.

“The perversion files, which is a term used internally by the Boy Scouts, are about 5,000 files of alleged and in some cases proven sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts,” Christensen said. “The whole idea of the perversion files with the scouts was they were intended to keep abusive scout leaders from rejoining after they’d been found out.”

According to the L.A. Times analysis, the alleged abuse occurred throughout the country and followed a similar pattern.

“The abusive scout leaders would often groom the kids,” she said. “You know, buy them alcohol, show them porn, take them to ball games just to kind of bring them into their confidence, into their sphere, and then the abuse would start.”

The newspaper said that in many cases, the Boy Scouts did not report the alleged abuser to authorities, leaving the alleged victims to suffer in secret.

“It’s a lifelong scarring thing for a lot of these kids,” Christensen said. “Some of these guys say, ‘It’s something I’ve been dealing with by myself for 40 years.’”

The Boy Scouts of America says it has since implemented new policies including criminal background checks for adult leaders, requiring two or more adults to be present at all times during scouting activities, prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse, and a help line to report suspected abuse.

As for Chris, he is trying to move forward. He and Tina are expecting their second child in November – a boy. Both said they would never allow their son to enter Boy Scouts. Chris said intense therapy and the support of his wife is helping him heal.

“If and when he wants to tell me more than he already has, he will,” Tina said. “But he just needs someone to take care of him.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- The killings of two black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last week "could possibly be racially motivated" but police are "still looking at other motives," Baton Rouge Police spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McNeely told ABC News Sunday.

Bruce Cofield, 59, and Donald Smart, 49, were both shot and killed within five miles of each other last week. In the shootings, the suspect first fired from his car and then exited the vehicle to shoot the victims while they were on the ground, according to police.

“Witness accounts in certain circumstances and ballistic analyzation of the homicides helped link the two,” Sgt. Don Coppola, a public information officer with the Baton Rouge Police Department, told ABC News Monday.

Police have named Kenneth Gleason, 23, as a “person of interest” in the investigation. “Gleason was occupying a vehicle that matched the description” of the one seen in the area of the killings, Coppola said.

On Sunday, Gleason was released from jail after being booked on two drug charges. Gleason has not been charged in relation to the killings.

“This investigation is ongoing, Gleason is still a person of interest, and through the investigation, if it is learned that there is any other individual or individuals who could be other persons of interest, investigators will look into them as well,” Coppola said.

Police had questioned Gleason for many hours and searched his home and his vehicle, but didn’t have enough evidence to charge him in the murders, McNeely said.

But law enforcement found schedule 1 narcotics – marijuana – and schedule 3 narcotics, which were “some kind of human growth hormone” at Gleason’s house on Saturday, Coppola said, and Gleason was arrested.

Gleason was released Sunday on bond, which had been set at $3,500, but has "not been cleared" in the investigation into the two shootings, police said.

Neither Gleason nor his family responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Coppola said he was not aware if Gleason had any previous criminal record, and a background check showed only a traffic violation that had been dismissed by the court from earlier this year. Police declined to say whether there are other persons of interest in the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

“Being that the investigation is ongoing, investigators are diligently working to have these homicides solved,” Coppola said.

Police said Cofield, who was homeless, was killed on Tuesday. Smart was shot on Thursday while he was on his way to work at a cafe.

The district attorney's office had not responded Monday to ABC News' request as to whether Gleason has legal representation or when he is due to appear in court on the two drug charges.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Hurricane Maria was upgraded to a Category 5 storm, the National Hurricane Center said Monday night, as islands including Puerto Rico brace for the impact.

Maria is anticipated to approach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday. The storm might make landfall on the eastern side of Puerto Rico and could bring major damage to the U.S. territory late Wednesday morning and into the afternoon -- two weeks to the day since Hurricane Irma tore through Puerto Rico, killing at least three.

At 8 p.m. ET on Monday night the center of the storm was located about 15 miles east-southeast of Dominica as it closed in on the Caribbean island. Sustained winds were up to 160 mph as the storm moved west-northwest at 9 mph.

Evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said starting midday Tuesday, conditions will begin to deteriorate and the island could get between 12 and 18 inches of rain.

Rossello encouraged residents to execute emergency plans immediately. “Now is the moment to save lives,” he said.

Officials said 450 shelters will be opened starting this afternoon and warned of possible catastrophic damage and a possible collapse of the “vulnerable” electrical system.

“Flood-prone areas must be abandoned," said Public Security Secretary Héctor Pesquera. "If not, you will die."

The governor said a federal emergency declaration was requested.

On Monday, President Trump ordered federal assistance to supplement the response efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Most models are forecasting Maria will stay away from Florida and the United States mainland.

Today Maria is churning in the Atlantic Ocean and is set to travel across the Caribbean, likely affecting islands including the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, on its way toward Puerto Rico

It was just weeks ago when Irma devastated several Caribbean islands, killing at least 39 people.

Some Caribbean islands, like Guadeloupe and Dominica, are likely to get a direct hit from the powerful hurricane this afternoon or evening.

Dominica was "shut down" as the storm approached, said Anil Etienne, a spokesperson for Dominica’s Office of Disaster Management.

Etienne told ABC News officials are worried about flooding in low-lying areas and have opened about 146 shelters.

Dominica’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said at a news conference today, "This is not a time for heroism. This much water in Dominica is dangerous given our terrain, and therefore persons should not wait for something to happen in order to take action.”

As Maria approaches Antigua and Barbuda, the islands' officials are warning residents not to be complacent after Irma, which devastated Barbuda.

Philmore Mullin, the head of the National Office of Disaster Services for Antigua and Barbuda, spoke to Antigua and Barbuda's national broadcaster ABS today, urging those in low-lying areas to evacuate and not to wait until the last minute since water can sometimes rise very quickly.

Mullin added that they are prepared and over 40 shelters will be opened for Maria.

"We cannot afford to be complacent -- it is a hurricane," Mullin said. "We need to pull out all the stops and prepare for an impact just in case."

After passing Puerto Rico this week, Maria is expected to graze the Dominican Republic before it moves north toward Turks and Caicos and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BOARDMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio) -- An Ohio dad's apparent effort to "scare" his 6-year-old daughter with a clown mask went awry this weekend after he chased the girl into a stranger’s apartment, prompting the man to open fire in the direction of her father outside in an attempt to protect her.

Boardman Township, Ohio police responded to the scene at just after 10 p.m. on Saturday, where they found Vernon Barrett Jr., 25, standing outside of 48-year-old Dion Santiago's home, according to a police report.

Barrett, the girl's father, had been struggling to discipline his daughter after her mother was sentenced to four years in prison for child endangering after she had broken "several of [the 6-year-old's] ribs and stepped on her," according to the police report.

Barrett, the police report states, told officials that he "decided to use the clown mask into scaring her to behave" and that this was simply a "prank" that started from their apartment.

But Santiago's 22-year-old son, Dion Santiago Jr., told ABC News the girl seemed to be in dire need of help.

“We absolutely were protecting her,” Dion Santiago Jr. said. “She fell into our laps and was running for her life. It was completely unexpected but what else were we to do?”

While fleeing her father, Barrett's daughter first jumped into a female driver's car, "screaming she was being chased by a clown," the police report states. Barrett, wearing the clown mask, then allegedly pulled his daughter out of the car, but she managed to break free and ran toward Santiago's apartment. Meanwhile, the woman called 911.

The girl opened Santiago's "unlocked door" and asked Santiago and his family "if she could stay with them because a clown was chasing her," according to the police report.

Santiago turned off the lights of the home and "looked out his apartment window and observed Barrett standing outside of the building with a clown mask on," the police report states. Santiago, who later admitted to police that "he had a few beers" while watching TV, then "grabbed his firearm and fired a shot out of his window," the police report states.

Santiago later told police that "he was frightened" by the 6-year-old girl entering his home "without permission," adding that clowns have been chronicled on the news as "chasing people" and that he was trying to protect his son, daughter and his son's girlfriend, who were in the apartment with him, from harm. He told police he only pointed the firearm "into the yard of the building next door" and that he "never aimed it at Barrett," according to the police report.

Barrett was charged with inducing panic and child endangering, while Dion Santiago was charged using weapons while intoxicated, according to the police report.

Both men have been released pending court appearances at a later date, the police report states. It's unclear whether they have obtained lawyers. Dion Santiago Jr. said his father is supposed to be in court this week and doesn’t have an attorney yet.

Boardman Township Police Det. Sgt. Chuck Hillman told ABC News that the town just south of Youngstown has had its share of clown sightings and said he hopes this incident is an anomaly.

"As with a lot of areas in the country, we have had a lot of clown sighting incidents," he said. "This is the first time anything like this has happened recently."

He added: "Hopefully it doesn't restart that drama again."

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Louisiana State University(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- The Phi Delta Theta fraternity has shuttered its Louisiana State University (LSU) chapter "effective immediately" after a freshman pledge died last week.

After Maxwell Gruver, 18, of Georgia, died the morning of Sept. 14, LSU police launched an investigation into his death as a potential hazing incident. The university president said Thursday that allegations involved alcohol and hazing but stressed that the investigation was evolving.

The tragedy also prompted all Greek activities to be suspended at LSU.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office said Gruver's preliminary autopsy found no internal or external trauma but noted that he had excessive fluid in the lungs and brain and that he had "a highly elevated blood alcohol level plus the presence of THC."

Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters said in a statement today that the decision to suspend the chapter "was based on the preliminary findings of an investigation that uncovered enough information to conclude that some chapter members were in violation of established risk management policies, including our Alcohol-Free Housing policy."

Phi Delta Theta said in a statement that it "will continue to support the ongoing investigations by both

LSU and local law enforcement and encourage authorities to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law."

"The Fraternity will also continue its internal investigation to completely understand the situation in order to hold all of those who violated its risk management policies accountable for their actions," the statement said.

The fraternity said it will also review its health and safety policies and educational programs and "is committed to enacting any new initiatives to help prevent similar situations in the future."

Bob Biggs, executive vice president and CEO of Phi Delta Theta, said in the statement, “We continue to keep the entire Gruver family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.”

"This incident serves as a stark reminder of why we need to continue to educate our undergraduates on the dangers of alcohol, hazing, and be constantly vigilant to ensure our risk management policies are fully implemented.”


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The driver of a tour bus who was killed in a Monday morning bus crash in New York City that left two others dead was a former New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) employee who was fired for cause in 2015 when it was discovered he had been arrested for driving under the influence, the MTA said.

This morning’s fiery crash was captured on stunning surveillance video, which shows the moment when a Dahlia charter bus barreled into the MTA bus at one of the most densely packed intersections in Queens in New York City.

The crash left three people dead and 19 others injured, according to the MTA. Four of those injured are in critical condition, the MTA said Monday evening.

In the video, provided to ABC News by ABC station WABC in New York, the MTA bus is seen turning a corner in Flushing just after 6:15 a.m. when the Dahlia bus crashes into it. The crash sent the charter bus onto the sidewalk and into a restaurant, sparking a small fire, officials said. The fire was quickly put out by firefighters, who treated the injured.

The charter bus' speedometer was photographed at the scene stuck at 60 mph — twice the speed limit in the intersection. While investigators have not determined why the bus was apparently going that fast, sources said investigators have recovered enough surveillance video to conclude the charter bus was speeding when it crossed the intersection.

Raymond Mong, who died in the crash, was the driver of the tour bus that slammed into the MTA bus. The MTA began the process of firing Mong in 2015 after learning he was arrested for driving under the influence in New Haven, Conn., sources familiar with the investigation tell ABC News. At some point after, he was hired by Dahlia.

Connecticut state police confirm that Mong was indeed arrested for drunk driving in April 2015 after causing a pileup on the off-ramp of a highway. Mong "fled the scene," but was later located and arrested, police records show.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles was notified of the DUI and informed the MTA, which began the grievance process, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Mong was pulled from the road and fired by the MTA soon after.

On Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said, "It's just shocking to see the scene."

"It's hard to compare it to anything I've seen — the sheer destruction from the impact of this collision," he said.

"We want to make sure we understand exactly what happened and prevent this from ever happening again," said Joe Lhota, the chairman of the MTA.

In addition to Mong, those killed were a passenger on the MTA bus and a passer-by who was run over, according to officials. Sources briefed on the investigation said the victims were Mong, 49; the passenger Gregory Liljefors, 55; and the pedestrian, Henry Wdowiak, 68.

The MTA bus driver, a 10-year veteran, is in a hospital in noncritical condition. He is being interviewed about the collision.

According to federal records, Dahlia has been cited multiple times for speeding violations. Because of its history of violations, Dahlia was prioritized by federal officials for more frequent unannounced inspections, said an official from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate the crash.

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ABCNews.com(CINCINNATI) -- One year after the death of Harambe, the 17-year-old silverback gorilla who was shot by zoo officials after a 3-year-old boy climbed into his enclosure, the Cincinnati Zoo has welcomed a new gorilla to its exhibit.

Mshindi, a 29-year-old male Western Lowland Silverback gorilla, was moved from the Louisville Zoo to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which serves as a safeguard for animals facing extinction in the wild.

He's the first gorilla to be added to the Cincinnati Zoo since Harambe's controversial death in May 2016.

Michelle Curley, communications director for the Cincinnati Zoo, told ABC News that SSP, the group that manages more than 360 gorillas across the U.S., determined that the zoo was an appropriate fit for Mshindi due to the amount of space and correct social setup.

"[Mshindi] has settled in really nicely and it’s been a smooth transition," Curley said. Mshindi arrived at the end of August.

Curley said Mshindi is already exploring his outdoor facility and will eventually be put into a group with two female gorillas.

"They don't have a breeding recommendation but that could change in the future," she said.

She added, "Sometimes the introduction process takes some time. Right now he has visual contact with the ladies, but it is whenever he seems like he’s ready, but I would say within this month or October."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The NYPD is investigating reports of nooses that were allegedly found in two different Brooklyn neighborhoods recently.

The nooses were discovered hanging from trees outside of libraries in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, ABC New York station WABC reported. An NYPD spokesperson told ABC News the department is aware of the reported incidents and currently investigating.

"We can’t release any information at this time because it is an ongoing investigation," the spokesperson said.

Community activists are outraged by the discovery.

"It's an act of intimidation for the community and we want to make sure that people are aware what's going on and that we will not be intimidated," Henry Butler, the district manager for Community Board 3 of Bedford-Stuyvesant, told WABC.

ABC News reached out to City Councilman Robert Cornegy, who represents the district that includes the areas where the nooses were allegedly found, for comment but did not immediately hear back.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Southeastern New England is under a tropical storm warning and states along the coast from Connecticut to Delaware are under a tropical storm watch as Hurricane Jose nears the East Coast, where the storm is expected to bring winds, heavy rain and coastal flooding this week.

Jose, a minimal Category 1 hurricane, this afternoon is located about 265 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and is moving north at 9 mph with sustained winds of 75 mph.

Jose will come close enough to the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast Tuesday into Wednesday morning to bring strong winds and heavy rain.

Coastal flooding may be seen on the shores of New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts.

Wind gusts could climb to over 50 mph along the New Jersey coast, Long Island and southern New England.

Rainfall may be the heaviest in southeastern New England, where up to 5 inches of rain is possible.

By Wednesday morning, Jose is forecast to stop moving north and begin re-curving east into the Atlantic.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Navy has relieved two more top officers due to a "loss of confidence in their ability to command," following two deadly collisions over the summer.

The destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship in the Sea of Japan in June, killing seven sailors. In August, the USS McCain, another destroyer, collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore, killing 10 more sailors.

On Monday, Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, the commander of the 7th Fleet, relieved the commander of Task Force 70 (CTF 70), Rear Adm. Charles William, and the commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, Capt. Jeffrey Bennett. While the Navy's press release announcing the leadership changes did not directly mention the incidents from the summer, both officials relieved of their duties were in the Fitzgerald and McCain's chain of command.

"Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, commander of Task Force 76 (CTF 76), assumed duties as commander, CTF 70. Capt. Jonathan Duffy, deputy commander, DESRON 15, assumed duties as commander," the Navy said.

The Navy relieved the three-star admiral in charge of the 7th Fleet, Vice. Adm. Joseph Aucoin, following the McCain's collision. Aucoin was slated to retire in September and turn over command of the 7th Fleet to Rear Adm. Phil Sawyer, but his relief showed the Navy's focus on accountability in the wake of mishaps.

In addition to the collisions by the Fitzgerald and McCain, the USS Lake Champlain, a guided-missile cruiser, collided with a fishing boat in the Sea of Japan in May. There were no injuries.

In February, the USS Antietam, also a guided-missile cruiser, ran aground off the coast of Japan, damaging its propellers and spilling oil into the water.

On Tuesday, Secretary of Navy Richard Spencer and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the recent Naval incidents.

Joining the top Navy leaders will be John Pendleton, director of Defense Force Structure and Readiness Issues at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which issued a report highlighting the Navy's readiness issues.

"GAO’s prior work shows that the Navy has increased deployment lengths, shortened training periods, and reduced or deferred maintenance to meet high operational demands, which has resulted in declining ship conditions and a worsening trend in overall readiness," the report said. "The Navy has stated that high demand for presence has put pressure on a fleet that is stretched thin across the globe."

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Twitter/@SLMPD(ST. LOUIS) -- Dozens of people were arrested in St. Louis on Sunday, including a "rioter" who carried weapons and protective gear, which capped a third night of protests over a judge's decision to acquit a white former police officer in the 2011 shooting death of a black man, police said.

The protests began peacefully on Friday after St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson found Jason Stockley, 36, not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. On Dec. 20, 2011, the then-police officer shot 24-year-old Lamar Smith five times after a high-speed chase and crash.

More than 80 people were arrested on Sunday in connection with the protests, which police said were “no longer peaceful” as of late Saturday night, and five weapons were confiscated, according to the St. Louis Police Department. At least 32 people were arrested earlier in the weekend as demonstrators blocked highways, damaged property and threw rocks at the mayor's house and bricks at police officers, police said.

“People setting out do damage are being arrested and these criminals we've arrested should be held accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” St. Louis Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said in a early-morning briefing on Monday.

“We're in control. This is our city and we're going to protect it,” he added.

An unidentified chemical was thrown on police officers and a bicycle officer was transported to the hospital with an leg injury Sunday night, police said in a statement on Twitter.

The department also tweeted images of knives, guns, masks and other types of protective gear from a “rioter” who police said was arrested.

Officers confiscate weapons, guns, protective gear from a rioter. Suspect was taken into custody. #StLVerdict pic.twitter.com/2rObBhQHu8

— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) September 18, 2017


The weekend protests were mostly peaceful, according to the city's mayor, but police said “groups of criminals” were “creating chaos,” breaking windows and causing significant property damage in the city’s downtown area Sunday night.

“Today we saw again that the vast majority of protesters were nonviolent,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said during an early-morning briefing on Monday. “But for the third day in a row, the days have been calm and the nights have been destructive.”

After Sunday's demonstrations, the organizers announced that the daytime protests had concluded, but "a group of agitators stayed behind, apparently intent on breaking windows and destroying property,” according to Krewson.

Earlier, organizers of the peaceful protests said they were frustrated with the demonstrators getting unruly at night who they say could make it harder for them to to spread their nonviolent message.

State Rep. Bruce Franks, who has participated in the protests, stressed on Saturday that those who are violent and vandalizing "are not protesters," but a group separate from those marching is organized demonstrations.

“The organizers and protestors that [were] there for the right reason didn't partake in any of the vandalism, many of us were gone,” Franks said in an Instagram post Saturday. “I want to make sure people know!”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the nation grieved as images of emerged of homes submerged up to the eves, abandoned pets perched on debris and household belongings molding on street curbs.

In the days that followed, tens of thousands appealed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for money to rebuild -- but the majority of Harvey's worst-hit families discovered that although they qualified for small assistance payments, they lacked the type of insurance coverage that would allow them to recoup what they'd lost in the floods.

As Texas and Florida struggle to navigate through a web of government agencies and charity organizations, we asked: What is FEMA flood insurance, who gets it, and why -- and who's really footing the bill?

A Little History

Championed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, was created by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, after disillusioned private insurers abandoned the market when they realized flood insurance wasn't profitable.

According to Congressional analysts, NFIP policies "transfer some of the financial risk of property owners to the federal government" and, in return, requires flood-prone communities adhere to certain building codes and implement flood mitigation strategies.

Who's eligible for coverage?

Only those living in one of the nation's 22,000 "NFIP-participating communities" -- neighborhoods at risk of significant flooding that have adopted flood mitigation strategies -- can purchase NFIP policies from the government through their insurance agent.

Some property owners, especially those in high-risk areas, may be required to buy flood insurance, while others, usually those in moderate-risk locales, may be offered an optional policy. Premium rates, some of which are partially subsidized by the federal government, are based on the area's degree of risk and the property construction and elevation.

Who Pays, and How Much?

Though NFIP collects about $3.5 billion in premiums annually, the program is nearly $25 billion in debt, according to reports from the Government Accountability Office and Congressional Research Service. It accrued the bulk of this debt in the wake of the 2005 hurricane season, following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, and after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, both agencies note.

"Whether or not FEMA will ultimately be able to pay off the debt is largely dependent on future insurance claims, namely if catastrophic flooding incidents such as Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina occur again and with what frequency," congressional analysts wrote in a report released in July -- just one month before Harvey made landfall.

Its solvency in question, the program has endured criticism from groups like the National Resources Defense Counsel, which claim the NFIP has wasted money repeatedly rebuilding vulnerable homes when it would have been cheaper to help homeowners move to higher ground. It's also drawn flack over its policy of "grandfathering," or allowing property owners to pay premiums based on outdated flood maps.

The good news, financially speaking is that according to FEMA, the building codes and flood mitigation strategies implemented because of the program save the nation $1.87 billion each year.

Who's in charge?

NFIP is run by FEMA, but must be reauthorized by Congress every five years.

Along with a host of other federal government programs, the current authorization, passed in 2012, was set to expire at the end of September. But H.R. 601, the continuing resolution passed last week, extended that authorization through December 8.

After that date, key authorities of the NFIP -- such as the authority to issue new contracts, and the ability to borrow large sums from the U.S. Treasury -- will lapse, and it will be up to lawmakers to ensure the program's future.

What it's not

Many flood victims confuse FEMA flood insurance payments and FEMA assistance.

Unlike flood insurance, FEMA assistance doesn't require recipients to purchase a policy before catastrophe strikes -- it's simply handed out to disaster victims to cover critical expenses like food and temporary lodging. However, assistance isn't meant to restore properties to their pre-disaster state. FEMA assistance payments are capped at just over $33,000 maximum per household -- and the actual payout is generally much lower than that.

"FEMA assistance is really only designed to be a life-vest, it's not designed to be an insurance policy," a former FEMA official told ABC News.

For example, assistance payments won't pay to replace your house -- or, in some cases, even refinish damaged drywall in unused bedrooms.

FEMA flood insurance, by contrast, is designed to make victims whole, financially -- and because it's partially funded by premiums, the payouts are much, much higher. Following Hurricane Katrina, for example, the average assistance payment was around $6,300, according to FEMA. The average NFIP payment? More than $97,000.

ABC News' Ali Rogin contributed to this report.

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