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Teacher in awe as strangers on plane donate $530 to her low-income students

A Chicago charter school teacher's heartwarming story of how strangers on a plane donated hundreds of dollars to her low-income students is going viral.

>> Nonprofit helping pay off mortgage on slain police officer's family home

According to WMAQ, Kimber Bermudez, who teaches at Carlos Fuentes Elementary School, was on a Southwest Airlines flight to Florida last week when the passenger next to her sparked up a conversation about her job. After learning that Bermudez is a teacher, he asked her about the greatest challenge she faces at her school.

"I told him that working at a low-income school can be heartbreaking," Bermudez wrote in a Facebook post. "We talked about the world and how no child should ever do without. In 2018, kids should never be hungry or in need of anything."

He then asked for Bermudez's contact information, saying his company often donates to schools like hers.

But the acts of kindness didn't stop there.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

"The man behind me tapped my shoulder," Bermudez wrote. "I turned around and he apologized for listening in to my conversation, and he handed me a wad of cash. He told me to 'do something amazing' and sat back down. I was in complete awe that I had touched a stranger. I realized that there was $100 on top, and started to cry. I thanked him and told him how I would buy my students books and give back to the community. I didn’t count the money from that man, but I would later find out that he gave me $500."

After the plane landed, another man who overheard the conversation gave her $20, while another handed her $10, Bermudez said.

>> Read more trending news 

"I started crying on the plane," she wrote. "I told all four men that I would do something amazing for the kids. I was not telling my story to solicit money, and never intended to walk out of that flight with anything other than my carry on. I do however hope that posting this continues the chain reaction of people helping those in need, and especially the children in need."

Bermudez said her "heart is in complete shock and awe."

"This experience made me want to do more for the kids, and use my gift of speaking to help others in need," she wrote. "I want to pass this story around, and thank those strangers and their amazing hearts!"

Read more here or here.

>> See Bermudez's Facebook post here

Lip sync challenge: Watch Charlotte police officers get down in hilarious viral video

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina released a video of officers and staff getting down in a lip sync challenge Tuesday.

>> Watch the video here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Chief Kerr Putney even took part in the fun

The department has been posting about the video it was putting together for several days.

>> Read more trending news 

>> Police officers compete in viral lip sync battle

The friendly lip sync competition has been heating up on social media among law enforcement agencies across the country.

Nonprofit helping pay off mortgage on slain police officer's family home

A nonprofit organization has announced a major donation to help pay off the mortgage on a slain Massachusetts police officer's family home.

Weymouth police Sgt. Michael Chesna, 42, was shot and killed Sunday in the line of duty. 

>> On Weymouth police Officer Michael Chesna posthumously promoted to sergeant

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is providing the first $100,000 toward the mortgage and is challenging others to support the family through the initiative.

Any money raised exceeding the mortgage will go directly to Chesna's wife and two children.

>> On Court docs: Man stood over Weymouth officer and shot him 10 times

The foundation, established in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, supports military and first responders who are killed in the line of duty. In addition to his service with the Weymouth Police Department, Chesna was also a military veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

>> Read more trending news 

Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the foundation, will join Weymouth police Chief Richard Grimes at the Weymouth Police Department at 3 p.m. Wednesday to make the official announcement.

Click here if you’d like to donate.

Photos: American League wins 2018 MLB All-Star Game

The AL pulled out an 8-6 win over the National League at the 89th MLB All-Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

Florida college student saves mom's life before dying in crash

A Florida mother said her son saved her life in the seconds before a crash that claimed his life.

>> Watch the news report here

Greg Yutuc, 22, was the only person killed in a three-vehicle crash near Jacksonville's Buckman Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

>> On PHOTOS: University of North Florida student saves mom's life in I-295 crash, dad says

Stitches lined Gerry Yutuc’s bruised eyelid and his wife, Charina, had a seat belt burn across her chest.

“All I remember is seeing that red car and we are spinning around,” Gerry Yutuc said.

They were headed back from their family vacation and were driving on I-295 with their three kids in their van when state troopers said a 21-year-old driver rear-ended another car, then cut off their van.

“It was too late for me,” Yutuc said.

Their son, Greg, was sitting in the passenger seat and grabbed the steering wheel at the last second.

“So the impact could be on his side, to avoid the impact on mom,” Yutuc said.

>> Read more trending news 

Yutuc said the van flipped.

“I looked around and saw four people. My wife, my two daughters and without Greg,” Yutuc said.

Greg was thrown from the vehicle and an officer on scene told them their son didn’t make it.

Florida Highway Patrol said Greg was not wearing a seat belt.

“We didn’t have a chance to hug him and say goodbye,” Yutuc said.

Since Greg was a child, he’s been on several mission trips and had plans of becoming a missionary, his parents said.

“His heart is really sharing the gospel,” Yutuc said.

In his 22 years, Yutuc said his only son affected many lives.

“I know we have a great son, but I didn’t know the extent of his influence,” Yutuc said.

>> On Drivers concerned about safety on Buckman Bridge

It was unconditional, selfless love they said Greg will be most remembered by.

“He inspired us and we want to be an inspiration,” Yutuc said.

The family said the community support has been overwhelming.

Man tries to hire hitman to kill ex-wife for $10,000, Hawks tickets

An Acworth inmate promised $10,000 and two Atlanta Hawks tickets to anyone who would kill his ex-wife and her current boyfriend. Word got around, including to an FBI informant.

>> Read more trending news 

Michael Lawrence Dane McEarchern, 29, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday, according to federal court documents.

McEarchern was in Bartow County jail during October on drug charges when he started circulating his the word that he wanted to hire a hitman.

The FBI found out from the confidential informant and they had McEarchern send a $800 down payment to a P.O. box in late November to see if he was serious, according to federal court records. His girlfriend at the time sent the money for him.

McEarchern told the would-be assassin where his ex-wife lived in Smyrna, what the best time of day would be to find her, and the name of the barbershop where the current boyfriend worked.

>> Trending : Atlanta mayor racks up nearly $12,000 in limousine tab in less than 5 months

McEarchern was indicted on charges in the murder-for-hire plot at the start of the year. He pleaded guilty and was convicted in late April.

Federal court documents show he’ll have three years of supervised release after prison.

Atlanta mayor racks up nearly $12,000 in limousine tab in less than 5 months

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has spent nearly $12,000 of taxpayer money on limousines in just five months, according to an investigation by WSB-TV and the  Atlanta Journal-Constitution and

>> Read more trending news 

An Atlanta City Hall spokesperson said that you can’t put a price tag on the mayor’s safety, calling Bottoms’ use of a

luxury car service “an expedient solution that had already been assessed for safety.”

Through an open records request into Bottoms’ city-issued credit card statements, the WSB/AJC investigation found 27 separate charges to Carey Limousine during out of town trips. The average bill was $431.

There was a $3,900 charge in April. The city said the limo company billed the city late for services during the Super Bowl in Minneapolis and the company may have mistakenly kept the car on standby status during a day-long event.

“The public will have to be the judge as to whether they think that’s excessive or not,” City Council President Felicia Moore said.

>> Trending: Families say falling trees are putting their lives in danger

Bottoms’ monthly limo spending is outpacing former Mayor Kasim Reed.

Reed’s bills show more than $28,000 spent with Carey Limousine, but that was over his final three years in office. Reed’s average charge was about $200.

“If Mayor Bottoms wants her administration’s legacy to be a ‘we’re too greedy to care,’ then they’re off to a great start,” said former federal prosecutor Jeff Brickman.

In a written statement, a city spokesperson said, “Mayor Bottoms relied heavily upon the procedures previously used, including the use of a secure and vetted car service. As the use of the service was being examined by the Bottoms’ administration, a significant increase in the trajectory of the costs over the course of those first few months was noted. She immediately began to explore alternative methods of ground conveyance.”

Our review of credit card statements for members of Bottoms’ executive protection unit showed they booked about a dozen far cheaper out-of-town Uber and Lyft trips in April and May. 

>> Trending: Man tried to hire hitman to kill ex-wife for $10,000, Hawks tickets

That’s a trend Brickman hopes will continue.

“If you really want to be transparent, and you really want to separate and distinguish yourself from the previous administration, show us, you know, ways that you are really meaning what you’re saying. Do it. Don’t just say it,” Brickman said.

The city said the best use of ground transportation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Parents file lawsuit after daughter drowns when she’s swept over dangerous dam while kayaking

The parents of a kayaker who drowned after she was swept over a dam on the Ohio River last year are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

>> Read more trending news 

Brittany Evans and Helene Brandy, both 25 years old, were killed when they went over the Dashields Dam in May of 2017. 

The dam is located along the Ohio River, north of Sewickley in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.

>> Related: Conditions too dangerous to recover body near dam on Ohio River

Evans' parents have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

"Too many people are losing their lives on that river. We wanna be part of the process to correct that," said Helene's uncle, Ken Brandy. 

According to the lawyer who filed the federal lawsuit, Evan's parents are echoing those concerns. The couple contends the Army Corps of Engineers has not provided adequate warnings about the dangerous Dashields Dam to boaters and kayakers.

The lawsuit is asking for more warning signs along the river.

Evans' family is also asking for earnings potential and damages for pain and suffering.

>> Trending: DNA test solves 1988 cold case rape, murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley, suspect arrested

Video shows black bear snarfing down family’s picnic in Georgia

A bear made a beeline for a picnic table in Pickens County, Georgia. The incident was caught on camera, WSB-TV reported.

>> Read more trending news

Video shows black bear snarfing down family’s picnic in Georgia.

The large female black bear can be seen in the video climbing onto the picnic table and grabbing a package of hot dogs buns at the Big Canoe community in Jasper.

The family was unable to scare the bear off, according to WSB-TV.

“(The bear is) not afraid of people, so the last thing I want is a child sitting there eating a sandwich, and the bear decides he wanted that sandwich first,” community general manager Jill Philmon said.

The bear turned out to be a mother with three little cubs nearby. State wildlife biologists said the bears have probably been fed by people or have gotten used to eating out of the residents’ trash cans. 

The Department of Natural Resources told the news station they have set some traps to attempt to catch the bears if they continue to return for food.

Mystery of glamorous Goodwill slides solved, family located in Midwest

Their story has captivated the world.

A metro Atlanta mom shopping at a local Goodwill happened upon their trove of memories. Eager to reunite the treasures with their owners, she sent a modern-day message in a bottle - a Facebook post - onto the roaring seas of social media. 

>> Read more trending news  

A story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution appeared last week, sparking a flood of interest. The post generated more than 20,000 retweets and follow-up stories from other media outlets including local stations, CNN and CBS Evening News.

Finally, someone recognized the images. A call was placed. The mystery was solved at last.

It didn’t end like Kristie Baeumert thought it would.

The Fairburn mom of five often shops for kids’ clothes at the Tyrone Goodwill store, and she was browsing there the other day when an Argus 300 Model III slide projector caught her eye. Finally, she’d be able to view the slides she’d inherited from her grandmother.

“She would go to Hawaii and then come back and we’d all line up and see her slides,” she recalled. “I just wanted to experience those again.”

She bought the projector for $15, planning to stage slide viewing gatherings of her own.

>> Related: A glamorous Goodwill mystery: Who are the strangers in these slides?

“I’m sort of the keeper of my family,” she said. “I have my grandmother’s china cabinet in my kitchen. I have my other grandmother’s wedding china. I’m big on keeping things in the family.”

Little did she know when she plucked the sturdy green box off the Goodwill shelf, she was adding another family’s memories to her own.

She didn’t realize at first that the projector came with a box of slides, and what magnificent slides they were. They depict a glamorous and loving family. The two little girls were always dressed alike. Their mother was a vision in her tea-length dresses, their father a dashing head-turner.

“I was instantly obsessed,” Baeumert said. “I made my whole family look at them. My friends came over and I was like, ‘We’re going to look at these slides!’”

>> Related: $13 dollar flea market ring sells for almost $850,000 at auction

It’s not hyperbole to say the entire world’s had a good look at them. The AJC’s heard from folks across the country and from New Zealand, Australia, India and Africa.

“What a story about the Goodwill projector! Wow!” director Ava DuVernay said in a message. “Following closely!”

We responded to her message and to so many others with hopeful excitement. Maybe the family can be located and someone can turn their life into a movie. Maybe a book. Maybe the slides could be featured in a museum exhibit. We hoped and prayed this precious family could be found.

Then, they were.

There were a few tantalizing clues and they all turned out to be accurate. Yes, this was a military family. A happy, loving one. He was in the U.S. Air Force and they traveled the world, as images from Wake Island and Nagasaki suggest.

Yes, they were from Kansas, as a penciled note on the box of slides suggested.

The one thing we were wrong about: the slides were not donated in error. No one’s been looking for them.

Items in a Goodwill store might have been donated in that location, but they might have come from elsewhere, too. There’s really no telling, and Goodwill doesn’t keep track of who donates what.

After the CBS segment aired on Monday night, a series of phone calls connected Baeumert with a member of the Kansas family.

The lady of the house, the one so stunning in her evening gown and stole “was a beautiful woman,” a relative told her, among other details. She’s returning the items privately to the person, and then that will be that.

They don’t want to write a book, or make a movie, or stage an art exhibit. The images depicted in the slides are 60 years old and wouldn’t be recognizable to anyone outside the family. Baeumert isn’t sharing their names or other details. 

“You do feel like you have a connection,” Baeumert said as she packed up the images of people she’s come to view as friends.

Baeumert’s been besieged with interest since the initial story ran. A few kooks have found their way to her social-media inbox and her phone’s been buzzing nonstop.

“I had to shut down my whole Facebook page,” she sighed.

Once the tempest subsided, she posted a coda.

>> Trending: Eating fat is the only cause of weight gain, study finds

“Many thanks to everyone who came together to find the family and for all the kind comments,” she wrote. “People shared stories with me of their childhoods in military housing and of lost pictures they wish someone could find from their own family. I hope this story inspires people to dust off some boxes in their basements and bring those old memories to life again.

Off to Goodwill on my next treasure hunt now!”

Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams checks in to mental health facility, reports say

Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams has reportedly checked herself into a mental health facility, TMZ reports.

Williams posted a letter to her fans on her Instagram page on Tuesday.

“I recently listened to the same advice I have given thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of professionals,” Williams posted.

Sources told TMZ that Williams is receiving treatment at a facility near Los Angeles.

Williams has been open about her struggles with depression, revealing her story in an interview on “The Talk” last year.

>> Read more trending news 

Williams recently reunited with Destiny’s Child members Beyonce and Kelly Rowland at Coachella in April.

It was the first time the group has performed together in several years.

Venomous snake species discovered in Australia may already be endangered, biologists say

A new species of venomous snake has been discovered in Australia and biologists say it is dangerously close to extinction.

The new species of bandy snake was found at Weipa on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula by researchers with the University of Queensland

Bryan Fry, an associate professor at the University of Queensland who lead the team of biologists, said that the discovery happened by chance.

>> Read more trending news 

“Bandy-bandy is a burrowing snake, so Freek Vonk, from the Naturalis Museum, and I were surprised to find it on a concrete block by the sea,” Fry said. “We later discovered that the snake had slithered over from a pile of bauxite rubble waiting to be loaded onto a ship.”

The snake turned out to be genetically different than any other snake.

“On examination by my student Chantelle Derez, the bandy-bandy turned out to be a new species, visually and genetically distinct from those found on the Australian East coast and parts of the interior.”

Another specimen was found in its natural habitat near Weipa, and another was killed by a car close to the mine.

Five of the snakes were found in all.

Fry said the species is at risk due to local development.

“Bauxite mining is a major economic activity in the region, and it may be reshaping the environment to the detriment of native plants and animals,” said Fry.

Venom from the snake could be rich in compounds that could be used to discover new medications, Fry said.

“Every species is precious and we need to protect them all, since we can’t predict where the next wonder drug will come from, Fry said. “The importance of such discoveries goes beyond simply documenting what is out there, as venoms are rich sources of compounds that can be used to develop new medications.”

Eating fat is the only cause of weight gain, study finds

Many studies have shown that carbohydrates, sugar and fat are the causes of weight gain. However, a new report reveals that fat is the only culprit

>> Read more trending news  

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently conducted a study, published in the Cell Metabolism journal, to explore the impacts of macronutrients on body weight. 

To do so, they fed mice 30 different diets that varied in fat, carbs and protein contents for a three-month period, the equivalent of nine years for humans. 

The analysts made over 100,000 measurements of body weight changes and body fat, which was recorded with a micro MRI machine. 

>> Related: Here's why weight gain causes loss of taste buds, study says

After analyzing the results, they found that only fat caused mice to gain excessive weight over a long period of time.

“The result of this enormous study was unequivocal - the only thing that made the mice get fat was eating more fat in their diets,” lead author John Speakman said in a statement. “These effects of dietary fat seemed to be because uniquely fat in the diet stimulated the reward centres in the brain, stimulating greater intake.”

The scientists said carbs did not have an effect on weight gain. They also said the combination of sugar and fat did not have more impact than fat alone. Furthermore, low amounts of protein did not cause the mice to eat more. 

Although they noted that using mice rather than humans was a limitation, they said both species have many similarities in their physiology and metabolism. 

>> Related: Lack of sunlight in the winter could cause weight gain

“We are never going to do studies where the diets of humans are controlled in the same way for such long periods,” Speakman said. “So the evidence it provides is a good clue to what the effects of different diets are likely to be in humans.”

DNA test solves 1988 cold case rape, murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley, suspect arrested

After 30 years of random notes and taunting from the killer, Indiana authorities finally caught a break in the killing of an 8-year-old girl and made an arrest based on DNA evidence similar to how investigators caught the Golden State Killer, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news 

Suspect John D. Miller, 59, was arrested Sunday at his home in Grabill, Indiana, and made a court appearance Monday in Allen County on charges related to the 1988 rape and murder of April Tinsley, WANE-TV reported.

Tinsley was walking to a friend’s house in her Fort Wayne neighborhood when she was allegedly abducted and subsequently killed by Miller, authorities said.

Police used DNA from the victim and from messages and condoms Miller left at three homes in the early 2000s to match Miller and his brother’s DNA in a genealogical database. Once they narrowed the suspect field down to two, it was just a matter of time before they were able to catch Miller, CNN reported. Miller’s DNA was found to be a match with DNA recovered from the victim’s underwear.

>> Related: Police seek to ID Zodiac Killer through DNA after success with Golden State Killer

When police showed up at his mobile home on Sunday and asked Miller if he knew why they were there, he reportedly said, “April Tinsley” and then confessed to the crime, according to local media reports.

Miller’s next scheduled court appearance is Thursday.

>> Related: ‘Golden State Killer’ suspect tracked down using DNA on genealogy website, officials say

The Golden State Killer was finally caught in California in April after terrorizing the state between the mid-1970s and mid-80s. Investigators also used a genealogical database to match Joseph James DeAngelo Jr.’s DNA with evidence left at the crime scenes. DeAngelo is charged with killing 12 people and is accused of 50 rapes and more than 100 burglaries.

‘Deadliest Catch’ co-star pleads guilty to sexually assaulting teen

“Deadliest Catch” reality TV fisherman Edgar Hansen pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl at a home near Seattle, but isn’t expected to serve any jail time.

Hansen, 47, received a 364-day suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to  fourth degree sexual assault with sexual motivation, the Associated Press reported. He was also ordered to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and give a DNA sample to authorities. 

>> Read more trending news 

According to court documents obtained by KIRO 7, a 16-year-old girl told her therapist that Hansen sexually assaulted her at a Mountlake Terrace home in September.

>>Related: ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Blake Painter found dead in Oregon home

A detective contacted Hansen’s wife, who confronted her husband about the allegations, court documents show. She told police that he denied the accusations at first, but eventually admitted to touching the girl inappropriately.

>>Related: ‘Deadliest Catch’ star gets probation in Uber driver assault

Hansen is deck boss and crew member of the Seattle-based crabbing boat featured on the Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch.” 

The boat’s captain, Sig Hansen, is Edgar Hansen’s brother.

6 nurses in same unit discover they are pregnant at same time

Six nurse practitioners at a hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, were surprised to learn they are pregnant at the same time.

>> Read more trending news 

The women are known as “The Fabulous Six Pack” among their patients at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The six nurses work for an outpatient hematology/oncology unit at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Two of the women will be first-time moms, and the other four already have one child, said hospital spokesperson Eryn Johnson.

The women’s due dates range from the end of July to December. 

Johnson said that all of the nurses enjoy sharing their pregnancy journeys and tips with each other.

“It's exciting because, you see these people every day and they're a part of you family, and now they're your pregnant buddies,” said assistant nurse manager Katie Carlton.

“It’s quite the bond that’s been established,” Johnson said.

The expectant mothers told WXII that while most of them were planning to get get pregnant, it was a surprise when it all happened to all of them at the same time.

One thing that wasn’t anticipated -- six nurses taking maternity leave at the same time.

Johnson said there is a plan in place to cover the nurses’ work during maternity leave. 

Brother of bride swaps places with sister for ‘first look’ photos with groom

A Phoenix bride wanted to calm the nerves of her groom, so she decided to do one thing: skip the first look photos. 

For some couples, the decision for her not to show up for the iconic photos would be a deal breaker, but Heidi Zherelyev figured it would put her groom, Val, more at ease, KPNX reported

Zherelyev sent her brother, complete with wedding gown, in her place.

>> Read more trending news  

Zherelyev’s brother was brave enough to put on her perfume and even her deodorant so he would smell like his sister.

Tucked away inside her room she watched from behind curtains as the swap happened, KPNX reported

Zherelyev said the prank worked and she could see Val become comfortable for the real photo shoot. 

Photographer Nichole Cline said that moments like this are what is important.

“The dress fades, the cake is eaten, the flowers die,” Cine told KPNX. “I love what I do. Those moments are frozen in time and that lasts a lifetime.”

Trump says he accepts that Russia meddled in 2016 election

President Donald Trump accepts the conclusion made by American intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections, the president said Tuesday, one day after telling reporters that he couldn’t see why Moscow would have interfered.

>> Read more trending news

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: With Putin, Trump calls Russia probe a disaster 

Trump on Monday stood beside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and challenged the findings of American intelligence agencies that determined Moscow had interfered.

Trump said he didn’t “see any reason why” Russia would have been involved, despite indictments handed down last week for a dozen of the country’s intelligence officers who are accused of election meddling. The indictments were part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling and its possible ties to Trump and his campaign officials.

>> 12 Russians indicted: Military officials accused of hacking DNC, stealing voter info

On Tuesday, Trump said he misspoke when he said that he didn’t believe Russia meddled in the election.

“In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,’” Trump told reporters in Washington. “The sentence should have been ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’”

>> Photos: Trump, Putin meet at Helsinki summit

He said he has “full faith and support for America’s intelligence agencies.”

“Let me be totally clear in saying that ... I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’ meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump said. He emphasized that “there was no collusion at all” between Russia and Trump or his campaign officials. 

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation 

In Helsinki, Trump delivered no condemnation of Russia's interference and refused to say he believes American intelligence agencies over Russia's denials of meddling. His comments drew criticism from both sides of the political aisle.

The special counsel investigation of Russian meddling has led to charges against 32 people accused of crimes ranging from money laundering and falsifying income tax returns to lying to FBI investigators. Five people, including former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, have pleaded guilty to charges in the investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Delta employees claim they were fired for ‘speaking Korean’

Four former Delta Airlines employees have filed a lawsuit against the airline, claiming they were “singled out and admonished” for speaking Korean.

Ji-Won Kim, Lilian Park, Jean Yi and Jongjin An have a combined total of 50 years of experience working for Delta Airlines at Sea-Tac Airport.

“I treated all Delta passengers as my family -- brothers and sisters, parents,” Park told KIRO 7.

“Everything came from the heart.”

>> Read more trending news 

All four women were born in Korea. Park, Yi and An are now U.S. citizens. Kim expects to be one soon.

All four women believe their fluency in the Korean language was one of the reasons they were all hired by Delta, which flies daily between Sea-Tac and South Korea.

According to Yi, Korean-speaking passengers “were so glad to see me. They say, ‘Oh I feel so comfortable. You know, they don’t speak English.’”

All worked in customer service as desk and gate agents, “helping people, helping passengers” An said.

However, all of them were fired by Delta in May 2017.

According to a lawsuit filed recently in King County Superior Court, “Though assigned to work flights to and from Korea, composed of many Korean-speaking passengers, they were singled out and admonished for speaking Korean.”

An said she was told by her Delta manager there were complaints “from the other non-Korean-speaking agents. They feel uncomfortable, so please limit speaking Korean.” But the women -- who are all over 40 and all plaintiffs in the lawsuit -- claim other foreign language-speaking Delta employees were never told to limit their speech and that only the Korean speakers were.

Kim, Park, Yi and An also claim to have been sexually harassed by the same Delta employee, numerous times, on the job.

“I tried to avoid touching,” Yi told KIRO 7. “So when he came to the gate, I just moved out of sight. I didn’t want to deal with him touching, whispering.” “It was a daily thing” for the agent to touch her, Park said. She and Kim reported the unwanted touching to Delta supervisors and said they were promised another incident would get the male gate agent fired.

“That agent is still working there and the touching has not stopped,” their attorney, Jennifer Song, said.

“We also suspect that their termination is related to the reporting of sexual harassment.”

According to Song, who works at the Law Offices of Judith A. Lonnquist in Seattle, “I thought this was a pretty clear case of discrimination.” 

The lawsuit alleges “race and national origin discrimination and retaliation.”

The complaint for damages also reveals the women “were suspended and ultimately terminated for allegedly offering unauthorized upgrades.” The woman said those upgrades are standard.

“Offering free upgrades, especially on an oversold flight, is a common practice, but suddenly, it became a reason to be terminated, just for us, for Korean women,” Kim said.

Song described the behavior for which the women were terminated as “a common occurrence on over-sold flights. Other agents do it, on a daily basis.”

However, only the four Korean-born women were fired by Delta Airlines, according to their lawsuit.

It’s not the treatment Park expected in this country, at a company that caters to international clients.

“No, not at all. Country of freedom, and this is what I got from the company,” Park said. “This is United States. Everybody should be treated equally.”

Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant declined KIRO 7’s request for an on-camera interview and instead emailed the following statement:

“Delta does not tolerate workplace discrimination or harassment of any kind. Such behavior runs counter to our core values of diversity and inclusion and our mission of connecting the world. “We take allegations of workplace harassment and discrimination very seriously and our investigations into allegations made by these former employees were found to be without merit. “These former employees were unfortunately but appropriately terminated because the company determined they violated ticketing and fare rules.  “Delta is confident that these claims will ultimately be determined to be without merit.”

Suspect captured in Houston ‘rampage’ shootings that left 3 people dead, officials say

A registered sex offender wanted in three separate Houston-area slayings since Friday was caught early Tuesday morning following a brief police chase not far from where authorities say his alleged crime spree began.

Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, of Houston, was taken into custody while driving a gray 2017 Nissan Sentra that law enforcement officials said was stolen from one of the victims. 

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during a media briefing Tuesday morning that an observant citizen called authorities shortly after 6 a.m. to report seeing the vehicle in Cypress, an unincorporated community northwest of Houston. 

“It’s possible that he was casing the area in search of his next victim,” Gonzalez said during the briefing, which was attended and recorded by the Houston Chronicle

A deputy in the area spotted the car and a 14-minute pursuit ensued. Rodriguez was taken into custody just before 7 a.m.

A pistol was recovered from the stolen car, the sheriff said. 

“We’re very relieved this morning,” Gonzalez said about Rodriguez’s capture. 

>> Related story: Shooting deaths at mattress stores in Houston are linked, police say

The sheriff said his agency had deputies positioned in the Cypress area before the suspect was spotted because the first crime attributed to Rodriguez, a July 9 home invasion and robbery, took place less than half a mile from where he was ultimately captured. 

Rodriguez’s parents also live in the area and he grew up there, the sheriff confirmed. 

The first homicide that Rodriguez is suspected of committing also took place in Cypress. Pamela Johnson, 62, was found shot to death in her home there Friday evening. 

Gonzalez said during a news conference over the weekend that Johnson’s family became worried when no one could get in touch with her. The last time family members spoke to Johnson was around noon on July 10, the day after the home invasion about two and a half miles away. 

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Detectives investigating Johnson’s slaying found that personal property was stolen, including Johnson’s maroon 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, the sheriff said. The PT Cruiser was found Saturday evening at Willowbrook Mall after a citizen reported seeing the vehicle aedbandoned in the parking lot.

Mall surveillance video footage showed a man -- later identified by investigators as Rodriguez -- park the vehicle around 11 a.m. that morning. The man was seen on video walking through the mall and exiting the building on the opposite side from where he abandoned the victim’s car. 

Around 7 p.m. that same night, the body of Mattress Firm manager Allie Barrow, 28, was found by a fellow employee, stuffed between two mattresses in the back of the store. The Mattress Firm store where Barrow was slain is in a strip mall across the street from Willowbrook Mall. 

Barrow had been shot in the head, investigators said. 

Gonzalez and Houston police Chief Art Acevedo, who held a joint news conference Monday afternoon to identify Rodriguez as a person of “strong interest” and ask for the public’s help in tracking him down, reported that a third homicide took place that morning at a Mattress One store in Houston, where a man was found shot to death. 

The Nissan Rodriguez was driving when captured was taken from the scene of the Mattress One homicide, officials said. KPRC in Houston identified the victim of that killing as Edward Magana, 57. 

A fourth person, a 22-year-old Metro Lift driver, was also shot in the abdomen and robbed Monday morning in Houston. Acevedo said that the bus driver was expected to survive. 

The motive for the crimes was not known, Gonzalez said Tuesday morning. Neither he nor Acevedo detailed how Rodriguez was tied to all the crimes. 

Rodriguez was released from prison in September, the Chronicle reported. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel told the newspaper that his release was mandated by law, due to the amount of time he’d already served.

Rodriguez, whose violent criminal history dates back to at least 1989, was on parole and was supposed to be on supervised release until 2023. He was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, but the Chronicle reported that he had tampered with it in the days before police and sheriff’s deputies began searching for him in connection with the homicides. 

It was unclear if he was still wearing the disabled device when he was arrested. 

Records accessed by the Chronicle showed that Rodriguez was sent to prison for attempted sex abuse, burglary and auto theft charges in 1989. Then 17, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

While in prison, he was charged in a theft case out of Montgomery County, for which he was sentenced to 10 years, with that time to run concurrently with his sentence on the previous charges. 

Rodriguez was also found with a weapon while serving time, the Chronicle reported. Another 10 years was added to his sentence. 

He served 28 years in prison before his release on parole last fall. Texas’ sex offender registry shows that Rodriguez was classified as high risk. 

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