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Theo Wargo/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The two brothers who were interrogated by police investigating the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett in Chicago told authorities that the "Empire" actor allegedly paid them to help him orchestrate and stage the crime, sources told ABC News Sunday.

Detectives are trying to corroborate the account of Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, but thus far police have not independently verified the allegations, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told ABC News.

The Osundairo brothers agreed to cooperate with authorities after detectives confronted them with evidence that they bought the rope -- allegedly used in an attack that Smollett described to police as laced with racial and homophobic slurs -- at a Chicago hardware store, sources said.

No one has been charged in connection with the case.

Detectives have now shifted the investigation towards determining whether Smollett made up the entire story, sources said.

The latest twist in the investigation came after Smollett hit back at the suggestion that the incident was a hoax, and expressed disbelief that the brothers could have been involved.

“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," Smollett attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said in a statement Saturday. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.

“One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video," the statement continued. "It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity."

The attorneys said that Smollett has been cooperating with the police throughout the investigation.

After initially being considered persons of interest, the Osundairo brothers were detained and became potential suspects, police said. When they were threatened with battery and hate crimes charges, they agreed to work with detectives, sources told ABC News.

The dramatic shift in the probe is the latest in the fast-changing story that started with Smollett reporting to police that he was attacked in the early morning hours of Jan. 29.

While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what's been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include speaking to the individual who reported the incident. pic.twitter.com/b9GgXbSUt9

— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 17, 2019

By Saturday evening, however, Chicago police said they were "eager to speak to Jussie Smollett" after the interrogation of the Osundairo brothers, who police said are U.S. citizens of Nigerian descent.

"We have been in touch with Smollett's attorneys," Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told ABC News Sunday afternoon, adding that investigators "are waiting on whether they’re going to get a response from his attorney.”

Guglielmi said the department contacted the actor's lawyers Friday night.

"We made our intentions clear," he said.

On Sunday afternoon, Guglielmi posted a statement on Twitter, saying, "While we are not in a position to confirm, deny or comment on the validity of what's been unofficially released, there are some developments in this investigation and detectives have some follow-ups to complete which include speaking to the individual who reported the incident."

A spokesperson for Fox, which broadcasts "Empire," declined comment on Saturday night.

Early Saturday, after the brothers were released, police said they had new information that “could change the story entirely.”

Police confirmed that Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were the two men seen in surveillance images from the night of the alleged incident. They were taken into custody on Wednesday night and interviewed by detectives in the following days.

Based on the video evidence that police discovered, it did not indicate anyone else was there at the scene of the alleged incident, police said.

But on Saturday, after their release the night before, police said the brothers were no longer potential suspects and again persons of interest, saying that they may still have information that is helpful to the investigation.

Smollett told police that on Jan. 29, he was walking on a street near his apartment when he was attacked by two men. The attackers allegedly shouted racist and homophobic slurs before hitting him, pouring “an unknown chemical substance” on him — possibly bleach — and wrapping a rope around his neck, he told detectives.

Police confirmed phone records show that during the attack, Smollett was on the phone with Brandon Moore, his music manager. Both claimed that the alleged attackers yelled "MAGA country."

While Guglielmi said on Saturday that he could not speak on what the new information was, he said that detectives had “shifted the trajectory” of the investigation. Though he did not say whether Smollett spoke to the men that night — one of them had previously appeared on “Empire” — he said it will also be central to the investigation whether they spoke to or saw Smollett.

Police raided the home of the Osundairo brothers Wednesday night to search for possible evidence and retrieved shoes, electronic devices, bleach and a red hat, among other items, according to photos of an inventory log confirmed to ABC News. The inventory log, first reported by a local CBS station, also contained a description for an item that said "Script-Empire."

It’s unclear whether forensic results have come back on any of the seized items on the inventory log.

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The HSUS(HOUSTON) -- A young tiger found caged in an abandoned home in Houston has been transported to a wildlife sanctuary where he is free to explore the scenery as he pleases.

The large cat was found last week by a man who had ventured into the home to smoke marijuana, Houston Police spokeswoman Kese Smith told ABC News after the incident. The tiger was found in deplorable conditions, with his cage covered layers of his own feces and dirty metal bowls with food and water, Noelle Almrud, the director of the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, where the tiger has been relocated, told ABC News. He did not appear to be malnourished but is overweight -- most likely due to lack of exercise, Almrud said.

Congratulations to our @BARC_Houston
Animal Enforcement Officers on a job well done. Earlier Monday, they followed up on an anonymous tip from a concerned citizen regarding a tiger.https://t.co/AAv71RCtUr pic.twitter.com/ComVF8JZS0

— City of Houston (@HoustonTX) February 12, 2019

The estimated 350-pound tiger was transported to the facility, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, on Wednesday afternoon, and is settling in well, Almrud said. There, he will have the chance to roam in enclosures of up to three acres.

While the journey to a new home was stressful for the tiger, Almrud, who estimates him to be about 2 years old, described the moment he first walked onto the grass at the sanctuary as remarkable.

"It was just amazing to see him walk out on grass and to see him explore and have that freedom of movement," she said. "It was just such a reward and fulfilling to us."

Now, he spends his days rolling around the grass in glee, Almrud said.

The tiger, who will be quarantined for 30 days, seems to be comfortable around humans, and "chucks it up regularly" to his caregivers, which is the sound tigers make to communicate, Almrud said.

"He comes right up to the fence every time a staff member is present," she said. "He seems very amenable to our presence."

The tiger is eating well -- a combination of chicken, humanely raised non-processed beef and whole prey compete with organs and bones. It appears that he was being fed chicken, which is what owners of exotic cats often feed them, but chicken alone does not provide the complete nutrition they need to thrive, Almrud said.

In addition, caregivers are tasked with keeping the tiger mentally stimulated by creating "pretend hunting" games and rotating him through different areas so he has access to new smells and environments to explore.

"He seems to happy and content," Almrud said. "Our staff is just falling in love with him."

The sanctuary, which currently has temporary legal custody of the tiger, is waiting until the Harris County District Attorney's Office grants it full ownership to name the tiger, Almrud said. Once full ownership is granted -- Almrud hopes within the next few weeks -- the tiger will be sedated, undergo a full exam and be castrated, because "any reputable facility is non-breeding," she added.

Since tigers are normally solitary in the wild, the sanctuary likely will not introduce him to its two other tigers living on the property: Charlie, who was rescued from a breeder in 2016, and Alex, a former pet who arrived in 2014, Almrud said.

Private citizens are not capable of adequately caring for tigers and other exotic cats due to lack of space or understanding of the animal's physical and emotional needs, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, told ABC News.

"These are dangerous wild animals," Block said. "These are not puppies or kittens."

In addition, the animals pose a great danger to the humans they are around, and it's often children who inadvertently become their victims, likely because they look like small prey, Block said, She recalled one child who became blinded by the swipe of a tiger's paw and another who died after a tiger bit its head.

"They don't see a playmate. They're doing what they are instinctively [told to do]," she said. "It's not something that you train out of them."

Currently, only 35 states have laws banning private ownership of big cats, and Texas, which is estimated to have the second-largest tiger population in the world, is not one of them, Block said. She is seeking a solution in the form of federal legislation and hopes to reintroduce the Big Cat Public Safety Act during this congressional session, she said.

"It’s a measure to address the plight of thousands of wild animals kept privately as pets or languishing in substandard and unaccredited zoos, and prevent future ownership of big cats by unqualified and unprepared individuals," Block wrote on her blog on the Humane Society's website. "Its provisions would establish proper exemptions for qualified parties, and is a levelheaded approach to an animal welfare and public safety threat that has, unfortunately, grown worse in recent years. We badly need a national framework to bring the trade in wild animals under firm regulatory control."

While it is illegal to own a tiger within Houston city limits, it is unclear if authorities have identified any suspects in this case.

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Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) --  Having seen teachers score victories in Los Angeles, Denver and a string of states in their fights for higher wages and better working conditions, more than 3,000 educators in Oakland, California, have voted to go on strike this week.

"Oakland teachers cannot afford to live in Oakland," Keith Brown, president of the Oakland Education Association, said during a news conference on Saturday. "One out of five leaves each year. Five-hundred classrooms are left with inexperienced teachers."

Teachers voted overwhelmingly to walk off their jobs on Thursday, Brown said.

To stem the tide of teachers exiting the Oakland Unified School District, which has more than 37,000 students, the union is asking for a 12 percent raise over three years, smaller class sizes and more support staff.

The school district is offering a 5 percent raise, retroactive to when the union's contract expired in July 2017.

The union and the school district began bargaining on a new contract in December 2016, but after 30 negotiating sessions encompassing 200 hours of bargaining, an impasse was declared on May 18, 2018. Both sides agreed to mediation, but that failed to break the stalemate.

School District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said she is still hopeful that an agreement can be reached to avoid the first teachers' strike in Oakland in 23 years.

"Despite our challenges, we are prepared with a comprehensive proposal to reach an agreement," Johnson-Trammell said in a statement over the weekend. "If both sides are committed to settling the contract before a strike occurs -- and we are -- an agreement can certainly be reached without disrupting the educational experience for students, families and staff."

Wave of teachers' strikes

If Oakland teachers walk out of classrooms this week and hit the picket lines, the job action will become the latest in a string of public school teacher strikes that have swept the nation in the past 12 months.

The wave of teachers strikes started in West Virginia, where one year ago this week more than 20,000 teachers across the state walked off the job and formed picket lines for nearly two weeks before Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill granting educators and other state employees a 5 percent pay raise.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the West Virginia strike was a game changer that inspired teachers across the nation.

"I don't like when people say, 'Well if they can do it in West Virginia, we can do it' because that is really insulting to West Virginia. But it is a sense that they saw themselves with it. It inspired them and they saw that they could do it too," Weingarten told ABC News.

On the heels of the success of West Virginia teachers, educators in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona also went on strike for higher pay and better working conditions.

"What's happened in all these places is over the course of the last 10 to 15 years is that people have tried to make good schools and students front and center have gotten demeaned, disparaged, called names, schools have been divested," Weingarten said. "And so what has happened ... is a sense of possibility that when you join together you can indeed be stronger together, but you have to join together on a mission that the community really adopts."

$100 billion public schools bill

Earlier this month, Weingarten and other education leaders testified at hearings held by the House Education and Labor Committee on a bill that would pump $100 billion into the nation's public schools over the next decade.

According to briefing materials presented to the committee, teachers earn just 77 percent of what other college graduates make. With inflation factored in, public school teachers pay plummeted by $30 a week from 1996 to 2015, according to the briefing materials.

"The reason why this strike wave has occurred is because teacher pay and benefits and working conditions have gotten so bad. It's not that unions have gotten so strong," Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, a labor and employment law professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, told ABC News.

Dau-Schmidt noted that the wave of strikes started in states with the lowest paid teacher in the nation that have no comprehensive collective bargaining statutes, meaning their school budgets are set by state legislatures and not local school boards like in Los Angeles and Denver.

He said in states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky, strikes by teachers are considered illegal and educators risked being fired for participating in them. But because teachers in those states showed solidarity in their job actions, state government leaders had little choice but to bargain.

"The problem is their compensation got so far behind the market that the teachers felt they had to do something and the school boards, even if they had wanted to discharge all those teachers couldn't have possibly replaced them all because they're offering substandard wages," Dau-Schmidt said.

"It wouldn't have been possible to replace all those teachers at once with quality replacements in a market that's tight because fewer people are going to be trained to be teachers now because the word is out that the compensation is not that good," he said.

Parent support

Since the string of strikes began, some states have moved to compensate teachers to head off strikes.

"We see that a little bit in Indiana here where our governor has offered to pay off some of the pension liability so that would free up money for the school boards to give teachers raises for the next two years," Dau-Schmidt said.

Both Weingarten and Dau-Schmidt said that in most of the job actions parents have been on the side of the teachers.

"I think you've seen a lot of parent support for the strikers so far because parents realize the teacher is the third most important person in the world to each child after the mom and the dad, and they want good people there," Dau-Schmidt said. "They want them to be able to do their job and they want them to be adequately compensated. The only way to have good people doing a professional job is to treat them like professionals and pay them like professionals and give them decent working conditions."

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iStock/Thinkstock(BLUEFIELD, Virginia) -- A manhunt is underway for a 25-year-old man who is suspected of shooting a Virginia police officer during a traffic stop, authorities said.

Donquale Maurice Gray, who is believed to be armed and dangerous, allegedly shot the officer from the Bluefield Virginia Police Department just before midnight Saturday, according to Virginia State Police.

Gray was in the passenger seat of a 2008 Toyota Yaris when the vehicle was pulled over at 11:45 p.m. on Route 460, near Exit 3, near the town limits of Bluefield, police said.

The officer, who has not been identified, stopped the vehicle because of an equipment violation, police said.

That's when Gray allegedly opened fire on the officer, who was standing on the driver's side of the vehicle, police said.

The wounded officer and a colleague who responded to the initial traffic stop shot back at the vehicle, police said.

The driver of the Toyota, who has not been identified, got out of the vehicle and surrendered, police said.

But Gray allegedly hopped in the driver's seat and bolted, police said.

The vehicle, with the license plate 53U 974, has since been recovered, police said.

It is now "believed Gray is on foot," according to a post on the police department's Facebook page.

The wounded officer was rushed to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where he was being treated for serious but not life-threatening injuries, police said.

The driver of the vehicle was cited for a traffic violation and released, police said. He was not injured.

The other officer was not hurt either, police said.

Gray is 6-feet-1-inch tall and weighs approximately 185 pounds, police said. It's unclear what clothing Gray is wearing.

His last known address was in Bluefield, police said.

Anyone with information about Gray or the shooting is urged to call 911 or the Bluefield Police Department at 276-326-2621.

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iStock/BackyardProduction(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- It has been over a year since Hurricane Maria first made landfall on Puerto Rico.

As the island slowly rebuilds, first responders, healthcare providers and scientists on the island have been left to deal with the emotional toll on their communities and their own families as members of the “Maria Generation.” Though 64 people died as a direct result of the storm, an estimated 2,975 died as a result of its aftermath, according to Puerto Rico’s most recent official counts based on a study published in August of 2018, conducted by George Washington University and the University of Puerto Rico.

There has been disagreement about the exact death toll. For example, President Donald Trump tweeted in September of last year that it was as low as six to 18 people. Regardless, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported that 100 percent of the Puerto Rican population was affected by the storm in some way.

As a result of the storm, children on the island were particularly hard-hit, missing an average of 78 days of school, some with no school to return to, and one in four have suffered anxiety, according to a recent report from Instituto Desarrollo Juventud, a group that seeks to advance public policies for the welfare of children.

Such “adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) [are] especially detrimental for children, with long-term negative effects on learning, behavior and health,” Victoria Brown, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation(RWJF), the largest public health philanthropy in the U.S., told ABC News.

Of the estimated 175 million children impacted by natural disasters every year in the last decade, those who survive ACEs, like parental separation, may be at an increased risk of chronic disease and premature death later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“For three weeks I thought my kid was dead,” Alexia Suarez, psychological program manager for Americares Puerto Rico Mental Health Services, told ABC News. “And that is devastating.” She added that healing is “an ongoing process because he developed a lot of mistrust.”

Children are not alone in coping with ongoing mental health effects.

Nerdys Nives, an employee of the Department of Human Resources at Ryder Hospital, told ABC news that 35 hospital employees lost their homes, and three lost family members to the storm. Her hospital is in the town of Humacao, near where the hurricane first hit the island. Nives’ home was destroyed.

“I had depression and would cry every time I thought of what I lost in the hurricane,” she said.

Aid beyond FEMA

Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth of the U.S., and Puerto Ricans have partial voting rights and pay U.S. federal employment taxes, but only pay federal income taxes in some cases.

Although the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) helped respond to Hurricane Maria, the agency has acknowledged its own shortcomings in its response to this disaster.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s government-funded medical research agency, has since stepped in to support research around to rebuild and recover.

Because Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, the country is eligible to apply for NIH funding, according to Dr. Karen Martinez, associate professor and director of the Center for the Study and Treatment of Fear and Anxiety at the University of Puerto Rico. She said that after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, a division of the NIH, gave out small grants to study the health effects of the hurricanes. Martinez is part of a team that has grant funding from the NIH to study the biological effects that occur in the babies of pregnant women affected by the hurricane.

Since fiscal year of 2018, the NIH has allocated $33,106,284 to the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences, and additional money to other institutions.

Resilience

In Puerto Rico, 31 percent of families suffered a deterioration of their socioeconomic status after Hurricane Maria, according to a recent public policy report from the Instituto Desarrollo Juventud. The island is still covered in “an ocean of tarps on the roofs of many houses,” Suarez said.

But beyond physical needs, the need for social and psychological services continues to be a problem, according to Suarez.

The RWJF -- which promotes resilience building education, advocacy and private grant funding -- recently gave $800,000 to Americares to help provide such services.

“The [RWJ] Foundation’s response efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria have been focused toward supporting behavioral health interventions, especially those aimed at vulnerable children and families. The intent is that these interventions, support and trauma-informed responses can mitigate the impact of this traumatic life event,” said Brown.

Suarez explained that Americares provides workshops for healthcare and first-responder organizations to teach “how to recognize trauma related symptoms in themselves as well as the people they serve.”

Nerdys Nives said that after working with Americares, she no longer suffers from depression.

Americares will also work with the Puerto Rico Pediatric Society to provide services for children.

“The literature is clear that the best way to address mental health in children and adolescents is in schools, and we lack a school mental health program,” said Martinez.

Evaluation and sustainability

Though programs like Americares have an important mission, some have voiced concerns over their staying power, and whether their approaches are evidence-based.

“What I am most worried about is the long-term sustainability of these programs,” Martinez warned.

Nives, however, said that the program aims for longevity.

“After [employees] receive the training, they can go out to loved ones and people they know that are also going through these difficult situations and spread that help to get better and learn how to cope,” explained Nives.

Americares evaluates all participants before and after involvement with the program to measure its benefits, with NIH funding to analyze and improve program outcomes, according to Suarez.

Despite the challenges of community-based programs like Americares, Nives says she wishes everyone had such an opportunity.

“Americares was the blessing that came to this hospital to help lift us up!”

Dr. Robin Ortiz is an internist and pediatrician and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.

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@YQRamos/Twitter(MIAMI) -- "Baby on board" was given a whole new meaning on one JetBlue flight late Friday.

JetBlue flight 1954 was en route from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in South Florida when a passenger gave birth to a baby boy, airline spokeswoman Tamara Young told Miami ABC affiliate WPLG.

The crew and medical professionals on the plane helped to deliver the baby, Young said.

The plane left San Juan at 9:44 p.m. AST and landed in Florida two hours and 40 minutes later at 11:24 p.m. EST -- with one more passenger added to the itinerary.

"We'd like to thank the crew and medical professionals on board for their quick action under pressure, and wish the new mother and son all the best," Young said.

Both mom and baby are doing well, the airline said.

Yaqui Ramos, with JetBlue ground operations, shared photos on Twitter of Broward County paramedics attending to the new baby in the jetway bridge at the airport.

Coincidentally, the name of the airplane, which Ramos said was newly in service, was "Born to Be Blue."

And even with the new baby on board, the plane arrived 11 minutes early.

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Shadow Lantry(TAMPA, Fla.) -- For once, police were thankful a group of criminals broke into a car.

A group of inmates on work duty in New Port Richey, Florida, came to the rescue of a forgetful father who accidentally locked his keys -- and, more importantly, his 1-year-old baby -- in his truck earlier this week.

Five prisoners, along with deputies from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, were working to repair medians outside the West Pasco Judicial Center on Thursday when they saw the father begin to panic and a crowd gather around the locked car.

An onlooker provided the inmates with a wire hanger and they went to work.

"[We were] surprised when somebody had a wire coat hanger, [and] we were able to get the door open enough to get it in there, unlock the door," Richard Stanger, from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, told Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS.

The inmates were described as "low-risk offenders."

"A lot of them, like these individuals, they know they made bad mistakes, bad choices, but they want to do the right thing in life," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

In a cellphone video shot by the truck's owner, deputies can be heard telling the dad to "pop his head in the window" every once in a while, so the baby doesn't get scared by all the "strange faces."

It took about two minutes for them to pop the lock -- and trigger the car alarm -- in order to get the baby out of the truck.

The victory triggered celebration by those who had crowded around the vehicle.

Luckily it was a fairly cool day in the Tampa area with a high of 72 degrees on Thursday.

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Moreno Valley Police Department(LOS ANGELES) -- Two brothers have been charged in connection with murder of a 16-year-old girl who went missing in Southern California last month.

Owen Shover, 18, and Gary Shover, 21, were charged on Friday in relation to the murder of Aranda Briones, of Moreno Valley, who has not been seen since Jan. 13, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Office. Briones' last known location was at a community park in Moreno Valley, where friends said she had been dropped off that evening. Her family reported her missing the next day.

The brothers were taken into custody on Tuesday, with Owen Shover charged with murder and his brother charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Briones' body has yet to be found.

According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, Briones and Owen Shover were childhood friends who had recently reconnected.

The sheriff’s office said the Shovers were suspects early in the investigation and that Briones’ family had pointed them in their direction.

“She did have a bad choice of friends, I'll be honest, you know everybody does,” Briones’ uncle, Matthew Horstkotte, told Los Angeles ABC station KABC last month. “Everybody makes mistakes, but you know one thing I want? I just want her home safe.”

Owen Shover, who was the person last seen with Briones, told sheriffs that he dropped her off at a park on Jan. 13 and had not seen her since.

“We destroyed the timeline of events that he gave us,” Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Vasquez said, “and replaced it with what we knew to be true based on video surveillance footage.”

The sheriff’s office expanded the investigation and began to cooperate with the FBI and the homicide unit on Jan. 20.

On Feb. 11, authorities served a search warrant at the home of Owen and Gary Shover in Hesperia, California, about 40 minutes from Moreno Valley, and arrested the brothers. The sheriff’s office said evidence was collected at their residence, but did not specify what was found.

The investigation is still active and the sheriff’s office is still seeking the public’s help to locate Briones.

“We still don’t have a body,” said Vasquez. “We still don’t know where she is.”

The brothers are being held without bail and will make their next court appearance on March 1.

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KTRK(HOUSTON) -- Less than 48 hours after President Donald Trump called him up on a stage to express pride in the Houston Police Department, Chief Art Acevedo struggled to explain a scandal in which one of his narcotics agents allegedly lied to get a no-knock warrant for a drug-house raid that left a married couple dead and four officers shot.

"What a job you've done. I'm proud of you," Trump told Acevedo while giving the keynote address on Wednesday at the Major Cities Chiefs Association and Major County Sheriffs of America joint conference in Washington, D.C.

"I like these people," Trump said of the Houston Police Department delegation on hand. "I feel very safe with these people."

During a news conference in Houston on Friday, Acevedo noted the dramatic contrast between Trump's praise for his department and an investigation into the troubling actions of one veteran narcotics officer.

"Here we are less than 48 hours later talking about one person," said Acevedo, who asked the public not to paint the 5,200 members of his department "in a broad brush" over the actions of a single officer.

That officer, identified in court papers as Gerald Goines, 54, was one of the four drug-team members shot in January when they raided a house where Goines claimed a confidential informant had made two purchases of black tar heroin.

But an affidavit filed in Harris County District Court on Thursday by Houston internal affairs detectives investigating the raid indicates the confidential informant Goines said conducted the drug buys on his instruction claims he never even went to the house.

"Regardless of whether we had reason or probable cause to engage in an investigation or even get a search warrant, what that affidavit will show you is that, thus far, it appears that there are some material untruths or lies in that affidavit, and that's a problem," Acevedo said.

Killed in the Jan. 28 raid were homeowners Dennis Tuttle, 59, and his 58-year-old wife, Rhogena Nicholas.

Armed with a search warrant, nine narcotics detectives backed up by at least six patrol officers surrounded the home on Harding Street just before 5 p.m.

After Goines, the lead investigator on the case, broke open the front door, a 33-year-old officer armed with a shotgun entered the residence and was immediately attacked by a pit bull, Acevedo said a day after the raid.

He said that the officer being attacked shot and killed the dog.

One of the suspects, Tuttle, charged from the back of the house firing a .357-caliber Magnum revolver at the officer, hitting him in the shoulder, Acevedo said.

He said Nicholas was shot and killed when she tried to grab the wounded officer's shotgun and that Tuttle was killed by police after shooting three other officers, including Goines, who suffered a bullet wound to the neck and remains in a hospital.

Police recovered two shotguns and three rifles from the residence and seized marijuana and a white powder they believe to be either cocaine or the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, Acevedo said at the time. But officers did not seize any black tar heroin, he said.

In his application for a search warrant, Goines claimed he was outside the house and "observed the confidential informant" go into the house, make the heroin buy and came out and handed him the drugs, according to the internal affairs affidavit.

Goines gave investigators the name of the informant he said made the drug deal, according to the affidavit. But when the informant denied he had bought drugs from the house on the instruction of Goines, investigators confronted Goines, who then gave them another informant's name.

Internal affairs detectives interviewed all of the confidential informants Goines worked with "and all denied making a buy for Goines from the residence located at 7815 Harding Street, and ever purchasing narcotics from Rhogena Nicholas or Dennis Tuttle."

On Friday, Acevedo said he has ordered a full audit of drug investigations by his narcotics unit and a review of other cases Goines has been in charge of.

He said Goines, who has been with the department for 34 years and was previously shot twice in the line of duty, has been relieved of his duties and will likely face serious criminal charges.

"We know that there's already a crime that's been committed," Acevedo said. "It's a serious crime when we prepare a document to go into somebody's home, into the sanctity that is somebody's home, it has to be truthful, it has to be honest, it has to be factual. We know already there's a crime that's been committed. There's high probability there will be a criminal charge."

Acevedo said detectives were first alerted to the alleged drug-dealing at the Harding Street house in a 911 call from a mother concerned her daughter had been involved in drugs at the residence. Police launched an investigation about two weeks before the fatal January raid.

"We weren't there willy nilly," Acevedo said.

As part of the investigation into the drug raid, a second undercover officer was also relieved of his duties, but Acevedo said investigators do not believe he was aware that Goines allegedly concocted information to obtain the no-knock warrant.

"When we're done, I guarantee you we will leave no stone unturned and the truth will come out," Acevedo said.

He added that there are "a lot of angry cops" because of Goines' alleged behavior.

"When you violate that oath of office, you make ... their jobs difficult," he said.

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ABC News(CHICAGO) -- The two brothers who were interrogated by police investigating the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett purchased the rope that was found around the "Empire" actor's neck, sources told ABC News Saturday.

Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo agreed to cooperate with authorities after detectives confronted them with evidence that they bought the rope -- allegedly used in an attack that Smollett described to police as laced with racial and homophobic slurs -- at a local hardware store, sources said.

Detectives have now shifted the investigation to determining whether Smollett made up the entire story, sources said.

Yet in a late night statement from his attorneys on Saturday, Smollett hit back at the suggestion that the incident was a hoax, and expressed incredulity that the brothers could have been involved.

“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," began a statement from Smollett attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

“One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video," the statement continued. "It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity."

The statement went on to say that Smollett would continue to cooperate with authorities.

After initially considered persons of interest, the brothers were detained and become potential suspects, police said. When they were threatened with to be charged with battery and hate crimes, they agreed to work with detectives, the sources said.

The dramatic shift in the probe is the latest in the fast-changing story that started with Smollett reporting to police that he was attacked in the early morning hours of Jan. 29.

By Saturday evening, however, Chicago police said they were "eager to speak to Jussie Smollett" after the interrogation of the Osundairo brothers.

"We have been in touch with Smollett's attorneys," said Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told ABC News.

Guglielmi said the department contacted the actor's lawyers Friday night.

"We made our intentions clear," he said.

A spokesperson for Fox, which broadcasts "Empire," declined comment on Saturday night.

Early Saturday, after the brothers were released, police said they had new information that “could change the story entirely.”

Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo, confirmed by police as those seen in surveillance images from the night of the alleged incident, were arrested on Wednesday night and interviewed by detectives in the following days.

Based on the video evidence that police discovered, it did not indicate anyone else was there at the scene of the alleged incident, police say.

But on Saturday, after their release the night before, police said they were no long potential suspects and again persons of interest, saying that they may still have information that is helpful to the investigation.

Smollett told police that on Jan. 29 he was walking outside when he was attacked by two men. The attackers shouted racist and homophobic slurs before hitting him, pouring “an unknown chemical substance” on him — possibly bleach — and wrapping a rope around his neck, he told detectives.

Police confirmed phone records show that during the attack, Smollett was on the phone with Brandon Moore, his music manager. Both claim that the alleged attackers yelled "MAGA country."

While police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Saturday that he could not speak on what the new information was, he said that the break from detectives has “shifted the trajectory” of the investigation. Though he did not say whether Smollett spoke to the men that night — one of them had previously appeared on “Empire” — he said it will also be central to the investigation whether they spoke to or saw Smollett.

Police raided the home of the brothers Wednesday night to search for possible evidence and retrieved shoes, electronic devices, bleach and a red hat, among other items, according to photos of an inventory log confirmed to ABC News. The inventory log, first reported by a local CBS station, also contained a description for an item saying "Script-Empire."

It’s unclear whether forensic results have come back on any of the seized items on the inventory log.

Police confirmed that the two men, who are U.S. citizens of Nigerian descent, are brothers. They also said that the two “have a relationship with [Jussie].”

On Friday, as interviews with the two men continued, Guglielmi said that “the alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect.”

He also said that there was “no evidence to say that this is a hoax.”

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ABC News(CHICAGO) -- When news broke of the alleged racist attack on a star from one of the most popular shows on television, it riveted everyone, drawing the nation into a heated discussion about race, politics and celebrity. But as the investigation continued, growing skepticism about Smollett's story added enormous pressure on Chicago investigators to get to the bottom of what really happened that night. Here is a timeline of the Jussie Smollett case as it unfolded over the past several weeks.

Jan. 22: Smollett reports to police receiving a threatening letter sent to the Fox studio where ‘Empire’ is filmed, containing threatening language and laced with a powdery substance investigators believe was likely crushed-up Tylenol.

Jan. 29: Smollett is allegedly attacked at 2 a.m. near his apartment in Chicago. Two masked assailants poured ‘an unknown chemical substance’ on him, possibly bleach, and wrapped a rope around his neck, he told police. In a follow-up interview with police, Smollett alleges that the attackers yelled “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan.

Jan. 30: Chicago police announce in a tweet that they are seeking two “persons of interest” who were captured on surveillance video near the scene and around the time of the alleged attack.

Jan. 31: Smollett's family releases and emotional statement describing the alleged attack as a hate crime. "In the early hours of Tuesday morning, our beloved son and brother, Jussie, was the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack. We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime," the family wrote in the statement to ABC News. "Jussie has told the police everything from the very beginning. His story has never changed, and we are hopeful they will find these men and bring them to justice."

Feb. 1: Smollett releases a new statement thanking his fans and reiterating that his account of the alleged attack has remained consistent. "I am working with authorities and have been 100% factual and consistent on every level," he said in the statement. "Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served.”

Feb. 2: Smollett makes his first appearance on stage since the alleged attack, performing at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California. "Regardless of what anyone else says, I will only stand for love," Jussie Smollett said, tearing up before beginning his set. "We hope that you all stand with us."

Feb. 4: Chicago police release the initial incident report about the alleged attack on Smollett. The report reveals that Smollett was apparently reluctant to report the attack, and that when police arrived at his home to interview him, he was still wearing the rope around his neck. The report states that a 60-year-old friend of Smollett called the police on his behalf and said the actor "did not want to report offense however he believed it to be in the best interest to."

Smollett said the attack happened at around 2 a.m. as he was leaving a Subway restaurant. He told police that two attackers gained his attention by yelling racial and homophobic slurs and began to beat him "about the face with their hands," the report said. "The primary aggressor was wearing a black mask concealing any facial features and both offenders were dressed in black," according to the report. "The victim does not remember any other distinguishing features of the offenders, or in which direction they fled," it added.
Ten days passed without any developments in the investigation into the alleged attack, prompting growing skepticism about Smollett's account on social media.

Feb. 13: Unbeknownst to the public, Chicago police investigators had been "tracking the two 'persons of interest' and were aware of who they were "for awhile," a law enforcement source subsequently told ABC News. Investigators learned that these two individuals were returning to Chicago on Feb. 13 from Nigeria and moved in. The pair were detained at the airport, placed under arrest and taken in for questioning.

Feb. 14: In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts, Smollett said he was heartbroken when he found out that people questioned the details of his story. He defended himself against skeptics who pointed out that it wasn't until a follow-up interview with the police that he mentioned that the assailants were wearing red "MAGA" hats.

"For me, the main thing was the idea that I somehow switched up my story, you know? And that somehow maybe I added a little extra trinket, you know, of the MAGA thing," Smollett said. "I didn't need to add anything like that. They called me a f----, they called me a n----. There's no which way you cut it. I don't need some MAGA hat as the cherry on top of some racist sundae."

The same day, Smollett is re-interviewed by Chicago police investigators. By evening, police sources confirm that they obtained search warrants and raided the homes of the two individuals, recovering bleach, shoes, electronics and other items.

Feb. 15: Chicago police announce that they have identified and are questioning the two "persons of interest" captured on a surveillance video.

By midday, a CPD spokesman tells ABC News that the two 'persons of interest' are, in fact, under arrest, and acknowledge that the pair has "a relationship with" Smollett. In an unusual move for an ongoing investigation, police officials who had originally described the two as 'persons of interest' begin describing the two men as "potential suspects." But by late that evening, investigators changed course, and announced that the two men have been released without charges.

Feb. 16: Chicago police identify the two men they arrested and later releases as brothers -- Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo -- both U.S. citizens of Nigerian descent.

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iStock/Bogdan Khmelnytskyi(ORLANDO) -- Chaos erupted at Orlando International Airport Saturday after a man tried to breach a security checkpoint and travelers yelled out that the suspect had a gun, police said.

The man, Ryan Scott Mills, 38, was unarmed, Orlando Police said in a statement, adding that there was no gun involved in the incident and that “no shots were ever fired.”

Mills was attempting to cross the airport’s west checkpoint around noon on Saturday when he was stopped by TSA agents, who called police for assistance, authorities said. When police attempted to arrest him, he reached into his pocket, and that’s when “unknown persons in the screening area yelled that he had a gun,” police said.

“The commotion caused a panic and persons in the screening area fled,” the police statement said. “Some of them ran past the checkpoints, which caused TSA to immediately suspend screening operations. Several travelers were injured due to the panic (pushing from the crowd) but all were minor in nature.”

Video from the incident shows people becoming increasingly panicked as they ran away from the screening area. With alarms blaring, children can be seen crying and rope barriers are strewn across the floors.

The person who took the video can be heard saying that the suspect had “a grenade or something in his hand” as he runs through the hallways of the airport.

Caroline Fennell, senior director of public affairs at the airport, said in a statement that the incident happened during one of the busiest times for security screening at the airport but that operations have resumed.

Orlando International Airport also tweeted that the checkpoint was “fully operational” but “delays continue.” Passengers scheduled for flights Saturday afternoon should check for status updates, according to the tweet.

Mills was taken into involuntary protective custody and he will be charged with disorderly conduct and resisting officer without violence, according to the police statement.

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ABC News(AURORA, Illinois) -- A "disgruntled" worker of an Illinois factory opened fire after being called into a meeting to terminate his employment, killing five co-workers and wounding five police officers before he was shot dead in a gunfight, officials said Saturday.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the suspect, Gary Martin, 45, committed Friday's massacre at the sprawling Henry Pratt Company in Aurora with a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun he should have never been able to possess because of 1995 felony conviction.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Pope Francis officially defrocked the disgraced former cardinal of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick on Friday, following a secret Vatican tribunal into allegations that he molested a 16-year-old boy decades ago.

"On 11 January 2019, the Congress of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, DC, Guilty of the Following Delicacies while a cleric: solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, with the aggravating factor of the use of power," a statement from the Vatican on Saturday said. "The Congress imposed on him the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state.

"On 13 February 2019, the Ordinary Session (Feria IV) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith considered the recourse and presented against this decision," the Vatican's statement continued. "Having examined the arguments in the recourse, the Ordinary Session confirmed the decree of the Congress. This decision was sent to Theodore McCarrick on 15 February 2019. The Holy Father has recognized the definitive nature of this decision, made in accord with law, rendering it a res iudicata (ie, admitting of no further recourse)."

McCarrick, 88, resigned from the College of Cardinals last summer at the pope's insistence, but only after an accusation that he molested a 16-year-old altar boy while serving at the Archdiocese of New York was found credible by the church. A July 2018 report from The New York Times alleged that McCarrick coerced seminarians into sexual relationships.

By announcing the sanctions against McCarrick, the church had hoped to send a strong message ahead of next week’s unprecedented global summit on the protection of minors.

But it’s unlikely that many critics will be satisfied.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó and others say church leaders have known for years about allegations that McCarrick was a well-known abuser of seminarians and priests, but chose to turn a blind eye. In a bombshell open letter last August, Viganó even called on Pope Francis to resign.

“Laicization,” the term the church uses for revoking a priest’s ordination, is considered the most severe penalty possible under the circumstances. McCarrick was already the first cardinal in a century to forfeit his red hat. Pope Francis demoted McCarrick last summer after investigators for the Archdiocese of New York determined the charges against him were credible.

McCarrick is reported to be living a life of penance and seclusion at the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas. The friary is one block away from an elementary school, a decision some survivors of sexual abuse have called “reckless.”

The Bishop of Kansas City Gerald Vincke told the Kansas City Star the disgraced ex-cardinal posed no threat to the school.

“McCarrick is not allowed to make any public appearances or visit the school or do any ministry,” he said.

Next week, Pope Francis convenes a worldwide summit to address the issue of protecting minors from sexual abuse. New waves of the scandal have called attention to the church’s failure to be fully transparent or to police bishops accused of covering up past abuses.

Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have recently adopted a more aggressive stance on the issue after last summer when a grand jury in Pennsylvania disclosed the names of more than 300 alleged predator priests going back decades.

The scandal prompted the resignation of McCarrick’s successor in Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who was Bishop of Pittsburgh during some of the period covered in the grand jury report.

Now, other jurisdictions are following suit. Lawmakers in New York recently voted to extend the statute of limitations for child victims in civil and criminal cases despite objections from church officials. In Texas, law enforcement recently raided the office of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who will represent the U.S. at next week’s Vatican summit.

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Customs and Border Protection(LOS ANGELES) -- Federal authorities seized two massive shipments of cocaine at the same California port of entry in late January. The total for the two shipments was 221 pounds -- the largest at that port in 25 years, according to officials.

The busts, which were announced on Friday, were both found aboard ships at Port Hueneme in Ventura County, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, coming from Central and South America. The first shipment, which was 204.2 pounds, was seized on Jan. 22 on a cargo ship from Ecuador.

Six days later, the same authorities found a seven-bundle, 17.5-pound shipment of cocaine on a ship from Guatemala.

Both deliveries were concealed beneath the floorboards of the ships.

Customs and Border Protection, Home Security Investigations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized the drugs in a joint operation.

"CBP plays a critical role in the effort to keep dangerous drugs from illegally entering the country. Specifically, by leveraging a comprehensive, multi-layered, intelligence driven, and threat-based approach to enhance the security of our seaports, we can diminish the effectiveness of transnational criminal organizations drug operations," Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

The seizures came just days after a joint drug bust between Australian and U.S. authorities on Jan. 11 resulted in a record 1.7 tons of methamphetamine being found at Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.

The location of the bust announced Friday is only about 90 minutes northwest of Long Beach seaport.

That shipment included a record 3,810 pounds of meth, 55.9 pounds of cocaine and 11.5 pounds of heroin. Australian officials said the total street value of the haul was $1.29 billion.

Officials said the seizure announced Friday was the largest bust at Port Hueneme "in the last quarter century."

No one has been arrested in the drug bust, according to CBP, but an investigation into the shipment is ongoing.

CBP seizes an average of 5,863 pounds of narcotics every day, according to government statistics.

CBP's Office of Field Operations, which monitors 328 ports of entry, seized 62,331 pounds of cocaine for fiscal year 2017, the last year for which full statistics are available. Another 9,346 pounds of cocaine were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

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