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Michael Brown's Father Issues Plea for Calm in Wake of Grand Jury Decision


Scott Olson/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — With the grand jury in the Michael Brown shooting case set to deliver a verdict at any time, the father of the slain teenager released a public service video Thursday urging supporters to protest peacefully regardless of the decision.

In anticipation that the grand jury might not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the racially charged case, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has already issued a state of emergency, with law enforcement authorities ready in anticipation of civil unrest that could turn violent.

Michael Brown Sr.’s statement begins by thanking supporters “for lifting your voices to end racial profiling and police intimidation -- but hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.”

Saying that he doesn’t want his son’s death to have been in vain, Brown asks that it instead leads “to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”

Brown concludes his statement by asking everyone in the community and the nation at large to “work together to heal and to create lasting change for all people regardless of race.”

Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with ABC News, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said, “There's a time and place for civil unrest, and this apparently is the time and this is the place, but we do -- we do hope that people understand the property rights of others and the value of human life.”


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FSU Gunman Myron May Sent Packages to Eight Friends


Myron May is seen in this undated handout photo. Courtesy Daunton Family(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) — Eight acquaintances of Myron May are said to be expecting packages in the mail sent before police say May opened fire on Florida State University’s campus.

Joe Paul said he was a former student at the university with May, and the two reconnected while living in Houston. May sent a message alerting the acquaintances -- who evidently don’t know one another -- that they would receive packages, Paul told ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Paul contacted police, and has been advised to call local authorities when the package arrives.

“What did he send everyone? Was it a manifesto? Was it a message? I don’t know. I think I’m just as curious as everyone else,” Paul said in the interview.

May, 31, was identified by police as the shooter who opened fire at the Florida State University library early Thursday morning, wounding three people before police shot him to death. Authorities said they have no motive for May's rampage, other than to say that May was "in a state of crisis."

May was a foster child who succeeded in becoming a lawyer, but he recently deteriorated to the point where his ex-girlfriend called police saying he was acting erratically and she feared for his life.

His foster mother, Abigail Taunton, said she is shocked by May’s inexplicable actions.

"It has to be some mental illness going on that we were not aware," Taunton said.

One of the students in the shooting was listed in critical condition Thursday, with two others suffering non-life-threatening injuries.


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Former Sheriff's Deputy Accused in Wife's 2012 Shooting Death


KMGH(DENVER) -- A former sheriff’s deputy in Colorado is in custody, accused of killing his wife nearly three years ago, a death that was originally ruled a suicide.

Tom Fallis, 34, who now lives in Bloomington, Indiana, appeared in court Thursday for an extradition hearing. He will soon be moved to Colorado to formally face charges for the New Year’s 2012 murder of his wife Ashley Fallis, 28.

According to a grand jury indictment, the husband “became irate” at the end of a New Year’s party, stormed into their master bedroom, grabbed a handgun and shot his wife. He is charged with two felony charges of murder.

Tom Fallis’ attorney said the man is innocent.

The husband called 911 to report his wife’s death. “My wife just shot herself in the head. Please help me! Please help me!” he told dispatchers at the time.

Four different agencies initially agreed it was a suicide, police said.

Dan Recht, an attorney for Ashley Fallis’ family, said her relatives could never accept that analysis.

“They just knew their daughter, she was very happy, a young mother with three young children. And the idea that she would somehow decide to commit suicide, they would never accept it,” Recht said.

As new witness testimony came to light, police reopened the investigation, leading to the grand jury that brought charges against Tom Fallis.

Jenna Fox, Ashley’s mother, said she’s stunned by the arrest.

“Shock, elation, sadnes …it encompasses every emotion you could have,” Fox said.

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Why Adrian Peterson Says He 'WonÂ’t Ever Use a Switch Again'


Bob Levey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Running back Adrian Peterson says he has changed his perspective on child discipline after facing child abuse charges and an ongoing suspension from the NFL.

“I won’t ever use a switch again,” he said in an interview published Thursday by USA Today, his first extensive comments since being charged with felony child abuse in September in Texas.

“There’s different situations where a child needs to be disciplined as far as timeout, taking their toys away, making them take a nap. There’s so many different ways to discipline your child.”

The six-time All-Pro was charged for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son, leaving bruises and welts. He agreed to a plea deal with no jail time earlier this month, pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault.

Peterson’s bail terms prohibit him from having face-to-face contact with the boy, but Peterson said they recently spoke over the phone, their first conversation in five months.

“I was like, ‘Hey buddy, how you doing?’” Peterson, 29, said, recounting the conversation to USA Today.

“I’m doing OK,” the boy said.

“I was like, ‘I love you.’”

“He was like, ‘I love you too, Dad. Can I come over to your house?’”

Peterson’s latest comments mark a departure from his statements days after he was indicted. At the time, he said, “I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child.” Without that discipline, “I could have been one of those kids that was lost in the streets,” he said.

Peterson acknowledged that leaving the Minnesota Vikings might be the best for both him and the team.

"I would love to go back and play in Minnesota to get a feel and just see if my family still feels comfortable there," he told USA Today. "But if there's word out that, hey, they might release me, then so be it. I would feel good knowing that I've given everything I had in me."

The former NFL MVP is suspended by the league without pay, a punishment the NFL Players Association has appealed.

Peterson disagrees with the sentiments of Commissioner Roger Goodell, who stated that Peterson failed to show “meaningful remorse” for his conduct.

"Ultimately, I know I'll have my opportunity to sit down with Roger face to face, and I'll be able to say a lot of the same things that I've said to you," Peterson told USA Today. "Don't say that I'm not remorseful, because in my statement, I showed that I was remorseful. I regretted everything that took place. I love my child, more than anyone could ever imagine."

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Secret Service Arrests Woman with Handgun Outside White House


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Secret Service agents arrested a woman with a holstered 9-millimeter handgun outside the White House Thursday night shortly after President Obama finished his announcement on immigration reform, according to federal law enforcement sources.

Plainclothes agents noticed April Lenhart carrying the holstered weapon as she was on the north side of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue about 8:30 p.m., sources told ABC News. Uniformed agents who were alerted then arrested her and charged the woman with possession of an unregistered firearm, possession of unregistered ammunition and carrying a pistol without a license.

Lenhart, 23, of Michigan, was with a man who wasn't arrested, according to sources. Secret Service agents hoped to get a search warrant to look through her car, which was nearby.

The incident came a day after R.J. Kapheim was arrested one block from the White House after a search of his car uncovered a rifle and ammunition.

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One Killed, 3 Injured in Oil Rig Explosion in Gulf of Mexico


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- One person was killed and three others were injured in an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The explosion happened about 4 p.m. on board the rig stationed roughly 12 miles off the coast of New Orleans.

The three injured workers were undergoing treatment in a medical facility on the rig, said the BSEE. Their conditions weren't immediately released.

The oil rig is owned by Houston-based Fieldwood Energy, which reported the explosion. The rig wasn't in production at the time of the explosion, said the BSEE.

The damage was limited to the explosion area and no pollution was reported.

It was unclear what caused the explosion. The BSEE was investigating.

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Florida State University Gunman Was Lawyer and Former Student


Brendan Sonnone/ Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- The gunman who wounded three people at the Florida State University school library early on Thursday was a lawyer who had graduated from FSU, law enforcement said on Thursday.

The alleged gunman was identified as Myron May, sources said.

The gunman opened fire in FSU's Strozier Library, which was packed with students studying for end of term finals.

An officer responding to the scene fatally wounded the suspected gunman after he fired at police, Tallahassee Police Department public information officer David Northway said at an early morning press conference.

Two of the victims were taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, with one listed in critical condition, the other in stable condition. The third victim received a graze wound, police said.

The university said on its Twitter account that it would remain open on Thursday, but it would not hold classes.

The university sent an emergency alert to students, classifying the incident as a "dangerous situation" and telling students to seek shelter.

University President John Thrasher released a statement following Thursday morning's shooting.

"The Florida State University community is extremely saddened by the shootings that took place early this morning at Strozier Library, in the very heart of campus, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who have been affected," Thrasher said in the statement.

"The three students who have been injured are our highest priority followed by the needs of our greater university community. We will do everything possible to assist with their recovery," he added.

The shooting was an "isolated incident," Thrasher said.

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Why Cases Like Ferguson Are Hard for Feds to Prosecute


iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- As soon as the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, announces its decision over whether to charge Police Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting teenager Michael Brown, the public will almost certainly turn to the Justice Department and say: Your move, Mr. Attorney General.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has vowed a "fair" and "thorough" investigation into the matter. But when pressed by ABC News in August, Holder seemed to acknowledge federal charges against Wilson are hardly guaranteed.

What are the hurdles to bring civil rights charges against a police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager? Here are the top four challenges facing federal prosecutors, according to many of those who've prosecuted such cases:

1. "The law"

Under federal law, prosecutors need to prove two things: (1) it was "unreasonable" for Wilson to believe Brown posed a threat to him or the public, and (2) Wilson "willfully" deprived Brown of his constitutional rights.

"It's hard enough to prove willfulness to a jury when an officer beats a handcuffed suspect," said Rachel Harmon, a former Justice Department official who prosecuted several cases of excessive force by police. "It is much more difficult still when an officer uses force in an ongoing encounter with an unrestrained … suspect, even if that person is unarmed."

Reasonableness comes "from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight," a federal judge told jurors in a 2010 case in New Orleans that ultimately acquitted an officer who fatally shot an unarmed man.

That analysis must also consider "that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving," U.S. District Judge Lance Africk said then.

Federal investigators will also be taking a close look at Wilson's background and any personal views that could have impacted his decision-making when he encountered Brown.

In Ferguson, "even if [Wilson] was wrong about the amount of force that was necessary, if it was reasonable given all of what he was confronting at the time, then he can't be charged," said William Yeomans, who spent 26 years prosecuting civil rights cases at the Justice Department.

2. "Issues of proof"

In cases of excessive force, "You may have issues of proof," and there are "certain limitations," the current federal prosecutor nominated to replace Holder said more than a decade ago.

"The real problem, from my perspective and the Justice Department's perspective, is that you are coming into an event after it has already occurred," Loretta Lynch said at a Fordham Law School roundtable in 2000, during her first stint as U.S. Attorney out of Brooklyn, N.Y.

So prosecutors must often rely on eyewitness accounts. But such testimony "can be particularly problematic," Yeomans said, because eyewitnesses regularly have "very different" and inaccurate "pictures of what went on" during a chaotic incident.

It's "absolutely" an issue in the Ferguson case, he said.

In fact, at least one witness in Ferguson said Brown was shot "with his arms up in the air." But police claimed Brown was shot in the wake of a struggle for Wilson's gun and only after Brown started advancing toward Wilson.

Because the police claim is "a plausible scenario," it's "hard for a jury to think about sending Officer Wilson to jail," Yeomans said.

Brown family attorney Ben Crump, however, said, "People get arrested with far less evidence," insisting eyewitness testimony and "physical evidence" in the Ferguson case support charges against Wilson.

3. "Strong presumption in favor of law enforcement"

"There is a strong presumption in favor of law enforcement" when deciding whether to charge a police officer, Yeomans said. "And it is a risky business to be too proactive in second-guessing their instantaneous choices."

Both the law and juries give officers a lot of so-called "leeway" in that regard.

"Juries will give the police officers a significant benefit of the doubt," said Michael Magner, a former assistant U.S. attorney who helped prosecute the 2010 case in New Orleans.

The lawyer for the Brown family, Benjamim Crump, said the high bar for indicting cops is even more pronounced at the local grand jury level.

"When you got the local prosecutor sitting in judgment of the local police, they normally don't indict," Crump told ABC News. The justice system "gives all the favor to the police officers and does nothing for the citizens."

4. "Selective leaking" and "public opinion"

Holder has condemned the "selective leak" of certain information in the case, saying it is "harmful to the process."

Yeomans said the release of case information outside a grand jury room can have an impact on what happens inside the room.

Yeomans took particular issue with the official release of a video showing someone identified as Brown allegedly stealing cigars from a convenience store minutes before the fatal encounter with Wilson.

At the time, police insisted they "had to release" the video in the interest of transparency and because they received too many "freedom of information requests" from news outlets.

Still, many leaks – such as details of secret witness interviews and autopsy reports – have been favorable to Wilson, and that "tends to affect the way that grand jurors approach the situation," Yeomans said.

So what's next if federal charges don't happen?

In addition to its criminal investigation of Wilson, the Justice Department has launched a separate civil probe into the entire Ferguson police department, trying to determine whether officers routinely engage in a "pattern or practice" of unlawful and discriminatory policing.

Officers there allegedly have been more likely to stop and arrest a black driver than a white driver.

Depending on what federal investigators conclude and how city officials respond, a federal court could demand Ferguson police make sweeping changes.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch his city has "nothing to hide" and will cooperate with the federal investigation, hoping to restore confidence in the police force.

"The real goal" of such probes "is to effect some sort of systemic change that will prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place," Lynch said in 2000 – long before much of the nation had even heard of Ferguson.

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Behavior of Florida State University Shooter Had Alarmed Ex-GirlFriend


iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- The man who shot three people at a Florida college early Thursday morning had been a success story -- a foster child who succeeded in becoming a lawyer -- but had recently deteriorated to the point where his ex-girlfriend called police saying he was acting erratically and she feared for his life.

Myron May, 31, has been identified as the shooter who opened fire at the Florida State University library in Tallahassee before he was shot and killed by police.

Police have no motive for May's rampage at the library, other than to say that May was "in a state of crisis."

May was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1983 and moved to Florida as a teen, Tallahassee Police Department Police Chief Michael DeLeo said Thursday.

Abigail and David Taunton told ABC News that he stayed with them in their foster home from the age of 13. They described him as being smart, friendly with their children and a cross country runner.

He was awarded scholarships to school, they said, and he graduated from FSU in 2005. He went on to study law at Texas Tech Law School in 2009 and practiced law in both Texas and New Mexico.

The Las Cruces District Attorney's office in Las Cruces, New Mexico, confirmed to ABC News that he had recently resigned from the office.

There were signs of trouble in Las Cruces in two police reports this fall, one for suspicious circumstances and another for harassment.

"He advised me that over the past two weeks he was almost certain that there was [a] camera somewhere located in the interior of his residence," a September police report stated. "He believes he was being watched and observed. He stated that he can constantly hear voices coming through the walls specifically talking about actions he was doing."

In October, police were called to his the home of his ex-girlfriend Danielle Nixon and she reported an incident where he had handed her a piece of his car that he claimed was a camera that police had put in his vehicle.

"According to [the woman], Myron has recently developed a severe mental disorder. Myron believes that the police are after him and are bugging his phone and car as well as placing cameras in his home and car," the police report stated.

The woman said that she did not feel she needed a protective order against him, and she said that their 15 month relationship had ended as his mental disorder -- which she said was ADHD and was treated with medication -- had been worsening in recent weeks, leading to him quitting his job at the district attorney's office.

She also told police that May had been taken to the Mesilla Valley Hospital for a mental health evaluation in late September.

May's foster parents told ABC News that he returned to their home, two hours' drive from Tallahassee, unannounced three weeks ago and asked to stay with them. He even joined them on their annual fishing trip.

David Taunton said that May did not appear to have any mental issues, saying that he was a happy, helpful person who wanted to come back to his hometown.

In spite of that description, the last time the Taunton's heard from him was on Friday. When Abigail Taunton texted him at some point in the last two days and he responded: "I'm alright - having spiritual warfare."

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What Will Happen to Snow Across US After Warmer Weekend


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many parts of the country have been pounded with snow and frigid cold this week, but don't worry: warmer weather is on the way.

So what happens to all that snow? After another snowfall forecast for Thursday afternoon, some places near Buffalo, New York, could see up to nine feet of snow in total. That could lead to minor flooding when the snow starts to melt, made worse because of snow covering drains, according to ABC News weather experts.

Ten inches of snow converts to about one inch of liquid water when it all melts. But what's slamming Buffalo isn't regular snow -- it's lake-effect snow, which is lighter and fluffier, and contains less water. So it would take between 20 and 30 inches of lake-effect snow for about one inch of liquid water.

That's only if all of the snow melts, which experts don't expect will happen. By Sunday, the country warms up: afternoon temperatures will hit 51 degrees in New York, 81 degrees in Orlando, Florida, 50 degrees in Chicago and 67 degrees in Atlanta.

But colder weather returns on Tuesday, and only part of the snow will have melted by then.

Rain is also expected in the Buffalo area early next week, which could add to any flooding and also put extra pressure on rooftops already covered in snow.

Some residents in upstate New York have been snowed in at home for more than two days -- or, even worse, stuck in their cars or at work. A 132-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway remains closed on Thursday as emergency workers furiously try to clear the snow.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said on Wednesday that more than 5,000 tons of snow has already been removed from south Buffalo.

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Florida State University Student's Books Saved His Life


Jason Derfuss(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- A student who was leaving the Florida State University library just as a shooter opened fire realized later that he had been the gunman's first target.

Jason Derfuss, an FSU student, posted photos online showing a bullet that went through his backpack and was stopped only by a couple of books that he had just checked out for a research project.

"I didn't know this at the time, but the Shooter targeted me first," Derfuss wrote on his Facebook profile page. "The shot I heard behind me I did not feel, nor did it hit me at all. He was about 5 feet from me, but he hit my books. Books one minute earlier I had checked out of the library, books that should not have stopped the bullet. But they did."

Derfuss, who identifies himself as the vice president of a media production company on his Twitter account, shared a series of photos of the damage that the bullet did to two books -- one titled Great Medieval Thinkers and the other with its title obscured.

"I learned this about 3 hours after it happened, I never thought to check my bag. I assumed I wasn't a target, I assumed I was fine. The truth is I was almost killed tonight and God intervened," he said.

A Reddit user with the handle 'thejasond123' who posted the same photos wrote a similar account of the incident and added that he went to the police station and gave them his statement after discovering the bullet in his bag once he arrived home.

Police who rushed to the library fatally shot the suspect but not until three students were injured. All three of the victims are expected to survive.

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Beware of a Holiday Scam that Tricks You with a $100 Bill


WJLA(WASHINGTON) -- Authorities in Maryland have warned the public about a potential holiday scam that involves the temptation of a $100 bill left on a car windshield.

The simple scheme works like this: Drivers walk to their parked cars and, after they get in the vehicle,  notice a $100 bill in the windshield. The driver exits the car with the door open to retrieve it, only to have a thief steal the vehicle.

Karen Straughn, Maryland Assistant Attorney General – Consumer Protection, wants the public to be aware of it, as reported by ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. Straughn said an unknown resident, during a public information safety session in Baltimore County, informed her of one incident, but Straughn said she has not seen a police report about it.

"But because it’s something of a frightening nature, if this happens to someone, we hope they will take the proper precautions," Straughn told ABC News.

The Baltimore County Police Department’s auto theft task force told ABC News that while it has not seen the $100 bill scam at this time, “We have seen incidents where auto thieves will bump the back of someone's car in traffic. When everyone gets out of their cars, a thief will jump in the victim's car and drive off.”

There are a couple of other scams involving drivers in parking lots that Straughn wants the public to be aware.

"With the fact that the holidays are coming up and more shopping, we believe this is something that could occur in this period of time," she said.

According to Straughn, other schemes involve scammers approaching a car owner in a parking lot, asking if they can help repair a vehicle's "ding or dent" for an amount such as $200.

After the scammer completes the job, one of two things can occur: The owner will drive away and realize days later the shoddy job, such as peeling paint.

"They drive away and you can’t catch them," Straughn said. "This is something that’s more common in our [suburban] area, particularly with holiday shopping."

In other cases, the scammer will dispute the agreed amount and demand a larger sum, such as $2,000.

"One scammer went as far as to drive the individual to the bank," she said, adding the incident was reported to the police and the thief was caught.

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School Defends Principal in Controversial 'Gang Sign' Photo


WRIC(LAWRENCEVILLE, Va.) -- A Virginia high school is batting down accusations that its principal is flashing gang signs in a recent photo with students.

The photo shows Brunswick High School principal Warren Bell making hand gestures, next to five students, all of whom are also gesturing with their hands.

Bell wasn't making any inappropriate signs, and was actually trying to get the students, who were making a commotion in the restroom by taking the photos, to stop, Superintendent Dora Wynn said in a statement to ABC News.

"When the principal saw that the students were posing and making inappropriate gestures, he motioned for the students to stop what they were doing," Wynn said in the statement. "A student snapped a picture just as the principal was gesturing for the students to stop. That picture is construed by some as showing the principal was engaging in inappropriate conduct when, in reality, he was attempting to stop the students from continuing their inappropriate behavior."

The photo has been circulating online, the school said. It's unclear where it came from.

Some parents told ABC News affiliate WRIC-TV in Richmond they believe the principal showed poor judgment.

"I am really appalled," Shirley Penn, whose daughter attends the school, told the station. "Seeing is believing. He is in the picture and from what I can make out, he's making signs."

Geonni Stockton, one of the students in the controversial photo, told WRIC the students didn't know the principal was in the photo until after it was taken. Stockton doesn't believe the principal meant any harm.

"We ain't no gang," he told the station. "We were just posing for the picture. It surprised me how much people saw it, how people took it, much views it got and stuff, how many people took it the wrong way."

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Coal King Don Blankenship to Appear in Court


Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Coal boss Don Blankenship is set to make his first appearance in court Thursday as a defendant facing a raft of charges stemming from the 2010 coal mine blast that took 29 lives.

Once a larger-than-life figure in Appalachia, whose iron-fisted leadership of a giant coal conglomerate made him both famous and feared, Blankenship now faces up to 31 years in prison on federal charges of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment against Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy, last week alleging that leading up to the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in April 2010, Blankenship took short cuts on safety in order to maximize profits, including failing to properly ventilate the mine. Investigators believe a buildup of methane and coal dust caused the deadly blast.

The 43-page indictment alleges that for years prior to the explosion, Blankenship “conspired to commit and cause routine, willful violations of mandatory federal mine safety and health standards” at the mine and “was part of a conspiracy to impede and hinder federal mine safety officials from carrying out their duties at Upper Big Branch by providing advance warning of federal mine safety inspection activities, so their underground operations could conceal and cover up safety violations that they routinely committed.”

Prosecutors also allege he made false statements about safety practices to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The judge handling Blankenship’s case recently imposed a strict gag order, according to local reports, purportedly in hopes of protecting a potential jury pool from bias.

The indictment came just months after Blankenship sat down with ABC News in April and said he was despised because he “does the right thing,” denying that he ever cut corners on safety matters. When asked if he believed he would be indicted, Blankenship chuckled and said, “No.”

Shortly before the interview, a federal safety report on the Upper Big Branch disaster had concluded, “If basic safety measures had been in place...there would have been no loss of life at UBB [the Upper Big Branch mine].”

Blankenship countered that the real fault rested with the federal mine safety officials he has now been accused of trying to deceive.

“You know, you can't just take the side of the government, the government's people too,” he told ABC News. “They have their own failings and their own shortcomings. We need to get to the bottom of these safety issues and truly protect coal miners, rather than seeing if we can blacken someone's reputation or hurt somebody.”

The consensus among the families of the victims, and of West Virginia’s political leaders, is that Blankenship bears the ultimate responsibility for America’s worst mining disaster since 1970.

A large group of relatives of those killed in the mine told ABC News earlier this year that they were waiting patiently for their day in court. Many rallied outside the courthouse when his indictment was announced.

“I believe that Don has blood on his hands and I believe that justice will be done. I’ve got to believe that,” said Sen. Joe Machin, D-W.Va., in an interview.

The 2010 explosion at Upper Big Branch may have cost Blankenship control of his company -- Massey was ultimately bought by Alpha Natural Resources in 2011, six months after Blankenship stepped down as CEO.

In April of this year, as federal officials began to focus on his role in the Upper Big Branch explosion after he refused to participate in the official state and federal investigations, Blankenship embarked on a public relations offensive to promote a 50-minute film called Never Again which offered what he said was proof that the explosion was the result of an unexpected surge of natural gas into the mine shaft -- not the result of safety deficiencies.

“No one ever did more for improving or trying to improve safety,” Blankenship told ABC News. He said he declined to meet with investigators because he did not believe they would treat him fairly.

Families of the victims told ABC News they considered the movie a public relations stunt aimed at influencing potential jurors who would one day hear the case against him.

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Three Wounded, Suspected Gunman Dead After Shooting on FSU Campus


iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Three students were wounded in a shooting on Florida State University's campus in Tallahassee, police said, and the suspected gunman was shot and killed by officers.

The shooting happened early Thursday morning at the university's Stozier Library, which was packed at the time with hundreds of students studying for exams.

An officer responding to the scene fatally wounded the suspected gunman after he fired at police, Tallahassee Police Department public information officer David Northway said at an early morning press conference.

Two of the victims were taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, with one listed in critical condition, the other in stable condition. The third victim received a graze wound, police said.

The university said on its Twitter account that it would remain open Thursday, but it would not hold classes.

The university sent an emergency alert to students, classifying the incident as a "dangerous situation" and telling students to seek shelter.

University President John Thrasher released a statement following the Thursday morning shooting.

"The Florida State University community is extremely saddened by the shootings that took place early this morning at Strozier Library, in the very heart of campus, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who have been affected," Thrasher said in the statement.

"The three students who have been injured are our highest priority followed by the needs of our greater university community. We will do everything possible to assist with their recovery."

The shooting was an "isolated incident," Thrasher said.

Toni Haywood, a junior, says she was on the second floor of the library at about 12:30 a.m., when she says she heard gunshots.

Minutes later, people on the first floor ran upstairs, telling students to hide, Haywood said.

"The police came on the intercom and said that there was a gunman in the lobby, and I think he said two people had been shot," Haywood told ABC News in a text message. “He said to stay away from doors and windows and to stay where we were. We all waited then the police came back on and said the gunman was in custody and to stay where we were.”

Haywood and other students remained hunkered down an hour later, waiting as police cleared the floors of the library.

Junior Guillermo Page described the scene as "total chaos."

"A kid who was up with me [in the library] told me he had walked past the shooter," Page told ABC News. "He said he was a six-foot-tall man with a red sweater and that he saw him walk right by him and saw him pull out his gun, and that’s when he ran upstairs."

The campus will remain open Thursday, but classes are canceled, university officials said.


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