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Marisa Debboli(STURBRIDGE, Mass.) -- A University of Connecticut student says "no one was prepared" for when their senior trip came to an abrupt end Saturday, as their bus became engulfed in flames on the side of a Massachusetts road.

The fire erupted this afternoon in Sturbridge, about 60 miles west of Boston, the Massachusetts State Police in Charlton said.

The full bus was carrying about 40 students, according to police, and no injuries were reported.

Student Ashley Vollmer said the group was heading to Boston for a senior cruise when, about 15 or 20 minutes into the ride, she saw smoke on the bus.

Vollmer said the bus driver pulled over briefly, but then the ride continued.

She said they heard a loud bang and the driver pulled over again.

There was a lot of smoke as they were exiting, Vollmer said, and as soon as they were all off, the bus caught fire.

 

Uconn senior trip, bus catches on fire @ThanksSusan pic.twitter.com/XwLJoz7c7l

— Tyler Flynn (@TylerFlynnStone) April 18, 2015



"It was insane," Vollmer said. "No one was prepared."

"It was very scary," she added.

 

 

Road tripping to NYC and just encountered a bus on fire in Sturbridge. Crazy. pic.twitter.com/7m9VDAYnMR

— Juliana (@attackofthetext) April 18, 2015



The fire was extinguished around 3:30 p.m., police said, and crews have left the scene.

According to Vollmer, their bus driver got on a different bus and continued towards Boston, leaving the students on the side of the road. UConn buses have picked up the students to take them back to school, she added.

 

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Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(JENNINGS, Mo.) -- A suburban St. Louis man was killed after he charged at police officers while wielding a knife, and the shooting was captured on an officer's body camera.

A woman called police late Friday and said her son, Thaddeus McCarroll, was armed with a knife and had locked her out of her house in Jennings, Missouri, the St. Louis County Police Department said Saturday.

Police said they could see McCarroll, 23, through the window, armed with a Samurai sword and several knives.

The woman told police her son "was talking about going on a 'journey' and a 'mission' and mentioned a "black revolution,'" according to police.

About an hour after officers arrived, McCarroll walked out of the house with a knife in one hand and a bible in the other, police said.

The ensuing encounter was captured on an officer's body camera as police continuously asked McCarroll to drop the knife.

 

Listen as Tact officers try to diffuse the situation in #Jennings before being forced to shoot a suspect. https://t.co/mvmOw2xFy7 #stl

— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) April 18, 2015



"Why are you carrying a knife?" an officer asked McCarroll. "Your mom is worried about you."

An officer then told McCarroll they were "not here to harm you" after McCarroll replied.

"We need to know that you're going to be okay, starting right now," an officer said.

When McCarroll - with the knife still in his hand - walked toward the officers, one fired a "less lethal round" in an attempt to disarm him, police said. The round hit McCarroll, who then "immediately charged the officers at a full run with the knife still in hand," police said.

Two officers shot McCarroll several times, police said. The sound of the gunshots was captured by the body camera, along with an officer calling for CPR and a medic.

McCarroll died outside the home.

"A family lost a loved one tonight and that is tragic," St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said during a news conference Saturday.

"My officers took every precaution to safely resolve this situation, starting with over an hour long attempt at negotiations with the subject," Belmar continued. "The officers resorted to less lethal force to try and bring the incident to a safe conclusion with no loss of life, but this individual made the decision to refuse these attempts, and charge at officers with a deadly weapon."

An internal department is investigating the shooting. St. Louis County police said the officers involved were placed on administrative leave.

Attempts to reach the family of McCarroll have been unsuccessful.

 

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Sergii Sokurenko/iStock/Thinkstock(AKRON, Ohio) -- Dozens of calls poured into 911 dispatchers in northeast Ohio on Friday after drivers on an interstate highway saw a minivan with four puppies strapped to the roof.

The family was transporting the 3-month old mixed breed pups from Ohio to Pennsylvania when police in Akron, Ohio caught up to them along Interstate 76, ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV reports.

The traffic stop was captured on dashcam video, which shows the cage on top of the van was partially covered with a tarp. Akron Police Sgt. Kris Beitzel said the puppies seemed disoriented when officers arrived at the scene.

“They weren't acting like puppies,” Beitzel told WEWS-TV. “I mean they were traumatized from having probably been on the roof of that car for probably at least an hour.”

Beitzel told the television station the driver was not charged, but educated on the proper transportation of animals.

“The important thing is the puppies are safe, that he was educated today and that he will never do that again,” she said.

The dogs will now be turned over to the Humane Society of Greater Akron, WEWS-TV reports.

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Courtesy Melissa Fontenette-Mitchell(HOUSTON) -- Storms slowing moving through Texas early Saturday left thousands without power and caused flash flooding as they dumped large amounts of rain in several counties.

The city of Pasadena, about 15 miles southeast of Houston, received 3.6 inches of rain in 30 minutes late Friday, a rate that occurs once approximately every 500 years, said Harris County Flood Control District officials.

The city of Houston received nearly three inches of rain. About 78,000 customers were without power in the metro area early Saturday.

More than 40 homes in La Porte, a small city nearby, flooded after taking on over a half foot of water. Some roads in the area were completely impassible due to the high water levels.

A lightning strike caused an explosion and fire at a shale oil tank facility in Karnes County, near San Antonio, said the sheriff's office. No injuries were reported.

Storms were expected to move eastward this weekend, bringing more strong winds, hail, heavy rain and even some tornadoes to parts of the southeast.


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KABC-TV(RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.) -- The family of a Colorado man missing for nearly two weeks believes a concussion he suffered may have led to his disappearance.

Oliver Pareece Jones, a father of five from Colorado, was last seen at a Walmart in Rancho Cucamonga, California on April 5. Jones' family told ABC News station KABC-TV that he was hospitalized with a concussion days before his disappearance after being attacked outside a nightclub in Los Angeles.

"We're thinking that his concussion really affected his ability to reason or be able to do anything," said his brother Jared Jones.

On his way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Jones, 37, stopped in Rancho Cucamonda and purchased some items at a local Walmart, police said.

Paul Huebl, a private investigator hired by Hones' family, told KABC-TV many of the items he bought were found in the possession of a transient after Jones' disappearance.

"It doesn't make sense because it's kind of expensive stuff: a cell phone, a radio, some other things," he said.

The family hasn't heard from Jones since and claims he ordinarily calls his daughters every day.

"If there's a little bit of hope, we're going to hold onto that," his brother told KABC-TV.


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John Roman/iStock/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) -- It's the age-old debate: Which phone is better, the iPhone or the Android?

But in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Friday morning, a phone debate led two intoxicated roommates to batter each other with broken beer bottles, police said.

Jiro Mendez said the incident started when he and his roommate, Elias Ecevo, were in their apartment's parking lot arguing over which smartphone was better, according to the Tulsa Police Department. The fight escalated when Ecevo hit Mendez in the head with a bottle before stealing his car, police said.

Police said Mendez’s car was found parked a “short distance away” in their apartment complex.

"In over 35 years as a cop, this is one of the oddest reasons I've seen for assault," Maj. Rod Hummel of the Tulsa police told ABC News.

The roommates were found covered in blood with lacerations on their bodies, according to police, and were treated before being transferred to the Tulsa County Jail Friday afternoon. The police described both men as intoxicated.

Both Mendez and Ecevo were charged with assault with a deadly weapon, police said. They were released from the hospital on Friday and taken to jail.

Another man was in the parking lot during the fight, according to police, but fled before officers responded. He has not yet been identified.

The Tulsa Police Department referred ABC News to the Tulsa County Jail for information on the men’s lawyers and arraignments, but the jail database has not yet been updated to reflect Mendez and Ecevo’s arrests.

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ABC News(SHREVEPORT, La.) -- When Glenn Ford walked out of prison for the first time in 30 years, he had a state-issued debit card for $20. His prison account had $0.24. Everything he owned fit into two cardboard boxes.

Until he was freed last March, Ford, now 65, had been one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the United States.

He was convicted in 1984, but then exonerated of first-degree murder after a new informant came forward and cleared him of the crime.

His former lawyer, Gary Clements, was by his side on his client’s first day of freedom.

“Nobody ever finds out the truth. Sometimes they don’t find out in time. Here they did,” Clements said. “That’s a blessing. To say that justice has arrived now, it’s a little 30-years-too-late.”

The person responsible for putting Ford behind bars is Marty Stroud, who prosecuted the original case back in 1984.

Stroud has now apologized to Ford, writing in a letter to the editor of the Shreveport Times in Shreveport, Louisiana, “I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning. ... I apologize to Glenn Ford for all the misery I have caused him and his family.”

“That case, I’ll never be able to put it to rest,” Stroud told ABC's Nightline.

Ford’s case began in 1983, when Isadore Rozeman, a local watch dealer in Shreveport, was found shot dead inside his home repair shop. Within days, the police zeroed in on Ford, who had done yard work for the victim.

Ford was put on trial and after seven days. Even though there were no eyewitnesses and no murder weapon, the jury came back with a guilty verdict and a death sentence, sending Ford to death row.

At the time, Stroud said he was “very pleased” with the verdict and went out and celebrated. But now, he is saying it wasn’t a fair fight.

“The deck was stacked on one end,” he said.

Ford’s court-appointed defense team had almost no experience and no resources.

“The lawyers had never even stepped foot in the courtroom before,” Clements said. “They never tried a case and here they are defending a capital case.”

Stroud reluctantly admitted he further stacked the deck against Ford by ensuring that the jury was all white.

“I knew I was excluding individuals we felt would not seriously consider the death penalty,” he said. “Looking back on it, I was not as sensitive to the issue of race as I am now.”

Ford’s outmatched defense team was also never told about the confidential informants working for law enforcement who pointed the finger at two other suspects, brothers Henry and Jake Robinson, for Rozeman’s murder.

Ford had told police the brothers gave him some items to pawn -- items, Ford later learned, that were stolen from the murdered watch dealer’s home.

While Ford sat on death row, the brothers remained free and, according to authorities, may be responsible for five other homicides. Both brothers are now in jail charged with other crimes. Neither, however, is charged with Rozeman’s murder.

Ford’s current attorney, William Most, said Ford’s case challenges people’s notion about how this nation works.

“The guy who didn’t commit the murder is the one who is put in jail and sentenced the death,” Most said. “And the ones who were part of it were let free to commit other crimes.”

Ford would still be on death row today if not for a confidential informant who told police in 2013 that Jake Robinson confessed to him regarding the killing of Isadore Rozeman.

In Louisiana, exonerated former inmates like Ford are eligible for as much as $330,000 in compensation payments. But when Ford petitioned for the money a judge denied his request, saying that while Ford didn’t kill Rozeman, he was not completely innocent because he may have known about the shooting beforehand because of his communication with the brothers.

It’s a claim Ford fiercely denies.

So, his proponents argue, after being locked up for 30 years, the state turned its back on Ford and left him virtually penniless.

“If we truly have a system of justice in this country, Glenn would be compensated for what was done to him,” Most said. “So the extent of whether we have a system of justice, we’ll see -- but, you know, I see no justice in Glenn’s story.”

Stroud admitted that he should have done more to help Ford, saying in his letter to the Shreveport Times that Ford “deserved every penny owed to him,” and that “to deny Mr. Ford any compensation for the horrors he suffered ... is appalling.”

“It’s an extremely big deal for Marty Stroud, the lead prosecutor to do this,” Clements said. “He could have just sent an apology to Glenn, but he put it out in his community.”

But now, Ford needs that restitution money more than ever. Just months after his release, he was given a different kind of death sentence. He was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

He currently survives on donations and is cared for by a staff of volunteers, including John Thompson, another exonerated prisoner, who now operates a home for exonerees.

Ford is now much frailer and easily fatigued, having lost half his body weight. He said he was shocked when Stroud published that letter apologizing to him and his family.

When Stroud wanted to apologize to Ford in person, Ford had mixed feelings about seeing the man who put him away for 30 years. But he granted the meeting, and Nightline was there with cameras rolling.

“I thought about this for a long, long time,” Stroud told him. “I want you to know that I am very sorry. It’s a stain on me that will be with me until I go to my grave, and I wasn’t a very good person at all. I apologize for that.”

Ford said anger is not his driving force and he holds nothing against the former prosecutor. But after having 30 years taken away from him, Ford reluctantly told Stroud, “I’m sorry. I can’t forgive you.”


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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A new museum opens its single door this weekend in Brooklyn, New York, as two comedians-turned-figure skating fans unveil their crowdsourced project to the world.

Viviana Olen and Matt Harkins, friends who live together in Williamsburg, gave ABC News a tour of The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum, or as it used to be called, their hallway.

The pair became fascinated by the now decades-old feud between the former figure skaters after watching ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary The Price of Gold, which detailed the attack on Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics.

The original plan was to blow up a series of pictures of big moments in the athletes’ careers, so Olen and Harkins launched a Kickstarter campaign but were overwhelmed with the response online, finding far more fellow fans than they expected.

With donated fan art projects including a diorama and cross stitches, as well as more than $2,000 in donations, the pair collected enough artifacts to fill their wall space.

Because it is still the apartment where they live, Olen and Harkins will be scheduling the viewings directly with interested parties.

ESPN and ABC News are owned by The Walt Disney Co.


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MattGush/iStock/Thinkstock(FRESNO, Calif.) -- At least 11 people were injured in a gas pipeline explosion near a gun range on Friday in Fresno, California.

Fresno County Fire Chief Kerri Donnis said in a news conference late Friday at least 11 people were injured, three of them critically.

Donnis added that firefighters were quickly able to contain a fire that broke out shortly after the blast.

“There is residual gas, which does cause some flames, but it is contained,” she said.

Fresno County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tonni Botti said a worker struck a gas line around 2:30 p.m. local time, causing the explosion and resulting fire.

 

#update #correction #GasExplosion. Total of 11 people injured. 3 inmates were taken back to Fresno County Jail & were never hospitalized.

— Fresno Co Sheriff (@FresnoSheriff) April 18, 2015

 

The blast shut down portions of Highway 99, a busy California highway, for several hours.

“Initially when this thing broke out, we were getting reports of flames shooting anywhere from 70 to 100 feet in the air,” Botti said..


 

 

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iStock/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- The 23-year-old Ohio man charged with training with a terrorist group in Syria -- then returning to the U.S. to carry out an attack here -- pleaded not guilty Friday in federal court.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 23, of Columbus, “is certainly scared,” according to his lawyer, Sam Shamansky.

“The charges are serious, and the stakes are high,” Shamansky told reporters at a news conference after his client entered his not guilty pleas.

He said that Mohamud is "in many ways, he is a normal young man,” adding that his client has “zero” record of crime or violence.

Shamansky added that Mohamud’s family had fled from the civil war in Somalia, and was trying to make a new life in America.

Mohamud’s brother, he conceded, had traveled to Syria and had been killed fighting on behalf of the terror group al-Nusra in 2014.

Shamansky said the government indictment included “salacious” allegations designed to “scare people.”

But the U.S. attorney reiterated the government’s allegation that Mohamud had planned to “kill Americans -- military, police, anyone in uniform.”

Mohamud was initially arrested in February on state charges. A federal grand jury had indicted him for attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists, one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, and one count of making false statements to the FBI.

Mohamud’s trial date was set for June 22.


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Jean-nicolas Nault/iStock/Thinkstock(NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, Ohio) -- A police officer in Ohio was in the right place at precisely the right time earlier this week when a toddler crawled out the second-story window of a home.

Newburgh Heights Officer Mike Marniella was driving on Wednesday when he heard a child crying, and then saw the 18-month-old boy on the roof of a home, according to a report by ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV.

Video from the incident was captured on Marinella’s body camera, where he is heard telling the toddler to stay on the roof as the child is heard crying. The video also captures the moment the child’s mother discovered he was out on the roof.

Marinella told the television station on Friday he radioed for back-up from the fire department and stood guard on the ground until additional help arrived.  

“Whether you're a police officer, fireman, postal worker, I think anybody would have done something in that situation,” he said.

No charges are planned against the mother, who told Marinella she was cleaning and turned her head for “a moment” when the child went out the window, WEWS-TV reports.

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ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Save water or face the consequences: That’s Rick Silva’s message to the Los Angeles communities he patrols.

Silva is a water cop, or more formally a water conservation supervisor with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

ABC News followed Silva around recently to get a feel for what it’s like patrolling the community for water wasters.

“We want to get the idea [out there] that you don’t need a green lawn for your house to look good,” Silva said. “See this home here took out their lawn completely and put in decomposed granite.”

Californians have been facing more water restrictions since Gov. Jerry Brown ordered mandatory water conservation measures on April 1 because of the state’s severe drought.

For the first time in California's history, measures were implemented across the state in an effort to cut back on water use by 25 percent.

Silva’s job is to patrol the neighborhood and make sure residents are only watering during the appropriate days and hours. He says he likes talking to people in person at their front door.

"I prefer for them to be home. I'd rather keep it conversational," Silva said. "We find that's very effective, no need to be confrontational."

The first warning for a resident misusing water is verbal, Silva said. The second warning is a $100 fine, the third warning is a $200 fine and it continues from there.

“We try to educate people,” Silva said. “Some changes may seem small, like turning off the water when you brush your teeth, but when you get a million people doing that it makes a difference.”

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Alex_Schmidt/iStock/Thinkstock(KENT, Ohio) -- A "road rage" incident caught on cell phone video at Kent State University has left an assistant professor at the school injured and facing charges, a university official said.

The professor contends he was protecting a student against a man who was texting and driving.

On Wednesday evening, police at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, responded to an incident near the campus' recreation center, according to a university spokeswoman speaking on behalf of the school's police department.

Witnesses told ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV that the confrontation began when a minivan appeared to cut off a car.

In the video, a man stands at the driver's-side window of the minivan. He screams, "What kind of a moron are you?" and curses.

The video shows Linden Adkins, an assistant professor at Kent State's College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology, appearing to try to grab a wiper blade on the minivan, then captures the van starting to move forward and Adkins falling to the ground.

See the video by clicking here

Adkins said he was in his car when he saw another driver with his left hand on the wheel and his right hand holding a cell phone. He said the other driver -- who has not been identified or charged, according to the university -- was looking down and texting.

"As with all of those kinds of cell phone videos, they only captured a small portion of it. They missed the three minutes ahead of that," Adkins told ABC News on Friday.

"He completely ran the stop sign," Adkins said. "I had to swerve to get out of his way."

"The part that really angered me was that a student was crossing the street and she had to leap backwards to get back on the sidewalk -- and he didn't even see that," Adkins added. "I got out of my car and I went to him. ... He didn't even see me coming towards him."

"Then you heard all the things I said ... and I swore," Adkins said. "I didn't threaten him, I didn't do anything physical to him. ... I just made it very clear that what he did was really stupid."

However, the summons issued to Adkins said he "did knowingly cause another to believe he would cause physical harm."

Adkins said he may have inadvertently leaned on the windshield wiper so he could see the minivan driver through the front windshield, rather than trying to look through a tinted side window. As the minivan moved, he said, the van's mirror knocked him down and dragged him.

Adkins suffered scrapes from the fall, the university said, and he was treated at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

Witnesses told WEWS-TV the minivan driver stayed at the scene.

Adkins was charged with menacing, the university spokeswoman said. Adkins, who confirmed the charge, said he does not have a lawyer.

While Kent State does not know how the confrontation started, the incident is classified as a road rage incident, she added. The case remains open, according to the university.

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Kyle Schwartz(DENVER) -- Kyle Schwartz teaches third grade at Doull Elementary in Denver.

Although she says her students are a pleasure to look after, the educator of three years adds that many of them come from underprivileged homes.

"Ninety-two percent of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch," Schwartz tells ABC News. "As a new teacher, I struggled to understand the reality of my students' lives and how to best support them. I just felt like there was something I didn't know about my students."

In a bid to build trust between her and her students, Schwartz thought up a lesson plan called "I Wish My Teacher Knew."

For the activity, Schwartz's third graders jot down a thought for their teacher, sharing something they'd like her to know about them.

"I let students determine if they would like to answer anonymously," she says. "I have found that most students are not only willing to include their name, but also enjoy sharing with the class. Even when what my students are sharing is sensitive in nature, most students want their classmates to know.”

"Some notes are heartbreaking like the first #iwishmyteacherknew tweet which read, 'I wish my teacher knew I don't have pencils at home to do my homework.' I care deeply about each and every one of my students and I don't want any of them to have to suffer the consequences of living in poverty, which is my main motivation for teaching."

Blown away by her class' honesty, Schwartz shared some of the notes on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, encouraging fellow teachers to employ the same lesson with their own students.

The tweets and photos of notes from other schools came pouring in from around the world.

"I think it caught on so fast because teachers are highly collaborative and freely share and explore resources," Schwartz says. "In the end, all teachers want to support their students, and #iwishmyteacherknew is a simple and powerful way to do that.

"Building community in my classroom is a major goal of this lesson. After one student shared that she had no one to play with at recess, the rest of the class chimed in and said, 'we got your back.' The next day during recess, I noticed she was playing with a group of girls. Not only can I support my students, but my students can support each other."

Schwartz says she also hopes her lesson can help her connect students and their families with the proper resources they need to live comfortably.

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ABC News(TULSA, Okla.) — An Oklahoma newspaper is alleging that Robert Bates, the volunteer reserve deputy now charged with killing an unarmed man, may not have been fully trained to handle his weapons.

Bates, 73, turned himself in at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, County Jail on Tuesday on a second-degree manslaughter charge in connection with the deadly April 2 shooting of suspect Eric Harris.

Bates, an unpaid volunteer reserve deputy, "shot the victim with a Smith & Wesson Revolver which at the time he shot it he believed it to be a Taser gun," according to court filings.

Tulsa World reported that, according to sources, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office had falsified "training records,” including "firearms certifications." The newspaper also alleged that "supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off."

Ziva Branstetter, an editor and reporter for Tulsa World, told ABC News she was "extremely confident" in the newspaper's sources and that the newspaper had worked on the story for two weeks.

"They're all very solid sources," she said Friday. "They're people who have been concerned about Deputy Bates and his lack of training for quite a while and came forward."

The April 2 shooting happened after a sting operation, when Harris, 44, ran from police after allegedly selling drugs and guns to an undercover deputy.

Video released by the sheriff's office showed Harris getting into a car and pulling a gun out of his backpack. Less than a minute later, a car pulls up, and when deputies get out, Harris runs. A second video shows officers pursuing the suspect and then appearing to struggle to subdue him.

After a single gunshot, someone says, "I shot him! I'm sorry." According to the sheriff's office, the words were spoken by Bates just after he fired his weapon, when he realized that he hadn't shot his Taser.

Both the sheriff's department and Bates' attorney say he was well-trained. The sheriff's department Friday refused to respond to the allegations to the contrary because the newspaper used unnamed sources.

"The media outlet that is putting this information out is using unconfirmed and identified sources and also relying on anonymity," said a public information officer Friday. "We don't respond to rumor."

Branstetter said Friday that there was a lot of public outrage in Tulsa.

"They want accountability," she said. "They also want the FBI to step in. ... No one has confidence in the sheriff's department."

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