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Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer was convicted of battery in 2010

Years before he was accused of killing one of his Uber Eats customers in Atlanta this past weekend, Robert Bivines had been arrested on aggravated assault charges in DeKalb County, Georgia, according to jail records. 

>> Uber Eats driver accused of shooting, killing customer claims self-defense, attorney says

But the nearly decade-old offense wouldn’t have been flagged by Uber’s driver pre-screening process because it only tracks criminal records as far back as seven years, according to the company’s website.

Potential employees are subject to a driving history screening and, if cleared, undergo a criminal background check in national, state and local databases, according to the Uber website.

The company said Bivines passed a background check and had been with the delivery company for only a week before the deadly shooting. 

>> On MyAJC.com: Court upholds young mother’s conviction for killing newborn

“We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to (Ryan Thornton’s) friends and family,” Uber Eats said in a statement. “We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app.”

Details of the 2009 assault case were not immediately available Monday, but Bivines pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of battery in May 2010, according to court records. 

>> On MyAJC.com: R. Kelly evicted from N. Fulton homes, owes $30K, court documents show

He was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to have no contact with his victim. Bivines was also banned from the five-county metropolitan area. Online court records do not indicate how long the ban was enforced. 

Bivines, 36, turned himself in Monday afternoon, two days after Atlanta police say he shot and killed Thornton, a recent Morehouse College graduate, after delivering food to the 30-year-old’s Pharr Court South condominium. The shooting was caught on surveillance video. 

About 10:45 p.m. Saturday, Thornton placed an order with Tin Lizzy’s on Piedmont Road through the Uber Eats app, according to an Atlanta police report. Bivines was listed as the delivery driver. 

“The victim went down to meet the driver, received his order and began walking away from the vehicle,” Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said in a statement. “As the victim was walking away, it appears words may have been exchanged between he and the delivery driver.” 

Thornton went back to Bivines’ car, and that’s when things turned deadly. 

Atlanta police said four shots were fired through the passenger-side window. Bullets landed in Thornton’s torso. 

>> Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in

As Thornton fell to the ground, Bivines drove away in his white Volkswagen, police said.

Thornton called his girlfriend, who administered aid. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital. 

Thornton graduated from Morehouse in May 2017 with a political science degree and had recently started a new job, a spokeswoman for the school, D. Aileen Dodd, said in a statement. While there, he worked closely with those in the admission’s office, who described him as “friendly, hard-working and determined to become a Morehouse Man.” 

Morehouse President David A. Thomas said the college “stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time.”

“Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors,” Thomas said. “We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.”

>> Read more trending news 

Bivines’ attorney, Jackie Patterson, said the surveillance video doesn’t tell the full story. 

Patterson told WSB-TV that Thornton — upset about the delivery time — threatened his client and motioned toward his pockets: “My client had no choice but to defend himself.” 

Bivines is due in court at 11 a.m. Tuesday. 

Uber Eats driver accused of shooting, killing customer claims self-defense, attorney says

An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer in Atlanta turned himself in Monday afternoon and claims he acted in self-defense, his attorney said.

>> Watch the news report here

Only WSB-TV's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday.

The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead on Saturday night.

Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats, and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. Authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in

The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said.

Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital. 

Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense.

"This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself," he said.

Patterson said Thornton was irate about the amount of time it took for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive, and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move. 

"He turned around, put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to [expletive] you up,'" Patterson said.

Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket, so he said he defended himself.

Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away.

>> Read more trending news 

"You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down," Patterson said.

Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail.

He will have a first appearance before a judge Tuesday.

Uber sent WSB-TV a statement Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app:

“We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app”

A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV that Bivens passed a background check. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers.

Uber is working with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation.

Morehouse College sent the following statement

"The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports.

"Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job.

"Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man. 

"President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time.

“ ‘The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,' Thomas said. 'Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.’ ”

VIDEO: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz shown fighting students in 2016

The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development.

>> Click here to watch

Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled.

>> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral

A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident.

>> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know'

According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017.

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up.

>> Read more trending news 

The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.

Sylvester Stallone assures fans he is 'alive and well' after death hoax goes viral

Actor Sylvester Stallone is the victim of a death hoax.

A rumor claiming that the 71-year-old actor had passed away recently surfaced on social media — and he was not happy about it.

>> Read more trending news 

Stallone took to Twitter to express his annoyance.

“Please ignore the stupidity,” the “Rocky” star tweeted Monday. “Alive and well and happy and healthy … Still punching!”

>> See the tweet here

Stallone’s younger brother, Frank, also took to the social media platform to inform everyone of the death hoax. And he wasn’t happy either.

“Rumors that my brother is dead are false,” he wrote. “What kind of sick demented cruel mind thinks of things like this to post? People like this are mentally deranged and don’t deserve a place in society.”

>> See the tweet here

Read more here.

Anthony Borges took bullets for classmates in Parkland school shooting

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Anthony Borges is a hero, who put himself in the line of fire to protect his classmates when a gunman rampaged through their Parkland, Florida, school.

>> Read more trending news

Borges’ father and a friend who survived the massacre told ABC News that the 15-year-old Borges put the lives of others before his own.

“None of us knew what to do. So, he took the initiative to just save his other classmates,” Carlos Rodriguez, Borges’ best friend, told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

A soccer player at the school, Borges placed his body between the gunman and the students. Rodriguez said that he survived the shooting because of Borges’ brave actions.

When gunfire broke out at the school Wednesday, Rodriguez said that Borges and his classmates rushed to hide in a classroom. The gunman was firing randomly at students as he closed in on their position in the building.

>> Related: Florida gun owner surrenders assault rifle after Parkland high school massacre

Rodriguez said that Borges was the last of 20 students to enter the classroom to take cover and that, as he attempted to lock the door, he was shot. He held his ground, keeping his body between the gunman and the other students, all of whom survived without injury.

Borges took five bullets to the back and both legs but survived, his father, Royer Borges, told police.

He told “Good Morning America” that his son called him moments after the attack and described what had happened.

>> Related: NY state troopers fly friend of school massacre victim to Florida for funeral

“He just called me and says, ‘Dad, somebody shot me in the back and my leg, too,'” said Royer Borges, unable to hold back his tears.

The father said others who were inside the building with the gunman shared stories of his son’s courageous actions that might have saved the lives of other students. Royer Borges expressed pride in his son, saying, “He’s my hero.”

Anthony Borges is in stable condition after undergoing hours of surgery, his father said.

“I only ask that people pray for him,” Royer Borges said.

President Donald Trump endorses Mitt Romney in Utah Senate race

President Donald Trump has apparently endorsed one-time adversary and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney as Romney runs for Senate in Utah to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring.

Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in Congress, announced his retirement in January. That left room for Romney to take the front-runner’s spot in the race for Senate; Romney announced his candidacy for Utah’s Senate seat on Friday February 16, choosing to delay his announcement for 24 hours “out of respect for the shooting victims and their families in Parkland, Florida.”

>> Read more trending news

Romney’s announcement video promised to bring “Utah values” to Washington D.C., boasting that “on Utah’s capitol hill, people treat one another with respect.” Those close to Romney say as senator he is less interested in direct combat with President Donald Trump than he once was and more interested in promoting Utah — though the man grew up in Michigan and has deepest political ties to Massachusetts.

In a tweet of thanks to Trump, Romney swiftly pivoted to Utah voters.

The tweets — and support — makes odd bedfellows of Trump and Romney, who have a long record of openly criticizing each other.

President Donald Trump has blasted Romney for losing the 2012 election to then-President Barack Obama, saying he “had his chance to beat a failed president but he choked like a dog.” Trump has also called Romney “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics” and a “dope.”

In a 2016 speech, Romney hammered Trump for a litany of abuses, calling him a “phony” and a “fraud.” He also jumped on Trump for his comments in the wake of the weekend of bloody race-fueled violence in Charlottesville and his endorsement of Roy Moore in the Alabama special election.

23 members of a single family removed after brawling on cruise ship

If there’s one thing no traveler wants, it’s to be stuck on the same vacation with this family.

>> Read more trending news

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, at least 30 passengers aboard a Carnival Cruise Lines ship traveling to Melbourne were injured after a series of brawls. What is now being called the “the cruise from hell” led police to “remove a family group of passengers” when they left passengers scared and bloodied.

It was reported that 23 members of one family left the 10-day cruise in the South Pacific early because of their behavior. Six men and three teenage boys were removed by police while the other 14 passengers, women and children, followed suit.

“This is all over a thong, not a foot, a thong being stepped on and being instantly apologized for. What happened there and then was apologized for,” revealed a family member, who was identified only as Zac. “My nephew was threatened as he was returning a soccer … when four or five blokes walked up to him and said, ‘Don’t worry we’re gonna get ya.'”

Videos show men and women engaging in the fight, as well as security kicking the entangled men on the floor.

WARNING: The below video may be disturbing to some viewers.

The man argued that security on the ship aggravated the situation by following them at “every possible moment.”

“The first hit was thrown by security towards, not just my daughter and my sister-in-law, but my wife as well,” he argued.

WARNING: The below video may be disturbing to some viewers.

“They were looking for trouble from the minute they got on the ship,” a passenger identified as Katie told 3AW.

David Barkho told the station that his son called him from the ship after being injured.

“He said, ‘Please Dad, please, call the Federal Police,'” the father recalled. “I could hear a lot of screaming, crying in the background.”

The cruise line explained its actions in a statement:

We asked [New South Wales] Police Marine Area Command to attend Carnival Legend in Eden to remove a family group of passengers from the ship.

A video shows that the family remained rowdy even in the removal process. At least one man thought to raise his middle finger toward the cheering onlookers after being loaded onto a separate vessel by authorities.

Link to that video can be found here.

Carnival initially released the following statement in response to the incident:

Safety is the number one priority for Carnival Cruise Line, we take a zero tolerance approach to excessive behaviour that affects other guests and we have acted accordingly on Carnival Legend. The ship’s highly trained security staff have taken strong action in relation to a small group of disruptive guests who have been involved in altercations on board. The ship’s security team is applying our zero tolerance policy in the interests of the safety and comfort of other guests.

Carnival Legend is currently on a 10-day South Pacific cruise scheduled to be completed in Melbourne tomorrow where the ship is currently homeported.

The cruise has reportedly offered the other passengers a 25 percent refund on their tickets.

These are the world’s most punctual airlines for 2018

We’ve all experienced the pains of crowded airports, unbearably long security lines, and cramped seating. But when it comes to flight delays, some airlines really are better than others.

>> Read more trending news

Analysts at travel intelligence firm OAG examined 57 million flight records from 2017 to find out which airlines are truly the world’s most punctual.

The U.K.-based firm defined on-time performance (or OTP) as flights that arrive or depart within 14 minutes and 59 seconds of their scheduled times.

>> Related: Naked passenger prompts Seattle-bound plane to return to Anchorage

With 90.01 percent of OTP flights, the most punctual mainline airline in the world is Latvian flag carrier airBaltic, the report found.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines came in at No. 11 on the mainline list with an OTP rate of 82.76 percent.

>> Related: Emotional support peacock banned from United flight, even though it had a seat

However, when it comes to the most punctual airlines with 30 million-plus seats (also referred to as mega airlines), Delta ranked third overall.

Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics also ranked Delta third in on-time performance with an overall on-time arrival rate of nearly 86.5 percent in 2016. Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines took the top spots in the federal ranking.

>> Related: Delta passenger caught on video complaining about baby has been suspended from her job

Other U.S. majors among OAG’s top 10 mega airlines by OTP include United Air Lines (No. 7) and American Airlines (No. 9).

In addition to being highly punctual, many of the top-ranked airlines are also low-cost carriers. "This year, six of the Top 20 airlines are LCCs, up from four last year and two in 2015," OAG reported.

Here are the top 10 mega airlines by OTP, according to OAG:

  1. Japan Airlines (85.27 percent)
  2. All Nippon Airways (83.81 percent)
  3. Delta Air Lines (82.76 percent)
  4. IndiGo (81.22 percent)
  5. Alaska Airlines (81.06 percent)
  6. SAS (80.90 percent)
  7. United Airlines (79.86 percent)
  8. LATAM Airlines Group (79.39 percent)
  9. American Airlines (78.97 percent)
  10. Southwest (78.55 percent)

And the top 10 mainline airlines by OTP:

  1. airBaltic (90.01 percent) 
  2. Hong Kong Airlines (88.83 percent)
  3. Hawaiian Airlines (87.24 percent)
  4. Copa Airlines (86.39 percent)
  5. Qantas Airways (86.18 percent)
  6. Japan Airlines(85.27 percent)
  7. Aer Lingus (84.46 percent)
  8. Singapore Airlines (84.07 percent)
  9. All Nippon Airways (83.81 percent)
  10. Qatar Airways (82.95 percent)

Explore the full study and its methodology at OAG.com.

Pastor and family assault, rob Sunday school teacher, police say

A church pastor, his wife and 19-year-old daughter are accused of robbing a Sunday school teacher minutes before a Sunday’s service at the St. Paul Zion Church in Toledo, Ohio.

>> Read more trending news

Police in Toledo said that Nickema Turner, 39, was grabbed from behind by her hair by the daughter of the pastor, Kamali Morris. She then punched Turner and the pastor, Anthony Morris, 49, pushed the victim to the ground, police said.

The wife of the pastor, Zelda Morris, 46, allegedly emptied the purse belonging to Turner and grabbed the victim’s iPhone, according to WTVG. According to the Toledo Blade, Turner attempted to get her belongings back from Zelda Morris when Anthony Morris pulled out a gun and pointed it at Turner. She also told police that he threatened to kill her.

According to WTVG, the police report included that Zelda Morris stated to Turner’s daughter following the attack:

"You wanna know why this happened? It happened because your mom slept with my husband."

The Morris family fled the scene before police arrived.

Anthony Morris with his wife Zelda were later arrested but their daughter, Kamali had not been located as of Monday afternoon according to the Toledo Blade.

The police report indicates that in addition to the cellphone, a Taser and prescription medication were taken from her purse. The iPhone was later recovered but the screen was broken.

Zelda Morris and her daughter Kamali Morris are charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, a first degree felony.

NY state troopers fly friend of school massacre victim to Florida for funeral

Two New York state troopers are being credited with an immense kindness after they paid for the flight of a young woman to Florida to say goodbye to her friend, one of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. 

Jordana Judson, 23, told NBC News that she was devastated to learn that her childhood friend, Meadow Pollack, was among the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting at her alma mater. Former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of killing 14 students and three faculty members with an AR-15 rifle. 

>> Read more trending news

Pollack, an 18-year-old senior, and Judson were lifelong friends, NBC News reported.

“They were like our second family our whole lives,” Judson said of the Pollacks.

Judson said she showed up at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, the day after the shooting, frantic to get a flight home to Florida, where she’d grown up. 

“As soon as I got out of the car at the airport, I started hysterically crying,” she said. 

Troopers Robert Troy and Thomas Karasinski spotted the distraught young woman and asked if she was all right. She tearfully explained that a friend was killed in the school shooting in Florida and that she needed help figuring out where to buy her ticket. 

The troopers led her inside to the JetBlue counter, where an agent told her a one-way ticket to Florida would be almost $700, Judson told the news station. Unable to afford the cost, she begged the agent to lower the price or allow her a bereavement discount.

The agent could not accommodate her, and was about to give the ticket to another passenger when Troy and Karasinski stepped in.

“I look up, and the state troopers are standing there and they’re both handing over their credit cards,” Judson told NBC News. “I’m telling them that they don’t have to do this. This is crazy. They said, ‘It’s already done. We want you to be home with their families.’”

A rabbi who sat Shiva with the Pollack family confirmed that Judson made it home to be with the family and to attend Meadow’s funeral on Friday, where the Miami Herald reported that she was described as a star with “a smile like sunshine.”

Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, and her older brother, Hunter, both lamented the fact that they couldn’t protect her when she needed them.

“This piece of (expletive) killed my kid, and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Andrew Pollack said, according to the Herald. “That’s never happened to me in my life. I’m always able to protect my family in any situation.”

Hunter Pollack said he always looked out for his sister. 

“I wanted to be the over-supportive brother my whole life, and I feel like I failed,” Hunter said. “So all I can do is hope that (her killer) gets what he deserves.”

Judson told NBC News that the troopers’ gesture to get her to the funeral made her heart “full and heavy at the same time.”

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II told the news station in a statement that, as law enforcement officials, all troopers take an oath to protect and serve. 

“We also instill in our members the importance of acting with respect and empathy for the people they encounter,” Beach said

Troy told the news station that he sympathized with Judson’s dilemma.

“The sense of just being there for your family and friends, you want to be there for them,” Troy said. “You’re going to go through anything to get there.”

Explaining that he has five younger sisters, the trooper said it was a “sigh of relief” to be able to help Judson.

“If that was one of them, I’d want someone to help them out,” he said. 

Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in

An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer turned himself in Monday afternoon.

>> Read more trending news

According to WSB-TV, Robert Bivens, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder Monday.

The shooting happened Saturday night at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead, Georgia.

Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. At some point, authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver.

The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said.

Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital. 

Uber said in a statement on Monday, saying Bivens no longer has access to the app:

“We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app.”

A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV Bivens passed a background check and had only been an Uber Eats driver for about a week. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers.

Uber is working closely with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation.

Fergie says National Anthem at NBA All-Star Game 'didn't strike the intended tone'

Fergie is responding to critics of her sultry, jazzy rendition of the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game. The singer issued a statement to TMZ, saying her version at Sunday night’s game in Los Angeles “didn't strike the intended tone.”

>> Read more trending news 

“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” the statement said. “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn't strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

WATCH: Fergie’s national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers

Wearing an off-the-shoulder dress, Fergie sang the national anthem with a number of ad-libs and some lengthy notes. At one point, Golden State Warriors player  Draymond Green could be seen stifling a laugh, and so could late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

One person who had some words of support for Fergie was Mariah Carey, who told TMZ cameras the singer needn’t listen to negativity.

“Darling, nobody needs to listen to that,” she said.

Fergie’s national anthem performance can be watched below.

Chrissy Teigen reveals second baby’s due date

Soon-to-be mom of two Chrissy Teigen stopped by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to dish about her pregnancy Monday. The model and cookbook author revealed that she and singer John Legend’s second bundle of joy is due in June.

>> Read more trending news 

“I’m having a baby boy in the spring,” she told DeGeneres, before jokingly whispering, “I’ll tell you: it’s June.” Teigen and Legend announced her pregnancy in November with an Instagram video showing their daughter Luna pointing to the baby in her mother’s belly. Amid speculation of the baby’s gender, the 32-year-old “Lip Sync Battle” host confirmed she is having a boy with a photo from the Grammy Awards red carpet.

While excited for her second child, Teigen shared that one thing she hadn’t quite figured out yet was what to name him.

“It’s just, boy names are really tough,” she said. “I don’t even think he’ll have a middle name, because we can’t even think of a first name.”

Related: Chrissy Teigen pregnant with second child with John Legend

When asked how she and Legend came up with Luna, Teigen revealed it was linked to a happy childhood memory.

“Well, there was a blood moon happening. It was like a very beautiful night. Really big, vivid red moon — just gorgeous. And I have this love for space, and I think about space camp all the time and my days at space camp as a youngster, so I just thought ‘Luna’ was perfect.”

Like a true comedian, DeGeneres joked that the second baby should follow the trend, saying, “What about Lunar?”

Teigen replied with a laugh, “Lunar? I like it,” while Ellen followed up, “What about Urban Legend?”

“I do like that,” Teigen said.

Related: Chrissy Teigen, John Legend expecting baby boy

The “Cravings” author went on to tell Ellen that her husband’s “ego” was all that was standing in the way of them choosing a far more common name.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Why don’t you do the JJ thing — John Jr. — but John and his ego. He was like, ‘I don’t want him to feel like he has to live up to that.'”

“What a jerk!” Teigen joked. “Oh, sorry. Heaven forbid he do what you do.”

Watch a clip of Teigen’s appearance on “Ellen” below.

Florida gun owner surrenders assault rifle after Parkland high school massacre

A Florida man spurred by the massacre that killed 17 people at a Parkland high school last week has “put (his) money where (his) mouth is” and surrendered his assault rifle to authorities.

Ben Dickmann, 40, wrote on Friday, in a Facebook post that has since gone viral, that he decided to lead by example.

“I own this rifle,” Dickmann wrote, sharing multiple photos of the semiautomatic AR-57 as he turned it in at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s a caliber variant of the AR-15.”

The suspected gunman in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, former student Nikolas Cruz, is accused of using an AR-15 to gun down 14 students and three faculty members on Valentine’s Day. 

“I am a responsible, highly-trained gun owner. (I am not a police officer or sheriff’s deputy),” Dickmann wrote. “However, I do not need this rifle.”

Dickmann wrote that no one without a police badge needs an AR-57.

“This rifle is not a ‘tool’ I have use for. A tool, by definition, makes a job/work easier,” Dickmann wrote. “Any ‘job’ I can think of legally needing doing can be done better by a different firearm.”

Dickmann wrote that, although he enjoyed shooting the weapon, he has other types of guns that he can shoot for recreation. He could have sold the rifle, he wrote, but “no person needs this.”

“I will be the change I want to see in this world,” Dickmann wrote. “If our lawmakers will continue to close their eyes and open their wallets, I will lead by example. #outofcirculation.”

Officials with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office praised Dickmann for his decision.

“We commend Ben for helping us get one more dangerous weapon off the streets,” a post on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page read.

The post also offered two ways for the public to turn in an unloaded, unwanted weapon. A citizen can call the department’s non-emergency line, 954-765-HELP, and inform a deputy that they have a weapon to surrender for destruction. 

“Leave the firearm in a location away from you in the home/business, allowing the responding deputy to retrieve it when they arrive,” the post read. “The deputy will take possession of the weapon (and) ammunition for disposal.”

The second way to turn the weapon in is to secure the gun in the trunk of a vehicle and drive to the nearest Sheriff’s Office substation. After parking in the visitors’ lot, a citizen can go inside and tell the deputy at the desk that he or she has a firearm and/or ammunition in the vehicle for surrender. 

“A deputy will meet with you and retrieve the weapon from your vehicle for disposal,” the post read

Dickmann, who lives about 30 minutes from Parkland in Fort Lauderdale, told NPR in an interview that the decision to give up his assault rifle came after “a lot of soul searching.” He said that, like others, he sees a lot of “thoughts and prayers” being offered, but not much else.

“I thought, ‘Well, this is something I can do that I think is right,” Dickmann said. “And it’s something I can do that might spark a change. You know, my whole goal was maybe to inspire one friend on my Facebook page to do the same thing. And maybe that friend would inspire one other person.”

Dickmann said he considered taking action after the Las Vegas shooting, but thought that his gun was not hurting anyone sitting in his gun safe. The Stoneman Douglas massacre, however, hit close to home. 

He said response to a Facebook post he wrote the day after the school shooting is what spurred that action. In that long post, Dickmann wrote that it was past time to do something about the mass violence undertaken with firearms in the United States.

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“I can now say I know people who have been directly affected by three of the most horrific gun violence events in our history (Northern Illinois University, Las Vegas, Stoneman Douglas), and a couple more single events,” he wrote. “This makes me sick. This makes me mad. I’m tired.”

In the Northern Illinois University shooting, which took place 10 years to the day before the Stoneman Douglas massacre, former NIU student Steven Kazmierczak walked onto the stage in an auditorium where class was taking place and gunned down five students before killing himself. More than a dozen more were injured. 

Commenters on Dickmann’s post, who numbered in the thousands, varied in their responses. Some thought he spoke common sense, while others accused him of being a paid lackey for the anti-gun crowd. 

Dickmann told NPR that it was sarcasm from one man who told him, “Well, if you feel this way, why don’t you go turn your gun in?” The man even offered to drive Dickmann to the station. 

“Even though he was being extremely sarcastic about it because he’s a very staunch conservative, gun rights activist person, it kind of spurred me to say, ‘You know what? Yeah, I’ll do that,’” he said

Dickmann said he’s glad that his actions sparked a debate.

“I hope somebody, be it the students, be it the next generation, picks up the torch and does something,” he said

Girl, 16, killed when UTV crashes into Georgia lake

A 16-year-old girl was killed when the utility terrain vehicle in which she was riding crashed and went into a lake, authorities said.

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Kate Jones, 16, of Athens, was submerged when the UTV rolled into the lake on private property, Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said on Facebook. The incident happened about midnight.

A deputy and a firefighter dived into the water, which was about 10 feet deep, and freed Jones from the vehicle, Berry said.

Four other people were in the vehicle when it crashed. One of them is being treated for serious injuries at an Athens hospital.

The crash was in the 5000 block of High Shoals Road in Bishop.

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash.

Fire department raffles AR-15 rifle, draws criticism

A California fire department is facing criticism after offering an AR-15 rifle as a raffle prize at a fundraiser just days after police said a 19-year-old used the same weapon to gun down 17 people at a high school in Florida.

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Allison Merrill told the Sacramento Bee that she was so offended by the gun, which was raffled Saturday during the Cameron Park Fire Department’s crab feed, that she and her friends walked out of the event.

“When we walked out, the flag was at half-mast in front of the community center, and it was just so striking, how tone-deaf the whole event was,” she told the Bee. “We walk out and there’s the flag at half-mast for all those kids.”

Police believe the shooter in last week’s deadly attack in Parkland, Florida, used an AR-15 when he killed 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“To have our first responders be the ones kind of offering a military-style assault rifle as a prize – putting that out into our community, especially right now – it was appalling,” Merrill told KOVR.

>> Related: Florida school shooting: Probe focuses on gunman's motives, victims' lives

Merrill told the news station that she spoke with the fire chief, who apologized and acknowledged that the gun raffle could be seen as insensitive. She told the Bee that event organizers refunded her and each of her three friends the $40 fee for the event, although she added to KCRA that “the money wasn’t really an issue.”

“I was deeply disturbed by it,” Nancy Lugo, who attended the event with Merrill, told the Bee. “Not only the timing of the recent shootings but also the fact that it’s that easy to get an AR-15.”

>> Related: Third-graders in Missouri selling raffle tickets for AR-15 weapon

Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean told KCRA that the Cameron Park Fire Department has held similar fundraisers since 2002. The fire department is under contract with Cal Fire, according to KCRA.

“These weapons are not any different than anything you could go into the gun store and buy,” McLean told the Bee, adding that the fundraiser was planned before last week’s deadly shooting.

The gun was taken to a gun store after the raffle, McLean said, where it will stay for a 10-day waiting period required by law as officials run background checks to ensure the winner of the raffle can legally own the firearm.

"I understand the concerns, by all means," McLean told KCRA. "No harm was intended."

R. Kelly evicted from Atlanta homes, owes $30K, court documents show

Filings with the magistrate court of Fulton County from Feb. 13 show that the Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly has been evicted from two homes in Atlanta. The  R&B singer was renting houses in the city’s Johns Creek neighborhood. The documents show that Kelly owes SB Property Management Global, LLC more than $31,000 in past due rent payments.  

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Online records for Fulton County don’t show any criminal filings against Kelly. A spokesperson for the singer, Trevian Kutti, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Kelly has “no comment at this time” on the dispossessory affidavits filed against him.

When reached by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday, Edmond Green of SB Property Management Global, LLC said he could not comment on the filings. The court documents carry Green’s signature as the affiant.

According to the court documents, the homes Kelly has been evicted from are on Old Homestead Trail and Saint Devon Crossing. 

Related: R. Kelly accused of abusing women, running cult

These were the same homes that were reportedly burglarized in 2017A former associate of Kelly’s, Alfonso L. Walker, was accused of breaking into them and selling many of the items inside. Walker, 50, was arrested in December and charged with theft and burglary.

Court filings show that Kelly paid $3,000 per month in rent at Saint Devon Crossing and $11,542 per month in rent at Old Homestead Trail. The homes are 2 miles apart and have Duluth addresses. The Saint Devon Crossing home is in a cul-de-sac off Rogers Bridge Road. The Old Homestead Trail home is in a gated community off Bell Road. Google images shows a pool and a basketball court behind the home.

Related: R. Kelly’s Atlanta mansions emptied while singer was touring

At one time, Kelly rented a third home in Johns Creek on Creek Wind Court. In July 2017, after BuzzFeed published an article claiming that Kelly “held women against their will in a cult” there, Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, of Atlanta, held a press conference outside the home. They said their daughter Joycelyn was “beat” by Kelly and “part of the R. Kelly cult.” Joycelyn later released a video through TMZ saying she was “in a happy place.”

Related: R. Kelly ‘unequivocally denies’ claims he’s holding women against their will in ‘cult’

On Aug. 7, 2017, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office received a file on Kelly from Johns Creek police. The DA — Paul Howard — said his office did not request the file and was not pursuing charges against Kelly, but his office would review the file.

Dexter Bond, a spokesman for the DA’s office, said in an email earlier this month that the Kelly file is still open and under review.

Court: Woman who faked being federal agent to get Chick-fil-A discount indicted

Georgia woman was indicted Thursday for charges alleging she claimed to be a federal law enforcement agent to get a discount for her Chick-fil-A meal.

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Tara Marie Solem, of Marietta, faces two felony counts of impersonating an officer, according to court documents.

Police said the incident happened July 5 at the Macland Cross Circle location in Marietta.

She initially tried to convince a worker at the eatery’s drive-thru window that that she was a federal agent, the charges say, and when that didn’t work, she went inside.

Solem walked up to the counter, argued with two managers and uttered expletives within earshot of a few children, according to a warrant.

Police said she then flashed a silver badge in a black wallet to the managers to try to prove she was a federal agent.

“She stated that she was undercover and that for them asking her to be in uniform would blow her cover and (possibly) get her killed,” according to the warrant. 

Solem called the restaurant chain’s corporate office to complain and gave the name, “Agent Solem,” police said.

The charges say that at some point, she changed her story, saying that she was an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations; the officer wrote in the warrant that GBI said they had no record of such an agent.

Her next court date was not listed in Cobb County’s magistrate court system.

’Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’ celebrates 50th anniversary

It’s been “a beautiful day in this neighborhood” for 50 years.

Feb. 19, 1968, was the day that PBS aired the first episode of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” and the lessons that Fred Rogers taught still resonate today. A re-imagined tales of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” several televised tributes and even a feature-length movie remind us of the legacy of Mr. Rogers. 

According to his official biography from the foundation that carries on his mission of education, Rogers was born in 1928 in the small town of Latrobe, Penn., east of Pittsburgh. After getting a degree in music composition, he was hired by NBC in New York as an assistant producer and eventually a floor director for some of the network’s programming in the ’50s.

History was made in 1953 when WQED in Pittsburgh asked Rogers to come up with their first schedule. He produced a show called “The Children’s Corner,” where he  introduced characters such as Daniel Striped Tiger, X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat.

Those characters have found new life on “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” where children now learn those positive messages not in puppet form, but from cartoons. 

Fred Rogers’ belief in kindness led him to seminary, where he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. Instead of moving toward a traditional religious calling, his charge was “to continue his work with children and families through the mass media.”

In 1963, he was offered the opportunity to start a show in Canada called “Misterogers.” Three years later, he went back to Pittsburgh and created a new show called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which went national 50 years ago, on what would become PBS.

Fred Rogers died on Feb. 27, 2003, in Pittsburgh and was survived by his wife, Joanne, and their two sons and three grandsons.

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Rogers’ message of love and kindness still resonates today. When there is a national tragedy, memes or video clips of Fred Rogers telling children and adults alike to “look for the helpers” gives those who need it a moment of reassurance that everything will be OK.

“Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” also helped launch the careers of some current stars. 

Actress Ming-Na Wen, known for her role as Agent Melinda May on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and as the voice of Disney’s Mulan, appeared on the show.

Bill Nye the Science Guy appeared on an episode in 1997 to help everyone’s neighbor perform an experiment, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Rogers also introduced kids to various genres of music, thanks to guest stars who dropped by, including Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma and Tony Bennett, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Michael Keaton, who went by his original name at the time, Michael Douglas, had one of his first jobs working as a stagehand on the show. He helped operate the iconic trolley, CBS News reported. He was also one of the “Flying Zookeeni Brothers,” Parade reported.

Keaton will host a one-night-only PBS special that pays tribute to Rogers on March 6. “Mister Rogers, It’s You I Like” will feature Keaton and cast regulars, including Joe Negri, who portrayed Handyman Negri, and David Newell, who portrayed Mr. McFeely.

Rogers will also be remembered by guests Judd Apatow, Whoopi Goldberg and Sarah Silverman, according to PBS.

But that’s not the only remembrance planned for Mr. Rogers. Starting on Feb. 26, PBS Kids will run a weeklong tribute to Rogers, PBS announced

A forever stamp will also honor Rogers this year and is scheduled to be released on March 23, WPXI reportedAnd a biopic has been announced in which Tom Hanks has been slated to star as Rogers.

Petition seeks military burial for Parkland JROTC cadet who died saving fellow students

Peter Wang died proudly wearing his gray JROTC uniform, holding open doors so several of his classmates could escape the gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. 

Though those classmates made it, Peter did not. And now, a White House petition has been established seeking full military honors at the burial of the 15-year-old freshman who was among 17 people killed in the Valentine’s Day school shooting.

As of Monday morning, the petition had reached just over 23,000 signatures. A petition must reach 100,000 signatures to get a response from the White House. 

The petition states that Peter was last seen, in uniform, holding doors open so that other students, teachers and staff members could escape.

“His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area,” the petition states. “Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial.”

Friends of the teen said they want people to know how selfless he was, according to WPLG News 10 in Pembroke Park

“I want people to know that he died a hero; that he died saving many people,” friend and classmate Aiden Ortiz told the news station

His selflessness extended into his everyday actions, classmate Rachel Kuperman said. She recalled the last time she saw Peter, the day before he was slain. 

“I forgot my lunch that day, and he went to the vending machine with me and he bought me Sprite and candy and snacks,” Rachel said. “He put others before himself.”

Fox News reported that it would take government intervention for Peter to receive a military funeral, since JROTC does not provide basic training and thus does not count as military service. JROTC, or the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, is a federal program for middle and high school students that focuses on citizenship, service to the community and country and personal achievement.  

Peter was not the only JROTC cadet credited with springing into action that day. Colton Haab, a junior at Stoneman Douglas, heard gunshots and ushered several dozen people into the JROTC room.

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There, he and other cadets grabbed Kevlar sheets used for marksmanship practice and held them up in front of the students huddled together.

“We took those sheets and we put them in front of everybody so they weren’t seen, because they were behind a solid object and the Kevlar would slow the bullet down,” Colton told CNN the day after the shooting. “I didn’t think it was going to stop it, but it would definitely slow it down to make it from a catastrophic to a lifesaving thing.”

Peter’s cousin, Aaron Chen, described him to the Miami Herald as brave, while Peter’s best friend, Gabriel Ammirata, said he was “funny, nice and a great friend.”

“He’s been my best friend since third grade,” Gabriel told the Herald

Gabriel planned to celebrate Chinese New Year with Peter the day after the shooting at the Chinese restaurant Peter’s family owns, the Herald reported. Instead, he and members of Peter’s family started the new day frantically searching for information on Peter’s whereabouts. 

The teen’s parents speak Mandarin and very little English. 

Jesse Pan, a neighbor of Peter’s, has been sharing information about him and his funeral arrangements on social media. Peter’s family has a funeral planned for Tuesday at Kraeer Funeral Home, in Coral Springs.

An obituary on the funeral home’s website reiterates Peter’s ultimate sacrifice in the face of danger.

“He loved being in the JROTC and planned on attending (the) United States Military Academy at West Point,” the obituary read

Peter loved the Houston Rockets, hip-hop music, playing basketball and spending time with friends. He also aspired to become a world-renowned chef. 

He is survived by his parents and two younger brothers.

GoFundMe page created to help his family with expenses exceeded its $15,000 goal in just three days. 

Originally, proceeds (were) going to the help with misc. expenses, but the family has decided that they want to donate the money to Stoneman Douglas for their ROTC program,” the page creator, Chino Leong, wrote. “They want to ensure that future generations of kids are taught the same values that the program has instilled in Peter.”

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