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Tampa Bay mayor’s joke about shooting media, watch them ‘cry like little girls,’ falls flat  

 

A Florida mayor’s joke about firing blanks from a machine gun at the media has landed him in hot water. 

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who joked about pointing the gun at reporters as part of a military exercise, said he has told that same joke before but it didn’t get much criticism until he told it again at a Special Operations Industry Conference last week, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

>> Read more trending news

“The first place I point that gun is at the media,” Buckhorn said to a room of more than 1,000 attendees, the Times reported. “I’ve never seen grown men cry like little girls, for when that gun goes off those media folks just hit the deck like no one’s business. It’s great payback. I love it.”

Buckhorn’s words went viral, leading to dozens of complaints made to City Hall. In a statement, his spokeswoman told the Times that Buckhorn, the son of a wire service reporter and brother of a CNN cameraman, respects the media and didn’t intend to offend anyone with his joke.

>> Related: Toddler recovering after shooting himself

Buckhorn, who is part of the Democratic Party, dismissed complaints made by war correspondents at first, saying they were silly, but the story gained national attention, and the mayor’s spokeswoman said his joke was never meant to be taken seriously, the Times reported.

The two-term mayor will leave office in 2019 because of term limits.

Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.

Ariana Grande back in Florida hometown after concert bombing

Ariana Grande has reportedly returned to her hometown of Boca Raton, Florida, after her Manchester, England, concert was the site of a terrorist bombing on Monday night.

According to E News, Grande and her mother Joan Grande were greeted at Boca Raton Airport earlier today by boyfriend and musician Mac Miller. Sources from People magazine reported that as she departed the private jet, the 23-year-old singer “looked distraught and like she has been crying. They hugged for a while before they headed to a waiting car.”

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The Daily Mail reported that she was taken to the home of a family member in a gated community.

Grande, who had just finished her set at the Manchester Arena before the explosion that killed at least 22 people and injured more than 50, had previously tweeted her disbelief at the situation, saying,“Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry.”

According to TMZ, Joan Grande, who was at the Manchester show with her daughter, helped get some scared young fans sitting near her in the front row backstage to safety.

Related: Manchester explosion: Ariana Grande's mother reportedly helps fans to safety

The suspect who detonated a suicide bomb near one of the exits has been identified by police as Salman Abedi, 22. The ISIS state has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Shortly after Monday’s explosion, Grande reached out to longtime friend Misha Lambert, whose father, songwriter Dennis Lambert, said, “No sooner had I heard the first reports when my daughter Misha called to say she was in touch with Ari and all of her people are safe and unhurt.”

Man ‘dared’ United crews to ‘drag him off’ flight

People aboard a United Airlines plane chanted “lock him up” as a “disruptive man” was escorted off a flight, authorities said. 

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The flight from Shanghai to New Jersey was reportedly delayed for hours Sunday because a man allegedly commandeered a row of seats and wouldn’t get out of a seat that wasn’t his, NBC4 reported. 

While passengers were deplaning, it was unclear what happened to the unidentified man, according to NBC4.

Read more at NBC4.

Musicians offer support for Ariana Grande, people of Manchester on social media

People have been praying and sending positive thoughts to Manchester since Monday night.

>> Manchester attack at Ariana Grande concert: What we know now 

Shortly after explosions were set off at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, people started sharing their support for the victims and Grande on social media. Her fellow music industry professionals and celebrities, including Cher, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Selena Gomez, quickly took to their platforms to offer words of heartbreak and support.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities confirm preliminarily that at least 22 are dead and at least 50 people were injured. According to Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, the explosion occurred around 10:33 p.m. local time as the concert was wrapping up.

>> Photos: Explosion, fatalities at Ariana Grande concert in England

“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena. We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device, which he detonated, causing this atrocity,” Hopkins said, according to People magazine.

>> Ariana Grande says she's 'broken' over deadly explosion after Manchester concert

Manchester explosion: Ariana Grande's mother reportedly helps fans to safety 

As fans and others around the world continue to try to make sense of the aftermath of the explosion outside Manchester Arena Monday night after an Ariana Grande concert, hero stories are beginning to emerge.

>> Read more trending news

According to TMZ, Ariana Grande’s mother, Joan, is among them.

The site reported that, according to multiple witnesses, Joan Grande was about to go backstage to see Ariana when the incident occurred. She told the group of 10 or so kids seated around her to come backstage.

>> Police: At least 22 dead after explosion near Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

Us Weekly, which  reported it confirmed the news through a source, said that the mother and members of Ariana Grande’s security team took the fans backstage and waited with them until they were cleared to exit the arena.

The attacker has been identified by officials as Salman Abedi, 22. The explosion injured more than 50 and killed 22, including an 8-year-old girl.

Search for missing Ohio women leads investigators to boyfriend’s backyard

Ohio authorities are digging in a backyard at a home in metro Dayton, searching for a woman who disappeared in 2010.

Cold case investigators believe Nikki Lyn Forrest, 19, may be buried in the back of a home in Troy where she once lived with her boyfriend.

>> Read more trending news

“We’re digging,” Troy police Detective Captain Jeff Kunkleman said. “We have information that at the time close to her disappearance she was at this residence.” 

Forrest’s aunt and uncle, Dan and Mickey Langston, of Troy, were at the home as the search for Forrest or clues in her disappearance continued Tuesday.

“I hope she is preferably found alive and comes home, or if she’s not living I would like them to find her and give her a proper burial and service,” Mickey Langston said.

Kunkleman said Tuesday’s search was prompted by new information Dayton cold case investigators received from new interviews and re-interviews of people.

Kunkleman said the backyard search was focused on an area that would have been below a shed.

He said “human remain,” or cadaver dogs helped to narrow down the search. Kunkleman also said the current property owner has been cooperating.

“We want to bring some closure to the family if we can,” Kunkleman said. “If we don’t find her we want to eliminate this residence as a possibility.”

Mickey Langston said her niece was an upbeat and carefree person. 

“She had a lot of boyfriends and she was just looking for love and that’s what I’m afraid led to all this,” Langston said.

Forrest was four months pregnant when she disappeared in June of 2010.

Read more here.

Football Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy dead at 48

Former University of Miami All-American and a member of the 1989 national championship team Cortez Kennedy, also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 48, according to the Orlando Police Department.

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No cause of death has been given to this point.

Orlando police confirmed to ESPN that, “they are investigating Kennedy’s death, but also said ‘there is nothing suspicious to report’ at this time.”

Kennedy went on to play 11 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks from 1990-2000, was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and made eight Pro Bowls.

See the latest on PalmBeachPost.com

Boy, 10, raises funds to outfit city’s K-9 officers with tactical vests

A 10-year-old Indiana boy has become a hero to his heroes by raising the funds to outfit his local police department’s K-9s with vests to wear while on duty. 

Richie Scott, a fourth-grader at Creekside Elementary School in Franklin, started raising funds in December as part of a community service project. WXIN-TV in Indianapolis reported that Richie’s project was part of his testing on the path to a black belt in Taekwondo. 

“I wanted to protect those who protect me and the whole community,” Richie told the news station

Richie and his family started a GoFundMe page for the project and spread donation jars through the city, located about 20 miles south of Indianapolis. They were also able to host a silent auction, auctioning off a basketball signed by each member of the Indiana Pacers. 

The fundraising effort, initially designed to raise $800 for one tactical K-9 vest, far surpassed the family’s hopes by bringing in more than $2,000. Richie was able to outfit all three of the Franklin Police Department’s K-9 officers, Pepper, Thor and Stinger. 

“I felt really happy for myself because I didn’t think I was actually going to raise enough of that money,” Richie told WXIN-TV.

>> Read more trending news

Officer Jeffery Dawe, one of the department’s K-9 handlers, said it is unusual to find child so eager to help a public service agency.

“It’s almost hard to express the words,” Dawe said. 

Not only did Richie earn his black belt, but he is also continuing to raise money for the police department, which plans to add a fourth K-9 next month. The fourth-grader plans to use the money he raises to buy a vest for that dog, as well. 

“I can’t leave that one out, so I am working to raise funds to get the new officer a vest as well,” Richie wrote on his new GoFundMe page, which had already raised $750 in just 16 hours. 

Trump condemns 'evil losers' behind Manchester attack

President Donald Trump on Tuesday slammed the perpetrators behind Monday night’s suicide bomb attack in Manchester, England, that claimed 22 lives and injured nearly 60 other people.

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Greater Manchester police said a person detonated a suicide bomb Monday near one of the entrances to Manchester Arena, following an Ariana Grande concert. Police said children were among those killed or injured.

Speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Trump offered his condolences and condemned the “wicked ideology” that led to the attack.

“(There were) so many young, beautiful, innocent people -- living and enjoying their lives -- murdered by evil losers in life,” Trump said. “I won't call them monsters, because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name. I will call them, from now on, losers, because that's what they are: losers.”

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the attack, although authorities said they had yet to uncover any connections between suspected suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, and any wider terrorist organization.

“The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever,” Trump said. “This wicket ideology must be obliterated, and innocent life must be protected. All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and peace.”

The White House said Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May after the attack and offered his condolences and support on behalf of the United States.

"We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom," Trump wrote Tuesday morning in a tweet.

Trump’s remarks came during his first foreign trip as president, a sweep of five countries over nine days. The president was in Rome on Tuesday for a meeting with Pope Francis. He has already visited Saudi Arabia and Israel.

$500 million worth of poppy plants seized in NC drug raid

Undercover officers executed a search warrant Tuesday morning at a large poppy grow operation in Catawba County in western North Carolina.

>> Read more trending news

Poppy plants are used to create opium, which is used to make drugs such as heroin. It is illegal to grow poppy plants in North Carolina.

Deputies estimate that the plants found near Claremont are worth $500 million.

Almost a dozen law enforcement officers, wearing protective clothing, converged on the property to remove hundreds of plants.

Authorities are questioning two men in connection with the drug bust.

Deputies said there has never been a poppy operation bust in Catawba County before.

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