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    The Braves again had a seemingly improbable comeback within their grasp, but couldn’t complete the job in Cincinnati on Tuesday.  After being no-hit for seven innings, and entering the ninth down 7-4, the Braves forced extras only to lose 9-7 in the 12th on Scooter Gennett’s first career walk-off homer.  The Reds had three wins in 21 games prior to hosting the Braves. They're 2-for-2 since they came to town. Tyler Mahle, the Reds' No. 4 prospect per Baseball America, struck out 11 in six innings. He was aiming for his third no-hitter in as many seasons after tossing two in the minors.  Freddie Freeman broke through on Mahle's 90th pitch, hammering a ball over the right field wall. Nick Markakis doubled before Kurt Suzuki's two-run homer cut the deficit to 5-3 and chased Mahle from the game.  Freeman homered again in the ninth, making Tuesday his 12th career multi-homer game. Johan Camargo walked with the bases loaded to pull the Braves within 7-5. Ender Inciarte’s single off Gennett’s glove plated two more and knotted the game.  The Braves had a chance to take the lead in the 10th. But Dansby Swanson struck out with two runners in scoring position and two outs.  Braves starter Brandon McCarthy was tagged for five runs, three earned, in five innings. Joey Votto and Gennett hit back-to-back shots off him in the fifth. It was the first homers of the year for both.  The Braves dropped to 12-10 and ensured themselves no better than a split in their four-game set against the Reds.  Never miss a minute of what’s happening with the Braves. Subscribe to myAJC.com
  • A woman with multiple sclerosis says Delta Air Lines employees tied her to her wheelchair because she can’t sit up on her own and they didn’t have the chair she needed. Maria Saliagas travels to Europe with her husband every year. When she was diagnosed with MS five years ago, she didn’t want to break her tradition of traveling with her husband. She said Delta normally accommodates her by making sure staff members have a proper wheelchair that has straps to help her sit up straight. When she flew out of Atlanta on April 1 and arrived in Amsterdam, Delta didn’t have a chair with straps so they tied her to a regular wheelchair with someone else’s blanket, said her son, Nathan Saliagas. TRENDING STORIES: Ex-mayor Kasim Reed doles out $500k in bonuses, gifts on way out Woman killed, another injured in crash involving Coca-Cola truck Judge denies bond for rapper accused of smuggling pot from California to Georgia “They took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it and she has bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight and she started crying. That’s when that picture was taken,” Saliagas said. A Delta representative sent Channel 2 Action News a statement about the incident saying:   “We regret the perception our service has left on these customers. We have reached out to them, not only to resolve their concerns, but also ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations.” The family returns to Atlanta on April 30. When the family complained to Delta, they said the airline offered them 20,000 free SkyMiles but they said that's not enough.  They want to see a policy change regarding how Delta handles people with disabilities.
  • Channel 2 Action News has learned criminals have developed a new way to target ATMs around metro Atlanta. We obtained surveillance video showing how masked suspects are lighting fires and burning the ATMs. This latest fire happened early Monday morning in Fayetteville. Police say this is the latest of five cases reported in metro Atlanta since March. 'It's something that someone may have been (seen while) driving by. A large trail of gasoline running across a parking lot, it's something that stands out,' said Capt. Chad Myers with the Fayetteville Police Department. TRENDING STORIES: 'Armed and dangerous' man terrorizing 4 metro counties, police say WARNING: After close call, mom wants to alert others of 'dry drowning' Official reprimanded for 'racist pig' comments wants to take case to high court 'Their intent is trying to get into the ATM machines, or else what other purpose would they be doing that for?' Myers said. Fayetteville police say arsonists left two money machines mangled and took off in a dark colored sedan. The masked men hit a PNC Bank early Saturday, then a Wells Fargo. But police say the suspects left without money. 'Fortunately, they just haven't been doing it that successfully here,' Myers said. Frustrated customers were forced to find other places to get money while crews removed one of the damaged ATMs. 'It's incredible that these guys pull capers like this and inconvenience us,' said customer Chad Mack. The two suspects are wanted in Henry, Rockdale, Cobb and now Fayette counties. The concern is that playing with fire could get someone killed. 'You could have blown the whole building up. Luckily, it was just the ATM,' said Myers. So far, police say no one has been hurt in any of these incidents. Police hope someone driving by one of these fires saw something and can come forward to help lead to an arrest. Anyone with information about the crime is urged to call Crimestoppers, 404-577-TIPS.
  • Just days before former Mayor Kasim Reed left office, his administration showered select city employees with more than $518,000 in bonuses, and gifts that were presented during an “executive holiday party” at City Hall. The spending spree has left the police union outraged, taxpayers fuming and council members questioning its legality. During his last days in power, Reed awarded at least $350,000 in bonuses to his senior staff; ordered $42,500 in checks to the eight members of his security detail; gave away $36,000 by drawing names out of a hat during a holiday party raffle in December; and awarded $31,000 to lip sync and ugly sweater contest winners, also at the party. But none of the holiday giving came out of Reed’s wallet — it all belonged to city taxpayers. And that’s not the full extent of the spending. Former human resources commissioner Yvonne Yancy handed out an additional $57,500 in bonuses to 11 members of her staff just days before she left City Hall for the private sector, on Dec. 31. In response to questions from the AJC, Reed issued a three-paragraph statement. “Rewarding employees for service and performance is not new and has been common practice in the City of Atlanta,” says the statement, issued through Reed’s spokesman. “These bonuses were appropriate and Mayor Reed believes that the individuals who received the bonuses were worthy of them based upon their contributions to the City of Atlanta’s unprecedented growth and fiscal stability.” Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore called the spending “disgusting” and “illegal.” “It just reminded me of someone having money and throwing it in the air and letting everybody catch it,” Moore said. “It’s just unconscionable. Let’s just make it clear: It’s not legal to do this. Just make it point-blank clear. He had absolutely, positively no authority to issue any of that to anybody under any circumstance. “The mayor can only do what is authorized by the council. He did not go through the proper channels.” Moore pointed to a city ordinance that prohibits increasing “the salaries or other remuneration in any form of any officer or employee of the city during the fiscal year, except by ordinance” approved by the City Council. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose campaign was endorsed by Reed, did not respond to the AJC’s questions about the appropriateness of using taxpayer money for contests and raffles. She also declined to respond when asked if the bonuses were appropriate and whether she would award them at the end of the year. “Decisions around the bonuses were made without input from the current administration,” the statement says. “However, Mayor Bottoms will continue to carefully evaluate best practices, prioritizing ways in which City business can be conducted in a transparent and responsible manner.” ‘A bunch of questions here’ The city’s code stipulates several circumstances under which employees may receive bonuses. Police officers can receive retention bonuses of $3,000 after 5 years of service. Some employees can receive 2-percent bonuses for being bilingual or by earning a special certification. The city also provides longevity bonuses up to $750 for employees who have been with the city for 25 years or more. City ordinances do not appear to authorize payments or bonuses of arbitrary amounts for unspecified reasons. “There are a bunch of questions here,” said Councilman Howard Shook, who chairs the City Council’s Finance/Executive Committee. “I couldn’t think of a worse time to dole out bonuses of this nature from a political perspective. Everything is so unsettled. Morale is so low. Everyone is waiting for the next piece of bad news. “Obviously, we are all now going to contemplate what guardrails need to be put around this process.” The Georgia State Constitution’s gratuities clause prohibits public agencies from granting donations, gratuities and “extra compensation to any public officer, agent, or contractor after the service has been rendered or the contract entered into.” An unofficial opinion from the Georgia Attorney General in 2002 dealt with whether public hospital authorities could offer prospective employees signing bonuses. It said they could “if the authority receives a substantial benefit in exchange for the signing bonus.” Georgia State Rep. Chuck Martin, a Republican, and chairman of the state house’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee, said the gratuities clause generally prohibits taxpayer money from being spent without taxpayers receiving something in return. “If those types of bonuses hadn’t been done previously, it would seem to me to call into question the reason for them here,” said Martin, a former Mayor of Alpharetta. “If I was a taxpayer in Atlanta, I would certainly wonder: Wouldn’t that half-a-million dollars been better spent recruiting people to work for me in 2018 and beyond?” Reed did not address the AJC’s questions about whether metrics were used to determine the amounts of bonuses; nor did he say what the city would receive in return for giving the bonuses. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Carr did not respond to an email about whether the gratuities clause applied to the City of Atlanta’s recent bonuses. Shook said he couldn’t recall similar payouts during his 16 years on the City Council. Read the full investigation from Channel 2 Action News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution here.  Here is the full statement from Reed's spokesman:  'At the end of Mayor Reed’s term, the City of Atlanta was on its best financial footing in 40 years. Atlantans benefited from eight consecutive balanced budgets, zero property tax increases, zero water rate increases, nine consecutive credit- rating increases, more than $200 million in cash reserves and a 37 percent reduction in crime. As a result, Mayor Reed awarded performance bonuses to members of his Cabinet and senior team - who all played a significant role in contributing to this record of achievement. 'Rewarding employees for service and performance is not new and has been common practice in the City of Atlanta. From 2008 to 2012, the City of Atlanta employed a gift card program used to reward employees in various departments. Also, in 2013, the City of Atlanta Innovation Delivery Team launched a city-wide employee ideas competition which rewarded employees for their ideas on how the City could reduce waste, cut red tape and save money on operations. 'These bonuses were appropriate and Mayor Reed believes that the individuals who received the bonuses were worthy of them based upon their contributions to the City of Atlanta’s unprecedented growth and fiscal stability.' 
  • Coming off a 4-12 season in 2007, the Atlanta Falcons were in need of a lot of help, particularly at the quarterback, defensive line, offensive line and linebacker positions. With the third selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Falcons selected a quarterback from Boston College. His name was Matt Ryan. Time to turn back the clock! ⏰ Draft Day, 2008. Tune in throughout the day to relive the 2008 NFL Draft. It all begins at 3pm!#10YearsOf2 pic.twitter.com/4LifbFvtE1 — Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 24, 2018 In his rookie season, Ryan threw for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Falcons finished the 2008 campaign at 11-5 and lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs under then head coach Mike Smith. In his rookie season, Ryan, also known as 'Matty Ice,' was named the 2008 NFL Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and named to the NFL All-Rookie Team. TRENDING STORIES: Here's why you should trust Thomas Dimitroff drafting for Falcons 5 things to know before Falcons pick the next ‘Mr. Irrelevant 5 things to know about Bradley Chubb Over the next four seasons, the Falcons made it to the postseason three out of four times.  Following that four-year span, the Falcons finished with back-to-back losing seasons in 2013 and 2014 before head coach Dan Quinn’s era began in 2015, when the Falcons finished 8-8.  In 2016, Ryan arguably had one of his best years of his career, throwing for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Not to mention, he led the Falcons past the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in the playoffs to play in Super Bowl LI, a Super Bowl that will be remembered as one of the biggest second-half declines in NFL history. Despite losing the Super Bowl and dealing with the infamous “28-3” blown lead against the New England Patriots, the 2016 season was surely a decorated one for the native of Exton, Pennsylvania. Ryan was named the 2016 NFL AP Most Valuable Player, 2016 NFL Pro Football Writers of America Most Valuable Player, the 2016 NFL Bert Bell Award (Player of the Year) and 2016 NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year. Ten years have flown by the record-setting quarterback. With 2018 NFL Draft only days away, Ryan gears up for his 11th season, one in which Matty Ice looks to redeem himself from the 2017 campaign, where he threw for 4,095 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Ryan’s 20 touchdowns were his lowest recorded number of touchdowns since his rookie season. More importantly, Ryan hopes to put the Falcons back in position to compete for a Super Bowl on his own turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 
  • A Gwinnett County man told Channel 2 Action News he is angry about the punishment a judge gave to the driver who ran over and killed his wife. Tiffany Hayes left the Gwinnett County Courthouse surrounded by family and covered with an umbrella. 'I am truly sorry that this accident ended in the loss of your loved one,' Hayes said. Hayes wept after pleading guilty to homicide by vehicle for the June 2016 death of Georgette Stovall in Snellville. 'I wake up every single morning wishing this was a dream,' she said. The victim's loved ones were angered by a plea bargain that left the defendant with a sentence of 10 years of probation, but no jail time. TRENDING STORIES: 'Armed and dangerous' man terrorizing 4 metro counties, police say WARNING: After close call, mom wants to alert others of 'dry drowning' Official reprimanded for 'racist pig' comments wants to take case to high court 'She doesn't walk away from this with no feeling of remorse or regret or empathy. She was crying,' said defense attorney Keith Adams. The victim's husband, Bill, says his family may never get over the loss. 'The love I had for 35 years was gone in the blink of an eye,' he said. 'It's been horrible. Horrible. We just wanted her to feel that pain. Some of it.' 'We're the victims here, and there's no justice for us, ever,' said Stovall's daughter, Samantha. The defense said after working a night shift, the mother of two fell asleep at the wheel. That's when Georgette Stovall was out for a midmorning walk with her dog. 'This was truly an accident. I have a heart for people, and would never do anything to intentionally hurt anyone,' Hayes said. But Bill Stovall said that doesn't give them any closure. 'These words are for you Ms. Hayes. Don't think for a minute that you're the victim here, that something is being done to you,' he said in court. In addition to the probation, the judge tacked on 380 hours of community service.
  • Channel 2 Action News investigates the real story of legal marijuana. Channel 2 Investigative reporter Mark Winne went to Colorado to find out what impact legalization is having there. The head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation visited Colorado in 2015 after the governor asked a group of Georgians to study the impact of legalizing recreational use of marijuana. While many point to increased tax revenues and jobs, there are some downsides as well. [PHOTOS: Inside look at the legal marijuana business in Colorado] When Winne asked Mark Bolton, marijuana adviser to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, asked if the legalized pot has been a good thing or bad thing for society, the official said, “I think too early to know.” We’re breaking down marijuana numbers from Colorado and hear from state leaders about the drawbacks, on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m.

News

  • Jurors in the Tex McIver murder trial told Channel 2 Action News it took a lot of compromise to reach a verdict. The 12-person panel deliberated for four days before finally reaching a verdict Monday afternoon. They found the Atlanta attorney guilty of murdering his wife, Diane, as they rode in their SUV in September 2016. They also found him guilty of trying to influence a witness, Dani Jo Carter, who was driving the SUV at the time of the shooting. Earlier Monday it appeared that a verdict might never come when jurors told the judge they were deadlocked and couldn’t come to a unanimous decision on four of the five counts. The judge sent them back, telling them they needed to keep deliberating and continue to try for a verdict. RELATED STORIES: 5 things to know about Diane McIver Juror breakdown for the Tex McIver murder trial Tex McIver found guilty of murdering his wife A breakdown of the verdict in the Tex McIver trial After the trial ended, Channel 2 Action News spoke with some of the jurors outside the courthouse.  'It definitely took a lot of compromise on both sides of where we were with our deliberations,' juror Aubrey Gray said. 'There was definitely a point where we did not think we were going to get to guilt or innocence.” He said after the judge read them the Allen charge Monday afternoon, telling them they needed to keep deliberating and try to reach a verdict, they re-examined their positions and were able to come to a unanimous decision. “(We were able to) specifically look at the evidence, take away any emotion that we had, and that’s how we came up with our guilty verdict on four of the five counts,” Gray said. Gray said he was back and forth for much of deliberations. “I was in both camps for a while, flip-flopping sides, trying to come to a rational decision,” he said. Gray said there were several “gun experts” on the jury, who helped them talk through many of the questions. [SPECIAL SECTION: Tex McIver Trial] “That was one of our contingents the entire time, why was his hand, particularly his finger, on the trigger. And one of the key things for us, we had to look back at his statements to police when he said the gun just went off, and we finally decided that a gun just doesn’t go off,” Gray said. “It was not an accident. His hand was on the trigger. Guns just don’t go off.” Another juror, Lakeisha Boyd, said the deciding factor for her was also the finger on the trigger, and holding the gun inside the car. “We went back down to the vehicle. We were able to take the firearm to the vehicle and were able to test it out ourselves,” she said. Boyd said, at the end of the day, they did their job. “Justice was served,” she said.
  • The Latest on the White House visit of French President Emmanuel Macron (all times local): 1:20 p.m. President Donald Trump says U.S. troops will come home from Syria, but he wants to leave a 'strong and lasting footprint' in the region. Trump's comment signaled a softening in tone. Trump was insisting just a few weeks ago that he wanted to pull out U.S. troops and leave the job of rebuilding Syria to others in the region. Asked about his timeline for bringing the troops home, Trump reiterated his desire to exit Syria. But he also said that he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed that neither of them wants to give Iran more of an opening in the region. Trump said 'we'll see what happens but we're going to be coming home relatively soon.' He commented during a White House news conference Tuesday with Macron, who is on a state visit to the U.S. ___ 1:15 p.m. French President Emmanuel Macron says he's confident about the future of his country's trading relationship with the U.S. He says it's good when allies work together. Macron says in a joint news conference with President Donald Trump that trade is balanced between the two countries and he's suggesting all nations follow the rules of the World Trade Organization. The French president has been critical of Trump's protectionist moves on trade in recent weeks and has called upon the U.S. to exempt European nations from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. ___ 1 p.m. President Donald Trump is thanking French President Emmanuel Macron for his partnership on the recent missile strikes against chemical weapons in Syria and the fight against terrorism. Trump says at a joint White House news conference that he will soon be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He says the U.S. won't 'repeat the mistakes of past administrations' and will pressure the North Korean regime. Macron is pointing to the need for the Iran nuclear deal. He says he wants to work on a new deal in the weeks and months ahead. Macron says any new agreement would need to block any nuclear activity in Iran through 2025, cease any uranium activity and put an end to the country's ballistic missiles program. ___ 12:16 p.m. A pair of designers is responsible for Melania Trump's white skirt suit and matching hat. The first lady's office says Michael Kors designed the two-piece suit that Mrs. Trump wore for Tuesday's White House arrival ceremony for President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte. Mrs. Trump also wore the suit on an outing to the National Gallery of Art in Washington with Mrs. Macron. The first lady topped her outfit with a broad-brimmed white hat designed by Herve Pierre. Pierre designed the first lady's inaugural ball gown. The white hat quickly became the talk of the town, as well as on Twitter. Mrs. Trump typically doesn't wear hats. Still to come is Tuesday night's piece de resistance: the first lady's state dinner gown. ___ 10:40 a.m. President Donald Trump is warning that if Iran restarts its nuclear program it 'will have bigger problems than they have ever had before.' Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron will be discussing the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday during their meetings at the White House. Macron wants Trump to maintain the deal. Trump is undecided but has called it 'a terrible deal.' Though Trump has warmly welcomed Macron to Washington, the two have disagreements to sort through, including Trump's decision to leave the multinational Paris climate change agreement. While with Macron, Trump refused to answer a reporter's question as to whether he is considering a pardon for his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, whose office was raided by the FBI. Trump called it 'a stupid question.' Cohen has not been charged. ___ 9:54 a.m. French President Emmanuel Macron is highlighting the close ties between his nation and the United States during his visit to the White House. Macron, standing alongside President Donald Trump Tuesday, said 'America represents endless possibilities for my country.' He also told Trump that 'France shares with your country an ideal of freedom and peace.' Macron touted how the French fought alongside George Washington during the American Revolution, which laid the blueprint for cooperation between the nations. The French president, who enjoys a closer relationship with Trump than many of his European peers, said that France works alongside the U.S. on challenges like terrorism, North Korea and Iran. He is expected to lobby Trump to maintain the Iran nuclear deal and reconsider the decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. ___ 9:30 a.m. President Donald Trump is sending prayers to the Bush family and wishing former President George H.W. Bush a 'speedy recovery.' Trump is recognizing the former president as he greets French President Emmanuel Macron on the South Lawn of the White House. Bush has been hospitalized in Houston with an infection, just days after attending the funeral of his wife, Barbara Bush. Trump is also sending the nation's sympathies to the Canadian people following the 'horrendous tragedy' in Toronto. A driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk in Toronto, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others. Trump says the nation's hearts are with the grieving families in Canada. ___ 9:25 a.m. President Donald Trump says the 'wonderful friendship' he has developed with French President Emmanuel Macron is a testament to two nations' enduring alliance. Trump is thanking Macron for his 'steadfast partnership' in responding to the recent chemical attack in Syria. The president is speaking at an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. Trump and Macron are meeting Tuesday on a number of issues, including the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the crisis in Syria. The two leaders are holding a joint news conference later in the morning and then Macron will be honored with Trump's first state dinner. ___ 9 a.m. President Donald Trump is welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House in a formal arrival ceremony. The president and first lady are greeting Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, on rolled-out red carpet on the South Lawn. The arrival is heavy on pomp, with nearly 500 U.S. service-members from all five military branches participating in the ceremonial welcome, which includes a 'Review of the Troops.' Vice President Mike Pence and several members of Trump's Cabinet, lawmakers, and military families are in attendance. The audience includes students from the Maya Angelou French Immersion School in Temple Hills, Maryland. The two leaders are spending the morning in meetings and then will hold a joint news conference. On Tuesday night, Macron will be feted at Trump's first state dinner. ___ 12:50 a.m. A sit-down between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron followed by a joint news conference highlight the business portion of the French leader's second day in Washington. The pageantry of Macron's official state visit, the first of the Trump presidency, comes Tuesday night with a lavish state dinner at the White House. About 150 guests are expected to dine on rack of lamb and nectarine tart and enjoy an after-dinner performance by the Washington National Opera. Monday night was more relaxed, featuring a helicopter tour of Washington landmarks and a trip to the Potomac River home of George Washington for dinner. Pomp and ceremony aside, Trump and Macron disagree on some fundamental issues. A prime dividing point is the multinational Iran nuclear deal, which Trump wants to abandon.
  • Travis Reinking's erratic behavior began years before police say he showed up without pants at a Waffle House restaurant and killed four people with an assault-style rifle. The onetime construction crane operator bounced between states and suffered from delusions, sometimes talking about plans to marry singer Taylor Swift, friends and relatives told police. He was arrested outside the White House last year after asking to speak to President Donald Trump, and his bizarre actions seemed to intensify in recent days with a car theft. Now Reinking is charged in Tennessee with four counts of criminal homicide. He's been jailed without bond. 'He's a good kid that went off the handle for some reason,' said Dave Warren, who once worked with Reinking in Colorado. Former co-workers at Rocky Mountain Crane in Salida, Colorado, told police after the shooting that Reinking was complex. He didn't drink or do drugs, according to a police report describing the interviews, and he was known as intelligent, polite and an excellent equipment operator. He didn't like the government or the National Rifle Association, and he talked about being a 'sovereign citizen,' although the meaning of the phrase wasn't clear. What seemed to drive Reinking more than anything was an obsession with Swift, the report said. Reinking told police — once in Tazewell County, Illinois, in 2016, and again in Colorado last year — that Swift was stalking him. He was infatuated with her and supposedly purchased a $14,000 ring and drove to California to try to meet her, authorities said. But co-workers also knew Reinking as openly gay, according to the interview notes. Ken and Darlene Sustrich, the owners of the crane service where Reinking worked for six months, recalled a time when he and other members of a crew were returning to Salida after completing a job. As they passed through the town of Last Chance, Colorado, Reinking quit on the spot. 'He misconstrued that was his last chance,' Ken Sustrich said. 'He got super-paranoid, and he quit that day. He said, 'This is my last chance.'' Reinking's intelligence impressed them. He would sometimes talk about astrophysics, Darlene Sustrich said. In his last few days at the crane service, he began showing signs of paranoia. 'You could see something was off with him, but nothing violent,' Darlene Sustrich said. Then came a call from the FBI, saying Reinking had tried to jump the White House fence. 'We told them, 'Hang onto him if you can. Help him if you can,'' she said. Ken Sustrich told police that he reached out to Reinking's father with concerns about his son's mental health. He said the father replied that he was aware of the issues and 'had been recently trying to rekindle his relationship with Travis,' the police report said. Back in Illinois last June, a sheriff's report showed, the younger Reinking barged into a community swimming pool and jumped in wearing only underwear and a pink woman's coat. That same day, an employee at his family's business, J&J Cranes, said he emerged from an apartment above the office wearing a pink dress, clutching a rifle and yelling profanities, according to a report. The sheriff's department called his father, who was out of state. He told officers that he had taken four guns away when his son was 'having problems' but later returned them. Police suggested that Jeff Reinking 'lock the guns back up until Travis gets mental help,' officer Randy Davis wrote in a report. The father agreed to do so. When he was arrested at the White House, Reinking was not armed, but Illinois state police revoked his state firearms card at the FBI's request. Four guns, including the AR-15 used in the Waffle House shooting, were transferred to his father, a procedure allowed under Illinois law. The father said he later returned the guns to his son again, police said. Signs of paranoid delusions continued: In August, Reinking told police he wanted to file a report about 20 to 30 people tapping into his computer and phone and people 'barking like dogs' outside his residence, according to a report. It isn't clear why Reinking moved recently to the Nashville area from Morton, Illinois, and if it had anything to do with being near Swift. The performer has a home in Nashville, though it's not her only residence. A representative of Swift did not return a message seeking comment, nor did the public defender appointed to represent Reinking, who has not entered a plea. Nashville police say they were not aware of Reinking's past fixation with Swift, but authorities in Music City say they are all too familiar with people being preoccupied with the superstar. 'You wouldn't believe how many people are obsessed with Taylor Swift,' Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said. Reinking apparently kept a low profile until recent days. Alerted to the theft of a BMW from a car dealer last week, officers decided against a risky chase knowing the car had a GPS device and could be located. Police found the vehicle outside Reinking's apartment, but they did not figure out until after the attack that Reinking had apparently taken it. ___ Foody reported from Denver, Colorado. Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama. Associated Press writers Dan Elliott in Salida, Colorado; Ed White in Detroit; John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia; Kristin Hall in Nashville; and Michael Kunzelman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also contributed to this report.
  • The co-owner of a Colorado crane company where the suspect in a deadly weekend shooting at a Nashville restaurant once worked said she had urged federal officials to keep him in custody after he was arrested at the White House last year. Travis Reinking, 29, is accused of opening fire Sunday outside a Waffle House with an AR-15 rifle and then storming the restaurant, wearing only a green jacket. Four people were killed and four others were wounded in the shooting. But Reinking had exhibited erratic behavior for years before the shooting. Darlene Sustrich, who co-owns a Colorado crane company where Reinking once worked, said they got a call from the FBI after he allegedly tried to jump the White House fence last July. 'We told them, 'Hang onto him if you can. Help him if you can,'' Sustrich said. Federal officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reinking has been charged with four counts of criminal homicide. And a tweet from the Metro Nashville Police Department said he also faces four counts of attempted murder and one count of unlawful possession in the commission of a violent felony. Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said Tuesday that Reinking has been 'compliant' and 'cooperative' since he was transferred to the jail late Monday after he was captured near the apartment where he lived. Reinking is wearing a vest known informally as a 'suicide smock' and will remain under close observation at a maximum-security facility in Nashville. An attorney listed as Reinking's lawyer did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Meanwhile, the man who snatched the rifle away from the gunman during the shooting told Tennessee lawmakers Tuesday he faced 'the true test of a man,' drawing a standing ovation during his brief address. As the state House hailed him as a hero, James Shaw Jr. said he acted to save his own life early Sunday and saved others in the process. 'I never thought I'd be in a room with all the eyes on me, but you know, I'm very grateful to be here,' Shaw told House members. Shaw said he has gone to see some of the shooting victims in the hospital and they all remembered him. He apologized to the people whose loved ones died in the attack. The state Senate also honored Shaw on Tuesday. After the shooting, authorities say Reinking escaped on foot from the restaurant and shed his only item of clothing. By the time he was captured in the woods nearby, police had searched his apartment and found the key fob to a stolen BMW they had recovered in the parking lot days earlier. The BMW theft had not initially been tied to Reinking. Police seized multiple items from his apartment including: a Remington rifle with a magazine, cartridges for different calibers of guns, two rifle scopes and gun cleaning equipment. Police also found three books on patents in the apartment, along with a sketchbook, two iPhones and a number of pieces of computer equipment, court records show. Nashville Police Department Lt. Carlos Lara told reporters Reinking was arrested Monday after detectives were tipped to the suspect's presence by some construction workers. He carried a black backpack with a silver semi-automatic weapon and .45-caliber ammunition. The arrest ended a 24-hour manhunt involving more than 160 law enforcement officers, but it left troubling unanswered questions about official responses to months of bizarre behavior before the restaurant attack, including encounters with police in Illinois and Colorado and an arrest at the White House that raised red flags. Sustrich, Reinking's former boss, described him as appearing paranoid and delusional at times. A former co-worker told a Salida, Colorado, police detective Reinking was infatuated with singer Taylor Swift and claimed to be a sovereign citizen. Last July, Reinking was arrested by the U.S. Secret Service after he entered a restricted area near the White House and refused to leave, saying he wanted to meet President Donald Trump. The suspect told Washington, D.C., police he was a sovereign citizen and had a right to inspect the grounds, according to an incident report. Reinking was not armed at the time, but at the FBI's request, Illinois police revoked his state firearms card. Four guns, including the AR-15 used in the shootings, were transferred to his father, a procedure allowed under Illinois law. Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston said Jeffrey Reinking pledged he would 'keep the weapons secure and out of the possession of Travis.' Don Aaron, a Nashville Police spokesman, said Reinking's father 'has now acknowledged giving them back' to his son. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special Agent Marcus Watson said Monday that his father's action is 'potentially a violation of federal law.' Phone calls to a number listed for the father went unanswered. ___ Associated Press writers John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia; Ed White in Detroit; Michael Kunzelman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Kathleen Foody in Denver, Colorado; and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
  • Tyler Mahle lost his no-hit bid on Freddie Freeman's homer in the seventh, and the Cincinnati Reds blew a big late lead before Scooter Gennett connected in the 12th inning for a 9-7 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night. Gennett hit his second homer of the game off left-hander Max Fried (0-1) for his first career game-ending shot. Freeman started the Braves' late seven-run surge with his homer off Mahle, only the third ball the Braves managed to get out of the infield against the rookie right-hander. Freeman connected again as Atlanta scored four times in the ninth. Jared Hughes (1-2) escaped a two-on threat in the 10th and got the last eight outs. Off to their worst start since the Great Depression, the 5-18 Reds rallied for their first set of back-to-back wins since last September — a span of 34 games — and got an encouraging performance from their most promising young starter. The 23-year-old Mahle fanned a career-high 11 with a tailing fastball that caught the Braves gawking. Atlanta leads the majors in runs, but managed only two balls beyond the infield through six innings. Freeman led off the seventh with a homer on the rookie's 90th pitch — Mahle turned his head and muttered a word in frustration as the ball left the bat. Kurt Suzuki had a two-run homer later in the inning. Mahle drew attention on his way to the majors by throwing a no-hitter in Single-A in 2016 and a perfect game last April 22 at Double-A. Freeman homered again in the ninth inning off Amir Garrett, starting a four-run rally. Ender Inciarte's bases-loaded, two-out single against Raisel Iglesias deflected off Gennett at second base for a 7-7 tie. Joey Votto and Gennett hit their first homers — back-to-back solo shots in the fifth off Brandon McCarthy — as the Reds' sluggish offense showed signs of coming around. TRAINER'S ROOM Braves: Manager Brian Snitker plans to give RH reliever Sam Freeman a couple days off. Freeman has made a team-high 14 appearances and struggled during a 10-4 loss on Monday. 'This is probably the most he's been used early in a season in his career,' Snitker said. 'It's a new area for him to navigate through.' Reds: C Devin Mesoraco was scratched with a stiff neck. ... 3B Eugenio Suarez began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. He has been sidelined since April 8, when he was hit by Jameson Taillon's pitch and broke his right thumb. UP NEXT Braves: Matt Wisler (1-0, 1.29 ERA) is 1-1 career against the Reds in two starts and two relief appearances, allowing eight runs in 15 2/3 innings. Reds: LH Brandon Finnegan (0-2, 11.05) makes his third start. He opened the season on the DL with a strained left biceps. He's given up nine runs in 7 1/3 innings. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • Just days before former Mayor Kasim Reed left office, his administration showered select city employees with more than $518,000 in bonuses, and gifts that were presented during an “executive holiday party” at City Hall. >> Read more trending news  The spending spree has left the police union outraged, taxpayers fuming and council members questioning its legality. During his last days in power, Reed awarded at least $350,000 in bonuses to his senior staff; ordered $42,500 in checks to the eight members of his security detail; gave away $36,000 by drawing names out of a hat during a holiday party raffle in December; and awarded $31,000 to lip sync and ugly sweater contest winners, also at the party. But none of the holiday giving came out of Reed’s wallet — it all belonged to city taxpayers. And that’s not the full extent of the spending. >> Related: See who got bonuses from former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed Former human resources commissioner Yvonne Yancy handed out an additional $57,500 in bonuses to 11 members of her staff just days before she left City Hall for the private sector, on Dec. 31. In response to questions from the AJC, Reed issued a three-paragraph statement. “Rewarding employees for service and performance is not new and has been common practice in the City of Atlanta,” says the statement, issued through Reed’s spokesman. “These bonuses were appropriate and Mayor Reed believes that the individuals who received the bonuses were worthy of them based upon their contributions to the City of Atlanta’s unprecedented growth and fiscal stability.” Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore called the spending “disgusting” and “illegal.” “It just reminded me of someone having money and throwing it in the air and letting everybody catch it,” Moore said. “It’s just unconscionable. Let’s just make it clear: It’s not legal to do this. Just make it point-blank clear. He had absolutely, positively no authority to issue any of that to anybody under any circumstance,” she said. “The mayor can only do what is authorized by the council. He did not go through the proper channels,” Moore added. Moore pointed to a city ordinance that prohibits increasing “the salaries or other remuneration in any form of any officer or employee of the city during the fiscal year, except by ordinance” approved by the City Council. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose campaign was endorsed by Reed, did not respond to the AJC’s questions about the appropriateness of using taxpayer money for contests and raffles. She also declined to respond when asked if the bonuses were appropriate and whether she would award them at the end of the year. “Decisions around the bonuses were made without input from the current administration,” the statement said. “However, Mayor Bottoms will continue to carefully evaluate best practices, prioritizing ways in which city business can be conducted in a transparent and responsible manner.” ‘A bunch of questions here’ The city’s code stipulates several circumstances under which employees may receive bonuses. Police officers can receive retention bonuses of $3,000 after 5 years of service. Some employees can receive 2-percent bonuses for being bilingual or by earning a special certification. The city also provides longevity bonuses up to $750 for employees who have been with the city for 25 years or more. City ordinances do not appear to authorize payments or bonuses of arbitrary amounts for unspecified reasons. “There are a bunch of questions here,” said Councilman Howard Shook, who chairs the City Council’s Finance/Executive Committee. “I couldn’t think of a worse time to dole out bonuses of this nature from a political perspective. Everything is so unsettled. Morale is so low. Everyone is waiting for the next piece of bad news. “Obviously, we are all now going to contemplate what guardrails need to be put around this process,” Shook said. The Georgia State Constitution’s gratuities clause prohibits public agencies from granting donations, gratuities and “extra compensation to any public officer, agent, or contractor after the service has been rendered or the contract entered into.” An unofficial opinion from the Georgia Attorney General in 2002 dealt with whether public hospital authorities could offer prospective employees signing bonuses. It said they could “if the authority receives a substantial benefit in exchange for the signing bonus.” >> Related: See the unofficial opinion from 2002 here Georgia State Rep. Chuck Martin, a Republican, and chairman of the state house’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee, said the gratuities clause generally prohibits taxpayer money from being spent without taxpayers receiving something in return. “If those types of bonuses hadn’t been done previously, it would seem to me to call into question the reason for them here,” said Martin, a former Mayor of Alpharetta. “If I was a taxpayer in Atlanta, I would certainly wonder: Wouldn’t that half-a-million dollars been better spent recruiting people to work for me in 2018 and beyond?” Reed did not address the AJC’s questions about whether metrics were used to determine the amounts of bonuses; nor did he say what the city would receive in return for giving the bonuses. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Carr did not respond to an email about whether the gratuities clause applied to the City of Atlanta’s recent bonuses. Shook said he couldn’t recall similar payouts during his 16 years on the City Council. Read more here.