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Hawaii volcano: 'Explosive eruption' at Kilauea summit spurs concerns over ash, laze

An “explosive eruption” at Kilauea's summit on Hawaii's Big Island early Tuesday prompted officials to warn residents to protect themselves from ash fallout as the volcano eruption continues into its third week.

>> Read more trending news

More than 40 structures have been destroyed in the eruption that started May 3. It has since inundated almost 325 acres around Kilauea with lava and lead to concerns about laze, a toxic mixture of lava and haze that forms when hot lava hits ocean waters.

>> What is laze? Hawaii volcano lava reaches the Pacific Ocean

Update 4:37 p.m. EDT May 22: Lava continued to flow Tuesday on Hawaii's Big Island, creating toxic laze as it hit ocean waters.

Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said a majority of the lava was flowing Tuesday from a trio of fissures that have opened in recent days.

Update 11:56 a.m. EDT May 22: The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory released video Tuesday of lava hitting the ocean one day earlier, creating a toxic laze plume.

Laze is formed when lava enters the ocean, setting off a series of chemical reactions and cooling the lava until it transforms into glass, which shatters, according to USGS officials. It creates white clouds of steam that contain toxic gas and tiny shards of volcanic glass. 

Update 10:18 a.m. EDT May 22: Officials with the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency warned Tuesday of another “explosive eruption” at Kilauea’s summit

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported the explosion around 3:45 a.m.

“The resulting ash plume may affect the surrounding areas,” officials warned. “The wind may carry the ash plume to the southwest toward Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Waiohinu.”

Authorities said the biggest hazard from Tuesday’s early morning eruption is likely to be ash fallout. Residents were asked to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials warned in an update Monday afternoon that "additional explosions (are) possible at any time" on Kilauea's summit.

Update 11:15 p.m. EDT May 21: Lava is flowing toward a geothermal power plant on Hawaii’s Big Island as Mount Kilauea continues its violent eruptions.

Reuters is reporting that workers are scrambling to shut down the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant to prevent the “uncontrollable release of toxic gases.”

The plant provides about 25 percent of the Big Island’s power, but has been closed since the volcanic eruptions started on May 3.

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT May 21: Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said early Monday that a small explosion happened just before 1 a.m. local time at the Halemaumau crater at Kilauea's summit.

The explosion shot ash about 7,000 feet into the air.

"Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time," USGS officials said.

The Hawaiian County Civil Defense Agency warned residents to be aware of ashfall after the "explosive eruption."

Update 12:38 p.m. May 20: Lava from the Kilauea volcano has crossed Highway 137 and entered the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaii County Civil Defense said Sunday. A second lava flow is about 437 yards from the highway, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

Big Island residents may now have to contend with laze -- a mixture of lava and haze -- that forms when hot lava hits the ocean, CNN reported.

After making contact with the water, the laze sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.

Laze can lead to lung, eye and skin irritation, CNN reported.

"This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows," the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory wrote on its website.

Officials have told people to avoid areas where lava meets the ocean, CNN reported.

Powerful eruptions accompanied by thunderous booms punctuated the air Friday around Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

The volcano spewed lava bombs the size of cows as molten rock flowed from several of the 22 fissures that have opened around the volcano. 

Update 2 a.m. EDT May 19: Fast-moving lava isolated about 40 homes in a rural subdivision, forcing at least four people to be evacuated by county and National Guard helicopters, the Star-Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

According to the Hawaii County Civil Defense, police, firefighters and National Guard troops were stopping people from entering the area.

Update 11:30 p.m. EDT May 18: Hawaiian authorities have sent the National Guard, police and fire units into the East Rift Zone in Puna, according to the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency.

“There are approximately 40 homes in the area that are isolated. Officials are gaining access by helicopter to the area to assess how many people are there and if they need assistance. All persons in that area are asked to stay where they are and wait for further instructions,” the agency said on its website.

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has confirmed another fissure opened on Friday, bringing the total number of fissures to 22. 

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as Kilauea continues its violent eruptions.

Update 8:30 a.m. EDT May 18:  More lava is spewing 

from the Kilauea volcano as the 21st fissure opened Thursday, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, state officials have been handing out masks to protect people who live near Kilauea, ABC News reported. About 18,000 masks have been distributed, CNN reported. The safety measure protects residents from breathing in pieces of rock, glass and crystals that fall as the volcano continues to erupt, ABC News reported.

Update 10:45 p.m. EDT May 17: Lava is erupting from points along the fissure system on Kilauea volcano, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but the agency is calling it a “low-level eruption” at this point. 

Although lava is still spattering from Fissure 17, the flow has not advanced significantly over the past day, the USGS said.

There are currently 18 fissures that have opened due to seismic activity on Kilauea’ over the past two weeks. 

Volcanic gas emission are still elevated throughout the area and residents are urged to remain on alert. 

“This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible. Ground deformation continues and seismicity remains elevated in the area,” the USGS reported late Thursday

Rain on the Big Island Thursday helped the situation with the ashfall, but volcano experts are warning the situation on Kilauea is  still very dynamic.

Original report: Several schools were closed as ash continued to fall Thursday due to elevated sulfur dioxide levels. Officials warned people in the area to take shelter and protect themselves from the falling ash.

>> Here's how to help victims of Hawaii volcano, earthquakes

"The resulting ash plume will cover the surrounding area," officials with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a 5 a.m. alert. In a subsequent update, USGS officials said the ash plume was moving to the northeast.

The plume could be seen in an image taken from a webcam at the USGS’ Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

"Driving conditions may be dangerous so if you are driving pull off the road and wait until visibility improves," the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency warned.

Michelle Coombs, of the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, told Hawaii News Now that the situation remained “very, very active and very dynamic,” on Thursday.

“The potential for larger explosions is still there,” she said.

Officials with the USGS warned Tuesday that an eruption of Kilauea's volcano appeared "imminent."

>> Red alert declared on Hawaii’s Big Island; major Kilauea eruption ‘imminent’

The eruption on Kilauea began May 3. It has since forced thousands of people from their homes, destroyed nearly 40 structures -- including dozens of homes -- and created more than two dozen fissures in the ground surrounding the volcano.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

Shooter dead in Panama City, Florida standoff, reports say 

A standoff in Panama City, Florida, ended Tuesday with the death of the alleged shooter.

>> Read more trending news

When police were able to get inside the apartment of Kevin Robert Holroyd, they found the suspected killer dead in a gas-soaked apartment, according to the News Herald.

Authorities were searching for Holroyd, 49, in connection with a murder Tuesday morning in Santa Rosa Beach in Walton County, according to the sheriff’s office.

When they attempted to access his apartment building Tuesday afternoon, authorities said Holroyd opened fire on officers, sparking an intense exchange of gunfire, then a standoff that lasted several hours.

Update 4:10 p.m. EDT:

Investigators were searching the Briarwood Apartments after several rounds of gunfire were exchanged Tuesday afternoon between shooting suspect Kevin Robert Holroyd  and Bay County first responders.

Bay County authorities believe Holroyd is involved with the shooting death of a 30-year-old man in Walton County Tuesday morning, the News Herald reported.

Investigators had been watching Holroyd’s apartment when they received reports of a gas leak at the building, according to the News Herald. When they tried to check the building, the suspect opened fire.

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT: The Walton County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the standoff in Panama City is related to a fatal shooting at a home in Santa Rosa Beach.

The victim has been identified as Clinton Street. Street was 30 years old and was killed at a house on White Heron Drive. There’s no word on what led to Street’s death or who the suspect is, but the sheriff’s office said in a tweet that the two incidents are related.

Update 2:40 p.m. EDT: Walton County sheriff’s deputies confirmed that a shooting in Panama City, described Tuesday afternoon by police as active and ongoing, appeared to be connected to a suspicious death reported earlier Tuesday in Santa Rosa Beach.

Authorities did not immediately elaborate on the connection.

Update 2:33 p.m. EDT: Police described the incident as an ongoing “active shooter situation,” according to multiple reports.

Caitlin Lawrence, public information officer for Panama City, told the News Herald that authorities believe the suspect was still on the scene Tuesday afternoon.

Original report: Witnesses told WJHG that they heard more than 50 shots.

What sounded like gunshots could be heard on-air as WMBB interviewed a witness about the shooting.

One person has been reported with a graze wound, the Panama City News Herald reported.

K-9 finds 60 lbs. of meth first day on job in California

The newest member of the West Covina Police Department was praised after locating about 60 pounds of methamphetamine during his first day on the job.

>> Read more trending news

K-9 Rye found the drugs during a traffic stop Saturday, according to the West Covina Police Department’s Facebook post

Officers stopped the silver 2010 Nissan Rouge for a vehicle code violation and found meth under the drivers seat. The police dog alerted the officers that there might be more drugs in the car, KUSA reports

About 60 pounds of meth were found hidden in two compartments under the driver’s seat and front passenger seat, officials said.

K-9 Rye was just field certified in narcotic detection in April 2018, according to the department. This was K-9 Rye’s first narcotic detection since he was certified. 

The driver, identified as 28-year-old Pedro Lopez, is accused of possession of methamphetamine and the sale and transporting narcotics in a hidden department, officials said.

Lopez’s bail has been set at $1 million. 

CDC researcher Timothy Cunningham’s death ruled a suicide by drowning

The death of an Atlanta researcher whose body was pulled from the Chattahoochee River has been ruled a suicide by drowning, the Fulton County Medical Examiner said Tuesday. 

>> Read more trending news 

Timothy Cunningham, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was reported missing Feb. 14 from his northwest Atlanta home. On April 3, the 35-year-old’s body was found in the Chattahoochee River. 

Cunningham’s parents told investigators their son had not been diagnosed with depression, but did have mood swings, according to documents released by the Medical Examiner’s office.

His parents also questioned whether he could have been given some type of drug that changed his behavior in the days before his disappearance. 

Toxicology tests performed on his body showed Cunningham had marijuana in his system, but there were no other significant findings, Dr. Jan Gorniak, chief medical examiner, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There were no signs of other trauma and it’s still unknown how he came to be in the river.   

>> Related: Atlanta: police: Missing CDC reseracher was upset he didn’t get promotion

His parents and sister told investigators that in phone calls and text messages with Cunningham shortly before he disappeared, they noticed a difference in his tone. Atlanta police previously said Cunningham had been upset over not getting a promotion, though the CDC later said he had received a promotion several months prior to his disappearance. 

Cunningham’s parents suspected something was wrong when they were unable to reach him by phone. The two drove from their Maryland home to their son’s Atlanta home, where they found all of his personal belongings inside the house, including his wallet, cellphone, SUV and beloved dog, Mr. Bojangles. 

Fishermen spotted a body in the Chattahoochee on April 3, and two days later, the Medical Examiner’s office identified the remains as belonging to Cunningham. 

Atlanta police have said the department’s investigation into Cunningham’s disappearance and death has been closed. 

Hundreds attended the memorial service for Cunningham, a graduate of Morehouse College and Harvard University. Family and friends described a goal-oriented, driven man with a passion for helping others. 

>> Related: 5 things we know about missing CDC researcher Timothy Cunningham

“It wasn’t just a career or job for him,” Capt. Marcella Law with the National Center for Chronic Disease told the crowd. “Tim felt that it was his calling to use his gift and change lives.”

FedEx driver killed on Florida interstate when truck blows tire, hits car

A FedEx driver died Tuesday on a Florida interstate highway when a blown tire caused his freight truck to collide with a car, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

The 22-year-old delivery driver, whose name has not been released by the Florida Highway Patrol, was eastbound on an outside lane of I-4 east of Tampa when a tire blew out on his freight truck at 10 a.m., troopers said. The FedEx tractor-trailer hit a Chevrolet Volt in the inside lane of the highway, crashed through a guard rail after impact and rolled onto the driver’s side, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

Packages were thrown onto the grass near the vehicle, the Times reported. The truck driver was not wearing a seat belt, troopers said.

Two teenage girls in the Volt suffered minor injuries, the Times reported. Jordan Stynda, 19, and her passenger, Nicole Stynda, 17, were both wearing seat belts, the Times reported. They were not taken to a hospital, the newspaper reported. Their vehicle spun on impact but remained on the paved inside shoulder of the interstate, troopers said.

Man allegedly breaks into home, followed by family dog

A family’s dog makes a great watch dog. He watched as someone broke into his owners’ Massachusetts home.

In a video released by the Milton Police Department, the man can be seen breaking into the home through a back door two weeks ago, Boston25News reported.

He walked into different rooms asking if anyone was home, and eventually saw cameras and left the house with his face covered.

>> Read more trending news 

But not only did security cameras pick up on the man, so did the family pet, who according to Inside Edition, followed the man, room to room, wagging its tail.

The dog went outside for a bit, but the man let the pet back in before leaving the home. 

Police shared the video on Facebook. Some commenters suggest that the dog may know the person. 

Army veteran drowns while saving fiancee's daughter

An Army Reserve member drowned in a Texas lake Saturday as he tried to save his fiancee's 6-year-old daughter, The Dallas Morning News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Brandyn Mitchell, 25, dove into Lake Ray Roberts near the north Texas city of Denton to help Keira Herrera get back onto a flotation device, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

"He was already on the float with (Keira) when she was struggling to hang on," Mitchell’s fiancee, Angelia Herrera, told the Star-Telegram. "He helped her, told her not to let go, then slipped."

Game Warden Darla Barr told the Denton Record-Chronicle that after the child made it to shore, bystanders could not find Mitchell.

Three hours later, rescuers with the Lewisville Fire Department's dive team pulled Mitchell’s body from water that was about 6 feet deep, the Morning News reported.

Mitchell's heroic act at the lake was typical of his character, Herrera told the Star-Telegram.

"He was in the process of enrolling in college to become a firefighter. He wanted to be a firefighter because he wanted to save lives. Running in when everyone is running out. He wanted to be a hero, not just once but every chance he could," Herrera told the newspaper. "Shortly put, he was an amazing man and I am lucky to have known him."

Mitchell’s mother, Stacy Thompson, said she was puzzled that her son drowned.

"Being in the Army and all that, he could swim like a fish. That's why I can't understand what happened," Thompson told the Star-Telegram. 

Herrera said she and Mitchell had set a wedding date before heading to the park, the Star-Telegram reported. They had one child together, 1-year-old Bryson, and were planning to combine families with Keira and Mitchell’s two children, Paris and Trenton Mitchell, the Star-Telegram reported.

Mitchell’s Instagram profile included the hashtags #proudfather and #soldier, and his Facebook page focused on his love for the Dallas Cowboys and snakes, the Morning News reported.

"He was an amazing father," Herrera told the Star-Telegram. "He was loved and will be missed. No matter what, he was a hero."

Photos: Meghan Markle through the years

Photos of actress Meghan Markle before she married Prince Harry and became Duchess of Sussex.

'I am ugly crying:' 5-year-old with autism says first word in McDonald's drive-thru

A 5-year-old girl in Athens, Alabama, gave her mom the surprise of a lifetime during a trip through a McDonald’s drive-thru.

>> Read more trending news 

Briana Blankenship shared the video of her daughter, Taylor, saying the word “mama” for the first time, according to WXIN.

Blankenship tells WXIN that Taylor has nonverbal autism and has never spoken until now:

“I am ugly crying in the McDonald's parking lot and the employees probably think I'm crazy. In the drive thru I suddenly heard Taylor say MAMA. 

“For those of you that don't know. Taylor is 5 and has nonverbal autism. She has NEVER said a word. EVER. 

“As soon as she said it I grabbed my phone and started recording. I'm pretty sure I held up the drive thru line but there was no way I wasn't getting proof of this. I can't explain how unbelievably grateful and ecstatic I am right now. #AutismAwareness #BigWin.”

The 5-year-old has been in speech therapy since she was 3 years old, WXIN reports. Blankenship said the next word the family hopes to hear is “dada.”

Houston Texans star J.J. Watt visits Santa Fe High School shooting victims 

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continues to make an impact in the wake of the mass shooting at a southeastern Texas high school, KTRK reported.

>> Read more trending news

Watt visited some of the victims injured in the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School on Monday and took photographs with them and their nurses at the hospital. He also visited several victims at their homes, KHOU reported.

A gunman opened fire Friday at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing 10 and wounding 13.

Among the students Watt visited Monday was Chase Yarborough, who he visited at home; and Clay Horn, who remains in the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound.

Horn could undergo more surgery Tuesday, KTRK reported.

>> J.J. Watt offers to pay for funerals of Santa Fe victims

Last week, Watt offered to pay the funeral expenses for the people who were killed.

>> Exchange student, substitute teacher among those killed

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