NATIONAL NEWS: Southern California storms, Teenage boy beaten to death outside of New York church, Army vet saves lives at an Illinois Public Library


Southern California storms cause severe flooding and mudslides

After several days of thunderstorms and an extreme amount of rain, southern California is experiencing severe mudslides. More than 200 cars and semi-trucks caught in storms Oct. 15 along State Route 58 were stranded for 10 hours before rescuers were able to make their way through the mud that was six feet deep. No deaths or major injuries have been reported, according to Fox News. The storms also caused flooding and debris flows along 58, Interstate 5 and in two small mountainside communities. Sgt. Mario Lopez, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, was on the scene helping rescue those who were stranded.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Lopez said. “The whole side of the hill just came down onto State Route 58 … There’s no highway.”


Teenage boy beaten to death by parents and other parishioners for wanting to leave church


Two teenage boys were severely beaten by their parents and other members of Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford, New York on Oct. 11 for reportedly wanting to separate themselves from the church. Lucas Leonard, 19, died from his injuries. His brother, Christopher, 17, was hospitalized and remains in serious condition, according USA Today. The boys’ parents, Bruce T. Leonard, 65, and Deborah Leonard, 59, were arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter. The other attackers were identified as David Morey, 26; Linda Morey, 54; Joseph Irwin, 26; and Sarah Ferguson, 33, who is the boy’s half-sister.

USA Today reported that the church forced the two boys to take part in a “counseling session,” which was held if someone in the congregation was suspected of sinning or confessed to having sinned. The reason the session turned violent is unknown.

“We don’t have a lot of insight into this group, but we do know that the pastor called the counseling session and these two boys were subject to extreme beatings over many, many hours,” said Lt. Timothy O’Neill of the New Hartford, New York Police Department.


Army vet saves the day after knife-wielding teen storms public library


James Vernon, a 75-year-old Army veteran, saved the lives of 16 children after putting himself between them and a knife-wielding teen, who walked into an Illinois public library exclaiming that he was going to kill people. Vernon was holding a chess club meeting for the kids, ranging in age from seven to 13 when Dustin Brown, 19, burst into the room holding a knife in each hand, according to Fox News. Vernon tried to calm and distract him so the kids could escape. Brown slashed Vernon with one of his knives, cutting two arteries and one tendon in Vernon’s left hand. Despite his injury, Vernon was able to subdue Brown along with another library employee until the police arrived.

Brown told police he had been planning to kill people for two weeks. He also said that after the attacks he was going to kill himself.

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