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“He’s hacking into her!” Chilling 911 calls describe machete attack on teen

A North Carolina teen attacked with a machete by an alleged stalker survived more than 46 cuts to her face, head and hands as her assailant tried to “saw her head off,” her family and prosecutors said.

Priyanka Kumari, 18, of Apex, had just gotten off of her school bus Thursday afternoon when she was attacked. Her alleged assailant, Neel Salil Mehta, 20, of Cary, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill inflicting serious injury.

Wake County jail records show that Mehta is being held in lieu of $2 million. Anna Davis, an assistant district attorney for Wake County, told the judge in Mehta’s first court appearance on Friday that prosecutors plan to upgrade the charge to attempted murder, according to the News & Observer in Raleigh.

Davis said evidence indicates that Mehta targeted Kumari following a break-up. She said he told investigators that Kumari had stopped returning his calls, text messages and emails.

The newspaper reported that Davis said the investigation showed that Mehta had stalked Kumari for some time and had planned the attack for weeks beforehand.

Raleigh-based ABC 11 reported that it obtained a Snapchat photo Mehta sent out Thursday, shortly before the attack, in which he appears to be blowing a kiss with a large machete in his hand. It was not immediately known if the knife in the photo was the same one used in the alleged assault.

Kumari’s father, Pankaj Kumar, who denied that his daughter had dated Mehta, told ABC 11 that the accused threw her down on the ground before attacking her with the machete. She suffered a total of 46 wounds to her face and head alone, he said.  

“(He) stomped her by his feet and jumped on her body, and then started to cut her throat and cut her head off,” Kumar said. “She said that, at one point of time, ‘I feel that I’m going to die.’”

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Witnesses to the alleged attack, some of whom are said to have captured portions of the brutal assault on cell phone video, corroborated Kumar’s statements. In 911 calls released Friday by the Apex Police Department, frantic callers pleaded with dispatchers to send help.

“There’s a guy assaulting a girl and he’s got a knife, and he’s cutting her and she’s bleeding and she’s gonna die!” one woman said breathlessly. “He has a weapon and he’s stabbing her and she’s bleeding profusely. He’s stabbing on her throat! He’s trying to kill her!”

The female dispatcher got the woman to describe the suspect before transferring her to Apex police officers to provide additional information.

In another call, a woman told a male dispatcher she was recording the attack.

“Please come right away! She’s not going to make it!” the woman screamed.

The dispatcher assured her that emergency responders had already been notified and were on the way.

“He’s killing her! I have some of it on video!” the woman said.

“What do you mean he’s killing her?” the dispatcher asked.

“She’s not going to make it! There’s blood everywhere!” the woman responded frantically.

She told the dispatcher that cars were stopping on the street, but that the attacker was not deterred.

“He’s not stopping! Everyone’s stopping! The cars are stopping and he won’t stop! She’s not going to make it! You don’t understand! You need to get here quick! Someone needs to stop him! Oh my God. Please. Please,” the caller cried.

Click here to listen to some of the 911 calls obtained by ABC 11.

The News & Observer, which also obtained the 911 calls, reported that one man told a dispatcher that the attack had been going on for about five minutes. The man said he couldn’t help Kumari because her attacker had a “big blade.”

“We got to get the cops here,” the man said.

Another woman who called 911 started out calmly, giving a male dispatcher the address where the attack was taking place. As he attempted to transfer her call to Apex police, however, her demeanor changed as she saw the assault unfolding.

“He’s hacking into her! Oh my God!” the woman could be heard screaming in the background.

Mehta dropped the machete only when confronted by responding officers, the News & Observer reported. He suffered minor injuries during the alleged assault.

Kumar’s extensive injuries can be seen in photos her father provided to ABC 11. The graphic images were taken in her hospital room at Duke University Hospital in Durham.

Deep, but healing wounds can be seen across her face and shaved head, and her hands, which suffered multiple defensive wounds, are bandaged and secured in foam blocks to help prop them up, ABC 11 said. One blow to her face was hard enough to break her nose.

Kumari also has multiple gashes across her throat.

Kumar said his daughter had already undergone one surgery and would likely need more.

Davis said in court on Friday that Mehta admitted to officers that he committed the attack, the News & Observer reported.

Kumar told ABC 11 that his daughter met Mehta when she previously attended high school in Cary. He alleged that Mehta and some friends in 2015 forced his daughter to do drugs and then dumped her in the middle of a road. He said he transferred his daughter to her current school after that incident.

Mehta allegedly began threatening Kumari when she stopped responding to his efforts to contact her, and her family aimed to take out a restraining order against Mehta later this month, Kumar told the news station. 

Doctor's warning prompts George H.W. Bush to skip inauguration

Former President George H.W. Bush sent his regrets to President-elect Donald Trump last week after deciding to skip the upcoming inauguration based on the advice of his doctor.

>> Read more trending stories

"My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it will likely put me six feet under," the 41st president wrote in the letter, dated Jan. 10. "Same for Barbara. So I guess we're stuck in Texas."

Gracious letter from @GeorgeHWBush to @realDonaldTrump wishing the best "as you begin this incredible journey of leading our great country." pic.twitter.com/haQmmsii2f— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) January 18, 2017

Bush, 92, was hospitalized Saturday after showing up at Houston Methodist Hospital with "shortness of breath," spokesman Jim McGrath said.

>> Related: Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized

Bush "responded very well to treatments," McGrath said on Wednesday morning. "(We) hope to have him out soon."

Bush's son, former president George W. Bush, and his daughter-in-law, Laura, will attend Friday's festivities.

>> Related: Donald Trump's inauguration: Here's a list of members of Congress who are not attending

"They are pleased to be able to witness the peaceful transfer of power – a hallmark of American democracy – and swearing-in of President Trump and Vice President (Mike) Pence," George W. Bush's office said in a statement.

A spokesman told Politico that neither George W. Bush nor his wife voted for Trump in November. Instead, they voted for "None Of The Above for President," the spokesman said.

Why pit bulls have a bad reputation

You may have heard bad things about pit bulls. More than 700 cities across the country have placed bans on the breed. Stories of attacks, bad behavior and strong bites have made people fear the once-beloved breed. 

>> Read more trending stories  

Experts say the culture of dog fighting has contributed to the pit bull's bad reputation. The dogs are often conditioned to make them more angry and aggressive. 

As of 2014, pit bulls were responsible for 68 percent of dog attacks and 52 percent of dog-related deaths since 1982. 

>> Montreal's pit bull ban goes into effect

However, before they were categorized as a fearful breed, pit bulls were popular as household dogs. They were known as loving protectors for children and families. 

Pit bulls make up a large number of sheltered dogs and are euthanized at high rates.

Infant girl killed by family dog in Texas, officials say

An infant in San Marcos, Texas, was found dead with animal bite marks that authorities think came from her family's dog.

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Medics and San Marcos police responded to the 1000 block of Sagewood Trail around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday after getting a report of a 2-month-old girl who had numerous animal bites.

The baby was taken to Central Texas Medical Center but was pronounced dead at 2:08 p.m.

San Marcos police and state Child Protective Services are investigating the incident.

>> Related: Child killed, another injured in pit bull attack

The baby's father told investigators that he fell asleep when the child was napping in an infant bouncer, authorities said. He said he woke up 20 minutes later and found the child with "obvious injury," unresponsive and cold to the touch, officials said.

The city's animal control officers were called in and impounded the family dog, a German shepherd that had been a family pet for more than eight years.

"The dog was submissive when approached by investigators and will be impounded for at least 10 days, after which a determination will be made on whether it will be euthanized," San Marcos officials said in a statement Wednesday. 

Police are also awaiting autopsy results from the Travis County medical examiner's office.

Trump’s tweeting a ‘bad thing,’ according to majority of Americans in new poll

From Twitter rants to business-boosting tweets, President-elect Donald Trump has used the social media platform to attack his critics, announce foreign policy plans, respond to what he calls “the dishonest media,” and much more.

Americans have a message for him: Stop tweeting.

>> Read more trending stories  

A majority of Americans, including many Republicans, disapprove of Trump’s use of Twitter, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

No wonder the Today Show on biased @NBC is doing so badly compared to its glorious past. Little credibility!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2017

The survey found 69 percent of those polled agreed Trump’s twitter use is a “bad thing,” because “in an instant, messages can have unintended major implications without careful review.”

Democrats weren’t the only ones criticizing Trump’s use of Twitter, although 89 percent of Democrats said they disliked his use of tweets, the poll found. However, 47 percent of Republicans thought it was a “bad thing,” while 46 percent thought it was “good.”

John Lewis said about my inauguration, "It will be the first one that I've missed." WRONG (or lie)! He boycotted Bush 43 also because he...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2017

The poll also found two-thirds of independents disagreed with Trump’s Twitter habit.   

Totally biased @NBCNews went out of its way to say that the big announcement from Ford, G.M., Lockheed & others that jobs are coming back...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2017

Charges to be increased for owner of dogs that killed boy, injured girl

Audrey Washington, Sophia Choi and Nefertiti Jaquez contributed to this report.

A man whose dogs mauled two children, killing one, while the children were walking to their school bus now faces charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Cameron Tucker was arrested Tuesday after at least two of his dogs attacked and killed 5-year-old Logan Braatz and seriously injured Syari Sanders, 6.

Dog owner, Cameron Tucker to be up-charged to involuntary manslaughter after attack kills child- https://t.co/vtfmRLRdEB #Atlanta pic.twitter.com/cGl5kO7mLK— John Spink (@johnjspink) January 18, 2017

Logan and Syari, students at F.L. Stanton Elementary School, were walking to a bus stop in southwest Atlanta when they were mauled, police and school officials said.

While the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office has not officially identified the children, relatives of the victims released names and photos to WSB-TV.

The children were taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston with serious injuries.

Logan, 6, was later taken to Grady Memorial Hospital's trauma unit, where he died. Syari is still at Egleston in stable condition on, Atlanta Public Schools spokeswoman Kimberly Willis Green said. Syari's family told WSB-TV she is alert and conscious.

"We're still trying to evaluate to figure out what really happened," Atlanta police Sgt. Warren Pickard said.

>> Read more trending stories  

Police are certain that two dogs were involved in the deadly attack. The dogs' owner, Cameron Tucker, was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct, Pickard said. His first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday. 

"Any additional charges will be determined by the Fulton County District Attorney's Office," he said.

Logan's uncle, Andy Brasley, told WSB-TV that the 6-year-old "was everything anyone would want in a child."

"He meant and still means the world to every single person he's ever touched in his life," Brasley said, "because all he ever wanted was to make a friend."

TRAGIC: We just received this photo of 6-year-old Logan Braatz, who was killed in a dog attack this morning in Atlanta. Our most sincere condolences go out to Logan's family and friends. 2wsb.tv/2jFD5t5Posted by WSB-TV on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Other children were cornered by the dogs until a neighbor scared them away.

One of the children, 7-year-old Mason Williams, said one of the dogs bit onto the hood of his jacket before attacking his cousin Syari. 

"I looked down, and I saw a brick," he said. "Then I picked it up, and that's when the dogs started running at me. And then (one of them) knocked me down."

This is 5-year-old Syari Sanders, who is recovering from a vicious dog attack this morning. 2wsb.tv/2jFD5t5Posted by WSB-TV on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Williams and the rescued children tried to help their friends.

"We had some brave kids," Pickard said. "Some kids ran back to the scene to try to pull the dogs off the children that were injured."

Area residents responded quickly to try to help Logan and Syari, too.

Angie Smith, a witness to the attack, said she ran to assist Syari. The girl was wearing a jacket and carrying a book bag, Smith said.

Watch: 1-child dies, 2-children injured after pit bull attack - https://t.co/cICNX4wTJz #Atlanta pic.twitter.com/iaVc3y3SsP— John Spink (@johnjspink) January 17, 2017

"I looked down at her to see what I could do for her," Smith said. "And when I looked at her, I knew that there was nothing I could do."

Shamonta Clayton, a neighbor of the children, said he woke up this morning to screams and ran outside to find the children in bad shape.

Watch: BREAKING: 1-child dies, 2-children injured after pit bull attack - https://t.co/cICNX4wTJz #Atlanta pic.twitter.com/lVdQOmGskj— John Spink (@johnjspink) January 17, 2017

"As I get to the end of the street, I see (one) child's unconscious body laying in the middle of the street," Clayton said.

He noticed another dog and followed it, finding the children cornered near the porch.

"So I chased the dog away from the kids, and I noticed the second child, a little boy, his unconscious body laying down in the grass," Clayton said.

The dog circled back to the child, and Clayton said he chased the dog off with his gun.

"I picked the child's body up because his mom couldn’t do nothing but sit there and just cry," Clayton said.

Breaking: Police arrest man after 1-child dies, 2-children injured after pit bull attack - https://t.co/cICNX4wTJz #Atlanta pic.twitter.com/0PTwbXkvE9— John Spink (@johnjspink) January 17, 2017

Fulton County Animal Control officials said one of the dogs is a pit bull mix and the other a border collie. A third dog got away. 

Fulton County Animal Control took one dog into custody. An officer shot and killed another dog, Pickard said.

"Our officers couldn't get control of it in a manner that he felt safe," he said. "So our policies and procedures allow us to act in that capacity."

Atlanta Police corner dog who allegedly mauled children in Southwest #Atlanta - https://t.co/oCMVuZCPh6 pic.twitter.com/6cmG7JNlhu— John Spink (@johnjspink) January 17, 2017

Atlanta Public Schools sent a crisis team to Stanton Elementary to provide grief counseling for students and staff, Willis Green said.

Neighbors told WSB-TV that they've seen the dogs roaming the area before, but they hadn't attacked anyone. Witnesses said the dogs were not wearing collars.

A growing memorial now sits in the Atlanta neighborhood where Logan and Syari were attacked. 

Watch: Obama holds last presidential news conference

President Barack Obama will answer questions during his final news conference as president on Wednesday afternoon, two days before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration.

>> Read more trending stories

Obama is expected to face questions over allegations of Russian intervention in the presidential election and his decision to grant clemency to U.S Army soldier and WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

>> Related: A look at Obama's legacy: 9 ways he will make his mark

The press conference is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. EST.

Obama will welcome the incoming first family to the White House on Friday. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States in a ceremony that begins at 9:30 a.m.

>> Related: President Obama, first lady to take one final flight on presidential plane after leaving office

The Obamas will follow the ceremony with a trip to Palm Springs, California, White House officials confirmed Tuesday. The family will spent at least the next two years in Washington D.C.'s Kalorama neighborhood as daughter Sasha Obama finishes school.

<iframe src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/4f32555b55fec1cb71bab25f134647b4/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//storify.com/cmgnationalnews/4f32555b55fec1cb71bab25f134647b4.js?header=none&amp;border=false"></script> [View the story "Some highlights from President Obama's final news conference" on Storify]

Tom Price's Senate confirmation hearing: What to watch for

More than six weeks of careful preparation will come to a head Wednesday morning when Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price takes the hot seat for the first of two Senate confirmation hearings.

The conservative policy wonk is a well-known commodity on Capitol Hill, and Price’s records, both political and financial, will be front and center as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee mulls his nomination to be health and human services secretary.

The hearing begins at 10 a.m. and can be live-streamed on the committee’s website and on C-SPAN.org.

Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

>> Donald Trump's transition: The latest news

What exactly is Price’s vision for the Department of Health and Human Services?  

The Roswell Republican hasn’t said a peep publicly about his plans for the sprawling agency of 80,000 employees since he was nominated after Thanksgiving. As head of the department he’ll have broad regulatory authority over everything from healthcare and tobacco to cosmetics and the thousands of undocumented children who have spewed across the Southern border. How familiar is he with the department’s portfolio and how does he plan to run it?

When it comes to the most burning item on the political agenda, tearing down Obamacare and rebuilding a new system in its place, what are his plans? Price over the years was one of the few congressional Republicans to offer his own replacement plan, the Empowering Patients First Act. How much of that proposal will be recycled in a Donald Trump-approved health care alternative? And how closely does Price anticipate working with his soon-to-be ex-House colleagues to fashion that replacement?

How much does Price’s past come back to haunt him?

Democrats haven’t disputed the fact that Price is qualified for the job. They take huge umbrage, however, with his Obamacare replacement plan and past budget proposals that would overhaul entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Democrats have been messaging for weeks on how Price’s legislative ideas are “extreme” and “dangerous.” Do we see those themes revived during today’s hearing?

Democrats are also likely to try and exploit policy wedges between Price and his soon-to-be boss. Key areas will be entitlement programs and healthcare. Trump on the campaign trail rejected cutting Social Security benefits and converting Medicare into a voucher system, and the president-elect’s “insurance for everybody” pitch sharply differs from the GOP’s “universal access” pledge. Two players to watch will be Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two of the committee’s most liberal and outspoken members.

>> Read more trending stories

How hard do Democrats hit Price on his stock trades?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hasn’t been shy to hit Price on his financial history. On Tuesday, the New York Democrat strengthened his rhetoric, telling CNN that Price may have violated the law after a new report highlighted his purchase of stock in a medical device maker shortly before introducing a bill that would have directly aided the company. Just how much do Democrats hit on this theme tomorrow, and do they double-down on calls for an independent ethics investigation? Do they have any specific evidence that suggests Price might have committed insider trading?

We’ll also be watching to see how Price responds to such allegations. The transition team has so far done the defensive work for him, arguing that he never did anything wrong with his stock trades or disclosures. Also, how forcefully do the committee’s Republicans back Price up? Johnny Isakson, the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, argues that Price has done nothing wrong. Ditto for Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, the other panel vetting Price’s nomination. Hatch’s response Tuesday when we asked about Schumer’s latest ethics charges? “Total B.S.”

Has Isakson’s behind-the-scenes work eased the way for Price at all?

Georgia’s senior U.S. senator sits on both the Senate health and finance panels and has positioned himself as Price’s chief block and tackle. He’s been using some of his bipartisan political capital to call around to Democratic senators and personally vouch for Price. And if that approach doesn’t work, Isakson said in a recent interview, Democrats will have to “look me in the eye” if they speak ill of Price during the confirmation hearings. Democrats seem pretty resistant to Price. We’ll see if Isakson was able to convince anyone to keep an open mind.

Official's 'racist pig' comment about John Lewis spurs apologies, calls for resignation

One after another, for 2 1/2 hours, they stepped up to the podium.

Some carried signs. Some carried anger. Most, if not all, carried the same message.

They wanted Gwinnett County, Georgia, Commissioner Tommy Hunter — who recently called civil rights icon and U.S. Rep. John Lewis a "racist pig" on Facebook — to resign.

>> Dems call for county commissioner in Georgia to resign after John Lewis comments

“Your words have consequence and effect, not only to you but to the citizens of Gwinnett County,” said Wesley Person, a local defense attorney and one of the dozens of protesters who spoke Tuesday afternoon at a meeting of Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners. “Because now our county is looked at as some backwater, small-minded, Southern municipality when we are much greater than that.”

Hunter, who was first elected to serve Gwinnett’s District 3 in 2012 and narrowly won re-election in November, conceded Monday that his words were likely “an overreaction” and read another statement Tuesday apologizing for his word choice.

Board of Commissioners Chair Charlotte Nash, meanwhile, broke her silence on the matter by reading an apology letter she said she sent directly to Lewis on Tuesday morning.

“I am writing you today to offer my sincere apologies and regrets for the disrespectful comments about you posted on social media by a Gwinnett district commissioner,” Nash read during Tuesday’s meeting.

“I want to assure you that the remarks posted by one commissioner do not reflect the opinions of the Board of Commissioners as a whole, nor do we condone the use of social media to spread negative thoughts about any individual.”

She added that “using hurtful words and name-calling should not have a place in governing,” and asked Lewis for the opportunity to apologize in person.

Letter from Gwinnett County Chairman Charlotte Nash to Congressman John Lewis: pic.twitter.com/WZX7qKJgPh— Tony Thomas (@TonyThomasWSB) January 17, 2017

Hunter’s employer, Norcross-based United Consulting, issued a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution late Tuesday calling the commissioner’s Facebook posts “abhorrent” and saying they “in no way reflect the policies, beliefs or corporate culture of United Consulting.”

The company also forwarded a letter that it said was sent to Lewis.

“Our company has a long and diverse history of action and commitment in the minority community that is reflected by our personnel and our work within the community that is reflected in every employee from myself to every team member,” said the letter, signed by CEO Reza Abree.

“Again please accept my sincerest apologies for Commissioner Hunter’s post.”

Hunter’s own statement in front of protesters and his fellow commissioners at the start of Tuesday’s meeting was met with chants of “Resign, resign, resign.”

>> Read more trending stories

“I understand emotions are high and many are upset about the post,” Hunter said. “I apologize for the choice of words I made in my comment about Congressman John Lewis. John Lewis is a leader in the civil rights movement and is to be commended and emulated.

"That doesn’t mean I’ll always agree with him politically. I will not allow baseless accusations of racism against me or anyone to keep people from speaking up when something is wrong. I’ve learned a lot from this and will continue to work hard to serve all of District 3 and the people of Gwinnett County.”

Hunter, who has previously told various media outlets that he won’t resign, became the center of controversy on Monday after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published screenshots of several posts on his personal Facebook page. The “racist pig” post was written Saturday afternoon amid a well-publicized feud between Lewis and President-elect Donald Trump.

The post, which since been taken down, also referred to Democrats as “Demonrats.”

Before Tuesday’s meeting, Hunter’s social media activity led the Gwinnett County Democratic Party to call for his job, and the Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to do the same. Another group, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, released a statement Tuesday urging Hunter to “immediately schedule a series of meetings with our organization and other organizations that serve communities of color in his district to discuss our grievances.”

The Gwinnett NAACP released a statement late Monday denouncing Hunter's comments, asking him to apologize and urging his fellow board members to break their silence.

Nash did that, but fellow commissioners Jace Brooks, Lynette Howard and John Heard have not.

Toward the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Heard said he “embraced” and was “proud of” the protesters who gathered to have their say, but he did not address Hunter’s comments directly.

Addicts harm pets to obtain animal painkillers, vets say

Veterinarians in New York are concerned about pets in the area after cases in which drug addicts have intentionally hurt their pets to get their hands on a painkiller used for animals.

Tramadol was categorized as a controlled substance three years ago, WTEN reported. It is available only via prescription at pharmacies as a common treatment for pets suffering from arthritis.

>> Read more trending stories  

Dr. Lexi Becker told WTEN that she has heard cases of pet owners intentionally injuring their animals and asking vets to prescribe tramadol, which is cheaper than oxycodone.

A law in New York allows vets to prescribe only a seven-day course of tramadol. If an owner calls for a quick refill, vets said that raises concerns. Regulations govern how quickly refills can be issued and how many refills are allowed. 

Read more here.

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