'Wizard of Oz' munchkin dies; Usher's son nearly drowns; Ariel Castro's home gets demolished

8/9/2013, midnight
National news headlines for the week of August 5, 2013.
Margaret Pellegrini.


The father of a Chechen-American shot dead by an FBI agent has traveled from the Russia to the United States, saying he wants answers to questions he has about the incident. Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of Ibragim Todashev, told CNN on Tuesday he wants to file a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the May 22 shooting at his son’s Tampa home. The elder Todashev was meeting in Tampa with attorneys and members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Ibragim Todashev was fatally shot during questioning about a 2011 triple homicide in Waltham, Mass., as well as his relationship with deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Todashev admitted to his direct role in slashing three people’s throats in Waltham and said Tsarnaev was involved as well, a federal law enforcement official told CNN in June. Law enforcement sources have said the son, a former mixed martial artist, was shot seven times after he rushed the agent. A law enforcement official told CNN that Todashev attacked the FBI agent with a broom handle. A source said the internal administrative investigation into the shooting may not be completed for months.


Usher and sons.


Singer Usher Raymond’s ex-wife is asking a judge to give her custody of their two children after the oldest suffered a “near-death accident.” Five-year-old Usher Raymond V nearly drowned “in a swimming pool and is currently hospitalized in the intensive care unit of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Hospital,” Tameka Foster said in an emergency motion filed Tuesday in a Fulton County court. Her son “is doing much better,” according to a Twitter posting by Foster on Wednesday afternoon. The mother has been with him at the hospital since she learned of the accident Monday, her lawyer told CNN. A hearing was set for an Atlanta courtroom this Thursday. In a statement released Wednesday, Usher said: “I am blessed and fortunate to say that my son Usher V is doing well and is recovering. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayers, love and support for my family’s well-being.” The singer did not address his ex-wife’s allegations or the upcoming hearing. Usher won primary custody of the children last year after a bitter court fight in which Foster accused the singer of being an absentee father.


Michelle Knight.


The Cleveland woman who was held the longest at Ariel Castro’s house of horrors was there to see it shortly before it was torn down Wednesday. Michelle Knight handed out yellow helium-filled balloons Wednesday morning to people who’d gathered for the demolition of the 1,400-square-foot house where she and two other women were raped and held captive for roughly a decade. Minutes later, a hydraulic excavator began reducing the house to rubble, destroying the site of one of Cleveland’s most notorious crimes. Knight told reporters that she was at the demolition site in part to remind relatives of abducted children that all is not necessarily lost. “I want the people out there to know—including the mothers—that they can have strength, they can have hope, and their child will come back,” she said. Castro forfeited the house on Seymour Avenue as part of a July plea deal with prosecutors that took the death penalty off the table in exchange for a life sentence, plus 1,000 years in prison.


A Texas man killed four women—including, her relatives say, his ex-girlfriend—and wounded three teens and a boy in shootings at two Dallas-area homes, police say. The man was arrested at the second home after a child there called 911, according to police. When the shootings were done Wednesday night, there were two slain women and two wounded minors at each location—one in Dallas and the other in DeSoto, roughly 15 miles to the south. None of the victims’ names were released. Relatives of one victim told CNN affiliate WFAA that she had previously dated the suspect. DeSoto police initially identified the suspect as Erbie Bowser, but police declined to name him in a news conference Thursday morning. No charges have been announced. The Dallas Mavericks said Bowser used to be a member of the NBA team’s Mavs ManiAACs, an all-male Hip-Hop dance troupe that entertains fans at games. He left the squad in 2009, Mavericks spokesman Scott Tomlin said.

Compiled by Juliana Norwood. CNN News Wire contributed to this report.