Authorities in Arizona and Colorado are alerting religious organizations to a self-described “Islamist jihadist” who said Mormons and Catholics “would be destroyed” in the next two weeks. Investigators said 32-year-old Christopher Craig has threatened members of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church (LDS) and Catholic churches in both states. They say there’s no immediate public danger. Craig is a former basketball coach at the University of Northern Colorado. He walked into Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, northeast of Tucson, on July 10 waving a Bible, and yelling derogatory comments against Catholics and Mormons, investigators said. He was arrested, but the district attorney didn’t file any charges. Two weeks later, police in Steamboat Springs, Colo., were notified about a suspicious person with a shirt wrapped around his head and face. The man was later identified as Craig. Police said he told them he was an Islamic jihadist. “In a couple of weeks, everyone will know who I am,” Craig told police. In the wake of those statements, Catholic and Mormon churches throughout the area were alerted to have extra security on hand.
A manhunt is on for an inmate who made a bold escape in Garland County. Surveillance video shows just how easily he was able to literally slither past prison guards and break free. Derrick Estell bolted through a 12-by-30-inch reception window at the detention center. He was there talking on an inmate phone. Estell ran out the front of the jail with a deputy in hot pursuit. He jumped into a waiting car and was gone. Authorities found that getaway car abandoned just a few minutes away. “Currently we are investigating, several leads that we have received,” said Deputy Scott Hinojosa. Already under arrest is William Harding, who is suspected of distracting the guards and providing the getaway car. He was visiting the jail at the time of the escape. The suspected driver of the getaway car is Tamara Upshaw. In June, she was brought in for skipping bond on a theft charge. Estell has a lengthy rap sheet, which includes charges of aggravated robbery, breaking and entering and burglary among others.
A lightning strike from a fast-moving storm in Colorado injured 12 soldiers at Fort Carson on Wednesday. One is in critical condition, and the other 11 are in stable condition, Fort Carson said in a statement. The soldiers had been training Wednesday afternoon when they were notified of lightning in the area. They were moving to shelter when the storm overcame them, officials said. “The lightning struck before they were able to get sheltered,” said spokeswoman Dani Johnson.
George Zimmerman—who was acquitted earlier this month on murder charges tied to Trayvon Martin’s death—was stopped this weekend for speeding in northern Texas, according to police. Zimmerman was apparently traveling with a gun when he was pulled over. Dashcam video released by Forney, Texas, police shows him and a police officer talking briefly before the officer tells him to shut his glove compartment. The Forney police officer ultimately sends Zimmerman off with a verbal warning to “slow down.” In a tweet, Zimmerman’s defense team said Wednesday that they would protect his privacy and wouldn’t make any comments on their client’s whereabouts “for his safety.”
An old water tower came crashing down from the roof of a building in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, injuring three people Wednesday morning. According to the Chicago Fire Department, the wood tank fell from a nine-story building located at Diversey Parkway and Pine Grove Avenue. The tower apparently fell onto a car in an alley below and three people were taken to area hospitals. Two people were transported to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, one in critical condition, and another person was transported to St. Joseph Hospital.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office is trying to smooth over relations with the LGBT community after allegations that deputies targeted gay men in undercover sting operations. Since 2011, deputies arrested at least a dozen homosexual men for talking to undercover officers at Manchac Park. The men were allegedly caught on tape discussing and arranging with undercover deputies to meet up later at their private residences for sex. Deputies then arrested the men for “Crimes against Nature,” a statute ruled unconstitutional 10 years ago. “Clearly everyone should know from 10 years ago that this law was not enforceable,” explained John Delgado, a councilman and lawyer. Delgado said he is outraged by what the sheriff’s office is doing and plans to get more information about the arrests.
The FBI says a man was arrested at a movie theater near Flint wearing body armor and carrying a gun. Cassidy Delavergne wasn’t charged with crimes related to the gun or 34 rounds of ammunition, but he was charged Wednesday with possessing a phony Central Intelligence Agency identification card. FBI spokesman Simon Shaykhet says police were called to the Trillium Theater in Grand Blanc Township on Tuesday night after someone noticed the vest and gun. Delavergne was watching a movie when police arrived. Upon further investigation, more than 100 additional rounds were found in Delavergne’s vehicle parked outside. Shaykhet declined to say whether agents believe Delavergne planned to use his handgun. According to court documents, he wore the body armor and brought the gun into the theater because he did not want to leave it in his vehicle during the movie. A court filing says Delavergne told an agent he displayed the phony ID to minimize concerns about his gun. Delavergne claimed to have a concealed weapon permit.
O.J. Simpson was granted parole Wednesday on some charges related to his 2008 armed robbery convictions. But he won’t be freed from prison just yet because his sentences were to be served consecutively. He’ll have to serve at least four more years behind bars. The Nevada Parole Board said in a statement that it reached its decision based on Simpson’s “institutional conduct, participation in programs, lack of prior conviction history and that he has consecutive sentences yet to serve.” After the former NFL star’s parole becomes effective on Oct. 2, 2013, he must start serving a 12-month-minimum sentence related to his use of a weapon during the incident. If he’s granted parole on that charge—which carries up to 72 months behind bars—then he has two more sentences to serve that carry a minimum of 18 months each. Simpson was convicted and sentenced to up to 33 years in prison, with eligibility for parole on Oct. 5, 2008, for entering a Las Vegas hotel room and collecting sports memorabilia that he said belonged to him.
Injured New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball are negotiating a deal that would result in a lengthy suspension instead of a permanent ban, ESPN reported Wednesday night. According to the “Outside the Lines” report, a source familiar with the discussions said representatives for Rodriguez are talking with league officials. The network also reported that Rodriguez has been shown the evidence against him, including documentation that he coerced a witness in MLB’s performance-enhancing drugs investigation. Those allegations claim Rodriguez had ties with the now-closed anti-aging Biogenesis clinic in Florida and its founder, Anthony Bosch. In an interview with CNN earlier this month, the player denied any plea negotiations and didn’t say whether he would fight an adverse decision. Rodriguez, now recovering from an injury, is considered one of the game’s greatest sluggers. He has 647 home runs—the fifth most-ever—in 19 seasons. He holds the largest contract ever in American sports, signing with the Yankees in 2007 for $275 million over 10 years.
Compiled By Juliana Norwood. CNN News Wire contributed to this report.