Housekeeper’s tip leads to weapons cache at Denver hotel near MLB All-Star game venue

ABC News

(DENVER) — A tip from a housekeeper led police to uncover a large arsenal of weapons at a hotel in downtown Denver about a block from Coors Field, where Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is set to be played on Tuesday.

Three men and a woman were arrested and 16 long guns, body armor and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were seized from two rooms at the Maven Hotel in downtown Denver.

The discovery initially prompted police to suspect they had thwarted a possible mass shooting plot in the works. But on Sunday morning, FBI officials in Denver said a preliminary investigation has not turned up any evidence that the episode is tied to terrorism.

“We have no reason to believe this incident was connected to terrorism or a threat directed at the All-Star Game,” the FBI Denver field office said in a statement. “We are not aware of any threat to the All-Star Game events, venues, players, or the community at this time.”

The FBI said it is working closely with the Denver Police Department, the lead investigative agency of the incident, to get to the bottom of why the cache of weapons ended up at the hotel.

A preliminary assessment indicated the stash of guns appears to be connected to a possible illegal transaction involving drugs and guns, according to an internal law enforcement memo obtained by ABC News.

The four people arrested were identified by authorities as Richard Platt, 42, Gabriel Rodriguez, 48, Ricardo Rodriguez, 44, and Kanoelehua Serikawa, 43. The suspects, who are expected to appear in court on Sunday, were being held on suspicion of weapons charges and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, according to Denver police.

Gabriel and Ricardo Rodriguez were being held without bond. It is unknown at this time whether the suspects have lawyers.

SWAT teams and numerous other police officers converged on the Maven Hotel around 7:30 p.m. local time on Friday after a maid at the hotel saw a rifle in one of the rooms being cleaned and reported it.

Denver police said they spent several hours Friday searching rooms on the fourth and eighth floors of the Wazee Street hotel, where the weapons and ammunition were found. Illegal drugs were also found in the rooms, police said.

“The investigation and arrests were the result of a tip from the public, serving as an excellent example of the critical role the community plays in public safety,” Denver police said in a statement, adding that the agency encourages residents and visitors “to always be aware of their surroundings and to report suspicious or illegal activity to police immediately.”

The Sage Hospitality Group, which operates the hotel, praised the police and its own staff for the quick response.

“We are incredibly proud that our team swiftly alerted the authorities in this instance,” the Sage Hospitality Group said in a statement. “We are thankful to DPD for their quick action to safely resolve this situation and will continue to work closely with them to support their investigation.”

The incident came as thousands of baseball fans poured into Denver for festivities surrounding the All-Star Game, including the annual home run derby scheduled for Monday night.

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Climate change also has a mental health toll

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(LOS ANGELES) — For Meg Keene, climate change is something that not only needs to be addressed but is also very difficult to cope with personally.

“As someone with anxiety, I kind of try not to think too much about the future with regards to climate change, because it’s so terrifying,” Keene, 41, said.

Keene’s life has been bookended by devastating wildfires in increasingly hot and dry California. As a baby she survived the 1980 Panorama Fire in San Bernardino. Most of the houses in her neighborhood were burned, her family’s home was one of the lucky ones that survived.

She has also been through the latest extreme wildfires in East Oakland, where she now lives with her husband and her two children.

Keene says she has been struggling with anxiety since she was a kid and for her, talking about the uncertain and changing weather patterns is triggering.

“I find it crippling with my anxiety and depression, but mostly with my anxiety,” Keene told ABC News.

Some experts say that the mere discussion of climate change can contribute to that anxiety.

“Climate change can affect mental health by just increasing people’s stress and worry about the issue, the more they hear about it,” said Dr. Susan Clayton, a professor in psychology and environmental studies in The College of Wooster, in Ohio.

“It’s been described as an existential threat, something that really challenges the way we think about the world. And I think it has the potential to really erode our sense of security,” Clayton added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated climate change “may weigh heavily on mental health in the general population and those already struggling with mental health disorders.”

Other drastic weather patterns like rising temperatures, droughts and natural disasters combined with socio economic stresses could also have a toll on certain people since some communities rely heavily on agriculture, a report published by the CDC says.

According to another report by the American Health Public Association, 25-50% of people exposed to extreme weather disasters are at risk of adverse mental health effects. And more than half of adults and 45% of children suffer depression after a natural disaster, the report said.

The day the sky turned orange

Last September, a mix of smoke and fog caused the sky in some areas of Northern California to look eerie and orange during the wildfire season.

“We were driving along the highway and you couldn’t see the ocean, it just looked like the world ended,” Keene told ABC News.

“I sort of can’t explain how apocalyptic it was. It was like being in some sort of apocalypse movie.”

The scene was so impactful she said she had a panic attack in the car, forcing her to stop driving.

“I was not breathing,” Keene recalled.

According to Clayton, “people experience more mental health impacts” as natural disasters become more intense or more frequent.

“I think we can all recognize that if you experience a natural disaster, it’s a very stressful event. It’s frightening. It disrupts your life, it disrupts your community,” Clayton told ABC News.

The climate impact has also affected Keene’s 8-year-old son and husband. She says both deal with anxiety and depression.

“At one point, my son said, ‘Mommy, I think we’re living through something that’s going to be in history books. I would rather not. I would prefer to live during something that would not be in a history book, ‘” she said.

Hurricane Katrina’s impact on mental health

Tyffani De La Cruz is a Hurricane Katrina survivor. She was 13-years-old when the Category 5 storm slammed the Gulf Coast in August 2005, leaving over 1,800 people dead and an estimated $161 billion in damages, according to the nonprofit World Vision Organization.

De La Cruz’s house was located in the hard-hit 9th Ward. Before Katrina made landfall, the family sought shelter in another family’s house in North Louisiana.

As a result of the historic flooding in the area, their home suffered major damage, forcing the family to relocate to a nearby city.

“I was about maybe 15 or 16, when I realized that Katrina had an impact on my well being as far as just being in totally new environments,” De La Cruz told ABC News.

When De La Cruz enrolled in college, she said she started to disengage from extracurricular activities, miss classes and lay in bed all day as part of the instability she was feeling ever since the impact of Katrina.

“I felt like I was chasing a feeling that I could not give back. I wanted to feel how I felt before Katrina, but I never got that feeling. I never was anywhere that I felt as comfortable as I was before the storm,” De La Cruz said.

After noticing that something was off, she searched online for some of her symptoms, she recalled.

“When you see psychiatrists, or psychologists, you’re like ‘Oh well, I’m not crazy I’m just a little tired,'” De La Cruz mentioned.

A psychiatrist diagnosed De La Cruz with post-traumatic stress disorder. Years later she said she was also diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nearly 50% of Hurricane Katrina survivors developed an anxiety or mood disorder, AHPA’s report says.

The association also reported that suicide and suicide ideation more than doubled, while 1 in 6 developed PTSD.

De La Cruz says it took her a while to understand and internalize what was happening because of the stigma mental health issues had.

“As a global society, there’s still often a lot of stigma around mental health problems,” Clayton told ABC News.

Despite the reluctance to get help, experts encourage that “it’s okay to get help.”

“There are things that can help you with this, I think we would help people cope,” Clayton added.

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Space traveler Sir Richard Branson, crew returns to Earth

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(NEW YORK) — Mission accomplished.

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson flew to the lower edge of space and back to planet Earth on Sunday in the first fully crewed flight from his private space tourism firm Virgin Galactic.

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson launched to the edge of space Sunday in the first fully crewed flight from his private space tourism firm Virgin Galactic.

“What a day. What a day. What a day,” Branson said at a news conference following the historic flight. “I think like most kids I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid and honestly nothing can prepare you for the view of Earth from space.”

He said he was honored to “test the customer experience” and declared, “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.”

“It’s just magical. I’m just taking it all in. It’s just unreal,” said Branson, who popped a bottle of champagne after he and his crew were presented their Virgin Galactic astronaut wings.

Branson, 70, served as a mission specialist on the flight, the fourth crewed spaceflight for Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft. Unity was launched from the Eve mothership at an altitude of 50,000 feet and live stream video showed it shooting into space. Within 30 seconds the spacecraft reached Mach 2 speed and a few seconds later hit Mach 3 at an altitude of weightlessness.

Onboard video showed Branson and the three other astronauts smiling as they looked out the windows of the spacecraft. They briefly unbuckled their seatbelts to float around the cabin and take in view of the curvature of Earth.

At around 11:40 a.m. ET the spacecraft touched back down on Earth, making a smooth landing back in New Mexico to loud applause and cheers at mission control.

Latest upates: Virgin Galatic launch

As of 10:30 AM ET, the liftoff was running 10 minutes late.

At 10:38 AM ET, Virgin Galactic has started down the runway.

On Sunday morning, Branson tweeted that he was “feeling good, feeling excited” and ready for this morning’s launch, along with a picture of himself with SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

The billionaire rode his bike Sunday morning to the launch area, Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The crew consists of fellow Virgin Galactic staff: Beth Moses, chief astronaut instructor; Colin Bennet, lead operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, vice president of government affairs and research operations.

Pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci will fly the spaceship, with C.J. Sturckow and Kelly Latimer flying the aircraft from which the spaceship will dispatch.

Branson’s role is to evaluate the private astronaut experience to prepare for future customers, which Virgin Galactic expects to do beginning in 2022.

‘Space belongs to all of us’: Branson

Virgin Galactic has taken heat from critics, including the Twitter account of competitor Blue Origin, for stretching the definition of “space” as its flights do not go above the Karman line (62 miles above Earth) that is defined by many — but not all — as the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.

“I truly believe that space belongs to all of us,” Branson said in a statement earlier this month announcing his spaceflight. “After 17 years of research, engineering and innovation, the new commercial space industry is poised to open the universe to humankind and change the world for good.”

Branson’s spaceflight comes just nine days ahead of when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he will launch into space via his own firm, Blue Origin.

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Magic hire Jamahl Mosely has head coach

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(ORLANDO) — The Orlando Magic have named Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosely head coach of the team, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced on Sunday. 

“We would like to welcome Jamahl and his family to the Magic family,” said Weltman. “Within the NBA coaching community, Jamahl is considered a rising star. His coaching path is rooted in player development. He is a communicator and connector, and we look forward to him leading our group.”

Mosley spent the past seven seasons with the Mavericks and served as the head coach for the Mavericks Las Vegas summer league team. 

Before the Mavericks, Mosley was an assistant for Cleveland for four years (2010-14) and worked for Denver for five years (2005-2010) with the last three as an assistant coach. 

The Milwaukee native played four years at the University of Colorado, before playing professionally oversea’s for four years. 

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Magic search ended with two finalists, Mosely and Denver assistant Wes Unseld Jr. Unseld Jr. is a leading candidate for the Wizards job.

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Fires burning across West as heat waves affect millions around the country

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(Los Angeles) — Fires are continuing to spark in the West as a heat wave blankets millions of residents.

Heat alerts are currently active across seven states in the West as the heat wave continues into Sunday. Temperatures in the triple digits are expected in California, Arizona, Oregon and Idaho. Temperatures are set to break records in cities like Flagstaff, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; Bakersfield and Fresno, California; and Billings, Montana.

Extreme drought and dry conditions are persisting in the West as another heat waves looms, creating matchbox conditions for any spark to ignite into a fast-moving blaze.

In California and Nevada, temperatures in the 90s and 100s — along with single digit humidity values — will be conducive to rapid spread again on Sunday.

The Beckwourth Complex Fire in Doyle, California, is now the state’s largest wildfire at 83,926 acres and is only 8% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire prompted mandatory evacuations, closed portions of U.S. Route 395 and crossed state lines into Nevada, ABC Sacramento affiliate KXTV-TV reported.

The Bootleg Fire in Klamath County, Oregon, grew to more than 143,000 acres on Sunday, prompting evacuations in the area, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It was first spotted in the Fremont-Winema National Forest on July 6 but exploded to 75,000 acres on Saturday, ABC Portland affiliate KATU reported.

Evacuations were also ordered due to the Rock Creek Fire in Craig, Montana, which shut down portions of Interstate 15.

The possibility of isolated thunderstorms in Montana on Sunday afternoon could bring breezy conditions and also cause lightning ignitions.

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Fauci urges people to put politics aside to get vaccinated as ‘nasty’ delta variant rages

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(WASHINGTON) — Unvaccinated Americans should put politics aside and get vaccinated to protect themselves from the highly transmissible and “nasty” delta variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

“What we’re trying to do is to just put politics aside, this is no time for politics. This is a public health issue and viruses, and public health don’t know the difference between a Democrat and Republican or an Independent,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease told ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos.

A recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll found that 93% of Democrats said they were vaccinated or planning to get vaccinated, while only 49% of Republicans said the same.

“We’ve got to get away from the divisiveness that has really been a problem right from the very beginning with this outbreak,” Fauci added.

The delta variant was present in at least 51% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. between June 20 and July 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which Fauci said should concern individuals who aren’t vaccinated.

“It’s very clear that this is a nasty variant, it has a much greater capability of transmitting from person to person,” Fauci said.

At least 25 states have seen an uptick in coronavirus cases as vaccination rates dropped to their lowest point since January, averaging 600,000 daily administered doses this past week compared to an average of 1 million administered doses the week prior. According to the CDC, 99.7% of current cases are among the unvaccinated.

Stephanopoulos also noted that Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who appeared later on “This Week,” has said that the vaccines’ lack of full authorization has contributed to vaccine hesitancy.

“I think the governor does have a point there,” Fauci said in response.

“So although it’s understandable — quite understandable that some people might say, well, we want to wait for the full approval, that’s really only a technical issue,” Fauci continued. “But there’s no doubt in my mind that these vaccines are going to get full approval because of the extraordinary amount of positive data.”

Stephanopoulos also asked Fauci to clarify the need for booster shots after the CDC and Food and Drug Administration said a booster shot is not necessary at this time, following an announcement from Pfizer about the need for a third shot of its COVID-19 vaccine 6 to 12 months after individuals are fully vaccinated.

“So there’s a lot of dynamic things going on right now,” Fauci responded. “Though the CDC and the FDA correctly said right now we don’t feel you need a booster. That doesn’t mean that we’re not very — very actively following and gathering all of this information to see if and when we might need it and — if and when we do — we’ll have everything in place to do it.”

“The CDC put out guidance this week urging all schools to open this fall. They said masks are not necessary for fully vaccinated students and teachers. But they left most of the key decisions on issues like distancing and whether to wear masks up to the local school districts. That’s led to some confusion. Should the guidance be more specific and strict?” Stephanopoulos asked Fauci.

“The guidance I think is pretty explicit there, George,” Fauci responded, adding that school districts should implement social distancing, testing or enforce any guidelines recommended from the CDC that they see as fit to keep schools open and safe.

“The bottom line is we need to get the children back in school, in-person classes in the fall,” Fauci continued. “But also to do it safely for the children.”

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Democrats ‘can’t be so idealistic that we’re not realistic,’ Eric Adams says

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(New York) — Eric Adams, the moderate Democratic nominee for New York City mayor, said Sunday that members of his party should see from his victory that “we can’t be so idealistic that we’re not realistic.”

“Cities are hurting all across America and New York personifies that pain — the inequalities, the gun violence, the lack of really looking after everyday blue-collar workers, I like to say,” Adams told ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos. “And we have failed for so many years. And we’ve allowed the fallout of the Trump administration to have an overreach in philosophy and not on-the-ground, real issues that are facing everyday New Yorkers.”

“So is it — is it fair to call you an anti-woke Democrat?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“No, I — I’ve — some of us never went to sleep. That’s the problem,” Adams responded.

“A 35-year record of fighting for reform, for public safety, a person who was arrested by police, assaulted by police, but also lost a child of a friend to gang — to gang violence. And so I never went to sleep,” he continued. “And people who have finally realized that there are issues out here believe that they can carve the entire Democratic agenda.”

Adams won the city’s Democratic primary for mayor by a narrow margin. He will face Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, the Republican nominee, in the general election, but Adams is widely considered the favorite to replace outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio.

As a former police captain, combating the rise in violent crime while balancing racial justice has been a focal point of Adams’ campaign.

“You didn’t back away from stop and frisk — took some heat for that during the campaign. How do you balance preventing crime and police reform?” Stephanopoulos asked Adams.

“It’s possible they go together, you can have public safety and reform, I know it,” Adams replied.

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Djokovic wins Wimbledon, record tying 20th grand slam

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(LONDON) – Top seed Novak Djokovic defeated seventh seed Matteo Berrettini in four sets – 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 – to win Wimbledon, becoming the first man to win the first three grand slams of the year since Rod Laver in 1969. 

It is Djokovic’s sixth Wimbledon title and his 20th grand slam title. The 20 titles ties Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most all-time. 

Djokovic can complete the calendar grand slam at the US Open in September. 

Tennis legend Billie Jean King congratulated Djokovic on Twitter. 

This is a developing story. Please refresh for the latest details. 

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Richard Branson, crew go to space and back on Virgin Galactic spaceship

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(NEW YORK) — Mission accomplished.

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson flew to the lower edge of space and back to planet Earth on Sunday in the first fully crewed flight from his private space tourism firm Virgin Galactic.

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson launched to the edge of space Sunday in the first fully crewed flight from his private space tourism firm Virgin Galactic.

“What a day. What a day. What a day,” Branson said at a news conference following the historic flight. “I think like most kids I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid and honestly nothing can prepare you for the view of Earth from space.”

He said he was honored to “test the customer experience” and declared, “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age.”

“It’s just magical. I’m just taking it all in. It’s just unreal,” said Branson, who popped a bottle of champagne after he and his crew were presented their Virgin Galactic astronaut wings.

Branson, 70, served as a mission specialist on the flight, the fourth crewed spaceflight for Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft. Unity was launched from the Eve mothership at an altitude of 50,000 feet and live stream video showed it shooting into space. Within 30 seconds the spacecraft reached Mach 2 speed and a few seconds later hit Mach 3 at an altitude of weightlessness.

Onboard video showed Branson and the three other astronauts smiling as they looked out the windows of the spacecraft. They briefly unbuckled their seatbelts to float around the cabin and take in view of the curvature of Earth.

At around 11:40 a.m. ET the spacecraft touched back down on Earth, making a smooth landing back in New Mexico to loud applause and cheers at mission control.

Latest upates: Virgin Galatic launch

As of 10:30 AM ET, the liftoff was running 10 minutes late.

At 10:38 AM ET, Virgin Galactic has started down the runway.

On Sunday morning, Branson tweeted that he was “feeling good, feeling excited” and ready for this morning’s launch, along with a picture of himself with SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

The billionaire rode his bike Sunday morning to the launch area, Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The crew consists of fellow Virgin Galactic staff: Beth Moses, chief astronaut instructor; Colin Bennet, lead operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, vice president of government affairs and research operations.

Pilots Dave Mackay and Michael Masucci will fly the spaceship, with C.J. Sturckow and Kelly Latimer flying the aircraft from which the spaceship will dispatch.

Branson’s role is to evaluate the private astronaut experience to prepare for future customers, which Virgin Galactic expects to do beginning in 2022.

‘Space belongs to all of us’: Branson

Virgin Galactic has taken heat from critics, including the Twitter account of competitor Blue Origin, for stretching the definition of “space” as its flights do not go above the Karman line (62 miles above Earth) that is defined by many — but not all — as the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space.

“I truly believe that space belongs to all of us,” Branson said in a statement earlier this month announcing his spaceflight. “After 17 years of research, engineering and innovation, the new commercial space industry is poised to open the universe to humankind and change the world for good.”

Branson’s spaceflight comes just nine days ahead of when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he will launch into space via his own firm, Blue Origin.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Arkansas governor ‘working hard’ to overcome vaccine hesitancy amid COVID-19 surge

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(WASHINGTON) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that he and his administration are “working hard” to overcome vaccine hesitancy as cases of the delta variant surge across his state.

“We’re working very hard to go to that population (ages 30-54) … and overcoming the hesitancy,” he told ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos.

“We want all the help,” he added. “We want to have our churches involved, we want to have our communities, organizations.”

Missouri and neighboring Arkansas lead the nation with the highest weekly case rates per capita, which translates into more than 100 per 100,000 residents. New COVID-19 hospital admissions also rose 30% over the same two-week span, and front-line workers have said patients are becoming sicker more quickly.

Top health officials have been warning for weeks that unvaccinated people have a high risk of contracting the delta variant of the virus, which was first identified in India and has since spread to more than 100 countries, including all 50 U.S. states. The variant is now dominant in the U.S. and is more transmissible than the original form of the virus, according to the CDC.

As of Sunday, 48.2% of American adults have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

ABC News’ Lauren King contributed to this report.

This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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