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North Carolina state trooper shot, killed; suspect in custody

A North Carolina state trooper was shot and killed early Wednesday in Columbus County, multiple news outlets are reporting.

>> Read more trending news 

Please return for updates.

Grieving mom's heartwarming act of kindness at Florida Publix goes viral

A Publix employee in Jacksonville, Florida, took to Facebook after a kind gesture by a grieving mom.

Nick DeClemente said he was at work Oct. 10 when a woman walked up to the bakery counter and asked if there were any first birthday cakes on order.

>> Read more trending news 

He said he asked for the customer name, thinking she wanted to pay for a specific person.

DeClemente said she replied no, that she wanted to anonymously pay for a cake.

"She then started to tear up and tell me that she had a stillborn child a year ago and in tribute to him she wanted to pay for someone else's cake," he wrote on Facebook. "I went to the cake order drawer and found this one. She told me thank you and appreciated that I let her do this."

>> See the Facebook post here

DeClemente said it was one of the most touching things he'd seen in all of his years working in retail.

"I hope that this lady finds peace through this tribute and that the customer receiving this gift will, if nothing else, pay it forward," he said.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

DeClemente said he hopes to see the mom again, so he can share with her all of the positive comments he's gotten since sharing the story.

Climate change could cause beer shortage, scientists warn

Last week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that if governments don’t act on climate change within 12 years, there will be additional threats to the global environment.

>> On AJC.com: We have 12 years left to act on climate change, UN warns

Scientists have linked global warming to such environmental events as escalated intensity of hurricanes and melting Arctic ice. Now, a new study from climate researchers in the United States, China and Britain suggests a beer shortage is brewing due to climate change.

>> Read more trending news 

The report, published in the journal Nature Plants, warns that drought and heat will impact barley production, though only 17 percent of the world’s barley is used for beer. But in the United States, Brazil and China, at least two-thirds of the barley goes into six-packs, drafts, kegs, cans and bottles.

>> On AJC.com: How climate change could cause 26,000 more US suicides by 2050

Using a process-based crop model and an economic model, the researchers examined the effects of heat waves and drought, not the general warming that will also affect where barley is grown.

That means beer prices on average would double, even adjusting for inflation. In countries like Ireland, where cost of a brew is already high, prices could triple. Beer is currently the most popular alcoholic drink by volume consumed.

>> On AJC.com: Is chocolate really going extinct because of climate change?

“Although not the most concerning impact of future climate change, climate-related weather extremes may threaten the availability and economic accessibility of beer,” researchers wrote.

“Our aim is not to encourage people to drink more beer now,” study author Dabo Guan of Beijing’s Tsinghua University told the New York Times. “Climate change mitigation is the only way. Everybody in the world needs to fight.”

>> On AJC.com: Climate change will internally displace 143 million people by 2050, scientists warn

As The Associated Press reported: “If emissions of heat-trapping gases from the burning of coal, oil and gas continue at the current rising pace, the likelihood of weather conditions hurting barley production will increase from about once a decade before 2050 to once every other year by the end of the century.”

Read the full study at nature.com.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Woman sets underwear rack on fire at Florida Macy's, police say

Police in Ocala, Florida, say they are looking for a woman who allegedly committed arson inside a Macy’s Tuesday morning.

>> Watch the news report here

Officers said the woman entered the department store at the Paddock Mall shortly after 10 a.m. and walked around the store for approximately 45 minutes.

Police said at some point the woman set fire to a rack of underwear.

“It was a bunch of smoke rolling out and people were walking – running outside,” said Kortnee Eubanks, who was in the store at the time. 

“The [Macy’s] staff believe that they smelled gas, so we’re not sure if she tried to set the fire to other area and this was just the only area where she was successful. She was in the store for some time,” said Ocala Police spokesperson Meghan Shay.

>> Read more trending news 

No one was hurt by the flames. 

A message on Paddock Mall’s website Tuesday afternoon said Macy’s will be closed for the remainder of the day.

“The safety of our shoppers, retailers and employees is our top priority. We are working closely with the Ocala Police Department as they investigate this incident further,” said the mall’s website.

Surveillance video from police shows a vehicle in which they believe the woman left. It appears to be a dark gray four-door sedan.

Ocala police ask anyone with information to contact them at 352-369-7000.

>> Watch the surveillance video here

Mega Millions jackpot reaches record-breaking $868 million; Powerball jackpot is $345 million

Update 12:59 a.m. EDT Oct. 17: No tickets matched all six numbers in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing. Friday’s estimated jackpot has climbed to a record $868 million, with a cash payout of $494 million, according to the Mega Millions website.

Update 11:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 16: Mega Millions numbers drawn Tuesday night were 69-45-61-3-49 and the Mega Ball was 9. It is not yet known if there is a winner.

Original report:

If you have a few dollars and dreams of riches untold, the coming week could be a game-changer for you.

Two national lottery games – Mega Millions and Powerball – are sporting huge jackpots this week, now topping a billion in total combined winnings.

>> Read more trending news 

The Mega Millions drawing set for Tuesday has the second largest jackpot in the game’s history, worth $667 million (or $372 million with the cash option). That breaks the game’s previous record jackpot of $656 million.  

Related: 7 biggest lottery jackpots in US history

Add to that a hefty $345 million Powerball jackpot, and you’re looking at nearly a billion dollars in lottery money being up for grabs this week.

The Powerball jackpot is the 17th largest in the game’s history. The cash payout on the $345 million would be $199 million.

Related: 7-time lottery winner shares tips for winning Powerball

How did we get the chance to play for such jackpots? You can thank all those who played and didn’t hit the jackpot. The Mega Millions jackpot has been building since July 24, the last time the grand prize jackpot was won.

The Powerball game has not seen a grand  prize winner since Aug. 11. 

The Mega Millions numbers drawn Friday were 04-24-46-61-70. The Megaball was 07. The Megaplier was 3. 

Related: Which Powerball numbers have hit most often? Will choosing them improve your odds?

One ticket sold in Arkansas matched all five numbers, but did not match the Megaball number. That winning ticket is worth $3 million because the person who purchased the ticket purchased the “Multiplier” option which tripled the $1 million prize.

The Powerball numbers drawn Saturday were 11-14-32-43-65 and the Powerball was 15. The Power Play was 3. Two players – one in Nebraska and one in Michigan – matched the five numbers, but not the Powerball number. Each of those tickets is worth $1 million.

YouTube back up after long outage

UPDATE 11:00 p.m. Oct. 16: YouTube announced on Twitter that its sites and platforms are back up and running nearly two hours after outages were reported.

Original report:

A wide outage has been reported for YouTube.

The popular video-sharing website said it is aware of the reports.

>> Read more trending news 

“Thanks for your reports about YouTube, YouTube TV and YouTube Music access issues,” the company said on Twitter. “We’re working on resolving this and will let you know once fixed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and will keep you updated.”

The Verge reported that global users started noticing the platform's websites and mobile apps were down around 9:20 p.m. Eastern time.

Ex-employee threatened former co-workers if he didn’t get final paycheck, police say

Police said a former Kroger grocery story employee in Alpharetta, Georgia, is accused of calling the store and threatening to kill everyone inside if he didn’t receive his final paycheck.

Demarious Merkerson allegedly complained that his last paycheck didn’t come quickly enough after he lost his job.

“The ex-employee didn’t like that,” Alpharetta Police Department spokesman Howard Miller said. “(He) continued to call and harass the people that worked there to the point he was actually threatening to kill everybody if he didn’t receive his money.”

>> Read more trending news 

Miller said that officers responded to the location twice because of the calls, and after confirming the threats, they arrested Merkerson on Oct. 3 on charges of felony terroristic threats.

“The problem is we don’t know if they’re bluffing,” Miller said. “The person could be desperate and very serious and show up to the location with a weapon or something else and start going on his word to start harming or killing people.”

“The safety of our employees and our customers is our top priority and we appreciate the Alpharetta Police Department’s prompt assistance,” a Kroger spokesman said in a statement. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”

Merkerson remains in the Fulton County Jail without bond, according to jail records.

'Love & Hip Hop' star Erica Mena, boyfriend Clifford Dixon arrested

“Love & Hip Hop” star Erica Mena was arrested over the weekend in Johns Creek, Georgia, after an incident with her boyfriend, Clifford Dixon.

According to police paperwork obtained by WSB, someone called police on Mena and Dixon after allegedly hearing an argument between the two.

>> Read more trending news 

Officers said they interviewed witnesses and discovered Mena and Dixon had been fighting and Dixon had kicked down a locked door.

Dixon was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. Mena was arrested on possession of marijuana charges.

Mena was featured on Season 7 of “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” and was previously on a number of other reality and TV shows.

Video showing 12-year-old rapper Lil C-Note arrested at Atlanta mall draws outrage

viral video showing a white police officer arresting a 12-year-old black boy at an Atlanta mall has drawn outrage online from some who say it’s merely the latest example of white officers being too aggressive with children of color.

Cobb County Police Chief Michael Register said the department has launched an internal investigation into the incident, which occurred Oct. 6 at Cumberland Mall, but added that so far he has seen no evidence the officer violated any rules. 

>> Read more trending news 

“The officer was in his legal rights to detain the juvenile,” Register said. “We take any incident like this very seriously.”

According to Toya Brown, a manager at Patchwerk Recording Studios, the boy is Corey Jackson, who raps under the name Lil C-Note.

Brown said Corey has appeared on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and recently toured with J. Cole, Young Thug and Jaden Smith.

The department did not release the name of the officer, who is still on active duty, citing a pending investigation.

The video, which contains explicit language, starts with the officer holding the boy by the arm. It is unclear how the confrontation began.

“You’re 12?” the office is heard asking the boy. “You’re about to go to jail. You’re going to go to a youth detention center if you don’t (inaudible).”

A woman, who later identifies herself as Corey’s aunt, can be heard off-camera defending him.

“I have his father on the phone and you won’t even speak to him,” she said to the officer.

“Yup,” the officer replied.

The camera is jostled as an apparent altercation breaks out and the video ends with the officer calling in the incident as another officer restrains the boy. It has been viewed thousands of times and drew heated criticism from some corners.

“Look how this officer (is) touching this young kid,” filmmaker Jason Pollock wrote when he shared the video on Twitter Monday. “He would never be treating a little white kid like this.”

Register said there was more to the story than what is seen in the video, saying that Corey had recently been issued a criminal trespass warning for selling CDs at the mall. Register said security saw him again and called the Cobb officer, who was working part-time for the mall.

When the officer arrived, Register said Corey was “verbally combative,” refused to answer questions and then made to leave, at which point the officer “got physical control” of him. 

Register said Corey “pushed or swung at” the officer and then his aunt “physically attacked” him. Eventually, they were both taken into custody, and the child was released to his father, who was also at the mall that day.

Register said Corey is being charged with felony obstruction and misdemeanor criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. His aunt is being charged with felony obstruction and misdemeanor criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and providing a false name to law enforcement, according to Register.

Register said charging the child with a felony was at the discretion of the officer.

The incident is not the first time Cobb County police have come under scrutiny. A 2017 study by the International Association of Chiefs of Police found the department plagued by “perceptions of racism,” although the study said it found no evidence of discrimination.

Just a few months later, though, a lieutenant was allowed an immediate retirement after he was caught on camera telling a motorist, “We only kill black people, right?”

Since then, Register has won some praise from advocates for measures he has taken to emphasize community policing, but those same measures drew disdain from some in his own department.

On Tuesday, Register promised a full investigation and expressed concern that the incident would further damage community-police relations.

“We’re in this together, and we’ve got to work together,” he said.

Maryland police officer accused of raping woman during traffic stop

A Maryland police officer was arrested Monday and accused of raping a woman during a traffic stop last week, The Baltimore Sun reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Officer Ryan Macklin, 29, a six-year veteran of the Prince George's County Police Department, was suspended without pay, WBAL reported.

Police allege that Macklin forced the woman to perform “a sexual act” while she and the officer were seated in her car in a parking lot in Langley at 1 a.m. Thursday. Macklin was on duty and in uniform, the Sun reported.

According to charging documents, the woman told police that Macklin allegedly attempted to touch her breast before ordering her to move her car behind a store. Then Macklin allegedly forced the woman to perform oral sex on him, and told her he wanted to have sex with her, CNN reported, citing charging documents.

“Within hours of the woman coming forward,” the officer was suspended, police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said at a news conference Monday.

Police Chief Henry P. Stawin­ski III called the accusation “highly troubling” while speaking at the same news conference.

According to the Prince George’s County Police Department's website, Macklin was honored as patrol officer of the month in he was honored as patrol officer of the month in March 2014 and September 2014.

Macklin was expected to appear in court via closed circuit television Wednesday, CNN reported.

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