Friend of Vegas shooter: 'I want to solve this'

The man accused of carrying out last week’s deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock, was a caring person who tried his best to “make people happy,” a friend and longtime employee of his told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” today.

“He actually cared about everybody,” said Lisa Crawford of Dallas, who managed an apartment that Paddock owned from 2006 to 2012.

“He tried to make people happy. He tried to make people care. And I don’t know what happened to him,” she said as she fought to hold back tears.

She said Paddock, 64, who apparently killed himself after the massacre, was a close friend, describing him as a humorous person who was generous with his tenants.

She said she found it hard to believe that Paddock, an accountant, could be capable of carrying out the Oct. 1 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, which left 59 people dead, including him, and at least 480 others injured.

She said she last spoke with him via email a few weeks ago when he checked on her to make sure she was OK during hurricanes Harvey and Irma. She also shared images of her with a grinning Paddock embracing her warmly.

“I have read them over and over and over again,” Crawford said of her email conversations with him. “I’ve even looked at some photos online of, I guess, him and his girlfriend. You know, I was even trying to look into his eyes to see if I saw something that wasn’t normal, you know. No, I didn’t see anything.”

Crawford said she has spoken with FBI agents and police officers about their friendship as authorities work to figure out a possible motive in the attack.

“I want closure for these people,” Crawford said. “I can’t believe that the person that I knew would even consider hurting somebody. I want so bad to have answers for people. I want to solve this. I want us to do whatever I can to tell the authorities to look here, look there.”

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said authorities responded to a suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, where they found Paddock dead. Authorities said they believe he killed himself before police entered the suite.

Police, according to multiple law enforcement officials, still have found no definitive evidence to prove he had an accomplice and have not nailed down a motive.

Crawford said she had an emotional breakdown after the massacre, adding that she feels “guilty” for having known Paddock.

“I have cried for those people so many times, I almost feel like I’m out of tears sometimes,” she said. “It could have been my mom, my children.”

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Prince Harry, girlfriend Meghan Markle joined by her mother as Invictus Games close

Prince Harry joined his girlfriend Meghan Markle and her mother in a private luxury box at the Invictus Games closing ceremony in Toronto on Saturday night.

The prince, who was spotted elsewhere in the stadium and onstage during the event, joined Markle and her mother in the luxury box for a kiss before heading out to give his final speech. The British royal was seen embracing Markle in the box while watching Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson and others perform. Later, Markle and her mother applauded as Harry delivered his final speech to the crowd.

“Don’t just move on from these games with happy memories,” he told the crowd. “Instead, make an Invictus goal for yourselves.”

Prince Harry encouraged the audience on his closing speech, saying, “Let the examples of service and resilience that you have seen, inspire you to take action to improve something — big or small – in your life, for your family, or in your community.”

Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, a social worker and yoga instructor, flew to the event from Los Angeles to be at her daughter’s side with Prince Harry on his big night. Her attendance is the surest sign yet that an engagement between Markle and Harry may be imminent. Also joining Markle were her close friend, stylist Jessica Mulroney, and Markus Anderson, who attended the opening ceremony with the actress.

This is the third major public appearance for Markle this week, after she attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony — although she was separated by 18 seats from Prince Harry, as he was seated with United States First Lady Melania Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

On Monday, Markle arrived holding hands with Prince Harry to attend the wheelchair tennis match, as New Zealand faced off against Australia. The couple was seen laughing, smiling and whispering to each other in between chats with children and family members who were also viewing the match.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle step out holding hands at Invictus Games competition

The Invictus Games, a competition for wounded service members that was founded by Prince Harry in 2014, has been a public coming out of sorts for the royal and his girlfriend of one year. Prince Harry and Markle were introduced by friends in the summer of 2016 in London.

Earlier on Saturday, former U.S. vice president Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden joined Prince Harry to support him on the last day of the games. Biden presented the gold medal to Team U.S.A. after their victory in the wheelchair basketball final. On Friday, Prince Harry spent time with his old pal, former president Barack Obama, along with the Bidens.

Former President Obama, Bidens join Prince Harry at Invictus Games

When asked earlier in the day about the future of the Invictus Games, Prince Harry told CTV, “I think I’ve said many, many times before that Invictus has got a shelf life, because as other people have said, the conveyor belt of wounded coming back from war has ceased to a certain extent — especially for these 70 nations.”

The Invictus Games head to Sydney in October 2018 after being previously played in London, Orlando, and Toronto.

‘We have a social responsibility to continue this for as long as it’s needed, Prince Harry added. “Which is what I’ve always said.

‘The world needs Invictus, these guys need Invictus, I need Invictus, we all need our fix,” he continued. “We all need to be inspired, we all need to be encouraged and reminded of what duty and service is all about.”

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Texas high school football players thrown off team for kneeling during anthem

Two Texas high school football players were thrown off their team literally moments after kneeling in protest during the national anthem before a game on Friday.

The two teens from Victory & Praise Christian Academy in Crosby, Texas planned the protest in advance — and even told their coach — who immediately asked his players to take off their uniforms and booted them off the team, according to ABC station KTRK.

Coach Ronnie Ray Mitchem told KTRK he is a military veteran and has a long-standing rule players must stand for the national anthem.

“There is a proper time to do something in a proper way,” Mitchem told KTRK.

The two players, Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough, told KTRK they were happy with their protest, due to the attention it’s gotten.

Ingram-Lewis’ mother told KTRK she doesn’t believe her son should have been thrown off the team, and criticized Mitchem for the decision.

“He has a slave master mentality,” she said. “If you were to go back to that, when they wanted to tell us, ‘This is what you are going to do and this is how you do it.'”

The protests echoed those of NFL players over the past two seasons. The protests first gained national attention when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling before games in 2016 in order to draw attention to racial injustice in the country.

The controversy was reignited when President Donald Trump told supporters at a rally last week any player who kneels during the anthem “should be fired.” The comment drew widespread criticism from players and owners, and a number of players kneeled before last Sunday’s games.

Mitchem told KTRK he has stopped watching NFL games due to the protests.

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OJ Simpson released from prison after serving 9 years for Vegas robbery

O.J. Simpson is a free man.

After spending nine years in prison for a Las Vegas robbery, the former NFL star walked out of the Lovelock Correctional Institute at 12:08 a.m. local time on Sunday, according to the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Simpson, 70, who served his time at the facility in Nevada, was granted parole at a hearing in July. The earliest date he was eligible for release was Oct. 1.

The Department of Corrections released a short video of Simpson exiting the prison, as well as a photo of him signing release papers.

Simpson was sentenced to prison following an arrest in 2007 during a botched robbery in Las Vegas, when he led a group of men into a hotel and casino to steal sports memorabilia at gunpoint. The former Buffalo Bills star contended the memorabilia and other personal items belonged to him.

At his parole hearing in July, Simpson said, “All I want is my property. … I wasn’t there to steal from anybody.”

Simpson reassured the board he would be successful meeting the conditions of his parole before it was granted, saying, “I’m not a guy who lived a criminal life.”

Simpson’s attorney, Malcolm LaVergne, told ABC News on Friday that upon his release, Simpson wants to go to Florida, where he can “see his family and hug his family on the outside of prison.”

“He wants to eat seafood, he wants to eat steak,” LaVergne said. “He wants to enjoy the very simple pleasures that he hasn’t enjoyed in nine years.”

Tom Scotto, one of Simpson’s longtime friends, told ABC News, “All he wants to do is spend time with his family and friends and his kids. And play a little golf.”

But Scotto added that Simpson won’t be shying away from the public eye.

“We’re not gonna hide,” Scotto said. “He’s gonna do the same things he always did.”

Over 20 years ago, Simpson went on trial for the 1994 killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. On Oct. 3, 1995, at the end of a televised trial that captivated the nation, Simpson was acquitted of all criminal charges.

Simpson was found liable for the killings in a 1997 civil trial. He has always maintained his innocence.

Ron Goldman’s father and sister, Fred and Kim Goldman, said in a statement last week that they will continue pursuing the judgment awarded to them in the civil trial — an amount they say has climbed to $ 60 million.

“While we respect the Nevada Parole Board’s decision to release Simpson, it’s still difficult for us knowing he will be a free man again,” the Goldmans said. “We will continue pursuing the now $ 60 million judgment awarded to our family after the [civil trial] jury found that Simpson willfully and wrongfully caused the deaths of Ron and Nicole, as well as remain dedicated in our commitment to domestic violence awareness, victim advocacy and judicial reform.”

After the parole hearing, Fred Goldman said on “Good Morning America,” “It was never about the money [in the civil case.] It was punishment, and we didn’t have the opportunity to see him go to jail or death row for murder, but he got a judgment against him and honoring that judgment or making him honor the judgment is the only punishment that we can get from him.”

Kim Goldman said on “GMA,” when Simpson is released, “We’re going to go back to doing what we’ve done. I run a nonprofit working with teenagers, I do stories on other victims and survivors, I’m raising my kids. We’re active in the world of victims and survivors’ advocacy. We’re going to continue doing those things and take it one day at a time and if he chooses to write a book, or do a reality show, we’ll be there.”

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Former neo-Nazi removes swastika tattoos after unlikely friendship

Colorado resident Michael Kent recently sat down at a tattoo parlor in Colorado Springs to have his swastikas covered up.

Kent, a former neo-Nazi, credits an African-American parole officer named Tiffany Whittier with helping him to see beyond skin color and changing his views about white supremacy.

“If it wasn’t for her I would have seeped back into it,” said Kent. “I look at her as family.”

Whittier, 45, even inspired Kent, 38, to take down the Nazi flags he had hanging in his living room and replace them with smiley faces.

“I’m not here to judge him. That’s not my job to judge. My job is to be that positive person in someone’s life,” Whittier said.

Added Kent, “When you wake up and see a smiley face, you’re going to go to work and you’re going to smile.”

Kent now works full-time on a chicken farm in Colorado, where all his co-workers are Hispanic.

“Before all this, I wouldn’t work for anybody or with anybody that wasn’t white,” said Kent. “[Now] we have company parties, or they have quinceañeras, I’m the only white guy there!”

Redemption Ink, a national non-profit that offers free removals of hate-related tattoos, helped connect Kent with Fallen Heroes Tattoo in Colorado to begin the 15-hour process of covering his swastikas. The sterile environment is new to Kent who had his previous ink work done in prison.

“I’ve never, never, never been inside of a tattoo shop getting a professional tattoo,” he said.

Kent believes the painful process will help him move forward after spending years as a member of a violent skinhead group based in Arizona. As a father of two young children, Kent also hopes his children will see the world differently.

“I don’t want my kids to live the life I lived and live with hate,” said Kent. “I want my kids to know me for who I am now—a good father, a hard worker, and a good provider.”

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Patriots' owner Kraft criticizes friend Trump over his 'disappointing' NFL remarks

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft criticized President Donald Trump, whom he has previously called a very good friend, saying he is “deeply disappointed” in Trump’s comments condemning NFL players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

“There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics,” Kraft said in a statement tweeted by the Patriots.

The team’s CEO added that he supports players’ rights “to peacefully [effect] social change.”

“I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal,” the statement said. “Our players are intelligent, thoughtful, and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is impactful.”

The public disagreement comes only months after the Patriots made a formal visit to the White House in April during which Kraft called Trump a “very good friend.”

Kraft’s comments came shortly after President Donald Trump on Sunday morning turned his attention to NFL fans in his feud with the league over players who kneel in protest during the national anthem, saying many people “stay away” from the games “because they love our country.”

The president also suggested that if fans refuse to go to games due to the protests, “you will see change fast.”

Trump’s tweets Sunday came just a couple of hours before a series of NFL games scheduled for the day begin.

Earlier, on Saturday night, the president slammed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for speaking out against Trump’s condemnation of kneeling players and statement that team owners should fire those players.

Goodell is “trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country,” Trump tweeted.

Goodell did not mention the president by name in his statement earlier today.

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

NFL players across the league and their union — and even some team officials — were more direct in their response to Trump’s criticism Friday night of the handful of NFL players who have kneeled or sat on the bench during the national anthem performed before games over the past two seasons. The practice was most famously done by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, who is currently unsigned, began kneeling in the preseason in 2016 as a sign of protest over the treatment of blacks in the U.S.

Trump, speaking at a rally in Alabama on Friday, said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now?'”

“You know, some owner … is going to say, ‘That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired,'” the president said to thunderous applause and cheers.

The president of the NFL Players Union, which represents current and former players, released a statement on Saturday: “The balance between the rights of every citizen in our great country gets crossed when someone is told to just ‘shut up and play.'”

Union President DeMaurice Smith acknowledged in his statement that “the peaceful demonstrations by some of our players” haven’t been universally supported, but “have generated a wide array of responses.”

But, he added, “Those opinions are protected speech and a freedom that has been paid for by the sacrifice of men and women throughout history … No man or woman should ever have to choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights.”

Hours later Trump fired back at his critics, tweeting that it was a “privilege” for athletes to earn a lucrative career in professional sports.

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York weighed in Saturday afternoon, called the president’s comments “callous and offensive” and “contradictory to this great country stands for.”

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross did not refer to the president directly, but said in a statement the country “needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness.”

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll released a lengthy statement on Saturday evening supporting players’ right to protest.

“In this incredibly polarizing time, there’s no longer a place to sit silently. It’s time to take a stand,” Carroll said. “We stand for love and justice and civility. We stand for our players and their constitutional rights, just as we stand for equality for all people.”

Reaction to Trump’s comments on social media by players were largely negative:

Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall

Lions tight end Eric Ebron

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown

Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews (a college teammate of Kaepernick)

Buccaneers safety T.J. Ward

Vikings running back Bishop Sankey

Former Saints/Lions running back Reggie Bush

Former Texans running back Arian Foster

Kaepernick did not directly address Trump’s comments following the speech by Trump, but he did retweet multiple messages of support from fans and even a tweet of support from his mother on Saturday.

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett recently reignited the debate when he criticized Las Vegas police for racial profiling following an accidental arrest last month.

Bennett was detained by police outside a Las Vegas casino on Aug. 27 after police responded to a report of gunfire in the area. Video obtained by TMZ of the incident shows an officer yelling at Bennett and pointing his gun at him while he is handcuffed. He was later let go by police.

Bennett has begun sitting on the bench during the national anthem in protest of police violence.

President Trump is no stranger to the NFL. In February, he was seen dining with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and in January just before his inauguration, the president singled out Kraft at a dinner.

ABC News’ Maia Davis, Brendan Rand and M.L. Nestel contributed to this report.

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