<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:41:10 -0400 Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:41:10 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[4 Injured in Bus, Truck Crash]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:48:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cromwell+CT+transit+crash+1200.jpg

Four people were hospitalized after a crash involving a CT Transit bus and a small truck on Main Street in Cromwell late Friday morning.

The crash happened just before 10 a.m. Witnesses told NBC Connecticut that a small dump truck tried to get around the bus to make a right turn into a small retail plaza. As the driver tried to get around the bus, which was stopped to let passengers on and off, started moving again to continue on its route and hit the truck, witnesses said.

There is a double yellow line in the area.

Four people were transported to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

The damage to the truck was on its passenger side with a compressed passenger side door.

The front driver's side windshield of the bus was damaged.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Vehicle Hits DOT Worker in I-95 Crash in Norwalk]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:31:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/I95+norwalk+DOT+worker+hit+1200.jpg

One of two vehicles involved in a crash on Interstate 95 north in Norwalk struck a Department of Transportation worker late Friday morning.

The DOT worker was outside of a truck when two vehicles collided and one of them hit him. He sustained minor injuries.

Traffic is heavy in the area near the crash, by exit 16.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[I-95 North Remains Closed After Fiery Truck Crash]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:17:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

The southbound side of Interstate 95 has reopened in Stonington after closing along with the northbound side as LifeStar responded to a fiery tractor-trailer crash.

The northbound side of the highway remains closed at exit 92.

A tractor-trailer veered off the road, crashed and caught on fire.

It's unknown how long the highway will stay closed.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter of Teen Cousin]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 10:35:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Bedford+street+stabbing.jpg

A Hartford man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the stabbing of his 17-year-old cousin, a student from Bulkeley High School in Hartford.

Police said Edwin Ruiz, 29, of 36 Bedford Street in Hartford, stabbed his teenage cousin, Bryan Salaman Acosta, 17, in the neck and torso at the family's apartment. The incident happened on Nov. 3, 2014, according to the judicial website.

Authorities were called to the scene around 8:10 p.m.that night, where they found Salaman lying on the sidewalk and bleeding, according to police. Family members were applying pressure to Salaman's wounds.

The teen was rushed to Saint Francis Hospital, but doctors couldn't save him. Salaman was pronounced dead at 10:11 p.m. that evening.

Police said the teen and Ruiz had been fighting all day leading up to the stabbing.

According to the incident report, Ruiz and Salaman Acosta were at the apartment together with other family members when Ruiz asked Salaman Acosta to go to the store with him, Ruiz's mother told investigators.

A few minutes later, Ruiz returned to the apartment and told his mother "he was going to jail," then admitted to stabbing his cousin, according to the case report. Ruiz's wife told police he sat down on the couch and hid his face in his hands.

Ruiz initially told police three men had run up to the them while he and Salaman Acosta were walking to the store and assaulted Salaman Acosta. He said he tried to bring his cousin home when Salaman Acosta collapsed, and told police his family members were lying, the incident report says.

Ruiz then "became agitated at the questions and was uncooperative," according to the report.

The suspect's wife told police Ruiz had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder and was taking medication, the report says. She said he was arrested several years ago in connection with another stabbing and "several domestic violence incidents," which resulted in a restraining order.

Hartford police said Ruiz does not have a history of domestic violence or related arrests within the city.

Ruiz has been charged with one count of murder in connection with Salaman Acosta's death.

School officials said Salaman Acosta was in the lower school, which includes grades nine and 10.

Ruiz is scheduled to appear in court again on Nov. 13. He is still being held in custody on a $499,000 bond.

<![CDATA[Police Seize Thousands of Heroin Bags, Arrest 11]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 08:22:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/9415+hartford+drug+bust+1200.jpg

Hartford police arrested 11 people in a "large scale heroin trafficking operation" on Thursday, police said.

Hartford Police Department's Special Operations Group, Shooting Task Force, K-9 Unit and Emergency Response Team, Homeland Security Investigations Unit and Security Air Wing, Drug Enforcement Administration officials and the North Central Emergency Response Team worked together to execute search and arrest warrants at 2495 and 2505 Main Street in Hartford at 6:21 p.m. on Thursday.

At those addresses, police seized 2,964 bags of heroin, 92 bags of cocaine, 1.72 ounces of marijuana and $14,059 in suspected drug money.

After utilizing controlled purchases, surveillance and electronic monitoring in the investigation, police arrested the following 11 people at those locations.

  • John Colon, 24,  of 1630 Main Street,  Hartford; charges: possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and interfering with police; he got three arrest warrant on charges of the sale of narcotics.
  • Joshua Stracham, 23, of 19 Benton Street, Hartford; charges: possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and interfering with police; three arrest warrants on charges of sale of narcotics.
  • Matthew Rodriguez, 27, of 147 Flatbush Avenue, Hartford; charges: possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and interfering with police; one arrest warrant on charges of sale of narcotics.
  • Hector Navedo, 24, of 515 Franklin Avenue, Hartford; charges: possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and interfering with police.
  • Rafael Martinez, 23, of 34 Otis Street Hartford; charges: possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and interfering with police.
  • Brandon Broughton, 23, of 32 Sanford Street, Hartford; charges: possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and interfering with police.
  • Jermaine Jenkins, 24, of 1588 Albany Ave., Hartford; charges: possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and interfering with police.
  • Argenis Deleon, 24, of 505 Main Street #1, Hartford; charges:possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession with intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and interfering with police.
  • Naomi Alicea, 32, of 2505 Main Street #1, Hartford; charges: interfering with a search warrant and criminal attempt to commit assault on police.
  • David Stark DOB, 38, of 27 Chestnut Street, Hartford; charges: third-degree criminal trespass and possession of narcotics.
  • Kevin Holmgren, 45, of 89 West Side Boulevard, Burlington; charges: third-degree criminal trespass and possession of narcotics.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[House Catches Fire in Washington]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 23:20:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SD-Fire-Engine-Generic.jpg

Fire departments and ambulances responded to 210 New Milford Turnpike in Washington when the home caught fire Thursday night, according to emergency dispatchers.

Dispatchers said the fire was reported around 10:50 p.m. Crews were still at the scene as of 11:30.

It's not clear if anyone was hurt. No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Man Shot in Waterbury]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 23:17:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/waterbury+police+cruiser.jpg

Police are investigating after a man was shot in the shoulder in Waterbury on Thursday night.

Waterbury police spokesman Deputy Chief Fernando Spagnolo said a gunshot was reported near the intersection of Pine and Willow streets around 9 p.m.

Responding officers found a man with a gunshot wound on Mitchell Avenue, according to police, who said the bullet went through his right shoulder and bicep.

Several witnesses reported hearing a shot in the area.

Police said the victim was taken to Waterbury Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities are investigating.

<![CDATA[Serial Bank Robber Suspected in 7 Holdups: Source]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 04:46:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Berlin+TD+Bank+Robbery.jpg

Seven banks have been robbed in seven towns over the past few weeks, and a source close to the investigation said authorities believe a single person is behind the crimes.

The most recent robbery occured Thursday at the Liberty Bank in Durham. State police released several surveillance photos of the suspect.

"It's a little crazy," said Middletown resident Kate Tredwell. "You don't hear it all that often that people are hitting up banks day after day."

The crime spree began July 27 in Branford, where a TD Bank was robbed on West Main Street. Police said the suspect got away with an unknown amount of money and alluded to having a weapon, although he did not display one.

Then, on Aug. 12, the suspect targeted a Webster Bank on Highland Avenue in Cheshire. Police said he gave the bank teller a note saying he was holding the bank up and fled with a small amount of cash.

A TD Bank in Berlin was hit the next day. Police said the robber once again handed the teller a note demanding cash. At the time, local police believed the perpetrator in Berlin may have also been responsible for two bank robberies in West Hartford.

He held up a Liberty Bank in Deep River on Aug. 17, then the People's United Bank in Milford on Aug. 19 and a TD Bank on Wells Road in Wethersfield on Aug. 31, according the source.

During many of the holdups, the robber handed over a note demanding cash and warning that he had a weapon. No weapon was ever revealed.

State police said the the Durham robber is in his early to mid-30s, stands approximately 6 feet tall and is thin with an athletic build and some facial hair. He left the area in a green, older-model sedan.

In surveillance footage from each case, the suspect appears to be on the phone and always wears a hat. No one has been injured during any of the robberies.

"Hopefully they catch the guy and this doesn't happen anymore," said Tredwell.

The Connecticut Bankers Reward Association is offering $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in the Durham robbery.

Anyone with information on the bank robberies is asked to call state police.

Photo Credit: Berlin Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[East Haven Promotes First Black Female Detectives]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 22:46:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/PDpromotionsPic00000000.jpg

When the mayor of East Haven swore in three new detectives Thursday, asking them if they promise to enforce the law fairly, it marked another step in the police department's progress.

The three police officers, Monique Colbert, Shirley Conyers and Jeffrey Vailette, become detectives effective Monday.

The city continues to leave behind its days of harassment of Hispanic residents and pressure on a priest, the behavior that brought the federal justice department down hard on East Haven police.

Now these detective badges mean promotions for two black women, the city's first black female detectives.

"It's always a big thing in policing. I tell people women in policing are like gold – they're hard to find, they're very hard to find – and we've got exceptional ones around here, exceptional," East Haven Police Chief Brent Larrabee told the new detectives' families and friends.

More than half the faces on the East Haven police force have changed during what the chief calls "a long struggle for this police department."

"Four years ago, who knew we would be in this position today?" said East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo. "This department has become one of the best small departments in our nation. Ferguson calls us, other departments call us up when they're having problems. We are the model for the nation right now."

<![CDATA[Beach in Oxford Closed Amid Testing for Blue-Green Algae]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 22:29:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Blue-Green+Algae.jpg

Oxford's Jackson Cove Beach will be closed to swimming through Labor Day Weekend while officials test the water for blue-green algae.

The park and playground will remain open, but the water is off-limits to swimmers, according to an announcement posted on the Oxford Parks and Recreation website. Kayaking and boating is still permitted as long as residents avoid touching the water.

"Stay away from dried algae on the sand near the water," officials wrote. "It is toxic."

Town officials are also warning beach-goers to keep pets out of the water. Dogs are especially at risk, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Blue-green algae, which is also known as cyanobacteria, occurs naturally in lakes and ponds throughout the state. While the microscopic organisms cause no harm, blue-green algae blooms can release toxins and people and animals using the water for recreation can be affected.

Swimming areas at two Connecticut state parks are also closed because of blue-green algae blooms.

Learn more about blue-green algae from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Drought Conditions Leave Orchards Dry]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 04:53:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Drought00000000.jpg

The summer of 2015 will be remembered as a dry one for farmers and growers across the state.

Rainfall was short more than 5 inches over the summer, and it had an impact on orchards all over Connecticut.

"It’s really bad. We haven’t had any rain," said Mary Concklin, a fruit specialist at UConn who works with growers around the state.

She said the lack of rain and increased sun exposure leads to an effect that actually isn't a bad thing for pickers.

"With all of the sunshine we’re getting, the carbohydrates turn over to sugar faster so the fruit is sweeter, which is a big positive," she said.

Sandi Rose, who owns and operates Rose's Berry Farm in Glastonbury, said the lack of water leads to new expenses in order to irrigate her 80 acres.

"It costs money to pay for gas and propane to irrigate this much land," she said. "Blueberries need an inch a week minimum and I have 40 acres of blueberries."

Rose hopes for rain before the weather turns cold to avoid potentially damaging disease to her orchard.

"They’re spreading fruit for next year so everything is a continuum," she said. "We always have to worry about the next year and how the crops are going to get through the winter and they need to be strong to do that."

<![CDATA[Police Nab 'Extremely Violent' Suspect in Pastor Shooting]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 09:32:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Aaron+Taylor+composite+1200.jpg

Hartford police have captured the man accused of shooting a pastor who was putting out flags for Memorial Day, then shooting another man less than 15 minutes later.

It comes hours after the police department announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Aaron J. Taylor, 25, of Windsor, was wanted on charges of attempted murder and assault. Police described him as having "extremely violent tendencies" and said they believe he fled to New York and then Georgia after the shooting.

After tracking Taylor in Atlanta, Georgia and New York, police learned Thursday he had returned to Connecticut and that he was in East Hartford. The Hartford Shooting Task Force, Hartford Fugitive Task Force, Special Task Force, a Manchester officer, a state trooper, East Hartford police, U.S. marshals, Hartford vice and narcotics officers, Department of Corrections officials, Homeland Security and the FBI all helped in the capture of Taylor.

After pinpointing Taylor's location to an East Hartford home, those agencies, including the FBI Northern CT Violent Gang Task Force, surrounded 22H Jaidee Drive in East Hartford. While the people they found at the apartment initially resisted, authorities were able to overtake them and find Taylor on the second floor. They took him into custody after a short-lasted struggle.

State police also arrested Lanatrica Terry, 38, who lives at the home, on charges of hindering prosecution, interfering with police and three counts of risk of injury to a minor.

They saw two large revolvers in plain sight near him, according to police. Police secured a search warrant and scoured the residence for evidence.

Police seized a black Nissan Maxima at the home, which they think Taylor may have been seen driving after the shootings of a paster and another man.

Taylor was wanted on two arrest warrants. He is suspected of shooting Rev. Dr. Augustus Sealy, 54, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, outside the First Church of the Nazarene at 932 Capital Avenue in Hartford the morning of Sunday, May 24.

The pastor was putting out flags for Memorial Day services on his fifth anniversary at the church, according to police. Sealy was shot twice in the right leg and once in the left shoulder. 

Sealy's wife said Thursday he is "progressing nicely."

Police believe Taylor then shot Robert Jones, 27, of Hartford, at least six times at 398 Garden Street. An ambulance brought Jones to the emergency room at Saint Francis Hospital, where he was later listed in serious, but stable condition.

Police charged him with criminal attempt to commit murder and first-degree assault in both shootings.

Taylor is a felon previously convicted of weapons and violence charges, according to police. He is also being investigated in connection to crimes in other jurisdictions, though police have not released information on the nature of those suspected crimes or the towns they occurred in.

Surveillance video of Taylor buying a Red Bull at a Hartford convenience store helped police identify him as a suspect in the two shootings.

Police said the motive for both crimes is unclear. Investigators previously said that they are looking into whether the shooting of the pastor might have been a hate crime.

"I can tell you we do hear from residents that the church is very accepting and open to the LGBT community," Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley said after the shooting. "So there were some statements made at the scene that certainly keep the idea of it being a hate crime open to our investigators."

Taylor was held on $1.35 million bond. It's not clear if he has an attorney or if anyone has been granted the $5,000 reward.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Statewide Crime Down, Cities Drive Homicide Rates]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 22:17:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Violence00000000.jpg

Nearly every major criminal data metric is down year over year across the state of Connecticut, according to a new report released by the Office of Policy and Management's Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division.

Mike Lawlor, the undersecretary of Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, said Connecticut law enforcement officers at every level are better at their jobs than before and that have learned a lot by tracking data.

"We’ve learned so much from being in contact with so many offenders," Lawlor said. "We can separate the high risk from the low risk, the dangerous from the not dangerous out."

Data shows touble can be traced to three places: Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven.

"If you were to take Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven out of the equation, murders are down 20 percent year over year," he said.

Last year, the state saw 62 homicides up until mid-August.

In 2015, the figure is bumped up to 70 due in no small part to the fact that Hartford has seen a significant rise in homicides. So far this year, there have been 24 homicides in the capital city, more than double this time last year.

Lawlor said there are plans in motion to change that course.

"There’s something going on in Hartford. The governor convened all the experts. We brought the feds, the state together. We think you’ll see some results there. That’s why we keep track of this stuff," he said.

Mayor Pedro Segarra said the assistance has been very helpful in making Hartford a safer city.

"The additional assistance we have received from the state goes a long way in helping us to partner up with state resources and state agencies to bring down and get a hold over the issue of homicides and gun violence in the city of Hartford," the mayor said Thursday.

<![CDATA[Hartford Holds First Ever Snow Preparation Meeting]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 21:14:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/6phtfdstill020215doug00000000.jpg

Leaders in Hartford want to be proactive when it comes to improving the city's response to snow.

Following two winters of criticism, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra spent this hot day discussing how the city is going to do a better job keeping roads clear when snow starts flying.

"It's a good thing that we're here in September planning, rather than in the winter months and being reactive," said Segarra.

Hartford now has over 120 pieces of snow-fighting equipment, 66 plow drivers and a snow removal budget of nearly $800,000.

"We've significantly improved the last two years. We've overhauled and modernized our system. We've made adjustments in the routes, and we've also acquired additional equipment," Segarra said.

Business leaders and representatives from the police and fire departments attended today's meeting at the city’s Emergency Operations Center to help public works better understand their challenges during snow storms.

"We know what we're doing. We want to continue to modernize it and to streamline it. And again that's where all of you (in attendance) play an important part," said Department of Public Works Director Keith H. Chapman.

Segarra noted that the city needs to look into alternate parking bans so residents have a place to park, while making sure schools aren’t further delayed due to parking issues.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA['Suspicious Explosive' in Enfield Turns Out to Be Fireworks]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 22:00:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/enfield+explosive+activity.jpg

"Suspicious explosive activity" that prompted police to evacuate homes in Enfield on Thursday turned out to be a 16-year-old with an unwrapped firework, according to police.

Enfield police said officers were called to a home on Spring Street around 4 p.m. after the teen got into a fight with his father. They found the 16-year-old with what appeared to be a suspicious device and contacted the fire department and state police bomb squad.

The device turned out to be sparkler-type fireworks. Police said the teen had unwrapped them.

Neighbors were evacuated to a nearby activity center while police investigated.

Enfield police said it took authorities about three hours to resolve the incident. Crews cleared the scene around 6:45 p.m.

It's not clear if police will file charges. Authorities are still investigating.

<![CDATA[UConn Women's Hockey Team Accused of Hazing]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:54:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Senator_Wants_College_SPending_Oversight_1200x675_446416963961.jpg

Members of the University of Connecticut women's hockey team have been accused of hazing teammates during a "Rookie Night" event last fall.

University officials said they received a hazing complaint last spring and began investigating.

The UConn Office of Community Standards found that hazing took place during an event called "Rookie Night" early last fall, when students engaged in "excessive drinking" and participated in "potentially embarrassing activities," according to the university.

School officials described the situation as an isolated incident and said there is no indication upperclassmen tried to intimidate teammates or encourage them to drink at any other time throughout the year.

The school also said coaches were not aware of Rookie Night.

"The University takes these findings very seriously and took immediate steps to address them," UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said in a statement Thursday.

Reitz added that all students involved in the incident "will be held accountable" according to the code of conduct.

Athletics department staff have already discussed hazing with all student-athletes and will bring in an outside consultant to lead hazing training.

"Further, while there was no information to suggest coaches were aware of Rookie Night, UConn Athletics has reminded its coaching staff to emphasize to their athletes that UConn has a zero-tolerance policy regarding these behaviors; has reviewed and discussed conduct expectations with all student athletes; and will continue to address the dangers of alcohol use generally," Reitz said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hamden Resident Catches Burglar Snooping]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:51:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/quinten+shaw+hamden.jpg

A 22-year-old West Haven man is facing charges after breaking into two homes in Hamden and jumping out a living room window when a resident spotted him, according to police.

Police said Quinten Shaw burglarized two homes on Pearl Avenue during the early morning hours of Sept. 3.

A 68-year-old homeowner was lying in bed around 6 a.m. when he saw someone shining a light into his bedroom, according to police. He got up and went into the living room in time to see Shaw jump out the window.

Officers responded to the neighborhood and found Shaw riding his bike southbound on Dixwell Avenue, according to police. He got off his bike and led police on a foot chase before officers took him into custody in the area of Morse and Columbus streets.

Police said they found Shaw with property stolen from another home on Pearl Avenue, where Shaw allegedly forced his way through a porch window and took electronics while the residents slept.

He was arrested and charged with first-, second- and third-degree burglary, two counts of sixth-degree larceny and interfering with police, along with violation of probation.

Shaw was held on $50,000 bond and is due in court Sept. 17.

It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Police Seize Gun and Narcotics]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:55:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+drug+bust+3+1200.jpg

Hartford police seized a gun, narcotics and $34,000 in cash during a search in a recent narcotics investigation.

Police found 500 grams of pure heroin, 200 grams of cocaine, a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver, crack, weed and $34,000 in cash during the drug bust.

No further information was available.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Route 195 Reopens in Mansfield After Crash]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:16:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

Route 195/Storrs Road has reopened in Mansfield following a crash Thursday afternoon, according to the Department of Transportation.

Police said the road was closed near the intersection of Mansfield Hollow Road while authorities responded.

According to the DOT, two cars collided in the area.

It's not clear if anyone was hurt.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[West Nile Virus Found in 19 Connecticut Municipalities]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:32:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/248*120/tlmd_mosquitos_trampa_620.jpg

Mosquitoes in 19 Connecticut communities have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The virus has been identified in Bridgeport, Cheshire, Chester, Darien, East Haven, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Guilford, Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Stonington, Stratford, Waterford, West Haven, Westport and Wethersfield.

No human cases of West Nile have been reported so far this year.

State health officials are urging residents to take precautions in an effort to avoid contracting the virus.

"The current warm weather provides favorable conditions for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus," said Dr. Philip Armstrong, medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, in a statement Thursday. "These mosquitoes are most active at nighttime when temperatures are higher than average."

Most people who are infected with West Nile develop a mild illness that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting or a skin rash, according to the CAES.

Less frequently, people develop severe illness of the nervous system that can also include neck stiffness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness and paralysis.

People older than 50 years of age are more likely than younger people to suffer the more severe health consequences if they become infected.

Learn more about West Nile virus and mosquito management:

<![CDATA[Cromwell High School Football Player Charged in Hazing Incident]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 21:24:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cromwell+high+school.JPG

A 16-year-old member of the Cromwell-Portland football team has been charged with breach of peace and hazing in connection with an incident that happened before practice last week, according to police.

Cromwell police said the player walked around the locker room and struck four freshman teammates with a belt before practice at Cromwell High School on Aug. 25.

Another team member turned off the lights and someone told the victims, "this never happened," according to police.

Police said the victims suffered minor injuries, including welts on their bodies. Their parents reported the incident.

Although investigators believe other members of the team were involved in the hazing incident, police said in a news release Thursday "conflicting statements" prevented them from being able to "establish (probable) cause to charge any other team members."

A district source close to the investigation said the head football coach has been placed on leave.

Cromwell and Portland school officials said both districts are investigating the allegations, along with the Department of Children and Families.

"The DCF findings will dictate what further steps and or disciplinary actions will be taken," Cromwell superintendent Dr. Paula Talty said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Cromwell police said it's the first hazing complaint they've received against the school.

According to the superintendent's office, in 2013, a former track coach posted a video of a team member jumping from a roof with an umbrella as part of a ritual, but the incident wasn't classified as hazing because the student was an upperclassman.

The coach was terminated because of a "lack of good professional judgment."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Milford Man Exposed Himself to Children on Bus: Police]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:35:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+cruiser+lights.jpg

A Milford man is facing charges after he exposed himself to a coach bus full of children 11 to 13 years old and touching his genitalia as he drove up alongside the bus in the Milford rest area on Interstate 95, state police said.

Robert M. Watts, 51, of Milford, is facing charges of impairing the morals of children, breach of peace and public indecency.

Troopers from State Police Troop G barracks in Bridgeport responded to the rest stop in Bridgeport at 7:49 p.m. on Aug. 19 after receiving a report that man exposed himself to children while he was driving, state police said.

State police identified Watts as the suspect and obtained an arrest warrant from Milford Superior Court. They took Watts into custody and arrested him on the charges mentioned above.

He was scheduled to appear in Milford Superior Court on Thursday.

His bond was set at $50,000.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Torrington Man Facing Federal Child Pornography Charges]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:01:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/handcuffs12.jpg

A 34-year-old Torrington man has been arrested on federal charges as part of a child pornography investigation.

Timothy J. Allen was charged Wednesday with receipt and possession of child pornography.

He was released on $50,000 bond and placed on electric monitoring, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, federal prosecutors said.

It's not clear if Allen has an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Linked to Burglaries in Ansonia, Derby]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:42:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/davon+miller+mug+shot+1200.jpg

Police arrested a 21-year-old man connected to a break-in at a Derby home that happened while the homeowner was sleeping and several other burglaries in Derby and Ansonia, police said.

Davon Miller, 21, had items in his possession stolen from a Hickory Road home in Derby during a break-in while the homeowner was sleeping and a car break-in reported on Hillcrest Road in Derby on Wednesday, police said. Derby police responded to that address at about 5:15 a.m. that day.

Then Derby and Ansonia police responded to Sunset Drive in Derby at 6 a.m. after receiving a report of a man seen running through backyards in the area, police said.

Police detained the suspect after finding him standing on a deck at a Derby home near Sunset Drive, identifying him as Miller, Derby and Ansonia police said.

Ansonia and Derby police worked together to investigate the incidents. They also located stolen property, linking Miller to a rash of overnight burglaries in the two towns, also taking into consideration the manner in which the burglaries occurred, police said. Officers also linked him to two other attempted house burglaries on Sunset Drive, police said. Miller was not able to get inside those two homes, police said.

Derby and Ansonia police obtained a search and seizure warrant, enabling them to search Miller's Hodge Avenue home in Ansonia, police said. Police found evidence linking Miller to two previous overnight burglaries on Clark Street Extension in Derby that happened while the residents were home on Aug. 23, as well as another on Paugassett Road Aug. 27.

Police charged Miller with first-degree burglary, third-degree burglary, two counts of attempted first-degree burglary and sixth-degree larceny.

Police held Miller in custody on an $85,000 bond and he was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

Derby police said they plan on applying for arrest warrants for first-degree burglary in the Clark Street Extension and Paugassett Road burglaries. Ansonia police continue to investigate.

Ansonia police said they will be interviewing victims and asking them whether they can identify any of the seized items. They advise resdients to close and lock windows and doors and be vigilant about any suspicious activity observed in the neighborhood. Police ask that any suspicious activity be reported to the Ansonia Police Department at 203-735-1885.

Photo Credit: Derby Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Cop Made Up Shooting Story]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:08:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Bryan+Johnson+Millis+Police.jpg

A part-time police officer who claimed to have taken gunfire Wednesday before getting into a fiery car accident with his cruiser completely fabricated the story, police in Massachusetts said Thursday.

The officer, identified by sources as Bryan Johnson of Millis, was scheduled to begin training as a full-time officer. He is now being fired, however, according to police, who have not released the officer's name pending formal charges.

"We have determined that the officer's story was fabricated," said Millis Police Sgt. Bill Dwyer.

Dwyer said other than shots fired by the officer into his own cruiser, no ballistic evidence was recovered at the scene. Based on that and other evidence, it was determined that the officer lied about being shot at by a man in a pickup truck.

Police won't say whether or not he torched his own cruiser, saying that is still under investigation.

"I was totally shocked," said Bruce Miccile, who says he knows Johnson's family well. "No idea why it was done or why he did it."

Miccile says that Johnson grew up with his children. According to Miccile, Johnson seemed "nervous and anxious" Wednesday when he stopped by his house to talk about what had happened.

"I guess he usually stops and asks someone on the side of the road if they need help," he said. "He was going to ask them if they needed help, and all of a sudden two shots were coming through his windshield."

Miccile said he had "no reason" not to believe Johnson, but had to sit down when he heard the news Thursday.

Other neighbors say Johnson lives at a Millis home in a quiet neighborhood with his parents.

"We've lived here for 19 years, and they're just a really really nice family, can't say anything bad about them," Donna O'Brien said.

"They're fabulous people," said Jennifer McPhee. "They've been wonderful neighbors and I think people jump to conclusions very quickly."

Police won't say if Johnson admitted to the alleged plot, but say ballistics evidence from Forest Road shows the shots weren't ever fired by a suspect, and that there never was a gunman around town.

Officials are also not commenting on a possible motive or the officer's prior job performance.

They say he was currently training to become a full-time officer.

Police also say there was two threats called into the Millis Middle School Wednesday, including a bomb threat.

At this time, Millis Police say they don't know if that threat is related to the fabricated shooting report.

Johnson is not in custody at this point. He was not at has his house when necn attempted to reach out for comment. Officials say they are determining what charges may be filed against him.

The incident remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[$1K Reward Offered in Case of Durham Bank Robbery]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 21:04:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/durham+bank+robbery+sept+3.jpg

A $1,000 reward has been offered in exchange for information leading to the arrest of the man who robbed a Durham bank Thursday, prompting a "secure lockout mode" at local schools.

State police said a man in a "Coors Light" baseball cap robbed the Liberty Bank at 357 Main Street shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday. He got away with an undisclosed amount of money, and troopers and K-9s failed to track him down.

Durham Supt. Kathryn Y. Veronesi said all public schools in town were placed in "secure school lockout" for 10 minutes while police responded to the bank.

The Connecticut Bankers Reward Association is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the robber's arrest.

Police described him as a man in his early to mid-30s, about 6 feet tall, with an athletic build and some facial hair. He was wearing a blue-and-white baseball cap with a Coors Light logo on the front, along with a blue striped long-sleeved button-down shirt, light-colored cargo shorts and athletic sneakers.

He left the scene on foot before getting into a green, older-model sedan, according to state police.

Anyone with information is asked to call State Police Troop F at 860-399-2100 or contact Det. Patrick Dwyer at 860-250-6817. Calls will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police/NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Route 44 in Canton Reopens After Gas Leak]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:31:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Policelightsgeneric.jpg

Route 44 has reopened after a gas leak in Canton.

There was a gas leak at 117 Albany Turnpike (Route 44), where a UConn Health building is located).

The building was temporarily evacuated while the leak was capped.

No injuries were reported.

No further information was released on the nature of the call.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[$5K Reward in Search for Suspected Shooter of Pastor, Man]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:15:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Aaron+Taylor+composite+1200.jpg

Hartford police are announcing a $5,000 reward for help in the capture of a man suspected of shooting a pastor who was putting flags out for Memorial Day, then shooting a 27-year-old man at another location 14 minutes later.

Aaron J. Taylor, 25, of Windsor, is wanted on attempted murder and assault charges in connection to both shootings and police are searching for him. Hartford police have received information information that Taylor has returned to the Hartford region after previously leaving the state and that he is active in the area.

Police said to use caution if you encounter Taylor and warned against approaching him because the firearm from the incidents hasn't been recovered and he has "extremely violent tendencies."

Taylor is suspected of shooting Rev. Dr. Augustus Sealy, 54, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, outside the First Church of the Nazarene at 932 Capital Ave. just before 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 24, police said. The pastor was putting out flags for Memorial Day services on his fifth anniversary at the church, according to police. Sealy was last reported to be recovering in the hospital from being shot twice in the right leg and once in the left shoulder. 

Robert Jones, 27, of Hartford, was shot at least six times at about 6:41 a.m. that Sunday at 402 Garden St. and police believe Taylor was the person who shot him. An ambulance brought Jones to the emergency room at Saint Francis Hospital, where he was later listed in serious, but stable condition.

Taylor was last seen driving a black Nissan Maxima and the marker plate is unknown, police said. He is also suspected in other crimes, but police did not release information on those other incidents. 

He is a felon previously convicted of multiple firearm offenses, police said.

Surveillance video of Taylor buying a Red Bull at a Hartford convenience store helped police identify him as a suspect.

Police said the motive for both crimes is unclear. Investigators previously said that they are looking into whether the shooting of the pastor might have been a hate crime.

"I can tell you we do hear from residents that the church is very accepting and open to the LGBT community," Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley previously said. "So there were some statements made at the scene that certainly keep the idea of it being a hate crime open to our investigators."

The warrant for Taylor carries charges of criminal attempt to commit murder and first-degree assault, as well as a $1.35 million court-set bond. He has a long criminal record, including carrying a pistol without a permit, escape and resisting arrest. 

The department asks anyone with information on the suspect to contact Lt. Brandon O'Brien at 860-757-4089.

Hartford police have a press conference scheduled for 1:15 p.m. to release more information on the reward.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Pats Nation Reacts to Brady Ruling]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 22:38:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-485620388.jpg

A federal judge has erased New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension for "Deflategate."

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman came after more than one month of failed settlement talks between the NFL and its players union.

The scandal erupted after the AFC championship game in January, when officials discovered during the first half that Brady used underinflated footballs. An NFL investigation led to Brady's suspension, which Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld.

Reaction is pouring in from Patriots Nation, but perhaps none are more excited than a husband and wife who can finally go on their honeymoon.

Paul and Kellie Goodrow, who told necn back in May that they wouldn’t go on the trip until Brady was cleared.

"Now we're going," said Kellie Goodrow.

The newlyweds said they wanted to take a stand.

"When they threw down the suspension, it really rattled me," said Paul Goodrow. "Why can't we do something to show that we care about our Patriots and back them?”

"I knew it was going to get lifted. That's why we put it off," said Kellie Goodrow, who added that they'll be going to Bermuda.

They weren't the only happy ones. Caller after caller into 98.5 The Sports Hub expressed excitement at the ruling.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh later released a statement reading: "Today is a great day in New England and a Patriots fans across the country are celebrating. Now, let's get back to football - I am looking forward to a great season and cheering on the Patriots one game at a time."

In Maine, where Goodell has a summer home, residents were jubilant. One man, who flew a plane with a banner criticizing Goodell's decision, was cryptic on his future plans.

"Keep your eyes peeled to the sky," said Richard Pate. "There may be one last word to Commissioner Goodell."

Mike Marcello, who ran into Goodell at the Hannaford in Scarborough and chanted "Free Tom Brady," was elated.

"It's the passion," he said. "That's what it's about, the passion is amazing."

In Lewiston, a Dunkin' Donuts thanked Berman for his ruling.

Similarly, McGreevy's, the sports bar of Dropkick Murphys frontman Ken Casey, pledged free service to the judge.

Even some Jets fans were happy, their feelings for Goodell outweighing their disdain for Brady.

Our Facebook fans are sounding off and rejoicing with excitement:

"Take that Roger Goodell," says Matthew Rivard. 

"Vindicated. Period," says Barbara Hopey. 

"Yay!! No evidence, no case," says Mary Lou Lincoln Hastings. 

"Love it. TB 12 is free. Goodell is looking for a new job. I hear the McDonald's is hiring. Giselle come back," says Rick Gibbons. 

"YES!! YES!! YES!! Brady freaking WINS," says Joe Dobrowski. 

"My day is made to perfection. Hooray for Tom Brady and Patriots. Gotta love this day," says Christine Curtin. 

"In Tom we trust," says Rita Ladanyi. 

"Oh well. Now I guess that the Colts, Ravens and Jets will just have to beat the Patriots on the field. Not gonna happen," says Scott Fabian. 

"Nice!!!! In your face Roger," says Sandy Furman Bernstein. 

"Knew it!!! But, how long before the next witch hunt begins," says Michelle DeMange. 

"Haha. Fear #12," says Steve Stevenson. 

"Bring on the duck boats," says Cheryl Ann. 

"Yay! I believe Brady quite frankly that he was unaware that a few of the game balls were a tad under-inflated. Plus the cold, wet day will naturally reduce the air pressure in the ball," says Marc Richardson. 

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Building Evacuated Over Report of Fire]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:21:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/franklin+ave+hartford+fire+1200.jpg

Franklin Avenue is closed in Hartford and a commercial building has been evacuated due to a report of a fire.

The building, located at 272 Franklin Avenue, has been evacuated as firefighters investigate a reported fire at the address. It's unknown when people will be allowed back inside.

Ten fire trucks are on scene near a commercial plaza on the street and it appears the problem was inside a children's dentistry office, according to a NBC Connecticut crew at the scene.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Empty Kayak Found Near Hammonasset Point Prompts Search]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 10:51:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/US-Coast-Guard-Generic.jpg

An empty kayak with a life jacket and paddle in it washed ashore south of Hammonasset Point on Thursday morning, prompting a search, according to Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police.

EnCon police responded after receiving a report at 9 a.m. on Thursday and they are working to retrieve the kayak. The United States Coast Guard is searching the area.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the kayak "was tied up and got loose," DEEP officials said.

No further information was immediately available.

<![CDATA[Vehicle Set on Fire, Flames Spread to Two Others]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:54:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/east+hartford+car+fire+1200.jpg

East Hartford police and the fire marshal are investigating a fire set in one vehicle in the area of Columbus Circle that spread to two other vehicles.

Someone from a vehicle with multiple people inside set another vehicle on fire that then spread to two others. Two cars and a motorcycle caught fire in the incident. Police are investigating which vehicle was targeted.

Police did pursue a car on Interstate 84, but nothing came of it.

The fire marshal and police are investigating.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Isolated Thunderstorm Possible Later Today]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:47:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/9315+Model+RPM4+Precip+Clouds+Floater+1200.jpg

The large ridge of high pressure that has dominated our weather this week will maintain control through Labor Day Weekend.

A backdoor cold front slipping south from northern New England could spark off isolated showers and thunderstorms late this afternoon and early this evening. A handful of towns will be impacted but most will stay dry. The severe threat is very low.

UConn Football has its home opener at 7:30 p.m., and it will be very warm for football.

Temperatures will be in the middle-80s for kickoff at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. It will be very humid.

Behind the cold front that comes through this evening, all signs of humidity will be erased!

Some schools let students out early Thursday because of another hot day.

Tomorrow features morning clouds and perhaps some drizzle, before the clouds melt away and sunshine dominates by the afternoon hours. It will certainly be less hot and far more comfortable as the humidity will be gone. Temperatures will struggle to reach 80 degrees.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday all feature unlimited sunshine with no humidity. While the weather typically dries out in the fall, this is still an exceptional stretch of weather.

Not a drop of rain or even hint of humidity are expected for the Woodstock Fair, which kicks off Friday and goes through Monday. Stop by and see First Alert 1 at the fair on Friday!

Temperatures will be in the 80s Saturday, but soar into the lower-90s for Sunday and Monday. The key to the forecast, though, is that humidity will stay away despite the high heat!

By the middle part of next week, the dry weather comes to an end as dips start to show up in the jet stream overhead. A cold front could bring showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday and Thursday.

The weekend is looking sunny and cloudless. Temperatures will pick up again over the weekend.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Route 32 Closed in Franklin Due to Rollover Crash]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 08:23:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/franklin+road+closed+1200.jpg

Route 32 is closed in Franklin due to a rollover crash.

There is no word on injuries.

Drivers can take Robinson Hill Road as a detour.

No further information was immediately available.

<![CDATA[Police Seek Carjacker Who Attacked Woman in Commuter Lot]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:28:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/east+hartford+parking+lot+assault+1200.jpg

East Hartford and state police are searching for a person who attacked a woman at an East Hartford commuter lot off Route 15 Thursday morning and stole her car.

It's not the first time police have responded to the the lot in the last few weeks.

The woman was assaulted in the exit 90 commuter parking lot off Route 15 on Main Street in East Hartford near the Econo Lodge, police said. Her attacker stole her black Honda Element, according to police.

The suspect fled in the victim's car and led East Hartford police on a brief pursuit, crashing minutes later and fleeing on foot, state police said. They found the stolen car on McKee Street, police said. State police responded at about 2:30 a.m. The carjacker was nowhere to be found.

State police, a K-9 unit and East Hartford police spent the morning searching the area of Main Street and McKee Street for the suspect. The commuter lot was closed as police investigated. The crime scene tape came down just an hour before the school bus arrived at the lot to pick up students, including East Hartford resident Simone Berry's children. She said she was surprised to hear about the assault there.


"I just started bringing my kids here and it's scary. Very, very, very scary. Oh my goodness," Berry said, adding, "so now that’s really, really scary. Now I have to think about what I'm going to do with my kids. I don’t know if I want to bring them to this commuter lot anymore."

State police said the incident appears isolated and does not pose a threat to the community.

The woman was taken to Manchester Hospital to be treated for injuries. There were no other victims, according to police.

There is no description of the suspect at this time.

News of the assault had other commuters on edge.

"It just stopped me in my tracks just to know that we are here every morning and afternoon," Tiffany Milledge said.

This is not the first time a criminal incident has happened in the lot recently. Last month, police responded to a shooting involving a 26-year-old victim found in a seat of a parked car near the intersection of Silver Lane. That person was transported to the hospital to be treated for several non-life-threatening injuries. The shooter wasn't caught, but state police said they've been patrolling the area.

"Troopers do patrol. They patrol their beat,l their highway, their exit and then, yes, any commuter lot that falls in their patrol area," State Police Trooper Kelly Grant, a spokesperson for the state police, said.

While both incidents remain under investigation, police said it's a good reminder for commuters to be cautious.

"We don't want people to be uncomfortable in that lot. This is looking like an isolated incident, but again, we want people to be aware of their surroundings," police said.

State police are overseeing the investigation because it happened in a state commuter parking lot. East Hartford police are assisting in the investigation.

State police ask anyone with information to call 860-685-8190. Tips will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Community Comes Together to Remember Hartford Murder Victim]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 04:52:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+william+prieto+vigil.jpg

Dozens joined together in the capital city Wednesday night to remember one of Hartford's latest homicide victims and embrace another family torn apart by violence.

Candles lit the night at a vigil outside the South Prospect Street home of 32-year-old William Prieto. The Hartford father left behind an unborn child, a son and a 10-year-old daughter, Zormaris.

"I really miss him. I really miss him," said Zormaris. "I wanted him to be here for me. He always said he would be here for me, and he couldn't."

The victim's brother, stunned by the loss, is asking why.

"Whoever killed my brother, I just want to know who it is. Why? I need answers," said Jose Torres.

Prieto was sitting on his porch just before midnight Tuesday when a gunman fired several shots and fled, according to police. The victim's pregnant girlfriend was also outside and witnessed the murder.

"He didn't want to die. He loved me and my brother," said Zormaris.

Family members said that despite troubles in the past, Prieto managed to turn his life around and tried to help others.

"He came out in a positive way," said Torres.

Just eight hours after Prieto's brutal death, violence took another life in Hartford.

Desmond Wright, 32, was walking down Pershing Street when he was shot in the head, according to police.

No arrests have been made in either case. The violence has left two families with heartache and a need for answers.

"It put a hole in our hearts. He's my little brother," said Torres. "Whoever did this, justice will be served. That's all I'm saying. You can never hide. They'll catch you."

A vigil will be held Thursday for Wright.

<![CDATA[Essay Contest Winner Gets Banquet Hall as Prize]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:43:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/BANQUETSTILL090215.jpg

Tony Mavuli has put his profits back into the banquet hall he's built up in Seymour over the past 34 years, and now he wants to pass Villa Bianca along to the right people.

"It's in perfect shape. Everything is like brand new," he said.

Mavuli said his own grown children have other interests. So he hopes to be giving away Tavern 1757, the chapel, the outdoor pavilion, the gardens, even his house, to someone who can describe in an essay why he or she deserves to win this business.

The website to enter is winyourdreamlife.com.

"Everybody's got a chance to enter. It can be family, businessman, anybody," he said.

It may remind you of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Willy Wonka's golden tickets, but there is one crucial difference. To make sure serious people submit entries, there's a $1,000 entry fee. That's a measure of passion.

Mavuli won't be leaving the area and said he'll make sure all brides-to-be who have booked weddings there into 2017 get what they want. He'd like to see his lead employees kept on as well.

Independent judges will choose the winning essay. The contest ends Dec. 15 or with the 12,000th entry.

After the 10,000th entry, the fees go toward the Wounded Warrior Project and scholarships in Seymour.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Free Climber Airlifted After Falling at Hubbard Park in Meriden]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:21:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hubbard+park.JPG

A man in his 20s was airlifted to the hospital Wednesday evening after falling while free climbing at Hubbard Park in Meriden, according to the fire department.

Fire officials said the free climber was scaling the Castle Craig area around 7 p.m. when he fell 20 to 30 feet. Two hikers coming up the trail saw him fell and called 911.

The man fell in a rocky area and was briefly unconscious, then confused when he woke up, according to the fire department. Officials said he complained of chest and leg pain.

Rescuers used a rope system to bring him up the side of the mountain. It took about an hour to pull him up and load him into a waiting LifeStar helicopter, fire officials said.

The climber was airlifted to Hartford Hospital for treatment. His condition is unknown.

Fire officials are reminding residents of the dangers of hiking and climbing alone in a remote area.

Photo Credit: Ari Mason]]>
<![CDATA[Bronin Defends Choice to Send Kids to Private School]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 20:37:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/luke+bronin+hartford.jpg

A well-known education voice in Connecticut was critical of Hartford mayoral candidate Luke Bronin in a recent blog post for his decision to send his children to a private school in West Hartford rather than public schools.

Former State Rep. Jonathan Pelto wrote that Bronin's decision to send his two young children to the Montessori School of Greater Hartford "sends out a powerful message about privilege and entitlement."

Bronin, the Democratic Town Committee-endorsed candidate for mayor, said the decision is a personal one, but also a reasoned one.

The couple had intended to send their children to the Annie Fischer Montessori Magnet School in Hartford but circumstances changed after their son had been enrolled there for one year.

"Like a lot of parents, we put our child into the lottery. We had two children who we hoped would do well in the lottery, and like a lot of parents, we didn’t fare well," Bronin said.

When their daughter wasn't admitted, they shifted their focus to finding a suitable private school that both children could attend.

The Bronins' disappointment with their lottery experience may influence Luke Bronin's policy agenda.

"That part of the process was frustrating for us like the process is frustrating for a lot of Hartford parents," he said.. "One of the things that I would like to do is try to make the lottery process more transparent, a lot more user friendly."

Two members of Segarra's City Hall staff posted links to Pelto's blog post, along with comments critical of Bronin, but the posts were deleted.

Bronin, who attended private and boarding schools himself before attending completing his undergraduate and and advanced degrees at Yale and Oxford, said he won't rule out sending his children to Hartford Public Schools in the future.

"I would love to send my kids at some point to public school," he said. "We’ve made a decision as parents that this is the right choice for our kids right now and I think any parent would understand that."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Segarra's History in Hartford Called Into Question]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:59:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+mayor+pedro+segarra+connecticut.jpg

Mayor Pedro Segarra has maintained quite proudly on the campaign trail that he has spent a total of 41 years in Connecticut's capital city, but one local lawyer calls that into question.

According to documents provided by the Florida Bar Association, Segarra practiced law in Florida from 1999 to 2005. His addresses are all in the Miami area.

"It was a commute situation in which I co-owned an office in Florida and I co-owned an office in Hartford," Segarra said.

He added that clients in both locations didn't even notice he was gone when he was in a different part of the country.

Bruce Rubenstein of the Hartford Internal Audit Commission cross-referenced the years in Florida with years Segarra claims to have lived in Hartford by checking local listings for both law practices and residences.

What Rubenstein found when it came to Segarra's residence and professional listings surprised him. Segarra had no listings during that time in the Hartford area.

"I’ve been practicing law in Hartford for 34 years. I’ve met thousands of lawyers," Rubenstein said. "I’ve never met a lawyer yet that failed to have a White Page or Yellow Page listing in their professional life."

The Florida Bar has a record that Segarra had an office at 250 Main Street Hartford, but it's unclear whether Segarra provided legal services out of that office.

The mayor has made the issue of residency in Hartford a key talking point of his campaign. He maintains that Luke Bronin, his challenger in the Democratic primary in two weeks, doesn't have roots in Hartford.

Bronin moved to Hartford in 2006.

During an interview Wednesday, Bronin said Segarra has created the issue and now can't back up his claims.

"The only reason we’re talking about residency is that Pedro Segarra has made that the centerpiece of his campaign, and now we find that the number he’s used at every public appearance isn’t true," Bronin said, referring to the 41 years in Hartford that Segarra claims.

The mayor said he could provide documentation to prove he lived and worked in both Hartford and Miami during the period of time in question.

Segarra also allowed his Florida Bar affiliation to lapse due to a lack of Continuing Legal Education.

The mayor said Tuesday during a press event touting construction progress at the new Yard Goats stadium that was always his intention.

"I no longer have an intent to practice in Florida. They require that you do continuing education, and I believe several years back that Florida license lapsed," he said.

Rubenstein said the residence and professional issues are part of a greater problem for the mayor.

“He’s been extremely deceptive about his past," he said.

Multiple attempts to reach the Segarra campaign Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Homicide Rate Climbs to Highest in New England]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 20:20:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hartford00000000.jpg

A crime wave is giving Connecticut’s capital city a deadly reputation.

After 19 homicides in 2014, Deputy Chief Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department said he expected the crime rate to increase this year.

"Last year, we anticipated that we’d have a spike in crime this year. Certainly not as high as it is," Foley said.

The city has experienced 24 homicides so far this year.

Foley said the cause of the crime spree is hard to pinpoint because there are many factors.

"If you look at convictions a few years ago, you can see who’s coming out of jail," Foley pointed out. "We also knew where our staffing was. We also knew where everybody’s resources were."

Hartford police said those resources have been tightened on the national, state and local levels.

"We continue to be a very vital partner. I’ve actually sent more resources to Hartford than just about anyplace else and sent more resources to Hartford than they asked for in the last round," said Gov. Dan Malloy.

Bernie Sullivan, who served as Hartford police chief from 1982 to 1989, remembers when the city’s crime rate was even worse.

"When I was chief, we were running 40 homicides a year. We had a lot more gang activity," said Sullivan.

Unlike other crime, which has gone down, the homicide rate in Hartford is the highest in four years.

Some business owners said  violent crime is having an impact on those making an investment in the city. Landlords like John Milledge have trouble finding tenants.

"All too often I’ve seen my property located around the city, the North End particularly, on the news," said Milledge.

Desmond Wright, 32, was shot in the temple and left to die on the sidewalk on Pershing Street in broad daylight Tuesday.

"The crime rate is so different now. I’m not safe as I was," said Deborah McDonald, who grew up in the neighborhood and still lives there.

She said the city needs to create more opportunity for work.

"How do these young kids get guns? You can get a gun but you can’t get a job," she wondered.

This year's homicide rate in Hartford has now surpassed that of Boston, a city five times its size. It's also more than the homicide rate in Bridgeport and New Haven put together.

<![CDATA[Iconic T-Bowl Alley Closing in Newington]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 22:11:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/newington+t-bowl.jpg

An iconic T-Bowl alley in Newington has closed after 54 years.

T-Bowl Lanes, also known as Fun Squared, first opened in 1961. The "small ball" bowling alley shut down because the number of duckpin lanes have been dwindling in the state, according to town officials.

"Businesses evolve, and this business, although I think it was still very popular, they got a very good offer from Ashley Furniture and decided to retire," said Newington Town Manager John Salamone.

Salamone said the owner passed away several years ago and his wife continued to maintain the alley, which is located on the Berlin Turnpike.

"I’m actually kind of sad to see it go," said Wethersfield resident Brandon LaSalle. "Being from this local area, it’s one of the few places you could T-Bowl still. And it’s a great place to bring the kids."

Now construction crews are removing what’s left. The building will be transformed into an Ashley Furniture store, which will move in by the end of 2015.

"It’s really the story of Berlin Turnpike, it’s always evolving it really does it reinvents itself all the time so something that become T-Bowl will become Ashley Furniture," said Salamone.

<![CDATA[Norwalk Schools to Dismiss Early Thursday Amid Heat]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:37:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/1114-generic-school-bus.jpg

Several public schools in Norwalk will dismiss early Thursday as temperatures climb into the 90s.

"We are concerned about the impact that heat may have on studentts in our schools that have limited air conditioning," school officials said in an announcement on the district website Wednesday.

The following schools will dismiss two hours early on Thursday, Sept. 3:

Nathan Hale Middle School
Ponus Ridge Middle School
Roton Middle School
West Rocks Middle School
Cranbury Elementary School
Kendall Elementary School
Naramake Elementary School
Rowayton Elementary School
Silvermine Elementary School
Tracey Elementary School
Wolfpit Elementary School

After-school activities are also canceled at the affected schools.

Lunch will be provided and buses will pick up students at the early dismissal time.

The Bellizzi School in Hartford will also have early dismissal Thursday because of the heat.