<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:02:05 -0400 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:02:05 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Apple CEO Tim Cook: "I'm Proud to Be Gay"]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:44:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tim-cook.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out publicly about his sexuality in an op-ed for Bloomberg Businessweek, saying, "I'm proud to be gay" and that he hoped to inspire others.

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now," Cook said in the article, entitled "Tim Cook Speaks Up" published on Thursday. "So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

Cook, who was named CEO in August 2011, has never publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation, but he said many of his colleagues at Apple already knew. He said the choice to come out wasn’t easy as privacy is important to him, but he hopes his public declaration helps others.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” Cook wrote. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”

Although cook had never acknowledged he is a gay man, he spoke out against discrimination against the LGBT community in the past.

In June, he tweeted his support for the White House’s decision prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, calling it “a matter of basic human dignity." And in February, he applauded a coach of his hometown college football team for saying he would welcome a gay player on the team.






Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Texas School Bans Football T-Shirt]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:08:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Martin+football+t-shirt.jpg

The Arlington Independent School District has banned a high school football team T-shirt with the slogan "Shhhhhhh just let it happen" after the school newspaper's editorial staff questioned whether the message was a rape innuendo.

The shirt was designed by senior members of Arlington Martin High School's football team and printed by the football booster club, according to the booster club president.

The full message on the front reads, "Martin Football" in big gray letters above a Native American man, who represents the school's Warrior mascot. To the left of the man is a pirate flag, with a skull and crossbones, along with the words, "We take what we want." Below the flag is the "Shhhhhhh just let it happen" phrase.

The most recent edition of 'The Warrior Post,' the bi-monthly newspaper for Martin High School, features a staff editorial titled "Out of Bounds" that includes the following passage:

"...can this saying be easily misunderstood? Yes. Though it certainly was not the goal of the shirt, its slogan connotes rape culture. This is not what we want to display as a slogan for our Varsity football program..."

"Certainly the booster club and the coaches, nobody construed it in that manner," said Leslie Johnston, director of communications for Arlington ISD, who estimates that around 50 of the shirts were printed. "They just thought it was a football shirt. And when that was pointed out, that it could be taken in that way the students have, they are no longer wearing them."

"They would never want to condone any kind of behavior like that," Johnston added.

Jerred Osterman, 18, a Martin senior and the editor-in-chief of 'The Warrior Post' told NBC 5 neither he nor his staff questions the motivation of the players or their message of team unity behind the shirt; only the wording of the message and how it might be perceived.

"It's inappropriate and it's not something that you want to represent Martin with," Osterman said.

A female student at Martin High School approached a member of the news staff with her concern over the T-shirt, according to Osterman, which became the motivation for the editorial.

The pirate theme of the shirt denotes the football team's mentality of trying to force turnovers, according to Martin coach Bob Wager.

Both Wager and booster club president Kevin White told NBC 5 they never considered the message on the shirt to be potentially inappropriate, with each adding that if they had they would have never allowed it to be made or worn.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Man Frames Ex-Roommate in Fake Threat to Obama]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:49:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/obama+westchester+aug+28.jpg

A 30-year-old New York man accused of calling in a fake threat on the life of President Barack Obama told investigators he framed his former roommate, a New Haven resident, because he didn’t approve of the man’s romantic relationship and wanted to get him in trouble, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Juan Medina, of Yonkers, used a prepaid cellphone to call police during Obama’s trip to Westchester County for a fundraiser Aug. 29.

Medina identified himself as “Hassan” and said his former roommate, who lives in New Haven, was traveling to New York to shoot the president with an AK-47, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Authorities said Medina gave police his roommate’s name and address in New Haven, along with a description of the man’s car. Secret Service agents flocked to the neighborhood and searched surrounding towns to track him down. Hamden police spotted the man’s car in a city parking lot and found him at a home nearby.

A searched turned up no evidence to corroborate the threat and prosecutors said the man was surprised to learn the Secret Service was looking for him.

He directed agents to Medina, who admitted to making the call because he didn’t approve of his former roommate’s relationship and wanted to get him in trouble, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Medina faces federal charges and could face up to five years in prison if convicted. He was released on a $25,000 bond.

<![CDATA[Sandy Survivor Describes Struggle]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:50:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/199*120/sandy+survior+staten+island.JPG

A Staten Island woman who lost her husband and daughter during Sandy says she survived for a reason.

"It's very important I can't curl up in a corner, I have to get up every day and try," said Patricia Dresch of Tottenville, two years after Sandy.

"It's a miracle. I survived for a reason," she said. "Maybe to help someone down the road, give somebody courage to go on."

Dresch and her family ignored evacuation orders on Oct. 29, 2012, because their home had been looted when they left before Irene. So they stayed. They soon realized it was a mistake.

"I saw the waves are coming up across the street," she said. "I said 'Oh my God, what's happening?'"

She said she tried to grasp her 13-year old daughter Angela, but the storm waters soon became too intense. One wall of her Yetman Avenue home collapsed and her husband George was killed after getting whisked away in the flood.

“I'm holding onto Angela, and the water’s coming up over us, and we went under. I thought we were going to fall through the floor," she recalled.

"All of a sudden the wall just opened up, and we went out -- the whole yard," she said. "I don't know if I let go of her or she let go of me -- she just slipped away from me.”

Her daughter was found dead right in front of the property.

Hours later, somehow, firefighters found Dresch hundreds of yards away, still breathing in the rubble. Her body temperature had dropped to 81 degrees. She was bruised and battered but had no broken bones.

Her spirit — and her heart — would need healing.

For months, she slept on a cot in her church, while working to keep her mind off the nightmare. Then the city bought her old property, and she used the money to buy a new house, about a mile north of where the tide surged.

She’s working, day by day, to recover emotionally -- thanks to friends, family and a new grandson. Her older daughter recently gave birth to baby Shea, named after the stadium.

But she’s never been back to her old block.

"Maybe 10 years from now. Right now I can't," she said. "I want to remember the block the way it was. I want to remember it in my mind the way it was."

<![CDATA[Nurse Steps Out, Slams Quarantine]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:01:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kaci-Hickox.jpg

Nurse Kaci Hickox, who recently returned from treating Ebola victims in West Africa and has challenged the legality of a quarantine, spoke outside of her Maine home after health officials announced they are seeking a court order to force her to stay home in quarantine for three weeks over public health concerns.

Hickox walked out of her Fort Kent home Wednesday night, defying the Maine CDC's protocol for health care workers who have treated Ebola patients.

"We have to make decisions based on science," she told reporters while standing outside with her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur. "You could hug me. You could shake my hand and not get Ebola."

The state wants people who have had direct contact with Ebola patients to remain home and avoid public contact until the virus' 21-day incubation period had passed, and it will seek court orders to force them to if they don't of their own accord, officials said at a Wednesday press conference in Augusta.

"Our true desire is for a voluntary separation from the public. We do not want to legally enforce an in-home quarantine unless absolutely necessary," Maine Commissioner of Health and Human Services Mary Mayhew said. "However, we will pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for all Mainers."

Mayhew defended the state's effort to enforce what it continued to call a "voluntary" quarantine, saying it reflected a "common-sense approach" that would "guard against a public health crisis in Maine."

The court order seeking to force Hickox to remain home will ideally be filed Wednesday, Mayhew said.

Officials also said state troopers are outside of her door waiting to tail her and see who she comes into contact with if she leaves home.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hickox, a nurse who had first been quarantined in New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport over the weekend and was released after showing no symptoms, told Matt Lauer on "Today" that she wasn't abiding by Maine CDC's recommendation; the state's CDC recommendation is more strict than federal guidelines.

"I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public," Hickox said. 

Gov. Paul LePage said in a statement earlier on Wednesday that while he's concerned with the safety and health of Hickox and the community of Fort Kent, the state is "exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being" of Hickox and the community.

"While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits," LePage's statement said.

<![CDATA[Made Pariahs for Helping? Ebola Aid Groups Struggle]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:48:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/newark+quarantine+controversy.jpg

Courtney Clark is back in the United States after spending 20 months in Guinea as a public health volunteer. The 24-year-old Michigan native would like to return to Ebola-stricken West Africa, but now fears she'd be quarantined when she comes home.

"When I returned in August, it was low-key, and there wasn’t a hysteria in the U.S.,” Clark told NBC. “If I were coming now, I would be worried about how airport officials would treat me. I would also be hesitant to tell people outside of my family.”

As a handful of states enact strict new quarantine protocols, and other groups including schools respond with great caution if not fear about Ebola, aid organizations are concerned that such measures will be a deterrent to other prospective West Africa volunteers like Clark.

On Oct. 24, New York and New Jersey announced a 21-day quarantine for anyone traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who had been in contact with an Ebola patient. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week revealed new, altered guidelines for how the U.S. should handle travelers from Ebola-affected countries, but said that some measures taken by states go too far.

“We are concerned about some policies that we have seen … that might have the effect of increasing stigma or creating false impressions,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters Monday.

"Stringent quarantine requirements will be a deterrent for doctors and nurses who otherwise might be able to go and volunteer there,” Dr. Irwin Redlener, a special advisor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for emergency management and planning said in a statement. “I know for a fact that there are doctors who are saying if I knew that I had to be mandatorily interred for three weeks I wouldn't have gone."

Some say the mandate is based more on fear than on fact.

“We are dismayed that it was put into effect without consultation with health authorities,” said Miranda Sissons, executive director of Doctors of the World USA. The international humanitarian organization provides emergency and long-term medical care to countries all over the world, including West Africa.

“The protocols in effect now keep the community safe. If you follow the protocols of self reporting, you keep the public safe,” Sissons said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended the new protocols in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday, saying that the move was aimed at protecting people in his state. He also said Kaci Hickox, the nurse who penned a critical first-person account after she became the first person quarantined in the Garden State under the mandate, had been discharged after being "symptom-free."

Hickox had no symptoms other than an initial 101-degree temperature taken by a forehead scanner when she was "flushed and upset" by her treatment at Newark Liberty International Airport, she wrote in her Dallas Morning News article.

On Wednesday, Hickox told Matt Lauer on "Today" that she will not abide by Maine health officials' recommendation that she continue to comply with a 21-day quarantine at home.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said.

The organization she volunteered for, Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday it “strongly disagrees with blanket forced quarantine for health care workers returning from Ebola affected countries.” The group said it respected Hickox’s right to “challenge excessive restrictions being placed upon her.”

Sissons said that people who aren't discouraged by the quarantine protocols may still be discouraged by the possible perception they may encounter when they return to the U.S. from an Ebola-stricken region.

"Aid workers in this epidemic risk their lives and stigma associated to their work," Sissons said.

Organizations fighting Ebola in West Africa have emphasized that volunteers are desperately needed to combat the virus.

The president of the World Bank said on Tuesday that West Africa needs more than 5,000 additional health care workers to control its outbreak. In early October, Global aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also said  it had even rejected a donation from Australia of more than $2 million and asked the country for volunteers instead, saying even a small amount of healthcare workers would have a "very significant impact.”

The death toll in the Ebola epidemic has risen to 4,922 in eight countries through Oct. 23, the World Health Organization reported.

“I wish the U.S. could redirect all of this energy to the people of West Africa,” said Angela Dunn, epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "They are the ones with the true crisis. The disaster is in West Africa. We need to do everything we can to stop the suffering. Not only because it will help Americans stay safe, but more importantly because it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, I fear the current situation in the U.S. will only extend the suffering in West Africa.”

President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the American volunteers going to Africa to fight Ebola were doing "God's work" and need to be supported. Obama repeated the message Wednesday at the White House surrounded by health care workers who have been in West Africa: "What we need right now is these shock troops that are out there leading globally. And we can't discourage that, we need to encourage it, and applaud it," Obama said.

The stricter rules haven't deterred all volunteers. Hickox said on "Today" she planned to eventually return to Sierra Leone, where she volunteered for four weeks.

Ohio native Alexa Gudelsky, 24, who served as a public health volunteer for the Peace Corps in Guinea for nearly two years, also said she would return to the region despite the protocols and possible stigma she would face upon her return.

"These people need help and it’s not like when you step out of the plane you are going to die," Gudelsky said. "We’re obligated to help them because they are part of the human race. When we have thousands of people dying and the capabilities to help — we should."

<![CDATA[How Is Ebola Spread?]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 05:37:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/456202288.jpg

The latest case of a positive Ebola test in the United States sparked immediate concerns about who may have been exposed and helped shed light on how the potentially deadly virus is, and isn't, spread.

Craig Spencer, a doctor who recently returned from West Africa, where he was on an Ebola assignment for Doctors Without Borders, tested positive for the virus Thursday at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York reporting a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms, a source familiar with the results told NBC New York.

Ebola can only be spread by infected people who show symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. If an exposed person does not develop symptoms within 21 days of exposure, the person will not become sick with Ebola, according to the CDC.

"There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms," the CDC's director Dr. Thomas Frieden explained last month, after the first patient tested positive in the United States.

That patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, recently flew to the United States from Liberia, one of the West African countries now grappling with a deadly Ebola outbreak. Because he showed no signs of sickness until four days after landing in the U.S., however, officials are not worried about travelers who were on the plane with him. Duncan died on Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital.

The initial spread of the Ebola virus to humans is unknown, although researchers believe that "patient zero" in the recent West Africa outbreak became infected through contact with an infected animal, possibly a bat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Ebola Is Spread:

Once a person is infected, the CDC said there are several ways Ebola can spread to other people:

  • Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola, including urine, saliva, breat milk, feces, vomit and semen. To become infected with the virus, you would need to get some of the ill person’s bodily fluids into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or into your body via a cut or a needle stick. Doctors say that there is no evidence anyone has ever been infected via sweat.
  • Touching objects contaminated with the virus, like syringes or other medical equipment
  • Touching infected animals, by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat
  • A cough from a sick patient could infect someone close enough to be sprayed with droplets of mucus or saliva. People dealing with anyone who may be ill are told to stand at least three feet away, preferably six. Being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time, without wearing protective gear, is considered direct contact, according to Frieden.
  • According to a new Ebola situation assessment issued by the World Health Organization on Monday, saliva and tears may also carry some risk. "However, the studies implicating these additional bodily fluids were extremely limited in sample size and the science is inconclusive, W.H.O. said. "In studies of saliva, the virus was found most frequently in patients at a severe stage of illness. The whole live virus has never been isolated from sweat."

Direct contact through broken skin or mucus membranes is key, as the CDC said Ebola cannot be spread through the air (the virus doesn't drift through the air like germs that cause measles or tuberculosis) or by water or food. However, that may not have been the case in some cases in Africa, where Ebola may have been spread through the handling of wild animals hunted for food and contact with infected bats, according to the CDC.

What Are the Symptoms of Ebola:

The following symptoms can appear from two to 21 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Muscle pain

Generally, after 21 days, if an exposed person has not developed symptoms, he or she will not become sick, the CDC said.

However, the Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to three months after exposure, so those who have recovered from the virus are advised not to have sex, or else only to have sex using condoms, during that time, according to the CDC.

Are Patients Who Recover From Ebola Immune for Life?

Evidence shows that people who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, or longer, according to the CDC. But it's not known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola.

Can Ebola Be Passed on the Subway?

Spencer rode the subways, A, L and No. 1 since arriving in New York on Oct. 17, according to officials. Until Thursday morning, his temperature was normal and he was not experiencing any of the early symptoms of Ebola disease.

No one has conduced tests on Ebola transmission on subways, according to The New York Times, but no case of transmission to a human from a dry surface has ever been confirmed and there are no known instances of transmission on public transport in Africa. The C.D.C. has said there is “no epidemiological evidence” for transmission from hospital surfaces, including bed rails and door knobs – which are similar to subway poles and a bus handles.  

Can Ebola Mutate to Become Aiborne?

According to experts, it is very unlikely that the virus would mutate to become airborne. The Ebola virus has not previously mutated in this way, and experts say there is no other virus that has changed from non-airborne to airborne in humans.

Can Mosquitoes Spread Ebola?

There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit the virus, according to the CDC. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys and apes) have shown the ability to spread and become infected with Ebola virus.

How Long Does the Ebola Virus Live:

The virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops, according to the C.D.C. It can, however, survive for several days in puddles or collections of body fluid at room temperature. It is not clear how long it may survive in soiled linens and clothing.

A thorough cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants (such as household bleach) will kill Ebola.

How Can Travelers Protect Themselves:

The CDC said travelers can do several things to protect themselves when visiting the area where the outbreak is occurring, including:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch the blood and body fluids of an ill person or the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on facilities.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5oF/ 38.6oC) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, but researchers are currently testing two.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[1 Dead in CA Military Plane Crash]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:48:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/141029-point-mugu-military-plane-crash.jpg

The pilot of a military jet was killed when the aircraft crashed in a field in the Point Mugu area on Wednesday, the Ventura County Fire Department said.

The Hawker Hunter MK-58 came down about 5 p.m. just off Highway 1 and Hueneme Road, said Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration.

A witness told NBC4 that the jet just "nosed down" and described the scene as a "tremendous crash."

Responders located the pilot seat in the field with the deceased pilot belted in.

"They saw a parachute in the debris field. It is unknown whether he tried to eject or whether that was just part of the field,” Ventura Co. Fire Capt. Mike Lindberry said. 

The jet crashed about a mile short of the Naval base runway. 

Naval Base Ventura County spokeswoman Kimberly Gearhart said the single-seater jet was a contract aircraft that flew out of Point Mugu and was operated by the company ATAC. The Navy uses the aircraft for training missions as the enemy in mock aerial operations. The jet was returning from an offshore exercise when it went down. 

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, Kenitzer said.

"The investigation for this is going to be a lengthy one," Ventura Co. Sheriff's Capt. Don Aguilar said. 

Two and a half years ago, the pilot of another Hunter Hawker had been killed when it also went down on a training mission. A temporary grounding of the fleet was later lifted. It will be the responsibility of federal investigators to determine what went wrong in Wednesday's crash.

The name of the pilot who died in the crash is being withheld until his family is notified.

Willian Avila and Rosa Ordaz contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Scientists ID Debris as Piece of Amelia Earhart's Plane]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:12:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TIGHAR.jpg

A group of scientists says it has identified a piece of famed aviator Amelia Earhart's twin-engine Lockheed Electra, 77 years after her ill-fated flight around the world, Discovery.com reported.

The piece of debris — a custom-made, aluminum window patch — was discovered back in 1991 on the uninhabited atoll of Nikumaroro, part of the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati.

Researchers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) say that its new analysis suggests Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, made a forced landing on a small, sandy island in the southwest Pacific before dying as castaways there. It has long been believed that Earhart's plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean after running out of fuel.

According to TIGHAR, the patch is "as unique to her particular aircraft as a fingerprint is to an individual." On top of that, TIGHAR says, its 10 archaeological expeditions to Nikumaroro have yielded strong circumstantial evidence that castaways were once present there.

TIGHAR has been trying to unravel the mystery of Earhart's doomed flight for years, and it called its latest identification a breakthrough in the case.

Its researchers are set to return to Nikumaroro in June 2015 to explore a mysterious object 600 feet underwater that it says could be Earhart's plane. The expedition will also search for smaller objects at shallower depths.

Earhart was the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean alone. Her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, while she was attempting to circumnavigate the globe. She and Noonan, who was also on board, were never seen again.

Photo Credit: TIGHAR]]>
<![CDATA[Man Fatally Shoots Would-Be Robber]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:59:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/aldi-grocery-store.jpg

A 71-year-old man fatally shot a would-be robber who knocked down his wife and tried to steal her necklace in a Dallas grocery store parking lot Tuesday night, police say.

“My first thing was screaming, “who shot him, who shot him?””, said Yadira Juarez, a witness, “That’s when the older guy was like I did.”

Police said Ronnie Lummus and his wife were in front of Aldi Food Market in the 3100 block of Forest Lane in North Dallas Tuesday Night.

Officers said a man suddenly grabbed a gold necklace from the woman's neck and knocked her to ground in an attempt to rob her.

“Her neck was all red, I guess from him, I guess he was choking her and pulled her down because she had scrapes and she had one bruise, but it all just happened so fast,” Juarez said.

Lummus had a concealed handgun and fired multiple times at the man as he tried to get away, according to police.

The man, who has not been identified, was 36-years-old, according to police. He was able to flee to a nearby vehicle, but witnesses say he crashed shortly after in the same parking lot.

Juarez said a 911 operator told her and another woman who rushed to help to check the man who was shot for a pulse.

“We called the cops and they said 'well check if he’s breathing or if he’s ok,' but that’s when he was just laying like this, and he had a hole here and he was like his mouth was full of blood and he wasn’t moving so I was like I’m guessing he’s dead,” Juarez said.

Dallas Police Department officials said Lummus has a valid concealed handgun license.

He, his wife and witnesses told police that the shooting was in self-defense.

Lummus was released on his own recognizance, and police said the shooting will be referred to the grand jury.

NBC 5's Jocelyn Lockwood contributed to this story.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dem's Hubby Swipes GOP Signs: Cops]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:04:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/198*120/Dana+Long+Campagin+Sign+Theft.JPG

The husband of a Democratic incumbent lawmaker now up for re-election in Delaware stole Republican campaign signs under the cover of darkness, according to police.

And Republican party supporters, concerned about a series of recent thefts of GOP party signs, captured the heist on cellphone video.

Middletown, Delaware, police issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Dana Long following the thefts at Middletown Odessa and Silver Lake roads.

"My husband is the man depicted in the video," said state Sen. Bethany Hall-Long (D-Middletown) in a prepared statement.

Police say Dana Long stole signs with slogans such as “Delaware Needs Jobs, Vote Republican” and “Fix the Economy, Vote Republican” written on them.

Hall-Long, who took office in District 10 in 2009, is currently running for re-election against Republican challenger John Marino, a retired New York City police officer. Hall-Long served in the state House before serving in the Senate.

"Sadly, this race has become tough and personal," said Hall-Long. "I was not aware that he had allowed his frustration over the campaign attacks to get the better of him. Of course I'm disappointed and wish that it had not happened."

On her campaign website, Hall-Long says that she married her high school sweetheart Dana, a U.S. Navy veteran, 27 years ago.

Hall-Long withheld further comment citing potential legal action by the GOP.

Wednesday’s incident was the third time the Republican signs placed along Middletown Odessa Road went missing, according to investigators. On Sunday about 28 went missing, were replaced and by Tuesday morning were missing again.

Police said that local Republicans put the signs back up and waited to see if anyone came by to take the signs. The Republicans captured him removing the signs and returning to his car around 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to investigators.

In video the local GOP supplied to NBC10, you can see a man rush back into his car after being approached by the Republican advocates.

“Those aren’t your signs, bud,” said one man.

“There’s no name on these signs,” replied the man with an armful of signs.

The GOP says that the signs do state that they are the property of the Republican Party of Delaware.

Police expect Long, 54, to surrender Thursday morning.

The leader of Delaware’s Democratic Party denounced any theft of signs.

"The bottom line is that this is not a Republican or Democratic issue -- this is a campaign issue happening by all parties, and it must end," said Democratic Party chair John Daniello.

"Each campaign season, we deal with candidates removing their opponents signs. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable. There are more positive ways in which to support your candidate regardless of party affiliation," he said. "Candidates, their supporters, and their campaigns must lead by example and discourage this behavior. We understand that this election is coming to a close and tensions are high, but Democrats shouldn't waste their time on such senseless acts."

Photo Credit: YouTube.com - Republican Party of Delaware]]>
<![CDATA[Maine Nurse Slams Quarantine: I'm Not Going to Be Bullied]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:02:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Kaci-Hickox.jpg

The nurse released after kept in a New Jersey isolation tent for three days upon her return from West Africa said that she will not abide by Maine health officials' recommendation that she continue to comply with a 21-day quarantine at home.

Kaci Hickox said that if Maine’s restrictions are not lifted by Thursday, “I will go to court to fight for my freedom.”

Hickox spoke out against her quarantine on NBC’s “Today” show via Skype, saying she is thankful to be “out of the tent in Newark” but has found herself in “yet another prison” at home in Fort Kent.

Her lawyer earlier told the Bangor Daily News that Hickox has only agreed to not going out for two days.

“I don’t plan on sticking to the [quarantine] guidelines,” Hickox said on "Today." “I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me, even though I am in perfectly good health and feeling strong and have been this entire time completely symptom free.”

Hickox has shown no symptoms of the deadly virus since she treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for four weeks. An initial 101-degree temperature taken by a forehead scanner upon her return to the U.S. was because she was "flushed and upset" by her treatment at Newark Liberty International Airport, she has said.

Maine’s health officials said on Tuesday they're preparing to legally enforce the state’s "voluntary" quarantine on health care workers who've treated Ebola patients. Hickox's would end on Nov. 10.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said.

Hickox said that the organization she worked with, Doctors Without Borders, already had “reasonable” steps in place, including self-monitoring, taking one’s temperature twice a day and getting tested for Ebola if symptoms like fever develop.

Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, said in a statement to NBC News Wednesday it “strongly disagrees with blanket forced quarantine for health care workers returning from Ebola affected countries.” The group said it respected Hickox’s right to “challenge excessive restrictions being placed upon her.”

"Kaci Hickox has carried out important, lifesaving work for MSF in a number of countries in recent years, and we are proud to have her as a member of our organization," the group said.

Hickox said quarantines are a deterrent to other would-be volunteers aiming to combat Ebola in West Africa. But Hickox said she plans to eventually return to Sierra Leone.

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<![CDATA[Teen Wins $4M on B-Day Lotto Ticket]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:43:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/208*120/ocampo+lottery+win.jpg

When a Chicago teenager opened her birthday gifts, she never anticipated she’d wind up with $4 million.

Deisi Ocampo said her dad gave her two $100 Million Money Mania instant tickets for her 19th birthday.

“It turned out to be the best birthday present ever,” she told Illinois Lottery officials.

Ocampo said she scratched off the tickets on Oct. 7 while on her way to work. She didn’t win anything on the first ticket she scratched, but when she finished scratching the second ticket, she realized she had won $4 million.

“I started sweating. I couldn’t believe it was possible,” she said. “I worked the whole day without saying a word to anyone.”

The Chicago native lives with her parents and sister. When she got home that day, she said her parents didn’t believe it either.

“When I told my dad I won he asked, ‘How much? $500?’ and I said, ‘No, Dad, $4 million,’” she said.

Ocampo, who works at a clothing store while attending college, says she plans to use the money to help pay for school and buy her family a new house.

“This lottery win will make it easier to pursue my dream of completing my degree and becoming a nurse,” she said.

The tickets were purchased at the Austin and Montrose Citgo at 5959 West Montrose Ave. in Chicago.

Photo Credit: Illinois Lottery]]>
<![CDATA["Operation" Inventor Needs Help Paying for an Operation]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:37:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/operation-game.jpg

Nearly 50 years ago, John Spinello invented the popular board game “Operation.” Now, he needs help paying for his own operation.

Spinello’s friends and fellow game inventors Tim Walsh and Peggy Brown have launched a fundraiser in hopes of raising money to help pay for the board game creator's procedure.

The site is asking for $25,000 in donations. As of Wednesday afternoon, they had already raised more than $17,000.

“Much has changed in 50 years. John has had a good life, but has admitted to us that he is struggling to pay his bills and is in need of a medical procedure without sufficient insurance coverage,” the fundraiser on Crowdrise read.

While they are asking for any type of donation or even words of encouragement, they are also offering for supporters to purchase an autographed copy of “Operation” for $60, while supplies last.

Spinello first created “Operation” as a student at the University of Illinois, ultimately selling his idea to a toy invention firm for $500 to help pay for his tuition, he says in a video posted to the fundraising page.

Since then, millions have tried their hand at using a metal wand to remove plastic ailments from Cavity Sam without lighting up his bright red nose and hearing that dreaded buzz.

“Because of the deal John cut when he was 20 years old, he’s not entitled to royalties,” Walsh says in the video.

Brown said Spinello isn’t bitter about the deal he made and instead “tries to celebrate his invention however he can.”

“I’m overwhelmed,” Spinello says in a video thanking his supporters. “I can’t tell you how thankful we are for receiving this. It’s going to go a long way.”

Photo Credit: Google Images]]>
<![CDATA[Just 6 Cars: Ferrari Sells Out of New "Sergio"]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:58:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Ferrari_Sergio.jpg

Ferrari is rolling out a new car, but only a few people will be able to own one.

The luxury automaker is creating only six models of Ferrari Sergio. Designed in partnership with Italian firm Pininfarina, the car is expected to cost several million each (the price hasn’t been disclosed).

But if you thought you could be one of the six lucky owners, it’s probably too late. Ferrari has already pre-sold all Sergio cars, according to CNBC. Only long-standing Ferrari clients got the invites to purchase the limited sports car. Their names have not been reveled.

A spokesperson from the automaker told CNBC the production on new models will start "shortly” with deliveries expected next year.

The Sergio is modeled on the Ferrari's 458 Spider mechanical base and technologic components. The doors rise up and the car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 3.4 seconds, the company said. It's named in honor of Sergio Pininfarina, an Italian automobile designer who died in 2012.

The car made its debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor show as a concept, with no windshield or mirrors. The design will be tweaked to comply with road laws.

Ferrari, which is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has built a world-class brand by limiting the number of vehicles it produces to 7,000 per year, making its cars all the more desirable.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Wednesday it plans to spin off Ferrari into a separate entity and sell 10 percent of Ferrari's shares in a public offering in the United States and Europe, The Associated Press reported. The remaining 90 percent will be distributed to its own shareholders.

The company said the move was part of a plan to raise capital to support the new merged carmakers' growth plans, according to the AP.

Photo Credit: Pininfarina]]>
<![CDATA[Serial Rapist Captured]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:54:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gregory+Lewis+102514+Indianapolis+Thumb.jpg

A Massachusetts man accused of fleeing child rape charges and going on a nationwide crime spree that authorities say included at least six sexual assaults was apprehended Tuesday after crashing a car into a New York river.

Gregory Lewis of Southbridge was arrested shortly before midnight Tuesday in the village of Fort Edward.

Police say a New York State Police trooper observed Lewis driving with a missing license plate. When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, Lewis fled.

Police received calls that Lewis crashed his vehicle into a river, emerged from the river and pulled a gun on a witness to the crash. Police arrived on scene and took Lewis into custody.

A firearm recovered from Lewis matches the description of one he’s accused of stealing from a family member in September.

Lewis was initially arrested in Massachusetts back in August for statutory rape of a child under 14, ordered to stay under house arrest.

Since cutting his GPS ankle bracelet and fleeing the state on Sept. 15, police say, Lewis is suspected of committing six or more sexual assaults in different states.

Ten days after he allegedly fled, police say Lewis returned to Massachusetts, broke into his stepfather's home, tied him up and stole a gun.

Police in Denver announced earlier Sunday that Lewis was wanted in Colorado for sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

Officials in North Carolina said they believe Lewis kidnapped, robbed and assaulted a woman in Charlotte on Sept. 23.

Lewis is believed to have been in Denver earlier this month. Police say he was in Portland, Oregon, around Oct. 13. The next day, officials say he was in Boise, Idaho. On Oct. 17, according to police, he was in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He was held without bail at the Washington County jail in New York and arraigned in that county. Massachusetts State Police said he is expected to be in New York at least until Friday.

The investigation into his other alleged crimes is continuing.

Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police]]>
<![CDATA[33 Suspected Migrants Rescued Off Boca Raton]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:41:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/102914+migrants+rescued+boca+raton.jpg

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 33 suspected Cuban migrants after an overloaded boat was found off Boca Raton Wednesday morning.

The incident was reported about seven miles east of the Boca Inlet. Footage showed several people in life vests on Coast Guard boats.

Coast Guard officials said the 33 people were on a "grossly overloaded" vessel and were spotted by a C-130 aircrew that was searching for two missing Cuban migrants from the rescue from earlier this week.

The suspected migrants had jumped in the water from the boat and were taken aboard a Coast Guard vessel for basic medical attention.

Because the migrants did not make it to shore, they will be repatriated back to Cuba.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Woman Catcalled 108 Times]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:19:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Catcall-NYC-Video.jpg

A woman walking on the streets of Manhattan for a full day stands to get catcalled more than 100 times, according to a nonprofit group trying to end street harassment. 

The group, Hollaback!, said volunteer Shoshana Roberts was catcalled by men 108 times over the course of a day as she walked around Manhattan earlier this year. That works out to about one catcall every six minutes.

A video of the day, captured on a hidden camera embedded in a videographer's bookbag, shows dozens of men asking for her phone number, telling her to smile and calling her beautiful. Hollaback! said that the 108 cases of harassment don't include dozens of whistles and winks.

“I’m harassed when I smile and I’m harassed when I don’t,” Roberts said. “Not a day goes by when I don’t experience this.”

Two of the men in the feature are particularly aggressive. One says, “Hello, good morning,” and then proceeds to walk beside Roberts for five minutes. Another walks beside her for several blocks, asking Roberts if she thinks he is ugly and berating her for not talking to him.

Rob Bliss, the man who walked in front of Roberts throughout the day with a camera hidden in his book bag, said he volunteered to shoot the video because he doesn’t think men see the cumulative effects of catcalling.

“They see it as just an innocent compliment but are missing the forest for the trees,” he said. “I intentionally left out any messaging and just laid bare what it's like, so that everyone could objectively see the reality of this problem.”

According to Hollaback!, between 70 and 99 percent of women are catcalled or harassed while walking down the street at some point in their lives.  

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<![CDATA[Family of Teen Football Player Sues for $3 Million After Teacher Sex Scandal]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:50:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/257*120/2014-10-22_1223_001.png

The family of a 17-year-old D.C. high school student has filed a lawsuit for $3 million, claiming a substitute teacher maliciously made sexual contact with him earlier this month.

Symone Greene, 22, was working at Options Public Charter School in Northeast D.C. Friday, Oct. 17 when she first met the victim, a football player at the school.

The student, who is described as having a learning disability, told police he was working as an office assistant and helped Greene twice that day in her English class. The student said he flirted with Greene during class, gave her his cell phone number, then texted her, asking if she was "kinky."

According to documents, the two later met up in her classroom, where she allegedly performed oral sex on the teen. The victim recorded the sex act and later shared the video with his teammates and a childhood friend.

Greene allegedly sent the teen a text message over the weekend asking him not to tell anyone.

The teen's mother filed a $3 million lawsuit Tuesday in Prince George's County against Greene, the D.C. Public Charter School Board, the court-appointed receiver and custodian of Options Public Charter School Joshua Kern and SOS Personnel, the private Delaware company that initially hired Greene.

The lawsuit claims Greene was "unqualified to serve as a teacher" for at-risk students at the school and shouldn't have been hired as a subsitute teacher in the first place. 

It goes on to say Greene had deliberately and maliciously made sexual contact with the victim that day, and exposed him to possible sexually transmitted diseases. 

The lawsuit also claims another teacher could have stopped the inappropriate contact between the victim and Greene, and says the school's "no cell phone" policy was clearly violated. 

Although the age of consent in D.C. is 16, Greene was charged because she was the teen's teacher. According to D.C. law, age-of-consent rules are not in play in when it comes to "significant relationships," which include teachers and their students.

She pleaded not guilty to first-degree sexual assault against a minor in a significant relationship.

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<![CDATA[Ebola to Cost NYC "Many Millions": Officials]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 07:29:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ebola+transport.jpg

Ebola is expected to cost New York City "many millions" of dollars, the mayor's office said Tuesday.

The Office of Management and Budget is gathering the financial details to date and computing future expenditures as it works to develop a full accounting of the costs of Ebola preparation and treatment, according to Marti Adams, first deputy press secretary for Mayor de Blasio.

But the anticipation is that the costs "will be significant," Adams said. He added that the city would seek federal assistance.

Several sick patients have been taken to local hospitals over the last few weeks with fevers or flu-like symptoms, though not all have been tested for Ebola. A 5-year-old Bronx boy was tested for the deadly virus after falling ill Sunday night following a trip to West Africa, but authorities said Tuesday he had a respiratory infection and would be removed from an isolation room.

Ebola has early symptoms in common with diseases like malaria, salmonella, cholera and the flu, and though the chances of the average New Yorker contracting the virus are slim, health officials are conducting tests in select situations out of an abundance of caution to ensure no outbreak.

In the city, patients are only being tested for Ebola if they meet certain criteria, including recent travel history, symptom patterns and contacts.

Eight hospitals in the state are equipped to handle potential Ebola cases, Gov. Cuomo has said. Bellevue was designated as the city’s go-to medical center for possible cases and is where Craig Spencer, the first New Yorker diagnosed with the disease, is being treated. Spencer contracted the virus while on an Ebola assignment for Doctors Without Borders in Guinea.

Health officials said Spencer was showing signs of improvement Sunday, a day after entering the next phase of the illness: the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms. To combat his symptoms, the doctor received a plasma transfusion from the second American Ebola patient Nancy Writebol on Saturday, which he tolerated well, according to HHC.

Spencer remains in serious but stable condition, HHC said Tuesday.

His fiancee and two friends who spent time with him before he got sick remain asymptomatic.

Ebola is spread by directly touching the bodily fluids of an infected person. It can't be contracted simply by being near someone who has Ebola. Only people who are very ill can spread the disease.

Melissa Russo contributed to this report 

<![CDATA[SF Tour Guide Sorry for Racist Rant]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:59:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/chinatown-tour-guide.jpg

One week after spewing racist insults about San Francisco's Chinatown and its people, a former tour guide is offering an apology and an explanation.

Declining to give her name or show her face, she explained to news media that she was not drunk. "I intended to do it as a satirical comedic portion of the tour," she said.

A video recording of the woman’s rant quickly went viral after it was posted to YouTube last week, garnering nearly a million views as of Tuesday morning.

“[Expletive] your pre-schools … making all that noise at 6 a.m. … [Expletive] your salons ... [expletive] your seafood markets, with your little turtles and frogs inside — OK? Here in America, we don’t eat turtles and frogs,” the guide told tour-goers during her 2 1/2-minute-long rant on her last day working for the tour company, City Sightseeing San Francisco.

The now-ex-tour guide is calling the diatribe an act, saying that it was supposed to be a satirical comedic portion of the tour. The woman would not give her name, but she said she called San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu, admitting that she went way too far.

Chiu said that the woman told him she would call back Tuesday to discuss how she can start making amends to the Chinatown community and all of San Francisco.

Get More at NBC News.

[Warning: Some viewers may find the language used in the video disturbing.]

Photo Credit: CW O via YouTube
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<![CDATA[Onlookers Capture Rocket Explosion]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:25:06 -0400 captured by Instagram user Michael Waller shows the moments just after the Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from Virginia's eastern shore.]]> captured by Instagram user Michael Waller shows the moments just after the Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from Virginia's eastern shore.]]> http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/antares-explosion.jpg

Numerous stunned onlookers captured the moment an unmanned rocket exploded mid-air Tuesday, illuminating the darkening sky with an orange burst of flames.

Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket, which was supposed to make a supply mission to the International Space Station, blew up just seconds after liftoff from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Michael Waller posted the following video on Instagram of the explosion, saying the blast was felt a mile away from the launch site.

Waller also posted this photo of the aftermath of the explosion, which he called "unbelievable" and "scary."

Instagram user @beachhouse4848 also captured video of the explosion, as well as a gasp from fellow onlookers as the rocket burst into a fireball.

Yet another Instagram user, @throwingutah, posted another pic of the explosion. "That did not go well," the user wrote in the caption.

The explosion wasn't just seen by onlookers in Virginia. NBC4 Washington's chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer said radar was detecting the smoke from the explosion as it moved over Chincoteague, Virginia.

No injures were reported, and NASA said all personnel were accounted for. 

Photo Credit: Michael Waller
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<![CDATA[Sea Lion Rescued From Fishing Gear]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 03:47:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sea+lion+neck+injury+rescued.JPG

A sea lion tangled up in fishing gear was rescued using a rarely used method — a sedation dart, according to the SeaWorld rescue team.

The distressed adult female was spotted on the Quivira Basin bait barge in Mission Bay Monday evening, surrounded by fellow sea lions. Fishing line was digging deeply into the back of her neck.

With the permission of the National Marine Fisheries, the federal agency that oversees wild marine mammals, the rescue team injected the 156 ½ pound animal with a sedative.

SeaWorld says it was forced to use sedation because of the mammal’s size and location.

As she relaxed, the team cut the fishing line off her neck and took her to the park’s rescue center as she rehabilitates.

There, caretakers discovered a neck wound above her shoulder blade, but aside from that, she is in good health, they say.

Park workers will monitor her for a few weeks until she is healthy enough to return to the wild.

This is the latest in what SeaWorld says is a disturbing trend of abuse against sea lions, whether intentional or not.

On Sunday, a 10-foot fishing gaff was found lodged in the shoulder of a sea lion in La Jolla – the fourth in a string of similar cases within the last year and a half.

In the past year, at least eight sea lions have been shot and many had to be euthanized, SeaWorld says.

The cases have been reported to the National Marine Fisheries, but a spokesperson for that agency told NBC 7 the incidents are hard to investigate because it is difficult to determine when it happened and who is responsible.

Photo Credit: SeaWorld]]>
<![CDATA[Robber Tailed Woman Home From Bank]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 04:02:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/followhomerobber.JPG

Police on Tuesday sought the public's help to find a man who followed a woman home and robbed her when she got out of her car in South Los Angeles earlier this month.

The man could be seen in surveillance video Oct. 1, watching a 67-year-old woman at Union Bank near West Jefferson and Crenshaw boulevards in South Los Angeles.

Afterward, he followed the woman to her home and robbed her, police said.

"I turned and he was already on my back. He said, 'This is a robbery,' then we start forcing for my purse," the victim told NBC4.

She got out, he strode past her, casually greeting her, then quickly turned, pushed her to the ground and took her purse. He drove away in a late 1990s model faded dark blue Nissan Altima.

"It's scary, you know, to rob an old lady just living out of her retirement — that's life. You've got to be careful," she said.

The man is described as black in his 30s, 6 feet tall and weighs about 250-300 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes and wears a full beard. At the time of the crime, he was wearing a black shirt, tan shorts, a baseball cap and tennis shoes.

Detectives believe he might be connected to the robbery of an 84-year-old victim that occurred blocks away five days earlier. Both victims gave similar accounts and description of the man.

Anyone with information is asked to call Gerald Detective Harden at 213-485-2562.

<![CDATA[Board Backs Lesbian Teacher in Fight Against School Transfer]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:15:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jefferson+school+alice+stephy.jpg

Relief flooded the face of a New Britain teacher forced to switch schools over her same-sex relationship when the Board of Education unanimously voted to move her back to the elementary school where she has spent the past nine years of her career.

Teacher Stephy Cho said she was "involuntarily transferred" from Jefferson Elementary School after marrying her same-sex partner of six years, who also teaches at Jefferson.

Cho and Alice Badecker, who has been with the school for 13 years, tied the knot in July.

Days later, the New Britain superintendent sent Cho a letter explaining that she would be moved to the Northend Elementary School. New Britain teachers union president Sue Truglio read the letter aloud at a school board meeting Tuesday night.

"While the district supports positive interactions between coworkers, relationships of a romantic nature may have a tendency to interfere with the work environment," Supt. Kelt Cooper wrote in the letter, according to Truglio. "I am concerned that the nature of your relationship could result in claims of impropriety which I would like to protect you from."

Cooper explained that the decision should not be considered punishment and does not reflect Cho's work performance.

"This decision is simply a proactive measure to ensure that our work environment continues to run smoothly and that you can continue your personal relationship without any negative impact," Cooper wrote.

When Truglio asked Cooper if the relationship has caused problems in the past, the superintendent couldn't point to specifics.

"Mr. Cooper says he was concerned the nature of Stephy's relationship could result in claims of impropriety," Truglio said at the meeting Tuesday. "There have been no concerns for nine years, yet as soon as Stephy marries Alice, there is a concern."

Cho said at the meeting her sexual orientation has no bearing on her ability to do her job.

"I am dedicated to the success of students in this district and I'm committed to making New Britain a first-class educational district," Cho explained. "I am also gay."

She said that when a new administration took over at Jefferson last year, she began to feel that school leaders were treating her differently.

"Alice and I have the utmost sensitivity and have not displayed our relationship at all," Cho said. "The involuntary transfer has affected me in many ways. It's impacted negatively on my economic potential to earn extra income, increased my commute, caused unnecessary stress and emotional turmoil."

New Britain's chief human resources officer Bob Stacy told a different story Tuesday night. Stacy said he had "no idea" Cho had gotten married and that the decision to move her had nothing to do with her sexual orientation or relationship status.

"I think people are reading way too much into this. They are presuming there is only one reason this could have happened, and that's just not the case," Stacy said, adding that Cho's salary and benefits have stayed the same. "It's also not a unique situation in a district where people get involuntarily transferred for a variety of reasons."

Regardless of the reason for Cho's transfer, the Board of Education threw her its support Tuesday night, voting unanimously to move Cho back to Jefferson.

"I love my job, I love this district, I love the children I teach, and it is for that reason I am here," Cho said.

But the battle is ongoing. Cho also filed a grievance with the Connecticut Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities, which is currently pending.

"The reasons the administration gave for her involuntary transfer were nonsense," said Cho's attorney, Richard Padykula.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Teens Suspended for Airsoft Photo]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 23:36:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/MA+airsoft+homecoming+photo.jpg

A picture posted to Facebook is stirring up controversy at a Massachusetts high school after two high school sweethearts posed with large airsoft guns before their homecoming dance last week.

"We took them with the airsoft guns because it's our hobby, and we wanted to include them," now-suspended  Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School student Jamie Pereira said.

The guns only shoot plastic pellets, but school officials say the Middleborough teenagers, including Pereira and Tito Velez, caused a disruption at the school.

Dr. Richard Gross, superintendent of the school district, said his problem is not with the guns. He says he defends free speech, but that he takes issue with the caption below the photo that reads "Homecoming 2014."

"When you tie that to a school event, that's something to be concerned about," said Dr. Gross.

School officials say the dance Friday was uneventful, but people Monday in school were fearful and parents were concerned.

Pereira and Velez defend themselves, saying they often play with the pellet guns with friends at local fields, and that the photo was taken by Velez's dad at home on private property. In the comments below the picture, they say they made it clear the guns were fakes.

Now they're upset with what they call a 10-day suspension and how they were allegedly treated by both police and school officials before their State Cross Country meet Monday.

"We were brought into separate rooms and then questioned by a police officer without parental consent there," Pereira said.

"They took me to an empty room, searched everything I had on me, my bag, my clothes," Velez said.

The suspended students and parents are meeting with school officials to figure out what's next on Wednesday.

NECN also put a call into Taunton Police, who said they had minimal involvement in the case. 

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Unmanned Rocket Explodes Above Wallops Island]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 05:54:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP977096901290.jpg An unmanned Antares rocket exploded six seconds after blasting off from Wallops Island, Virginia, en route to the International Space Station. Here is what it looked like.

Photo Credit: AP/NASA TV]]>
<![CDATA[SWAT Officer Shot Serving Warrant]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 03:20:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/pomona+officer.jpg

A Pomona police SWAT officer who was shot while serving a search warrant in San Gabriel Tuesday has died, officials confirmed early Wednesday morning.

The officer was identified as 45-year-old Shaun Diamond, Pomona Police Chief Paul J. Capraro said at a news conference Tuesday. He had been in the hospital Tuesday evening in "extremely critical condition" with family members by his side.

The shooting occurred just after 4 a.m. in the 100 block of San Marino Avenue, where several agencies were serving a warrant as part of a multiple-location motorcycle gang investigation, according to Pomona police. The officer was shot as he was "making entry" to the residence, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. 

Diamond was shot in the back of the neck or head, above his vest, and had been taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena in critical condition, police said. His family was by his side.

"The best indication right now is that he was possibly hit in the back of the head, although he was wearing a Kevlar helmet," said Eddie Hernandez of the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau.

He was described by colleagues as a "top-notch guy" who has served eight years with the Pomona Police Department.

"He's just a wonderful human being," Pomona Police Lt Mike Keltner said.  

The shooting suspect was identified as David Martinez, 36, of San Gabriel, officials said. Martinez was the target of the warrant. The alleged shooter was unhurt and taken into custody.

Other occupants were inside the home when the shooting happened, and Martinez's father may have been struck by gunfire from Martinez's shotgun above his left elbow, Hernandez said. Pomona officers did not shoot back because the father was in the line of fire.

Martinez was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on a peace officer and was being held in lieu of $4 million bail.

Martinez was previously arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.

The SWAT operation and investigation involved "outlaw motorcycle gangs," Keltner said. 

Neighbors said they were awakened by the violence early Tuesday.

"We heard all this commotion," said neighbor Marco Polanco. "We just all took cover, that's all we could do." 

NBC4's Samia Khan and Oleevia Woo contributed to this story

<![CDATA[Slain Mom's Child: "Where's Mommy?"]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:41:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/th-perla-road-rage-16x9---00002804.jpg

Mando Lopez can't sleep or eat.

And when his 5-year-old daughter padded out into the hallway on Monday — asking, "Daddy, Daddy, where's Mommy?" — the Oakland father of four and recent widower couldn't answer her. The only thing he could do was break down into tears.

That's because his wife, Perla Avina was shot Sunday afternoon — church day, as neighbors noted —as the couple was returning from the grocery store near their home. They had gone out about 12:30 p.m. to get ingredients for breakfast as their children, ages 1 to 14, stayed at home with Grandma.

Investigators have not yet figured out who fired bullets into Lopez's 1998 Toyota Camry as they traveled south on 98th Avenue in a rough section of the city near their home on Rossmoor Avenue, Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. But she did say it was likely related to some type of road rage.

Lopez, whose full name is Luis Armando, told sister station Telemundo that everything happened so fast that he isn't sure what happened.

What he does remember is that a car tried to veer in front of him on the way back from the market, and "I guess I didn't let him go."

The seemingly random act of cruelty now has Lopez wondering how he'll continue. He said Avina, a medical receptionist originally from Los Angeles, was his life. She cooked, she cleaned, she took care of the kids, she was his partner in life, he said.

His children aren't doing all that well, either.

His 1-year-old daughter cried all night. His 10-year-old daughter couldn't sleep at home; she went to Avina's mother's house to sleep. His 14-year-old son has barely spoken.

The family has already suffered a loss. In 2005, Lopez said Avina's brother was stabbed to death in their neighborhood.

The children and Lopez live with his parents. As his mother, Erlinda Aviña, lay on the couch with her husband at her side, she tried the best she could to express her grief and her vow to help her son.

“I will take care of them,” Aviña said of her grandchildren. “She was a good mother that worked for her kids.”

For now, the family is hoping that a $30,000 reward offered by police and Crime Stoppers will help lead to information to find the shooter. It's all they can think about.

A tangible symbol of the tragedy looms over them all. The car Lopez was driving when his wife was shot is parked outside his home, where candles adorned with images of Jesus line the sidewalk. The windshield is pierced by a bullet hole, the front passenger seat stained with blood.

Lopez could barely bring himself to pull the car into the driveway. But eventually he did, late Monday, to bring it closer to home.

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<![CDATA[Boston Bombing Suspect's Friend Found Guilty of Lying]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:18:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Robel+Phillipos1.jpg

The jury has found Robel Phillipos, a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, guilty on both counts of lying to investigators. 

Phillipos has also been found guilty of impeding a terrorist investigation by making false statements. 

The jury deliberated for 34.5 hours before reaching a decision. 

With this verdict, Phillipos faces a maximum of 16 years in prison. Sentencing has been set for Jan. 29. 

Phillipos was charged with lying about being in Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth when two other friends removed a backpack and other potential evidence several days after the April 2013 attack.

Phillipos attended high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Tsarnaev and later attended college with him.

A defense lawyer had argued that Phillipos, now 21, was a frightened 19-year-old who couldn't remember certain details because he had smoked marijuana for at least 12 hours straight.

Prosecutors say Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, planted two pressure-cooker bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013.

Three people were killed and more than 260 others were injured. An MIT officer was later killed as he sat in his car. Police say he was also a victim of the Tsarnaev brothers.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police several days after the bombings.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges and is scheduled to go on trial in January. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>