<![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 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:56:48 -0400 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:56:48 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Geyser Gushes After LA Main Break]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:55:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/224*120/UCLA+flood+july+29+gadi.JPG

A massive water main break flooded Sunset Boulevard and the University of California, Los Angeles campus Tuesday afternoon, stranding cars, a bus and drivers in several feet of swiftly rising water and mud.

The 30-inch water main ruptured just before 3:30 p.m. in the 10600 block of West Sunset Boulevard and blew open a 15-foot sinkhole, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Water continued to gush after three hours, sending mud coursing onto at least one UCLA athletic field and into several campus buildings and parking garages, including structures 4 and 7.

The water also flooded the university's Pauley Pavilion, which recently underwent a $136-million renovation and is the main site for UCLA men's and women's basketball, volleyball and women's gymnastics, according to UCLA.

Aerial video showed UCLA students trudging through knee-deep water as they walked across campus, and some who were sliding across the water on skim boards.

The water main was expected to be shut down slowly and gradually to prevent shock to the system and further damage. Water flow through the pipe -- built in 1921 -- when operational is about 75,000 gallons per minute, LADWP officials said.

Officials were trying to force the water down Sunset away from the campus, LAFD Capt. Jaime Moore said.

Firefighters helped stranded drivers get out of their cars and urged people to avoid the debris-clouded water, even as UCLA students walked through the water on their soggy campus.

Crews performed at least five rescue operations, officials said.

Sunset was closed in both directions between Veteran and Hilgard avenues at the north end of the UCLA campus, and was expected to remain closed for several hours, officials said. Drivers were urged to use the following detours:

  • Westbound on Sunset should go south on Beverly Glen then west on Wilshire Boulevard then back north on Veteran/Sepulveda to get around the closure.
  • Eastbound traffic should head south on Veteran/Sepulveda then east on Wilshire Boulevard, then head north on Beverly Glen.
  • For access into UCLA Campus, use Westwood Boulevard.

Details about what cause the water main break were not immediately clear.

The flood comes in the wake of a statewide ban on public water waste as California officials approved fines of up to $500 a day for violators earlier this month.



Photo Credit: Gadi Schwartz]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Elevator Attack Caught on Video]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:55:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/elevator+robbery+bk.jpg

Police are looking for two men who followed an 18-year-old woman into a Brooklyn apartment building elevator, then punched and kicked her before running away with her purse.

The robbers followed the woman into her Midwood building after 9:30 p.m. Sunday, video shows, and then into the elevator. The woman appears to try to get off the elevator, only to be stopped by the men, who drag her out by her hair, throw her to the floor, then punch and kick her repeatedly. 

They then run out of the building with her purse, and one of the suspects tosses the bag as they flee.

The victim was treated for bruising around the eyes at Coney Island Hospital. 

Records show felony assaults are up year over year in the 70th Precinct, where the assault took place: there were 160 reports of assaults in the last year, compared to 141 at this time last year.

Robberies, however, are down: there were 157 reported in the last year compared to 178 at this time last year.

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

-- Gus Rosendale contributed to this report

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<![CDATA[LA Water Main Break Floods Twitter]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:45:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/217*120/ucla-flooding-9.jpg

UCLA students took to social media to share their horror, amazement and even humor as a massive water main break left their campus underwater Tuesday.

"Damn it, L.A. Don't you know California is in a drought?" Kristen Shilton tweeted.

"At least UCLA has a waterfront view?" Mike Roe joked.

"Not worried about the water still flooding out of the sinkhole. I'm worried about what everything's gonna look like after the water clears," Twitter user UCLA_Nation wrote.

"We're practically underwater right now. You can hardly even recognize parts of Campus," they added.

One athlete tweeted that the flood had provided a welcome break from a workout, tweeting, "UCLA flooding saved us from doing 300s."

Scroll down to see more of the tweets, and some of the amazing images users shared.

 

 

 

Live Blog Sunset Blvd. Water Main Break
 

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<![CDATA[4 Charged in USC Student's Killing]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:02:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/usc+student+xinran+ji1.JPG

Four people were charged with capital murder on Tuesday in the beating death of a 24-year-old USC graduate student, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Jonathan DelCarmen, 19, Andrew Garcia, 18, Alberto Ochoa, 17, and Alejandra Guerrero, 16, are charged with one count each of murder with the special circumstance of murder during an attempted robbery, prosecutors said.

Capital murder charges make Garcia and DelCarmen eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek that penalty.

Ochoa and Guerrero, who were charged as adults, face life in prison without the possibility of parole, DA's officials said. They are not eligible for the death penalty because they are under 18.

Garcia, Ochoa and Guerrero are also each charged with using a dangerous weapon -- a bat -- to attack Xinran Ji, officials said.

The attack happened July 24 when Ji, an engineering graduate student, was walking home from an off-campus study group about 12:45 a.m. near 29th Street and Orchard Avenue, Los Angeles police said.

Ji was beaten and struck in the head with a bat before he walked back to his apartment in the 1200 block of West 30th Street, leaving a trail of blood, police said.

Ji's roommate found his body about 7 a.m., police said.

After the attack near USC, the suspects allegedly drove to Dockweiler Beach where they allegedly robbed a man and woman. The man managed to escape and flagged down police, officials said.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said during a press conference on Monday that the suspects had done "unspeakable things" that "shocked everyone in the department."

Garcia, Ochoa and Guerrero are also charged with second-degree robbery, attempted second-degree robbery and assault with a deadly weapon -- a bat -- in the second incident, DA's officials said.

USC officials said a memorial service was planned for later this week when Ji's parents arrived to the U.S.



Photo Credit: Xinran Ji/LinkedIn]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know About the Immigration Crisis]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:35:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/450883216.jpg

The news that thousands of unaccompanied children are crossing the U.S. border is just making headlines, but the surge has been happening for months, even years. President Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion to tackle the issue, which has become a flashpoint in the debate over immigration.

The number of children has overwhelmed the U.S. immigration system, which faces a backlog of hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants, according to The Associated Press.

President Barack Obama says that violent crime is driving migrants north, while Republicans blame Obama’s policies, saying they have given migrants an incentive to come.

Here’s what you should know about the crisis.

How Many Kids Are Trying to Cross the Border Alone

Since October, more than 57,000 children have been caught traversing the U.S.-Mexico border without an adult. That’s more than double the number in 2012 and triple the number in 2011, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Border Patrol was already noticing an increase in children coming up from Central America in the fall of 2011. Most of the apprehended children are between 14 and 18-years-old, according to the Women's Refugee Commission.

Three-fourths of the kids caught since October have traveled over 1,000 miles — by car, train, raft and foot — from the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The rest are from neighboring Mexico, according to Border Patrol data.

Making the trek is uncertain and dangerous. Smugglers, or coyotes, charge up to $10,000 for each child, according to The Associated Press. These smugglers may take the children’s money and run, or worse, assault or traffic them. The journey is also physically challenging, with dense forests, dry deserts and rugged mountains along the way. One stretch of land in Texas is referred to as the "killing fields."

Migrant children aren't just traveling to the U.S. All of Central America is seeing an increase. Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Belize jointly documented a 712 percent increase in the number of people seeking asylum from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, according to the Washington Office on Latin America.

Why They Left Central America

The mass migration is chiefly caused by three things: gang-related violence, poverty and rumors that migrant children will be welcomed to the U.S. if they make it to the border.

Violence. A good portion of the drug trade is now in Central America and plenty of gangs capitalize on this. Incompetent police forces do little to stop them. Children are actively recruited as "foot soldiers" for cartels. These gangs give children an ultimatum: work in the drug trade or face death. Honduras’ homicide rate was 90 killed per 100,000 people in 2012. That’s the worst in the world and six times the global average. Guatemala and El Salvador aren't far behind.

Gangs run rampant in these countries, and many children find themselves in the crossfire. It is not uncommon for children to arrive at hospitals riddled with bullets. Fifty-eight percent of children migrating north are motivated by violent conditions in their home country, according to a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Trust in the police is low in the children's countries of origin. In many places, gangs and police are intertwined. "You never know who is who," several migrant children told the Immigration Policy Center.

Poverty. Nearly two-thirds of the Honduran population lives below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. One in three infants is malnourished, and most kids in rural areas will only get four years of schooling on average. Guatemala's poverty rate is 26 percent. In El Salvador 17 percent of the population is living on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank.

Rumors. The recent surge may have its roots in rumors that a change in U.S. immigration policy means any child who crosses the border can stay. This is a false belief, according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Children who arrived after 2007 are not eligible for deferred deportations or a path to citizenship. A Border Patrol report that was leaked in June says families' misconception that they will obtain "permisos" when they arrive in the U.S. is driving most migration, according to Vox.com. They believe "permisos" means work permit, but it's actually a notice to appear in immigration court.

• Family. Over a third of Central American children who traveled to the U.S. alone were looking to reunite with one or both parents. It is common for relatives to send children north to reunite with family members, who also have questionable legal status, according to a report by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

What Caused the Crisis

In addition to the violence and poverty in Central America, some have said the U.S. government is at the root of the influx, particularly policies put forth by the last two presidents.

Obama's order. Republicans have blamed the Obama administration for the rumors, saying that poor policy and communication has led migrants to believe they can stay, according to the Los Angeles Times. They say the president has been weak at enforcing border policy and that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was authored by the Obama administration in 2012 and gives some undocumented migrants temporary legal status, has given Central American families a false hope.

Bush's law. A bipartisan law that President George W. Bush signed in 2008, known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, seeks to combat sex trafficking by granting protections to children traveling alone from countries that are not Mexico or Canada. Under the law, unaccompanied children can’t be hastily sent back and are instead allowed an immigration hearing and must be handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Obama administration said the law is partly to blame for the crisis, according to The New York Times. The White House and Republicans are both looking for ways to adjust the law's requirements to make it easier for children to be returned to their home countries.

Where the Migrants Arrive and What Happens When They Get Here

The crisis is happening all along the United States’ Southwest border. The greatest number of migrants are entering through southern Texas, where there has been a 178 percent change in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border from 2013 to 2014, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Border patrol agents in Texas are overwhelmed and facilities are brimming with migrant children.

The city of Murrieta, California, made national headlines after protesters blocked buses carrying undocumented children and families to immigration processing facilities in Southern California. Overcrowded facilities in Texas looked to ease the burden by sending some migrants there. About 140 migrants ended up in San Diego.

More recently demonstrators on both sides were out in Oracle, Arizona, waiting for unaccompanied children they thought were about to be transferred to a camp there. The children never arrived though anti-immigration protestors briefly halted a bus carrying other children from a YMCA, according to The Associated Press. The Sycamore Canyon Academy in Oracle told NBC News that it had been asked by the federal government to provide shelter temporarily for a small number of children.

When migrant children are apprehended by Customs and Border Protection they are held in a detention center — usually a sterile place that resembles a warehouse. They will remain there until they are transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement's Division of Children Services (ORR/DCS). These facilities range from group homes to juvenile detention centers that are locked and surrounded by barbed wire.

Children stay at ORR/DCS facilities for an average of 55 days while authorities attempt to locate a parent or guardian. If none can be found, the child remains in DCS custody for the entirety of her immigration case. Ultimately, she will either end up with her parents or foster parents in the U.S. or be sent back to the country she came from.

What's Being Done About the Influx of People

More cash. The White House is asking Congress for more than $3.7 billion to address the wave of migration. Most of that cash would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection would also get a share. Almost $300 million would go towards efforts to “repatriate and reintegrate migrants to Central America.” The request must pass both houses of Congress, though, and it's not clear how, or whether, the GOP-led House will vote.

More shelters. Immigration officials are scrambling to find more shelter space for new arrivals. Dallas County in Texas agreed to shelter 2,000 children if the federal government foots the bill. Hospitals and schools no longer in use are among the buildings that could possibly house the children.

Foster care. Organizations and families in parts of Texas and the Southwest are taking up kids, particularly those who have no family in the U.S. or no safe places to return to in their home countries.

Programs in Central America. The Obama administration has earmarked $300 million for programs in Central America to boost the quality of life of people and address the underlying root causes that are driving migration. It hopes to do this by improving economic and security conditions and helping migrants reintegrate into their communities instead of returning north.

Ad campaigns. U.S. officials are trying to counter the flow of migrants with a Spanish-language ad campaign that looks to frighten them from coming in the first place. The ads warn that smugglers are criminals who could subject migrants to violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking or forced labor.

Border security. Some in Congress, especially Republicans, have said the focus should be on strengthening border security. Texas Gov. Rick Perry told a congressional committee that unaccompanied kids should be deported immediately to show the U.S. is serious about enforcement. Advocates for migrants have criticized the Obama administration, saying that future funding should go to ensuring migrant children with legitimate claims of asylum see their day in court, not border security.

What's Next

As protests continue and politicians try to figure out the best way to tackle the crisis, migrant children keep pouring in. The Obama administration expects the number of migrant children arriving in the U.S. to rise to 90,000 by September 2014. While visiting Texas, President Obama urged Congress to approve the $3.7 billion he asked for to help deal with the surge.

A first group of about 40 undocumented immigrants, including children, were returned to Honduras from New Mexico, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The group had been staying at a temporary detention center. Homeland Security officials told NBC News that the flight was just the start of deportations. "We expect additional migrants will be returned to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in the coming days and weeks," one official said.

Meanwhile Las Vegas became the latest city to announce that its police department would no longer honor requests from federal officials to detain undocumented immigrants without a court order or arrest warrant. It joins Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark, N.J., and nearly all major urban centers in California.

Officials at the United Nations want many of the people fleeing Central America to be treated as refugees displaced by armed conflict. This designation would increase pressure on the U.S. and Mexico to accept tens of thousands of people currently ineligible for asylum, according to The Associated Press.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2-Year-Old Double Amputee Still "Got It" After Viral Success]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 21:05:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new-KAYDEN_KINKLE1_t580.jpg

When 2-year-old Kayden Kinckle took his first steps on prosthetic legs, he didn’t want help.

“I got it, I got it, I got it,” Kayden said with each step. A YouTube video documenting the milestone for the Englewood, New Jersey, kid's family and friends has since been viewed more than 800,000 times. 

His parents say he has always been this confident despite doctors' doubts. 

"If he wants something, he will get it and that could be good sometimes and bad sometimes," Kayden's father, Kevin Kinckle, told NBC. "He's always been a warrior." 

Kayden was diagnosed in utereo with omphalocelea, a birth defect in the abdominal wall that causes an infant’s intestines, liver and some other organs to grow outside the body. Kayden also had a band wrapped around his legs in the womb — causing deformities that required him to have his left leg and right foot amputated in January. One out of 7,000 children are born with opmhalocelea, and nearly half of all babies born with opmhalocelea also have other birth defects, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 

The numbers of children living without limbs are unclear because of doctor's confidentiality agreements, according to the Amputee Coalition. Nearly 2 million people across the United States have limb loss.

Kayden's mother Nikki Kinckle said doctors had advised her to consider whether to carry her baby to term. She said the suggestion didn't make her angry, because it was a "fact" that her baby would face serious challenges. 

"The nurse asked me if my house was wheelchair-accessible, and that was hard," Nikki said.

The proud parents have received a volley of messages online from people who have been inspired by Kayden's can-do attitude and charisma. NFL athlete Michael Vick shared Kayden’s video with the caption, “Luke 1:37- For with God nothing shall be impossible… 'I got it, I got it' lol.” Vick's post contributed to the video going viral around the Fourth of July. Messages of support have included those from other amputees, cancer patients and people who are paralyzed, his mother said. 

Kayden still uses his walker but insists on independence, his father said. The fiery 2-year-old is antsy to stay off the couch. He crawls "very well" without his prosthetics and loves playing basketball with his parents. Kayden even tries to teach his 9-month-old sister, Cherish, how to crawl. After the surgery in January, Kayden still didn't slow down.

"The day after the surgery, he was shooting baskets with me and his mother," Kevin Kinckle said.

The family continues to raise money on GoFundMe.com, which had $73,839 donations as of July 29. The family's first goal was $50,000 to cover past medical expenses such as the surgery and his first pair of prosthetics. After Kayden's viral video success, the couple pushed the goal to $500,000.

"We were made aware that prosthetics are an ongoing thing for life, physical therapy is once a week. He may need more walkers or crutches as he gets olders and his weight changes," Kevin Kinckle said. "We need to adjust as he grows and as technology grows we want the top-of-the-line stuff for him."

The couple talks about Kayden's future all the time. They feel Kayden has proven that he can do anything.

"He is a face of adversity," Kevin Kinckle said. "Whatever he wants to do, we are confident he can do it, whether it's a lawyer or doctor or athlete." 



Photo Credit: Nikki and Kevin Kinckle]]>
<![CDATA[CA Vet's Roommate Guilty of Murder]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:57:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ramosmissing.jpg

Jurors on Tuesday convicted a Southern California man of second-degree murder in the slaying of his former roommate, an Army veteran and Cal State Fullerton student with whom prosecutors said he was desperately in love.

Kwang Choi "KC" Joy, 55, was found guilty in the death of 36-year-old Maribel Ramos, whose body was found badly decomposed near Modjeska Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains last year.

Joy's sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 12. He faces 15 years to life in state prison.

Prosecutors said Joy got surgery to make his eyes look younger, paid to take Ramos on a cruise, and panicked when she told him to move out of their apartment when he couldn't pay the rent.

"Maribel was his life, and the opportunity for him to be with the love of his life was coming to an end," Orange County Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons told the jury last week.

Ramos was last seen through surveillance footage, dropping off a rent check for her apartment in Orange on May 2, 2013, officials said.

She got into an argument earlier that day with Joy over rent, prosecutors said. They contended that the fighting, and Ramos' demand that Joy move out, led to her slaying.

When Ramos disappeared, Joy told NBC4 that Ramos was his "only family."

"She's my best friend, and I want her to come back," he said.

Her decomposed body was found later that month near Modjeska Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, prosecutors said. Her cause of death has remained unknown.

Eleven days before her disappearance, Ramos made a 911 call, saying she was "afraid" after an argument with Joy.

Earlier in the trial, Simmons showed video of Joy walking into a public library. His search history there showed that he looked up how long it takes for a human body to decay, and the location where Ramos' body was later found, prosecutors said.



Photo Credit: Orange Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Feeling the Pain of Lightning Strikes, Again and Again]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:38:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/72814+Lightning.jpg

Jeryll Hadley and a friend were trying to set up a tent over a campfire along California’s Gualala River 25 years ago, their hands on the metal center pole, when lightning struck the tree next to them, throwing them about 30 feet apart.

Both still standing, they looked at each other and he said, “’I think we’ve been zapped,’” she said. “The only thing I remembered during the event was my left hand, the one on the pole, was neon blue.”

“Of course I heard the loud noise, but it just felt like an implosion, very strange,” she said. “But other than that I didn’t feel anything and we went on through our camping trip.” 

Hadley, 67, of Ukiah, California, was left with burn marks on her throat and forehead, she said. Only later did she start having terrible pains in her shoulders, short-term memory loss, and a new anger that once led her to throw a wooden salt shaker at her first husband.

“That is not me,” she said.

On Sunday, a 20-year-old man from Los Angeles, Nick Fagnano, was killed and eight others hospitalized after a rare lightning storm on the beach in Venice.

“Those people that got hit, their life is going to be much different, I hate to say,” said Sandra Hardy, another California woman who survived a lightning strike. “It isn’t a one-time event.”

Sixteen people have been killed by lightning across the United States this year, according to the National Weather Service. Six of the deaths were in Florida, two in Colorado, and the others in Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia.

About 10 percent of those who are struck die. Survivors, who primarily suffer from an injury to the nervous system, can have symptoms ranging from mild confusion and dizziness to long-term problems processing new information, chronic pain form nerve damage and depression.

Hadley did not start attributing her symptoms to the lightning strike until attending a conference with survivors. She is now on medication for her anger, sometimes garbles her speech and said that a doctor once compared her experience to an electric lobotomy. On the other hand, all symptoms of polycystic kidney disease that she had have disappeared, she said.

“For the most part I’m living a normal life,” she said.

Last year was a record low for lightning fatalities. Twenty-three people died, fewer than in any other year on record, data from the National Weather Service showed. That contrasted with the 432 people killed in 1943, the deadliest year.

Officials attribute the drop to a variety of factors, from better lightning protection to fewer corded phones to more awareness among emergency medical providers and advances in medical treatment. CPR and defibrillators are keeping people alive, said John Jensenius, a lightning safety specialist with the National Weather Service.

"We feel very glad that we've brought the number down but there's still many people out there that are unnecessarily either killed or injured by lightning," Jensenius said. "If they would just simply follow the simple guidelines, if you hear thunder you need to be inside, the simple saying, 'When thunder roars, go indoors,' there would be many more lives that would be saved and fewer injuries."

More than 9,200 people have been killed by lightning in the United States since 1940, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration began keeping records, NBC News reported. In the last 30 years, there have been 51 deaths on average each year.

The ground current is what kills or injures most people, Jensenius said.

"When lightning strikes a point, it doesn't disappear deep into the ground, it spreads out along the ground surface," he said.

Hardy, now 70, was driving home from California’s Mammoth Mountain in June 1998, when she got caught in a heavy rainstorm in Owens Valley.

“I could see the lightning strikes coming down on the ground, coming straight down, it was a heavy, heavy rainstorm, so I took off my watch, took off my glasses, I took the collar off my dog,” she said.

A lightning strike hit power lines at the side of the road and her car, she said.

“It just paralyzed me,” she said. “It killed the engine to the car and the car just rolled off to the side and I couldn’t really move or anything and a motorist came up behind me right away and he’s pounding on my door to open up the door.”

Hardy, who was a facilities manager for the Los Angeles County schools, could barely talk or remember how to get home and her kidneys were hurting her, she said.

“From that day on my body started to deteriorate,” she said.

Hardy, of Manhattan Beach, developed problems with her hearing, her vision, her bladder, her memory and by October of 2002, had acute symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Her dog survived a year, but died after developing tumors, she said.

“The myth that you’re safe in a car, it should be corrected,” she said. “It’s not going to kill you but you’re not safe.”

The conference that Hadley attended was organized by Steve Marshburn, who was himself struck in 1969 in Swansboro, North Carolina, when lightning hit the drive-through window of the bank where he worked. He was sitting inside and it broke his back, he said. Other injuries became evident over the years, he said.

At the time there was little information for lightning strike survivors, but since then he has formed a group, Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors.

“There is help out there,” he said.

 



Photo Credit: Joey]]>
<![CDATA[2 Killed in Convertible Crash]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:09:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/randolph+nj+crash+2+killed.jpg

Two New Jersey high school football players riding in the back of a friend's Mustang convertible were killed in a crash in Randolph Saturday, authorities say. 

Jack Timmerman and Calvin Verduga, who were about to enter their senior year at Randolph High School, were riding in the back of the new car when the driver crashed near on Ironia Road around 1:30 p.m., according to the Morris County prosecutor's office.

The driver and a front-seat passenger survived. 

Friends said Monday that the driver got his license last month and had only been driving the car for a few days prior to the accident. It's not clear what caused the crash, but teens gathered at the crash site said they believed the driver was speeding. 

Timmerman's girlfriend said he often told friends to slow down.

"I know that he doesn't like fast driving. Never has," said Kerry Eberly, in tears as she wore a necklace bearing his name. 

Timmerman's last words to Eberly, whom he'd been dating since eighth grade, came in a text message just before the crash: "Driving in a roofless convertible." 

The school district's superintendent opened Randolph High School Monday to make counseling services available to students. 

"Our entire school community is in mourning and our thoughts are most certainly with the families and friends of the two students, beloved by so many," Superintendent David Browne said in a statement. 

Grieving friends gathered at the crash site Monday and left photos and messages for Timmerman and Verduga. 

Football teammate Brad Davis said, "They always cared for everyone and they always wanted our school to come together as one."

"Everyone had a different connection with them," added friend Jacqueline Zolla. "I don't know how this will work when school starts. It's going to be really hard." 

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<![CDATA[Women OK After Train Rolls Over Them]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:35:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/indiana-railroad.jpg 7/29/14: An engineer thought he killed two people who dropped down on the tracks right in front of his train, but in what some are calling a miracle, they survived. Reporter David MacAnally from NBC station WTHR in Indianapolis reports.

Photo Credit: WTHR Indianapolis]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Caught in Rip Current After Saving Friends: Witnesses]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:45:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/paul+alimoren+drowning+victim.PNG

A Southern California teen who drowned Saturday was trying to save two friends from a dangerous rip current when he was swept out to sea, witnesses said.

Eighteen-year-old Pomona resident Paul Alimoren was on a beach trip in the state of Washington when he and seven other members of a church group were caught in a rip current while swimming in Ocean Shores around 8 p.m.

According to police, five of the members reached the shore relatively easily. Two others suffered exhaustion and possible ingestion of sea water.

Witnesses said Alimoren helped two of his friends to shore before being swept out again. He was last seen around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, about a half a mile south of where he first entered the water, police said.

Emergency crews searched the area for several hours Saturday and Sunday, but were not able to find Alimoren. As of Sunday afternoon, Alimoren was declared dead and the rescue effort has now become a recovery effort, according to the Facebook page of Philip Alimoren, Paul Alimoren’s brother.

"On behalf of my family, I thank you for your prayers and thoughts concerning this trying time," Philip Alimoren said in a Facebook post. "My brother has touched lives, and I can say that he died serving His Savior on the mission field."

As of Monday evening, the body of Paul Alimoren had not been recovered.

According to Paul Alimoren’s Facebook page, he began studying at Cal State Fullerton last August. 

Ocean Shores is approximately 130 miles from Seattle. According to Ocean Shores Police, it had been a few years since there was a drowning in the area.

Ryan Bourgard contributed to this report.

 

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<![CDATA[House Hearing on Flight MH17 Crash, Ukraine]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 10:26:42 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/452717876.jpg

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs is holding a hearing on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the escalating crisis in Ukraine. Check out a livestream.

Get More at NBC News

 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Idea to Improve Airport Security Could Pay $15,000]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:25:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/01-tsalede1.jpg

Got an idea on how to speed up security checkpoints at U.S. airports?  If so, that idea could be worth as much as $15,000.

The Transportation Security Administration is offering an award for the best plan to improve the TSA's PreCheck program.

Due to the expanding roster of approved passengers, a new plan is needed to expedite the screening process for low-risk passengers.

The challenge is to create a modeling concept that can form the basis of a plan and design by the deadline, Aug. 15.  The best submission is guaranteed at least $2,500 but could be worth as much as $15,000.

So far, 441 people have already submitted ideas.

Current employees of the TSA are prohibited from taking part.

Read more here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Charges in Philly Carjacking]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:58:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Tioga+Carjacking-Suspects.jpg

LATEST COVERAGE: Accused Carjackers Charged With Murdering Kids With SUV Held Without Bail; One on Suicide Watch, Sources Say


Two "bastards," bent on robbing a realtor, are facing murder charges for carjacking and sexually assaulting the woman before running down a family selling fruit on a Philadelphia sidewalk, city law enforcement officials say. Three children, all siblings, were killed.

Jonathan Rosa, 19, and Cornelius Crawford, 23, face 15 charges each including three counts of 2nd Degree Murder, Carjacking, Kidnapping and Involuntary Deviant Sexual Assault for the alleged Friday morning crime.

“I want to personally thank Commissioner Ramsey, Captain Clark, all the men and women of the Philadelphia Police Department for their exceptional work in bringing these two bastards to justice," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said. "All Philadelphians were moved to tears by this crime."

Homicide Capt. James Clark said Crawford and Rosa wanted to commit a robbery when they forced the real estate agent into her white Toyota SUV at gunpoint at 6th and Cumberland Streets around 11 a.m. on Friday. They then took off. Inside the truck, the realtor was sexually assaulted as the suspects sped through the streets of the Tioga section of North Philadelphia.

(Officials have identified the agent, but it is NBC10's policy not to name the victims of sexual assault.)

Then about 10 minutes later, one of the SUV's tires blew, causing vehicle to careen out of control at the busy intersection of Germantown and Allegheny Avenues, Clark said. The vehicle jumped the curb and slammed directly into the family as they stood at their fruit stand.

Joseph Thomas Reed, 10, died on the sidewalk. His sister Keiearra Williams, 15, and brother Terrence Moore, 7, passed away at area hospitals, police said. Their mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, suffered severe injuries and remains hospitalized -- unaware her children have died.

A family friend, 65-year-old Thelma Brown, was also hit and broke her ankle, officials said.

The group were selling the fruit to help their church raise money to build a playground at the site where the crash happened.

The SUV then skidded across the grass and slammed into a tree. Clark said Crawford and Rosa then jumped out and ran. Inside the SUV, remained the carjacking victim. She was also critically hurt, police said.

A witness to the crash found Rosa's cell phone at the crash scene and turned it over to detectives. Clark said that evidence helped lead investigators to the men.

Both men were taken into custody on Sunday. Crawford has a long criminal history and was recently released from prison following a robbery conviction, prosecutors said. He was found hiding behind a home along the 2900 block of N. 6th Street by U.S. Marshals and detectives. Rosa turned himself in to the Homicide Unit alongside his mother and pastor.

Rosa's attorney, Christopher Warren, says his client is cooperating with detectives to try and "atone" for the crash, the attorney said.

"He turned himself in, and he is doing everything in his power to try and atone for what happened last Friday," Warren said. "Quite frankly, he's having an extremely difficult time getting over the image of that 15-year-old girl coming over the hood of the car."

A post on Rosa's Facebook page from 8:15 a.m. on Friday said "Good and evil two sides fighting for dominance." Later that evening, at 9:42 p.m., Rosa's mother Amanda wrote on his page: "Please pray for Jonathan my son."

Josue Rosa, the man's uncle, tells NBC10.com his nephew is a good kid, without a criminal record, who had just taken a test to join the U.S. Marines. He believes the 19-year-old was pressured by the other suspect to take part in the carjacking.

"I don’t want my nephew to do life in prison. If he was involved, alright. Don’t give my nephew life in prison. He’s not a bad kid. He's not the one who was driving," he said.

Clark had less empathy for the teen and his alleged co-conspirator.

"What they did was indefensible and unforgivable, so whatever remorse they might have does not bring back the children," he said.

City officials thanked the public for helping to find the two men and for offering support to the victims. DA Williams said former NBA and Philadelphia 76ers star Charles Barkley called him to say he wanted to pay for the three children's funeral.

Should the two men be found guilty of the accused crimes at the maximum sentencing, they face three consecutive life terms in prison plus another 89 years.


Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.



Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police]]>
<![CDATA[4 Face Murder Charges in California Student's Fatal Attack]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:18:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/usc+student+xinran+ji1.JPG

Two men and two minors face murder charges in connection with the fatal beating and robbery of a Chinese University of Southern California grad student as he walked home late at night after leaving an off-campus study group, police said Monday.

Police said 19-year-old Jonathan DelCarmen and 18-year-old Andrew Garcia, along with two minors, had gone on a crime spree and targeted Xinran Ji early Thursday morning.

Ji was hit with a blunt object, police said. No further details were made available about how he died.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the alleged assailants had done "unspeakable things" that "shocked everyone in the department."

The suspects were arrested hours later in Dockweiler Beach after allegedly committing a separate robbery, Smith said. Officers who were searching for the vehicle connected the suspects with both crimes.

DelCarmen was booked on suspicion of murder, while the other three were booked on suspicion of murder, assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

Smith said the charges would carry special circumstances of homicide during the commission of a robbery, which could make the suspects eligible for the death penalty.

The names of the two minors, a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, were not released because of their ages.

A 14-year-old girl was being questioned in Ji's death and held in connection with the Dockweiler Beach robbery, police said.

Ji, a 24-year-old electrical engineering student who loved photography, cycling and badminton, was found dead in his apartment about a block away from campus by a roommate Thursday morning. Hours earlier, he was attacked near 29th Street and Orchard Avenue. Police said he left a trail of blood.

USC officials said a memorial service was planned for later this week when Ji's parents arrived to the U.S.

"We are confident that the investigation will lead to the appropriate punishment of those who committed this heinous act," USC said in a statement. "We continue to grieve deeply as a community for Xinran, his family and his friends."

While students question the university's security, USC and LAPD have stepped up patrols in the area since the 2012 murders of two Chinese graduate students who were shot to death as they sat in their car off campus.



Photo Credit: Xinran Ji/LinkedIn]]>
<![CDATA[Barkley to Pay for 3 Kids' Funeral]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:48:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Carjacking+run+down+Victims+tioga.jpg

NBA legend and former Philadelphia 76er Charles Barkley has offered to pay for the funerals of three young siblings killed after a carjacking went awry in the city last week, according to District Attorney Seth Williams.

Ten-year-old Joseph Thomas Reed, his 15-year-old sister Keiearra Williams and their 7-year-old brother Terrence Moore were struck and killed Friday when a carjacked SUV plowed into the church-run fruit stand where they were volunteering on a street corner in the Tioga section of the city.

The children's mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, was critically injured, and their 65-year-old neighbor Thelma Brown broke an ankle.

Barkley confirmed his intentions to NBC10.com on Tuesday, but declined to comment further saying he did not want to take attention away from the victims.

The children had all been selling fruit as church volunteers to raise money for a community park at the corner of Germantown and Allegheny Avenues. Eagles Wings Evangelistic Church used the fruit stand on that corner to raise money for the park.

The image of the children's bodies flying into the air scarred witnesses.

"I heard the bang," said church member Jesse Bridges, who described just barely escaping being hit and seeing the three children lying on the ground. "I was spared, but I'm still affected by it. I'm just broken up by it."

At the time of the crash, Bridges swept sidewalk garbage just feet away from the impact.

The Eagles Wings church has just 12 members, but Pastor Lola Blount considers the deceased children members of the congregation because they are regular volunteers, according to Bridges.

The close-knit church family, which worships out of a row home in the 3400 block of 17th Street, plans to open a bank account later this week to help the family.

"People are afraid to collect money in this neighborhood. They are afraid they may get robbed if the word gets out -- that's how the neighborhood is," said Bridges.

A funeral for the victims will likely take place on Monday, according to neighbors and a city councilman.

The two suspects in the deadly carjacking and crash – Cornelius Crawford, 23, and Jonathan Rosa, 19 – were charged Monday with second-degree murder, robbery, carjacking, sexual assault and other counts.

Williams praised Philadelphia police for bringing "these bastards to justice" in the deadly carjacking.

Both suspects lived in the same neighborhood where they are accused of tragically plowing into the crowd, and they had met just a week before the carjacking.

An attorney for Rosa said his teen client wanted to atone for his involvement.


Contact Sarah Glover at 610-668-5580, sarah.glover@nbcuni.com or follow @skyphoto on Twitter.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Gives Prizes for Dirty Cars]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:33:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/203*120/Dirty+Car.jpg

Ventura County water officials may have a prize for drivers who skip the car wash this month.

Over the month of July, Ventura County water is hosting a dirty car contest to send a messy message about water usage across the state.

California is currently in the midst of a withering drought, resulting in state officials urging citizens to cut back on their water usage. But in May, water usage actually went up by one percent, prompting state water officials to approve fines of up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.

Drivers are encouraged to post a picture of their car on Ventura Water's Facebook page, and the three vehicles with the most dirt, and the most likes, at the end of the month will be rewarded by a complete car detail.

A free car wash is also being offered to the top two dirty car pictures every week.

Water conservation officials in the county have branded July "Don’'t Wash Your Car" month to educate car owners on the way to save water while keeping your car clean.

Officials say taking a car to a professional car washing operation can save up to 100 gallons of water over home washing.

Additionally, officials say commercial car washers often recycle the water they use.

While spring rains helped increase water levels, those gains have been limited by some of the warmest summer months on record, officials said.

Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann has gotten into her ride grimy, she said she hasn't washed her car since June.

"Here in Ventura this is exactly the right kind of community to do this, people get engaged in what we're doing and really want to help," she said.

The dirty car contest ends on July 30, the same night as a planned community forum to teach residents how they can better conserve.

John Cádiz Klemack contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Courtney Lindberg]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Island Off-Limits Over Bombs]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:05:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/222*120/San+Miguel+Island.jpg

An island off the Southern California coast could be closed for a year as the U.S. Navy investigates whether unexploded bombs remain on the the island.

The island, owned by the U.S. Department of Defense, has been closed to the public since April.

The last record of unexploded ordnance found on the island was in the 1980s, but recent discoveries of metal objects in public areas were a concern, Kimberly Gearhart, a spokeswoman for Naval Base Ventura County.

"We don’t know exactly what things were done over there and we don’t know what was cleaned up," Gearhart said. "The responsible thing to do is to asses the risk before we let the public enjoy the island."

San Miguel was in an active bomb testing range from World War II through to the 1970s, and officials are concerned that unexploded ordnance still remains on some parts of the island.

Gearhart said the island’s closure was prompted by incomplete records indicating clean-up efforts after weapons testing ended.

Officials started looking into the records after a request by the National Park Service to expand recreational opportunities on the island.

Gearhart said the Navy is currently securing funds for the first phase of risk assessment, which involves going through archival records and photography. This $400,000 effort will be funded through the Navy, Gearhart said.

This initial overview will take up to 15 months. If no live ordnance is found, Gearhart said the Navy will reopen the island for limited public use. San Miguel is part of the Channel Island chain about 70 miles west of Ventura.

If officials find dangerous material, the island could be closed for another year.

"The Navy is dedicated to the conservation of our national resources, of which the Channel Islands are a unique and critical piece," said Capt. Larry Vasquez, the base’s commanding officer, in a statement. "But the safety and wellbeing of (park service) personnel and those who visit San Miguel Island are our highest concern."

The news comes as at least two politicians are pushing for the Navy to complete their review quickly.

"The anticipated 1,500 visitors and 500 campers who visit the island each year are losing out on a cherished experience of the natural and cultural beauty unique to our National Park system," said Congresswomen Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Julia Brownley, D-Oak Park, sent a letter to Vasquez. "Reduced visitation to (San Miguel) is also harming our local economy by taking away business from local touring companies."



Photo Credit: Kevin Moore/National Park Service]]>
<![CDATA["Incredible Character": Venice Lightning Strike Victim]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 04:00:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/218*120/Nick+Family+Photo+7.JPG

A 20-year-old man in Southern California who died after being struck by lightning at Venice Beach Sunday afternoon is being remembered by his family as a "remarkable young man of incredible character."

Nick Fagnano had stepped into the water to wash off the sand before leaving the beach when lightning struck, family members said. He was taken to Marina Del Rey Hospital where he later died, coroner’s officials said.

"It was that one moment when he happened to be in the water at the wrong time," said Fagnano's uncle, Dennis Shanahan. "It's a huge loss for all of us."

The Los Angeles native graduated from Notre Dame High School in 2012 where he was a pitcher for the baseball team, family members said. Fagnano continued playing when he attended Santa Barbara City College.

"Everyone was proud of him, everyone thanked him, he was just the happiest kid ever," former baseball teammate and friend Payton Milone said.

"(He was) very kind-hearted, affected people," Milone said. "He did nothing wrong, said nothing wrong, he was the kid in our group of friends that always emphasized doing the good thing instead of the bad. It's just...it's unreal."

Fagnano's former baseball coach at Notre Dame said the school and team was "devastated."

"Anyone who taught or coached Nick would say he was one of the sweetest kids you could ever meet," Tim Dill said.

After finishing up some general education requirements at Santa Monica College, Fagnano was accepted to USC where he planned to attend in fall.

"Nick was a remarkable young man of incredible character," said Shanahan. "The three most important things to him in life were his faith, family and friends."

In a statement Monday, Fagnano was described as a "bright light" in the world.

"Nick was the friendliest young man you'd ever meet. He was an only child. The kind of kid every parent would want their son to grow up to be. Hard-working, ambitious, and truly kind-hearted. Always happy. Great sense of humor. He had many friends, but was also very close with his mom, dad and extended family," the statement read in part.

Shanahan, a weathercaster in Sacramento, said he saw the news reports of the fatal lightning strike before learning that the victim was a family member.

"Parents can cherish every moment they have with their kids. Just hug their kids tighter," Shanahan said. "You just never know."

Seven others were hospitalized after the lightning strike, including one with critical injuries.

A swimmer who was released from the hospital Sunday night said he doesn't remember the lightning strike, but recalls being rescued by friends from the water after suddenly losing consciousness.

"The next thing you know I was struggling to get my head back above the water," said the swimmer, who identified himself only as Paul. "Thank God they were brave enough to just jump in and not hesitate."

"I understand one person didn't make it. I just want to say that my thoughts go out to that person's family," Paul added.

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Fagnano Family]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Mom: Cops Used Chokehold on Me]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:26:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nypd-bk-alleged-choke.jpg

An expectant mom enjoying a front stoop barbecue with her family alleges a cop placed her in a chokehold outside her Brooklyn home when she questioned why he asked her to move the party to the backyard.

Rosan Miller, 27, of East New York, made her accusation nine days after the death of Eric Garner, who died after an apparent chokehold following an altercation with police.

Miller says officers approached her and husband about their grill Saturday afternoon and told them to move the barbecue to the backyard. When she asked why, her attorney claims one officer placed her in a chokehold.

Former City Councilman Charles Barron, who is serving as a spokesman for the family, would not allow reporters to ask specific questions about the altercation, citing pending litigation.

But Barron blamed Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's "broken windows" policing philosophy, which targets minor offenses to prevent major crimes.

"Nobody on the block complained about loud music or barbecuing at all," said Barron. "This is disgusting. Despicable."

A spokesman for the NYPD said the altercation is under review by the Internal Affairs Bureau.

Mayor de Blasio said he'd been briefed on the accusation but hadn't seen the still photographs or video circulated by the family.

"We have made clear what our view is on the use of chokeholds," said de Blasio. "It is not acceptable under any normal circumstances, but I don't want to rush to judgment."

The couple is due back in court in September on charges of obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct. 

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<![CDATA[Arrest in 500 White Powder Letters]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 09:38:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hung+Truong.jpg

A North Texas man who once told police the federal government was "beaming radar" into him was arrested Monday after federal prosecutors say he sent hundreds of envelopes containing white powder to schools, U.S. embassies and businesses over the years.

Hong Minh Truong, 66, of Rowlett, was arrested Monday by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and investigators for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Truong is charged in a federal criminal complaint with false information and hoaxes, and a U.S. magistrate ordered Monday afternoon that he remain in federal custody.

He is suspected of mailing more than 500 hoax letters from North Texas to cities across the U.S., including to preschools and elementary schools, and to U.S. embassies around the world, beginning in December 2008, the United States Attorney's office said.

The letters were also mailed to numerous hotels and prominent business offices in the New York area in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII in northern New Jersey, NBC News has learned.

Investigators said the language used in the letters as well as the method of sending the letters led them to believe one person was responsible for sending them all.

One such letter, allegedly sent from North Texas in May 2012, included the following statement:

"Al Qaeda back! Special thing for you
What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Counter Intelligence, CIA, you do not know how to catch the triple dealer spy in your law enforcement. What the hell where are you Scooby Doo, Internal Affairs, FBI, you don't know how to arrest the bad cop in your law enforcement.
You all flaming idiot, ignorant and arrogant, know nothing! How to protect this country! U.S.A
We are Al Qaeda, U.B.L FBI, Al Qaeda, SS Nazi FBI, working in your agency. We claim everything."

In 2002, Truong told Dallas police he heard "voices" that the federal government was "beaming radar into his body," according to the complaint against him.

Federal prosecutors have 30 days to present the case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Neighbors Shocked to Learn of Alleged Acts

Peggy Bratton, who lives nearby, said Truong was quiet and mostly kept to himself.

"He's just a real quiet man," Bratton said. "He always waves. He works out in his yard."

Bratton was shocked to learn investigators believe Truong was writing hoax letters from his Rowlett home.

"That's scary!" Bratton said. "You know, I know that it wasn't real, but still, to do something like that to people and scare people like that, you know, that's crazy."

NBC 5's Johnny Archer and Jocelyn Lockwood contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Funeral for Victims of Philadelphia Carjacking Likely to Take Place Monday]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:52:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Carjacking+run+down+Victims+tioga.jpg

A funeral will likely take place next Monday for the three children who were killed during a carjacking hit-and-run in North Philadelphia.

Joseph Thomas Reed, 10, his sister Keiearra Williams, 15, and brother Terrence Moore, 7, were struck and killed Friday when a carjacked SUV plowed into a fruit stand where they were volunteering on a street corner in the Tioga section of the city.

The children's mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, was critically injured while their neighbor, 65-year-old Thelma Brown, broke an ankle. An MRI will be performed on Brown on Tuesday and she could be released that same day.

According to neighbors and a city councilman, the funeral for the children is expected to take place on Monday at 11 a.m. at the Seventh Day Adventist Church at 16th and Oxford Streets. However, they also say the information is preliminary and could be subject to change. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams also announced that NBA legend and former Philadelphia 76er Charles Barkley offered to pay for the funerals of the children.

A rally, organized by the Father's Day Rally Committee, will also be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the site of the crash. Community grief counseling will be available during the event.

The two suspects in the deadly carjacking and crash - Cornelius Crawford, 23, and Jonathan Rosa, 19 - were charged Monday with second-degree murder, robbery, carjacking, sexual assault and other offenses.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[2 U.S. Marshals, NYPD Officer Shot in NYC]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 03:24:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Village-Shooting-Suspect.jpg

Two U.S. marshals and an NYPD detective were shot Monday afternoon when a gun battle erupted in a Greenwich Village smoke shop as the officers tried to apprehend an accused child molester, authorities said. The suspect was killed in the shootout.

The officers were shot shortly after 1 p.m. in Smoking Culture, a smoke shop on West Fourth Street, where officers were acting on tip that the fugitive was working there. The detective went in the store between Jones and Cornelia streets and confirmed that suspect was alone. When the detective returned with U.S. Marshals to make an arrest, the suspect, Charles Mozdir, immediately opened fire with a .32-caliber revolver. 

"Mozdir fired upon the officers at very close range and the officers returned fire," Police Commissioner William Bratton said during an update from Bellevue Hospital.

The detective, was shot twice in the stomach below his bulletproof vest. He was in critical but stable condition. One marshal was shot in the leg and the other was hit in the elbow. All of the officers were in good spirits, Bratton said.

Bratton said the vest may have saved the officer's life, preventing a bullet that would have struck his torso. 

Mozdir is accused of sexually assaulting a boy he baby-sat in Coronado, California, near San Diego. The 32-year-old was recently profiled on "The Hunt with John Walsh," an "America's Most Wanted"-type show on CNN. 

Mozdir was wanted on a $1 million warrant. He was charged with multiple counts of committing forcible lewd acts on a child and attempting to dissuade a witness. He skipped an April court appearance in California and his car was found in Georgia two months later. The trail went cold after that until officers acted on information that he might be in New York City.

His weapon was recovered at the scene. Mozdir had 20 more rounds in his pockets, police said. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chaos After Calif. Lightning Strike]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:05:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/venice-lightning-rescue.jpg

Beachgoers reported seeing a bright flash, hearing the sound of a loud explosion and witnessing the chaos that ensued along the coast during a fatal lightning strike in Venice on Sunday afternoon.

"It was the loudest thunder I've ever heard," said witness Joe Doro. "It was like a scene out of 'Jaws,' all the mothers were going in to grab their kids to drag them out of the water."

The lightning bolts touched down about 2:20 p.m. near the pier, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

Eight people who were in and near the water were taken to the hospital, the LAFD tweeted, including a 20-year-old man who was later pronounced dead. Five other people were treated and released at the scene.

"You heard this crackle, this giant bolt up in the sky that I've never seen like that - and I'm from the Midwest, and we see lots of lightning," Doro said.

People who were on the sand as far as 50 yards away from the pier reported being shocked.

"I felt heat pressure on top of my head and just kind of an electric buzz through my body," said another witness.

Eric Amparan, who was playing volleyball when the lightning bolts touched down, said he saw a woman calling for her father, who had been pulled out of the water by rescuers and was apparently unconscious.

"She was crying and saying, 'Daddy, daddy, daddy,'" he said. When she overheard that her father was breathing, she said, "'Daddy, I love you,'" he added.

Alexandria Thompson, who tweets news on her Twitter account @Venice311, was at home near the beach when she inadvertently recorded the thunder.

"It actually sounded like there was debris falling," she said. "I mean it was the craziest thing I've ever heard."

Thompson headed for the beach, where county lifeguards and Los Angeles city firefighters were treating more than a dozen people.

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<![CDATA[Colleagues Talk Texas Doc's Ebola]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:34:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/072714+Brantly+family.jpg

A relief group official says two American aid workers have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia.

Ken Isaacs, a vice president of Samaritan's Purse, told The Associated Press on Sunday that 33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly was stable and in very serious condition.

Brantly is the medical director for the group's Ebola care center on the outskirts of the Liberian capital of Monrovia and has been diagnosed with the very disease he was trying to help fight.

Isaacs identified the second American, Nancy Writebol, as a worker with an allied aid group SIM, or Serving in Mission, which runs the hospital. He said she was in stable and serious condition.

He said both Americans have since been isolated and are under intensive treatment.

Friends of Brantly told NBC 5 he is not only  a great person but is also a great doctor.

“Kent is a humble family man, soft-spoken yet deep thoughts and very intelligent,” said Jason Brewington, a friend and colleague from John Peter Smith Hospital.

Brewington helped supervise Brantly during his four–year residency in maternal health and family medicine at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth. But, their story doesn’t start there. The men’s wives were friends years before the Brantlys moved to North Texas. Brewington describes his friend as man devoted to the Lord.

“In this case when you’re called to do something, to go somewhere, you have two options — either to answer that call or not,” Brewington said.

Brantly, a father of two, answered. Brewington said he worked on various missions all across the world but most recently worked in Haiti, Nigeria and Tanzania.  

“He and his wife, I think before they even met, knew they wanted to do missions, and they have always lived their lives with that in mind at some point they would be on the mission field in a hospital doing what no one else wants to do,” Brewington said.

“That’s a calling not everyone has — it’s a passion that not everyone has and I’m glad to be a part of Kent and Amber’s family in that regard.”

At the Southside Church of Christ where the Brantly Family are members, Brantly has been added to the prayer list.

“When we heard about the fact that he had come down with the virus we were all very touched, and one of the first things that we do is get him on a prayer list because we believe the avenue for this healing of this particular virus, which there is no cure for, is God," said Keith Crow, member of Southside Church of Christ.

"God is going to have to pull him through it."

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<![CDATA[Dad Whose Baby Died in SUV "Made a Terrible Mistake": DA]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 03:17:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/04-17-2014-baby-in-backseat.jpg

Three months after a 9-month-old boy died after being left in his father's SUV, the Santa Clara County District Attorney ruled on Monday that the dad will not be charged with the baby's death.

The father was extremely fatigued and mistakenly believed that he had dropped off the child, Giovanni Hernandez of Los Gatos, at a babysitter’s home on his way to work, the prosecutors' review concluded.

Giovanni's official cause of death on April 16 was hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner. The DA did not identify the father by his full name, only as "Mr. Hernandez."



“Like most parents, I know how fatigue can sometimes rob us of common sense and good judgment,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “While we have prosecuted child endangerment cases in the past, this tragedy does not rise to the level of recklessness that both the law and justice require.”

Rosen added that to have criminally charged the father with child endangerment or involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors would have needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed an "aggravated, flagrantly negligent or reckless act rather than one resulting from inattention or mistaken judgment," Rosen said.

Rosen's decision is markedly different that what prosecutors decided near suburban Atlanta. Justin Ross Harris was charged with murder after the Cobb County District Attorney alleged he intentionally left his 22-month-old toddler in the back of the family SUV because he wanted a "child free life." Harris' friends and family, however, have countered that prosecutors made a "terrible mistake."

In the Santa Clara County case, the prosecutors' review concluded the tragedy was not caused by the negligence of a reckless parent but rather was an error by a "normally conscientious, exhausted father."

"That is the best news we have gotten all day," Kids and Cars president and founder Janette Janette said in phone interview from Philadelphia. "Those poor parents. Now, they can finally grieve."

In April, the day after Giovanni's body was found, Yousif Njimeh told NBC Bay Area that the father worked for his brother at his vending machine company, Star Vending. The father's usual routine was to park his silver Honda SUV on Payne Avenue in San Jose and then take off in the company vending machine truck. The father, who had two other children, worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Njimeh said. Njimen said sister-in-law was supposed to babysit the boy, but there was some "miscommunication."



The prosecutors' report released on Monday outlined a little more detail about what led up to Giovanni's death.

On the day his son died, Hernandez woke up about 6 a.m. to get his two other children ready for school, and the baby ready for daycare at his relative's home. He had gone to bed just four hours earlier at 2 a.m. because he was up with the baby while his wife was at work at a new job delivering pizza. His wife returned at 3 a.m.

Usually, it was Hernandez's wife's job to take the two older children to school and drop the baby off three days a week. But because of her new delivery job, there was a change in her routine.



Shortly after 8 a.m. that day, Hernandez piled his three children in his SUV. His oldest daughter sat in front. His older son sat in the back seat next to the sleeping baby.

He dropped off his older children, and drove off toward his work.



He told prosecutors he was extremely tired and dropped off his personal car to pick up his employer's truck, forgetting that the baby was in the back.

At the end of his shift, Hernandez asked a co-worker at 6:30 p.m. if they could stop at the babysitter's to get his son, but he realized that he had never taken Giovanni there.

He called 911, but it was too late.

On average, 38 children die from heat stroke every year after being left in a car nationwide, according to Kids and Cars. Last year, however, the heat stroke car death toll hit 44. Giovanni's death was the first in the country in 2014. On Monday, Kids and Cars had documented a total of 18 nationwide.

The dangers of parents leaving their children in hot cars was highlighted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2009 article "Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?" The magazine piece, by Eugene Weingarten of the Washington Post, showed that anyone can forget a baby in a car, and that the most likely reasons are a change in schedule and sheer exhausation. Rosen and senior prosecutors read that article and were very "moved" by it, according to public communications officer Sean Webby.



Fennell said that many of these deaths can be avoided if parents remember little tricks to remind them that their child may be sleeping quietly in the back seat. Two of those tips including having the babysitter call if the child does not show up in a timely manner, and leaving something necessary, like a purse, key card or phone, with the baby in the back seat so the driver will need to retrieve that item before heading into work.

Hernandez has no history of child abuse or neglect, according to prosecutors. And by all accounts, the DA's office concluded, he is an "attentive" father.

"He didn't commit a crime; he made a terrible mistake," Rosen said.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED: More tips can be found at KidsAndCars.org. The organization is also hoping that a petition will force the Obama Administration to provide more funding to the Department of Transportation to create innovative technology and require that technology be installed in cars.


NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Female World War II Pilot Turns 100]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:28:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/female-WASP-WWII-pilots.jpg

Mayme Tanner, one of the last surviving female pilots from World War II, turned 100 years old on July 25th, KPRC reported.

Tanner is one of 1,000 women who was part of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) which allowed women to fly military aircraft for the first time during the second great war.

Out of 25,000 women that applied for the opportunity, Tanner made the cut.

"It was thrilling I enjoyed it, I enjoyed my life very much," she told NBC affiliate KPRC.

For her birthday, her family and nursing home created a mobile museum full of pictures, uniforms and articles with details from Tanner's past.

Tanner reflected on her time as one of the first female military pilots: "The freedom it offered, getting in an airplane taking off flying anywhere you wanted to go. I just enjoyed flying around and looking at the scenery."

Charlotte Mendes, Tanner's niece, told KPRC reporters that her aunt is a humble inspiration.

"She didn't think she'd ever make it to her hundredth and I told her 'oh yes you will' because she has persevered through everything," Mendes said. "I don't think she realizes at all what she has done for all the women of the country."

For the next generation of female pilots, Tanner said, "Any girl can do it if they're determined to. Just stay with it."

The 100-year-old veteran received a letter from President Barak Obama on Friday thanking her for her service, KPRC reported.

 



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Mother of Missing New Hampshire Teen "Haunted" by Daughter's Eyes]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:44:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-07-21-21h17m31s196.jpg

A mother who was recently reunited with her missing teen daughter after nine months says she was overcome with emotion when the 15-year-old returned home just over a week ago.

“We just stood there, looking at each other, and then we hugged and I just said ‘thank God you’re home. Thank God you’re home',” Zenya Hernandez said in an exclusive interview with “Today."

Abigail Hernandez was returning home from school when she disappeared last October. Her family believes she was abducted by a stranger.

While the Hernandez family and the police are still searching for answers to what led to the teen's disappearance, her mother dispelled rumors that her daughter was pregnant or ran away. Zenya Hernandez said that when Abigail returned home on July 20, she had lost a significant amount of weight and appeared pale. 

“She had a look in her eyes I have never ever seen before. And that’s something that’s haunting me, and I think it will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Hernandez said.

The Hernandez family released a statement Monday morning on their web site BringAbbyHome.com with more details about their daughter's recovery.

"Right now, Abby is resting, extremely tired and in deteriorated health, and has lost a lot of weight. She is working to build her strength back and we hope soon she will be back on solid foods," the family said.
According to "Today," Abigail released a statement thanking those who aided in the search for her.

“My gratitude is beyond words. It’s an incredible feeling to be home, and I believe in my heart that your hopes and prayers played a major role in my release," the statement read.

Details remain confidential during the investigation into Abigail’s disappearance and nine-month absence, but New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster said in a statement that law enforcement officers are working to obtain satisfactory answers. Authorities have issued a call for help in identifying a man they believe may have been connected to the disappearance.

“I feel like they just took and ripped something out of our souls.” Abigail’s mother said. “And just as I swore I’ll find her, I’ll find the person, I’ll find out what happened.”



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Left Child in 140-Degree Car: Police]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:35:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rasheena+Francis1200.jpg

East Hartford police arrested a woman who is accused of leaving a child in a 140-degree car for hours while she was getting her nails done.

Police said Rasheena Francis, 28, of Hartford, left a 6-year-old child in the car for an hour or two on Friday while getting her nails done at Lena’s Nails II 205 Burnside Ave.

The car was off and the windows were rolled up when police arrived, police said. It was not immediately clear if Francis is the child's mother.



 

The child was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and is expected to be fine, according to police.

Francis was charged with one count risk of injury and one count of reckless endangerment.

She posted $75,000 bond and is due in court on Aug. 13.

The arrest is not listed on the online court docket and it's not clear if she has an attorney.
 



Photo Credit: East Hartford Police]]>