<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usSun, 04 Dec 2016 01:08:30 -0500Sun, 04 Dec 2016 01:08:30 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Person Hit By Car on Route 80 in East Haven]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:15:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/EASTHAVENHITANDRUN.jpg

A person was struck by a vehicle on Foxon Road in East Haven on Saturday night.

There were few details, but police said officers responded to the scene around 9 p.m.

The road remained closed from Michael Street west to Old Foxon Road while police investigated Saturday night.

There was a walker, food and a pair of shoes on the ground at the scene of the incident.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Drunk Driver Arrested After Hitting Pedestrian in Newington]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:20:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/IMG_37131.JPG

Fenn Road in Newington was closed for several hours Saturday night  after a drunk driver hit a pedestrian on Fenn Road.  

Police said a single vehicle struck a pedestrian on Fenn Road near Myra Cohen Way just after 7 p.m. 

The pedestrian was transported to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries, authorities said.

The operator of the vehicle was arrested at the scene for driving under the influence. 

The road was closed at Cedar Street while the Mid State Accident Reconstruction Team investigated. 

Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Newington police at 860-594-6208. 



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[9 Killed, Dozens More Feared Dead in Oakland Warehouse Fire]]> Sun, 04 Dec 2016 01:04:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/2016-12-03-oakland-fire.jpg

At least nine people were killed and 25 others unaccounted for after a massive blaze ripped through a warehouse party in Oakland late Friday, but officials are preparing for the death toll to rise.

In what is being described as one of the deadliest structure fires in the U.S. in recent history, the fire gutted the 1300 block of 31st Avenue at about 11:30 p.m., Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed said. Officials found no evidence of smoke alarms or sprinklers at the now-destroyed building, where the charred roof collapsed onto the second floor, which in places dropped onto the first floor. 

On social media, people referred to the building as the “Oakland Ghost Ship,” an artist's conclave. City officials described as a “a labyrinth of artist studios."

A Facebook event page indicates that the fire sparked during a Golden Donna show, which was promoted by Los Angeles-based dance label 100% Silk. Bob Mule, a survivor, said the space is also occupied by a 24-hour artist collective that he belongs to. 

Battalion Chief Lisa Baker said the building was "subdivided into other occupancies" and between 50 and 100 people were partying on the upper floor. Mark Hoffman, operations chief at the Oakland Fire Department, described the building as a "labyrinth," dotted with wood workers, sculptors, painters and more.

However, Darin Ranelletti, of the Oakland Planning Department, said the building was only permitted for use as a warehouse. City officials are investigating whether people were living in the warehouse illegally before Friday's lethal fire.

The party that young electronic music fans flocked to, Ranelletti said, "would require a special permit from the city, and such a permit had not been issued." 

Reed confirmed there were "nine known fatalities" around 7 a.m. Saturday, and that at least 25 others were unaccounted for. Around 9 a.m., Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. JD Nelson said officials are preparing for about 40 deaths based on the number of confirmed fatalities and numerous reports of missing people. 

Six coroners' tents were set up outside the building Saturday, while friends and strangers alike left flowers on a fence near the destroyed building.

Later in the day, Sheriff's spokesman Ray Kelly said nine bodies had been recovered and taken to the coroner's office, but declined to "play the numbers game." Several dozen people initially reported as missing have been located and reunited with their families, but a few dozen more remain unaccounted for, he said. 

While some families' fears were put at ease, others remain in an "unknown stage" and are "grieving," Kelly said.

The inferno reduced the building to a smoldering skeleton, and Kelly said that weakened walls have complicated and delayed the recovery and identification process. Fire crews were forced to withdraw from the unstable structure because it needs to be shored up.

Officials will need to use heavy equipment, including cranes, dump trucks, excavators and bulldozers, to create a safe path into the building. Crews have to work carefully, though, Kelly said, so bodies aren't scooped up with debris. 

It may take "considerable" time before victims are identified, according to Kelly. Investigators will be at the scene through late Sunday, and possibly into early Monday

Reed emphasized that just because someone is unaccounted for does not mean the person is dead. Officials are working to determine if attendees had taken themselves to the hospital or simply left the warehouse.

"One of the issues," Reed said, was that the building had only "one way up and down from the second floor and it’s my understanding that stairwell was kind of like a makeshift, that they put it together with pallets."

When she tried to enter the building, Reed said she was "just able to get in about 10 feet." Kelly added that it has proven "tricky" to maneuver in the building because of debris, downed beams, a collapsed roof and leaking water.

"This is not an easy task by any means," Kelly said.

The victims are primarily people in their 20s and 30s, but some hail from foreign countries, Kelly said.

"It appears that people either made it out or didn’t make it out," he said. "There’s not a lot of other injuries that have been reported to us at this time." 

The first fire crews on the scene "found a building that had smoke and flames coming out of three sides," Baker said. They made an "aggressive" attack to put the fire out, but conditions changed, forcing them to "retreat" from the then-"defensive" blaze.

It took 11 fire engines, three fire trucks and 52 firefighters "four hours to get the fire out," Baker said.

Reed said that 25 people were killed in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, but "as a single-structure fire, I don't think Oakland has had a fatality of this magnitude in a while."

"It's going to be a huge impact, not just on the firefighters but on the families, on this community and the city as a whole," she added.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement that the fire was an "immense tragedy" and thanked emergency responders.

"Our focus right now is on the victims and their families and ensuring that we have a full accounting for everyone who was impacted by this tragedy," she said.

The Oakland Athletics tweeted their support for those affected by the fire. "We will work together to heal our community," the team wrote. The A's also sought donations and pledged to match contributions up to $30,000. 

Event organizers have created a list on Facebook to try to figure out who is alive and accounted for. Families and friends took to Facebook and Twitter to express condolences for those who had died in the fire and search for those still missing. Vigils were also planned for Saturday evening.

But some, like Daniel Vega, who was anxiously awaiting news about his brother, Alexander, questioned those responsible

"If there was any kind of things wrong with that building, like maybe it was an old, dilapidated building or something like that, why would somebody have a rave there?" he asked. "And if the rave was there, and it was an underground rave, why did the cops let it happen?"

Oakland property records indicate that the warehouse is owned by the Chor N. Ng trust.

A family member speaking on behalf of Ng said they were "trying to figure out what happened just like everyone else" and were "sorry to hear of [the tragedy] and those injured and killed."

Multiple complaints have been filed against the property's owner, records show. A Housing Habitability Complaint, involving an illegal interior building structure, was filed as recently as Nov. 14. City officials were in the process of investigating the complaint when the fire broke out.

A complaint was also filed on Nov. 13 for garbage piling up on the property, some of which was hazardous, records show. There have also been reports of blight at the building.

On Nov. 17, investigator tried to inspect the building but could not even enter, Ranelletti said.

However, in its defense, the Ng family said they didn't regularly communicate with the tenants, who had been renting the property for a few years. They also disputed Reed's comments about the makeshift staircase and said it is a full stairway in the back of the building, which was constructed to code.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said the area is home to a mixture of Latinos and artists. When the warehouse first caught fire, many said, "Oh, that must be the hippie house."

It is common knowledge, the neighbor said, that artists lived inside the warehouse and left all sorts of junk — including RVs and odds-and-ends —outside, drawing scavengers. 

An arson task force is investigating the cause of the fire, but there’s no reason to suspect arson at this time, officials say. "We will be at this crime scene for weeks to come," Kelly said.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office and American Red Cross have set up a family assistance center at 2425 E. 12th St. Grief counselors will be on hand. People can call 510-382-3000 for help.

NBC Bay Area's Liz Wagner contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Hartford Firefighter Saves Woman From Fiery Car Crash]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 23:20:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/herofirefighter.jpg

A Newington woman involved in a fiery car crash on Thanksgiving Day credits a stranger for stopping and helping to save her life.

“At this point I’m so grateful to be alive, that I was given a second chance,” Shannon Munoz said.

Munoz is still shocked she survived the crash.

The 22-year-old was driving on Route 9 southbound near exit 23 in Berlin when she lost control.

“I remember hitting the guardrail and the car just ricocheted to the other side of the highway and that’s when it flipped four or five times,” Munoz said.

Munoz was stuck inside the Volvo sedan with cars flying by.

It just happened an off-duty Hartford firefighter was driving not too far behind.

“As I passed I saw someone trapped in the car,” David Cote, a Hartford firefighter, said.

Cote parked and rushed to help.

He and two of Munoz cousins, who also happened to stop, pulled the driver from the car which was now on fire.

“I told her just to look at me and told her to trust me and that it will be over soon and she was strong,” Cote said.

Moments later the entire car burst into flames and Munoz was safely on her way to the hospital.

Now nine days later she’s recovering from a concussion and several broken bones.

She credits the angel who still is by her side for saving her life.

“I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to thank him but he’s always going to be in my prayers every day,” Munoz said.

“When you can help people, you help,” Cote said.

Munoz – who is an elementary school paraprofessional in Middletown – hopes to be home for Christmas and back to work early next year.

And this Christmas there’s an invitation for a special guest, the firefighter who will forever have a bond with that family.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Crash Knocks Out Power in East Haddam]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 10:52:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/easthaddamfixed.jpg

Emergency crews responded to Beebe Road in East Haddam at around 9 a.m. this morning after a man flipped his car over after being distracted by local wildlife police say.

Police tell NBC Connecticut that the driver, a local man in his 50’s, ended up taking his vehicle off-road after he became distracted by wildlife.

The vehicle ended up clipping an electric pole before rolling over to a rest, police say.

Police say the man was trapped and responding firefighters were fearful as there were downed wires around the car.

However, the man was eventually able to exit the car under his own power and was sent to the hospital with minor injuries police say.

Police say the power company is currently working to restore power to any homes in the area affected by the accident.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Foxwoods Lights Tree Full of 100,000 Lights ]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 21:37:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/christmas+tree9.jpg

Foxwoods Resort Casino is getting into the holiday spirit.

The casino lit their 30 foot tree, full of a hundred thousand twinkling lights Saturday. 

"If you look all around us, there are lights everywhere. I can't even calculate it, but let's just say, in round numbers, a million lights," said Felix Rappaport, President and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino.

The celebration had performances by world champion skater Kimmie Meissner, singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson, and carolers, along with hot chocolate and ice skating.

"It's amazing," said 10-year-old Kitra Wilding, of Groton, about the holiday display. "I love it here. All the lights around the trees, around the house!"

Foxwoods staff said the skating rink will be open until March. They're calling the night a kickoff to the holiday season.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut ]]>
<![CDATA[Locals Give Generously at Toy Drive in East Haddam]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 12:08:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/easthaddamtoydrivefixed.png

Toys piled up in police cruisers across Connecticut Saturday, as the State Police’s annual "stuff a cruiser" event kicked off in communities throughout the state.

East Haddam’s police cruiser looked more like Santa’s sleigh Saturday. Teddy bears, dolls, footballs, and tractors, filled the patrol SUV to the brim within an hour. The donations were dropped off at East Haddam Youth and Family Services.

“Typically, we provide Christmas gifts for anywhere between 100 and 110 kids in the community every year,” said Toni McCabe, who works for the organization.

Residents opened their wallets to give, as well. One person wrote a $500 check.

For some, donating to the town’s toy drive is an annual tradition.

“It does give me pleasure to shop. I don’t have grandchildren that young anymore so I love to go to the stores and look for toys,” explained Elsie Snell of East Haddam.

For others, it was the start of something new.

“We wanted to do it so that our little guy starts to see that not everyone is as lucky as him. His first experience trying to give back,” explained East Haddam resident Katie Hass as she held her son.

All walked away with that warm fuzzy feeling, knowing they’d helped make someone’s holiday be a bit brighter.

“It makes you feel good inside,” said Roger Snell.

“This town is so generous. We have folks that come out. We will fill our cruiser four times today,” said Corporal Craig Mansfield, of the East Haddam Police Department.

Mansfield said this is his favorite time of the year. State Patrol Trooper Patrick Hawes agreed.

“Nobody really calls us when they’re having a great day. So, on days like today it’s great to see everybody come out and donate to the under privileged kids,” added Hawes.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Rips Through Oakland Warehouse, Killing 9]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:38:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/oaklandfireI.jpg At least nine people were killed and 25 others are unaccounted for after a three-alarm fire erupted at a warehouse party in Oakland late Friday night, fire officials said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[ATF Headquarters Named for Fallen Connecticut Special Agent]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:24:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ariel+rios+atf.jpg

On the 34th anniversary of they day he was killed in the line of duty, the headquarters of the Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives Bureau was renamed for a special agent assigned to the New Haven field office.

Special Agent Ariel Rios was gunned down during an undercover drug deal.

Three and a half decades later, a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. was held to officially name ATF Headquarters in honor of Rios.

Sgt. First class Frank Rios was just a 1-year-old when his father was killed. He said the ceremony was emotional for his family.

“American hero, and Hispanic hero, an ATF agent,” Sgt. 1st Class Rios said.

Sgt. First Class Rios unveiled the official plaque naming ATF headquarters for his father on Friday.

“It’s an honor to have this kind of acknowledgment for my father’s career and life and everything he’s done and accomplished,” Sgt. 1st Class Rios said.

“It’s an honor for the family. I don’t want to start crying again, so it’s beautiful,” Esilda Morales-Rios, Agent Rios' widow said.

On Friday December 2, 1982, Agent Rios gave a wink to his partner and supervisor Agent Alex D’Atri. The pair had just sealed the deal in a major undercover buy of 3 kilos of cocaine worth $150,000.

It was to be a big win against the Colombian cartels; the cocaine cowboys dominating the drug world and contributing to the rising death count in South Florida.

In seconds, tragedy erupted inside a rundown motel in Little Havana, Miami.

Rios was a shot in the face with a 357-Magnum.

“My father was shot and killed. And then his partner was shot like 5-6 times and lived to tell the tale,” Sgt. 1st Class Rios said.

“Special Agent D’Atri heard Special Agent Rios yell 'no' and then he heard a gunshot," Timothy J. Carroll, Resident Agent in charge of the Hartford field office said. "He turned to see Agent Rios and one of the men struggling over a firearm. Then he saw Special Agent Rios get shot. Special Agent D’Atri returned fire, but while returning fire he was also shot.”

The United States never forgotten agent Rios' sacrifice.

“He stands out for his courage, selflessness and dedication to the mission of this agency,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at Friday's ceremony.

At the time, Rios had volunteered for the Vice President’s Anti-Drug Task Force, wanting to take down the drug lords that had taken over Miami-Dade County.

“His former supervisors and fellow co-workers said he was a natural undercover agent. Born to do it, and he could transform himself into anything," Carroll said. "Agent Rios was the first of the modern ATF to be killed in the line of duty.”

“He loved his job, he really did. He lived for his job and there is no way he’d want to do anything different,” Morales-Rios said.

Now her late husband’s legacy will live on forever in Washington.

“It’s an ending and a reward for all agents who worked so hard to make it happen. It was them who made it happen,” Sgt. 1st Class Rios said. “He was very committed to his job, he did everything at 100-percent. I have a drive in me, I feel like i got from him.”

In 1985 the Ariel Rios Federal Building was named in honor of Agent Rios. ATF shared the building was other agencies on Pennsylvania Avenue, but that building was renamed for President Bill Clinton in 2013.

ATF had never before had a standalone headquarters without sharing a building with another agency. ATF moved into its new headquarters in 2006.

The Ariel Rios building is the only federal building in Washington, D.C. named after a fallen agent.



Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Thumbs Up! Buzz Aldrin Gets Surprise Visit in Hospital]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 13:27:40 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/buzz+aldrin+astronauta.jpg

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was medically evacuated from the South Pole earlier this week, is continuing to recover in a New Zealand hospital — and is in good spirits thanks to a visit from a friend, NBC News reported.

"I had a surprise visitor this morning," the 86-year-old rocket man tweeted from his hospital bed Saturday, along with photos of himself and NASA Deputy Administrator Dr. Dava Newman.

The tweet called Newman a "longtime friend."

Aldrin had been on a tourism adventure to Antarctica when "his condition deteriorated," according to White Desert, which organizes luxury tourism trips to the icy continent. He was evacuated on the first flight out as a precaution and transferred to a hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand, where doctors determined he had fluid in his lungs and prescribed him antibiotics.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Car, Bibles Stolen From WWII Vet in Windsor]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 14:13:34 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/VET+STILLfixed.jpg

A WWII veteran and widower is asking for the thief who stole his car and Bible to bring them back.

Paul Cassarino is part of the "Greatest Generation.” At 22-years-old, he served in WWII with the 447th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Corps.

"I flew 30 bombing missions over Germany," said Cassarino.

Then in 1945, he says he married the most beautiful woman he's ever known. Phyllis took his breath away for the next 69 years.

"Dementia took over for her and eventually she just passed away without any pain. Just like she went to sleep," said Cassarino.

In the last three years he lost his wife and his daughter. Cassarino says he visits Phyllis' grave twice a day and reads her passages from their Bible.

"I tell her how beautiful she is. I love her. How I miss her. How I always miss her," said Cassarino.

While getting ready to visit his wife's grave two weeks ago, the 94-year-old says someone went into his open garage on Farmstead Lane in Windsor, found a set of spare keys on a hook, and took his car along with everything inside it.

"That car means everything to me," said Cassarino.

Since the veteran's car was stolen, his son drives him around, but Cassarino can't go to the cemetery as often as before. And the items that were inside the car, including three Bibles, mean a lot to him.

To try and get it all back, Cassarino wrote a letter to the person responsible:

"This is an open letter to the person who stole my 2001 Mercury Sable station wagon from my garage ....

"My car is my survival for transportation to empty trash at the landfill, to go to the grocery store, go to my church, and to go to the cemetery every day to visit, talk and read the Bible to my late wife. In my car were my Bibles that my wife and I read together and that I would take to the cemetery to read to her; my tools that I have had for over 50 years; my personal belongings and other memorabilia that is priceless to me. My English version daily reader of the Vulgate Bible New Testament was especially dear to her and me. I read it to her every day when we were together and took it every day to the cemetery to read to her."

"I appeal to you to return my car together with its contents of my walker, tools, glasses, sun glasses, umbrella and 3 bibles. Please."

Cassarino hopes his plea reaches the person who took them and that everything is brought back.

"Whoever you are, that was a very cruel thing that you've done," Cassarino said.

Cassarino's silver 2001 Mercury Sable station wagon had a license plate of 816 RHP.

He says he's having a particularly hard time finding a replacement for his Vulgate Bible.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Windsor police.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Man Steals Bus to Go for a Joyride (Again)]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 18:31:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mta+bus+ridership.jpg

Some people steal sports cars when they want to joyride. Others boost a motorcycle.

Nickolas Ellias allegedly prefers the bus. 

Police said they arrested Ellias, 24, of Staten Island, for stealing an MTA bus from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in St. George sometime between midnight and 3 a.m.

He was spotted driving the bus and later arrested.

Ellias was caught doing the same thing in June 2014 and arrested then as well. At the time, his foster father reportedly said the young man was obsessed with buses. 

He is facing charges of grand larceny auto and criminal mischief in the current case. 

Ellias's case recalls another, more famous New York City transit thief - Darius McCollum, 51, who has been arrested more than 30 times for stealing buses and trains. 

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<![CDATA[Stepping Up Minority Teacher Recruitment in Connecticut]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 21:46:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/219*120/nhps+sypomsium.jpg

Principals, Human Resources directors and superintendents from the state’s major urban school districts gathered for two days in New Haven to meet with representatives from historically black colleges and universities about bringing their graduates to Connecticut for education jobs.

“To discuss how we can create a pipeline of minority teachers from the south up to the north to get into our classrooms,” said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the NAACP of Connecticut, which co-hosted the symposium with New Haven Public School.

Debbie Breland grew up in North Carolina and graduated from Fayetteville State University.

“Being an HBCU graduate I was recruited to New Haven back in 1987 to come teach high school English,” Breland said.

Almost thirty years later, Breland is now the New Haven School District’s minority teacher recruitment coordinator.

Only about a quarter of teachers in New Haven Public Schools are black and Latino, while minorities make up 80 percent of the student population, Breland said.

“There aren’t a lot of minorities going into education as they used to be,” she added.

Officials from the state’s Department of Education addressed the guests from the HBCUs.

“So that they would understand the certification process in Connecticut and they can take that information back and try to make it even with their educational programs to ready their students to come to Connecticut to become teachers,” Breland said.

Beyond recruiting education majors from the south, Breland said the district hopes to inspire its own students to consider careers in education.

“I have a daughter who is a senior in high school and she aspires to be an elementary school teacher,” Breland said, “so I’m adding to it by growing my own, so eventually she’ll be in a classroom teaching autistic children.”

Retirements are partly to blame for the dwindling number of minority teachers in urban school districts, Esdaile told NBC Connecticut.

New Haven is hoping to recruit minorities to fill both teaching and administrative positions, Breland said.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut ]]>
<![CDATA[Search Continues for Hit-and-Run Driver in Enfield]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:45:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/enfield+mercier+memorial.jpg

Enfield police continue to search for the driver who hit and killed a skateboarder early Friday morning.

Jeremy Mercier, 20, was hit while trying to help a friend, according to police.

“I didn’t sleep last night at all,” Brian Kozieracki said.

The incident happened around 1 a.m. right outside Kozieracki's Enfield home on Route 5.

“It startled us, jumped out of bed, like what was that? And looked out the window and saw something or someone laying at the end of our driveway,” Kozieracki, said.

Kozieracki rushed to call 911.

He said he and his wife never saw the car that hit Mercier and then sped away.

Now a memorial stands near Orbit Drive where police say Mercier died.

He had been skateboarding around 1:00am when he was hit by a car, creating a horrifying sound.

“It’s a terrible tragedy that occurred and we’re doing everything we can to locate the person who was involved,” Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said.

Loved ones say Mercier had jumped on his skateboard to bring a can of a gas to a friend who had run out.

As he headed out on the several-mile trip, he was hit just around the corner from his home.

Those who considered Mercier family say the young man had tough past but a bright future.

They, police, and the community have a message to the driver to do the right thing now.

“It only gets worse if you hide from it and you don’t take responsibility,” Kozieracki, said.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Enfield police.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Sandy Hook Group Begins Violence Warning-Signs Campaign ]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 10:09:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sandyhookmemorialIII.jpg

A group formed by families who lost children in the Sandy Hook school shooting has started a new public service campaign designed to teach people to recognize the warning signs of someone who may be contemplating gun violence.

The Know the Signs campaign from Sandy Hook Promise includes the launch on Friday of a new 2 ½-minute video public service announcement designed to show how easy it is to overlook at-risk behavior.

The group's founders include Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden. Both had 6-year-old sons who were among the 26 people killed by a gunman inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

The PSA can be viewed on YouTube.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New London Touts Port, Railway As Way to Build Economy]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 08:12:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/newlondon+infastructure_1200.jpg

Ports and railways. Those are the two key projects the City of New London wants to invest in to make the area competitive for trade and commerce.

New London Mayor Michael Passero teamed up with Senator Richard Blumenthal and the Connecticut Port Authority Friday to talk about plans to build up the port and freight rail service in New London. They didn't announce any specific projects, but say new jobs and new business is what they're after.

"(New London) was the richest city, the most prosperous city in the state because of this port. Because of this asset," Passero said, adding the state and federal governments have since failed to recognize the importance of the port in the city.

Applying for money for better lighting, fixing the rails and finding better ways to move cargo can go a long way, said Scott Bates, chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority.

It would also keep more trucks off the road, Blumenthal said, touting how using the ports or trains are less expensive and more environmentally friendly options. It also could New London very competitive on a global scale.

Currently the port only receives a shipment every three weeks, according to Joe Salvatore, program manager for the Connecticut Port Authority. He wants that number to ramp up to one shipment per week. But he understands it will take time.

All three leaders said the investment could create thousands of jobs, both permanent and temporary.

"You're talking about construction jobs, then we get more shipping in here, you have longshoreman, you have truckers, you have people who run the restaurants down the hill," Bates said.

The Connecticut Port Authority is still working on a proposal, but Bates says it will ask for millions of dollars.

"So we can get the port moving to its full capacity," he said.

One possible plan is creating a commercial fishing pier.

"We buy all whole fish and we struggle to get our hands on a lot of this stuff most of the time. Availability of the species that we buy is not always there," said Shawn Overend of The Mystic Fishery/The Fishery.

Overend said these fisherman are bound to a lot of restrictions. But he is cautiously optimistic about a potential new commercial fisherman pier opening up in New London to provide even more purchasing options.

A recent $8.2 million grant will also help increase the New England Central Railroad's freight-carrying capacity that starts in New London and services Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Canada.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Man Hit and Killed While Delivering Newspapers]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:51:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/possible+pedestrian+hit+in+West+Hartford.jpg

A 64-year-old Jamaican man is dead after he was hit by a pickup on South Main Street while delivering newspapers in West Hartford early Friday morning.

Police identified the man as Belford Muir, 64, of Jamaica, and said he was visiting family for an unknown amount of time and sometimes delivers Hartford Courant newspapers with his son.

Officers responded to the scene after receiving a report around 6:38 a.m. from someone who said CPR was in progress.

Muir was driving a Honda Accord, which was parked on the right side of the road, and police said he was crossing the street when a Ram 1500 pickup hit him.  

Police officers and firefighters provided medical assistance and Muir was transported to Hartford Hospital, but was soon pronounced dead, according to police.

Police said Muir was working for an independent delivery company contracted to deliver the Hartford Courant and other newspapers.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of everyone involved in today’s incident, which involved an independent  delivery contractor,” Andrew S. Julien, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Hartford Courant, said in a statement.

This is the fourth fatal pedestrian crash in the state in less than 24 hours.

Ashly Ferguson, 31, of Middletown, was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on I-95 South in Old Lyme Thursday when she got out of her car to check on a child in the back seat. 

Bryan Nagel, 49, of Hartford, was struck while crossing the Bulkeley Bridge in Hartford on Thursday night. 

Twenty-year-old jeremy Mercier, of Enfield, was struck while riding a skateboard on Route 5 in Enfield around 1 a.m. Friday. Police are still trying to identify the driver who hit him.

Nearly 300 people have been killed in car crashes in the state this year.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Skateboarder Hit by Vehicle in New Britain]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:29:28 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/skateboarder+hit+new+britain.jpg

Police are investigating after a man was hit by a vehicle in New Britain and seriously injured on Thursday.

The man was riding a skateboard just after 5 p.m. near 20 Franklin Square when he was hit, according to police.

Police said Friday morning that they were trying to identify the man, but now know who he is and are notifying the man's family.

His name has not yet been released.

The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.

Anyone with information should call New Britain police at 860-826-3071.



Photo Credit: New Britain Police]]>
<![CDATA[Professor Stabbed to Death at USC]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 06:04:09 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bosco-tjan-120216.png

A professor stabbed to death on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles on Friday was identified as psychology Professor Bosco Tjan, university officials said.

Tjan was killed Friday afternoon at the University Park Campus in the Seeley G. Mudd building, officials said. A student was arrested in connection with the death, officials said. He was identified Saturday morning as 28-year-old David Jonathan Brown of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Police said.

Tjan served as a co-director of the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center and was an expert in perception, vision, and vision cognition. He joined the USC faculty in 2001.

"We are extremely proud of our Department of Public Safety officers for their quick response, and our university counselors for immediately offering support at the scene," C. L. Max Nikias, USC's president, said in a statement. "As the Trojan Family mourns Professor Tjan’s untimely passing, we will keep his family in our thoughts. We encourage anyone in need of support to reach out to Student Counseling Services or the Center for Work and Family Life. On Monday, our dean of religious life, Varun Soni, will bring the campus community together for reflection and prayer."

The university's Trojans Alert emergency texting service quickly put out a message urging students, faculty and employees to stay away from the Seeley G. Mudd building, which houses science and medical classrooms.

"Police-related incident in progress at Seely G. Mudd. No danger to USC or the community. Stay away from the area," the text read.

The 10-story building is in the heart of campus near the school's running track.

USC was rocked last year by the beating death of a graduate student who was attacked by several people as he walked back to his off-campus apartment late at night after attending a study session.

Xinran Ji, a 24-year old engineering student, managed to return to his apartment, where his roommate found him.

In 2012 Chinese graduate students Ming Qu and Ying Wu were shot to death as they sat in their BMW about a mile from campus.

After Ji's murder USC officials sought to reassure parents of Chinese exchange students that the campus and its surrounding areas are safe.

USC has 44,000 students enrolled, including more than 10,000 international students.

A highly competitive school, it enrolled only about 16 percent of the more than 54,000 people who applied for its freshman class this year.

NBC4 wire services contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: USC]]>
<![CDATA[Sarah Palin Warns of ‘Crony Capitalism’ After Trump Deal ]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 00:22:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/el-factor-palin.jpg

An unexpected dissenting voice came out Friday against a Trump administration brokered deal to keep a Carrier plant in Indiana and save around 1,000 jobs, NBC News reported.

Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in an op-ed for the Young Conservatives website called the deal, which was reportedly negotiated by Vice President-elect Mike Pence, an example of government intervention that could lead to "crony capitalism."

"Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember?" Palin wrote. "Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Respond to Reports of Armed Man in Vernon Home]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 22:08:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-tape-shutterstock_5628043315.jpg

A portion of Route 83 was shut down in Vernon Friday night after police responded to a 911 call reporting an armed man at home on Union Street.

Police said the caller said the man was armed with a handgun and threatening to commit suicide. 

When officers arrived on scene, the man exited the house holding a revolver and acted in a threatening manner towards responding officers.

Police said they were able to contain the man, but had to shut down the road for about 30 minutes while they negotiated with him.

The man was taken into custody and brought to Rockville General Hospital for psychiatric treatment, authorities said.

Police removed several other firearms from the home.

Family members who were inside the home at the time of the incident were able to exit safely. There were no injuries and the incident remains under investigation.

The identity of the man was not made immediately available. No charges have been filed at this time. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Pet Parrot May Serve As Witness In Murder Case]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:45:40 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_murderparrot0603_1920x1080.jpg

In Michigan, one pet owner may rue the day she adopted her parrot.

Glenna Duram is currently on trial, charged with murdering her 45-year-old husband Martin on May 12, 2015. Bud, her African grey parrot, is the sole witness to the crime. And he’s been vocal about what he saw.

"Don't f---ing shoot," Bud said on a video recorded by family members weeks after the killing, NBC News reports.

"That bird picks up anything and everything," Martin’s mother, Lillian Duram, told Today in June. "He's got the filthiest mouth around."

The local prosecutor previously told NBC affiliate WOOD in Grand Rapids that he has not ruled out putting the African Grey parrot on the stand.

Duram, who survived what prosecutors believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, is charged with first-degree murder.



Photo Credit: WOOD]]>
<![CDATA[In 2015, Health Spending Surges in the U.S. ]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 20:00:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/170*120/AP_16320836144895-doctor.jpg

In 2015, Americans spent $3.2 trillion on medical expenses, up by 5.8 percent since 2014, NBC News reported.

Experts say there are also indications that health spending increased because people sought medical treatment for diseases they previously ignored because of lack of resources, according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Spending on prescription drugs also surged last year, with a nine percent increase since 2014.

"Recent rapid growth was due to increased spending for new medicines (particularly for specialty drugs such as those used to treat hepatitis C), price growth in existing brand-name drugs, increased spending on generics, and a decrease in the number of expensive blockbuster drugs whose patents expired," the CMS report read.



Photo Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sandy Hook Families, CT Politicians Push for Mental Health Reforms]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 19:25:23 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sandy+hook3.jpg

Congress could pass the first major healthcare reform since the Affordable Care Act next week.

The US House of Representatives approved the measure with bipartisan support last week and the US Senate is expected to take up the bill next week, and possibly send it to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

"This bill authorizes several important new programs that will help identify mental illness sooner,” said Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy during a press conference Friday.

The 21st Century Cures Act includes key elements of the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 which was championed by both of Connecticut’s US Senators.

There was also pressure from Sandy Hook Promise, a group that includes families of victims from the 2012 massacre.

Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel in the Newtown shooting, said the reform “will offer life-saving solutions.”

The reforms include more access to providers by incentivizing “one stop shopping” for mental health services when considered in the broader context of healthcare.

Sen. Murphy said there are incentives , “So you don't have to go to one provider to get your knee fixed and another provider to get your brain treated."

If it becomes law, there would be more access for family members to a mental health patient’s records under certain circumstances. Murphy says confusion over privacy laws has led to families being left out of the loop when their input or intersection could have been beneficial.

"The legislation puts parents back in the game when their adult children are struggling by making it clear that parents can share information with parents of adult children when it's in the best interests of that patient,” Murphy said.

Even though the law falls well short of being able to insure that no mass shooting happens in the future, Barden says he wishes the law was in place prior to December 2012.

"My son's killer was suffering mental illness,” he said. “We know his mother didn't know what to do with him and I will tell you I lie awake at night thinking if something like the mental health reform act of 2016 was in place then that the quality mental healthcare would have been available to him."

Liberal senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have opposed the reforms, saying the broader health bill provides gifts for pharmaceutical companies.

Murphy says he hopes enough members vote across party lines to ensure the bill makes it to President Obama’s desk during the lame duck session.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut ]]>
<![CDATA[Trader Joe's Hummus Recalled Over Listeria Concerns]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:13:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/joes+hummus.jpg

Bakkavor Foods USA is recalling two kinds of Trader Joe's hummus over concerns about possible Listeria contamination, which can cause serious and sometimes deadly infections in young children and the elderly.

The recall applies to Trader Joe's Mediterranean Hummus and Trader Joe's White Bean and Basil Hummus sold in 30 states with "USE BY" date codes up through and including Dec. 15. The products come in 16-ounce plastic tubs with SKU numbers printed on the top labels and "USE BY" date codes stamped on the bottom of the tubs, along with the plant identification code "C."

There haven't been any reports of illness, and Bakkavor Foods USA said it implemented the voluntary recall as a precautionary measure.

Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infection.

Click here for a list of affected products and states, as well as information on obtaining a refund.  

Less than two weeks ago, Sabra Dipping Company issued a voluntary recall for a variety of its hummus products over similar Listeria concerns. That recall affects hummus products that were made before Nov. 8, 2016, and sold across the United States and Canada at supermarkets and other stores.



Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[Puppies Diagnosed With Parvo at Manchester Rescue Facility]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:36:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/parvo+dog_manchester.jpg

Some dog adoptions are on hold at a busy facility in Manchester.

Three puppies from a recent litter brought back from Tennessee developed an intestinal illness.

Those same puppies, recently adopted from “Save All Dogs, Inc.” were diagnosed with the parvovirus, a highly contagious illness resulting in vomiting and diarrhea.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters were alerted to the problem by one of the puppy’s new owners.

Kristi Glowacki's concern prompted the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to follow up.

Glowacki paid more than $400 to adopt an 8-week-old Boxer mix on Black Friday.

“He’s basically my baby. I definitely would not be doing this if i didn’t feel that way,” Glowacki said.

Three days after Glowacki brought "Alpha" home, the dog got sick.

“Between the constant IV, he can’t keep any fluid in. He won’t eat at all. He has to get x-rays of his intestines just in case those are having a block. He needs extra medications because he can’t keep anything in on either end,” Glowacki told NBC Connecticut after taking the dog to the vet of her choosing in Cheshire.

Alpha’s treatment will cost more than $4,000, according vet bills Glowacki showed the Troubleshooters. The first bill alone totaled more than $1,900.

“Our accountant already mailed out a reimbursement check for that amount,” Chris Carty, co-founder of "Save All Dogs" said. The Troubleshooters verified Glowacki received that payment.

Alpha is not the only sick dog. Of the five boxer puppies brought up from Tennessee last week, three tested positive for the K9 parvovirus.

Carty and adoption associate, Katie Kelleher, say all of the puppies received a clean bill of health before they were put up for adoption.

“When they were checked by our vet there were zero signs, zero symptoms. No one could have known they were incubating the disease,” Kelleher said.

Carty said his organization will help the owners of the sick puppies with vet bills. That money, he says, will come from his other business, “The Dog House,” which is run out of the same building, but operates independently from “Save All Dogs, Inc.”

“We’re able to help Kristi and this other gentleman through funds that will be given to us by The Dog House.

“Save All Dogs Inc.” also implemented a voluntary quarantine of 15 other dogs.

Thursday morning, officials with the Department of Agriculture followed up on Glowacki's complaint to the Troubleshooters.

“We did an inspection of the facility. We checked their medical records on imported animals and everything was in compliance," Raymond Connors, animal control supervisor for the Department of Agriculture said. "They have self-quarantined on advice of their veterinarian on the rescue dogs they’ve had come in on that transport from Tennessee. Our department will be doing a formal quarantine of that facility just for the rescue dogs that did come in on that transport. No dogs can go in or out of that area for 10 more days.”

Carty says he hopes this doesn’t discourage families from adopting his animals.

“It is an unfortunate situation and this disease can be devastating. I don’t feel we’re at fault. It’s a lose-lose situation because we’re saving these dogs basically from kill shelters down south, and trying to find them homes up here,” Carty said.

The Troubleshooters have learned in the almost year they’ve been in operation, “Save All Dogs, Inc.” received one complaint that resulted in a written warning for a violation for failing to provide vet exams within 48-hours of being brought back to Connecticut from Tennessee. It is a step that is required by law.

Carty responded to the Troubleshooters with a statement about the violation.

“In April of 2016, Save All Dogs received a frantic call from a Tennessee rescue group that dozens of dogs were going to be euthanized if they weren’t rescued immediately after being saved from an abusive hoarding situation. Save All Dogs immediately traveled to Tennessee on a Sunday, rescuing them, and bringing them back to Connecticut. Due to the fact that this happened over the weekend, our veterinarian was not able to examine the dogs within the required 48-hour period, but did so within 60 hours. This was a risk we were willing to take as the alternative was death for these dogs. Today these animals are living in loving homes where they have been given a second chance at life."

The Department of Agriculture says complaints like Glowacki's need to be reported directly to them.

They also recommend people do their research before adopting a pet. Check with their office, records are always available.



Photo Credit: Kristi Glowacki]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Students Offer Gifts to Young Hospital Patients]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:06:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/third+grade+gifts+YNHH.jpg

Third graders in New Haven are hoping to lift the spirits of patients at Yale-New Haven’s Children’s Hospital this holiday season.

“Hope you feel better soon, wish you a lot of strength, from Aurora, go you, you rock,” Aurora Chevalier said, reading the get well card she wrote.

Her classmates from King-Robinson Interdistrict Magnet School in New Haven put together sixty care packages to be dropped off with patients next week.

“Because we don’t want nobody to feel like they’re left out and they’re left alone,” third grader Antoine Williams said.

The students learned about the Yale children’s hospital and then created custom comfort bags from t-shirt donations.

“There’s little stuffed animals for the kids who are sick to like snuggle with and stuff,” third grader Jayla Johnson said.

At the Friday morning Spread the Love assembly, the students presented the care packages to the gift coordinator from the hospital.

“And it touched my heart because I’m very philanthropic,” Scotti Williams, of Yale-New Haven Hospital said, “I give back to the community all the time so I think it’s wonderful and I think it’s great that the school is teaching them from such a young age to start now giving back to the community because every little bit helps.”

The stuffed animals came from the overflow of Sandy Hook donations.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Moose Wanders Onto Vermont Farm, Attempts to Befriend Cows]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:26:51 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/179*120/Vermont+Sharyn+Abbott.jpg

A farm in northern Vermont got quite a surprise this past weekend when a moose snuck into a cow pasture and appeared to try to befriend the animals there.

Cattle ranchers Sharyn and Tim Abbott were returning to their Sheldon home from an outing when they noticed a creature had joined their herd. 

"I thought it was pretty cool," said Sharyn Abbott, whose Belted Galloway cows, Precious and Primrose, got up close and personal with the moose.

The Abbotts said the moose looked really healthy, and didn't appear to be in search of food or water.

"I think she was looking for companionship," Tim Abbott speculated.

At one point, the moose flopped down to rest not far from one of the cows, a picture shows. In another photo, the moose and one of the cows appear to have locked eyes, making the Abbots wonder what the animals thought of each other.

"It was a treat just to see the pictures, and get pictures close, and see how big and massive and tall they are," Sharyn Abbott said of the experience.

They said while one of their Belted Galloways, Primrose, was really friendly with the moose, the other, Precious, was much more hesitant.

"The brown one was scared to death of her," Tim Abbott said of Precious' tendency to avoid the moose.

A young child of a neighbor dubbed the moose "Molly," believing the animal needed a name.

After a full day of visiting, the Abbotts decided it was time to shoo Molly away. They explained they didn't want her getting injured or stuck in the barn if she attempted to enter.

The Abbotts also wanted to avoid the moose damaging some of the fences on their property, they said.

The Abbotts are now curious if the moose will ever come back.

"We watch for her every day, thinking she might show up again," Tim Abbott said, smiling.

We're guessing Precious and Primrose are thinking the same.



Photo Credit: Sharyn Abbott]]>
<![CDATA[Drizly Delivers Beer, Wine and Liquor to Your Door in Connecticut]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:58:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/liquor_bottles_alcohol_generic.jpg

Drizly, an online service that delivers beer, wine and liquor, is now available in Connecticut. 

The company is currently working with Wine Cellars 4 and Capital Spirits in Hartford and Beverage Boss in New Haven. 

It is also working with BevMax and LQR MKT in Fairfield County, serving Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich, Fairfield and Westport. 

Customers can try Drizly with the free delivery code: WelcomeCT. 

Learn more on the company’s web site



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Shoplifting Suspect Found More Than 2 Hours After Running from Police]]> Sat, 03 Dec 2016 15:48:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Joseph+LeGeyt++mugshot+1200.jpg

A 33-year-old New Britain man suspected in a shoplifting at Best Buy on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington on Nov. 29 was located hours later after running into wooded area, according to police. 

Police said they received a report of a shoplifting in progress at the store at 3377 Berlin Turnpike around 12:26 p.m. and officers found a man in the parking lot, but he ran away and into an area thick with brush and pricker bushes, police said. 

A police dog was not able to find the man because of poor weather conditions, but police located the suspect around two-and-a-half hours later. 

Police identified the man as Joseph LeGeyt and said he has been charged with sixth-degree larceny and interfering with an officer. 

He was released on a $25,000 surety bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 13.



Photo Credit: Newington Police]]>
<![CDATA['Changed My Life': Michaels Employee Thanks Donors After Viral Tirade]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:47:40 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/michaels+rant.png

The Michaels employee who became the target of a customer's now-viral tirade at a Chicago store said she is in "utter shock" at the donations strangers from across the country have made in an effort to show their support this holiday season.

In a letter to those that raised more than $32,000 for her, the store manager identified only as Holli wrote "you have all single handedly changed my life."

"You will be blessed for this act of unconditional kindness," she wrote. "I never thought my ginormous dreams would become a reality so soon and at the hand of others, but with your support I can now take the steps needed to build a better future. Because of you this dark world has a lot more light in it."

Supporters rallied around the Michaels employee after video of an incident at a location in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood the day before Thanksgiving went viral.

The footage, which had been viewed more than 590,000 times as of Monday afternoon, showed an angry customer yelling at an employee claiming she was discriminated against while checking out last week. By Tuesday morning, more than 2 million people watched the footage. In the video, the white customer is seen calling a black employee at the Lakeview store “an animal” and telling one employee to “shut your face.”

She claims an employee discriminated against her and mumbled that she must have voted for Donald Trump, but the employee is heard in the video denying that claim.

“And I voted for Trump, so there,” she said. “What? You want to kick me out because of that? And look who won. Look who won.”

The woman vows to report the employees to their corporate headquarters and yells at bystanders filming the incident before calling the police. An employee can be heard in the background telling the woman she was not discriminated against, but that the employee asked if she would like to buy a reusable bag.

"When I asked for my things to be bagged, and I don't care about the size of the bag, this other woman makes a big deal about it, coming around," she says in the video. "She's screaming at me from across the store, screaming at me."

Jessie Grady, who witnessed and filmed part of the 30-minute ordeal, posted the footage to social media and started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the employee targeted in the so-called rant.

Grady said the employees “did nothing to provoke this verbal attack and in fact treated all customers with professionalism and courtesy.”

“I was so shocked by this unprovoked attack that I captured 17 minutes of it on video on my phone,” Grady wrote on the GoFundMe page. “I am starting this gofundme [sic] because I’d like to do something to try to make it up to the employee who was the main target of this racist attack. I’d like to show her that many people are horrified by how this woman treated her, and that we stand with her and appreciate her hard work. She inspired me because despite the hateful words that were being hurled in her direction, she stood in that entranceway calm and unmoving to protect her staff and customers.”

Both the woman in the video and bystanders called police to report the incident. Police confirmed officers were called to the store Wednesday, but when they arrived, the woman was gone and no police report could be filed.

Michaels said in a statement it does not “tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind against our team members or customers.”

“We regret that our customers and team members were affected by this unfortunate incident and are grateful for the leadership of our store team in working to resolve it without further escalation,” the statement read.

The company also tweeted Monday, “We appreciate the outpouring of support for our Chicago-based team member.”

Grady said that she was "astounded" by how big her GoFundMe campaign grew.

"What started as a small gesture to let one person know that she is valued and important to her community turned into something I never imagined," she wrote on Facebook. "I never expected this to get past the neighborhood. Our country has been completely divided in the past couple years, but somehow this one story resonated with and united millions of people."

She noted that there were "hundreds of Trump supporters who donated and sent kind messages denouncing this behavior."

"Millions of you saw that this was about more than one incident," she wrote. "This was about treating workers with dignity and respect. This was about community and kindness and standing up against hatred. These are values Americans once believed in and other countries admired us for. Shine a mirror on it. This won’t solve all of our problems, but it’s one small step."

Read the manager's full letter below: 

A letter from Holli:

I'll start with this. I am in utter shock. You have all single handedly changed my life. Each of you have shown me that this world is worth living in. I have felt so misguided in a sense of why can't I get passed where I am. I've tried to be kind, I've tried to be fair, I've tried to share regardless if I was able to. I want others to smile when I smile back at them. Knowing deeply we all have a higher purpose. How can I help!!

For some time now, I've felt this overwhelming sense of failure. I want to make a positive change in this world. I know what I'm here for and that's to help others reach their higher potential. With your support I have been blessed with the opportunity to live and not just survive daily. I can properly provide for my family and meet all our children's needs. I will now have the ability to get my business up and running in order to provide a better future for us. And I can still give back to my community even more now. 

You have personally contributed to SO much more than you could possible know.

I ask that you please forgive me as I'm a little afraid to make a public video. Just know that from my soul to yours. You will be blessed for this act of unconditional kindness. I never thought my ginormous dreams would become a reality so soon and at the hand of others, but with your support I can now take the steps needed to build a better future. Because of you this dark world has a lot more light in it.

Not to preach at you or push spirituality at you. That being said I pray that you gain real fulfillment in your life. I don't know you but I love you. It's weird to some people but whatever, I believe we are one people so if I love myself therefore I love you. We've been taught that what we do unto others, we receive in return.

A great teacher of mine has said "All forms of pain, suffering, illness or financial chaos are there to promote spiritual growth and character change." We are the change. You are this change. We stand together side by side in truth and know love trumps hate. Blessings to you may your light continue to break through the darkness.

-Yours sincerely Jony AKA Holli



Photo Credit: Jessie Grady]]>
<![CDATA[2-Year-Old Westport Boy Found in New York City]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:57:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Messiah-Fraizer.JPG

A 2-year-old boy missing from Westport since Thursday afternoon has been found at a relative's home in Manhattan and he is OK.

Two-year-old Messiah Frazier was reported missing Thursday. Police said his  oy’s grandmother, who had custody, passed away Thursday of natural causes.

The boy’s biological uncle, Danny Frazier, who also lived in the home, took the child and was not answering calls from family or police, according to police.

Messiah and Danny were dropped off at a barber shop in Norwalk between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday and police said there were reports the uncle left the child unsupervised and went to a bank, a check-cashing store and a cell phone store in Norwalk. 

Police said they were concerned for the child’s safety because Danny Frazier has a known criminal background and is a known drug user.

Westport police said the boy was found around 2:30 p.m. Friday at a relative's home in Manhattan. He is being brought back to Connecticut and will be turned over to the state Department of Children and Families. 



Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police]]>
<![CDATA[3-Alarm Fire in Stamford Displaces at Least 6]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:34:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/firefighter-generic-san-die.jpg

Firefighters have responded to a three-alarm fire in Stamford that the fire department says has displaced at least six people.

The fire is at 38 Lockwood Ave. and seven engines, three ladder trucks, a rescue and command units have all responded to the scene, according to Tweets from the department.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Motorcyclist Killed in Crash on Route 39 in New Fairfield]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:28:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+police+barracks1.jpg

One person was killed in a crash on Route 39 North in New Fairfield on Thursday afternoon.

Police said a motorcycle and a Kia Optima were involved in the crash near Old Shortwoods Road at 2:22 p.m.

The motorcyclist was thrown after crossing over the center lane and colliding with the Kia, police said. The person, who has not been identified, died after being transported to Danbury Hospital.

The other driver sustained minor injuries, according to police.

State police are asking anyone with information to call the New Fairfield Resident Troopers Office.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Former Officer: Gen. Mattis Left 'My Men to Die']]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:05:31 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/James_Mattis_2.jpg

A former Army Special Forces officer is accusing retired Marine General James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to be defense secretary, of "leaving my men to die" after they were hit by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2001, NBC News reported.

Mattis has not commented publicly on the incident, which was chronicled in a 2011 New York Times bestselling book, "The Only Thing Worthy Dying For," by Eric Blehm, which portrays Mattis as stubbornly unwilling to help the Green Berets.

His actions, which were not formally investigated at the time, are now likely to get far more scrutiny during the retired general's Senate confirmation process.

Trump's transition team did not respond to request for comment from NBC News.

Mattis, whose 2013 retirement from the military means he would need a waiver from Congress to serve as the civilian Pentagon chief, did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News.



Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sandy Hook Promise Launches Powerful Campaign About Spotting Signs Of Gun Violence]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:18:31 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Sandy+Hook+promise+library.JPG

Sandy Hook Promise, a group dedicated to preventing gun violence, has launched a new and powerful campaign about spotting the signs of gun violence, or missing them.

The cleverly done #KnowTheSigns video starts with the description, "as the school year winds down, one student finds himself starting an unexpected relationship." From there, you just have to watch it to see what it's about.

Did you spot the signs or did you miss them?

Sandy Hook Promise, based in Newtown, Connecticut, is made up of two nonprofits, and the group has been working together after the Sandy Hook school shooting to honor victims of gun violence and work toward gun safety legislation.

Twenty students and six staff members were killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.



Photo Credit: Sandy Hook Promise
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<![CDATA[Woman Finds Couple in Her Bed, Attacks Woman With Butcher Knife: Police]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:41:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Lenee+Myers+mugshot+Hamden.jpg

A Hamden woman attacked another woman with a butcher knife after coming home to find a couple in her bed, according to police. 

Hamden Police said they responded to an apartment on Fitch Street Oct. 29 to investigate an assault and the victim, a 24-year-old Hamden woman, told police a man she was communicating with on social media invited her over. 

When the resident, 32-year-old Lenee Myers, came home and found the couple in her bedroom, she grabbed a butcher’s knife and “hit” the knife against the 24-year-old woman’s skin, then punched her in the eye, according to police. 

The victim sustained an eye injury and had cuts on her chest, arm and back, police said. 

On Nov. 30, Hamden police arrested Myers at her home and charged her with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. 

She was held on a court-ordered $10,000.00 bond is due to appear in court in Meriden on Dec. 13. 

It’s not clear if she has an attorney.



Photo Credit: Hamden Police]]>
<![CDATA[Item That Caused Early Dismissal at Jonathan Law High in Milford Was Harmless]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:09:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jonathan+Law+High+School+Milford+1200.jpg

Students at Jonathan Law High School in Milford were dismissed at 1 p.m. Friday after someone inadvertantly left something in a bathroom.

The items, which turn out not to be anything harmful, was found at 12:40 p.m.

School officials said students were evacuated to the football field and police and firefighters responded and crews determined that an adult left the item inadvertantly.

Crews cleared the school building to reopen at 1:25 p.m.  



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>