<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sun, 21 Dec 2014 10:10:12 -0500 Sun, 21 Dec 2014 10:10:12 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Man Arrested in Meth Lab Bust]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 08:57:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/305*120/east+windsor+police+generic.jpg

Police arrested an East Windsor man Saturday after discovering a methamphetamine lab in his home, prompting the evacuation of his building.

James Driscoll, 57, is facing a charge of manufacturing hallucinogenic drugs after authorities surrounded his 2503 Meadowview Drive home upon finding a lab for making meth. Police and ambulance crews responded at about 6:55 p.m. after receiving a report about a drug overdose and law enforcement cleared neighbors from the building.

Warehouse Point Fire, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials, state police and Drug Enforcement Administration authorities also responded.

Police ask anyone with information to call police at 860-292-8240. The incident remains under investigation.

Further charges are pending completion of the investigation.

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<![CDATA[Leaders Across U.S. Mourn Officers Killed in Brooklyn]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:15:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/460731242.jpg

Police departments and civic leaders across the United States mourned publicly on Saturday, condemning violence and calling for calm after two police officers were shot dead in their squad car in what New York City's commissioner called an "assassination."

President Barack Obama was among those who expressed support for the police. "Two brave men won't be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification," the president said Saturday night in a statement. "Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen."

Police departments around the country expressed solidarity with the NYPD, adorning their badges with black bands in honor of the slain officers.

In Philadelphia, where anti-police graffiti appeared this week, a police spokeswoman called the shootings a "horrible act of terror."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with New York Police Department and the families of these officers," the spokeswoman said.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter took to Twitter to condemn the shooting.

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were sitting in a squad car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon when the shooter, identified as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, approached the car and fatally shot both officers in the head, police said. Brinsley then ran into a nearby subway station and killed himself, according to police.

"They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform," said New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. "Both officers paid the ultimate sacrifice today while protecting the communities they serve."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the shootings a "particularly despicable act," and called on New Yorkers to pray for the families of Ramos and Liu. He ordered that flags in the city be lowered to half-staff from sunrise Sunday until the officers' burial.

But New York Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch was critical of the mayor's office. Lynch tied the shootings to violence against the NYPD during recent protests in the city and blamed the mayor directly for a perceived lack of support as the department has come under scrutiny.

"There's blood on many hands tonight," Lynch said, and "starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor."

In response, the mayor's office said, "it's unfortunate that in a time of great tragedy, some would resort to irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people."

Loretta E. Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, pledged that her office would assist with the investigation of the shooting.

"I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of this afternoon's brutal and senseless attack on two NYPD Officers, and I join Attorney General Holder in expressing my deepest condolences to the families of these fallen heroes," she said. "Today's assailant struck at the heart of our city — the dedicated officers who pledge their lives to safeguard us all."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[McDonald's Burgers Under $1 for National Burger Day]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 09:49:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/McDonald%27s+Hamburger+Edited.jpg

The Hamburglar might say it's a steal even cheaper than the dollar menu.

You can get a specially priced burger for just 59 cents at participating McDonald's fast food restaurants in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts on Sunday to celebrate its National Hamburger Day.

The discounted burgers will be offered between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 21 at most Connecticut McDonald's restaurants excluding Fairfield County.

Customers will be limited to four burgers a piece.



Photo Credit: McDonald's]]>
<![CDATA[60-Year-Old Man Killed in Crash With Ambulance]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 01:38:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/somers+ambulance+crash.jpg

A 60-year-old man has died after his car crashed head-on into an ambulance on Main Street/Route 190 in Somers on Saturday afternoon, according to state police.

Police said the car's driver, identified as Leonard W. King, of the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, was driving westbound on Main Street when he struck an ambulance traveling eastbound around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

King was pronounced dead at the scene. State police initially said the victim was a resident of Enfield.

No one else was in the car with King, but four people riding in the ambulance – identified as Kara Williams, 19, of Somers; Katherine Morton, 20, of Somers; Joshua Marquardt, 22, of Somers, and driver Kate Schoenberger, 20, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts – were taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford for medical evaluations, according to state police.

The ambulance was not responding to a medical call at the time of the crash.

Firefighters from the Hazardville section of Enfield were called in for mutual aid. Main Street was closed for several hours west of Route 83 in Somers, between Sokol Road and Maple Ridge Drive.

LifeStar was called to the scene and later canceled, according to the helicopter service.

Authorities are investigating. Anyone with information on the crash is urged to call Connecticut State Police Trooper Preuss at 860-896-3200.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[Eight Connecticut Schools Receive Art Grants]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 08:22:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/1114-generic-school-bus.jpg

Eight Connecticut schools are the first to receive grant funding under a new state program designed to strengthen arts instruction by encouraging partnership between schools, artists and arts organizations.

The eight were chosen from 82 schools and school districts that applied for a total of $250,000 made available through the Arts in Education grant program. The maximum award was $50,000. Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said demand for the grants was high.

Schools in Bridgeport, Colchester, Coventry, Farmington, Manchester, Middlefield, Newtown and Waterbury have been awarded funds ranging from $2,759 to $50,000.

The Classical Studies Magnet Academy in Bridgeport, for example, received a $49,952 grant. The money will be used to employ artists for residencies, performances and workshops at the K-8 school.

The grant program is overseen by several state agencies.

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<![CDATA[1 Dead After Double Shooting in Hartford]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 23:07:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hendricxsen+Ave+Shooting+Edited.jpg

Two people were shot, one killed, early Saturday morning in Hartford's 18th homicide of the year.

According to police, 23-year-old Hartford resident Hiram martinez was shot in the head and killed in a car on Hendricxsen Avenue near Colt Park around 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

The surviving victim, identified as 24-year-old Dedrick Jimenez, of Hartford, was shot in the shoulder and is listed in stable condition in the hospital, according to police.

Police taped off the area to gather DNA evidence and search the area for clues. Authorities are still working to identify a suspect.

Hartford resident Kevin Vega said the crime scene caught him by surprise.

“It's a safe place, the parks. I've been here in the South End for maybe, like, 32 years," Vega said. "Family members come here on Sunday to use it.”

Vega said that explaining what happened to his children is the hardest part.

"I tell my son that times are changing," Vega said. "I tell my son to talk to your neighbors."

He said he's hoping for justice and is thinking about the families of those involved so close to Christmas.

"A tragedy like this to happen and right before the holidays, that's what it is. It's a tragedy," Vega said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Dramatic Photos: 2 NYPD Officers Killed in Ambush]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 09:34:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP184925414257.jpg A gunman ambushed and fatally shot two NYPD officers in their squad car Saturday, an act that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton condemned as an "assassination."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Community Remembers Murdered Cheshire Teen]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 22:57:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cheshire+home+settembri.jpg

Members of a community hit hard by tragedy gathered Saturday night to mourn the death of a local teen who police say died at the hands of his dad last week.

Friends and family gathered to grieve at Cheshire High School and swapped stories from happier times. Glowing candles surrounded framed pictures of 19-year-old Christopher A. Settembri, who died alongside his father in a murder-suicide at their home on Cornwall Avenue.

“He was a very funny person and always made someone’s day if you were having a bad day or just feeling low in that moment,” said Brianna Pimpinelli, who remembered Settembri from high school. She said Settembri had attended Wilcox Technical High School and transferred to Cheshire to study manufacturing at the beginning of his senior year.

It’s the second recent death of a young person in Cheshire and the community is reeling. Just a week ago, 19-year-old Isabella Gozzo died in a car crash in Berlin. Police say her boyfriend was behind the wheel and lost control of the car.

Police are still trying to piece together what happened on Cornwall Avenue and figure out why the elder Christopher Settembri would turn the gun on his own son. Those who knew him called the younger Settembri a good kid and a hard worker.

According to his obituary, visiting hours will be held at the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Cheshire from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday. Funeral services for Settembri will take place that afternoon at the St. Thomas Beckett Church in Cheshire.

Family members are collecting donations in Settembri’s name. Checks can be made out to:

Settembri Family
c/o People’s United Bank
275 Highland Avenue, Cheshire CT 06410
 

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<![CDATA[Officer Cleared of Killing Dog]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 21:32:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cleburne-cop-dog.jpg

A two-month long independent investigation found that a Cleburne Police officer was justified when he shot and killed a pit bull named Maximus earlier this year.

The incident sparked outrage after video from Officer Kevin Dupre’s body camera surfaced online showing him firing at the dog. Though the shooting occurred on August 10, it wasn’t until October that someone filed an open records request for the video and it was widely distributed.

After the video was released, Dupre was placed on paid administrative leave and leaders in Cleburne asked for an independent investigation into the matter. They hired Alan Patton, a retired police sergeant with no previous ties to Cleburne. On October 31, Cleburne Police turned over all reports, copies of video, and statements to him for review.

“We wanted to be extremely thorough to ensure the public had confidence in the results,” said Scott Cain, Mayor of the City of Cleburne.

Saturday, the city released Patton’s final report on the investigation, in which he states, “due to the actions of an aggressive animal, Officer Dupre reasonably believed he needed to use lethal, deadly force in defense of his own life.”

In his 28 page report, Patton details the encounter Dupre had with a group of dogs that were on the loose and explains how video evidence backs up claims that Maximus was showing signs of aggression. He consulted with experts from the Fort Worth Police Department and Los Angeles Police Department and reviewed articles written by animal behaviorists during his investigation.

“I know some people are not going to be satisfied with the investigation’s results,” said Cain. “We agreed to let the chips fall where they may and we gave up control of the investigation.  And the chips have now fallen.”

Maximus’ owners, Amanda Henderson and Quinton Tatum, said while they wish their dog was still alive, they accept the report’s findings.

“We lost a very precious fur baby of ours and all we wanted to know from the beginning is why,” said Henderson. “And they explained to us why and I respect that.”

The city also announced immediate changes to its canine encounter policies, which include new processes for reporting and investigating these kinds of incidents, as well as mandatory training for all police officers.

“For them to already be taking steps in the right direction to not let this happen again, it’s justice I believe,” said Tatum.

“I know a lot of people may not understand that,” said Henderson. “There are going to be people that are angry and that’s okay. But we also ask that no one does anything just because you’re angry. Please, let’s keep it at peace.”

During the height of the firestorm surrounding the case, Dupre received multiple death threats and the city’s website was hacked in possible retaliation. There were also several protests.

Dupre has now been fully reinstated to the Cleburne Police Department. 

Cain echoed Henderson’s and Tatum’s calls for peace.

“Let me make this extremely clear,” said Cain. “If you think you’re going to come into our community and threaten an officer who’s been exonerated or anyone else in our community, we will use the full extent of the law to prosecute you and we will not tolerate it. So we are going to make certain that he and his family are safe, just as we would any other person in our community.”

Cain said the city is also looking into increasing penalties for dog owners whose pets frequently get loose.



Photo Credit: Cleburne Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Mayor's Son Robbed]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 01:10:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mayor%27s+son+robbed.jpg

Police are investigating the robbery of Mayor Rahm Emaneul's son, which occurred near the family's home in the Ravenswood neighborhood Friday night, according to a spokesperson for the mayor.

The incident happened in the 4200 block of North Hermitage at about 10:05 p.m. The mayor's son, 17-year-old Zach Emanuel, was walking in the block when he was approached by two unknown male offenders who grabbed him and went through his pockets. The offenders took his phone and then fled the scene, according to police news affairs.

Zach Emanuel sustained injuries that required medical treatment, according to Kelley Quinn, a spokesperson for the mayor.

The police cameras on the corner of the block were reportedly not working during the incident, according to a City of Chicago source.

Neighbors said they were surprised the incident occurred on their block because they say there is always security in front of the mayor's home and in the alley. Police sources are saying the security detail did not see the reported robbery.

Several police officers were seen on the mayor's front porch late Friday night and Saturday morning.

Area North detectives are investigating.

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<![CDATA[4 Arrested During Meriden Mall Brawl]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 01:40:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/westfield+mall.jpg

Four people – three adults and one minor – are facing charges after police used pepper spray to break up a brawl at the Westfield Shopping Center in Meriden on Saturday.

According to Meriden police, two underage girls approached an officer working at the mall to help with holiday crowd control around 6:20 p.m. and told him they were afraid a mother and daughter were going to attack them.

While the officer was talking to them, the mother and daughter rushed over and started screaming and making a scene, police said. The officer held them back but the daughter was able to break away and began assaulting one of the other girls.

It spread from there, with more than half a dozen people joining in as a crowd of 100 shoppers gathered around the group. Police said the officer was alone and afraid for his own safety so he used his pepper spray to fend off the instigators.

The crowd then dispersed and other officers arrived to help. The fire department was also called in to help treat other people who were inadvertently sprayed, and brought in fans to disperse the fumes.

Police said no one was seriously hurt and "the disruption to holiday shoppers was minimal."

Three adults were arrested, along with the daughter who police say started the fight, but authorities have not released their names or any information on the charges they face.



Photo Credit: Flickr/Mike Mozart]]>
<![CDATA[8-Year-Old Surprised by Firefighters Who Saved Her]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 04:18:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+firefighter+surprise.JPG

Firefighters pulled an 8-year-old girl from a burning building in Hartford last month, and today she got to thank them in person.

Shantell King was sleeping when flames ravaged her home on Hamilton Street in Hartford on Nov. 14. Her mom, Michelle Peterson, ran to wake her up, but both mother and daughter were knocked to the ground in their effort to escape. They were separated, and flames forced Peterson from the house without Shantell.

"I thought she was gone," Peterson recalled. "It was pretty much the worst day of my life."

One month after emergency responders stepped in and saved Shantell’s life, members of Hartford’s Engine 15 surprised Peterson and her daughter at the Hartford Hilton, where the family of two has been staying.

"This is something that we train for and prepare for our entire careers, and to be able to finally do something like that, especially around the holidays, it means a lot," said Lt. Russell Cook.

Peterson was reduced to tears when firefighters showed up with Christmas presents early Saturday afternoon, hugging the man credited with saving her daughter’s life. Shantell, in turn, gave them a handmade Christmas card as a token of gratitude.

"For the past couple of weeks, this has been the only thing we wanted to do, is meet the guy who saved my daughter, because without him we wouldn't be having Christmas right now," Peterson said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[LifeStar Called After 2 Cars Collide in Hampton]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 21:13:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/coventry+lifestar.jpg

Hartford Turnpike/Route 6 is closed in Hampton after two cars collided Saturday evening, according to emergency dispatchers.

Dispatchers said two ambulances were called to the scene of the crash, which occurred around 5:45 p.m. A LifeStar medical helicopter was also requested.

State police are responding to the scene and shut down the road for several hours near the intersection with South Brook Road.

Police have not released any information on injuries.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[1 Killed in Head-On Crash in Putnam]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 19:41:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372565.jpg

One person died in a crash near the intersection of Church and David streets in Putnam, according to police.

Police said a Ford F250 and Ford Taurus collided head on shortly after 10:30 a.m. Saturday. One person was taken to Day Kimball Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and another was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities have not released the names of the people involved.

Police are actively investigating the crash with the help of the Connecticut State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Unit.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested in Crash Involving 14-Year-Old Hit By Car]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 17:02:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg

Police have arrested a Danbury man in connection to a car accident that involved a vehicle striking a 14-year-old in the Terryville section of town.

Anthony Hernandez, 29, is charged with evading responsibility, reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle while under suspension, failure to drive right and passing in a no passing zone.

Hernandez turned himself into Danbury police Saturday morning and Plymouth police are now holding him in custody on a $100,000 bond.

He is due in Bristol Superior Court on Monday.

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<![CDATA[2 Arrested in Shootings After I-95 Chase]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 17:18:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hudson+McNairn+Edited.jpg

Two people were arrested after firing gunshots at the car of an intended murder target while fleeing from the victim in a high speed chase on Interstate 95, according to Stamford police.

Robert "BJ" Hudson, 32, of Bridgeport, and driver Shameka McNairn, 26, of Stamford, are accused of conspiring to murder a Stamford man.

Police found seven shell casings on the driveway at 14 Ann Street in Stamford after responding to a shooting report at 7:32 p.m. on Friday. While investigating, police learned that the person who was almost shot was chasing after the suspected shooter on the northbound side of the highway. The intended victim's girlfriend was in the car with him at the time of the incident, police said.

Stamford police put out an alert to state and area police to be on the lookout. A Norwalk police officer doing surveillance near the exit 16 ramp in Norwalk saw the victim's car crash into the back of the suspect's 2015 Kia Rio during the chase. Hudson and McNairn got out of the car and fired at their intended target from earlier in the evening and bullets struck his car, police said.

McNairn sped off as the police officer pursued her and Hudson in the southbound direction on East Avenue, crashing near the Prowitt Street intersection in Norwalk, police said. The officer saw Hudson toss a black handgun over a wall located behind Penny's Diner.

Norwalk police detained the suspects nearby until Stamford and state police arrived. Investigators collected evidence from the various crime scenes and seized the handgun Hudson tried to discard, police said. The gun was one of the two guns stolen in a Stamford car burglary from Oct. 25.

Stamford police took the suspects into custody.

Hudson was charged with criminal attempt at first-degree murder, first-degree reckless endangerment, unlawful discharge of a weapon, possession of a weapon by a felon, possession of a stolen firearm and altering a serial number on a weapon. McNairn was charged with conspiracy at criminal attempt at murder and first-degree reckless endangerment.

Stamford police thanked Norwalk and state police for their assistance in "making two arrests and getting a stolen handgun off the streets."

"Luckily for all involved, the victims were not struck or (sic) no innocent bystanders were hit in this chaotic event," Stamford police said in a written statement.

Police set Hudson's bond at $500,000 and McNairn's at $100,000.

The case remains open and under investigation. Stamford police ask anyone with information on the shooting incidents to call the detective bureau at 203-977-4417.

Hudson has six prior arrests pertaining to firearm violations and carrying body armor and ammunition as a convicted felon. He was convicted twice for selling narcotics and interfering with police, police said.



Photo Credit: Stamford Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Demonstrators Protest Police Brutality, Racial Profiling]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:34:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Hartford+Hands+Up+Dont+Shoot+Edited.jpg

Protesters marched through Hartford Saturday in response to a national movement to stomp out police brutality and racial profiling following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in police-involved incidents.

UConn students, teaming up with Mothers United Against Violence, and Connecticut United Against Mass Incarceration members participated in the march organized by Hartford Action.

A "Never Forgetting Ferguson" rally was scheduled to follow the noon march from the Main Street and Albany Avenue intersection in Hartford to the state capitol building.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[20-Year-Old Charged in Willimantic Stabbing]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 14:02:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/willimantic+stabbing+suspect.jpg

A 20-year-old Wilimantic man is facing charges after stabbing and seriously wounding another man at his home on Church Street Friday afternoon, according to police.

Police said Kenneth Vega, of 126 Church Street in Willimantic, assaulted a 27-year-old man around 1:30 p.m. Friday. Investigators found the victim in the road near Valley Street.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was rushed to Windham Hospital for treatment, then airlifted to Hartford Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery and is listed in serious condition, according to police.

Police are calling the stabbing a "serious assault" and have charged Vega with first-degree assault and breach of peace. Willimantic police spokesman Cpl. Stanley Parizo, Jr. said police expect to file more charges against Vega.

Willimantic police detectives and the State Police Major Crimes Division are investigating the stabbing. Church Street is closed in the area of Valley Street while authorities gather evidence.

It's not clear what brought the two men together but police said there's no threat to the public.

Vega is being held on $250,000 bond and is due in court Dec. 22.

Stay with NBC Connecticut for updates on this developing story.



Photo Credit: Willimantic Police Department/NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Dies After Car Hits Him]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:18:17 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Torrington+Police+cruisers+Generic.jpg

A pedestrian died after a car hit him outside Scarpelli's Restaurant on Friday night.

Police found David Perkins, 51, lying unresponsive in the roadway near 865 Migeon Avenue after responding to a report of a pedestrian-involved crash at 6:32 p.m. on Friday. A 2007 Honda Accord struck him outside of the restaurant.

Campion Ambulance and Torrington Fire Department personnel tried to stabilize him at the scene before he was driven to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. according to police. Doctors were unable to revive him at the hospital, where he was pronounced dead due to his injuries, police said. 

LifeStar was called to respond but did not airlift a patient, according to the helicopter transport service.

Police have not released information on whether the driver has been located.

Route 4 was closed at Route 272 in Torrington for several hours. The intersection was still closed around 11 p.m. Friday.

Torrington police on the department's accident reconstruction team are investigating the crash. Police ask witnesses or anyone with information to call the department at 860-489-2000 or Detective Fador at 860-489-2059.

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<![CDATA[Wesleyan Donates $10K to Middletown After Protest]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:33:16 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wesleyan+university+sign.jpg

While Wesleyan University's president said he doesn't agree with being billed after the early December die-in protest that shut down a major intersection in Middletown and required extra police, the university has donated $10,000 to the city to thank officials for their public service.

That's after Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew sent a nearly $7,500 bill to Wesleyan to cover police overtime and additional police presence after a "Black Lives Matter" protest prompted the city to call in 46 officers as a precaution. About 300 Wesleyan students and Middletown residents, including Wesleyan President Michael Roth, participated in the protest in response to a national outcry fighting police brutality against people of color after incidents like the Eric Garner chokehold death.

The protest included an 11-minute die-in at the intersection of Main and Washington streets, with participants lying down in the intersection, to represent the 11 times Garner said he couldn't breathe before he was killed during an arrest attempt in New York.

Roth sent the $10,000 donation to Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew on Thursday and a letter responding to a bill from the city.

"First and foremost [sic] I want to express my gratitude for how the City handled the "Black Lives Matter" demonstration on December 8," Roth wrote in his letter to Drew. "Many of our students, faculty, and staff participated, as did other Middletown residents (including my wife and I). We agree, I'm certain, that the right to protest is fundamental to our democracy, as is the public's right to safety. The expert professional services provided by the Middletown Police Department during the demonstration together with the peaceful behavior of the protestors reinforces that these
two principles can co-exist."

He went on to say "we feel strongly that the right to protest should not come with a price tag."

"However, I did tell you in a phone conversation after the march that the University would like to show its appreciation for the city's efforts," Roth wrote. "I have enclosed a donation of $10,000 as an expression of the University's gratitude for the contributions throughout the year of Middletown's public servants. Good relations between the City and the University are important to both; we are bound economically (and in many other ways), and occasional gestures like this one are healthy. Wishing you and your family all the best for the holiday season."

After catching wind of the protest the city and police department closed the intersection for the duration of the protest so that no one would get hurt.

While city officials didn't object to the protest itself, the location at one of the city's busiest intersections not only blocked traffic but also prevented emergency vehicles from getting through.

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<![CDATA[Reward Offered After Bald Eagle Shot and Killed]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:35:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Great+Meadow+Road+in+Rocky+Hill+1200.jpg

A $5,000 reward is being offered to help find the person who shot a bald eagle, after the bird — a national symbol — was found dead along a road in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection received a report of a dead eagle along Great Meadows Road in Rocky Hill at 10:13 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 and began investigating.

At the time, it was believed that the bird was struck and killed by a car, but that was not the case.

State Environmental Conservation police turned the eagle over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which conducted a preliminary examination that indicated the eagle’s injuries were from a gunshot.

Bald and Golden Eagles are protected under federal law and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and State Environmental Conservation Police are jointly investigating. 

The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust work with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspected poachers, according to DEEP.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Environmental Conservation Police’s Emergency Dispatch Center at 860-424-3333 or toll free at 1-800-842-4357 or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent at 860-871-8348.  

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<![CDATA[Calif. Mayor's Autopsy Released]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:55:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/file-bell-gardens-mayor-daniel-crespo.jpg

The wife of then-Bell Gardens, California, Mayor Daniel Crespo fatally shot him three times in the chest while the two fought more than two months ago, according to the autopsy report released Friday.

Daniel Crespo, 45, was shot by his wife, Lyvette, Sept. 30 in their home, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies said Crespo and his wife were arguing, and their 19-year-old son intervened, leading to a struggle between the mayor and his son that ended when Lyvette Crespo opened fire.

She admitted she shot her husband but that it was in self-defense during a fight in which he punched their 19-year-old son in the face, deputies said.

Lyvette Crespo was questioned by deputies, but released after claiming self-defense.

Her attorney, who declined to comment Friday, has contended that she was a longtime victim of domestic violence and shot Daniel Crespo in defense of herself and her son.

Daniel Crespo's daughter told investigators that he was verbally and physically abusive to her mother for over 20 years, according to the autopsy by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

The abuse had become more physical in the last two years.

Crespo and his wife were not sleeping in the same bedroom and he "was known to drag her by the hair to force her to do so," the autopsy report said.

The injuries were not enough to require medical attention and the incidents were not reported, the autopsy said.

He had threatened to kill her and the children if she tried to report the abuse, according to the daughter.

Crespo's mistress had been reportedly making annoying phone calls to the wife at home and her parents had been arguing over his infidelity.

The report also said that Crespo owned handguns and had kept them locked in the home until recent years, when he began leaving them unlocked, his daughter told detectives.

A 9 mm handgun and three expended cartridges were recovered at the shooting scene.

At a news conference, Crespo's brother, William, denied the abuse claim, calling the killing a murder. He has filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Lyvette Crespo.

"I just want to curl up in a ball every morning," William Crespo said at a news conference Friday. "I just think I'm going to wake up and my brother is going to be here."

He said the autopsy report does not support the notion that Crespo's wife shot him in self-defense.

He also said he was disappointed that Lyvette Crespo has not been arrested or charged.

"It's sad," he said. "It's wrong because it is just showing that you know you can get away with murder. Killing your husband is wrong. There was a lot of other ways, she could have called 911."

William Crespo has said that Lyvette was trained with firearms.

His attorney, James Devitt, said he received a copy of the autopsy report about a week ago, and he claims it does not support Lyvette's claim of self-defense.

He said he is hopeful that District Attorney Jackie Lacey, whose office is reviewing the case, will charge Lyvette Crespo.

Lacey has "assigned a very tough prosecutor to this case and I have a feeling we're going to have an indictment or an arrest by Christmas, is my hope," Devitt said.

Asher Klein and City News Service contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: BellGardens.org]]>
<![CDATA[Run Raises Funds for Shane Search]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:25:12 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/237*120/Shane+Montgomery+Missing+College+Student.JPG

Dozens of runners participated in a 5K run in Philadelphia's Manayunk neighborhood Saturday morning to help return attention to Shane Montgomery, who went missing early Thanksgiving morning after a night out with friends.

The event kicked off at 9 a.m. outside the Goals Fit location at 4450 Main St. in Philly's Manayunk neighborhood.

Donations were accepted for the Help Find Shane Montgomery fund and participants were  encouraged to wear green in honor of the missing 21-year-old West Chester University student.

The Roxborough native was last seen leaving Kildare's Irish Pub --  only a short walk from the race start -- more than three weeks ago.

Each day without Shane has been wearing on his family, who are working to hire the Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit, a volunteer diving recovery team, to aid with the underwater search, said Kevin Verbrugghe, Shane's uncle.

"We’re not holding up well," Verbrugghe said.

Ongoing search efforts, including the use of sonar and underwriter cameras in a search of the Schuylkill River, have brought about few clues for Shane, who was last seen walking toward the Manayunk Canal.

"The prevailing theory is that he went into the river and where is he now? Tides change and there’s all kinds of debris under there," FBI Supervisory Special agent J.J. Klaver said Thursday.

Debris could have trapped the missing college student's body underwater, he explained.

A reward for information that leads investigators and the family to Montgomery still stands at $65,000. Friends and family continue to support the search efforts on their own as well.

Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia police at 215.686.TIPS.



Photo Credit: Family Photo
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<![CDATA[Retailers Extend Hours During Holiday Rush]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 16:03:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP93496355950.jpg

With just a few days left to finish up your holiday shopping, retailers are staying open around the clock to make sure you get everything you need.

"It's either a heart attack or Christmas stress," said Unionville resident Ron Goralski.

To ease the pains of the practiced procrastinator, a number of retailers are extending their hours. For the second year in a row, Kohl's will be open around the clock from now until 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

"We like it, but I feel bad for the employees sometimes because they have to work on the holidays," said Plantsville resident Rudy Cabata.

In Plainville, shoppers left the store with their unwrapped presents. Some said they enjoy the last-minute hustle and bustle, while others said gift-giving isn't always easy.

"This is about the fifth time in the last four days I've just kept circling the store aimlessly just looking for something to strike me for the right person," said Goralski.

Others said knowing they can hit the stores whenever inspiration strikes may mean everyone gets their presents on time.

"I might jump out of bed at 3 a.m. and say, 'I've got to get that toaster oven,'" said Goralski.

Kohl's isn't the only retailer extending its hours. Most Wal-Mart stores are already taking part in the 24/7 marathon. Target is also implementing longer hours and Toys"R"Us follows suit starting 6 a.m. Tuesday.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Shooting, Police Chase Stalls Trains, Highway in Norwalk]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:44:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/norwalk+police+generic.jpg

Metro-North cut power to the New Haven Line in Norwalk after police chased people wanted in connection with a shooting in Stamford and followed one onto the tracks Friday night.

Stamford police said a man and woman fired shots from a car driving on Anne Street in Stamford around 7:30 p.m. Friday. The victim chased them in his own car to exit 16 off interstate 95, at which point the suspect opened fire again.

Police in Norwalk picked up the chase. Stamford police said the two suspects crashed on East Avenue in Norwalk, near Penny's Diner, then got out and started a running. The man threw down a 9mm handgun while he ran, which was later found behind the diner.

Norwalk police said officers followed one person onto the train tracks in East Norwalk and took a second into custody on East Avenue. According to Norwalk police, a third suspect has also been apprehended.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said police asked Metro-North to power down trains in Norwalk while they went after the suspects.

Police asked residents to avoid the area of East Avenue and Prowitt Street in Norwalk while they investigated. I-95 northbound was closed for several hours in the area of exit 16.

The suspects' names have not been released. Stamford police said the victim is being cooperative and the incident does not appear to be random.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA["I Can't Breathe" Trademarked?]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:20:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/460014244.jpg

A Waukegan woman has filed an application to trademark Eric Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe.”

Catherine Crump, 57, submitted her request to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 13 in hopes of registering the phrase for use on apparel such as “hoodies and t-shirts for men, women, boys, girls, and infants.”

In the application acquired by the Smoking Gun, Crump claims to have been using the term for merchandising since “at least” Aug. 18, one month after Garner’s fatal arrest.

The July video of a NYPD officer placing a chokehold on unarmed Garner for selling loose cigarettes went viral after the father of six was seen shoved to the ground pleading, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” in his final moments of life.

When a grand jury decided not to indict the officer who killed him protesters erupted nationwide using, “I can’t breathe,” as their battle cry against police brutality.

Crump told the Smoking Gun she has “nothing to do with the Garner family,” and did not speak with them regarding her intentions to trademark the term.

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<![CDATA[Obama Only Picks Female Reporters]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:46:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP536550772061.jpg

There was a lot said at President Barack Obama’s annual year-end press conference, but it was who he spoke to during the conference that had people talking.

The President took questions from reporters at the end of his speech, but he only called on female reporters, a move that set the Twittersphere ablaze.

Eight women posed questions during the conference, asking Obama about the Sony hacks, Cuba, race relations, the economy and more.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed after the event that the move was in fact intentional.

"The fact is, there are many women from a variety of news organizations who day-in and day-out do the hard work of covering the President of the United States. As the questioner list started to come together, we realized that we had a unique opportunity to highlight that fact at the President’s closely watched, end of the year news conference," Earnest said, according to Politico.

While seemingly subtle, the move didn’t go unnoticed by viewers.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Anti-Cop Graffiti Hits Philly]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 21:16:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cop+Lives+Dont+Matter+Graffiti.jpg

In the wake of more protests against police nationwide as well as the shooting deaths of two NYPD officers, local police continue to search for the person or people responsible for anti-police graffiti spotted along a busy avenue in West Philadelphia.

Three messages were scribbled in spray paint on a fence, bar and abandoned church on Baltimore Avenue between 48th and 50th streets.

They read "PPD Killed Brandon Tate Brown," "F--- the Cops" and "Cop Lives Don't Matter."

Brandon Tate Brown is the man shot in the head and killed by a Philadelphia Police officer on Monday following an altercation during a traffic stop. The last message is a play on the chant "Black Lives Matter" that demonstrators have been using recently while protesting against police treatment of African-Americans.

The protests in Philadelphia and other cities around the nation began after grand juries declined to indict white officers in two high profile cases surrounding the deaths of unarmed black teen Michael Brown and the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

It's not clear when the structures were tagged.

"Back in the day you could really run to a cop and trust the cop, but now people are scared to go to cops," nearby resident Sharon Weaver said after seeing the message on the fence.

Kale Good, another resident, said he doesn't agree with defacing a person's property, but that he understands how a person might feel it's the only way to have their voice heard.

"I think what the person is trying to express is that they feel police in general are disregarding their lives or aren't valuing their lives, and so they probably feel an amount of frustration and this is how they expressed it," he said.

A painter was removing the "Cop Lives Don't Matter" message from the fence around noon Friday.

"It’s a shame that someone defaced someone else’s property. We’re going to handle it as a vandalism case, just like we would any other,” Philadelphia Police spokeswoman Tanya Little said.

Little said it is one person's point of view and that the department has and continues to have positive interactions with the community.

"Regardless what the message said, even if it said ‘I love the police,’ this was really a crime against someone else, the property owner," she said.

There were no leads or an estimate on the vandalism's cost, police said.

The city would handle removing the other messages, Mayor Michael Nutter's spokesman, Mark McDonald, said. He didn't immediately have further comment on the graffiti.

NBC10 also reached out to the police union, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, for reaction.

The physical anti-police commentary comes a day after city leaders condemned online commentary by a Philadelphia Fire Department paramedic.

The medic, who works in Southwest Philadelphia, posted a photo to his personal Instagram account of two black men pointing guns at the head of a white police officer. The accompanying message said: "Our real enemy ... Need 2 stop pointing guns at each other and at the ones that's legally killing us and innocents."

The post has since been deleted, an apology made and investigation launched.

On Saturday, a gunman shot and killed two NYPD officers sitting in their squad car in Brooklyn before running to a nearby subway station and turning the gun on himself, officials said. A Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson called the execution-style slayings a "horrible act of terror." 

"Intentionally murdering a police officer is not the way to solve anything," the spokesperson said in a statement to NBC10. "In fact it destroyed the lives of two families (those of these officers) that had absolutely nothing to do with the events taking place across this country. Our thoughts and prayers are with New York Police Department and the families of these officers. All of us in this country must really take a look at ourselves and our actions and get this right, because the loss of human lives surely isn't the answer."

A rally in support of the Philadelphia's men and women in blue was held on Friday night in the Mayfair section of the city.



Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[3 Die in Crash En Route to Funeral]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 18:58:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/i-15+crash+1219+2.JPG

An SUV full of people on their way to a funeral rolled over on Interstate 15 in Bonsall, California, Friday, leaving three dead and another three, including a 2-year-old girl, hospitalized.

A 2001 Ford Expedition was headed south on I-15 when it flipped into the northbound lanes near Gopher Canyon Road, blocking the left lanes on both sides of the freeway and killing three people inside. CHP suspects tire tread is to blame.

Suitcases were seen strewn about among the debris. A survivor of the crash told CHP the group was traveling to Mexico to board a plane for a funeral.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner has identified the victims as a married couple, 25-year-old Jerson Ariel Duron Valeriano and 22-year-old Edith Duron of South El Monte, and 21-year-old Ivette Garcia of Los Angeles.

CHP said it does not appear either woman was wearing a seat belt. The 25-year-old man, who was driving, had his seat belt on but was also killed.

A 2-year-old girl restrained in a car seat survived without injuries, but was taken to Children's Hospital for "precautionary reasons." Two adults, the girl's uncle and 43-year-old grandmother, also survived and were transported to Palomar Hospital for non-life threatening injuries, according to CHP.

The child lost both parents in the crash.

Heading to her father's funeral, the grandmother saw her 22-year-old daughter die.

"I am a human being, and my heart goes out to that family, especially during the holiday season," said CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt. "That is tough."

Deputies happened to be driving behind the vehicle when they said the tread on the left rear tire appeared to separate, causing the driver to lose control. CHP said the tread on all four tires looked different.

Authorities will conduct a full mechanical inspection of the SUV, paying close attention to the tires.

Bettencourt said it's important to check the safety of your vehicle often, especially before a long trip.

"Number one: have a plan. Be prepared when you go out there," Bettencourt said. "Make sure that you take a look at your vehicle, you inspect it, you check your wipers, you check the tire pressure, you make sure your vehicle's in good working order before you travel on that long trip."

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said the ages of the deceased women were 11 and 12 years old. We regret the error.



Photo Credit: Artie Ojeda
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<![CDATA[5 Key Points From Obama's Year-End Presser]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:49:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP684603546762.jpg

President Obama said Sony Pictures Entertainment had made a mistake pulling the movie “The Interview," and defended normalizing relations with Cuba in his last press conference of the year before heading to Hawaii for vacation.

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” he said of the cyber attack during which embarrassing emails were made public.

Here are the main topics that he addressed during the exchange with the press, during which he only called on female reporters.

North Korea

On the day that the FBI identified North Korea as the source of the cyber-attacks on Sony, Obama refused to reveal what the U.S. response would be other than to say it would be proportional and in a place and time of U.S. choosing.

He said that although he sympathized with Sony, he wished its executives had talked to him before making the decision on “The Interview.”

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” he said.

If Sony could be intimidated over the release of a satirical movie, imagine what might happen if the issue were a documentary or a news report, he said. Even worse, imagine if producers and other start engaging in self-censorship, he said.

"That's not what America's about," he said.

Cuba

Obama said he shared worries that Cuba would fail to address human right or move toward democracy.

“This is still a regime that oppresses its people,” he said.

But he said he believed normalizing relations, announced this week by his administration, would give the United States more leverage over Cuba. Visiting Americans and better access to telecommunications and the Internet will chip away at what he called a hermetically sealed society and offer the best prospect for self determination, he said.

“Change is going to come to Cuba,” he said. “It has to.”

The country’s economy does not work and it can no longer rely on subsidies from allies such as Venezuela.

He recounted that in his conversation with Cuba President Raul Castro, after Obama had apologized for his 15-minute opening, Castro told him that he was a young man and still had time to break Fidel Castro’s record for speaking for seven hours straight.

State of Race Relations

Black Americans like the rest of Americans are better off than when he took office, Obama said, though the income and wealth gap between black and white America remained.

He said that educational changes his administration has initiated have meant higher high school graduation rates and record numbers of people attending college.

Race relations are now "colored" by police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, and the perception that law enforcement was not fair, he said.

He said a task force he created would return with practical changes that could be implemented.

“People are basically good and have good intentions,” he said.

Systems and institutions don’t always work as well as they should and can be fixed, he said.

Dealing With Congress

Obama said he would continue to take unilateral actions on issues important to the American people if Congress failed to act.

Immigration was the classic example, he said. He acted only after the House failed to move on a comprehensive bill passed by the Senate.

If Republicans were angered by his executive actions, he said, “There is a very simple solution: Pass bills.”

He urged Republicans to work with him because both sides would have to compromise.

Obama again said that the Keystone XL pipeline would not have much effect on gas prices in the United States, but instead would benefit the Canadian oil industry. The pipeline would bring oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, where it would enter the world oil market.

He said he hoped to work with Republicans on fairness in the tax system, particularly involving corporations. Some are paying taxes at a rate of 35 percent, others of which are paying nothing.

Economy

Obama touted America's economic gains and said the country could enter the new year confident that the United States was making strides.

This year was the strongest for job growth since the 1990s; over a 57-month period, businesses had created nearly 11 million new jobs, he said. About 10 million Americans have gained health insurance in the past year. Deficits has been cut by about two-thirds since he took office.

"America's resurgence is real," he said.
 



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Bicycle Accident Reported in Barkhamsted]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:24:05 -0500

Emergency crews were called to East River Road in Barkhamsted on Friday night after a bicyclist fell off and got hurt, according to police.

The crash was reported in the area of Pleasant Valley Road. According to police, ambulances were sent to the scene and two victims were initially reported.

No additional information was immediately available.

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<![CDATA[14-Year-Old Driver Hits School Bus: Police]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:07:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+police+generic1.jpg

Authorities are investigating after a 14-year-old got behind the wheel of a car in New Haven on Tuesday and crashed into three other vehicles, including a school bus, according to police.

According to police, the teen lost control and struck two other cars and a school bus in the area of Whalley and Sherman avenues in New Haven around noon Tuesday.

The teen was taken to Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Police said her mother met her at the hospital.

No one else was hurt. Police said the school bus was empty.

Police are investigating the crash.

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