<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:21:32 -0400 Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:21:32 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Homeowner Shoots, Kills Intruder]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:56:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/long+beach+homeowner+4.JPG

A Long Beach homeowner has no regrets after shooting and killing a woman who said she was pregnant after he got into a confrontation with her and another man who were ransacking his sprawling home.

Tom Greer, an 80-year-old retiree, arrived to his upscale Bixby Knolls neighborhood Tuesday night to find a couple in the middle of a late-night break-in.

"When I went in there, they tackled me," Greer told NBC4 Wednesday. "Both of them jumped up on top of me."

The intruders, a man and woman, may have underestimated Greer, he said, as they ransacked his safe and yanked the door open right in front of him.

The intruders threw Greer to the ground, but they didn't know he'd gotten his .22-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver.

"I come back and they see me with a gun, and they run," he said.

The man escaped, but the woman fell after being struck by Greer's gunfire in an alley behind the house.

"She says, 'Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant! I'm going to have a baby!' And I shot her anyway," Greer said.

When asked what he saw happen to the woman after he fired shots, Greer responded: "She was dead. I shot her twice, she best be dead ... (The man) had run off and left her."

"I've never in my life shot anybody, killed anybody," Greer said.

Greer was being treated at the hospital Wednesday for a severe shoulder and collarbone injury, but he hoped to send a warning to the man who got away.

"I shot her so that's going to leave a message on his mind for the rest of his life," Greer said.

Long Beach police said they were investigating the incident. It was not immediately clear whether any charges would be filed against Greer for the shooting.

"Investigators have to look at both sides of this coin," said legal analyst Royal Oakes. "On the one hand a frail man in his 80s is being attacked in his own home by intruders, he has a right to self-defense. On the other hand, he did shoot a person who was trying to get away, so he wasn't in imminent danger himself and the law says you can't shoot somebody under those circumstances."

]]>
<![CDATA[Chikungunya: What You Need to Know]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:40:24 -0400 Aedes aegypti mosquito.]]> Aedes aegypti mosquito.]]> http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/181*120/tlmd_virus_mortales_03.jpg

A person caught the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya in the United States this month, health officials say — marking the first time mosquitoes in the U.S. are believed to have spread it.

Other cases of the illness, which is relatively new to the Americas, have been reported in travelers returning home to FloridaNew YorkTexas and elsewhere, often after trips to the Caribbean.

Here is some key information about chikungunya and the virus that causes it.

How do you get chikungunya? Mosquitoes transmit the virus between people. The two species usually responsible, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, bite mostly during the day. In the U.S., they are found in the Southeast and in some parts of the Southwest, though Aedes albopictus also is found up through the Mid-Atlantic and in the lower Midwest.

What are the symptoms? The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, often in the hands and feet; also possible are muscle aches, headaches, joint swelling and a rash. Symptoms, which can be severe, usually begin three to seven days after a person is bitten. Most people feel better within a week, and death is rare, though joint pain can persist.

How do you treat chikungunya? There is no specific treatment and no vaccine. Medicines like ibuprofen, naproxen, paracetamol and acetaminophen can relieve fever and pain, though.

How do you avoid getting chikungunya? To protect yourself, try to avoid being bitten. Use air conditioning or window screens. Use insect repellant, and if possible, wear long sleeves and pants. Get rid of standing water, where mosquitoes can breed.

Who is most at risk for a severe case? Newborns exposed during delivery, people 65 and older and those with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease are at the highest risk.

What does the name mean? It is derived from a word in the Kimakonde language, spoken in southern Tanzania, where the virus was first detected. It means to become contorted or bent, describing the stooped appearance of someone suffering from joint pain.

Where has it been reported? Outbreaks have occured in Africa, Asia and Europe and on the islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The first case transmitted in the Americas was reported in the Caribbean in late 2013.

How do you pronounce chikungunya? Like this: chik-en-gun-ye.

Source: Centers for Disease and Prevention, World Health Organization



Photo Credit: wikicommons]]>
<![CDATA[5-Alarm Fire Rips Through 5 Businesses in Long Island]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:07:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Fire-Nassau-County-NY.jpg

Five businesses were destroyed when a raging fire ripped through a row of buildings on a Long Island street early Thursday, fire officials say. No injuries have been reported.

The fire broke out at a bar at Willis Avenue and Goodrich Street in Williston Park at about 2:45 a.m., fire officials say. The blaze spread quickly, jumping to four neighboring businesses and causing the bar's roof to collapse.

Shortly after crews arrived, fire officials say there was a small explosion inside one of the buildings.

Crews from 13 towns responded to the fire, which sent billows of heavy, black smoke into the sky.

Firefighters worked for several hours in a mostly defensive operation before the five-alarm blaze was brought under control.

Crews were still dousing hot spots Thursday morning, and heavy equipment was being brought in to knock down walls so firefighters could get better access to the flames.

All of the buildings were unoccupied when the blaze broke out, officials say. No firefighters were injured.

The Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

 

 

 

]]>
<![CDATA[Gruesome Details on Mortuary Bodies]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:30:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Johnson+Family+Mortuary1.jpg

Disturbing new details on the conditions of decaying bodies found in a Fort Worth funeral home emerged Wednesday with the release of arrest warrant affadavits for two of the mortuary's managers.

Police who went to the Johnson Family Mortuary on July 15, weeks after its landlord had evicted it, found a gruesome scene, warrants for Rachel Hardy Johnson, 35, and Dondre A. Johnson, 39, showed.

Officers found evidence of insect infestation, as well as fly pupa on or near the bodies, according to those documents.

One corpse was mummified in a casket, while another that appeared mummified was wrapped only in a sheet and left on a coffee table.

Two more of the decaying corpses were of children, and of those, one was skeletonized while another was melted to a container.

More corpses were on gurneys, with bodily fluids draining onto the floor and into buckets places underneath to collect it, and with a shop vacuum nearby that had apparently been used to clean some of it. Other corpses were found in a garage area, where there was prevalent evidence of insects.

The warrants said that only one of the eight corpses found appeared to have been cared for properly and was not severely decomposed. That body was from a recent funeral and was being prepared to be shipped to Kenya.

Rachel Johnson was arrested July 18, while Dondre surrendered to police at about 2 a.m. July 19.

Each was charged with seven counts of abuse of a corpse, and both were released after paying $10,500 bond each, or $1,500 for each count.

Investigators said they intentionally or knowingly treated seven corpses "in a seriously offensive manner, namely by retaining custody of and storing the human corpse in an unrefrigerated building instead of delivering the said human corpse for proper burial or cremation."

(Read the arrest warrant affidavit here.)

The seven corpses officials say were abused were identified as being those of the following people:

  • Baby Girl Booker — DOB April 21, 2012 — DOD April 21, 2012
  • Karen Pearl Jones — DOB Nov. 8, 1958 — DOD March 25, 2014
  • Helen Jones — DOB Oct. 12, 1943 — DOD April 9, 2014
  • Boy Desiree Williams — DOB Unknown — DOD May 1, 2014
  • Deborah Whitney — DOB Unknown — DOD May 11, 2014
  • Victoria Vasquez — DOB — Aug. 25, 1961 — DOD June 9, 2014
  • Patricia Baptiste — DOB Unknown — DOD June 30, 2014

During a discussion with police July 15 outside of the mortuary, Dondre Johnson is quoted in the affidavit as saying he and his wife owned the funeral home but that she was in charge.

He added that the above conditions were not unusual, saying that bodies belong in a funeral home and that the bodies hadn't been there longer than four months. He told police he was not licensed by any state agency and that he merely owns the funeral home.

About an hour after talking with Dondre Johnson, police spoke with his wife Rachel. She told them that she holds a license through the state funeral commission and that she was in charge of the administrative functions of the business.

She told police she had been absent from the business due to recently giving birth but had been at the mortuary only a few days before. She admitted to police that she smelled a stench, but said she was unaware there were bodies inside the funeral home.

Rachel is quoted in the affidavit saying her husband is more about the "pomp and circumstance" and the "show" associated with conducting memorial services and that he was not very good at keeping up with the necessary administrative paperwork needed to properly bury and cremate corpses.

Abuse of a corpse, a Class A misdemeanor, is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000 per count.

The pain runs deep for Maria Vasquez and her daughter, Elizabeth. Maria's mother, Victoria Vasquez, was never actually cremated, even though she passed away more than a month ago.

Police say her body was left decomposing along with seven others at the Johnson Family Mortuary in Fort Worth.

"I trusted them," said Maria Vasquez.

"To find out that these people were intentionally scamming us and lying to us [hurts]," said Elizabeth Vasquez.

Elizabeth's grandmother was finally cremated Wednesday morning through the generosity of another funeral home.

"This big sigh of relief came out," said Elizabeth Vasquez. "Just knowing for a matter of fact my grandmother's wish [to be cremated] is coming through, and I'm going to get my grandmother back [in the form of ashes]."

The Vasquez family says they are currently looking for an attorney, because they plan to file a civil law suit against the Johnson family.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New NYPD Chokehold Video Emerges]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:49:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/nypd+chokehold+subway.JPG

A new video showing the arrest of an alleged Manhattan subway farebeater purports to show a police officer using a chokehold to subdue the suspect, a prohibited police tactic that's sparked outrage since a Staten Island man died after being put in a similar position last week.

The suspect was arrested at the 125th Street subway station on Lexington Avenue in East Harlem on July 14, just three days before Eric Garner of Staten Island died after being placed in a chokehold while in police custody.

Autopsy results are pending in Garner's death, which has sparked protests, a criminal probe and a warning by the Rev. Al Sharpton that Garner's family would explore asking for a federal civil rights investigation.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has since promised that the police department would retrain its officers on the use of force. Department policy prohibits chokeholds during arrests.

In the video of the subway arrest, witnesses are heard shouting at the officers, "Why do you have to hit him?" as one cop punches the alleged fare evader, 23-year-old Ronald Johns, as he wraps his arm around Johns' neck.

The video was posted online by the Rev. Kelmy Rodriquez, who said he received it in an anonymous email. After posting that video, another witness sent him another video of the arrest.

Rodriquez told NBC 4 New York he believes the chokehold should not have been used but noted that the suspect was resisting arrest and said he understood if the officer felt threatened.

The NYPD said its internal affairs department is looking into the video. Johns has been charged with fare-dodging, criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

A funeral for Garner, who was 43, was held in Brooklyn Wednesday.

]]>
<![CDATA[Testimony Ends in Sterling Trial]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:01:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Donald-Shelley-Sterling.jpg

Testimony ended Wednesday in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers in a proposed $2 billion deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Shelly Sterling, who had testified early in the trial, was expected to be the final witness, but her husband's lawyers decided not to call her back to the stand.

Instead, the final day's only witness was Dr. Jeffrey Cummings,  who criticized aspects of the reports by the two doctors who determined Donald Sterling was "mentally incapacitated."  It was based on those determinations that Shelly Sterling assumed control of the family trust that owned the Clippers, and negotiated a $2 billion sale.

Most of his testimony drew objections from Shelly Sterling's attorneys, and the Judge Michael Levanas at one point  said he didn't see how it would help him reach a decision.

"It's exasperating because he should see that the reports of these people are based upon examinations conducted in circumstances which Dr. Cummings said he's never seen before," Donald Sterling's attorney Max Blecher said outside of court.

"The incompetency is just a ploy, a ruse, a distraction so they can get rid of Donald Sterling who didn't want to sell the team," Blecher asserted.

After the court session, another member of the Donald Sterling team suggested her motive is take control of more than her half share of the community property - including the Clippers - accumulated during their nearly 60 year marriage.

"She wants control of the entirety of the state," said attorney Bobby Samini.  "It will never happen."

Shelly Sterling has maintained she is acting in the best interests of the family trust, which Donald Sterling dissolved shortly after the sale was announced.

Her  attorneys rested their case Tuesday, finishing with testimony that the Clippers face oblivion if the team's censured owner keeps control of the franchise.

Clippers Interim CEO Richard Parsons testified on Tuesday that coach Doc Rivers said he will leave if Donald Sterling stays, as well as players and sponsors.

Parsons said he fears there would also be an exodus of key players, including team captain Chris Paul, who also is black and heads the NBA players union.

Parsons was about to give an account of his conversations with Paul but was stopped by an objection by an NBA lawyer who said it would be an invasion of privacy. The judge upheld the objection.

Judge Levanas asked attorneys to file briefs Thursday, and return for closing arguments at 10 a.m. Monday.

The judge sees three main issues:

  • Whether Shelly Sterling and the Family Trust followed the proper procedure to remove Donald Sterling as a Trustee.  Even if so, 
  • Can the sale proceed after the dissolution of the Trust? If that is also true,
  • Should the court issue an order that the sale can go forward without being delayed waiting for a decision on any appeal that might be filed?

The trial was full of emotion and drama, especially for a probate-court trial to determine technical legal and financial questions.

Most of the fireworks came from Donald Sterling, who shouted at attorneys for both sides, denounced the NBA and its commissioner for trying to oust him from the league over racist recordings, and at one point called Shelly Sterling a "pig" as she left the witness stand.

Donald Sterling also filed a new lawsuit against on Tuesday his wife, the NBA and league Commissioner Adam Silver that alleges fraud, breach of contract, unfair business practices and infliction of emotional distress. He claimed, among other things, that he was tricked into being examined by psychiatrists to establish whether he was mentally competent.

That suit indicated an injunction to block the sale might be sought, but did not indicate when, and outside court Wednesday, Donald Sterling's attorneys declined to be specific.  Samini said they have not decided for certain whether they will seek it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Rips Hijab From Woman's Head in Hate Crime: Police ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:55:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/LB+hate+crime+suspect+july23.jpg

Long Beach police on Wednesday asked for the public's help to find a man who attacked a woman and ripped a hijab from her head in what is being called a hate crime.

The attack happened July 2 about 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 4000 block of Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said at a news conference Wednesday.

The victim was wearing a black hijab, a headscarf or cover worn by Muslim women to conceal their hair and neck, when she was loading shopping items into her car, McDonald said.

A man ran up behind her, cursed at her while referring to her hijab, and forcibly pulled and twisted the hijab, police said. He choked the woman, leaving bruises and scratches on her neck.

The man then walked down an alley near where the woman was parked and took the hijab with him, police said.

The fact that the man knew the word for the covering showed he had some knowledge of Muslim culture, McDonnell said.

The victim and her family are from Iraq, Muslim Public Affairs Council President Salam Al-Marayati said during the conference.

"It is ironic that they fled violence and persecution and civil strife there to have this woman subjected to violence here because of what she wore," Al-Marayati said. "It is our American duty to defend her and defend all women subjected to this kind of violence."

Because the attack happened in broad daylight in a busy shopping center, police are hoping witnesses will come forward.

Police said the incident appears to be isolated and is being investigated as a hate crime.

The attacker is described as a white man in his 30s about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall with a thin build. He has short brown hair and brown eyes, a trimmed brown mustache and beard, and was last seen wearing a white buttoned shirt with black pants and possibly black shoes.

Anyone with information should call the Long Beach Police Department.



Photo Credit: Long Beach Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know About the Immigration Crisis]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:02:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/450883216.jpg

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

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

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

Here’s what you should know about the crisis.

How Many Kids Are Trying to Cross the Border Alone

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

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

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

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

Why They Left Central America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Caused the Crisis

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

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

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

Where the Migrants Arrive and What Happens When They Get Here

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

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

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

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

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

What's Being Done About the Influx of People

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

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

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

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

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

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

What's Next

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

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

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

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



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["Mom From Hell": Woman Charged After Son Walks Into Policing Center With 27 Bruises ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 08:08:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Samantha-Starnes.jpg

A woman from suburban Philadelphia, who police have dubbed a "mom from hell," was arrested after her 11-year-old son walked into a policing center with 27 bruises and welts on his body.

The boy walked into the Upper Darby Community Policing Center on Tuesday badly injured, police said. He was met by Nashid Ali, a social worker who runs the center.

The boy claimed his mother, 39-year-old Samantha Starnes of Upper Darby, beat him with a belt inside their apartment on Radbourne Road on Sunday because he wasn’t doing his chores, Ali said.

According to the child, his mother then returned an hour later to beat him again, this time using her fists. As he spoke, Ali said he saw the welts and bruises on the boy’s arms, back and legs.

“He lifted up his shirt,” Ali said. “His back was worse than his arms.”

Ali called both his supervisor and police to report the alleged abuse.

“What surprised me was that number one, he came in by himself,” Ali said. “Number two, he was 11-years-old and number three, I knew it was serious because he was patient.”

Investigators said they counted a total of 27 bruises and welts on the boy’s body.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood only had one way to describe a mother accused of beating her son.

“We dubbed her around here as the mom from hell,” Chitwood said.

Police later found and arrested Starnes, charging her with assault and endangering the welfare of a child. She’s awaiting her preliminary hearing, unable to post bail. An attorney for Starnes is not listed on the docket and it is unclear if she obtained a lawyer.

Starnes’ neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said she often heard name-calling echoing through the walls of her apartment but was disgusted to learn about the abuse allegations.

“She really needs some help,” the neighbor said. “They shouldn’t let her a** out of jail, no offense. Keep her in jail.”

As for her son, officials with the Children and Youth Services are working with family members to develop a safety plan for the child.



Photo Credit: Upper Darby Police ]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Charged With Murder in Long Island Dismembered Body Case: Police]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:09:52 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Body-Found-Bay-Shore-LI-0724.jpg

A 42-year-old Brooklyn woman has been charged in the killing of a missing mother of four whose partially dismembered body was found in a parking lot on Long Island earlier this month, police say.

Leah Cuevas is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Chinelle Latoya Browne, who lived at the same Brooklyn address as the 42-year-old suspect.

Browne was last seen at her home in Brownsville on July 5, police say. Her dismembered remains were discovered in a weedy, vacant parking lot in Bay Shore early on July 8 by people going to the nearby Fire Island ferry. Law enforcement sources told NBC 4 New York at the time that the woman's legs had been partially cut off.

Sources told NBC 4 New York Wednesday night that that the suspect may have had a dispute with Browne before her death. Investigators are also looking to see if a second person played a role in disposing the victim's body and plan to question Cuevas' husband about the case. 

Cuevas was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals on Wednesday and will be arraigned in Islip on Thursday.

It's not yet clear if she has an attorney. 

Police couldn't confirm Wednesday night if the body parts dumped in lawns in Hempstead earlier this month are Browne's.

On July 17, a severed head was found on Boylston Street in Hempstead. On July 9, a homeowner found an arm with women's clothing attached to it in his front yard on Webb Avenue. The next day, someone else discovered another arm in their yard about a half-mile away, near Stewart Avenue and Cornell Street.

Investigators in Nassau and Suffolk counties say DNA tests were being done on the body parts to see if they matched Browne.

]]>
<![CDATA[Abandoned Long Island Dog Couldn't Walk Under Matted Fur: SPCA]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:43:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/suffolk+dog+ziggy+1.jpg

A dog found in an abandoned Long Island home was brought in to an animal shelter with fur so thick and matted that the dog was barely able to walk, and authorities are searching for the person responsible for the animal's neglect.

The Shih Tzu-type dog, weighing about 11 pounds and estimated to be about 5 or 6 years old, was turned in to the Town of Babylon Animal Shelter on July 17, SPCA officials say. 

The man who brought the dog in said he found it in a house he knew to be abandoned, on South 7th Street in Lindenhurst. Neighbors in the area told authorities that the last tenants had moved out nearly a year ago. 

Shelter officials said it was the worst case of matting they'd ever seen on a dog, which has been nicknamed Ziggy. Nearly 4 pounds of knotted fur were shaved off, and the dog's overgrown nails were clipped. 

Ziggy will also have to go through extensive physical therapy to learn how to walk correctly again, officials say. The NY Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Farmingdale is providing the service pro bono. 

Anyone with information on the neglect of the dog is asked to contact the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722. 

A+dog+found+in+an+abandoned+home+was+brought+in+to+a+Long+Island+animal+shelter+with+fur+so+painfully+thick+and+matted+that+the+dog+was+barely+able+to+walk%2C+and+authorities+are+searching+for+the+person+responsible+for+the+animal%27s+neglect.

]]>
<![CDATA[Mom, Daughter Die From Food Truck Explosion Injuries]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:21:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/food+truck+explosion+and+victims.jpg

A mother and daughter in Philadelphia who were injured earlier this month after a propane tank exploded in the back of a food truck have died from their injuries, according to a family member.

Jaylin Landaverry, 17, and her mother, 42-year-old Olga Galdernez both passed away, according to Landaverry’s brother and Galdernez’s son, Marco Hernandez. A family friend told NBC10's sister station Telemundo 62 that Galdernez succumbed to her injuries Sunday afternoon while Landaverry died Tuesday night around 7 p.m.

Back on July 1, the mother and daughter were working inside their food truck, La Parrillada Chapina, at 3rd Street and Wyoming Avenue when the 100-pound tank blew around 5:30 p.m.
The truck was equipped with two such tanks filled with gas.

Investigators believe propane vapor began leaking from one tank and filled the truck. A flame from the grill inside the mobile restaurant provided the spark, officials said. Witnesses told detectives they smelled gas before the blast.

The propane fueled a fireball that engulfed the truck, the street and surrounding sidewalks. One tank was blown 95 feet away into the backyard of a home nearby, police said.

Galdemez's husband spent 20 minutes at the scene of the explosion the next morning talking with investigators from the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The truck was properly licensed to operate, officials said.

Philadelphia Police said eight other people were hurt when the tank exploded.

A prayer service and candlelight vigil were held Wednesday night for the mother and daughter. The prayer service was held at Little Flower Catholic High School on the 1000 block of W. Lycoming Street while the vigil was held near the site of the blast.


PHOTO: Olga Galdemez, 42, and her 17-year-old daughter, Jaylin Landaverry, pictured two years ago at the girl's quinceanera.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com/Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Innocent Man Freed After 20 Years]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:09:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Rodell_Sanders.jpg

A suburban Chicago man wrongly convicted of murder got a taste of freedom for the first time in 20 years Wednesday.

Rodell Sanders received a new trial and was acquitted after a witness recanted.

"I am happy to be out. I am thankful to be out. I am happy I survived as long as I did. I'm thankful for my legal team. I am thankful for my family that stood by me all this time," Sanders said.

Sanders was serving an 80-year sentence for a crime he never committed. He was identified in a photo lineup by the surviving victim of the robbery, but his attorneys say police doctored the photo.

"Anyone viewing that photo array would know you wouldn't put a photo with errors in it just to be a filler. That to be the suspect's photograph," attorney Russell Ainsworth said.

After he was convicted, Sanders became a student of the law, and acted as his own attorney at the hearing that won him a new trial.

"I took about $1,000 -- asked my sister Virginia to buy me about $1,000 worth of legal books, and I taught myself the law as much as I can, and I took on the justice system," Sanders said.

Sanders was reunited with his children and grandchildren Wednesday.

"I tell him all the time that I can't even believe the things he's done. He's a talker, without a doubt, so yeah, he is unbelievable," Sanders' eldest daughter, Lynette Booth, said.

Sanders is suing the Chicago Heights police department and the officers involved in his case, but he says he's not bitter or angry -- he'd like to work for change by helping others wrongly convicted and serving time.

"I want to go out. I want to work. I love law, love the courtroom. I would love to go on to be a paralegal or a lawyer or something like that," Sanders said.
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest Over Toddler's Death]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:57:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*128/hollingsworth.JPG

A North Texas grandfather surrendered Wednesday to face criminal charges for the April death of his 20-month-old granddaughter in a hot car.

James Hollingsworth, 59, was released on $5,000 bond from the North Richland Hills Detention Facility for the charge of injury to a child/recklessly by omission.

North Richland Hills police officer Keith Bauman said Hollingsworth called 911 April 22 after his 11-year-old grandson discovered Aurora Aryana Hollingsworth girl in her grandfather's car.

Hollingsworth was supposed to drop Aurora off at daycare that morning after taking her mother to work in Keller.

“This is a tragic event for all those involved and if anything we’d like this to be a learning lesson to other people, anytime you are responsible for the safety of a child,” Bauman said.

Bauman said the high temperature that day was only 84 degrees.

“It does not have to be a sweltering day of 100 plus temperatures for it to be dangerous for a child to be in that vehicle,’ he said.
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Babies Get Herpes After Ritual: DOH]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:10:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/NC_Circumcision0906_722x406_2119014932.jpg

Two more infants were diagnosed with herpes in New York this month after undergoing ritual Jewish circumcisions, the Health Department says.

In both cases, the infant boys were born to mothers with full-term pregnancies and normal deliveries. They were circumcised using the direct oral suction technique practiced by some Orthodox Jews eight days after their birth, and developed lesions on their genitals shortly thereafter, the Health Department said.

Their conditions Wednesday weren't immediately clear.

NYC to Require Consent for Oral Suction Ritual

There have been 16 confirmed cases of herpes since 2000 in newborn boys after circumcisions that likely involved direct oral suction, including three in 2014, according to the Health Department. 

Two of the infants died and at least two others suffered brain damage.

During the ancient ritual, the person performing the circumcision attempts to cleanse the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside. Authorities say the saliva contact could give the infant herpes, which is harmless in adults but could kill newborns.

In 2012, the Board of Health voted unanimously to require anyone performing circumcisions that involve oral suction to obtain written consent from a parent or guardian. The consent form delineates the potential health risks outlined by the Health Department. 

A group of Orthodox rabbis sued in an attempt to block the regulation, but a judge sided with the city.

The parents have to sign a form acknowledging that the city Health Department advises against the practice because of risks of herpes and other infections.

]]>
<![CDATA[LA Ex-Councilman Convicted of Fraud]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:50:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/alarcon+richard+councilman+la+court.jpg

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon was convicted Wednesday on some of the voter fraud and perjury counts against him in a trial stemming from accusations that he lied about where he lived so he could qualify for public office.

Alarcon was convicted on four of 16 felony counts against him for living outside a district he was elected to represent. The jury cleared him on the other counts. His wife, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, was convicted of three counts, and acquitted on three others.

Alarcon, 60, faced seven counts of fraudulent voting, six counts of perjury by declaration and three counts of perjury in an application for a drivers license. His wife was charged with six felony counts: three counts each of perjury by declaration and fraudulent voting in elections in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10. Richard Alarcon faces up to six years in state prison and would be barred from holding elected public office. Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon faces up to five years and four months in state prison and would be barred from running for public office.

The panel was asked to decide whether the couple lied about where they lived between 2006 and 2009 so that Richard Alarcon could qualify for public office in Los Angeles' 7th Council District.

Outside of court Wednesday, Alarcon said he had no comment, but added, "I know I'm innocent."

Deliberations in the month-long trial began last week after prosecutors argued that the Panorama City house that Alarcon and his wife claimed as their "domicile" appeared to neighbors, utility employees and mail carriers to be vacant. Prosecutors contended the Alarcons really lived outside the 7th Council District in Sun Valley.

Under state election law, a residence for voting purposes is defined as a permanent home where one intends to remain and return after an absence. The law does not detail how much time must be spent at the address for it to qualify as a "domicile."

The defense claimed that the prosecution had not even come close to proving the charges against the two. Defense attorneys argued that the Panorama City house underwent renovations and remained the couple's permanent residence because they planned to return there after construction.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Brothers Fight Off Armed Intruder]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:20:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Halloween+mask+New+London+1200+home+invasion.jpg

Two brothers fought off and helped detain a 15-year-old armed intruder who tried to rob them early Wednesday morning in New London, police said.

A teen, wearing a hockey mask and carrying a knife and a loaded gun, invaded a home on Crystal Avenue just before 3 a.m. on Wednesday, according to police.

Richard and Kevin Dennis were asleep when the teen broke in, but woke up and acted quickly.

Richard went toward the teen.

"That’s when he hit me in the head with the gun. Then I picked him up and he started wailing on my back with the butt of the gun," Richard said.

Kevin got a gun to help his brother, and told the teen to drop his weapon and stay still.

"I heard my brother say, 'Kevin, I need help. He has a gun.' When I heard that, (I) grabbed my gun and went flying through the door," Kevin Dennis said.

The teen did drop his weapon.

"He dropped it the moment he saw me. I got mine. The fight was over. It was night and day," Kevin Dennis said.

When police arrived, they arrested the intruder.

The teen was charged with home invasion, burglary, second-degree assault with a firearm, first-degree threatening and carrying a pistol without a permit. His name has not been released because of his age.

The resident who was assaulted had minor injuries, but declined medical treatment, police said. 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Flying Tire Kills Driver on Highway]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:40:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Jovanka-Mijatov.jpg

A woman traveling northbound on the Bishop Ford Freeway was killed Wednesday morning when she was struck by a tire that came off a vehicle headed in the opposite direction, a spokesperson with the Illinois State Police told NBC Chicago.

First responders had to free Jovanka Mijatov, 64, who was pinned in her white 2011 Nissan Versa by "debris" after the 6:10 a.m. crash, Illinois State Police Trooper David Roman said.

Mijatov, of Schererville, Indiana, was taken by ambulance to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead.

Nearby, a green 1997 Chevrolet Blazer driven by 48-year-old Mariana Blanco, of Hammond, Indiana, was pulled over to the side of the southbound lane without a left rear tire.

Blanco received three citations: driving without valid insurance, driving without valid registration and driving with unsafe tires, Roman said.

Doris Smith was Mijatov's neighbor, and described her friend as a doting mother and grandmother who will be missed.

"She liked plants, she just Saturday gave me three starts of plants," Smith said. "We got to know her quite well. Always working, very hard worker."

Blanco's sister, Rocio Frendez, said she was headed to her Hammond home after getting off of work and is devastated by Mijatov's death.

"It's hard to believe what happened this morning. It's not an easy thing to swallow," Frendez said. "We feel very close to this because we've lost family in the same way."

Mijatov lived by herself and worked as an accountant at a Chicago bank. She was originally from Serbia.

]]>
<![CDATA[Marine Wife Had Affair: Court Docs]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:43:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Erin-Corwin-Jon-Corwin-Mari.jpg

The missing 19-year-old pregnant wife of a Marine may have been having an affair with a married neighbor who was also a Marine, newly published court documents show, as detectives said Tuesday they are "looking for a crime scene" in the search.

Erin Corwin had a possible secret relationship with 24-year-old then-Marine Cpl. Christopher Lee, both Lee's neighbor and Corwin's friend told investigators, according to a court documents obtained by The Desert Sun.

Detectives investigating her disappearance said in a statement Tuesday they have received information of possible places to search for evidence of foul play, but emphasized there is still "not enough evidence to rule out that Erin Corwin could be voluntarily missing."

"We are looking for a crime scene," San Bernardino County Sheriff's Capt. Leland Boldt said in the statement.

Deputies on Tuesday would not address the information in the affidavit for a search warrant, which state that officials believed the Corwins' neighbors, Lee and his wife Nicole, had evidence about the disappearance.

Corwin was three months pregnant when she was last seen leaving her Twentynine Palms home on June 28. She told her husband she was headed to Joshua Tree National Park to look for hiking trails, authorities said.

Her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, reported her missing the next day. Erin Corwin’s car was found in Twentynine Palms two days after she disappeared.

Erin Corwin’s friend in Tennessee told deputies the woman was having an affair with Lee, who might be the father of her unborn child, according to the documents, and Lee was afraid his wife would find out.

The friend also provided text messages showing that Lee was planning to take Erin Corwin hunting on the day she disappeared. They were going to spend a "special day" together to celebrate her pregnancy at an undisclosed location, the documents said.

Lee initially denied an affair with Erin Corwin but later admitted the two were "close" and had kissed, according to the documents. He denied having a sexual relationship with Erin Corwin and told deputies the day she disappeared that he went hunting in Joshua Tree National Park alone.

Deputies believed Erin Corwin "could have been harmed by an unknown firearm," the documents stated. Her cellphone was turned off after she allegedly left with Lee so officials were unable to track her using GPS, but a witness saw them leaving together in his car, deputies said.

The document also describes information about the behavior of Christopher and Nicole Lee that led detectives to believe "they were concealing evidence."

The tire tracks on Christopher Lee’s Jeep were similar to tire tracks found near Erin Corwin’s car, the documents said.

When questioned by detectives, the owner of a Yucca Valley home where the Lees were storing belongings before moving said Nicole Lee told her that Christopher Lee was worried that he did not have an alibi for the day of Erin Corwin’s disappearance.

The owner told deputies that Nicole Lee said detectives did not have a case against them without a body, and that she berated her husband for "not being able to keep his lies straight," the documents stated.

Detectives "believed they were concealing evidence and discussing further plans of action to likely conceal or destroy evidence," according to the documents.

Deputies served the search warrant at the Yucca Valley home and arrested Christopher Lee on July 4 for possessing a destructive device, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The felony arrest was not related to the search for Erin Corwin, officials said. Lee was released two days later after posting bail.

Lee was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on July 7 and has moved back to his home state of Alaska, NBC affiliate KMIR reported.

Erin Corwin is described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 120 pounds, officials said. She has light brown hair and blue eyes.

Any information regarding the whereabouts of Erin Corwin can be shared through the Specialized Investigation Division 909-387-3589 or dispatch at 909-387-8313. Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or go to www.wetip.com.



Photo Credit: Locate Erin Facebook page]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged After Gun Found During Search at House Office Building]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:09:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/2014-07-18_1248_0011.jpg

Just days after a congressional staffer was arrested for allegedly bringing a gun into the Cannon House Office Building, a second man has been arrested for the same offense, police said.

U.S. Capitol Police told News4 that officers discovered a 9mm Ruger handgun during an administrative search at the entrance to Cannon's rotunda. It happened around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Ronald William Prestage has been charged with carrying a pistol without a license, said police spokesperson Shennell Antrobus. 

Prestage is not a congressional staffer. RollCall.com reported that he is a veterinarian and farm operator who is also president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council. He may have been on Capitol Hill to lobby on agriculture issues, the site reportedm.

He has a concealed carry permit in South Carolina, according to records, reported RollCall.com.

Prestage's arrest came five days after Ryan Shucard, the press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, was taken into custody and charged with carrying a pistol without a license, a felony.

"It was a total accident," Shucard told News4's Darcy Spencer Friday afternoon.

Earlier this week, he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Bill Tighe, the congressman's chief of staff, said Shucard has been placed on unpaid leave.



Photo Credit: Inset: Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call; background: News4]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Worker Sold Crack During Shift: Police ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:24:31 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/McDonalds+Alleged+Crack+Dealing+Trammal.jpg

An undercover sting at a McDonald's on suburban Philadelphia's swanky Main Line has led to the arrest of a fast food employee who police say was selling crack at the restaurant.

Officers from Radnor Township Police went undercover four times over the past month at the burger joint located along the 500 block of West Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, Pennsylvania, right in the heart of the town's business district.

Each time, police say they bought the illegal drugs from 29-year-old Allen Trammell, of Philadelphia, in the restaurant's parking lot. A cook at the McDonald's for the past two years, Trammell would leave the kitchen line to deal, officials said.

“When not working as a crew and preparing food, he was out in the rear parking lot selling crack cocaine so in a sense it can give you a new definition of what may be considered a Happy Meal," Radnor Police Lt. Andy Block said.

Officers returned to the McDonald's on Tuesday to arrest Trammell. Police say they found cash and 157 dime bags of crack cocaine packets on him at the time. Block said Trammell could have been grossing $1,500 a week from the illicit sales.

Trammell has been arraigned on $100,000 bail, which he was unable to post. He remains in the Delaware County Prison. Pennsylvania court records show the man has plead guilty to drug possession offenses in 2005.

A spokesperson for the Wayne McDonald's said the franchisee is taking the police matter seriously, but would not comment beyond that.

Radnor Police say they learned about the alleged drug dealing after a confidential informant tipped off its Drug Task Force officers.

An attorney was not listed for Trammell.



Photo Credit: Radnor Township Police]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal City Commission Denies Permit for Child Immigrant Shelter ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:51:21 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Immigration+children.jpg

The planning commission for the city of Escondido has denied a permit for a temporary shelter for undocumented immigrant children.

Impassioned pleas from Escondido residents filled City Hall late Tuesday as the city’s planning commission considered whether to reverse a recent vote denying a permit to the non-profit organization Southwest Key.

The proposed facility would offer housing for an influx of unaccompanied minors who have entered the U.S. from Central America. San Diego County has limited beds for immigrant children as they await legal proceedings to determine if they can seek asylum from the violence and poverty in their home countries.

Supporters of the shelter took to the podium to urge commissioners to allow it to go forward.

“This is a human issue,” said Effie Collins, who’s changed her own mind on immigration. “Not an issue between haves and have nots.”

"What’s happening to these kids has personal meaning for me,” said another woman. “Just before World War I, my Dutch grandmother was determined to get out of Europe with her son: my father."

One by one, people tried to persuade commissioners to allow the now-shuttered Palomar Continuing Care Center to be turned into a 96-bed shelter for undocumented immigrant children.

Despite a pre-meeting, pro-shelter march to City Hall, with protestors chanting at times "We're a community without borders," the planning commission voted not to allow the children's facility in Escondido.

Resident Jack Bennett was happy.

“They need to be with their parents,“ he said about the children the facility would house. “They need to be in their home country with their parents. That’s not being racist. “

Commissioners said they were denying the permit based on inappropriate and too intensive of land use, traffic, noise and safety.

The vote not to convert the facility doesn't just mean the immigrant minors won't be housed in Escondido. It also means the estimated $8.5 million and about 100 jobs the shelter was projected to bring into North County will not be coming.

The decision can be appealed within the next ten days. If it is, the city council will make the deciding vote.

Southwest Key already operates two other shelters in San Diego County.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dramatic Photos: The Conflict in Gaza]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:50:44 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/edtAP696738796631.jpg The violence in Gaza between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate despite international calls for a cease-fire.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Geico Insurance Banner Falls on Bay Area House ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:46:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072314-banner-house.jpg

One Bay Area couple can now say for certain their house is covered by insurance.

A 4,000-square-foot Geico insurance banner being towed by a plane came loose and fell directly on their house Friday in Fremont.

"I heard a thump," says Sarah Clark, who was inside when banner landed on her home. "When I looked out the front gate I thought it was pouring rain because it kind of made it look that way. And it sounded like a windstorm, or maybe rain, but I knew it wasn't raining."

When Clark looked out her back door that's when she saw the massive sign.

"I saw a gigantic piece of fabric over the gazebo and I was thinking it's a parachute or hot air balloon," Clark says. 

Ameer Hassan was driving on Interstate 880 just a few miles away when he saw the sign fall.

"I saw the banner flying sideways and I've never seen anything like that before," Hassan says. "I didn't know if it was heavy enough to destroy anything."

The pilot of the plane says he was trying out a new rope that failed to hold the sign. The FAA is investigating the incident.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Airbnb Host Says Guests Hosted Wild Party, Trashed House]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:18:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/0722-bensen-airbnb.jpg

A Maryland man says his first guests on the temporary rental website Airbnb left behind an expensive mess at his Hyattsville home.

Airbnb allows hosts to rent out extra rooms or entire apartments or homes to visitors for a fee usually cheaper than a hotel stay. 

Mike Novak did just that last Friday, when he let two women in their 20s from New York rent out his Hyattsville house for the weekend. He then headed to Virginia Beach, oblivious to the damage he would be returning the following week.

"Saturday night, she had a humongous house party here," Novak said. "I think she posted on Facebook and it blew up. … A major flight broke out in the backyard between multiple people, they broke through the neighbor's fence, went on in their back yard, they broke the other side of his fence."

The party-goers left behind dozens of liquor and beer bottles, cigar wrappers -- and even underwear.

"People slept in all the rooms," Novak said. "I found lingerie in the rooms. I've been cleaning my house, Febrezing everything."

Neighbors told Novak someone was using a wheelchair ramp to ride a motorcycle up and down right before police arrived. 

Novak contacted Airbnb about the damage under what the company calls their "host guarantee," which they say covers damage up to $1,000,000. 

"It was a little difficult getting in touch with them but I finally got a call from a woman today and I have a direct line to her now,' Novak said. 

An Airbnb spokesperson told News4: "Problems like this are incredibly rare, but when they happen, we try to help make things right. We are working quickly to reimburse the host under our 'Host Guarantee' program, and we have permanently removed the individual who rented this space from our site."

Novak said he has filed a police report. The experience, he says, hasn't deterred him from hosting Airbnb guests again.

]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Is Least Happy City in America: Study]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:39:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Chopper-4-Manhattan-Sunrise-0624.jpg

People living in the Big Apple are in rotten moods more often than people in other cities, according to a new study.

New York City was ranked the least happy city in America when adjusted for income, according to a working study, titled “Unhappy Cities,” released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The study leaned on a questionnaire that has been administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the last several years and asks respondents: “In general, how satisfied are you with your life?”

The study ranked those self-reported answers and adjusted them for income, housing prices, age and other factors that might influence how happy a place could be.

It was also found that new residents were just as happy – or unhappy – as older respondents, which the study’s authors said suggested that happiness trends are sustained over time.

It also found that people were willing to trade happiness for better wages or lower housing costs.

“One interpretation of these facts is that individuals do not aim to maximize self-reported well-being, or happiness, as measured in surveys, and they willingly endure less happiness in exchange for higher incomes or lower housing costs,” the study said.

Jersey City was also one of the 10 least happy cities, according to a full data set obtained by Market Watch.

Lafayette, Louisiana, was ranked the happiest city in the study, with four other Bayou State metropolitan regions rounding out the top five.

]]>
<![CDATA[Robbers Steal Over $180K From Caesars Casino]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:58:43 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Caesars-AC.jpg

A pair of masked robbers stole over $180,000 from an Atlantic City casino Monday morning, according to investigators.

Investigators say the two unidentified suspects entered Caesars Atlantic City on the 2100 block of Pacific Avenue around 6 a.m. At least one of the suspects pulled out a gun, according to police.

State Police say the suspects stole two plastic cash boxes containing over $180,000. They then fled the scene in a car around 6:20 a.m.

Investigators have not yet released a description of the suspects. If you have any information on the incident, please call the Casino Gaming Bureau at 609-441-7464.



Photo Credit: William Warby ]]>
<![CDATA[Smoke Diverts Chicago-Bound Southwest Plane to Columbus]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:13:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/swa-plane-bwi-mdw-1.jpg

A Southwest Airlines flight bound for Chicago's Midway International Airport was diverted to Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday night after the crew received a smoke indication in the forward cargo hold.

Flight 242 originated in Baltimore/Washington.

Southwest officials said the captain declared an emergency and landed safely at Port Columbus International Airport.

The 49 passengers and five crew members excited the plane on evacuation slides. The passengers continued their journey on another plane -- flight 9015 -- which landed at Midway at 1:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The plane used for Flight 242 was taken out of service for inspection.
 



Photo Credit: WCMH]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighter Arrested in Conn.]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:38:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/hartford+fire+lamont+freeman.jpg

A Connecticut firefighter showed up drunk at a multi-family apartment in Hartford while he was off duty Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The resident told police she didn’t recognize Lamont Freeman, 44, when he entered her apartment at 160 Barbour Street at about 2:30 p.m. She explained that he was in the wrong apartment, but Freeman refused to leave, so the resident pushed him out the door and locked it, police said.

According to the incident report, the woman told police Freeman was calling out a name she didn't recognize. Police said Freeman banged on the door and tried to get back in until officers arrived and detained him.

Freeman does not live in the apartment and was not visiting anyone he knows, police said. He was arrested and charged with breach of peace and second-degree trespassing.

The website for the city of Hartford lists Freeman as working out of Firehouse 7 on Clark Street, just around the corner from the location of the incident.

Bond was set at $100 and Freeman was released on a promise to appear in court Thursday.

The Hartford Fire Department declined to comment on Freeman's employment status.

Freeman's son also declined to comment when NBC Connecticut knocked on the door of the firefighter's Enfield apartment Tuesday evening.

Freeman is the second Hartford firefighter to be arrested in recent months.

Doug Caldwell is accused of threatening a convenience store employee and punching the store countertop in March. Police said Caldwell had also been drinking beforehand.

The Hartford Fire Department placed Caldwell on paid administrative leave and launched an internal investigation into the incident.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Hartford Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Family Stranded in Tel Aviv]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:05:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Canceled-Flights-Spiegel.jpg

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all United States flights to Tel Aviv for 24 hours on Tuesday and the halt directly impacted one San Diego family who got stuck in Israel.

The FAA grounded all U.S. flights in response to a rocket strike near the main airport. When the federal mandate came, the Spiegel family knew it’d be a while before they were able to return home to San Diego.

In a phone interview, Avi Spiegel – a University of San Diego assistant professor – told NBC 7 that he, his wife and 6-year-old daughter were stranded in Tel Aviv after two of their flights were canceled.

Spiegel was wrapping up a research trip with his family in tow when they heard the news. They were supposed to fly home Tuesday on US Airways but on their way to the airport the family learned all U.S. airline carriers had grounded their flights to Tel Aviv.

Spiegel said he tried booking a flight on a European carrier, but they were grounded too. He spent hours on hold with various airline companies trying to rebook his flight to no avail.

The USD professor said the ordeal has been hectic and frightening. He said he wouldn’t have taken the trip if he had known his family would end up in a war zone.

"It's chaotic. One of the airlines said, ‘Listen, we’d like to help you, but we're simultaneously trying to get our own people out. We have passengers, we have crews, we have pilots,’” Spiegel explained.

“I'm talking to the airline the same time a siren is going off – the app on my phone tells me when sirens go off. It's alarming,” he continued.

Spiegel said the only upside to this is that hotel rooms are easy to come by since there are not many tourists currently in the area.

Still, for now, he has no idea when his family will be able to return home.

"The [odds] don't sound hopeful. The last word from the airlines was that they're showing nothing – no flights even offering tomorrow,” said Spiegel. “The earliest they could get us on a flight was Friday so we're just continuing to check back and get back as soon as we can."

US Airways and Delta, among many U.S. airlines, announced they had canceled all flights to Israel Tuesday. Delta released the following statement:

Delta has suspended service until further notice to and from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and its New York-JFK hub. Delta, in coordination with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, is doing so to ensure the safety and security of our customers and employees.

Delta flight 468, a Boeing 747 from JFK with 273 passengers and 17 crew, diverted to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Tuesday after reports of a rocket or associated debris near the airport in Tel Aviv. Delta is working to re-accommodate these customers.

Delta continues to work closely with U.S. and other government resources to monitor the situation. A customer waiver for travel to Tel Aviv is in effect and published on delta.com.

According to the Associated Press, an Israeli police spokesman said a rocket fell three miles from the airport earlier in the day, but said he was not aware of any immediate situation at the time the Delta flight was diverted.

More than 600 people have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began, and another 3,700 have been wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

Twenty-seven Israeli soldiers have been killed since the start of the operation, which has included attacks on nearly 3,000 targets in Gaza, according to the Israeli army.

]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Baggage Handler Gets 11 Years]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 05:06:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Philly-International.jpg

A former baggage handler at the Philadelphia International Airport was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his involvement in a large-scale drug organization.

From February 2010 to July 2011, James Mickens, 30, of Philadelphia used his Airport access card to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug money through Philly International, in order to avoid detection by law enforcement. Mickens was working as a baggage claim handler for US Airways while smuggling the money.

Mickens made several trips to Los Angeles for the drug organization, which purchased and transported several kilograms of cocaine and hundreds of pounds of marijuana back to Philadelphia as checked luggage.

In addition to the 11-year prison term, a judge also ordered five years of supervised release and a $200 special assessment for Mickens.

The FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Philadelphia Police Department were all involved in the investigation leading to Mickens’ arrest.
 



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Durst Urinates on CVS Candy: Cops]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:29:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/2715242.jpg

A New York City real estate heir acquitted of his neighbor's murder a decade ago is back in trouble, this time for a bizarre outburst in which police say he urinated on a rack of candy at a Texas drug store.

Police say multimillionaire Robert Durst unzipped his pants in a Houston CVS, exposed himself and then urinated on a cash register and candy before walking away from the store just after noon Sunday, Houston NBC affiliate KPRC reported.
 
He had left the scene by the time police arrived, but on surveillance video he did not appear to have been agitated or argumentative before the incident, police said.
A store manager said he recognized the man as a regular customer who was at the store to pick up a prescription, police said. 
 
Durst is now being charged with criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor. He has not been taken into custody.
 
His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Durst has been making national headlines for decades, for his admitted role in a grisly killing.
 
He was acquitted in 2004 in Galveston of the murder of an elderly neighbor after the man's dismembered body parts were found in Galveston Bay.
 
Durst had been arrested in 2001, jumped bond, was found in Pennsylvania trying to steal a sandwich and a Band-Aid from a grocery store and eventually faced trial in the murder. He claimed he had shot Morris Black in self-defense during a struggle over a gun, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Although Durst was acquitted of murder, he was sentenced to and served time in prison for evidence-tampering and bond-jumping in connection with the case.
 
He later served more time in jail for violating the terms of his parole, in part for returning to the boarding house where he had shot Black.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Metal Falls From Sky, Hits Home]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:10:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/ponder+house.jpg

A piece of metal fell from the sky and crashed into the roof of a Denton County mobile home over the weekend.

Rachael Thompson and Richard Myszkowski heard a loud bang Saturday morning while they were feeding their 11-month-old inside their home on Seaborn Road near Ponder.

When they went outside to inspect, they found what looked like a metal turbine on the roof of their mobile home.

Thompson said it weighed only a few pounds but hit with enough force to put a large gash in the metal roof.

"It was like somebody threw a hammer at the house," she said. "What else is going to fall out of the sky?"

Luckily, the object didn’t penetrate the home, as the family of five was inside at the time.

 

"Thank God it fell on the roof," Myszkowski said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the matter, and a spokesperson said they are working to identify the object.

The family believes it may have fallen from a plane, as they see frequent air traffic in the area.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Sand Tunnel Caves In, Kills CA Man]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:47:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/07-22-2014-half-moon-bay-credited.jpg

A man was killed at a Bay Area beach on Monday after a giant hole he was digging in the sand collapsed and buried him, according to fire officials.

When responding Cal Fire crews showed up at Francis State Beach in Half Moon Bay about 5:30 p.m., they found a man in his 20s “completely covered by sand,” authorities said.

Officials say the man was standing in a 10-foot deep "tunnel" when the sand started caving in around him.

“It is one of those situations that can go from having a good time on the beach with friends and family to extremely dangerous and critical within seconds,” Cal Fire’s Jonathan Cox said.

The man was identified by the San Mateo County Coroner's Office as 26-year-old Adam Pye, of San Lorenzo. A memorial page remembering Pye was setup on Facebook.

More than 30 firefighters from around San Mateo County responded to the scene and – along with bystanders – managed to extricate the man from the hole in about half an hour, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Firefighters are using the man’s death as an opportunity to remind the public about the “hidden dangers associated with the beach.”

“Remember to stay away from cliffs, use caution when swimming in big surf and refrain from digging too deeply in the sand," Cal Fire said in a press release.



Photo Credit: Dean Coppola / Half Moon Bay Review]]>
<![CDATA[Beretta Leaves MD After New Gun Law]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:10:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/181*120/0909-maryland-flag-generic.jpg

Gun maker Beretta U.S.A. will move all of its manufacturing out of Maryland to a new factory in Tennessee, the company announced Monday, after protesting Maryland's strict gun law passed last year.

The company met with employees Tuesday to tell them that 160 manufacturing and related jobs would move. Beretta's headquarters, including about 95 administrative and executive jobs, will stay in Accokeek, Maryland.

Previously, the company had said it would use the new Tennessee plant only for making new products. That plant will be an expansion for the company and may eventually employ 300 people, said Jeff Reh, Beretta's general counsel.

"We are fairly upset about even having to consider a move," Reh said. "Our preference would have been to stay and grow in Maryland for decades to come.

"But we have to be prudent about our future, and we have more chance to expand and grow in a state that is more positive to the second amendment," Reh said.

Beretta was active in lobbying against Maryland's Firearm Safety Act of 2013, considered one of the nation's most restrictive gun laws. It bans 45 types of assault weapons and prohibits buying ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds. Gun buyers must be fingerprinted and licensed before buying a handgun.

Gun buyers and gun shops sued to stop the law from taking effect, but a federal court refused to block the law, and it went into effect in October.

Gun-control groups have said the law is partly responsible for statistics showing gun deaths in Maryland fell 24 percent in the first five months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

Beretta said the legislative battle over the bill was a wake-up call for the company. One version of the law would have outlawed gun manufacturing in Beretta's home state; that version passed the state Senate and was supported by the governor, and was stopped in the state House, after Beretta lobbied hard against it.

"The obvious conclusion is that political developments can have an economic effect," Reh said. "It's really not fair for a legislature to just blithely pass restrictions without expecting some kind of reaction."

Jeff Cooper, the company's general manager, said in a statement: "The possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the state."

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley issued a statement, saying his administration was "disappointed with this decision" and pointing out other job growth in the state -- the administration says Maryland has created more than 24,100 total jobs since last June.

Prince George's County spokeman Scott Peterson echoed that disappointment, adding, "if there were any issues that the county could have addressed to keep Beretta here, you can be sure that we would have addressed them immediately."

]]>