<![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 Mon, 22 Dec 2014 02:05:44 -0500 Mon, 22 Dec 2014 02:05:44 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Missing Pa. Student's Keys in River]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 21:11:37 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/237*120/Shane+Montgomery+Missing+College+Student.JPG

Over three weeks after his disappearance, officials found the keys of missing college student Shane Montgomery.

The Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit, a volunteer diving recovery team, discovered the 21-year-old West Chester University student's personal keys in the Schuylkill River after searching for four and a half hours Sunday. No further evidence has been found however.

The Roxborough native was last seen early Thanksgiving morning as he left Kildare's Irish Pub along Main Street in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Manayunk.

Pings from his cellphone put him within a mile of the bar within an hour of his disappearance and surveillance video shows the West Chester University student walking toward the Manayunk Canal and Schuylkill River. Despite many searches on land, in the water and from the air, there have been no strong leads as to where Montgomery went.

Each day without Shane has been wearing on his family, 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[Dramatic Photos: 2 NYPD Officers Killed in Ambush]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 19:09:57 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.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[4 Shot Dead in Illinois Home]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:20:11 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/rockford+shooting.jpg

Four people, including two children, were shot dead inside of a residence in Rockford, Ill., on Saturday night, Rockford police said.

A neighbor said she heard pounding on the door of the residence and then the sound of the door being forced open. The sound of gunshots immediately followed.

Police responded to the call of shots fired in the 3200 block of Montrose Avenue at about 11:20 p.m. Saturday. When they arrived, they found four victims with gunshot wounds. All of them were pronounced dead on the scene by Rockford Fire Department paramedics, police said.

The victims were Martia Flint, 24; Demontae Rhodes, 24; Tyrone Smith III, 6; and Tobias K. Smith, 4. The two children belonged to Flint.

An autopsy is scheduled for the victims on Monday.

Rockford detectives are continuing the investigation in the shooting. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Rockford police shift commander at (815) 987-5824 or Crime Stoppers at (815) 963-7867.

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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 22:09:25 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP617339531987.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Family: NYPD, City Must Mend Ties]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 23:32:49 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/122014copshot.jpg

Family and friends of Officer Rafael Ramos, fatally shot with his partner in Brooklyn, thanked the public for its prayers and asked City Hall to mend its relationship with the city's police department.

"I would like to thank all those who have shared their sympathy for our beloved family member," said Lucy Ramos, the officer's aunt. "I hope and pray that we can reflect on this tragic loss."

Ramos' son Jayden expressed his Grief on Facebook saying: "TODAY I HAD TO SAY BYE TO MY FATHER. HE WAS THEIR FOR ME EVERYDAY OF MY LIFE, HE WAS THE BEST FATHER I COULD ASK FOR. IT'S HORRIBLE THAT SOMEONE GETS SHOT DEAD JUST FOR BEING A POLICE OFFICER."

John Rodriguez, president of the 75th Precinct Community Council, was among those who urged Mayor Bill de Blasio to repair relations with the police force.

"My mayor, you need to sit down, you need to get everything corrected," he said.

Rodriguez added that he felt the local Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president "was very upset at that moment" when he insinuated that the killings of Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu could be tied to the mayor's lack of support for the department.

PBA President Patrick Lynch said Saturday night that there was "blood on many hands," including that of the mayor. De Blasio responded that Lynch's remarks were "irresponsible, overheated rhetoric."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed his sympathy for the families of both officers in an appearance outside the Ramos residence.

"The two police officers, its just unimaginable, there were no words," Cuomo said. "I was sitting with the family. His son said to me, 'why, why is my dad gone, what did my dad do wrong,' and the truth is his father did nothing wrong."

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<![CDATA[Hundreds Protest in Downtown Philly]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 01:09:32 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Center-City-March1.jpg

Nearly 1,000 people marched through Center City during a protest for Mike Brown and Eric Garner Sunday night.

The Philadelphia “Blackout” march began at 7 p.m. on 1500 Arch Street. Hundreds of protesters marched around City Hall through Dilworth Plaza and eventually stopped at the statue of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo. Raheem Harvey, one of the event organizers, told NBC10 the goal of the demonstration was to “unify the people and give them an opportunity to speak.”

“As a human being we have a right to humanity,” Harvey said. “Everyone is entitled to first class citizenship regardless of the color of their skin.”

Some of the protesters gathered at the AT&T station on the Broad Street Line around 5:45 p.m. They took the subway into Center City while singing the words, “I can’t breathe,” the last words of Eric Garner before his death.

Harvey also said the protesters specifically chose to end their demonstration at the Frank Rizzo statue based on what they believe the former Philadelphia mayor stood for.

“He is an individual who was responsible for police brutality, especially towards the African American community,” Harvey said. “Here we have an individual who has his hands raised, waiving out to the people. No one thinks something is wrong with that. We definitely plan to make a statement there. We plan on working with the city to have it removed."

The protesters repeatedly chanted "black lives matter," and carried a banner which read, "fight hate with love." They also held a "die-in" demonstration on the Parkway.

The rally shut down several streets in Center City for a few hours. No arrests were reported however.

Harvey told NBC10 the ultimate goal of the demonstrators is to spark change within the Philadelphia Police Department.

“We want to be able to have a voice when it comes to the concerns of the community,” he said. “A police officer’s job is to provide customer service and to also establish the law. With that in mind we need to make sure that when investigations happen within the police department, the public is fully aware. There should not be any close door investigation.”

The protest was one of many that have occurred nationwide in response to two separate grand jury decisions not to indict the officers involved in the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The protest also took place a day after two NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were shot and killed by a gunman in Brooklyn during an ambush attack. The suspect in the shooting, who ultimately took his own life, posted on social media that he intended to “take 2 of theirs” prior to the incident, according to investigators. Investigators also believe the suspect shot and injured his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore before coming to New York.

The fatal shooting of the two officers sparked claims from some that the nationwide protests and anti-police rhetoric inspired the shooter. In New York City, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch also linked the killings to violence against police during recent protest demonstrations and even claimed that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio had “blood on his hands” for his apparent lack of support for law enforcement.

Harvey expressed his condolences for the NYC officers and their families while also stating the suspect in their deaths was not associated with his movement.

“My heart is with the family and also my prayers,” Harvey said. “We are not against police. We are against police brutality. No one deserves to have their lives taken. It should have never happened. The person is isolated from the movement but he’s using the movement to get his message across. But that’s a totally isolated incident.”

Members of the Philadelphia Police Civil Affairs Unit were on hand to monitor the protest.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com
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<![CDATA[Girl, 3, Left With Valets: Police]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 00:11:57 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Audrey-missing.jpg

The father of a toddler abandoned at one of Los Angeles's premier shopping centers came forward nearly a day later Sunday and was interviewed by police and child protective services, officials said. 

The girl remained in the custody of child protective services. Los Angeles Police Department officials said she and her father had not been reunited.

The father told officers at the Wilshire Division station that he didn't initially know the 3-year-old was missing, but had been actively trying to get in contact with her.

A female relative who’d been watching the girl dropped her off at the Grove about 6 p.m. Saturday, according to police, who are treating the case as a misunderstanding.

When she was put in police custody, the girl gave her name simply as Audrey, a stumbling block in trying to find her family, police said.

Audrey was happy and talkative, when she was first turned over to the LAPD, according to Lt. Lonnie Tiano, who said she was in "good shape."

A woman dropped Audrey off at The Grove's valet area along with a car seat, but never returned to pick her up, Tiano said.

After a search of the mall, parking attendants called police, who took Audrey into their custody and brought her to the Department of Children and Family Services, Tiano said.

Children and Family Services still had to verify that the man picking her up was Audrey's father, and had yet to decide whether to turn Audrey over to him.

Aubrey's story had touched many people who called police offering gifts or a home to Audrey after her picture was released to news media, police said.

"Hopefully they'll be watching the news and see their child on TV and call us," Tiano said Sunday morning.

In fact, Audrey's San Diegan grandfather who spotted her picture on a news report Sunday. He told his son Audrey was missing; police said the father told them he was already actively searching for Audrey by then.

The father told authorities that he was looking for his daughter at The Grove until 11 p.m., police said, but assumed that the person she was with had taken her home. They were supposed to meet at The Grove earlier that day.

Correction: This article misspelled one instance of Audrey's name.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Los Angeles Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Gun Range Billboard Sparks Debate]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:16:15 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/santa_holding_gun_chico.jpg

A holiday billboard has fired up a debate in a Northern California city.

The owners of Down Range shooting range put up a sign outside their business in Chico, depicting Santa Claus holding a gun. The sign reads "We build AR's for Santa."

The owners of the gun range told NBC affiliate KNVN-TV in Chico that they are Santa's little helpers, and they can fill his orders for AR rifles.

Down Range co-owner Steve Dyke said in an interview that some people get toys, some get guns.

"Some people get firearms," Dyke said. "So and when Santa needs help putting together an AR rifle, we can definitely help him out with that."

While one Chico resident said people need to "see the humor in it" others said the sign is in poor taste.

"I just don't think I would like my son see Santa holding a gun, having to explain to him that's usually not what Santa's holding," one parent said.

"The idea of this symbol of joy and giving and holding an assault rifle, it's just so contradictory," Chico resident Tom Imhoff told KNVN.

But the owners of the gun range disagree.

"Santa has got his eye protection on, his fingers off the trigger, the gun's pointed in a safe direction, so those are the things we want to promote is the safety when people are doing the shooting sports industry," Dyke's partner Will Clark said.

"This is not meant to be offensive in any way. If you need help, if Santa needs help, we're here to help," Dyke said.

The owners said the sign is temporary, but it will not be their last. A sign featuring the Easter bunny or Cupid may be next.



Photo Credit: KNVN]]>
<![CDATA[Officers Turn Backs on NYC Mayor ]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:20:34 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/460732874.jpg

In the wake of tensions between City Hall and the NYPD, some officers turned their backs on the mayor as he walked through the halls of Woodhull Medical Center following the ambush killing of two officers.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch mourned the slain officers outside the hospital and linked the killings to violence against the NYPD during recent protest demonstrations and to what he said was the mayor's lack of support for the department.

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

Mayor de Blasio responded that Lynch's remarks amounted to "irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people."

"This is a nightmare of the highest magnitude for everyone," Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said in a statement. "The elected leaders, on both sides of City Hall, need to dig down deep in their souls and understand that campaigning to be a leader is easier than being a leader."

Palladino warned detectives to remain vigilant, wear bullet-resistant vests and work in teams of three when possible "until we better assess the threat that exists against us."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Leaders Across U.S. Mourn Officers Killed in Brooklyn]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 16:38:47 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP854506726768.jpg

Police departments and civic leaders across the United States mourned publicly on Saturday and Sunday, 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."

Obama called New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Sunday and said Americans must reject violence and instead turn to prayer and sympathy for the victims' relatives, the White House said. The president said his administration will work with leaders across the country to echo that message.

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 Bratton. "Both officers paid the ultimate sacrifice today while protecting the communities they serve."

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge released a statement Sunday morning, saying the police officers' "tragic deaths are a great loss for the NYPD, their families, and our nation. This is not about race or affiliation, and it isn't about black versus blue. All lives matter."

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."

The killings on Saturday come amid tensions over the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police. Bratton said Saturday that the suspect had a history of making anti-police comments. It remained unclear whether he had any involvement in the protest movement.

The family of Eric Garner, the New York man who died after he was put in a chokehold by police denounced on Sunday the killing of two police officers.

"Anyone who's standing with us, we want you to not use Eric Garner's name for violence because we are not about that," Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, told reporters on Sunday. "I'm standing here in sorrow about losing those two police officers."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Real-Life "Sopranos" Club Robbed]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 14:58:05 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_fotoactorjamesgandolfini.jpg

Authorities say the northern New Jersey strip club that was used for filming of "The Sopranos" has been robbed of $30,000.

Lodi police say that two men with shotguns robbed Satin Dolls early Sunday morning. The men fled after the robbery.

The club stood in as Bada Bing on the HBO show.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department's detective division at 973-473-7600.

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<![CDATA[1 Dead in House Party Shooting]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 19:09:39 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/dewayne+purnell.jpg

A 19-year-old man was killed and eight others injured in a shooting during a house party in a south suburb of Chicago early Sunday morning.

Police received a call about shots fired at a residence in the 600 block of Escanaba Avenue in Calumet City at approximately 1:50 a.m. When police arrived, they say a large number of adults were fleeing from the house.

The shooting took place during a party in the basement of the residence with at least 150 young adults in attendance, according to police.

Dewayne Purnell, 19, died from gunshot wounds, and eight other victims were taken to area hospitals, two in critical condition, police said. The youngest victim is 15 years old.

Purnell's father said his son, who just turned 19 on Dec. 15, was supposed to leave for the Army in nine days. Purnell recently graduated from high school, and his father said he didn't go out to parties very often.

"He was in the house all the time," Donald Purnell, the victim's father, said. "He was putting up the Christmas tree yesterday with his sister."

Police said they had been called to the residence before but never for anything as serious as this incident.

Police are still searching for the gunman.

Calumet City detectives and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are continuing the investigation.

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<![CDATA[Teen Saves Sister From Kidnapping]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 03:39:57 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A 13-year-old boy rescued his little sister from an attempted kidnapping in Lancaster, sheriff’s deputies said Saturday.

A man allegedly walked into the fenced yard of the family’s home in the 300 block of West Kildare Street just before noon and asked the 4-year-old girl for her name. He then reached down, grabbed her and tried to leave the yard.

But her older brother grabbed the man’s arm and called for help, asking for someone to call 911.

The little girl was not injured.

Neighbors flagged down a passing sheriff’s patrol car and were able to direct them to a man believed to be the one who tried to take the little girl.

The man had been seen pacing in front of the home where the little girl lives just prior to the attempted kidnapping, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The suspect has been detained until deputies complete an investigation. His identitiy has not been released.

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<![CDATA[8-Year-Old Thanks Firefighters]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 04:18:01 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.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[Dog Killed in San Diego Fire]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:56:00 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/fido+mask.jpg

Fire tore through a Clairemont home Saturday, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and killing one of the family’s beloved dogs.

“It’s just really sad this time of year for this to happen,” said Sherrie Dubreuil, whose elderly parents and brother live at the home in the 3600 block of Mount Acadia Boulevard.

The two-alarm fire sparked just before noon. Firefighters initially treated it as a rescue operation.

“The son who was living here didn’t realize his parents weren’t home, which is fortunate because they actually weren’t here and weren’t lost as was expected,” said Battalion Chief Matt Nilsen with San Diego Fire-Rescue.

A firefighter fell partially through the roof, but other crew members pulled him out before falling any further, Nilsen said. He was taken to the UCSD Burn Center with second-degree burns to his hip, according to fire officials.

Firefighters saved one of the family’s two dogs with the help of a “Fido” oxygen mask. The other dog did not make it.

“We lost our pit bull in the backyard. The fire caught him on fire, and they euthanized him,” Dubreuil said.

Dubreuil says she was grocery shopping with her 90-year-old mother at the time and returned home to the devastation. The fire caused an estimated $300,000 in damage to the home and $100,000 to its contents, according to the fire department.

Investigators say the fire was caused by an accidental electrical problem.

Flames spread to the neighbor’s bushes, but firefighters stopped the fire before spreading to the house.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Receives New Heart at Hollywood Hospital]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:43:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121914+kristen+bracken+kaiden.jpg

A baby is going home from a South Florida hospital with a new heart just in time for the holidays.

Kaiden, who is just 11 months old, underwent the procedure at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood.

Around Easter, he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and doctors gave him a mechanical heart while they waited for a biological one.

Doctors were able to transplant the new heart last week.

"You think you have a healthy son, there's nothing wrong with him and you're told by doctors who grab your hand and say 'We'll do everything we can but we can't guarantee his life,'" mother Kristen Bracken said.

Kaiden will have to take medications so his body doesn't reject the new heart, but otherwise, he's doing great.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed in Crash with Ambulance]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 18:35:27 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.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.

Bolles Motors in Ellington towed both damaged vehicles from the scene.

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

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<![CDATA[Arrests in Attempted Murder of Teen]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 02:21:18 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/198*120/12-20-14_Palmdale-Teen-Shooting-Arrest.JPG

Two men have been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of a teenage girl in Palmdale, police said Saturday.

The girl was hospitalized in critical condition after being injured in a car-to-car shooting in the 37800 block of Melton Avenue around noon Friday, officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Investigators believe Palmdale residents Jaime Espinoza, 20, and Fernando Albarran, 21, were involved in the shooting, which is believed to be gang related.

A third person was detained in connection with the shooting, but released pending further investigation, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Both men remain behind bars in lieu of $500,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide investigators at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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<![CDATA[5 Key Points From Obama's Year-End Presser]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:49:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.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[Red Light Cameras Increase Crashes]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 02:09:59 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/52663156.jpg

Chicago’s red light camera system makes some intersections more dangerous instead of making them safer, according to the results of a study commissioned by the Chicago Tribune.

In the only scientific study to date analyzing the nation’s largest network of 350 red light cameras, the Tribune found intersections with cameras snapping photos and ticketing drivers as they pass through red lights saw a 22 percent increase in rear-end crashes resulting in injuries.

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has claimed the cameras are to thank for a 47 percent decrease in “T-Bone” right-angle crashes, the Tribune’s study showed a much different statistic of a mere 15 percent reduction.

The red light camera program has garnered the city nearly $600 million since 2003.

“You are generating revenue under the guise of fake safety,” said Mike Brockway, writer of the Chicago-driving-centric blog The Expired Meter.

Dominique Lord, an associate professor at Texas A&M University's Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, headed the Tribune's study.

"The biggest takeaway is that overall (the program) seems to have had little effect," Lord told the Tribune.

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<![CDATA[Chicago Mayor's Son Robbed]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 01:10:59 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.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[Officer Cleared of Killing Dog]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 12:52:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.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
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<![CDATA[4 Arrested in Mall Brawl]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 01:40:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.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[Calif. Mayor's Autopsy Released]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 12:55:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.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.nbcmiami.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[Rescued Family's Lawsuit Thrown Out]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 14:59:10 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Kaufman-1161984-24715521-th.jpg

A San Diego judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the family whose round-the-world sailing expedition ended with a military rescue in April when their 1-year-old became sick.

Eric and Charlotte Kaufman filed the lawsuit in July, blaming their broken Whenever Communications satellite phone for the loss of their boat, the Rebel Heart, after they were rescued hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast.

Their attorney Dan Gilleon said the suit claims if the Kaufmans had not lost service, they would have gotten medical advice over the phone instead of calling in the Coast Guard.

The judge ruled Wednesday that the Kaufman’s phone contract stated any lawsuits against the company must be filed in Florida, where Whenever Communications is centered. The case was then dismissed.

Gilleon says the family plans to refile in Florida court.

The phone company’s attorney Matthew Herron told NBC 7 this case should never should have come to San Diego in the first place and he is pleased the judge sided with him. He said Whenever Communications was in the process of switching SIM card providers, so another company was responsible for shutting off the Kaufman’s phone service.

Eric, Charlotte and their daughters, a 3-year-old and a 1-year old, were two weeks into their sailing adventure when the 36-foot boat lost its steering and communication abilities. At the same time, the youngest, Lyra, became seriously ill with diarrhea, a rash and vomiting.

Desperate for help, her parents messaged the Coast Guard, which launched a rescue effort with the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing. The Navy’s USS Vandegrift picked up the family after pararescuemen jumped from a helicopter into the ocean to board the Rebel Heart and stabilize Lyra.

The sailboat was sunk for safety reasons, rescuers said, and the Kaufmans were taken back to San Diego.

The ill-fated trip attracted national attention and widespread debate about the families taking young children on open ocean journeys.
 



Photo Credit: Courtesy The Rebel Heart]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Stolen, Dyed, and Recovered]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:23:33 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/193*120/12-20-2014-DyedDog1.JPG

An Inland Empire, Southern California, dog owner has been reunited with her stolen pooch — but the dog is now a completely different color.

Heather Lowery was overjoyed when she discovered her missing mutt had been identified via a microchip after being found wandering the streets by animal control workers.

However she had to do a double take when she went to the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus Thursday, because her once-blond pit bull puppy Cocoa had been dyed a distinct shade of coal by the thieves.

"She actually recognized me when I went in there to verify it was her," Lowery said. "She shakes her whole body as if she were Pluto basically, and she did it again today. She jumped right on (me) and took pictures with me."

The 8-month-old pit bull had disappeared from her yard in San Jacinto during Thanksgiving week, and Lowery was delighted to be finally reunited with her dog.

She had only adopted Cocoa in November, and she was identified because all adopted pets from county shelters are automatically microchipped.

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<![CDATA[Mountain Lion Spotted in Backyard]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 09:25:25 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/202*120/12-19-14-mountain+lion+sherry+kempster+newbury+park.JPG

A mountain lion creeping alongside a Southern California woman's backyard wall forced road closures as wildlife officials tried to capture it.

Sherry Kempster of Newbury Park in Ventura County was in her kitchen Friday morning when she heard crows cawing in the backyard, which usually means "a hawk or something" is in the area, she told NBC4.

Kempster looked out the window about 10:20 a.m. and saw the back leg and tail of a creature moving past the barbecue grill. She soon realized it was a mountain lion.

She captured a picturesque image of the lion as it walked along her backyard wall, a mountain view in the background.

Friday's sighting was the first time she and her husband have seen a mountain lion in the 17 years they lived in their home, she said.

After Kempster called 911, Ventura County sheriff's deputies and Fish and Game wardens started looking for the mountain lion. Officials found it in underneath a trailer in a mobile home park about 5 p.m.

Authorities blocked roads for nearly 90 minutes as they worked to contain the big cat.

Officials said the 14-month-old mountain lion, dubbed P-34, came from the Santa Monica Mountains. She was captured about 8:34 p.m. and released "at an undisclosed location," officials said.
 



Photo Credit: Sherry Kempster]]>
<![CDATA[Man Shot While Washing Dishes]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:37:57 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/juan+ortiz.jpg

More than a week after a 44-year-old man was shot in the chest while washing dishes inside his south suburban home, officials are still searching for shooter.

Juan Ortiz was shot during the evening hours in his home in the 1600 block of West Sunnyside Avenue in Chicago Heights on Dec. 11, according to Cook County Crime Stoppers.

Police said Ortiz's family, including his wife and four children, who are each under the age of 11, were in the home at the time of the shooting. Officers responding to a call of shots fired found Ortiz on his kitchen floor with a gunshot wound to the chest.

He was taken to Franciscan St. James Health in Chicago Heights, where he was pronounced dead. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the death.

The Cook County Crime Stoppers said Ortiz was a “family man, not someone prone to violence.”

“Juan was looking forward to the upcoming Christmas Holiday; normally a time to enjoy family and presents. All of this is gone because someone had a gun and pulled the trigger,” George McDade, chairman for Cook County Crime Stoppers, said in a statement. “I am not sure if this was just an errant shot that struck Juan, or if it was someone’s sick minded way of having fun and seeing him through the kitchen window decided to shoot at him. Either way a family has lost a father and husband and community a leader.”

Chicago Heights Police Chief Charles Guiliani said the crime is "highly unusual" for the area and police have not yet found a motive or any suspects in the shooting.

Chicago Heights police, Ortiz’s family and friends and the Cook County Crime Stoppers are scheduled to gather Saturday on his block to distribute fliers asking for information on his death.

A $1,000 reward is offered for information leading to an arrest, according to authorities.

“The offender is at large and the community needs to step forward and help us identify the person responsible before they shoot again” McDade said.

Anyone with information can call an anonymous hotline at (800)-535-STOP (7867).
 



Photo Credit: Cook County Crime Stoppers]]>
<![CDATA[Officers Turn Their Backs on Mayor]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 13:29:55 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/460732874.jpg In the wake of tensions between City Hall and NYPD, some officers turned their backs on the mayor as he walked through the halls of Woodhull Medical Center following the ambush killing of two officers. Lori Bordonaro reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD Probes Video Showing Cop Punch]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 23:10:12 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/nypd+badge+generic.jpg

The NYPD says it has suspended a police officer after a video was posted online that appeared to show him repeatedly punching a 16-year-old suspect as other officers tried to arrest the teen.

The video, posted on YouTube, shows several officers trying to cuff the 16-year-old suspect when a plainclothes officer in a camouflage jacket runs up and punches the suspect several times in the torso. The woman who posted the video said that that the teen was punched on Monday on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

The video shows the teen pushed up against a car, surrounded by three officers. The plain clothes officer rushes into the frame and appears to quickly jab the teen in the three times.

As the boy is hit, a woman nearby can be heard yelling “Hey, hey hey! Stop it! Get off him!” Another witness then identifies herself as a lawyer and says “I can’t believe he just did that after everything that’s happened.”

Police said the teen and another suspect were being arrested after allegedly attacking a person with a cane. The charges the teen faces aren't clear.

The grand jury decision earlier this month to not indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner has highlighted the tense relationship between police and minority communities in New York City, and tens of thousands of people have protested in recent weeks. 



Photo Credit: AP Images]]>