<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:30:40 -0400 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:30:40 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:18:47 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/l_l_pa_gay_marriage1200a-3.jpg

A Miami-Dade judge has struck down Florida's gay marriage ban, becoming the second Florida judge in a week to find it unconstitutional.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel found that the state's ban, approved by a referendum in 2008, "offends basic human dignity" and violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice of appeal of the ruling within an hour of the ruling being issued.

“Preventing couples from marrying solely on the basis of their sexual orientation serves no governmental interest,” Judge Zabel wrote in her order. “It serves only to hurt, to discriminate, to deprive same-sex couples and their families of equal dignity, to label and treat them as second-class citizens, and to deem them unworthy of participation in one of the fundamental institutions of our society.”

Florida originally enshrined a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution in 2008. Voters approved an amendment that year banning same-sex marriage. Since then, the Supreme Court has overturned the Defense of Marriage Act at a national level and lower-level courts have repeatedly overturned state laws as appeals over state bans moves towards the U.S. Supreme Court.

“At its heart, this case is about the right to marry the person of one’s choice. It is about whether the right to marry can be denied to members of a particular group based upon their sexual orientation, and whether couples and families who have members that fall into that group are entitled to the respect, benefits, and protections which marriage brings,” Judge Zabel wrote.

Zabel put an immediate stay on her order pending the outcome of the expected appeals to be filed by the state of Florida.

Judge Zabel’s order came in a motion for summary judgment in the case Catherina Pareto, et al vs. Harvey Ruvin, and the State of Florida. The summary judgment was granted, giving the plaintiffs an immediate victory.

Pareto and Karla Arguello were one of five gay couples who sued in Miami to overturn Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage. The couples claimed the ban on same-sex marriage violated the equal protection and due process clause, which Judge Zabel agreed with.

Aguello and Pareto didn't know the decision was coming down on Friday.

"We got a text, 'congratulations,' from one of our friends, and we're like, 'congratulations for what? What? What happened? Did we miss something?" Aguello told NBC 6.

"While it was hard to wait for it, it was well worth the wait," Pareto said.

Judge Zabel's ruling also said that Article I, Section 27 of Florida’s Constitution is “void and unenforceable.” She also declared the Florida Statutes that prohibit the issuance of marriage licenses “unless one party is a male and the other party is a female is similarly void and unenforceable.”

The ruling also said that the Clerk of Courts should not be prosecuted for complying with the order and that the Clerk of Courts should modify marriage licenses to conform to the ruling.

"We're just like any other couple out there that wants to protect one another," Karla Aguello said.

The ruling from the Miami-Dade Court would apply only in Miami-Dade County. It comes just a week after Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.

Judge Garcia’s order was immediately stayed when Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a notice of appeal. Garcia later declined to lift the stay while the case is on appeal. 

Stay with NBC6.com for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2 Florida Girls Arrested for Torturing Rare Tortoise]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:39:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/071714+gopher+tortoise+torture.jpg

Two teen girls accused of lighting a threatened gopher tortoise on fire and stomping it to death in a videotaped incident have been arrested, authorities said Friday.

Jennifer Emoke Green, 18 and a 15-year-old girl are facing charges of felony cruelty to animals and taking harassing and killing a gopher tortoise, a second-degree misdemeanor, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.

Videos posted on Facebook showed the Orange Park girls dousing the tortoise with a flammable fluid and laughing as the creature tries to get away from the flames.
A second video shows one of the girls stomping on the animal until its shell breaks and it's dead.

The FWC received a tip about the incident on July 15 and worked with the State Attorney’s Office of the Fourth Judicial Circuit in the investigation.

"We take these issues very seriously," Col. Calvin Adams, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement, said in a statement. "We appreciated the help from the public and our partners in working to protect our valuable natural resources."

Green faces up to five years in prison plus up to 60 days in jail and or a $500 fine on the misdemeanor charge. The 15-year-old is being prosecuted in the juvenile system.

Photo Credit: Facebook.com/MyFWC]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Lightning Kills 1, Injures 8]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 23:54:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/venice-beach-lightning-sand.jpg

A 20-year-old man has died in the hospital after being struck by lightning at Venice Beach on Sunday, officials said. Seven other beachgoers were also hospitalized, including one with critical injuries.

Firefighters responded around 2:20 p.m. Sunday to reports of injuries stemming from a lightning strike in the 3500 block of South Ocean Front Walk, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Thirteen people were checked out by firefighters at the scene. Eight of them were taken to hospitals, including seven adults and a 15-year-old, the LAFD said.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office confirmed that the man died at Marina Del Rey Hospital.

All of the victims were in or near the water when lighting touched down.

A video taken at the scene shows the frantic moments when rescuers pulled a person who appeared to be unconscious out of the water.

On Santa Catalina Island, a 57-year-old man who was on an Avalon golf course was also struck by lightning. He was hospitalized in stable condition, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. He was expected to survive.

The lightning strikes occurred as a thunderstorm hit the island, causing minor flooding and setting two small fires in the brushy backcountry that were quickly doused.

Monsoon conditions moving in from Arizona were expected to bring small amounts of rain -- up to a quarter-inch -- all throughout Los Angeles County through the evening, according to David Sweet, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

“There is that potential for brief heavy amounts,” Sweet said of the rain. “In most places it will be small.”

In Avalon, about two-thirds of an inch was recorded in about 30 minutes, weather officials said. One man was apparently injured in a lightning strike and minor flooding reported in the area, according to wire reports.

After a cloudy night, the sun was expected to be out again Monday. Temperatures were expected in the mid to upper 70s inland areas and 80s and 90s inland.

Weather officials said the rainfall was too localized to make any dent in the state's ongoing drought crisis.

Photo Credit: @Venice311 via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Driver Arrested After Assault]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 20:01:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/police-lights-night-shutterstock_54084688.jpg

Police have made an arrest after a woman claimed an Uber cab driver sexually assaulted her earlier this month.

Police arrested 31-year-old Reshad Chakari of Alexandria, Virginia, and charged him with second-degree sexual abuse.

On July 20, police had responded to the 1400 block of Rhode Island Ave., NW, where a woman reported that an Uber Cab driver had sexually assaulted her. According to the police report, the woman said Chakari touched her while she was sleeping in the car.

"Rider safety is Uber's #1 priority. We take reports like this seriously and are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and care," said Taylor Bennett, spokesperson for Uber Technologies. "It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following any serious allegations, which we have done. We stand ready to assist authorities in any investigation.”

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington for more on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Cars Vandalized With Anti-Semitic Messages]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:19:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/hamas+car.PNG

On a Jewish holy day of rest, there was unrest in one South Florida community.

A Miami Beach home was the target of hate. One car egged in multiple places and another damaged by cream cheese, with the words "Jew" and "Hamas" smeared on two different areas.

Rachel, who also only wanted to be identified by her first name, said, "We woke up in the morning and the entire Jewish community was out here with the cops. They flagged down the cops for us because we can't call them ourselves because it was the sabbath."

The crime was committed as a tense and violent conflict roars on in the Middle East with both Israel and Hamas firing rockets at each other. Josh and Rachel do not think their family was singled out; their car on the block just happened to be the first one to have a sticker that said Miami Beach Jewish Community Center.

"It was just really frightning to see such an act in Miami Beach," said Rachel.

Josh equated it to terrorism in their back yard, but Rachel wouldn't go that far.

"It's not necessarily terrorism, but it's like a hate crime," Rachel said. "It's clearly racism right here and we thought this is America. It shouldn't be happening to us, but it does."

It is unclear if the attack was motivated because of the crisis. One thing is for sure - this is a first for this family.

"You know, we live in like a prominently jewish neighborhood and weve never experienced such a thing," Rachel said. "We never were hated for being Jewish. We were never looked down upon at all."

The family says it is now thinking about installing security cameras to try to deter this from happening again.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

<![CDATA[22 Wounded, Boy Killed in Chicago Weekend Shootings]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:50:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/23_SHOOTINGS_7-77-14.jpg

Editor's Note: NBC Chicago includes shootings that took place between 6 p.m. Friday and 12 a.m. Monday in the weekend violence report.

Shootings Saturday and Sunday increased the total number of people shot in Chicago over the weekend to 23.

Casualties over the weekend include a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed at about 6 p.m. Friday in the 700 block of South California Avenue. Six others were also wounded in a shooting that witnesses say was a drive-by.

"As a result again of guns being introduced into what otherwise would have been a fist fight, we have seven kids shot ... and one of theme dead," Chicago Police superintendent Garry McCarthy said Sunday.

"At the end of the day if we stem the flow of guns coming in and we put people in jail for possession of firearms, we'll see the murder rate and violent in this city plummet."

A 3-year-old was also critically wounded Friday night when he was shot at about 10:15 p.m. in the 4400 block of South Sacramento Avenue. The bullet struck the young boy in his abdomen and exited through his hip, officials said. Police say the child's mother's boyfriend was the intended target.

Alger Sanchez, 19, and Anton Aseves, 22, were charged Sunday night with aggravated battery-discharge of a firearm and two felony counts of attempted murder in the first degree.

Nine shootings were reported Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning.

A 32-year-old man was grazed in the neck by a bullet 8 a.m. Sunday on the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue. The victim told police that he was shot by an unknown person in a grey vehicle. He took himself to an area hospital where he was listed in good condition. Police say the victim has documented gang ties. No one is in custody.

At about 3:50 a.m. Sunday, a man was shot while sitting in the back of a car outside a party at 58th and Wolcott. Police say two people began arguing outside of the car, and one of them fired a gun, striking the individual inside the car. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Police say a woman and her boyfriend were walking out of a nightclub in the 100 block of West Huron when they became involved in an altercation with another man. The boyfriend produced a gun, which he dropped during the struggle, according to police. The woman picked up the gun and place it in her purse, but was shot in the leg when her boyfriend reached for it. She's listed in stable condition at a local hospital.

At about 4:40 a.m., police say a man walked into Christ Hospital with a bullet wound to his right ankle. The victim says he was walking down the street in the 5600 block of South Emerald Street when he was approached by two males who asked if he was from the neighborhood. He said he kept walking, heard shots, and felt the pain in his ankle. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

A 27-year-old man walking in the 2600 block of West Augusta at about 11:15 p.m. Saturday says he suddenly felt pain and discovered he was shot in the hip. He took himself to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition. Police say he is a documented gang member. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the 133rd block of South Eberhart at about 10 p.m. The victim says he was walking down the street, heard shots and felt pain in his neck. He was listed in stable condition.

A 36-year-old man is listed in stable condition after he was shot near the Eisenhower Expressway at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday. The victim was talking to a woman at a gas station in the 600 block of South Independence when he says an individual approached the pair with a gun and announced a robbery. The man says he tried to knock the gun away but it discharged, striking him in the stomach. The man drove to the highway ramp where the was met by EMS. Nobody is in custody for the shooting and attempted robbery.

A 24-year-old man is listed in stable condition after he was shot in the calf at about 1:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of West Farwell Avenue. Police say the victim is a documented gang member with a felony conviction. Nobody is in custody for the shooting.

Police say the victim of a shooting at about 12:45 p.m. Saturday is not cooperating with investigators. The 26-year-old man was sitting the driver's seat of a car at 52nd and Hoyne when he was shot. He's listed in serious condition with a wound to the chest after a friend drove him to a local hospital.

<![CDATA[The Story Behind a Viral Wedding Photo]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:07:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/195*120/we+still+coming.jpg

After Amy and Ian said "I do," they never thought their wedding photo shoot would go viral.

"It just started taking on a life of its own," said the groom's mother, Suzanne Hicks. " It was like a domino effect."

The groom, originally from South Florida, and his bride from Michigan wed during Memorial Day weekend in Detroit. The couple and their bridal party quickly gained fame after a photo of them went viral, accompanied by a message snapshot where a woman texted a wedding photo shoot invite to the wrong person. The stranger then responded, "We Still Coming".

"The 'we still coming' text message was like a hoax, it was fake. Somebody somehow got a hold of this picture -- we don't know where or how -- and they put this fake text with it," said Hicks.

Although the text is fake, there is a real story behind the photo. The best man says they stopped at Michigan Central Station to take wedding pictures and upon arriving a rap group named 7262 was filming a music video at the same spot.

"We were in a good mood, we were all celebrating the wedding and we went over there to say what's up," said Mike Maloney, the best man. "They said they were filming. We said let's hear the song and then one thing led to another, we made friends with them, started dancing with them, and the next thing we know we're on all these internet sites."

Since its July 1st upload, 7262's "Anthem" video already has nearly 200,000 views. The best man says it was an unexpected collaboration; however, they were practicing their moves prior to the video anyway.

"I mean, we were definitely ready to dance cause we were there for a wedding. So we were ready to dance for the reception so we were already working on our moves before that," said Maloney.

Photo Credit: Adam Sparkes]]>
<![CDATA[People Hit by Car at Zombie Walk]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:29:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/zombie+walk+crash.JPG

Passersby were hit by a car Saturday evening while the annual Comic-Con Zombie Walk took over downtown San Diego, the San Diego Police Department confirmed, and the whole incident was caught on cell phone video.

Police said a deaf family with small children in the black Honda Accord was stopped near 2nd and Island avenues just after 5:30 p.m., waiting for participants of the Zombie Walk to cross.

After several minutes the 48-year-old father slowly rolled forward, trying to get out of the area.

According to the SDPD, several people from the crowd of zombies allegedly surrounded the car and began punching it. Police said the car windshield was shattered by the crowd.

The family was frightened, police said, so the father drove forward again. As he drove, he struck a 64-year-old woman with the side of his car.

In a video posted to YouTube, you can see the woman in a pink shirt -- who was not part of the zombie march -- falling under the car and sustaining a serious arm injury.

The zombie crowd then chased the driver on foot as the family drove toward a police officer down the street, officials said. The driver stopped when he arrived at the location of the police officers.

Officials said the victim was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. She’s expected to recover.

Two other people were also left with minor injuries. 

The car's driver has been cited, but he will not be criminally charged. The incident remains under investigation by police. 

However, witnesses in the crowd give a very different account. 

After watching the scene, Sean Foley told NBC 7 the Honda driver started honking incessantly as he was stuck behind the several pedicabs and vehicles leading up to the parade on 2nd Avenue. 

When he started inching forward, a parade watcher sat on his hood, Foley said. As the driver continued to accelerate, others stood in front of the car. 

"People began shouting for him to stop so as not to run through a parade that included [sic] children and babies in strollers at which point he floored his car through the crowd," Foley wrote in an email.

Diana Jackson, who said she was about 10 people away, told NBC 7 on Facebook that the driver took off with such aggression "that his tires squealed."

Counter to police information, Foley said the driver's window was broken after he hit people, not before. 

"The only reason he was surrounded by a crowd who was angry was because he was pushing his car through a crowd that was trying to watch the parade," said Foley.

Foley said the woman who suffered the arm injury was run over by both the front and back wheels. 

According to the Twitter page for the SDZombieWalk, participants of the event had nothing to do with the incident. Many tweeted that they were stunned by the turn of events at the walk and wished a speedy recovery to woman injured in the incident.

Organizers released another video that shows "no zombies touching the car that we can see" and nobody beating the car, according to ZombieWalk's post on its Facebook page.

Photo Credit: YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Brownie]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:45:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/brownie2potw.PNG

This week's pet of the week is Brownie, a one-and-a-half year-old shepherd mix.

Brownie is a calm dog with a sweet disposition, and he even knows "sit." He is eager to learn new tricks with his new family.

Brownie's adoption fee is only $50 and includes neutering, vaccinations and microchip.

Through the end of the month, Broward Animal Care is offering a special promotion on adoption fees. Potential adopters can play "Plinko" to determine their adoption fee, which could be completely waived or as little as $4.

For more information on how to adopt Brownie or any other animal, call (954) 359-1313 or visit Broward County Animal Care's website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.

<![CDATA[Sunday Forecast: Inland Storms]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 09:33:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/weather727.PNG

Drier air has moved in leaving us with a sunny morning. We can expect thunderstorms this afternoon mainly inland and along some east coast areas. Highs will be in the lower 90s. We should have a low risk of rip currents.

It will be a hazy start to the week while temperatures continue to warm into the mid 90s by mid-week. An approaching cold front will leave better rain chances for the second half of the week. Highs will remain in the 90s.

More Weather Content:

<![CDATA[Father Kills Son: Police]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:22:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Delco-Shooting.jpg

A Philadelphia man is on life support after police say he shot and killed his son, critically injured his girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself.

Investigators say 26-year-old Shyema Washington and her 5-year-old son were attending a family member's birthday party at an apartment complex on the 1100 block of Haverford Road in Ridley Township Saturday night.

Police say the boy's father and Washington's boyfriend Tyrell Styles, 26, of Philadelphia arrived at the party to pick up his son around 11:30 p.m. Washington went inside the apartment to get her son, according to investigators. When she came back outside, Styles allegedly pulled out a Ruger 9 mm and opened fire.

Washington was struck once in the mouth, twice in the buttocks and once in the midsection. Styles then allegedly pointed the gun at his own son and fired two shots. The boy was struck once in the forehead and once in the ankle. Styles then fled the scene in a white Pontiac Grand Prix, according to police.

Responding officers chased after Styles, leading to a collision on Chester Pike and Oak Avenue in which two other drivers suffered minor injuries. Police say Styles continued to drive off until he arrived at a dead end on the 300 block of Brainerd Boulevard in Sharon Hill. As officers got out of their cars to approach him, investigators say Styles turned the gun on himself and fired one shot.

The 5-year-old boy was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. Washington was also taken to Crozer-Chester where she is currently in critical condition.

Styles was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is currently on life support.

According to police, Styles and Washington were undergoing domestic issues prior to the shooting. They also say Styles legally owned the gun he used in the shooting. 

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands Rally for Palestine]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 23:01:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/218*120/7-26+palestinian+protest.jpg

Thousands of Palestinian supporters gathered along Michigan Avenue Saturday to call for an end to the violence as fighting between Gaza and Israel continued Saturday.

Police estimate bout 8,000 demonstrators marched to Chicago's Federal Plaza calling for "peace with justice."

"My message is to stop the killing of Palestinians and to end the occupation," said Deena Kishawi, whose family is from Gaza.

Kishawi is attending college in Chicago, but said the crisis became even more personal for her after her cousin was killed in the conflict.

"My cousin was not a military person," she said. "He was a civilian and he died from an attack by Israel."

The protest comes as news that an attempted truce was rejected by Hamas officials Saturday.

Hamas militants fired three more rockets into Israel from Gaza Saturday, Israel's military said, after a Hamas official said the group rejected an Israeli proposal to extend a cease-fire by four more hours, NBC News reported.

The Palestinian death toll rose above 1,047, as 147 bodies were pulled from the rubble Saturday, Palestinian health official Asraf al-Kidra said. Israel has lost 40 soldiers and two civilians.

Among the Saturday protesters was Lynn Pollack, with the Jewish Voice for Peace, who said she is "horrified" by the violence taking place.

"I call on my fellow Jewish-Americans to stand up against what is happening and say you don't want it in your name," she said.

Saturday's protest is one of many to be held in Chicago over the last week.

A pro-Israel rally Tuesday turned into a face-off with Palestinian supporters.

About 500 demonstrators gathered in front of the office of the Consulate General of Israel, at 500 W. Madison St., in a call for peace. That country's military forces since July 8 have been fighting Hamas militants.

Across the street, about 100 people gathered to support the Palestinian people. Police kept the crowds separate but said one arrest was made.

The Palestinians say Israel is randomly deploying a wide array of modern weaponry against Gaza's 1.7 million people, inflicting a heavy civilian death toll and destroying large amounts of property there.

"We're not anti-Israel. We're not pro-Hamas. But we're pro-saving these children," said Sohni Singh, who stood with the rally organized by the Coalition for Justice in Palestine.

The U.S., Israel and the European Union all consider Hamas a terrorist organization. The United Nations does not.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday ordered all U.S. airline carriers to halt flights in and out of Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport because of a Hamas rocket attack nearby.

Israel and the U.S. back an unconditional cease-fire proposal that has been offered by Egypt, which would be followed by talks on a possible new border arrangement for Gaza. Israel and Egypt have severely restricted movement in and out of Gaza since Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

<![CDATA[Miami Gardens Farm Share Helps Families in Need]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 18:30:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/farm+share+726.PNG

Bags of free food in hand, hundreds of Miami Gardens residents left Norwood Park with a smile.

"Oh Lord, I think I must have like 5 bags," said food recipient Robin Anderson. "A little bit of everything."

And there's plenty more where that came from. A large scale foodbank named Farm Share hosted the distribution and they say they arrived with 30,000 pounds of goods.

"When the community gives us a call and lets us know that they need help and would like us to do a distribution in the community, we go ahead and we find a way to coordinate this," said Farm Share's assistant operations manager John Delgado.

"I can pay a bill now with the money that I'm getting for the food," said Anderson.

Much of this food is donated from farmers across the United States. Farm Share also has an agreement with USDA and other food companies.

"It's important that we share this from the federal government through Farm Share to make sure that our residents get nutritional food," said state representative Barbara Watson.

Dozens of volunteers from the community helped carry boxes and gave out food. Many say they're happy to give back to their community.

Farmshare hosts about two food distributions per week. Upcoming distribution locations are posted on the organization's website, www.farmshare.org.

<![CDATA[Girl Watched Cop Shoot Dog: Family]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 23:31:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/hometown+dog+shot.jpg

Family members and area residents say a young dog was fatally shot by police in front of a 6-year-old girl Friday afternoon in a Chicago suburb.

The dog’s owners say 1-year-old shepherd-mix Apollo had gotten out of their yard in the 8700 block of Beck Place in southwest suburban Hometown and the family had just returned him to their lawn when police arrived.

“We were in the lawn and the cop already had his gun out,” said owner Nicole Echlin. “I tried to call him in the house and he just stood there staring and I guess he showed his teeth and the cop just shot him, right in front of me and my 6-year-old daughter.”

Echlin said her young daughter “started screaming” after the shooting.

Hometown Police said the incident is under investigation but could not immediately confirm any details. They said further information would be available Monday.

"It would be too early for me to make any statement without reviewing all the facts," Chief Charles Forsyth said in a statement on the Hometown Police Department's Facebook page. "I can assure the people of Hometown that a full investigation of the incident will be conducted."

Witnesses said it didn’t appear that the dog was attacking officers or provoking them before the shooting.

“The dog wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t see it doing anything, it wasn’t barking,” said witness and area resident Nicco Torres. “Then I saw a cop shoot the dog, the dog fell to ground on the lawn. I saw through the window the dog was on the floor shot but the dog was still moving, it was moving its legs like it was trying to run but it was laying down.”

Family said the dog had no history of aggression and did not attempt to attack officers at the scene. They claim they were told by officers that the dog showed its teeth.

“I don’t know why they would pull out a gun they had so many other options,” said Echlin's 23-year-old sister and fellow owner Kristy Scialabba, who works at an animal care center in Chicago. “And to shoot a dog in front of a child that’s going to scare her for the rest of her life.”

Scialabba, who set up a Facebook page titled “Justice for Apollo,” said Apollo was taken by Animal Control to an animal hospital for treatment, but died Saturday morning.

“We’re just completely broken and we really don’t know what to do,” she said. “That was my boy, that was my dog. This is hometown you don’t hear anything like this. Nothing ever happens here.”

Photo Credit: Nicco Torres/Kristy Scialabba]]>
<![CDATA[Woman in Critical After Propane Tank Explodes Inside RV]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:26:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/rv+fire+pic.jpg

A woman is fighting for her life and a young boy is recovering after a propane tank exploded inside an RV in the Oxford Circle section of Philadelphia.

Police say a 36-year-old woman was cooking inside a moving RV on E. Cheltenham Avenue and Oakland Street Saturday morning around 10:15 a.m.

As she was cooking, the propane tank inside the vehicle exploded, causing a fire.

Responding firefighters managed to put out the blaze. The woman suffered burns to her legs and hands. She was taken to Temple University Hospital where she is currently in critical condition.

Investigators also say a 5-year-old boy suffered minor scrapes on both legs but was not hospitalized.

Two other adults inside the RV were not injured in the explosion.

Photo Credit: Maria Colon]]>
<![CDATA[Details Emerge in Suit Against CHP]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 02:49:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/227*120/CHPCropWatermark4.JPG


The woman seen on a now-viral video being repeatedly punched by a California Highway Patrol officer said her dress was violently ripped to expose her bare buttocks as she told the officer “I didn’t do anything to you,” according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week and amended Friday.

Marlene Pinnock, 51, said in the lawsuit that she had dealt with the officer in the past, and that he called her by name as she walked in the area of the 10 Freeway west of downtown Los Angeles July 1. When she began to leave the area the lawsuit alleges she was “violently thrown to the ground” by the officer.

“He was bamming me in my temples with all the strength he had,” Pinnock said in the lawsuit. Pinnock said she told the officer, “stop, I didn’t do anything to you.”

CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow told the Sacramento Bee newspaper last week that "the need for more (training) has been exposed," in reference to the video and how the law enforcement agency deals with the mentally ill.

Pinnock’s attorney, Caree Harper, also alleges that the officer, on a “mission to humiliate her,” violently ripped Pinnock’s dress after she tried pulling it down because she wasn’t wearing underwear.

Harper said Pinnock had no alcohol or drugs in her system when the incident took place.

"We’re asserting that it, in fact, was an attempted murder,” Harper said. “His actions were extreme, outrageous and intentionally humiliating. He had her on the side of the road with no underwear on, her buttocks was out."

The lawsuit claims Pinnock was "a victim of 10-15 unprovoked vicious blows from the officer while he straddled her and made no attempt to arrest her during the attack."

Farrow said last week that the video only captured part of the altercation, and that one would need to know “what was going on the officer’s mind” at the time of incident.

Investigators with CHP seized medical records for Pinnock last week as she remained hospitalized.

"She suffered a traumatic head injury," Harper said. "How can you give away files about someone injured ... to the very people who beat her?"

Farrow told the Associated Press last week that he couldn't confirm the search warrant.

"I think what they're trying to do is, they don't have a statement from her, and they're trying to find that out," Farrow said. "I don't think the CHP is trying to put her on trial or make it an issue about her. What I'm looking at is entirely about the circumstances, we all saw what happened. Our job is to find out the why and the how."

The officer, whose name has not been released by CHP, was placed on desk duty.

The CHP said it had no comment on the amended lawsuit.

Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: David Diaz]]>
<![CDATA[Police Involved Shooting at Century Village]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:15:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/century+village+shooting+726.PNG

Authorities are investigating what led to a deputy-involved shooting at a Deerfield Beach retirement community on Saturday.

Broward Sheriff's deputies responded to reports of a man armed with a gun chasing a woman through the Century Village community around 1:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The two were recently divorced and lived in separate apartments in the community.

BSO says the man, identified as 67-year-old Richard Sanfratello, broke into the apartment of his ex-wife, 64-year-old Linda Sanfratello, through a window. Deputies say the victim fled to the nearby apartment of her brother-in-law, 69-year-old Daniel Basilone. The suspect fired several shots at the victim as she fled. Sanfratello forced his way into Basilone's apartment, assaulting Basilone and holding his ex-wife against her will.

Three BSO deputies observed Sanfratello holding the victim at gunpoint. When she broke free, Sanfratello fired his weapon, forcing deputies to return fire. Sanfratello was injured and taken into custody.

Both the suspect and the victim were transported to Broward Health North with non-life-threatening injuries.

Deputies are asking anyone with information to contact BSO Homicide Detective John Curcio at (954) 321-4210, or call Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS (8477).

<![CDATA[3 in Custody in Shooting of Boy, 3]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 15:38:42 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/220*120/violence+7-26.jpg

Three people are in custody in connection to the shooting of a 3-year-old boy Friday night and charges are pending, police said.

The 3-year-old was shot around 10:15 p.m. in the 4400 block of South Sacramento Avenue, police said.

The boy was standing on the sidewalk with his mother and a man when another man walking past them with two women turned and opened fire, according to authorities.

The bullet struck the young boy in his abdomen and exited through his hip, officials said.

He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition where officials said he was undergoing surgery.

<![CDATA[Cops: Drunk Man Hits, Kills Friend]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 17:28:18 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/02242011+generic-handcuffs.jpg

A young woman who refused to ride in an SUV driven by a drunk friend was fatally struck by his vehicle as he attempted to speak to her on the side of a Long Island road, police said.

Krystal Berkowitz, 21, died early Saturday after she attempted to walk home along Nesconset Highway in Setauket rather than allow her 23-year-old friend to drive her, Suffolk County police said. The driver followed her and tried to pull over to speak with her, but hit her instead, police said.

Officers arriving at the scene found the friend trying to help her. He had called 911 to no avail; Berkowitz was pronounced dead at the scene, Suffolk County police said.

The 23-year-old was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had a lawyer.

<![CDATA[Florida Keys Webcam Captures Sea Turtle Hatching]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:06:40 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/174*120/seaturtlewebcam726.jpg

A live-streaming, high-definition "turtle webcam" positioned on a beach in the Florida Keys has recorded the hatch of about 100 baby loggerhead sea turtles.

The webcam has been focused on the nest in the Lower Keys for almost two weeks. Friday evening, the 3-inch-long babies erupted from a hole, came out en masse and headed to the Atlantic Ocean under dim moonlight.

The camera uses infrared lighting so hatchlings won't be confused by artificial light and will go to sea — guided by moonlight reflecting on the water -- instead of pushing further onto land.

"This webcam is high-definition, the first time ever used (to record a turtle hatch), and also an infrared IR-emitting light that is so important because it does not disturb any of the activities of the turtle trying to find the ambient light of the moon," said Harry Appel, president of the Keys-based Save-a-Turtle organization, that helped to coordinate the webcam in partnership with the Florida Keys tourism council that funded the effort.

The webcam is part of ongoing efforts in the Keys to raise awareness of sea turtles and the need to protect them.

"It's so important here in the Keys to protect these nests and these turtles," Appel said. "They've been around for millions, maybe hundreds of millions, of years."

Loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill and Kemp's ridley sea turtles nest on beaches in the Keys and other parts of Florida, and inhabit Florida and Keys waters. All five species are considered either threatened or endangered.

The webcam was approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

To view the webcam and recording of the turtles hatching, visit www.fla-keys.com/turtlecam.

Photo Credit: Florida Keys News Bureau]]>
<![CDATA[Kids Were Left on Hot School Bus: Officials]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:08:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/school-bus-generic722.jpg

Two young children who were reported missing after they failed to come home from summer school were found alone inside a hot school bus at a bus depot in New Jersey, authorities say.

The parents of the developmentally disabled children, ages 7 and 9, contacted Vernon school officials Wednesday afternoon to report their kids were never dropped off at their bus stop, according to Dr. Charles Maranzano Jr., superintendent of Vernon public schools. 

The school repeatedly called the bus company, MacNova, but the phone calls went unanswered. The school then contacted police, and officers were dispatched to search for the missing bus and children, said Maranzano.

Shortly afterward, the bus company owner contacted the school and claimed the driver of the missing bus had to leave the bus for an emergency and left the kids under the supervision of an adult neighbor. The driver had left the bus running with air-conditioning on, according to the bus company owner. 

The owner went on to tell the school that he was planning to head to where the bus was left running and drive the kids to their destinations, said Maranzano.

The children were ultimately dropped off, but appeared distressed and overheated when they got home, according to Maranzano. Police were called to investigate, and they discovered the bus company owner and the bus driver had lied. 

According to Maranzano, there had never been an emergency, and the bus driver instead finished the route normally and left the bus depot with the missing kids still on board.

The children were left alone without air conditioning for up to an hour, according to Maranzano, who called it a "cover-up" and "gross incompetence" on the part of the bus company.

The superintendent said EMS should have been called to the scene immediately due to the hot conditions inside the bus.

The bus company has been fired by the school district. No contact information could be found for MacNova, and Maranzano said he didn't immediately have the phone number for the company. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mallet Attacker Hurts Man, Extorts Family: Cops]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:56:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072714mallet.JPG

A mallet-wielding attacker hit a sleeping Long Island man before phoning the victim's father and demanding cash in exchange for not hurting him further, police said.

Joseph E. Ferraro, 27, pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges of burglary and grand larceny for extortion, according to Newsday.

Police said a Bohemia resident was asleep at home on Friday evening when Ferraro attacked him with a mallet, injuring his head. Ferraro then called the victim's father and threatened to hurt the man more if he didn't receive what police say was "a large amount of cash," according to Suffolk County police, who said Ferraro and the victim knew each other.

The father went to an ATM and then delivered the cash, and the victim's mother tried to drive her son to the hospital, police said. Part of the way there, the victim became sick, and his mother pulled over to the side of the road. An ambulance was summoned, and he was brought to the hospital.

<![CDATA[Selfie May Be Last Pic of Slain Cop]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 13:26:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Laura-Perez-Selfie-0726.jpg

Marshall Crawford's pursuit of his wife's stolen cell phone sparked a connection he'll never forget.

“She was a gentle person in a rough and tumble business and she handled herself with grace and finesse,” Crawford said.

The Encinitas, California, man was describing the impression Escondido Police Officer Laura Perez made in mere minutes when the two met July 19.

Officer Perez helped retrieve the stolen phone and posed for a selfie Crawford wanted to show his wife who had found her phone.

It might be one of the last images of Officer Perez alive.

Five days after this image was taken, Riverside County homicide investigators found the 25-year-old officer’s body in a storage locker in Moreno.

Murrieta Police had arrested her husband, Freddy Perez-Rodas, and charged him with murder.

“It’s just so painful to see someone that young, that vibrant not be with us and I ache
for her daughter and family,” Crawford said.

His interaction with Officer Perez was so memorable, he said, because of the rookie cop’s enthusiasm and sincerity in solving the crime.

“It's not $10 million in gold and she was just as happy to be returning a cell phone as she would have been returning a bank bag,” he recalls.

Crawford reached out to the Escondido Police Department and shared the image. They, in turn, posted it to their Facebook page to honor Officer Perez.

New on the job, Perez was quickly becoming a leader, Chief Craig Carter said. The department is helping the officer’s family as they plan memorial services in Riverside County. They’re also collecting donations for Perez’s 4-year-old daughter Suzette.

Though a private man, Crawford shared a social media post that he was compelled to write about his meeting with the rookie officer.

It’s a message he now wishes he could have given her face to face.

"She was a shining example of how a police officer should conduct themselves and more importantly, how a human being should conduct themselves. Law enforcement and humanity is less today because of her passing,” he wrote.

Photo Credit: Marshall Crawford]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Raven]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:39:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/ravenpotw.PNG

This week's pet of the week is Raven, an 8-month-old terrier mix.

Raven is still a puppy with a sweet personality. She is loving and playful and gets along with other dogs. Raven is very obedient and quick to learn, so she should be easy to train.

Pooches in Pines is helping Raven find her forever home. Her adoption includes vaccinations, spay and microchipping.

For more information on how to adopt Raven or any other animal, call (954) 479-4884 or visit the Pooches in Pines website here.

For more animal news, visit our new All About Animals page.