<![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 Sat, 26 Jul 2014 03:18:37 -0400 Sat, 26 Jul 2014 03:18:37 -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[Hand Holds Astros To Three Hits in Win]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:23:23 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/452684692.jpg

The Miami Marlins beat the Houston Astros 2-0 on Friday to open up their three-game inter-league series.

The win was the fifth in six tries for the Marlins as they attempt to stay in the thick of the playoff race. At four games under .500, the Marlins find themselves within striking distance of both the division and wild card races.

Brad Hand turned in a second consecutive strong effort for his second win in a row. The left-hander went 7.1 shutout innings five days after picking up his first win of the year. Hand allowed no runs on three hits.

Bryan Morris entered the game and retired the only two batters he opposed to end the eighth inning. In the ninth, Steve Cishek picked up his 25th save of the year.

The two runs for Miami came in the seventh on a two-run double courtesy of Jeff Mathis. The backup catcher made the start behind the plate for Miami with Jarrod Saltlamacchia serving as the designed hitter. Saltalamacchia had a double of his own to give him three in the last two games.

Every player in the starting lineup for Miami had at least one hit in the game. The Marlins had 11 hits in all and were 4-17 with runners in scoring position.

The Marlins will send Tom Koehler to the mound on Saturday as they look to make it two victories in a row over Houston.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CA Sen. Charged With Racketeering]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:18:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP588054204940.jpg

The government has added new charges in the high-profile corruption case against suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, Chinatown association leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and 27 others.

Yee and Chow are both accused of racketeering, or running a continuing criminal enterprise, in the revised grand jury indictment unveiled late Thursday, in two separate counts of the indictment.

Yee, a Democrat who represented parts of San Francisco and San Mateo County, is charged together with former San Francisco school board president Keith Jackson with racketeering by soliciting bribes and campaign contributions in exchange for political favors by Yee.

Chow is accused together with Jackson and 15 other defendants of racketeering by allegedly running drug sales, money laundering, gun sales and schemes to buy stolen property through an alleged criminal faction of the Chee Kung Tong, a fraternal association.

Chow is the dragonhead or leader of the Chee Kung Tong, based in Chinatown in San Francisco.

The racketeering counts carry a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in prison upon conviction.

Legal analyst Dean Johnson says that means everyone in the case is looking at the potential for serious prison time.

“I think some of these people who are currently names as defendants might very well turn up later as government witnesses,” Johnson said.

One who will not be taking a deal is Chow. His attorney Curtis Briggs said Chow is a reformed gangster who has been swept up in the FBI’s three-year undercover investigation.

Briggs said the whole raft of crimes detailed by the feds is a fabrication by FBI agents.

“Anything these informants can say that would actually hurt – there is no evidence to support any statements,” Briggs said.

The new indictment is actually good news for Chow, Briggs said. “For them to come out with a superseding indictment that essentially alleges the same facts as the original indictment is a sign of weakness in their prosecution.”

The 88-page revised indictment, known as a superseding indictment, contains a total of 228 counts against various of the defendants. It repeats a number of charges in an earlier indictment, including a charge that Yee, Jackson and Daly City dentist Wilson Lim conspired in a never-completed international arms deal.

One other interesting detail: Leland Yee is accused of trying to get an NFL owner to pony up $60,000 in exchange for limiting a player’s ability to make a workman’s comp claim in California.

A status conference is scheduled for Aug. 7 in San Francisco before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, the trial judge assigned to the case.

 

Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Memorial Ride Held for Wrong-Way Wreck Victim]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:22:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/norman+mello.jpg

Nearly a week after 42-year-old Norman Mello lost his life in a wrong-way wreck on I-95, a memorial was held for the man who died when he was hit head on by 20-year-old Varissa Vargas.

The memorial ride held Friday night featured approximately 100 riders all remembering a man they said never missed a Friday at the car show in Davie. Norman’s pit bull “Diamond” was even in the memorial ride sitting in the backseat of his owner’s prized possession, a Ford Mustang.

Mello’s friend David Mercado said Mello was at the car show last week. The next day, Mercado said Mello dogsitted for a friend then went for a ride on his motorcycle.

“I was supposed to be on the ride with him,” Mercado said.

Florida Highway Patrol said Mello was heading south on I-95 about four car lengths behind an SUV. Unbeknownst to either the driver of the SUV or Mello, Vargas’ car was traveling the wrong-way on the road.

The SUV swerved to miss Vargas’ car, but Norman had no time to react. The force of the impact sent Mello’s body through the windshield of Vargas’ car and into the backseat where he died. The accident is still under investigation by FHP, and Mello’s friends said they want answers.

“What were the true sequence of events that led up to that driver getting up on I-95 and driving the wrong way?” Mercado asked.

The family hired a private investigator, Robert Crispin, to help find some of the answers. One of the biggest mysteries is who is Vargas and where is she? Crispin said that he has access to several databases and has come up empty while searching for Varissa Vargas.

“We can’t seem to find her,” Crispin said. “According to sources, they can’t seem to find her either. I find that odd being an investigator. Something out there has your name on it and usually we can find that one piece of information, social media, something. We can’t seem to find that.”

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<![CDATA[Bystanders Catch Violent NY Robber]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:47:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/good+samaritans+bronx+robber+july+25.jpg

Bystanders helped capture a violent robber after he allegedly forced a woman into her Bronx apartment, bound her hands and feet, and took off with cash and valuables, police say. 

The victim was walking into her apartment in Bedford Park Friday evening when the suspect pushed her inside and duct-taped her hands and feet, according to police. He ransacked the place and took off with money, jewelry and a cellphone.

"He just pushed her inside, threw her on her bed, tied her arms, her legs. Took her belongings, put a fake gun to her head, said he was going to kill her," said Katheria Gines, the building superintendent who spoke to the victim immediately after the attack. 

As the suspect ran out of the apartment, the victim rushed to the window and called for help, police said. Bystanders outside the building were able to catch the suspect as he came out of the building and held him for police. 

Video shows several men pinning the suspect against a car as a crowd barricaded the suspect. The apparent victim is also seen yelling for help, with her hands still taped. 

The accused robber "tried to resist, but there's about six guys holding him down, so when the cops came, they got him right there," said Gines, who was outside the building and watched as the suspect got caught. 

Witnesses said the suspect pleaded for them to let him go if he returned the stolen items, but the good Samaritans wouldn't budge. 

"Everybody held him down until the cops came and took him in, and he had all her belongings in a bookbag, in his pockets," said Gines. 

The 29-year-old suspect, identified as Bruce Lee, had an imitation pistol, police said. He's facing charges including robbery, harassment and unlawful imprisonment. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

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<![CDATA[6 Shot, Boy Fatally, in Chicago]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 02:01:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/224*120/west+side+6+shot.jpg

A 13-year-old boy was killed and at least six more people were wounded in a shooting on Chicago's West Side Friday, authorities said.

The shooting took place around 6 p.m. in the 2800 block of West Lexington Street, near the intersection of Lexington Street and California Avenue, according to police spokesperson Veejay Zala.

Two people were taken in serious-to-critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, two others were transported to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County and one person was taken to Saint Anthony Hospital in good condition, fire officials said.

One person was pronounced dead at the scene, and another person refused treatment, authorities said.

Police, along with family and friends at the scene, said the victim killed in the shooting was a 13-year-old boy.

Antonijah and Antonisha Johnston watched in horror as they say their 13-year-old friend dropped to the ground. Like dominoes, six others followed.

"They had come out the store and they started shooting," said Antonijah Johnston. "I had thought it was fireworks."

Police said details on circumstances surrounding the shooting were not immediately available.

Witnesses said the shooting may have been a drive-by and that some of the victims were young teens, but police could not confirm their ages.

"Kids have no jobs," said area resident Larry Morris. "After school, they need jobs, something to do. More time they can be on these programs and stay off the street -- even people who are failures -- they deserve a second chance."

The shooting took place less than 2 miles from where an 11-year-old girl was fatally shot while at a sleepover with friends last weekend.

A prayer circle gathered near the scene of the shooting Friday night. Praying for change.

Check back for details on this developing story.



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Questions Surround Fins' O-Line]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:54:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/453329479.jpg

The shuffling along the Miami Dolphins offensive line started as soon as the team took the field for the first day of training camp. The Dolphins, who will have five new starters on the line in the first game, shifted the entire interior of the line around.

Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is out indefinitely after having surgery on his hip in the offseason. The team addressed the problem Friday by moving guard Shelley Smith to the center position. Smith has never played center in the National Football League.

“Probably the biggest adjustment is just, and especially in this offense, the center is kind of the quarterback of the offensive line,” Smith said of the transition to center, “so just getting guys in the right position to be successful.”

Smith had been slotted in at right guard before Pouncey had his surgery. With Smith now at center, the Dolphins shifted second-year player Dallas Thomas to right guard after he spent most of the offseason working at left guard.

Thomas’ move to right guard opened up the left guard position which was filled Friday by veteran guard Daryn Colledge into the left side of the line. The Fins also have Pro Bowl veteran left tackle Branden Albert and rookie first-round pick Ja’Wuan James at right tackle.

The results on the first day of practice weren’t encouraging for Dolphins fans. According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the new-look offensive line gave up at least six sacks on Friday. That’s a rough start for a team that surrendered 58 sacks last season.

Still, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was optimistic about the guys who will be blocking for him and the running game.

“I feel good about the offensive guys that we have,” Tannehill said. “I feel like the front office did a good job bringing guys in and now it’s just a matter of gelling those guys together, playing consistently with the same five guys and building off what we started in the spring.”

The Dolphins have one more offensive lineman who could play into the equation before all is said and done and the regular season begins. Third-round draft pick Billy Turner played left tackle in college, but projected as a guard in the NFL. He brings a nasty nature that most offensive line coaches love in their players.

Still, the Dolphins have a rookie and a second-year player who got on the field for three offensive snaps last season manning the right side of the offensive line and a center who has never taken a snap at the position in the NFL to start the season, which will have to gel quickly if the team is to take the next step into the playoffs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect's Mom Arrested in Burglary]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:35:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/lb+intruder+mother+4+blue+bg.JPG

The mother of a man charged with murder stemming from the fatal shooting of his alleged accomplice by a homeowner during a Long Beach robbery has been arrested on suspicion of robbery in connection with the case.

Ruby Adams, 49, of Long Beach, was booked into jail on Thursday night, police said Friday. She is the mother of Gus Polly Adams, a suspect in a Tuesday night robbery that ended with his accomplice getting shot by the homeowner.

The alleged accomplice, Andrea Salina Miller, 28, from Long Beach, was killed after telling the homeowner she was pregnant. An autopsy completed on Friday concluded Miller was not pregnant, said Lt. Ed Winter, of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.

The homeowner, Tom Greer, told NBC4 that he shot the woman twice in the back with his .22-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver as she was fleeing with a male accomplice.

Gus Adams, 26, of Long Beach, was booked into jail on charges of robbery, burglary and murder, prosecutors said. He faces a murder charge in Miller's death because he was allegedly involved in a felony that led to a death, authorities said.

He also faces a gun theft charge because he allegedly stole a gun from Greer's home, according to the felony complaint.

It was not immediately clear whether Adams hired an attorney.

Greer described what happened during Tuesday night's break-in at his home in the 3900 block of Country Club Drivein.

He said Miller and Adam tackled him, severely hurting his collarbone, when he walked in on them allegedly trying to break into his gun safe.

"When I went in there they tackled me," he said. Both of them jumped up on top of me."

Greer said he got his gun from another room when Miller went to help Adams try to break open the safe.

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

Greer followed them as they ran outside and fired again.

Miller was struck by gunfire, fell in the alley, and died, authorities said. Adams got away, but was captured later. At some point, Greer said, Miller begged him not to shoot, saying she was pregnant.

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

Long Beach police said they are investigating whether Greer should face charges in the shooting.

But Greer said it was self defense and he has no regrets.

"I've never in my life shot anybody, killed anybody," he said. "I'm a good Christian. I had to do what I had to do."

Greer said he believes the suspects broke into his home and stole cash and property three times before, police said. Greer's estranged wife, Dorothy, said one of the burglaries happened while she was at home. She saw her jewelry stolen.

NBC4's Rosa Ordaz and Gordon Tokumatsu contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Lawsuit Filed Against Pouncey Brothers]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:54:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/175892569.jpg

Ricquan James, Brentley Williams, and Niya Pickett filed a lawsuit Friday against Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and his brother Maurkice Pouncey and Cameo Management for an alleged attack at Club Cameo earlier this month.

The Pouncey brothers were at Cameo celebrating their 25th birthday when the alleged incident took place.

The lawsuit alleges the Pouncey brothers made “derogatory and homophobic remarks and anti-gay slurs” towards James. The lawsuit said the Pouncey’s then began to shove and push James and then, according to the complaint, things became more physical.

According to the suit, James asked Maurkice and Michael to stop pushing and shoving him and that Maurkice responded by hitting “James in the face several times and then Maurkice, Michael, their security and agents all begin to punch, hit, and kick James while he was laying in a fetal position.(sic)”

The lawsuit said Pickett tried to break up the fight and Maurkice “then grabbed Pickett, spur her towards him, punched her in the face and knocked her unconscious. James and Pickett were then violently beat and thrown throughout the club and eventually thrown outside the club.”

The trio’s lawsuit said James and Pickett were “thrown into several CAMEO patrons including Williams,” during the alleged incident. The lawsuit states James and Picket “suffered blunt force trauma to the head, neck, chest, and back and had multiple contusions and bruises over a great extent of their bodies. James further suffered broken teeth. Pickett further suffered from an injury to one of her eyes, which is affecting her sight.”

Through their attorney, Jeff Ostrow, the brothers said they were not involved in any altercation that night and threatened to countersue over the allegations of a fight. Earlier this month, Ostrow released a statement when the plaintiffs first said they were going to sue the brothers that read:

“Mike and Maurkice were not involved in any altercation with the accuser or anyone else that night and did nothing wrong. It appears that the accuser is an opportunist seeking attention and possible financial gain. Any attempt by the accuser or anyone else to bring an action against them based upon these false allegations will be vigorously defended. If the accuser continues to perpetuate these lies, we will bring an action against him.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Amazon's First Smartphone]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:22:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/CR+Amazon+Fire+072314.jpg

Amazon has just released its first smartphone, the Fire. Consumer Reports has started checking out the phone in its labs. Its cell phone team is excited about some of the phone’s features, like dynamic perspective. It gives the phone a 3D look. They’re also intrigued by Firefly, which helps you identify objects in front of you by scanning them. It can even identify music and movies by listening to them.

So how well do the features work? Firefly sometimes had trouble identifying movies, songs and objects in front of it. And the hands-free gesture feature is a bit clunky. It didn’t always work.

Another feature of the Fire is called Mayday, which is free video tech support with live people. They can access your phone and fix problems or change settings while you watch.

So, is all this new technology worth switching over? Consumer Reports take so far: this is a really fun phone with a lot of unique features. But some people won’t like the fact that it can’t run popular Google apps like YouTube or Gmail.

You can get more information on Consumer Reports’ first impressions of the Fire here.



Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Mail Carrier Robbed of Key in North Miami]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:22:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/022112+postal+workers+generic.jpg

Authorities are investigating after a mail carrier was robbed of her master key Thursday at an apartment complex in North Miami.

The robbery happened around 11 a.m. at the building at 127 Northeast 10th Avenue as the letter carrier was delivering mail.

The woman was approached by two men who demanded the key and fled the scene. The letter carrier was shaken up but not physically injured, officials said.

Thieves use the keys to sell them to criminals who look for mail with credit card offers, or they have already applied for credit cards and try to intercept them at the addresses, officials said.

"What they want is to have access to that mail that they have stolen or acquired, they will mail it to an abandoned house, apartment and have some type of control over it," Postal Inspector Ivan Ramirez said. "On this situation unfortunately they got access to a device so they can monitor what kind of mail comes to this address."

The postal service is offering up to $15,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.

Detectives handed out flyers in the area of the robbery Friday in the hopes of finding the suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Infant's Death in Lauderdale Lakes Suspicious: BSO]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:23:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072514+suspicious+death+infant+lauderdale+lakes.jpg

Friends and neighbors described Nickashae Beckford and her parents as a “very nice family, very polite.” That’s why many are struggling to understand why an infant was found in a bathtub in their home in a death detectives called suspicious.

Neighbors said they knew Beckford, 25, was pregnant and saw her as recently as two weeks ago. But Thursday, someone called 911 from inside the home after discovering the dead infant’s body in the bathtub. Beckford, 25, told detectives she had a miscarriage a few days before the infant was found.

“I’m just shaking like a leaf cause this is news to me,” said Rosalind Ramsey.

Ramsey runs a day care down the street from the home which is located on the 2900 block of Northwest 44th Terrace. Rosalind hired Beckford to help take care of the children at her day care and Beckford’s mother worked with the children until a few years ago.

“I’m very shocked cause that really doesn’t sound like her,” Ramsey said. “I mean, she’s always been a smart, go-getter, aggressive girl.”

The infant’s remains were taken to the Broward Medical Examiner for an autopsy to be performed. Detectives said they are waiting for the results of the autopsy before releasing any new details about the case and what they believed happened right after the mother gave birth.

“I’m hoping the autopsy comes out good and that the family did not do what people are thinking,” Ramsey said.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bear Cub Orphans Flood Into Rehab]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:38:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/P1080781.JPG

It's been three months since the adorably cute baby bear Tahoe arrived at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care center, capturing the imagination of hundreds across the country.

The story of her survival – she was mysteriously left on a doorstep one night and transported to LTWC – is a happy one, thanks to her caretakers Tom and Cheryl Millham, who bottle-fed her and looked after her every need.

Now, the Millhams have their hands full with eight new bear cubs at LTWC, the only place in California licensed to care for wild bear cubs. (Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated the LTWC is the state's only wildlife rehab organization.)

No one really knows the reason for so many black bear cubs showing up at once. All the cubs are orphans with one exception, Meyers, who was hit by a car at 5 months old.

"Mom was crossing the street with two cubs behind her, and the car swerved to miss the mom and the second cub but didn't see the first cub," Millham said. 'When we got there we thought it was dead. We picked it up, and it kind of opened its eyes and looked at me like, 'What are you doing?'"

Millham hopes that all nine cubs will be ready to go back into the wild in about seven months.

Until then, this is home.

Tucked away inside a leafy residential street on Cherry Hill Circle in South Lake Tahoe, the center is a haven for sick animals: bears, bobcats, fawns, porcupines, birds – Millham even helped rescue a mountain lion once, but didn't bring it back with him.

"We started because there was a need," Millham said. "It's made a world of difference."

LTWC is getting ready to move to a bigger $10 million, 27-acre space nearby and has already raised $3 million towards it.

The center relies entirely on donations, which funds everything from food — it costs about $800 per week to feed growing cubs — to special cages and medicine.

NBC Bay Area caught a glimpse of the cubs this week as they played with each other inside one of the bear enclosures. Missing from most of the action was Tahoe, who decided she'd rather spend the time hiding in the room next door.

And that's not because she doesn't like humans. "It's because she's likes them too much," said Millham, who is trying to limit any human interaction with her and instead make her socialize with the other bears.

"She sometimes make noises out there — it's kinda like a dog in pain — and we know she's not happy and will not associate with other cubs," he said. "They want to play with her, but she doesn't."

Tahoe is sharing her cage with Bieber 1 and Bieber 2, who hail from Bieber, California, population 312 as of the 2010 census. The cubs saw their mother get hit by a car and killed, and California Fish and Wildlife brought them to LTWC on June 29.

Tahoe makes an appearance toward the very end, lured by the fresh trout lying on the floor. The cubs also eat a ton of fruits -- watermelon, canteloupe, grapes -- for their diet.

Also in the bear cage are two cubs from Conway Summit and one of a pair from Paradise, California. His sister is in a different cage by herself, recovering from gum surgery.

"Our volunteers have named her 'Toothless' because she's missing a tooth," Millham says, adding that they are hopeful it will grow back.

Brockway, the newest arrival, is also in a cage by himself until he puts on some weight. At 11 pounds, Millham says he's still too small to socialize with the other bear cubs. He was found next to the body of his dead mother near Lake Tahoe's north shore.

"It's kind of a double-edged sword here, but we hope that a cub is picked up only because the mom is dead," Millham said. "That's obviously a sad situation — but don't pick up a cub just because it's there by itself. The mom may be somewhere nearby."

 

For more information on Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care or how to donate, visit their Facebook page or website.

To watch the bear cubs on web cam, click here.

 

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<![CDATA[Residents, Businesses Upset Over Alton Road Mess]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:24:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Alton+Road+sign.jpg

Alton Road on Miami Beach has gone from an avenue through the area to a perpetual nuisance, all in the name of progress. Instead of the beach architecture, barricades, piles of concrete, and cranes line the never-ending fixtures along the road.

"I try to avoid Alton Road as much as I can," said Miami Beach resident Brittany Roverson. "It's just a real inconvenience to everyone around."

The constant construction is frustrating drivers and business owners along the road. They say the massive reconstruction of the road is leaving a big hit on their bottom line.

"We're losing about $30,000 a month due to the construction," said Daniel Venegas, owner of Woktown.

Sam Brejt, owner of Metro PCS Miami Beach echoed Venegas' claim saying, "We've seen a 40 percent hit right off the bat.

Some companies have developed strategies of promoting delivery instead of dining in to try to stay in business. But others haven't been able to get through the $32 million reconstruction project. Umami Burger, Boston Market, and Gino's Pizza have all closed recently during the construction, according to the Alton Road Business Association.

It's not just the road that is causing problems for people. The sidewalks are unpaved and parking, which is already a problem on the beach, has become an even bigger headache that stores are facing during the repairs.

"What they accept or the construction company accepts as acceptable access really is pretty much dirt and rock," said Brejt, who is also vice-president of the ARBA.

Complicating matters further for the stores is that even though business is down, the rents along the area remain sky high.

"You're still paying like you're on the best street on South Beach and you're probably in one of the worst streets in the whole Miami," Venegas said.

The Florida Department of Transportation said they're trying to be a "good neighbor" by providing blue business signs with portable stands for visibility. FDOT also said it sends weekly email updates to property owners in the area.

"Definitely there's gonna be impacts," said Heather Leslie, Alton Road Project Information Specialist. "We do try to capture as many people as possible through the door-to-door distribution and through the weekly emails."

For residents and anyone visiting Miami Beach, there's no relief from the Alton Road woes coming soon. FDOT said the bulk of the construction between 8th and 17th Street will be completed by the end of this year. But, the overall project isn't scheduled to be completed until the summer of 2015.



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[3 Kids Killed After Carjacking]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:28:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/hit+and+run+tioga+child+killed.PNG

Three siblings who were helping their mother sell fruit along a North Philadelphia street are dead after carjackers ran them down, police say. Their mother, another woman and the carjacking victim are fighting for their lives as police search for the men responsible.

The five pedestrians were working at the fruit cart on the corner of Germantown and Allegheny Avenues around 11:15 a.m. on Friday when a white Toyota 4Runner, stolen minutes earlier by two men, blew a tire and jumped the curb, Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. James Clark said.

The large SUV plowed into the group, skidded across a grassy lot and rammed head-on into a tree.

A 10-year-old boy drew his last breath on the street, Clark said. His 15-year-old sister was taken to Temple University Hospital where she died a short time later. Their 7-year-old brother, whose father identifies him as Terence, was rushed to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children where, despite doctor's efforts, he died. The names of the elder children are not yet being released because police are still working to notify all their family members.

"That's my son ya'll took away from me," said Terence's father. "Whoever you all are, turn yourselves in!"

Officials said the children were helping their mother sell the fruit to raise money for their church.

"I've been in the homicide unit for six years and this is one of the saddest cases I've come across," Clark said. "You have three innocent children who had the rest of their lives in front of them that were taken in this fashion. It's very sad. It's very tragic and we will find the individuals that are responsible."

The children's 34-year-old mother and 69-year-old family friend Thelma Brown were also seriously hurt. Clark said the mother is in extremely critical condition at Temple University Hospital.

A sixth victim, the woman who was carjacked, is also in critical, but stable condition at Temple. She was in the SUV when it crashed. Clark said she is a real estate agent and had just finished showing a home near 6th and Cumberland Streets when the men forced their way into her SUV at gunpoint. That's about a mile from the crash scene.

At first, the suspects had the real estate agent drive, but then forced her into the back seat as one of the men took the wheel, Clark said. Detectives believe the SUV was traveling at a very high rate of speed when the tire blew.

Both suspects fled the scene on foot after the crash. A manhunt is now underway. The suspect's descriptions are not fully clear, but one was wearing a white T-shirt and basketball shorts. Police say he was armed with a gun. The other suspect is wearing an orange shirt and basketball shorts.

Authorities say the men may be injured from the crash and they have alerted all area emergency rooms to be on the lookout for anyone who comes in with car crash injuries.

Homicide detectives have also obtained some surveillance video from both scenes and plan to look for any identifying photos of the suspects.

The city is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the men. The reward had begun at $20,000, but continued to rise as each child passed away and additional donors chipped in.

The Fraternal Order of Police added an additional $10,000 to the reward for the arrests of the men wanted in the fatal accident. To receive the $10K, the men must be in police custody by noon Saturday.

"There are really no words for how I feel right now, but we do need to find these people and that needs to be our focus right now," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. "Finding the people responsible for this crime and get them in custody as soon as possible before they harm anyone else."



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies After Protecting Child]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 02:31:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Hollywood+Good+Samaritan+July2014.jpg

Police on Friday asked for the public's help to find the attacker of a 57-year-old good Samaritan who died after he was assaulted while he tried to protect a young child at a Hollywood McDonald's, officials said.

Gabriel Ortega was at a restaurant on the 1400 block of Vine Street abound 9:30 p.m. on June 18 when he saw a man yelling at a 3-year-old boy.

The attacker reportedly clenched his fist and walked toward the child. Ortega then stepped in front of the child to act as a shield and told the attacker to leave the child alone, police said.

"Mr. Ortega, good Samaritan, trying to protect this child from this assailant stepped in front of him to prevent the perceived assault on the child, and (he) was assaulted by the assailant," LAPD Detective Steven Katz said.

The man then started punching Ortega before running away, officials said.

"The child was there with his family, but Mr. Ortega took it upon himself to prevent this aggressive action to the child," Katz said.

Ortega checked himself into the hospital for headaches and nausea on June 21, three days after the attack. He died July 14 as a result of his injures from the fight, and the coroner said his cause of death was blunt force trauma.

"There's a lot of crimes out here, but just for him to be brave enough to save a child, you know, some people would just let it happen," Hollywood resident Alia Muhammad said.

A sketch of the attacker was expected to be released next week. Anyone with information should called LAPD detectives at 213-382-9470.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Ortega was attacked July 14. Ortega was attacked June 18 and died July 14.



Photo Credit: Los Angeles Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Madonna Badger Marries Friend]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:14:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/madonna+badger+wedding.jpg

Madonna Badger celebrated a moment of joy earlier this week when she and a college friend got married in New York.

William Duke has been one of the many people to stand by Badger and help her over the two and a half years since a devastating fire in Stamford took the lives of her three daughters and her parents.

The couple got married on Tuesday, according to Badger’s Facebook page

Badger suffered a terrible tragedy on Christmas morning in 2011, when fire spread through the Stamford home.

Her three daughters, 10-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah, as well as her parents, Lomer and Pauline Johnson, were killed.

Over the last couple of years, Badger has publicly shared her story of devastating grief and healing

In November 2013, Badger wrote a column for Vogue Magazine, and said Duke was one of the many friends who made sure she was not alone as she began to deal with the life-altering tragedy.

Over time, they fell in love. On Tuesday, they eloped.

Badger’s Facebook page is filled with well wishes and messages of congratulations. 
 



Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused in Louis Salgar Death Appears in Court]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:03:52 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/raul+reinosa.jpg

The man accused of killing a popular South Florida bartender appeared in Miami-Dade court Thursday.

Raul Reinosa, 51, is charged with second degree murder in the death of 28-year-old Louis Salgar.

Salgar, a bartender at the Broken Shaker and a musician, was found dead inside his home at Northeast 86th Street and 8th Court last month. Police said Salgar's roommate found the 28-year-old's lifeless body around 3 p.m. on June 24.

Police said Reinosa broke into Salgar's home looking for food. When he heard Salgar arrive home, Reinosa hid in a closet with a gun he found in the home, according to an arrest affidavit.

Salgar opened the closet and Reinosa pistol whipped him before shooting him three times, according to the affidavit.

Police said Reinosa then took Salgar's car, a Honda Civic, and fled. At some point, police said Reinoso sold Salgar's laptop to an undercover officer for crack cocaine. He later drove north on Interstate 95 towards Palm Beach. As he was driving, he fell asleep and crashed into a tree, police said. From there, Reinosa reportedly ran from the scene, stole a bicycle from a front porch and left the scene.

Reinosa was arrested July 11th in St. Augustine and extradited to Miami-Dade County.

Jail records show Reinosa is being held in Miami-Dade jail without bond. He was appointed a public defender to represent him in the case.

Reinosa is also waiting to be extradited to California where he faces charges on a fugitive warrant.



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Struck By Car in Pembroke Pines]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:34:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072514+pedestrian+struck+pembroke+pines.jpg

A pedestrian was hospitalized with serious injuries after he was struck by a car in Pembroke Pines Friday morning.

The crash happened around 6:22 a.m. in the 800 block of Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines Police said.

According to police, 21-year-old Francisco Nunez was crossing the southbound lanes of Flamingo Road when he was struck by a 2001 Saturn driven by 68-year-old Evelio Munoz.

Nunez was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital with serious injuries. Munoz stayed at the scene.

No charges are pending but police are investigating the crash.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Worker Stole Items From Military]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:27:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/James-Matthews.jpg

An employee at O’Hare International Airport was charged with theft after he allegedly stole items from military foot lockers that were meant to be shipped overseas.

James Matthews, 41, of Sauk Village, Illinois, was charged with two felony counts of theft, police announced early Friday.

Chicago police officers and the U.S. Postal Service Inspector saw Matthews taking mail, a military foot locker that contained a laptop, and other stolen items from flights to the post office just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

He is scheduled to appear in bond court Friday.



Photo Credit: Chicago Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Animal Shelter Offers Adoption Incentives]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:25:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/discounted+pet+adoptions.jpg

Broward County Animal Care needs your help! 

The shelter is at capacity and is reaching out to the community by asking residents to adopt a dog or cat. 

As an added incentive, the shelter is featuring a special promotion -- adopt a pet and you will be able to determine your adoption fee -- either $4 or a waived adoption fee by playing “Plinko.”

The adoption fee includes full medical exam and vaccination, spaying/neutering, Broward County Rabies Registration Tag and microchip.  Broward County Animal Care is located at 1870 SW 39th Street, Fort Lauderdale. 

The shelter is open for adoption Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m.  and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.



Photo Credit: Miami-Dade County Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[Cyclist Left For Dead in Hit-and-Run Crash]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:24:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072514+mohamed+anwer.jpg

Police are looking for the driver of an SUV that struck a man on a bicycle and left him for dead on a Pembroke Pines street.

Mohamed Anwer, 22, was cycling to his home in Hollywood when he was struck by a black Range Rover in the westbound bicycle lane of 6300 Pines Boulevard around 1:15 a.m. Monday, Pembroke Pines Police said.

The vehicle fled the scene. Anwer suffered extensive injuries and was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital where he remains in critical condition.

Anwer's father, Mohammed Ahmed, said his son suffered fractures to his skull, face, hip and leg, but said he's responding to family members and hopefully getting better.

"We have a big, big, huge community support," he said. "People are praying for him and it's working."

Police said the 2003-2005 Range Rover has front end damage, possibly on the passenger side. Anyone with information is asked to call Pembroke Pines Police at 954-431-2200.



Photo Credit: Anwer Family]]>
<![CDATA[Cancer Organization Founder Arrested on Multiple Charges]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:07:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/haaacfounderbondcourt.jpg

Jacques Calixte has been the face of the Haitian American Association Against Cancer, but Thursday he was in a Miami-Dade County Court facing a litany of charges surrounding the organization that he founded.

The charges range from grand theft to organized fraud and many others. Authorities first became suspicious of Calixte’s work when his organization moved out of its Wynwood office due to what Calixte said was a lack of funds.

The Florida Department of Health provided the HAAAC with over $400,000 of state funds to help people get access to free cancer screenings. But, investigators said Calixte did little to help others and instead pocketed money himself.

Authorities said Calixte should have taken a $35,000 salary for his work. Instead, the DOH said Calixte bilked taxpayers for over $287,000. The alleged theft was discovered found following an audit of the organization.

Investigators said Calixte fabricated medical reports with doctors’ signatures, billing invoices, and even employee payroll checks. The arrest warrant said that attempts to reach the women who were purported to have received benefits of the program revealed that most of the women could not be established as being real people.



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Weather Forecast: Mostly Sunny Friday and Weekend]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 05:48:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/072514+weekend+weather+miami.jpg

A chance for isolated showers remains in the South Florida forecast Friday but a better weekend is ahead.

There should be plenty of sunshine at the beaches with storms staying inland. Highs will be around 89.

Saturday will be mostly sunny with a chance for a few showers. Sunday will be mostly sunny yet again, with highs in the lower 90s.

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<![CDATA[Hospital Shooting Suspect "Abusive"]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:51:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/191*120/RICHARD+PLOTTS.JPG

He's been called abusive by his ex-wife and crazy by his neighbors, and he's even served time for a Delaware bank robbery. But the latest crime Richard Plotts, 49, of Upper Darby, is accused of committing left his case worker dead, a doctor wounded and himself fighting for his life.

Police say Plotts opened fire Thursday in the psychiatric unit at the Sister Marie Lenahan Wellness Center in Darby, killing his 53-year-old case worker and wounding a doctor who fired back, critically injuring Plotts. He is in critical condition at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," said former Crum Lynne neighbor Diane Clements. "He was a creep."

That's one of the nicer things said about Plotts.

His ex-wife, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC10 her ex-husband was abusive, made threats on her life and acted violently toward her family.

"He was violent, physically and mentally," Plotts' ex said. "He has threatened to kill me. He's been violent to my family — parents, siblings — and he's just never been a very good person."

The couple's divorced was finalized in 1999, while Plotts served six years in prison for a Delaware bank robbery four years earlier.

While serving the remainder of his sentenced for the robbery -- three years supervised release -- he was arrested for possession of a firearm. His release was revoked and he was sent back to prison.

He was also arrested in the early 90s for trying to make a purchase at a John Wanamaker store with a stolen credit card, according to court records.

"He's a con artist," said his ex-wife. "He has psychiatric issues."

She did not elaborate on what those issues were, and details on his mental health were not immediately available.

"He was a goofball. He was crazy, and he had a girlfriend, and we used to hear him beating that girl up," Clements said.

Plotts was evicted from his home in the Kenneth House Apartments on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby about six months ago, according to a building maintenance man.

Cathy Nickels, his neighbor there, recalled the contentious way Plotts left after his eviction.

"As he was taken away in a van," she said, "he yelled, 'You haven't heard the end of me yet.'"



Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Man Mistakenly Shot at in Dorner Manhunt to Get $1.8M]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:42:39 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Perdue+Still.jpg

A Southern California man mistakenly shot at by police officers during the manhunt for a murderous ex-LAPD officer on a rampage last year will receive $1.8 million in a settlement with the city of Torrance.

David Perdue, 39, and his wife, of Redondo Beach, filed an excessive force lawsuit against the city in June 2013, alleging two Torrance police officers rammed their car into Perdue's truck and shot at him Feb. 7, 2013 while he was on his way to go surfing.

The settlement with the city of Torrance and Officers Brian McGee and Erin Sooper was reached last month, but the amount of the cash payout was confirmed Thursday by Torrance police Sgt. Chris Roosen.

"We are grateful to the city of Torrance and to the attorneys representing the city of Torrance for their consummate professionalism throughout these proceedings," said Robert Sheahen, Perdue's attorney.

None of the bullets struck the 39-year-old Perdue, who had previously been stopped and cleared by other officers, according to the lawsuit, which was filed after he failed to reach a settlement with the city.

Perdue says he suffered a concussion when his truck's airbag opened and has lingering physical and emotional problems as a result of what happened to him that day.

Authorities said that the ex-LAPD Officer, Christopher Dorner, killed four people --  a Riverside police officer, a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy and the daughter of a former LAPD captain and her fiance -- during a rampage fueled by his anger over being fired from the Los Angeles force several years ago.

The disgruntled ex-cop's remains were found inside a burned-out Big Bear cabin after a shootout with law enforcement, culminating a nearly week-long manhunt for the fugitive.

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<![CDATA[Man Killed in Pembroke Pines Shooting]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:22:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pembrokeshootingpines.jpg

A man died following a shooting in Pembroke Pines Thursday night.

The shooting happened shortly before 9 p.m. in the 10600 block of Southwest 8th Street, Pembroke Pines Police said.

According to police, Rodney Gray, 47, had been involved in an altercation with 45-year-old Rodney Paul.

Witnesses said Paul and his girlfriend were involved in a fenderbender with Gray's girlfriend, who called Gray to come and defend her.

During the altercation, Paul pulled out a handgun and fired three times, hitting Gray twice in the upper torso, police said.

Gray was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital where he later died.

Neighbors said they heard five quick shots and a woman screaming. Another neighbor said they overheard a woman crying in a police car.

No charges have been filed but the incident remains under investigation, police said.

Stay with NBC 6 and NBC6.com for the latest updates.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Woman Found in Hospital After Beating]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:51:48 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/maggyalvarez.jpg

The family of Maggy Alvarez, 34, has been looking for her for nearly a week. But after fearing the worst, Alvarez was found where she had been all week, in the hospital after being brutally beaten.

"It's a nightmare for any mother to go through,” Alina Alvarez said. “You don't know where your daughter is. You don't know if she's alive. If she's dead. And I was beginning to think she was dead."

Wednesday, a police officer came to the Alvarez’s door and they were shocked when the officer said Maggy had been at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center since last Friday after being severely beaten.

"A lot of back injuries, scrapes, burns,” Alina said of the injuries. “I'm not sure what they are because I'm not sure what they did."

Maggy, the family was told, nearly went into kidney failure as a result of her injuries. She was last seen in her Little Havana home before turning up in the hospital.

"I think some nice lady passing by, and she got to call 911,” Alina said. “I don't think if she called 911, who knows what would happen."

Maggy did not want to speak on camera. Her mother said it’s because she’s terrified after being the victim of the beating.

"She's not doing good,” Alina said. “She doesn't remember anything. She's bruised up and she's scared.”

The missing persons case filed by the family is now solved. But what neither police nor Maggy’s family has been able to figure out is how she ended up on the receiving end of such a beating and how she got to the hospital.

"Yeah, I think something suspicious happened,” Alina said. “I don't know who did it or why they did it but it would be great if whoever saw anything, knows anything would come forward and say something."

If you know anything about the case, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS (8477).



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Sick Boy Becomes Cop for a Day]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:35:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Adam-Broderson.jpg

One suburban Chicago police department had a new top cop on Wednesday.

Adam Broderson -- a 7-year-old boy with a heart defect -- was named sergeant by the Buffalo Grove Police Department for a day, and got to hang out with the other members of the force.

Adam dreams of one day growing up to be a police officer, but has already had to tough out several surgeries during his short life due to a rare heart condition that left him with only one working ventricle.

His day on the force was a surprise, and the young boy suited up for SWAT training, patrolled the village with his partner and even got to catch a bad guy in a simulated arrest.

He even got to train at the shooting range, which wasn't the favorite part of his day because of the noise.

The police department set up Adam's special day after seeing a letter he wrote in school.

Adam's parents say after suffering through three major heart surgeries, getting to live out his dream was the chance of a lifetime.

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<![CDATA[911 Calls from Wrong-Way Wreck Released]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:31:45 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/norman+mello.jpg

Nearly a week after 42-year-old Norman Mello was hit and killed by a wrong-way driver on I-95, law enforcement released the 911 calls that showed the harrowing moments just after the accident.

911: "How many people are hurt?"
Caller: "2! 2! 2!"
911: "2 people"
Caller: "The motorcyclist and the girl that’s driving the car."
911: "Ok. Are they, are they both....listen to me.....Listen to me sir I need you to let, let me know what’s going on. Are they both completely awake?"
Caller: "Yes, an accident they got in an accident”
911: "I know that, I understand that but are they both completely awake?"
Caller: "The woman is awake I don’t know about the guy. They guy I don’t think he."

The he referenced in the call turned out to be Mello. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Mello was riding his motorcycle last Saturday on I-95 South near the 836/Dolphin Expressway. FHP said that’s when 20-year-old Varissa Vargas was driving the wrong way in the express lanes and hit Mello head-on.

Caller: "There’s like, yeah there's like six cars are stopped. There’s 10 people trying to get him out of the car because he like flipped through the car...and there’s a man, a police officer now helping to break the window."

Mello was actually approximately four car lengths behind an SUV that swerved to miss Vargas’ car first. Norman had little time to react and when the motorcycle hit the car, Mello’s body went through the windshield and into the back seat of Vargas’ car where he died.

Megan Herff said, "He’s an amazing person. He did everything for everyone but himself."

Megan said she was one of Norman’s best friends, but his pit bull Diamond was everything, calling the dog “his absolute world.”

Herff said the wrong-way accident is a tragedy and started an online petition to send a letter to Governor Rick Scott demanding the state makes changes that will make it impossible for drivers to go the wrong way.

Herff said, "Yeah it could be prevented by putting spikes on the road or putting signs that are bright enough that will catch attention. Not just strips saying wrong way."

Friday there will be a memorial ride in Norman’s honor. So far at least a hundred people are expected to attend.

As for the wrong way driver, no charges have been filed. FHP said it’s awaiting a toxicology report and that she was transported to JMH trauma. NBC 6 tried getting her side of the story, but the hospital says it has no record of her being there.

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<![CDATA[Saltalamacchia's Big Night Lifts Marlins]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:27:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/452496736.jpg

The Miami Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Thursday in comeback fashion to win the four-game series.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a run-scoring single in the top of the ninth to give Miami the lead. That hit came after two doubles earlier in the game for the catcher. Saltalamacchia now has 13 doubles on the year.

Both of Miami's early runs came in the fifth inning. Adeiny Hechavarria picked up his 19th run batted in while Christian Yelich added his 34th. At the time, the Marlins were trailing 2-0.

Giancarlo Stanton had a two-hit day and also walked. Casey McGehee continued to struggle however as he was 0-4 and left four men on base. The third baseman grounded into a double play and came away empty in multiple run scoring opportunities.

Henderson Alvarez turned in a great effort only five days after leaving a start early with an injured shin. Alvarez showed no ill-effects of that injury and looked strong. The right-hander went eight innings and left with the game tied.

Alvarez allowed two runs on six hits during his time on the mound. Atlanta also walked once and stuck out four times. It took the Marlins' ace 101 pitches to get through the eight innings. When the Marlins scored in top of the ninth and held on, Alvarez picked up his seventh win of the season.

Steve Cishek earned his 24th save of the year with a perfect ninth inning.

The Marlins will head to Houston on Friday to open an inter-league series with the Astros. On the mound for Miami will be Brad Hand.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Hanged Dog, Set House Fire: PD]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:24:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Fire-Generic.jpg

A New Jersey man allegedly involved in a domestic dispute hanged his family dog before setting fire to his home, police say.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that 29-year-old Janrv Bacolod is accused of using an accelerant and setting fire to several parts of his Holly Street home in Mays Landing last Friday.

Several cats inside the home were killed, according to The Press of AC.

Prior to setting the blaze, police say Bacolod hanged his dog.

Police records show that the suspect's estranged wife had a restraining order against him. They say he violated that order when he called her at work and threatened her.

Bacolod is being held on $100,000 bail, according to the paper.

 



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[The Truth About Recycling]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:14:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/recyclingmiamidade.jpg

We haul our plastics to the curb to be picked up and recycled, but that does not mean every item will get a second life.

Yolanda Dilella feels good about her weekly recycling routine. She packs the blue bin with everything from newspapers to plastic coke bottles.

“I want my children to have a better future and have more land and not have all these landfills that are using up all our space,” Dilella said. “So I think it’s important to reuse things.”

But to Dilella’s surprise, Team 6 Investigators discovered several items in her bin won’t get recycled, including a plastic bottle that once contained pool chemicals.

“Very surprising…but I guess the residue or the elements that were inside would be a problem,” said Dilella.

Dilella is right, home chemical containers for items such as paint, lighter fluid and other flammables cannot be recycled because of the toxic residue. A plastic bag in Dilella’s bin won’t get recycled either.

Debbie Matthews, with the environmental group Sierra Club Florida, says putting plastic bags in recycling bins is a common mistake.

“You’re wasting your time, you’re wasting your energy and you’re thinking you’re doing good, but you’re really not,” Matthews said. “You’re making it harder for everyone.”

The problem is bags get tangled up in recycling machines and shut down entire plants, as do hoses and electrical cords. Folks at Miami-Dade County’s Waste Management Department say up to 30% of what’s collected from homes can’t be recycled.

Residents put just about everything into their recycling bin, and that literally includes the kitchen sink. It leaves recycling centers making many unusual finds.

“Some of the craziest things are--we’ve seen a bowling ball, we’ve seen actually an unexploded grenade come through and those are not only wrong they’re very dangerous for our workers,” said Dawn McCormick with Waste Management Inc. of Florida, the company that collects recyclables for Miami-Dade County.

At recycling plants, items are sorted and prepared for the next step: delivery to a buyer. For instance, soda cans will become new cans and a ton of paper will be sold to China for $100. But not all will plastics will be recycled.

Even though the container has that small recycling triangle on it, it’s actually the tiny resin number inside the triangle that will help determine its fate. The plastics with numbers 1 and 2 are easily sold—for instance water bottles can be turned into completely new products such as t-shirts.

But numbers 3 through 7 are harder to sell and without a buyer they often end up back at a landfill. In fact, some community recycling programs only want homeowners to place plastics in the recycle bin if it has a narrow neck—which are the easily sold plastics such as soda bottles and milk jugs.

Recyclers say when residents send in too many plastics that aren’t part of a community recycling program; it can contaminate an otherwise marketable load of plastic. While recyclers say they’re always looking for new markets for all plastics; they say the real key is using less, especially water bottles.

“Kick the plastic habit. While there is a place for them (water bottles) to go and be recycled there is still just too many of them,” said Patti Hamilton, a spokesperson with Southern Waste Systems in Broward.

Since plastic is made out of petroleum, McCormick says preserving plastic helps our environment in more ways than one.

“Recycling one ton of plastic, for instance, saves 16 barrels of oil,” says McCormick.

And there’s room for South Floridians to do more for the environment. According to Miami-Dade County, South Floridians produce about 10 pounds of waste per person every day —that’s about double the national average. A waste management study in 2010 showed more than half (52%) of what was thrown out had the potential to be recycled.

In Miami-Dade, much of that garbage will end up at a plant, 1.2 million tons each year, burned at the incinerator. And while the energy produced at the waste-to-energy plant will power approximately 30,000 homes, 100,000 tons of ash will remain with a landfill in West Miami-Dade becoming its permanent home.

But there are ways to make sure those troublesome plastics are recycled. Plastic bags will be recycled if you place them in the recycle bin at your grocery store and that includes bread and newspaper bags, dry cleaning sleeves and even the plastic packaging wrap found in many products.

The pharmacy at Publix will also take your prescription bottles. At Whole Foods Market, some stores are recycling plastics with the number five on them which includes containers for items like yogurt, sour cream, butter and paper cup lids.

The bottom line is consumers passionate about recycling have to do a little bit of homework because some community recycling programs want residents to send in all sorts of plastics, while others are more selective.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Commission Pitches Hiring 100 More Cops]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:03:52 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/generic+money+new.jpg

While Miami-Dade County is discussing possible layoffs of cops and rescue workers, Miami Commissioners told Mayor Tomas Regalado to try to bring back a proposal to hire 100 new police officers, according to the Miami Herald.

If the measure passed, it would increase the size of Miami’s police force to roughly 1,300, the Herald reported. City commissioners voted to hire 95 officers last year, but haven’t been able to fill all of the positions.

The commission did complicate matters by setting the city’s tax rate which will drop to approximately $8.38 per $1,000 of a property assessed value, the Herald reported. Much like with the county, once the rate is set, it can be lowered, but it can’t be raised.

The Herald reported that city manager Daniel Alfonso said hiring 20 officers was more responsible. Alfonso said the city would have a $17 million surplus from the current fiscal year and could get another $13 million from a referendum in the fall, according to the Herald.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Intruder Who Claimed Pregnancy ID'd]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:36:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/LB+Intruder+Female+Solo+2.jpg

Police on Thursday identified a suspected burglar who told a homeowner she was pregnant before he fatally shot her outside his home in Long Beach.

Tom Greer appeared to have no regret when he told NBC4 Wednesday night that he shot the woman twice in the back with his .22-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver as she was fleeing with a male accomplice.

The woman was identified as Andrea Miller, 28, from Long Beach. The male suspect was identified as Gus Adams, 26, of Long Beach. Adams was booked into jail on a robbery and murder charge, Long Beach police said in a press release.

"She says, 'Don't shoot me, I'm pregnant -- I'm going to have a baby.' And I shot her anyway," Greer said. "The lady didn't run as fast as the man so I shot her in the back twice, she's dead ... but he got away."

There was no immediate confirmation of the pregnancy, but the Los Angeles County coroner's office planned to perform an autopsy on the woman on Friday, said Ed Winter, of the coroner's office.

Long Beach police said they are investigating whether Greer should face charges for Tuesday night's shooting in the 3900 block of Country Club Drive.

Even though the woman was running away, Greer said he regards what he did as self-defense.

He said he arrived at home Tuesday night to find a couple in the middle of a late-night break-in when they attacked him.

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

At one point, Miller stopped hitting Greer to help Adams break into a safe, police said.

While the suspects ransacked his home, Greer got his gun from another room, returned to confront them and fired his gun while they were still inside his house, police said.

Both suspects ran out, making off with items taken during the burglary. Greer followed them as they ran out and fired again.

Miller was struck by gunfire, fell in the alley, and died, authorities said. Adams got away, but was captured later.

The surviving suspect was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of residential burglary and murder, McDonnell said. The murder charge, which will be considered by the district attorney, is possible because Adams is accused of being involved in a felony that led to a death, McDonnell said. 

It was not immediately clear whether Adams hired an attorney.

Greer told detectives he believes the suspects broke into his home and stole cash and property three times before, police said. Greer's estranged wife, Dorothy, said on Thursday one of the burglaries happened while she was at home. She saw her jewelry stolen.

But she never expected such violence.

"It's scary," she said. "Either way it goes, it's scary. It was just a bad situation, all the way around."

Greer was treated at a hospital Wednesday for a severe shoulder and collarbone injury.



Photo Credit: Long Beach Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Mysterious Dolls Left on Doorsteps]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:00:18 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/209*120/San+Clemente+doll+4+%282%29.jpg

A Southern California woman who attends her Orange County community's church decided to clear out her doll collection and surprise her neighbors with the dolls, leaving some residents stumped and "disturbed" by a resemblance to some neighborhood children.

The slew of deliveries began July 16 with at least eight San Clemente families finding porcelain dolls on their doorsteps.

While residents said they felt creeped out and "disturbed" over fears someone was trying to scare the Talega neighborhood of San Clemente, investigators learned Thursday night that the woman's intentions were pure.

"The woman attended church with many of the impacted families," Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said.

The woman said she was clearing out an old doll collection and thought of some young girls in the neighborhood who might enjoy them, Hallock said.

It was not clear why the woman did not leave a note or tell the residents about the dolls.

Earlier Thursday, residents said they were afraid of the reason behind the toys.

"I'm actually thinking the worst, like someone creepy watching our children and I'm actually pretty scared about it," resident Mary Robin Baziak said. "(Someone) found a China doll on her stop that looked like her daughter."

"It's really creepy and disturbing. As a mom with a daughter, it freaks me out," another neighbor said. "Hopefully it's a prank and not someone with very bad motives."

Christina Cocca contributed to this report.

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