<![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 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:28:09 -0400 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:28:09 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["Sweetheart Scammer" Arrested: BSO]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:55:53 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/michelle+nicholas+web.jpg

A woman who deputies call the "Sweetheart Scammer" has been arrested after she allegedly conned an elderly man out of thousands of dollars during what was supposed to be a romantic getaway.

Broward Sheriff's deputies said 46-year-old Michelle Nicholas pretended to have a romantic interest in 82-year-old John Deam, but she used it against him. Authorities said the victim gets confused easily because of his age.

Nicholas allegedly went on a trip to the Florida Keys on March 24th with Deam while his wife was out of town, according to the deputies. During the three-day trip, Deam bought Nicholas a Rolex watch worth $13,000 and paid for all the expenses, deputies said.

When they returned, deputies said Nicholas used Deam's identity to open a credit card under his name that listed her as an additional card holder.

On March 29, Nicholas allegedly convinced Deam to buy her a 2006 Lexus for $25,877.

Nicholas faces charges of grand theft and exploitation of the elderly. She is being held on $30,000 bond.

Anyone with additional information on Nicholas is urged to contact Detective Mitch Gordon at 954-321-4255 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or www.browardcrimestoppers.org.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Secret Service Threatened to Shoot Mr. Met: Book]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:11:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/mr-met-cohen.jpg

A Secret Service agent once threatened to shoot Mr. Met if he approached the president during a baseball game at Shea Stadium, according to a man who once worked as the baseball-headed mascot.

AJ Mass, who was the Mets’ mascot from 1994 to 1997, said a member of former President Bill Clinton’s security detail told him they’d “go for the kill shot” if he tried to pal around with the then-commander-in-chief at a Mets-Dodgers game on April 15, 1997. The account comes from an excerpt of Mass’ new book, “Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots,” published on Sports Illustrated’s website this week.

Mass wrote that he had planned to make his way to see Clinton, who was at the game commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first major-league appearance, calling the photo-op "the holy grail for all mascots."

Before he could make it to the president’s box, Mass wrote, he was stopped by an agent in a dark suit and a businesslike demeanor.

“We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” the agent told Mass. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. Nobody will bother you. But approach the president, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”

Then the agent, who Mass wrote was staring into the mouth of Mr. Met’s head to make eye contact with the man inside, repeated himself.

“Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot,” the agent said to Mass. “ARE-WE-CLEAR?”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[911 Calls Reveal Chilling Moments After Calif. Bus Crash]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:57:24 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/217*120/AP619076443222.jpg

The 911 calls released Thursday reveal audible cries of fear in the moments after the fiery Northern California bus crash that claimed 10 lives while en route to Humboldt State University last Thursday.

The distressed caller tried to explain what happened over screams in the background.

"We crashed into a bus...a truck. I don't know where we are," the caller said. "We were coming from LA and we're going all the way to Humboldt State University."

Ths bus erupted into flames when a FedEx big rig crossed a 60-foot median and slammed head-on into the bus.

"The bus is on fire," the caller said as others could be heard screaming and crying. "We are getting away from the bus actually."

California Highway Patrol Capt. Todd Morrison said that investigators will conduct vehicle tests using a 2014 tour bus and a 2007 FedEx tractor-trailer truck to learn more about characteristics such as braking and visibility.

“We are hoping to learn how it happened so that we can identify what to do to prevent it from happening again,” Morrison said.

Investigators were also still interviewing passengers, witnesses and urging anyone with video of the crash to send it to authorities. They also attempted to recreate the crash scene with similar vehicles to try to gain insight.

"We owe it to the families of the involved families and the victims of this tragic collision that we tell the story of what happened, and that we tell it as accurately as possible," Leal said.

All 10 victims in the crash had been identified, some by authorities and others by family, including a recently engaged couple, a college admissions counselor and the the drivers of the truck and bus.

Fellow students returned to the scene of the crash Thursday to pay tribute to those killed one week ago.

Glenn County Sheriff-Coroner Larry Jones said most of the victims had been positively identified by his office, but their causes of death were being withhel pending toxicology testing.

"That can be several weeks out before we receieve all of that data from the labatory," Jones said.

Michael Myvette, 25-year-old Mattison Haywood, 26-year-old counselor Arthur Arzola, students Adrian Castro, 18, Marisa Serrato, 17, Denise Gomez, Ismael Jimenez , Jennifer Bonilla, bus driver Talalelei Taiao and FedEx driver Tim Evans were among those killed in the wreck.

The news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. near the collision site.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Executive Producer To Run Boston Marathon]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:29:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/193*120/Elizabeth+in+running+gear.jpg

NBC 6 Executive Producer Elizabeth Flores will head to Boston this weekend to run in the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Elizabeth, who also ran in last year's race, will be running her ninth marathon.

Join us in wishing her success by posting your well wishes on the NBC 6 Facebook page or by tweeting her @ElizabethNBC6.

<![CDATA[Pool Light Blamed For Boy's Electrocution]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:32:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/swimming3.jpg

A 7-year-old boy who died while swimming in North Miami pool may have been electrocuted by a light that sent charges through the water, police said.

Calder Sloan died Sunday after he was shocked as he swam through the pool, police said. An officer attempted CPR before fire rescue transported the boy to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later died.

The boy was swimming with his brothers, ages 5 and 22, under the watch of his nanny when the older brother first felt a shock and urged the others to get out of the pool, The Miami Herald reported. Calder apparently did not hear and was jolted out of the water.

A neighbor who performed CPR on the child, Fabian Pesantes, told NBC 6 he was also shocked by the water.

"The minute I saw him, I just started doing what I know how to do and I started performing CPR on him," Pesantes said.  "I cleared the vomit and water out of his mouth and when I was cleaning my mouth I stuck my hand in the pool. When I stuck my hand in the pool, I got shocked."

While police are still investigating the cause of the electrocution, the family suspects a malfunctioning pool light may have been to blame. A contractor was hired to fix the light after it stopped turning on about nine months ago, according to the boy's father, and electricians told the boy's uncle that a problem with the light switch suggested the power was going directly to the pool instead of being diverted from it, The Herald reported. The steel surrounding the light is now rusted and burned, according to the paper.

A fund has been set up at Sloan's school to establish a foundation in his honor. Click here to donate.

<![CDATA[Kittens Survive Accidental Mailing]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:32:30 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/cox+kittens+3.jpg

These two kittens are just a few weeks old, but they’ve already taken the trip of a lifetime.

A worker at Cox Communications in San Diego County discovered the kittens inside a box of equipment. They had been accidentally packed up and shipped from Cox Communications in Hollywood.

Somehow, they survived the journey to San Diego.

The kittens, named Mouse and WiFi, are now being cared for at the San Diego Humane Society’s 24-Hour Kitten Nursery. Humane Society workers believe the mother cat was looking for a safe, warm place for her babies and put them in the box.

San Diego Humane Society public relations manager Kelli Schry said it’s a miracle the kitties survived.

“They were just a few days old, and at that young age kittens have to be fed every two hours,” she said via email.

Mouse and WiFi will be available for adoption when they are 8 weeks old. 

Photo Credit: San Diego Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[Courtroom Erupts After Conviction]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:35:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AlHimidi-Verdict-1.jpg

A broken family’s screams erupted in a San Diego courtroom after a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of an Iraqi immigrant who killed his wife.

As the defendant cried out in Arabic "not guilty," his mother-in-law flailed her arms, screaming "you killed my daughter," while his two teenage sons chose opposing sides.

Jurors found Kassim Al-Himidi, 49, guilty in the death of his wife Shaima Alawadi -- a bloody, brutal beating once considered a hate crime that was, in the end, an act of domestic violence.

After Judge William McGrath handed off the verdict for reading, several family members began screaming, including the defendant's oldest son, who yelled profanities, saying he disagreed with the jury's verdict.

"This is bulls---!" This is f---ing bulls---!" the son yelled. "My dad is innocent. He was tried unfairly."

Al-Himidi smirked, crossed his arms, shook his head, wagged his finger and began praying as the jury was polled one by one. At one point, he put his head on the table in front of him. Then, he too began yelling.

According to a translator, Al-Himidi screamed out in Arabic, "God knows I'm not the killer. I'm not the killer! I'm innocent. Not guilty."

As deputies rushed to place handcuffs on Al-Himidi, he continued to yell, telling his family to seek international help on this case and have investigators look at it as a hate crime. He said to get him help from overseas to get him out of jail, the translator said.

Meanwhile, the mother of the victim stood up in court, flailing her arms, and screamed,"You killed my daughter. This is not a mistake, you did kill her."

Another one of Al-Himidi's sons sided with his grandmother and said his father did kill his mother.

Outside of the courtroom, through a translator, the victim's mother said a guilty verdict is the least Al-Himidi could have gotten in this case.

"If you killed her, you deserve to be killed as well," she added, with tears in her eyes. "My daughter was home, as you probably all know. He's the one."

The grandmother went on to say that she disagreed with her oldest grandson about the verdict.

"He does not believe that, but I do," she added.

She said she heard about the problems between her daughter and Al-Himidi before the killing, but she never imagined it would lead to murder.

Ron Rockwell, attorney for Al-Himidi's children, including daughter Fatima Al-Himidi, said the tension in the courtroom was from years of pent-up emotions. Despite the oldest son's outburst, which surprised the attorney, Rockwell said all of the siblings agree with the guilty verdict.

He released this statement, on behalf of the children:

“Fatima and her brothers and sisters respect the integrity of the jury system and find it unfathomably sad that their father found life so difficult that he resorted to taking the life of their dear mother but hope that this is justice for her and for them, her children that miss her dearly. We agree with the jury’s decision and although we love our father, we hate what we also believe that he did.

After over two years of great sadness, Fatima and her brothers and sisters find relief in now believing that they can begin to heal as a family while knowing in their minds that while missing their mother more and more with each passing day, whether that is with or without their father, it will always be without their mother.”

Al-Himidi will be sentenced on May 15, Judge McGrath said Thursday.

Alawadi, 32, was beaten in a bloody attack inside the family's home on March 21, 2012. She suffered critical brain injuries and died three days later.

At first, the case was investigated as a hate crime because of a handwritten note found at the crime scene that read: “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist.”

Just before they entered deliberations, jurors were reminded of the defendant's timeline on the day of the beating.

According to phone records, Shaima called her husband at 8:04 a.m.

Video from a nearby middle school shows a burgundy Nissan Quest going and leaving the home that morning.

At 8:15 a.m. the van was seen traveling southbound along Emerald Avenue toward Skyview Street as Al-Himidi returns to the house from taking the children to school, prosecutors said.

Then, at 9:49 a.m. a vehicle matching the description stopped at the curb, just north of the intersection of Emerald and Skyview.

Prosecutors say 30 seconds later, a pedestrian can be seen moving from the vehicle towards the house at 564 Skyview Street, three homes from the corner.

At 10:10 a.m., cell phone records show someone called Al-Himidi’s cell phone but it goes unanswered.

Prosecutors say the phone communicated with the cell tower that serves the same area as the family’s home on Skyview.

“At 10:10 he’s still in his home tower area,” Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals said Tuesday.

The next phone call to Al-Himidi’s cell phone was from his daughter, Fatima, at 11:18 a.m. after Shaima is discovered.

Defense attorneys poked holes in the prosecution's case in their closing arguments.

Investigators did not find any forensic evidence linking their client to the crime scene, the defense argued.

They reminded jurors that witnesses testified how violence is not in Al-Himidi's character.

Throughout the trial, the defense raised questions about the role of Shaima's daughter, Fatima, who was in the house at the time of the attack.

She was called to testify several times and shared details of her parents’ tense marriage.

The defense believes Fatima was somehow involved in her mother’s murder.

“You don’t have to solve this mystery to acquit Mr. Al-Himidi,” defense attorney Richard Berkon told the jury. “You don’t have to figure out who did it.”

In closing, even Mechals told jurors, "Fatima doesn’t make your job easy, that’s for sure."

"Whether you can believe anything she says, that’s up to you," he said.

However, Mechals urged the jury to use their common sense to find what is reasonable and what isn't.

Al-Himidi has been visibly emotional throughout the trial, at times crying and wailing loudly as evidence was presented to the jury. He wept uncontrollably when 911 tapes were played in the courtroom at the beginning of the trial.

Cameras were only allowed in the courtroom during opening testimony and closing arguments.

“He thought he had committed the perfect crime. He thought he had nothing to worry about,” Mechals said.

Both the defendant and victim are Iraqi immigrants. The murder investigation reverberated across the nation when it first happened because of the discovery of a threatning note.

However, in November 2012, El Cajon police announced the arrest of Al-Himidi and said the killing was not a hate crime, but rather one of domestic violence.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Fla. Senators Hold Rally in Doral for Venezuelan Community]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:25:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/marco+rubio+bill+nelson.jpg

Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson met with the Venezuelan community at Arepazo 2 in Doral on Thursday to discuss the future of the violence in Venezuela.

Rubio and Nelson held the event to rally support in the House and Senate for sanctions.

Rubio announced that the Senate leadership and foreign relations committee agreed to hold substantial and significant hearings solely on the issue of Venezuela.

Both senators say their strategy is to educate lawmakers on the situation in Venezuela.

"A country that is sliding further and further into the abyss," said Nelson.

"I think that if we can create a strong bipartisan consensus in the senate in favor of sanctions and take up this cause, I think the White House will follow," Rubio said.

<![CDATA[Food Prices Rise in South Florida]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 21:22:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/grocery-store-shopping-generic.jpg

Your next trip down the grocery aisle could mean less cash in your wallet. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports food prices are on the rise.

"It's a cycle and we have to get accustomed to it," said Jorge Salazar-Carrillo, Professor of Economics at Florida International University.

Chicken breast, lime, bacon, wine -- all rising several cents. Beef is at its highest price in almost three ecades.

"I'm buying less meat because it's very expensive," said shopper Guillermo Rey.

"Maybe three months ago we were paying $1.70 for beef. Now we might be paying $2.00 for that same beef," said Sedano's supervisor Pedro Mesa.

Economists say it’s not unusual to see this spike, especially when you factor in global instability, drought, and disease - all happening at the same time.

"This is a crisis that we've seen many times and sometimes you have soybeans in low supply, but sugar is very abundant," said Salazar-Carrillo.

Professor Salazar-Carrillo recommends substituting one item with another.

“You can adjust your offerings and your budget to what is cheaper at that particular moment and let the storm pass,” he said.

Consumers aren't the only ones feeling the impact.  Pedro Mesa, a supervisor at a South Florida Sedano's, said the grocery chain loses profits at the expense of customer satisfaction.

"We're making less than we're accustomed to making, but it's important for us to make sure we have the best price for our customers. So we're willing to take that hit," Mesa said.

<![CDATA[Man Whose Last Name Is Cocaine Faces Judge Hurley]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:41:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000012359097_1200x675_229639747887.jpg Broward Judge John Hurley thought he had heard it all, until this man walked into his courtroom.]]> <![CDATA[Consumer Reports Recommends Ooma]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:15:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/shutterstock_72457825.jpg

The average bill for phone, Internet and TV runs more than $150 a month, according to market research firm, the Mintel Group. One way to trim your costs is to cut the cord and switch to a phone service that delivers calls via the Internet. Consumer Reports recommends a phone service called Ooma.

Ooma is a device that connects to your Internet service on one end and your regular phone on the other. There’s a one-time cost of about $150 for the Ooma box — and then the savings begin.

Local and domestic long distance calls are free. You pay just a few dollars per month in taxes. International calls are extra, but the rates are also very low. There is a limit of 5,000 minutes of calls per month. And if you want to keep your home phone number, you have to pay an additional one-time fee of $40.

In a survey of more than 50,000 Consumer Reports subscribers, Ooma was the top-rated phone service.

Those who used Ooma rated the service higher than those who used any other service,  Users also gave th service top marks for value, what they received for the money they paid. As for reliability and the quality of calls, the survey found that Ooma was on par with traditional service from big companies like AT&T or Verizon.

If your phone is bundled with TV and Internet service, Consumer Reports says it’s important to check with your provider before buying Ooma. Dropping a phone line from a telecom bundle might only shave about $5 a month off your bill.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:05:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/198*120/chelsea-clinton-pregnant.JPG

The Clintons are going to be grandparents -- Chelsea Clinton is expecting her first child later this year.

Chelsea Clinton, who married Marc Mezvinsky in 2010, made the announcement Thursday during an event in New York with her mother. 

"Marc and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year," she said. "I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child, and hopefully children, as my mom was to me."

Chelsea Clinton, 34, delivered the news as she and her mother hosted "Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation," which is part of their project that works to advance progress for women and girls around the world.

The former New York senator and secretary of state, who is considering another presidential run in 2016, said she is thrilled.

"It makes this work even more important because we've made a lot of progress," said the former first lady.

"Obviously we are very excited about what's happening in our family," she said. "But we're also very excited because of what we are doing that we hope gives confidence and support to so many of you across our country as you make decisions about the lives you want to lead."

Later Thursday, the Twitter account for Bill Clinton posted a tweet that said "Excited to add a new line to my Twitter bio ... grandfather to be! @hillaryclinton and I are so happy for Chelsea and Marc!"



<![CDATA[Fans Mourn Cheo Feliciano on Social Media ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:38:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP070907056835.jpg

The death of Puerto Rican singer Cheo Feliciano shocked and saddened lovers of his legendary salsa and bolero music.

Many fans took to social media to share their memories after news broke that the 78-year-old musician was killed in an early morning car crash in an area of San Juan.

The grieving masses online included several Latin music stars.

Marc Anthony offered condolences from his Twitter account, while Ricky Martin tweeted in Spanish, "Rest in Peace, Puerto Rican hero."

For some, the best way to honor his contributions to salsa was to listen to the music that made him a legend.

"Been hearing his music all day," one person said with a screenshot of a playlist. "RIP #cheofeliciano, it wasn’t his time."

See a collection of social media posts honoring Feliciano.



<![CDATA[Neglected Animals Taken to Humane Society ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:45:57 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/animal+abuse.png

The operator of a South Florida pet rescue center is facing animal cruelty charges following complaints that she kept hundreds of animals in what prosecutors described as a "squalid warehouse."

Authorities say hundreds of animals were subjected to "deplorable conditions" after Gisela Tacao took them in at Gigi's Rescue in Hialeah, a site an arrest warrant describes as"a fairly small, poorly ventilated warehouse."

Dozens of animals were removed from the operation in 2012 -- less than two years after it was opened -- following complaints about the presence and stench of feces and urine and the conditions of animals kept on the premises, the state attorney's office said in a press release. An arrest warrant states that "at the very least, every dog removed appeared filthy, smelly and dehydrated. Some also "had obvious sores and injuries," it said.

Now, Tacao is facing 53 counts of animal cruelty after a joint investigation by the Hialeah Police Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. It was not immediately clear if she has an attoreny.

The 40-year-old was licensed to start the rescue, located at 269 West 24th Street, in 2011 and began taking in pets from Miami-Dade Animal Services, according to an arrest warrant.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle called the case "a perfect example of the old adage that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

"These animals were living in the worst of circumstances, sadly waiting to be rescued from their supposed rescuer," she said in a statement. "Such neglect is not a mistake, it is a crime."

Some of the pets were taken to the Humane Society of Broward County where they are being treated and placed in foster homes.

"Checking them from head to toe giving them their shots checking their heart their eyes their ears just to make sure theyre in general good health," said Caroline Crane, an employee at the Humane Soceity of Broward County.

Tacao was charged with 53 felony counts of animal cruelty, based on the number of animals examined. The total bond was set at 265,000.



<![CDATA[Amazon to Start Collecting Taxes in Florida ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:23:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/amazon-453056767.jpg

Floridians who rely on Internet giant Amazon.com will have to soon start paying taxes on their online purchases.

A spokesman for the Seattle-based company confirmed Wednesday that Amazon will collect the state's 6 percent sales tax on May 1.

The move follows the decision by Amazon to build two distribution centers in the Sunshine State.

Currently, Floridians are supposed to pay taxes for online purchases, but there's no way to enforce the law. The state can't force companies like Amazon to collect the tax unless it has a physical presence, such as a warehouse or store.

Last year, Gov. Rick Scott and Amazon announced a deal in which the company would create 3,000 new jobs in Florida by 2016. The exact details of the deal were kept confidential by state officials.

Initially, Scott rejected a proposed deal with the company because of concerns it would result in higher taxes for Floridians. But he reversed that decision last June.

Amazon's decision to expand in Florida reflects the retailer's desire to put in a system to guarantee quicker delivery of products ordered online. The company has reached similar agreements regarding warehouses and payment of sales taxes in several other states.

Retailers in Florida have been pushing for years for state legislators to change state law in an effort to prompt Internet retailers to collect sales taxes. Representatives of brick-and-mortar stores contend that online companies have an unfair competitive advantage. But despite winning support from some Republicans, the bills have repeatedly stalled in the state Legislature.

A representative with the Florida Retail Federation said the group was pleased that Amazon would soon start collecting sales taxes.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[School Stabbing Suspect Charged with Attempted Murder]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:34:21 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/stabbing+scene.jpg

A 16-year-old student who was stabbed by a schoolmate at a South Florida high school Thursday is expected to recover, school officials said.

Piper High School was put on lockdown after a senior stabbed a sophomore in the school gymnasium, authorities said. The fight was apparently broke out after an argument over a basketball game.

The injured student, Urique Wilson, was transported to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale with a non-life threatening wounds. His father, Joseph Watson, said he was stabbed three times in the chest and back.

"He's doing okay right now at the moment, but right now they still got him up in the room right now so we're just waiting. God blessed everything that he's alive and didn't lose his life in this situation," said Watson.

The suspect, Kimanie Jumanee, also a student, is in the custody of the Sunrise Police Department and will be charged with attempted murder, according to police.

During a news conference, school officials described the stabbing as an isolated incident. The lockdown was lifted by midday and the school resumed normal operations.

"I wanted to assure them that the school is safe, you know, this is a very isolated incident. Piper is a great school as you know, last year it became an A rated school," said Robert Runcie, Superintendent Broward County Public Schools.

Just last week, one student was taken to the hospital with a head injury and another was arrested after a fight broke out in the school cafeteria.

<![CDATA[Man Shot in Head in NW Miami Dies ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:19:27 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/handgunresize.jpg

A man was shot and killed in Northwest Miami overnight in what neighbors described as an ambush attack.

Police said the man was shot in the head at Northwest 67th Street and 4th Avenue. He later died at the hospital.

Neighbors said the victim, who was not identified by police, was ambushed by two men who opened fire on him as he sat on his porch. A man who identified himself as the victim's father said his son was shot under the chin.


Photo Credit: Getty Images/Stockdisc]]>
<![CDATA[Condom Shortage Reported in Cuba ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:20:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WEB_CONDOMS_BY_MAIL.png

The latest food and product shortage to rock Cubans is being felt in the bedroom.

Complaints that condoms are scarce are emerging from the island, part of a dry spell that has lasted several weeks, The Miami Herald reported. 

One Havana author wrote on a Spanish-language website based in Miami that some shops continue to sell condoms, but at prices tailored to tourists that are unaffordable for most Cubans, according to The Herald. The shortage has lasted about two weeks, she wrote.

A report in a Communist Party newspaper pinpointed the prophylactic pinch to labeling and packaging issues with a batch of condoms purchased wholesale from China, The Herald reported.

Residents have also reported recent shortfalls of staples like toothpaste, toilet paper, soap and beer, the paper reported. 


<![CDATA[Mom Drives Van Into River: Police]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:05:33 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Delaware-River-Mom.jpg

A man swooped in to save a South Jersey family after a mother allegedly tried to kill her teenage children.

Darnell Taylor is mourning the loss of his father, who died from cancer Wednesday morning. Yet while Taylor is now coping with the tragedy, he can take solace in the fact that he prevented another one from happening just a day before his father's death.

Police say 49-year-old Joann Smith was driving her van on West Front Street in Florence Township, N.J around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. With her 15, 14, and 13 year-old children inside the vehicle, Smith allegedly accelerated onto a boat ramp and into the Delaware River.

Investigators say she was intentionally trying to kill her children.

Taylor says he was driving to dinner with his wife when he noticed the vehicle partially submerged in the water and the family trapped inside.

"I got out of the car and heard people screaming," Taylor said. "I took off my jacket, jumped in and swam out there."

Taylor swam towards the family while his wife called 911.

"I couldn't get the window open because the window in the van was not a pop out window," Taylor said. "So I kept telling the young lady to kick the window out and she kicked it out."

One by one, Taylor grabbed Smith, her daughter and two sons to safety. Taylor claims Smith didn't say anything during the rescue except for "Thank you."

One of the children suffered cuts on the leg while Smith was checked into a medical facility for a mental evaluation.

Police claim Smith intentionally drove the van into the water. She was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of child endangerment.

Smith’s bail was set at $600,000. Officials originally said that Smith would likely appear in Superior Court in Mount Holly Thursday afternoon. Thursday morning however they said her first appearance wouldn't occur until Monday morning at the earliest.

Detectives with the Florence Township Police Department along with officials from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the case.

Smith's three children are currently staying with relatives, shaken by their terrifying experience but still alive thanks to Taylor.

"He was a godsend," said Bob Lane, a Florence Township resident. "He saved them. That water is not warm and he jumped in."

While many people are calling him a hero, Taylor disagrees.

"I'm not a hero," he said. "I'm just a member of this community and anyone else would have done the same thing."

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Salsa Singer Cheo Feliciano Killed in Crash]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:02:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP070907056835.jpg

Puerto Rican salsa and bolero singer Cheo Feliciano died in a car crash early Thursday morning, Telemundo Puerto Rico has confirmed. He was 78.

Jose Luis Feliciano Vega, better known as Cheo Feliciano,  was killed just after 4 a.m. when the Jaguar he was driving hit an electrical post in the Cupey area of San Juan, according to Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

Feliciano, the sole passenger in the vehicle, died on impact following the 4:13 a.m. crash on a road near the Universidad Metropolitana. A police inspector told the newspaper he was not wearing a seat belt. He is survived by his wife, Puerto Rican dancer Coco Prieto Leon Feliciano, and four sons.

Feliciano, one of the most recognized musicians of his genre, was credited as influencing other salsa stars, including Ruben Blades and Gilberto Santarosa. He produced a list of hits that includes "One in a Million," ''My Promise," and "I Learned with You," according to The Associated Press.

The musician, who was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, started his career as a percussionist in New York before joining the Joe Cuba Sextet as a singer. He recorded 17 albums with the band performing with top Latin artists of the era, before joining Fania Records' All-Stars ensemble and starting a successful solo career, according to a biography on Billboard.com.  He was honored with the Latin Grammy Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He was a vocal participant in anti-drug campaigns following his own battle with addiction, El Nueva Dia reported.

Feliciano had been diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer last year, but continued to make public appearances. According to El Nueva Dia, he was supposed to fly to Acapulco for a show with other salsa singers later this week.

<![CDATA["Sweetheart Scammer" Released on Bond ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:03:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/michelle+nicholas+web.jpg

A woman who deputies call the "Sweetheart Scammer" has been released on bond after she was arrested for allegedly conning an elderly man out of thousands of dollars during what was supposed to be a romantic getaway.

Broward Sheriff's deputies said 46-year-old Michelle Nicholas pretended to have a romantic interest in 82-year-old John Deam, but she used it against him. Authorities said the victim gets confused easily because of his age.

Nicholas allegedly went on a trip to the Florida Keys on March 24th with Deam while his wife was out of town, according to the deputies. During the three-day trip, Deam bought Nicholas a Rolex watch worth $13,000 and paid for all the expenses, deputies said.

When they returned, deputies said Nicholas used Deam's identity to open a credit card under his name that listed her as an additional card holder.

On March 29, Nicholas allegedly convinced Deam to buy her a 2006 Lexus for $25,877.

Nicholas faces charges of grand theft and exploitation of the elderly. It was not immediately clear if she had an attorney. Bond was set at $30,000.

Anyone with additional information on Nicholas is urged to contact Detective Mitch Gordon at 954-321-4255 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or www.browardcrimestoppers.org.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Sleeping Man Injured After Shots Fired Into Home ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 14:15:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Generic+Police+Tape+Generic+NJ.JPG

A man was shot when upwards of of 20 bullets tore through a Northwest Miami-Dade home as he and his family slept overnight, police said.

Authorities and paramedics arrived at the Northwest 82nd Terrace and Northwest 2nd Court residence overnight to find multiple bullet holes piercing through walls and windows.  A man who had been sleeping inside was hit in the stomach, police said. The man, who was conscious and breathing as he was wheeled into an ambulance en route to the hospital, is expected to recover, authorities said.

Desileine Cetoute, who lives nearby, said the gunfire jolted him out of bed.

Police say bullets appeared to come from two guns including a high powered rifle, though they are not sure how many shooters were involved. It is unclear whether the shooters were on foot on in a car.

A man who lives on a nearby street said the neighborhood can't tolerate the violence.

"We need things to be changed," he said. "It cannot be like this.  How many people get killed for nothing?"

Police do not yet have a a description for the gunman. Authorities ask that anyone with information about the shooting call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.


Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Muggy Morning to Make Way for Showers ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:45:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/weather61.jpg

Showers are starting to move in around South Florida this morning.

Thursday got off to a warm an muggy start, with temperatures expected to stay in the mid-70s this morning. The region could warm to the low-to-mid 80s around lunch, before scattered showers move in this afternoon.

Scattered showers are also expected throughout the evening.

Click here for the latest on South Florida weather.

<![CDATA[2nd Woman Arrested in Animal Torture Porn]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:56:12 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/stephanie+hird+web.jpg

Miami-Dade Police confirmed a second woman has been arrested in connection to an animal torture pornographic video.

Stephanie Hird, 29, was arrested Wednesday and charged with five counts of animal cruelty, according to online jail records.

Hird, who lives in Arkansas, was arrested while trying to board a plane at Miami International Airport, according to The Miami Herald.

She is being held on $7,500 bond. It is unknown if she has an attorney.

Earlier this month, co-defendant Sara Zamora, 28, was charged with eight counts of animal cruelty for her role in a video called “SOS Barn,” according to the Herald, which first reported the story.

The video shows her and other pornographic actresses torturing and killing chickens, rabbits and other animals for the “sexual gratification of its viewers,” according to police.

In one clip of “SOS Barn,” police said Zamora is seen groping a man’s genitals with one hand while cutting a chicken’s neck with hedge clippers with her other hand, the Herald reported. She also karate-chopped the necks of several rabbits and admitted to killing them.

Videos that depict animal torture and death is illegal under Florida law.

Miami-Dade detectives learned about the video from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Photo Credit: Miami-Dade Corrections]]>
<![CDATA[Broward School Hit by Mystery Illness]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:40:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/boulevard+heights+elementary+school.jpg

A Broward elementary school is undergoing a thorough cleaning after a number of students fell ill.

Now the Health Department is trying to pinpoint the source and get the situation under control at Boulevard Heights Elementary School.

"I've seen lots of students that they're vomiting and they have to go to the bathroom really badly," second-grader Max Carraeja said. "I think it's really, really we need, like, to pay attention, because if you go and drink water from the fountain you might get sick."

The suspicious strain popped up at the Hollywood school some time last week. The Broward County School District said an unusually high number of students with gastric concerns had to go home because of vomiting and diarrhea. Carraeja was lucky enough to no be one of them.

"My son was fine so I said to him you're fine you don't have none of that," Carreja's mother Carolina said.

The sick spell can be compared to the norovirus, the infection commonly seen on cruise ships.

A pre-recorded school voicemail sent to parents said: "The virus is quickly spread through hands and mouths touching the water fountain. The water supply is not contaminated."

In addition to phone calls, the school sent out letters alerting parents about the situation. Administrators also said the playgrounds are being scrubbed down, teachers are making sure kids wash their hands, and the school has covered the water fountains. Parents are also supposed to send their kids to school with bottled water.

NBC 6 spoke with a mother of quadruplets who didn't want to be on camera.

"You have 4 kids, you have 4 times the worry?" Reporter Jamie Guirola asked,

"Yes yes," she replied. "Well, it's a little more expensive. I have to get like at least three cases of water, but it's ok. It's ok as long as they don't get sick I can handle it."

The district released a statement saying:

"The health and safety of our students and staff are always our highest priorities. We will continue to work with and follow the direction of the Health Department on this issue."

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Girl Robbed of $1 in NYC Subway]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:47:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/girl-robbed-1-dollar.jpg

Police are looking for a man who approached a teen girl in an Upper West Side subway stairwell and tried to rob her before assaulting her and fleeing with $1.

The 15-year-old girl was entering the B and C subway station on 96th Street and Central Park West at about 10 a.m. Saturday, police said.

The suspect approached her and demanded her valuables.

He then assaulted her and took $1 from her jacket before fleeing.

Police released surveillance images of the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

<![CDATA[Heat to Take on Bobcats in First Round of Playoffs]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:34:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/463585371.jpg

The Miami Heat will begin their quest for a third straight title on Sunday at home against the Charlotte Bobcats when the NBA playoffs get underway.

The Heat entered the last day of the year secured as the two seed in the Eastern Conference and awaited news of which team would be the seven seed. The Washington Wizards could’ve easily been headed to Miami instead but it will be Charlotte after the results of Wednesday’s games. The Heat have defeated the Bobcats 16 straight times including four games during the 2013-14 season.
The first contest this season between the teams was on November 16th in Charlotte when the Heat came away 97-81 winners. In that game, LeBron James had 30 points and ran the show in a slow day for both Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The next time the two teams saw one another was December 1st in Miami with the Heat narrowly winning 99-98. That game was highlighted by Chris Bosh draining a trifecta of three-pointers in a 79 second span to lead Miami to the victory.
On January 18th, a third meeting took place with the Heat winning in overtime 104-96 in Charlotte. With Wade missing the game, both James and Bosh had big games. James had 34 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Bosh tallied 25 points of his own to go along with seven boards. Ray Allen also contributed in a big way picking up 12 points and nine rebounds of his own. The last game on March 3rd featured James’ 61-point explosion in a lopsided 124-107 Heat victory. Wade missed that contest as well and James played with a protective mask due to a fractured nose.
A year ago, Charlotte finished 21-61 which was one of the worst records in the entire NBA. It was a different story however this season. The Bobcats had a decent year going 43-39 for their second playoff appearance ever and the first for Charlotte since the 2009-10 season. Led by Al Jefferson, the Bobcats finished strong with eight wins in their final nine games. Charlotte also features point guard Kemba Walker who is a potentially budding star in the NBA.
The first game of the series will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday from the American Airlines Arena.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Caught on Camera: Postal Worker Robbed at Gunpoint]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 22:20:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/postal+worker+robbed.jpg

Postal inspectors said a mail carrier was robbed at gunpoint at a Lauderhill apartment building Monday.

Surveillance video shows the female United State Postal Service worker walking into a corridor where the mailboxes are located at the Continental Apartments building located at 1761 Northwest 46th Avenue. A man wearing a red shirt and white shorts can then be seen walking behind the woman, slipping on a black hoodie and pulling out a weapon.

Inspectors said the master key to the apartment building's mailboxes was also taken.

"We suspect they are out there looking for the key because they are looking for anything of value in the mail such as cash, gift cards, anything they can actually sell," postal inspector Blanca Alvarez said. "Just like when they break into vehicles they are looking for anything of value."

Now, many residents said they are worried their checks and important papers may fall into the wrong hands.

"I get my checks through the mail and I am very concerned about that," resident Ivan Jarrett said.

Inspectors said they are looking for a white male in his mid-20s that is about 5'10" with a medium build and short hair who fled on foot. Taking a postal worker's master key is a federal offense and inspectors are offering a $10,000 reward to anyone that turns in a postal key.

"The reward is being offered for any postal key, whether its a carrier's key to open mail boxes or a vehicle key or any type of postal key," Alvarez said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact 954-436-7200.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Nationals Blast Away Marlins With Late Power Surge]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:57:20 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/485147187.jpg

The Miami Marlins had a 3-0 lead but it fell apart in a hurry as the Washington Nationals came away 6-3 winners on Wednesday.

Jose Fernandez was pitching brilliantly until a bad pitch to Jayson Werth in the sixth inning. In the blink of an eye, a 3-0 shutout turned into a 3-3 game. That would turn out to only be the beginning of the story. Fernandez wound up with ten strikeouts across seven innings of work with no earned runs. The Marlins' ace walked none and allowed four hits. The home run followed a pair of errors by Jarrod Saltalamacchia which extended the inning. With the no decision, Fernandez remains 2-1 on the year to go along with a 2.66 E.R.A.

Mike Dunn's tough season continued in the eighth when the left-hander allowed two runs on a hit and a walk without retiring a batter. One of those runs was a lead-off home run to quickly put Miami behind 4-3. Dunn now has a 9.53 E.R.A this season and has been ineffective in several outings. A.J. Ramos had a rare poor outing allowing a run on two hits in his inning following Dunn's effort.

Derek Dietrich provided all the runs for Miami in this one with a three-run home run which was his third blast of the young season. The home run was a laser off the facade of the upper deck in right field and gave the Marlins a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. Marcell Ozuna stayed hot with a two-hit game including his third double of the season.

The Marlins are off on Thursday before they begin their first interleague series of the season on Friday. The Seattle Mariners are set to visit Miami and take on Nathan Eovaldi.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[MDX Unable to Send Delayed Toll Bills]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:07:09 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/sunpass+tol+schedule.jpg

The Miami-Dade Expressway authority had hoped by Tuesday to send out bills to thousands of registered owners of vehicles that have been breezing through its toll plazas since October without paying because they do not have SunPass.

But, after an MDX spokesman at first refused to reveal whether the bills had been sent, the agency’s executive director confirmed to the Team 6 Investigators that the bills did not go out Tuesday, as had been hoped.

In addition, executive director Javier Rodriguez said the authority still does not know precisely how much money it is owed by the owners of vehicles who have not been billed since October 2013.

Without notifying the public, the agency suspended billing for the toll-by-plate program in October, as it tried to transition from a problem-plagued system to a new one.

But, more than six months later, the new system is not up and running to the degree that bills can be sent out and the agency can ascertain how many millions it might be owed.

For comparison, in the last fiscal year, the agency billed $7.5 million in toll-by-plate charges during a six-month period.

Rodriguez said the bills will go out this week and that he will reveal how much is owed when he is confident the agency knows the amount.

“We're not sure with the system that we have exactly what the number is,” he said.

Meanwhile, toll-by-plate users are amassing bills that the agency in March said would have to be paid within 60 days of receipt of the still-unissued bills. The agency now says it may extend that deadline by requiring only two months be paid at a time instead of three, as it previously said it had decided.

It also said it will offer discounts to users who convert to SunPass.

For more on this Team6 Investigators exclusive, see the April 1st report here.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Sentencing in Hit-and-Run Crash That Killed 5-Year-Old]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 21:22:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/erik+garcia.jpg

In the courtroom Wednesday, Catherine Diaz had strong words for the man who allegedly took her 5-year-old daughter's life.

"He had the opportunity to make a right decision, and stop, swerve, or do whatever possible to avoid hurting my baby," she said. "But he chose not to. He just didn't care to avoid this tragedy."

Fort Lauderdale Police said 5-year-old Yanelle Lucero was riding her tricycle westbound on the 100 block of NW 67th Street on the northern edge of the roadway when she was hit by a GMC van that was also traveling westbound in March of 2012.

Authorities said then 19-year-old Erik Garcia was behind the wheel of that van, which he left at the scene before fleeing on foot. His friend, then 19-year-old Mario Argumedo, ran to the child, picked her up and carried her to her mother and then drove the van away from the scene, police said.

In court, Diaz held onto her child's ashes as she sat through Garcia's sentencing.

"We're coming to the end of what's been a tragedy for me and my family," Diaz said. "A mother's heart is always in pain."

Garcia apologized on the stand, crying as he asked for forgiveness.

"I'd like to ask for their forgiveness," he said in Spanish. "For the pain that I've caused."

Garcia, now 21, was charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death and not having a valid driver's license. Argumedo, the owner of the van, was also charged with leaving the scene and tampering with evidence.

"I only hope that the family understands the constraints on the court given what's before me," Judge Marc Gold said Wednesday.

He sentenced Garcia to 30 months behind bars, but Garcia entered a plea deal that will allow him to walk in 5 months, after he gets credit for time served. He will later be deported to his native country of Mexico.

"This guy was drinking, the day of the accident. I saw him, with his friends drinking," Diaz told the judge.

Ultimately the judge said Garcia was charged with leaving the scene of the accident and that there was no tangible evidence that suggested he was driving under the influence, as the victim's mother believes.

At the end of the sentencing, a heartbroken woman left without seeing the justice she hoped for.

"That's not what I expected at all," Diaz said crying into a tissue. "I'm not happy. For someone to receive 30 months prison for taking away the life of my daughter."

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Truck Crashes Into Restaurant]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:55:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/217*120/firetruckcrash1.JPG

Monterey Park's fire chief said during a news conference on Thursday that he had never seen an accident the magnitude of Wednesday's crash that left 15 people hurt when two fire trucks plowed into a restaurant.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time ... we don't have anything like this occur," said Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell.

Lu's Dumpling House owner Vivian Lu said a man was on the sidewalk when the 40,000-pound fire engine jumped the curb, pushing him as it slammed through her restaurant near Garfield and Emerson avenues about 3:25 p.m.

When the fire truck came to a stop, a man was found pinned beneath it.

Cellphone video captured the moment when a firefighter attempted to help the man under the front bumper of the engine. The victim was believed to be hospitalized in critical condition.

"A lot blood,” Lu said. ”I see a lot blood."

Lu said the impact of the crash also pushed a built-in cashier's table across the floor, sending a waitress into a wall and making the building unstable.

Six firefighters suffered minor to moderate injuries, and eight other people had minor injuries. One person was in critical condition. A total of 15 people were hurt.

"I see a few people sitting on the street and all this blood," Lu said.

The crash happened down the street from Garfield Medical Center, where many of the victims were being taken on foot by firefighters.

The crash occurred when a fire truck and a fire engine crashed while responding to a house on fire. Both trucks were blaring sirens and running lights, one truck from Montery Park Fire Department and the other from the Alhambra Fire Department. All firefighters on board were wearing ear protecting headsets to dampen the sirens noise.

"It is ear protection from the noise of your own sirens so they do diminish the sound from outside," Alhambra Fire Department Chief Bill Walker said.

Neighbors ended up helping put out the house fire that both departments were responding to at the time of the crash.

Photo Credit: NewsChopper4]]>