<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida https://www.nbcmiami.comen-usMon, 22 Jan 2018 05:35:50 -0500Mon, 22 Jan 2018 05:35:50 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Women's March Rally Draws More Than 1,000 In Wynwood]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:55:34 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/012118womensmarchupdated.PNG

More than 1,000 activists gathered at a Women's March rally in Wynwood Sunday, waving signs and cheering for equal rights during the event aimed at expanding voter access and ending voter suppression, according to a news release. 

The "'Power to the Polls' Women's Day of Action" event was organized by Women's March Florida members. The event was held at Mana Wynwood on January 21, "the one-year anniversary of the largest political protest in recent U.S. history." 

The rally comes as more demonstrations in support of female empowerment take place around the world. On Saturday, a host of marches and protests -- several of them massive -- marked the anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration.

The large group of activists in Wynwood did not march as of early Sunday afternoon, but there was still some impact on traffic.

This story will be updated. Please check back for more updates. 

Photo Credit: ]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Fatally Shot In L.A. Fitness Parking Lot]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 08:49:38 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/215*120/12018+victim+of+shooting.jpg

For the mother of 18-year-old Omar Darwish, the pain is unbearable. He was killed in a shooting outside an LA Fitness in Aventura.

“They tell me to be strong, but I cannot,” says Animara Perez, the victim’s mother.

Her son was fatally shot late Friday night at the parking lot of an LA Fitness on Northeast 207th Street in Avenutra. The gym was closed at the time.

Childhood friends of Darwish gathered less than a block away from his mother’s home in Homestead.

Heartfelt messages were written on balloons by classmates like Victoria Mancera, who tried to hold back tears as best as she could.

“Omar was always there. Always, always there for me,” said Mancera.

Other childhood friends like Carolyn Christensen are still in disbelief. She said Darwish texted her an hour before the shooting to say he was coming to Homestead to visit her.

“I’ve been crying all day about it. Just thinking like is he really gone? Thinking he’s going to come through the door and just I’m here – but nope,” said Christensen.

The deadly crime is still under investigation. Police are on the lookout for a white Mercedes Benz hatchback. Investigators say the car could be connected to Omar’s death.

“I want my son back, but I know that won’t happen. It’s irreversible,” said Perez.

Police have not confirmed Darwish’s identity as the victim of this crime.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Aventura Police or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

<![CDATA[Trump's First Year: A Tax Victory But Russia Probe Continues]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 09:06:44 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-907175636.jpg

President Donald Trump’s first significant legislative achievement did not come until December, when Congress approved a $1.5 trillion tax bill that cut corporate and individual rates. But throughout Trump’s first year, his administration has been working to get federal judges appointed, roll back environmental and other regulations and reset America’s place in the world.

Some of those efforts succeeded — many through executive actions or decisions at the agency level. Others are in the works and still others are stalled, often in the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would take up the latest version of Trump’s ban on travel to the United States by the residents of six majority-Muslim countries and two others. In the meantime it has allowed enforcement of the ban, one of the first campaign promises the president tried to fill but which has been challenged repeatedly.

All came against the backdrop of a chaotic White House, Trump on Twitter and Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, a bane for the president. Just this month, Trump sidestepped a question about whether he would commit to an interview with the special prosecutor, even as his former chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, could talk to Mueller’s team by the end of the month, according to NBC News.

Trump’s tumultuous first year in office — a fulfillment of campaign promises for many of his supporters, an embarrassment to his opponents — ended with the federal government shutting down Saturday after Congress hit an impasse over spending. Trump had promised to upend the political culture of Washington D.C., in his words to “drain the swamp,” but gridlock prevailed, with Republicans and Democrats blaming each other.

Overall, 53 percent of Americans say Trump has been unsuccessful, and even more, 61 percent, say he is doing more to divide the country than unite it, according to an NPR/PBS/Marist Poll. But among Republicans, 87 percent called his first year a success.

At the same time, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 69 percent of Americans are satisfied with the state of the economy.

Trump’s first legislative attempt, to repeal and replace Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, ended in a spectacular failure. But then the tax reform bill, long a Republican goal, was approved, though with no Democratic support. It is the biggest tax overhaul in 30 years, and Republicans say the changes will make American businesses more competitive overseas and allow them to create new jobs and raise wages. It also repealed Obamacare's mandate that most Americans have health insurance. Democrats counter that the bill unfairly benefits the wealthy over the middle class.

“The administration had a range of successes, but in many ways they were second-tier successes that Republicans were trying to sell as first-tier successes, important things but not really major accomplishments,” said Austin-based conservative consultant Matt Mackowiak, president of the Potomac Strategy Group. “If you look back at this year, obviously the tax bill is the single biggest accomplishment.”

Trump’s other unquestioned success has been getting conservative judges onto federal courts, beginning with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Grouch and a dozen appointments to the federal appeals courts. When Senate Republicans confirmed Trump’s 12th federal appeals court nominee in mid-December, they set a record for the most in a president’s first year, Axios noted.

As far as rules and regulations, the Trump administration has been focused on overturning those of the Obama era, from permitting drilling off the coast of the United States to refocusing on enforcement of federal marijuana laws to pulling back on a federal mandate that employers provide coverage for birth control. A tally kept by the Washington Post shows 17 executive actions issued by Trump, 96 cabinet-level agency decisions, 14 Congressional review acts, and three pieces of new legislation passed by Congress.

On the environment, Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, while the tax reform bill opens the Alaska Wildlife Refuge to drilling. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has announced that the administration would repeal the Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama’s signature attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. But environmentalists and several states immediately threatened to sue and pointed out that the EPA is required to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions. And Trump shrunk the size of two national monuments in Utah at the beginning of December, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, by two million acres. It was the largest cut of federally protected land ever.

Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth University, said many of Trump’s achievements were not very different from what could have been accomplished had another Republican won the White House. The conservative judicial appointments, the tax bill and the environmental pullbacks would have been expected in another Republican administration with Republican control of the House and Senate, she said.

Internationally, Trump promised to reposition the United States in the world, but turmoil in the State Department under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has dominated headlines. Trump has antagonized countries in the Middle East by saying he would move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, he has frozen aid to Pakistan, calling it a haven for terrorist, he defeated ISIS in Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, and he has taunted North Korea’s leader Kim Jung Un on Twitter. And the Trump administration pulled back on trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Trump’s critics say his “America First” position has left the United States isolated, its international standing diminished.

On immigration, the president ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), is expelling nearly 200,000 El Salvadorans who have been allowed to live in the United States for more than a decade, and is trying to change the American immigration system to one based on merit.

So far his promised wall on the Mexico border is not built, nor has Mexico paid for it. His comment about not wanting immigrants from “s--thole countries,” which Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois insists he said during a meeting about DACA but which the president denies, earned him condemnation around the world.

“There certainly is enormous pressure from parts of the Republican party to take a hard line of immigration,” Fowler said. “But this is a signature issue for Trump. Whether another president would have basically ended the DACA program without anything in its place, that’s really a debatable issue.”

Mike Madrid, an expert on Latino voting trends and a political consultant at Grassroots Lab in Sacramento, called the Republican handling of immigration a disaster. More than any other issue it will bring about the decline of the party nationally, he said. Republicans have lost communities of color, Hispanics in particular, for a generation or longer, he said.

Madrid, who said he was more opposed to Trump than during the campaign, said that factions within the Republican party were too far apart ideologically to move a Republican agenda forward.

“The Republican party is no longer the home of the conservative movement,” he said. “It is the home of a nationalist movement, a populist movement, and those are two extremely different things.”

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty
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<![CDATA[Woman and Child Struck by Hit and Run Driver]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 23:48:04 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/217*120/12118+hit+and+run.jpg

Police in Miami Beach are investigating a hit and run accident after a driver struck pedestrians crossing the street; one of which was a child.

Two people were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital following the potentially fatal hit and run crash.

The incident happened Sunday afternoon at 77th Street and Dickens Avenue.

Police say the driver responsible for the incident was driving a black Cadillac.

According to police, the driver took off instead of stopping to help the woman and child.

Police were able to track down the driver two blocks away at 7th Street and Carlyle Avenue.

Officials have very little information about the suspect who was taken into custody.

NBC 6 has learned that the victims are recovering in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

It's unclear what the driver will be charged with. 

<![CDATA[2 IEDs Detonated at a Florida Mall, No Injuries: Police]]> Mon, 22 Jan 2018 02:26:52 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/police+generic+nbcny1.jpg

Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida.

Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze tells news outlets that at 5:22 p.m., the Lake Wales Fire Department received an alarm call at the Eagle Ridge Mall. While en route to that call, their alarm for smoke was turned into a structure fire call.

As they arrived, they found smoke in the service corridor just outside J.C. Penney. They discovered an IED that ignited or detonated inside that service corridor as they went inside.

Schulze said they also found a book bag containing what they believed to be other devices inside.

Officials say no one was injured, but the mall was evacuated.

Authorities say witnesses described a person-of-interest. An investigation is ongoing.

<![CDATA[Walt Disney World Offers Discounted Tickets to U.S. Military]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 22:07:18 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-466875452.jpg

Walt Disney World is saying thank you to members of the military by offering them a discount on theme park tickets.

Select U.S. military personnel have the option of purchasing a discounted 4-day military promotional ticket or a 5-day military promotional ticket.

Tickets are available now through December 15th. The 5-day ticket is $246 plus tax, while the 4-day ticket is $226 plus tax. Guests have the option to add the park hopper option for just $40 more, plus tax.

Memory Maker, which is a product that allows you to get your park photos and videos, is also available for a discounted price of $99.

Only six tickets can be purchased by anyone service member or their spouse.

For a full list of who is eligible to purchase the military discounted tickets, as well as additional terms and conditions, including blackout dates, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Child Recovers After Near Drowning in Southwest Miami-Dade]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 23:36:37 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/12118+near+drowning+swmd.jpg

A child is in critical condition after being found at the bottom of a canal Sunday afternoon.

 The incident happened at Southwest 127th Place and 204th Lane in Southwest Miami-Dade.

According to officials, divers pulled the child from the bottom of a canal and he was taken to the hospital, where he was in critical condition.

<![CDATA[Two Pedestrians Killed After Being Struck by Car]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 23:36:59 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/212*120/12118+dania+beach+crash.jpg

Two pedestrians were struck and killed by a car in Dania Beach Saturday night.

According to Broward Sheriff’s Office, the incident happened at around 7:40 p.m. The two people were trying to cross Sheridan Street near Federal Highway.

Officials said the car was traveling westbound in the left lane and had the right of way when the man and woman were hit.

The woman, who police will identify once her next of kin is notified, was pronounced dead at the scene. Raymond Juarez, the second pedestrian, was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The driver, who was identified as Leslie O’Hare, remained at the scene and didn’t report any injuries. Detectives don’t suspect the driver was under the influence and they don’t suspect speed was a contributing factor to the crash.

Detectives will continue to investigate the incident. 

<![CDATA[Sen. Duckworth Slams Trump as '5-Deferment Draft Dodger']]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:55:02 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/duckworth+deferment+.png

Sen. Tammy Duckworth slammed President Donald Trump over the federal government shutdown on Saturday, calling him a "five-deferment draft dodger" in a fiery speech on the U.S. Senate floor.

Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs when the helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a grenade in 2004, was specifically responding to a tweet in which Trump said "Democrats are holding our military hostage" in the shutdown.

The Illinois Democrat said Trump's accusation was "just the latest in a string of recent comments where he accuses Democrats like me of not caring about our military."

"I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible," she said, adding, "Sadly, this is something the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do. And I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger."

Duckworth was referring to the deferments from the military draft Trump received – four as a college student and one medical deferment that Trump told the New York Times was for bone spurs in his heels.

"And I have a message for Cadet Bone Spurs: if you cared about our military, you’d stop baiting Kim Jong Un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops – and millions of innocent civilians – in danger," she continued.

Duckworth's speech came hours after the federal government shut down, halting all "non-essential" operations at midnight Friday after last-minute negotiations on a spending plan failed.

Trump and Congressional Republicans blamed Senate Democrats, who filibustered the short-term funding bill that cleared the House the night before in hopes of putting pressure on negotiations surrounding an immigration deal.

At issue is the legal status of so-called "Dreamers," the nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors and were protected from deportation under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that the Trump administration ended in September.

"Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border," Trump tweeted Saturday morning. "They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead."

Democrats, joined by a handful of GOP senators in voting against the stopgap measure, blamed Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House, for not accepting a bipartisan compromise. Democratic lawmakers said Trump hurt negotiations by initially expressing support for the deal before abruptly walking away.

"Our troops know how to work together," Duckworth ended her speech Saturday. "They stand shoulder to shoulder to protect and defend this country. We surely in these chambers can do the same. So let’s stop blaming each and other and let’s get to work."

<![CDATA[Cotton: Support for Immigration Deal Won't Hinge on Trump]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 11:58:01 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-825587454.jpg

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said Sunday he would not agree to an immigration deal simply because it has President Donald Trump's support, as the government shutdown enters its second day with no end in sight, NBC News reported.

"I can't make that commitment at all," Cotton said on Sunday's "Meet The Press," adding he would "evaluate any deal on its merits and what's best for the people" of his home state of Arkansas.

By Sunday, top lawmakers appeared no closer to reaching a compromise that would re-open the government, and members of both parties continued to hurl blame at the opposite side.

Many Democrats and some Republicans have remained adamant that they don't want to continue to support short-term government spending bills if an immigration compromise offering protections for recipients of DACA can't be reached. Protections under that program are set to expire on March 5.

Photo Credit: Zach Gibson - Pool/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Crosses Tracks While Brightline Train Approaches]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 23:24:13 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/242*120/12018+passenger+brightline+edit.jpg

A South Florida resident had his camera rolling as two pedestrians walked across train tracks as a Brightline train was approaching the West Palm Beach station.

Although crossing arms were down and warning signals were flashing, the pedestrians continued to cross the tracks – despite the fact that the train was approaching the station quickly.

Brightline has been working hard to make sure that pedestrians adhere to the warnings to avoid potentially fatal incidents.

On Friday, a pedestrian was struck and wounded as they tried to beat the train across the tracks at a station in Ft. Lauderdale.

On Wednesday, a 51-year-old bicyclist was struck and killed by a Brightline train in Boynton Beach. Additionally, last Friday, a 32-year-old woman struck and killed by the train in Boynton Beach.

Brightline put out a statement Friday saying, “We joined with partners in South Florida to stress our top priority – safety. Incidents like these can be avoided and train warnings need to be treated exactly like red lights, stop signs and crosswalks.”

<![CDATA[Boy, 14, Dies After Surgery To Remove 10-Pound Tumor]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:55:11 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tumor+to+be+removed.JPG

A 14-year-old boy suffering from a rare medical condition that caused a 10-pound tumor to emerge on his face died after undergoing surgery, according to one of the doctors in charge of the procedure.

"Our condolences and prayers for Emanuel's family and the loss of a very brave young man," said Dr. Robert E. Marx, a surgeon at Jackson Memorial Hospital. "Another angel has arrived in Heaven." 

For 12 years, Emanuel Zayas battled a medical condition called polyostotic fibrous dysplacia, an illness which causes developmentally certain bones to become soft. The illness caused a 10-pound benign tumor to develop on Zayas' face.

Zayas’ parents tried for years to get help. Doctors were able to get a temporary visa for the boy and his family to come to Miami from Cuba to have the surgery, which was scheduled in January at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Marx said he saw progress in Zayas on January 18, when he observed  pupillary reflexes and facial muscle tone in the boy's face. But on Saturday, Dr. Marx said Zayas' condition had worsened with kidney and lung failure. 

"I am saddened by the fact that we are losing him and that apparently the physiologic stress of the surgery was too much for his compromised anatomy to overcome," Marx said on Satuday. "Our hopes of saving his life and in doing so would allow him a better quality of life have not been realized."

Dr. Marx said that Zayas' family plans on donating Emanuel's body to medical research in hopes of learning more about the rare disease and helping people across the world who suffer from polyostotic fibrous dysplacia. 

"I am personally saddened but want to thank all of you for your well wishes and prayers," Dr. Marx said. "Please continue the prayers."

<![CDATA[What's Open, Closed During Government Shutdown]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 12:29:39 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-896545538.jpg

The federal government shut down at midnight Friday, after Congress failed to pass a spending bill and finalize a budget plan. But what does that mean for you? Here’s what’s open and closed during a government shutdown.


• Government offices

• Mortgage applications

• National Institute of Health

Select national parks, zoos and museums


Government functions essential to public safety will continue to operate. These federal employees will not be paid during the shutdown.

• Members of Congress

• U.S. Military Personnel

• Air Traffic Controllers

• FBI Agents

• Meat and poultry inspectors

• Coast Guard and Border Patrol

• TSA Screeners

• U.S. Postal Service

• Federal hospitals

• Federal prisons 

Other notable closures in South Florida include the Homestead National Parks Trolley Service, which will be suspended until further notice. 

The government shutdown comes as President Donald Trump marks his one-year anniversary in office. The last government shutdown occurred in 2013 and lasted two weeks, costing an estimated $20 billion.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated visa/passport services would be postponed as a result of the shutdown. According to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, "scheduled passport and visa services in the U.S. and overseas will continue during the lapse in appropriations."

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Texas City Funds Program That Pays Homeless to Pick Up Trash]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 01:14:26 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/fort+worth+skyline+downtown.jpg

The city of Fort Worth is paying homeless people to pick up trash as part of a unique program to clean up the city and turn lives around.

Frank Crist, 53, earns $10 an hour to pick up litter in the area southeast of downtown where many homeless people live. He also gets paid vacation and benefits. 

"It just makes you feel better keeping it cleaned up," he said. "It means a lot. I mean, with my record and stuff, I really had no other place that would hire me."

Crist served prison time for drugs and ended up on the street. He now lives at the Presbyterian Night Shelter, which hired him as part of a program called Clean Slate.

The city pays for it. The shelter runs it.

"It is a win-win," said Presbyterian Night Shelter CEO Toby Owen. "We want a clean neighborhood that speaks hope, that speaks dignity to our homeless guests. And it also provides income for these individuals so they can move out and be successful without living in a homeless shelter."

Last year, Clean Slate put 40 homeless people to work, Owen said. Approximately 3,856 tons of trash was collected by Clean Slate workers. And they don't just clean up trash on the street -- they also work as janitors for businesses.

Crist is about to move into an apartment — after 23 months in the shelter.

"It took me about a year, a year-and-a-half, but everything is coming together," he said. "It feels great. Didn't think it was ever going to happen again, but now it has."

Crist says he will continue to work for Clean Slate even after he moves into his new apartment. 

The city now spends about $48,000 a year on the program.

Owen said the shelter is working with the city to expand it next year.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Police Identify Man Found Dead In Intracoastal]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 12:19:59 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/012118floater.PNG

The Broward Sheriff's Office have identified a man who was found dead in the Intracoastal waters of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea early Friday morning.

Authorities said the body of William J. Weaver was discovered by a jogger at around 6:10 a.m. on Friday. The jogger saw a body floating in the water near 4401 W. Tradewinds Ave. in what appeared to be a fatal drowning. 

Weaver was 32 years old, authorities said. 

Officials are investigating the drowning and are asking anyone with information to call 954-321-4279 or Broward Crime Stoppers anonymously at 954-493-TIPS. 

Photo Credit: CHOPPER 6]]>
<![CDATA[Without CHIP, 1.7M Kids Could Lose Healthcare in Weeks]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 23:06:01 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/150715-doctors-visit-mbm_de870e476c74eecccb2b249e654c7a56.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

More than 1.75 million children in 20 states and Washington D.C. are at risk of losing their health insurance by the end of February if Congress does not reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which ceased being funded when lawmakers failed to pass a spending bill late Friday night.

As the weekend continues, Congress is attempting to negotiate a deal that would provide CHIP a six-year extension, but that's not soon enough for some, NBC News reported.

“I’m tired of my daughter's health being used as a political weapon," said Lisa Nunez, a resident of Port Jefferson, Long Island, whose 11-year-old daughter is a CHIP recipient.

The healthcare program covers around 8.9 million American kids overall. The situation is most dire for the nearly 3.7 million who get their insurance through their state's separate CHIP programs, rather than CHIP-funded Medicaid. A provision in the Affordable Care Act stipulates that children who receive health insurance through CHIP-funded Medicaid cannot lose their insurance even if that CHIP funding were to disappear.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Davie Closes Two Lanes On I-595]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:57:06 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/POLICE+SIREN+GENERIC.jpg

A fatal motorcycle crash in Davie has closed two eastbound lanes on I-595, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The collision happened on I-595 East at Nob Hill Road. Authorities said the crash involved two motorcycles and one passenger died after being transported to Broward General Hospital.

This is a developing story and will be updated. Please check back for more information. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Pa. Congressman Denies Misconduct Claim; Ethics Probe May Follow ]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 08:41:15 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Patrick-Meehan.jpg

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan is denying allegations of misconduct after a new report from The New York Times cited unnamed people accusing him of using taxpayer money to settle a complaint from a former aide. 

According to the report published Saturday, Meehan is accused of expressing romantic interest toward a younger female staff member and then becoming "hostile when she did not reciprocate." Meehan, a 62-year-old married father of three, allegedly professed his feelings for her in person and then wrote her a letter. The woman eventually started working from home and then left the job, The New York Times reported.

Meehan’s office and the woman eventually reached a confidential agreement and Meehan used thousands of taxpayer dollars to settle the claim, sources told The New York Times.

Meehan, who resides in Drexel Hill, has represented Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district since 2011 and previously served as the Delaware County District Attorney from 1996 to 2001. Meehan was also a member of the House Ethics Committee which has recently conducted investigations into sexual misconduct claims against other congressmen.

House Speaker Paul Ryan's office says the allegations against Meehan must be investigated by the House Ethics Committee and that Meehan should repay any taxpayer funds used to settle the case. Ryan is also removing Meehan from the committee. 

A spokesman for Meehan told NBC10 Saturday that the congressman "denies the allegations." 

“Throughout his career he has always treated his colleagues male and female with the utmost respect and professionalism,” the spokesman wrote. “In this case, the employee, represented by counsel, made certain assertions of inappropriate behavior which were investigated. With respect to resolving any allegation made against the office, Congressman Meehan would only act with advice of House Counsel and consistent with House Ethics Committee guidance. 

"Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately," Meehan's spokesman continued. "At Congressman Meehan’s request, the congressional attorneys handling the case have asked the complainant’s counsel to release all parties from the confidentiality requirements of the agreement to ensure a full and open airing of all the facts. The Congressman is hopeful that they will agree to this request for full transparency."

"Rep. Meehan believes there must be real reform to the process for resolving complaints so that those who are truly wronged are given a fair forum to be heard and vindicated, and those accused are provided with an ability to respond to baseless accusations. The public to whom elected officials are answerable must be provided with a true sense of the facts and circumstances involved.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Glover ]]>
<![CDATA[Jason Taylor Foundation's Whiffle Ball Blast]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 20:03:08 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Jason_Taylor_Foundation_s_Whiffle_Ball_Blast.jpg

Community leaders got together in Parkland to play whiffle ball with a group of deserving children who are part of the Jason Taylor Foundation.

<![CDATA[Man Trafficked Teens Across DC-Area With Wife, Girlfriend]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 23:49:51 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011918+vanessa+domingues+michael+gunn+angel+gunn.jpg

A Virginia man who sex-trafficked a 14-year-old girl and 16-year-old girl for two years was ordered on Friday to serve 30 years in prison and pay the victims the $648,000 they generated.

Michael Edward Gunn, 41, ran a prostitution ring out of his home in Dumfries, Virginia, about 40 miles from Washington, D.C.. His wife, Angel Gunn, 35, and his live-in girlfriend, Vanessa Domingues, 31, assisted him. 

According to federal court documents, Gunn posted ads for the teenagers on the online classifieds website Backpage, using fake photos. Then, he, his wife or his girlfriend drove the teens to meet customers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Gunn gave the teens drugs and ordered that they meet quotas. One girl needed to make $400 a night. He set a higher quota for the other girl, $1,000 a night, "because of [her] skin color," court documents say.

From July 2013 to July 2015, the teens brought in about $648,000 -- the majority of which went to Gunn.

Neighbors said they had no idea Gunn was pimping girls from his large home in a cul-de-sac. They said they thought the living arrangement among the adults was strange but that they had not seen teens at the house.

"Obviously, you want to help. You want to help any young child that's gone through that, but there were no red flags. There were no signs over there," neighbor Tony Meyers said.

Prosecutors described Gunn as a sexual predator who refused to change his ways. When he met the teens, he already was a registered sex offender. He prostituted an underage girl in D.C., got out of jail and moved to the suburbs.

Court documents say he initially lured the girls with affection, telling them the crime ring was a family whose members took care of each other. He gave the teens a place to stay and had sexual relationships with them both.

At the same time, Gunn was physically violent. According to court documents, he once hit one of the teens so hard, her tooth pierced through her lip.

Anna Hansen, operations director of the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative, said pimps recruit underage girls because they're easy to manipulate.

"They don't have their own well-being or identity established, and they're looking for love, and they're looking for popularity and they're looking for money," she said.

Gunn's scheme began to crumble two years ago, when Prince William County police caught him in a hotel parking lot in Woodbridge, Virginia, with the 14-year-old victim. Police found they had three phones, $1,130 in cash, a hotel room key and 15 condoms.

Evidence showed Gunn knew both teens were underage, prosecutors say.

Angel Gunn and Vanessa Domingues also were convicted of sex-trafficking minors. The women testified at trial that Gunn led the crime ring. Angel Gunn was sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison. Domingues got 10 years.

It's unclear whether the victims will ever get the $648,000 Gunn owes them; the sale of his house yielded only about $110,000.

Prosecutors said they were unable to provide information on where the teens are now, citing confidentiality concerns.

Hansen, the advocate for victims, said she hoped the case would raise awareness of human trafficking.

"It's hiding in plain sight" she said.

Photo Credit: Federal court records
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<![CDATA[Woman Dies After Falling From Cruise Ship Balcony]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 22:13:08 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/219*120/Carnival-Elation.jpg

A woman aboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship died early Friday morning after falling from her cabin’s balcony, spokesperson Vance Gullisken confirmed.

“Early yesterday morning a guest fell from her balcony to several decks below,” Gullisken said in a statement. “The ship’s medical team responded immediately, but, unfortunately, she passed away.”

The Carnival Elation ship departed from Jacksonville on Jan. 18 and was bound for the Bahamas, the statement said. Gullisken said the incident was reported to the proper authorities and support from the ship’s CARE Team was offered to travelers as well as the victim’s family.

The woman has not yet been identified. According to the Miami Herald, the ship was nearing Freeport, Bahamas at the time of the fatal incident.

<![CDATA[Brightline Train Strikes Pedestrian in Ft. Lauderdale]]> Fri, 19 Jan 2018 23:23:38 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/11918+brightline+train.jpg

Police are investigating a Brightline train accident that struck a pedestrian Friday night in Ft. Lauderdale.

Officials said the incident happened at the Northeast 3rd Avenue and North Flagler Drive in Ft. Lauderdale.

According to Ft. Lauderdale Police, the pedestrian was trying to beat the train across the tracks when they were struck. 

Officials confirmed that gates were down and lights were flashing as the pedestrian attempted to cross the tracks.

The pedestrian was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Officials say the pedestrian's injuries are non-life threatening. 

The trains are now back in service. 

Brightline released a statement regarding Friday's incident, saying: "Today, we joined with partners in South Florida to stress our top priority - safety. Incidents like these can be avoided and train warnings need to be treated exactly like red lights, stop signs and crosswalks."

This is the third incident involving a Brightline train in a week. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is made available.

<![CDATA[Florida City Cop Arrested on Official Misconduct Charges]]> Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:16:29 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011918+Ken+Armenteros.jpg

A Florida City Police Department corporal was arrested Friday on charges of official misconduct for allegedly lying during the arrest of a suspected drug dealer.

Ken David Armenteros, 37, turned himself in to Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents to face two counts of official misconduct.

According to Miami-Dade prosecutors and Florida City police officials, Armenteros was off-duty on the afternoon of Sept. 13, 2016, when he requested emergency backup after a confrontation outside a known "drug house" in Florida City.

Officers arrived and arrested the suspect, Christopher Maurice Lewis, on a variety of felonies, officials said.

An investigation by FDLE revealed that Armenteros "materially and fraudulently misrepresented the facts" leading up to and surrounding the request for back-up and arrest of Lewis, officials said.

The charges against Lewis were dropped "when the evidence of deception by Armenteros came to light," officials said.

"A police officer’s credibility is one of his most valuable law enforcement tools," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. "The filing of any false document undermines that officer’s ability to testify in court. As State Attorney, I know that one can never truly discover the truth once it has been layered with distortions or lies."

Armenteros was booked into jail. Attorney information wasn't available.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Business Owner Charged With 46 Counts of Child Porn]]> Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:35:24 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011918+CP+Arrest+South+Florida.jpg

A 61-year-old man has been arrested on 46 child pornography counts after investigators allegedly found tens of thousands of files in his Dropbox account.

The Miami-Dade Police Department arrested James Anthony Abravaya on Friday after executing a search warrant at his business, Sabana Windows – located at 6801 NW 77th Avenue in Miami – on Thursday.

According to a police report, some of the victims "engaged in sexual acts" were between the ages of 2 to 10. The search warrant was issued after an anonymous person told police they saw child pornography on Abravaya's Dropbox cloud account while in the business.

The Miami-Dade Police Department's Special Victims Bureau and Internet Crimes Against Children Squad, along with Homeland Security Investigations special agents and Miami Police Department detectives, collaborated in the investigation that led to the arrest.

Abravaya was booked at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Though Abravaya faces 46 counts of possession of sexual performance by a child, officials said they found 40,000 files in the account. However, police did not explicitly state whether those tens of thousands of files were of child pornography.

Due to the nature and magnitude of the alleged crimes, officials believe there are more victims. Anyone with information is urged to contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

<![CDATA[How Obama Spent His 1st Year Out of Office]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 06:56:49 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-850292898.jpg

Leaving office was a change Barack Obama could believe in.

In the year after he handed the most powerful job in the world to Donald Trump, Obama's foray into post-presidential life has included globe-trotting, book-writing, speech-giving and the unmistakable perks of semiprivate life — like sleep and nights out with Michelle, his wife and former first lady, NBC News reported.

And while he has managed to largely stay out of the chaos that has mired Washington after his exit — minus a few public policy-related pronouncements — Obama has charged ahead with building his foundation and presidential center, ending 2017 with a pair of campaign rally appearances that revealed his love for the stump.

Those who know Obama best, however, say he doesn’t miss being commander in chief and is happy having returned to a somewhat normal life.

Photo Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Poll: Record Share of Americans Strongly Disapprove of Trump]]> Fri, 19 Jan 2018 06:23:20 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/tru23AP_18008659441449.jpg

President Donald Trump ends his first year in office with 39 percent of Americans approving of his job performance, according to the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll — the lowest mark in the poll’s history for any modern president ending his first year.

Fifty-seven percent disapprove of Trump’s job, including a majority of respondents — 51 percent — who now say they strongly disapprove, which is a record high for Trump in the survey. That’s compared with 26 percent of Americans who strongly approve of the president’s job, NBC News reported.

Among key demographic groups, 46 percent of men, 45 percent of whites and 41 percent of seniors give Trump a thumbs-up, versus 35 percent of those ages 18-34, 33 percent of women, 26 percent of Latinos and 8 percent of African Americans who do.

By party, 78 percent of Republicans approve of the president’s job performance, compared with 8 percent of Democrats and 33 percent of independents.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Lawmakers Point Fingers Over Failure to Prevent Shutdown]]> Sat, 20 Jan 2018 07:29:19 -0500 https://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP_18019543572179.jpg

Republicans and Democrats, predictably, blamed each other in the early hours of Saturday for the failure to prevent a federal government shutdown. 

Many government agencies had to cease operations when lawmakers failed to pass a budget plan by midnight.

In the first of a series of early morning tweets Saturday, President Donald Trump said, "Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!"

Democrats pointed out that Republicans control Congress and the White House, while the GOP zeroed in on Senate Democrats who would not support a stopgap measure.

"I've said it before, and I'll say it again. There is absolutely nothing in this bill that #Senate Democrats oppose, yet they are shutting down the government," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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