<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:41:18 -0400 Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:41:18 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Number of Heroin Deaths Soars in Md., Va.]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:29:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Heroin-New-Generic.jpg The number of reported heroin deaths in Maryland and Virginia soared in recent years, the News4 I-Team learned.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Triplets at Georgetown Day School Headed to Ivy League]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:21:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/The+Jones+Triplets.jpg Triplets Malik, Ahmad and Khalil Jones are deciding which Ivy League school they want to attend in the fall after they finish at Georgetown Day School.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Wanted After Crash, Shots Fired]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:47:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006182782_1200x675_230803011938.jpg News4's Jackie Bensen reports from District Heights, where three men attempted to escape police after crashing their car. Two were arrested and the third remains on the lam.]]> <![CDATA[Fox Feasts on First Lady's Vegetable Garden]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:15:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/White+House+Fox+467660945.jpg

An uninvited guest on the White House grounds continues to elude capture.

A red fox apparently has been roaming the grounds since October, raiding the first lady’s vegetable garden and tripping security alarms.

Traps have been set to catch the critter, but so far, no luck.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Md. Dad Accused of Abusing Two-Month-Old Daughter]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:22:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0418-reynold-gibbs2.jpg

A Maryland father is accused of abusing his two-month-old daughter after she was found with severe injuries throughout her body.

Police say 27-year-old Reynold O'Brien Gibbs took his baby to MedStar St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown April 16, after finding her leg was hanging limp.

Emergency room staff called police after noticing the girl had fractures to her left tibia and right femur, several broken limbs and internal abdominal and spinal trauma.

Later that day, Gibbs was charged with three counts of child abuse and two counts of child assault. He's behind bars with a $75,000 bond.

His baby daughter remains in the neonatal intensive care unit.

<![CDATA[W.Va. Prosecutor: Charles Severance Gun Charge Legit]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:59:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sketch-severance-background2.jpg

The West Virginia prosecutor trying to get Charles Severance extradited to northern Virginia will make two main points in court Wednesday: That Severance is a fugitive and that the Loudoun County gun charge against him is a legitimate criminal charge.

Prosecutor Scott Smith filed his response to the defense case laid out in a court filing earlier this week. Over and over again, Severance's defense attorney, Shayne Welling, has called the gun case a sham, an excuse to hold Severance while Alexandria police build a murder case against him.

“Mr. Severance is being improperly and unlawfully detained primarily for the purpose of investigating other matters,” Welling said.

The defense's 56-page filing in response to Virginia’s request to extradite also reveals a witness. A former girlfriend told police she bought two .22-caliber guns for Severance and hasn’t seen the guns since he left an Ashburn townhouse with them March 10. Alexandria's search warrants for that townhouse listed "murder" as the reason for the investigation.

While Alexandria police won't name Severance as a suspect in three unsolved murders, West Virginia authorities have made the link.

Smith rejects the claim the Loudoun gun case is a charade, saying Alexandria police could continue its homicide investigation even if Severance wasn’t in jail.

He included an affidavit from Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman to back up the gun charge.

"I have sufficient evidence to secure the conviction of the said accused," Plowman wrote.

In Friday's court filing, Smith also answers the defense complaint that Severance can't be held as a fugitive because he didn't know of the gun case against him when he left his Ashburn townhouse on March 10 and eventually made his way to Wheeling. Severance is indeed a fugitive, Smith said. West Virginia law only requires that a suspect leave the place the crime was committed. They don't have to be on the run from a known charge.

Severance's defense attorney also claims the extradition request itself is based on faulty paperwork and should be dismissed and Severance freed, pointing out there are two versions of the warrant that bear different handwritten numbers at the top -- one executed by Wheeling police and the other from Loudoun County. Smith said the documents do not conflict and bear the same printed tracking number.

<![CDATA[D.C.'s Rent Prices 2nd Only to Hawaii's: Report]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:29:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_177378428.jpg

It's no secret D.C. is growing rapidly, but a new national report puts the District as having the second highest rental prices in the country -- behind only Hawaii.

The report also reveals that affordable rent is scarce for many across the country.

In D.C., a full-time worker would need to earn $28.25 to afford a two-bedroom unit, which could be considered the minimum amount of space needed to house a family.

"If you want to be anywhere close to the thoroughfares, the major policy areas, you're going to pay a price," said one renter.

A minimum wage worker in D.C. would have to work 137 hours per week to be able to spend only 30 percent of their income to rent that apartment, according to an annual report by the National Low Incoming Housing Coalition (NLIHC).

"What's alarming about the report is things aren't getting better for the lowest-income renters," said Linda Couch, senior vice president for Policy and Outreach at the NLIHC. "And when we look at the mismatch between what people are earning and what rents actually are in the D.C. metro area, that gap is widening...."

Maryland also ranked high on the list, as the fourth most expensive rental market. There, a full-time worker would need to bring in $24.94 per hour to get that two-bedroom.

The nationwide average is only a little better. A full time worker would need to earn $18.92 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental in the U.S., without spending more than 30 percent of income toward rent.

But the advocacy group's study, which is based on the 2012 census and median income statistics, shows that in many states a person must earn even more per hour to pay fair market rent for a two-bedroom unit.

Fair market rent, which is set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is calculated with the idea that no more than 30 percent of one's income is spent on rent.

Here's a rundown on the six least affordable states for renters, and what a worker would need to earn per hour to afford a two-bedroom:

  • Hawaii: $31.54 per hour
  • D.C. $28.25 per hour
  • California: $26.04 per hour
  • Maryland: $24.94 per hour
  • New Jersey: $24.94 per hour
  • New York: $24.87 per hour

More than half of D.C. residents are renters, as are more than 40 percent of residents of Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties -- and parking is often an additional expense for renters.

D.C. resident Ralph Wong said parking costs him another $200 on top of his rent.

"I'm not happy about it," he said. "It's actually a substantial portion of my paycheck."

The report shows that it takes 2.6 full-time minimum wage jobs to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment in the United States. Rentals are most affordable in Puerto Rico, where a family would need just 1.4 minimum-wage jobs for the typical rental. In Hawaii, it would take 4.4 minimum-wage jobs for a typical two-bedroom rental.

The report, released in March, comes amid a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.

Connecticut, where an average person needs to earn $23.02 to afford a two-bedroom rental unit, made headlines recently by becoming the first state to adopt a law to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, and since then, D.C. and Maryland have also approved a minimum wage increase -- D.C.'s from $8.25 to $11.50 by 2016, and Maryland's from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2018.

Still, the NLIHC report found that nowhere in the U.S. can a person making the current federal minimum wage afford a two-bedroom rental unit at fair market rent while logging a 40-hour work week without paying more than 30 percent of their income. Before taxes, the annual salary of a minimum-wage worker who puts in 40 hours a week is $15,080.

And Couch said a minimum wage increase won't be enough.

"Looking around the streets of D.C.... there's no better time to understand that the tourism industry is critical to this city, and its service workers who are the backbone of our economy," she said. "And these service workers are facing having to earn $28 an hour in order to afford the average two-bedroom apartment, and it's still well above $20 an hour just to afford an efficiency. And so we need some more resources to help families fill that gap."

Couch advocates a national housing trust fund, which would be funded nationally and push money to every state.

"It's not that people aren't working; it's that working doesn't provide what people need to meet their most basic needs," she said.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[30 Years for Heroin Dealer Connected to 3 Deaths]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:57:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/general+prison+tamms.jpg

A D.C. man who distributed heroin that resulted in the deaths of at least three people in Fairfax County, Va., was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

Eugene Asomani “Shine” Williams pleaded guilty in January. He admitted distributing heroin in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. between 2004 and September 2013.

Williams, 35, also admitted Joshua Pearson, 33; Kara Schachinger, 22; and Timothy Huffman, a 23-year-old solider at Fort Belvoir, each died from using heroin he distributed.

Ann Schachinger's daughter Kara drowned in her bathtub in early 2012 after taking heroin she got from Williams, her dealer.

"I can't put all the blame on him, but he certainly does bear a responsibility," Schachinger said.

“Williams peddled a dangerous drug and inflicted untold damage to the victims, their families, and our communities,” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said. “This case exemplifies the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement to combat this pernicious crime.”

Williams' defense attorney, Todd Baldwin, is planning to appeal the judge's decision.

"To sentence someone based on the unforeseeable, unintended outcome, more than what normal drug dealing gets a sentence for, I think is just unfortunate," he said.

<![CDATA[Sketch of Suspect Released in NW D.C. Park Sex Assault]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:22:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/suspect-glover-archibold-park.jpg

Park Police are circulating a sketch of a suspect believed to have sexually assaulted a woman in a Northwest park earlier this month.

The victim was assaulted just west of Georgetown on the evening of April 1.

Around 8 p.m. that night, she was walking by herself along the Georgetown waterfront when a man grabbed her from behind and forcefully took her through the area of the Capital Crescent Trail, police said.

Authorities described the suspect as about six feet tall, 230-240 pounds, and with a tattoo on the back of his left hand depicting an "N" with stars down the center.

The man then took her to Glover Archbold Park near Foxhall Road and Canal Road NW, where he sexually assaulted her. He then fled on foot toward Canal Road.

"It's really scary," Penelope Woolley, who lives near the crime scene, said in the wake of the attack. "I may have to give up one of my favorite walks."

In 1998, Georgetown University graduate student Christine Mirzayan was dragged from Canal Road to the woods, raped, beaten and left to die. That case remains open. 

Police believe the person who killed her has also been linked to several sexual assaults and rapes in Montgomery County but has never been found.

Joggers and walkers who use the trails told News4 they still feel safe in the daylight.

<![CDATA[White House to Hold Garden Tours April 26-27]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:00:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/1280657151.jpg

Have you ever wanted to get an up-close look at the White House's gardens? Well, here's your chance.

Next weekend, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will open the gardens and grounds of the White House to the public. The annual garden tours will be held from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on April 26 and from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on April 27.

Guests will have the chance to explore the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, the Rose Garden, the South Lawn and the White House Kitchen Garden.

The event is free and open to the public, but even the smallest of guests will need a ticket.

Visitors can get free tickets starting at 9 a.m. on each of the tour days at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion. Tickets are given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you're lucky enough to score one of the coveted tickets, keep in mind the following items are not allowed on the White House grounds:

  • Aerosols of any kind
  • Animals (except guide dogs)
  • Backpacks (oversized)
  • Balloons
  • Food or beverages of any kind
  • Duffle bags/suitcases
  • Any pointed object
  • Fireworks/firecrackers
  • Insulated metal containers/water bottles/thermos
  • Guns/stun guns/ammunition
  • Knives of any kind
  • Mace
  • Tobacco

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Man Gets 25 Months in Dog Abuse Case]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:06:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Porter-Charles-Palmer.jpg

A D.C. man was sentenced Friday to 25 months in prison in an animal cruelty case involving 10 different dogs.

Charles Palmer, 35, will also serve three years of probation after his release and is ordered not to own any animals.

Palmer was reported to the Washington Humane Society (WHS) in April 2012, when a caller said that Palmer was fighting his pit bull-type dog, Porter. He was seen beating him, slamming him to the ground repeatedly, and then bringing him into the woods and leaving without him, said the WHS.

When Porter was found, he had two broken femurs, a displaced jaw and was missing several teeth, "following a history of significant physical abuse," said the WHS.

During a 20-month investigation that followed, WHS officers visited Palmer's home several times after several public reports of animal abuse.

Another dog, Roxy, was rescued by WHS officers from Palmer's home last June after she was found to have difficulty standing. She was rushed to an emergency vet, where she was found to have a broken front leg, broken rear femoral head, broken rear toe, and two lacerations on her head, said the WHS.

Both Roxy (inset) and Porter have been treated and adopted by new families.

Three other dogs are now deceased, allegedly at Palmer's hands, said the WHS. The other five dogs in the case have not been accounted for, according to prosecutors.

Palmer was indicted last November on 14 counts, including five felony counts of cruelty to animals and five misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. He pleaded guilty in January to two felony counts and one misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals, and a misdemeanor count of simple assault.

He had faced jail time of up to five years for each felony offense and up to 180 days for each misdemeanor, in addition to fines.

"The officers who rescued Porter and Roxy, the medical team and caregivers who mended them, and the families who fostered and ultimately adopted them, all played a role in today's outcome," said WHS President and CEO Lisa LaFontaine in a statement Friday. "This sentencing sets a precedent that animal cruelty is not acceptable, can and will be charged as a felony offense in D.C., and will be punishable to the fullest extent under the law."

<![CDATA[16-Year-Old Girl Missing From Gaithersburg]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:10:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Dayana_Agudelo-Gomez.jpg

Montgomery County Police are asking for the public's help to find a 16-year-old girl missing from Gaithersburg.

Dayana Agudelo-Gomez was last seen March 15.

She is described as a white Hispanic female, 5'3" and about 125 pounds. She has hazel eyes and medium-length black hair. 

Agudelo-Gomez was last seen wearing a black jacket and blue jeans.

Police and family members are concerned for her mental and physical well-being, authorities said.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Family Crimes Division at 240-773-5400 or the police department's non-emergency number at 301-279-8000. Callers may remain anonymous.

<![CDATA[Arlington Allocates $42K for 'Pub Crawl Support']]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:46:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_134857220.jpg

Bar crawling in Arlington, Va., has become so popular that the local government is beefing up allocations to the county's police department for "pub crawl support."

On Wednesday, the Arlington County Board approved an extra $42,000 for the city's police department during the crawls, ArlNow.com first reported. The crawls often involve bars along the Wilson Boulevard corridor between the Court House, Clarendon and Ballston neighborhoods.

"We're just trying to keep the environment safe for everyone involved," Arlington Police Chief Doug Scott told NBC Washington. "The crowds go over capacity and [bar crawlers] end up overindulging on alcohol. Then we get involved."

Crawls in the area have been known to draw between 5,000 and 6,000 people, said County Board Chair Jay Fisette during the budget mark-up meeting Wednesday.

"Arlington has the largest percentage of millennials of any locality in the U.S.," Fisette told NBC Washington. "Clarendon was just identified as the top spot in the DMV area for millennials [by Niche.com]. That's the creative class; they're all here. They're an important part of the community and they like to have fun."

Scott said there are nine bar crawls planned for this year in Arlington, with more slowly taking shape. Keeping crowds controlled during the events leads to extra costs, including closing streets and intersections as well as increasing police presence in case the scene gets too chaotic.

Arlington County Police made 13 alcohol-related arrests during the All-American Bar Crawl in Clarendon last June, ArlNow.com reported:

Among the arrests were two for assault on a police officer and one for a man who attempted, unsuccessfully, to throw a chair through the front window of a business.

[Arlington County Police Department spokesperson Dustin] Sternbeck said calls for police in Clarendon were "steady" throughout the evening, up until about midnight. "Multiple" fights were reported during that time.

Scott said he and his department coordinate with bar crawl coordinators and participating establishments while providing extra police staffing on those days to ensure safety.

Nick Langman, owner of Clarendon Ballroom and Spider Kelly's, said his clubs have their own security staff, and he makes sure there are more working on crawl days.

"People are out to have a good time, and drinking is part of it," he said. "I wouldn't say it's too rowdy."

His message to bar crawlers: "Be responsible and respectable. We want people to come out and have a good time, but you have to be nice and clean up after yourself. It sounds so basic, but just be a good citizen."

Scott's advice was more tied into alcohol consumption.

"When people go and have a good time and don't get drunk, they'll be fine," he said. "But if people get intoxicated and disorderly, they're going to subject themselves to arrest."

Scott told ArlNow.com that he's planning a meeting with the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Association later this month, with a goal of either "reigning in" the crawls, or asking the pub crawl organizers or participating venues to provide funding for the police support.

"The idea is not to close them, but to contain them, and also to recover the public safety costs that are burdened on the county," Fisette said.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Visit National Parks for Free This Weekend]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:31:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/198*120/harpers-ferry_80300179aaaa.jpg

Looking for something to do this Easter weekend?

This weekend, the National Park Service will waive admission fees for all national parks. The free admission weekend is a part of National Park Week, which runs through April 27

This year's theme is “Go Wild” and offers visitors a chance to learn about history, nature and culture.

“National Park Week is a great time to discover the diverse wildlife, iconic landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history found in our national parks,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a press release.

There are more than 400 national parks, 14 are within a three-hour drive of D.C. Below are the national parks in our area:


  • Antietam National Battlefield
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • Fort McHenry NM and Historic Shrine National Monument
  • Fort Washington Park
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park


  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
  • Assateague Island National Seashore
  • Colonial National Historical Park
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway's Great Falls Park
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Petersburg National Battlefield
  • Prince William Forest Park
  • Shenandoah National Park

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Deadly Crash Litters Va. Road With Debris]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:10:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/mclean+accident1.jpg

One man was killed in a violent crash that left a McLean, Va., roadway littered with debris early Friday morning.

Fairfax County Police say the vehicle struck a tree in the area of Old Dominion Drive and Peacock Station Road in McLean around 3 a.m. The impact of the crash splintered the tree.

One man was pronounced dead at the scene; other passengers inside the car were also injured. The extent of their injuries is not known at this time.

Old Dominion Drive between Towlston Road and Peacock Station Road will be closed for several hours in both directions as police conduct their investigation.

<![CDATA[Chris Brown's Assault Trial Could Begin Fri.]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:44:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006173835_1200x675_230233155935.jpg News4 will be in a D.C. courtroom to bring you developments in Chris Brown's assault trial. It will begin as soon as his bodyguard's case wraps up. News4's Richard Jordan joins us live at the courthouse with what we've learned so far. ]]> <![CDATA[MARC's Camden Line on "S" Schedule After Deadly Accident]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:58:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/camden+line+ax.jpg

MARC's Camden Line will operate on an "S" schedule Friday following a deadly accident.

Prince George's County Police say a man jumped in front of a train near the Greenbelt Metro station around 7:40 p.m. Thursday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials say because of the incident, there's a significant shortage of "properly rested crews." Only trains with an "S" under the train number on MARC's schedule will run.

The following trains will NOT operate Friday:

  • Train 843 (5:30 a.m. departure from Camden Yards)
  • Train 842 (7:00 a.m. departure from Union Station)
  • Train 847 (6:30 a.m. departure from Camden Yards)
  • Train 850 (5:22 p.m. departure from Union Station)
  • Train 855 (5:25 p.m. departure from Camden Yards)
  • Train 854 (6:55 p.m. departure from Union Station)

Officials say the Penn and Brunswick Lines are not affected.

Camden Line tickets will also be honored on the Penn Line.

<![CDATA[Explosion Levels 21 Trailer Homes in Virginia]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:24:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006170577_1200x675_229979203926.jpg News4's Erika Gonzalez reports live from Hybla Valley in Fairfax County, where an explosion leveled 21 homes Thursday morning.]]> <![CDATA[FBI Pushes "California Connection" in Bishop Case]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 23:17:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006170564_1200x675_229976643713.jpg News4's Jackie Bensen reports the FBI is making sure West Coast residents are aware of the nationwide manhunt for a Maryland man wanted for killing his entire family nearly 40 years ago.]]> <![CDATA[Boy Rescued After Hand Trapped in Escalator]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:15:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*121/0417-pgpd.jpg

Officials worked for approximately two hours to free a 6-year-old boy whose hand got caught in an escalator in Temple Hills, Md., Thursday night.

Crews responded to Burlington Coat Factory inside Iverson Mall on Branch Avenue around 8:40 p.m. for an extrication. 

"He was holding on to the rail which is what I always told him when he's going down an escalator, and I guess he held on too long," his mom Stephanie Poyner said.

Prince George's County Fire Department PIO Mark Brady described the process as "challenging and tedious."

Firefighters managed to extract Jarren Poyner's hand just before 11 p.m. He was back home the next day, and told News4 he was not scared the entire time his hand was stuck.

Jarren did not lose any fingers at the scene. 


Photo Credit: Mark Brady, Prince George's County Fire]]>
<![CDATA[Children Hospitalized in Ashburn Crash]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:57:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_12161325.jpg

Police say two children aged 7 and 9 were hospitalized following a crash in Ashburn Thursday afternoon.

Crews responded to the intersection of Belmont Ridge Road and North Star Road around 4:30 p.m.

A dump truck collided with a passenger vehicle, driven by the grandmother of the two children.

A 7-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy were hospitalized; one with serious injuries and the other with life-threatening injuries.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Laboy Receives Gold Award for Valor]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:04:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20130227Laboy2.jpg

The Alexandria police officer shot in the head during a traffic stop last year was recognized at the Valor Awards in Old Town Thursday along with the men and women who helped save his life.

Officer Peter Laboy received Alexandria's Gold Award for Valor, the highest honor an Alexandria police officer can receive.

Doctors didn't expect Laboy to survive, but he has defied the odds thanks in large part to the quick action of his colleagues, who were also honored Thursday.

Last month, Kashif Bashir, the man accused of shooting Laboy, was ruled incompetent to stand trial for a second time. He was ordered to a state mental health facility, and his case was postponed indefinitely.



Photo Credit: Alexandria Police]]>
<![CDATA[Tour the ATF's "Burn Room"]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:18:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006168243_1200x675_229800003733.jpg News4's Prince George's County Bureau reporter Zachary Kiesch got a tour of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' "burn room" in Beltsville, Md.]]> <![CDATA[Man Fires Shot Into Neighboring Loudoun County Home]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:55:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006168649_1200x675_229771331712.jpg

For the third time in the past several weeks, a shot has been fired into a Loudoun County home.

A man fired two rounds from a gun inside a home in the 44200 block of Litchfield Terrace in Ashburn about 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office. One bullet traveled outside the back of the home, but the other was fired into a neighboring townhome and went through a bed, News4's David Culver reported.

No one was injured.

Juan M. Ramos-Marroquin, 33, of Chantilly was charged with unlawful discharge in an occupied residence.

In early March, a shot was fired into Felicia Niesciur's Sterling home, almost hitting her dog. Deputies don’t know who is responsible.

A few weeks later, deputies charged a man who mistakenly pulled the trigger, striking a home just a few miles from Niesciur's.

Investigators don't believe the shootings are connected.

<![CDATA[Neighbor Thwarts Attempted Water Heater Theft]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:21:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Stolen+Water+Heater.jpg

Police caught three people who stole a water heater out of a District Heights, Md., home thanks to an alert neighbor who saw them in the act.

On Wednesday, Jennifer Bowser, who is retired from the U.S. Marshals Service, watched a man enter a foreclosed home in the 6100 block of Belwood Street. Then a car backed up to the house with the trunk open, and a water heater was placed in the trunk.

“People drive around,” Bowser said. “They see notices stuck on houses where the houses are unoccupied and they just take advantage of the situation and they expect the neighbors not to report it. They expect the neighbors to look the other way. But those days are over with on this street.”

Bowser called 911.

“If they’re stripping this house, who’s next?” Bowser said.

Officers responded quickly and arrested two men and a woman. A 4-year-old girl was with them. She has been placed in the custody of relatives.

<![CDATA[FBI Searching for Suspect in Series of Bank Robberies]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:14:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/bank-suspect.jpg

The FBI is seeking information on a man wanted in connection to three bank robberies in D.C. and Montgomery County, Md. 

Authorities believe the same man is responsible for a robbery Jan. 13 at a Bank of America in Chevy Chase, Md.; another on Jan. 29 at a CapitalOne Bank on Connecticut Avenue NW near the Maryland border, and a third on March 28 at a Bank of America in D.C.'s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. 

During each incident, the man handed a note to the bank teller demanding money, implied he had a weapon and fled on foot after receiving the money. 

The FBI's wanted poster describes the suspect as between the ages of 25 and 30, of medium build and between 5'7" and 5'9". The suspect was caught on camera during each robbery wearing different clothes, authorities said.

The FBI Washington Field Office is offering up to $5,000 for anyone with information that might lead to the suspect's identification and arrest. 

Anyone with information can call the FBI at 202-278-2000 or submit at tip at tips.fbi.gov

<![CDATA[Fundraising Effort to Send McKinley Tech Athletes to Penn Relays]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:44:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/204*120/McKinley+Tech+Penn+Relays.jpg

UPDATE: The student-athletes received an anonymous $500 donation and have surpassed their goal.

About $450 stands between the district's McKinley Tech High School athletes and a chance to participate in one of the most prestigious track and field events in the U.S.

Members of the team, including a Washington Post All-Met hurdler and a relay runner who made honorable mention, have been invited to participate in the Penn Relays April 24-26 in Philadelphia.

The McKinley Tech team members and their parents have to pay their own way to the event, and some just plain can't afford it.

They've been fundraising, getting $5 and $10 contributions, but time is running out.

The Penn Relays offer high school runners the opportunity to attract the attention of college recruiters and the chance at a coveted college scholarship, and all the McKinley athletes invited to the Penn Relays have GPAs of 3.0 or above.

In a word: A future.

<![CDATA[Church Makes Easter Special for Hundreds of Kids]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:14:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Floris+United+Methodist+Church+Easter+Baskets.jpg

Hundreds of northern Virginia children will have a fun Easter thanks to the generousity of members of Floris United Methodist Church near Herndon.

The congregation put together 700 Easter baskets to give to 13 local charities for kids ages 2 to 12.

The baskets have books, toys and games, and personal care items, in addition to candy.

This is the 10th year the church has collected the Easter baskets for charities.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Guilty of Murder of 2 Children, 2 Women]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 19:14:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000006154115_1200x675_228704323621.jpg

The man accused of killing two women and two children over drugs has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

Darrell Lynn Bellard was convicted Thursday of killing 38-year-old Dawn Yvette Brooks; her children 3-year-old Shayla Shante Sikyala and 4-year-old Shakur Sylvester Sikyala; and their aunt, 41-year-old Mwasiti Sikyala.

"As a prosecutor now handling homicides for 12 years, it's not often you see children executed," prosectuor Wes Adams said. "Mr. Bellard is a person who really without any emotion decided to take the life of a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. As you heard in the confession yesterday, they weren't going to talk. They couldn't do anything. It was a cowardly move beyond all measure."

The family was found dead inside a trash-filled apartment above a garage in Riverdale, Md., in 2010.

After a day of deliberations, the jury of 12 convicted Bellard on 11 of the 12 charges against him.

"There were many days where there were tears throughout this jury box, so we could see the very emotional response," said Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks. "They connected with the family, and... seeing these children, pictures of dead children is something I think none of us ever forget."

Bellard was found guilty on all four counts of first-degree murder; four counts of using a handgun in the commission of a felony, and three counts of conspiracy to commit murder. He was found not guilty on one count of conspiracy to commit murder.

Bellard's girlfriend, T'Keisha Gilmer, had previously pleaded guilty in the case and, in exchange for a lighter sentence, testified as the prosecution’s star witness, saying Bellard brought 60 pounds of marijuana from Texas to sell in the D.C. area.

When the pot disappeared from Brooks' home, Sikyala told Bellard three masked men ransacked the house and took the marijuana while Bellard was out with Gilmer, Brooks and the children.

Believing Sikyala and Brooks were involved, Bellard interrogated them. When they couldn't tell him where the marijuana was, Bellard executed them. Gilmer testified she blocked the door as Bellard shot and killed Brooks and her children.

In Wednesday's closing arguments, one of Bellard's defense lawyers told the jury missing physical evidence proves reasonable doubt that Bellard committed the murders, but the prosecutor said, "In an effort to conceal these murders, he cleaned up and threw away the gun."

Bellard could have faced the death penalty, but the law was abolished last year. Alsobrooks said life in prison without parole would be a just sentence.

<![CDATA[Sloth Bear Cub, Seal Pup Named at National Zoo]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:16:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/zoo-babies1.jpg

A sloth bear cub and a seal pup at the National Zoo are now known as more than just "a sloth bear cub" and "a seal pup." The two babies have recently been named Remi and Rona by their keepers, the zoo announced Thursday.

The sloth bear cub -- who's being hand-raised by keepers after her mother ate her siblings -- will be known as Remi for her sleeping habits.

Explains the zoo: "The name is derived from the rapid eye movement cycle of sleep (REM). When she was very young the cub slept with her eyes slightly opened, and keepers have spent many nights ensuring she sleeps soundly."

As for the seal pup, American Trail keepers chose her name because the isle of Rona is described as a beautiful, remote island with only one human resident, but plenty of gray and common seals.

Photo Credit: National Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Wizards Face Bulls in NBA First Round]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:56:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/175*120/462545999.jpg

Making their first playoff appearance since 2008, the Washington Wizards clinched the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, setting up a matchup with the fourth-seeded Chicago Bulls.

Over the past week, a lot of attention has been focused on whether or not local fans are truly excited about the Wizards' postseason inclusion, so allow this primer to at least attempt to titillate you for what lies ahead.

Series Schedule

  • Game 1: Wizards at Bulls -- Sunday, 7 p.m. (CSN)
  • Game 2: Wizards at Bulls -- Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. (CSN)
  • Game 3: Bulls at Wizards -- April 25, 8:00 p.m. (CSN)
  • Game 4: Bulls at Wizards -- April 27, 1:00 p.m. (ABC)
  • Game 5 (if necessary): Wizards at Bulls -- April 29, TBD (TBD)
  • Game 6 (if necessary): Bulls at Wizards -- May 1, TBD (TBD)
  • Game 7 (if necessary): Wizards at Bulls -- May 3, TBD (CSN)

Season Series

  • Jan. 13: Wizards 102, Bulls 88
  • Jan. 17: Wizards 96, Bulls 93
  • April 5: Bulls 96, Wizards 78

A Load of Bull

The Wizards are in for a stiff test against the stingy Bulls, who allowed a NBA-best 91.8 points per game this season and held opponents to 43 percent shooting from the field, second-best.

Chicago is led by center Joakim Noah, the gangly center who has garnered some attention for MVP. Joining Noah are point guard D.J. Augustin (14.9 PPG, 5.0 APG), power forward Carlos Boozer (13.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG), shooting guard Jimmy Butler (13.1 PPG) and power forward Taj Gibson (13,0 PPG, 6,8 RPG). 

As a result, the Bulls are an Eastern Conference-best 22-9 since the All-Star break

For the Wizards to make this a competitive series, they will have to endure the Bulls' physicality. Noah, Boozer and Gibson will clog up the paint to prevent John Wall from slashing to the basket by any means necessary.

As simple as this sounds, Washington will simply have to outscore Chicago; the Wizards are the more offensively gifted team. Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza will need to stretch the defense by hitting threes, which the Wizards did quite well this season (38 percent, tied for fourth-best).

Did You Know?

The Wizards have won just one playoff series in the past 30 years. It came in 2005. As a fifth seed. Against the Chicago Bulls. 

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rehab Center Treats Baby Squirrel After Fall]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:22:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/squirrel8.jpg

The rehab center that patched up an injured snowy owl in the nation's capital has another cute creature under its care.

D.C. City Wildlife said a baby squirrel was found on the sidewalk after falling 75 feet from her nest.

Wildlife officials said the squirrel — which they believe is a female — suffered a broken ankle. Her leg is now wrapped up in a little red cast.

The squirrel "should heal very quickly," officials said.

Earlier this year, City Wildlife treated a rare snowy owl after it was apparently hit by a bus in D.C. 

The injured owl was taken to the National Zoo before being transferred to the wildlife rehabilitation center. It's now at The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, which has expertise in replacing damaged feathers.

<![CDATA[Victim IDed in Fatal Montgomery Co. Crash]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:29:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/Beallsville+crash.jpg

A man was killed after his car struck a pole and overturned in in Montgomery County early Thursday.

He has been identified as Kenneth James Lovelett, 58.

Police responded to the scene in the 20200 block of Darnestown Road in Beallsville around 4 a.m. after another driver discovered the collision.

Authorities say Lovelett was driving a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire east on Darnestown Road when his car crossed the center line, traveled into the westbound lane and left the road before hitting a utility pole and overturning. The car came to rest at the entrance of Woodstock Equestrian Park.

Lovelett, the only occupant of the car, was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the car, authorities said.

Authorities said around 10:30 a.m. Thursday that Route 28 had reopened, but utility work to the pole was still underway.

Stay with NBCWashington on-air and online for more on this developing story.

<![CDATA[Survey: 1 Cell Phone Stolen Every 10 Seconds]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 06:16:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/CR+Stolen+Smart+Phone+041714.jpg

In the last year, smart phone thefts have nearly doubled to 3.1 million, according to Consumer Reports survey. And more than a million of those phones are never seen again.

Shari Dipaola knows the nightmare of losing a phone.

“It’s almost a panic situation because if someone else gets hold of your phone they have all the texts that you sent out, where you’re going, what your schedule is, who you’re meeting,” Dipaolasaid.

Dipaola secures her phone with a passcode. But a Consumer Reports’ survey found more than half of smart phone owners fail to take that basic precaution.

And what about getting your phone back? Mike Gikas with Consumer Reports says you’ll have better luck if you think ahead.

“The simplest step: tape your email address to the back of the phone.”

Another precaution: write down your phone’s unique ID, which police may need if the phone is lost or stolen. You can find the ID by dialing "*#06#."

Consumer Reports also recommends setting up a “Find My Phone” account; the survey found less than a quarter of smart phone owners use one.

Android phones have it built in. Just go to your settings menu and select the "Android Device Manager." In Settings, be sure to activate “access location.”

iPhone users will have to install “Find My iPhone” from the app store. Make sure you’re signed in to iCloud with your Apple ID.

If your phone goes missing, sign into the account from a computer or tablet.

“Look for the phone on the map," Gikas explains. "If it’s far away, or you can’t see it, push the erase button.”

If your phone is lost or stolen, Consumer Reports says change the password on all your important accounts and file a report with the police. You may need the police report to dispute unauthorized charges on your credit cards. Also, let your bank and credit card companies know that your phone is missing, too.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>