<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Local News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usFri, 20 Oct 2017 05:02:45 -0400Fri, 20 Oct 2017 05:02:45 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[School Raising Money, Support for Family After Fatal Crash]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 23:48:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Virginia_High_School_Raising_Money_Support_for_Family_After.jpg

A community in Ashburn, Virginia, is rallying around a family devastated by a horrific crash. A bus driver ran a stop light and crashed into the family's car, killing a mother of three. News4's Shomari Stone reports how the local high school is helping the family.

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<![CDATA[New Parking Restrictions in Dupont Circle Area]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 23:24:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/New_Parking_Restrictions_in_Dupont_Circle_Area.jpg

A stretch of Connecticut Avenue south of Dupont Circle is typically clogged with pedestrians and cars and many of them are getting in and out of taxis or ride-sharing vehicles. New regulations aim to fix the problem by creating designated pick-up and drop-off points. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

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<![CDATA[Center Opens in Virginia for Victims of Human Trafficking]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 23:13:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Center_Opens_in_Virginia_for_Victims_of_Human_Trafficking.jpg

The Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative opened a center in Isaac Newton Square to provide counseling and a support structure for victims of human trafficking.

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<![CDATA[Area Police Depts. Operate With Fewer Officers Than Allowed]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 23:45:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DC+Police+Car+Generic+Night+2015.jpg

More than a dozen Washington, D.C.-area police departments are operating with fewer sworn officers than they’re authorized to have on staff, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.

The implications of these shortages vary, but police unions said the records obtained by the I-Team demonstrate a growing concern among rank and file officers.

Police departments are facing increasing competition for new recruits to bolster their staffing levels, according to several law enforcement officials who spoke with the I-Team. Several local police departments, including Maryland State Police and Prince William County police have released recruitment videos to help attract prospective hires.

Public records obtained by the I-Team show Virginia State Police, Prince William County (Va.) Police, the Loudoun County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police, Frederick County (Md.) Sheriff’s Office, Hagerstown (Md.) Police, Gaithersburg (Md.) Police, Frederick City Police, Montgomery County (Md.) Police, and Howard County (Md.) Police and are operating with fewer sworn officers than they’re authorized to have under local rules or budgets.

Several agencies, including Prince William County, Howard County and Gaithersburg, said the shortfalls in sworn officers do not impact public safety. Others acknowledged concerns that could impact their response times.

“We make sure our patrol, which are our first of the first responders, are as close to fully staffed as possible at all times. When staffing levels are low, certain sworn positions in non-essential offices and divisions are kept vacant until overall levels increase,” said Prince William County Police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

A spokeswoman for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said, “The major impact clearly reduces the amount of deputies on the street per shift on any given day which reduces the availability of Deputies to handle calls for service from the public.”

“Our patrol shifts work at a minimum staffing level," she said. "If that number falls below the minimum it requires the agency to keep someone past their normal shift or call in replacements. In the long term leave impact hold overs create fatigue and burn out issues within the agency.”

Agency records obtained under the freedom of information act reveal internal concerns about staffing levels in at least local police departments. In an application for funding from the U.S. Justice Department, Charles County, Maryland, sheriff’s officials said it needed financial help to hire seven additional officers. In its request, the sheriff’s office said from 2015 to 2016 “homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults are up by 8.6 percent. This is of great concern.”

The Charles County aid application also said, “Meanwhile, the population of Charles County has increased by nearly 8,200 residents and (the sheriff’s office) has added no additional officers in that time frame.”

In a similar aid application, Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department said it also needed federal aid to help hire additional officers. The agency acknowledged it has fewer than the 4,000 officers it is authorized to employ. A police official wrote the U.S. Justice Department to request funding to help hire additional officers to “address the evolving nature of violent crime and the dangerous offenders who perpetrate these offenses.”

National police unions said these staffing shortages create a risk to the public and to the officers. National Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury said police departments that fail to employ the authorized number of officers risk suffering slower response times to crimes and are less equipped to provide preventive patrols that deter crimes.

“Preventive policing takes a back seat and standards for recruitment slide when police are understaffed,” Canterbury said.

Recruitment is growing more difficult for police agencies because of increasing competition from private sector jobs with higher salaries amid a rebounding economy, Canterbury said. Prospective police officers are also discouraged by recent assaults on law enforcement officers, he said.

Union representatives of U.S. Park Police said staffing shortages are also impacting federal law enforcement.

“We need people. We need to recruit them, train them and put them on the street. All of these things cost money,” said Ian Glick, who represents Park Police officers in D.C., New York City and San Francisco.

U.S. Park Police records show a nearly 10 percent reduction in sworn U.S. Park Police officers between 2010 and 2016.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said, “Fortunately, in Charles County, our crime numbers have not kept pace with the significant growth in population. But, we realize things could change quickly and if that happens, we would be dealing with more calls for service, more crime, and more problems, which could ultimately impact the way we work. Here is one example: Today we are heavily involved in community relations and community events, but any continuous rise in crime trends could limit our ability to participate in those events. We don’t want that to happen because communities that have strong relationships with their police departments, like we have, simply tend to thrive better. There is more trust, more communication and more problem solving. We would hate to lose what we have worked so hard to build.”



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Man Pleads Guilty to Killing AU Grad on Metro Train in 2015]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 17:51:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Jasper+Spires1.jpg

The man who killed a recent college graduate on board a Metro train in 2015 has pleaded guilty to the crime that shocked the city.

Jasper Spires, 21, pleaded guilty to beating and stabbing Kevin Sutherland, 24, while the two men rode a Red Line Metro train on July 4, 2015.

Sutherland was on his way to a 4th of July party when Spires attacked him. He got on the train at the Rhode Island Metro station and was attacked before the train reached the next station.

Spires is set to serve between 30 and 35 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Spires, then 18, attacked Sutherland at random.

Metro surveillance video shows what happened before the stabbing.

Spires was standing near the fare machines at the Rhose Island Avenue Metro station about 12:40 p.m. when Sutherland, 24, walked through the turnstiles, officials said. Sutherland went up the esclator, walked to the front of the platform and waited for a downtown-bound train.

Spires went up to the platform a short while later, officials said. As he stepped off the escaltor, Spire put on gloves. He walked toward the front of the platform and waited for a downtown-bound train, officials said.

Both men boarded the second car of the train. Sutherland sat down in the middle of the car.

The train was en route to the next station, Noma-Galludet, when Spires snatched Sutherland's phone from his hand. Spires then attacked his victim with a knife, officials said.

According to officials, Spires stabbed Sutherland in the abdomen, back, sides and arms repeatedly. Sutherland fell on the floor, and Spires continued to stab him. Officials say Spires also kicked Sutherland in the body and head.

As the attack concluded, Spires threw the cell phone at Sutherland, hitting him in the head.

Spires also threatened one witness who tried to notify the train operator, telling them to "shut up" while brandishing the knife, officials said.

He robbed and threatened two other people on the train, including one senior citizen, News4 reported.

When the train arrived at the NOMA-Galludet station, Spires began to flee. Officials said he ran down the stairs and threw the bloody knife in a trash can.

Spires dropped his backpack while hopping over the turnstiles at the station. He turned around, but ultimately continued to run away without it, officials said.

Witnesses waited with Sutherland as his attacker fled. Metro employees and fellow passengers called 911, but Sutherland was unresponsive when first responders arrived, officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sutherland, a recent American University graduate who'd interned for Rep. Jim Himes, was stabbed 19 times and cut 16 times, police said. Several of the stab wounds were deep enough to damage Sutherland's internal organs.

Spires was arrested two days later.

Spires, who attended Louisburg College in North Carolina, was admitted to psychiatric facilities at least two times in the three months before the attack, The Washington Post reported. He displayed "bizarre and combative behavior" at one facility and needed to be restrained, the Post reported.

In August, a judge ordered additional evaluations of Spires' mental competency, court records show. 

"Yes, my client has mental problems, but he is innocent of these charges," Spires' lawyer, Antoini Jones said during that August court hearing, the Post reported. "D.C. police need to catch the real killer. No one identified my client as the killer."

The case sparked a congressional action against synthetic drugs, which at least one congressperson believed were involved in the attack.

A grand jury indicted Spires in May on charges of first-degree murder while armed (premeditated and felony murder) with aggravating circumstances, assault with a dangerous weapon, armed robbery of a senior citizen, armed robbery, and carrying a weapon outside a home or business.

A judge is set to decide whether to accept the plea and sentence Spires in January.

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<![CDATA[Moonshine Bust: Police Seize 67 Gallons From Virginia Home]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:17:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/37087885584_883a863081_o.jpg

Police and liquor officials seized 67 gallons of moonshine, 22 guns and a Kia Soul from the home of a man they say was working as a bootlegger. 

Winston Delano Terry, 73, faces felony charges after he was caught illegally selling homemade alcohol in Virginia and Tennesee, the  Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) said Thursday. 

Terry's home in Jonesville, Virginia, near the Tennessee border, was raided by state police and ABC special agents on Oct. 13. The raid followed a months-long investigation. 

“Our undercover operatives made numerous buys during the past several months, culminating in the enforcement activity," ABC Special Agent in Charge Steve Baffuto said in a statement.

A photo from the ABC shows dozens of mason jars full of liquid.

The ABC's chief operating officer said the charges against Terry help protect public safety.



Photo Credit: Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control]]>
<![CDATA[Father Sentenced to 40 Years in Death of 2-Month-Old Son]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:44:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Geneice+and+Antoine+Petty.jpg

A Maryland father who beat his infant son to death, buried his body and kept his death a secret for weeks will spend 40 years in prison.

Antoine Petty was sentenced Thursday for the murder of 2-month-old Antoine Flemons.

Police say Petty punched the baby in the torso repeatedly on Sept. 21, 2016, to stop him from crying. Eventually, the baby died from his injuries.

Petty and his wife, Geneice Petty, then placed their son in their 1998 Lincoln Town Car hearse for more than 24 hours before burying the boy behind Parkdale High School to hide the crime, police said.

The parents kept the baby's death a secret for over three weeks before the infant's grandmother reported her daughter and 2-month-old grandson missing.

Geneice and Antoine Petty eventually led detectives to a shallow grave, where the baby's remains were located.

Geneice Petty pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter earlier this month. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison when she is sentenced.



Photo Credit: Prince George's County Police
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<![CDATA[Consumer Reports' Most and Least Reliable Cars]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:31:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Consumer_Reports_Most_and_Least_Reliable_Cars.jpg

When you’re looking to buy a new car, you would think an all-new or redesigned model may sound like you’re getting something new and improved. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan reports on a car reliability survey that shows that might not be the case.

Statements from the automakers:

TESLA

"Ever since Consumer Reports declared Model S to be the best car ever and then revoked the rating after being questioned by Tesla skeptics, they have lowered the integrity of their automotive reporting by singling out Tesla to a degree that is absurd, unnecessary, and misleading, implying for example that our cars are unsafe, underperforming and unreliable based on tests and surveys that lack basic scientific integrity. Not only are our cars the safest and best-performing cars available today, last year we confirmed a 92% improvement in Model X reliability compared to early 2016, and this year we have continued driving improvements to achieve another 24% improvement in the first half of the year. This is reflected by our consistently high owner satisfaction ratings. While we would be the first to admit that Model X had reliability issues at the beginning of the program, that is simply not a concern for new Model X cars today, and it hasn’t been one for quite a while. Consumer Reports' reliability ratings lag well behind current reality given that their survey is conducted many months before the results are published."

GENERAL MOTORS

General Motors places the utmost importance on vehicle quality and customer service. While we take this study seriously, it is one of several data sources we use to measure customer’s satisfaction with our vehicles, including our own internal data, warranty results and JD Power vehicle dependability and initial quality studies – where all GM brands have consistently ranked much higher.

FCA COMMENT

“Ram Truck products have performed well in quality recently as indicated by our internal measures and external measures such as J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Survey. Ram Truck is the most improved truck brand and the most improved major brand in the U.S. market in initial quality according to the 2017 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. We are proud of our Ram Truck products and encourage people to drive them - we believe that they stack up well versus the competition. Based on CR’s own data, the Ram 1500 is now recommended.

"We’re not able to comment on Consumer Reports’ full study. We haven’t had access to their background data or the methods that they have used to reach their conclusions.”

SUBARU

“We have corrected the issues with our cars with a reflash and actually moved up six spots in the rankings to No. 5 in reliability rankings.“

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<![CDATA[Families of the Fallen Say Past Presidents' Letters Offered Comfort]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:56:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Kristin+Johnson.jpg

Some families in the D.C. area whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice say hearing from the commander in chief helped with their grief.

Kristin Johnson had been married only three months before her husband, Cpl. Joshua Scott Harmon, died. He was 20.

"He was killed in a helicopter accident on August 22, 2007 in Iraq," Johnson said.

Johnson said her grief was overwhelming.

"It just suddenly hit a brick wall and it was being lost and not knowing where to go, what to do."

Ten years later, she still remembers a meaningful gesture from former President George W. Bush.

"I received a letter. It was President George Bush at the time," Johnson said."I felt emotion behind it. It didn’t feel like it was, you know, just some generic thing."

Johnson also met with Bush in the Oval Office.

The subject of presidents offering their personal condolences to military families has been brought to light this week as controversy surrounded President Trump's remarks to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of four U.S. Special Forces soldiers killed in Niger by Islamist militants on Oct. 4.

Rep. Frederica Wilson said she was with the widow at the time President Trump called her and Trump said her husband "must've known what he was getting into when he signed up, but I guess it hurts anyway."

Trump has denied Wilson's account of the phone call.

Maryland native Timothy Eckels was killed on the USS McCain in August. His mother Rachel Eckels said she has not received a letter or phone call from President Trump.

While a letter or phone call is a small gesture, some say it makes a big difference.

"It means...that they care and that they are aware of what's happening and I think that’s what every gold star family wants," Johnson said.

"For me, it was important that I got a letter from him, you know, that I got a letter from President Obama - that meant a lot to me," said Arlene Wagner, owner of Bub and Pop's sandwich shop in Northwest D.C.

Wagner's son Peter was killed in action in Afghanistan on Dec. 21, 2015.

She said she tries to keep busy as a way of distracting herself from the pain of losing him.

"It’s devastating. Sometimes it’s debilitating," she said.

Wagner said former President Obama sent her two letters. One letter was sent just days after Peter was killed.

"I think that’s really admirable that he would take the time to write me a personal note," Wagner said.



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kristin Johnson]]>
<![CDATA[Jim Vance Wins Washington Blade's Best of Gay D.C. Award]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:27:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20150422+Jim+Vance+Photo.jpg

Former NBC4 news anchor Jim Vance wins the Washington Blade’s Best of Gay D.C. Award for best local television personality.

"The NBC4 news anchor became entrenched in D.C. culture just as much as 'the Godfather of Go-Go' Chuck Brown, former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and radio DJ Russ Parr, who all join Vance on Ben’s Chili Bowl mural wall," the Blade wrote.

Vance, 75, who died from cancer in July, worked at NBC4 for more than 40 years. He started reporting for WRC-TV in 1969 and moved to the anchor desk in 1972. Vance covered stories from the attempted assassination of former President Ronald Reagan to the 1977 Hanafi Siege and 9/11.

During his journalism career, Vance earned several local Emmy awards, the Board of Governor’s Award and was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2007.

Before Channel 4, Vance was a reporter for the Philadelphia Independent newspaper and WHAT-AM radio station.

As the region’s longest-serving television news anchor, Vance’s face was added to the mural alongside Ben’s Chili Bowl in June.

About 3,5000 nominations and 20,000 votes were cast in 100 categories for the 16th annual Best of Gay D.C. Awards. Categories included people, community, dining, nightlife and media.

The runner-up also comes from NBC4, Storm Team4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell.

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<![CDATA[United Says Goodbye to Its 'Queen of the Skies' at Dulles]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:54:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/747+plane.jpg

United Airlines' iconic Boeing 747 landed at Dulles International Airport for the last time on Thursday morning.

The "Queen of the Skies," as the company calls it, has been a part of the airline’s fleet since 1970. When it debuted decades ago, the 747 was tailored to luxurious travel, the airline said.

United is replacing the 747 with more fuel-efficient and cost-effective models in and has focused on providing “an updated and enhanced inflight experience for customers traveling on long-haul flights” in recent years, the airline said in a statement. 

The older aircrafts have four engines, while newer ones only have two. 

The 747 has a distinctive double decker hump on its top, making it one of the most recognizable planes in the sky. On Oct. 12, the plane embarked on a farewell tour to the airline's major hubs. It started in San Francisco before heading to Los Angeles, Houston and D.C. The distinctive 747's last stop will be in Honolulu on Nov. 7.

The Chicago-based airline celebrated the aircraft’s legacy by giving employees and retirees one last chance to say goodbye to the aircraft.

United Airlines' move to retire the plane follows that of Delta, which recently retired its own 747.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Watch Out for Flooded Vehicles on Used Car Market]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 20:54:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Watch_Out_for_Flooded_Vehicles_on_Used_Car_Market.jpg

Hurricanes and recent storms produced an unprecedented number of flooded vehicles, and there's a pretty good chance some of those cars could end up for sale illegally in our area.

Consumers in the market for a vehicle should look for hidden flood damage:

  1. Check vehicle carpeting for water damage
  2. Check for rust on screws or other metallic items
  3. Inspect upholstery and seat belts for water stains
  4. Remove spare tire and inspect area for water damage
  5. Check the engine compartment for mud or indicators of submergence
  6. Check under the dashboard for mud or moisture
  7. Inspect headlights and taillights for signs of water
  8. Check the operation of electrical components
  9. Check for mold or a musty odor

Check the VIN number here.

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<![CDATA[GM Reaches $120M Settlement Over Defective Ignition Switch]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 20:25:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GM_Reaches_120M_Settlement_Over_Defective_Ignition_Switch.jpg

On Thursday, 49 states and the District announced a $120 million settlement with General Motors over its defective ignition switch. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan has the story.

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<![CDATA[IIHS Side Crash Test Results]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 20:23:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/IIHS_Side_Crash_Test_Results.jpg

Not all passenger side airbag systems are created equal. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan has the results of an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety side crash test.

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<![CDATA[Domestic Violence Hotlines]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:20:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Talk_Around_Town_Domestic_Violence.jpg

One in every three women and one in every four men is a victim of domestic violence. WHUR 96.3's Troy Johnson joins News4 to discuss this pressing issue. For assistance, go to thehotline.org or call 800-799-7233.

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<![CDATA[Earn Extra Cash Without Leaving Your House]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:34:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Finding_A_Seasonal_Job_That_Fits_With_Your_Life.jpg

Many moms and dads already have busy jobs and schedules, so taking on a seasonal job might seem impossible. But what if you could pick up a temporary job and earn some extra money -- all without leaving the house. News4's Justin Finch explains your options.

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<![CDATA[Suspect in Maryland, Delaware Shooting Spree Held on $2.1M Bail]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 18:02:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/md_shooting_trip.jpg

A Delaware judge has ordered the man accused of killing three people and wounding three others during a two-state shooting spree to remain jailed on $2.1 million cash bail.

Radee Labeeb Prince was arraigned via video in Delaware Thursday morning on attempted murder and three weapons charges.

Prince was prohibited from possessing a gun after being found guilty of third-degree burglary in New Castle County, Delaware, in 2003, police said in court documents obtained by NBC10.

A preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 31.

It's unclear when Prince will be sent back to Maryland to face possible murder charges.

The 37-year-old shot five co-workers at a kitchen countertop company in Maryland Wednesday morning before driving to Wilmington, Delaware, and opening fire on a man with whom he had "beefs" in the past, wounding him, police said.

The shooting rampage set off a multi-state manhunt. Police cruisers were stationed in medians along the Interstate 95 Northeast corridor, and overhead highway signs displayed a description of Prince's sport utility vehicle and its Delaware license plate. The FBI assisted state and local authorities in the manhunt.

Prince was arrested by ATF agents Wednesday night after his unoccupied getaway vehicle was found next to Glasgow High School in Newark, Delaware. Police say Prince was spotted by a witness leaving the vehicle and walking toward the high school. The witness then contacted law enforcement. 

Prince was spotted walking nearby and taken into custody by the three ATF agents after a brief foot chase, police said.

During the chase, Prince allegedly discarded a .380 firearm which was later recovered by police, according to Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracy. No one was hurt during the arrest.

"A coordinated effort brought this to a very successful conclusion on a very, very bad day," Chief Tracy said.

The rampage began at about 9 a.m. Wednesday when Prince reportedly walked into Advanced Granite Solutions, which designs and installs countertops, and opened fire on is co-workers. 

Barak Caba, the company's owner, told the Associated Press that Prince worked there as a machine operator for the past four months. He was scheduled to work Wednesday.

Five staffers were hit. Three were killed, police said. The two victims who survived were left in critical condition.

The sheriff's office said Wednesday night on its Facebook page that the people who died were Bayarsaikhan Tudev, 53, of Virginia; Jose Hidalgo Romero, 34, of Aberdeen, Maryland, and Enis Mrvoljak, 48, of Dundalk, Maryland. The company set up the Edgewood Donations fund to support the victims families.

Prince then sped 51 miles north in his black 2008 GMC Acadia to Wilmington where he confronted an acquaintance, Jason Baul, investigators said. 

Baul was working at his used car dealership, 28th Street Auto Sales and Service, along the 2800 block of Governor Printz Boulevard when Prince shot him twice around 10:30 a.m., police said.

Prince shot Baul in the head and body, but Baul is expected to survive, police said.

Prince's SUV was still near the second shooting scene when Wilmington police arrived. Baul pointed out the SUV to police but Prince sped away before police could chase him, Tracy said.

The motive for both shootings remains unclear, though Tracy said Prince "knew the people he wanted to shoot."

"How do you get into a mind of a person that's capable of shooting five people that are coworkers? What gets in his mind? What precipitated that? It's tough to rationalize," Tracy said during a Wednesday night news conference following Prince's arrest.

Co-workers said Prince kept to himself and barely talked. They remain baffled by the killings and say there were no signs of any issues.

Four workers at the company said they were only feet away as Prince opened fire and killed their three co-workers.

"They were all family," said Ibrahim Kucuk, a manager at Advanced Granite Solutions. "We've been working together for a long time. It's just tragic."

Friends and relatives of Baul said they don't recognize Prince and didn’t know why he allegedly targeted Baul. Investigators, however, said they believe Prince targeted Baul because of a previous issue related to a criminal case. 

The Baltimore Sun reports, citing court documents, that Prince has had problems with employers before. He was fired from a job earlier this year after he allegedly punched a co-worker in the face and threatened other staffers, the Sun reported.

The assaulted co-worker tried to get a restraining order against Prince in February, but a Harford County District Court judge denied the order, saying the case didn't meet the required burden of proof.

Real estate records link Prince to a home along the 500 block of Kiamensi Road in Wilmington.

Margaret Melton, a woman who resides at the home, told NBC10 that Prince didn't "officially" live at the Wilmington address, but stayed there "on and off when he had issues."

"He lives in Maryland," Melton said. Court records show he most recently lived in Elkton, Maryland.

Another neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said she knows Prince's family.

"That boy had a good upbringing," she said. "It wasn't like he was a madman or he was a crazed maniac, because he wasn't."

Prince faced several gun charges in March 2015 in Cecil County, including being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a handgun in vehicle. However, the charges were dropped about three months later. It's not clear why.

Wilmington police said Prince was arrested 42 times in Delaware alone and had 15 felony convictions there.

In King County, Washington, in 2014, he was cited for leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license. Court records also showed that he was required to undergo drug and alcoholism counseling at the time.Prince racked up four traffic citations in King County in 2012 and 2013, mostly for speeding.

"If there's violent people that are causing carnage in the community and have some violent crimes, we've gotta find a way to keep them behind bars, so they can't go out and re-offend," Tracy said.

The FBI says they are treating the case as workplace violence and don't see ties to terrorism.


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<![CDATA[Couple Uses Md. Ferris Wheel to Do 'Gender Reveal']]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:18:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Capital_Wheel_Helps_Couple_Reveal_Baby_s_Gender.jpg

We've seen many parents learn the gender of their baby in some pretty unique ways. But one local mom and dad-to-be got used the Capital Wheel at National Harbor to share the news.

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<![CDATA[World’s Largest Earthquake Drill to Help Millions Practice]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 07:04:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-859854120.jpg

The world's largest earthquake drill will take place on Thursday, with millions set to practice what to do if a massive quake hits. News4's Justin Finch has more.



Photo Credit: MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trial Date to Be Set for Man Accused of Killing Muslim Teen]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 06:11:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Nabra+Darwin.jpg

A northern Virginia man accused of killing a Muslim teen as she walked back to her mosque is scheduled to be back in court, where he now faces charges that could bring the death penalty. 

The June slaying of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen of Reston rattled the region's Muslim community. She was attacked as she walked to a mosque with a group of friends for pre-dawn Ramadan services. 

On Monday, a grand jury in Fairfax County indicted Darwin Martinez-Torres of Sterling on charges including capital murder and rape in Hassanen's death.

Virginia state law allows prosecutors to pursue a death penalty under certain conditions, including premeditated murder during a rape.

The indictment is the first indication that authorities believe Nabra Hassanen was raped.

Police say Martinez Torres encountered Hassanen among a group of teenagers in Sterling, Virginia, as they walked from a mosque in June for a service. Authorities say Martinez Torres got into a confrontation with some of the teens, and chased them. Police say Martinez Torres caught Hassanen and bludgeoned her with a bat. A search warrant says he then dumped her body in a lake.

Torres was charged with murder but not a hate crime. Prosecutors say he lashed out in a case of road rage.

In a search warrant affidavit, police say Martinez-Torres admitted killing Nabra and that he led them to where he had dumped her body in a nearby pond.

On Friday, Hassanen's devastated parents interrupted court proceedings.

"You killed my daughter!" Nabra Hassanen's father shouted. He stood on a courtroom bench and lunged at the accused in a packed courtroom.

Hassanen's mother hurled a shoe at Torres from across the courtroom and screamed "I kill you!"

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning to set a trial date.

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<![CDATA[Police Name 4, Including Pregnant Woman, Killed in Md. Crash]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:20:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/ambulance+generic5.jpg

A pregnant woman was among the four people killed in a collision with a speeding car, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office says.

The driver of the speeding vehicle was 30-year-old Joshua Summers of Baltimore, according to authorities. Summers, who also used the name Joshua Devine, was driving about 100 mph Tuesday. 

Authorities say a deputy tried to stop car, but the car went was out of sight. The deputy then came upon the crash. 

Summers and the three people in the other car were killed. 

Deputies say the driver of the other car, 19-year-old Brittany Livesay of Union Bridge, was pregnant. Also killed in the crash were 20-year-old Kirk Callis Jr. of Hampstead and 19-year old-Breanna Evans of Union Bridge.


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<![CDATA[Potomac Crash Kills Man, Mother of 2]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:13:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/101917+kathleen+french+kent+brooks.jpg

A man and woman died Wednesday after the car the man was driving in Potomac, Maryland, hit a tree and burst into flames, police say.

Kent Brooks, 30, and Kathleen French, 33, were killed when Brooks lost control of the 2011 Audi S4 he was driving on a curve of Democracy Boulevard near Gainsborough Road, Montgomery County police said.

The friends were returning from a night of karaoke when the crash occurred. Police responded about 11:40 p.m.

The car hit the tree which such force that it landed on the opposite site of Democracy Boulevard and burst into flames.

Both Brooks and French were pronounced dead on the scene.

French was a mother of two who was about to have a children's book published.

"She was such a loving mother and friend and sister and daughter," French's sister, Lauren French, told News4. "She loved her family more than anything else in her entire life, and we're all gonna really miss her."

Brooks' friends said he worked in sales and loved cars and video games.

Police continue to investigate the cause of the crash. "Alcohol, speed, the road condition [and] the vehicle condition" will be considered, Capt. Paul Starks said.

The victims' loved ones shared hugs and prayers at the crash site Thursday evening.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call police at 240-773-6620.

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<![CDATA[DC Ranks Among Places Most Vulnerable to ID Theft: Study]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:23:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000020575328_1200x675_1076412995793.jpg

D.C. ranks among the places in the United States that are most vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan has the results of a new study. The FTC has some advice for protecting your identity.

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<![CDATA[Vegas Shooting Victim Tina Frost Making Slow Recovery in Md.]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 19:17:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/101217+tina+front+edited+not+stretched+out.jpg

The father of a young Maryland native shot in the head during the Las Vegas masscre says she is recovering slowly -- but surely.

Tina Frost is making progress every day at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, her father Rich Frost told News4 on Wednesday.

"Milestones would be talking. Walking and talking and understanding things and some of these are happening slowly but surely," Rich Frost said.

The 27-year-old was shot as she attended the country music concert in Las Vegas where gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire. Her boyfriend carried her to the truck of a stranger, who rushed her to a hospital. A bullet lodged in her right eye, which doctors had to remove to save her life.

"Gun shots to the head -- five percent survive and three percent of them only have quality of life....and to go from that to where we are now is a miracle," Rich Frost said.

Frost took her first steps since the shooting on Oct. 1 and seemed to recognize friends and family members.

"Tina has a life ahead of her, and that's what we're fighting for," family friend Amy Klinger said earlier in the week.

Frost's doctors think she does not know what happened to her, Klinger said. The doctors think she won't have any memory of the shooting.

Frost was flown from Las Vegas to Johns Hopkins Hospital this weekend, not far from where she was raised in Anne Arundel County. Her specialists are amazed by what she can already do, Klinger said.

"She physically took a few steps, very assisted, but she moved her feet one in front of the other from a chair to her bed and back," she said.

Frost is not speaking, and it's too soon to know the extent of any brain damage she may have. She will undergo physical and cognitive therapy, as well as facial reconstruction surgery. Frost lost her right eye, but the vision in her other eye is perfect, Klinger said.

Frost's father, Rich Frost, made a surprise appearance last week at a fundraiser held for his daughter. He told News4 he's thankful for the outpouring of support for his family.

"We appreciate everything that everybody's doing for her, pulling for her and all the prayers that have come. It's helping. She's made great progress. She's making progress every hour," he said.

As of Monday evening, a GoFundMe page for Frost had raised more than $559,000 for Frost's medical care and other expenses. 



Photo Credit: Courtesy of family]]>
<![CDATA[Doug Hangs With the Six Flags Fright Fest Characters]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 19:02:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Doug_Hangs_With_the_Six_Flags_Fright_Fest_Characters.jpg

The stars of Fright Fest at Six Flags of America are the creepy characters roaming around the park. Storm Team4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer hung out with some of them and tried his best not to get scared.

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<![CDATA[Family of Some First Responders Dropped From Health Coverage]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:30:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Scott+Burris+and+Julie+Kopp.jpg

Some Virginia first responders injured in the line of duty continue looking for answers after family members were dropped from their health insurance.

When the commonwealth's Line of Duty Act (LODA) underwent an overhaul July 1, some families lost a major benefit.

“It feels like I've been left out to dry by the legislators,” Scott Burris said.

His 18-month-old twins, Luke and Hunter, are active boys, which scares him.

“I got a letter back in May that said my two youngest were no longer covered,” Burris said.

Julie Kopp’s son lost his coverage, too. It was taken away after 15 years.

Burris and Kopp suffered career ending injuries while on duty with the Fairfax County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, which made them eligible for LODA.

Virginia is one of only eight states that offer a lump sum death benefit and lifetime health insurance benefits to the families of public safety officers killed or permanently disabled on the job. But many families like his were receiving benefits the plan wasn't designed to cover.

A task force of representatives from police, fire and other agencies helped come up with a plan to cut costs and streamline LODA after a 2014 study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission revealed costs to LODA would double over the next 10 years, with health care benefits accounting for more than 90 percent of the total cost.

Previously, most LODA beneficiaries in Virginia were on different health insurance policies administered through their employers, which in most cases are cities or counties. But since July 1, the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management has administered one health benefit program so all LODA beneficiaries have the same level of coverage.

A number of LODA beneficiaries’ health insurance plans had allowed them to add a spouse or child after the date of their disability. Those family members are not be covered under the new LODA health benefits plan and require alternative coverage.

“I've called everyone,” Burris said. “I've called my governor's office, they've never responded. I've called my senator, he doesn't want to do anything. I've called my delegate, she's never called me back.”

News4 obtained a list of people who were a part of the task force that helped come up with the recommendations for the LODA, including Del. Chris Jones (R), the sponsor of the legislation. In June, he said everyone was aware some family members would lose coverage, but according to those on the list, that wasn't always the case. Many members told News4 the circumstances "were not specifically addressed," "never disclosed." Other's suggested the matter "be revisited."

"Anyway, I can reverse it, I intend to," one member said.

Burris recently received an email from Del. Kirk Cox (R) saying he and other "members of the House of Delegates are aware of the hardships that the confusions over this law is causing for many Virginia families..." and he is "hopeful that a solution can be found."

“I don't feel like I'm asking anything that I didn't earn,” Kopp said.

“I think what bothers me the most is that there's yet to be anyone to help us,” Burris said. “I mean, this is an opportunity for a legislator to be a superhero.”

Jones declined interviews on camera numerous times over the course of several months. Each time, his assistant told Newsd4 he was too busy.

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<![CDATA[Suspect in Custody in Gas Station Vacuum Thefts]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:17:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2017-10-17_1716.png

A man suspected of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in quarters from coin-operated vacuums at area gas stations is in custody.

The Prince George's County (Md.) Sheriff's Office has 41-year-old James Jackson in custody.

Jackson is also suspected in Fairfax County, Virginia, where police say the thefts have gone on for a long time.

"We have several gas stations in our jurisdiction that have been hit by the same individual, and we have some cases that we are still looking into as well," Fairfax County Police Officer Reem Awad said.

Jackson broke a lock and took a cash drawer full of quarters from an Exxon station vacuum in Tysons Corner Sept. 3, sources said. A month later, he allegedly returned, put a quarter in the machine and heard it was empty, but he went to the vacuum on the other side of the station and broke into that one.

Jackson was identified by surveillance video and witnesses, sources said.

Tahir Muneer owns 106 car vacuum machines and says 58 of them have been ripped off. Muneer, the owner of the Landover Hills Exxon in Prince George's County, said he loses about $1,000 in coins with each theft and has lost $200,000 overall over several years.

Muneer said sometimes the thief used a grinder to cut through the special locks or used a drill to get to the cash box. When that doesn’t work, the man used a vacuum to suck out the quarters, Muneer said.

Muneer said he believes the man caught on his security cameras also hit numerous other stations in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.



Photo Credit: from security camera video]]>
<![CDATA[Survivor Speaks: $1.5M Grant Will Help House Battered Women]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 18:58:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/thumbnail+%284%291.png

Tanay Graham had two black eyes and the desire to leave an abusive partner -- but stayed in the relationship because her local shelter couldn’t take her children.

"I walked away literally crying with the shelter papers," Graham said.

But Prince George’s County officials hope a $1.5 million dollar grant will help more domestic violence survivors find and fund new housing.

"We have needed these services for so long," said Sisters 4 Sisters founder Carolyn White-Washington. "I cannot emphasize how many women have stayed in abusive relationships because they had nowhere to go."

The State’s Attorney’s announced Tuesday that they received the grant, which will be used to fund between three and six months of housing for women leaving abusive situations. Survivors can request the funding extend to a whole year.

Graham was eventually able to stay in apartment housing for abuse victims. Now, more women will have the option to leave, without restrictions that force difficult choices.

State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said the program is designed to preserve each survivor’s dignity while helping them leave violent partners before a serious or deadly attack occurs.

"It’s going to free many a victim, and they’ll be able to come with their families," Graham said.

Many programs require domestic violence survivors to have a court case pending against an abuser before providing assistance. And some shelters do not allow older teenage boys to stay with their mothers. The new program doesn't enforce those rules.

Survivors will be able to select their own housing with the help of Prince George’s County and their local partners. Instead of a shelter, survivors can choose a place to rent.

Alsobrooks announced the program during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in front of the Capitol Heights Krispy Kreme store.

The Krispy Kreme is selling purple-frosted donuts this month to raise awareness for domestic violence. A purple light bulb comes with every purple donut, along with a list of resources for victims of domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, consider using the resources below:



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<![CDATA[Ultimate Sci-Fi and Comic Collection on Auction in Virginia]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:36:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Ultimate_Sci_Fi_and_Comic_Collection_on_Auction.jpg

A McLean, Virginia, family is selling more than 10,000 items, including comics, rare books and science fiction novels. 94.7 Fresh FM's Tommy McFly got a sneak peek at the collection.

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<![CDATA[Six Flags Fright Fest: Activities for the Kids]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:16:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Six_Flags_Fright_Fest_Activites_for_the_Kids.jpg

Storm Team4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer took a trip to Six Flags for Fright Fest. Although the theme park gets pretty spooky at night, there are plenty of Halloween activities that younger kids will love during the day time.

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<![CDATA[Starbucks to Open in Historic Anacostia]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:26:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/101817+starbucks+generic.jpg

Starbucks will open a location in historic Anacostia -- the company's first stand-alone location in Washington D.C. east of the Anacostia River. 

Courtney Snowden, the city's deputy mayor for economic development, told News4's Tom Sherwood that the coffee chain had agreed to open the location. Then, Mayor Muriel Bowser's office issued a statement announcing the big news. 

The coffee shop will open as part of the Maple View Flats complex of 114 units of affordable housing, plus ground-floor retail. The development on a long-vacant lot is located at 2228 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE. 

The local bookstore and cafe chain Busboys and Poets recently broke ground on a location nearby.

Some people who live nearby said they're worried that gentrification will displace longtime residents and small businesses. 

"I'm happy for the change, but a lot of new businesses are going to force people out," one woman said. 

Bowser said the Starbucks will create jobs and help create wealth. 

"This is how we expand prosperity -- by being intentional about how we develop our neighborhoods and ensuring that as we grow, we create jobs for residents and set our communities up for long-term success," she said in a statement.  

Starbucks already has locations east of the river inside Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling and in the Safeway store on Alabama Avenue SE. 



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Police: Man Lured Women with Job Post, Assaulted Them]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 17:19:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Imtiaz+Rauf+web+ready1.jpg

A registered sex offender was arrested after sexually assaulting at least three women who he lured with the promise of a job interview, police said.

Imtiaz Rauf, 44, of Gainesville, Virginia, was arrested on sexual battery charges.

Rauf posted a Craigslist ad looking for an administrative assistant, Fairfax County police said.

A women met with Rauf in an office building at 12005 Sunrise Valley Drive for an interview, but when she arrived, he sexually assaulted her, police said.

Police said two other women reported Rauf did the same thing to them and Rauf could face additional charges. Rauf may have posted other ads, according to police.

Rauf is being held without bond.

Rauf was convicted of sexual solicitation of a minor in 2011 and placed on Virginia’s sex offender registry.

Anyone with information about Rauf is encouraged to contact police or Detective T. Horton at 703-246-7800.

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<![CDATA[Hundreds of Travel Ban Protesters March Outside White House]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 18:54:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/nombanever.jpg

Hundreds of protesters marched outside the White House on Tuesday, declaring opposition to the Trump Administration’s travel restrictions.

People holding signs declaring "No Muslim Ban," "Proud American Muslim" and "No Ban No Wall" filled Lafayette Park, facing the White House, in opposition to President Trump's proposed travel ban. Hundreds more protesters joined after marching from H Street.


The newest iteration of the travel ban was set to take effect Tuesday, but was largely blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii. 

The "No Muslim Ban Ever" protest has been scheduled for weeks, and organizers vowed to continue their campaign regardless of what the courts decided.


"We will continue to resist this immoral and unconstitutional Muslim Ban and any new bans in all forms, in all venues, and in all ways—no matter how long it may take to achieve justice," the group said. 

In January, President Trump signed an executive order putting a moratorium on refugees resettling in the United States, and temporarily banned travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- all countries with Muslim majorities. 

President Trump unveiled a new executive order which indefinitely banned travel from Iran, Syria, Venezuela North Korea, and others in September.

“Muslim communities are organized, and our allies have our back. We will not be silent and we will stand up for our communities in the face of any and all discriminatory policies,” rally organizers said in a statement. 

MPower Change, the MASA Organizing team and several other groups organized the rally.

The march is the culmination of a six-week campaign around the issue.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[Explosion Rocks Md. Olive Garden as 70 People Eat Inside]]> Thu, 19 Oct 2017 11:17:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/OLIVE+GARDEN+EXPLOSION+CHOPPER+RAW+-+13393302.jpg

The utility room of an Olive Garden restaurant in Laurel, Maryland, exploded Wednesday and blasted debris across the parking lot as roughly 70 diners sat inside.

Dramatic Chopper4 video shows a door blasted open with wood and restaurant equipment laying in the parking lot near the rear of the building, which was severely damaged. 

Fifteen employees were inside during the blast, and two suffered minor injuries.

Prince George's County firefighters were called to the restaurant on Route 1 near the Laurel Shopping Center about 1 p.m. after reports of an explosion.

The inside of the restaurant suffered minimal damage.

Investigators said an electric panel exploded.

Authorities initially said there were no injuries.

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<![CDATA[Here's Who's Hiring Seasonal Workers in the DC Area]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 12:42:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/fedexseasonal.jpg

Holiday shoppers are expected to spend $678.75 billion for their celebrations, an increase of about 4 percent over last year, the National Retail Federation estimated in early October.

But how can we pay for all those presents, turkeys and ironically ugly sweaters?

A number of companies in the D.C. area are hiring. Below, we've rounded up some places where D.C.-area residents can look for a holiday season job.

Macy’s
Macy’s Inc. plans to hire about 80,000 seasonal associates for positions at its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, call centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers during the holiday season.

Hiring events will be held in Arlington, VA and Bethesda, MD from Oct. 26 to Oct. 27. To apply, click here. 

Butler’s Orchard

The family-run orchard in Germantown, Maryland is seeking cashiers, hosts, parking lot attendants, cooks and more to round out their staff during the busy season. Their company mission is to provide “good, green fun and local produce.” Interested applicants can download an application here. 

Target
Target is hiring at many of their 1,800+ stores. The corporate giant seeks seasonal employees to help keep their stores clean and to assist customers in completing their holiday shopping. Employees get the additional benefit of a 10 percent discount in stores and online. Go here for more information and to apply. 

UPS
UPS expects to hire about 95,000 people to drive and handle packages in the weeks before and immediately after the holiday season. Bonuses are available for temporary employees who volunteer for night shifts, and the company notes that many senior executives started in package handling roles. Apply here. 

FedEx
FedEx also plans to hire tens of thousands of temporary employees for their seasonal rush. Positions will include package handlers, drivers and other support positions. Those interested in applying can go here for more information. 

Amazon
Amazon.com Inc. said it would hire 120,000 workers in the United States this holiday season to prepare for the seasonal frenzy. The positions will be available at more than 75 fulfillment centers across the country to help pack and ship holiday orders. The company also said that many of these positions would turn into full-time gigs. As of Tuesday, Oct. 18, positions were available in Springfield VA and in Rockville, MD. For applications, go here.

Toys “R” Us
Despite declaring bankruptcy on Sept. 18, Toys “R” Us is still looking to hire seasonal employees for the 2017 holiday rush. Interviews have already begun in distribution centers and will continue through Christmas. Interviews for in-store positions started in September and will also continue well into December. For more information, and to apply, click here. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA['A Chill Went Down My Spine': Va.'s Spookiest Ghost Stories]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:52:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Gadsbys+Tavern.jpg

During the day, the cobblestone streets of Old Town Alexandria are quiet and picturesque.

But those streets can get a little spookier once darkness falls over the city. 

Alexandria's history is rich with stories of the paranormal. Here are three tales that are sure to give you chills. 

The Female Stranger

On the corner of North Royal and Cameron streets stands a large brick building that was the center of social and political life in Alexandria during the colonial era. 

Gadsby's Tavern is mostly known for its prominent presidential patrons, but about this time of year, one of its other famous guests is discussed. 

A ghost known as the Female Stranger is said to haunt Gadsby's. 

"I personally have not seen her, but there are certainly stories of people who have," said Liz Williams, the director of the Gadsby's Tavern Museum. 

Wellington Watts, owner of Alexandria Colonial Tours, knows several people who said they have seen the ghost of the Female Stranger.

"One of my tour guides was at a Birthnight Ball when he saw a beautiful woman. He walks over to say hi, and she vanishes before his eyes."

Watts said the tour guide caught a glimpse of the woman as she entered Room 8 and followed her. But when he got to the small room, the only thing there was a lantern that had been lit.

Perplexed and wanting to find the woman, the guide went to the museum's curator, but the curator had no idea who he was talking about.

"He said, 'By the way, you have a candle lit in that room unattended,' and the curator said, 'No, I put out all the candles,'" Watts said. 

Sure of what he had seen, the guide urged the curator to follow him to the room, but when they got there, the lantern was not lit.

"But when the tour guide touched the glass of the lantern, the glass was searing hot, burning the tour guide's finger," Watts said. "We like to say she was leaving a beacon for her long-lost husband to return to her."

The real facts of the Female Stranger story are few, Williams said.

"That's part of the allure. Because of that, you can then create some of these amazing stories," she said. 

No matter who you ask, the basic facts surrounding the woman's death and interment are the same.

In 1816, a couple arrived in Old Town on a ship from the Caribbean. The woman, cloaked in a long, black veil, was very sick, possibly from typhoid.

Seeking help from the city's best doctor, the couple rented Room 8 on the second floor of Gadsby's Tavern. Neither gave their names.

The woman grew weaker and weaker and eventually died from her illness on Oct. 14.

Before her death, she and her husband asked those who had attended to them to promise to never reveal their identities.

Grief-stricken, the woman's husband borrowed money from a local man and had the woman buried in St. Paul's Cemetery.

Even in death, the woman's identity remains a mystery. The elaborate inscription on the table-top tombstone is weathered and hard to see today, but it once read:

"To the memory of the Female Stranger whose mortal suffering terminated on the 4th day of October, 1816 - Aged 23 years and 8 months - This stone is erected by her disconsolate husband in whose arms she breathed out her last sigh, and who, under God, did his utmost to soothe the cold, dull ear of death."

According to local legend, the husband disappeared soon after, leaving the elaborate grave -- and his debt -- behind.

The Tale of Laura Schafer

The Female Stranger is not the only ghost who is said to frequent Alexandria's historic buildings.

An ice cream shop at 107 N. Fairfax St. is home to another of the city's famous apparitions.

Laura Schafer died in June of 1868, according to an article written in the Alexandria Gazette.

The 26-year-old was engaged to be married to a soldier.

The night before her wedding, she tried on her wedding dress. Still wearing the dress, Schafer put her grandmother to bed and went across the hall to her room, her train flowing behind her.

"She closes the door behind her, and the kerosene lamp she had fell," Watts said. "Kerosene splashes up the right side of her dress."

Schafer panicked, running for the door. But the June humidity left it swollen and unwilling to budge. When she finally got the door open, the rush of air fueled the flames, engulfing her and her white gown. 

Hearing her screams, her brother ran to her and quickly smothered the flames. But it was too late.

Schafer died on what would have been her wedding day.

Her funeral was held at 11 a.m. in the family's parlor.

Watts says Schafer still haunts the building.

Some have reported hearing a woman weeping when the clock strikes 11, while others have seen items move without provocation.

Watts says his company's Ghost and Graveyard Tour used to feature the building, and on several occasions, a lantern in the hallway would sway as the guides told the story of Schafer's death.

'A Chill Went Down My Spine'

Watts said he no longer gives out the address of one of the city's most haunted homes out of respect for its current owners.

But he said an interior decorator who worked next door to his King Street office once came to him after she had a spooky encounter in the home. 

"A chill went down my spine," Watts said. 

The woman told Watts she had been trying to hang a full-length mirror on one of its walls, but she could not get it to hang evenly. 

"It tilts to the left. It tilts to the right," Watts recalled. 

Frustrated, she took the mirror off the hook and put it on the floor. She turned to talked to some carpenters in the room when she heard a loud boom. 

"The thing went from the floor to the wall and hung in perfect alignment," Watts said. 

Watts said a spirit in the home has a long history of reports of haunting its tenants. 

The original owner of the home in the 1700s was an overprotective father who wouldn't let his daughter date or marry. The young woman channeled her frustration into spinning and would sit in front of the widow as she spun at a wooden wheel. 

Years later, a couple who rented the home found the spinning wheel spinning on its own in the attic. 

They brushed off the encounter, chalking the movement up to an open window or a draft. But as soon as they went to bed, they once again heard the spin of the wooden wheel. 

The couple decided to move the spinning wheel to their living room, but when they returned the next morning, it was gone. 

It was once again in its place in the attic. 

Watts said residents of the home have reported seeing a ghost walk through the hall, and have had sheets ripped off of their bodies in the middle of the night. 

"Tenants would not stay, and sadly, the current family is not talking," Watts said. 


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<![CDATA[Donnie Simpson Celebrates 40 Years in DC]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:45:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Donnie_Simpson_Celebrates_40_Years_in_DC.jpg

Donnie Simpson has been a D.C. staple for 40 years. His velvety smooth voice can be heard on Majic 102.3, but his T.V. career started here at News4. Just days before a star-studded anniversary celebration, Donnie met with our Molette Green at a local coffee shop. The Detroit native proudly sported a D.C. bomber jacket and talked about how some of music’s biggest stars are now among his closest friends. 

 

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<![CDATA[Attempted ATM Theft Nearly Rips Away Md. Storefront]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 07:27:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/218*120/2017-10-18_0726.png

A attempted ATM theft nearly ripped away the front of a Clinton, Maryland, store Wednesday morning. 

The attempted theft happened at a gas station on the 8200 block of Woodyard Road. 

Derrick Blackwell, an employee at the gas station, says he saw a pickup truck ram the the front of the store. 

"At first I'm thinking it's like an accident, but then I saw the truck move forward and hit the ATM again," Blackwell said. 

Blackwell says he grabbed his phone, locked himself in a back room and called 911.

The suspect wasn't able to free the machine, but the attempted shattered the store's window and nearly ripped away the storefront. 


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<![CDATA[Va. Home Puts on Another Elaborate Halloween Light Show]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 07:21:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Edwards+light+show.jpg

He's at it again! A Leesburg, Virginia, man is putting on a spectacular Halloween light show, but this year, the home's lip-syncing monsters are jamming to "Feel It Still" by Portugal The Man.  

Brandon Bullis uses over 16,000 lights and thousands of channels of computer animation to produce the "Edwards Landing Lights" show each year. The music does not broadcast from the house, but visitors can "hear the lights" by tuning their radios to 98.1 FM.

To catch the amazing show, just grab your keys and head to 1816 Woods Edge Drive. The show runs on a continuous loop nightly from 7-9 p.m., but there will be no show on Halloween.

According to Bullis’ Youtube account, producing the light show is a personal hobby. But his hobby also supports a good cause. There's a donation box at the home that supports the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. 

And just in case you're wondering, the electric bill for the display ranges from $25-35 during Halloween season because they used energy efficient LEDs.

In 2013, a light show set to Ylvis' "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say)" gained over 8 million views on YouTube. This is the seventh year Bullis has put on a Halloween light show.




Photo Credit: EdwardsLandingLights, Youtube.com
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<![CDATA[Fire, Explosions Spotted in Wooded Area of Anne Arundel Co.]]> Tue, 17 Oct 2017 23:18:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2017-10-17_2227.png

A fire in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, burned a vehicle and spread to nearby storage buildings and woods late Monday night.

Crews were called to the 8300 block of Brock Bridge Road in Laurel, Maryland just before 10 p.m. Video from Chopper 4 showed fire trucks making their way into a wooded area.

While the fire teams approached, several apparent explosions could be seen from the burning area. Officials said the buildings were storage units, and the nearest hydrant was 3,000 feet away.

No injuries were reported.



Photo Credit: NBC4 Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Man Smoking While Using Oxygen Mask Started Md. Fire]]> Wed, 18 Oct 2017 07:56:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/2017-10-17_2136.png

A man who was smoking while using an oxygen mask started a fire at an Silver Spring apartment Tuesday night. 

The fire started just before 9 p.m. in the first-floor bedroom of an apartment on the 100 block of Schuyler Road. When firefighters arrived, heavy fire was showing in the back of the building.

Firefighters had to help several people get out of the building.

Fire officials believe a man who was smoking while wearing an oxygen mask started the fire. The man, who is in his mid 60s, was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation.

Montgomery County Fire spokesman Pete Piringer said several families were  displaced. The Red Cross will be assisting them.


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<![CDATA[Montgomery County Ramps Up Fight Against Gangs]]> Tue, 17 Oct 2017 23:23:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Montgomery_County_Ramps_Up_Fight_Against_Gangs.jpg

Nearly $1 million will put more officers into the Montgomery County Police Departement's gang unit and fund outreach to teen targeted by violent groups. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

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