<![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, 24 Mar 2017 00:34:27 -0400Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:34:27 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Man From Bowie Killed While Working in Florida]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:36:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Teddy+Brown.jpg

A man from Bowie, Maryland, man was killed in Florida after traveling there to work as food vendor during the "Jazz In The Gardens" music festival. News4's Meagan Fitzgerald spoke with the man's family.

<![CDATA[Park Police Recover 2 Stolen Presidential Seals]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:29:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Presidential+Seal.+2374.jpg

A man has been arrested after police found two stolen presidential seals at his D.C. home.

Daniel S. Lewin, of Northwest, was arrested Thursday, United States Park Police said.

One seal was reported missing from the Kennedy Center on Dec. 6, 2016 and the other has been missing since 2015.

Lewin was a volunteer driver at the Kennedy Center.

Police said they were able to identify him through surveillance footage.

He was arrested and charged with first-degree theft.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Girl and Man Killed, 2 Others Injured in Waldorf Shooting]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 21:21:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Waldorf+Shooting1.jpg

A little girl and a man are dead and two others are injured after a shooting in Waldorf, Maryland, Thursday night, the Charles County Sheriff's Office says.

Officers found a man's body near the foot of the stairs in the 3300 block of Westdale Court, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office told News4. A gun was next to his body, the spokesperson said.

Inside the house, officers found the body of the little girl. The sheriff's office said she was a toddler, but her exact age is not known.

Police also found a teenage girl and a woman suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in the home. They were flown to a hospital and are in critical condition, police said.

Investigators believe the man is the gunman and it appears to be a domestic-related shooting, according to the sheriff's office. 

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for more updates to this developing story.

Photo Credit: Chopper4]]>
<![CDATA[Local Families Concerned About Possible Health Care Changes]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:09:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DC+Woman.jpg

A D.C. woman who takes care of her son with cystic fibrosis says she worries about how her family's healthcare coverage would change under the proposed Republican Health Care bill. "This is something I worry about everyday - everyday of my life," she told News4's Kristin Wright.

<![CDATA[Students Sow the Seeds of Peace at Summer Camp]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:56:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018201775_1200x675_905136707581.jpg

High school students spend two weeks in the summer coming up with ideas on how to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems at the Seeds of Peace summer camp in Maine. Barbara Harrison reports.

<![CDATA[Police Officer Charged With Assaulting Spitting Suspect]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:54:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Prince_George%27s_County_Police.jpg

A grand jury indicted a Prince George’s County police officer accused of striking a handcuffed suspect who allegedly spit on his face.

Officer Levi Vaughn and other officers were taking an uncooperative man under arrest to the Department of Corrections July 15, prosecutors said. 

The suspect spit on Vaughn’s face while they were trying to gain his cooperation, police said. To retaliate, Vaughn hit the man twice and was about to hit him again when other officers intervened, prosecutors said. The man was handcuffed and his legs were secured at the time, police said.

The officer has been suspended since November.

“While I understand this officer felt disrespected by the suspects actions, even individuals who are in custody have the right to be protected,” Prince George’s County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said.

Vaughn was indicted on charges of second-degree assault and misconduct in office Thursday.

Police conducted an internal reivew and took the case to the State Attorney’s Office for potential criminal charges. Vaughn’s court date has not been determined. 

Vaughn has been with Prince George's County police since 2007.

<![CDATA[Crime-Fighting App Shows Results in Fairfax Neighborhoods]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:26:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018201530_1200x675_905102403879.jpg

A new crime fighting tool has been recognized in Fairfax County, Virginia. It's called the Nextdoor app. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports more people are signing up for the app in Fairfax County than any other place in the Mid-Atlantic region.

<![CDATA[FCC Cracks Down on Robocalls]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:29:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018201621_1200x675_905129539520.jpg

The FCC proposed new rules to allow carriers to block spoofed caller ID numbers and empower providers to block spoofed robocalls when the spoofed caller ID cannot possibly be valid, including numbers that haven't been assigned to anyone yet. Susan Hogan reports.

<![CDATA[Accessibility Company Fails to Deliver for Several Customers]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:26:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018201585_1200x675_905103939878.jpg

After NBC4 Responds reported on a company that failed to deliver a stairlift for a man before his death, four more people have reported the company repeatedly missed deadlines after they paid thousands of dollars for ramps, medical chairs and other equipment.

Lola Lee said she’s still waiting for a $4,500 ramp she and her son ordered four months ago.

Fred Franklin said he paid $1,200 for a special chair to help lift him up, but he hasn’t received it.

“I still thought sooner or later that he can produce the chair,” Franklin said.

Amputee Bob Flanders spent $3,500 for a stairlift that he said was never delivered.

Judy Rolfe said she paid $3,200 for her stairlift and hasn’t received it.

Customers said the owner of Access Mobility Equipment in Fredericksburg, Virginia, promised refunds, but some of those promises haven’t been met.

“He constantly kept giving me dates, and the dates were getting further and further apart,” said Willie Lee, Lola Lee’s son.

The ramp they ordered would have meant freedom for Lola Lee.

“I can’t do anything that I want to do,” she said.

After leaving Access Mobility owner Jim Clore numerous messages, he provided NBC4 Responds a statement saying, “Affected customers have been contacted and have agreed to a repayment plan that will be completed."

He also said he hired a consulting firm to help coordinate the process.

Franklin received a full refund March 8.

Rolfe received 50 percent of her refund and will get the rest in April.

Flanders was promised half of his refund this week but said so far he’s only received $250. He's still out $3,260.

Lola Lee got $1,750 and is still waiting on $2,750.

Her son is heartbroken.

“That’s my mom, and you can do things to me that I may let you get away with, but that's my mom,” he said.

This week, a few customers said the consulting firm Clore hired dropped him as a client.

NBC4 Responds will continue to follow this story.

<![CDATA[Emotions Run High at Valor Awards in Prince William County]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:23:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/218*120/Ashley_Guindon1.jpg

Prince William County's Valor Awards are both heartwarming and heartbreaking. This year, the awards ceremony was dedicated to Officer Ashley Guindon, who was shot and killed on her first day on the job. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports.

<![CDATA[Relief on the Way to Flood Prone Huntington in Fairfax County]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:04:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018201549_1200x675_905096771519.jpg

Ground was broken Thursday for a new levee and pumping station to avert flooding in the Huntington area of Fairfax County.

<![CDATA[Art Community 'Devastated by DC Killing of Corrina Mehiel]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:16:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/032317+mel+chin.jpg

The artist who was the last person to see Corrina Mehiel alive before she was found dead in Northeast D.C. spoke on Thursday about her spark. "To the person who did this to her: you are too late. You failed. Corrina Mehiel was already liberated, and emboldened so many people to fight for their beliefs. Her spirit will continue," Mel Chin said. News4's Derrick Ward reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Arrest in Cold Case Sex Assaults Near Georgetown University]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:51:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/handcuffs14.jpg

More than a decade after a man awoke two strangers in their own homes and sexually assaulted them, police have made an arrest.

Benjamin Filoberto Paz, 53, was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexually assaulting one victim near Georgetown University in 2002 and a second victim on the same block in 2004.

Paz, of Montgomery Village, Maryland, attacked the first victim on June 16, 2002, D.C. police said. She was asleep in her home on the 3300 block of Prospect Street NW when a stranger broke in, awoke her and attacked her. Then, he fled. 

The second offense occurred on Feb. 22, 2004, when a different victim was sleeping in her home on the same block. Again, police say Paz broke in, awoke the victim and attacked her. 

Paz was charged on Wednesday with first-degree sexual abuse as well as five other charges.

D.C. police declined to provide information on how the Metropolitan Police Department's Cold Case Unit broke the case.

<![CDATA[Jaffe Report: DC Gun Laws Must Be Stiffer]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:20:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_16340258437479-Comet-Ping-Pong-Gunman.jpg

Harry Jaffe, a longtime chronicler of the people and politics of Washington, D.C., writes a column for NBC Washington's First Read DMV blog.

Let’s be generous with Edgar Maddison Welch, the misguided Pizzagate shooter, and try to see him through his parents’ eyes.

“I want people to know he’s not the monster he’s portrayed to be,” his mother Terri told the Washington Post last December, a few weeks after her son shot up Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in northwest D.C.

Welch is scheduled to appear in federal court Friday to finalize a plea deal.

To his family, the 28-year-old is a loving, responsible father to his two young girls. He’s the uncle who’d go surfing, fishing and crabbing with the kids. He’d volunteered with his church to build houses in Haiti after an earthquake.

But to the folks who showed up for a pizza pie at Comet Ping Pong the first Sunday last December, he’s the guy who stalked in with an assault rifle, pointed it at a server and fired some rounds in the floor.

His parents live down a long driveway from Welch in the North Carolina town of Salisbury. They had no clue their boy had been seduced by raging lunatics on social media who had concocted a conspiracy that had Hillary Clinton running a sex trafficking ring from the basement of Comet Ping Pong. They were surprised to learn their kid had armed himself and driven north with the intention of shooting his way into Comet and liberating the children.

Giving Welch every benefit, I come away with one essential conclusion: This adoring dad and playful uncle must never, ever be permitted to possess a firearm again – ever.

Welch faces up to 35 years for various firearm offenses, including assault with a dangerous weapon. If Welch pleads guilty to a felony, by federal law he will lose his right to possess a firearm, nationwide, as it should be.

But if prosecutors allow him to bargain down to a misdemeanor, he could serve time and pay a fine, yet still maintain the right to bear arms.

That’s not likely, but it’s possible. That possibility should be taken off the books.

Here’s where lawmakers can draw a line and reduce gun violence: anyone who uses a firearm in a crime of violence or carries a gun without a license loses the right to bear arms, period, whether it results in a felony or misdemeanor.

Brandish a gun in a crime of violence? Lose the right to bear arms.

Show up at a former lover’s place with a gun in your hand? Forget packing heat, ever again.

Carry a pistol without a license? Yes, lose the right to possess a gun forever.

“If someone wants to get a gun illegally, we can’t stop that,” says retired D.C. police lieutenant Lowell Duckett, “but if they get caught using that gun in a crime – we can step in and say: never again.”

The District has strong laws prohibiting criminals from gun possession. Under D.C. Code 22-4503, any person convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a year or more cannot possess a firearm. Same for a fugitive, anyone addicted to controlled substances, subject to various court orders, or convicted of an intra-family offense in the last five years.

Even those laws could be stiffened, especially for juveniles. For example, anyone convicted of CPWL -- carrying a pistol without a license -- should lose the right to possess a gun, regardless of age. A second CPWL should result in a felony and jail time.

What law, you might ask, actually stops someone from carrying around a gun illegally, without a permit? None of the above. But if that a felon or a misdemeanor offender is caught with a weapon, they face significant jail terms.

The message that carrying around guns will put you in jail for hard time must permeate the community.

Back to Edgar Welch. If he leaves court Friday with a misdemeanor rather than a felony, he could cross the Potomac, buy a gun in Virginia and return to Comet to “self-investigate” the sex ring. The Old Dominion does not prohibit those convicted of misdemeanor gun offenses from owning a firearm.

Whether one state honors another state’s gun laws is complicated, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

North Carolina has stiffer laws. A “misdemeanor assault by pointing a gun, as defined by state law” is enough to lose your right to bear arms in that state, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Let’s hope Welch never touches a firearm again. That would square with one of the NRA’s favorite maxims: It’s the person, not the gun. As a person, Welch has disqualified himself.

We are awash in guns here in the nation’s capital. Illegal weapons flow in from all corners, especially Virginia. Thieves have hit four gun shops in the region in the past month and stolen weaponry from three. No doubt some will wind up on our streets.

There’s no stopping the endless supply of pistols and assault rifles. DC police recovered 79 illegal weapons over the last three weeks, D.C. police report, adding up to a typical take of 25 guns every week. 

There’s no stopping misguided congressmen and senators from trying to neuter the District’s ability to regulate guns.

But we can strengthen our laws to make sure anyone carrying or using a gun for criminal activities loses the right to bear arms.

That certainly applies to Edgar Maddox Welch. Whether he’s a monster or not, he should never be able to possess a gun again.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Police: Pr. George's Officer Drove Drunk, Crashed Patrol Car]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:55:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/032317+prince+george%27s+officer+crash.jpg

A police officer in Prince George's County, Maryland, drove drunk and crashed his patrol car early Thursday, his own police department said.

Sources tell News4 the officer disappeared for more than a half-hour after the crash and then returned.

Police Officer 1st Class Christopher Brown was charged with multiple counts of driving under the influence and speeding, the Prince George's County Police Department announced Thursday afternoon. News4 was first to report the news, on Twitter.

Police say Brown crashed near the Capitol Beltway and Pennsylvania Avenue about 2:30 a.m. Thursday. He clipped the back of a tractor-trailer, lost control of his cruiser and hit a guardrail, police said. He was off-duty at the time of the crash.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not hurt.

District Heights police were first on the scene. They saw the police cruiser, which had damage to the front end, but the officer was gone. 

Sources with knowledge of the investigation told News4 someone picked up Brown after the crash. He was gone for 34 minutes and then returned, sources said.

Brown returned a short time later. Officers suspected he was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him.

No information was available immediately on who picked up the officer.

Brown, who joined the police department in 2009, previously crashed his police cruiser while under the influence in 2012, police said. He was arrested after that crash and pleaded guilty to those charges.

He was allowed to keep his job because that crime was a misdemeanor and Brown followed all the terms of his sentence, a police department representative said. 

Police Chief Hank Stawinski said he was disturbed by what happened.

“I find the circumstances surrounding this incident gravely troubling, and I apologize to the community for the appearance of impropriety," he said in a statement.

The police chief promised transparency.

"Know that, as always, when I have the facts, I will take appropriate action to remedy this, and I will make the facts known to the public,” Stawinski said in a statement.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Boy Dies After Dog Attacks Him in Calvert County]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:08:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_121613223.jpg

An 8-month-old baby boy has died Thursday after a dog attacked him, police in Calvert County, Maryland say.

A family friend was watching the baby at a residence on Prancer Court in Lusby about 1 p.m. when the family's dog attacked the baby, police said.

Deputies with the Calvert County Sheriff's Office responded and saw the dog attacking the baby. The deputies shot the dog to stop the attack and saw the baby died as a result of the attack, the sheriff's office said.

It is not known if the dog died.

Police said they are continuing to investigate the incident.

No further information was immediately available.

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for more updates.

<![CDATA[Puppies Everywhere! Celebrating National Puppy Day]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:37:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/national-puppy-day-2017.jpg Want to share your photos? Tweet them @nbcwashington or email them to isee@nbcwashington.com.]]> <![CDATA[John Thompson III Out at Georgetown]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:13:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-632411596.jpg

After 13 years with the Hoyas, John Thompson III is out as Georgetown University's men's basketball coach.

The news was first reported by fan blog Casual Hoya and confirmed by a statement from University President John J. DeGioia.

"It is with profound regret and deep appreciation that I informed John Thompson III this morning that the University will no longer be retaining his services as our Head Men's Basketball Coach," DeGioio said in the statement.

Georgetown is beginning a national search for a new head coach, Degioio said.

“I am honored to have been the Head Coach at Georgetown University for the past 13 years, where I had the privilege of coaching and mentoring outstanding student-athletes,” Thompson said in a statement. “I am proud of what my players have accomplished on the court and how they are thriving since leaving Georgetown.” 

The Hoyas made eight NCAA tournament appearances under Thompson, reaching the Final Four once in 2007.

Thompson's departure comes after two consecutive losing seasons and failure to qualify for the NCAA tournament three of the past four seasons. 

Thompson previously coached Princeton for four seasons before moving to Georgetown in 2004. He is the son of legendary Hoyas coach John Thompson Jr. 

“I am grateful to the fans of Georgetown for their tremendous support,” Thompson said in his statement. “Georgetown Basketball has been a part of my life since 1972, which makes this moment eve more impactful but I look forward to my next chapter.” 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DC Police Sued Over Inauguration Day Arrest Records]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:04:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/012317+peter+newsham.jpg

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund is suing the Metropolitan Police Department and acting Chief Peter Newsham for withholding records related to arrests on Inauguration Day.

The group says Newsham violated the law by not making the arrest records public.

Since the 2002 World Bank protests in Pershing Park, police are required to maintain and make public records of all mass arrests, as well as records regarding the deployment of chemicals.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund says it has done everything it can to obtain the records, including filing a Freedom of Information Act request, but still hasn't received them.

More than 200 people were charged after protesters smashed the windows of an emergency vehicle and several businesses and set fire to a limousine Jan. 20. Six police officers were hurt, with one falling unconscious after he was hit in the head.

Following the arrest of hundreds at Pershing Park in 2002, D.C. ended up settling for more than $8 million with almost 400 protesters and bystanders who sued over the mass arrests.

<![CDATA[Girl, 17, Has Been Missing Since February, Police Say]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:47:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/demetria+carthens.jpg

Police in D.C. are searching for a 17-year-old girl who has been missing for over a month and a half.

Demetria Carthens was last seen in the 200 block of I Street SE Feb. 7 at 3 p.m., police say. 

Carthens is 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds, has black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a thin blue coat, black jeans and black boots. 

A police spokeswoman declined to say why information on Carthens' disappearance was not released earlier.

Anyone with information that can help police should call 202-727-9099.

<![CDATA[Security Boosted at Rockville High After Immigration-Related Threats]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:52:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018196024_1200x675_904754243875.jpg

Police have stepped up security at Rockville High School after the school received several threats Wednesday related to the immigration status of two students accused of raping a 14-year-old in a school bathroom. News4's Justin Finch reports.

<![CDATA[Easter is Coming: Get Easter Basket Tips From a Pro]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:27:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018196103_1200x675_904813635784.jpg

Easter is just around the corner, meaning it's almost time for Easter baskets. Centrolina pastry chef Caitlin Dysart joins News4's Eun Yang to show off some of the creations.

<![CDATA[Police Release Sketch of Man Wanted in 18-Year-Old's Murder]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:30:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/allyssa+banks+suspect.jpg

Prince George's County police have released a composite sketch of the man they believe is responsible for the murder of an 18-year-old woman.

Allyssa Banks and an unidentified man were found shot in a car in the 10200 block of Prince Place in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, at 1:44 a.m. Oct. 19, 2016. 

Banks was pronounced dead at the hospital. The other victim's injuries were not life-threatening. 

Police believe the suspect tried to rob the victims before shooting them. 

Banks was a recent graduate of Largo High School and had enrolled at Prince George's Community College.

"She wanted to be a psychologist to help people," said friend Gloria Poole.

Poole described her like a second daughter.

"I just called her my sidekick because we were always singing together," she said. "She was just a nice person."

A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest and indictment. Anyone who recognizes the man in the sketch should call police at 301-772-4925.

<![CDATA[Metro to Hike Fares, Cut Service Starting This Summer]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:57:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20151008+Metro+Generic1.jpg

In a bid to close a $290 million budget gap, Metro will increase fare on bus and rail lines and cut service starting in July.

On Thursday morning, the board unanimously approved the changes.

The changes will raise Metro peak rail fare by $0.10, off-peak rail fare by $0.25 and bus fare by $0.25. These increases will raise an estimated $21 million in fiscal 2018, Metro said.

Additionally, the plan would increase time between trains and eliminate the bus routes determined to be inefficient. Those cuts would save an estimated $29 million.

Metro board chairman Jack Evans said he does not think the fare increases and service cuts will drive away riders. 

"I think what drives Metro riders away is just one thing, and it's reliability. I don't think safety drives Metro riders away. I think this is a much safer system than people think," he said. "It is a costly system." 

General Manager Paul Wiedefeld spoke about protecting Metro.

"What this system means to the region in the future is huge," he said.

Metro will cut service to these bus lines:


S2, S4, S9: Convert S2 and S4 trips to S9 trips


C11, C13: Reduce frequency

B30: Weekday only service, increase headway to 1 hour

J5: Eliminate service

H11, H12, H13: Reduce frequency

J7, J9: Eliminate service in October

T2: Reduce frequency

W19: Eliminate service

P17, P18, P19 Turn back at Southern Avenue

W13, W14: Turn back at Southern Avenue

Z7: Reduce frequency


18P, 18R, 18S: Eliminate 18R, improve 18P

28A, 28X: Eliminate service on Priority Corridor Network (PCN) Transit Signal Priority (TSP) corridor, improve 28A

15K, 15L: Eliminate Rosslyn branch, service EFC

5A: Reduce frequency

7W, 7X: Eliminate 7X service, improve 7W

13Y: Eliminate service

2T: Eliminate service

17A, 17B, 17F, 17M: Eliminate 17A, keep 17M and truncated 17B

REX: Extend route and reduce frequency

2B: Reduce weekday peak frequency

Unsurprisingly, the threat of service cuts are not popular with riders.

"I need the bus" daily 2T bus rider Ruth Garcinizo, who does not have a drivers license, said earlier this month.

Metro has cut hundreds of positions and will use some federal grants to help close the gap.

Earlier this month, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said the fare hike and service cuts are necessary. 

“I recognize that even with some relief for customers, this proposal is tough medicine for the region, jurisdictions, riders and Metro employees, all of whom must contribute to balance this budget," he said.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

<![CDATA[How Probiotics Can Help Improve Your Mental Health]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:54:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018196092_1200x675_904795203657.jpg

A probiotic a day keeps the blues away? Dr. Joshua Weiner is in the studio with News4's Melissa Mollet to talk about the relationship between gastrointestinal health and mental health, and how to get the healthy probiotics you want.

<![CDATA[Md. Man Accused of Murder Traveled to NYC to Target Blacks]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 07:01:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/MALE+FATALLY+STABBED+RACIAL+ATTACK+PERP+WALK+MN++-+15130326_WNB.jpg
View Full Story

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Police Have Person of Interest in Killing of Artist]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:25:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Person+of+Interest6.jpg

D.C. police have released a photo of a person of interest after a woman was found bound and stabbed to death inside a rowhouse in Northeast Washington Tuesday afternoon.

Corrina Mehiel, 34, was found dead in a basement apartment on the 600 block of 14th Street NE, near the busy H Street corridor, about 4 p.m. Tuesday.

A photo released Wednesday night shows the person of interest, a man, walking into a convenience store in the 5000 block of Garrett Avenue in Beltsville, Maryland.

Acting Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference that police found no signs of forced entry in the apartment where her body was found. 

Mehiel was an artist and art teacher who was working at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design. She was last seen at the school Sunday night. She talked with her father by phone that night, too, her stepmother said Wednesday. 

"She was full of life, full of plans," Mehiel's stepmother, Lari Mehiel, said by phone. 

She sobbed as she spoke about the artist's murder. 

"I think some heinous, hate-filled, evil person killed her. I don't know why. Why would he kill her?" she said. 

Mehiel, who originally was from Burnsville, North Carolina, was living in D.C. temporarily. She specialized in art that engaged communities and was working with the artist Mel Chin. 

"Corrina was a vibrant and talented individual who will be dearly missed," a George Washington University spokesman said in an email to Corcoran School members. 

The apartment in which Mehiel was staying was one that Chin kept for people who were helping him on projects. 

Anyone who can identify the person of interest or sees Mehiel's car is asked to call police.

It's a blue four-door 2004 Toyota Prius. The car has the Kentucky license plate 722RMY. A yellow, diamond-shaped bumper sticker about looking out for motorcycles is on the rear bumper. 

No information on a suspect or possible motive was released immediately. 

On Wednesday, Newsham also talked about the murder of Ayana McAllister.

As News4 reported, the 18-year-old college freshman was shot and killed while watching the filming of a music video Monday evening.

McAllister was home on spring break from Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh, North Carolina, her father, Anthony McAllister, said.

Police did not immediately release any information on the gunman or a possible motive in McAllister's death. 

"By all accounts, these were bright, promising women whose lives were cut short," Newsham said.

Photo Credit: Metropolitan Police Department
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<![CDATA[Firefighter Saves Best Friend Police Officer’s Life From CO]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:10:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Officer+Ricardo+Biddy+and+Firefigher+Phil+Martin+7R4A2931_blog.jpg

A Maryland police officer whose cruiser leaked carbon monoxide is fortunate his best friend is an emergency medical technician.

Ricardo Biddy and Phil Martin talk to each other every day, which may very well have kept their friendship alive.

“When we were 7, we were both members of the then Seat Pleasant Dream Police,” Biddy said. “Been friends ever since then.”

They both volunteer for the Seat Pleasant Fire Department, and Biddy is also a Prince George’s County police officer.

He had just pulled up in front of his home in the early morning hours of March 3 after a shift at the firehouse when carbon monoxide overcame him.

Fortunately, he was talking to Martin at the time.

“All I remember that night is being on the phone,” Biddy said. “And I just remember feeling dizzy and nauseous.”

“I noticed he started to mumble about subjects that were irrelevant, stuff that I was unfamiliar with,” Martin said.

Martin followed his instincts, called 911 and got into his car to follow Biddy’s route home from the firehouse.

“I ran to his house and found him unresponsive in his cruiser,” Martin said.

Other emergency units soon arrived and took Biddy to the hospital for treatment.

“To say that your best friend came to your aid and saved your life, it’s remarkable,” Biddy said. “I'll be forever grateful to him.”

“When you talk to someone every day, every single day, no matter what, for years, and then something odd happens, I don’t believe in just writing it off,” Martin said.

Biddy’s newer model cruiser got work done at the dealership in January, including replacing the engine’s manifold, which takes the exhaust gases from the engine and emits them from the tailpipe.

Biddy then complained twice about exhaust fumes in his vehicle, but county maintenance could not find a problem, police said.

“We tested; it tested negative for CO,” police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said. “We sent it to the dealership negative test.”

After Biddy’s scare, fleet maintenance recreated the incident and discovered carbon monoxide leaking into the vehicle. At the dealership, they found a crack in the manifold.

Prince George’s County police said there's no reason for their officers or the public to be concerned.

“We believe this to be a one off, and we strongly feel that way based on the results of their investigation into this vehicle,” Deputy Chief Chris Murtha of the Bureau of Patrol.

Photo Credit: Prince George's County Police]]>
<![CDATA[10 DC Students Awarded Full Scholarships to GW University]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:18:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Michael_Degaga_2017_LRW_4771.jpg

Ten D.C. high school seniors can rest easy after they were awarded full-ride scholarships to George Washington University.

Every year, the university awards the Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship to no more than 10 D.C. students. The scholarship covers tuition, room and board, books and fees and is intended to provide opportunities to local students.

At nine different schools across the District on Wednesday, GW President Steven Knapp, admissions staff and George the mascot presented students with acceptance letters and scholarships.

“This is my favorite day every year,” Knapp said. “With these scholarships, we are not only helping these students achieve their dreams but also sending a message across this great capital city that college is a possibility for all.”

Michael Degaga, a senior at Dunbar High School in Ward 5, is one of the 2017 recipients.

“I knew from the moment that I wanted to go to college that I had to find a way to pay for school and that it’s really expensive and nobody in my family can do that for me,” Degaga said. “I’m really thankful for it.”

The ten recipients are:

Cherisse Hayes of Duke Ellington School of the Arts (Ward 1)

An aspiring journalist, Cherisse is class treasurer and a student contributer at Share.America.gov.

Lorrin Davis of Columbia Heights Education Campus (Ward 1)

Lorrin is interested in studying international affairs to pursue her dream of being a Foreign Service officer.

Ana Lopez of Columbia Heights Education Campus (Ward 1)

Ana first learned English at 13 when she moved to D.C. to join her mother. She will be the first member of her family to attend college. 

Sydney Austin of National Cathedral School (Ward 3)

Sydney, an aspiring archaeologist, is captain of her soccer team and editor of the school newspaper.

William Davis of Woodrow Wilson High School (Ward 3)

William, an intern with the Urban Alliance at the World Bank, wants to major in business and pursue a career in finance.

Jenesis Duran of Washington Latin Public Charter School (Ward 4)

Jenesis is captain of her soccer team, school secretary and treasurer and involved in the League of United Latin American Citizens. She wants to study international relations. 

Michael Degaga of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Ward 5)

Michael is the mechanical captain of the robotics ream, a member of JROTC and wants to major in mechanical engineering. He is expected to be class valedictorian. 

Emmoni Morrisey of McKinley Technology High School (Ward 5)

Eommoni is captain of her school’s volleyball team and wants to major in business administration. 

Adonte Yearwood of Eastern High School (Ward 6)

Adonte is a member of JROTC and the school baseball team. He wants to major in criminal justice and pursue a career in law enforcement. 

Joel Escobar of Cesar Chavez – Parkside High School Campus (Ward 7)

Joel is captain of his soccer team and a first generation student. He is expected to graduate at the top of his class and wants to major in computer science.

Photo Credit: Logan Werlinger/George Washington University]]>
<![CDATA[Maryland Teacher, 94, Says She Has No Plans to Retire]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:55:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Teacher13.jpg

A 94-year-old woman has been inspiring students in Montgomery County for decades. News4's Melissa Mollet explains why she came back from retirement, and why she has no plans to retire again.

<![CDATA[WTOP: Terrorists Always Ready and Looking to Attack]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:28:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018187681_1200x675_904297539692.jpg

 WTOP National Security Correspondent J.J. Green explains how terrorism is always evolving.

<![CDATA[IRS Removed Tool From FAFSA Site After Suspicious Activity]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:25:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_78409850950.jpg

The IRS removed a vital tool from the federal financial aid application website due to suspicious activity, a congressman confirmed Wednesday.

The IRS removed the data retrieval tool from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website without warning March 3, News4 reported Tuesday. The tool locates all the tax information students need for the application.

The link to the tool wasn't removed from the FAFSA site, causing another problem: Applicants clicking on it are kicked out of the application and forced to start over again.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) spoke to the IRS about the issue Wednesday.

The IRS said it took the tool down as a precaution because of concerns identity thieves could misuse information from the tool after seeing suspicious activity.

The IRS did not describe the suspicious activity but said it appears relatively isolated. No breach has been confirmed.

“If fraud is suspected, the IRS will contact impacted individuals by mail to notify them,” Doggett's office said.

Doggett will introduce a bill streamlining FAFSA and making access to the data retrieval tool mandatory.

Those who filled out FAFSA prior to the removal of the data retrieval tool should be fine.

The IRS said it is working to resolve the issue with the data retrieval tool as quickly as possible but admitted it could be weeks before it's back online.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Reagan National Airport Launches $1 Billion Project]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:54:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Reagan+National+Centrum+Entrance.jpg

A massive $1 billion multi-year renovation project will bring dramatic changes to Reagan National Airport in the coming years.

Two new security checkpoints and a new commuter concourse are part of what the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has dubbed "Project Journey."

MWAA met on Wednesday and unveiled its plan and what the changes will look like.

The new security screening areas, which will be between the National Airport Metro station and departures and arrivals areas, are expected to be complete by 2020. The checkpoints will be 150,000 square feet.

MWAA said security screenings will shift to the new checkpoints and the existing checkpoints will be removed to connect the concourse level of terminals B and C, creating more space for passengers.

"The thing that drove us to do this was the fact that we've, in the last three years, we've seen a tremendous growth at this airport of over 25 percent of passengers," said Jack Potter, CEO of MWAA.

But travelers can expect construction to cause traffic delays while getting to and from the airport.

"Significant roadway impacts are expected from late 2017 through 2018 as travel lanes temporarily close to provide space for construction activity and equipment," MWAA said in a news release.

Another major change to be completed in 2021 is a new concourse that will replace the 14 outdoor gates travelers currently have to access by bus.

Renderings of the new concourse show a spacious, light-filled terminal that has seating and concessions.

The concourse will have architectural features that are consistent with the airport's existing terminals, MWAA said.

"All the amenities, all the space and openness that we are going to provide in the new commuter concourse is definitely going to enhance the passenger's experience," said Louis Lee, an architect for MWAA.

The terminal will be a serious upgrade for the 6,000 passengers who currently have to board commuter planes out in the elements.

"We have to make sure that we accommodate people who travel this airport in a very comfortable environment," Potter said.

Photo Credit: MWAA - Project Journey
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<![CDATA[London Terrorist Attack Brings Reflection to U.S. Capitol Security]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:20:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/capitol_police_shorts.jpg

Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine talks about the London attacks and how D.C. has prepared itself for similar threats.

<![CDATA[Talk Around Town: Trump Meets Congressional Black Caucus]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:16:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17081702419435.jpg

WHUR's Troy Johnson discusses what some listeners think about President Donald Trump's outreach to African-Americans.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik]]>
<![CDATA[Sears, Kmart Have 'Substantial Doubt' About Keeping Doors Open]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:11:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018186189_1200x675_904121923545.jpg

The company that owns both Sears and Kmart publicly acknolwedged that it may be in trouble, potentially forced to close its doors.

<![CDATA[Gun Store Burglary Suspects in Custody, Guns Still Missing]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:03:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018187522_1200x675_904221763574.jpg

Three suspects are accused in three separate gun store burglaries in Virginia. News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Reporter David Culver reports.

<![CDATA[Missing 17-Year-Old Girl Found In Good Health]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:26:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/missing+teen4.jpg

Update: Katherine Hunter has been found in good health, police said Thursday.

The 17-year-old girl was reported missing from Southeast D.C. on Wednesday.

D.C. police urge anyone with information on missing people to call the anonymous tip line at (202) 727-9099 or text at 50411.

Photo Credit: Metropolitan Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Please Stand on Metro Escalators, General Manager Says]]> Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:59:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/032217+metro+escalator+bethesda.jpg

Walk to the left, stand to the right? Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said Metro would prefer that you stand.

The head of Washington's Metro system said Wednesday that the custom of standing on the right side of a Metro escalator to clear the way for people to walk on the left damages escalators.

"We do not promote, obviously, the walking on the left. These are very sensitive pieces of equipment," he said as officials unveiled a new escalator at the Bethesda station.

It's best for escalators when riders stand on both sides of the steps, Wiedefeld said.

He seemed resigned to the notion that commuters will continue to follow widespread escalator etiquette.

"We prefer that they stand as they move up the escalator, but also we know what people will do what they want to do," he said.

On the "Metrorail Rules and Manners" page of the transit authority's website, passengers are advised to "Stand to the right facing forward. Walk on the left."

When asked on Thursday about his remarks, Wiedefeld said Metro riders need to stay safe on escalators to avoid accidents.

"My point is, you've got a 10-story moving escalator, and if you fall, it's not going to be good. That's what I was trying to get to. Just look at those escalators. There's no landings. Once you fall, you're going. That's what I was suggesting," he said.

The escalator company Otis, which calls itself the world's largest escalator manufacturer, recommends that riders stand in the center of the steps.

"It has always been our position that one should not walk on escalators," a company spokeswoman said. "Codes and standards vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but our recommendation is for escalator passengers to step on, hold on to the rail and stay alert."

Walking on an escalator should not damage it, the Otis spokeswoman said. 

Kone, the company contracted to provided Metro’s newest escalators, also recommends for safety reasons that escalator users stand rather than walk. A company spokesman said most people are accustomed to stepping up and down steps that are each 7 inches high. Escalator steps are typically 8 1/2 inches high, he said.

“The one-and-a-half-inch difference plays tricks on your subconscious mind and creates the trip-and-fall hazard,” the Kone spokesman said.

The director of San Francisco's Bay Area Transit (BART) System received a flood of angry tweets when he made remarks on Twitter earlier this year that were similar to Wiedefeld's, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“My Twitter feed has been explosive,” Bevan Dufty told the paper. “It’s like I had a fire hose pointed at me: ‘This is a conspiracy,’ ‘Don’t believe it,’ ‘It’s a lie.’”

Dufty cited a Wall Street Journal article that said transportation chiefs in China found that standing on the right damaged that side of the equipment.

Two British researchers found in a study of the London subway system last year that the overall group of people in a subway station can move through the station faster if everyone stands on the escalators.

"...[A]verage queue lengths would drop by enforcing the standing policy," Shivam Desai and Lukas Dobrovsky found. "This means less time spent at the bottom of the escalator, and more people can flow through the station."

Another escalator company NBC Washington contacted, Schindler, did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how best to ride an escalator. 

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[For Sale: Historic Reeves Farmhouse]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:42:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018186335_1200x675_904123971512.jpg

Arlington County is putting the historic Reeves Farmhouse up for sale. The farmhouse is more than 100 years old.

<![CDATA[It's Really Happening! Cherry Blossoms Reach Phase 5 of 6]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:52:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/Pagoda+and+blossoms.jpg

The cherry blossom survivors of last week's snowy cold snap are preparing to bloom just as impressively as ever -- and they've reached the 5th of 6 blooming stages, the National Park Service (NPS) announced Wednesday.

Seventy percent of D.C.'s surviving Yoshino cherry blossoms reached the puffy white phase Wednesday, the NPS said. Although there is still one more phase to go before peak bloom, the puffy white stage is gorgeous on its own, as evidenced by photos the NPS released Wednesday.

It's a moment we weren't sure we'd get to see -- about half of the Yoshino blossoms were killed by last week's freezing temperatures. But the NPS announced Friday that blossoms that were still in earlier stages at the time of the freeze had survived.

The Yoshino trees also reached the start of their blooming period Wednesday, the NPS said, which is defined as when 20 percent of the blossoms are at full bloom. This period starts a few days before the peak bloom date and can last as long as 14 days -- although be warned that deep frost or extreme heat combined with wind or rain can shorten it, the NPS said.

The NPS is predicting the blossoms to reach peak bloom this weekend, with temps expected to be in the 60s Friday and the 70s Saturday.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival started last weekend and continues for four weeks.

'There Will Be a Peak Bloom'

Unseasonable warm weather had experts a few weeks ago predicting an early bloom. Then a late-season snowstorm and a cold front changed everything. Temps in the low 20s killed most of the blossoms that had already reached the puffy white stage.

"There was almost complete loss of those emerging blossoms," said Mike Litterst of the NPS.

But about half of the trees were in the fourth stage or earlier. Horticulturists examined some earlier stage blossoms, putting them in warmer conditions to coax them to bloom and found that they did survive the cold.

"There will be a peak bloom of the Yoshino cherry trees this year at the Tidal Basin, and we are delighted to be able to say that we know it's going to be beautiful, spectacular as ever," said Gay Vietzke, the NPS superintendent of the National Mall.

However, Vietzke said they anticipate there will be fewer blossoms than usual, so the color may not be as dense as we've seen in past years. Yearly visitors may notice a difference, she said.

"For those who are coming for the first time ... there will be a brilliant display of the white and pink blooms," Vietzke said.

Photo Credit: National Park Service
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<![CDATA[Police Investigate Threats Against Rockville High School]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:25:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Henry+E+Sanchez+Look+N.jpg

Rockville High School received threats Wednesday as the school deals with the rape of a 14-year-old girl by two students, one of whom has an undetermined immigration status.

The case is getting national attention and was addressed by White House press secretary Sean Spicer Tuesday, who said the case is an example of why President Donald Trump is making illegal immigration a priority.

Several threats were phoned into the school throughout the day, the principal reported, and the principal requested an increased police presence on campus, a Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson said. The caller threatened to bomb the school and take guns to the school to shoot what the caller referred to as “illegals” at the school.

"It's just unacceptable to threaten any student, no matter what their status," Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith told News4.

Montgomery County Police confirmed the threats and sent police cruisers to patrol the school.

"We take these matters very seriously," Montgomery County Police Assistant Chief Russ Hamill said. "So what we'll do is investigate these appropriately, and if they do amount to criminal behavior we will hopefully be able to hold somebody accountable.” 

Rockville High's principal also asked staff to take attendance throughout each class period and track the time students are out with a hall pass.

Henry E. Sanchez, 18, and Jose O. Montano, 17, are charged with raping the girl in a bathroom stall during school hours at Rockville High School in the D.C. suburbs Thursday, Montgomery County police said.

They approached her in a hallway and asked her to walk with them, police said. Montano asked her for sex, and after she refused, he and Sanchez forced her into a boys' bathroom, where they both raped her and sodomized her, police said.

According to court documents, Sanchez, who admitted to having sex with the victim, has had an immigration case pending since August.

According to court records, Montano, who was charged as an adult, was born in El Salvador, where he lived for 16 years, the Associated Press reported. ICE officials would not discuss Montano's immigration status because he is a juvenile.

"I think part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this," Spicer said.

"It is the right of all students, regardless of language, immigration status, to have access to education," said Maritza Solano, director of education for immigration advocacy group CASA.

Help Save Maryland, an organization that says it is dedicated to preserving the state from the negative effects of people in the country illegally, fears it could happen again.

"Now that the unthinkable has happened, do something, and I have not seen or read of anything that they are going to do to prevent another one," said Hessie Harris of Help Save Maryland.

Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith pledged at a news conference Tuesday he won’t allow the assault to become a political issue.

“While some would try to make this into a question and an issue of immigration, what comes down here is that we serve every student that walks in our door,” he said. “We are a public school system.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also commented on the crime Tuesday.

"I am outraged by the brutal and violent rape of a 14 year old girl in a Rockville public school. Our prayers are with her," Hogan posted in a Facebook statement Tuesday.

He accused the school system of withholding information from the Maryland State Board of Education about the rape and the students involved.

“Montgomery County government and the Montgomery County police are cooperating and the school system is not and it appears as if they have something to hide,” he said.

Smith said all the information they have about the case as of Tuesday afternoon was sent to the state board.

A spokesman for Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said his administration is cooperating.

“We want to get bad eggs out of our county, basically, but we don’t want our county police enforcing immigration law, but in this case I think everybody can agree that if these folks are convicted that we don’t want them in our county,” Patrick Lacefield said.

Investigators arrested Montano, who is charged as an adult, and Sanchez on school property. They are charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual assault. 

Both suspects were ordered held without bond. They could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County Police]]>
<![CDATA[Firefighter Injured in NW DC House Fire]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:25:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018180222_1200x675_903891523548.jpg

A firefighter was injured while battling a house fire in Northwest Washington. News4's Molette Green has more from the scene.