<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Local News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:12:20 -0400 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:12:20 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Man Poses as Cop, Attempts to Kidnap 2 Children]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:44:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0725-mclong.jpg

Police say a Good Samaritan was able to stop a man posing as a police officer from kidnapping two young children Friday at a shopping center. 

According to a news release from Prince George's County Police, Michael Jesse McLong, 25, approached a 12-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother while they were waiting to cross Landover Road around 2:30 p.m.

Officials said McLong told the children he was a police officer, then grabbed the girl's arm. Police said the girl resisted but he continued pulling her toward a shopping center.

A Good Samaritan driving by the incident stopped and confronted McLong, at which point the two kids ran from the scene. An off-duty police officer and a nearby security guard detained McLong until Prince George's County police officers arrived.

McLong is facing several charges connected to the case and police say McLong may have had other victims. Call police if you have any information.


<![CDATA[GMU Student Investigated for Hacking Gift Cards]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:36:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007303734_1200x675_312542275646.jpg

A young Fairfax County computer whiz is the target of a federal probe after he boasted to a co-worker that he'd figured out how to add value to pre-paid gift cards without paying for it.

Muneeb Akhter was just 19 when he and his twin brother graduated from George Mason University and were featured in a Washington Post story. He earned a Master's in computer engineering and conducted cyber security research for DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 

"My mission is just to see where the loopholes are, where to expose them and probably develop solutions to counter them," Akhter explained just a day after federal agents raided the Springfield-area home where he lives with his grandmother.

Akhter's mission has now landed him deep trouble.

A search warrant affidavit filed by a Department of Homeland Security special agent shows Akhter is now being investigated for computer fraud.

The agent writes in his affidavit:

A sworn signed statement was obtained from the subject, Muneeb Akhter. In the signed sworn statement, subject admitted to creating computer codes on his personal notebook computer to gain unlawful access to multiple e-commerce sites, including Shell Gas, Whole Foods, K-Mark, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Akhter has used his codes to trick the e-commerce systems into adding funds to gifts cards he has possession of without actually expending any money to do so. He admitted to using his program to add funds to other individuals' gift cards without the need to actually expend funds.

Akhter said he landed a cyber security job last month and began work in late June. He said he couldn't resist boasting to a colleague about code he'd created that enabled him to take an ordinary $25 pre-paid gift card and add value to it.

"I told my co-worker I used to own my own company and we were doing attacks against smart cards, gift cards and those things," Akhter said. "I had a few gift cards with me and I showed him the gift cards and said 'I know how to reload them for free.'"

Akhter said he was able to load a Sears card with at least $500, a K-Mart card with $495, a Whole Foods card with $300 and a Starbucks card with $100. Akhter said he never actually used the monetary value he added to the card.

After he bragged about his capabilities, Akhter said his co-worker immediately told a manager and a Homeland Security agent questioned him. Akhter said his badge and parking pass were revoked, but the agent initially told him he was being considered for a higher position. 

"We're interested in your skill set. We need you for this high level position but I need to know exactly what you did," Akhter remembered the agent saying.

Akhter said July 17, Homeland Security and Secret Service agents came to his home and again asked him about the code he'd developed. He didn't realize he was under investigation until July 24 when agents knocked on the door of his home and presented a Fairfax County search warrant.

He said an 11-person team scoured his house, seizing computers, phones and other electronics. 

Akhter said he's not alarmed by what could be ahead.

"I've heard stories of a lot of other hackers who have had similar experiences so I don't think it's a big deal," Akhter said. "They should be more worried about what the tool can do if a malicious actor took it."

Now, Akhter waits to see what investigators determine. He has hired an attorney, A. Charles Dean, who declined comment on the case.

Akhter calls his gift-card experiment "cyber research." He said he'd planned to use his own company -- Warden Systems -- to approach retailers with a proposed fix.

"I'm a researcher," Akhter said. "I've been researching the field for a long time and a lot of my work shows it... I'm not a malicious guy," Akhter said.

Akhter has not been charged with any crime.

<![CDATA[Tysons Silver Line Station: Still Work in Progress]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:05:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007303827_1200x675_312542787880.jpg The Metro's newest rail line is ready to roll, but with less than a day left before the Silver Line makes it debut, some new Metro stations remain a bit unfinished. News4's Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss has the story.]]> <![CDATA[30 Serious Injuries, Incidents in 18 Mos. at Local VAs ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:37:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/494720125.jpg

Many veterans suffer injury or death as a result of the care they received at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, but the VA won’t disclose how or why -- valuable information for vets deciding where to get their health care.

At least 30 Veterans Affairs patients in the Washington, D.C., area died or suffered injuries as a result of the care they received at local veterans’ hospitals since October 2012, according to records obtained by the News4 I-Team. The incidents, which are classified by Veterans Affairs as “adverse events,” include cases in which VA care “resulted in serious injury or death to the patient, or those involving reasonably expected serious injury,” according to internal agency guidelines.

The 30 cases of death or injury involve patients seeking care at the agency’s medical facilities in Washington, D.C.; Maryland; Martinsburg, West Virginia; and Richmond, Virginia, between October 2012 and March 2014.

Despite formal requests by the I-Team, the agency declined to disclose how many of the incidents were fatal or the nature of any of the injuries.

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs, criticized the agency for not publicly revealing details of the local cases to the I-Team.

“Are these (incidents) happening on a recurring basis?” Miller asked. “If so, what type of accountability is being provided to those people making the errors and mistakes?”

Veterans Affairs is already under heavy fire for misconduct and making veterans wait long periods to get in to see a doctor.

The I-Team obtained a report detailing the number of “adverse events” disclosed by officials at all medical centers nationwide via the Freedom of Information Act. The report also indicates about 70 percent more “adverse events” in 2013 (575) than in 2010 (330). It also shows the number of events in the Washington, D.C., region was comparable to those suffered by veterans in other regions nationwide.

Maureen Ciarolla, whose father died while being treated at a VA medical center in Pennsylvania, said “adverse events” are too frequent in the agency’s medical facilities. “That’s a government facility; they should have the top advisers,” she said. “They should have the top doctors.” Ciarolla’s father, a World War II veteran, died of pneumonia at a Western Pennsylvania VA medical center in 2011. His family said the illness was caused by an outbreak of legionella bacteria in the medical center’s water supply. Congressional investigators called the infections “preventable” and said the agency’s hospital managers failed to properly address the bacteria risk.

Ciarolla’s family settled a civil lawsuit against the government for John Ciarolla’s death for $227,500. In testimony before a US House committee, a VA official did not specifically classify the Pittsburgh deaths as “adverse events,” but an agency spokeswoman, in a statement to the News4 I-Team, said, “VA continues to extend its condolences to the families of the Veterans affected by acquiring legionella in our health care system. Whether it’s Pittsburgh or elsewhere in our Country, our commitment is the same: to provide the very best care to our deserving Veterans.”

The VA’s employee handbook describes “adverse events” include cases “that cause death or disability, lead to prolonged hospitalization, require life-sustaining intervention or intervention to prevent impairment or damage.”

Other government agencies do publicly reveal the nature of the “adverse events” suffered by patients at hospitals and medical centers. The Washington, D.C., Department of Health reports such incidents annually, in detail. The agency’s February 2014 report specifies 163 “adverse events” at city medical facilities in 2013. The report said the 163 cases include three cases of “wrong-site surgery,” two cases of attempted suicide by patients and 105 instances of blood infections.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs declined multiple requests for details on whether discipline was taken against medical staff in any of the 30 local cases of injury or death.

More than 6.3 million veterans and their families rely on the VA for health care each year, the agency said in a written statement, including almost 140,000 patients in its D.C., Maryland and Martinsburg medical centers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Women Walking Alone Attacked Near Hyattsville Trail]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:02:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0725-hyattsville-trail.jpg

Police in Hyattsville say two recent attacks on women walking alone at night were likely the work of the same suspect.

The first incident was reported July 10 just after 10 p.m. Police say a woman was walking home from the West Hyattsville Metro station when a man jumped out of the woods and attempted to assault her.

"He approached her, she got on the phone like she was calling her boyfriend, and [the suspect] attempted to grab her," Lt. Chris Purvis with Hyattsville Police said. 

Purvis said the woman was able to get away, and the suspect ran back into the woods.

Two weeks later, another woman walking home alone just before 1 a.m. July 23 was attacked by a man in the same area. 

"He jumped out of the woods, same description, he approached her, said, 'What's up?' and physically attacked her," Purvis said.


<![CDATA[How Much Will it Cost to Ride Silver Line?]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:38:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007303303_1200x675_312530499593.jpg News4's Traffic Reporter Melissa Mollet explains just how much a trip on the Silver Line will cost you, starting Saturday.]]> <![CDATA[Crews Respond to Fire at St. John's College High School]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:34:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007303080_1200x675_312521283883.jpg News4's Shomari Stone is live from Northwest D.C. where crews put out a fire at St. John's College High School Friday afternoon. ]]> <![CDATA[4,400 Border Children Living With Sponsors in Md., Va.]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:53:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/452665994.jpg

More than 4,400 unaccompanied children who crossed the U.S. border this year have been placed with relatives or other adults in Maryland and Virginia.

About 2,205 children in Maryland and 2,234 children in Virginia have found temporary homes in those states, according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Another 187 children have been placed with relatives or sponsors in the District of Columbia.

Texas -- followed by New York, Florida and California -- has the highest number of unaccompanied minors who have been released to relatives since surging across the border.

In Texas alone, nearly 4,300 children have been placed with family members while their immigration cases are heard. More than 3,000 each are in New York, Florida and California.

The state-by-state breakdown accounts for about 30,000 children who have gone to sponsors between Jan. 1 and July 7, according to the Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.

Some 57,000 unaccompanied children have been picked up at the border since October, though in the last four weeks, the numbers have dropped. The Associated Press has reported that fewer than 2,000 have been sent back.

It is not clear how many children remain in the United States without sponsors or how many of their cases have been heard. The Administration for Children and Families did not immediately respond for comment.

The surge of undocumented immigrants crossing into the United States has prompted protests across the country and spurred Texas Gov. Rick Perry to say he would deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to the border.

The crisis has also sparked a stalement between the Obama administration and Congress. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency money for immigration judges, detention facilities and other resources to handle the influx of children, but many Republicans first want revisons to the law dictating how the children are treated.

The Obama administration is also considering screening children in Honduras to determine whether they are eligible for refugee status.

Most children are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. They are coming to the United States to escape violence, to find relatives already in the United States, to find work or were brought to the United States by trafficking rings, according to the administration.

The children are turned over to the Children and Families' Office of Refugee Resettlement, which tries to place them with parents or other relatives or friends. If no suitable sponsor can be found, the children remain in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Typically between 7,000 and 8,000 children are served by the program, but the number jumped dramatically to about 13,625 between October 2011 and September 2012, and then again more recently.

The office maintains 100 short-term shelters throughout the United States, but because of the recent surge in numbers, it has had to open three temporary ones: at the Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas, the Naval Base Ventura County-Port Hueneme in California, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma. The capacity for each is nearly 3,000 beds.

The state-by-state breakdown is here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Linked to Cold Case Murder of Va. Girl, 14]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:24:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/erica-heather-smith.jpg

Loudoun County authorities have identified a suspect in the cold case murder of a 14-year-old girl but said the suspect had committed suicide.

Sheriff Mike Chapman announced Friday that authorities linked a male suspect to the 2002 killing of Ashburn teenager Erica Heather Smith.

Smith, who had been preparing for her freshman year of high school, disappeared July 29, 2002, while on her way to visit a friend.

Her body was discovered 11 days later, along Broad Creek Run near Redskins Park in Ashburn.

Two years ago, Erica's case was reopened by the newly formed cold case unit of the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, News4's Jackie Bensen reported.

"For unknown reasons, the suspect linked to the murder committed suicide during the course of the investigation," Chapman said in a statement Friday.

The sheriff's office has not released the name or other identifying details of the suspect, who apparently befriended Erica, possibly over the Internet, and told her to keep it a secret from her parents.

"Regrettably, there will be nothing further that the judicial system can do given that this subject took his own life," Chapman said.

Chapman said authorities conducted "a comprehensive review" of evidence in the case, and the creation of the cold case initiative by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office led authorities to broaden their perspectives.

He said he hoped the news would bring closure for the Smith's parents.

"You have to persevere yourself. You have to push it to their minds that you're not going to give up your child's life," William Smith told News4 Friday.

Smith's best friend spoke at the 2012 vigil, telling friends and relatives, "There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of Erica."

<![CDATA[Driver Dies After Car Strikes Home in Md.]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:09:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/car+into+house+potomac.jpg

An elderly driver who apparently suffered a medical emergency and and crashed into a home in Potomac, Maryland, Friday morning has died.

Montgomery County Police believe 83-year-old Thomas A. Brown died from a medical emergency, not the collision.

Before 9:30 a.m., a silver 2000 BMW convertible Brown was driving left the road a struck the corner of a garage in the 1100 block of Gainsborough Road.

The driver was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The official cause of death is awaiting an autopsy.


<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: RG3 Working on Chemistry With Djax]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:33:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2014-07-24_1109.jpg

News4's Dianna Russini is in Richmond throughout Redskins Training Camp, and sending regular reports. Here's today's news from camp:

Happy Friday! It's Day 2 of Redskins Training Camp. It's a beautiful day here in Richmond; not a cloud in the sky. The ground is still wet from Thursday's storms, although the field held up well and didn't seem to affect any of the plays this morning.

On the sidelines today is Jay Gruden's older brother, Jon, a Super Bowl champ and former head coach of two NFL teams. He's here to attend a high school football training camp. I'll try to talk to him about what he is seeing after the first session today. The Grudens' father is also on the sideline.

The team has been starting off practice with stretching and then they go right into special teams work.

Once the team broke into individual training, I watched the tight ends, specifically Jordan Reed working on his run blocking. Reed is considered to be one the top offensive players on this team if he can say healthy. Offensive Coordinator Sean McVay once told me if Jordan Reed could sleep in his football gear, he would. That's how much he loves this game.

RG3 had a rough day yesterday completing passes to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, but today he's seemed to settle in the pocket more comfortably.

While he looked better, he's finding chemistry with DJax. He had DJax on a roll-out pass but he overthrew it. This is a work in progress.

Head Coach Jay Gruden is the most active coach I have ever covered. He jumps in plays and covers receivers when they are working on their routes. He is a former QB who we can tell loves to be on the field. This is a different style then the Shanahan era, but let's see if it works!

Couple thoughts:

  • Pierre Garcon looked sharp catching some passes with tight coverage.

  • Richard Crawford jammed his finger and looked like he was in pain. But a few plays later, he made a stellar catch. Guess he's OK!

  • Running back Silas Redd stood out in practice, tearing through the defense.

  • RG3's mother is wearing the coolest umbrella hat. I'll post a picture later.

  • A report came out that Mike Shanahan wants to return to coaching.... I'm all for that!

After the first session, I'll be talking to RG3, Andre Roberts, DJax, Ryan Kerrigan, and Santana Moss. Will keep you posted.

Photo Credit: Dianna Russini]]>
<![CDATA[Wanted Man Taunts Police Online, Gets Arrested the Next Day]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:20:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/roger+ray+ireland.jpg

An Edgewater, Maryland, man was arrested for violating his probation one day after he taunted Anne Arundel County officers on Facebook.

Anne Arundel County Police posted a picture of Roger Ray Ireland on their Facebook page Wednesday as part of the "Wanted Wednesday" campaign.

Shortly after the post was published, police say Ireland commented on his own mugshot, writing, "Y'all will never catch me..."

Well, it looks like they did.

After getting a few tips from the public, officers say Ireland was taken into custody during a traffic stop in South Baltimore on Thursday. 

"Social Media is a great tool for law enforcement and we appreciate our Social Media Sleuths," Police Chief Kevin Davis said in a release.  

<![CDATA[Va. Gov. McAuliffe to Tour Tornado Damage]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:58:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Credit+Jordan+Bertok3.jpg

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will tour a campground on the Eastern Shore where two people were killed and dozens were injured after a tornado hit.

McAuliffe is scheduled to visit the Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort on Friday.

A married couple from Jersey City, New Jersey was killed when a tree fell on their tent Thursday. Their 13-year-old son was severely injured when the same tree fell on his neighboring tent.

State police say another 35 people were injured in the tornado.

McAuliffe was scheduled to visit with the Northampton County Sheriff's Office and local politicians before touring the damage Friday. The governor canceled a fundraiser in Aspen, Colorado, for his political action committee, and a planned visit to the Colorado Springs headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee, where he had planned to lobby in favor of Washington, D.C.'s bid to host the 2024 summer Olympics, said his spokesman Brian Coy.

More than 1,300 people were at the campground in tents, campers and cottages when the storm hit, knocking down trees and flipping over some campers. A tractor-trailer driving on U.S. 13 was also knocked over during the storm.

<![CDATA[Md. Volunteer Firefighter Returns From War Zone]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:27:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007290867_1200x675_312289859950.jpg Jason Goldberg, a volunteer firefighter from Montgomery County, returned home this week after volunteering with the Israeli fire and rescue service through an emergency program. ]]> <![CDATA[Metro Previews New TV Ad for Silver Line ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:55:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0724SilverLine.jpg

Along with putting the final touches on the new Silver Line and its stations -- Metro has been busy creating a new TV ad.

The commercial features a flash-mob style flood of people dancing in and around the new Wiehle-Reston East station to the tune "Escapee" by Architecture in Helsinki.

The ad will roll out Saturday afternoon, about the same time as the first Silver Line trains hit the tracks.
Five Silver Line stations, including Wiehle-Reston East, Spring Hill, Greensboro, Tysons Corner and McClean will open their doors July 26.

Photo Credit: Adam Tuss/News4]]>
<![CDATA[Phone Scam Spoofs Police Station Number in Baltimore]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:11:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_1021139922.jpg

Baltimore has been hit with a phone scam similar to one that swept Northern Virginia recently -- but this one seemed to come from a police station's phone number.

Maryland State Police are warning residents across Howard County and Baltimore to be wary of calls that demand payment for unpaid court fines or traffic tickets. In this instance, a scammer spoofed state police's Waterloo Barracks phone number.

"Spoofing" numbers allows scammers to display a different number than the one they are actually using in your caller ID.

Victims received calls from 410-799-2101 Wednesday afternoon, in which a man claiming to be from the police threatened them with arrest if they did not make payments. Officers were alerted to the scam when skeptical residents called the number back and were connected to the barracks.

Police have reiterated they do not call citizens to demand payment and have said that anyone who receives a call from this man should report it to the barracks at the above number.

Check out our advice on avoiding similar scams this summer.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Winchester Mother Accused of Child Neglect ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:09:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0724Mother.jpg

A Winchester woman is accused of child neglect after her 3-year-old daughter was seen walking by herself in the middle of a road.

Police say the child was found walking alone on Clifford Street around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

After doing a door-to-door search of the child's neighborhood, police arrested Stacey Lee Rodgers.

Social Services was contacted and responded to the scene. Rodgers, 35, was charged with child neglect and taken to Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center. She was later released on a $1,000 unsecured bond.

<![CDATA[Police Unit Trained to Protect Tysons]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:13:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Fairfax+County+Police+Tysons+Urban+Team+TUT.jpg

As Tysons Corner Center celebrated the opening of a new plaza connecting shoppers to Metro's Silver Line security is top of mind.

The plaza is located off the Chain Bridge Road side of the shopping center, and it's connected by bridge to the Tysons Corner Station on the Silver Line.

"Crossing busy roads in Tysons was a thing of the past," said Tysons Corner manager Cory Scott. "[You will] be able to go right into the shopping center and enjoy everything we have."

Metro likewise is celebrating ahead of Saturday's launch by releasing a new TV ad showing riders having a good time.

But amid the celebrating vigilant eyes watched the newly opened plaza. They were members of the nine-person Tysons Urban Team - or TUT.

They're Fairfax County officers trained for city policing and they're back from a week in Boston where they prepared for public transit disasters.

"We are going to be very visible on the platforms riding the trains, and in and out of the stations," said Lt. Chuck Riddle, who leads TUT.

He is readying his team for the changing Tysons skyline.

"These buildings are getting higher and higher and they take some different techniques to be able to effectively respond and proactively police them," he said.

Fairfax County TUT officers will work with Metro Transit police

Metro's General Manager Richard Sarles told reporters he's confident the Silver Line will be safe.

"We hired additional police to cover the line, but we will be policing in the same manner that we police the rest of the system," he said.

<![CDATA[What to Buy and What Not to Buy at Costco]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:28:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/494303693.jpg Costco is known for good quality and good prices, but what's worth buying and what's worth skipping when you're buying in bulk? Consumer Reports rated dozens of Costco items, and News4 Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez has the results.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rookie Firefighter Saves D.C. Grandmother's Life]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:51:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0724-fire.jpg

A 19-year-old D.C. firefighter rookie is being credited with saving an elderly woman's life in the same neighborhood he grew up in.

Amir Johnson had lived in Northeast his entire life, and after graduating from high school, he immediately joined the D.C. Fire Department. 

Just eight months into his career as a firefighter, Johnson was called to a large fire early Sunday morning on Blaine Street NE, where he found 84-year-old Nelie Jones in a bedroom.

"I could see the fire rolling on the ceiling. I made my way down the hallway to the right. There were about three bedrooms. I scooped her up off the bed, and started back down the hallway. I couldn't see anything. It was hot and smoky," Johnson said.

Thursday, Johnson met Jones' son Antonio. 

"I can't thank you enough," Antonio Jones told Johnson. "Thank you for saving my mom."

Johnson said meeting Antonio and hearing that his mother was doing well was a burden lifted off his shoulders. 

"I thought about her every day after that moment, just wondering how she was doing," Johnson said. 

Nelie has been released from the hospital and is living in Red Cross housing until she moves in with family out of town. 

"Without his efforts, she wouldn't have made it out of the house. The smoke was really intense," Antonio Jones said.

"It's probably my second big fire, but I never had to carry someone out of a fire before," Johnson said. "It was an eye-opening, humbling experience."


<![CDATA["Agrihood" Community Takes Root in Northern Va.]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:19:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0724-agrihood.jpg

A neighborhood in Northern Virginia is following a new national trend of "farm-to-table" living known as "agrihood." 

Willowsford Virginia is an upscale subdivision in Ashburn with a working farm at its core. The 4,000-acre development opened in 2011 -- half of the property is preserved in a conservancy and
300 acres is dedicated to a fully functioning farm.

Farm manager Mike Snow oversees egg and milk production while also growing more than 150 varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers. The farm operates as a separate enterprise from the homeowner's association so residents pay a fee that entitles them to a weekly share of fresh, organic food, though residents from outside the community can also buy food from the farm stand. 

Christine Fouad moved to Willowsford from Arlington two years ago. She said she was drawn by the idea of living just down the street from a farm. She said her family is eating healthier now, with far more vegetables in their diet.

Residents can also get their hands a little dirty if they'd like by working in the garden or picking their own berries or flowers.

This week, a second demonstration kitchen will open in one of the community centers, with rows of sleek, stainless steel tables. There is also a cooking area, complete with cameras and an overhead big screen so class participants can follow the culinary director's every move.

Currently, 250 families call the Willsford agrihood home, and eventually, the plan is to house more than 2,000 families.

<![CDATA['Look Before You Lock': Preventing Hot Car Deaths]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:17:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/HotCarPush0724_MP4_1200x675_312224323848.jpg More cases of children left in hot cars have occurred this summer -- and one father is turning his tragedy into a campaign to "look before you lock" the car.]]> <![CDATA[Retrial Expected for Cop Accused of Attempting to Kill Wife]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:51:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Samson-Lawrence.JPG

Prosecutors say they plan to retry a D.C. police officer accused of attempting to kill his wife last year.

A hung jury led to a mistrial Thursday night in Samson Lawrence III's first- and second-degree attempted murder case. Had he been convicted, Lawrence could have faced life in prison.

"At this point, we have made the decision that we are going to retry the case," John Erzen with Prince George's County State's Attorney's Office said. "We're surprised and disappointed [it was a hung jury]. We certainly felt we had a strong case."

During a hearing Friday morning, a judge revoked Lawrence's bond, ruling he had violated the court's stay-away order for his wife and daughter. Lawrence will be held until his retrial.

Police said Lawrence was attempting to hang a projection TV at his home in Accokeek, Md. last November when he became angry with his wife because she said she didn't know where the screws to hang the projector were.

Lawrence then grabbed a can of Lysol and began spraying it in his wife's face, police said. The victim told police when she refused to make him something to eat, Lawrence began to push her.

Prosecutors said he beat her with a metal light post and threatened her with knives when she tried to call 911. The victim was able to escape the house and called 911 from a neighbor's house.

Lawrence's neighbor, mother and daughter testified Wednesday about the events surrounding his wife's alleged assault. Lawrence told police his wife had fallen backward and hit her own head against the lamp.

The defense argued the evidence presented by the state was not up to par and should not be believed.

"Sometimes you just have jurors who feel there wasn't enough evidence," Erzen said. "We feel very comfortable with everything we did here. But we will certainly look at everything to see if there is something we'd like to do differently."

Lawrence had joined the department in 1990 and was a patrol officer on the department's fourth district. 

<![CDATA[Va. Teen Hopes Severe Beach Injury Warns Others]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:24:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Parker+Haller.jpg

A Woodbridge, Virginia, teen who was paralyzed after a day playing in the surf is warning other families about the dangers of the beach.

Parker Haller, 17, had been swimming since he was 4 years old, but he returned from his 2012 trip to Ocean City, Maryland, a quadriplegic.

“The ocean floor was really uneven. I was just walking back and forth in the water, jumping over the waves,” Parker recounted.

That July day Parker went to the beach with his mother and little brother. He'd been playing in the water for about an hour when he dove over a wave, head first.

“It was shallower than I thought it was, and I hit a sandbar right away on my head. And in the blink of an eye, could not move, couldn't feel,” Parker said.

He was underwater, fully conscious, being tossed around by the waves. A nearby swimmer saw him go under and pulled him out. Lifeguards went to Parker’s aid, and he was flown to a hospital in Baltimore.

From there, Parker spent four months at Shepherd Center for spinal injuries in Atlanta. He had smashed two vertebrae near the top of his spine. After his first surgery, doctors gave Parker a 4 percent chance of ever having movement below his shoulders again.

“In the first week, I asked my mom, 'When are they going to get me walking again? Are we going to go home soon? Because I'm tired of lying in bed,'” Parker told News4.

With the help of a Lokomat -- a robotic device used in walking therapy by patients whose ability to walk is impaired -- Parker trained his legs to move again.

Parker's injury isn't unique. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, there were 226 major medical injuries at Ocean City beaches the year Parker was hurt. There were 306 the year before and 140 in 2013, most of them in the carefree days of summer.

Parker’s father, Scott Haller, learned a new motto from the staff at the Shepherd Center.

"Diving's OK as long as it's feet first,” he told News4. “So you don't have to stop it totally, but do it feet first."

"You have to know what you're diving into,” said Parker’s mother, Miriam. “If you don't know it's 10 feet of water, don't go into that water."

Parker's parents want to warn other families to be very aware of how fun can turn to tragedy.

"Parker has to relearn how to write, how to eat, how to dress himself, and he's made huge strides,” Miriam said.

About five months ago, Parker reached the major milestone of getting out of his wheelchair and climbing the stairs from his retrofitted basement to the family’s first floor.

“Now I can go upstairs to eat," he said. "We don't have to sit down here when we're having dinner and everybody just sits on the couch."

In physical therapy, his basic goal is to do better than the day before. But Parker also wants to be able to drive and to go off to college on his own. He graduates from Hylton High School in Prince William County next year.

“He is walking across that stage," his mother said. "And I hope that he's either using his crutches or he's using that cane or nothing at all."

Parker's still-growing medical bills are in the neighborhood of half a million dollars, and his friends and extended family have set up a fund to help. If you’d like to help with Parker’s medical expenses, an organizational account is set up to take donations in the Hallers' hometown in Illinois:

Parker Haller Support Fund
Scott Credit Union
712 W. Hwy 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[3 Injured as Large Truck Crashes Into Gas Station]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:25:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/FAIRFAX.JPEG

Two people were hospitalized with very serious injuries when a large truck apparently crossed a median and crashed into a Farifax gas station Thursday.

The accident was reported just before 5 p.m. in the 10600 block of Braddock Road just east of Ox Road. 

Three people, including the driver of the truck, were hospitalized. Two of them have very serious injuries, and police say the driver may have had a medical emergency prior to the crash.

"One of the guys who works [at the gas station] was hurt," Page Alfara, whose SUV was damaged in the crash, told News4.

In all, six cars were damaged. The crash was close to George Mason University, affecting heavy rush hour traffic in the area. 



Photo Credit: Northern Virginia Fire Buffs]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Sexual Battery at CVS]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:13:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0724-Yemer.jpg

A man is accused of reaching under a woman's skirt and trying to remove her underwear while they were both at a CVS pharmacy in Alexandria. 

Police arrested Abayneh Yemer, 25, of Alexandria, Wednesday afternoon at the pharmacy in the 3100 block of Duke Street shortly after the incident, authorities said.

Yemer was charged with sexual battery and attempted sexual penetration. He was held without bond.

Anyone with information about this case should call 703-746-6191.

<![CDATA[Former Redskin Fred Davis Pleads Not Guilty in D.C. Assault]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:29:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/152651518+%281%29.jpg

Former Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis, wanted since last month for a domestic violence simple assault that allegedly occurred last month in Adams Morgan, pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

Davis turned himself in to D.C. police Thursday afternoon and could face up to a year in prison if he's convicted on assault and attempted threats.

According to a police report, the incident took place about 3 a.m. June 2 at The Diner, a 24-hour restaurant in the 2400 block of 18th Street NW.

Davis confronted his ex-girlfriend shortly after she arrived at the restaurant with a male acquaintance, according to the incident report. He approached from behind, put his hands on her shoulders and spun her around to face him, then asked the other man why he was with her.

The woman excused herself to have a cigarette, and Davis followed her outside and “grabbed a handful of dirt and flowers from the hanging plant box and threw them at her," according to the report. She then went inside to get a ketchup bottle to squirt on Davis, but someone stopped her.

The argument carried on outside for sometime during which Davis allegedly said to the woman, "I'm gonna slap you cause you fakin. Your friend looks like 2 Chainz."

The victim, 28, told police that she was unharmed and did not call police until the following afternoon because she wanted to make sure she had her facts straight. 

Davis, who lives in Leesburg, was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in February for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The following day, he was arrested for driving under the influence in Fairfax County.

He's due back in court Aug. 28.

The 28-year-old appeared in 72 games for Washington between 2008-13, catching 162 passes for 2,043 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Girl, 8, Dies After Being Pulled From Rockville Pool]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:48:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_14588642.jpg

An 8-year-old girl died suddenly after visiting a Rockville swimming pool Tuesday afternoon, Montgomery County police say.

Stephanie Benitez of Gunther Avenue died after swimming in the pool at the Rockville Swim Center at 335 Martins Lane.

Police say she may have drowned, but the investigation is still underway.

According to investigators, Benitez jumped from the diving board into the deep end of the pool, then swam toward the ladder to get out. Witnesses told police that she appeared not to have enough energy to pull herself out of the pool and began making "unusual movements."

Lifeguards were able to pull her out of the pool, but she was unconscious and unresponsive. She was flown to the hospital, but was pronounced dead later that night.

The cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.

<![CDATA[Russini in Richmond: 2nd Practice Moved, Closed to Public]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:59:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2014-07-24_1109.jpg

UPDATE: The Redskins' second practice of the day Thursday has been moved to the convention center due to weather, but it is closed to the general public.

News4's Dianna Russini is in Richmond throughout Redskins Training Camp, and sending regular reports. Here's today's news from camp:

Hey, guys!

It's R3 here... Redskins, Richmond and rain! What an ugly first training camp practice for first-time head coach Jay Gruden.

All morning long, the rain came down steadily. There was concern that practice would be moved indoors, but instead the Redskins pushed practice back 30 minutes. That didn't help, though, because it poured through the first hour of practice.

Ryan Clark started things off by walking around with an umbrella welcoming fans to Richmond. The crowd loved it. He quickly jumped into stretching along with the rest of the team.

One of the biggest concerns watching practice was how much would this wet surface effect the play. From my vantage point, Robert Griffin III didn't look like he was hesitant at all working through drills and individual work. Remember he isn't wearing a knee brace. I'll ask him how he felt coming up in his press conference.

Jason Hatcher, who is on the PUP, worked out on the side field and looked great! Coach Gruden expects him to be back on the field with the team soon.

If you want to know what it feels like out here now? It's a sauna! I'll be back with more this afternoon.


The knee wasn't a problem. That's what RG3 said about playing in the rain and on the wet field Thursday morning. It's always very risky to play on the wet surface, but first-year head coach Jay Gruden wanted to get this team out on the field.

Couple thoughts:

  • Andre Roberts says he did not wake up thrilled to see the rain, especially coming from Arizona. He slipped once, but no major problems.

  • Brian Orakpo says it's "so weird" not having veteran London Fletcher, who retired last season, out on the field for cap.

  • Speaking of London, Keenan Robinson will wear the earpiece and call the defenses for the Redskins this season.

  • Couple of bad passes between RG3 and DJax, but Griffin says it's still a work in progress.

  • DeAngelo Hall is the happiest I have ever seen him. He was talking to fans, cheering on teammates, and even stopped by the media tents that had reporters standing in them that covered him at Virginia Tech.

  • RG3's mom sat in the rain on the sidelines.

  • I bought a bucket hat for Jim Vance. He nagged me for six months last year to get him one.

The team will practice at 4 p.m. See you on News4 at 4, too!

Photo Credit: Dianna Russini]]>
<![CDATA[Kennedy Center to Host 'Dance Day' Celebration]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:02:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Jenna+Elfman2.jpg

Actress Jenna Elfman and dancer Du-Shaunt "Fik-Shun'' Stegall will be at the Kennedy Center this weekend to celebrate National Dance Day.

Free performances and demonstrations are planned Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kennedy Center's Grand Foyer. Elfman and Stegall will offer group dance lessons.

Elfman is known for her role as Dharma in the TV series "Dharma and Greg.'' She began her career as a professional dancer. Stegall is a hip-hop dancer from Wichita, Kansas. He won season 10 of TV's "So You Think You Can Dance.''

National Dance Day began as an annual celebration in 2010 to show how dance is a fun way to maintain good health and combat obesity. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton helped launch the event with a congressional resolution.

<![CDATA[Child Advocates Work to Prevent Hot Car Deaths]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:06:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/car-seat-generic.jpg

Child advocates are driving home an important safety message about leaving kids in hot cars - look before you lock.

A string of hot car deaths have been reported this summer. Earlier this month, a 15-month-old Connecticut boy died after his father forgot to drop him off at daycare and instead drove to his workplace.

Six American children died under similar circumstances in June. The case receiving the most national attention is the death of Cooper Harris, whose father is charged with intentionally leaving the  22-month-old alone in the back of the family SUV. Cooper's father, Justin Ross Harris, claims he was unaware his son was in the back seat when he drove to work.

So far in 2014, 15 children have died from heat stroke after being left in hot cars, according to KidsAndCars, a national nonprofit that works to prevent harm to children in and around vehicles. By their count, 44 children died of vehicular heat stroke last year, up from 33 in 2012.

It takes only 10 minutes for a car's interior to reach 90 degrees on an 80-degree day -- even with the windows rolled down two inches. After 30 minutes, the interior temperate will reach 114. And after an hour, a car's inside will top 123 degrees, says SaferCar.gov.

A child dies when their internal temperature reaches 107 degrees.

But any parent can forget their child in a vehicle, especially if they're exhausted, distracted or out of their usual routine, say SaferCar.gov and KidsandCars.org.

Here are some tips to keep your children safe:

  • Leave anything you normally need (such as your purse, wallet or cell phone) in the back seat.

  • Keep a large item such as a stuffed toy in your child's seat when he or she isn't there. Keep the item in the front seat when your child is in the back.

  • Check your back seats every time you leave the car.

  • Arrange to have your child's daycare, babysitter or school call you if your child doesn't arrive.

  • If you're dropping off your child but your partner normally does it, have him or her call you to make sure the dropoff went according to plan.

  • Teach your children never to enter or play in a parked vehicle.

  • Heatstroke can occur in weather as low as 57 degrees, and children's body temperatures rise faster than adults'. Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even for a minute.