<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Local News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Sun, 30 Aug 2015 03:53:55 -0400 Sun, 30 Aug 2015 03:53:55 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mother of One Murder Victim Still Hoping for Justice]]> Sun, 30 Aug 2015 00:07:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011711977_1200x675_515839555622.jpg There have been more than 100 murders in the District this year, and some of the families of the victims are still waiting for closure. News4's Darcy Spencer talks to one mother who lost her daughter.]]> <![CDATA[Montgomery Co. Firefighters Remember Katrina]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 20:18:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011710683_1200x675_515763267861.jpg Montgomery Co. firefighters remember their trip to New Orleans to assist after Katrina, and the devastation they found there. They shared the videos they shot with News4. ]]> <![CDATA[Two Dead, One Injured in SE D.C. Shooting]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 19:39:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/2015-08-29_0806.png

Metropolitan police said two people were killed in a late night shooting in southeast Washington.

Police said the incident occurred on the 4900 block of B Street, Southeast, just before midnight Friday. Two men were pronounced dead, and a third victim was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The victims are identified as Omoni Johnson, 26, of northeast Washington, D.C., and Shaheed James, 21, of Clinton, Maryland.

The shooting occurred at the beginning of an "All Hands on Deck" initiative to put more officers on the streets this weekend. It is part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to crack down on crime.

There were five other shooting scenes Friday night into Saturday morning, resulting in six more people shot and injured. 

<![CDATA[No-Confidence Vote on Lanier Possible]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 00:34:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/082815+cathy+lanier.jpg

At extra police flood D.C. streets this weekend, officers could take a no-confidence vote on Police Chief Cathy Lanier. 

All Metropolitan Police Department officers have been pulled from vacation, desk duty and other details Friday through Sunday for an "All Hands on Deck" response to crime, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.

"A flood of police in the streets is something that is a visible deterrent, but it also gives us the opportunity to interact with people in the community," Lanier said Friday.

Extra officers will be deployed in cruisers, on bikes and on foot in all seven police districts from 3 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Sunday.

Lanier started the All Hands on Deck initiative in 2007 in response to a summertime spike in crime, the department's website says. MPD has declared more than 30 All Hands on Deck periods of about 48 hours each since then, with an average decline in violent crime of about 10 percent during each period, Lanier said.

The D.C. homicide rate is up 43 percent in 2015 thus far, compared with the same period in 2014. One hundred three people have been killed. 

Meanwhile, the D.C. Police Union says it is surveying officers for a possible no-confidence vote on Lanier, who received a 75 percent approval rating from registered voters polled in September 2014. 

With a spike in crime, Lanier and the union have become increasingly at odds over a solution. Rank-and-file officers are questioning the dismantling of vice units and taking issue with fixed posts that prevent officers from leaving designated areas. 

"Over the past eight years we've had some very high-profile incidents where the chief's integrity has been called into question," union head Delroy Burton told WAMU. "The most frustrating thing right now for our members, though, is that we have an uptick in crime and they're being deployed in such a way that makes it extremely difficult for them to provide good police service."

The union is expected to tally the results of the vote on Sunday. Lanier responded to news of the vote on Friday. 

"I've been on this department 25 years. I don't think the union speaks for every police officer, but they are the representation for the union members, so this is their right to implement their survey and see what the members think," she said. 

Earlier this month, Lanier dismissed the union's criticism of her plan to cut crime.

"There's nothing that police officers hate more than change," she said.

<![CDATA[Look Back Before Hurricane Katrina Hit New Orleans]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 09:23:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011706381_1200x675_515512387590.jpg News4's Chris Lawrence reports from New Orleans upon the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. He took a look back at preparations before the devastating storm struck.]]> <![CDATA[Police Arrest Missing Convicted Sex Offender]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 09:37:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/James+Alexander+Norris.jpg

Metropolitan police said they arrested a convicted sex offender who disappeared near Landover Hills Thursday afternoon. 

James Norris Jr. walked away from a court-ordered home visit in Hyattsville at about 2 p.m. Norris, 49, is a patient at a state hospital.

Norris was arrested near DuPont Circle Friday night. Police have no additional information at this time.

<![CDATA[Loved Ones Mourn Retired Bus Driver Killed in Northeast D.C.]]> Sat, 29 Aug 2015 00:16:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/082815+Loretta+Carswell.jpg

Friends and neighbors mourned on Friday night the woman police say was killed by a family member who then barricaded himself inside a D.C. home for more than 24 hours.

Loretta Carswell, 63, was shot and killed the morning of Friday, August 21 by her cousin Roosevelt Robinson, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. Robinson, 67, shot Carswell about 11 a.m. outside her own home, on the 3700 block of 18th Street NE, police said.

After shooting Carswell, Robinson ran down the street in the Brookland neighborhood, fired more shots and fled into a house at the intersection of 18th and Otis streets NE, police said. He barricaded himself inside the home until about 5 p.m. Saturday, August 22, when he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Carswell was remembered at a vigil in Northeast D.C. Friday night as a pillar of the community.

"Loretta was my best friend. She was my sister, she was my neighbor. We all grew up together," Treme Gilliam said.

Carswell had worked as a Metro bus driver for 23 years and had retired just three years ago, friends said. She didn't have children of her own but was known for taking care of youth in the neighborhood.

"She was such a loving, good-hearted person," ex-classmate and friend Alvin Tobe said.

<![CDATA[Officer Was Justified in Shooting, Wounding Man in Va.: PD]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 23:26:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police-stock-breaking-119818994.jpg

A police officer who shot and wounded a man with a knife in his hand in Prince William County last week was justified in shooting the man, police said Friday night.

An officer with 30-years' experience shot Yonathan Nega Marufe, 25, in the shoulder area after police say Marufe raised a knife at the officer and then ran toward him with the weapon.

“The officer was justified given the circumstances and acted appropriately," Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney Paul Ebert said in a statement.

Responding to a report of a domestic disturbance, officers arrived at a home on the 13100 block of Tory Loop in Woodbridge, Virginia, shortly after 6:30 p.m. August 17. When officers went to the door, Marufe's stepmother said Marufe had a history of mental illness, police said.

Ofc. Hector Figueroa announced himself, called out for Marufe and entered the home, believing based on information from Marufe's stepmother than Marufe may have been harming himself.

When Figueroa reached the top of stairs to the second floor of the home, Marufe appeared and raised a knife at Figueroa and his stepmother, police said. Figueroa stepped back and lost his footing, tumbling down the stairs.

Marufe then advanced with the knife at the injured officer, police said. Figueroa shot him once.

Marufe, his stepmother and Figueroa were all taken to a hospital.

Marufe was charged with attempted aggravated malicious wounding of a law enforcement official and attempted aggravated malicious wounding, police said.

Figueroa remains on routine administrative leave as the investigation continues. Marufe remains held without bond and is due in court October 14.

Prince William County Police Chief Steve Hudson said in a statement, "We hope everyone involved in this incident makes a speedy recovery and that Yonatan receives the proper treatment he needs.”

<![CDATA[College Card Fees, Part II]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:13:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011705577_1200x675_515389507510.jpg Billions of dollars go toward financial aid for college students every year, and taxpayers contribute to it, but the government has a problem with fees charged to students who access their money, and new regulations may change that. News4's Erika Gonzalez reports.]]> <![CDATA[Services to Be Held for Beloved Gonzaga High Teacher]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:45:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Gonzaga+teacher+dies.jpg

A funeral service will be held next week for a beloved Gonzaga College High School teacher who unexpectedly died earlier this week.

The viewing for Dr. John C. Warman, who many students simply called Doc, will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday in St. Aloysius Church. The funeral will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. Classes at the school have been cancelled so current Gonzaga students can attend.

Warman, who taught Greek and Latin at Gonzaga for the past 44 years and ran the theater department, was found unresponsive at his desk in his classroom on Tuesday morning. The school nurse and an emergency crew responded, but Warman had died of an apparent heart attack, school president Fr. Stephen Planning said. 

"I followed the ambulance to Washington Hospital Center, where I was able to pray over Doc,
give him a final blessing and absolution, and thank him for his unequaled service to Gonzaga, Planning said in a letter to students.

Warman was a class of ‘57 Gonzaga alum who also started a scholarship fund dedicated each year to an incoming Gonzaga freshman with musical talent.

Gonzaga suffered another loss last year. A major car crash on the Beltway Nov. 1, 2014 claimed the life of Dominik Pettey, a 17-year-old senior at the school.

<![CDATA[Construction Delays Start of Classes at Stafford High School]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:36:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/082815+Stafford+High+School.jpg Some high school students in Stafford County are getting an extra week of summer vacation because of construction delays. News4 Northern Virgnia Bureau Reporter David Culver explains.]]> <![CDATA[Fair Warning: Stop For School Buses -- Or Else]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:55:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/generic-school-bus.jpg A record number of students will go back to school in Montgomery County Monday. Police and school officials are asking drivers to look out for the thousands of children who may be walking, biking or riding school buses. There's an added incentive for drivers to follow the law and stop for school buses. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Navy SEAL Killed in Bicycle Crash]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:50:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/082815+Timothy+Holden.jpg

A retired Navy SEAL and Gulf War veteran was riding his bicycle along Massachusetts Avenue in Bethesda early Friday morning when he was hit by a car and killed.

Timothy Holden, 64, was riding eastbound on Massachusetts Avenue near Osceola Road, just blocks from his home, about 6:15 a.m. Friday when he was hit by a Chevrolet Malibu, Montgomery County Police said.

The decorated veteran and father to five daughters died on the scene.

Holden was a United States Naval Academy graduate and Navy SEAL commodore, but few people realized how much he did for his country, his youngest brother, Peter Holden, said Friday.

"He was a very humble man, considering his accomplishments," he said. "He was a brother, best friend, great dad to five children."

Holden's family said they believe when the crash occurred he was riding to meet his oldest daughter for coffee, which he often did on Friday mornings.

The devout Catholic attended church every Sunday and dedicated his life to serving others, his devastated family said. Holden was an avid biker and athlete.

"I certainly couldn't keep up him him," Peter Holden said. "I always felt like he was invincible."

Police did not immediately know what caused the crash, which remains under investigation. The driver, a 22-year-old Maryland man, has not been charged. The Collision Reconstruction Unit continues to investigate this collision. Anyone with information is asked to call the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620.

<![CDATA[High-Tech Teaching Tool Survives MCPS Budget Cuts]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:04:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011704565_1200x675_515306051584.jpg Summer vacation officially ends this weekend for Montgomery County Public School students. They go back to school Monday and some will have access to a high-tech teaching tool that almost fell victim to budget cuts. News4's Chris Gordon reports.]]> <![CDATA[College Card Fees]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:50:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011702857_1200x675_515210819668.jpg Many of us would not have made it through college without financial aid, but the way students access their financial aid money could come with a cost. Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez reports on an issue that's created a heated debate.]]> <![CDATA[Man Charged in Fatal Metro Stabbing to Get Full Mental Evaluation]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:23:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/jasper+spires.jpg

The man suspected of having beaten and stabbed another man to death on board a Metro train on the Fourth of July will receive a full mental competency exam.

Jasper Spires, 18, appeared Friday in D.C. Superior Court, where a judge ordered additional evaluations of his mental competency, court records show.

Prosecutors say Spires attacked Kevin Sutherland, 24, at random the afternoon of July 4 on board a Red Line train near the NoMa-Gallaudet University Metro Station. Sutherland, a recent American University graduate who interned for Rep. Jim Himes (D-Connecticut), was stabbed more than 30 times, police said.

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

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

Spires is due back in court October 9, when the results of the exam will be discussed.

Photo Credit: Metropolitan Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Moped Driver Killed in Hit-and-Run Fairfax Co.]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:42:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic21.jpg

A man was found dead along I-66 in Fairfax County due to an apparent hit-and-run crash, police said.

Virginia State Police found Jerry Knight, 51, of Arlington, Virginia lying next to a black 2012 Intercept moped at the Falls Church exit of I-66 in Fairfax County, according to a release. 

Knight was wearing a helmet when police found his body Thursday about 4:35 p.m. police said, but it is illegal to drive mopeds on the interstate in Virginia.

There were no other vehicles at the scene when police arrived, but further investigation revealed the moped did collide with another vehicle, which has not yet been located. 

This is the second fatal crash on a small motorcycle or moped in Fairfax County this month.

Anyone who might have seen this moped or witnessed the crash is asked to call Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026.

<![CDATA[Cigarettes, Cigars Stolen From Shell Gas Station]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:19:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/arlington+virginia+gas+station+robber.jpg

Someone robbed a Shell Gas Station in Arlington, Virginia, of cigarettes and cigars.

On Aug. 19, the robber smashed the glass front door of the gas station in the 5600 block of N. Lee Highway, according to the Arlington County Police Department.

The burglar was seen on surveillance footage placing cartons of cigarettes and cigars into a cardboard box, police said. He then headed west down Lee Highway.

The robber is a African-American male with an athletic built and chest length dreadlocks. He was wearing a black V-neck T-shirt, jeans and dark sneakers. He also appears to have a tattoo on his upper right arm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department by calling 703-228-4245 or by emailing jstone@arlingtonva.us. To report anonymously, contact Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Arlington County Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Pr. George's Officer Dazzles With Double-Dutch Jumping Jacks]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:15:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/corporal+alan+jones+doutbe+dutch+PGC.jpg

For the second time this summer, double dutch united citizens and police officers -- this time, in Prince George’s County.

During Community Day last Saturday at the Victorious Life of Faith Church in District Heights, Maryland, the D.C. Retro Jumpers were performing their show under an outdoor tent. Corporal Alan Jones of the Prince George's County Police Department was captured on video with an impressive performance that got off to a tough start.

The video opens with Jones failing to make the jump twice. But on that third-time's-the-charm luck, Jones sustains the jump. More than that, he criss crosses his legs, performs jumping jacks and turns 360 degrees twice -- all while weighed down by his utility belt.

"Shout out to Victorious Life of Faith church in District Height MD for hosting the event and the DC Retro Jumpers for making me look good on the ropes," Jones posted on Facebook.

His video already has 275,000 views.

In late July, Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kandice Young flung herself into action by showing off her double dutch skills while visiting residents on Congress Street SE in D.C.

Photo Credit: Alan Jones/ Facebook
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Homeland Security Purchase Cards Hacked]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 21:19:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/161*120/lagenerics+homeland+security.jpg

Secure information on U.S. Department of Homeland Security purchase cards was compromised and used to purchase Starbucks coffee drinks, according to a government investigation launched because of a News4 I-Team report in 2014.

Those questionable purchases were just some of the $30,000 in Starbucks drinks and products bought with Department of Homeland Security purchase cards in one year, according to the I-Team’s October review.

The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on how many of its credit cards have been hacked or stolen but confirmed the theft of card information in 2013 and 2014 and the purchases of Starbucks items with those card numbers.

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General launched an investigation because of the I-Team’s story and found other examples of “inappropriate” purchases.

The newly released findings of that Inspector General said, in other instances, government cardholders bought drinks for “personal consumption.” Those purchases were later ordered to be reimbursed, auditors said.

Former federal prosecutor and auditor Brian Miller said both findings are troubling.

“We shouldn't tolerate it," Miller said. "When people are running out and making personal purchases at Starbucks with a federal purchase card, that's unacceptable."

In other cases, the coffee was bought in bulk to stock Coast Guard ships, according to the government audit.

“This may give the appearance that cardholders are not seeking lower priced options based on personal preference,” government investigators said.

Miller said the theft of agency credit card information was most troubling.

“With something like credit card information getting into the wrong hands, I'd think they'd want to get (better) internal controls in place right away," he said.

“(The agency) continues to monitor these cards to ensure they are used only in accordance with Department policy,” a Homeland Security spokesman said. “The Department of Homeland Security takes seriously its obligation to be a responsible steward of taxpayer funds."

The chairman of a U.S. House Oversight subcommittee also ordered the agency to review its Starbucks purchases after watching the 2014 report by the News4 I-Team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man, Woman Stabbed at Frederick Apartment]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:15:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_classic1.jpg

Police say a man and a woman were stabbed inside a Frederick, Maryland, apartment Friday morning. 

Officers were called to the Apartments at Alban Place at 8:20 a.m. 

Both vicitms were transported to an area hospital for treatment. 

No further information has been released. 

<![CDATA[Film Looks Back at 1985 Music Festival in Potomac]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 23:45:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/082715+Potomac+party.jpg Thousands of people flocked to a huge outdoor party 30 years ago in Potomac, Maryland. News4's Mark Segraves shows concert footage from Full Moon Jamboree, as shown in the new documentary "Heavy Metal Picnic." The movie will screen in Silver Spring on Friday.]]> <![CDATA[Petworth Store Shut Down for Selling Synthetic Drugs: AG]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 23:40:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/183*120/GettyImages-488535333.jpg

As D.C. officials fight the sale and use of synthetic drugs, a corner store that sold the drugs, according to the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, is being forced out of its building after the AG coordinated with the building owner. 

Riyad Market at 800 Upshur St. NW, about 0.5 miles north of the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro station, was caught in October 2014 with more than 500 packets of illegal synthetic drugs, the AG said. 

The store must vacate the property before November 13, as part of a court settlement, Attorney General Karl Racine announced Thursday. If the store owner stays, the property owners can have them evicted. 

After the Metropolitan Police Department found drugs in the store, the AG notified the property owner that Riyad Market was engaging in illegal activity. 

The owners hired attorneys for a lawsuit to evict the store owners, the AG said. Detectives testified in the District's Landlord and Tenant Court that the store was selling synthetic drugs, and residents testified that the store had a negative impact on the community, the AG said. 

"This is another example of how our office is willing to use every tool available to us – including working with property owners and community members – to stop the sale of these illegal and dangerous drugs," Racine said in a statement.

Riyad Market agreed to vacate the building by November 13. If the business doesn't leave, they will be evicted.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Landover Teachers Protest After Christian School Closes Abruptly]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:34:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011692688_1200x675_514614339962.jpg Teachers at a private school run by the embattled megachurch formerly known as Jericho City of Praise in Landover, Maryland gathered to protest Thursday after the school was closed abruptly and they say they weren't paid. News4 Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports on the long-standing legal battle.]]> <![CDATA[Maryland Volunteer Firefighters Get Creative to Save 3 Lives]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:39:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/landover+hills+maryland+apartment+fire.jpg

Three people were trapped on the balcony of a burning building with firefighters trying to save them -- but all the ladders the first-responders had were too short.

Volunteer firefighters in Landover Hills, Maryland saved three lives early Thursday by thinking on their feet and piecing together an escape route using two ladders.

Firefighters responded about 12:30 a.m. to a fire on the top floor of an apartment building on the 4400 block of 68th Place, the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department said.

Residents screamed from the fourth floor, trapped onto a balcony right next to where the fire had consumed a staircase. 

The firefighters only were equipped with 14-foot, 24-foot and 28-foot ladders and no lifting device.

Realizing this, the firefighters planted the 28-foot ladder on the ground, hooked it to the third floor and ascended with a 14-foot ladder in hand. A firefighter then stood in place as a connector between the two ladders and they lowered each resident down to safety. 

The firefighters thought on their feet, according to their training, Sgt. Cameron McKay said. 

"This was our plan B -- maybe even a few letters down from that," he said.

It's all in a day's work, Firefighter Gaetano Leone said. 

"This is what we do. This is what we're trained for," he said.

Photo Credit: The Kentland Volunteer Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurants, Nonprofit Robbed in Columbia Heights, Park View]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:23:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/northwest+Washington+dc+robbery+string+suspect.jpg

One man may be responsible for three burglaries in Northwest D.C.

Restaurants and a nonprofit community center located on the Georgia Avenue and 11th Street were targeted. All three robberies were caught on surveillance cameras.

On August 16, at the cafe Heat Da Spot on Georgia Avenue, the burglar busted through the glass door, ran to the cash register and then dropped most of the money on the street on his way out.

"It's sad because we want to change this neighborhood, and that's why we’re here," Timmit Goiton of Heat da Spot said.

Just an eight-minute walk west is the bar and restaurant Meridian Pint, at 3400 11th St. NW. The burglar broke in through the window and reached for the cash register. But he decided to take a few bottles of top-shelf scotch instead.

Two blocks away from Meridian Pint on 11th Street stands BloomBars, a donation-funded, nonprofit, community center that promotes performance and fine arts.

On August 8, the burglar threw a rock through the window of BloomBars, stole two donation boxes with $300 cash inside and crawled out the door.

“We hope the police do their job and and this comes to some conclusion because it seems like it's happening in the area,” BloomBars founder John Chambers said. "I hope the police can get ‘em,"his daughter Ava Maya added.

BloomBars has set up a GoFundMe page if you’d like to help out with repairs needed after the burglary.

The burglar was seen wearing a mask and gloves, but before he put the mask on, a security camera outside BloomBars caught an image of his face.

<![CDATA[Ten Years After Katrina: The Bigger Picture]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:57:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011692728_1200x675_514690115946.jpg As President Barack Obama makes his way through the areas hurricane Katrina affected and even opens a new community center, News4's Chris Lawrence is in New Orleans talking to residents about what still needs to be done in order to completely reconstruct what has been lost.]]> <![CDATA[Prince William Co. Opens New Elementary School]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 20:14:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011692670_1200x675_514612803743.jpg The principal of Chris Yung Elementary School in Bristow talks about the STEAM program she's leading at the new school.]]> <![CDATA[Why Molly Isn’t What You Think It Is]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:01:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/DEA+bath-salts04.jpg

When a 19-year-old University of Virginia student went to an electronic dance concert at a D.C. nightclub in 2013, she thought she was taking Molly.

Also known as Ecstasy, Molly has a reputation as a popular party drug that creates hallucinations and the feeling of unending energy.

But a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration told the News4 I-Team that they now know the student actually took something more like bath salts.

“Her friend said she took Molly,” the DEA’s Rusty Payne told us. “So the police thought she took Molly. But our lab tests later showed it was more like methylone, which is what’s in bath salts.”

The student collapsed at the club and died that night at Providence Hospital.

Less than a month later, two more partygoers at a New York music festival died after they too ingested what they thought was Molly. Once again, DEA lab tests later showed it was something else entirely.

The DEA says out of 143 “drug exhibits suspected of being Molly” it tested between 2009 and 2013, chemical analysis revealed only 13 percent contained MDMA -- shorthand for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine – the scientific name for the molecule most well-known as Ecstasy or Molly.

Instead, tests showed nearly two-thirds of the samples initially believed to be Molly contained chemicals used in bath salts, or 4-MEC, a new synthetic drug scientists know very little about.

The DEA says the small batch of samples that actually contained MDMA were not “pure” and consisted of other synthetic drug combinations and Ritalin.

Recent statistic released by the DEA show MDMA use has steadily declined in recent years. It seized about 2,438 kg of MDMA in 2008 and only 432 kg in 2012. One kilogram of MDMA powder can create more than 7,000 tablets according to the DEA, which typically sell for about $10 to $40 per tablet. In recent years, agents told us they’ve also witnessed users snorting or sniffing the loose powder.

The DEA says the main message they want to get out there is no one, not even the people making these drugs, knows what these synthetic compounds will do to your body.

You could get a dose with little or no chemicals in it. Or you could get something entirely new that could kill you. Even if you’re told it’s something with an established party-drug reputation like Molly.

Photo Credit: DEA]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Dies Swimming in Fairfax Co. Creek]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:50:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/082715+Vladimir+Flores.jpg

A local family is mourning the death of a 16-year-old boy who died after going swimming in water near George Washington Memorial Parkway and getting caught in the powerful current.

The body of Vladimir Antonio Perez Flores was found Thursday afternoon after the teen jumped into the water Wednesday night while fishing with his older brother and a friend, his devastated family said. 

Vladimir was fishing where the Potomac River connects with Little Hunting Creek when he decided to swim to a buoy about 8 p.m., his family said. The teen about to start his senior year at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria yelled for help but disappeared. 

Vladimir's brother, Juan Gomez, had left to buy bait when his phone rang. 

"I just received a phone call from my friend saying that my brother went into the water and he wasn't coming out," he said. 

A Fairfax County rescue crew arrived on the scene about 8:30 p.m. and searched by land, air and water through the night. The current pulled Vladimir out, and thick underwater plants complicated the search.

"The current was going out at that time, so he was drifting out while he was struggling. He then submerged and was not seen above the water," Fairfax County Police Capt. Shawn Martin said. 

On Thursday afternoon, a sonar device detected something in the water. Divers investigated and found Vladimir's body, officials said. 

Vladimir was a strong swimmer who played piano at the church his family attended, Gomez said. 

"He was the best person a brother could have," he said through tears. 

<![CDATA[Va. Democrats Push Gun Reforms After News Crew Is Killed]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:59:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/082715+Patrick+Hope.jpg

As Virginians and people worldwide mourn the deaths of the young reporter and photographer shot on the air Wednesday in southwest Virginia, some political leaders are calling on Virginians and fellow politicians to reform gun laws.

Just hours after WDBJ-TV employees Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe renewed his call to close gun law loopholes.

"Keeping guns out of the hands of people who would use them to harm our family, friends and loved ones is not a political issue; it is a matter of ensuring that more people can come home safely at the end of the day," he said Wednesday afternoon in a statement.

Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) didn't waste much time either. He launched a petition seeking support for legislation to require comprehensive background checks for all gun purchases in the state. He has sponsored a gun law reform bill several times, only to see it defeated.

Hope defended the timing of his political push.

"Yes, I'm taking advantage of a situation where it's really raw for people right now, but people are frustrated and we've got to quit hiding behind this do-nothing attitude," he said. "If we don't do something, it will continue to happen."

Del. David Ramadan (D-Loudoun) criticized Hope and McAuliffe, saying they were inappropriately politicizing the horrific shooting.

"We have a tragedy. We have two Virginians that had died yesterday. Give them the respect that they deserve," Ramadan said Thursday.

"This person had bought a gun legally. He had gone through a background check, so it's apples and oranges and people jumping on a bandwagon they shouldn't be jumping on," he said.

McAuliffe criticized delegates for "bogging discussion about this tragedy and the important issue of preventing gun violence down in unnecessary partisan attacks.

"In a country where these incidents happen virtually every day, when do these delegates think would be a good time to have this conversation?" he continued. "Virginians need real leadership on these issues, not more petty partisan sniping."

Andy Parker, father of the 24-year-old reporter killed, said he wants to make it harder for mentally ill people to get guns.

"I'm going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation -- to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns," he said Wednesday on the Fox News show "The Kelly File."

<![CDATA[10 Years After Katrina: A Woman's New Life in D.C.]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:05:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011691833_1200x675_514558019759.jpg News4's Chris Lawrence is live in New Orlean's sharing one woman's survival story when she was stranded on her roof for three days and then relocated to Washington D.C.]]> <![CDATA[Talk Around Town: Chicago Tribune Katrina Op-Ed Offends]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 18:04:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011691529_1200x675_514538563765.jpg WHUR's Troy Johnson discusses Kristen McQueary's op-ed article in the Chicago Tribune that offended many in the district. McQueary stated that a Katrina event should happen again to bring re-awareness to those areas.]]> <![CDATA[What 'Synthetic Drugs' Really Look Like]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:42:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Synthetic+Drugs+AB-Flubinaca.jpg

White Lady, Mr. Nice Guy, Sour D and Plur.

With their shiny packaging and intriguing names, it's hard for some to take them seriously. But for Jill Head, those little packets may be the scariest thing she's seen go through her lab.

"I want people to know that there is no association to these drugs with marijuana,” she told the News4 I-Team. “I've heard words like ‘legal weed’ or ‘synthetic marijuana’ but these are scarily misleading."

Head and her team of forensic chemists work at the Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Testing and Research Laboratory in Virginia. They analyze and identify all of the suspected drugs seized by DEA agents throughout the world.

Before 2009, the chemists there said they typically saw only about a half-dozen types of illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana. But since then, they've been flooded with more than 300 varieties of synthetic drugs, Head said.

"This is a really strange phenomenon, the speed,” Head said. “Probably at the highest we've been seeing one to two synthetic drugs per week."

She then pulled out two small vials filled with white powder.

One, labeled JWH-018, is one of the very first samples seized by the DEA in 2009. The other appeared in 2013 and is called AB-Fubinaca. To the naked eye, they both look identical to cocaine.

Head explained all the synthetic drugs they’ve seen start out as white powders manufactured in Chinese laboratories. “Bath salts, Flakka, Spice, Scooby Snax, Molly. They all look like this. They're all powders."

The DEA groups synthetics by what they look like under a microscope.

One group, called MDMA, is typically sold under the brand name Molly or Ecstasy and stays in powder form or gets pressed into a pill.

Bath salts and Flakka are part of the “substituted cathinones” class and have a crystal-like appearance. The DEA said they’ve noticed in the past year that many people who think they’re taking Molly are actually taking something more closely related to bath salts.

The DEA said most of the shiny packets seized by their agents and local police are in yet another class called “synthetic cannabinoids.”

Head showed how the plant leaves contained with the packets get dosed with the white powder, rendering it invisible to the naked eye. “What happens is the drug, in this case AB-Fubinaca, is added to a chemical solution and dissolved. The way you would dissolve sugar into ice tea. You make a solution, and it's added to the plant material.”

DEA agents have uncovered industrial-size mixing operations, Head said. “There's various methods for mixing, such as spraying or mixing it in a bathtub or in a cement mixer."

She explained the mixing is often uneven, creating “hotspots” the DEA believes may be leading to some overdoses. Some people get a batch with little or no chemicals on the leaves. Others get highly concentrated does.

Head then pulled out some of the earliest packets she and her team analyzed in 2009 and 2010. They look crudely assembled compared to their more modern counterparts, advertising K2 and Spice, two brand names “we don’t really see a lot of anymore,” Head said.

Another early brand name, Scooby Snax, is still widely available, according to Head. But she warned the label on the outside has nothing to do with the chemicals she's found inside. "We can analyze one and it will have one drug in it, even from the same store, the same seizure, right next to it will have a completely different drug."

The DEA cautions you shouldn’t be fooled by labels like "Fruit Punch," which promises it's "lab certified" with "no banned chemicals.” Or “D'Evil,” which claims it’s "cannabinoid free" and "DEA compliant."

Head said none of it's true. They’re all illegal synthetic drugs.

Which is why Head doesn't just analyze synthetic drugs -- she's one of the very few allowed to actually make them in the United States.

Her team has noticed some patterns in the way some drugs are made. Single atoms, for instance, are sometimes switched out in a predictable order.

"For example, we see the fluorine atom," Head told us. "We'll see this trend where there is a new drug and they add a fluorine atom. Then there is another new drug and they add a fluorine atom. So, there are trends in the synthesis in what we monitor that helps us predict what might come next.”

Head explained that by using these patterns and making new combinations that have not yet appeared in the United States, their lab can give the DEA a jump start on what's coming next in this new drug war.

"The scariest thing to me is how much is unknown and how much people don't know,” Head said. “They’re completely unknown. It's roulette."

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Social Media's Role in Mass Shootings]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:49:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/flanagan-2015-th.jpg The Washington Post's Joel Achenbach discusses how social media has affected mass shootings in recent years, especially in the case of the Roanoke TV shooting where the gunman uploaded video of the shooting on Twitter and Facebook.]]> <![CDATA[10 Years After Katrina: How Residents Are Holding Up]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:41:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011690785_1200x675_514500163833.jpg As President Barack Obama makes his way through the areas Hurricane Katrina affected, News4's Chris Lawrence is in New Orleans talking to residents about what still needs to be done in order to completely reconstruct what has been lost.]]>