<![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 Mon, 25 May 2015 21:47:59 -0400 Mon, 25 May 2015 21:47:59 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[PGCPS Board Member Opposes Property Tax Increase to Fund Schools]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 21:18:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Prince+Georges+County+Public+Schools+Board+of+Education+2015.jpg

A Prince George’s County Public School Board member opposed to a property tax hike to raise money for schools was ordered to cancel a town hall meeting where he would have heard from voters about the issue.

“I got an email from the board chair saying I could not host a town hall,” Ed Burroughs said.

Burroughs was not in attendance when the board voted to increase its budget and said he does not support the way the county is proposing it gets done.

"Our issue is managing the resources we do have, and throwing money at the problem is not going to fix it," he said.

County Executive Rushern Baker is asking the County Council to pass a 15.6 percent increase in property taxes yielding $104.9 million per year. All of that money would go to education.

It would cost owners of $200,000 homes $300 more per year in taxes.

School Board Chair Segun Eubanks said while he didn’t say Burroughs couldn’t host a town hall, he did say Burroughs couldn’t use school resources to do it since the board agreed to support its budget regardless of how it’s funded.

"Any board member can speak as a board member about any issue they would like, but they are not allowed to use board resources to contradict the board on an official position," Eubanks said.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Upbeat Parade Helps Preserve Patriotic Tradition in Falls Church]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 20:10:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010608257_1200x675_451072067635.jpg Across northern Virginia on Memorial Day, the observances range from the very festive to the solemn. News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports from Falls Church where even an upbeat parade can help perserve a patriotic tradition.]]> <![CDATA[Residents Concerned About Motorcyle Safety After Fatal Crash]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 20:04:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010608130_1200x675_451060291949.jpg Residents in Hyattsville say they are concerned about motorcycle safety after a young boy was killed Saturday. Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss reports.]]> <![CDATA[Crowds Honor Those Who've Sacrificed for Country at Memorial Day Parade]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 19:58:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010608177_1200x675_451060291711.jpg Crowds lined up along the Memorial Day Parade route to honor those who've served and sacrificed for the country. Zachary Kiesch reports.]]> <![CDATA[Montgomery County Airport Safety Changes on Hold]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 19:47:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010608171_1200x675_451056707971.jpg Six months after a plane crashed into a home killing six people, safety changes at Montgomery County Airport are on hold indefinitely. Scott MacFarlane reports.]]> <![CDATA[Woman Says D.C. Drug Court Saved Her Life]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 18:22:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010607336_1200x675_451047491763.jpg DC Court graduates get a second change at life. News4's Mark Segraves reports.]]> <![CDATA[Warning About Deck Safety]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 18:13:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010608014_1200x675_451045955597.jpg How do you know if your deck is in good enough shape to host your guests? Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez has a warning.]]> <![CDATA[Tips for Safe Grilling]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 18:11:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010607915_1200x675_451040835822.jpg A lot of folks are firing up the grill for Memorial Day, but before you start, the Department of Agriculture has a few safety tips to keep in mind. Chris Lawrence reports.]]> <![CDATA[Boy Rescued From Swimming Pool]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 18:10:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010607987_1200x675_451043907557.jpg A 7-year-old boy is doing well after being rescued from a swimming pool in Rockville Monday afternoon. Shomari Stone reports.]]> <![CDATA[Opposing Soldiers in Vietnam Form Friendship Decades Later]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 18:05:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010603877_1200x675_451034691703.jpg News4's Chris Gordon has the story of two men from opposite sides of the Vietnam War who formed an unusual friendship.]]> <![CDATA[Keeping Your Deck Safe This Summer Season]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 14:48:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/203*120/2015-05-25_1445.png

They're meant for relaxing and grilling outside, but when it comes to safety, not all decks measure up. 

Just over a year ago, a group plummeted towards the ground after the deck they were standing on gave way in Indiana. 

But there are some ways to make sure your deck is safe to use. 

Every May, Montgomery County residents can call 311 or 240-777-0311 to receive a free deck inspection. In Alexandria, homeowners can call 703-838-4900 to request an automated inspection. 

Prince George's County inspectors only inspect newly built decks or deck additions. 

Follow the links below for more deck safety information:

<![CDATA[FBI Investigating Aviation Threat: Md. State Police]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 13:39:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372567.jpg

Maryland State Police say they received an anonymous call threatening commercial aviation Monday morning. 

The call came in to the Maryland State Police McHenry Barrack in Garrett County just after 6:30 a.m. Officials say the caller made a bomb threat involving commercial aviation. 

The FBI and the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center were notified and will be investigating the call. 

No further information has been released. 

The FBI says they are unaware of any specific threats to flights out of Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Airport. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Bank Robber Claimed to Have Bomb: Police]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 13:29:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hyattsville+bank+robbery.jpg

 A man claiming to have a bomb robbed a Hyattsville, Maryland, bank last week. 

Investigators say the man walked into the Capital One on Annapolis Road with a box under his arm just before 5 p.m. Friday. The bank robber passed the teller a note demanded money. The note also indicated that the box contained a bomb. 

The suspect took the money and left the bank, leaving the box behind. 

The Prince George's County bomb squad x-rayed the box and found nothing. 

No one was injured during the robbery. 

Anyone with information that can help police is asked to call the FBI's Baltimore office at 410-265-8080.

<![CDATA[Two Men Shot in Separate Shootings in NW D.C.]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 07:54:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/2015-05-25_0752.png

Two men were injured in separate shootings in northwest D.C. Monday morning.

Officers say the first victim was shot in the 3600 block of Warder Street NW around midnight. The man was taken to an area hospital; there's no word on his current condition.

Three hours later, police were called to the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Gallatin Street. The scene is about a mile and a half from the first shooting. 

A man was also shot in this incident. He was taken to an area hospital. There's no word on his condition.

Investigators say a black Nissan Altima was seen driving from the Georgia Avenue scene. 

No arrests have been made in either case. 

<![CDATA[Memorial Day Parades: D.C., Maryland & Virginia]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 11:34:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_151059206.jpg

Memorial Day is the perfect opportunity to open up a lawn chair, grab a hot dog... and enjoy patriotic tunes and performances, of course.

Read on for our list of parades around D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Don't see your town's parade listed? Add it below in the comments!


The American Veterans Center's National Memorial Day Parade: starts at the corner of Constitution Ave. and 7th Street at 2 p.m. Monday.

The classic D.C. parade is always an all-encompassing experience. This year, in addition to Memorial Day, the American Veterans Center is celebrating the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II. The parade will proceed down Constitution Avenue and past the White House, ending at 17th Street. Constitution Avenue NW between 7th Street and 19th Street will be closed from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The celebration includes floats, high school marching bands, veterans, service organizations and more. Can't make it? Don't worry -- it's also televised.

Rolling Thunder Ride to Freedom: starts at Pentagon, moves into D.C. via Memorial Bridge, proceeds around National Mall

While not technically a parade, Rolling Thunder is one of the most emotionally powerful demonstations you may see this weekend, as hundreds of thousands of bikers roar into D.C. to honor POWs and servicemembers missing in action. The official ride is Sunday, but you'll see scores of bikers in town throughout the entire weekend.


Annapolis Memorial Day Parade: starts at the beginning of Amos Garrett Boulevard at 10 a.m. Monday.

Celebrate the day by the bay! The Annapolis Memorial Day Parade travels around Church Circle and down Main Street, ending at Market House. A memorial ceremony will take place in Susan Campbell Park following the parade.

Bowie's Hometown Parade: starts at the Belair Annex at 11 a.m. Saturday.

This parade is a couple of days early so you can take part in double the fun. Recommended viewing locations are Stonybrook Drive at Acorn Hill Park or along Sussex Lane. The parade ends at Sage Lane, past the viewing stand. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and settle in for this patriotic event. Everyone from Cub Scouts to gymnasts -- and hey, even dogs -- will make an appearance.

Rockville's 71st Annual Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade: starts at N. Washington Street at Martins Lane at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Marching bands, floats and more will surround the Rockville Town Center, ending at Montgomery Avenue. Looking for something to do pre-Memorial Day? On Saturday and Sunday, the town center will host Taste of Rockville at Hometown Holidays Music Festival -- see more here.


Arlington Cemetery National Memorial Day Observance: starts in the Memorial Amphitheater at 11 a.m. Monday.

The United States Marine Band guides this memorial service into the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Seating is offered as on a first come, first served basis.

Falls Church 34th Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival: starts on the City Hall grounds (300 Park Ave.) at 9 a.m. Monday.

The parade travels down Park Avenue and spreads out through downtown Falls Church. The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps introduces this daylong event. You'll also find live music, pony rides, arts and crafts, and the local Don Beyer 3K Fun Run.

Portsmouth 131st Annual Memorial Day Parade: starts at High and Crawford streets at 10 a.m. Monday.

This parade has been a tradition since 1884, featuring floats, marching bands and military personnel. Located right on the water, this is the perfect to location to commemorate our troops and honor age-old tradition.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Vets, Visitors at the World War II Memorial]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 23:42:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010595831_1200x675_450603587648.jpg Crowds paid tribute to those who have sacrificed for our country at the World War II Memorial Sunday. News4's Darcy Spencer reports.]]> <![CDATA[Man Dies in Gas Station Fire After Fumes Ignite]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 22:13:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_340260462.jpg

A man who was apparently lighting a cigarette while pumping gas died Sunday after his cigarette ignited gasoline fumes.

Prince George’s Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady said the man was pumping gas at the Shell gas station located on East West Highway and Kenilworth Avenue in Riverdale, Maryland.

The victim, who has not yet been identified, was severely burned and was transported to the hospital with critical, life-threatening injuries. He died Sunday evening.

Brady said a good Samaritan acted quickly and extinguished the flames on the victim.

<![CDATA[Rolling Thunder Honors Veterans]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 13:48:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/71071941.jpg

The roar of motorcycle engines is filling the air in the nation's capital.

Organizers say hundreds of thousands of bikers and spectators gather every Memorial Day weekend for the Rolling Thunder "Ride for Freedom." The event got its start in 1988, and it honors military veterans and members of the military missing in action.

Bikers rally at the Pentagon all morning Sunday, then cross the Memorial Bridge at noon and cruise around the National Mall.

Drivers throughout the region should watch out for a large number of motorcyclists on the roads all weekend. As hundreds of thousands of motorcycles race into the District for the Rolling Thunder Ride to Freedom, so will some road closures.

The annual event honoring military veterans and soldiers who are missing in action will begin May 24 at the Pentagon at 7 a.m. Given their name because of the roaring sound their bikes make as they ride in unison, Rolling Thunder will enter D.C. via Memorial Bridge after they’ve filled both the North and South Pentagon parking lots with motorcyclists. They’ll then ride around the National Mall.

While the Ride for Freedom only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, the massive amount of motorcyclists taking part in the race will shut down roads for nearly four hours. This year, the following roads will be closed from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.:

  • Memorial Bridge to 23rd street
  • North on 23rd street to Constitution Avenue
  • East on Constitution to Pennsylvania
  • East on Pennsylvania to 3rd Street South
  • South on 3rd Street to Independence Avenue
  • West on Independence to West Basin Drive
  • Southwest on West Basin Drive to Ohio Drive
  • Northwest on Ohio to Franklin D. Roosevelt Park, where the motorcycles will then disband.

Authorities suggest that motorists find alternate routes or allow for possible delays if they’re driving near the area.

The NBC Washington traffic map will be updated throughout the day as roads open or close, so you can always check back here for the latest conditions; viewers can also follow traffic reporter Melissa Mollet on Twitter at @first4traffic.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tour Bus Erupts in Flames on I-395]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 08:49:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tour+bus+fire1.jpg

A tour bus caught fire along Interstate 395 on Saturday, creating a huge scene.

Video captured at the location showed the back of the bus fully engulfed by the fire. The driver was able to pull over near the Pentagon exit, and everyone inside escaped safely.

Investigators aren’t sure how the fire started. Smoke could be seen from locations in northwest D.C.

<![CDATA[Md. Road Test Kicks Parallel Parking to the Curb]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 08:49:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/Parallel+Parking.jpg

As teenage driver's ed students rejoice, car owners in Maryland start worrying about their bumpers.

As of Tuesday, parallel parking is no longer a requirement on the Maryland driver’s license test.

According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, if drivers can complete a two-point reverse turn in addition to the other test components, they’ve done enough to earn their license.

That doesn’t sit well with some of Maryland’s driving instructors.

“It just doesn't measure parking,” said Tom Pecoraro, president of I Drive Smart. “[Parallel parking] measures space management and control of the vehicle at low speed."

But the decision is good enough for the rest of the DMV. Virginia and D.C. don't require parallel parking during the road test, either.

<![CDATA[Child Killed When Motorcycle Strikes Pedestrians]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 20:35:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/image1.JPG.jpg

A young child was killed when a motorcycle struck a group of pedestrians in the 3500 block of East-West Highway in Hyattsville, Maryland.

The motorcycle was apparently involved in a crash with a car before it struck the pedestrians.

Investigators said it appears a motorcycle heading westbound on East-West Highway collided with a car that was making a left turn into a shopping center. The rider was thrown from the motorcycle.

Police said the motorcycle then crashed into four pedestrians, one man and three children, who were standing on the sidewalk at the crosswalk waiting to cross the street. One child, Alejandro Santos, 7, of Greenbelt, was killed.

The man and two other children were taken to the hospital. Officials said the man and one child suffered life-threatening injuries, and the other child, as well as the motorcyclist, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigators said preliminarily, speed on the part of the motorcycle rider appears to be a factor, but the collision remains under investigation.

<![CDATA[Volunteer Paramedic Accused of Crimes Against Underage Girl]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 08:30:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black.jpg+20+may.jpg

A volunteer paramedic is accused of having inappropriate contact with a minor.

Loudon County sheriff’s deputies arrested Timothy Ward on Friday night. Ward is charged with indecent liberties with an underage girl and using a communication device to solicit a child.

He's a lieutenant with the Hamilton Volunteer Rescue Squad.

He is being held at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center with no bond.

<![CDATA[1-Year-Old Girl Falls from Fourth Floor Balcony]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 08:03:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_112668582.jpg

A baby girl is expected to survive after falling from a fourth floor balcony in Silver Spring.

Montgomery County emergency crews treated the little girl after she fell into some bushes on the ground at Pear Tree Court. They said the bushes may have cushioned her landing.

The 1-year-old girl was rushed to Children’s Hospital. There is no word on her condition.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[More Than 1 Person Held DC Family Hostage: Filing]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 07:57:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/wint+mugshot.jpg

Three members of a D.C. family — and their housekeeper — were held overnight by more than one person before they were slain in their home last week, according to new court documents filed Friday afternoon.

The youngest of the victims, 10-year-old Philip Savopoulos, died from "thermal injuries" and stab wounds. He was found in a bedroom consumed by fire, the documents say.

There was a strong smell of gasoline permeating the house, and a K-9 officer detected an "ignitable liquid." A matchbox and several matches were found at the top of the stairs.

The court documents reveal new details in the murders of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip, and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57, on May 14. 

Quadruple+murder+suspect+Darron+Wint+in+custody+May+21%2C+2015Darron Dellon Dennis Wint, 34, is the only person charged in the murders so far, though the documents say Wint "and others" held the family hostage until $40,000 in cash was delivered Thursday. The deed “required the presence and assistance of more than one person," the documents say.

Wint's name was spelled "Daron Dylon Wint" in previous filings in the case, though today's filing says Darron Dellon Dennis Wint is his "true name." He has also used his brother's name: Steffon. 

Court documents also indicate more than one person knew of the delivery of the $40,000 to the Savopoulos family's home in the hours before the victims died.

In fact, one of those witnesses changed his story about critical details of the case while police were interviewing him, changing his claims of when the request to deliver money was made, how he received the package and where it was left.

The person the documents call "W-1" said that he received a text from Savvas Savopoulos Wednesday evening, instructing Savopoulos' assistant to meet another employee Thursday morning to pick up a package.

Initially, W-1 said the request to pick up a package was made Thursday morning.

The employee took four bundles out of his or her pockets and put the cash in a red bag belonging to W-1.

W-1 drove the assistant to the Savopoulos home, and called Savopoulos 10 minutes before arriving. According to the witness, Savopoulos instructed W-1 to leave the money in a red car inside the garage.

The assistant put the money inside a manila envelope and left it on the driver's seat. Police did not find the envelope in the car during their search of the home.

Wint appeared in court Friday afternoon in a prison jumpsuit, his hands and legs shackled. He is charged with first-degree murder while armed. 

In court Friday, Wint was ordered held without bond and ordered to submit to a DNA swab. He did not enter a plea, and is due back in court June 23.

Police said during the hearing that they are looking at a plastic water bottle with fingerprints on it that was found at the crime scene.

On Friday, D.C. and Prince George's County authorities searched a motel in College Park where Wint and and others were seen the previous night. Investigators carried bags of evidence from the motel shortly after 4 p.m. Friday.

Wint was arrested late Thursday while in a two-vehicle caravan including a box truck in northeast D.C.

The white Chevrolet Cruze Wint was in was followed from the Howard Johnson motel in College Park by members of the fugitive task force. A Prince George’s County Police helicopter also Tracked the car for several miles as it headed south on Route 1 into the district, providing the exact location to officers on the ground.

Officers at the scene described Wint as stoic.

A court document said U.S. marshals saw "a large stack" of what appeared to be $100 bills in the truck. This denomination is consistent with what was delivered to the victims' home.

NBC News has confirmed that at least $10,000 was found in the truck.

The marshals also saw several money orders.

An occupant of Wint's vehicle admitted to authorities that he or she had purchased money orders "under the direction of an identified person who was providing [him or her] with money," according to the document. The person providing the money was not named in the document.

The occupant of the vehicle also told authorities he or she believed the total amount of money orders exceeded $10,000.

He had once worked for the company run by one of the victims, and was identified as a suspect after authorities made a DNA match on a partially eaten slice of pizza left behind in the Savopoulos' home.

Investigators found two Domino's pizza boxes in the bedroom where the three adult victims were found, according to the court documents obtained Friday.

The pizza boxes were time-stamped May 13 at 9:14 p.m. — the night before the killings — and paid for with the Savopoulos' credit card.

A Domino's employee who took the order told detectives that the caller, believed to be Amy Savopoulos, gave some unusual instructions. She told the Domino's employee that she was caring for a sick child and couldn't come to the door, so the delivery person should leave the pizzas on the front porch, ring the bell and then leave.

The delivery person told detectives that all the lights in the house were off, with just the front porch light illuminated. The delivery person placed the food on the porch as instructed and left.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Fairfax County Firefighters, Police Train Together for Worst Case Scenarios]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 22:27:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010586807_1200x675_449641027564.jpg For the first time in Fairfax County, police and firefighters are training together to make them better prepared for the worst case scenerio. News4's Zachary Kiesch shows how the training works.]]> <![CDATA[Vigil for Housekeeper Killed In D.C. Mansion]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 20:30:15 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010587921_1200x675_449554499589.jpg News4's Meagan Fitzgerald talks to mourners who attended a vigil Friday for Vera Figeroa, the housekeeper killed along with three members of a wealthy D.C. family. Neighbors say the tragedy has taken a toll on them, too.]]> <![CDATA[Students Say Pond Class at GMU Really Floats Their Boats]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 20:19:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010587786_1200x675_449527363517.jpg GMU students in a variety of majors combine to take part in an ecology class at the university's pond.]]> <![CDATA[Teen Burglary Ring Busted ]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 20:11:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/01generic-police-lights11.jpg

Seven members of a teen burglary ring were arrested Friday, the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Virginia teens vary in age from 13-16. The teens operated for over a year and collectively robbed 11 houses and nine cars, authorities said.

The teens, who lived in the Salem Run area of the county, spread out their various burglaries over time to throw off police, authorities said. One detective noticed a pattern and managed to catch one of the teens, who then revealed the accomplices, authorities said. Victims of the burglary ring lost cash, credit cards, cellphones, laptop computers, electronic games, clothing and firearms, authorities said.

While some of the stolen property has been recovered, detectives are still locating missing items, authorities said. Investigations continue as the teens may be accountable for several other burglaries.

The teens were detained on petitions filed with the Juvenile Court and were each served with detention orders, authorities said.

<![CDATA[What Vietnam Is Like 40 Years After the Fall of Saigon]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 18:08:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/topNews-vietnam-469673464.jpg

The Vietnam War is a dark chapter in American history. It divided our country. Our service men and women served and sacrificed. There were demonstrations and protests against the war.

Many who fought in Vietnam returned to the U.S. to a collective "cold shoulder." Some reported ugly confrontations with people who blamed them for serving.

April 30 marked the 40-year anniversary of the fall of Saigon. The city is now named Ho Chi Minh City after the communist leader who unified Vietnam.

I asked my supervisors at News4 if I could take a small camera to Vietnam during a personal tour I took with my wife, Debbie. They agreed, and I gave myself this assignment: To report on what Vietnam is like today under communism and how the Vietnamese people treat Americans and returning U. S. veterans.

I filed this report from Ho Chi Minh City. Some Vietnamese, especially those in South Vietnam who fought alongside Americans, told me they still call it Saigon

Reporting From Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam was my generation's war. Tens of thousands of Americans were killed or wounded. There were supporters of the war and vocal opponents. Large numbers of protesters participated in demonstrations demanding the U.S. get out of Vietnam.

The Vietnamese call it the American War.

My guide spoke on camera with some concern about his safety. I am not disclosing his full name.

Phat told me, "They understand that American people did not make war in Vietnam. Just the government. President Nixon."

U.S. veterans visiting Vietnam try to come to grips with the past. Larry Beam from Bowling Green, Kentucky, told me, "I found myself more emotional than I would expect by being here."

The United States fought to stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. It was the first war the U.S. lost.

"I think about the people who lost their lives here and the families who were affected by it now and then," Beam said. "When you go in and it's now a communist state, there's a certain amount of defeatism there."

U.S. military superiority was out maneuvered by guerrilla warfare. Small groups of Viet Cong fighters would ambush U.S. troops, then disappear through rabbithole-sized entrances into underground tunnels like those at Chu Chi just outside of Saigon. It's a real jungle battleground that is now an American tourist destination.

On a tour of Chu Chi, I met Joel Schwartz. He was a middle class college student who volunteered for Vietnam because he felt the draft was unfair, putting the burden of fighting on poor minorities. But his idealism soon disappeared.

"I felt the war shouldn't have been fought," Schwartz said. "We had no business being there, and that's the way it is. A lot of people died for nothing."

I experienced first hand how hard a time U.S. troops had trying to clear the tiny tunnels. I took my camera and crawled through a small, hot, dark section of tunnel. I was soon disoriented. By the time I got out my shirt was soaked with sweat and I was losing my voice.

Now more than 12 million people live and work in Ho Chi Minh City. Roads are crowded with scooters. Everywhere you look people are doing business. They sell food, fruit, vegetables, clothes, and jewelry.

Small business compete with the biggest designer name stores.

My guide Phat calls it red capitalism. "Vietnam is a communist country, but it seems like economy is going on the capitalist way," he said. "It's more freedom, more free market in Vietnam. Easy to do business in Vietnam now."

Reporting From Da Nang, Vietnam

A large pagoda with sprawling grounds overlooks the city of Da Nang. Visitors burn incense and pray. Buddhism is one of many religions in Vietnam, along with Christianity and ancestor worship.

Da Nang is a vibrant city. People are doing business on every corner, sidewalk and market.

It's a clean city. We found a dozen employees cleaning the front of a five-star hotel. The people are friendly.

"They're happy, welcome all people," my Vietnamese guide, Phat, said.

Da Nang was the site of a major U.S. air base. Marble Mountain is just a short distance away. Inside the mountain, there's a cave where the Viet Cong built a secret hospital. They claim to have shot down 18 U.S. helicopters from their mountain perch.

Beneath Marble Mountain is Marble Beach. We know it as China Beach, made famous in movies and TV shows. The U.S. military sent troops here for rest and recreation. But the Vietnamese have removed many references to China since the war.

Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Stiles told his story and his desire for reconciliation. He described how he has become close friends with the Vietnamese pilot who shot him down.

On April 16, 1972, in a dogfight in the skies near Hanoi, U.S. Air Force Brigadier Gen. Dan Cherry fired a missile from his F4 fighter jet that exploded under the wing of a Russian-made MiG. Vietnamese pilot Hong My ejected, breaking both arms. He barely escaped with his life.

Thirty-six years later, a Vietnamese TV host arranged for the pilots to meet. Hong My was wearing a medal on his coat and revealed that it signified that he had shot down an American airman. Hong My asked Cherry to find him when he returned to the United States.

Research and luck led to Stiles. But Stiles was at first wary. He had believed for years that his plane had been shot down by ground artillery. But he agreed to meet Hong My. When he did, Hong My revealed details of the shooting that immediately convinced Stiles that Hong My was right.

"When I met Hong My there was no hatred on his part or animosity or gloating he was just a genuine person," Stiles.

From that first meeting, a deep friendship has grown.

"I was in Hanoi last year and spent 10 days with Hong My," Stiles said. "I had a great time. I got to know him and got to know his family very, very well. He treated me like a king."

"We were never enemies," Hong My said. "We were just soldiers."

Stiles explained it to me this way, "He was doing his job. I was doing my job. It just happens that way."

Final Thoughts: Reporting From Washington, D.C.

Stiles has made it his mission to promote reconciliation between U.S. veterans and the Vietnamese they fought.

As a reporter, it seems to me that for there to be reconciliation the United States must recognize and show gratitude to the men and women who served in that unpopular war.

Every time I visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C., I see the grief of families and friends who visit the wall. They lovingly trace the names of loved ones who lost their lives or went missing in action.

There are more than 58,000 names inscribed on the wall. As a country we remember them on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but have we done enough to single out those who fought in Vietnam? Do we honor those who died and the families who are still mourning their loss? Recently Maryland enacted a law to welcome home Vietnam Veterans. It comes 40 years after the war, but for some it's a start.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic Cockpit Video in WWII Flyover Emergency]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 18:27:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/2015-05-22_1415.jpg

Stunning cockpit video has been released showing the emergency landing of a World War II-era plane during a historic flyover above D.C. earlier this month.

On May 8, the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, the planes flew in formations to represent the major battles of WWII -- but about 30 minutes into the flyover, a Curtiss Helldiver was forced to make an emergency landing at Ronald Reagan National Airport because of mechanical problems.

This week, a YouTube video was posted showing the heart-stopping moments after smoke appears to waft into the cockpit, growing steadily thicker.

"Are we on fire?" a passenger shouts from the back seat as they fly over the Lincoln Memorial. The pilot quickly assesses the situtation and radios for an emergency landing.

Then, moments later, he radios, "We're landing at Reagan. We're on fire."

Information on an available runway quickly comes over the radio as the plane descends, flying low over the Potomac River.

By that point, the pilot believed his passenger was unconscious, according to text superimposed on the video. "Gut wrenching," he said.

In actuality, the passenger had simply removed his headset to look for what they believed to be a fire. 

The plane was on the ground just a minute after the smoky substance was first spotted.

"It was an overwhelming sense of relief to see [the passenger] was conscious," the pilot wrote.

The pilot and his passenger later learned fire wasn't to blame. Instead, a pinhole hydraulic leak had vaporized in the cockpit, appearing like smoke.

"It moved and acted like smoke, [and] combined with fluid heat on the legs of my passenger, it was mistaken for fire," the pilot wrote on the video's YouTube page.

The pilot said they had trained on what to do in case of an emergency during the flyover, and Reagan National Airport officials had been cautioned that they were the alternate airport in case of a problem.

The Curtiss Helldiver was taken off the runway quickly, was repaired and flew out later that afternoon, causing no delays at Reagan.

But the pilot said there was a bigger message behind what happened: "This event, especially on this day, gave a somber reminder to all those who didn't have a runway conveniently aligned," he wrote. "To those who were hundreds of miles away from the nearest carrier, in enemy waters. To those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We remember."

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<![CDATA[Who Is Daron Dylon Wint? ]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 09:00:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Daron+Dylon+Wint.jpg

He was stoic when he was taken into custody Thursday night, showing little emotion despite the horrific crime he's accused of committing.

Officers surrounded 34-year-old Daron Dylon Wint on Rhode Island Avenue NE at about 11 p.m. Thursday and took Wint into custody, along with three men and two women, police said. The men and woman taken into custody along with Wint have not been formally charged or arrested. 

Police have not said why Wint would want to kill 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos; his 47-year-old wife, Amy; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa. But they were able to tie him to the scene through DNA found on the crust of Domino's pizza delivered to the Savopoulos home Wednesday night, the same night police believe the family was taken captive. 

From 2003 to 2005, Wint worked as a welder at American Iron Works, where victim Savvas Savopoulos served as CEO, sources said. One of Wint's relatives was also fired from the company.

An American Iron Works welder -- who said he lost a great friend in Savopoulos -- told News4 that Wint couldn't get along with any of his coworkers when he worked there.

Attorney Robin Ficker, who has represented Wint in the past, told News4 he doesn't believe Wint did it.

"He is a gentle guy. He was a student at Prince George's Community College. He wouldn't hurt a fly," Ficker said. "He's the kind of guy that you wouldn't mind your grandmother going to lunch with."

Wint was born and raised in Guyana and moved to the United States in 2000, when he was almost 20 years old, according to court records filed in Maryland. He joined the Marine Corps that same year and was discharged for medical reasons, the records show. 

Wint also has a legthy criminal history. In 2009, he was convicted of assaulting a girlfriend in Maryland. He pleaded guilty the next year to malicious destruction of property after he allegedly threatened to kill a woman and her infant daughter, breaking into her apartment, stealing a television and vandalizing her car.

"The defendant advised he was good with a knife and could kill them easily and was not afraid of the police," a detective wrote.

Also in 2010, Wint was arrested while carrying a 2-foot-long machete and a BB pistol outside the American Iron Works headquarters, but weapons charges were dropped after he pleaded guilty to possessing an open container of alcohol.

Police have said Wint also goes by the name "Steffon." Court records also detail different spellings of his name.

At least one police record lists a home address that is less than a half-mile from where the Savopoulos family Porsche was found burning.

Wint also had four previous arrests from Oswego, New York, including assault, harassment and violating an order of protection, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC 4 New York.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Photo Credit: Metropolitan Police Department
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<![CDATA[5-Year-Old Boy Found Safe After Abduction: Police]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 07:18:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Dajuan-Goode-Damian-Goode.jpg

A 5-year-old boy was found safe Friday afternoon after he was abducted from an Alexandria Metro station by his father, Metro Transit Police say.

Police say Dajuan Goode abducted his son, Damian Goode, from the King Street Metro station at about 8:15 a.m. Friday. Investigators say Dajuan Goode threatened to pistol whip the boy's mother while on the platform of the Metro station.

The woman told police that the suspect owns a gun. 

Dajuan Goode was taken into police custody around 12:15 p.m. Friday.

He is required to make arrangements to see his children through a third party, according to a protective order the woman filed against him.