<![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 Fri, 04 Sep 2015 17:21:46 -0400 Fri, 04 Sep 2015 17:21:46 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Man Attempts to Enter Lions' Den at National Zoo]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 17:19:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Lions+Den+Suspect.jpg

A man tried to get into the lions' den at the National Zoo Wednesday afternoon.

The man climbed over the first line of protection between the public and the lions' den, but authorities got to him before he could access the area where the lions could have attacked him.

He was placed in custody then taken involuntarily to a psychiatric facility for evaluation.

Later he said he hears voices in his head telling him to hurt himself, according to the police report.

He has not been charged with a crime.

The den meets or exceeds safety standards set out by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a zoo spokesperson said, and there are no plans to update security or the enclosure.

]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Supervisor Admits Bootlegging DVDs at Labor Dept. HQ]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 15:07:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ricardo+taylor.jpg

A veteran U.S. Labor Department supervisor admitted running a movie bootlegging operation inside the agency’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. He sold more than 1,200 pirated films, worth an estimated $19,000, using the agency’s internal email system, including to his colleagues in the office.

Ricardo Taylor, 57, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating copyright law. A judge sentenced Taylor to serve 24 months of probation for the crime.

In an interview with the News4 I-Team, Taylor said Labor Department colleagues were his customers. The agency and its Inspector General’s Office declined multiple requests for comment.

Court records obtained by the I-Team said Taylor, who earned more than $60,000 per year at the Labor Department, illegally sold bootlegged DVDs between 2008 and 2013, some of them for as little as $4 a copy. Taylor was mailroom supervisor for the Labor Department’s Office of Workers Compensation, inside the agency’s headquarters at 200 Constitution Ave. NW near the U.S. Capitol. Court records said Taylor maintained a log of his sales, including customers’ names.

“Taylor used a five-bay DVD burner to duplicate the illegal copies he purchased,” Court filings said.

During Taylor’s sentencing, a federal prosecutor said Taylor engaged in a “serious crime ... to enrich himself.”

Taylor had worked for the agency since 1974. He retired shortly after his crime was discovered, according to court deliberations observed by the I-Team.

“I want to put this behind me,” Taylor told the I-Team. “That part of my life is over. I made a big mistake. I’m sorry to everybody involved, especially the Department of Labor.”

David Williams, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Taxpayers Protection Alliance, said the Department of Labor should release more details about who was involved in the bootlegging operation. “Fellow employees who bought the DVDs are also complicit in this crime and should have reported the bootlegger immediately,” Williams said. “It is clear that better safeguards must be put in place to ensure federal resources are not used to break the law. We hope this is a wake-up call to all employees and IGs that criminal activity of any kind will not be tolerated.”

Taylor’s crime was “brazen and greedy,” a federal judge said. Taylor’s lack of a criminal history was a factor in her decision to spare him jail time, she said.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[2 Indicted After Bust Yields 265 Pounds of Drugs]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 13:45:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Bizarro+Seizure+090215.JPG

Two men have been indicted in the District's largest-ever synthetic drug bust, in which police seized more than 250 pounds of a substance marketed as Bizarro from a storage space in Northwest D.C.

Siraj Issa, 33, and Yenework Tefera Abera, 41, were indicted late Thursday with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, a federal offense.

The more than 19,247 packets of berry-flavored synthetic marijuana were worth an estimated $2.3 million, prosecutors say.

On Aug. 27, Maryland State Police and the Metropolitan Area Drug Task Force intercepted the drugs after they were shipped from the West Coast. A police dog detected the drugs at a shipping company in Howard County, Maryland, prosecutors say.

Their final destination was intended to be Northwest D.C., according to charging documents.

Inside the shipment was the thousands of packets of Bizarro, which contained the Schedule I controlled substance known as XLR-11, according to the documents. The packets were in sizes of 3.5 and 10 grams, authorities said.

Police made a controlled delivery of the shipment of more than 250 pounds to a storage facility in Northwest D.C. Tuesday. Issa signed the delivery receipt, and he and Abera loaded the shipment's 14 boxes onto handcarts and placed them in a storage unit, the charging documents say.

Abera told police he went to the storage facility several times in recent months to get black trash bags from Issa to distribute at various street corners in the city, according to the documents. He received up to $200 for a single delivery, he said.

He told police he thought the bags carried hair products or other dollar-store items.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a community meeting Wednesday night that detectives raced to keep the berry-flavored drugs off the street. 

"I guarantee you that that shipment that we got today, that was destined for the gas stations and the little variety stores all through this community and all across the city," she said. 

D.C. police will continue to pursue sellers of synthetic drugs, Lanier said. 

"We are committed to going after these synthetics, where ever they're coming from, and getting at that source," she said. 

The District has seen a sharp increase in use of synthetic drugs in recent months. That spike is partially responsible for violence in the city this summer, officials have said. 

Previously, D.C.'s largest seizure of synthetic drugs was about 2,000 packets in 2014.

Issa, of northwest D.C., and Abera, of Alexandria, Virginia, face a maximum 20 years in prison and fines.

]]>
<![CDATA[Marine Killed in Helicopter Crash Was From Va. ]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:06:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/1885984.jpg

The Marine killed during a helicopter ropes training exercise was a staff sergeant from Warrenton, Virginia. 

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Lewis, 31, was with an anti-terrorism fleet security team based in the Norfolk, Virginia area. 

Col. Jeffrey Kenney said that Marines from Virginia and North Carolina were performing the training on Wednesday at Camp Lejeune when the accident occurred.

Lewis was inside the helicopter when he was killed.

Kenney says the training allows them to use rappelling and fast ropes techniques to get into difficult terrain where aircraft may not be able to land.

The Marines say two injured service members remain hospitalized Friday, while nine have been treated and released.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Fatally Shot in Sterling; Nearby Schools on Lock Out]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:36:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/217*120/2015-09-04_1030.png

A 17-year-old boy who was shot in Sterling, Virginia, Friday morning has died, and the gunmen remain on the loose. 

The victim, a student at Park View High School, was headed to the bus when gunfire broke out, News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reported. The victim was struck several times.

Investigators believe the teen knew his attackers. 

Park View High School is on lockdown, which means students have been confined to their first-period classrooms throughout the day Friday. Parents have not been permitted to pick up their children early. Park View is expected to let out at its regular time of 3:45 p.m.

Five schools nearby -- Forest Grove Elementary School, Guilford Elementary School, Sterling Middle School and Sully Elementary School -- are on "lock out" mode, which means that no one can enter the schools, but normal school activities are continuing.

According to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, the victim was shot at E. Cornell Drive and N. Duke Drive in Sterling shortly before 8:30 a.m. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Witnesses told authorities that two to three possible suspects ran from the area following the shooting. Police say they are looking into the possibility that the shooting was gang-related. 

Loudoun Sheriff's Office personnel, detectives and the Virginia State Police are on scene, authorities said.

Anyone who has information about the shooting is asked call the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office at 703-777-0445.

Stay with News4 on-air and online for more on this developing story. 


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Protecting a Pope Who Takes Selfies With the Crowds]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:22:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_62440492205.jpg

Protecting Pope Francis when he travels to the United States this month will be a particularly arduous task for the Secret Service and other security officers given this pontiff’s spontaneity and propensity to plunge into crowds.

"He's a guy that has challenged the bad guys, ISIS, people like that,” said Steven Bucci, a national security expert at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “There are people who just don’t like Catholics. There’s a whole bunch of potential threats that the pope faces.”

But vigilance has to be balanced against allowing access because Francis’ purpose in visiting is to interact with the people who throng to see him, Bucci and others say.

He is the spiritual leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and has been known to pose for selfies with fans on occasion. 

"For the pope not to go into crowds, not to see people, is a no-go," said Andreas Widmer, who as a member of the Swiss Guard served Pope John Paul II and is now at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. "You could make the pope 100 percent secure by putting him in a bunker somewhere but then he's not the pope any more."

Francis is expected to draw millions of people over five days beginning Sept. 23 when he visits Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. More than one million alone are expected to attend one of the main events, an outdoor Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia to conclude the World Meeting of Families around which his visit was planned. At his Philadelphia events, selfie sticks will be banned for security reasons. 

He will also address Congress and the U.N. General Assembly, deliver a speech on immigration at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, take part in two processions along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, attend a multireligious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, and travel through Central Park, a late addition to his itinerary to allow even more people to see him.

AN "UNPRECEDENTED" CHALLENGE

His visit to New York City will come as the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly gets underway, a meeting attended by more than 160 world leaders. New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton told NBC New York that the challenge of guarding the pope would be unprecedented. New Yorkers could see gridlock, closed subway stations, additional vehicle checkpoints and other security measures, police warned.

"We won't shut down New York during this — business continues, people come and go," John Miller, the New York Police Department's head of counterterrorism, told The Associated Press. "It's going to be unprecedented, but we're going to make it work."

The pope’s visit has been designated a national security special event, meaning the U.S. Secret Service is in charge of planning for his security while working with the FBI and local agencies. The Secret Service has met multiple times with Vatican security officials in Washington and in Rome to learn more about Francis' interactions with crowds, the AP reported. Philadelphia police also traveled to the Vatican.

Francis travels with his own detail of security agents and with the bulletproof Popemobile, which will be a Jeep Wrangler already in Secret Service hands.

He has been famously reluctant to embrace some security measures, comparing the Popemobile to a sardine can and telling the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia that if something did happen to him at his age he did not have much to lose.

A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO SECURITY

Widmer said the Swiss Guards take a fundamentally different approach to security than other security agencies. They are trained in close hand-to-hand combat, to use their bodies as shields as they protect a religious figure with whom the crowds want to touch or speak. Even if someone threatens the pope, a gun is not always the best response, he said.

"We’re protecting the pope so the first reaction is not violence," he said. 

He added that Swiss Guards "have 500 years of experience, and we do things very discretely."

New York and Washington, D.C. frequently are called on to protect presidents, prime ministers and other dignitaries so more attention has focused on how well Philadelphia is doing as it gets ready for the pontiff. Adding to the city’s difficulty: Francis’ appearances in Philadelphia will be larger and more exposed.

Fences and metal detectors will go up around security zones at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Independence Hall, schools and courts will be shut and traffic will be restricted downtown. Twenty-five miles of highway and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge will be closed to vehicles. The National Guard and 1,000 state troopers will be brought in to help, the AP reported.

Access to the pope will be restricted by tickets, which have been allocated to Catholic parishes throughout the Philadelphia region. Even at the large outdoor events, spots closest to the pontiff will require tickets. But the Archdiocese of Philadelphia emphasized that the vast majority of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway would be open to everyone.

NO SPECIFIC THREATS

Philadelphia’s preparations were plagued by weeks of rumors and then criticism that the city was going overboard compared to New York and Washington, D.C. Scott White, a former Canadian security officer and now a professor of homeland security at Drexel University in Philadelphia, was among the security experts who told The Philadelphia Inquirer last month that traffic restrictions and other measures seemed disproportionate.

But as more information was released, White said that only those in charge of the security arrangements and familiar with threats received would know whether preparations were appropriate.

“There’s a vast array of potential threat to anybody who is a high profile individual so I wouldn’t really want to speculate," White said when asked who might pose the greatest threat to Francis.

The AP reported authorities have reported no specific threats related to Francis' visit, but also noted that when Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States in 2008, security officials warned that terrorists could focus on targets such as hotels, restaurants or trains.

Last month, when Francis was asked whether he approved of unilateral U.S. airstrikes on militants from the Islamic State or ISIS, he said it would be permissible to stop an unjust aggressor. Earlier in the year, ISIS made threats against Italy and the Vatican, with a photo showing its flag flying above the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square and the headline, “The failed crusade.”



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Hogan Notes Larger-Than-Expected Budget Balance]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 07:39:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP365239982635_MdGov.jpg

Gov. Larry Hogan says Maryland ended the fiscal year with a higher-than-expected budget balance.

Hogan says the state's fund balance is about $295 million.

The Republican says about $84 million of that is from reversions from state agencies. That's $54 million more than previously expected.

Hogan says it's due to more careful management of state spending.

Maryland also benefited from about $214 million in higher-than-anticipated state revenues.

The governor noted the money needs to be used prudently. He says the state still has a $1.7 billion structural deficit over the next four years.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Late-Clearing Track Work Delays 3 Metro Lines]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 06:25:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/metro_train_generic_lovelorn.jpg

Commuters on three Metro lines may experience delays Friday morning. 

Late-clearing track work near Foggy Bottom canceled service between stations on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines during the start of the morning commute. At one point, trains on all three lines were single-tracking between several stations.

Normal service has resumed, but Metro says residual delays continue in both directions. 



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Dies in D.C.; Ambulance 7 Miles Away]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:13:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Southeast+DC+Child+Death.jpg

The death of an infant rushed from Southeast Washington on Friday has District officials investigating the cause of the baby's death and why the nearest available ambulance was seven miles away.

A 5-month-old boy named Trequan died, a woman who identified herself as his aunt told News4. She said the infant had asthma and had lived inside a sweltering apartment. The last time she saw him, he wasn't breathing, she said.

Dispatchers received a call about 3 p.m. for a child having a critical medical emergency on the 4600 block of Hillside Road SE. The Office of Unified Communications, which handles 911 calls, dispatched paramedics from Engine 30, Truck 17 -- about a mile and a half away -- within two minutes, D.C. Fire and EMS said in a statement.

Paramedics arrived within four minutes and worked to save the baby's life, the D.C. fire department said. At the time, the first ambulance dispatched was about seven miles away. OUC requested an ambulance from neighboring Prince George's County, but none were available, the fire department said.

The paramedics rushed the baby to Children's National Medical Center and were met within 15 minutes of the original 911 call by a D.C. ambulance. The infant was in critical condition when he arrived at the hospital, the fire department said.

The baby boy did not survive.

D.C. police and Child and Family Services Agency officials examined the home Thursday evening. Police described the case as an undetermined death investigation.

The child's devastated aunt said the baby's father was home when the infant stopped breathing.

"His father loved his kids," she said. "He was always with them, every day."

The D.C. fire department said it is investigating its response to the emergency. "FEMS is reviewing the call to ensure the highest quality service was delivered," a statement said.



Photo Credit: Jackie Bensen, NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Police Search Va. Home in Murder Investigation]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 07:37:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011778300_1200x675_519196227837.jpg Arlington County Police investigating the death of Bonnie Black in her home in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood in April searched the home of her estranged husband, David Black, on Thursday. Police called him a person of interest but said he has not been charged. David Black said through a lawyer that he's innocent. News4's Pat Collins reports.]]> <![CDATA[DC Water Cuts Fee That Would Have Tripled Some Bills]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 22:00:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tap+water+faucet.jpg

DC Water’s Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday to reduce a new fee that would have doubled or tripled some customers’ bills.

The new fee will pay for the replacement of water lines across the city to reduce the number of water main breaks and ensure the reliability of the water system.

For more than 90 percent of customers, the fee will be only $6.30. But for those who own a new home with the required fire suppression systems, the fee would have been $41 to $83 per month.

Fire suppression systems use a larger water line, and the new fee was based on the size of the line, not how much water is used.

“Many of those customers actually use less water than those with smaller meters, but they were going to get a larger charge based on the way we had structured it,” DC Water General Manager George Hawkins said.

The board of directors reconsidered the new fee structure after getting complaints from customers.

“People should not be penalized in any way for having fire suppression systems,” Board Chair Matthew Brown said.

The reduced fee approved Thursday will be capped at $9.67 per month.



Photo Credit: Tim Graham]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested After Online Threat to Kill White People: PD]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 21:56:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Carlos+Hollins.jpg

A Charles County man was arrested Wednesday after he threatened in a social media post to kill white residents of La Plata, Maryland, police say.

Carlos Anthony Hollins, 20, posted a violent message on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, according to the La Plata Police Department.

“IM NOT GONNA STAND FOR THIS NO. MORE. TONIGHT WE PURGE! KILL ALL THE WHITE PPL IN THE TOWN OF LA PLATA," police say a message posted to his account at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday said.

The tweet shared by police concluded with #BlackLivesMatter.

"Purge" is a reference to the "The Purge" film series. Both the original 2013 movie and its 2014 sequel depict a night when all crime is legal for 12 hours and no police, fire and medical services are available.

La Plata Police Chief Carl Schinner said panicked La Plata residents contacted police immediately.

"We took it very serious. In today's society where we're seeing mass shootings at schools and at malls and in churches, we have to take it serious," he said.

Schinner sent more officers on patrol Wednesday evening, but traffic was noticeably light on streets and at local shopping centers, Schinner said.

"People were staying home -- they were scared," he said.

Police say Hollins published video online of himself standing behind the Charles County Sheriff's Office in Waldorf.

"It's good. Like, the tweet wasn't even that serious," he said as he laughed.

Hollins, of Waldorf, was arrested about 8:50 p.m. and charged with making a threat of mass destruction, which is a misdemeanor in Maryland. He is being held at Charles County Detention Center on $250,000 bond.

No one answered the door Thursday at the home where Hollins lives.

Neighbor Christopher King said he didn't take Hollins' words seriously.

"I think it was something he said without thinking it all the way through, playing around, and it went too far and got interpreted the wrong way," King said.

Hollins is due in court Friday and could face as much as one year in prison if convicted.
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Bus Dropped Boy, 7, Miles From Home: Mom]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 08:55:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/090315+bus+mother.jpg

A mother in Prince George's County says a bus driver dropped her 7-year-old son at the wrong stop miles from home and then refused to take him back to Barack Obama Elementary School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. 

Takisha McAlpine's 7-year-old son accidentally boarded the wrong bus on Tuesday and then was dropped nearly 4 miles from home even after the child told the driver he had made a mistake. 

"He just stood there crying," McAlpine said.

Luckily, a couple spotted the boy and texted McAlpine.

"All and all, though your son was crying and scared, he is very intelligent. I am so proud of him. He knew his parent's information as well as his way home," one text message said.

The child likely would have walked home on Old Marlboro Pike, a two-lane road without sidewalks. 

McAlpine's other son, who is just 5 years old, boarded the right bus but was dropped off alone -- in violation of Prince George's County Public Schools' policy for a child so young.

Another good Samaritan, a neighbor, saw the younger boy and walked him home.

Both children made it home safely and the school district is investigating the situation.

A school transportation official told McAlpine that officials need to review video footage to see if the 7-year-old's mouth was actually moving, telling the bus driver he doesn't live there. 

The bus driver could face disciplinary action if found at fault.

]]>
<![CDATA[Playground Pops Up at Achievement Prep Academy in Southeast D.C.]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:32:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011777544_1200x675_519083587566.jpg A community gathered to build a new playground at Achievement Prep Academy in southeast D.C. Thursday. Tom Sherwood reports.]]> <![CDATA["I Wish I Had the Courage to..."]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:02:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011777578_1200x675_519092803666.jpg A chalkboard along the walkway at the Wiehle-Reston Metro station allows riders to complete a courage thought.]]> <![CDATA[Person Killed in Crash on Beltway]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 00:16:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/090315+beltway+crash.jpg

A car crash on the Capital Beltway during rush hour Thursday evening killed one person and snarled traffic for hours. 

The person died after a multi-car crash on I-495 near St. Barnabas Road, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Fire Department said about 6:05 p.m. Thursday. The road connects with Exit 4A in Oxon Hill, Maryland. At least one person was ejected from a car during the crash, officials said. 

All but one lane of the Outer Loop of the Beltway was closed at St. Barnabas Road until late Thursday. Previously, all lanes in that direction were closed. Initially, traffic was backed up all the way across Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge and into Virginia. 

Drivers, including people traveling to the Redskins' game Thursday night, were advised to avoid the area because of congestion.

Officials did not immediately provide information on the cause of the crash.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

]]>
<![CDATA[Before Derailment, Metro Worker Accidentally Deleted Safety Report]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 18:07:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011772006_1200x675_518748739884.jpg Before a Metro train derailed in August with no passengers on board, a Metro employee may have deleted a safety report without reading it, officials said. News4's Adam Tuss reports.]]> <![CDATA[Metro Safety Chief Resigns in Wake of Derailment Investigation]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:21:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_98524838metro_train.jpg

Metro Chief Safety Officer James Dougherty resigned Thursday, the same day as a Metro board meeting addressing how the derailment Aug. 6 near the Smithsonian Metro station could have been prevented.

Jack Requa, Metro's interim CEO, issued a statement Thursday afternoon praising Dougherty for building a "strong safety foundation." He worked with Metro for more than five years.

Metro officials said at an unusually tense meeting Thursday morning that before the derailment of a train without passengers near the Smithsonian Metro station, an employee accidentally deleted a report containing critical safety information before reading it. 

Board member Leif Dormsjo called the Metro safety department an ineffective "paper tiger." 

"What's the point of having a safety department if you're not deeply embedded in the organization's operations?" he said. 

Metro said Thursday that it will review its safety policies, particularly for workers who visually inspect tracks. 

Deputy Chief Safety Officer Louis Brown will be acting chief safety officer while a permanent replacement for Dougherty is sought.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Steal Puppies From Va. Home, Try to Sell Them Online: PD]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:24:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/090315+accused+puppy+thieves.jpg

Two men and a woman are accused of stealing four puppies from a home in Loudoun County and trying to sell them online.

The Great Pyrenees puppies were taken from a home on the 12500 block of Elvan Road in Lovettsville, Virginia in May, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

Cheyenne Hackett, 19; Roger Lucas Jr., 18; and Javon Mallory, 22, were each charged with grand larceny after police received a tip from someone who spotted the dogs for sale online.

Hackett, of Lovettsville, was arrested in June and also charged with conspiracy to trespass and larceny with intent to sell. Mallory, of Sterling, was arrested in August.

Lucas, of West Virginia, was apprehended in New Jersey last weekend and also charged with conspiracy to trespass and larceny with intent to sell. He is being held in New Jersey on unrelated charges and will be extradited to Loudoun County, police said. 

The puppies were found safe in West Virginia.

The puppies were just 6 weeks old when they were taken, The Loudoun Times-Mirror reported when the dogs disappeared. Police were tipped off to the dogs' location when someone selling dogs at an event refused to provide photos of a puppy's parents and a woman grew suspicious and contacted authorities, the paper reported.

]]>
<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Student Discounts]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:23:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011775499_1200x675_518957123920.jpg Back to school means a busy shopping season. News4 Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez has more on how students might get discounts at retail stores using their student ID.]]> <![CDATA[Parents Concerned About Children Walking to School Ask for Bus Stop to Return]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:37:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Trailside+Middle+School+W+and+OD+Trail.jpg

The elimination of a bus stop at one Loudoun County, Virginia, school means a long walk through the woods for some students, and that’s causing concern for their parents.

Children from one Ashburn neighborhood walk a mile along the W&OD Trail to get to Trailside Middle School.

The concern is the path’s surroundings, particularly in the winter – wooded and dark, not exactly ideal for a middle school student walking alone.

“It’s kind of weird and kind of creepy,” Trailside student Samantha Shomo said.

Samantha’s mom is among a handful of parents on their street asking for the bus stop back, but their recent appeal was denied by the school board.

“I do not walk on the trail by myself,” Donna Shomo said. ”There’ve been too many incidents that have happened, and it’s just a very secluded, wooded area, and I felt like if something were to happen and someone would scream, nobody would hear.”

“We’ve offered them the chance to go outside their walk zone to catch a bus as an alternative,” Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde Byard said.

That would mean crossing busy Hay Road to reach the bus stop, but there are no sidewalks on Samantha’s side of the street, nor any crosswalks.

Despite having a job to get to, Donna Shomo said she will never let her daughter walk to school alone.

“I will be out here walking her every day,” she said.

The school system said the parents can petition the transportation department for a change.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Double Busing Gets Some Students to School Too Early]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:35:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Loudoun+County+School+Bus+160.jpg

Some students in Loudoun County, Virginia, are being dropped off at school earlier just to sit around and wait in silence for class to start.

Bus 160 is picking up some Sanders Corner Elementary School students 20 minutes earlier this year so it can drop them off with time left to pick up another load of kids. It’s called double busing.

The first group is dropped off about 7:10 a.m. and the second just before first bell at 7:50 a.m.

Nathan Krantz, a father of early pickup students, said getting his children ready 20 minutes earlier requires a lot more effort, and it doesn’t quite make sense to him.

“They’re required to sit there, crisscross-applesauce, and wait unit class starts,” he said.

“They’re not allowed to really talk with their friends or anything like that,” mother Rachel Bruley said. “They have to literally stay in their grade level.”

Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman Wayde Byard said they’ve listened to parents’ concerns.

“We’ve adjusted, as of today, the pickup times by 10 minutes,” he said. ”That’ll push it back a little bit. The principal’s opening up the classrooms a little earlier so students don’t have to wait in the multi-purpose room. They can go to their classrooms and start their day.”

Which is additional responsibility for teachers.

“A little, but teachers sacrifice,” Byard said. “That’s what they do for a living. They’re there early, they’re there late, they want their students to be comfortable so they have their classrooms open.”



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Charged in Kidnapping Attempt on Metro]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 14:39:11 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2015-09-02_1141_001.jpg

A woman has been charged with attempting to abduct a 3-year-old girl who was in a stroller aboard an Orange Line Metro train.

Shortly after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, a mother and her child were aboard a train at the Foggy Bottom station when, according to a charging document, 48-year-old Monique McKnight began walking toward them, yelling.

McKnight then reached down into the stroller and grabbed the child by the arms and tried to pull her out of the stroller, according to the document. Another rider intervened, and with other passengers, held her down until police arrived, authorities said.

The little girl was left with bruises and scratches on her arms.

McKnight has been charged with attempted kidnapping and first-degree cruelty to children, police announced Thursday.

McKnight had not cooperated with police Wednesday, they said. She gave her name as Debbie, but they later identified her as McKnight.

The mother told police that she and her daughter did not know McKnight.

]]>
<![CDATA[Manhunt After Pharmacy Robbed at Gunpoint for Drugs]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:31:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_1318124124.jpg

A masked man robbed a Montgomery County pharmacy at gunpoint Thursday morning, getting away with prescription drugs from the pharmacy and causing several nearby schools to shelter in place during an ensuing manhunt.

The man robbed Clarksburg Pharmacy at 23213 Stringtown Road in Clarksburg at about 9:50 a.m., Montgomery County Police said.

He pointed the gun at two employees and had them get on the ground. Then he searched shelves and drawers, taking a variety of medicine, including pain killers.

"It's a very nice area so it's very weird to have somebody just come in and think that they can do something like that," one of the employees said.

Police searched the area with a helicopter and K-9s.
Multiple schools in the area -- Wilson Wims Elementary School, Little Bennett Elementary School, Clarksburg Elementary School, Rocky Hill Middle School and Clarksburg High School -- sheltered in place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The schools have resumed normal operations.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Metro to Hold Public Meeting on Derailment]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 17:55:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011767636_1200x675_518541891943.jpg On Thursday, Metro officials will publicly discuss the derailment at the Smithsonian station for the first time. News4's Adam Tuss has more on the big questions they'll be asking. ]]> <![CDATA[Construction Truck From Fatal Hit-and-Run Located]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:58:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/2015-09-03_1128.png

Police tracked a construction truck believed to have struck and killed a woman in Alexandria, Virginia, to Prince George's County, Maryland.

A large truck struck 60-year-old Deborah Ann Bogart about 9:20 a.m. in the intersection of Braddock Road and Commonwealth Avenue, police said. Bogart of Alexandria was struck with such great force she died instantly.

It's unknown if she was walking or running in the area or if she was in a crosswalk.

The driver of the truck has been identified but has not yet been charged.

The construction truck was headed to or from a nearby construction site, Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reported.

Investigators towed the vehicle back to Alexandria.

Anyone who was in the area between 9 - 9:30 a.m. is asked to call Investigator Barrett at 703-746-6873.

]]>
<![CDATA[$2.3M in Synthetic Drugs Seized in D.C.]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 10:36:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Bizarro+Seizure+090215.JPG

D.C. police seized more than 250 pounds of a berry-flavored synthetic marijuana marketed as Bizarro from a storage space in northwest Washington this week in the largest-ever bust for the drug.

Siraj Issa, 33, and Yenework Tefera Abera, 41, are charged with possession with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids worth an estimated $2.3 million.

Maryland State Police and the Metropolitan Area Drug Task Force intercepted a large shipment of synthetic drugs from the West Coast at a shipping company in Howard County, Maryland last Thursday when a police dog detected the drugs. Their final destination was northwest D.C., according to charging documents.

The shipment contained more than 19,247 packets of Bizarro, which contained the Schedule I controlled substance known as XLR-11, according to charging documents. The packets were in sizes of 3.5 and 10 grams, police said.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a community meeting Wednesday night that detectives raced to keep the berry-flavored drugs off the street. 

"I guarantee you that that shipment that we got today, that was destined for the gas stations and the little variety stores all through this community and all across the city," she said. 

"This is a massive and unprecedented seizure," Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said. "This operation is symbolic of the success law enforcement can have when we work collaboratively with our federal and regional partners and focus our efforts on the sources of these types of drugs, which are wreaking havoc in our city."

Police made a controlled delivery of the shipment of more than 250 pounds to a storage facility in northwest D.C. Tuesday. Issa signed the delivery receipt, and he and Abera loaded the shipment's 14 boxes on to handcarts and place them in a storage unit, according to charging documents.

Abera told police he went to the storage facility several times in recent months to get black trash bags from Issa to distribute at various street corners in the city, according to charging documents. He received up to $200 for a single delivery, he said. He told police he thought the bags carried hair products or other dollar-store items.

Previously, D.C.'s largest seizure of synthetic drugs was about 2,000 packets in 2014.

D.C. has seen a sharp increase in use of synthetic drugs in recent months. That spike is partially responsible for violence in the city this summer, officials have said. 

"The synthetic drug problem we have in the District, which seems to be increasing significantly, is contributing to that violence," Newsham said.

The Metropolitan Police Department will continue to pursue sellers of synthetic drugs, Lanier said. 

"We are committed to going after these synthetics, where ever they're coming from, and getting at that source," she said. "Today's bust sends a tremendous message that we are not going to give up."

Issa, of northwest D.C., and Abera, of Alexandria, Virginia, face a maximum 20 years in prison and fines.

]]>
<![CDATA[Air Conditioning Outage Leaves Md. Seniors Sweltering]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:23:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/090215+senior.jpg With temperatures in the 80s, residents in the Charter House senior apartments complex in Silver Spring, Maryland were without air conditioning Wednesday. News4's Shomari Stone tells what management is doing and how residents are trying to cope.]]> <![CDATA[Electric Car-Charging Stations Installed on National Mall]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:13:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/national+mall+09022015.jpg

People who drive electric cars can now find charging stations along the National Mall.

Two charging stations have been installed on the National Mall, located at Madison Drive across from the National Museum of American History and on Jefferson Drive across from the National Air and Space Museum, the National Park Service announced Wednesday.

There are other public charging stations in downtown Washington, but these two stations are the first to be installed on the National Mall. They cost $2 per hour. 

The National Park Service is furthering its energy conservation efforts, Acting Superintendent Karen Cucurullo said.

"As the National Park Service prepares for its second century of service to the American people, we are committed to providing clean and green energy to promote a healthy environment," she said.

The group received a grant from the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative for the project. The Clean Cities Program funds and supports alternative fuels and vehicle replacement projects at national parks across the country.

]]>
<![CDATA[Fairfax Co. Focused on Back to School Traffic, Safety]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 21:05:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011763612_1200x675_518334531714.jpg Fairfax County is focused on keeping people safe and keeping traffic moving when school buses hit the streets next week. News4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss explains.]]> <![CDATA[400 Backpacks 4 Kids Delivered in District Heights]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 20:03:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011763528_1200x675_518307907667.jpg NBC4 delivered 400 backpacks filled with school supplies to students at Concord Elementary School.]]> <![CDATA[Deck Contractor Disappears]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:52:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Unfinished+Decks.jpg This Labor Day weekend many people will enjoy the holiday sitting outside on a deck or patio, but some residents in Loudoun County paid for a deck that was never finished. Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez has their story and how to prevent it from happening to you.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Child Survives Fall From Fifth-Floor Window in Fairfax Co.]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:41:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011763339_1200x675_518274627621.jpg

A 3-year-old girl tumbled out of a fifth-floor window in Northern Virginia Tuesday night -- and survived.

The child fell more than 50 feet from a home in the Skyline Towers Apartments complex in Bailey's Crossroads, near Route 7, first-responders in Fairfax County said. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Service responded about 8:30 p.m.

A neighbor said she heard screams when the little girl fell through a window screen. Miraculously, the girl's injuries were not life-threatening, Capt. Mike Fontana said.

"Apparently some shrubs and some branches happened to break the fall," he said.

Fontana advised people with young children to install window guards and keep furniture and other items that children could climb on top of away from windows.

The little girl was recovering Wednesday at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

]]>
<![CDATA[A Cut Above: Kids Lookin' Sharp for Back to School]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:01:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000011763303_1200x675_518270019527.jpg Public safety groups come together in Fairfax County to provide free back-to-school haircuts for kids in the Gum Springs area.]]> <![CDATA[Dr. Jackie: Ragweed Season]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:51:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/160*120/allergies.jpg Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is here to help you through the ragweed season.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Wednesday's Child: A Special Cooking Lesson]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:37:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2015-03-19_1136_001.jpg Serena, an ambitious young cook who's looking for a forever family, gets a special lesson from a local chef.]]> <![CDATA[Talk Around Town: Straight Outta Compton, Freddie Gray Protests]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:33:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_129703052779.jpg Straight Outta Compton is the No. 1 movie at the box office. WHUR's Troy Johnson discusses why and touches on the recent Baltimore protests.

Photo Credit: John Salangsang/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Suspected of Shooting on Board Bus in Southeast D.C.]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:56:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/090215+Bijon+Lamont+Brown.jpg

Police now have a suspect in a shooting on board a MetroBus that injured a man in Southeast D.C.

Bijon Lamont Brown is suspected of firing about 10:30 p.m. Friday, August 21 on board a bus on the 2400 block of Elvans Road SE, Metro Transit Police said Wednesday afternoon.

He should be considered armed and dangerous, MTPD said, warning against approaching Brown.

The gunfire hit a man riding the bus, who Metro previously said was believed to be an unintended target. The victim ran from the bus and was rushed to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Metro created a temporary detour on the W8 bus line after the shooting, cutting service to Elvans Road after 7 p.m. for seven days. The detour was cancelled a day later, when Mayor Muriel Bowser indicated she had not known service on the Garfield-Anacostia Loop Line line would be cut.

"It sends a message that we have to have some conversations with Metro,"Bowser said. "No part of our city can be abandoned by the public transit agency."

Anyone with information on Brown's whereabouts is asked to call MTPD at 202-962-2121 and reference case #2015-44036. Tips also can be sent via text message to MyMTPD (696873).

]]>