<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:37:18 -0500 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:37:18 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Highlights From the 2016 Campaign Trail]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:11:18 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/kasich-GettyImages-509155622.jpg See photos of candidates running for president for the 2016 election.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Family Massacred]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:40:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Gage+Park+4.png

Three "edge weapons" were used to carry out a gruesome slaying of six family members in their home in the Gage Park neighborhood of Chicago, police said.

Police found the bodies around 1 p.m. last Thursday when they were called to a small brick house in the 5700 block of South California Avenue after one of the men failed to show up for work.

Five of the six — 58-year-old Rosaura Martinez; her 60-year-old husband, Noe Martinez Sr.; their 38-year-old son, Noe Martinez Jr.; and the couple's grandchildren,13-year-old Leonardo Cruz and 10-year-old Alexis Cruz — died from either multiple sharp force or multiple sharp and blunt force wounds, police said.

Three types of knives or other bladed cutting instruments were used to carry out most of the killings, according to police, but those weapons were not recovered from the crime scene.

The young children's mother, 32-year-old Maria Herminia Martinez, died of multiple gunshot wounds, police said. A rifle gun was recovered from the home but is not believed to have been used in her shooting, police said.

Authorities are reviewing hours of surveillance video from CTA buses and nearby city cameras for evidence in the investigation. Police said they are closer to ruling out at least one theory on a motive for the slayings of three generations of family members. It's not clear who killed them.

Investigators continue to interview family members coming from Mexico with the aid of the Mexican Consulate in Chicago, which is working to bring the victims’ bodies to Mexico for burial.

The surviving family of the victims has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to cover funeral and burial expenses. As of Thursday morning it had raised more than $26,000.

A memorial in front of the home on Chicago’s Southwest Side continues to grow with candles, pictures of the victims and prayers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Says Camille Cosby Can Be Deposed]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:34:47 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Camille_Cosby_2008.jpg

The wife of embattled comedian Bill Cosby will be deposed in a civil suit involving her husband later this month, NBC News reports.

In January, Camille Cosby appealed a ruling ordering her to be deposed by lawyers for seven women accusing Bill Cosby of defamation.

A Massachusetts federal district judge has ruled that Camille Cosby can be deposed after all, according to NBC News, but that she "may refuse to answer deposition questions which call for testimony prohibited by the marital disqualification rule and not falling within an exception."

Camille Cosby's deposition is scheduled for Feb. 22 in Springfield, Massachusetts, according to NBC News.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Denies Russian Claim That It Bombed Syrian City]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:37:25 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AleppoSyria-GettyImages-508601178.jpg

The State Department dismissed on Thursday Russia's claims that two American warplanes bombed the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, NBC News reported.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that two U.S. Air Force A-10 attack aircraft on Wednesday bombed nine targets in the city, which has been subjected to increased levels of violence in recent days.

The ministry said in a statement Thursday that the U.S. "did not make this mission public" and speculated that "perhaps there had been two hospitals" among the targets.

However, a senior State Department official told NBC News that the Russian claims were "false" and that there had been no U.S. missions over Aleppo on Wednesday or Thursday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Customer Tries to Shoot Barber: PD]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:06:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/barber+shop+0210+2016.jpg

A woman who said she was unhappy with her haircut returned to a San Diego salon and tried shooting her barber, but the gun jammed and employees tackled the woman, police and the barber told NBC 7.

The incident happened Wednesday morning at the 619 Barber Shop on the 3900 block of 30th Street, where 29-year-old Adrian Blanche Swain went to get a trim.

Barber Manny Montero told NBC 7 she left happy, giving him a $20 tip on top of her $20 cut, but an hour later, Swain returned upset — and with a different haircut.

"She said, 'Look what you did to my hair,'" Montero said. "She came in with a bald spot on the side, and I am like, 'I didn't do that.'" 

Disgruntled, the woman pulled out a gun and tried firing at Montero, police said. The gun was loaded but malfunctioned, clicking three times as Swain allegedly tried to fire off rounds.

"She had it. She was gonna do it," said Montero. "For some reason, God was there."

Chris Tatum, another barber who was watching the confrontation, told NBC 7 if the gun had worked, Swain could have shot three or four people in the shop.

Montero said he was more angry than scared. 

"Grabbed her arm, grabbed the gun," he recalled. "We threw her to the floor and held her until authorities came." 

Police arrested Swain, who was expected to face a charge of attempted murder. Information on an attorney for Swain was not immediately available.

After his brush with death, Montero left work early to see his young sons. Whatever brought Swain back to the shop, she is already forgiven, the mild-mannered barber said.

"Your whole life runs in front of your eyes, so that's what it did. That's what happened," said Montero.

The San Diego Police Department's Mid City Division is investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call San Diego police or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[What to Know: Zika Virus Spreads in Americas]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:11:00 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_670850476149-zika.jpg The spreading of the Zika virus has caused worldwide concern. Health officials think Zika might be connected to the rise in birth defects in the Americas, though it has not yet been proven. WHO has declared the crisis a global emergency.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Nuna Baby Essentials Recalls High Chairs]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:27:12 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/nuna-recall-info-2.jpg

Consumers are being told to stop using the Nuna Baby Essentials ZAAZ high chair after six reports of children falling has prompted the company to recall the item.

The ZAAZ high chair, which sells for $299.95, has an arm bar which can bend or detach, posing a fall hazard to children. The company said it has received 50 reports of the arm bar detaching, including six reports of children falling from the high chair. Four incidents resulted in injuries, including bruising and a cut on the forehead, according to the recall release. 

The high chair is sold at Nordstrom, Giggle, Magic Bean, Albee Baby, as well as others speciality stores nationwide and It's also available online

The ZAAZTM high chairs affected by the recall include the following models: HC-07-004 (pewter), HC-07-005 (carbon), HC-07-006 (plum), HC-07-009 (almond), HC-08-004 (pewter), HC-08-005 (carbon), HC-08-006 (plum) and HC-08-009 (almond). ZAAZ and the model number are printed under the high chair seat on a white sticker.

"After identifying these issues, we created a secure solution for each ZAAZ model and are conducting a voluntary recall on all ZAAZ’s that have been sold in the United States and Canada in cooperation with the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Health Canada," the company said on its website. "We value that you have chosen Nuna for your family whose safety is our highest priority, and we apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced."

Consumers who have purchased the chair should immediately stop using it and contact the company to receive a new arm bar as well as instructions on how to replace it.

Nuna Baby Essentials can be reached toll-free at 855-686-2872 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The company can also be accessed online at www.nuna.eu/usa/ by clicking on “Product Recall” under the “Support” tab on the left sidebar of the homepage for more information.

Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission]]>
<![CDATA[Bitter Cold Could Break Records Valentine's Day]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:04:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cold+weather2.jpg

Lovers, snuggle up. Millions of people from New England to Florida will be in the path of an Arctic blast this weekend, with possible record lows predicted for Valentine's Day.

The Northeast will register single-digit and sub-zero temperatures: In New York, the wind chill could get as low as negative 15 degrees Sunday morning, forecasters said.

According to the Weather Channel, the Northeast will likely see its coldest temperatures of the winter so far, The Weather Channel reported. Subzero cold is also expected in parts of the Midwest, forecasters added.

Meanwhile, in California and Arizona, it could get into the 70s and 80s, the National Weather Service said.

<![CDATA[Valentine's Day And Your Wallet]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:39:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/219*120/Generic-Flowers-2.jpg

Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers as 50 percent of singles report being proud of their relationship status. But whether you're in a relationship or not, Americans have no problem spending big for the holiday for their loved ones and even themselves.

$19.7 billion is projected to be spent in the United States for the holiday this year, with the average person spending nearly $150. Some of that money will go towards furry friends as one in five people will buy their pet a gift in the name of Cupid and 24 percent of singles will gift themselves a treat as well, according to WalletHub.

For the couples across America, 90.8 percent plan to give their significant other a gift which is a good idea considering 53 percent of women say they would break up with their significant other if they didn't receive one for Valentine's Day.

The day of love can also prove life changing for some couples as 14 million marriage proposals are slated to happen this holiday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trump Won Despite Ignoring NH's Famed Retail Politics]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07:31:53 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509216262.jpg

The governors competing for the Republican presidential nomination all tried to outdo each other in time spent in New Hampshire, staking their campaigns on an electorate more moderate and less religious than in Iowa. But when the polls closed on the country's first primary, it was the candidate who barely stopped for a cup of coffee in the Granite State making the victory speech.

Businessman Donald Trump, who skipped much of the retail politics for which New Hampshire is known, the intimate meet-and-greets at diners, in living rooms and at town meetings, came out on top with 35 percent of the vote. He captured the lead when he announced he was running and held it throughout the race.

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished second, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who finished fourth, both left New Hampshire for the next contest in South Carolina, while New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, so often in New Hampshire that he was criticized for ignoring his own state’s problems, was dropping out.

“If you look at [Trump's] circumstances, you could say that spending time in the state doesn’t matter, and when he did come it was for very large rallies where there was no give-and-take between the candidate and the citizens,” said Linda Fowler, a professor of government at Dartmouth College. “On the other hand, John Kasich really did show that retail politics can still make a difference.”

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Kasich began with 2 percent of the voters and ended up with 16 percent in a very crowded field, she said. The governor of a swing state who ran a campaign based on issues instead of insults, he was able to capitalize on his appeal to moderates unhappy with Trump and U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, exit polling showed.

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The outspoken Christie, meanwhile, was overshadowed by the even more brash and controversial Trump, and he struggled to gain his footing with voters. He finished sixth in the Republican pack.

“We came here to say that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters, and that it will always matter in leading our nation,” Christie told supporters Tuesday night. “That message was heard by a lot of folks and it was stood for by a lot of folks here in New Hampshire, just not enough. Not enough tonight.”

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Christie, who focused most of his resources on a strong showing in New Hampshire, returned to New Jersey on Wednesday to announce he was suspending his campaign.

Bush was pushing ahead to South Carolina after a fourth-place finish despite also failing to stir much excitement around his campaign. At the start of the year, his super PAC, Right to Rise, still had about half of the $118 million it raised last year.

The three governors had trouble differentiating themselves, and some Republicans worried that Christie had the least chance of winning the nomination, Fowler said. In the past, retail politics have been critical for candidates — Sen. John McCain in 2000 and 2008, for example — but at the same time, the field was much less crowded.

“Meeting voters doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to support you, when they had so many options to choose from,” she said.

New Hampshire’s voters famously demand a chance to see the candidates up close. The state makes a case for its first-in-the-country status by pointing to the scrutiny candidates get as they criss-cross the state for the small gatherings.

On the Democratic side, the primary winner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, swept the state with 60 percent of the vote to 38 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The two each made about 90 stops in the state, according to necn's candidate tracker.

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Among the Republicans, in the hours before the polls closed, Christie was claiming to have topped Kasich in days on the ground in New Hampshire and town halls attended.

Kasich and Christie each spent about 70 days in New Hampshire to about 55 for Bush. During those visits, Kasich and Christie made 190 stops each at breakfasts, fundraisers, dinners and other events over the course of the campaign, while Bush made 111, according to the necn candidate tracker.

Trump, by contrast, had only 46 stops over 30 days, though his campaign intensified its ground game in the final days.

“We learned a lot about ground games in one week,” he joked after his win.

Fowler cautioned against drawing too much from Trump’s victory, relying as it did on his celebrity.

“It’s hard to generalize because his candidacy is breaking so many rules, not just the one about retail politics,” she said.

Meanwhile, by Wednesday, Carly Fiorina had also suspended her campaign. She had campaigned heavily in New Hampshire, making 149, stops but came in seventh, with only 4 percent of the vote. 

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Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 09:14:07 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_32596541331-korea.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Stray Bullet Nearly Hits Student]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 12:31:21 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/021116+frances+tucker.JPG

A stray bullet nearly hit a child in a portable elementary school classroom Thursday morning in the second shooting outside a Miami-Dade school in as many days, officials said.

Miami-Dade Supt. Alberto Carvalho said two bullets hit the portable classroom at Frances S. Tucker Elementary School at 3500 Southwest 37th Avenue, also known as Douglas Avenue, in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood.

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One bullet ricocheted, while the other one pierced the building wall and narrowly missed a child, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

In a press conference outside the elementary school, Carvalho described the scene inside with crying children huddled under their desks. He described hugging children with tears still in their eyes.

"It was shocking to me to walk into the school and to see kids cowered under desks with teachers stoically protecting them, that should not be a scene that anybody should witness here in Miami," Carvalho told NBC 6.

At least five shots were fired nearby, Carvalho said. The school was placed on lockdown. Miami-Dade School Board Police said they are working to locate bullet casings.

The shooting comes less than a day after shots were fired outside Carol City Senior High School in Miami Gardens. Although school officials initially said a student had been shot, they later clarified that no one was hurt.

Carvalho called the narrow misses "two miracles in two days."

He took to Twitter Thursday morning, calling the shootings "disturbingly unacceptable."

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"Bullets have no place in our community. Bullets certainly have no place in our classrooms," he said.

Carvalho said that the schools themselves are safe but the conditions outside the schools are dangerous.

"When chance and luck are the best defense that our children have in Miami or in this county, something is terribly broken," Carvalho said.

Carvalho indicated that over the past 12 months, 60 children have been shot in Miami-Dade, resulting in the deaths of 20 children.

Stay with NBC 6 for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[Repairs After Balcony Collapse]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 09:43:16 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP543125309084.jpg

Inspections performed in the wake of last summer's deadly balcony collapse near the University of California, Berkeley revealed more than 400 buildings with balconies, stairways, decks and landings in need of repair, according to a city report released Wednesday afternoon.

Six students were killed — including five from Ireland and one from Rohnert Park — and seven others were injured June 16 when a balcony broke off a downtown Berkeley apartment building during a woman’s 21st birthday celebration.

Wednesday's report notes that Berkeley wanted to respond "swiftly following the tragic collapse of the 4th floor balcony" at 2020 Kittredge Street, known as the Library Gardens apartments, and develop code amendments to "reduce the likelihood that a catastrophic collapse" could occur again.

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Problems ran the gamut from minor water intrusion to major leaks, according to the report. The city had 2,200 such buildings with "weather-exposed elements," and inspectors found that 402 needed fixes. The story was first reported by Berkleyside.

Property owners were given 90 days to make the fixes and city spokesman Matthai Chakko said "most" had been completed.

The city council in July required the inspection of all weather-exposed exterior elements in properties with at least three units and ordered that subsequent inspections take place every three years.

Berkeley also stiffened requirements for building materials and venting in order to make inspections easier to conduct and improve airflow to elements that could be impacted by water damage and other problems.

City staff sent out nearly 6,090 letters to property owners of multi-family buildings to inform them of the new inspection rules. The city received responses to about 4,400, or 72 percent of the letters that were sent, the report notes.

The Alameda County district attorney launched a criminal investigation last year into the cause of the balcony collapse. The DA’s office has not released any information about the probe since its initial announcement in June.

Teresa Drenick, spokeswoman for the office, confirmed Wednesday to Berkeleyside that the investigation is ongoing. 

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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Stocks Tumble Amid Global Sell-Off]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 09:31:27 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/206*120/AP_20200337636.jpg

U.S. equities fell sharply Thursday as investors digested a massive global sell-off, CNBC reported.


The Dow Jones industrial average was about 190 points lower by midmorning trading after briefly falling more than 250 points in premarket trading.


The S&P 500 was up 6 points from its negative 30 slump at the opening bell. The financial sector fell nearly 2.5 percent, on track for its first five-day losing streak since August.

The Nasdaq composite fell 0.5 percent, as biotechnology stocks and several technology stocks fell.

In midmorning trading, U.S. crude was 49 cents lower, or 1.7 percent, at $26.96 a barrel.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Eli Manning Explains His Viral Super Bowl Expression]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 14:30:42 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/eli-manniing-0210.jpg

Eli Manning says that he was thinking about what big brother Peyton's Denver Broncos would do next when TV cameras caught him with a less-than-impressed look on his face after the team scored a Super Bowl 50-clinching touchdown Sunday evening against the Carolina Panthers.

The Giants quarterback told a paparazzo in a video that was posted to TMZ Sports that when cameras captured the Manning family celebrating the final score but showed him with an expressionless gaze, he was thinking about whether the team would opt for a two-point conversion to go up by 15 points.

"I was just focused on whether they’d go for two and, uh, the defense had to step up and make some stops,” Eli Manning told the cameraman as he walked out of an airport. 

Peyton Manning chimed in on the moment on Monday, telling CBS News that his Super Bowl MVP sibling was analyzing the big game.

“Eli’s just like me. Eli is analyzing the game. He’s thinking about whether we were going to go for two. Whether it was going to be reviewed,” Peyton Manning said.

Peyton Manning tied his younger brother Sunday for two Super Bowl titles, leading many to wonder whether sibling rivalry had anything to do with Eli Manning's emotionless face.

In the video posted to TMZ Sports, Eli Manning said he thought the speculation was funny.

"It's all good stuff," he said. 

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA[Iran Marks Revolution With 'Death to America' Chants]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:44:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509517246.jpg

Tens of thousands of Iranians marched in Tehran's Azadi Square Thursday, chanting "Death to America and Israel" and waving anti-Western placards on the 37th anniversary of the country's 1979 Islamic revolution.

"I have a message for Obama, you can't do anything to us and anything you say is a lie," said 37-year-old Ahmad Norouzi, a nurse, wore a bandana on his head that read: "We will not allow foreign influence." 

President Hassan Rouhani gave an address, saying that Iranians will "never yield" to outside pressure.

"Our nuclear victory showed to the world that Iranians are capable of winning any battle, including diplomatic battles," Rouhani told the crowds.

Despite the political message, there was an almost carnival atmosphere with face-painted teenagers frolicking in the streets while vendors sold goods.

Photo Credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ICYMI: 5 Things to Know From the NH Primary]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:06:01 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Spotlight-Graphic-5Things-Th.jpg Here's a quick summary of what happened on Tuesday night at the New Hampshire primary.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sheriff's Dept. Sex Scandal]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:56:19 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/goforth-harriscounty.jpg

The Harris County Sheriff's Office in Texas has fired two deputies accused of having sexual relationships with a slain deputy's alleged mistress, a witness to the killing.

Deputy Darren Goforth was shot in the back and killed last August at a Houston-area gas station. The suspect, 31-year-old Shannon Miles, is facing a capital murder charge. He was ruled incompetent to stand trial earlier this month.

Attention is now shifting to the sheriff's department itself, which has fired Deputy Marc De Leon, a 14-year veteran, and Sgt. Craig Clopton. The men are accused of having sexual relationships with a woman who claimed to be Goforth's mistress and was seen crying over his body the night of the killing.

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said De Leon initially lied about his own relationship with the woman, and sources said De Leon was also accused of having sex with the woman while he was on duty.

De Leon's attorney, Joshua Normand, said in a statement to NBC affiliate KPRC, "Mr. De Leon has no comment as to the facts surrounding his separation of employment from the Harris County Sheriff's Office, at this time, as he will avail himself of the appeal process under Harris County Civil Service Rules."

Clopton, who was investigating Goforth's murder, was fired last October because of his alleged relationship with the woman. The Houston Chronicle spoke by phone with Clopton, who declined an interview and asked for privacy, the newspaper reports.

"The leader of any organization would be highly embarrassed for the conduct of an officer that would lead up to termination due to some kind of relationship," Hickman said.

The sheriff's office revealed it's investigating similar allegations against a fourth deputy involving the same woman.

"This one seems to be the gift that keeps on giving," Hickman said, but added that he does not believe the department has a pervasive problem.

The sheriff's office drafted a formal policy last week prohibiting deputies from having relationships with people connected to criminal cases. Hickman said the policy was a direct result of these latest incidents.

It's not the first time the Harris County Sheriff's Department has been plagued by such a scandal.

Three deputies were fired in 2013 for allegedly having sex with a married teacher in their patrol cars, KPRC reports. The woman, a volunteer with the Citizens Police Academy who was married to a reserve deputy, participated in ride-alongs with the department.

Photo Credit: Harris County Sheriff's Office/NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Zika Virus]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:17:44 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TH-AP_191300382996.jpg

The director of the Centers for Disease Control will testify before a senate committee Thursday morning to discuss the threat of the Zika virus.

CDC director Tom Frieden along with Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will appear before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor Health and Human Services.

Senators will discuss President Obama's request for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to combat Zika as well as the emerging health threat of the virus.

While work on a Zika vaccine is under way, the disease continues to rapidly spread across South America, prompting many in the U.S. to worry about the potential for travelers to bring Zika to the United States.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[N. Korean Leader Had Military Chief Executed: Sources]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07:03:22 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/KIMAP_802299039765.jpg

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un executed a top military chief in his army for corruption and other charges, according to various South Korean officials.

"(Army General) Ri Yong-Gil stopped appearing at important functions and I am getting multiple confirmations from diversified North Korean sources that Ri has been executed," a South Korean assemblyman told NBC News.

The Associated Press quoted an unnamed South Korean official who claimed that the execution was done to strengthen Kim's hold.

Ri's execution would be the latest in a series of killings, purges and dismissals since Kim took power in late 2011.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[5 Charged in Deadly NYC Explosion]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:21:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Fire-NY-East-Village.jpg

Four of five people facing criminal charges in the gas explosion that rocked Manhattan's East Village in 2015 were indicted for manslaughter in the blast, which killed two people and leveled three buildings.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Thursday that the five suspects "weaponized" 121 Second Ave. when they allegedly bypassed a Consolidated Edison gas meter while renovating the apartments above the building.

Landlord Maria Hrynenko, her son, Michael Hrynenko; unlicensed plumber Athanasios "Jerry" Ioannidis; and general contractor Dilber Kukic were all charged with second-degree manslaughter, assault, endangerment and other crimes in connection with the March 26 blast.

The explosion destroyed Maria Hrynenko's building at 121 Second Ave., along with two other adjacent buildings between East Seventh Street and St. Marks Place. 

The blast injured more than two dozen other people and killed Moises Locon and Nicholas Figueroa, whose bodies were both found in the rubble of what had been a ground-level sushi restaurant.

A fifth suspect, Andrew Trombettas, was charged with offering a false filing instrument for allegedly filing paperwork on behalf of Ioannidis, effectively renting his master plumber's license to his former partner.

Renovations began in 2013, Vance said, and Hyrnenko entered lease agreements with renters in early 2014, before Con Edison had approved the installation of gas meters for apartments in the building. In order to get gas to the units, the landlord told Kukic, the general contractor in charge of the renovations, to tap the line feeding gas to the Sushi Park restaurant on the building's first floor. 

Kukic allegedly called Ioannidis to do the work. The unlicensed plumber allegedly installed yellow, flexible tubes to feed gas to the apartments in the five-story building. The setup was later discovered by Con Ed, which shut off gas service to the building and told Maria and Michael Hyrnenko to hire a master plumber to install proper gas lines.

Instead, the Hyrnenkos and Kukic again enlisted Ioannidis, who installed a series of pipes and valves that tapped gas from an unused line in the adjacent building and was hidden behind a locked utility room door. This setup was the one ultimately blamed for the explosion that rocked the lower Manhattan neighborhood in March.

Ioannidis allegedly used Trombettas' plumbers license to file paperwork to have service restored to the building in August of 2014, and the illegal setup was used until the day the explosion. 

Cyrus said that about an hour before the blast, Con Ed workers did an inspection on the building, and Kukic and Michael Hyrnenko, the building's superintendent, used a valve Ioannidis had installed to shut off the gas supply from the building next door and opened valves to maintain pressure in the system. Vance said that Michael Hyrnenko also told a tenant in the building to tell Con Ed workers that gas had never been supplied to the apartments.

After Con Ed tested the system and again rejected the location of a new gas meter for the apartment building, the two men turned the gas supply from the neighboring building back on without first checking to see the opened valves had been closed.

Vance said this allowed gas to flow freely into the sushi restaurant, causing an employee there to call Michael Hyrnenko about the smell. He allegedly went back into the basement with Kukic, and the pair then sprinted out of the building without telling anyone in the restaurant or apartments above to leave or call 911.

Then, a few minutes later, the blast went off. Locon, a worker at Sushi Park suffered burns to 100 percent of his body and was pronounced dead when he was found. Figueroa, a diner, was also found dead in the rubble. Thirteen other people, including at least two firefighters, suffered serious injuries. 

The five suspects were expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon. It wasn't immediately clear if any had hired attorneys.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[$15 Coffee 'Like Top-Shelf Whiskey']]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 02:35:50 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0210-2016-Coffee2.jpg

A San Francisco Bay Area coffee shop is charging $15 for a cup of joe — and apparently people can't get enough of it.

The not-your-average cup is called Finca Sophia and can be found at Equator Coffee, which has locations in San Francisco and Mill Valley.

The beans are from the Gesha variety, grown way up in the mountains of Panama. It took eight years to produce the first crop, which was not much and prompted a spike in price.

Equator Coffee educator Akaash Saini said various fertilizers are used to grow the coffee beans.

"Doing different things when it comes to farming and harvesting techniques," Saini said. "Whatever we can do to get the best cup of coffee."

Saini said when it comes to Finca Sophia, you get what you pay for.

"It's almost like a top-shelf whiskey, or a $40 bottle of wine compared to an $8 bottle of wine," Saini said.

The Equator Coffee location in San Francisco's Market Street has already sold out of Finca Sophia.

"Amazing, very amazing," San Francisco-resident Myron Tate said of experiencing the premium dark brew.

Steve Jordan drove to Mill Valley from San Francisco just to get his cup of Finca Sophia.

"It's amazing, I really like it," Jordan said. "It's more like a tea mix than a true coffee."

Not everyone, however, shared their opinions.

"I don't really like it," said Mill Valley resident Heidi Connelly, adding that the coffee was bitter.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[See Photos of NH Primary Vote]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 08:18:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-509278698-bernie-sanders-new-hampshire.jpg Voters in New Hampshire took to their polling places to cast their ballots on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cleveland Wants Tamir Rice Estate to Pay $500 Ambulance Bill]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 06:02:55 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NBC-Tamir-140117-tamir-rice-1847_75878790a4527a9d3f3d341b45f2ca9d.nbcnews-ux-600-600.jpg

The city of Cleveland is seeking $500 in reimbursement from Tamir Rice for the ambulance ride that he was on after being fatally shot by police in 2014.

Assistant Law Director Carl Meyer filed the creditor's claim in Cuyahoga County Probate Court on Wednesday, NBC affiliate WKYC reported.

Tamir was shot in the torso by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann on Nov. 22, 2014, after responding to a report of a "male with a gun" on the swings at a city park.

It turned out the boy had a pellet gun. Tamir died at the hospital the next morning.

"The Rice family is disturbed by the city's behavior," Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra said in a statement to WKYC.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rice Family Attorney]]>
<![CDATA[Fargo Officer Shot During Standoff Not Expected to Survive]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:37:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Jason+Moszer.jpg

A police officer who was shot amid a domestic disturbance standoff is not expected to survive his wounds, authorities in North Dakota said early Thursday.

Officer Jason Moszer, 33, responded to the home after the suspect's son called police alleging his father shot at his mother but they managed to escape, the Fargo Police Department said.

The suspect fired multiple rounds from inside the house, striking Moszer. Deputy Chief Joe Anderson told NBC News the 6-year veteran was currently on life support but had suffered "non-life-sustaining" injuries. 

While Anderson described the situation as "ongoing" after nine hours, he noted that there had been no contact with the suspect for "some time."

Photo Credit: Fargo Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Plane Crash Kills 2 Sheriff's Dept. Employees]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 08:12:55 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/james+chavez+Scott+Ballantyne.jpg

Two sheriff's department employees died when their plane crashed into the side of a mountain in California, officials said Wednesday, NBC News reported.

Tulare County Sheriff's pilot James Chavez, 45, and Deputy Scott Ballantyne, 52, had just finished assisting with an arrest when their aircraft went down near Lake Success at about 4:00 p.m. (7:00 pm ET), the department said.

It was not clear what caused the two-seater plane to crash.

"There was no distress signal and the planes parachute was not deployed," the sheriff's department said. The FAA is expected to begin an investigation on Thursday. 

Photo Credit: Tulare County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter User Growth Stalls in Fourth Quarter But Company Still Optimistic]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:31:41 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/222*120/503572706.jpg

Twitter shares fell in Wednesday after-hours trading as the company revealed that its user numbers had declined sequentially.

The company reported fourth quarter earnings of 16 cents per share on $710 million in revenue. Analysts had expected Twitter to report earnings of about 12 cents per share on $710 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Twitter said its monthly active users (MAUs) excluding SMS-only users were 305 million for the fourth quarter, down from 307 million in the previous quarter.

"We saw a decline in monthly active usage in Q4, but we've already seen January monthly actives bounce back to Q3 levels. We're confident that, with disciplined execution, this growth trend will continue over time," the company wrote in a shareholder letter.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[25 Relatives to Fly to Mexico for Pope's Visit]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:34:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/pope+francis+juarez.jpg

As Pope Francis prepares for a six-day trip Mexico this week, many North Texas Catholics are getting ready to make the trip across the border to see the Pontiff.

A group of 25 relatives in Dallas will depart Thursday from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to see the leader of the Catholic Church.

Maria Gonzalez Rocha and her husband, Israel Rocha, actually saw the pope in Philadelphia last year.

"Last time we went to Philly. We didn't get to go inside mass. We just saw him when he did his walk," Maria Gonzalez Rocha said.

For the couple, just seeing the pope from afar was enough for them. It was a dream come true. But then the couple heard the Pope Francis would be in their native Mexico City.

"When we first heard the news about him going to Mexico City it started off as a 'maybe,' then trickled off as, 'OK four of us go,' and so on, and so on and so on," said Israel Rocha.

For Maria Gonzalez Rocha, this time around would be more special because she will have the opportunity to see the leader of the Catholic Church in her native land surrounded by her culture.

"For me going down there it's like, why not, that's where I get my faith," she said. "So now I am going to go back and share my faith with him and the rest of the pilgrims."

And it's faith that will help the 25 relatives make the five-day pilgrimage to Mexico City. Maria Gonzalez Rocha admitted they were a bit crazy to take on such an adventure especially since more than half the people they are traveling with have never taken on such a journey.

"They are very scared because they don't know what to expect, but I just say you have to have faith and be adventurous and enjoy every moment," she said.

For Israel Rocha, it was important to make this road trip and meet the man they say really reaches the masses.

"He's more up-front the way he says stuff. He's so simple – simple words that have a big meaning," he said.

It will afford them more time together and come back more inspired than before.

"Even though you don't expect that you always come back a different person," said Maria Gonzalez Rocha.

Pope Francis arrives in Mexico City on Friday. He will hold a mass on Saturday. The pope will end his six-day trip in Ciudad Juarez by holding a mass at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>