<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Mon, 22 Dec 2014 15:34:06 -0500 Mon, 22 Dec 2014 15:34:06 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Dramatic Photos: 2 NYPD Officers Killed in Ambush]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 10:05:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shot+cop+scene.jpg A gunman ambushed and fatally shot two NYPD officers in their squad car Saturday, an act that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton condemned as an "assassination."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NY Congressman Expected to Plead Guilty to Tax Fraud: Official]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 15:13:06 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/michael+grimm1.jpg

New York Rep. Michael Grimm is expected to plead guilty to a single count of tax fraud Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court, a law enforcement official familiar with the case tells NBC 4 New York.

Grimm, a Republican who represents Staten Island, was elected to a third term in November.

In April, Grimm was arrested on federal charges, including tax fraud and mail fraud, for allegedly concealing more than $1 million in sales and wages at a Manhattan restaurant he owned before he was elected to Congress.

A 20-count indictment unsealed that month accused him of under-reporting the payroll and earnings of the Upper East Side restaurant, Healthalicious, which he ran from 2007 to 2010. He pleaded not guilty in federal court and was released on bond.

Grimm, a Republican, said at the time he was being wrongly accused and said he had no plans to step down. Nevertheless, Grimm asked House Speaker John Boehner to be taken off the House Financial Services Committee until his federal case was resolved.

Prosecutors alleged Grimm employed a number of immigrant workers who did not have legal status to work in the U.S., and paid them in cash -- wages that were not reported to the government. He also allegedly "substantially under-reported" the restaurant's gross receipts, lowering its taxes.

Grimm, a former FBI agent and U.S. Marine, sold his stake in the restaurant before running for office in 2010.

Grimm's lawyer, William McGinley, could not immediately be reached for comment on NBC 4 New York's report Monday, but suggested at the time of his client's arrest earlier this year that the charges were "politically driven." 



Photo Credit: Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 07:22:00 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/AP572949450377.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[College to Pay Tuition for Son of Slain NYPD Officer]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:31:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP216453913023.jpg

Bowdoin College says it will pick up the tuition for a student whose father was killed in Saturday's shooting of two NYPD officers.

College President Barry Mills sent an email to the college community on Sunday saying that the school learned on Saturday night that Rafael Ramos, one of the two officers killed in Brooklyn, is the father of Bowdoin sophomore Justin Ramos, who is now with his family in New York. Rafael Ramos and his partner Wenjian Liu were shot at point blank range as they sat in their squad car. The gunman, who investigators say had posted threatening messages to social media ahead of the attack, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"This is an unspeakable tragedy, and our hearts go out to Justin and his family," Mills wrote. "We are a close community, and we share in Justin's pain and anguish. I know you join me in offering heartfelt condolences to Justin and the entire Ramos family, and I am sure you will respect their privacy as they and we support one another in the days and weeks ahead."

The college posted a statement on its website Monday saying that it is eager to welcome Justin back to campus for the start of the second semester in January, "or whenever he is ready to return."

At Mills' direction, the college informed Justin on Sunday that it will provide full financial aid to enable him to complete his Bowdoin education.

The New York Yankees, through their Silver Shield Foundation, had offered to cover college education costs for both of Rafael Ramos' children. Ramos also had a 13-year-old son.

"We are grateful for the Yankee Silver Shield Foundation's offer to assist, but Bowdoin has it covered," the college said in its statement, saying it keeps with the school's practice of meeting the full financial need of each of its students for all four years.

Bowdoin College, located in Brunswick, Maine, has about 1,800 students.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Family: NYPD, City Must Mend Ties]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 15:24:05 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/jaden+ramos+inset.jpg

Family and friends of officer Rafael Ramos, fatally shot with his partner in Brooklyn, thanked the public for its prayers and asked City Hall to mend its relationship with the NYPD as the officer's 13-year-old son decried the killer's apparent hatred for police.

"He was the best father I could ask for. It's horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer," Ramos' son, Jaden, posted on Facebook. "Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people they call for help. I will always love you and I will never forget you. RIP Dad."

Moments earlier, Jaden Ramos posted, "This is the worst day of My life." 

Ramos' aunt, Lucy Ramos, thanked all who shared their sympathies "for our beloved member" and called for reflection "on this tragic loss."

John Rodriguez, president of the 75th Precinct Community Council, said that reflection should include how to repair relations between the city's administration and its police force.

"My mayor, you need to sit down, you need to get everything corrected," he said.

Rodriguez added that he felt the local Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president "was very upset at that moment" when he insinuated that the killings of Ramos and officer Wenjian Liu could be tied to the mayor's lack of support for the department.

PBA President Patrick Lynch said Saturday night that there was "blood on many hands," including those of the mayor. De Blasio responded that Lynch's remarks were "irresponsible, overheated rhetoric."



Photo Credit: AP/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Timeline: NYPD Ambush]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:46:19 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/460750486.jpg

An approximate timeline of the events surrounding the deaths of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, as detailed by law enforcement and government officials:

5:50 a.m. - Shaneka Nicole Thompson, 29, is shot in the stomach by her ex-boyfriend in Owings Mills, Maryland, leaving her in critical but stable condition. She is expected to survive.

6:05 a.m. - Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, calls Thompson's mother and tells her he shot her daughter by accident and he hopes she lives.

10:50 a.m. - Brinsley arrives at Manhattan's Port Authority after a lengthy bus ride. He carries with him the cellphone he stole from Thompson and the 9mm handgun he used to shoot her.

12:20 p.m. - Brinsley uses Thompson's phone to post an ominous message on Instagram, saying "I'm Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours....... Let's Take 2 of Theirs."

12:50 p.m. - After traveling to Brooklyn by subway, Brinsley ditches Thompson's cell phone near the Atlantic Yards complex.

1:30 p.m. - Thompson's mother calls Baltimore police to warn them about the Instagram posting. She says she believes Brinsley has ties to a church on Church Avenue in Brooklyn.

1:45 p.m. -- Baltimore police prepare a "wanted" flyer to distribute to law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD. 

2:10 p.m. - Baltimore police call the 70th precinct, near the Brooklyn church, to warn them. A Baltimore detective speaks with an NYPD officer for about half an hour to review the details. Police said the NYPD officer reviewed the Instagram posts and photos of Brinsley during the call and asked for the "wanted" flyer to be faxed to the 70th precinct.. 

2:46 p.m. - Baltimore police fax the "wanted" flyer, which contained the same photos seen in the Instagram posts, to the 70th precinct. The precinct receives it a short time later. 

2:48 p.m. - Brinsley approaches Ramos' and Liu's patrol car, takes a shooter's stance, and shoots four bullets through the passenger-side front window, striking both officers in the head. Under pursuit by police, he runs into a nearby subway station and fatally shoots himself in front of at least 10 witnesses.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Pa. Student's Keys in River]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:54:21 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/237*120/Shane+Montgomery+Missing+College+Student.JPG

UPDATE: Police crews continued their search on the Schuylkill River Monday.


More than three weeks after his disappearance, officials found the keys of missing college student Shane Montgomery.

The Garden State Underwater Recovery Unit, a volunteer diving recovery team, discovered the 21-year-old West Chester University student's personal keys in the Schuylkill River after searching for four and a half hours Sunday. No further evidence has been found however.

The Roxborough native was last seen early Thanksgiving morning as he left Kildare's Irish Pub along Main Street in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Manayunk.

Pings from his cellphone put him within a mile of the bar within an hour of his disappearance and surveillance video shows the West Chester University student walking toward the Manayunk Canal and Schuylkill River. Despite many searches on land, in the water and from the air, there have been no strong leads as to where Montgomery went.

Each day without Shane has been wearing on his family, said Kevin Verbrugghe, Shane's uncle.

"We’re not holding up well," Verbrugghe said.

Ongoing search efforts, including the use of sonar and underwriter cameras in a search of the Schuylkill River, have brought about few clues for Shane, who was last seen walking toward the Manayunk Canal.

"The prevailing theory is that he went into the river and where is he now? Tides change and there’s all kinds of debris under there," FBI Supervisory Special agent J.J. Klaver said Thursday.

Debris could have trapped the missing college student's body underwater, he explained.

A reward for information that leads investigators and the family to Montgomery still stands at $65,000. Friends and family continue to support the search efforts on their own as well.

Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia police at 215.686.TIPS.



Photo Credit: Family Photo
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<![CDATA[4 Shot Dead in Illinois Home]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:20:11 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/rockford+shooting.jpg

Four people, including two children, were shot dead inside of a residence in Rockford, Illinois, on Saturday night, Rockford police said.

A neighbor said she heard pounding on the door of the residence and then the sound of the door being forced open. The sound of gunshots immediately followed.

Police responded to the call of shots fired in the 3200 block of Montrose Avenue at about 11:20 p.m. Saturday. When they arrived, they found four victims with gunshot wounds. All of them were pronounced dead on the scene by Rockford Fire Department paramedics, police said.

The victims were Martia Flint, 24; Demontae Rhodes, 24; Tyrone Smith III, 6; and Tobias K. Smith, 4. The two children belonged to Flint.

An autopsy is scheduled for the victims on Monday.

Rockford detectives are continuing the investigation in the shooting. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Rockford police shift commander at (815) 987-5824 or Crime Stoppers at (815) 963-7867.

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<![CDATA[US Diplomat Urges Caution on Cuba]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 00:01:47 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TLANCXTRACUBA122114_1200x675_375323715586.jpg

A former American diplomat who for years worked for the U.S. government while in Cuba issued a strong word of caution regarding the move toward normalization of relations between the two countries.

"This is not a good group of people," former State Department official Charles Barclay said of the Castro regime. "It is not a benign government. Will they crack heads down the line? Almost certainly. It is a government that will accept a certain amount of change but under very strict circumstances."

Barclay served as the deputy head of mission for the U.S. Department of State in Havana for three years starting in 2009.

The diplomatic mission, called an "interests section," has been operating in Cuba since the mid 1970s. He made the comments Sunday on NBC4 Los Angeles.

While expressing caution, Barclay nevertheless endorsed President Barack Obama's decision to restore full diplomatic relations with the Castro regime.

"The embargo and the effort to isolate the Cuban government and squeeze the economy to seek some political change simply hasn't worked in 50 years." said Barclay, who recently retired from the State Department after 28 years of service. "It's time we had some new tools to work with."

While in Cuba, Barclay routinely met with American prisoner Alan Gross, who was arrested for pro-democracy activities and accused by the Cuban government of "crimes against the state." Barclay called Gross "courageous" and said he felt deep satisfaction upon his release.

"The goal is to promote the development of a small but growing private sector in Cuba and help pragmatists within the Cuban government isolate the hard liners," he said. "But things move glacially in Cuba, and these changes are going to come very slowly."

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<![CDATA[Police: Man Killed Woman, 2 Kids]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 05:17:44 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/keith+coleman+maine.jpg

Police investigating the deaths of a woman and her two children in Garland, Maine, have charged the woman's boyfriend with their murders.

The bodies of 36-year-old Christina Sargent, her 10-year-old son, Duwayne Coke, and her 8-year-old daughter, Destiny Sargent, were discovered inside a mobile home around 9:50 p.m. Saturday at 12 Paul Road.

Police announced after 9 p.m. that they had arrested 27-year-old Keith Coleman, who had initially been named a person of interest. He will be charged with three counts of murder.

A tip led investigators to find Coleman at a Buckport home after a search for him and his van.

Coleman had been living at the home where the bodies of the mother, her 10-year-old son and her 8-year-old daughter were found Saturday night with a relative.

"He's the only one living inside that home who's still alive and we need to hear his side of the story," Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Steve McCausland said before Coleman was arrested.

Authorities have not said how they believe the killings were carried out, saying they will wait for the results of the autopsy.

Police will continue to investigate the mobile home Monday. Coleman is expected to be arraigned Monday or Tuesday.

NECN will have more as this story develops.



Photo Credit: Maine State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds Protest in Downtown Philly]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 01:09:32 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Center-City-March1.jpg

Nearly 1,000 people marched through Center City during a protest for Mike Brown and Eric Garner Sunday night.

The Philadelphia “Blackout” march began at 7 p.m. on 1500 Arch Street. Hundreds of protesters marched around City Hall through Dilworth Plaza and eventually stopped at the statue of former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo. Raheem Harvey, one of the event organizers, told NBC10 the goal of the demonstration was to “unify the people and give them an opportunity to speak.”

“As a human being we have a right to humanity,” Harvey said. “Everyone is entitled to first class citizenship regardless of the color of their skin.”

Some of the protesters gathered at the AT&T station on the Broad Street Line around 5:45 p.m. They took the subway into Center City while singing the words, “I can’t breathe,” the last words of Eric Garner before his death.

Harvey also said the protesters specifically chose to end their demonstration at the Frank Rizzo statue based on what they believe the former Philadelphia mayor stood for.

“He is an individual who was responsible for police brutality, especially towards the African American community,” Harvey said. “Here we have an individual who has his hands raised, waiving out to the people. No one thinks something is wrong with that. We definitely plan to make a statement there. We plan on working with the city to have it removed."

The protesters repeatedly chanted "black lives matter," and carried a banner which read, "fight hate with love." They also held a "die-in" demonstration on the Parkway.

The rally shut down several streets in Center City for a few hours. No arrests were reported however.

Harvey told NBC10 the ultimate goal of the demonstrators is to spark change within the Philadelphia Police Department.

“We want to be able to have a voice when it comes to the concerns of the community,” he said. “A police officer’s job is to provide customer service and to also establish the law. With that in mind we need to make sure that when investigations happen within the police department, the public is fully aware. There should not be any close door investigation.”

The protest was one of many that have occurred nationwide in response to two separate grand jury decisions not to indict the officers involved in the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The protest also took place a day after two NYPD officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were shot and killed by a gunman in Brooklyn during an ambush attack. The suspect in the shooting, who ultimately took his own life, posted on social media that he intended to “take 2 of theirs” prior to the incident, according to investigators. Investigators also believe the suspect shot and injured his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore before coming to New York.

The fatal shooting of the two officers sparked claims from some that the nationwide protests and anti-police rhetoric inspired the shooter. In New York City, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch also linked the killings to violence against police during recent protest demonstrations and even claimed that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio had “blood on his hands” for his apparent lack of support for law enforcement.

Harvey expressed his condolences for the NYC officers and their families while also stating the suspect in their deaths was not associated with his movement.

“My heart is with the family and also my prayers,” Harvey said. “We are not against police. We are against police brutality. No one deserves to have their lives taken. It should have never happened. The person is isolated from the movement but he’s using the movement to get his message across. But that’s a totally isolated incident.”

Members of the Philadelphia Police Civil Affairs Unit were on hand to monitor the protest.



Photo Credit: NBC10.com
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<![CDATA[Girl, 3, Left With Valets: Police]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 02:41:41 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Audrey-missing.jpg

The father of a toddler abandoned at one of Los Angeles's premier shopping centers came forward nearly a day later Sunday and was interviewed by police and child protective services, officials said. 

The girl remained in the custody of child protective services. Los Angeles Police Department officials said she and her father had not been reunited.

The father told officers at the Wilshire Division station that he didn't initially know the 3-year-old was missing, but had been actively trying to get in contact with her.

A female relative who’d been watching the girl dropped her off at the Grove about 6 p.m. Saturday, according to police, who are treating the case as a misunderstanding.

When she was put in police custody, the girl gave her name simply as Audrey, a stumbling block in trying to find her family, police said.

Audrey was happy and talkative, when she was first turned over to the LAPD, according to Lt. Lonnie Tiano, who said she was in "good shape."

A woman dropped Audrey off at The Grove's valet area along with a car seat, but never returned to pick her up, Tiano said.

After a search of the mall, parking attendants called police, who took Audrey into their custody and brought her to the Department of Children and Family Services, Tiano said.

Children and Family Services still had to verify that the man picking her up was Audrey's father, and had yet to decide whether to turn Audrey over to him.

Aubrey's story had touched many people who called police offering gifts or a home to Audrey after her picture was released to news media, police said.

"Hopefully they'll be watching the news and see their child on TV and call us," Tiano said Sunday morning.

In fact, Audrey's San Diegan grandfather who spotted her picture on a news report Sunday. He told his son Audrey was missing; police said the father told them he was already actively searching for Audrey by then.

The father told authorities that he was looking for his daughter at The Grove until 11 p.m., police said, but assumed that the person she was with had taken her home. They were supposed to meet at The Grove earlier that day.

Correction: This article misspelled one instance of Audrey's name.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Los Angeles Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Gun Range Billboard Sparks Debate]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:27:21 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/santa_holding_gun_chico.jpg

A holiday billboard has fired up a debate in a Northern California city.

The owners of Down Range shooting range put up a sign outside their business in Chico, depicting Santa Claus holding a gun. The sign reads "We build AR's for Santa."

The owners of the gun range told NBC affiliate KNVN-TV in Chico that they are Santa's little helpers, and they can fill his orders for AR rifles.

Down Range co-owner Steve Dyke said in an interview that some people get toys, some get guns.

"Some people get firearms," Dyke said. "So and when Santa needs help putting together an AR rifle, we can definitely help him out with that."

While one Chico resident said people need to "see the humor in it" others said the sign is in poor taste.

"I just don't think I would like my son see Santa holding a gun, having to explain to him that's usually not what Santa's holding," one parent said.

"The idea of this symbol of joy and giving and holding an assault rifle, it's just so contradictory," Chico resident Tom Imhoff told KNVN.

But the owners of the gun range disagree.

"Santa has got his eye protection on, his fingers off the trigger, the gun's pointed in a safe direction, so those are the things we want to promote is the safety when people are doing the shooting sports industry," Dyke's partner Will Clark said.

"This is not meant to be offensive in any way. If you need help, if Santa needs help, we're here to help," Dyke said.

The owners said the sign is temporary, but it will not be their last. A sign featuring the Easter bunny or Cupid may be next.



Photo Credit: KNVN]]>
<![CDATA[Officers Turn Backs on NYC Mayor ]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 09:39:43 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/460732874.jpg

In the wake of tensions between City Hall and the NYPD, some officers turned their backs on the mayor as he walked through the halls of Woodhull Medical Center following the ambush killing of two officers.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch mourned the slain officers outside the hospital and linked the killings to violence against the NYPD during recent protest demonstrations and to what he said was the mayor's lack of support for the department.

"There's blood on many hands tonight," Lynch said. He added: "That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor."

Mayor de Blasio responded that Lynch's remarks amounted to "irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people."

"This is a nightmare of the highest magnitude for everyone," Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said in a statement. "The elected leaders, on both sides of City Hall, need to dig down deep in their souls and understand that campaigning to be a leader is easier than being a leader."

Palladino warned detectives to remain vigilant, wear bullet-resistant vests and work in teams of three when possible "until we better assess the threat that exists against us."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Leaders Across U.S. Mourn Officers Killed in Brooklyn]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 03:51:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP854506726768.jpg

Police departments and civic leaders across the United States mourned publicly on Saturday and Sunday, condemning violence and calling for calm after two police officers were shot dead in their squad car in what New York City's commissioner called an "assassination."

President Barack Obama was among those who expressed support for the police. "Two brave men won't be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification," the president said Saturday night in a statement. "Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen."

Obama called New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Sunday and said Americans must reject violence and instead turn to prayer and sympathy for the victims' relatives, the White House said. The president said his administration will work with leaders across the country to echo that message.

Police departments around the country expressed solidarity with the NYPD, adorning their badges with black bands in honor of the slain officers.

In Philadelphia, where anti-police graffiti appeared this week, a police spokeswoman called the shootings a "horrible act of terror."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with New York Police Department and the families of these officers," the spokeswoman said.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter took to Twitter to condemn the shooting.

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were sitting in a squad car in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon when the shooter, identified as 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, approached the car and fatally shot both officers in the head, police said. Brinsley then ran into a nearby subway station and killed himself, according to police.

"They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform," said Bratton. "Both officers paid the ultimate sacrifice today while protecting the communities they serve."

In California, San Jose Police Sgt. Paul Kelly said the shooting is a sobering reminder of the dangers officers face every day on the job. "San Jose police officers are sick about the tragedy that happened to New York's finest,"  said Kelly.

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge released a statement Sunday morning, saying the police officers' "tragic deaths are a great loss for the NYPD, their families, and our nation. This is not about race or affiliation, and it isn't about black versus blue. All lives matter."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called the shootings a "particularly despicable act," and called on New Yorkers to pray for the families of Ramos and Liu. He ordered that flags in the city be lowered to half-staff from sunrise Sunday until the officers' burial.

But New York Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch was critical of the mayor's office. Lynch tied the shootings to violence against the NYPD during recent protests in the city and blamed the mayor directly for a perceived lack of support as the department has come under scrutiny.

"There's blood on many hands tonight," Lynch said, and "starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor."

In response, the mayor's office said, "it's unfortunate that in a time of great tragedy, some would resort to irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people."

Loretta E. Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, pledged that her office would assist with the investigation of the shooting.

"I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of this afternoon's brutal and senseless attack on two NYPD Officers, and I join Attorney General Holder in expressing my deepest condolences to the families of these fallen heroes," she said. "Today's assailant struck at the heart of our city — the dedicated officers who pledge their lives to safeguard us all."

The killings on Saturday come amid tensions over the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police. Bratton said Saturday that the suspect had a history of making anti-police comments. It remained unclear whether he had any involvement in the protest movement.

The family of Eric Garner, the New York man who died after he was put in a chokehold by police denounced on Sunday the killing of two police officers.

"Anyone who's standing with us, we want you to not use Eric Garner's name for violence because we are not about that," Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, told reporters on Sunday. "I'm standing here in sorrow about losing those two police officers."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Real-Life "Sopranos" Club Robbed]]> Mon, 22 Dec 2014 09:01:11 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_fotoactorjamesgandolfini.jpg

Authorities say the northern New Jersey strip club that was used for filming of "The Sopranos" has been robbed of $30,000.

Lodi, New Jersey, police say that two men with shotguns robbed Satin Dolls early Sunday. The men fled after the robbery.

The club stood in as Bada Bing on the HBO show.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department's detective division at 973-473-7600.

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<![CDATA[1 Dead in House Party Shooting]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 19:09:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dewayne+purnell.jpg

A 19-year-old man was killed and eight others injured in a shooting during a house party in a south suburb of Chicago early Sunday morning.

Police received a call about shots fired at a residence in the 600 block of Escanaba Avenue in Calumet City at approximately 1:50 a.m. When police arrived, they say a large number of adults were fleeing from the house.

The shooting took place during a party in the basement of the residence with at least 150 young adults in attendance, according to police.

Dewayne Purnell, 19, died from gunshot wounds, and eight other victims were taken to area hospitals, two in critical condition, police said. The youngest victim is 15 years old.

Purnell's father said his son, who just turned 19 on Dec. 15, was supposed to leave for the Army in nine days. Purnell recently graduated from high school, and his father said he didn't go out to parties very often.

"He was in the house all the time," Donald Purnell, the victim's father, said. "He was putting up the Christmas tree yesterday with his sister."

Police said they had been called to the residence before but never for anything as serious as this incident.

Police are still searching for the gunman.

Calumet City detectives and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are continuing the investigation.

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<![CDATA[Teen Saves Sister From Kidnapping]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 03:39:57 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A 13-year-old boy rescued his little sister from an attempted kidnapping in Lancaster, sheriff’s deputies said Saturday.

A man allegedly walked into the fenced yard of the family’s home in the 300 block of West Kildare Street just before noon and asked the 4-year-old girl for her name. He then reached down, grabbed her and tried to leave the yard.

But her older brother grabbed the man’s arm and called for help, asking for someone to call 911.

The little girl was not injured.

Neighbors flagged down a passing sheriff’s patrol car and were able to direct them to a man believed to be the one who tried to take the little girl.

The man had been seen pacing in front of the home where the little girl lives just prior to the attempted kidnapping, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The suspect has been detained until deputies complete an investigation. His identitiy has not been released.

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<![CDATA[8-Year-Old Thanks Firefighters]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 04:18:01 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hartford+firefighter+surprise.JPG

Firefighters pulled an 8-year-old girl from a burning building in Hartford last month, and today she got to thank them in person.

Shantell King was sleeping when flames ravaged her home on Hamilton Street in Hartford on Nov. 14. Her mom, Michelle Peterson, ran to wake her up, but both mother and daughter were knocked to the ground in their effort to escape. They were separated, and flames forced Peterson from the house without Shantell.

"I thought she was gone," Peterson recalled. "It was pretty much the worst day of my life."

One month after emergency responders stepped in and saved Shantell’s life, members of Hartford’s Engine 15 surprised Peterson and her daughter at the Hartford Hilton, where the family of two has been staying.

"This is something that we train for and prepare for our entire careers, and to be able to finally do something like that, especially around the holidays, it means a lot," said Lt. Russell Cook.

Peterson was reduced to tears when firefighters showed up with Christmas presents early Saturday afternoon, hugging the man credited with saving her daughter’s life. Shantell, in turn, gave them a handmade Christmas card as a token of gratitude.

"For the past couple of weeks, this has been the only thing we wanted to do, is meet the guy who saved my daughter, because without him we wouldn't be having Christmas right now," Peterson said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Killed in San Diego Fire]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:56:00 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/fido+mask.jpg

Fire tore through a Clairemont home Saturday, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and killing one of the family’s beloved dogs.

“It’s just really sad this time of year for this to happen,” said Sherrie Dubreuil, whose elderly parents and brother live at the home in the 3600 block of Mount Acadia Boulevard.

The two-alarm fire sparked just before noon. Firefighters initially treated it as a rescue operation.

“The son who was living here didn’t realize his parents weren’t home, which is fortunate because they actually weren’t here and weren’t lost as was expected,” said Battalion Chief Matt Nilsen with San Diego Fire-Rescue.

A firefighter fell partially through the roof, but other crew members pulled him out before falling any further, Nilsen said. He was taken to the UCSD Burn Center with second-degree burns to his hip, according to fire officials.

Firefighters saved one of the family’s two dogs with the help of a “Fido” oxygen mask. The other dog did not make it.

“We lost our pit bull in the backyard. The fire caught him on fire, and they euthanized him,” Dubreuil said.

Dubreuil says she was grocery shopping with her 90-year-old mother at the time and returned home to the devastation. The fire caused an estimated $300,000 in damage to the home and $100,000 to its contents, according to the fire department.

Investigators say the fire was caused by an accidental electrical problem.

Flames spread to the neighbor’s bushes, but firefighters stopped the fire before spreading to the house.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Baby Gets New Heart for Holidays]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:43:36 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/121914+kristen+bracken+kaiden.jpg

A baby is going home from a South Florida hospital with a new heart just in time for the holidays.

Kaiden, who is just 11 months old, underwent the procedure at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood.

Around Easter, he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and doctors gave him a mechanical heart while they waited for a biological one.

Doctors were able to transplant the new heart last week.

"You think you have a healthy son, there's nothing wrong with him and you're told by doctors who grab your hand and say 'We'll do everything we can but we can't guarantee his life,'" mother Kristen Bracken said.

Kaiden will have to take medications so his body doesn't reject the new heart, but otherwise, he's doing great.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed in Crash with Ambulance]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 18:35:27 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/somers+ambulance+crash.jpg

A 60-year-old man has died after his car crashed head-on into an ambulance on Main Street/Route 190 in Somers on Saturday afternoon, according to state police.

Police said the car's driver, identified as Leonard W. King, of the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, was driving westbound on Main Street when he struck an ambulance traveling eastbound around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

King was pronounced dead at the scene. State police initially said the victim was a resident of Enfield.

No one else was in the car with King, but four people riding in the ambulance – identified as Kara Williams, 19, of Somers; Katherine Morton, 20, of Somers; Joshua Marquardt, 22, of Somers, and driver Kate Schoenberger, 20, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts – were taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford for medical evaluations, according to state police.

The ambulance was not responding to a medical call at the time of the crash.

Firefighters from the Hazardville section of Enfield were called in for mutual aid. Main Street was closed for several hours west of Route 83 in Somers, between Sokol Road and Maple Ridge Drive.

LifeStar was called to the scene and later canceled, according to the helicopter service.

Bolles Motors in Ellington towed both damaged vehicles from the scene.

Authorities are investigating. Anyone with information on the crash is urged to call Connecticut State Police Trooper Preuss at the Troop C barracks in Tolland at 860-896-3200.

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<![CDATA[Arrests in Attempted Murder of Teen]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 02:21:18 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/198*120/12-20-14_Palmdale-Teen-Shooting-Arrest.JPG

Two men have been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of a teenage girl in Palmdale, police said Saturday.

The girl was hospitalized in critical condition after being injured in a car-to-car shooting in the 37800 block of Melton Avenue around noon Friday, officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Investigators believe Palmdale residents Jaime Espinoza, 20, and Fernando Albarran, 21, were involved in the shooting, which is believed to be gang related.

A third person was detained in connection with the shooting, but released pending further investigation, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Both men remain behind bars in lieu of $500,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide investigators at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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<![CDATA[5 Key Points From Obama's Year-End Presser]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:49:45 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP684603546762.jpg

President Obama said Sony Pictures Entertainment had made a mistake pulling the movie “The Interview," and defended normalizing relations with Cuba in his last press conference of the year before heading to Hawaii for vacation.

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” he said of the cyber attack during which embarrassing emails were made public.

Here are the main topics that he addressed during the exchange with the press, during which he only called on female reporters.

North Korea

On the day that the FBI identified North Korea as the source of the cyber-attacks on Sony, Obama refused to reveal what the U.S. response would be other than to say it would be proportional and in a place and time of U.S. choosing.

He said that although he sympathized with Sony, he wished its executives had talked to him before making the decision on “The Interview.”

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” he said.

If Sony could be intimidated over the release of a satirical movie, imagine what might happen if the issue were a documentary or a news report, he said. Even worse, imagine if producers and other start engaging in self-censorship, he said.

"That's not what America's about," he said.

Cuba

Obama said he shared worries that Cuba would fail to address human right or move toward democracy.

“This is still a regime that oppresses its people,” he said.

But he said he believed normalizing relations, announced this week by his administration, would give the United States more leverage over Cuba. Visiting Americans and better access to telecommunications and the Internet will chip away at what he called a hermetically sealed society and offer the best prospect for self determination, he said.

“Change is going to come to Cuba,” he said. “It has to.”

The country’s economy does not work and it can no longer rely on subsidies from allies such as Venezuela.

He recounted that in his conversation with Cuba President Raul Castro, after Obama had apologized for his 15-minute opening, Castro told him that he was a young man and still had time to break Fidel Castro’s record for speaking for seven hours straight.

State of Race Relations

Black Americans like the rest of Americans are better off than when he took office, Obama said, though the income and wealth gap between black and white America remained.

He said that educational changes his administration has initiated have meant higher high school graduation rates and record numbers of people attending college.

Race relations are now "colored" by police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, and the perception that law enforcement was not fair, he said.

He said a task force he created would return with practical changes that could be implemented.

“People are basically good and have good intentions,” he said.

Systems and institutions don’t always work as well as they should and can be fixed, he said.

Dealing With Congress

Obama said he would continue to take unilateral actions on issues important to the American people if Congress failed to act.

Immigration was the classic example, he said. He acted only after the House failed to move on a comprehensive bill passed by the Senate.

If Republicans were angered by his executive actions, he said, “There is a very simple solution: Pass bills.”

He urged Republicans to work with him because both sides would have to compromise.

Obama again said that the Keystone XL pipeline would not have much effect on gas prices in the United States, but instead would benefit the Canadian oil industry. The pipeline would bring oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, where it would enter the world oil market.

He said he hoped to work with Republicans on fairness in the tax system, particularly involving corporations. Some are paying taxes at a rate of 35 percent, others of which are paying nothing.

Economy

Obama touted America's economic gains and said the country could enter the new year confident that the United States was making strides.

This year was the strongest for job growth since the 1990s; over a 57-month period, businesses had created nearly 11 million new jobs, he said. About 10 million Americans have gained health insurance in the past year. Deficits has been cut by about two-thirds since he took office.

"America's resurgence is real," he said.
 



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Red Light Cameras Increase Crashes]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 02:09:59 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/52663156.jpg

Chicago’s red light camera system makes some intersections more dangerous instead of making them safer, according to the results of a study commissioned by the Chicago Tribune.

In the only scientific study to date analyzing the nation’s largest network of 350 red light cameras, the Tribune found intersections with cameras snapping photos and ticketing drivers as they pass through red lights saw a 22 percent increase in rear-end crashes resulting in injuries.

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has claimed the cameras are to thank for a 47 percent decrease in “T-Bone” right-angle crashes, the Tribune’s study showed a much different statistic of a mere 15 percent reduction.

The red light camera program has garnered the city nearly $600 million since 2003.

“You are generating revenue under the guise of fake safety,” said Mike Brockway, writer of the Chicago-driving-centric blog The Expired Meter.

Dominique Lord, an associate professor at Texas A&M University's Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, headed the Tribune's study.

"The biggest takeaway is that overall (the program) seems to have had little effect," Lord told the Tribune.

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<![CDATA[Chicago Mayor's Son Robbed]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 01:10:59 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/mayor%27s+son+robbed.jpg

Police are investigating the robbery of Mayor Rahm Emaneul's son, which occurred near the family's home in the Ravenswood neighborhood Friday night, according to a spokesperson for the mayor.

The incident happened in the 4200 block of North Hermitage at about 10:05 p.m. The mayor's son, 17-year-old Zach Emanuel, was walking in the block when he was approached by two unknown male offenders who grabbed him and went through his pockets. The offenders took his phone and then fled the scene, according to police news affairs.

Zach Emanuel sustained injuries that required medical treatment, according to Kelley Quinn, a spokesperson for the mayor.

The police cameras on the corner of the block were reportedly not working during the incident, according to a City of Chicago source.

Neighbors said they were surprised the incident occurred on their block because they say there is always security in front of the mayor's home and in the alley. Police sources are saying the security detail did not see the reported robbery.

Several police officers were seen on the mayor's front porch late Friday night and Saturday morning.

Area North detectives are investigating.

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<![CDATA[Officer Cleared of Killing Dog]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 12:52:43 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cleburne-cop-dog.jpg

A two-month long independent investigation found that a Cleburne Police officer was justified when he shot and killed a pit bull named Maximus earlier this year.

The incident sparked outrage after video from Officer Kevin Dupre’s body camera surfaced online showing him firing at the dog. Though the shooting occurred on August 10, it wasn’t until October that someone filed an open records request for the video and it was widely distributed.

After the video was released, Dupre was placed on paid administrative leave and leaders in Cleburne asked for an independent investigation into the matter. They hired Alan Patton, a retired police sergeant with no previous ties to Cleburne. On October 31, Cleburne Police turned over all reports, copies of video, and statements to him for review.

“We wanted to be extremely thorough to ensure the public had confidence in the results,” said Scott Cain, Mayor of the City of Cleburne.

Saturday, the city released Patton’s final report on the investigation, in which he states, “due to the actions of an aggressive animal, Officer Dupre reasonably believed he needed to use lethal, deadly force in defense of his own life.”

In his 28 page report, Patton details the encounter Dupre had with a group of dogs that were on the loose and explains how video evidence backs up claims that Maximus was showing signs of aggression. He consulted with experts from the Fort Worth Police Department and Los Angeles Police Department and reviewed articles written by animal behaviorists during his investigation.

“I know some people are not going to be satisfied with the investigation’s results,” said Cain. “We agreed to let the chips fall where they may and we gave up control of the investigation.  And the chips have now fallen.”

Maximus’ owners, Amanda Henderson and Quinton Tatum, said while they wish their dog was still alive, they accept the report’s findings.

“We lost a very precious fur baby of ours and all we wanted to know from the beginning is why,” said Henderson. “And they explained to us why and I respect that.”

The city also announced immediate changes to its canine encounter policies, which include new processes for reporting and investigating these kinds of incidents, as well as mandatory training for all police officers.

“For them to already be taking steps in the right direction to not let this happen again, it’s justice I believe,” said Tatum.

“I know a lot of people may not understand that,” said Henderson. “There are going to be people that are angry and that’s okay. But we also ask that no one does anything just because you’re angry. Please, let’s keep it at peace.”

During the height of the firestorm surrounding the case, Dupre received multiple death threats and the city’s website was hacked in possible retaliation. There were also several protests.

Dupre has now been fully reinstated to the Cleburne Police Department. 

Cain echoed Henderson’s and Tatum’s calls for peace.

“Let me make this extremely clear,” said Cain. “If you think you’re going to come into our community and threaten an officer who’s been exonerated or anyone else in our community, we will use the full extent of the law to prosecute you and we will not tolerate it. So we are going to make certain that he and his family are safe, just as we would any other person in our community.”

Cain said the city is also looking into increasing penalties for dog owners whose pets frequently get loose.



Photo Credit: Cleburne Police Department
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