<![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 Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:02:59 -0500 Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:02:59 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["It's a Tradition": Black Friday Shoppers Hunt for Deals ]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:50:59 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP543391047193.jpg

Anders Kullman and his girlfriend flew in to New York City from Stockholm to shop at Macy’s on Black Friday for the tenth year in a row, and by 3 a.m. he was inside the Herald Square store buying clothes.

“It started off with the bargains, but now it’s just for fun,” said the 47-year-old, who works for Hewlett-Packard. “We are not saving any money, coming over here shopping.”

He was among the tourists joining in on the traditional start to the holiday shopping season, which with more stores opening on Thanksgiving Day is now firmly a two-day event.

And that’s exactly how three medical professionals — Naveet Panesar, 25, and 24-year-old Dalisha Bharti, medical residents who live in Queens, and Simar Kaur, a 26-year-old dental student — planned their shopping spree. They started at 10 p.m. Thursday and were still at it Friday morning.

“Shopping, taking rest in between, eating and eating and then going back again and shopping,” Panesar said.

All three women bought coats as well as jeans and jewelry.

“A little bit of everything which completes the entire list,” Kaur said. “One of this, one of this, one of this.”

The Adobe Systems Inc.’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping Forecast found that some of the season’s best deals would be online on Thanksgiving Day, but such predictions didn’t deter shoppers determined to be the first in the stores.

Raquila Wilkinson, 34, arrived at a Target in New York at 2 a.m. — more than 15 hours before its 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day opening.

"It's a tradition," Wilkinson said of shopping on the holiday weekend. "I look forward to it."

There were 500 people in line by the time the Target's doors opened; another 200 people rushed into a Toys R Us in Times Square when it opened at 5 p.m.

The scene was similar at the Dolphin Mall in Miami, Florida, were up to 800 people were waiting outside Thanksgiving evening.

“Shoes, shoes, and shoes,” said Andrea Brillante of the items she was looking to buy on sale.

And Edward Alvarez’s holiday shopping strategy was to get it all done.

“You make it simple to do it all in one day,” he said.

A survey by Nerd Wallet, the personal finance website, raised questions about some of the Black Friday bargains. It found that many of the same deals are offered year to year, which might not matter for luggage or Christmas trees but could mean less than good buys for year-old electronics or appliances, the web sites notes.

Doubts aside, 61 percent of Americans or more than 140 million shoppers said they would be in the stores or online over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. Holiday sales are expected to grow 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion, according to the federation.

Record online sales of $1.35 billion were expected on Thanksgiving Day, an increase of 27 percent over last year, according to the Adobe System's forecast. Black Friday meanwhile could be the fastest growing online sales day at $2.48 billion, a rise of 15 percent.

Demand forced Best Buy to shut down its website Friday morning. Would-be shoppers found this message posted on the site: "We're Sorry, BestBuy.com is currently unavailable. Check back soon."

Best Buy blamed the outage on a spike in mobile traffic.

This is a key time for retailers, which make about 20 percent of their annual sales during the season.

The sales are meant to snap consumers out of any tendency to put off shopping until the last minute, said Priya Raghubir, the chair of the marketing department at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business in New York City.

“They give you a reason to get out in the cold and start spending money,” she said.

“Consumers love getting a deal or at least feeling they’ve got a deal, feeling smart, feeling that they are in control,” she said.

With the most ardent shoppers jamming store aisles Thursday night, Friday morning was quieter in many places than in past years. Some 25.6 million of the weekend's consumers were expected to be shopping on Thanksgiving Day; additionally 95.5 million said they would be looking for bargains on Black Friday, according to the National Retail Federation.

At a Target store in Salem, New Hampshire, Fred Trecartin of Dracut, Massachusetts, waited for more than an hour on Thanksgiving Day.

"I had to get the three TVs, 40 inches for $119," he said. "It’s insane.”

Asked if it was worth it, he said, "Uh, yeah but my wife’s still in there....I might have to send the cavalry out soon.”

Best Buy was among the retail chains that were open by 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Other included Toys R Us and J.C. Penney. Target, Sears, Kohl's and Macy's opened at 6 p.m. and Kmart was keeping its doors open for 42 hours straight. Radio Shack opened at 8 a.m., however, after workers complained about the early hour, the electronics retailer decided to close between noon and 5 p.m.

J.C. Penney spokesman Joey Thomas said that when chain opened on Thanksgiving for the first time last year, the response from customers was overwhelmingly positive. Giveaways and other activities are planned to show staff members that their work is appreciated, Thomas said.

“Additionally, local store leaders recognize the importance of work-life balance when staffing regular and seasonal associates, and give priority to those who volunteer for holiday shifts,” Thomas said. “Hourly associates will receive time and a half for hours worked on Thanksgiving Day.”

Macy’s noted that there were 15,000 people in line for its Herald Square store in Manhattan last year at 8 p.m., a record. The large majority of shifts were filled voluntarily, according to Holly Thomas, a spokeswoman for the stores.

In contrast, Nordstrom will remain closed on Thanksgiving.

“Over the years, our tradition has been to be closed on Thanksgiving so we are able to unveil our holiday trim the following morning,” said spokesman Dan Evans Jr.

Dismay over the early shopping led 32-year-old Brian Rich of Boise, Idaho, a marketing coordinator at a credit union, to start a Facebook page called “Boycott Black Thursday.”

“The best way to stop this is for everyone to stop shopping on Thanksgiving,” he said.

Twenty-five-year-old Danielle Mesisca quit her job at Kohl’s in New York City rather than work on Thanksgiving. The single mother, who has a day job working for New York City, said she would not object if Black Friday started at midnight or later.

“I feel like working a minimum wage job on a holiday is not worth it,” she said. “Thanksgiving is that one day your entire family gets together to spend time together. I shouldn't have to be forced to work and miss time with my family so other people can shop.”

Kohl’s did not immediately respond for comment.

With sales beginning earlier, and uncertainty about when the best deals are to be found, Black Friday does offer one guarantee: long lines of other shoppers, Raghubir said.

“But yes there will certainly be the buzz also,” she said. “You’ll be with all these other shoppers who are also very excited at having got a deal.”

That excitement is one reason 28-year-old Sy Paulson, a general manager at a Best Buy store in New York City said he did not mind working over the holiday. He typically has his meal the weekend before or a few days afterward and works both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

“This is my tenth Black Friday at Best Buy,” he said. “I get a lot of retail adrenaline. It’s a fun time. It kicks off the holiday season.”
 



Photo Credit: AP Images for Sears]]>
<![CDATA[Best Buy's Website Back Up After Black Friday Outage]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:33:57 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-28+at+10.18.32+AM.png

Best Buy's website was back up after suffering an extended outage on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.

"A concentrated spike in mobile traffic triggered issues that led us to shut down BestBuy.com in order to take proactive measures to restore full performance," Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter said in a statement. "Our consumers can return to BestBuy.com in the next several hours to take advantage of today's door busters."

On Thanksgiving morning the website was experiencing issues at around 9 a.m. as well, CNBC reported.

Best Buy attempted to one-up retail competitors this year by opening stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, providing tickets up to two hours before the doors open. Special sales in-stores included a 50-inch Panasonic TV for only $199.99. Other deals, online and in-store, included discounted GoPros, Dell Laptops, and Samsung UHD TVs.

Best Buy’s Black Friday slogan coined the term “door busters” for customers taking advantage of these deals when the stores opened, but it looks like “website busters” may be more appropriate. 

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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 18:56:51 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/459618934.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boys in NY Building Snow Fort Buried By Plow: Police]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:22:00 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Snow-Mound-Rescue-Inset.jpg

Two New York boys were trapped under a several feet of snow for hours after being accidentally buried by a plow on Wednesday, police say.

The boys, ages 9 and 11, were building a snow fort in a mound at a parking lot near a Newburgh apartment complex when a plow clearing the lot pushed more powder onto the pile, trapping the boys underneath, police say.

Police say the plow operator was clearing snow from the opposite side of the mound and wouldn't have known know he had buried the children.

The boys, who are cousins, were trapped under 6 or 7 feet of snow for hours in sub-freezing temperatures, police say, and one of their mothers set out looking for them when they didn't return by about 10 p.m. When she and other family members couldn't find the boys, they called police to report them missing.

Officers canvased the apartment complex for the cousins, knocked on doors and interviewed other children in the neighborhood. They eventually learned that the cousins had been building a snow fort in the parking lot of a health center near the apartment complex.

One officer went to the health center and found a shovel half-buried in the snow mound. He grabbed it and started digging, eventually unearthing a small snow boot.

The officer called for help and police, EMS workers and community members started digging for the boys. Some had shovels, while other clawed at the snow with bare hands. They eventually freed both of the children at about 2 a.m. Thursday.

Both boys were conscious but were taken to the hospital for exposure to the cold.

One of the officers who helped dig the boys out, Sgt. Aaron Weaver, described a frantic scene as he and others tried to free the boys.

"It was all just really adrenaline," Weaver said. " I wasn't thinking much. Just trying to get to the kids."

One of the boy's mothers thanked Newburgh Police for saving the children in an Instagram post Thursday. 

"Today I am thankful my son and nephew are here and I would like to thank the Newburgh Police Officers who found my nephew and my son after searching for them," she said. "They found them at 2 am stuck in a huge snowpile that trapped them for several hours so I am very thankful today to have these two safe at home alive."

Newburgh had more than 6 inches of snow on Wednesday.

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<![CDATA[Man Set Self on Fire: Investigators]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 23:16:54 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/gas+station+flames+112614.jpg

A man suffered burns to half of his body after lighting himself on fire outside a San Diego gas station, according to fire investigators.

This happened at a Kearny Mesa Shell Gas Station at 7785 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

According to investigators, the man started fueling, took the gas hose into the front seat of his car and lit himself on fire.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, and paramedics rushed the patient to the UCSD Burn Center. He suffered second-degree burns to 50 percent of his body, according to fire officials.

Cell phone video from witnesses showed fire shooting from the vehicle and a bystander trying to throw water onto the flames.

Officials did not release the man's name but said he is from the Los Angeles area.

The incident remains under investigation.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 Viewer]]>
<![CDATA[Brown Protesters to Be Released]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 02:48:12 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/141126-day-3-la-ferguson-protest-6th-and-hope-arrest.jpg

The 70 or so Ferguson demonstrators who remained jailed Thursday after the arrest of about 175 Wednesday night in downtown Los Angeles were released by Thanksgiving dinner.

While anyone unable to post bail was initially told they would remain behind bars until after the holiday weekend, LAPD released them throughout the afternoon.

Many of the protesters said they were given no warning that they would be arrested.

"They corralled us into an intersection," protester Carlos Partida said. "Had they said, 'Hey, we're going to start arresting people, you guys have to leave,' I would have left. I did not want to be arrested."

"They didn't say anything," protester Tristan Bell said. "They cornered us in and people started trying to walk away."

Activist and journalist Jasmyne Cannick, who also joined the crowds in downtown Los Angeles, said the demonstrators were peaceful and should not have been arrested.

"Things did not get out of hand at Sixth and Hope until the LAPD arrived and boxed us in for no reason," Cannick said.

But Los Angeles police said they warned the crowds more than once, including with a sound truck.

Unless anyone who was arrested had an outstanding warrant, each demonstrator was released on their own recognizance by Thursday afternoon.

About 145 people were arrested in Los Angeles during the third night of protests related to the grand jury decision not to indict a Ferguson, Missouri police officer for the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.

More people were arrested in LA Wednesday than in Ferguson, which saw rioting and gunfire Monday and Tuesday nights after the announcement was made.

Crowds gathered downtown Wednesday night and crisscrossed streets for several hours before being stopped by a line of police in riot gear near the Central Library.

After an unlawful assembly was declared, police gave protesters a few minutes to disperse. Anyone who didn't, was arrested.

During the arrests, Beck told NBC4 the demonstrators had no one to blame but themselves.

"Well Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so it is possible. That's not our goal... they had multiple opportunities to disperse, multiple opportunities to comply with the lawful orders of police. This was not our choice," Chief Beck said.

An LAPD spokesman said the demonstration was endangering motorists as the protest meandered through traffic, and it became a matter of public safety.

Jane Yamamoto and Ted Chen contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Crowds Cheer at Thanksgiving Parade]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:03:06 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/chelsea-7-crop.jpg

The skies cleared for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, drawing throngs of spectators to the streets of New York City.

It was around 37 degrees with a hint of drizzle and light winds as clowns shot a burst of confetti from canisters to get the show rolling.

"Everybody's great, everybody's having a good time. We're cold but everyone's still smiling so it's always worth it," said spectator Yolanda Rodriquez. 

The honor of leading the parade went to the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band from Western Carolina University.

The musicians were hoping to set two records: one for the most cymbal players (55) and one for the largest band (505 members).

This year, the parade featured six new giant balloons, including Thomas the Tank Engine, Paddington bear and the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger. StormTeam4 meteorologist Raphael Miranda was one of the handlers for a new balloon, the Erupter.

According to Macy's, Snoopy is as tall as a three-story building, as long as 11 bicycles and as wide as five taxi cabs. The big balloons are made up of multiple chambers that are inflated individually.

A wintry storm swept through the northeast Wednesday, mucking up travel for millions. But the blustery weather didn't affect the inflation of the balloons for the parade and it didn't keep the crowds from flocking to the Upper West Side to watch the balloons get inflated. 

It was an only-in-New-York experience for those looking to see beloved characters, such as Snoopy and Hello Kitty, before they were marched before millions on the streets, and millions more on television. 

"It's really cool, they're huge," said San Francisco resident Ella Missan. Daisy Elliot of Boston, who said she's been coming to see the balloons since she was little, agreed. "It's really exciting for me to see the balloons year after year," she said.

The parade's executive producer, Amy Kule, said organizers were glad wintry weather that made sidewalks slick and travel treacherous on Wednesday was gone by Thursday.
"There's no thought that this parade would never march down the streets of New York,"  Kule said. 

Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie of "Today" hosted as more than 8,000 participants made their through the streets of New York City.

Celebrities participating included Lucy Hale, Nick Jonas, Idina Menzel and Meghan Trainor. The parade featured high-stepping numbers from this season’s Tony Award-winning best musical "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," Sting’s "The Last Ship," "On the Town" and "Side Show," as well as a sneak peek at NBC’s "Peter Pan Live!" 

The spectacle was broadcast live on NBC. 

-- Tracie Strahan and Gus Rosendale and AP contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: Chelsea Narvaez
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<![CDATA[Embracing "Charlie Brown'" Tree]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 22:45:08 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Reading+Christmas+Tree.jpg

The 50-foot spruce standing in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania, drew comparisons to the sad-looking tree in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and ire from some city officials -- nearly leading to a switch. But instead of a replacing the spindly sapling, the Berks County city is embracing the likeness to the famous holiday cartoon.

"In honor of the famous Charlie Brown Christmas tree, we will be decorating the tree with one single red ornamental bulb," according to a City of Reading news release. "We hope that this reminds all who are following the story of our tree of the deeper meaning of the holiday season."

Only a week earlier, Reading City Council's president, Francis Acosta, led a group of citizens interested in having the Norway spruce, located at 5th and Penn streets, replaced by a fuller tree.

But Acosta changed his mind about the "horrible" tree and stopped workers Monday as they were in the midst of removing decorations from the "pathetic" spruce.

"Between the snow forecasted to come to Reading and the deadline for a 2015 budget this week," Acosta said, "I think we should be focusing efforts on preparing our streets for the storm and finalizing the city's 2015 budget."

The replacement, which was donated, will go up in Reading's City Park -- and a separate decorating ceremony will take Friday and Saturday for the new tree.

Reading's official holiday tree -- which remains at the corner of 5th and Penn streets -- and it's lone ornament will be rededicated Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

"We would like to thank everyone who has offered to help the city beautify the tree and ask for help to spread the true meaning of the season that the tree symbolizes throughout our city and our great nation," the city said in a news release.

Anyone interested in helping Reading with its holiday mission can donate to the city's Holiday Spirit Fund at any Fulton Bank location. The money will be used to purchase copies of the book, A Charlie Brown Christmas, for children participating in the city's upcoming seasonal festivities.



Photo Credit: Ben Hasty/ Reading Eagle]]>
<![CDATA[Hairdresser Gives Haircuts to Needy]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:59:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/brunch+and+haircuts+3.jpg

With a pair of scissors in his hand, and a client in his chair, it looks to all the world like Daniel Rita is cutting hair at Jewelz and Company Salon on J Street in Modesto.

In Rita's mind, though, it looks a bit different.

"For me, doing hair is yoga, it's therapy," Rita said.

Rita says going to beauty school a year-and-a-half ago, and eventually landing a job as a hair stylist, are what helped him get control of an increasingly out-of-control life.

Rita decided to start giving something back to society. This is why, every Sunday for the past few months he, along with a group of friends, can be found in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza.

While the friends set up a table, start making sandwiches, and hand them out to the hungry and homeless, Rita takes his folding chair and opens it up 50 feet away, then pulls out his scissors and some battery-powered clippers. "I've got to keep the hair away from the food," Rita explained.

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Rita then begins giving haircuts to anyone who needs or wants one, for free.

"It's a karma campaign," he said. "It's not about the money. It's about the happiness."

Happiness is something, Rita confesses, that has only come to him later in life.

He grew up in the East Bay and, in what he now admits was a rash decision, dropped out of college and enlisted in the Navy.

As a gay man, it was an arrangement that didn't end well. He left the military early, eventually finding himself living in Florida, battling addiction, HIV positive, and flat broke.

"I had $60 in cash and $200 in food stamps when I came back to California," Rita said.

He said he went to beauty school to fulfill a promise he made to a friend years early. He added that it was a key to turning his life around.

Free haircuts are Rita's way of trying to encourage others to do the same.

"A good haircut makes you feel better about yourself," Rita said.

Share Brunch and Haircuts is what Rita and his friends call their Sunday gatherings. "A meal and a haircut, that goes further than any dollar we could give," Rita said.

In a short time, word has quickly spread among San Francisco's needy.

"When I show up, there's already a line of people waiting for a trim or a shave," Rita said. Drawing from his own personal experiences, he talks to his clients about addiction and financial struggles. He hopes that they leave with a better feeling about themselves, and a better outlook about their future.

"If I can help just one person change their life," Rita said, "it's worth it."

Rita said he would love to expand his operation, one day converting a trailer into a mobile haircutting station, enabling him to bring his services to more people in more places around the Bay Area as well as Modesto. 


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<![CDATA[Toddler Inspires Disney Petition]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:08:28 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/211*120/11-26-14-Disney-Princess-revised.JPG

A San Francisco family traveled to Disney's Southern California Headquarters Wednesday to deliver a petition with more than 75,000 signatures calling on Disney to create characters with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Keston Ott-Dahl created the petition in honor of her 15-month-old daughter Delaney, who has Down syndrome.

"I want the world to change," Ott-Dahl said. "I want Delaney to grow up in a society where she knows there’s a place for her and she’s part of society and she’s loved and appreciated."

Ott-Dahl's Care2 petition asks Disney to fight back against stigmas by representing children with disabilities in their animated films.

Ott-Dahl's partner and two daughters — both dressed as Disney Princesses — joined her in Burbank to deliver the petition that has drawn media coverage across the country.

Disney has responded to the petition, saying the studio is "committed to continuing to create characters that are easily accessible and relatable to all children."

While the Ott-Dahl family believes Disney does a good job of teaching children moral lessons, they hope the company will realize "every little girl wants to feel like a princess" and will give the family a "firm commitment" to represent children with disabilities.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Stepfather Killed Missing Mom: DA]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:13:41 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Stepfather-and-Padgett.jpg

The search for Jessica Padgett, a missing mother and newlywed from Northampton County, came to a stunning end the day before Thanksgiving when investigators announced she'd been murdered by her stepfather.

District Attorney John Morganelli said Gregory Graf admitted he shot Padgett in his home and disposed of her body, burying her in the yard behind a shed. The motive appears to be sexual assault, Morganelli said.

Padgett, a mother of three, was last seen Friday when she left her job at the Duck Duck Goose day care center in Northampton. She told co-workers she had to run an errand but never returned.

The 33-year-old woman's car was found less than a mile away in the parking lot of a Dollar General store. Her cellphone and keys were inside.

"I just want my sister found," said Jeremy Graf, sobbing just hours before being told her body had been found on their parents' property at Covered Bridge Road in Allen Township.

Padgett had a second job working for Graf's company, Distinctive Fence, located on the same property where he and Padgett’s mother live. Investigators believe Padgett went there Friday to use the fax machine.

"During an interview with the investigators he [Graf] did admit that he intentionally and knowingly caused the death of the victim at his home," Morganelli said, adding the crime may have been premeditated. Surveillance video shows a man prosecutors believe is Graf, dropping his truck off in the Dollar General parking lot Friday morning. Later in the day, Morganelli said Graf returned to the parking lot in Padgett's SUV, parked it and drove off again in his truck.

Family and friends launched an intense search effort for Padgett, and started a Help Find Jessica Padgett on Facebook. The victim's sister, Kristi Davis, posted this message:

"We are devastated by the loss of Jessica. she was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was beloved by her family and friends. The world shines less bright today." 

Greg Graf was one of the 7-thousand people following that Facebook page. Family friends said Graf helped search for Padgett several times after she disappeared.

"The fact that this person was right under our noses and was that close to Jess," said Jim Wilkins, a family friend. "That he could just betray the family...This was a man who was around Jess since she was a child. We're obviously heartbroken." 

Graf, 53, was taken into police custody Wednesday night. He faces murder charges.

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<![CDATA[Loaded Gun Seized From 94-Year-Old]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:59:46 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/LGA+gun+11-26-14.jpg

Authorities confiscated a loaded .38-caliber handgun from a 94-year-old Brooklyn man who entered a checkpoint at LaGuardia Airport in New York Wednesday with the weapon clipped to his belt, authorities said.

The firearm, with six rounds in it, was hooked on the man's belt near the small of his back as he entered a body scanner, the Transportation Security Administration said.  

Port Authority police were called and they confiscated the firearm. The incident did not affect travel on one of the busiest travel days of the year. Authorities did not say what happened to the senior citizen who was carrying the gun. 

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<![CDATA[Mother Arrested for Abusing Twins]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 10:52:05 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/11-26-14_Courtney-Lynn-Stewart.jpg

A Southern California mother who allegedly starved and abused her twin 3-year-old sons leaving them severely malnourished, bruised and one with a fractured jaw has been arrested, police said Wednesday.

Courtney Lynn Stewart, 24, of Murietta, California, was arrested and charged on suspicion of willful harm or injury to a child and corporal punishment or injury to a child, according to Murrieta Police Department officials.

The investigation began when officials at the the Rancho Springs Hospital contacted the Murietta Police Department when one of the twins was admitted earlier in November weighing less than 15 pounds and with suspicious bruises on his body.

The child was immediately transported to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where he remains in critical condition.

Investigators visitied Stewarts home and found the little boy’s twin brother, who was also severely malnourished and had a fractured jaw. He was also hospitilized, and now under the care of Riverside County Child Protective Services. It is unclear if he remains hospitalized.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jeremy Durant with the Murrieta Police Department at 951-461-6354.



Photo Credit: Murrieta Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Hells Angels Member Arrested]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:11:52 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/handcuff+generic.JPG

A documented member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident in Oceanside, California.

The accident happened after a male patron was harassing a family of three while they walked past the PCH Sports Bar and Grill at 1835 S. Coast Highway, according to Oceanside Police.

A husband, wife and her father, Michael Dean, 60, walked on as the male patron and two others began saying inappropriate things to the woman and threatening to hit the men.

Police said the family was crossing in the intersection of Cassidy and Coast Highway, when Dean, who was within the crosswalk and using a cane, was hit by a white Lexus traveling at a high rate of speed. The driver fled the scene, but witnesses followed.

The driver was identified by police as Anthony Medvec, a documented member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang who is on federal probation and required to wear a GPS tracking device.

The tracking device was used to locate Medvec at his home on the 4900 block of Yuma. After a phone call from officers, Medvec came out of his home and was taken into custody without incident on charges of attempted murder.

Medvec was indicted in 2012 for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in a meth trafficking ring busted by FBI. More than 20 other people were sentenced to time in the bust. Medvec was sentenced to 30 months, the shortest sentence of the 20 co-defendants with the same charges.

Dean was transported to Palomar Hospital with several broken bones and a collapsed lung. Officials have not released his condition.



Photo Credit: San Diego County Sheriff's Dept.]]>
<![CDATA[20 Thieves in Chicago Robbery]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:23:42 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/219*120/smash+and+grab+garfield.jpg

Thieves made off with shoes and jeans after smashing a vehicle into a business in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood early Wednesday, police said.

Officers responded to a report of a burglar alarm at a business in the 4000 block of West Madison and found a vehicle crashed into it. From NBC Chicago's helicopter, a red Dodge Caravan could be seen completely inside the building.

Police later said the vehicle had been used in a smash-and-grab style burglary, with thieves getting away with merchandise from the "Cisco NYC" store. Surveillance video recorded during the heist showed about 20 people taking part in the raid.

No one was at the scene when officers arrived, and no injuries were reported, police department spokeswoman Ana Pacheco said.

No arrests were reported as of 10 a.m.

Police on Tuesday released surveillance video recorded during last week's smash-and-grab burglary at the Louis Vuitton store at an upscale mall in Northbrook.

Three high-end retailers were targeted in September, at Luxury Garage Sale in Old Town, Moncler on Oak Street and Louis Vuitton at a mall in Oak Brook. Investigators said earlier they believe the break-in at the Moncler store is connected to the heist at Louis Vuitton in Oak Brook.

Earlier this month a stolen minivan was crashed into the Salvatore Ferragamo in the Chicago Premium Outlets Mall in Aurora, causing more than $20,000 in damage.


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<![CDATA[Extreme Weather Photos: Holiday Winter Storms]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 23:25:38 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/AP620299064223.jpg Take a look at some of the most extreme weather systems throughout the world.

Photo Credit: Ryan Blackwell]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Kills Suspect After Chase]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 08:22:13 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/211*120/Lewisvilel+crash.JPG

Lewisville police said they are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting Wednesday morning.

Investigators said a man stole a car from Highland Village, was involved in apparent road rage altercation and the followed the other driver to a Cracker Barrel in the 800 block of South Interstate 35E at about 11:47 a.m. After a brief confrontation, the man pointed a shotgun at the other driver and then walked away.

At about 12:45 p.m., police said a patrol officer saw the stolen vehicle and started following the man. A 5-minute chase ended when the man crashed into two other vehicles on East Round Grove Road near Rockbrook Drive. One woman whose car was hit was taken to the hospital.

Police said the man grabbed his shotgun and ran to the parking lot at a RaceTrac gas station. He unsuccessfully tried to take one car before getting into another one, owned by Erica Montes. She had just finished pumping her gas, saw him coming with the gun and hid behind her car.

“I was very scared," Montes said. "I didn’t know if he was going to shoot at me or grab me because the police had already surrounded him."

Other drivers were ducking for cover.

“At one point I was down in my car because I did see him running around with a shot gun, and I didn’t know which way he was going to go,” said Katy Gallagher.

Police said the suspect fired, and the patrol officer returned fire.

The officer rendered aid to the man until paramedics arrived, police said. The man was taken to Medical Center of Lewisville where he later died. The officer was not injured.

The name of the deceased has not been released.

Lewisville police said that the officer will be placed on leave, per department policy.

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<![CDATA[Wounded K-9 Officer Heads Home]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:23:37 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/11-26-2014-reiko-k9-covina.jpg

A California police dog who was shot as he protected his handler during the search for a gunman wanted in connection with a homicide was released Tuesday night from an animal hospital after recovering from surgery.

Reiko, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois and member of the West Covina Police Department, walked out of the Animal Specialty Group hospital, sniffed a statue of a dog outside the exit and headed home. His handler credited Reiko, who joined the department in December, with saving his life.

"For him to jump in there and take that bullet, it's just amazing," said Officer Bryan Rodriguez. "He saved myself and my partners. He did something a lot of guys wouldn't do."

Reiko was part of a search for a suspect wanted in a shooting death Sunday outside a West Covina church. Witnesses directed officers to a nearby neighborhood, where a man who matched the gunman's description was found on the roof of a house.

"The suspect jumped down off the roof onto the driveway, at which time one of our officers -- who was a canine handler -- deployed the dog," said Cpl. Rudy Lopez. "Once the dog got up to the suspect, the suspect fired a round in the direction of both the dog and the officers."

The round struck Reiko and officers returned fire, killing the gunman at the scene in the 1500 block of Elgenia Street. Rodriguez said he knew Reiko had been struck by a round because he could hear the dog make a "yip" sound.

"He stayed strong, he stayed in the fight," said Rodriguez. "I recalled him back toward me, and when he was coming toward me he was obviously limping and bleeding."

Reiko was transported to TLC Pet Medical Center in South Pasadena and immediately taken into emergency surgery. Doctors removed a bullet "lodged dangerously close" to his spine, according to a statement from the West Covina Police Department.

Once the dog's condition stabilized, he was transported to a trauma specialist at Animal Specialty Group to begin recovery.

"He's definitely my best friend," said Rodriguez. "I just can't wait to get him back home and start taking care of him. Hopefully, it will be a good, fast rehabilitation process and we'll be back on the streets together."

Reiko could be back on patrol in three or four month if his recovery goes well, Rodriguez said.

Reiko is the department's first community-purchased dog. He was acquired by the department after contributions from business and residents.
 



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[Students Make Troop Christmas Cards]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:07:18 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/11-25-14-holiday+cards+troops+Iowa.PNG

While many Americans will be spending time with family and enjoying a meal together, the holidays for U.S. troops overseas will be spent away from home.

That fact inspired college student Cesar Olvera, 19, to do something to bring the holiday season to servicemembers across the world. Last year, Colvera was able to get 700 Christmas cards signed by the community and sent to troops overseas.

This year, Olvera is on board the USS Iowa, docked in the LA harbor in San Pedro, and he’s got about 1600 cards signed and ready to be sent to to military men and women.

"They're away from home, I haven't been to my home in Mexico for a lot of years, so I know what it's kinda like to be away for a long time," said Olvera, who came to America when he was 13.

Andrew Loutzenhiser, 11, signed a card on Tuesday, thanking military members for their service.

"I just said...I hope they have a great time because I know they’re missing their families and all their friends," Loutzenhiser said.

George Camisa, a Navy veteran who served during the Korean War, said he wished had something like this when he was in the service.

"But we did have a mail ship that came alongside, and whether you were an enlisted man or an officer, once that mail bag came across on the high line, it was like a bunch of hungry dogs after a meat cart," Camisa said.

The last day to come and sign a card is Dec. 6, where the USS Iowa will remain open every day except Thanksgiving.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated the last day to sign a card was Dec. 16, but that day is Dec. 6.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Ferguson Protests Continue Across U.S. for 2nd Day]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:04:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/459584294.jpg

Heated protests continued for a second night in response to a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, with violence and arrests reported across the nation.

Police ordered protesters and media off Ferguson, Missouri, streets after largely peaceful demonstrations turned violent Tuesday evening when a police car was set on fire. Earlier in the evening, demonstrators swarmed the steps of the federal courthouse in St. Louis chanting, "You didn't indict! We shall fight!" The Associated Press reported.

At a news conference early Wednesday, St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar said 44 people were arrested in Ferguson, but added that "it was a much better night."

In New York City, police said 10 people were arrested as protesters gridlocked major streets, highways and bridges. Protesters blocked access to the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel, one of the city's major transit arteries, during rush hour Tuesday evening.

More than 500 protesters marched up Broadway and gathered peacefully in Times Square. They chanted "Hands up, don't shoot" and carried signs reading "We will not be silent." Around 200 protesters also gathered peacefully in nearby Newark, New Jersey.

In Philadelphia, demonstrators were already taking place at noon on Tuesday, with a group holding signs that read "Outraged! Where is Our Justice?" and "Don't Shop Black Friday." A group of about 500 later held a rally at Temple University and protested outside of a police headquarters, demanding that officers wear body cameras. 

Hundreds of activists in Chicago marched through Downtown after police ordered protesters to leave Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, where they had been participating in a planned 28-hour sit-in. The group called on Emanuel to change what they said was a culture of racism within the Chicago Police Department.

Two people were arrested at a small protest outside the Miami-Dade Metro Justice building Tuesday, police said. A Miami jury deliberating the fate of a woman accused of killing her husband's business partner was dismissed early in anticipation of a protest at the Miami courthouse.

In Los Angeles, almost 100 people were arrested as a few hundred protesters took to the streets, engaging police in a standoff at a freeway off-ramp and surrounding a Highway Patrol car in a tense scene in the south side of the city. Police Chief Charlie Beck said earlier Tuesday that only three arrests were made in protests across LA on Monday.

"I know that this isn't over," Beck said. "This is a wound of the nation that will not heal immediately."

One of the largest protests nationwide was in Boston, where an estimated 1,400 protesters gathered near the Massachusetts Avenue Connector, NBC News reported. Police blocked a ramp leading to I-93 to prevent protesters from going on the highway. The demonstrations in Boston were peaceful overall, however, 45 arrests were made throughout the city, New England Cable News reported.

In Oakland, California, a small group of protesters briefly shut down Interstate 580, but police officers were able to redirect them back onto city streets. Police arrested 40 people on Monday night following the grand jury's decision.

A car plowed through protesters in Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon, injuring one demonstrator, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. Moments after the demonstrator was struck, a group of demonstrators jumped on the hood of the vehicle while others tried to free the demonstrator. Minneapolis Police Department said they were continuing to investigate. 

The announcement that the Missouri grand jury had brought no charge against Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Brown sparked rioting in Ferguson and some unruly protests elsewhere Monday night.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vowed that the violence would not be repeated, adding that the National Guard presence would be "ramped up significantly."

"Last night criminals intent on lawlessness and destruction terrorized this community, burning buildings, firing gunshots, vandalizing storefronts and looting family businesses, many for the second time," he said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Ferguson. "I am deeply saddened for the people of Ferguson who woke up this morning to see parts of their community in ruins."

Protesters had hurled bottles at officers near police headquarters, and flames engulfed at least a dozen businesses. St. Louis County police deployed tactical units and fired tear gas and smoke to break up the crowds. At least 150 gunshots were fired and a semi-automatic handgun was seized, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference early Tuesday. 

Sixty-one people were arrested in Ferguson on charges that included burglary and trespassing, according to The Associated Press. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said early Tuesday that 21 were arrested in the city.

"I'm disappointed I didn't see more peaceful protests out there," Belmar said. "What I've seen tonight is probably worse than the worst night we had in August."

Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that he had briefed the president in the Oval Office about the violence. He said they talked about the need to bring people together.

"This is a difficult time for people in Ferguson," Holder said. "It's a difficult time for people in our country. I think this is an opportunity for us to find those things that bind us as a nation, to be honest with one another about those things that continue to divide us and to come up with ways in which we make this union even more perfect."

Across the country, reactions ranged from marches that threatened to shut down busy streets to gatherings near national landmarks. Most remained peaceful, officials said.

In California, large crowds marched through the streets of Oakland and Los Angeles. Demonstrators shut down Interstate 580 and the USC campus was placed on lockdown as demonstrators marched by.

Angry protesters took to the streets of Philadelphia after the announcement, chanting "No Justice. No Peace. No Racist Police," and holding both arms in the air. Albeit loud in voice, they remained peaceful in actions as police trailed their march.

A man was arrested after hurling fake blood on NYPD Chief Bill Bratton in New York's Times Square during a demonstration. Hundreds marched from Union Square to Upper Manhattan through traffic-clogged streets, with signs such as "Jail killer cops."

At the Chicago police department's headquarters, several hundred people chanted "This is what democracy looks like," and carried photographs of those they said were killed by officers.

Outside the White House, roughly 300 gathered for a peaceful demonstration, chanting "black lives matter." Some carried signs urging the demilitarization of police.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Stripping Robbers Hit Again]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:08:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/subwaystriprobbery.jpg

A group of armed robbers who make their victims take off their clothes hit again over the weekend, the latest in a string of robberies all with a similar modus operandi.

In the latest robbery, which targeted a Broward County, Florida, Subway restaurant Monday night, the robbers’ victim was a woman who is eight months pregnant. The robbery was the fifth such crime that had similar circumstances in the last two months. All of the robberies have been caught on camera.

“It seems to be that is their strategy, to take their clothes off,” said Keyla Concepcion of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

On November 9th at the Rite Way Food Market in Pompano Beach, a customer and clerk were ordered to the back of the store, at gunpoint, where they were both forced to take off their pants. On October 31, a victim at a Pompano Beach convenience store was hit with a gun and shot in the leg.

October 28th, a Tamarac Subway was hit around 10:30 p.m. where employees were robbed at gunpoint before being dragged to the back of the store and ordered to strip. On October 7th, an employee of a GameStop in Plantation was ordered to drive the robbers around before dropping them off in Lauderhill.

Investigators haven’t said if all of the crimes are related, but said all of them are similar in their actions during the robberies.

If you have any information about the string of robberies, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477).



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Lawsuit Filed in Air Bag Death]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:08:09 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/192*120/11-25-14_TakataAirbag.JPG

The lawyer for a family of a SoCal man suing air bag maker Takata said he is certain he'd be alive today had his air bag deployed properly.

According to the lawsuit and the medical examiner's report obtained by NBC4, Devin Xu, 47, died from head injuries sustained "as a result of the deployment of an air bag," citing a "metallic portion" that hit him in the face as it deployed.

"It's the type of thing that air bags are designed to protect against," said attorney Gary Dordick, who hopes Xu's lawsuit adds to mounting pressure for a nationwide recall on vehicles with air bags made by Japan's Takata Corporation.

Xu's family is suing Honda and Takata for punitive damages.

On Monday, Honda admitted it failed to report more than 1,7000 injury and death claims about its vehicles to U.S. safety regulators, a violation of federal law.

On Sept. 3, 2013 Xu was leaving the parking lot of an Alhambra restaurant where he worked as a chef. A medical issue caused him to lose control of his car and strike several cars before hitting a wall, Dordick said.

The impact caused Xu's air bag to deploy and explode, causing metal particles to strike him, ultimately resulting in his death, Dordick said.

Due to the nature of Xu's injuries, police who responded to his death initially thought they were dealing with a homicide, which is similar to what happened in at least one of five other deaths reportedly linked to faulty Takata air bags.

"They come out with an explosion with such force that the injuries are being misidentified as gunshot wounds," Dordick said of the sharp objects spewing out of the air bags, hitting passengers in the face.

"My client lost her husband. The children lost their father. They'll never be able to pick those pieces up again," he said.

Xu's 2002 Acura is one of hundreds of car models representing as many as 8 million cars named in the current international Takata recall.

The company has limited its recall in the U.S. to the Gulf region because it believes humidity is part of the problem.

A statement translated from Japanese to English on Takata's website refers to the investigation into a fatal accident that occurred in Malaysia in July 2014:

"The moisture absorption control of the gas generating agent in some driver seat air bags had not been correctly implemented at the time of manufacture, as a result of which an inflater canister may rupture when the air bag deploys."

"There's no moisture problem in California," said Dordick. "How many people have to get hurt? How many people have to die before they do the right thing?"

The lawsuit was filed the same day Takata executives testified before a Senate committee apologizing to the families of those who may have been impacted.

Auto industry experts have been watching Takata's actions closely. At least one expert warned of the unintended consequences.

"I'm seeing people posting on forums instructions on how to disable an air bag because they're worried," said Todd Turner, president of Car Concepts. "It's the worst thing you can possibly do."

Turner does not condone Takata's actions, but urged consumers to take a look at the bigger picture.

"You're looking at almost 50 million cars a year that are being sold in the world. Most of those have air bags in them," he said. "(In) most cases they work."

"We have information as early as 2005 (that) they knew about this problem," Dordick said. "They knew people were getting hurt and killed — so why eight years later is my client's husband and father killed for the same problem?"

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<![CDATA[Video: Louis Vuitton Store Robbed]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 04:40:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/northbrook+smash+and+grab.jpg

Police released surveillance video Tuesday after burglars crashed a car into the Louis Vuitton store at an upscale mall in Northbrook, Illinois last week.

Northbrook Police said the crash happened at 4:53 a.m. Police said a number of purses were taken from the store, estimating the total value stolen at $120,000.

The video appeared to show at least eight burglars entering the store and fleeing with arms full of merchandise.

Sources close to the investigation told NBC5 the heist is similar to several other recent thefts in the Chicago area.

Police said in total, the theft took less than two minutes to complete.

Three high-end retailers were targeted in September, at Luxury Garage Sale in Old Town, Moncler on Oak Street and Louis Vuitton at a mall in Oak Brook.

Investigators said earlier they believe the break-in at the Moncler store is connected to the heist at Louis Vuitton in Oak Brook.

Earlier this month a stolen minivan was crashed into the Salvatore Ferragamo in the Chicago Premium Outlets Mall in Aurora, causing more than $20,000 in damage.

The burglars made off with more than $40,000 worth of purses and luggage, police said.

It's not clear whether the Northbrook heist is connected to the recent string of burglaries, but an investigation is ongoing.



Photo Credit: Highland Park Police]]>
<![CDATA["Hoarder" Dies in Home Fire]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:01:03 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/carlsbad+fatal+house+fire.JPG

A Carlsbad woman whose cluttered home caught fire Tuesday evening has died.

The flames sparked at a condominium complex in the 2300 block of Caringa Way, just before 8 p.m., forcing residents next door to run from their home.

Firefighters say clutter blocked their entrance into the home and, once inside, made it difficult for them to maneuver.

The woman in her late 70s was found unresponsive on the first floor. 

Despite efforts to save her, she was pronounced dead at the home.

Neighbor Arlene Cooperson told NBC 7 she warned the victim to clean her home or bear the consequences.

"She's a hoarder," she said. "Things have to be done; they can't avoid them."

The 2-alarm fire damaged four of the adjoining units. Firefighters say the residents won't be allowed to return until Wednesday.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

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<![CDATA[Obama Addresses Hecklers in Chicago]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:37:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/216*120/heckler+obama+chi+speech.jpg

President Barack Obama took on a group of hecklers during his speech on immigration in Chicago Tuesday.

Obama was in Chicago to discuss his executive action on immigration during a planned visit to the Copernicus Community Center, but in the middle of his speech, he was disrupted by several hecklers.

Three protesters seated in various parts of the auditorium began shouting and criticizing Obama’s deportation policy, saying more than just criminals were being deported.

“You have been deporting families,” one heckler said.

Obama listened for some time then asked them to stop yelling, saying "nobody's removing you, I've heard you, but you've got to listen to me too."

Obama said the group was "absolutely right" and acknowledged that there have been a significant number of deportations.

"But what you're not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law, so that's point No. 1," Obama said. "Point No. 2, the way the change in the law works is that we're reprioritizing how we enforce our immigration law generally. The point is that though I understand why you might have yelled at me a month ago, although I disagree with some of your characterizations, it doesn't make much sense to yell at me right now when we're making changes.”

The audience of roughly 1,800 people applauded the President’s remarks.

"But the point is, let's make sure that you get the facts and that you know exactly what we're doing," Obama said.

He noted if they still disagree with parts of his immigration policy, they can turn to the immigration advocacy groups the administration has worked with on the issue.

It did not appear that any of the hecklers were removed during the speech.
 

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<![CDATA[Police Chase Ends in Deadly Crash]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:58:35 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/jarron-williams.jpg

One person was killed and at least two more were hospitalized after a driver in a stolen SUV ran a red light and set off a chain reaction crash Tuesday in East Dallas, according to police.

The crash happened at the intersection of Ferguson and Shiloh roads shortly after 7 p.m.

It followed a pursuit that began farther east on Ferguson Road in Mesquite when, according to a Mesquite Police Department spokesperson, officers responded to a 911 report of a Jeep Grand Cherokee driving erratically on Interstate 635.

Officers located the reportedly stolen SUV as it exited Ferguson Road, according to Mesquite police. The driver, later identified as 27-year-old Jarron Williams, ran at least one red light along Ferguson Road before the pursuing officers turned on their lights and sirens in an attempt to pull the vehicle over, police said.

Williams refused to pull over and, instead, sped away, according to police. He attempted to run through a red light at the intersection at Shiloh Road when he collided with several other vehicles, killing 58-year-old Stephen M. Fox.

Fox, a commercial truck driver, was only blocks away from the home where he lives with his mother.

Virginia Fox, 81, told NBC 5 she had seen a news report about the accident at 10 p.m. Tuesday and feared that her son may have been involved.

"When they told me that he was gone I wasn't, I was really shocked but I wasn't surprised because I knew that something was wrong or he would have been home," Fox said about when she learned her son had been killed.

Surveillance video provided to NBC 5 from a nearby gas station shows the SUV approaching the intersection at what appears to be a high rate of speed before a burst of light emerges from the scene of the initial crash.

A van, occupied by a painting crew headed home from a job site, was T-boned in the ensuing crash. It ran off Shiloh Road into the passenger door of a Mercedes SUV parked at a gas pump. The force of that collision knocked the Mercedes into the gas pump, trapping a woman inside until her husband could free her through the back window.

The surveillance video then shows the back half of the van catch on fire.

Williams was ejected from the vehicle as a result of the crash, according to police. He and a passenger were transported to a hospital for treatment of injuries they suffered in the crash. Williams remains in critical condition. Once he is released from the hospital, Dallas police are prepared to charge Williams with murder, according to a statement.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Addresses Ferguson Violence]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 08:16:14 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/obama+copernicus.jpg

President Barack Obama once again addressed a grand jury’s decision to not indict the Ferguson police officer who shot unarmed teen Michael Brown, saying he has “no sympathy” for those who erupted in violence following the announcement.

“To those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that,” Obama said during a speech at Chicago’s Copernicus Community Center, where he was slated to discuss his executive action on immigration. “And I don’t have any sympathy at all for destroying your own communities.”

Obama commended those who peacefully gathered to address the decision and said he plans to work with those activists.

“The frustrations people have, generally, those are rooted in some hard truths that have to be addressed,” he said. “Those who are prepared to work constructively, your President will work with you.”

He also noted that he assigned Attorney General Eric Holder to set up regional meetings focused on “building trust in our communities.” Next week, Obama plans to gather state and local officials, law enforcement agencies, and community and faith leaders to “identify specific steps we can take to make sure that law enforcement is fair and is being applied equally to every person in this country.”

“The problem is not just a Ferguson problem, it is an American problem,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure that we are actually bringing about change.”

But that change, he emphasized, does not come from violence.

“I’ve never seen a civil rights law or a healthcare bill or an immigration bill result because a car got burned,” he said.
 

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<![CDATA[Photos of Bear in Deadly Rutgers Student Mauling Released]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:21:56 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/bear+attack+photo.jpg

Police released photos Tuesday that show the bear that killed a 22-year-old Rutgers student who had been hiking with friends in a New Jersey nature preserve two months ago.

Authorities believe the photos of the bear were captured right before the Sept. 21 attack on Darsh Patel. Patel had gone hiking in the Apshawa Preserve with four friends when they encountered the bear, according to authorities. The group ran in different directions and noticed Patel was missing when they regrouped.

Recordings of the 911 calls captured Patel's friends' panic.

"Hey, hello, I'm on Macopin Road, it's 81 Macopin Rd., I believe I'm in West Milford or somewhere around there," said a friend in the first 911 call. "We were hiking and we saw a bear, and we all started running and it started chasing us."

"Two of us are OK, one other person (unintelligible), but two are really close, and I'm scared out of my mind for them. I want to go back, but I'm hurt and I don't know what to do," the caller said.

West Milford police and other officers responded, and found Patel's body a short time after they arrived. Officials said Patel had bite and claw marks on his body that indicated he'd been attacked by the bear. His cellphone, which was located nearby, had a puncture mark on the screen.

The bear was stalking Patel's body and would not leave the area even after officers tried to scare it away by making loud noises and throwing sticks and stones, and it eventually was killed with two rifle blasts. Authorities said it was 4 years old. A necropsy determined it was not rabid.

Test results released by the state Department of Environmental Protection revealed human blood was found on the bear's front paws, and bits of human tissue, hair and clothing were found in its stomach, according to the report from the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife.

State and local officials have stressed that bear attacks are rare even in a region of the state that may have as many as 2,400 bruins in its dense forests. They said the attack was the first fatal bear-human encounter on record in New Jersey.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[3-D Printing Gives Chance to Little Girl Born With Heart Defect ]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:31:49 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/195*120/11-24-14_Heart-Defect-Surgery-Hensel.JPG

Esther Perez was born with heart defects that could have taken her young life, but thanks to a series of breakthrough procedures at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the now-14-month-old little girl is thriving.

Using a series of conventional MRIs, 3-D MRIs and an incredible printer that reconstructed a model of the girl’s heart, doctors were able to plan her surgery, practice it and reduce her risks and increase her chances of survival.

That was the first miracle for her mother, Martha Perez, who found about her daughter's medical problem while she was still in the womb.

"I stop the pregnancy, or continue. Maybe the baby will be born for just five, 10 minutes, and then the baby maybe will be dying," she recalled, near tears.

Perez credits her faith with helping her to make it through the pregnancy, but when Esther was born, things looked bleak.

Her cardiologist said the baby just wasn’t getting enough oxygen to her body.

An early surgery provided a temporary fix, but as time went on it became clear a second, much more serious operation was needed.

Doctors decided the innovations could help, including creating a life-size model of Esther’s heart.

The paper-and-plastic model was an exact replica of Esther’s heart, so doctors could explore and strategize before the actual surgery.

"As soon as we opened the heart, it was exactly as I had seen before, so making the patch and doing the connections were quite straightforward," said Dr. Richard Kim, the cardiothoracic surgeon who operated on Esther.

Similar heart surgeries were done long before the 3-D technology was available, but doctors said it has helped increase the effectiveness and safety of similar operations.

Dr. Kim said Esther now stands a very good chance of having a healthy, normal life.

Perez said she’s grateful for the chance her daughter has been given.

"It’s a miracle," she said.

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<![CDATA[Officer Delivers Baby on Freeway]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:13:56 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Baby-Delivered-112514.jpg

A mother on her way to deliver her second child may have been lucky to hit a roadblock.

Ana Soto delivered her daughter, Annuhbelle Daveenah Martinez, in a car on the side of Northeast Loop 820 Nov. 15.

Soto said she started having contractions earlier that morning, but she wasn’t due until Nov. 24. When the family realized how far along Soto was, they packed up and headed to the hospital.

Soto’s father, Oscar Soto, said he thought Northeast Loop 820 would be the fastest way from their Haltom City home to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. As the family pulled onto the freeway, they noticed police lights ahead.

“We probably had it shut down for a minute or two, and I could see somebody get out of the car behind me,” said Fort Worth Police Officer Robert Scott.

Scott, who was working traffic control, said they briefly shut down the freeway as part of the Loop 820-Interstate 35W construction project.

Then, Soto told her parents the baby was coming. Her father ran to Scott and anxiously asked how long the freeway would be shut down.

“He told me his daughter was going into labor, and I asked when she was due," Scott said. "He said she is due now.”

As Scott made his way toward the car, he realized how urgent the situation truly was.

“I heard somebody yell that the baby was here, and I made it up to the passenger seat right on time, and she completed delivery,” Scott said. “Kiddo was healthy. I turned her sideways and made sure she got all the fluid out of her.”

Scott said the umbilical cord was near the babies neck, so as, a precaution, he held little Annuhbelle in the same position until medics arrived.

“We just wrapped her up with things we had," Soto said. "My dad took off his jacket and gave me his jacket, a towel. Anything until the medics got there.”

Medical personnel arrived shortly after and took the mother and child to the hospital in good condition.

Officials said Scott was an emergency medical technician before joining the Fort Worth Police Department in 2009.

NBC 5's Todd L. Davis contributed to this report



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Protests Erupt After Ferguson Grand Jury Decision]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:56:45 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP606310022258.jpg

Violent protests and acts of civil disobedience - from car burnings to marches on highways - broke out in several U.S. cities overnight after a grand jury decided against indicting a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

The grand jury's decision was announced by St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch more than three months after Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in a sharply disputed encounter in the St. Louis suburb.

Riots, looting, fires and gunshots erupted in Ferguson -- the community first rocked by the Aug. 9 shooting -- shortly after the decision was announced. Protesters hurled bottles at officers near police headquarters, and flames engulfed at least a dozen businesses.  St. Louis County police deployed tactical units and fired tear gas and smoke to break up unruly crowds. 

At least 150 gunshots were fired and a semi-automatic handgun was seized, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference early Tuesday. 

Police released records early Tuesday showing 61 people were arrested in Ferguson on charges that included burglary and trespassing, The Associated Press reported. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said early Tuesday that 21 were arrested in the city.

"I'm disappointed I didn't see more peaceful protests out there," Belmar said. "What I've seen tonight is probably worse than the worst night we had in August."

Across the country, reaction ranged from marches that threatened to shut down busy streets to gatherings near national landmarks. Most remained peaceful, officials said.

In California, a large crowd marched through the streets of Oakland, and protesters shut down Interstate 580. A bank window was broken and several people were arrested, The Associated Press reported.

Crowds in Los Angeles blocked traffic and stopped traffic briefly on the 10 Freeway. The USC campus was placed on lockdown as demonstrators marched by.

In Philadelphia, angry protesters took to the streets after the announcement, chanting "No Justice. No Peace. No Racist Police," and holding both arms in the air. Albeit loud in voice, they remained peaceful in actions as police trailed their march.

A man was arrested after hurling fake blood on NYPD Chief Bill Bratton in New York's Times Square during a demonstration. Hundreds marched from Union Square to Upper Manhattan through traffic-clogged streets, with signs such as "Jail killer cops."

At the Chicago police department's headquarters, several hundred people chanted "This is what democracy looks like," and carried photographs of those they said were killed by officers.

Outside the White House, roughly 300 gathered for a peaceful demonstration, chanting "black lives matter." Some carried signs urging the demilitarization of police.

Officials and lawyers for Brown's family had appealed for calm. At a press conference before the announcement, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had said, "I want people to think with their heads and not with emotion."

"I do not want people in this community to think they have to barricade their doors and take up arms," he said. "We are not that kind of a community."

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for protecting lives, property and free speech, but fearful that protests would turn violent -- as sometimes occurred during the tense days after the shooting -- schools closed and shop owners boarded up stores.

The Missouri grand jury considered everything from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter to no charge against Wilson.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Airlines Offer Waivers Ahead of Thanksgiving Eve Storm]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:36:35 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/airport_generic.jpg

With snow looming in the forecast for the Northeast region of the United States, several airlines announced this week the option for their passengers to change their scheduled flights from Wednesday to Tuesday or Thanksgiving Day for free.

Travelers with American Airlines flights on Wednesday to 18 different aiports along the East Coast, including Philadelphia International and Newark Liberty International Airport, can change their tickets so they fly Tuesday or Thursday, according to a company news release.

Passengers scheduled to fly into 19 Mid-Atlantic airports -- including Philly's and Newark's -- with Delta Airlines Wednesday can also change their flight. Delta ticket-holders can rebook their Wednesday flight for Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday.

JetBlue also announced the ability to adjust one's Wednesday flight to 17 airports in the Northeast, free of charge.  JetBlue passengers can move their Thanksgiving Eve flight to Thursday or Friday.

United Airlines and US Airways also announced similar waiver deals.



Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>