<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Sun, 05 Jul 2015 19:37:04 -0400 Sun, 05 Jul 2015 19:37:04 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[8 Dead, 37 Wounded in Chicago]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 17:09:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police-tape-day-andcars2345.jpg

At least eight people have died and 41 others were wounded in shootings across Chicago this Fourth of July weekend.

Among those who died was a 7-year-old boy who was shot while watching fireworks in Humboldt Park with his father just before midnight Saturday.

Amari Brown and his father were standing on the sidewalk in the 1100 block of North Harding when gunfire erupted around them, striking Amari and a 26-year-old woman, who was transported to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital in stable condition, police said. Both were shot in the chest.

The boy's father said he thought the sound of gunfire was just fireworks, and he didn't realize Amari had been shot until the boy called out for him.

Amari's family say the little boy was a "jokester" and acted like a typical 7-year-old who loved to run and play. They say the best way to describe him is "a sweet, sweet little boy."

No one is in custody for the shooting. Activist Pastor Ira Acree, of Greater St. John Bible Church on the West Side, said he will offer a reward for any information leading to the offender's arrest.

Another victim of a fatal shooting was a 17-year-old boy who was shot near recently named Hadiya Pendleton Park in the 4300 block of South King. The teen, identified as Vonzell Banks, a junior at Dunbar Vocational High School, was likely not the intended target, police said.

Banks and a 19-year-old man were standing outside the park at about 4:45 p.m. Friday when a vehicle approached them and someone inside opened fire, police said. The 19-year-old was shot in the right foot and taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition stabilized.

Banks' aunt, LaShanda Childs, told the Chicago Sun-Times that her nephew was playing basketball with his older brother and some friends when the shooting took place. Childs described Banks as a "church boy," who loved playing the drums and who attended Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer.

The park in which Banks was fatally shot was named after Hadiya Pendleton, a King College Prep honor student who was gunned down just days after performing at President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony with her high school band.

The first homicide of the long holiday weekend happened Thursday evening in the Little Village neighborhood. A 20-year-old man was riding a bicycle in the 2700 block of South Karlov when someone ran up to him and began to shoot him repeatedly in his upper body, police said.

The victim was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Another man, 46, was killed in a shooting in the South Side Washington Heights neighborhood early Friday morning, police said.

The man and a 43-year-old woman were walking in an alley in the 9100 block of South Ashland when someone in a passing car fired shots at them, killing the man and injuring the woman.

Early Saturday, a  26-year-old man was sitting on a porch at about 12:05 a.m. in the 4800 block of South Justine in the Back of the Yards neighborhood when someone walked up to him and shot him in the back, police said.

The victim was taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

A 23-year-old man was killed and two other injured in a shooting early Sunday morning in the North Side Albany Park neighborhood.

The three victims were sitting inside a van in an alley near Sunnyside and Kimball when a gunman walked up to them and fired shots.

The victims who survived the shooting were identified as a 26-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy.

In the most recent fatal shooting, two men were sitting inside a car at about 6:10 a.m. Sunday in the 1600 block of West 89th Street in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood when another man walked up to them and opened fire, police said.

One of the men, age 25, was shot multiple times and was later pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. The second victim, whose age was not known, was found unresponsive in the car and pronounced dead on the scene.

The holiday weekend is often marked by an uptick in violence in Chicago. Last year, there were a total of 67 people shot — 11 fatally — throughout the long weekend.

At least 36 other people were wounded in shootings since Thursday, including the following incidents: 

  • A 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl were shot at about 12:10 a.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of North Hudson in the Old Town neighborhood.
  • A man was shot in the arm and chest at about 12:10 a.m. Sunday near the Chicago Blue Line station in West Town.
  • A 19-year-old man was shot in the abdomen at about 10:05 p.m. Saturday in the 200 block of East Ohio Street, just a few blocks from Navy Pier, following the Fourth of July fireworks show.
  • A 24-year-old man was shot in the foot at about 11:45 a.m. Saturday in the 6600 block of South Bell in the West Englewood neighborhood.
  • Two men, ages 23 and 21, were shot at about 6 a.m. Saturday in the 4700 block of West Addison in the Portage Park neighborhood.
  • A 41-year-old man was shot in the back and arm while sitting in a car at about 3:20 a.m. Saturday. The incident happened in the 4200 block of West Cermak in the North Lawndale neighborhood.
  • A man was shot in the shoulder and leg at about 11:45 p.m. Friday in the 700 block of East 44th Street in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood.
  • A 19-year-old man was shot at about 11:40 p.m. Friday in the 200 block of West 104th Street in the Roseland neighborhood.
  • A 33-year-old man was shot in the chin, arm and stomach at about 7:45 p.m. Friday in the 3500 block of West 24th Street in the Little Village neighborhood.
  • A 25-year-old man was shot in the foot at about 12:15 a.m. Friday in the 2100 block of West Randolph on the Near West Side.
  • A 19-year-old man was injured at about 4:45 p.m. Thursday when a gunman on a bicycle approached him and began firing shots. The incident happened in the 11800 block of South State in the West Pullman neighborhood.

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<![CDATA[Top News Photos of the Week]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 05:13:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NEWS-USA-Fireworks-Jersey-4-July-2015.jpg View weekly updates on the very best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bond Set at $100K for Stowaway]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 18:30:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/08-05-2014-marilyn-hartman.jpg

A judge set bond for the woman known as the "serial stowaway" at $100,000 Sunday after the woman was arrested two more times in the last 48 hours.

Marilyn Hartman, 63, was released from the Cook County Jail Thursday after spending nearly two months behind bars for trying to board planes without a ticket. 

A day after her release, Hartman was arrested again at Midway International Airport for causing a "disturbance" inside the cabin of a Southwest Airlines flight headed for LaGuardia Airport, officials said. She was charged with one count of misdemeanor reckless conduct.

Airport officials said Hartman did have a ticket to board the plane. It is unclear what kind of "disturbance" she caused.

On Saturday, Hartman was arrested again in Terminal One at O'Hare International Airport for violating her bail bond, which was given after the disturbance at Midway. She was charged with criminal trespassing to state land and violation of bond.

During her bond hearing Sunday, Cook County Judge Adam Donald Bourgeois Jr. told Hartman, "I'm trying to help you. Jail is not where you belong."

"I agree," Hartman replied.

"But you won't stop your conduct," Judge Bourgeois said.

The public defender's office was defending Hartman in court. They said they were "doing everything we can" to monitor her behavior, but they "can't force anyone to take her in."

Hartman was nicknamed the "serial stowaway" after she made five attempts to get past security at O'Hare and Midway Airports in late April and early May. As she left jail Thursday, she insisted her stowaway days were over.

Hartman is next due in court July 9.

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<![CDATA[Boy, 7, Shot to Death in Chicago]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 18:28:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/amari+brown.jpg

A 7-year-old boy was shot and killed on Chicago's West Side during a Fourth of July celebration Saturday night, police said. 

Amari Brown was standing on the sidewalk with his father watching a fireworks spectacle just before midnight in the 1100 block of North Harding in the Humboldt Park neighborhood when gunfire erupted, striking Amari and a 26-year-old woman, police said. Both victims were shot in the chest.

The boy's father said he thought the sound of gunfire was just fireworks, and he didn't realize Amari had been shot until he called out for him.

The bullet that struck Amari was intended for his father, a documented gang member who has been arrested 45 times, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a press conference Sunday.

Amari and the 26-year-old woman were transported to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, where the 7-year-old was pronounced dead, according to police. The woman was listed in stable condition. 

The two victims were not related, authorities said. 

Amari's family say the little boy was a "jokester" and acted like a typical 7-year-old who loved to run and play. They said the best way to describe him is "a sweet, sweet little boy." 

No one is in custody for the shooting. 

Activist Pastor Ira Acree, of Greater St. John Bible Church on the West Side, has called for the killer to turn himself in and offered a reward for any information leading to the offender's arrest. 

"This is a travesty of epic proportions when an innocent baby loses his life," Acree said. "We need all hands on deck to get to the bottom of this. We must not become immune to this madness."

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<![CDATA[2 Kids Die in SoCal Ravine Crash]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 16:08:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/192*120/07.04.15_Azusa-Ravine-Crash.JPG

Two children were killed and three other victims injured Saturday when their sport utility vehicle veered into a steep ravine off a Southern California mountain road.

Several people called the Azusa Police Department around 7:30 p.m. to report that they had seen a vehicle crash off the edge of Highway 39 near the U.S. Forestry information booth. The SUV landed on its roof, about 40 feet down from the road above the San Gabriel Valley community of Azusa.

A 12-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy were found dead inside the vehicle, according to police.

The parents, a 32-year-old man and woman, were found injured outside the vehicle with a 13-year-old girl. At least one victim suffered critical injuries.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation and police do not yet know if alcohol played a role. Coroner's officials are withholding the names of the children pending notification of family.

Anyone with information is asked to call Azusa police at 626-812-3200.



Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Police: Mother Questioned about Abandoned Baby]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 15:24:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/abandoned+pasadena+baby.jpg

Police in Maryland said the mother of an abandoned baby girl is being questioned after the child was found on the side of the road in Pasadena late Saturday night.

Anne Arundel County police said a resident called authorities after finding the baby in a car seat carrier in the 900 block of Druid Hill Avenue shortly before midnight.

Scuff marks on the carrier and other debris indicate the carrier may have fallen off a moving vehicle. Police said remnants of a diaper bag were found near where the car seat with the baby was recovered.

News4's Darcy Spencer said a woman contacted police, claiming to be the mother. Authorities were able to confirm that the unnamed woman is the mother. 

At a press conference Sunday morning, police said they are also investigating the circumstances surrounding the baby's discovery, who was supposed to be responsible for the baby, and if foul play was involved. Police would not say what, if any, charges would be possible.

The baby girl, believed to be 2- or 3-months-old, was taken to a local hospital. She will be released to the Department of Child Protective Services.

Investigators are trying to find out the identity of the baby and her parents. Anyone with information is asked to call 911.



Photo Credit: Anne Arundel County Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[3 Children Among 10 Hurt in Boat Explosion at Solomons Island]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 23:51:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tlmd_ambulance_generic_ambulance_stock.jpg

Ten people were injured — three of them children — in a flash fire on a boat that was refueling at a marina on Solomons Island in Maryland.

The 38-foot cabin cruiser was fueling at Spring Cove Marina at around 6 p.m. Saturday when something ignited the vessel, according to a statement from Solomons Volunteer Fire and Rescue.

Five victims were taken to Calvert Memorial Hospital in Prince Frederick, Maryland, including one of the young victims. The other five were taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, including two other young people.

Police for Maryland's Department of Natural Resources tweeted that the victims sent to MedStar were being treated for burns.

None of the injuries was life-threatening, the fire department said.

The Maryland fire marshal and the Department of Natural Resources are investigating. 


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<![CDATA[2 of Oldest Pearl Harbor Survivors Reunite]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 19:31:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Pearl-Harbor-Reunion-KNSD-3.JPG

Two of Pearl Harbor's oldest known survivors, veterans Ray Chavez, 103, and Jim Downing, 102, share an unbreakable bond.

The two met for the first time Friday, sharing the same eyewitness moments and deep memories of the horrific, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 74 years ago. Still, for Downing, “most of what happened is just as clear as if it were last week.”

Downing, who lives in Colorado Springs, believed he was the oldest survivor of the attack until he read a news article about Chavez, who lives in Poway and is 103 years old.

“Well, I’m not going to check your birth certificate, so I’ll take your word for it”, Downing joked after meeting with Chavez.

Downing was asked to speak during a Fourth of July celebration in San Diego and decided to take the opportunity to meet with Chavez. Each of the men have an incredible story of service and bravery.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941, when the waters and skies surrounding Pearl Harbor were still quiet, Quartermaster First Class Chavez and his crew were out on the water.

“We were sweeping restricted water. Nobody was supposed to be there except us” Chavez remembers.

Somewhere near the harbor they spotted a Japanese submarine and immediately notified others. A short time later, another ship bombed and sank the sub and Chavez went back to his Navy housing nearby to sleep.

But it was just a couple of hours later that Chavez’s wife shook him out of a deep sleep. She told him the Japanese were invading and that the “whole harbor was on fire."

“The first thing was surprise. Then I was scared. I thought the next plane would get the right angle, then I was angry,” Downing says of the experience.

Downing was 28 years old at the time and served on the USS West Virginia, though the morning of the attack he wasn’t on board the ship. If he had been he says he wouldn’t be here today.

“The saddest thing I saw that morning was sailors being blown off the ship, come up out of the water, feel the oil on their bodies...and they just became human torches.”

He and the other survivors did their best to defend the harbor but he says the power quickly went out and “they couldn’t even get off one shot.”

“Once the Japanese had sunk our ship they didn't care so all we had to do was fight the fires and take care of the wounded,” Downing says.

But it's what Downing did after the initial attack that’s had more of a lasting impact.

He began memorizing the name tags of the dead and wrote letters to as many of their families as he could to let them know what had happened to their son.

He says it was so “gratifying” that he decided to go to where many of the wounded were being treated and offered to write their families letters also.

Downing and Chavez shared many memories from decades ago. But all of the stories make celebrating the birth of their country so much more meaningful.

The lesson Downing learned from Pearl Harbor is: “Weakness invites aggression...keep America strong.”



Photo Credit: Matt Rascon]]>
<![CDATA[Fourth of July: What You Should Know]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 06:59:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP863047613399.jpg

There will no doubt be plenty of beer and fireworks this Fourth of July.

Although we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 every year, that may not be the correct date of America's independence from Britain. In fact, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail hailing July 2 as the day people would celebrate America for generations to come.

That's because on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution for independence. However, America celebrates July 4 because that was the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Here's a look at other things to know this July 4:

15,000 - The approximate number of July 4 fireworks shows that took place in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

41.9 Million - The number of travelers AAA predicts will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend.

150 Million - The approximate number of hot dogs to be consumed on the Fourth of July, according to Marketresearch.com.

61 - The number of hot dogs San Jose native Joey Chestnut ate in 10 minutes to win the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn last year for the eighth time in a row. He also proposed to his girlfriend, fellow competitive eater Neslie Ricasa. She said yes.

69 - The hot dog eating record Joey Chestnut set in 2013.

6.8 Million - Number of singles sold of Katy Perry's "Firework" from her third studio album "Teenage Dream," according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

99
- The percentage of consumer fireworks that are made in China, according to The New York Times.

3 - The number of U.S. presidents who have died on July 4. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe also died on July 4, five years later.

1870 - The year Congress passed a bill to make July 4 a national holiday, though it has been celebrated as early as 1977, according to Time.

$55.84 - The average cost of a barbeque cookout this summer for 10 people, according to a survey of grocery stores in 30 states.

201.6 Million - The number of pounds of fireworks consumers used in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

15 - The number of seconds San Diego's fireworks show lasted in 2012 when tens of thousands of fireworks were accidentally shot off at the same time.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Best NASCAR Photos of 2015]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 06:10:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NASCAR-Gallery-Images-1.jpg Take a look at some of the top rubber-burning, flag-waving and cork-popping moments of the 2015 NASCAR season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[9 Hurt as Fireworks Hit Crowd in Colo.]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 10:50:02 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Fireworks-Show-Avon-Colorado-3-July-2015.jpg

A set of fireworks malfunctioned at a Colorado fireworks show Friday night, sending fireworks into a crowd of people and injuring nine spectators, fire officials said.

About 17 minutes into the "Salute to the USA Fireworks Show" in Avon, a shell in the middle of a rack of fireworks exploded in its tube instead of shooting into the air, the town confirmed to NBC News.

The explosion then caused the rest of the shells to tip over, sending "two or three" fireworks over Nottingham Lake and toward the tightly-packed spectators.

"There was not a lot of room in between groups of people, so when it happened no one could really get up and run," a spectator, Jane Imber, told NBC News. "It was so scary."

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The nine injured people suffered "minor abrasion burns" at the scene, and were quickly helped by police and medical teams who were at the event, the town said in a statement.

"This is Avon's 29th year of presenting one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in Colorado, and we have never had any failure in the production," said Deputy Chief Greg Daly, who oversaw the response. "It is wonderful news that the injuries were very minor."

The town also said the "safety distance" between the crowds and the fireworks, as well as the firework crew's rapid shutdown of the show, likely prevented any further harm.



Photo Credit: YouTube / Jesus Ramirez
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<![CDATA[Banner-Towing Plane Crashes]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 18:11:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/179*120/KAZ+CANNING+5.jpg

A single-engine Piper PA18 banner-towing plane has crashed into the beach in Carlsbad, officials said. 

The incident happened around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon on the 4600 block of Carlsbad Boulevard near Cannon Road when the plane experienced a loss of engine power, FAA Pacific Division Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor and CHP officials said. 

The plane flipped over and was partially submerged, Gregor said. The 23-year-old pilot, the only person on board, was not injured. A 12-year-old boy was clipped by the plane or nearby debris, officials said, and was taken to Rady Children's Hospital. 

The plane crashed near the warm water jetty, close to a power plant. 

The plane is registered to Air Ads Inc., based out of Gillespie Field in El Cajon. The owner of the plane told NBC7 the pilot had 700 hours of training and the plane had just been serviced and checked out okay.

"This airplane, I inspected no more than last week," said Jim Oakley, the plane's owner. "Changed the oil. Everything was perfect, flew yesterday, everything was fine."

Eyewitness accounts from scene say a person was struck by the plane but officials cannot confirm any injuries or if anyone has been transported yet. 

Witness Cory Vaughn said she first saw the plane’s banner drop about 50 feet from the air before it made a 180 degree turn and crash-landed on the beach.



Photo Credit: Kaz Canning]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Injured by Explosive Device ]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 01:06:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/mantecamap_USE.jpg

Six teenagers in northern California were hurt Friday night when an explosive device was tossed into a backyard party, according to Manteca police.

Officers arrived on the 300 block of Santiago Way at roughly 11:15 p.m. in response to reports of “numerous” injuries due to an explosion.

"Preliminarily, we're thinking that it's a modified firework that was thrown into the backyard," Manteca police Chief Nick Obligacion told NBC News.

A department statement said that roughly 60 “high-school aged kids” were at the house party when “an unknown subject intentionally threw an explosive device over a fence," which blasted close to the party-goers. 

Police said that two victims were seriously injured while one was airlifted to a Bay Area hospital for a "more severe facial injury that doesn't require surgery," Obligacion added. 

The victims were all juveniles, according to police. 

People with information about the incident can call the Manteca Police Department at (209) 456-8101.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Serial Stowaway Arrested Again]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 20:37:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hartman-polizon-ohare.jpg

The "serial stowaway" was arrested twice at two different airports within 48 hours after being released from jail on Thursday, where she spent nearly two months behind bars for trying to board planes without a ticket.

Marilyn Hartman, 63, was first arrested at Midway International Airport on Friday and then again at O'Hare International Airport on Saturday.

Hartman was charged with one count of misdemeanor reckless conduct for causing a "disturbance" inside the cabin of a Southwest Airlines plane leaving Midway around 5 p.m., according to Chicago Police News Affairs. Authorities did not say what kind of disturbance Hartman caused, but they say she did have a ticket to board the plane.

The Southwest Airlines plane was headed for LaGuardia Airport, officials said. 

She was caught again at O'Hare Saturday afternoon in Terminal One. Hartman was charged with criminal trespassing to state land and violation of bail bond, which she was given Friday after the disturbance at Midway, according to Chicago Police News Affairs. 

Hartman was nicknamed the "serial stowaway" after she made five attempts to get past security at O'Hare and Midway Airports in late April and early May. She was arrested twice at O'Hare, and a third time at Midway May 3. As she left the jail, she insisted her stowaway days are over.

During hearings Wednesday and Thursday, two different Cook County judges accepted Hartman's guilty pleas on separate charges, sentencing her to the two months she had already served.

It was not known if Hartman had an attorney.

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<![CDATA[Trump Blames Border for SF Shooting]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 16:44:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/DonaldTrump_Getty_07032015.jpg

Donald Trump on Friday blamed the United States' vulnerable southern border for this week's fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately," the Republican presidential hopeful said in a statement.

Steinle, 32, of Pleasanton, was gunned down Wednesday evening near the Embarcadero and Mission Street in the city's South Beach neighborhood. Police arrested Francisco Sanchez following what they believe is a random incident.

New details emerged about the suspect Friday when the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reported that Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant with nearly a dozen aliases and a long criminal history. He has previously been deported to Mexico five times, according to authorities.

San Francisco County Sheriff's Legal Counsel Freya Horne told NBC Bay Area Friday that the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don't have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to.

For his part, Trump deemed the situation “absolutely disgraceful” and blasted his fellow candidates for lacking the “guts to even talk about it.”

“The American people deserve a wall to protect our jobs, economy and our safety,” he added. “I am the only candidate who would build it. I will make America great again!”

Trump’s candidacy announcement June 16 had a similar flavor.

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said. "And these aren't the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...they're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

But several business organizations — including NBC, Univision, Macy’s and NASCAR — have disassociated themselves from Trump after his incendiary comments came to light.

Hispanic leaders have also pressed the rest of the GOP presidential candidates to condemn Trump. So far, most of the candidates have either stayed mum or quietly sidestepped his statements. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has even defended him, saying that "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration."

Only Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Hispanic, denounced Trump's statements as "not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Brisket Bandit Burns Meat at Texas BBQ Joint: Owners ]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:29:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/mass+meat+stolen.jpg

An attempt to steal meat ended with a fire and a lot of lost meat — and money — for a Denton barbecue restaurant.

Last Friday morning, firefighters had to come to Bet the House BBQ on South Elm Street just before 5 a.m. to put out a fire that started behind the building in the restaurant's smoke house.

Owners said the fire appeared to start because someone left the doors on the smoker open, letting in oxygen that mixed with grease and heat to start the blaze. They didn't believe it was anyone who worked there that would have made the mistake.

When their landlord gave them the surveillance video from that morning, it became clear what happened.

The video files show what looks like a blue or red Honda Fit with a bike and bike rack on the back pull up to the smoker and a man get out of the passenger side. He enters the smoke house and, in just 32 seconds, he grabs a brisket that was cooking inside, tosses it into the passenger seat as he hops back in, and the car takes off quickly.

It's unclear if there was a second person driving the vehicle.

Owners Shawn Eagle and Cody Smithers believe the man must have left that door open, because just 10 minutes later the video shows smoke and flames start to shoot out of the smokehouse chimney as the fire took hold.

The flames ruined all of the meat being prepared in the smoker, forcing the restaurant to close for most of the day; only opening late Friday with the few items they could quickly prepare in time. Eagle said they had also been preparing for a large catering order that had to be canceled.

"Easily $1,500 in sales alone," said Smithers.

"Everything that we had cooking in there ended up on the ground," said Eagle. "We basically lost $600-700 worth of meat."

The restaurant has since added security camera warnings on the smoker as a deterrent.

They hope now someone will recognize the man caught in the video or the car he was driving and point police in the right direction.

Within hours of posting still frames of the video on Facebook, Eagle and Smithers said it had been viewed thousands of times and shared across the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call the restaurant or Denton Police.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Boy Stands on Corner for Days, Asks Drivers to "Honk for USA"]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 06:58:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/boy+flag+sign.jpg

A 14-year-old New Jersey boy eager to express his patriotism has been standing on a street corner in front of his house with an American flag and a sign reading "Honk if you love the USA," and he says he'll continue to stand there until the fireworks go off on the Fourth of July. 

Shpejtim Zenelej has been standing on the corner of Harold Avenue and Franklin Street in Rahway all day every day since Sunday, inspired to show his love for America after he saw reports of flag burning last week. 

"It's the best country in the world," he said.

Zenelej was born in the U.S. but his parents are from Kosovo. He said he's been to the republic and knows how fortunate his life has been in America. 

In recognition of Zenelej's efforts Thursday, Rahway put on an impromptu parade of police and other first responders. It only lasted a couple minutes, but "it was the best day of my life," the teen said. 

The parade was organized by the mayor and some city employees during break and lunch times, with a hidden motive, according to Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman.

"There's people that are deplorably trying to hang onto the Confederate flag," he said. "He's reminding them there's only one flag in the U.S.A. It has the colors red, white and blue." 

The boy's parents say they're very proud of their son, whom they characterized as "14 going on 40." 

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<![CDATA[JetBlue's First Flight to Cuba]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:55:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/flight+to+cuba.jpg

JetBlue officially began direct flights to Cuba out of New York's Kennedy Airport Friday, becoming the first major carrier to make the trip after travel restrictions were eased by the White House earlier this year and making passengers who got to be on the virgin flight feel like part of history.

The Queens-based airline announced its plan to offer the weekly direct flights in May, but the first flight, on an Airbus 150-seat A320, was made Friday. It left JFK at noon en route to Havana's Jose Marti International Airport. 

Carlos Infante, a Cuba native who lives in Brooklyn and was aboard that first flight to Havana, said before he boarded the plane that he felt like he was a part of history.

"This is something we're gonna talk about for years and years and years; this is an opportunity for American people to go to Cuba," said a smiling Infante, holding his boarding pass in front of him.

Infante said he treasured the freedom to travel to his country of birth, direct from New York, for the first time in at least 50 years.

"I can't explain, it's something that's in your heart," Infante said. "I don't have words to say how I feel -- this is a beautiful day."

The weekly charter flights will leave JFK at noon each Friday, with a scheduled landing time in Havana at 3:30 p.m. Return flights leave Cuba at 4:30 p.m. and land in New York around 8 p.m.

While operated by JetBlue, the flight is being offered by Cuba Travel Services, and travelers should make arrangements directly with the carrier service provider at cubatravelservices.com.

A smaller airline, Sun Country, has been offering direct flights between JFK and Havana for several months. JetBlue is the first major carrier to do so. 



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Fireworks Nixed in California Because of Drought]]> Sat, 04 Jul 2015 12:08:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/fireworks+generic+1.jpg

Fireworks celebrating July 4 will splash across the sky in major California cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

But several cities in the drought-stricken state have put the kibosh on the pyrotechnics.

Most notably, the city of Cupertino canceled its annual fireworks show because the event took place on the high school lawn, which is actually made of plastic turf. It is believed to be the first city in California to have done so because of drought-related reasons.

Crews estimated it would take 100,000 gallons of water to drench the fake grass before and after the show to prevent the plastic from melting, according to city spokesman Rick Kitson. The school district decided not to waste all that water this year as California is in its fourth year of drought.

Some other areas decided to follow similar suit because of the drought.

Accuweather reports that Kern County and the city of Danville have banned fireworks and two lake areas —  Bass Lake, roughly 55 miles northeast of Fresno, and Don Pedro Lake — have nixed fireworks because of the drought.

Separate from the drought, Santa Clara County supervisors last month voted to hold homeowners accountable when fireworks are discharged from their property by being slapped with a $350 fine if the explosives are launched off their lawns.

That’s not to say there isn’t enough to do for the July 4 weekend. The Bay Area has at least 20 shows, events and parades to celebrate the nation’s birthday. And still, there are sanctioned fireworks displays in downtown San Jose's Discovery Meadow, Leo Ryan Park in Foster City, the Berkeley Marina and Pier 39 in San Francisco.
 

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