<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:43:41 -0400 Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:43:41 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[New Citizens Sworn in on "I Have a Dream" Speech Anniversary ]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:22:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/121727117-722.jpg

Thirty people became U.S. citizens in a special ceremony on the 51st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

The naturalization ceremony took place Thursday morning at King's memorial in Washington, D.C.

The new citizens represented 28 countries. León Rodríguez, the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, delivered the Oath of Allegiance.

On Aug. 28, 1963, King stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered the iconic speech, with its ringing refrain, "I have a dream," to more than 250,000 civil rights activists and supporters gathered for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

The march became a critical turning point in the civil rights movement, and King's speech became known as one of the greatest in American history.

Last year, tens of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of King's speech.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Marries Amid Quake Damage]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:36:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/napa-quake-wedding.jpg

After a damaging earthquake altered plans for their dream wedding in Napa, a La Mesa couple says the shaky start only reinforced what's truly important to them.

Newlywed Caitlin Rasmussen recalls the moment a 6.0 earthquake struck on her wedding day. But despite the rubble and the wreckage, her love and commitment weren't shaken. There was no way she was not going to marry the love of her life. And thanks to the creative spirit of her friends and family, the bride and groom got to just that. And the Big Day was even better than they expected.

“I seriously thought I was going to die,” she said. “I thought the building was going to fall over just because I thought it was swaying.”

Sunday’s earthquake caused an estimated $300 million in damages and left hundreds of homes and private buildings red or yellow-tagged in the community east of San Francisco.

Caitlin and her then-fiance, Matt Rasmussen, immediately checked in with family and friends to make sure they were okay. Many reported damage in or around their homes.

Just hours before they were to say their vows, the young couple didn’t know if the 125-year-old home they had picked for a venue had survived.

Churchill Manor had sustained damage. However, the management offered to host the ceremony if most events were held outside.

With manor employees unable to work, wedding guests cleaned up the outside of the venue and set up the tables and chairs before the ceremony.

When the restaurant hired to cater the wedding suffered so much damage they had to cancel, friends and family stepped up.

Instead of the obligatory meat, fish and vegetarian wedding entrees, the Rasmussen's had a barbecue food truck.

Their wedding cake - something many couples discuss and plan for well before the ceremony - was purchased last-minute.

“They were literally stopping at a Costco and Whole Foods picking up desserts for us,” said Matt.

Caitlin says the day really put things into perspective for her.

“None of those things matter. Getting married is really about us and our family,” she said.

“Disasters bring communities together.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy photo from the Rasmussens]]>
<![CDATA['Skins Have "Started Process" For New Stadium]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:24:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/189*120/156661021+%281%29.jpg

In an exclusive interview with Comcast Sportsnet, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder said that the organization has "started the process" of designing a new stadium.

“Whether it's Washington, D.C., whether it's another stadium in Maryland, whether it's a stadium in Virginia, we've started the process,” Snyder said. “We are going to push forward. We've started meeting with architectural firms. We are in the process of developing."

Sources told News4 these plans possibly include installing a new, domed stadium at the site of the old RFK Stadium, where the team had played for nearly 40 years.

"Our team should be at home," Redskins fan Julie Patterson said. Her father used to work as a vendor at RFK. "Everybody's gonna put everything on the line to get the [Redskins]."

D.C. Council Member Tommy Wells said he would support the stadium being brought back to D.C., depending on the source of funding.

"If he wants the city to pay for it -- which he has not said -- then we're going to have to talk a lot about that," Wells said, admitting RFK didn't do much for the Northeast D.C. neighborhood where it was constructed. "If it's a smart, new way to do a stadium, where there's retail involved, restaurants, it needs to be a contributing asset to our city and to that neighborhood.

Sources also informed NBC12 in Richmond that Snyder has met with Gov. Terry McAuliffe to discuss a potential stadium in Virginia.

“I come at this as the governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia," McAuliffe said last month during a visit to Redskins training camp in Richmond. "I am the chief jobs creation officer. My job is to grow the economy and I have a team here that is growing the economy. All the players live in Virginia. Most of the season tickets I’m told are Virginians. Everyone comes at it from a different perspective. My perspective as governor is I love the economic activity.”

"Really if you want to say second-rate site, go to Virginia," Wells said.

The Redskins currently play in Landover at FedEx Field, which opened in 1997. The Redskins' lease in Landover runs for another 13 years.

"Prince George’s County is proud to be the game-day home to the Washington Redskins and County Executive Baker wants to keep them playing in our county for the next generation of fans. The Redskins have been great community partners and corporate citizens to Prince George’s County," Scott Peterson with Baker's office told News4 Wednesday night.

“We've already seen some preliminary drawings and I'm going to be very retro with it,” Snyder told CSN. “It's gonna feel like RFK. It's gonna move like RFK. I love that, I actually asked architectural firms to do it and they said that they can do it. I said that I think the lower bowl sections are going to want to rock the stadium like the old days.”

Snyder offered no timetable for when the proposal for a new stadium would be approved.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Struck in Silver Spring Hit and Run]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:01:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ambulance-shutterstock_121613218.jpg

Police say a pedestrian suffered non-life threatening injuries when he or she was struck in Silver Spring Wednesday night.

Officials said a driver struck the pedestrian around 9:15 p.m. at Piney Branch Road and Arliss Street, then fled the scene.

Information about the car in question has not yet been released.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Masked Men Rob Group Relaxing on NW D.C. Deck]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:59:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/nw+deck.jpg

A group of friends relaxing on the back deck of D.C. apartment Monday night was robbed at gunpoint by two men.

A victim told News4 he and several of his friends, all men in their 20s, were listening to music on the back deck of a home in the 3800 block of Jocelyn Street NW in the Chevy Chase neighborhood around 10 p.m. when they saw two men in ski masks approaching them. 

One of the men was carrying a gun, the victim said. 

"They said, 'Get on the ground or you're gonna die,'" the victim explained.

He also said a 2-year-old child and a woman were inside the home; while he was being robbed, the victim said he hoped the masked men would stay out of the house.

The suspects took everyone's cell phones, cash and credit cards, then fled the scene.

D.C. police brought a K-9 unit to search for the suspects without any luck. The brazen crime shocked a normally safe and quiet neighborhood, the victim said. 

"You don't need to [lock your doors]; we all know each other," he said.

<![CDATA[Md. Shelter in Danger of Closing Its Doors]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:51:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007661280_1200x675_322699843534.jpg The House of Help City of Hope at Kingdom Village in Prince George's County is a safe haven for domestic abuse victims, but now, it's in danger of shuttering. If you're interested in helping, click here or call 202-735-6180.]]> <![CDATA[Body Found in Israel Forest]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:30:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/Missing+Yeshiva+Student+Aaron+Sofer.JPG

Police in Israel recovered a body Thursday near where a New Jersey student went missing.

Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that a body was found a few kilometers from where Aaron Sofer, of Lakewood, was last seen while hiking with a friend in Jerusalem.

Rosenfeld said that forensics teams were working to determine if the body could be Sofer's. They will also work to figure out a cause of death.

The discovery came a day after emotional pleas from Sofer's family as they prayed for his safe return, nearly a week after the 23-year-old went missing while hiking in the Jerusalem Forest.

Sofer's mother Chulda had made a public plea for her son.

"We believe he is still alive and out there," his Chulda said from Jerusalem after being briefed there by police.

"And if everyone could think of him as their own," she said, "we really beg everyone, and we plead with everyone, if anyone knows any lead to where Aaron is, if you could please contact the police immediately."

Sofer, who is one of 10 children, grew up in an ultra-Orthodox family in Lakewood. He went to Jerusalem to study and was between semesters on Friday when he went hiking with a friend in the woods. The two got separated, and Sofer hasn't been seen since.

There were fears the yeshiva student may have been abducted due to the Israeli war in Gaza. But no group ever took credit for the disappearance.

Chulda and Moshe Sofer flew from the U.S. to Israel over the weekend to join the search for their son. They were briefed on the efforts Wednesday by Israeli police.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: Family Photo]]>
<![CDATA[Video Shows Driver Attack Kids After Sex Assault Try on Mom]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:34:15 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Sex-Assault-Mother-Elmhurst-Queens.jpg

Police are looking for the driver they say told a 26-year-old woman he was a cabbie before driving her and her three children to a homeless shelter, where he allegedly tried to sexually assault her in front of her children.

The driver picked up the woman and her children on 207th Street in Manhattan early on Sunday, police say. The woman asked the driver to take her and her kids -- ages 1, 3 and 5 -- to the shelter at Queens Boulevard near 51st Avenue, the site of the former Pan Am hotel. 

When they got there, police say the man drove around the back of the building and started to assault the woman and her children.

Surveillance footage released by the NYPD (above, warning: some may find the footage disturbing) shows the man pulling the 5-year-old out of the car and putting the child on the sidewalk. 

The suspect is then seen trying to grab at the woman, who fights him off. Then, the man is seen grabbing the 3-year-old out of a back seat and tossing the child to the sidewalk.

The man gets in the car, and he and mother tussle briefly before the he puts the car in gear and drives off. 

The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries. It wasn’t clear if their mother was hurt.

Anyone with information on the driver is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

<![CDATA[Woman Dies at Burning Man After Falling Under Bus: Sheriff]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:32:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/219*120/police_tape_crime_generic.jpg

A woman died at Burning Man early Thursday morning after falling under a bus carrying attendees of the weeklong gathering in northern Nevada's Black Rock Desert, authorities said.

A dispatcher with the Pershing County Sheriff's Department in Nevada confirmed the death.

“This is a terrible accident,” Burning Man co-founder Marian Goodell said on the blog. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and campmates. Black Rock Rangers and Emergency Services Department staff are providing support to those affected.”

The woman has not been identified pending notification of her next of kin.

<![CDATA[Ousted Market Basket CEO Returns]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:37:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/Artie+T.jpg

Market Basket's restored chief delivered heartfelt words of thanks to his supporters Thursday, just hours after his return to the helm of the grocery chain was announced.

Arthur T. Demoulas, whose June firing as CEO sparked weeks of protests and boycotts, told a cheering crowd of hundreds of employees that he is in "awe of what you have all accomplished." 

"I've always believed that we are born into this world at a certain time and a certain place to be with certain people for a reason and a purpose. Everyone has a destiny and because of you I stand here with a renewed vigor and a sense of purpose," he told those gathered outside the company's Tewksbury, Massachusetts, headquarters.

"And may we always remember this past summer, first as a time where our collective values of loyalty courage and kindness for one another really prevailed and in that process we just happened to save our company." 

Demoulas and the board announced late Wednesday that an agreement has been reached for him to buy for $1.5 billion the 50.5 percent of the company owned by his rival cousin Arthur S. Demoulas.

The restored chief credited employees' grassroots efforts for his victory, saying workers and supporters "displayed to everyone your unwavering dedication and desire to protect the culture of your company.”

“You have demonstrated that everyone here has a purpose," he said. "You have demonstrated that everyone has meaning and no one person is better or more important than another, and no one person holds a position of privilege."

The standoff had prompted intervention by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Trucks have started making deliveries to the New England supermarket chain.

"Let's get to work and have lots of fun," said Demoulas.

Watch his full speech below: 

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Market Basket Board OKs $1.5 Billion Sale to Ousted CEO]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 07:24:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Market+Basket.jpg

Market Basket's board of directors has signed a deal to sell the grocery chain to former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas for more than $1.5 billion, following months of massive employee protests and customer boycotts over his June ouster.

Market Basket and Arthur T. Demoulas confirmed just after 11 p.m. that shareholders had agreed to a deal to give Arthur T.'s faction a majority stake — 50.5 percent ownership — in the company. Sources had previously confirmed the deal to NECN's Josh Brogadir and Peter Howe.

"Effective immediately, Arthur T. Demoulas is returning to Market Basket with day-to-day operational authority of the company," the company and new owner said in a statement.

Employees and customers started a boycott earlier this summer after Demoulas' firing, leading to bare shelves and little business for the New England supermarket chain.

Current co-CEOs Felicia Thorton and Jim Gooch are staying in place pending the closing, which is expected to happen in the next several months. Arthur T. and his management team are returning during the interim period as the company's purchased is finished, the statement said. Arthur T. also said that all employees are welcome back to work to help "restore the Company back to normal operations."

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said in a joint statement they are "delighted that the parties have reached agreement on terms of sale and resolution of operating authority, so that employees can return to work and customers once again will be able to rely on these stores to meet their needs."

Market Basket's board of directors fired Arthur T. and two other top executives on June 23. On July 15, executives at the company's headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, started calling for Arthur T.'s reinstatement. More than 2,000 employees rallied outside of Market Basket's headquarters on July 18, and the company fired eight employees who led the demonstration two days later. The rallies spread to the stores the next day, and continued at stores and headquarters for weeks.

The board of directors said in a statement late Wednesday that their shared goal now "is to return Market Basket to the supermarket that its customers have come to rely on for service, quality and best prices."

"We look forward to seeing you at your local Market Basket," the statement reads.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

<![CDATA[Miami Mulls Pool Rules After Death]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:31:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/caldersloan082714.jpg

New rules being mulled by Miami-Dade County would crack down on swimming pool lights and electrical systems, in an effort to make swimming safer just four months after a 7-year-old boy was electrocuted in his family's pool, NBC 6 has learned.

The new rules would greatly reduce how much electricity would flow into a pool if there were a problem with a pool light. The family of Calder Sloan believes a malfunctioning pool light may have been to blame for his death this year.

“Hey, something needs to be done,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson. “We started coming up with our ideas and solutions and how we could kind of change what’s currently going on.”

The proposed ordinance would mandate that underwater lighting in all private swimming pools would utilize transformers and low voltage circuits with each underwater light being grounded. In addition, the proposed ordinance would set the maximum voltage for each light at 15 volts; an amount Edmonson said is not enough to kill.

Calder’s family supports the new ordinance and hopes it could lead to even more changes.

“I think it gives us a lot of solace that Calder’s short time on Earth accounted for something,” Calder's father Chris Sloan said. “Miami-Dade has so many swimming pools. We hope that their efforts here will impact the whole country.”

The proposed rules would grandfather in private pools, so the change would only be mandatory for residents who built new pools or have work done on their existing lights. But Commissioner Edmonson hopes the proposed ordinance will encourage families to make the changes even if they don’t have to repair their pools.

“That’s exactly what I’m hoping, that people will take the initiative,” Edmonson said. “Now, they know that 120-voltage lighting systems in the pool can be fatal to their loved ones, and I think that would help us prevent that.”

Thursday, five of the county commissioners will officially meet to review the proposed ordinance. It’s expected to pass and then go to the full commission in a few weeks. If it passes the full commission, it could be put into place by this fall.

<![CDATA[Mom: NJ Man Missing in Israel Alive]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:29:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Parents+of+Aaron+Sofer+Meet+With+Israeli+Police.jpg

Emotional pleas for more prayers and information came again from the family of Aaron Sofer on the fifth day of a massive, and so far fruitless, search for the 23-year-old New Jersey student who was last seen hiking in the Jerusalem Forest.

"We believe he is still alive and out there," his mother Chulda said from Jerusalem after being briefed there by police.

"And if everyone could think of him as their own," she said. "We really beg everyone and we plead with everyone, if anyone knows any lead to where Aaron is, if you could please contact the police immediately."

Sofer, who is one of 10 children, grew up in an ultra-Orthodox family in Lakewood, New Jersey. He's in Jerusalem studying and was between semesters on Friday when he went hiking with a friend in the woods. The two got separated, and Sofer has not been seen since.

There are fears he may have been abducted due to the Israeli war in Gaza. No one has claimed responsibility for kidnapping the yeshiva student.

Chulda and Moshe Sofer flew from the U.S. to Israel over the weekend to join the search for their son. They were briefed on the efforts Wednesday by Israeli police.

"They're not sparing any expense or any effort to see that our son comes back," Moshe said. "Unfortunately, nothing has come up." 

Support for the search is growing in Lakewood, where a prayer vigil took place 8:30 Wednesday night at the Toras Aaron School.

"Everyone I ask, everyone should help bring back my brother," said 11-year-old Yechiel Sofer. "Everyone should please pray hard."

The charitable organization Chesed of Lakewood also began collecting money to help fund the ongoing search.

"Everyone's praying and we're trying to do whatever we could to assist in the safe finding of Aaron," said Ben Davidowitz a Chesed volunteer.

The search for Sofer is set to resume in Israel on Thursday.

<![CDATA[Maureen McDonnell's Defense Rests in Corruption Trial]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:39:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/edt-453005582.jpg

The defense for Virginia's former first lady rested its case Wednesday afternoon in the public corruption trial against the former first couple of Virginia.

Bob and Maureen McDonnell's eldest daughter took the stand in her mother's defense Wednesday morning. Jeanine McDonnell Zubowsky portrayed a difficult relationship between her parents as she grew up -- one that didn't improve over time -- and said her mother had a "mild obsession" with businessman Jonnie Williams.

While her father was in law school, her mother was waitressing with three children at home, Zubowsky said. "I just knew we didn't have much money."

Her mother would buy things and then hid them from her father "until the bill came, and then there'd be an argument," she said.

Zubowsky testified that her father was around less and less after he entered politics, and for him, "kids were a priority and my mom came last."

To cope, her mother would drink and take long baths, Zubowsky told jurors. "I think she was depressed, so she'd try to escape," she said.

Bob and Maureen McDonnell are accused of accepting more than $177,000 in gifts and loans from Williams, then the CEO of Star Scientific Inc., in exchange for promoting his company's dietary supplements.

Defense attorneys have suggested the couple could not have conspired to provide special favors to Williams while McDonnell was in office because their marriage was crumbling and they were barely talking.

Zubowsky said her parents struggled after entering the political spotlight. "I think they thought they were ready.... The fantasy of what they thought it would be like was a lot easier to accept than the reality....," she said.

Zubowsky testified she watched communication between her parents decrease and arguments escalate.

On a vacation at Camp Pendleton, after a fight between her parents, her father confided in her about her parents' relationship, something that had never happened before.

"He actually opened up and said, 'I don't know what do do anymore. I can't make her happy anymore. I don't know what to do'.... It was a new low he reached," said Zubowsky, who is expecting the McDonnells' first grandchild.

She said during frequent fights between her parents, her mother would always raise her voice. "I've never in my whole life seen him raise his voice," she said of her father.

During a break, her mother cried and supporters consoled her, and her father appeared to wipe a tear from his eye, Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reported.

She also testified that her mother had a "mild obsession" with Williams.

When asked if Williams and her mother were good friends, Zubowsky said yes. When asked if they were business associates, she said no.

Among the gifts, trips and loans Williams lavished on the family was a $10,000 monetary wedding gift to Zubowsky.

Asked when she returned the money, Zubowsky had an icy reply: "When I realized Jonnie himself was a criminal."

Prosecutors immediately objected.

"As a defense attorney that is what you hope for, because for all intents and purposes the question was asked, the answer was given, and while there was an objection, the answer was already out there, and the adage that you can't unring that bell certainly proves true," said lawyer Charles James, who was observing the trial.

Zubowsky was also asked about a tool shower held for her soon-to-be husband, Adam Zubowsky, in October 2012. She said that when her mother arrived at the event, she explained that Williams wanted to give the couple a special gift but couldn't attend because his wife was ill.

Zubowsky said Williams called during the party and, over speakerphone, informed her that he wanted to get a generator for the young couple. Some days later, a Michael & Son contractor called to say he wanted to take measurements for a full house generator.

Zubowsky said her reaction was, "What kind of generator is this?"

She said she'd expected the gift would be a small generator from Home Depot or Lowe's. But after the contractor visit, Zubowsky said Williams' administrative assistant called to explain the logistics were too complicated and that Williams would send a $10,000 check instead.

What was her reaction to a check of that amount?

"I was overwhelmed. I thought that was a very large amount of money but we also put it in perspective," she said, explaining that she knew Williams was wealthy and that he had planned to fly in his private jet to the tool shower, which would cost more than $10,000.

She said the couple deposited the check into a savings account and never touched it until they decided to return the money.

The prosecution later asked Zubowsky whether it was right for her family to take the gifts, asking, "Isn't it true ... that you thought it was overboard and a little inappropriate for your family members to be taking these things?"

"Yes," she said.

Lawyers for the couple wrapped up their case Wednesday. Prosecutors called two rebuttal witnesses and could call another Thursday. Closing arguments could come Friday.

Earlier Wednesday, Maureen McDonnell's friend April Niamtu became the first wtiness to testify in Maureen's defense.

Niamtu told jurors that when she and Maureen met in 2009, Maureen was "passionate" about nutraceuticals.

Maureen McDonnell's attorney is trying to show that the former first lady of Virginia had an affinity for healthcare products and suggesting them to friends, and that she wasn't only focusing on Williams' products.

On Wednesday morning, defense for Bob McDonnell rested. The former governor testified in his own defense for more than four days, but Maureen McDonnell's lawyer said the former first lady's case should take about three hours.

Once it wraps up, that will leave only closing arguments and instructions from the judge before the case goes to the jury.

Bob McDonnell wrapped up his time on the witness stand Tuesday by acknowledging using bad judgment, but firmly denied criminal wrongdoing.

The prosecution grilled McDonnell on the specific timeline of when he received the gifts and loans from Williams, trying to make the case that it lines up with McDonnell promoting Williams' company and its tobacco-based supplement Anatabloc.

But on the stand, McDonnell was adamant that the money he received from Williams in 2012 was in the form of loans for MoBo, the small real estate company he owned with his sister -- not for him personally and not in exchange for favors.

McDonnell got stern at times, telling the prosecutor, "If you're suggesting that I got a $50,000 loan for MoBo in order that I get Mr. Williams' calls returned then you're completely off base."

The prosecutor responded, "No sir, that's not what I'm suggesting."

McDonnell insists the loan from Williams was a business transaction between friends, not payback for his help in promoting Anatabloc.

Prosecutor Michael Dry asked point blank, "You knew that March 6, 2012, loan was really a personal loan to you?"

McDonnell replied loudly, angrily: "Mr. Dry, that is absolutely false! It is a loan to MoBo."

A harsh portrait of Maureen McDonnell has emerged through weeks of testimony. Former governor's mansion staff members have said that she was quick to anger and seemed uncomfortable in her role as first lady.

As he entered the federal courthouse in Richmond last week, Bob McDonnell said seeing that portrayal of Maureen was "very difficult." 

He told reporters, "No one likes to talk about their marriage in front of the entire country, but this is part of the case." McDonnell also testified that he moved out of the home he had shared with Maureen the week before the trial.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: The Washington Post]]>
<![CDATA[Protesters Rally After Teen Tasered]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:39:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hartford+taser+rally+2.jpg

Community activists are protesting the arrest of a Hartford teen who police shot with a Taser last week and demanding that the officer be charged instead.

They gathered at Albany Avenue and Main Street to march on Hartford police headquarters Wednesday evening.

“Drop those charges! They tased him!” protesters shouted during the rally.

Community members are urging police to drop the charges against 18-year-old Luis Anglero, who was tased Aug. 19 while police were breaking up an unruly crowd at Albany Avenue and Garden Street. The encounter was captured on surveillance video.

Anglero's family members allege that the officer used unreasonable force, but police say Anglero was uncooperative and aggressive. The incident is under investigation.

“We believe officers used excessive force. They did not need to tase this teen. This seems to be part of a national narrative as it pertains to police,” said community activist Cornell Lewis.

“We the people demand that charges be brought against Det. Shawn Ware for excessive force,” he added.

Hartford Police Chief James Rovella showed up at the rally to hear protesters' concerns, and authorities said they would respect their right to demonstrate.

“It’s a sensitive issue, understandably, so here at the police department, we understand their right to protect their concerns, and we will provide them assistance and an escort as they march through traffic,” said Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

Anglero was charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer. He taken to the hospital for treatment and was released in good condition a short time later.

“I'm interested in a fair, complete investigation," Rovella explained. He said a decision on how to handle the incident could still be "some distance away."

The city held a community meeting to address violence just days after the incident, and the Hartford Police Union has planned a news conference for Thursday morning to address tonight's protest.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Nurse Molested Foster Baby: Feds]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:56:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/MICHAEL+WILLIAM+LUTTS+Booking+Photo.JPG

A San Diego pediatric nurse has been arrested for molesting a 2-month-old foster child in his care and recording the alleged abuse on camera, according to a complaint filed by the FBI Wednesday.

Foster parent and Kaiser Permanente nurse Michael William Lutts, 50, is accused of beginning the lewd acts the day he received custody of the prematurely born baby -- Aug. 4.

Court documents reveal graphic details about the alleged abuse, saying Lutts touched and manipulated the infant's genitals while masturbating and videotaping the abuse. Pictures show the hospital tag was still attached to the infant's leg, the complaint says.

According to court documents, Lutts was videotaped a week later naked in his living room with the baby near him while he performed lewd acts on himself.

FBI agents say the newborn can be heard crying through many of the videos.

Investigators began looking into Lutts as they searched for sources of child pornography distribution.

"During that investigation, agents identified Mr. Lutts as someone that was involved in this type of criminal conduct," said Special Agent Darrell Foxworth.

When agents executed a search warrant to the suspect's home, they say they seized several hundred images and videos depicting child pornography on hard drives, computers, CDs and his cell phone. The complaint outlines distrubing details from videos recorded on at least five separate days.

The FBI took Lutts into custody Tuesday at his College Grove home. He was charged with a federal violation of sexual exploitation of a child during his first district court appearance Wednesday. Lutts is in the process of getting an attorney, according to the FBI.

Foxworth said there is a chance the U.S. Attorney's Office could file additional charges against the suspect. Lutts is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center and will next be in court on Friday for a detention hearing.

The 2-month-old victim has since been placed in Child Protective Services' care.

Because Lutts worked as a pediatric nurse, the FBI says they are searching for other potential victims. If you or someone you know believe you were a victim, call the FBI at 858-320-1800.

Lutts' employer Kaiser Permanente revealed Thursday that he will not be returning to work until the investigation and criminal proceedings are finished.

The medical group's spokesperson said they have had no indication from law enforcement that their patients were possible vicitms, but its administration is working with authorities.

"At Kaiser Permanente, our first priority is to keep our patients safe as we address their health care needs, and nothing is more important than assuring the appropriate care of our young patients. We hold sacred the trust our patients place in Kaiser Permanente. We will not tolerate any employee or physician abusing that trust," Kaiser's statement read.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

<![CDATA[Burglars Bludgeon Chihuahua: Police]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 01:12:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Sparky2.jpg

A San Jose family is grieving the loss of their Chihuahua mix, Sparky, who was brutally bludgeoned to death with a golf club after police say two boys broke into the home in an attempt to burglarize it.

Sgt. Heather Randol said on Wednesday that the boys, ages 13 and 14, were arrested and booked into juvenile hall on residential burglary charges. One boy was also charged with animal cruelty.

"We're devastated," homeowner Eric McKenzie told NBC Bay Area.

Family members found the 12-year-old family pet bleeding to death upstairs shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday at their home in the 6800 block of Eldridge Drive. They called police to report that their home had been ransacked, and Sparky had been bludgeoned with a golf club.

McKenzie said two his family's two other dogs, "Pokie" and "Moxie," were not hurt in the attack. “We were looking around for the third dog,” McKenzie said. “My daughter found him upstairs, laying on his side, whimpering, and pretty much unresponsive.” They took Sparky to the vet, but it was too late.

Police said they were able to link the Eldridge Drive case with another burglary, reported at 2:30 p.m. in the 7000 block of Burnside Drive. In that case, the boys were there when police showed up, and they were arrested on site, police said. The boys attend Leland High School in San Jose, according to sources familiar with the case.

Detectives later figured out that the boys were allegedly responsible for "several other residential burglaries in the area," Randol said, and officers connected them to Sparky's brutal death. Nothing was taken from the home where Sparky was killed.  “What was the purpose?” McKenzie asked. “To have fun?  They didn’t steal anything. I don’t understand.”

Tuesday also happened to be National Dog Day, a 24-hour-period when dog lovers across the globe honored their furry best friends, many posting pictures all over social media.

“Without Sparky around, there’ll be a hole in the house,” McKenzie said. “He was a member of the family. Very sad.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sparky's family]]>
<![CDATA[D.C.’s First Liquor Distillery in 100 Years]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:40:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Mayor+Vincent+Gray+With+Green+Hat+Gin.jpg

The beer business is booming in the district, with several breweries opening in the past few years, and now the city also has its first liquor distillery in more than 100 years.

New Columbia Distilleries, maker of Green Hat gin, is part of the redevelopment of the city's old warehouse district in northeast Washington off New York Avenue. The industrial area is transforming into new retail and residential housing.

Mayor Vincent Gray hosted a news event at New Columbia promoting creative businesses as government work shrinks.

“It's yet another example of the city becoming more self-reliant,” he said.

Ward 5 Council member Kenyon McDuffie praised a new, five-year plan to speed up the area’s redevelopment.

Co-owner Michael Lowe is a retired lawyer who got bored and teamed up with his son-in-law to learn the business. He said they are already looking to expand operations and are working on a winter gin.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Detectives Redeployed to Street Duty]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:21:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dcpolice2.jpg

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier ordered some detectives be redeployed to street duty, instead of working on their cases.

The detectives, who are currently assigned to district stations, will be sent to patrol streets in an effort to deter crime for one week per month starting Sept. 14, according to a department-wide email sent by Lanier Tuesday night.

"It gives us additional officers on the ground where they are needed most," Deputy Mayor Paul Quander said.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray joined Quander in defending Lanier's order.

"Her ability to respond to a changing set of circumstances clearly has had profoundly positive results for the people of D.C.," Gray said.

A spokesperson for the department told News4 this is an "updating" of a patrol initiative that has been in place for the past nine years, since Charles Ramsey was chief of police.

The head of the department's union said the order was unexpected and that many of the detectives subject to the order are already working in units affected by a manpower shortage. 

The change does not affect detectives working in the homicide unit and will last until January 2016.

The detectives that will be affected by the change work on cases like sex assaults, burglaries, street robberies and car thefts. According to the union, some detectives who work on child abuse cases will also be reassigned.

"With sex assaults being up 50 percent, I find it irresponsible the deputy mayor would come up with a plan like this," said Delroy Burton, chairman of the D.C. police union.

He asked Lanier to reconsider Wednesday.

"I got the impression from the chief she will be open to rescind that teletype and take a fresh look at which units should be redeployed and which should be exempt," Burton said.

A spokesperson for Lanier said the order won't be rescinded, but the chief will issue a new order Friday clarifying that some officers and detectives will be exempt from redeployment on a case-by-case basis.

<![CDATA[Gov. McAuliffe Signs Bill Addressing Notary Fraud]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:19:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000007660252_1200x675_322626627783.jpg News4's Erika Gonzalez spoke with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who Wednesday signed a bill into law that would ban notaries from charging thousands of dollars for misinformation, that often leads to deportation for the Latino community.]]> <![CDATA[Charges Dropped Against Ex-Redskin Davis in D.C. Assault]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:13:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/152651518+%281%29.jpg

Assault and attempted threats charges against former Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis were dropped Wednesday.

A judge ruled there is insufficient evidence to go forward with the case, surrounding an alleged June 2014 assault in Adams Morgan. 

According to a police report, the incident took place about 3 a.m. June 2 at The Diner, a 24-hour restaurant in the 2400 block of 18th Street NW.

Davis confronted his ex-girlfriend shortly after she arrived at the restaurant with a male acquaintance, according to the incident report. He approached from behind, put his hands on her shoulders and spun her around to face him, then asked the other man why he was with her.

The woman excused herself to have a cigarette, and Davis followed her outside and “grabbed a handful of dirt and flowers from the hanging plant box and threw them at her," according to the report. She then went inside to get a ketchup bottle to squirt on Davis, but someone stopped her.

The argument carried on outside for sometime during which Davis allegedly said to the woman, "I'm gonna slap you cause you fakin. Your friend looks like 2 Chainz."

The victim, 28, told police that she was unharmed and did not call police until the following afternoon because she wanted to make sure she had her facts straight. 

Davis was due back in court Thursday for a hearing, until Wednesday's insufficient evidence ruling.

Davis, who lives in Leesburg, was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in February for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The following day, he was arrested for driving under the influence in Fairfax County.

The 28-year-old appeared in 72 games for Washington between 2008-13, catching 162 passes for 2,043 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC Player Suspended for Lie]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 03:21:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/USC+Josh+Shaw.jpg

A USC football player and co-captain admitted on Wednesday that he lied when he said he hurt his ankles while jumping off a second-floor balcony to save his drowning nephew from a pool, the player said in a statement from his attorney.

Senior cornerback Josh Shaw first told USC's Ripsit Blog that he jumped off the balcony on Aug. 23, landed on the concrete and crawled into the pool to rescue the child, suffering the sprains as a result of the jump.

But on Wednesday, Shaw admitted that the story was "made up," and school officials called it "a complete fabrication."

"On Saturday August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth," Shaw said Wednesday in statement from his lawyer. "I apologize to USC for this action on my part."

"My USC coaches, the USC Athletic Department, and espcially coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful," the statement continued.

The Ripsit blog has since deleted its initial story about the rescue. Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities, school officials said.

"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian said in a school statement."He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story."Sarkisian said earlier Wednesday that the campus was looking into phone calls that disputed Shaw's account of what happened.

"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized," Sarkisian said in the statement Wednesday. "Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."

The football player's sister, Asia Shaw, shared her reaction with NBC4: "I support him with whatever he does 100 percent – 110 percent."

Carmen Trutanich, who represented USC football players before serving as Los Angeles city attorney, says Shaw may have felt pressured to lie.

"It was a kid afraid of telling the coach, 'Hey coach I got hurt doing something stupid,'" Trutanich said. Trutanich is not representing Shaw.

Students were surprised to hear their fellow Trojan lied.

"I'm shocked," one student said. "I didn't think he'd be capable of doing something like that."

"I think that's just really disappointing, because we all thought he was a hero," another student said.

On Tuesday, Sarkisian defended Shaw and said he had "no reason, no history to not believe Josh."

Los Angeles police told NBC4 on Tuesday they had not had any contact with Shaw, but they did take a burglary report Aug. 23, the same night of his fall, in which the victim named Shaw as her boyfriend.

"He is not listed as a suspect, and police had no contact with him," LAPD Officer Sara Faden told NBC4. "His name is just listed in the body of a police report."

Officers responded to the call about 11 p.m., Faden said. While officers were speaking with people outside, a resident returned and spoke to police.

They asked her about her roommates and "people in her life," and she mentioned Shaw as her boyfriend, Faden said.

Conan Nolan and Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: USC Athletics]]>
<![CDATA[One Dead in Potomac Motorcycle Crash]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:13:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0827-motorcycle-crash.jpg

Officials say a 25-year-old man from Pennsylvania was struck and killed while driving his motorcycle in Potomac Wednesday.

According to Pete Piringer with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, the crash was reported just before 4 p.m. on River Road near Travilah Road. The driver of a BMW SUV was attempting to make a left turn when he struck Navdeep Singh Kang, who was driving a motorcycle.

Kang was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and later pronounced dead.

The crash remains under investigation. 

<![CDATA[Razors Found at SoCal Playground]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:58:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/08-27-14_Razorblades_Playground.JPG

Parents in Victor Valley are being warned about razor blades and other sharp objects investigators believe were intentionally placed on a playground to injure children.

Double-edged razor blades and bent forks were found buried in sand and hidden in playground equipment Tuesday at a community park at 3rd Street and Meyer Street in Oro Grande.

Park maintenance workers reported the blades, and no children have been injured. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department’s Victor Valley station issued a statement saying it believes the blades were an isolated incident and that no known threats have been made against children who play at the park.

"My thoughts are that's very dangerous and I'm very concerned for the children who play here every day at this park," said Stephanie Williams, a parent who was at the park Wednesday. "If it was purposely planned to purposely hurt somebody then we really got to worry about the motives of people."

Williams said parents will need to be extra vigilant when visiting the park.

"It's sad but it's true. Parents are going to have to do another job when they come to the park, when they bring their children here," she said.

The department has asked anyone who might have information about who may have placed the objects to come forward.

“We need to protect our children and we need anyone who has information regarding this serious crime to come forward,” Sgt. Jim Evans said in the statement. “We are thankful to park employees for doing a thorough inspection of their facilities and locating these dangerous items before a child was injured.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Deputy Brandon Kirkendall at 760-552-6800.

<![CDATA[No Charges Against Police Who Killed Navy Yard Gunman]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:37:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/186*120/180769861.jpg

Federal prosecutors closed their investigation of the police officers who shot and killed the gunman at Washington's Navy Yard last year.

No charges will be filed against the officers for firing their guns. None of the police was found to have acted improperly, nor was there evidence of any civil right violations, prosecutors said.

The probe found police showed “exceptional valor” in responding to the attack.

Prosecutors "typically review deadly police-involved shootings," a justice department official said, and there was no allegation of wrongdoing in the takedown of Aaron Alexis in September. For the investigation to last 11 months is not unusual, the official said.

Alexis, a 34-year-old contractor, killed 12 people in his rampage through the headquarters of Naval Sea Systems Command.

Alexis fired at police and police shot back in defense, according to the federal report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[School Bus Driver Drunk: Cops]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:05:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Tammy+Costello+1200.jpg

A school bus driver was drunk, with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit, when she dropped students off at the Irving A. Robbins Middle School in Farmington on Wednesday morning, according to police.

M and J school bus driver Tammy Costello, 44, of Bristol, was arrested at school this morning after an officer driving behind her noticed the bus tires swerve off the pavement, according to police.

"He greeted students as they were getting off the bus, and a couple of them made reference to the potential that the driver may have hit a curb or two along the way," said Farmington police spokesman Lt. Colin Ryan.

The officer spoke with the driver and immediately suspected she was drunk.

Costello failed field sobriety tests and was brought to the Farmington Police Department, where breath tests came back at .139, then .134, more than three times the legal limit for the driver of a commercial motor vehicle, police said. 

She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, failure to drive right, and 20 counts of risk of injury to a minor – one for each of the students on board.

NBC Connecticut tried to contact Costello at her Bristol home, but there was no answer.

Farmington Supt. Kathleen Greider has sent a letter to parents saying every child who was on the bus was brought to the nurse to be checked for injuries and any other concerns. 

"All students returned to class after a thorough assessment and parents were contacted.  Please be assured that the safety of our students – your children – is our highest priority, and we take that responsibility very seriously," Greider said in the letter.

She also provided parents with a letter from the bus company. 

"The M and J Bus Company is appalled at the incident that occurred this morning involving one of our bus drivers. We are committed to working closely with the Farmington Police Department to conduct a thorough investigation of this incident. Please know that thorough background checks of all employees are conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles before employees are allowed to transport students," the statement  says.

The statement says M and J Bus Company conducts alcohol and drug testing when they hire employees, who are also subject to "rigorous random alcohol and drug testing." 

M and J has suspended Costello pending an investigation.

"We hold our employees to the highest expectations and safety is our number one priority. We apologize to the Farmington community for this incident as we are a long-standing Farmington company and we are deeply committed to the safety of ALL Farmington students," the statement from M and J says.

Costello was released on a $25,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court on Sept. 2.

Photo Credit: Farmington Police]]>
<![CDATA[Napa Quake: $300M in Private Damage]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:21:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0827-2014-napa.jpg

Sunday’s magnitude-6.0 earthquake caused an estimated $300 million in damages to homes and private buildings, according to Napa city leaders’ most recent assessment released Wednesday.

The dollar figure includes only private structures, and not the damage to public buildings or general economic loss, according to the city report.

City leaders also said 113 buildings have been added to the red-tag list of buildings deemed uninhabitable, and 83 water lines still need to be fixed.

In addition, 500 buildings were still on the yellow tag list of buildings that people could go inside, but at their own risk.

The numbers keep moving, and the city created a map to try to reflect the most current figures, showing where all the problems are, and when they're being fixed. As of Wednesday, PG&E reported all customers had their power back on, down from a peak of 70,000 customers who had no electricity.

And most all Napa students headed back to public school for the first time since the earthquake.

In terms of the human toll from the quake that struck at 3:20 a.m. Sunday, 209 patients were treated at Queen of the Valley Hospital, with 18 admitted for some period of time. Most injuries were orthopedic.

Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Dillon was one of those patients was airlifted to UC Davis Children's Hospital, and despite a pelvic fracture, he was feeling lucky that things were not worse.

No one died during the quake, the largest one to hit the Bay Area in 25 years.

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED: Napa is updating its numbers and providing phone numbers on who to call on the city website.

Photo Credit: (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)]]>
<![CDATA[Harrowing Rescue: Officers Yank Man From Metro Train's Path]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:23:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2014-08-27_1514.jpg

As a train barreled into a Washington Metro station toward a man who'd thrown himself onto the tracks, two police officers and stunned onlookers desperately worked to save him -- and they did, with no time to spare.

The terrifying situation unfolded at the Rhode Island Avenue station on Tuesday night as a 22-year-old D.C. man tried to take his own life, Metro said.

Metro Transit Police officers were called around 9:15 p.m. because the man was reportedly harassing others on the platform. When the officers approached, he jumped onto the track bed as the platform lights began to blink, indicating a Red Line train was pulling into the station.

The man said he wanted to die, Metro said.

While the officers radioed for help, trying to get the train to stop, others on the platform frantically waved their arms to signal to the train operator.

The operator saw what was happening and activated the train's emergency braking system, but there wasn't enough time to stop the train.

That's when the man changed his mind and desperately tried to lunge back onto the platform. The officers pulled him from the train's path just in time.

The man was taken to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. He was not physically injured.

<![CDATA[All Clear After Suspicious Package Found Near D.C. School]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 11:03:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/police-lights-shutterstock_542372562.jpg

Students at a Northwest D.C. elementary school were briefly kept across the street after a suspicious package was discovered Wednesday morning.

Janney Elementary School pupils arriving for the third day of their school year were diverted from the building.

The package was found at 42nd and Albemarle streets NW shortly before 8:30 a.m.

D.C. police have not provided more information on the item, but gave the all-clear around 8:40 a.m. Students were then allowed to enter the school.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Accused of Choking Girl, 11, With Belt]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:47:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Demetria+Michelle+Bowles.jpg

A Woodbridge, Virginia, woman is facing a strangulation charge after police say she choked an 11-year-old girl with a belt early Wednesday morning.

Officers were called to the 15300 block of Gunsmith Terrace at 1:30 a.m. According to police, 37-year-old Demetria Michelle Bowles choked the girl with a belt following a verbal altercation.

After the belt broke, the victim ran to a bedroom and called a family member who called 911.

Police say Bowles and the victim are known acquaintances.

Minor injuries were reported.

Bowles was arrested at the scene. She is being held without bond.

<![CDATA[Freed American Hostage Speaks]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:40:32 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/curtis4.jpg

Freed American hostage Peter Theo Curtis said Wednesday he's "overwhelmed by emotion" after learning that hundreds of people worked to secure his release.

"In the days following my release on Sunday, I have learned bit by bit that there have been literally hundreds of people working for my release," Curtis said, speaking from outside his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "They've been working for two years on this. I had no idea when I was in prison that so much effort was being expended on my behalf."

The American writer, who was held hostage by an al Qaeda-affiliated group in Syria for 22 months, was freed over the weekend and returned home to Massachusetts on Tuesday night, where he was reunited with his mother.

"I'm overwhelmed by emotion. I'm also overwhelmed by total strangers saying, 'We're just glad you're home. Welcome home,'" he said. "I suddenly remember how good the American people are and what good they have in their hearts. To those people, a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Curtis spoke for only about a minute or so on Wednesday. He did not take any questions or address the details of his captivity. He said needs time to bond with his mother and family and promised to speak with the media at a later date.

"I'm one of you and I know what you guys are going through," he said. "But I can't do it now."

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Pilot Missing in Fighter Jet Crash]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:56:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/crashscene2.jpg

The pilot of a Massachusetts Air National Guard F-15C fighter that crashed Wednesday morning in Deerfield, Virginia, is still unaccounted for, a military official said Wednesday afternoon. It's still not known why the plane, which was en route from Massachusetts to New Orleans, went down.

"There is an ongoing rescue mission," said Col. James Keefe, 104th Fighter Wing commander. "At this time we have not had contact with our pilot. The rescue mission is ongoing. Until we know the status of the pilot, we can't release more information." 

The name of the pilot was not released, but Keefe said "he or she" is very experienced and is a full-time member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. Virginia State Police say witnesses have shown authorities photos and videos of the crash, which is helping them focus their search efforts.

A woman who lives about two miles from the crash site said she heard it about 9 a.m. ET.

“I was laying in bed and I felt a jolt. It shook my house. I heard a big boom and a roar afterward,” Lisa Dula told NBC News. “You could see the smoke going up in the air."

The Augusta County, Virginia, Sheriff's Office said the plane crashed near Deerfield Valley Road in George Washington National Park. The pilot was the only person on board. 

No one on the ground was hurt, as the plane crashed in a remote area. But the pilot has not been accounted for.

Keefe said the crash site is in a remote, wooded, mountainous region, so cell phone use is extremely limited, making it difficult to communicate with the rescue officials on scene.

He said the Air National Guard is supporting the pilot's family, and sent people to talk with them earlier in the day.

"It's a traumatic event for everyone here," Keefe said. "We're thinking about the family."

He said the F-15C was a 1986 model and was slated to receive a radar upgrade. He said it is very unusual for these jets to crash, since they don't drop bombs and are typically used for air-to-air missions.

Garrett Beck, who works on a farm a mile from the crash site, said he heard two big booms and went outside, thinking a tractor-trailer had blown a tire.

"I turned around and there was a mushroom cloud," he said. "It looked like something you see in a movie after they dropped a bomb."

The fighter jet left Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts, on Wednesday morning. The 104th Fighter Wing said it lost radio contact with the jet around 9:05 a.m. during its cross country mission over the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The pilot reported an inflight emergency prior to radio contact being lost. Subsequently, there were reports of dark smoke being seen around the jet's last known location.

Virginia State Police said earlier Wednesday that the crash site has been visually located due to heavy smoke coming from the side of a nearby mountain, but the exact site has not been identified. The terrain is described as "very rugged." The sheriff's office is setting up a command center in Deerfield, Virginia.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Peeping Tom Allegedly Spied on Men in Restrooms]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:53:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/marc+dawson.jpg

A peeping Tom spied on young men in the restrooms of several stores around Maryland, say Howard County police.

Earlier this month, a security guard at Columbia Mall told police he watched a man repeatedly follow young men into the restroom and made efforts to look at their genitals.

Officers reviewed the mall's surveillance footage and saw the man, identified by police as 48-year-old Marc Scott Dawson, enter the restroom 31 times in two hours.

Authorities followed Dawson a few days later and say they caught him engaging in the same behavior at the Security Square Mall in Baltimore and at a Home Depot in Catonsville. One of the incidents involved a juvenile, police said.

Dawson has been charged with multiple counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent and peeping Tom. He faces charges in both Howard and Baltimore counties.

He was released on a $15,000 bail.

Authorities are looking for anyone else who may have been a victim.

If you have any information that can help police, call police at 410-313-STOP.