<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington https://www.nbcwashington.comen-usTue, 21 Nov 2017 03:32:54 -0500Tue, 21 Nov 2017 03:32:54 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[DC Funeral Home Sued by Attorney General; Remains Removed]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 23:30:27 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-law.jpg

A consumer lawsuit and motion for a temporary restraining order was filed against a northwest Washington, D.C., funeral home after the attorney general for D.C. said the home was operating without proper licenses.

Attorney General Karl Racine said Austin Royster Funeral Home, located in the 500 block of Kennedy Street Northwest, charged grieving families for services it did not provide, according to a release from the Office of the Attorney General. Racine filed the suit on Nov. 18 in a D.C. Superior Court Civil Division.

He said Austin Royster has been operating without a proper license for a period of time, meaning families could not receive death certificates. Without the proper death documentation, families would be unable to access bank accounts and insurance policies, begin probate proceedings, or allow for burial or cremation of the body, according to the OAG.

“Grieving families shouldn’t have to worry about whether they are being taken advantage of while mourning the loss of their loved ones. We are deeply concerned that Austin Royster may have engaged in multiple unlawful practices while providing funeral services,” said Racine. “Our office is working hard to help relatives and friends of the deceased individuals conclude their affairs and get restitution.”

The funeral home said they would not be making a statement about the case.

The lawsuit alleged the funeral home accepted an insurance payment of $53,000 for services that cost $5,767 and did not returned the rest of the money to the consumer. Racine is warning people from doing any further business with the funeral home.

While the investigation is going on, remains that were located at the Austin Royster Funeral Home have been moved to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Any D.C. resident who thinks they may have been the victim in this case or from any type of fraud or scam can file a consumer complaint by calling OAG’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (202) 442-9828, sending an email to consumer.protection@dc.gov, or submitting a complaint via a webform.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[1 Missing Va. Teen Found in DC, 2 Others Still Missing]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:39:23 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Missing+Bristow+Teens.jpg

One of three teens missing from the Bristow area of Prince William County, Virginia has been located, police said.

Prince William County police said Breonia Andreia Thomas, 17, was located in Washington, D.C., and is safe. They said the two other teens are missing.

All three girls left the Bristow area about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12. The FBI is involved in the search for the teens and is asking for the public's help to find them.

Ashley Sarahy Lemus is described as a 17-year-old Hispanic female who is 5 feet 1 inches tall and weighing 115 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes, a “Stay Strong” tattoo on her chest, a heart tattoo on her sternum and other unknown tattoos on her arms and wrists. Lemus was last seen wearing a black Nike sweatshirt and gray leggings.

Chamareya Rontavia Wright is described as an 18-year-old black female who is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 195 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Wright was last seen wearing a sweatshirt and dark color leggings.

The FBI is asking anyone with information about their whereabouts to contact the Prince William County Police Department at 703-792-6500 or the FBI Washington Field Office at 202-278-2000 or www.tips.fbi.gov.

Photo Credit: Prince William County Police]]>
<![CDATA[Va. Bus Driver, Aide Charged in Assault of Autistic Boy]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:12:27 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/James+Duffy+Edmund+Bailey.jpg

A school bus driver and an aide have been charged after an 11-year-old autistic boy was allegedly assaulted twice on a Fairfax County, Virginia, school bus.

Fairfax County police said James Duffy II, 62, and Edmund Bailey, 35, both of Lorton, Virginia, were each charged with count of assault and battery. Investigators said the two assaulted the autistic boy on Oct. 11 and Oct. 13 while on the way to school.

Detectives said the second assault was witnessed by a staff member, who intervened. Both men turned themselves to answer the warrants.

Police said Duffy is on administrative leave in the process of being terminated from his bus driver position, and Bailey resigned his position as an aide.

Photo Credit: Fairfax County Police Department]]>
<![CDATA['Imposter' Uber Driver Sexually Assaulted Woman at AU]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 23:19:19 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/112017+american+university+campus.jpg

A man posing as a ride-share driver picked up a woman in his car and sexually assaulted her on American University's campus early Sunday, police said. 

Police arrested and charged El Houcine Jourhdaly, 36, of Springfield, Virginia, on sexual abuse and kidnapping charges Monday.

The 21-year-old victim and a male companion told police they saw an Uber sticker on a car. About 3:20 a.m. Sunday, the victim flagged down the driver near Dupont Circle, police said. 

The attacker said he would drive the victim and her companion somewhere, and both got in the car, police said.

During the drive, Jourhdaly pulled over and demanded the woman get in the front seat, the companion later told police. She complied, he said.

When the car arrived at the destination, the driver yelled at the companion to leave the car, he told police. Police say he went to help the woman out, but the driver sped away with her inside. The companion ran after the car, but it sped off. 

The companion called the woman's phone, he told police. She answered once and said she didn't know where she was going.

Then, Jourhdaly allegedly got on the phone and said they were going to a McDonald's. Police did not say when the phone calls occurred.

On the American University campus, the driver forced the woman out of the car and sexually assaulted her, she told police.

Police say video shows Jourhdaly's car had an Uber sticker before the assault. The sticker was gone when police went to interview him at his home in Virginia, police said.

Uber said Jourhdaly was a driver for the service beginning in January 2014, but said he was banned from the app in 2015. The company declined to say why he was removed.

Jourhdaly initially told police he did not work for Uber, then said in a second interview that he did work for Uber, police said.

The attack has been classified as first-degree sexual abuse, which in D.C. refers to engaging in any sexual act by forcing, threatening or drugging a victim, or rendering a victim unconscious. The maximum penalty is life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The woman initially reported the crime to campus police. It was not immediately clear if she is a student.

The attack occurred outside American University's Asbury Hall, which houses classrooms and administrative offices.

Uber initially told News4 that Jourhdaly did not appear to be an active driver. 

Jourhdaly is expected to appear in court Monday.

American University issued a crime alert to students and staff. Information on the alert was posted on the AU Public Safety Twitter account about 8:45 p.m. They reminded students to only request rides through official apps.

Police ask anyone who has information or had a previous encounter with Jourhdaly to call police at 202-727-9099.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Was a 'Factor' in Decision to Retire, Says GOP Rep.]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:06:49 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/214*120/troAP_17324678770142.jpg

Republican Rep. Dave Trott told CNBC on Monday that President Donald Trump was a "factor" in his decision to retire from the House at the end of his second term.

"We have different styles and I sometimes don't understand some of the things he does and says," said Trott, who represents Michigan's 11th congressional district.

"It's a very partisan environment and I think that problem has been exacerbated under President Trump," he said on "Power Lunch."

Trott is one of more than two dozen Republican House members not seeking re-election in 2018.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic Video of Small Plane's Emergency Landing]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:33:22 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Plane-Landing-GIF.gif

A pilot successfully landed a small plane with defective landing gear at a Maryland airport Monday afternoon.

The plane circled St. Mary's County Regional Airport for more than 90 minutes before executing the emergency landing on its belly, which Chopper4 captured on camera.

A man could be seen getting out of the plane without issue after it stopped on a runway.

St. Mary's County Fire and Rescue was on hand for the landing.

A crane was used to remove the plane from the runway. 

St. Mary's County Regional Airport is a small airport in southern Maryland.

<![CDATA[Man Allegedly Exposed Himself to Children Near Md. School]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:45:05 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Benjamin+Stoddert+Middle+School.jpg

Police are looking for a man who allegedly exposed himself to students near a Prince George’s County, Maryland, middle school.

Two students, a girl and a boy, said the man was in his car near Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Temple Hills, Maryland, when the man allegedly exposed his genitals to the children. The incidents occurred in early November, and police said a detective has been assigned in the case.

“We have additional resources in the area, and we are doing everything we can to find this individual,” said Cpl. Harry Bond, of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

Police said they do not have a good description of the man. A school officials said they have sent out reminders to parents to have children walk together.

“We don’t want anyone to be afraid to walk to school,” said John White, a spokesman for Prince George’s County Public Schools. “We want people to be smart, so walk in groups, walk at the crosswalk, and report anything to a trusted adult.”

<![CDATA[Former Md. HS Student Killed by Alleged Drunken Driver in SC]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:33:34 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/David+Newell.jpg

A former Montgomery County, Maryland, high school graduate was hit and killed by an allegedly drunken driver in South Carolina, where the student was attending college.

David Newell, 22, was struck by a car on Nov. 15 while he was riding his moped in Columbia, South Carolina. Newell was taken to the hospital, but he died on Nov. 17 due to complications from injuries received in the crash.

Newell was a senior at the University of South Carolina and was a 2014 graduate of Magruder High School in Rockville, Maryland. He was active in trying to stop people from drunken driving after three high school seniors were killed in 2011 in a drunken driving crash.

The funeral for Newell will be held on Nov. 22 in Olney, Maryland. A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family pay for services and a funeral. 

Charles Davenport Jr. was charged with felony DUI involving death. Investigators said Davenport was under the influence of alcohol and speeding when he hit Newell’s moped from behind. They said the impact caused the two vehicles to hit a tree.

Photo Credit: provided by family]]>
<![CDATA[Cook With News4: Check Out These Delicious Local Dishes]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:32:02 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/197*120/thanksgiving-food.jpg

When you think of Thanksgiving, you think about family, friends and all the food!

News4 Today is checking out some of the best holiday dishes from our viewers. 

Broccoli Cheese Casserole


2 sticks of margarine, melted

2 medium onions, chopped

2 cups, cubed Velveeta cheese

2 - 10 oz. boxes of chopped broccoli (partially thawed)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 soup cans of milk

1 tsp. salt

1 7-oz. box of Minute Rice


In a large frying pan, melt the margarine. Sauté the chopped onion until very light brown in color. Add cubed Velveeta. Remove from heat as soon as this begins to melt. Add broccoli, mushroom soup, milk, salt and Minute Rice. Mix all ingredients. Pour into a large casserole dish or 9" x 13" pan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes. Remove cover and let brown for 10 additional minutes. 

This article will be updated as News4 Today learns each new dish.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker]]>
<![CDATA[Justice Dept. Sues to Block AT&T-Time Warner Merger]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:42:40 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dojGettyImages-578529965.jpg

The Justice Department sued on Monday to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner, calling it an "illegal" combination that harms consumers and stifles innovation, DOJ officials said.

AT&T and Time Warner announced their $85 billion merger last year but the closing has been dragged out by the government's anti-trust review.

It is the latest salvo in a drama more than one year in the making, CNBC reported. Earlier this month, reports circulated that the government had demanded AT&T sell Turner Broadcasting, operator of the CNN news network, or DirectTV as a condition of approval, though the government pushed back at those reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Judging Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins Isn’t Always Logical]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:22:23 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/854627652.jpg

Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins are very different men, and yet, their game-to-game performances are incredibly similar.

Each provide grand highlights virtually every week, where the only question about their respective futures is how on earth the Washington Redskins could even think about living without them.

There are also just enough head-scratching moments where one wonders the hell they were thinking.

The last two weeks, capped by Sunday’s brutal 34-31 overtime loss of a must-win contest to the New Orleans Saints, were no exceptions.

The Redskins, now 4-6, scored 30 and a season-high 31 points in the last two games despite:

• Facing highly ranked defenses

• Having lost their starting running back (Robert Kelley) in one game

• The player (Chris Thompson) who doubles as their leading rusher and receiver in the other

• Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed remaining sidelined with his latest injury

• Constant shuffling along the offensive line because of injuries

That’s a lot to overcome and doesn’t include the season-long inability to adequately replace receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Cousins had nothing to do with such personnel decisions other than that the uncertainty with his financial future hangs over all organizational plans.

Gruden had some hand in shaping the roster, but he’s not atop the organizational flow chart. Neither can be blamed for this season’s ungodly amount of injuries. The quarterback and head coach just have to work around them. Both have impressed doing just that.

Cousins made some spectacular throws and reads against the Saints. There were also receivers running wide open. Kudos to the offensive coaching staff headed by Gruden, who took over play-calling duties this season.

The thing is Gruden is the head coach, not the offensive coordinator.

The Xs and Os internet gurus can fawn over Gruden’s play designs to the point of near fainting like teenage girls in the 1960’s getting a glimpse of Elvis, but that’s not his main job. The Redskins aren’t paying him $5 million per season* to call plays. He’s running the entire team.

If the Redskins get in their own way once, stuff happens. Those of who watch this team weekly know stuff happens often to the Ashburn 53.

On Sunday alone, there was:

• False start penalty wiping out a long field goal attempt

• On the next play, Josh Holsey stepped on the end line while attempting to down a punt at the one. Instead, the Saints received the ball at the 20-yard line and kicked a field goal on final play of the first half.

• Gruden inexplicably challenged a clear catch by Saints tight end Coby Fleener with 3:50 remaining in the game, costing Washington a timeout. His explanation is curious.

• Another timeout was spent with 2:38 left and the Redskins facing a crucial third-and-1 when a first down probably seals the win. This timeout, needed because a player lined up in the wrong spot per Gruden, came immediately after the Saints called one with no play run in between.

• When the Redskins ran the play, lead blocker Niles Paul didn’t block anyone. No gain.

With the scored tied, the Redskins now only had one timeout for their final drive of regulation, which they used just before completing a 19-yard pass to the Saints 34 with 39 seconds left. Then came the infamous – and wrongly called -- intentional grounding penalty, which pushed the Redskins out of field goal range and essentially helped run out the clock.

Let’s for a moment skip by the NFL admitting the blown call and just focus on what happened with the weird play.

Gruden said he audibled from a run to a screen pass to Jamison Crowder via hand signal. Cousins thought the new signal meant for a pass in Crowder’s direction simply for the purposes of moving on to the next play.

Crowder stayed with the original plan and blocked as did the other players. Mistakes happen, but none of us should act as if this is kosher with the game on the line.

Cousins, speaking Monday on 106.7 The Fan, said of the pass, “It was essentially like clocking it. I mean, I wanted to just spike it. I wanted to throw it at Jamison’s shins, which would have been better.”

Huh? Spiking into the ground as we see countless time during an NFL season would have better if he thought that was the intent. Did Cousins turn into robot and lose the ability to critically think?

Actually, he may have indeed been programmed for that type of thinking.

Asked if he’d received any clarity on the penalty mistake from the league on Monday, Gruden said, “I don’t know, I just… Kirk did what he was coached to do. I told him to throw it out of bounds. We had two receivers right there in the area. He wasn’t under duress, so to me, that wasn’t grounding. But we’ll have to ask the league on that one.”

Now my head hurts. The refs and the league screwed the Redskins, and that’s the real story. In the context of whether the Redskins should move forward with the coach and quarterback, the thinking from the two men involved is important. The thinking involved seems whack.

Personally, I like what Gruden brings and wouldn’t make a change. This team fights. There’s relatively no locker room drama unlike under Mike Shanahan. He’s helped turn Cousins into a solid starter and on some days, a bit more.

Unless there’s a dramatic turnaround, Gruden’s team will have missed the playoffs three out of four years, just like Shanahan.

We can’t ignore the organization’s brutal history since Joe Gibbs left the first time in 1992 and how front office and ownership decisions fueled the decline. Gruden should receive some benefit of the doubt accordingly. He should also be judged as the head coach. We also cannot forget who coached and quarterbacked that Week 17 loss last season.

Just like his quarterback, there are many reasons for supporting a longer run in Washington. Just like Cousins, there’s enough WTH moments to ponder life without Gruden even if the best course is no change at all.

(* Gruden originally signed a five-year contract in 2014 for a reported $5 million per year. A two-year extension was agreed upon earlier this year, but to the best of my knowledge, the financial terms have never been released. Maybe he’s getting another $10 million for those years. Considering the extension came amid the controversy with former general Scot McCloughan, perhaps the terms were more cosmetic.)

Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sports Junkies Lament Redskins Loss to Saints]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:01:58 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000020936552_1200x675_1100309571595.jpg

Like all Redskins fans, The Sports Junkies from 106.7 the Fan are frustrated and disappointed after Sunday’s heartbreaking loss to the Saints. Where are they pointing the finger? And why the guys still have hope when it comes to the playoffs! They cover it all on the Good, the Bad and the Junkies.

<![CDATA[Donald Trump Is Shutting Down His Charitable Foundation]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:07:01 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/donaldtrumpatcabinetmeetingfeuerherd.jpg

President Donald Trump's charitable foundation, which last year admitted violating federal rules on "self-dealing," is in the process of dissolving, according to newly filed documents reviewed by NBC News.

The move fulfills a promise Trump made last December, when he said he would wind down the Donald J. Trump Foundation to avoid conflicts of interest. New York's attorney general ordered the foundation to stop soliciting contributions in October 2016.

"The foundation announced its intent to dissolve and is seeking approval to distribute its remaining funds" to other charities, according to its 2016 Internal Revenue Service filing, filed this month and uploaded to the website of charity watchdog Guidestar.org by the foundation.

At the end of 2016, the foundation had assets of about $970,000, the document shows.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Sentenced in Crash That Killed Two in Va.]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:57:11 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170116+Spotsylvania+Crash1.jpg

A man from Spotsylvania County, Virginia has been sentenced to spend 10 years in prison for manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol after a crash that killed two of his friends.

On his way out of the court room after sentencing, Brandon Alexander Shunamon, 26, asked the judge if he could hug his mother.

"I'm sorry, I cannot let you do that," the judge replied.

Shunamon was speeding and intoxicated as he drove on Robert E. Lee Drive with his roommate, Taylor Wolfe, their friend Chelsea Favreau and a third passenger on Jan. 12 just after 10:30 p.m. They'd been celebrating Favreau's 21st birthday.

Shunamon was driving a 2007 Chevrolet pickup when it crossed the double yellow line and then ran off the road, police said. The truck struck trees, overturned into a ditch and caught fire.

Moments after the crash, only the front seat passenger was conscious, friends told News4. She tried to put out the fire. Shunamon came to and managed to pull the passenger from the truck, the friends said.

But when he returned for Wolfe and Favreau, the truck had exploded. 

Video released after the trial shows Shunamon denying any knowledge of the crash -- including that two friends were stuck inside a burning car.

"That's not my problem," he told an officer. Then, he denied being in the vehicle.

Officers later discovered he was speeding and drunk.

"I'm not a monster," Shunamon said in court. "I never intended what happened."

Shunamon was arrested and held without bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

"Chelsea was universally adored for being genuine and kind and beautiful," her mother told News4. "The world is a darker place."

Wolfe leaves behind three children. Friends are raising money for both of their families; for Wolfe's, click here. For Favreau, click here.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Calling All Landlords: DC Seeks Homes for Homeless]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:32:41 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/112017+mom+has+new+home.jpg

Do you have an apartment to rent? D.C. is hoping you can help.

Mayor Muriel Bowser launched a campaign Monday to find permanent housing for 400 homeless households during the holiday season. Many of the families that need homes have housing vouchers -- they just need landlords who will let them move in.

Tremaine Anderson, a housekeeper with two young children, signed the lease for her new home on Monday. As her kids, Zaire and Zion, played on their bunk beds, Anderson said she's excited to move into the two-bedroom apartment near Naylor Gardens. She and her children already have stayed in too many shelters and homes to count.

"I was just couch surfing, going from house to house, house to house," she said.

Building owner Zayed Tsew said he was happy to create an opportunity for someone else. Twenty years ago, he was a poor immigrant.

"I was one of them. I was looking for the housing before," he said. "That was really my dream to do something for the people."

D.C.'s program, called Home for the Holidays, already has matched 71 tenants with landlords.

"We have the right resources in place to find permanent homes for our most vulnerable households, but now we need available, affordable units," Bowser said in a statement.

If you're not a landlord, you still can help. D.C. is asking for donations of housewares to help people get set up in their new homes. Donations of new or gently used kitchenware, toys, housewares and professional clothing can be dropped off at the Adams Place Day Center (2210 Adams Place NE), or you can email homefortheholidays@dc.gov for more information.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Construction on I-66 Express Lanes Begins ]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:54:27 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/I_66_Express_Lane_Construction_Begins.jpg

News4's Adam Tuss shows what began I-66 in Virginia on Monday. Construction is expected to last more than four years.

<![CDATA[Free Speech or Riot? Inauguration Day Protest Trial Begins]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:48:29 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Inauguration_Day_Protest_Trial_Begins.jpg

Can you be found guilty of rioting if there's no evidence you destroyed any property or set any fires? The first trial of several trials regarding demonstrations on Inauguration Day 2016 started Monday. News4's Mark Segraves reports.

<![CDATA[WH: US Increases Pressure on North Korea With Designation]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 16:56:36 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_NK_TILLERSON_REAX_112017-151121369698300002.jpg

During a White House press briefing Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism is part of a plan to increase pressure on the country.

<![CDATA[Service Restored After Small Fire Delays Blue, Yellow Lines]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 06:37:01 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/metro_train_generic_lovelorn.jpg

Riders on two Metro lines may experience some delays Monday morning after a small fire was reported at the Pentagon station. 

Service on the Blue and Yellow lines was temporarily suspended because of the fire. Metro says the fire was a maintenance issue. 

Service has been restored, but Metro says riders my see some residual delays in both directions. 

<![CDATA[Trump Designates North Korea a State Sponsor of Terror]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 16:28:53 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+NK+STATE+SPONSOR+THUMB.jpg

President Donald Trump designated North Korea a state sponsor of terror during a cabinet meeting Monday. Citing repeated nuclear threats, support of international terror and Kim Jong Un's suspected involvement in the assassination of his half brother as reasons for the designation, Trump also said on Tuesday the Treasury Department will announce new, larger sanctions on North Korea.

<![CDATA[Man in 'Make America Great Again' Hat Robs Pharmacy: Police]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:48:20 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Pharmacy+robbery+suspect.jpg

A man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat went to two pharmacies in Loudoun County, Virginia, threatened the pharmacists and demanded prescription opioids, police said.

The search for the man is ongoing. 

At one location, he got nothing; at the other, he got prescriptions, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said. 

The man entered a Rite Aid on the 46000 block of Cedar Lake Plaza in Sterling about 11 a.m. Monday. He handed the pharmacist a note that implied he had a gun and demanded prescription medication, police said.

Then, he left without getting anything, police said.

About an hour later, a man appearing to wear the same clothes and hat entered a CVS on the 400 block of Enterprise Street, about three miles away from the Rite Aid, police said.

Again, the man handed the pharmacist a note implying he had a gun and demanding narcotics, police said.

The man was given prescription medicine, then he fled, police said. 

The suspect is described as a white man who was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt with black stripes, sunglasses, black pants, black shoes and a red "Make America Great Again" hat.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

<![CDATA[D.C., Maryland Pitch Proposals to Be Hosts of 2026 World Cup]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:47:52 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/FedEx+Field+GettyImages-159042470.jpg

Representatives of Washington, D.C., and Maryland formally presented pitches to become official host cities for the 2026 World Cup.

The two are competing against each other and 30 other North American cities to be part of the United States’ formal bid to FIFA, the governing body which oversees the World Cup.

Event officials representing Washington, D.C., and the Maryland Stadium Authority presented to leaders of the United Bid Committee in Houston last week, the News4 I-Team learned. D.C. representatives proposed FedEx Field in Landover as a host site for World Cup matches. The Maryland Stadium Authority is offering Ravens Stadium in Baltimore.

Written proposals must be submitted to the United Bid Committee by Jan. 19 for formal consideration.

“World Cups don’t come around every day. These opportunities don’t come around every day,” said Terry Hasseltine of the Maryland Stadium Authority.

“We’re excited our effort is moving forward," Hasseltine said. "(The United Bid Committee) is excited the state of Maryland is involved.”

Maryland’s proposal also specifies several venues to be used for training sites for World Cup 2026, including Towson University, University of Maryland Baltimore County and Goucher College.

D.C.’s proposal was drafted by officials with Destination D.C. A spokeswoman did not specify the possible training sites included in D.C.’s bid, but Maryland officials said it’s likely the University of Maryland could be added as a possible training site by D.C. or Maryland officials before formal bids are submitted.

“Hosting the World Cup in Washington, D.C., could provide an economic impact of up to $600 million,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “We’re thrilled to potentially add the World Cup to our lineup and welcome soccer fans from around the globe.”

The 32 potential North American host cities include 25 cities in the United States, four cities in Canada and three in Mexico. Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta and New York City are among the other American cities seeking to be hosts.

The United States last hosted the World Cup in 1994.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Here's the Thanksgiving Week Forecast for DC and Beyond]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:41:36 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/fall+dc+leaves+pretty.jpg

Planning on doing a turkey trot race on Thursday or standing in lines on Black Friday? Here are the Thanksgiving week weather highlights you need to know. 

Temperatures throughout the week are set to range from 30 to 58 degrees, and Thanksgiving will be the coldest day among them, Storm Team4 said. 

Rain chances will hover in the 10 to 30 percent range, with the highest chance of rain coming between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Thanksgiving itself looks sunny but chilly, with a predicted high of 47 degrees in the District.

If you are going to spend the early hours of Friday in line for the next big trend in tech, bring a jacket, gloves and hat. Temperatures will be near freezing in D.C., with afternoon highs in the low 50s.

Most people across the continental United States should be able to get to their family gatherings without fear of weather-related travel delays, Storm Team4 Meteorologist Chuck Bell says.

On Wednesday -- one of the biggest travel days of the year -- the forecast will be average for most of the country. Wet travel conditions will likely be confined to the Pacific Northwest, parts of northern New York and New England. Expect intermittent showers in Florida.

Interior portions of the Northeast and Midwest likely will remain cold through next weekend as two cold fronts push through the regions.

On the West Coast, storms and strong winds are possible; however, chances of severe weather such as hail and tornadoes are low.

So, the weather looks OK, but traffic is a different story. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Man Found Dead After Fire Engulfs Mobile Home Identified]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:18:04 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/230*120/2017-11-15_0731.png

The man found dead after a fire engulfed his mobile home in Charles County, Maryland, has been identified.

A passerby spotted the fire on the 1700 block of Marshall Hall Road in Bryans Road about 5:40 a.m. and called 911.

Maurice Hopkins, a neighbor, was headed out to tend his sheep when he spotted the fire, which reached higher than nearby tree tops.

“The flame was out of control,” he told News4. “He didn’t have a chance.”

When firefighters arrived, the mobile home was engulfed in flames. They rushed inside and found 53-year-old Duane Crispell and his dog unresponsive near the door.

Both Crispell and his dog died in the fire. 

Crispell was the caretaker for the animals at the property, according to the fire marshal's office. 

Fire investigators said the fire appears accidental, and was sparked by an overloaded electrical circuits. There were also hoarding conditions in the home, investigators said.

According to the fire marshal, the smoke alarm in the mobile home had no battery.

Elsewhere in Charles County, 56-year-old Patricia Mahoney died in a separate fire at a mobile home on Goldie Farm Place in Waldorf, fire officials said.

According to fire officials Mahoney was paralyzed and unable to get out of her home. 

The fire started about 3:30 p.m. and was caused by smoking materials. 

<![CDATA[Gun Theft From Legal Owners Is on the Rise, Fueling Violence]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 13:28:47 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/missingpieces-poster.jpg

Hundreds of thousands of firearms stolen from the homes and vehicles of legal owners are flowing each year into underground markets, and the numbers are rising. Those weapons often end up in the hands of people prohibited from possessing guns. Many are later used to injure and kill.

A yearlong investigation by The Trace and more than a dozen NBC TV stations identified more than 23,000 stolen firearms recovered by police between 2010 and 2016 — the vast majority connected with crimes. That tally, based on an analysis of police records from hundreds of jurisdictions, includes more than 1,500 carjackings and kidnappings, armed robberies at stores and banks, sexual assaults and murders, and other violent acts committed in cities from coast to coast.

"The impact of gun theft is quite clear," said Frank Occhipinti, deputy chief of the firearms operations division for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "It is devastating our communities."

Thefts from gun stores have commanded much of the media and legislative attention in recent years, spurred by stories about burglars ramming cars through storefronts and carting away duffel bags full of rifles and handguns. But the great majority of guns stolen each year in the United States are taken from everyday owners.

Thieves stole guns from people’s closets and off their coffee tables, police records show. They crawled into unlocked cars and lifted them off seats and out of center consoles. They snatched some right out of the hands of their owners.

In Pensacola, Florida, a group of teenagers breaking into unlocked cars at an apartment complex stole a .22-caliber Ruger handgun from the glovebox of a Ford Fusion, then played a video game to determine who got to keep it. One month later, the winner, an 18-year-old man with an outstanding warrant for his arrest, fatally shot a 75-year-old woman in the back of the head who had paid him to do odd jobs around her house. She had accused the gunman of stealing her credit cards.

In Gilbert, Arizona, a couple left four shotguns out in their bedroom and two handguns stuffed in their dresser drawers even though they had a large gun safe in the garage. They returned home to find their sliding backdoor pried open and all six of the weapons missing. Police recovered one of the shotguns eight months later on the floor of a getaway car occupied by three robbers who held up a gas station and led officers on a harrowing chase in the nearby city of Chandler.

In Atlanta, a thief broke through a front window of a house and stole an AK-47-style rifle from underneath a mattress. The following year, a convicted felon used the weapon to unleash a hail of bullets on a car as it was leaving a Chevron gas station, sending two men to the hospital. Two months later, the felon used the rifle to fatally shoot his girlfriend’s 29-year-old neighbor. A 7-year-old girl who witnessed the killing told police the crack of the gunfire hurt her ears. She ran home crying to her mother.

After the Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs mass shootings, attention fell on exotic gun accessories and gaps in record keeping. Last week, a new measure intended to shore up the federal background check system was introduced by eight U.S. senators. But many criminals are armed with perfectly lethal weapons funneled into an underground market where background checks would never apply.

In most cases reviewed in detail by the Trace and NBC, the person caught with the weapon was a felon, a juvenile, or was otherwise prohibited under federal or state laws from possessing firearms.

More than 237,000 guns were reported stolen in the United States in 2016, according to previously unreported numbers supplied by the National Crime Information Center, a database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that helps law enforcement track stolen property. That represents a 68 percent increase from 2005. (When asked if the increase could be partially attributed to a growing number of law enforcement agencies reporting stolen guns, an NCIC spokesperson said only that "participation varies.").

All told, NCIC records show that nearly two million weapons have been reported stolen over the last decade.

The government’s tally, however, likely represents a significant undercount. A report by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning public policy group, found that a significant percentage of gun thefts are never reported to police. In addition, many gun owners who report thefts do not know the serial numbers on their firearms, data required to input weapons into the NCIC. Studies based on surveys of gun owners estimate that the actual number of firearms stolen each year surpasses 350,000, or more than 3.5 million over a 10-year period.

"There are more guns stolen every year than there are violent crimes committed with firearms," said Larry Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group that represents firearms manufacturers. "Gun owners should be aware of the issue."

On a local level, gun theft is a public safety threat that police chiefs and sheriffs are struggling to contain. The Trace requested statistics on stolen weapons from the nation’s largest police departments in an effort to understand ground-level trends. Of the 80 police departments that provided at least five years of data, 61 percent recorded per-capita increases in 2015 compared to 2010.

The rate of gun thefts more than doubled in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Madison, Wisconsin; and Pasadena, California, our analysis found.

More than two-thirds of cities experienced growth in the raw number of stolen-gun reports, not accounting for population change.

There were 843 firearms reported stolen in St. Louis in 2015 — a 27 percent increase in reports over 2010.

"We have a society that has become so gun-centric that the guns people buy for themselves get stolen, go into circulation, and make them less safe," said Sam Dotson, a former St. Louis police chief.

Identifying the precise nexus between stolen firearms and other forms of crime is a question that has flummoxed researchers and journalists for years, in part because of strict legal limits on the public’s access to national data. The ATF is barred under a rider to a Department of Justice appropriations bill from sharing detailed crime gun data, which could include information about whether a weapon was stolen, with anyone outside of law enforcement.

The Trace and NBC sidestepped federal restrictions, in part, by obtaining more than 800,000 records of both stolen and recovered firearms directly from more than 1,000 local and state law enforcement agencies in 36 states. Matching the serial numbers of guns contained in the two sets of records enabled our reporters to identify crimes involving a weapon that had been reported stolen.

The trend is unambiguous: Gun theft is on the rise in many American cities, and many of those stolen weapons are later used to injure and kill people.

A research paper published this year, using responses from the Harvard and Northeastern survey, estimated that three million Americans carry loaded handguns in public every day. About nine million people carried a handgun at some point during the month before the survey was conducted, researchers found. Six percent of respondents who said they carried a gun had been threatened with a firearm in the previous five years.

In the past two decades, dozens of states have passed legislation easing restrictions against carrying in public. Some, like Georgia, have made it possible to legally carry a concealed weapon in restaurants and churches. At least a dozen, including Missouri, Arizona, and West Virginia, have done away with all training or licensing requirements, meaning anyone legally allowed to own a gun can carry it concealed in public.

People who owned guns for protection or carried a gun in the previous month were more than three times as likely to have experienced a theft in the previous five years, according to a study published this year that was based on the Harvard and Northeastern survey results. People who owned six or more guns and stored their guns loaded or unlocked — or kept guns in their vehicles — were more than twice as likely to have had their firearms stolen.

In Texas, gun owners have reported thousands of thefts. Austin alone tallied more than 4,600 reports of lost or stolen guns between 2010 and 2015, more than 1,600 of which were swiped from cars, The Trace and NBC found. Over that same period in Austin, lost and stolen guns were recovered in connection to at least 600 criminal offenses, including more than 60 robberies, assaults, and murders.

Many gun-rights advocates, including Jerry Patterson, a former Texas state senator, believe that owners have a responsibility to guard their weapons from theft.

"You’re negligent if you don’t exercise good judgment," he said. "There’s too many guns in the hands of dumbasses that don’t know how to use it, don’t know how to store it."

In Houston about a decade ago, someone broke into Patterson’s truck, making off with a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver. "Now I don’t leave handguns in the car," he said.

Instead, Patterson now keeps a shotgun under the back seat.

"It’s harder to steal a long gun discreetly," he said.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police recently tasked a team of top of law enforcement officials to develop a program that police officers and sheriff’s deputies can use to press gun owners into safeguarding their weapons. At the organization’s annual conference in Philadelphia in October, the team premiered a public service announcement that showed a burglar stealing a gun from an unlocked car and then embarking on a robbery spree.

"We leave our cell phones in our cars, and we go crazy. But you leave your firearm and it’s like we forget," said Armando Guzman, a chief of police from Florida who was one of the principal architects of the prevention effort. "Look at the consequences."

Most states don’t require gun owners who leave weapons in a car or truck to secure them against theft. Kentucky’s law specifically says that owners may keep firearms in a glove compartment, center console, seat pocket, or any other storage space or compartment regardless of whether it is "locked, unlocked, or does not have a locking mechanism."

Homes are generally a more secure place to store firearms, but even indoors, guns can be a magnet for thieves.

Researchers at Duke University and The Brookings Institution found in 2002 that thieves were more likely to break into homes in areas where gun ownership rates were high. The researchers concluded that instead of being a deterrent to crime, guns enticed thieves looking for a lucrative score.

In a large share of the burglaries in which a gun was stolen, it appeared that was the only item taken, suggesting that the thief knew the house had a gun in it and went after it, said Philip Cook, a professor at Duke who co-authored the study.

"That’s why people who put up signs that say, ‘This house is protected by Smith & Wesson,’ are taking a chance, just like people who put NRA stickers on their cars are taking a chance," Cook said. "It signals that this might be worth breaking into."

Of the nearly 150,000 records of stolen weapons analyzed by The Trace and NBC in which the type of gun was listed, 77 percent were handguns.

Law enforcement officials and researchers say that stolen guns are usually sold or traded for drugs. "Guns are the hottest commodity out there, except for maybe cold, hard cash," said Kevin O’Keefe, the chief of the ATF’s intelligence division. "This is a serious issue."

Most stolen guns were recovered within the same city or state as the scene of the theft, sometimes years or even decades later, The Trace and NBC found.

The Trace and NBC identified more than 500 guns that were stolen and then crossed state lines, sometimes traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles, before turning up at the scene of a crime. Many of those guns followed trafficking routes that are well known to law enforcement, flowing from states with looser laws to states with stricter ones.

A Smith & Wesson stolen from an unlocked pickup truck in Florida was recovered in connection to a shooting in Camden, New Jersey. A revolver stolen in Hampstead, New Hampshire, found its way to Boston, where police stopped a gunman at a high school graduation. A .380-caliber Jimenez pistol stolen from a house in Hammond, Indiana, came into the possession of an 18-year-old gang member in Chicago, who tossed it onto a front porch while he was running from police.

In South Carolina, a former state trooper reported his .40-caliber Glock stolen from his unlocked pickup in 2008. The gun was recovered during a drug arrest and the former trooper got it back, only to have it stolen from his truck again in 2011. Four years later, New York Police Officer Randolph Holder, 33, was responding to reports of a shooting in East Harlem when he encountered Tyrone Howard, a 30-year-old felon who had been in and out jail since he was at least 13. Howard pulled out the stolen Glock pistol and fatally shot Holder in the head.

Few states require gun owners to report theft

When a gun store is burglarized, it must report any missing firearms. Under federal law, licensed firearms dealers have to maintain records — including the make, model, and serial number of each gun in their inventory — and provide them to investigators so they can attempt to recover the weapons.

Everyday gun owners are not held to the same record keeping requirements. Only 11 states and the District of Columbia have a version of a law that requires gun owners to report the loss or theft of a firearm to police. Law enforcement officials say stolen-gun reports help them spot trends, deploy resources, and get illegal weapons off the street.

Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s senior vice president, said that while gun owners should lock up their weapons when they’re not in use, he opposes penalizing gun owners who don’t report a theft. "The focus has to be on criminals," he said. "If they’re using stolen firearms then there should be severe consequences from that."

Law enforcement experts and advocates of gun-violence prevention say that the attention should be on preventing thefts from happening in the first place.

Massachusetts is the only state where gun owners must always store firearms under lock and key, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. California, Connecticut, and New York require guns to be locked in a safe or with a locking device in certain situations, including when the owner lives with a convicted felon or domestic abuser.

All four states experience theft rates well below the national average, according to NCIC data.

"There ought to be some obligation in the law for gun owners to responsibly secure their firearms," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat. "Congress should not only be looking at this issue, they ought to be acting on this issue."

— Daniel Nass, Max Siegelbaum, Miles Kohrman, Mike Spies of The Trace contributed to this story.

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<![CDATA[Boy, 9, Behind Viral Christmas Card Wish Loses Battle With Cancer]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:25:37 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/BOST_000000010274707.JPG

A terminally ill Maine boy who spurred thousands of people around the world to send him homemade Christmas cards for his last holiday lost his battle with cancer on Sunday. 

Jacob Thompson's family announced on Facebook early Monday that the 9-year-old died after a 4-year battle with neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer that begins in nerve cells and generally affects infants and young children.

When doctors told Thompson's parents that their son might not live to see Christmas this year, his parents asked strangers to send Jacob homemade cards to help him celebrate the holidays early.

Their request then went viral.

"It's just amazing that one little boy has touched lives from all around the world," Michelle Simard, Jacob's mother, told necn.

At one point, Jacob received more than 10,000 pieces of mail in a day, according to a Maine Medical Center spokesperson.

His room at the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital in Portland was also transformed into the North Pole, and when word spread that his favorite things were penguins and police officers, law enforcement from around New England responded with a procession of hundreds of police cruisers that started in Boston and ended at his hospital.

The Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut also helped with a Christmas surprise by giving Jacob a chance to hold a real penguin.

In a Facebook post announcing Jacob's death, his family thanked those who took the time out to send him a card or present for his last Christmas celebration.

His family also suggested to those who would like to donate in Jacob's honor to do so for Operation Gratitude, "to a penguin rescue group, or pay it forward in your community," including blood and platelets donations.

"Each and every person who sent Jacob a Christmas card, a gift, a Facebook message or video, or a prayer made a difference in the final days of his life," his family said in a statement. "You brought Jacob joy, and you brought us all optimism for the future."

Photo Credit: necn
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<![CDATA[Sharon Tate's Sister: Manson's Followers 'as Evil Today as They Ever Were' ]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 14:44:12 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/205*120/GettyImages-457623452.jpg

Debra Tate got the call from Corcoran State Prison around 8:30 p.m. Sunday -- the man who ordered the killing of her sister was dead.

It wasn't a surprise. She'd been expecting it for at least a week after hearing about Charles Manson's poor health.

But it still took some time for her to process her feelings. After the phone call Sunday night, Tate said she prayed.

"I said a prayer for his passing, and I thought about it for a moment," Tate said in an interview with NBC4. "I don't have any animosity. One could say I've forgiven them. But that does not mean I've forgotten. I know very well they're still capable of those heinous types of acts."

The 83-year-old murderous cult leader's death came nearly five decades after a group of his followers broke into Sharon Tate's mansion in Los Angeles' Benedict Canyon, killing the actress and four others in the house. The Aug. 9, 1969 slayings marked the start of the Manson family murders.

Most of the Manson cult members who carried out the killings remain in prison. Tate said she will devote the rest of her life to keeping them there. She has served as a spokeswoman for victims' family members at parole hearings and published a coffee table book celebrating the life of her sister, who was 26 when she was killed.

"This is only one man," she said. "One tentacle on the octopus. There are others out there that actually committed the heinous acts. Those people, I have much more concern over than I do Charlie -- as far as, who the monsters are. Charlie had no desire to get out of jail. These people do, and they're still as evil today as they ever were."

Patricia Krenwinkel is California's longest-serving female inmate at age 69. She chased down and stabbed coffee heiress Abigail Folger after the Tate mansion break-in.

Leslie Van Houten was recommended by a parole board last year for release, but Gov. Jerry Brown overturned that decision. She was granted parole again in September, with a final decision expected from the governor.

Charles "Tex" Watson has been denied parole 17 times. Bruce Davis continues to serve out two life sentences. Bobb Beausoleil remains behind bars in Oregon. 

Tate was there when Manson was denied parole for a 12th time in 2012. 

Tate was there when Manson was denied parole for a 12th time in 2012. She plans to continue the crusade for victims' families at future parole hearings.

"I will never stop trying to influence others to help me keep them behind bars for the rest of their natural days," Tate said.

Tate said she remains in "close communication" with family members of other victims.

"We all share a common thread."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DC Teacher in Coma After Helping Save Her Mother From Fire]]> Sun, 19 Nov 2017 23:23:28 -0500 https://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Cheryl+Morning.jpg

A woman is severely burned and remains in a coma one week after helping save her mother from a massive fire that tore through her home in Capitol Heights, Maryland.

Flames raced through the home on Eastern Avenue on Sunday, Nov. 12.

Cheryl Morning was in the basement of the home where the fire started.

"She came upstairs to alert my mother. She laid her life out for my mom to make sure that my mom went out," said Morning's brother, Jonathan Streat.

Streat said his sister then tried to get out through a side door, but the door locks on the inside and she apparently couldn't find the key. Morning was trapped in the basement.

Bystanders kicked in the door and firefighters pulled her out.

Morning is in critical condition with burns on more than 70 percent of her body, her brother said.

Streat said their mother, Shirley Streat, has since been released from the ICU.

"This right here is hitting my heart in a way I could never imagine," Jonathan Streat said. "This is the toughest thing I've ever experienced."

Morning is a a teacher at Janney Elementary School in Northwest D.C. Her students made her a poster that reads "We Love You Ms. Morning" for her hospital room.

Streat said while dealing with his mother and sister's injuries, vandals have broken into the home a couple of times and stolen some the of the property that survived the fire.

"Everything can be replaced, but my mother and my sister can't be," he said.

Streat is an EMS captain with the D.C. Fire and EMS Department and disputed reports that there were no smoke alarms in the home.

He said he's thankful for the firefighters who rescued his sister.

"This is day seven and she's still here. So, thank God for that."

Streat has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for his mother and sister's medical bills.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Streat]]>