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    Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday on charges connected to a jailhouse fight in February.

    The Bristol, Massachusetts County District Attorney confirmed to NECN that Hernandez was indicted on charges of assault and battery and threats to do bodily harm.

    Hernandez, a Bristol, Conn. native, was allegedly involved in an altercation with another inmate at the Bristol County jail in New Bedford, Mass. on Feb. 25.

    The threatening charge is related to an incident that occurred in November, according to authorities.

    Hernandez is in prison, accused of murdering semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Mass. last year. He has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

    He will be in court to face the new charges at a later date, but that date has not yet been determined.



    Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images

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  • 05/01/14--17:25: Budget Cuts Loom in Ledyard

  • Earlier this week taxpayers in Ledyard crowded into a public hearing on a proposal to raise property taxes 8 percent, and after they spoke out against it, officials are trying to figure out where they can cut spending.

    As usual in town budget battles, school sports and part-time employees are at risk as the back and forth builds toward the budget referendum scheduled for May 20.

    "My daughter will be in high school," said Lawrence King, "so every budget cut in my opinion should be taken seriously."

    "I don't like the budget cuts and the schools really need the money," said Olivia Romanofski. "I have two children that go right here to Ledyard Center and school is the most important thing to me."

    However, the idea of an 8 percent tax increase landed hard in Ledyard.

    "It's too much of a bite at one time, I think," said Phil Morris.  "I think people will vote it down."

    Norm Krayen said, "The state's mismanaged from the top down.  You got the legislature which is a key cause of a lot of these problems cuz they're spending money through the roof.

    "There's no income and they're spending.  They should be cutting the spending by half," he said.
     



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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  • 05/02/14--03:57: Texas Vet Kept Alive 5 Dogs

  • A Fort Worth veterinarian arrested for animal cruelty Wednesday admitted in a handwritten statement that he secretly kept alive five dogs, including his own decrepit border collie, that should have been euthanized.

    Dr. Millard Lou Tierce of the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic had his veterinary license temporarily suspended Wednesday by the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners on the basis of that admission and more.

    Tierce was also arrested Wednesday on an animal cruelty charge, stemming from the lack of care given to his personal pet, a border collie kept at the clinic. He surrendered to the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department at about 7 p.m. Wednesday and was released soon after on $10,000 bond.

    Tierce told NBC 5 Wednesday night he could not comment on the investigation, complying with his attorney's request. His lawyer did not return calls for comment on Thursday.

    A hearing on Tierce's license's suspension will be held Monday in Austin before the state board's enforcement committee.

    His arrest and suspension came a day after a family accused his practice of secretly keeping their dog Sid alive to provide blood transfusions to other dogs, months after he was to have been euthanized.

    The family had agreed to euthanize Sid, a 5-year-old, 170-pound Leonberger, after Tierce diagnosed him with a congenital spine disorder. Six months after they agreed to euthanize their pet, they said a veterinary technician at the clinic reached out to them to let them know their pet was still alive.

    According to the state board's temporary license suspension order, Tierce admitted that he had not euthanized five pets that had been accepted for euthanization, including Sid. The order did not say whether the other dogs were used for medical procedures like Sid allegedly was.

    Dr. Michael Morris of the Fort Worth Animal Clinic determined Wednesday that three animals kept at the clinic were in such poor health that they needed to be euthanized.

    Tierce said in his statement that one of those animals, a border collie, was his personal pet and that the other two had been left at the clinic to be euthanized along with two other animals. One of the other two animals had been kept in a cage at the clinic for as long as three years after being accepted for euthanasia, Tierce said.

    In Tierce's arrest warrant affidavit, Fort Worth police and animal control officers said they found Tierce's black and white border collie lying in a box on the floor of an exam room. Police said the dog was twitching in pain. One of its legs was missing, another was dislocated and two of its shoulders were dislocated. A vet tech, identified as Cynthia Welch, said the dog had been in that condition, and largely in the same location, since she started working there on June 2, 2013.

    Tierce admitted that the border collie was his dog and said he had provided the dog with only food and water and no medical attention.

    Morris later determined Tierce's dog was emaciated and non-ambulatory, and that it was missing the bottom of a foot and had severe mouth disease, cataracts, a degenerative and untreatable neurological disease and abnormal overall health. It should have been euthanized, Morris determined.

    Tierce said that in his professional opinion, he should have euthanized his border collie. Tierce was charged with animal cruelty, specifically for the lack of care given to his own dog.

    Board's Order Describes Cluttered Clinic

    The board said in its order suspending his license that Tierce could be a threat and a real danger to patients and that he had violated rules for minimum security of controlled substances.

    Its order also detailed unsanitary conditions at the clinic, describing a cluttered setting with unsecured drugs "strewn about" and at risk of being abused.

    "Animal organs were kept in jars throughout the clinic. Bugs were visible in exam rooms. Stacks of drugs, trash, laundry, paperwork and other miscellaneous items were strewn about the examinations rooms, hallways, stairwells, operating room, laboratories and offices of the clinic,” the documents said.

    "Open and unsecured medications, including some controlled substances, were also strewn about the clinic and in such a fashion that controlled substances could easily be stolen and abused by employees, clients, or visitors of the clinic," they continued.

    The Better Business Bureau of Fort Worth said there is only one complaint on his file within the last three years. The Fort Worth Police Department said only that its investigation continues, and the state's Board of Veterinarian Medical Examiners said it cannot comment on open investigations.

    The Fort Worth Police Department said anyone who would like to file a report in regards to this case should call the FWPD nonemergency number of 817-335-4222 and explain they would like to make a report regarding the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic. They should also mention related report number 14-37697.

    Clients Defend Veternarian

    Numerous clients of Dr. Tierce showed up to the clinic to offer support to a man some have been bringing their pets to for decades.

    “He wouldn’t do anything to harm an animal,” said Robert Heineman.

    Heineman and his son Parker didn’t show up with any family pets but rather were at the clinic to support Dr. Tierce. They’ve been bringing their animals to the clinic for 30 to 40 years.

    Heineman said that clients were crying and upset inside and that they don’t believe the veterinarian they call Dr. Lou would do the things he’s been accused of doing. They say they’ve brought more than a half dozen animals to the clinic, some of which have had to be euthanized over the years.

    “We don't believe for one second that he's done anything unethical,” Heineman said.

    Heineman believes there may be ulterior motives to some of the complaints that have come to light this week. He says there have been thousands of clients over the years who haven’t had any problems. He and his son are hopeful the doctor’s license is re-instated.

    “The community and his patients and clients will lose dramatically by not having him practice as a veterinarian,” Heineman said.

    Numerous other clients told NBC 5 the same thing.

    “I’m kind of heartbroken. Whoever is in charge needs to figure this out real quickly,” said Ben Abramowitz. “We need to have him here practicing medicine and not dealing with this kind of harassment.”

    One of Dr. Tierce's many supporters who turned up at his clinic Thursday acknowledged to NBC DFW that the details of the arrest warrant are ugly.

    "[If] that's all you’re gonna see, you're gonna see that he’s a quack and a freak and an evil person and a vampire,” said Sandy Kurtzman, who has been a satisfied client of the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic and Dr. Tierce for nearly two decades.  “You're not gonna get the whole story about who Dr. Lou Tierce is. There's a reason why I call him 'Saint Lou.'"

    To back up her argument, Kurtzman brought with her Marley, her neighbor's Labrador. Marley had been run over by a car last spring, and other veterinarians had recommended one of his legs be amputated.

    Instead, according to Kurtzman, Dr. Tierce operated for nine hours that night, implanted a pin and rods in his joint, kept Marley in the clinic for several months while he healed, and only charged $3,000 for what he said was easily $10,000 in care.

    Another, more recent client of the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic, said he only learned on Thursday about the accusations and the criminal charge against his dog's new vet.

    Cary Powers, of Southlake, told NBC DFW he brought his very sick akita, Kiera, to Dr. Tierce upon the recommendation of his regular veterinarian who told him that Dr. Tierce may be able to help.

    Late Tuesday night, hours after Fort Worth police and state investigators raided Dr. Tierce's clinic, the vet called Powers shortly after 11 p.m. and again after midnight to provide grim updates that Kiera may not survive. And not once did Dr. Tierce mention the legal trouble he was facing.

    “I think that says a lot for a vet that he put the time in, especially on the day when your whole life seems to be falling apart,” Powers said.

    NBC 5's Ben Russell, Chris Van Horne, Jeff Smith, Ray Villeda, Frank Heinz and Greg Janda contributed to this report.


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    New Haven police are searching for the man caught on surveillance camera stealing packages four different times at the same apartment building.

    According to residents, the crime spree has been going on for weeks.  Police say packages have been stolen from homes and apartments across Wooster Square.

    Surveillance cameras captured a man walking into an apartment complex at Chapel and Franklin Streets on March 18th.   In the surveillance video, the suspect is seen carrying a bag full of packages that do not belong to him.  The next afternoon he comes back and rips off tenants again.  Cameras also caught him hauling out even more packages from apartment complex in the following two days.

    “Frustration, anger all those emotions come through,” said Justin Ritz.  He lives in the building and said he came home to a mess when the crook rummaged through his Amazon shipments and took off with everything inside. “It’s kind of scary to think there’s someone lurking around your building,” Ritz explained.

    It turns out Ritz was victimized twice that week when the thief kept showing up. “Amazon resent the stuff then he stole it again,” Ritz added.

    Neighbors said the same tactic was used at an apartment building down the way on Olive Street.  Packages also keep getting snatched up from homes across the Wooster Square area.  “The people who are looking to steal packages know who we are they know when packages are being delivered,” explained Peter Webster.  Webster, a block watch captain, just sent an email to neighbors warning them about the crimes and telling them to be alert. “It’s up to us to do our part to keep ourselves safe,” Webster added.

    Meantime, authorities say if you are not home, it’s best to get your packages sent elsewhere or held at the shipping office so they aren’t in plain view.  After the problems there, it’s advice Justin Ritz is taking. “I started sending expensive stuff to my girlfriend's house just to make sure there’s no issues with it,” Ritz said.

    Landlords and complexes in the area are stepping up security by making sure the front door is locked and by putting in a security code.  That way, only tenants can get in.

    Anyone with information regarding the thefts is urged to call New Haven police at 203-946-6316.


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    The president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP has resigned.

    President Leon Jenkins resigned, the NAACP said in a statement.

    "Please be advised  that the legacy, history and reputation of the NAACP is more important to me than the presidency," Jenkins said in his resignation letter. "In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP, I respectfully resign my position as President of the Los Angeles NAACP."

    The national office of the NAACP is developing guidelines for its branches to help them in their award selection process.

    The move comes days after the nation's oldest civil rights group withdrew Clippers owner Donald Sterling's lifetime achievement award.

    "I just found (the award) mindboggling," civil rights leader and former LA police commissioner John Mack said. "Don Sterling had a well-known track record as an old-fashioned racist, a plantation type."

    The NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million Tuesday for making racist comments. Sterling can have no association with the league or the team.

    In addition to rescinding the award, the NAACP announced it would return previous donations by Sterling.

    "Basically, it really felt like our pride and our respect was for sale by the organization, like if you just write a check, youre all good with black people and that really wasn’t the case," community advocate Jasmyn Cannick said.

    Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell has known Jenkins for 20 years. He told NBC4 that he believes Jenkins didn't resign, and instead, he was forced out.

    “If the NAACP LA chapter believe that this matter is resolved by his resignation – forget it,” Terrell said.

    NBC4's Robert Kovacik reached out to Jenkins, but Jenkins did not return his calls Thursday.



    Photo Credit: AP

    Leon Jenkins, center, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, announces that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will not be receiving his lifetime achievement award, at a news conference in Culver City, Calif., Monday, April 28, 2014.Leon Jenkins, center, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, announces that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will not be receiving his lifetime achievement award, at a news conference in Culver City, Calif., Monday, April 28, 2014.

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    Hundreds turned out on Thursday to pay respects to Maren Sanchez, who was stabbed to death at Jonathan Law High School in Milford last Friday.

    Family, friends and complete strangers began lining up outside the Cody-White Funeral Home on North Broad Street an hour before a wake for Sanchez was set to begin.

    "She was the greatest person I ever met," said David Kristy, a family friend.

    He said the past week has been a difficult time for Maren’s friends and family.

    "Any tragedy like this, it’s going to be in our hearts," said Kristy.

    The 16-year-old was stabbed inside the high school by a classmate on April 25. Christopher Plaskon, 16, has been charged with murder and is being held at a psychiatric facility. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

    It has been a difficult week for the entire Milford community. Those who know the family said Maren's parents have been touched by the outpouring of support.

    "It’s touched everybody. How could it not? Even people who didn’t know the family, they’re just pouring out support," said Renee Forgette, a friend of Maren's mother, Donna.

    Even those who didn’t know Maren or her family personally, felt the need to be there.

    "This is very painful, very sad, and deep trauma to us," said Ismael Tarkhan, a Milford doctor.

    Therapy dogs walked along the line of people, offering a furry friend to those who needed it.

    "It’s just a little difficult still, because it’s still kind of fresh," said Ally Maccio, a Jonathan Law High School student.

    According to Maren's obituary, a public funeral will not be held.

    A fund has been set up to create a scholarship in her memory.

    Donations can be sent to:

    The Maren Sanchez Memorial Fund
    Attorney Mike McCabe, 23 Sunnyside Court, Milford, CT 06460



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Facebook

    Hundreds lined up in Milford Thursday afternoon to attend a wake for slain Jonathan Law student Maren Sanchez.Hundreds lined up in Milford Thursday afternoon to attend a wake for slain Jonathan Law student Maren Sanchez.

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    A father has been charged with the murder of his 2-month-old daughter. 

    Marcus Rooks, 32, of Manchester, is accused of throwing his daughter, Adore Marie Daniels, head-first into a bassinet in Hartford and not seeking help when she was unresponsive for hours.

    Police said they responded to 798 Capitol Avenue around 1:15 p.m. on April 15 for an unresponsive infant.

    Adore was in critical condition when she was admitted to Connecticut Children's Medical Center on Monday, April 15. Police said Adore had injuries to her head and neck, and it appeared she might have been shaken.

    A week later, she was pronounced dead.

    Rooks was originally charged with first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor. He appeared in court on Friday morning and has also been charged with murder.

    According to an arrest warrant, Rooks admitted his daughter was crying and he lost control, throwing her head-first into a bassinet.

    Investigators said the infant was unresponsive for hours, and Rooks never reported it or called for help.

    The Hartford Police Department Special Investigations Division and Major Crimes Division homicide detectives said they have been conducting a criminal investigation, and the state Department of Children and Families is involved in the case. 

    At the time of Rooks' arrest, there was also an outstanding warrant charging him with third-degree assault in an unrelated incident.

    The baby's great uncle, Ronald McNair, said Rooks was supposed to be taking care of her.

    "My niece said she left [the baby] with the father while she was at work," McNair explained.

    Dannie Sears, the baby's godmother, called 911 when the child's mother arrived home from work and noticed something was wrong.

    "Her mother came down to me saying she didn't look right, she wasn't acting right, so I told her to bring [the baby] to me," Sears explained. "I noticed her head lolling and her eyes kind of rolled to the side. She wouldn't connect, she wouldn't follow my hand or nothing [sic]. Within five seconds, I knew something was wrong with her, and I called 911."

    Sears told the police dispatcher the baby was not focusing and that her eyes looked like they might be rolling to the side.

    "She's grunting; in fact, she seems unconscious," Sears said.

     



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

    Marcus Rooks is charged in connection with the critical injury of his 2-month-old child.Marcus Rooks is charged in connection with the critical injury of his 2-month-old child.

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    Interstate 91 South was closed between exits 34 and 33 because of flames coming from a pickup.

    No injuries reported, but the highway was closed so fire crews can put out the fire.

    A tow truck arrived to moved the damaged vehicle from the scene.
     



    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Camera

    Part of I-91 is closed because of a vehicle fire.Part of I-91 is closed because of a vehicle fire.

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    A school bus was involved in a crash at Garden and Mather streets in Hartford and officials said it is very minor.

    Students were on the bus and no injuries are reported.

    No additional information was available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    There was a minor crash in Hartford.There was a minor crash in Hartford.

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    Ledyard police have arrested a man accused of inappropriately touching a woman outside a home in Ledyard.

    Police received the complaint at 10:15 p.m. on Thursday and Elvin Rodriguez, 25, of Norwich, was taken into custody after an arrest warrant was issued.

    Rodriguez was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and held on a court-set $75,000 bond.

    He is due in court in New London today.


    Ledyard police have arrested a man accused of inappropriately touching a woman outside a home in Ledyard.Ledyard police have arrested a man accused of inappropriately touching a woman outside a home in Ledyard.

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    A Manhattan-bound F train with 1,000 riders on board derailed Friday morning in Queens, injuring at least 19 people, and firefighters had to rescue hundreds of passengers out of the subway tunnel through a sidewalk grate. 

    Fifteen passengers had minor injuries and four were seriously hurt after the derailment near Broadway and 60th Street in Woodside, FDNY said.

    The tunnel was dark, hot and full of dust as emergency responders climbed down through a sidewalk grate to evacuate the train, leading people out in groups of 20. Firefighters and EMTs went into every car to talk to riders and keep them calm before the evacuation began, Deputy Assistant Chief James Leonard said.

    The message was, "Listen, the Fire Department is on the scene, the NYPD is on the scene, you are safe, we will get you out of here," he said.

    As they guided terrified riders through the dark, emergency responders were concerned that people would become hysterical.

    "It was hot for people down there. On top of that there was a substantial cloud of dust, which people could associate with smoke ... which panics people," Leonard said.

    The evacuation took about an hour, he said.

    The MTA is investigating what caused the derailment. Authorities said the first and last cars of the eight-car train stayed on the tracks while the middle six cars derailed. 

    Some passengers told NBC 4 New York they heard screeching and banging as the train came to a sudden halt. 

    "We heard these sounds of metal clanging," one rescued rider told NBC 4 New York. "It just stopped and no one knew what it was."

    One woman described the feeling of flying off the tracks as "kind of like riding a roller coaster."

    Another man said "the train shook really badly."

    The train that derailed was on the express track, but it was near a local stop at 65th Street.

    Officials said the track was also damaged, and it would be several days before full service could be restored. 

    The MTA said it was not immediately clear how fast the train was going, or what the speed limit is in that area.

    An E train had to be evacuated near the derailment site after authorities turned off power to the tracks, and two other trains were backed up to the nearest stops so riders could get out.

    Riders should expect delays on the E, R, F and M lines. Here are the latest service advisories:

     



    Photo Credit: MTA

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    Officials are temporarily stopping dog adoptions from the Stamford Animal Control Center amid an investigation into allegations of problems with the adoption of and handling of aggressive dogs.

    The Stamford Police Department; Office of Public Safety, Health and Welfare; and the City of Stamford Human Resources Division are all investigating allegations that the City Animal Control Center has "failed to follow state guidelines and proper procedures regarding the adoption of and the control of potentially aggressive dogs," according to a news release from Stamford Police.

    Officials are temporarily putting a stop to the Animal Control Center accepting dogs to adopt as well as adopting dogs out.

    The Animal Control Center will continue to respond to incidents of animal abuse, roaming or stray animals, sick or injured animals. They will also provide care for and feeding of animals already in the facility.

    Officials said they will not immediately comment further because this is a personnel matter.
     



    Photo Credit: AP

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    A man was overcome by carbon monoxide while welding inside a metal barge at Bruce & Johnson’s Marina in Branford on Friday morning.

    The Branford Fire Department responded to 145 South Montowese St. at 10:38 a.m. when they received a report of an injured person.

    The man had been working inside a work barge that Fischer Excavating owns, officials said, and it appears that there was not adequate ventilation.

    His partner recognized the danger and played a crucial role in getting him out of a dangerous situation, according to officials.

    When the fire department arrived, he was out of the barge and disoriented and confused.

    When the fire department tested the site, detectors found carbon monoxide levels of 30ppm inside the hull of the barge, which is enough to cause serious illness and even death, officials said.

    Paramedics treated the man, gave him oxygen and brought him to Yale-New Haven Hospital.

    His condition improved as he was taken to the hospital.

    OSHA was alerted, the Branford Fire Marshal’s Office responded and is investigating.
     



    Photo Credit: Branford Fire Department

    A man was overcome with carbon monoxide while welding in a barge in Branford.A man was overcome with carbon monoxide while welding in a barge in Branford.

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    Police arrested a Hartford man suspected of firing gunshots in a park on East Street in May 2013.

    Hartford police arrested Steven Echevarria, 28, of Hartford, on Thursday while serving search warrants for an investigation into suspected drug deals from two separate homes on Seyms Street.

    Police didn't find any evidence of narcotics while searching the first floor of 51 Seyms St., where they located Echevarria, but arrested the neighbor at 33 Seyms St., Jhllah Govan, 32, after seizing a pound of marijuana and 1.5 ounces of cocaine, police said. 

    The department's Shooting Task Force identified Echevarria in April as the person suspected of firing two gunshots neighbors heard on May 11, 2013 near 53 Seyms Street.

    Police said in a news release that a man tried to fight a group of people "hanging out" in an East Street park in Hartford near the corner of Seyms Street, not far from the addresses where they did the narcotics searches.

    Investigators identified the "intended victim," but police are not releasing the identity of the person targeted. There were no injuries in the shooting and the connection between Echevarria and the victim is unknown, police said.  

    Echevarria was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm, unlawful discharge of a firearm and first-degree reckless endangerment during the narcotics search at 51 Seyms St. Thursday.

    During the narcotics search, police also charged Echevarria with destruction of evidence and interfering with police officers.

    Echevarria is a convicted felon who has a violent history, police said.

    He was convicted of first-degree assault in 2010 involving the discharge of a firearm in Hartford in 2008, according to the state of Connecticut's judicial website.

    He pleaded guilty in the case. Hartford police arrested him in November 2013 on charges of violating the terms of his probation in connection to that case.

    He also faces first-degree larceny charges in two Hartford cases from October.

    Echevarria's next criminal court appearance for cases unrelated to the most recent arrest is May 22.

    His bond is set at $350,000, police said. 

    Police charged Govan in the separate narcotics case with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.



    Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

    Hartford police arrested Steven Echevarria, 23, of Hartford, in connection with a 2013 shooting.Hartford police arrested Steven Echevarria, 23, of Hartford, in connection with a 2013 shooting.

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    Police are investigating after someone broke into two Milford homes over the span of 10 days and stole electronics and cash while the residents were sleeping.

    The most recent burglary occurred on May 2 between midnight and 6 a.m., according to the Milford Police Department.

    One perpetrator or more entered a Myers Lane home in Milford through an unlocked bathroom window, stole two laptops, cash and a cell phone and left through a back door on the ground level, police said in a news release. Two adults and three children were asleep upstairs at the time of the burglary.

    The reported incident was similar to another overnight burglary on April 23 on Campfield Circle, police said.

    The break-in happened in a “three season porch that is converted into an office space,” according to the release. While the residents were asleep, a laptop, cell phone and cash were taken.

    Police said the two streets are in the same neighborhood.

    The burglaries remain under investigation and police have not identified suspects.

    Anyone who has information on the burglaries can call the Milford Police Department at 203-878-655.
     



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Milford police investigate two overnight burglaries.Milford police investigate two overnight burglaries.

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    A crash has closed all southbound lanes Interstate 395 in Norwich.

    State police have responded to the accident by exit 83.

    The crash involves a tractor trailer and a car, according to the Department of Transportation.


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    Hartford police arrested 10 people on prostitution charges while conducting a sweep on Thursday.

    Lydia Tirillo was charged with prostitution in Hartford.Lydia Tirillo was charged with prostitution in Hartford.

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    A Connecticut teen accused of stabbing his classmate to death at a Milford high school a week ago, hours before the prom, made a brief appearance in court Friday on a murder charge.

    Christopher Plaskon, 16, is accused of fatally stabbing Maren Sanchez, also 16, inside Jonathan Law High School last Friday morning in an attack some students said might have been motivated by anger that she would not go to the prom with him.

    The hearing, held before Judge Frank Iannotti in Milford Superior Court, was Plaskon's first public appearance since the stabbing.

    Attorney Richard Meehan said Plaskon's parents wanted to be in court on Friday, but he recommended that they stay in seclusion for the court appearance and the teen's uncle was there instead.

    "The Plaskons are a very large family, there's a very large extended family here. They have a great deal of community support here. All of their hearts are broken," Meehan said.  

    The Plaskons are expected to be at a probable cause hearing set for next month, the attorney said.

    The Sanchez family did not attend the court appearance.

    Plaskon, who will turn 17 at the end of the month, is being held at Manson Youth Training Institute, a correctional facility in Cheshire for boys and young men between the ages of 12 and 19.

    "He is still under psychiatric care. He was released today from the emergency commitment, but he is on medication. He's being actively treated for that. And, as I indicated on the record to the judge, he is still displaying signs of active psychosis," Meehan said during a news conference after the court appearance.    

    Meehan would not comment on his discussions with his client and said any matters of the diagnosis and what it means for the case are medical questions that experts will evaluate.

    A probable cause hearing has been set for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 4.

    Police have said Plaskon was spotted just after the stabbing with blood on his hands and clothing. "I did it. Just arrest me," he told authorities, according to police paperwork released on Tuesday.

    Those police documents offered new details of the fatal stabbing and its aftermath.

    Police said they recovered a knife in the hallway, not far from where Sanchez was attacked.

    One witness reported seeing Plaskon on top of Sanchez and being unable to pull him away from her, according to police. Another witness told police he saw Plaskon throw a bloody knife on a hallway floor shortly after he was removed from the scene.

    As a school resource officer was heading to the scene of the attack, he was called to the principal’s office and saw Plaskon, who had blood on his hands and clothing, police said. He asked the teen what happened.

    "I did it. Just arrest me," Plaskon said, according to police.

    The officer handcuffed Plaskon and then went to the scene of the stabbing, where he found Sanchez in grave condition. Plaskon was taken into police custody, and Sanchez was rushed by ambulance to Bridgeport Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

    An autopsy was done and the medical examiner said Sanchez died of stab wounds to the torso and neck. Her death was ruled a homicide.

    Plaskon has been held in a psychiatric facility for the last week, where he has been placed on one-on-one suicide watch, which means that he is under constant supervision. He was released from that facility on Friday morning and has been charged as an adult.

    Meehan said that Plaskon will continue to receive psychiatric care and medication.

    Meehan said Plaskon will be placed in the infirmary at the Cheshire institution, receive medication and remain on suicide watch.

    Bond has been set at $3 million.

    When asked if the trial in this high-profile case could be held here, Kevin Lawlor, State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford, said he thinks so.

    “I think the law is pretty clear on change of venue,” he said. “In the Internet age, where all of you have this all over the United States in a matter of minutes, in a small state like Connecticut, change of venue really doesn’t amount to a whole heck of a lot.”  

    When asked about motive, Lawlor said he could not speak to it and the investigation is ongoing.

    “Those types of conclusions, I think, will be made further on down the line as we gather all of the facts as the Milford Police Department and other law enforcement agencies find them,” Lawlor said.  

     

    Plaskon’s family expressed sympathies for the Sanchez family in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon.

    "In prayer we ask for comfort for the Sanchez family and all of us so deeply affected by this tragedy," the Plaskon family said. "We pray for the wisdom to guide us as we desperately try to pull together the shattered pieces of our families. And finally, we pray that time may soften our wounds and reveal forgiveness in the hearts of all."


    Christopher Plaskon, 16, who's accused of fatally stabbing Maren Sanchez, 16, appeared in court on Friday to be arraigned on a murder charge.Christopher Plaskon, 16, who's accused of fatally stabbing Maren Sanchez, 16, appeared in court on Friday to be arraigned on a murder charge.

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    A Hammond Police K-9 officer was placed on administrative leave this week after YouTube video surfaced of the officer apparently abusing his police dog.

    The video posted Wednesday shows an officer using a leash to lift the dog to its hind legs, then striking the dog's middle section with what appears to be another leash. He then lifts the dog into the air by the leash, and the dog is seen swinging around once.

    The dog is struck another time before being directed back to the squad car.

    The Hammond, Ind. Police Department received the video and placed the officer on leave pending a full investigation of the incident, a police spokesman said in a statement.

    Police do not name the officer in the statement.

    "At this time, the Department has observed behavior by the K-9 handler that appears to be inconsistent with acceptable training guidelines," the spokesman said.

    Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. issued the following statement regarding the video:

    "Anybody who loves dogs as much as I do is always saddened and shocked anytime you hear of a dog's abuse. When you find out it happened with an employee of yours, it makes it that much more shocking and disturbing. Please know that the Hammond PD does not condone that type of behavior of any of it's officers, nor is it tolerated in this administration."

    Officials with the Humane Society worry the dog many have been injured.

    "It's certainly not any training I would condone or urge anyone to follow," said Kristina Montgomery of the Calumet Area Humane Society. "Lifting a dog like that off the ground can do damage to the training itself, but also to the dog’s physical health."

    Attempts to reach out to the person who posted the video to YouTube were not immediately returned.  


    A video posted to YouTube shows the alleged abuse of a police dog by a K-9 officer. On May 1, 2014, Hammond Police said the officer was placed on leave pending a full investigation.A video posted to YouTube shows the alleged abuse of a police dog by a K-9 officer. On May 1, 2014, Hammond Police said the officer was placed on leave pending a full investigation.

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  • 05/03/14--03:57: Strip Club Collapses in D.C.

  • A strip club and two other buildings collapsed in northwest D.C. Friday afternoon, sending patrons and dancers into the streets.

    Some inside the club were forced to jump out of second-story windows as the buildings' floors pancaked into each other. 

    "[We were] just dancing, doing our routine ... and the wall collapsed in on the kitchen and the bathroom. Some of the girls were shaken up," Olivia, a dancer at The Cloakroom, told News4.

    No serious injuries were reported, though one person was transported to a local hospital.

    Witnesses described panic on a stretch of K Street packed with bars and restaurants. "There were three guys that got out of there," said Ryan Multer, a witness, pointing to the rubble from across the street. "And there was a woman -- you could see she was on her cell phone -- and she was going back and forth on her cell phone in there in distress, but she eventually got out.

    "We didn't know what was going on," Multer said.

    The buildings are located in the 400 block of K Street NW. The first collapse happened around 3 p.m. and appeared to involve in a red brick building for sale, as well as the building next to it.

    That building houses The Cloakroom, which bills itself as an "adult entertainment" venue. The club opened at noon Friday, and had eight dancers scheduled to perform a noon through 7 p.m. shift.

    "I was eating lunch over here with my girlfriend, and we saw about five people exit the middle window, the second story window," said another witness, who would not give his name. "They jumped out. There's a smaller roof right beneath it so it didn't look like they got hurt when they jumped out."

    Then, about an hour later, another collapse tore down part of the exterior walls of The Cloakroom and nearby buildings. Widescreen TVs could still be seen clinging to the interior walls of the club.

    That second collapse was a close call as well. A team of D.C. firefighters and rescue personnel -- including a search dog -- had been searching the building moments before the second collapse, and left through the back of the building just before the walls came down.

    A wall of bricks scattered onto the sidewalk where entertainers had been sitting moments before after they had been evacuated.

    According to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), construction work was being done in the basement of The Cloakroom when the first collapse happened. Workers on Bobcats were doing foundation work, and officials tell News4 buildings should be vacant when that type of work is being conducted. DCRA is now investigating whether the work being conducted Friday was properly permitted. 

    An Advisory Neighborhood Committee representative for the block told News4 there had been complaints about "blight" and "disrepair" of the brick building attached to The Cloakroom, filed by residents of the city.

    Last month, local blog PoPVille.com noted in a blog post that large cracks seemed to be forming in the building.

    "They don't always rush out; I guess they hear a lot of complaints and they have to prioritize which ones are the most important," said Marge Maceda, the ANC representative. "But when something like this happens, it's time for them to look at all the things that people send them and make sure that they at least send somebody out and look at them and take action.

    The News4 I-Team has learned the city issued The Cloakroom's building's owners an "alterations permit" in November 2012, which included structural work. City inspectors are investigating the scope of those renovations.

    The building had previously housed Louis' Rogue Club, which closed in 2011 for renovations.

    MORE NEWS: 

     



    Photo Credit: Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS

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