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Naked Man Sitting on Car Snarls Morning Rush Hour Traffic


It's not something you see every day: a naked man sitting on the roof his car in the middle of the highway during rush hour.

It happened Tuesday morning on Interstate 95 in West Haven.

Police blocked off both southbound lanes between exits 42 and 41 while taking the nude offender into custody.

Drivers got by using the right-hand shoulder but crept slowly past the startling scene, some with cameras in tow.

State police spokesman Trooper Kelly Grant said troopers brought the man to a local hospital. He received medical attention and is not facing charges.

Traffic is once again flowing in the area.

Photo Credit: David Salinas

Easton Police Commissioner Arrested on Federal Drug Charges


An Easton police commissioner is facing federal charges after a wiretap revealed his involvement in an international steroid and prescription drug trafficking ring, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Raymond Martin, 48, a member of the Easton Police Commission, was arrested Tuesday and charged with conspiring to possess and sell oxycodone. He's one of a dozen people arrested in connection with the case.

Federal prosecutors said a court-authorized wiretap caught Martin texting other members of the drug trafficking ring about selling anabolic steroids and oxycodone.

Federal authorities investigating the case seized hundreds of vials of steroids, 600 grams of raw testosterone powder, more than 1,000 oxycodone pills, 350 grams of powder cocaine and four long guns, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Martin could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Vigil Held For Hartford Murder Victim


It's a loss almost too much to bear. The family of Daniel Sampel still grapples with why the father of four is gone.

"They kill him like animal. So many shots in the body. Why? Why? This is my question. Why they kill my son? Why?" cried his mother Wanda Pomales.
Family members say Sampel stopped by 371 New Park Avenue last Thursday to meet his ex-girlfriend, but he never made it back home. Authorities found the 32-year-old shot several times. So far no one has been arrested for his murder.
"It's broken us apart," said the victim's sister, Jacqueline Sampel. "To know you're not going to hear his voice anymore, that you're not going to see his face anymore."
Tuesday night family and friends lit candles at the scene of the crime and held on to one another as emotions ran free. Sampel's children came as well, including Mia, who turned eight the day after her dad died. Until justice is served, they say closure can't be found.
"I just wish if anyone has any information, even if they think it's the smallest information, come forward. Anything might help," said Jacqueline.
A family struggling to survive on memories hopes someone will bring them the peace they need.
"So many people walking in the street, driving in the area, why they not stop and say something? Say something. Please, say something to clear this case. Please," begged Pomales. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Baby Critical After Being Found Unconscious in Bathtub


Police are investigating an incident in the city of Hartford after a 1-year-old was found unconscious in a bathtub.

Fire officials said they received a call about an unresponsive boy found in a bathtub at a home on Elmer Street  just before 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Both of the child's parents were home at the time of the incident, according to police.  The parents tried to drive the boy to the hospital when they saw firefighters on Sigorney Street and stopped for help, according to police.

The fire crew began CPR on the baby and then rushed the boy to Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

The child is suffering from life-threatening injuries, police said.

The police department's Major Crimes Division and Special Investigation Division are looking into the case. Police said they plan to remain on the property for some time.

There have been no charges filed in connection with the incident, but the boy's father was taken into custody on unrelated charged stemming from prior warrants.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Cleanup Delayed on I-91 in Meriden After Tanker Fire, Spill


Cleanup efforts along Interstate 91 in Meriden are delayed while the crews finish repairing the pavement after a tanker crashed, spilled thousands of gallons of oil and caught fire on the highway earlier this week.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said workers planned to remove oil-soaked soil from the highway median Wednesday but have delayed the project while the Department of Transportation finishes repairing the road surface.

It comes two days after an oil cargo tanker rolled over and bust into flames, spilling 3,000 gallons of oil across the highway. Police believe the tanker may have struck the Murdock Avenue overpass on the northbound side the highway between exits 16 and 15.

"It appears at this point, although it's preliminary, that it may have blown a tire and hit the bridge abutment, tore the tank off the trunk, splitting it down the back and turning it upside down," said Meriden Fire Chief Ken Morgan.

State police said a passenger car drove through the flames. The driver said he was shaken up but unharmed – although his Subaru melted. The tanker driver was taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The stretch of the highway damaged during Monday's crash has since been repaved. According to the DEEP, crews are now making some final repairs.

It's not clear when the soil removal will now take place.

Video of Fatal Police Shooting


A federal judge has ordered a suburban Los Angeles city to release video of police fatally shooting an unarmed man two years ago.

Judge Stephen Wilson said Tuesday that the public should be able to see what led the city of Gardena to pay $4.7 million to settle a lawsuit.

The Associated Press and other news media argued there was intense interest in the videos because of scrutiny of police shootings nationwide.

Footage shot from three police-car cameras reportedly shows the killing of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino. Prosecutors declined to charge four officers in the death after reviewing the videos and interviewing witnesses.

Lawyers for Diaz-Zeferino's family and a friend who was wounded say the videos will let the public decide whether the shooting was justified.

Police were responding to a call about a stolen bicycle when they confronted Diaz-Zeferino and two other men.

In the video, Diaz-Zeferino can be seen putitng his hands in the air, and then back down.

Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano told NBC4 that the officers were justified.

"He was not complying with his orders. Officers could not see his hands at one point. Detailed analysis is in the District Attorney's opinion letter," he said.

He said he was concerned about the precedent the release of the video sets for future recordings.

"We don't want our community members to feel distrustful of us because they know at some point their situation may end up on video or on the Internet. There's a balanced approach," he said.

Medrano said the initial investigation led to a just outcome.

"We understand this is a tragic incident. And they were the wrong people. This case has been litigated for a number of years. Those officers only had seconds to make a split second decision," he said.

The ACLU of Southern California said it sees the decision as a chance for other police departments to consider policies that often withhold dashcam and body camera footage from the public.

"We hope that today’s decision will prompt the Los Angeles Police Department and others to revisit their misguided stance on withholding video from body cameras and dash cameras. It is only through an informed understanding of how their government systems operate, and how government officials conduct themselves, that the people are able to judge whether those systems and officials are conducting their business faithfully," the statement read.

"And it is only through knowledge of specific incidents that the people may hold their officers accountable for the results of poor policies or bad judgment, and deter similar miscarriages in the future. The government’s law enforcement function is not immune from this basic precept of transparency. Disclosure of information about the actions and operations of police is vital to maintaining responsible, accountable police departments."

Lolita Lopez, Beverly White and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

How Connecticut Residents Perceive Hurricane Threats


Researchers at Yale University in New Haven conducted a survey on how coastal Connecticut residents react to tropical storm systems, and the results are raising some eyebrows.

The investigators received responses from more than 1,000 Connecticut residents, 996 of whom experienced a hurricane or tropical storm within the past five years. Only those who experienced a storm in the past five years were included in the results.

Based on responses to the survey, Connecticut residents were broken up into five distinct groups in terms of response to a hurricane or tropical storm: first out, constrained, optimists, reluctant and diehards.

First Out

  • The "first out" group sees a great risk from hurricanes and would evacuate if one is forecast. A call from officials to evacuate isn’t necessary for this group to leave town. Interestingly enough, only about half of this sensitive group evacuated in Hurricane Sandy.


  • Constrained residents also understand the risks associated with a tropical system, but have barriers to evacuation. Potential barriers include pets, personal disability or even lack of money. This was the smallest group, coming in with 14 percent of those included.


  • Similar to the constrained, optimists are not well prepared to evacuate and perceive barriers to evacuation. Connecticut doesn’t often deal with land-falling hurricanes, and optimists have very low expectations that one will hit in the next 50 years.


  • Reluctant people would need an official evacuation order to leave. Additionally, these people tended to live farther away from the coastline. Of those included in the results, the reluctant group was largest, at 27 percent.


  • The most resilient group of people was called diehards. These residents are least likely to evacuate and have the lowest risk perception. Diehards feel they can better protect lives and property by staying home even when the storm and its associated storm surge arrive.

Before a storm, there are numerous ways to promote evacuating. They include the governor’s office, local government, local police/fire and local media, including television and radio.

By far the most effective way to get people to evacuate is by notification from local police and fire departments. For all five groups of residents, the percentage chance they "definitely/probably would" evacuate was highest when word came from local police and fire officials.

The percentages for "definitely/probably would" evacuate were lowest for every single group if the evacuation notice were to come from television or radio sources.

Not to be understated is the need for continuing education and outreach long before a storm hits.

In the write-in section on the survey, one resident in the diehard group said, "lived here 28 years; been through a lot of storms."

The conclusion was that given the various views and attitudes towards hurricanes among the population, messages need to be tailored for different groups, clear communication of the different hazards is needed and resources for evacuation are critical.

Photo Credit: AP Photo

Would-Be Copper Thief Falls From Kmart Roof: Cops


A would-be thief is in critical condition after falling from the roof of an old Kmart store in Torrington while trying to steal copper, according to police.

Police said Jason Alexson, 33, of Torrington, climbed to the top of the building at 681 Main Street around 1:45 a.m. Tuesday to steal copper from rooftop air conditioning units.

His co-conspirator, Jacob Newman, 33, called 911 when Alexson fell, according to police. Newman is now behind bars.

LifeStar was called out but couldn't fly because of foggy conditions, according to emergency dispatchers. Instead, an ambulance brought Alexson to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. Police said he was transferred to Hartford Hospital, where he's listed in critical condition.

Newman was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny, first-degree criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief.

Police are still investigating and ask anyone with information to call detectives at 860-489-2051.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rabid Raccoon Caught in Durham


Animal control officers caught and euthanized a rabid raccoon in Durham over the weekend.

The animal was found wndering the area of Maple Avenue in Durham. Asst. Animal Control Officer John Miller said he caught the raccoon around 9 a.m. Sunday near 95 Maple Avenue.

State police euthanized the raccoon that morning.

Animal Control does not believe the raccoon came into contact with any animals or people.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

3 Charged in 2014 Shooting Death of New Haven Teen


Police have arrested two teens and a 22-year-old man in connection with the shooting death of a New Haven high school student last April.

Torrence "T.J." Gamble, 16, was shot in the head on Daggett Street in New Haven the night of April 3. He died early the next morning.

Just over a year later, police arrested three people in connection with Gamble's death.

The suspected gunman, a 17-year-old boy from New Haven, has been charged with murder, charged with conspiracy to commit murder and carrying a pistol without a permit. The teen is being held on $1 million bond.

A second 17-year-old linked to the crime and is already incarcerated on separate charges, according to police. His bond was set at $600,000.

The only adult to be arrested – John Helwig, 22, of Milford – was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and criminal liability for acts of another. He's being held on $850,000 bond.

The 17-year-old suspected gunman, a 17-year-old accomplice and a 22-year-old Milford resident are facing charges in the death of Torrence "T.J." Gamble.

Police have not released any additional information on the circumstances of the shooting or a possible motive. New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman said the arrest warrants are sealed by court order.

Gamble was a student at Riverside Academy

A 16-year-old Riverside Academy student died on Friday morning, hours after being shot in the head in New Haven.

Police identified the victim as Torrence Gamble, 16, of New Haven.

Photo Credit: Family Photo/New Haven Police Department

Unclaimed Veterans Receive Proper Burials


Four veterans whose remains have sat unclaimed since their deaths years ago received a proper burial Wednesday in the State Veterans' Cemetery.

Howard Daniels died in Old Saybrook in 2011, Joseph Trantino in New Haven in 2004, David Kendle in Clinton in 2002 and William Buell died in 2003.

The Missing in America Project found their remains at Swan Funeral Home in Clinton. The funeral home's director organized a procession and ceremony to present the veterans with the final honor they deserved.

Patriot Guard Riders carried cherry-wood urns containing the veterans' ashes out of the funeral home to waiting hearses prior to a funeral service in Old Saybrook.

"We make them our family. We become their family to take them to their final rest," said the Mac McArthur, state captain of the Patriot Guard Riders.

Four hearses carried each of the veterans to Middletown, where Patriot Guard Riders led the procession into the State Veterans' Cemetery.

An honor guard from the Army retrieved the urns for Daniels and Trantino, who saw combat in World War II, while a guard from the Navy did the same for for Kendle and Buell.

The Missing in America Project has found in funeral homes across the country the unclaimed remains of more than 2,600 veterans.

"The absolute least we can do, when they have no family left when they pass away is to ensure they are laid to rest in the proper manner and given the proper honors," said said Tim Tapply, of the Missing in America Project.

After a rifle salute and Taps from a bugler, the honor guards folded American flags. The flags would ordinarily go to the veterans' loved ones, but on Wednesday, they were presented to a larger family: the family of veterans.

"You look around this cemetery here today – the number of veterans who really came out to support fellow veterans was amazing, inspiring, and really shows again that we're not going to forget our veterans here in Connecticut," said Sean Connolly, the commissioner of Veterans' Affairs in Connecticut.

The Missing in America Project has found 20 more unclaimed remains of veterans in Connecticut and will hold similar ceremonies at the State Veterans' Cemetery later this summer.

WATCH: Boston Terror Suspect Defends ISIS in Interview


The son of a Boston police officer who allegedly plotted to detonate pressure-cooker bombs is seen defending ISIS in a newly-released segment of a police interview, saying that he does not believe ISIS executes innocent people.

In one of the most compelling parts of the video released to necn by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Adams, Massachusetts, police ask 23-year-old Alexander Ciccolo if he agrees with the motives behind the beheadings that ISIS has captured on video and posted online.

"The people that you see being executed are criminals. They're criminals. They're the lowest of the low," Ciccolo said. "They don't kill children and women. That's lies. They will do that if they fight — if a woman or a child fights."

Ciccolo allegedly plotted to detonate pressure-cooker bombs and broadcast the executions of students live online in a move to support ISIS.

"How can a man-made law be better than divine law?" Ciccolo asked. "It's not even possible."

In addition, Ciccolo tells police that it is unjust to not follow Sharia law.

"The people that welcome the Islamic State, they're living so well. You don't hear about that in the news. You don't hear about that but they are," Ciccolo said.

Throughout the video, Ciccolo takes time to answer the questions and chooses his words carefully as he cleans his glasses on his shirt and fidgets in his chair. The first time he appears defensive is towards the end of the video when police press him on the motives of the Islamic State.

"They kill enemies. They kill oppressors," Ciccolo said sternly.

Ciccolo was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday with illegal possession of a firearm for receiving four guns July 4 from a person cooperating with the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force. Ciccolo, who was barred from having a gun because of a drunken driving conviction, was ordered held without bail during a detention hearing Tuesday. 

His attorney, David Hoose, argued that Ciccolo had no record of conviction for weapons and no record of violence and should be released to the custody of his mother and stepfather, where he could remain under house arrest on a GPS bracelet. Hoose said Ciccolo's beliefs "may be deemed vile, but those are beliefs." He urged the judge to focus on the charge his client is facing - a felon in possession of weapons charge - not the terror allegations.

Ciccolo's father, a 27-year veteran of the Boston Police force, alerted authorities last fall that his son had a long history of mental illness and was thinking about joining the Islamic State, sources told the Associated Press. 

Photo Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office

Drivers in Middletown Can Use App to Pay for Parking


Forget about searching for quarters or pulling out your credit card – you can now use your cellphone to pay for parking in Middletown.

This week, the city will begin using the Parkmobile app for 1,200 parking spots along Main Street and in municipal lots around the city center.

Instead of putting change or a credit card directly into the meter, drivers with Parkmobile will pre-enter their credit card information into the app. Drivers will then plug in the space number displayed on the parking meter and specify how long they intend to park.

Parking rates remain unchanged. Drivers will still pay $1 per hour to park, along with a 30-cent service fee per Parkmobile transaction.

Through the app, drivers can also extend parking sessions remotely without having to return to their cars. New Haven, Norwalk and parts of Hartford are among the Connecticut locales already using the system.

Drivers told NBC Connecticut they support any new technology that can lessen the likelihood that they’ll receive a ticket while parked downtown.

"You won’t have to worry about having a credit card or quarters or anything like that. I think it’ll make it easier on the city as well. They’ll be able to just collect their fees from parking and not have to worry so much about ticketing," said Mike McAuliffe, of Durham.

The leader of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce says fewer tickets are one of the main reasons city officials support the app.

"This is just being customer-friendly to business, to people that come into our community," Larry McHugh explained.

The town parking department says next, officials hope to add the ability for businesses to use Parkmobile to pay for their customers' parking spots.

Photo Credit: Parkmobile USA, Inc.

Crash Causes Delays at I-384, I-84 Split


A crash caused delays Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 384 westbound where the highway splits off from Interstate 84 in East Hartford, according to state police.

Footage from the scene shows police, fire trucks, and an ambulance and a tow truck blocking off I-384 after a passenger car apparently went off the side of the road onto a grassy embankment.

Police said the right two lanes of I-384 west were closed in the area.

There has been no word on injuries.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Child Drowns at a Disney Resort


A 3-year-old-boy drowned Tuesday night in a pool at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, authorities said. 

The child was visiting from out of town and was somehow separated from his parents, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. After a search, the child was found underwater. He was pronounced dead at a hospital, shortly after 8 p.m. 

WESH 2 News, an NBC affiliate in Orlando, reported that the child and his family were visiting from New York.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and our main focus now is assisting the family during this difficult time," said Disney World spokeswoman Jacquee M. Wahler. 

Accordiing to Wahler, lifeguards were on duty at the time.

Downpours Could Cause Flooding This Evening


Downpours are moving across the state this evening, along with some thunder, and parts of Connecticut could see some flooding as a result.

A flash food watch has been issued for northeastern Connecticut until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The very latest flash flood guidance indicates it would take 2 to 3 inches of rain in three hours to cause flooding issues in Connecticut.

The greatest concern for localized flooding is in southern Connecticut, including the cities of Bridgeport, New Haven and New London. This is where the most widespread rain is expected.

The chance of severe weather is isolated, and we're not likely to see severe weather in any other part of the state, according to First Alert Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan.

The weather will improve Thursday as the cold front moves out. Not only will the humidity tick down, but we'll see sunny skies with temperatures within a few degrees of 80.

Friday continues the late-week trend of nice weather. An abundance of sun will make for a great finish to the work week, with temperatures in the lower-80s.

Tim McGraw takes the stage at the Xfinity Theatre at 8 p.m. Temperatures will be falling quickly through the 70s, with mainly clear skies.

True summer weather looks to arrive this weekend. Indications are that dew points surge into the mid-70s, which translates into an oppressive humidity reading.

Each weekend day has the chance of a thunderstorm with the soupy air in place. Temperatures will in the 80s for all, perhaps near 90 degrees for inland locations on Sunday.

Stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert weather team for the very latest forecast on-air, online and on the app.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

SeaWorld Employee Posed as Animal Activist, PETA Says


A SeaWorld employee posed as an animal rights activist and attended events organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for three years, PETA said in a statement Tuesday. In turn, the water park accused PETA of similar deceptive practices.

PETA said a man identified himself as "Thomas Jones" on PETA's Action Team website and “solicited information about peaceful protests” from its staffers. However, PETA claims that the man’s true identity is Paul T. McComb, a human resources employee at SeaWorld San Diego.

"SeaWorld knows that the public is rejecting its cruel orca prisons and is so desperate that it created a corporate espionage campaign," says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange.

SeaWorld responded to the allegations in a statement.

"We are focused on the safety of our team members, guests and animals and beyond that we do not comment on our security operations," Fred Jacobs, a SeaWorld spokesman, said in a statement. "This is a responsibility that we take very seriously, especially as animal rights groups have become increasingly extreme in their rhetoric and tactics."

SeaWorld also accused the animal rights organization of infiltrating "companies like SeaWorld."

"PETA itself actively recruits animal rights activists to gain employment at companies like SeaWorld, as this job posting demonstrates," Jacobs said in the statement. "Safety is our top priority, and we will not waiver from that commitment."

PETA in a statement responded that what they do is "nothing at all like what SeaWorld has apparently done here."

The organization said SeaWorld’s alleged "corporate espionage campaign tried to coerce kind people into illegal acts." PETA compared their own undercover work to that done by journalists.

SeaWorld would not confirm whether or not a Paul McComb currently works or has ever worked for the company.

Bloomberg.com first reported the allegations. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Person Stabbed in Stomach at Mohegan Sun Parking Garage


Police are searching for the man who stabbed another person in the stomach at a Mohegan Sun Casino parking garage early Wednesday morning.

State police said the victim and perpetrator, who knew one another, met at the Riverview Parking Garage around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

They got into a fight, and one person stabbed the other in the abdomen, then drove off. Police said neither person entered the casino.

The victim was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London. Police have not identified the victim or released any information on the person's condition.

State police said the stabbing appears to have been targeted and was not a random act of violence.

Police are asking anyone who can help identify the perpetrator or his getaway car to call the Mohegan Sun Tribal Police Department at 860-862-7460. Calls will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Man Shot and Killed in Hartford's 17th Homicide of the Year


Hartford police are investigating the capital city's 17th homicide of the year.

Hartford police said Marcus McDade, 38, was shot multiple times in the chest and leg outside his home on Pliny Street around 3 a.m. Tuesday. He was rushed to St. Francis Hospital and was pronounced dead.

Investigators spent the morning searching Pliny Street with flashlights for evidence and knocking on neighbors' doors in an effort to piece together what happened. A woman who lives in the area said she and her granddaughter woke up to the sound of gunshots.

"We believe it happened outside,"  said Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley. "We have some evidence to indicate that."

It's Hartford's 17th homicide of 2015.

"One homicide is bad. Two is worse. Seventeen is obviously alarming," said Foley. "It's been a very rough summer so far, a violent summer out here."

Last year saw 19 homicides in the capital city. Just six months into 2015, Hartford is fast approaching that number.

Foley said there were eight homicides in the city around this time last year.

"I can tell you that we've had worse summers. I can also tell you that violence is going up nationally, but we're not just willing to let that be narrative and be the end of it," Foley explained. "We're concerned with it and we're going to deal with it."

Investigators are still searching for whoever pulled the trigger.

Norwalk Tennis Coach Sexually Assaulted Underage Victim: Cops


A 20-year-old man is accused of sexually assaulting an underage victim multiple times while working as a tennis coach in Norwalk.

Maurice Thomas-Riley, of Woodbury Avenue in Norwalk, was arrested July 15 and charged with first-degree sexual assault and three counts of risk of injury to a minor.

Police said Thomas-Riley sexually assaulted the victim while coaching at Norwalk Grass Roots Tennis. The victim has not been identified, but police said he or she was part of the tennis program.

It's not clear when the alleged attacks occurred, but police said they started investigating Thomas-Riley in May.

He was held on $250,000 bond and appeared in court Wednesday.

It's not clear if Thomas-Riley has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department
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