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Would-Be Tip Jar Thief Shot by Bakery Owner, Arrested: Cops


Police have arrested a 36-year-old man who was shot in the leg by a Hartford bakery owner after allegedly trying to steal the store's tip jar.

Marcus Torres, of Hartford, was arrested and charged with first-degree attempted robbery and third-degree assault.

Police said Marcus Torres "made a motion as if he was removing a weapon from his waistband." He was taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment and was arrested upon his release.

Jessie Torres, who owns Barranquitas Mini Bakery at 262 Franklin Avenue with her husband, said she knew something was wrong right away when a man in a hoodie came in "looking weird."

The man tried to grab the jar, which held around $100 in tips, but it was screwed down to the counter because someone had stolen it before. Jessie Torres said he then started screaming at her husband.

"He just tried to pull the tip jar. ... He saw that he couldn’t take it, so he started screaming at my husband. He went after him and then whatever happened over there," Torres said. "I thought the guy was going to rob me because they’ve been robbing a lot of businesses on this street."

Jessie Torres' husband chased him down the street and shot him in the leg, she said.

Police said Marcus Torres is no stranger to law enforcement and has been previously arrested in Hartford 27 times. He's being held on $100,000 bond and is due in court Wednesday.

Authorities questioned the bakery owner, who has a valid gun permit.

Police continue to investigate.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Funeral Held for Limo Crash Victim


Hundreds of mourners turned out for a funeral service for one of the four women who were killed when the limo they were riding in was t-boned by an alleged drunk driver in Long Island's wine country over the weekend. 

Services for Amy Grabina of Commack were held at Gutterman Funeral Home in Woodbury Tuesday.

Grabina was killed along with 24-year-old Lauren Baruch, 23-year-old Stephanie Belli and 23-year-old Britney Schulman in Saturday's crash in Southold. Four other women, including a young bride, were injured. The group was out celebrating a birthday at the time of the crash. 

Funeral services for the other three women who died are pending.

Grabina, 23, was a beloved camp counselor who had recently landed a job at the business firm Ernst & Young, one friend told NBC 4 New York. Her father and her boyfriend delivered moving eulogies at the service. 

Emotions were so raw outside the funeral home that no one from the crowd wanted to speak on camera. But the tragedy has struck a nerve on Long Island.

"You have your whole lives ahead of you -- I just graduated like a lot of those women," said Jennifer Jamin, who was in the area from Astoria, Queens. "I don't know what I want to do but I have my whole life to figure it out, and it's just horrible that was taken away." 

In a funeral program note, Grabina's family asked friends to share their memories of her by using #celebrateagrabina on social media, or emailing photos and memories to amygrabinamemories@gmail.com, or adding them to this photo-sharing site. They also asked that instead of sending items to the home, donations be made in her name to a Florida State University campus recreation program close to her heart.

Earlier this week, Steven Romeo, 58, of Bethpage, pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving while intoxicated from his hospital bed at Eastern Long Island Hospital, about an hour's drive from Stony Brook University Hospital, where three of the four survivors were in various stages of recovery. 

The limo tried to make a U-turn at the intersection of County Route 48 and Depot Lane when Romeo's truck plowed into them, Town of Southold police said. The limo driver told authorities he was turning to head westbound to take the women back to Smithtown and did not see the red pickup truck in the westbound lanes of the highway, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

A witness heading eastbound who reported seeing the "entire crash" -- including the limo making the U-turn, the pickup truck driving westbound and the impact -- told authorities the limo "was turning right in front of the truck and the crash occurred at that point," according to Spota.

The limousine driver showed no evidence of being influenced by drugs or alcohol at the scene, Spota said, and chemical tests confirmed he was not intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Spota said U-turns at the accident site are not prohibited, but limo drivers have been getting summonses for the way they are making the turns. They have to "swing way out" and "many are virtually blocking the two westbound lanes" as they turn around, Spota said.

The limo driver, Carlos Pino, 58, of Bethpage, was also taken to an area hospital with injuries but was expected to survive. 

Photo Credit: Handout

Passengers Hospitalized After Tree Falls on Car


Emergency crews extricated passengers from a car in New Milford after a tree fell on their vehicle as storms moved through Tuesday evening.

Police said the tree came down on Still River Drive. First responders pulled passengers from the car and took them to the hospital for treatment. It's not clear how many people were hurt or how severely they were injured.

Still River Drive is closed.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

62-Year-Old Man Accused of Exposing Himself at State Park


Police have arrested a 62-year-old Shelton man accused of exposing himself and performing lewd acts at state park in Derby on Monday.

John Boswell, of Shelton, was arrested Monday evening by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Environmental Conservation Police and charged with disorderly conduct and public indecency.

According to the DEEP, a park attendee spotted Boswell exposing himself and performing lewd acts at Osbornedale State Park in Derby on Monday. The witness reported Boswell to park staff and took down his license plate as Boswell got in the car to leave.

The witness later identified Boswell as the man he had seen.

Boswell was released on a $1,000 bond and is due in court Aug. 8.

EnCon police are still investigating a report of indecent behavior at Southford Falls State Park in Southbury. It's not clear if the two are connected.

Chattanooga Shooter Obtained Recordings From Radical


The gunman who allegedly killed four Marines and a Navy sailor last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee, had downloaded audio recordings of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni cleric who was a recruiter for al Qaeda, law enforcement officials told NBC News. 

Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez had CDs of al-Awlaki's sermons, the officials said. Al-Awlaki was killed by an American drone strike in Yemen on 2011.

Abdulazeez's uncle is believed to be "radical" and officials are investigating his influence on Abdulazeez, the law enforcement official told NBC News. The gunman went to visit his uncle in Jordan from April to November 2014. 

The alleged shooter's family said Tuesday that the uncle is not radical as was described. They said the uncle, 40, is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Kuwait, and is a business owner in Jordan who moved to that country in 2010 to help take care of his parents.

Photo Credit: WRCB

11-Year-Old Texas Boy Has IQ of 148


Jaxon Cota is 11 years old and has an IQ score of 148.

When he was only 9 years old, he was admitted into MENSA and does high school level math for entertainment when he gets bored.

"Numbers have always just kind of stuck out to me," Jaxon says. "There are just so many things about numbers that are fascinating and so many things to learn."

When Jaxon was two, he started to read numbers like "78" on a thermostat or "350" on his mother's oven. It was then that he started reading numbers up to fifteen digits long.

"There's a rhythm to numbers," said Jaxon's father, Matthew Cota. "And just something about that is, in a  weird way, very simple for him."

Today, Jaxon competes in math competitions and his love for numbers has overflowed into a love for baseball. 

Mom With Cancer Writes Daughter Milestone Letters


Knowing she won't be around to see her daughter grow up, one Wisconsin mom has set out to write her four-year-old a letter for every milestone in her life — from a bad day to her wedding day.

Heather McManamy was diagnosed with breast cancer that has since spread to her bones and liver.

"Once you're stage 4, there is no cure," McManamy told NBC station WMTV.

Letter by letter, the McFarland mother wrote herself into every stage of her daughter's life.

"Her first tooth that she loses, her first wedding anniversary," Heather McManamy said. "Oh, I have one for her first baby. The last one I did was for her 30th [birthday]."

Little Brianna is heading off to kindergarten this year. McManamy is hoping to be able to read that one to Bri herself.

Prosecutors Reviewing Fatal Police Shooting in Cincinnati


Prosecutors are intensively reviewing the fatal shooting of an unarmed Cincinnati man by a University of Cincinnati police officer, NBC News reported. The officer pulled the driver over for having a missing front license plate and fired on him after a brief struggle, authorities said Tuesday.

The man, Samuel Dubose, 43, who was African-American, was shot once in the head as he sat behind the wheel of his car Sunday night, university and city police said. The officer, Ray Tensing, who is white, was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

The deadly shooting occurred amid a national conversation of race and policing, with critics alleging that black suspects are more likely to have force used against them during encounters with police.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Man Trapped For 10 Days Rescued by Mail Carrier


A man who had been injured and trapped for 10 days in his home was rescued from his mail carrier after she noticed that the mail had gone unchecked, according to NBC News.

Cissy Cartwright, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service in Hope Hull, Alabama, thought it was unlike Tommy Hope, 66, to not check his mailbox for several days, Post Master Sherry Hughes said. 

Cartwright discovered Hope's front door open; knowing he suffers from back problems, she yelled for the man and he responded. Hope had been on the floor, dehydrated and injured for 10 days after falling in his home on July 4, NBC station WSFA reported.

Trump's Best One-Liners From S.C. Campaign Stop


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lashed out at his rivals and sounded off on a range of topics during a campaign stop in Bluffton, South Carolina, on Tuesday.

During the event, Trump responded to having been called a "jackass" by GOP presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham a day earlier by giving out what he said was Graham's phone number. He urged his audience to call Graham. 

Graham's campaign manager responded by saying on Twitter that Trump "continues to show hourly that he is ill-prepared to be commander in chief." 

And Graham seemed to wryly acknowledge the comment on his own Twitter account:

Here are a handful of Trump's colorful one-liners from the event:

On China:
"We give state dinners to the heads of China. I say, 'why are you doing state dinners for them? They're ripping us left and right. Just take them to McDonald's and go back to the negotiating table.'"

On GOP presidential candidate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry:
"He put glasses on so people will think he's smart. It just doesn't work."

On GOP presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham:
"What a stiff," "a total lightweight," and "this idiot."

On politicians in general:
"They run and they run and they win and sometimes they lose. ... Most of them don't know what they're doing. They just keep running. It's like, you wind them up and they run for office."

On Twitter:
"It's like owning a newspaper without the losses."

On the military:
"I will build a military that's so strong that we'll never have to use it. Because they're gonna say, 'we're not messing with that guy and we're not messing with that country.'"

Photo Credit: AP
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Intruder Hides Under Bed For 3 Days


A man who broke into a New Jersey home stayed under a bed in a spare bedroom for three days before he was found, police said.

Jason Hubbard broke into the home on Ellenel Boulevard in Spotswood by walking through an open door as the homeowner was taking out the garbage, according to police.

Authorities say he walked into a spare bedroom where he stayed under the bed for three days. While he was there, he charged his four cell phones using an electrical outlet under the bed.

Three days later, on May 10, the homeowner heard a noise in the bedroom and found Hubbard.

Hubbard was charged with criminal trespass, burglary and theft of services. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Officials to Probe Alleged Edits of Sandra Bland Arrest Video


Officials are looking into alleged edits to a dashcam video of the traffic stop and arrest of Sandra Bland, the woman found dead in her Texas jail cell three days after the arrest, Texas Department of Public Safety authorities said late Tuesday. 

Bland's death has raised suspicions of her family and supporters after police say Bland had committed suicide. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said Monday that prosecutors would hand the case as thoroughly "as it would be in a murder investigation." 

In the video, a clip of a person walking and another of a car driving by are cut and repeat themselves as the audio continues uninterrupted.

"I will have to check in the morning. I can't speculate without looking at the CD," DPS spokesman, Tom Vinger, told NBC News.

The apparent edits to the video were first reported by documentation and writer Ben Norton. 

Mother of Hartford Homicide Victim Calls for End to Violence


A Hartford mother is calling for an end to violence days after her son became the city's latest homicide victim.

Family members, friends and neighbors of Jonathan Whaley, 34, gathered for a vigil Tuesday night outside his Elliot Street home in Hartford.

Whaley was shot to death outside the home early Saturday morning, becoming the city's 18th homicide victim of the year.

His mother, Adele Turner, is now calling for witnesses to come forward.

"[I'm] very broken up, and I feel that justice needs to be done. It doesn't make sense. I mean, everybody's losing a child by guns. Something has to be done," Turner said before the vigil started.

Whaley's picture lined the fence along with seven balloons, one from each of his young children, that read, "I love you, Daddy."

Relatives say Whaley's youngest child, just 4 years old, saw his father fall to the ground after he was shot.

"They took my brother. My brother. He left little kids. He left young kids behind," said the victim's sister, Ruth Whaley.

Because of a recent spike in crime, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra requested help from the state last week.

Three state police detectives and a sergeant are now helping out, and the state Department of Correction is also helping track down wanted criminals on probation or parole.

"It's good. They need it. They should have had it... before it got this far," said Turner.

As the vigil wrapped up, Whaley's children released their balloons into the air, surrounded by family and friends.

"I hope that they catch the person. That's all I can hope for, that I pray that they catch the person," said Turner.

Hartford police say they have solid leads in the case and hope additional witnesses come forward. There have been no arrests at this point.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Impaled on Ladder While Cutting Tree in Trumbull


Emergency responders and trauma surgeons worked for nearly two hours Tuesday night to save a man who became impaled on a ladder while cutting a tree in Trumbull.

Officials with the Long Hill Fire Department said a worker was trimming a tree on Fresh Meadow Drive when he became trapped between two large limbs and impaled his leg on the ladder.

"We found one male with a large tree branch – estimated, it was probably in excess of 2,000 pounds – with a ladder partially impaled into the victim," said Deputy Chief Alex Rauso of the Long Hill Fire Department.

Local tree companies and trauma surgeons were called out to cut the man free. Rauso said crews worked for an hour and 40 minutes to rescue the worker, who was suspended 13-15 feet in the air.

"The extrication process was very tense, very extreme," said Rauso.

He said the man was conscious and speaking throughout the process and was taken to the hospital for further treatment. His condition is unknown.

"The firefighters did an extraordinary job with this rescue effort," Rauso said. "It was very involved, very detailed, very challenging, and their efforts were extraordinary today."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2.3 Magnitude Quake Hits Near Cranston, R.I.


A 2.3 magnitude earthquake occurred Wednesday morning just over a mile east of Cranston, Rhode Island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake happened at 3:43 a.m.

Earthquakes occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep, although some New England earthquakes occur at shallower depths, according to the USGS.

Did you feel it?

Photo Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

3 CT Metro Areas Rank in Top 6 Cities People Are Ditching: Report


New Haven-New Milford, Hartford-West Hartford- East Hartford and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk rank within the top six metro areas in the United States that the most Americans are ditching, www.bloomberg.com reports citing U.S. Census Bureau data.

El Paso and New York-Newark Jersey City were listed in Bloomberg's study addressing the amount of residents moving out of the most populous metro areas in the United States between July 2013 and July 2014, according to the analysis. What's next in line as one of the top areas people left in that time frame? The New Haven-Milford metro area.

Urban Honolulu is next, followed by the Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford area in fifth and Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk areas in sixth.

Click here to read the full report.

Have you lived in one of these areas in Connecticut? What has made you stay or leave? Tell us in the comments!

DMV Offices to Close From Aug. 11-15 for Upgrades


The state Department of Motor Vehicles offices will be closed from Tuesday, Aug. 11 through Saturday, Aug. 15, except for licensing services, so the department can make improvements and add of new online services.

DMV offices will reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

A statement from the governor’s office says the improvements are part of a major upgrade of computer systems and will allow customers to use the Internet for some services that previously had to be done in person.

“This computer modernization project will significantly change how customers do business with the DMV by making more services available over the internet and ultimately making it more convenient for the residents of our state,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement. “This will be the first upgrade of the Connecticut DMV’s computer system in nearly a half century. It will allow customers to conduct more routine business online, easing the burden on DMV offices and staff to provide better, faster service to Connecticut drivers.”

As of Aug. 11, Governor Malloy and Commissioner Ayala and DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala Jr, will order all expiration date of all driver’s licenses, ID cards or vehicle registrations to be extended through October 10. Renewals can be done without a late fee until that date.

Emissions test due dates, however, will not be extended and customers who take advantage of the registration extension must maintain insurance coverage on their vehicles.

“Customers will soon be able to ask themselves, ‘Do I really need to visit a DMV office?’ They will be able to get out of line and go online for many more services,” Ayala said.

In the days leading up to the shutdown, customers should expect longer than usual lines at DMV offices.

“As we gear up, we expect heavier than usual business. During this period, we kindly ask customers to also use AAA offices, if possible, for license and ID renewals. Once we open back up, we also encourage them to use our new online services. This will help reduce unnecessary waits at a DMV office,” Ayala said in a statement.

As of Aug. 17, the DMV will offer the following new online services:

  • Improving the existing online registration renewal program
  • Online checking for items, such as unpaid property taxes, lack of insurance, delinquent parking violations, which can hold up a registration renewal and cause repeat trips to DMV
  • Reprinting a registration certificate from a home or other computer
  • Canceling a registration online
  • Ordering online special plates, such as vanity plates
  • Ordering online replacements for damaged plates

Providing customers with an option for DMV to contact them either by mail or e-mail

Sunny, Comfortable Weather Ahead


Comfortable weather has arrived and it will stick around for a good while.

High pressure overhead means sinking air and light winds. A few puffy cumulus clouds over the higher terrain will add some variety to the otherwise blue sky.

Temperatures will peak in the lower- to middle-80s around dinnertime today.

Good radiational cooling tonight means temperatures will tumble back into the 50s and lower-60s and make for perfect sleeping weather.

Tomorrow is basically a copy of today, with mostly sunny skies and no humidity whatsoever. High temperatures are expected to be in the lower-80s.

If there is a bump in the road before this week is out, it would be Friday, when an upper-level low-pressure system over eastern Canada will send a spoke of energy through New England. That means a mix of sun and clouds and the chance of a shower or thunderstorm.

Saturday looks nice with partly cloudy skies, and it will likely be the pick of the weekend. A shower is possible later on Sunday as a cold front approaches.

Temperatures on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be within a few degrees of 80. Meanwhile, dew points will remain in the 50s through Saturday, resulting in comfortable conditions. Sunday will be humid.

Long-range projections have a good signal for sustained heat and humidity arriving in the eastern United States next week. As of July 22, both Connecticut climate sites have yet to experience a heat wave this year.

At this point, Tuesday appears to be the start of the surge of heat, with temperatures potentially topping 90 degrees.

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

Hartford Kids Geeking Out at Geek Squad Academy


Roughly 130 kids from Hartford are spending this week learning about technology at the Geek Squad Academy. The free two-day program put on by Best Buy is visiting the Asylum Hill Boys and Girls Club in Hartford this week.

Students ages 12 to 15 signed up for the program that features classes in robotics, 3D printing and digital music.

“I actually want to do robotics when I grow up,” Hartford student Azayla Roche said as she got ready to enter middle school in Hartford. “This is going to help because I’m going to have a head start on what to do and how to do it.”

Best Buy has been putting on the program for 9 years in different cities across the country. This year is the first year they are holding it in Hartford at the Asylum Hill Boys and Girls Club.

“This is one example of how we’re doing good in our community and get them prepared for when they go back to school,” Sam Gray, president at Boys and Girls Club of Hartford, said.

Best Buy is holding Geek Squad Academy in 32 different cities this summer.

“Geek squad academy was made to give low opportunity students a great chance to try and bridge that digital divide and to learn more about technology than they did before,” William Woodworth, program manager, said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut

Andre Anderson Tapped as Interim Ferguson Police Chief


Andre Anderson — a former amateur boxer, Army alum and 24-year veteran of the Glendale, Arizona, force — has been chosen to serve as the interim police chief of Ferguson, Missouri.

He has been tasked with reforming Ferguson's scandal-scarred police department, as well as with rebuilding confidence in a community ripped apart by last summer's racial unrest.

"There's a lot of work to be done," Anderson, told reporters on Wednesday. "I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work."

Anderson, 50, is taking a six-month leave from his Glendale post to serve in Ferguson, a role that could become permanent at the end of his service, Mayor James Knowles III said. 

Photo Credit: AP
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