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Missing Dog Reunites With Family


A California man feared his German shepherd was dead when she disappeared two years ago.

He had received a call shortly after the dog's disappearance that a German Shepherd matching Cheiska’s description had been hit and killed by a car.

It was a false call and not the right dog.

Fracisco Velazquez, of Chula Vista, received the call he had been waiting for when Rancho Coastal Humane Society contacted him, telling him a stray with a microchip matching to Cheiska had turned up at the animal shelter.

A miracle dog?

“We feel awesome,” he said Wednesday. “This is the best feeling.”

On Wednesday, Velazquez along with his two kids reunited with Cheiska, who was just a puppy when she got away from the family and disappeared.

At the Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas, the dog bounded over to her family as they shouted her name and hugged and petted her.

She appeared in good health and with a calm temperament.

Velazquez was happy to find Cheiska, now 3, answered to her name and still remembers some of the commands he taught her, like how to “shake.”

She doesn’t remember “down” or “sit,” though.

Perhaps that can be the next obedience lesson along with just enjoying having their family dog back home?

“It’s been a long time,” Velazquez said. “It feels so good. I’ve missed her.”

Officer Fatally Shot During Stop


More than 100 people gathered late Wednesday for a vigil to honor a California police officer who was fatally shot.

The officer, identified as 48-year-old Sergeant Scott Lunger, was shot during a traffic stop earlier in the day, police said.

Speaking at a press conference, Hayward Police Capt. Mark Koller said: "[Scott] was always out there, eager to get involved. He was engaged in the community."

Koller deemed Lunger's death a "tremendous loss" and Wednesday a "dark day for the community of Hayward, the Hayward Police Department, the family of [the] department and the men and women of law enforcement."

The shooting occurred at 3:14 a.m. in the vicinity of Myrtle and Lion streets, police said.

Lunger stopped a vehicle whose driver was "observed driving erratically," police said. But when he got out of his car and approached the driver's side of the vehicle, its occupant opened fire without warning, they added. 

A second officer, who was present at the scene and did not sustain injuries, fired back. But the suspect fled despite being struck, police said. The entire exchange lasted about 45 seconds, they added.

Police also said that the suspect vehicle, believed to be a white GMC pickup truck, was later recovered in Oakland. Abandoned at an intersection, the car was reportedly riddled with bullet holes on the driver's side door.

Based on information found in the vehicle, police were able to identify a "person of interest" and ensure that he no longer posed a "threat to the community," Koller said.

The suspect, 21-year-old Mark Astrada, was arrested Wednesday afternoon when he was admitted to San Leandro Hospital and then transferred to Highland Hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound, police sources told NBC Bay Area.

Authorities said they are not searching for any other suspects at this time.

Citing the active investigation, which is in its early — and most "crucial" — stage, Koller declined to furnish additional details. Providing information prematurely could "jeapordize" ongoing police work, he said.

But Koller didn't hold back when talking about Lunger.

He said the 15-year veteran who was promoted to sergeant in 2009 was "well liked" and "well respected" — in short, an "ideal" police officer. The pair were "close [friends]," Koller said, noting that Lunger was an "accomplished" member of the police department's gang and SWAT teams, and also helped train young police officers.

"Scott loved this job," Koller said. "He did it eagerly. It is a tragedy that this has happened, that someone has done this. … The department is devastated but we are pulling together and we will get through this."

The California Highway Patrol, Alameda County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's Office, and San Jose, San Leandro and Union City police departments are assisting Hayward police.

Thanking all those who have come forward to support the department, Koller said the "outpouring is overwhelming."

Earlier in the day, Lieutenant Eric Krimm deemed the shooting "devastating to the officers involved and to the community." 

“No officer comes to work wanting to be involved in something like that so [officer-involved shootings are] very difficult,” he noted. “They’re difficult for those involved, they’re difficult for the families, they’re difficult for the communities.”

According to the Hayward police department's "Officer Down Memorial Page," three officers have been killed in the line of duty — most recently in 1987.

"Unfortunately, a police officer’s job is very dangerous and as we can see today ... there's nothing routine about what our officers do," Koller said. "There are times [when] they have no idea who they’re stopping … Tragedy happens immediately and without warning."

NBC Bay Area's chopper showed heavy police presence at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley where Lunger was taken. Law enforcement officers saluted as a casket carrying the slain officer's body was loaded into a vehicle.

On Wednesday, news of Lunger's death rocked Bay Area's law enforcement agencies.

Captain Christopher Sherry, commander of the CHP in San Francisco, wrote on Twitter: "My thoughts and Prayers are with the Hayward PD. This is a very sad day for all law enforcement. #GodSpeed"

Mountain View police echoed the same sentiment.

"We mourn with our brothers + sisters of the HaywardPD + family of the fallen," they tweeted. "Rest peacefully Sgt. Scott Lunger."

Police said anyone wishing to make a donation for the Lunger family can contact the Hayward Police Officers Association at 510-293-5010.

NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull, Stephanie Chuang, Bob Redell and Shawn Murphy contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Hayward Police Department
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Boy Abused, Weighing 38 Pound


On the second floor of a house in Hardwick, Massachusetts, is where police said a 7-year-old boy was abused at the hands of his father.

The abuse was so bad,  the boy was in a coma and unresponsive when he was brought to a local hospital, according to court paperwork.

Police said the boy was suffering from "starvation and dehydration," and weighs just 38.5 pounds.

The boy's father, 26-year-old Randall Lints, faces a slew of child abuse charges.

Amber Loiselle identifies the victim as her son, Jack. She said she's been visiting him on her custody days in the hospital.

"He's my first born, and he's a great older brother" she said. "I just want him to open his eyes, because they're the most beautiful color of blue."

Police say the child had injuries to his skin as a result of "bleach exposure."

Ten-year-old Isabella Johnson rides the bus with the child.

"He told me he scrubs the floor sometimes," Johnson said. "He says for a chore, his parents make him clean the floors."

Johnson also said he would be cold and hungry at school.

"Sometimes he comes to school, like in the winter time, he was really cold," she said. "He'd go to school on the bus and be like, 'I'm hungry,' so he'd open his lunch and eat it, and then he'd have nothing to eat at lunch."

"I'm very upset about this. I hope he's okay," said Isabella's mom, Dawn Johnson, through tears.

She says she saw the little boy just recently.

"I had a yard sale a couple weeks ago and I was giving toys to him and stuff, because he doesn't have — I just let him have stuff," said Dawn Johnson.

Massachusetts State Police say they responded to the home on July 14 for a 911 call.

Lints allegedly told police that he went to check on his son and found him unresponsive, and that he had fallen out of bed days earlier.

First responders said they found bruises to the child's "forehead and jaw," but doctors said the injuries weren't consistent with falling out of bed.

The boy had injuries to his feet "likely from a manufactured object," and that he had a weight loss of about "12-15 pounds in only a few months," according to the report.

Lints was arrested a week after his son was brought to the hospital.

Wednesday, a woman neighbors identified as Lints' girlfriend cried near the house. Neighbors didn't report seeing anything amiss, but one downstairs neighbor said she heard yelling a few months ago.

"I heard him yelling at his son, saying, 'Why did you do it, why did you do it?' and the child crying," she said.

Amber Loiselle s Jack is slowly getting better.

"Justice will prevail for my son, and he is going to come out of this, because he is just the most amazing little boy," she said.

The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families says the boy is in their custody. He is still recovering at a local hospital. A Facebook page set up for him says he is progressing, and that he was able to wiggle his arms and shoulders and cough on his own.

Photo Credit: Telegram & Gazette

Man Missing From New Haven Was Stuck in Culvert for 4 Days: Cops


A man reported missing in New Haven, Connecticut, last week turned up in the unlikeliest of places.

Police looking for the 56-year-old city resident found him stuck in a culvert 20 yards into the woods early Saturday. He told police he had been there since Tuesday.

Officers began searching for the man after he was reported missing Friday evening.

Family members said he suffers from kidney failure and needs dialysis. The man's brother told NBC Connecticut he had not been receiving his regular treatment.

The family hadn't heard from him since Monday, but had spotted his car outside Burger King on Whalley Avenue, according to police.

Investigators spoke with the restaurant manager, who said the man had stopped by Tuesday and left on foot, having lost his car keys, according to police. The manager said the man "looked sick" when he left.

Police searched city streets, trails and cut-throughs, called the hospital and the missing man's dialysis center and issued a formal Silver Alert.

It was by chance – and thanks to an exhaustive search – they spotted him in a culvert in the woods off Dayton Street around 12:45 a.m. Saturday.

Police said the man was "alive and surprisingly well" and told them he had been trapped in the culvert for days.

It's not clear how he got there, but his brother, who asked not to be identified, said the man may have gotten lost and confused because of his medical condition.

He was admitted to Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Silver Alert was canceled.

"He basically knows what happened and he's just grateful that he was able to get assistance," the man's brother said. "Knowing that he's rehabilitating from his injuries and that he's going to be well, that's good for us."

Photo Credit: Flickr/Thomas Bruce

Crews Find Body of Swimmer Missing in Farmington River


Rescuers have recovered the body of a swimmer missing in the Farmington River.

Police said the swimmer, a young man in his early 20s, went underwater around 5 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Tunxis Meade Park in Farmington.

A state police K-9 helped narrow the search area with help from a helicopter overhead. Police said they used sonar to pinpoint the swimmer's location and pulled his body from the river around 8:30 p.m.

"As you know, the river is very unpredictable. There are a lot of currents, varying depths. It's typically very dangerous to swim in the river," said Lt. Patrick Buckley of the Farmington Police Department. "So he wasn't exactly where he was last seen, but it was in the general area, probably within 100 yards or so."

Authorities have not identified the swimmer except to say he is a Connecticut resident. Police said he was swimming with a group of four or five people when something went wrong.

"They were just swimming, and it appeared at some point that he was in some type of distress," Buckley said. "They tried to offer some type of assistance at at some point, he just kind of disappeared from the surface."

A medical examiner was called to determine the swimmer's cause of death. Police said they believe alcohol was not involved.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Yale Grad Student Robbed at Gunpoint, Shot Fired


A Yale graduate student was robbed at gunpoint in New Haven on Wednesday night, according to Yale police, and a gunshot went off during the struggle.

The graduate student was walking west on Edwards Street near Whitney Avenue at 11:50 p.m. when the two men approached him, one pulled a gun, and they demanded the victim’s wallet, according to a statement from Yale police.

During the struggle, the gun went off and the robbers ran off with the student’s wallet and phone. No one was injured during the robbery.

The robbers got away in a dark vehicle that headed east on Edwards Street toward State Street, Yale police said. Authorities released the partial license plate -- a Connecticut plate with 7ARWT.

Anyone with information should call Yale Police at (203) 432-4400 or send an anonymous text tip through the Bulldog Mobile (LiveSafe) app.

Yale police are urging students to walk with others when possible in well-lit and populated areas and to avoid displaying valuables.

They also advise that students note the locations of blue phones along their routes and use security services, including shuttles and security escorts by calling (203) 432-9455.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Native, Reality TV Star Killed in LA


A Meriden, Connecticut native and former Los Angeles police officer-turned attorney who starred in a reality show on cable television was killed in California and a Redondo Beach man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of killing his girlfriend.

Police identified the dead woman as Loredana Nesci, 47, who was the star of "Loredana, Esq.," a 2014 reality show on Sundance TV that documented her home life and career as an attorney. Reagan appeared on the six-episode series.

Her website, "Legal Diva," says Nesci attended University of Connecticut, where she obtained her undergraduate degree.

The Record Journal reports that Nesci was a Meriden native.

in 1996, she moved to California and worked as a Los Angeles police officer until attending law school at Quinnipiac University in Hamden.

She went on to work for law offices in East Hartford, Hartford and Meriden and volunteered as a legal intern for U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal when he was attorney general.

Officers were sent to the residence the couple shared around 7:20 a.m. after receiving an emergency call "from a distraught male," and discovered the victim dead inside, Redondo Beach police Sgt. Fabian Saucedo said.

"The Redondo Beach Police Department suspects foul play, and is investigating this incident as a homicide,'' Saucedo said.

Robert Reagan, 51, was booked on suspicion of murder, with bail set at $1 million.

According to the Daily Breeze, the show documented the couple's struggle with mounting bills, and arguing over the care of their son while Reagan was traveling to develop a beverage business.

Woman Charged With Prostitution in Willimantic


Willimantic police have arrested a woman on prostitution charges and said she solicited an undercover Willimantic police officer.

Police arrested Nicole Doorn on Wednesday and said she has an extensive felony record that includes convictions for narcotics sale and possession, as well as burglary and forgery.

Doorn was released on a $2,500 non-surety bond is due in Danielson Superior Court on July 31.

Photo Credit: Willimantic Police

Steel Cutting Machine Caused Fire in Bloomfield


Jacobs Vehicle Systems in Bloomfield has been evacuated for about an hour on Thursday morning after a steel cutting machine caught fire.

Employees grab fire extinguishers and tried to put out the fire, but they were not able to, so they called 911 around 8:30 a.m.  

Firefighters rushed to the company on East Dudleytown Road and a couple hundred employees had to vacate the building as firefighters went to work.

The fire was contained and employees were allowed back inside.

The fire marshal will investigate the cause of the fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Arrested Over Vulgar Texts: Police


South Windsor police have arrested a man who is accused of sending vulgar text messages to a woman in February.

Police arrested Paul Hychko, 24, of Waterbury, on an arrest warrant on Wednesday. He has been charged with harassment in the second degree and was held on $1,000 surety bond.

Hychko us due in Manchester Superior Court this morning.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

Snakes Take Over Texas Property


A North Texas family says hundreds of copperhead snakes roam their Weatherford property at night.

Vicki Barnett has a hard time going to sleep knowing copperhead snakes surround her home.

"If one got in the house or in the cars, I would have to move," Barnett said. "I really would."

Barnett said she and her husband killed about 30 snakes last weekend alone and another on Tuesday night. It's a problem they've been dealing with since they moved there two years ago.

"I nearly stepped on it and then I just ran and waited for my husband to come outside and kill them," Barnett said.

Barnett arms herself with a rifle, killing the venomous reptiles at dusk when they're most active.

"Any thicket is a real good place for them," said Randall Kennedy, who works for Fort Worth Wildlife, a company specializing in nuisance removal.

Kennedy came out to Barnett's property Wednesday to investigate where she claims hundreds of snakes call home.

"Once they start taking over, they'll take over," said Kennedy. "There can be quite a few of them."

The copperheads are masters of hiding during the day, but that leaves no comfort for Barnett and her family.

"My little grandson says, 'Mo Mo, you've got all these snakes,'" Barnett said. "I've showed him and said, 'Mo Mo has a lot of snakes here.'"

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Burglars Steal Copper Pipes, Flood Salvation Army


Burglars stole copper pipes from a Vernon Salvation Army store, flooding the basement, then came back again and stole the rest of the pipes, according to police.

Maintenance workers from the Salvation Army store at 166 Union Street called police on Wednesday morning after finding feet of water in the basement and discovering that burglars had stolen copper pipes.

The break-in happened during the early morning between July 16 and 22, police said.

One or more burglars had backed a vehicle up to the side of the building on the Maple Street side, entered through a basement window and stole so much copper piping that that three to four feet of water in the basement when workers arrived on Wednesday.

Workers left the store around 5 p.m. after spending most of the day re-securing the business and pumping the water out of the business.
Then burglars struck again. Sometime between then and 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, the burglars returned, prying the back door open and removing the remainder of the copper from the building.

Anyone who saw anything is urged to call the Vernon Police Department and/or the investigating officer, Officer Gunnoud at 860-872-9126 extension 296 or tgunnoud@vernon-ct.gov.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police

Selfie Sticks Banned at Six Flags Parks Nationwide


Six Flags has joined the growing list of amusement parks across the nation that have banned selfie sticks.

The company implemented the ban Monday at all of its parks across America, according to Katy Enrique, communications manager for Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois.

“We strive to provide the safest possible environment in our parks and these devices pose a safety risk to guests and employees,” Enrique told NBC Chicago in statement.

Enrique did not specify if any incidents involving selfie sticks had taken place, but said the goal is “to prevent such an occurrence.”

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” she said.

The move comes after news that Disney planned to ban selfie sticks at all four of its theme parks in Orlando along with its water parks and Disney Quest. The company also planned to ban them at Disneyland Resort in California and Disney’s parks in Paris and Hong Kong.

Officials warned that the sticks have become a “growing safety concern.”

The device has already been put on a list of “prohibited items” on Six Flags’ website, alongside monopods and similar devices.

The sticks have been banned at a number of museums, music festivals and sports venues, including Lollapalooza, Comic-Con and the Art Institute of Chicago.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Third Suspect Arrested in Brutal Hamden Attack


Hamden police have arrested an 18-year-old New Haven woman in connection with a brutal attack that left another woman half naked with serious facial injuries.She is the third suspect to be arrested in the case.

On Nov. 24, police responded to Dixwell Avenue and Arch Street to investigate an assault and robbery and found a 19-year-old woman, naked from the waist down, sitting in someone’s car, police said.

The victim told officers said she had been meeting with an acquaintance, Keyasia Bell, of Hamden, on the Farmington Canal line, when another person approached her from behind, punched her in the head, knocked her to the ground and “punched and kicked” her in the face, police said.

The attack was “vicious,” according to police. The victim’s cell phone was stolen, her sneakers, pants and undergarments were removed, her eyeglasses had been broken and her eyes were swollen shut, police said.

The victim was somehow able to stagger away and over to a New Haven resident who allowed her to sit inside her vehicle until police came, police said.

When emergency crews responded, the teen was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for serious facial injuries, as well as injuries to her neck and arms.

Police previously arrested Bell and one juvenile. Bell was convicted of third-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and fourth-degree larceny and sentenced on June 18, according to online court documents.

The third suspect, an 18 year-old New Haven woman, was arrested on July 19.

Police said she was 17 years of age at the time of the attack and has been charged with second-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree, larceny in the second degree, conspiracy to commit larceny in the second degree, assault in the third degree and conspiracy to commit assault in the third degree.

She is scheduled to appear in juvenile court on Aug. 3.

'Wanted' Posters for Jackpot Winner


If you bought a jackpot Cash4Life ticket in Brooklyn last summer, the New York Lottery is looking for you.

The lottery released goofy posters resembling "wanted" signs for the winner of the $7 million-winning ticket purchased on July 24 at the Milky Way Deli on Ralph Avenue in Canarsie. The ticket holder has until Friday to claim the prize.

One of the wanted posters features a stick-figure drawing of the winner, while another shows a hand-drawn rendition of the winner.

If no one claims the prize, the money will be returned to the prize pool for future winners, the New York Lottery says.

"We are urging players to check and double-check their tickets one last time for the chance to claim this $7 million jackpot prize," Gardner Gurney, Acting Director of the Division of the Lottery, said.

The winning ticket matched all six numbers from the Cash4Life drawing on July 24, 2014: 05 - 20 - 35 - 43 - 48 and the Cash Ball number 03.

The ticket holder is encouraged to call 518-388-3370, visit one of the New York Lottery's customer service centers in Manhattan and Long Island, or visit the lottery's website to find out more.

Dayville Man Injured in Motorcycle Crash on Route 44 in Mansfield


A 51-year-old Dayville man was injured after his motorcycle crashed on Route 44 in Mansfield on Thursday morning.

Gregory Messler crossed Route 44 and hit a guardrail just before 6:30 a.m. and was thrown from the bike, according to state police.

He was wearing a helmet.

The road was closed on Thursday morning and police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Travelers Championship Moves to August Because of Olympics


The Travelers Championship will be in August instead of June in 2016 because golf is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

The tournament will be held from Aug. 1 to 7 to accommodate the Olympic year PGA TOUR.

"Golf's return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 will affect the majority of PGA TOUR events taking place from June through August," Travelers Championship tournament director, Nathan Grube, said in a tournament. "By working closely with the PGA TOUR, we identified the best timing for recruiting a strong player field and finishing the planned modifications to TPC River Highlands."

The 2016 summer Olympics will be in Rio De Janeiro from Aug. 5 to 21. http://www.rio2016.com/en/the-games/olympic

The August date also allows for the completion of a multi-million dollar course project at TPC River Highlands, according to the statement.

"We're already looking forward to another great tournament that will generate significant funds for charity in 2016," Andy Bessette, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Travelers, said in a statement. "With the 2016 PGA Championship in New Jersey the week before our event, we're expecting the 2016 Travelers Championship field to be as strong as ever."

Photo Credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Dad Charged With Assaulting Baby


State police have arrested a 26-year-old Thompson dad after investigating how his 3-month-old baby sustained a skull fracture and facial bruising.

The state Department of Children and Families contacted state police at 2:15 p.m. on Friday, May 15 and reported that that an injured baby was transported to Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

The Department of Children and Families started investigating, but could not know how the child was injured.

State police and DCF then notified detectives from Eastern District Major Crime Troop D, who responded to the medical center and took over the investigation.

They determined that Nicholas Guarino, 26 was involved in the incident. He turned himself in to police around 8 a.m. on Thursday and has been charged with risk of injury to a minor, third-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

Guarino appeared in Danielson Superior Court on Thursday today. Bond was set at $40,000 and the case was continued until Aug. 27.

Oceans Could Rise Faster Than Projected: Report


Ocean levels could rise faster and higher than previously thought if carbon emissions are not reduced, top climate change scientists said in a new report. 

"It is unlikely that coastal cities or low-lying areas such as Bangladesh, European lowlands and large portions of the United States eastern coast and northeast China plains could be protected against such large sea level rise," said the report, authored by former chief NASA climate scientist James Hansen and 16 other researchers. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has previously projected that sea levels will rise about 3 feet by the end of this century, a more conservative estimate that would have serious consequences for low-lying regions and coastal cities.

The report has not undergone a formal peer-review process, and was released online Thursday in the European Geosciences Union journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussion.

Photo Credit: India Today Group/Getty Images

Parents With Kids in Car Burn Homeless Man With Fireworks: Police


Two Albuquerque parents have been accused of throwing fireworks at a Native American homeless man from inside an SUV, an attack witnessed by three children and that left the man with serious burn injuries, according to reports. 

Albuquerque police arrested Joshua Benavidez, 31, and Irene Enriquez, also 31, on Wednesday for their alleged role in the July 11 attack, NBC affiliate KOB reported.

Benavidez and Enriquez told KOB they weren’t trying to harm the man, but when they learned how badly he had been hurt, they turned themselves in.

“It was just a prank. It was just trying to scare him. That was it," Benavidez said.

Both told KOB they wanted to apologize to the man as well as their own children, who were also reportedly in the car at the time of the alleged attack.

Tips identified Benavidez as the owner of a purple SUV seen on surveillance footage leaving the site of the fireworks assault, according to reports. 

Benavidez at first denied having been involved in the attack, according to arrest warrants cited by KOB and the Albuquerque Journal.

Benavidez’s son told police he was in the car with his father and Enriquez, as well as Enriquez’s son and a 2-year-old girl, when Benavidez threw the fireworks at the man, according to the warrants cited by the Journal.

Benavidez and Enriquez have been charged with three counts of child abuse, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aggravated battery with great bodily harm, tampering with evidence and conspiracy.  Both are being held on $100,000 cash or bonds.

The homeless victim remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital, according to APD.

Photo Credit: KOB4
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