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Hartford Deputy Fire Chief Suspended Without Pay


Hartford Fire Department Deputy Chief Dan Nolan has been suspended 30 days without pay in connection with his fiery testimony before a panel investigating issues within the department, including the death of firefighter Kevin Bell, earlier this year, sources tell the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.

Nolan was allowed to testify by his department at the panel's meeting April 16, where he likened the fire chief to "Bambi" when it came to upholding department standards.

He was placed on administrative leave and was cited for disobedience and failing to report for duty, in all likelihood because he did not leave the hearing after making his comments, as he was ordered to by Asst. Chief Scott Brady.

Nolan did not immediately return to work after the meeting, which he had been instructed to do. Fire Chief Carlos Huertas said Nolan did not follow orders and was not authorized to miss work.

Nolan was informed of his suspension Wednesday in a letter from Huertas, who said he considers Nolan's "violations (of department rules and regulations) to be serious and unacceptable."

"Your egregious actions on April 16, 2015 are directly contrary to your duties and responsibilities, undermine the command structure of your organization and set a poor example for other Department members," Huertas wrote.

Nolan's suspension is effective Tuesday, July 28 and will last 30 days through Wednesday, Aug. 26, according to the letter from Huertas.

"I advise you to explore all options that may assist you in making better decisions as a sworn member and chief officer of the Hartford Fire Department. Your conduct was unacceptable and poorly reflects on the proud tradition of the Hartford Fire Department. Further indiscretions by you will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination," the chief added.

Nolan's attorney, Mario Cerame, said his client is being unfairly punished for expressing his viewpoint and is planning to sue the fire department and several staff members, including the chief. Cerame said the litigation he plans to file Monday will also address Nolan's removal as head of the department's Board of Inquiry.

Vincent Fusco, president of the Hartford firefighters' union, said the union has filed a grievance concerning Nolan's suspension, which he says was enacted without just cause.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office declined to comment Thursday. The fire department did not return repeated requests for comment.

Climate Change Could Be Culprit in Rise of Legionnaires' Cases


The number of reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise in the United States and researchers say the increase could be partly a result of climate change.

More than three times as many cases of legionellosis, of which Legionnaires’ disease is one form, were reported in 2009 than 2000 — 3,522 up from 1,110, according to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York City, where an outbreak in Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx has killed two people and sickened 46 since July 10, has seen a similar rise. The incidence of cases increased 230 percent from 2002 to 2009, with the greatest number in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to an October study in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The recent outbreak in the Bronx, where residents already have high rates of asthma, is the second in the borough this year. Twelve cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in December and January and were traced to an apartment complex cooling tower. On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that two rooftop cooling towers in the area had been found to be contaminated, including one at Lincoln Hospital. Both are now being disinfected, he and the New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, said.

"We’re aggressively investigating and testing all possible sources," de Blasio said.

Legionnaires’ disease, identified after 34 deaths among American Legionnaires returning from a 1976 convention in Philadelphia, is a sometimes deadly pneumonia that is spread through the environment, rather than person to person, often in a mist of contaminated water from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers or faucets. It is not contagious.

Dr. David N. Fisman, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said in an email that he doubted the increase was the result solely of improved testing. The rise is linear and across all regions of the United States, he said.

It is difficult to be certain that climate change is a factor but it seems plausible, he said. The bacteria is more infectious in warm temperatures and some studies, including one he and others did in 2005, have shown that wet, humid weather predicts an upsurge in the risk of contracting the disease over the following week or two. That finding was not replicated in Toronto, he said, but there the disease peaks later in October in that area.

“Give that we know climate change is going to make for hotter, stormier summers (and already is doing so) it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to suggest that the ongoing rise in legionellosis in the US could be at least partly due to climate change,” he wrote.

Why humidity would increase the risk of legionellosis is not known. Increased air conditioning use, with the bacteria potentially in the dripping water, could be a factor, or it might be that the true culprit is summertime rainfall, he said.

A commentary in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization on March 27 argued for adding it to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's list of important climate-sensitive health issues.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of Aug. 19, 2011, from Dr. Lauri Hicks and others, noted that the incidence rates increased nearly threefold from 2000 to 2009. The totals likely underestimate the actual cases, because the tracking system depended on health-care providers and laboratories to report cases. The rise underscores the need to test adults for Legionnaires' disease and to report cases, they wrote.

The New York study, which reviewed cases through 2011, also found disparities among race and ethnicity, with the highest incidents among non-Hispanic black residents, and greater risk among certain occupations, including janitors and cleaners. 

Legionnaires' disease usually appears two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms include shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' disease also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

Those at highest risk are the elderly, cigarette smokers, people with chronic lung or immune system disease and those receiving immunosuppressive drugs. Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics — which is why those who have symptoms should seek immediate medical care.

Dr. Ruth Berkelman, a professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, reported on the increased incidence of legionellosis from 1990 until 2005, particularly in the eastern United States and more recently on the need for national public health authorities to review prevention policies.

“Legionellosis deserves a higher public health priority for research and policy development,” she and her co-authors wrote in the Journal of Public Health Management Practices in September.

Photo Credit: AP

California Couple Secretly Marries at Disneyland


A Bay Area couple got into serious stealth mode recently at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Oakland residents Lex Emmanuel and Emily Rose successfully held a secret wedding in the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland on July 19.

Writer/editor Adam L. Brinklow of San Francisco Magazine, who served as the best man, wrote in the publication that weddings at Disneyland start at $12,000 for an "economy package."

That cost was too prohibitive for Emmanuel and Rose, who decided instead to disguise their 25-person wedding party, including seven children and an officiant, as regular parkgoers, albeit ones slightly spiffed up for the secret occasion.

Photo Credit: Carlos Fundora

Fire Chief Evaluating Training After Dispatcher Hung Up on Caller


The chief of the Albuquerque Fire Department said he is examining training procedures after a dispatcher hung up on a 911 caller seeking help for a 17-year-old who was dying after being shot last month.

Albuquerque Fire Chief David Downey on Wednesday called the actions of dispatcher Matthew Sanchez on June 26 "unforgivable" and said Sanchez should not have hung up on the caller.

"We hung up on her. I was stunned," Downey told NBC station KOB. "People should be outraged, and they should hold us accountable," he said. 

Killer Sentenced in Slayings of Men on Cold Case Cards


A Hartford man has been sentenced to 37 years in prison in connection with the slayings of two men featured on the state's Cold Case Playing Cards, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice.

Hector Torres, 27, has been convicted of murder in the January 2006 death of Derrick Comrie, 20, who was found shot outside Bulkeley High School in Hartford after a basketball game.

Torres was also convicted of being an accessory to murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Luis "Berto" Benitez, 28, who was found injured in the parking lot of a convenience store on New Britain Avenue in Hartford on Dec. 7, 2009. His death in March 2010 was ruled a homicide.

Comrie was featured on the 9 of clubs and Benitez appeared on the 5 of spades in the second deck of the state's Cold Case Playing Cards, which displayed photos of missing people and unsolved-homicide victims and were passed around prisons.

Torres will spend 37 years behind bars.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice

Silver Alert Canceled for 81-Year-Old Man From East Lyme


EDITOR'S NOTE: Police have canceled the Silver Alert for Robert Maurice. Authorities have not said where he was found or released any details.

State police have issued a Silver Alert for an 81-year-old man missing from East Lyme.

Robert Maurice was last seen Wednesday. He was wearing tan shorts, a white shirt, black sneakers and a Korean War baseball cap at the time, according to police.

Police said Maurice has gray hair and brown eyes. He stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call State Police Troop E at 860-848-6500.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Storms Bring Heavy Rain, Flooding, Lots of Lightning


A line of storms brought torriential rain, lots of lightning and thunder and even some flooding to parts of the state Thursday evening.

Although some parts of the state are still seeing rain, storms have weakened as they moved east across Connecticut. Flood warnings and flood advisories issued for the western and northern parts of the state have expired.

Some areas saw minor flooding, including Bishop's Corner and Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford. Lightning struck a condo complex in Danbury, sparking a three-alarm fire that damaged nine units.

Western areas could see a few breaks of sun as the clearing line moves in. Storms are expected to move out around 8 or 9 p.m.

Connecticut recorded its first official heat wave of 2015 as temperatures at Bradley International Airport reached 90 degrees for the third day in a row, but the air is cooling as storms move in, and we're seeing temperatures between 75 and 83 degrees statewide now.

What's Ahead

Tonight will be more comfortable, with lows in the 60s to near 70 degrees.

Friday is a splendid end to the work week. Not only will the humidity be gone, but lots of sunshine is also expected and it will still be very warm, with temperatures well into the 80s.

A pattern change is responsible for the more comfortable conditions that arrive on Friday and last several days. The jet stream will sink south and suppress the high heat and humidity to the southeastern United States.

A mix of sun and clouds is anticipated on Saturday. Given the nature of the upper-level flow, there can be an isolated storm later in the day. Temperatures will be in the upper-80s to near 90 degrees.

Sunday looks to be the pick of the weekend at this point, with mostly sunny conditions and temperatures again in the mid-80s to near 90 degrees.

Early next week looks unsettled with the chance of a shower or thunderstorm Monday and Tuesday with temperatures in the mid- to upper-80s.

Send your weather photos to us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: Michael Slifer
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Police Find Torso in New Haven Building Amid Body Part Probe


Police have found a torso in a vacant building almost two weeks after finding two dismembered legs and two arms in New Haven, Connecticut. 

The torso was discovered in a vacant building that was a former Salvation Army thrift store on Crown Street while state police cadaver dogs scoured the area.

Police said the legs belonged to Ray Roberson, 54, a homeless man who was last seen alive May 20 and missed a court date June 17.

Roberson was not reported missing prior to his death.

His legs, severed near the knee, were found on July 15 in the area of State and Court streets in New Haven, near the State Street Railroad Station.

The arms found in a plastic bag blocks away from the legs are likely Roberson's, police said.

On Wednesday, police obtained information that Roberson might have spent time at the now-vacant Salvation Army building at 301 George Street, which led to a search there as well as at another building, 274 Crown Street, which shares the same parking lot.

Around 2 a.m. on Thursday, police found the torso inside 274 Crown Street, the former thrift store.

It is too early to know if the torso was from the same man. The office of the chief medical examiner and state forensic lab must complete their investigation to determine that.

Authorities are investigating the case as a homicide and have said they do not know where Roberson was killed or dismembered and they are hoping someone will come forward with information to help solve the case.

Authorities said earlier this week that the crime appears to have been personal rather than random.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Southbury's Spruce Brook Bridge Closed for Repairs


A portion of Spruce Brook Road in Southbury will be closed until sometime in August to allow the bridge spanning Transylvania Brook to be replaced.

First Selectman Ed Edelson said the five culverts that allow the brook to flow under the road have been steadily deteriorating for years.

"And as the pipes have separated, or the culverts have separated, material is falling through," Edelson said Thursday, just hours after the closure took effect. "That leaves spaces, and therefore they are not really holding up the road bed."

Edelson said the project also includes building a secondary passage for the brook, to alleviate stress on the existing undercarriage during flood conditions.

Although no exact completion date has been announced, Edelson said if weather and other factors are favorable, the project will probably be finished about Aug. 10 or 11.

See a map of the recommended detour here.

Photo Credit: Town of Southbury

Replica of Spanish Galleon Moored in New London


With six miles of lines it takes three hours to set sail aboard El Galeon, so the imperial Spanish galleon replica will be in New London for a while.

Even when it's moored, visitors can sense what it's like at sea. The hull is totally round and there's no keel, so El Galeon rolls.

"You can feel how we feel when we are sailing," said Fernando Viota Pecharroman, of the Fundacion Nao Victoria.

After El Galeon first rang its bell in 2009, she sailed from Seville to Shanghai. The ship carries cannon to fend off anybody who might think El Galeon's carrying silver to Spain, the way the treasure ships of the 16th and 17th centuries did.

"You get to see a movie in downstairs that told you about how they lived and how they worked," said 9-year-old Taylor Pivarnik said. "There's a pirate sword!"

If you have some pirate in you, or you have a little pirate or two to entertain on these hot summer days, your ship has come in.

"We chose New London because it had a blend of history and some entertainment," said Taylor's mother, Patricia Pivarnik, "and we were looking to be near the water and something close to within an hour from Stratford, so we decided to spend the day up here.

El Galeon's open for tours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Aug. 9 at City Pier in New London.

Kidnapper's Sister Files FBI Suit


The sister of James DiMaggio, the man who kidnapped San Diego teen Hannah Anderson and killed her family, claims FBI agents used excessive and unjustified forcing in killing her brother after his actions spurred a large manhunt across six states.

Attorney C. Keith Greer filed an over $20 million wrongful death claim against the FBI Thursday on behalf of Lora DiMaggio Robinson, alleging that there was no “viable justification” for DiMaggio’s shooting death.

In the document, Greer said deadly force was not warranted given DiMaggio’s “history of nonviolence” and the number of agents there could have restrained him. According to the claim, DiMaggio had fired his gun in the air as a call for help, but he had not threatened Anderson with deadly force or “imminent harm.”

"There were just too many questions out there," Greer told NBC 7 Thursday. "Robinson knows that her brother was a very kind man, certainly not one to shoot at an FBI agent. So from the beginning she just felt like there was something that was being misportrayed about her brother."

As they investigated the case for a year, Greer said the evidence produced more questions than answers. According to the claim, FBI agent's deadly force was "unduly, excessive, prejudicial and unjustified." Read the full claim below. 

The court document also alleges that FBI and Department of Justice employees conspired to keep secret information and evidence that could prove agents were responsible for DiMaggio’s death.

However, in May 2014, federal and state prosecutors said FBI agents acted reasonably when they shot and killed DiMaggio in the Idaho wilderness and the agents who killed him would not face charges.

NBC 7 has reached out to the FBI for comment, but we have not heard back. The Anderson family said they have no comment at this time.

Greer said the first person they want to testify is Anderson to give her account of the harrowing events that began on Aug. 4, 2013.

That day, DiMaggio, a family friend, killed Anderson's mother and younger brother, Christina and Ethan Anderson, and set fire to his own home in Boulevard, Calif., before fleeing to Idaho with Anderson, prosecutors say.

The charred bodies of Christina and Ethan were discovered by sheriff’s deputies and fire officials at DiMaggio’s burned-out property.

According to search warrants, investigators believe DiMaggio “tortured and killed” Christina and Ethan on Aug. 4 before kidnapping her 16-year-old daughter. San Diego County Medical Examiner’s reports say Christina was bludgeoned to death, bound and gagged, while Ethan's remains were so badly charred they were practically beyond recognition.

Once Anderson’s disappearance was discovered, officials issued an Amber Alert that covered six states. The pair ended up in the rugged Idaho backcountry near Cascade and Morehead Lake, where they were spotted by a group of horseback riders on Aug. 7.

The group wasn’t aware of the Amber Alert when they crossed paths with the pair, but they learned about it immediately after their trip. The riders reported their sighting to authorities, leading more than 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officials to the rural community in Idaho in search of Anderson and DiMaggio.

According to Robinson's claim, the pair was ultimately spotted by a U.S. Marshalls plane, and an FBI hostage rescue team was dropped in close to their location on Aug. 10. At that point, Anderson and DiMaggio were trying to find rescue by building a fire for smoke signals, according to her interview on NBC's "Today" show.

When it proved unsuccessful, Anderson suggested DiMaggio fire a round from his gun, which was about 20 feet away, to draw attention, Greer said. As soon as the gun went off, DiMaggio was shot six times by FBI agents.

"Why don't they say, 'Stop, freeze, put your hands in the air, you're under arrest' at that point in time?" Greer said. "Why do they let him wait to go to... till he picks up the gun and, once he has the gun in his hands, shoot him? It didn't seem like he was treated fairly, regardless of what the allegations are." 

Greer said Anderson holds the key to proving or disproving their claim, since she has a firsthand account. The attorney also hopes the FBI team was wearing body cameras so they could obtain recorded footage of the incident.

"What is definitely wrong is that he didn't have the opportunity to have his day in court," said Greer of DiMaggio.

If Anderson gives her deposition, it would not be the first time she has shared her story.

Days after her rescue, Anderson fielded questions about her kidnapping on social media and made brief appearances at local fundraisers in Lakeside.

In late August, Hannah spoke out about her ordeal in the media for the first time in a tearful interview on NBC's "Today" show. Later that month, Hannah and her family held an emotional memorial service for Christina and Ethan in San Diego's Santee community.

A short time after the service, the teen was reportedly back on social media, answering questions online about her life and the kidnapping.

In October 2013, Hannah appeared on “Today” once more to discuss her harrowing ordeal at the hands of DiMaggio. The teen said DiMaggio “drugged” her and said she passed out in his car during the road trip from San Diego to Idaho.

In March, Hannah’s grandmother told the media that her granddaughter continues to undergo therapy and will likely do so for “quite some time.”

Interstate 95 South Reopens in East Lyme


Interstate 95 southbound has reopened in East Lyme following a crash Thursday night.

State police said the highway was closed briefly between exits 72 and 73.

There has been no word on injuries.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Gathering of the Vibes Returns to Bridgeport


The Vibes are back in Bridgeport!

Tens of thousands people are descending on Seaside Park for the annual Gathering of the Vibes musical festival.

"It feels like a really fun place for everybody who is involved," said James Dieli, a vendor from Peace Love Taco of Boulder, Colorado.

"It’s super crazy, but it’s like the best experience because it’s a nonstop concert," said Morgan Rakow, another vendor from Rhinebeck, New York.

The four day outdoor festival draws music fans from across the country, ready to spend the next few days taking in in a wide variety of acts, crafts and food vendors. The big concert is now in its 20th year.

"What’s good about Gathering of the vibes is that community feeling," said Dieli.

Given how hot it can get at the festival, hydration of festivalgoers is always a big concern. Organizers have about 7,000 gallons of water or sale and 100,000 pounds of ice on hand.

"We have big huge tractor trailers filled with ice and water and we have distribution on golf carts," said Jennifer Jennings, the event’s hospitality director.

Organizers say if concertgoers can deal with the heat, the annual event is sure to be a hit for all who attend.

"It’s kind of a trip to come back here and see all these people having so much fun. It’s amazing. I love it," said Ryan Wood of Ansonia, a vendor from the Gouda Boys.

Gathering of the Vibes runs through Sunday.

Southbury Officials Concerned Over Rope Swing Injuries


Swimming holes and rope swings might be quintessential icons of summer, but they're the stuff of frustration for Southbury officials after two people were injured jumping from them in recent weeks.

According to officials, a man was badly hurt at a rope swing flanking the Pomperaug River on July 19. Then, on July 28, a woman was injured at another swing on the edge of Lake Lillinonah.

"Well, the one that I heard about was a cracked skull," First Selectman Ed Edelson told NBC Connecticut, referring to the former of the two incidents. "So that's the most serious one I've heard of."

Edelson says these are the first summertime rope swing injuries he remembers in his four years at his post, but the problem seems to be worsening, perhaps because knowledge of rope swing sites is being spread via social media. In fact, he says, Facebook mentions have drawn visitors from as far away as upstate New York.

"I can only try to impress upon parents throughout, to caution their children that a lot of times these makeshift rope swings are not safe," he said Thursday.

Edelson said the town has repeatedly sent workers to cut the ropes – the one at the Pomperaug River is strung from a seemingly impossible height in the tree canopy – but the jumpers keep coming back.

"What we've typically been doing is getting up as high as we possibly can and cutting them, but as quickly as we cut them down, new ones seem to appear," Edelson said.

Four young men jumping into the water from the Lake Lillinonah rope said they've been cooling off there for weeks, and that cutting the ropes and closing the sites, which are on town land, would be disappointing.

"I just hope they stay up because it's pretty fun for us," said Thomas Calderoni, of Southbury.

His friend, Ryan Lovelett of Southbury, acknowledges that the remote locations are precarious for emergency responders to reach when someone is injured. He said he understands injuries can happen, but the risk can be mitigated by common sense.

"Stay in your own boundaries," he said. "Don't do anything you're not capable of doing, like trying backflips off the ropes or something."

Cat Dies in West Haven Fire, Firefighter Suffers Heat Exhaustion


One cat was killed and a firefighter suffered heat exhaustion after flames broke out at a West Haven home Thursday night.

A deputy fire chief at the scene said investigators believe flames broke out in the kitchen of 18 North Street. A firefighter was treated briefly for heat exhaustion, but no one else was hurt.

One cat was rescued but another died, according to fire officials.

Authorities are investigating to determine what sparked the blaze.

Cop With Cancer Named Honorary Captain of Connecticut Tigers


A detective sergeant from Norwich forced to retire because of his cancer diagnosis has been named honorary captain of the Connecticut Tigers.

Ed Beckham served the Norwich Police Department for 22 years.

"After hearing Ed's story, being one of the local police officers here that do the security here at the stadium, we thought what greater way to bring him out, bring him on the club," said Eric Knighton, general manager of the Detroit Tigers farm team.

With his 12-year-old son E.J. beside him as agent, Ed Peckham signed a one-day contract with the Tigers, a single A team. He'll have plenty to do even if he doesn't actually play Friday, on First Responder Night.

"I'm just excited that my dad gets to be part of the team," said E.J.

During the game, he'll be in the dugout after some batting practice. But with his daughter singing the Star Spangled Banner, he won't be the only member of the Peckham family in action.

"It's going to be fun watching my daughter sing, and just this whole experience has been awesome," said Peckham. "My biggest thing is my family and what they've had to go through with all of this."

Man Accused of Touching Himself at Lake Compounce


Police have arrested a 29-year-old man accused of touching himself at the Lake Compounce water park while thousands of guests, including children, were visiting the park.

Tyler Bhulai, 29, of Portland, was arrested Tuesday after a park guest complained to security that Bhulai was sitting on a bench touching himself inappropriately.

Southington police said security officers found Bhulai in a main walkway to the water park. He was arrested around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and charged with public indecency, second-degree breach of peace and risk of injury to a minor/impairing the morals of a child.

Bhulai was released on $10,000 bond and is due in court Aug. 10. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Southington Police Department

Woman Shouts N-Word at Mom, Kids


A racially charged confrontation caught on camera at a busy Chicago beach has generated outrage on social media.

The now-viral altercation arose at Oak Street beach Monday when a woman started shouting racial slurs at a black Plainfield mom and her children, ages 8 and 4, after she was accidentally splashed with water.

“I told her, ‘These are children, they are sorry,’” Raquel Bolten told NBC Chicago. “She got in my face and dropped the n-word a few times.”

That is when the mother says she pulled out her cellphone to capture the exchange on video. According to the video, a woman is seen allegedly shouting the N-word before berating the mother about the U.S. Constitution.

“Oh, of course you haven’t graduated and you don’t know the Constitution of the United States and what it says,” the woman said.

Bolton’s sister-in-law, Melissa Marshall, says when the woman launched into the unexpected lash-out, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“I was in shock,” Marshall said. “People argue all the time, but how is that the first thing that comes to your mind?”

Marshall says she witnessed a similar confrontation in the restroom involving the same woman about 20 minutes later.

Bolton posted the video on Facebook in hopes of sending a message, and was overwhelmed with the response.

“Prejudice and racism is still alive in 2015,” Bolton said, adding she had to comfort her two young children after they heard the woman’s racial slurs. “All white people don’t hate them, so I didn’t want them to think that. They shouldn’t have to experience that at all. I don’t want them to feel less or any different than the next child.”

The family says the experience will not stop them from going back and enjoying a day at the beach.

Lifeguard Attacked on Venice Pier


A lifeguard was attacked by several people on the Venice Pier Thursday afternoon in a violent altercation caught on camera.

Video of the assault shows the lifeguard repeatedly hit and knocked to the ground as several passersby crowd around. A man tries to to break-up the fight as another is heard shouting "police."

Two men and a woman were arrested in connection to the beating, according to Lt. Daniel Gonzalez of LAPD's Pacific Division.

Officials believe the lifeguard was lured away from his post before the fight, and the three suspects were believed to be intoxicated at the time of the incident, Gonzalez said.

One of the suspects was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The lifeguard was also taken to a hospital where he was treated for head trauma and released.

LAPD has not determined a motive for the attack.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Shona McCoy

Attack in West Bank Kills Palestinian Toddler


A house fire in the occupied West Bank suspected to have been set by Jewish extremists killed an 18-month-old Palestinian boy, injured his brother and both of their parents on Friday, Israeli security officials said, NBC News reported

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the "Price Tag" slogan used in the past by extremist Israelis was daubed on the walls of the family home that had been torched in the village of Duma, which is located near the West Bank city of Nablus.

The mother of the slain child was being treated for burns on 90 percent of her body and his four-year-old brother was in intensive care, hospital officials told NBC News.  

Photo Credit: AP
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