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Homeless Man Gave 'Wet Willy' to 4-Year-Old Boy: Police


Police have arrested a homeless man who is accused of giving a "Wet Willy" to a 4-year-old boy in the waiting room of a Shelton business on Tuesday.

Michael Migani, 34, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with second-degree breach of peace and second-degree reckless endangerment.

Police said he approached a 4-year-old boy who was playing with his mother in the waiting room of a business on Center Street and stuck his finger in his mouth, then put it in the boy's ear.

He drove off when confronted by the child's mother and employees of the business. Police pulled Migani over to confirm his identity and later arrested him for having inappropriate contact with the boy.

He was released on $500 bond and is due in court Aug. 19. It's not clear if Migani has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police Department

LifeStar, State Police Respond to Crash in Mansfield


LifeStar was called to a crash in Mansfield on Wednesday night, according to the medical helicopter service.

Emergency dispatchers said the crash happened around 7:30 p.m. in the area of 400 Warrenville Road.

At least one person has been injured, according to state police. LifeStar is transporting a crash victim to the hospital.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Family, Friends Pray for Missing Woman's Safe Return


Family and friends of a Middletown woman who vanished three weeks ago gathered Wednesday to remember better days and pray for her safe return.

Nina Coe, 57, disappeared after returning from a dentist appointment in mid-July. What was once constant communication between Coe and her three sisters became radio silence, and after two days of trying and failing to reach her, Coe's family reported her missing.

The days have since melted into weeks, and Coe's sister have issued a public plea for help. They led a candlelight vigil Wednesday night on Middletown's South Green, flanked by friends and community members offering support.

Police said concern is mounting because Coe suffers from alcohol dependency and may need immediate medical attention. According to a Silver Alert issued in July, Coe has also dependent on pain medication and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

"She could be in trouble. She does have some medical issues, some dependency issue. We would like to get her home safely or get her some help if she needs it. We’d just really like the public’s assistance with this one," Middletown police Capt. Gary Wallace said at a press conference last week.

Police are searching surrounding towns and said they continue to investigate Coe's disappearance as a missing person case.

Coe stands 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. Police said she wears glasses and has a tattoo on one leg and a scar on the right side of her neck.

Police are asking anyone with information on Coe's whereabouts to call 860-638-4000.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Connecticut State Police

Christian Youth Group Leader Sexually Assaulted Teen: Cops


A Christian youth group leader is accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old group member multiple times in 2012.

Jimmy Chang, 32, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, turned himself in to Manchester police Tuesday after learning of a warrant for his arrest.

Police said Chang, who held a position of authority in a Christian youth group in Agawam, Massachusetts, sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl who was a member of the group.

According to police, the incidents occurred in Manchester in 2012 but were only reported recently.

The Hartford Courant reports Chang was a youth pastor who manipulated the teen into having a long-term sexual relationship with him.

Chang has been charged with 12 counts of second-degree sexual assault.

He was held on $350,000 bond and appeared in court Tuesday. He's due back before a judge Sept. 11, according to online court records.

It's not clear if Chang has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

Embattled CCSU Professor Caught Shoplifting: Cops


A Central Connecticut State University professor who made headlines when he was promoted while in jail last year has been arrested again, this time for stealing more than $1,300 from Home Depot in Middletown, according to police.

Police said Ravi Shankar, 40, of Rhode Island, grabbed items from store shelves at the Home Depot on Washington Street on July 29 and returned them for $1,339.75 in store credit.

An asset protection specialist who watched it happen brought Shankar back into the store and called 911, according the police report. The employee told investigators the bar codes of the items Shankar returned indicated they had not been purchased.

Shankar called the incident a misunderstanding and told officers they were "taking (employees') word for it," according to the police report.

"The facts of this matter have not been accurately reported and I am glad to live in a society where there is a presumption of innocence," Shankar said in an email to NBC Connecticut on Wednesday. "I look forward to my day in court and in the meantime ask that you might respect me and my family's privacy. Thank you for your understanding."

Shankar was the subject of controversy when he was promoted to full-time status at CCSU while booked into jail in May 2014. At the time, he was waiting to face charges from an arrest in 2012.

He was arrested again in December 2014 after crashing his car while driving with a suspended license, according to police. Shankar was charged with several motor vehicle violations and has pleaded not guilty.

Shankar remains listed as an associate professor of English on the CCSU website. School officials said Wednesday they were aware of Shankar's latest arrest and declined to comment.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police Department

Storm Could Bring Showers This Weekend


Comfortable levels of humidity are here to stick around for quite a while, but the weather will remain unsettled.

Increasing clouds are expected this afternoon and there can be an isolated shower or storm. Temperatures will peak in the mid-80s.

Tomorrow features tons of sunshine as high pressure noses into the region from the northwest. High temperatures will be in the lower-80s and the air will be exceptionally dry.

Clouds increase on Friday as a warm front will be to the south and a storm will be getting its act together over the Virginias.

Temperatures will be stuck in the upper-70s to near 80 degrees. This weekend is a different story as a storm picks up steam off the Carolina coast.

The storm will track to the north and east, likely passing pretty close to Nantucket. This means an abundance of clouds for both Saturday and Sunday.

Additionally, rain is possible. Saturday looks dry early on but rain inches closer, especially in southern Connecticut, as the storm nears later in the day. Sunday looks mainly cloudy.

Temperatures both days this weekend will be stuck in the 70s to near 80 degrees with the storm nearby.

Coastal storms aren’t typical in the summer months but they happen occasionally. The jet stream currently has plenty of kinks in it; therefore, the pattern is favorable for a storm such as the one that is expected this weekend.

Beyond this weekend, the weather pattern remains unsettled.
A lull between storms likely arrives on Monday, meaning lots of sunshine and temperatures in the 80s. However, given the jet stream continues to have plenty of troughs and ridges, another storm is possible Tuesday into Wednesday.

Some indications are the storm in the middle part of next week tracks to the west of Connecticut, which would mean very moist air flows into Connecticut. Storms would be possible in that scenario.

New Haven Task Force Aims to Build Relations With Police


Across the nation, there has been evidence of hostility between police and the communities they serve. The city of New Haven is taking new steps to bring its people and its police closer together, with hopes of keeping any tensions from escalating.

Wednesday evening marked the first in a series of public meetings of the Community and Police Relations Task Force, a panel of about twenty citizens and community leaders who have been tasked by Mayor Toni Harp to evaluate the community-based policing efforts in the city. The goal is to build a better relationship between New Haven's men and women in blue and the people they have been sworn to protect.

“We just want to listen to the residents and see what their concerns are and what their perception of the police department," said Dr. Leroy Williams, who chairs the task force alongside Rabbi Eliezer Greer.

"Nationwide there is an epidemic that is blowing up in mini-explosions. We all know about Ferguson, Baltimore," said his co-chair, Greer. "It’s all over the place."

During this initial meeting of the task force, the panel only listened but did not respond to questions and concerns about police department policies and procedures regarding things like use of force.

"You need to tell us what your protocol is in order for us to assess whether or not it’s being effective," said Thomasine Shaw, a New Haven resident who was among a handful of people who asked to have documentation of current police protocol concerning use of force.

The task force will include community concerns in its recommendations for the mayor and the Board of Police Commissioners. Several more public discussions are scheduled to be held in various locations throughout the city during the fall.

The task force will report preliminary findings to Harp by the end of the year. A final report on community-based policing efforts is due in 2016.

"We need to take a look at what we have and see if it’s truly meeting the needs of the community and if we need to make some adjustments, make some adjustments," said Williams.

Legionnaires Disease Kills 8 in NY


An additional death is being linked to the Legionnaire's disease outbreak in New York City that has sickened 97 others in the last three weeks, health officials said Wednesday.

That brings the death toll to 8 in the outbreak, clustered in the Bronx. Additionally, 97 cases of the disease, a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia spread through the air, have been reported in the south Bronx since July 10, city officials said in a statement Wednesday. That marks 11 new cases since the last update from the city Tuesday, and 51 new cases since last Wednesday, when health officials first discussed the outbreak.

The Department of Health and Mental Health said those who died were older adults and had additional underlying medical problems.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by exposure to the bacteria Legionella; in most cases, people are exposed to the bacteria by inhaling contaminated aerosols from cooling towers, hot tubs, showers and faucets or drinking water.

Twenty-two buildings have been visited as "disease detectives" hunt for the source of the outbreak, the city said last Friday. Seventeen of those buildings have cooling towers -- five of those tested positive for Legionella, including one at Lincoln Hospital; one at Concourse Plaza; one at a shopping plaza; one at a Verizon office building and one at the Opera House Hotel. All have been decontaminated.

Bassett reiterated that the contaminated cooling towers have had no effect on the water in the Bronx, and that tap water remains entirely safe to drink.

The cases have been reported primarily in High Bridge, Morrisania, Hunts Point and Mott Haven since July 10, the Health Department said.

Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday officials believed they had identified the only sites that are causing the outbreak, and no additional cooling towers are believed to be contaminated. All of those sites must submit long-term plans as to how they will maintain cooling towers to protect against any future growth of legionella, he said. Those plans are due Friday.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said authorities are confident one of the five cooling towers that tested positive for Legionella is the primary source of the outbreak, though it will likely take weeks to confirm. Now that the contaminated sources have been remediated, she said, authorities expected to see the number of cases continue to go down.

"This is the largest outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that we are aware of in New York City," Bassett said Tuesday. "Although we will continue to see cases, we expect the case rate to decline and the number of cases to fall over the coming weeks."

On Tuesday, de Blasio said the fact that only five new cases were added to the outbreak total since Monday "suggests a reduction in the rate of increase and that is good news." But with 11 new cases announced on Wednesday, along with the death, concerns have been renewed.

"This is really not good," said South Bronx resident Chenelle Stuckey. "People are dying."

Dr. Robert Glatter of Lenox Hill Hospital said the main issue is the incubation period, which is very long -- up to about two weeks. 

"So we're going to continue to see more cases," he told NBC 4 New York.

Legionnaires' disease usually sets in two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria and has symptoms similar to pneumonia, including shortness of breath, high fever, chills and chest pains. People with Legionnaires' also experience appetite loss, confusion, fatigue and muscle aches.

City officials plan to host a town hall next Tuesday, Aug. 11 for area residents with council member Vanessa Gibson to answer questions and concerns about the outbreak.

Both de Blasio and Bassett stressed last week there was no concern for alarm.

"People have to understand that this is a disease that can be treated -- and can be treated well if caught early," de Blasio said last Thursday. "The exception can be with folks who are already unfortunately suffering from health challenges, particularly immune system challenges. But for the vast majority of New Yorkers, if they were even exposed, this can be addressed very well and very quickly so long as they seek medical treatment."

Glatter emphasized the point.

"Most people who get this, who are otherwise healthy, they get a mild flu, get better, and they don't need antibiotics," he said Wednesday.

It cannot be spread person-to-person and those at highest risk for contracting the illness include 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.

The Health Department urges anyone with symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

An outbreak last hit the Bronx in December. Between then and January, 12 people in Co-op City contracted the potentially deadly disease. Officials said a contaminated cooling tower was likely linked to at least 75 percent of those cases. No one died in that outbreak.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Tenn. Theater Attacker Said to Have Schizophrenia: Police


A man armed with a hatchet and pellet gun who attacked moviegoers with pepper spray at a Tennessee theater Wednesday before being fatally shot by police had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, NBC News reported.

The attacker, identified as Vincente David Montano, of Nashville, was reported missing to Murfreesboro police on Aug. 3, according to police documents. Montano’s mother told police when making the report that the 29-year-old was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2006, and had a hard time taking care of himself.

Montano wore a surgical mask as he unleashed a volley of pepper spray at audience members during a screening of “Mad Max: Fury Road," at the Carmike Hickory 8 theater in the suburb of Antioch shortly before 1:15 p.m. local time (2:15 p.m. ET).

None of those who were attacked suffered serious injuries. Montano was shot dead by SWAT officers as he tried to escape the theater through a back door.

Photo Credit: Jason Davis/Getty Images; Nashville Police Department
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Alaskan Woman Mauled by Bear While Jogging


An Alaskan woman is recovering after being mauled by a grizzly bear while jogging with a co-worker late Tuesday night, NBC News reported.

Gabbriele Markel, 20, and Kaitlin Haley, 26, were running on a trail along Skilak Lake, 50 miles south of Anchorage, when an adult grizzly bear came out of the thick brush next to the trail and attacked Markel, knocking her to the ground, police said.

Markel was airlifted to Providence Hospital and staff told NBC News she was upgraded to good condition Wednesday afternoon. 

Photo Credit: AP
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LAPD Sued for Skid Row Shooting


The family of a homeless man who was fatally shot on Skid Row by Los Angeles police earlier this year filed a $20 million lawsuit against the city and department Wednesday.

Charly Keunang, known as "Africa" among friends, was killed March 1 during a struggle with police who approached the 43-year-old to investigate a robbery report. Police said Keunang allegedly tried to reach for an officer's holstered gun, prompting police to shoot him. 

Cellphone video of the deadly confrontation was captured by a witness and posted to Facebook. The video garnered millions of views and sparked national outrage. According to Keunang's family's attorney, police body cameras, whose images have not been released to the public, would show the moments leading up to fatal shooting and cast doubt on the LAPD's claims the decedent grabbed an officer's weapon.

"The body cams plus the autopsy report show that this was a killing created by highly aggressive officers operating outside the bounds of proper police practice," Dan Stormer said.

According to an autopsy report, Keunang was shot six times, four of the shots were fatal and two were "contact gunshot wounds" that left gunpowder residue on his skin.

Activist demanded answers about the fatal shooting from the city's police commission during a meeting and protestors marched to LAPD's headquarters in downtown LA.

Keunang's family wants the lawsuit to force the LAPD to change its practices on how it handles lethal force.

"I cannot find the words to explain how I feel," his sister, Line Foming said. No one should have to die like that, that's why I seek justice for Charly."

The lawsuit also names police Chief Charlie Beck and the three officers who fired the six bullets that hit Keunang. The LAPD declined to comment when contacted by NBC4.

Keunang, a Cameroon national, arrived in the United States 15 years ago using the stolen identity of a French citizen. He served 15 years in federal prison under his assumed name for bank robbery before being paroled in April 2013.

Bill Cosby Ordered to Give Deposition in Sexual Abuse Lawsuit


Bill Cosby has been ordered to answer questions under oath in a lawsuit brought by a woman accusing the comedian of plying her with alcohol and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles when she was 15 years old.

The order by a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, made public Wednesday, requires Cosby to to give a deposition on Oct. 9, and his accuser, Judy Huth, to give a deposition on Oct. 15.

Cosby's attorneys have called the suit an attempt to extort the star. 

Photo Credit: AP

U.S. Offers $5M Reward for Help Catching 'El Chapo'


Have you seen one of the world’s most wanted drug lords?

That’s what the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other law enforcement agencies want to know. Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman-Loera escaped a Mexican prison in July through a mile-long tunnel and U.S. officials are now offering a $5 million reward for information leading to his recapture.

The acting head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, said he believes Guzman is in Mexico, probably hiding in his home state of Sinaloa, Mexico. But Rosenberg acknowledged that the elusive Guzman could be anywhere.

"I think he is still in Mexico," Rosenberg said in a meeting with reporters. "Do I know that? No. It's an educated guess."

In an effort to gather information from the public, the DEA announced a toll-free tip line Wednesday that U.S., Mexican, Central and South American residents can call in regards to the wanted man.

The public can e-mail tips to law enforcement officials as well. North American residents can email tips to chapotips@USDOJ.gov. U.S. residents can call 844-692-4101 and residents outside the U.S. can call 001-844-692-4101. The tip line is managed by agents in the DEA’s San Diego field office.

Guzman has twice been captured and twice escaped. He was first jailed after being extradited from Guatemala in 1993 and escaped from a maximum security prison in 2001. Thirteen years later he was arrested again in the seaside resort town of Mazatlan and escaped again about 16 months later.

Mexican authorities have announced a $3.8 million reward for Guzman, who is believed to have a net worth of about $1 billion.

The DEA and U.S. authorities continue to work with their Mexican counterparts on the search for Guzman, Rosenberg said. The $5 million reward is being offered by the State Department.

The Associated Press' Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report. 

La. Police Officer Killed on Duty; Manhunt Launched


A police officer was gunned down in Shreveport, Louisiana, and a manhunt for a suspect was underway early Thursday, NBC News reported.

The officer was shot while responding to a report of a suspicious person armed with a gun inside a home at around 9 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET) on Wednesday, authorities said.

"We'll continue searching until suspect is caught and brought to justice," Shreveport Police spokesman Cpl. Marcus Hines told NBC News.

The officer's identity was not immediately released. 

Photo Credit: KTLA

Former Principal Caught Dragging Students May Lose License


A former Bridgeport school principal caught on camera dragging students through the halls may lose her teaching certification.

Carmen Perez Dickson, who served as principal of the Tisdale School, was suspended for six months when the video surfaced in November 2013.

Parents were outraged and wanted her fired. Perez Dickson later resigned.

The chief administrative officer for Bridgeport Public Schools said Perez Dickson dragged two kindergarten students through the hallway on separate occasions in the spring of 2012.

The state Department of Education began hearings Wednesday on Perez Dickson’s bid for certification after her application was denied.

Her attorney previously said Perez Dickson’s actions were within Bridgeport Board of Education policy guidelines for use of reasonable force.

Man Shot and Killed Near New Haven Housing Project


New Haven police are investigating after a man was shot and killed on Wednesday night and they are asking anyone with information about what happened to come forward.

Police responded to the housing project on Bouchet Lane in the Eastern Street area of the city at 10:24 p.m. to investigate after gunshots were fired and found Lawrence Allen Atkins, 35, of Plymouth Street in New Haven, who’d been shot once in his shoulder, police said.

He was rushed to Yale–New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:25 p.m., according to a news release from police.

Atkins was alone when officers found him and no witnesses have come forward with any information on what happened or descriptions of the shooter or any get-away car.

More shots were fired after Atkins was killed, but police are not sure if they were connected to this shooting.

Police are asking that anyone who witnessed the shooting or has information on who might have been involved should call detectives at 203-946-6304.

Calls may be made anonymously.

Detectives from the department’s homicide division and bureau of identification responded to the scene and have been interviewing residents.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Victim of Ansonia Shooting in Critical Condition


A 21-year-old Bridgeport man who was shot in the chest and leg at the corner of North Main Street and Fourth Street in Ansonia on Wednesday night is in critical condition, according to police.

The victim has been identified as Carneggy Lamothe, 21, of Bridgeport.

Ansonia police spokesman Lt. Andrew Cota said the shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. during some sort of disturbance.

Officers arrived to find Lamothe lying on the ground near the Ansonia Mini Market at 147 North Main Street.

He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment.

Police have not identified a suspect, but he was wearing dark clothing, according to police.

Police stopped a vehicle seen fleeing the area a short distance away from Fourth Street, identified the people inside and released them. 

Witnessed to the shooting should call the Ansonia Police Department at 203-735-1885 and ask for Detective Stephen Adcox.

Search Underway for Missing Woman in Middletown: Sources


State Police are assisting Middletown Police in the search for a 57-year-old woman who has been missing since mid-July, according to police sources.

Nina Coe has been missing since July 16. She disappeared after returning from a dentist appointment.

Up until that point, Coe had been in constant communication with her three sisters, so they became concerned when two days passed and they could not reach her.

Coe's family has made public pleas, asking for help to find their sister, and held vigils to pray for her safe return. 

Police said concerns about Coe's disappearance are mounting because she suffers from alcohol dependency and might need immediate medical attention. According to a Silver Alert issued last month, Coe is also dependent on pain medication and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Today, crews are searching the area of Silver Street, Cedar Lane and Reservoir Road and K9s have been brought in.

Coe stands 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. Police said she wears glasses and has a tattoo on one leg and a scar on the right side of her neck.

Police are asking anyone with information on Coe's whereabouts to call 860-638-4000.

Plane Window Found on Reunion Island: Malaysia Official


More plane debris, including a window, has been recovered from the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, Malaysia's transport minister said Thursday, NBC News reported. 

Liow Tiong Lai told reporters at a news conference that "many items" have been recovered and sent to authorities for investigation to determine if they are linked to the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

Malaysian authorities said Wednesday a wing fragment found on the same island came from the missing aircraft, but French authorities have been more circumspect about the discovery. The Malaysian authorities have been criticized for jumping the gun on confirmation. 

Lai said Thursday that "we respect" the French decision to continue further verification on the wing fragment, but that the Malaysian team who are "actually the experts" have confirmed it to be from MH370.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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Boat Hits Gull Rocks in Branford


The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the waters off Branford after a boat hit Gull Rocks, south of the Branford coastline, around 6:30 a.m.

Everyone on the boat was wearing a life jacket and the vessel was not taking on water.

The boaters declined from assistance SeaTow, but the owner of the boat -- a Shelton resident -- has contracted the boat towing service to get the boat when the tide comes in.

Branford officials sent out their Marine police unit and are transporting the boaters to Bruce and Johnson’s Marina in Branford.

No additional information was immediately available.


Photo Credit: NBC10
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