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Veteran Opens Fire in NYC Fed Building, Kills Guard, Self


An armed veteran walked into the lobby of a federal building in SoHo, shot an armed private security guard in the head, killing him, and then shot himself, authorities say.

The 53-year-old guard, Idrissa Camara, died shortly after the 5 p.m. shooting on Varick Street, his employer and officials said. He had agreed to stay for an extra shift after his normal work day ended at 4 p.m.

The gunman, identified as 68-year-old Kevin Downing of Fort Lee, New Jersey, also died, officials said. 

Authorities say Downing shot the guard as soon as he neared the metal detector; the shooting was at close range. Downing then went through the metal detector and headed toward the elevators, where he encountered another employee, police said. Downing shot himself at that point.

Downing had two guns on him, and authorities are attempting to determine if he fired both, sources say. 

Authorities said they are trying to learn more about the motive of Downing, who was a former federal employee at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He also had collected Veterans Affairs Benefits, according to police Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller.

"We don't know what his target was," O'Neill said. It appears the gunman acted alone, and O'Neill said there was no indication the shooting was terrorism.

Miller said Downing had left his government job "some time ago.'' A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor, which controls the Bureau of Labor Statistics, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. The FBI was assisting in the investigation because Camara was working as a contractor for a federal agency, police said.

It does not appear that Downing had any link to the security agency that employed Camara, FJC Security Services. 

FJC Security Services said Camara had worked for the agency for two years, ever since it was contracted to work the federal building. He'd been stationed at the building previously with another agency. 

He was "an extraordinary senior guard who was well trained, cared deeply about his job and knew that building better than anyone else," said a statement from FJC. "It's clear from the facts that he never had a chance to defend himself in this instance." 

That the guard agreed to stay for extra duty after his shift ended at 4 p.m. "speaks volumes about the person he was," the statement said. 

A family member outside Lenox Health Greenwich Village Hospital, where Camara was taken, collapsed onto the ground in grief. 

Another cousin told reporters: "He was a great man. Anybody who knew him, they would tell you -- at work, home, they would tell you." 

Chopper 4 showed an extensive emergency presence near the scene as law enforcement converged on the federal building from the ground and the air. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson went to the federal building Friday night.

"I intend to express my condolences to his family if I have the opportunity to do so," he said. "I wanted to be here because this is a federal building, and check in on our employees here and be with those employees in the face of this tragedy." 

The 12-story building houses several federal offices, including an immigration court, environmental offices, post office and branch offices for veterans' affairs, the Department of Justice and Department of Labor.

People who live and work in the area posted messages on social media saying they were told not to leave their buildings. One store owner said he was actually told to leave the shop and run. 

"Police said, 'shut down the store and run outside because there is an active shooter,'" said Padel Mahess, who owns a shop across from the federal building. 

Law enforcement also converged on Downing's home in New Jersey Friday evening, and armored tactical teams were seen entering neighbors' homes to safely bring them out as they awaited a court order to begin searching Downing's house, which was in foreclosure, according to relatives and neighors. 

A relative who asked not to be named told NBC 4 New York over the phone that he lived alone and had no children. Downing had a fiancee with whom he lived for years before she died of cancer several years ago. 

The relative said Downing served in the military and was stationed in Europe in the 1960s. He was discharged with distinction.

He was most recently working as a realtor but his home was in foreclosure. And sometime in the last two years, he was struck on a crosswalk. 

"He's had tough few years," said the relative.

Downing was fired by the Department of Labor years ago and had filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2004, according to the relative, who believes that Downing targeted the Varick Street building because it has a Department of Labor office there and that it was probably the closest branch to his Fort Lee home. 

One Fort Lee neighbor said he knew Downing in passing and only said hello, and another said that Downing's home had been on the market for over a year, and his property was not well kept, with overgrown vegetation taking over the yard. 

"He was a neighborly sort of guy, hello, goodbye," said John Damato. "Just a quiet man. Nothing would convice me he would do something as heinous as this." 

The president of the union that represented the guard said in a statement the union was "shocked and horrified at this terrible news" and sent condolences to the guard's family. 

"Security officers around the city and country serve on the front line each and every day to keep us safe and secure. We are heartbroken that one of our own has fallen," said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. "We hope some of our questions in the face of this terrible tragedy will be answered. For now, we are keeping his family and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers." 

FJC said it intended to "do everything we can to stand with his wife and family during this very difficult time." 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Shane Kennedy
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K-9, Stun Gun Help Bridgeport Police Nab Suspects


Two men who fled from a traffic stop in Bridgeport on Tuesday were taken into custody and arrested with some help from a K-9 and a stun gun, police said.

Bridgeport police tried to pull over a black Chevy Impala near Birmingham and Main streets just before 10 p.m. on Tuesday Aug, 17, but Derrence T. Saunders, 37, of Bridgeport sped off after pulling over for just a moment, police said.

Police followed the car down Burnsford Avenue and Merritt Street until Saunders stopped when he crashed into a stone wall while trying to turn at the corner of Wayne and Fern streets, police said.

But Saunders and the passenger, Dewight Baird, 33, also of Bridgeport, did not stop. Police said they ran from the car and took off down Fern Street, police said.

When the men ignored officers, authorities released the police dog, which apprehended Saunders. When the suspect fell to the ground, a pistol magazine fell from his hand, police said.

Saunders continued to resist arrest and being handcuffed, but once the handcuffs were on,
more police officers arrived and the suspect was transported to St. Vincent’s Hospital for lacerations and dog bites to his right and left legs.

Police also gave Baird a warning, then shot him with a stun gun, according to a news release, but it did not stop him.

When Bard broke free and ran into the woods, additional officers searched the surrounding areas and found him on Main Street, near Fern Street.

Officers found him with a prong from a stun gun still lodged in the back of his right arm. At first, he resisted arrested and was transported to St. Vincent’s for the Taser prong to be removed.

Police said Saunders threw a firearm from the driver’s side window while running from the initial motor vehicle stop and police recovered a black .40 caliber Ruger with a black magazine loaded with 11 live rounds.

Saunders was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm, weapons in a motor vehicle, illegal delivery, transfer or sale of a firearm, interfering/resisting, unregistered motor vehicle, engaging police in pursuit, and reckless driving.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police

DMV Stops Taking Walk-Ins Amid Hours-Long Waits


The Connecticut Department of Motor stopped taking walk-ins at 2 p.m. Friday in all its offices because of the high volume of customers since reopening after a system upgrade.

The DMV reopened Tuesday after taking no registration transactions for a week during the computer upgrade to provide more online services.

They said the system is working as planned, but customer volume has been very high. Customers have reported waits as long as four and a half hours at some offices.

The DMV said this is to get staff members out at a reasonable time after working until about 10:30 p.m. for the last three days.

High volume is also expected on Saturday, when offices open at 7:45 a.m. and close at noon.

Every customer who arrived before 2 p.m. was served, and all other appointments at the DMV were honored until the close of business at 4:30 p.m., including previously scheduled knowledge and road tests for driver licenses as well as hearings.

The new online services DMV offers at ct.gov/dmv are:

  • Improved registration renewal program.
  • Checks 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.
  • Reprints of registration certificates from home or other computers.
  • Registration cancelations.
  • Ordering of special plates, such as vanity plates.
  • Ordering of replacements for damaged plates.
  • Electronic notification by providing customers with an option for DMV to contact them either by mail or e-mail.

Walk-in services will resume Saturday morning.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Gets Prison Time for Death of 2-Year-Old


A Putnam woman will serve two years in prison in connection with the choking death of her boyfriend's 2-year-old son in April 2014.

Renee Peterson was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison, according to the clerk at Danielson Superior Court. Her sentence will be suspended after she serves two years behind bars and will be followed by five years of probation.

Peterson and her boyfriend, David Mahan, were arrested in April 2014 in connection with the death of Mahan's 2-year-old son. Peterson was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a minor.

According to the warrant for her arrest, Peterson left Mahan’s two sons, ages 2 and 1, alone in a locked bedroom while she went to a methadone clinic in Willimantic the morning of March 26.

While she was gone, the toddler choked to death on a piece of food and was later found unresponsive at the home on Mechanic Drive, the warrant says.

Police initially said the boy’s death appeared to be an accident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

3 Teens Plead Guilty to Felony Murder in Enfield Shooting


Three of four teens arrested in connection with the September 2014 shooting death of an 18-year-old in Enfield have now pleaded guilty to felony murder, according to court records.

Robert L. Stevenson, 17, and Cheyenne Concepcion, 19, pleaded guilty in court Thursday and will be sentenced Oct. 30. Katwon D. Goodwin, 19, entered his plea earlier.

Takai T. Brown, 19, has also been arrested in connection with the case and has pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery of a deadly weapon, court records show.

The four are accused of shooting and killing Jonathan Torres, 18, in the Thompsonville section of Enfield on Sept. 3, 2014.

Police said they believe Stevenson pulled the trigger.

West Nile Virus Found in 15 Connecticut Communities


Mosquitoes in 15 Connecticut communities have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The virus has been identified in Bridgeport, Chester, Darien, East Haven, Glastonbury, Greenwich, Groton, Guilford, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, Stratford, Waterford, West Haven and Wethersfield.

No human cases of West Nile have been reported so far this year.

State health officials are urging residents to take precautions in an effort to avoid contracting the virus. According to the Department of Public Health, Connecticut residents are most likely to become infected in August and September.

"Mosquito-borne illness is a threat to take seriously, especially from now well into September," Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen said in a statement Friday. "I ask everyone to prevent mosquito bites by eliminating standing water around your home, making sure your door and window screens are in good repair, and covering bare skin and using insect repellent when outside – especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active."

Most people who are infected with West Nile virus develop a mild illness that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting or a skin rash, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

Less frequently, people develop severe illness of the nervous system that can also include neck stiffness, disorientation, loss of consciousness, tremors, muscle weakness and paralysis.

People older than 50 years of age are more likely than younger people to suffer the more severe health consequences if they become infected.

West Nile virus was also identified in 15 Connecticut municipalities last year, according to the Department of Public Health. Six people contracted the illness, five of whom were hospitalized.

Learn more about West Nile virus and mosquito management:

Teen Runaways Hurt in Hit-and-Run on UConn Farm


Two teens who ran away from group homes in Coventry on Friday morning were hurt in an apparent hit-and-run at a farm owned by the University of Connecticut.

Hunter Guerin and Camryn Dwyer, both 15, were reported missing early Friday morning after running away from two separate group homes in Coventry, according to the police department.

Silver Alerts for both teens were issued at 3:30 a.m.

Almost eight hours later, around 11:15 a.m., UConn police received a report that a teenage boy and girl were hurt in hit-and-run crash, according to UConn officials.

The teens were found off Route 32 on property belonging to Spring Manor Farm, which grows food served on the UConn campus in Storrs. University officials said the farm is university property.

One teen was able to jump out of the way and suffered minor injuries, while the other suffered more significant injuries, according to a UConn spokesman. The teens have no known connection to the university.

Officials at Hartford Hospital, where the teens were taken for treatment, said Dwyer has been released and Guerin is listed in good condition.

The Silver Alerts were canceled around 2 p.m. Coventry police confirmed the two teens were involved in some sort of accident at UConn this morning.

UConn officials said descriptions of the vehicle purported to have struck the teens were "inconsistent."

Police from UConn, Coventry are investigating, along with Connecticut State Police.

Photo Credit: Silver Alert

Trump Doubles Down on Building Border Wall at Ala. Rally


Thousands of people showed up to hear Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speak at an Alabama rally Friday, in which the business tycoon vowed, "we're going to make America better than it's ever been." 

The crowd filled about half of the 43,000-seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, NBC News reported. It was a hot night, and humid. Trump looked upwards and joked: "If it rains I'll take off my hat and prove, I'll prove, once and for all, that its mine," while stroking his hair.

Trump repeated his tough stance on immigration, vowing "we're going to build a wall," and saying Congress could end the guarantee of being granted citizenship upon being born within the U.S.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Thousands of Migrants Rush to Greece-Macedonia Border


Thousands of migrants made several attempts to charge police at Greece's border a day after Macedonia's government declared a state of emergency on the frontier to halt a human tide heading north to the European Union, NBC News reported.

The migrants were met by police, who fired stun grenades to disperse the large crowd. Some of the 3,000 migrants hurled stones at the Macedonian forces and at least eight people were injured, Greek police said.

Hours after Friday's clashes, Macedonian police started letting small groups of families with children cross by walking along railway tracks to a station to take trains to the border with Serbia. 

Photo Credit: AP

Over $700K Raised to Restore Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit


The Smithsonian's Kickstarter campaign to restore the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore when he became the first man to set foot on the moon has raised over $700,000.

The campaign has exceeded the $500,000 goal and hit a stretch goal of restoring another suit — Alan Shepherd's, who was the first American in space.

While neither suit was meant to last much longer after the missions, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington hopes to have the two suits ready for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. 

Photo Credit: AP
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Worker Steals $1.7M From Connecticut Software Company


A 44-year-old Wethersfield woman accused of stealing nearly $1.7 million from the Connecticut software company where she worked has pleaded guilty to tax and wire fraud.

Penny Roy, of Wethersfield, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

She's accused of adding her own bank information to other employees' profiles while working as the company's payroll manager, then sending fraudulent expense reimbursements and payments to her own bank account.

Federal prosecutors said Roy did not declare the stolen money on her tax returns, depriving the Internal Revenue Service of nearly $500,000 in tax revenue.

Roy will be sentenced Nov. 17 and could face up to 23 years in prison, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Information on an attorney for Roy was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Warrants Reveal Search Behind Missing Couple Case


Court documents related to the disappearance of an Easton couple missing since early August show authorities have searched the couple’s former and current homes, a bank account and their 2003 Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin vanished Aug. 4. Jeffrey Navin is president of J&J Refuse, a sanitation company in Westport, and Jeanette works as a school library aide in Weston.

According search warrants obtrained by the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, the couple's son, Kyle Navin, told police his family was in the process of selling J&J Refuse. The company website lists Kyle Navin as operations manager.

A source close to the investigation told NBC Connecticut Kyle Navin has been named a person of interest in his parents' disappearance. Police have been searching his home in Bridgeport and have not been able to locate him since their initial interview.

According to the warrants, Kyle Navin told police his parents visited him in Bridgeport the morning they went missing and asked to take him out to dinner.

Kyle Navin said he had a broken back and didn't feel well enough to go, according to the warrants.

That was the last time anyone heard from the couple.

The last calls logged on Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin's phones were the day they disappeared, according to search warrants obtained by the Troubleshooters. Verizon told police those phones have been turned off.

Investigators took more than a dozen swab samples from the pickup truck after a Connecticut State Police trooper found it in a Westport commuter lot Aug. 9. The truck's side window had been broken.

"Detectives are conducting a very thorough investigation," said state police spokesman Trooper First Class Kelly Grant. "They are following all leads."

About a week before they vanished, a judge denied Jeffrey Navin's request to appeal a $2.2 million debt ruling on a $900,000 Guilford property. Relatives have said there's no indication the couple's finances factored into their disappearance.

Photo Credit: Family Photo

10 Pounds of Matted Fur Shaved Off Abandoned Dog


Rescuers saved a dog "discarded like trash" in the bushes of Bethlehem and shaved 10 pounds of matted fur off the animal's frail body.

The female dog was found to have worn-down paw pads and urine scalds all over her body.

According to Running for Rescues, a Middletown charity that raises money for rescue animals through road races, the pup so weighed down by matted fur she couldn't walk.

Woodbury-Bethlehem Animal Control rushed her to Newtown Veterinary Services for emergency treatment, where vets shaved off 10 pounds of soiled fur.

The dog is recovering at the vet. Running for Rescues covered her medical expenses.

Photo Credit: Running for Rescues

Bloomfield Factory to Close


A manufacturing company has announced plans to close its Bloomfield facility.

Lumentum, formerly JDSU, produces commercial and industrial lasers, optical communications and 3D sensing.

The company is transferring its manufacturing and product development operations from the Bloomfield factory to a Lumentum site elsewhere in the country, according to company communications director Greg Kaufman.

"This action is being taken to continue to optimize the cost structure of the product lines currently manufactured in Bloomfield in order to meet our customers’ future cost expectations and remain competitive in the market," Kaufman said in an email to NBC Connecticut on Friday.

It's not clear when the facility will be shuttered or how many employees will be affected by the move.

Dow Falls More Than 500 Points


The Dow fell more than 500 points Friday, plunging for a second straight day and hitting a 10 percent decline from its all-time high — the definition of a market correction. 

Investors continue to worry that a stalled Chinese economy could hammer companies and countries around the world.

Apple — which relies heavily on Chinese demand — fell more than six percent. 

"Right now there is a feeling of fear in the marketplace, and all news is interpreted negatively and it's interpreted indiscriminately," Tom Digenan, head of U.S. equities at UBS Global Asset Management, told CNBC.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Local Dog Trainer Charged With 29 Animal Cruelty Counts


A Connecticut dog trainer has been charged with 29 counts of animal cruelty after police confiscated more than two dozen pets from a feces-ridden Massachusetts home.

Beatrice Nielsen, also known as Beatrice DeGruttola, 50, of Auburn, Massachusetts, was arrested Monday.

Police say she owns the building in Webster, Massachusetts, where authorities found 21 dogs and several cats and birds living in "deplorable" conditions among feces and urine.

Authorities began investigating after someone reported the smell of decaying flesh and thought there might be a dead animal inside.

Nielsen, known professionally as Bea DeGruttola, began working as a dog trainer at My Dog's Place in Mystic and Niantic in 2003 and has been rescuing and training dogs since 1998, according to the facility's website.

Marge Lineweber, owner of My Dog's Place, said in a statement Friday the business is aware of the allegations against Nielsen.

"We are all shocked, devastated and sadden by the news coming from Massachusetts. Our thoughts go out to the dogs, Bea and her family. Bea is a well respected, talented trainer with a wide following of clients, so we are very confused by the situation going on at her home in Massachusetts. We will continue to monitor the situation as more is known," Lineweber said in the statement.

Nielsen was released on bail and is due in court Tuesday.

The investigation is ongoing, and police said Nielsen could also face numerous code violations from the town of Webster.

Photo Credit: necn/Webster Police

Search of Landfill Linked to Missing Couple Case: Source


Detectives are searching a landfill in Putnam as part of the investigation into the disappearance of an Easton couple last seen in early August, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

State police spokesman Trooper First Class Kelly Grant said Friday detectives have been searching the Putnam Ash Residue Landfill, a 186-acre site operated by Wheelabrator Technologies, but would not elaborate on the details of the probe.

The landfill is used to dump ash from all the state's waste-to-energy plants.

A source familiar with the investigation told NBC Connecticut the search is connected to the case of Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin, who disappeared from their Easton home Aug. 4, shortly after moving from Westport.

The last calls logged on their cellphones took place that day, according to search warrants obtained by NBC Connecticut. Those phones have since been turned off.

Authorities said a state trooper found the couple's pickup truck Aug. 9 in a Westport commuter lot. Investigators took more than a dozen swab samples from the truck, which had a broken window, according to the warrants.

A second source told NBC Connecticut the couple's son, Kyle Navin, has been named a person of interest in his parents' disappearance.

According to search warrants, Kyle Navin told police his parents visited him in Bridgeport the morning they vanished and asked to take him to dinner. Kyle Navin said he had a broken back and declined.

That was the last anyone heard from Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin.

Police spent Wednesday and Thursday searching their son's Bridgeport home. Neighbors said they haven't seen the younger Navin in about a week, and police have not been able to reach him since their initial interview.

Jeffrey Navin serves as president of the J&J Refuse waste management company in Westport, while Jeanette works as a school library aide in Weston.

Kyle Navin, who is listed online as operations manager of J&J Refuse, told police the family was in the process of selling the company, according to warrants obtained by NBC Connecticut.

About a week before the Navins vanished, a judge denied Jeffrey Navin's motion to reopen a case appealing more than $2.2 million in debt on a $900,000 Guilford home. Other relatives have said they don't believe the couple's finances factored into their disappearance.

Police have also searched the couple's current and former homes and one of their bank accounts. Investigators are working to obtain additional search warrants in connection with the case.

Police Capture Suspect in Hartford Mom's Murder:Sources


Sources say Hartford police have captured an "extremely dangerous" man accused of killing a 23-year-old Hartford mother found dead in Bloomfield this week.

Robert Lee Graham, 59, of East Harold Street in Hartford, is wanted for the murder of Tashauna Jackson. Bloomfield Police signed an arrest warrant for Graham on Friday evening. Later that night, Hartford police took Graham into custody.

Authorities in the capital city said Graham has killed before.

Jackson, the mother of a 5-year-old, vanished Aug. 11 after getting into Graham's car near Keney Park in Hartford. Her body was found Tuesday, a week after her disappearance, 30 feet into the woods off Granby Street in Bloomfield.

"Why did you have to kill her? That's what I want to know," wondered Jackson's cousin, Azenia Williams. "You took her from us. We'll never have her back, and it hurts. It's very painful... what you have done to our family."

Jackson's aunt, Vanessa Kingston, said she and other family members showed up at Graham's East Harold Street address hoping for an arrest Friday night – but he was gone.

"I was angry that they didn't get him tonight, very angry," said Kingston. "I was really upset when I left there, but they're going to get him."

Bloomfield police said Graham is "extremely dangerous" and has a history of violence. He may have ties to Springfield, Massachsuetts.

"Graham is a violent individual who has killed before," Hartford police said in a statement Friday night. "We are dedicating extensive resources to assist the Bloomfield Police Department in locating this suspect."

Jackson will be laid to rest at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 27 at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Hartford. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for her funeral expenses.

Photo Credit: Bloomfield Police Department/Family Photo

Under Threat of War, Koreas to Hold High-Level Talks


North and South Korean officials were set to meet on Saturday, the South said, raising hopes for an end to the standoff that put both sides on the brink of outright war, NBC News and Reuters reported.

The meeting — scheduled for half-an-hour after North Korea's ultimatum demanding that the South halt its loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts along the border or face military action — will be held in Panmunjom village, a neutral zone on their tense border. Kim Kyu Hyun, deputy director of national security for South Korea's presidential office, made the announcement of the meeting on South Korean television.

South Korea's national security adviser and unification minister will meet with Hwang Pyong-so, the top military aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and an senior official who handles inter-Korean affairs at 6 p.m. Seoul time (5.00 a.m. ET), South Korean officials said.

Photo Credit: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Ellen Page Confronts Ted Cruz Over Gay Rights


Actress Ellen Page engaged in an extensive, six-minute back-and-forth with Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz at the Iowa State Fair on Friday over the potential impact of religious freedom legislation on the LGBT community.

The actress addressed Cruz as he stood behind a grill with a pork chop in hand, a tradition for presidential candidates at the fair.

Page pushed back against what she said is an interpretation of religious liberty that other generations used to defend discrimination.

"In the past during the segregation era or when women were trying to get the right to vote, religious liberty was often used to defend and justify that discrimination," Page said.

Cruz responded: "If you look at the history of defeating slavery, if you look at the history of defeating Jim Crow, it was leaders of the church that played critical roles," Cruz said. "Reverend Martin Luther King stood up against — you know, you read the letter from the Birmingham jail, where he calls upon the conscience of Christians to stand up."

Photo Credit: AP
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