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Suspect in Fatal Basketball Game Assault Arrested


Police have arrested a suspect in the assault at a Bristol park that killed an 18-year old Bristol man last year.

Police said Johnnie Vail, 23, is suspected of punching Jesus Vega, 18, during an unprovoked attack while playing basketball at Bracket Park on May 22.

Police said the punch knocked Vega unconscious at Bracket Park and his friends carried him to 40 Orchard Street.

When police arrived at 9:29 p.m., Vail was unresponsive.

Vega was initially transported to Bristol Hospital, where doctors determined that he was suffering from bleeding in the brain, police said.

He was then transported to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery, but never regained consciousness.

He died at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center on May 28.

Vail, who is being held at the Cheshire Correctional Facility on unrelated charges, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter.

He was processed and held for court on a $100,000.00 cash bond with an arraignment scheduled for April 17.

Vega's sisterm Brittany, said her brother's organs were donated and his heart went to Colby Salerno, a Chester man with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, who had been in the hospital waiting for a new heart.


Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia

9/11 Victim's Remains Identified, More Than 11 Years After Attack


A 55-year-old man who died in the 2001 World Trade Center attack has had a piece of his remains identified for the first time, officials said Wednesday.

The medical examiner's office said the identification was made by retesting remains recovered during the cleanup operation that ended 11 years ago next month.

It was not linked to the new sifting of debris from construction sites around the trade center site that began earlier this month.

The identification of the victim, whose name was not released, brings the total number of people whose remains have been found to 1,635. The attacks in New York killed 2,750 people.

The medical examiner has said it will continue to work with the thousands of pieces of remains it has collected, as new technology becomes available.


Photo Credit: AP

Bristol Man Injured in Southington Crash Dies: Police


A Bristol man who was critically injured in a crash just before 1:30 a.m. on April 10 in Southington has died, according to Southington police.

Police said Michael Carlone, 30, of Bristol, lost control of his car on South End Road by Meriden Avenue at 1:28 a.m. on that Wednesday, and the car flipped on its roof, went off the road and landed back on its tires.

Emergency crews treated Carlone at the scene. Then, he was transported to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury.

Police ask anyone with information about the crash to call Officer Jeremy Busa at 860-621-0101 or e-mail jbusa@southingtonpolice.org.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

State Police Major Recalls Marathon Ordeal


A high-ranking member of the Connecticut State Police finished the Boston Marathon and was with his family near the finish line when the bombs went off.

Major Alaric Fox, the chief of staff to the state police commander, spoke about the ordeal during an interview in his office at state police headquarters in Middletown on Wednesday morning.

"(The) Boston (Marathon) is just the granddaddy of them all," Major Fox said. "It was a tremendous day up until the unimaginable happened."

It was the second time he ran the Boston Marathon. He finished the race in three hours, seven minutes and four seconds, which was more than an hour before the two bombs went off.

He met up with his wife and two children and they were getting ready to eat lunch inside the Prudential Center on Boylston Street, not far from the marathon's finish line, when the explosions happened.

"There were two rapid-succession, very loud explosions and even from where we were, you could hear them," said Major Fox. "People that were in the building were running out of the building. People that were out of the building were running into the building because no one knew exactly what had happened."

As the chaos escalated, Major Fox and his family quickly left the building.

"At that point, we moved down toward where the street was and saw that one direction was where the carnage was and the other direction appeared to be the safer of the two routes," said Major Fox.

They made it safely away from the targeted area, still unsure of exactly what happened. Now, they know all too well the details of the terrible tragedy that hit so close.

"Life is precious and it's just a game of seconds. Ten seconds faster or 10 seconds slower and any individual performance is vastly different on that day," he said.

Despite what happened, Major Fox said he's determined to run the Boston Marathon again.

"I'm proud as a member of the law enforcement community to be among those people that do what we can to make the world as safe as it can possibly be but I don't think any of us can live in a bunker and never expose ourselves to any danger," he said.


Photo Credit: eBay

Runs to Honor Marathon Victims


Athletes across America are showing support for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings by doing what unites them all – running.

Within hours of the deadly attacks in Boston, people took to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to organize group activities to show solidarity for fellow runners. Silent runs, color coordinated events and other gatherings are honoring the three killed and 176 injured in the bombings.

Run for Boston 4/17, one of the well-known Facebook events in response to the Boston Marathon attacks, quickly went viral after it was formed Monday afternoon. With over 16,600 "Likes" by Wednesday, the Facebook page has encouraged hundreds of people in cities across the nation to organize local events Wednesday in honor of Monday’s tragedy.

“On Wednesday, April 17th, runners, non-runners, and people who believe in hope and peace will run together as a sign of solidarity for the people and runners of Boston,” the Facebook page said.

Participants were instructed to wear blue or yellow, take a photo with a “Run for Boston” sign and to post the photo onto the Facebook page.

In Chicago, 100 locals met Tuesday evening, pausing for a moment of silence before beginning a 3-mile run – a mile in honor of each of the three people who died.

"The point is just to get runners together, whether they were in Boston or not, whether they're a beginning runner or a marathon runner, we're all impacted by what happened," Wendy Jaehn, the Executive Director of the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA), told NBC Chicago.

“A lot of us run for lots of different reasons, but running is also very healing," Jaehn added.

More than 70 people laced up Tuesday in San Mateo, Calif., and ran at a local high school track, where three pairs of shoes were placed on the sidelines.

The Miami Sports Commission held a silent run Tuesday night in respect to the victims of Monday’s attacks. Organized by the Baptist Health Brickell Run Club, the event started at 7 p.m. and gathered more than 1,000 people to run the 3.5-mile run together in honor of victims, NBC Miami reported.

The Miami Marathon, which is an official qualifier of the Boston Marathon, has considered refining and adjusting their own security plans after Monday’s blasts. Still, the sport will continue to prosper, said Frankie Ruiz, co-founder of the Miami Marathon and an organizer of the Silent Run.

“Running itself is just going to be that much stronger,” Ruiz said. “This doesn’t stop us, we’re going to keep doing what we do.”

The Dallas Running Club ran Tuesday night with a special bib that noted the date of the Boston Marathon, the Boston skyline and the words, "Runners United to Remember." Despite the tragedy, many of the runners still said their dream of running the historic Boston Marathon was still alive, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

People showed support in other ways. Some marathoners in Oregon wore their race shirts this week to show the strength of the runner community, “one made of people from all walks of life, all ages, and all races,” the RunOregon Facebook page said.

After Monday’s attacks, large cities around the world with upcoming marathons are taking precautionary steps to ensure the safety of those running and attending. The London Marathon, which is taking place this Sunday, is expected to have at least 500,000 spectators, and Prince Harry is due to hand medals to the winners, NBC News reported.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, said police were “taking more precautions than we might have done otherwise.”

In honor of the victims of the Boston bombing, runners at the London Marathon will be encouraged to wear a black ribbon at the start of the race and a 30-second silence will be observed, organizers said Wednesday.

“The very best way to show solidarity with Boston is to get out there on the streets of London to cheer the runners on and to show that we won’t be defeated by this sort of activity,” Hugh Roberston, a British government minister, told the London Evening Standard newspaper.

Photo Credit: NBC 5

Omitting a Felony


If someone gets caught sending their kids to school in another town, they face a felony charge, the way Marie Menard did in 2010.

"When we were fighting this," she said, "the lawyer comes out and says to me, 'Look, if we don't win this, you can get 20 years.' I'm gonna tell you, I was scared."

Menard stood with activists from the Connecticut Parents Union to urge legislators to change the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

She was caught sending her two grandsons to school in Stratford even after their mother had moved to Milford. Both women were arrested. Instead of going to trial they agreed to pay restitution.

"$20,000 I had to come up with," said Menard. "We scrounged to get that. I had two years to pay it."

Sen. Eric Coleman, (D) Bloomfield, co-chair of the legislature's judiciary committee, supported the move.

"Prosecutors, perhaps, are being overzealous," Coleman said. "I think boards of education and school districts are being overzealous on this issue.  It's something that really doesn't need to happen."

Coleman called for charging violators for tuition, not charging them with felonies.


Route 9 South Closed at I-95 N


Route 9 Southbound is closed in Old Saybrook, in the area of Interstate 95 North, because of a one-car crash, according to state police.

Serious injuries are reported.

There are no estimate on when the highway will reopen.


Baby Rhino Takes Her First Mud Bath


A baby rhino named Anna took her first mud bath, and cameras were there to catch it. The rhino is at Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach.

Photo Credit: Lion Country Safari

Man Wanted in Connection With Attempted Sex Assaults


Manchester police are looking for a man suspected of attempting to sexually assault a teen and groping a female jogger.

Police said Jermaine R. Kelly, 25, is suspected of grabbing the arm of a 15-year-old girl who was walking home during the morning hours of March 20, and pulling down her pants.

The teen was able to fight Kelly off and run for help.

Police said Kelly was recently arrested, accused of grabbing ta female jogger’s buttocks on Dec. 2. 

Kelly is known to frequent Manchester, Glastonbury, East Hartford and Hartford, police said.   

Kelly is 5-feet-10 and weighs 180 pounds.

He has brown eyes, black hair and three tattoos on his arms.

Police said Kelly is wanted for risk of injury to a child, fourth-degree criminal attempted sexual assault and second-degree unlawful restraint.

A court-ordered bond is set at $50,000. 

Anyone with information about Kelly’s whereabouts should call the Manchester Police Department at (860) 645-5500.

Newtown Resident Extends Kindness in Boston


In times of tragedy, even the smallest act of kindness has a big impact. 

This week, one anonymous donor from Newtown stepped up to help those in Boston in a small way in the aftermath of the Marathon Bombing with a simple gift -- the gift of Starbucks.

On Tuesday, when customers at the Boston Starbucks near the city’s government center went to pay, they were told to put their money away because someone from Newtown had paid forward $100 toward their orders. 

It’s the same small, but appreciated gesture, that happened at the Newtown Starbucks after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. 

People wanted so badly to help the community of Newtown that donations poured in with the hopes of brightening residents’ days during dark times.

And people have continued to “pay it forward” at the Newtown Starbucks throughout the weeks and months following the shooting, including on Wednesday. 

“I was shocked.  I was getting my money together and getting ready to pay for my order and she said that's the last on the card.  I kind of looked at her puzzled and she said, ‘Somebody just came ahead of you and paid for your order,” said Kelley Grace, who works in Newtown and was buying an afternoon iced tea, which turned out to be a gift from a previous customer.

And, while Newtown baristas tell NBC Connecticut that this “Newtown niceness” has become commonplace, a Starbucks official said that right now, such “coffee kindness” is happening in stores throughout Boston.

“I think paying it forward is a really great thing. It's just an interesting idea to do it with Starbucks coffee,” Karen Kucinski, of Fairfield, said in the Newtown store on Wednesday.

“It certainly tells a lot about the community and the kind of people that are here,” Mandy Ives, of Newtown, said.

“It doesn't have to be grand or grandiose. It's just how you interact with each other on a daily basis,” Steve Mcinerney, of Newtown, said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Boston Firefighter Rescues Weston Woman


When the explosions happened on Monday, Boston firefighter Jimmy Plourde’s instincts were to run toward danger, which led him right to a Weston, Connecticut girl who was hurt and in need of help. 

Plourde, who is with the fire house in Jamaica Plain, was standing on Boylston Street, about 50 feet away from the blast, and had to get past a barrier to get to victims.

“(P)eople began ripping the fence and the crosses and the bleachers apart.  I tried to give it a couple pulls. I knew it would take a couple of minutes, so I crawled through the bleachers to get at the scene to see what I could do first,” Plourde said.

That’s when Plourde found Victoria McGrath, a 20-year-old Northeastern University student from Weston, badly hurt.

“I came across a young girl lying on the floor. She was there with another woman.  I said 'You gotta go.'  She said 'That's my daughter, I'm not leaving.'  I said, “I'll take good care of her,’ so I looked down and she had a bleeding leg.”

At the time, Plourde was surrounded by people in pain, but his focus was Victoria.  

“I didn't have a big bag of fancy tricks that I could do all sorts of fancy medical tricks. I just had myself, a set of gloves and some bandages.  And I knew right there, use whatever we had around us, which was a rag of some kind to control the bleeding and get this young girl out,” Plourde said.
 He made a tourniquet and picked Victoria up.

“She looked me right in the eye and she said, ‘I'm scared, I need help.’ I said, ‘I'll do my best, let's get you out of here,” he said. 

A photographer captured Plourde rescuing Victoria but he said he’s no hero.

“No, absolutely not.  I feel like my training kicked in as a firefighter,” Plourde said. “I thought before this, almost nine years of experience, I've seen some things, I can handle this, not a big deal.  All out the window, start from day one, it was that bad.” 

But Plourde made a promise to Victoria’s parents and wanted to get her to an ambulance.

“I was glad that I saw two Boston EMTs that I knew and trusted.  I knew they'd do a great job taking care of that girl,” McGrath said. “Everybody did their part to make sure this little girl went back to her family.” 

Plourde couldn’t remember the girl’s name until someone reached out to him on Facebook.

“Through a mutual friend through Facebook, I know she's doing OK.  I don't know much more than that.  I was inundated with phone calls and texts.  The only one I really responded to said, ‘Hey, I knew that girl, I know the family, and I know she's doing good.”

Victoria's family said she is having surgery to repair the nerve endings in her leg tomorrow, but it looks like she will make a full recovery.

Victoria has told Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick that she wants to thank Plourde personally when she gets out of the hospital.

Photo Credit: AP/MetroWest Daily News, Ken McGagh

Meriden Native Cares for Families After Bombing


A Meriden native has been part of the heroic efforts by doctors and nurses after the two bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Brian French grew up in Connecticut and went to UConn. His family still lives in Meriden.

French, a nurse at Mass General Hospital, has been working 12-hour shifts over the last three days.

He activated the crisis center at the hospital, which provides counseling and psychological support for the families of the victims.

"Nurses have a role to play and we very quickly move into crisis mode," French said.

He spoke exclusively with NBC Connecticut on Wednesday and said the past few days have been challenging.

"I am struggling with the question of why, but again I know that my role right now is to help others," French said.

He said the patients and their families always come first, especially in a time like this.

"The family members and friends who came to our center felt very supported by the staff and a number have stopped by to say thank you for our support," French added.

Despite the long hours and stressful environment, it's the messages from Meriden that have helped him.

"I have felt incredibly supported," French said. "We truly, truly, truly are very thankful for the support that we're receiving from around the country and around the world."

Student Runs for Her Life After Bombing


Two days after the bombings rocked Boston, life is trying to return to normal, but the presence of police and National Guard is a constant reminder of what happened.

Everyone is still trying to process it, including Miles Halpine, of Bethany, who is a freshman at Suffolk University in Boston.

"They are all reaching out to each other," Halpine said. "We have students from our school who have helped out at hospitals and giving money to charities."

Halpine's friend and classmate, Jianna Marcello, said she is lucky to be alive.

She had just left the finish line and went for a bite to eat at a Bolyston Street restaurant when the first bomb went off

"We decided, 'Let's go get lunch' and we just finished eating," Marcello said. "We were waiting for the check and then heard this massive explosion."

Then, she said, the restaurant went silent.

"I had to just grab my friend with me and she was just crying and I was like common we're going to be fine," Marcello said.

They ran out of the back of the restaurant as fast as they could and heard screams all over.

"I don't remember people's faces," Marcello said. "All I remember is seeing people's body parts. It was the most terrifying experience of my life."

Marcello, who is from North Providence, Rhode Island, has some bruises, but is OK.

Both she and Halpine said their school is doing anything it can to help out the victims.

"When it comes to times like this, we are united as one," Marcello said.








Photo Credit: AP

Woman Sprays Bear Deterrent in Hotel: Police


Two people were taken to the hospital and 28 people were evaluated after a woman sprayed bear deterrent at the Howard Johnson hotel, at 1052 Boston Post Road in Milford, last night, according to police.

Police said they received a report of an unwanted guest at the hotel around 8:50 p.m.

A woman who had been staying at the hotel for a while had discharged a large canister of “bear deterrent,” which is similar to mace or pepper spray, in a second floor hallway, police said.

Police said she appeared intoxicated and was taken to the hospital.
The fire department cleared and ventilated the floor, police said.

About 28 people were evaluated at the scene, but it did not appear that anyone suffered any serious harm, according to officials. No information was available on the guest taken to the hospital.

No charges have been filed. 

Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia

Emotional Display from Fans at Bruins Game


Thousands of Boston Bruins hockey fans gathered on Wednesday night for the first time since the marathon bombings and it was an emotional night. Amid the tears, thousands joined in on the National Anthem.

Flags Fly Off Shelves at Boston Shops

DORCHESTER, MA - APRIL 16: City Councilor Tito Jackson raised his flag and candle during the vigil. Community, family, friends and politicians made their way out to a vigil at Garvey Park in remembrance of 8-year-old Martin William Richard, who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings yesterday, in Dorchester, Mass. on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

1 Hospitalized After Chicago Sinkhole Swallows 3 Cars


One person was hospitalized after three vehicles were swallowed Thursday morning by a large sinkhole on Chicago's South Side, officials said.

A circa-1915 city water main broke under more than five inches of heavy rain across the area, causing the sinkhole to rip open around 5:20 a.m. in the South Deering neighborhood, Chicago Police spokesman Mike Sullivan said.

Police said the injured person was driving in the 9600 block of South Houston Avenue when the road caved. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Two cars were inside the hole when fire crews arrived. A third car, which was parked, slid into the hole after they arrived.

Flooding has cause multiple road closures, including two major expressways, throughout the area. About 300 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport and dozens of schools were closed.

The Illinois Department of Transportation urged commuters who take expressways into work to consider staying home. Two more inches of rain is expected throughout the day as area rivers continue to swell and neighborhoods flood.

Photo Credit: Renee Matthews

Interfaith Vigil in Berlin Tonight


As people seek out comfort after the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, many are finding solace in religion and an interfaith service will be held in Berlin tonight.

It will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, 1781 Berlin Turnpike, in Berlin. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their family members. We come together in unity and solidarity to seek comfort and healing." Dr. Reza Mansoor, president, Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fairfield County Couple Accused of Smuggling Infant Into U.S.


Federal officials have charged a Fairfield County couple accused of conspiring to smuggle an infant from Guatemala into the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Officials said Maria Gonzalez, 42, of Stamford,  is accused of traveling to Guatemala in March 2009 and meeting with a pregnant 14-year-old girl who agreed to give Gonzalez her child, according to officials.

Gonzalez agreed to pay for the birth mother’s delivery and some additional costs, officials said.
 The child was born on April 18, 2009 and the birth mother gave the child to Gonzalez and her husband, Henry Fernando Lopez, 36, of Fairfield, officials said.

Gonzalez visited the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City after the child was born and attempted to acquire travel documents for the infant, but could provide medical documents showing that she was the baby’s mother, so she was denied, officials said.

Gonzalez then found someone in Guatemala, paid $6,000 for a fake U.S. passport in the child’s name and used it to enter the U.S. at the Port of San Ysidro in California on July 14, 2009, officials said.

The child has been in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families since October 2012.

Gonzalez, a citizen of Argentina and a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., was also charged with misuse of a U.S. passport, and forgery or false use of a passport.

Gonzalez appeared on April 16 before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport and was released on a $100,000 bond. 

Law enforcement officers are looking for Lopez.

Memorial Grows as Runners Return


Elizabeth Lynch was turning the corner of Boylston Street on Monday, nearing her goal of crossing the finish line, when the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon.

On Thursday, she returned to the site where many people have left behind tokens, growing memorial to the victims. 

"I felt pulled here, like I had to come," Lynch said.

Three days after the bombings, Lynch is wracked with a mixture of feelings, ranging from grief to accomplishment.

“It's just such a high, to such a low," Lynch said. "I'm so thankful I'm safe, I just wanted to come to the finish line too because I never got to."

Three crosses, one for each person killed; flowers; candles; sneakers; stuffed animals; and more have been placed in honor of the victims.

Marlene Cole, of Chelsea, Massachusetts, and her friends left flowers at the memorial, as well as a letter.

"We just wanted to do something," Cole said. "So far I'm writing, ‘I'm so sorry this happened to all of you’."

Cole said she doesn't know any of the victims, but felt drawn to the site.

"You don't even need to know these people. You just need to know they came from here and these are your citizens, these are some of your people," she said.

David Jones, who was a DJ at the marathon, said he made sure to return today.

"I was just stunned and I really didn't know how to process it at first," Jones said. "I think so many people were affected indirectly by this, because it's really terrifying."

The memorial so many have visited continues to grow by the hour.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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