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Vernon Teen Accused of Threatening to Blow Up Horse Barn


Glastonbury police have arrested a Vernon teen accused of threatening to blow up a local horse barn and threatening the staff over horse boarding fees.

Police said Nicholas Asbury, 18, was arrested, accused of threatening staff following an investigation into allegations that he threatened to blow up their barn with a bomb.

At the time of the threat, Asbury was having a dispute with the farm owner about the payment of horse boarding services, according to police.

Police searched Asbury’s residence and his car, but found no bombs or bomb-making materials.

Asbury was given a summons and sent to a local hospital for an examination at the request of police because of his behavior, police said.

Police said the charge is second-degree threatening.

Boston Marathon Tribute Run in West Hartford


One of the ways people are honoring Boston in the wake of the marathon bombings in through tribute runs.

Fleet Feet Sports in West Hartford will hold a Boston Marathon tribute 3-mile run on Monday, April 22 at 6 p.m. 

Runners are asked to bring a donation for the One Fund Boston, which Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino set up to help the people affected by the bombings on Monday.

The first 100 people who donate $20 or more, will receive a "Runners for Boston" t-shirt, according to the Fleet Feet Facebook post. All proceeds will be donated to the One Fund.

The run/walk will start at Fleet Feet Sports at 6 p.m. and end in the same spot.

Runners who can't make it on Monday, but still want to donate and receive a shirt, can bring your donation to the store and they'll reserve a shirt for you.

If you call a pledge of $25 or more into 860-233-8077, the store will mail you a shirt once they receive your check or cash donation.

\For more ways to help, click here

Photo Credit: AP

Chicago Declared Disaster Area Amid Floods


Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has declared a state of emergency in his state, as the Chicago area grappled with the impact of damage from widespread flooding and another wave of storms on the way.

"Heavy rainfall over the past few days has created dangerous flooding in areas across the state," he said. "Everyone should stay home and off the roads if possible. To ensure safety as these storms continue, people should be alert and avoid flooded areas."

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued a disaster proclamation Thursday for Cook County, where Chicago is located, in the face of the massive flooding.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings and flood watches over the entire metropolitan Chicago area as the area braces for another two inches of rain along with possibly strong-to-severe thunderstorms, damaging winds, lightning, large hail and even an isolated tornado.

Rain and flooding caused parts of the Edens and Eisenhower expressways to close in both directions. The list of closed roadways grew throughout the region as the rain persisted.

In the last 24 hours, more than six inches of rain fell in Oak Brook and Naperville, while O'Hare International Airport saw 4.69 inches. Among the towns hardest hit with more than five inches of rain were Elmhurst, Lisle, Lombard, Aurora and Wheaton.

Hundreds of flights were canceled Thursday at Chicago's airports, and some trains were delayed as severe weather blanketed the metro area. Thursday morning at O'Hare, water was seen coming through the roof at Terminal 3.

Gov. Quinn headed to the Chicago area Thursday morning to survey flood damage after a torrential downpour dumped several inches of rain on the region. 

"We have to do this together as a family," Quinn told reporters. "When we have any kind of emergency, we work together for the common good. We help each other."

Quinn said a hospital in Morris, Ill., had to be evacuated, as well as two trailer parks currently underwater. Residents have lost whole rooms of belongings, and in Chicago a sinkhole swallowed three cars, injuring a man.

"We got about three feet in 15 minutes, and it just rose from there," said Jeff Giegoldt, who was jerked awake Wednesday by the sound of rushing water in his basement bedroom on Chicago's Northwest Side.

He told NBC Chicago he was able to rescue his cat and his laptop, but everything else remains in the basement under about six feet of water. At one point the water rushed in so quickly, the basement screen doors snapped off their hinges.

"We knew the rain was coming, but you can't be prepared for six feet of water like that," Giegoldt said. "Everything I have is down there."

His story is similar to many residents experiencing flooding after Thursday's massive storm poured several inches of rain on northern Illinois.

David Bonilla, who lives a few doors down from Giegoldt, said he managed to grab just a few things before the water rose to dangerous levels nearly up to his chest. Most of Bonilla's belongings also are submerged under six feet of water.

These homes aren't near a river or a flood plain, so many residents don't have flood insurance. That means the next step is to wait for everything to dry out.

"Basically, right now we're playing the waiting game," Bonilla said. "Just waiting for the water to go down so we can get down there and clean up and salvage what else we can get."

North of the Chicago, Lake County officials declared a state of emergency as some residents were forced to evacuate their flooded homes. Several towns west of the city also declared states of emergency, including Lisle, Lombard and Elmhurst.

"We encourage people to stay off the roads and if you do have to be somewhere, please slow down because the water then creates a wave effect that will flood people's home," Elmhurst City Manager Jim Grabowski said.

Meanwhile, Quinn has activated the State Incident Response Center, which allows officials to assess flooding and severe weather in several areas of the state and expedite assistance that may be needed by local public safety officials to protect citizens.

Quinn emphasized the need to work together, noting state officials are ensuring public safety by taking measures like dispatching prison inmates to fill sandbags, assisting stranded motorists, coordinating with the National Guard.

His office said the Red Cross has opened shelters in Roanoke, Oglesby and Lisle and is continuing to assess the need for shelters and other assistance.

"I urge everyone to stay alert and avoid flooded areas," Gov. Quinn said. "Residents should tune in to local TV and radio stations for updated information about any closed routes or evacuations."


Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com

Newtown Reopens Support Center


The support center in Newtown reopened this week, two days after the tragic bombings in Boston.
This tragedy comes less than four months after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the bombings happened at the end of the race, in the mile that happened to be dedicated to Newtown.

That was just one of many connections the race had to this community that lost 20 first graders and six staff members during the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

Several Newtown residents were running in the race and each mile was dedicated to one of the 26 victims killed in the school shooting.

“As we continue to navigate through our own response to the tragic events in Newtown, the events in Boston are unsettling and will impact each of us differently,” a post on the Newtown Web site says.

The support center at Cyrenius Booth Library is a place for the community to gather for support, guidance or simply to be with one another in the wake of another. tragedy 

Town officials are urging residents to reach out to family, friends, faith-based organizations, neighbors or counselors, to exercise, create art or work.

They are also being urged to limit your exposure to news coverage of the tragedy not to be alone.

Cyrenius H. Booth Library is located at 5 Main St, Newtown.

On Thursday, it will be open until 7 p.m. On Friday, it will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Weekend hours will be determined

Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images

New Bike Maps for New Haven


Bicyclists in New Haven have new directions to help them navigate the streets. 

The Elm City Cycle Map will be unveiled on Friday morning at a “Bike to Work” breakfast at New Haven City Hall.

The map was put together by Yale graduate Brian Tang, local bike shops and the New Haven Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking. 

On one side, it shows bike routes through downtown New Haven.  The other side shows routes in New Haven County, including the New Haven Century routes.

Bicyclists said this updated map is important because there have been many changes to the city’s bike lanes since a map was put together in 2004.

“This map will give people the ability to navigate the city and know exactly where bike lanes are, bike routes are, not only inside the city, but outside the city,” said Matthew Feiner, owner of The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop in New Haven.

Maps can be picked up at The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop, Amity Bike and College Street Cycles.

Photos of Boston Bomb Suspects


Authorities have released photos and videos of two possible Boston Marathon bombing suspects from just before the deadly blasts that they are releasing in hopes of identifying the two men.

Photo Credit: FBI

Surveillance Video: 2 Suspects in Boston Marathon Bombings


Surveillance video released by the FBI shows two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI.

President to Attend Boston Interfaith Service


President Barack Obama will return to New England today to attend an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston today.

President Obama, Boston Mayor Tom Menino, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, and several religious leaders will give reflections and deliver readings during the service, which begins at 11 a.m.

The presidential visit comes the day after Obama declared an emergency in Massachusetts, leading the way to federal aid for the state in response to the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Photo Credit: AP

Surveillance: Suspects in Boston Marathon Bombings


Surveillance video released by the FBI shows two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI at 800-CALL-FBI.

Man Rescued from Burning Car


A Danielson man jumps into action to save another man from a burning car in Andover. Matt Tracy is being called a hero.

“I could see a car in the middle of the road and it looked pretty crushed,” said Tracy who said he saw the crash, saw one of the cars about to burst into flames and did what he felt was right.

He snapped pictures of the crushed car and then went first to the car, then to a truck that was about to burst into flames.

“He's trying to pull himself out screaming to pull him out but the seatbelt tangled around his neck and under his arm,” said Tracy whose mom was driving him to work in Bloomfield Wednesday morning.

They were on Route 6 in Andover at the time when they saw the scene.  He says they couldn’t help the man in the civic—later identified by police as Jose Velez—because he was so badly pinned. He wanted to do more but told him, “Stay calm. Don't move too much you'll make it worse.

So Tracy ran to the truck that was about to catch fire. Kevin Bobskill was trapped inside.

“I could feel the heat on my legs and the heat coming through the cab,” added Tracy who managed to pry the seatbelt off of Bobskill after finding a piece of carpet in his truck. “[So I] put him on the carpet and he was strong enough to hold my hands so I dragged all the way across the road.”

Tracy’s mother was waiting there and she called police. Tracy says he was on scene all of ten minutes.

“And it didn’t take me that long a time and I saved a man’s life. I really feel good about that,” said Tracy who leaned in after carrying Bobskill to safety saying he couldn’t stay because he was late for work.

 “I tried to help you as best as I could and he had enough power to shake my hand and pull me and kiss my shoulder and said thank you very much.”

Both men are at Hartford Hospital and are expected to recover. Kevin Bobskill’s wife is calling Matt Tracy her husband’s guardian angel and want to thank him some day in person.

VIDEO: Shootout with Bombing Suspects

WATERTOWN, MA - APRIL 19: A police officer runs with his gun drawn while searching for a suspect on April 19, 2013 in Watertown, Massachusetts. Earlier, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer was shot and killed late Thursday night at the school's campus in Cambridge. A short time later, police reported exchanging gunfire with alleged carjackers in Watertown, a city near Cambridge. According to reports, one suspect has been killed during a car chase and the police are seeking another - believed to be the same person wanted in connection with the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon earlier this week. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Police Capture Bombing Suspect


The Boston Marathon bombing suspects—armed with guns and explosives—battled law enforcement officers in a Boston suburb early Friday, unleashing chaos. One suspect is dead and the other at large, according to police.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Brothers' Immigrant Story Emerges; Relatives Speak Out


The story of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev contains many elements of a classic immigrant experience: driven from a troubled corner of the world, finding refuge in the United States, and chasing dreams similar to those that have motivated generations of newly minted Americans.

Only this story now includes setting bombs that tore apart their adopted home, authorities say.

Until Monday's bombing of the Boston Marathon, the Tsarnaev brothers were largely assumed to have embraced American life. Now they are suspected of planting the two improvised explosives that killed three and injured dozens in one of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil.

"It's hard to fathom that someone that I knew, saw every day, would be capable of something like this," said Idia Irele, who attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

For complete coverage, visit NBC News

“He was a very respectful young man,” said John Curran, a boxing coach who helped Tamerlan Tsarnaev during the time he won a 2009 New England Golden Gloves title. “That’s what is so mind blowing about this whole situation.”

They spoke, as many bewildered acquaintances did, in the hours after the brothers were named as suspects, triggering a massive police manhunt that culminated  Friday. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old husband and father, died Friday morning with an explosive device reportedly strapped to his chest after leading police on a wild car chase and allegedly killing one police officer. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was arrested late Friday after he was found hiding in a trailered boat behind a house in Watertown.

By dawn the streets of Boston and its suburbs were put on lockdown with residents told to remain at home, as throngs of police officers in battle gear combed the usually busy, but now tense and quiet,  neighborhoods. Transit was closed down and the Boston Red Sox game was canceled as the hunt dragged into evening.

Gradually, the brothers' story emerged, pieced together by authorities, relatives and friends.

Asylum from war

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an outspoken athlete who spoke three languages, played the piano, studied engineering, was a devout Muslim and aspired to represent the United States at the Olympics.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a introspective but popular star of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School wrestling team who won a city-sponsored scholarship to attend college.

The brothers were part of a family refugees who fled the war-torn Chechnya region of Russia and immigrated to America a decade ago. Located in the North Caucasus region of Russia, Chechnya has been riven by wars between separatist militants and the Russian government. Chechen rebels have been involved with terrorist attacks in Russia, but not, to anyone’s knowledge, in the West.

Their family—two parents, sisters and two brothers—fled the region and in 2003 ended up in America.

“They immigrated and received asylum,” Ruslan Tsarni, the brothers’ uncle, told reporters outside his home in suburban Maryland.

A seemingly nice kid

The brothers grew up in Cambridge, just outside Boston. 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a little withdrawn but nice to those who got to know him.

“He was a quiet and passive guy, well liked,” Ash Raful, a wrestling teammate who at one point looked up to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, told the Today show.

He was also an extremely hard worker who made it to the state wrestling playoffs despite having only a couple years' experience with the sport, Ash said.

Deana Beaulieu said she'd known Dzhokhar Tsarnaev since the seventh grade. She, too, remembered him as a quiet boy who did little more than go to school and come home.

"You always have to be worried about the quiet ones I guess," Beaulieu said.

Robin Young, a Boston-area journalist whose nephew was friends with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, described him as a "light, airy, beautiful, curly-haired kid" who'd attended the prom and won an academic scholarship.

"No one can believe that it's this young man," Young told Today.

In 2011, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was granted a $2,500 scholarship from the City of Cambridge to continue his studies in college, the Boston Globe reported. He eventually enrolled at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

He became a naturalized American citizen on Sept. 11, 2012, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

Another former classmate, Sierra Schwartz, told Today that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “was very normal."

“This was an incredible shock to everyone," Schwartz said.

On a Russian social media site, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev identified his religion as Islam and his priorities as career and money, according to NBC News.

The suspects' father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said in an interview from Russia with The Associated Press that his surviving son was "a true angel."

"Dzhokhar is a second-year medical student in the U.S. He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here," the father said.

He added: "They were set up, they were set up! I saw it on television; they killed my older son Tamerlan."

Some of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's acquaintances said they didn't know until Friday that he had an older brother.

Olympic dreams

Tamerlan Tsarnaev became a legal permanent resident in 2007, officials said. He spent a couple years studying at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston while pursuing his dream of a boxing career. He last took classes there from 2006 to 2008, school officials told the Associated Press.

He was the subject of a photographic profile in 2010 in a Boston University student magazine in which he said he’d taken time off from engineering studies to focus on the Golden Glove competition. He described himself as a devout Muslim who didn’t smoke or drink. “I don’t have a single American friend,” he was quoted as saying. “I don’t understand them.”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev said he hoped to use boxing as a path to citizenship, by way of qualifying for the Olympics.

His coach, John Curran, who met him in 2008, described Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a gifted athlete who often performed complicated gymnastic moves — tumbles, handstands — in the gym. He spoke three languages and played the piano.

Curran said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sometimes accompanied his older brother to the boxing gym, but did not fight. He seemed introverted, especially in comparison to his older brother's outgoing nature.

"He was like a puppy dog following his older brother," Curran said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev ended up winning a New England Golden Gloves title, Curran said. They lost touch in 2010.

An aunt told reporters on Friday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a wife and young daughter.

The wife's parents, who live in Rhode Island, released a statement saying they never knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

"Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted," the in-laws said.

Travel to Russia questioned

Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Russia last year, staying six months before returning in July 2012, according to travel records obtained by NBC 4 New York.

That travel is now of interest to investigators, who want to know if he received any terror training while he was overseas, NBC 4 New York reported.

Among the many questions they are trying to answer is whether the brothers acted alone or were part of a larger conspiracy or had connections to foreign militants.

NBC News reported that counter terrorism officials were examining possible links with the Islamic Jihad Union of central Asia.

In August, after he returned from Russia, Tamerlan Tsarnaev appears to have created a new YouTube account. Five months ago, a new playlist was added to the account, called 'Terrorists.' The playlist included two videos, both of which have been deleted.

A family's shame

Ruslan Tsarni, the brothers’ uncle, grew visibly angry when he was asked about what may have motivated them to commit such a horrific crime.

Tsarni said he hasn't seen his nephews in years, and could only speculate.

“Being losers,” he said. “Not being able to settle themselves. Hating everyone who did.”

Tsarni went on to say that had brought shame on their family and the Chechen people.

Cathy Rainone, WNBC's Brynn Gingras and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP

Manhunt Closes Several Boston Colleges


A massive manhunt for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings and an overnight shootout that killed an MIT officer have led several Boston area colleges to close for the day.

Boston College, Boston University, Berklee, Emerson College, Harvard University MIT Northeastern University and UMass Boston and Wentworth Institute of Technology are among the schools closed for the day in a city that is home to dozens of colleges and universities.

MIT posted an alert on its Web site urging residents not to come to campus on Friday.

UMass Dartmouth is also closed and in the process of a controlled evacuation of the campus, according to the school's Web site.  

"This action is in response to information that the person being sought in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing is a registered student," the web site says.

Harvard University Police are advising community members to stay indoors while the search for the suspect continues.

“Due to the shooting at MIT and the active investigations, Berklee will be closed today Friday April 19th,” a statement from Berklee says.

BC is closed and classes are cancelled until further notice. Police tell students to stay indoors. Check www.bc.edu/bcinfo,” an alert from BC says.

BU advises all students to stay inside and attentive to news developments. “BU police will be patrolling the campus and monitoring the situation. Updates will follow as information becomes available. Please monitor BU Today for more information,” an alert from BU says.

Northeastern’s campus is safe and unaffected by the overnight incidents in Cambridge and Watertown, according to the school, but the  closure of the MBTA and need for residents of many surrounding communities to stay home has prompted the school to close today, a statement from Northeastern says. https://www.facebook.com/northeastern

UMass’s Web site says the campus is closed because of the MBTA shutdown and law enforcement action. 

Photo Credit: AP

Manhunt in Boston After 1 Suspect Shot Dead

Police in tactical gear conduct a search for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, Friday, April 19, 2013, in Watertown, Mass. T

Uncle's Md. Home Searched


The uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, lives on a cul-de-sac in Montgomery Village, Md. FBI agents and Montgomery County authorities arrived shortly before 9:30 a.m. to talk to the family and take a look at the home, reported News4's Pat Collins.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com

14 Killed in Texas Fertilizer Plant Blast: Authorities


The Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday afternoon that fourteen people died in the massive explosion that leveled the fertilizer plant in West.

DPS earlier said the bodies of 12 people had been recovered from the blast zone West and that 200 people have been injured. The department confirmed late Friday afternoon that two more fatalities had been discovered.

West Mayor Tommy Muska told NBC 5's Jeff Smith on Friday morning that 15 people had died in the explosion, but DPS said early Friday that it could not confirm the number.

Muska said five firefighters, four EMTs, five employees of the fertilizer plant and one other person have been killed.

In a Friday morning press conference, DPS Sgt. Jason Reyes could not confirm Muska's account or confirm if any of the bodies recovered were first responders.

Reyes said authorities would send the remains of those killed to a forensic lab in Dallas to be identified. He said the 12 bodies found earlier Friday were discovered "in the area of the plant."

Reyes said 150 buildings had been searched and that 50 homes were destroyed. In the continuing search and recovery efforts, officials would clear 25 more homes, plus a demolished apartment complex, on Friday.

Reyes said emergency crews lost three firetrucks in the blast as well as one EMS vehicle. He did not say if that vehicle was an ambulance.

Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Ted Cruz would hold a press conference at noon in West.

Community in Mourning

The names of the dead were becoming known in the town of 2,800, even if they hadn't been officially released, as early as Thursday afternoon.

A small group of firefighters and other first responders who may have rushed toward the fire to fight it before the blast is believed to have been killed.

People mourned those believed dead at a church service at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church on Thursday night.

"We know everyone that was there first, in the beginning," said Christina Rodarte, 46, who has lived in West for 27 years. "There's no words for it. It is a small community, and everyone knows the first responders, because anytime there's anything going on, the fire department is right there, all volunteer."

Rodarte said she knew Capt. Kenny Harris, an off-duty Dallas Fire-Rescue firefighter who lived south of west. The city of Dallas said he responded to the fire to help.

The four-to-five-block radius leveled by the blast changed the town's landscape. An apartment complex was badly shattered, a school was set ablaze and as many as 80 homes were seriously damaged.

Residents on Friday continued to be kept out of a large swath of West where search-and-rescue teams continued to pick through the rubble. Some with permission who made forays closer to the destruction came back stunned.

Garage doors were ripped off homes. Fans hung askew from twisted porches. At West Intermediate School, which was close to the blast site, all of the building's windows were blown out, as well as the cafeteria.

"I had an expectation of what I would see, but what I saw went beyond my expectations in a bad way," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said after a visit. "It is very disturbing to see the site."

McLennan County Sheriff Matt Cawthon said the area surrounding the destroyed fertilizer plant is a highly populated neighborhood. He described it as "devastated" and "still very volatile."

Ammonium nitrate -- commonly used as fertilizer -- was found at the scene, but he didn't know if any of the chemical remained, he said.

Brenda Covey, 46, said she lived in the now-leveled apartment complex across the street from the plant.

On Thursday, she learned that two men she knew, both volunteer firefighters, had died. Word of one came from her landlord because they live in the same complex in nearby Hillsboro. The other was the best man at her nephew's wedding.

"Word gets around quick in a small town," said Covey, who spent her whole life living in and around West.

Firefighter Darryl Hall, from Thorndale, which is about 50 miles away from West, was one of the rescue workers who was going from house to house and checking to see if anybody might have been inside.

"People's lives are devastated here. It's hard to imagine," Hall said.

The Wednesday night blast was apparently touched off by a fire, but it remained unclear what sparked the blaze.

A team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives still had not been able to begin investigating the scene because it remained unsafe, agency spokeswoman Franceska Perot said.

The West Fertilizer Co. facility stores and distributes anhydrous ammonia, a fertilizer that can be directly injected into soil, and a blender and mixer of other fertilizers.

Records reviewed by The Associated Press show the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration fined West Fertilizer $10,000 last summer for safety violations that included planning to transport anhydrous ammonia without a security plan. An inspector also found the plant's ammonia tanks weren't properly labeled.

The government accepted $5,250 after the company took what it described as corrective actions, the records show. It is not unusual for companies to negotiate lower fines with regulators.

In a risk-management plan filed with the Environmental Protection Agency about a year earlier, the company said it was not handling flammable materials and did not have sprinklers, water-deluge systems, blast walls, fire walls or other safety mechanisms in place at the plant.

State officials require all facilities that handle anhydrous ammonia to have sprinklers and other safety measures because it is a flammable substance, according to Mike Wilson, head of air permitting for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

But inspectors would not necessarily check for such mechanisms, and it's not known whether they did when the West plant was last inspected in 2006, said Ramiro Garcia, head of enforcement and compliance.

That inspection followed a complaint about a strong ammonia smell, which the company resolved by obtaining a new permit, said the commission's executive director Zak Covar. He said no other complaints had been filed with the state since then, so there haven't been additional inspections.

At the church service, the Rev. Ed Karasek told the hundreds gathered that it would take time for the community to heal.

"Our hearts are hurting, our hearts are broken," he said. The nondenominational gathering for prayer and song was intended to honor those who rushed toward the danger and those who found themselves too close.

"I know that every one of us is in shock," he said. "We don't know what to think."

"Our town of West will never be the same, but we will persevere."

Many Associated Press writers and NBC 5 reporters contributed to this collaborative report.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Timeline of Boston Marathon Bombing Manhunt


Twin bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon earlier this week, killing three people and wounding more than 170 others in what police later described as the worst attack in the history of the city. Here is a timeline of the events as they unfolded:
2:50 p.m.: Two bombs explode about 20 seconds apart at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 170 others. Authorities later said the bombs were filled with nails, BBs and ball bearings, and made from pressure cookers. Many of the wounded were severely injured by shrapnel, and local hospitals reported performing at least a dozen amputations. 
5:30 p.m.: The FBI releases surveillance video and photos of two suspects wanted in connection with the Marathon bombings. Both are seen walking with backpacks, and suspect No. 2, identified as the man in the white hat, was seen setting a backpack down at the second blast site just prior to the explosion. Sources later told NBC News they also had footage, not to be released, of that suspect watching the first blast and walking away after planting the second bag.
Just before 10:20 p.m.: An armed robbery is committed at a 7-Eleven near MIT, and police initially believe the suspects were the robbers. They later say on Friday that the suspects were not the robbers.
10:20 p.m.: Police receive reports of shots fired on the MIT campus. Responding officers find an MIT campus police officer shot to death in his cruiser, allegedly by the two bombing suspects. Authorities said he had been shot multiple times.
11:30 p.m.: Authorities say two men hijacked a Mercedes SUV at gunpoint in Cambridge and kept the driver hostage for half an hour. He was released at a gas station by midnight and not injured. Authorities begin looking for the stolen vehicle.
1 a.m.: Authorities find and pursue the SUV, and the chase ends in Watertown. The men in the vehicle, who authorities determined to be the suspects seen in the surveillance video, begin throwing explosives at law enforcement officers and engage in a shootout with police. One suspect is wounded by police; an improvised explosive device is found strapped to his chest when police approach him. He dies at the hospital a short time later. The second suspect, the man described as wearing the white hat in surveillance video, escapes on foot. Authorities say a Boston transit officer is seriously injured in the shootout.
1:15 a.m.: Federal, state and local law enforcement descend on Watertown and a manhunt is underway for the second suspect. Authorities also begin detonating multiple explosive devices found scattered in the street that the suspects threw from the SUV. 
6:45 a.m.: Authorities tell NBC News the suspects are brothers, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The younger suspect, Dzhokhar, is the one on the loose. 
8 a.m.: Gov. Deval Patrick urges everyone in the entire city of Boston to stay indoors. Authorities later say additional accomplices may also be involved.
11:30 a.m.: The uncle of the two suspects, Ruslan Tsarni, tells reporters in Maryland that his nephews have brought shame on the family and on Chechens. "Turn yourself in," he urges the younger one.
6:10 p.m.: Gov. Patrick says the order for Boston residents to stay home has been lifted, and that subway service has returned. Authorities say they didn't turn up any new information on the day-long search of Watertown. Mayor Menino thanks citizens for their cooperation, saying "Boston will stand tall, we'll never stand down." 
7 p.m. Gunfire erupts in Watertown, the site of the overnight shooting that left the first suspect dead. Federal investigators are told a person or a body had been found in a trailered boat in a woman's yard, NBC News reports.
8:45 p.m.: Officials say they have the suspect in custody. Cheers erupt in Watertown.

Photo Credit: Handout

Bombing Suspects' Uncle: "Turn Yourself In"


The uncle of two young men suspected of planting two bombs at the Boston Marathon urged one of his nephews to turn himself in during an emotional interview outside his Maryland home.

"Turn yourself in," urged Ruslan Tsarni, his voice rising above a crowd of reporters in his Montgomery Village neighborhood. "Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness... ask for forgiveness from these people."

“I’ve been following this since day one, but never ever would imagine that somehow the children of my brother would be associated with that," Tsarni said.

Later, he said: "No, I never knew. Even if I had a guess at something, I would just submit them myself."

Tsarni's brother is the father of Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who authorities say is a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his older brother, was killed in a gun battle and apparent explosion overnight in Watertown, Mass.

Tsarni said he felt the young men might have felt angry and ostracised.

"Being losers… hatred those who were able to settle themselves… these are the only reasons I can imagine.”

“Somebody radicalized them," Tsarni said. "But it’s not my brother, who moved back to Russia, who spent his life bringing bread to their table, fixing cars. He did not have time or chance or anything... he’s been working.”

He said his family has not spoken to his brother's family for "a long long time."

“I just wanted my family to be away of them," Tsarni said.

"Of course we’re ashamed. Yes, we’re ashamed," Tsarni said. "They’re children of my brother, who had little influence over them, honestly, as much as I know.”

Tsarni said they were not motivated by any religious reasons, and said he was angry that they had brought suspicion to people from Chechnya. "Anything else to do with Islam, it's a fraud, it's a fake," Tsarni said.

“He put shame on the entire Chechnyan ethnicity," Tsarni said.

Authorities visited Tsarni's Montgomery County home — as well as the home of another relative — Friday morning to talk to them about the suspects.

FBI agents and Montgomery County police arrived at Tsarni's home shortly before 9:30 a.m. to talk to the family and take a look at the home, reported News4 NBC Washington's Pat Collins.

Authorities closed off the street briefly.

Tsarni is married with children. Earlier, authorities allowed a woman, possibly the children's mother, out of the home to drive the children to school, Collins said.

Neighbors said the family has lived on the street for five to seven years. They said the family is pleasant and there have never been any problems in the home.

"They are lovely neighbors, very cordial, always looking after their home and always aware of their neighbors," said neighbor Adam Mason.

"I feel like Boston's now in my back yard," Mason said. "It's a shame, because they are lovely people."

Neighbors said they were surprised by Friday morning's police activity.

Earlier Friday, Tsarni spoke to Boston TV station WBZ. He and told the station he couldn't believe the news about his nephews.

"I'm sorry" if they were the bombers, Tsarni said.

Tsarni told the Associated Press that the men lived together near Boston and have been in the United States for about a decade. They traveled here together from the Russian region near Chechnya.

Authorities also visited the Montgomery Village home of another apparent relative of the suspects, but NBC Washington was unable to immediately confirm how they were related.

The resident, as identified to Jordan by a neighbor, arrived with a few Montgomery County police officers and some other law enforcement agents, possibly federal, on late Friday morning.

They went inside for about 15 minutes and left around 11:15 a.m. with the resident, who was not in custody and appeared to be walking among them, Jordan said.

Federal, state and local authorities in Massachusetts and across the East Coast are seeking Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who they say is a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his older brother, was killed in a gun battle and apparent explosion overnight in Watertown, Mass.

Tsarni told the Associated Press that the men lived together near Boston and have been in the United States for about a decade. They traveled here together from the Russian region near Chechnya.



MIT Officer Shot Dead Identified


The M.I.T officer who was killed in the line of duty on Thursday evening has been identified as Patrol Officer Sean A. Collier, according to school officials.

Collier, 26 of Somerville, Mass was fatally shot by Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, law enforcement officials told NBC News. 

Collier was on patrol when the altercation happened at the corner of Vassar and Main streets in Cambridge, according to a news release on MIT's Web site.

Collier was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to M.I.T officials, Collier had served as a member of the MIT Police since January 9, 2012. He is single and a native of Wilmington, Mass. According the Web site for Salem State University, he was a 2009 graduate.

According to MIT Police Chief John DiFava, Collier was “born to be a police officer.”

Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement and said Collier's brother works for the company.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports are with Andrew Collier and his family. Andrew, a machinist in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department, tragically lost his brother, Officer Sean Collier, last night in Cambridge, Mass. We ask that the family’s privacy be considered during this difficult time."

MIT President L. Rafael Reif called the shooting a senseless and tragic loss in a statement released by the school.

“The loss of Officer Collier is deeply painful to the entire MIT community,” said President Reif. “Our thoughts today are with his family, his friends, his colleagues on our police force and, by all accounts, the many other members of our community who knew him. This is a senseless and tragic loss.”


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