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Freddie Gray Pre-Trial Rulings a 'Win' for State


A Baltimore judge on Wednesday refused to dismiss charges against six police officers facing criminal charges in connection to the death of a black man injured in their custody. He also refused to remove the prosecutor in the case.

Car Smashes 2 Vehicles on First Day at Sacred Heart


Police are trying to identify the driver who smashed into two other vehicles on the first day of class at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, then picked up the broken pieces of his car and drove off.

According to police, a Saab 93 backed up "with enough force to push" a parked Jeep Wrangler into a nearby Jeep Cherokee around 12:45 p.m. Monday at 5151 Park Avenue, causing heavy damage to the cars.

The driver of the Saab got out, picked up pieces that had broken off his car, then got back in the driver's seat and left the scene, according to police.

Investigators are trying to identify him.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fairfield Police Department Accident Division at 203-2654-4823.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Police Department

Man Stole $21K From Connecticut Postal Worker: Feds


A former Connecticut man is facing federal charges for allegedly attacking and robbing a postal worker of more than $21,000 at a Hartford post office last year.

Dion Edward Thompson, 37, formerly of East Hartford, was indicted in federal court Tuesday. He's charged with one count of robbery of a postal employee and one count of theft of government property.

Federal prosecutors said Thompson and one other man robbed the victim at gunpoint at the Barry Square Post Office on Maple Avenue in Hartford on Sept. 9, 2014. The postal worker was loading proceeds from the post office into a USPS vehicle at the time.

The robbers got away with $21,817 in cash, checks and money orders, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Thompson could serve up to 20 years in prison if convicted of both counts. He's currently imprisoned in Colorado on unrelated charges.

It's not clear if he has an attorney.

Berlin Street/Route 364 Closed in Southington


Berlin Street/Route 364 is closed between Berkley Avenue and Homesdale Avenue in Southington over a water line leak in a construction area, according to police.

The road is closed so crews can access the leak to make repairs. It's not clear when it will reopen.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ky. Clerk Asks Judge, Again, to Deny Same-Sex Licenses


A Kentucky court clerk is once again asking a federal judge for an order freeing her from the obligation of issuing marriage licenses, a move that would allow her to remain in office while still refusing to acknowledge same-sex unions.

Kim Davis ignited a fierce debate in her office in Rowan County, Kentucky this week when she defied orders to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court declaring the constitutionality of same-sex marriages. Davis, a born-again Apostolic Christian, said issuing the licenses to gay couples would violate "God's definition of marriage" and would infringe on her religious freedom.

The unorthodox gambit appears to have little chance of succeeding.

Photo Credit: AP

Teen Killed by Police on Drugs: ME


An unarmed teenager was under the influence marijuana and a psychedelic drug when he was shot and killed by an Arlington, Texas, police officer Aug. 7, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office says.

A report released Wednesday by the medical examiner said 19-year-old Christian Taylor was under the influence of hallucinogenic and psychedelic drugs when he was shot and killed by 49-year-old rookie police officer Brad Miller during a confrontation at a South Arlington car dealership.

Police officers were responding to a burglary call at Classic Buick GMC when they discovered someone had driven an SUV through the showroom glass.

Surveillance video would later show Taylor outside the dealership before police arrive acting erratically, standing on top of and jumping on cars before driving through a gate and through the showroom glass.


Instead of helping to set up a perimeter around the showroom, Miller confronted a person inside the showroom, later identified as Taylor, and ordered him to get down on the ground, said Arlington Chief of Police Will Johnson last month.

Taylor did not comply and, instead, began "actively advancing toward Officer Miller," Johnson said.

Miller's field training officer, who had followed Miller into the showroom, drew his own Taser. The training officer heard a single pop of what he thought was Miller's Taser, but Miller actually had drawn his service weapon and fired it at Taylor, who is believed to have been 7 to 10 feet away from the officer, Johnson said. After Taylor continued to approach, Miller fired his gun three more times.

The officer's Taser had been deployed, according to the medical examiner, but only one of the prongs entered Taylor's body rendering the device ineffective.

A toxicology report from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office confirms Taylor was shot four times, in his chest, throat, abdomen and forearm, and that the presence of drugs were present in both his blood and urine -- specifically THC, 25h-NBOMe and 25i-NBOMe.

THC is the chemical responsible for most of the psychological effects found in marijuana while 25i-NBOMe and 25h-NBOMe are a psychedelic and hallucinogen, respectively.

Following the shooting Johnson fired Miller, saying he breached protocol and that his actions led to the deadly confrontation. Johnson, who has lobbied the Arlington City Council for funding to outfit his officers with body cameras, reiterated his support for the body camera program following the shooting.


Photo Credit: @_lawjohnson / Twitter, Classic GMC Buick
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Shots Fired at Mass. Police Cruiser


A police cruiser was shot before crashing and catching fire Wednesday in Millis, Massachusetts, sparking a manhunt and the closure of public schools on Thursday.

State police, local police and a SWAT team, with large rifles drawn, responded to Forest Road after the Millis Police cruiser was shot just before 2:30 p.m. The state police air wing was also on the scene, as were a ballistics unit, crime scene techs and fire investigators.

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Police confirm the officer has been hospitalized, but no information on his condition was immediately available.

Investigators are searching for a maroon pickup truck, possibly a Ford F-150. The suspect is described as a man between 25 and 40 who fired a black handgun.

Around 10:30 a.m., Millis Middle School received a call from someone who "indicated a crime may occur" in the town on Wednesday, according to police. About an hour later, the school received a bomb threat by telephone.

"It is bizarre to have the bomb scare and then that, as well," said Heidi Perkins, who lives near the spot where the cruiser crashed.

While police are not sure whether these events are connected, the town's schools will not be open Thursday.

"Basically, we had an officer who was driving down Forest Road here. He was shot at. We believe two to three shots were fired at his vehicle," said Millis Police Sgt. William Dwyer. "He returned fire, we believe three shots."

"It's kind of hectic right now. The police are doing a wonderful job," said neighbor Bill Whelan, who has lived there for 53 years. "Been here a long time, and I've never had anything like this, and I'm sure it's an isolated incident."

With a community on edge as police investigated, one concerned citizen and Army veteran decided to search for the suspect himself.

"I started following the scanners and listening to the descriptions of the vehicle and the person," said Nick Sheridan. "I just, on my own time, my own fuel, just drove around."

In neighboring Norfolk, a reverse 911 call was sent to residents as police worked to find suspect.

"We were nervous. I brought my friend home instead of her walking home because there are woods behind us," said Norfolk resident Susan Antonio.

Buses from the schools in Norfolk were held until police were able to clear the area.

Both the Millis library and town hall were closed Wednesday during the investigation.

Forest Road remained closed Wednesday night, but a shelter-in-place order that had been issued is no longer in effect.

Anyone with information is asked to call (508) 376-2233.

Photo Credit: necn
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Taco Bell is Testing New Taco Shell


The rumors are true.

Taco Bell is testing crispy chicken taco shells. A spokesperson for Yum Brands, Taco Bell's parent company, confirmed the news Wednesday, adding that the shells were being tested exclusively in Bakersfield, California restaurants.

The test began Aug. 27 and will end Sept. 23. The company will then evaluate whether to go forward with a wider launch based on the response from consumers, according to the spokesperson.

Taco Bell fans seem excited by the new taco shells, as evident from comments on a Reddit thread titled "New Naked Chicken Taco."

In the past, Yum, which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut, has introduced mash-ups such as the Double Down Dog and the "Chizza," a pizza that has a chicken crust.

The new item is called the "Naked Crispy Chicken Taco" and it's filled with lettuce, tomato, cheese and avocado ranch sauce, Foodbeast reports.

Way to think outside the box.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Bronin Defends Choice to Send Kids to Private School


A well-known education voice in Connecticut was critical of Hartford mayoral candidate Luke Bronin in a recent blog post for his decision to send his children to a private school in West Hartford rather than public schools.

Former State Rep. Jonathan Pelto wrote that Bronin's decision to send his two young children to the Montessori School of Greater Hartford "sends out a powerful message about privilege and entitlement."

Bronin, the Democratic Town Committee-endorsed candidate for mayor, said the decision is a personal one, but also a reasoned one.

The couple had intended to send their children to the Annie Fischer Montessori Magnet School in Hartford but circumstances changed after their son had been enrolled there for one year.

"Like a lot of parents, we put our child into the lottery. We had two children who we hoped would do well in the lottery, and like a lot of parents, we didn’t fare well," Bronin said.

When their daughter wasn't admitted, they shifted their focus to finding a suitable private school that both children could attend.

The Bronins' disappointment with their lottery experience may influence Luke Bronin's policy agenda.

"That part of the process was frustrating for us like the process is frustrating for a lot of Hartford parents," he said.. "One of the things that I would like to do is try to make the lottery process more transparent, a lot more user friendly."

Two members of Segarra's City Hall staff posted links to Pelto's blog post, along with comments critical of Bronin, but the posts were deleted.

Bronin, who attended private and boarding schools himself before attending completing his undergraduate and and advanced degrees at Yale and Oxford, said he won't rule out sending his children to Hartford Public Schools in the future.

"I would love to send my kids at some point to public school," he said. "We’ve made a decision as parents that this is the right choice for our kids right now and I think any parent would understand that."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Segarra's History in Hartford Called Into Question


Mayor Pedro Segarra has maintained quite proudly on the campaign trail that he has spent a total of 41 years in Connecticut's capital city, but one local lawyer calls that into question.

According to documents provided by the Florida Bar Association, Segarra practiced law in Florida from 1999 to 2005. His addresses are all in the Miami area.

"It was a commute situation in which I co-owned an office in Florida and I co-owned an office in Hartford," Segarra said.

He added that clients in both locations didn't even notice he was gone when he was in a different part of the country.

Bruce Rubenstein of the Hartford Internal Audit Commission cross-referenced the years in Florida with years Segarra claims to have lived in Hartford by checking local listings for both law practices and residences.

What Rubenstein found when it came to Segarra's residence and professional listings surprised him. Segarra had no listings during that time in the Hartford area.

"I’ve been practicing law in Hartford for 34 years. I’ve met thousands of lawyers," Rubenstein said. "I’ve never met a lawyer yet that failed to have a White Page or Yellow Page listing in their professional life."

The Florida Bar has a record that Segarra had an office at 250 Main Street Hartford, but it's unclear whether Segarra provided legal services out of that office.

The mayor has made the issue of residency in Hartford a key talking point of his campaign. He maintains that Luke Bronin, his challenger in the Democratic primary in two weeks, doesn't have roots in Hartford.

Bronin moved to Hartford in 2006.

During an interview Wednesday, Bronin said Segarra has created the issue and now can't back up his claims.

"The only reason we’re talking about residency is that Pedro Segarra has made that the centerpiece of his campaign, and now we find that the number he’s used at every public appearance isn’t true," Bronin said, referring to the 41 years in Hartford that Segarra claims.

The mayor said he could provide documentation to prove he lived and worked in both Hartford and Miami during the period of time in question.

Segarra also allowed his Florida Bar affiliation to lapse due to a lack of Continuing Legal Education.

The mayor said Tuesday during a press event touting construction progress at the new Yard Goats stadium that was always his intention.

"I no longer have an intent to practice in Florida. They require that you do continuing education, and I believe several years back that Florida license lapsed," he said.

Rubenstein said the residence and professional issues are part of a greater problem for the mayor.

“He’s been extremely deceptive about his past," he said.

Multiple attempts to reach the Segarra campaign Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Norwalk Schools to Dismiss Early Thursday Amid Heat


Several public schools in Norwalk will dismiss early Thursday as temperatures climb into the 90s.

"We are concerned about the impact that heat may have on studentts in our schools that have limited air conditioning," school officials said in an announcement on the district website Wednesday.

The following schools will dismiss two hours early on Thursday, Sept. 3:

Nathan Hale Middle School
Ponus Ridge Middle School
Roton Middle School
West Rocks Middle School
Cranbury Elementary School
Kendall Elementary School
Naramake Elementary School
Rowayton Elementary School
Silvermine Elementary School
Tracey Elementary School
Wolfpit Elementary School

After-school activities are also canceled at the affected schools.

Lunch will be provided and buses will pick up students at the early dismissal time.

The Bellizzi School in Hartford will also have early dismissal Thursday because of the heat.

Iconic T-Bowl Alley Closing in Newington


An iconic T-Bowl alley in Newington has closed after 54 years.

T-Bowl Lanes, also known as Fun Squared, first opened in 1961. The "small ball" bowling alley shut down because the number of duckpin lanes have been dwindling in the state, according to town officials.

"Businesses evolve, and this business, although I think it was still very popular, they got a very good offer from Ashley Furniture and decided to retire," said Newington Town Manager John Salamone.

Salamone said the owner passed away several years ago and his wife continued to maintain the alley, which is located on the Berlin Turnpike.

"I’m actually kind of sad to see it go," said Wethersfield resident Brandon LaSalle. "Being from this local area, it’s one of the few places you could T-Bowl still. And it’s a great place to bring the kids."

Now construction crews are removing what’s left. The building will be transformed into an Ashley Furniture store, which will move in by the end of 2015.

"It’s really the story of Berlin Turnpike, it’s always evolving it really does it reinvents itself all the time so something that become T-Bowl will become Ashley Furniture," said Salamone.

Hartford Homicide Rate Climbs to Highest in New England


A crime wave is giving Connecticut’s capital city a deadly reputation.

After 19 homicides in 2014, Deputy Chief Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department said he expected the crime rate to increase this year.

"Last year, we anticipated that we’d have a spike in crime this year. Certainly not as high as it is," Foley said.

The city has experienced 24 homicides so far this year.

Foley said the cause of the crime spree is hard to pinpoint because there are many factors.

"If you look at convictions a few years ago, you can see who’s coming out of jail," Foley pointed out. "We also knew where our staffing was. We also knew where everybody’s resources were."

Hartford police said those resources have been tightened on the national, state and local levels.

"We continue to be a very vital partner. I’ve actually sent more resources to Hartford than just about anyplace else and sent more resources to Hartford than they asked for in the last round," said Gov. Dan Malloy.

Bernie Sullivan, who served as Hartford police chief from 1982 to 1989, remembers when the city’s crime rate was even worse.

"When I was chief, we were running 40 homicides a year. We had a lot more gang activity," said Sullivan.

Unlike other crime, which has gone down, the homicide rate in Hartford is the highest in four years.

Some business owners said  violent crime is having an impact on those making an investment in the city. Landlords like John Milledge have trouble finding tenants.

"All too often I’ve seen my property located around the city, the North End particularly, on the news," said Milledge.

Desmond Wright, 32, was shot in the temple and left to die on the sidewalk on Pershing Street in broad daylight Tuesday.

"The crime rate is so different now. I’m not safe as I was," said Deborah McDonald, who grew up in the neighborhood and still lives there.

She said the city needs to create more opportunity for work.

"How do these young kids get guns? You can get a gun but you can’t get a job," she wondered.

This year's homicide rate in Hartford has now surpassed that of Boston, a city five times its size. It's also more than the homicide rate in Bridgeport and New Haven put together.

Mom of Infant Found in Trash Can Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter


The young mother of a newborn found dead in a trash can last year pleaded guilty to manslaughter in court Tuesday.

Geralyz Sotomayor-Cruz, of East Hartford, was arrested after showing up at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in August 2014 with signs of having given birth but no baby in tow.

Sotomayor-Cruz told hospital workers she had had a miscarriage five months prior, according to the warrant for her arrest, but investigators found blood stains in her bathroom and the body of a baby boy in a trash can outside her house.

The child's death was ruled a homicide and Sotomayor-Cruz was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter.

She pleaded guilty Tuesday in Hartford Superior Court and will be sentenced Oct. 30, according to the office of the court clerk.

Sotomayor-Cruz could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years of probation. The court clerk's office said she may be released after serving 18 months behind bars.

Photo Credit: East Hartford Police Department

Motor Scooter Driver Seriously Hurt in Bristol Crash


A motor scooter driver was seriously hurt when he crashed in Bristol on Wednesday afternoon, according to police.

Police said the man, who has not yet been identified, suffered a head injury and was found unresponsive at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and East Street around 3:15 p.m.

He was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford.

Police said they believe the man was traveling eastbound on Riverside Avenue and veered off the side of the road near East Street, crashing in a parking lot.

Traffic officers from the police department's Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team are investigating.

Witnesses are asked to call the Bristol Police Department Traffic Division at 860-584-3030.

Clerk Blocking Gay Marriages Has Divorced 3 Times


The Kentucky clerk who says she's following "God's word" in her refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples is a longtime civil servant with her own history of marital struggles.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was divorced three times and had children out of wedlock before experiencing a religious awakening that cemented her obedience to Christian scripture — and her defiance of the country's highest court.

Her act of resistance has rocked her small Appalachia community 60 miles east of Lexington and made headlines nationwide, fed by a video of her denying a marriage license to David V. Moore and his partner of 17 years, David Ermold. The Tuesday confrontation sparked a protest inside the Rowan County Courthouse, with supporters of the couple and of Davis shouting over each other. A similar scene unfolded Wednesday, when a second same-sex couple asked for a marriage license. 

Photo Credit: AP

Taylor Swift Fan Pleads Not Guilty


A Taylor Swift fan is facing multiple charges after he allegedly jumped a fence and rushed on stage during the pop star's San Diego concert. 

“When asked why he went on stage, he said, ‘I love that girl,’ referring to Ms. Swift,” said Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto in court.

Christian Ewing, 26, appeared in a San Diego court Wednesday, pleading not guilty to two felony charges, a misdemeanor and a municipal code violation. Those charges could land him behind bars for almost five years combined if convicted.

The incident occurred Saturday night at Petco Park, where viewer video shows a person running on-stage, just steps away from where the singer was performing her hit, 'Style.' 

Ewing, who appeared in court with a bandage on his head, is accused of hopping a fence at the concert. When a security guard told him he could not be in the area and tried to grab him, Ewing escaped and ran onto the stage, Coto said in court.

When Ewing took off, an altercation occurred, Coto said, and Ewing was eventually dragged off stage. 

One of Swift's security guards suffered severe rib injuries and will need at least eight weeks to recover, Coto said. 

When he spoke with police later, Ewing gave them a false name, Coto said. Officials are investigating whether he had a valid ticket to enter the arena and the entire incident is under investigation. 

Coto said Ewing has an active warrant for a theft-related offense in Florida and has an assault-related offense in Georgia. He was previously convicted out-of-state of attempting to manufacture or manufacturing drugs in 2013. 

Ewing was formally charged Wednesday with assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, battery with serious injury, both felonies, and a misdemeanor for giving police the wrong name. For entering an area he was not supposed to enter during an event, he also faces a municipal code violation. 

Bail was set at $100,000 due to his flight risk. He is due back in court on Sept. 14.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Woman Wanted Man Killed for Giving Grandkids Lice: Cops


A Florida woman is charged with trying to hire a hitman to kill a homeless man who she said was giving her grandkids lice, according to police and court records.

Pamela King Vanorsdale, 50, of New Smyrna Beach — who's also referred to in Volusia County court records as "Vanarsdale" — is free on $25,000 bond pending her arraignment Sept. 17 on a second-degree charge of solicitation to commit murder. 

According to the charging affidavit, Vanorsdale called her ex-son-in-law to ask him to "pop" the intended victim with a gun and ammo she would provide.

Referring to a 22-year-old homeless man she said was having an affair with one of her married daughters, Vanorsdale asked the would-be gunman, identified as Daniel E. Dionne of Daytona Beach, to "get him out of here" because the man was "messing with" her grandchildren, according to the affidavit.

She specifically complained that the children were "coming home with lice," investigators said.

Photo Credit: New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Police

Search Underway For Prison Escapee


Police are searching for a prisoner who escaped Wednesday at an I-80 rest stop near Princeton, Illinois.

The Inmate Services Transport Company contacted Illinois State Police around 4:45 p.m. saying Joshua Drinnon, 35, escaped at the westbound Great Sauk Trail rest area (I-80 West at Mile Marker 51), according to police.

Drinnon, who was imprisoned for aggravated robbery, escaped a transport vehicle and was last seen entering a field north of the rest area, according to state police.

The vehicle picked up Drinnon in Blountville, Tennessee, and its destination was not known, police said.

Drinnon is described as a white male, standing about 6-foot-1-inch tall and weighing about 200 pounds. He is bald and has blues eyes. Police say he was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and red wind suit pants.

The state police have sent patrol troopers, air operations, investigators and K9 units to the area as they search for Drinnon.

Residents are encouraged to lock all vehicles, buildings and residences.

Anyone with information should contact authorities.

Seal and Diver Become Instant Besties


When a diver meets a seal underwater, they have an adorable encounter.

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