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Tamir Rice's Family Says Prosecutor is Biased


The family of a 12-year-old black boy who was fatally shot by a white Cleveland police officer last year, has called for a special prosecutor to take control of the criminal investigation into her son's death.

"Since the senseless shooting of my son Tamir Rice I have had many sleepless nights and days," Samaria Rice said at a news conference in Cleveland Friday. "Almost a year now, no justice, no peace."

Rice, along with her attorney, asked that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty to step down and allow an independent prosecutor to take over.

"Do you all think that the killing of my child was constitutionally justified?" Samira Rice said. "I am praying the public continues to ask questions and seeks the truth. I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. Please continue to support us in getting justice for Tamir."

Tamir was fatally shot on Nov. 22 by Cleveland rookie cop Timothy Loehmann, who with his partner, Frank Garmback, were called to a recreation center where Tamir was holding a pellet gun.

Police responding to the scene initially believed the pellet gun, which did not have an orange tip identifying it as a replica, was real.

Loehmann fired on Tamir within less than two seconds of arriving, surveillance footage shows, and the boy died in the hospital the next day.

Reports from two outside experts, requested by the prosecutors office and made public Saturday night, found that the rookie patrolman who shot Tamir moments after pulling up beside him exercised a reasonable use of force because he had reason to perceive the boy — described in a 911 call as man waving and pointing a gun — as a serious threat.

Rice’s attorney called the “so-called experts" reports “pro-police and fundamentally flawed.”

The killing of Tamir has become part of a national outcry about minorities, especially black boys and men, dying during encounters with police.

Photo Credit: AP

Lifestar Responding After Bristol Crash

Teacher Indicted in NJ Abuse Case


The 31-year-old teacher caught on cellphone video manhandling a child at Hoboken Apple Montessori School in New Jersey was indicted Friday on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse.

A video clip obtained by NBC 4 New York in May shows Kelli Dugan in red, sitting and holding a 2-year-old girl by her legs, preventing her from moving freely. The teacher is heard cursing in the video; she yells at the child and eventually swings her over a fence before dragging her back inside.

Dugan's attorney had no immediate comment on her indictment. 

"When this incident was brought to our attention, we felt compelled to take immediate and definitive measures -- which, of course, included reporting to local and state authorities," Apple Montessori School said in a statement. "The behavior depicted in a related video clearly is inconsistent with the school’s reputation for high-quality education, which has been maintained by more than 2,000 teachers and staff who have cared for students during the school’s 42- year history."

The school said it has implemented a comprehensive five-point plan to reinforce staff training, enhance security, and strengthen protocols for child safety and security.

The indictment of Dugan comes a little more than a week after a teacher's aide at the school, Elisabeth Gomez, was cleared by a grand jury of abuse and other charges after a separate cellphone video showed her forcefully handling a toddler to put a hat on her head.

In Gomez's case, the grand jury ruled there was no probable cause to indict.

Meanwhile, the parents of the two children have filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from Apple Montessori Schools and several employees for negligence, emotional damage, breach of contract, assault and other charges.

Apple Montessori, which runs 17 schools in New Jersey, fired five employees after the videos were released. The terminated employees included both teachers seen in the videos and the director and the assistant director of the Hoboken school.

The owners of Apple Montessori have declined multiple requests for an interview, but said in a statement to NBC New York that the owners “took immediate and definitive action” and that they have “reviewed and reinforced training” procedures.

The Hoboken Prosecutor’s Office urges anyone who knows a child is being abused to report it to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families hotline at 1-877-NJ-Abuse, local police departments, or the Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at (201) 915-1234.  

NBC Poll: Clinton's Debate Performance Re-energizes Core


More than half of Democrats — 56 percent — who watched Hillary Clinton's performance in Tuesday night's debate say the former secretary of state won the debate, according to the latest NBC News online poll conducted nationwide by SurveyMonkey.

Just 3 percent of Democrats who watched or followed coverage of the debate said the party’s front-runner did worst, giving her a net performance score of +53.

Bernie Sanders scored a net +30, showing he still appealed to a significant number of Democrats. 

Former Gov. of Maryland Martin O’Malley scored a tepid -6 while Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb were also rated poorly, scoring a -21 and -24 respectively.

The poll was conducted Tuesday evening immediately following the debate until Thursday morning.

Photo Credit: AP

Arson Suspected at Norwich Row House


Several people are displaced after fire broke out in the basement of a Norwich row house and investigators believe the fire was intentionally set.

Seven people were inside 7 Terrace Ave. when the fire started around 1:30 a.m. on Friday and were able to get out with no injuries.

Firefighters had the fire under control in around half an hour, but the fire damaged the wiring and filled the house with smoke, so it is uninhabitable.

The focus for authorities is now on the investigation and they said they have a suspect in mind, but no charges have been filed.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Search Underway for Man Who Sexually Assaulted Jogger


A woman who was out for a jog in Stamford early Friday morning was sexually assaulted multiple times after a man grabbed her off the jogging track at Cove Island Park, according to police, and they are searching for the attacker.

The 30-year-old woman was jogging at 5:20 a.m., when a man who claimed to have a knife came up from behind her, grabbed her off the track and sexually assault her, police said.

Investigators said this was a prolonged attacked and the assailant dragged the victim to the water line, where he sexually assaulted her again.

The victim contacted police after the attacker left and she was transported to Stamford Hospital.

Police said they are looking for a stocky man, between 35 and 40 years old, who stands 5-feet-7.

His breath smelled of alcohol and he was described as having a protruding stomach and an unshaven beard.

He spoke English with a Spanish accent, the victim told police.

The man was wearing a dark colored fleece sweatshirt, gym-style shorts, black sneakers and a dark colored baseball hat.

Police are searching the scene and ask anyone who saw a man matching the assailant’s description in Cove Island Park between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. today to call the Stamford Police Detective bureau at 203-977-4417.

Anyone who saw the man in the park area in the last few days is urged to call police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Texas Teen Murdered


Dozens of people came together in Dallas Thursday looking for clues about the murder of 18-year-old Zoe Hastings.

Volunteers went door-to-door, handing out fliers to homes near the White Rock Lake neighborhood, where Hastings was found dead on Monday.

Dallas police said tips are coming in, but they still don't have a suspect. Now, five detectives are assigned to Hastings' case. Normally, there are two detectives assigned to a homicide case.

Police believe Hastings used a Redbox kiosk at the Walgreens at Garland and Peavey roads near White Rock Lake in Dallas around 4:45 p.m. Sunday.

Her family said she was on her way to a church class, but she never made it.

At Norbuck Park Thursday, Hastings' uncle, Nick Hastings, tearfully thanked family, friends and even strangers for helping spread awareness of the case.

"Zoe was very special to me, my wife Katie and our three children," said Nick Hastings.

Nearly 150 people came to canvas the Lake Highlands and White Rock Lake area, all looking for answers into who killed the recent graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

"We need the community's assistance in solving this heinous crime," said Dallas Police Sgt. Cletus Judge.

Police said any information they can get will help with the case. Police are now joined by a coalition of Zoe Hastings' supporters, like Bronte Von Lassberg who went to elementary school with her.

Von Lassberg went up and down several streets along with her dad and sister, knocking at doors and searching for clues Thursday. The dozens of people who joined to help are looking for something that will explain why Hastings was left for dead in a creek bed not far from her home near White Rock Lake.

"I can't express how tragic it is," said Von Lassberg. "I can feel it in my body how much it hurts. I feel so much for her family."

Now the fight to find the truth is moving forward.

"I will pass the word, pass these fliers out, anything I can do to help to get any information," said Von Lassberg.

Oak Farms has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible for her death.

Hastings' funeral is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on East Lake Highland Drive.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

3 Busted With Fake Licenses & Credit Cards Charged With ID Theft: Cops


Old Saybrook police arrested three people accused of having more than 30 fake licenses and credit cards after a woman used an elderly Clinton woman’s identity to try and buy more than $1,200 worth of cell phones, police said.

Police were tipped off by staff at the AT&T store on Main Street in Old Saybrook and identified one of the suspects as Latonya Roberts, 42, of Bridgeport.

She had 11 fake Connecticut and Pennsylvania driver licenses in different names and two fake credit cards, police said.

Police said Francisco Zambrano, 31, of New Haven, was acting as a lookout for Roberts and ran when police arrived, but officers found him at the train station, where he had bought a train ticket to New Haven.

He had six fake Connecticut and Pennsylvania driver licenses in different names, according to police, and two outstanding warrants from other departments.

Police also found Esmaylin Delacruz, 28, of Milford, in a vehicle waiting for Roberts and Zambrano, according to a news release from police.

He had 14 fake Connecticut and Pennsylvania driver licenses in different names, more than $1,200 worth of phones obtained illegally from a different AT&T, and an illegal credit card embosser, which is used to put names on credit cards.

Roberts was charged with third-degree attempted larceny, third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny, second-degree identity theft, criminal impersonation, 11 counts of second-degree forgery and two counts of credit card forgery.

She is being held on $150,000 bond.

Delacruz was charged with third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny, 14 counts of second-degree forgery, unlawful possession of a credit card embossing machine and third-degree larceny by possession. He was released on a $100,000 bond.

Zambrano was charged with third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny and six counts of second-degree forgery. He was held on $100,000 bond.

Police said they are still investigating and are providing information to other departments to help in their investigations.

Photo Credit: Old Saybrook

Teller Asks Bank Robber if He Has Account


Police are searching for the man who robbed a Santander Bank on Thursday afternoon and the bank is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest.

Police responded to the bank at 215 Grand Ave. around 4 p.m. after a teller activated the silent hold-up alarm.

Officers who responded learned the man entered the bank through the back door, spoke in Spanish and demanded money.

The teller asked if he had an account, which seemed to upset him, and he passed a note saying this was a robbery, police said.

The teller handed him around $1,500 and he took off.

Police said he did not show a weapon and no one was hurt.

The bank robber was described as being in his twenties, wearing a camouflage hooded sweatshirt over a white T-shirt, dark baggy pants and white sneakers.

He might have had a baseball cap with a white brim on under his hood.

Santander Bank is offering a $500 reward to the person who provides information that leads to an arrest.

Rockville High Was Locked Down as Officer Convinced Teen to Hand Over Knife


Rockville High School was briefly locked down on Friday afternoon and a classroom was evacuated as a school resource officer convinced a teenager with self-inflicted cuts to turn over the small pocket knife he had.

School staff alerted the school resource officer at 1:35 p.m. and staff members were able to quickly evacuate the other students from the classroom.

The student had some superficial self-inflicted cuts on his arms, according to police, and the school resource officer convinced him to turn over the knife peacefully after about 30 minutes.

The school lockdown lasted for around 10 minutes and Vernon Police officers responded to assist.

An ambulance brought the student to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Police are investigating and no charges have been filed at this time.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police

LifeStar Called to Respond to ATV Crash in Guilford

Sex Assault Reported at CCSU


Police at Central Connecticut State University are investigating an allegation of a sex assault that took place on campus.

The alleged incident took place between a CCSU student and a visitor on Monday, according to a university spokesperson.

CCSU expelled the student on Friday, the spokesperson said.

Police have not made any arrests, but continue their investigation.

Sex Assault Suspect May Have Had More Victims: Police


New Britain Police said there could be more children that are victims of the man accused of peering through kids’ windows and even sexually assaulting one of them.

Alexy Martinez Mercado was arrested earlier this month, charged with abducting a child from her own bedroom and sexually assaulting her, then returning her back to her bedroom. The incident happened in August.

He faces several charges including kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault of a minor.

More charges have been added after police say he peered into two other victims’ homes in September. He’s charged with two counts of attempted burglary.

New Britain Police said there is also a potential fourth victim.

“A call went out for a prowler on the south end of town. The detectives responded and actually found him fleeing to his own residence,” said New Britain police Capt. Tom Steck.

Police said the fourth potential victim’s home was near Mercado’s Bassett Street home.

Patrol officers went back to the house where the incident was reported and what they found was disturbing.

"There was a cement block under a window in theory used to prop someone up to look inside the bedroom," Steck said.

Police have not released the children’s ages in the two most recent incidents.

The other two victims are four and five years old. One of those victims was the little girl police said was sexually assaulted.

Mercado is being held on a $750,000 bond.

Anyone who may have witnessed any similar incidents are asked to call New Britain police.

Animals Found Living in Deplorable Conditions in Wolcott


Wolcott police removed dozens of animals from a home on Finch Road on Friday.

Conditions inside the home were "deplorable," with feces and urine throughout the house, according to police.

“These conditions are horrific, absolutely horrific,” said Animal Control Officer Roslyn Nenninger.

In all, 60 cats were found in the home, along with two dogs. Police say one cat, which appeared to have been euthanized by a veterinarian, was found in the freezer.

Many of the cats were suffering from various ailments including heart murmur, bad teeth, dehydration, and upper respiratory issues. All of them are being taken to local veterinarians to be checked. The animals will be housed at the Wolcott and Woodbury pounds while they recover.

Animal control officers said they have been watching the home for about a year, and began receiving complaints from neighbors about the condition of the home in September. Nenninger reached out to the property owner offering help, but the homeowner refused and police were forced to apply for a search warrant.

Police believe the homeowner was operating a cat rescue organization called Egyptian Cat Rescue, but that neuter and spay clinics were turning away animals in the program because they were in such poor health.

Officers did not name the woman who lives in the home, but said it is possible she could face charges. NBC Connecticut reached out to the owner of Egyptian Cat Rescue of America who told us her attorney advised her not to comment.

Animal control says they will need donations to help care for the cats. Anyone interested in donating can contact animal control through their facebook page.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

GOP Debate Capped After Trump to Threatens Boycott


CNBC and the Republican presidential candidates agreed on the format for their third debate a day after leaders Donald Trump and Ben Carson threatened to boycott unless they got their way, the network said.

The Oct. 28 debate will be two hours long and will include closing statements from the candidates, CNBC spokesman Brian Steel said Friday.

The billionaire businessman and the retired neurosurgeon, in a joint letter to CNBC's Washington bureau chief on Thursday, had told the hosting network they would not appear at the debate unless it was capped at two hours including commercials and the candidates were allowed to speak directly to the camera at its opening and close. The Republican National Committee and candidates began discussing the format on Wednesday, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said.

CNBC had proposed two hours of debating time not including four commercial breaks, meaning the time the candidates would be onstage would be about 15 minutes longer.

The most recent debate, on CNN, lasted three hours with commercial breaks, a duration that left some of the candidates complaining. Since the debates have set records for high ratings, television networks have an incentive to keep the candidates onstage and on the air for as long as they possibly can.

CNBC had initially called for no opening and closing statements, which made some candidates unhappy because it would take away their best chance to speak directly to voters without having to be called on to respond to a question.

Spicer confirmed the agreement.

Debate format squabbles are common in presidential campaigns, an issue magnified this year because of the number of candidates running and their popularity as television events. Trump had threatened not to appear on the second GOP debate on CNN unless the network made a $10 million donation to charity; no donation was made, and Trump appeared. 

Photo Credit: AP

UConn Celebrates First Night 2015


First Night has become a tradition for UConn basketball fans.

Every year the university hosts festivities to get the fans pumped up for the coming season. This year, the UConn programs urged people to wear glow in the dark clothing for its Glow in the Dark theme. The first 8,000 fans received glow in the dark sunglasses.

Freshman Tristan Marino was happy to show his stuff.

"I have some Nike glow-in-the-dark shorts and I got a neon tank top so trying to follow the instructions and see where it goes," he said.

Where it goes is inside Gampel Pavilion, where a UConn-East Carolina women's volleyball match held the court in the afternoon. At 7:30 p.m. a co-ed scrimmage, Team Geno versus Team Kevin, begins.

Many of the students staying outside the doors lined up for their first First Night.

Sarah Anderson, UConn freshman, said, "I came to UConn because they have a really good science program and I absolutely love that and I love all the sports that they have too."

Allison Tozzi, a UConn freshman who took a shot at a dunk tank set up to promote the Homecoming football game Saturday said, "I mean the campus is really big and having activities like this always happening is exactly why I came here."

Admission to First Night is free and the event is open to the public.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Trump Bashes Calls Sanders 'Maniac'


Donald Trump spoke at a Massachusetts elementary school Friday, going off on his Republican and Democratic opponents, President Obama, the Iran deal and other topics.

The Republican front-runner in the 2016 presidential race had especially harsh words for Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

"Illegal immigration gets treated better," Trump said of the candidates' focus on veteran care. "You heard the other night, this maniac, Sanders. And then Hillary keeps going 'Yes, yes, I'll do that, too.' They want to raise your taxes to 90 percent."

Neither Clinton nor Sanders has publicly called for a 90 percent tax rate.

"What he wants to do is unthinkable. He wants to raise costs by trillions of dollars. And you know who's going to pay for it - you're going to pay for it," he said of Sanders. "The problem is he's dragging Hillary - poor Hillary ... He's ranting and raving, and she's saying, 'I'm going to do that, too.'"

Crime among undocumented immigrants, a major platform of Trump's campaign, came up repeatedly Friday, leading him to invite police officers on stage.

"Nobody's going to mess with these guys," he said to a roar of applause.

He sent them down moments later, saying, "Alright, get the hell out of here. Those guys are great, they do such an amazing job."

Trump heavily criticized the Obama administration and the work it has done.

"We do not have smart leaders, folks," he said, calling the Iran deal the "worst deal I've ever seen negotiated in history."

Necn asked the candidate why he chose Massachusetts for his rally.

"I love Mass.," he said. "I love everything about it."

Trump also had kind words for his friend and New England Patriots quarterback, telling necn "I love Tom Brady."

Photo Credit: necn

Jeb Bush, Donald Trump Spar Over 9/11


Presidential candidate Donald Trump set off another political firestorm Friday after implying that President George W. Bush was to blame for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, NBC News reported.

"When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time," Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

The comment reignited a long-standing Twitter feud with the 43rd president's brother Jeb Bush, who called Trump "pathetic."

"No @JebBush, you're pathetic for saying nothing happened during your brother's term when the World Trade Center was attacked and came down," Trump fired back.

Photo Credit: AP
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Woman's Attacker: My Porn Addiction Provoked Me


A San Diego man said his addiction to internet porn may have caused him to sexually assault a woman near a local shopping mall.

Adam Moore, 22, of Mira Mesa was convicted in a August 30, 2014, attack near Westfield UTC. On Friday, he was in a downtown courtroom to face a judge for sentencing.

The victim cried recalling what she said was "the unthinkable."

The woman identified in court as Jane Doe said she decided to take a walk around 8 p.m. when Moore attacked her.

He choked her and dragged her into the bushes. Jane Doe offered him her wallet but Moore refused and said he was going to rape her.

When a passerby interrupted him, Moore ran from the scene. He was arrested approximately a month later.

"If somebody hadn't come and heard my screams that night I think I would've been raped," the victim said Friday.

"I honestly thought I was going to die," she said.

Jane Doe said she is now crippled by fear, unable to go outside at night.

"I'm in a very, very dark place where I don't trust anybody," she said.

Moore also spoke in court and apologized to the victim. He said he took full responsibility for his actions. However, he said his addiction to internet porn provoked him.

"I was really desensitized to the whole situation," he said, adding that he didn't understand the consequences of his actions.

"It would've been devastating to me if a family member of mine had a similar situation happen to them," he explained.

His defense attorney told the judge that Moore was also a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

In his ruling, Judge Leo Valentine, Jr. refused to grant probation and sentenced Moore to state prison.

Prosecutors say the defendant will spend 11 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the Victims Compensation Program. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Bomb Squad Secures Training Round Found in West Haven


Emergency crews responded to a vacant home on Chestnut Street after a neighbor discovered a suspicious device, according to police.

Police say a neighbor found the item on the side of a vacant home around 8 p.m. Friday. West Haven police, fire and the New Haven bomb squad all responded to assess the situation. The item was identified as an inert training round which was never capable of being detonated. It was collected for training purposes and crews cleared the scene around 9 p.m.

There was never any immediate danger to the public and no evacuations required. Chestnut Street was shut down for about an hour while authorities investigated.

It is not clear where the training round came from or how it wound up at the home.

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