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Man Threatened, Spit On Priest: Cops


Police have charged Leron Stone, of New Haven, with threatening a priest and spitting on him as the priest tried to take a photo of Stone riding dangerously on a dirt bike.

According to police, Rev. James Manship, the head of Saint Rose of Lima Church on Blatchley Avenue, was out for a drive on April 21, when he heard a dirt bike and then spotted the rider popping wheelies on a sidewalk.

Rev. Manship pulled over and got out of his car to snap photos of the man on the dirt bike. The priest told police the man raced dangerously toward him and spit on him and his car before speeding away.

"I'm personally offended, but it happens to a lot of folks here," Rev. Manship said. "This kind of intimidation fear factor is just ruining the peace and quiet of the neighborhood."

Rev. Manship sent the photos of the rider and evidence of the spitting to officers in the city's Fair Haven section. The officers recognized the man as Stone, according to authorities.

After obtaining an arrest warrant, police found Stone in Criscuolo Park and took him into custody.

Stone, 20, was charged with second-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace. He was also wanted on a second warrant for reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle without a license in connection with an incident on April 7. He was released on $30,000 bond.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Grenade at VA Hospital Leads to Bomb Squad Response


A device that appeared to be a hand grenade prompted a partial evacuation and bomb squad response Monday morning at a VA hospital in Los Angeles.

The bomb squad responded to the Veterans Administration West Los Angeles Medical Center. at about 7 a.m. local time after the discovery of the device. A 66-year-old patient brought the item to the emergency room area and claimed to have found a grenade in a bathroom, according to authorities.

Bomb squad investigators determined that the device was "inert."

"It was non-active, but it was made to look like it was active," said Ed Casey, VA police chief. "The subject had placed a copper wire through the thumb break of the grenade."

The man who brought the device to the ER area was detained, and authorities later told NBC4 Southern California that he admitted to bringing the grenade to the hospital. Investigators planned to search the man's home for explosives.

The emergency room area was evacuated. The order, involving about 100 people, was lifted at about 9:20 a.m. local time.

The investigation also led to nearby road closures. Aerial video showed firefighting units and other law enforcement vehicles on the campus, which has its own 72-member police force.

Woman Found Guilty of Severing Husband's Penis


Jurors delivered guilty verdicts Monday in the trial of a Southern California woman accused of drugging her estranged husband and cutting off his penis before throwing it in a garbage disposal.

Catherine Kieu was convicted of aggravated mayhem — maliciously depriving a human of a body part — and torture for the July 2011 attack, which occurred about two months after the husband filed for divorce.

Kieu, who continued living at the man's Garden Grove residence, placed drugs in his dinner, tied him to a bed and cut off his penis with a 10-inch kitchen knife, investigators said.

She then placed the penis in a garbage disposal and turned on the appliance, according to investigators. Kieu called 911 to report a medical emergency, and responding officers found the man still tied to the bed.

Doctors were unable to reattach the penis.

The attack was preceded by an argument over the victim's friends staying at the residence, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office. Prosecutors argued during the trial that Kieu, 50, was angry about the divorce plans.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 28. Kieu faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Photo Credit: AP

Plane Part Near WTC Identified as Wing Piece


A chunk of airplane debris found near the World Trade Center site that is believed to have come from one of the 9/11 hijacked jetliners has been identified as a piece from a 767 wing, officials said Monday.

NBC 4 New York, which first reported the finding in an alley near ground zero last week, has also learned the answer to the mystery of a rope that was found intertwined in the part — according to a law enforcement official, a detective who responded to the original call about the part last week tried to move it with a rope.

Authorities on Friday had said the rope might have indicated the part was lowered into the alley, but have since interviewed everyone who had contact with the part last week and have now answered that question. The official tells NBC 4 New York that the detective found the rope nearby and was trying to move the part to find a serial number or other identifying mark.

The NYPD also said Monday that a Boeing technician has confirmed that the 5-foot part is a trailing edge flap actuation support structure.

"It is believed to be from one of the two aircraft destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, but it could not be determined which one," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

On Sept. 11, American Airlines flight 11 hit the north tower at 8:46 a.m., and United flight 175 hit the south tower at 9:03 a.m.

Police and officials from the city medical examiner's office were on scene Monday preparing to sift the soil under the part for lost human remains. Officials said the part will be removed later in the week when that process is complete.

The part was found wedged between two buildings in a very narrow alley only about 18 inches wide between the rear of 50 Murray St. and back of 51 Park Place, the site where a mosque and community center has been proposed three blocks from ground zero.

The part bears a "Boeing" stamp, followed by a series of numbers.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly visited the alley Friday evening and viewed the debris from about 30 feet away. 

"It's a manifestation of a horrific terrorist act a block and a half away from where we stand," he said. "It brings back terrible memories to anyone who was here or who was involved in that event, and obviously I think the families could very well be impacted by this finding." 

The NYPD said the landing gear was found after surveyors hired by the property owner inspecting the rear of 51 Park Place called police on Wednesday. See below for a FEMA graphic on other plane parts found in the area.

The rubble from the 9/11 attack was cleared from the 16-acre site by the spring of 2002. Other debris, including human remains, has been found scattered outside the site, including on a rooftop and in a manhole, in years since.

Man Threatened, Spit On Priest: Cops


Police have charged a Connecticut man with threatening and spitting on a priest who was trying to photograph him riding dangerously on a dirt bike.

According to police, Rev. James Manship, the head of Saint Rose of Lima Church in New Haven, Conn., was out for a drive on April 21 when he heard a dirt bike and then spotted the rider popping wheelies on a sidewalk.

Rev. Manship pulled over and got out of his car to snap photos of the man on the dirt bike. The priest told police the man raced dangerously toward him and spit on him and his car before speeding away.

"I'm personally offended, but it happens to a lot of folks here," Rev. Manship said. "This kind of intimidation fear factor is just ruining the peace and quiet of the neighborhood."

Rev. Manship sent the photos of the rider and evidence of the spitting to officers in the city's Fair Haven section. The officers recognized the man as Leron Stone of New Haven, according to authorities.

After obtaining an arrest warrant, police found Stone in Criscuolo Park and took him into custody.

Stone, 20, was charged with second-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace. He was also wanted on a second warrant for reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle without a license in connection with an incident on April 7. He was released on $30,000 bond.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Shoreline Still Rebuilding 6 Months After Superstorm Sandy


Six months after Superstorm Sandy devastated the Connecticut shoreline, there are signs of progress in areas like East Haven's Cosey Beach.
"We’ve had drains relined, houses lifted and just catastrophic damage," said Peter Arsich, of Petey's Piping. This house wasn’t quite where it is now. It was moved and put back together, and we keep going from there."
The Cosey Beach neighborhood had spent a year rebuilding after Tropical Storm Irene, only to have Sandy come through last September and delay the process.
The same is true in Milford’s Point Beach neighborhood. Frank Petrucci and his wife are finally moving into their rebuilt home next month.
"We have finally settled with insurance very recently, and it’s pretty much that way with everything. The damage here, the building department is overloaded, everything takes a long time," Petrucci said.
Homeowners in Fairfield are realizing just how long it takes. The beach neighborhoods were flooded during Sandy, and six months later, homes are still being taken down, gutted or raised back up.
"The two neighbors behind me, they haven’t lived in their house since Sandy hit, and they still have a lot of work to do. It’s been pretty significant. The houses coming down, like that one. The neighborhood is really changing," said Tricia Andriolo-Bull of Fairfield.
Many homeowners whose houses were damaged by the storm have their hands tied waiting for federal funding.
"You’re applying for FEMA grants, you’re applying for your flood insurance, you’re applying for your SBA disaster loan, and those are very slow getting out to people, so unless you have the financial resources to do it on your own, the money’s not there," said Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau.
Tetreau says when the money does come, it’s less than expected.
"Here are people who are trying to rebuild, that six months after the fact, are still not in their homes, haven’t gotten the money, and are now starting to realize that when they get the money, it won’t be enough to rebuild their homes and get them back in," said Tetreau.
Tricia Andriolo-Bull says her family had to cut their losses when it came to their rental property in Fairfield.
"Because flood insurance only covers at the depreciated value, you got back almost nothing of what it would cost to replace something, so all of our electrical, all of our plumbing, all of our heating, everything was just really pricey," she said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Fire Chief Retiring


After 33 years of dedicated service to the Hartford Fire Department, Fire Chief Edward Casares Jr. is announcing his retirement.

Casares Jr., a Hartford native, began his career with the city fire department in 1980. He was appointed chief in 2010, making him the first Latino to hold the position.

Upon announcing his retirement, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra expressed his gratitude for  Casares Jr.'s  tireless service to the department.

 "While we knew this announcement would someday come, it is still surreal.  Chief Casares is a respected veteran among his colleagues and a constant advocate in the community. The Department has advanced dramatically under his leadership and the professionalism he brings to the job is palpable. Casares is a friend and a true supporter of the City of Hartford. I wish him all the luck in the world in his future endeavors," said Mayor Segarra in s statement.

Casares Jr.'s retirement will be effective on June 15. Assistant Chief Carlos Huertas, a 33 year veteran of the department, will serve as acting chief.


1 Dead After Small Planes Collide Mid-Air: FAA


A pilot died when a small plane collided mid-air with another plane that made an emergency landing on a nearby golf course in Southern California, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The planes, both Cessnas, were flying at altitudes above 3,000 feet when they collided about 8 miles east, northeast of Ventura, Calif., according to FAA radar data.

The first airplane was headed west at 3,500 feet. The second airplane was headed east at 3,100 feet. That plane had just departed Santa Monica for an engine test flight, said Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman with the FAA.

The first plane made an emergency landing after 2 p.m. near the third hole at the Westlake Golf Course in Westlake Village. The second airplane crashed into mountainous terrain in Calabasas, sparking a 1 acre brush fire.

The pilot in that crash died.

All three people aboard the plane that landed on the golf course survived, said Deputy Mark Pope, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. At least one of them was injured.

The plane is registered to AmeriFlyers, a Dallas-based flight school with a Santa Monica location.

The golf course was open at the time the plane made its rough landing, but no one on the ground was injured.

The sound of a low-flying aircraft scared golfers off the driving range and into the shop.

The second plane was found about the same time Monday as firefighters responded to a brush fire sparked by aircraft debris, about 5 miles away from the golf course.

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Gun Owners Looking for Answers


More than 200 gun owners gathered Monday night in Southington looking for answers about the new state gun laws.

S-B 1160, also know as the gun violence prevention and children's safety act, was signed into law on April 14. Since then both law makers and gun owners have raised many questions about how to follow the law.

The law immediately banned magazines over 10 rounds as well as assault style rifles. Those who already owned them were allowed to keep them but had to register them by Jan. 1.

Some of the confusion lies with what to do with orders processed  before April 14 but not filled or shipped until after the law was passed.

Rep. Rob Sampson said that he has received a number of emails from state residents both for and against the law. He said that while the emails may come from people on both sides of the law, they mainly pose the same question.

"I have gotten tons of emails about how this law is being implemented and a lot of concern whether it's being implemented fairly," said Sampson.

The state has set a June 1 deadline to answer many of the questions that have been posed to them.




Milford Looks to Hire School Resource Officers


The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has inspired a new push for school security. In Milford, the city is hoping to add four new officers.

Two of the officers would be full time at Milford's two high schools. The other two would roam between middle and elementary schools.

"I think it's a great idea. I think the more protection for our kids the better," said Jennifer Israelite of Milford. She has three elementary school aged kids. She's also a teacher in another district. "If we can have a presence of a police force and be there it never hurts."

"They're a liaison between the school community and the community at large and the police department," said Jeffrey Nielsen of Milford Police.

It's a community that is not far removed from the events at Sandy Hook Elementary.  "People do think about it. It's close to home," said Nielsen. "They are not just there for that physical presence and that armed guard concept so to speak."

Officials expect to discuss the officers roles and the price tag during a public hearing Tuesday night. The plan could run about $300,000.

"Where does it end? You have officers in the schools. Tomorrow you'll have officers in hospitals, malls, is there an end to all this?" said Vivek Gupta of Trumbull. "I think there is a bigger endemic problem, a systemic problem that needs to be solved."

The public hearing will be Tuesday night at 6:30 at City Hall in Milford.

Locals React to Jason Collins Coming Out


“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black and I’m gay”  With those simple words, NBA journeyman Jason Collins made history Monday.

The Stanford graduate came out to sports illustrated making him the first openly gay athlete in any of the four major professional sports.

The twelve year NBA veteran tells SI told that it was the Boston bombings that convinced him now was the time, saying “things can change in an instant so why not live truthfully.”

Donny Marshall, the former UConn standout and a one-time teammate of Collins with the New Jersey Nets, says the two spoke on Monday.

“We talked about that most people fear what they don’t understand,” Marshall said prior to headlining an anti-bullying program at The First Tee in Cromwell. “I don’t think there is a better person out there to educate people on gay rights.”

Marshall says his initial reaction was “what a beautiful thing for a beautiful person.”

He says that Collins was surprised by the overwhelming support, which included phone calls from President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey as well as NBA Commissioner David Stern and Kobe Bryant.

L. Jon Wertheim, the Executive Editor of Sports Illustrated, says that while Collins is a pioneer, he is not a lone actor and believes his coming out will lead to many other athletes to follow suit,

"This is not a guy who is standing alone. This is not a lone boat in the harbor,” says Wertheim. “This is a guy who is really going to open the door.”

Collins, who finished the year playing for the Washington Wizards, is a free agent at the end of the season. While support flowed in from around the league the questions remains - how fans will react?

James Wortham of Hartford is surprised it’s taken so long for an active male athlete to say they’re gay, but believes it will lead to some harsh road games in the future.

“As a sports fan, I think he’s gonna have a lot of backlash. It’s really big of him to do that, but i think that it’s gonna be a hard road to travel.”

Donny Marshall says when he was asked, “why now?” his answer is “why not now?”

“The purest thing in sports is being honest. Being real. Being who you are,” said Marshall, currently a broadcaster for the Boston Celtics. “Jason really took some huge steps forward and it think he helped athletics and sports take a huge step forward today.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated / Getty Images

21-Year-Old Woman Shot, Killed in Hartford


Hartford Police are investigating the shooting death of a 21-year-old East Hartford woman who was four-months pregnant. 

Police have identified her as Shamari Jenkins.

She was driving a Honda sedan at Magnolia and Mather streets, with a passenger in the car, when the shooting happened around 1 a.m., according to police.

Jenkins was shot in the back of the shoulder as she was driving away on Magnolia Street and hit a vehicle on the corner, according to police.

The bullet traveled through her torso, according to police.

Her passenger was not hit.

Jenkins was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"Someone had brought that to our attention," Lt. Brian Foley, of the Hartford Police Department, said of the victim's possible pregnancy. "We're unable to confirm it now, but that'll be for the chief ME to confirm it, but we heard she was four months pregnant."

Police said on Monday morning that the shooting might be drug-related.

Neither Jenkins  nor the passenger has a criminal history and it is not known whether the woman was targeted.

Police questioned a man and placed him in the back seat of a cruiser, but police have not named a suspect.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Facebook

Former Justice Expresses Regret Over Bush v. Gore


Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested last week that the high court should have stayed out of the 2000 presidential election dispute between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," the 83-year-old told the Chicago Tribune editorial board last Friday. "Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, goodbye.'"

O'Connor, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was in the majority in the high court's 5-4 decision that stopped the recount and sealed Bush's election. She has long lamented the controversy over the decision that she said gave the court a "less-than-perfect reputation."

But in the past, O'Connor has said the court had no choice but to take on the case. She retired in 2006.

O'Connor was in Chicago to promote "iCivics," an online curriculum set up in a video game format, the Tribune reported.

Photo Credit: AP

Photo of West Hartford Red Head in China Goes Viral


A junior from Hall High School in West Hartford was a hit during a school trip to China this month and a photo of his visit is going viral.

People with red hair, or gingers, are a bit of a novelty in China and this photo captures students in a fishing village on Hainan island touching Jonathan Sussler’s red locks.

After being was posted on Facebook and several other sites, it has been viewed more than a quarter million times.

According to a post on Reddit, the children had never before seen red hair and asked to touch Sussler’s locks. That one post has generated hundreds of comments. 

Lauren Drazen, the wife of NBC Connecticut anchor Brad Drazen, happened to snap the photo that is getting the widespread attention.

She is Sussler’s teacher and was the trip leader.

Photo Credit: Lauren Drazen

Enfield Teen Reported Missing


A Silver Alert has been issued for a 16-year-old Enfield girl who has been missing since Monday night.

Iris Larregui was last seen around 9:15 p.m. on Monday and she was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and gray sweatpants.

Her eyes and hair are brown. Iris is 5-feet-3 and weighs 160 pounds, according to the alert.

Anyone with information about Iris’ whereabouts is asked to call Enfield police at 860-763-6400.

New Haven Shooting Victim Died This Morning: Cops


A 31-year-old man who was shot several times in New Haven last night has died, police said on Tuesday morning. Investigators are searching for the shooter. 

Qusaan "QB" McKoy, of Hamden, was shot on Chapel Street, in front of the Haven Market, shortly after 9 p.m.

Police said McKoy was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was in critical condition. At 3:45 a.m., hospital staff notified police that McKoy had died from his injuries.

New Haven police have not released a description of the shooter, but are following several leads and ask anyone with information to call New Haven police at 203-946-6316 or detectives at 203-946-6304..

Crash Causes Congestion on I-84 West, Waterbury


A crash is causing congestion on Interstate 84 West near exit 24 in Waterbury and police said they will have to shut the road for a short time as a wrecker responds to the scene.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT Traffic cameras

SF Judge is Proud of Nephew Jason Collins for Coming Out


The first person Jason Collins confided in was his aunt, a prominent San Francisco judge, who had previously made some history of her own. NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez spoke with her.

New Haven Teen Found


A Silver Alert has been canceled for a 16-year-old New Haven girl who had been missing since this morning.

The Silver Alert was resolved on Tuesday afternoon hours after it was issued.

Until Ajaunna Laudat was found, she had last been seen in the area of Hill House High School in New Haven.


Photo Credit: Silver Alert

Yahoo Expands Maternity, Paternity Leave


Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who sparked an uproar and hurt her image as a working mom when she banned telecommuting two months ago, is now offering employees generous new family leave benefits.

Under the new policy, mothers can take 16 weeks of paid leave with benefits, and fathers can take up to eight weeks, each time they have a new child via childbirth. Both parents receive eight weeks of paid leave for new children via adoption, foster child placement or surrogacy.

This change is a significant increase for Yahoo employees, particularly mothers, who will basically get twice as much paid time off. Under the old policy, moms received up to eight weeks paid after pregnancy.

Yahoo will also give new parents $500 to spend on such things as house cleaning, groceries and babysitters, plus Yahoo-branded baby gifts.

Mayer's decision, which brings the Sunnyvale-based Yahoo closer to Silicon Valley titans Google and Facebook, could help repair the damage as she works to turn around the struggling media giant.

But it doesn't only make sense from a public relations standpoint, observers said. The new policy could fit into a broader corporate strategy to attract and retain more talent and ultimately improve Yahoo's financial performance.

"It's a smart move," said Rachel Sklar, a New York-based blogger and founder of The Li.st, an organization dedicated to elevate the status of women in New Media and technology. "It suggests a long-term strategy. This is a great precedent."

Companies who provide "everything" to their employees, such as free lunch and daycare sites at Google, do better financially in the long run because there is nothing to "distract" their workers from working, Sklar said.

"The temptation will be to see this through a gender lens - -that of course she did it because she's a new-mom CEO," Sklar said. "And this certainly would suggest she has a heightened awareness as a working mom, but this will encourage new parents to be engaged with the company and have a financial piece of mind. When companies nickel-and-dime their employees, it just adds to their burden."

From the moment she became Yahoo's new chief executive last year, Mayer, 37, has been seen as a symbol of corporate gender politics. She took the job when she was five months pregnant and worked through a two-week maternity leave that ended in October.

Her decision to return to work so quickly attracted both praise and criticism - praise for showing that a new mother could continue to steer a Fortune 500 company, and criticism for failing to set a realistic expectations for America's working moms.

Mayer drew praise for adding perks such as new iPhones and free food, cutting company bureaucracy and redesigning work spaces. Many of those amenities were standard at her prior employer, Google.

In February, Mayer sparked another debate when she decided to end Yahoo's lenient telecommuting policy. Employees with existing work-from-home arrangements were told they had to start coming into the office or look for another job.

The move reflected Mayer's an all-hands-on-deck approach to turning around Yahoo and make it more competitive. But she was again accused of making it harder on working parents.

But her decision to double family leave for new parents from 8 weeks to 16 weeks puts Yahoo in the same ballpark as her Silicon Valley rivals: Google gives between 18 and 22 weeks off to new mothers, and Facebook told the New York Times that it gives new mothers and fathers four months of paid leave.

A Google spokeswoman said that all the Mountain View-company perks - which include preferred parking for expectant mothers and $500 in "baby bucks" to spend on things such as takeout dinners, like Yahoo is now offering - are so that life can be as smooth as possible for new parents. That's of course, the spokeswoman noted, so that they can come back to work fully rested.

In California, workers are eligible for six weeks of partial pay through the state's disability benefits program.

Mayer's move also comes amid a broader debate in America about the country's commitment to family leave. The United States, which hasn't updated its Family and Medical Leave Act in 20 years, ranks among the worst of all developed countries. Sweden, Denmark and Russian mothers get at least a year off paid and Canadian mothers get 50 weeks off paid.

The U.S. law requires large companies to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employers who need to care for a newborn child or an ill relative. And that relatively stingy benefit covers only workers who have been at a company for at least a year. That leaves millions without access to the benefit. Many more cut their absences short because they can't afford unpaid leave.


NBC Bay Area's Scott McGrew contributed to this story

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