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Reform Jews Approve Far-Reaching Transgender Rights Resolution


The largest movement of Judaism in the U.S. passed the most far-reaching resolution in support of transgender rights of any major religious organization, saying Thursday that it's a continuation of a tradition of inclusion in the Reform Jewish movement.

Members of the Union for Reform Judaism attending its biennial meeting in Orlando approved on a voice vote the resolution, which calls for congregations and camps to have gender-neutral bathrooms and encourages gender-neutral language at Reform Jewish institutions. It also suggests training on gender issues for religious school staff and encourages advocating on behalf of the transgender community. There was no opposition.

Other religious bodies, such as the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, previously approved resolutions affirming equality for transgender and non-gender-conforming people. None, however, go as far as the one offered by the Reform Jewish movement, which counts 1.5 million members.

The Union for Reform Judaism is offering a one-page pamphlet to help congregations adopt the goals of the resolution. It suggests dividing kids by birth month rather than gender in youth programming and avoiding using gender titles such as "Mr." or "Mrs." on nametags or in emails. It also to ask congregants by which pronouns they would prefer to be called.

The resolution doesn't mandate congregations to do anything, so it will be up to individual synagogues to implement policies to meet the goals of the resolution.

The resolution was approved in a year when transgender issues have never been more visible, thanks to Caitlyn Jenner and others, but Union for Reform Judaism officials said it has been in the works for some time and is part of a tradition of inclusion that dates back decades. The Union of Reform Judaism in 1977 passed a resolution affirming the rights of gays and lesbians.

More than 6 million Jews live in the United States, less than 2 percent of the nation's population, and more than a third of all Jews in the U.S. identify with the Reform movement, according to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center. Less than a fifth of them identify with Conservative Judaism — sort of a middle-ground ideologically between the more liberal Reform movement and traditional Orthodox Judaism. Orthodox Jews account for 10 percent of U.S. Jews, and Reconstructionist and other smaller movements make up 6 percent.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Clouds, A Few Showers Through Tomorrow


More clouds than sunshine will be the story through tomorrow, as Connecticut is in the warm sector of a storm over the Hudson Bay in Canada.

Low clouds and fog return tonight, and there's a chance for a shower.

The fog and low clouds burn off tomorrow morning, and there will be a few breaks of afternoon sunshine. Temperatures will be near record levels, around 72 degrees. The record high in the Hartford area is 72 degrees.

A stray shower is possible tomorrow, but the weekend is dry and much cooler.

Highs will be in the upper 50s and lower 60s on Saturday, with filtered sunshine. High clouds will be overhead as a result of a stalled front offshore.

Sunday is the coldest day in the next seven, but it's bright and sunny. Complete sunshine is expected with high temperatures in the upper 40s to middle 50s.

Sunny skies dominate on Monday with temperatures ranging from the lower 50s to the upper 50s.

More clouds than sunshine are likely Tuesday as a storm system will be in the vicinity of Connecticut. A few showers are possible.

As of today, the Drought Monitor has 92 percent of Connecticut in a moderate drought.

DA Drops Patrick Kane Investigation


Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita announced Thursday an investigation into allegations of rape against Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane will be dismissed.

The decision comes just days after the 21-year-old woman who accused Kane of rape over the summer in New York said she no longer wants to cooperate with an investigation into her claims.

"There are significant material inconsistencies between the complainant’s accounts and those of other witnesses," Sedita said in a Thursday morning statement. "The DNA results lend no corroboration whatsoever to the complainant’s claim of penetration, a required element of proof for a rape charge."

Sedita said the forensic evidence contradicted the complainant’s claim that she was raped on Kane’s bed. He also said there were no incriminating statements made by Kane to anyone authorities spoke to throughout the exhaustive 3-month investigation that connected him to the alleged crime.

In a statement released after the decision, Kane said he's glad the matter is closed.

“I have repeatedly said that I did nothing wrong," Kane said. "I have respected the legal process and I am glad that this matter has now been closed and I will have nothing further to say going forward.”

Earlier in the week, the woman notified the Erie County District Attorney’s office of her decision, saying the investigation has caused stress on her and her family and she no longer wants to participate. 

The woman signed a “Non-Prosecution Affidavit," according to Sedita, where she stated, in part: “After fully discussing all the circumstances with my attorney, I have decided I do not wish to criminally prosecute the charges which stem out of this investigation. I do so of my own free will and without any promises or compensation.”

Sedita says that was one of the most important factors in his decision to not move forward with criminal prosecution by bringing the case to an Erie County Grand Jury.

"We prosecute when the credible evidence, likely admissible in court, proves a crime was committed and proves the accused committed it," Sedita said. "The totality of the credible evidence -- the proof -- does not sufficiently substantiate the complainant’s allegation that she was raped by Patrick Kane and this so-called “case” is rife with reasonable doubt."

So with that, the case was officially closed. 

Upon hearing the news, Kane's attorney, Paul Cambria, told NBC Chicago: "Our investigation agrees with the District Attorneys and I am not surprised that they are not going forward."

"We maintained Patrick’s innocence all along," Cambria said. "It’s time to put this in the past."

The Blackhawks also released a statement saying they respect the decision and the legal process.

“We respect the announcement today by the Erie County (N.Y.) District Attorney regarding Patrick Kane," the team said. "The Chicago Blackhawks organization has taken this matter very seriously, and has tried to navigate a very sensitive situation while continually respecting the legal proceedings. At this time we will have no further comment.”

When asked for comment before the decision, Kane, 26, echoed previous statements about wanting to wait for the case to be resolved before addressing the reports, though he told reporters in a press conference in September that he is confident authorities will find he did "nothing wrong."

"There's been a lot of reports, a lot of things that have been said that have been wrong, a lot of things that have been said that were maybe accurate, too, but we've kind of stayed even keel the whole time and not really saying much, and actually leaving it to the facts and what actually happened instead of going off sources and different reports," Kane said.

Three months ago, a woman told police Kane had sexually assaulted her at his home in Hamburg, New York, according to reports. A rape kit conducted after the claims were made showed no presence of Kane’s DNA below the woman’s waist, however.

In September, Thomas Eaonnou, the former lawyer for the family of the alleged victim told reporters the victim's mother had found the evidence bag inside the door of her home. At that time, he suggested the bag had once contained the woman's rape kit and called into question all of the test results. Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita later told reporters the mother's claims were part of an "elaborate hoax." Eaonnou later withdrew the accusation, saying he had been misled by the mother, and resigned from the case.

The accuser’s remaining attorney, Rolan Cercone, wrote in a Septemeber letter to the editor for the Buffalo News that the young woman "had no knowledge of -- or anything to do with -- this entire fiasco,” but added that she was "ready, willing and able to cooperate as she has always done throughout this investigation."

No Evidence so Far Russian Jet Was Bombed: Egypt


Investigators have found no evidence so far that a bomb brought down the Russian jet that crashed after breaking up in midair over the Sinai, killing 224 people on board, Egypt said Thursday. 

"The investigation team does not have yet any evidence or data confirming this hypothesis," Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal said in a statement.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev echoed Kamal's comments, telling a government meeting Thursday that it was too early to draw any conclusions about the incident's causes, Reuters reported.

Their comments came as "emergency measures" were being drafted to rescue thousands of vacationers stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh after Britain and Ireland suspended flights to and from the Red Sea resort.

Photo Credit: AP

Boy, Parents Dead in Murder-Suicide


Police are investigating an apparent double murder-suicide in southwest Miami-Dade that left a 6-year-old boy and his parents dead.

Authorities believe Juan Carlos Cantos Padron strangled his girlfriend of seven years, Raiza Dominguez Mateo, then killed the couple's young son, Yoan Sebastian Cantos, before taking his own life.

The family's apartment complex has been buzzing with talk of the violence, which unfolded Tuesday evening when Dominguez Mateo was found dead inside the family's apartment, according to Hialeah police.

Shortly after, an Amber Alert was issued for Yoan Sebastian Cantos, who police believed was with his father. Authorities said the vehicle wanted in the Amber Alert was found in Florida City with two bodies inside overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. Detectives said the bodies belonged to Yoan and Cantos Padron. It's not yet clear how they died.

Police said Cantos Padron and Dominguez Mateo were involved in a seven-year relationship, with a history of domestic disputes. One neighbor told NBC 6 the couple recently separated, and she often heard them fighting.

The family is now the center of a Hialeah police investigation.

"I think it's horrible and random because that kind of stuff doesn't happen in Hialeah," said a neighbor, Bruno Rodriguez.

Photo Credit: Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Secret Service Detail Authorized for Trump, Carson


Donald Trump and Ben Carson will soon have more company on the campaign trail — in the form of a Secret Service detail, NBC News reported.

"Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson has authorized United States Secret Service protection for both Donald Trump and Ben Carson," a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said Thursday.

That authorization came after consultation with an advisory committee in Congress made up of the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, and an additional member selected by the Committee, the spokesperson said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ex-Teacher's Aide Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Assault


A woman who worked as a teacher's aide, then a teacher, in Stratford until she was fired has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a boy over a two-year-span.

Stratford police arrested Michelle Sulzicki, 28, on Oct. 14, weeks after a teenage boy came forward with details about more than a dozen alleged sexual encounters and said he feared he might be the father of her baby, according to police.

On Sept. 24, a student, who is now in high school, sought out help and said he had sexual intercourse, as well as oral sex and anal sex, between 15 and 20 times, when Sulzicki tutored him at his home in sixth and seventh grade, according to court records.


The teen said he was 12 when the sex started and Sulzicki sometimes brought condoms for him to wear, but not always, according to the affidavit.

Soon after the last sexual encounter, he learned Sulzicki was pregnant and said he was not sure if he was the father, according to court documents.

When police questioned Sulzicki, she first denied having a sexual relationship with the victim, then admitted to having sex with him once in his bedroom when he was in sixth grade, the affidavit says.

She went on to tell police that she did not charge the boy's family for the tutoring sessions and admitted to buying him gifts, as well as clothing, according to police.

Sulzicki had been with the school district since 2010, first as a teacher's aide, then as a teacher for the last three years, most recently, at Chapel Street Elementary School.

School administrators placed her on administrative leave when the allegations surfaced, then fired her.

Sulzicki has been charged with first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, illegal sexual contact with a minor and risk of injury to a minor. 

She appeared in court on Thursday and officials form the Court Clerk's Office said she is due back in court on Dec. 3.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police

Elusive Emu Takes 3-Town Tour


Three of four emus that escaped from a farm on Seymour Road in Woodbridge, Connecticut, have been rounded up and taken home, but one elusive bird continued to evade capture Thursday evening.

The fleeing flock member still on the loose has had quite the adventure since getting loose Tuesday night.

The emu, which is kept as a pet, was spotted in Seymour and Bethany and was last seen back in Woodbridge, where people are trying to apprehend the flightless, ostrich-like bird.


"You know you hear about people not wanting to get involved but that simply is not the case this time," said Woozie Wikfors, of Walking Wood Farm, where the birds live.

Animal control officers were on the lookout Thursday night for any emu sightings in the area – but they'll have to be fast. Emus can sprint up to 30 mph and are the only birds that have calf muscles, according to the San Diego Zoo.

Photo Credit: Dominick Scaramuzzino

Help Wanted: NASA Needs Astronauts for Mars Exploration


NASA is accepting applications for a job that is completely out of this world.

A new class of astronauts is needed in preparation for the agency's journey to Mars.

“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Those selected for this service will fly on U.S. made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space.”

Candidates from a variety of backgrounds—pilots to medical doctors— can start applying to become an astronaut starting Dec. 14 through mid-Februaruy. If you have a bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics with three years of related experience and can pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical, you may qualify. 

The new explorers will have the opportunity to fly on any of the four U.S. vessels: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft and the Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.

To date, there are 47 astronauts active but NASA will need more crew members for future space missions, especially for the commercial mission to Mars. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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U.S. Plane Shot Victims Fleeing Bombed Hospital: Charity


The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders said Thursday that U.S. warplanes shot people trying to flee its hospital destroyed in airstrikes last month, NBC News reported. 

"Thirty of our patients and medical staff died [in the bombing]," the organization's General Director Christopher Stokes said during a speech in Kabul. "Some of them lost their limbs and were decapitated in the explosions. Others were shot by the circling gunship while fleeing the burning building."

The hospital in Kunduz was bombed on Oct. 3 as Afghan government forces fought to regain control of the city from Taliban insurgents.

After the U.S. gave shifting explanations for the incident — which Doctors Without Borders has called a war crime — President Barack Obama apologized to the charity. The charity, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is calling for an international inquiry.

Photo Credit: AP

Marines Kick Off Toys for Tots


Marines across the country kicked off their annual Toys for Tots Program on Thursday. It is an event where customers donate new unwrapped toys and money for needy children.

One of the locations where toys are donated is the Toys R Us in West Hartford.

Every year for the event kickoff, the Marine Foundation uses donations to purchase the first batch of toys. This year they received $15,000 to shop in West Hartford.

“I did not grow up well off and this is how, a couple years, I got toys under the Christmas tree was through Toys for Tots. So it is really cool for me to be able to give back to the children that were in my position,” Sgt. Ryan Magana, of the U.S. Marine Corps, said.

The Toys for Tots program runs through the holiday season and customers are encouraged to donate unwrapped toys at any Toys R Us or Babies R Us through Dec. 6 or make a monetary donation through Christmas Eve.

“It is awesome because when you work for Toys R Us the ultimate goal is always to make sure every child is happy," Peter Litin, store manager for the Toys R Us West Hartford store, said.

All the donated toys go to the Marine's distribution warehouse in Plainville to be sorted. They are then gifted to the needy children in Hartford and Litchfield Counties.

Farmers Can Get Federal Aid to Help Amid Drought


After months of devastating drought, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared entire state of Connecticut a natural disaster area.

The drought, which started in April, has caused devastating damage for farmers across the state.

"It definitely hurts. The barn’s not full like it usually is this time of year, and so we're going into the winter with less feed than we have to market to our customers," Ross Eddy, a local farmer, said.

The declaration allows farmers in the state to apply for emergency loans from the Department of Agriculture.

Bryan Hurlburt, of the Farm Service Agency, said there are several ways that these loans will benefit farmers.

"It can be used for capital equipment, it can be used for seed, it can be used to offset other costs or in a drought year, like this year, if you didn't get the product you thought you would out in the field, it allows you to pay some of your bills and save a little for the next year," he said.

All qualified farm operators in the state are eligible for these low-interest emergency loans, as long as all eligibility requirements are met.

As far as how much money farmers can receive, Bryan Hurlburt said it would be a direct loan of up to $300,000 or a guarantee loan, which is like a small business administration loan, of $1.3 million dollars.

The FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. The ideal candidates are those who have difficulty obtaining commercial credit given the drought conditions.

Ross Eddy said he will likely not spot for a loan.

"There's other farmers out there looking to get whatever assistance they can get," he said.

Farmers have eight months as of yesterday to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.

Get information on the disaster assistance program here. 

Barista Sings With Deaf Woman


Cell phone video of a remarkable exchange between a deaf woman and a North Florida Starbucks barista has gone viral on social media.

Rebecca King, who is deaf, went to her local Starbucks' drive-thru in St. Augustine on Monday to place her order through the digital video screen, a recent addition to several Starbucks locations.

Katie Wyble, a 22-year-old barista at the cafe, immediately recognized King and appeared on screen to take her order entirely in sign language.

As NBC affiliate WTLV in Jacksonville reports, King was so excited, she returned the following day with a friend to film the exchange.

King posted the video to Facebook with the caption, "Starbucks! This is what I'm talking about! Share it away! We can change the world!"

The video has more than 6 million views, and has been shared more than 180,000 times as of Thursday afternoon.

Wyble, who is a communications major at the University of North Florida, told WTLV that she began studying American Sign Language as a child and continued through college.

She says she feels "blessed" to play a part in bringing more awareness for deaf culture and for the deaf community.

Starbucks recently started adding digital video screens to the drive-thru lanes of more than 2,000 U.S. locations.

The initiative is meant to improve the customer experience through technology.

New Elected Officials Could Mean New Hope for Casino at Bradley Airport


The board of selectmen in Windsor Locks did not support a plan last month to bring a casino to Bradley International Airport, but the town government changes hands on Nov. 24, which means they could pursue gambling after all, with support from airport executives.

Last month, the incumbent board voted to cut off discussions of what the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots might build between Hartford and the Massachusetts line, as new competition rises in Springfield.

If the casino tribes are still interested in slot machines at Bradley Airport, they can come in for a landing now in Windsor Locks, though it might be touch and go.

"What I'm for," said Chris Kervick, the first selectman elect, "is getting the information, having those discussions, and making sure Windsor Locks has a seat at the table."

He knocked on 4,500 doors in Windsor Locks, won on Tuesday by 120 votes and said people want to know “what's in it for us.”

"If, ultimately there's no deal that comes together, there's nothing to be presented (to) them, or there's a deal that comes together that we propose and the town rejects it, we could live with that," he said.

With the old terminal coming down at Bradley, there are several possible sites for slot machines, including the Sheraton hotel.

The deadline for applying to the tribes is on Friday afternoon, but Kervick hopes for an extension.

Officials in East Windsor and East Hartford think their old movie theaters could house casinos, but as Kervick said, there's more parking at the airport.

Photo Credit: clipart.com

Berkeley HS Walkout Over KKK Image


Hundreds of Berkeley High School students walked out of class Thursday in protest of racist and threatening messages that showed up on one of the school's library computers.

Throngs of students waving posters and bullhorns took to Milvia Street chanting "black lives matter" and "raise a fist if you're not gonna take this" as they walked through Civic Center Park to Berkeley City Hall, demanding an investigation into the incident from school officials.

The march — which Berkeley police estimate comprised of more than 700 people — ended on the steps of Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus, a site used for student demonstrations since the Free Speech Movement protests of 1964. "You’re the ones who showed us how, UC Berkeley join us now,” the students chanted during what Berkeley police described as a "peaceful and friendly" protest.

According to a letter sent out by Berkeley High School Principal Sam Pasarow, "the hateful and racist message" was discovered around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and contained threatening language toward African-Americans.

The Berkeley High Black Student Union tweeted out a screenshot of the messages, which read, "KKK Forever Public Lynching December 9th 2015" and "I hung a n----- by his neck in my backyard," among other racist taunts.

School officials announced late Thursday afternoon they had identified the student responsible for the messages.

The Black Student Union decried the messages, calling it a "blatant act of terrorism."

"The safety of Black students has been explicitly threatened, and we as the Black Student Union demand that this is addressed immediately by the Berkeley High administration and Berkeley Police Department," the union said in a statement.

The statement went on to say that in the past, similar acts against black students have been ignored.

Berkeley High student Lucy Rosenthal tweeted that students were feeling unsafe after seeing the messages. "As a black woman I feel terrified and I feel unsafe," said Berkeley High School student Aerin Creer. "They said a public lynching Dec. 9. I won't be around Dec. 9 because I'm liable to get lynched because I'm black."

Students said they were angry that the district failed to inform them of the threat right away. Even though officials found the image around noon Wednesday, the principal didn't email students and parents until later that night. "I take responsibility for that," Pasarow said.

Pasarow, who was at the Sproul Plaza demonstration, said he supports the walkout, and would work to ensure a safe environment for students.

"This is a hate crime and messages such as this one will not stand in our community," Pasarow wrote in his email, adding that both Berkeley High School and Berkeley police were actively investigating the incident.

"We are working hard to create a positive and inclusive school culture and we recognize the deep pain and rage that hate crimes such as this one bring to our students of color, as well as the damaging effects on our entire community," Pasarow's email said. "Even as we continue our investigation we recognize the need to address the harm that this has caused, and to that end we will be spending time planning as a staff about how to support and care for our students."

Berkeley Unified School District spokesperson Mark Coplan told the Daily Californian that the screenshot was left open on the library computer; there was no actual hacking involved.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and Berkeley Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin — whose district includes Berkeley High School, and who was present at the student demonstration at Berkeley City Hall Thursday morning — also spoke out against the messages, saying that hate speech of any kind would not be tolerated in Berkeley.

"I'm outraged at this despicable racist threat — it is totally out of line with Berkeley's values," Bates said. "These racial slurs remind us that racism is still alive, even in Berkeley.”

"Amazing! Way to Go @BerkeleyBSU! I wish I was there," tweeted comedian W. Kamau Bell, who lives in Berekely.

Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: @eggaroos/Twitter
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Girl Scout's Bumping Cookies to $5 a Box


After years of holding prices steady, more Girl Scout councils are boosting cookie prices to $5 a box.

"The No. 1 factor was us hearing feedback from adult volunteers that girls had such a great experience selling cookies, but they weren't earning enough money from them," said Jan Goldstein, chief marketing officer at Girls Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, in a phone interview. 

Goldstein's council is raising the price to $5 per box from $4, the first hike in at least eight years. With the increase, the council's troops will now receive an average of 90 cents per box of cookies, up from an average of 62 cents per box.


Teen Arrested for Fatal Stabbing


A 14-year-old boy accused of stabbing his teen sister to death was arrested Wednesday in Southern California, police said.

Officers responded to a 911 call of a female victim not breathing at a residence in the 300 block of Andover Drive at 5:07 p.m in Claremont. Emergency crews took lifesaving measures, but the 15-year-old girl succumbed to her injuries, Claremont police said.

Police said the 14-year-old boy was taken into custody after he was spotted walking away from the home. No one else was home when the stabbing occurred, police said.

One parent was at work, the other was running errands, according to the Los Angeles Times. NBC4 attempted to contact family members, but did not receive a response as of Thursday morning.

Neighbors were stunned to hear of the crime and said they recently saw the pair playing basketball in their yard.

"I guess it could happen anywhere but these people's lives just completely changed this evening," said Grace Felschundneff, a neighbor. "I just can't imagine what's going on with the family. I can't imagine."

Officials said there hasn't been a homicide in Claremont since Oct. 2009.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

New HIV Pill Delivers 4 Drugs in 1 Daily Dose


The Food and Drug Administration approved a new daily drug that delivers four different HIV medications in one dose. 

The pill combines four HIV drugs: elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine, and tenofovir alafenamide.

There is no cure for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, but there are now 36 different HIV drugs on the market. They fall into six different classes, each one attacking the virus from a different direction. The most effective cocktails of these drugs can keep the virus at extremely low levels so that it doesn't damage the immune system and so that patients are far less likely to infect others.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Slain Boy, 9, Was Targeted: Police


A 9-year-old boy who was fatally shot in Chicago on Monday was lured into an alley and murdered in what is believed to have been a "targeted" shooting, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced Thursday. 

Investigators believe Tyshawn Lee was lured from a nearby park into an alley and murdered and his death appears to have been a gang-related incident, McCarthy said. 

"Tyshawn Lee was murdered in probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I've witnessed in 35 years of policing," he said.

McCarthy added that it is believed the shooting is the most recent "in a series of gang-related violent events that may go back as far as August" or even earlier.

"This is an innocent child, this is a 9-year-old child, targeted, lured to this spot and murdered," he said. "This is different."

The fourth grader was fatally shot in an alleyway near his grandmother’s home in Chicago's Gresham neighborhood around 4:15 p.m. while still in his school uniform. Authorities said the boy was shot multiple times in the head and back.

McCarthy, who claimed the boy's father has gang ties and is not cooperating in the investigation, said the two gangs and people allegedly involved in the shooting are known, but police can't prove "who did what."

The boy's father, Pierre Stokes, was seen speaking to investigators following the announcement and later told NBC Chicago "I'm not the gang banger type."

"I don't do that," he said. "It ends here. There will be no retaliation. I lost my son. This will be the end of it."

Stokes said Wednesday he also believes his son was targeted in the shooting, but he doesn't know anyone that would do this to the young boy.

"No little boy gets shot seven times on accident," Pierre Stokes said. "That's not an accident, that's an execution."

Surrounded Thursday by stunned members of the community and law enforcement officials, McCarthy asked for the public's help in the invesitgation. 

"It takes courage to do the right thing sometimes, and at the end of the day, when good people stand up we’re going to win," he said. "We're going to solve this crime with or without the assistance of god knows who."

Father Michael Pfleger with Saint Sabina Church said the shooting takes Chicago's violence to "a new low."

"A baby was executed," he said, adding that if someone comes forward with information but fears for their lives, he will personally pay for them to relocate to another city. 

Chief of Detectives Constantine "Dean" Andrews said at a Monday night press conference a group of people were in the alley where Tyshawn's body was found when an argument broke out and someone started shooting. After the murder the group fled the scene. 

A reward for information leading to an arrest in the case has climbed to $35,000.

Tyshawn's mother gave an emotional plea asking for someone to come forward and help find her son's killer.

"Please come forward and find whoever did this to my baby," Karla Lee said as tears rolled down her face. "Oh my god I love my son. I'm going to miss him."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also addressed the fatal shooting, saying the latest tragedy in Chicago violence is proof that there's evil in the world.

"Whoever did this, I want to say something," Emanuel said. "I believe fundamentally in the goodness of human nature, but there is evil in the world. Whoever did this, there is a special place for them. I hope they never see freedom. I hope they never see daylight."

Tyshawn was a student at Scott Joplin School, where his teachers say he was a "delight" to have in class. He liked to play sports and video games.

"He was supposed to play ball. That's all he do, all he liked to do is play ball and play video games," Karla Lee said. "He didn't hurt nobody. I don't know why this happened."

Stokes said a vigil is schedueld for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at 81st and Marshfield. 

Anyone who may have information about the incident is being asked to call (312) 747-8271.

Photo Credit: Family photo

Nearly Half of Pregnant American Women Put on Too Much Weight


Nearly half of U.S. women gain too much weight while they're pregnant, and another 20 percent don't put on enough, federal health experts reported Thursday.

Fewer than a third of pregnant women put on the right amount of weight - something that's important for both mother and baby, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

"It's not about eating twice as much. It's eating twice as healthy," she said.

How much moms should gain depends on their weight when they become pregnant.

Experts say women of normal weight should add 25 to 35 pounds. Overweight women should gain 15 to 25, and obese women should only add 10 to 20. For unusually thin women, weight gain should be about 30 to 40 pounds. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF
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