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Fire at Chicago's Hancock Building


Five people were injured, including a Chicago Police officer, in a two-alarm fire Saturday afternoon at Chicago's iconic John Hancock Building.

The fire broke out at approximately 2:30 p.m. inside an apartment bedroom on the 50th floor of the high-rise building, Chicago Fire Department officials said. Investigators have not determined what caused the fire, but said it was accidental.

Fire officials said the flames gutted the apartment, and the residents on the 50th floor would be displaced.

The five people who were hurt all suffered minor injuries, according to officials. Two people were listed in good condition, and three were listed as stable.

Investigators say the apartment where the fire broke out was occupied by one person. That individual was able to get out safely. 

At least six ambulances were called to the scene, and police closed traffic on North Michigan Avenue.

Video of the scene showed flames and smoke shooting from the side of the building.

The Hancock Building's security staff said the building wasn't immediately being evacuated, but they moved people away from the affected floors. Fire officials asked occupants to remain in their units but indicated that many residents chose to leave the building. 

Chicago Fire officials said the fire was officially struck out by 4:00 p.m.

New Orleans Medical Student Shot While Trying to Stop Attack


 New Orleans police are searching for a man who was caught on video shooting a medical student who was trying to stop the suspect from allegedly attacking a woman.

Surveillance video released by the New Orleans Police Department shows a hooded man dragging a staggering woman around 4:30 a.m. Friday. Moments later, a car stops and another man, identified as Peter Gold, 25, gets out while appearing to make a call on his cellphone.

"The victim drove up and attempted to assist the woman at which point the suspect pointed a gun at him and demanded money," New Orleans Police said in a statement.

"The victim explained to the suspect repeatedly that he did not have any cash. The suspect became enraged and shot the victim once in the stomach," the statement said.

Photo Credit: Family of Peter Gold
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Driver Dead, 3 Others Injured in Hartford Crash


A driver died and three others were injured after a crash early Saturday morning in Hartford.

Police were called to 350 Barbour St. around 2 a.m. where they found two heavily damaged vehicles.

According to police, Devan Harris, a 27-year-old man from South Windsor, was killed when the Volkswagen Jetta he was driving collided with a Toyota Camry.

He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Hartford Fire Department extricated two people from the Camry who were trapped. Bystanders helped a third person out of the car. Three people from the camry were transported to St. Francis Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Police say that the licenses for both drivers were suspended at the time of the crash.

The collision caused significant front-end damage to both cars, which NBC Connecticut crews at the scene said appear to be totaled.

Both drivers had suspended licenses, according to Hartford police Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

An accident reconstruction team was on scene as of 6:29 a.m. and Barbour Street is shut down for several blocks as they continue to investigate.

Passenger Dies in Orange Crash


A passenger died after a car struck a utility pole in Orange early Saturday morning.

Orange police responded to a single-car crash on Grassy Hill Road near the Prudden Lane intersection at about 8:18 a.m.

A 2008 GMC Envoy veered off a road and hit a utility pole, killing passenger Diane Barbieri, 74, of Waterbury, at the scene and hospitalizing the other two occupants with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Orange Police Department's accident reconstruction team is overseeing the investigation.

Grassy Hill Road remains closed at Prudden Lane as crews continue to repair the damages to the pole.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hamden Police Warn of Solicitors Without Credentials


Hamden police are alerting residents after someone living in the Spring Glen area reported that two men without credentials came to their door after 8 p.m. and tried to sell them windows and siding, police said.

The department warns residents "to be cautious about letting solicitors" or strangers inside their homes "without proper identification."

The town of Hamden also has an ordinance requiring any solicitors to register with police and "clearly display badges on their person at all times bearing the words 'licensed/permitted vendor' and the date of the permit and its expiration, along with a photograph of the person," Hamden police said.

Police advise residents to forbid anyone access to their home who doesn't have the necessary identification and to call police right away.

Missing College Student With Gun Found Dead


The search for a missing college student ended in tragedy Saturday.

Police found the body of 19-year-old Jacob Marberger in Albany Township in Berks County. Marberger was found inside a green Land Rover parked in the picnic area of the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on Hawk Mountain Road at 2:51 p.m. Officials say he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Marberger went missing early Monday after he made the two-hour drive from Washington College in Maryland, where he studied, to his parents' home in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. He arrived after 3 a.m. Monday but was gone by 4 a.m., taking a rifle case with him. His parents said they were unsure whether a gun was inside.

His disappearance prompted alerts at both Washington College and his former school, Cheltenham High School in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, which went into lockout mode Tuesday.

Jacob's father, Dr. Jon Marberger, told NBC10 the trouble began on Oct. 7 when his son was the victim of a prank that left him hurt and humiliated by his fellow students at Washington College.

"Someone had placed a trash can full of water against his dorm room door, so when he opened the door, the water came into his room,” said Washington College public safety director Jerry Roderick. "He felt very hurt by that and he saw this as (people) reaching out to ridicule him in some way. In speaking to Jacob, he did feel persecuted by several students on campus."

Two days later, Jacob Marberger, who began collecting unique guns about a year ago, brandished an unloaded, antique rifle in front of some other students while intoxicated, according to officials.

"He’s not a kid who got high or drank regularly and then you do foolish things when you’re drunk, especially the first time," Jon Marberger said.

About two weeks later, Jacob Marberger was suspended after police found the antique weapon at a house off campus. He returned to school only recently, after a forensic psychologist cleared him and determined he wasn’t a threat.

Jon Marberger said his son then spent a difficult week back on campus. He was kicked out of his fraternity, faced an Honor Board hearing and was confronted Sunday night by members of his student government group, according to his father. Jacob Marberger then resigned his elected position as speaker of the senate.

"Just because he’s made so few mistakes in his life, I don’t think he knows how to deal with that, the shame he feels when one lets themselves down," Jon Marberger said.

After his cellphone was pinged, Jacob Marberger was spotted on surveillance video around 7 a.m. Monday buying five rounds of ammunition at a Wal-Mart in Hamburg, Berks County. It was the last time anyone saw him alive, investigators said.

High school classmates described Jacob as honest, outspoken, intelligent and ethically conscious.

"He has a very goofy, individual sense of humor," Josiah Harmer said, remembering a conversation he had over the summer with Marberger, who "was really happy about his college experience and seemed to be doing really well."

Harmer said Marberger had different interests than most teens and in high school it took time for him to find a good group of friends.

"When kids are doing typical high school stuff and you're reading foreign policy journals, it can be hard to relate," Harmer said.

Washington College released a statement on Marberger's death Saturday night:

It is with great sorrow that we must inform you this evening of the passing of sophomore Jacob Marberger. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Marberger family in their time of unimaginable grief.

This is a terrible blow to our community, and the outpouring of compassion and support we have shown each other will help us through this difficult time. We need to continue to be supportive of each other as we mourn individually and as a community.

We will have counseling services on-hand when students return to campus; more details will be forthcoming.

If you need to speak to someone to help you through this process immediately, please contact your local crisis services.

SUICIDE PREVENTION: If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Boat That Caught Fire Off Calif.


Five people including a 4-month-old baby aboard a boat off the coast of Marina Del Rey were able to escape when the vessel caught fire Saturday afternoon, Los Angeles County Fire said. 

It was unknown what caused the blaze around 3:25 p.m.

The vessel was approximately 200 yards off of the coast, LA County Fire said. 

No one was injured on the boat, but paramedics were checking the occupants for smoke inhalation.

The fire was knocked down at 4:15 on the boat that was said to be 25 to 33 feet long. 

Refresh this developing story for updates. 

Photo Credit: Ray Pages

4-Alarm Fire Rages in Boston


Five residents and two firefighters were hospitalized after a 4-alarm blaze broke out in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood.

The fire tore through the apartments of 9 Greenwood Ave., trapping four people, including two young children. Firefighters were able to pull those people out through windows.

"The guys did a great job plucking them out," said John Walsh, Boston Fire's chief of operations.

Officials say the fire was fed by gas in the basement. Flames shot through the roof, which partially collapsed. Firefighters were ordered to remain 100 feet from the building.

The gas company responded to the scene to shut down the gas line.

Ten people who lived in the home are left homeless.

"We lost everything," said Neil Jhurilal, who lived on the first floor. "What I have on is what, basically, I own right now."

"We just lost my dad a couple months ago. His ashes are in there, all his pictures, I mean, we lost everything," said Patricia Jhurilal. "But we're grateful that everybody's safe."

It's not clear just yet how serious the injuries are. In all, five people who lived in the home and two firefighters were taken to area hospitals.

Officials have stimated that the fire caused about $850,000 in damage.

Photo Credit: Boston Fire

TSA Confiscates Buzz Lightyear Toy from Boy


A boy’s souvenir from Walt Disney World was confiscated after the Transportation Security Administration deemed the toy was a replica of a firearm.

According to NBC affiliate WESH, the toy looked like a rifle that Buzz Lightyear would use. It was confiscated at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

The 5-year-old boy’s father said his son Levi Zilka, had tears streaming down his face when he realized that TSA agents weren’t going to return the toy.

“We understand that things are scary out there right now. But taking a toy from a 5-year-old doesn’t enhance national security,” said David Zilka.

NBC 6 reached out to TSA and they released a statement, saying in part, “TSA officers are charged with protecting passengers and making final judgments on which items are permitted on aircraft. In our review of this situation, the officer’s decision complied with approved procedures. We recently reinforced that training on the procedures with every front line TSA officer. TSA officers have the discretion to deny passage of an item if they cannot definitively rule out that the item could be used as a weapon, or perceived to be a weapon, including replica weapons."

TSA also told NBC 6 that they will be returning the toy to the boy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Heroin Vaccine Research


 Recovering addicts may have a new tool helping them stay on track as a heroin vaccine enters a preclinical phase. 

The National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) awarded researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) the prestigious Translational Avant-Garde Award. The award’s two year, $1.6 million grant will fund preclinical studies for a potential heroin vaccine. There is a possible additional three years of funding attached to the award.

Heroin use and heroin overdose deaths have been growing across the country and law enforcement seizures of heroin have nearly doubled in the past five years. 

“There are a lot of people and families affected by heroin addiction,” said Kim Janda, the Ely R. Callaway Jr. Professor of Chemistry and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI, in a statement. Janda will lead the new project.

Here’s how the vaccine works: it trains the immune system’s antibodies to spot and bind to heroin molecules. By doing so, the vaccine stops the brain from reaching a high by blocking the drug’s active products. Scientists believe that without the high, recovering drug addicts will be way less likely to relapse. Janda and his fellow researchers developed the vaccine in 2013.

In the next phase of the process, TSRI researchers will be working with collaborators from Virginia Commonwealth University and Molecular Express, Inc. to test, refine and optimize the manufacturing processes.

Janda said he hopes he can develop a similar vaccine for other abused opioid drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

After this phase, the vaccine may head to clinical trials and potential approval later down the road from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Brussels on Terror Lockdown Amid Threats of Paris-Style Attack


Brussels was effectively on terror lockdown Saturday after "precise" warnings of a Paris-style bomb and gun attack forced the closure of the subway system and citizens were warned to avoid public spaces, NBC News reported.

As the manhunt continued for at least one suspect from last week's massacre in France, the Belgian government raised the capital's terrorism alert level to its highest status - indicating a "serious and immediate threat."

Heavily-armed police and soldiers were deployed across the city and the country's crisis center urged people in Brussels to avoid concerts, airports, public transportation and crowded shopping centers.

Belgian prime minister Charles Michel said the alert was "based on quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris," and added the threat would be reassessed on Sunday afternoon.

Photo Credit: AP

Security Increased for Yale-Harvard Football Game


There was a show of force in New Haven as extra security was brought out for the 132nd playing of “The Game” on Saturday.

In the end, Harvard beat Yale 38-19 in the Yale Bowl. New Haven police reported no major problems.

Tens of thousands of people were expected to show up and watch the Yale-Harvard football rivalry.

About 130 officers kept a watchful eye on the crowd.

More than 60,000 fans were expected to pack the Bowl to watch the Game.

But first they had to pass through what was called enhanced security measures.

“It makes a lot of people feel better knowing there’s a lot of security here for precautionary measures, have it be the terrorist attacks that happened in Paris or you know issues that have been happening on Yale’s campus over the last couple weeks,” says John Carideo of New Milford.

Fans had been told to arrive as early as two hours before kickoff and to be prepared for long security lines.

They were warned not to bring bags.

While the governor said there was no known threat, police and Yale said the extra security was all in an effort to provide comfort and ensure the safety of everyone.

“I believe they’re taking every precaution given the events that are taking place around the world and I understand it. It’s a little bit of an inconvenience but for the safety of all of us it’s important,” Darrin Steinmann, of Cincinnati, Ohio, said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Investigate Suspicious Death in Glastonbury


Glastonbury police are investigating a suspicious death, according to Glastonbury Police Capt. Dennis Woessner.

Police responded to a home on Oak Street after receiving a request to conduct a welfare check. When they arrived, they discovered a deceased man inside the residence.

The conditions police found him in were suspicous, so Glastonbury police called in the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crimes squad to assist with the investigation, Woessner said.

The victim had no identification on him.

Police didn't give the specific address of the location where the man was found dead.

The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy on the body to determine the cause and manner of death.

Police said there's no danger to the public.

No further details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Shot, Then Robbed in Hartford


A man was shot and then robbed in Hartford Friday morning.

The 48-year-old Hartford resident suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he was shot in a first-floor apartment of 92 Clark Street in the capital city. The shooter then robbed him, police said.

The victim was uncooperative with police, according to an officer at the scene.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

State Police Seek 2 Suspects in Armed Hebron Robbery


Eastern District Major Crimes detectives are looking for two men in an armed robbery at a convenience store in Hebron that happened early morning Friday, according to state police.

Troopers responded to the Xtra Mart at 70 Main Street in Hebron at 1:20 a.m. on Friday Nov. 27 to investigate an armed robbery.

The store clerk told state police that a man demanded money from the cash register at gunpoint, so the clerk gave him an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber fled and no one was injured.

State police searched the area, but didn't find anyone and notified area police.

Video surveillance at the store shows one person standing guard at the front door as a lookout during the robbery, state police said.

The armed robbery suspect was discribed as a 5-foot-2 man wearing a black jacket, pants globes and sneakers, as well as a black hat with a white or gray emblem that might be a Chicago Bulls logo. He had a black scarf wrapped around his face, state police said.

The lookout suspect was described as shorter and wearing a black jacket with green sleeves that may have had a Boston Celtics team logo in white, as well as black pants and black sneakers with white soles, state police said.

The weapon used in the robbery appeared to be a black semi-automatic handgun and may have been a facsimile firearm, according to state police.

State police ask anyone with information to call Sgt. Gabianelli at 860-625-5787 or text "tip711" with information to 236748. Calls will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: State Police

Crash Shuts Down I-95 South in Milford


A crash shut down Interstate 95 south in Milford early Friday morning.

The accident happened near exit 36, closing the highway in that area.

The call came in at about 2:15 a.m.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

CT Transit Bus Crash in Manchester


A CT Transit bus and vehicle crashed on Hillstown Road in Manchester, causing injuries.

The accident happened near the Great Path intersection by the entrance to the Manchester Country Club.

There were some injuries, but it's unknown how many were hurt.

The road was closed down as emergency crews responded.

The bus was towed from the scene.

Bus Driver, 1 Other Seriously Injured in Crash


A CT Transit bus driver was seriously injured after crashing into a car and then a tree in Hartford Friday morning and two others were also hurt.

Locust Street is closed after the accident that happened in front of the UPS Headquarters.

Aetna Ambulance responded to the scene. A spokesperson for the ambulance agency said that two of three people injured were seriously hurt, but none of the injuries are expected to be life-threatening.

Photographs of the crash show heavy damage to the front of the bus, which landed lodged in a tree, and to the back of a white sedan.

It's unknown whether any passengers were on the bus or how many people were in the car. It's unclear whether there were any other injuries.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police

Deaths of Couple in Killingworth Ruled Murder-Suicide


State police are investigating the deaths of a couple in Killingworth as a murder-suicide.

State troopers responded to a home at 8 Route 148 in Killingworth, near the Chester town line, 8:25 a.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and found the bodies of Billy W. Newman, 57, and his wife, Lauren Beebe, 48, in a room and said both lived in the house.

The incident is being ruled a murder-suicide, state police said. Beebe was shot and murdered and Newman shot himself and took his own life, according the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Beebe, who is listed as the owner online assessor's records, was a veterinarian at Killingworth Animal Hospital, according to a neighbor.  A biography for Dr. Beebe says family ties drew her back to Connecticut from Louisiana.

According to online court records, a Lauren Beebe and Billy Newman were going through a divorce. A complaint was filed on Nov. 4.

Two children who were in the home have been placed with family members.

A sign on the driveway says Halcyon Days Farm and neighbors said a couple and their children live in the house.

State Police Major Crimes has taken over the case.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Protesters March on Black Friday


Hundreds of protesters descended on Michigan Avenue on Black Friday, marching up the major shopping strip in Chicago in response to the release of the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer.

The demonstration, organized by Rev. Jesse Jackson and several community activists and church leaders, began at 11 a.m. Friday. It started at Michigan and Wacker and proceeded to Water Tower Place, where some protesters attempted to block store entrances at Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Victoria's Secret and Macy's.

Carrying signs that read "Stop police terror" and chanting "Rahm Emanuel has to go" and "Garry McCarthy must step down," protesters blocked traffic on both sides of the Mag Mile. Guided by police, the protest along the Mag Mile remained peaceful.

"This is what it should be about," state Rep. Marcus Evans told NBC 5 during the protest. "This is Chicago. This is an international city. We can't afford to let the embarrassments of other places happen here. We have to be the example. Justice in Chicago, I believe that."

"We are marching for children," protester Kate Malden said. "Look at that sign right there. This is a child. It is absurd that we are out here right now. It's 2015. It's been 60 freaking years of civil rights movements and nothing has changed, and that's not OK."

At one point, protesters attempted to get into Macy's on Water Tower Place, as well as H&M and Columbia on Michigan Avenue, saying if they weren't allowed it, no one would be able to get out.

Traffic was blocked for four hours. Protesters continued to block the entrances of some stores, and at around 4:30 p.m. a fight was reported outside Banana Republic.

The purpose of the Black Friday protest is to bring the attention of the world to Chicago and to call for change via "mass demonstrations" and voter registration, Jackson said. 

"It's not enough to focus on what brought us here today, the execution of this young man (Laquan McDonald)," Jackson said. "That takes the scab off a deeper sore, a deeper cancer. So we want mass demonstrations, mass voter registration."

The Chicago Teachers Union on Thursday endorsed the march and CTU President Karen Lewis encouraged all member to "express their outrage and dignity" by participating in the demonstration.

"While we're talking a lot of money, toys, and clothes and consumer items, we ought to start thinking about where we need to really spend our money," Lewis said.

"We're here to take a simple stand for justice," CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said during the protest.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said protests so far have gone "exceptionally well" and credited the professionalism of the police department.

"It's remarkable what they do, and that's why we're not having problems that other cities have had," he said Friday. "We're trying to help [protesters] do what they want to do, quite frankly."

Jackson said 450 shootings have taken place in Chicago this year, which he believes should have gained the same media attention as the terror attacks in Paris and Beirut and on the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt.

Jackson headed a press conference Wednesday, a day after Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder for shooting McDonald to death. The video tape showing the incident was also released to the public the same day. During the conference, Jackson asked for an investigation into the video and the timing of its release.

"We want a firm investigation on the suppression of the tapes," Jackson said. "The suppression of the tapes was manipulated for someone's advantage at the expense of others."

Footage from the dash-cam video was released more than a year after the October 2014 shooting. Several officials, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, faced harsh criticism for the timing of the video's release, and some residents and activists called for the resignation of all three of them this week. Jackson also called for a new police superintendent and a "new infrastructure." 

"The governor has a role to play. He’s been silent in this," Jackson said. "The state’s attorney [has] a role to play, the U.S. attorney a role to play. They should all get together. The police chief and his infrastructure needs to go, the state’s attorney should resign and should not run again. And all of those who saw the tape and who did nothing but suppress it, must also be made accountable."

Alvarez defended herself and Emanuel on Tuesday after first-degree murder charges were filed against Van Dyke, saying the mayor's plea last week to keep the video away from the public eye "was in the best interest of the investigation." Alvarez added that the reason it took 13 months to charge Van Dyke is because investigations into police shootings and misconduct are "massive and labor intensive." 

Minutes before the video was released, Emanuel said he hadn't seen it yet and was waiting until the rest of the city could see it, too. He added that he hoped the release of the video would help "build bridges of understanding" in the city instead of inciting unrest.

"I believe this is a moment that can build bridges of understanding rather than become a barrier of misunderstanding," Emanuel said. "I understand that people will be upset and want to protest when they see this video. But I would like to echo the comments of the McDonald family. They asked for calm and that those who choose to speak out do it peacefully."

Earlier this week, protesters took to downtown city streets in protest, resulting in several arrests. A group of protesters were also seen tearing the lights from the Christmas treet standing in Millennium Park. Still, officials say the protests have been largely peaceful. 

The Magnificent Mile Association said in a statement that it respects the right to assemble but hopes the demonstrations remain peaceful.

"The Magnificent Mile Association represents the interests of employees and businesses in the famous North Michigan Avenue District of Chicago," the statement read. "We respect the American freedom to assemble and the process in the pursuit of social justice. We hope that any assembly on Friday will continue to be peaceful."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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