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Man Who Brought Loaded Guns to UNH Arrested Again


A former University of New Haven student who pleaded guilty to federal and state charges of bringing loaded guns to campus in 2013 has been arrested again after police said he trespassed by riding a segway near two schools in Fairfield, police said.

The assistant principal at Fairfield Woods Middle School saw William Dong, 24, riding a segway on a driveway that runs between the middle school and Jennings School, police said.

Police previously warned Dong that he was forbidden from going on any public school property because of the gun-carrying incident at UNH during his time as a student there.

While Dong claimed to police that he didn't know the access road was actually property of the school, police arrested him, charging him Monday with first-degree criminal trespass.

In 2013, Dong prompted a campus lockdown and a building-by-building search after someone called 911 and reported seeing a man walking toward campus with a long gun, authorities said. Police found two loaded handguns on him and a Bushmaster assault rifle in his car that he bought out-of-state that is illegal in Connecticut, police said.

Forest Elementary School and Carrigan Intermediate School sheltered in place and Notre Dame High School was locked down during the incident due to their proximity to UNH.

Dong told police he had the guns to protect himself from mass shootings that had been happening and that he had the assault rifle in his car because he was going to the shooting range the next day.

Police said they found newspaper clippings of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater mass shooting and 2,700 rounds of ammunition in the padlocked bedroom of his Fairfield home.

He was a commuter student and was been suspended following the incident, according to school officials, who said the code of conduct prohibits students from having guns on campus.

After that incident, Dong was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to federal charges and to eight years of incarceration, execution suspended after two years, and five years of probation after pleading guilty to state of Connecticut gun charges.

Fairfield police said Dong has legal gun permits for two handguns, but they haven't specified whether those are the same guns recovered.

No shots were fired during that incident and no one was hurt, police said.

Santeria Priest Held on Bail


A 32-year-old Santeria priest accused of stealing five skeletons from a Massachusetts mausoleum appeared in court Tuesday, where a judge set his bail at $100,000.

Amador Medina, of Hartford, Connecticut, appeared in a Worcester courtroom Tuesday morning on charges of breaking into and stealing the remains of five family members laid to rest in a mausoleum at Hope Cemetery.

Investigators said the skeletons belonged to three adults and two children in the Houghton family and were believed to have been interred in the early 1900s. The crime was discovered Oct. 9, when a visitor to the cemetery noticed open crypts.

Medina is a priest who practices Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion derived from the beliefs and customs of the Yoruba people that incorporates elements of the Catholic faith. Investigators said Medina wanted the bones for medicinal reasons, and that older bones are preferred.

Police allege they found the remains in two garbage bags on the porch of Medina's apartment.

Authorities said Tuesday that Medina claimed to have bought the bones from someone else.

"The defendant had stated that he had purchased these remains from another individual, but he was aware that they did come from the mausoleum and he did not have permission to have those remains," Assistant District Attorney Joe Simmons said.

Medina was scheduled to start a new job today, according to his attorney. That attorney argued that because of his work history and minimal criminal record, bail should be set between $1,000 and $2,000.

Instead, the judge lowered the prosecution's suggestion of $200,000, setting cash bail at $100,000.

Medina is set to appear again in court next month. 

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Teens Suspected of Beating, Robbing Man in Bristol Are Arrested


Police have arrested a 19-year-old and three juveniles suspected of beating and robbing a 67-year-old man in Bristol in September and are looking for a fifth suspect.

Officers found the man bleeding from the face when they responded to a disturbance at Summer and Federal streets just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 1 and learned that a group of youths had beaten the man while he was walking on Federal Street, stolen his wallet and run north on Summer Street after the crime, police said.

Police arrested Dezsmond Robinson, 19, and three people under 18 in connection to the incident, charging them with first-degree assault, second-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit all three charges, police said.

Police are looking for one more suspect. Investigators believe the person has ties in Bristol and Waterbury.

The victim was taken to Bristol Hospital.

Police ask anyone with information to call Det. Garrie Dorman of the Bristol Police Department at 860-314-4570 or email garriedorman@bristolct.gov.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews Responding to Fire at CRRA Plant in Hartford


Crews are responding to a fire at CRRA plant in Hartford.

No injuries are reported.

No further information was immediately available.

2 Suspects Break Into East Hampton Home


Police are looking for information on two suspects that entered an East Hampton home on Monday night before fleeing when the homeowner approached them.

On Monday night at around 11:00 pm, two suspects went upstairs in a home on Middle Haddam Road. When the homeowner confronted the suspects they ran out of the house. They were described as wearing dark clothing and masks, police said.

East Hampton Police are looking for any information regarding the incident and encourage people with knowledge to call 860-267-9922 or call the Anonymous Tips line at 860-267-9066.

Newington Police Seek 2 Armed Robbers


Newington police are looking for two suspects in an robbery at Quick Stop convenience store Monday night.

Officers responded to the 1125 Willard Avenue store at Dec. 7 at 8:32 p.m. on Monday after receiving a robbery complaint.

When police arrived, they learned two men robbed the clerk at gunpoint. One of the men had entered the store and asked to buy something bfore punching the clerk and demanding cash, the clerk told police. Then a second man entered the store and both displayed handguns, stealing money from the cash register before running from the shop.

Police and a K-9 unit searched for the suspect, but they couldn't find them.

Newington police ask anyone with information to call 860-666-8445.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Potential Data Breach Could Affect Middlesex Hospital Patients


A data breach at Middlesex Hospital may have compromised information of more than 900 patients.

Four hospital employees fell victim to an email phishing scam in October, that potentially resulted in the breach of the patients' personal and medical information, according to a release from the hospital.

The information may have contained the name, address, date of birth, medical record number, medication, date of service and the date of diagnosis. The compromised information did not include direct access to full medical records or Social Security numbers, according to Middlesex Hospital.

All of the affected patients have been notified and have been offered free credit monitoring for one year.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Reward Offered for Leads in Shooting of Dog


A Connecticut dog owner is desperately searching for the person who shot and killed her beloved pet.

'Bella' was discovered wrapped in a tarp at the Tyler Mill Preserve in Wallingford last week. Now Bella's owner, Celynna Linton, along with friends, are offering a reward for any information that leads police to the person who dumped the dog's body in a remote area.

Linton's dog was found with a bullet wound as well as a possible laceration from an arrow. The whereabouts of the person who did that and the motive behind the act are still not known. Now there is a reward of at least $1,000 being offered for information that could lead to an arrest.

Many questions surround this case, including how Bella's dead body ended up in Wallingford when she lived with her owner over 50 miles away in Chaplin.

"My whole life is devoted to my animals," Linton said. "They're very important to me. So, it's been very traumatic and I think that because it is so important to me, I've kind of channeled that into advocating for her and for all animals that are treated this way."

Anyone with information about what happened to Bella should contact Wallingford police. If no suspect is identified, the reward money will be donated to the Wallingford Animal Control.

Photo Credit: Celynna Linton

Transportation 'Lock Box' Dead, For Now


The Connecticut House of Representatives failed Tuesday to approve a constitutional amendment for voters to decide in 2016 on whether to ensure funds collected for transportation are actually used for transportation.

In a special legislative session on Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved the resolution, with Republicans even lauding the measure.

In the House, Democrats needed all members and some Republicans to reach a 114 vote threshold needed to send the initiative to voters.

The House only garnered 100 votes and 40 members voted against it, dooming the measure.

Sources told NBC Connecticut the measure could be brought back for a vote. It was unclear when that may happen.

Budget cuts are still a priority as well, with about $350 million needed in order to close a projected shortfall for the current fiscal year.

Republicans say they wanted to see, "structural budget changes" to avoid such scenarios from happening again. They didn't say what those would look like.

Democrats, along with Gov. Dannell Malloy, agreed to restore slightly more than half of funding that had been cut from hospitals, and make trims across the board to minimize impact. Those would include $93 million in executive branch cuts. Magnet schools and Medicaid would also see cuts.

Both parties did agree on corporate tax reductions, which had been sought by corporate executives in Connecticut, like those at General Electric.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Boyfriend Convicted of Raping 6-Year-Old, Recording It on Phone


A 35-year-old man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for raping his girlfriend's 6-year-old daughter -- a crime discovered when the victim's mother went through his cellphone and saw he had videotaped the attack, according to prosecutors.

Virgilio Ocampo was found guilty Tuesday of predatory sexual assault against a child and use of a child in a sexual performance following a three-week trial.

Prosecutors say Ocampo and the child's mother had been dating for two years at the time of the attack and he had been staying in the mother's apartment several days a week. In January 2014, the mother looked through Ocampo's phone while he was sleeping and saw a video date-stamped from the month before showing Ocampo having sex with her daughter.

That day, she reported the attack to police, but by that time Ocampo had already left the apartment. At some point, he fled to Louisiana, where police took him into custody 10 days later. He admitted to police that he sexually assaulted the victim on the day he created the video, as well as on other occasions.

A victim impact statement from the child's mother was read in court Tuesday. It said the child has been diagnosed with PTSD and other psychiatric conditions.

“Your Honor, this man does not deserve to ever walk these streets after all the pain he has caused my daughter, my little angel. He is a sick man and is a danger to women and children he would ever come in contact with," the mother's statement said. "This monster took a 6-year-old and raped her continuously. He videotaped it so he can watch it over and over again. He is disgusting. Hell is not even worthy of him."

Judge Margaret Clancy sentenced Ocampo to the max. In doing so, she said it was horrifying to witness the man rape the child on videotape and said he has shown no remorse.

"In statements, he blamed the child, saying she came on to him," Clancy said.

Photo Credit: NYPD

'Sandlot' Actor Among Those Charged in Halloween Assault


Two off-duty Los Angeles firefighters and a third man are facing charges they beat up a man on Halloween night, the District Attorney’s office said Tuesday.

One of the firefighters, Michael Vitar, is a former child actor best known for playing Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in the 1993 movie “The Sandlot.”

According to the felony complaint, Vitar, 36; fellow firefighter Eric Carpenter, 38; and a third man, Thomas Molnar, 45, were all arrested on assault charges Halloween night.

The district attorney’s office said Carpenter was having a Halloween party at his home in Northwest L.A. when they attacked a 22-year-old man on the street who was handing out Halloween candy to children.

Carpenter is charged with inflicting great bodily injury.

Vitar was featured in a 2011 LA Weekly article that said he joined the fire department in Hollywood in 2002 after having spent his childhood working as an actor.

He has a cult following from playing the role of Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in the 1993 film “The Sandlot,” and he also appeared in “The Mighty Ducks” and numerous commercials.

Attorneys for Vitar and Molnar told NBC4 the case should never have been filed.

They said the defendants spotted a man in a Halloween mask and costume acting strange and handing out candy to kids from a tray.

They confronted him, and when they couldn’t get a straight answer they worried he might harm the kids, so they escorted him from the area but he returned several times.

Finally, they restrained him while calling authorities. The defense attorneys said during the restraining process the 22-year-old man lost consciousness and Carpenter resuscitated him and eventually an ambulance took him away.

The defense attorneys said they were acting to protect children and they feel confident they will be vindicated.

LAFD issued a statement that said the two firefighters were off duty at the time of the incident. They’ve been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the criminal case.

All three are free on bail and they are slated to be arraigned Jan. 21.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Men Throw Drugs From Car


Two men were arrested after they allegedly struck several police vehicles and threw out crack cocaine from their car during a wild chase in Philadelphia Tuesday night.

The ordeal began shortly before 9 p.m. when 15th District narcotics officers approached a 51-year-old man and a 30-year-old man inside a 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis on Cottman and Torresdale avenues. Both men were suspects in a drug transaction, according to investigators.

As police announced they were making an arrest, the 51-year-old man allegedly put the car in reverse, struck an unattended parked car and then tried to run over a narcotics officer. The officer jumped out of the way and narrowly avoided being struck by the vehicle, police said.

The Marquis went into a nearby playground and continued to travel erratically until a right front tire blew out, police said. As police officers continued to pursue, the men began throwing crack cocaine out of the vehicle, officials said.

The Marquis finally pulled over on the 7600 block of Torresdale Avenue and the men appeared to be turning themselves in, police said. The officers approached the vehicle as the driver and passenger door opened up. Suddenly, the 51-year-old drove off again at a high speed, struck two marked police vehicles and the chase continued, investigators said.

During the pursuit, the Marquis struck another police vehicle. At this point the front tire was completely blown out and the 51-year-old stopped the vehicle on the 7900 block of Torresdale Avenue, police said. Both men then got out of the car and ran through a vacant lot, according to investigators.

Police officers chased after them on foot and finally apprehended the two men, officials said. Investigators said the men were in possession of pills and crack cocaine, which police later confiscated.

Both men are in custody and charged with possession of narcotics. The 51-year-old man is also charged with eluding police and aggravated assault.

The 51-year-old man suffered a minor cut to the head and was treated at Aria Torresdale Hospital. The 30-year-old man was not injured. Police also say no officers were hurt during the chase. 

Photo Credit: NBC10

Calif. Healer Accused of Rape


A self-proclaimed Tibetan healer in San Diego County sexually assaulted a client while giving her a massage, according to Escondido police.

In May, the alleged victim came to the Escondido Police Department’s Family Protection Unit, saying she had been raped by 61-year-old Vasiliy “Ardi” Galashev.

Galashev, a registered sex offender in California, calls himself “Master Ardi” and claims he is a 7th generation Tibetan healer, according to detectives. He massages clients as a form of treatment.

During one of those massages, the alleged victim said she was raped. When she went to police, investigators collected DNA evidence from her and sent it to the sheriff’s crime lab for analysis.

Two months later, detectives interviewed Galashev and collected DNA from him to compare to the evidence found on the woman.

The crime lab confirmed the two samples were an exact match in November, Escondido police said.

On Monday, detectives arrested Galashev and served a search warrant at his home. There, they seized additional evidence, according to investigators.

Galashev has since been booked into jail on charges of rape and false imprisonment. It’s unclear if he has obtained an attorney.

According to a 10 News report, Galashev pleaded guilty to sexual battery in 2005. As part of his plea deal, he was permitted to continue work at a massage therapist, but he will have to register as a sex offender the rest of his life.

Photo Credit: Escondido Police

FBI Plan to Track Police Shootings on Schedule: Report


Plans by the Justice Department to aggressively track police-involved shootings remains on track for 2017, NBC News reported.

The plan has been approved by an advisory board of police and will be vetted by FBI lawyers, according to the Washington Post, which quoted FBI assistant director of criminal justice information services, Stephen Morris. Morris, according to the newspaper, said the plan would be in line with the timetable set out in October by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The FBI and the Justice Department admitted the collection of such data has been grossly inadequate, according to NBC News.

Lynch said the program will begin collecting data independently to supplement voluntary reports and will include non-fatal and fatal shootings involving police, as well as deaths in police custody.

Photo Credit: AP

Heroic Officer Who Reassured Shooting Survivors Speaks


A sheriff's detective who won praise for boldly shepherding frightened people out of the San Bernardino building where a couple opened fire last week said he did nothing that anyone in his position wouldn't have done.

Detective Jorge Lozano said he knew the frightened people, including a terrified child, were relying on him for comfort and calm, so he provided it. The video of him assuring the group that he would take a bullet before they did quickly caught national attention, one of the few bright spots in a horrific moment of terror.

But Lozano didn't step forward to take credit for it until a news conference Tuesday night, where he explained what happened.

"There was a female there with a small child, maybe an 8-year-old little boy, that was just terrified, just shivering, almost to the point of shaking like a leaf and I said what I said," Lozano said. "I meant what I said. I said it for them just to kinda calm down, relax."

Lozano was among the first 24 law enforcement officers to arrive at the Inland Regional Center where a married couple went on a shooting rampage, killing 14 and injuring 21 in a case President Barack Obama has called a terrorist attack.

Lozano said his words to the scared survivors weren't anything special despite the attention they've gotten: "I don't feel like a hero whatsoever."

Other first responders, from several responding agencies, gave their stories on Tuesday.

With the alarms going off, the sprinklers on and their vision dimmed by smoke from gunpowder, the first groups of officers encountered chaos at the scene of Wednesday's attack.

"We didn't have any cover. We didn't know where in the building the gunmen were," said Detective Brian Lewis, of the San Bernardino Police Department. "We didn't know exactly how many people were down, but we knew that we needed to get in there and save them."

Added colleague Lt. Mike Madden, the first officer on scene: "I think we fully expected to take gunfire, which we did not."

Dispatchers helped guide the group of four officers into the Inland Regional Center, unable to help the injured as they searched to clear the area of any possible shooters, who could yet hurt many more.

"They were asking for help and were asking for first aid," said Nathan Scarano, a San Bernardino County Probation officer.

He said that he and his partner heard people screaming for help.

They were hiding between cars in the parking lot. Some had been shot and needed help. Scarano and his partner started loading people into the bed of their trucks and driving them away from the scene, then returning for more. Between 15 and 17 at first.

Officer Brian Alvarez, of the California Highway Patrol, said that one of the reasons they all came running is because "this is what we train for. We sign up for this."

"They didn't sign up for this," he said of the victims. "They were having a holiday party. They were going to work. This is not what they were expecting to encounter that day."

Photo Credit: LA Times via Getty Images

Mom Arrested After Making Threat at Day Care: Police


Police have arrested a Connecticut mother accused of threatening to "blow up and shoot up" a day care in Hebron last week, authorities said.

According to state police, Kristy Ellison, 36, of Amston, became upset about an administrative issue at the Discovery Zone Learning Center in Hebron on Friday and told several employees she was going to "blow up and shoot up" the facility.

Troopers went to the day care at 45 Pendleton Drive in Hebron around 9:50 a.m. on Friday to investigate. State police said Ellison turned herself in at Troop K barracks and was taken into custody.

State police charged her with second-degree breach of peace and second-degree threatening.

Ellison is scheduled to appear in Rockville Superior Court on Dec. 22. It wasn't immediately clear if she had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Teacher's Aide Charged With Sexually Assaulting Minor


Police arrested a former Stratford middle school teacher's aide on sexual assault charges after allegations surfaced accusing her of engaging in inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature with a student who was a minor. She has also been terminated from the school.

Former Wooster Middle School paraprofessional Kyle Damato-Kushel, 46, is facing charges of second-degree sexual assault, illegal sexual contact with a minor, interfering with an officer, fourth-degree sexual assault involving a victim who is a student and tampering with a witness, police said.

Police launched an investigation after being contacted Oct. 1 about "inappropriate conduct" involving an adult female employed as a teacher's aide in the Stratford school district and victim under 18, police said. She had worked as a paraprofessional at Wooster Middle School since 2006, according to Stratford Superintendent Janet Robinson.

“The moment that it was brought to our attention that Damato-Kushel was being investigated for inappropriate behavior with a student, (even though the events took place off of school grounds), she was immediately placed on administrative leave," Robinson said. 

The Department of Children and Families released a report to the district substantiating the allegations Nov. 9, so the district terminated Damato-Kushel, Robinson said.

“We will not tolerate this type of behavior, regardless of where it happens. Our responsibility is to protect and educate our students. I am thankful to the Stratford Police Department for bringing this disturbing case to a swift resolution," Robinson said.

The investigation led to Damato-Kushel's arrest. She turned herself in to Stratford police on Dec. 8. She was released on a $50,000 court-set bond and is scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on Dec. 21.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police Department

Nanny Pistol-Whipped During California Home-Invasion Robbery


Police are searching for the person who pistol-whipped a nanny in front of a young child during a home-invasion robbery in Orinda, California.

The suspect first contacted the nanny around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when she was raking leaves in front of a home on El Castillo, near El Nido Ranch Road, Orinda Police Chief Mark Nagel said.

The nanny, who speaks limited English, was also waiting for Karen Yim's 5-year-old daughter to return from school when the suspect walked up to her. The suspect said something to her, but the language barrier prevented the woman from understanding, Nagel said.

Once the girl returned home, both she and the nanny went inside. About 10 minutes later, the suspect returned, kicked in a door, brandished a gun and demanded money, Nagel said.

"They walked through the house going drawer-to-drawer upstairs and downstairs looking money, and at one point the suspect pistol-whipped the nanny in the head, causing a laceration," Nagel said.

Yim said the nanny was released from the hospital and is doing OK.

Nagel said the attack on the nanny took place in full view of Yim's young girl.

"She is doing fine, a little startled and scared," Yim said of her daughter, who was not injured.

The suspect took iPads, cash and the family's 2012 black Porsche Cayennne, which has the license plate 6VMK320.

"We need to find that vehicle, whether someone is in it or its abandoned," Nagel said. "There may be evidence in that vehicle."

Nagel said there have been three home burglaries in Orinda in the past few days, including one caught on surveillance camera. The chief added the city's proximity to Highway 24 as an escape route makes it an attractive target.

Tuesday's attack is the first where someone was home, Nagel said.

"This is supposed to be a safe neighborhood," Yim said. "But you just never know."

The suburb east of Oakland ranked no. 2 on a 2012 Forbes list of friendliest towns.

Police said the suspect faces charges of home invasion and burglary. Charges of kidnapping and carjacking may be added as well, police said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Daughter Finds Mom Held at Gunpoint


A 16-year-old from Quincy, Massachusetts, called 911 from her bedroom Tuesday after arriving home from school to find her pregnant mother tied up and held at gunpoint by two intruders, according to police.

One suspect, 22-year-old Kevin Murphy, of Revere, has been arrested. The second suspect remains on the loose.

Police said two intruders broke in through a basement door and were holding the teen's pregnant mother at gunpoint. Quincy police Chief Paul Keenan said the woman was bound with "some kind of packaging tape."

The woman's husband, Alan Eng, owns a local store and said he kept a safe in the house, which was empty. He told necn the intruders held a gun to his wife and asked, "Where's the money?" then ransacked the house.

The couple's teenage daughter interrupted the crime.

"The younger daughter, she was the one that heard all the noise, the door kicked in and she called 911 right away," Keegan said.

The teen barricaded herself inside her bedroom on Presidents Lane in Quincy and called for help.

Dispatcher: Hun, can you hear them or see them?
Victim: I can hear them.
Dispatcher (to police): She can hear them. She's hiding.
Dispatcher (to teen): Where are you hiding?
Victim: In my room.
Dispatcher: Your in your room?
Victim: I locked the door.
Dispatcher: You locked the door?
Victim: Please hurry, I think they're hurting her.

Quincy police said officers arrived at the home around 3:30 p.m. The teen was able to direct them to the house in time for officers to see Murphy running away. Authorities chased him three blocks and arrested him.

Murphy was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and home invasion. Authorities said more charges are possible. It's not clear if Murphy has hired an attorney.

A firearm was recovered at the scene, but police said it's unclear which suspect had the gun.

Eng wasn't home at the time but said he's proud of his daughter's quick thinking.

"Very scary, but she did a good job," he said.

His wife, who's carrying the couple's third child, is still very much shaken.

"She is very scared; she's been crying a lot," he said. "I tried to calm her down on the phone."

Police describe the suspect on the loose as a tall man wearing a black ski mask, a black puffy jacket and possibly boots. Quincy police said it's unclear what the suspects got away with, if anything.

No one was injured and police said they don't believe the crime was random.

Stay with necn and necn.com as this story develops. 

Photo Credit: necn

Odor of Smoke Forces Evacuation of CREC School in Wethersfield


The CREC Discovery School in Wethersfield was evacuated because of an odor of smoke in the building.

Firefighters were called to the school at 176 Cumberland Avenue Wednesday morning to investigate.

They did not find any smoke and students were allowed to return to the building about 45 minutes later.

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