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Cop Facing Sex Crimes Shoots Self


A police detective who had investigated online crimes against children killed himself Tuesday, moments before police could charge him with having inappropriate contact with two young teens.

David Edward Abbott, 39, of Gainesville, Virginia, was a Manassas City detective. He had served on the Northern Virginia-Washington, D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Police tried to serve him with warrants Tuesday, but he refused to surrender, authorities said. Believing Abbott was armed, police began to evacuate nearby homes.

At about 7 a.m., as detectives spoke to Abbott, he pulled out a gun and shot himself, police said.

Abbott was pronounced dead at the scene, a townhome he shared with his sister in Gainesville, Va.

The search and arrest warrants were for having inappropriate conduct with two victims while Abbott was a Prince William youth hockey coach. He was to be charged with two counts of taking indecent liberties and two counts of using a communications device to solicit sexual offenses.

Police said Abbott made contact with the first victim when the boy was 11 years old.

According to police, Abbott solicited sex acts over phone, by text and through social media and email, police said. He also had face-to-face contact with the boy, police said.

During the investigation, police discovered a second victim, whom Abbott contacted when the boy was 13 years old.

The hockey club said it was working with parents and players to make sure that they got any support that they needed. 

Manassas police called the day a tragic one, and issued a statement, saying, "In spite of these recent developments regarding the serious allegations against him, we are grateful for the contributions detective Abbott made during his time with Manassas City Police."

In 2014, Abbott was the detective in a high-profile case in which a 17-year-old Manassas teen was sentenced for sending explicit texts to his 15-year-old girlfriend.

At one point, police had sought to take a photo of the 17-year-old's genitals, including some in an aroused state, to make the case.

The request led to protests from the 17-year-old's lawyer, who said at one point, "Who does this? It's just crazy."

Abbott sued the lawyer for defamation.

Photo Credit: Manassas City Police

Vet Charity Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Stealing $800K


A former bookkeeper for veterans services organization in Connecticut plead guilty to embezzling close to $800,000, the U.S. attorney said on Tuesday.

Cynthia Tanner, 54, of Darien, pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasions after she embezzled hundreds of thousands from the National Veterans Service Fund (NVSF). The NVSF was erected to manage social services and limited medical assistance to Vietnam and Persian Gulf War veterans and their families with a focus on families with disabled children. 

According to the U.S. attorney's office, Tanner altered records to conceal her scheme and falsely claimed the money was being paid to veterans from 2009 to 2014. She instead used the funds to pay for various personal expenses for her family and family members.

In Hartford's federal court on Tuesday, Tanner plead guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion. She could face up to 25 years in prison. 

Photo Credit: Darien Police

3 Robbers Arrested After Thief Drops Wallet at Crime Scene: PD


Police arrested  three men in connection to an apparent armed robbery at a Mobil gas station in West Hartford after one of them dropped a wallet containing his identification and police tracked down a stolen cell phone to the address listed on the card.

The men — Randall Michaels, 32, Timothy Warren, 49, and Keith Warren, 37, — who are facing multiple charges in the robbery are also suspects in other crimes in West Hartford and Newington police have also interviewed them in robberies in that neighboring town, police said.

Police responded to the Mobil gas station at 55 Kane Street in West Hartford on Monday at 9:11 a.m. after two men robbed a store at apparent gunpoint, stealing a victim's cell phone, police said. The gun turned out to be a facsimile gun, but it looked like a real semi-automatic firearm, police said.

No one was injured.

As one of the suspects, Michaels, climed off of the store counter, his wallet fell out of his pocket. It containted an ID listing 24 Merril Street as his address. Police also used an iPhone tracking application to trace where a cell phone stolen in the robbery was located and it was in the area of that address.

Officers looking for a black Nissan with a Florida registration plate the suspects were believed to be in at one point found a car matching the description behind an apartment building lot at that address. Clothing fitting the victim's description of what the suspects were wearing was in plain view in the car and police found the three suspects in an apartment in that building.

As police swept the area, they found evidence of the robbery in plain sight, police said and the victim successfull identified two of the suspects as the people who robbed the store, police said.

Police charged Michaels with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, brandishing a facsimile firearm and carrying a dangerous weapon.

Timothy Warren and his nephew, Keith are facing charges of conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit second-degree larceny.

Police are holding the men on $350,000 bonds.

Timothy Warren is wanted by Hartford police in a robbery.

All three suspects are believed to be involved in area robberies. Newington police are looking into whether they were also involved in robberies in their town. 

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

LA Schools to Reopen Wednesday


After a threat hoax closed down all Los Angeles Unified School District schools, disrupting families across Los Angeles, school officials said they planned to reopen campuses on Wednesday.

All schools in the LAUSD, the nation's second largest, were closed Tuesday morning after a threat mentioning explosive devices and weapons was emailed to the district, according to the district and police department.

A preliminary investigation suggests the threat — and a similar one sent to New York City schools — was a hoax, according to a statement from Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"The preliminary assessment is that it was a hoax or something designed to disrupt school districts in large cities," Schiff said in a statement. "The investigation is ongoing as to where the threat originated from and who was responsible."

The email message was delivered to "a number of people on the school board" and implied a threat of "explosive devices, assault rifles and machine pistols" to all LAUSD campuses, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

Law enforcement sources told the NBC4 I-Team that the email threat was received at 10:15 p.m. PT Monday, leading to a closure that affected hundreds of thousands of students and their families.

The email was routed through Germany, but investigators have not determined its origin and believe it was sent from a location "much closer," Beck added.

Supt. Ramon Cortines said the closure in the nation's second-largest school district — which serves 640,000 students — was out of "an abundance of caution."

"I am not taking a chance of bringing children into a place, into any part of a building, until I know that it’s safe," Cortines said. "I, as superintendent, am not going to take the chance with the life of a student."

Schools will not reopen until authorities are "completely satisfied that we have taken every measure to ensure the safety of our students," according to school police Chief Steven K. Zipperman.

The districtwide closure was likely an unprecedented step. District personnel said they are checking records to determine whether all schools have ever been closed for an entire scheduled school day due to a threat.

"I was literally in shock," said Virgil Middle School teacher Claudia Castaneda. "Ten years working for LAUSD, and I never had such an experience. I am concerned that this is going to be the norm from now on."

School police said the FBI was notified and the threat is being analyzed. The FBI confirmed the agency is providing resources for the investigation, which includes a districtwide search by law enforcement agents, a sweep that will likely take the rest of the day because of the district's size, Cortines said.

Officials in New York City said schools there received the same anonymous threat but deemed it "not credible" and were investigating the email as a hoax. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said several other districts nationwide also received an email threat, but investigators determined students weren't in any real danger.

Bratton, Los Angeles' former police chief, said the person who wrote the note claimed to be a jihadist, but errors made it clear the person was a prankster. Police in New York said the sender behind both threats claimed to be a high school senior, law enforcement sources told NBC New York.

"There was nothing credible about the threat. It was so outlandish," de Blasio said.

When asked at a morning news conference why the LAUSD took action, Cortines described the threat as "rare." He said the area is on heightened alert in the wake of a mass shooting that left 14 dead and wounded 22 in San Bernardino earlier this month.

"I think the circumstances in neighboring San Bernardino, I think what has happened in the nation, I think what happened internationally" influenced the decision, Cortines said. 

Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti defended Cortines' decision to order a districtwide closure, which comes a week before LAUSD's winter recess.

"It's not (my decision) to make, but it is mine to support," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a news conference Tuesday. "It's easy for people to jump to conclusions. But decisions need to be made in a matter of minutes."

LAUSD enrolls hundreds of thousands of students in kindergarten through 12th grade at more than 900 schools. The district covers about 720 square miles in Los Angeles and smaller Southern California communities.

"This school district safeguards three-quarters of a million lives every day," Beck said. "I think it's irresponsible to criticize that decision at this point. These communities have been through a lot in the recent weeks. ... The threat was very specific to LA Unified. These are very high stakes. There is no more important decision."

Parents told NBC4 they were notified early Tuesday that they should not send students to school. All students already at school Tuesday morning were sent home, Los Angeles School Police said.

"I literally woke up to the call," said parent Jim Alger. "There's this element of fear. Things like this are kind of reminiscent of the post-9/11 days. But I guess it's better safe than sorry."

But some parents told NBC4 they did not receive an alert from the district's emergency notification system. Others said they were notified at different times.

The system, called Blackboard Connect, uses a system in which parents fill out a contact form with phone numbers and email addresses. NBC4 reached out to the company and district for comment.

The district also tweeted information about the closure and activated an information hotline for parents at 213-241-2064, which was temporarily taken down reports that it was not functioning.


Students at some schools said they initially thought the threat was part of a finals week prank.

Metro buses and trains provided free rides to LAUSD students until noon, according to the mayor's office. The Petersen Automotive Museum in the Miracle Mile District offered free admission to students.

No closures were reported at nearby school districts.

NBC4's Nyree Arabian contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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Tom Brady on Trump: 'I Support All My Friends'


Tom Brady didn't explicitly endorse Donald Trump on Tuesday, but he did tell a Boston radio show that he supports his good friend.

"Can I just stay out of this debate?" the New England Patriots quarterback said at first, when asked by WEEI-FM's the Dennis & Callahan show whether he is supporting Trump for president. But then Brady opened up a bit more.

"He's a good friend of mine... I support all my friends," he said. He was then given a chance to clarify and say that he wasn't officially backing Trump, but he didn't back down.

Brady also revealed during the interview that the "Make America Great Again" hat that Trump sent him is still in his locker. 

"He gave me a hat, I thought that was a nice thing," he said.

One thing Brady wasn't asked about was what he thinks of Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. Deadspin.com said last week that it would pay $100 to the first reporter who asked Brady about it.

Real-Life Grinch Steals Star Shower Christmas Lights: Victim


This year, Star Showers are all the rage for holiday decorations, projecting speckles of laser lights onto homes and yards, illuminating houses without going through the trouble of stringing up lights Clark W. Griswold Jr. style.

However, unfortunately some Grinches have caught onto the trend and are getting the high-demand holiday projector lights without paying for them, stealing the expensive displays.

In Prospect, the Dempseys didn't think they needed to guard their Star Shower. They didn't think they'd need to be decorating their house either. But then someone stole theirs, so they're back to decorating the old-fashion way.

"Now we're stuck hanging Christmas lights," said Mary Dempsey, the morning after someone stole her Star Shower from the edge of Salem Road. "I think the Grinch came and stole our Christmas is what I think."

And the family's Star Shower didn't come cheap. Dempsey said she paid $40 for it, but only had it for ten days before it was stolen. They're not easy to replace either because they're racing off store shelves.

"It took me three days to find the Star Shower. I seen my neighbor had it, loved it, and I searched, searched, and searched three days later I found it, the last one, Dollar General in Terryville," she said.

She suggests tying the Star Shower to its extension cord, making it that much harder to steal.

Dempsey also told NBC Connecticut that their neighbors had two Star Showers stolen and expressed frustration someone was "stealing all our Christmas spirit from Prospect."

She said she reported the theft to police. It's unconfirmed whether police have received reports of Star Shower light thefts in the area.

Another NBC Connecticut viewer in Hartford reported her family's Star Shower display was stolen, as well, and that she couldn't find another one in stores.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Christmas Week Preview: Exceptional Warmth Possible


A strong signal exists for well above average warmth the week of Christmas.

While it's impossible to predict specific temperatures or the time a front will pass through this far out, a forecast for the general weather pattern can be made weeks in advance.

A massive, highly anomalous ridge of high pressure will likely be parked over the eastern United States in the days leading up to Christmas. Most of the time this results in above average temperatures.

Surface wind direction is important, especially this time of year, and it looks like a large Bermuda high pressure system at the surface will provide a southwest wind. This is a warm wind direction.

Temperatures could pop into the 60s and even break records.

Now, the western side of a ridge is an area favorable for storminess. Thus, rain is possible as the peak of the warm surge comes to an end. It's not clear when that occurs, but the odds of a white Christmas are extremely low.

Keep in mind, the average high temperature is in the upper 30s next week in the Hartford area. Actual temperatures could end up 20 to 30 degrees above average.

Record high temperatures in the Hartford area next Monday through Friday, respectively, are 60, 64, 61, 59 and 64.

Record high temperatures in the Bridgeport area next Monday through Friday, respectively, are 60, 60, 60, 57 and 59.

School Threats Are on the Rise: Experts


Los Angeles closed its schools Tuesday morning after getting a threat that its students would be attacked with bombs and guns, New York City kept its schools open after receiving a similar threat, and the second guessing began.

Did Los Angeles overreact?

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton said it had. Whoever wrote the threat claimed to be a jihadist but made enough errors to be exposed as a fraud, he said, and joked that the author might be a fan of the television show, “Homeland.” Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City quickly deemed the threat to be a hoax because “it was so generic, so outlandish and posed to numerous to school systems simultaneously.’

But in Los Angeles, still recovering from the attacks in San Bernardino that killed 14 people, officials defended their decision to close more than 900 public schools and 187 charter schools attended by 640,000 students.

"It is very easy in hindsight to criticize a decision based on results the decider could never have known," LA Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a news conference.

The threat was supposed to be from a high school senior, a devout Muslim who had been bullied and who had teamed up with “a local jihadist cell,” according to the Associated Press, which received a copy of the one sent to a New York City school superintendent. It warned that every school in the city would be attacked with pressure cooker bombs, nerve gas agents, machine pistols and machine guns.

"The students at every school in the New York City school district will be massacred, mercilessly,” it read. “And there is nothing you can do to stop it."

The messages were customized to some degree for Los Angeles and New York City — with more than 1 million students and more than 1,800 schools — and that could be important, school safety experts say.

“Just a slight change in what is said when you’re doing threat evaluations can make a world of difference in how you should react,” said Michael Dorn, the executive director of Safe Havens International, a campus safety organization that helps schools prepare for crises.

Both he and Ken Trump, the president of National School Safety and Security Services, said the school districts were working against deadlines because they needed enough time to cancel buses and alert parents. Neither man knew the exactly timing of when the messages were received and whether officials were aware of the other threat or threats.

“That window could have been fairly tight,” Trump said. “You have to consider in this case the proximity to the San Bernardino incident and recent events.”

Yesterday was the third anniversary of the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20 children and six adults were killed by an armed gunman, Adam Lanza.

Dorn predicted more threats that referred to terrorism, especially following the attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, where a string of shootings and suicide bombings killed 130.

“We’ve been getting these for the last couple of years,” he said.

Trump said a study of school threats across the country from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014, found that threats were up 158 percent over the year before. He called the increase an epidemic that was causing fear and frustration for children, parents and educators.

More than a third of the threats were sent electronically via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or apps. About 70 percent involved bomb or shooting threats. About 30 percent of the schools evacuated and 10 percent closed, many unnecessarily.

“We often found that schools were reacting and then assessing rather than assessing and then reacting,” he said. “And sometimes that’s hard to do.”

Ohio topped the list of states getting threats with 64, followed by California (60), Pennsylvania (55), New York (46) and Florida (43).

High schools got 70 percent of the threats, middle schools 18 percent and elementary schools 10 percent.

Schools do need to practice assessing threats like the ones made on Tuesday, both men said.

Trump said that since the Sandy Hook attacks, schools were relying too much on physical security controls. It could be the school custodian or secretary who would notice something amiss, he said.

“No one wants to be alarmist, no one wants to create panic," Trump said, "but we would be negligent from a security perspective if we didn’t also acknowledge that if terrorists wanted to strike at the hearts of America, they’d strike at our children and that schools are soft targets." 

Los Angeles Schools Superintendent Ramon Cortines said early in the day that the district was closed out of "an abundance of caution."

"I am not taking a chance of bringing children into a place, into any part of a building, until I know that it’s safe," Cortines said. "I, as superintendent, am not going to take the chance with the life of a student."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Teens Are Downloading Hidden Sexting Apps


Secret sexting apps uncovered as an alarming new trend for teens.

The apps are often called "vault apps" which allow users to inconspicuously store nude photos or videos on their smartphones.

Oftentimes the apps are disguised by unsuspecting icons like a calculator app that functions like a calculator. Only the person who downloaded it knows how to unlock it with a secret passcode.

“Pretty disturbing actually-- I have not heard that before,” said Mike Noel of Bristol.

Last month, nude photos of more than 100 students at a Colorado high school were circulating in a sexting ring led by the football team. Some believe these vault apps are what kept the scandal unknown for so long.

“Adolescents are way ahead of the game,” said Christine Ohannessian, Director of Children’s Center For Community Research.

Ohannessian, a mother and researcher of adolescent behaviors is all too familiar with the challenge today’s parents face with technology.

“There are software programs out there now that monitor technology use so you can install them on your adolescents phone and it will tell you how much they’re using the internet and what sites they’re visiting as well,” she said.

She said the best thing for parents to do is open the lines of communication, a goal one father we spoke to already has in mind for his daughter.

“Once she gets the phones and into all the apps and that kind of stuff, I monitor what I can. I got to try and stay in front of it myself so I understand it before she does,” said Noel.

Ohannessian also recommends password sharing. Either have them give their password so you can periodically monitor their phones, or set a password only you know in order for apps to be downloaded in the first place.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Connecticut Experiencing Warmer Than Usual Temperatures in December


The record for the warmest December in Hartford was back in 1923 with the average of about 39 degrees for the month. Trends for the month show that record could be broken this month.

This time of year, you’re probably expecting to wear your big winter jackets, but it wasn't hard to find people in t-shirts, even shorts.

NBC Connecticut meteorologists said the so-called winter weather is more typical of what you’d see in October and about 12 degrees above average.

“I’m enjoying it while I can!” said Laurie Julian, who took advantage of the weather at Bushnell Park’s ice skating rink.

“I love it I take advantage of it every year. It strengthens your legs for the year, it’s just nice being out in the fresh air,” said Julian.

She like many others are trying to be outside as much as possible before it gets too cold.

Last December 15 the low in Hartford was 29 degrees, with a high of 47. Today’s low was 55 degrees and a high of 65 degrees.

“I don’t remember that it was this warm before actually,” said Signe Damdar of Newington. She and her family spent their day outside, but the warm weather was the reason why she chose not to ice skate.

“It was so slippery and it was so wet my husband tried it and my son tried it, but I didn’t even try because it was so warm so maybe when it gets colder.”

Temperatures in most of Connecticut were warmer on daybreak today than it was on July 4 this year.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Gun Rights Advocates Call on Gov. Malloy to Stop Guns Order


The 19,000 member strong Connecticut Citizens Defense League has been calling and sending emails to Gov. Dannel Malloy's office urging him not to go through with an executive order that would be aimed at blocking anyone on a federal terror watch list from purchasing a gun.

The governor announced his intention last week but said today that he has not yet signed the action.

“Our hope at this point is that the governor will have a change of heart and see things our way for once" said Scott Wilson, the group's president.

A spokesman for Gov. Malloy said the feedback received by the administration through its Constituent Services division had been, "overwhelmingly positive."

Some emails were provided by the CCDL to NBC Connecticut. One of the emails from a CCDL supporter read, "We have the right to know, and confront our accusers. Other countries in our world, the very quasi-governments that seek to destroy us in the name of radicalized extremist views. You have become the hero of those groups. With the stroke of the pen, you seek to destroy what they do not have, and they want."

When asked about the feedback, Gov. Malloy said Tuesday that the CCDL is standing on the wrong side of the issue. He argues that if names have ended up on watch lists that shouldn't have been, then they're minor mistakes that shouldn't discount his effort to keep guns out of possible terrorists' hands.

“Why don’t we just call it what it is?" Malloy asked rhetorically. "They don’t want anything that inhibits anyone’s rights, even terrorists.”

He added that he thinks CCDL is "out of step" with how the majority of Connecticut residents feel about the topic.

The CCDL's Wilson says he agrees with the governor that terrorists shouldn't be able to legally purchase guns, but said there have to be limits on how government could block certain purchases.

“We don’t want terrorists to get guns but we want to make sure that every American has their due process rights and we do believe that the federal government should step up investigations of anybody that is on a terrorist watch list" Wilson said.

People with credible terrorist ties, Wilson said, "should be arrested, charged, convicted, removed from society, removed from the country if need be.”

I-84 and CT-15 to Get Upgrades as Malloy Pushes for Lockbox Again


Governor Dan Malloy and Transportation Commissioner James Redeker touted $5 million in total investments that will benefit the two highways that see hundreds of thousands of cars every day.

The more drastic project will be building a new tunnel to allow for repairs on the existing Heroes (West Rock) Tunnel on the Wilbur Cross Parkway. The tunnel is the only one in the entire state. The project will cost $2 million.

In West Hartford, there will be a new lane added between exits 39A and 43. The additional lane will ease congestion between those exits. It will not add to the footprint of the highway.

Gov. Malloy also renewed his push for a constitutional lockbox to protect transportation funds.

Lawmakers failed to garner enough votes during last week's Special Session to send the ballot question to voters next November. It fell 14 votes in the Connecticut House after receiving unanimous support in the Connecticut Senate.

"I want no one, ever, to grab money specifically meant for transportation, designated that way, sold that way to voters and then spend that money on anything but transportation."

Malloy said he will try during the 2016 legislative session that starts in February to secure supermajorities in both chambers to get the question to voters in November.

Photo Credit: Connecticut DOT

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp Prepares For Next Term


The Elm City’s first female mayor is preparing for her second term in office after a landslide re-election win.

“A lady told me last night, she says, well we’ve had fathers of the city, now it’s time for a grandmother, so I’ll take it,” Mayor Toni Harp said in her first TV sit down interview since garnering 89 percent of the vote in November.

Mayor Harp first ran for office in 2013 on a campaign focused on economic development, education and public safety.

“I’m hoping that I got the 89 percent is that people really seen that we have followed through on what we promised to do and made a difference in our city,” she said.

Crime is down over the past two years in New Haven, Mayor Harp said, in part because the city has successfully implemented “cutting-edge” community policing.

“People have to believe that you are operating on their behalf,” she said, “that you are really their tool as police officers, that you really are part of their community.”

Soon after she begins her second term on Jan. 1, Mayor Harp will need to select a new fire chief after Allyn Wright steps down January 4th.
“What I want us to do is a national search,” Mayor Harp said, adding there will be an interim chief.
Mayor Harp said education will remain a top priority in her second term. She said she is focused on closing the achievement gap by putting an emphasis on reading.
“What’s most important is that the fundamental skill of reading is something that all of our young people have access to at grade level,” she said.

Mayor Harp replaced former Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who was in office for two decades until 2013. Mayor Harp served for two decades in the state senate and for 11 years she co-chaired the Appropriations Committee.

“I really understood what the state was up against,” she said, “In doing that, I brought that experience to the city and I think that has helped us maintain a balanced budget.”

During her first year in office, the controversial fence that divided New Haven and Hamden and inconvenienced residents since the 1950s was torn down.

“It felt like the Berlin Wall,” Mayor Harp said, “and I never could understand why it was there in the first place, so I’m just pleased everything came together to get that down.”

In year two, Mayor Harp faced the dilemma of the dilapidated Church Street South apartments. Mold and structural deficiencies are forcing residents to relocate.

“It’s not happening as quickly as we’d like,” she said, “but it’s happening. So it takes a little bit longer as you point out there are not a lot of apartments here in New Haven that qualify for Section 8.”
In terms of economic development, Mayor Harp said she is most excited about the new Alexion Pharmaceutical headquarters, which she says is spurring other growth.

“They’re attracting other bio-technical companies to this city and area, and so many young people work in that industry,” Mayor Harp said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Van Found in Hartford Hit-and-Run That Put Man in Coma


Police have found the van belonging to the driver who hit a pedestrian before fleeing the scene at the end of November.

As the driver left, heading east on Homestead Avenue, the witness was able to capture a picture of the back of the car -- a tan Chrysler Town and Country van with Connecticut license plate 395-YMM.

Hartford police identified Ralph McGriff, 52, of Hartford, as a person of interest wanted for questioning in the accident that involved a driver who fled, police said. He frequents the area of 560 Park Street and has an "extensive criminal history," according to police.

Officers responded to the area of 333 Homestead Ave, at 4:41 p.m. on Nov. 23 after receiving a report that a pedestrian was struck and found a man lying in the road.

His legs were broken and he sustained head and arm injuries, according to police, and he was transported to Saint Francis Hospital, where he was placed in a medically induced coma.

Police said they do not believe the man’s injuries are life-threatening.

Police released graphic video taken from the surveillance camera on the Salvation Army building at 333 Homestead Ave.

It shows the man in the crosswalk as a vehicle hits him, throws him into the air and leaves the scene.
A witness police spoke with said the victim was trying to cross the street and landed around 150 feet from where he was hit, police said.

While police had the license plate number, it had not originally led them to a suspect because the plate was misused.

The video surveillance also showed the fleeing vehicle pull into a parking lot near the crash scene, then continue east on Homestead Avenue and out of camera range, police said.

Police are asking anyone with information about what happened to call police or provide a tip on the anonymous tip online. http://www.hartford.gov/Police.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Cars, Houses Riddled With BB Gun Shots in West Haven


Police in West Haven are looking for a BB gun bandit who has been targeting homes and vehicles.

The incidents are leaving a big mess — as well as big repair bills — for residents to deal with.

"This morning, when I’m opening the blinds, I noticed, I said there was a hole," said Robin Foster, a West Haven resident. 

Police investigators said that the hole in her living room window was likely caused by a BB gun shot by someone after sunset on Monday.

"We’re hardworking people," said Foster. "We don’t have extra time or money to spend to fix this stuff that wasn’t broken in the first place."

At least a half dozen cars and homes were vandalized in the area of Dana Street and Campbell and First Avenues.

"Our van window was completely shattered and the gentleman two cars in front of us, his window had two small holes in it," said Jaime Cilinceon.

It may cost Cilinceon a couple hundred dollars to fix the window on the sliding door of her minivan. That repair may come at a cost to her daughters, ages 4 and 7, soon to be ages 5 and 8.

"That’s two hundred dollars that could have gone to the kids’ Christmas," said Cilinceon. "And both girls have birthdays right after Christmas."

West Haven police have not made any arrests or identified any potential suspects in the case.

“Karma – karma is going to get them," said Foster.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Hundreds Weigh in on Windsor Locks Casino at Meeting


Hundreds packed a meeting Tuesday night to weigh in on whether or not putting a new casino in or near Bradley Airport is worth the gamble.

Two proposals were submitted in Windsor Locks, both near Bradley field. One puts the development at Bradley International Airport, while the other puts it at Bobby V’s Sports bar.

Town officials said they would still consider putting it at other sites, but the residents would have to be on board.

"The collectiveness of the town is always stronger than the collectiveness of three members of the board of selectmen," First Selectman Christopher Kervick said.

At the meeting were dozens of construction workers wearing green shirts and supporting the casino they said would be good for the economy.

"Were trying to keep the jobs, the tax dollars and the revenues in Connecticut," Joe Turner, President of the Greater Hartford Building Trades Council said.

Some worry the revenue would have to be spent on ramping up security in order to deal with the crime people believe could come with the casino.

"We’re going to need some money to obviously cover that," Paul Harrington, chairman of the Board of Finance in Windsor Locks said. "Windsor Locks is a small town. We’ve got small town values and we don’t need a casino in this town."

Others argue the crime rates have gone down near the other casinos in Connecticut since opening.

East Hartford, Hartford and Windsor are also vying for the new casino, but negotiations with the tribes have yet to begin. Town leaders in Windsor Locks said if chosen, they will not endorse any plan without bringing it to a referendum.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Colorado Storm Drops 2 Feet of Snow


A snow storm hit Colorado on Tuesday, dropping up to 2 feet of snow leading to a snowplow driving into a creek, hundreds of clogged roads and 425 flights canceled at Denver Airport.The storm also went over Utah. 

Cities around Colorado state reported dozens of inches blanketing the areas. About 24 inches of snow fell in the west-central mountains near McClure Pass, the National Weather Service said. The town of Larkspur, in the foothills north of Colorado Springs, reported 17 inches of snow. 

The snow tapered off Tuesday afternoon as the storm moved northeast, leaving behind drifts up to four feet high, towards Nebraska. It was the first big storm of the season for most of Colorado and Utah. Schools closed in some towns in at least four states.

Photo Credit: Colorado State Patrol

Calif. University Cleared of Threat


The Chapman University campus in Orange, California, was cleared of any threat Tuesday night after a man in a red, yellow and orange sweater was seen with a handgun, prompting evacuations, the university said.

"Chapman University is relieved that, in the wake of a reported possible gunman on campus, and a thorough investigation and search by Orange Police Department and campus Public Safety, no threat was found. After an hour-long search with no suspect found, the law enforcement agencies declared that the campus could resume normal operations," the university said.

Students of the Orange County campus were told to shelter-in-place in certain areas and evacuate in general areas after the "possibly armed man" was spotted near campus, the department of public safety said.

The Orange Police Department searched the campus and it was deemed safe.

Students in DeMille Hall were initially asked to shelter in place, and students elsewhere on campus were told they did not need to evacuate.

The university also noted that if any students were in another building on campus, they should shelter in place.

Sabrina Santoro, a student, said she was in the middle of her math final.

"We were in our classes. Everyone's phones started going off and buzzing," Santoro told NBC4.

A suspect description provided by the university said he had short black hair, was 25 to 30 years old, 5-feet 10-inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds.

He was last seen wearing "red, yellow, and orange sweater" and possibly holding a handgun in his left hand.

About an hour after the initial report, the university said there was no threat, and campus could go back to normal.

Chapman University is located at 1 University Drive in the city of Orange.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Executions, Death Sentences in U.S. Dropping: Report


The number of executions and the number of people sentenced to death in the U.S. fell in 2015, NBC News reported.

Six states put inmates to death, with the total number of executions reaching 28 in the last year — the lowest since 1991, according to a report by Death Penalty Information Center.

New death sentences also slid in 2015, with just 49 sentences expected by Dec. 31. It’s the lowest number since 1973, the center reported.

Opponents of capital punishment are hailing the statistics, while supporters of the death penalty say the low number of executions reflects the problems with getting lethal injection drugs.  

Photo Credit: AP

Congress to Extend Health Care Benefits to 9/11 First Responders


First responders who spent months working at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks will finally receive lifetime medical care for illnesses related to their time “on the pile,” NBC News reported.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act is included in the $1.1 trillion spending package deal reached by Congress and the White House late Tuesday. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the deal on Thursday.

Many first responders developed cancers and other illnesses related to their recovery work, despite being told the air around Ground Zero was safe to breathe.

Congress has been slow to act on ensuring permanent health care, despite overwhelming bipartisan support. Their plight drew support from comedian Jon Stewart, who visited Capitol Hill twice this fall.  

Photo Credit: AP
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