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Worker Killed, Another Critical in Pizza Shop Shooting


A Bridgeport pizza shop worker was shot and killed and another was critically injured during an attempted robbery Friday night.

Police said two men entered Grand Pizza at Grand Street and Main Street around 10:15 p.m. They got in through a rear entrance, according to police.

The men confronted the owner and two workers, and as the owner tried to run out the front door, at least one of the men opened fire with a handgun, shooting both employees.

Both victims were rushed to Saint Vincent's Hospital, where 19-year-old Oscar Martin-Refugio died from his injuries.

The second worker, 41-year-old Humberto Barrera, underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.  He was in critical condition Saturday morning, police said.

"This is a horrible tragedy for these two men and their families right before Christmas, and it's an absolutely terrible thing," Av Harris, a spokesperson for the City of Bridgeport said.

The two men took off on foot and were last seen running northbound on Hurd Avenue.

Police are working to get surveillance video from nearby businesses to try and get images of the two men involved in the shooting.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Bush Calls Trump a 'Jerk' on Campaign Trail



Days after going toe-to-toe with Donald Trump on the debate stage, Jeb Bush seemed to relish his new role as the Republican front-runner's chief critic while campaigning on Saturday in New Hampshire.


"I've got to get this off my chest: Donald Trump is a jerk," Bush said, unprompted, between answering two voters' questions. Then he slammed the billionaire businessman for insulting women, Hispanics and people with disabilities during the campaign.

"Who is he kidding?" Bush asked the crowd. "I gave myself therapy there. Thank you for allowing me to do it," he admitted, half-jokingly.

Bush's frustrations with Trump are not surprising. Once considered the establishment favorite for the party's nomination, Bush's policy-heavy campaign has been sagging for months and failing to break into the double digits in preference polls. Trump, by comparison, continues to dominate the field, seemingly becoming stronger with each new, inflammatory statement he makes, the latest calling to ban Muslims from entering the country.

Bush isn't the first GOP presidential candidate to swing at Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and an outside group backing him, for example, have attacked Trump for months in press releases and digital advertisements. But as Bush engaged repeatedly with Trump in Tuesday's debate, Kasich largely avoided taking on the real estate mogul.

Bush, for his part, says he's stepping up his criticism on Trump now because Trump is displaying shallow ideas on foreign policy.

"Did you hear him talk about foreign policy in the debate?" Bush said, referencing Trump's garbled answer on modernizing the nuclear triad. "He has no clue."

Of Vladimir Putin, Bush said, "he will respect strength, not a clown show."

Trump leads the polls in New Hampshire, where success in the Feb. 9 primary could make or break Bush's ability to continue running. Bush is competing with Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to carry the party's establishment mantle. And he's casting his decision to go after Trump, in part, as a move to save the Republican party.

"The idea that he's actually running for president and insulting people is deeply discouraging to be honest with you, and we should reject that out of hand," Bush said. "A guy like that should not be the front-running candidate of our great party — that is not how we win."

It's a welcome approach to some New Hampshire voters.

"It's really important for New Hampshire to send a message that we don't want Trump or (Texas Sen. Ted) Cruz to take over the Republican party," said Dick Beyer, a self-described moderate Republican who saw Bush on Saturday morning.

Still, Bush has a long way to climb. A voter asked Bush if he could show in the rest of his campaign the same passion he shows in town halls, a worry perhaps stemming from Trump's early branding of Bush as "low energy." Another voter asked Bush how he'd go about defeating Trump.

That, Bush said, is ultimately up to the voters. And he suggested the wrong choice could hurt the state's first-in-the-nation primary.

"You're the answer," Bush said. "The question is, will New Hampshire want to support a guy who might tarnish this extraordinary status that you have."


Photo Credit: AP

Texas Churches Split on Open Carry


Faith leaders across North Texas have two weeks to decide whether to allow members of their congregations to openly carry firearms inside places of worship.

The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, gives businesses the option to prohibit open carry.

"We have decided that we are not going to allow anyone to openly carry firearms on our campus, especially during church activities," said Ben Lovvorn, executive pastor of operations at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

First Baptist does allow its members to carry concealed handguns, and Lovvorn said the church knows who is armed. Instead of posting the necessary signage to ban open carry at the church, Lovvorn believes parishioners will comply with the church's request to conceal their firearms.

"We just recognized that if anybody comes in and they're openly carrying a firearm, that's going to be a distraction from worship. We're not putting up the signs because we don't want the signs to be a distraction," he said.

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas is going a step further and will post signs stating that openly carrying firearms is prohibited at it 75 member churches.

"Bishop (Kevin) Farrell along with the Catholic bishops around the country have made the decision that our churches are houses of worship. They believe that there is not a place in our churches for guns or weapons," said Catholic Diocese of Dallas spokeswoman Annette Gonzales Taylor.

The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and Shearith Israel, one of Dallas' largest Jewish congregations, have yet to determine an open carry policy.

Open Carry Texas, a statewide activist group that helped push the open carry law through the state legislature, has asked churches not to post signs banning firearms. The organization believes advertising that a congregation is unarmed could make it a target, though the group's president, C.J. Grisham, has asked that gun owners conceal-carry while at church.

While gun advocates believe open carry increases safety, Taylor said the diocese does not want parishioners to feel uncomfortable.

"We have heard from parishioners who have said that they believe they would feel uneasy if they did see people with guns openly displayed," she said. "We've asked our pastors to assess their security plans and to have a heightened awareness, and most of our parishes do have off duty police officers, law enforcement, that serve as security during their services."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Branford Police Seek Armed Robbery Suspect


Police are asking for the public’s help identifying a man who robbed the Branford Mobil Station on 48 Leetes Island Road Friday night.

Police say the suspect entered the store and indicated that he had a firearm in his waistband during the convenience store robbery just after 10:00 p.m.

The suspect is described as an unshaven 6’ male between 25 and 40 years old.

He was last seen wearing a brown winter jacket, blue jeans and a black ski mask.

Police believe the suspect fled in the direction of the Stop and Shop parking lot on 22 Leetes Island Road.

A Ford Ranger white pickup truck, with a ladder rack and ladder that was seen leaving the area and is believed to be the robber’s vehicle.

Police are still investigating the incident and ask anyone with information to contact the Branford Police Department at 203-481-4241 or call the Branford Crime Tip Line at 203-315-3909.

Photo Credit: Branford Police Department

Route 8 Reopens After Crash in Naugatuck


Route 8 in Naugatuck has reopened after a two-car crash.

The accident happened between Exits 26 and 25, according to state police.

More information was not immediately available. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Man Arrested in North Haven Burglaries


North Haven Police have arrested one man who they say is connected to a larger network of people responsible for several burglaries and thefts over the past year.

Police say 34-year-old Delnacer Acosta of New Haven was arrested on Friday, December 18 in New Haven. At the time of his arrest, Accosta had six active warrants.

Police believe Acosta personally stole over $1,800 worth of batteries from Ryder Truck on McDermott Road last December and, several weeks later, a vehicle while his associates broke into 110 storage units at Stowaway Storage on Quinnipiac Avenue.

This past January, police say Acosta was one of two people who smashed the front glass door of the Radio Shack on Universal Drive where they stole merchandise and the contents of the cash register.

Acosta has been charged with three counts of Failure to Appear, three counts of Larceny and two counts each of Conspiracy, Burglary, and Trespassing.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Meriden Superior Court on December 21.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Authorities: $3M in Cocaine Seized


A private in the U.S. Army Reserves and another man are facing drug-related charges after authorities seized $3 million worth of cocaine shipped from Boston to New York City, authorities said Saturday.

Mark Soto, 23, and Xavier Herbert-Gumbs, 24, were arraigned Friday in Manhattan on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to a statement from Bridget G. Brennan, New York City's special narcotics prosecutor. Bail was set at $400,000.

Both Soto, who's in the Army Reserves, and Herbert-Gumbs live in Puerto Rico.

An ongoing investigation by state and federal prosecutors identified the pair as members of a major narcotics trafficking network. Both were arrested Thursday during traffic stops in the Bronx.

Herbert-Gumbs possessed 110 pounds of cocaine, which was pressed into brick-shaped packages, authorities said. Soto was arrested a short time later with about 26 pounds of cocaine in the trunk of his vehicle, prosecutors said. Soto's vehicle also contained an identification card with Herbert-Gumbs' name and photograph, they said.

The cocaine had been transported from Boston to New York, investigators said.

Soto's attorney did not immediately return a call for comment. An email to the Army Reserves press office for details about Soto's assignment was not immediately returned.

A number for Herbert-Gumbs' attorney went unanswered Saturday. Herbert-Gumbs' occupation wasn't immediately clear.

Photo Credit: Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Host 'SNL,' Bringing Past Lessons


Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returned to “Saturday Night Live” as hosts, bringing with them their impressions from their time as cast members on the show.

In a skit roughly based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Fey and Poehler --whose new movie "Sisters" comes out this month -- jumped into their familiar characters of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in a Christmas Past and Present sketch.

Just as the real Clinton was finishing the third Democratic Debate, Kate McKinnon – the actress who has taken the role of impersonating Clinton -- was portraying the presidential candidate in a sketch. Just as McKinnon’s present day Clinton goes to sleep, a fog fills the room and out comes Poehler’s 2008 Clinton, who was also a presidential candidate at the time.

The Clinton past has a warning for 2015 Clinton.

"On Christmas Eve 2007 I was cocky too and then someone named Barack Obama stumbled out of a soup kitchen with a basketball and a cigarette and stole my life," she said.

2015 Clinton brushes the warning aside, saying that she’s running against a “human Birkenstock,” Bernie Sanders.

Then the current candidate tells the old Clinton that the Republican frontrunner is now Donal Trump, causing the two to yip for joy.

"Oh my God. We're going to be president!" they yell.

Fey joins the skit as Palin -- bangs and blazer clad.

"Oh yeah, we ran for president together," the former candidate for vice president remembers. "You poor thing, I heard that after you lost you had to become a secretary," she laments to Clinton, who went on to serve as Obama's secretary of state.

The Clinton of 2008 prepares to leave and pulls out her phone, saying that she can’t wait to email everyone about the good news. But present Clinton grabs it and throws it on the ground.

"Trust me. You'll thank me later," she explains.

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6-Year-Old Shoots Self


A six-year-old girl found a loaded handgun in her home in Clairemont and shot herself in the foot Saturday afternoon officials said. 

The incident happened in the 3800 block of Caminito Drive at approximately 3:15 p.m. 

Both of the girl's parents were home at the time as well as two other siblings. 

The girl's father drove her to the fire station on Chateau Drive where medics met them. She has been taken to the children's hospital. 

San Diego Police Department's Child Abuse Unit is investigating. 

Photo Credit: NBC7

Hospital Officer-Involved Shooting


A 26-year-old man was shot and killed by officers at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in the South Bay, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Saturday.

The shooting occurred inside the hospital in Torrance.

A man was taken into custody as a vandalism suspect in the 1600 block of West 207th Street in Torrance.

Police said he was throwing bottles at an apartment building. He "viciously" attacked two police officers, trying to take one of their stun guns.

The officers were taken to the hospital with injuries.

The man was also taken to the hospital.

Two different officers were taking off the man's handcuffs as he was on the gurney at the hospital when an altercation occurred. 

Police said the man attacked officers, and began swinging a metal chair at them. At one point, officers used a stun gun to try to subdue him.

Police said the man then reached for a gun in the officer's holster. 

"The suspect picked up a metal stool within the emergency room and it was about that time that the officer tried the TASER," Commander Philip Tingirides of the LAPD said. "A witness stated that the suspect reached for one of the officers' guns. At that point an officer involved shooting occurred, and one round was fired."

Despite efforts from the ER staff to revive him, he died. 

Police delayed addressing the public as to what had occurred until next of kin was notified that the man had died. 

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is located at 1000 West Carson Street.

It is the only Level 1 Trauma center in the area that provides care to insured and uninsured patients, and is a teaching hospital, according to its site.

Photo Credit: RMG News

Family Recovers Stolen Dog & Car


With one week until Christmas, a South Bay family has already received the best gift they could hope for this year: their stolen dog and car returned.

On Sunday, Caitlin Wollman said a new roommate took her dog, Tyson, on a walk in Ocean Beach. However, the roommate never came back, and Wollman soon noticed her car was gone as well.

Inside the vehicle were Christmas presents for her 3-year-old daughter, Violet, who has a rare liver disease.

“I don't understand how somebody could take a family dog or let alone a car with a car seat in it,” said Wollman. “It's beyond me; it's disgusting, disappointing , just unreal. I'm still in shock.

After she filed a police report, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department found the roommate this week and arrested her. However, neither the dog nor the car was with her.

Instead, tribal police in Sycuan found Tyson and the vehicle with another man, who was also taken into custody.

On Friday, an ecstatic Violet was reunited with her dear friend.

“I am very happy that he's home,” said Wollman. “We didn't think we were ever going to see him again. To be perfectly honest, this is our family home dog. Christmas is coming up. It's traumatizing to my child. This dog means a lot to all of us, and we are really happy to have him home.”

Their stolen car was found damaged; the Christmas toys inside were gone. Wollman filed a new police report for the taken items, and she is also raising money to get her car out of the impound lot.

One Injured in Wisconsin Mall


A 19-year-old man was hurt during a shooting inside a mall in Madison, Wisconsin Saturday afternoon.

The man was shot in the leg after several young men got into some kind of dispute, according to Madison police. Witnesses said one of the men pulled out a handgun and fired at least one round.

The 19-year old was taken to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries, according to police. Investigators have not yet found the suspected gunman.

A reporter with WMTV, an NBC affiliate, posted a photo of the scene on Twitter of shoppers gathered outside the mall.

As of 3:39 p.m., the mall was declared secure, according to WMTV.

A notice posted on the mall's website said: "The mall is temporarily closed due to a safety concern." It remained closed as of 4:45 p.m.

East Towne Mall is an 840,000-square-foot shopping center with 110 specialty retailers, according to its website.

Photo Credit: Sharon Yoo/WMTV

Pope Says Syria, Libya Agreements Raise Hopes of Peace


Pope Francis expressed his "eager approval" on Sunday for two agreements reached by the international community aimed at ending the civil war in Syria and forming a national unity government in Libya, NBC New reported.

"The commitment to form a national unity government, taken on recently by those involved, encourages hope for the future," Francis, who turned 79 on Thursday, told crowds around the Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square.

The United Nations Security Council veto powers agreed a draft resolution last week to endorse an international roadmap for a peace process in Syria, where almost five years of civil war has killed more than 250,000 people.

Photo Credit: AP

Marvel Legend Stan Lee on His 'Amazing Fantastic Incredible' Life


With Stan Lee's 93rd birthday near, the man behind Marvel comics released a comic memoir on his life titled "Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir," NBC News reported. 

His humble origin story begins in Manhattan during the Great Depression, when he was known as Stanley Martin Lieber.

Lee has spent his career creating an entire universe of heroes and villains, and while his creations now are ubiquitous throughout conventions and fan gatherings around the world, there was a time long ago when he was embarrassed to tell people he wrote comics for a living.

"When I got into comics, they were on the bottom of the cultural totem pole," Lee said.

Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision

2 More Staffers Suspended Over DNC Data Breach


Two more staffers working for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' have been suspended in the wake of the revelation that the campaign had improperly accessed and downloaded voter data belonging to the Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The Sanders campaign communications director Michael Briggs confirmed to NBC News Sunday that two more staffers were suspended for involvement in the breach, which was made public Friday.

Briggs declined to name the staffers, who he said were suspended Saturday after logs regarding the breach were handed over to the campaign by the DNC. He said the two weren't fired "because we are still assessing the situation." 

Photo Credit: AP

Berlin Apartment Complex Evacuated After Fire


Nearly 100 people were evacuated out of their homes in Berlin after an early morning fire.

The fire department was called to the Prentice Apartments on New Britain Road just before 3 a.m. Fire fighters say a fire broke out in a unnoccupied part of the building.

The fire department was able to put the fire out within minutes. After the fire was out, they had to go door-to-door to make sure that every resident was out safely.

"I opened the door and I looked to see the hallway and I did smell smoke and then I did look outside and a lot of people were asked to go outside," said resident Anne Kerin

Many people took shelter from the cold in their cars, while others choose to keep warm on a bus that was provided fo those who evacuated. 

Everyone was eventually allowed back inside and there were no injuries reported.

Ryan on Spending Bill, Obama and 2016


House Speaker Paul Ryan is dismissing conservative criticism of the $1.1 trillion spending bill that Congress passed on Friday, saying that Republican leaders "fought for as much as we could get" in the compromise legislation.

"We advanced our priorities and principles. Not every single one of them, but many of them. And then we're going to pick up next year and pick up where we left off and keep going for more," he told NBC's Chuck Todd in an interview on Meet the Press.

The deal, which keeps government agencies funded through next fall, cuts taxes and lifts the ban on crude oil exports, received the votes of 150 Republicans in the House, a level of support seldom seen by Ryan's predecessor, John Boehner. 

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Spike in Hate Attacks Against Muslims in U.S.: Report


Muslims in America appear to have a bull's-eye on their backs.

Hate crimes targeting Muslims, their mosques and businesses, have tripled this year and the bulk of the attacks have occurred in recent weeks, according to a tally by California State University San Bernardino college professor Brian Levin.

There have been 38 anti-Muslim attacks in the U.S. since the deadly Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Levin found, NBC News reported.

And 18 of those happened in the wake of the Dec. 2 slaughter in San Bernardino, according to Levin, whose office is just nine miles from the government building where a radicalized Muslim couple murdered 14 people and wounded 22 more before they were killed by law enforcement.

There were 481 anti-Islam hate crimes reported in 2001, most of them after the Sept. 11 attacks, for an average monthly rate of 40.1, according to FBI statistics crunched by Levin.

Over the last five years, Levin found that there were 150.8 anti-Islamic hate crimes per year for a monthly average of 12.6.

Photo Credit: File--AP

Trump: Clinton 'Lies Like Crazy About Everything'


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump branded Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton a liar in an interview with Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"She lies like crazy about everything," Trump said. "She's a liar and everybody knows that."

The real-estate mogul was referring to a comment Clinton made at Saturday night's Democratic primary debate, where she asserted that Trump's rhetoric about temporarily banning Muslims from entering the U.S. is feeding into the ISIS recruitment strategy. 

Fact-checkers have by and large been unable to verify this claim. However, in a later interview, the chair of Clinton's campaign said the candidate stands by her comments.

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One Dead After Wallingford Crash


One man is dead after a crash on I-91 north in Wallingford Sunday afternoon.

State police say Walter Sarmiento-Bustamante, 26, of Manchester was traveling in the left lane near exit 15 around 1:10 p.m. when the vehicle struck the wire rope guardrail on the left shoulder. The car then cut across the three travel lanes and struck a tree on the right shoulder.

Sarmiento-Bustamante suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead on scene.

The crash caused lane closures in the area for several hours while crews responded and police investigated. Police say anyone who may have witnessed the crash should contact Trooper Cummings #1279 of Troop I at (203) 393 4200.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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