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Students Return After John F. Kennedy School Evacuation


John F. Kennedy School in Milford was evacuated because of an odor on Friday morning, but school is back in session.

The fire department and Southern Connecticut Gas Company responded as a precaution to evaluate the situation and found no gas leak. 

School officials said there were delays due to traffic in the Bic Drive/Sub Way/Interstate 95 corridor. 

This situation is clear and everything is back to normal.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM

Landlord Solicited Sex With Tenants for Rent: Police


Police have arrested a landlord who is accused trying to intimidate tenants into performing sex acts rather than paying rent for properties he leased.

Richard Bruno, 46, of Waterford, was arrested on Thursday by the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit, who worked with the New London and Waterford police department.

New London Police started investigations allegations that Bruno was trying to extort sexual acts in lieu of cash for properties he had leased to tenants, police said. The allegations also included possible solicitation of sexual acts from children, police said.

As detectives investigated, Bruno solicited a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl online and arranged to pay her money and meet up with her in New London for sexual acts, police said.

When he arrived at the location they set as the meeting place on Thursday, police took him into custody and brought him to the New London Police Department, where he was charged with one count of criminal attempt at trafficking in persons, one count of second-degree criminal attempted sexual assault, two counts of risk and impairing the morals of a minor and two counts of enticement of a minor.

He was able to post a $150,000 bond and is due at New London Superior Court on May 19.

Police also searched Bruno’s home and said they seized evidence to support the allegations. The Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit is investigating.

NBC Connecticut went to Bruno's home and knocked on the door, but no one answered. Bruno Plumbing is registered to the address and NBC Connecticut called the phone number listed for the company, but no one answered. It’s not clear if Bruno has an attorney.

Police continue to investigate and more charges are expected, according to police.

Anyone with information about this case should call State Police Detective Samantha McCord at 203-427-4062.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Route 313 Closed in Seymour

Concerns Over Super Deadly Drug


When nine pounds of an ultra-powerful painkiller called W-18 was seized by Canadian authorities last month, an Edmonton doctor tweeted it was "enough to kill every man, woman and child in Alberta about 45 times over."

Now, police departments in the Philadelphia region are on high alert for the drug after the Drug Enforcement Administration told them W-18 may have entered into the area’s heroin market.

The chemical, which can be mixed with heroin, has been described as "10,000 times stronger than morphine." Because of that potency, a tiny dose would be fatal. W-18 is likely manufactured in underground Chinese laboratories, the Drug Enforcement Administration is telling local police departments, and the drug remains unregulated.

Narcotics officers in Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs like Bensalem and Camden, New Jersey, said in interviews this week they are well aware of W-18, but detectives haven't found any hard evidence of its existence in the local black market yet.

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That hasn't stopped drug dealers from rebranding their heroin packets as containing W-18 in an effort to raise the appeal among drug users.

"The past few months, we've been aware of it," said Philadelphia police narcotics Chief Daniel MacDonald. "We haven’t actually come across it in and of itself. We’ve heard of people blending it with heroin to bolster it. The police lab is aware of it."

Still, MacDonald said, the Philadelphia police department's lab has yet to determine with certainty that W-18 has hit the streets. There is some speculation among the law enforcement community that W-18 may be undetectable to current standard opioid testing.

W-18 made its first appearance in the mainstream press last year when some pills containing it were found in a stache of fentanyl in Alberta, Canada. Much larger batches of the chemical have since been found in Miami and Edmonton.

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The drug itself has been around since the early 1980s. Its patent dates to 1984, according to a Forbes story on the drug last week. It was among 35 chemicals patented by pharmaceutical chemists that appeared to be painkillers in tests on mice. It's name is derived from the graduate student who created it and its position as the 18th chemical in the list of 35 patented at the time.

Bensalem police Director Fred Harran said his detectives also have been on the lookout for W-18 since the beginning of the year after warnings from the DEA.

"Heroin and fentanyl are still the biggest problems when it comes to overdoses at this point," Harran said. "It's very frustrating. Look, we know how to go tackle this problem better. We need to regulate prescription drugs harder. Our wiretap laws have not caught up with the technology out there. There are more overdoses in this country than deaths related to al-Qaida. I'm not saying the fight against terrorism isn't worth fighting. But this [opiod addiction] is a huge problem."

The increased potency — and deadliness — of drugs like fentanyl and W-18 doesn't deter users, police and health officials said. The opposite usually occurs.

"There's some allure to it because it's super strong," MacDonald said.


Whether it's present in the local market or not, the region is already dealing with an overwhelming opioid epidemic, according to Dr. Brian Work, a physician at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center who also works at Prevention Point in Kensington.

"People are dying from heroin in record numbers and fentanyl in large numbers," Work said. "It's hard worrying about the next thing down the pipe."

One detectives in Darby Township said the DEA's warning has been heeded, but he's hoping W-18 never becomes reality.

"We've heard it's some real bad stuff," Detective Cory Cooper said. "I could go a very long time without seeing it, and be very happy."

Photo Credit: NBC 10
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Rain Gives Way to Sun on Mother's Day


Mother's Day will be the pick of the weekend, despite morning rain.

First though, a thunderstorm is possible today, with highs well into the 50s. A period of heavy rain is likely this evening.

The source of this long, unsightly stretch of weather is what's called an "omega" block. Essentially, the weather is wet on the edges, with sunshine in the middle.

Connecticut enjoyed the middle of an "omega" block back in April, but recently it's been the eastern edge of a block bringing the clouds and the rain.

Tomorrow will be cloudy, with isolated showers. Highs will be near 60.

Mother's Day starts with a few morning and midday showers, then clearing is expected. The afternoon hours will be best, with a little breeze. Highs will be in the lower 60s.

Early next week, finally, sunshine returns. Monday looks like a great day with highs soaring into the middle 60s. Still below average, but it will be much warmer than this week has been!

Clouds return Tuesday with highs in the upper 60s.

There's a chance for showers on Wednesday, when temperatures will be near 60.

A mix of sun and clouds is expected Thursday, with highs in the middle 60s.

Teen Shot Outside Wallingford Liquor Store


A teenager was shot in the stomach outside a liquor store in Wallingford on Thursday night and his friend sought out medical help through an internet search, but they were turned away because the facility offers specialty care for people with long-term and chronic conditions.

The victim, a 19-year-old Milford man called 911 at 8:56 p.m. on Thursday from the parking lot of 57 Hall Road, Cook Hill Elementary School and police responded to find him with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. The victim was then transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital. His injuries are not life-threatening.

Police determined that the shooting happened outside the Connecticut Beverage Mart, at 1070 North Colony Road, when the victim and an 18-year-old from Bridgeport meet up with another person.

Once they arrived, the person the two were meeting with shot the victim, police said.

After the shooting, the victim’s companion did an internet search for the nearest hospital and drove him to Gaylord Hospital, believing he could get treatment there, but the specialty care hospital turned them away.


The victim then called 911 and the dispatcher told them to pull over, essentially into the parking lot of Cook Hill School.

Police are investigating and ask anyone with information or who witnessed the incident to call Det. Fairbrother at 203-294-2845.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

'Blue Wall' Gives Trump Little Room for Error: Analysis


Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will have his own wall to face in the presidential election: the "Blue Wall," according to NBC News.

The election is decided by a handful of key states that sit on the political fence between either party. The "Blue Wall" describes the eighteen states and the District of Columbia that have voted for a Democratic candidate since 1992, accounting for 242 electoral votes, only 28 votes shy of the 270 they needed to win. That gives Democrats plenty of room for error.

Republicans, on the other hand, have consistently won only 13 states over that same period, for a total of 102 electoral votes. Trump needs to win both Florida and Ohio, or he needs flip long-held Democratic states like Pennsylvania.

Photo Credit: AP

Double-Amputee Refugee Denied Entry


A double-amputee Syrian refugee was denied entry into the United States on Tuesday after landing at LAX and being forced to return to Europe, according to the Council of American-Islamic Relations, who called for his release.

According to CAIR, Morhaf Alkordi, who lost both his legs in 2013, had come to LA for medical treatment after his family reached an agreement with the Hanger Clinic in Downey to treat Alkordi for free.

"He arrived in the United States filled with hope and excitement. Less than 24 hours after his arrival, he was shipped back to Berlin as if he were damaged goods," said Alkordi's uncle, Malek Taweil, in a press release distributed by CAIR.

"Such treatment is unacceptable and not befitting the image and values of our country, especially against a victim of war who has already endured so much pain and suffering," Taweil added.

Alkordi's treatment, which had an estimated cost of anywhere from $24,000 to $90,000, would give him a chance to walk again. He was planning to return to Germany after the treatment, where his wife and daughter live.

"He's lost the ability to pursue his personal goals and dreams and this was that opportunity," said Alkordi's aunt, Marianne Taweil.

The State Department granted Alkordi a B-2 Visa, which was supposed to give him six months to get treated. He was then denied entry by Customs and Border patrol, which cited the Privacy Act when declining to comment on the case.

Alkordi's attorney, Farida Chehata, said authorities cited that he did not want to return to Syria, and that he was unemployed, as reasons for sending him back to Europe.

Chehata and Alkordi's family are now hoping the Department of Homeland Security cooperates with them in reviewing paperwork. Chehata is characterizing their case now as "a last ditch effort," as they attempt to get a humanitarian parole.

"For anybody who is a refugee from a war torn country, it's going to be difficult for him to be able to receive another B-2 visa after he was denied entry and returned back to Germany," Chehata said.

Photo Credit: CAIR/Alkordi Family

Police Search for Shrimp Thief


A person stole shrimp from a supermarket in Colchester and police are trying to identify the person.

The shrimp shoplifting happened at Stop & Shop in Colchester on Tuesday and police said the man selected several hundred dollars of shrimp and walked out of the store.

Store security and the manager attempted to detain the person and were able to recover around half of the shrimp before the shoplifter fled in a small silver SUV, possibly a Honda CR-V. police said.

The vehicle was left running in the parking lot and it did not have any license plates. Anyone who recognizes the person should call 860-537-7270.

Photo Credit: Colchester Police

Dean Accused of Raping Student


A former dean at Florida International University is accused of sexually assaulting a female graduate student during a study abroad trip to Italy in December 2014.

The student, who filed a federal lawsuit seeking more than $75,000 in damages, claims then-associate dean Adam Drisin raped her after a night of drinking as the semester overseas was winding down.

"When parents send their kids to school, they send them for education, not to be exploited," said the student's attorney, Omar Malone.

According to Malone, Drisin invited three students back to his room after a night out in Italy and served them Bailey's. 

After passing out, the alleged victim woke up "totally naked" and had "no recollection" of what took place, until another student told her what had happened, according to the lawsuit.

Malone said the student reported the alleged assault to a professor, who then told the administration, where the case is still under review.

"A number of the students have given statements that are consistent with what we've alleged," Malone said.

Asked why the lawsuit was filed more than a year after the alleged incident, Malone emphasized the importance of being thorough.

"Anytime allegations such as this are raised, there's an extensive investigation that needs to take place," he explained.

Drisin, who graduated from Cornell and taught at Harvard before his tenure at FIU, has since left the university and is job hunting at colleges across the country.

He addressed the allegations in a text message to NBC 6, calling them unfounded and saying the truth will come out in court. 

"These allegations are totally false. This will all be proven to be a frivolous case. There is ample proof that will be presented to support a very different story," Drisin said.

An FIU spokesperson said the most important thing to the school is the health and safety of students. The university declined to comment specifically on the case, citing "pending proceedings."

Photo Credit: NBC6.com

2 Dead, 2 Hurt in Md. Shootings


Two people were killed and two others were injured in separate shootings Friday morning at a shopping center and mall in Montgomery County, Maryland, police say.

One man killed at the mall had tried to help a woman as she was confronted by the shooter, according to a witness.

Students and staff at all Montgomery County schools sheltered in place. Lockdowns are in place at other institutions in the area, north of Washington, D.C. 

Montgomery County Police have asked the FBI to help investigate whether the two shootings are connected to a fatal shooting Thursday outside a high school in Beltsville, Maryland, Police Chief Paul Starks said. 

The suspect in Thursday's shooting — and possibly in the mall shooting Friday — was identified as 62-year-old Eulalio Tordil, of Adelphi, an employee of the Federal Protective Service. He is 5-foot-5 and weighs 165 pounds, Prince George's County police said.

Tordil was last seen driving a silver 2015 Hyundai/Elantra with the Pennsylvania license plate JZA0123, according to police.

A source told News4 the description of the shooter at the mall matches the description of Tordil. Police believe Tordil is armed and dangerous.

Anyone who sees anything suspicious is asked to call 911. 

Three people were shot outside Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda, Maryland, by a shooter police believe was a stranger to the victims, Montgomery County Police say.

Separately, police responded to a fatal shooting outside the Giant grocery store on the 13000 block of Connecticut Avenue in Aspen Hill, Maryland, about 8 miles northeast of the mall. A woman was shot and killed, police say.

Police have not identified any of the victims.

Students and staff at all schools in Montgomery County sheltered in place, school officials say. All but five schools were expected to dismiss students on time. Suburban Hospital in Bethesda is on lockdown, a hospital representative said. All park facilities in the county are on lockdown with an order to shelter in place.

The National Institutes of Health main campus is on "heightened alert," a spokesman said. Leased NIH facilities in the Bethesda and Rockville area are on lockdown.

Investigators are examining whether the two shootings Friday have any connection to a fatal shooting Thursday afternoon in a parking lot of a high school in Beltsville, Maryland, the Montgomery County police chief said.

A man shot and killed his estranged wife, Gladys Tordil, and shot and injured a bystander about 4:40 p.m. Thursday at High Point High School, police said. Police identified the suspect as Tordil.

The three people shot at the Westfield Montgomery Mall, two men and one woman, were shot in a parking lot and all initially were in critical condition, police said. They were rushed to Suburban Hospital, a representative said.

One victim, a man, later died. Another man is in critical condition, and a woman has non-life-threatening injuries, Starks said in an update. The hospital is on lockdown, the representative said.

Police say preliminary information indicates the shooter fired at one victim and then two people went to the victim's aid. The shooter then fired at those two people, police say, according to initial information. 

"We have no reason to believe the victims knew the suspect," Montgomery County Assistant Chief Darryl McSwain said. "But we are certainly looking at all angles."

A woman was walking towards Macy's when a man approached her and asked where she was going, one witness told News4's Chris Gordon. When the woman didn't answer, the suspect reached into his car, pulled out a gun and started shooting. The woman was shot in the shoulder, and two men who were not involved in the initial confrontation also were wounded, the witness said.

The mall on Democracy Boulevard off I-270 was not locked down, a witness said. A man who answered the phone in the mall's management office said he could not confirm whether the mall ever was locked down Friday.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

Photo Credit: WRC
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Emergency Crews Respond to Serious Crash in Colchester

Drivers Urged to Avoid Part of Berlin Turnpike


Police are urging people to avoid part of the Berlin Turnpike because of low-hanging wires.

The issue is on the southbound side of the road, just before Middletown Road, in Berlin

One lane is open.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Rescued Donkeys Available for Adoption in Connecticut


Twenty six donkeys arrived at the Foster Hill Farm and Garden of Stafford Springs on Thursday night and they will be available for adoption.

The donkeys were brought from San Angelo, Texas as part of the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue,

a non-profit organization that rescues donkeys that are abused, neglected or abandoned.

They rescue 750 to 1,000 donkeys every year with the ultimate goal of placing them all in homes.

“They are great pets. They are like big dogs. So we are looking for homes that appreciate the fact that they are a rescue animal, They come from a sordid past and we just want good, kind, loving people to take our donkeys home,” Mark Meyers, the executive director of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, said.

Meyers said donkeys have a very protective nature.

In Texas, you will see donkeys out with sheep, goats and cows to keep predators at bay. They also bond with horses and people and make great companions.

A companion is exactly what Sue Spiewakowski, of Ashford, was looking for when she went to the farm with her daughter Alexia.

“We had two horses, one of them just passed away about a month ago. We were looking for a companion,” Spiewakowski said. “It seemed like a perfect fit that a donkey is a very good companion for a horse, so we are excited.”

Her daughter Alexia named their new donkey Lucy.

“I am really excited,” Alexia said.

Before placing the donkeys up for adoption (http://www.donkeyrescue.org/adoption_policy) PVDR makes sure they are friendly and will pick up their feet for trimming.

The Foster Hill Farm and Garden on Stafford Street in Stafford Springs will be the organization’s new satellite location in the northeast. The next closest location is in Virginia.

“We bring the donkeys up and they adopt them out under our policies. Then they can keep an eye on the homes and if there is a problem, they can come back here and get re-adopted,” Meyers said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Middletown Man Wanted in Nevada Arrested in Cromwell


A Middletown man who was wanted on kidnapping and home invasion charges in Nevada was taken into custody in Cromwell.

The U.S. Marshal Service reached out to Cromwell Police at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday to help apprehend a fugitive from justice and said the suspect was believed to be working in the Cromwell area.

Members of the U.S. Marshal Services Fugitive Task Force an Cromwell police officers took Ronnie Ward Gaston 25, of Middletown, into custody at 4:12 p.m.

Gaston was charged with being a fugitive from justice from the State of Nevada.

Police said the charges against Gaston him include, but are not limited to, home invasion with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, robbery with a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon.

He is being held on a $500,000 bond and appeared in Middletown Superior Court on Friday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Paralyzed Kitten Zips Around in Toy Wheelchair


Things are looking up for a paralyzed kitten abandoned on a Long Island street, thanks to a new homemade wheelchair made by its caretakers at an animal hospital.

The weeks-old kitten was brought in to Massapequa Pet Vet by a rescuer and was found to be partially paralyzed in both of its back legs, veterinarian Dr. Ned Horowitz told NBC 4 New York. 

Some technicians at the animal hospital decided to fashion a small wheelchair for the kitten using a couple connecting Legos. They may have been inspired by canine carts, made for dogs that are paralyzed or need assistance walking.

Video posted to the clinic's Facebook page shows the kitten trying the cart on for the first time and immediately taking off. 

"She's motoring around!" a worker is heard saying in the background. 

"'Look at me go!' She's like, 'I don't care, I'm gonna keep going.'"

The kitten, which turned to be male, had been "kind of just laying in its cage" after it was brought in, but as soon as it was outfitted with the wheelchair, "he totally took off," Horowitz told NBC 4 New York.

Horowitz says it's not clear why the cat was paralyzed, but he does seem to respond to squeezes on some parts of the legs, which is a good sign.

The goal for the kitten now is to help him walk again with physical therapy. The wheelchair could act as a stepping stone for therapy because "you don't want the muscles in the back legs to atrophy," said Horowitz. "So we basically let him run around with the cart."

He's hoping the kitty will be able to walk within a few weeks. The kitten will be put up for adoption as soon as Horowitz determines it's OK. 

Suspects Hit Detectives, Choked Police Dogs: Police


Two men are accused of hitting police detective and choking two police dogs in Milford on Thursday night.

Detectives from the Milford Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice Unit noticed two suspicious men in a vehicle at the Howard Johnson’s on Thursday, so they went to investigate, but the men became combative, police said.

Police identified the two suspects as Karim Harrison, 40, of New Haven, and Harrison Rowbotham, 20, of Guilford, as said offices subdued them, but the men hit the officers and choked the K9s.

The police officers and K9s were not seriously injured and hospital staff treated Harrison and Rowbotham.

Police said the suspects y also had crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Harrison and Rowbotham were charged with possession of narcotics, conspiracy possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell, conspiracy possession of narcotics with intent to sell

possession of drug paraphernalia, interfering with police, two counts of assault on a police officer and cruelty to animals.

Both individuals were held on $10,000 bond and were arraigned in Milford Court on Friday.

Photos of Harrison and Rowbotham are below.

Photo Credit: Milford Police

Serious Crash Closes Route 110 in Shelton


Route 110 in Shelton is closed as police investigate a serious crash.

Route 110, or River Road, will be closed between Murphy’s Lane and Long Hill Avenue as police investigate, police said.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Sunflower Seeds, Salad Toppers Recalled


Stores are recalling sunflower seeds because they may be contaminated with Listeria, NBC News reported. 

SunOpta, a Minnesota supplier, said a spot check indicated some of the seeds may be contaminated. There have been no reports of illness so far.

The recall includes snacks and salad toppers sold by the Kroger chain in 28 states as well as Pittsburgh-based chain, Gold Eagle. The recall also includes some Planter’s brand products. 

The full list is available on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Photo Credit: SunOpta/Kroger

Fourth Case of Zika Confirmed in Connecticut


A fourth case of Zika virus has been confirmed in Connecticut, days after a pregnant woman tested positive, the Department of Public Health said. 

The most recent case is a woman in her 30s who came back from a Zika-affected area in the Caribbean on April 25 and became ill on April 29 with a fever, rash and conjunctivitis. 

A couple of days ago, the Department of Public Health said that a pregnant woman from Connecticut had tested positive for the virus, which could be harmful to fetuses. 

The child was conceived during the woman's trip, according to the DPH.

While traveling, the woman became ill with a fever and rash, the department said. The woman is about 11 weeks pregnant, according to Department of Public Health Commissioner Raul Pino said.

While the primary mosquitos that carry Zika are not believed to be in Connecticut, some state health officials said they could come here and there are steps to prepares the state.  

Researchers at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are testing a sample of Zika from Mexico to determine whether local species of mosquito can transmit the virus.

"It is a crisis that we need to manage before it gets out of control," Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said.

Dr. Albert Ko, of the Yale School of Public Health, said there are no effective diagnostic tests and there is no treatment or vaccine that they can offer our patients.

Gov. Dannel Malloy is meeting with the Hispanic Health Council today discuss what Zika could mean if it came to our state.

According to the Department of Public Health, 426 cases of travel-related Zika have been reported in the continental United States.

Of those, 36 were pregnant women and eight were sexually transmitted. In Connecticut, 245 patients, including 217 pregnant women, have been tested for Zika virus.

Photo Credit: AP
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