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Scotland House Destroyed By Fire


A single-family house in Scotland, Connecticut was destroyed on Wednesday morning when fire started in an addition and garage and spread to the main house, according to officials.

Firefighters continue to put out hot spots at 373 Devotion Road.

The house is a total loss, but no one was hurt.

Officials said no one was home when the fire started.  

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Spelling Bee Drama

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is under way. Rachael Cundey, of Evans, Georgia, one of the 281 spellers who will compete for the 2013 National Spelling Bee title, spells the word "lokshen" correctly during the second round of the National Spelling Bee, Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Click to see more photos.

Disneyland Cast Member Arrested in Toontown Blast


A Disneyland outdoor vending cast member was arrested in connection with an explosion involving dry ice at the Anaheim theme park that led to an evacuation and bomb squad investigation.

The explosion, possibly caused by dry ice in a water bottle, led to an evacuation Tuesday afternoon of the park's Toontown area.

Police identified the suspect as 22-year-old Christian Barnes of Long Beach. He was booked on suspicion of possessing a destructive device, according to Anaheim police.

The suspect indicated the explosion was "an isolated incident with unanticipated impacts," according to a police news release, which stated Barnes was cooperating.

Barnes is being held on $1 million bail. He is pictured below in a photo from Facebook that was verified by Barnes' brother.

Raymond Barnes Sr., the suspect's father, told NBC4 that his son is a good kid who has never been in trouble. He said he feels this situation is being overplayed and his son did nothing criminal.

Christian Barnes' brother said the suspect had worked as a food vendor at Disneyland for about a year.

Disneyland issued a one-sentence statement.

"We take matters like this very seriously and are working closely with local authorities," said Suzi Brown, director of media relations and external communications for Disneyland Resort.

Visitors at the park described the explosion as sounding like a gun shot and "loud boom." Disneyland employees then escorted visitors from the area.

"When officers arrived, they were directed to a trash can and found remnants of a water bottle, which is indicative of a dry ice explosion," the Anaheim Police Department said in a press release Tuesday that included Barnes' booking photo, shown below. "They also found there were no injuries or damage as a result and the rest of the resort remained in full operation."

Toontown reopened late Tuesday.

More Local Stories:

 NBC4's Angie Crouch and Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.

Gosnell's Wife: "His Cowardly Actions Left Me to Say Sorry"


Pearl Gosnell, the wife of convicted murderer and former abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, could spend nearly two years in prison for crimes she allegedly committed at her husband's West Philadelphia clinic.

The 51-year-old was sentenced to seven to 23 months in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to several charges, including criminal conspiracy and performing an illegal late-term abortion at her husband's corrupt and dirty facility, the Women's Medical Society.

Pearl cried before Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner during her sentencing hearing in an 11th floor courtroom at the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center.

Surrounded by the couple's children and other family members, the mother of six told the court her husband deserved to be in prison.

"I hope he's in jail forever, which is where he should be," she said.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is serving three life sentences for allegedly murdering three newborn babies during late-term abortion procedures. He was also found guilty in the 2009 overdose death of patient Karnamaya Mongar and for more than 200 abortion law violations.

Through tears, Pearl sounded defeated as she apologized for the doctor's actions.

"His cowardly actions have left me to say sorry," she told the judge.

She says her husband lied to her about performing late-term abortions, claiming the babies were only as old as 23 weeks. That's one week shy of the legal cutoff for abortions in Pennsylvania.

Prosecutors say late-term abortions were regularly performed at the clinic. When it was raided in 2010, investigators found filthy conditions, old equipment and untrained staff.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams later nicknamed the facility a "House of Horrors" in a 2011 grand jury report.

The couple's teenage daughter Alexandra and college-age son Baron Gosnell also spoke to the court about their mother's character. They called her loving and supportive.

Pearl and Kermit Gosnell, have been married for more than 20 years. They have two children together — a college-age son and teenage daughter. Kermit has four older children from other marriages.

Lead prosecutor in the case, Joanne Pescatore, disagreed with the Pearl's statement. Pescatore told Judge Lerner Pearl benefited monetarily by the kind of operation her husband was running.

"She made money off the backs of these women," Pescatore said. She asked the judge to impose a nine to 23 month sentence.

After hearing the testimony, Judge Lerner handed down the seven to 23 month sentence. He credited her for two and a half months time already served — meaning she'll be available for parole after nearly five months. Although, she could spend nearly two years total in prison.

Currently on house arrest, Pearl will have 30 days to turn herself in at one of the city's six prisons.

Once she is released, her attorney says life will not be easy. Her attorney told the Associated Press, the family's surname will forever brand her.

"Her name is still Gosnell, unfortunately," he said. "I guess it's like being Mrs. Frankenstein."

Two other former employees were also scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

Adrienne Moton was freed on time served after her hearing. In the emotional proceedings, Moton's family testified that she had changed during her time in prison as the case dragged on. Even Pescatore said she had changed.

Lynda Williams was also set to be sentenced, but her case was postponed because of another upcoming trial.

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police

Grandmother Finds Loaded Gun on Disney Ride: Deputies


A grandmother found a loaded gun on the seat of a ride at Disney World's Animal Kingdom on Sunday, an Orange County Sheriff's Office incident report said.

An attendant of the Dinosaur ride said that on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. a woman handed her a gun, which turned out to be a Cobra 380 Caliber automatic, containing five hollow point bullets, the report said. And then a boy who was with the woman said, "my grandma found it on her seat," the report said.

The attendant called her manager, who in turn told Disney security and the sheriff's office. Disney security responded and gave the weapon to an off-duty turnstile deputy, who then unloaded it, the report said.

When authorities responded to the incident, the off-duty deputy was with another man, identified as Angelo Lista, from Royal Palm Beach. He gave them his Florida driver's license and a valid concealed weapons permit, the report said.

Lista told authorities he had arrived earlier with his family and had gone through the security check area, but the gun was in his back pocket, so the issue never came up, the report said. Lista said he didn't know he was supposed to tell Disney security he had a gun because it wasn't posted.

"Angelo thought that the bag check was being conducted only to search for bombs or explosives and did not know people were not allowed to bring guns," the report said.

Lista told authorities that he thinks the gun fell out of his back pocket on the ride because the ride was "extremely bumpy," the report said.

Upon realizing the gun wasn't in his pocket, he went back to the ride and then to the area where people were getting off the ride trying to get the gun back, the report said.

"Angelo said he would comply and was very apologetic for what happened," the report said.

Lista was asked to leave the property for the rest of the day, and the gun was confiscated for safe keeping. He was told he could pick it up from the sheriff's office evidence department.

The sheriff's office said the case was closed.

A telephone message seeking comment from Disney wasn't immediately returned.

Photo Credit: AP

SUV Fled After Hitting Aunt, Niece: Police


A 61-year-old woman and her 6-year-old niece remain hospitalized two days after a car hit them and fled in Bridgeport.

Bennie Mae Smith, 61, and Diamond Battle, 6, were struck by a car in the area of Washington Avenue and Highland Avenue around 8:45 p.m. on Monday, according to police. 

Battle remains in critical condition. Smith is in stable condition.

Two other young children made it across the street safely and were not injured, police said.

Police said the aunt and niece were struck by a light color large SUV that fled north on Washington Avenue toward Catherine Street.

Police continue to investigate and said the vehicle is missing a side mirror.

New Evidence Released in Stamford Christmas Day Fire


NBC Connecticut has obtained documents, 911 calls and photos connected to the investigation into a Stamford house fire on Christmas Day 2011 that killed three little girls and their grandparents.

Among the evidence, which pieces together what investigators have learned about the tragic fire, are allegations two carpenters who worked at the house made claiming that Madonna Badger's then-boyfriend and contractor, Michael Borcina, knew the house was a fire trap.

"In spite of our expressed concerns about fire safety, Mike Borcina ignored our warnings about the excessive ‘fire fuel load’ he was creating,” the letter Andrew Grunow and Don Raskopf wrote to Stamford police says, in part.

They went on to say that Borcina allowed the Badger family to move into a structure that was under construction, had many windows secured shut and lacked fire safety equipment, a phone system and an alarm system.”

NBC Connecticut reached out to Borcina's attorney for comment and he issued a statement.

"[Mr. Borcina] maintains the work was done in an appropriate and safe fashion, despite the fact that there was a terrible tragedy."

The documents released, in response to a Freedom of Information Request from NBC Connecticut, also reveal what firefighters encountered while trying to save the family.  

"Give me another alarm on this. They've got trapped victims on the second floor," one emergency worker said the recordings.

Also in those recordings is the difficulty firefighters had trying to get to victims on the second floor.

“We’ve got victims trapped on the second floor. We’re going into rescue mode,” one of the recordings says.

Seven-year-old twins Grace and Sarah, 9-year-old Lily, and their grandparents were killed in the blaze.

Madonna Badger and Borcina were the only survivors.

The fire that caused so much damage is believed to have started in the mudroom, which is one of the many rooms under renovation.

Records state that workers put smoke detectors by the stairs on each floor, but Raskopf and Grunow claim that Borcina had the smoke detectors taken down so painters could do their work.

"The family lived in the house with this equipment on site, but not available for use," the letter from Grunow and Raskopf says. 

Last year, the Connecticut State's Attorney decided not to prosecute anyone in the case.

However, several civil suits have been filed.

Madonna Badger filed one claiming the city of Stamford tore the home down too quickly in an effort to cover up mistakes the building department made.

That case is supposed to be trial ready next year.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Woman Attacked by Bear While Protecting Dog


A West Hartford woman was attacked by a bear Wednesday morning while trying to protect her dog.

Sharon Flannery, of 49 Avondale Road, called police at 7:30 a.m. and said a black bear and its two cubs had wandered into her yard and attempted to attack her dog. The 200-pound female bear chased the dog as it ran towards the house, Flannery told police. She suffered a puncture wound and several scratches to her lower leg as she tried to protect the dog, she said.

Flannery was able to get her dog inside and call police.

The bear and its cubs ran from Flannery's yard and climbed a tree in a nearby yard. Police and officers from the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to the area and tranquilized the bear and the bear cubs.

The bear was euthanized and tested for rabies as a precaution, according to state officials. The cubs were deemed old enough to survive on their own and will be released into another area, officials said.

Flannery was treated for her injuries and released from a medical facility.

Photo Credit: Sharon Flannery

Timeline Details CSX Train Crash, Explosion


The front end of a Mack track was captured on surveillance video crossing a Baltimore County railway just three seconds before it was struck by a CSX freight train, said a spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

While investigators still are working to determine what caused Tuesday's train derailment -- which led to an explosion felt by those half a mile away -- NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said that crash investigators have had an "extremely productive day."

Investigators spent Wednesday culling evidence from surveillance video, both from a warehouse near the scene of the crash and from a track image recorder mounted on the front of the locomotive. They also are examining data from locomotive event recorder and physical evidence.

The CSX freight train, which consisted of two locomotives and 45 cars, apparently collided with a trash truck in the Rosedale section of Baltimore County around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Less than six minutes later, an explosion blasted the fronts of nearby warehouses and sent black smoke streaming into the sky about a mile east of Interstate 95.

Investigators were not able to get until the crash site until Wednesday morning due to the amount of time firefighters had needed to battle the resulting blaze.

Of the train's 45 cars, 14 were loaded and four contained hazardous materials. A total of 15 cars derailed, including three with hazardous materials.

Based on physical evidence at the scene, only the car carrying sodium chlorate exploded, Sumwalt said. Sodium chlorate is an oxidizer used in many industrial processes.

Crews battling the fire Tuesday had to be careful as the chemicals could have mixed with water and soil. Firefighters remained on the scene through Tuesday night, deeming the fire under control about 10 hours after it began.

"We had to let things burn so we could make a determination," said a spokesperson for Baltimore County Police on Tuesday.

The investigation team, led by Pete Kotowski, has constructed an initial timeline of the moments before and after the impact:

-- 17 seconds before impact: The first of three train horn blasts begins. The third blast continues up to the point of the collision. Trains are required to sound their horns as they approach grade crossings.

-- 5 seconds before impact: The front of a 2003 Mack Granite truck comes into view on surveillance video.

-- 3 seconds before impact: The front of the truck begins to cross the track.

-- At impact: The train strikes the right rear tandem axle of the truck.

-- 33 seconds after impact: Warehouse video shows smoke coming from the wreck.

-- 43 seconds after impact: The first flames are visible.

-- 5 minutes 23 seconds after impact: A car containing sodium chlorate explodes.

The driver of the Mack truck, John J. Alban, Jr., was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Alban, 50, is a retired Baltimore County firefighter and volunteer firefighter with the Hyde Park Volunteer Fire Company. There's no word on his current condition.

He was driving a 2003 Mack Granite in a roll-off configuration, which allows a trash container to be rolled on and off the truck.

Officials say there was no crossing arm separating the train tracks from the roadway. The train was traveling at 49 mph at the time of the collision, according to preliminary information from the train's data recorder. Crews threw the emergency brake and the train stopped about 9/10 of a mile after the impact.

The owner of the truck is listed as the interstate carrier Alban Waste, LLC, said Sumwalt. The container was being transported from Alban's facility near the scene of the crash to one in Baltimore, about six and a half miles away.

Sumwalt said investigators are hoping to learn more from surveillance videos to determine what Alban was doing prior to the collision.

"I will say that as a ... matter of practice now, for any NTSB investigation, we will obtain cell phone records from the driver of the truck and also from the operators of the train," Sumwalt said.

A CSX locomotive engineer and conductor who were on the train were not seriously hurt.

In the days to come, investigators will measure and diagram the grade crossing, interview the train crew and will collect additional information from the train.

"I want to say that although we've made tremendous progress today, I do want to emphasize we are very early, very early in the investigation," Sumwalt said Wednesday.

 Investigators are asking anyone who may have video of the crash to contact them.

"Lots of video these days, everyone has phones and things like that, so there's a lot of video out there, and video can be very helpful..." Sumwalt said. "The surveillance video, that's tremendously helpful. If somebody has some cell phone video, or otherwise video sources that they feel would be beneficial to the NTSB's investigation, we would love to hear from you."

Anyone with video can contact the NTSB by emailing witness@ntsb.gov.

Retail Center Proposed for Rentschler Field


Rentschler Field could soon be home to a new retail outlet center, according to people familiar with the proposed project.

The East Hartford site already houses the UConn Huskies football stadium and the outdoor retailer, Cabela's.

Utah-based developer OTB Destination is considering building the large retail center there. It would sit on land owned by United Technologies that sits behind and to the side of Cabela's, according to people familiar with the proposal.

The project would take up about 135 acres of the 900-acre site.

The developer did not respond to several messages seeking comment.

"It will certainly be a shot in the arm and East Hartford needs a shot in the arm," said state Sen. Gary LeBeau of East Hartford.

LeBeau is now sponsoring an amendment to allow the town to create a special taxing district for the site. A taxing district would allow the owner and developer to sell bonds and also set special tax rates for businesses that come in to cover costs.

"If they have a special taxing district they can use some of the dollars that are created to bond infrastructure like roads that need to be built in order to make the activity happen," said LeBeau.

Projects have been proposed at the site before, only to fall apart.

"UTC made these folks the approved developer so we're hoping," said LeBeau. "I've been down this road before so I'm hopeful but we'll see what happens."

The developer is seeking state assistance to help pay for the project.

It's expected to create about 1000 new jobs if built.

Ricin Letter Sent to NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Police


A letter sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a city building last week contained a substance that has preliminarily tested positive for ricin, police said. 

The letter was discovered at the city's mail sorting location at 100 Gold St. at about 2 p.m. Friday, a law enforcement source told NBC 4 New York. It appeared to contain a kind of pink, oily substance when a mail worker came across it and was immediately flagged as suspicious.

An initial field test didn't bring up any sign of ricin, a source said. But further testing Wednesday showed the letter preliminarily tested positive for ricin.

A second letter containing ricin, apparently from the same person, was sent to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns' headquarters in Washington, D.C. and was opened on Monday, police said. Bloomberg is the founder of the coalition.

The letters' author threatened Bloomberg, referring to his stance on illegal guns, police said. 

Both letters were postmarked May 20 in Shreveport, La., a law enforcement official said. 

Civilian workers who came into contact with the letters have not shown symptoms of being poisoned by the ricin, police said. Some members of NYPD's emergency service unit who did come into contact with the opened letter in New York initially showed some minor symptoms of ricin exposure, but they have since abated.

The FBI and NYPD are investigating the threats. Law enforcement officials are also looking to see if other similar letters were sent to the White House, members of Congress or other government offices as a precaution. 

Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans.

It's not clear if the letters were related to other threatening, ricin-laced letters sent to other lawmakers recently.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Main Street in Stratford Reopens


Main Street in Stratford is expected to open soon after the bomb squad investigated a trash bin in the middle of the road and gave the all-clear signal.

Around 9:15 a.m., a caller alerted officers about a suspicious package in the vicinity of town hall, according to police.

Frank Eannotti, of the Stratford Police Department, said school officials reported the incident, police responded, closed Main Street between Barnum Avenue and Broadbridge Avenue, evacuated town hall, the fire department and AT&T and called in the bomb squad.

Eannotti said Stratford High School was also evacuated.

However, the Stratford board of education posted a note on its Web site saying that Stratford High School went into a “Stay Put” mode at approximately 9:30 a.m. as a precaution. When authorities gave and “All Clear” around 11:25 a.m., Stratford High School resumed business, as normal and is no longer in “Stay Put.”

The school is at 45 N. Parade Street, which is near Main Street.


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Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued


An approaching warm front from the west will deliver our first potential heat wave of the season and is also bringing an enhanced risk of strong thunderstorms later this afternoon.

A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for parts of Western Litchfield County until 11 p.m.

As temperatures go up, the heating of the atmosphere will destabilize the air mass and large storms will begin to develop across central and eastern New York State after 3 p.m.

The storms will likely contain torrential rain, damaging winds, hail, vivid lightning and even small tornadoes.

If you see threatening weather and dark skies in your town, take cover immediately as these storms could become dangerous and life-threatening as they roll across the state. 

The rain might also cause some flash flooding in any areas where there is poor drainage or near any smaller rivers or streams still swollen from the weekend rains.

The state has posted a guide to emergency preparedness on the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Web site.

Check the interactive radar here.

You can check for severe alerts here.

In the event of severe weather, send your photos to photos@nbcconnecticut.com.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Toddler Drowns in East Hartford Pool


A toddler drowned in a pool in East Hartford on Wednesday, according to police.

Emergency crews responded to a home at 66 Pendelton Drive after the child was pulled from the pool.

Police said a 1- or 2-year-old child fell in a pool at the home on Wednesday evening.

Family members performed CPR on the baby until paramedics arrived, according to police.

The child was rushed to Connecticut Children's Medical Center, but did not survive, according to police. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Va. Costco Resumes Normal Hours After Deadly Shooting


The family of a woman fatally shot while handing out samples at Costco is questioning the use of deadly force against their loved one.

The melee began at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, when store employees noticed 38-year-old Mhai Scott acting oddly while handing out pizza samples, said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman.

Scott reportedly became upset when she ran out of pizza, reported Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey. Witnesses said she was waving a knife and scissors, threatening employees.

Deputies were called to the store to handle the disturbance. After they arrived, Scott -- who worked for a company that handles sampling at Costco stores -- approached the officers with the sharp items, authorities said.

One deputy tried to use a stun gun on Scott, but Chapman said the stun gun "did not work," and another deputy fatally shot her.

A sheriff's deputy also was wounded in the leg by a ricocheting bullet. The injury was not life-threatening.

Only one deputy fired shots, Chapman said. Both deputies were placed on paid administrative leave.

Relatives of Mhai Scott are gathering in Loudoun County to grieve and make arrangements. Other family members, including her mother and sister, are in mourning in the Philippines, Scott's homeland. Her ex-husband, who is in the U.S. military, just returned to the Sterling area to join relatives.

Scott's mother and sister told Philippine television station ABS-CBN News she was the mother of two girls, aged 8 and 12. In the Filipino TV story, Scott's sister says she had an ongoing dispute with her ex-husband over the custody of their two girls.

Her sister said she had spoken to Scott about an hour prior to the shooting and didn't think anything was wrong.

The following statement was submitted Thursday by the Philippine Embassy regarding the shooting:

"The Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines extends its deepest sympathy to the family of Mylene De Leon Scott, a member of the Filipino-American Community, who was shot dead by police officers responding to a reported disturbance inside the Costco Wholesale Store in Sterling, Virginia, on Wednesday, 29 May 2013.

The Embassy stands ready to extend its assistance to the family of Ms. Scott. We will continue to coordinate with police authorities in Loudoun County to secure more information on this case. We share the concerns expressed by Ms. Scott's family in the Philippines and the members of the Filipino-American Community that law enforcement officials may have responded with disproportionate force. We request authorities to conduct a thorough, impartial and expeditious investigation of the incident."

The Costco Warehouse Store is located at 21398 Price Cascades Plaza in Loudoun County, Va. It reopened at 10 a.m. Thursday. No samples were being handed out.

Nora Lateef said she was at the food court in the store when she saw three deputies rush into the store and head toward the employee lounge, asking, "Where is Linda?"

Soon, Lateef said, she heard five shots and the store was evacuated. They were saying "Everybody out of the store! Out of the store!" Lateef said.

Shopper Elizabeth Avelar told News4 she believes she had contact with Scott prior to the shooting. "The woman was very nice, very polite," Avelar said.

Avelar was later ushered out of the store following the incident.

"I had no idea whether somebody was being shot, if there was a bomb threat," Avelar said. "It was very difficult to get out of the parking lot -- people were honking their horns. It was frightening."

Chapman said Scott was an employee of Club Demonstration Services, Inc., a Costco subcontractor.

CDS President Don Dohanyos released a statement Wednesday:

"We are extremely saddened by the situation that occurred at the Costco warehouse in Sterling, Va., earlier today. We are treating this with the utmost sensitivity and are cooperating fully with the authorities as they gather more details on the events leading up to the shooting of our CDS associate. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was affected by this event."

CDS issued a new statement Thursday, saying Scott worked part-time for them since October 2012.

"She was a valued member of the team" and "a respected associate," the statement said.

Dohanyos said grief counselors are available to employees.



Hackers Attack Philly Police Website


A group of internet hackers affiliated with the organization Anonymous attacked the Philadelphia Police Department’s website, stopping access for some visitors, over the arrest of activists protesting the ban on marijuana.

The denial of service (DoS) attack hit PhillyPolice.com last Tuesday, May 23, the department confirmed to NBC10.com.

“Our site experienced momentary disruption while the IT company took measures to counteract their activity,” Philadelphia Police Social and Digital Media Manager Sgt. Eric Gripp said. “However, due to the site experiencing heavy traffic, it slowed down for some users.”

With a DoS attack, internet servers hosting the website are overloaded by hundreds or thousands of requests to access the site, at the same time. The requests clog the pipeline, preventing the server from delivering the website to users.

Sgt. Gripp said the traffic was coming from “all over the world at the same time.”

Anonymous Team Vendetta, a hacktivist group supporting the legalization of cannabis or marijuana, posted a video to YouTube the same day claiming responsibility for the attack. In the video, an unknown user can be seen typing computer code into a dialog box and then showing a web page stating the site was down.

The video also shows a similar attack on the website for the United States Park Ranger Lodge, the fraternal order for park rangers. Requests for comment from the organization were not returned.

Law enforcement sources who did not want to be named because they're not authorized to speak publicly about the incident, said that officials came across online intel suggesting such an attack could be carried out. Those officials were able to notify the site owners ahead of time of the impending onslaught.

The group says they attacked the two sites because of the arrest of activists at a May 18 protest on Independence Mall at 5th and Market Streets, according to the video. The video shows protesters being taken into custody by National Park Service Rangers.

“All of this absurdity over the oppression of such a beneficial ‘plant,’ so as a collective we must protest,” text in the video reads.

One of the protesters, activist and libertarian Adam Kokesh, was arrested after allegedly assaulting a ranger. In a complaint filed in United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Kokesh was speaking to the crowd, when another demonstrator told the protesters to light marijuana cigarettes.

The group linked arms and formed a circle to prevent rangers from getting to the alleged illegal drug use. When a ranger tried to push his way through, Kokesh allegedly grabbed the ranger’s arm and held him back, according to the complaint. Kokesh was then taken into custody.

Philadelphia Police were not involved in the demonstrator arrests, according to Sgt. Gripp.

Kokesh posted a photo to his Facebook page showing him smiling next to a sign stating that possession of illegal drugs is prohibited. He was held for six days, eventually being released last Friday. His charges were reduced to a citation.

Kokesh has not responded to requests regarding the arrest and whether he was aware of the website attacks.

Philadelphia Police say the department works with federal authorities when cyber attacks are carried out.

“In events such as this, we do in fact confer with federal authorities in order to investigate the perpetrators,” Sgt. Gripp said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Public Affairs Specialist Carrie Adamowski says as a matter of policy the bureau neither confirms or denies the existence of investigations.

NBC10.com reached out to Anonymous Team Vendetta about the attacks, but they did not comment on the event.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: YouTube

House Approves $9 Minimum Wage


After a debate that went on for about five hours, the state House has approved increasing the minimum wage to $9 over the next two years, vote of 89 to 53.

The state Senate passed the bill last week and it will go to Gov. Dannel Malloy, who has said he supports increasing the minimum wage.

The current minimum wage in Connecticut is $8.25 and $9 per hour would be one of the highest in the country.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the country, at $9.19.

CT News Junkie reports that Malloy will support increasing it to $9 per hour, but does not support tying it to the rate of inflation. 

Supporters say the hike would help workers who need extra money to pay their bills.

“I think it was essential. I know it’s a tough economy, however we have to be able to build some level of equality for those folks that are working 50,60 hours ,” State Rep. Victor Cuevas (D-Waterbury) said.

Opponents say this legislation will cripple our economy because many businesses are still struggling.

State Rep. Richard Smith was against the legislation.

“While this legislation has good intentions, it will drive unemployment and perpetuate our depressed economy,” Smith said.

Malloy has said raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour is the right thing to do for working families.  

You can read testimony on this legislation on the General Assembly’s Web site.

Minimum wage in Oregon is $8.95 and it is $8.60 in Vermont.

Connecticut, DC, Illinois and Nevada all have a current minimum wage of $8.25.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Tree Comes Down on West Hartford House


A line of storms that moved through the state last night took down some trees, including one that hit a house on Fairlee Drive in West Hartford.

A woman who was home is OK, according to officials.

The building inspector is checking to determine the extent of structural damage.

The storms also brought down a tree in Norfolk and led to power problems for thousands of people across the state.

At one point, more than 3,000 houses and businesses were in the dark, but that number is now down to a few hundred.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Sochi's Olympic Medals Revealed

Gold, left, silver, center, and bronze medals are displayed for journalists during a presentation of Sochi 2014 Olympic medals at the SportAccord International Convention in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, May 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Moose on the Loose in Manchester


Manchester police and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spent hours searching for a moose that was wandering through a residential area on Thursday morning.

The 400-to-600-pound moose was spotted in the areas of Vernon Street and Overlook Drive in Manchester this morning and police and DEEP were finally able to coax it into the woods

Authorities think this is the same moose that was seen in Vernon around 5:30 a.m. today.

The moose appears to be young because it does not have antlers, according to wildlife experts.

They also advise anyone who sees it not to approach, but to call animal control or police. 



Photo Credit: Manchester Animal Control
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