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Police Support Slain Officer's Son


When Alex Valadez Jr. walked into his kindergarten graduation Friday, he did so with dozens of Chicago police officers by his side — and one watching over him from up above.

Alex’s father, Officer Alejandro Valadez Sr., was killed in the line of duty in 2009, just three months before his son was born.

With his father unable to cheer Alex on as he reached a major milestone in his young life, officers took it upon themselves to prove to Alex he will always be family, and to make the ceremony at Anunciata Elementary School one the young boy would never forget.

"Sometimes we have to make the ultimate sacrifice," said police Supt. Eddie Johnson. "Alejandro did that. We want everyone to know we will never forget; we will never, ever forget."

Valadez Sr., 27, was investigating a report of shots fired in the city’s West Englewood neighborhood when he was shot and killed by gang members.

Officers held Alex’s hand, hugged him and congratulated him as his father would have done. Mounted police, SWAT officers and even fire department crews were there to support him.

Some flew above the ceremony in a helicopter, watching from above as they believe his father does now.

They even surprised him with a big graduation present: a new bike.

"It’s been really cool," said Alex’s mom, Christina, who said she was grateful for all the support the department has given her family.

Despite the family's loss, a smile stretched across Alex's face as he marked the big achievement. 

His father's partner, Tom Vargas, was there the day Valadez was killed. Vargas stood by Alex’s side during graduation, calling the moment a bittersweet one.

"He’s with us," Vargas said of Valadez. "He’s with us all."

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

Crash Closed I-95 in North Stonington for Hours


Interstate 95 South was closed in North Stonington after a tractor-trailer carrying plastic bottles rolled over and down an embankment between exits 93 and 92.

Traffic was backed up into Hopkinton, Rhode Island because of the crash and crews dealt with a fuel spill. 

No injuries were reported. 

Photo Credit: North Stonington Volunteer Fire Company

Teens Hurt in 'Fire Challenge'


A trend called the "fire challenge" has spread across the country and Texas teens are landing in emergency rooms suffering from severe burns.

To participate in the challenge, teens record themselves spraying aerosol cans or pouring flammable liquid onto their stomachs or hands and lighting it. Then they post the videos on social media with the hashtag #firechallenge.

"There's a misconception that they're going to be able to light themselves on fire, get a cool video and then quickly put the flames with shower water," said Parkland Memorial Hospital burn specialist Stephanie Campbell. "But it's absolutely not true."

Several teens have reportedly been injured or killed performing the challenge.

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Campbell said Parkland has seen a recent spike in patients who attempted the challenge and suffered burns on their torsos and necks.

The challenge, however, has been around for a while.

"We started seeing it back in 2013 and 2014," she said. "It went away for a little bit, but it seems to be making a comeback which is upsetting to us. Younger people are not understanding the consequences of them doing this."

Teens told NBC 5 it's meant to attract attention on social media.


"Is it really worth getting all of those likes on Facebook?" Campbell asked. "All of the pain and intense rehab? Burn injuries are injuries for a lifetime. This is what a lot of young people don't understand."

Doctors in New York warned against the challenge after a 12-year-old boy set himself on fire late last month. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns over nearly half his body.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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Scattered Thunderstorms Tuesday and Wednesday


A primarily dry workweek is ahead, though a few storms are possible tomorrow and Wednesday.

A cold front will fire off storms tomorrow, some of which may be severe.

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a marginal risk for severe weather.

Temperatures will be in the middle 80s inland, upper 70s along the shoreline.

An upper-level low on Wednesday means more scattered storms, which could contain small hail. Highs will be in the 70s.

The end of the workweek looks beautiful but cool, with sunshine and clouds. Temperatures will only rise into the lower and middle 70s.

Roger Clinton Arrested on Suspicion of DUI


The younger brother of former President Bill Clinton was arrested on suspicion of DUI Sunday in Redondo Beach, California, according to police.

Jail records show Clinton, 59, of Torrance, remained in custody Monday morning. He was released on $15,000 bond. 

He was arrested after a "concerned citizen" called police Sunday night to report a possible DUI driver, according to a statement from the Redondo Beach Police Department. The caller reported the vehicle traveling south on Pacific Coast Highway in an "erratic manner."

The driver followed the vehicle until police stopped the car near Torrance Boulevard and Prospect Avenue. 

A court appearance was scheduled for Sept. 2. It was not immediately clear whether Clinton had obtained an attorney.

The arrest of Hillary Clinton's brother-in-law came two days before the California primary in which the former secretary of state is locked in a tight race with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton won the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday, bringing her closer to becoming the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. She also scored a win in Saturday's U.S. Virgin Islands caucuses.

Voters is six states, including California, head to the polls Tuesday.

Roger Clinton, the former president's half brother, was also arrested in 2001 on suspicion of DUI in Hermosa Beach.

He was pardoned in January 2001 by President Bill Clinton on charges stemming from a 1985 arrest for distribution of cocaine.

Photo Credit: Redondo Beach Police Department

Police Investigating Death of Teen in Montville


Police are investigating after a 14-year-old boy was found dead in Montville on Sunday night.

Montville police, as well as detectives from Eastern District Major Crime, responded to Allen Street at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday to investigate and continue to investigate an untimely death due to apparent gunshot, state police said.

They said they are taking methodical steps to process the scene and the office of the chief state’s medical examiner is working with State Police detectives to positively identify the teen.

The medical examiner will also conduct a post-mortem examination to determine cause and manner of death.

Police said there is no danger to the public and called the incident isolated.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

12-Year-Old College Student


At age 11, Tanishq Abraham became the youngest student to graduate with three degrees in the 60-year history of his Sacramento college.

Now, at age 12, he will be among the youngest students to ever attend the University of California at Davis — as a junior. The youngest student ever to attend, was 12-year-old Nicole Tan of Byron in 2000, who graduated in May 2004, according to school spokeswoman Julia Ann Easley.

The brainy pre-teen will study bio-engineering, his mother Taji Abraham told NBC Bay Area on Monday.

Tanishq has already racked up two years of credit while studying at American River College, where he earned three associates degrees in math and physical science, general science and language studies, enabling him to enter UC Davis as a junior.

Tanishq was also accepted to UC Santa Cruz, but his family, which lives in the Sacramento area, chose the closer school in Davis. Abraham said she didn't want to send the pre-pubescent boy to live in the dorms by himself. This way, she can drop off Tanishq on campus, run some errands and come back for him.

"Location, location, location," Tanishq said as his main reason for choosing the UC school closest to his home.

Tanishq's 10-year-old sister, Tiara, is now currently attending his alma mater of American River College. Uprooting the family to Santa Cruz would have been more difficult for everyone, Abraham said.

As for summer plans, Abraham said Tanishq will simply be taking more classes. He's been out of school for two weeks, she said, and "he's been bored to death."

The age of the youngest student in the history of UC Davis was not immediately known.

Photo Credit: Taji Abraham
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2 Seriously Injured in Plainfield Crash


Two cars collided on Starkweather Road in Plainfield, sending three people to the hospital on Monday.

The cars hit head-on around 12:30 p.m., according to police.

The driver of one car, Stephanie Januszewski, 29, of Salem, was seriously injured and taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich before being flown by Life Star to Hartford Hospital.

The second car was being driven by 76-year-old Marcia Huhta, of Moosup.  She was flown by Life Star to Rhode Island Hospital.  Her passenger, 76-year-old Matti Huhta, was taken to Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries, police said.

Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Hartford to End Contract With Baseball Stadium Developer


Days after calling the bond on the new minor league baseball stadium in downtown Hartford, the mayor of Hartford announced that the city will terminate its agreement with the developer from the project.

It has been nearly two weeks since the Hartford Stadium Authority provided the executive director of the authority and the corporation counsel with the city of Hartford the power to take all steps necessary to ensure that the ballpark is completed.

The stadium, Dunkin’ Donuts Park, was supposed to be “substantially complete” by May 17, but that did not happen.

Bronin said during a news conference on Monday that the developers alerted them on Friday that it would be at least 60 more days before the project would be done.

Hartford Stadium Authority Chairman I. Charles Mathews said the insurer will now come in and do due diligence.

"If there is a germ of a possibility we can play baseball this year, we will," Matthews said.

City officials said late last month that “numerous construction deficiencies and code violations” remain on the project and the developer, Centerplan, threatened to walk off the job site and would be in serious default if it does so.

In a letter to the bonding company for the park, city officials said the developer failed to adhere to the requirement of an agreement reached in January to pay $50,000 if they missed the deadline and an additional $15,000 per day, up to $250,000, until reaching the “substantial completion” date.

During a tour of the park last week, DoNo Hartford LLC Manager Jason Rudnick, who is in charge of the development of Dunkin Donuts Park, admitted there is still much work left to do, but would not provide a new possible completion date.

He went on to say the city bears some culpability for the delays and missed deadlines because change directives have continued to arrive near daily.

On Thursday, Bronin wouldn't comment on the back and forth between the developer and the team.

With no home park, the Hartford Yard Goats have been playing their home games at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, home of the Connecticut Tigers.

The stadium was originally going to cost Hartford taxpayers $56 million, but the project’s costs have ballooned to nearly $70 million, with the developer and the team slated to pitch in more money.

Since the city has called the bond and is seeking to remove to construction company, it makes completion of the stadium this year less certain.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Police Seeking Public’s Help to Find Suspect in Meriden Drive-By Shooting


Meriden police have identified a suspect in a drive-by shooting in Meriden on May 2 and they are searching for the man, who they warn he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Police said they have an arrest warrant for Deon Camp, 23, who is suspected of firing a gun from a moving vehicle and hitting a bystander in the neck in front of 126 Willow St. on May 2.

Police said Camp was aiming at another person and hit an unintended target, who sustained serious injuries.

Police believe Camp is in the area and they are asking for help to find him.

The warrant charges Camp with assault in the first degree, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a firearm, unlawful discharge of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit.

Bond is set at $400,000.

Authorities said there is also a PRAWN warrant charging Camp with failure to appear in the first degree, which carries a $20,000 bond.

Anyone with information on where Camp is should call (203) 630-6201.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police

Hartford School Gets Visit from Patriots Players


New England Patriots defensive back Duron Harmon and former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo made a stop in Hartford on Monday. 

Very similar to the golden ticket from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” a teacher from the Burr School found one of six Danimals "Golden Bongo" yogurts and won a field day with the players who taught a few football tricks and encouraged healthy eating. 

The Dannon Danimals and Fuel Up to Play 60's goal is to inspire kids to choose nutritious foods and to be active for at least 60 minutes each day. 

"Any time you can give back to the community and at the same time, you know, get kids outside to have a good time and spread the word about milk, eating healthy, getting 60 minutes of exercise, it’s always a benefit to have this platform to give back," retired Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said. 

As a defensive back for the Patriots, Duron Harmon knows a thing or two about the importance of eating healthy. 

"When you have a good breakfast in the morning, starting off with some type of dairy product or just a good healthy breakfast, it makes the kids more alert," he said. "Makes them ready to learn, gives them a good attitude." 

This was a message the students heard loud and clear. 

"You need to eat food so it can keep helping you be smart and strong, so it can help you know everything," Yalellys Pina, a kindergartener, said. 

Even teachers and coaches from the school got to join in on the fun, all thanks to kindergarten teacher Leslie Barrett, who found the Golden Bongo. 

"I just think it's great that they get to see some good role models," Barrett said. "They've been excited for several months now and now that it's here, it's just a good way to end the school year." 

In addition to the Patriots player and Dannon Danimals hosting an awesome field day, the school also won a $5,000 grant that they plan to apply toward health and wellness programming. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

'Trump Does What He Wants': Inside Chaotic Campaign


Donald Trump's campaign is a bare-bones effort debilitated by infighting, a lack of staff to carry out basic functions, minimal coordination with allies and a message that's prisoner to Trump's momentary whims, sources told NBC News. 

Three Trump aides and two sources working closely alongside the campaign requested anonymity in order speak freely about the campaign to NBC News.

"Bottom line, you can hire all the top people in the world, but to what end? Trump does what he wants," a source close to the campaign said.

Trump's campaign is lacking a communications team to deal with the hundreds of media outlets covering the race, no rapid response director to quickly rebut attacks and launch new ones, and a limited cast of surrogates who lack a cohesive message.

The campaign is bringing on a new senior staffer Jim Murphy, according to The New York Times, and a source told NBC News more communications hires are expected to follow. But they lag far behind the Clinton campaign.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Firefighters Responded to Crash on I-95 With Injuries


The Westport Fire Department responded to a crash with injuries on Interstate 95 in Westport on Monday morning. 

Firefighters responded to the highway, between exits 18 and 19, at 1:49 a.m. and found a two-car crash involving an SUV, which had heavy damage, and a flatbed tow truck. 

Neither driver needed to be extricated., but firefighters from Westport and Fairfield worked to secure the vehicles and treat both drivers for injuries until EMS arrived. 

All three travel lanes were shut down for awhile, but the last fire department unit cleared the highway at 3:17 a.m.

Photo Credit: Westport Fire Department

'Hold Your Nose': GOP Latinos Grapple With Trump Vote


Southern California lawmaker Rocky Chavez finds Donald Trump's views on trade with Mexico so ill-informed, his statements about women so derogatory, his support of torture so dangerous that he cannot see himself ever supporting his party's presumptive nominee for president.

"His depictions of Latinos I found very offensive," said Assemblyman Chavez, a Marine Corps veteran who district includes the corps' Camp Pendleton. "His view of world politics scares me. That's going to take military lives."

Chavez is among Republican Latinos who are rejecting Trump outright, appalled by what he says and worried that he is endangering advances they have made in bringing other Latinos into the GOP. He said he would work to elect other Republicans on the ballot in California but not Trump.

Trump wasn't Jacob Monty's first choice for president, not even his second, but the Houston-based immigration lawyer will raise money for the billionaire businessman.

"At first blush it may sound weird," Monty conceded. "I'm a Latino activist, and I'm concerned about immigration reform yet I'm whole heartedly supporting him."

Not only is he convinced that Trump's deportation threats are so much bombast but he is hopeful that a president from the right might convince Republicans to overhaul immigration laws, much as President Richard Nixon was able to establish relations with Communist China, he said.

"He would have the credentials to convince Republicans, 'Hey this time we're serious guys, I'm behind it, I'm going to get it done,'" Monty said of his fellow Republican.

Across the country, Hispanic Republicans like Chavez and Monty are grappling with Trump's candidacy, forced to choose between ignoring his many insults to support the GOP or standing up for their heritage and forgoing party loyalty.

Trump's campaign did not respond to NBC's questions for this article about how the campaign was reaching out to Latinos but told The Associated Press it was early to talk about.

"Any demographic that is growing at the rate of the Latino voters obviously will be of the utmost importance to a presidential campaign," Trump aide Ed Brookover told the AP.

Trump began appealing to anger over immigration the moment he declared his candidacy, singling out Mexicans in particular in comments many have called racist.

"They’re bringing drugs," he said. "They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

He tweeted that Jeb Bush "has to like the Mexican illegals" because of his Mexican-born wife. He insists that if elected, he would build a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border that Mexico would pay for. He promises to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

And the put-downs continue. He charged that New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a rising GOP star of Mexican heritage, was doing a poor job after she refused to appear at a rally with him. And he accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over lawsuits against Trump University, of having a conflict of interest because his parents were Mexican immigrants.

Prominent Republicans are warning him to drop his attacks against the judge.

"I think it's a big mistake for our party to write off Latino Americans," the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell said on "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "They're an important part of our country."

Supporter Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, called the Curiel comments Trump's "worst mistake" and "inexcusable."

Trump's behavior is causing turmoil within the Republican National Committee. Ruth Guerra, the committee’s director of Hispanic communications, resigned last week because according to The New York Times she was uncomfortable working to elect him. Her replacement, Helen Aguirre Ferre, a former aide to Jeb Bush, said in a statement that she was eager to make the case of Republican values to the Hispanic community, but reporters immediately found critical comments she had made about Trump on Spanish-language television programs and on Twitter.

Hispanic Republicans are "caught in 2016 meat grinder" she wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Two of Trump's former competitors — Cuban-American U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas — are taking different tacks after losing to him. Rubio, who during the primary called Trump a "lunatic," now says he would be honored to speak on Trump's behalf at the Republican convention in July. Cruz, who described Trump as "a narcissist at a level I don't think this country has ever seen," plans to take his fight for a conservative agenda to the convention.

Massey Villarreal, the president of Houston-based business management company Precision Task Group, had vowed never to support Trump -- when there were still 17 Republicans running for the nomination.

Now the son of a Mexican immigrant says that he would consider Trump if it were in the best interest of the Latino community but that Trump needs to meet with conservative Latino leaders to explain his rhetoric. He has been using immigrants as a wedge issue to scare people to the polls, Villarreal said.

"The only way to hold people accountable is to be in the game and not from the outside," he said. "I would entertain bringing leaders together to see if there's a middle ground."

Art Martinez de Vara, a Texas lawyer and a chief of staff for state Sen. Konni Burton, said that Latinos who do support Trump were weighing more than immigration — foreign policy and the economy, for example.

"Their rallying cry around here seems to be, 'Hold your nose and vote for Trump,'" he said.

Mexican-Americans in Texas view immigration differently from many in Washington, D.C., he said, by supporting guest worker programs, for example.

Sixty-three percent of the Hispanic population in the United States was Mexican-American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau in a 2010 report. But many Republican consultants and leaders are Cuban-Americans, a group that faces easier immigration regulations, Martinez de Vara noted. 

Martinez de Vara, who backed Cruz, said he supported security at the U.S.-Mexico border but argued that a wall would represent a massive confiscation of private property, a big-government, big-spending project. He said he was still deciding what to do. Hillary Clinton's policies would be disastrous for the economy, he said, and Trump, though far more conservative than Clinton, falls short on fiscal issues.

"If you're a tried and true conservative and believe in limited government, a lot of the things we hear from Mr. Trump are concerning," he said.

Polls released last month show Trump getting less than a quarter of the Hispanic vote — 20 percent in one from NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Polling Institute. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was widely criticized after saying he favored "self-deportation" for undocumented immigrants, got 27 percent of the Latino vote in the 2012 presidential race.

After Romney's defeat, the Republican National Committee conducted an autopsy to find ways to turn around the party's fortunes. Among the key recommendations: Extensive outreach to minorities, including Hispanics, and championing comprehensive immigration reform.

"If we do not, our party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only," the Growth and Opportunity Project said.

But Mike Madrid, a GOP political consultant in Sacramento, who looks at Latino voting trends, said he worried that Trump's repeated insults would chase Hispanics from the Republican party for at least of generation.

It is a lost opportunity for Republicans because Latinos are not locked into the Democratic party, he said, though they remain overwhelmingly Democratic.

In 2014 congressional races across the country, Democrats took the Latino vote 62 percent to 36 percent, though in some states Republicans won with more than 40 percent of the Latino vote, the Pew Research Center found.

"At the same time you've got a candidate who's leaving Latino voters with no other choice but to go to the Democratic party because of his rhetoric on things like immigration," Madrid said.

The candidate most appealing to young Latinos is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a reflection of age rather than ethnicity, he said. A record 27.3 million Hispanics are expected to be eligible voters this year, 44 percent of them millennials, according to the Pew Research Center. Nearly one in three voters will be Hispanic, black, Asian or from another racial or ethnic minority, it reported. Much of the change is due to growth among Hispanic voters, a demographic shift that is expected to continue for decades.

California, which holds its presidential primaries on Tuesday, has more Latinos than any other state followed by Texas and Florida, according to the Pew Research Center. More than half of the U.S. Hispanic population lives in those three states.

Ron Garcia, a former mayor of Brea City in Orange County, California, and a founding member of the Southern California Latino Policy Center, said that the Democratic party takes the Latino vote for granted while the Republican party has given up appealing to Hispanics. Latinos are not served well by either party, he said.

"Unfortunately I know a lot of Latinos that would vote conservative but the rhetoric the Republican party puts out in regards to people of Hispanic ethnicity, it offends them although most of them are really anti illegal immigration," he said.

Hispanics are conservative by culture on social issues, but Trump has brought the Latinos together in their opposition to the Republican agenda, he said. He has alienated them with his divisive language though he could be the candidate that would bring jobs, he said.

"I think that Mr. Trump as a president would be a favorable thing for the Latino community," he said. "I really do believe that."

Photo Credit: AP
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Clinton Has 1 Political Glass Ceiling Left to Shatter


Democrats in six states will go to the polls on Tuesday, the anniversary of the day eight years ago that Hillary Clinton conceded the Democratic presidential nomination to then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton is projected to become the presumptive Democratic nominee this year — the first woman to do so for a major political party.

Clinton is not the first woman to be on a national ticket — Sarah Palin was a vice presidential candiate in 2008, as was Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 — but the national mood about women in politics has evolved over the years.

In 2015, an NBC/WSJ poll showed that a combined 85 percent said they would be either enthusiastic (30 percent) or comfortable (55 percent) with a woman in the White House.

But a few decades earlier, the acceptability of a female candidate was more controversial.  

Photo Credit: AP

Critics Begin Efforts to Remove Stanford Rape Case Judge


A move is underway to oust the California judge who sparked outrage when he sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer to just six months in jail for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster outside a campus frat party, NBC News reported.

The sentence Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky imposed on Brock Turner, 20, has been blasted by the victim as a "mockery of the seriousness of his assault" and called a "slap on the wrist" by the San Jose Mercury News.

In their recall petition, Change.org noted that "Judge Persky failed to see that the fact that Brock Turner is a white male star athlete at a prestigious university does not entitle him to leniency. He also failed to send the message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class, race, gender or other factors."

Persky, 54, did not immediately return a call for comment about his controversial sentence or the drive to remove him from the bench.


Photo Credit: AP

State Police Trooper In Crash on I-691 in Cheshire


A State Police trooper has been involved in a crash on I-691 West by Exit 3 in Cheshire.

There were three cars involved in the crash, according to state police. Three victims, including the trooper, were taken to the hospital for injuries, police said.

There is no word on the extent of their injuries.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Ollie Opens Court for Children of All Abilities


UConn men's basketball coach, Kevin Ollie, was working on a different court Monday, opening his first wheelchair accessible basketball court.

Kevin's Kourt held its inaugural clinic at the Boys and Girls club of Hartford. Coach Ollie hosted "A Day of Inclusivity" encouraging kids of all abilities to help break in the court.

"If you ever had a dream and see it come to life this is me now," Ollie said. "It's about giving back that you give the gift but you also ultimately get a gift because you find somebody that you can really be a blessing and a miracle to."

Ryan Martin, a professional wheelchair basketball athlete from Somers led a clinic for the kids after the ceremony.

"When you have individuals with disabilities often times they're not included," Martin said. "What this court signifies is inclusivity and the option for individuals with disabilities to compete with their peers whether they're disabled or not."

Something Ryan knows all too well after being born with spina bifida and losing his legs when he was 2 years old.

"I was the only individual in my school growing up with a disability," said Martin. "And so in a way I was kind of ostracized and I was doing my own little thing but sports allowed me to stick out for 'wow Ryan's really able to do cool things like we are able to do.'"

Coach Ollie says what makes Kevin's Kourt so great is its ability to level the playing field between a child with a disability and one without, and that he has big plans to create many more courts.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Two-Alarm Fire in Hartford


A fire tore through a home on Laurel St. in Hartford Monday night.

The fire started around 8:30 p.m. in the multi-family home. The fire broke out in apartment 2C.

Residents of the home tell us they began to smell smoke and then an alarm went off. 

An officer on scene said that he believed everyone made it out of the home uninjured-- he also added that the information was unofficial.

Residents were concerned that some tenants may have been stuck in the home because they are confined to wheelchairs.

Stanford Sexual Assault Controversy


A former Stanford University swimmer was sentenced to six months in jail on Thursday for a 2015 sexual assault, but the young man's father still believes the punishment is too severe.

The father — along with the judge who issued the ruling — is facing criticism by some who say he is defending a culture that fosters rape. What's most raised critics' ire is a line in the father's letter regarding the amount of time the sex assault took.

Just "20 minutes of action" should not justify a stint in jail, Dan Turner wrote in a letter to the court asking that his son, Brock Allen Turner, get probation instead of time behind bars.

An outraged Stanford professor tweeted the letter, which has gone viral on social media after it was picked up by the Huffington Post. The court documents were also obtained by NBC News.

The father's statement asks for sympathy and highlights his son's lack of a criminal record, arguing that probation is a more appropriate punishment for him than incarceration.

"He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile," Turner said of his son. "These verdicts have broken and shattered him and our family in so many ways. His life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life."

Dan Turner told the Huffington Post on Monday that he did not mean to offend or be disrespectful in his letter to the judge.

“My words have been misinterpreted by people,” he said in a statement submitted through his son’s defense attorney to The Huffington Post. “I was not referring to sexual activity by the word ‘action.’ It was an unfortunate choice of words.”

The victim, who is not being identified because she was the victim of sexual assault, presented her own emotional and graphic account of the ordeal to the courtroom during sentencing. Her letter was 12 pages long.

"Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment," she wrote in the letter, later released by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. "My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today."

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky imposed the six-month sentence, saying "a prison sentence would have a severe impact" on Turner.

That opinion that has since sparked a petition demanding the judge be removed from the bench. The petition had 45,400 supporters as of Monday morning.

Prosecutors had hoped for a much harsher sentence. District Attorney Jeff Rosen called woman's assault extremely serious. But he stopped short of calling for Persky's ouster in a statement released Monday. He said he was glad the woman was able to get her point across in her eloquent speech and give "voice to thousands of sexual assault survivors."

All of the debate stems from the sexual assault on Jan. 18, 2015, when the woman and Turner attended a fraternity party. After drinking four shot glasses of whiskey before heading out for the party and continuing to consume vodka at the frat house, the next thing the woman remembered was waking up at a nearby hospital and being told by a deputy that she had been the victim of a sexual assault.

Convicted of three felonies, Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail and could be out in about three months, at which time he must complete three years of probation.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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