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Police: Orlando Gunman Mentioned Boston Marathon Bombers


Massachusetts State Police confirm that the Orlando, Florida, night club gunman pledged allegiance to ISIS and referenced the Tsarnaev brothers, the terrorists who exploded bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, during his rampage.

The suspected gunman, Omar Mateen, killed at least 50 people and injured 53 others early Sunday morning. The incident is now the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.

In wake of the connection to the Boston bombings, the Commonwealth Fusion Center is sharing information with federal authorities investigating the Orlando terrorist act as well as with police assigned to the Boston Regional Intelligence Center.

State police add that the gunman did not appear in any local databases of potential terror suspects. Officials are working with federal authorities to learn more about the nature of the connection to the Tsarnaev brothers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Congress Complicit in Shootings: CT Legislators


Connecticut legislators were quick to react to the news of the worst massacre in U.S. history on Sunday.

Sen. Chris Murphy condemned the killing of 50 people at an Orlando nightclub, and called Congress complicit in the shooting because of its inaction on gun control.

"I'm aching for the victims, their loved ones, and the people of Orlando, and I pray that all those injured have a quick and full recovery," Murphy said in a statement. He didn't hesitate to point the finger at fellow legislators. "Congress has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence. This doesn't have to happen, but this epidemic will continue without end if Congress continues to sit on its hands and do nothing -- again."

On Twitter, Murphy continued his message.

"Congress's heartless, intentional silence has become a quiet message of endorsement to would be shooters contemplating mass murder." Murphy said on Twitter.

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Murphy's words were echoed by senior Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

"The Senate's inaction on commonsense gun violence prevention makes it complicit in this public health crisis. Prayers and platitudes are insufficient," Blumenthal said in a statement.

Scott Wilson, the president of the gun rights group Connecticut Citizens Defense League said Murphy and Blumenthal are trying to use the shooting as a way to advance their political careers.

"It is shameful that our two senators fail to address the root causes behind these incidents. They would rather curtail lawful gun ownership than deal with those more difficult issues," Wilson said in a statement.

Fourth District Rep. Jim Himes tweeted about what he perceives as inaction by Congress.

"I will not attend one more 'Moment of Silence' on the Floor.  Our silence does not honor the victims, it mocks them," he said.


Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who represents the 5th District, which includes Sandy Hook, provided her words of comfort to those closely affected by the shooting.

"Today we awoke to the agonizing news that at least 50 lives have been taken from us, and 53 people wounded, in yet another act of brutal gun violence in our country. We are heartsick for the victims and for their loved ones, and we pray for a quick recovery for all those who have been injured," she said.

In accordance with a proclamation from President Obama, Gov. Dannell Malloy directed flags be lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the massacre. Gov. Malloy also raised the pride flag at the Governor's residence in Hartford.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Extra Police Vigilance in Connecticut After Orlando Shooting


Police departments in Connecticut are increasing vigilance in the wake of the shooting deaths of 50 people at a gay club in Orlando.

In New Haven, police chief Dean Esserman has ordered officers to focus on the city's public gathering places, especially nightclubs, concert halls, LGBTQ venues, theaters and public spaces.

"We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community and our partners in policing as we denounce this deliberately perpetrated act of violence," Chief Esserman said in a statement. "Our community is a greatly diverse one and we are a police department that sees everyone equally."

There is no know threat of violence in Connecticut, but Esserman spoke with the Connecticut Special Agent in Charge at the FBI to gather information on the Orlando shooting, according to police. Esserman relayed that information to New Haven mayor Toni Harp, the president of the Board of Alders and the city's Chief of Staff and detailed the department's enhanced protection plan.

Hartford police are also keeping an eye on the situation.

"HPD analysts working closely with our Fed partners this morning," Dep. Chief Brian Foley tweeted on Sunday. "Monitoring our region. Monitoring our safety."

Foley went on to tweet that all citizens must take an active role in public safety.

"We all must be observant guardians of each other. If you see something. Say something," he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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AR-15 Rifle, Used in Orlando, Has Bloody History


The massacre in Orlando was the most recent time the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was used in a mass killing.

It was used to slaughter first graders at Sandy Hook, murder Batman fans at a Colorado movie theater and kill county workers at a holiday party in San Bernardino.

On Sunday, officials said an AR-15 was found amid the dozens of dead, and dozens of wounded, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

In the aftermath, President Obama once again railed at the ease with which domestic terrorists bent on killing as many people as possible can get their hands on high-powered guns and rifles.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Gay Pride Celebrations Turn Somber After Massacre


What should have been a celebratory time for gay, lesbian and transgender communities around the world became a time of mourning following the   slaughter of at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

June is pride month, but parades on Sunday took on a somber tone after the attack on Pulse, where 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire in the early morning hours.

Los Angeles had a particular scare, when a heavily armed man with possible explosives was arrested before the pride parade in West Hollywood. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said there did not appear to be any link to the Orlando massacre but that the man said was heading for the parade.  

Meanwhile, the parades in Los Angeles and Philadelphia began with moments of silence and police increased their presence. Marchers in Philadelphia said the killings gave them new resolve to live their lives openly, without fear.

"It's so sad, and you would think that we'd come further," Haden Reed, an assistant manager at an LGBT bookstore in Philadelphia, told NBC Philadelphia. "But this is just a reminder there's a really long way to go.”

The rampage during pride month left people across the country stricken and Orlando's gay community in shock, said Bill Manes, an editor of the city’s LGBT newspaper, "Watermark."

"As far as I know, this was not an orchestrated effort," he said. "It's just something that happens when someone wants to be a really bad person."

The shooter's father, Seddique Mir Mateen, told NBC News on Sunday his son apparently was motivated by anger toward gay men rather than religion. He had recently gotten upset when he saw two men kissing in front of his wife and child, the father said.

"They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, 'Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that,'" the father said. "And then we were in the men's bathroom and men were kissing each other."

Sources told NBC News that Mateen, in a phone call to 911 in the moments before the rampage, swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. ISIS has reportedly treated gay people brutally, releasing images that seem to show gay men being hurled off buildings and then stoned to death.

At the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a symbol of gay rights after a police raid led to riots in the late 1960s, flowers were left at its entrance before a Sunday evening vigil. The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in Orlando said it was heartbroken by the senseless attack.

"We mourn for those lost and in need of answers," it said in a statement.

"This only reaffirms and strengthens our commitment to fight for the inclusion and protection of the LGBT community nationwide and around the globe."

In Toronto, police tweeted that they were reassessing security for all pride events for the month. A candlelight vigil was being planned for downtown Sunday night and Pride Toronto said that as a community it stood united during a painful time.

"What a terrible day," Pride in London tweeted. "But let's remember that #LoveWins and we show our strength by coming together in Pride."

The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity said it was devastated. It urged others not to rush to assign blame to any individual or group beyond the shooter.

"It is also not lost on us that this horrific tragedy occurred during LGBTQ Pride month, which this year coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, typically a period of peace and intense self-reflection," it said in a statement. "It pains us to see that these periods of joy, celebration, and peace have been marred so violently with such horror."

The Harvey Milk Foundation, created in honor of one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States, said prayers and love were not enough. Hate continues to cause too much grief, it said.

"As we reach out to comfort the Orlando families, and as we support the courage for the injured to heal, may we also have the strength to address and deal with the roots of hatred and separation that target any minority community with violence, any where in the world," the foundation said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Three People Shot Outside Farmington Bar


Three people were shot outside of a bar in Farmington early Sunday morning.

According to police, just before 2 a.m. right as The Tavern at the Exchange on Farmington Ave. was closing, about 100 people were outside in the parking lot when shots rang out.

An unknown number of shots were fired and three people, two males and a female standing in a group were hit.

All three victims were transported to Hartford Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Detectives say that right now they believe there is only one male shooter.

"Detectives are here working the scene, interviewing witnesses and trying to identify the persons involved in the shooting," said Farmington Lt. Patrick Buckley.

Police say it does not appear that victims knew the shooter but that the shooter targeted them for some reason.

Police say there was not a fight in the bar prior to the shooting.

Vigils Held For Orlando Victims Across Connecticut


People across the state came together on Sunday to remember the lives lost in the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Members of the gun-control group, Newtown Action Alliance held a vigil at the National Shooting Sports Foundation headquarters in Newtown Sunday night. The organization is the firearms industry's trade association.

At the State Capitol in Hartford, a gathering brought together two groups now connected through this tragedy: the LGBT community and Muslims.

They were there to support each other and stand up against hate and violence.

For people involved in “True Colors” – a Hartford-based LGBT youth group – the rampage at a gay club hits home.

“We can’t forget though that it is a hate crime against LGBT folks in the one place they’re supposed to be safe,” said Robin McHaelen,executive director of "True Colors."

Members of the American Muslim Peace Initiative expressed outrage at the violence. The actions and possible motive of a lone gunman should not be linked to mainstream Islam, according to group members.

“The individual who acted in the way he did does not represent our faith,” said Saud Anwar, co-chair of American Muslim Peace Initiative.

At the New Haven Pride Center, June is Pride month and supposed to be a time to celebrate.

Now, the mass shooting was a reminder of what they see as the frustrating history of violence against the LGBT community.

“It’s an LGBT violence problem but it’s also a gun violence problem. So we’ve been dealing with both in our country for a very long time and it just underscores that we have a long way to go,” said Joshua O’Connell, co-president of the New Haven Pride Center.

A prayer vigil was planned at the Baitul Aman House of Peace Mosque in Meriden at 8:00 p.m. Sunday, and people planned to gather at St. Paul's on the Green in Norwalk as well.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Meriden Police Officer Recognized for Act of Kindness


A Meriden police officer's good deed is receiving praise from his department.

Officer John-Paul Dorais happened upon a homeless woman sleeping in a shed on Broad Street Saturday. The woman was going through some tragic circumstances, according to police.

Officer Dorais brought the woman to the Comfort Inn & Suites on East Main street and bought her a room so that she could have a good night's sleep. His partner snapped a photo of Officer Dorais at the front counter of the hotel.

"Officer Dorais's act of kindness exemplifies what the men and women of the Meriden Police Department stand for and we are proud of him and all our officers who do these kinds of deeds that are seldom recognized," a post on the Meriden Police Department's Facebook page read.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police
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Paying Tribute to the Orlando Shooting Victims


Photo Credit: LA Times via Getty Images

1 Swimmer Rescued, 1 Missing in Long Island Sound


Bridgeport police and fire marine crews and the Coast Guard are searching for a missing swimmer in the Long Island Sound just outside Bridgeport Harbor, according to the Coast Guard.

Police rescued one person from the water Sunday evening, but there was still an active search for a second person in the water, authorities said.

A Coast Guard helicopter and Stratford firefighters are also involved in the search.

The missing person is an adult, but no other information on the person's identity was available.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport EOC

Torrington Woman Among Orlando Massacre Victims


Police in Orlando have identified one of the victim's of Sunday's shooting at Pulse Nightclub as a Torrington woman who only recently moved to Florida.

Kimberly Morris, 37, is the eighth victim identified in the massacre.

Morris, who was known as KJ to her friends, worked as a bouncer at Pulse. She was working early Sunday when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire, killing 50 people and injuring more than 50 more.

She only moved to Orlando a few months ago, according to her friend, Jim Searle.

Searle worked with Morris last summer at Diamond Wireless inside BJ's in Manchester. He called Morris a great person who loved life.

Morris lived for some time in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she worked at the gay club Divas as a drag king and bouncer.

"We are deeply saddened to loose [sic] a member of our Diva's family," the club wrote on Facebook Sunday night. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. We will always remember her smile and her amazing way she lite up the stage in her performances."

Photo Credit: Facebook

Artists Creates Gun Control Artwork


Between the birthday greetings he got as he woke up, visual artist ChadMichael Morrisette said his heart broke for what he saw on the news Sunday morning as details emerged about the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando.

"This affected me so much. I wanted people to see as the biggest shooting in American history, what that might look like, and I have the ability to show them that," he said.

It was his call to action. His vision was to show people the horror of what the aftermath of a shooting of that magnitude would look like.

Morrisette created a dramatic representation of the carnage inside Pulse nightclub, with 50 mannequins on the roof of his West Hollywood home.

"I put 50 bodies on the roof of my house so that people could drive by and see what 50 human bodies looks like. Piled up," he said of the installation.

No two mannequins' expressions are the same, no positions are the same. It is the visual of what first responders must have seen inside that nightclub, where Omar Mateen killed at least 49 people and wounded 53 more. 

"The bodies are still in there. Right now. They’re still in there," Morrisette said Sunday night. "This is exactly what they’re walking into."

His art piece is titled "No One Is Safe," and he is calling on lawmakers to change that.

"It doesn’t matter if it’s a church or a movie theater or a gay club or an elementary school. All of us at this point should be able to relate to it," Morrisette said.

"I don’t care what you say about all this we cannot have 50 Americans killed in a nightclub and continue to do nothing about it."

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

I-91 Reopens After Serious Crash in Enfield


Interstate 91 South was closed between exits 49 and 48 in Enfield because of a serious crash involving a vehicle and a motorcycle just before 12:30 a.m. on Monday.

State police said the road reopened just before 4 a.m.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Search for Man Who Assaulted Woman in West Haven


A man sexually assaulted a woman in her car in West Haven, Connecticut, early Sunday morning and police are trying to identify him.

Police said the woman was coming home from work around 2 a.m. and the man sexually assaulted her after she pulled into the driveway of her Gilbert Street home, forcing her back into her car and assaulting her.

After the assault, the man ran from Gilbert Street to Bristol Street.

He is described as around 35 years old, with a large nose that was red and shoulder-length blonde hair that was curling under a maroon baseball cap. He was wearing gray pants and boots.

Police have increased their presence in the Allingtown neighborhoods and ask anyone with information to call police.

Authorities warn people not to approach the man because he should be considered dangerous.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Route 66 Reopens in Marlborough

CT Lawmakers Call for Ban on Assault Weapons


Three Connecticut Congress members are urging their colleagues to ban assault-style weapons after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people were killed and 53 were injured early Sunday morning.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and with U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty held a news conference on Monday mornings and said the ability to purchase these weapons is a gift for terrorist groups.

All three U.S. lawmakers have pursued gun control legislation following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, that killed 20 students and six staff members, and they have met with President Barack Obama about executive actions to tighten the nation’s gun laws.

The gun used early Sunday morning in Orlando, an AR-15, is the same model of gun used in the school shooting at Sandy Hook in Newtown and at Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino, California.

Blumenthal said the large scale attack that happened in the nightclub club is only possible because of the weapons are available for purchase.

"If there is a lesson for these murders and attacks, assault weapons are at the center of many of these attacks. The shooter chose a location, a time and a weapon and that weapon was an AR-15," Blumenthal said.

Murphy added that terrorists are no longer building bombs in basements. Instead, they are walking into gun stores to buy weapons to carry out attacks.

On Sunday, he said Congress “has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence” and said this “epidemic will continue without end if Congress continues to sit on its hands and do nothing – again.”

Esty, wearing a pin in remembrance of the Sandy Hook shooting victims, said this latest attack is an attack on humanity.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Police Search for Elderly Man Missing From Colchester


Police have issued a Silver Alert for a missing 77-year-old man from Colchester.

Philip Guarnaccia was last seen on Saturday.

He is 5'9" tall and 350 lbs. with gray hair and brown eyes. Guarnaccia was last seen wearing a green t-shirt and khaki pants, according to police.

Guarnaccia may be driving a 2012 blue Toyota Tacoma with Connecticut license plate 460 CFW.

Anyone with information on where he may be is asked to call State Police Troop K in Colchester at 860-537-7500.

Photo Credit: CT State Police

Woman Killed, Man Injured in Motorcycle Crash on I-91


A woman was killed and a man was badly injured in a motorcycle crash on Interstate 91 South in Enfield early Monday morning.

Police identified the woman who was killed as Caroline Brazeau Mcallister, 48, of Milford.

She was a passenger on a 2006 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Randal Lee Ruelle, 48, of Milford, according to state police. Ruelle sustained serious injuries.

According to state police, a Windsor Locks man driving a Ford Freestyle hit the motorcycle while changing lanes near exit 48 just after midnight. He was not injured.

An ambulance brought Mcallister to Bay State Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead and Ruelle was transported to St. Francis Hospital to be treated for serious injuries.

Police are investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Red Cross Sending Some Blood to Orlando


There are several ways to help after the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

The American Red Cross doesn’t typically serve hospitals in the Orlando, Florida area, but the Red Cross in Farmington is providing a small number of blood products to support Florida hospitals.

They said they have what they need to respond to the tragic incident, but stand ready to provide additional blood and blood products as needed.

Eligible individuals can make an appointment to give blood in the coming weeks and months by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting www.redcrossblood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

Here are more ways to help.

Photo Credit: AP

Person Airlifted After Falling from Golf Course into Quarry


A person was flown to the hospital after falling around 80 feet from Quarry Ridge Golf Course in Portland into an abandoned quarry on Sunday evening.

Officials from the Portland Fire Department said the incident happened around 7 p.m. and firefighters found the victim had fallen around 80 feet into an abandoned quarry.

The person fell near the 18 hole, officials said, and crews used a rope system and basket to get the victim. LifeStar then brought the person to the hospital.

Initial reports from the scene were that the patient was not breathing and CPR was in progress, but the patient began breathing again thanks to a civilian and initial Portland fire units, according to Middletown firefighters, but was still unresponsive.

Photo Credit: Portland Fire Department Facebook Page
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