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Mom of Orlando Victim: 'I Can't Bring Her Back'


Kimberly “KJ” Morris took one bite from a doughnut her mother left for her before leaving for work at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Saturday night. 

On Sunday morning, Deborah Johnson-Riley saw her daughter’s doughnut was still there and KJ wasn’t home from work. 

Then Johnson-Riley’s mother called her. Something had happened at the club. 

“I wondered. She didn’t call me,” she said of receiving no word from KJ. “But she was grown, so.” 

KJ, a 1996 graduate of Torrington High School, was 37 years old. 

Instead of heading to church like she planned, Johnson-Riley went to the hospital and waited for hours, but there was no word on her daughter’s condition. 

Then she went to the hotel where families were gathered and waited for hours more. 

At one point, a man who knew KJ said she had to have gotten out. She was a security guard at Pulse and worked outside, so she had to have gotten out. 

But Johnson-Riley asked him to call a manager and it was through Snapchat that she learned KJ had been inside the club, not outside of it. 

The call no parent wants to ever receive came to Johnson-Riley’s mother’s house, where the family was gathered. Then three officials came to the door and delivered the bad news. 

“They told me she was gone,” Johnson-Riley said. It was 7:30 p.m. on Sunday and no one would tell her anything about what happened to her daughter, just that she had identification and they had identified her. 

The investigation was ongoing. 

As families waited, the world learned that a gunman killed 49 people inside Pulse and injured many more. 

Morris had just started working at the club a week or two before.

She’d only moved to Orlando at the end of March to be with her mother, a Torrington native, and her grandmother.

In the short time mother and daughter were together in Florida, they enjoyed their talks, the pool and going to the movies together.

KJ also worked two jobs. One was as a manager at Verizon. The other was as a security guard at Pulse, a club the owner started in memory of her brother as a safe haven for Orlando's gay community — a community KJ was a part of. She came out in college, her mother said.

But Johnson-Riley did not want her daughter working at a club in downtown Orlando — at any club in Orlando.

“It’s unfortunate and I begged her not to work there. … I said. ‘Please don’t work downtown at any clubs … it’s too dangerous. There’s a lot of shootings and she said, ‘Oh, I’ve done it before, I’ve done it up north, I’ve done it in Springfield. So, I said ‘This is different here, and she wouldn’t listen ‘cause she is stubborn … in a good way.” 

Now Johnson-Riley is in shock. 

“I feel devastated that she moved here and that someone had to do this to her, and she was such a good person, but they say the good die young, but she is going to be missed,” Johnson-Riley said. 

She is holding on to the doughnut that her daughter took a bite from. 

“I can’t throw that doughnut away,” she said. 

Her memories will forever be of KJ’s smiling face, her generosity, the good times they had together and the discussions. 

“I’m going to be grateful for the time I did have for her, because that’s all I can do,” Johnson-Riley said. “She’s gone. I can’t bring her back.” 

But the grieving mother will keep her daughter’s memory memory going and let people know what a wonderful person her daughter was.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Police Launch Excessive Force Investigation


Hartford Police said an investigation is underway for an excessive force incident involving several of its officers. 

On June 4, police began pursuing a stolen car in Hartford that led police through several residential streets and ended in West Hartford when officers deployed "speed sticks", Deputy Chief Brian Foley said. 

A West Hartford Police camera appears to show Hartford cops kicking or stomping one of the suspects while they were in handcuffs, police said.

Hartford Police said they have launched a preliminary investigation the following day, when the suspects' bruised and cut faces appeared in mugshots and raised concerns in the department. 

Both men had to be hospitalized.

The investigation stated after the driver, Ricardo Perez, along with another suspect, Emilio Diaz, pulled over on Affleck Street at the beginning of June.

"This is a man who's been arrested several times. Eighteen times in the City of Hartford. He's a convicted felon. He's run from the cops at least four times before this," Foley said about Perez. "He has multiple reckless driving charges. Multiple interfering with police charges. He's violent towards our officers and does not care about society and the safety of our citizens."

Police also said Diaz faces several drug-related charges.

As officers approached the car, Perez moved the vehicle and struck a Hartford detective, police said.

During the pursuit of the vehicle, Perez struck four Hartford Police vehicles, according to Foley. 

Officers used force, including a stungun, to arrest the two suspects. Both appeared to have "suffered apparent facial injuries at some point," Foley said. 

Police did not disclose how many officers were involved in the incident or provide their rank.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Perez and Diaz for comment.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Branford Woman Missing Fatally Struck by Train


A Branford woman who went for a hike in the woods on Monday went missing was fatally struck by a train, Kevin Nursick with the DOT confirms.

The woman’s name is Sarah Addy and no one had seen her or been able to reach her on her cell phone since she left her home on Thimble Island Road in Branford on Monday afternoon. 

The 31-year-old was found around 7:15 p.m. along the eastbound railroad tracks, just east of Thimble Island Road, police said.

Police believe Addy was struck by an eastbound train sometime in the evening hours the night before. 

The incident is under investigation. 

Photo Credit: Branford Police

NRA Blames Obama for Orlando Shooting


After each mass shooting in the U.S., calls for stricter gun control grow louder but responses from the National Rifle Association are minimal or non-existent, NBC News reported. 

On Tuesday, Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, broke the NRA's silence two days after a rampage at a gay Orlando club where 49 were killed and dozens wounded. In an op-ed for USA Today, Cox blamed the Obama administration's "political correctness" for failing to prevent the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. 

The FBI looked into gunman Omar Mateen in 2013 after he claimed a family connection to al Qaeda, said FBI Director James Comey Monday. The bureau closed the 10-month investigation after Mateen explained that he made the comments out of anger because he thought his co-workers were discriminating against him. 

Cox said gun control "will do nothing to prevent the next attack." The only solution, he wrote, is to address terrorism head on.

Photo Credit: AP

Police Investigate Smash-and-Grab at Suffield Food Store


Police are investigating a smash-and-grab burglary at a Sam’s Food Store in Suffield on Tuesday night.

Police responded to the store on Babbs Road at 11:55 p.m. and found the glass front door had been smashed.

When they looked at surveillance video, they saw a man smash the glass with a hammer, then go inside and steal a cash register drawer, cash and cigarettes.

After the burglary, he got into his vehicle at the north entrance of the plaza and went northbound on Babbs Road.

Police are looking for a 5-foot-9 man who was wearing jeans, a gray sweatshirt and a black beanie hat.

Anyone who saw the vehicle parked in the plaza before midnight or knows anything about the case should call Detective Justin Fuller at (860) 668-3870.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Orlando Survivor: 'Was It Supposed to Be Me?'


Demetrice Naulings decided to flee a bathroom at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, and lived. His best friend, Eddie Justice, got left behind, and died. Through tears, Naulings talks about that night. "My friend wasn't supposed to die in the bathroom on the floor," Naulings said.

Photo Credit: AP

Mateen Called Fla. Station: Report


An Orlando TV station says the man who shot and killed 49 people inside a popular nightclub contacted them moments after opening fire early Sunday morning.

News 13's Matthew Gentili said he was staffing the station's phones as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history unfolded a few blocks away at Pulse.  

"I was receiving phone calls from viewers saying, 'What's going on? What's happening? What's happening in Orlando?" Gentili recalled Tuesday.

At about 2:45 a.m., Gentili said he received a call from a man asking whether he had heard of the shooting. As the TV producer began to respond, the person on the other end of the phone interrupted Gentili.

"I'm the shooter. It's me. I am the shooter," the caller said.

Gentili said the man told him he "did it for ISIS" and then started speaking in Arabic before eventually hanging up the phone. NBC News has not independently confirmed News 13's report. 

The station's managing editor, according News 13, confirmed the caller's phone number matched that of the gunman, identified as Omar Mateen.

Gentili was interviewed by the FBI, who would not confirm if it was indeed Mateen who he had spoken to.

Photo Credit: MySpace, Getty Images

Coast Guard Offer Water Safety Reminders After Three Incidents on Long Island Sound


Since Sunday, the Coast Guard and local search crews have responded to three incidents on the water after trips on Long Island Sound didn’t go as planned and officials are urging people to take steps to protect themselves.

Todd Roeder, of Stratford, went kayaking on Tuesday afternoon with his wife at the beach in Milford.

“It was a little windy,” he said. “The breeze was kind of pushing us out a bit, but it was manageable.”

He rented the kayaks from Scoot and Paddle http://scootandpaddle.com/. The owner, Christina Pritchard, advised him not to go too far off the coast.

“When we have a strong offshore breeze we don’t rent at all. It’s very dangerous. You can get blown away, as we’ve seen,” she said.

Two men died after launching from Hammonasset State Park on Sunday evening in a kayak and paddle board. One body washed up on the Long Island shore.

The Coast Guard searched Sunday and Monday for a missing man after his inflatable raft tipped over off the Bridgeport coast and he has not yet been found.

On Tuesday morning, a Coast Guard auxiliarist in his private boat spotted a man, without a life jacket, who was stranded overnight on the Sound in a flimsy raft. His friend somehow swam and then walked back to shore from Charles Island during low tide.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a lifejacket,” Coast Guard Lt. Richard Matthews said. “Think of it like the seatbelt when you go out in the ocean.”

Always make sure to check the forecast and especially be aware of strong wind gusts before going out into the water, Lt. Matthews added.

“You really need to know the limitations of your equipment and yourself as a mariner,” he said, “so you not only check the type of vessel that you have but in accordance where you’re going to be operating and the weather conditions.”

First responders are reminding everyone to give a float plan to someone on shore, making sure that person has the details of the boating trip.

Also, be sure to take a cell phone, air horn or whistle, just in case something goes wrong.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

7-Year-Old Punished for Bringing Toy Water Gun to School


A second grade student in Portsmouth, Virginia, is facing a harsh punishment after bringing a toy water gun to school. Josiah Green, 7, was suspended for 10 days in May after he was caught with both a water gun and a Nerf gun in class. The school board said that it is now mulling expulsion for the child.
"I was emotional and shocked. I understand that he's suspended, but now you're throwing that he could be expelled on the table," said the boy's mother, Audreyann Davis.

As Orlando Recovers, Here's How to Help


With Orlando in mourning after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub, many groups are organizing ways to help. Forty-nine people died and dozens were injured when 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire in the gay club early Sunday morning. From giving blood to donating money, here are some ways to assist the victims, their families and the city -- plus links to counseling and other services.

OneOrlando Fund: The city created the fund to support nonprofits helping the victims and their families; assist the Hispanic and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, and others affected by the tragedy; and to address its causes, Mayor Buddy Dyer announced. 

Equality Florida: The state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights group has created a GoFundMe campaign for the victims. More than $4 million had been raised as of Wednesday toward a goal of $5 million. GoFundMe contributed $100,000 toward the campaign. The money will be distributed with the help of the city of Orlando, local groups and the National Center for Victims of Crime, Equality Florida says on the page. On its website, it offers links to counseling services, legal help and other assistance.

OneBlood: After a tremendous response by blood donors, the blood center is urging other people who want to donate to make an appointment. Call 1-888-9-Donate or visit OneBlood.  

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida: It also has created a GoFundMe account, which has raised more than $350,000 toward a goal of $500,000. It is looking for volunteers and is working with other LGBT organizations throughout central Florida to provide an emergency hotline and crisis counseling.

Muslims United For Victims of the Pulse Shooting: The group has created a fund on LaunchGood for the immediate, short-term needs of the families. "We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action," the group says on the website. The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations will give the money raised to the OneOrlando fund.

The National Compassion Fund: Developed by the National Center for Victims of Crime, it is raising money for the immediate and long-term emotional and physical needs of the victims and their families. It says it is working with Equality Florida to combine efforts and ensure that donations are distributed fairly and transparently.

The Federal Trade Commission offers donors a list of tips to avoid scams trying to take advantage of the tragedy.

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images

4 Juveniles Arrested After Chase in Stolen Car in Bozrah


Four juveniles have been arrested after a police chase in a stolen car in Bozrah early Wednesday morning and one is accused of car theft, drug possession and carrying a gun without a permit. 

Police said a 2015 Lexus registered out of Massachusetts was going 86 miles per hour in a 65-mile-per-hour zone on Route 2 East around 1:40 a.m. and the driver refused to stop for the state trooper. 

When the driver crashed on Fitchville Road, police arrested the four juveniles. 

Their names have not been released, but police said one was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, interfering with a police officer, possession of narcotics, larceny of a motor vehicle and sixth-degree larceny. 

The three other juveniles have been charged with interfering with an officer, larceny of a motor vehicle and sixth-degree larceny. 

All four suspects have been released and are due in Hartford Juvenile Court on June 27.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Female Hit By Tractor-Trailer on Route 6


A female was hit by a tractor-trailer as she crossed Route 6 in Andover on Wednesday afternoon and LifeStar responded and brought her to a hospital for observation, according to state police.  

The road was closed, but LifeStar has since left the scene and the road reopened.

It's not clear how old the female is and no additional information was immediately available. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Route 1 Reopens in Milford


Route 1 in Milford has reopened after a crash this afternoon. 

The westbound lanes were shut down from Bridgeport Avenue to Silver Sands Park Way, according to police, but they reopened just after 2:30 p.m.

There is no word on the severity of the crash or if anyone is injured.

Beat the Heat: Creative Ways to Cool Down


Temperatures are continuing to climb with no end in sight. Beat the heat with these creative tips for staying cool.

Chill your sheets

Instead of turning your pillow onto the “cold side” every five minutes, try throwing your pillow cases, sheets and blanket into storage bags and then putting them in the freezer. The cooler linen will keep you comfortable on a hot night.

Run your wrists under cold water

Blood flows close to your skin in your wrists and the insides of your arms. Sleepingrelief.com suggests running them under cold water for about a minute. Cooling these areas will also cool down the rest of your body.

Blow air over ice

No air conditioning? Make your own. Sleepingrelief.com suggests filling up a large shallow container with ice and placing it between you and a fan before you go to bed. The amount of time it takes the ice to melt should be just enough time for you to fall asleep.

Eat spicy foods

It's no coincidence that some of the warmest climates boast some of the spiciest foods. The Huffington Post reports that eating spicy foods actually cools you down. Spicy foods make you sweat, which helps cool you down faster.

Turn off TVs and computers when not in use

TVs and computers on sleep mode still give off heat energy. It is best to turn them off when not in use so you don’t add to the heat in your house.

Sleep downstairs

Since heat rises, your house is likely to be cooler on the ground floor. Sleeping downstairs may be a more comfortable way to sleep during a heat wave.

Oldhouseweb.com suggests ways to keep cool in an old house, such as leaving your attic hatch open for airflow. That way, rising heat has somewhere to escape to.

Photo Credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Hartford Budget Cuts Eliminate Movies After Dark


The latest casualty of Hartford’s massive budget crisis is “Movies After Dark,” a program offering free movies every Friday night in the summer at one of eight parks across Hartford. 

The program was part the Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs Division and the city saved $270,000 by eliminating MECA, including eliminating two positions and the “Movies After Dark” program, which consumed $19,000 of the budget. 

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said it was a difficult decision to cut MECA, but his administration is looking to get Hartford on track so the city can grow and be sustainable in the years to come. 

“There were some really painful drastic cuts in this budget. The important thing is we are working hard to try to find other sources of support. We are working with the philanthropic community, with the arts community in general,” Bronin said. 

Community members who frequent the parks were disappointed with the decision. 

“It is too bad that they had to cut it. That is my thought. I can understand that the state is hemorrhaging money everywhere, so it is a little bit of a problem,” Leo Lloyd, of West Hartford, said. 

“I know they are necessary. I wish less money had been spent on the baseball stadium given everything that has happened with it. It is a bit of a disaster. On behalf of those that did go to the movies, I am sorry that they are losing that benefit,” Kendall Baker said. 

Below is a breakdown of the “Movies After Dark” budget: 


  • Outdoor Screen and Video: $4,655
  •  Flyers/Brochures/Designs: $3,750
  •  Media Production: $1,350
  •  Consulting and public relations services: $7,500
  •  Other Miscellaneous: $1,745
  •  Expenditures Total: $19,000

Man With Gun Robbed New Haven Shell Station


A man robbed the clerk of a New Haven Shell station at gunpoint and police are searching for the man. 

Police went to the Shell Gas Station at 141 Willow St. at 12:57 a.m. on Saturday and the 34-year-old clerk said a man with a black pistol made him open the register, then took the entire cash drawer, which held around $500. 

The robber is around 5-feet-9, weighs around 150 pounds and had a tattoo on his forehead and a moustache. 

He was thin and likely in his late teens to early 20s.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

I-95 in Guilford Reopens Following Tractor Trailer Accident

Man Pleads Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Scheme Over $150K Debt


A man who owed a restaurant manager $150,000 has plead guilty to orchestrating a murder-for-hire scheme, the U.S. attorney's office announced on Thursday. 

Larry Talledo-Torrejon, 29, a citizen of Peru residing in Stamford, attempted to purchase a restaurant for $300,000 but gave the manager $150,000 in personal bank checks with insufficient funds, the attorney's office said in a release.

Talledo-Torrejon directed a person who owed him $5,000 to follow the manager to his New York home and murder him. In exchange for the murder, Talledo-Torrejon said he would absolve the man of the $5,000 debt and pay him an additional $5,000 in cash.

The individual then contacted police to tell them about Talledo-Torrejon scheme. The individual told Talledo-Torrejon that he had kidnapped the restaurant manager and was holding him hostage. 

Talledo-Torrejon informed the individual of his debt with the restaurant owner and also suggested that the pair could start a business kidnapping and extorting people for money, the release said. 

In early December, Talledo-Torrejon falsely told Stamford police that the restaurant manager had stolen $150,000 from him. He was arrested after he provided the presumed murderer with $500 in partial payment for the murder of the manager, the release said.

The charge for murder for hire carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. 

Talledo-Torrejon has been detained since his arrest. It is not clear if he has an attorney. 

He is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 7. 

Newtown Police Warn Residents of K-9 Officer Scam


Newtown Police are warning residents about someone claiming to be collecting money for the department's K-9 unit.

Officials believe the suspect is an employee of a legitimate fund raising company that represents the Connecticut Police Work Dog association. 

Police launched an investigation following a complaint that said they had gotten a phone call from someone representing themselves as a K-9 officer.

The caller told the resident that he was collecting money for the Newtown Police K-9 Unit and that he would personally come to pick up the cash at a prearranged place and time, police said. 

The Newtown Police is currently not engaged in any fundraising effort.

If you were a victim of this fraud please contact Detective McAnaspie (203) 426-5841.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Called Cashier Anti-Gay Slur, Referenced Orlando Shooting


A customer at the Home Depot in West Hartford allegedly called the cashier a derogatory slur and referenced the Orlando shooting that killed 49 people at a gay club in Florida, police said. 

Police responded to a complaint regarding a hostile customer at the Home Depot located on 503 New Park Avenue at 11:25 on Wednesday morning. 

The suspect began a harassing conversation about the cashier's sexuality after asking the employee why he was wearing gloves while working the register, West Hartford Police said. 

The cashier told police the suspect called him a slur and referenced the deadly Orlando incident where a gunman opened fire at an LGBT nightclub on Sunday, according to police. The customer's comments were overheard by another employee.

The victim was able to take a photo of the suspect's car and license plate.

Police arrested Mario Interlandi, 71, of West Hartford shortly after. 

Interlandi is accused of intimidation based on bigotry or bias and breach of peace. His bond was set at $25,000. 

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police
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