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Torrington Holds Vigil for Victims of Orlando Shooting


On Friday people in Torrington held a vigil and prayed for those who died in Orlando.

Of the 49 shooting victims, it was Kimberly Morris that hits home for people here.

KJ, as she was known, was a bouncer at the gay nightclub and grew up in Torrington.

“It was her energy. She had such a likeness about her. She was always happy. She was always willing to help everybody,” says Shawn Brighenti, one of the event organizers.

Among those who spoke at the vigil was Senator Chris Murphy.

He was just back from Washington D.C, where he launched a nearly 15 hour filibuster about gun control earlier this week.

“I want to make sure that people here know how much love we have for KJ’s friends and how we’re not going to rest until we make changes that make sure this doesn’t happen again,” says Senator Murphy.

The senator and others admit it will not be easy to change gun laws including expanding background checks and preventing those on the terror watch list from getting a gun license.

“We have now an agenda, a mandate, and an obligation to do the right thing and act,” says Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut.

They are not giving up with votes on those measures scheduled next week in the U.S. Senate.

“I thought if Sandy Hook doesn’t change us what will? So here we are three and a half, four years later. Maybe this is the tipping point. I hope,” says Robin Turpin of Harwinton.

As for the gun-related votes in Washington next week, Senator Murphy says he’s planning for victory, though realizes many people consider it a long shot.

There’s fierce opposition from gun supporters who consider the measures an attack on the second amendment and say there are better ways to fight terrorism.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Marco Rubio Laying Groundwork for Potential Senate Bid


Signs are growing that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is moving towards a run for reelection, a reversal of his past statements committing to retire from the Senate at the end of his term, NBC News reported.

A major fundraiser for Rubio's presidential bid confirmed the senator and his advisers are instructing operatives and donors to begin laying the groundwork for a run — but emphasized Rubio hasn't made the final decision yet.

"I think it's making sure things are in place should he make the decision," the fundraiser said.

Rubio is expected to announce his decision as early as Monday, after consulting with his family this weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Oakland Loses Another Police Chief


Add Paul Figueroa to the growing list of former Oakland police chiefs.

Figueroa, who served two days as the city's sixth police chief since 2011, stepped down from his position as acting chief and assistant chief, Mayor Libby Schaaf announced late Friday during a press conference.

Schaaf also addressed another controversy involving alleged racist text messages sent by Police Commander Tony Jones to four other officers in the department. The mayor said an investigation is ongoing.

“As a Mayor of Oakland I am here to run a police department, not a frat house,” Schaaf said.

The mayor also called the culture at the police department "toxic" and "macho."

NBC Bay Area has obtained exclusive details on the text messages, which depict images of the Ku Klux Klan and use the N-word.

Schaaf called the text messages "unacceptable hate speech," and said both sending and receiving, but saying nothing are serious offenses.

The text messages were apparently written in 2014.

The mayor thought it was important to note the text messages were sent by African American officers.

"But they are wholly inappropriate and not acceptable from anyone who wears the badge of the Oakland Police Department," Schaaf said.

Meanwhile, Figueroa is now on leave and has asked to return as a captain, according to Schaaf.

Figueroa was replacing Interim Chief Ben Fairow, who was removed from his position earlier this week and just five days after he filled the vacancy after Chief Sean Whent left the police force.

City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, who previously served as Emeryville's city manager, will temporarily take over control of the department, Schaaf said.

"I will not appoint another acting chief," Schaaf said, adding that it is now an "appropriate time to place the department under civilian oversight."

The shakeup comes amidst a growing sex scandal. At the center of it is 18-year-old Celeste Guap, a prostitute who said she has had sex with as many as 28 police officers stretching across several counties and agencies, sometimes when she was a minor, sometimes for money and sometimes in exchange for information that would keep her from being arrested.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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12 Arrested in Belgium Over New Alleged Terror Plot


Twelve people suspected of planning new terror attacks were arrested in Brussels after police raided dozens of homes overnight, NBC News reported.

Forty people were taken in for questioning and 152 garage lock-ups were also searched, the Belgium Federal Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

The results on an investigation "necessitated an immediate intervention," it said. "In the interest of the investigation, currently no further details can be given."

Photo Credit: EFE

Man Dead, Woman Injured in East Hartford Shooting


A man was killed and a pregnant woman was injured in a shooting at the Summerfield Estates housing complex at 264 Plain Drive in East Hartford early Friday morning.

Police said they responded to the home at 4:12 a.m. to investigate reports of a shooting and found a 21-year-old man dead and a 23-year-old pregnant woman who was injured in the shooting. The woman was transported to Hartford Hospital, where she is being treated.

Late Friday morning, police said the latest information they had was that she was in critical condition. As of Friday afternoon, no information was available about her condition. 

A woman and a young boy were also home at the time and were not hurt.

The management staff for the complex did not want to talk, but did say that they are working with police.  

No one has been charged in the case. Police are actively investigating and ask anyone with information about the shooting to call the lead detective, Don Loehr, at 860-291-7509.

Woman Hit by Car in Vernon, Serious Injury Reported


A woman in her 20s has been hit by a car in Vernon this morning and sustained a serious head injury, according to police.

Police said the woman was hit on Skinner Road, near Brimwood Drive around 8:15 a.m. and she was transported to Hartford Hospital.

It appears she might have been crossing the road when a white Cadillac hit her.

LifeStar was called, but was canceled, according to officials from LifeStar.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

UK Lawmaker Murder Suspect: 'Death to Traitors'


The accused killer of British lawmaker Jo Cox declared "death to traitors, freedom for Britain" in his first court appearance Saturday, NBC News reported.

Thomas Mair, 52, made his defiant statement in Westminster Magistrates' Court in London after being charged overnight with the murder of the popular Labour Party lawmaker.

Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed to death Thursday in broad daylight outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, northern England.

The attack took place nearly a week before British voters are due to decide on whether to stay or leave the EU block. Political campaigning has been suspended in the wake of Cox's death, which has shaken a country where gun control is strict and gun violence is rare.

Photo Credit: AP
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Trump Vows to 'Save' Gun Rights at Texas Rally


Donald Trump emphatically told a Texas crowd Friday night that when he wins the presidency, people will call the White House to say they "can't believe you've saved the Second Amendment,” NBC News reported.

"We're going to save your guns," Trump roared to the thousands in a Houston hotel ballroom. "They're not going to take away your bullets. They're not going to shorten up your magazines. They're not going to do anything."

Trump also said it would have been a "beautiful sight" to see the Orlando gunman shot by someone armed at the nightclub last week.

"If we had people where the bullets were going in the opposite direction, right smack between the eyes of this maniac," Trump began to openly consider. He then added: "That would've been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks." 

But despite his colorful denouncement of gun restriction efforts, Trump did not specifically refer to the gun measures that the Senate is expected to vote on next week.

Photo Credit: AP

Orlando Shooter Talked About Bringing Gun to Training Class


Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was involuntarily dismissed from a Florida Department of Corrections training program after discussing bringing a gun to training class in 2007, NBC News reported.

In new documents provided to NBC News, Mateen's former colleague wrote in a report that Mateen asked him, "if he was to bring a gun to school would I tell anybody."

The Warden of the Martin Correctional Institution, P.H. Skipper, wrote "in light of the tragic events at Virginia Tech officer Mateen's inquiry about bringing a weapon to class is at best extremely disturbing."

In recommending dismissal in 2007, Skipper referenced Mateen falling asleep in class and at the gun range, but called the comment about bringing a gun to class most disturbing.

Photo Credit: AP

6 Killed When Van Hits Car and Overturns in Virginia


Six people were killed early Saturday when a van carrying 16 rolled over multiple times after a crash on Interstate 95 in Caroline County, Virginia.

The 1998 Dodge van was headed north on I-95 about 12:30 a.m. when it ran off the road to the left and then went right across two travel lanes, hitting a 2016 Toyota Camry in the right lane at the 112.4 mile marker, Virginia State Police said.

The Toyota spun out in the road, but the Dodge van continued off the road to the right before the driver over-correcting back left and overturned about five to six times, police said.

Six passengers in the van were ejected and died at the scene. Police said the passengers who died were four men, one woman and one juvenile. Their identities have not yet been released, pending notification of their next of kin.

The van driver and nine other passengers were rushed to Mary Washington Hospital and Spotsylvania Regional Hospital with serious injuries, police said.

Police said that it appeared that no one in the van had been wearing a seatbelt.

The driver of the Toyota was not hurt.

The crash remained under investigation as of Saturday afternoon.

Caroline County is located about two hours south of Washington, D.C., north of Richmond.

Photo Credit: Virginia State Police

Man Shot Twice in New Haven


A man is recovering in the hospital after being shot twice in New Haven early Saturday morning.

According to police, a 25-year-old male was riding his bike in front of the Casa Familia Shelter on Sylvan Street around 2:30 a.m. when he was shot twice in the stomach.

The suspect fled the scene in a car.

The victim was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital where he underwent surgery and is listed in stable condition.

Police are still searching for a suspect. The victim was uncooperative at the scene and police have no description of the fleeing vehicle.

Bish Evidence to Get Enhanced Testing


Evidence collected from the crime scenes in the Molly Bish murder will be submitted for enhanced DNA testing.

"The science is always getting better, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D Early Jr. said. "We feel that the improved testing will help us in our efforts to identify Molly's killer or killers."

The upgraded tests will become available in September, and the improvement in DNA testing could make degraded samples usable for determining DNA.

Early made the announcement in advance of the 16th anniversary of Molly's disappearance from Comins Pond in Warren, Massachusetts, on June 27, 2000. Molly, 16, and a resident of Warren, was a lifeguard at the pond. Her disappearance set off a massive search.

Bish's remains were found nearly three years later in the woods of Whiskey Hill in nearby Palmer, Massachusetts.

Soon after taking office, Early formed a cold case squad to look at older cases such as Molly's. After meeting with Molly's parents, John and Maggie Bish, he changed the name of the unit to the Unresolved Case Squad.

"John Bish had asked me not to call it a cold case squad because he felt it made it seem the cases were on a shelf somewhere collecting dust, so I changed it," Early said. "These cases are not forgotten and they are being worked on continuously. We get tips on Molly's case every week and we track down every lead."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Small Plane Crashes Off Westerly, RI


A pilot is safe after crash landing his plane in Westerly, Rhode Island, according to police.

The accident happened around 12:50 p.m. Saturday off Weekapaug Beach. Officials were contacted that an out of state plane crashed into the water.

The pilot, 62-year-old Alexander Piekarski of New York, was flying alone from Long Island, New York, to Taunton, Massachusetts.

A preliminary investigation indicates that Piekarski lost power and attempted to head toward Westerly Airport, but due to a loss in altitude, decided to make an emergency landing into the water so he wouldn't hit people on the beach.

The pilot was able to escape the plane before it sank. Lifeguards were able to help Piekarski back to the beach.

The pilot was taken to RI Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The plane will be inspected once it's removed from the water.

Heatwave, Winds Fuel SoCal Wildfire


A massive wildfire, fueled by strong winds, rising temperatures and an extended drought, has charred 7,811 acres in Santa Barbara County as firefighters brace for an extreme heatwave threatening to roast the Southwest.

The blaze, dubbed the Sherpa Fire, was 45 percent contained as of 11:30 a.m. Saturday, county officials said.

The weekend forecast suggests firefighters face a tough battle with the warmest weather so far this year. Temperatures in the triple-digits are likely across much of Southern California.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District declared a local emergency and issued a smoke advisory for Los Angeles and Orange counties in effect through Saturday in response to the fire, over fears that winds could push smoke from the blaze across the area.

About 270 structures remained threatened and at least 300 people were evacuated. One building has already been damaged, and two firefighters suffered minor injuries, fire officials said.

The Sherpa Fire, which is feeding off of brush and tall grass chaparral, began at the top of Refugio Road Wednesday afternoon, 25 miles north of Santa Barbara, near Refugio State Beach and Reagan Ranch.

A nearby ExxonMobil processing facility evacuated some employees Thursday, and those that remained, helped protect the plant against the flames, company spokesman Todd Spitler told The Associated Press. Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the crude refinery has a cleared buffer zone.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for the areas of Refugio Canyon, Canada del Venadito Canyon, Las Flores Canyon, El Capitan Canyon, El Capitan Ranch, El Capitan State Beach and Canada de la Destiladera. Evacuation warnings are in effect for Las Llagas Canyon, Gato Canyon, Las Varas Canyon, Dos Pueblos Canyon and Eagle Canyon. An evacuation center has been set up at the Wake Center, 300 N. Turnpike Road in Goleta and for large animals at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

County officials said crews will continue to work on reinforcing containment lines along the 101 Freeway, which may be closed again if the fire is determined to be a hazard to motorists. Calle Real from El Cap to Refugio Road remained closed.

More than 1,900 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, Cal-Fire and Santa Barbara County Fire continue to battle the blaze.

Residents can monitor the status of the fire and any guidance on the County of Santa Barbara website at www.countyofsb.org or sign up for alerts at www.awareandprepare.org.

Anyone in the evacuation area needing assistance with animals, including livestock, should call (805) 681-4332.

Photo Credit: AP

3 Charged With Planning New Terror Attack: Belgium Police


Police in Belgium charged three people with terror-related crimes Saturday after police raided dozens of homes in Brussels overnight, according to prosecutors, NBC News reported. 

The three were charged as “perpetrator or co-perpetrator, for having attempted to commit a terrorist murder and for participation in the activities of a terrorist group," the Belgium Federal Prosecutor's Office said in a statement. 

Twelve people were initially suspected of planning new terror attacks — nine were later let go. A total of 40 were taken in for questioning and 152 car ports were searched, the statement said. 

The country is still under a “level three” terror alert — the second highest — following the March 22 attacks on the Brussels airport and subway that killed 32 people.

Photo Credit: AP

West Haven Man Killed in Monroe Crash


A West Haven man was killed in a crash in Monroe Saturday morning.

 Police say they responded to the intersection of Shelton Road and Wheeler Road around 10:20 a.m. Initial investigation suggests that the victim, 68-year-old Russell Curtis, was riding a 2011 Harley Davidson west on Shelton Road when he was struck by a 2003 GMC dump body pickup truck with a trailer traveling north on Wheeler Road.

Curtis was transported to Bridgeport Hospital for treatment but died of his injuries. The driver of the pickup has not been publically identified at this time.

There is a stop sign controlling traffic on Wheeler Road at the intersection, according to police. The circumstances of the crash are under investigation by the Monroe Serious Crash Investigation Team. Shelton Road was closed for an hour for preliminary investigation but has since reopened. There is no word on any charges.


Driver Strikes 2 Deputies During Orlando Funeral Procession


A driver hit two Florida deputies after cutting through a funeral procession held for one of the victims of the Orlando mass shooting, NBC News reported. 

The Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies were on motorcycles escorting the procession through Kissimmee from a church when the driver struck them, a spokesman for the sheriff's office said.

One of the officers is in stable condition, while the other is in critical condition. Neither officer was identified. 

The female driver, who wasn’t identified, likely wasn’t paying attention. She is being questioned and charges are pending against her, the spokesman said.

Photo Credit: Valeria Gonzalez

Crews Seek Missing Boater at Cedar Lake in Chester


Crews are searching Cedar Lake for a missing boater, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain confirms that crews are searching the water for a 49-year-old man reported missing from a capsized canoe. A 49-year-old woman who was also onboard was rescued by bystanders. She was transported to a local medical clinic for treatment.

Schain says both the man and woman reside in Chester and they set out on the lake around 6:45 p.m. Their names have not been released.

Chester Fire, Haddam Fire and State Environmental Conservation Police are all on scene. The Middletown Fire Department Dive Team has also been called.

The initial call came in around 8 p.m.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


LGBT Gun Group Membership Jumps After Orlando Massacre


A national gun club for gays and lesbians wants the community to take up arms in self defense following the deadly massacre at an Orlando gay club in which 49 people were killed, NBC News reports. 

The Pink Pistols spokesperson Gwendolyn Patton, said the group’s membership went from about 1,500 members to about 4,500 in the week after the attack. New chapters are also popping up across the country. 

"We've had the greatest response in three areas, our Facebook page, which has tripled in size, our chapters, we have so many requests for information on starting new chapters I've lost count, and the sheer number of people offering services such as training to our members," Patton said. 

The group was founded in 2000 and urged LGBT people to exercise their Second Amendment rights. It describes itself as "an international LGBT self-defense organization" that advocates for gay people to obtain concealed carry permits.

Photo Credit: AP

Brexit Polls Give Lead to Those Wanting to Stay in EU


Two new opinion polls published Saturday showed a boost to Prime Minister David Cameron’s push to keep Britain in the European Union, according to Reuters, NBC News reported.

Cameron has been trying to focus voters about the economic risks of leaving the EU’s single market. The British leader received the support of a leading newspaper, Mail, which urged readers to vote to stay in the EU. 

"We are now in the final week of the referendum campaign and the swing back towards the status quo appears to be in full force," Anthony Wells, a director with polling firm YouGov, said.

The poll showed support for Britain staying in the EU got a narrow 44-43 lead over the “Out” campaign.

Photo Credit: AP
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