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Woman Taunted by Child Sprays Lighter Fluid at Group: Cops


After a 3-year-old child taunted her through a window, a Vernon woman grabbed lighter fluid and sprayed it at a group of people she was arguing with, including a child, according to police. 

Police said they responded to 74-76 Union St. at 9:38 p.m. on Tuesday to investigate a disturbance and found 48-year-old Laverne Mayo and several neighbors outside in a heated verbal argument. 

As police investigated, they learned that a 3-year-old child in a neighboring apartment was allegedly taunting Mayo through a window and that led to an argument between Mayo and several adult neighbors. 

The argument then escalated and Mayo is accused of picking up a bottle of lighter fluid and spraying it toward the group, police said. 

Some lighter fluid hit the arm of an adult who had pushed a 15-year-old out of the way so the teen wouldn’t be struck, police said. The adult wasn’t injured. 

Mayo was arrested at the scene and charged with second-degree breach of peace and risk of injury to a child. 

She was held overnight in lieu of a $5,000 bond and will appear in Rockville Superior Court today.

It's not clear if she has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police

DC Transit Officer Tried to Help ISIS: Feds


A police officer with the Washington, D.C. Metro transit system has been arrested for trying to support ISIS, according to federal prosecutors.

Nicholas Young, of Fairfax, Virginia, is accused of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. He was arrested at Metro headquarters Wednesday morning, NBC News reported. 

It's the first time a law enforcement officer has been accused of aiding the terrorist organization, authorities told NBC News national security reporter Ken Dilanian. 

Young, 36, met on 20 separate occasions with an FBI informant whom he believed was a man being radicalized, prosecutors said. He sent the man 22 digital gift card codes to be used with mobile messaging accounts that ISIS uses in recruiting, according to prosecutors. 

ISIS fighters and supporters communicate using encrypted apps, some of which charge fees, NBC News and Newsweek have reported. The FBI redeemed the gift card codes for $245.

Young appeared in federal court Wednesday afternoon for a brief hearing. The bearded man with chin-length hair and tattoos was expressionless as he stood in shackles. His pants appeared to be part of his Metro Transit Police uniform.

He received a court-appointed lawyer. Information on that lawyer was not available immediately.

A woman with tattoos and blonde hair in a braid appeared upset in the courtroom. Fighting tears, she refused to say what, if any, relationship she has with Young.

Law enforcement officials searched Young's home near Lee Highway and Fairfax County Parkway on Wednesday morning. Police tape blocked the street.

Young told an FBI informant that he was stockpiling weapons in his home, prosecutors say.

Young posed no credible threat to the Metro system, Joshua Stueve, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, told NBC News. 

According to court records, Young has been under scrutiny since as far back as 2009, when Metro officials reported suspicious behavior to the FBI, NBC News reported.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld called the charges "profoundly disturbing." 

"[Metro Transit Police Department] Chief [Ronald] Pavlik and I have worked hand-in-glove with the FBI in the interest of public safety and to ensure that this individual would be brought to justice," Wiedefeld said in a statement.

Young's employment with Metro was terminated Wednesday morning after his arrest, Wiedefeld said. He began working for the agency in 2003.

Young has been a longtime supporter of Islamic extremism and also has Nazi sympathies, prosecutors allege. He traveled to Libya in 2011 and told the FBI he fought with rebels seeking to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi, NBC News reported.

Law enforcement officials first interviewed Young in September 2010, in connection with his acquaintance Zachary Chesser.

Chesser, of Bristow, Virginia, pleaded guilty to providing material support to the terrorist group al-Shabab. The Muslim convert also told the creators of the television show "South Park" they risked death for mocking the Prophet Muhammad in an episode.

Neighbors of Young's said they often saw him fixing his car and that he rarely acknowledged them. 

"It's just scary. You never know who your neighbors are," neighbor Dina Ahmad said. 

Young is due to appear in court again Thursday afternoon.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story. 

Photo Credit: William Hennessy
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Georgia Teens Shot in Head, Found Dead Behind Publix Store


A boy and a girl were found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head behind a Publix grocery store in Roswell, Georgia, NBC News reported.

Natalie Henderson, of Roswell, Georgia, and Cater Davis, of Woodstock, Georgia, both 17, were discovered by a delivery driver in the parking lot of the store early Monday. Both died from a single gunshot wound to the head, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner. 

"The manner of death in both cases is homicide," the medical examiner said in a statement Tuesday. "Further investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths is to be done by the Roswell Police Department."

Tributes were paid Tuesday to the teens, who attended different high schools in the area.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Trump Campaign Raised $80M in July


Donald Trump's campaign grew its fundraising in July to a total of $80 million raised, including joint fundraising efforts with the Republican National Committee. The campaign also reported having $37 million cash on hand, CNBC reported.

The numbers are up from June when the campaign raised $51 million. Trump still trails his rival Hillary Clinton for July.

On Tuesday, Clinton reported raising nearly $90 million in July, ending the month with a $58 million war chest.

Photo Credit: AP

HDI Union Workers Attend Memorial on 6th Anniversary


It was a somber morning at Hartford Distributors in Manchester as employees and family members came together to remember eight employees killed during a mass workplace shooting in 2010.

To mark the sixth anniversary, union employees who were locked out during the union fight over a new contract were allowed on the grounds and attended a ceremony at the memorial garden this morning. 

Family members of the victims also attended.

"He was a great man. loved to cook. He was an avid Giants and Yankees fan. He was an overall genuine, kind person," Gina Fazio said of her father, Graham. 

She said all the victims were great men who will hold a special place in her heart. 

"Aug. 3rd comes around. You don’t really want to get up and function you don’t want to do anything else but to come here and see everyone stand by you. It puts a smile to my face,” she said.

Ross Hollander, the company’s president, called today a sad day.

"They were family. Who worked here their whole lives," Hollander said. "It's a very sad day. I'm glad everyone, including the employees, got together with us to remember our loved ones."

Officials from the Teamsters Union said the lockout ends at 9 p.m., but there is still no agreement on contracts.

HDI Lockout of Union Employees Ends Tonight: Union


Union employees at Hartford Distributors Incorporated, an alcohol distributor in Manchester, have been locked out since June, but the company has agreed to end the lockout tonight, despite the lack of a contractual agreement, according to the union.

The contract between HDI and Teamsters Local 1035 expired on April 30 and the roughly 120 warehouse employees and drivers have been working under the terms and conditions of the prior contract, while working to negotiate new terms.

The contract that ended on April 30 was extended from 2013. The first time it was extended for two years. The second time, it was extended for one year.

The lockout will end at 9 p.m. and union employees and HDI will continue to work to resolve outstanding issues, according to Christopher Roos, of Teamsters Local 1035.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Moosup Man Seriously Injured in Dirt Bike Crash


A Moosup man was seriously injured when he was thrown from his dirt bike in an accident Tuesday.

Plainfield police said they were called to Sterlington Hill Road in the area of New Road around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. When they arrived they found Patrick Garrett, 19, of Squaw Rock Road suffering serious injuries.

Garrett was transported to Backus Hospital and later flown to Hartford Hospital via Lifestar. His condition is unknown at this time.

According to police, Garrett was riding an unregistered dirt bike when he lost control and crashed into a stone wall on the side of the road. He was ejected from the bike and found by a passerby who called 911.

The accident is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Newington Police Seek Missing Teen


Newington police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing teenager.

Police say Zachery Rodriguez, 15, was reported missing on July 18. He was last seen by his mother on July 17 around 11 p.m. A Silver Alert has been issued.

Rodriguez is described as 5-foot-10, around 183 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes and a scar on his right arm. He was last seen wearing a gray-colored Steelers hoodie with black jogging pants and black and red Jordan sneakers.

Police said he’s believed to be in Hartford.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is encouraged to call Newington police at (860) 666-8445.

Photo Credit: Newington Police Department

Vernon Police Arrest Willimantic Man on Drug Charges


A Willimantic man faces drug charges after police said they seized a quarter pound of marijuana from his vehicle.

Zachary Oliver, 18, was charged with possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, weapon in a motor vehicle, and a town ordinance violation.

Vernon police said they arrested Oliver after an incident at Henry Park in their town Tuesday night. Police said they responded to Henry Park around 11:50 p.m. and found Oliver and a female passenger in a car in the parking lot. The responding officer suspected the pair may be involved with illegal drugs.

A second officer and K9 Tengo responded to the scene. According to police, K9 Tengo located around a quarter pound of marijuana in the car, along with 70 prescription pills, a digital scale and a fake handgun.

Oliver was released on bond and scheduled to appear in Rockville Superior Court on August 16 at 10 a.m.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

Fire Damages House in Oxford


Fire caused a lot of damage to a house on Hawley Road in Oxford on Wednesday. 

Mutual aid has been called in and the road is closed from Route 67.

It's not clear if anyone was hurt.

Photo Credit: Seymour Fire Department

Nurse Falls Into Md. River While Trying to Help Crash Victims


A nurse who stopped to help the victims of a serious crash in Maryland early Wednesday was hurt after she plunged more than 75 feet into a river, officials said. 

The woman fell into the Monocacy River in Frederick County after she tried to cross from the eastbound lanes to the westbound lanes of a bridge and apparently was unaware there is no median between the lanes, Maryland State Police said in a statement. 

The woman, a 47-year-old trauma nurse, and her husband were traveling eastbound on I-70 about 4:45 a.m. when they saw that a semitractor-trailer and dump truck had crashed on the westbound lanes of the bridge, police said.

The semitractor-trailer, which was loaded with asphalt, slammed into the back of the dump truck, which was loaded with concrete.

The semitractor-trailer hit the right concrete wall of the bridge, jackknifed and caught fire. The dump truck crashed onto its side and spilled some of its load of concrete onto the bridge, dramatic photos taken from Chopper4 show. 

The good Samaritan ran to help the two drivers and plunged into the river.

Her husband called for help immediately, and a trooper pulled her to shore. 

Chopper4 flew over the scene as rescue crews secured the woman to a gurney. 

The nurse and the dump truck driver, a 53-year-old Baltimore man, were rushed to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center by helicopter. The semitractor-trailer driver, a 58-year-old man from Sparrows Point, Maryland, was taken to Meritus Medical Center. 

Before the crash, a motorist reported that a commercial truck driver was traveling westbound without the truck's lights on. The crash occurred moments later, as troopers tried to find that truck. 

The interstate was closed in the aftermath of the crash. 

UConn's Faculty Row Could Be Demolished


The homes on Gilbert Road on the UConn campus in Storrs have been known by students, staff and faculty for decades as staples of that section of campus. 

At different points since they were initially built in 1890, they have housed students, sororities, fraternities and school administrators. 

Now, abandoned for years, the university is taking steps to demolish them and replace them and their parking lots with a new green space for use by students and anyone on the campus. 

“This will be a beautiful outdoor spot for use by the campus community that is perfectly situated between the future student recreation center and the South Campus residence halls,” Laura Cruickshank, UConn’s master planner and chief architect, initially said. 

The brown and yellow homes have chipping paint and in some cases have stairs that need to be either reinforced or replaced altogether. 

UConn estimated that the nine houses it wants replace with the green space would cost $1 million each to fully renovate. 

The section of Gilbert Road is in the UConn Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Ruickshank said that doesn’t mean the homes have to remain where they are. 

“Many of the buildings in the central campus are historic and must be preserved. The abandoned Greek Row houses are more of an eyesore taking up valuable space. It would be extremely costly to renovate them and even if we did, they would serve no useful purpose,” Ruickshank said. 

Margaret McCutcheon Faber vehemently disagrees.

She’s worked in the past on historic register issues and started a petition that’s collected more than 300 signatures in an effort to keep the homes. 

She’s also meeting with legal counsel to look at avenues to keep the homes before UConn takes further steps to remove them. 

The State Historic Preservation Office has already approved the removal of the buildings. 

“They are listed on the national registry as part of a national register district, so that means they’re listed. Either individually listed or contributing resources as a national register district they’re considered listed and as such, they’re protected under Connecticut’s environmental protection act from unreasonable destruction,” she said. 

Faber added that destroying the buildings would send a terrible message to the community about what the institution values. 

“I think an anti-preservation message, a lack of respect for the built environment and the history and Connecticut’s history and the nation’s history as a national register properties,” she said. 

Quentin Kessel, a professor emeritus of physics at UConn, grew up in Storrs and taught at the school for more than 30 years. 

His wife lived in one of the faculty Row homes and he said removing them would create its own sort of eyesore. 

“We’ll just be a homogenous brick university,” he said.

Woman Kicked Out of Family Dollar Store for Wearing Religious Veil


What was supposed to be a quick stop for a family cookout quickly turned into a harsh lesson in discrimination for a mother of four who said she was kicked out of a Family Dollar store for wearing a niqab.

The incident, which was captured on cell phone video and took place in front of Sarah Muzdaher Safi’s children, began when Safi stopped inside a Family Dollar store in Gary, Indiana, Monday afternoon wearing the traditional Islamic veil.

Safi said she had gone to the store to pick up charcoal and was shocked when an employee demanded she either take off the niqab or leave.

In the video, an employee, who identified herself as a store manager, can be heard saying, "Yes ma’am, if you can’t remove that from your face, I’m going to need you to leave the store."

"I’ve worn my garments for a long time," Safi said. "I have never been treated like this in any establishment. Ever."

In the video, Safi tells the clerk she is wearing a religious garment.

“I understand, but you have to understand this is a high crime area where we get robbed a lot, you need to remove that from your face or remove yourself from the store,” the employee said.

The clerk told Safi to leave two more times before wishing her a “blessed day.”

"It's not just a blatant violation of the civil rights laws of this country but it's also a violation of the basic laws of decency and morality that you don't treat customers this way just because they have a different cultural background or a different religion,” said Ahmed Rehab with the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Family Dollar, which is owned by Dollar Express, did not respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment.

Safi claims she contacted the chain about the incident and was told they were looking into it.

Safi said she won’t be going back to the store, but has a message for the woman in the video.

“I just want to understand….like I wish people would do of me. Just try to understand. I want to explain to her what I believe,” she said.

New K9 Joins Westport Police Department


Westport police announced the newest four-legged member of the department Wednesday.

Police said K9 Atlas is joining the Westport Police Department K9 Unit. Atlas is a 19-month-old German shepherd from Grasso Shepherds who will partner up with Officer David Scinto. The team will begin training this month. By October Atlas should be a certified patrol/narcotics detection canine.

The addition comes in response to an increase in drug abuse and heroin overdoses in the area, police said. Scinto and Atlas will join Officer Jim Loomer with PSD Koda and Officer Baker with PSD Chase in the K9 Unit, and help the department enforce current drug laws.

Westport officers will also be issued Narcan, used as an emergency treatment for suspected opioid overdoses. Narcan use has been increasing across the state as a way to combat the heroin epidemic. 

The Westport K9 Unit is funded through community donations and the support of Dr. Joan Poster of the Poster Animal Hospital and Bill Mitchell of Mitchell’s of Westport.

Photo Credit: Westport Police Department

Newington Woman Charged in Crash That Killed Pedestrian


A 26-year-old Newington woman has been charged in the crash that killed a pedestrian in February. 

Alyssa Santos is accused of hitting 63-year-old Walter Arnett at Cedar Street and Mill Street Extension on Feb. 25 and turned herself in to police on July 21. 

Police said she went through a traffic signal and hit Arnett. 

The Mid-State Accident Reconstruction Team investigated and Santos has been charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and failure to obey traffic control signal. 

She was released on a $10,000 non-surety bond and is due in court on Aug. 4.

Photo Credit: Newington Police

Police Investigate Break-In at Plainfield Convenience Store


Police are investigating a break-in at a convenience store in Plainfield. 

Police responded to the Sam’s Convenient Store at 219 Main St. in the Moosup section of Plainfield at 1:52 a.m. on Tuesday. 

The business was closed when the break-in happened and police said the two intruders tampered with the alarm system and security cameras and smashed the front entrance to get into the business, then proceeded to steal cigarettes, cigar packs and money. 

Surveillance cameras recorded the break-in and one of the men wore a bandana and what appeared to be a Chicago Bulls hat, a black tanktop, gloves and black track pants with white stripes down the side. 

The other man wore a gray hooded top, gloves and black track pants with white stripes down the side. 

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police

33 US Service Members Contracted Zika Overseas: Pentagon


The Pentagon says 33 U.S. service members, including one who is pregnant, have contracted the Zika virus overseas, NBC News reported. 

Officials would not say where the service members were posted, but a defense official said all recently traveled to areas where Zika is prevalent. No details about the pregnant service member were provided. Six dependents of military personnel have also been infected, a Pentagon source told NBC News.

The Military Times reported that the Department of Defense started tracking the mosquito-horne illness earlier this year. 

"(We are actively testing mosquitoes) as part of our ongoing integrated vector control and surveillance programs at bases and installations," Pentagon spokesman Air Force Maj. Benjamin Sakrisson told The Military Times.

Photo Credit: AP

White House: $400M Payment to Iran Not a Ransom


The White House on Wednesday denied suggestions that a $400 million cash payment to Iran in January was a "ransom" to free four Americans being held in Tehran — characterizing the move as coincidental.

A Wall Street Journal report Tuesday characterized the Obama administration's payment to Iran as a "secretly organized" airlift of cash to Tehran. It did not say when in January the money was received in Iran.

But, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that sum was actually part of a $1.7 billion settlement to Iran for an outstanding legal dispute that had been before an international tribunal in The Hague, adding that the negotiations over the settlement were "completely separate" from the hostage discussion.

"Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of the Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years," Kirby said.

The money was owed to the Islamic republic following a failed arms deal dating back to 1979, NBC News reported.

The State Department formally announced the settlement terms on Jan. 17 — a day after the four Americans were freed.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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DEEP Warns of 'Aggressive' Swans in Newtown


The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is warning residents and visitors in Newtown to be on the lookout for aggressive swans in town.

DEEP said the mute swans were reported on Lake Zoar near Alpine Drive. Officials also warned there may be a nest near the “umbrella” pavilion in the area.

Officials said swans may be aggressive toward humans when protecting their nests, and may be violent enough to cause small boats to capsize.

The DEEP implemented new protocols regarding swans after officials euthanized a mute swan this past spring.

Anyone who sees swans or other wildlife threatening public safety should call DEEP Dispatch at (860) 424-3333. For more information visit the DEEP website.

Photo Credit: Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
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