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Police Hunt for Boyfriend in Shooting Death of Girl, 17


A 17-year-old high school senior was found shot dead inside her bedroom in East Orange, N.J., and police are looking for her 18-year-old boyfriend, authorities said.

Aquilla Flood was found by a relative just before 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Prosecutors in Essex County said police are searching for Almuqqadin Means, 18, in connection with the killing.

Friends who went to school with Flood told NBC 4 New York the two were dating.

Flood was a student at Campus High School in East Orange, where she was to attend senior prom next week. Finals were canceled at the school after administrators learned of her death.

Friends were stunned by the girl's violent death and said Flood was a popular student with aspirations of attending the Fashion Institute of Technology.

"She was the best person you could ever meet," friend Jadaisha Richardson said at a vigil for Flood Wednesday night. 

"She was a sweet girl. She will truly be missed," said Flood's aunt Naimah Hicks. "My heart is totally broken." 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Handout

Landlord Accused of Spying on Hamptons Vacationers


Families paying $7,000 a week for a summer rental in East Hampton were secretly videotaped on cameras set up by the home's owner throughout the house, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The landlord, Donald Torr, 69, appeared in Suffolk Criminal Court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of unlawful surveillance and endangering the welfare of children.

Torr was arrested last month at his primary home in Florida. His wife and two children watched the court proceedings but offered no comment.

"This defendant secretly videotaped 13 adults, as well as nine children, without their permission and without their knowledge," said Suffolk County prosecutor John Cortes.

According to Cortes, at least seven cameras were hidden in bedrooms and even a shower, capturing much of the activities involving the adults and children renting the home during two separate weeks last August.

Hundreds of hours of video were recorded and have been recovered, prosecutors said. In addition, a router and modem in the home's basement allowed Torr to view the cameras on the internet.

"He was taking their money and invading their privacy at the same time," Cortes said. The prosecutor refused comment when asked about Torr's potential motive.

Torr's lawyer, Bruce Barket, insisted his client had done nothing wrong.

"It was not at all about spying on people," Barket claimed. The cameras, he said, were placed to ensure that the home was not vandalized when it was vacant. When tenants were inside the home, Barket said, the cameras were turned off.

"Torr was not watching individuals while they were in the house," Barket added.

One of the adults renting the home discovered the hidden cameras, prompting a police investigation, prosecutors said. Others may have been victimized, said Cortes, who asked those potential victims to come forward.

One of the families allegedly victimized last August has filed a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit against Torr in federal court. The family has not been named and their lawyer refused comment Wednesday.

A Suffolk judge ordered Torr held on $100,000 bail. According to Barket, his client would make bail by week's end.

Man Fled After Hitting Several Cars: Police


West Haven police have arrested 30-year-old New Haven man accused of hitting several parked cars and running away.

West Haven Police Officers were working a construction detail in the area of Washington Street and Brown Avenue around noon when they were alerted that a van had struck several parked vehicles, police said. 

Responding officers were immediately involved in a foot chase while fleeing the scene of the crash, Sgt. David Tammaro said in a released a statement.  

A short distance away, responding officers captured and arrested Christopher Blessings, of West Haven.

He was charged with several motor vehicle charges, including evading responsibility and interfering with police. 

He was held on $2,500 bond and is due in court on June 18.

Photo Credit: West Havenm Police

19 Victims in Building Collapse Identified


A day that was dominated by despair with the recovery of six bodies from the debris of a building collapse ended on a high note when rescuers early Thursday morning located a survivor in the rubble.

After 13 hours of digging through the rubble of the collapse site in Center City Philadelphia, a firefighter reached down to grab Myra Plekan's hand.

"I think they were digging and they felt her and she was able to respond and squeeze their hand," said Michael Resnick, the city's public safety director. "It feels outstanding to be able to pull somebody alive out of the rubble," Resnick said. "She was talking to the firefighters as they were recovering her."

Plekan was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in critical condition, following the collapse of a 4-story building under demolition, into a Salvation Army thrift store at 22nd and Market street. She was the last person crews were actively searching for after the building collapsed around 10:45 Wednesday morning with workers and customers inside.

"I can say that she was admitted to the hospital and that she is critically ill," said Dr. Patrick Kim, one of the doctors overseeing her treatment. Kim could not say anything more specific about Plekan's condition, he said, due to laws that protects a patient's privacy.

Five women and one man died in the collapse. They are identified as Kimberly Finnegan, Borbor Davis, Juanita Harmin, Mary Simpson, Anne Bryan and Roseline Conteh.

In all, 14 people were rescued, most by two roofers who were working nearby and rushed to the scene. Emergency crews followed about five minutes after the collapse. All but three of the injured are women as well. They are identified as Susan Randall, Betty Brown, Shirley Ball, Linda Bell, Jennifer Reynolds, Nadine White, Margarita Agosta, Rosemary Kreutzberg,, Felicia Hill, Daniel Johnson,  Richard Stasiorowski and Myra.

"As you know, last night we stayed the course and our members did pull one female live. That's why we stayed the course and that's what this rescue is all about. With all the despair, that person being pulled out is what this rescue and every rescue is all about," Ayers said.

Crews spent most of today searching one last section of the site and taking down the last section of wall that was still standing before clearing the scene and turning the investigation over to the Fire Marshall, Licenses and Inspections and the Philadelphia Police department.

The Salvation Army sent out another statement today, confirming that two of the victims who died were store employees:

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of the six individuals who perished in the wake of yesterday's building collapse. The passing of these individuals, including two of our employees, will be felt across our entire organization and throughout the community. . .The Salvation Army has been in contact with the families to offer emotional and spiritual support..."

Mayor Nutter would not answer specific questions on the day of the collapse about whether the demolition site was properly inspected. However, he revealed Thursday that one pre-demolition inspection was required and that inspection was completed. No subsequent inspections took place. Licenses and Inspections Deputy Commissioner Carlton Williams said that the work at the site had not progressed to the point that a further inspection was required.

The daughter of the demolition contractor says her father is "devastated" about what happened. Dominique Lee answered the door at Griffin Campbell's home in North Philadelphia this afternoon and said he wasn't home, but that "he's mourning the loss of those people just like everyone else."

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

3 CL&P Workers Hurt in Hartford


Three Connecticut Light & Power workers were taken to Hartford Hospital to be treated for minor injuries sustained during an incident on Wyllys Street in Hartford on Thursday morning.

Hartford police said the incident appears to be an explosion or accident.

As this was happening, the generator went on at Hartford Hospital.

Hospital officials said an accident on Wyllis Street caused a power surge, leading to one person being stuck in elevator.

The power at the hospital was out for about two minutes, officials said.

According to the CL&P power outage map, there are 310 power outages in Hartford.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Source: Gunman, Aiming for Mom's Boyfriend, Shoots Boy


A 9-year-old boy remained in critical condition Thursday after he was shot in the chest while riding in a car with his mother on Chicago's South Side, officials said.

The boy was wounded in a shooting the prior evening in the 6700 block of South Evans Avenue, family said.

He was taken to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital where he was immediately taken into surgery. Family members embraced outside, and there was word from one relative the boy's condition was improving by the 9 p.m. hour.

Detectives said they believe the boy's mother drove him to the hospital. Police looked for bullet holes in the family vehicle and found none.

The mother was driving with her boyfriend, an alleged gang member, in the front seat when the boyfriend was recognized by a man in the street, a police source familiar with the investigation told NBC Chicago.

The man shot at the car, aiming for the mother's boyfriend, but the bullet instead hit the 9-year-old boy, the source said.

There were five children in the car at the time of the shooting, according to the source.

Police taped off the vehicle outside of the hospital while they investigated Wednesday night but later let a relative drive away in the car.

Area Central detectives were investigating.

Student Faces Charges for Ultra Hot Sauce Prank


A Chicago area high school student is in hot water after a potent prank sent school employees to the hospital, police said.

The student is facing charges as a juvenile after he allegedly spiked a container of marinara sauce in the Highland Park High School cafeteria with a spicy sauce that sent three people to the hospital, according to police.

Several cafeteria workers were taken to the hospital on May 14 after they began coughing, wheezing, and experiencing shortness of breath and skin rashes, said Natalie Kaplan, the director of communication for Township High School District 113.

The employees were released later that day with no serious injuries and some students reported symptoms but did not require medical attention, Kaplan said.

The hot sauce was a specialty hot sauce called Da’ Bomb not found in ordinary grocery stores, according to Highland Park Deputy Chief George Pfutzenreuter, and reports of the symptoms came from just being near it.

A student reported a reaction to the sauce to the cafeteria manager, who then removed the sauce from the shelf, Kaplan said, but not before several other students and staff began experiencing symptoms just from being near the sauce.

Kaplan said the school contacted poison control and followed their direction and reported the incident to the area police.

An email was sent to the school's students and parents stating that a hot sauce was "inappropriately and deliberately" put into the marinara sauce in the cafeteria, effecting several students and staff. The sauce was reported and immediately removed, the email stated.

The prankster was identified by the school and the 17-year-old is expected to be referred to juvenile court this week on five counts of misdemeanor battery, Pfutzenreuter said.

Da’ Bomb Hot Sauce’s website says when ingesting their sauce “you may feel death is around the corner, but if you’re a warrior, that just heightens the pleasure.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Guide Dog to Help Blind Paralympian


Of the many inspiring stories from the Olympics, U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder’s stands out.

Snyder was blinded in Afghanistan in 2011 when an improvised explosive device exploded as he was trying to evacuate wounded people. After eight weeks of medical treatment, he spent about three months learning how to navigate daily activities with blindness, he told Swimming World Magazine.

Despite his inability to see, Snyder became a medal winner in the Paralympic Games in London, winning two gold medals and a silver medal. http://www.paralympic.org/Athletes/Biographies

“Being the person I was before becoming blind … autonomous, very independent. … I really want to get back to that as much as possible,” Snyder said on Thursday.

Next, he hopes to compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, and he was in Bloomfield, Connecticut on Thursday to choose a guide dog that will help him achieve that goal.

Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, a non-profit based in Bloomfield, provides people who are blind with dogs that are specially trained to accompany them everywhere and help them perform everyday tasks that many take for granted.

“The [dogs] fly with them on the plane, they’re on the bus, the subway … so they definitely get a special bond that regular pet owners don’t have,” Becky Cook, of Fidelco, said.

On Thursday, Lt. Snyder went to Fidelco’s main facility and walked around with two guide dogs to test them out.

“I’m really looking forward to establishing a bond,” he said.

While Snyder has the support of family and friends, the 29-year-old said he missed being able to complete ordinary tasks on his own.

“I like to get outside. I like to enjoy mountain biking and kayaking,” Lt. Snyder said.

He’ll be able to do that in just a few weeks when he brings home a guide dog and Lt. Snyder said he’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

“My priority is to train for 2016 in the Rio Paralympics, and having a dog will allow me to walk to and from swim practice, get to and from the gym, and also be able to travel to swim meets across the country,” Snyder said.

Watch and listen to an interview Snyder did with NBC last year.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fire Destroys 3-Family Home in Hartford


Three people are out of their houses in Hartford this morning after an early-morning fire.

Fire broke out around 1 a.m. at a multifamily house on Homestead Avenue.

Three people who lived in the house were inside when the fire started and managed to get out. The American Red Cross released a statement saying they are helping three adults from two families.

An elderly man was hurt while trying to leave the house, but is expected to be OK.

Multiple crews battled the heavy flames and everything on the second and third floors was charred.

Officials said the building is a total loss.

“It’s not liveable. Structurally, the front of the building,  the top … is unsound and a possible collapse at any time,” Deputy Fire Chief, Dave Serpliss, of the Hartford Fire Department, said.

No one is allowed in until a fire marshal inspects the building.

The cause of the fire is not known.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fired Photogs Picket Chicago Sun-Times Building


Thirty laid off Chicago Sun-Times photographers and their supporters demonstrated in front of the newspaper's building Thursday morning, exactly one week after learning they were losing their jobs.

Newspaper officials say the decision to let the photographers go are part of its move toward more digital content, particularly video. Reporters will be responsible for taking photos, along with freelance photographers.

"It's just numbing," photographer Scott Stewart said. "It still is to this day, and it's only been a week. It's like losing a family member."

Craig Rosenbaum, executive director of the Chicago Newspaper Guild, says 18 of the 30 fired photographers are part of the union, but they're fighting to get back all of the jobs.

"We were totally stunned by this, and we're out here trying to get the community behind us, and so far we've had a lot of success." Rosenbaum said. "They say they want to move to a digital age. Our photojournalists can do digital, they're extremely talented. They can do still, they can do digital, these are the best in the world."

The photographers chanted slogans such as, "They say cutbacks, we say fight back." Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer John H. White was among the former employees demonstrating in front of the building.

"There's no place in my heart for anger. I'm hurt, sure, I'm human, I'm disappointed, but I don't curse darkness, I light candles," White said.

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis -- no stranger to picket lines -- showed her support by demonstrating as well.

"We have Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers and they want to replace them freelance, so we have photographers who don't necessarily understand the city, they don't have a context, of the stories and don't understand it's not just about taking pictures, it's about telling a story," Lewis said.

Thursday's front page story of the Sun-Times is perhaps a sign of things to come. One reporter was responsible for the text, photography and video.

But Scott Stewart won't be reading or watching it.

"Truthfully, I can't. I can't pick up the paper, I will not go on the web site, I'm trying to be steadfast about it ... I'm still a Sun-Times man in my heart and my soul, but I just physically can't right now," Stewart said.

Sun-Times officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Colbert Report

Photo Credit: Ivanna Hampton

Concerns About Demolition Voiced Weeks Before Collapse


The City of Philadelphia was notified of potential unsafe demolition practices happening at the site of Wednesday’s building collapse -- nearly a month before the deadly event.

Center City resident Stephen Field contacted the city’s Philly311 helpline on May 6 to tell them he was concerned about a lack of safety equipment used by demolition workers and protection for pedestrians walking on the sidewalk below.

In an interview with NBC10.com late Wednesday night, Field, who lives near the collapse scene at 22nd and Market, said he routinely walked by the job site and was afraid the demolition site might be unsafe.

“The first thing I noticed was they were working without safety equipment,” he said. “The was nothing resembling efforts to prevent people walking by from being hit with brick.”

Field, who does not work in construction and does not have trade training, shared his email correspondence with Philly311 with NBC10.com. In his initial message, the 49-year-old highlighted his concerns to city officials.

“The workers are not wearing any safety equipment (not even hardhats while working to demolish brick facades with crowbars). The sidewalk is not adequately protected, and there appears to be no adequate plan to prevent the collapse of walls or facing materials onto pedestrians and those exiting the subway,” Field wrote in a message to the call center.

Licensing & inspection data shows contractor Griffin Campbell Construction was handing demolition at multiple adjacent properties along the 2100 block of Market Street -- 2132 Market Street, 2134 Market Street and 2136 Market Street, site of Wednesday's collapse. All three properties were either owned by or have ties to New York-based STB Investments.

An unidentified representative replied to Field the next day, May 7, requesting the building’s proper address, type of work being done, who was doing the work and whether a valid permit was being displayed.

Field responded an hour later, providing the address of 2134 Market Street – the property next to the sandwich shop and apartment building which collapsed Wednesday.

Field said Philly311 later notified him that an inspector was dispatched to the work site to investigate the claims and found no issues.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Mayor Michael Nutter and Philadelphia License & Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams talked about the communication between a citizen, believed to be Field, and the city. Williams said once officials received the citizen's complaint, an L&I inspector was dispatched to the work site at 2134 Market Street on May 14.

An initial inspection of ongoing demolition was conducted by an inspector and found no violations, officials said.

Officials said the property next door at 2136 Market Street was not inspected because demolition work had not begun.

“The property 2136 [Market Street], commonly known as the Hoagie City building, that demolition had not yet started. That building was fully intact. And no work had been done yet on that particular building,” Mayor Nutter said.

Williams said no subsequent inspections were conducted at either property, prior to the collapse.

"When we went out on 5/14 we had no indication that there were unsafe conditions," Williams said. "We did not receive any subsequent reports about the demolition of that project."

However, Field disputes officials' claims. He tells NBC10.com he witnessed demolition work being done on both properties prior to his contact with the city.

Field says there is "no question" that workers were using tools to demolish the roof of both properties.

We've requested comment from the Mayor's Office and L&I over these claims.

After sharing his initial concerns with the city, Field says he continued to be concerned about conditions at the work site – as they progressed to the adjacent building.

“Later in May and as late as last weekend, I saw crews working late into the evening and on weekends at the site. That didn’t seem normal to me,” he said. “Last Sunday, they had a ladder on the roof of the Salvation Army and were looking at the adjoining wall.”

An NBC10.com user shared a video of demolition work being conducted at 2136 Market Street on Sunday. In the video, workers could be seen using a backhoe on the sidewalk to claw at walls and the building's sign. Another worker doused the structure in water spraying over the an entrance to SEPTA's underground Subway-Surface Trolley Line.

Questioned about whether licensed contractors in Philadelphia need show they are trained to properly demolish a building, Williams said city code does not require it.

In light of the collapse, Field said he’s also contacted Philly311 about other properties in the neighborhood with similar working conditions. He says while officials did respond to him, he felt the process was bureaucratic.

“Unfortunately, I left it alone,” he said -- adding he hopes sharing this information “leads to some good things.”

City officials say their investigation into what caused the collapse and what inspections took place is ongoing.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Matthew Carnevale

In Memoriam: Esther Williams

Esther Williams, the swimming champion turned actress who starred in glittering and aquatic Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, has died. She was 91. Williams became one of Hollywood's biggest moneymakers, appearing in spectacular swimsuit numbers that capitalized on her wholesome beauty and perfect figure. Click to see others we've lost.

Gun Discharged in Milford Howard Johnsons Parking Lot


Milford police are investigating after shots were fired in the parking lot of Howard Johnsons, at 1052 Boston Post Road, and police have secured area of the motel.

Milford said they received a complaint of shots being discharged in the parking lot of Howard Johnsons and a preliminary investigation revealed that two people were in a dispute in the parking lot, which led to the discharging of a firearm.

Police said two vehicles involved in the incident fled the scene.  One of the vehicles engaged police in a pursuit for a short time.

Officers found one car on Route 121.  They are still looking for the other vehicle.

Police have secured the area of the motel and searched the grounds for shell casings.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Doughnut Forget! National Doughnut Day Arrives Friday


It's a national "holey day" that might derail bathing suit season.

Friday is National Doughnut Day and several purveyors of the sweet treats are giving away freebies and baking up crazy flavors to celebrate this event, which started in 1917. Here's a look at how businesses are paying homage to the doughy delight across the country:

Krispy Kreme is giving away free doughnuts of any variety with no purchase necessary.

Customers who purchase a beverage at Dunkin' Donuts, meanwhile, will get a free doughnut.

Kansas City-based LaMar's Donuts will give away a free doughnut to each guest with no purchase necessary. LaMar's 27 stores across six states are also donating a portion of their sales to The Salvation Army Oklahoma Relief fund.

Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop, the Canadian chain with over 600 locations in the U.S., is offering Facebook fans who "Like" their U.S. Facebook page a coupon for a free doughnut with any purchase.

For those who live in California's Bay Area, Psycho Donuts will celebrate the day with doughnut balls filled with foie gras.

And New Yorkers can take advantage of Dominique Ansel's cronut, a half doughnut, half croissant concoction that has people forking over $40 for a taste on the black market. Not to worry though. The treat costs a mere $5 at Ansel's bakery in SoHo if you're willing to stand in line for one.

Happy fried-day!

Governor Signs Law to Increase Minimum Wage to $9


By Jan. 1, 2015, minimum wage in Connecticut will be $9, making it one of the highest rates in the country.

On Thursday, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the legislation that increases the minimum wage in two stages over the next two years. 

It will increase from $8.25 to $8.70 on Jan. 1, 2014, followed by an increase on Jan. 1, 2015 to $9.

“This gradual increase over two years is a balanced approach to helping hard working men and women without adversely impacting the business community," Malloy said in a statement. "Although I believe our nation as a whole should move in this direction, I also think Connecticut needs to lead the way in helping working families.”

Supporters have said the hike would help workers who need extra money to pay their bills.

“I think it was essential. I know it’s a tough economy, however we have to be able to build some level of equality for those folks that are working 50,60 hours ,” State Rep. Victor Cuevas (D-Waterbury) said.

Opponents said this legislation will cripple our economy because many businesses are still struggling.

“While this legislation has good intentions, it will drive unemployment and perpetuate our depressed economy,” State Rep. Richard Smith said.

You can read testimony on this legislation on the General Assembly’s Web site.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Washington State has the highest minimum wage in the country, at $9.19.

Minimum wage in Oregon is $8.95 and it is $8.60 in Vermont.

Connecticut, DC, Illinois and Nevada all have a current minimum wage of $8.25.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

2 Hurt in Partial Ceiling Collapse


A 13-year-old student and a 26-year-old intern were injured in a partial ceiling collapse at the McDonough Expeditionary Learning School in Hartford this afternoon. 

Officials said a heavy 6-by-12-foot piece of sheet rock from the second-floor ceiling fell and struck a large fluorescent light fixture, which also fell.

The injuries are not life-threatening, officials said. The teen was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and released around 4:30 p.m. 

The intern was also also taken to a hospital.

The McDonough student body includes sixth through eighth graders.

Students said the incident happened in a science classroom. They heard a crack, then a section of ceiling fell.

Inspectors are looking through entire school to make sure all classrooms are safe. It's not yet clear whether school will open tomorrow because of structural issues.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Tropical Storm Means Heavy Rain for Us


Tropical Storm Andrea is growing and will have an impact on our weather.

Showers will be moving in Thursday evening and overnight, but the heaviest rain, associated with Tropical Storm Andrea, will hit us Friday afternoon and Friday night.

The National Weather Service has issued flood watches from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon.


As Andrea, the first of the Atlantic hurricane season, moves north from Florida to the Maryland beaches, rain will really intensify across southern New England. 

Rainfall totals will range from 1 inch to as much as 4 inches by the time the rain tapers off early Saturday morning.

This will create urban street flooding in flood-prone areas and maybe some flooding near smaller rivers and streams.

Winds will freshen along the shoreline as the storm flies by early Saturday and they will gust to 30 to 40 miles per hour for a little while on Friday night/early Saturday.

The weekend weather will not be as unsettled as previously thought.

Rains should end around dawn on Saturday. Partly sunny skies will develop and it will be humid.

A scattered thunderstorm will form in the afternoon and evening.

“Hurricane season is indeed upon us, and our storm luck being what it is, residents should start to make preparations for inclement weather,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement. “The current forecast is calling for heavy rain, minor flooding, and high winds, so I want people to take common-sense precautions to secure their property and be aware of deteriorating conditions as this storm approaches.”

Sunday looks like a better day with partly sunny skies and a lower chance of a pop-up shower.

Highs in the 70s are expected both days.

The weather pattern remains pretty unsettled for next week as well.

Use our interactive radar to track inclement weather.

If you take photos of severe weather, send them to photos@nbcconnecticut.com


Photo Credit: NOAA

Woman Pleads Guilty to Sandy Hook Fraud


A Bronx, N.Y. woman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges she fraudulently collected money in the name one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Nouel Alba, 37, entered the plea in Bridgeport Federal Court Thursday afternoon.

The day of the shooting, Alba set up a Facebook page claiming to be the aunt of 6-year-old shooting victim Noah Pozner. The next day she started collecting money, she said, to help pay for Pozner's funeral expenses, according to prosecutors. One day later, Alba sent an email to the Sandy Hook PTA asking for donations.

Alba was indicted in May.

On Thursday, Alba admitted she is not related to Pozner and admitted to the scheme. She accepted a plea deal that could give her up to six months in jail if the federal prosecutors don't ask for a longer sentence. The charges of wire fraud and making a false statement carry a maximum of 25 years in prison.

She will be sentenced in federal court in Hartford on August 29.

More Connecticut-Area Stories:

Photo Credit: Today Show

Fire Breaks Out At Canton Church


The Canton Fire Department extinguished a fire at St. Patrick's Church Thursday afternoon, officials said.

The 150-year-old church rectory, located at 7 Burlington Avenue in Canton, caught fire around 4:15 p.m. Thursday. A deacon inside smelled something burning and called the fire marshall.

The fire department arrived to find a minor fire between the second floor and the rectory attic.

Two people were inside the rectory when the fire broke out. No injuries have been reported.

The fire department is investigating to determine what caused the flames.

Photo Credit: Alley Hanlon

1st Philly Building Collapse Lawsuit Filed


Nadine White was at work inside the Salvation Army thrift store in Philadelphia on Wednesday when the four-story building next door came crashing down on top of her and everyone else inside.

Six people died. White is among the 13 who were injured.

"Mrs. White was trapped in a nightmare when the collapse occurred," said Philadelphia attorney Robert Mongeluzzi.

The 54-year-old mother of three was thrown to the ground and buried in rubble. She was one of the first rescued by firefighters. Today, she became the first victim to file suit, hiring one of the most successful construction accident and catastrophe attorneys in the country.

Mongeluzzi and his firm are asking for an emergency hearing. They want to do their own on-site inspection — this Saturday — and they want certain evidence related to the case to be preserved, including all permits, engineering surveys, demolition plans and property records.

White is suing the owner of the building, Richard Basciano of New York City, and the demolition contractor, Griffin T. Campbell.

Her attorney claims the demolition was "grossly reckless, if not criminally negligent."

Mongeluzzi claims the contractor did not adhere to government requirements that call for an engineering site survey to be conducted before demolition starts. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration also requires that any wall higher than one story be laterally braced during demolition. Mongeluzzi said one of the reasons they need to do their own site survey is because as far as he can tell, the wall that collapsed was either never braced or not properly braced.

At approximately 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the building, which was under demolition, collapsed. It was a day that is characteristically busy inside the store.

"We are fortunate it didn't happen at a later time. It could have been catastrophic because it was a family sale day," said Randall Thomas of the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia.

Five women and one man died in the collapse. Two of the dead were White's co-workers.

White was trapped for ten minutes before being dug out of the debris. She suffered minor injuries. Emergency workers and ordinary people who jumped in to help that day were able to rescue 13 people in all. Myra Plekan, the last survivor pulled from the debris, was buried alive for 13 hours. She's critically injured and being treated and in the intensive care unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"She [White] mourns for those who died and has asked us to do everything we can to require these defendants to preserve critical evidence and make certain those responsible are held accountable by a jury," Mongeluzzi said.

The building's owner STB Investments released this statement, "Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the people affected by this tragic event. Please know that we are committed to working with the City of Philadelphia and other authorities to determine what happened yesterday."

An agent for Basciano's company, STB Investments, said Basciano has nothing to hide. The agent, who did not want to be named, said he's convinced that once the investigation moves forward, Basciano and the demolition contractor will "be in the all clear."

A Philadelphia judge is expected to rule on White's emergency motion Friday morning.

Photo Credit: AP
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