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Simsbury Police Investigate Fatal Crash


One person is dead after a crash on Route 10 in Simsbury Wednesday morning.

Police said they responded to the area of 282 Hopmeadow Street (Route 10) around 11:27 a.m. for reports of a crash. Arriving officers found a single vehicle that struck a tree.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, was transported to St. Francis Hospital by Simsbury Volunteer Ambulance. The victim died of injuries sustained in the crash.

The road was closed between Route 185 and the Riverwalk Condominiums but reopened around 12:30 p.m.

The crash remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Chicago Police Dismiss Trump's Claim That Violence Could Be Stopped in a Week


The Chicago Police Department denied Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's claim this week that he met with a "top" Chicago officer and argued the city's violence would not be solved with "tough police tactics."

"We've discredited this claim months ago," CPD spokesperson Frank Giancamilli said Tuesday in a statement. "No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign."

Trump said in an interview Monday that he believed Chicago's violence could be stopped using "tough police tactics," telling Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that he met a "top" Chicago officer who reportedly said he could "stop much of this horror show that’s going on" within a single week. 

Trump added that he knows officers in Chicago who would put an end to violent crime "if they were given the authority to do it," a claim that Giancamilli refuted. 

"Beyond that, the best way to address crime is through a commitment to community policing and a commitment to stronger laws to keep illegal guns and repeat violent offenders off the street," Giancamilli added.

Trump told O'Reilly he didn’t ask the officer for specifics on the plan because he isn’t the mayor of Chicago, but added that police would be "much tougher than they are right now."

"I’m sure he’s got a strategy," Trump added. "I didn’t ask him his strategy."

Trump also claimed that he submitted the officer’s name for some sort of job.

"I sent his name in and I said, 'you probably should hire this guy because you have nothing to lose,'" Trump said. "Look at what’s going on in Chicago, it’s horrible. This guy felt totally confident that he could stop it in a very short period of time."

Trump's campaign told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday that he did not specifically say the officer he spoke with was in senior command, but rather he "spoke with some talented and dedicated police officers on a prior visit."

It's not the first time Chicago police have disagreed with Trump's claims.

During Trump's failed Chicago rally, which was canceled due to violence concerns, the candidate said he met with law enforcement before canceling his appearance. CPD said in a statement, however, the department had not advised Trump's campaign to cancel the rally and did not issue any public safety threats or safety risks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Alex Brands Infant Building Toys Recalled Due to Choking Hazard


Alex Brands is recalling 91,000 infant building toy sets due to a choking hazard posed by small parts that can detach from the units, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The New Jersey-based company recalled its Baby Builder model 1982, First Pops model 1981P and the First Snaps model 1981S produced before November 2010 after 22 reports of small parts detaching.

No injuries have been reported.

The recalled sets contain 14 or 26 pieces designed to be pulled, pushed, snapped and twisted and come in plastic jars. The toys were sold at Barnes & Noble, Land of Nod and Zulily.com for about $18 to $28. 

The recalled First Snaps sets' containers have the following batch codes: P0002073, P0001713, P0001330, P0000954, P0002107, P0001628, P0001009, P00000814, P0001948, P0001536, P0001098, P0001677, P0001427 and P0000983. 

ALEX advised consumers to immediately contact them for a prepaid shipping envelope to return the products for a full refund.

For more information, call ALEX at 844-310-6691 anytime or online at www.alexbrands.com/recall-information.

Photo Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Chester Couple Arrested on Animal Cruelty Charges


State police have arrested a Chester couple on animal cruelty charges after police said two emaciated dogs were removed from their care in March.

Edward Szachewicz, 54, and his wife Sharon, 47, were arrested Tuesday and each charged with two counts of cruelty to animals.

According to the arrest warrant application, on March 23 Jae Wolf, animal control officer for Chester, Deep River, and Essex, and Trooper Dawn Taylor responded to 39 Castle View Drive after Wolf received an anonymous tip that two dogs were being neglected and abused at that address.

The application stated that when they arrived, Taylor reported hearing a dog barking from inside the home. Edward Szachewicz answered the door and invited them inside. He told the officers that he and his wife had two dogs, an Akita/Chow mix named Brianna and a Viszla named Barron.

When Taylor asked to see the dogs, Edward Szachewicz brought them outside to see Brianna. Taylor reported that at the time Brianna was tied to a red metal lead that was tangled and restricted her movement. There was a dog kennel with chain-link fence surrounded by clutter in the yard. Taylor did not see any food or water bowls and observed that the dog looked “severely neglected and had a severe skin rash on her back,” the arrest warrant application states.

Taylor reported that Edward Szachewicz became defensive when questioned about the dog’s condition and said “Take the dog. I did not want them anyway.”

Officers also observed Barron, who was in the basement. Taylor stated in the warrant application that Barron was “Extremely skinny and I could see his rib, hip and leg bones.”

Edward Szachewicz was unable to show officers any dog food or dog bowls at the residence. The dogs were removed from the home. Later that night, Taylor returned to the home and Edward and Sharon Szachewicz signed the dogs over to the town of Chester and ACO Wolf. The dogs were taken to the Deep River dog pound.

The next day ACO Wolf brought both animals to the Saybrook Veterinary Hospital in Old Saybrook. The veterinarian reported that both dogs were emaciated and also infested with fleas. The dog’s medical records also revealed that they were not up to date on shots.

ACO Wolf also discovered that neither dog was registered.

It took four and a half months for the dogs to gain enough weight and be healthy enough to leave the pound and be adopted.

On August 23, Edward Szachewicz and Sharon Szachewicz were arrested. They were each released on $5,000 bonds and are scheduled to appear in court on September 6.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Body of Man Found in Yard in New London: Police


Police in New London are investigating after a man was found deceased in a yard on Gorton Street.

Police said they responded around 1:50 p.m. Tuesday to a report of a deceased person at 18 Gorton Street. Officers discovered the body of a male who appeared to be in his 30s. The New London County State’s Attorney and the Chief Medical Examiner were called to assist.

Police do not believe the death is suspicious at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

The victim has not been identified pending notification of next of kin.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact police at (860) 447-1481.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Sailors Touching Tribute to WWII Veteran Goes Viral


A World War II veteran's salute-worthy surprise has touched hearts and received millions of social media views after the stirring tribute was captured on video earlier this month.

The video posted on Facebook shows Chief Selects from the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center visiting the Gardena home of veteran Ernest Thompson, who served on the USS Missouri during World War II, on Aug. 13. The sailors performed "Anchors Aweigh" in front of Thompsons' house as he stood on the porch in salute, and neighbors came out of their homes to watch. 

Each sailor then thanked Thompson and shook his hand.

Thompsons' grandson Jonathan Williams wrote in the post that his grandfather called it one of the best days of his life. Williams, CEO of the Battleship IOWA Museum in San Pedro, visited the USS Missouri with his grandfather in 2000, part of a bond between generations.

"I witnessed an 82-year-old man become 18 again and a flood of emotions that affected all that were present tremendously," Williams wrote on Facebook.

Battleship Missouri launched in January 1944 and entered the Pacific battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. On Sept. 2, 1945, Allied and Axis power representatives met aboard the ship to sign copies of the Instrument of Surrender, marking the end to World War II.

USS Missouri also was part of the Korean War. The ship now serves as a museum at Pearl Harbor.

The emotional tour of the battleship convinced Williams to help preserve the USS Iowa, which opened to the public in July 2012 as a naval museum at a berth in the Port of Los Angeles. Members of the Chief Selects worked with an IOWA volunteer coordinator to pull off the surprise for his grandfather.

"When they found out that my grandfather was unable to visit the (USS IOWA) lately due to health reasons, they decided to take it to him," Williams wrote.

His original Facebook video had more than 4.5 million views Wednesday morning.

Photo Credit: USS IOWA Museum
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Waterbury Man Faces Federal Heroin Distribution Charges


A Waterbury man faces federal charges in connection with the overdose death of a Monroe resident.

James Hayes, also known as “T.Y.,” 32, of Waterbury was charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute, distribution of heroin and conspiracy to distribute heroin. According to the US Attorney’s office, investigators believe Hayes sold heroin to a 32-year-old Monroe woman who fatally overdosed on June 16.

Hayes was arrested on Monday and appeared in court Tuesday, where he was ordered detained.

His arrest is part of an ongoing statewide initiative targeting narcotics dealers who distribute heroin, fentanyl or opioids that can cause serious injury or death to users.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad, Monroe police department and Waterbury police department all contributed to this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Robert Spector.

Soldier Brings Miranda Lambert to Tears at Hartford Concert


A soldier who brought country singer Miranda Lambert to tears during her concert in Hartford, Connecticut, Friday is going to meet her, according to Country 92.5 Radio.

Videos posted on social media showed Lambert halt her performance of her 2009 hit "The House That Built Me" after spotting the soldier's sign in the crowd at the Xfinity Theatre. 

"Really?" Lambert says a few bars into the song as tears streamed down her face.

The Grammy-winning artist walks over to the soldier and grabs his sing, holding it up for the audience to see, a video posted on YouTube shows. The message read, "3 combat tours... Your voice was the last thing I heard every night. Thank you."  

Lambert attempts to resume singing, wiping away tears, but appears to be too choked up to continue.

“Second verse, I gotta get a drink, y’all gotta do this,” the emotional songstress said as she steps away from the microphone. Lambert eventually comes back to sing the bridge.

Another video published online shows the teary-eyed soldier, enraptured over Lambert's acknowledgment.

On Wednesday, the radio station interviewed the soldier, Jeff, and surprised him with tickets to another Lambert concert on Friday, which will also included a chance to meet the country star backstage.

"It's one thing to get choked up during a song, but that girl couldn't make it through any of the song because of you," radio host Cory Myers said. "And I think that deserves for you to at least to go back and put your arms around her and get a picture."

Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
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Trump: Perry Will 'Do Well' If He Challenges Cruz for Senate


Donald Trump is applauding the prospect of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry mounting a possible primary challenge against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, saying, "Boy, will he do well." 

At a fundraiser in downtown Austin, Trump was standing next to Perry when he was asked about the Texan's chance to unseat his state's junior senator. Cruz, who unsuccessfully fought Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, notably declined to endorse him at last month's GOP national convention and faces re-election in 2018. 

In a recording of the event first posted online by a Democratic group, the Lone Star Project, Trump answers that he's been "hearing a lot about that." 

"I don't know if he wants to do it, but boy, will he do well," Trump says of Perry. "People love him in Texas. And he was one great governor." 

Two fundraiser attendees verified the recording on Wednesday on the condition that their names not be published. The fundraiser occurred Tuesday. 

Trump hasn't been shy about criticizing fellow Republicans — even those up for re-election. He initially declined to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan's re-election bid earlier this summer, then formally threw his support behind it before Ryan crushed a primary challenger in his Wisconsin district. 

Cruz sparked an outcry at the GOP convention in Cleveland last month by refusing to endorse Trump during his prime-time speech — rebuffing calls for Republican Party unity behind its nominee. 

Perry left office last year and was a harsh Trump critic as he briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination, even calling the billionaire businessman a cancer on conservatism. Perry has since endorsed Trump and become a surrogate who has praised him on national television. 

The former governor has kept a low profile since dropping out of the 2016 presidential race last fall. Recent polls suggest Cruz's popularity in Texas has suffered since his convention speech, and one even indicated that Perry would top Cruz in a hypothetical matchup. 

Those close to Perry say he's laughed off the idea of a Senate run, but Perry hasn't publicly ruled it out. 

While running for president, Cruz originally said he'd endorse whoever the eventual Republican nominee was. He said later he'd changed his mind because Trump insulted his family during the bitter White House campaign. 

Mica Mosbacher, an Austin resident and former finance co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, was a vocal supporter of Cruz's presidential run but is now is backing Trump. 

"I am deeply disappointed in our senator that he did not honor his pledge," Mosbacher said by phone Wednesday, referring to Cruz's reneging support for Trump. "And I, along with a lot of other donors, are very upset." 

Photo Credit: AP

Windsor Locks Police Seek Sex Assault Suspect


Windsor Locks are searching for a suspect accused of sexually assaulting a minor.

Police said Jose Rosario, 42, of 109 Martin Street in Hartford, is wanted on a first-degree sexual assault of a minor charge.

Details about the incident were not immediately available.

Rosario may be driving a gray 1999 Nissan Quest with license plate number 3AUPE8, police said. He was seen in Windsor Locks sometime last week.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Windsor Locks police at (860) 627-1461.

Photo Credit: Windsor Locks Police Department

Hygienist Illegally Collected $18K in Benefits: PD


A West Haven woman was charged with illegally collecting nearly $18,000 in unemployment compensation benefits, police said. 

On Wednesday, police arrested Christine A. Zampedri, 49, after an investigation found that she had fraudulently collected unemployment benefits from when she was working as a dental hygienist in New Canaan. 

Zampedri allegedly collected approximately $17,860 in benefits from January through August 2013, police said. 

Police said Zampedri was charged with one count of larceny and first-degree defrauding unemployment compensation fraud.

She was released on a $10,000 bond and is expected to appear in court on Aug. 30. 

UK's Nigel Farage to Appear at Trump Rally in Mississippi


Nigel Farage, the former head of the UK Independence Party, will accompany Donald Trump when the Republican presidential candidate continues to court African-American voters Wednesday night in Mississippi, NBC News reported. 

Farage confirmed a Sky News report that he’ll appear at the Trump event in Jackson, Mississippi, where he plans on telling the “story of Brexit.” 

Even though he’ll appear with Trump, he won’t be endorsing the candidate. Farage said in an interview that would be hypocritical, since he condemned President Barack Obama for wading into the Brexit campaign during his visit to London. 

Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment about Farage’s appearance.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Assaulted by Knife-Wielding Attacker During Date: Police


New Haven police are searching for an assault suspect after what a man thought was a date turned dangerous.

Police said on Tuesday around 9:53 p.m. they responded to reports of a stabbing at Food Terminal Plaza. When they arrived they found the 22-year-old victim with various cuts on his thigh, bicep, shoulder and side of the head. The injuries were not life threatening and he was able to speak with officers.

The victim reported he met up a woman he met online named “Tasha” behind the La Quinta Inn at 200 Sargent Drive. He said he’d met “Tasha” on a website called PlentyOfFish and that they’d never met in person before.

Tasha got in the victim’s car and asked him to drive to a terminal loading dock. The victim said while they were there a man approached the car and threatened to kill him. The victim said the man opened the door and stabbed him several times before he was able to escape.

According to police, officers reviewed surveillance video of the area that supported the victim’s account. The video also showed the attacker got into the victim’s car with “Tasha.” After a bit, they both left.

Police suspect "Tasha" was an accomplice to the attacker.

Police said they found a knife and other evidence at the scene, including “Tasha’s” information from the website on the victim’s phone.

“Tasha” is described as wearing pink shirt and pajama-style pants. The armed attacker is described as male, in his 20s, about 5-foot-10 and wearing a baseball cap. 

Anyone with information should contact New Haven police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

UConn Gets First New Dormitory in More Than a Decade


Next Generation Connecticut Hall is the first new $105 million dormitory UConn's seen in more than a decade, which is the first step to a billion-dollar expansion program. 

"It's just really the beginning of so much more invention and innovation in STEM areas but also the social sciences and humanities," said Susan Herbst, UConn President, addressing a crowd of administrators, faculty and state officials.

Cutting the ribbon on what she calls Next Gen Hall celebrates the first project completed in UConn's $1.5 billion Next Generation program of construction and expansion. The bet is brand new dorm rooms help draw top students.

All the dorms on the UConn campus have study spaces like this one. But the spaces in Next Gen Hall have one sophomore who's going to be a mentor there very excited.

"Excited because we have more space to be creative and we'll be able to interact more with other learning communities," said student Brittany Reynolds.

The learning together starts this week for the first of about 700 freshmen and sophomores living in Next Generation Connecticut Hall.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Water Main Break on Catherine Street in Hartford


Metropolitan District crews responded to a water main break on Catherine Street near Ledger Street in Hartford on Wednesday.

MDC officials said it is an 8-inch water main that was installed in 1918. The main was shut down at 4:15 p.m. so crews could make repairs. Four two-family homes and the Moylan School were affected by the shutdown.

Catherine Street was shut down between Hillside and Ledger streets but has since been reopened. 

All repairs were completed by 9:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Italian-Americans in East Haven React to Deadly Earthquake


A deadly earthquake in central Italy is impacting the Italian-American community across the state.

Many still have family and friends living in Italy. Images of death and destruction in Italy are hard to watch for those thousands of miles away.

“I don’t believe what I am looking at. The devastation is just unbelievable,” says Bill Iovanne of New Haven.

Nowhere in the state might the connection to Italy be stronger than in East Haven. Nearly half the people in the town trace their heritage to the country now dealing with the aftermath of the major earthquake.

Some spent Wednesday working and waiting for updates from relatives and coworkers in Italy.

“It’s sad because Italy is always getting hit and everything there is really old,” says Anthony Peluso, owner of Tolli’s Apizza.

“A fella that works with us just left Italy this morning to go to Ireland. He’s on his honeymoon. But he, he was actually in Rome but he missed it,” says Iovanne.

People are concerned about the horrible loss of life and the search for survivors. There’s also the destruction of historic buildings, which are more susceptible to the effects of a quake.

People here stand ready to help and say Italians are strong.

“Those Italian proverbs. That means the Italian will get thin. He’ll get skinny. But he won’t die. So they’re very resilient people, don’t give up,” says Peluso.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Killing of Terror Suspect Justified


The Boston police officer and FBI agent who shot and killed a man suspected in a terror plot last year have been found justified in using deadly force and no charges will be filed.

Usaamah Rahim, 26, of Boston's Roslindale neighborhood was shot and killed on June 2, 2015 by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force after allegedly lunging at investigators with a knife when they approached him and about recorded phone conversations.

"The evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Rahim was armed with a large, military-style knife and posed the threat of death or serious bodily injury to the task force officers," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said at a Wednesday afternoon media briefing. "Their use of deadly force was a lawful exercise of self defense and defense of others."

Rahim allegedly plotted with two others to behead conservative blogger Pamela Geller, who organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas. They abandoned that plot in favor of one where they attacked police officers.

The FBI said they confronted Rahim because he had bought knives and talked of an imminent attack on "boys in blue."

"There is no question that members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force had probable cause to arrest Mr. Rahim," Conley said. "Knowing what they know and knowing what they now know about his plans for that day, they had the duty to stop him before he could act."

The two other men - Nicholas Rovinski of Warwick, Rhode Island, and David Wright of Everett, Massachusetts - were indicted on conspiracy and terrorism charges in connection with the alleged plot and are being held without bail. They are scheduled to face trial sometime next year.

Conley said he met with Rahim's family earlier Wednesday to inform them he would not be seeking criminal charges against the officers. He also released his office's 770-page investigative file to the family.

The district attorney also met with members of the local Islamic community on Wednesday, and said he made it clear that Rahim was being investigated "for his actions, not for his faith."

Rahim's family held their own press conference later Wednesday afternoon, saying they still have concerns about the shooting despite the district attorney's report, feeling that more could have been done to de-escalate the situation.

Family spokesman Ronald Sullivan said Rahim "was the subject of an illegal arrest," and cited comments by Congressman Stephen Lynch and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans after the shooting that implied that police were under orders not to let him go.

"This illegal arrest was the first call in a series of events that led to Usaamah's untimely death," he said.

He also connected Rahim's death "to the many tragic police-involved shootings of other African-American men around this country," saying it was not an isolated event.

Yard Goats, Hartford Officials to Hold Press Conference


The Eastern League vice president, Yard Goats owner and Hartford Stadium Authority will be meeting on Thursday.

The press conference will take place at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Dunkin' Donuts Stadium. 

President of the Eastern League, Joe McEacharn, will be speaking at the conference, along with Hartford Stadium Authority Chairman I. Charles Mathews and Yard Goats owner Josh Solomon. 

The conference will take place outside of the Main Gate at Dunkin’ Donuts Park which is located at the corner of Main Street and Trumbull Street in downtown Hartford. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Newborn Affected by Zika Stayed Infected for 2 Months


Doctors said a Brazilian baby with brain damage caused by the Zika virus stayed infected for more than two months after his birth, NBC News reported. 

The baby already had brain damage from the virus, which can infect a growing fetus. But the virus continued to actively infect him after he was born, Danielle Oliveira of the University of Sao Paulo and colleagues wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. 

"When the infant was examined on day 54, he had no obvious illness or evidence of any immunocompromising condition," they wrote. An immune condition might explain a prolonged infection. The baby was developmentally delayed and had cerebral palsy. 

This suggests that newborns may still be at risk from the virus while their brains are growing and developing — another unpleasant surprise about the virus.

Photo Credit: AP

Georgia Man Convicted in Boiled Water Attack on Gay Couple


A Georgia man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday for throwing scalding water on a gay couple spying in an apartment, NBC News reported. 

Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes before finding Martin Blackwell, 48, guilty of eight counts of aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated assault in the February attack on Anthony Gooden and Marquez Tolbert. 

Gooden spent about a month in the hospital — two weeks of that in a medically-induced coma. Both men suffered severe burns that required multiple surgeries and skin grafts. 

According to prosecutors, it was a premeditated attack. Tolbert testified that after pouring the boiling water on them, Blackwell grabbed him as he jumped and screamed, telling him: “Get out of my house with all that gay.”

Photo Credit: AP
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