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Flour In Hallway Causes Scare At Enfield School


Officials have determined that the white powder found at Eli Whitney Elementary School this afternoon is flour from a homemade stress ball belonging to one of the students.

Police say the stress ball exploded in the hallway near the main office door, making a mess. The student left without telling anyone what had happened.

Police responded to the scene around 3:15 p.m. when the powder was first discovered. Officials say 12 adults were in the area, but most of the students had already gone home.

A crew from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection arrived to run tests and help identify the powder.

Dramatic Photos: Santa Monica Shootings

Students rush to safety after shots were fired near the Santa Monica College. An armed gunman opened fire on a bus, a home and cars near the college on Friday afternoon. Police confirmed there are multiple victims and a potential suspect is in custody. Click to see more dramatic photos from the scene.

911 Issue Delayed Ambulance to Girl, 4, Struck on UWS: FDNY


Fire officials say "human error" within New York City's 911 system caused a more than four-minute delay in dispatching an ambulance to help the 4-year-old girl who was struck by an SUV on Manhattan's Upper West Side earlier this week.

"Somebody made a mistake," New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said at a news briefing Friday. 

Ariel Russo died at the hospital a short time after she was hit Tuesday morning. Her grandmother, who was also pinned by the SUV, was taken to the hospital in unknown condition.

Cassano said that a dispatcher received the emergency call after the crash near 97th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, but didn't see it immediately and left the terminal for a break.

Four minutes later, a different operator sat down, saw the call and dispatched the ambulance. 

By that point, eight minutes had passed since the crash — and police at the scene had radioed 911 four separate times in an effort to get the little girl medical help, the Daily News reported.

Russo was still alive but "semiconscious" at the time officers at the scene radioed in their fourth call for help, according to the paper.

Cassano said the department is talking to the dispatcher.

"The screen should never be left unread," he said. "These are life-saving calls. We'll look at the person that handled that call improperly, and if discipline is required, we'll discipline people."

Russo and her grandmother were hit Tuesday by a 17-year-old driver with a learner's permit allegedly trying to evade police who had pulled him over for alleged reckless driving. The teen has been arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter.

Cassano says glitches in the city's new 911 system were not to blame for the delay.

"It had nothing to do with the system," he said, adding that suggestions the technology malfunctioned were "offensive" and "irresponsible." 

He says it's not clear whether a faster response would have helped Russo.

The FDNY is investigating the error.

Five-Year-Old Leaves Elementary School Unnoticed


A Waterbury mother is demanding answers after her 5-year-old son walked out of his elementary school this week and wandered off without anyone noticing.

“I am so mad... words cannot explain how mad I am,” said Gilda Webber.  She was still fuming after her child walked right out the main doors at Walsh Elementary in Waterbury Tuesday morning and wandered off. “What kind of nonsense is that?”

The kindergarten student crossed the street and ended up at his home about a block and a half away.  His father found him knocking on the front door.

“We could have had a drunk driver run him over. Someone could have kidnapped him,” Webber said.

As soon as Webber found out, she called the school demanding an explanation. “The principal didn’t even know he left. Nobody knew a 5-year-old walked out of the school,” she said. 

This was a big concern for district officials. “Safety is our highest priority,” explained Paul Guidone, Waterbury schools Chief Operating Officer. 

He said Cody left during an assembly all students and employees attend at the start of each day. Guidone told NBC Connecticut that the schedule will change as a result of Cody's walk out. Students will now go to their classrooms so teachers can keep track of them. 

Someone is now assigned to watch main doors at all times.

But Webber said the new safety measures came too late. ““This is not something I’m going to sit and take lightly... You think I’m going to sit there and send him back?”

The district said all changes should be in place by Monday.

Gunman Killed, at Least 6 Dead in Santa Monica


The suspect in a series of shootings that left at least six people dead in Santa Monica, Calif. on Friday was killed in a shootout with police, authorities said.

The number of victims has changed multiple times over the course of a quickly developing breaking news story with multiple crime scenes.

In a Friday afternoon news conference, Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said the shooter was killed on the campus of Santa Monica College after attempting to evade police responding to multiple shootings that began about a mile from the school.

At least two people were killed in a home that burned, then the gunman fired on people in a series of "random encounters" that proceeded along Pico Boulevard toward the final shootout in Santa Monica College library, Seabrooks said.

"The officers came in and directly engaged the suspect, and he was shot and killed on the scene," Seabrooks said. "The information we have indicates, at this point, that as many as half a dozen victims were shot and killed, and several more were injured."

Seabrooks then clarified that two people were dead in a home in Yorkshire Avenue that was ablaze about a mile from campus. Another person died on Cloverfield Boulevard, and two were killed on 19th and Pearl streets.

Another woman later died in the hospital, Seabrooks said.

Earlier Friday, Dr. Marshall T. Morgan, a spokesman for Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, said one gunshot victim had died at the hospital. Two other victims transported to the medical center remain hospitalized -- one in critical condition, the other with "minor injuries," Morgan said.

Three female victims at UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center are in good condition.

Meanwhile late Friday afternoon, in the nearby 3500 block of Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles police had shut down an intersection and had a broad response in an investigation that LAPD officials said could be related to the Santa Monica incidents.

Two bodies had been discovered inside a burned home where a gunman clad in SWAT-like gear was seen by a witness about a mile from Santa Monica College. The shootings apparently started at that scene before proceeding toward the school.

However, authorities cautioned that the incidents were directly related to the community college.

"This is not a school shooting," said Al Vasquez, chief of the Santa Monica College Police Department. "This began off-campus and it was unfortunate that the suspect chose SMC to continue his crimes."

Officers had responded to the Santa Monica College campus about noon after a gunman fired at a bus and other vehicles.

Witnesses reported seeing a gunman outside the burning home at Kansas and Yorkshire avenues (map) just minutes before the shots were fired at vehicles at Pearl Street and 17th Street (map). 

"This guy just stepped out with a big rifle," bus passenger and student Marta Fagerstroem said of the shooting by Santa Monica College.

Fagerstroem told NBC4 she was studying as the bus, pictured below, traveled along Pico Boulevard when a gunman opened fire on the transit vehicle. The gunman came out of the passenger side of a car, she said.

The gunman had body armor, a helmet and "an assault rifle," a witness said.

Neighbors told NBC4 the gunman is related to people who lived at the home that was burned about one mile northwest of Santa Monica College.

Jerry Cunningham-Rathner said she heard gunshots and ran out of her home to see a man in front of a house across the street -- and the house was on fire.

Two cars slowed to a stop, and the gunman walked over to them, indicating a blue Mazda hatchback should pull over. He motioned to the second car to keep driving, Cunningham-Rathner said.

"He looked official, like a SWAT team guy, dressed in black with his belt full of ammo,” Cunningham-Rathner said. "You could smell the gunshots."

When the driver of the second car hesitated, the gunman fired two to three shots point blank into her car, Cunningham-Rathner said.

She ran into her home to call 911. When she came back outside, the gunman had gotten into the blue Mazda’s passenger seat and the female driver was pulling away in an apparent carjacking.

Cunningham-Rathner went to the aid of the woman who was shot. Authorities said a woman from that scene was hospitalized.

Three victims shot near the Santa Monica College campus, just blocks from the site of a fundraiser attended by President Barack Obama, were taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

A man was taken into custody near campus, though it was not immediately clear whether he was connected to the shooting. Witnesses described the gunman as a white male, but the man taken into custody does match witness descriptions.

As police were leading him into a squad car, the man told photographers, "No, I just went in to find my ex-girlfriend."

At about noon, witnesses reported a "fully armed" subject discharging a firearm at vehicles at the campus, according to the California Highway Patrol. The gunman opened fire on public transit bus and cars, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Denise Joslin.

A woman on the bus (pictured, right) was hit and was bleeding from her head, she said. A spokesman for UCLA Medical Center said the woman was in good condition with a flesh wound and was likely hit by shrapnel.

“Everyone threw themselves on the floor, screams,” passenger Fagerstroem said. “The bus driver, she panicked. She couldn’t drive away. She was able to, after a while.”

The Santa Monica Big Blue Bus had several visible bullet holes. There were reports of injuries involving bus passengers, said CHP Officer Kerri Rivas, a department spokeswoman.

The agency received several 911 calls involving reports of shots fired in the area.

"We are aware of at least one suspect, there may possibly be others," Joslin said.

The two-year college in the 1900 block of Pico Boulevard is on lockdown Friday afternoon. All schools in the Santa Monica area were on lockdown, according to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

Lockdown orders at Santa Monica High School were lifted about 3 p.m. The school’s graduation set for Friday evening will go on as scheduled, a student told NBC4. Lockdowns at 10 other campuses were also lifted.

Afternoon and evening finals on Santa Monica College's main campus scheduled for Friday were canceled.

As for the President's Santa Monica fundraiser, it was several blocks north of the campus. Air Force One departed LAX at about 2:30 p.m.

"We are aware of the incident and it is not impacting the visit. It’s a local police matter at this point," said Secret Service spokesman Edwin M. Donovan.

Refresh this page for updates.

More Southern California Stories:



Photo Credit: Getty Images

Westport Playground Honors Dylan Hockley


Despite Friday’s messy weather, more than 100 people gathered to dedicate a new playground in Westport in honor of Dylan Hockley, a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting.

Among those who attended the dedication at Long Lots Elementary School were Dylan’s parents.

“Playgrounds are where kids come to play and have fun and they are a symbol of community,” Nicole Hockley, Dylan’s mother, said.

The “Sandy Project-Where Angels Play” was established by New Jersey firefighters, who are building 26 playgrounds in 26 Hurricane Sandy-ravaged communities, throughout New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Each is dedicated to a victim of the Newtown shooting. 

“This was an elementary school that needed a playground pretty badly, so it just seemed like a very good fit,” Bill Lavin, a New Jersey firefighter, said.

The PTA at the Long Lots Elementary School helped raise more than $11,000 toward the $117,000 price tag. 

“Everyone touches this whole connection with the children and it just hits everyone's heart,” Lauren Goodman, the PTA president, said.

Dylan had a very special connection to butterflies and one of the ways Westport residents raised money for the playground was by selling magnets with a butterfly on them. 

“Dylan was autistic and he flapped. He was a flapper, and I asked him once, ‘Why do you flap?’ and he said, ‘Because I am a beautiful butterfly,” Nicole Hockley said. 

Dylan's favorite color was purple and slides were his favorite attraction and both are part of the playground.  Everything on the playground is purple.

“He used to climb to the top of the slide. Normally, there's a safety bar at the top.  He would swing off it and give us a fright, and then he'd slide down, just squealing all the way down,” Ian Hockley, Dylan’s father, said.     

Dylan's older brother Jake was named honorary foreman of the project.  “Having memories of his brother and keeping that memory alive and not trying to shunt it away and maybe having to deal with issues in the future, I think it is very special to him and he's been looking forward to it,” said Ian Hockley.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Con Artists Target Conn. Homeowners


In the wake of recent home-improvement scams, Woodbridge police are warning residents to be wary of "independent contractors" who show up unannounced looking for work.

At one Woodbridge home, a man came to the door claiming to be doing yard work on a neighboring house. He asked the elderly resident to follow him to the backyard and point out the property lines. The man then asked if anyone else was home, saying he needed to inform all residents.

The elderly woman became suspicious, at which point the man left. He was described as being in his early twenties, possibly Hispanic and driving a dark-colored pickup truck.

In a second, similar incident, the resident followed the "contractor" out into the yard. Upon returning, the resident discovered that a second suspect had entered the home, shuffled around some belongs and taken money from a purse.

Days later, another elderly homeowner was confronted by three men offering to patch up the resident's driveway for $4000. The resident negotiated the price down to $1400, at which point the men asked for cash up front. They followed the resident to an ATM, took the cash and left.

The suspects are described as being three white males operating a gray truck.

Police caution residents to be careful of unsolicited work offers, always request a written contract and double check contractor licensing. Final payment for a job should be made after all the work is complete.

Residents are advised to contact the police and report suspicious activity right away.

Kindness Remembered 27 Years Later


A mother of six traveled to Fort Worth to thank the woman who gave her a home when she was a young, pregnant immigrant with no money and no home nearly 30 years ago.

Patience Menakaya was just weeks from giving birth, but her husband was stuck thousands of miles away in Nigeria. Because of her pregnancy, she couldn't attend classes at Dallas Baptist University, so her student visa was in jeopardy.

Lolamay Daugherty, the wife of the pastor at the church Menakaya attended, heard her story and knew just what to do.

"So we just moved her in with us," Daugherty said. “And she was pregnant, so we spent the night at the hospital with her when the baby was born. It was an exciting time."

It was no big deal for the Daughertys, whose children were grown. They bought baby supplies and taught Menakaya, a first-time mother, how to care for her newborn.

In a few months, she and her family moved on, and that was that.

Or so they thought.

After 27 years with no contact, Daugherty and Menakaya reunited.

Menakaya lives in Maryland after years of ups and downs and of moves across the United States to Nigeria and back.

She has six children, all successful. She told them all about Daugherty's kindness, saying her actions changed her life.

Recently, she asked her oldest daughter, Chidinma, to track Daugherty down.

"I kept telling my daughter about her and how she provided for me during the time I was pregnant with her," Patience Menakaya said. "And she was able to go to the Internet and she kept saying, 'Mommy, if you can give me her name, I might be able to find it.'"

They did — and returned to the same house in Fort Worth for an emotional thank you.

"I feel like what happened and how she helped my mom helped me to become who I am," Chidinma Menakaya said.

Daugherty is her godmother.

Daugherty had no inkling of how she had affected the Menakaya family but was thrilled to hear it.

"I think that's what we're here for on Earth, is to help each other," she said. "It does more for me to help somebody than it does for the person I'm helping, I think."

Photo Credit: NBC 5

90-Year-Old Receptionist Not Planning for Retirement


June Springer has been working for the majority of her life and now, at 90 years old, doesn't have plans to stop any time soon.

Springer turned 90 this week and was celebrated by her co-workers and customers at Caffi Plumbing in Alexandria, Va.

"I went to work when I was 14 at the five-and-ten after school, and I've been working ever since," Springer told News4 Washington.

Her next job at age 18 was making rifles alongside her father in a Pennsylvania steel mill during World War II, before enlisting as a WAVE in the Navy.

"I came to Washington and at that time worked in intelligence on the Japanese code," Springer said.

It was the first of many military positions. She later joined the Army and Naval reserve. To support her son in her early years, she often worked two jobs, in patent law offices by day and restaurants by night.

Eight years ago, the company she was working for folded. She applied for a receptionist job at Caffi Plumbing with Ron Caffi.

"Ron did say to me, 'Do you think you can work eight hours a day?' And I was thinking, 'How dare you ask if I can work eight hours a day? I've been working two jobs all of my life,'" Springer said.

"I brought her in, and the rest is history," Ron Caffi said.

Springer works from 6:30 a.m. through 2 p.m.

"She's a staff and customer favorite," Caffi said. He recalled one customer asked him, "Do you mind if I call her when I'm having a bad day, so I can hear her voice? She's so calming."

Springer maintains her retirement party will wait.

"As long as I can work... I will always work," Springer said.

Crowd Braves Rain for Dave Matthews


The rain didn't stop thousands of people from flooding into Hartford's Comcast Theatre Friday night to see the Dave Matthews Band.

Many fans tailgated under tarps and tents as the heavy rain fell.

"This is the best type of Dave concert honestly. Diehard fans and that's it. Everyone else, they'll be driven out," said Eric Eisenreich of Wallingford.

Ponchos and umbrellas seemed to be just as popular as the music.

"Look, it's Dave Matthews. It doesn't matter. This is a tradition," said Michael Scott of Wallingford.

While the rain might have kept some people away, many others said they wouldn't miss Dave Matthews for anything.

"It's sad that it's pouring on such a good concert but it's okay cause we're making the best of it right now. We have our umbrellas and our ponchos so we're good," said Natalie Gutierrez of Waterbury.

There's another Dave Matthews concert Saturday night at the Comcast Theatre.  Fortunately for the fans, the weather is expected to be much better.

Nearly 4,000 Philadelphia Teachers, School Staff Losing Jobs


Nearly 4,000 Philadelphia school teachers, administrators and staff learned Friday they would lose their jobs.

School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. William Hite, Jr. said the layoffs are a result of severe budget cuts necessary to keep the nation's eighth-largest school district financially sound.

"The School District of Philadelphia must live within its means," said Hite. "We can only spend the revenues that are given to us by the city and state. Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality of how that looks."

A total of 3,783 district employees are being laid off from various positions at schools and the district's central office, Hite said. The School District of Philadelphia currently employs a total of 19,530 people and has 242 schools.

All of the district's 160 assistant principals are being eliminated -- with 127 of them being laid off. Schools will also lose 676 teachers, 283 guidance counselors and 1,202 noon-time aides.

More than 300 secretaries and 769 support service assistants are also receiving notice.

Hite said the School District has taken some drastic steps over the last 18 months, "borrowing $300 million to meet basic obligations, closing more than 30 schools, freezing charter expansions, adopting a budget that lacks essential programs," but if those moves hadn't been made, the outlook would be even bleaker, according to Hite.

The President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers calls this an "immoral act" in a statement released today. “These cuts are beyond unnecessary-- they amount to an immoral act that no Philadelphia taxpayer should tolerate, said Jerry Jordan, who urged people to join him in Harrisburg on June 25.

"We regret having to take these steps and will continue advocating for the funding that gives our students the education they deserve," Hite said. "On a personal note, I am profoundly upset about having to take these actions."

Last Thursday, the School Reform Commission approved a $2.4 billion budget for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.

However, that budget included more than $304 million in "draconian" cuts to staff, activities and services. Those reductions include eliminating art, music and athletic programs.

Rob McGrogan, President of the Commonwealth School Administration Association, says principals are holding emergency meetings with staff Friday to notify them of the cuts.

McGrogan said not all of the assistant principals are being laid off because some are retiring or moving into other roles into the district.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) President Jerry Jordan told NBC10's Deanna Durante the layoffs will only result in unsafe schools and a lower-quality education.

Dr. Hite pleaded with city officials and the state to authorize additional funding to keep offerings and staffing at the current levels, but that money has yet to materialize.

The district, the eighth-largest public school district in the United States, asked the city to offer up an additional $60 million and the Commonwealth provide $120 million. Officials have also asked school unions to make $130 million in contract concessions.

Jordan says the district has asked the PFT to freeze teacher salaries until 2017 and take percentage pay cuts. For example, a teacher earning a $55,000 salary would see a 13-percent reduction, according to Jordan. That's a $7,150 cut.

In his message to staff, the superintendent says the district's budget can be amended if that money comes through -- reinstating programs and jobs.

"I remain hopeful and will continue working tirelessly so that we will be able to restore many of the positions, programs and services that are crucial to maintaining nurturing and effective learning environments," Dr. Hite wrote.

Students have been fighting the cuts for months, rallying several times at Philadelphia City Hall and outside district headquarters on North Broad Street.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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

Photo Credit: chuckseye/Instagram

One Dead in Head-On Collision


One person is dead and three others were seriously injured after a head-on-collision in Danbury Saturday afternoon.

Fire officials said a white car with four people inside struck a utility truck on Federal Road at around 2:00 p.. 

The driver of the truck was trying to make a left turn into a nearby parking lot when the incident happened.  After the collision, the driver of the white car continued off the road and struck a parked car in a parking lot.

According to Deputy Chief Stephen Williams, the driver of the truck, a 16 -year-old, suffered only minor injuries.

The accident sent four people to the hospital. One woman sitting in the back seat was killed.

Angel Vasquez heard a car speeding down the street just prior to the crash as he worked inside Modelezki's Auto Body and Towing. 

"We heard a lout smash and then came running out. I've been to accidents a lot, but I've never seen anything quite like that," Vasquez said.

Federal Road was closed for hours as police investigated the crash.

Anyone with information on the crash is urged to call Danbury police at 203-7978-2157.

Fugitive in 1979 Chicago Murder Arrested


A 65-year-old man, who fled the country after being charged with killing another man 34 years ago was arrested Friday, officials said.

Ata Yousef El Ammouri was taken into custody around 5 p.m. Friday at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport in Chicago after he arrived from Jordan, police said. He was traveling to the United States to attend a graduation, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

El Ammouri was accused of shooting and killing Joe Harris, 31, on July 22, 1979 after Harris walked out of El Ammouri’s store in the 500 block of 67th Street in Chicago without paying for a can of beer, authorities said.

He was charged with the murder in 1979 and posted $100,000 bail.

El Ammouri received additional charges for jumping bail in November of 1979 after he failed to show up to court hearings and was believed to have fled the country to avoid prosecution, officials said.

“Today’s capture of Ata Yousef El Ammouri should send a message that the simple passage of time does not eradicate our commitment to bringing fugitives to justice,” Sheriff Dart said in a statement.

El Ammouri appeared in bond court Saturday morning and was ordered held without bail. He is next scheduled to appear in court June 10.


Photo Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office

Commuters to Get Help Finding Parking Spots


Connecticut's Department of Transportation is trying to help rail commuters find a place to park their cars.

Under a new DOT initiative, commuters who are interested in buying available parking permits for the Bridgeport or Fairfield Metro stations may contact CTrides to learn more about parking options and pricing.

DOT officials say many riders along the New Haven Line may be unaware there are up to 500 parking spaces available at both the Bridgeport and Fairfield Metro railroad stations. There are currently waiting lists for commuter parking at most of the other rail stations.

Customer service staff at CTrides will help commuters begin the process of obtaining parking permits for those two stations. They can be reached by phone or via the internet.

Associated Press/NBC Connecticut

Palace Malice Wins Belmont Stakes


Palace Malice, the pace-setter at the Kentucky Derby, sprinted to a decisive win at the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes, dashing Orb's last Triple Crown chance for redemption.

Veteran jockey Mike Smith told NBC Sports that his long shot colt, who ran without blinkers, was "just enjoying the trip, sucking all the air in" on a fast track that had dried up after a day and night of pounding rain.

Orb, the Derby winner who entered the race the overwhelming favorite with 2-1 odds (despite his fourth-place flop at Pimlico), placed third; Oxbow, the Preakness champ placed second.

Out of the gate, Frac Daddy and Freedom Child set the pace on the mile-and-a-half course, but Oxbow managed to pull ahead by the half-mile mark. Orb, who left spectators jaw-dropped when he exploded to a victory at Churchill Downs, was able to pull ahead from the middle of the pack on the final furlong, but never managed to catch Oxbow and Palace Malice.

Palace Malice, owned by Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable, won by 3 1/4 lengths in a slow 2:30.70. The colt finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby, skipped the Preakness, and entered the Belmont Stakes with 13-1 odds. His victory over 13 other horses gave Todd Pletcher his second Belmont win.

"We always felt like he had a big one in him," Pletcher told NBC Sports. "We were just waiting for it to finally develop."

The renowned trainer had a record five horses entered in the race. His other horses included Revolutionary, who landed in fifth; Overanalyze in seventh; Midnight Taboo second-to-last; and Unlimited Budget—the only filly in the field, paired with star jockey Rosie Napravnik—in sixth.

Though Unlimited Budget missed her chance to become just the fourth filly to win the Belmont Stakes, her jockey made history by becoming the first female to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown in the same year.  She rode Mylute, who did not compete at Belmont, to fifth and third place finishes at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, respectively, making her the highest-placing female rider in the history of both races.

Fourteen horses were going for a chunk of the $1 million purse. It was the largest field for the race since 1996.

Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

Full Results:
1. Palace Malice
2. Oxbow
3. Orb
4. Incognito
5. Revolutionary
6. Unlimited Budget
7. Overanalyze
8. Vyjack
9. Golden Soul
10. Will Take Charge
11.Giant Finish
12. Midnight Taboo
13. Freedom Child
14. Frac Daddy

Photo Credit: AP

Ex-Dolphins WR Faces Charges: Deputies


A former NFL and Miami Dolphins player was arrested on a domestic violence charge after he pushed his wife during a “tug of war” over one of their children at their South Florida home Monday night, authorities said.

James McKnight, 40, faces one count each of battery/domestic violence and resisting an officer without violence after the incident at 16705 Berkshire Court in Southwest Ranches, a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report said.

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During an argument over an alleged affair by his wife, McKnight tried to remove the children to a different room to speak with them privately, but his wife objected, according to the report.

“A tug of war ensued using one of the children. Each was trying to pull the child away from the other,” the report said.

McKnight then pushed his wife, causing her to fall back and over a table, but she wasn’t injured, according to the report.

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When deputies arrived, McKnight resisted attempts to handcuff him by pulling away, the report said. After he was cuffed he also refused attempts to get him to sit down, but he was forced to the ground through a back leg trip, the report added.

The former wide receiver began his NFL career in 1994 with the Seattle Seahawks, where he played five seasons. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys before spending three seasons with the Dolphins from 2001-2003.

It wasn’t immediately known whether McKnight has an attorney. He is being held on $1,600 bond at the Broward County Main Jail, online jail records said.

McKnight was arrested in a previous domestic violence incident in October 2011 after he hit his wife, according to the BSO.

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Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office

Gun-Toting Grandma Scares Away Burglar


A 72-year-old grandmother took control of a scary situation when she was confronted by someone trying to break into the Orange County home she shares with her WWII-veteran husband.

A burglar hopped a fence late Saturday, prowled through the backyard and broke into the Coopers’ Stanton, Calif. home in the middle of the night. Not even a barking Rottweiler scared off the intruder.

Armed with a .357 Magnum revolver, Jan Cooper called 911. She was on the phone with a dispatcher when the intruder made it into her yard.

“Back up, you son of a b----,” she yelled. “Back up! Get out of here! Get the hell out of here! Get your butt out! Now!”

Jan Cooper fired a single shot. It missed the intruder by just a few inches, deputies said.

“After I shot, there was rage that took hold,” Jan Cooper said. “My husband — he’d never heard me talk like that before.”

Brandon Perez, 31, was arrested in connection with the intrusion. Pictured below, Perez is currently on probation for burglary, authorities said.

At one point during her 911 call, Jan Cooper seems to calm down her recently awoken husband who says his wife’s protective behavior did not surprise him.

“I know her capabilities. I know what she can do, if she has to and she’s quite capable,” said Bob Cooper, 85, an Army veteran and decorated intelligence officer.

Jan Cooper has been shooting guns since she was a teenager and said she wouldn’t change her response if someone tried to break into her house again.

“What is necessary to literally stop them,” she said. “I’m not going to allow them to come into my home.”

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Crews Search New Milford Waters for Cyclist


A dive team resumed a search today for a missing 33-year-old New Milford man this morning.

The search started after a jogger called 911 around 8 p.m. on Tuesday and reported seeing a man fall from some rocks at Lovers Leap State Park and go into Lake Lillinoah, which is connected to the Housatonic River.

She told emergency crews that the man was by himself and was yelling for help.

Police said they also received a report of a 33-year-old New Milford man who had a bike accident on Tuesday did not return home on Tuesday night.

His wife reported that he had fallen off his mountain bike on Monday. His bike had gone into the lake, she said, and the man had gone back to the lake on Tuesday to see if he could retrieve it, but did not return home.

“There was a gentleman who, the day before yesterday, went mountain biking on Lovers Leap State Park and apparently had an accident with his bike. The bike went into the water. He went into the water, suffered a minor injury. He was picked up by a family member and supposedly he had returned yesterday. He was searching for his mountain bike,” Capt. Raul Camejo, of the Environmental Conservation Police, said. 

On Wednesday, his family and friends lined a bridge, hoping for good news.

"We have boats that are going in the water. We had dive teams in last night from state police and Newtown underwater search and rescue and they used sonar and couldn't find anyone in the bottom," Camejo said.

Several agencies from across the state searched for the man for hours, sifting through the lake and looking for any sign of that man, but nothing turned up.

Police said they haven’t been able to confirm whether there’s a drowning victim, but they’re not taking any chances.

State police had said they hadn’t been able to verify that anyone was missing because there were no reports of a missing person and they accounted for every car that was in the parking lot.

The search continued until about 11 p.m. on Tuesday, but was called off because conditions were too dangerous.

“You never want to leave something. You just have to look at the big picture and we have to look at the safety of our crews,” Lt. Lawrence Ash, of the New Milford Police Department, said.

A state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection resumed the search around 8 a.m. and hopes to find the man before more rain comes.

“We’re treating this as a search and rescue. We don’t know whether he managed to make it to the shore or not,” Camejo said. “We have boats that are going in the water. We had dive teams in last night from state police and Newtown underwater search and rescue and they used sonar and couldn’t find anyone in the bottom. … Our hope, at this point, is that we will be able to find somebody on the shoreline.”


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Looking for Isuzu Connected to Fatal Crash


A 59-year-old Plainfield man was killed in a hit-and-run late Monday night and police are searching for the driver.

Robert E. Jones, a veteran, was on his way home and trying to cross School Street near the intersection at Putnam Road and Main Street in the Central Village section of Plainfield at 11:20 p.m. when he was hit, according to police.

Witnesses told police that the vehicle that hit Jones had been traveling north on Main Street, turned left onto School Street. After hitting Jones, the vehicle continued west on School Street without stopping or rending aid, according to police.

Emergency medical personnel treated Jones at the scene.

“I heard … a screeching sound of tires, and I came running over … then I heard, ‘Give him CPR!’” said Steven Boledovic, who arrived at the scene moments after the crash.

Jones transported to the Plainfield Backus Emergency Room because of extensive injuries and he was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police are looking for a dark-colored 1992 to 1997 Isuzu Trooper or Trooper II SUV-type vehicle. 

Investigators initially said they were looking for a dark-colored SUV, possibly an Isuzu Rodeo, Toyota 4-Runner or similar vehicle, but they have narrowed down the type of car. 

It has extensive headlight damage and possibly minor damage to the front end, police said. 

“I believe the driver believes that he or she hit something, but may not know they hit a person,” Plainfield Police Chief Michael Surprenant said.

The Plainfield Police Department contacted the State Police Accident Reconstruction Team to assist in the investigation.

Plainfield police urge anyone with information about the fatal crash to call the department at 860-564-0804 or the anonymous tip line at 860-564-7065. All calls will be kept confidential at the caller’s request.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Young Golfers See Idols in Action


Harsh weather may have caused delays at yesterday's practice rounds of the 2013 U.S. Open, but not even the rain could dampen Travonne Williams' excitement for seeing his golf idols in action.

"It felt so good to be able to be there because I know a lot of children don't get to have the experiences we have," Williams said. "It was a great experience, even with the rain."

Williams, 15, is one of four students from the Memphis Street Academy Charter School in Philadelphia who got the chance to see professional golfers tee off on the green at Merion Golf Club.

Memphis Street Academy is an American Paradigm School, a national nonprofit educational management organization whose goal is to use its learning model to improve struggling public schools. In April 2012, American Paradigm Schools joined with Philadelphia's Renaissance Initiative turnaround program and members of the Port Richmond community to reform John Paul Jones Middle School which officially became Memphis Street Academy Charter last year.

The trip to the U.S. Open was sponsored through a partnership between American Paradigm Schools and First Tee of Greater Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to teaching life skills through golf. Nine other students from affiliated American Paradigm Schools also attended.

Memphis Street Academy principal Naimah Holliday says this is just one of many partnerships the school uses to ensure its students have a well-rounded learning experience.

"I think that that's always our goal when thinking about educating our scholars, is to expose them to as many different opportunities and different things that they wouldn't necessarily have an innate interest in or things that they don't see people in our communities participating in so that they can tap in to those talents and those interests that they may have had no idea that they actually had," she said.

"We want our children to be global learners and leaders. This was another opportunity for them to think globally."

Memphis Street Academy athletic director and activities coordinator Brandon Lee chaperoned the students on the trip.

"This is our first year as a renaissance school. Last year we didn't really have a lot of afterschool activities but with the charter, one of the ways to help with the turnaround was to have more afterschool activities. There are, at any given time, about 18 afterschool programs going on but First Tee is probably the largest, most popular partnership that we have," Lee said.

This year alone 5,300 elementary schools across 50 U.S. states participated in First Tee National School programs.

Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of First Tee, John MacDonald, says the quality of the program will keep participation numbers growing.

"Our goal at First Tee is to assemble a high quality staff that has the kids best interest at heart and do everything necessary to expand the program and reach as many kids as we possibly can. Our chapter just celebrated its tenth anniversary and we hope to reach 10,000 students this year," MacDonald said. "It’s really more about life and teaching them how to conduct themselves in a way that's going to advantage them as they move forward."

MacDonald said its particularly important for urban youth to participate in the sport of golf.

"Its unbelievably important because they don't get as much exposure to the core goals that make up the First Tee program. It really is a great program that teaches kids to respect others, and to understand that if you work hard you can accomplish things like mastering the science of making the ball go where you want it to go," he said.

The official start of the U.S. Open is this Thursday. Williams says he'll be rooting for his favorite player, Tiger Woods.

"I didn't get to see him during the practice rounds but I hope he wins it all," Williams said.

Photo Credit: Ed Connolly for Memphis Street Academy Charter School
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