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New Haven Man Killed in Accident in Hamden


A 41-year-old New Haven man is dead after an accident in Hamden Friday morning.

Hamden police said around 1:50 a.m. they responded to a reported accident near the intersection of Newhall Street and Newbury Street. When officers arrived they found the victim, identified as Charles C. Knight III, lying in the road next to his car.

First responders treated Knight but he was declared dead by paramedics on scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy.

Police believe that knight was driving north on Prospect Street and struck a stone wall near Mill Rock Road, causing serious damage to his vehicle. The vehicle continued moving on Mill Rock Road toward Newhall and eventually stopped against a street sign pole at Newhall and Newbury Streets.

This crash is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Hamden police at 203-230-4036.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Suspicious Package Closes Park Road in West Hartford


Park Road in West Hartford was closed for a little over an hour Friday when a suspicious package was reported, according to police.

The package, a lock box, was found at the corner of Park Road and South Highland Street. The Hartford Bomb Squad responded to evaluate the situation.

West Hartford police said the bomb squad determined that the box contained medication. Police then found the owner of the box, who reported it was left on the sidewalk by mistake. No charges will be filed.

The road was closed in the area while the investigation took place but no evacuations were ordered and businesses operated normally.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Knights of Columbus Hand Out 2,000 Coats to Kids Across CT


The spirit of giving was on full display from Bridgeport to Waterbury on Friday as the Knights of Columbus gave out 2,000 brand new coats to children in need across Connecticut.

“A lot of folks are out shopping for Christmas gifts, the Knights are here giving," explained Thomas Porter of the Knights of Columbus.

Inside New Haven’s St. Martin de Porres Academy, dozens of volunteers shared the gift of warmth with families in need of a little extra cheer.

Janet Sanchez brought her son and three daughters to pick out coats. She said 2016 has been a tough year.

“I was in a shelter for a week, then house to house, my sister’s, my grandmother. We’re finally on our feet now," she explained.

Despite having a new job, she knows keeping four kids warm during the winter won’t be easy.

“It’s Christmas, bills, everything’s tight," she said.

The organization has given out 370,00 coats nationwide since 2009.

“It’s very important. All the help I can get, I take," added Bernice Weinstein.

Weinstein said she had to quit her job when she took custody of her three grandchildren and that’s meant making sacrifices. Including, one coat shared between two grandsons.

As the cold weather begins to settle in, these families have one less worry on their minds, and a reason to be thankful.

“I like it because my mom doesn’t have to suffer," said Sanchez's 11-year-old daughter Jarielyz.

“Beautiful. It means so much to the kids, the family," added her mother, wiping away tears.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

32 Bodies, 9 Human Heads Found in Secret Mexico Graves


Mexican soldiers and police found 32 bodies and nine human heads buried in graves in southern Mexico after responding to a tip, authorities said Thursday.

One kidnapping victim and 12 bodies in coolers were also found at the site in Guerrero state. 

No suspects have been detained, Reuters reported. It was unclear how long the remains, which were being transferred to the state capital of Chilpancingo to be identified, had been buried. 

The Mexican state has been struck by violence from two rival cartels. Decapitations are typical among victims of gang-related retaliation. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dry Weekend Ahead


High pressure will build in this weekend and make for dry weather.

High temperatures will be near 50 Saturday, then slightly cooler, in the 40s comes Sunday.

One minor exception to the dry weather comes Saturday as an area of low pressure forms offshore – it could bring a shower to southeastern Connecticut.

Monday will be the nicest day of the next seven, at least for outdoor activities.

Complete sunshine is anticipated, with temperatures in the middle 40s.

Several storm systems bring a substantial chance for rain by the middle of next week.

Rain begins Tuesday, likely in the morning, and doesn't completely exit the region until Thursday morning.

Freezing rain is possible at the onset of the precipitation Tuesday, given that temperatures will start out in the 20s.

This rain would be great news for the drought situation across the state, as the rainfall deficit is now up near 20 inches.

Shoppers Brave Mall for Doorbuster Deals and Deep Discounts


Shoppers hit the Westfarms Mall Friday morning looking for the deep discounts promised on Black Friday.

Many shoppers who spoke to NBC Connecticut said they were pleased with the deals, even when compared to online sales.

We caught up with Jennifer Quinn of Wethersfield scoring some deals at the Lego store. They offered 50 percent off on some sets through noon.

“I went online and bought a bunch of things from Lego, but then I took the chance that maybe I should go to the store just in case there are items that are there that maybe aren’t online and I was right. So I hit up both,” she said.

Quinn was pleased that some stores didn’t open until 7 a.m.

“It used to be in the years past that I would go at like midnight, but I’d like to have a little bit more sleep and so I don’t mind the 7 a.m.”

Others like Maggie Ricupero of Berlin were eying the Microsoft Store for their deal on the Xbox 1S. It’s $50 off, and shoppers get a $25 gift card and a free game with the purchase.

“My son has to have it. This might be the last year he’s believing, so I came in to buy it,” Ricupero said.

With savings ranging from 30 to 70 percent off, Ricupero also stocked up on clothing, and hit of the Disney Store where anything in the store had an additional 20 percent off discount through 10 a.m.

“Pretty good. I know you can probably get them online too, but I like to just get the stuff in hand and be out the door.”

Even some visiting from out of town got up and out to take advantage of the deals.

“I have a lot to buy and yea the deals are great like obviously I’m here in the Disney store looking for my granddaughter,” said Eileen Utreras of Whitestone, New York.

Police remind shoppers to be smart – don’t leave bags sitting out in the open in your car.

Many stores opened early or are staying open late for the shopping holiday. For a list of stores and hours, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Trooper Helps Stranded Vet


A police officer in Indiana went out of his way – literally -- to help a stranded military vet get home this Thanksgiving.

Trooper Dan Criswell, a 9-year veteran, and his trainee Trooper Ty Mays were responding to a disabled vehicle late Wednesday night on Interstate 70 westbound near the Indianapolis International Airport when they found a white work van stalled in the roadway with 59-year-old Daniel Breaux of Church Point, Louisiana inside, according to Indiana State Police.

Breaux told the police he had traveled to Indianapolis to help a family member move to the area and was on his way home when his car broke down. He had only $100 on him, just enough for gas money to get home, according to authorities.

The troopers helped push the van to a safe location on the shoulder of the roadway and offered Breaux a ride, but the man declined saying he would call friends for help. A short time later, Criswell and Mays returned with a warm meal for Breaux and again offered him a ride, but he said he was confident he would reach someone for help.

Early Thanksgiving morning, Criswell, who was off-duty, drove back to the location he had left Breaux and to his surprise, the man was still in the vehicle, asleep, according to police. Criswell, now determined to help Breaux, contacted a number of towing companies in the area, telling them Breaux’s story until he found one willing to help.

D&D Auto and Towing LLC of Clayton, Indiana towed the van free of charge to Criswell’s home, where his brother Kyle, a mechanic, would ultimately work on the van.

The problems with the van were worse than anyone thought and it quickly became clear it would be a costly fix.

By this time, Criswell’s other brother, Dustin Criswell, the vice principal for Perry Meridian Middle School, also had come to help. Dustin Criswell offered to give Breaux an old pick-up he no longer used as a gift to help get Breaux home.

The brothers worked on the pick-up to make sure it was ready for the trip and invited Breaux to celebrate Thanksgiving with their family. It was then they learned that he was a military veteran.

The family gathered up enough money to make sure Breaux would get home safely.

“Police officers often go above and beyond expectations and this is just one example of selfless dedication to service,” Indiana State Police said in a statement. “A small family owned business, D & D Auto and Towing generously offered their services, which started this chain of kindness.”

Photo Credit: Indiana State Police

Fentanyl Poses 'Grave Threat' to Police Dogs


Florida police dog Primus almost died of a drug overdose after encountering fentanyl while raiding a suspect's house, NBC News reported. 

The German short-haired pointer was rushed to Coral Springs Animal Hospital, where medical professionals administered naloxone to combat the effects of the opioid. Two other K-9 dogs from his unit accompanied him, as they had also been exposed to a lethal dose of fentanyl. 

The synthetic opioid is 50 times stronger than heroin sold on the streets and can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. Fentanyl, much of it coming from Mexico and China, has killed hundreds in the U.S., including music legend Prince. It presents a "grave threat" to first responders and law enforcement officers — human and canine, the Drug Enforcement Administration said. 

Photo Credit: NBC News
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Veteran's Outreach Worker Attacked in New Haven: Police


New Haven police are searching for a suspect who they said attacked a veteran’s outreach worker Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, an outreach worker for the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs was searching for a despondent military veteran at the New Haven Inn just after noon. The worker approached a man in the back of the motel to see if he was the person who called the hotline for help.

Police said the suspect then pulled out a knife and demanded the worker’s money. When the worker said there was no money, the suspect tried to stab the victim. Thankfully the worker’s clipboard and heavy clothing prevented the knife from doing any real damage.

The suspect is described as male, approximately 6-foot-4. He was reportedly wearing a Boston Celtics ballcap, white T-shirt, denim jeans, tan work boots and had a gray hooded sweatshirt tied around his waist.

Anyone with information on this incident should contact New Haven Police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Wood Library and Museum Hosts Gingerbread House Festival


Over 150 gingerbread houses of all shapes and sizes will be on display inside the Wood Library and Museum in South Windsor for its 6th Annual Gingerbread House Festival beginning Friday until December 10.

The event is like traveling through Lollipop Lane or Gum Drop Street -- a fairy tale world of edible houses and historical replicas covered in candy, all created by regional artisans, bakers and families.

“We’ve got chewing gum here, we’ve got biscuits, coconut, royal icing,” said Kathy Kerrigan, festival coordinator.

The event is free and open to the public.

Christine Hastreiter is a chef who spent more than 300 hours making her gingerbread hobbit house.

“Like to get the whole hobbit hillside – because hobbit houses are built on hillsides – this is massive amounts of rice crispies underneath all of this,” said Hastreiter .

The hope is you’ll get a little laugh – a little smile – and with the cost of $1 a raffle ticket going to a good cause, you could take home one of these gingerbread houses.

Winners will be picked on the last day of the festival: December 10.

These fairy-tale houses are also available for purchase at the library’s gift shop upstairs.

“This is how we get to keep the doors open and the lights on and how we get to fund all our programs,” said Kerrigan.

The nearly two-week long festival brings in about 8,000 visitors from across the region.

The event is free and open to the public.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Slain Stamford Man to be Honored at Alumni Hockey Game


A Stamford man whose body was found in New Jersey after his family reported him missing is being honored at the Westhill-Stamford alumni hockey game on Saturday.

Before the game, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Terry Conners Ice Rink in Stamford, there will be a special ceremony to honor Joey Comunale. Those who played with Comunale were encouraged to sign up and play in his honor. The ceremony will begin at 3:30 p.m.

"Joey was very active in Stamford, where he touched hundreds of individuals whether at the hockey rink, softball field or socializing with too many of his friends to mention," according to an obituary published online.

Alumni are asked to pay a $40 registration fee, then they will get a game jersey, an annual alumni T-shirt with Comunale's jersey number nine on the sleve, a helmet sticker and armbands in Comunale's honor.

There will be no admission fee for fans, according to a post by the WHS/SHS Hockey Alumni Committee, and commemorative wrists bands will be available in Comunale’s honor.

Police said 26-year-old Comunale appears to have been stabbed to death in some sort of dispute after he, two other men and three women returned from a nightclub on 14th Street in Manhattan late Saturday or early Sunday.

A grand jury indicted James Rackover, 25, on charges of concealing a human corpse, tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. Lawrence Dilione, 28, was also arrested in connection the death. 

Police initially arrested both men on second-degree murder charges in the death of Comunale, but prosecutors did not bring that charge against them in a criminal complaint pending further investigation.

Photo Credit: Facebook

2 Dead After Crash on I-84 in Southbury


Two people were killed when their car crashed into a tree and caught fire off I-84 west in Southbury Friday morning.

State police said the accident happened near exit 14 around 9:45 a.m. The vehicle reportedly crashed and caught fire.

The driver, identified as Warren Rynkar, 69, of Malden, Mass., was declared dead on scene. His passenger, identified as John Rynkar, 26, of Malden, Mass. was taken to Waterbury Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No one else was in the vehicle, police said.

The off ramp at exit 14 was closed until 1:40 p.m.

State police continue to investigate.

Photo Credit: Frank Consorte Jr.

French 'Spiderman' Scales Skyscrapers Harness-Free


Alain Robert, 54, has a lifelong passion for scaling skyscrapers and other structures with only his hands and a good pair of climbing shoes despite his frequent arrests by police for unauthorized stunts. The French daredevil added the Agbar Tower in Barcelona, Spain, to his repertoire of over 100 conquered buildings and structures on Nov. 25, 2016. See some of his wildest climbs from around the world.

Photo Credit: Manu Fernandez/AP

Panda Cub Bei Bei Recovering From Emergency Surgery


Get well soon!

The National Zoo's giant panda cub is recovering from an emergency surgery, but zoo officials say the prognosis is "very good."

Bei Bei underwent an emergency bowel obstruction surgery to remove a dense, masticated lemon-sized mass of bamboo, the zoo said Friday. 

"Bei Bei's prognosis is very good. The challenge will be for our team to monitor him safely and that requires his cooperation," said Director Dennis Kelly.

Keepers noticed the 15-month-old cub was showing signs of stomach discomfort and nausea Thursday. Bei Bei was taken to a veterinary hospital the next morning, where vets found the blockage at the top of his small intestine. The veterinary team determined the mass would have to be removed surgically. 

Bei Bei is now awake and recovering in the David M. Rubenstein Giant Panda Habitat. He will be kept separate from his mother, Mei Xiang, and monitored overnight. 

Zoo officials say he will be given water overnight and then transitioned to soft foods. When bamboo is reintroduced into his diet, it will likely be finely cut leaves, the zoo said. 

Bei Bei is expected to return to his normal diet in the near future. 

Abortion Rights, Anti-Abortion Advocates Gear Up for Trump Presidency


Abortion rights advocates fear the effect President-elect Donald Trump will have on abortion access in the United States, NBC News reports. 

Since Election Day, Planned Parenthood has seen a spike in appointments for birth control. Many patients are requesting intrauterine devices that could last through Trump's first term.

Meanwhile, abortion rights organizations are concerned about what potential Trump judicial appointments could mean for Roe v. Wade. Trump has repeatedly said that he will choose justices that would overturn the landmark 1973 case. 

Many opponents of abortion rights now feel they can trust the president-elect, according to Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). "He has stayed steady and firm, with no wavering whatsoever through this campaign," she said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Donald Trump Pitch to Carrier Reverberates in Connecticut


President-elect Donald Trump declared on Twitter that he had spoken with Carrier Corporation executives about working to keep their Indiana air conditioner manufacturing facility from moving to Mexico.

Trump made the claim in a tweet sent Thursday, saying, “I am working hard even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S. (Indiana). MAKING PROGRESS – Will know soon!”

Carrier executives told the roughly 2,000 employees back in February of their plan to move the plant’s operations to Mexico.

David Cadden, a Management and Strategy Professor Emeritus at Quinnipiac, said a move like that could only be characterized as one meant at saving money.

"Right now the pay at Carrier per hour is probably the equivalent of the pay per day at the Mexican location they were looking at,” Cadden said. “It very much is a bottom line issue."

NBC Connecticut reached out to Carrier for a comment but never heard back.

Carrier’s official Twitter account did post, “Carrier has had discussions with the incoming administration and we look forward to working together. Nothing to announce at this time.

United Technologies Corporation, which is based in Farmington, is the parent company of Carrier. In the past year it made a move to sell Sikorsky Aircraft which was widely viewed as a strategy move related to sagging gains for the aerospace company.

Cadden doesn’t see the same kind of connection with Carrier, meaning there is likely no plan to move the headquarters or corporate operations from Connecticut.

"It looks as though UTC is trying to develop a portfolio of industrial-based firms. The key element is the have sufficient margins and I thinK Carrier probably meets those required margins whereas Sikorsky at the time was not which is why they were sold off to Lockheed Martin."

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Most in US Don't Want Undocumented Immigrants to Leave: Poll


A majority of Americans would like to see undocumented immigrants stay in the country and get a chance to become citizens, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.

The 60 percent response was the highest since the Quinnipiac poll started asking the question four years ago, NBC News reported.

Despite being among the top issues for Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, only 6 percent of respondents said immigration should be Trump's top priority. Instead, 24 percent named the economy as most important.

The poll was conducted Nov. 17-20 among 1,071 respondents and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Photo Credit: AP

Trump Fills National Security, WH Counsel Posts


Donald Trump is continuing to build out his administration this holiday weekend. The president-elect chose Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland, a former government official and current Fox News analyst, as a deputy national security adviser. 

McFarland said in a statement Friday she's "honored and humbled" to be part of Trump's team. "He has the courage, brilliance and energy to Make America Great Again, and nobody has called foreign policy right more than President-elect Trump, and he gets no credit for it," she said.

Trump has asked Donald McGahn to serve as his White House counsel, a top transition source confirmed. McGahn is Trump's campaign lawyer and is advising the transition effort.

“President-elect Trump is a bold leader committed to draining the swamp in Washington and restoring economic prosperity and security," McGahn said.

The Trump transition team made the formal announcement Friday. Neither position is subject to Senate approval.

Photo Credit: AP Images

Connecticut Boy With Autism Missing in Texas


A massive search is underway for a young Connecticut boy missing in Texas.

Pearland, Texas authorities said 9-year-old Marcus McGhee walked away from a home he was visiting Thursday afternoon. McGhee is autistic and non-verbal.

Police said McGhee has been missing since around 4 p.m. Thursday after he walked away from a home in the 6700 block of Fite Road. A bloodhound was able to track the boy’s scent away from the house but then lost the trail.

Authorities and groups of volunteers are searching for the boy, who was last seen wearing a black T-shirt with a green Nike swoosh and black and gray sweatpants. The US Coast Guard searched bodies of water in the area but found no sign of McGhee.

As of 1 p.m. Friday McGhee was still missing.

Police confirmed that McGhee is related to retired NBA player Marcus Camby. Camby is a Connecticut native who attended Hartford Public High School before playing for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Minutemen. 

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Pearland police at 281-997-4100.

Photo Credit: Pearland Police Department

Hartford Police Investigate Homicide on Maple Avenue


One person is dead after a shooting on Maple Avenue in Hartford Friday.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley confirmed the Major Crimes Division was investigating after the victim was found sitting in a car in the area of 594 Maple St.

The victim was taken to Hartford Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The victim has not been identified.

An NBC Connecticut crew on scene reports that the car was damaged by gunfire.

Police believe the shooting is drug-related. The investigation is ongoing.

Maple Avenue near Bond Street has reopened after being closed. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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