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Body Recovered in Housatonic River


Police have recovered the body of an 80-year-old man from the Housatonic River in Stratford.

Officers arrived at the Birdseye Boat Ramp following a report of a body floating in the river early Friday afternoon. They discovered the body near the George Washington Bridge and transported it to Bridgeport Hospital, police said.

Police do not suspect foul play and say the death might be accidental. They are waiting to identify the man until family members have been notified.

Officials are still investigating.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Family: Teen Fatally Stabbed Over Piece of Chicken


Police have arrested the man they say stabbed a 17-year-old boy to death Wednesday night.

Antonio Shaw, 25, was arrested and charged with second degree murder Thursday.

Family members say Ernest Hart was stabbed during a cookout in the 4600 block of Hillside Road SE just before 9 p.m. Wednesday.

"My brother died on my lap, and I couldn't do nothing about it," said his sister Patricia Hart.

He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Hart's family told NBC4's Pat Collins Shaw stabbed Hart in the neck after getting into an argument with him over a piece of chicken.

"All of us turned around and all we saw was blood just dripping from my little brother, and he fell to the ground," said his brother Steven Hart.

Octavais Brown, who was at the scene, said medics took a long time to arrive.

"It felt like forever," she said. "I wasn't counting minutes. I was holding his pulse."

She added, "I knew he was gone when they got here."

According to D.C. Fire, emergency vehicles were dispatched at 9:17 p.m. A fire truck without a medic on board arrived at 9:23 p.m. A basic ambulance with medical technicians arrived at 9:28 p.m. An advanced life-support vehicle with paramedics arrived at 9:30 p.m. Hart was transported from the scene in the advanced life-support vehicle at 9:41 p.m.

Hart's sister tended to him while they waited for help.

"His last words to me were, 'Tricia don't let me die,'" she said. "I applied pressure to the wound on my brother. I just didn't want him to die right then, and he did."

The suspect is an acquaintance of the family.

"He used to come over to my house all the time," said the victim's father, Ernest Hart Sr.




Bicyclist Hit By Car in West Hartford


A bicyclist was sent to the hospital after being hit by a car in West Hartford while riding home from work early Friday morning, police said.

Raymond Sanchez, 49, of Hartford was transported to St. Francis Hospital for non-life threatening injuries after being hit by a 2005 Jeep Liberty on New Park Avenue in the area of Raymour & Flanigan and Home Depot, according to police.

Police said Sanchez was riding northbound around 2:25 a.m. when a car struck him from behind, destroying his bicycle and leaving him with multiple injuries. The car stopped briefly, made a U-turn and sped off down New Park Avenue in the direction from which it had come, police said.

A trail of antifreeze led officers to the driver’s home at 160 Hollywood Avenue, where they found the car with heavy damage to the right front end and windshield.

Driver Maria Vega, 45, of West Hartford was arrested on the scene and charged with evading responsibility, driving while intoxicated, failure to rive right and interfering with an officer. Vega was released on a $25,000 non-surety bond, police said.

Officers also arrested another woman, Brena Viera, 41, of 35 Adams Street in East Hartford. Viera was charged with interfering with an officer and was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond.

Anyone with information is asked to call the West Hartford Police traffic division at 860-523-2007.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police Department

Hamden Man Accused of Stabbing Wife


Police arrested a 43-year-old man after he repeatedly stabbed his wife and assaulted his stepson Thursday night, Hamden police said.

Vincent Tyler, of 72 Third Street in Hamden, stabbed wife Amie Tyler multiple times in the back, head and neck when an argument escalated, according to police. Police said Tyler also struck her in the face and arm with a metal object and tried to force her into his car.

According to police, Amie's 18-year-old son heard his mother screaming from a block away and ran home to help. Tyler then bit his stepson on the face and ear, kicked him and hit his head against the ground. He was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital, police said.

State Police stopped Tyler on Route 8 in Bridgeport after he drove of with his five-year-old daughter, police said. Tyler was arrested and charged with first-degree assault, third-degree assault, risk of injury to a minor and second-degree criminal attempt to commit kidnapping.

Tyler is being held on a $500,000 bond and is due in Meriden court today.

This isn't the first time Tyler has been arrested for turning on his wife. In December 2010, Tyler was charged with first-degree assault for stabbing Amie in the buttocks.

Three Charged in Unemployment Fraud


Three Connecticut men were arrested and charged today after allegedly collecting fraudulent unemployment benefits, police said. The cases are unrelated.

Julio Angel Blas, Ruben A. Roberts and Candice N. Strickland were arrested and charged with larceny by defrauding a public community and unemployment compensation fraud. According to police, the scams took place between 2008 and 2010.

Police said Blas, 41, of 141 First Street in New Britain, fraudulently collected $12,190 in unemployment benefits from Dec. 2008 through May 2009.

Roberts, 59, of 88 Conklin Road in Stafford Springs, collected $12,349 throughout 2010, according to police.

Strickland, 29, of 25 Shultas Place in Hartford, collected $4,792 from Nov. 2009 through Nov. 2009, police said.

All three were released on $10,000 bond and are due in court June 27.

Berkeley Icon Chez Panisse Opens Doors After Fire


Foodies, rejoice!

After suffering fire damage nearly four months ago, a Berkeley icon - Chez  Panisse -  is poised to reopen to the public on Monday, and get back to doing what this world-renowned restaurant does best: Serve locally grown, organic - and expensive - dishes.

The restaurant reopens tonight for a sold-out, private fundraiser, where proceeds will go to the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley.

Chef, food activist and owner Alice Waters, whose interview with NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai will air at 6 p.m. today, is thrilled to reopen her doors at her 1517 Shattuck Avenue restaurant.

In the interview, Waters says she is touched by the community's support following the March 8 fire. A young girl sold lemonade -  made with Meyer lemons, Waters noted - and gave her $37 from the sales to help rebuild the damaged restaurant.

[RAW VIDEO: Alice Waters Talks About the Fire at Chez Panisse]

Berkeley fire officials suspected it was a faulty electrical system that sparked the  fire, which appeared as though it may have started under the porch. A sprinkler inside the building helped quell the damage.

This wasn't just any other fire, and it's not just any other restaurant.

Chez Panisse is the gold star of restaurants to foodies around the globe, and its fire damage quickly drew the attention of news agencies spanning from the Los Angeles Times to the New York Times. Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin, who lives in the East Bay, tweeted she was "so sad to hear about the fire at #ChezPanisse! Such an iconic Berkeley restaurant. Absolutely love that place."

Chez Panisse first opened in 1971, and since then, Waters has worked beyond the restaurant to promote cooking and eating healthy, locally grown food. As one of the most well-known food activists around the world and since 2002, she has served as vice president of Slow Food International.

Chez Panisse was recognized as the Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet Magazine in 2000, and since then, has won several more awards.

When the restaurant reopens on Monday, the fixed price $65 menu will include green bean and roasted sweet pepper salad, bouillabaisse cooked with shellfish and Santa Rosa plum galette with wild fennel ice cream.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Paula Deen Apologizes


Embattled Food Network star Paula Deen released a video statement addressing her past use of racial slurs, which overnight became a national scandal. In the clip, Deen appears visibly upset and at times close to tears. "I beg for your forgiveness.... please forgive me for the mistakes that I've made," she said.

Boy Pulled From Water at Cove Island Park


Police have found the 12-year-old boy who disappeared into the water at Cove Island Park in Stamford, police said.

Fire department dive teams pulled him from the water shortly after 5 p.m., performed CPR and rushed him to the hospital, according to officials at the scene.

Officials received the call at 1:56 p.m. Friday afternoon. Stamford police and fire divers searched the water for hours. A Stamford Emergency Medical Unit was also at the scene, Stamford fire officials said.

The Norwalk Fire Department arrived to help out, bringing in a sonar-equipped boat, but low tide prevented them from being able to use it, fire officials said.

The Coast Guard has also dispatched a crew and has a helicopter on the way, according to officials.

Police are working to make an official identification.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Westport Gas Line Leaks, Explodes


A leaking gas line exploded into a 20-foot fireball in Westport this morning, closing down Route 1 and shutting off the gas to three commercial buildings, fire officials said.

Thirteen firefighters flocked to a construction site on Westfair Drive around 10:30 Friday morning when a high-pressure gas line developed a leak and blew up, according to the Westport Fire Department.

Southern Connecticut gas was called in to shut off the gas. Officials evacuated nearby buildings and closed down Post Road East/Route 1 while crews worked to extinguish the flames.

No one was injured, but several trees, and pickup truck and construction tools were damaged in the fiery burst, officials said.

The road reopened at 12:15 p.m. At that time, gas company workers were still repairing the line.

Dock and Dine Rebuilds, Reopens


Less than two months after Dock and Dine rebuilt from Tropical Storm Irene, the inside was torn apart by Sandy.

The Old Saybrook restaurant has struggled to gain momentum after being pummeled by the storms.

"Irene created a lot of damage because of water, things getting wet, walls, insulation. But Sandy... a portion of the building got totally wrecked. Another portion became structurally unstable," said Dock and Dine owner John Kodama.

Kodama didn’t know when he’d reopen again, but he managed to work it out with the town to at least open a portion of the restaurant for the summer. That portion, which was rebuilt in just seven weeks, is now open.

"Besides being excited about being open, I’m relieved, because financially, being closed was horrendous," Kodama said.

Kodama is hoping to salvage business as much as he can for the rest of the season by serving lunch and dinner every day.

Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna says the reopening helps bring back Saybrook Point, an economic generator for the community.

"It brings people to our area restaurants and shops obviously. This is a huge landmark restaurant for the area," said Fortuna.

Even though the Dock and Dine will be open for the rest of this season, it will have to close about mid-October to knock everything down and rebuild again.

Kodama outlined the plan.

"Take the building down. Put in the pilings, the structural pilings and get a deck on it before the dead of winter," Kodama said. "Then wait to really restart, get everything lined up, but not start construction till better weather," said Kodama.

If all goes according to plan, he'll have a brand new restaurant open next summer.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Arrest Made in Fatal Bristol Stabbing


A Bristol man was arrested and charged with murder on Friday after he allegedly killed his next-door neighbor during a party.

Bristol police showed up to Lincoln Street around 3:30 a.m. Friday and found 36-year-old Jerry Duncan stabbed to death in a second-floor apartment.

“It’s very scary, very scary, especially when I have a three-year-old and he's asking me questions,” said neighbor Jill Duclose. “I went and looked… I was like, oh my god.”

Investigators arrested apartment resident Jeffrey Hall, 43, in connection with the crime. They told NBC Connecticut Duncan and Hall were partying when they got into an argument. That’s when Hall allegedly pulled out a knife.

Duclose said Hall recently moved in and she had just met him. “He said he’s friendly with people, he doesn't like drama, he doesn't like fighting, so once I heard it was him, it was a shock,” Duclose said.

The victim’s family would not go on camera, but said that Duncan, a father of two young kids, had just gotten home from work. Hall was supposedly throwing a loud party, so Duncan walked over and asked him to turn the music down. He never came home.

Neighbors said the late-night parties had been a constant at this apartment for the last few weeks.

“Music on and talking," said Duclose. "I see them drinking.”

Hall was in police custody on a $1,500,000 bond Friday night. He was charged with murder and is expected to face a judge Monday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Claiming to Have Bomb Robs Vernon Bank


A man who threatened to have a bomb robbed a People's United Bank in Vernon on Friday morning.

Officials say the suspect approached a bank employee in the parking lot at 8:23 a.m. and told her he had a bomb. He followed her inside the bank, at 35 Talcottville Road, and demanded money.

The suspect stole an undisclosed amount of money and tied up at least one employee, police said.

Police say the suspect stole a car belonging to one of the bank employees and used it to get away. They found what they believe to be the stolen car near an abandoned mill by Deming Street in Manchester.

The bomb squad responded to inspect the car for possible explosives. None were found, police said.

Officers searched trails near the abandoned mill and searched parts of Northwest Park off Tolland Turnpike, but did not locate the suspect, police said.

Earlier today, police shut down I-84 exit ramps at exit 63 eastbound and westbound as part of the search. The ramps have been reopened, but officers are continuing to investigate.

"We have detectives here on the scene," said Lt. William Meier of the Vernon Police Department. "We're working closely with several other agencies. It's a very active investigation."

The suspect has not been identified.

Officers are guarding the bank, which has partially reopened to allow customers ATM access.

Police are asking for help with the investigation. Anyone with information should call the Vernon Police at 860-872-9126.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

Town of West Sues Over Fertilizer Blast


Officials of the small central Texas town devastated by an April 17 fertilizer plant blast that killed 15 people have filed suit against the plant owner and supplier.

The lawsuit filed Friday seeks unspecified damages from plant owner Adair Grain and CF Industries, which supplied agricultural-grade ammonium nitrate toe the plant. A fire at the plant ignited the explosive chemical, flattening homes, schools and businesses and killing firefighters and other first-responders fighting the fire.

The lawsuit filed in state district court in Waco alleges Adair Grain was negligent in how it stored the chemical and that CF Industries was liable for an inherently hazardous product.

Adair Grain spokesman Daniel Keeney and CF Industries spokesman Dan Swenson told the Waco Tribune-Herald that they hadn't reviewed the lawsuit and declined to comment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dorner Justifiably Fired From LAPD: Report


A rogue ex-police officer who blamed a deadly rampage on his 2008 firing from the Los Angeles Police Department was justifiably fired from the force, an LAPD report released on Friday concluded.

In an online manifesto, Christopher Dorner had alleged that racism, bias, retaliation and conflicts of interest contributed to his firing.

Full Coverage: Manifesto For Murder

“After a thorough review of all the available information, my analysis concludes that the discharge of Christopher Dorner was justified,” said LAPD Special Assistant Gerald Chaleff. “His discharge was based on his own actions. The allegations he made against his training officer appeared to have been made in an effort to forward his own agenda.”

Chief Charlie Beck ordered the review in February while Dorner was on the run. The former officer had posted an online manifesto vowing warfare against the department, officers and their families, in retaliation for what he called his unfair firing in 2008.

Dorner killed four people, including two police officers, during a rampage in February that ended with his death from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot in a burning cabin during a police shootout near Big Bear.

The Dorner report is expected to be reviewed by the LAPD’s civilian Police Commission, which oversees the department, at a meeting on Tuesday.

A second report on the fairness of the department’s disciplinary system is expected to be published later this year, officials said.

More Southern California Stories:

Photo Credit: LAPD

Driver Killed at Lime Rock Racing Event


A driver was killed after a racing accident at Lime Rock Park in Salisbury Friday.

According to state police, Jeffrey Bower, of Chester, N.Y., lost control during a race and crashed. He later died at a local hospital.

Authorities do not suspect foul play.

State police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Activists Outraged Over ATV Legislation


ATVs could soon be legal to ride on some state-owned property; however, environmental activists are urging Gov. Dannel Malloy to veto the legislation.

The Connecticut Forest and Park Association, the Connecticut Audubon Society and other environmental groups are upset that an amendment requiring the state to create an ATV park was slipped through in the final minutes of the legislative session, without a public hearing or a public debate.

"We were really disappointed that could happen," said Eric Hammerling, Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

Now, ATVs are only legal to ride on private property in Connecticut. Hammerling says illegal ATV use has already been detrimental to some state parks and has outraged some park-goers.

"That's an issue we think deserves a large discussion before it's implemented, not a last minute rat," he said.

The original bill called for tougher penalties for the illegal use of dirt bikes on public streets, but that's nowhere in the final version.

Instead, the bill requires the state to follow through on a 2002 plan to create a specific area for ATV use on state land. That plan was never implemented because questions regarding funding, maintenance, and ATV registration still linger.

ATVs are popular in Connecticut. Those who use them are hoping the governor signs the bill into law.

"They sell them in Connecticut. I don't know why there's nowhere to ride them," said ATV owner John Lollar of West Hartford. "I think it would be cool, something to do."

The bill remains under review and no decision has been made on whether it will be signed into law, according to Gov. Malloy's spokesman Andrew Doba.

Photo Credit: Burning Rock

Top News Photos of the Week

Summer Yoga: Thousands gathered for a free yoga class at Times Square on June 20 to celebrate the longest day of the year. The event features four free mass yoga sessions at the heart of Manhattan. Click to see more photos from June 14 through June 21.

FBI Makes Arrest in "Mesh Mask Bandit" Case


The FBI says it has finally arrested the North Texas man believed to be the "Mesh Mask Bandit."

The FBI said Luis Delagarza, 59, of Farmers Branch, has been charged in a federal criminal complaint with committing armed bank robbery.

Delagarza was once considered one of the most dynamic local leaders in the Latino community.

"This was somebody that associated with some of the most important people in Dallas," said Carlos Quintanilla, Accion America president and longtime community activist.

NBC 5's sister station Telemundo interviewed Delagarza several years ago about immigration reform.

The FBI said a witness identified Delagarza from a photo lineup.

According to the FBI's complaint and affidavit, the witness saw the face of the man who robbed a Wells Fargo Bank in the 13000 block of Josey Lane in Farmers Branch on April 22.

The bank is blocks from Delagarza's home.

The witness reported seeing the man's face both before he pulled on his dark mask and entered the bank with a handgun and after the robbery, when he removed the mask outside the bank.

"The identification of the 'Mesh Mask Bandit' by the FBI's Bank Robbery Task Force was the result of collaborative local and federal investigation across nine cities," said Diego G. Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Dallas Field Division. "The arrest of this dangerous individual illustrates the effectiveness of task forces, the support provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office and cooperation within the law enforcement community."

The FBI had dubbed the bank robber the Mesh Mask Bandit because of his mesh mask that hid his face.

The Mesh Mask Bandit was linked to robberies at 19 banks in North Texas since New Year's Eve.

Bank customers said they are relieved an arrest has been made.

"I'm glad they caught him," Brandon Vidal said. "It's a good thing. Put him away."

Delagarza made his initial appearance in federal court Friday. A judge ordered that he remain in federal custody.

He will be back in court on Tuesday.

Delagarza was arrested twice before on charges of speeding and theft.

Previous Reports:

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: FBI/Dallas Police Dept.

Girl at Center of Lung Transplant Controversy Out of Coma


Ten days after a successful double-lung transplant surgery, 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan is out of a coma and responding to questions, according to a family spokesperson.

Murnaghan received her new lungs on June 12, after spending three months at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with end-stage cystic fibrosis.

Sarah's mother Janet posted an update on her Facebook page Saturday.

"Sarah's less confused this afternoon. She is pointing to every tube that's coming out of her and wanting me to explain it. She seems less scared, seems to understand she got her transplant. All your prayers are working. Thank you!!!"

The Newtown Square girl made headlines after her parents battled national policy over how children under 12 are placed on the waiting list for donated lungs.

Her new lungs came from an adult donor, after a judge decided that the under 12 rule could be modified in her case-- a decision that put her on the adult list.

The transplant isn't a cure for cystic fibrosis, but it can extend her life by years.


Successful Surgery for Sarah Murnaghan

New Lungs Buy Time But Don't Cure Cystic Fibrosis

Judge's Ruling Challenges U.S. Transplant System

Sarah Celebrates From Hospital Bed After Court Win

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia

San Francisco Church Hoping to House Dead Pets in Basement


During his lifetime, Saint Francis of Assisi was famously devoted to animals. Paintings and statues depict the saint frolicking with birds, dogs and other beasts.

The lore of San Francisco’s namesake seemed an ideal fit for a city where dogs outnumber kids. Inside the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi in San Francisco’s North Beach, tributes to the saint’s life abound, especially in its annual blessing of the animals.

On a recent weekend, the shrine’s rector Father Gregory Coiro blessed some 500 pets during the two-day stretch.

“Mostly dogs,” said Coiro, wearing a brown robe and tangled beard. “But there were a few cats and a few angora rabbits.”

The Shrine has long opened its doors to living pets in the spirit of Saint Francis. But now, it’s also opening them to the dead. In a newly discovered grotto beneath the shrine’s front steps, Coiro has envisioned the building of a columbarium to house the ashes of the dearly departed of the pet world.

“The people who bring their pets here can be Catholic or they can be non-Catholic,” said Coiro. “Cause afterall, the animals have no religion.”

Currently the concrete pillared cave looks like the ruins of a Roman temple.

Though work on the site has not yet begun, the Shrine recently released a brochure with depictions of glass-walled partitions where pets’ ashes will be interned.

Visitors will be greeted by a large portrait of Saint Francis himself, and a video monitor will play video loops of pets enshrined in the space. In another corner, a large memorial will pay tribute to police and rescue dogs, like those who searched for survivors and bodies amid the rubble of the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11.

“As somebody walks through and visits the columbarium it’ll be like an on-going history of people involved with the shrine; animals that have been involved in families lives,” said Bill McLaughlin, a church volunteer who’s helping organize the construction.

Some of the shrine’s neighbors have complained they weren’t notified in advance of plans to store ashes amid hundreds of businesses. Fabio Giotta, one of the owners of nearby Caffe Trieste said he was surprised by plans to build a “pet cemetery in a national shrine.” Coiro said the shrine hasn’t yet applied for permits from the city.

Both the San Francisco Health and Planning Departments referred calls on the matter to each other. A Health Department Spokeswoman said the department was only interested in dead animals when people ate them.

Coiro admitted the columbarium would also help generate money for the upkeep of the shrine.

He said the church hadn’t determined the fees for housing pet cremains, although the brochure was seeking donations to the project in the $1000 to $40,000 range.

Coiro said he was moved by his childless sister who considered her dogs family, and was distraught when they died.

“I understand for many, many people, their animals are very dear to them,” said Coiro.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.
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