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State Police Seek Westbrook Bank Robbery Suspect


Connecticut State Police are searching for the suspect in a Westbrook bank robbery Friday.

Police said that around 4:30 p.m. Friday a suspect entered the Key Bank at 1238 Boston Post Road and demanded money.

Employees reported that a weapon was implied but not shown, and no injuries were reported.

The suspect escaped with an unknown amount of cash and left the area in a grey SUV that was parked in the back of the business next door.

The suspect is described as male, unshaven, wearing black-rimmed sunglasses, a navy blue hooded rain jacket with a white “POLO” logo, and jeans. The suspect was also wearing a white undergarment covering his wrists and hands.

Anyone with information on this crime should contact State Police Troop "F" in Westbrook at (860) 399-2100 or text TIP 711 plus the information to 274637.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Man Killed Dog During Domestic Dispute in Danbury: Police


A Danbury man is accused of killing a small dog during a domestic disturbance and police said two young children were home at the time. He is also accused of getting into a physical altercation with his spouse.

Police responded to a home on Osborne Street around 8:15 p.m. Thursday and learned that 39-year-old Wesley Texeira DeSouza had assaulted and killed a small dog and gotten into a physical altercation with his spouse, all while two minor children were home, police said.

He was gone when officers arrived and police said they soon found DeSouza at a friend’s home and took him custody.

Desouza was arrested and charged with second-degree strangulation, disorderly conduct, third-degree assault, second-degree threatening, cruelty to animals and two counts of risk of injury.

He is being held on a $25,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Danbury Police

'I'm Always With You': Hernandez Letter to Fiancée Released


Prosecutors on Friday released an excerpt of the letter ex-NFL player Aaron Hernandez wrote to his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, before he committed suicide last month.

"Shay, you have always been my soul-mate and I want you to live life and know I'm always with you," the letter reads.

"I told you what was coming indirectly! I love you so much and know you are an angel - literally! We split into two to come change the world! Your characteristics [sic] is that of a true angel and the definition of God's love! Tell my story fully but never think anything besides how much I love you. This was the Supreme's, the Almighty's plan, not mine! I love you! Let (redacted) know how much I love her! Look after (redacted) and (redacted) for me - those are my boys. (YOU'RE RICH) I knew I loved you = Savage Garden."

The last line is a reference to the 1999 song "I Knew I Loved You" by the Australian pop duo Savage Garden.

Investigators said that Hernandez left three handwritten notes in his prison cell before he hanged himself. One was reportedly addressed to Jenkins Hernandez and the other to their daughter. A lawyer for an inmate and friend of Hernandez's has said the third note was written to his client.

Hernandez, 27, was serving a life sentence for murder and was acquitted in two other killings just days before he hanged himself with a bed sheet attached to his cell window at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts, in the early morning hours of April 19.

Hernandez blocked access to his cell from the inside by jamming cardboard into the door tracks, investigators said. They also said there were no signs of a struggle and Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging.

His Bible was found marked with blood at John 3:16, a verse that describes eternal life for those who believe in God. The verse name was also written in blood on the wall and in pen on his forehead.

The letter to Hernandez's fiancée was released by the Bristol County district attorney's office ahead of a court hearing on Tuesday to determine whether Hernandez's 2015 murder conviction should be thrown out.

Hernandez's lawyers are asking that his first-degree murder conviction for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd be dismissed. The district attorney's office, which prosecuted the case, is challenging the request. Under a long-standing Massachusetts legal principle, courts customarily vacate the convictions of defendants who die before their appeals are heard.

The release of Hernandez's suicide note comes just a day after the state Department of Correction released more than 100 pages of documents from its investigation into Hernandez's death.

The court clerk said the other two letters Hernandez wrote before his death have not been filed in court paperwork.

New Haven Man Accused of Arson


A New Haven man was arrested on arson charges after investigators said he set his apartment building on fire in April.

Police said that on April 14 firefighters were called to 330 Greenwich Ave. for a reported house fire. They had responded to the same address the day before to put out a garage fire.

One resident, identified as Jose Torres, told fire investigators that he’d found smoke coming from the back of the house when he got home from running an errand. He ran inside to get his wife out and warned the neighbors. Everyone escaped unharmed.

Arson investigators were called in because the fire seemed suspicious. Through the investigation, Torres was identified as a suspect and taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

On Tuesday, Torres was arrested an charged with first-degree arson and first-degree reckless endangerment. He was held on a $150,000 bond and is next scheduled to appear in court on May 23.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Councilman Proposes Plan to Bring Whalers Back to Hartford


Fans of the Hartford Whalers are excited about an idea to bring back the team which is now known as the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

Despite the Whalers leaving Hartford 20 years ago, some fans won’t let go.

“That Hartford Whaler logo is very strong today,” Jerry Erwin, The Whalers Brigade & The Whaler Guys, said.

And now they’re thrilled at a chance that the team could return with everyone in the Hartford area as owners.

“I think sports going that way gives the fan the ultimate they can totally invest in this team,” Peter Hindle, The Whalers Brigade & The Whaler Guys, said.

In an Op-ed set to be published in Sunday’s Hartford Courant, Hartford City Councilman John Gale proposed purchasing the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

“Make no small plans. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it big. Let’s bring the Whalers back,” Gale said.

He wrote in part, “What if all 38 towns in the Capitol Region Council of Governments banded together to buy the franchise and brought it back to Hartford?”

Gale crunched the numbers.

He estimates the 38 towns would have to fork over $230 million to buy the Hurricanes.

Gale says that works out to be about $274 per person.

“If everybody in Central Connecticut has an ownership in the Hartford Whalers then there’s going to be a lot bigger fan base,” Gale said.

Fans envision an improved XL Center as the team’s home.

They say Governor Dan Malloy’s proposed $250 million in improvements to the aging arena would do the trick.

Supporters say that would go along great with the current development in downtown.

“It’s important that the NHL knows Hartford is open for business and with this transformation it’s the right time to bring that NHL team in,” Erwin said.

Fans admit this a hard sell during tough budget times.

But they argue this would benefit the region, including keeping businesses and attracting new ones.

We reached out to the Hurricanes for comment but have not yet heard back.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Fire Destroys Home Where Ill. Toddler Was Found Dead


One day after the body of 1-year-old Semaj Crosby was laid to rest, a fire destroyed the home where the young girl was found dead, burning it to the ground. 

Emergency crews responded to a fire at the home in the 300 block of Louis Rd in Joliet Township around 3:09 a.m., according to East Joliet Fire Chief Robert Scholtes.

Upon arrival, firefighters witnessed smoke and for safety reasons, decided to let the house burn to the ground, authorities said.

It completely burned down and the fire was struck out around 8 a.m., fire officials said. 

The home was at the center of an ongoing investigation after the toddler was found lifeless under a couch last week following a massive manhunt after the girl was reported missing two days prior. 

Autopsy results were still "pending further studies," with many questions surrounding Semaj's death.

Investigators with the Department of Child and Family Services said they saw the little girl safe at the home just hours before she went missing on April 25. A spokesperson said the agency had visited the home that day and were investigating Gordon for an allegation of neglect. 

Investigators noted that the home was in "very deplorable conditions."

Anywhere from five to 15 people typically lived there at a given time, officials said, adding that the attorney for Semaj’s mother, Sheri Gordon, told them many of those residents were considered "squatters."

"They come and go as they please, they may be there for a week, they might be there for a night," Deputy Chief Rick Ackerson with the Will County Sheriff's Office said during a news conference. 

Will County Sheriff's deputies reportedly visited the Joliet home where she was found close to 60 times in a little more than a year - 40 times for probation checks, as well as other disturbances and crisis intervention.

The sheriff’s office said it was Gordon's attorney that helped authorities get consent to search the home around 11 p.m. Wednesday, before investigators discovered the body of the girl an hour later.

“Ms. Gordon is extremely distraught over the death of her only daughter,” law firm Chuck Bretz and Associates, which is representing Gordon, posted on its Facebook page after Semaj was found. 

"She will continue to support the investigation in this matter to the best of her abilities," the statement continued. "She prays for her daughter and appreciates the community’s support in this matter. We look forward to when we can put this tragic incident behind us and allow the healing to begin."

As of Saturday morning, no one was in custody or had been named a suspect in the case.

The home that burned down Saturday had been condemned, and Semaj’s brothers were placed in foster care, according to police.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, fire officials said. 

Photo Credit: David Stocking
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Runners Finish Challenging Race in Willimantic Classic


Runners from four states took their marks in Willimantic Saturday.

“Ran Willimantic last year, it’s an incredible course, love it,” said Adam Fleischer of Glastonbury.

Organizers said the course is considered fast by New England standards. The winner crossed the finish line in one hour and 14 minutes, but it still created enough excitement to draw a lot of return runners.

“It’s challenging. There’s rolling hills, there’s some gravel. It’s just a great experience. The community came out, cheered everyone on,” explained Fleischer.

A half-marathon, 5K, and 10K attracted all types people pounding the pavement, not only from Connecticut, but also New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

“This is my bucket list. I turned 80 at the end of March so this is my first race as an 80 year old,” said Tom McIntosh, who was also bouncing back from Lyme Disease.

A group of gal pals challenged themselves to run their first 10K together.

“It keeps you motivated to do it with friends,” explained Julie Cinami of Hamden.

“I’ve done nine 5Ks so I wanted to push myself a little more,” added her friend Koelli Ashwell of Pomfret.

Under grey skies, 500 people took their marks, running through several towns and over Willimantic’s famed frog bridge.

“It meanders through Columbia, Lebanon, Mansfield, and Willimantic and Windham, so you get to see four towns while you run, which is a great great fun thing,” said Race Director, Jennifer Horne.

Though the skies looked like they could open up at any moment, Mother Nature cooperated.

“It’s ok. A little rain… won’t get too hot,” Kayla Krause of Pomfret said.

“This is perfect running weather. So, it’s nice and cool. There’s a light breeze, no rain,” Horne added.

Runners weren’t just racing against the clock, they were also helping their community. The money raised from this event was donated by the Willimantic Athletic Club to local charities. In 2016, they donated $7,000 to the No Freeze shelter in Windham and the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Eastern Connecticut.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Police Shoot and Kill Teen in Parking Lot of San Diego High School


Officers shot and killed a teenager in the parking lot of his high school in San Diego Saturday morning after the teen called police to check on him and then allegedly pulled out a BB gun and pointed it at the officers.

According to San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Acting Homicide Capt. Mike Holden, the 15-year-old boy called police asking officers to conduct a welfare check on a minor -- himself -- near Torrey Pines High School (TPHS) in Carmel Valley just before 3:30 a.m.

"[In] our preliminary investigation, we believe that the subject that was shot is the person who actually called to check the welfare [of the minor]. We believe that he actually called and spoke about himself in the third person," Holden explained. "It was a very general 'check the welfare' call."

"It was a phone call that 'there's a male juvenile in front of the school, it appears someone should check on him,'" Holden added.

The SDPD said the caller stated that the juvenile had no weapons.

Two officers -- including an officer specifically trained to deal with juveniles -- were the first to arrive at the parking lot at the front entrance of the school. There, they spotted the teenager standing in the lot.

Holden said that as the officers got out of their patrol car, the teenager pulled a gun out of his waistband "and pointed it directly at one of the officers."

Both officers responded by firing their guns at him. Holden said the gunfire struck the teenager "a number of times."

The teen was critically wounded and taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla where he died a short time later. The officers, a 28-year veteran and 4-year veteran of the police department, were not hurt.

Investigators have now determined that the weapon held by the teen was a semi-automatic BB air pistol, Holden said in a press release Saturday afternoon.

The investigation is ongoing. Per protocol, SDPD's Homicide Unit investigates any and all officer-involved shootings in San Diego County. 

Holden said the teenager killed by police lived in the neighborhood. His family has been notified of his death, police said. His name will not be released by police, since he's a minor.

Torrey Pines High School is part of the San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD). Just before 11 a.m., SDUHSD Superintendent Eric Dill sent an email to parents alerting them of the incident and confirming the teen killed by police was a student at Torrey Pines High School.

Dill's email read, in part:

"I am saddened to report that the 15-year-old boy who was killed was a student at our school. Law enforcement has not released the name of the young man, but our hearts go out to the student, his family, and his friends. The details of the situation are still unfolding, but whatever they are, this event is very traumatic for our students, staff, families, and community."

Dill said a crisis response team will be at TPHS on Monday to help provide support for students, staff and parents as needed.

“If you need to talk to someone about this or just need a place to go to mourn and process this tragedy, counseling services will be available at all of our schools on Monday for anyone who feels they need it,” Dill added.

He said the SDUHSD believes “in communicating openly with our school community about incidents that occur on or near our school campuses.”

Holden said the officers involved in the teenager's shooting were wearing department-issued body cameras, so footage of the deadly shooting exists.

Just one day earlier, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis held a news conference to release videos of three prior shootings in San Diego involving local police officers and deputies.

The DA’s office is responsible for determining whether a crime was committed in officer or deputy-involved shootings in San Diego County. Video from an officer's body camera may be part of the investigation.

Dumanis said the DA's office was releasing the videos Friday in those prior incidents per the protocol reached with law enforcement agencies. She has held similar news conferences in the past to reveal new details about other law enforcement-involved shootings in San Diego.

It is unclear, at this point, if and when the body camera video of the shooting of this teenager at TPHS will be released.

TPHS is located at 3710 Del Mar Heights Rd. and serves students in grades nine through 12.

As the morning unfolded, investigators remained at the school gathering evidence. Although school was not in session, many students began filing onto campus hours after the shooting to take their SATs.

One mother, who did not want to go on camera, told NBC 7 it is unsettling to know a 15-year-old was shot and killed in the campus parking lot.

Another mother picking up her son after he took the SATs at the high school on Saturday said that her family lives in the neighborhood, so the deadly shooting of the teen hits very close to home.

The mother wondered why officers had to fatally wound the teen and why they didn’t use some other less lethal weapon. The mother also said the school district should have moved the testing center to a different school.

No further details were immediately available. Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Ramon Galindo/NBC 7
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I-91 North Congested After Rollover Crash

Manchester Massage Therapist Charged with Sexual Assault


Manchester police have arrested a local massage therapist on sexual assault charges.

Harrison Elenowitz, 26, was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.

Police said Elenowitz rents a space at 100 Tolland Turnpike in Manchester, where he works as a massage therapist. Authorities confirmed the charges are related to his actions during work, but details about the charges have not been released.

Elenowitz turned himself in to police on Friday and was held on a $75,000 bond.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information reguarding Elenowitz is asked to contact Manchester police at 860-645-5500 and to request Detective Daniel Bontempo.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

'Warrior Spirit': Pentagon IDs Navy SEAL Killed in Somalia


The Navy SEAL killed in Somalia during an operation against a terrorist group was identified Saturday as Kyle Milliken, a decorated 15-year veteran, NBC News reported. 

Milliken, a 38-year-old senior chief special warfare operator from Falmouth, Maine, was killed Thursday in a remote area of Somalia — about 40 miles west of the capital of Mogadishu — after he and his team came under fire from al-Shabab fighters. The attackers were "neutralized," but Milliken was killed and two others were injured. 

Rear Adm. Timothy Syzmanksi, the commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, said Milliken "embodied the warrior spirit and toughness" that represent the Navy SEALS. Milliken was also a member of SEAL Team Six, the elite unit credited with killing Osama bin Laden in 2011, and he earned four Bronze Stars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Milliken is the first U.S. service member to be killed in action in Somalia since the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu that led to the death of 18 service members and wounded 73 others — an event that inspired the book and later Hollywood film, "Black Hawk Down."

Photo Credit: AP

Dog Killed in New London Coyote Attack: Police


New London police are warning residents to be on alert after a coyote attacked and killed a dog Saturday morning, not long after residents voiced concerns about other reported coyote attacks on dogs at a meeting in April.

Police said around 11:40 a.m. they were called to 19 Harbor Lane for a coyote attack. When they arrived the resident reported that the family dog had been outside in the yard when a coyote approached and attacked it. The dog was killed in the attack.

The family said that when they came at the coyote with a stick to try to save the dog, the coyote ran off.

Authorities searched for the coyote but did not find the animal or a den.

New London was already on edge from other reported coyote attacks in April, and a wildlife biologist from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recently spoke to residents about their concerns.

New London police remind residents to take precautions, including the following:

  • Do not allow pets to run free! Keep cats indoors, particularly at night, and small dogs on a leash or under close supervision at all times.
  • Always walk dogs on a leash. If approached by a coyote while walking your dog, keep the dog under control and calmly leave the area. Do not run or turn your back.
  • Never feed coyotes! Do not place food out for any mammals. Clean up bird seed below feeders, pet foods, and fallen fruit. Secure garbage and compost in animal proof containers.
  • Teach children to recognize coyotes and to go inside the house (do not run) or climb up on a swing or deck and yell if they are approached.
  • Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds that coyotes or other animals may use.
  • Educate your neighbors. Ask them to follow these same steps.

Photo Credit: Adina Alexandru

Always Dreaming Wins the 143rd Kentucky Derby


Always Dreaming, ridden by jockey John Valezquez, won the 143rd Kentucky Derby on a muddy track ahead of 19 other athletes at Churchhill Downs on May 6, 2017. See the photos.

Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Always Dreaming Wins the 143rd Kentucky Derby


Always Dreaming, ridden by jockey John Valezquez, won the 143rd Kentucky Derby on a muddy track ahead of 19 other athletes at Churchhill Downs on May 6, 2017. It is the second Derby win for both Valezquez and Always Dreaming's owner, Todd Pletcher.

Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Plainville Woman Hasn't Been Heard from Since Monday: Police


Plainville police are trying to locate a missing 35-year-old woman who hasn’t been heard from since May 1.

Kellie McCarthy was reported missing on Friday, and the last reported contact with her was on Monday, when she sent a text message to her mother.

McCarthy’s family says she has a history of drug abuse.

She is 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, with long brown hair and blue eyes. McCarthy has a scorpion tattooed on the back of her neck and the name Thomas & Tia tattooed on her forearm.

Police said she may have been in Bristol and Hartford on Saturday, but they have been unable to locate her.

Anyone with information on McCarthy is asked contact Plainville police at 860-747-1616.

Photo Credit: Plainville Police Department

Tom Price Defends Pre-Existing Coverage in GOP Health Plan


Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Sunday firmly defended health care legislation passed in the House this week against charges that people who have pre-existing conditions could see their insurance premiums rise under some circumstances, NBC News reported. 

In a bill that cleared the House last week, states could seek waivers so insurers don't have to charge people who see their insurance lapse the same if they have a pre-existing condition. 

States that get the waiver would be required to set up some kind of framework — such as a "high-risk pool" — to help out people who see their premiums rise so they can continue to maintain coverage.

Asked about criticisms of the bill on NBC’s "Meet The Press" Sunday, Price responded, "What I believe they are not recognizing is this is a different and we believe better way" to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions or injuries.”

Photo Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images

4 Dead, 4 Injured in Crash Involving Chicago City Bus


At least four people are dead and four others were injured in a crash involving a car and a CTA bus on Chicago's West Side early Sunday, according to police.

The pin-in crash occurred at about 5:55 a.m. in the 2600 block of W. Madison St. in the city's Garfield Park neighborhood, authorities said. 

Two victims were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and two others were taken to Stroger Hospital, all in critical condition, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

One person was taken in fair condition to Rush University Medical Center, fire officials said, and three patients from the bus were taken to St. Mary's Hospital, two in stable and one in fair condition. 

Four of those victims were pronounced dead, according to Chicago police. Details on their ages or identities was not immediately available.

As a result of the crash, the #20 Madison bus was temporarily rerouted in both directions around the scene, the CTA said. 

The cause of the collision remains under investigation.  

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago
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Man Accused of Threatening to Shoot Trumbull Police Officers


Trumbull police have arrested a man accused of threatening to shoot officers while trying to escape police after a car accident Friday night.

Latrell Eppes, 22, of Bridgeport, was charged with threatening and interfering with an officer, evading responsibility, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and various firearms violations.

Police allege that Eppes tried to flee the scene of an accident after crashing his car into two parked cars on Old Town Road near Frenchtown Road. When officers found Eppes on Lakeside Drive, he tried to escape and threatened to shoot officers, police said.

Officers found a .40 caliber handgun in a trash can on Lakeside Drive. The gun’s serial number had been filed off, polioe said.

Witnesses told police that two other people fled from the vehicle with Eppes, but they were not found.

Eppes was held on a $105,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on May 22.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Volunteers Fix Homes for Families in Need on ‘Homefront Day’


Enfield was one of nearly two dozen communities where volunteers came together to revitalize homes of low-income families Saturday.

The projects are part of “Homefront Day,” where faith communities, civic ground and corporations all work together to fix up deteriorating homes for free.

Robert Atiyeh, who was the project captain at one house on Elm Street and has been involved in Homefront Day projects for over 15 years, said that they have a “safe, warm and dry” model, meaning they focus on doing work that will ensure residents have a sound and safe homes.

He said volunteers come from all over and include everyone from high school students to professional contractors.

“Tremendous satisfaction to be able to give back to the community,” he said of the projects.

Atiyeh, who is part of the St. Patrick’s Church of Enfield volunteer team, said that volunteers fundraise throughout the year to pay for the projects, and they also apply for grants

Homeowners facing financial hardships, like James and Janet Lafountain, said they are grateful for the assistance.

“I’m 71 years old and the house got away from me,” James LaFountain, who is a veteran, said.

The LaFountains said they’ve loved working with the volunteers and that having the work done is a huge comfort.

“When you get older, it gets emotional, ‘cause you can’t do things on your own, and you want to keep your home, and this allows us to keep our home. So it’s overwhelming,” Janet LaFountain said.

The couple has been living in their home since 1952.

“They’re replacing the windows. They’re fixing my cellar door. They’re painting. They’re doing a lot,” James LaFountain said.

Homefront volunteers have repaired about 3,000 homes from 1988 through today. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

2 Firefighters Injured Battling Basement Fire in Manchester


Two Manchester firefighters were injured battling a house fire on Oak Forrest Drive Saturday evening, fire officials said.

Fire crews responded to a fire at 184 Oak Forest Drive and found heavy smoke from a fire that started in the basement. Firefighters quickly knocked it down.

The occupants of the home escaped unharmed. Fire officials said two firefighters were injured but did not elaborate on their conditions.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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