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Sweden Drops Rape Investigation Into Julian Assange


Swedish prosecutors on Friday dropped a rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after seven years, NBC News reported. 

Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny announced in a statement that she "has decided to discontinue the investigation." That means Assange, who has been seeking refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012, is no longer facing charges in Sweden.

However, British police said he is still a wanted man for failing to surrender in the country in 2012.

Melinda Taylor, a member of Assange's legal team, called attention to the U.S., telling NBC News that "as long as the national security prosecution continues there continues to be a risk to him."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

Times Square Crash Suspect Charged With Murder


The driver who slammed his car into a crowd of pedestrians, killing a young woman and injuring nearly two dozen other people in Times Square Thursday has been charged with a litany of crimes, including murder, police say.

Richard Rojas of the Bronx is charged with second-degree murder, 20 counts of second-degree attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, authorities said.

Rojas, 26, was taken into custody after barreling into the lunch-hour crowd on Seventh Avenue shortly before noon, according to police. Officials and sources say Rojas, who has a history of DWI arrests, made a U-turn on Seventh Avenue at 42nd Street and started speeding down the sidewalk for about 3-and-a-half blocks, mowing down pedestrians before crashing into a traffic pole. 

The woman who died has been identified as Alyssa Elsman from Portage, Michigan. She was visiting with her sister and mother. Her sister, with whom she was walking at the time, was also injured when Rojas plowed through.

Rojas is a former member of the armed services with a history of arrests for DWI, according to officials and law enforcement sources. He was dishonorably discharged from the Navy, where he once served aboard the USS Carney, for resisting arrest in Florida in 2014. Charges were dropped in the case.

Harrison Ramos, a friend, told reporters that Rojas hadn't been the same since he returned from active duty in the Navy. He says Rojas was posting "crazy stuff" online that has since been taken down, according to The Associated Press. Other friends say he was having money troubles.

Rojas was most recently arrested on a menacing charge last week for allegedly pulling a knife on an acquaintance in the Bronx.

On Thursday evening, police were at an apartment where Rojas stayed with his mother in the Mount Eden section of the Bronx. Law enforcement sources said police are obtaining a search warrant.

Rojas' mother brought in for questioning Thursday; she said nothing to reporters as detectives led her to a waiting car.

Fati Smith, a neighbor who has known the Rojas family for years, said she couldn't stop crying. She said she's in disbelief. Another neighbor said Rojas is a "good person" and he doesn't know what happened to him.

A cause of the crash is under investigation, but authorities say it's believed to be an "isolated incident" with no nexus to terror. Law enforcement sources say Rojas told police he heard voices and expected to die. They said he has a history of possible psychiatric, drug and alcohol problems, and investigators are looking into whether or not Thursday's crash may have been a deliberate act. 

Law enforcement sources say Rojas appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he was taken into custody. Sources say he blew a 0.0 when tested for alcohol at the precinct he was brought to for questioning. A law enforcement official said certain statements and tests suggest he was under the influence of something he ingested through smoking.

In one of his two previous DWI arrests, Rojas was driving faster than 99 mph in a 50 mph zone, sources familiar with his record say. He resisted officers while being arrested for DUI in Florida, resulting in the dishonorable Navy discharge, law enforcement sources said. He was most recently arrested last week in the Bronx on a charge of menacing. After the crash Thursday, he allegedly tried to flee cops, then tried to physically fight them, as they brought him into custody. 

Mayor de Blasio said in a briefing at the scene that a total of 23 people, including the woman who died and her 13-year-old sister, were hit by the vehicle. Four of the survivors were taken to hospitals in critical condition. Many had traumatic injuries, including open fractures, officials said at a news briefing, adding those four victims were expected to live.  

Social media erupted with fear and concern as witnesses described screaming and abject chaos in the Crossroads of the World. Someone tweeted a photo of a maroon-looking sedan halfway on its side after appearing to crash into a traffic pole. Smoke emanated from the hood as pedestrians stood by in horror.

Police radio captured the urgency of the response.

"Times Square, we got a car running people over on 42-7, going northbound on 7th ave, running people over," one NYPD dispatcher said, according to audio clips from Broadcastify. "Multiple people injured. Notify everyone."   

Photo Credit: NBCNY/Facebook
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White Powder Found at KeyBank Wasn't Hazardous


Tests on the suspicious white powder that prompted KeyBank in Coventry to close for several days came back negative for hazardous materials, according to police.

The bank has been closed since Saturday morning, when white powder and a note were found inside the deposit box of KeyBank at 3534 Main St. 

Police, firefighters and a hazmat team responded and decontaminated the four employees who were exposed to the powder. 

The bank should be reopening, according to police. 

Officials said the powder posed no health threat, but further tests will be done to determine exactly what it is.

Police previously said they have identified a person of interest and said this morning that they have applied for an arrest warrant.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Price Chopper Recalls Dozen of Baked Goods


Price Chopper and Market 32 Supermarkets have issued a voluntary recall for dozens of store-made bakery items because the labels might have incomplete allergen information. 

A news release from the supermarket says there was a computer error and the items recalled were sold between May 14 and May 16 but there is no health risk for people who are not allergic to wheat, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts or soy. 

Customers who have a bakery product missing allergen detail on its label can return it to their local Price Chopper/Market 32 for a full refund. 

Many of the customers who bought the items have already been contacted through the company’s SoundBite notification program. 

Following is a full list of affected items: 

  • 4173523317 4PK RASP GLAZ PACZKI (MH)
  • 4173523199 FROZ CHO CUPCK WT BETR 6P
  • 4173523214 4PK LEMON PACZKI GLAZED
  • 4173522179 6PK CHERRY CHIP MUFFIN
  • 4173522424 4PK STRAWBERRY MUFFIN
  • 4173522176 FRO CHC CPCK CHC BUTR 6PK
  • 4173522177 FROZ CHC CPCK CHC BETR6P
  • 4173524396 8" CHOC BERRY TART
  • 4173522064 NEW 8 COCONUT CREAM PIE
  • 4173523639 4PK LEMON GLZD PACZKI (PF
  • 4173526116 FROZ YLW CPCK WHT BETR 6P
  • 4173523321 4PK LEMON GLAZ PACZKI
  • 4173526117 FROZ. YLW CPCK CHC BETR 6
  • 4173523404 6PK RED VELVET DONUTS
  • 4173524399 8" KIWI BERRY TART
  • 4173524397 8" SPIRAL FRUIT TART
  • 4173522781 YELLOW CUPCAKES 6PK
  • 4173523240 6PK CHOC CPCK WHT BETTRCR
  • 4173525191 BEN & BILL S 1# MARBLE RY
  • 4173523239 6PK CHOC CPCK CHC BUTTRCR
  • 4173523241 6PK CHOC CPCK CHC BETTRCR
  • 4173523235 6PK YLW CUPCK WHT BETTRCR
  • 4173524398 8" TRIPLE CHOC TART
  • 4173523234 6PK YLW CPCK CHOC BUTTRCR
  • 4173523236 6PK YLW CUPCK CHOC BETTRC
  • 4173522812 SL 8" YLW W/BETTERCREME
  • 4173524509 7" PATRIOTIC FRUIT TART
  • 4173523809 CMC 7" FRUIT TART
  • 4173524827 8" CHOC DIPPED STBRY TART
  • 4173522063 NEW 8 BANANA CREAM PIE
  • 4173523762 7" VERY BERRY TART
  • 4173524828 8" RASPBRY VANILLA TART
  • 4173523729 9" FLUTED FRUITED TART
  • 4173523763 9" SUNBURST TART
  • 4173523728 9" FLUTED BERRY TART
  • 4173524831 8" LEMONBERRY TART
  • 4173522062 NEW 8 CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE
  • 4173523912 8" COOKIE MOUNTAIN TART

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Twitter Users Report Glitches Amid Service Disruption


Some Twitter users were having trouble with the social media service Friday morning, as the company noted, and service distruptions continued through the afternoon.

"Some users are currently experiencing problems accessing Twitter & Tweeting. We are aware of the issue and are working towards a resolution," the Twitter Support account said in the morning.

The Twitter service tracker noted a disruption in the timeline function, and more performance issues with the stream. Those reports were in effect for hours.

The website-tracking site DownDetector noted spikes in outage reports after midnight, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET. The U.S., U.K., France and Japan appeared especially hard-hit.

Photo Credit: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images, File
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Man Shot in Norwalk


A man was shot in Norwalk on Thursday night and police said he is not cooperating with the investigation and they think he was targeted. 

Police said they received several calls reporting gunshots near 33 Orchard St. at 11:50 p.m. and then Norwalk Hospital reported that a victim arrived at the hospital with gunshot wound that is not life-threatening. 

Police said their preliminary investigation revealed that the shooting was not random and that the victim was likely targeted. 

Anyone with additional information to should call Detective Bell at 203-854-3183 or email jbell@norwalkct.org.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Vineyard Vines Coming to Westfarms


Vineyard Vines is coming to Westfarms in the fall with a 4,000-square-foot store on the upper level, near Center Court. 

This will be the first one in central Connecticut, but the fifth one in the state. 

There are locations in the outlets at Foxwoods as well as in Greenwich, New Canaan and Westport. 

“We’re excited to welcome a brand with Connecticut roots to our lineup,” said Ray Lamoureux, marketing and sponsorship director for the shopping center. “With stores that reflect the uniqueness of the area and timeless attire that embraces a carefree spirit, vineyard vines is sure to resonate with our customers.” 

The owners, Shep and Ian Murray, grew up in Connecticut and spent their summers on Martha’s Vineyard. 

In the late 1990s, they both quit their Manhattan jobs and started selling ties. 

They founded Vineyard Vines in 1998 and now have 90 stores, but their products are sold in more than 600 specialty and department stores around the world. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Community Comes Together to Help Waterbury Fire Victims


People are coming together to the 37 Waterbury residents who lost their homes as fire spread to four residential buildings Wednesday night.

Investigators believe the fire that burned the multi-family buildings was accidental.

No residents were hurt, but their belonging were destroyed by fire and city leaders are meeting with the victims today, while a dozen non-profit organizations have set up tables to give clothing, household items and foods to the displaced families.

The victims are in need of a place to stay.

The American Red Cross is putting them up in hotels for now for the time being, but that service will run out soon, and two shelters have offered temporary housing.

The city is also helping the residents find a more permanent place to live.

The organizer of the event to help the victims said the community’s spirit has really shined today.

“I think it says that we’re a close knit community here,” Jessica Dibattista said. “There’s a lot of people willing to help and I think it just shows that when there’s a time of need that the people of this community can come together and help each other out.”

Monetary donations have also started to come in, but organizers are warning anyone who wants to donate money to be leery of Go Fund Me accounts because there have already been reports of scams on that website.

If you want to donate, make sure it’s linked to a legitimate non-profit organization.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Dozens Celebrate Bike to Work Day in Hartford and New Haven


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Food Truck Friday: On the Spot Catering

MDC Warns of Impostors After Wethersfield Incident


The Metropolitan District Commission is issuing a warning for customers to be cautious of someone posing as a water company employee to try and get into homes. 

This morning, a man claiming to be from the water company gained access to a Wethersfield residence near Tobler Terrace and quickly left when he was confronted about his authenticity, according to MDC. No additional details were released about the incident. 

MDC urges residents, especially those who are home during the day, to be alert for imposters. 

These are some tips provided: 

  • MDC field employees wear clothing and drive vehicles clearly marked with the MDC logo. 
  • The MDC encourages customers to stay secure within the home while asking for identification from anyone who comes to their door. All MDC employees have photo identification badges and will gladly display them upon request. The policy is “No Identification - No Entry.” 
  • If someone comes to your door claiming to be from the water company and you do not have a previously scheduled appointment, do not allow access to your home until calling the MDC Command Center at 860-278-7850, extension 3600, to verify their identity. 
  • If you have any doubt about the individual’s identity or motives, or authenticity of their credentials, do not allow them entry into your home and call the police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Tearful Weiner Pleads Guilty to Sexting Charge, Faces Prison


Former Rep. Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty on Friday to one federal count related to "sexting" with minors, an offense that means he will have to register as a sex offender.

Weiner surrendered to the FBI Friday morning, and tearfully confessed his transgressions in a brief hearing hours later. 

"I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," Weiner said in court. (Read his full statement)

Weiner quickly left the Manhattan courthouse after the proceedings, being hustled into a waiting car and taking no questions from the throngs of reporters.

The government is seeking a term of 21 months to 27 months in jail on the single count of transferring obscene material to a minor, though with no mandatory minimum the judge could still give him probation. He will be sentenced Sept. 8, and had to surrender his passport and iPhone in the meantime. 

Federal prosecutors had been weighing whether to file child pornography charges against the disgraced ex-Democratic congressman since last year, sources previously told NBC 4 New York.

The charge stems from the sexually charged text messages and Skype conversations Weiner, now 52, exchanged with a 15-year-old girl from January to March 2016. The messages were revealed when online news outlet DailyMail.com interviewed the girl last September.

"I knew this was as morally wrong as it was unlawful," Weiner said in his statement. 

The investigation into Weiner ended up intruding on last year's presidential campaign. His wife Huma Abedin was a top aide to Hillary Clinton, and it was during the probe into Weiner that the FBI found emails on a laptop that related to a past investigation into Clinton's email practices. 

The New York Times first reported Weiner's surrender and expected plea. 

Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 after admitting to a series of online sexual relationships. But his rehabilitation was swift, and in 2013 he mounted a campaign for mayor. He held a commanding lead in the Democratic primary race as late as June 2013, until more, newer relationships came to light.

In late 2014 he admitted his political career was likely over -- aside from an idle boast last summer that he would beat beat Donald Trump Jr. "like a rented mule" if the president's son ran for mayor. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

First Heat Wave of the Year


Today marks the third day of temperatures in the 90s for the Hartford area. This classifies as the first heat wave of 2017. The earliest heat wave ever recorded was from April 16th to 17th in 2002.

How are you enjoying this blast of summer? Send us your photos and or video at ShareIt@NBCConnecticut.com or you can upload your content by clicking here.

We're monitoring the threat for isolated thunderstorms as we head through the afternoon hours. 

The thunderstorm activity will likely be confined to the southern Connecticut counties. 

Here's a look at live interactive radar:

Temperatures cool off tonight just in time for the weekend. Low temperatures will be in the upper 40s tonight. The weather will be phenomenal this weekend, high temperatures will be in the low to middle 70s with an abundant amount of sunshine. 

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Dad, Son Arrested After Injury at Underage Drinking Party


A New Canaan father and his 18-year-old son have been arrested after a teen fell down the stairs during an underage drinking party at their house in March, according to police, and they said the father urged witnesses not to call 911.

Police said they did receive a 911 call at 11:24 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 from the Knight family’s home on Oenoke Ridge Road reporting that a 17-year old had fallen down a flight of stairs, police said.

The injured teen was transported to Norwalk Hospital and a physician from the emergency room later contacted authorities to report the victim’s injuries were possibly from an assault.

Police launched an investigation and determined the teen was not assaulted, but that there had been an underage party at the Knight’s home. 

Police said 18-year-old Andrew Knight had bought alcoholic beverages in Norwalk and the victim was injured in a fall down a staircase. 

Police said 59-year-old Douglas Knight, the father of Andrew Knight, arrived home and told the people who were still at the house and helping the victim not to call 911, police said. 

Police obtained warrants for Andrew and Douglas Knight and they turned themselves in to police on Thursday, police said.

Andrew Knight was charged with permitting a minor to possess alcoholic liquor and police said it’s his first offense.

Douglas Knight was charged with interfering with an emergency call.

Both posted $5,000 bonds.

Andrew Knight is due in court on May 31 and Douglas Knight has a court date of June 1.

Police said the liquor store where police said Andrew Knight bought the alcoholic beverages was referred to the State of Connecticut Liquor Control Commission.

Photo Credit: New Canaan Police

Police Arrest Suspect in Milford Hit-and-Run Nearly a Year Later


Milford police said they have made an arrest in the hit-an-run that badly injured a pedestrian as she was leaving work in Milford in August 2016

Amanda Keane had just left her job at the Milford Bridge House Restaurant on the night of Sunday Aug. 28 and had walked to her car, which was parked down the street, when a dark colored sedan hit her at Bridgeport Avenue and Woodland Avenue around 10:45 p.m. that night, according to police.

Keane was transported to a local hospital with serious head and neck injuries.

When they started investigating, police released surveillance video showing the dark colored sedan on Bridgeport Avenue and made a plea for the driver to come forward.

Police have not yet released the name of the suspect in the hit-and-run that injured Amanda Keane.  

Photo Credit: Submitted

Man Who Stole Donation Jar in New Britain Sought After: Police


A man who stole a donation jar at a local business in New Britain is being sought after by police. 

A man walked into the business on East Main Street at 2 a.m. on Sunday and walked out with a donation jar for the Hearing Loss Association, New Britain Police said.

The money was being collected by "Team Ty" for the annual Connecticut Walk4Hearing. 

Police are asking for the public's help to identify the man in the photos they provided. 

Anyone who has information is asked to call Detective Nathan Soucy at (860) 826-3137. Anonymous tips may be made on the Community Tip Line at (860) 826-3199 or on the website

Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department

Car Crashes Through Patio of New Haven Restaurant


A car crashed through the patio of a New Haven restaurant on Friday, the manager said. 

The manager, Walter Vera, of the Pacifico Restaurant on 220 College Street said a car came crashing into the patio and breaking the window of the restaurant. 

No one was eating outside at the time of the incident and it appears no one, not even the driver, was injured, Vera said. 

Most of the patio furniture was damaged.

College Street is shut down between Chapel Street and Crown Streets. 

The scene as been taped off as police investigate. 

Please check back for updates. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Firefighters Encounter Rattlesnakes at Kent Brush Fire


Firefighters who have been battling the massive brush fire that has consumed 130 acres of Schaghticoke Mountain in Kent have had to deal with venomous timber rattlesnakes as they extinguish the flames. 

The Kent Volunteer Fire Department shared video of a Timber rattlesnake they said “made its presence known” to a Goshen firefighter. That was just one of more than a dozen reports of snakes. 

Timber rattlesnakes are one of the two venomous species found in Connecticut. The other is the northern Copperhead.

According to the Kent Volunteer Fire Department, hospitals in Sharon and New Milford have anti-venom in the event it was need. 

In addition to rattlesnakes, firefighters have had to deal with 90-degree heat as Connecticut goes through the first heatwave of the year. 

Officials said the fire was contained as of noon Friday and the rain Thursday night helped. 

While battling the brush fire four firefighters were injured, including two with heat exhaustion, who was treated and released at scene; and two who went to the emergency room, one for a back injury and one for with a hand injury that required stitches. 

Seventeen volunteer fire company's and Connecticut and New York state agencies, along with area agencies, assisted with putting out the fire. 

It’s not clear what caused the fire. 

Photo Credit: Firefighter Brandon Jankowics of Goshen

Man Kills Self During Standoff at Long Island Church: Police


A gas can-wielding man who barricaded himself in a Long Island church and threatened to burn it down apparently killed himself during a standoff with police, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said at a press conference Friday.

Smoke was seen at the chuch shortly before 5 p.m. as a SWAT team went in and out of the building.

Authorities first got a call about the man around 1:30 p.m. Friday. The caller, an off-duty NYPD officer, said a man was setting fire to a van in the parking lot of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church at Main Street and Ocean Avenue in Center Moriches, Sini said. 

When police arrived, the man grabbed the gas can and ran into the church, authorities said. 

Officers who tried to enter the church saw incendiary devices that appeared to be propane tanks, and one officer who entered the church encountered the suspect, who threw gasoline at him and lit a match, starting a fire. The officer was unharmed. The severity of the fire is unknown. 

Police blocked off some streets in the area and a large emergency presence was visible at the scene by 3 p.m. At one point an ESU robot was seen heading into the church to give police a better idea of what was happening inside. 

Authorities said the man's death appeared to be a suicide. He was apparently found dead in the church by responding officers. His identity has not been released, nor has a possible motive. 

No one else was in the church, authorities said. 

Our Lady Queen Of Apostles, a school serving K-8 students located about a mile from the church, was evacuated as a precaution, said Sean Dolan, the spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. About 200 students were evacuated, Dolan said.

Members of the community were gathering around the church. Some said they've never seen anything like this before in their town. 

Melissa Bunshaft said she'd been going to the church since she was a little kid. 

"Stuff like this never happens out here, so to see it go down is just completely insane," Bunshaft said. 

One parishioner said her children received their communion at the church and her grandchildren were baptized there. 

"I saw cops just swarming past me," she said. "It's crazy, it's crazy." 

Texas Assistant Police Chiefs Demoted in Bodycam Video Leak: Attorney


Two Fort Worth assistant police chiefs have been demoted to captain following an investigation into the leak of a viral bodycam video, their attorney confirms to NBC 5.

Assistant Chief Abdul Pridgen and Deputy Chief Vance Keyes were summoned to a meeting Friday afternoon with Chief Joel Fitzgerald, according to several sources familiar with the meeting.

An official announcement is expected from the police department in a 5 p.m. press conference.

Pridgen and Keyes had been placed on restricted duty amid a probe into who leaked Officer William Martin’s body camera video of a controversial arrest in December. Martin’s private personnel file also was released anonymously.

Martin was suspended for 10 days after he arrested Jacqueline Craig and her two daughters. Cell phone video of the arrests in December was broadcast nationwide and drew widespread criticism.

Craig called 911 to complain a neighbor had assaulted her son after accusing him of littering. Martin questioned why Craig didn’t teach her son not to litter and suggested the neighbor had the right to assault her son.

Weeks after the cell phone video went viral, footage of the same incident from Martin’s body camera was leaked.

The department launched a criminal investigation and a separate internal affairs investigation into the leak.

Pridgen and Keyes have denied being the source of the leaks.

The results of the investigation have not been publicly announced and it was unclear what the punishment would be. It could include demotion, termination, suspension, or no punishment at all.

A city council member told NBC 5 city leaders were updated on the investigation last week and told the result would likely be demotions for both chiefs.

The final decision is up to Chief Fitzgerald.

Assistant City Manager Valerie Washington confirmed the meeting was taking place but said she had no details on the decision.

NBC 5's Alice Barr contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Fort Worth Police/NBC 5
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