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Baseball Shooting: Wounded GOP Staffer Ran for His Life


The congressional staffer wounded in the shooting at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning near Washington, D.C., is out of the hospital and recounting his harrowing experience. 

Zack Barth appeared on the "Today" show with his boss, Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, Thursday morning after being discharged from the hospital. He was shot in the calf by gunman James Hodgkinson, but managed to scramble to a dugout, where he hid with Williams and other members of Congress.

"I was pinned down in right field," Barth said. "I was running for my life, got into the dugout. I was bleeding pretty badly but I was really just trying to keep my head down, keep everybody's heads down, and prevent anything from happening."

The members of Congress sheltering in the dugout helped a tourniquet onto Barth's leg, then stayed in the dugout for cover.

"We were just trying to stay alive," added Barth, who said he's doing okay.

Three other people were shot, as well as the gunman, who later died, but things would have been worse if the gunman had figured out how to get past the fence surrounding the field in Alexandria, Virginia, Williams said.

"If he had gotten on the field, we had nowhere to go," Williams said.

He dove head-first into the dugout when the gunfire broke out, having just been hitting ground balls to House Majority Whip Steven Scalise, who remains in critical condition a day after the shooting. 

Hodgkinson died from injuries sustained in a firefight with police. Barth and Williams both credited the Capitol Police officers who were at the field with Scalise for saving their lives. One was shot herself.

"The thin blue line worked. These two officers were fabulous," Williams said.

There were as many as 22 members of Congress at the field for the practice, with the annual Congressional Baseball Game set to be played at Nationals Park at 7 p.m. Thursday, despite the shooting.

"It's the right thing to do and it's the right time to play this game," Williams said. "When America gets punched, America punches back and we'll do that tonight."

Before that, business in the House resumes Thursday, after the leaders of each party gave impassioned statements urging unity after an attack that remains under investigation but appeared politically motivated.

Barth said he's been experiencing that unity.

"The people around here, on both sides of the aisle– we've got a great community up on Capitol Hill, and everyone is lifting me up," he said.

Photo Credit: "Today" show
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UPS Gunman Who Killed 3 Had Filed Overtime Grievance


Investigators raided the home of a United Parcel Service driver who opened fire during a meeting with co-workers at a distribution center in San Francisco, killing three people before fatally shooting himself. 

Police were seen carrying dozens of bags out of Jimmy Lam's apartment in the city's Inner Richmond neighborhood Wednesday afternoon in the hopes of determining what prompted the 38-year-old to shoot three UPS employees.

Lam filed a grievance in March complaining of too much overtime and requesting that the package delivery company relieve him of working extra hours going forward, said Joseph Cilia, an official with a Teamsters Union local that represents UPS workers in San Francisco.

Cilia said it was a routine filing for drivers when they worked 9 1/2 hours more than three times a week.

"The overtime has increased over the years," Cilia said. "So there are quite a few drivers where overtime is expected during Christmas and seems to be more frequent throughout the year than it used to be in past history."

During a Wednesday morning meeting, Lam walked up to driver Benson Louie and shot him. As his co-workers frantically fled the room, he shot Wayne Chan in the back, and then walked up to him and "finished him." Mike Lefiti was fleeing from the building when Lam went out onto the street and shot him, Cilia said witnesses told him.

"It's senseless. I don't understand why," said Cilia. "He always greeted me when I saw him. Nothing out of the ordinary."

Authorities have been digging into Lam's past, confiscating a computer tower among the items they hauled out of the duplex as they search for a motive. Sources told NBC Bay Area Lam may have been upset with his boss.

Police said they found at least three gun magazines at the shooting scene, along with two guns. It was not clear if any weapons or ammunition were recovered from Lam's home.

Neighbors said they’d seen him around in his uniform, but he usually kept to himself, sometimes smoking out his duplex window.

Lam's only previous brushes with the law involved driving under the influence. He was convicted of DUIs in 2010 and again in 2013, records show.

The shooting occurred the same day a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice in Virginia, wounding U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and several others.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Residents Begin Voting on Farmington High School Project


Farmington residents are voting today on a long-planned project to rebuild the town's high school.

If residents vote in favor of the proposed $135 million Farmington High School project, the hope is to start construction next year and have it end in 2022. 

The plan is to demolish “substantially all” of the building at 10 Monteith Drive and build on the same parcel of land. Read more on the project online here.

While most of the current campus would be demolished to allow for a bigger facility, the original 1928 high school would be turned into the school district offices.

If state grants come through, the average homeowner would end up paying an extra $450 per year in taxes for 20 years.

Residents are split on whether to move forward or continue to renovate the existing building.  

Opponents are concerned about the impact construction will have on students. They also raised questions about the effect on neighboring property values and the cost of the project.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Roman Candle Sparks Fire in Stamford


A Roman candle sparked a fire at a home in Stamford on Wednesday night.

Firefighters responded to the home on Evergreen Court at 9:56 p.m. after receiving a 911 call and the fire was out before firefighters arrived.

They said a resident who noticed the flames while leaving the house to walk his dog put it out.

Emergency crews then checked to ensure that the fire had not spread and the city fire marshal investigated and determined that a Roman Candle sparked the fire.

No one was injured, but firefighters are using the incident as a warning to parents.

Fireworks, both legal and illegal, pose fire hazards, fire officials said.

Roman candles are illegal in Connecticut.

However, sparkers, which are legal, burn 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some medals.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than a third of people seen in the emergency rooms for fireworks injuries from June 20, 2014 to July 20, 2014 were under 15 years old and 9 percent were under the age of 5. 

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Bank Robbery Suspect in Custody After Standoff in Stratford


The suspect in a Shelton bank robbery is in custody after a two-hour standoff on Pleasantview Avenue in Stratford early Thursday morning, according to police.

Police said Bruce Leister was wanted in connection with bank robberies in Shelton and New Haven.

When officers went to serve warrants at 6:20 a.m., Leister barricaded himself with a firearm, which led to a standoff for around two hours, police said.

Police said Leister’s last-known address was in Bridgeport but he is a transient and was just staying at the house.

There are outstanding warrants for Leister in state and out of state, according to police.

No one was injured during the standoff.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Abduction Investigation Spans from Windsor to Springfield


An investigation is underway in Connecticut and Massachusetts after police received a report that a 24-year-old woman was abducted at gunpoint in Windsor early this morning.

A friend of the victim called Windsor police at 2:20 a.m. to report that two men took the woman against her will from a home on Maple Avenue and left in a vehicle with Massachusetts plates. 

Windsor police alerted other departments to be on the lookout for it and Connecticut state police chased the vehicle north onto Interstate 91 into Springfield, Massachusetts around 2:45 a.m., according to police.

The driver of a stolen car threw a male and female from the car on the Memorial Bridge, according to police, and they believe a gun was thrown from the car in the same area.

Investigators said they believe the woman knew one of the men.

The driver continued to evade police, crashed near East Columbus Avenue and Emery Street and ran from the scene, police said.

The victim sustained a minor injury, according to Windsor police.

Police have not yet found the driver, but they did find the male passenger, who was arrested on a default warrant.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Charged in Barkhamsted Fatal Hit-and-Run


A West Hartland man has been charged in connection with a hit-and-run on Route 44 in Barkhamsted in May 2016 that killed another man.

Police have charged 48-year-old Thomas Mcgee, of West Hartland, with evading responsibility, physical injury.

Police said he turned himself in on Wednesday.

According to state police, a dark gray Toyota Tacoma was traveling east on Route 44 and attempted to turn left into the Log House Restaurant parking lot just after 9 p.m. on Friday, May 20, 2016 when the driver hit a dirt bike and fled, police said.

The dirt bike driver, 23-year-old Zachary Dube, 23, was brought to Hartford Hospital and died of injuries the next evening, according to police.

Mcgee was released on a $2,500 bond and is due in court on June 27.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

'White Skittles' for U.K. Pride Month Are Drawing Backlash


An all-white, limited edition of Skittles sold in the U.K. has ignited internet debate over what some critics are calling a tone-deaf marketing scheme to celebrate LGBT Pride month.

Skittles partnered with British retail chain Tesco for the second year to offer an all-white version of the candy in a black-and-white bag, following the launch of the #onerainbow campaign at London Pride last year.

Ads said that because "only one rainbow matters this pride," the multicolor candy would be going colorless in order to celebrate LGBT Pride month. It's celebrated every year in June—often with rainbow flags.

This year, some social media critics were not so happy with the brand's all-white campaign, saying the move erases racial diversity within the LGBT community.

"Happiness, fun and inclusion are at the heart of who we are," a U.K. spokesperson for Wrigley, the company that makes Skittles, said in a statement. "Any suggestion that this support for Pride is in any way racist is clearly wrong.”

Others still said they appreciated the marketing gesture and that the backlash was undeserved.

"This campaign allows us to have great fun with our brand while also raising awareness of an important issue," the Wrigley statement said, adding that the campaign allows the Pride rainbow to take center stage.

Photo Credit: Tesco.com
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SUV Vaults Onto Manhattan Sidewalk; 2 Hurt


An out-of-control SUV jumped the curb and plowed onto a sidewalk near the Lincoln Tunnel in midtown Manhattan Thursday, hitting and seriously injuring two pedestrians, and sending eight others to the hospital, officials say.

Police say two people on the sidewalk were hit by the car that barreled onto the 400 block of West 37th Street by Ninth Avenue, near the Lincoln Tunnel, around 12:30 p.m. Eight people were inside the SUV, which had Georgia license plates, and were also taken to the hospital, though they had just minor injuries.

A store owner across the street, Jonny Giordani, says he saw the black SUV hit a car and lose control, hitting two more cars before vaulting onto the sidewalk, hitting the two pedestrians. 

The witness said they seemed OK and alert while being attended to by EMS, but they were bleeding. Fire officials say they're in stable condition at a local hospital. 

Neighbors say they heard screeching, then a shocking series of booms in the crash.

"Just the sound of it, I was shocked -- even my baby heard it and she was crying," said Ani Solano, who heard the the crash from behind the closed windows of her fourth-floor apartment. 

The SUV broke a tree and the metal guard around it when it hurtled onto the sidewalk. It became wedged between the tree and the windows of a luxury apartment building called Hudson Crossing, News 4 video from the scene shows. 

The woman driving the SUV hasn't been issued any summons or charge, according to police. Preliminary investigation indicates it was an acicdent in which the SUV and a black car bumped, and that's what sent the SUV careening out of control and onto the sidewalk. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY

Opening Of Hubbard Park Pool In Meriden Delayed

How Did This London High-Rise Become a Concrete Coffin?


The 24-story building that went up in flames in London Wednesday recently underwent an $11 million upgrade, something that investigators will probe as they seek to understand what sparked the deadly fire, NBC News reported.

At least 17 people are confirmed dead, but many more are missing, and the death toll is expected to rise. Experts said an energy-efficient outer layer called cladding, added for aesthetics and to keep out moisture, would be a focus of the investigation.

"If the fire manages to break out and get into the cladding it melts the external metal, which is often no thicker than tinfoil, gets hold of the insulation material in the middle, and that ignites and starts to burn," litigation lawyer and construction expert Matthew Needham-Laing told the BBC.

The construction firm that refurbished the government-owned tower last year, adding "rainscreen" cladding, said the project "met all required building regulations."

Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Who's Who at Travelers Championship


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Congressional Game Players to Wear Scalise's Team's Colors


Players in the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity usually wear jerseys from their home states and districts. 

At Thursday night's game, they all will wear purple and gold in a show of support for Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot one day earlier during the Republican team's practice for the annual event

Both the Democratic and Republican teams will sport Louisiana State University (LSU) apparel in support of Scalise, a representative for Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, said Thursday morning. 

Scalise graduated from LSU in 1989. He is regularly decked out “from head to toe” in team gear, Marshall's representative said. 

Scalise’s alma mater is reportedly helping make the tribute possible.

In an interview with NOLA.com, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said he responded to a request for gear by sending hats, towels and shirts for both the Democratic and Republican teams to wear.

Game organizers say more than 20,000 tickets have been sold, and more than $1 million has been raised for Congressional Sports for Charity. 

Scalise has previously played in the congressional game, and in previous years wore a variety of Louisiana jerseys.

He was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center Wednesday and is in critical condition recovering from surgery.

The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity dates back to 1909, and became popular enough by 1928 to be broadcast on the radio, according to a history of the game listed on a dedicated website. The Great Depression, World War II and some speakers of the House have intervened to cancel some games.

It is one of the most anticipated events of summer at the Capitol, with Democrats and Republicans splitting the 79 games that have been played over the years 39-39, with one tie. Democrats were on a winning streak for several years before the Republicans won the last game in a squeaker, 8-7. 

The friendly, but competitive, game is set to begin at 7 p.m. It will benefit several charities. The Capitol Police Memorial Fund was added as a beneficiary on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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New Haven Police Looking for Next Class of Recruits


The New Haven Police Department is looking to hire up to 45 new officers, Chief Anthony Campbell said. 

The 2017 application period opened on June 5 and will continue until Friday June 23

Sgt. Manmeet Colon joined New Haven Police Department nine years ago. 

“They explained to me you can do different units, different divisions, and also most important is you can make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. 

After four years on patrol, Colon has served in the detective bureau, firearms unit and internal affairs. 

“So I’ve been very blessed,” she said. 

Colon is currently in charge of finding the next class of recruits. 

“The department is willing to promote young people,” she said. 

“We genuinely believe that the police department should reflect the community that it serves,” Campbell said. 

For that reason, New Haven residents automatically earn 10 extra points on their evaluation score. Applicants with military experience will earn five extra points. 

“When you are someone who lives here, has been brought up here, takes pride in where you live,” Campbell said, “it makes a big difference in how you do policing.” 

On Thursday morning, Chief Campbell was passing out recruitment fliers that look like tickets. It’s just one way the department is spreading the word that it will soon be hiring. It is a crucial class with more than 100 officers soon becoming eligible for retirement, Campbell said. 

“We have about 108 officers who can retire, so there’s enormous amount of room for hiring potential and growth potential,” he said. 

The chief said he takes pride in the fact women make up nearly a fifth of the force. He said, at 18 percent, that is the highest percentage in the state. 

“We want to push that up,” Chief Campbell said. “We have found that women make excellent police officers because they have phenomenal communications skills.” 

From her experience, Colon knows the academy will prepare any woman for the demands of the job. 

“The physical aspect of it we will build you for it,” she said. “We have excellent instructors in the academy.” 

The starting salary for a New Haven police officer is $44,404. 

Applicants need to be 21 years old by Oct. 1, 2017. There is no upper age limit. They’re also required to have a high school diploma or GED, U.S. citizenship, a valid driver’s license, no felony convictions, no Class A or B misdemeanor convictions and no domestic violence convictions. 

The 2017 class of recruits should begin its training at the New Haven Police Academy at 710 Sherman Parkway sometime in November or December.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fewer Teens Are Vaping and Smoking, CDC Survey Finds


Teen smoking rates have hit new lows in the U.S. and, for the first time, fewer high school students are trying e-cigarettes, NBC News reported.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows cigarette smoking and vaping rates went down in 2016.

“The decline in use of tobacco products was primarily driven by a drop in e-cigarette use among middle and high school students from 3 million in 2015 to just under 2.2 million in 2016,” the CDC report says.

CDC and anti-smoking groups both said a combination of tobacco restrictions, advertising and taxes has helped reduce smoking rates.

Photo Credit: Sergei Konkov/TASS via Getty Images

YouTube Star Ordered Held on $100K Bond, Banned From Internet


A Chicago-area musician with a large following of teenage girls was released from jail Thursday on $100,000 bond after a criminal complaint filed this week alleged he “enticed” two minors to film themselves in sexually compromising videos.

Internet celebrity Austin Jones, 24, of Bloomingdale, also was forbid by the judge from using computers or social media. In addition, Jones was ordered to participate in home monitoring, turn in his passport, avoid contact with any victims or witnesses and promise not to use alcohol in excess or narcotics of any kind.

The only thing Jones said during the proceedings was "yes, sir."

Jones, who once publicly apologized for asking underage fans to “twerk” for him on social media, was charged with producing child pornography. He was arrested at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Jones chatted with one victim in August 2016 and with the other victim last month on Facebook and via iMessages, according to the complaint filed in Chicago.

The victim from August stated in a Facebook chat with Jones that she was his biggest fan. Jones repeatedly told her she was “lucky” to have his attention, and that she needed to “prove” that she was his biggest fan by producing the sexually explicit videos and sending them to him, according to the complaint.

Jones also said in numerous text conversations that he knew the girls were underage and encouraged them to make sexual videos for him which included them dancing partially naked—and admitted as much to Homeland Security Investigators who arrested him, the complaint states.

“Jones is an Internet personality who has accumulated hundreds of thousands of followers on various social media platforms and some level of celebrity by posting music videos online in which he performs covers of other artists’ songs,” the complaint says. “Jones’ YouTube page has dozens of videos in which he performs other artists' songs, as well as some of his own original music. His videos have been viewed on the Internet millions of times.”

The complaint says that, based on a review of Jones’ social media accounts, the majority of his fans “appear” to be girls.

The two victims in the complaint are identified as Victim A and Victim B.

In a Facebook chat included in the complaint, Victim A asks Jones for reassurance that he won’t post a video she plans to send him anywhere, according to the complaint.

“Right. I delete them after I score them,” Jones responds, the complaint alleges.

After the girl sent Jones the video, the complaint says, he sent her more specific instructions, such as suggesting she is 14 years old while dancing, directing which ways to position the camera and saying, “We should spice up your outfit!”

After Victim A explained she felt tired and wanted to stop, Jones encouraged her to continue dancing and told her she was “giving up” and she should “take this seriously,” the complaint says.

The girl also told Jones she was uncomfortable with the idea of “showing you everything,” but said “maybe I should get a thong tomorrow,” before adding “my moms [sic] a little overprotective,” the complaint states.

Victim A also acknowledged that she knew Jones was 24 and he told her to “talk about your age the whole time” she was to dance for him, the court document says.

She sent Jones about 15 videos, the document alleges. Jones instructed her to delete all of the messages so Victim A’s sister, with whom she shared a phone, would not see them, the complaint states.

In a video sent on May 4 by Victim A, the complaint reads, the victim looks into the camera and says “Hey Austin, my name is [Victim A’s first name] and my butt is 14 years old.”

Jones and Victim B also acknowledge one another’s age in a conversation from August 2016, the complaint states.

“Wait… you’re 14?” the court document says Jones asked of the underage girl. “I seriously shouldn’t even be talking to you.”

When the girl asks why, Jones allegedly responded “I’M 23!!”

Jones also repeatedly told Victim B how lucky she was to have his attention and that she needed to prove she was his biggest fan and assured her “nothing is going to happen,” when she showed concern for getting in trouble, the document says.

“I bet you had NO IDEA when you met me that just 1 day later you’d get to show me your ------- how special do you feel?!” Jones asked the girl, according to the complaint.

Victim B sent Jones about 25 videos, according to investigators.

Authorities traced Jones’ IP address to his home in Bloomingdale.

Each count of production of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.

Jones was ordered to remain in federal custody by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason until a detention hearing on Wednesday.

In 2015, Jones was accused of soliciting videos from girls “twerking,” prompting him to publish a response and apology on his Facebook page, which was in turn published by Alternative Press.

“Here's the truth: I NEVER asked them to do anything more than send a twerking video,” Jones wrote. “Nothing EVER went beyond that.”

A Change.org petition from 2015 with 9,096 signatures demanded Jones be removed from Vans Warped Tour after the first allegations surfaced. The petition links to videos shared on Twitter, purportedly of an unwitting Austin, as the singer solicits videos from fans and instructs them how to dance by demonstrating the “twerk” move.

Vans and a Jones' publicist did not immediately respond to request for comment on Tuesday.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to call the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. The hotlines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Fire in Manchester

I-91 South in Wallingford Reopens Following Accident


Interstate 91 south in Wallingford has reopened following an accident with life-threatening injuries, state police said. 

Police said it was a single car crash.

The highway was closed southbound between exits 15 and 14.

State police said traffic congestion went four miles between exits 17 and 14.

Drivers endured heavy delays.

Puerto Rico Gov. Comes to Washington in Pro-Statehood Push


Puerto Rico’s governor campaigned in Washington Thursday to make the U.S. territory the 51st state, touting a vote that showed 97 percent support for statehood and brushing aside critics who questioned its legitimacy. 

More than 500,000 people on the island voted for statehood in a non-binding referendum this past weekend. But eight out of 10 eligible voters did not vote, a historically low turnout. The main opposition party and other parties boycotted the referendum, calling it a waste of resources in a time of financial crisis. 

“A waste of resources is not having equal rights," Governor Ricardo Rosselló told NBC following an appearance at the National Press Club. "A waste of resources is being on a Medicaid cliff because of the people of Puerto Rico, the citizens of Puerto Rico, don’t have the same access to resources than in the United States." 

Rosselló said that there have been two plebiscites in the past five years and the previous one had "similar results" with an 80 percent voter participation rate. 

The 2012 vote delivered 61 percent support for statehood, though half a million people left ballots blank, according to The New York Times

Puerto Ricans on the island are U.S. citizens, but can’t vote in presidential elections and have a non-voting member of Congress. They are also exempt from paying federal income taxes, but pay into Social Security and Medicare and receive less federal funding than U.S. states, The Associated Press has reported. They also pay local taxes. Unemployment is 12 percent on the island, where millions have fled a 10-year recession.

It’s up to the U.S. Congress to decide whether to take up the issue of Puerto Rico’s status. 

During his appearance at the National Press Club, Rosselló was accompanied by Reps. Don Young, R-Alaska, and Darren Soto, D-Fla. 

"As part of the democratic exercise last Sunday on our island, today we are making sure that Congress and other international organizations such as the OAS [Organization of American States] receive the message that Puerto Ricans are claiming equal rights as American citizens," Rosselló said. "It is up to this generation of Puerto Ricans to demand the end of the undignified colonial relationship, and begin a process of transition for the incorporation of Puerto Rico as the new state in the union."

Norwich Man Wanted for Shoplifting, Assaulting Officer Captured


A Norwich man wanted for assaulting an officer pursuing him for a shoplifting charge has been captured on Thursday, Clinton Police said. 

Chad Dandria, 29, was involved in a shoplifting incident at Clinton Crossing Outlets with an accomplice, Joseph Salimeno, on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The two men were seen fleeing towards Route 81 and were located in the area of Petco and Dunkin Donuts shortly after the shoplifting incident, Clinton Police said. 

When officers approached the pair, Salimeno was arrested without incident, however, Dandria ran into the thick wooded area behind the shopping complex.

Clinton officers scoured the area with K-9 units, state troopers and Madison officers. During this time, they received several tips that residents have seen someone in their yards, but the suspect was not located.

Dandria was located by a Clinton officer behind the Shell Gas station at 115 High Street shortly after 9 p.m.

When the officer tried to take Dandria into custody, he resisted and struck the officer in the head. The officer lost his footing and fell down a steep embankment behind the gas station, resulting in several abrasions and lacerations to his head. The officer was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital and released on Thursday. 

Clinton Police are asked for the public’s help in trying to locate Dandria and he was arrested at 5 p.m on Thursday in Montville.

He faces charges that include assault on an officer, interfering with an officer, larceny in the fifth-degree and conspiracy.

Dandria is being held on a $500,000 bond. 

Photo Credit: Clinton Police Department
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