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Police Investigate 7th Homicide of Year in Bridgeport


Bridgeport police are investigating the seventh homicide of the year in the city.

Kiaunte Ware, 32, of Bridgeport, was shot and killed on 6th Street on Wednesday morning, police said.

Police responded to Sixth Street, between Connecticut and Stratford avenues, 7:30 a.m. after received a rport of shots fired and found Ware in the driver’s seat of a rented Hyundai, police said. He had been shot several times. 

He was transported him to Bridgeport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police have not disclosed information about motives or suspects.

There have been seven homicides this year in Bridgeport, including one fatal police-involved shooting, police said, and the city experienced a 25-percent drop in violent crime.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Mountain Fire Rages Through 22 Square Miles


A fire that destroyed at least six homes after blasting through the San Jacinto Mountains continued to rage through 14,200 acres Wednesday morning, keeping the mandatory evacuations in place for nearby communities.

The Mountain Fire broke out Monday afternoon in steep, rugged terrain on private property just off State Highway 243 near the resort town of Idyllwild, over the mountains and southwest of Palm Springs.

Heavy smoke had spread into the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs area by Wednesday.

At least 2,210 firefighters were battling the blaze, along with 128 fire engines, 16 helicopters, 10 fixed-winaircraft, 36 hand crews, eight water-tenders and 12 bulldozers.

The fire -- at 14,200 acres, or about 22 square miles -- remained at 10 percent containment Wednesday morning, according to an online incident report.

RELATED: Mountain Fire photos | Fierce Fire Season Predicted in SoCal

The firefight had cost $4 million as of Wednesday morning, according to an incident update provided Wednesday morning by the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the San Bernardino National Forest where the Mountain Fire was burning.

Winds blowing from the west had pushed the fire east over the crest of the San Jacinto Mountains and toward an area south of Palm Springs, the update stated. The fire was burning in the steep, rugged terrain covered in dry chaparral and timber in the southern portion of the San Jacinto Wilderness.

"High winds, dry fuels, and steep inaccessible terrain challenged initial attack engines, crews and aircraft all day long," stated the 6 a.m. Wednesday update.

Crews made progress on the north and south flanks of the fire, which had formed two heads and was backing down the south side of the mountain range.

Winds are expected to weaken as the weather changes in coming hours and days, and that should help crews make more gains, the update stated.

Smoke from the fire could be seen blown some 60 miles to the northeast, across Palm Springs and the Twentynine Palms U.S. Marine Corps training center, a satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed, as seen at left.

In the Bonita Vista area, the fire destroyed six homes, according to a Tuesday report on InciWeb. At Pine Springs Ranch summer camp and retreat, one commercial building, a workshop, garage, and cabin were destroyed. Eleven outbuildings and several cars were also destroyed by the fire.

Resident Lawrence Goda, who lives on unpaved Bonita Vista Road, said neighbors who had been into the burned, still-evacuated area reported his home almost completely destroyed. He said it was a log-cabin-style house he had built nearly 30 years ago -- and it was not insured.

“Everything I worked for all my life is probably up in flames," Goda said.

The scenic area -- the San Bernardino National Forest and adjacent Mount San Jacinto State Park -- is a popular destination for hikers, rock climbers and campers. San Jacinto Peak, the second-highest point in Southern California, is about eight miles north-northeast of where the fire began.

“With the heavy fuels we’ve got and the temperatures we’re experiencing, it’s making it a very aggressive, hot fire right now," Cal Fire spokesman Scott Visyak told NBC4 on Tuesday.

"There’s a disaster area in there. It's devastating. There’s several homes lost, there’s several homes standing. The fire had just gone through there very aggressively," Visyak said.

Mandatory evacuation orders remained in effect Wednesday for the Andreas Canyon Club (south of Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs), Bonita Vista, Pine Springs, and the Zen Mountain Center off of Apple Canyon Road.

Camp Ronald McDonald, a charity-funded camp for children with cancer, were voluntarily evacuated due to health concerns related to air quality, as was Camp Joe Sherman.

"All campers have been safely evacuated and returned to their parents and the camp grounds remain out of any immediate danger," said Camp Ronald McDonald Executive Director Sarah Orth in a statement.

The Pacific Crest Trail was closed from State Highway 74 to Saddle Junction, as were the South Ridge Trail, Carumba Trail, Spitler Peak Trail, Fobes Trail, and Cedar Springs, according to an online fire incident report.

Those with day-use or overnight permits for the wilderness area were advised to call the San Jacinto Ranger Station at 909-382-2921.

Highway 243 had reopened by Wednesday morning.

Fire official urged residents to be alert to fire equipment moving on winding local highways, especially during shift changes at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. They also asked people in the area not to block roadways when trying to view the fire or firefighting work.

Evacuation centers were set up at the following locations:

  • Hemet High School, 41701 E. Stetson Ave, Hemet;
  • Hamilton High School, 57430 Mitchell Road, Anza;
  • and small animals can be brought to the San Jacinto Animal Shelter, 581 S. Grand Ave, San Jacinto.

NBC4 reporters Toni Guinyard and Tony Shin contributed to this report.

More Southern California Stories:


Photo Credit: Toni Guinyard

Silver Alert for New Haven Teen Canceled


Police have cancelled a Silver Alert for a 14-year-old New Haven.

Delano Lavallee has been found.

Photo Credit: Silver Alert

Muscle Maker Grill Comes to Connecticut


A restaurant chain is coming to Connecticut to dish up healthy, high-protein food options.

The first of 15 Muscle Maker Grill locations is expected to open the week of July 22 at 2075 Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield.

Other locations are still being selected among the New Haven County, Fairfield County, and Hartford County areas.

“Muscle Maker Grill’s mission is to offer healthier versions of mainstream favorite dishes that taste great. Many people have the preconceived notion that eating healthy is bland and expensive, but we are dedicated to providing flavorful, affordable options,” Megan Redzia, public relations supervisor for Muscle Maker Grill, said.

The restaurant is offering a five new menu additions, all under 400 calories and for $5.99. The menu also caters to special diets for those who choose to eat gluten-free, vegetarian and carb-free. Customers have access to nutritional information at all locations.

New York City firefighter and Connecticut-native, Robert Painter, is a co-owner of the franchise. He decided to get involved with Muscle Maker Grill after dining there himself. Painter grew up in Monroe and said that he is pleased to bring the business back home.

“We’re excited to actually be able to provide a healthy option to the people of Connecticut,” he said. “We are estimating to bring between 200 and 250 jobs.”

Painter said that the restaurant’s “sit-down, relaxed atmosphere” is a good alternative to fast food joints for families.

“After people start to learn of it, they will realize that most of the people that come in are families. If you think of the name, you are going to think of body-builders, but we more so get parents and kids,” he said.

Muscle Maker Grill is currently scouting locations in several Connecticut towns including West Hartford, Newtown, Danbury, Greenwich, New Haven, Branford and Meriden. So far, Fairfield and Norwalk are definite.

The new additions are part of a plan to have 100 Muscle Maker grill locations nationwide in 2013.

Photo Credit: Muscle maker Grill

Voters in Springfield Approve Casino


Voters in Springfield, Mass. approved an $800 million casino project by MGM. That project will likely have a big impact on Connecticut's two casinos.

70 miles away there is great interest in that vote.
"It will hurt us tremendously at least for the first year," Ken Zachem, a Preston package store owner, said. 
Zachem's store is just down the road from Foxwoods Casino. He said if the Springfield plan is approved it will have a big impact on business.
"I feel if Springfield or any place in Massachusetts picks up another casino like we have here we're going to lose 50 percent of our patrons off the top," he said.
Revenues at both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are down and have been trending that way for some time according to state officials.
"Gaming revenues tend to be volatile and competition is growing, which is why Connecticut must maintain its focus on developing a diverse economic development strategy, particularly in Eastern Connecticut, so that we don't become heavily reliant on any one revenue or employment source," Kevin Lembo, the state comptroller, said in a statement.
A Springfield casino could draw even more people away considering its close proximity to Hartford.
If you drive from Hartford to Springfield it's 26.6 miles. A drive from Hartford to Mohegan is 45.8 miles and to Foxwoods it's 49.2 miles.
"I think it could have a short term impact on the casinos down there," Sen. Cathy Osten said.
Osten believes that the casinos will adapt to the changing environment but she said Southeast Connecticut just can't rely on casino jobs alone especially when the unemployment rate is still around 9 percent there.
"I would actually like to see us get more jobs that are off the casino property that are not service industry jobs," Sen. Osten said.
Both Foxwoods and Mohegan officials did not have a comment on the vote.

Photo Credit: mgmspringfield.com

Sewage Closes Stamford’s Cummings, West Beaches


Cummings and West Beaches in Stamford are closed until further notice after what appears to be untreated sewage was found in Cummings Pond on Soundview Avenue, according to the City of Stamford’s Health Department.

The State of Connecticut Department Agriculture, Aquaculture Division received a call at 10 a.m. reporting a strong odor of sewage in the water near Cummings Beach, so Stamford’s Water Pollution Control Authority responded.

They found what appeared to be untreated sewage in Cummings Pond on Soundview Avenue and notified the Stamford Health Department and Stamford Recreation Services. 

Cummings and West Beaches the beaches will be closed for swimming until further notice because of the extent of the untreated sewage.

The Water Pollution Control Authority is investigating the exact location of the untreated sewage discharge.

Photo Credit: msqrd/Instagram

Dogs, Puppy Abandoned in Waterford


Two dogs and a very young puppy were abandoned and left in a crate by a trash bin in Waterford last week. 

They will likely be available for adoption soon thanks to someone who noticed them and brought them to the animal shelter.

The dogs and puppy were found on July 12 at the condominiums at 310 Boston Post Road, according to the Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control Facebook page and the Waterford Patch.

That was just a couple days before temperatures jumped into the 90s. 

If animal control cannot find an owner, the dogs will be available on July 21.

The original post generated dozens of comments from people commending the person who brought them to animal control and wishes that the dogs find a good home.

Animal Control warned that negative comments would be deleted. 

The Patch reports that animal control received more than 60 calls from people looking for more information.

Animal Control said there is no justification for abandoning animals and to instead bring them to a humane society or animal shelter. 

Learn more about Waterford animal control on their Web site.

Photo Credit: Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control Facebook page

Park Officials Indefinitely Close Dune Where Boy Fell


The Indiana dune where a 6-year-old boy fell and became trapped for hours in crushing sand has been closed indefinitely, the National Park Service announced.
The closure of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Mount Baldy was extended to "bring in additional resources for the investigation of the hole that opened up on July 12," park officials said.

Nathan Woessner spent three-and-a-half hours trapped in the sand after he suddenly fell and remains in critical but stable condition, spokesman Matt Wood said Wednesday.

Doctors said Woessner remained under sedation this week and is breathing with a ventilator until his lungs can fully function. The breathing tube could be removed by the end of the week, Dr. Tracy Koogler said, and he'll likely be released from the hospital in 10-14 days.

The Park Service said evidence shows the hole may have been created by a long-buried tree that decomposed, leaving a void in the sand.

Officials plan to bring in ground-sensing equipment to look at under the dune and check for voids and other potential hazards.

"Park officials stress that the closure is being strictly enforced to protect the public," officials said.

The closure includes Mount Baldy, its parking lot, trails and beach area.

Missing Swimmer Found


The search is over for a missing swimmer in the Candlewood Lake Club area.

Police found her walking on the road and she did not need medical attention.

Brookfield and New Fairfield are providing mutual aid.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fort Worth Demolishes Wrong Vacant Home


It's not unusual for homeowners to receive their neighbor's deliveries, but a demolition crew?

Crews knocked down the wrong vacant home at Lake Worth on Friday.

Four days later, there's not much to see at 9716 Watercress Drive.

"Yeah, it was a nice house," said Stephen Neumann, who lives a few houses down.

One lot over, at 9708 Watercress Drive, the address on an old mailbox is barely visible. The buildings, which were supposed to be demolished, hide in trees well off the street.

In a statement, the city of Fort Worth confirms that contractors demolished the wrong property:

"On July 12, 2013, contractors demolished the wrong property on Watercress Drive. The property to be demolished should have been 9708 Watercress Dr. The property that was demolished was a vacant structure located at 9716 Watercress Dr. City staff is meeting to determine what happened."

Residents on the quiet street on the western edge of Lake Worth say the mix-up is a bit hard to believe.

One neighbor called it egregious, but others said they are aren't as surprised.

"I just seen an excavator tearing that house down [and] was wondering why, because it was a pretty good house, wasn't all that bad, when this one next door has been needing tearing down for years," Neumann said.

"To be honest, all those houses up there have been kind of junky, so I see how they could get it mistaken for the wrong one," neighbor Samantha Farmer said.

It's "typical city," Neumann said, laughing.

The city said it would not say more on the matter until its investigation is complete.

Photo Credit: NBC 5

Clinton Police Arrest Suspect in Car Break-Ins


Clinton police have arrested a New Haven man accused of breaking into several vehicles in town late last year and stealing cash, credit cards, electronics and other items.

After a six-month investigation, police arrested Dajun Hammie, 24, on July 10 and warrants are pending for a second suspect.

On Nov. 19 and again on Dec. 7, several vehicles in Clinton were broken into.

On each of these nights, one vehicle was also stolen from Clinton and later recovered in the New Haven area, police said.

Police credited Detective Pellegrini and Officer Matthew Reed with cracking the case.

In one of the stolen cars, Pellegrini found a prepaid phone and tracked the numbers calls from it, as well as the numbers of calls received and identified Hammie, police said.

Using social media, Pellegrini was able to further identify Hammie, police said.

Police also located video and receipts of Hammie and another person using stolen credit cards from vehicles broken into in Clinton, police said.

Police said both suspects were being held on unrelated charges with the state Department of Corrections.

Two arrest warrants were issued for Hammie, charging him with 19 counts of third-degree burglary from a motor vehicle, two counts of second-degree larceny, theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of fifth-degree larceny and two counts of conspiracy to commit larceny.

Police said two warrants are pending for the second suspect.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police

Vandals Strike at Hartford Pool


Crews spent the day at Colt Park Pool in Hartford, cleaning up after vandals struck.

Police said someone tossed non-toxic chemicals and lifeguard equipment into the pool and painted graffiti painted on the sidewalk.

The damage was discovered this morning, on day four of a heat wave that is expected to extend into the weekend.

Police said there were no signs of forced entry, so they believe the person responsible is familiar with pool.

Crews hope to have pool back open tomorrow.

Photo Credit: NBC New York

Man Struck By Car in Groton


An elderly man was struck by a car on Poquonnock Road in Groton around 2 p.m.

The man suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to lawrence and Memorial Hospital, officials said.

Poquonnock Road was closed but has since reopened.


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Photo Credit: Google Maps

Despite Criticism, UC Regents OKs Muslim Student


The University of California Regents on Wednesday voted to appoint the first Muslim student to its board, despite vocal criticism from some Jewish groups who say her views on Israel verge on being anti-Semitic.

After the vote in San Francisco, however, Sadia Saifuddin, 21, of Stockton and a social welfare student at UC Berkeley, received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Saifuddin said after the meeting that she hopes people will look beyond some of her political activity to other things she has done.

The Pakistani American is the first practicing Muslim to hold this post. She was picked from a field of 30 applicants to serve on the UC Board of Regents during the 2014-15 academic year.

Her nomination had been vigorously opposed by some Jewish groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the pro-Israel group StandWithUs and conservative commentator David Horowitz. They have all said they oppose her not because she is Muslim but because they say some her student political activities as a student senator and member of the Muslim Students Association at Berkeley disqualify her from representing the UC system's more than 222,000 students.

Her supporters, however, argue that she is a bridge-builder, and point out that the criticism comes far-flung fringe groups.

At the meeting, UC Regent Bonnie Reiss, who is Jewish and disagrees with Saifuddin's position on divesting from Israel, still voted for the "remarkable" student. Reiss said: "The committee would not have selected Saida as student regent if we thought she was anti-Semitic."

Regent Richard Blum, who is Jewish and married to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, was the only non-yes vote. He abstained, saying he was concerned about the divisiveness caused by the divestment measure.

No one on either side, though, seems to dispute the activities she has engaged in, including the fact that she supports divesting from Israel.
She co-sponsored a bill calling for the divestment of university funds from companies with economic ties to the Israeli military or Israeli settlements on the West Bank, and authoring a resolution condemning a UC Santa Cruz lecturer who had linked the Muslim Students Association with terrorism "for inciting racist and Islamophobic rhetoric." In April, she wrote an op-ed piece - free of anti-Israel vitriol - for the Daily Cal voicing her support for the student body voting to divest from funds from companies committing human rights violations in the Palestinian territorities.

MORE: Sadia Saifuddin's Op-Ed in Daily Cal

It's her activities, not her faith, that sparked the concerns from some Jewish groups.
"We think an appropriate Muslim candidate could have been and would be a wonderful student regent,"  Aron Hier, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's director of campus outreach, told the Associated Press before the vote. "This has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with opportunism and championing things she cares about on the one hand and trampling on things other people care about on the other."
In addition, Horowitz and Jeffrey Wienir wrote an open letter to the UC Regents in June voicing their worries about her, as she has engaged in "Israeli Apartheid Weeks" and has been an active participant in the boycott of Israel, a move many Jews feel is anti-Semitic.

However, Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco-Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Santa Clara, Calif., attended the Regents meeting in San Francisco in support of Saifuddin. "The vote was well deserved," she said afterward.

Billoo told NBC Bay Area that critics have attacked the young student activist for being "divisive," but in all the vetting of her, most have found her to be a "bridge-builder."
Saifuddin has described herself as an advocate for students.
"I'm looking forward to learning about different students and their struggles, having conversations with them and doing the best I can to help," she said. "I'm in a very privileged position in that I'm able to give back and make sure that the people who come after me have the same opportunities I had."

Her student government profile states that she loves that "Cal has a culture of teaching everyone that walks through Sather Gate to decolonize their mind." She also wrote that she hopes to "increase collaboration between student groups to work toward creating a more positive and inclusive campus climate."

Her blog contains nothing that is anti-Israel. Started in May 2012, the blog has just a few entries, including a message to students to vote for Prop. 30 and to pass a resolution condemning Islamophobic hate speech at UC.

In a June article in the Los Angeles Times, she said her main priority was to block more tuition increases and talked about how her faith drives her to service and to finding common ground.

Jonathan Stein, a Berkeley law school graduate who recently completed a one-year term as the UC student regent and was part of the five-member committee that recommended Saifuddin, told the Associated Press that Saifuddin's critics have overlooked her work to build bridges. He cited her work bringing Muslim and Jewish students together during the divestment debate and founding the Berkeley campus' first interfaith worship space.
"The really negative response that's come, that has characterized Sadia as extremist, intolerant, I guarantee that is coming from people who have never met her in person," Stein said. "She is, in fact, an incredibly mature, thoughtful, tolerant person."

And not all Jewish groups oppose her either. The ultra-liberal group, Jewish Voice for Peace, tweeted a "Mazel Tov" after her appointment.

On Wednesday before the vote, when school was out because of summer break, there was little to no buzz on campus regarding her election. And there were only a handful of critics who attended the Regents meeting. Some Cal students noted that many people on the ultra-liberal campus participate in Israel boycott activities, no matter what their faith. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a regular flashpoint for students and faculty members at the University of California.

 As student regent-designate, Saifuddin will participate in meetings but won't be able to cast votes during the school year that begins this fall. She is the 40th student regent. She will be replacing student regent Cinthia Flores, a law student at UC Irvine.

Lisa Leff of the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: ASUC

Several Stores Won't Sell Rolling Stone With Boston Bombing Cover


You will not find the edition of "Rolling Stone" magazine with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's face on the cover at CVS stores, the company said on Wednesday. It is one of several companies that do not plan to sell the issue of the magazine.

CVS is based in Rhode Island, around an hour away from where the bombing happened, and  the company operates several stores in and around Boston.

"CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones," CVS posted on its Facebook page.

Three people were killed in the bombings and 265 people were injured in the bombings.

The magazine posted the cover of the Aug. 3 issue on its Facebook page yesterday and it says their report will explain "how a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."

The annoucement of the issue has sparked outrage on social media, with many accusing Rolling Stone of giving Tsarnaev the rock star treatment.

Cumberland Farms, which is based in Framingham, Massachusetts, also will not sell the magazine, they said via Twitter. 


Walgreens also Tweeted that it will not sell the issue.

The issue comes out less than four months after the bombings.

Last week, Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 counts associated with the bombing.

He is accused of working with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev (who was killed during a shootout with police), to set off a pair of bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 260 others.




Photo Credit: Rolling Stone

Worker Injured in Meriden Wall Collapse


Lifestar was called to One Research Parkway in Meriden after a wall collapsed.

A retaining wall fell on a construction worker  around 3 p.m. at a worksite that is the future home of a car wash.

Concrete from the wall pinned the man against a dump truck, according to fire officials.  Coworkers freed the man, but he went into cardiac arrest, fire officials said.

Lifestar helicopter transported the man to the hospital.  His name and condition have not been released.

Meriden fire officials and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the accident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Intense Heat Sets Off Fire Chemicals: Police


Fire suppression chemicals were released at  the gas station on Wanton Road by Stop & Shop in West Hartford this afternoon and police believe it is because of the extreme heat.

Connecticut is experiencing the fourth day of a heatwave and the temperature reached 94 degrees at Bradley Airport. There is no relief in sight until Sunday, when the high in the forecast is 84 degrees.

One person was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

One witness reported that a woman was screaming because her eyes were burning.

View more photos here.

Firefighters are investigating and said there were no explosions.

Fire suppression systems are installed in the canopies over the gas pumps as an extra precaution, according to companies that offer the products.

Photos from the scene show that the station is coated in white powder.

This is not the first time something like this has happened in Connecticut.

In 2011, the fire suppression system went off at the Shell station on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield, according to the Connecticut Post.

Photo Credit: Submitted

Route 66 in Portland Reopens After Crash


Route 66 in Portland was closed because of a one-car crash Wednesday afternoon.

A car crashed near the Citgo station, according to police. The crash closed Route 66 in both directions near the Wincheseter Cafe at 1374 Portland-Cobalt Road to Axelrod Tires.

One person was taken to the hospital, police said. That person's condition has not been released.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

NYC Confirms First Heat-Related Death This Summer


The death of a 57-year-old man on Staten Island nine days ago has been ruled heat-related, marking the first fatality in the city caused by hot weather this summer.

The city medical examiner's office ruled the cause of the man's July 8 death was hyperthermia, exposure to high environmental temperatures. A spokeswoman said the man had an underlying medical condition. 

Meteorologists say the temperature on the date the medical examiner says the victim died was 89 degrees. Temperatures had hit 90 degrees for three consecutive days before that, however -- from July 5 to July 7.

Last summer, there were four heat-related deaths during an eight-day heat wave that set records across the region. At least three of those victims had underlying health issues, the medical examiner said at the time. 

The tri-state area is currently enduring the longest, hottest heat wave of the summer. Temperatures surpassed 90 degrees for the fourth straight day Wednesday, and forecasters say the blazing heat will likely last through Saturday. 

17 Arrests in Victorville Zimmerman Rally


Police arrested 17 people in Victorville, a city outside of Los Angeles, after protesters tried to storm a shopping mall and a group of youths opened items at a gas station market and left without paying, authorities said.

Most of the arrests were for unlawful assembly, and eight of those arrested were under age 18, according to Cindy Bachman, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner.

The protests were over the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a Florida neighborhood watch captain who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, after a fight.

The majority of protesters in Victorville - about 80 of them - remained peaceful and obeyed the law during a rally in the desert city, Bachman said.

However, a "large group" gathered in a mall parking lot and tried to enter the mall, but mall security guards locked down the building and none of the protesters made it inside. Sheriff's deputies ordered the group to disperse over loudspeakers and detained about seven people who did not, Bachman said.

In addition, a group of 10 to 15 people described as "juveniles" went into a Chevron gas station at the intersection of Bear Valley Road and Balsam Road, opened items and left without paying, Bachman said.

No injuries or damage were immediately reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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