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New Haven Man Witnessed Barcelona Attack and Jumped to Safety


A ticket to Barcelona, Spain was the graduation gift of a lifetime for Arnaldo Falcon, of New Haven. His father gave it to him to celebrate all Falcon’s accomplishments at Southern Connecticut State University. 

On Thursday, Falcon and a friend, who is also from New Haven, were enjoying their first full day in the city when terror struck. 

“Everyone was so calm, enjoying the scenes,” he said. “The weather was perfect.” 

That serene scene was shattered by screams as a van came careening through the tourist hotspot of La Rambla and there was instant panic. 

“It is just crazy. This all happened within not even five seconds -- me seeing the car, me having to run away, having to get past dead bodies on the floor,” Falcon said. 

He was able to dodge the driver by jumping onto a vendor table. 

Once the car passed him, he ran for safety and found himself at a nearby hotel. 

“I think I was in so much shock that the only thing I was thinking was to get somewhere safe,” Falcon said. 

He said he and others were kept inside as police worked to clear the scene. 

As time passed, reality started to set in. 

“The car passed three to four feet in front of me,” Falcon said. 

Thirteen innocent people were killed and 100 others injured in the ISIS-claimed terrorist attack. 

The morning after, Falcon said he is continuing his trip with a new appreciation for life. 

“Definitely never going to forget this. Is is something that is going to be on my mind for a very long time,” he said. 

Falcon’s friend was not injured in the attack. 

Photo Credit: Arnaldo Falcon

Suspect in Waterbury Double Homicide in Custody


Waterbury police have a suspect in custody after a double homicide at an apartment complex on Third Street Friday morning.

Police said they responded to 21 Third St. just after 9 a.m. for a disturbance call and found two female victims dead. 

On Friday afternoon, police said they developed a suspect and he is in custody.

Police will hold a news conference at 4:30 p.m. 

Check back for details on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Accused of Killing Niece in Stratford Double Shooting


A 21-year-old man is accused of killing his niece after police said he was involved in a double shooting in Stratford over the weekend. 

Michael "Buddha" Catchings is accused of killing his niece 27-year-old Raenetta Catchings and critically injuring a 24-year-old man on Sunday. The male victim survived his injuries, Stratford police said. 

According to police, the shooting happened in the street in front of 1584 North Avenue shortly after midnight. 

The suspect turned himself into police on Friday. 

Michael Catchings, of Stratford, has been charged with manslaughter with a firearm, criminal use of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm, unlawful discharge of a firearm, carrying a firearm without a permit, reckless endangerment and breach of peace. 

He is schedule to appear in Bridgeport Court on Aug. 29

Photo Credit: Startford Police Department

Bannon Plans to 'Crush the Opposition' Back at Breitbart


After his exit as Chief White House Strategist, Steve Bannon returned as the executive chairman for Breitbart News Friday, a spokesman for the site confirmed to NBC News. Confirmation from the company came shortly after the site published an article titled "'Populist Hero' Stephen K. Bannon Returns Home to Breitbart."

Bannon himself expressed excitement about his return, telling the Weekly Standard in an interview published moments after the company's announcement that he felt "jacked up," and referred to the site as one of his "weapons."

"Now I'm free. I've got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, 'it’s Bannon the Barbarian.' I am definitely going to crush the opposition," Bannon said.

"And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we're about to rev that machine up," he added, referring to Breitbart. "And rev it up we will do.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Groton Hit Hard By School Funding Cuts


Governor Dannel Malloy announcement about changes in state education funding means Groton Public Schools are facing about $17.5 million worth of cuts in state aid.

Groton Superintendent Dr. Michael Graner said would “basically dismantle the school system.”

Instead of the approximately $25 million Groton Schools got last year in Education Cost Sharing, they’d only get $7.5 million.

“I can’t think of any programs that wouldn’t be cut, actually,” Graner said. “Or significantly reduced.”

Class sizes could reach 30 to 40 kids, there’d be massive layoffs to teachers and other staff, and academic, extra-curricular, arts and sports programs would see cuts and revamps at all grade levels, according to Graner.

Already the district has made $2.8 million worth of town budget cuts, Graner said. It closed Pleasant Valley Elementary School, laid off 18 teachers, a principal and other staff members.

Graner said the governor initially projected about $15 million in state aid cuts from Groton Schools, but he didn’t think that would go through. In fact, Graner said the town only budgeted for $5 million worth of state educational aid cuts.

He’s hoping there’s a “reasonable” budget and change to the numbers before the first payment in October.

“It scares me because they’ve already taken a whack here in Groton. How much more are you going to take away from these kids?” asked Christine Lowney, a Groton Schools employee.

She’s preparing her granddaughter to enter the first grade in the Groton school district, at a different school since her granddaughter attended Pleasant Valley.

“They’re our future, and if you’re gonna take things away from them now that they need, it’s going to affect them in the long run,” Lowney said.

“It’s concerning when it comes to class sizes, their education, especially when you have one who is going to be taking a lot of high honors classes,” Tina Price of Mystic said.

Price has two Groton high schooler students and she hopes this doesn’t make her kids less competitive for colleges.

“With so many kids in the classrooms, how are they going to be able to teach so many at the same time,” Price said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Connecticut Open Draw Held Friday


It is the 20th year of women’s tennis in New Haven and the singles draw for the 2017 Connecticut Open is set. 

Rain delayed some of Friday’s qualifying matches and the draw ceremony also had to be moved indoors to the renovated media center.

“For us, we are using tennis education and mentoring to give them a better path way to higher education and excellence,” said Mavi Sanchez-Skakle, executive director of New HYTES (New Haven Youth Tennis and Education.

Students from the youth tennis program helped pick the opening round matches with three-time Connecticut Open champion Petra Kvitova.

“It means a lot, I mean I always love to come back to here to Connecticut Open,” Kvitova told NBC Connecticut. “I feel like it’s my kind of second home if I can say.”

In December, Kvitova suffered serious cuts to her left hand during a home invasion attack. Some worried she would never pick up her racket again.

“After she made this miraculous comeback at the French Open, the first WTA tournament for her to commit to, coming out of all of that was the Connecticut Open,” tournament director Anne Worcester told reporters.

Kvitova, who is a two-time Wimbledon champion, is among the top names in a competitive tournament field.

“I heard the field its very strong and I’m really surprised how many players are playing in the qualification so it’s a huge draw,” Kvitova said. “Aand I’m just happy for Anne, I mean she’s working for the tournament for 20 years already and I feel like the tournament is getting better and better every year.”

With family fun, food trucks and luxury car displays from new sponsor Porsche at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale for the next week, Worcester said she’s hopeful the weather will cooperate.

“Once we get beyond today, and a little bit tomorrow, starting Sunday the forecast is, knock on wood, fantastic,” she said.

Monday’s tournament action will coincide with the solar eclipse.

“We tried to find special glasses for our fans,” Worcester said, “and would you believe they are completely sold out everywhere in the universe.”

Fans will be advised to not look directly at the sun, Worcester added.

“We think we will be able to play through,” she said, “but we may have to turn on the lights.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Rescue Pet Becomes Therapy Dog in Mystic


From tough beginnings to better lives, rescue pets often inspire people with their perseverance. In fact, one Connecticut dog is changing lives with her story.

These days you will find Bella, the dog, spending her time at work as a therapy dog. She visits schools, hospitals and retirement homes, such as Academy Point at Mystic.

Bella is ten and a half years old and her life is full of meaning and love. However, like a true underdog tale Bella’s story didn’t start out this way.

“Like a dog unleashed running full out, like the white streak that was Bella,” read Bella’s owner, Jean Bauer.

Bauer lives in Stonington and wrote the book about Bella, called “Joy Unleashed, The Story of Bella, The Unlikely Therapy Dog.” Bella’s story started far from Connecticut on a beach in Puerto Rico.

“Dead dog beach is particularly sad because dogs are not only dumped there, they are tortured they are killed so um she was a very lucky survivor,” said Bauer.

Bella not only survived, but was adopted by Bauer. At first, that adoption was tough.

“She was a wild puppy. She was so wild in fact we had to have her on a leash in the house,” said Bauer.

Therefore, the vet suggested something to keep Bella busy and then Bella the therapy dog was born.

“I think bella communicates with residents in a way people can't,” said Nancy Chaput, the Director of Community Relations at Academy Point at Mystic.

Chaput said Bella has brought so much joy, that most of the residents have read her book. The book helps speak for Bella, but really it’s her wagging tail and constant companionship that is her real communication.

“I wish my Bichon was here, but my Bichon is gone. And to see another dog here, yes it's a wonderful feeling It's a feeling of home again,” said Marge Ciminera, a resident of Academy Point at Mystic.

It’s a welcome home, only a rescue can understand.

“Bella didn't mind not having the words, she spoke fluently with her whole body, a gift to all she serves and was simply joy unleashed,” read Bauer at the end of the book.

Uber Driver Rapes Intoxicated Passenger: NYPD


Police are looking for an Uber driver who allegedly drove an intoxicated woman from Manhattan to his home in Queens and raped her, police said. 

The driver picked up the 31-year-old victim on East 52nd Street at about 1:40 a.m. Thursday, according to police. She passed out at some point, and she awoke in the Uber driver's home on Sanford Avenue in Queens. 

She asked the driver where she was, and he allegedly told her they were in his home. When she remembered they'd had sex, the driver allegedly told her he'd used protection and to "please don't tell the police," the NYPD said.

The woman told the driver to take her home, then called police. 

Police are still searching for the driver.

An Uber spokeswoman said the report is "very concerning" and that the company is looking into it.

Photo Credit: File

2 Police Officers Shot Dead in Florida: Officials


Two police officers were shot dead in Kissimmee, Florida, on Friday night, officials confirmed.

"We are saddened that two of our heroes will not be going home to their families tonight after response to a shots fired call," Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. wrote in an email to NBC. "We, Kissimmee, Osceola County, and all of Central Florida community once again ask for prayers due to another senseless tragedy."

Authorities have not released the names of the officers.

No further information about the incident, which occurred around 9:30 p.m., was immediately available. The Kissimmee Police Department's Twitter account announced a briefing would be held late Friday night.

Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs tweeted the deaths are a "heartbreaking loss of two of Kissimmee's finest officers." The Orange County sheriff's office also tweeted "solidarity" with the Kissimmee community as they handle the "tragic loss."

Florida Governor Rick Scott also tweeted he was "heartbroken" after hearing of the deaths. 

In a separate incident in Jacksonville, Florida, two officers were reported shot by the department's Twitter account. Their conditions are unknown. 

Check back with NBC 6 for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: WESH

3 Transported to Hospital Following Serious Dayville Crash

Lanes Closed on I-84 in Middlebury After Crash


The left lane of Interstate 84 eastbound is closed in Middlebury after a tractor-trailer carrying juice crashed Saturday morning, according to Connecticut State Police.

The crash happened near exit 17. One person had to be extricated, but the injuries are not life threatening, police said.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has been called in to clean up a fuel leak caused by the crash.

The left lane is closed and traffic is congested in the area. Drivers should seek alternate routes if possible.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Four State Swimming Areas Closed Through the Weekend


Four Connecticut state beaches are closed to swimmers this weekend after they tested high for bacteria and algae.

The swimming area at Silver Sands State Park in Milford has been closed since Friday and the water will remain off-limits until at least Tuesday. The state plans to retest the bacteria levels on Monday, but it will take a day to have the results. Oyster Fest, a popular summertime event here in Milford will still go on and the park is still open.

NBC Connecticut caught up with one woman whose plans to spend a week out on the beach were dampened not only by yesterday’s lousy weather but also the news that the beach won’t reopen this weekend.

"It's pretty disappointing since it’s like the end the summer and I'm going back to college in a few days so I want to enjoy my last few days in Milford, but hopefully it will clear up soon so I can get back in the water before I leave," said Jill Martinez of Milford.

The state routinely tests the water quality at its swimming areas.

Swimming areas are also closed at Indian Well in Shelton and Lake Waramaug in Kent because of high bacteria levels. Swimming at Kettletown Beach in Southbury is closed, not for high bacteria but for blue green algae.

Lake Waramaug could open Tuesday, but the earliest Indian Well will reopen isThursday.

No timeline was given for Kettletown.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Clear the Shelters: Today's the Day to Find a New Pet


Tonia Sewell thought that she and her boyfriend would keep the pointer-mix puppy for just five days, until Saturday's Clear the Shelters adoption drive at the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

But instead of giving up the puppy, they decided to keep it. Call it an foster fail.

“The biggest successful foster fail,” Sewell, of Miami Beach, said over the hubbub at the Humane Society Saturday morning.

Clear the Shelters, the third annual pet adoption drive sponsored by the NBC- and Telemundo-owned television stations, culminates today with more than 900 shelters participating in 76 communities across the country. Since this year’s event was launched in the last month, more than 31,000 pets have been taken. By midday, that number had reached almost 40,000.

To encourage families to find a new pet, whether puppies, older cats, rabbits or iguanas, all of the participating animal shelters and rescue organizations are reducing or waiving adoption fees.

When the day began, Sissi, a grey-furred cat with long whiskers, was available for adoption at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Fairfax, Virginia. She is super fluffy and a little shy.

At the New Hampshire SPCA in Stratham, Spike needed a new family after his owner died.

And at Muttville, a senior dog rescue in San Francisco, a 12-year-old bubbly former stray named Sierra was ready for a home.

At the Humane Society of Greater Miami, which saw almost 100 adoptions during last year's event, there was a line outside before the shelter opened Saturday morning. An hour in, about 100 people had come through looking for a pet.

"We’re hoping to break last year’s record for sure," said Toni Diaz, the associate director of development.

Sewell had already fostered some kittens and thought she would take a break when the Humane Society called about the puppy, which looks like a Jack Russell Terrier. Her boyfriend had always wanted a dog, she said.

“It was meant to be,” she said. “We fostered him for a week. He got along with our cats and that was it.”

The need remains great. The number of animals entering shelters each year is about 6.5 million, 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Though the number has declined from about 7.2 million in 2011, with the biggest drop in the number dogs, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year.

On the happier side, about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted annually and another 710,000 are returned to their owners.

In the Washington D.C. area, dogs, cats, a guinea pig and a sun conure or parakeet were adopted in the first hours of the adoption drive. Marcel Green of Gaithersburg, Maryland, lined up early — at 4 a.m. outside the Humane Rescue Alliance — to find a dog for his mother. More than six hours later he and his father, Bruce, were headed home with a 2-month-old chocolate colored puppy.

Clear the Shelters began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.

A year later that number jumped to nearly 20,000 as the adoption drive went national, with more than 400 shelters taking part across the country. Last year, as the event was extended over a month, more than 45,000 pets were adopted from 680 shelters, 13 of which were emptied.

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USCG Search Water for 2 Men Missing Off Fairfield Coast


Rescue crews are searching off the coast of Fairfield for two men who were swept out into the water while fishing at Penfield Reef Saturday.

According to the US Coast Guard, six people were fishing at Penfield Reef when three of them were swept out by the water around 7:45 a.m. One person resurfaced, but the other two remain missing.

The missing victims are described as two men in their 20s.

USCG crews, the Fairfield Marine Unit, and Bridgeport Marine Unit are all searching the area.

Anyone with information should contact the USCG command center at 203-468-4401.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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58 Underage Drinking Referrals at Florida Georgia Line Show


Hartford police made 58 underage drinking referrals Friday night in the parking lots of a Florida Georgia Line Concert at the Xfinity Theatre.

Hartford police had prepared for an increased level of law enforcement at the concert, specifically to crack down on underage drinking after many concertgoers wound up in the hospital at a recent event.

On July 21, the Xfinity parking lots were packed with people, many of whom were under 21 years old, for a Chance The Rapper concert. Police said there was a lot of heavy drinking, which resulted in 50 people being charged with underage drinking and 96 people being taken by ambulance to hospitals.

Many of those patients were suffering from severe intoxication and some were transported to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford.

After the incident, police met with Xfinity Theatre representatives, and Xfinity Theatre agreed to pay for an additional law enforcement presence at the FGL show.

Police said they made 58 referrals. AMR supervisors did not release a specific number of transports, but estimated that “around 30” people were transported to the hospital, police said.

Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley described Friday’s show as more subdued and calmer than some others.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Md. Man Confesses to Stabbing, Killing Sister, Cousins: Police


Police in Maryland said a man confessed to the fatal stabbings of his 6-year-old sister and his two young cousins while they were lying in bed.

Antonio Shareek Williams, 25, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of the three girls in Prince George’s County. Police said their bodies were discovered around 7:30 a.m. Friday in a home in the 6400 block of Brooke Jane Drive in Clinton, Maryland.

Investigators said Williams was left in the home by his mother to watch over Nadiara Janae Withers, 6, who police described as his sister, Ariana Elizabeth DeCree, 9, and Ajayah Royale DeCree, 6, his two cousins.

The DeCree sisters are from in Newark, New Jersey, who were in Clinton and visiting for the summer. They are the daughters of the suspect’s mother’s cousin, police said.

When the mother, Andrena Kelley, returned home from work early Friday morning, she discovered the girls in their beds, suffering from what appeared to be stab wounds.

The Prince George’s County Fire Department responded to the scene, but all three children were pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they found a 2-year-old girl, who was unharmed, in the home when they arrived. She was another sister of the suspect.

Investigators said Williams was arrested and later provided a full confession of how he stabbed and killed the three girls while the kids were sharing a bed. They said he did not provide a reason for the attack.

Williams is in custody of the Department of Corrections on a no-bond status. Police said they had no word about a lawyer for him.

Photo Credit: Prince George's County Police Department
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Police Investigate Untimely Death in South Windsor


South Windsor police are investigating the untimely death of a man found in his home on Palmer Drive Saturday.

Police said a nurse visiting the home called police around 8 a.m. when no one came to the door. When officers entered, they found the 31-year-old man dead. He has not been publicly identified.

The nurse made daily visits to provide medication to the victim, police said.

The State Police Major Crimes unit and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will assist with the investigation.

Police said there is no threat to the public, though the cause and manner of death are being called “undetermined” at this time.

NBC Connecticut will provide updates as they come into the newsroom.

Police ID Man Found Dead in Shetucket River in Norwich


Police have identified a man whose body was found in the Shetucket River in Norwich last month after asking for help from the public to determine who he is.

Two people who were fishing saw the man's body floating in the Shetucket River off Hamilton Avenue, near Palmer Street, just after 8:30 p.m. on July 22 and police said the man appeared to have been dead for a while.

An autopsy was performed on July 23 and the results are undetermined, pending further study, police said, but they do not suspect foul play.

The man has been identified as 54-year-old Jay T. Oat, last known address in Norwich.

The investigation into his death is ongoing. Anyone with information should call the Norwich Police Department at 860-886-5561, extension 6, or the department’s anonymous tip line at 860-886-5561, extension 4.

Photo Credit: Norwich Police

New Haven Man Seriously Injured in Hamden Shooting


A 27-year-old New Haven man was seriously injured in a shooting in Hamden Saturday.

Hamden Police said it happened around 4 a.m. in the area of Oregon Avenue and Manilla Avenue.

The victim was shot multiple times in the back and rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital with serious injuries. He was listed in serious condition, police said.

The shooting is under investigation. Anyone with information should contact Detective Joseph Liguori at (203) 230-4040.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

2-Year-Old Hurt After Getting Ahold of Parent's Gun: Police


A 2-year-old is recovering from a gunshot wound after apparently getting ahold of a parent's gun, according to Hartford police.

Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley tweeted Saturday that the child suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound. Preliminary information is that the child somehow got ahold of a parent’s gun.

Hartford police are investigating.

No other details were immediately available.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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