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Police Release IDs After New Milford Cop-Involved Shooting


Police have identified the 62-year-old New Milford man who was killed in a police-involved shooting Monday night and the officer who shot him.

New Milford police responded to Outlook Road around 4:50 p.m. Monday after receiving a disturbance call and a resident, Kostatinos Sfaelos, came out of the residence, holding a shotgun, ignored officers' requests to talk and ran into the woods with the gun, state police said.

Police and K9 units searched the woods but Sfaelos came out of the woods on his own, still carrying the weapon, and approached officers, according to state police.

A New Milford officer, identified as 33-year-old Christopher Hayes, fired at least once and struck Sfaelos after the New Milford man refused to drop the gun, Connecticut State Police said.

Sfaelos was taken to Danbury Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Hayes has been with the New Milford Police Department since 2014.

Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime detectives and the State’s Attorney’s Office continue to investigate.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Mnuchin Says Administration Not Focused on Tubman $20


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration was still reviewing the possibility of removing Andrew Jackson from the $20 in favor of escaped slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman, but it wasn't a priority. 

"Ultimately, we will be looking at this issue. It's not something I'm focused on at the moment," Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC

He added the primary reason they would consider altering the bill would be to combat counterfeiting, not for symbolic or cultural reasons.

"The reasons on why we change it will be primarily related to what we need to do for security purposes," Mnuchin said. "It's something we'll consider, but right now we have a lot more important issues to focus on."

During the presidential campaign while speaking on NBC's "Today" show, Trump suggested Tubman's likeness should go on a different denomination.

"Well Andrew Jackson had a great history and I think it's very rough when you take somebody off the bill," Trump said. "Andrew Jackson had a history of tremendous success for the country."

He suggested that "maybe we do the $2 bill" or something else for Tubman.

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4th Arrest in Connection With Murder of Danbury Teen


Police have charged a fourth juvenile in connection with the death of an 18-year-old Danbury man on Aug. 5.

Police said officers found 18-year-old Gabriel Bara-Bardo, of Danbury, alone and unconscious, on the road next to his vehicle on Abbott Street around 5:45 p.m. on Aug. 5 when they responded to a report of suspicious activity.

Bara-Bardo never regained consciousness and died from his injuries, according to police. His death was later ruled a homicide caused by complications following blunt impact to the head and neck.

A girl turned herself in around 4:45 p.m. Thursday, police said.

She has been charged with second-degree robbery, criminal liability/robbery in the second degree, conspiracy to commit/robbery in the second degree, fifth-degree larceny, criminal liability/larceny in the fifth degree, conspiracy to commit/larceny in the fifth degree, first-degree reckless endangerment and reckless driving. She was was transported to Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.

A boy turned himself in to police at 11:38 a.m. Wednesday. He has been charged with second-degree robbery, fifth-degree larceny, two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and larceny and two counts of criminal liability. He was transported to the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center. 

Police previously arrested a 15-year-old boy who was charged with felony murder, second-degree robbery, criminal mischief, larceny and four counts of conspiracy to commit all the above charges. He was transported to the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.

Police have also arrested a 16-year-old boy who was charged with felony murder, second-degree robbery, second-degree criminal mischief, fifth-degree larceny and four counts of conspiracy to commit felony murder, second-degree robbery, second-degree criminal mischief and fifth-degree larceny,

Police are still investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Notes From Russian Meet Refer to Political Contributions


Paul Manafort's notes from a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign included a mention of political contributions near a reference to the Republican National Committee, two sources briefed on the evidence told NBC News.

The contents of the note, which have not been previously disclosed, elevated the significance of the June 2016 meeting for congressional investigators, who are focused on determining whether it included any discussion of donations from Russian sources to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party.

It is illegal for foreigners to donate to American elections. The meeting happened just as Trump had secured the Republican nomination for president, and he was considered a longshot to win. Manafort was the campaign chairman at the time.

The sources told NBC News that prosecutors want to know what Trump knew about the meeting and whether he sought to conceal its purpose.

CORRECTION (Aug. 31, 8:21 p.m. EST): An earlier version of this article used an incorrect quotation in describing Paul Manafort’s notes. According to a spokesman for Sen. Charles Grassley, whose committee staff has reviewed them, the notes did not include the word "donation." A source who provided the information said the notes used a word that referenced political contributions, and another source said the notes used the word "donor."

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke/AP

Photos: Katharine Hepburn Estate Sold


The former Old Saybrook estate of Katharine Hepburn is off the market. It sold for $11.5 million.

Photo Credit: Aaron Thompson; Getty Images

How Many Billions of Dollars in Damage Will Harvey Cost?


Experts have already begun to offer damage estimates of Harvey, even as the historic floods keep rising. The range, however, is wide: Hannover Re, one of the largest re-insurers in the world, predicted a price tag of $3 billion on insured losses, while Accuweather projected it to have a $190 billion impact on the economy.

The "insured losses" category only incorporates what insurance companies will be on the hook for, while the cumulative economic impact is much broader and includes losses for businesses.

If Accuweather's eye-popping estimate is correct, Harvey would cost nearly as much to the economy as Hurricanes Katrina and Superstorm Sandy combined.

Dr. Joel Myers, Accuweather's founder and president, said the $190 billion figure was based on "knowing what the effect was from Katrina and Sandy and from dozens of other storms and what their ultimate damage estimates were."

Photo Credit: Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Mueller, New York AG Joining Forces on Manafort Probe


Investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the office of New York's Attorney General are coordinating their probes of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's finances, NBC News reported.

A senior law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the matter confirms the cooperation, which was first reported by Politico. The official said coordination is not surprising given the common subject of the investigation and the desire for the two teams to coordinate their efforts.

As NBC News has previously reported, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is examining all of Manafort's real estate transactions in New York state.

Manafort's properties have come under scrutiny from investigators because experts say they fit a pattern that raises questions about how he was moving his money. Manafort's spokesperson, Jason Maloni, did not respond to multiple calls for comment.

Photo Credit: AP Images

After Exploring Gubernatorial Options, Lembo Decides to Run for Comptroller Again


After opening an exploratory campaign to run for governor, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced Thursday that he is officially declaring his candidacy for re-election as state comptroller. 

“I have spent the past four months, with many of you by my side, traveling to every corner of this state as I explored a run for governor. These conversations and your record-breaking support have inspired and humbled me. This journey has also reinforced and reminded me what I’m most passionate about: a health care system and a state financial and economic system that works for everyone,” Lembo said in a statement. 

“I am determined to continue that fight, and believe the best place for me to do that is as state comptroller. And so – after reflection, consideration and consultation with my family – I am officially declaring my candidacy for re-election,” he said. 

Several well-known Democrats have expressed interest in running since Gov. Dannel Malloy announced that he will not seek re-election. 

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew announced in July his intention to run for governor and former Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jon Harris and Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim announced they were forming exploratory committees.

The announcements come at a time the state deals with fiscal challenges and the lack of a state budget. 

“Connecticut, with all of its financial struggles, is a place of great potential – in its people, its workforce and its values. This state was never meant to be the rest stop between New York and Boston but, rather, the economic engine of New England. That reality remains within our grasp,” Lembo said. 

In his statement running for Comptroller again, he offered words of thanks to people who have supported him. 

“To everyone who has contributed, volunteered, and supported me, I offer my deepest thanks. I couldn’t be more grateful,” Lembo said in a statement. “I’m excited about the future and hope that you’ll continue to stand by me, because the only way forward is growth – and the only way to achieve that is together.”

Clinic Writes Narcan Prescriptions on Overdose Awareness Day


Nicole Kennedy stopped by the New Haven Green on Thursday morning to pick up a prescription for Narcan nasal spray.

"I’ve seen friends shoot up the fentanyl and just die right there on the spot," she said while filling out the paperwork. "But having access to Narcan has brought them back."

The Cornell Scott Hill Health Center had three objectives during its International Overdose Awareness Day event. Staff taught people to recognize the signs of opioid overdoses, conducted training on how to use Narcan and wrote prescriptions for the nasal spray version of the potentially life-saving drug.

"Before we even started this event we had people lined up to get prescriptions," said Melissa Zuppardi, assistant program manager at the Grant Street Partnership substance abuse disorder treatment center. "We just want to arm as many people as possible with Narcan, so if they encounter someone who is overdosing they can reverse that."

This week the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released new alarming numbers. There have been 539 accidental drug abuse deaths in Connecticut between Jan. 1 and June 30. The yearly projection is 1,078, which would be up 18 percent from 2016.

"More people are dying in the state of Connecticut from drug intoxication deaths than all the people who are dying from homicides, suicides and motor vehicle collisions combined," Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Gill said on Wednesday.

The opioid epidemic does not discriminate based on gender, age or income.

"Based on our admissions as well we are getting people who are coming from all different areas of the state, different communities outside of our normal typical population," Zuppardi told NBC Connecticut.

Health professionals say what is adding to the challenge of this public health crisis is drug dealers mixing fentanyl, the potent synthetic opioid, with other illegal substances like cocaine. The medical examiner reported that 322 of the fatal overdoses this year involved fentanyl.

"They’re not used to it, so their bodies take a much bigger hit and are much more likely to go and be overdosed," Phil Costello from the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center said.

Kennedy tells NBC Connecticut she is now in recovery. She said she has not used heroin since it almost killed her on Christmas in 2015 after she learned her dad passed away.

"Didn’t know how to handle it and no one to turn to," she said. "I got high and the girl on the third floor of my apartment building, (applied Narcan) and saved me."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Tanker Rollover Closes Part of Route 42 in Beacon Falls


Route 42 in Beacon Falls will be closed for an extended time near Blackberry Hill Road after a tanker carrying around 1,600 gallons of oil rolled over.

State police said there are minor injuries.

Crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are responding.

There are several possible detours in the area.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Body South Windsor Man Found on Talcott Mountain in Simsbury


The body of a person was found on Talcott Mountain in Simsbury on Thursday. 

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said EnCon Police are investigating.

The body was found by three hikers who alerted police at 3 p.m.

Police identified the body as a 20-year-old man from South Windsor, DEEP said.

The case is being considered an untimely death and does not appear to be suspicious, DEEP said. 

Photo Credit: AP

Accident Shuts Down I-84 East in Cheshire

New Haven Rabbi Leading ‘Convoy of Hope’ to Houston


A New Haven rabbi is trying to fill a U-Haul truck with non-perishable foods, hygiene products and cleaning supplies to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

"Anybody who sees those pictures can’t help but open their heart," Rabbi Mendy Hecht told NBC Connecticut.

Susan Karp from New Haven’s Westville neighborhood is moved by the images of devastation coming out of the Houston area.

"To see people who’ve worked all their lives, especially older people who’ve worked all their lives and everything is gone," Karp said. "Families with young kids that everything is gone."

On Thursday, Karp went on a shopping run to support her rabbi’s Hurricane Harvey relief collection.

"Baby shampoo, regular shampoo, toothbrushes, adult and children’s, toothpaste soap, hand sanitizers, some food things," she said listing her donations.

Hecht recruited friends in four other cities – Fairfield, Atlanta, Chattanooga and Detroit – to join what he is calling a Convoy of Hope.

"Thinking about it a little more, I thought that you know what if we could get a whole convoy of trucks to go down from different locations in the country," he said.

Hecht has been in touch with the Jewish community in Houston to help direct where the donations will be distributed once he arrives next week.

"We have some people, who are committed, some bigger commercial establishments that will be giving us some larger quantities of goods," Hecht said. "But we really want this to be an effort from the ground up."

On Friday, you can help fill the Convoy of Hope truck from 8 a.m. until noon at the Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy. The truck will then move to Chapel Street in Wooster Square from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Hecht, along with another driver, plan to leave for Texas on Sunday morning.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Resident Stops Suspect From Robbing Cars in Ansonia: PD


A resident apprehended a man stealing items from unlocked cars in Ansonia on Thursday morning, police said. 

Timothy Stumpo was arrested for burglary, larceny and criminal attempt at burglary, police said. 

The 34-year-old suspect was stopped by an area resident on Harris Road who reported seeing Stumpo going through cars in their driveway, Ansonia police said. 

"The police department encourages all residents to report any suspicious activity they see, however they should refrain from approaching or attempting to detain someone as it may place them in a dangerous situation," Ansonia police said in a statement.

Police came and arrested Stumpo at 3:44 a.m.

The Ansonia Police Department is reminding all residents to lock their cars and not to leave valuables in their cars. Any resident who has had their car entered should call the Ansonia Police Department at (203) 735-1885 and report the incident.

Photo Credit: Ansonia Police

Trump Killed Obama's Equal Pay Rule. Now What?


The Trump administration has stopped an Obama-era rule requiring large companies to report how much they pay workers by race and gender, NBC News reported. The rule was intended to help close the persistent wage gap between men and women, as well as between racial groups, through greater pay transparency.

"While I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results," said Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, who came to Washington promising to fight for working women.

In a recent study, Cornell University economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn found that 38 percent of the wage gap may be due to discrimination, rather than differences in occupation, work experience, education and other individual choices.

Despite the White House’s inaction, a growing number of states and municipalities are passing new laws requiring pay transparency for government contractors, and employees themselves are pushing for greater salary disclosure.

Photo Credit: Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images, File

Suspect Lures Man Out of Apartment With Car Alarm, Shoots Him: PD


A man was arrested for luring another man out of his Bridgeport apartment and then fatally shooting him in July.

Richard Evans was served with an arrest warrant on Thursday following his alleged involvement in the homicide of 44-year-old Reginald May on July 2, police said. 

Bridgeport police said Evans lured May out of his apartment by setting of his car alarm. When May walked out of his apartment building on Alice Street, Evans allegedly opened fire on him from a neighboring yard.

Evans bond was set at $1,000,000. 

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

Thomaston Officer Responding to Call Gets Into 3-Car Accident


A Thomaston officer responding to a call was involved in a three-car accident on Thursday night. 

Police said two Thomaston police officers were responding with lights and sirens activated to an active panic alarm at the Citgo Gas Station on Watertown Road at 5:40 p.m. 

While responding, one of the officers was involved in an accident with two other cars, Thomaston police said. 

The officer and other motorist involved were all transported to the hospital. No life-threatening injuries have been reported. 

The crash is under investigation with assistance from Connecticut State Police.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Connecticut Pistol Permit Mailed to Wrong Person


When an envelope addressed to Chris Swiatlon arrived in mid-July, it contained the pistol permit he’d been waiting for.

Except the permit wasn’t his.

"Completely different person, looks nothing like me. Not even close to the same name, different address, different town," he said.

For Swiatlon, it was both a privacy issue and a safety concern.

"Because assuming my permit's lost, my first fear is someone who looks like me out there could possibly use my permit to purchase a gun," he said.

Swiatlon wondered if the other man received his permit and tried reaching out, hoping to arrange a swap. He also wanted to assure the man that his permit was in good hands, but Swiatlon said he didn’t hear back.

Next, he called the Connecticut State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit, the division of troopers that handles pistol permits.

He explained the situation to a supervisor and Swiatlon said she told him he violated the other man’s privacy by calling him.

The supervisor told Swiatlon a new permit would be mailed to him, but Swiatlon said there was no mention of what to do with the other man’s permit, or what happened to his own permit in the first place.

“Mine could be anywhere for all I know,” he said.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters contacted Connecticut State Police.

A spokesperson for the department provided the following statement:

“The Special Licensing and Firearms Unit (SLFU) is aware that due to an administrative error, a pistol permit renewal was recently mailed to the wrong individual. We regret the delay this may have caused the recipient and want to assure the public that there are a number of measures in place to prevent the illegal use of a misdirected, lost or stolen permit. These include a corresponding photograph of the licensee on the permit and field accessibility to the permit database for real-time verification. Of the nearly 5,000 permit applications processed in July, this is the only such occasion that has been brought to our attention. Every effort is being made to ensure that every letter reaches its intended recipient.”

When asked what Swiatlon should do with the other permit, the spokesperson said he should call SLFU.

Swiatlon is holding onto it until he receives clear instructions.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters also reached out to the man whose permit was mistakenly mailed to Swiatlon. He said he never received Swiatlon’s message and was unaware of the situation.

When the other man's permit didn’t arrive on time, he said he called SLFU and was mailed a new one.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Disturbing New Details on Alleged Whiting Abuse


There are disturbing new details about what some staffers allegedly did to a patient at Connecticut's maximum security forensic hospital.

The abuse at the Whiting Forensic Division on the Connecticut Valley Hospital campus in Middletown was first reported in April. 

A new report documents video surveillance from a patient's room from February 27 to March 22 this year. Investigators said they saw evidence the longtime psychiatric patient was repeatedly:

  • Kicked and spit upon
  • Had water poured on him
  • Had a dirty mop rubbed in his face
  • Had a dirty diaper placed on his head
  • And staffers put salt in his coffee and hot sauce in his food

The patient’s conservator, Karen Kangas, has seen some of this video.

“What was the most disturbing about all of it is it was things that were unprovoked. He was not yelling, and screaming, or doing anything, he was trying to sleep," Kangas said.

The agency overseeing Whiting said it is appalled and has taken steps to address it. That includes putting 31 staffers on paid administrative leave.

The report said the video shows 40 Whiting employees either committing or witnessing the abuse and wonders why they're not all on leave. The state said it has initiated various personnel actions based on the severity of the alleged work rule violations.

This isn't the only report on this. State police have an ongoing criminal investigation as well.

This is the full statement from the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS):

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) is grateful for the efforts of the Department of Public Health on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Their efforts have provided a detailed report related to allegations of client abuse. DMHAS had already taken corrective action on most of the findings included in the report and will continue to address them on an ongoing basis. Steps that have been taken include:

o Initiated various personnel actions based on severity of alleged work rule violations.

o Increased managerial presence on-site

o Provided enhanced staff training

o Environmental and security improvements

o Increased office hours for client rights officers and client advocate

o Reviewed reporting mechanisms with staff and clients and reporting requirements for staff

DMHAS is appalled by the nature of the abuse in the allegations. We will complete a thorough HR investigation once the criminal investigation into these allegations is complete. We continue to work to identify more ways to improve patient care and safety and will do whatever is necessary to prevent future incidents. We remain committed to our vision of providing high-quality behavioral health care that is compassionate, genuine and professional.

North Stonington Elementary Start Delayed by PCBs Levels


Elementary students in North Stonington haven’t had their first day of school, yet because hazardous air quality shut down three classrooms.

The testing delayed the start of school by almost a week, according to district Superintendent Peter Nero.

The school was supposed to start Wednesday but because of higher-than-recommended levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, better known as PCBs, in those few classrooms, the school was left scrambling to reorganize.

Thursday afternoon caution tape lined the entrance to North Stonington Elementary School with a sign posted that the school is closed and set to reopen Tuesday, Sept. 5.

In a phone call with NBC Connecticut, Nero said the latest testing for PCBs, a suspected carcinogen, targeted the music room, the library and a meeting room for staff and students as having an air quality at a higher-than-recommended level for young students, so they’ve been closed off.

He sent a voicemail to parents Tuesday informing them about the situation. It said in part, "We apologize for any inconvenience, however, the health, safety and welfare of our students and staff is always our number one priority."

Nero said he has been very vocal for years about the PCB problem in the school and has been pushing for a fix. A building project was first proposed in 2014. Nero said in 2016 a project to renovate both the elementary and middle/high schools was passed. It would completely remediate the chemical, which at the elementary level includes extracting the bricks around the windows, all the paint off the walls, and in some cases, creating new walls.

But plans have been delayed because of the state budget, Nero added.

The district has been in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), according to Nero, adding Eagle Environmental has done the PCB testing in the school.

PCBs were commonly used in building materials before 1979, according to Emily Bender, a public affairs specialist with the EPA, in an email to NBC Connecticut.

“PCBs were identified in the North Stonington school in certain paints, interior/exterior caulk, floor mastics and in exterior soil and ground surfaces located adjacent to the building,” she wrote, adding that the school even constructed a fence to restrict access to PCB-contaminated soil.

“EPA recommends to continue implementation of its best management practices, including cleaning and ensuring that air handling systems are working efficiently, to reduce PCB concentrations in indoor air and dust,” Bender wrote.

“Not what you expect, but things come up in the school and it’s better that they’re taking care of it,” said parent Lynda Pierce. She has a first and second grader at North Stonington Elementary and would rather wait to send them until the district deems it safe.

Parents at a meeting on Thursday night went to the school to learn more about PCBs. The district said this was a common problem in schools built in the 1960s. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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