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Video Released of Hartford Officer DUI Arrest in Plainville


A Hartford police detective is accused of driving under the influence in Plainville last month and using several racial slurs during that arrest and Plainville police have released dashcam video from that arrest.  

The video released Tuesday shows 44-year –old Robert Lanza’s interaction with officers who pulled over the Wolcott man on Aug. 27. 

“I'm gonna ask you to do three exit tests OK? Really quick, to see if you're OK to drive,” a Plainville police officer said in the video. 

“I'm not doing your tests. I'm not doing your tests. I'm not doing it,” Lanza said. 

“OK,” the Plainville officer said. 

“Take me to jail,” Lanza is also heard saying. 

In the video, Lanza swears at officers and can be heard using a racial slur. 

The Hartford Police Department opened its own internal investigation after learning of the arrest. 

Lanza, who is an 11-year veteran of the force, is currently assigned to administrative duties.

Photo Credit: Plainville Police

3 Arrested in Customs' 'Rape Table,' Hazing Probe at Newark


Three Customs and Border Protection officers have been arrested following a bombshell I-Team report exposing allegations of extreme, sexually abusive hazing of colleagues at Newark Airport, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Tito Catota, 38, Parmenio Perez, 40, and Michael Papagni, 32, all of New Jersey, are charged with forcibly assaulting, impeding, intimidating and interfering with two male customs officers while they were on duty.

They are expected to appear in federal court later Wednesday. Attorney information wasn't immediately available.

A spokesman for CBP told News 4 in a statement it welcomes the indictments and that it "fully supported" the investigation by the Inspector General.

"We do not tolerate misconduct in our ranks and are committed to a safe workplace environment free of harassment or intimidation," said spokesman Anthony Bucci, adding that CBP authorities took "administrative and management actions to correct the situation." 

"The overwhelming majority of CBP employees, and our men and women in uniform at the port of Newark, perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe," said Bucci. 

According to the criminal complaint, all three officers were assigned to the CBP’s Passenger Enforcement Rover Team (PERT), an elite passenger screening team at Newark that was disbanded in May, two days after the exclusive I-Team report. The removal of the team wasn't revealed until July, though, when acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan disclosed in a letter to U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), who had sought action in the case, that 11 officers had been suspended pending the outcome of a federal investigation. 

The two male victims referred to in the criminal complaint are not named, though three came forward publicly to the News 4 I-Team months ago with allegations matching the behavior described in the federal court documents.

According to the complaint, one victim was assigned to PERT in October 2016. Within his first two weeks on the job, Papagni allegedly told him that the PERT office table, located in the team's second-floor officer at Terminal C, was known as the "rape table," and threatened that the victim would have to get on it.  

Months later, the victim was asked to forward a document related to the prior drug seizure. While the victim and another individual were scanning it, Papagni allegedly warned the victim he had five minutes to get out of the office or Papagni would teach him "what this team is about." Moments later, another individual with customs shut off the lights in the PERT office. Papagni, Catota and another person held the victim down, according to the complaint. 

While they did so, Perez allegedly got on top of the victim and grinded against his genitals through his clothing in a motion simulating a sex act, the complaint says. The victim tried to push him off but could not. Eventually, Perez got up and the three people holding down the victim let him go, the complaint says.

The second victim was also forced onto the purported "rape table;" in his case, it was in November 2016, the complaint says. He allegedly saw one officer lock one of the doors to the office and tried to leave, but was grabbed by Catota, Papagni and Perez and thrown onto the table, the complaint alleges. While two of the defendants held him down, the other got on top of him and grinded against his leg, again simulating a sex act, the complaint alleges. The victim struggled to break free until the suspects eventually released him.   

Wednesday's arrests come nearly four months to the day the I-Team exposed the hazing allegations in an exclusive report. The hazed officers told the I-Team the abuse happened for years in that secure room in Terminal C. Though no victims are identified in the criminal complaint, officers came forward to the I-Team with allegations similar, if not exactly akin, to what prosecutors allege.

"Once the lights go out, they grab you up like a gang, and they forcibly throw you on the table and one officer ended up mounting me and pretty much riding me like a horse," CBP officer Vito Degironimo said, describing it as sexual attack. "I’m grabbed by other officers against my will. I don’t know how much more criminal you can get." 

"Hazing wouldn’t do this justice. This is complete assault. They take you in a room and your fellow officers are all watching as officers grab you," he said. 

CBP officer Diana Cifuentes, who also said she suffered abuse at the hands of fellow officers, said, "I’m afraid for my life, my safety." 

In June, a fourth officer who was not assigned to PERT and did not want to be named, told the I-Team he’d been taped to a chair by fellow officers and feared suffocation when a plastic bag was placed over his head. 

The DHS Office of Inspector General launched an investigation in late January after CBP headquarters became aware of the alleged misconduct at Newark Airport. All of the officers who spoke with the I-Team have been interviewed by the DHS Office of Inspector General and all requested transfers out of Newark. 

McAleenan said in his July letter to Waterson Coleman that managers and enforcement team trainers from JFK Airport had been assigned to Newark “to review and assess operations, provide training, and assist with the organization of Newark’s Enforcement Team."

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they were appalled by the allegations.

"The defendants, who were members of a unit responsible for identifying dangerous contraband and threats to national security, allegedly subjected their own colleagues to senseless physical abuse, all while on duty at Newark Liberty International Airport," Acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick said in a statement. "This behavior would be abhorrent in any environment, especially one serving a critical law enforcement function. The hardworking men and women who protect our borders deserve better."

Watson Coleman commended CBP and DHS for taking action on the Newark allegations, but said now the attention needs to focus on preventing such alleged abuse in the future. 

"Beyond the outcome of this specific incident, we need to work diligently to ensure that CBP and DHS leadership take the steps necessary to eliminate abuse and other inappropriate conduct issues within the agency," Watson Coleman's statement said. "It is imperative the men and women who help keep our nation secure can do their jobs safely and with dignity and that they are held to the highest legal, ethical and performance standards."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Anthem and Connecticare to Remain on Access Health: Sources


Sources tell NBC Connecticut that Connecticare and Anthem will continue to offer plans on Access Health Connecticut. 

This is a major boost for the exchange that has been facing uncertainty for two years, but now faces greater uncertainty after President Donald Trump said lawmakers should the Affordable Care Act implode.

Access Health has widely been considered around the country to be one of the bigger success stories to emerge from the Affordable Care Act. Uninsured rates have plummeted in Connecticut since the law took effect and Access Health started offering plans. 

There was a concern in the healthcare and political arenas that there wouldn't be any companies offering plans due to changes at the federal level. President Trump intends on ending almost all outreach to get more people to sign up, and there have been discussions in Washington, D.C. that the subsidies used to help people pay for their premiums could be cut. The cost-sharing funds are a staple of the Affordable Care Act. 

Premiums are expected to rise under the next round of open enrollment due to multiple factors. Both Connecticare and Anthem have filed rate proposals that take into account plans that would and would not have cost sharing. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman are expected to announce later today that Access Health will have multiple carriers.

The Trump administration significantly scaled back open enrollment and this year provides for only a six-week window for signups that starts Nov. 1.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Museum Highlights New Haven Tattoo History


When it comes to tattoos, the New Haven area has a rich history that includes Samuel O’Reilly, who patented the first electric tattoo machine in 1891, and Henry Silver, the earliest known tattoo artist to advertise in the New Haven Register, according to the New Haven Museum. Later this month, the museum is hosting an exhibit all about the tattoo industry in the area.

The “Old-School Ink: New Haven’s Tattoos” exhibit starts Sept. 23 and runs until March 10, 2018. 

Several events are planned for opening day, Sept. 23 at the New Haven Museum.

From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., there will be hands-on activities; temporary tattoos; professional photography of visitors and their tattoos, a storytelling booth with the New Haven Story Project, and a reception with the artists from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The free opening marks Museum Day Live!, a national celebration sponsored each year by Smithsonian Magazine

The New Haven Museum is located at 114 Whitney Ave.

For more information visit www.newhavenmuseum.org or Facebook.com/NewHavenMuseum or call 203-562-4183.

We want to see photos of your tattoos. Email them to us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com or upload them here

Photo Credit: Corey Hudson

Flynn's Son Is Subject of Federal Russia Probe: Sources


Michael G. Flynn, the son of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, is a subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, four current and former government officials told NBC News.

The inquiry into Flynn is focused at least in part on his work with his father's lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group, three of the officials said. It's unclear when the focus on Flynn began.

Barry Coburn, who said he is serving as the younger Flynn's legal counsel, said he couldn't comment on the matter.

Flynn's status as a subject of the Russia investigation widens the publicly known scope of the probe. NBC News has reported that those under investigation have included the elder Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Glastonbury Native Says 'Irma Was ‘Like Being in a Blender'


Glastonbury native Rebecca Cavanna rode out Hurricane Irma when it hit Saint Thomas as a Category 5 storm and described it “like being in a blender.” 

“It’s almost like being in a washing machine at a Laundromat, like when you see the clothes in the water and it’s blurry, and it just splats against the windows,” Cavanna said. 

In the rush to send resources down to Texas and Florida hurricane victims, she said she doesn’t want people to forget about their fellow U.S. citizens who were devastated by the storm. 

“Just don’t forget about us. It was a Category 5. It was a really small island and it’s really, really devastated right now. We need help so badly,” said Cavanna. 

The Glastonbury native has made Saint Thomas home for more than a decade after going on vacation there and falling in love with it. 

“It’s beautiful … and gone,” she said, tearing up while talking about the island she now calls home. 

Cavanna said she’s been through tropical storms before but, “Nothing like this. Nothing like Irma.” 

Cavanna said the entire island, at just 32-square-miles, was uprooted. 

“Everyone sustained damage. I don’t think there’s a single home or building that did not,” she said. 

With Irma having been forecast to land north of Saint Thomas, Cavanna and her 4-year-old son, William Beer, rode out the storm in a family member’s home. 

“We could see the roof-sunlight coming between the walls and the roof and just water pouring in. I mean, it sounded like we were in a blender. It was so loud and so scary,” she said. 

They spent the next few nights sleeping in a friend’s heavily damaged home. 

“We were staying on a mattress in the basement with glass everywhere,” she recalled. 

Eventually, they made it to their own condo to see the damage Hurricane Irma left behind. 

“We saw the roof in the driveway. A roof. And I was really hoping it wasn’t mine,” said Cavanna. 

“Our house blew away,” Beer said. 

Their roof landed on their neighbor’s car. The walls of their condo were caved in and the neighborhood was flattened. 

“It’s so devastating. We had just bought that home eight months ago,” Cavanna said. “We had just made it our home and then it was gone.” 

Five days after Irma hit, Cavanna and her son hitched a ride on a plane that came into Saint Thomas on a humanitarian mission. She said she was one of only 13 people on the plane and they made it back to her hometown of Glastonbury Tuesday morning. 

“We were very, very lucky. Right place, right time,” she said. 

The family would like to return to Saint Thomas, but Glastonbury will be home for the foreseeable future because it could take a year for their condo to be rebuilt. 

“I want to go back, but I just don’t feel like I can subject my 4-year-old to that,” said Cavanna. 

She said stories of armed gangs looting neighborhoods made her worry about her safety and that of her son. She added that those who are trapped on the island have no running water or electricity and very little fuel. Most generators run on diesel and with the shortage, those who have them only run them for an hour in the morning and at night. 

The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands has set up a fund for the three U.S. territories affected by the storm.  

You can also donate to the Red Cross. 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Cavanna

6 Dead After Fla. Nursing Home Loses Power From Irma


Six people are dead at a Hollywood, Florida, nursing home left without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, officials said Wednesday morning.

Three of the deaths happened at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and three others died later at the hospital, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said at a news conference Wednesday. The victims' identities were unknown.

Rescue crews responded to the facility at 1200 N. 35th Avenue shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday and found patients "in varying degrees of medical distress," with some in critical condition, Hollywood police said. 

A total of 115 people were evacuated from the home and taken to area hospitals "due to conditions in the facility," Hollywood police said. They did not elaborate on what those conditions were.

Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the six deaths were heat-related, and added: "The building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation." He did not elaborate.

Five other people have died in the Orlando, Miami and Daytona Beach areas of carbon monoxide poisoning from running generators after Irma left them without power. Their deaths were among 13 storm-related fatalities reported by the Florida Division of Emergency Management as of Tuesday afternoon.

Elsewhere, Irma has been blamed for four deaths in South Carolina and two in Georgia. At least 37 people were killed in the Caribbean.

Officers are checking all of the other 42 assisted living facilities in Hollywood as a precaution, officials said. Approximately 150 facilities out of the nearly 700 facilities in the state do not currently have full power restored, according to the Florida Health Care Association.

Family members can inquire about the welfare of a loved one by calling Memorial Regional Hospital at 954-265-300 or 954-265-1074.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was "heartbroken" to learn of the deaths at the nursing home.

"I am going to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place," Scott said in a statement. "Although the details of these reported deaths are still under investigation, this situation is unfathomable."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which regulates nursing homes, gives the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills a below average rating, two stars on its five-star scale. But the most recent state inspection reports showed no deficiencies in the area of emergency plans.

In 2015, Larkin Community Hospital acquired the rehab facility and adjoining hospital, formerly known as Hollywood Pavilion Hospital, in a bankruptcy auction after its former CEO was convicted of running a Medicare fraud scheme, according to a Larkin press release announcing the purchase. Karen Kallen-Zury, Hollywood Pavilion's majority owner, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2015 for fraudulently billing the government more than $39 million.

The 152-bed rehabilitation center was fined $5,500 on Feb. 18, 2016, according to a Medicare website. A 2016 inspection report dated the same day noted a series of deficiencies.

It said that the center had failed to provide daily living activities, leaving one woman in her nightgown facing a television that had not been turned on and in a room with the curtains drawn and the lights out.

Another man had long, jagged fingernails with a black substance under the nails on his right hand and a thick yellowish spongy substance under the left hand fingernails, according to the report. His skin was fragile with multiple bruises and scratches on both arms and he was unshaven.

Dentures, glasses and hearing aids were not provided to residents, the report noted.

The center also failed to provide housekeeping and maintenance needed for a sanitary building. Paint was peeling, a sink and tiles were cracked, a door was rusted, trash was overflowing, doors were dirty and a soiled wheelchair was left in a room.

Finally, the center failed to provide proper wound care in a way to prevent potential contamination, the report said. One wound-care nurse was observed doing the following, according to the inspection report: “She placed the used scissors on the clean wound care supply field and without removing her gloves, washing her hands and donning new gloves, she cleansed the left heel wound with sterile normal saline and dried the area with dry gauze. In reaching for the dry gauze, the plastic bag containing Venelex wound ointment sitting on the clean field, fell on the floor. She proceeded to pick up the plastic bag off the floor and placed it back on the clean wound care supply field.”

The director of nurses, when told of the observation, responded that she could not understand why the nurse had performed so poorly because she had watched the nurse wound care in the past with no issues, the report said.

A report in March found that one woman had had only two showers between March 10 and March 20, though she was supposed to be on a schedule of three showers a week.

In addition, two of 10 residents surveyed had not been assessed for what care they needed within the required timeframes. A coordinator acknowledged during an interview that the center was a year behind in completing the assessments for one resident.

In the kitchen, instant mashed potatoes and pureed vegetable were boiled for up to three hours, food was not being stored and served safely, according to the report. A micro-wave oven was soiled with black matter, the wall near the serving area had dust and dried food on it and small black insects were flying near a bin of uncovered fresh onions, the report said. The center failed to dispose of garbage properly.

"The entire ground area including the alley street area was strewn with trash, garbage, plastics, and used nursing/medical supplies," the report said.

--The Associated Press contributed to this story

Photo Credit: NBC 6

2 Members of CCSU Football Team Suspended Indefinitely


Two members of the Central Connecticut State University football team have been suspended from the team indefinitely.

This comes a day after the school announced four players were suspended for one game after police said they busted a college party and found alcohol and smelled marijuana.

Police said they responded to a home on Roxbury Road in New Britain around 11 p.m. Saturday after receiving anonymous 911 calls reporting a loud college party.

When officers got to the home, which is near CCSU, they saw several people and some were yelling, “chug, chug, chug,” according to the police report.

Kenneth Keen, 21, Randall Laguerre, 21, Chika Chukwu, 20, of Glastonbury, 22-year-old Luke Ocasio, of Wethersfield, and 21-year-old Jose Garcia, of New London, were charged with second-degree breach of peace, and permitting a minor to possess alcohol, according to police.

Chukwu and Garcia have now been suspended from all athletic activities indefinitely, according to the school.

When police went into the house to investigate that complaint Saturday, officers found a beer pong table and several empty beer cans.

Keen and Laguerre told NBC Connecticut that they were not the only home on the street hosting a party and said being a house of minorities and football players made them targets.

"We’re all good student athletes, we’ve never been in trouble before. This is our first citation with the school and we feel as though a lot of things is (sic) being blown out of proportion," Laguerre said.

New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said there was no racial component to the arrest and his officers arrest people based on their behavior.

“We were at the same location just a week ago. We issued some infractions. We said this would not be tolerated," Wardwell said.

CCSU officials said Chukwu, Garcia, Keen and Laguerre are on the football team and Ocasio is a student, but is not on the team. They said the school is pursuing the matter vigorously.

The roster for the CCSU Blue Devils football team lists Laguerre and Keen as linebackers and Garcia and Chukwu as wide receivers.

The players will be suspended for the Sept. 16 game and will be required to do 10 hours of community service, in addition to completing one of the university's alcohol awareness programs.

Police said they also responded to the house on Saturday, Sept. 2, after receiving a complaint about a large party and said they issued citations.

CCSU said they have completed a review of the incident:

"Central Connecticut State University officials have completed their review of the September 9 incident involving four CCSU student-athletes. In line with University policies they have suspended the Blue Devil football players for one game, to be served on September 16. The players are required to perform 10 hours of community service. And they are also required to complete one of the University’s alcohol awareness programs.

CCSU takes its commitment to being a good neighbor seriously. We also believe it is our responsibility to educate our students about being good citizens, whether they are on or off campus."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

1 Dead, 1 Badly Injured After Being Hit by Train in Thompson


One person is dead and another has life-threatening injuries after being hit by a train in Thompson early Wednesday morning.

The report came in at 1:23 a.m. Wednesday that a pedestrian was hit by a train in the area of Buckley Hill Road and River Street in Thompson and firefighters, an ambulance and paramedics who responded realized that two people had been hit by the train and had serious injuries, officials said.

Morgan Nordby, 26, of Thompson, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:42 a.m., according to Quinebaug Valley Emergency Communications and state police.

The other person, 27-year-old Brittany Lafleche, of Thompson, was transported to UMass Memorial in Worcester and has life-threatening injuries, according to state police.

State police said representatives from Providence and Worcester Railroad responded to the scene.

Officials from Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services, Inc., which owns or leases 122 freight railroads worldwide, including Providence and Worcester Railroad, said the train sounded the horn for the crossing and the crew used the emergency brake once they saw the pedestrians, but they could not stop in time.

“This is obviously a terrible tragedy, and counseling is being provided for the train crew,” the railroad services company said in a statement.

They added that employee volunteers from the company’s railroads gave hundreds of Operation Lifesaver presentations last year to thousands of schoolchildren, school bus and truck drivers, law enforcement personnel, first responders and other people to discuss the importance of rail-crossing safety and never trespassing on railroad tracks. 

Train service was stopped at 1:30 a.m. and police cleared the scene at 6:30 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Person of Interest Sought After Offensive Fliers Were Found on Cars in Norwalk


Police are trying to identify a person of interest after several offensive fliers that were found in the Webster Street Lot at 50 Washington St. in Norwalk a couple weeks ago. 

Police said officers seized multiple fliers from car windshields and detectives are investigating to determine if a crime was committed. 

The person is the photograph released might have information that will help in identifying the person or people responsible for the flyers, according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Hudyma at 203-854-3189 or leave anonymous tips on the Norwalk Police Tip Line at 203-854-3111 or on the Norwalk Police website.

You can also text a tip can be submitted by typing "NPD" into the text field, followed by the message, and sending it to CRIMES (274637).

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police

Some CT Residents Say They Aren't Being Paid for Jobs


The restaurant and food industry continues to have issues when it comes to people getting the pay they earned. The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have documented this in a series of reports over the past several years, yet the problem persists.

This time, NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters helped two out of three people who complained about not getting paid.

A young man from Avon with special needs says he hoped working as a dishwasher at Friendly's last summer would help him stash cash for college. But Alex Ryan's checks never came, "(they) said wait a couple days and we'll give you money and then we waited a couple days and we still never got the money for it."

Alex and his family contacted the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters, who helped him get in touch with the right people at the CT Department of Labor, and his roughly $400 check showed up, ten months after he earned it.

For its part, Friendly's said:

"Alex was with us as part of a program the Avon, CT Friendly's formerly took part in with the local high school, where special needs students take part in a workplace setting to gain experience. In June 2016, Alex applied to be considered for employment but was not hired at that time. Alex continued at the location for a few weeks and restaurant management thought this was a continuation of his high school program. We regret this confusion."

Alex's family disagrees with Friendly's account and said the restaurant asked him to work.

Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) student Jordan Resnisky also reached out to the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters after he said he had trouble getting paid by the owner of Meadow Stone Farm, a Brooklyn, Connecticut, cheese maker.

He shared texts with us showing he worked there two days and was let go for not working fast enough at a farmers market, but said when he asked about getting paid for the days he did work, the owner, Julie Lamothe, never replied.

NBC Connecticut urged Resnisky to get in touch with the CT Department of Labor right away, who got him his $143 paycheck. Lamothe told us via text that Resnisky only wanted $100 to work a day or two, known as a quick hit, adding "his check has always been waiting for him."

Resnisky denies Lamothe's claim about a quick hit and said she never told him his check was available.

Then there's Walter Cousins, who said he worked at Us Restaurant and Lounge in Middletown, which abruptly closed.

One of its owners, Earl O'Garro, eventually went to prison in a high profile, but unrelated, financial fraud case. Cousins reached out to see if we could help get the money owed him, but the CT Department of Labor says it rarely can help in cases like this.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters could not get in touch with O’Garro, or his ex-wife, who also played a role in running the restaurant, for their take on what happened with Walter Cousins. In spite of his failure to get paid, in most cases, you can fight back. The CT Department of Labor helps out people working for smaller businesses that do most of their work in the state, the U.S. Department of Labor takes cases involving larger employers engaging in interstate commerce.

10 Injured in Transit Bus Crash in Greenwich

15 Marines Injured in Training Accident on Camp Pendleton


Fifteen U.S. Marines were injured in a training accident involving an amphibious landing vehicle on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, according to the Marine Corps.

The land-based training accident happened at approximately 9:33 a.m. Wednesday, 1st Marine Division public affairs officer 1st Lt. Paul Gainey said. Camp Pendleton is a U.S. Marine Corps base located north of San Diego; the base had more than 42,000 active duty personnel. 

At the time of the incident, the Marines were conducting a scheduled Combat Readiness Evaluation, a standard training for infantry Batallion, Gainey said. 

The amphibious assault vehicle had an accident and caught on fire, a Pendleton spokesman said. 

The incident injured 15 Marines from 1st Marine Division; all are being treated for their injuries. The extent of their injuries is unknown. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Marines and their families as they receive medical care," Gainey said in the statement.

The incident is just the latest in a string of accidents at the base, some fatal. 

Earlier this month, U.S. Marine Corps officials announced that another Marine had died during training at the base north of San Diego County. On Aug. 30, Private First Class Michael P. Giannattasio was found unresponsive during a land navigation training event with the Basic Reconnaissance Course, School of Infantry West, aboard Camp Pendleton. When medics arrived, they tried to resuscitate the Marine, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In 2015, a Marine was discovered dead at a shooting range on the base; he was participating in a training exercise in which live ammunition was used. 

Several years ago, in Nov. 2013, four U.S. Marines were killed during a range maintenance operation.

Wednesday's accident remains under investigation. 

No other information was available.

Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

New Haven BOE Sets Deadline for Superintendent Announcement


The New Haven Board of Education has set a deadline to announce the next superintendent of schools by Monday, October 16.

Bobbie Maebry is a substitute teacher in the New Haven school system and she has a daughter in one of the magnet high schools.

"They have a lot of resources and connections to like universities and colleges," Maebry said.

The New Haven mother shared with NBC Connecticut qualities she’d like to see in the school district’s next superintendent.

"An understanding of the community in which they work," Maebry said. "Some history in the city, definitely, and just a really strong passion for seeing our children succeed in education."

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Education (BOE), President Dr. Ed Joyner said the firm hired to conduct the search has identified "six exceptional candidates" to lead New Haven schools. He added the firm presented final steps for the process at a Monday meeting.

The first round of interviews will start on Sept. 20. The second round of interviews will be held on Sept. 26 and 27. After that, the committee will evaluate, run background checks and negotiate a contract to prepare for the October announcement. 

In a memo sent Monday to the Illinois-based search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Board of Education member Darnell Goldson writes:

"Unfortunately, as to this date the public has made it clear at BOE meetings, in calls to me, as well as comments in the press that they are wholly unsatisfied with the public participation."

"The public should be informed of everything that goes on, our tax dollars are going toward the school system," Phillip Dozier of New Haven said.

Dr. Reginald Mayo continues to serve as interim superintendent after Garth Harries left the position last fall, almost two years before his contract was up. The school district paid his salary for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year after he stepped down on Nov. 1, 2016.

"We never as a public knew why (Harries) was eliminated from the school system here in New Haven," Dozier said. "And I think that’s wrong."

Joyner said there are no internal candidates among the six being considered for superintendent. He said key stakeholder groups like parents, students, teachers and clergy will be included in the final decision.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Heavy Police Activity at Condominiums in Trumbull


There is a heavy police presence at condominiums in Trumbull, police said.

Trumbull police is involved in an ongoing police incident involving people inside one of the apartments at the Royce of Trumbull off Old Town Road.

The incident started at 3:30 p.m.

Trumbull police are being assisted by several other local agencies and emergency response teams. Police said law enforcement officials have a secure perimeter at the complex.

No one is allowed to enter through the main gate. 

Royce residents who are not home are advised to stay outside, while Royce residents inside their apartments are asked to stay indoors unless otherwise directed by police on the scene. 

The Trumbull School system is holding students who live at the Royce.

No other information was immediately available.

NBC Connecticut is working to get more updates. 

2 Men Caught Trying to Make Off With Power Utility Pole


While crews across Florida work to repair damages and restore power knocked out by Hurricane Irma, a pair of men were caught trying to make off with a power utility pole on Thursday.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office tweeted out a photo of two shirtless men sitting in handcuffs, with the JEA utility pole sitting on top of a SUV.

Both men were place under arrest, but their charges are not known at this time.

Earlier this week, more than two dozen were arrested in Fort Lauderdale and Miami for Irma-related looting.

Photo Credit: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
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Student Says She Was Targeted Because of DACA Status


Over the weekend, Transylvania University student Paola Garcia posted a YouTube video in which she said she was targeted by a fellow student on social media because of her immigration status.

By Wednesday, that video had gone viral, and the student she named, Taylor Ragg, was no longer enrolled at the university.

In the video, a tearful Garcia talks about how she has lived in the United States since she was 2 and has faced all kinds of adversity. "I usually suck it up, bite my tongue, let it go. I never asked for help but that is what I am here to do now," she said.

Garcia, born in Mexico, is in the United States under former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which President Trump is dismantling.

According to Garcia, Ragg posted a message in a closed Facebook group titled "10th Crusade Enthusiasts” in late August, which led to a flood of messages that ranged from threats of reporting her to immigration authorities to racially offensive remarks.

His post included a screenshot of Garcia's Facebook profile along with his comment, "Everyone go report this illegal at my school." 

Efforts to contact Ragg were unsuccessful; he has deleted his Facebook and Twitter accounts. The Lexington Herald Leader reported that when they asked for a comment, Ragg responded, "Lexington Herald Leader is Fake News."

Garcia said that she took screenshots of all the threats and comments and reported them to university officials.  

Transylvania University initially released the following statement:

"Transylvania University does not condone or tolerate hatred, bigotry, bullying or harassment in any form and will address any such behavior in a manner consistent with our policies, procedures, and values as a University. We value every member of this community on the basis of their humanity, not on the basis of their ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or legal status. We are aware of the situation that has occurred on social media and are investigating the matter very seriously. But per University policy, we cannot comment any further on any specific personnel or student issue."

Later in the day, Michele Sparks, the vice president of Marketing and Communications, sent the following statement by email: "I am writing to inform you that Taylor Ragg is no longer enrolled at Transylvania University. Per University policy and federal laws, we cannot offer any further details into the matter."  

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Bloomfield Boy Bakes 'Relief' Cookies for Hurricane Victims


The images of the flooding, damage and destruction left behind by Hurricane Harvey stuck with a Bloomfield third-grader, Declan Mcweeny.

"I felt bad for the people in Texas," he said.

He knew he wanted to help, so he came up with a simple idea.

"I decided to make cookies," Mcweeny said. 

Declan has been baking, selling and delivering cookies to raise money for relief efforts. His mom, Melissa, said they’ve been overwhelmed by the response.

"I put it on Facebook, and started with friends and family,” she said. “I think we had a goal of $100 initially, and we surpassed that within a couple hours."

So far, he’s raised more than $1,000 for Harvey. He’s donating $500 to Save the Children and $500 to an organization to help pets.

"I thought it was such a good way to support a youngster who obviously has such a good heart," said patron, Laurie Boutiette.

Declan plans to continue baking his cookies. He’s now selling them to benefit victims of Hurricane Irma. So far, he’s raised $200.

Norwich Schools Experiencing Problems With Phone System


The phone system for Norwich Public Schools has only been working intermittently since last week.

“Probably very frustrating to people as they’re trying to reach us, it goes right to voicemail or there’s no answer, or we’re talking and we lose a call,” said Superintendent Abby Dolliver.

Mahan Elementary, Case Street Early Learning Center, Kelly Middle School and the district's central office have been difficult to reach. 

Norwich Schools used grant money to install a Toshiba phone system two years ago, but, according to Dolliver, Toshiba doesn’t make phones anymore.

"So finding a service person to help us troubleshoot is very challenging," she said.

The district’s tech personnel have been working to find the bug, said Dolliver, who’s been talking to Public Utilities about putting the school system on the city’s phone system. But she said it could cost an estimated $700,000 that the district doesn’t have.

"Our security system still works. It doesn’t impact our internet or our doorbells, or our locks on our doors, none of that," Dolliver added.

The glitch does impact 'all call' where someone can page an entire school with announcements, whether it be for bus arrivals or a lockdown, but Dolliver assured the system can be rebooted quickly and then used.

Principals at the three schools impacted sent emails and voicemails to parents. It included the school’s landline number that’s not connected to the faulty phone system, according to Dolliver. She’s given her email out to all parents, too.

"Between emails, and phone calls and things like that, yes, they’re on top of it and trying their hardest to fix it," a Mahan Elementary parent Marion Lattin said. 

"It’s horrible and they need to fix it," said another Mahan Elementary parent who wished to remain anonymous. "I have a disabled child that goes to this school and he has a lot of needs."

Dolliver said she told the Board of Education that there needs to be a solution by Friday. Either they find someone to come in and fix the phones, or they have to look at somehow finding a new system, which won’t happen overnight.

Rossi Defeats Incumbent West Haven Mayor O’Brien


Voters in West Haven will elect a new mayor in November after former city council member Nancy Rossi defeated incumbent Mayor Ed O’Brien by a razor thin margin in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Rossi defeated O’Brien by only 136 votes.

“An upset win, yeah I think so considering everybody is shocked,” Rossi told NBC Connecticut.

A certified CPA, Rossi said she wants to balance West Haven’s budget, but she knows there is some uncertainty because of the state’s fiscal mess.

“I’m hoping by November 7 that they have a budget,” she said. “But maybe I’m being optimistic here, but even if they don’t we’ll have to take one day at a time, go through each line item and absolutely make some changes.”

O’Brien said he is disappointed with voter turnout, adding “they thought it was going to be a shoe-in, a landslide and they just didn’t show up to vote.”

“I was surprised,” he said Wednesday afternoon in his office. “I think the people of West Haven thought we were doing a good job, we have economic development like we’ve never seen in West Haven.”

A major project NBC Connecticut has been following is the planned transformation of a section of West Haven’s waterfront into an upscale shopping mall called The Haven.

“As far the hold up in the project, I am concerned,” Rossi said. “Almost four years have gone by and we still don’t have a shovel in the ground.”

O’Brien defended the delay by saying “unfortunately in elections past they would move a bulldozer and do a lot of props before an election to make it look like something was happening.”

Rossi said she supports the renovations to West Haven High School, but she has concerns about the funding.

“I am concerned about the bonding because we do have a very low rating,” she said.

As for public safety, Rossi said she’d like to see more community policing.

“People come for education and they want to feel safe,” she said, “and without those two factors we’re not going to get anyone to move in here.”

Rossi will face Republican city council member David Riccio in the Nov. 7 general election.

NBC Connecticut asked O’Brien if he intends to support Rossi.

“If she asks for help, I’m a Democrat, I lost the Democratic primary,” he said, “I’m going support a democratic team but I’m not interested in turning the city backwards.”

In his four years in office, O’Brien said the quality of life has improved in West Haven. He said the city has done several road paving projects and upgraded police cars and plow trucks.

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